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Abia Election Tribunal: APC, PDP Lose In Court

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The National and State Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Umuahia, on Monday upheld the election of Mr Ossy Prestige of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) as duly elected representative for Aba North/South Federal Constituency.
Our correspondent reports that Mr Uzor Azubuike of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Mr Mascot Uzor-Kalu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) had separately approached the tribunal to nullify Prestige’s election.
In their petitions, they contended that Prestige did not win the majority of the lawful votes cast at the Feb. 23 poll and urged the tribunal to respectively declare them the rightful winners.
Azubuike accused the Independent National Electoral Commission of excluding results from 14 polling units in the election.
In a unanimous judgment delivered by a member of the panel, Justice I.P.C Igwe, the tribunal dismissed Azubuike’s petition for lacking in merit.
The tribunal held that INEC’s exclusion of some results was in order, saying that the results were submitted by people who were not election officials after collation had ended.
It further threw away Uzor-Kalu’s petition, describing it as fundamentally defective because he failed to join the party that came second in the poll.
“Having come a distant third in the election, the petitioner failed to join the party that came second,” Igwe said.
Reacting to the judgment, Azubuike’s counsel, MrChijiokeNwogu, said the tribunal’s judgment was not final since they had the opportunity to appeal against the decision.
Also reacting, Mr Victor Etie, counsel for Uzor-Kalu said they would review the judgement and likely challenge some of the decisions in the Appeal Court.
Mr Nwabueze Nwankwo, counsel for Prestige, described the judgment as good, saying that “the panel did a thorough job.”

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Kogi Poll: APGA Guber Candidate Wants Probe Of N10bn Project Fund

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The governorship candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance in Kogi State, Sheik Ibrahim Jibril, has urged the National Assembly to thoroughly investigate  the N10. 069 billion presidential funds for projects allegedly executed by the Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello.
Sheik Ibrahim who kicked against the release of the money urged the National Assembly to discharge their duties with the fear of God and  the interest of the people of Kogi State, saying the National Assembly should insist on seeing the projects for which Governor Yahaya Bello is requesting the fund.
He said the last N30billion bailout funds to the state were not used for the purpose of paying salaries, noting that a probe into how the money was spent will be instituted  if APGA assumes office after the election in the state.
The APGA governorship  candidate questioned the timing of the fund request and noted that it would not be out of place to accuse the governor of planning to use the money for purchase of votes having realised that he is bound to lose the election.
He claimed that it was obvious that APC and the Federal Government under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari did not care about the welfare of the people rather they are more interested in foisting an incompetent and non-performing Governor on the people.
He stressed that ordinarily, such financial initiative ought to be a source  of joy to the Kogi people “but for the incompetent leadership of Bello who also has a penchant for diverting public funds.”

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Huge Cost Of NASS Maintenance Worries TUC

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Rivers State chapter of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), has called on the Federal Government to reduce the costs of governance in the country, noting that it cost the country billions of Naira to maintain the National Assembly alone.
The State TUC, chairman, Austin Jonah who spoke when he appeared as guest on a live Radio programme in Port Harcourt monitored by The Tide stated that the cost of governance in Nigeria is very expensive and not attainable.
Jonah further said the federal government will have enough funds to pay the minimum wage when they reduce the salaries and allowances of political office holders.
“Look at the welcome pack of the National Assembly members. N4.6 plus billion for accommodation and furniture. A Senator is going home with about N10million, while the member of House of Representatives is taking N9million plus.
“If you calculate with 360 persons in the House of Reps, plus 109 in the Senate, that is about 469 people and they have severance gratuity. They have so many things they are going home with plus their salary. You see, if you look at governance and cut down expenditure in governance this money, they have already taken the money that are talking about.
“They have taken it in the sense that they want to increase communication tax, such as that every call you make you pay tax, sms you pay tax, data you pay tax and even cable Television,” Jonah lamented
The State TUC chairman said what the labour union negotiated with the Federal Government was not the minimum wage but consequential adjustment.
“What we were negotiating was the consequential adjustment. Now from N18, 000 to N30, 000, the difference is N12, 000, which is 66 per cent. That 66 per cent was what we negotiated. By right we are not supposed to negotiate.
“If you trace the history of minimum wage in Nigeria, it started in 1981 during the Alhaji Shehu Shagari Government. Whenever you finish with minimum wage, the consequential adjustment is based on the percentage of the difference.
“The first minimum wage presented by the NLC was N300, but at the end of the day N125 was agreed,” he said.

 

Dennis Naku

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NASS Promises Better Funding For Nigerian Army

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The Chairman, Senate Committee on Army, Senator Ali Ndume and his House of Representatives counterpart, Mr Abdulrazak Namdas, have promised to ensure adequate funding for the Nigerian Army in the 2020 budget.
They made the promise on Saturday in an interview with newsmen during the Passing Out Parade (POP) of 78 Regular Recruits Intake at the Depot Nigerian Army, Zaria, Kaduna State.
They said that the army needed to be adequately funded to be able to effectively tackle the prevailing security threats in the country.
Ndume, who agreed that the N100 billion proposed for the defence in 2020 budget was inadequate, said that the committee on army was looking at how to help to enhance the funding.
He said that the national assembly was aware of needs of the army that needed to be provided to enable its personnel to perform their duties effectively.
“We are going to do something despite the fact that the resources are scarce but security is first and everybody has agreed to that.
“We are looking at the budget critically to place our priorities right so that the right things will be done first.”
Namdas said that the joint committee had embark on fact finding tour to army formations across the country and realised that the army had challenges.
According to him, they are really on ground, they have done so much and now that the National Assembly is considering the budget we can appropriate for the army.
“We will see how we can be able to adjust and see how that can be able to cope with the challenges at hand,” he said.
Namdas also disclosed that a motion to provide for special funding for the armed forces was currently being considered on the floor of the House of Representatives.
He added that the armed forces could not be adequately funded only by the budget, adding that there was need to look beyond the budget to finance the operations of the armed forces.
“That motion has been taken and we are looking to it and by the special grace of God, even after the budget we will look for special funding for the armed forces generally,” he said.
The Depot Nigerian Army on Saturday graduated a total of 4832 regular recruits who would be deployed to various formations of the army.
Similarly, the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Gabriel Olonisakin, urged the graduating soldiers to always uphold the oath of allegiance they had taken to defend the territorial integrity of Nigeria.
Olonisakin also tasked them to display total loyalty while pledging that the prevailing security challenges would soon be over through the commitment of the military.

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