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PANDEF youth wing rejects Peter Obi’s endorsement

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The Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) Youth Wing has distanced itself from the endorsement of the Labour Party (LP) Presidential candidate, Mr Peter Obi, by some members of the national leadership of the forum.

Rising from an emergency meeting on Sunday in Yenagoa, Bayelsa, the headquarters of PANDEF, the leadership of PANDEF Youth Wing, South-South States, said those who purportedly endorsed Obi in a meeting of the Southern Nigeria and Middle Belt Leaders recently were on their own.

They claimed that Obi’s endorsement was done without due consultations with stakeholders, particularly the youth body of PANDEF, comprising national officers and state chapters chairmen.

Their position was contained in a communiqué after the meeting, presided over by the National Deputy Youth Leader, Mr Vincent Oyibode, and signed by Edo Youth Leader, Mr Don Ben; Rivers Youth Leader, Mr Henry George; Akwa Ibom Youth Leader, Mr Victor Asuquo; Cross River Youth Leader, Chief Ani Esin; Delta State Youth Leader, Chief Sylvester Okumagba and Bayelsa Youth Leader, Mr Berenengia Samuel.

The PANDEF youths said the purported endorsement was against the spirit and letters of the PANDEF Constitution in Article 1 (1) which stipulated that PANDEF was a non-political, non-partisan and non-religious organisation of the Niger Delta people.

They stated that in a meeting where sensitive decisions were to be taken, it must involve all the national executive officers and state chapters chairmen, including those of the youth wings.

They added that such meetings must be at the headquarters of the organisation in Yenagoa.

The PANDEF youths stated: “There was no time PANDEF ever held a meeting to debate the need to participate or take a position as a group on the 2023 general elections and that those who purportedly endorsed Obi at that meeting spoke for themselves and not PANDEF and the South-South region of the Niger Delta.

“That the major focus of PANDEF is to promote sons and daughters of the region on issues of public interest that bear direct and indirect impact on the well-being of the Niger Delta people as that is the constitutional aim and objective of the PANDEF Constitution.

“That the same persons, without any meeting with stakeholders, have given ultimatum to a son of the Niger Delta, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, the Vice Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to drop his ambition for reasons best known to them and that this does not have the blessing of the youths of region.”

The youths also expressed concern over the monetary policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) now posing challenges to Nigerians and  called on the Federal Government to as a matter of urgency, put up an acceptable implementation mechanism.

They sympathised with the families of youths that lost their lives in Edo and other places due to the poorly implemented monetary policy.

They called on the CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, to release the new Naira notes and also the network services should be made to be working efficiently.

The PANDEF youths also called on the youths of Nembe Kingdom in Bayelsa where some persons were reportedly killed recently during rival groups clash to sheathe their swords and embrace peace.

They contended that the era had passed where brothers killed each other due to political interests, saying that politics would always come and go but community would remain forever.

“Those few individual members of the national exco of PANDEF who purportedly issued the statement of endorsement of Peter Obi do not have the interest of the Niger Delta region because they disobeyed the constitution of PANDEF by nominating themselves into the Obi campaign organisation.”

Reacting to the youths position in a telephone interview with News reporters, Mr Ken Robinson, Spokesman for PANDEF, dismissed the action  as “childish”.

He said that claims that PANDEF’s endorsement was done without consultations were false as most of the signatories to the rejection were indeed in the meeting when Obi met with PANDEF in Yenagoa.

“We are going to deal with this internally as it is not tangible enough to warrant joining issues with a handful of misguided youths

“The mastermind of this is an appointee of a governor and he took few youths, about seven of them, on this misguided voyage.

“PANDEF’s endorsement of Obi stands, all the organs of PANDEF met Obi in December at Yenagoa and we promised to brief PANDEF leader, Pa Edwin Clark who subsequently endorsed Obi and so PANDEF is unanimously mobilising support, using our structures for Obi.

“We are also behind Pa Clerk on his call on Okowa to pull out of the race because as far back as 2021, PANDEF had resolved that for equity and fairness, power should shift to the South after eight years of Northern Presidency and Okowa was amongst those that took the decision,” Robinson said.

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Kano Court sacks Ganduje as APC Chairman

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The Kano State High Court has sacked Abdullahi Ganduje as the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

The Court granted an ex parte order restraining the Ganduje from parading himself as a member of the party.

Subsequently, the court ordered that henceforth, Ganduje should desist from presiding over all affairs of the National Working Committee of the APC.

The application granted by Justice Usman Na’abba on Tuesday followed an ex parte motion filed by Dr. Ibrahim Sa’ad on behalf of two executive members of Ganduje’s ward, Dawakin-Tofa Local Government Area, the Assistant Secretary, Laminu Sani and Legal Adviser, Haladu Gwanjo (plaintiffs), who were part of the nine ward executives who suspended Ganduje on Monday.

The court directed the four parties (respondents) joined in the matter, including the APC, NWC, APC Kano State Working Committee, and Ganduje, to henceforth, maintain status quo ante belum as of April 15, 2024, pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit on April 30, 2024.

