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Don’t introduce Sharia in South-West, PFN warns Senate

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Bishop-Francis-Wale-Oke

Bishop Francis Wale Oke

THE ongoing public hearing on the amendment of the 1999 Constitution continued across the country on Thursday with a warning by the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria to the Senate to avoid surreptitious moves by some groups to introduce Sharia law to the South-West region through the on-going constitution review.

The President of PFN, Bishop Wale Oke, said in a statement issued by his Media Office on Thursday that the move was capable of adding to the numerous problems facing the country.

He urged the Senate not to succumb to such agitation which he said was capable of further plunging the country into major religious crisis.

He said, “The problems confronting our nation are enormous than wanting to create more. Sharia law is alien to our culture of religious existence in the South-West. As such, nobody should through any subterfuge, bring it in to cause crisis.”

S’South demands power devolution, state police

In Rivers State, the South-South geopolitical zone demanded devolution of power, resource control and creation of additional states in the area.

The hearing organised for Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Cross River states by the Senate Ad-hoc Committee on Amendment of the Constitution, chaired by Senator George Sekibo, had many stakeholders from various ethnic nationalities in attendance.

The host, Nyesom Wike, who declared the hearing open, said there was urgent need for the amendment to produce a people’s constitution that would guarantee devolution of powers, fiscal federalism, creation of state police, as well as strengthening of the electoral system.

Wike, who was represented by his deputy, Dr Ipalibo Banigo-Harry, said the amendment must allow the states to create and sustain local government councils and ensure reduction of the cost of governance at both federal and state levels.

“Nigerians need a constitution that will give them a true sense of belonging, secure and advance their wellbeing and enable their children to aspire to actualise their potential for any office without discrimination,” he said.

On its part, the Akwa Ibom State Government said the challenges plaguing the country was deeply rooted in the ground norm that held various parts of the country together.

Represented by the Director of Litigation, Bassey Ekanem, he said the Federal Government was completely overburdened, adding that the state had listed about 25 matters in the exclusive list that should be transferred to the concurrent list.

Earlier in his remarks, the Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, who was represented by Senator George Sekibo, representing Rivers East, disclosed that zonal public hearing on the 1999 Constitution review adopted the bottom to top approach in order to entertain the views of stakeholders at the zonal level.

Meanwhile, the National Vice-President, PFN, Apostle Zilly Aggrey, said the country needed a brand new constitution, even as he expressed fears that the ongoing selective amendment might end in futility.

Aggrey stated, “The PFN is firmly of the view that the review process by amending a segment of the constriction may just be another exercise in futility that cannot meet the expectations of the people.”

S’West seeks fiscal federalism

Also, the Lagos zonal constitution hearing entered Day Two on Thursday with stakeholders reiterating calls for a total review of the constitution to reflect fiscal federalism; implementation of the Child Rights Act and Disability Act in states, local government autonomy, judicial autonomy and creation of state police.

A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Wole Olanipekun, represented by his son, advocated that judicial outcome be respected and adhered to so that the common man could feel protected and their rights protected.

According to him, the Electoral Act should be amended to allow governorship election cases to terminate at the Supreme Court.

Rights activist, Femi Falana, made a large case for the poor and vulnerable, insisting that it was important to give secession agitators the confidence of peace and inclusion if they must remain.

The lawyer also advocated that the Child Rights Act enacted in 2003, and the Disability Act, be domesticated and implemented in states if the constitution review must make meaning to the common man.

Ex-CP declares state police anti-Igbo

There was, however, a mild drama at the Enugu Centre as Ibezimako Aghanya, a retired Commissioner of Police, declared that creation of state police would not be in Igbo interest.

The former Kogi State police commissioner said the Igbo should only support state police when state of origin was removed and replaced with state of residence, adding that “otherwise if state police is created, Igbo will suffer.

Aghanya said, “So what I am saying, if actually we want to create a state police let us first remove state of origin in our constitution and put state of residence. With it an Igbo boy born in Lagos can join Lagos police, an Igbo boy born in Kano can join Kano police and an Igbo boy born in Sokoto can join Sokoto police.”

Southern Borno alleges animals, humans drink from same source

However, the people of Southern Borno in Borno State have lamented that the zone has been marginalised for a very long time, hence their demand for the creation of a state for the zone.

They lamented that despite their contributions to the development of the state, the region had been left to suffer with their people drinking water from the same river with their animals.

They stated these in an interview with journalists on the sidelines of their presentation on Thursday at the Zonal Senate Public Hearing on the amendment of the 1999 Constitution held in Bauchi on why they are agitating for Savannah State.

Captain Ibrahim Mshelia of the Southern Borno Global Initiative lamented that their children were learning under leaking classrooms while some studied mathematics on bare ground using their fingers.

He said, “Some people have no drinking water; they drink water with animals. The same river that feeds them water for everything is the river that they feed their animals with. But in Maiduguri, there are taps, our children are still sitting on stones, inside the buildings; you can see the sun, and when it is raining, they go under trees. They are sitting on the stone.”

Credit: Punch

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Umahi Declares for 2023 Presidential Race

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As has been widely expected, Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State has thrown his hat into the ring for the 2023 Presidential race.

According to the Governor, he has informed President Muhammadu Buhari of his ambition to contest the presidency on the platform of the ruling All Progressives Party (APC).

Governor Umahi’s action came barely 24 hours after the National Leader of the Party, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, took similar steps.

Umahi disclosed his latest move to State House Correspondents after a closed-door meeting with Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Tuesday.

  1. On what his chances chances are against the background that other big political figures had indicated their intentions to run for the same office, including Asiwaju Tinubu, the Governor said God would be the decider of the outcome of the race.

