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Rivers PDP Gets New Leadership As Party Concludes Congresses

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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Rivers State, has elected a new State Working Committee (SWC) in a state congress, which was generally rancour-free.

A former Nigerian Ambassador to South Korea, Desmond Akawor emerged the new Chairman of the PDP in the state to replace the outgoing party boss, Felix Obuah, in May when his second term in office will have expired.

Akawor was elected by PDP delegates at the weekend during the PDP State Elective Congress at the Obi Wali Cultural Centre in Port Harcourt.

Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, PDP National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, National and State assembly members were among the voters during the congress.

There was strict observation of the coronavirus medical preventive measures at the venue of the congress as medical experts were on ground to run temperature checks on delegates and apply hand sanitizers on them despite no case of the pandemic in the state.

In his remarks, Obuah thanked the Rivers State Governor for his support that helped the party to be successful in the last six years.

He said that PDP enjoyed unprecedented internal party democracy because of the leadership provided by Wike.

Chairman of Rivers State PDP Elective Congress Panel, Senator Sam Anyanwu said that all the 39 party positions were elected unopposed.

Anyanwu announced that Akawor polled 2908 to emerge victorious as the Rivers State PDP Chairman.

Akawor, who hails from Ndoki in Oyingbo Local Government Area was born on December 1, 1964.

He was a former Minister of State, FCT, former Executive Director, Projects, NPA, Former GM/CEO, NDBDA, One time Commissioner for Water Resources & Rural Development among others.

He was also the Director-General, Chief Barr. Nyesom Wike Campaign Organization 2015 & 2019 .

Until his election as Rivers State PDP Chairman, he was the Administrator, Greater Port Harcourt City Development Authority (GPHCDA) .

Other major officials elected at the State Elective Congress are Mr. Chukwuemeka Aaron, Deputy Chairman and Secretary , Benibo George; Financial Secretary, Shedrach Chukwu; Publicity Secretary, Sydney Gbarah, State Legal Adviser, Kingsley Chukwu and State Woman Leader, Mrs Miriam Ogbonna.

Others are state Youth Leader, Ikpechi Oriji, , Assistant Youth Leader, Mrs. Joy Oyaghiri-Fagbemi, State Auditor, Philip Onyeche, State Treasurer, Blessing Amadi and State Organising Secretary, Kagbang Offis.

In his acceptance speech, Akawor commended the Rivers State Governor for creating the platform for peaceful congress in the state.

He said Wike had remained a worthy ambassador of the PDP through his superlative performance since 2015.

He said that members of the new Rivers State Working Committee would serve the party and lead it to greater achievements.

Akawor said that the leadership and membership of the new Rivers State PDP Executive Committee would always stand by Wike throughout his administration.

Speaking at the event, Wike called on Nigerians to mount pressure on the National Assembly to amend the Electoral Act to ensure credible elections in 2023.

Wike said that PDP remained a force in Rivers State because his administration delivered on its development agenda.

He said: “We must continue to do what will sustain the hope our people have in government. If INEC conducts credible elections at any time, PDP candidates will win all the positions.

“The party must continue to support the State Government. Don’t allow anyone to deceive you into distracting the State Government. This is a time for governance”.

Wike urged the new SWC not to lower the standard of performance set by the outgoing State Executive.

The Governor praised the outgoing Rivers State PDP Chairman, Obuah for his commitment to the growth of PDP and his total loyalty to the leadership in the state.

He said: “Loyalty is not by mouth, showing appearance or seeing the Governor regularly. Loyalty is by conduct and the things you do at the back.”

Governor Wike said when the struggle to win back Rivers State started in 2013, a decision was made to elect Obuah because of his pedigree.

“We concluded that Bro Felix Obuah will not sell out. He stood firm, despite all temptations. Since he became chairman, he has never waivered. He has never sabotaged the State Government and the party.

“If it was constitutionally possible for anyone to stay, we would have allowed Felix Obuah to stay. It is going to be difficult to replace Obuah,” he said.

In his speech, Secondus said that the State Congress was a transparent process that threw up new State Working Committee in Rivers.

He commended Rivers state governor and Rivers people for standing firm to defend their mandate. .

Secondus declared that Wike had done very well for Rivers State.

The Rivers State PDP Elective Congress was monitored by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

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Buhari, APC Have Set Nigeria 60 Years Backward — PDP

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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has taken a dig at the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration describing his five years stewardship as “wasteful, a season of the locusts.”

