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Suspension of LGA chairmen, abuse of power- CSO tells Wike

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The Rivers State Civil Society Organization, RIVSCO, has condemned the suspension of three local government chairmen by Governor Nyesom Wike.

The reaction of RIVSCO follows the insistence of the Association of Local Government of Nigeria, ALGON, that the Governor was right in suspending the three LGA chairmen in the state.

The Rivers State secretary of ALGON and Chairman of Ahoada East Local Government Area, Ben Eke said Governor Wike did not err in law.

Eke said the law permits the governor as a chief security officer to suspend any council authority if they are in faction.

But the head, legal team of Rivers civil society organization, Asim Adams described Wike’s action as an abuse of executive power.

He said Section 7(1) of the 1999 Constitution (Amended) empowers the existence of autonomy of Local Government Area, adding that the power to suspend or remove an elected local government chairman is vested in the legislative arm of the local government council.

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According to him,

“RIVCSO wish to respectfully disagree with ALGON and do hereby condemn this act by the Governor of Rivers State as a brazen and unbridled cum unilateral ursurpation of powers by the Governor.Section 7(1) of the 1999 constitution empowers the existence and autonomy of the local government Areas, thus the local government Areas are the third tier of government in Nigeria having it’s life of independence, from the governors of the state or president of Nigeria.

“It is also clear that the local government Areas being the third tier of government, elections, and running, suspension/removal, of the elected Chairman of a local government is vested in the legislative arm of the local government council. And not the Governor or the House of Assembly of the state.

“The above have been given verve and zest by a plethora of decided case in Nigeria amongst which are HON. OSARO OBAZEE VS GOV, EDO STATE & 2 ORS, which landmark judgement was given by Justice E.E. IKPOBMWEN of the High Court sitting in Benin City on the 14th April,2016 and more recently by supreme Court in a landmark judgement delivered on the 11th of December, 2019 in RE: GOVERNOR, EKITI STATE VS PRINCE SANMI OLUBUNMO & ORS wherein the court held inter alia, per. OLUBOLADE JOE, JSC, ‘The act giving legislative powers to the state assembly and governors to undertake process of sacking elected local government chairmen is null and void…”

“Drawing from the above constitutional provision and case laws, the act of Governor Nyesom Wike purporting to sack or suspend the duo chairmen is a gross usurpation of powers, an exercise in futility, gross violation of laws, null and void that should be rescinded to preserve democracy.

“It’s our argument that any State law empowering the Governor or House of Assembly to do otherwise is running contrary to the 1999 constitution and to that extent UNCONSTITUTIONAL. Even though, the constitution empowers the State Assembly to make certain law in the administration of the Local Government, such a law must not CONFLICT with the express provision of the constitution.”

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INEC fixes date to conduct all pending by-elections

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it has fixed Oct. 31 for the conduct of the 12 pending constituencies by-elections in the country.

The commission disclosed this in a statement by INEC National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Mr Festus Okoye, in Abuja on Tuesday.

He said that the commission would have long conducted the by-elections but for the current COVID-19 pandemic.

“Since then, the commission has developed a policy on the conduct of elections in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It also revised its regulations and guidelines and engaged with health authorities and stakeholders on conducting elections in an environment that guarantees both credibility and public safety.

“The commission has also successfully conducted the bye-election to fill the vacancy in the Nasarawa Central State Constituency and is going ahead with the conduct of governorship elections in Edo and Ondo states on Sept. 19 and Oct. 10, respectively,” he said.

The pending by-elections are Bayelsa Central Senatorial District; Bayelsa West Senatorial District; Nganzai and Bayo Constituencies in Borno State; Cross River North Senatorial District; Obudu Constituency in Cross River.

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Others are Imo North Senatorial District; Lagos East Senatorial District; Kosofe II Constituency in Lagos State; Plateau South Senatorial District; Bakura Constituency in Zamfara; and Ibaji Constituency in Kogi.

Okoye said that the decision was taken after reviewing preparations for Edo and Ondo states’ governorship elections as well as all outstanding by-elections.

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According to him, the by-elections in the federal and state legislative houses were due to resignation or death of members in eight states of the federation.

