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Nigerian-born politician, Gabe Okoye, runs for US Senate

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Gabe Okoye

A Nigerian, Mr Gabe Okoye, is on the ballot in a forthcoming Democratic Party’s senatorial primary runoff election in the U.S.

Okoye, who hails from Enugwu-Aguleri, in Anambra, is seeking the main opposition party’s ticket for the Nov. 3 general election into the Georgia State Senate to represent District 9.

Okoye, who is a chieftain of the party in the state, faces a black female challenger, Nikki Merritt, in the second round scheduled for Aug. 11.

They both advanced to the runoff stage after defeating a third aspirant, Cheryle Moses, in the first round of the primary held on June 9.

The winner will face the incumbent, Sen. Peter Martin, a Republican, who has been representing the district since 2015 and is seeking a fourth term.

Okoye is currently a Planning Commissioner in Gwinnett County, the second-most populous local government in Georgia, and is the first black man to serve as a commissioner in the county’s 202-year history.

The civil engineer and founder of Georgia-based construction firm, Essex Geoscience, also currently serves on the Executive Committee Board of the Gwinnett and state chapters of the Democratic Party.

Among other goals, Okoye is seeking to capture the District 9 seat from the Republican Party, which has held it for over 30 years, “with nothing to show for it”.

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He told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that he was also aspiring to give the black community in Gwinnett County, his base, a strong voice at the state level.

In these regards, the senatorial hopeful carved a niche for himself while serving as the Democratic Party in the local government between 2016 and 2018.

As of the time he emerged the party chairman in 2016, Gwinnett was a Republican stronghold, with only five of the 25 elected officials in the county being Democrats.

However, the tide turned when Okoye led the party into the 2018 mid-term elections and recorded historic wins.

They captured 13 elected offices, including the majority of Gwinnett seats in the Georgia state legislature, from the Republicans, who currently hold only seven positions.

The Democratic Party swept the two county commission seats that were up for election and also took one of the two School Board seats contested for.

Also, the party reclaimed the office of the Solicitor General of the county after decades in the hands of the Republicans.

“Under my leadership of the party, we elected the first black commissioner, first black school board member, and also the first black Solicitor-General of the county in its 200-year history as of 2018.

“The Democratic Party also produced the first black state judge from this county under my watch,” Okoye told NAN.

In recognition of these historic achievements in Gwinnett, the Georgia House of Representatives in Resolution 313 of 2019, designated Nov. 6 of that year as Gabe Okoye Leadership Day.

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The resolution partly read: “Gwinnett County is the most diverse and the second-largest county in the State of Georgia, but this diversity was not reflected in the county’s leadership.

“Gabe Okoye exhibited great leadership in mobilising and educating the various 9communities of Gwinnett County on the fundamental right to vote.

“He worked hard to help make the leadership of the county more inclusive, and the result of his hard work was made manifest during the general election on Nov. 6, 2018.

“Therefore, be it resolved by the House of Representatives that the members of this body commend Gabe Okoye and recognise Nov. 6, 2019, as Gabe Okoye Leadership Day in Gwinnett County.”

Okoye moved to the U.S. in 1981, and has been residing in Lawrenceville, a suburb of Atlanta and headquarters of Gwinnett County, since 1992.

On arrival in the U.S., he started life as a security guard, worked his way through college to become a licensed civil engineer, and later became an established Essex Geoscientist.

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Married and blessed with four “grown and successful children’’, Okoye believes he has realised his American dream, and is fighting for others to realise theirs.

“Therefore, I will give a fearless, strong voice to the silent majority in our district and our county in general,’’ he said on his campaign website.

A former Chairman of the Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation – Americas (NIDOA), Okoye told NAN that another of his main objectives was to bring the Nigerian community into the mainstream of U.S. politics.

Okoye, who represented Nigerians in the Diaspora at the 2014 National Conference in Abuja, decried the absence of his fellow countrymen in the U.S. political and civic space, in spite of their enormous contributions to the country’s development.

“What we Nigerians do here is to attend our various ethnic meetings and then go home.

“Our people don’t mix with the main stream of this country, and I think it is wrong.

“I also think that we are not leading our children the right way. We should clear the way for them into the American politics.

“We don’t hear our names in the political lexicon of this area. I want to encourage our children to go into politics,’’ he said.

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PGF DG tasks APC Campaign Council on Edo governorship election

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Mr. Salihu Lukman, Director-General, Progressives Governors’ Forum (PGF),  has urged the National Campaign Council of All Progressives Congress (APC) for the Edo governorship election to focus its campaign on the party’s numerous achievements in the state.

Lukman said this in a statement in Abuja on Friday, saying that the council should ensure that APC campaign messages highlighted all developmental projects of the APC administration of Gov. Godwin Obaseki.

“As part of those steps, it should ensure that APC campaign messages appropriate all development achievements recorded under the APC administration of Gov. Godwin Obaseki.

“In addition, we must take steps to also cut the oxygen supply to Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) campaign, which is presenting our party and our candidate as promoters of violence.

