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Cancel Edo Polls Results …Four Parties Demand Of INEC …Accuse Electoral Umpire Of Bias

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The Chairman of the Inter-party Advisory Council (IPAC), Mr Frank Ukonga, who contested the Edo State governorship election on the platform of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), and three other candidates in last Wednesday’s election have called for the cancellation of the results declared by Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The NNPP candidate, the Advanced Congress of Democrats (ACD) candidate, Mr Andrew Igwemoh, the candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Dr Omorogieva Gbajumo, and Kowa Party candidate, Mr Thompson Osadolor, said INEC falsified the results to favour the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Godwin Obaseki.
The candidates, who vowed to continue in their advocacy for the cancellation of the election so that the will of Edo people will be upheld, argued that it was the only way to sustain democracy in the country.
It would be recalled that Godwin Obaseki of the APC was declared governor-elect of the state, last Thursday, after he garnered 319,483 votes as against the 253,173 votes polled by Osagie Ize-Iyamu of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
At a press conference in Benin City at the weekend, Ukonga insisted that the figures INEC declared and displayed on national television were at complete variance with those which their agents and observers obtained from the polling units across the state.
He said, “The results that INEC made public do not tally with what most, if not all, our agents came back home with. We are calling for the cancellation of the entire election because INEC gave APC the PDP votes.”
Also speaking, Gbajumo said, “Nigerians are wondering how INEC came up with about 66, 000 missing votes, whereas voters voted as soon as they were accredited.
“It is clear that the votes declared by INEC are not correct. Even parties which were not on the ballot were allocated some votes by the electoral umpire, which shows that something does not add up,” the SDP candidate added.
On his part, the Kowa Party candidate, Osadolor said that, no voter went home after being accredited to vote adding that there was generally peaceful election across the state.
Osadolor insisted that INEC had no business voiding votes, adding that, “It is a shame on INEC, and it should do the needful by ensuring that the voice of Edo people which was loud and clear on September 28, is reflected by declaring the true results of the elections.”
The Advanced Congress of Democrats (ACD) candidate, Igwemoh, said, there were glaring errors in the figures computed by INEC in an election that was marred by open exchange of money between party agents and the voters.
“I am calling for the cancellation of the results, especially those of Etsako West Local Government because what transpired on the field is not what INEC made public. The mathematical errors are too obvious to be ignored,” Igwemoh argued.
However, the National Conscience Party (NCP) candidate in the September 28 Edo governorship election, Pastor Peters Omoragbon, has said that the flaws committed during the election were not strong enough to cancel the exercise.
He said this in an interview with newsmen in Lagos, yesterday.
Omoragbon said the Edo election was one of the best conducted so far in the country.
He added that those calling for its cancellation were doing so in bad faith.
Omoragbon noted that, “the September 28 Edo governorship election is one of the best done so far in Nigeria. The exercise was devoid of killings and fighting.
“We have witnessed other elections, including common local government election in some states where people were killed or kidnapped. No single soul was lost in the Edo election, and I think that was great.
“During campaigns and the election, I and my supporters did not receive any threat from other party members.
“There were some flaws though, but not strong enough to cancel the election. I give INEC 96 per cent for performance. Those calling for cancellation are doing so because they lost.
“If APC had lost the election, they will cry foul also, and call for cancellation. I and my supporters were on ground, the election was free and fair,” the NCP candidate argued.
Omoragbon then, congratulated the Governor-elect, Mr Godwin Obaseki, and urged him to form an all-inclusive government with the best Edolites from all groups.
The NCP candidate advised Obaseki against the winner takes all syndrome, stressing that he was elected by Edo people, and not his political party.
“Obaseki has won the election, he should carry out all his campaign promises. His victory is for Edo people,” he said.
He added that the Edo election came in as a role model for other states, and urged losers to join hands in building the state.
“Any aggrieved person should go to court. Election to serve the people should not be a do or die affair.
“Political party in power should encourage their members in authority to give dividends of democracy to the electorate.”
Corroborating Omoragbon on the election in a separate interview, the National Chairman of NCP, Malam Yunusa Tanko, said the party was satisfied with the conduct of the election.
Tanko said they were happy as the exercise was crises-free, stressing that the party had accepted the result of the election.
“There was orderliness in Edo governorship election. For us in NCP, we are satisfied with the outcome of the election.
“I commend INEC for a job well done. I give them 85 per cent for their performance. I know they can improve on this in other elections coming up.”
The NCP chairman also congratulated Obaseki for the victory, and urged him to improve on the lives of Edo people by avoiding anti-people policies.

