One of the founding fathers of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Prof Jerry Gana, has lamented that some powerful forces were frustrating efforts to reconcile all aggrieved actors in the party, particularly the presidential candidate of PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike.
Gana, a former Minister of Information, who said this in a statement in Abuja at the weekend, added that the purveyors of discord in the party were doing so because of what they were benefitting from the present crisis.
In the statement, Gana said, “Our attention has been drawn to some fake news, making it necessary to issue this firm statement.
“News in the media that Governor Nyesom Wike has commenced legal proceedings, challenging the outcome of the 2022 PDP presidential primary is false.
“We unequivocally state that Wike has not and will not challenge the outcome of the just concluded PDP presidential primaries in court.
“He has long moved beyond such an action to focus on matters of how best to ensure victory for the PDP in the forthcoming elections”.
Gana described as false reports alleging Wike had instructed the removal of the ceremonial PDP flags and insignia from the Government House and Governor’s Office.
He said: “This again is false and misleading. The Rivers State governor never gave such instructions.
“It appears that some forces within and outside the party are expressly opposed to the reconciliation moves between Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and Wike.
“Such malicious efforts will surely fail by the grace of God.
“Let me assure all party faithful and supporters that we are strongly determined to ensure the success of the current reconciliation process.
“Building a stronger and more united Peoples Democratic Party is our priority as we move towards the 2023 general election.”
Meanwhile, amid confusion over the identity of the person who took Atiku to court, a former presidential aspirant on the party’s platform, Dr Cosmos Ndukwe, has claimed responsibility for the suit.
His clarification came following Wike and his team’s denial that the governor sued his party’s presidential flagbearer.
Ndukwe, a former Deputy Speaker, Abia State House of Assembly, whose name didn’t appear in the suit, however, claimed ownership of the suit.
He said he decided to take Atiku and PDP to court for gross violation of the party’s constitution on zoning.
The erstwhile presidential aspirant argued that PDP had over the years enshrined zoning in its constitution and observed the same for equity and justice but expressed shock that the party, for no justifiable reasons, decided to jettison zoning in choosing its presidential flagbearer for 2023.
The former Chief of Staff to Abia State governor said he had before the primaries gone to court to challenge the refusal of the party to zone its presidential ticket to the South.
Ndukwe further explained that when the matter was decided in his favour at the High Court, the defendants appealed the judgement at the Court of Appeal which overturned the decision of the High Court.
The former Commissioner for Trade and Industry in Abia State, said he decided to take the matter to the apex court for final determination.
He said the necessary parties were, last Thursday, served with the court processes, adding that it was likely that some people in Atiku’s camp misunderstood it and attributed it to Wike.
Ndukwe said, “That suit they are saying Wike went to court is my suit. Wike did not go to any court. It’s I that went to court because PDP violated its constitution.
“The matter is now at the Supreme Court. The court processes were served on the necessary parties on Thursday. That’s why they thought it was Wike”.
Ndukwe said he thought PDP had learnt its lessons on the consequences of impunity but regretted that the party still violated its constitution because of vested interest of some people.
The alleged plaintiff, who is also a former General Manager, Abia State Environmental Protection Agency (ASEPA), vowed that the party should not be allowed to get away with the gross violation of its constitution.
He argued that nobody compelled PDP to factor in zoning in its constitution, and insisted that the party must be made to obey its constitution not minding who it favoured.
“We decided to move to the Supreme Court. The apex court will hear the matter and decide within 45 days”, he stated.
“I am very optimistic that the Supreme Court will give its judgment based on equity and justice. It is a constitutional matter and nobody will violate the constitution and be allowed to go free.
“How can PDP not obey the constitution it made for itself? Now they are claiming they are operating the Nigerian constitution that allows for freedom of association. But the question is: was the party forced to make its constitution that recognised zoning?
“You know there is Nigerian Constitution that allows for freedom of association and you decided to make your constitution which of course is binding on you.
“PDP agreed on zoning even when other parties were not interested in it, and the party has always respected it. You said zoning is for fairness and equity, so, why is it at this point that PDP wants to throw away zoning?
“The party used the same zoning in selecting its hierarchy but when it came to presidential candidates it jettisoned zoning.
“Now, every serious position in PDP is occupied by northerners. The North has the presidential candidate, national chairman, and chairman of the Board of Trustees. Where is South in all these? The South, especially South-East, is totally out of the game.
“Atiku is even thinking of picking his Campaign Director General from the West. So, where is South-East in PDP which the zone invested so much to form and incubated?”
Substance Abuse Becoming Thing Of Concern -Odu
Rivers State Deputy Governor, Prof. Ngozi Nma Odu, has lauded the important role pharmacists play in the wellbeing of the society.
