For asking President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua to take the “path of honour,” the North, yesterday, began what seems like the beginning of the final push to shove former president Olusegun Obasanjo aside from the ruling party.
Although the plans to relieve Obasanjo of his position as the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Board of Trustees, BoT, chairman began shortly after Yar’Adua was sworn in as President, President Yar’Adua was able to stop the move, and only succeeded in ensuring that Obasanjo had a fixed tenure of office.
But this latest move is being spearheaded by another member of the party’s BoT, and Chairman, Yar’Adua/Jonathan 36 states and FCT 2007 Campaign Coordinators, Senator Walid Jibrin.
Already, he said plans have been concluded for him to move a motion for the dissolution of the BoT, so as to give way for a fresh election, even as he insisted that for making such a “reckless” statement about President Yar’Adua, Obasanjo does not deserve to remain the chairman of the BoT for a day longer from the day he made the comment.
In a statement in Kaduna, a copy of which was made available to newsmen on Tuesday , Senator Walid Jibrin said “Obasanjo does not at all deserve to continue as chairman of the PDP Board of Trustees (BoT) after his shameful and deceitful remarks on President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua.
“Instead of Obasanjo following the path of honour and morality, he went astray, recommending for the resignation of Umaru Yar’Adua by shamelessly opening his mouth wide in the market, a behaviour which may be equated to that of Area Boys.
“Choosing to talk at this crucial time and at the heat of the polity, especially when naked demonstrations against Yar’Adua are going on, he (Obasanjo) is therefore encouraging and giving support to the demonstrators, thus adding more fuel into the fire.
“Any responsible person will not behave the way Obasanjo did. His call on Umaru to take the course of morality by honourably resigning, that kind of statement qualifies Obasanjo’s immoral behaviour as a person who does not respect human dignity.
“Going by the last PDP convention, Obasanjo is illegally occupying the position of Chairman, PDP Board of Trustees (BoT) when a new election should have been held in conformity with the decision of the convention. As a member of the PDP BoT, I will soon move a motion for the dissolution of the BoT to give room for fresh election so that a more responsible person is elected.
“As a former President of Nigeria and as chairman of the highest advisory body of PDP, Obasanjo has many avenues to address this issue of ill-health of Mr. President, such as the BoT, National Working Committee, PDP NEC, and the National Council of State which he is a member. If Obasanjo had brought this matter to the Board of Trustees meeting and decided to talk the way he did, we would have certainly carpeted him down.
“In an attempt to get cheap popularity he distorted history by trying to involve Ahmadu Ali, and to include him as a sick person who also collapsed during the Presidential electioneering, a statement which Ahmadu Ali has rightly corrected.
“As a person close to Ahmadu Ali, I want to testify that Ahmadu Ali was strong, very healthy throughout the campaigns and never at anytime collapsed.
“Where is Obasanjo’s path of honour and morality when he struggled for the third term and woefully failed?
“Where is the path of honour and morality when he went globe- trotting making him the most widely travelled president in the world, disallowing his Vice to act? Where is the path of honour and morality when he frustrated former vice president Atiku Abubakar and left him without any function? Where was the path of honour and morality when he took over the powers of the PDP, NWC and even NEC of the party?
“Where is the path of honour and morality when he was seriously involved in PDP state primaries by removing and placing his own candidates at will, in a manner that disorganised our party during his presidency? Where is the path of honour and morality when he manoeuvred to be the BoT chairman by enforcing a change in our party’s constitution?
“At this crucial moment of our history what we should concentrate on is special prayers for Yar’Adua and then try to have a critical look at our constitution in order to correct the grey areas and allow the National Assembly to perform its functions which I am sure they are capable of handling as against the crude and barbaric approach of the former President,” the Sarki Fulani of Nasarawa State, said.
Again, RSG Begins Unveiling, Flag-Off Of Nine Key Projects, ’Morrow
The Rivers State Government has rolled out the drums to herald another phase of official commissioning of key projects embarked upon by the Governor Nyesom Wike-led administration in the state.
A statement by the state government said that the process is in continuation of the commissioning and flag-off of projects by Governor Nyesom Wike.
It indicated that Rumuola flyover would be commissioned tomorrow, while the GRA flyover would be commissioned on Saturday.
The also stated that the government would commission the Ezimgbu Road on Monday, December 13, 2021; with another commissioning of Tombia Road Extension scheduled for Tuesday, December 14, 2021.
The statement said that the governor would commission the Safe Home, Borikiri, Port Harcourt on Wednesday, December 15; while on Thursday, December 16, 2021, the governor would commission the Odokwu internal roads.