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PDP Inaugurates 15 Convention Sub-Committees –

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Wike Chairs Special Duties Committee
6,000 Delegates Expected To Attend

The Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) National Convention Committee, yesterday, in Abuja inaugurated 15 sub-committees for its national convention scheduled for October 30.
The sub-committees as read by the Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Duoye Diri, include the National Convention Organizing Committee, chaired by Adamawa State Governor, Hon Ahmadu Fintiri.
Others are Constitutional Amendment Committee, chaired by Akwa lbom Governor, Udom Emmanuel; Zoning Committee chaired by Enugu State Governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi; Screening Committee, chaired by former Minister of Justice, Mohammed Adoke.
Sub-committees and their chairmen also inaugurated were Screening Appeal Committee chaired by Senator Ike Ekweremadu; Special Duties Committee chaired by Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike; Accreditation Committee chaired by Delta State Governor, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa; and Security Committee chaired by former Inspector General of Police, Solomon Arase.
The Electoral (Statutory) Committee, with Adamawa Governor, Hon Ahmadu Fintiri as the chairman; Publicity Committee chaired by Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki; and Venue Committee, chaired by Bauchi State Governor, Senator Bala Mohammed are also among them.
Others include: Welfare and Entertainment Committee with Mariya Waziri as chairperson; Transportation Committee, with Ibrahim Dankwambo as chairman; and Contact and Mobilization Committee with Taraba Governor, Darius Ishaku as chairman.
The rest are, Protocol Committee with Sen. Biodun Olujimi as chairperson; Medical Committee — Nuhu Zagbayi; and Secretariat Committee — Umaru Ibrahim Tsauri.
Inaugurating the sub-committees, Fintiri expressed belief that the October convention would be successful and lead PDP to victory in 2023.
Fintiri said that the leaders and members of the sub-committees were carefully selected to organize a credible convention for the party.
The Adamawa governor urged them to make the necessary sacrifices to deliver the best convention to the party.
Fintiri, fielding questions from newsmen after the inauguration, said that by PDP’s new constitution, over 6,000 delegates were expected at the convention.
“We are fully prepared for that. We are expecting everybody in every ward that is a delegate to attend the convention.”
He said that the sub-committees had been given directions and they were expected to go back, adequately prepare and submit their report to the main committee for approval.
On which part of the party’s Constitution would be amended, Fintiri said he could not pre-empt the Constitution Sub-Committee, but allow them do their job.
On how far the zoning committee had gone after the one-week appeal he gave them, last week, Fintiri said the committee was in a meeting in Enugu carrying out its responsibilities.
“You can see the party is working, and it is a turning point for all of us,” Fintiri said.
According to him, the leadership tussle in the party has largely been addressed even as he came short of saying the PDP has moved on from the crisis.
He said, “We are moving on. I am the chairman of the convention committee and you can see that we are doing our work. Everybody is happy and participating. I don’t see any crisis in this party.”
The party’s national elective convention is slated for October 30 and 31 this year in Abuja.

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RSG Recommits To Building Agric Sector

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The Rivers State Government has said that it was committed to building the agricultural sector and utilise the huge potentials the state has for the benefit of Rivers people.
The state Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, stated this while speaking at a seminar of the Norwegian Seafood Council at Hotel Presidential in Port Harcourt, yesterday.
Represented by his Deputy, Dr. Ipalibo Harry Banigo, Wike said, “In the face of dwindling oil prices, and the need to diversify the economy, we see a lot of potentials in the seafood industry especially post Covid-19. This is an important industry for creating employment opportunities, generate revenue and boost economic activities in our area”.
Wike, who said that Rivers State was one of the coastal states in the Niger Delta endowed with valuable seafood resources, revealed that Norway and Nigeria have had a long history of relationship and trade.
According to the governor, “Rivers State, known as the oil and gas hub of Nigeria, is open to do business in all sectors including maritime and welcome more partnerships and investments from stakeholders who wish to do business in the state”.
Wike further said, “In the effort to grow our economy, the Government of Rivers State supports making laws that work for us all, by putting laws in place to improve society’s efficiency. Hence, the assent and signing of the VAT law”.
The Rivers State chief executive, who commended the Norwegian Seafood Council for conducting the seminar in the state, stressed that stock fish was enjoyed across Rivers State by all groups, including low and high earners, while both men and women are involved in the sales in our markets.
“I believe this seminar will examine the many advantages and gains of seafood as well as anticipated support from the Norwegian Embassy in the areas of encouraging deep sea fishing, trawlers, good storage for sea products, training to grow and nurture fish production standard, fish ponds and open fish farms, use of technology and encouragement, support to artisan farmers.
“We believe that the gains for removing stock fish and stock fish heads from the list of items not valid for the FX windows far outweigh the losses if any.
“For all the reasons stated above and many more, we anticipate Federal Government and the CBN’s removal of stock fish and stock fish heads from the list of items not valid for the Central Bank of Nigeria FX window”, Wike further stressed.
In his remarks, the Ambassador Royal Norwegian Embassy, Knut Lein, who described the history of stock fish in Nigeria and Norway as fascinating, said it creates a bond between both countries, and expressed the desire to foster increased cooperation, build on bilateral relations and inform the government of Norway about the opportunities in the country.
He said, “together we could create lots of jobs”, insisting that “doing what we can to promote stock fish trade was a win-win for all of us”.
Highlights of the occasion were the presentation of papers by the Director Africa, Norwegian Seafood Council, Mr. Trond Kostveit, and other stakeholders.
The Norwegian Ambassador, Mr. Knut Lein, had earlier paid a courtesy call on Governor Nyesom Wike, at the Government House in Port Harcourt, where the state chief executive expressed the state government’s desire to continue to partner with the Norwegian Embassy to facilitate economy growth and development of both countries, and the state in particular.

