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Reps Minority Leadership Crisis: PDP NWC Summons Elumelu, Oke, Ikpeazu, Others …Berates Gbajabiamila’s Imposition Plot …I’m Not Surprised By The Treachery -Wike

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The National Working Committee (NWC) of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in its 473rd meeting, yesterday, resolved to summon Hon. Ndudi Elumelu to a crucial meeting tomorrow at the party’s national secretariat, Abuja.
Other invited members are Hon. Wole Oke, Hon. Lynda Ikpeazu, Hon. Anayo Edwin, Hon. Gideon Gwadi, Hon. Toby Okechukwu and Hon. Adekoya Abdul-Majid.
PDP spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan, who disclosed this development in a statement, said it was in line with the provisions of Chapter 10 (57)(3) of the Constitution of the PDP.
The members, according to Ologbondiyan, would appear before the members of the National Working Committee at 10 am.
Meanwhile, the PDP and the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, have rejected the alleged attempt by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila to impose leaders on the party in the House of Representatives.
The PDP also explained that the party had duly written to the Speaker after consultation with other minority members in the parliament, notifying him of members that have been selected for leadership in line with dictates of the rules and parliamentary practice.
The party spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan said this while briefing newsmen in Abuja.
Ologbondiyan affirmed that the opposition party was dismayed that the Speaker attempted to smuggle in names other than those recognised and forwarded to him as the leaders of the minority in the lower chamber.
He added, “The PDP, in the strongest terms, cautions against this abuse of rules, parliamentary practices and procedures as well as the convention and we urge the speaker to respect the rules and read the list submitted to him by the leadership of the PDP.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the list forwarded to the Speaker by the PDP is as follows: Hon. Kingsley Chinda – Minority Leader, Hon. Chukwuka Onyema- Deputy Minority Leader, Hon. Yakubu Barde – Minority Whip, Hon. Muraina Ajibola – Deputy Minority Whip”.
Also reacting to the move, the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike said that he was not surprised by what happened at the House of Representatives, stating that trading has been placed above party loyalty at the House.
Speaking during a courtesy visit by the Governor of Oyo State, Oluseyi Makinde, at the Government House, Port Harcourt, yesterday, Wike stated that he was purely a party loyalist who believes in the ideals of the PDP.
He said: “I am not surprised. When you have traders and merchants, what do you expect?
“It is unfortunate for those who do not understand what politics is all about. I am a core party man. I believe in the party”.
Wike said that peer review was necessary to advance the course of development across the states of the federation.
“I am happy for this visit. We shall reciprocate the visit at the appropriate time. It is good for us to continue to compare notes to learn best practices from each other”, he said.
He expressed confidence in the ability of the Oyo State Governor to move the state forward and entrench development.
Earlier, the Oyo State Governor had said that what happened at the House of Representatives where the position of the PDP was subverted calls for concern.
“We all saw what happened at the National Assembly, yesterday (Wednesday), they are things that calls for concern. If the party takes a position on certain things, we want to ensure that, it is carried through”, he said.
He added that he was in Rivers State to also discuss issues of true federalism and the role of states in the development process.
Makinde commended the Rivers State Governor for his developmental strides during his first term, saying that he expects him to deliver more projects for the people.
Meanwhile, the House of the Representatives, yesterday, resolved to set up an ad-hoc committee to investigate the rowdy session and attempt by some members to grab the mace during plenary, last Wednesday.
This was sequel to a matter of privilege raised by Rep. Benjamin Kalu (APC-Abia) at the plenary, yesterday.
Earlier, Kalu had said that it was disappointing to see ranking members engage in a struggle to displace the mace during sitting.
He alleged that Rep. Gogo Bright (PDP-Rivers) carried the mace from the upper bracket, and put it on the lower bracket during plenary which was not supposed to be so.
The Tide gathered that the rowdy session was triggered by the Speaker’s refusal to respect the PDP’s choice for the Minority Leader of the House, which had nominated Hon Kingsley Chinda (PDP-Rivers) in the party’s official letter to Gbajabiamila.
But instead of announcing the PDP’s choice, the Speaker announced Hon Ndudi Elumelu (Delta-PDP) as House Minority Leader.
Kalu said that he was a new member, who joined the National Assembly with a patriotic zeal to contribute to nation building, saying that the event breached his privileges.
He urged the House to set up the committee to investigate the matter to forestall future reoccurrences.
In his ruling, the Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila (APC-Lagos) agreed that the scene created by some members breached the collective privileges of the House.
Gbajabiamila said an ad-hoc committee would be constituted to look into the matter.
The Speaker also named the principal officers from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
They are Hon. Alhassan Ado Doguwa (Kano) as House Leader; Peter Akpatason (Edo) as Deputy House Leader; Hon. Tahir Mohammed Monguno (Borno) as Chief Whip; and Nkiruika Onyejeocha (Abia) as Deputy Chief Whip.
Gbajabiamila, while making the announcement, said the constitution of the leadership of the House was in line with Order 7 Rule 4 which states that the leadership of the House should be nominated from members of the House.
Wrapping up the announcement, he said: “According to the rules of the House, the leadership of the House has now been legally constituted.”

