NMA Confirms Release Of Two Doctors Kidnapped In Cross River

NMA logo

 

The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Cross River State Chapter has confirmed the release of two of their kidnapped members.

NMA state chairman in Cross River, Felix Archibong, confirmed the release to news men in Calabar, the state capital on Tuesday.

He commended Governor Ben Ayade and security agencies for their efforts in seeing that their members were released.

The released doctors are Joshua Omini, a staff of General Hospital in Ugep community, in the Yakurr Local Government Area of the state, and Ekpo Egong of General Hospital, Calabar.

The NMA chairman said the two medical doctors were released alongside two others in the early hours of the day unhurt through the effort of the state government.

The state Commissioner of Police, Sule Balarabe, had yet to respond to calls and text messages sent to him if arrests were made in the process of regaining the freedom of the doctors.

READ ALSO: Gunmen Kidnap Akeredolu’s Ex-Aide In Ondo

The NMA had over the weekend raised the alarm on the kidnap of the doctors in the Akampa Local Government Area of the state.

Their abduction came a few days after nine persons were kidnapped in same axis which left many in fear, especially as the axis is the only exit and entry route to the state capital by land.

Ayade To Host Kano, Bauchi Govs, Marwa In Calabar

Ayade Mourns Cross River Lawmaker Nkoro Egbung
Cross River State Governor, Ben Ayade (file)

 

Cross River State Governor, Professor Ben Ayade, would next Friday play host to his Kano and Bauchi States counterparts.

While in the state, Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State would grace the 2022 Cross River Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) media summit as Chairman of the occasion and is also expected to unveil the proposed NUJ veteran plaza.

A statement by the planning committee of the media week stated that Bauchi State Governor, Bala Muhammed, would be the special guest of honour.

It also pointed out that other dignitaries expected at the occasion are the former military governor of Lagos State and Chairman/Chief Executive of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) Brig. Gen. Muhammed Buba Marwa and the Action Alliance presidential candidate Major Hamza Al Mustapha would be guests of honour.

The chairman of the 2022 Cross River Media week planning committee, Comrade Sam Nsor, also indicated that the keynote speaker at the event would be Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN, while a former Inspector General of Police, Solomon Arase and a retired Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Resident Electoral Commissioner Barr. Mike Igini would be the guest lecturers.

The Chairman of the state NUJ, Comrade Nsa Gill stated that the theme for the week-long event “2023 General Elections, The Nigeria Project and the Media” was carefully selected to bring into focus the upcoming general election.

READ ALSOAtiku And Okowa Visit Jonathan, Discuss ‘Plans To Recover Nigeria’

Nsa pointed out that the media week which is an annual event would kick-start with a city walk by members along major streets of the Calabar metropolis to create awareness.

He also indicated that the occasion would provide the enabling environment for the cross-fertilization of ideas among security experts, captains of industries, politicians and media practitioners as well as propound a road map for the successful conduct of the 2023 general elections.

According to him, other events outlined for the week to include medical outreach, visit to veterans of the profession and a town hall meeting by governorship candidates of the various political parties In the state tagged” MEET THE PRESS”.

Wike Hosts Cross River PDP Candidates, Donates 25 Buses For Campaigns

A file photo of Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike.

 

Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, on Wednesday night, hosted Peoples Democratic Party’s candidates for the State and National Assembly elections in Cross Rivers State.

The delegation which include chairmen of the party in the various local government areas is led by the Cross River Governorship Candidate of the party, Senator Sandy Onor.

In his speech, Onor said, “Today is historic. Wike is a trail blazer for justice and equity. He speaks the truth fearlessly.”

He said the candidates were in Rivers to “thank Wike for being a good friend when Governor Ben Ayade defected to the All Progressives Congress”.

“Wike has defended us and protected us from intimidation. He has made PDP a party to beat in Cross River.

[READ ALSO] Electoral Act: Jega Urges INEC To Resist Pressure By Politicians

“There is nothing that Wike is asking for that is personal. All he seeks for is justice,” he noted.

