Incumbent Governor of Edo State, Mr Adams Oshiomhole was yesterday declared winner of the state’s governorship elections held on Saturday, by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)
Mr Oshiomhole who contested the elections on the platform of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) polled 477,478 votes to defeat the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP candidate, Major General Charles Airhiavbere who polled 144,235 votes, and the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) Candidate, Mr Ezebiri who got 3,642 votes.
Responding to news of his victory, Governor Oshiomhole, yesterday described President Goodluck Jonathan as a statesman and a man of honour.
Oshiomhole, who made the statement at a world press conference in Benin, attributed the peaceful conduct of the governorship election in Edo on Saturday to Jonathan’s determination to enthrone credible democracy in Nigeria.
“ I want to appreciate Mr President with his resolve and public pronouncement that he would provide adequate security for the people and the INEC staff before, during and after the election.
“I am glad that Mr President kept to his words of assurance that there would be no thuggery, hooliganism and violence during the Edo Governorship Election.
He said that the president had led by example, which is the hall mark of a statesman.
“He is indeed a statesman, a man of honour because there was adequate and effective presence of security agents on ground.
“I am impressed because the army actually played a neutral role .in the election,’’ he said.
On his victory at the polls, he congratulated his six opponents, saying he was willing to collaborate with them with a view to moving the state to a higher and better level.
He thanked the traditional institution, especially the palace of the Oba of Benin.
The governor said that “his majesty has shown and demonstrated true leadership qualities’’ since his assumption of office during his first term.
He assured the people of the state of his continued development stride, describing their massive turnout at the poll as a testimony that there was a need for the people to rise above ethnic politics.
“We are all Edo people and should live and think alike if we have to bring rapid development to our people rather than dissipate our energies over frivolities such as ethnic politics,’’ he said.
Earlier, President Goodluck Jonathan, Senate President, David Mark and House of Representatives Speaker, Aminu Tambuwal joined millions of Nigerian to congratulated Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo on his re-election in Saturday’s governorship polls.
In a statement issued by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr Reuben Abati, Jonathan commended INEC and the security services for ensuring that the election was free and fair.
He said that the successful conduct of the election was in line with his administration’s commitment to continually strengthen democracy through the establishment of a more credible electoral system.
The President urged Oshiomhole to receive the fresh mandate as an endorsement of his outstanding performance in his first term, and see his re-election as an expression of the desire of the Edo people for “the continuation of focused, purposeful and dynamic leadership’’.
In his reaction, the Senate President, David Mark, also congratulated Mr Adams Oshiomhole on his re-election as governor of Edo, saying the victory was a reward for service to the people.
“This re-election is a reward for service. It must serve as an elixir for greater performance. You must continue to make service to your people the focal point of your administration.”
In a statement in Abuja signed by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Kola Ologbondiyan, Mark advised Oshiomhole to continue to serve the people diligently.
He urged the governor to be magnanimous in victory and implored him and other contestants to join hands to build a new Edo in the overall interest of the people.
The Senate President commended INEC, security agencies and the people of the state for the peaceful conduct of the election.
He commiserated with the government and people of the state over the Ologbo boat mishap which claimed some lives in the cause of the election on Saturday.
Also speaking, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal, congratulated Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo on his re-election.
In a statement issued in Abuja by his Special Adviser on Media and Public Affairs, Malam Imam Imam, Tambuwal said Oshiomhole’s victory was a manifestation of the people’s trust and confidence in his leadership.
He implored Oshiomhole to rise above partisan consideration and carry along all the people in the task of building the state.
The speaker also advised the governor to see the fresh mandate given to him, as a call to “further duty in the service of his fatherland’’.
He urged the losers in the election to accept the result in good fate and cooperate with the winner in the interest of the people.
“Any decision to challenge the outcome should be limited to the confines of the law,’’ he said.
Tambuwal reiterated the commitment of the House to work with the governor and other persons and interest groups to deepen democracy in the country.
Oshiomhole, the Action Congress of Nigeria candidate, polled 477,478 votes to beat his closest rival, retired Maj.-Gen. Charles Airhiavbere of the PDP, who polled 144,235 votes in Saturday’s election.
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.
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