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Rivers assembly clerk disowns factional speaker, says no change in house leadership

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Emeka Amadi, clerk of the Rivers state house of assembly, says there has been no change in the leadership of the legislature.

In a statement issued on May 8, Amadi said Martin Amaewhule remains the recognised speaker of the assembly.

On Wednesday, Victor Jumbo, lawmaker representing Bonny constituency, was elected speaker by lawmakers loyal to Siminalayi Fubara, governor of the state.

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 lawmakers of the assembly defected from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC).

The Rivers assembly has 32 seats. One of the lawmakers, 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 Amaewhule — amid the plot to impeach Fubara.

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

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

On Monday, Fubara said members of the house of assembly owe their existence to him.

The Rivers governor said members of the Awaewhule-led faction do not “exist,” adding that he decided to “give them a floating” through a peace deal initiated by President Bola Tinubu.

FUBARA VISITS ASSEMBLY

On Thursday Amaewhule alleged that Fubara is planning to demolish the assembly complex, after the governor visited the legislature.

Speaking with journalists in Port Harcourt on Thursday, Amaewhule said the complex does not require renovation.

But the Rivers governor said he visited the complex to see if there would be some renovation after the election of a new speaker.

CLERK DISOWNS NEW SPEAKER

In his statement, Amadi said there was no change in the leadership structure of the house as Amaewhule, Dumle Maol, and Major Jack remain speaker, deputy speaker, and majority leader respectively.

“The attention of the Rivers State House of Assembly has been drawn to reports in the electronic and print media that there was a leadership change in the Rivers State House of Assembly today, the 8th day of May 2024,” the statement reads.

“As the Clerk of the Rivers State House and one who administered the Oath of membership and office to all members and a custodian of all records of the House, I write to state the following.

“That there was no change in the leadership of the House today and Rt. Hon. Martin Chike Amaewhule DSSRS remains the Speaker of the House while Rt. Hon. Dumle Maol DSSRS and Hon. Major Jack DSSRS remains Deputy Speaker and Majority Leader respectively.

“That apart from the seat of Khana Constituency Il which was declared vacant because of death of the member who represented the constituency, no other seat has been declared vacant.

“That there is a subsisting judgement of a court of competent jurisdiction in Suit no FHC/ABI/CS/1613/2023 in which the Court among other orders “granted an ORDER OF INJUNCTION restraining the Governor of Rivers State (11th Defendant) whether by himself or by his agents and or hirelings or in any manner howsoever from impeding or frustrating the Rivers State House of Assembly under the leadership of the 2nd Plaintiff as the Speaker of the said House in the performance of their functions including holding of meetings and the transacting of the business of the Rivers State House of Assembly.

“That Hon. Victor Oko Jumbo, Hon. Sokari Goodboy Sokari and Hon. Adolphus Orubimie Timothy were suspended on the 30th of October 2023 pursuant to the Rules of the House and their suspension is yet to be lifted and they cannot lay claim to be officers of the House.

“That the House is still conducting legislative business in line with the Standing Orders of the House and the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as altered.

“That the good people of Rivers State and the Nigerian Federation should discountenance any media report purporting any recent change in leadership of the Rivers State House of Assembly.”

Politics

Jimoh Ibrahim withdraws suit seeking to void Ondo APC guber primary

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Jimoh Ibrahim, senator representing Ondo south, has withdrawn a suit seeking to void the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship primary poll in Ondo state.

Ibrahim had lost out to Lucky Aiyedatiwa, incumbent governor of Ondo, in the primary that was held on April 20.

The senator had described the exercise as a “mega fraud”.

However, in a statement on Tuesday, the lawmaker said President Bola Tinubu called and held a meeting with him over the primary poll.

He said Tinubu assured him that the internal democracy of the party would be strengthened.

“The President called me, had a meeting with me, and assured me that he will as the leader of the party improve on internal democracy within our party, and I will need to withdraw the case to enable him to chart a way forward,” he said.

“The Governor of Ondo state Lucky Aiyedatiwa earlier visited my Asokoro residence for several hours after another unsuccessful visit to my hotel room in Akure.

