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Kogi in subdued celebration, cautious optimism

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Kogi in subdued celebration, cautious optimism

By John Akubo, Lokoja

Governor’s directive, police action restrain wild reactions
The expected outburst of jubilation or demonstrations over the outcome of the Supreme Court judgment on the validity of the governorship of Yahaya Bello of Kogi State was an anticlimax of sort.
There was a subdued celebration by supporters of Bello while those that planned to take to the streets to vent their anger over a loss, as well as hoodlums that would have capitalized on crowd anonymity to cause mayhem were cowed by the massive presence of security.
Thus it was a mix bag as the Supreme Court upheld Bello, as authentic winner of the November 21, 2015 governorship election in the state, with reactions as divergent as the people.
Prior to the apex court’s ruling on Tuesday, the former governor, Idris Wada of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the running mate to Prince Abubakar Audu, winner of the governorship primary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr. James Faleke have filed petitions against Bello’s mandate.
While Wada claimed that Bello should not be declared governor because Audu died with his mandate, Falake insisted that he, being the running mate to APC’s governorship candidate that died shortly before the election was concluded should be declared governor.
However, the argument in favour of Bello was that being the runner up to Audu in the APC’s governorship primary, he has the constitutional right to take the mandate and not Faleke, who did not contest the primary of the party.
The unanimous judgment by a five-member panel of the Appeal Court delivered by Justice Jummai Sankey on August 4, had upheld the verdict of the Kogi State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal in Abuja, which dismissed Faleke’s petition.
But in Wada’s appeal, Justice Obande Festus Ogbuinya gave a dissenting judgment canceling the election of Bello on the grounds that he was not validly nominated for the election following Audu’s death and he failed to nominate a running mate before the election. He had ordered the withdrawal of the governor’s certificate of return and the conduct of a fresh election in the state.
However, the Supreme Court in its judgment confirmed that votes belonged to the political party that nominated a candidate. It affirmed that the nomination of Bello to replace Audu was in order.
Supporters of Falake, who boasted that their man would win the case, as well as followers of Wada, were disappointed.
Meanwhile, the low-keyed jubilation in the state after the ruling on Tuesday was attributed to the fact that most of the supporters of Bello were still in Abuja.
Another reason adduced was the fact that the governor restrained his supporters against wild celebrations. The earlier warning by the State Command Police also restrained supporters from street jubilation.
The Commissioner of Police in the state, Abdulahi Chafe had earlier warned that he would mobilized his men to arrest anybody that cause problem, saying: “such people would be prosecuted according to the laws.
One of the supporters of former governor Wada, who said there was no need to continue to bicker, called on Bello to extend a hand of fellowship to others for the growth and development of the state.
According to him, “Bello should not run an administration of revenge and vendetta.
However, the apex court ruling seems not to have gone down well with the state’s civil servants who were yet to get their salary.
A civil servant who spoke on condition of anonymity said though many of his colleagues have received alerts of three months he was yet to receive. He expressed hope that Bello’s victory would change things for the better for the civil servants.
However, as the elated governor returned to Kogi, many of his supporters took over the Murtala Muhammed Bridge-Lokoja axis of the Lokoja-Abuja highway to welcome him but security operatives ensured normalcy. They made contingency plan as they directed commuter vehicles and other vehicles to utilize one lane of the dual carriage high way hence the reception was hitch free.
