Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, yesterday raised hope of an earnest end to the war of attrition between him and his predecessor, Mr. Adams Oshiomhole, who is now the National Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress(APC).
He said in Benin City that he had met with Oshiomhole and efforts were being made to resolve issues created by those he referred to as third parties in the state.
He reiterated his position that there are no fundamental issues between them.
Obaseki spoke during a mass at the St. Paul Catholic Church, Benin City, to mark the 80th birthday of the first executive governor of the state and Oshiomhole’s predecessor as APC national chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun.
The simmering crisis of confidence between Obaseki and Oshiomhole blew open in the wake of the inauguration of the state House of Assembly during which 14 members-elect who are reportedly loyal to the APC national chairman refused to be inaugurated.
The governor was accused of surreptitiously issuing the proclamation letter for the inauguration of the state legislature, leading to the swearing in of only nine out of the 24-members-elect then.
Efforts to resolve the crisis, including the intervention of the National Assembly, which has asked the governor to issue a fresh proclamation otherwise it would take over the functions of the House of Assembly, have been mired in legal battles.
The faction of the state lawmakers loyal to the governor has secured court orders stopping Obaseki from issuing a fresh proclamation and the National Assembly from carrying out its takeover threat.
However, at the thanksgiving for Odigie-Oyegun’s 80th birthday celebration, Obaseki said the state would soon put the crisis behind it and forge ahead with its developmental strides.
He said: “I thank you very much for the remarkable homily by Archbishop Augustine Akubeze, Catholic Archbishop of Benin Metropolitan See. I listened very attentively and I have taken every word in your remark to heart and very seriously. I want to assure you that we are in pursuit of peace and we will have peace in Edo State.
“We have met – me and my predecessor in office – and fortunately, we do not have any fundamental issues. And because we do not have any fundamental issues, I believe that whatever third parties are trying to propagate, I am sure we can talk over it. I assure you that very soon things will return to normalcy in Edo State.”
He said the state government, in line with the spirit of Nigeria’s national anthem, would not forget the labour of past heroes, which shall never be in vain.
“Today, we are here to celebrate our own Chief Odigie-Oyegun. On behalf of the people and Government of Edo State, I want to congratulate you on your 80th birthday,” Obaseki said.
According to him, the state government has named the soon-to-be-completed Civil Service Training Centre after the celebrant for his contributions to the development of the state and the country at large.
“For your contributions and what you have done for our dear state, I have decided to name the public service academy, which is under construction, after you. We know your passion for public service; we know and acknowledge the contributions you made to the public service in Nigeria. Therefore, we have decided to name this edifice, which will be completed within the next 60 days, by the grace of God, after you. President Muhammadu Buhari will come and commission the academy, with you standing beside him. It will be known as the John Odigie-Oyegun Institute for Public Administration,” he added.
The institute, according to the governor, is on “three floors and is made up of large training rooms that will host 220 people. Two halls hold 118 people each. There are seven training halls that will host 58 people each. There is a library, a sick bay, a cafeteria and 12 offices. This facility at any point in time can hold and train a minimum of 900 people. It will be the largest facility for training public servants in Nigeria.”
Supreme court dismisses Atiku server suit
The Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed the appeal by the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the February 23 election, Atiku Abubakar, seeking to Inspect the central server of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for lacking in merit.
The apex court held that the request lacked merit because it was brought by Atiku after the parties had joined issues on the existence or otherwise of the server.
According to the unanimous judgment delivered by Justice Chima Nweze, the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal was in order in refusing to grant Atiku’s request at the time it was made so as not to prejudice other parties in the matter.
In addition, the apex court held that the appeal lacked merit because the appellants failed to prove how the decision of the tribunal was unfair to them.
Justice Nweze said a party can only complain of the lack of fair hearing when discretion of court was wrongly or arbitrarily used by the court, adding that in this instant case the tribunal used its discretion judicially and judiciously.
