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Why I am contesting Kogi governorship election —  Irukera

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Mr Babatunde Irukera, a governorship aspirant of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Kogi, says that he is contesting in the Kogi governorship election to fulfil his vision for the development of the state.

Irukera, in an interview with Nigeria News Agency in Abuja, said that his interests were aroused by the plight of the citizens and the need to ensure that the narratives by the people in the state would change for better.

He said that he was pressured to contest by the people but was convinced of leading the right team to maximise the potential of the state.

Irukera, who is the Director General Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCP), said that although he was approached by a lot of people, both within and outside the state to contest, his vision for the development of the state motivated him most.

“I am not going to say that people didn’t ask me or pressure me to do it; I am in the race in part because of the pressure and ultimately because I truly have a clear vision for development of the state.

“I firmly believe that I understand exactly how to accomplish that vision and lead the right team to accomplish those objectives and finally because Kogi, as it is today, is not optimising its potential.

“I believe that given the opportunity to lead a strong team of very committed and bright people, we can truly transform the state and put it on the map of very progressive locations not just in Nigeria, but on the continent. Kogi has all it takes.

“So, I think there is an intersection between what I desire for the state and what the people of the state desire for themselves.

“It is that intersection that motivates me and that is where my passion to run and perhaps lead the state, if given the opportunity,’’ he said.

The aspirant said that he firmly believed in Kogi’s greatness, saying that under the right leadership with the right commitment and sacrifice, Kogi could become greater.

He said that apart from being an unusual confluence of two major rivers on the continent, “Kogi is state where you can find in large quantity any mineral resources that could be found elsewhere in Nigeria.

“Not to mention of closeness to Abuja; Kogi is also significantly endowed with arable farm land and good irrigation; the confluence itself is a tourist attraction, if truly and fully maximised.

“Mount Patti is one of the highest points where you have a significant flat top that can be truly exploited for tourism.

“It’s a place where people come from different part of the world to visit. There is an annual clime there.’’

Asked of reason he waited towards the deadline before obtaining his forms, Irukera said that he obtained the party expression of interest and nomination forms within the timeframe.

He said that what could be described as late entry would be for someone who had absolutely no track record or reputation for the capacity of work needed to be done in Kogi.

Irukera said that his qualification and capacity standpoints, participations in the state, close engagements and “undying relentless commitments’’ in contributing to peoples’ lives  in Kogi offered him a good chance.

He said that before 2015 governorship election in the state, he had been relevant in community development across the state.

He said that he had been responsive to philanthropy, strategy discussion, conversations with young people, leadership training or mentorship within the state.

Irukera said that beyond drilling of boreholes for communities, there was no dispute about his name recognition and the record of his contributions to peoples’ lives across the state.

“I cannot even begin to name the number of scholarships that I have provided across the state not just in my senatorial zone.

“I have taken every opportunity to support every emergency intervention in people’s health.

“One of the most important things that I’ve done is in mentorship and providing some guidance with respect to emerging leadership among young people.

“I truly and firmly believe that this is, perhaps, the greatest contribution you can make to society, he said.’’

OBE/KAY

Edited by Kayode Olaitan

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Akinyele contributed immensely to Nigeria’s development – Tinubu

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All Progressives Congress (APC) National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, on Friday, commiserated with the family and professional colleagues of former Information Minister, Chief Alex Akinyele.

Tinubu, in a statement signed by Mr Tunde Rahman, his media aide, described Akinyele as an elder statesman who contributed immensely to Nigeria’s development.

Akinyele died on Thursday at the age of 81.

“The late minister would be deeply missed by the country he served to the best of his abilities.

“Chief Alex Akinyele was an elder statesman. He served the country to the best of his abilities.

“He did his best as minister of Information and later Chairman of the Nigerian Sports Commission.

“He was also one leader who was very proud of his Yoruba, indeed Ondo heritage, and demonstrated this often in his appearance and conduct.”

The former Lagos State governor said that Akinyele radiated warmth and tenderness.

“To meet him is to like him. He was full of life and was unmistakable with his sartorial elegance.

“The country he did his best for will sorely miss him.

“I commiserate with his family, friends and relations at this moment.

“I mourn with his professional colleagues, the Public Relations practitioners and members of the Nigeria Institute of Public Relations.