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Rivers State Needs College of Education-Don

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Following the upgrade of the former College of Education to a university, a university teacher has sued for the establishment of a new college of education to replace the old one.
The plea was made by a lecturer in the political Science Department of the Ignatius Ajuru University of Education, Dr. Iwarimie Uranta.
Uranta who made his views known in an interview with The Tide pointed out that College of Education if established will address the middle manpower in the educational system of the state.
For now, Uranta said “there is a vacuum,” National Certificate of Education (NCE) will help bridge the gap of middle manpower in the teaching profession.”
He continued”, it will boost the teaching of core courses, because NCE teachers are trained as teachers in those courses”.
The university don pointed out that currently there is a limited number of people who wants to do education. It reduce pressure on the universities and reduce social vices by the youths, Uranta stressed.
Besides, he said the current reforms in the educational system will benefit as many private schools will have manpower to recruit instead of engaging quacks in their schools.
In a similar vein, Head of Educational Psychology/ Guidance and Counselling in the Ignatius Ajuru University of Education, Dr. Sunday Ordu has commended the State Government
for the policy to sanitise privately schools in the state.
“A lot of private schools don not have professional teachers so the policy is in the right direction.
It will improve manpower faculties to enhance educational growth. The environment must be conducive” he added.

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RSG Implements TSA To Block Revenue Leakages, Soon …Tasks State Internal Revenue Service To Grow Monthly IGR To N10bn …Seeks Informal Sector’s Support Through Payment Of Prescribed Taxes

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The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike has announced that the state government would soon commence the operation of Treasury Single Account (TSA) to boost its revenue base.
Wike also charged the Rivers Internal Revenue Service (RIRS) to grow the state’s monthly Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) to N10billion.
He spoke during the flag off of Informal Sector Tax Drive with vehicles donated by Access Bank Limited at the Government House, Port Harcourt, yesterday.
The governor said: “We will initiate the Treasury Single Account to block revenue leakages. I assure that very soon, the Treasury Single Account will become operational.
“The Treasury Single Account will be implemented to checkmate what is presently going on. It is not good to have several accounts which lead to unnecessary leakages.
“Our revenue base fluctuates. The board has been directed to expedite action for the state to hit N10billion Internally Generated Revenue every month.”
Wike explained that the Treasury Single Account will be diligently implemented in the interest of Rivers State, and restated that his allegiance was to Rivers people who voted him, because he was not sponsored by any group.
He urged the informal sector to support the Rivers State Government by paying their taxes as prescribed by the Rivers Internal Revenue Service (RIRS).
“The drive for informal sector tax is key. I believe it will boost our revenue base, and we need it”, he said, and thanked Access Bank Limited for supporting the revenue drive of the state with the donation of 10 buses.
In his remarks, the Chairman of Rivers State Internal Revenue Service (RIRS), Mr Adoage Norte said that the flag off of the informal sector tax drive would ensure that informal sector entrepreneurs pay their taxes.
He said that at present, the informal sector has not been paying taxes, explaining that the flag off would unlock the tax potentials of the informal sector.
Norte lauded Access Bank Plc for supporting the informal tax drive of the Rivers State Internal Revenue Service with the donation of 10 buses, pointing out that the buses would be used across the state.
He added that the service was also in dire need of branded kiosks for point of sales transactions, and suggested the operation of Treasury Single Account to optimize revenue generation in the state.
Representative of the Managing Director of Access Bank Plc, Mr David Tinad, thanked the Rivers State Government for the opportunity to partner on revenue generation.
He assured the Rivers State Government that Access Bank Plc would continue to support efforts by the state government to improve its revenue base.

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Fake Policemen Disrupted Polls In Bayelsa, Kogi, IGP Admits …Says We’re Aware People Planned To Wear Police Uniforms …As Senate Moves To Okay E-Voting For Future Polls

