Archive for January, 2019

How Barrs Itamunala, Ginah led PDP thugs to Assault lawyers, APC witnesses – Rivers APC

Posted on January 30, 2019. Filed under: Press Release |

How Barrs Itamunala, Ginah led PDP thugs to Assault lawyers, APC witnesses – Rivers APC

The Rivers State Chapter of All Progressives Congress (APC) has expressed shock how two lawyers who are appointees of Gov. Nyesom Wike led PDP thugs to assault innocent witnesses in the Appeal Court of Justice Ali Gumel in Port Harcourt today.

In a statement signed by Rivers APC’s Spokesperson, Senibo Chris Finebone said, “trouble started after the lawyers of Rivers State chapter of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presented their matter before the Justice Gumel appeal panel. Later, the court called the matter between the Rivers State Chapter of APC and Senator Magnus Abe. As counsels to parties announced their presence and presentations commenced, Barr. Chris Itamunala and Barr. Osima Ginah led a group of PDP thugs into the courtroom and they started attacking lawyers and witnesses claiming that the court should not sit in compliance with the ongoing NBA court boycott.”

Continuing he said, “Our party members, who were eager to have our matter heard by the Appeal Panel, were not spared by the hoodlums. Apart from the Justices, the PDP thugs led by Itamunala and Ginah assaulted everyone in the courtroom. All appeals by Justice Ali Gumel and his colleagues fell on deaf ears as the thugs kept shouting that the sitting must not hold even as they continued the physical attack.”

The APC recalled that the previous day, the same thugs had invaded the court claiming to enforce the NBA court boycott, adding that the fracas elicited strong words of condemnation from Justice Gumel.

“Lawyers are supposed to be keepers and protectors of laws but it is shameful that those who should protect the law and act as stakeholders in the quest for justice chose to desecrate the sanctity of the very temple of justice they are supposed to protect. It is sad,” Justice Gumel bemoaned.

“As a political party, we condemn this assault on the judiciary as seen today. We believe that members of the press who witnessed the unfortunate incident will not be deterred in bringing it to the public space for the benefit of Nigerians. Equally we believe that well-meaning Nigerians will condemn this act of wanton assault and desecration of the judiciary by agents of Rivers State Government under the guise of enforcing NBA court boycott. We know that the main purpose of the assault was to cause an indefinite postponement of the hearing of APC matters by the Appeal Court with a view to scuttling APC presence on INEC ballot for the forthcoming elections” Finebone said.

Rivers APC urged members of the judiciary not to fall for the cheap antics of Gov. Nyesom Wike, his agents and the PDP. We enjoin APC members to continue to remain law-abiding as we will surmount the present temporary hurdles by our opponents.

 

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William Stuart, US Ambassador Visits Tonye Cole

Posted on January 24, 2019. Filed under: Press Release |

William Stuart, US Ambassador Visits Tonye Cole

….. Encourages his style of politics 

….. Prays he is on the ballot

us ambassador to nigeria, william stuart symington and arch. tonye cole3As part of his whirlwind tour of potential hotspots in the 2019 elections, the US Ambassador to Nigeria, William Stuart Symington visited Rivers state where he paid a closed door visit to his old friend, the APC candidate for Rivers state, Pastor Tonye Cole, at his residence.

They discussed, amongst other things, the Rivers State elections as an opportunity for good men and women to render true and sincere service to its people, the high expectations of the entire international community in Rivers State to deliver credible elections and the need for peace to prevail not only in our actions but also in our words.

The meeting which lasted just over an hour according to Prince Tonye T.J.T Princewill who is the Director, Strategic Communications of Tonye Cole Campaign Organization, explored the current situation in the state with the Ambassador expressing his earnest expectation that APC resolve the judicial matters and be on the ballot. He commended Pastor Tonye Cole for the global interest that his running for office had generated, tagging it as an uncommon feature and adding that this goodwill visit was to encourage him to stay strong and forge ahead.

