Politics

Kogi elections: Group urges politicians to eschew violence, hate speech

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A charity organisation, the National Association of Seadogs (NAS), also known as Pyrates’ Confraternity, Abuja City Centre, has appealed to politicians and other stakeholders to avoid acts that trigger violence and “play by the rules of the game”.

The call, contained in statement signed by Mr Ugochukwu Nwodo, Capoon, NAS Sahara Deck, is coming ahead of the Nov. 16 gubernatorial elections in Kogi.

Nwodo said that election was “entirely a civil affair that requires citizens to exercise their franchise as provided for in the constitution and guidelines for elections”.

“Violence and all forms of thuggery, intimidation and chaos should not have a place in 21st century electoral process.”

He also urged security agencies to ensure that the electorate in the state was freely allowed to exercise the right to vote in a violence free environment and without fear of any reprisals.

Furthermore, he called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to play the role of “a fair umpire”.

He urged INEC to ensure free, fair and credible election which should also be “generally seen to be so by all concerned”.

He assured of the group’s commitment to all efforts geared towards ensuring that “our electoral processes are strengthened and devoid of violence”.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that INEC, in May, had announced a new date for the governorship elections in Kogi and Beyelsa from Nov. 2 to Nov. 16.

The commission said the change in date followed several appeals from Bayelsa that the election date coincided with the state’s Annual Thanksgiving Day which is backed by law.

TOP/SH

edited by Sadiya Hamza

Politics

Why APC forum will continue to support Oshiomhole, Osun APC Chairman

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Mr Gboyega Famodun, the Osun Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), says the forum of the party’s chairmen will continue to support the national chairman of its party, Mr Adams Oshiomhole.

Famodun said the party’s misfortune in Zamfara as well as nagging imbroglio within APC in Edo were not enough grounds to relieve Oshiomhole of his job.

He spoke at the NUJ Correspondent’s Chapel programme tagged News Point on Friday in Osogbo.

Famodun, who noted that conflict remained unavoidable component of every political environment, said the capacity to manage it without resulting to large scale crisis indicated political maturity.

According to him, similar acrimony within the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) while in power responsible for its abysmal performance during 2015 election.

He said the forum was working assiduously to prevent such occurrence in APC.

“We don’t have any choice than to support Oshiomhole; we cannot afford to experience the calamity that befell PDP as a result of similar conflict which they failed to manage diplomatically.

“The essence of history is to guide future happenings, in that wise, the forum of APC state chairmen must do everything possible to save the party by rallying around the national chairman.

“We are also not unaware of certain interests that considered the leadership of Oshiomhole as inimical to their political ambitions, hence, the desperate move to replace him.

“However, we are making every necessary arrangement to reach amicable resolution”, Famodun said.

Speaking on the performance of the party in the state, Famodun said the administration of Gov. Gboyega Oyetola was consolidating achievement of the last administration in the state.

He explained that certain policies of the new government were tailored towards addressing the immediate needs of the people in the state without compromising physical development.

Edited by: Kayode Olaitan

(NAN)

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Politics

APC Rally: Edo govt insists no rally or gathering must hold

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The Edo Government on Friday insisted that no rally or gathering must hold in line with the government ban on all forms of political rallies, demonstrations and procession in the state.

Edo Deputy Governor Philip Shuaibu reiterated this while speaking with news men shortly after meeting with the Edo Commissioner of Police, Mr Lawal Jimeta.

Shuaibu said that any breach of the ban would be met and faced with the full wrath of the law.

He explained that he was in the police state command to be on the same page with the police commissioner in that regard.

He also said that the Benin kingdom was presently celebrating the Igue festival and the period of the festival celebration “is not a time for any body to breach peace in the state.

“We respect our royalty and anybody that breach that peace will face the full weight of the law; no political rally can hold in the state.

“They have been communicated and I’m sure they are law abiding, but if they don’t the weight of the law will be melted on them.

“Already, we have issued a statement on public gathering and police gathering.”

Nigeria News Agency reports that the Inspector-General of Police Mohammed Abubakar had on Thursday directed the suspension of a proposed rally by one of the factions of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state to receive Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu.

Ize-Iyamu was the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate in the 2016 governorship election and he contested against the incumbent Gov. Godwin Obaseki.

The ban on political rally in the state is in a statement signed by Secretary to the State Government, Mr Osarodion Ogie.

The statement had warned that the state government would revoke Right of Occupancy of any property used as venue for unauthorised gathering in the state.

Edited by: Kayode Olaitan

(NAN)

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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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