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Let Court Decide Nigeria’s President, Peter Obi tells US

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The presidential candidate of the Labour Party in the just concluded General Election, Peter Obi, has faulted the call made by the US Secretary of the State, Antony J. Blinken, to President-elect, Bola Tinubu, adding that he should let the court decide the legitimate president of Nigeria.

Obi said this in a series of tweets on his verified Twitter handle while reacting to the conversation between Tinubu and Blinken on Friday.

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Blinken had pledged stronger ties between the US and Nigeria during a 20-minute telephone call to Tinubu on Tuesday.

But the call had generated reactions from opposition camps, with the former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, describing the conversation between Blinken and Tinubu as “demoralising”.

“I am in disbelief that Secretary Antony Blinken called Tinubu, a contradiction to the publicly stated position of the US on Nigeria’s 2023 presidential election.

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“This is inconceivable considering that America, as the bastion of democracy, is well briefed on the sham election of February 25. To give legitimacy to the widely acknowledged fraudulent election in Nigeria can be demoralising to citizens who have hedged their bet on democracy and the sanctity of the ballot,’’ Atiku said on his Twitter handle on Wednesday.

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However, Obi charged the US to await the full resolution of the ongoing judicial processes before tacitly conferring legitimacy on any contending party.

He said, “There is still a lack of clarity on the basis of the US Secretary of State, Antony J. Blinken’s call to APC’s presidential candidate, Bola Ahmed Tinubu on May 16, 2023.

“It is thus of overarching importance that a beacon of democracy like the United States should not respond to political developments in Nigeria in a manner that faintly suggests taking sides.

“The final determination of the true winner of the election can only be made by the relevant courts of law,” he added.

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“The most fundamental tenet and core value of democracy is the rule of law.

“Nigeria’s democracy is founded on these principles which the American people hold dear. Without the risk of interfering in Nigeria’s domestic affairs, the U.S.-Nigeria relationship should be guided by the core values of democracy.

“Above all, Nigerians expect that the US responses to our affairs should be based on mutual respect, shared ideals, aspirations and interests which ought to transcend the considerations of any individual,” Obi wrote.

The former Anambra governor added that the “willful manipulation and falsification of the will of Nigerians as freely expressed during the February 25 elections cannot be overlooked by the true friends and partners of Nigeria.”

“More so, the issues in judicial contention imply far-reaching violations of both the Nigerian Electoral Law and the Nigerian Constitution,” he maintained.

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DSS, police, others take over C’River Assembly

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Officials of the Department of the State Services, the Dragon Squad, and personnel of the Nigeria Police Force have taken over the complex of the Cross River State Assembly.

This was following the impeachment of the Assembly speaker, Elvert Anyambem.

Theheute learnt that Ayambem was impeached over alleged gross misconduct and financial misappropriation.

The move to remove the speaker has been on for some months as members have been expressing displeasure with his conduct and operations of the assembly.

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As of Tuesday, over 20 members had signed up for his impeachment, and the motion for his removal was moved on the floor of the House by the member representing Calabar South 1, Effiong Ekarika, and seconded by Charles Omang.

After impeaching him, the mace was taken away by the members.

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I didn’t start governing fully until this February – Fubara

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Rivers State Governor, Siminalayi Fubara, said on Tuesday, that he did not start governing the state fully until February 2024.

Though he assumed office in May, Fubara said he did not start taking decisions until February this year – eight months after taking office.

He spoke while inaugurating Egbeda internal roads in the Emohua Local Government Area of the state.

He said since he started confronting governance fully in February, he had done remarkably well and earned the commendation of the people.

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Fubara did not give reasons why he did not start governing fully for the first eight months in office but he has been embroiled in a political crisis with his predecessor and estranged political godfather, Nyesom Wike.

Last October, he survived an impeachment plot by members of the Rivers State House of Assembly loyal to Wike.

On two occasions, members of his cabinet loyal to Wike had resigned while the state Assembly has also been factionalised fuelling crisis in the state.

Speaking on Tuesday, he assured the people of the state of quality projects.

Fubara said, “We are just starting but I assure you more attention. If in four months we can do this, and we are getting this level of applause, you can imagine what will happen when we do one year of our record time, two years of our own record time. Rivers State would have experienced something different from the regular governance.

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“I know why I said four months. We started full governance in February 2024. That was when we started taking decisions, when we started confronting governance. And I am proud to say that our people are happy with what we have done.

“What we want to do is to bring governance to our people, service delivery at record time, and in a cost-effective way.”

Fubara said he was operating a government of transparency, adding that there was a record of all his activities.

He said, “Everything that we are doing is in my white paper. I carry it along, so, there is no issue of any manipulation. Call me any day, anytime, it is there. Even the ones I did before this time, I still have all the records.

“If you call me any day, I will bring the records of all my activities in government, because I know that as a civil servant, what is most important is record-keeping so that if you are not there, and something happens, it is just for somebody to pick up the file and he will see the history.

