Last week, Government House was rife with rumours
of purported sack of Chief of Staff, Government House, Sir Tony Okocha. The rumour was however debunked on Sunday when Sir Okocha described it as the handiwork of mischief makers.
Debunking the rumour of his sack at a thanksgiving Service and reception in honour of Prof. Michael Emeji at St Paul’s Anglican Church, Diocese of Ikwerre, Okporowo-Ogbakiri, Sir Okocha urged the general public to disregard such statement as it was targetted at scoring cheap popularity, and calculated to whip up public sentiments against the Amaechi, led administration.
In the words of the Chief of Staff, “Those who peddle those rumours are living in a fool’s paradise and are doing that to score cheap popularity to whip up public sentiments against the Amaechi, led administration”.
Few days after the sack rumour was laid to rest, the Rivers State Government organized an International Democracy Conference tagged, “Democracy and Good Governance”, where former Premier of Ireland and Foreign Secretary of United Kingdom delivered papers.
While former British Prime Minister, Jack Straw spoke on “Democracy, Nationhood and Citizenship Rights, Freedoms and Responsibilities in the Global Order”, former Prime Minister of Ireland, Mr John Bruton spoke on “The Dynamics of Contention within the Realities of State Building, Debating their Essence and Limitations”.
Both Bruton and Straw held that opposition was very crucial to the upliftment of democracy. Straw said “strong opponents keep you on your toes because the robustness of government is tested”.
Aside Bruton and Straw who spoke, human rights lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Femi Falana, also spoke with emphasis on the need for government to protect rights of citizens as provided by chapter Two of Nigerian Constitution. However, Governor Amaechi summed up the theme of the conference when he insisted that the people must rise up and demand accountability from their leaders.
Shortly after the conference on Tuesday, Governor Amaechi took his guests on projects tour. The tour came to a head on Wednesday when both Bruton and Straw commissioned Model Primary Health Centre and a school in Ikwerre Local Government Area.
On Thursday, in Government House, Governor Amaechi through the Secretary to the State Government, Mr George Feyii addressed protesting students under the banner of National Union of Rivers State Students (NURSS).
Mr Feyii assured the angry students that even before the protest, the state government had already begun plans to pay, their bursary awards. He disclosed that based on available facts, the government will have to conduct a verification exercise.
Against this backdrop, he promised them that by first week of April, payment of their bursary arrears will commence, and urged them to remain peaceful by refusing to be used by politicians for selfish gains.
Governor Amaechi who is also chairman of the Nigeria Giovernor’s Forum departed the state on Thursday to attend the two-day retreat of the NGF in Lagos.
At the end of the retreat on Friday, Governor Amaechi read the communiqué deploring the anti-corruption crusade by the Federal Government, saying, “We believe the fight against corruption needs strong political will, moral leadership certainty of sanction and commitment of governors to succeed”.
On returning to the state on Saturday, the Rivers State government attended the 50th birthday celebration of the state Commissioner for Works, Chief Victor Giddom at Bera in Gokana Local Government Area.
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.”
Nation3 days ago
SON Seeks Manufacturers’ Support Against Substandard Products
Business3 days ago
FAAN Boss Orders Allocation Of PH Airline Building To Airlines
Nation19 hours ago
Participants At Experience-Sharing Workshop On Child Marriage In Kaduna
News18 hours ago
NDLEA Seals Hotels, Mansions, Arrests Wanted Abia Drug Kingpin
Politics3 days ago
Illegal PVCs Possession: Man Bags One Year In Prison
Oil & Energy3 days ago
Diesel Crunch, Finally Causing Demand Destruction
Featured3 days ago
SERAP, Ogonis Take FG To ECOWAS Court Over Illegal Pipelines, Oil Theft
Business19 hours ago
NIMASA Builds Maritime Institutes, Skill Acquisition Centres In Zones