Onor also announced that Wike donated 25 brand new buses for the campaigns in Cross River State.

Cross River North: Ayade Did Not Participate In APC Senatorial Primary – Aide

A file photo of Cross River State Governor, Professor Ben Ayade. Twitter: @senatorbenayade

 

Christian Ita, the Special Adviser, Media and Publicity to the Cross River State Governor, Professor Ben Ayade, on Saturday said his principal did not participate in the purported parallel All Progressives Congress senatorial primary in the state.

There have been media reports that Ayade lost his bid to proceed to the Senate to represent Cross River North, after coming a distant third in the party’s primary.

But in a statement, Ita said the governor remains a presidential aspirant under the ruling party and did not involve himself in the Cross River North senatorial district primary election, contrary to rumours.

According to him, Governor Ayade is committed to his presidential ambition and will test his popularity with other aspirants during next month’s APC presidential primary.

READ ALSO: With PDP, Nigeria Shall Rise Again – Ayu

“The attention of the Cross River state government has been drawn to a video circulating in cyberspace purporting to be a parallel All Progressives Congress (APC) senatorial primaries for Northern Cross River where His Excellency, Professor Ben Ayade was listed as a participant,” the statement read.

“For the avoidance of doubt, we hereby state clearly that Governor Ayade did not take part in any senatorial primaries.

“His Excellency is a presidential aspirant who will be taking part in the APC presidential convention now slated for June 6.

“We make bold to say that the so-called parallel primary election as contained in the said video was at best a poorly scripted skit comedy shot by three persons sitting in a room.

“The sham video is indeed a joke taken too far. It was a vapid, infantile but failed attempt at manipulation as the clowns behind it tragically forgot to also manufacture ballot boxes, delegates, observers, and APC panel members.

“It was a handiwork of political desperadoes who are out to embarrass the governor. We wish to assure APC members and supporters, particularly in Northern Cross River, that there was no parallel Senatorial primaries in the district.

“The only valid and recognised senatorial primaries that took place in Ogoja and which was won by the former Chief of Staff to the Governor, Hon Martin Orim and which does not have Ayade on the ballot, was monitored by the INEC and representatives from APC’s National Secretariat. The purported video suggesting a parallel exercise should therefore be ignored.”

Cross River North: Ayade’s Ex-Chief Of Staff Orim Wins APC Senatorial Primary

Martins Orim, the former Chief of Staff to Cross River State Governor, Professor Ben Ayade has won the APC primary election for the Northern Senatorial District of the state.

 

Martins Orim, the former Chief of Staff to Cross River State Governor, Professor Ben Ayade, has been declared winner of the All Progressives Congress (APC) primary election for the Northern Senatorial District of the state.

The primary was concluded on Saturday at the Ogoja Local Government Area secretariat.

Orim defeated Barrister Cecilia Adams, who was absent, to win the ticket. She got zero votes while Orim had 254.

READ ALSO: Cross River North: Ayade Did Not Participate In APC Senatorial Primary – Aide

He was declared the winner by the Secretary of the Electoral Panel of the party, Barrister Sameona Jabo, after fulfilling the requirements by winning the highest number of valid votes in the primary election.

Orim was in company of the member Representing Bekwarra/Obudu/Obanliku Federal Constituency of Cross River State in the House of Representatives, Legor Idagbo.

He thanked the delegates for the confidence reposed in him and promised to work with the party to ensure victory at the general elections.

2023: Groups Present APC Presidential Forms To Ayade, Sylva

A photo combination of Cross Rivers State Governor, Ben Ayade and Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva.
A photo combination of Cross Rivers State Governor, Ben Ayade and Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva.

 

Groups of supporters have presented the All Progressives Congress’ nomination and expression of interest forms to Cross River State Governor, Ben Ayade and Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva.

The duo become the latest APC members who have had the N100m forms purchased on their behalf by supporters.

Governor Ayade had in late April declared to run for President, saying he has received approval from President Muhammadu Buhari.

