The former governor of Delta State, Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan, has reacted to the judgement of the National Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal which sacked Mr James Manager as the senator representing Delta South senatorial district.
Shortly after the Tribunal’s ruling on Saturday, Uduaghan who contested the election on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) lauded the judgement, although he said he would appeal the judgement.
A three-man panel led by Justice Chioma Onyeabor had nullified the victory of Senator Manager of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the February 23 poll over non-compliance with electoral guidelines in some parts of the district where the election held.
It, however, ordered the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct a fresh election for Delta South senatorial district within 90 days.
Reacting in a statement by his media assistant Monoyo Edon, Uduaghan vowed insisted that he won the election and vowed to challenge the Tribunal’s judgment at the Court of Appeal.
He said, “While we are happy with the Tribunal’s judgement which affirmed my party’s position that the election was rigged and characterised with electoral over voting, we are not entirely satisfied with the judgement as the Tribunal ought to have deducted the excess illegal votes and declared me and my party rightful winner of the election.”
“In view of this, we shall be challenging the Tribunal’s judgement at the appeal court to declare us as the outright winner of the February 23rd, 2019 National Assembly Election for Delta South Senatorial District,” the former governor added.
He thanked the people of Delta South and his supporters who stood by him, with an assurance that they would get their deserved victory at the appeal court.
Uduaghan had approached the Tribunal seeking the nullification of the election over gross electoral malpractices during the February 23 poll.
In a petition filed by his lawyer, Thomson Okpoko, the former governor told the Tribunal that the National Assembly poll in Delta South senatorial district was marred by massive rigging and other irregularities.
He, therefore, prayed the panel to cancel the election and order a fresh election.
In her ruling, Justice Onyeabor held that the petitioners were able to prove their claims of over-voting in the six local government areas under contention.
Counsel to Senator Manager, Selekowei Larry, in his reaction said his client would appeal the judgement of the Tribunal.
He made the announcement on Wednesday in a statement entitled ‘Moving On To The Bigger Playing Field’.
Uduaghan decried that the toughest challenge for any leader in the Niger Delta region has been the issue of peace and security since 1997.
He said, “For over 12 years, I was deeply involved in the management of the issues of the region, first as Secretary to State Government (SSG), and then as governor of Delta State for eight years.”
“Strategically, we had engagement as our major tool. This involved government officials, with me at the forefront (sometimes personally going into the creeks without security at nocturnal hours), community leaders, traditional rulers, religious leaders, our youths, retired military officers, activists, etc,” the former governor added.
According to him, they also ensured that the Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (DESOPADEC) was part of the engagement process.
Among other reasons, Dr Uduaghan explained that he decided to join the ruling party because of the Muhammadu Buhari administration’s effort in tackling the crisis in the region.
He commended the President for going with the option of engaging stakeholders in the Niger Delta to address the issues rather than the use of force.
The former governor believes this approach by the APC led Federal Government has pointed in “a direction that is at once progressive and developmental.”
“Since the inception of the current All Progressives Congress (APC) administration at the federal level, there has been an encouraging interest and activities by President Muhammadu Buhari to bring a permanent solution to the Niger Delta crisis,” he said.
Uduaghan added, “Topmost in these activities are the engagement processes. Rather than using the military to harass our people, the Buhari administration has embarked on various engagement processes that have led to agreements and brought hope to the people of the Niger Delta.”
In this statement entitled ‘Moving On To The Bigger Playing Field’, former Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta State has explained why he defected from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
Read the full text below;
The toughest challenge for any leader in the Niger Delta since 1997 has been the issue of Peace and Security.
For over 12 years, I was deeply involved in the management of the issues of the region, first as Secretary to State Government, SSG, and then as Governor of Delta State for 8 years.
Strategically, we had ENGAGEMENT as our major tool. This involved government officials, with me in the forefront (sometimes personally going into the creeks without security at nocturnal hours), community leaders, traditional rulers, religious leaders, our youths, retired military officers, activists, etc. Of course, ensuring that Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission, DESOPADEC, was active was also part of the engagement process.
