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Appeal Court President Gets Wike, Fayemi, Makinde, Lalong’s Praise

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The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, led prominent leaders of the state to attend the Special Thanksgiving Mass organised in honour of the President of the Court of Appeal, Hon. Justice Monica Bolna’and Dongban-Mensem, last Saturday.
The service was also used to celebrate her first year anniversary in office, held at the St. Monica’s Catholic Church in Rantya Low Cost Housing Estate, Jos Town in Plateau State.
Governors present at the event include, Chairman of Nigeria Governors’ Forum, Dr.Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti); Chief Nyesom Wike (Rivers); Engr Seyi Makinde (Oyo); Simon Lalong (Plateau); and Deputy Governor of Nasarawa State, Dr. Emmanuel Akabe.
The governors of Benue, Ondo and Bauchi sent representatives.
President Muhammadu Buhari, who was represented at the event by the Minister of Women Affairs, Mrs. Pauline Tallen, stated that everything was being done to solve issues of insecurity in the country.
However, Buhari noted that the task cannot be done by him alone, saying all men and women of goodwill must contribute their quota to solve the challenges facing the country.
He expressed optimism that with concerted efforts and prayers, peace will be restored in the entire country.
“There is no part of Nigeria that is not in this church, today.
“Mr. President sends his appreciation as we all gather to thank God for the life of Justice Dongban-Mensem, and to pray for Nigeria in this most trying period.
“Mr. President is very delighted that you have all taken time to come and honour this great daughter of Plateau, and to assure you that he’s doing everything possible to address the problem of insecurity. But, he said he cannot do it alone. He’s calling on all the clergy, men and women of goodwill to stand by us at this most trying period.”
In his speech, Chairman of Nigeria Governors’ Forum and Governor of Ekiti State, Dr.Kayode Fayemi, said governors believe that the best only should be provided for the country’s Judiciary.
That is why, he stated, they have become the best campaigners for a better remuneration for Nigeria’s judges because they hold them and Judiciary workers in high esteem.
Fayemi described Justice Dongban-Mensem as a woman of substance, character and integrity who has demonstrated a sense of value, morality and principles in all of her judicial dealing.
According to him, Nigeria’s governors will do nothing less to continue to respect and support not only her, but all judges because they also constitute a critical arm of government.
“Our presence is a statement of how much reverence we give to the celebrant and the good people of Plateau State. Contrary to what you might have been led to believe in the past few months of JUSUN strike that governors don’t like judges, it’s not true.
“As a matter of fact, we hold our judges on high esteem. We are even the ones campaigning, particularly for judges to be better remunerated than what they currently have.”
In his remarks, Chairman of Northern Governors’ Forum and Governor of Plateau State, Hon. Simon Lalong, said Justice Dongban-Mensem made history by being the first indigene of his state to head the Court of Appeal.
He also commended Wike, Fayemi, and Makinde and other dignitaries who graced the occasion.
In his sermon, the Bishop of Bauchi Diocese, Rt. Rev Hilary Dachelem said Justice Monica Bolna’anDongban-Mensem was today being celebrated as the second female to have become the President of Nigeria’s Court Appeal because of the grace of God that she has enjoyed.
Dachelem said the gathering of Nigerians from all the geopolitical zones to honour Justice Dongban-Mensem exemplifies the kind of love that must be encouraged among Nigerians, irrespective of religion and tribe.
He decried the harm that has been caused by hate speech, insecurity and unemployment among the youths.
He asserted that Nigeria’s challenges can be surmounted if all leaders and followers can sincerely sit and talk together over the problems,with a view of finding tenable solutions to the dissatisfaction that has agitated many hearts.
Dachelem also urged the government at all levels to adopt strategic listening skills that will enrich mutually accepted process of dialogue that should address the pains and distrust expressed by Nigerians in order to re-establish friendship and love among them.
“We, all of us here need to be vanguards of peace and dialogue. All of us are supposed to be vanguards of unity.
“Leadership and followership must sit down and reason. Why is it not possible again to travel and feel free? Nigeria was like that when we were all friends. Government must listen; strategic listening.
“When we hear agitations coming from the West, North and East, all we need to do is to sit down. So, we can’t afford to pay deaf ears to the cries of the people.”
On her part, Justice Monica Bolna’anDongban-Mensem, who ascribed her success in the legal profession to God’s benevolence said, she was waiting for an appropriate time to organise a thanksgiving not knowing that the delay will eventually coincide when she clocks one year as President of the Court of Appeal.
On the delegation of Wike were the former Governor of Rivers State, Sir Celestine Omehia; former Deputy Speaker of House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Austin Opara; former Minister of Transport, Dr.AbiyeSekibo; Senator Lee Maeba;OkeyWali (SAN); Frank Owhor; and Onueze. C. J. Okocha (SAN).