Pastor Tonye Cole in his reaction after the visit told reporters that he “appreciated the US Ambassador for his kind words of advice and his genuine concern for the welfare of our people to take out time to come to Rivers state. “Even though I’ve known Bill before now, this meeting though warm, was also very sober.”

“We discussed ideas around how to create sustainable jobs in the State, reduce the dependence on government, while also increasing the self sufficiency of our people. We also talked about the possible remediation initiatives for the cleaning up of our oil polluted waterways and lands in ways that benefit Rivers people and the affected communities.”

“I was also very glad to hear that he appreciates the brand of politics that I have brought in and that it has done much to deescalate tensions, calm the polity and reduce political violence. Even outsiders can see each and every one of us has the capacity to make a difference. Rivers state belongs to us all.”

 

 

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South-South Leaders praise Arenyeka at 53

Posted on January 17, 2019. Filed under: Press Release |

barr. ada val arenyekaLeaders of the South-South geo-political zone on Wednesday extolled the virtues of the Deputy Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Delta State chapter, Barrister Ada Val Arenyeka, commending him for playing significant roles in the development of the Niger Delta region.

“Barrister Val Arenyeka remains an outstanding leader in Nigeria” the leaders said.

In a congratulatory message to the PDP Deputy Chairman on the occasion of his 53rd birthday, the leaders described Arenyeka’s life as one of huge professional and political accomplishments.

“Barrister Val Arenyeka is an epitome of selfless service to Nigeria, particularly the Niger Delta region.”

Signed by the Chairman, South-South Political Leaders Forum, Chief John Harry, the leaders commended Arenyeka for demonstrating exemplary leadership, living above board and for serving as a source of strength and inspiration for many within and outside the South-South zone.

They also praised the PDP chieftain for his dynamic leadership, quality of his thought and respect for different opinions.

Specifically, the leaders commended the party chair and former Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) commissioner for a number of projects in the Niger Delta region particularly the ongoing Koko-Oghoye Escravos Road project, solar electricity and water projects in many communities and empowerment of women and youths.

The leaders while wishing Arenyeka good health, long life, happiness and God’s protection thanked him for providing purposeful leadership, displaying an uncommon zeal about growing Delta State and promoting the interest of the Itsekiri Nation.

 

 

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Court Deals Blow To Abe’s Bid – Grants Wike‘S Wishes

Posted on January 8, 2019. Filed under: Press Release |

We are now emboldened – Cole

INEC maintains status quo

In another turn of events in the ongoing saga in Rivers state, the Magnus Abe faction of the APC were dealt a huge blow yesterday as the federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt declared his suit brought before it as lacking merit. This now paves the way for the hearing of the Appeals put forward by the recognized faction of APC led by Tonye Cole who are now seeking to dismiss the earlier Justice Nwogu ruling.

The APC and their governorship candidate who applauded the decision, called on Sen. Magnus Abe and his supporters to retrace their steps and join their comrades in the fight to reclaim the state from the clutches of PDP. They did however note that not all the judgements went their way, but felt emboldened that the law and justice would be on their side. The APC Rivers state statement, issued by their Publicity Secretary reads as follows:

“We have just received excerpts of the judgments delivered by Hon. Justice Omotosho of the Federal High Court, Port Harcourt in two separate suits. One was filed by Senator Magnus Abe and 49 others seeking the court to declare them candidates of the APC in 2019 General Election in Rivers State, and another filed by the PDP seeking the court to declare that the APC has no candidates for the election. We strongly feel that the Trial Court missed the mark in some of its decisions.

IN THE CASE OF SEN. MAGNUS ABE & 48 OTHERS

1. Firstly, we totally agree with the Court that Senator Magnus Abe and the 48 other members of the Party who claimed to have emerged through an alleged direct primary election, were not and therefore could not be declared candidates of the APC in the 2019 General Election in Rivers State. This was because the National Body of the APC never authorized or conducted the alleged direct primary as required by its constitution and guidelines neither did INEC monitoring same.