“Our campaign for the Edo election should, therefore, amplify messages of peace and what we need to do to achieve that.

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“Having come out of a very difficult crisis, our leaders and all our party members must be vigilant to ensure that our politics is not recklessly managed as to reduce us to the level of just working to win elections by all means. That is far from progressive politics,” he said.

He added: “our leaders did not make all the sacrifices they made to achieve the merger of 2013 and resolve our last leadership crisis just because we want to win elections by all means, including through violent conduct.

“As progressives, our commitment to winning elections must be about earning the confidence of citizens. If anything, President Muhammadu Buhari should be our model at all times, especially when it borders on conducting political campaigns.

“It is to his credit that he never associates his political campaigns with violence since 2003, which is partly the reason why he could host his political campaigns with the mammoth crowd running into millions without any violent incident.”

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Lukman said that the APC needed to live up to its name by regulating the conduct of its leaders, especially during the election campaign.

“We cannot claim to be progressives and conduct ourselves in an unaccountable manner. PDP cannot hold our politics hostage through the use of violence, and we come as APC, seeking to defeat them through violence.

“After recording much progress in the country by ensuring higher political competition based on which our people are able to vote and their votes count, only to turn around and begin to accommodate conducts of some of our leaders which promote the behavior that election is about conquest.

“Once, as a party, we are unable to check that then we lose our progressive orientation.

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“Being progressives come with a commitment to develop our politics and ensure that political development guarantees freedom to elect leaders, which should also promote our socio-economic development.

“We need to be wary at the global trend whereby political campaigns only highlight problems based on a strategy of dismissing governments.

“While recognizing that there are legitimate grounds to constantly critique our governments, objectivity would require that we go beyond the conventional boundaries of political sentiments.

“We need to at all times, as progressives, be able to assess our governments to determine whether we are making progress or not,” he said.

The APC Caretaker Committee Chairman, Gov. Mai Mala Buni of Yobe, had recently inaugurated the Gov. Abdullahi Ganduje led-campaign council to campaign for the party’s candidate, Mr. Osagie Ize-Iyamu, ahead of the Sept. 19, governorship election.

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Ondo: Akeredolu’s running mate, Aiyedatiwa, promises loyalty to APC

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Running mate to the Governorship Candidate of All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ondo State Oct. 10 governorship poll, Mr. Lucky Aiyedatiwa, says he will be loyal to his principal and the party if they win the election.
Aiyedatiwa made the promise when he received the leadership of the party from Ondo Southern Senatorial District of the state on Friday in Akure.
 He vowed to be entirely loyal and committed to the vision of his principal, Gov. Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, whose disposition toward him had left him elated and relaxed.
“The governor’s speeches and comments give no room for me to do otherwise; I have no option than to be loyal to him, and committed to whatever assignments I am given.
“His disposition toward me has placed so much pressure on me, and further reinforced the need for total loyalty,” he said.
Aiyedatiwa dismissed the insinuation that the position would alter his relationship with his people.
“Appointment or no appointment,  I always prefer to live my natural life, and it’s part of my core character,” he said.
He urged the party executives to roll up their sleeves for the task ahead, arguing that the party needed to cover more grounds to ensure victory in the governorship poll.
“There are some local government areas where we have lots of work to do ahead of the October governorship election,” Aiyedatiwa said.
Earlier,  the Ondo South Senatorial Chairman of the party, Dr. Adedeji Oyedele, told Aiyedatiwa that the visit was to underscore the zone’s acceptance of his choice as the running mate.
Oyedele said the leadership of the party in the south would support and work heartily with Aiyedatiwa as the new symbol of APC in the south senatorial district.
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Buhari signs amended CAMA bill into law

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President Muhammadu Buhari Friday in Abuja assented to the Companies and Allied Matters Bill, 2020 recently passed by the National Assembly.

In a statement signed by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, “the President’s action on this important piece of legislation, therefore, repealed and replaced the extant Companies and Allied Matters Act, 1990, introducing after 30 years, several corporate legal innovations geared toward enhancing ease of doing business in the country.

“Such innovations include: “Filing fee reductions and other reforms to make it easier and cheaper for small and medium-sized enterprises to register and reform their businesses in Nigeria;

“Allowing corporate promoters of companies to establish private companies with a single member or shareholder, and creating limited liability partnerships and limited partnerships to give investors and business people alternative forms of carrying out their business in an efficient and flexible way;

“Innovating processes and procedures to ease the operations of companies, such as introducing Statements of Compliance; replacing “authorised share capital” with minimum share capital to reduce costs of incorporating companies; and providing for electronic filing, electronic share transfers, e-meetings as well as remote general meetings for private companies in response to the disruptions to close contact physical meetings due to the COVID-19 pandemic;

“Requiring the disclosure of persons with significant control of companies in a register of beneficial owners to enhance corporate accountability and transparency; and 

“Enhancing the minority shareholder protection and engagement; introducing enhanced business rescue reforms for insolvent companies; and permitting the merger of Incorporated Trustees for associations that share similar aims and objectives.”

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