ENCOURAGING INTERESTS, ACTIVITIES
Since the inception of the current All Progressives Congress, APC, the administration at the federal level, there has been an encouraging interest and activities by President Muhammadu Buhari to bring a permanent solution to the Niger Delta crisis. This has pointed in a direction that is at once progressive and developmental.
Topmost in these activities are the ENGAGEMENT PROCESSES. Rather than using the military to harass our people, the Buhari administration has embarked on various engagement processes that have led to agreements and brought hope to the people of the Niger Delta.
In the last years, Mr President has personally engaged several regional leaders and youths. Senior officials of his administration also engaged many Niger Delta leaders and youths. Very significant is that Mr President mandated the Vice President Prof Yemi Osibajo SAN, to visit virtually all the oil-producing states, engaging various stakeholders. This is unprecedented in the history of the region. Such engagement processes have brought some measure of peace in the Niger Delta. Things can only get better.
Beyond the engagement processes, however, the Buhari administration has embarked on some infrastructural and human capital development activities in the region. In Delta State, the opening of a Maritime University; the setting up of a steering committee for the EPZ (GAS CITY), the plan for a deep sea port, the dredging of the Escravos-Warri River; the opening of the railway line to Delta Steel Company, the soon to be flagged off, by Mr. President, the Omadino-Escravos Road that will pass through many riverine communities; the various road construction works by the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), the various TCN projects across the State are some of the positive activities in the region.
There are also various human capital development programmes especially the school feeding and the “social security net” that is making 5,000 Naira available to the poor, the continuation of the YouWin programme, the various SME programmes, and several other projects across the region have brought hope to the people.
Indeed, once Mr President was able to set his priorities pursuant to creating an environment for peace in the region, it became incumbent on every well-meaning Niger Deltan and Nigerian to assist the process of building an economically prosperous nation.
In this era of partisan politics, it is necessary for the people of the Niger Delta, and Delta State, in particular, to identify more with the Federal Government led by the APC. By so doing, we can push some of the agreements between our leaders and the Federal Government through, and also engage the government to do more. Politics is about interests.
The Niger Delta is a major area of interest for me because I staked my life going into the creeks severally without security and sometimes coming back at night negotiating peace. I will, therefore, give the strongest support to any President that shows commitment in the affairs of the Niger Delta.
I call on, and enjoin, other well-meaning leaders in the region, who have very useful contributions to make, to come on board and join hands in helping this Federal Government to pursue a robust development agenda that would uplift our people. Whatever milestone that appears not to have been achieved yet is not for lack of efforts. Joining hands with and supporting the process will lead to a faster delivery of expectations.
It is in the pursuit of this noble objective that I’m offering myself to help drive a process that would give the lives of our people in the Niger Delta more meaning. President Muhammadu Buhari needs people who will join hands with him to uplift our people. From my political experience, you have to be well represented and actively so at the “boardroom” when decisions are being taken. Delta State must be well represented. Niger Delta must be well represented.
It is noteworthy to state that some organisations have been deeply involved in efforts to develop the Niger Delta and can always be relied on to collaborate with our President. It is also noteworthy to add that some previous administrations made significant efforts to develop the region.
The current administration made such a significant impact in spite of the fact that apart from Edo State, President Buhari did not score the required 25% in the entire Niger Delta in the election that brought him into government in 2015.
This speaks volume of his genuineness to uplift the Niger Delta. Such an administration should be encouraged by the people of the Niger Delta. We can never be sure of the genuineness of another person who becomes the President.
I have, therefore, after a series of consultations and prayers, taken the decision to leave the PDP and join the APC. In doing this, I want to thank the numerous leaders, supporters and interest groups that have been urging me to remain in PDP. I am happy that after explaining some of the deeper issues to you, some of you that are politicians have agreed to join the APC in the near future. So I am going into APC as “John the Baptist” to the numerous Deltans that are coming in, soon – very soon.