READ ALSO: Group Purchases APC Presidential Forms For Senate President Lawan

Cross River State Governor Ben Ayade speaks in Abuja on May 9, 2022, after accepting APC nomination and expression of interest forms.
Cross River State Governor Ben Ayade speaks in Abuja on May 9, 2022, after accepting APC nomination and expression of interest forms.

 

Speaking in Abuja on Monday while accepting the forms, Ayade said he has governed Cross Rivers well and can do the same for the entire country.

Minister Sylva, on the other hand, is yet to publicly signal his intention to run for President.

Cost of forms

The N100m cost of the APC presidential forms has attracted scrutiny from many Nigerians.

However, the relatively high cost has not slowed sales as the trend of supporters picking up the forms for their preferred candidates continue.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo is one of the high-profile candidates in the race who have purchased the forms.

Others include APC Chieftain, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, and Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emeliefe.

National Chairman of the APC, Abdullahi Adamu, has said the revenues garnered from the sale of forms will help the party campaign effectively after it eventually settles for a candidate.

‘It Could Have Been Worse’: Ayade Praises Buhari For ‘Improvements’ In Security

Insecurity in Nigeria could have worsened if not for President Muhammadu Buhari, the Cross River State Governor Ben Ayade, has said. 

He spoke on Thursday when he featured as a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast show, Sunrise Daily.

“If President Buhari wasn’t president, the security condition of this country could have been worse but because you don’t trace the historical background of where we are, you won’t see what he has done,” the presidential aspirant said.

Nigerians, he argued, should not judge the President based on “isolated incidents”.

“President Muhammadu Buhari met a challenging situation, held it, and has been able to pull back the terrorist attacks and you judge him based on one occasional incident,” the All Progressives Congress (APC) chieftain said.

“If he was not there, it could have been worse than what he met. But he has made a lot of improvements.”


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Gov Ayade Says Insecurity Is Beyond Buhari, Calls For International Partnership

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‘An International Conspiracy’

Buhari and Ben Ayade during the latter’s visit to the President on 26 April 2022 at the State House in Abuja. Photo: [email protected]

 

As far as the governor is concerned, tackling insecurity is way beyond the Nigerian leader, maintaining that there is an international dimension to it.

“Security has a very unique international dimension. Nigeria has so many essential elements. The solid minerals have also become a source of challenge for the nation,” he explained.

“International community, locally and across the whole globe has an eye on us. Most of the time in Africa if you have such solid minerals it’s just an invitation for a crisis because they will keep you unsettled so that they can do the exploitation.”

The governor claimed there is a conspiracy to destabilise the country with insecurity and called for partnerships to halt the trend.

“There is an international conspiracy against this nation. Nigeria is extremely lucky by the capacity of the sitting president,” Ayade added.

“The security issue we have is a global issue that is focused on keeping Nigeria unstable. It is far beyond the capacity of Nigeria’s president, it must be something the nation must cry to the international community and seek sophisticated digital, no contact warfare to be able to address it,” the governor said.

2023: Buhari Has Given Me Nod To Join Presidential Race – Ayade

 

Cross River State Governor, Ben Ayade says he will contest for President in 2023 after President Muhammadu Buhari gave him approval.

The Governor met with President Buhari on Tuesday at the State House in Abuja.

Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Ayade said the President has asked him to make necessary consultations on the matter with his people while he watches.

READ ALSO: 2023: I’m Contesting In Order Not To Betray Nigerians – Osinbajo

On the potential moves of former President Goodluck Jonathan to join the APC and become the party’s flagbearer, Governor Ayade said he has respect for the former president, and that if it is the decision of the APC to field him as its candidate, he would support him.

“I believe that the party leadership will decide the appropriate candidate that will take our party to victory and so if you heard me well, I am just part of the family, absolutely loyal to the President, seeking to run for president and I’m running,” Ayade said.

“At any point in time the political leadership of my party, the APC, feels that President Jonathan is the appropriate candidate that will take us to victory, I will turn my support for him.

“I am never ever going to fight the establishment, the institution, the aristocracy, the spiritual vortex of which God has placed a leader on the country. I will never question the powers of the leader of the country.

