BREAKING: Southern, Middle Belt Leaders Disown Okowa For Violating Agreement On Presidency
Delta State Governor Ifeanyi Okowa came under heavy criticism on Friday for violating an agreement on the rotation of the presidency in the country.
The condemnation came from the Southern and Middle Belt Leaders’ Forum (SMBLF) who rejected Okowa for accepting his nomination as the running mate to Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, the Presidential Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the forthcoming 2023 general elections.
This was contained in a statement signed by leaders of four groups which include Chief Edwin Clark, for the Southern and Middle Belt Leaders’ Forum (SMBLF) and the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF); Chief Ayo Adebanjo, leader of Afenifere; Dr. Dru Bitrus, the President-General, Middle Belt Forum; and Prof. George Obiozor, the President-General, Ohaneze Ndigbo Worldwide.
READ ALSO: Why I Picked Okowa As My Running Mate – Atiku
The statement read in part: “It bears recalling that the 17 governors of the Southern states of Nigeria, both of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC), under the Chairmanship of the Governor of Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu, SAN, met in Asaba, the capital of Delta State on May 11, 2021, and took far-reaching decisions, including that, based on the principles of fairness, equity and justice, the presidency should rotate to the South at the end of the statutory eight years of President Muhammadu Buhari’s tenure.
“And this very Governor Okowa was the host of that historic meeting. The Southern governors later met again in Lagos, on July 5, where they reaffirmed their decision, and again in Enugu, on September 16, to restate the call that the presidency should rotate to the South in 2023.
“It is unspeakable and quite disappointing that Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, who is currently Chairman of the South-South Governors’ Forum, and a native of Owa-Alero in Ika North-East Local Government Area (one of the Igbo-speaking areas) of Delta State, would exhibit such barefaced unreliability.
“It is, therefore, most unfortunate that the Governor of Delta State, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa who should know better, accepted his appointment as running mate to Alhaji Atiku Abubakar. We do not have anything personal against Ifeanyi Okowa but his action is treacherous and tantamount to a despicable pawning of the political future of the people of Southern Nigeria.
“Governor Okowa has, by his action, betrayed the trust reposed in him by his colleagues; the southern governors, the entire good people of southern Nigeria and all well-meaning Nigerians. He has made himself persona non grata, not only, with SMBLF but all citizens who treasure our oneness and yearn for a more united and peaceful Nigeria”
The group said it rejected Okowa, his vice president slot, describing the governor’s action as “a betrayal of the highest order.”
READ ALSO: Atiku Chooses Ifeanyi Okowa As Vice-presidential Candidate
The statement added: “And that this is not a matter of loyalty to one’s political party, but rather a greedy, parochial and unpatriotic action, committed against the general interest of his State, Delta State, the Niger Delta region, and Southern Nigeria. It is, certainly, also not in the interest of the nation at large.”
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BREAKING: PDP Chairman Beaten To Coma Dies
Peter Nweke, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Chairman in Ezza North local government area, beaten to coma, is dead.
Nweke died from injuries he sustained from attacks by hoodlums suspected to be political thugs on Saturday during the Governorship and Assembly elections.
Police spokesperson, Onome Onovwakpoyeya confirmed the death of Nweke on Sunday.
She said Nweke was beaten up and rushed to the hospital unconscious where he was later pronounced dead by a doctor.
The police officer said the police had launched an investigation into the death with a view to arresting and prosecuting anyone responsible.
Nweke’s younger brother, Samson Nweke also confirmed the death.
BREAKING:Court Orders INEC to Paste, Transmit Results Electronically
Hours before the Saturday’s governorship and state House of Assembly elections, a Federal High Court, Abuja, on Friday, ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to electronically transmit the results of the polls in accordance with its regulations and guidelines.
Justice Obiora Egwuatu, in a judgment, also ordered the use of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) to upload a scanned copy of the EC8A to INEC Result Viewing Portal (IReV) immediately after the completion of all the polling units voting and results’ procedures in Akwa Ibom.
The judge further directed the commission to conspicuously paste the publication of its result posters EC60(E) at polling units after completing the EC8A result sheets in the state.
He equally ordered INEC to enforce the observance and compliance of Section 27(1) of the Electoral Act, 2022 in the distribution of electoral materials during the conduct of the polls in the state by engaging the services of independent, competent, and reliable logistic companies who are non-partisans or known supporters of any political for the distribution of electoral materials and personnel.
Egwuatu held that since the electoral umpire averred in its filed affidavit that it was aware of its responsibilities under the law and had not failed to carry them out, granting the prayers sought by the applicants would not do any harm to the commission but instead, energise its performance.