Former Governor of Delta State, Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan has joined his successor, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, to commission projects at Agbor, Ika South Local Government Area of the state.
One of the projects is the commissioning of upgraded facilities at Ogbemudein Model Secondary School, Agbor, which was performed by Dr Uduaghan.
Governor Okowa recalled that the project was started by former Governor Uduaghan’s administration.
He thanked the former Governor for leaving the United Kingdom to attend the commissioning exercise and gave the assurance that he would consolidate on the projects initiated by his predecessors,
The ex-Governor, in return eulogized Governor Okowa for what he called giant achievements within one year of being in office and also commended the Governor for inviting him to commission projects as part of activities to mark his one year in office.
Governor Okowa promised that his administration would not compromise on the delivery of projects to specifications and at the stipulated time.
The Obi of Agbor, HRM Keagbokuzi I, who spoke through Dr Emmanuel Tibi, said that they were excited that Governor Okowa had such numerous projects to commission in his Kingdom within his one year in office.
The Commissioner for Basic and Secondary Education in the state, Mr Chiedu Ebie, noted that 12 of such legacy projects were embarked upon by the previous administration and the present administration has duly completed and put them to use.
Okowa had earlier inspected the construction of Alisimie-Ozanogogo Road as well as the dualization of Old Lagos-Agbor Road, and also commissioned Orikeze Street, with a spur to Orikeze Close, Agbor, Upper Imudia/Dr Whyte Streets, Agbor.
The Governor of Delta State, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, has commenced moves to pull the state government out from its current abysmal 636 billion Naira (about $3.180 million) indebtedness in the face of the country’s economic challenges.
While addressing members of the State House of Assembly in Asaba on the financial status of the State, Governor Okowa said that it became necessary to let the lawmakers know the state of affairs in order to put the Legislature on the same page with the Executive.
The Governor told the House that the 2015 budget of 409 billion Naira presented by the Emmanuel Uduaghan administration had to be reviewed because it was no longer realistic, considering the current realities.
Giving a breakdown of the state’s indebtedness, Governor Okowa hinted that the Federal Allocation had dipped significantly, dipping to just 8.03 billion Naira, as received in May 2015, from a high of over 20 billion Naira in previous years.
He said the state was currently grappling with a revenue bond and indebtedness to commercial banks totalling 98.62 billion Naira (principal sum), while outstanding contractual obligation was 538.6 billion Naira.
Being Governor Okowa’s first time appearance to the chambers of the 6th Delta State House of Assembly, the members were keen to listen to his analysis.
Governor Okowa stressed that the Legislature and the Executive must be ready to make the necessary sacrifices to reduce the cost of governance to put the state on the path of economic recovery.
Some members of the state Assembly commended the efforts of the Governor.
Former Super Eagles captain, Austin ‘Jay-Jay’ Okocha, says Nigerian Premier League side, Warri Wolves is not under the Delta State Football Association’s care.
Okocha was on Sunday Sports on Channels Television to discuss football development in Nigeria and the challenges faced by the Warri club.
Austin Okocha, who is also the Delta State Football Association Chairman, while clarifying the ownership of the club, stated that the Delta State Sports Commission was directly responsible for Warri Wolves.
He identified funding as one of the major challenges of the club but added that the Delta State Governor, Emmanuel Uduaghan, has promised to sort the situation out. He noted that there has been some delay in the approval of their fund by the House of Assembly.
JJ also spoke about his post as the Chairman of the Delta State FA, which he said was driven by his desire to give back to the society.
“If I don’t give back to the community, it would be a great loss after spending so many years in Europe gathering experience.
“My focus is now on grassroots, to see if I can bring back the grassroots football in Delta State, because the future belongs to the youth,” he said.
