Connect with us

News

Key Projects To Be Commissioned Before Elections -Wike 

Published

on

Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike has stated that his administration will drive key projects to completion in the coming few weeks.
The governor stated that no project will be stalled despite the campaign period because  the welfare of Rivers people remain paramount.
A project evaluation tour this week revealed that key projects will be ready for commissioning  between now and the January, ahead of the 2019 Elections.
The Bonny/Nembe/Bille Jetty which will drive water transport  to key riverine communities in Rivers State and neighbouring Bayelsa State is nearing completion.
The key facilities at the modern Jetty have been completed.  The arrival and departure terminals, banking hall, restaurant, loading bay have been completed.
The contractors are putting finishing touches to the Jetty, especially the parking lot and the roads in and out of the water transport project.
Several buildings at the Judges Quarters initiated and flagged off by the Wike administration have been completed.
The contractors are working on the environment of the Judges Quarters, especially  the landscaping and drainages.
The Judges Quarters which is an owner-occupier quarter will be ready for commissioning  before the General Elections in line with the pledge of Governor Wike.
For the Real Madrid Football Academy in Port Harcourt, work is progressing steadily as the contractors are working in line with specifications.
The contractors said that they will use the dry season to drive the academy  to completion because it is a priority project for the Rivers State Government.
Also at the Ogbum-Nu-Abali/Nkpogu area, the Wike administration has completed the reclamation of 12 Hectares of land.

Continue Reading

News

Xenophobic Attacks: Take South African Govt To ICJ, Akinyemi Urges FG

Published

on

A former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Prof Bolaji Akinyemi, has urged the Federal Government to drag its South African counterpart before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for its failure to cater for Nigerian citizens resident in South Africa.
Several Nigerians living in South Africa had come under a series of xenophobic attacks.
The latest attacks, which started on September 1, led to a diplomatic row between Nigeria and South Africa, forcing the Federal Government to evacuate Nigerians who expressed interest to return home.
In a statement, yesterday, tagged, South African on xenophobic attacks on Nigeria, Akinyemi said the xenophobic attacks on Nigerians and other immigrants were acts sponsored by the South African state in violation of Article 2, paragraph 2 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, among others.
For instance, the professor of political science pointed out that the statement credited to the South African Minister of International Relations, Dr Grace Pandor, that Nigerians were drug dealers, among other officials, were inciting.
He said, “The statement credited to the South African Minister of International Relations, Dr Grace Naledi Mandisa Pandor, that Nigerians were drug dealers; the statement credited to Deputy Police Minister, Bongani Mkongi, that they fought for their land and that that land would not be surrendered to immigrants.
“The statement credited to the South African Defence Minister, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, that South Africa is an angry nation and that the country could not prevent the xenophobic attacks; and various statements credited to South African diplomats blaming the immigrants.
“The anti-immigrant acts by the South African Immigration service officials which for all practical purposes amount to holding Nigerian immigrants hostage by refusing to allow them to be evacuated; I have come to the conclusion that the xenophobic attacks on Nigerians and other immigrants are acts sponsored or condoned by the South African state in violation of: Article 2, paragraph 2 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
“Article 2, paragraph 1 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; United Nations Convention on the elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination; and the International Convention on the Protection of Migrant Workers.