2. However, we do not agree with the Court that the Davies Ibiamu Ikanya and Peter Odike led Executive Committee of the Party in Rivers State was still subsisting. The APC has the powers to dissolve its Executive Committee and that power was exercised on 21st of May, 2018. The APC having dissolved that Exco, it ceased to exist and could not be resurrected, even if the Court finds, albeit wrongly, that there was no valid Congress to replace the dissolved Exco.

3. We know, as it is the law in Nigeria today, that APC as a Political Party has the absolute powers to schedule, reschedule or even cancel any of its congresses. The Party effectively terminated the ward, LGA and State Congresses of 5th, 12th and 19th May 2018 respectively. The APC Primary Election based on the unchallenged results and outcome of subsequent APC Congresses were lawful and valid.

ON THE PDP VS APC CASE

1. The PDP brought a suit seeking the court to declare that the candidates of the APC were not validly nominated. The Trial Court agreed with that position and made Order in that regard. With all due respect to the Court, we totally disagree with its reasoning.

2. As the laws remain today, the issue of nomination of candidates of a Political Party remains the exclusive right and preserve of that political party, and any dispute arising thereto also remains within that political party and its aggrieved members. Under the Electoral Act 2010, a third party (PDP) can only challenge the nomination of the APC candidates as prescribed in Section 31(5) & (6), or challenge the return of APC candidates in accordance with Section 138(1) of the Electoral Act. Nothing more imaginary can fit into the contemplation of the Nigerian Electoral laws.

3. The PDP’s case did not satisfy any of these conditions or circumstances.

It is on this note that we strongly believe that APC will get Victory in the superior court. We have accordingly instructed our lawyers to review the case and file the appeals immediately, in order not to temper or jeopardize with the already existing legal rights of our candidates before INEC.

We therefore call on all members of the APC in Rivers State to remain calm, focussed, undaunted and go about their electioneering business with equanimity. We believe that at the end victory will be served.”

In a similar vein, the Tonye Cole Campaign Organization issued their statement saying that now that Abe was out of the picture, the higher courts can decide if Rivers voters should be denied a choice. Ogbonna Nwuke said:

We are not giving up – TCCO

“Today, Monday 7th January, 2019 the Federal High Court in Port Harcourt delivered a ruling in respect of the matter brought before it by Senator Magnus Abe and 43 others.

The Federal High Court also ruled on Monday on the matter filed by the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP which sought a declaration that the APC has no candidates.

On the matter brought before the Court by Abe and 43 others, our lawyers have briefed us that the direct and indirect primaries conducted by factions of the APC in Rivers State during the pendancy of the matter before Justice Chinwendu Nwogu have been set aside.

The Court held that until a superior court of competent jurisdiction overturns the decision of Justice Chinwendu of the Rivers State High Court, it would be deemed under the law that the APC has no candidate(s).

We are already in court challenging the judgment of Justice Chinwendu Nworgu of the Rivers State High Court.

On the matter brought by the PDP, we have learnt that the Federal Hight Court ordered INEC to remove the names of the APC candidates from anything to do with the forthcoming general elections in the State.

Our position, after consultations with our lawyers, is that we shall challenge the order in an appellate court. Although we were not favoured by the decision, our faith in the country’s judicial system remains unshaken.

We believe that we have sufficient grounds on which to appeal the decisions of the Federal High Court as well as the ruling of the  Rivers State High Court.

It is clear from the ruling that Abe and his supporters have no locus. It is our hope that they would return and join us. It is by now obvious to all that the fight  is between the APC and the PDP. No use can be achieved by their continued appearance in court.

While we urge our supporters to remain calm, we wish to emphasise that we will not give up in our sincere fight to secure justice on behalf of ourselves and the good people of Rivers State who are solidly in search of a transparent and accountable system that is responsive.

Driven by our faith in God; strengthened by our believe in the sanctity of the judiciary, we believe that we are still on the right track in looking for remedies through the courts.

We are acutely aware that those who are busy placing legal hurdles on the way know that the APC in Rivers State is poised to win the 2019 elections. What our opponents are doing in partnership with some members of the political wing in the judiciary is to dampen the believe of our teeming supporters in our ability to take them to the promised land.

