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Governorship contest:  Igali pledges to prioritise human capital development in Bayelsa

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Amb. Godknows Igali, a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship aspirant in Bayelsa on Wednesday pledged to prioritise human capacity building if elected governor of the state.

Igali and 20 others are jostling for the PDP ticket in the party’s primaries slated for Sept. 3 ahead of the Nov. 16 governorship election in the state.

Speaking at a news conference to unveil his manifesto at his campaign office in Yenagoa, Igali, a career diplomat, said that he would adopt a novel funding approach to drive the development of the state.

Igali was a Nigerian ambassador to the Scandinavian countries of Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Norway.

According to him, rather than deploy public funds on infrastructure, he will use equity funds from investors to build infrastructure and use public funds for social investment to develop the capacity of the people.

He said that he would also leverage on his exposure as an ambassador to attract development aid and Foreign Direct Investment and deploy models used by other countries with similar challenges as Nigeria to develop Bayelsa.

Igali said that if elected governor of Bayelsa, he would ensure that primary and secondary school students were fed twice at state government expense.

He promised to sustain the free and compulsory primary and secondary education and subsidise tertiary education by payment of bursary to undergraduates.

“I come to the race prepared with a new approach and new strategy to serve the people of Bayelsa to improve their lots.

“I have the requisite expertise and international exposure to attract foreign capital to develop Bayelsa.

“When that happens, we save on the funds that hitherto went into infrastructure and then deploy it to social services to make life more meaningful to the people of Bayelsa.

“My emphasis shall be on the human capacity development, because without people, all the roads, bridges and buildings will have no meaning, it is the human factor that adds value and meaning to everything you do on infrastructure front.

“My administration shall ensure free healthcare for children under the age of 10 years and elderly above 65 years while the rest of the population shall enjoy affordable and accessible quality healthcare through a health insurance scheme.

“I have the experience and strength of character to lead the people and that is why I am unveiling my manifesto and it is my commitment to serve the people of Bayelsa and I want the people to use it and hold me accountable,’’ Igali said.

He described the epileptic power situation in the state as non-technical but commercial in nature as the power distribution company was unwilling to evacuate available power to the consumers.

According to him, the Federal Government has tripled the capacity of the distribution substation at Gbarain serving Bayelsa to ensure the availability of more power from the national grid.

Chief Nengi James, a representative of Transition Monitoring Group (TMG) in Bayelsa, noted that the approach of aspirants disclosing their plans to the people was in line with the position of the civil society group.

“The TMG believes that aspirants should have their individual manifestos rather than adopt the party manifesto; we have seen that approach failed over the years in our democratic space,’’ James said.

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Don’t succumb to pressure, youths caution Makinde-led PDP screening committee for Kogi, Bayelsa

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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) South-South Youth Vanguard has cautioned the party’s screening committee for Kogi and Bayelsa governorship primaries against succumbing to pressure from governors and other stakeholders, as it commences screening of aspirants on Monday.

The Vanguard gave the warning in a statement issued by its Chairman, Mr James Akpofure, on Sunday in Abuja.

Akpofure advised the screening committee to allow all the aspirants to go to the field to test their strength.

He advised the Oyo State Governor and Chairman of the screening committee, Seyin Makinde, to allow all the aspirants to participate in the primaries in the two states.

Akpofure reminded Makinde and the party leadership on the implication of disqualifying any of the aspirants, saying that it might create rancour and crisis within the PDP family.

Such development, according to him, will also send wrong signal that PDP is not a united party.

Akpofure added that no governor or stakeholder should be allowed to dictate for others at the primaries.

“Allowing any individual, no matter how highly placed, to dictate the directive of the primaries will not augur well and may create division within the PDP family.

“The Oyo state governor and chairman of the screening committee should not yield to pressure from any quarters. He should know that others are watching the action and inaction of the party,” he said.

Akpofure, who said that the era of playing godfather was over, added that PDP should realise that it was not the one in government at the federal level and should, therefore, be careful on its approach to issues.

Edited by Abiemwense Moru and ‘Wale Sadeeq

 

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Ondo 2020: I have no plan to vie for deputy governor – Lawmaker

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A member of the House of Representatives, Hon. Adedayo Omolafe, has dismissed rumours of his intention to join the race for the deputy governorship seat in the state in 2020.

