Appeal Court Reaffirms Election Of Gov Udom

A file photo of Governor Udom Emmanuel.

 

The Court of Appeal sitting in Calabar over the Governorship election petition tribunal judgements have reaffirmed the election of Governor Udom Emmanuel as duly elected and winner of the March 9, 2019 election in Akwa Ibom State.

In a unanimous judgement on Wednesday in Calabar, the five-man Appeals Panel preceded over by Justice Adzira Gana Mshehia all concurred with the lead judgement read by Justice Tunde Awotoye.

The judgement which awarded a cost of N500, 000 against the appellant in favour of the only the first respondents, Governor Udom Emmanuel read in parts, “the appellants complained of irregularities in 756 polling units, they called a total of 43 witnesses. 17 of whom were polling agents. So in over 700 units complained about, the appellant did not lead any evidence of non-compliance alleged.”

“It’s at the polling units that votes are cast. The primary evidence of a result of an election is the results from the polling units. The evidence adduced was not substantial enough to affect the result of the election. Any proven irregularity and non-compliance has not been shown to be broad-based, and substantial enough across the polling units in Akwa Ibom State, in order to result in the nullification of the entire election.”

“It seems to be a fallacy, a delusion for the appellant to believe that the quality of the evidence, he adduced established non-compliance and substantially affected the result of the election.”

“The election had already been won and lost”. One of the judges asserted in his contributions. Adding that “when the return of an election is being questioned, on the grounds of non-compliance with the provisions of the electoral Act, it does not suffice to prove non- compliance without more, the petition we must be able to go further to prove that the non-compliance was substantial and affected the result of the election. The authorities in this regard are legion. The petitioner must not only assert but must be able to satisfy the court that the non-compliance affected the result to justify nullification.”

“The non-compliance has to include the polling units, wards and local government complained about. And where documentary evidence is relied upon, it has to be demonstrated in court through the testimony of witnesses”.

“The law stipulates that an election shall not be invalidated by the reason of non-compliance with the provisions of the electoral act if the election was conducted substantially in accordance with provisions of the Act. And that the non- compliance did not affect the result of the election, substantially – See section 139, sub section one of the Electoral Act”.

All the legal counsels representing both the appellants and the respondents in the case accepted the judgement and no indication was given if the APC governorship candidate will challenge the judgement to the Supreme Court.

Giving his reaction to the judgment, the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice in Akwa Ibom State, Uwemedimo Nwoko Esq, said the judgment “is exactly what was expected in the sense that by the time we went through the trial processes and procedures in the trial tribunals, it was very evident that the petitioners now appellant did not make any conscious efforts to prove their case. The case they brought to the court was full of contradictions and the evidence lacked legal principles.”

Counsel to Governor Udom Emmanuel of the Peoples’ Democratic Party, Assam Assam SAN told journalists that “the Court of Appeal dismissed the case and declared His Excellency Emmanuel Udom as the elected governor of Akwa Ibom state.

“The petitioners brought a petition based on allegations and brought documents that does not relate to the Court. The petitioner himself came to the court and told them that there was no election in Akwa Ibom state but brought votes registers and there was nobody in the court to testify the fact that those registers were not used in the election.”

“He could not tell the court how the results were when there was no election. No evidence adduced at all. When you look at all the documents tendered none of them was certified as provided for in the electoral Act.

The people were waiting for the judgement. It is their judgement. They voted for Gov. Udom in their numbers and they are very happy over this judgement”.

Gov. Emmanuel Approves Payment Of Owed Gratuities To Retirees

Gov. Emmanuel Promises More Support For Akwa-Ibom YouthsAs part of a resolve to make the welfare of Akwa Ibom workers priority, Governor Udom Emmanuel has approved the payment of a backlog of arrears of pension and gratuities to retired civil servants in the state.

Finance Commissioner, Nsikan Linus Nkan, disclosed this while interacting with labour union leaders under the auspices of the Unified Labour Movement, who called on him in his office.

Nkan said the approved payment of backlogs of arrears of promotions and gratuities are to be implemented in batches.

He explained that the state governor was committed to the well-being of retirees in recognition of their laudable contributions to the state’s development while in active service.

The Commissioner therefore urged workers to continue supporting Governor Emmanuel to actualise his lofty plans for the people of the state, following his worker-friendly disposition since assumption of office, despite dwindling resources.

In 2015, the governor cleared the backlog of retired civil servants’ gratuities dating between 2000 and 2011, a move which earned him commendation from the state leadership of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), as a worker-friendly governor.