In a strongly worded statement issued on Friday by Spokesman of the party, Kola Ologbondiyan, on the state of the nation, the PDP said after reviewing the five years of the Buhari administration, both the president and his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) have “taken Nigeria 60 years backward.”

The statement accused Buhari and the APC of turning the country into a wasteland after allegedly destroying the economy.

The statement said under Buhari, May 29, has become “synonymous with the enthronement of incompetence, insensitive leadership, endemic corruption in high places and governance by propaganda and false performance claims.”

It also accused the APC administration of reversing all the “gains achieved by the PDP for which May 29 was always celebrated and left the country dejected and despondent.”

Furthermore, it said under Buhari, Nigerians always grieve on May 29, as it has become “a day for commemoration of failed promises, reversal of gains achieved by past leaders and retrogression in our body polity as a nation.”

The statement reads in part :”This administration has failed woefully in its three major governance planks of provision of security, economic recovery and fight against corruption.

“In the last five years, the APC administration has done nothing but driving our nation along the precipices; reneged on all its campaign promises, ruined our productive sector, frustrated our farmers, manufacturers and small scale entrepreneurs, devalued our naira, wrecked employment opportunities for our youth, turned our once prosperous nation into the poverty capital of the world while accumulating huge foreign debts for this generation and the unborn.

“Under five years, President Buhari has borrowed from every corner of the world. These include external borrowing of $10.72 billion (N4.1 trillion) in 2015, $11.41 billion (N4.4 trillion) in 2016, $18.91 billion (N7.3 trillion) in 2017, $25.27 billion (N9.8 trillion) in 2018, $27.68 billion (N10.7 trillion) in 2019 as well as 2020 loans of $3.4 billion (N1.3 trillion) from IMF, $4.4 million (N1.594 billion) internal borrowing, $22.7 billion (N8.8 trillion) external loan and the recently yet to be approved $5.513 billion (N2.1 trillion) waiting before the National Assembly.

“Our party had already alerted Nigerians that with the volume of borrowing, President Buhari and the APC have placed our nation on the international auction market.

“In the last five years, corruption has also worsened in government circle as shown in Transparency International (TI)’s corruption perception index. Federal Government agencies such as the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) among others have been opened up for pillaging by the cabal in the Presidency and the APC.”

Continuing, the statement noted that the government only pays lip to security as bandits, insurgents and marauders were now having a field day with killings.

“It is distressing that instead of heeding wise counsel to accept failure and avoid making false performance claims, the Buhari Presidency just yesterday, released a list of recycled fictitious achievements, including very insensitive claim of having routed out bandits; even as marauders were pillaging communities and killing our compatriots in Sokoto and other states, particularly in the Northwest.

“A look at the list exposed reused figures and data without corresponding verifiable projects in any part of the country, apart from attempts to appropriate PDP projects,” the statement said.

The party called on the president to wake up to the reality by accepting “failure and seek help since it has become clear that his administration as presently constituted has devastated our nation and leading us on a journey to nowhere.”

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No Man Can Stop Me From Returning As Edo Governor — Obaseki Boasts

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Governor Godwin Obaseki has confidently declared that he will emerge governor of Edo State, ahead of the governorship election in the State.

Obaseki who spoke as a guest on a Channels TV’s Sunrise Daily on Wednesday, expressed confidence that he will return as the governor of the State.

According to him, no one can stop him because only God gives power.

“I am not a violent person. But I am confident that the way I got into power is the same way I will return.

“God gave me power. If he wants me to return, I will continue. No man can stop me. Power comes from God.”

The governor also rubbished claims that he used the resources of the people of Edo State to become governor.

“I have friends with resources. I worked for eight years behind the scene before I became governor.

“So all that insinuations about using somebody’s resources is not true. I became Governor on the platform of the party and I am grateful for it.

“It does not matter whether it is direct or indirect (primaries), I will win.”

Obaseki’s statement is coming shorty after Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu was endorsed as the consensus candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC.

Recall that Osagie Ize-Iyamu, a former Secretary to Edo State Government (SSG) emerged as the All Progressives Congress (APC) consensus candidate for the state governorship election.

Ize-Iyamu is believed to be loyal to the National Chairman of the party, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole who has been at loggerheads with Governor Obaseki.