Justice Na’abba, also held as prayed, stopped State Working Committee APC Kano from interfering with the legally and validly considered decision of executives of Ganduje ward, essentially on action endorsed by a two-thirds majority of the executives as provided by the party constitution.

The ex parte order read, “An order is hereby granted directing all parties in the suit APC (first), APC National Working Committee (second), Kano State Working Committee APC (third), Dr. Abdullah Umar Ganduje (fourth), to maintain status quo ante belum as of April 15, 2024.

“The order thereby restraining the first respondent (APC) from recognising the fourth respondent (Ganduje) as a member of APC and prohibiting the fourth respondent (Ganduje) from presiding over any affairs of the NWC and restraining the state Working Committee from interfering with the legally and validly decision of the ward executives of Ganduje ward.

“That the fourth respondent (Ganduje) is prohibited from parading himself as a member of APC or doing any act that may portray him or seem to be a member of APC pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit.”

Nine members of the Ganduje ward proclaimed the suspension of the National Chairman of the APC over the allegation of corruption slammed on him by the Kano State Government.

The nine APC executives said they were prompted to act following a petition written by one Ja’afaru Adamu, a member of the APC from the National Chairman’s polling unit.

In the petition, Adamu complained over allegations of corruption charges against the former governor just as he urged the ward leaders to investigate the matter to redeem the dented image of the party and the implication on President Bola Tinubu’s fight against corruption.

Although the chairman and secretary of the ward failed to act on the petition filed on April 8, 2024, nine members of the executives, led by the legal adviser, acted upon the petition, a decision that led to Ganduje’s suspension.

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Ogun Assembly passes Assembly Commission Amendment bill

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The Ogun House of Assembly on Wednesday passed the State House of Assembly Service Commission (Amendment) Bill, 2024.

The passage of the bill followed  presentation of the Committee’s report by the Chairman, House Committee on Establishments and Public Service Matters, Mr Babatunde Tella at plenary in Abeokuta.

Tella moved the motion for its adoption, seconded by Mr Adeyanju Adegoke and supported by all the members.

The bill was later read and adopted clause by clause before the Committee of Whole.

The Majority Leader, Mr Yusuf Sheriff, moved the motion for the third reading of the bill, seconded by the Minority Leader, Mr Lukmon Adeleye and supported by the Whole House through a unanimous voice vote.

Consequently, the Deputy Clerk of the House, Mrs Funmilayo Adeyemi, took the third reading of the bill before the lawmakers.

The Speaker, Mr Oludaisi Elemide, directed that the clean copy of the bill be forwarded to Gov. Dapo Abiodun for his assent.

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Abuja court gives EFCC go-ahead to arrest ex-Kogi Governor, Yahaya Bello

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A Federal High Court, Abuja, on Wednesday, ordered that a warrant be issued to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for immediate arrest of former Governor of Kogi, Alhaji Yahaya Bello.

Justice Emeka Nwite, in a ruling on EFCC’s ex-parte motion, held that after listening to the submission of commission’s counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, SAN, and reading the affidavit in support of the motion, including the exhibits and written address, he was inclined to grant the application.

It was earlier reported that a High Court sitting in Lokoja on Wednesday, restrained the EFCC from arresting, detaining and prosecuting Bello

Justice I.A Jamil, who gave the order in a two-hour judgment delivered in suit no HCL/68/M/2020, held that infringing on Bello’s “fundamental human rights is null and void.”

The judge, who dismissed the commission’s application challenging the jurisdiction of the court, said: “By this order, the EFCC is hereby restrained from arresting, detaining and prosecuting the applicant.

“This is a definite order following the earlier interim injunction given.”

However, in a ruling delivered by Justice Nwite on Wednesday, the judge ordered that a warrant be issued to the commission for Bello’s immediate arrest.

He also directed that the former governor be produced before the court on April 18 for arraignment.

“It is hereby ordered as follows:

“That an order of this honourable court is hereby made directing and/or issuing a warrant for the immediate arrest of the defendant for the purpose of bringing him before this honourable court for arraignment.

“That case is adjourned to 18th day of April, 2024 for arraignment,” he declared.

NAN reports that the EFCC, in the motion ex-parte marked: FHC/ABJ/CR/98/2024 dated April 16 and filed April 17, sought six orders.

These include “an order granting leave to the complainant/applicant to effect service of the charge together with the proof of evidence on the defendant by substituted means to wit; by pasting the charge at the last known address of the defendant within the jurisdiction of this honourable court being: 9, Benghazi Street, Wuse Zone 4, Abuja.

“An order directing and/or issuing an arrest warrant for the immediate arrest of the defendant for the purpose of bringing him before this honourable court for arraignment.”

In the alternative, the anti-graft agency sought an order issuing and directing the publishing of a public summons requiring/ commanding the defendant to appear before the court on a named date, among others.

The conflicting orders came after the EFCC had appealed against the initial order, and the appeal was scheduled for hearing on April 22 in Appeal No: CA/ABJ/CV/175/2024 between EFCC and Alhaji Yahaya Bello.

The Yahaya Bello Media Office had, in a statement signed by Onogwu Mohammed, alerted the nation to a siege on the former Governor’s Abuja residence.

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