Politics

Ex Niger Gov. urges INEC to cancel Kogi, Bayelsa elections

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The former governor of Niger, Dr Babangida Aliyu of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to cancel Saturday’s governorship elections in Kogi and Bayelsa states.

Aliyu made the call in a press statement on Thursday in Minna by Mr Bala Bitrus, his media officer.

Accordding to Aliyu: “we hereby ask INEC and the government in power to annul the elections in the interest of peace, the growth of democracy and fairness.

“(This is) for the soul of Salomi Acheju Abuh and of all those who were slain in Kogi and Bayelsa states in the course of last Saturday’s elections by the agents of the states.

“We ask the federal government to not only condemn the wanton killings and destruction of properties but to empaneled well balanced committees to probe the dastardly acts and speedily bring those behind the arsons and fish out their sponsors for proper justice.”

He condemned the killing of the PDP’s Women Leader of Wada Aro Campaign Council in Kogi state, Salomi Abuh who was burnt to death in her house by alleged sponsored armed political thugs.

“As civilized citizens, we note with serious concern that the general conducts of the governorship elections in the two states, where innocent citizens were subjected to crude, brutal and naked use of force have rubbished the essence of the elections.

“Therefore we reject the outcomes of the two elections in their entirety,” he said.

“The conducts and outcomes of the elections in the two states are therefore not the reflections of free choice by the electorate in the two states nor are they in tandem with democratic traditions hence we reject the results posted by INEC in all their ramifications.

“It is pertinent to say here that subversion of the free will and wishes of citizens at elections and at any public fora amounts to, not only illegality but gross abuse of the fundamental principles of the rights of citizens to elect candidates of their preferred choice to govern them.

The Former Governor said that it was time for the country to begin to have critical look at the electoral system and ensure that the right things are done toward safeguarding democracy and its true culture in all elections.

Responding, Alhaji Mohammed Imam, Chairman of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in Niger, told Nigeria News Agency that Aliyu was merely seeking for relevance.

“He is actually canvassing for such, knowing fully well that INEC cannot annul election after it had declared it,” he said.

NAN reports that David Lyon of the APC in Bayelsa had polled 352,552 votes to defeat Sen. Douye Diri of the PDP who got 143,172 votes.

While the incumbent in Kogi, Alhaji Yahaya Bello polled 406,222 votes to defeat his major opponent, Musa Wada of the PDP who scored 189,704 votes to emerge second.

Edited by Ismail Abdulaziz (NAN)

Politics

Edo PDP rejects “high fees’’ to purchase forms

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The PDP in Edo State rose from its stakeholders’ meeting in Benin on Friday, rejecting “the high fees to purchase forms as released by the national working committee of the party’’.

The meeting, subsequently, mandated the Chairman of the party in the state, Chief Dan Orbih, to inform the party’s national chairman of the position of the Edo State chapter.

Earlier, the meeting heard that party members aspiring for chairmanship positions in the party would pay one million naira, while those gunning for vice-chairmanship positions would pay N500, 000.

Similarly, those aspiring for chairmanship of the party in the local government councils would pay N300, 000, while those aspiring for chairmanship at the ward level would N100, 000.

Addressing the party members earlier, Orbih advised them not to hand over positions to people who would use the positions to negotiate their exits from the party.

Orbih, who disclosed that the fees regime was unfolded by the PDP’s national working committee, said that people interested in the positions should go ahead and collect the forms.

He, however, advised that people interested in the various positions should go about it in peaceful manner.

“We should be careful not to hand over these positions to those who will use them to negotiate their future exit.

“In these are strange times, we are seeing those who have benefited most from this party shopping for excuses to justify their undignified exit.

“Our liberalism must be exercised with caution arising from the bitter lesson of political ingrates, who are today casting aspersions on the PDP.

“No matter what they are saying, Edo State people see them as cheap fair weather politicians, who will do anything to advance their selfish political interests. But time will tell.”

Orbih reiterated that the governorship and the chairmanship positions were not zoned in the state, saying however, that a committee would work the zoning of offices next month.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that Edo State is billed for governorship polls in August next year in an election expected to be characterised by back-stabbing, betrayals and violence.

Edited by: Silas Nwoha

(NAN)

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Politics

Reps query Julius Beger over slow pace of Abuja-Kaduna, Lagos-Ibadan highways

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The House of Representatives has queried the construction company, Julius Berger Nigeria Plc, over the slow pace of work on the LagosIbadan and Abuja-Kaduna-Zaria-Kano highways.

The House Committee on Works, in its resolutions, expressed its disappointment when the company appeared before it alongside officials of Ministry of Works and Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) at an investigative hearing on Wednesday.

