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Lalong Apologises To Catholic Bishops Over Pope’s Comment

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Plateau State Governor and Director-General of the All Progressives Congress Campaign Council, Simon Lalong, has apologised to the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria following his unpopular statement to the Holy Father, Pope Francis.
Lalong, while reacting to his recent appointment by the ruling APC to spearhead the presidential campaign of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu said Pope has not disapproved his support for a Muslim-Muslim ticket.
As a papal knight, his statement has been greeted with heavy criticism from Catholic faithful across the country, with some calling for his suspension from the church.
But while admitting his error in a letter to the CBCN president titled, “Letter of Apology” and dated August 12, 2022, Lalong begged for forgiveness and understanding from the Catholic Church through the Bishops’ conference.
The letter read in part, “While many people commended me for the appointment and saw it as a way of remaining within the system to fight for our own interests, others cast aspersions on it on the grounds that our faith had been insulted and denigrated.
“In the course of this, many of my opponents turned the issue into a political weapon with some spreading rumours and questioning the integrity of my credentials as a Catholic and a papal knight.
“During the week, in the course of defending myself, I had cause to make reference to my credentials as a Catholic and a Papal Knight. In the process, I made reference to the Holy Father.
“I now realise that this was an error on my part and has caused some level of concern and even embarrassment to many, especially the Members of the family of Papal Knights to which I belong.
“I now understand that I may have overreached myself in the course of trying to defend my personal decision in accepting this appointment and thus, the reference to the holy father was not intended as an act of disrespect to his exalted and revered office”.
“Your Grace, by this written letter, I wish to tender my unreserved apologies and ask for their understanding and forgiveness from my brothers in the Catholic faith and, through you, the entire members of the bishops conference, our fathers and our leaders.”

 

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LG Polls: PDP Wins All In Bayelsa

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The ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Bayelsa State has swept the local government election conducted by the State Independent Electoral Commission last Saturday.
The PDP won the chairmanship position in all eight local government areas and all the councillorship positions in the 105 wards, according to the results announced by the commission in Yenagoa on Sunday.
The major opposition party in the state, the All Progressives Congress (APC), shunned the poll as it did not field candidates.
In Yenagoa LGA, the BYSIEC’s returning officer, Wisdom Soreh, declared Buloudisiye Ndiwari as the winner of the chairmanship election after he polled 56, 103 votes.
The returning officer for Sagbama LGA, Prof Abiodun Adelegan, declared Alice Tangi as the winner.
She polled a total of 51,543 votes.
In Ogbia LGA, the returning officer, Tams Deiduomo, declared Golden Jeremiah, who polled 42,462 votes, as the winner.
The returning officer for Southern Ijaw LGA, Ebi Stanley-Udisi, announced Target Segibo as the winner, garnering 36,326 votes.
In Nembe LGA, the immediate-past Commissioner for Agriculture, David Alagoa, polled 11,829 votes to win the election as declared by the returning officer, Prof Festus Akpotohwo.
In Kolokuma/Opokuma LGA, the returning officer, Prof Apuega Arikawei, declared Lelei Tariye as the winner with 27,823 votes.
Also, the returning officer for Ekeremor LGA, Prof Joseph Omoro, declared Onniye Isaac as the winner with 35,177 votes, while in Brass LGA, Febo Lucky of the PDP was declared the winner by the returning officer, Prof Joseph Omoro.

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Alleged Anti-Party, PDP Reps Demand Damagun’s Resignation

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Ahead of the National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), a coalition of PDP federal lawmakers has demanded the resignation of the party’s acting national chairman, Umar Iliya Damagun, over alleged anti-party activities.
The lawmakers are calling for Damagun’s removal by the NEC, along with further sanctions, should he fail to resign.
Accusing Damagun of working to hand over PDP structures to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), the lawmakers are urging his resignation to allow for a North Central person to emerge as acting chairman, pending the party’s convention as stipulated by the party’s constitution.
They threatened to leave the party if the alleged doctored list of Local Government Caretaker Committees in Rivers and 10 other states, which they claim is filled with APC members and loyalists, was not nullified.
Speaking at a press conference in Abuja, Ikenga Imo Ugochinyere, the spokesperson for the group and member representing Ideato Federal Constituency of Imo State, stated that they cannot remain in a party whose activities are determined by another political party.
The lawmakers alleged that the list of Caretaker Committee members in Rivers State was doctored in favour of former Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike, and APC members who have defected from the PDP. They also accused Damagun of not doing anything to halt the plot to impeach Rivers State governor, Siminalayi Fubara, despite allegedly being fully aware of the details.
According to Ugochinyere, based on the PDP zoning formula, it is the turn of the North Central to produce the party’s chairman, and called on North Central leaders to present a credible replacement for Sen. Iyorchia Ayu.
They called on PDP stalwarts such as former Senate President David Mark, Muazu Babangida Aliyu, Senator Abba Moro, and Bukola Saraki to rescue the party from being sold to the ruling APC.
Additionally, the lawmakers urged the PDP NEC to review the party’s sources of finance, investigate allegations of pro-APC supporters funding the party, and set up a committee to investigate all acts of anti-party activity since 2023, with appropriate sanctions to cleanse the party.
When contacted via phone call, Damagum refused to comment when The Tide source inquired about his reaction to the allegations levelled against him by the lawmakers. He simply hung up his phone after our source introduced himself, told him the reason for the call, and refused to pick up subsequent calls.
On his part, the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Debo Ologunagba, promised to get back after going through the allegations but did not as of the time of filing this report. He also did not answer several calls subsequently to his phone line.
Also, efforts to speak with the Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the party, Ibrahim Abdullahi, were unsuccessful, as he did not pick up the call.

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Diri Expresses Satisfaction With Conduct Of LG Poll In Bayelsa

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Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, has commended the state independent electoral commission(BYSIEC) for the organisation of the state’s Local Government election at the weekend.
He also said reports available to him indicated that the polls were generally peaceful across the state.
The Governor spoke to Journalists shortly after casting his vote at 10.15am alongside his wife, Dr Gloria, at his Kalamaowei wari unit 4 ward 6 in Sampou community, Kolokuma/Opokuma Local Government Area of the state.
He expressed the optimism that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) will emerge victorious in the 105 wards of the eight local government areas as it was the only party with wide acceptance and vigorously campaigned across the state ahead of the election.
“PDP enjoys the support of the people and judging from the outcome of the November 11, 2023 governorship election, our party will still take the upper hand.
“As you have seen, the voting process was peaceful and seamless and l think if this is the way it is in every other unit and ward, then we expect a peaceful and successful Local Government election to usher in a new leadership at the third tier of government.
“So far, we’re very pleased that there is no report of security breach across the state. At the last security council meeting, l charged the security agencies to be part of this electoral process and to ensure that security of the state was not breached.”
Responding to a question on why the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state did not participate in the election, Diri said only the faction led by Dennis Otiotio under the control of Chief Timipre Sylva boycotted the poll and that the party had more than one faction.
He added that the reason for their action was best known to them.

Ariwera Ibibo-Howells, Yenagoa

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