“My condolences also go to Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu and the government and people of Ondo State.

“May they find the strength to live through his passing and may the soul of Chief Akinyele find eternal rest in the bosom of the Lord,” Tinubu said.

Edited by Saidu Adamu/Oluwole Sogunle

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Sen. Olujimi lauds judiciary for upholding justice

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Olujimi

Abuja, Nov. 15, 2019 Sen. Biodun Olujimi, (PDPEkiti South), who was newly sworn in, has lauded Nigeria’s judiciary for upholding the course of justice in the country.

Olujimi gave the commendation on Friday during a visit by a delegation from Ekiti State to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Olujimi was sworn in on Thursday following a judgement of the Court of Appeal in Kaduna which declared her winner of the Ekiti South senatorial election held on Feb. 23.

Olujimi replaced the former Senate spokesperson, Adedayo Adeyeye.

She said that winning her appeal had further strengthened her confidence in the Nigerian judiciary.

The senator called on her opponent to join hands with her in working for the good of their contitutuents.

“I went to it (Judiciary) without the necessary confidence, being a female, two; without a governor, three; without the ruling government at the centre behind me and yet, justice was done.

“I doff my hat to the judiciary.

“I also want to use this opportunity to call on my brother, my friend, who was my opponent in the race and at the tribunal, Sen. Adeyeye, to please let us put all hands on deck and ensure that the senatorial district is promoted because it is by doing this that the future will be bright for us and for the people.

“What has happened is just the travails of democracy, which we all subscribed unto it,” she said.

Olujimi, who thanked her constituents for their support, pledged to do more for them and ensure that there was development in the Ekiti South Senatorial District.

Earlier in his remarks, the traditional ruler of Omuo-Ekiti, Oba Noah Okinbaloye, said that they were in the Presidential Villa to intimate the vice president on some of their needs such as roads, electricity and having a tertiary institution in Omuo kingdom.

The monarch said Osinbajo promised to look into their plight and do his best to address them.

Edited by Ismail Abdulaziz

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Plateau crisis: Sango formally resigns as PDP Chairman

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Chief Damishi Sango, the embattled Plateau Chairman of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Friday formally stepped aside by handing over to his deputy, Mr Amos Gombe.

The Nigeria News Agency , reports that Sango’s resignation was announced by retired Lt.-Gen. Jeremiah Useni, the leader of the party in the state.

Useni, also PDP governorship candidate in the 2019 general elections disclosed this at a stakeholders meeting in Jos on Friday.

“Sango is no more our state chairman as directed by the National Secretariat but now a member of PDP Board of Trustees (BOT).

“Mr Amos Gombi, his deputy, is now the acting chairman of PDP in the state. This was done to settle whatever crisis we were having.

“Left for us the leaders of the party in the state, there is nothing like PDP I and PDP II because we are one big family undivided.

“The allegation that Sango collected money from the headquarters for 2019 general elections was not true because three of us signed for whatever stipends given to us by the National Secretariat.

“So, the insinuations raised against him (Sango) were but false and a disservice to him,” he stated.

Useni, who was flanked by his running mate, Mr James Dalok, described PDP as a big family devoid of any form of division and ready to reclaim its stolen mandate at the Court of Appeal.

“Our appeal is coming up on Nov. 22, with great and strong belief that we shall emerge victorious.

“But no matter the outcome of the appeal, we shall end up at the Supreme Court because I will never give up the fight.

“I am a dogged fighter, and never give up. That’s why I attended all the sittings at the Election Petition Tribunal to the end.

“What I want from you people is your continuous prayers for God to help us reclaim our stolen mandate,” Useni said.

Edited by Ali Baba-Inuwa

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Appeal Court’s verdict: Okowa restates call on Ogboru to join him in building Delta

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Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta has again urged his challenger, Chief Great Ogboru of the All Progressive Congress (APC), to join hands with him to build the state.

Okowa, who was  a candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the March 9 governorship election, made the appeal on Friday in Asaba.

He  thanked God for  the Appeal Court’s verdict of Friday in Abuja, upholding his victory as duly elected governor of  the state.

The governor was represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Mr Chiedu Ebie.