The committee, in its resolutions on the hearing, said it “questions Julius Berger’s capacity to concurrently handle big projects.”

The committee said that in view of this, “it is directing the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing to consider the option of involving other contractors to handle different sections of the road”.

It said this is to ensure that the project is completed on time and save lives and property.

The committee also demanded a monthly progress report on the Abuja-Kaduna-Zaria-Kano road from the Ministry of Works and Housing.

In addition, it invited the Bureau of Public Procurement to brief it on the “Certificate of No Objection” issued on the proposed third lane of the Abuja-Kano road.

The committee, however, resolved to carry out oversight function on the Abuja-Kaduna-Zaria-Kano road immediately.

It also resolved to invite the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority to provide it with all details of payments made to Julius Berger and the justifications for the payments.

Furthermore, the committee directed the construction company to open up the completed, but closed portions of the Abuja-Kaduna-Zaria-Kano road, and minimise and streamline the road diversions as advised by the FRSC, immediately.

It added that the company should immediately attend to the potholes that littered the road.

Furthermore, it called for segmentation of the projects and urged that the Federal Government to involve other contractors to ensure timely completion of the project.

“The committee advises Julius Berger Nigeria Plc., the Ministry of Works and Housing, and the FRSC to work together to ensure sanity and security on the Abuja-Kaduna-Zaria-Kano road,” the resolution read in part.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that the contract of the Abuja-Kaduna-Zaria-Kano road was awarded to Julius Berger at the cost of ₦155 billion with a completion period of 36 months.

The chairman of the committee, Rep. Kabir Abubakar (APC-Kano), alleged that the company had, by its actions and inactions created a situation leading to loss of lives and gridlock on the Abuja-Kano road.

Abubakar said this was in spite of the company being paid a mobilisation fee of over ₦50 billion.

The chairman expressed concern that Julius Berger might not meet up with the completion deadline as stated in the contract agreement.

He said that in spite of the disbursement of about 32 per cent of the total contract sum, the work done, as discovered by their consultant, was not commensurate with the funds collected by Julius Berger.

The committee said that Julius Berger stood the risk of losing the contract if it failed to complete the project within the stipulated time.

Representatives of the ministry and the company, however, told the committee that they did not come along with details of the Lagos-Ibadan expressway for the appearance.

Responding to questions, the Regional Technical Manager, Julius Berger Nigeria Plc., Mr Benjamin Bott, said the company was doing everything possible to complete the work as scheduled. 

Bott said the company regretted the loss of lives and inconveniences caused users of the Abuja-Kano and the Lagos-Ibadan highways.

He told the committee that measures were being put in place to reduce hardships being experienced by motorists on the Abuja-Kano road.

According to him, the measures include patching the potholes and collaborating with the FRSC to control traffic and reduce accidents.

The Julius Berger representative explained  that some sections of the road were not opened to traffic as they had not been completed, contrary to the belief of the users.

Bott also told the lawmakers that 60 kilometre  of the completed section of the road would be opened for use within the next two months, while work on the other sections would continue.

On his part, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Works, Mr Mohammed Bukar, said the Abuja-Kano road contract was awarded to Julius Berger through a procurement process recognised by the Procurement Act.

According to him, in spite the fears expressed by the committee about Julius Berger not meeting the completion schedule, there is no cause for alarm.

Edited by: Kamal Tayo Oropo/Kayode Olaitan

(NAN)

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Politics

Edo guber elections: PDP advises APC to stop heating up polity

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Nine months to the governorship elections in Edo, the PDP has warned the ruling APC in the state, to desist from taking actions or making utterances that would heat up the polity and stoke violence.

The Publicity Secretary of the PDP in Edo, Mr Chris Nehikhare, made the appeal in an interview with the Nigeria News Agency in Benin on Friday.

His appeal comes amid worsening political tension in the state, arising from the governorship election in the state, slated for August next year.

Nehikhare appealed to law enforcement agencies, especially the police to be at alert in view of the tension building up, following planned decamping of a PDP chieftain to the APC.

“The PDP condemns the grandstanding of various factions of the APC on the APC factional rally scheduled for Dec. 13.

“Edo State, which hitherto, was a peaceful and tolerant state is being steadily turned to `Kabul,’ the war-torn capital of Afghanistan.

“In the past few days, Edo State residents have been inundated with threats and counter-threats from at least three factions that exist in a party that is known for its intolerance and propensity for violence, maiming and arson.

“We hereby call on the police and other security agencies to be at alert because the build up by disgruntled factions in Edo State APC can only deliver sorrow, tears and blood.