Also, the governor would continue the flag-off of key infrastructure projects with Chokocho-Igbodo Road slated for Monday, December 20, 2021; Oyigbo-Okoloma Road on Wednesday, December 22, 2021; and Magistrates’ Court Complex, Port Harcourt on Thursday, December 23, 2021.
Wike Justifies N7bn Libel Suit Against THISDAY
Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, yesterday, appeared before the state High Court in Port Harcourt, to testify as a witness in an N7billion libel suit against THISDAY Newspaper.
Wike said he was in court to seek justice and clear his name as a person from the malicious publication by THISDAY Newspaper, which portrayed him as deceitful, untrustworthy person, who exerts subterranean influences on judicial matters and over court sittings in Port Harcourt.
It would be recalled that Wike had in August, 2020, slammed a N7billion suit being damages for libel written and published in THISDAY’s Tuesday, June 23, 2020 edition captioned, “With Wike, Obaseki Meets His PDP’s Waterloo; Almost.”
The defendants in the suit are THISDAY Newspapers Limited, Leaders and Company Limited, Davidson Iriekpan, Chuks Okocha and Adibe Emenyonu.
Wike, while testifying as witness in suit No. PHC/1505/CS/2020 before the court presided over by Justice A. Enebeli, asserted that the defendants maliciously and falsely portrayed him as an unreliable friend/person.
“When you say somebody cannot be trusted; that cannot be a fair comment. When you say somebody is influencing the Judiciary, that cannot be a fair comment”, the governor said.
In his written statement on oath, Wike had stated that the defendants had accused him of influencing the decision of the court sitting in Port Harcourt that granted an injunction restraining Godwin Obaseki from participating in the primaries of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Edo State in 2020.
He stated that the defendants maliciously accused him of undemocratically exerting influence on the primaries process of PDP in Edo State in aid of his ally, Omoregie Ogbeide-Ihama, who was the beneficiary of the court order restraining Obaseki from participating in the PDP primaries.
The governor, who told the court that he was not even aware of the aforementioned suit by Ogbeide-Ihama against Obaseki, said the publication was reckless, false and without regards for the truth.
According to him, contrary to well-known journalistic tradition and practices, the defendants did not investigate properly to ensure the information they relied on was accurate.
“They did not seek to verify the facts from me or in any manner oblige me with the opportunity to state my own side of the story before proceeding to make the false publication” the governor argued.
Wike stated that the defendants further denigrated him before the entire world as a fake democrat, who engages in meddling in the internal affairs of All Progressives Congress (APC) in order to get at his political foe, Chibuike Amaechi.
The governor explained that he was not a member of the APC and has had no hand in the internal crisis which has bedevilled the party both in Rivers State and all over Nigeria.
“By the letter of Messrs E.C. Ukala and Co., Solicitors, under the hand of Emmanuel C. Ukala, SAN, dated 23rd June, 2020, the defendants were given opportunity to retract, and recant the publication as well as to offer apology for the false publication but the defendants spurned the opportunity and ignored the letter completely.”
The governor, while responding to claim by lawyer to the defendants, Turudu Ede, SAN, that the essence of the lawsuit was to intimidate and harass his clients, said the whole essence of the suit was to get justice and clear his name as a man of substantial character, honour and repute.
“The essence of the suit is to get justice since they (defendants) refused to retract the publication or apologise. So, I sued them to clear my name.”
Speaking to journalists outside the court, one of the lawyers to Wike, Mr. Mark Agwu said his client was in court to seek legal redress.
“To challenge him as a person, it means you have made him untrustworthy, a deceit, a cheat, an influencer of the court, because the publication they made was that he had a role to play in influencing the outcome of that Federal High Court case. Nobody will take that lightly, and especially for a man who believes in the rule of law”, Agwu added.
The court adjourned the matter for further hearing to 12th, 13th and 14th of January, 2022.
$130m Fraud: Rivers Sues Saipem SPA, Saipem Contracting Firm, Others
The Rivers State Government has charged two construction firms, Saipem SPA and Saipem Contracting Nigeria Ltd, to court over an alleged conspiracy to cheat and with intent to defraud the state of the sum of $130million, being advanced payment for the construction of the OCGT power plant in Port Harcourt.
In a 16-count criminal charge filed by the Director of Public Prosecution, C.F. Amadi for the Rivers State Attorney General, the state alleged that after collecting the said sum as advanced payment between 2011 and 2018, the defendants have not kept their obligation under the contract.
Others charged alongside the companies were Walter Peviana; Kelechi Sinteh Chinakwe; Giandomenico Zingali; Vitto Testaguzza and Davide Anelli, who are directors and officers of the companies.
