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Reps, minister in heated argument over corruption allegations

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For several minutes on Tuesday afternoon, guests and journalists watched as a house of representatives committee and Uju Kennedy-Ohanenye, minister of women affairs, engaged in a heated debate.

The house committee on women affairs and social development, chaired by Kafilat Ogbara, had summoned the minister over alleged corruption in her ministry.

The committee is investigating the alleged diversion of N1.5 billion earmarked for the payment of contractors.

Some contractors had petitioned the committee, alleging non-payment for contracts they had executed for the ministry.

The hearing soon turned into a shouting match, with committee members and the minister hurling accusations and counter accusations.

“What was budgeted for 2023 from the accountant-general’s office, was it released to the account of the ministry of women affairs. Yes or no?” Ogbara asked.

Marie Ebikake, another member of the committee, accused the minister of sidelining staff of the ministry.

“Fortunately, I attended the last meeting and one of the reasons why we took you on oath was to get the truth from you and today you have deviated…,” Ebikake said, before she was interrupted by the minister.

“I take exception. I don’t like this allegation. I am no slave to anybody,” Kennedy-Ohanenye said.

“She should withdraw that statement she said about me. It is not fairness here. It is a trap but I am not going to jump into it. I fear nothing… nothing!!”

Kennedy-Ohanenye was also interrupted by the committee chairperson, who cautioned her against jumping in while an “honourable member” was speaking.

The back and forth continued for a while.

The committee adjourned hearing indefinitely after the argument.

Watch the video below.

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APC suffer major setback as Doguwa defects to PDP

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Senator Masaud Doguwa, a prominent figure in Kano State’s All Progressives Congress (APC), has switched allegiance to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

This announcement was made in a statement signed by Doguwa and released to the press on Friday, July 12.

Doguwa criticised President Bola Tinubu’s administration for its lack of direction and policies, which he claims have impoverished the nation, prompting his defection to the PDP.

In the statement, he expressed feelings of being underutilised and frustrated with the APC’s anti-people policies, which led to his decision to leave the party and his numerous supporters.

Despite their extensive political experience, Doguwa noted they seldom had opportunities to participate in party discussions and contribute to the APC’s development.

“In politics, if you fail to engage highly experienced politicians by providing them with political assignments, you are making them politically redundant and giving them room to struggle and engage themselves elsewhere,” the statement read according to Punch.

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Appeal Court upholds Ododo’s election as governor of Kogi State

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The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja has upheld the election of Usman Ododo as the Governor of Kogi state.

The appellate court on Thursday backed the verdict of the Kogi State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja which had affirmed Ododo’s election victory.

The tribunal had dismissed the petition filed by the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and its governorship candidate, Murtala Ajaka.

We previously reported that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had declared the candidate of the All Progressive Congress (APC), Usman Ododo, as the winner of the keenly contested November 11, 2023 Kogi State Governorship Election.

The state Returning Officer, Prof Johnson Urama, who is the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academics) of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, announced Ododo as the winner at 10:23 pm on Sunday, November 12, 2023.

According to the announced results, Ododo polled 446,237 votes, to beat his closest rival, Murtala Ajaka of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), who scored 259,052, while Dino Melaye of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) polled 46,362 votes.

However, the petitioners approached the tribunal seeking an overturn of the election results and an order directing INEC to conduct a fresh election in about five LGAs.

Ajaka’s legal team led by Joseph Okutepa(SAN) had challenged the poll on the grounds of alleged forgery, voting and non-compliance to the Electoral Act.

The petitioner called 25 witnesses from the five Local Government Areas including Adavi, and Okene LGAs, and they challenged the results from the disputed polling units.

The petitioners also alleged that over-voting occurred in 5 local government areas of Kogi state including Adavi, Okene, Okeyi, and LGAs.

However, the APC legal team led by Emmanuel Ukala challenged the competence of the witnesses presented by the petitioner, adding that their statements were not filed along with the petition.

Counsel for INEC, Kanu Agabi (SAN) maintained that the witnesses presented by the petitioner were incompetent because “they are not the makers” of the electoral documents submitted as exhibits.

The tribunal dismissed the petition and affirmed the election of Ododo while holding that the petitioner could not prove that the governor presented a forged certificate, among other things.

Parties now approached the appeal court seeking favourable judgements for their clients.

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Ebonyi LP endorses Peter Obi as national party leader

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The Ebonyi State chapter of the Labour Party has adopted its presidential candidate in the 2023 general elections, Mr Peter Obi, as the party’s national leader.

The party stakeholders also adopted Fidelis Nwankwo as the leader of the party in the state.

The endorsement was part of the six-point communique issued at the end of an expanded stakeholders briefing held in Abakaliki on Sunday.

The communique was signed by the leaders of the Ebonyi South Senatorial Zone and Ebonyi North Senatorial Zone, Mr Linus Okorie, and Emmanuel Ezeh, respectively.

The communique was also endorsed by Mr Emmanuel Nwobo, Ebonyi Central Senatorial Zone, on behalf of members of the National Transition Committee and conveners of the expanded stakeholders briefing.

The meeting also solicited the support of its members ahead of the party’s planned National Convention and state congress to elect new leaders of the party.

The communique reads: members of the NTC of the party, Chief Fidelis Nwankwo, Okorie and Ezeh, convened the expanded stakeholders briefing with a view to informing members of the party’s, state chapter, about future political activities of the emerging Labour Party, including mobilisation of new members and registration.

“The members of the NTC also shared details of 2023 post-election reviews conducted by the national and state working committees at the party, which the stakeholders resolved as follows:

“That Mr Peter Obi, remains the National Leader of the Party.

“That Obi is bestowed with the appropriate competencies to salvage the Nigerian economy from its declining fortunes.

“Stakeholders observed the need to support the National Transition Committee in its bid to conduct an all-inclusive state congress and national convention of the Labour Party, respectively.”

The stakeholders also urged feuding stakeholders of the Party to sheath their divisive swords in the overall interest of the party and its target to better the lots of Nigerians.

It added, “A united Labour Party in the state shall pursue with vigour the conversion and registration of new members into the party at the right and designated time and also set a target of 400,000 members.

“Also, in a motion moved by Chief Jerry Obasi, the former Chairman of the All Progressives Grand Alliance and deputy governorship candidate of the APGA in the 2015 general election in the state, adopted Nwankwo as leader of the party in the state.

“Seconded by Mr Sylvester Nwankwo, former House of Assembly member in the state, with stakeholders unanimously adopting Nwankwo as leader of the state party.”

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