Delta State is being represented at the Channels National Kids Cup competition for primary schools across the country and Okocha also promised that he would do his best to assist the kids and be there for them.
Nigeria may be set for a major gas revolution with the flag off of the Gas Industrial Park in Delta State, South South Nigeria.
This indication was given by the President Jonathan on Thursday while performing the groundbreaking of the project which he believes would generate much needed revenue for the country when it starts functioning.
Speaking at the ceremony, President Goodluck Jonathan said that the park would be designated a free trade zone, and is expected to generate large number of jobs for all Nigerians.
President Jonathan expressed optimism that the project, which is believed will be Africa’s biggest gas industrial hub, would be executed to international standard and attract many gas related industries from across the world.
The park is expected to consist of industries, which would produce fertilizers, petrochemicals, methanol and other related products.
Thursday’s groundbreaking comes after several attempts to kick-off the project were frustrated as a result of the tussle between the Ijaw and Itshekiri over the ownership of the land on which the facility is located.
Present at the ceremony were traditional rulers, the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Allison-Maduekwe; Minister of Trade and Investment, Olusegun Aganga; Delta State Governor, Emmanuel Uduaghan, top government functionaries and member of the community.
Delta State Governor, Emmanuel Uduaghan on Wednesday commissioned 64 road projects in Asaba, the state capital, with an assurance that more projects will be commissioned before the end of his tenure.
During the commissioning exercise witnessed by a cross-section of Delta residents and representatives of the Asagba of Asaba, Governor Uduaghan observed that Asaba is a symbol of unity of Delta State, stressing that it deserved developmental projects which would encourage investors to come and do business in the state.
In his statement, he said the projects are not glamorous ones, noting that they are needed for the development of a befitting state capital.
“The location of Asaba is very strategic in the Delta Beyond Oil initiative which will take advantage of its closeness to Onitsha market and make Asaba another economic hub, the Governor said.”
Uduaghan assured residents of the state that the Asaba Specialist Hospital which had been remodeled and restructured, would be one of the best equipped hospitals in the country when completed, adding that the fly-over projects in Asaba and Warri would be commissioned in the next few weeks.
About N487 billion had been committed to Civil Engineering Infrastructural Development across the state in various spheres which includes 733 roads, 25 bridges, two flyovers and two Airport development projects in Asaba and Warri.
Over N270 billion is said to have been expended so far.
Nigeria’s President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, on Friday commissioned the Olurunsogo Power Plant in Ogun State, South West Nigeria.
The 750 megawatts power plant is part of the National Integrated Power Plants (NIPP) built by the three tiers of government and is expected to add capacity to power generation.
During the commissioning of the newly built power plant, the President said that this project was a testament to the success of the reforms in the sector.
“It is instructive to know that this power station, like all the other nine, have been privatised through the very transparent and successful bid process which was carried out last year.
“This process initiated the expanded engagement of the private sector in the operations and management of our power assets.
“The proceeds realised from the privatisation process will be reinvested to further strengthen the national transmission grid,” President Jonathan said.
The Minister of Power, Professor Chinedu Nebo, also explained, “Power generation in the country today has improved tremendously, with NIPP power stations playing an increasingly significant role in adding to the generation mix to Nigerians.
“Actual and available generation capacity has consistently hovered around 5,000 Megawatts with NIPP contribution rising daily as more units are synchronised into the system.”
Investments so far on the project stand at 650million dollars and 8.26billion dollars on other integrated power plants.
The Minister of State for Power, Mohammed Wakil, speaking to Channels Television, also expressed joy that the NIPP idea had become successful with other African countries, especially South Africa beginning to copy it.
The Governor of Delta State, Emmanuel Uduaghan, was also present at the commissioning.
The Olurunsogo Power Plant is already up and running.
Pensioners across Delta State under the aegis of Contributory Retirees Association have taken to the streets to complain of their outstanding payments and the neglect of the state in implementing the contribution pension scheme.
