The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Screening Committee for Ondo State governorship election has assured the party aspirants that none of them would be unjustly disqualified.
The Chairman of the Committee and immediate past Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rep. Yakubu Dogara, gave the assurance while speaking with newsmen shortly after screening the aspirants in Abuja.
Dogara assured the aspirants that the committee was out for justice; and justice would be served.
“Justice is indivisible. What is justice for one has to be justice to the other.
“We are sure that at the end of the day the party will be proud of the exercise that we have done. Nobody will be unjustifiably denied clearance for any reason. For any one who is qualify.
“As a matter of fact, is it not even our responsibility to clear them, it is the documents they have presented before us that will clear them.
” As far as we are concern, once you have your papers and records intact, you are good to go. So, the assurance is that we are out for justice and we will ensure that justice is served to the end,” he said.
Dogara said though the committee had screened all the aspirants, it would adjourned till Friday 1 p.m. before taken its final position on the exercise.
He said that the committee recognised the responsibility bestowed on it and would do a thorough job.
“This is in view of that fact that developments in politics no longer support the case of whimsical screening exercise any longer.
“You have seen it, some people have won elections and lost elections on the account of defective screening that was done by the officials of their party.
“So, we are aware of that and we are holding each of the aspirants to account for the information given to the party and the documents that they have submitted,” he said.
Dogara commended members of the committee for their patience for the exercise that lasted for about 12 hours.
When asked to comment on the large number of aspirants for the poll, he said no political party in a true democracy would restrained its interested members from participating in an election.
“Even if they are 50 aspirants let them come, it is their constitutional rights. The party cannot prevent that. Nobody can regulate the provisions of the constitution.
“In as much as they are members of the party and they want to run for this office, no one has the power to circumscribe the provisions of the constitution regarding their rights to vile for any office, except if they are defective in terms of requirements of the law or the party.
“But, as long as they are qualified, no one can guard their rights to contest for any office. No political party should do that,” he said.
The aspirants included the incumbent Deputy Governor of the state, Dr Agboola Ajayi; Eyitayo Jegede; Sen. Boluwaji Kunlere ; Dr Eddy Olafeso; Ben Okunomo; Bode Ayorinde; Otunba Bamidele Akingboye; Mr Godday Erewa; and Mr Sola Ebiseeni.
Edo 2020: Nothing unusual about lawmakers backing candidates of their choice – Edo speaker
The Speaker of Edo House of Assembly, Francis Okiye, on Tuesday said there was nothing unusual about the lawmakers backing the candidates of their choice for the Sept. 19 governorship poll in the state.
Okiye was reacting to the Monday endorsement of the All Progressive Congress (APC), Osgie Ize-Iyamu, by the Deputy Speaker, Yekini Idiaye, and two other members of the house.
The speaker in a statement he signed and made available to newsmen in Benin said: “It is imperative to state the actual position of things in Edo House of Assembly right now.
“It is not unusual for legislators and indeed politicians to engage in political re-alignments in this part of democracy like in Nigeria.
“That the Deputy Speaker and 2 other lawmakers chose to support the APC governorship candidate, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, is within their constitutional right,” he said.
Okiye stated that the three lawmakers still remained members and part of the 10 lawmakers in the Edo house of assembly.
The News Agency of Nigeria recalls that the house had declared vacant, the seats of the 14 members of the house who were not sworn in, following the crisis that had bedeviled the house for years.
Edited By: Ejike Obeta (NAN)
30 stranded Nigerians in Lebanon rescued, among 150 awaiting evacuation – NIDCOM
Thirty Nigerians, who were trafficked and left stranded in Lebanon have been rescued, and are among a total of 150 victims awaiting evacuation to Nigeria.
The Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) made this known in a statement by Gabriel Odu of its Media, Public Relations and Protocol Unit on
The commission said the rescue came after a video footage of the stranded Nigerians making an appeal to the Federal Government and well-meaning Nigerians to come to their aid viral on the Internet.
According to it, the appeal for help by the stranded Nigerians led to their rescue by officials of the country’s mission in Lebanon.
The stranded Nigerians have already been relocated to a more conducive apartment.
“They will be part of 150 others to be evacuated to Nigeria after they were trafficked and left stranded in Lebanon.
