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LG Polls: PDP’s Victory Thanksgiving And …

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Last Sunday the highest level of leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Rivers State led its victorious team of chairmanship and councillorship candidates in the just concluded local government elections in the state to a special thanksgiving service in recognition of God’s benevolence to the party and its membership.
Held at the St. Patrick Anglican Church in Port Harcourt, the occasion had in attendance the crème de la crème of the party in the state with the Governor himself leading the throng, being represented by the Deputy Governor and ably supported by the state party Chairman.
Speaking on the occasion, Governor Nyesom Wike, who is also the leader of the party in the state, represented by his deputy, Dr Ipalibo Harry-Banigo expressed gratitude to God for the outcome of the April 17, local council chairmanship and councillorship polls in which the PDP emerged victorious in all 23 local governments executive and more than 300 legislative positions contested for.
“It is not by our power, it is not by our strength, it is not by our making but by the Holy Spirit,” he said, adding: “That is what God has ordained for Rivers State”. He emphasized that Rivers State is a PDP State and would remain so.
In addition to the electoral triumph, the Rivers State Chief Executive said the PDP organised the thanksgiving in appreciation of God’s intervention that ensured a peaceful and crisis-free exercise against the wishes of detractors and those who do not mean well for the party and the state.
Delivering his sermon on the occasion, the Bishop of Diocese of Niger Delta North of the Anglican Communion, Rt. Rev. Wisdom Budu Ihunwo, entreated the local government chairmen-elect to work to improve the pitiable lot of the people they have secured the mandate to oversee their affairs.
Reading from the Bible book of Proverbs chapter 19 and verse 17 which says: “He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the Lord; and that which he hath given will He pay him again,” Bishop- Ihunwo charged the local councils’ chief executives-elect to create an enabling environment that will reduce poverty in the local communities, noting that the socio-economic circumstances of the people at the rural areas are desperate and in dire need of urgent spirited rescue efforts.
Charging them to see themselves as privileged persons, the  clergy urged the soon-to-be-sworn-in chairman of local government areas to render selfless service to the people, warning that selfishness and greedy tendencies in leadership will only take God’s favour away from them. He said only by investing in the people with the sole purpose of lifting them from their present squalid conditions would they (the political leaders) attract and enjoy the kindness and benevolence of God as well.
There is a school of thought which believes that it is superfluous to plead and preach to people who had humbly requested and have been graciously granted the mandate to perform the same task and provided with all the enabling tools. In the thinking of this group of people, the local government chairmen, and indeed all other heads of government at all levels are not to dispense favours according to the dictate of their whims and caprices but to judiciously administer the resources of the people for their  (people) benefit under oath.
The job of a local government chairman therefore is much like any other paid employment where persons interested in the job indicate that interest through application, go through screening and are engaged based on impression made and trust built that the job will be done to the satisfaction of the employer under agreed terms and conditions. Often, as long as the employer meets their own part of the bargain, sanctions await the employee if they fall below par in service delivery or take undue advantage of their employment or engage in practices that are detrimental to the employer and their interest.