“We advise that a proper and effective security arrangement is put in place to checkmate any act of violence.”

The spokesman said, however, that the PDP in Edo State was sympathising with the populace, who had been made to feel insecure and bear the brunt of the power play within the APC.

“However, there is light at the end of the tunnel as people in Edo State will have a chance to vote and chase these people out of town in a few months.

“We advise Edo State residents to stay calm and remain focused,” Nehikhare said.

Edited by: Silas Nwoha

(NAN)

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Politics

Edo APC crisis “tragic and unfortunate”, says Oyegun

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Former National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr John Oyegun, on Thursday spoke on the crisis rocking his party in Edo, describing it as “tragic and unfortunate”.

Oyegun, who was first Executive Governor of Edo, spoke with newsmen on the sideline of the 22nd investiture of the Nigerian Institute of Management (NIM) in Lagos.

Oyegun said that the rift between Gov. Godwin Obaseki and APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomole, brought to fore the dangers of godfatherism in the nation’s politics.

When principles are involved in an argument, it is very hard to wade in, especially expecting that one party surrenders principle to another.

It is a good thing to mentor somebody, to have an elder, more experienced to help bring up the younger one.

But when you have mentored him, and he has attained maturity and growth, do not keep treating him like a child,” Oyegun said.

He, however, revealed that efforts were ongoing to address the matter and bring peace to the party’s affairs of the state.

Oyegun lauded the performance of the state governor and reiterated his support for the great stride the state was recording.

Edited by: Wale Ojetimi
(NAN)
(NAN)

Edited by: Abdullahi Mohammed/
(NAN)
(NAN)

 

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Politics

Sanwo-Olu wants more Nigerian professionals in politics

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  Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has called on Nigerian professionals to be more involved in politics to ensure sustainable national development.

Sanwo-Olu made the call on Thursday while delivering the 3rd University of Lagos, Faculty of Engineering Alumni Lecture in Lagos.

The governor spoke on the topic: ”Professionals in Politics: Panacea for Sustainable National Development.”

He urged professionals not to shy away from embracing their political nature, saying that politics is a big part of everyday live and existence.

Quoting ancient philosopher Plato, Sanwo-Olu said that “one of the penalties for declining to take part in politics is that people end up being governed by those inferior to them.

Politics in Nigeria definitely needs more professionals, more ‘outsiders’, not less.

Politics thrives best in the face of diversity; different professional callings bringing different skill-sets and perspectives to the table.

”If we complain that it is politics that has robbed Nigeria of many opportunities in its history then we must also be willing to concede that it is politics that will redeem us and set things right.

”Nigeria’s development will not happen outside of politics and political activity,” the governor said.

He said that most developed countries deployed political leadership to take decisions that set them on the path of development.

”I believe that we must reclaim the word ‘politics from negativity’. It is often given a negative coloration that it does not deserve, and that is misleading.

”As many people as want to go into partisan politics must be encouraged to do so.

We must stop seeing people as ”sell-outs” when they choose to fly the flag of partisan politics.

”We must acknowledge the power that politics has to shape our lives and our societies for good or ill. It is arguably the most potent tool that exists for influencing the course of a society.

”We owe, to a great extent, our happiness or unhappiness to the way politics is played on our behalf.

”We must educate ourselves about the way politics is played in our society – from the smallest level all the way to the top,” he said.

Sanwo-Olu said that politics could be viewed as a professional calling – similar to a religious calling, as professionalism in politics aided national development.

He said that many of the greatest politicians that Nigeria had produced came from various professional callings and walks of life.

The governor said that many of the founding fathers and first generation of political leaders in Nigeria were journalists who had made their name with their pens and writing skills.

According to him, Accounting, Law, Engineering, Business are all professions that have supplied and continue to supply considerable numbers of people at the highest levels of politics and political service in Nigeria.

In his address, Mr Titi Omo-Ettu, Chairman, UNILAG Faculty of Engineering Alumni Association (UNILAGFEAA), said that Nigeria had infrastructure deficit, hence, should adopt Chinese model of governance.

”For a country that has infrastructure deficit as challenge, the Chinese model of governance in which political leadership is selected on the basis that 80 per cent of those governing are engineers or persons of engineering background suits us.

”The electorate of Southwest states of Lagos, Ogun and Oyo, spoke clearly in the last election by voting for leadership that is engineers heavy.

”Your Excellencies, we see your election as a challenge to us as infrastructure providers and we are to remind you of this major responsibility on your shoulders and our determination to support you to succeed,” Omo-ettu said.

Edited by: Chioma Ugboma/Wale Ojetimi
(NAN)
(NAN)

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