A Presidential aspirant on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) (name withheld) is to be probed by the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party for allegedly leaking the report of Governor Samuel Ortom-led National Zoning Committee.
The presidential aspirant, who is to face a probe alongside others suspected to have aided him in accessing the highly confidential document, may be expelled from the PDP as a punishment.
Sources at the Wadata House National Secretariat of PDP said that a 7-man probe panel is to be put in place at any moment to expeditiously deal with the matter considered ‘deliberate sabotage’.
National Chairman of the party, Dr Iyorchia Ayu, was said to have personally felt thoroughly bitter and embarrassed over the speed at which the Zoning Report found its way out of the Wadata House, and circulated to some persons considered as destabilising agents working against the 2023 agenda of the party.
An on-the-spot investigation by the National Executive Committee (NEC) was said to have revealed a shocking step being made to run the party into trouble in its planned May 28 Presidential primary election to nominate the party’s flag bearer in the coming presidential election.
The National Zoning Committee Report was submitted to Dr Iyorchia Ayu-led PDP NEC and is now slated for debate on May 11 when a final decision on the zoning issue is expected to be adopted.
However, less than 36 hours after the submission of the report, some top officials of the party were said to have been influenced by external forces leading to the leak of the report.
To worsen the situation, the leaked report was used at the Federal High Court in Abuja for a suit seeking to stop the planned Presidential primary on the ground that the zoning was not done in favour of the South-East geo-political zone.
Specifically, the suit was instituted by serving Commissioner for Trade and Investments in Abia State, Cosmos Ndukwe.
The National Zoning Committee Report was one of the key documents attached to Ndukwe’s ex-parte application filed alongside his originating summons in the suit against the presidential primary.
Ndukwe, a former Deputy Speaker in the Abia State House of Assembly, had filed an ex parte application seeking to stop the presidential primary of the PDP on account of zoning.
In doing so, he attached the communique of the Governor Ortom Committee whose recommendations are yet to be ratified by the PDP NEC but scheduled for May 11.
PDP NEC, it was gathered, concluded that exhibiting the Zoning Committee Report in the open court was a confirmation that an interest higher than Ndukwe was behind the alleged plot to scuttle PDP presidential primary.
A source in the National Working Committee (NWC) of the PDP explained that the party was considering probing the presidential aspirant and others who may be implicated in the leakage of the document and sanctioning them appropriately in line with its constitution.
Two of the presidential aspirants were said to have been dropped after a screening exercise, last Friday, and Ndukwe was suspected to be one of them even though Senator David Mark-led committee did not mention names of the aspirants that were screened out.
A careful look at the leaked document confirmed that the Ortom Committee had actually recommended that the presidential contest of the PDP should be thrown open for all aspirants irrespective of their zones of origin.
Attempts to reach the PDP National Chairman, Dr Iyorchia Ayu, for comments were unsuccessful as his security details insisted on written permission before he could be accessed.
The security details hinged pressure of work which Ayu is handling on the 2023 election preparation as the reason for blocking access to the chairman.
However, apart from Ortom, the 35-member National Zoning Committee consisted of Attahiru Bafarawa, Prof Jerry Gana, Olabode Ibiyinka George, Ahmed Markarfi, Abubakar Kawu Baraje, Wale Oladipupo and Boni Haruna.
Others are Jonah David Jang, Adamu Wasiri, Prof A.B.C. Nwosu, Senator Abdul Ningi, Mao Ohuabunwa, Sanusi Daggashi, Tom Ikimi, Ayodele Fayose, Ibrahim Dankwambo, and Sule Lamido, among others.
Publish Details Of Parties’ Financial Transactions, SERAP Tasks INEC
Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has asked the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof Mahmood Yakubu, to publish the reports of parties’ accounts and balance sheets.
The body also wants details of the guidelines and steps being taken to prevent vote buying in the forthcoming elections and to prosecute vote buyers and other electoral offenders.
In a letter, yesterday, SERAP Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, noted that citizens have the right to know about the accounts and financial transactions of parties.
He said transparency and accountability would curb the influence of money in politics, promote a level playing field, and remove the risks to the independence of political actors and would-be public office holders.
The organisation insisted it is both immoral and illegal to pay citizens to vote for a particular political party or standard-bearer.
“Unpunished cases of vote buying would continue to undermine good governance, the rule of law, moral values, as well as hinder citizens’ participation in elections”, it said.
SERAP told INEC that when candidates buy votes, there are possibilities that they will disregard for democratic rules.
“Vote buying and related electoral offences encourage poor governance and weaken citizens’ capacity to hold their elected officials accountable for their actions.”
SERAP charged the electoral umpire to collaborate with anti-corruption agencies to ensure the effective prosecution of any outstanding cases of vote buying and related electoral offences.
The letter urged INEC to act within 14 days or face legal actions that would compel it to comply with the request.
RSG Recommits To Engaging Youth Positively
The Rivers State Government has said it was committed to engaging youths positively and empowering them.
The State Chief Executive, Chief Nyesom Wike, stated this during the opening ceremony of the Uplifting African Youth Through Basketball Programme in Port Harcourt, last Friday.
Represented by his Deputy, Dr. Ipalibo Harry Banigo, Wike said the issues of youths and young adults were very important to his administration, while expressing delight that youths were being built up with critical life skills in sports, communication, and entrepreneurial leadership skills needed for Rivers State, Nigeria, and Africa.
