There was an uneasy cloud of anxiety in Okrika, Okrika Local Government Area of Rivers State, the home town of the wife of President Goodluck Jonathan, Dame Patience Jonathan, yesterday, as news of the death of the foster mother of the first lady, Mrs. Charity Tamunowaritoku Francis Oba spread in the ancient coastal city in Rivers State.
Late Mrs. Charity Tamunowaritoku Francis Oba, who was aged 65, was involved in a ghastly motor accident at around 4.30pm on Monday along Isiokpo-Elele Road in Rivers State on her way to Bayelsa State.
Her death comes barely three weeks after Dame Patience Jonathan, buried her step father, late Pa Derifaka Idasetima in Okrika.
The immediate elder sister of the first lady, Mrs Blessing I.S. Lazarus, told The Tide, in a tearful mood, yesterday in Okrika, that “the late Mrs Charity Oba was the mother of everybody in the family”, adding that she was the wife of their elder brother, Mr Francis Lazarus Oba.
“We are crying for her death because we are going to miss her motherly care and advice. It will really create a vacuum in our family,” she said, adding that “honestly, her death came to us in the family as a big shock.”
She described Mrs Charity Francis Oba, fondly called ‘Mama Sisi’, who also nurtured Dame Patience Jonathan after the demise of her biological mother in 1993, as “a nice, caring and God-fearing family woman,” saying that “the family is currently in a state of mourning.
“Our President, Goodluck Jonathan recognised late Mrs Charity Oba as his mother-in-law, hence we did not meet his wife’s biological mother”, she added.
When The Tide met the elder brother of the first lady, he pleaded not to be disturbed, saying that he has instructions from the Protocol team at the Presidency not to comment of the death, and referred our correspondents to his younger brother, one Mr Inyengierefaka, the national president of PFON, who resides at Abuloma in Port Harcourt City Local Government Area of the state.
The Tide could not reach Inyengierefaka for comments on the sudden death of their cherished sister.
However, a family relation, Mrs Roselyn Abibo, said she heard the news of the death of ‘Mama Sisi’ in Port Harcourt yesterday afternoon with shock, and decided to visit Okrika to get full details of the incident from the family.
She said “as a person who lived and stayed together with them in their Sukube Oba House, I am saddened by the shocking death of our mother,” adding that “a big tree has fallen in the family.”
Chief Isaac Zeb Obipi, the Ogulacha 11 of Okrika and a senior university lecturer in the state, expressed sympathy with the family, saying that he “received the news of the death of Madam Charity Oba with shock and broken heart”.
Chief Obipi said the first lady needed late Mrs Charity Oba’s motherly support and advice most at these trying times in the history of the nation, saying “it is painful”.
He prayed God to give the bereaved family the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss, and advised the first lady to be strong, and not allow the circumstances of the death to dampen her good spirit and works to strengthen women and children in the country.
A man of God, Pastor Miebaka Akuroseokika of St Peter’s Cathedral, Okrika, expressed sorry over the sudden death of ‘Mama Sisi’ in such a manner, and prayed God to strengthen the family.
In her words, Mrs Boma Obienime said, “it is disheartening that Dame Patience Jonathan should face such a calamity,” and added that Mrs Charity Oba was a woman who left everything to God.
When contacted, the state Sector Commander of the FRSC, Dr. Kayode Olagunju, declined comment on the matter, saying, “I cannot say anything on this matter now until I get full details.”
But the Rivers State Police Public Relations Officer, Mrs. Angela Agabe, confirmed yesterday that the foster mother of the wife of the President, Dame Patience Jonathan was among the two victims that lost their lives in a tragic motor accident that occurred along Isiokpo-Elele Road in Rivers State last Monday evening.
She said that the vehicle conveying the foster mother of the first lady, Mrs Charity Tamunowaritoku Francis Oba, lost control on the Isiokpo-Elele Road on its way to Bayelsa State, and somersaulted five times before ditching into the bush.
