Sen. Uzodinma calls for direct primaries to end APC Imo crisis

Sen. Hope Uzodinma, representing Imo West Senatorial District, has called for adoption of direct primaries in Imo to end crisis and ensure victory for the All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2019 general elections.

Uzodinma told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Friday, that direct primaries, as encouraged by the National Working Committee, would bring the various factions of the party in the state together.

He commended the National Chairman of the party, Adams Oshiomhole and the National Working Committee for the role they played in reconciling the various factions of the APC in Imo.

“The national leadership of the party, the National Working Committee, met with the representatives of the various factions of the party in the state and the National Chairman, whom we respect a lot, in his wisdom, was able to talk sense into all of us.

“Also, in view of the various litigation in court and to protect the interest of our candidates, he has approved the use of direct primaries for Imo State.

“The party in its wisdom has seen that, that is what will bring solution to the problem in Imo,” he said.

The lawmaker, who is a governorship aspirant for the 2019 election in the state, urged all party members to be in the spirit of sacrifice and reconciliation.

He also urged all party members to accept the party’s recommendation and adopt direct primaries.

He stressed that direct primaries would allow for all-inclusiveness, thereby making the general elections easier.

According to him, direct primaries will allow those who participate in the nomination to own the process and ensure commitment of all APC candidates.

Uzodinma further said, through the intervention of the national body, an agreement was reached to open up the party structure by giving the governor a chunk of the structure.

He said, “The governor and his group have been given up to 50 per cent of the party structure and we were given 45 per cent.

“Though it is small but in obedience to the party, we agreed to that so that we can work together.

“This is because elections are by the corner and the earlier we begin to come together as a people, begin to forgive one another and begin to put the interest of the party first, the better for us all.

“I think it is a win-win situation. I do not think there is any need for further crisis or disagreement.”

Uzodinma explained that what was termed as bickering between him and Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, was only a communication gap, adding that they only had different interests.

He also explained that he joined the party to add value and not to create problems.

According to him, the whole idea is for us to work together, defend the party and convince our people that APC is the party to beat.

” I do not think there is any conflict. The governor is the Chief Executive of the state and the implication is that he is the leader of the party in the state.

“Nobody is contesting that but then we are saying that the party should be able to accommodate more people, new members, so that the stronger we are, the better for all of us.”

On statements credited to Imo State APC Chairman, Mr Daniel Nwafor, that he was not a member of the party, the lawmaker said he believed the chairman was quoted out of context.

He expressed optimism that he would win the election, adding “I have a goodwill that will speak for me when the time comes.”(NAN)

– Sept. 21, 2018 @ 16:21 GMT |

Kogi Govt will not tolerate breach of peace – Official

Retired Cdr. Jerry Omodara, Adviser to the Kogi Governor on Security Matters, says the state government will not tolerate the breach of peace by any group or person in the state.

Omodara gave the warning in Lokoja on Friday at the event to mark the World Peace Day organised by ActionAid Nigeria (AAN) in collaboration with Participation Initiative for Behavioural Change in Development (PIBCID).

He also pledged that the state government will not sponsor youth as political thugs in the state ahead of the 2019 general elections.

Omodara called on the people to continue to sustain the existing peace in the state, saying that the government had retrieved illegally acquired weapons from their owners and provided the culprits with education.

He further said that the government had keyed into the various policies of the Federal Government by empowering the youths of the state to live fulfilled lives.

The security adviser emphasised that conducting credible elections is the responsibility of all, saying that the government was already engaging relevant stakeholders in its endeavour to hold successful elections in the state.

According to him, 2019 general election is a very serious business for Nigeria, adding that without peace there cannot be elections.

“Without peace, we cannot have those that will govern the country and the state.

“Therefore, we are engaging stakeholders, traditional rulers, community leaders, religious leaders and every security agency. We bring them together in order to have a roadmap to what it should be.

“INEC has the rules and regulations for election and we must follow them. On our own part and as a state, we are not going to engage in any violence.

“We are not going to use any youth as thug, and therefore, we will call on political parties in Kogi to stay by the rules as provided by INEC,’’ he said.

