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Niger Delta

Political Fever Grips Sylva’s Supporters

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A Federal High Court judgement in Jos, Plateau State capital, on tenure of Governor Olusegun Oni of Ekiti State is currently causing political fever among the supporters of Chief Timipre Sylva of Bayelsa State.

Sylva’s supporters are afraid that the judgement may also affect their principal, since he also had a re-run election, The Tide gathered.

Opponents of the government had openly jubilated with the hope that there will be election in the state next year instead of 2012, following the judgement of a federal high court sitting in Jos, which stated there will be election in Ekiti State.

Reacting to the stitation, the State Commissioner for Information, Strategy and Orientation, Mr Nathan Egba, said there is no cause for alarm as Sylva’s case is different from that of Oni.

Mr Egba explained that the circumstances in which re-run election was done in Ekiti was not the same as that of Bayelsa State.

“This is because unlike the situation in Ekiti State, where only results in 63 units in 10 local government areas were cancelled and re-contested for, the entire Bayelsa governorship election was cancelled and odered to be held afresh on the ground that no governorship election took place in 2007.

He refered those in doubt to a portion of the Jos judgement where it specifically refer to section 180 (2) (a) of the 1999 constitution and stated that since not the whole election was cancelled, Governor Oni had to go back to the electorate to seek re-election in 2011.

Piqued by the reaction of the Commissioner, the state Action Congress (AC) described the statement, as deceptive, misleading and laughable.

The Action Congress in a statement through its Acting Chairman, Comrade Miriki Ebikibina, who faulted the reaction of the Bayelsa Commissioner, said that it is unprofessional of Hon. Egba to make such jaundiced statement in a legal matter.

The statement which reads in part, “For the avoidance of doubt, the 1999 constitution and the recent amendment to the constitution, as well as the federal High Court, Jos ruling on Governor Oni’s tenure has addressed the issue instructively and constructively”.

He expressed hope that Hon. Egba “would not join the bandwagon” of past Information Commissioners in the state who had in the past acted as  town criers without a listening public.

“Section 180 (2a) of the 1999 constitution states that the Governor shall vacate office at the expiration of a period of four years, commencing from the date when he took the oath of allegiance and oath of office.”

“The 2010 amendment to the constitution further clarifies the position and state that a person whose election as Governor was annulled and also wins a consequent re-run does not serve more than constitutionally prescribed term of office.”

“The constitutionally prescribed term of office for a Governor is four years. Governor Timipre Sylva was sworn-in, in 2007 and, therefore, the oath of office he took as a Governor in 2008 was a mere confirmation of the 2007 oath of office he earlier took. His tenure effectively ends on May 29, 2011”.

The Action Congress expressed belief that the overwhelming majority of Bayelsans would not want to see Governor Timipre Sylva extend his tenure to 2012, saying that would be an aberration and a source of embarrassment to the people of the state especially as his administration “has only succeeded in impoverishing the people”.

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Niger Delta

N’Delta Stakeholder Wants Rejigging Of Amnesty Deal

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A former President of Ijaw Youths Council (IYC) Worldwide, Dr Onyifie Jonjon, has called for the rejigging of the amnesty deal signed between the Federal Government and repentant militants of the Niger Delta.
The administration of deceased President Umaru Yar’Adua signed the amnesty deal with the repentant militants in 2009, and it came into effect on August 6 of that year.
Speaking with The Tide’s source in Yenagoa, Dr Jonjon said the current execution of the deal was skewed against Niger Delta brokers of the deal.
Noting that the execution rewarded violence-prone people instead, Jonjon stressed that those who brokered the amnesty deal had been side-lined and left in the cold.
He added that it was regrettable and discouraging that society seemed to neglect intellectual prowess and discouraged youths from scholarly endeavours and hard work.
“Where are people like Mr T.K. Ogoriba, Dr Chris Ekiyor and Dr Felix Tuodolo who contributed so much in making the amnesty programme a reality?’’ he queried.
He lamented that after getting involved in an accident and undergoing several surgeries, he got nothing as reward since the amnesty programme began.
Jonjon is also the Special Adviser to Bayelsa State Governor on Ijaw nation’s Affairs.
He said the pipeline surveillance contract signed between the Federal Government and some repentant militants ought to have reversed the unjust reward system and engage law-abiding, peace advocates.
“Historically, attention has been on the merchants of violence while those who are law-abiding, who mediated in the peace building process are not factored in.
“I was drafted in during the agitation by militants as President of Ijaw Youths Council alongside notable Ijaw leaders.
“When the amnesty was proclaimed there was no role for those who brainstormed to midwife the idea,’’ Jonjon lamented.
He stressed that Ijaw leaders who mediated and brokered peace ought to be involved in monitoring and evaluation as well as in providing intellectual support to the entire struggle.
He observed that amongst the beneficiaries in the pipeline surveillance contract, it was only Chief Government Ekpemupolo, aka Tompolo, that was consulting and enlisting participation of Niger Delta stakeholders.
He charged other beneficiaries to emulate Tompolo and carry other stakeholders along and discourage infighting amongst Niger Delta people.
Jonjon called for concerted efforts by beneficiaries of the surveillance contract and other stakeholders to involve more people so as to spread the benefits.