We assure Rivers people that we will not be deterred by the desperate efforts that are being made by our opponents to place impediments on our path. Our eyes are set on victory through the ballot box.”

Prince Tonye T.J.T Princewill, the Director of Strategic Communication on his part said that this is the time to welcome Magnus and his supporters to come now and join us. They went to this court to be declared candidate. The court declined. Unless they want to pitch tents with Wike, it’s clear the fight is between PDP and APC and APC has said, we have a candidate.

Our faith in the legal process remains unshaken. We are confident that justice will not deny Rivers state the choice between two very clear options. The appeals process is on and we feel sure that Rivers people will be given that choice. If PDP were not afraid of us, they would have been relishing the chance to defeat us on the field.

Party faithful should not be distracted and inclined to listen to microwaved legal interpretations as to how APC will have no candidates. We will. Let the lawyers do their work, politicians do their own and the voters do theirs when the time comes.

This court ruling is part of a process, not the main event. The match is not over. We have not even reached half time.

Tonye Cole’s next stop is the last 5 wards in Gokhana from where he will move on to the largest LGA in Africa – Khana. Once he finishes the Rivers South East Senatorial district, he will wrap up his tour of the state with the final LGA by LGA tour of the Rivers East Zone. Tonye is not deterred and above his confidence in the judiciary, his legal team and his party is his total confidence in the God he serves.”

Meanwhile INEC spokesperson has just confirmed that Tonye Cole remains; “two judgements from two courts of equal jurisdiction means we’ll accept only that which emanates from an appellate court.”

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LG Arrears: Saraki Fulfils Pledge to Irepodun Workers

Posted on January 8, 2019. Filed under: Press Release |

LG Arrears: Saraki Fulfils Pledge to Irepodun Workers

Omu-Aran, headquarters of Irepodun Local Government Council of Kwara State was thrown into a jubilant mood on Monday as Senate President, Dr Abubakar Bukola Saraki fulfilled his pledge to help settle salary arrears at the council.

Announcing the payment in Omu-Aran, the Chairman of Irepodun Local Government Council, Mr Muyiwa Oladipo, said the Senate President released N16.9m to the council towards paying the arrears owed its workers.

A clearly elated Oladipo said the Senate President’s gesture will go a long way towards alleviating the challenges faced by Irepodun council workers on account of the arrears which, he emphasized, were caused by a sustained drop in Federal allocation.

The Council chairman commended Dr Saraki for the kind gesture which he described as another evidence of the Senate President’s commitment to alleviating the plight of local government workers and complementing government efforts to uplift the welfare of Kwarans.

It will be recalled that Dr Saraki had last year pledged to assist in settling local government salary arrears, starting with one from each of the three Senatorial districts in the state. Saraki’s gesture, which was applauded by local government workers, their leaders including the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the populace became reality on Monday following the reconciliation of figures by the parties concerned.

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‘THE SPIRIT OF ERROR’ IN AKWA IBOM POLITICS’

Posted on January 8, 2019. Filed under: Press Release |

‘THE SPIRIT OF ERROR’ IN AKWA IBOM POLITICS’

By: Prince Nsisong Ntuk
Ikono, ward 2

In a similar experience of my friend, Reuben Abati, about this period, four years ago to be precise, I had gone to visit a notable politician and a member of the People’s Democratic Party. Politics was very much in the air then as is the case now, and my host was neck-deep in it all.

He was a major grassroots politician and a man of experience who brought into party politics so much enthusiasm. I observed him at very close quarters and it was right to conclude that he was one of President Goodluck Jonathan’s unwavering supporters.

Publicly, he gave the impression that he had held down this state, and even a substantial part of the Niger-Delta region for both the party and the President.

He reportedly ran a strong grassroots political structure which included traditional rulers, students, market women, religious leaders and the ordinary people who on Election Day were expected to vote en masse for the ruling party and put the then emergent and assertive All Progressives Congress and its leaders to shame.