In her remarks, Ms Safiyah Ahmed, Peace Ambassador and Administrator, World Institute for Peace, Kogi State Chapter, stressed the need for youths to be meaningfully engaged so as to avoid being used as touts and thugs.

Ahmed also emphasised the need for the youths to acquire vocational training or any other skills that will remove them from criminal activities and streets.

She noted that a society that involved its youth in meaningful enterprises would develop economically and politically.

She, therefore, called on the youths to take their studies serious, take part in legitimate businesses and resist the temptation to be used by politicians for their selfish purposes.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the International Peace Day is observed on Sept. 21 and devoted to the ideals of peace both within and among all nations.

Participants in the event carried placards with inscriptions such as`Peace is an attitude activated by Education’, `I have the right to peace’, Give me education, no give me gun’ for the celebration. (NAN)

– Sept. 21, 2018 @ 16:12 GMT |

RTEAN says resolves crisis, accepts Eriyo as National President

The Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN) said it has resolved the lingering internal crisis and has accepted Mr Osapamwan Eriyo as the National President.

Alhaji Muhammed Musa, the RTEAN Chairman, Lagos State Chapter, disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Lagos.

Musa said the challenges facing the association at the national level had been resolved, adding members have resolved to accept Eriyo as the new national president.

“We have resolved the recent factional crisis in our association, we all accept Eriyo as our national president and all other National Executive Council (NEC) remain intact.

“There is no disagreement in the association anymore; we are one body now, no more factional crisis.

“These crises only lasted for two weeks and we have settled,’’ he said.

According to him, members have decided to shun divisive tendencies and work for the development and progress of the union.

Musa, who is also the Deputy National President in charge of Administration, said crisis in any organisation would not bring progress and growth, noting that only peace could guarantee development.

NAN also recalled that a faction of the association had on Sept. 5 announced the removal of the national president over alleged infractions, including violation of the union’s constitution. (NAN)

– Sept. 21, 2018 @ 16:05 GMT |

FG abolishes payment of Overstay fees by Nigerians with dual citizenship

The Federal Government has directed the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), to with immediate effect, put an end to the payment of fines by Nigerians holding dual citizenship at the nation’s International Airports.

The Minister of Interior, retired Lt.- Gen. Abdulrahman Dambazau, stated this in a statement issued by Dr Mohammed Umar, Permanent Secretary of the ministry, in Abuja.

Umar said that the minister stated this in his office in Abuja.

Dambazau, in the statement said that the directive was in line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s resolve to make movement easy for Nigerians with dual citizenship to come into their fatherland unhindered.

The statement quoted the minister as saying that ” as a new government policy, on no account should any Nigerian traveler holding dual citizenship pay fine for so-called overstay”.

The statement said that the minister restated that it was a crime to ask or pay any money in that regard.

Dambazau stressed that under the new policy, “citizens with dual nationality should only present both traveling documents of their countries of nationality to the immigration officials upon arrival and departure, regardless of whichever they are using to travel”.

He emphasised that the NIS should ensure immediate compliance with the new government directives as government would sanction any Immigration official found collecting such fines henceforth.

The statement said the minister further directed that Nigerians with dual citizenship should report any Immigration official who imposed such charges on them to the appropriate authorities. (NAN)

– Sept. 21, 2018 @ 15:59 GMT |

World Peace Day: Kogi Govt. canvasses for peace, unity among citizens

The Kogi Government joined the rest of the world in marking the International Peace Day, appealing to all and sundry in the state to embrace peace and unity.

Gov. Yahaya Bello of Kogi, who made the appeal in Lokoja on Friday during the Peace Day Celebration, said it was necessary to embrace peace in order to achieve developmental progress.

The event was organised by ActionAid Nigeria (AAN) in collaboration with Participation Initiative for Behavioural Change in Development (PIBCID).

Bello, who was represented by Chief Edward Onoja, his Chief of Staff, said the state had gone a long way as it was recently ranked the second peaceful state from a position of 36.

According to him, only through unity you can have peace and once there is peace, there will be progress and inside progress is where you see infrastructural projects.

“It is when there is progress you can see affordable, qualitative healthcare delivery, especially for the vulnerable in the society, which include women and children.