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Stakeholders Brainstorm On MSMEs Policy In Edo

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Stakeholders in the Micro, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (MSMEs) sub sector, have met to chart a path for implementation of the national MSMEs policy in Edo State.
The one-day event, which held in Benin, was tagged: “Stalkhokders Dialogue on MSMEs Development and the Implementation of the National Policy on MSMEs” in Edo.
.Speaking at the event, Mr Onesi Lawani, the Deputy Director Policy, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), said the meeting was to create awareness and ownership of the national MSME policy in Edo State.
Lawani said the implementation of the national policy was to facilitate as well as sustain a vibrant MSMsE sub sector that would be the major driver of the nation’s economic growth.
Also speaking, Markus Wauschkuhn, Head of Programme, Pro-poor Growth and Promotion of Employment in Nigeria (SEDIN), said addressing issues facing MSMEs in Nigeria was the surest way to bridge the unemployment gap in the country.
Wauschkuhn said the essence of the dialogue was, therefore, to strengthen coordination of activities done by the Federal and States MDAs as well as donor organisations, geared toward the development of MSMEs in the country.
Represented by Akinropo Omoware, Head of Policy, SEDIN, Wauschkuhn said “we believe that the forum will provide opportunity for stakeholders in the MSMEs eco-system in the state to interact on the key challenges, foster common understanding and proffer some solutions”.
Also speaking, the Dtaye Governor, Godwin Obaseki, said one could not underscore the fact that MSMEs were the engine of any economy, as they remained the largest employers of labour.
“We have struck strategic collaboration with local amd international partners to ensure the promotion of the private sector in the state.”
The Governor was represented by Hon Afishetu Braimoh, the Commissioner for Business, Trade and Cooperative in Edo State.
Earlier, the Director-General of the Benin Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture, Mr John Imalingmhe, commended SEDIN’s support to MSMEs in the State.
The Tide’s source reports that the event was organised by SMEDAN in collaboration with the Edo State Ministry of Business, Trade and Cooperatives and the Edo State Skills Development Agency.
The dialogue was supported by SEDIN, a programme under the German Agency for International Cooperation.

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Bayelsa At 26: Diri Fulfilling Promises To Labour -NLC

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The Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Bayelsa State Chapter, has lauded the state Governor, Senator Douye Diri, for his Labour friendly policies.
Speaking to Newsmen on the sidelines of the celebrations of the 26th and 62nd anniversaries of the creation of Bayelsa State and Nigeria’s independence, the state NLC Chairman, Comrade John Ndiomu, said there was more to celebrate in the State by workers, noting that the State Governor upon assumption of office has had a cordial working relationship with the organised Labour in the State.
Ndiomu, who also commended the Governor for his prompt response to the yearnings of labour in the State hinted that as part of Governor Diri’s labour friendly policies, the State Government has since commenced the construction of a new civil servants estate
in the state, noting that the Governor has also been strategically clearing the backlog of gratuity and arrears owed workers and retirees in the State.
“Though gratuity owed pensioners in the State was a backlog, Governor Diri before assumption of office promised labour that he was going to pay gratuities and since he assumed office he has constantly kept to that promise. Retirees and civil servants are being paid their pensions, gratuity and salaries promptly.
“As we speak, the Governor has concluded the processes of constructing a civil servant estate for workers in the state so that they can own houses of their own.
It’s not easy for civil servants to build houses of their own when they retire from service and so the Governor as part of his labour friendly policies and programmes has started the construction of an estate for workers in the state”, he said.
The State NLC Chairman urged Bayelsans and workers in the state to be more patriotic, saying the state was fortunate to have had a Governor who understands the plights of workers.
He described workers as those who work to produce the wealth of the State, stressing that Governor Diri having this in mind has been working assiduously to solve all likely impedements to workers and government cordial relationships.
He also commended Bayelsans and Nigerians for the massive celebrations of the state’s 26th creation and 62nd Nigerian independence anniversaries.
“Bayelsans should be more patriotic, as a state at 26 we can’t say we’ve attained the heights expected of us, but God’s willing, we’ll get there some day.
“There’s more to celebrate by the Bayelsa workers, because we’ve a labour friendly leader in the person of Governor Douye Diri”, the NLC Chairman added.

By: Ariwera Ibibo-Howells, Yenagoa

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