The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) members in Imo, Abia and Anambra states, yesterday, shut down Owerri, Umuahia and Awka, the states’ capitals, in protest over the removal of Emeka Ihedioha by the Supreme Court and the declaration of Senator Hope Uzodinma as the duly elected governor of the state.
This is even as security operatives, including policemen and army officers took over the nooks and crannies of the states to maintain law and order.
Adorned in black attires, the PDP members in Imo paraded the state capital, calling on the apex court as well as the jurists that presided on the Tuesday’s verdict which sacked Ihedioha, to revisit their judgment.
The dissatisfied party members said that the protest would persist if the apex court refused to revisit the matter.
A member of the House of Representatives, Hon Henry Nwawuba, who spoke to journalists, said the Supreme Court jurists had murdered democracy in the state with their judgment.
Nwawuba, who represents Mbaitoli/Ikedduru Federal Constituency of Imo State, said that the apex court had done grave injustice to the people of the state.
He said, “I am a Lawmaker and I believe that the Supreme Court must redeem the Judiciary. Since the judgment was delivered, the state has become a graveyard (and) this is unlike what was happening when PDP was holding sway”.
Nwawuba, who was first elected into the House of Representatives in 2015, said that the state had become a graveside since the Supreme Court delivered the judgment.
“How the Supreme Court justices gave victory to a candidate who came fourth in an election remains a mystery to many of us. We call on them to revisit the Imo case and do justice. “
Also, the PDP Women Leader in the state, Maria Mbakwe, who burst into tears while speaking to journalists, said that women in the state are devastated with the verdict.
She said, “I have never seen this kind of injustice since over 50 years I have been in Imo State. Imo women in the market and all over the state are crying. We are begging the Supreme Court justices to revisit the matter. We know that they are human beings and they can make a mistake.”
However, the Nigeria Police Force, Imo State Command said it barricaded Owerri, the state capital, to forestall possible clash between the members of the People Democratic Party and those of the All Progressives Congress, an action which caused traffic gridlock in the state.
The police spokesperson in the state, Orlando Ikeokwu, told our correspondent that the police were being “proactive instead of being reactive.”
Ikeokwu said that the inasmuch as the PDP had the right to embark on a peaceful protest, the police did not want them to clash with APC members.
He said, “We barricaded the town because we don’t want protesting PDP members to clash with APC members or for hoodlums to hijack the protest. We are being proactive instead of being reactive. The police do not want any bloodshed.
“The PDP members have the right under the law to protest peacefully but we do not want anybody to hijack it or threaten the peace of the state,” adding that the situation could turn worse should APC members also take to the streets.
Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party in Imo State, yesterday, said that the Supreme Court was destroying the country’s democracy with its Tuesday judgment which sacked Emeka Ihedioha and declared Hope Uzodinma of the All Progressives Congress as the duly elected governor of the state.
The PDP Publicity Secretary in the state, Damian Opara, said that the justices of the apex court had “ ridiculed and annihilated democracy “ by sacking Ihedioha from office.
Describing the judgment as “ provocative “ and at variance with the tenets of the law, the PDP spokesperson said that the jurists arbitrarily awarded votes to Uzodinma, when the APC did not win a single seat at the state’s House of Assembly when the elections held the same day.
Describing the judgment as “infamous”, the main opposition party said that it did not agree with the verdict of the Supreme Court justice as it concerned the state’s governorship debacle.
It, therefore, urged its supporting members to remain law-abiding, saying that the apex court increased the valid votes in favour of the APC.
He said “ In the wake of the infamous judgment of the Supreme Court on the Imo State gubernatorial election petition, the State Executive Council of THE State’s chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party met and thoroughly examined the atrocious judgment that removed Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha as Governor and Hon. Gerrald Irona as Deputy Governor of Imo State.
“Arising from the meeting on Friday, January 17th, 2019, the party described as unbelievable, ridiculous and annihilation of democracy, the decision of the apex court to void the lawful election of its candidate, His Excellency Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha, who polled 276,404 votes and awarded victory to Sen. Hope Uzodimma of the APC, with just 96,458 votes.
“The party in the state finds it difficult to understand how the Supreme Court arrived at its verdict, even to the point that the seven panellists who sat on the petition gave a unanimous judgment.
“The party noted that It is on record that the Total Accredited Votes as declared by INEC stood at 823,743, with Total Votes cast and Total Votes cancelled amounting to 739,485 and 25, 130 respectively, while Total Valid Votes remained 714,355.
