Last week started in a worship mood as Governor
Chibuike Amaechi attended the induction of resident ministers at the Christ Church, Port Harcourt. The induction was conducted by the Prelate and Moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church Nigeria, Rev (Prof) Emule Mba Uka.
Shortly after the sermon, Governor Amaechi was invited to address the church during which he advocated what he called” Liberation Theology”. The Rivers State governor stressed that it was high time the church rose to the challenge of governance by seeking accountability from those governing the country.
He said,” until we get up and ask ourself the question what qualifies this man to steal our money … So currently, the church must rise to ask these questions”.
I think your grace, the preachers should start to preach the theology that will liberate us.”
Amaechi was speaking against the backdrop of revelations by the suspended Central Bank governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi over financial diversion in the nation’s coffers. He however, used the church service to announce plans by the state government to build a model primary school in the church premises.
Governor Amaechi played host to United Kingdom’s Minister for Africa, Marx Simmonds. While welcoming him to the state, the Rivers State Chief Executive urged the UK diplomat to support in the fight against oil theft. This, he believed, has become important, since the federal government has failed to tackle the menace head on.
On the other hand, Governor Amaechi observed that “our problem is not oil theft but financial diversion as revealed by CBN governor,” stressing that “48.8 billion dollars have been spent without appropriation”.
Worried over the decline of revenue allocation to states, Amaechi warned that if the situation persisted, many state would find it difficult to pay salaries of civil servants.
The governor took time off his busy schedules to inspect ongoing projects on Wednesday. He visited the Peter Odili, Woji/Akpajo link road and the new hospital at the Rivers State University of Science and Technology, Nkpolu Port Harcourt.
On Thursday, the governor travelled to Ibadan to attend the National Progressives Governance Forum. The forum was billed to brainstorm and evolve new bluepint for the emerging progressives, as a way to strengthen Nigeria’s democracy.
Governor Amaechi who is also chairman of Nigeria’s Governors Forum (NGF) issued a press statement on Friday condemning the terrorist attack and killing of over 40 students of Federal Government College in Yobe. The NGF, also called on the Federal Government to beef security in the nation.
The Rivers State governor returned to the state on Saturday morning to attend the 70th birthday ceremony of chairman of the State Economic Advisory Committee, Prof Nimi Dimkpa Briggs at University of Port Harcourt.
Amaechi while eulogizing the professor of medicine, said he contributed immensely in stabilizing the state.
“When we came in, there was division in the state. It was PDP, PDP was in charge, there was no opposition party then. There were those who supported me, those who were supporting Austin Opara, those who supported Celestine Omehia and those who were supporting our former boss, Dr Peter Odili, and I knew that if we needed to conduct a credible election, we needed to put somebody who is credible”.
The governor had appointed Prof Briggs to head the State Independent Electoral Commission (RSIEC) in 2008. The university don conducted the elections in April that was adjudged to be one of the best in recent times.
For his contributions, the governor said the state government would immortalize his name and thanked him for his support.
2023: A’ Court Seals Senate President’s Return Bid
The Court of Appeal in Abuja has affirmed Bashir Machina as the authentic candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for Yobe North Senatorial District.
The court, on Monday, upheld the judgment of the Federal High Court sitting in Damaturu, Yobe State, which held that Senate President, Ahmad Lawan was not the APC’s candidate for Yobe North Senatorial District in the 2023 elections.
Justice Monica Dongban-Mensen, who presided over a three-man panel, gave the affirmation in an appeal by Lawan, challenging the decision of Justice Fadimatu Aminu of the Federal High Court Damaturu, which had on September 28, 2022, declared Machina as the winner of the primary election organised by the APC in May 2022, while Lawan opted to contest the presidential primary election organised by the APC on June 9.
The Federal High Court sitting in Damaturu had in September ordered the APC and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to recognise Machina as Yobe North senatorial candidate of the party.
The presiding judge, Justice Fadima Aminu, nullified the parallel primary election that produced Lawan on June 9, 2022.
The judge also ordered the APC to forward the name of Machina to INEC as the authentic winner of the primary held in May.
“In the final analysis, the conditions for the validity of primary elections were fulfilled in the election of May 28, 2022, which produced the plaintiff. The phantom election of June 9 2022 which produced the second defendant is hereby declared invalid in view of the outline provision of the law of the very primary election.
“Consequently, the plaintiff is hereby declared the validly elected candidate of the first defendant conducted on 28/05/2022 for the 2023 general election.
“The first defendant is hereby ordered to prepare the name and details of the plaintiff to the third defendant as its rightful candidate. This is my decision,” Aminu ruled.
The judgement come weeks after Machina distanced himself from the notice of withdrawal from the race which went viral.
The Tide source had on August 9, 2022, reported that INEC denied recognising Lawan and Senator Godswill Akpabio as senatorial candidates of the APC, respectively.
Both Lawan and Akpabio had contested the APC presidential primary. However, after losing, both of them were listed as senatorial candidates by the APC, but INEC refused to recognise them.
