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I Am Kogi’s Gov-Elect, Audu’s Running Mate Claims …Declare Wada Winner, PDP Tells INEC …Senatorial Zone Wants Audu’s Son As New Candidate

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The running mate to late Abubakar Audu, the candidate of the All Progressives Congress in Saturday’s governorship election in Kogi State, has asked the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to declare him governor- elect.
James Faleke, in a November 26 letter to INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, insisted that under Section 187 of the 1999 Constitution, he was duly elected as deputy governor of Kogi State.
While expressing sadness over the demise of his principal, Abubakar Audu, the deputy governorship candidate said INEC had no right under the law to declare the election inconclusive.
He accused INEC of deliberately creating what he called “legal conundrum” and urged the APC not to be a party to the action.
“In law and logic, no new candidate can inherit or be a beneficiary of the votes already cast, counted and declared by INEC before that candidate was nominated and purportedly sponsored,” Mr. Faleke wrote through his counsel, Wole Olanipekun.
“Assuming without conceding that INEC is even right to order a supplementary election, the votes already cast, counted and declared on Saturday, 25th November 2015, were votes for the joint constitutional ticket of Prince Abubakar Audu and our client.
“Therefore, no new or ‘supplementary’ candidate can hijack, aggregate, appropriate or inherit the said votes.”
In another letter to APC Chairman, John Oyegun, Mr. Faleke urged his party to distance itself from the “Greek Gift” being offered to it to nominate a new candidate for a planned supplementary election in 91 polling units.
He said the election had already been won and lost, and that the party should rather support him in actualizing the mandate already given to APC and its candidates.
Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday called on INEC to declare its candidate in the November 21 Governorship election in Kogi , Mr . Idris Wada, the winner of the election. The PDP National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh, made the call in a communiqué issued at the end of the party’s National Caucus emergency meeting held in Abuja on Wednesday.
INEC had declared the November 21 election inconclusive following cancellation of election in 91 polling units. Metuh said that the PDP caucus thoroughly considered the development arising from the November 21 governorship election , following the death of the All Progressive Congress (APC), candidate, Alhaji Abubakar Audu.
He said that PDP had resolved that with the death of Audu, on November 22, APC had ‘legally crashed out’ of the governorship race in accordance with Section 33 of the Electoral Act. Metuh said that APC lost out of the race as no known law or constitutional provision allowed the substitution of candidates, once the ballot process had commenced.
“We are not trying to take advantage of Audu’s death. Nigerians will bear us witness that PDP observes respect to the person and image of late Audu, but this is the law of our land’’. Metuh said that PDP completely rejected INEC decision on the directive of the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) , Malam Abubakar Malami, to allow APC substitute its candidate in the middle of an election.
“The PDP insists that with the unfortunate death of Audu, the APC has no valid candidate in the election. ‘’This leaves INEC with no other lawful option than to declare the PDP candidate, Wada, as the winner of the election.’’ He said that if APC was allowed to substitute its original candidate, then, the party would have fielded two separate candidates in the same election.
“This is a scenario that is completely alien to our electoral laws and to any known democratic norm and practice world-over.’’ Metuh said that if after voting in the Saturday’s election, Audu said he was no longer interested in the election, would INEC have told APC to change its candidate?
“There is no difference between the death and withdrawal of a candidate in our laws. Laws never separated it. This situation can be termed as withdrawal. ”If Audu had withdrawn on Saturday, election would have continued and Wada would have been declared the winner’’.
Metuh said that caucus observed that INEC under the leadership of Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, had lost the confidence of Nigerians. He also restated the party’s demand for the immediate resignation of Malami, INEC chairman and all its national commissioners. The PDP image maker added that in order to save the nation’s democracy from imminent collapse, the PDP would immediately challenge the unlawful and unconstitutional decision of INEC in the court of law.
“We are confident that judiciary will restore the proper tenets of our democracy and that this matter will be settled before Dec. 5. ”APC cannot participate in Dec. 5 election because the time has elapsed for the party to substitute its candidate’’. Metuh who stressed that the PDP had not in any way accused APC of killing Audu, however questioned the rationale of AGF INEC and APC decision on the issue.
“They are creating a scenario where a loser in a primaries will patiently wait for the winning candidate to finish election and have him either poisoned or assassinated before the final collation of results.’’
In another development, leaders of All Progressives Congress (APC), in Kogi East Senatorial District have nominated Mr Mohammed, 43, first son of Late Prince Abubakar Audu, to replace him as the party’ s governorship candidate.Leaders, stakeholders and delegates who made this known in Lokoja on Thursday after a marathon meeting, said they arrived at the decision after due consultations .
Their spokesman, Mr Daniel Isah, the Vice Chairman of APC in Kogi East, said they have resolved and are determined to back Mohammed to replace his father if the National Working Committee orders fresh primaries.
Isah thanked the Independent National Electoral Commission and the national leadership of the party for the opportunity given to them to find a replacement for Audu who died on Nov. 23 at Ogbonicha, Ofu Local Government.
He appealed to the national leadership of the party to give their decision utmost consideration and approval in the overall interest of the party and the state.
Present at the meeting were Alhaji Lincho Ocheje, Hon. Hassan Omale, Hon. Benjamin Ikhani, and Sen. Emmanuel Dangana, among others.