Simply put, the relationship between the government and the people is a contractual one with obligations to meet and not without consequences if any one defaults or fails in keeping their own part of the terms of the contract. Strictly speaking, therefore, nobody begs or pleads with a contractor to perform their job for which they are paid because they are aware that actions could be taken against them in the event that they don’t deliver on promise or they could be rewarded with more jobs if they prove faithful and worthy.
Perhaps, it is against this understanding that the leader of the PDP in the State, Gov Nyesom Wike has been crying himself hoarse in appealing to the standard bearers of the party at the local government level to emulate his performance at the state level as they prepare to go into office.
Admonishing the chairmen-elect when he received them on a ‘thank you’ visit in his office, Gov. Wike told them not to abuse the opportunity they have been given to serve their people and also avoid the pitfall of helping themselves to the commonwealth of the people.
“Contribute your quota. Make your mark and create impact. Improve on the lives of the people. If God has given you the opportunity, don’t abuse it”, he warned them, while reminding them that the chance exists for them to be called to higher service if they discharge themselves creditably in the opportunity they already have.
As part of tips to guide them for a successful outing, the governor, who himself was a two-term Chairman of Obio/Akpor Local Government Area before becoming a Minister of the Federal Republic, advised them to relate closely with the people, identify with their challenges and proffer solutions to them.
“It is a shame that you’ll serve for three or six years and you don’t have any project executed. You may claim you pay salaries. You have to pay salary, of course, but also be concerned about what legacy to leave behind and what you can be remembered for”, he emphasized and asked them to “show how you can enhance the chances of the party in your areas and make it popular. We are doing something at the state level, so do something too”.
Rivers State is a PDP State and that has been established and demonstrated for as long as the present democratic experience has lasted in Nigeria but the chances of the party cannot be enhanced if the incoming council administrators do not consciously and aggressively do something to change the prevailing state of affairs that is characterised by indolence and absenteeism.
The state party hierarchy must therefore, set benchmarks of performance and establish mechanisms to constantly monitor and evaluate the performances of the members the party has worked so hard to bring to power. There needs to be regular engagement between (and among) the party and the elected officials where situations will be reviewed, notes compared, challenges ex-rayed, solutions proferred and resolutions reached to strengthen the party through quality service delivery to the people.
It will not be too much for the party to insist that local government chairmen elected under the umbrella of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Rivers State take full time residence in their local government areas while they only pay visits to the state capital. In the alternative, the chairmen should be made to undertake to be going to their offices at the council headquarters at least three times in a week. The party should also insist on having monthly progress report from the councils. The era when LGA chairmen behaved like emperors without being accountable to anyone must be consigned to the past while a new dawn of purposeful, transparent, accountable and responsible  and responsive epoch must be birthed.
It is good and commendable that the PDP is thanking God for the favours He has bestowed on the party by the victory He has wrought for it but God will accept the thanksgiving and do more for the party if the party translates the victory into effective positive change in the lives of the people.
By: Opaka Dokubo
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Ahead 2027: Pro-Tinubu Group Sets Up Structures In APC