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N’Delta Leaders Insist On Resource Control, Self-Determination

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Some leaders of the Niger Delta have demanded granting of self-determination to their region to take total control of its resources and end years of alleged exploitation, deprivation and slavery of their people in the Nigerian state.
The leaders, who lamented that the people of the Niger Delta had been talking and agitating for resource control and restructuring of the country through conferences but to no avail, said the time had come for them to take their destiny in their hands.
In a keynote address at a conference by the Niger Delta Alternative Convergence (NDAC) to endorse the eight-point demand in the “Niger Delta Manifesto for Socio-Ecological Justice” in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, former Chairman, Editorial Board of The Guardian, Prof. G. G. Darah, said: “From the challenges we are facing in the Niger Delta region, we seem to assume that the Federal Government is on our side whereas the Federal Government is the number one enemy of the Niger Delta.
“Today, people are anxious to be the president of Nigeria because there is the Niger Delta oil for them to squander. What this means is that the political system is all organised for taking control of the oil money, to share it among the friends of the president. All the parties are organised gangs to loot and plunder the Niger Delta resources.
“That is the country we are in. Therefore, we must assume that whatever government that comes to office in 2023 will not be different from the past ones since 1960. Nigeria has been designed to steal our resources and share. They gather monthly in Abuja to share the money. All our presidents, now and past, occupied office for the purpose of plundering our resources, otherwise our own son would have done something. Jonathan, when he was president, had no capacity to touch any bad section of the constitution against the Niger Delta”.
According to Darah, “Nigeria exists today because of Niger Delta oil and Nigeria is the only country in the world that has colonised its people.
“Now, we are pleading that the Federal Government should implement the manifesto. We have to do it by ourselves because if you look at history, it is not today that our people have been fighting against injustice. Jonathan called for a national conference and all the issues raised could not be implemented. So, what we are doing now is the authentication of the national conference for Nigerian people.
“The structure of Nigeria is against us and to build a new Nigeria will take time. We need a Niger Delta that will be in charge of its own resources and aim to be a country of its own, a sovereign country. Some ethnic groups in the Niger Delta are bigger than some European countries and our ancestors in their grave will not forgive us that we succumbed cheaply. We are well populated”.
Prof. Lucky Akaruese of the Ishekiri nationality aligned with the position of Darah, noting that many countries of the world like East Timo and Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia, Denmark and Norway, Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union that split into many countries are products of negotiations, so the Niger Delta and Nigeria cannot be an exception.
A prominent traditional ruler from Rivers State backed the demand for a sovereign state.
“I agree with Prof. Darah that we should clamour for Niger Delta Republic, and the manifesto we are signing today, we should speak with one voice. We have been talking and now it is only action that will bring result. There is nothing the Niger Delta has gotten without struggle.
“The manifesto will remain a document if we do not put it to action. The Pan-Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) presented a 16-point agenda but only two were implemented. So, we need to take a deliberate action on some of the issues we raise here.”
The convener of NDAC and Executive Director of Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF), Comrade Nnimmo Bassey, said: “The convergence also aims to produce an inclusive Niger Delta Manifesto for Socio-Ecological Justice highlighting needed alternatives for transformation and social mobilisations for resource justice. It is hoped that NDAC will provoke a platform for convergence of communities in the region to galvanise action for needed changes for re-source access, including through demands for legislative changes, debates on the Petroleum Industry Bill and for critical attainment of re-source democracy – defined as the right of a people to live in harmony with nature and to retain a right to use, or not use, the gifts of nature.”
He stated that 64 years of oil extraction had brought untold misery and cut life abysmally low in the region.
“Things cannot continue this way. We have demands and resolves in the proposed Niger Delta Manifesto shared to delegates. Let’s all rise to be counted, demand that politicians declare their environmental plans before they gain our votes. Let us demand real climate action, including a halt to gas flaring and a restoration of our ecosystems. Let us demand action to stall the washing away of our communities. After 64 years of a nightmare, it is time to wake up, it is time to demand socio-ecological justice. We are not calling for charity, we are calling for justice”.
Former Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Obong Victor Attah, and the National Chairman of PANDEF, Senator Ibok Essien, clamoured for restructuring and total control of resources.
They pleaded with the people of the region to get their PVCs to vote people that will carry out restructuring of the country.

