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Ondo 2024: Adhere to electoral laws, INEC tells parties

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The Independent National Electoral Commission has disclosed that no fewer than 19 political parties have notified the commission about the conduct of their primaries for the governorship election in the state.

The commission had earlier fixed April for the party primaries, while fixing November 16, 2024 for the main governorship election in the state.

The INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner in the state, Mrs Oluwatoyin Babalola disclosed this during a meeting with the representatives of political parties at the commission’s office in Akure, on Thursday.

According to him, the political parties that have notified the commission include the All Progressives Congress, Peoples Democratic Party, the Accord Party, the Action Alliance, the African Action Congress, the African Democratic Congress, the African Democratic Party, and the All Progressives Grand Alliance.

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Others are the Allied Peoples Movement, the Action Peoples Party, the Boot Party, the Labour Party, the New Nigeria Peoples Party, the National Rescue Movement, the Peoples Redemption Party, the Social Democratic Party, the Youth Party, the Young Progressives Party and the Zenith Labour Party.

The REC said, “The commission received notification from the political parties for the conduct of primaries for the governorship election exercise billed to commence from April 6 to 27.”

“ The meeting is an opportunity to engage with the political parties on the upcoming party primaries” which represented a critical juncture in the democratic journey in the state. She stressed the role of political parties in ensuring the success and integrity of the process cannot be overemphasized.

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Babalola urged all parties to adhere strictly to their guidelines, rules, and regulations set forth in their constitutions as well all electoral laws in conduct of their primaries next month.

Meanwhile, as the APC in Ondo State prepares for its primary election next month, a group known as the Omoluabi Coalition Group has advised the party to thoroughly screen the aspirants and ensure that the most qualified among them is picked as the candidate of the party for the November 16 governorship election.

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The Director General of the Omoluabi Coalition Group, Comrade Tunji Balogun, gave the advice while speaking in Akure, the state capital.

He, however, recommended that one of the aspirants, Chief Olusola Oke, was the best among the aspirants, saying the coalition had screened all the aspirants and checked their background information before making decisions to support Chief Oke.

He described the aspirant as a grassroots politician who understood the state more than others contestants.

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Breaking: Former Imo Governor, Emeka Ihedioha resigns from PDP

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The immediate past Governor of Imo State, Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha has resigned his membership from the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).

Ihedioha announced his resignation in a letter signed and dated 23th April, 2024, and sent to the PDP chairman of his ward in Mbutu, Aboh Mbaise.

Ihedioha who is also a former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives said he decided to leave PDP because “the party has taken on a path that is at variance with my personal beliefs.”

He added that PDP longer “carry out internal reforms, enforce its own rules or offer credible opposition to the ruling All Progressives Congress.”

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His letter reads:

“Since 1998, I have contributed my quota to the development and transformation of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) as one of the founding members. All these years, I have taken pride in the fact that the PDP is a party that will always look inward for internal reforms and provide credible leadership for the people, whether in power or outside power. I have had the benefit of serving and benefitting from the party at various levels.

“Regrettably, in recent times, the party has taken on a path that is at variance with my personal beliefs. Despite my attempt to offer counsel, the party is, sadly no longer able to carry out internal reforms, enforce its own rules or offer credible opposition to the ruling All Progressives Congress.

“It is in the light of the foregoing, that I am compelled to offer my resignation from the People’s Democratic Party effective immediately. While this decision was difficult to take, I, however, believe that it is the right one. Despite this resignation, I will always be available to offer my services towards the deepening of democracy and good governance in Nigeria”

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Edo 2024: LP kicks as INEC lists wrong deputy governorship candidate

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The Edo State chapter of Labour Party (LP), has rejected the final list of candidates for the 21 September governorship in the state, released by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

In the list published by INEC, Oluyinka Faith Alufohai is listed as the deputy governorship candidate of the party, instead of Alhaji Asamah Yusuf Kadiri (SAN).

It would be recalled that LP’s candidate for the election, Olumide Akpata, had earlier dropped Oluyinka Faith Alufohai for Alhaji Asamah Yusuf Kadiri, as his running mate.

The State chairman of the party, Kelly Ogbaloi, in a statement on Monday, appealed to the party members not to be disturbed by the development.

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He, however, absolved the electoral umpire of what he described as “simply a technical error.”

Ogbaloi noted that the state chapter of the party actually submitted the name of Alhaji Kadiri as its deputy governorship candidate, but was wrongly substituted at the national headquarters of the party due to “technical glitch”.

According to him, “Our team followed all necessary procedures and submitted Alhaji Kadiri’s name and credentials as the deputy governorship candidate, well within INEC’s stipulated window.