The defendants are charged with various offences ranging from conspiracy, cheating and obtaining credit by false pretence, contrary to Section 518 (6) and (7) and punishable under Section 518 of the Criminal Code, Cap 37 Vol. 2 Laws of Rivers State of Nigeria, 1999, section 419A and punishable under Section 419 (A) (1) (b) of the Criminal Code, Cap 37 Vol. 2 Laws of Rivers State, amongst others.
Already, the Rivers State Government has issued a fiat to the law firm of Godwin Obla (SAN) to prosecute the matter before the state High court.
The defendants are equally charged for the offence of false Statements by Officials of Companies contrary to and punishable under Section 436 (b).
The prosecution specifically accused the defendants of obtaining credit of $130million by false pretences or other fraud contrary to Section 419A and punishable under Section 419 (A) (1) (b); obtaining credit of $20,467,942.00 by false pretences or other fraud contrary to Section 419A and punishable under Section 419 (A) (1) (b), obtaining credit of N7,000,000,000.00 only by false pretences or other fraud contrary to Section 419A and punishable under Section 419 (A) (1) (b).
They are charged for obtaining credit of N318,640,173.54, by false pretences or other fraud contrary to Section 419A and punishable under Section 419 (A) (1) (b); attempt to cheat $97million contrary to Section 508 and punishable under Section 509; attempt to cheat $15million contrary to Section 508 and punishable under Section 509; conspiracy to receive a credit of $97million by false pretences contrary to Section 518 (6) and punishable under Section 518; cheating $11million contrary to Section 421 and punishable under Section 421; cheating contrary to Section 421 and punishable under Section 421; cheating N110, 097, 416.51 contrary to Section 421 and punishable under Section 421; cheating by collecting sums attributable to shared facilities already paid for in AFAM Phase I in AFAM Phase II contrary to Section 421 and punishable under Section 421.
Obtaining N20, 467, 942 contrary to Section 421 and punishable under Section 421; obtaining credit of $60,168,936.00 by false pretences or other fraud, contrary to Section 419A and punishable under Section 419 (A) (1) (b); obtaining credit of $1,512,034.00 by false pretences or other fraud contrary to Section 419A and punishable under Section 419 (A) (1) (b) all of the Criminal Code Law of Rivers State, Cap 37 Vol. 2 Laws of Rivers State of Nigeria 1999.
According to the Proof of Evidence attached to the charge and the statement made by the Head, Power Generation/Mechanical of the Rivers State Ministry of Power, one Mr Temple Azunda M., the facts constituting the case in hand are as follows:
Saipem SPA and Saipem Contracting Nigeria Limited and other officers of the duo, herein the Defendants, are Italian companies which services have been retained by the Rivers State Government, herein RSG, in several projects, prominent amongst which is the AFAM Phase II Power Plant Project.
By an initial tripartite agreement made on the January 20, 2010, the RSG under the auspices of the Rivers State Ministry of Power entered a contract with Saipem Contracting Nigeria Limited, Saipem SPA for the construction of the OGCT power plant in Port Harcourt at a total cost of $119million consequent upon which the Rivers State Government made advance payments, in instalments, to Saipem Contracting Nigeria Ltd and Saipem SPA amounting in total to a sum of $130million in all which the Defendants have acknowledged receipt of.
The Defendants were to be given an initial mobilization of 20per cent of the total contract sum which the RSG paid.
It was part of the initial agreement – and indeed a condition sine qua non – that, to access the 2nd tranche of payment of 25per cent from the Rivers State Government, the Defendants would mandatorily have installed the Gas Turbine into the foundations as referenced in ATTACHMENT 1 to VO 007 which states that:
CONTRACTOR shall be entitled to a payment corresponding to 20per cent of the VO No. 007 LS PRICE upon mobilisation to site and commencement of bush clearing activities at SITE.
Upon commencement of bush clearing activities at the site, the contractor shall issue the invoice relevant to the above payment and the owner shall pay such invoice within 14 days from its issuance.
The parties agree that no deduction for recovery of advance payment shall apply on the payment due to the contractor for invoices issued by the contractor in accordance with this paragraph.
Business1 day ago
CBN Opens N500,000 Grants Portal For Graduates, Undergraduates
Business4 days ago
Cooperative Firm Wants Self Dev Of Enterpreneurs
Business4 days ago
Crude Hits Seven-Year High On Recovery Hope … Equity Rally Runs Out
Business4 days ago
Financial Institution Commits To Financing Trade, SMEs
Business4 days ago
CBN Credits Boost In Services Sector To Finance, Insurance
Business4 days ago
Osinbajo Wants More Stakeholders’ Involvement In Blue Economy … Inaugurates Committee
Business4 days ago
SMEs Decry Loans Delay, Business Setback
Business4 days ago
FG Lauds NCC On Digital Skills Empowerment