INEC seeks collaboration among ECOWAS electoral bodies

The Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, has called for collaboration among West African states on election management.

Yakubu stated this at an event to commemorate the Liberia’s National Election Commission’s workspace for its staff.

On November 14 2023, Liberians voted in the run-off to elect their president for the next six years. After the election, Joseph Boakai became Liberia’s new leader after his rival and sitting President George Weah conceded to mark a peaceful transfer of power in a region that has recently seen many military coups.

Yakubu, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Rotimi Oyekanmi, on Saturday, expressed heartfelt appreciation to NEC-Liberia for the esteemed honour bestowed upon INEC Nigeria in dedicating the workspace to staff.

“Professor Yakubu underscored the complexity of election management and urged prioritising peer support amid limited resources and escalating election costs,” the statement noted.

The chairperson of NEC Liberia, Davidetta Lansanah, acknowledged the pivotal technical support rendered by INEC Nigeria and Yakubu in establishing the workspace and bolstering the electoral process in Liberia.


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Edo 2024: Ize-Iyamu declares to contest governorship again

A former Secretary to the State Government of Edo State, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, on Wednesday, declared his intention to join the 2024 governorship race in the state.

This is the third time he will be taking a shot at the Edo governorship office.

In 2020, he ran on the platform of the All Progressives Congress but lost to Governor Godwin Obaseki, who ran on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party.

Declaring his intention to run on the APC platform again on Wednesday, Ize-Iyamu said he would stick with his previous SIMPLE agenda, which stands for  Security, Infrastructure Development, Manpower Development, Public/Private Partnership, Leadership by example and Employment creation.

He said, “Having served as Secretary to the State Government and a previous governorship candidate of the party, I possess the required experience to be governor. We lost the 2020 election because our leaders outside the state chose to vote against us.

“The SIMPLE agenda will be used to develop the state, if given the chance to become the governor. All the 18 local government will enjoy infrastructural development.”

He urged the electorate to vote for a politician like him who understands the needs of the people and not an outsider, questioning the present administration’s claim of infrastructural development in the state.

He added, “In Orhionmwon Local Government where I come from, there is no Automated Teller Machine let alone a bank and other social amenities like pipeborne water and electricity.

“The present administration is engaging in selective development as the only visible projects can only be found in Benin City.

“Also, I am not like other politicians who will rule for four or eight years and relocate to Abuja or Lagos. I am based in the state and I think I should be given the chance rather than backing people who only come to vie for positions during elections.”

In his response, the deputy chairman of the party, Jarret Tenebe, stated that the party needed a candidate who would win the 2024 poll.


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Rivers elders write Fubara, say Abuja resolution ‘death sentence’

Rivers State elders and leaders have written an open letter to Governor Siminalayi Fubara, warning him against implementing the resolution reached at a meeting with President Bola Tinubu in Abuja to resolve the political crisis in the state.

The Rivers elders, in their letter, described the resolution as “a death sentence,” contending that it was lopsided in favour of Fubara’s estranged political godfather and ex-governor, Nyesom Wike.

The forum, led by former Rivers State governor, Chief Rufus Ada-George, made the declaration in two separate open letters dated December 24, 2023, and addressed to President Tinubu and Fubara respectively and read to newsmen in Port Harcourt on Wednesday.

They declared that the presidential resolution on the political crisis in Rivers State was lopsided and not implementable because it was against the rule of law.

“For us, as custodians of the Rivers people’s conscience and morality, we find the directive resolution document lopsided and skewed in favour of the interest of your current minister, Nyesom Wike, to the detriment of the governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, the governance of the state and the interest of the generality of the good people of Rivers State,” they wrote.

They said Tinubu did not have the power to overrule the decision of a court of competent jurisdiction, while faulting the Christmas Day broadcast by Fubara that he would implement the resolution.

The open letters were signed by Chief George, Dr Gabriel Toby, Ibim Princewill, Rear Adm. P. Fingesi (retd.), Emeritus Prof. Dagogo Fubara, HRH Iraron, Ede Obolo, Anabs Sara-Igbe, Senator Bennett Birabi, Ms Annkio Briggs, Captain Nwankwo, Prof. A.W. Obianime, Prof. E. T. Bristol, High Chief Marcus Atata, Senator Wilson Ake, Dr Silva Opusunju, Sen Andrew Uchendu, Kalada Iruenabere, Atamuno Atamuno, Prof. N O Nyenke, and Godwin Abbey.