Odu gave this commendation while playing host to members of Association of Lady Pharmacists of Nigeria, Rivers State Branch at the Government House in Port Harcourt, yesterday.
The deputy governor said while others are sleeping, pharmacists work hard “to ensure we all live in a better society, especially when you talk about the dangers of substance abuse.”
Odu stressed that, “It is really becoming a thing of great concern because of the level of children getting involved in this thing. It is even coming down to primary schools which now increases the burden of what you are doing, so we appreciate you for what you are doing for the society which we all are living in.”
The deputy governor extolled the lady pharmacists for the scholarship scheme they were sponsoring, noting that it was “amazing because when you change the narrative of somebody’s life, you become what they call a destiny helper.”
The deputy governor added, “So, for me, it is something I would encourage. Even the Bible says when you do it for them you have done unto God. It is a thing we get a lot of blessings out off, you may not see it now but some day it will definitely come.”
She expressed gratitude to them for their support for the Fubara-led administration which according to her has continued to spur them into action.
“Let me thank you for upholding the governor and myself in prayers, because without prayers we won’t be here, many people have prayed and God has heard, please do not stop, even for good governance, we need God to grant us the wisdom and knowledge of what to do”, she said.
In her remarks, Chairman of the Rivers State Branch of Association of Lady Pharmacists of Nigeria, Ebelechukwu Odom, said they were at the Government House to identify with the Governor Fubara-led administration in the ongoing restructuring of the state, and pledged their allegiance and unflinching support to the administration.
She assured that they would utilize the competences of Lady Pharmacists in Rivers State and synergize with partners for improvement in health, education, research development and socio-economic wellbeing of humanity through relevant and appropriate interventions, projects and programmes.
RSG Denies Rumours Of Cholera Outbreak In Soku
The Rivers State Government says it is not aware of any cholera outbreak in Soku community in the Akuku Toru Local Government Area of the State.
This was contained in a statement made available to newsmen in Port Harcourt by the State Ministry of Health.
According to the statement signed by the Commissioner for Health, Dr Adaeze Chidinma Oreh, the clarification was necessary following numerous enquiries from the media over a purported outbreak of cholera in Soku community.
The statement read in part, “The Rivers State Ministry of Health has received numerous enquiries from the Press regarding an alleged outbreak of cholera in Soku community in Akuku Toru Local Government Area.
“Public health teams dispatched to investigate these alleged cases and deaths have so far received no confirmation of such.”
While describing cholera as a waterborne infectious disease, the commissioner said that the disease is notifiable, warranting escalating reports from disease surveillance and notification officers at the community level.
The statement clarified that the ongoing medical outreach in Soku community is in no way related to any outbreak of cholera.
“Outreaches have always been a way of getting accessible health care to underserved and vulnerable population, however, all such outreach activities must be conducted with approval from and in collaboration with the State Ministry of Health and as such no entity should be conducting outreaches outside the coordination of the ministry”, it warned.
The ministry further said that all infectious diseases of this nature are reported, managed and escalated by the Rivers State Ministry of Health.
Dr. Oreh said the statement should serve as a strong warning to anyone conducting or planning health activities without due recourse to the Rivers State Ministry of Health.
She added that any such activities found to be carried out without the knowledge and clearance of the State Ministry of Health will be fully investigated and dealt with in order to ensure the protection of the lives of the people.
“Therefore, the general public and members of the Press are advised to disregard the rumours making the round on an ongoing outbreak of cholera and the death of some citizens of Soku community in Akuku Toru Local Government Area of Rivers State as it is presently unfounded, misguided and capable of causing panic amongst citizens and residents.
“The general public is thus urged to remain calm and rest assured that the Rivers State Ministry of Health will continue to be a veritable source of public health information in the state”, the statement concluded.
Bill On State Police Scales Second Reading
The House of Representatives, yesterday, passed for second reading a bill to provide for the establishment of state police in the country.
Sponsored by the Deputy Speaker of the House, Benjamin Kalu and 14 others, the bill seeks to alter the relevant Sections of the 1999 Constitution to pave the way for states to establish their own policing outfits.
As lawmakers took turns to contribute to the debate on the floor of the House during yesterday’s plenary, Kalu who stood in for the Speaker, Abbas Tajudeen, urged members to look beyond political ambitions and think about the safety of Nigerians and Nigeria.
Also speaking, Babajimi Benson (APC, Lagos) said, “It is the job of the police to maintain law and order. We have a population of over 200m people but we have a police strength that is less than 400,000. State Police should be created to address the internal security challenges of Nigeria.”
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