He gave the judgment following a suit filed by the Labour Party (LP) and its governorship candidate in Akwa Ibom, Uduakobong Udoh, including 13 state’s House of Assembly candidates for the March 18 elections.
Recall that the applicants, in the originating summons marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/334/2023 dated and filed on March 15 by their lawyer, Moses Usoh-Abia, had sued INEC as sole defendant.
The applicants, who sought seven reliefs, prayed the court for an order of mandamus compelling INEC and all its agents to comply with and enforce the provision of Clause 37 of the Regulations and Guidelines for the Conduct of the Saturday’s governorship and house of assembly elections in Akwa Ibom.
They also prayed the court to mandate the presiding officers of all polling units to conspicuously paste the publication of result posters EC460(E) at the polling units after completing the EC8A result sheets.
They sought an order of mandamus compelling the commission to mandate the presiding officers of all polling units in the state to electronically transmit or transfer the result of the polling units, direct to the collation system and use the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) to upload a scanned copy of the EC8A to INEC Result Viewing Portal (IReV) immediately after the completion of all the polling units voting and results procedures.
They said this was in compliance with the provision of Clause 38 of the guidelines for the conduct of the polls.
The applicants equally prayed for an order directing INEC to enforce the observance and compliance of Section 27(1) of the Electoral Act, 2022 in the distribution of electoral materials during the conduct of the polls by engaging the services of independent, competent, and reliable logistic companies who are non-partisans or known supporters of any political for the distribution of electoral materials and personnel, among other reliefs.
Justice Egwuatu had, on Wednesday, granted leave to the applicants to proceed with a judicial review, filed requisite motion and put INEC on notice, following an ex-parte motion moved by Usoh-Abia.
Upon resumed hearing on the matter on Friday, Usoh-Abia said that he had complied with the earlier court order and that their motion was served on INEC on Wednesday.
The lawyer said despite the service of their process, the commission was not represented in court.
The judge, however, said that he noticed INEC:s counter affidavit and a preliminary objection to their originating summons in the court file.
He said the application was filed on Thursday.
Responding, Usoh-Abia said though they were yet to be served by the commission, he was ready to proceed with the matter due to the urgency of the case.
He said the motion, dated March 15, had 26-paragrph affidavit with nine exhibits.
The lawyer urged the court to direct the electoral umpire to comply with its regulations and guidelines of Clauses 37 and 38 on the conduct of the elections.
He said the order was necessary because the commission, in the Feb. 25 Presidential and National Assembly polls, failed to transmit results of the elections in the state and across the country.
He argued that INEC created the regulations and guidelines pursuant to Section 148 and 60(5) of the Electoral Act, 2022 to guide the conduct of elections and collating of election result among others.
Usoh-Abia said INEC’s refusal to comply with the law had resulted in serious prejudice; and had foisted uncertainty and frustration on his clients at their various polling units and wards.
The lawyer said if the order was not granted, the same scenario would repeat itself in the Saturday’s poll.
But INEC, in its preliminary objection, said the suit was incompetent and the court lacked jurisdiction to entertain it.
The commission argued that the applicants had not established a justifiable action against it.
It also said that the applicants acted in contravention of the practice direction by commencing the suit via originating summons.
Delivering judgment, Justice Egwuatu said he was satisfied that the applicants had complied with the practice direction rules in the filing of their application.
He also said that he was satisfied that a cause of action had been established against INEC in the paragraphs of the applicants’ process.
The judge, therefore, ordered INEC to direct all its presiding officers to comply with Clauses 37 and 38 of its regulations and guidelines for the conduct of tomorrow’s election in Akwa Ibom.
He held that the commission had the legal duty to act in accordance with the law.
The judge, however, refused to grant other reliefs.
Govt Postpones 2023 Census
The 2023 population and housing census earlier scheduled for 29 March has been shifted to May.
This was disclosed by the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed when he briefed State House correspondents at the end of the meeting of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday in Abuja.
Mohammed said that the decision to shift the census was necessitated by the postponement of the gubernatorial and state assembly elections by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from 11 March to 18 March.
He also disclosed that the council approved N2.8 billion for the National Population Commission (NPC) to procure some software to be used for the conduct of the census.
“There was a memo presented by the National Population Commission, seeking some software to allow them to conduct the census in May this year.
”I believe because of the rescheduling of the elections, they cannot commence the census as scheduled.
“They sought council’s approval for a contract to procure software for the census at the sum of N2.8 billion,” he said.
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