During election season, there are persons like that in every political party. They are the people on the field. They take reports to Abuja, give feedback to the party at the national level and shuttle between their states and Abuja. They attend every major campaign. They say the right things. They pump up party leaders with adrenaline. When they do a calculation of the party’s chances and how happy the electorate are with the leadership, you would feel like celebrating even before the polls. The really talented ones among them are for the want of a better term, charmers or perhaps illusionists. This particular politician, who shall remain nameless, is experienced and talented.

We got talking. He asked me: “Prince Ntuk, what do you think of the PDP’s chances in the 2015 elections?” I told him everything looked good and that the Party would retain its majority status in power. I reeled off the achievements of the Jonathan administration.

The APC Challenge? I dismissed the APC as a party of propagandists. “Sir, those people? They will win in a few states, no doubt but they can’t take the Presidency…” I said.

“I don’t see us winning”, my host responded. I was shocked. I almost fell off my seat. I wasn’t too sure that I heard him well. I asked what he meant by that. The party primaries had been concluded. Turn-out at campaigns was beginning to build up. The state Governors were all upbeat, or so it seemed.

“We are going to lose”, my host repeated.

“How?”

“I will tell you”, he said. “I have been in politics for years, and I have learnt to study the art very well. I can tell you that five months before any election, you can easily tell if your party is going to win or not. It is not even a matter of analysis. As a politician, you will know – from what the people say, from listening carefully to your followers, from watching the body language of the international community, and by just generally looking beyond the façade. I don’t see us winning.”

“But the ruling party looks good to me or am I missing something?”

“Yes, you are,” he affirmed.

He then proceeded to offer a state by state analysis of the party, painting a picture of grievances over party primaries, the imposition of candidates by the party’s National Working Committee, a growing pattern of deceit, the ethnic and religious division between the North and the South, and how the PDP had lost many of its faithful members. He went on:

“I don’t deceive myself. Many of those Governors you see who are promising heaven and earth, you will see that when the time comes, they will not deliver. There are many aggrieved persons staying back in the party who will not lift a finger to help the party. The people who have been badly treated during the primaries, and they have been ignored, nobody is listening to them, they will claim to be working for the party, they may even collect money but from what I see, it is only if a miracle happens.”

“This is serious”, I said. “But sir, why don’t you take this up at the highest levels, since you are convinced that the enemies are within”.

“I won’t call them enemies. I think it is something even more serious. When people join political parties in Nigeria, they expect to gain something in return. They want to be rewarded. They may follow a leader but you have to settle them. I think the party and the government have been overtaken by the spirit of error.”

“Spirit of error?”

“Yes, spirit of error. I have been around long enough to know when a political party begins to fail and when it begins to lose the people, and even its own members. That is where we are, everybody is just making mistakes.”

A few weeks later, I saw the same man, back-slapping at party campaigns, hailing the President and other party leaders. I was confused. Obviously, I thought the spirit of error had disappeared and there was renewed hope for the party. I called the man aside out of curiosity: “Sir, what happened? Is there hope now?”

“I am a politician,” he said. “Every politician is an optimist. It is not over until it is over.” I didn’t get a chance to ask him again about the spirit of error. But his prediction turned out to be prophetic.

I believe that history is about to repeat itself in Akwa Ibom politics. The ruling party in the state, the People’s Democratic Party has made so much irreconcilable errors that will lead to their imminent defeat in the 2019 polls.

The APC having understudied the misdoings of the PDP has become a re-energized party and with the emergence of Obong Nsima Ekere as its standard bearer, Ahmadu Antai as running mate, the uncommon defection of Sen. Godswill Akpabio, and the consolidation of political gladiators like Obong Umana Okon Umana, Sen. James Udoedeghe, Bishop Sam Akpan, Atuekong Don Etiebet, Bassey Dan Abia, Chief Otu Robert Akpan, Chief Ukata Akpan, to mention but a few, the umbrella will surely be down again, while the broom will get stronger in Akwa Ibom State.

The success of the APC in the last few months does not owe itself to ONLY the ingenious strategy on the part of the leaders of the party, but also to the many unforced errors, and own goals, by the ruling PDP in the state and its government.

