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Rivers APC Chairman accuses Gov. Fubara of reneging on peace deal

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Chief Tony Okocha, Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), in Rivers, has accused Gov. Siminialayi Fubara of delaying the implementation of the eight-point resolution toward ending political crisis in the state.

The political tension enveloped the state in October 2023 when 27 lawmakers said to be loyal to Fubara’s predecessor, Nyesom Wike, threatened to impeach the Governor.

The crisis reached a crescendo with the burning of the State House of Assembly Complex on October 30.

Worried by the development, President Bola Tinubu stepped in and negotiated a peace agreement to restore peace.

The APC boss, while reacting to the peace deal in an interview with NAN in Port Harcourt on Sunday, said that the delay in implementing the agreement was not good for political peace in Rivers.

Okocha, who represents Rivers in the Governing Board of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), said that the continued delay was a disrespect to the President and other political actors.

Delving into the history of the crisis, Okocha said the political quarrel began when the state House of Assembly was burnt, declaring that it was a deliberate attempt by certain persons at high quarters to make it impossible for lawmakers to sit.

“When the matter reached a crescendo and was almost turning into an emergency, several calls were put across to President Tinubu to wade in.

“The President subsequently invited all the stakeholders from both sides and we had a very decent meeting devoid of intimidation, harassment, duress or undue advantage given to anyone.

“During the meeting, Tinubu emphasised the importance of upholding democracy and opted for a diplomatic approach.

“Following the discussions, the President presented an eight-point proclamation document and handed it over to former Rivers governor Peter Odili.

“At every point Odili read each point from the document, Tinubu interjected and asked if we were okay, and everybody echoed ‘yes’.

“After all parties agreed to the resolution, Gov. Fubara, his deputy, Wike, myself, PDP chairman in Rivers, National Security Adviser, Nuhu Ribadu and Martins Amaewhule, the Speaker of the House of Assembly, all signed the document,” he recalled.

The APC chieftain said that after signing the document, Fubara requested protection for his supporters against victimisation, which the President assured.

He said it was regrettable that the governor had been influenced by a purported elders’ forum to deviate from the agreement he willingly signed before President Tinubu.

Okocha noted that the governor occasionally yielded and, at other times, presented himself as lacking control over both himself and his administration.

“The governor has implemented six resolutions, including withdrawing all cases before the courts, freeing the legislature, paying allowances due to lawmakers, and recognising Amaewhule as Speaker.

“But, he has refused to implement two crucial agreements – the re-presentation of the state budget before the 27 lawmakers and the conduct of local government elections,” he said.

Okocha recalled that the president informed Fubara that no other titles outside those recognised by the constitution would be used for the leadership of local governments.

“Specifically, the President kicked against caretaker committees or sole administrators for the local government councils.

“So, Gov. Fubara cannot, in his wildest imagination, continue to do as he pleases. He cannot continue to run the state without a budget,” Okocha explained.

Okocha stated that the local government chairmen’s tenure would end on June 10, with INEC  required to conduct elections 60 days before the incumbents’ tenure expires.

He criticised Fubara’s governance style and highlighted the need for adherence to constitutional processes and agreements to ensure stability and progress.

The chairman threatened legal action to ensure compliance, emphasising the need for peaceful governance and adherence to the law.

He stated that the state was currently “sitting on a keg of gunpowder”.

“So, we will not stand aside and watch him violate the legal and constitutional agreement; we will not allow Fubara to disrespect the office of the president.

“Drafting a chairman or a sole administrator to oversee a local government is an aberration; only elected executives are recognised by law.

“Although, no time frame was given for implementing the resolution, the governor cannot run the state without a budget,” he explained.

Okocha claimed that Gov. Fubara, who was “an unexpected candidate in the PDP primaries, rode to power on Wike’s support”.

“The governor was not a politician but a career civil servant, but Wike sat on the noses of politicians and threw up Fubara who lacked political background.

“Nobody gives power for nothing without negotiating for something; Fubara has reneged on agreements reached in the bedroom,” he said.

Reacting, Rivers’ Commissioner of Information and Communications, Mr Joe Johnson, advised Okocha to focus on his duties at NDDC instead of misleading the public.

He questioned why the APC chieftain was fixated on the two resolutions, especially since the governor had already acted on six out of the eight resolutions agreed upon in December.

“The governor has recalled, and redeployed the commissioners who resigned, back to their positions – that is even more important.

“Gov. Fubara has also paid all the allowances owed to the 27 assembly members.

“If the governor refused to release funds to the lawmakers but went ahead to represent a budget to them, which one, in Okocha’s priority, will be better?”, he asked.

Johnson pointed out that Fubara had implemented over 80 per cent of the agreement, though President Tinubu did not specify a timeline for its fulfilment.

“The resolutions were agreed upon in December and, by February, Gov. Fubara had implemented six out of the eight proclamations.

“The governor is acting on the resolutions step-by-step. Okocha should stop chasing shadows,” he said.

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PDP appoints Chinda as Chairman for Ondo LG Congress, ahead of primaries

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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has appointed Rep. Kingsley Chinda as the Chairman, Local Government Congress Electoral Committee for Ondo, ahead of Saturday’s governorship primaries.

The PDP National Publicity Secretary, Mr Debo Ologunagba said this in a statement in Abuja.

Ologunagba said that the constitution of the committee was approved by the National Working Committee (NEC) of the party.

