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2023: ‘Nigerians Should Focus More On Winning Democracy Than Winning Elections’

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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate for Akwa Ibom South Senatorial District, Dr Ekong Sampson, has stated that the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has no defense for parading a Muslim-Muslim ticket “in this critical time in Nigeria’s history when the nation has witnessed widespread polarization based on religious and ethnic sentiments.”
A former two-term member of Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly and one time State Commissioner for Environment and Petroleum Resources, Dr  Sampson, stated this while speaking as Chairman at the inauguration of the  Akwa Ibom State Chapter of ‘PDP Ward 2 Ward Group’ which held at  Cityview Hall, Watbridge Hotels & Suites in Uyo, Friday.
Recall that the ruling APC’s presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and his running mate, Sen. Kashim Shettima are Muslims and the same faith pairing in a multi-religious country like Nigeria has so far generated heated debates.
Offering his perspective on the issue, Dr Sampson, famous for his in-depth views on matters of national concern, said he would not also support a Christian-Christian ticket in the country.
According to him, ‘the present scenario is different from that of June 12 in character and context’, adding that the personalities involved in the June 12 elections and the times are far apart from the present.
Dr Sampson said some influential bigwigs in the Babangida regime were apparently not comfortable with the same-faith pairing, a concern which could have contributed in no small measure to the debacle that ensued afterwards.
Dr Sampson, a lawyer,  charged Nigerians to focus more on winning democracy instead of winning election through desperate means.
He said his concern was borne out of his deep sense of patriotism and his well-known disposition to bridge building.
“What we need to do in Nigeria now is to build a stronger framework for national cohesion and we can’t do this by pushing for a same-faith ticket in the country. This is one issue that can undermine and weaken the fabrics of unity in the country.
“This is a time for Nigerians to come together and promote issues that can rather bring us together and deepen bonds rather than for us to exhibit such desperation that poses threats to our mutual coexistence. We should be interested in winning democracy and not just in winning election. What is more important is the survival of Nigeria and our democracy,” he maintained.
Praising the organisers of the programme, Dr Sampson said that he was happy that the initiative came in good time, and that the group would offer ample opportunity for Nigerians to come together to rescue the country from the present situation.
He charged the group to encourage Nigerians to come out and get registered for their Permanent Voters Cards, which he described as  ‘visa to democracy’.
Hailing the PDP, Dr Sampson further said the party has entrenched itself as a value-driven item for Nigeria.

According to him, the presidential candidate of the party, Alhaji Atiku Abubakka, ‘cuts across, readily as a bridge builder’, adding that this attribute was shown in the choice of his running mate, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, to balance the country’s delicate ethno- religious mix.

Dr Sampson who praised   the  obvious improvement in the country’s electoral reform process, however, said  more needed to be done in terms of ownership mentality and participation.

On his part, the South-South Co-ordinator of the group, Hon. Onengiye Tamuno, expressed profound gratitude for the level of hospitality accorded him and his team by  Akwa Ibom people.

He added that this was a pointer that ‘our preparedness for an all-out South-South bloc vote for our party is secure and intact.’

Hon. Tamuno hailed Akwa Ibom State Governor, Mr Udom Emmanuel for his giant strides in the areas of  development, tenacity in project execution and policy implementation.

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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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