The pension protesters, led by Mr Eric Owviroro, took their protest to the State Pensions Board, State Secretariat and the State House of Assembly, where they were received by some government officials.
Speaking on behalf of the group, Mr Owviroro expressed the grievances of the pensioners to the Commissioner who came out to receive them.
The retirees, who gathered from different ministries in the state, defied the scorching sun, asking the state government to do the needful and address this issue.
Meanwhile, few days after the protest, the State Governor, Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan, called a meeting which held at the Unity Hall to discuss the issues of the pensioners’ protest, which he said had been politicized, describing their actions as mischievous.
He disclosed that the State Government pays out the sum of N1.2 billion monthly as pension to retired civil servants in the state and has contributed over N18 billion since 2007 when it started implementing the Contributory Pension Scheme.
Members of the Contributory Retirees Association, who were involved in the protest, were not present at the meeting as it was gathered that they refused to honor the invitation. Some persons, however, alleged that they were not actually invited.
Although the Chairman of Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP), Delta State chapter, Ogbueshi Robert Chukwuyem, claimed that the association was unaware of the protest, he apologized for the actions of the association, attributing their action to misinformation. He disclosed that plans were ongoing to integrate members of the association into the NUP as an umbrella body of all pensioners in Nigeria.
At the end of the meeting, it was revealed that the State Government has since the inception of the Contributory Pension Scheme made a counterpart contribution of over N18 billion, with workers contributing over N13 billion to the fund. The money is with the PFAs (Pension Fund Administrators).
Present in this meeting was the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Charles Adujah; Commissioner for Finance, Olorogun Kenneth Okpara, and Chairman, State Pension Board, Mrs Christian Siakpere, alongside the Accountant-General of the state.
The thanksgiving service marking the 99th birthday ceremony of the matriarch of the Awolowo dynasty and wife of the late sage and Premier of the defunct Western Region, Mrs Hannah Dideolu Awolowo, has been held in Ikenne, Ikenne Local Government Area of Ogun State, South West Nigeria.
The mood at the church service marking the 99th birthday ceremony of the Yeye Oodua, as she is fondly referred to by her admirers, was that of praise and worship, as Mama Awolowo sang and dance to God with the Ogun State Governor holding the microphone.
It was also a moment of joy for family members, children, grand children and great grand children, who referred to her as a mother, a wife of inestimable value, a community leader among other virtues.
The event, which held at the Efunyela Hall at the residence of the Awolowos was attended by dignitaries from all walks of life, including the Governor of Ogun State, Ibikunle Amosun and his wife; Delta State Governor, Emmanuel Uduaghan; former Lagos State Governor, Lateef Jakande and former Lagos Deputy Governor, Kofoworola Bucknor Akerele.
Also present were Senator Daisy Danjuma, Chief Ayo Adebanjo among other dignitaries.
To many of them, Mama HID Awolowo remains an icon of national development and a dependable mother and wife.
To the supporters of the late sage, Obafemi Awolowo and the Governor of Delta State, Mama Awolowo is a unique personality.
The Bishop of Ijebu South West and officiating minister at the service, Rt Rev Babatunde Ogunbanwo, having aligned with the words of praise and admiration from all the dignitaries, also seized the opportunity to call for purposeful leadership, as well as commitment to national development among leaders and politicians in the country.
President Goodluck Jonathan, had in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, on Monday, felicitated with Mama Awolowo.
Jonathan and his family joined millions of admirers of the late nationalist, renowned political leader and sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, in wishing his “Jewel of Inestimable Value” a very happy birthday celebrations.
The President prayed that God Almighty would grant Mrs Awolowo many more years of worthy service as the matriarch and moral compass of the Awolowo political dynasty which “continues to play a commendable role in national development and progress”.
Mama Awolowo was born on November 25, 1915 in Ikenne. She is blessed with five children, 20 grand children and 32 great grand children.