Governor Emmanuel Denies Reports He Declared War On Buhari’s Appointees

Gov. Emmanuel Visits Akwa-Ibom PDP SecretariatAkwa Ibom State Government has faulted media reports claiming that Governor Udom Emmanuel has declared “war” on President Muhammadu Buhari’s political appointees from the state over disparaging utterances about the state.

A statement by a spokesman for the Governor, Ekerete Udoh, said: “The comments by the governor during the Solemn Assembly on January 2, 2017, were misinterpreted by a section of the media for reasons best known to the authors of the story.

“While we do not disagree or join issues with the fundamental points made by Governor Emmanuel during the Solemn Assembly as reported by the media on the need for those who have been privileged to hold political appointments across the board to show civility and respect for constituted authority, we wish to state that the statement was not meant to declare war on the President’s men as reported.

“Rather, the statement was meant to appeal to their higher ideals and not to traffic in base sentiments capable of puncturing the fabric of the society and causing disaffection in the process”.

The state government observed that any political appointee of the President who goes about inciting the people against the government of his or her home state, or making incendiary or disparaging remarks about the office and the person of the governor of a state, was doing a disservice to the President.

“We know the President will not tolerate such tendencies by his appointees.end of quote.”

Recognising the right of every one to criticise the government objectively, the statement added that “in all democracies, including the mature ones, people disagree on ideology and fundamental issues; however, there is always a zone of privacy where political gladiators don’t cross.

“In Akwa Ibom State, unfortunately, these lines have been breached and appointees from the other side of the political divide have taken it as an abiding article of faith to insult, demonize, call the governor names and manufacture all manner of lies and subterfuge against the governor of the state”.

The state government further pointed out that it was not saying the government should not be criticised, as it was expected in a democracy.

It, however, emphasised that doing so “with malice, with manifest hatred and insulting at random the person and character of a duly elected Governor cannot and will not be tolerated by government”.

Akwa Ibom PDP Passes Vote Of Confidence On Gov. Emmanuel

Akwa Ibom PDP Passes Vote Of Confidence On Gov. EmmanuelThe enlarged caucus of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Akwa Ibom state has passed a vote of confidence on the State Governor, Udom Emmanuel and has unanimously resolved to support him for a second term in 2019.

These were parts of resolutions reached at the end of a meeting of the caucus held at the banquet hall of government house, Uyo.

The meeting was attended by major stakeholders of the party in the state including members of the state exco of the party, Gov Udom Emmanuel and his deputy, Moses Ekpo.

The Speaker of the House of Assembly, Onofiok Luke; immediate past governor and current Senate Minority Leader, Godswill Akpabio; Senators Bassey Albert and Nelson Effiong, all members of the House of Assembly, chairmen of local government councils, and party elders across the state also attended.

A communique read by the state chairman of the party, Paul Ekpo indicated that the decision was taken after a thorough review of the performance of the state government under the leadership of Governor Udom Emmanuel.

They highlighted, especially, his economic policies geared towards industrialization, job creation, poverty alleviation, youth and women empowerment, infrastructure consolidation and political inclusion in spite of the current economic challenges.

The caucus also expressed satisfaction with the performance of the party’s elected representatives at state and national levels and also passed a vote of confidence on them.

The caucus is the most influential block in the Peoples Democratic Party in the state.

Akwa Ibom Opens Investigation Into Church Building Collapse

church-building-collapse-inuyo, Akwa IbomThe government of Akwa Ibom State has inaugurated an eight-man Commission of Inquiry to investigate the circumstances that led to the collapse of the Reigners Bible Church Building in Uyo, the state’s Capital.

Governor Udom Emmanuel inaugurated the panel on Friday at the Executive Chamber of the Government House in Uyo.

Inaugurating the Commission, Governor Emmanuel harped on the state government’s determination to give the needed support to victims of the collapsed church building and families of those who lost their loved ones.

He further solicited the support of the public for the victims and families affected by the tragedy.

‘We Share In Their Grief’

The Governor urged members of the panel to put in their best to justify the confidence reposed in them.

“Many families in our state were thrown into mourning by the unfortunate collapse of the Reigners church building which killed many and injured several others.

“As a government, we share in their grief. As a government, we must ensure the protection of lives and property of our people. Our intention is to ensure that such does not happen again.

“While I assure victims of government’s support, I urge everyone to continue to remember those families in your prayers,” he requested.

The Commission, which is headed by a retired Judge, Justice Umoekoyo Essang, has three weeks to submit an interim report to the State government based on some terms of reference which the governor listed.