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The Inspector-General of Police, Mr Mohammed Adamu, has said that ‘policemen’ alleged to have disrupted Saturday’s governorship polls in parts of Bayelsa and Kogi States were “fake” and not the personnel officially deployed for election duties.
Adamu stated that all security personnel, who worked during the polls had “special identification tags”, adding that anyone without the tags was on illegal duty.
He spoke with State House correspondents after President Muhammadu Buhari and security chiefs held a meeting at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, yesterday.
However, he said an investigation was ongoing, while 11 arrests had been made.
Similarly, the Inspector General of Police, IGP, Mohammed Adamu, yesterday, said that the police were aware of the plan by politicians to sew police uniforms for their supporters during the Kogi and Bayelsa States governorship elections.
The IGP also said that ‘policemen’ alleged to have disrupted the November 16 governorship polls in parts of the two states were “fake” and not the personnel officially deployed for election duties.
Briefing State House correspondents after a security meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the State House, Abuja, Adamu stated that all security personnel, who worked during the elections were given “special identification tags”, adding that anyone without the tags was on illegal duty.
The IGP, who said that the security situation in the country was stable, however, said investigation was ongoing to unravel the identities of those that caused violence during the elections, adding that 11 arrests had been made.
On the alleged police extortion of motorists in South East by police officers at checkpoints, he advised that people should always copy the names of such police officers and report them to the police hierarchy in the area.
Meanwhile, the Senate has begun a fresh electoral reform which has mandated the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to adopt the much-awaited electronic voting method for future polls.
The lawmakers also compelled INEC to operate an electronic database into which all results in an election should be transmitted.
A bill to amend the Electoral Act 2010 through which the reform would be achieved has already been published in an official gazette and debate on its general principles may begin on the floor of the Senate during the week.
A copy of the bill, made available to newsmen, also stipulates that data of accredited voters must be transmitted to the central data base upon the conclusion of the accreditation of voters which would be done through the use of the card reader.
“At the end of accreditation of voters, the presiding officer shall transmit the voter accreditation data by secure mobile electronic communication to the central database of the commission kept at the national headquarters of the commission.
“Any presiding officer who contravenes this provision shall be liable, on conviction, to a minimum of imprisonment of at least five years without an option of fine,” the bill also stipulates.
It prevents INEC from shutting down the central data base until all petitions arising from the elections are determined by a tribunal or court.
“In respect of data of accreditation of voters, including polling unit results, for an election, the commission shall not shut down its central database kept at its national headquarters until all election petitions and appeals pertaining to that election are heard and determined by a tribunal or court.”
On the specific provisions for the adoption of the central database, the bill, which is being sponsored by the Deputy President of the Senate, Ovie Omo-Agege and Abubakar Kyari (APC, Borno State), seeks amendment of Section 65 of the Electoral Act 2010 by introducing a “National Electronic Register of Election Results.”
It states: “The commission shall compile, maintain and update on a continuous basis, a register of election results to be known as the National Electronic Register of Election Results which shall be a database of election results from each polling unit, including collated results of each election conducted by the commission.
“National Electronic Register of Election Results shall be kept by the commission at its national headquarters and any person or political party may obtain from the commission, on payment of reasonable fees as may be determined by the commission, a certified true copy of any election result kept in the National Electronic Register of Election Results for the federation, a state, local government, area council, ward or polling unit, as the case may be and the certified true copy may be in printed or electronic format.”
On electronic voting, the Electoral Reform Bill seeks amendment of Section 52 (2) of the 2010 Electoral Act and introduced a new provision stating that “the commission may adopt electronic voting or any other method of voting in any election it conducts as it may deem fit.”
It was learned that many lawmakers are not comfortable with the additional clause which permits INEC to use any other method it deems fit and may delete that option during the consideration of the bill.
The current law completely prohibits the use of electronic voting as it states: “The use of the electronic voting machine, for the time being, is prohibited.”
The reform bill has also slashed the nomination fees charged by political parties.
Presidential aspirants are to pay not more than N10million while governorship aspirants are to pay N5million.
Specifically, the bill states: “For the purpose of nomination of candidates for election, the total fees, charges, dues and any payment howsoever named imposed by a political party on an aspirant shall not exceed: N150,000 for a ward councillorship aspirant in the FCT; N250,000 for an area council chairmanship aspirant in the FCT; N500,000 for a House of Assembly aspirant; N1,000,000 for a House of Representatives aspirant; N2,000,000 for a senatorial aspirant; N5,000,000 for a governorship aspirant; and N10,000,000 for a presidential aspirant.”
The Bukola Saraki-led National Assembly had attempted the electoral reform but failed to get the presidential approval at the end.
The bill sought to strengthen internal democracy, reduce the cost of politics, widen political participation and the conduct of free fair and credible elections through technological innovations and an electronic database.
However, there were concerns raised over the enforceability of some of its provisions.
President Muhammadu Buhari, in refusing to sign that bill, had said: “I am declining assent to the bill principally because I am concerned that passing a new electoral bill this far into the electoral process for the 2019 general election, which commenced under the 2015 Electoral Act, could create some uncertainty about the applicable legislation to govern the process.
“Any real or apparent change to the rules this close to the election may provide an opportunity for disruption and confusion in respect of which law governs the electoral process.”

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