“The committee members are to serve on the local government Congress Electoral Committee to conduct National Delegates Congress for the purpose of electing one national delegate per local government area in Ondo,” he said.

Ologunagba said that the congress would hold at the Collation Center of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in each of the local government areas of the state.

Ologunagba advised all the governorship aspirants, leaders, critical stakeholders and members in Ondo to take note and be guided accordingly.

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Ondo 2024: Don’t field wrong candidate for us — Odimayo tells APC

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By Akintunde Jacobs, Akure

The National Leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) have been called upon not to make the mistake of fielding a wrong candidate in the forthcoming April 20th governorship election in Ondo state.

Jimi Odimayo, a governorship aspirant on the platform of the APC, who made the call on Thursday at the official declaration of his intention to run for the office, held at the NUJ Press Centre, Akure said the leadership of the party should ensure that the South senatorial district whose turn it is to produce the next governor of the state is not prevented from spending its eight years in office.

According to him, the law does not permit the incumbent governor, Lucky Aiyedatiwa to be sworn in as governor thrice if he intends to run for two terms because he was sworn-in as deputy governor alongside his late principal, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu on 25 February 2021.

Odimayo who is the current Chairman, House Committee on Population in the House of Representatives, said he believes that it will be right for any aspirant who by law will be deprived from spending a two-term of eight years to jettison his governorship ambition in the best interest of Ondo South senatorial district.

He said; “If you attempt to bring anybody that is short of eight years we would struggle in the next election, if you flag off anybody who is not up to task, especially someone who would not do eight years, people would not support him. Our leaders should not be sentimental because people are watching

“We the Southerners, will ensure that APC doesn’t produce anybody that would be questionable or challenged by the opposition party. We are going to address our challenges as a party, we are not going to make a mistake, APC is a predominant party in Ondo State.

“Basically, it is the turn of the South, and the party would not play with it, we want the party to utilise this opportunity, we have eight years, we will not tolerate anything less than eight years for the south. So, we should be very careful not to fall into the trap of our enemies.”

Speaking on his vision for the coastal state, Odimayo said he’s fueled by a passion for service and a vision for a brighter future for Ondo while his aspiration is rooted in a commitment to unity, progress, and inclusive governance that prioritises the needs and aspirations of every indigene.

“Ondo State is endowed with immense potential, from its rich cultural heritage to its natural resources. However, we cannot ignore the challenges that have hindered our progress and prosperity.

“Issues such as inadequate infrastructure, unemployment, healthcare disparities, and educational gaps require urgent attention and innovative solutions.

“As a son of Ondo State, I am acutely aware of these challenges, and I am prepared to tackle them head-on with your support. My aspiration is not just about winning an election; it is about ushering in a new era of progress and development for Ondo state.”

The aspirant said he envisions a state where every citizen has access to quality education, healthcare, and economic opportunities as he believes in harnessing the state’s natural resources sustainably to create jobs and stimulate economic growth.

“I pledge to prioritise the safety and security of every resident of Ondo State. I am committed to strengthening Amotekun and fostering seamless collaboration with other security agencies to ensure a safer environment for all.

“Access to quality healthcare is a fundamental human right, and no indigene of Ondo State should be denied this essential service. As Governor, I will prioritise healthcare reform aimed at expanding access to primary care, upgrading healthcare facilities, and recruiting and retaining skilled healthcare professionals.

“I will also champion initiatives to address public health challenges such as maternal and child mortality, infectious diseases, and non-communicable diseases. Recognising the pressing healthcare needs of our people, particularly in the face of chronic diseases like hypertension, I vow to provide accessible and free healthcare services, placing the well-being of every resident of Ondo State at the forefront of my administration’s agenda.”

He emphasised that, if given the APC ticket and eventually emerges as governor, he will declare a state of emergency on education, with a firm commitment to resetting the educational system to ensure quality and accessible education for every child in Ondo State.

“Our youth are the future of Ondo State, and investing in their education and empowerment is paramount. I am committed to revitalising our educational system, from primary schools to tertiary institutions, by improving infrastructure, enhancing curriculum, and providing scholarships and vocational training opportunities.

“Additionally, I will prioritise youth empowerment initiatives that equip young people with the skills and resources they need to succeed in a competitive global economy.

“Agriculture,” he said, “is the backbone of our economy, and rural communities play a crucial role in sustaining our agricultural sector. I am committed to implementing policies and programs that promote modern farming techniques, provide access to credit and markets, and improve rural infrastructure such as roads and irrigation systems.

“By prioritising agriculture and rural development, we can enhance food security, create employment opportunities, and reduce poverty in rural areas. I aim to revolutionise our agricultural sector by mechanising it by 80 percent, thereby boosting economic growth, ensuring food sustainability, and creating employment opportunities for our youth.”

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APC shifts screening of Ondo governorship aspirants to Friday

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The All Progressives Congress (APC) has shifted the screening of its aspirants for the Nov.16 Ondo State governorship election to Friday, following the declaration of Thursday as public holiday by the Federal Government.

This is contained in a message on the party’s official X page, @OfficialAPCNg on Wednesday.

“Due to the inclusion of Thursday, April 11, as a public holiday by the Federal Government for ELd el-Fitr, all aspirants are requested to attend the screening on Friday, April 12, at the party’s national secretariat,” the party said.

A total of 16 aspirants were expected to be screened, ahead of the April 20 primary election.

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