“I have never played the politics of antagonism or fights. If you know how I became governor, I became governor by offering to support whoever the governor wants. By a stroke of luck, I became the candidate. The same token… I’m only here to support the President’s candidate and by a stroke of luck he said you too go there and join the race.”

Ayade Asks New Customary Appeal Court President To Be Apolitical

A file photo of Cross River State Governor, Professor Ben Ayade. Twitter: @senatorbenayade

 

Cross River State Governor, Professor Ben Ayade, has asked the new acting President of the Customary Court of Appeal in the state to be insensitive to politics, religion, and ethnicity in the discharge of his duties.

While stressing the need to live up to his responsibilities, he reminded Justice Sampson Anjor not to forget that he would give an account of his works to his Creator on the last day.

The governor gave the charge at the executive chamber of the Governor’s Office at the Government House in Calabar, at a ceremony where he swore in Justice Anjor as the new acting president of the Customary Court of Appeal.

“We are here gathered to celebrate Justice Anjor, who is being elevated to the acting President of Customary Court of Appeal, Cross River State,” he said.

“I charge you to be insensitive to politics, ethnicity, and religion but let God take control of your office so that you do that which is good before God.”

READ ALSO: Court Dismisses Suit To Declare Ayade’s Seat Vacant Over Defection

Governor Ayade also expressed confidence in the judge’s capacity to deliver on his mandate.

He urged him to look at the jurisprudence of the socio-cultural setting in dispensing customary justice and focus on peace and reconciliation.

“Sometimes it is not the office that defines you, it is you who defines the office,” the governor stated. “Therefore, I do not doubt your capacity to deliver because I know you are God-fearing and that you will be fair to all.

“I like to say that you are the custodian of our culture, our heritage and so, as you are elevated to this position, I urge you to look at the jurisprudence of our socio-cultural setting in dispensing customary justice. It is also important that you focus on peace and reconciliation; you must bring a lot of innovation.”

Justice Mbe, in his response, promised to be fair and just in the discharge of his duties, saying he would not take the opportunity for granted.

He also commended the governor for creating the court and broadening the frontiers of justice delivery by appointing more judges.

“I will ensure that this court that you created functions effectively,” the judge vowed. “The importance of the Customary Court of Appeal cannot be overemphasised; a court that deals with the grassroots. It is a specialised court, and we will dispense justice fairly.”

Court Dismisses Suit To Declare Ayade’s Seat Vacant Over Defection

A file photo of Cross River State Governor, Professor Ben Ayade. Twitter: @senatorbenayade

 

The Federal High Court in Abuja on Thursday dismissed a suit seeking to declare vacant the seat of Cross River State Governor Ben Ayade.

Justice Taiwo Taiwo cited the judgment of the Court of Appeal in Enugu that defection is not a ground for removal from office.

The Justice noted that the removal of a sitting governor and his deputy can only be done in line with constitutional provisions.

READ ALSO: ASUU Insists IPPIS Is Anti-University, Says No Going Back On 2009 Agreement

He added that under such provisions, the judiciary lacks the powers to remove an elected officer.

The Justice, however, agreed that defection from a winning party to a losing one is immoral and improper.

Ayade defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC) in May 2021 from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), citing the allure of working with President Muhammadu Buhari.

The PDP subsequently filed a suit against Ayade and his deputy, Professor Ivara Esu, arguing that they had abandoned the political party that sponsored their re-election.

Packed court

Justice Taiwo’s courtroom was packed on Thursday as lawyers and supporters trooped in to hear the judgment.

Similar suits have been filed against Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State, another PDP Governor who defected to the APC.

While a High Court has ruled in favour of the PDP in the Umahi case, other judgments have favoured the incumbents.

The High Court ruling in favour of the PDP is currently under appeal.

Court Shifts Judgement On Ayade’s Defection For Second Time In Two Weeks

A file photo of Cross River State Governor, Professor Ben Ayade. Twitter: @senatorbenayade

 

The Federal High Court in Abuja has again shifted judgment on a suit by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) against Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State and his deputy, Professor Ivara Esu.

