APC Wins Imo North Senatorial Election

 

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has declared the All Progressives Congress (APC) winner of the just concluded Imo North senatorial district bye-election but unable to return any APC candidate.

The returning officer, Hakeem Adigun who announced the result said the APC scored a total of 36, 811 votes to beat his rival from the Peoples Democratic Party, Emmanuel Okewulonu who scored 31, 903 votes.

According to the electoral body, the decision not to declare any candidate as the winner is due to several court orders authenticating the true candidate of the party in the bye-election.

It could be recalled that 24 hours to the election, a Court of Appeal sitting in Owerri gave a judgment disqualifying Ifeanyi Ararume as APC’s candidate.

On the same day, a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja also disqualified Frank Ibezim from contesting the election.

Ibezim was disqualified on the grounds that he made false statements/declarations in the affidavit and documents submitted to the APC.

READ ALSO: INEC Declares APC’s Abiru Winner Of Lagos East Senatorial Election

Meanwhile, Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodimma, has reacted to the outcome of the election where INEC declared APC the winner of the election without returning any candidate.

Speaking to journalists at the Government House in Owerri, Uzodinma thanked the people of the senatorial district for voting overwhelmingly for the APC, noting that the victory has shown once again that Imo is an APC state.

Governor Uzodinma, however, said he will not join any issues with INEC, adding that with the recent Court of Appeal judgment and the statement from the APC National Executive Committee, Frank Ibezim is the authentic candidate.

‘Uzodinma Should Wake Up’: Okorocha Replies To N106bn Fraud Allegation

File photo of Ex-Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha.

 

Former Governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha, has asked his successor, Hope Uzodinma, to wake up to the demands of governance in the state.

Okorocha’s call was disclosed in a statement issued on Tuesday by his media aide, Sam Onwuemeodo.

The ex-governor was reacting to an allegation of fraud – to the tune of N106billion – purported to have occurred during his administration of the state

READ ALSO: Imo Probe Panel Indicts Ex-Governor Okorocha Of N106bn Fraud

“We challenge the government in Imo, led by Senator Hope Uzodinma to publish the Iheaka report verbatim, so that Imo people in particular and Nigerians in general, could read the report and see how the Panel arrived at N106 billion, which they said that Senator Okorocha should refund,” the statement partly read.

“Again, Governor Uzodinma should please wake-up. Your Excellency, wake- uuuup. Time does not wait for anybody especially in governance.

“You cannot tell Imo people that your achievements at the end of the day is pursuing Okorocha, to satisfy those behind you.

“This is the first government in the history of the State to take off with non-payment of Salaries and having issues with every sector in the State. The governor should face governance and leave Controversies because they do not add up.”

SEE FULL STATEMENT HERE:

RE:  IMO PANEL ASKS OKOROCHA TO REFUND N106 BILLION

PRESS RELEASE

RE: IMO PANEL ASKS OKOROCHA TO REFUND N106 BILLION

– NO RESPONSIBLE PANEL CAN MAKE SUCH DEMAND FROM OKOROCHA

– IT TAKES ONLY “BEN JOHNSON” PANEL TO DO SO.

– THE GOVT. IN IMO, HAS BEEN BATTLING FOR ACCEPTANCE BY IMO PEOPLE

– THE GOVT. IS ALSO BEING INTIMIDATED BY OKOROCHA’S VISIBLE ACHIEVEMENTS

– LET THE GOVT; WITHOUT DELAY, PUBLISH THE VERBATIM REPORT OF THE PANEL, OR STOP TAKING IMO PEOPLE & NIGERIANS FOR GRANTED WITH BOGUS ALLEGATIONS

 

The media had come up with Stories, with the referenced Caption, following the report of Justice Benjamin Iheaka’s Panel of inquiry on Contracts from 2011 to 2019. That was the period, Senator Rochas Okorocha had governed the State. And our initial reaction goes this way;

(1)    We challenge the government in Imo, led by Senator Hope Uzodinma to publish the Iheaka report verbatim, so that Imo people in particular and Nigerians in general, could read the report and see how the Panel arrived at N106 billion, which they said that Senator Okorocha should refund.

(2)    No serious panel would have made such recommendation. It could only take a “Ben Johnson” Panel to do that. And let the government publish the list of Contractors who handled contracts under Okorocha, State the Contracts they did, how much they were paid respectively, how they were paid and what they should have been paid, in the estimation of the Panel members.