Umahi, who left the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) for the APC, said he stands a chance if the APC throws the ticket open.

He said if he gets the opportunity, his presidency will replicate his efforts in Ebonyi, saying that he has a lot to show in running governance as a business.

The Governor also said he spoke with the President about resolving the security crisis bugging the Southeast region through political solutions.

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We Haven’t Zoned the Presidential Slot to Any Part of the Country, says PDP

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As permutations continue ahead of the 2023 general elections, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has denied zoning the presidential slot, saying a decision is yet to be taken on where its presidential ticket would be zoned to.

It also dismissed reports indicating that PDP had resolved to zone the presidential ticket to a particular region of the country.

Recall that former Niger State governor, Babangida Aliyu, had, last week, told a group drumming support for the presidential ambition of ex-Vice President Atiku Abubakar that the party had resolved to field a northerner as its presidential candidate.

But reacting to the reports, spokesman for the PDP, Debo Ologunagba, said: “This is completely misleading as it does not in any way represent the position of our party. For the avoidance of doubt, the PDP emphatically and unequivocally states that it has not zoned its presidential ticket to any part of the country.

“The PDP is a political party founded on democratic principles and every action of the party, including zoning, is based on extensive consultations, discussions and consideration of all the issues as well as the various tendencies and interests across the nation, with the main objective of ensuring that the unity, peaceful co-existence and development of our nation are reinforced and promoted.

“The PDP, therefore, urges Nigerians, our teeming members and supporters to completely disregard the unfounded zoning claims as being peddled. Our party also cautions those behind the claims to desist forthwith.

“The PDP thanks Nigerians for the overwhelming interest they have in our party as their sure platform to rescue and rebuild our nation from misrule and urges them to remain united and focused as we join forces for the task ahead.”

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Andy Uba Wasn’t a Candidate in Anambra Governorship Election, Court Rules

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All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate in Anambra, Andy Uba, who has vowed to upturn the election of Professor Chukwuma Soludo, was handed an unexpected knock out on Monday.

A Federal High Court, Abuja, on Monday, nullified his participation in the 6 November election, declaring his candidacy illegal.

The ruling effectively denied Uba a locus standi to challenge Soludo.

Justice Inyang Ekwo, in a judgment, held that the June 26 primary of the party which produced Uba as its standard-bearer was not validly conducted.

The ruling ended what would have been some legal distraction for Soludo, a former Central bank governor, hoping to make a difference in governance in the state.

Chief George Moghalu, an aspirant in the APC primary election had challenged the process and the outcome of the primary election that produced Uba as the party’s candidate.

Moghalu, who was the plaintiff, had sued the party, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and Uba as 1st to 3rd defendants respectively.

Delivering the judgment, Justice Ekwo aligned with the plaintiff’s arguments that the June 26 primary election breached the provisions of the Electoral Act and the APC guidelines for the conduct of the exercise.

Chief George Moghalu

He held that the plaintiff had successfully demonstrated that the primary election was not conducted in accordance with the law and the party’s guidelines.

“Therefore, the case of the plaintiff succeeds on its merit,” he said.

Ekwo held that since the election was conducted illegally, the APC (1st defendant) cannot be a beneficiary of the Nov. 6 election which produced the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) candidate, Prof. Charles Soludo, as the winner of the poll outcome.

The judge, therefore, declared that the APC had no candidate in the Anambra governorship election by non-inclusion of the name of Moghalu in the primary election, and the conduct of the poll in contravention of the Electoral Act and the party’s guidelines.

“The 2nd defendant (INEC) is compelled to delist the name of the 1st defendant and 3rd defendant from the Nov. 6, Anambra governorship election,” he ordered.

Prof. Charles Soludo
Anambra Governor-Elect

According to the judge, any election conducted contrary to the 1st defendant guideline is in nullity.

“The real issue was not whether accredited members of 1st defendant voted on that day but whether the election was conducted in accordance with the election guidelines of 1st defendant,” he held.

He also said that the evidence of the police report confirmed that the election was conducted outside the time frame.

Ekwo, who described the conduct of the primary by APC as “crude and primitive,” ordered that the N22.5 million paid by Moghalu as expression of interest and nomination forms be refunded since the party failed to complied with the provisions of the law and its guidelines.

Moghalu had, in July, filed the suit at the court, seeking an order removing Uba and the APC from the list of gubernatorial candidates and political parties partaking in the Anambra governorship election on the grounds that the party failed to conduct a valid primary election.

He also demanded N122.5 million as damages, which include a refund for the fee paid for expression of interest and nomination forms and N100 million “for the breach of contract to commence and conclude primary election”.

INEC had picked Uba, winner of the APC primary election, as the party’s candidate.

In the affidavit in support of the suit, the plaintiff said the APC failed to conclude the selection and nomination process for its candidate for the Nov. 6 governorship poll.

He said the APC had chosen to adopt direct primary, which is why the party published the list of designated venues for the exercise.

Moghalu said the party received N22.5 million for the expression of interest form and nomination form, including from him, “to allow him to participate in the primary election exercise”.
He further said he was informed a day before the primaries that the APC electoral committee would address all aspirants and stakeholders in Akwa.
“Shockingly, on June 26, 2021, the said election committee was not seen anywhere in Anambra; no accreditation of voters took place; no voting and collation of votes occurred in all the 326 wards of Anambra state,” he said.

He said the committee “announced election results it did not conduct, and which fakery was credited to the 3rd defendant as the winner of the primary election scheduled for emergence as APC’s candidate in the November 6 governorship election in Anambra”.

Moghalu also argued that the party did not invite the INEC in line with the law requiring the commission to monitor the exercise.

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