“Mr. Governor, Sir, you stated categorically that you are a principal participant in the entire saga and the Presidential Peace Proclamation is not as bad as being portrayed by those genuinely opposed to it.
“That proclamation is actually a death sentence as it breaches all legal and constitutional rights you swore to uphold. Mr. Governor, you
also stated in your broadcast that the document offers a way and means of peace: Peace at what cost?” the elders queried.

“Does the President have the powers to overrule the ruling of a court of competent jurisdiction when he is a product of the court himself?

 “Central to this, Mr President, is the sacred doctrine and practice of the separation of powers. May we inform Mr President that the seats of the cross-carpeting members have been declared vacant by the Speaker, known to the law, Rt Hon Ehie Edison, through an ex parte order issued by the Federal High Court Port Harcourt division.

 “We cannot but imagine how providing accommodation and meeting venue for legislative business becomes the duty of members of the House of Assembly who you directed to seat wherever they choose and not by the Executive arm as in the case of the National Assembly Complex were Legislative Quarters are provided and maintained by the Executive arm.

 “Given the foregoing, it is evident that Governor Siminalayi Fubara, the Chief Executive Officer of Rivers State, was coerced into submitting to your premeditated action plan even when it is well known that Mr President does not possess such powers to give directives to a democratically elected governor or impose his will on the state government and the good people of Rivers State.

 “As far as we are concerned, that meeting did not happen, and those directives are not implementable because to do so will be acting against the constitution and the rule of law.”

The elders, however, lauded Fubara for his humility as shown in his Christmas Day speech to the people of the state.


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Aiyedatiwa takes over, Tinubu, govs say Akeredolu’s death big loss

Acting Governor of Ondo State, Lucky Aiyedatiwa, was on Wednesday sworn in as the substantive governor of the state following the death of Governor Rotimi Akeredolu earlier in the day.

Akeredolu, aged 67, passed away on Wednesday morning while undergoing treatment for prostate cancer in a German hospital.

Born on July 21, 1956, Akeredolu studied Law at the Obafemi Awolowo University (then the University of Ife) graduating in 1977. He was called to the bar in 1978.

His demise generated an outpouring of tributes and condolence messages from President Bola Tinubu, the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, the Ooni of Ife, the Nigerian Bar Association, the Christian Association of Nigeria, and other eminent Nigerians, who described his death as a big loss to the country.

In line with the constitution, Aiyedatiwa was sworn in as the seventh executive governor of the Sunshine State by the state Chief Judge Justice Olusegun Odusola.

He took the oath of allegiance at 5.15pm, swore the oath of office at 5:17pm, and signed the Oath Register at about 5:19pm.

‘Man of courage’

In his maiden address, the new governor described his former boss, Akeredolu, as a man of courage and conviction who always stood for the truth even at his own detriment.

He vowed to continue with the developmental ideas of the late former governor and also solicited support and cooperation from the stakeholders.

He said, “Today’s (Wednesday ), event has placed a burden on all of us to pull together and stay together as one because we have the onerous responsibility to continue to sustain the legacies of Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Odunayo Akeredolu, SAN, CON, which was good governance, properly called.

“Our leader and governor, during his time embarked upon several landmark projects, many of which have been completed and several ongoing. We now have the responsibility to complete them.

“It is to the credit of Arakunrin Akeredolu, that the state now has a flyover in Ore, while the one in Akure is ongoing. It is necessary for us to acknowledge with pride the wonderful achievements and legacies of Arakunrin Akeredolu. His records of performance are monumental and unprecedented.’’

He said the people of the South-West would forever be grateful to Akeredolu, who as the Chairman of the governors in the zone ensured the establishment of Amotekun, the region’s security outfit which tackled kidnapping and other crimes

Present at the inauguration were the Speaker of the House of Assembly, Olamide Oladiji; Secretary to the State Government, Oladunni Odu, some state executive council members; the Head of Service, Pastor Kayode Ogundele, former deputy governors, permanent secretaries, Chairman of the All Progressives Congress in the state, Ade Adetimehin, the Chief of Staff to the late governor, Chief Olugbenga Ale, party supporters, among others.