“The Supreme Court increased the Total Valid Votes to 950,952 which accounts for 127, 209 votes in excess of Total Accredited Votes of 823,743.
“The apex court unilaterally manufactured votes from 388 units where INEC rightly did not turn in results for obvious reasons such as violence and electoral malpractice and awarded the same to Senator Hope Uzodinma/APC.
“It is shocking that the Supreme Court by its judgment said that all the votes from the alleged 388 polling units were for the APC alone, in an election that was contested by over 60 candidates.
“Even where the Supreme Court awarded all extra 127, 209 accredited votes it manufactured to Senator Hope Uzodinma/APC, it was not enough to make him the winner of the March 9 election. It will be 223,657 votes, still less than Ihedioha and PDP’s votes of 276,494, with a difference of 42,747 votes.
“The party further questioned the rationale of the Supreme Court in declaring Senator Uzodinma winner of a gubernatorial election that simultaneously held with that of the State Assembly [both having one accreditation] in which the APC did not win any of the 27 available seats in the Imo State House of Assembly whereas PDP won 13, AA won 8, and APGA won 6.
“The PDP Imo State Chapter, therefore, resolved that it does not agree with the judgment, as it is unfair, unjust and provocative.
“However, the Party advised her teeming supporters to remain law-abiding in the face of this adversity and extreme provocation.
“The Party in the state also urged its members to be united, resilient and be more committed to the party in this trying moment.”
Similarly, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Abia State chapter, has asked the Supreme Court to reverse its January 14, 2020 judgment which sacked Emeka Ihedioha from office and declared Senator Hope Uzodinma, as the elected governor of Imo state.
The party described the Judgment as an attempt to destroy democracy, stressing that it believes that the Supreme Court can reverse the erroneous verdict for the sake of posterity.
The Chairman of Abia PDP, Chief Johnson Onuigbo, who stated this while addressing PDP faithful during a protest march over the judgment, in Umuahia, yesterday, explained that the PDP national office had mandated state chapters of the party to organise demonstrations to register their disgust at the pronouncement of the apex court.
The party faithful, who marched through Ikot Ekpene, School and Bende roads to the PDP secretariat at St. Finbarrs Road, also displayed placards which read; “We cherish democracy passionately, Judiciary, please don’t truncate it”. “Can a government that doesn’t obey the rule of law allow justice to thrive?”, “Judiciary, stop being cowed by Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, “President Buhari, leave judiciary alone”, amongst others.
Onuigbo told journalists that the Supreme Court appeared to have acted under pressure which was why they postponed the initial judgment from 13th to 14th January.
In the same vein, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Anambra State, yesterday, protested the judgment of the Supreme Court of January 14th, which sacked it’s candidate for the 2019 Imo Governorship election, Rt Hon Emeka Ihedioha for Senator Hope Uzodinma of All Progressives Congress (APC).
Members of the party in their thousands who thronged the Anambra State Judiciary complex, led by the state chairman, Mr Ndubuisi Nwobu, called President Muhammadu Buhari to quickly wade in, while also urging the judges of the Supreme Court to reverse themselves, describing the judgment as a travesty of Justice.
Nwobu, who addressed journalists at the complex said, “We request that the Judiciary should act as an independent arm of government.
“PDP in Anambra wish to state clearly their unreserved rejection of the Supreme Court Judgment delivered on January 14, 2020 with respect to the Governorship election of Imo State.
“They want to foist Hope Uzodinma on the people of Imo State. There is no way a panel of seven judges, no matter how erudite can sit and decide the fate of the entire Imo people, after the people have made their choice.
“There have been instances where the Supreme Court reversed itself, so we are calling to question that judgment and asking the judges to accept their mistakes and remedy it urgently. That is what we urge the Supreme Court to do and not to ever make such a mistake,” Nwobu said.
Also, the former governorship candidate of the party in the state in 2017, Mr Oseloka Obaze speaking on the court being the Apex court in the land said the judges are not infallible, and should be able to accept their mistakes.
“The only thing that is impossible is to live forever. The judges that passed this judgment are not infallible and the things (judgment) they did is not right and they must find the courage to reverse themselves.”
Members of the party who dressed in all black and numbering over 3,000 carried placards with different inscriptions against the Supreme Court to protest the recent judgment.
Meanwhile, the National Secretariat of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) has directed its chapters across the country to begin a nationwide protest, today, against the judgment of the Supreme Court in the specific case between Rt Hon Emeka Ihedioha and Senator Hope Uzodinma of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
A notice by the party, last Friday, directed all stakeholders to commence the protest from 7am in all the states, and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.