“Investigate and probe the immediate and remote causes of the collapse of the building and examine the role played by any person, institution or authorities and the consequences of such roles in the collapse of the church building.

“Identify persons institution or authorities responsible, either remotely or immediately, in respect of the collapse of the church building,” he told the members of the Commission.

The Commission is required to recommend appropriate sanctions and or actions against all persons found culpable in the said church building collapse, examine generally all the circumstances surrounding the collapsed church building and recommend measures and actions to be taken by any person, institution or authority to guard against future occurrences.

It will also indict persons, organisations, groups or otherwise found culpable in the course of its inquiry and make appropriate recommendations to government.

The Chairman of the Commission, Justice Essang, who spoke on behalf of the members, described their mandate as a call to duty saying they will do their best to justify the confidence reposed in them.

“The event of last Saturday was a tragedy that must not be allowed to happen again.

“We therefore consider this as a call to duty and must give our best to justify the confidence reposed in us. Let me thank the governor for giving us this opportunity to serve. I assure you that we shall not disappoint you,” he told the Governor who was also attending a service at the time the building collapsed.

The roof of the church caved in on Saturday during a church service for the Bishopric ordination of its founder and General overseer, Apostle Akan Weeks.

Several worshipers and guests were killed while several others were injured.

The state government has put the death figure at 26.

Ayade Condoles With Udom Emmanuel Over Fatal Building Collapse

Supreme Court Upholds Ben Ayade's ElectionThe Cross River State Governor, Ben Ayade, has expressed deep regrets and sadness over the unfortunate incident of the building collapse of the Reigners’ Bible Church, at Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.

The fatal incident in which the Akwa Ibom state Governor, Udom Emmanuel, narrowly escaped, led to the unprecedented death of many.

Governor Ayade, in a condolence message signed by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Chief Press Secretary, Mr Christian Ita, said: “my brother, I am deeply terrified by the news of the horrific death of some of our brothers and sisters of the Reigners’ Bible Church who went to commune with the Almighty God.”

“Even as my heart goes out to the bereaved families and my sympathy to the survivors of the unfortunate incident, I want to especially thank the Almighty God for Your Excellency’s miraculous escape from the jaws of death.”

Furthermore, Ayade prayed for the repose of the souls of the fallen worshipers at the Reigners’ Bible Church.

In his words: “I want to convey the sorrows and sympathies of the government and people of Cross River State to the Brethren of the Reigners’ Bible Church affected by the regrettable incident  as well as the people of Akwa Ibom State.

“May the good Lord bring about a quick recovery to the injured and grant the families of the deceased the courage to bear the painful loss of their loved ones,” the governor prayed.

Governor Emmanuel, declared December 11 and 12, 2016, as days of mourning in honour of the victims of the collapse.

Akwa Ibom Governor Declares Two Days Of Mourning

Akwa Ibom Governor Declares Two Days Of Mourning Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Udom Emmanuel, has declared Sunday, December 11 and Monday, December 12, 2016, as days of mourning in honour of the victims of the collapse of the Reigners Bible Church building in Uyo.

A statement signed by the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr Ekerete Udoh, said that all flags are to be flown half mast within the state during the days of mourning.

Governor Emmanuel has also ordered the immediate arrest of the contractor that handled the construction of the collapsed church building.

The two-day mourning period would be rounded off with a solemn assembly at the Banquet Hall of the Government House, Uyo, on Monday December 12, 2016 by 4.pm prompt.

The Government urged all citizens and friends of the state to continue to pray for the speedy recovery of those injured in this incident.

Although Governor Emmanuel had escaped unhurt, many people lost their lives while several others sustained various degrees of injuries.

Governor Udom Escapes Death, As Collapsed Building Kills Many

uyo_buildingIt was a black Saturday in Uyo, the capital of Akwa Ibom State, as the roof of Reigners Bible Church, a popular church in the city, collapsed during a church service, leaving many dead and several others injured.

Church faithful and guests including the Akwa Ibom State Governor, Udom Emmanuel and members of the State Executive Council had gathered at Reigners Bible Church, along Uyo Village Road, Uyo, for the Bishopric Ordination of the General Overseer of the Church, Apostle Akan Weeks, when the roof of the church collapsed.

Governor Udom Emmanuel escaped unhurt but many people lost their lives while several others sustained various degrees of injuries.

Giving an account of what happened, one of the survivors said: “Normal church service was going on. Everything was normal. It was about 20 minutes after the governor arrived. Suddenly, the roof fell on worshippers. The governor was quickly rescued. But others were not that lucky. It is very unfortunate”.