Before his death, Akeredolu had transferred power to Aiyedatiwa via a letter to the state House of Assembly on December 13, 2023, when he was to proceed on medical leave in Germany.

The development followed the intervention of President Tinubu who intervened in the crisis that resulted from the failure of Akeredolu to hand over to his deputy after he returned to the country from Germany in September.

Although Akeredolu returned to Nigeria in the first week of September after a three-month medical leave, he was operating from Ibadan, the Oyo State capital.

The state House of Assembly had commenced an impeachment process against the deputy governor over allegations of gross misconduct.

This led to a division in the state assembly and the state executive council as well as the state chapter of the All Progressives Congress.

In a bid to resolve the crisis, Tinubu met with the leadership of the assembly and the state APC at the State House, Abuja, last month, where it was decided that Aiyedatiwa should take over as the acting governor.

The state Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Mrs Bamidele Ademola-Olateju, announced the governor’s death in a statement saying, “Mr governor peacefully departed from this world in the early hours of today, Wednesday, December 27, 2023.”

The statement was titled, ‘It is a sad day in Ondo State.’

 It read, “With a heavy heart, the Ondo State Government announces the passing of our beloved Governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN, CON.

 “Mr governor peacefully departed from this world in the early hours of today, Wednesday, December 27, 2023. This tragedy has left behind a profound void in our hearts.

“Governor Akeredolu answered the eternal call while receiving medical treatment in Germany. He succumbed to complications arising from protracted prostate cancer.”

It noted that a letter had been sent to the President to officially inform him of the governor’s death.

The family and the Ondo State Government appreciate Mr President’s support for Governor Akeredolu during his illness. The family and the state government will release further details regarding the funeral arrangements.

“Governor Akeredolu was an extraordinary leader whose unwavering dedication to the state and its people was both commendable and unparalleled.’’

Meanwhile, the new governor, in a statement on Wednesday evening  in Akure by his Chief Press Secretary, Ebenezer Adeniyan,  declared three-day mourning.

According to Aiyedatiwa, the period of mourning, with fasting and prayer, takes effect from Thursday and ends on Saturday.

Akeredolu’s aides resign

Shortly before the swearing-in of Aiyedatiwa, the Special Adviser to Akeredolu on Union Matters and Special Duties, Mr Dare Aragbaye and the Chief Press Secretary Mr Richard Olatunde resigned from office.

In the letters of resignation signed by the duo, addressed to the office of the Secretary to the State Government on Wednesday, the aides cited the demise of the governor as the reason for their action. The letters came in, some hours after the death of Governor Akeredolu.

Aragbaye’s letter was titled ‘Resignation of appointment as Special Adviser Union Matters and Special Duties.’

The letter read, “I write to refer to the subject above and to resign my appointment as Special Adviser Union Matters and Special Duties with effect from today, Wednesday 27, December 2023. My decision to resign is based on the unfortunate death of my principal a fearless and honest leader, Governor Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Odunayo Akeredulu, SAN, CON , whom I am loyal to even in death.

“I sincerely thank His Excellency for the opportunity granted me to serve in his administration as a member of the State Executive Council first as a Head of Service and now as Special Adviser. Please accept the assurances of my esteemed regards. “

Olatunde in his letter titled ‘Resignation Letter’ partly read, “ It is with a heavy heart and deep sadness that I tender my resignation as the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, effective from today, Wednesday 27, 2023.”

It further stated,” My decision to resign from office is hinged on the unfortunate and untimely death of our leader, principal, and father figure, Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN, CON.”

The Ondo State Government Secretariat was in a sombre mood following the death of the governor as the workers who resumed office after the Christmas holiday wore somber looks.

They were seen in groups discussing the development while many of them could not carry out any official duty.

Tinubu in a personally signed statement expressing his grief described the second-term governor, who was expected to conclude his tenure in 2024, as a fearless fighter, brother, confidant, and political soulmate.

He stated, “Today, I mourn a fighter and fearless defender of truth and the masses…brother, confidant, political soulmate, and the Executive Governor of Ondo State.”

He further noted, “Rotimi was a man of ideas and action. While he was with us, he taught us the power of action and service.

“In Ondo State, where he had the honour to serve as the governor over the past six years, he served his people with absolute loyalty, dedication, and forthrightness,” said the President.