She confirmed that apart from the foster mother of the first lady, Mrs Charity Oba, a 14-year old student of the Adventist Secondary School, Elele in Ikwerre Local Government Area of the state, whose name was simply given as Miss Favour, also lost her life in the crash.
Agabe explained that Mrs Charity Oba and Miss Favour died on the spot when the car somersaulted while the driver of the vehicle, one Stanley Enyindah and another occupant, sustained various degrees of injuries, and were rushed to an undisclosed hospital in the state capital for treatment.
She stated that the corpse of late Charity Oba was taken to Kpaima Mortuary in Elechi Beach area of Diobu, in Port Harcourt by a team of policemen.
An aide to the member representing Ogu/Bolo State Constituency in the Rivers State House of Assembly, Evans Bapakaye Bipi also confirmed the death of Mrs Charity Oba in a road accident.
Fred Itobo, said that the president’s wife’s foster mother was involved in the accident while she was on her way to Bayelsa State.
“Yes! She was involved in an accident and she died. Her body has been taken to a mortuary. Bipi was among those who took her body to the mortuary,” Itobo said.
Itobo further confirmed that Bipi, who is a relative to the deceased, was among those who took the corpse of Mrs Charity Oba to Kpaima Mortuary.
Declare Buhari’s Seat Vacant, Owuru Urges Court
The candidate of the Hope Democratic Party (HDP) in the last presidential election, Chief Ambrose Owuru, has approached the Federal High Court in Abuja, asking it to declare the seat of President Muhammadu Buhari vacant.
Owuru, who was among the four petitioners that went to tribunal to challenge Buhari’s re-election, in his fresh suit, sought for an order to restrain the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), from “undertaking or planning any other election into the office of the President”, in 2023.
The Plaintiff, in his suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/480/2021, maintained that Buhari is “an unlawful President that is illegally occupying the Presidential seat”.
It would be recalled that Owuru and his party, HDP, had in an earlier appeal they litigated up to the Supreme Court, insisted that the Justice Mohammed Garba-led Presidential Election Petition Tribunal, erroneously dismissed a petition they lodged against the return of Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC), as winner of the presidential election that held on February 23, 2019.
They specifically prayed the apex court to sack Buhari on the premise that he emerged through an illegal process.
According to the Appellants, INEC, failed to follow condition precedents stipulated in the Electoral Act, when it unduly postponed the presidential election that was originally fixed for February 16.
The HDP claimed that its candidate, Owuru, secured over 50million votes in a referendum that was conducted by both electorates and observer networks that were dissatisfied with the unilateral postponement of the presidential election by INEC.
However, in a unanimous decision, a five-man panel of Justices of the Supreme Court led by Justice Mary Odili, struck out the appeal for constituting “a gross abuse of the judicial process”.
Meantime, in the fresh suit, Owuru and his party argued that their suit against Buhari at the Supreme Court was inconclusive.
The Plaintiffs argued that the case was fixed outside the 60 days period that was allowed by the law.
Owuru asked the court to declare him the authentic winner of the last presidential poll, as well as, to issue an order for his immediate inauguration to take over from Buhari.
He prayed the court to declare that he is entitled to serve out a tenure of 4 years after his formal inauguration.
More so, the HDP presidential candidate, aside from asking for Buhari’s immediate removal from office, equally prayed the court to compel him to refund all salaries, allowances and emoluments he collected while he unlawfully stayed in office as President.
Owuru also asked the court to give an order that salaries, allowances and emoluments be paid to him from May 29, 2019, when he ought to have been sworn in, till date.
The Plaintiff further applied for, “An order of interlocutory injunction restraining the Respondents by themselves and acting through their agents, servants, privies and or proxies howsoever from any further organizing, undertaking or planning of any other election into the office of the President of Nigeria or any such other Presidential Election interfering, harassing and or disturbing the Applicant adjudged acquired right as unopposed and unchallenged winner of the original scheduled and held the February 16 Presidential Election thereof until the 1st Applicant unserved constitutional four years term of office is served pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit by this honourable court”.