Governor Udom Emmanuel ought to have raised a new army of ingenious and enthusiastic youths to positions of authority and influence earlier than now. He would have been more concern to the plights of the rural dwellers, farmers and even civil servants than he is seen to be. He would have taken a more neutral posture on the white paper report on the collapse of the Reigner’s Bible Church than how the electorates perceive him to be. He would not have given deaf ears to the cry of the thousands of electorates who protested against the “Lagos Lodge”. A situation that introduced the word “paltry” to the list of our political vocabularies. The rice mill at INI L.G.A. and other industrialization projects of this administration would have been more people oriented than it is perceived to be. The projects of His predecessors (Ibom Specialist, Four point by Sheraton, Ibom Hotels, Ikot Ekpene- Uyo Road, etc) would have been better amplified than it is seen to be.

Major stakeholders of the party got carried away by pride after their primaries, arrogance and pomposity characterized their new way of life. In turn they lost more genuine followers at the grassroot.

These and many more are “spirits of error” which crept into our political narratives in Akwa Abasi Ibom State. Without sounding like a prophet of doom, these errors and more would determine the outcome of the elections in Akwa Ibom State to the advantage of the All Progressive Congress.

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Wike Lacks the Moral Right to Ask For a Second Tenure

Posted on January 3, 2019. Filed under: Politics |

Spokesman for the Tonye Cole Campaign Organisation, Ogbonna Nwuke says Governor Nyesom Wike has no moral right to ask Rivers people for a second tenure.

Nwuke said this in reaction to the Governor’s New Year address that the present PDP government has squandered whatever is left of its goodwill.

“Governor Wike has no moral right to approach the Rivers people for a second tenure in office. What is he really coming back to do?

“Rivers people gave him a chance to serve them in 2015 after the abracadabra that took place. Rather than work for them, Wike turned against them and chastised them from day one.

“Rather than keep the people safe, heads of innocent and defenseless persons were gruesomely cut off. Whole families were wasted by hit squads, while properties worth millions of naira were destroyed in several parts of the State.

Three years down the line, the Governor who has squandered the opportunity to write his name in the history books, wants a second chance. Even members of his party who have seen how bad he is, are not looking forward to a Wike second term.”

Chief Nwuke said the Rivers people, pushed to the wall by Wike’s administration cannot afford to gamble with the future. He stressed that it was time to hold leaders accountable for their deeds as this is not about party.

“We challenge the Rivers Governor to tell Rivers people what he has done with billions of naira belonging to them. Before asking for a second tenure, Wike should tell Rivers people where he kept N117 billion that the EFCC says has been stolen from the coffers of the Rivers State.

“Wike should tell Rivers people where he is getting billions of naira that he is using to buy them out of their land and acquire palatial structures all over Port Harcourt.

He should tell us why we have the highest unemployment rate in the country despite billions of naira that are flowing into the State. He should tell them why we are No 1 in all the wrong places, insecurity, waste mismanagement, occurrence of HIV and the national misery index.”

Urging Rivers people to say no to looting, Nwuke said the score card of the Wike administration has not been encouraging.

“He (Wike) has failed woefully in improving the health sector; failed to deliver in the education sector; failed staff of the Rivers State Civil Service and failed pensioners who worked tirelessly to lay the foundation for the growth of our dear State”, Nwuke emphasised.

“What he has is a bag full of colossal failures. Unlike Wike, Pastor Tonye Cole who has a clear plan, will not allow the heads of Rivers people to be severed from their bodies and used gruesomely to decorate roadsides in order to induce fear.

“Unlike Wike, Cole understands the need to create an appropriate environment for investments and understands the place of bereaucrats and technocrats who work in the State Civil Service.

“Cole knows that the greatest task of any responsible government is to protect lives and property. This is why Rivers people should ignore Wike’s appeal for a second tenure and vote APC”, the gubernatorial spokesman stated.

He promised that the Tonye Cole government will bring back security, inves

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