He made the rebuttal in a statement issued by his media aide, Mr Michael Adeyeye, on Sunday in Akure amidst the rumours which have gone viral on the social media and some online platforms.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that the lawmaker was said to have been planning to be the running of the current deputy governor of the state, Agboola Ajayi.

NAN also reports that Ajayi was said to have concluded plan to dump his current party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), for the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) under whose platform he and Omolafe would contest the election.

However, Omolafe, in the statement, dismissed the rumours, saying that it was baseless, unfounded and a campaign of calumny.

“My attention has been drawn to a rumour flying around, especially on social media and online platforms, on my purported ambition as a possible deputy governorship candidate of our great party.

“I would have ignored such baseless and unfounded allegations but for the purpose of setting the record straight.

“I have received numerous calls and messages from friends, political associates, party faithful and the general public on the authenticity of the unfounded story.

“I want to state unequivocally that the story is untrue and that it is a figment of the imagination of the author,” he said.

The lawmaker enjoined the leaders and members of PDP in the state to consider the report as a joke taken too far by whoever was behind it, adding that it was aimed at distracting the party preparatory to the 2020 governorship election.

“We must be wary of the fifth columnists who are bent on sowing the seed of discord among us and keeping our party divided.

“They want to do everything possible to see us always at daggers’ drawn with one another as part of their grand plan to keep us off track,” Omolafe, who represents Akure North and Akure South Federal Constituency in the lower legislative chamber, added.

He maintained that he was currently preoccupied with the fulfilment of the social contract of qualitative representation which he had with the people of his constituency.

Omolafe, who is the Vice-Chairman, House Committee on Poverty Alleviation, said that he had made a solemn vow to ensure eradication of abject poverty among the people of his constituency.

“I have pledged to remain committed to this vow without looking back.

“I reaffirm my loyalty to our great party and its resolve to ensure that it presents a credible candidate that will give us a resounding victory at the poll through a credible, democratic and transparent primary election at the due time.

“I will continue to work for the uplift of the people of my constituency and their collective good.

“We have set our hands on the plough and we will not look back, under whatever guise,” the lawmaker pledged.

Edited by Emmanuel Nwoye and ‘Wale Sadeeq

 

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PDP lifts suspension on chairmen of 5 LG chapters, 9 others in Kebbi 

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The Kebbi chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has lifted the suspension it clamped on 14 of its party members over alleged anti- party activities.

 Alhaji Haruna Saidu, state chairman of the party, made this known to newsmen on Sunday in Birnin Kebbi.

He said that the lifting of the three-month suspension followed the intervention of the PDP elders committee which ensured the resolution of the matter.

“Sequel to the intervention by the elders committee and the resolution emanating therefrom, I am delighted to announce the lifting of the suspension clamped on 14 party members.

“With the resolution of the issues, our great party in Kebbi has become more united than ever,” Saidu said.

The chairman confirmed that the party would participate in the forthcoming local government elections scheduled to hold on 26 Oct., 2019.

The Nigeria News Agency , recalls that the PDP suspended the party top notchers on Aug. 6.

The party had accused them of “spreading lies and engaging in sustained campaign of calumny against leaders of the party to promote widespread disaffection among PDP members”.

Those affected included Nuhu Goma, Chairman, Zuru Local Government chapter; Aminu Sawwa, Chairman, Argungu Local Government; Abubakar Kudu, Chairman, Maiyam Local Government, Bello Bunza, Chairman, Bunza Local Goverment, and Bello Gulmare, Gwandu Local Government.

Others are Zonal Ex-officio member, Alhaji Ibrahim Manzo; Zonal Vice Chairman, Kebbi Central, Alhaji Abubakar Basse; Muhammadu Ruwa, Zonal Vice Chairman, Kebbi North, Isiyaku Dauda, and Udulu Manpower, the acting State Legal Adviser.

Also suspended were Yalli Jega, Zonal Women Leader Kebbi Central, Isah Gwandu, Assistant Treasurer, and Joshua Bamaiyi. .