“When there is progress, there will be security and tranquility.

“Once upon a time, kogi was the headquarters of kidnapping and highway robbery, this has become history.

“Today, kogi is adjudged the second peaceful state in Nigeria from a position of 36. Without doubt, in the next year we shall be number one.’’

Bello explained that the present administration in the state had done a lot in building bridges where there were barriers.

He emphasised that there had been challenges of attacks from herdsmen and farmers, but his administration was able to resolve the menace.

“Kogi is moving in a new direction and together we must continue to sustain that new direction.

“It is not just for the good of the governor, cabinet or party but it is for the good of the people in Kogi.

“Highway robbery, communal clashes, bank robbery are things of the past and the only thing we have in kogi state is peace, unity and progress, which we must all embrace,’’ the governor said.

Earlier, Dr Stella Adejo, Board Member of AAN, called for more support from the state government in creating an enabling environment conducive for youths to thrive.

Adejo, however, promised to strengthen its collaboration with the Kogi Government to creating a lasting peace in the state.

Also, members of a Civil Society Organisation, Mrs Eunice Agbogun, who is also the Vice Chairperson, Kogi NGO Network (KONGONET) called on youths to get focused rather than being an instrument of evil.

“Peace is a very important component to the development of any state or country and that is why today we are joining the youth to project the message of peace.

“Peace is very important because without peace you cannot have an enabling environment for development thrive.

“The message to our youth is that gone are the days when you join armed robbery or allow yourself to be negative instrument to project the selfish interest of anybody.

“We are encouraging our youths to stand for peace, do something positive and useful with their lives, and I am sure you will become whatever you want to become in life,’’ Agbogun said.

The President, National Association of Kogi State Students (NAKOSS), Mr Omeiza Audu, commended the governor for his efforts in uniting all the ethnic groups in the state.

Audu, therefore, pledged to support the government of the state by consolidating on the peace already being enjoyed and also built on it.

In a similar vein, Mark Angel, AAN Ambassador, commended the initiative of the state government in initiating peace.

According to him, I have gone through the state to inspect the level of peace and I am impressed with what I saw compared to what it used to be in the past.

He, therefore, called on the youths to uphold and embrace the peace in the state.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the International Peace Day is observed around the world on Sept. 21 devoted to strengthen the ideals of peace both within and among all nations and people.

Inscriptions such as: “Peace is an attitude activated by Education”, “I have the right to peace’’, “Give me education, don’t give me gun’’ were written on some of the placard for the celebration. (NAN)

– Sept. 21, 2018 @ 15:52 GMT |

Ambode directs state public works to fix Lagos roads in 4 weeks

Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State has directed the state Public Works Corporation to fix potholes on major and inner roads across the state within the next four weeks.

The Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, Mr Ade Akinsanya, said this on Friday, during an inspection of the ongoing Pen Cinema bridge in Agege area of the state.

Akinsanya said the repairs would bring relief and succour to the generality of the residents.

He said that due to the torrential rainfall witnessed in the last few weeks, repair works on many roads in the state were suspended.

The commissioner, however, said that with the rains subsiding, there was need to intensify efforts in completing ongoing repair works and making roads better across the state.

“The operation fix the pothole will last for about three to four weeks,” he said.

Akinsanya, therefore, appealed to residents and motorists to cooperate by following traffic diversions put in place to ensure the early and smooth completion of the repair works.

Reviewing ongoing projects in the state, he said that the state government was committed to the completion of the over 70 projects going on across the state.

He said that the Pen Cinema bridge would be completed by the first quarter of 2019, while the Oshodi/International Airport Road would be delivered by December this year.

The commissioner thanked residents for their patience and sued for continued cooperation as the projects progress.

“Whatever time we have lost on these projects as a result of the rain, pace will be accelerated,” he said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)reports that the commissioner and his team also inspected ongoing Oshodi/International Airport Road project. (NAN)

– Sept. 21, 2018 @ 15:55 GMT |

Osun 2018: 435,015 registered voters yet to collect PVCs – INEC

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says 435,015 registered voters in Osun are yet to collect their Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs).