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FG Declares Thursday Additional Holiday For Eid-el-Fitri

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The Federal Government has declared tomorrow, Thursday, as additional public holiday to commemorate this year’s Eid-el-Fitr.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Interior, Dr Aishetu Ndayako, made this known in a statement he shared on the ministry’s X account, yesterday.
The statement said, “The Federal Government has approved Thursday, April 11, 2024 as an additional public holiday to celebrate this year’s Eid-el-Fitr.
“The Minister of Interior, Dr Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, while congratulating the Muslim Ummah for a successful completion of a month of spiritual rejuvenation, reiterates President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s firm commitment to providing a safe and prosperous Nigeria for all to thrive.”
Saudi Arabia, on Monday, said the crescent of Shawwal has not been sighted, indicating that the fasting would continue on Tuesday.
It also added that the Eid-el-Fitr would hold today, Wednesday, to mark the beginning of the new Islamic month.
The Federal Government had earlier on Sunday declared yesterday (Tuesday) and today, (Wednesday) as public holidays to mark the Eid-el-Fitr celebration.

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Engage In Credible Opposition, We Won’t Hunt You, Fubara Tells IPAC …As Group Passes Confidence Vote On Rivers Gov

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Rivers State Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, has assured that the right climate will be created for all political parties to operate so that they can engage with Government and offer credible opposition.
The Governor emphasised that it was the best thing to do, especially because the opposition political parties have acknowledged that elections are over, and are resolved to offer effective support required to advance good governance in the State.
Governor Fubara spoke on Monday when he played host to the leadership of the Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC), Rivers State Chapter, led by its Chairman, Barrister Sensei Solsuema Osaro, at Government House in Port Harcourt.
The Governor insisted that an egalitarian society will be engendered so that people can feel free to voice their opinions without intimidation, because, according to him, those criticisms will contribute to having more focused implementation of policies that serve the general good of the State.
“So, we are happy to identify with you. We are assuring you, even when you leave here, criticise me, I don’t have problem with that, it is meant to spur me to do well. We will continue to give you the freedom. We will not cage anybody. We will not revoke your property.
“You can also take my message to your National Secretariat, we will continue to stand on the right path. We will support them because we can see that they are also doing what is right. Anytime they need our support, let them feel free to ask for it,” the Governor said.
Governor Fubara commended IPAC for identifying with his Administration, and pledging to collaborate efforts for the good of the State.
The State Chief Executive pointed out that no person who truly loves Rivers State, whether embittered, or not, will gladly want to burn down the State to achieve personal or political agenda.
The Governor said whatever political strength anybody claims to have, it amounts to nothing without the State and its people.
Governor Fubara assured that his team in Government will steadily work, genuinely, to protect the interest of the State.
While thanking the delegation for the vote of confidence passed on him and investing him as their Grand Patron, Governor Fubara urged them to tread the path of peace always in their activities.
Governor Fubara promised to consult with them and include their interest whenever appointments are made, and promised to donate a utility vehicle to enhance their logistics, while committing to support the upcoming programme of the body.
In his address, the Rivers State Chairman of Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC), Barrister Sensei Solsuema Osaro, thanked Governor Fubara for the opportunity to meet with them, and announced that IPAC has passed a vote of confidence on the Governor.
He also announced the decision of IPAC to honour the Governor as the Grand Patron and Leader of the umbrella body of all political parties in the State.
“IPAC is a roundtable of political parties saddled with the responsibility of enlightenment, advocacy, educating, and inspiring courage among political parties and the society at large.
“With the elections come and gone, it is practically the time for governance and to ensure all derivable of dividends of democracy to the people of Rivers State.
“Herein lies the core of our visit today to forge a collaborative bond with you, His Excellency, to foster partnership for the overall interest of Rivers State.
“We heartily congratulate you on your victory at Supreme Court judgement, which affirmed your election at the polls. To this end, we in IPAC have passed a vote of confidence on His Excellency, and assure you of our collaborative, collective and individual support to succeed now, and in the course of your administration, and after,” he added.
More than 17 State Chairmen of Registered Political Parties in the State were in the delegation to pay a solidarity visit to the Governor.
Highlights of the visit were the presentation of a large plaque of portrait picture, certificate as Grand Patron, IPAC T-Shirt and Fez Cap by IPAC Chairman to Governor Fubara.

