Many of the south
easterners who returned home for fear of election violence are now trapped in the dilemma of whether to go back to their base or not.
Our correspondent reports that many of the returnees arrived at the weekend, oblivious of the Postponement of the presidential and National Assembly elections from February 14 to March 28, and April 11 for governorship and State Assembly seats.
Consequently, the returnees are now faced with the decision to remain till the new election dates or return to their businesses and jobs.
In Enugu, some of the returnees expressed disappointment with the postponement, saying that it had put them in the dilemma of whether to stay back home or return for their means of livelihood.
A businessman, Mr Emmanuel Agu who lives in Kano, said that he moved his family to his village only for INEC to shift the election by six weeks.
“Honestly, this situation has brought untold economic hardship to me because l had budgeted that my family will spend three weeks here but with the postponement, they will now stay for about two months.
“l moved them for the fear of post-election violence as witnessed in 2011. We really spent a huge amount of money to convey our load to Enugu.
“In fact, I am stranded here because I don’t know whether to leave my business and stay back till the end of the elections or go back to Kano with my family.
“My major problem is money because I am not doing anything here in Enugu and it will be difficult for me to go back to Kano and come back in six weeks.
“I am calling on public-spirited individuals to come to our aid since it is obvious that we cannot stay in the northern part of the country during the elections,” he said.
Another returnee, Mr Pius Ugwuanyi, who resides in Maiduguri, said that coming down to Enugu had paralysed his business.
He lamented that a few days after he came back from Maiduguri with his family, the election was shifted.
“I received the news with mixed feelings because I don’t have money to go and come back in six weeks with my family. “I am truly confused, but I have no option than to stay back till the end of the elections.
“The implication now is that my staying back in Enugu will really paralyse my business because my customers will certainly run away before I go back.
“My major problem now is how to survive with the little money in my possession till the end of the general elections,” he said.
From Awka, a spare parts dealer in Maiduguri, Mr Francis Onwumelu, said that the postponement would affect his business and the education of his children.
“We closed our shops to travel down to Awka with my family last weekend hoping to return immediately after the elections, but as it is now, we cannot go back until April.
“This will seriously affect my business and the education of my children who are supposed to be in school,” he said.
For Mrs Maureen Ijedibia, who sells dry fish in Lokoja, the option is to return to her base and face her business before the elections.
“Going back to Lokoja has become necessary for me because I did not have enough money that will take me till April after the elections,” she said.
From Abakaliki, Mrs Nkiru Aja, a business woman in Taraba said that she had since returned to her base with her family to resume duty.
“I am a widow with four children and I cannot afford to lose any of them which is why I returned with them.
“The postponement has caused a lot of confusion and doubled the expenses for me, but we accept it in good faith.
“I pray that all the relevant stakeholders in the conduct of the election would justify the reasons for the adjustment,’’ she said.
Another returnee, Mr Kenneth Chukwuma, who does his business in Gombe, said he could not afford to stay till April.
“We are not questioning the judgment of INEC or the security chiefs but what is the guarantee that the dates the elections were shifted to will hold.
“My children are in school and six weeks are too much for them to stay back home. We will go back to Gombe,” Chukwuma said.
Corpse Of Woman Found In Ebonyi Hotel Room
The police in Ebonyi State say they have discovered the body of a yet to be identified middle-aged woman in a hotel room in Abakaliki, the state capital. The spokesperson of the police in the state, Loveth Odah, stated this yesterday.
She said the body has deep cuts on the chest and neck and has been deposited in a mortuary. According to the spokesman, it was discovered at Crown Garden Hotel located along the ever-busy Afikpo road in the capital city.
Mrs Odah, who said that the victim was found in the pool of her own blood, said the suspect had been identified as one Uchenna Awoke.
She said the hotel manager, Emmanuel Eze, the supervisor, and other workers had been taken to the police station for questioning and accused the hotel management of negligence.
“The manager of the hotel, the supervisor and other staff of the hotel were taken to the station for questioning and I must confess to you that the whole thing is negligence on the part of the hotel management. How can a guest be murdered in a hotel room and days after, the management is not aware of the incident.”
“We will investigate the matter properly and I assure you, the perpetrator of the act must be arrested and prosecuted. All we are asking is for the members of the public to avail the police of useful information that will lead to the arrest of the suspect.”
