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Breaking: Sylva disqualified from Bayelsa governorship poll

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Timipre Sylva

Justice Donatus Okorowo of the Federal High Court, Abuja, in a judgement delivered on Monday, disqualified the Bayelsa State All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate in the November 11 governorship election, Chief Timipre Sylva.

Justice Okorowo ruled that Chief Sylva having been sworn in twice and ruled for five years as governor of Bayelsa would breach the 1999 constitution as amended if allowed to contest again.

The judge also declared that Sylva was not qualified to run in the November poll because if he wins and is sworn in, he would spend more than eight years in office as governor of the state.

Citing the case of Marwa vs Nyako at the Supreme Court, Okorowo noted that the drafters of the country’s constitution stated that nobody should be voted for as governor more than twice and that the parties to the suit agreed that Sylva was voted into office two times.

He further stated that the Supreme Court ruled in the case of Marwa vs Nyako that nobody can expand the constitution or its scope. So, if Sylva is allowed to contest the next election, it means a person can contest as many times as he wishes.

The suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/821/2023 that led to disqualification of Sylva from the Bayelsa governorship election was filed on June 13, 2023 by Deme Kolomo, a member of the APC.

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Southeast PDP leaders reject Anyanwu, insist on Udeh-Okoye as National Secretary

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• Senator Samuel Anyanwu
  • Mbah, Wabara, Nwodo, Odefa okay Udeh-Okoye

The crisis over the choice of a National Secretary for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) escalated yesterday.

Southeast leaders of the party, who rejected  Senator Samuel Anyanwu as secretary, endorsed Sunday Udeh-Okoye for the position.

Led by Enugu State Governor Peter Mbah, the party leaders urged the National Working Committee (NWC) and other organs of the party to ratify Udeh-Okoye’s nomination in line with the zone’s decision, PDP Constitution, and valid court order.

According to them, PDP national leadership has been aloof to the position of the zone that has been its stronghold since 1999.

They said the delay in the ratification of Udeh-Okoye as the National Secretary would not be tolerated.

They claimed that Anyanwu had resigned following his participation in the Imo State governorship poll as PDP candidate during which he lost to Governor Hope Uzodimma.

Rising from the meeting of Southeast Zonal Executive Committee and party leaders held in Enugu under the leadership of Governor Mbah, the party leaders warned the NWC against taking the zone for a ride.

At the meeting were PDP National Vice Chairman (Southeast), Chief Ali Odefa; and  Chairman,  Board of Trustees, Senator Adolphus Wabara.

Mbah said: “We have carried the banner of PDP in the Southeast with great pride. So, when we have come together, as a people on a matter that affects us as PDP members in the Southeast and a decision is taken in line with our party’s constitution and the electoral guidelines.

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“I think it would be a mistake if that position is disrespected.”

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Former Senate President Wabara lamented that the NWC has been insensitive to the feeling of the Southeast.

He said: “I believe that we are here to decide whether we, the Southeast, will continue to be slaves in this party. I feel pained that the Igbo are being mistreated.

“We are being treated like slaves. Therefore, we will leave here with a far-reaching decision and that decision must be carried. That is why we are here.”

According to the communique read by Odefa, the nomination of Okoye is sacrosant.

It reads: “The meeting reiterated and reconfirmed its decisions in its earlier meeting held on 20th October, 2023, which asked Senator Samuel Anyanwu to stop parading himself as the National Secretary of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP), as he has relinquished the office by virtue of the Constitution of the PDP, which has been upheld by a court of competent jurisdiction.

“The meeting affirmed the nomination of S.K.E. Udeh-Okoye as his replacement for the National Secretary of the party, to serve out the remainder of his term, in accordance with the Party’s Constitution.

“The Constitution of PDP is very clear on the matter of resignation of an elected national party official, who vied or is vying for an election, as presented below.

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“Section 47 (5) states that any elected PDP national officer who wishes to contest an elective office must resign. It gives the power to determine the length of notice of the resignation to the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party, to be contained in the Guidelines.

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“On the basis of the above, the PDP Governorship Primary Guidelines in Clause VI (1) provides among others as follows: ‘Pursuant to Section 47 (5) of the Peoples’ Democratic Party Constitution (2017 as amended), which mandatorily required resignation of any elected national officer of the party vying for elective office, any aspirant who is a party office holder/ Executive Committee member at any level shall resign his or her office or appointment seven (7) days before the purchase of Expression of Interest Form and shall provide proof of resignation along with his or her completed EOI FORM before being allowed to procure the Nomination Form. Failure to adhere to this provision shall be grounds for automatic disqualification of such an aspirant.’