Significantly, supporters who trooped to the reception at the foot of the bridge came from the three camps on the matter, wearing uniforms of T-Shirts bearing inscription of ‘God Won for Bello’
They came in different attires with musical instruments in cultural display to the admiration of other supporters.
It was like a triumphant entry into Lokoja as Lokoja indigenes lined up the streets to catch a glimpse of the victorious governor. Some wore banners indicating that Loyola indigenes were fully in support of the Governor.
Elsewhere in Okene, the headquarters of the Kogi Central Senatorial district there was unprecedented celebration as popular masquerades were released to celebrate their own.
The joy of the people knew no bounds as the first ever son of the Ebira to occupy the exalted position has been successful in all fronts winning all his cases like the proverbial cat with nine lives.
One of those celebrating said the victory was germane because if the judgment had been otherwise the Governor would have been unable to return to Lokoja.
The governor extended the olive branch to those who contended with him noting that his victory at the Supreme Court showed that democracy has indeed taken root in Nigeria.
Bello who spoke through his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Kingsley Fanwo, said his victory at the court was a big honor to democracy.
“The landmark judgment of the Supreme Court today, which affirmed my election is a watershed in the annals of electoral jurisprudence and constitutional law in the country. It was a long walk to victory, which will reshape our constitution of the nation.
“The victory belongs to all Kogi people who believe in transforming Kogi from a potentially great State to a really great State. Am committed to serving the people and making the State the centre of excellence and the cynosure of all eyes”, he said.
The governor, however, restrained his supporters against wild celebration, saying the moment was a challenge to indigenes for sober reflection on how to make the state great.
He reiterated the administration’s commitment to the cardinal goals of improving education, reinventing healthcare, boosting infrastructural development as well as raising the capacity of the State citizens to reinvigorate the economy.
However, Faleke said he had no regrets challenging the decision to declare the election inconclusive as the step was taken in good faith to protect the interest of the over 240,000 electorates that voted for the Audu/Faleke ticket in the election.
In a statement issued on his behalf by Duro Meseko, he said it would amount to a betrayal of the sacred trust of the people who reposed implicit confidence in the Audu/Faleke ticket, not to have defended the sanctity of their vote up till the apex court level.
“We have heard the judgment handed down by the Supreme Court jurists upholding Yahaya Bello as governor. We shall wait for the full text of the judgment to know why they came to that conclusion. But let it be stated here that we have no regrets challenging the declaration of our election as inconclusive by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). What we did was to defend the votes cast for Audu/Faleke by the over 240,000 electorates on November 21, 2015,” he stated.
Faleke urged all his supporters to remain calm, peaceful and law abiding while thanking them for their support and perseverance all through the court proceedings.
But speaking through his Chief Communications Manager, Wada indicated that the judgment was against the golden dawn in the state that bears the cradle of the people.
“It was against the golden dawn for all lovers of democracy in Nigeria and all over the world but we are proud to be at the vanguard of the revolution.”
He said the decision of the apex court, brings to an end a legal battle they initiated not because they wanted a second term in office; but to serve as a historic denunciation and a befitting dirge for electoral fraud.
Wada, however, resolved to offer his support to his successor, stressing that he would do his best in whatever way possible to offer support to Governor Bello for the uplift of the state.
Former acting governor of Kogi, Chief Clarence Olafemi said the judgment is a victory for democracy.
http://m.guardian.ng/features/kogi-in-subdued-celebration-cautious-optimism/