In the tribute titled, ‘I mourn my fearless brother, Rotimi Akeredolu,’ Tinubu said: “Rotimi has played his role well and left us untimely. We will never see his likes again. Let me tell the people of Ondo State that I am grieving with you. We will honour Rotimi’s memory and make sure his legacy of service is never forgotten.

“In my grief and sadness, I have telephoned his wife, Betty, and Acting Governor Lucky Aiyedatiwa to commiserate with them and urge them to take heart over this national tragedy.

“Governor Akeredolu was not just a friend and associate, the departed leader was a brother and a soulmate. His death is a blow to our governing APC and the progressive family as we are diminished by it.”

Govs mourn

Also, the governors of Oyo, Lagos, Osun, Edo, Ogun, Kogi, Benue, and Delta states expressed profound sorrow over the death of the former chairman of the Southern Governors’ Forum.

Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State described Akeredolu, who, until his death, was the Chairman of the South-West Governors’ Forum, as a dogged fighter and courageous leader.

Makinde, in a statement issued in Ibadan on Wednesday by his Special Adviser on Media, Mr Sulaimon Olanrewaju, expressed heartfelt condolences to the late governor’s wife, the entire family as well as the government and the people of Ondo State.

The Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, while expressing grief over the sad development, said Akeredolu would be greatly missed for his positive impacts in Ondo State, South-West, and Nigeria as a whole.

Sanwo-Olu in a statement issued on Wednesday by his Chief Press Secretary, Gboyega Akosile, commiserated with Aiyedatiwa, Akeredolu’s widow, Dr Betty Akeredolu, and the entire family and friends of the deceased.

In a tribute, Osun State Governor, Ademola Adeleke, submitted that Akeredolu’s death had denied Nigeria one of its finest.

Adeleke in a condolence message signed by his spokesperson, Olawale Rasheed, on Wednesday, said he was deeply touched by Akeredolu’s death, who he said made great contributions to Nigeria in the legal field and public service.

The Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, lauded the departed governor for his bravery and independence of mind, noting that he served his people meritoriously and diligently.

Obaseki in a statement on Wednesday, asserted that Akeredolu’s intellect, hard work, and diligence stood him out and was reflected in his attainments and the fervour in which he served the good people of Ondo State.

Ogun State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, described the death of his Ondo State counterpart as tragic.

In his condolence message to Aiyedatiwa, the family of the deceased, and the Ondo people, Prince Abiodun described Akeredolu as a dogged fighter throughout his lifetime.

Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello, in a statement, described the tragic passing of his Ondo State counterpart as a monumental loss to the nation.

“Akeredolu’s unwavering commitment and dedication in steering the ship of democracy and good governance during his seven-year tenure as the Governor of Ondo are acknowledged with deep admiration,” Bello pointed out.

Benue State Governor, Rev. Fr. Hyacinth Alia, similarly expressed sadness over the death of his Ondo colleague and a former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Ghani Na’Abba.

In a statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Kula Tersoo, the governor described Akeredolu as a gentleman, who he said gave his all in trying to change the fortunes of his state.

The Delta State Governor, Sheriff Oborevwori has expressed deep sadness on the passing of the Ondo governor, saying he was an urbane and cerebral leader of great value who was progressively committed to the growth and development of Ondo State and Nigeria.

Governor Oborevwori, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Sir Festus Ahon in Asaba, expressed his condolences to Akeredolu’s wife, Mrs Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu, family members, the government and people of Ondo State on the passing of the renowned senior lawyer.

The Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, described the demise of the Ondo governor as a huge loss to the Yoruba race and Nigeria at large.

Ooni, who stated this in a statement he issued on Wednesday, said that the late governor was an epitome of honesty and courage, who lived a life worthy of emulation.

According to him, the Oduduwa race had lost a pillar of honesty and courage; a man who served humanity with his expertise as a legal luminary, experienced politician, and true descendant of Oduduwa.

“When we were challenged at the grassroots by invaders who masqueraded as herdsmen, Aketi worked with stakeholders across South-West and the national level to deliver our mandate of security and prosperity.’’

“This birthed Amotekun and other initiatives through which our people are safer and more confident to embark on their lawful businesses daily.

“He was an honest, bold, and courageous leader whose legacy will never be forgotten. If Akeredolu tells you anything, that is the way it is.