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Nwuke Dismisses Wike’s Alleged Plan To Dump PDP

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A former member of the House of Representatives, Ogbonna Nwuke, last Friday, dismissed the speculations that Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, would soon dump the Peoples Democratic Party.
There have been insinuations that Wike might join either the Labour Party or the New Nigeria Political Party (NNPP) ahead of the 2023 general election.
This is coming after the governor met with the presidential candidate of Labour Party, Peter Obi; and the presidential candidate of NNPP, Rabiu Kwankwaso, in Port Harcourt, last week.
While speaking with newsmen in Port Harcourt,Nwuke said Wike has no plans to dump the PDP for any other party.
He further stated that the Rivers State governor would not defect considering the large followership he has built across the country.
Nwuke said, ”It just tells you who Governor Wike is. This is the first time he is playing national politics. But you can see that Wike has entered the minds of a lot of Nigerians. They are taking him seriously. Even the performance at the convention where the North rallied behind the scene to stop him, did not end in disgrace.
“So, if you look at the outcome of the convention, you will know that Governor Wike controls a sizable number of PDP members. A huge segment of the party is behind him. When you look at the gap between him and Atiku Abubakar and the gap between him and the rest, that should tell you something that the one we have been talking about has become notable when it comes to Nigeria’s politics.
“Frankly, he has followership in the North-Central; followership in the South-West; followership in the South-South and followership in the South-East. So, I am not surprised that a lot of people are coming to Port Harcourt, and saying, ‘Governor, why not come fully into the campaigns?’ They need him in the PDP house, and I am glad that Governor Wike has said ‘I am not going anywhere’.”

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2023: Guber Candidate Faults INEC On APC, LP Placeholders 

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The governorship candidate of the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP) in Delta State, Engr Igbini Emmanuel, has said it is not out of place for presidential flagbearers to choose placeholders, especially as it conforms to the new Electoral Act that has been signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Recall that some presidential flagbearers picked vice Presidential candidates as placeholders, prompting reactions from cross sections of Nigerians.
Odefe said INEC erred by discrediting the candidates that picked placeholders in the build up to the general election in 2023.
He said, “As a political activist and a former three-time governorship candidate, I am compelled to react to the recent claim by Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) through its National Commissioner, Barr. Festus Okoye, that there exists no place in Nigerian Constitution and Legal Framework for what is now described as “placeholders” in Nigeria’s electoral process specifically as it concerns submission, change or substitution of names of candidates for general elections by registered political parties.
“This claim by INEC is a fundamental falsehood deliberately made by it to mislead Nigerian voters and to cast aspersion on some political parties like APC and Labour Party which publicly disclosed that the names they submitted to INEC as their Vice Presidential Candidates were meant only to beat the June 17, 2022 date set by INEC but which they may change or substitute within the window provided by the sections 31 and 33 of the Electoral Act 2021, as amended to do so.
“Contrary to INEC’s claim, I wish to state unequivocally that actions taken by APC and LP are constitutional and in line with sections 29, 31 and 33 of the Electoral Act 2021, as amended. The use of the word, “Placeholder” is merely misinterpreted by INEC. “Placeholder” simply means that it is not substantive but temporarily standing in for something or someone else. The word is used in solving Algebraic Expression and Equations in Mathematics.
“Let me also inform Nigerians that this idea of changing or substituting candidates for general elections have been in our electoral laws of 2006, 2010 and now 2021, as amended.
“Furthermore, it is imperative for me to inform Nigerians that changing or substituting candidates for elections is not limited to only Vice Presidential Candidates as we now seem to focus on. In fact, all names so far submitted by Political Parties to INEC as Presidential, Vice Presidential, Senatorial, House of Representatives and House of Assembly Candidates are all “Placeholders” and can be changed or substituted before the 90 days to date of election, after which, no change or substitution is allowed except in case of death of a candidate.
“In conclusion, APC and LP have not acted against the Constitution and Electoral Act of Nigeria”.

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