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Diri Extends Olive Branch To Litigants

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Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, has again extended a hand of fellowship  to all those that filed petitions in court against his election.
Governor Diri in his reaction to Wednesday’s ruling of the Supreme Court, which dismissed the last batch of cases against him and his deputy, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, said the litigants were neither his enemies nor enemies of Bayelsa.
He said they only exercised their rights by going to court and that he did not consider the litigations as personal,regardless of the fact that they were a distraction.
His Chief Press Srcretary, Mr Daniel Alabrah, said in a statement that the dismissal of the petitions of the Alliance for Democracy (AD), Liberation Movement (LM) and Advanced Nigeria Democratic Party (ANDP) against the deputy governor and that of the Accord Party (AP) against Diri was the fifth time the governor and his deputy had won at the Supreme Court.
In putting a final seal on the governor as being duly elected, the apex court said the appeals lacked merit and therefore dismissed all four petitions.
Speaking to journalists after the judgement, Governor Diri said: “I have over the period leading to the Supreme Court ruling said as a state we do not need all of this distraction. We are one and the brotherhood should be paramount”.
“After elections, particularly when a government has taken the oath of office, we expect everybody to support and bring their ideas on board for Bayelsa to grow and become prosperous. That is why we tagged our government the Prosperity Administration”.
“So, today marks the end of all the litigations. If anybody wants to further appeal, maybe he can appeal to the court of the devil. But, constitutionally, I believe this is the end of all the litigations”, Governor Diri noted.
“Once again, I call on my brothers  that had gone on this appeal to join hands with the government of the day. And what should be uppermost on our mind should be the interest of Bayelsa and not individual and personal interest.
Of course, it is their right to take their matter to the end. However, I call on my brothers on the other side, who are not my enemies but political adversaries, so to speak, to join hands with our government and ensure that we bring development and prosperity to our people,” he said.
The Bayelsa governor commended the Chief Justice of Nigeria and other justices of the Supreme Court for their professionalism and for again displaying that the court was the last hope of the common man by standing on the side of the rule of law.
He also urged the Bayelsa people not to despair due to the challenges of the time.
“The times are hard. We are in tough times in the face of COVID-19, which is still threatening, and the dwindling resources of our country and of our state.We are still believing God that has divinely put us in the position of leadership to also provide the divine resources for us to develop and prosper in Bayelsa and in Nigeria”, the governor asserted.
“So, my message to Bayelsans is that there is hope for us and prosperity is coming to Bayelsa. Nobody should despair.This is the time for us to bring our ideas to the table. This is the time for us to actually walk the talk and look at issues dispassionately  without sentiments and emotions, in order to bring development and prosperity to our state.” he reiterated.
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2023 Guber Poll: Group Denies Rift Between Okowa, Ibori

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A political pressure group, Movement for Stronger Delta (MSD) says there is no fight between former Governor James Ibori and Governor Ifeanyi Okowa over who governs the State in 2023.
The group in a statement by its National Coordinator, Dr. Festus BomoPatani, said: “The attention of the Movement for Stronger Delta, MSD, has been drawn to a recent publication by a pan-Delta online platform, titled: “DELTA 2023: Okowa, Ibori Fight Dirty Over Successor”, and posted on several social media groups and portals on Sunday, January 16, 2021.
“As a conscious and proactive Movement, determined and committed to ensuring a stronger, peaceful, and united Delta, in the run-up to the 2023 elections and beyond, it behoves us to set a few records straight, concerning this publication, as our own way of educating and informing Deltans with accurate, verifiable information on the true position of affairs and also protecting ourselves from misleading misinformation that is capable of heating up the polity and instigating unnecessary and avoidable conflicts, provocations and conflagrations in the State.
“The original story was first published with the title: “DELTA 2023: Okowa, Ibori face up on successor…•Gov takes charge but counter-attack looms”, written by Emma Amaize, Regional Editor, South-South and Published in Saturday Vanguard, January 15, 2022.
“The online publication in question, copied the story verbatim, and then proceeded, for reasons best known to the publisher, to change the headline from the original, without informing the readers or even acknowledging the source and author of the original story; and this, from every professional standpoint, is a crass and brazen display of unethical journalism, bordering on plagiarism. Journalists must be cautioned to avoid sensationalism and inaccurate reportage intended to deliberately mislead the people, especially when they copy stories from other more seasoned and recognized mainstream publications.
“There is a fundamental headline difference between: “Face up” in the original story and “Fight Dirty” in the copied online version, which every journalist worth his salt, especially those knowledgeable enough in the basic use of the English language, which is the major tool and instrument of the profession, should know and apply in their proper contexts.
“For the avoidance of doubt and for the purposes of educating the Journalist against future ignorances: “face up: means ‘To confront or deal directly with someone or something previously avoided”, while “fight dirty means, ‘To use every possible way and especially the most treacherous way, to beat someone in a fight’