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“That is how I am trained, and I have that in my mind before I do anything. So, I am not scared of anything. Anybody who calls me any day, anytime, I have my records to show. I have all the approvals to show that I acted based on approval and not personal decision,” he said.

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Wike, Fubara faceoff can destabilise Niger Delta – Jonathan

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Former President Goodluck Jonathan, on Monday, warned that the political crisis in Rivers State if not checked had the potential of destabilising not only the Niger Delta, but affecting other parts of the country.

Jonathan called on the Rivers State Governor, Siminalayi Fubara, and his predecessor and estranged political godfather, Nyesom Wike to sheathe their swords, put the past behind them and work together in the interest of the people of the state and the development of the land.

The former President stated this while performing the flag-off of the construction of the multi-billion naira Trans-Kalabari Road project at Nkpor-Aker Road Roundabout, Rumuolumeni community in the Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State on Monday.

Jonathan, who commended the efforts of some leaders who had intervened in the festering political crisis in Rivers State, also asked Wike and Fubara to cease fire so that the crisis would not snowball into a bigger regional and national challenge with greater consequences.

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Fubara and Wike had been at loggerheads since last October with members of the state House of Assembly loyal to Wike attempting to impeach Fubara.

Last week, Fubara alleged that Wike left huge debt behind, stating that he would set up a panel to probe Wike’s administration.

Wading in on Monday, Jonathan harped on the need for outgoing governors and incoming ones to work together in the collective interest of the citizenry of their states.

He said, “In this case of Rivers, Minister Nyesom Wike and Governor Siminalayi Fubara must work together for the development of the land and the people of Rivers State. The tension will not help us.

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“Rivers State is very critical in this country. Rivers State is the heart of the Niger Delta. If Rivers State is destabilised, the whole Niger Delta will be destabilised, and it will not end within the Niger Delta alone because I am from this part of the country, and I know how the system works. We don’t want any crisis in Rivers State.”

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The former President added, “Leaders must know that nobody takes 100 per cent. You must learn the principle of give and take. So, our political actors must work together if you love Rivers people.

“And, I join the leaders of Rivers State and well-meaning Nigerians who have been calling for a truce, who have been calling for a ceasefire, to also re-emphasise that there is a need for a ceasefire. Let us do things that will rather project this state positively.

“There is this common saying that when two elephants fight, the grass suffers. Both the governor and the minister are young people, very young people but they are powerful, and if you continue to fight, Rivers people will suffer. We don’t want Rivers people to suffer.

“So, we are calling on them to embrace each other. One hand does not clap. It takes two hands to clap. So, we want them to work together for the collective interest of the Rivers people.

“Whatever has happened, has passed. Let us move to a new phase for the interest of the State, for the interest of the Niger Delta, and indeed, the interest of the country.”

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Jonathan commended Fubara for his vision, commitment and courage to take up the construction of the multi-billion naira Trans-Kalabari Road project, which has numerous benefits of making movement easy, enhancing response time to security issues, promoting integration and economic growth.

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He stated, “When I was asked to come and flag off this project, I felt that it is only a person who has vision, and the commitment to develop his people that can do this.

“Your Excellency, let me commend you for your vision and the courage to start this project. In fact, it is not going to be a tea party. If you must develop a nation, region or state, there are critical elements that count. These are good road networks, airport, rail and water transport systems as well as security.”

Jonathan said that by providing these enablers, development would thrive in the state, and thanked the governor for daring to dream big and venture into projects that previous administrations had avoided.

In his speech, Fubara pledged his administration’s determination to deliver the Trans-Kalabari Road project to stimulate socio-economic activities in benefiting rural communities for the overall development of the State.

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The governor, therefore, advised the people to buy into the project and ensure that they ward off any form of sabotage that may delay or frustrate the timely completion of the project.

Fubara stated, “When we went for the campaign in the three local government areas of Kalabari Kingdom, we promised you that if you give us your votes and we succeed, we will embark on the Trans-Kalabari Road.
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“And that is what we have come to do today. We are a government, when we make promises, we keep our promises.

“I understand the cost. I understand the difficult terrain and I also understand that somebody has to take this step. If it is not done by me, then another person can also do it. But within our time, it is proper for us to make a statement to our people.

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“I don’t want to talk about politics on this project. I want us to look at the facts. It is a difficult terrain, it is going to be expensive, but we are equal to the task.”

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Fubara said his administration would not borrow money to fund the project.

He said, “We have saved and we are using our savings to pay off the cost, which we have already done the 30 per cent initial advance payment. So, the contractor has no reason to delay, but to start off the project immediately.”

While calling on the people to stand up against possible sabotage, Fubara said, “This road will bring development to our people. This road will bring economic advancement to our people. So, we need your buy-in. Your buy-in is not just standing here with us today, but giving all the necessary support.

“You need to also cooperate with the contractor, your leaders and chiefs so that there will be no sabotage. Let me also say it clearly, for those of you who are planning to sabotage it, it is your business. If we don’t do it in our own time, I wonder when you are going to get it.

“So, you need to buy-in into this project. The advantage of this project is making life easy for our people.”

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