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2023: Don Canvasses Zoning Assembly Seats Among Wards, Communities

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A lecturer at the Federal University, Otuoke, Bayelsa State, Dr Coronation Tokpo Edward, has said zoning of House of Assembly seats amongst wards and communities in the various Constituencies of the state would foster unity and ameliorate the spate of marginalisation in parts of the state.
The lecturer, a one-time councillor in the Southern Ijaw council area of Bayelsa State expressed this view while speaking with The Tide in Yenagoa on the sidelines of the calls by a group, ‘Ogboin-Ibe forum,’ that the Assembly seat for Southern Ijaw Constituency One be rotated amongst the three communities of Amassoma, Otuan and Amatolo, which make up the Constituency, respectively.
Tokpo, who said the Amassoma Communitiy has systematically denied the two other sister Communities of Otuan and Amatolo the privilege of occupying the Assembly seat, revealed that from the beginning of the present democratic dispensation in 1999 till date, all the elected Assembly members from the constituency have been indigenes of Amassoma Communitiy.
He called on stakeholders to prevail on Amassoma and all political parties in the state to ensure that there was a level playing ground in the forthcoming election and consider to cede the position to aspirants from Otuan and Amatolo as candidates for the seat and not contrary.
He noted that though performance rating records at his disposal show that some erstwhile Assembly members of the constituency of Amassoma origin initiated and carried out impactful projects in the constituency, no meaningful impact has been made by the current representative of the Constituency since assumption of office in 2019.
“Southern Ijaw Constituency One comprises Amassoma, Otuan and Amatolo Communities. But as we speak,from 1999-till date, all the House of Assembly members that the constituency has had were from one Communitiy, Amassoma.
“Infact, these three Communities and their two sister communities that are now in Delta State were of the same ancestral origin of Ogboin Kingdom. Very recently, following the growing concern for zoning of the Assembly seat of the Constituency among the three sister communities of the Kingdom that are in Bayelsa state, a group, the ‘Ogboin-Ibe forum, has added its voice calling on rotation of the seat to give all the three Communities and each ward a sense of belonging.
“The calls are getting stronger each day and I hope that political parties and stakeholders in the name of Justice, equality and fair play would listen to these voices calling for a common understanding for the avoidance of political marginalization.
“ The issue of zoning has been a thorny one over the years. That Otuan in the Second Republic produced the Assembly member in the old Rivers State House of Assembly and that because Otuan had also had one or two members of the National Assembly in the distant past is not a yardstick that Amatolo and Otuan can not or should not produce a member of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly in the current democratic era”, he said.
“In 1999, the late Chief DSP Alamieyeseigha was elected Governor of Bayelsa State and the Otuan and Amatolo people massively supported him like many other parts of the state. Someone from Otuan, the late Hon. Foster Otoko was also elected to the House of Representatives and the brothers worked together. Why can we not now have an understanding on the issue of zoning so that the three communities can have a sense of belonging?”, he asked..

By: Ariwera Ibibo-Howells, Yenagoa

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Niger Delta

112,759 Delta Pupils Write Entrance Examination Into Sec Schs

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A total of 112,759 final year pupils of public and private primary schools in Delta State sat for the 2022 entrance examination into its secondary schools at the weekend.
Permanent Secretary, Delta State Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education, Mr Augustine Oghoro, made the declaration in Asaba on Saturday while monitoring the 2022 Cognitive/placement examination.
Describing the conduct of the examination as successful, he said, “the Ministry is satisfied with the peaceful conduct of the examination at the centres visited,’’.
The Commissioner for Secondary Education,Mrs Rose Ezewu, who monitored the examination in Delta Central and some parts of Delta South, said the examination was unique as it was the foundation of the pupils’ educational pursuits.
“I am satisfied with the commitment of the pupils that sat for the examination,’’ she said.
In his remarks, the Director of Examinations, Mr Sunday Egomaguna, said Delta was committed to setting the pace in the conduct of examinations.
Also speaking, the proprietor of a group of private schools in Okpanam, Oshimili North Local Government Area, Mr Fidelis Egugbo, said he was optimistic about the successes of the candidates.

