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Senate, Reps’ Aspirants Besiege Presidency …Lobby Govs Over NASS Positions

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All Progressives Congress (APC) lawmakers aspiring to presiding positions in the Senate and House of Representatives have intensified their campaigns ahead of the inauguration of the 9th National Assembly.
Senators-elect on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have also said they will weigh the offers on the table from the three APC senators aspiring to become the Senate President before adopting one of them.
The Tide source learnt that the APC lawmakers had taken their campaigns beyond the National Assembly.
While some are lobbying newly elected members, others are reaching out to the APC National Working Committee and presidency.
The PDP senators, who spoke with The Tide source on condition of anonymity, confirmed that Senators Ahmed Lawan, Ali Ndume, and Danjuma Goje had been having regular discussions with them.
They also confirmed that they had given their terms and that the aspirants agreed to honour their part of the deal if elected.
Speaking to the source in a telephone interview, a source in the camp of Senator Ovie Omo-Agege (Delta-Central) said the lawmaker was lobbying the Presidency and the APC NWC after indications emerged that the Deputy Senate Presidency would be zoned to the South-South.
According to the source, “Omo-Agege has reached out to other critical stakeholders outside the chamber and he now has the full backing of the Presidential Villa and the National Chairman (of the APC, Adams Oshiomhole). The issue is settled. The Deputy Senate presidency has been zoned to the South-South; it is true.”
The source also said   Omo- Agege’s only South-South opponent in the race for the  Deputy Senate presidency, Senator Francis Alimikhena, is from the same local government area with Oshiomhole in Edo State, which would be considered in the zoning plan.
Omo-Agege neither confirmed nor denied the steps he was said to have taken to achieve his aim. “I’m reaching out like every other aspirant,” he said.
Another aspirant to the Deputy Senate presidency, Senator Ajayi Boroffice, also wrote to senators-elect to congratulate them on their victory at the polls and sought their support for his ambition.
Boroffice, representing Ondo North Senatorial District, is one of the three ranking senators from the South-West to be in the 9th Senate.
In the letter, the lawmaker partly wrote: “With an excellent public service record, rich legislative experience and amiable personae, I consider myself the best candidate for the office of  the Deputy Senate President.
“In spite of our different backgrounds, religious beliefs and political inclinations, the business of national lawmaking has pulled us together as friends and colleagues. I humbly seek your cooperation, support and prayers in this election. Together, we shall succeed.”
In the House, an aspirant from Oyo State, Mr Olusegun Odebunmi, who is Gbajabiamila’s only opponent in the South-West, hinted that he was reaching out to northern states.
When contacted on the telephone earlier on Tuesday, Odebunmi said: “As I am talking to you now, I am on my way from Katsina State and it is about my project. I won’t make the details public for now.”
Efforts to contact him since Tuesday to speak more on his campaign were not successful as the lawmaker did not return calls to comment.
Meanwhile, another aspirant from Niger State (North-Central), Mr Mohammed Bago, last Saturday visited the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, to seek his support.
A statement by spokesman for the Bago Campaign Organisation, Mr Victor Ogene, quoted Oba Ogunwusi as saying that to avoid a lacuna in the administration of the country,  youths must be encouraged to assume leadership.
“Yes, we now have a ‘Not-too-young-to-run’ law but to complement that, we need to consciously bring the youths into leadership positions,” the Ooni was quoted as saying.
However, the PDP senators-elect, who spoke with one of our correspondents last Saturday, said a recent statement by the National Chairman of the APC, Adams Oshiomhole, on the issue appeared to have affected their relationships with the aspirants.
Oshiomhole had said that the leaders who would emerge on his party’s platform in the 9th National Assembly would not share power with the PDP lawmakers, who he called “the devils”.
A PDP senator-elect from the South-West, who spoke on condition of anonymity: told The Tide source “Oshiomhole seems to have truncated the discussions we have had with the aspirants. I was one of those who argued that the PDP should not produce a candidate for the presiding positions after listening to the APC aspirants.
“The three of them have good programmes and agenda, but it appears that the APC leadership would have an overwhelming influence on the chamber, which is supposed to be independent.”