Another eyewitness told Channels Television that a driver of a vehicle was one of the dead.

“Right now, we really can’t say how many people are dead in there. I cannot believe it,” he said.

A man who was inside the church when the roof caved in said he was running out of the building when he saw a steel rod fall on a well-dressed man, breaking his head open.

“I am sad that I saw it but I thank God I escaped,” he said.

 

Sources close to the church said that the church was being renovated and upgraded ahead of the event.

In Critical Condition

 

uyo-church-collapsechurch-building-collapse-inuyo

Governor Emmanuel expressed the government’s condolences to families of the victims.

“It is a sad day for me. My condolences to families of the victims. I advise everyone to be calm,” he said.

The Governor, who escaped death, hinted reporters that a panel would be setup to investigate the incident.

According to him, many worshipers are in critical condition

“Accessing this in the face of somebody who is not an engineer, we see a lot of defects in the construction. We will try as much as possible to bring those who were careless about this to book.

udom-emmanuel
Governor Udom Emmanuel says he will ensure defaulters are punished

“I will make contact immediately both the Nigerian Society of Engineers and  a team of engineers here in Akwa Ibom to assess whether there were pure negligence on the part of those that did this,” Governor Emmanuel told reporters.

He said it was a devastating incident, wondering why it should happen at this time.

“Actually, it is not a good thing and we are really devastated that this could happen.

“Be rest assured on the part of government, we will do everything possible to make sure that this will never happen again in this state,” he added.

The governor also visited the victims at the Ibom Specialist Hospital where they were receiving treatment.

The number of persons killed in the incident have not been confirmed by any agency.

After the building came down, rescue operations were launched to remove the debris.

Fashola Says Government Is Committed To Rural Electrification

Babatunde Fashola on rural electrification The Minister of Power, Mr Babatunde Fashola, says the Federal Government is committed to providing affordable electricity to the rural populace across Nigeria.

Mr Fashola gave the assurance on Monday when he visited the Akwa Ibom State Governor, Udom Emmanuel, at Government House in Uyo.

The minister was in the state for a meeting with contractors and engineers in the power sector.

He told reporters that 218 containers with electrification equipment, which had been delayed for three years, would be delivered this week. He expressed confidence that the delivery of the containers would significantly boost government’s electrification program.

“We moved our meeting here for a purpose which was to drive all our contractors and engineers to finish Ikot Ekpene, Alaoja, Calabar and Afam sub-stations and transmission lines so that they can evacuate the power from Ibom Power to the substations.

“Those four power plants have a combined capacity of over 1,800 megawatts but they are currently performing at about 600–700 megawatts because there is no evacuation capacity. So, that is what we came to do.

“Every community we go to, we also evaluate their transmission problems. Now that we are in your state, we are looking at what is going on in the zone.

“We are making progress because many of the projects that had stopped because of non-payment of contractors have started working again since president Buhari came on board,” he said.

As part of plans to transform the rural areas, the minister said that the Federal Government had put plans in place for the take-off of the Rural Electrification Implementation program in 2017.

He explained that the programme would commence with the electrification of 37 universities located in rural areas across Nigeria.

“The Rural Electrification Implementation Program of the Federal Government will take off in 2017.

“The project, which aims at deepening access to power in the rural areas, will start with 37 universities mostly located in the rural areas,” he told reporters.

Mr Fashola also assured Governors of different states that the Federal Government was currently processing the reimbursement of funds spent by states on the repair of federal infrastructure.

He said: “We are working with the Ministries of Finance, Budget and Planning, and all relevant authorities. Already, verification of claims has been concluded”.

Governor Udom Emmanuel lauded the minister for his efforts to ensure steady and affordable electricity in all parts of Nigeria.

He was particularly gladdened by the minister’s assurance that the state government would soon be reimbursed for funds spent on federal infrastructure in the state.

“It gladdens my heart to hear from you that issues we raised as a state are being addressed especially the issue of reimbursement for the funds we spent on federal infrastructure in our state.

“We will continue to encourage collaboration between our state and the Federal Government to make life meaningful for our people. Thank you for the visit. Let me assure you of our cooperation and support for the policies of the federal government,” Governor Emmanuel stated

The Federal Government is currently owing Akwa Ibom State government 140 billion Naira being money spent by the state government on the repair of federal roads.

Police Set To Give Former IGP, Late Etim Inyang Befitting Funeral

etim-inyangThe Nigerian Police is set to give a former Inspector General of Police, late sir Etim Inyang, who died on the Septemeber 26, 2016, a befitting funeral.