“I cannot disobey the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria because the issue I am fighting for is not personal.

“It is simply to improve internal democracy to which the President has promised improvement. My respect for the President is absolute!

“Let me use this opportunity to thank Mr. President for the words of wisdom and encouragement during my meeting with him which lasted over one hour and his various interactions with me on the telephone, during which he emphasized his commitment to internal democracy over and over again.”

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Bayelsa tribunal affirms Governor Douye Diri’s election win

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The Bayelsa Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja, on Monday, affirmed the election victory of Gov. Douye Diri of Bayelsa.

The three-member tribunal, led by Justice Adekunle Adeleye-led, dismissed the petition by All Progressives Congress (APC) and its governorship candidate, Chief Timipre Sylva, as lacking in merit.

The tribunal, in a unanimous decision, held that the petitioners failed to adduce any credible evidence to substantiate any of the allegations they raised against the outcome of the state’s governorship poll.

It struck out as incompetent, all the additional proof of evidence as well as statements on oath of some of the witnesses that testified for the petitioners. According to the tribunal, the law expressly provided that an election petition must be filed not later than 21 days after the result of an election was declared.

It held that such a petition must, at the time it was filed, be accompanied by written statements of all the intended witnesses.

The tribunal held that the decision of Sylva and his party to file their additional proof of evidence and statement on oath of witnesses, long after they had filed the petition, was “tantamount to a surreptitious attempt to amend the case of the petitioners.”

More so, the tribunal dismissed the allegation that the deputy governor, Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, tendered a forged University Degree Certificate and NYSC Exemption Certificate, to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in aid of his qualification to contest the election.

It held that the allegation was a pre-election matter that ought to be litigated before the Federal High Court, adding that the matter had become statute-barred since the petitioners failed to challenge the genuineness of the certificates, 14 days after it was submitted to INEC.

Besides, it held that the issue of Ewhrudjakpo’s educational qualification was previously determined by a court of competent jurisdiction. The tribunal said it took judicial notice of the fact that the 3rd respondent, Ewhrudjakpo, is a legal practitioner, saying it was satisfied that he was eminently qualified to contest the election.

The tribunal equally noted that though Sylva and his party prayed the panel to declare that they were the valid winners of the governorship election, it said they also applied for the same election to be declared invalid.

It held that the prayers of the petitioners were contradictory, adding that Sylva and APC did not tender any electoral material to show that any irregularity occurred during the election.

It held that the petitioners were unable to discharge the burden of proof that was placed on them by the law, stressing that they failed to show, polling units by polling units, the particulars of the non-compliance they alleged and how it substantially affected the outcome of the election.

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Edo LP suspends national chairman Abure for anti-party activities

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The National Chairman of the Labour Party, Julius Abure, has been suspended from the party in Ward 3 in Arue-Uromi, in Esan North-East Local Government Area of Edo State for alleged high-handedness and anti-party activities.

A letter of suspension dated May 14, 2024, and another letter of ratification dated May 15, 2024, both of which were ratified at a meeting of the state executive committee on Friday night in Benin, stated that the suspension is with immediate effect.

It advised Abure to stop holding out or parading himself as a member of the party.

The letter of suspension was signed by the Ward Chairman, Thompson Ehiguese, and Ward Secretary, Stanley Usiomoh.

The letter of ratification of his suspension was forwarded to the State Executive Committee of the party through the State Chairman by the Local Government Chairman of the party in Esan North-East, Patrick Onogbeni, and LG Secretary, Ehikioya Eromosele.

The ratification letter read, “Here forwarded to you and for your consideration is the ratification of the suspension of Julius Abure from the membership of Ward 3, Arue, Uromi, Ean North East LGA, Edo State.

“The LGA Executive met on 15th of May, 2024, about noon, to consider the matters presented on the suspension and accordingly found them weighty and the suspension ratified and upheld.”

The State Executive Committee led by Kelly Ogbaloi endorsed the decisions of the ward and local government committee of the party on Friday.

The venue of the meeting was charged as leaders and members of the party chanted: “Abure must go!”

The State Executive Committee considered the letters, together with the issues contained therein, and ratified Abure’s suspension.

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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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