Continue Reading

News

We’ll Rely On Three Grounds To Win At S’Court -PDP

Published

on

Lawyers for the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, and those for the party, yesterday, argued that they would rely on three grounds to get the Supreme Court to overturn President Muhammadu Buhari’s last Wednesday victory at the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal.
Atiku and his party had said they would be challenging the unanimous judgement by the five-man tribunal that confirmed Buhari’s victory at the February 23 presidential poll.
The former vice president went to the tribunal seeking to overturn the victory of the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), who was running for a second term in the February 23 presidential poll.
His petition did not succeed for failing to prove allegations of irregularities against the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Buhari and the APC, the tribunal declared in a judgement that lasted for over eight hours, last Wednesday.
In a unanimous judgement delivered by Justice Mohammed Garba, the five-man panel held that all the five issues raised by the petitioner against the respondent were not proved.
But shortly after the verdict, Atiku and the PDP vowed to go to the Supreme Court to challenge the decision, but did not give the date their appeal would be filed.
Section 134(3) of the Electoral Act, 2010 provides that an appeal from the tribunal would be heard and disposed of within 90 days from date of the judgement.
Arguing their case, Atiku’s lead counsel, Levy Uzoukwu, SAN, said there were a number of grounds upon which the appeal would be successfully challenged.
Uzoukwu said that contrary to the position of the tribunal that you don’t need to attach copies of certificates listed, the INEC Form CF001 clearly states that you must attach evidence of qualifications before you swear to an affidavit.
He added that the chairman of the tribunal also erred by his statement that “for Army to say so, it could be inferred that he submitted his certificates upon his enlistment. Interestingly, none of the three respondents raised that point in the trial. So, the court generated that, and that would tell you the extent the justices went.”
“Just look at the issue of the server, which has now thoroughly embarrassed them; the presiding justice unequivocally said the existence of the server was not proved. Now, the second justice, who gave the second judgement said that the petitioners recklessly hacked into the server and shamelessly presented the material to the court. This completely contradicts what the presiding justice said.
“That is not all, Justice Oseji came from another angle and said that the petitioners proved the issue of the server, and agreed with us that server is a storage device, which a computer is and that the INEC relied on our case and called no evidence. So, I just don’t understand.”
Another fundamental one, where we indicated that the areas put together, where elections did not take place, the total number of voters nullified the difference of the votes between Atiku and Buhari, they didn’t say one word on any of that.
“In this one, we subpoenaed the INEC, which brought Form EC40G, where on its own tabulated areas, election did not take place and the registered number of voters came to 2.7million, where elections were cancelled. We tendered this and addressed it copiously.
“We also tendered what they published on their website. I think that one was 2.6 million, where they organised supplementary elections for National Assembly, and elections were cancelled. It took place simultaneously with the presidential. Accreditation was also simultaneously by the same parties.
“At the point of voting, you go to the box for National Assembly. So, you cannot say that for presidential, election took place and for National Assembly, election did not take place in the same polling unit.
“We addressed all these issues. But they cleverly departed from it and not a word on it, and moved on as if nothing happened.
“We are going to articulate all these in our Notice of Appeal. We have 14 days and they have not given us the judgement because they said they were going to correct some errors,” he said.
Also speaking about the intention to challenge the judgement, counsel to Atiku, Mike Ozekhome, SAN, said several things were wrong with it, among which he said were poor evaluation of evidence, non-evaluation of evidence, misplacement of exactly what the case of the petitioners is, and the fact of provisions of the Electoral Act being misinterpreted and misapplied.
“At the Supreme Court, there will be seven very good heads that will hear the appeal from here. There is no question about that; we will appeal the judgement,” he said.
The Minister of State for Niger Delta and one of the lawyers to the APC, Festus Keyamo, SAN, did not respond to calls and text message to him over the matter.
But one of the lawyers to Buhari, Sam Ologunorisa, SAN, said the appeal was expected, but added that it would help to enrich the country’s law.
“As lawyers, our opinions on issues of law and evaluation of facts arising therefrom are bound to differ. The presidential election petition and the issues so distilled will generate this type of reaction as the stakes are high.
“In all, our legal jurisprudence is bound to be richer and I hope the political class will learn one or two lessons and initiate appropriate reforms to deepen our democracy.”
Also, the National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, said the party was confident of winning at the Supreme Court.
Speaking to newsmen, yesterday, Ologbondiyan said the Supreme Court would dwell on the substance of the case and deliver justice.
“There are two levels of courts and we believe that the tribunal took over the responsibility of the respondent counsel by shopping for the cases they didn’t make. That is the position of our party, which was changed to law and jurisprudence.