The Deputy Inspector General in charge of Training and Development, Force Headquarters, D.I.G Emmanuel Inyang, made this known when he visited the Akwa Ibom state Governor, Udom Emmanuel, at the government house Uyo.

D.I.G Inyang said he was at government house to deliver two letters from the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, to governor Udom Emmanuel.

The first letter conveyed the condolences of the IGP, Ibrahim Idris, to the government and people of Akwa Ibom state, while the second one was informing the governor of President Buhari’s directive that the IGP should represent him at the funeral ceremony of Mr Inyang, set to hold on November 26, 2016.

“I’m here on behalf of the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris to condole you, the government and the entire people of the state on the death of the former Inspector General of Police, Late sir Etim Inyang. Last week I went for the same purpose to visit the deceased family.

Inyang solicited the state government’s support to make the burial a success.

“Let me also solicit your support to make the burial a success,” he said.

Governor Udom Emmanuel described the visit as a show of respect for the late Etim Inyang and a recognition of his contributions to the police force and the country as a whole, while promising maximum support to ensure the success of the event.

The governor also used the opportunity to ask for more police presence in the state in view of its strategic economic importance.

“I must thank the IGP for his condolences and for accepting to attend the event in person. This is a demonstration of the respect the police has for the former IGP.”

He went further to say, “as a state, we’ve already started putting things in place for the funeral and I assure you of the state government’s support to ensure that the funeral is successful”.

Uyo Residents Embrace State’s Environmental Sanitation Directive

environmental sanitationResidents of Uyo, the Akwa Ibom state capital came out in large numbers on Saturday morning to clean their environments.

This was in response to the state government’s directive that the last Saturday of every month is observed as environmental sanitation day across the state.

Men of the state ministry of environment were seen removing waste from the roads

Residents who spoke to Channels Television in Uyo said they were happy to take part in the exercise.

An official of Environmental Health Initiative of Nigeria, a non-governmental organization also commended the resident for their large turnout.

An aid to Governor Udom Emmanuel, Mr Emmanuel Nicholas described the exercise as a success and encouraged resident to remain consistent as cleanliness would help to keep the state free of diseases.

Governor Udom Emmanuel resurrected the environmental sanitation exercise in February, 2016.

Police List Measures To End Kidnapping, Child Theft In Southern Nigeria

Police says it will end kidnapping and child theftThe Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG) in charge of Zone 6, Mr Abubakar Marafa, says the police in the zone has put in place measures to effectively curb kidnapping, child theft and other criminal activities in the zone.

The AIG gave the assurance in Uyo, Akwa-Ibom State capital on Friday while on a familiarisation tour of the Akwa-Ibom State police command.

In a chat with reporters at the Government House in Uyo, the AIG listed some of the measures to include motivation of officers and men and synergy with sister security agencies.

He also appealed to the public to volunteer information to enable the police do its job effectively.

Earlier at a courtesy call on Governor Udom Emmanuel, the police boss acknowledged the support and cooperation of the governor but appealed for more.

Some Kidnappers
A kid rescued from kidnappers by the police

Governor Emmanuel advised against the frequent transfer of officers and men of the police force.

He assured the police of the state government’s continued support and cooperation.

The AIG also had an interactive session with the rank and file of the command where he reminded them of basic rules of the police and their relationship with the public.

Zone 6 comprises Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Ebonyi and Rivers states.

Kidnapping and child trafficking have been on the increase in the region, with police rescuing several children in the last few months.

On september 13, the Delta State Police Command arrested one Abigail Nwakama, also known as Madam Cash and nine other suspected child traffickers in connection with child stealing and trafficking in the state.

Parading the suspects at the state headquarters in Asaba, the Police said that most of the suspects have confessed to the crime and this has led to the recovery of about 12 children.

Various cases of child theft have been reported severally in Okpanam, an outskirt of the Delta State capital, Asaba including the case of seven-year-old Moses Iloba who was reported missing a few days earlier.

Moses Iloba, son of Mr and Mrs Iloba who resides in Okpanam Delta State had been reported missing since September 6, 2016

According to his younger sister, he was lured by an unknown lady who pleaded with him to help run some errands.

“We have not found our child; everyday they say come back today, come back tomorrow. I don’t know what to say,” the mother of Moses expressed her anguish at the situation.

Moses was not among the recovered children but the Iloba family were hopeful that their son would be back and reunited with them soon.

Meanwhile, the Police have encouraged the parents of missing children to contact the Police to identify their children among the rescued.