“Unfortunately, a technical glitch occurred at the end of the national headquarters of our party during the submission process, resulting in the incorrect name appearing on the final list.

“We are currently actively engaged with INEC officials to rectify this issue immediately and our team has provided all requisite documentation demonstrating Alhaji Kadiri’s valid nomination. We have been following-up with INEC diligently, to ensure it updates its candidate list with the accurate information.

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“We recognise the anxiety this error may cause, but urge our supporters to remain calm and steadfast in their commitment to our party’s vision.

“Your unwavering support and activism have been invaluable thus far, and we need you to continue spreading awareness of our platform and championing the positive change we represent.

“The Labour Party is determined to contest the forthcoming September 21, 2024, Edo State Governorship elections fairly and transparently. We should not allow this minor administrative hurdle to dampen our confidence or impede our momentum.

“Together, we shall overcome any obstacle, minor or major, as we continue our march towards restoring Edo State to its pride of place nationally.”

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Lawyer asks Kogi Assembly to begin impeachment process against Ododo

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A human rights lawyer, Deji Ajare, has urged the Speaker of the Kogi State House of Assembly, Umar Yusuf, to begin impeachment proceedings against the Kogi State Governor, Usman Ododo, over allegations of misconduct and abuse of office.

Ajare made the call in a letter addressed to the speaker, through the clerk of the House on Friday.

According to him, the use of the governor’s motorcade to ferry away the embattled former governor of the state, Yahaya Bello, amounted to the harbouring of a fugitive, obstruction of justice, and the misuse of state resources.

Theheute reported that the Governor had whisked away his predecessor at about 4:20 pm on Wednesday, after operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission besieged the latter’s Abuja residence, to arrest him in connection with an N80.2bn money laundering case.

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Following his escape, the EFCC declared the ex-governor wanted while the Nigeria Immigration Service placed him on its watchlist. The Inspector General of Police also has directed the withdrawal of all Police units attached to the former Governor.

Ajare, in his letter, also called on the assembly to cooperate with the EFCC and ensure all individuals involved are available for questioning and investigations.

“In the light of the above allegations and the inherent potential breaches of statutory duties imposed by the Constitution and other relevant laws of our country, these actions, if proven true, amount to gross misconduct and warrant immediate investigation and commencement of impeachment proceedings.

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“I hereby call on the Kogi State House of Assembly under your leadership to initiate a thorough inquiry into these allegations by Section 188 of the Nigerian Constitution, to ascertain the truth and to hold Governor Usman Ododo accountable if the allegations are found to be true.

“I also urge the Kogi State House of Assembly to cooperate with national law enforcement agencies, including the EFCC, to ensure all individuals involved are available for questioning and to facilitate a smooth investigation”, he said.

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He further implored the House of Assembly to take swift and decisive actions, noting the effect of the “misgovernance implied in these allegations” on the people of the state.

“I thank you as I look forward to your urgent attention to this issue. I trust in your commitment to uphold the Constitution and the laws of our land for the betterment of our state and its people”, the letter also read.

However, the Chief Press Secretary to the Speaker of the House of Assembly, Mohammed Yabagi, who spoke to our correspondent via telephone, said neither the Clerk nor the Speaker had received such a letter.

Yabagi added that the House had not seen any valid reasons to begin impeachment processe against the governor and that there was no evidence that the governor prevented security agencies from arresting Yahaya Bello.

“Anybody in the public has their perception of the matter. But the House has not seen any reason, none of the members of the House were there, and none of them saw the governor trying to prevent the security agencies from doing their job. As far as the Assembly is concerned, the Assembly supports all constitutionally recognised security agencies. We have not seen any reason why the House should commence any impeachment processes.

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“For context, as far as the Executive is concerned, the immediate past governor was not even at his Abuja residence, and there’s no concrete evidence that the Executive Governor prevented them from doing their constitutionally recognised job. The House is yet to receive such a letter, and the Speaker is yet to have any knowledge of such a letter,” he said.

Meanwhile, all efforts to reach the Special Adviser on Media to the Kogi State Governor, Ismaila Isah, proved abortive, as his number was switched off.

However, the Kogi State Commissioner for Information, Kingsley Fanwo, debunked reports that Ododo helped Bello, beat security operatives who wanted to arrest him.

Fanwo in an interview with Channels TV on Thursday said the governor was committed to upholding the laws of the country, including respecting its legal processes.

“Governor Ododo did not assist in Bello’s departure from his residence; the EFCC’s claims are misinformation aimed at furthering their objectives. Bello is not evading anyone; the existing court injunction protects his fundamental rights,” he said.

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