In the same vein, the former governor of Imo State, Emeka Ihedioha has said the Supreme Court judgment nullifying his election has placed the nation’s democracy on trial.
Ihedioha stated this, last Saturday, while playing host to the National Working Committee (NWC), of the Peoples Democratic Party, which paid him a solidarity visit in his Abuja residence.
Decked in light green attire with a trademark green cap to match, Ihedioha was full of life and betrayed no sign of anyone battling psychological pain.
Addressing newsmen, the former House of Representatives deputy speaker said the event of last week has thrown up more questions than answers, noting that in the fullness of time, truth would win.
He said: “I believe that that event will define obviously our democracy. I am certain that the judiciary and electoral system are well aware that they are on trial.
“We are as shocked as yourselves; it (judgment) was never anticipated. All legal pundits and democratic watchers never imagined and anticipated it, so for us, it remains a mystery. But we take solace in the Book of Ecclesiastics 3:1 that to everything, there is a season and time for every purpose under heaven.
“And what is fundamental about this is that the facts of the matter as relates to Imo State governorship election is that the foundation of our democratic processes, the elections in Imo were closely monitored, well advertised and everybody in Nigeria followed it through. The results were very clear, the electoral umpire still have the results, and the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC has stated clearly that the results in question and the figures are not summing up.
“It is not about Emeka Ihedioha, it is not about Imo state. It is about the future of our country and democracy. It’s about what do we do tomorrow. Do you go into an electoral process without having an idea?
“It has to be resolved one way or the other. I am calm and we are calm, and that is why you see in Imo, there is calmness. The calmness is coming out of shock; it is coming out of belief. It is coming out of the fact that people are saying let us still see, can this be possible? We are waiting for answers and I believe there will be answers”.
And despite the loss of the plum seat, Ihedioha said his faith in God remains strong and unwavering.
“We are faithful believers in God and God does not sleep. This will make history in many ways and so this is a historical process, historical action, and I am sure there will be historical answers at the end of the day”, he added.
He chided those who have rolled out the drums in celebration, saying, “this is not the time to celebrate, I pity anyone who is celebrating that sad event. If anyone is celebrating, that person is not a student of democracy.”
Earlier in his remarks, PDP National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, charged eminent Nigerians to speak up on the Imo Supreme Court judgement, saying what happened was too dangerous for silence.
“Very eminent people are not speaking out. Today, it is at the door of Imo, tomorrow it will be at the door of another person. So, people must speak out. The truth is what we are seeking,” Secondus added.
State Of The Nation: PDP Takes Protest To Foreign Embassies …Insists Buhari, APC Threat To Democracy
For the second time in the past three weeks, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), yesterday, took its protest to the embassies of the European Union (EU), United Nations (UN) and France, condemning among other things, what it termed, threat to democracy by the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
The protest, which took off from the party’s National Presidential Campaign Headquarters, Maitama, Abuja, attracted key members of the National Working Committee (NWC), led by National Secretary of the party, Senator Ibrahim Tsauri.
At the European Union Embassy, Tsauri, who stood in for the PDP National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, flayed the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government for allegedly constituting itself a clog in the wheel of the nation’s electoral progress since it first assumed office in 2015.
In a petition submitted by its leadership, yesterday, the party urged the international community to press on the government of President Buhari to preserve democratic institutions in the land at all cost even as they reminded them that most of their reports on election observations in the country recently showed in decline in the preservation of democratic ethos.
Addressing newsmen after the submission of the petition at the European Union, Deputy National Chairman (North) of the party, Senator Suleiman Nazif, expressed the party’s dissatisfaction at what he called the takeover of the Judiciary and the judicial arms of government by the APC-led government.
He said, “We are not happy, we are not satisfied with the way democracy is being run in Nigeria. We have come here to complain because we have realized that the National Assembly is being intimidated by the Executive.
“The Judiciary is being arm-twisted, the rule of law has become a mockery and we thought it wise to come and lay our complaint because they no longer listen to anybody and that is why the PDP decided to reach out to the international community to lay complaint with respect to the electoral act that has not been accented to up till now.
“You are aware of the systematic collapse in our electoral processes, the way elections are being conducted. In Kogi, we saw what transpired in the last election. Nigerians have seen for themselves what the opposition party is going through.
“We saw what happened in Bayelsa, we saw what happened in Imo with respect to the Supreme Court judgement and we are calling for a review of that judgement and we believe that with the amount of pressure from intentional organisations, I think the right thing would be done”.