“This administration is very interested in youth engagements, we want to make sure that our youths are very inclusive, participate, play their roles, and be well mentored and well-motivated to be able to fulfill all of their potentials in life, educationally, in sports, morally and so we are here to support”, the governor stressed.
The governor expressed gratitude to the leader of the Organised Basketball Network (OBN) and his team, for their efforts and the support of the US Consulate, while urging them to visit the Real Madrid Football Academy in Port Harcourt, to appreciate the efforts of the state government in the area of youth engagement.
The youth friendly governor, said “I want to encourage our youths that as you walk together in the next two days, you would learn how to be tolerant with one another and to know that gender based violence is totally not acceptable and that it is inhumane, I know it is just two days, but a lot can be achieved that can be life time impactful”.
In her remarks, the United States Consulate’s Deputy Public Affairs Officer, Jennifer Foltz said the United States and Nigeria have very special and close relationship, adding that the Consulate feels this was the right time to do a sports programme.
“Sports diplomacy is part of what we do, it is part of some ways we build stronger relationships between our two countries, sports brings people together, and even if you do not speak the same language you can still play sports together”, Foltz stressed.
Earlier, the leader of the Organised Basketball Network, Obinna Ekezie said OBN was a platform founded for the development of grassroots basketball in Nigeria and Africa with a mission to develop the next generation of world-class African student athletes and consistently create opportunities to help them advance their careers overseas, through basketball scholarship.
He said the project uplifting African youths was a project to provide inclusion and opportunities for under privileged talented African youths to learn important life skills through basketball.
PDP Assembly, Reps Candidates Emerge In Rivers
Candidates for the House of Representatives and House of Assembly have emerged following the conduct of primaries by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Rivers State, yesterday.
According to the official results, Solomon Bob emerged the party’s candidate for Abua/Odual/Ahoada East Federal Constituency while Victor Obuzor emerged the candidate for Ahoada West/Ogba/Egbema Federal Constituency.
Also, Awaji Inombek Abiante won the ticket for Andoni/Opobo Federal Constituency, just as Boma Goodhead returned elected for the Asari-Toru/Akuku-Toru Federal Constituency while Cyril Godwin Hart won Degema/Bonny Federal Constituency ticket.
The results further show that Felix Nwaeke emerged the candidate of the PDP for Eleme/Tai/Oyigbo Federal Constituency, with Boniface Emerengwa emerging winner for Ikwerre/Emohua Federal Constituency.
In the same vein, Kelechi Nwogu cruised to victory as the candidate for Etche/Omuma Federal Constituency while Dumnamene Dekor won Khana/Gokana Federal Constituency ticket.
Similarly, Kingsley Ogundu Chinda emerged the House of Representatives candidate for Obio/Akpor Federal Constituency, while Alabo Victor Tamunomiekaye won Okrika/Ogu/Bolo Federal Constituency ticket.
Chima Boms won Port Harcourt Federal Constituency 2 while Barrister Blessing Amadi is the winner of the primary election for Port HarcourtFederal Constituency 1.
For the Rivers State House of Assembly primary, Hon Dominic Iderima picked the ticket for Abua/Odual, Mrs Queen Williams picked the ticket for Ahoada East 1,Rt Hon Ehe Edison emerged the candidate for Ahoada East 2, while Hon Sokari Goodboy Sokari cruised to victory for Ahoada West.
Hon Major Jack won the ticket for Akuku-Toru 1, Hon Opuende Lolo Isaiah is the candidate for Akuku-Toru 2, Hon Ofiks Kabangs Christopher grabbed the ticket to represent Andoni, whileHon Tekena Wellington Granville got the ticket for Asari-Toru 1.
Also, a serving member, Enemi Alabo George easily won the ticket for Asari-Toru 2, just as Hon Victor Oko Jumbo got the nod to represent Bonny, while Hon Abbey Peter emerged the candidate for Degema.
Hon Igwe Obey Aforji emerged the PDP candidate for Eleme, Emohua will be represented by Mrs Justina Emeji, Hon Onwuka Ignatiuswon the ticket to represent Etche 1, while Hon Chimezie Nwankwor is the candidate for Etche 2.
The present member representing Gokana, Hon Dumle Maol, will retain his ticket for the seat, Prince Lemchi Nyeche emerged the candidate for Ikwerre 1, Mrs Barile Nwakoh won the ticket for Khana1, while Barrister Dinebari Loolo got the ticket for Khana 2.
In Obio/Akpor1, Hon Amaewhule Martin Chike was returned, just as Mrs Emilia Lucky Amadi emerged the candidate for Obio/Akpor 2, and Frankline Nwabochi will fly PDP flag for Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni1.
In the same token, Mrs Nkemuika Ezekwe will fight for Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni2 seat on the platform of the PDP, Davids Arnold Okobiriari won the ticket for Ogu/Bolo, a serving member, Somiari Steward Linda will return in Okrika, while Nwankwo Sylvanus emerged for Omuma seat.
Orubienimigha Adolphus grabbed the ticket for Opobo/Nkoro,Hon Gerald Oforji emerged for Oyigbo, Solomon Wami won the ticket for Port Harcourt1,Hon Tonye Smart Adoki will return for Port Harcourt2, Hon Azeru Opara emerged for Port Harcourt3, and Ngbar Bernard Baridamue won the ticket for Tai.
By: Nelson Chukwudi & Reward Akwu
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