 “His death is a personal loss to me because we were very close, right from our days as students of Loyola College, Ibadan to date.’’

The National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Dr Abdullahi Ganduje, also joined other Nigerians to mourn Akeredolu, whom he described as a politician with exceptional leadership skills.

 The APC national chairman, in a tribute released by his Chief Press Secretary, Edwin Olofu, in Abuja, stressed that the death of the former NBA president was a great loss not only to the Ondo people but to Nigerians as a whole.

. The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, observed that the ex-NBA president would be sorely missed.

 Fagbemi, in a statement on Wednesday, recalled Akeredolu’s days as the president of the NBA, saying he brought immense growth to the bar.

 The 2023 Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party and former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, commiserated with the families of N’Abba and Akeredolu.

He described the deceased men as quintessential gentlemen who took finesse to governance.

 Atiku noted that the two-term elected governor of the Sunshine State, Akeredolu, was a politician of class because he was never known for destructive politics.

“Hon. Na’Abba on the other hand raised the bar of legislative enterprise in Nigeria as it is evident that the 1st Session of the National Assembly where he served with distinction between 1999-2003 remains one of the best in the annals of our legislatures,’’ he added.

The Labour Party presidential candidate, Peter Obi, has also joined others in mourning the demise of Akeredolu and Na’Abba.

The former Anambra State governor said their deaths showed the nothingness of life.

Obi stated this in a condolence message via his verified X handle on Wednesday.

He noted that the death of the two prominent Nigerians has shown political officeholders that it is important for them to remain committed to good works.

Obi stated, “I was opportune to be close to Akeredolu as the then President of the Nigerian Bar Association, he invited me to speak at an NBA event and since then we remained close and always discussed issues about Nigeria.”

President of the Senate, Senator Godwill Akpabio, expressed shock over the death of the Ondo state governor, describing him as “a nationalist and the Iroko of the Sunshine state.”

Akpabio in a statement issued in Abuja by his special adviser on media and publicity, Eseme Eyiboh, said Akeredolu was a leader who knew his onions and was indeed the Iroko of Ondo state as he defended the state with all his strength as governor.

The Senate president eulogised the late governor whom he said spent his active life fighting for justice, fairness, and equity adding that as a nationalist, “Akeredolu believed in true federalism, which he pursued with passion and vigour.”

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Abbas Tajudeen, expressed sadness over the death of Ondo State Governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu describing his demise as a painful loss.

In a statement issued on Wednesday by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Musa Krishi, Mr Abbas described Akeredolu’s death as a big blow to the APC even as he said that the late governor was one of the brilliant legal minds in the ruling party.

The Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum and Kwara State Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, has also mourned the passage of his colleague, describing Akeredolu as an exceptional statesman who made indelible marks in public service.

The Chairman of the Northern States Governors’ Forum and Governor of Gombe State, Muhammadu Yahaya, conveyed his heartfelt condolences to the government and people of Ondo State over the governor’s death.

Yahaya, on behalf of the 19 northern governors, mourned the loss of Akeredolu, in a press statement signed by Director-General Press Affairs Ismaila Misilli describing the governor as “a senior figure, friend, resilient advocate, and a visionary leader whose attributes of excellence and remarkable brilliance positively influenced the transformation of Ondo State and contributed to the development of the country.”

On its part, the Peoples Democratic Party said the governor’s death was shocking, noting that he would be missed for his leadership capacity, especially in his roles towards the unity, stability, and development of the nation.

Reacting to the tragedy, the PDP National Publicity Secretary, Debo Ologunagba in a statement on Wednesday, said, “His death is a huge national loss. He was an unrepentant fighter for fairness, equity and justice in the affairs of the nation.

‘’He believed in true federalism, respect, defence, and protection of ethnic nationalities which he advocated as a prerequisite for peace and development in our nation.

“The PDP commiserates with Governor Akeredolu’s widow, Betty Akeredolu, his children, and the people of Ondo State. We pray to God to grant them the fortitude to bear this irreparable loss and to the faithful departed, eternal rest in His Bosom.”

The Nigerian Bar Association, Ibadan branch, has also mourned the passage of the governor, describing him as one of its shining lights.

The Chairman of the association, Mrs Folasade Aladeniyi, said this on Wednesday in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria.