On his part, Tsauri said, “Democracy is being derailed in this country. Democracy in Nigeria has been built on five pillars: the media, the electoral empire, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the security agents, the Judiciary, and the international community. These are the pillars that support democracy in Nigeria. If one of these pillars collapses, democracy will derail on that side.
“Out of the five, only two are left. The electoral umpire is compromised, you all know it. Security agents are part and parcel of APC government. Judiciary is being threatened and nobody has any confidence in the Judiciary again.
“The only one that is now left is the media and the international community. The international community, any where there is going to election, they go and monitor. They bring in their reports and most of these reports are negative.
“This is why we came to the international community to tell them that this is the expectations of Nigerians from them and we want them to do exactly what is expected of them to do.
“In Nigeria today, if you talk about security, it is zero. When Buhari came into government, he said that he was going to fight corruption, he was going to intensify effort on the economy and then security but none is working now. This government does not listen to any voice except the international community. That is why we are here”.
However, the officials of the three embassies failed to make statements after receiving the part’s petition.
Also, in the protest march were the party’s National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, National Woman Leader, Hajia Maryam Waziri and the National Youth Leader, Hon. Stanley Udeh-Okoye, amongst others.
RSG Begins E-Registration Of Businesses …As Nsirim Heads C’ttee On Investment Promotion
The Rivers State Ease of Doing Business Council headed by the State Deputy Governor, Dr. Ipalibo Harry Banigo has taken far reaching decisions to give impetus to the mandate given to the council by the State Chief Executive, Chief Nyesom Wike.
Speaking to newsmen shortly after the meeting at the Government House in Port Harcourt, yesterday, the state Commissioner for Information and Communications, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim, said that with effect from yesterday, an e-Registration Platform for all businesses in Rivers State has been put in place to ensure that all businesses in the state come under one database.
According to him, a help desk has also been established in the office of the deputy governor in line with the decision.
He further disclosed that the Ease of Doing Business Council also set up an Investment Promotion Committee headed by the Commissioner for Information and Communications, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim.
Other members of the committee include, the state Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Mrs. Ifeyinwa Nwankpa, Chairman, House Committee on Commerce and Industry, Rivers State House of Assembly, Hon. Ezu Chibudhom, and President, Nigerian Entrepreneur and Investment Forum, Engr. Dozie Abajue.
2021 AFCON: NFF Moves S’Eagles’ Games From Benin
After several weeks of speculations, the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), May have shelved the idea of playing Super Eagles first international match of the year at the refurbished Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium in Benin, Edo State.
The refurbished stadium with a sitting capacity of 19,500 stands as one of the best in the country today and is equipped with modern facilities.
The venue was due to be formally opened with the Super Eagles’ Day-four match of the ongoing AFCON 2021 qualifying round clash with Sierra Leone on the 22nd of March, 2020.
However, it has been confirmed from a top official of the Glass House in Abuja that the ancient city of Benin which last staged Super Eagles match in 2011 against Boswana which ended goalless with Late Stephen Okechukwu Keshi in charge of his first match as gaffer, may have to wait for another time.
“We have a strong bond with Edo State Government and this explained why we’ve had many events in Benin lately but due to some reasons, this important match against Sierra Leone will not hold in the new stadium,” the top official told our source in a telephone chat last night.
With Benin no longer in sight, the NFF is looking in the direction of either the Stephen Keshi Stadium in Asaba, Delta State or Godswill Akpabio Stadium in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.
Both stadiums hosted Super Eagles’ matches in the past. Uyo Stadium in particular was were Eagles secured their qualification to the 2018 World Cup in Russia
The Asaba ground became new home to the Super Eagles lately following the massive support the team enjoy from Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa.
Delta bankrolled the sent forth match for the Super Eagles to the last AFCON tournament in Egypt where they claimed the bronze medal.
Although no clear reason was given for why NFF decided to move the Sierra Leone game from the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, our checks revealed that it may have something to do with the forth coming National Sports Festival (NSF) which the state will host next month to early April.
Physical infrastructure needed for the games are being completed at the Samuel Ogbemudia stadium with base for the track being laid, as the football pitch is ready. Work at the tennis section is completed, while the swimming pools are being furnished.
Organisers of the festival have scheduled the football events at other designated venues leaving the edify to stage only track and field events, as well as the opening and closing ceremonies.
With the Uyo and Asaba as options for Eagles, NFF has at least two weeks to communicate the new venue to CAF as well as the visiting team in accordance with the tournament rules and regulations
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