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Court orders INEC to postpones Rivers state’s election

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The deputy governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress ( APC ) in Rivers State, Chief Victor Giadom, has called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to postpone the February 16 and March 2 elections in Rivers.

Nyesom Wike, Governor of Rives State

This is in view of Monday’s ruling of the Court of Appeal, Port Harcourt on stay of execution.

He also accused Rivers Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike of being jittery upon confirmation the governorship candidate of APC in the state, Pastor Tonye Cole and other candidates that emerged through indirect primaries supervised by members of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party, would participate in the elections.

Giadom stated these Tuesday in Port Harcourt in an exclusive interview with our reporter.

While assuring Cole and other candidates of APC would emerge victorious in the polls, he maintained that postponing Rivers elections would ensure the candidates and the electorate were not disenfranchised.

Rivers Commissioner for Information and Communications, Emma Okah, who doubles as the Director of Information and Communications of PDP Campaign Council, however maintained that Wike and other candidates of the ruling party were neither afraid nor jittery of main opposition APC’s candidates or candidates of other political parties, having campaigned extensively and fully prepared for the polls, thereby emerging victorious.

The appellate court presided over by Justice Ali Gumel granted the stay of execution of the judgment of Justice Kolawole Omotoso of the Federal High Court, Port Harcourt on the fielding of candidates by the APC.

Giadom, the immediate past Deputy National Secretary of APC, said: “Wike is jittery, because of the strength of APC in Rivers State. That is why he teamed up with some enemies of democracy to ensure that our party (APC) is not on the ballot, but God has put all of them to shame. Wike made all efforts, including outside the law, to stop APC from fielding candidates in Rivers State.

“Wike and his allies must stop their propaganda and futile fights, but to prepare to meet candidates of APC in the field. APC will win 80 per cent of the votes cast in Rivers State in all the elections, because Rivers people are tired of Wike’s failed promises.

“I expect Wike and other members of PDP in Rivers State to enjoy the healthy competition of political context, so as to know who are the choices of the people of Rivers State, as against the attempts by Wike to shut the doors against APC.

“While thanking the judges of the Court of Appeal, Port Harcourt for granting the stay of execution of the judgment of Justice Omotoso, we urge INEC, as a law-abiding institution, to do the needful by postponing Rivers elections, to ensure a level-playing field and in order to allow candidates of APC to adequately campaign as their counterparts in other political parties, who have been campaigning round Rivers State’s 23 LGAs for over two months. The postponement will be in the interest of Rivers people, especially APC members.

“I wish to urge Rivers people to believe in the APC, as the difference is very clear. We will continue to ensure quality leadership that will transform the entire Rivers State and ensure adequate protection of lives and property, thereby making the state a destination for investments.”

The deputy governorship candidate also berated a governorship aspirant on APC platform, Senator Magnus Abe (Rivers Southeast) for misinterpreting the ruling of the Court of Appeal in Port Harcourt, accusing him of mischief.

Giadom declared that Abe, from the same Bera-Ogoni in Gokana LGA of Rivers, was being economical with the truth, stressing that the former Secretary to the Rivers State Government (SSG) in the administration of Rotimi Amaechi, now Transportation Minister, ought not to speak differently from what was contained in the ruling of the appellate court.

He urged Nigerians to avail themselves with the ruling, in order not to be misled by individuals or groups, while calling on APC members and supporters in Rivers to take advantage of the ruling and return to active campaigns, so as to ensure victory in all the elections.

The deputy governorship candidate assured that members of Rivers APC were ready to receive President Muhammadu Buhari and members of his campaign team in Port Harcourt next week.

He said: “Rivers people should continue to support APC. We should ensure peaceful elections in Nigeria, especially in Rivers State. When Cole becomes governor and I as deputy governor, by God’s grace, Rivers State will experience massive transformation in all sectors. There will also be peace, security and commensurate development. We will bring back the lost glory of Rivers State.

“The Federal Government is doing a lot in Rivers State, particularly the construction of Bodo-Bonny Road, Ogoni clean-up, completion of the international wing of Port Harcourt International Airport and massive construction of roads through the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), among others. Wike’s propaganda should be ignored. Wike’s abysmal performance will end on May 29, 2019.”

Giadom also called on Nigerians to continue to support the Buhari’s administration and come out en-masse on February 16 to vote for him and other candidates of the party in all the elections

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Imo: House of Assembly recalled five members it suspended for months

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Imo State House of Assembly has finally recalled five of its members it suspended six months ago over alleged “un-parliamentary” conduct.

The lawmakers were recalled during the Tuesday plenary of the state Assembly presided over by Speaker Acho Ihim.