Mr Olusegun Agbaje, the Resident Electoral Commissioner in Osun, made this known on Friday at a press conference in Osogbo.

Agbaje said 1,246,915 PVCs were collected from INEC by registered voters in the state as at Wednesday when collection of the cards for the election ended.

The commissioner, who said 1,682,495  voters were registered, warned that those who had yet to collect their PVCs would not be allowed to vote.

He gave an  assurance that the uncollected PVCs were safe in the commission’s custody, adding that a credible election would hold on Saturday.

Agbaje also warned against vote selling and buying, saying those caught risk imprisonment of one year or N500,000 fine.

He also said those caught violating the secrecy of their votes may be jailed for six months or fined N100,000 or both.

Agbaje, who thanked the media for its support, however, insisted that only INEC could announce election results.  (NAN)

– Sept. 21, 2018 @ 15:39 GMT |

Osun poll: Don’t promote violence, NCS urges parties

Ahead of Saturday’s governorship election, the Nigeria Civil Society (NCS) has appealed to political parties to shun activities that could trigger violence before, during and after the election.

The NCS Coordinator, Mr Clement Nwankwo, made the appeal at a press conference on Friday in Osogbo.

Nwankwo also urged security agencies to be vigilant and apprehend those engaged in vote buying without necessarily waiting for election officials to point them out.

He, however, expressed worry over the welfare of policemen that would be on election duty, saying some of them have been sleeping in classrooms.

” This raises a question of their proper and optimum conduct in the course of the election,’’ Nwankwo said.

He commended the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for its smooth distribution of sensitive materials to all the 30 Local Government Areas in the state.

Nwankwo urged INEC to ensure accessibility of People Living With Disabilities to the polling units and also provide materials that would aid their participation in all the polling units.

He also said that INEC should ensure that ad hoc staff paste form EC 60E at polling units for transparency and accountability.

Nwankwo added that INEC should also open up its electronic collation system for viewing and attestation by independent observers.

He said more than 70 civil society organisations were represented in the NSC situation room, adding that they would be relying on their field observers and partner organisations distributed across the local councils to form its analysis.

Nwankwo further said that the NSC situation room observed that voters across the state were highly motivated and mobilised to cast their vote.

” The situation room calls on all stakeholders in the election process to live up to the expectation of Nigerians.

” It also calls on INEC to deliver free, fair and credible elections and to approach this election with responsibility and utmost respect to democratic standards,’’ Nwankwo said. (NAN)

– Sept. 21, 2018 @ 14:55 GMT |

2019: Group urges translation of peace agreement into major Nigerian languages

An NGO, Legacy Initiative International, on Friday called for translation of the pact between Christian and Muslim leaders for peaceful 2019 general elections into major Nigerian  languages.

Mr Kenny Martins, Grand Patron of the group,  made the call in a statement in Lagos, stressing that translating the published pact into major Nigerian  languages would make it easy for the citizenry to imbibe the messages ahead of the 2019 general elections.

His call was against the backdrop of  the peace pact jointly signed by the Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar III as the Chairman Jama’atu Nasrll Islam (JNI) and President, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Rev. Samson Ayokunle, on Tuesday in Abuja to ensure a peaceful atmosphere before, during and after the 2019 general elections.

The  peace accord was signed at a Peace Declaration Summit organised by the Nigerian Interfaith Action Association (NIFAA) in collaboration with local and international partners.

Martins said:“We urge both CAN and JNI to quickly publish the said peace agreement and further translate it in major Nigerian languages so that it will get to the remotest areas of the country.

“It will be a guide to them on the need for peaceful co-existence with their neighbours with different religions and not be merely a news item.

“We want it to be imbibed as a culture and not something that will soon be forgotten, ” he said.

Martins commended the religious leaders for their wisdom, courage and patriotism to sit down with each other and fashion out the agreement.

“ They have done this as great servants of the Most High God without fanfare and without drawing attention to themselves during the long negotiation period.

“This is a great lesson for politicians to learn and imbibe in the conduct of their political affairs in the interest of our country Nigeria. Nobody’s interest or group interest is superior to the national interest.