According to her, with Akeredolu’s death, NBA Ibadan branch has lost one of its brightest, a friend, mentor, and fearless man as well as a caring patron.

Similarly, a legal practitioner, Mr Tobi Fatoki, said that the governor’s death was shocking and sad, adding that Nigerian lawyers had lost a legend.

 The Chairman of the Ondo State Christian Association of Nigeria, Rev. Fr. Anselm Ologunwa eulogised the late governor, saying his death was a colossal loss to the state and Nigeria as a whole.

Ologunwa, in a statement by the Director of Information and Communication of the association, Mr Daisi Ajayi, expressed shock over the news of the death.

He described Akeredolu as a great fighter of democracy, a dedicated and loving father of all.


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Edo crisis takes a new turn as govt slashes budgetary allocation to deputy governor’s office

The rift between Governor Godwin Obaseki and his deputy, Philip Shaibu, may have taken another dimension as  N345 million was allocated to the Office of the Deputy Governor in the 2024 Budget as against the N19bn allocated to the Office of the State Governor.

An analysis of the budget which the governor signed into law on December 15, 2023, showed that the Office of the Secretary to the State Government got N8bn far higher than the N345m allocated to the deputy governor’s office.

The document also showed that while the House of Assembly got N13bn, the Office of the Head of Service got N968m.

A source close to the House of Assembly said the slash in the allocation to the deputy governor’s office was connected to his ambition to succeed his boss as governor of the state.

It was gathered that some lawmakers believed to be loyal to the deputy governor opposed the decision of the members of the assembly to pass the budget as presented by the governor.

Lawmakers in that category were said to have described it as an “unfair appropriation” but that they were overwhelmed other members.

An insider claimed that the budget has divided the lawmakers, but a principal member of the House of Assembly said there was no division in the House.

PUNCH reports that Shaibu had last week said his office had not received any allocation in the last six months owing to the tension between him and his principal.

The deputy governor, who stated this at the unveiling of the Correspondent Office in Benin on Tuesday, said he had been running the office and doing other activities through goodwill and contributions from friends.

He said, “You know there is tension between the governor and me. And for six months, there has been no allocation to my office. So, whatever I am doing is contributions from friends and my goodwill; and I am still standing very strong.”


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Tinubu’ll continue to intervene in states battling crises – Presidency

Presidential spokesman, Ajuri Ngelale, said President Bola Tinubu will continue to intervene in states battling political crises if such development will affect the country.

Ajuri stated this on a pre-recorded show on  Channels Television’s News Night aired on Monday.

According to him, the President was right in intervening in political crises in Ondo and Rivers State despite criticisms that the actions undermined the government of those states.

“That has nothing to do with, of course, political development, destabilisation of a particular region or state or subnational entity that could potentially turn into a national conflagration.

“If the President sees that, he is not going to sit by as the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces and fold his hands and keep quiet. I think that is what he has done,” he stated.

The presidential aide added that Nigerians expect Tinubu’s government to offer responsible leadership to the country.

Admitting that the current administration inherited a lot of economic challenges, Ajuri stated his principal is putting things in place to tackle the issues.

“You combine all of these factors, obviously, our debt burden is another factor, you would know there is no easy fix; there is no magic wand solution to this. There is going to be pain before pleasure,”  he said.


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S’Court: Kano NNPP holds prayer, Kwankwaso hopes for justice

 A former governor of Kano State and chieftain of the New Nigeria People’s Party, Rabiu Kwankwaso, has expressed optimism that the Supreme Court will deliver justice in the Kano State governorship election matter currently before it.

Kwankwaso made the remarks on Monday shortly after a prayer session held at his Miller Road residence in the Kano metropolis.

The prayer session was organised by the state government to ensure peace prevails in the state as well as to pray for the victory of Governor Abba Yusuf as the Supreme Court reserved judgment in the election case.

He said indications had shown that the Supreme Court judges were men of integrity who would do anything to ensure justice and fairness.

He said, “The unfortunate development over the governorship seat in the state will never deter them (the government) in any way but we will continue to pray for the right thing to be done at the court.”

Kwankwaso added that those at the helm of affairs must be reminded that justice is a panacea for progress while its absence will bring about chaos and disorder which will prevent meaningful development.