Recall that Lawan, Akpabio, and Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi, had chosen to pick Senate tickets for Yobe North, Ebonyi South and Akwa Ibom North West senatorial districts respectively, after losing out at the presidential primary of the APC.
Ekiti Assembly Leadership Change, Rape Of Democracy – Ajulo
A Constitutional and Human Rights lawyer, Dr Kayode Ajulo, has described the impeachment of the Speaker of the Ekiti State House of Assembly, Gboyega Aribisogan, as a glaring rape of democracy and an intentional violation of the rule of law.
Ajulo, in a statement signed by him, also, joined the league of leading legal luminaries in Nigeria to condemn the recent controversies over the leadership of the Ekiti State House of Assembly.
He said that “political players in Ekiti State should not allow selfish personal interests that brewed the sad commentary coming from Ekiti State constitute a great disservice to the State’s enviable records and indelible marks of honour to national building and development of the likes of Aare Afe Babalola, Chief Wole Olanipekun, Femi Falana, Dele Adesina, Dayo Akinlaja and other eminent citizens of the State.
Recall that the Ekiti State House of Assembly had on Tuesday, 15th November, conducted an election to choose a new Speaker following the demise of the erstwhile Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Funminiyi Afuye, on October 19, 2022.
The election had two members of the Assembly contesting and one Hon. Gboyega Aribisogan won and was duly sworn-in, having polled 15 votes as against the 10 votes of the other contestant, Hon. Olubunmi Adelugba.
However, the new Speaker was reportedly impeached and suspended with six others on the 6th day after swearing-in, even before he could start acting in his new role and the candidate who had contested against him, Olubunmi Adelugba, was announced the new Speaker.
Ajulo, who hailed Aare Afe Babalola, Wole Olanipekun, Femi Falana and other notable legal professionals from the State following their collective stance on the allegedly controversial change of leadership in the Assembly, also described the event as “a glaring rape of democracy and an intentional violation of the rule of law.”
The legal luminaries from the state, which include Aare Afe Babalola, Chief Wole Olanipekun, Dele Adesina, Olu Daramola, Femi Falana, Dayo Akinlaja, and Gboyega Oyewole, had described the event as “an act of illegality”, adding that the election that produced Hon. Olubunmi Adelugba was “unconstitutional and ridiculous”
They noted that election into the position of the Speaker of House of Assembly dictates that the present occupant of the office must be accorded fair hearing before being removed from the office, saying the alleged suspension and stoppage of the salaries of the Speaker and six other members of the House were misplaced, illegal, illegitimate, null and void.
Ajulo, in the statement, described the position of these foremost lawyers as a just fight to strengthen democracy and uphold the laws of the country, saying impunity is detrimental to the development of a nation.
“ You cannot underestimate the unmatchable contributions and services of these notable men to the development of legal profession and general growth of this country. “I have had the privilege of working with almost all the 6 of them. They do not engage in frivolities and their integrity is intact.
“They possess enviable track records in the legal profession and national development that precede their names. “ All of them had, at one time or another perfectly resolved more complex national issues. So, you do not expect them to fold their arms while this is happening at the backyard.
“It may be understandable if such a scenario had happened in some of the unsettled States of the country, but it is totally unthinkable to expect such in a peaceful, sophisticated , civilized, educated, egalitarian, land that parades Professors and notable men who have contributed to the development of this country in no small measure and don’t expect a strong reaction.
“I commend these noble jurists for their collective stance on this sheer and gory impudence on the symbol of democracy in their State, Ekiti.
“Delibrate violation of the rule of law must not stand in Ekiti State or anywhere else.”
Ajulo, therefore urged other notable figures in the legal profession to join in the call to end deliberate violation of the constitution of the country.
INEC Vows To Deliver Despite Attacks On Facilities
The Independent National INEC Vows To Deliver Despite Attacks On FacilitiesElectoral Commission (INEC) on Monday lamented the incessant attacks on its local government offices across the states.
This was as the commission said that though, it will recover losses from the attacks, it could not condone rising attacks on its facilities.
The INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, stated this during the visit of African Union Special Pre-Electoral Political Mission to the commission.
The Tide source had reported that within the space of three weeks, three attacks were carried out on local government INEC facilities in Ogun, Osun and Ebonyi states.
Yakubu however re-emphasised that the commission would not be deterred by the challenges, noting that it was ready to conduct a free and fair election.
“In the last three weeks, three of our local government offices were attacked in three different states across the country. The last attack happened yesterday. Though there are no casualties, quite a number of the materials acquired and delivered for the election have been lost.
“The good thing is that so far, we can recover from all the losses but it is a source of concern which should not be allowed to continue.
“We will continue to engage security agencies to make sure that our offices, personnel and facilities are protected ahead of the election. We may express some concern about the attack on these facilities but it will not deter the commission from conducting the election as scheduled.
“I want to assure you that yes, we may suffer little hitches here and there but overall, the commission is required to proceed with the election and in the manner that the law requires us to do using the deployment of technology for the purpose of accreditation and uploading of polling units results.”
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