Cited as 1st to 3rd Respondents in the matter were Buhari, the Attorney General of the Federation, and INEC.
Meanwhile, no date has been fixed for the matter to be heard.
World Bank Report Exposes Buhari’s Lies, PDP Affirms
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said the report by World Bank that 7 million Nigerians have been pushed into poverty in the last year, has clinically belied the integrity posturing of President Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The opposition party said the World Bank report came in the face of the recent claims by President Buhari that his administration has lifted over 10 million Nigerians out of poverty in the last two years.
The PDP asserted that the report by the World Bank has further vindicated its position that President Buhari runs an uncoordinated and clueless administration that thrives on lies, false performance claims, deceit, and perfidious propaganda.
The statement added that, “Nigerians can now clearly see why the APC and President Buhari’s handlers are always in a frenzy to attack our party and other well-meaning Nigerians whenever we point to the poor handling of the economy and on the need for President Buhari to always be factual on pertinent issues of governance in our country.
“Unfortunately, it indeed appears that Mr. President enjoys living in denial while watching millions of Nigerians go down in abject poverty, excruciating hunger, and starvation as our country now ranks 98th out of 107 in Global Hunger Index under his watch.
“Otherwise, why would Mr. President claim that his administration has lifted over 10.5 million Nigerians out of poverty while official figures even from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) show worsening poverty rate with 142.2% growth in food inflation and over 82.9 million Nigerians being unable to afford their daily meals due to the failure of the administration to take practical steps to grow and protect the food sector?
“Under President Buhari, Nigerians are now subjected to the worst form of poverty and hardship, with collapsed purchasing power, occasioned by a voodoo economy management that has wrecked our productive sectors and pummeled our naira from the about N167 to a US dollar in 2015 to the current over N500 per dollar.
“It is unfortunate that Mr. President will choose to always bandy fictitious figures and false performance claims, when he has, in a space of six years, destroyed our national productivity and reduced our country to a beggarly nation, a laughing stock and object of pity among the comity of nations.
“The PDP invites Nigerians to note President Buhari and APC’s similar false performance claims in other critical sectors, including power, transportation, road infrastructure, health, education, agriculture, security, aviation among others, where the Buhari administration has been bandying fictitious figures with no tangible project to point at.
“Our party counsels President Buhari, his handlers as well as their party, the APC, to note that Nigerians have seen through their deceitful clams.
“The PDP, once again, urges Mr. President to end his false performance claims and get more competent hands to manage the economy before every Nigerian is turned into a street beggar.”
Amnesty Kicks As FG Pushes Social Media Regulation
Amnesty International has strongly opposed the call by the Nigerian Government to regulate the use of social media and online broadcasters.
It would be recalled that the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, had urged the House of Representatives to include regulation of Twitter in the National Broadcasting Commission Act.
The minister made the call at the public hearing on a bill to amend the NBC Act organised by the House Committee on Information.
“I will want to add, that specifically, internet broadcasting and all online media should be included in this because we have responsibility to monitor content— including Twitter,” he said.
Reacting, Amnesty International, in a tweet via its Twitter account, yesterday, kicked against the motion.
It noted that when social media is regulated, authorities can arbitrarily have powers to shut down the internet and limit access to social media.
It further noted that criticizing the government will be made punishable with penalties of up to three years in prison.
“When social media is regulated, authorities can arbitrarily have powers to shut down the Internet and limit access to social media.
“Criticizing the government will be made punishable with penalties of up to three years in prison.
“Regulating social media in Nigeria could be easily abused to punish critics of government policies and actions, and anyone who asks difficult questions could find themselves liable for ‘diminishing public confidence in the government.’
“Seeking a law to prohibit abusive, threatening and insulting behaviour is open to very wide interpretation. This section would pose a threat to critical opinion, satire, public dialogue and political commentary,” the statement added.
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