He added, “The mammoth crowd that poured out yesterday to welcome back Governor Abba Kabir Yusuf is a clear indication that the people of the state voted for him, believe in him and are strongly behind him to deliver their mandate.”

He said the drama from the tribunal to the Court of Appeal was an embarrassment and a move to truncate democracy in Nigeria “which all and sundry must work hard to prevent.”

The former governor further applauded the NNPP legal team for doing a wonderful job, praying that the Supreme Court judges would be allowed to dispense justice without using the federal might and other apparatus to intimidate them.


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Rivers crisis: PDP kicks as Fubara defends Tinubu over peace pact

Rivers State Governor, Siminalayi Fubara, on Monday defended the peace deal initiated by President Bola Tinubu between him and his predecessor, Nyesom Wike, over the crisis in the state.

Fubara, in a broadcast on Monday, said the resolution brokered by the President to resolve the crisis was not a death sentence, adding that it would ensure lasting peace in the state.

He expressed his commitment to the implementation of the peace agreement in such a way that would restore political stability in the state.

But the Peoples Democratic Party National Working Committee in its reaction warned the governor against implementing the agreement he signed without the input of the party (PDP) on whose platform he was elected.

The PUNCH reports that the crisis rocking the state took a new turn on December 11, 2023, when 27 members of the state House of Assembly defected from the PDP to the All Progressives Congress.

At the instance of Tinubu, Fubara on December 18 signed an eight-point peace agreement with Wike, who is the Federal Capital Territory, in a move to end the political crisis in the state.

 However, the PDP officially joined a suit seeking to declare vacant the seats of the lawmakers who defected from the party to the APC.

The party vowed to vigorously pursue the case despite Tinubu’s peace meeting with Rivers State political stakeholders.

Peace deal

But speaking on the peace pact during his Christmas Day broadcast, the governor pledged to implement the agreement without compromising the interest of the people of the state.

Fubara said, “By this singular effort, our dear President has demonstrated that he loves Rivers State and cherishes nothing short of a reign of perfect peace in our State with his presidential peace proclamation on the 18th of December 2023. Mr President’s Peace Proclamation has naturally elicited mixed reactions from our people and across the country.

 “As a principal participant in the entire saga, I have taken some time to study the terms therein and have come to the conclusion that the peace pact is not as bad as it may be portrayed by those genuinely opposed to it.

“It is certainly not a death sentence. I reaffirm my acceptance and my commitment to implementing both the letter and spirit of the declaration in such a way and manner that will restore political stability to our dear state without compromising the collective interest of our people and our cherished and shared democratic values.”

 The governor also confirmed that he had released the allowances of the lawmakers and that the defected lawmakers had withdrawn their ‘purported’ impeachment.

He stated, “Both parties have demonstrated some goodwill in the implementation process with the withdrawal of the purported impeachment notice on their part and the release of hitherto withheld allowances of the members of the State House of Assembly by the Government.

 “I have said before there is no price too much to pay for peace and with the realization that the worst peace is better than the best war.

 “We will strive to make peace with all segments and interest groups without surrendering our freedom nor jeopardizing the interest and well-being of the good people of Rivers State who graciously entrusted us with their cherished mandate.”

 He added he would toe a path that would best advance and protect the collective interest of the state and its people.

The governor said, “Let me, therefore, crave your kind understanding and call on you to have confidence in the process we are embarking upon to find lasting peace in our state as we are confident that we can achieve stability and progress without endangering the collective interest of our people.”

He commended President Tinubu for his intervention that has brought some lasting peace to the political crisis in the state, stating that the effort showed that Tinubu loves Rivers State.

He pledged that 2024 would witness a speedy transformation of the state with the completion of several projects and programmes, such as the sections of the Port Harcourt Ring Road, the Andoni section of the Unity Road, the Ahoada-Omoku Road, the Emohua-Degema Road and the commencement of many other laudable projects, both in infrastructure and human capital development, as outlined in our 2024 budget.

PDP fumes

But the PDP NWC in its reaction faulted Fubara’s plan to implement Tinubu’s peace deal.

The party Deputy National Youth Leader, Timothy Osadolor, in an interview with The PUNCH, said the peace pact could not be implemented.

 He said “ First and foremost the governor is an adult and he was the Rivers State governorship candidate of the PDP in the last election, now the governor of the state. But the issues at stake that President Bola Tinubu bothered himself with are bigger than him. They are also bigger than the governor because they are constitutional issues.