Announcing their recall, Ihim said the lawmakers were recalled after invitation for an interaction during the Assembly executive session.

The Imo State House of Assembly had in October 2018, suspended the lawmakers on allegations bothering on un-parliamentary conduct.

The recalled members are Chiji, Uche Oguwuike, Ifeanyi Nnataraonye, Donatus Onuigwe, and Kenna Nzeruo.

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Senator: Buhari has no favourite candidate – Yusuf

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The Senator representing Taraba Central senatorial district, Yusuf Abubakar Yusuf, on Tuesday disclosed that contrary to speculations in certain circles, President Muhammadu Buhari was not supporting any particular aspirant for the office of the 9th Senate President.

Speaking with select newsmen in his office, Yusuf stated that Buhari told the aspirants to go into wider consultations with their colleagues in the hallowed chamber for support.

In his words, “I’m only speculating Mr. President on this issue.

“Buhari has no particular aspirant in mind to support. He said everybody is free to contest.

“He has asked all interested aspirants that they are free to aspire but urged them to consult widely with their colleagues for support.”

When further grilled, the Taraba senator said nobody among the aspirants should be contented with being nominated by the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, leadership.

He added, “Since the position was zoned to the North-East, it is the duty of the lawmakers from the geo-political zone to harmonise and have a consensus candidate”.

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President Buhari congratulates newly elected Isreali Prime Minister

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President Muhammadu Buhari has congratulated Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of the State of Israel on his victory in the parliamentary election.

President Muhammadu Buhari

Buhari in a statement by his Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, in Abuja on Sunday, extended best wishes to the people of the State of Israel in the aftermath of the successful conclusion of the poll.

The Nigerian leader, who also wished them peace, progress and stability, said he looked forward to continue to work with the Israeli Prime Minister to strengthen existing cordial and mutually-beneficial relations between the two countries.

Buhari wished Netanyahu a successful new term in office and prayed that his record fifth term would bring enduring peace and security to the Middle East.

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APC challenges Atiku’s nationality. The former vice president replies

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Atiku Abubakar, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate in the 2019 election, has said the All Progressives Congress (APC) does not deserve an answer, after contesting his Nigerian citizenship.

The former vice-president stated this in a statement, signed by his media aide, Paul Ibe, on Saturday.

Atiku and the PDP are challenging President Muhammadu Buhari’s victory at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal, claiming that from the data in INEC’s server, he actually polled a total of 18,356,732 votes while Buhari recorded 16,741,430.

But APC urged the tribunal to dismiss PDP’s petition for incompetence, arguing that Section 131(a) of the Constitution stipulates that a person must be a citizen of Nigeria by birth to be qualified to contest for the office of the President.

Atiku’s statement read: “Dear citizens of our beloved country, Nigeria, His Excellency, Atiku Abubakar, told us previously that he has verifiable and incontrovertible evidence to show that the last Presidential elections were fraudulent, not credible and did not reflect the will of the Nigerian people, and he has been vindicated by the response of the All Progressives Congress and its candidate, President Muhammadu Buhari, to his petition to the Electoral Tribunal hearing the petition he filed.

“The former Vice President based his case on facts and statistical evidence and challenged both the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the APC, to disprove his factual submissions.

“The fact that the APC chose to base its defence on the ridiculous assertion that the Waziri Adamawa is not a Nigerian should show to Nigerians the type of characters we have in the APC and its government, whose legitimacy runs out on May 29, 2019.

“The position of the APC is so pedestrian and shows such straw clutching desperation on their part, that I shall not dignify it with an answer. Our lawyers would, of course, do the needful in court. But the point I want to draw the attention of Nigerians to is that both the APC and its candidate have by this infantile logic admitted to the fact that they trampled on the will of Nigerians and that their only defence is to attempt an unconstitutional redefinition of the term ‘Nigerian’.

“I am, however, confident in the Nigerian judiciary, as well as in the Nigerian people. I trust that the Tribunal will treat such a claim with the contempt it deserves. We must maintain our fidelity to the rule of law and to our fountain of origin, the 1999 Nigerian Constitution (as amended).

“Atiku Abubakar has served our nation diligently in various capacities, form the civil service, where he rose through merit, to the top of his chosen field, to public service, where, by the grace of God, he was the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“Moreover, he has committed his assets and talents to developing our nation through the provision of tens of thousands of direct jobs and hundreds of thousands of indirect jobs.”

Atiku added that those who have made Nigeria the world headquarters for extreme poverty, are the very people whose Nigerians should be in doubt “and not a man who worked with President Olusegun Obasanjo to double the per capita Income of our nation in less than eight years.”

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