(3)    Governor Uzodinma should explain what he has done with the N119 billion he has Collected from the federation account and N6.4 billion ISOPADEC fund.    Vis-a-viz the IGR. The governor said he came through “Ben Johnson” way and since January 14, 2020 when he came on board, all his actions and utterances have been “Ben Johnson” way.

(4)    We have always claimed that Okorocha as governor, had more than one thousand projects to his Credit and nobody, including the government in Imo has said it is not true or has openly Challenged us to publish the projects because they know that the projects exist. And if they exist, how would have someone made away with N106 Billion and still do such befitting projects.

(5)    The problem at the moment is that Imo people have begun to miss Owelle Okorocha just one year and five months, after he had left as governor, because they are yet to see new things in the State since he left. Imo people have come to realize that Okorocha was exceptional in terms of working for them and they have also come to know the difference between Capacity and Ben Johnson way.

(6)    Roads built by Okorocha which they branded China roads, are still what Imo people are using. No new road. They could not even maintain the existing roads. They are living in Odenigbo Presidential lodge and Governor’s lodge built by Okorocha. The two flyovers built by Okorocha are still the only flyovers. Ditto, the two tunnels built by Okorocha. The Judges and Lawyers have moved to the Ultra Modern Justice Oputa High Court Complex built by Okorocha; from the shanties they had called High Court. They have Continued to foot drag in asking the Police to move to the new Police Headquarters built by Okorocha and the Prisons to the new Prison Headquarters built by Okorocha. They have refused to open the International Cargo airport built by Okorocha. The projects are there. Let them mention one project they have done since January 14, 2020 when they came on board.

(7)    We are also demanding for the Publication of the report because we do not believe that the Chairman of the Panel, a Judge, could go ahead to submit report on a matter that is pending at a Federal High Court in which the Presiding Judge had ordered for the maintenance of the Status quo. Okorocha had gone to Court to complain that several Panels cannot be probing him on the same issues, the EFCC is probing him too, following Petitions from the same government.

(8)    For almost nine months on Seat, the government in Imo has been struggling for acceptance. In his Independence Day speech the governor said that he inherited systematic fraudulent system from Ihedioha. Two days after, he said that Okorocha should refund N106 billion. Some days ago, it was that Okorocha’s appointees joined Uzodinma. After that, the story became that Okorocha’s kinsmen have joined Uzodinma. Or, Mr. A or B has joined APC.

(9)    In the history of Imo, this is also the first government that Chartered a flight, took 7 Imo people to Abuja just for the purpose of passing Vote of Confidence on a government that is yet to take off. And since then, it has been Vote of Confidence galore. In Igbo land, it is a serious issue when someone’s shadow is pursuing him or when the “land” is pursuing the person. It is not a normal thing.

(10)    Again, Governor Uzodinma should please wake-up. Your Excellency, wake- uuuup. Time does not wait for anybody especially in governance. You cannot tell Imo people that your achievements at the end of the day is pursuing Okorocha, to satisfy those behind you. This is the first government in the history of the State to take off with non-payment of Salaries and having issues with every sector in the State. The governor should face governance and leave Controversies because they do not add up.

(11)    The truth is that Imo people and Nigerians in general, know who Senator Uzodinma is, even long before his governorship. And it is even interesting that he is the one talking about fraud, embezzlement and siphoning of funds these days. This is a good story indicating that wonders shall never cease to happen.

 

Sam Onwuemeodo

Special Adviser (Media) to the former Imo State Governor & Senator Representing Imo

West Senatorial District, Owelle Rochas Okorocha

Those Calling Me ‘Supreme Court Governor’ Are Ignorant – Uzodinma

Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodinma during Channels Television’s Hard Copy on September 25, 2020 said those calling him ‘Supreme Court Governor’ are ignorant.

 

Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodinma has knocked those addressing him as Supreme Court Governor, describing them as ignorant people.

The governor who was interviewed on Channels Television’s Hard Copy on Friday argued he was not the first to be favoured by a Supreme Court justice, adding that he emerged as governor of the state through legitimate means.

“It is the height of ignorance because they don’t know what they are saying. There is a reason for the Supreme Court. In the doctrine and principle of democracy, the law expected that there would be grievances and malpractices in the electoral process,” Uzodinma said.

“When this happens, the only legitimate right you have is to seek redress at the court. And of course, the court determines. Remember that this is not the first time, so many elections had held where the candidates went to court and they got justice. So, why will mine be different?

“Human beings voted and the votes were not counted. I went to the Supreme Court and INEC was unable to explain why they did not enter the result. It was a simple judgment. The Supreme Court said INEC was wrong.”