“Not only did Senator Anyanwu purchase the Expression of Interest Form, he also bought the Nomination Form, contested the Primaries, and became the PDP Governorship candidate in the Imo State Governorship election that held last year. Even though his resignation was automatic, based on the Constitution and Guidelines of PDP and the operation of law, Senator Anyanwu promised the Leaders of the Southeast Zone of the Party and the PDP Governors’ Forum that he will formally resign before the Imo State elections.

“Furthermore, a court of competent jurisdiction, the Enugu State High Court, on 28th December 2023, in a considered opinion, held that Senator Anyanwu, by standing for the Governorship primaries of the PDP, ‘had elected on his own volition to vacate the office of National Secretary.’ The Court further ordered that S.K.E. Udeh- Okoye be recognised as the National Secretary of the Party.

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“However, in a judgment that presumably was obtained per in curiam and in abuse of court process, a Federal High Court, Abuja, about two weeks later, on 9th January, 2024, declared that Senator Anyanwu should remain the National Secretary. We note that the Enugu High Court’s judgment was first in time, and both courts are of coordinate jurisdiction. Besides, INEC is not a necessary party, as all that is required is to inform INEC of the State High Court judgment.”

The party, therefore, urged the PDP NWC and other organs to recognise Hon. Udeh-Okoye as the authentic National Secretary of the party.

Other signatories to the communique and party chieftains at the meeting include former Governors Achike Udenwa, Sam Egwu, and Emeka Ihedioha; former PDP National Chairman, Okwesilieze Nwodo; Senate Minority Whip, Senator Osita Ngwu; and BOT members, Mrs. Josephine Anenih, Senator Ben Obi, Ambassador Justina Eze, and Dame Rita Mbah.

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Edo Guber: Two candidates emerge from APC parallel congresses

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Edo Guber: Two candidates emerge from APC parallel congresses

There was a controversy yesterday as two governorship candidates emerged winners of the All Progressives Congress (APC) from parallel primaries held ahead of the September 21 governorship election in the state.

While a member of the House of Representative, Dennis Idahosa, was earlier announced winner by the chairman of the APC Primary Election Committee, Governor Hope Uzodimma, at Protea Hotel, Senator Monday Okpephole was declared winner by the Returning Officer for the election, Dr Stanley Ugboaje, at the residence of Pastor Osagie Ize-IyaIdahosa scored 40,453 votes in one of the primaries conducted by Uzodimma to emerge winner, while the parallel primary by Dr Ugboaje saw Sen. Monday Okpepholo polling 12,145 votes to defeat other contestants.Announcing the results, Uzodimma said the exercise was peaceful and duly conducted across the 18 local government areas and 192 wards of the state.

He said, “There was misinformation regarding the venue of the primary; this is the secretariat (Protea Hotel) for the election where results were collated and would be announced.

“Of the 12 aspirants that contested this primary, Clem Agba scored 100 votes, Sen. Monday Okpepholo 100; Hon. Dekeri Anamero 230; Engr. Gideon Ikhine 700 votes; David Imuse, 400 votes; Charles Airhavebere, 163 votes; Prof Osareime Osunbor 180 votes; Dr Blessing Agbomere, 50 votes; Hon Dennis Idahosa 40, 453 votes; Ernest Afolabi Umakhihe two votes; Lucky Imasuen and Pastor Ize-Iyamu scored two votes respectively.

“Therefore, Dennis Idahosa having scored the highest votes cast is hereby declared winner of the primary and hereby returned as the candidate of the party.”

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Similarly, the Returning Officer for the election in the second primary, Dr. Stanley Ugboaje, in announcing the results, said Monday Okpepholo emerged winner with 12,145 votes while Idahosa scored 5,536 votes to emerge second.

“I hereby certify that Monday Okpepholo, having scored the highest votes, is declared winner and duly returned as APC candidate for the election,” Ugboaje said.

Earlier, hoodlums suspected to be thugs stormed the result collation centre of the second primary at Lushville Hotel and Suite and disrupted the process, forcing them to move to Pastor Ize-Iyamu’s house to conclude the declaration.

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Several journalists, including NTA camera man, FRCN and Arise TV reporters were manhandled and their equipment damaged.

The results from eight local government areas had already been announced when journalists covering the event were alerted to vacate the centre of the event.

The presence of the State Commissioner of Police, Funsho Adeboye, who was there with officials of the party, did not deter the hoodlums from disrupting the process.

Disregard unauthorised result announcement – APC

Meanwhile, the All Progressives Congress (APC) has urged the general public to disregard the unauthorised announcement of the result of Edo Governorship Primary of the party.