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Our Position On Rivers PDP Ward, LGA, State Excos Unshaken -Fubara

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The National Working Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has debunked as fake and misleading, the purported list of Caretaker Committee members circulating in the social media and published in some national dailies on Thursday, April 4, 2024.
The Rivers State Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, who said this after a meeting with the NWC at the National Secretariat, Wadata Plaza in Abuja, last Thursday evening, restated that the resolutions of a meeting held between the NWC and members of the Board of Trustees (BOTs) and PDP Governors’ Forum in Abuja in March on the issue remain valid.
Governor Fubara reiterated the position of the party that the executive officers whose tenures had expired in March, shall remain in their various capacities until the three months’extension period approved by the NWC elapses, and new congresses conducted to replace them.
He recalled that a letter signed by the National Organising Secretary, Hon Umar M. Bature, dated Wednesday, March 27, 2024, addressed to the Chairman, Rivers State Caretaker Committee, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Hon Aaron Chukwuemeka, and titled: “Approval of Wards, Local Government Area and State Caretaker Committee Members for Rivers State”, had clearly resolved the issue of the authentic members of the Caretaker Committees at the affected levels.
The letter, copied the Acting National Chairman, Amb. Umar Iliya Damagum; Deputy National Chairman, South, His Excellency, Amb. Taofeek Arapaja; the Executive Governor of Rivers State, His Excellency, Sir Siminalayi Fubara; National Secretary, Senator Samuel Anyanwu; and National Legal Adviser, Ajibade Kamaldeen Adeyemi, SAN, reads in full, “Following the expiration of the elected Ward, LGA, and State Executive Members in Rivers State, the National Working Committee (NWC), pursuant to the provisions of Section 29 (2) (b) of the Constitution of our Party, has, on behalf of the National Executive Committee (NEC) approved the appointment of the expired Excos as Caretaker Committee Members.
“For the avoidance of doubt, attached to this letter is theauthentic list of the Caretaker Committee Members in Rivers State. These Caretaker Committees shall run the affairs of our Party at their appropriate levels for a period of three (3) months effective from the dates of their expiration, i.e. March 14, 18, 21, 2024 for Wards, LGA, and State, respectively.
“Please note that the NWC equally approved that anywhere vacancies have occurred due to death, removal, resignation, or defection, such vacancies shall not be filled.
“While thanking you for your continuous commitment, please accept the assurances of the NWC’s highest regards”.
Governor Fubara emphasized that the party stands on the agreement reached on the issue as encapsulated in the letter by the NWC to the State Chairman of PDP dated March 27, adding that no amount of intimidation, clandestine moves, wasteful lobbying and needless expenditure of public funds will change the position already taken.
The Governor stated that the list purported to be members of the Caretaker Committees of the party in the state was only the imagination of its purveyors, and advised those whose names were removed in the fake list and gullible members of the public to ignore it in its entirety.
He said that the party did not at any time remove or replace the names of officers whose tenures had been officially extended for three months, pending possible National Executive Committee ratification on April 18.
Governor Fubara insisted that what was published on Thursday and circulated on social media is not only fake, concocted and manipulated to suit the desperate ambitions of enemies of the State and its people, but a deliberate attempt to provoke members and cause discord in the party.
He observed that the list published in some national dailies and circulated on social media on Thursday was the handiwork of politicians who were spending public funds to cause unnecessary tension, anxiety and friction in the polity, and also distract the Government from the real task of governance in the State.
The Governor urged the elected officers of the party at ward, local government, and state levels whose names were removed and replaced with fictitious names to remain calm, and go about their legitimate duties as officers of the party.
He also warned those fomenting trouble and fanning the embers of confusion and disunity to retrace their steps, and embrace peace or face severe consequences.
The Governor also warned those whose names were forced into the fake and fabricated list of purported Caretaker Committee members being circulated not to be deceived by anybody with unmerited appointment, and avoid parading themselves or showing their presence at any party offices pretending to be officials, as anyone caught would be made to face the full wrath of the law for forgery and impersonation.

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