“Our prayer is that God will crown their efforts with success, so that peace will reign in Nigeria in the run-up to the general elections and afterwards,” he said.

Martins urged the religious leaders to continue to interface with each other on a regular basis in the spirit of cooperation and understanding.

According to him, the influence of their actions or inaction also determines what happens to the country socially, politically and economically. (NAN)

– Sept. 21, 2018 @ 14:49 GMT |

Osun election: INEC clarifies ban on phone usage, warns against vote-buying

Less than 24 hours to the governorship election in Osun State, the state Resident Electoral Commission, Mr Olusegun Agbaje, has warned politicians not to misinterpret the commission’s electoral rules for their selfish aims.

Agbaje was reacting to the allegations that the commission had placed a total ban on the usage of mobile phones and cameras at polling units.

Speaking on Friday at a press conference at the commission’s office in Osogbo, the state capital, the REC said it was not true that the commission had asked voters not to come to polling units with their phones.

He clarified that the commission only asked voters not to hold their phones inside the voting cubicle, in a bid to curb vote-buying, a phenomenon that has marred elections in the past.

He said, “It is important to once again clear the air on some baseless allegations being peddled around by some critical stakeholders, such as the banning of phones and other cameras at the polling unit; giving out of uncollected Permanent Voter Cards to a certain political party; preparing the Smart Card Readers to favour a particular political party; and that INEC will be biased during the election.

“The allegations are not true. They are figments of the imaginations of those that made them, as they have not been able to substantiate them as I speak to you. INEC did not place a ban on phones and other camera devices at the polling units.

“What INEC said is that voters should not carry their phones or other camera devices into the voting cubicles where the voter will mark the ballot so as to safeguard the secrecy of the ballot.

“Voters are free to come with their phones and other camera devices; what we are saying is that at the cubicle where they will be casting their votes, they can’t be allowed to go in with anything except the voting materials.”

Agbaje also warned politicians and voters against vote-buying, and vote-selling, saying the commission was ready to unleash the full wrath of the law on anyone found doing so. – Punch

– Sept. 21, 2018 @ 14:39 GMT |

Vote for competence, not gender, says APC female senatorial aspirant

Lagos state businesswoman, Adesola Elegbede, on Friday advised voters to choose competence over gender while making electoral choices.

Elegbede gave the advice on Friday in Lagos state, while declaring interest in the Lagos West senatorial seat on the platform of All Progressives Congress.

She said that she was prepared to fight for the interest of indigent members of the senatorial district.

“A lot of women are fond of creating the impression that they deserve pity and electoral support simply because they are women.

“Both men and women are equally endowed and should be elected based on competence and capacity,” she said.

Elegbe promised members of her constituency that she would make visible impact if elected as senator.

“The major reason why I am entering this race is because representation of Lagos West, presently, is not efficient, and I am prepared to change this,’ she said.

The aspirant urged the leadership of APC to create a level playing field for all aspirants in the spirit of fairness.

Elegbede, shortly after her address, headed for Abuja for the screening exercise of the APC for all aspirants. (NAN)

– Sept. 21, 2018 @ 14:35 GMT |

137 APC aspirants jostle for 25 assembly tickets in Adamawa

No fewer than 137 aspirants under the All Progressives Congress are jostling for the 25 House of Assembly tickets Adamawa state.

The Adamawa state Organising Secretary of the party, Alhaji Ahmed Lawan, made this known to the News Agency of Nigeria on Friday in Yola.

According to Ahmed, 11 of the aspirants are females and Michika and Madagali Local Government Areas have the highest number of 11 aspirants each.

The organising secretary said that screening of the aspirants was expected to commence on Friday in Yola.

“We are expecting officials from Abuja to arrive today for the screening,” Ahmed said.

Also, the state Secretary of the People’s Democratic Party, Alhaji Abdullahi Prambe, told NAN that 84 aspirants under the party had so far bought forms for the 25 assembly seats.

“We have reopened the sale of forms as directed by the party and so far the 84 that initially bought the forms have been screened.

“We have about five women and one physically-challenged person among the aspirants,” Prambe said.