Edited by Chioma Ugboma and Ephraims Sheyin

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C/River REC’s resignation: PDP wants INEC sanitised

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Following the resignation of Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Cross River, Mr Frankland Briyai to join partisan politics, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has called for a clean up of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The party made the appeal in a statement issued by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan, on Sunday in Abuja.

Ologbondiyan called on the National Assembly to open a public hearing on the issue.

He also urged the national legislators to effect amendments in the Electoral Act to check the appointment and retention of persons with political leanings as electoral officers as well as recommending stringent sanctions for infringements in that direction.

Ologbondiyan alleged that the manifestation of Briyai, as an All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship aspirant in Bayelsa while still in office, was a confirmation that he worked for the party in the last general elections.

“The party notes that Briyai’s governorship ambition on the platform of the APC, which he announced while still in the confines of his office as REC, amply exposed INEC as a partisan electoral umpire under the watch of Prof. Yakubu Manhood,” he said.

Ologbondiyan expressed worry that President Muhammadu Buhari was yet to sanction Briyai, even after announcing his ambition within INEC facility.

He called on the president to speak out on why he was yet to sanction the ex-Cross River REC in line with the law.

The Nigeria News Agency recalls that Briyai on Aug. 8, at a news conference within INEC office in Calabar, announced the resignation of his appointment with INEC to join the Bayelsa governorship race, on the platform of the APC.

Briyai, who served as Cross River REC from 2017 until his resignation, said he left his job to contest for the governorship of his state, following calls from the people for him to run in the Nov. 16 Governorship Election.

INEC in a statement issued by its National Commissioner and Chairman Information and Voter Education Committee, Mr Festus Okoye, said it was yet to receive Briyai’s resignation letter or aware that he had tendered his resignation to the appointing authority.

Okoye described the way Briyai made public his intention to join partisan politics as unacceptable and not in compliance with due process.

Okoye said that Briyai failed to follow laid down procedure for resignation, while it also frowned at the use of the commission’s premises to declare his partisan interest, saying it is unlawful.

The commission had withdrawn all power delegated to him as REC, while it also directed the Administrative Secretary of INEC Cross River to oversee the office and take over the functions and duties of the REC until further notice.

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PDP, S/East National Vice-Chairman say attack on Ekweremmadu unjustified

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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has said Saturday’s attack on the former Deputy President of the Senate, Sen. Ike Ekweremadu, in Germany is unjustified.

The former Deputy Senate President was reportedly attacked by some members of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) in Nuremberg, Germany, at a cultural show by the Igbo community.

They accused the senator of not partnering them and conspiracy in the events that led to the proscription of the group by the Federal Government in September 2017.

The PDP in a statement issued by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, in Abuja  on Sunday, said the attack was uncalled for, unprovoked and unjustified.

It said such assault on a leader was “completely unacceptable and

does not portray our nation in proper light”.

Ologbondiyan urged the Nigerian Ambassador to Germany and the German Government to take appropriate decisive action on the matter.

“The party also urges the Federal Government, particularly, the National

Assembly, to take urgent comprehensive step to address issues leading to

acts of resentment and agitations by Nigerians within and outside the

country.”

Also, Chief Austin Umahi, the National Vice-Chairman, PDP South East zone, called for the arrest and prosecution of the perpetrators to serve as deterrent to others.

Umahi advised any individual or group with any genuine reason to agitate to do so through the South-East Governors Forum, Ohanaeze Ndigbo and other legitimate means within the Nigerian federation; rather than resort to self-help.

He said Ekweremadu had been in the forefront of the struggle against the marginalisation of the Igbo.

Umahi wondered why some individuals would hide under IPOB to attack Ekweremadu after all his efforts as the leader of Southeast Senate Caucus in the 8th Senate to secure the release of Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the group, from detention.

He said for Ekweremadu to have travelled Germany to attend the second annual yam festival and convention organised by Ndigbo resident in the country  was a demonstration of his undying love for the race.

Umahi urged Ekweremadu not to be discouraged by the attack but to see it as one of the  sacrifices he had to make in pursuit for justice and better treatment for Ndigbo within and outside Nigeria.  

OBE/JCE

Edited by Chukwudi Ekezie

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