National Publicity Secretary of the party, Felix Morka in a statement yesterday said only the Governor Hope Uzodinma- led Edo State APC Governorship Primary Election Committee is duly authorised to undertake final collation and announcement of results of the primary election in the state

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Governor Peter Mbah to receive Vanguard’s Good Governance Award

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Governor Peter Mbah to receive Vanguard's Good Governance Award
Enugu State Governor, Dr. Peter Mbah

…Determined ‘To get the future right, get education right’

It is not for nothing that Peter Mbah, the forward-thinking and futuristic governor of Enugu State, is making bold moves to implant his paradigmatic approach to business as a private citizen, into the modus operandi of governance in his state. Strange yet impactful, Governor Mbah’s first steps as the chief executive of Enugu State have signposted him as one interested in and, therefore, committed to lifting the state out of the doldrums.

Derisively described as a civil servants’ state, Enugu, as it had been known, wore the sombre looks of a dingy landscape begging for sociopolitical and economic emancipation because of its once rich history as the capital of South East Nigeria.

Therefore, even within his first year in office, Governor Mbah has stamped his imprimatur of seriousness on the state.

First, he made it clear that the psychological masturbatory pleasure derived from the Monday sit-at-home in the entire South East geo-political zone was not only wasteful but also destructive to economic growth. He put a stop to it.

Whereas he had made a campaign commitment to ensure that within his first six months in office, he would fix the water problem in Enugu city, he achieved this as promised. According to him, “If indeed, water is life, Ndi Enugu had lived their lives without water, for years.

They are probably one of the few species of beings who possess the ruggedness to live a life devoid of life. As an administration, we were poised to bring life back to our people. No one needed to sermonize to us on the centrality of water to our people’s existence.

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Thus, all we planned to achieve as an administration was woven around this central theme of the restoration of life where our people were living suboptimal lives that lacked the life that water brings. Water, to us as a government, was both literal and figurative…. We have recently launched the ultramodern water scheme at Ninth Mile which has a daily production capacity of 70 million cubic meters (70,000,000m3) of clean water, combined with the production of 50 million cubic litres from Oji River.

This gives a total volume of 120 million cubic meters per day as against less than 2,000,000m3 we met on resumption of office. This achievement disrupts over two decades of water scarcity in Enugu urban, and also fulfils our promise to Ndi Enugu to provide Enugu urban residents with water within 180 days.”

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Signature projects of immediate impact are good and desirable but Governor Mbah has moved to the realm of looking ahead. He believes education – and quality education at that – is the future of any society and he is going ahead to demonstrate that in speech and deed.

In a media report, the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, UNESCO, in its Education For All, EFA, paper tagged “a Dakar framework for action, called for a significant increase in financial commitment by national governments and donors to the education sector to accelerate progress toward the EFA goals.

According to the document, the Dakar framework recommended governments to take the lead in increasing financial commitments to EFA, with the EFA high-level steering committee proposing that 15 per cent to 20 per cent of annual budgets be earmarked for education”.

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The media report was in the wake of a controversy raised by former Education Minister, Mallam Adamu Adamu, on whether UNESCO had recommended a threshold allocation of 25%/ 26% budgetary provision to education. For Mbah, the best way to tackle the challenges of the future is through education. That is why he has allocated 33% of his 2024 budget to education, the highest ever by any state government in Nigeria or even by the Federal Government of Nigeria. He plans to build smart schools that would serve multi-dimensional purposes and yield multi-dimensional output and outcomes.

In his words, “As I mentioned earlier, education is a key plank in our strategy to eradicate poverty in our state. Consequently, ?134,587,982,647.78, representing 73.6% of the social sector has been earmarked to help reinvent education in our state by developing the new Smart schools which I mentioned earlier as well as repositioning our senior secondary and tertiary institutions by training and retraining teachers and updating our curricula across all levels of education to infuse technology and technology appreciation and skills. This capital expenditure on education combined with the planned recurrent expenditure in the sector will bring our total spending on education to 33% of the total budget.

“The 2024-2026 Multi-Year Budget is named Budget of Disruptive Economic Growth. This is because it is structured to drive growth in a markedly different pattern than we had attempted to do hitherto. This departure from the usual is most apparent in two main areas.

First, our approach to basic education where we are bringing into effect our cut-off program through the development of the 260 model schools to which I had earlier alluded. These schools are unique, not only in the fact that they will house the entire basic school classes from creche to JS3 but also in terms of the significant changes we are making to the curriculum of the children, where we will be infusing new subject areas like Technology, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, to mention but three.

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In addition, the approach to teaching in these schools will be experiential, with extensive use of practicals, examples, dramatization, gamification, and so on. This naturally requires extensive re-training of our teachers to enable them to grasp these new learning approaches as well as the various technology-based teaching and learning tools which we shall deploy examples of which are tablets, interactive whiteboards, learning management systems, etc.

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Beyond the ‘hard’ elements of learning, we will also infuse many ‘softer’ elements such as ethics, morals, critical thinking and hygiene to prepare our children to become the leaders we need tomorrow”.

The governor is making giant strides in other areas like the health, agriculture and industrial sectors. That is why he is worthy to be a Good Governance Awardee.

Vanguard

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