Justice Taiwo Taiwo, who initially fixed March 25 to decide on the case, had now postponed the judgement in the suit until Wednesday, April 6.

He, however, fixed Thursday, April 7 for judgment after the counsels representing the parties in the suit addressed the court on the judgement of the Enugu Division of the Court of Appeal on the defection of Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi state.

A Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Emmanuel Ukala, represented the PDP while another SAN, Mike Ozekhome, represented Governor Ayade.

In his address, Ukala insisted that the subject matter, issues raised for determination, and interpretation of certain provisions of the Constitution in the cases of Umahi and Ayade, were completely different.

He said the prayers of Umahi at the Abakiliki High Court were different from what the PDP was seeking at the Federal High Court in Abuja.

READ ALSOSupreme Court Upholds De-Registration Of 22 Political Parties By INEC

Ozekhome, on his part, informed the court that the case decided at the Court of Appeal in Enugu Division was the same as the instant case at the Federal High Court in Abuja.

He posited that considering the principle of stare decisis, the trial court was bound by law to follow the precedence set by the appellate court in Enugu.

The SAN also cited the Supreme Court judgment in the case of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and former President Olusegun Obasanjo, when the former defected from the PDP to the Action Congress of Nigeria, which went in favour of Atiku.

In its prayers, the PDP had asked the court to sack both Ayade and Esu, contending that the duo, having abandoned the political party that sponsored their re-election, ought to vacate their respective offices.

It also among others sought a declaration that votes at the election and other elections were won by political parties, and not the candidate or the candidates sponsored at the election by the political parties.

The main opposition party predicated its position on the provisions of Section 221 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), and the democratic system of governance operated in Nigeria.

It prayed the court to order the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to immediately receive the names of its candidates to replace Ayade and Esu, from it.

The party explained that this became necessary to utilise the lawful votes cast in favour of the plaintiff.

In the alternative, it asked the court to direct the first defendant (INEC) to hold a governorship election in Cross River State, in accordance with Section 177 of the Constitution.

The PDP, however, wants the third and fourth defendants (Ayada and Esu) to be excluded from the poll, stressing that they have been disqualified from participating in the election.

Defection: Court Postpones Judgement On PDP’s Request To Sack Ayade Till April 6

A file photo of Cross River State Governor, Professor Ben Ayade. Twitter: @senatorbenayade

 

The Federal High Court in Abuja has postponed its judgement on the suit filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) seeking to declare the seat of the Cross River State Governor, Professor Ben Ayade, and his deputy, Ivara Esu, vacant.

The main opposition party filed the suit following the defection of the duo to the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC).

Justice Taiwo Taiwo, who initially fixed Friday to decide on the case, has now postponed the judgement in the suit until April 6.

Although the court did not adduce any reason why it postponed the verdict, it notified the parties about the new date through the cause list.

READ ALSO: Supreme Court Upholds De-Registration Of 22 Political Parties By INEC

Justice Taiwo had in a judgement he delivered on Monday sacked 20 lawmakers from Cross River following their defection from the PDP to the APC.

The affected lawmakers comprised two members of the House federal lawmakers and 18 members of the Cross River State House of Assembly.

In its prayers, the PDP had asked the court to sack both Ayade and Esu, contending that the duo, having abandoned the political party that sponsored their re-election, ought to vacate their respective offices.

It also among others sought a declaration that votes at the election and other elections were won by political parties, and not the candidate or the candidates sponsored at the election by the political parties.

The main opposition party predicated its position on the provisions of Section 221 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), and the democratic system of governance operated in Nigeria.

It prayed the court to order the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to immediately receive the names of its candidates to replace Ayade and Esu, from it.

The party explained that this became necessary to utilise the lawful votes cast in favour of the plaintiff.

In the alternative, it asked the court to direct the first defendant (INEC) to hold a governorship election in Cross River State, in accordance with Section 177 of the Constitution.

The PDP, however, wants the third and fourth defendants (Ayada and Esu) to be excluded from the poll, stressing that they have been disqualified from participating in the election.