“By the harmonized timetable, the commission will give the notice of election on Aug. 17 while political parties will conduct their primaries to nominate candidates between Aug. 24 and Sept. 8.

“Submission of forms and personal particulars of candidates will commence on Sept. 9 and close at 6p.m. on Sept. 13,” he said.

Okoye added that the timetable and schedule of activities for the by-elections had been uploaded on the commission’s website and social media platforms.

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He added that INEC’s attention had also been drawn to the existence of vacancies in Isi-Uzo Constituency in Enugu State and Bakori Constituency in Katsina State.

Okoye, however, said vacancies had not been formally declared by the Speakers of the affected state assemblies.

He implored concerned stakeholders, particularly political parties, to take note of the timelines in the schedule and strictly adhere to them.

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APC praise Odigie-Oyegun as he clocks 81

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John Odigie-Oyegun,

The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has said its former National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, is a voice of reason in national polity and a strong advocate of progressive ideals and mantra of the party.

The party eulogised him in a congratulatory message yesterday in Abuja by its Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Yekini Nabena, on today’s 81st birthday of the former Edo State governor.

The statement reads:

“The APC celebrates elder statesman and our former National Chairman, H. E. Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, on the occasion of his 81st birthday on August 12, 2020.

“Our great party rejoices with Chief Odigie-Oyegun and his family, friends and associates for the good health, exemplary life and good tidings the Almighty God has granted him.

“Chief Odigie-Oyegun is undoubtedly a man of many positive firsts. The country’s youngest Permanent Secretary, first elected governor of Edo State, first National Chairman of the APC, who led us as then opposition party to presidential victory in 2015 after defeating the then ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Indeed, there is much to celebrate as Chief Odigie-Oyegun clocks another year in an illustrious life’s journey.

“A gentleman with uncommon humility, our great party attests that Chief Odigie-Oyegun remains a voice of reason in the national polity and a strong advocate the APC’s progressive ideals and mantra.

“In the ongoing drive by the Governor Mai Mala Buni-led APC Caretaker/Extra-Ordinary National Convention Committee to reposition the party and ensure peace and unity across party ranks, the party continues to count on the support of Chief Odigie-Oyegun and other party leaders to achieve this goal.

“The party prays for Chief Odigie-Oyegun a long, healthy and fulfilled years in service to the party and country.”

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Fani-Kayode threatens to dump PDP, vows party will split

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Let them go! we may not have their resources but we have God- Fani Kayode reacts to US, France, Israel evacuating citizens

A former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, has threatened to leave the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, if the party structure in Cross River State is taken away from Governor Ben Ayade.

Fani-Kayode said it would be a big mistake for the PDP National Working Committee, NWC, to come to such a conclusion.

According to him, if the party forces Governor Ayade out of its fold, he ((Kayode) will have no option than to leave too.

There is a running battle over who becomes the next Chairman of the PDP in Cross Rivers.

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Ayade and some party chieftains, including former governor, deputy governor, National Assembly members, state lawmakers and former elected and appointed party officers are at daggers drawn over who controls the structures ahead of 2023.

While Ayade is backing Alphonsus Eba (a.k.a Okadigbo) for the state chairmanship of PDP, the other aggrieved groups are totally behind the former PDP national publicity secretary and former Commissioner, Venatius Nkem, in the chairmanship race of the party.

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And reacting to the situation, Fani-Kayode tweeted:

“It would be a big mistake for the NWC of the @OfficialPDPNig to take the party structures in his state away from Ben Ayaade, Gov. of Cross Rivers state, and hand them over to anyone else. If this is done and Ayaade leaves the party be rest assured that many of us will leave with him.

“You cannot and must not undermine a sitting Governor or attempt to humiliate him in his own state and before his people. Some of those that are advocating and behind this nonsense would never allow it to happen in their own states. A word is enough for the wise.

“No-one, no matter how big or powerful, should think that they own the @OfficialPDPNig. If there is any attempt to undermine Ayade it will spark off a crisis in the party that will split it right down the middle and the consequences will not be limited to Cross Rivers state.”

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