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PGF-DG Tenders Resignation Letter

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The in-fighting between the Progressives Governors’ Forum (PGF) and All Progressives Congress (APC) Caretaker and Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee over the conduct of its national convention took a fresh twist on Monday following the resignation of the PGF Director-General, Salihu Lukman.
Lukman tendered his resignation letter to the Chairman of the Forum, Abubakar Bagudu, on Monday.
In the letter, he slammed the committee over its shoddy handling of matters relating to the national convention.
He had earlier accused the Mala-Buni committee of frustrating the party’s plan to hold the convention in February.
The APC leadership and the governors had agreed last year to conduct the convention next month in a bid to strengthen the party ahead of the 2023 general election.
The committee had been under tremendous pressure to step aside following the crises that trailed last year’s congresses where several factions conducted parallel congresses in defiance of the party’s directive.
The latest development has further confirmed that all may not be well with the ruling party with just 13 months to the next national election.
Lukman said: “Progressive Governors, like all party members, will not associate themselves with any act of disrespect to decisions validly taken in consultations with President Buhari.
“They will not take the responsibility for actions or inactions of the CECPC. Every responsibility of organising the convention is vested with the CECPC.”

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Jega Tasks Buhari, NASS On New Electoral Law

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Former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Attahiru Jega, has  called on the National Assembly and President Muhammadu Buhari to pass the Electoral Bill so that INEC can hit the ground running towards the 2023 elections.
Jega stated this during a panel discussion at a town hall meeting organised by Yiaga Africa on the passage of the Electoral Amendment Bill on Monday.
Jega, who said it is difficult to conduct elections in Nigeria, added that since 2010, there has not been a significant improvement in the electoral framework.
He said while there could be some grey areas in the Electoral Bill that President MuhammaduBuhari declined assent to, there are other good things in the bill, arguing that the baby should not be thrown away with the bath water.
“I believe Nigeria should go into the next elections with a new law as there are many good things in the bill that will improve the integrity and conduct of elections.
“As I have said earlier, since 2010, we have not had significant improvement in the electoral framework.
“Speaking on direct and indirect primaries, some people believe that governors do influence the outcome of indirect primaries and some feel direct primaries is a way out of this, but the question is, how many parties have credible register of members?
“Give INEC the law to begin preparations for the 2023 elections. Any governor that manipulates direct primaries under this present condition will also have the capacity to manipulate indirect primaries.
“What we are saying is that you cannot throw the baby away with the bath water. Let’s think more carefully. The good things in the bill should be signed into law immediately so that INEC can start serious work for the 2023 elections.”
He lamented that the commission has a short period to put a lot of its mechanisms together for the conduct of the elections.
He called on the National Assembly to resolve all issues and give INEC the law within 10 days of resumption to enable it operate it seamlessly for the 2023 elections.
According to him, INEC made 31 recommendations to the amended 2010 Electoral Act to conduct credible elections, but NASS only approved 25 of the recommendations.
“Give INEC the law to begin preparation for 2021. Drop issue of direct and indirect primaries and let’s move forward,” he said.
Also speaking, the governor of Nasarawa State, AbdullahiSule, said the 36 governors are not afraid of direct primaries as being alleged by some Nigerians.
Earlier in his welcome address, Yiaga Africa Executive Director, Samson Itodo, explained that the town hall meeting would specifically discuss key provisions of the Electoral Bill and their implications for election management, election security, electoral integrity and voter participation as well as legislative and executive action required to conclude the amendment process.

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