“I see no reason to depart from the decision of the lower court, the appeal is lacking in merit and is hereby dismissed,” the judge held.
Supreme Court set to rule on INEC server
The Supreme Court has suspended proceedings to rule on an appeal by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate in the last presidential election, for permission to be allowed access to a supposed server owned by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) had on June 24, 2019, dismissed an application by Atiku and the PDP requesting permission to have access to the central server, which they claimed INEC used for the February 23 poll.
It is the decision of June 24 that Atiku and the PDP now appealed at the Supreme Court.
A panel of the Supreme Court (led by Justice Datijo Mohammed after taking arguments from Eyitayo Jegede, SAN, (for the appellants); Yunus Usman, SAN, (for INEC); Wole Olanipekun, SAN, (for President Muhammadu Buhari) and Charles Edosomwan, SAN, (for the All Progressives Congress), rose briefly to consider the arguments and return for its decision.
The Election Petition Court, at the Court of Appeal, Abuja, had, while dismissing the application by Atiku and the PDP, held that INEC, having denied the existence of the said server and insisted that results of the election were not electronically transmitted into any server as claimed by the petitioners (Atiku and PDP), granting the application would amount to deciding the central issue in the petition at the interlocutory stage.
The court’s Presiding Justice, Justice Mohammed Garba, who read the ruling, added that granting the application would imply that the court had “indeed recognised and found out that there is a central server into which results of the held on February 23, 2019 were electronically transmitted by the 1st respondent (INEC).”
Buhari tasks ministers on team work
President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday in Abuja told ministers-designate that they must work as a team, stressing that his administration would rely on them to implement policies and programs to lift Nigerians out of poverty.
The president also described as frightening Nigeria’s “looming” population status, which he put at 200 million today but has been estimated by the United Nations (UN) to rise to 411 million by 2050.
He told the would-be ministers in Abuja at the opening of the two-day retreat for them that “working as a team demands that we know what the next person is doing.”
The retreat is to familiarise the incoming cabinet members with governance process and to let them know expectations of them.
The retreat also began on a day the Federal High Court, sitting in Abuja, refused to grant an order by indigenes of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) seeking to stop the president from swearing in the 43 ministers-designate.
In his speech at the retreat, Buhari said: “As ministers, I am counting on you together with advisers and Nigerians willing and able to contribute to building upon our road map of policies, programs, and projects that will lift the bulk of our people out of poverty and set them on the road to prosperity.
“Our administration’s eight years will have laid the grounds for lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years. This outcome will fundamentally shift Nigeria’s trajectory and place us among the world’s great nations.”
The president also told participants at the retreat to see their appointments as a great privilege and to ensure that they put in their best because Nigeria needs frontline individuals to address its many challenges.
He warned them to prepare for arduous commitments, which would require long hours of work and acute labor all geared towards optimal performance.
Buhari seized the occasion to give account of activities of his administration in the first term.
He said: “First – we have rolled back the frontiers of terrorism; we are actively addressing other challenges such as kidnappings, farmer-herder violence, improving the safety of our roads, railways, air traffic and fire control capacities.
“Second – we are steadily turning the economy round through investment in agriculture and manufacturing, shoring up our foreign reserves, curbing inflation and improving the country’s infrastructure.
“Third – on corruption, we have recovered hundreds of billions of stolen assets and are actively pursuing control measures to tackle leakages in public resources. We will not let up in fighting corruption.”
BREAKING: S’Court strikes out Atiku, PDP suit
The Supreme Court has struck out an appeal filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate in the last presidential election.
The appeal marked SC/738/2019 was filed against a ruling of the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC), in which it held that the Atiku and the PDP do not have a reply to an application filed on May 14, 2019, by the All Progressives Congress (APC) seeking among others, the dismissal of their (Atiku and the PDP) challenging President Muhammadu Buhari’s victory at the last presidential election.
In a ruling on Tuesday, a five-man panel led by Justice Datijo Mohammed struck out the appeal for having become statute-barred.
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