  “ The question of the seats of the defected lawmakers being vacant is a clear constitutional issue, not at the wishes and discretion of President Tinubu or any other person. It is a clear constitutional matter.

 “ Also, the PDP constitutionally owns the votes, so I don’t see how Governor Fubara will tell the PDP that because he met with the President in Aso Rock, the PDP should not take charge of its votes. As we speak the PDP is in court, the votes belong to the PDP, not to Fubara or the Villa.

 “The one within the governor’s purview is to pay salaries and allowances of the lawmakers to the date their seats become vacant. I am sure the governor knows his limit.”

On his part, a former National Secretary of the PDP, Senator Ibrahim Tsauri cautioned that the governor would be committing a political blunder to implement a peace pact against his party’s stand.

 The member of the PDP National Executive Council noted said the implementation would be morally right, but politically incorrect.

 Tsauri stated “As a complete gentleman, he went there and signed the agreement, even though without the consent of the party. So implementation will be made by him and not by the party. But certainly, it won’t be in the interest of the party.

 “ The PDP will not allow itself to be dragged into that trap, but he failed to consult the party. If he implements it, he is in trouble, if he doesn’t, is in trouble. Implementation of the agreement is like jumping into awaiting problems. And if he fails to implement it, he is going to enter the Federal government’s trouble. So, either way, is trouble for him.”

Also, a former PDP National Chairman, Uche Secondus, in a statement on Monday by his Media Adviser, Ike Abonyi, in Abuja, on Sunday, urged the political class to be wary of actions that might constitute a threat to our nascent democracy and national security.

Abonyi quoted his principal as saying, “With particular reference to the crisis in Rivers State, the former PDP boss contended that the intervention of President Bola Tinubu must be by the spirit and letter of our constitution for it to be implementable.

 “There are creative ways a political conflict can be resolved if and when the President acts like a statesman and the President of all Nigerians.

“Mr President would have violated this sacred role if he acted in such a way and manner that gave an unconstitutional advantage to his political party, the All Progressives Congress, APC, and an individual political godfather.

“This is the scenario the unenforceable agreement reached at the instance of Mr President purports to foster.”

He urged well-meaning Nigerians to call on the President and other stakeholders to act in the interest of peace in Rivers State and “ensure genuine, unbiased, generally acceptable, and enforceable reconciliation of the crisis.”


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Rivers crisis: I didn’t beg Tinubu to intervene – Wike

The Minister of Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Nyesom Wike, has said he was not the one that went to President Bola Tinubu seeking intervention in the crisis rocking Rivers State.

He, however, said that the President should be appreciated for intervening in the political situation in the oil rich state.

Wike spoke during the 20th wedding Anniversary/Thanksgiving of Hon Dr & Dr (Mrs) George-Kelly D.A. Alabo at the Kings Assembly Church, on Sunday.

The former Rivers State governor said it was strange that the same people who went to beg Tinubu to intervene in the crisis are the ones now saying he lacks the constitutional power to do so.

He said, “We must thank Mr President for interfering and intervening, but I was not even the one who went to the President to seek for his intervention.

“They were saying “President intervene, President intervene”, and President intervened, they are now saying Mr President has no constitutional power to have intervened.

“But they were the same people who sought the President’s intervention and he has intervened to bring peace. They are now turning around to say no, the President does not have the constitutional power.”

(Daily Post)

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BREAKING: Tinubu reintroduces school feeding programme

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has asked that the school feeding programme be restored to address the difficulties of out-of-school children.

After many years of operation, the initiative was terminated by former President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.

Tinubu, on the other hand, ordered its reactivation, claiming that it would aid in combating the learning issue.

He said if learning crisis is not tackled, it will be difficult to address the challenges of out of school children.

This was disclosed by the Minister of Education, Prof Tahir Mamman, during a one-day retreat on quick wins in the middle Ministerial deliverables from 2023 to 2027.

According to the minister, the president directed that the school feeding programme be removed from Ministry of Humanitarian and returned to the Ministry of Education.

The Minister said the essence of the retreat was to find ways of implementing all the policies developed to tackle the challenges and to distil responsibility to different agencies responsible for overturning the out of school children problem.

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