President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua has ordered the People Democratic Party (PDP) Elders Committee led by Senator Ike Nwachukwu to transform into a standing committee to enable it perform its reconciliatory role properly.
Yar’Adua gave the directive at the Presidential Villa in Abuja when the committee paid him a courtesy visit.
Our correspondent reports that a member of the committee said the President directed the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party to constitute the Nwachukwu’s committee into a standing committee to enable it do a thorough job.
According to the member of the committee, the President after listening to the enormity of work before the committee and series of feuds between the serving governors and their predecessors, the president in response to the address by Senator Nwachukwu, recommended that the Elders Committee be transformed into a standing committee.
The Tide gathered that the PDP Constitution, stipulates that the NWC can constitute a committee into a standing committee pending the completion of its work.
Besides, another source told our correspondent that, to avoid any conflict of interest, the PDP NWC had already asked the Elders Committee not to dissolve any state working committee.
Rather, it mandated the Nwachukwu-led committee to restrict itself to its duty of reconciling former governors and the incumbent governors.
The Tide learnt that the order from the Presidency was against the backdrop of a news story that the state executives in some states in the zone where there are factions would be dissolved.
2023: Court Fines Abiola For Late Filing Of Documents
The Abuja Division of the Federal High Court has awarded a fine against Kola Abiola, the presidential candidate, People’s Redemption Party (PRP), over failure to file his court documents within time.
Justice Fadima Aminu, in a ruling, also fined the PRP over its delay in filing its counter affidavit in opposition to the aggrieved presidential aspirant’s amended originating summons.
Ms Aminu had fixed November 25 for a definite hearing in a suit filed by Patience Ndidi Key, a female presidential aspirant in the June 5 primary election conducted by the party.
The judge, who granted the application filed by Ms Key to amend her originating summons on November 18, ordered all parties to file their processes before the next adjourned date and adjourned to Friday for a definite hearing.
Ms Key had, on June 28, sued PRP, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), and Mr Abiola as first, second and third defendants, respectively.
In her earlier originating summons marked FHC/ABJ/CS/1001/2022, Ms Key had challenged the emergence of Mr Abiola as the party’s presidential candidate.
She had prayed the court to nullify the poll that produced Mr Abiola as the PRP’s presidential candidate.
She also prayed for an order setting aside the declaration of Mr Abiola as the winner of the primaries conducted across the country.
Upon resumed hearing in the matter, the plaintiff‘s counsel, Magnus Ihejirika, informed that the matter was adjourned for a definite hearing.
Mr Ihejirika, however, said the defence lawyers were yet to serve on him their counter-affidavits to enable him to respond appropriately.
The lawyer to the first defendant (PRP), Regina Audu, explained that there was network failure on Thursday at the FHC filing office when she tried to file her application.
The lawyer, who said she could only do that on Friday, prayed the court for an adjournment.
Ijeoma Madu, who appeared for Mr Abiola, spoke in the same vein.
But Mr Ihejirlrika described the defence counsel’s act as “a deliberate attempt to stall proceedings in the suit.”
The lawyer, who said the case was filed on June 28, said, “time is of essence in its determination.”
He said by provision of the constitution, the court had only 180 days to dispose of the matter, saying practically now, the court has less than a month to have the case determined
He argued that the defendants were only employing a delay tactic to stall the hearing and determination of the suit.
Mr Ihejirika, who told the court that he comes to the court from Kebbi, said if the court would be inclined to grant the defence application, a cost should be imposed.
He asked for a cost of N200,000.
The defence counsel, who disagreed with him, prayed the court to dismiss the request.
In her ruling, Ms Aminu said an award of cost should not be a punishment but compensation.
The judge, consequently, ordered the PRP (first defendant) and Mr Abiola (third defendant) to pay the sum of N20, 000 each to the plaintiff’s counsel.
She adjourned the matter until December 2 for a definite hearing.
US Restates Commitment To Free, Credible 2023 Polls In Nigeria
The United States has reiterated its commitment to free, fair and credible 2023 general elections in Nigeria.
It noted that the elections next year provide a strong opportunity for Nigeria to solidify its place as a democratic leader in Africa.
