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U.S., UK React To INEC’s Postponement Of General Elections

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The United States Embassy in Nigeria says it supports the decision of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to reschedule the general elections.

The U.S. said it also fully supports the joint statement by the heads of international election observation missions on the postponement of the elections.

In a statement by its Public Affairs Section, U.S. Embassy, said, “We join in encouraging all Nigerians to ensure a free, fair, peaceful, and credible election by supporting the Independent National Electoral Commission while it finalizes electoral preparations this week and by voting in peace together on February 23.”

Also reacting, the British High Commission in Nigeria has urged Nigerians to be patient and support the democratic process by coming out to vote next weekend in the elections.

The UK says it supports the joint statement made by the heads of the international observer missions on the postponement of the 2019 Nigerian elections.

In a statement, the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Catriona Laing, said, “We recognise the frustrations of many Nigerians, including those involved in the delivery, supervision and observation of the election and those who travelled considerable distances to exercise their democratic right to vote.”

The British envoy also urged the political parties to exercise moderation and ensure that the atmosphere of peace is preserved to allow for the conduct of the elections in a secure environment.

She said the UK remained a staunch supporter of Nigerian democracy and promised to continue on that path through redeploying its observer team to the field next weekend.

Politics

PDP insists Rivers assembly members who joined APC have lost their seats

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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) says it has not changed its stance on the Rivers state house of assembly members who defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC).

In a statement issued on Thursday, Debo Ologunagba, PDP spokesperson, said the clarification is a rebuttal to a “mischievous report” that the party is considering changing its position.

Ologunagba said the report on social media “falsely” claimed that “there are plots to compromise the party’s position and provide an unattainable lifeline” to the former members of the Rivers state house of assembly who dumped the PDP.

“The Party also clarifies that it is not under pressure from any quarters to compromise its position in court, wherein it had already clearly stated that the former Rivers state lawmakers are no longer members of the Rivers State House of Assembly from December 11, 2023, when they publicly announced their defection from the PDP to the APC,” the statement reads.

“Our party therefore stands by its position that the affected members have since lost their seats in the Rivers State House of Assembly having arrogantly committed an unpardonable constitutional breach.”

In December 2023, 27 members of the Rivers house of assembly defected from the PDP to the APC.

On Friday, a state high court in Port Harcourt, the state capital, restrained the defected assembly members from parading themselves as legislators.

The court also granted an interim injunction restraining Martin Amaewhule from parading himself as a speaker of the house.

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Politics

I was offered money to impeach Fubara, says ex-Rivers speaker, Edison Ehie

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Edison Ehie, a former factional speaker of the Rivers house of assembly, says he was offered money to impeach Siminalayi Fubara, governor of the state.

Ehie, who is currently chief of staff to Fubara, was one of the lawmakers loyal to the governor.

He became speaker in October 2023, a period when legislators loyal to Nyesom Wike, minister of the federal capital territory (FCT), made an attempt to impeach Fubara.

The impeachment proceedings were halted after President Bola Tinubu brokered a peace deal.

The rift between Fubara and Wike has polarised the Rivers assembly.

Speaking at an event in the Ahoada east area of Rivers, Ehie said he rejected the money he was offered to oust Fubara.

“They invited me, your son, to impeach the governor and I told them clearly, I was not interested,” Daily Trust quoted him as saying.

“They gave me all the money that was hidden before, which I rejected. And because I refused, they conspired and declared me wanted.”

On Friday, Fubara gazetted an executive order moving the sitting of the state house of assembly to the government house.

Last week, a court restrained Martin Amaewhule and 25 members of the assembly from parading themselves as speaker and legislators respectively.

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Politics

Fubara gazettes executive order moving Rivers assembly sitting to government house

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Siminalayi Fubara, governor of Rivers, has gazetted an executive order moving the sitting of the state house assembly to the government house.

The executive order 001 is dated October 30, 2023.

The governor said the sitting of the state parliament will henceforth take place at the government house until the assembly complex, which was affected by fire in October, is renovated.

“That on the 29th day of October 2023, a fire incident occasioned by unknown persons burned and damaged the hallowed chambers of the Rivers State House of Assembly,” the gazette reads.

“That the Hallowed Chamber of the Rivers State House of Assembly in its present state is unsafe and constitutes a threat to the lives of the staff and the Honourable members of the Rivers State House of Assembly and thus not conducive for the business and proceeding of the Rivers State House of Assembly.

“That it is expedient to carry out urgent repairs, renovation, and reconstruction of the burnt and damaged chambers of the Rivers State House of Assembly.

“That it is further reasonable to ensure that the business and proceedings of the Rivers State House of Assembly are not impeded and frustrated.

“Now therefore, I, sir Siminalayi Fubara, GSSRS, the Governor of Rivers State this 30th day of October 2023, pursuant to the powers vested in me under the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) hereby issue, order, and direct that all proceedings and business of Rivers State House of Assembly shall temporarily take place at the Auditorium, Admin Block, Government House, Port Harcourt until the repairs, renovation or reconstruction of the chambers of the Rivers State House of Assembly are completed.”

The gazetting of the order comes in the wake of a renewed political crisis in the oil-rich state.

THE CRISIS

The Rivers house of assembly has been polarised since 2023 following the rift between Fubara and Nyesom Wike, minister of the federal capital territory (FCT).

In December, 27 members of the assembly defected from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC).

The Rivers assembly has 32 seats. One lawmaker, Dinebari Loolo, died in September 2023.

In October 2023, Ehie Edison was elected speaker of the factional assembly, after his removal as house leader by members led by Martin Amaewhule — amid the plot to impeach Fubara.

Edison later resigned as a lawmaker to become chief of staff to the governor.

The lawmakers in the Awaewhule-led faction are loyal to Wike.

The political crisis took a new twist on Wednesday after Victor Jumbo, a lawmaker representing the Bonny state constituency, was elected factional.

On Friday, a state high court in Port Harcourt granted an interim injunction restraining Amaewhule from acting as a speaker of the Rivers assembly.

Charles Wali, the presiding judge, also restrained 25 other assembly members from parading themselves as legislators.

The motion ex parte was filed by Jumbo and two assembly members — Sokari Goodboy and Orubienimigha Timothy — loyal to Fubara.

There are rumours that Fubara is plotting to demolish the state assembly quarters in Port Harcourt.

Amid the speculations, some armed police officers on Friday barricaded the two entrances to assembly quarters.

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Bodex F. Hungbo, SPMIIM is a multiple award-winning Nigerian Digital Media Practitioner, Digital Strategist, PR consultant, Brand and Event Expert, Tv Presenter, Tier-A Blogger/Influencer, and a top cobbler in Nigeria.

She has widespread experiences across different professions and skills, which includes experiences in; Marketing, Media, Broadcasting, Brand and Event Management, Administration and Management with prior stints at MTN, NAPIMS-NNPC, GLOBAL FLEET OIL AND GAS, LTV, Silverbird and a host of others

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