“The Lebanese Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Houssam Diab disclosed the evacuation plans when the Management of NIDCOM, led by the Secretary, Dr Sule Bassi, visited that country’s mission in Abuja,” Odu said in the statement.
He quoted Diab as saying that the 150 girls would be returned home in batches with the first group of 110 people leaving Beirut for Lagos on Aug. 12.
The second batch sws expected to arrive Abuja on Aug. 16.
“The diplomat commended efforts of the Lebanese Community and the Oyo State Government who is sponsoring the return of 55 of the girls,” he said.
Responding on behalf of the NIDCOM Chairman/CEO, Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Secretary of the commission, who acknowledged the excellent ties between Nigeria and Lebanon, urged both countries to sustain the cordial relationship.
Bassi also lauded the Nigerian Ambassador to Lebanon, Amb. Goni Madu Zanna Bura for his dedication and commitment.
He also commended the staff of the Nigerian mission, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Oyo and Ogun state governments and other strategic partners for their efforts.
“As part of the Nigerian Embassy’s Consular responsibility, the ladies in the said video that went viral and many other distressed Nigerian domestic workers were located and relocated to a safer place.
“Suffice it to say that 150 of these stranded victims are expected to be evacuated next week and handed over to NAPTIP, the agency responsible for (dealing with human) trafficking.
“A break down of the evacuees shows that Oyo State had 41, Ogun 21, Lagos 12, Ondo 18, Osun 26, and Imo 3.
Others are Kwara– 9, Enugu — 1, Ekiti — 6, Kogi — 1, Edo — 1, Delta — 3, Ebonyi — 1, Benue — 1, Abia — 1, Akwa Ibom — 1, and Anambra — 1,” he said.
Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Emmanuel Yashim (NAN)
Alleged $3m bribe: Appeal Court dismisses Farouk Lawan’s no-case -submission
The Cpurt of Appeal on Tuesday in Abuja court dismissed the application filed by former lawmaker, Farouk Lawan seeking to terminate the three million dollars bribery charges filed by the Federal Government.
Lawan had approached the appellate court to set aside the decision of Justice Angela Otaluka of an Abuja High Court and free him from the charges.
Delivering judgment in the appeal filed against the ruling of Otaluka which held that Lawan had a case to answer ,Justice Olabisi Ige who headed the panel held that the decision of the lower court was well founded.
The appellate court in a unanimous decision held that a prima facie case was well established against Lawan that warranted him to enter his defense in the three counts charges brought against him since 2013.
Justice Ige held that contrary to the argument of Lawan, the prosecution evidence at the lower court was not in anyway discredited, hence the rejection of his no-case submission.
The appellate court also held that the language of the trial judge, Justice Otaluka which Lawan complained about, did not place the defendant in any disadvantage position or was in anyway inimical to his trial.
The judge, who quoted the records of proceedings of the FCTHigh Court, especially the testimonies of the five witnesses called by the federal government.
The panel upheld the findings of Justice Otaluka that there were sufficient evidence linking Lawan to the offences.
“I am of the firm view and I have no doubt that the oral and documentary evidence presented by the prosecution sufficiently linked the appellant to the charges against him and to warrant his being called upon to make his defense.
“Prosecution evidence was not slanted in favour of the prosecution. In all, all the four issues raised in this appeal are hereby resolved against the appellant. His appeal, being un-meritorios is hereby dismissed”, he held .
Justice Otaluka had sometimes last year dismissed the no-case-submission filed by Lawan who was then Chairman of the House of Representatives Ad hoc Committee on Oil and Gas in his alleged 3 million dollars bribery trial.
The prosecution closed its case after calling five witnesses, Lawan, through his counsel, Mike Ozekhome SAN, had filed a no-case submission on the grounds that the evidence and testimonies did not link Lawan to the crime.
Ozekhome said the prosecution’s witnesses gave conflicting statements about the amount Lawan was alleged to have collected from the fifth prosecution witness, Mr Femi Otedola, who offered the alleged bribe to Lawan.
Ozekhome in addition argued that the video evidence showing how Lawan collected bribe from Otedola was blurry and does not necessarily prove that the content of the envelope Otedola gave to Lawan was money but could have been anything else.