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Encourage States To Harness Own Resources For Dev, Wike Tasks FG

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The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has said Nigeria must encourage federating states to harness their resources and generate revenues, including Value Added Tax (VAT) to advance their development.
He also stressed that it was baffling to note that Rivers State was not included among states to benefit from any of the projects to be executed with the fresh loan that the Federal Government was seeking to obtain from the World Bank.
Wike made the observation when the Managing Director and Editor-in-Chief of the SUN (Newspaper) Publishing Limited, Mr Onuoha Ukeh, led a delegation to present letter of nomination to him as the SUN Man of the Year 2020 Award at Government House, Port Harcourt, last Monday.
The Rivers State governor observed that there were mounted attempts to frustrate federating states like Rivers, to actualise the constitutional provisions that empower them to harness their resources and revenues, particularly VAT.
The governor decried the situation where the legality of states collecting VAT was not considered on the merit of the law by some public commentators, including state executives, rather, they were politicising it and looking at it from prism of ethnicity and religion.
According to Wike, what the FIRS was doing was illegal, and could be likened to robbing some states to pay others.
“You don’t even need to be a lawyer to know that VAT is not in Items 58 and 59 of the Second Schedule of the 1999 Constitution as amended. Everybody knows that. It is not even in the Concurrent List. Therefore, it falls under the Residual List. It is not arguable. That yesterday, nothing happened, does not mean that today, nothing will happen or tomorrow, something will not happen.
“Nigeria should encourage states to be strong enough to have resources to develop themselves. We are in a federal system where we are practicing unitary system. Everybody at the end of the month will run to Abuja to share money. Nobody comes back to the state to think, how do I develop my state.”
He explained that the contest against the collection of Valued Added Tax (VAT) was started by Lagos State, which had sued the Federal Government at the Supreme Court.
According to him, Rivers State only avoided their pitfall by suing the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), which is an agency of the Federal Government that was illegally collecting the tax in the state.
“The issue of VAT did not start from Rivers State. It started in Lagos State when Lagos State challenged it in Supreme Court. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court said you (Lagos) shouldn’t have sued the Federal Government. All you would have done was to sue the agency.”
The governor observed that rather than commend Rivers State Government for seeking to entrench fiscal federalism and constitutionalism, a particular state governor had threatened that the judgement of the court that declared that states, and not FIRS, are entitled to collect VAT within their jurisdiction, will not stand.
He urged those demanding for a brothers’ keeper consideration to first, appreciate the position of the law and situate it rightly.
“Some people say, ‘be your brother’s keeper’. I have no problem in being my brother’s keeper, but why not come out and say, let us tell ourselves the simple truth: as it is provided in the law, who is the person responsible to collect the VAT?
“When you agree to that, that it is the state, then, we can sit down to look at the different problems of states. And not to say ‘be your brother’s keeper’ while you’re doing an illegal thing, in disobeying what the law says you should not do.”
Wike stated that it was sheer act of discrimination for the Federal Government not to include Rivers State as one of the states that will benefit from projects for which it was seeking fresh foreign loans to execute.
“Look at the money that Federal Government has gone to borrow from the World Bank. Of all the projects, in all the states, Federal Government did not include Rivers State.
“Look at the list of projects that states will benefit from this money they’re borrowing from the World Bank that they have sent to National Assembly for approval, the only state that is not benefitting is Rivers State”.
He further noted, “It is the prerogative of Mr President; if he says he does not like Rivers State, if the ruling party says they don’t like Rivers State, I won’t kill myself. But leave the one that the law says I should be the one to collect so that I will be able to develop my own state.”
Speaking further, Wike explained that beyond the provision of infrastructure, his administration was seeking a law that would provide comfortable accommodation for judicial officers on retirement.
The reason, he said, was to ensure that, while in service, the judicial officers can concentrate on their jobs without cutting corners, and avoid corrupt practices.
In his remarks, the Managing Director and Editor-in-Chief of the SUN (Newspaper) Publishing Limited, Mr Onuoha Ukeh, said the SUN Man of the Year 2020 Award was the flagship of award the company.
According to him, Wike was unanimously selected for his remarkable contributions to the socio-economic development of Nigeria and promotion of fiscal federalism with his position on VAT, which would help in the restructuring of Nigeria.
“Today, His Excellency has guided Nigeria to true federalism with the issue of VAT. Knowing what fiscal federalism should be, His Excellency went to court to challenge the collection of VAT, and the court stated that actually the states should collect VAT. And that is laying the foundation for true federalism and fiscal federalism”, he said.
Ukeh commended Wike for his sterling performance in office and infrastructural revolution taking place in Rivers State.

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