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CROSIEC Deploys About 8,000 Personnel For LG Elections

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Ahead of the next Saturday’s rescheduled Local Government elections in Cross River, about 8000 personnel are said to have been deployed across the state to ensure the smooth conduct of the elections.
The Chairman of the Cross River State Independent Electoral Commission, Dr. Mike Ushie, who disclosed this in Calabar while
speaking on preparations by the commission, said they are ready for the elections and one hundred percent compliant with post COVID-19
elections guidelines recently released by the Independent National Electoral Commission as well as the National Centre for Diseases
Control.
He said: “Eight thousand personnel have been mobilised to cover the two thousand, two hundred and twenty-six polling units in the state.
There will be three personnel per pooling unit, five at the accreditation centres, five at the local government and ward coalition centres.
“Accreditation and voting will take place simultaneously and  in line with INEC guidelines, there will be two levels of queuing  and voters
will vote in batches while maintaining social distance.
“We had to make sure that we are on course and lives are protected. Luckily INEC released the procedure for post COVID-19 elections and I
must say that we are in full compliance with it. INEC said we have to provide hand sanitizers, face masks and we have adopted all the
procedures one hundred percent.
“ We have gone beyond INEC  and have gone ahead to procure hand sanitizers, hand washing containers, a good number of face masks  and
we are working seriously to ensure that the right thing is done”, he said.
He added that the commission has given sufficient notice for the elections and confirmed that five political parties will be participating in Saturday’s elections.
From FRIDAY NWAGBARA, Calabar.
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Ambassador Desmond Akawor Inaugurated As New Rivers State PDP Chairman

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The new Rivers State Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Executive Council has been inaugurated in Port Harcourt.
Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly,  Mr Ikuinyi Ibani administered the oath of office on the new executives led by Ambassador Desmond Akawor.
In a charge, Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike called on the new executives to work towards consolidating the gains of the immediate past Executive led by Bro Felix Obuah.
He commended immediate past Rivers State PDP Chairman,  Bro Felix Obuah for leading to victory .
He said: “We had challenges at the beginning, but that Executive was committed to service. Obuah has shown capacity to deliver.  It will not be easy for the new executives, but the new executives must start to prepare the party for the challenges ahead.
“Work hard to surpass the records of the past executives.  Working together is key, unity is key.”
Speaking further, Governor Wike said that the Rivers State Government will never condone criminality or any attempt to violate the law.
He said: “But for the steps that , the number of cases would have been more. What makes a leader is the ability  to be firm. I value life more than property.
“Since 2015, we have not demolished any property.  But, someone who was SSG superintended over the demolition of several properties.  Now the person is talking about the draconian process.
“My joy is that majority of Rivers people love what we are doing.”
Governor Wike added that from Information from the State Health Commissioner,  the State is likely to have more cases,  mostly oil workers.
National Chairman of PDP, Prince Uche Secondus congratulated the new Rivers State PDP Executive Committee,  advising them to work for the growth of the party.
Commenting on the fight against coronavirus,  Uche Secondus blasted the Federal Government for refusing to assist State Governments and provide direction for the country.
He said: “The Governors are working without help from the Federal Government.  But for God, the situation would have been worse.
“Governors are running from pillar to post. We must be grateful to Governor Wike for the initiative that he took. What the Governor has done has helped to drastically reduce the number of cases.
“Rivers State is lucky to have Governor Wike at this time of crisis .”
He said those who spread negative propaganda do so out of hatred.
New Rivers State PDP Chairman,  Ambassador Desmond Akawor thanked ththe leadership and members of the party for giving him the opportunity to serve.
He said God has used Governor Wike to rebuild a new Rivers State.  He saluted the resilience of PDP in weathering the storm.
Akawor assured that the new Executive will serve the party diligently.
Immediate Past PDP State Chairman,  Bro Felix Obuah said that the Executive Committee under his leadership led the party to victory  since 2015.
He said that the outgone Executives will continue to work for the party  to ensure future victory.
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Bode George Urges FG To Relax Lagos Lockdown

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A former Deputy National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Olabode George has urged federal government to relax the lockdown it imposed on Lagos State as a result of COVID- 19 pandemic.
George, who made the call in a statement in Lagos, yesterday said the lockdown imposed since March 29 was adversely affecting livelihoods and bringing up security challenges.
He said though government intended to curb the spread of the virus with the lockdown, the directive had left many Nigerians hungry at home without palliatives.
The PDP chieftain noted that there must be a balance between curbing the spread of the virus and protecting livelihoods and asked the government to relax the lockdown while putting safety measures in place.
“Everywhere in Lagos is now locked down. The markets, banking halls, the local grocery shops, the supermarkets, the transportation services are all halted, frozen by the federal government directives since March 29.
“On the surface level, the federal government’s position is to ensure safety, prevent communal spread of the virus and banish this scourge from our shores.
“Lagosians have been staying at home for about a month now. In a largely informal economy where most of our people depend on daily wages, the burden of lack of income is devastating.
“There is a natural growing anger in Lagos as the most vulnerable are ravaged with hunger,” George said.

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