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VAT: Wike Harps On Speedy Justice Delivery

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Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has stated that the Judiciary remains the strongest and most dependable foundation of Nigeria’s democracy and must not be allowed to falter in the face of any evolving challenges.
Speaking at the public presentation of a book titled, “Contemporary Essays  in Legal Practice”, in Port Harcourt, to mark the retirement of  Justice Anwuri Chikere, a Rivers-born retired Justce of the Federal High Court, Governor Wike said the VAT dispute between Rivers State Government and the Federal Government pending before the Supreme Court was a litmus test for the nation’s Judiciary to exercise its statutory functions as the protector and guardian of the rule of law by expediting the speedy processes of hearing and delivery of justice in the matter.
Governor Wike who alerted on the constitutional implications of the VAT contention on Nigeria’s democracy, decried the tendency of armtwisting of judicial processes in the country through the intimidation of judges by the National Judicial Council (NJC), a supposed flawless judicial arbitre on the dictates and vested concerns of powerful individuals and parties in the outcome of a litigation.
He urged judges not to yield to such intimidations but remain firm in the discharge of their duties, adding that the NJC should protect its integrity by refusing to be used as amenable tool to intimidate judges in matters of judicial complaints and discipline, thus undermining the system of justice delivery in the country.
Governor Wike pointed out that any attempt to subvert the Judiciary was a deliberate onslaught on democracy and as such signals the loss of hope of justice for the citizens.
The Rivers State Governor, who earlier attended a valedictory court session held at Federal High Court, Port Harcourt, in honour of the celebrant, Justice Anwuri Chikere (rtd), commended her for her courage and independent mindedness during her, years in service.
Meanwhile, Governor Wike has reiterated the commitment of his administration towards the fight against illegal oil refining which he likened to the war against terrorism.
Addressing the Chief of Defence Staff (CODS), Gen. Lucky Irabor, who was on courtesy visit at Government House, Port Harcourt on Friday, Governor Wike said his administration owed it as a duty to ensure that illegal oil refining which posed serious health threats to Rivers people and destroyed the nation’s economy was stopped.
He urged the CODS to direct the security operatives to join in the war against illegal oil refining and assured that necessary logistic supports would be given to security agencies to fight against the illicit act,
He added that all security personnel found to be involved in the act should be prosecuted.
On his part, the CODS, Gen. Irabor,  said the visit to Port Harcourt was part of the tour of military formations in the Niger Delta to assess security strategies and to motivate officers for greater efficiency.
He commended the Rivers State Governor for his bold efforts in the fight against illegal oil refining, describing the oil theft as a major threat to the nation’s oil and gas industry.
Also within the week, the Rivers State Government gave approval for the state to assess its share of the Healthcare Support Credit Fund established by the Central Bank of Nigeria. The approval was given at the state executive council meeting, presided over by Governor Wike at the Council Chambers of Government House, Port Harcourt.
Addressing journalists after the meeting, the Rivers State Commissioner for Finance, Isaac Kamalu, said the fund was introduced by the CBN to cushion the effects of the  Corona virus on the health of the people.
He explained that out of the N2.5billion fund, N2billion  would be channelled into healthcare infrastructural development while N500million would be a revolving  credit for medical consumables.

By: Beemene Taneh

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2023: Southern PDP Leaders Consider Fresh Option

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Leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the Southern 17 states have begun move to ensure that the presidential ticket is secured by an aspirant from one of the three geo-political zones.
In the alternative, they are also looking at a northerner with strong roots in the South.
The plan, according to sources, is to have a second strategy or an Option B, as it has become obvious that the party leadership will not yield to the demand for the presidential ticket to be specifically zoned to the South.
The Southern leaders are moving to ensure that their delegates vote only for either a particular southern aspirant or to adopt a northern candidate, who is not from the far North.
The strategy of the southern PDP leaders behind this plot is to ensure that the outcome of the PDP primary produces a win-win situation for the South, irrespective of where the candidates come from.
A chieftain, who spoke on phone, said: “We want to ensure that the South converts the disadvantage of the PDP refusing to zone the presidential position to the South in line with the rotation arrangement in the party’s constitution becomes a benefit to us.
“We will work to ensure that the South decides who the presidential candidate is, even if he is not from our zone.
“Southern delegates may come together and choose a northern candidate who has strong roots in the South. He must be somebody who has a close affinity and filial relationship with us. He must be somebody who understands the challenges facing the South and can run a government that is based on equity, justice and inclusiveness, and knows what it is to suffer injustice or the pains of the minority.”
“It is the reason why we will not support aspirants from the far North. We will rather support an aspirant whose zone has not produced any of the two positions in the Presidency. An ideal candidate for the PDP is somebody from either the South or the Northern minority.
“It is the only way we can show that without having a southern candidate; we can have a president who believes he owes the South and that the support of the southern delegates is instrumental to his victory. That means that if the South plays its card very well, it can produce a southern candidate from the North.”

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Buhari To Determine Malami,Other Returning Ministers’ Fate – Lai Mohammed

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President Muhammadu Buhari will decide the fate of those members of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) who made a u-turn on their political ambitions and continue to serve in the current administration.
Information and Culture Minister, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who disclosed this Wednesday to newsmen after the FEC meeting at the State House, Abuja, said he will need to confirm from the president the status of the returning ministers on whether or not they have been reabsorbed into the cabinet.
He said: “The  question about ministers returning or not going, I think you need to give me more time so that I can tell you exactly what the situation is. Right now, I need to cross check. I need to confirm again from Mr President what the situation is. You see the final decision on who is going, who’s coming back, who’s not going lies with Mr. President.”
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige; his Women Affairs counterpart, Dame Pauline Tallen; Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami; and Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timpre Sylva, had earlier rescinded their decision to contest for elective offices in 2023.
Malami was physically present at Wednesday’s Council meeting, while Tallen and Sylva attended the meeting virtually from their various offices in Abuja.
Ngige is said to be away on official engagement in Durban, South Africa, where he is attending the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) global conference on Child Labour.

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2023: Ganduje Refuses To Endorse Amaechi For Presidency

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Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State has refused to endorse the former Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi, for the presidency come 2023.
Amaechi visited Kano on Wednesday as part of his consultations ahead of the All Progressives Congress’ presidential primary.
The former minister had resigned from President Muhammadu Buhari’s cabinet to pursue his presidential ambition under the platform of the APC.
At the meeting, with other APC stakeholders present, Ganduje said Kano as a “swing state, will continue to swing.”
He added that Amaechi would know where the state eventually swung to at the right time.
TheTide source gathered that Amaechi, who had told the governor that the people in the APC already knew where Ganduje’s loyalty was, added that he was in Kano to convince him that he was the most qualified among the aspirants.
Our source recalled that when Amaechi visited the Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, he was equally not endorsed as the governor told him former Governor Bola Tinubu was their rallying point.
Ganduje is also known to be an ally of Tinubu, who is also aspiring for the Presidency.
Meanwhile, Amaechi said he was more qualified than Tinubu, noting that the former Lagos governor had never been a minister, and even as a lawmaker, Tinubu only served for a few months.
He equally noted that he was more qualified than Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, adding that while Osinbajo was a commissioner in Lagos, he was already a Speaker of Rivers State House of Assembly.

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