He further submitted that if the Department of State Services (DSS) had any evidence they would have arrested Lawan immediately at the scene of the bribery which they claimed they set up.
Responding, prosecution lawyer, Chief Adegboyega Awomolo, SAN, urged the court to dismiss the no-case submission and ordered the defendant to enter his defense.
He added that, because the prosecution had established sufficient evidence through video and oral testimonies which linked Lawan to the alleged offences.
NAN reports that Justice Otaluka agreed with the submission of Awomolo and ordered Lawan to open his defense.
Edited By: Sadiya Hamza (NAN)
Pa Fasanmi buried as Fayemi, Akeredolu,Tinubu pay tributes
Eminent Nigerians on Tuesday paid tributes to the late Afenifere leader, Pa Ayo Fasanmi, as his remains were interred in his country home in Iye Ekiti, Ilejemeje Local Government Area of Ekiti.
Fasanmi, a Second Republic Senator, died on July 29 at the age of 94.
Fayemi said Fasanmi’s contributions to the development of democracy was immeasurable, particularly his role in the formation and operation of the defunct National Democratic Coalition (NADECO) that fought the military.
The governor disclosed that his government was already constructing a secondary school to honour the deceased for his contributions to the state before his death.
” My only regret is that he has left us before the school will be officially inaugurated for academic activities when schools finally reopen,” Fayemi said.
Fayemi, in his tribute entitled, “‘Tribute to a Man of Integrity,” said what attracted him to the deceased was his integrity.
“His death has, therefore, robbed me of a godfather, counsellor, an advocate and a father. A good man has left us.
” We will sorely miss him but we are consoled that he was dedicated to selfless service,” he said.
Fayemi added that Fasanmi belonged in the class of the youths of the 1950s when the nationalist movement was at its feverish peak.
He noted that the deceased got indoctrinated into nationalism struggle through the writings of Dr Nnamdi Azikwe and his contemporaries.
“He proved his political mettle in 1964 when he was elected as a member of the Federal House of Representatives before 1966 and he got imprisoned in Agodi Prison and was later released.
“He offered to serve as governor of the old Ondo state in 1978 and slugged it out with Chief Michael Adekunle Ajasin who defeated him in the primary.
“One legacy for which Baba would be fondly remembered was his credential of incorruptibility. He was a man of tall integrity and honesty.
“It would be recalled that he was the first to start the Anti-Bribery and Corruption Committee in 1973 under Col. Oluwole Rotimi of the Western Region.
“Chief Ayo Fasanmi has come, he has seen and conquered. He conquered human cravings, vanity of power, ostentation, greed and malice,” he said.
Speaking on behalf of the Southwest Governors, Gov. Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State, said the news of the passage of the icon was a loss to the Yoruba and Nigeria at large.
“Baba living long for 94 years was not what we are celebrating, but we are celebrating how many lives he had impacted on. He lived an impactful life.
“He was not petty but he spoke truth, lived a remarkable life and was one politician who became senator and came home to rest,” he said.
The governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, represented by his Special Adviser on Civic Engagements, Aderemi Adebowale, said Fasanmi’s influence became more pronounced by his incorruptible nature.
The All Progressives Congress National leader, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, represented by former Lagos State Deputy Governor, Abiodun Ogunleye, said Nigerians must learn from the late politician who lived a modest and spartan lifestyle.
Tinubu described Fasanmi as a revolutionary and a politician of outstanding mien, civility and character who was worthy of being emulated .
In his sermon, the Bishop of Ekiti Oke, Anglican Communion, Peter Olubowale, said Fasanmi was not a noise maker and trouble maker during his time.
The cleric urged the people to continually do good to humanity the way Fasanmi did to his family, political associates , friends and companions.
“We need to be available to ourselves and committed to God. Nigerians are number one people in the world that are easy to govern with patience, zeal and endurance.
“Baba has told us that all these monies you are spending and the one you are keeping inside bullion vans and the ones being stashed in banks accounts are all vanity.
” Use the position you are occupying very well to develop humanity. This is the only way you can gain eternity because materialism will lead you to hell fire,” he said.
Edited By: Josephine Obute/Mufutau Ojo) (NAN)