“We believe that when we go to the Supreme Court, which is the highest court, we will take another look at the substance of the five issues the tribunal claimed to have addressed, and we believe that they would do justice on all the issues,” he said.
Similarly, the presidential candidate of the PDP, Atiku, has confirmed that his team and that of the party were working together to challenge the judgement.
Atiku’s special adviser on media, Paul Ibe, told our source in a telephone interview, yesterday, that his boss and PDP’s legal team were studying the judgement before taking the necessary action at the apex court.
Asked whether Atiku or his camp had confidence of winning at the Supreme Court, Ibe simply replied, “Let’s get there first. We are on the road. This is not about Atiku, it is about Nigeria and Nigerians. It is about our future and the need to reset our destiny. It is about creating jobs and making Nigerians better.”
Adding his view to the argument about going to the Supreme Court, a former director-general of the Nigerian Law School, Prof Tahir Mamman, said it was within the right of Atiku and the PDP to appeal against the decision of the tribunal.
He explained that the cost element of the petition may not be a problem for Atiku.
“It is okay if he appeals, but whether or not his appeal succeeds is a different matter. Nobody tried to predict what the Appeal Court would do earlier. But overall, if you look at the unanimous judgement of the court, it is a landmark decision; very comprehensive. All the issues were taken within the prism of the requirement provisions of the Electoral Act and the Evidence Act,” he said.
But Jibrin Okutepa, SAN, faulted the tribunal’s decision, saying it erred by claiming that the petitioners dumped electoral materials on the tribunal by not leading evidence through the makers.
“It is a misapplication of the principle in Duriminya v. C.O.P (Supra) to expect the petitioner to come and read afresh to the court the same evidence already contained in the exhibits, which were tendered and received without objection. The tribunal erred seriously by failing to see that forms EC8A and EC8B are statutory forms complete on their own as to their source and purport, and which cannot, therefore, be equated with ordinary documentary exhibits.
“It is, therefore, my contention that there is a need for our courts to reconsider their stand on the issues of who can tender certified true copies of public documents and the weight to be attached to it and the arguments that unless documents tendered are demonstrated, courts should regard them as dumping. If court cannot look at documents tendered and interpret the man making meaning out of it, then what is the duty of the court?” he queried.
Another lawyer, Abeny Mohammed, SAN, however, advised both parties in the matter to obtain copies of the judgement and study them before determining the next course of action.
A former Kaduna State governor, Alhaji Balarabe Musa, described the decision by Atiku to head to Supreme Court as the right decision, saying Buhari did same years back.
The elder statesman also said it was in the interest of Nigerians for the matter to go to the Supreme Court because that would show everybody that there is justice in the country.
“I think his decision to go the Supreme Court is right. He should do it for his own sake because he feels aggrieved. That is one. Secondly, even his competitor, Buhari, went up to the Supreme Court when he had the same problem. So, why can’t Atiku also go?
“Thirdly, it is even in the interest of Nigerians for the matter to go up to the Supreme Court because that will show everybody whether there is justice or not. The Supreme Court is supposed to be more articulate than the tribunal; therefore, it can do more justice.
“Finally, the outcome of the Supreme Court will enable Nigerians to know more about the law. Of course, in addition to this, I, therefore, say also that for me as an individual politician, there is no different between the PDP candidate, Atiku and the APC candidate, Buhari,” he said.
The Director, Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD), Ms. Idayat Hassan, toeing the line of Balarabe Musa, also argued that the tribunal, having given its reasons for the decision, the petitioner, Atiku and the PDP have a right to exhaust all remedies, and that is why they are going to the Supreme Court.
“However, the most important thing to happen is that our electoral jurisprudence must change. The burden of proof on the petitioner to prove his case may lead to the defeat of justice in the long run. We have to reach a point where it shouldn’t just be “he who asserts, must prove,” but also those who claim to have conducted elections must prove that they did it within extant regulations,” she said.
On his part, the Executive Director, Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), Auwal Musa Rafsanjani, said the country was running a constitutional democracy, and under constitutional democracy, the courts must be obeyed.
“Whatever the feelings of any aggrieved party, they have to accept the verdict of the court, and if they strongly believe that they have a case, they can proceed to explore other democratic and legal means. We will not encourage anybody to do anything that is not within democratic norms.
“I think this is not really good because President Buhari’s victory was not challenged in 2015, and now in 2019, his election is being challenged, which means that there may be infractions in the conduct of the election. We appeal to Nigerians to remain calm and for President Buhari to face governance. He should also caution his aides, supporters and officials from making derogatory remarks or mockery of opponents.
“We should face governance now. The only thing that would ameliorate the disaffection of the people who felt otherwise is for Buhari to put tangible programmes that would deliver good governance and job security for the people. The president should be focused and make the anti-corruption efforts succeed,” he said.