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Udom Plans Reconciliation Of Aggrieved PDP Aspirants

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Akwa Ibom State Governor, Emmanuel Udom, has assured people of the State that he would reconcile aggrieved members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), after the party’s primary elections.
Udom, who stated this on Sunday, while speaking with newsmen at his country home in Onna, after the State House of Assembly and House of Representatives primaries, said though delegates to the primaries were limited to recently elected ad-hoc delegates, candidates chosen were capable of ensuring a clean sweep for the party in next year’s general elections.
According to the Governor, the party remains united and strong, in spite of grievances from some members, adding that winning elections remains an act of God.
He, however, expressed confidence that all challenges confronting the party would be resolved.
“Today, I decided to obey the rules of the Electoral Act that disqualified me from being a delegate, I refused to go near the venue.
“I have come to understand that whatever comes our way, is an act of God, we cannot blame anyone.
“Akwa Ibom is PDP and PDP is Akwa Ibom, I hope to immediately set up a reconciliation committee for those of us feeling aggrieved that probably the process, today, did not favour them.
“It is an act of God and there is nothing anyone can do about it. No one in this country saw this coming.
“So, we must take it the way we have seen it, so the committee will reconcile and bring them back together,” he said.
He commended the party for the smooth conduct of the primaries.
Meanwhile, Mr Ephraim Inyangeyen, an aspirant from Akwa Ibom South Senatorial District, said a group of aspirants in the State had decided to pull out of the primaries because of the pending court issues arising from the last ad-hoc delegates election in the State.
Inyangeyen, the former Chief of Staff to the Governor, said the exercise conducted by the PDP in the State was illegal and could not be considered as a democratic exercise.
He said a group of aspirants had asked the leadership of the PDP in the State to provide a level playing ground for all aspirants, to contest and prove their popularity.
He expressed disappointment at the government for failing to provide that level playing ground, because “they were afraid to lose in a free and fair competition.
“We approached the court and an injunction was granted against the conduct of the exercise in the State.
“I remain in my house today, I don’t mind what they are doing. I am a law abiding citizen and whatever they are doing today, we would challenge it in court.
“We have asked our supporters to shun the primaries because it is being conducted on illegality,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mr Joseph Ekpeyong, the Returning officer in Esit Eket/Ibeno State Constituency, announced Udo Friday as candidate for the constituency, with 61 votes from 62 delegates.
In he same vein, the Returning Officer for Eket Federal Constituency, Mr Michael Nsang, announced Okpolupm Ette, who got 103 votes as winner of the Eket Federal Constituency, while his closest rival, Mr David Lawrence had 27 votes.
Eket Federal Constituency includes Eket, Esit Eket, Ibeno and Onna Local Government Areas.

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Niger Delta

Hold Arbitrations In Nigeria, Jonathan Tells FG

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Former President Goodluck Jonathan has faulted the hearing of arbitrations for the contracts entered by the Federal Government with International Organisations in the United Kingdom.
He made this position in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital, during a launch of the book titled “Arbitration and Dispute Resolution in Nigeria”, over the weekend.
The Tide’s source reports that the book is written by King Collins Daniel, the Traditional Ruler, Abureni Kingdom, in Ogbia Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.
He also charged the bodies responsible for arbitration or resolving disputes in the country to work hard to ensure arbitration for the government contracts done in the country for proper understanding.
Jonathan explained that resolving disputes outside the court room is short, less expensive and makes people more bound to the terms morally.
According to him: “Let me use this unique opportunity to charge the bodies in this country that are responsible for either arbitration or resolving issues to work hard to ensure that arbitrations are done in Nigeria.
“Because all the contracts the Nigerian government entered with international organisations, arbitrations are always done in the United Kingdom. Can’t we do some of these arbitrations in Nigeria?
“I don’t know why it must be the United Kingdom, why it must be outside Nigeria, I think we need to work hard, so that some of these things will be done here in Nigeria.
“As non lawyers, we look at issues of resolving disputes in two different ways: one that takes place in the courtroom, and one that takes place outside the courtroom.
“We think that society is so complex, going to court for judges to settle our disputes solved all our problems because judges decide based on the facts presented to them, that is why people still get back home and start fighting.
“More especially issues like land cases and Chieftaincy cases, so I believe solving disputes outside the courtroom will be a better and shorter way than going through court processes,” he said.
The author of the book and Olila-Ebhugh of Abureni kingdom, King Daniel, said he used his experience as a legal practitioner, law teacher and a traditional ruler to write the book, to help the society on how to resolve issues properly and permanently.
According to him, dispute resolution is a key because in every society, there is bound to be dispute and the way the dispute is resolved to the satisfaction of every party brings lasting peace in the society.
King Charles Owaba, the Paramount Ruler of Ogbia Kingdom, said the traditional institution was the fundamental arbitration and dispute resolution system in Nigeria.
He commended the author for putting pen and book together to come up with such work, to settle disputes without the court.

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