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The Mandate Movement (TMM), a pro-President Bola Tinubu group in the All Progressives Congress (APC), has set up 37 structures in a bid to enlarge its membership base across the country.
The structures consist of the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja.
The national leader of the movement, Cardinal James Odunmbaku, made this known in a statement, explaining that the move became necessary for the ease of administration.
Cardinal Odunmbaku, in the statement, noted that this move was a precursor to the preparations for the 2027 general election.
He stressed that the move aims at ensuring that the APC has strong dominance across communities and towns in every part of the country.
He advised those to be appointed as state coordinators to be more effective in mobilising new people into the ruling APC.
The APC chieftain also used the opportunity to appeal to Nigerians to be patient with the President Bola Tinubu’s administration, assuring that the government was taking steps to address the harsh economic challenges.

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Benue APC Crisis: Court Sacks Acting State Chairman

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The recently suspended Benue State Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr. Austin Agada, has been reinstated by a Makurdi High Court presided over by the Chief Judge of the State, Justice Maurice Ikpambese.
Recall that Mr Agada was earlier in the month suspended from office by another Benue High Court in Aliade presided over by Justice Lilian Tsumba following an ex parte motion filed by Mr Moses Agaba against him and the APC after his Ihaje Ward I Executive in Ogbadibo Local Government Area had passed a no-confidence vote on him and also suspended him for alleged anti-party activity.
The suspension was immediately followed by the inauguration of Mr. Benjamin Omakolo from Igoro Ward, Apa LGA as the acting State Chairman during a State Executive Committee meeting of the party presided over by Governor Hyacinth Alia.
However the crisis in the party took a dramatic turn Monday when Justice Ikpambese reinstated Mr. Agada while ruling on a motion by the embattled chairman seeking to set aside the interim order restraining him from parading himself as  Chairman.
After listening to the arguments of counsel to Moses Agaba, Mr. Johnson Usman, and that of Innocent Daagba, who appeared alongside Richard Ayilla, George Ushongo, Daniel Sorkaa and John Ifer who appeared  for Mr. Agada, Justice Maurice Ikpambese vacated the order restraining him from parading self, function and acting as the Chairman of the APC in the State.
Justice Ikpambese ruled that “under Order 39, rule 3 of the Benue State High Court Procedure Rules, 2023, the lifespan of an interim order is seven days, and since the order was issued on February 2, 2024, it has elapsed by law.”
Justice Ikpambese nullified the appointment of Benjamin Omakolo as acting Chairman and any other appointment made from February 2, 2024.
He accordingly struck out the motion seeking to set aside the interim order of February 2, 2024, as “it has been overtaken by events.”
The matter would be assigned to another Judge by the Chief Judge who would hear it on its merit.
Reacting, the APC State acting Chairman, Mr. Omakolo dismissed the reinstatement of Mr. Agada saying “whether the order restraining him (Agada) from parading himself as the Chairman is vacated or not, the fact that he has been suspended by his Ward still places a ban on him to be able to function as APC Chairman in Benue State. “And it will interest you to know that in the court ruling today, no matter concerning my person or role as the acting Chairman was mentioned.
“So, I still remain the valid acting State chairman of the APC in Benue State. I remain the one who pilots the affairs of the APC in Benue State and the APC family takes instructions and directives from my office as the acting Chairman of APC in the State.
“And even that wrong vacation that was done in the High Court has already been appealed. The person that took him to court has appealed the judgement because it is not correct in law for a High Court to restrain another High Court, a court of coordinate jurisdiction. I have long assumed office as the acting Chairman of APC in Benue State.”

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There’s No Changing Bayelsa Gov’ship Result – Diri

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Governor of Bayelsa State, Senator Douye Diri, has said that the November 11, 2023, governorship election in the State has been won and lost and cannot be changed through subterranean moves of his main rival in the poll.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared the incumbent governor winner of the election and presented certificates of return to him and the deputy governor-elect, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, on November 17, 2023.
Diri, who spoke on Monday during the first year memorial service of his late father, Pa Abraham Diri, at the St Peter’s Anglican Church, Sampou, Kolokuma/Opokuma Local Government Area, said the subpoena to the police to testify as witness at the election petition tribunal by the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Chief Timipre Sylva, was diversionary, a waste of time and an exercise in futility.
He said the acceptable standard was the election result declared by INEC and not that of the police.
His words, “they are bringing a police report. They are bringing a police commissioner to come and testify in the election tribunal. We have crossed that bridge long ago. Just as we stopped them from rigging, we will stop them again.
“If you want to subpoena anybody, let it be INEC, which conducted the election and declared the results. The police are in charge of security.
“Let us be steadfast. Our second tenure will be better than the first.”
The governor eulogised his father for laying a solid foundation for him and his siblings.
According to him, his father was being celebrated a year after his death because he left good legacies that were speaking through him and his siblings.
He said: “His impact upon our lives, his children and relatives, is unspeakable. That is why I believe in giving the best education to children, so that whether you are alive or not, they can stand anywhere. I urge fellow Bayelsans to give their children good education.
“What we are doing today is to appreciate God and celebrate the life of our father for what he has done in our lives. Our father guided us very well. All his life was how to discipline and give what he had to society.
“Those of us in leadership as president, governors, Speakers and other positions, let us know that there is a legacy we should leave, which will speak for us when we leave this world.”
Speaking on the topic: “What will you be remembered for?” Rev. Funkuro Amgbare, Bishop of the Diocese of Northern Izon of the Anglican Communion, noted that Pa Diri was being remembered a year after his death because he impacted positively on his children and the society.
He admonished all to live a life worth remembering by maintaining their integrity.

 

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