Continue Reading

News

100 Days In Office: PDP, Others Score Wike High

Published

on

As part of its assessment of the 100 days in office of his second term, the People Democratic Party (PDP) has passed a vote of confidence on the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, scoring him high in projects’ delivery, infrastructural development and human capital development, among others.
The state Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Darlington Orji stated this while speaking to newsmen in Port Harcourt, Rivers State capital, at the weekend.
Orji noted that the governor had said he was elected to solve problems and not to complain; stressing that Wike was keeping the promise he made to the people across the state.
He stated that the various projects being commissioned and those yet to be commissioned were eloquent testimonies that he (Wike) has done well, and that he would continue to do more for the state and Rivers people.
According to him, “As a political party, our assessment of the governor’s first 100 days in office is 99.99 per cent. The remaining point one per cent is left for human error. By the special grace of God, this is a governor that told us that he was not elected to complain but to proffer solutions to problems.
“Because he already knows that there are problems in Rivers State, his duty is to solve these problems. So, judging by the projects lined up for commissioning and some already commissioned, there are pointers that he has done well.
“Look at the commissioned Rumuokwurusi-Elelenwo-Akpajo dual carriage way, look at Community Secondary School, Ubima in Ikwerre Local Government Area where former governor, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi comes from. These are laudable projects initiated and completed by the present administration. What about the Rumu-Woji Mile One Market and the Fruit and Vegetable Garden Market in D/Line, Port Harcourt. This is why Wike is called ‘Mr. Quality Projects’.
“You know there are indicators when you want to look at a man and how he has performed or not. It is not by mere saying it. These have been achieved in just first 100 days of his second term. It has been a fantastic one. He has actually proven that the vote of confidence that was passed on him by the people of Rivers State is desirous, and he never disappointed.
“As a party, we are happy and we have no regrets that we nominating him to fly our flag in the last election. We are so comfortable and we are confident that he is going to do more for Rivers people as God permits,” the state PDP spokesman stated.
He called on the main opposition party in the state, All Progressives Congress (APC), to support the governor to enable him succeed rather than engaging in unnecessary criticism.
“It is important we recognize the fact that the opposition party we have in the state thinks that that nothing good can come out of the government in the state. Naturally, it is not supposed to be so.
“The way I see opposition is a kind of opponent that will engage in constructive criticism for you to do more, and not a group of people that will condemn at all times even the best that the man at the helm of affairs is doing.”
Describing 100 days in office as ritual, which has come to stay, Orji recalled that in 2015/16, “what we were hearing is that he (Wike) was completing the projects of the previous administration. Don’t forget that he has declared free education for public primary and secondary schools in the state.
“Today, a man that completed the past administration’s projects is also doing his own, and you say he should not be celebrated. I want to appeal that when you want to ask for more, always appreciate the little he has done.
“Governor Wike has proven that he is a prudent manager. Look at the list of states that received bailout fund that will refund money to the centre. Is Rivers State there? The APC sang it like a song that Rivers took bailout funds. At the end of the day, the list was published and Rivers State is not there.
“Today, states like Kogi is indented to the tune of about N50billion or thereabouts and Rivers State is still moving on. For us as a people, we believe in the capacity of the governor. We believe in a man that has decided to use the resources of Rivers State to develop the state”, he stated.
Similarly, the long list of people-oriented projects being showcased by the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, within the first 100 days of his second term has been described as an amazing phenomenon.
The National Coordinator of the Beautiful Daughters Development Foundation, Rivers State Chapter, Mrs Faithben Athanasius, said this in one of the events marking the first 100 days celebration of the governor in Port Harcourt.
The foundation coordinator expressed delight over the landmark achievements recorded by the governor, adding that the high profile achievement was a clear indication that his emergence was divine.
“Look at what God is using our own son to do for the state. Everyday projects, projects, projects.
“In spite all challenges, he stood firm. It is because he has God’s back, that’s why he is unstoppable”, she stated.
Commenting particularly on the Mile One Market and Fruit Garden Market in Port Harcourt, Athanasius said, ”It is a thing of joy that the traders would again have a market for their businesses through which they can provide for their families.
“It is only in Rivers State that you see the avalanche of road projects, markets, schools, world-class cinema, football academy, quarters for Judges and civil servants, and all others being showcased for commissioning in a space of 100 days.
“When you add these to the projects he executed during his first term that earned him the rank of ‘Mr Projects’ from the Federal Government, then you have no option than to appreciate him.
“Our foundation is proud of the governor for what he is doing even in this harsh economic situation. We support him and wish him more harvests in governance in the next years ahead”, she added.
The coordinator, who explained that the foundation empowers women, particularly widows in the society, also lauded the wife of the governor, Justice Suzette Eberechi Nyesom Wike for being the woman behind the performing governor.

 

Chris Oluoh & Dennis Naku

Continue Reading

Trending