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BREAKING: EFCC Re-Arraigns Fayose Before New Judge

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Tuesday re-arraigned former Ekiti State Governor Ayo Fayose for alleged money laundering, even as the court granted his application to travel to South Africa for medical treatment.

The trial judge, Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke, also ordered the release of Fayose’s international passport and that the passport be returned to the court on September 16, 2019.

The re-arraignment followed the re-assignment of the case to Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke after the prosecution expressed loss of confidence in Justice Mojisola Olatoregun, who was previously handling it.

EFCC counsel, Mr. S. A. Adewale had told the court last Friday that the prosecution was not ready for the arraignment, prompting the adjournment of the matter till today.

Fayose was arraigned alongside a company, Spotless Investment Limited today, on the same 11 counts, with which he was charged by the EFCC on October 22, 2018,

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He pleaded not guilty to all the charges and his counsel, Ola Olanipekun (SAN) applied that he should be allowed to continue to enjoy the bail earlier granted by Justice Olatoregun, to which the EFCC counsel, Adebisi Adeniyi raised no objection.

Justice Aneke consequently admitted the former governor to bail in the terms and conditions earlier granted by Justice Olatoregun.

The trial was adjourned till September 16, 17, 18 and 19 as well as October 21 to 25, 2019.

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JUST IN: Declare Kalu’s Seat Vacant — Abia PDP Chieftain Tells Senate

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A chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Abia, Chief Charles Ike, has charged the Senate leadership to declare the Abia North Senatorial seat vacant due to the incarceration of Sen. Orji Kalu.

Ike gave the charge in a statement he issued in Umuahia on Saturday, saying that the people of Abia North Senatorial District were no longer comfortable being “totally eclipsed” in the Senate. “I hereby call on the Senate leadership to quickly declare Kalu’s seat vacant to enable the district to elect a capable replacement,” he said.

He said that the area had set a machinery in motion for Kalu’s recall and that the process would soon commence in earnest.

Ike also spoke on the recent defection of Chief Bourdex Ogba, the Senatorial Candidate of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) for Abia North in the 2019 poll, to the All Progressives Congress (APC).

He described Ogba’s defection as an act of “political indiscipline”.

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He expressed disbelief that Ogba, who dumped APC for APGA, ahead of the 2019 elections, could “so quickly return to pick the same broom he said was not sweeping well”.

He alleged that Ogba’s return to APC was initiated to position himself for the senatorial ticket of the party in the event that the Senate eventually called for a byelection for Kalu’s replacement.

He alleged that Ogba had made four defections in recent time, having moved from PDP to APGA ahead of the 2015 general elections and later to APC and APGA before his latest return to APC.

Ike said: “His jumping from party to party smacks of political indiscipline and his desperation to go to Senate but you know that a rolling stone gathers no moss.

“Unfortunately, too, he lacks the political discipline to be trusted with any public office in Abia north.

“How can you trust a man whose only political antecedent is jumping from one party to another?”

The PDP chieftain further took an exception to a comment credited to Ogba, when he visited the APC national secretariat, where he was quoted to have asked the Senate not to declare Kalu’s seat vacant.

Ike argued that the comment was at variance with the wishes of the people of Abia north who, he said, were earnestly yearning to have a replacement for Kalu.

It would be recalled that Kalu of APC was jailed in December by a Federal High Court for 12 years, having been convicted for a N7.2 billion fraud, when he was Abia governor (1999 to 2003).

Although, Kalu has appealed the High Court verdict, Ike said that his continued incarceration left Abia north without a voice in the Senate.

NAN

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Senate Declares Bayelsa Governor, Deputy’s Seats Vacant

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The President of the Senate, Ahmed Lawan has declared vacant the Bayelsa Central and Bayelsa West seats vacated by present Governor and Deputy Governor of the state, Sen. Douye Diri and Sen. Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, respectively.

Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu made the disclosure on Friday while addressing the first regular meeting of Resident Electoral Commissioners (REC) in Abuja.

“In the case of Bayelsa State, both the Governor and Deputy Governor were serving Senators. Consequently, the Commission yesterday Thursday 20th February 2020 received two communications from the Senate President declaring the seats for Bayelsa Central and Bayelsa West Senatorial Districts vacant.

“The Commission will soon meet to determine the dates for bye-elections in the two Senatorial Districts,” the INEC boss stated.

Recall that Diri and Ewhrudjakpo were sworn in as governor and deputy respectively after the Supreme Court invalidated the election of David Lyon and Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo over certificate forgery.

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Nothing To Attract Fayose To ‘Confused’ APC — Ex-Gov’s Aide

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Lere Olayinka, media aide to former Ekiti State governor, Ayodele Fayose, has said that there is nothing that can attract any right thinking politician to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) let alone his principal.

Olayinka said this in a statement on Friday in reaction to a statement by the APC in Ekiti State, that Fayose was not qualified to join the party.

Olayinka said “it is funny that the APC in Ekiti State lied and went further to react to its own lies.”

He added; “As I write, Fayose is presently in a meeting of major stakeholders of the PDP in Ekiti State in the house of Senator Clement Awoyelu.”

He admonished the ruling party to focus its attention on its non-performing government.

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He described the report of Fayose’s threat to join APC should his adopted candidate for the State chairmanship of the PDP, Hon Bisi Kolawole, fails in the forthcoming State Congress as figment of the imagination of those peddling it.

“The story of Fayose’s threat to leave PDP for the APC is one of the lies from the APC factory of lies and it is even more childish that the party in Ekiti State went ahead to react to its own lies,” he said.

While saying there was nothing to attract any right thinking politician to the APC, Olayinka asked; “is it the killings and kidnappings going on across the country?

“Is it the pariah State that Nigeria has become such that USA had to place the country on visa restrictions? Is it the huge debt the country has been plunged into? Or is it the directionless state of the country?

“Is it the sacking of over 3,000 workers by the non-performing APC government in Ekiti State?

“Most importantly, is it the confused state of the APC, which has made even the State Chairman of the party in Ekiti State, Mr. Paul Omotoso, to join others in calling for the removal of the National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole?

“What is there in the APC to attract someone like Fayose, who is known for his stand in support of the masses of Nigeria that are being made to suffer more hardship by the APC government?

“They can continue to hallucinate about everything Ayodele Fayose, while he continues with his task of to rebuild the PDP in Ekiti State with a view to returning to power in 2022.”

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