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How I Spent N38.8bn Security Votes In 8 Years — Ex-Abia Gov, TA Orji

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Theodore Orji

A former Governor of Abia State, Senator Theodore Ahamefula Orji has furnished the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) with details of how he spent his N38.8billion security votes during his eight years in office.

Orji who was in charge of the state between 2007 and 2015 is being investigated by the anti-graft commission for corruption.

He said he collected N38.8billion as security votes during the period and not N48billion as alleged by the EFCC.

Orji who is currently representing Abia Central Senatorial District in the National Assembly said he shared much of the N38billion with members of the state House of Assembly, his security informants and traditional rulers.

He claimed to have also given part of the money to military units,the police,the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) and security agencies as what he called statutory allocations.

In a tell-it-all statement to his interrogators, the former governor said he gave successive members of the State House of Assembly N5. 760billion, at N60million per month, in the eight years.

He also claimed to have paid N75million monthly to security informants in 15 of the 17 local government areas of the state within the same period.

The yet-to-be identified informants allegedly pocketed a total of N7.200billion between 2007 and 2015.

Some of the security agencies, according to him, received N2million per month.

However, he told the interrogators that he does not have a comprehensive list of all the beneficiaries of the largesse because the Government House staff who used to disburse the cash is no more.

He gave the man’s name simply as Felix.

Orji said he did not ask for the list from Felix at the expiration of his tenure as governor.

He only issued directives to Felix on how to share the security votes.

He also said he never collected cash either from the Director of Finance or the Cashier in Government House.

The EFCC insists that Orji collected N48billion in eight years.

It has retrieved five huge bags of documents from the relevant desks in Abia State on the ex-governor’s financial transactions.

Based on Orji’s confessions, the EFCC is expected to arraign him in court soon being in what a source described as “a straightforward case.”

The Nation gathered that the former governor made the revelations during a session on oath in the presence of his lawyer, who he referred to as Edmund.

It was the first time Orji would open up after many years of trying to make him respond to allegations against him.

Orji said he received N370million monthly as security votes in 2007 and N410million monthly from 2008 to 2015.

He said that from his assumption of office up to his exit the funds were distributed in cash. “There were also statutory funds to the security agencies,” he was quoted as saying.

He said the first Speaker in 2007 and the last Speaker in his second term confirmed the receipt of N60million monthly from his security votes.

He said the Majority Leader also attested to the receipt of the monthly cash although he claimed he did not know “ how they shared the money.”

He could not explain what the monthly cash to the lawmakers was meant for or remember the exact amount he was giving the traditional rulers monthly.

Orji admitted that all disbursements by the late Felix were based on his directives.

Usually, according to him, the funds were brought by the Director of Finance (DF)in batches.

The DF would then inform the ex-governor on how much had come and would then be kept in the accounts.

Orji would, in turn, issue directive to the late Felix on what to disburse and to whom.

He was quoted as saying “Felix comes to show me how disbursement is made. After disbursement, Felix keeps the list for safety. As I was leaving the Government House, I didn’t ask him for the list.”

He claimed that he never personally collected any cash from the votes whether from the Director of Finance or Government House cashier.

The funds were channelled through Felix “on my directives,” he said.

The EFCC is still working on the charges against Orji.

But a reliable source told The Nation that investigation had “reached an appreciable stage for trial.”

Continuing, the source said: “We have been on this case since March 2017. Our operatives were painstaking in cracking this case.

“We will arraign ex-governor in court any time from now because the charges are ready. The only challenge is COVID-19 but we won’t allow it to affect the arraignment.

“In the face of the law, he is presumed innocent until proven guilty by the court. The onus is on him to prove beyond reasonable doubt that he did not commit the financial recklessness.”

The source said the use of security votes was the first leg of the ongoing probe of Senator Theodore Orji.

The former governor has been under investigation since November 22, 2018 following a petition from a group, Fight Corruption: Save Nigeria Group

In the March 17, 2017 petition, the group alleged that Orji received and diverted various sums of monies that accrued to Abia State while in office.

The breakdown of the amounts allegedly received by him are as follows:

  • N383 billion revenue from federation accounts
  • N55 billion Excess Crude Revenue
  • N2.3 billion Sure – P
  • N1.8 billion Ecological funds
  • N10.5 billion loan from First Bank of Nigeria through the Ministry of Chieftaincy and Local Government Affairs.
  • N4 billion Loan from Diamond Bank
  • N12 billion Paris Club refund
  • N2 billion Agricultural loan for farmers
  • N55 billion ASOPADEC.

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