The state Chairman of the Social Democratic Party, Mr John Muva, said also that 49 aspirants, including nine women, purchased forms for the house of assembly seats under the party. (NAN)

– Sept. 21, 2018 @ 14:25 GMT |

Restructuring, key to Nigeria’s unity says Umeh

Victor Umeh, senator representing Anambra Central Senatorial District, said restructuring of the country is an only panacea to peace and unity of the country.

Umeh said this while speaking to newsmen after declaring his intention to seek re-election into the Senate at the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, Secretariat, Awka.

He said: “if Nigeria is restructured, every group will be part of developing its territory.’’

According to the lawmaker, what the country needs is to practice true `Fiscal Federalism’ with each state in the geo-political zones being in control of their God-given resources.

Umeh noted that what was keeping Nigeria together was the money being shared in Abuja, which had crippled progress and belief of each zone looking inwards.

He stressed that since majority of Nigerians wanted restructuring, any president who emerged in the 2019 General Elections with a promise to restructure Nigeria, should keep faith with the masses that elected him.

The lawmaker noted that the National Assembly was doing everything possible to make laws for the good governance of Nigeria, and had always supported the executive arm of the government.

– Sept. 21, 2018 @ 13:59 GMT |

Afunugo, Nwakile, Anetoh others laud APGA rising profile

Cyprian Afunugo, the coordinator, Victor Umeh campaign organisation for Umunnachi, Dunukofia Council Area, says APGA has great future in re-shaping the political equation of Nigeria.

Afunugo, who gave the indication at the party’s secretariat in Awka predicted its victory in the South East states in the 2019 General Elections.

The APGA chieftain enjoined all political juggernauts to join the party to have strong voice in Nigeria’s polity.

He expressed his faith and confidence in Sen. Victor Umeh who visited the APGA Party secretariat in Awka to declare his interest to re-contest elections into the Senate.

Afunugo noted that Umeh had done a lot for Ndi Igbo within his short stay as Senator.

“He moved a motion for inclusion South East states in the construction of rail lines.

“He has also moved a motion for the separation of juvenile offenders from adult prisoners in Nigeria’s prisons system.’’

In a remark, Anthony Nwakile, APGA treasurer, expressed conviction that APGA as a party would sweep the polls beyond Anambra State in the 2019 General Elections.

Nwakile urged all political heavy weights in the South East geopolitical zone to be part of the success story.

– Sept. 21, 2018 @ 13:57 GMT |

Osun election: Lagos lawmakers task INEC, security agents on fairness

Some lawmakers in the Lagos State House of Assembly, on Friday, urged the Independent National Electoral Commission  and security agencies to ensure a credible poll in the Osun state Saturday governorship election.

The lawmakers spoke on Friday in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos state.

They expressed optimism that the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Mr Gboyega Oyetola, would emerge winner of the election.

The Deputy Chief Whip in the Assembly, Mrs Omotayo Oduntan, advised INEC and security agencies involved in the conduct of the election to carry out their duties as stipulated by law.

“INEC should do its work very well; all the security agencies should not take side but make sure that things work out well and see that nobody is shortchanged at the end of the day.

“My prayer is that APC will win Osun state governorship election again; I don’t want us (APC) to lose any part of Southwest region.

“If APC rules the Southwest states, we will be able to always work together, and in the process, cooperate with one another to ensure the growth and development of the states.

“That’s why we want our party and candidate to win. I believe our party will win,’’ Oduntan, representing Alimosho Constituency II in the Assembly, said.

The lawmaker said the cooperation between Ogun state and Lagos state and other Southwest States being ruled by the APC had been helping in delivering dividends of democracy to the people.

She added that Lagos State also had farm in Osun state for food security and creation of employment opportunities, saying that if another party emerged, the cooperation would be hindered.

Oduntan, a House of Representatives aspirant for Alimosho Federal Constituency, said that the party must not lose any part of the Southwest to opposition parties.

Also speaking, Mr Jude Idimogu, a member representing Oshodi/Isolo Constituency II in the House, expressed confidence that the party would retain the state.

Idimogu also urged INEC to live up to the expectations of the public. (NAN)

– Sept. 21, 2018 @ 13:05 GMT |