“This is a reaffirmation of the events of the March 9th when more than  900,000 Deltans voted for the re-election of my  administration.

“On the Sept. 20, the Tribunal ruled that I (Okowa) was validly elected and today, Nov. 15 is further reaffirmation of that by the Appeal Court.

“We asked the opposition to join us in building a stronger Delta,” he said..

Edited by Shittu Obassa

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Kogi Election: CDD cautions electorate against vote selling

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The Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) on Friday cautioned Kogi electorate not to sell their votes in Saturday’s governorship election.

CDD Director, Ms Idayat Hassan disclosed this in a statement by the Election Analysis Centre (EAC) of the organisation.

She said concerns were mounting as vote buying raised its ugly head in the Kogi election.

Hassan said less than 24 hours to the opening of poll for the election, CDD accredited and trained observers had been keeping close watch on the electoral process.

“The good people of Kogi should be aware that if they sell their votes, they are mortgaging their future and compromising the possibility of good governance for their own benefits.

“This is because there are indications that a lot of money has been set aside for vote buying on Saturday.

“Already, our observers have noted the distribution of gift items such as Ankara textile materials and rice in Lokoja and Koton Karfe Local Government Areas (LGAs) of the state.

“In addition, the latest report we are receiving from our observers indicate massive inducement of INEC Supervising Presiding Officers (SPOs) across the 21 LGAs of the state.

“The report indicate that one of the parties has made overtures, and has been inducing the SPOs with bribes in foreign currency to buy them over, and get them (the SPOs) to do its bidding on Election Day,’’ he said.

Hassan said that the report was further confirmed by Bureau de Change (BDC) operators in the state who were interviewed and they attested that there were upsurge in the number of customers calling to change foreign currencies to naira.

She said that the use of financial inducement to subvert the credibility of the electoral process was antithetical to the democratic ethos.

“CDD condemns in the strongest possible terms all forms of inducement of poll officials, the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) expressly frowns at bribery and all forms of inducement of poll officials.

“Specifically, Section 124(4) of the Electoral Act 2010 as amended states: “Any person who commits the offence of bribery is liable on conviction to a maximum fine of N500, 000 or imprisonment for 12 months or both,” he said.

Hassan called on anti-corruption agencies, particularly the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) to thoroughly investigate the report.

She urged the anti-graft agencies to do the investigation in order to hold to account perpetrators of the electoral crimes.

She also advised EFCC, ICPC and the police to closely monitor financial transactions with a view to arresting all suspects inducing voters and electoral officials.

She urged INEC to fine tune its monitoring mechanisms to ensure that all compromised electoral officials were removed from the process immediately.

Edited by Abiemwense Moru/Ali Baba-Inuwa

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Kogi, Bayelsa Polls: CYMS cautions youths against violence, vote-buying

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The Committee of Youth on Mobilisation and Sensitisation (CYMS) has called on political parties to curb any action that could instigate violence in the Saturday polls in Kogi and Bayelsa States.

The Director-General, CYMS, Mr Obinna Nwaka, made the call in statement on Friday in Lokoja, saying that the youths of both states should desist from any activities detrimental to their future.

Nwaka also advised politicians to shun vote buying, saying that CYMS will not hesitate to report individuals or political parties that violate the rules to law enforcement agencies for immediate prosecution through its reports.

He noted that the utterances and actions coming out of these states in relation to the governorship elections following the pre-election assessment was capable of causing problem in the states.

He said that in a bid to promote good governance and ensure youth participation in electoral process the organisation had trained and  deployed young people as election observers in line with the INEC’s pre-election activities.

He also called on the security personnel to take all necessary steps to mobilise strategically to counter political violence, paying particular attention to prevent or checkmate fake officials that could be used to disrupt electoral process.

“The security should secure the environment from inflow of external forces with intention to rig or destroy the election and ensure effective non-partisan response that will prevent further erosion of confidence in our electoral process.

INEC should be firm and have a  consistent stance on the use of the card readers and uphold our electoral standards with quick respond where election materials are hijacked and diverted,” he said.

Nwaka, therefore, encouraged all the electorate in the two states to turn out en masse and cast their votes for any candidates of their choice and support the INEC in ensuring free, fair and conclusive election.

Edited by Felix Ajide

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