The United States also charged the press to ensure professionalism and responsibility in the coverage of the polls.
The US Consulate Regional Security Officer, Jim Suor, made the remarks during the closing ceremony of the Lagos edition of the four-city regional election reporting workshops at the weekend.
The workshop is organised by the Embassy of the United States in Nigeria in partnership with West Broadcast and Media Academy (WABMA), and Enugu Liberty Society is aimed at strengthening the media’s understanding and appreciation of its responsibility of reporting accurately on elections and the electoral processes.
He said, “The 2023 elections are a pivotal opportunity for Nigeria – Africa’s most populous country and largest economy – to solidify its place as a democratic leader in Africa.
The United States hopes to see an election that is credible, transparent, peaceful and above all that reflects the will of all of the people of Nigeria.
“Peaceful and credible elections are key components of Nigeria’s democratic development. The upcoming 2023 general election provides a channel for the Nigerian people to shape their future and choose a leader who will govern fairly and transparently and ensure access to basic services for all.”
Suor noted that the media was critical in entrenching a strong democracy, not just in Nigeria and Africa as a whole but everywhere in the world.
He further said, “Press freedom and a professional, responsive, and independent media are critical parts of any democracy. We need responsible members of the media to play a role in policy debates, to help the public understand policies and – when needed – to hold leaders accountable for their decisions.
“Recognising the vital importance of a free press and the Fourth Estate to democracy and good governance, we partnered with the West Africa Broadcast and Media Academy (WABMA) to help the media appreciate the huge responsibility of reporting accurately on elections and the electoral processes.”
The Enugu Liberty Society also partnered in organising the workshop which has held in Ibadan, Port Harcourt and Lagos, and would be moving to Enugu next week.
The United States representative also urged the media not to relent on its doggedness and courage in holding the government to account.
He added, “Before my arrival in Nigeria two years ago, I had read about the courage and sheer doggedness of the Nigerian press in the dark days of military dictatorship. In my time here, I have seen that you are still the voice of the forgotten. You have not lost your thirst for the truth or your willingness to go wherever a story leads you, thereby contributing to transparency, accountability, and good governance in your country.”
The workshop facilitators were drawn from both within and outside Nigeria and they handled different aspects of what is expected of pre, during and post-election reporting expectations from the media.
Duke Laments State Of Affairs In C’River, Roots For PDP Candidate
Ex-governor of Cross River State, Mr Donald Duke, has said that he feels sorry for the next governor of the state, as he opined that such individual would be faced with an uphill task of reinventing governance in the state.
He stated this at the inauguration of 1,080-member campaign council of the state chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in Calabar on Saturday.
The former governor, who has been saddled with the task of leading the campaign council, noted that the essence of good governance had been lost in the state in the last eight years.
According to him, “I never bargained to be governor of the state, but was driven by passion and commitment to positively change the fortune of the state, when I eventually became one.”
He said that where he and his team envisioned the state to be by now was not where it was.
“I am worried about development in the state, a whole generation had been lost.
“We know where the state ought to be by now. The plan was that we would have been governing the state without relying on federal allocation by now. The plans were all laid out.
“Whole paradise had been lost. This is certainly not the best of time to govern Cross River State,” he said.
Duke, however, said he was hopeful that the PDP governorship candidate, Sen. Sandy Onor, has what it takes to restore the lost glory of the state.
He stressed that Onor’s past experiences in government had adequately prepared him for the uphill task of reinventing the state.
“As a former Local Government Chairman, Vice Chairman and at a time Chairman of the Association of Local Government Chairmen of Nigeria (ALGON), in addition to being a former Commissioner for Environment and Agriculture and now a Senator, Sandy has what it takes to right the wrongs.
“I am glad that it is Sandy that will bring back the state that we have lost. I can stake for him because I know who he is,” he stated.
In his remarks, Senator Onor said that the state had lost direction, as everything about the state had been abused and debased.
Earlier in his address, the state party Chairman, Mr Venatius Ikem, called for the support of all party faithful, irrespective of their present status.
Ikem noted that all party members had the responsibility of selling the party’s candidates across the state.
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