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Hoarding of Palliatives: Niger APC chieftain accuses Govs of crime against humanity

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Hoarding of Palliatives: Niger APC chieftain accuses Govs of crime against humanity

Former Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism and a Chieftain of All Progressive Congress (APC) in Niger state, Mr. Jonathan Vatsa has berated state governors in the country for stockpilling COVID-19 palliatives in warehouses, which were looted by angry youths across the country.
He indicated that governors are the real problems of Nigerians.
Vatsa was however quick to exonerate President Mohammadu Buhari from any blame over the nationwide looting of palliatives, resulting in the loss of lives of “desperate and hungry Nigerians”.
“Buhari can not go to states to share palliatives. It has been entrusted to the governors for onward distribution to the people, so I think Nigerians should excuse Buhari from this unfortunate development”.
Vatsa who is the Coordinator, public affairs to governor Abubakar Sani Bello of Niger state gave the indication in Minna on Tuesday while reacting to the nationwide looting of palliatives by Nigerians.
“The Governors are making governance very difficult for the President. In fact they are part of Buhari’s problems if not how can someone explain the hoarding of palliatives meant to cushion the effect of Coronavirus Lockdown”.
The former publicity secretary of APC in the state believed that Governors who hoarded palliatives away from Nigerians can never provide dividends of democracy to their people.
He added that “governance is all about the welfare of the people so if you can not give the people what was given to you to give them, what else would they expect from you”, he queried
He pointed out that the governors know quite well that Nigerians are hungry and desperately need these things, so they want to make them very hungry so that they can buy them during election very cheaply with those items.
According to him “with this Singular act, they have deliberately de-marketed this government, and Nigerians have lost confidence in this administration. It is very unfortunate”, he submitted.
Vatsa therefore cautioned the security agents using force on these Nigerians who are merely looting what was meant for them, adding that “what is happening is re-looting the looted”.
Vatsa who argued that the looting of the palliatives does not amount to any crime also believed that “what these governors have done is nothing but a crime against humaninity, that is my opinion on this and its quite unfortunate”.
He also appealed to the youths to stop attacking individuals and private companies, saying that “that does not portray the qualities of future leaders in them.

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Lekki massacre: Senator Ubah asks Buhari to prosecute erring soldiers

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Lekki massacre: Senator Ubah asks Buhari to prosecute erring soldiers

Vice-Chairman of the Senate Committee on Petroleum Resources (Upstream), Patrick Ifeanyi Ubah has urged
President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately commence prosecution of all soldiers found culpable in the deadly Lekki Toll Gate shooting.

In a statement, he issued in Abuja on Monday, he described the shooting as a gross violation of the fundamental right of the #EndSARS protesters.

Describing the shooting as barbaric, Ubah said, “I am deeply saddened by reports of extrajudicial shootings and barbaric killing of peaceful protesters in Lekki-Lagos, Nigeria. I wish to categorically condemn in its entirety, these shootings by security operatives who are meant to protect the citizens.”
According to him, “these unlawful shootings by the military and security agents at unarmed protesters are a gross violation of the right to life as enshrined in Section 33 of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999; Article 4 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights, and Article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.”
He said the prosecution would go a long way in serving justice to the deceased and their loved ones.
According to him “I am deeply saddened by reports of extrajudicial shootings and barbaric killing of peaceful protesters in Lekki-Lagos, Nigeria. I wish to categorically condemn in its entirety, these shootings by security operatives who are meant to protect the citizens.

“These unlawful shootings by the military and security agents at unarmed protesters are a gross violation of the right to life as enshrined in Section 33 of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999; Article 4 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights, and Article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.”

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#ENDSARS protests: Senators become soft targets for hoodlums

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#ENDSARS protests: Senators become soft targets for hoodlums

Senators Teslim Folarin (APC-Oyo Central), Senator Gershom Bassey, representing Cross Rivers South Senatorial District and Former Senate Leader, Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba, got their dose of the #ENDSARS protests that has been taken over by hoodlums on Saturday.

The hoodlums in Ibadan invaded Sen. Folarin’s residence, where they carted away items worth N200million
The rampaging youths made away with empowerment materials worth N200 million.
The ugly incident was confirmed by Folarin during a radio programme, monitored on Saturday in Ibadan.
The stolen items were meant for constituency empowerment programme of the lawmaker, scheduled to take place in December.

Among the items carted away are about 300 motorcycles, deep freezers and food items.
Folarin, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Local Content and former Senate Leader, said he was relieved that no life was lost.

In Calabar the hoodlums also invaded the mansion of Senator Ndoma-Egba, where they broke into his premises and that of senator Bassey and carted away properties that include set of chairs, Television sets, matrasses, toilet seats and car batteries before setting the country home of Ndoma-Egba ablaze.

It was gathered that the hoodlums easily overpowered the security personnel protecting the houses and even wanted to collect their guns before the security personnel took to their heels after which the hoodlums carted away valuables.
It was also gathered that a lounge (Bulavard) allegedly belonging to an APC stalwarts Hillard Etta were also vandalised just as a petrol filling allegedly belonging to Governor Ben Ayade was destroyed.

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