Senate Passes S’East Dev Commission Bill
The Senate yesterday passed the South East Development Commission (Establishment) Bill 2018.
The proposed commission aims at enhancing the infrastructural development of the South East zone, which is grappling with huge ecological challenges.
It also seeks to act as a catalyst for the development of the commercial potential of the zone.
The proposed legislation requires the concurrence of the House of Representatives to become a bill of the National Assembly, and the President’s assent to become a law.
Senators Stella Oduah (PDP-Anambra) and Samuel Anyanwu (PDP-Imo) jointly sponsored the bill read in the Senate on June 22, 2016.
Its passage in the Red Chamber followed the presentation of the report of the Committee on Establishment and Public Service by its former Chairman, Senator Emmanuel Paulker (PDP-Bayelsa), on the floor of the Senate.
The bill, after Paulker’s presentation, was considered clause by clause by the committee of the whole, and amendments made by the lawmakers were read for the third time and eventually passed.
In his remarks, presiding Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, commended his colleagues for a job well done.
In his words, “Every morning we pray that God should give us the grace to do only those things that will promote the peace and unity of this country.
“I believe that we have shown today that we are committed to the unity of this country, and it is this unity that will give us faith in this country.
“This faith will in turn help us to pursue peace and progress,” he said.
Briefing newsmen after plenary, members the South East caucus of the Senate, led by Sen. Enhinnaya Abaribe (PDP-Abia), thanked their colleagues and members of the committee for their efforts.
Abaribe, who spoke on behalf of the caucus, urged the President to sign the bill into law “as soon as we tidy it up and bring to him, in the interest of the unity and progress of Nigeria”.
“This will put to rest the long-drawn agitation in the South East, and the difficulties in the rehabilitation and reconciliation efforts that started at the end of the civil war.
“All things we see always will end up at the negotiating table, which is what we have done,” he said.
The lawmaker said he hoped the House of Representatives would give concurrence to the bill as it went in the Senate.
When established, the South East Development Commission would be the third zonal interventionist body in the country.
2019: Oyedepo Predicts Peace In Nigeria
Bishop David Oyedepo, the Founder and Presideng Bishop, Living Faith Church Worldwide, on Saturday predicted that nothing would disturb the peace of Nigeria and its story would change for the better in the year 2019.
Oyedepo made the declaration at the just concluded annual prophetic gathering of the Winners’ family, christened the “Dominion”, in a satellite telecast of the church.
In the telecast monitored in Abuja, the cleric also declared that 2019 would be a year of “I have Dominion”.
“Nothing will tamper with the peace of Nigeria; the story will change for the better in the name of Jesus.
“Nigeria shall not see bloodshed, the Prince of Peace will continue to dominate in Nigeria, in Africa and Nigeria is declared blessed.
“Anywhere you step, accident is forbidden; death will not come near you and our nation.
“Anything that is of grace in my life, I freely release upon you today.
“God has opened the year 2019 to us, celebrate Him because its our year of “I have Dominion,” he said.
The Bishop added that the year 2019 would be a year of humbling testimonies for Nigeria and pace-setting testimonies.
He further declared that 2019 would be a colourful year for the nation.
According to the cleric, as long as Jesus has the final say on the issues of Nigeria, it will experience greatness.
Oyedepo said that there would be no more cause of alarm in any area of the nation and its citizens.
He advised Christians in Nigeria to delight themselves in the spirit of servant-hood, adding that the spirit of Christ is the spirit of servant-hood.
“The Spirit of Christ is the spirit of servant-hood. As you keep rising on the ladder of leadership, you must retain our spirit of servant-hood, constantly working to add value to others and be kingdom minded,” he said.
According to him, dedication is at the root of dominion, saying: “Sow yourself as a seed by being totally dedicated to God and His Kingdom’’.
He told his congregation that sacrificial giving guarantees the meeting of all their needs.
“When you engage in taking care of the well-being of others, God is also committed to your well-being,” he explained. The cleric admonished Christians would engage in meeting the needs of the needy, every barrier on their path of destiny would be crushed.
“Nobody tampers with your life, your career, your family and goes away with it because you are promoted to God’s kingdom.
“God will stand for your defence in the day of trouble. Every sacrificial giver has a defence around him in the day of trouble always have that in mind,” he said.
He reminded his congregation that the Church is not a building; the Church is a people and the Redeemed of the Lord.
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