On governance, Uzodinma said his administration had been making efforts to increase the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of Imo State.

READ ALSO: Deal With Me If I Become A Godfather, Says Obaseki

He, however, regretted that following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the state’s IGR nosedived.

According to the governor, a huge percentage of companies doing business in Imo have not filed in their tax returns to the state government.

“By January, we were trying to build up our Internally Generated Revenue which was on the increase. By February it was on the increase but the thing nosedived in March.

“As I speak to you, 95 per cent of the companies operating in Imo State have not filed their annual returns,” he said.

Uzodinma emerged as Imo governor after the Supreme Court sacked Emeka Ihedioha of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on January 14.

‘We Don’t Have Any Issue,’ Uzodinma Denies Rift With Okorocha

Imo APC Faction Expels Hope Uzodinma
A file photo of Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodinma.

 

Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodinma, has denied having any disagreement with his predecessor, Senator Rochas Okorocha.

He stated this on Tuesday during an interview with reporters at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

Governor Uzodinma was responding to questions from State House correspondents on the impasse between him and the former governor.

He insisted that he has no rift with the former governor, stressing that Senator Okorocha only needed to recognise that he is now the governor of the state.

“On the issue of Okorocha, the former governor, he is my very good brother in who I am well pleased.

“I have no issue with him; the only thing is that he is now the former governor and I am the current governor and once we understand that, we don’t have any issue,” Governor Uzodinma said.

READ ALSOKalu Visits IBB, Abdulsalami, Faults Zoning Of 2023 Presidency

 

The governor spoke with reporters after he held a closed-door meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari.

He explained that he was at the Villa to seek the intervention of the President in tackling the problem of erosion in Imo State.

Commenting on the choice of zoning of presidency ahead of the 2023 general elections, Governor Uzodinma believes it should be done on party basis and not tribal basis.

His opinion aligned with the views of a former governor of Abia State and Senate Chief Whip, Senator Orji Uzo Kalu, who visited former Military President, Ibrahim Babangida, and former Head of State, Abdulsalami Abubakar, in Niger State.

Senator Kalu was criticised for describing the office of the president as an open basket for intending contestants and saying the idea of zoning was never constitutional.

This comes against the backdrop of clamours by the people of the South-East that the 2023 presidency should be zones to the region.

2023 Presidency: Candidacy Cannot Emerge On Tribal Basis, Says Uzodinma

Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodinma, briefing State House correspondents at the Presidential Villa in Abuja on September 1, 2020.

 

Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodinma, believes the emergence of the candidates for the presidential election in 2023 should not be on a tribal basis.

He stated this on Tuesday while briefing State House correspondents after a closed-door meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.

“We are practicing partisan democracy, not tribal democracy. So, the emergence of presidential candidates will come on a party-by-party basis, not tribe-by-tribe basis,” the governor said.

He made the comments against the backdrop of clamours by the people of the South-East that the 2023 presidency should be zones to the region.

READ ALSO: Kalu Visits IBB, Abdulsalami, Faults Zoning Of 2023 Presidency

Some of them claimed that the region has been marginalised over the years in terms of development, adding that it has yet to produce a civilian leader since late Nnamdi Azikiwe who was President between 1963 and 1966.

 

Lending his voice to the discussion on zoning the next presidency to the South East, Governor Uzodinma believes that would only be determined by the leadership of various political parties.

According to him, the right thing to do is not to cause tension with the calls for zoning of the office of the president but to allow the internal mechanisms of the political groups make the best decision.

“If there are some other internal factors that will form part of the considerations for parties taking decisions, of course, that will be entirely the job of the leadership of those political parties and I think that is the right thing to do,” the governor said.

His position is in agreement with the opinion of a former governor of Abia State and Senate Chief Whip, Senator Orji Uzo Kalu, who visited former Military President, Ibrahim Babangida, and former Head of State, Abdulsalami Abubakar, in Niger State.

Senator Kalu was criticised for describing the office of the president as an open basket for intending contestants and saying the idea of zoning was never constitutional.

Imo Sets Up Advisory Committee On Community Policing

Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodinma speaks during the inauguration of a Security Advisory Committee at the Government House in Owerri, the state capital on June 14, 2020.

 

The Imo State Government has inaugurated a Security Advisory Committee on community policing to complement the efforts of security agencies in tackling crime.

During the inauguration in Owerri the state capital on Sunday, Governor Hope Uzodinma asked the members to curtail the menace of kidnapping, armed robbery, child theft and other crimes.

“Government has designed this template to ensure that communities and indigenes are involved in the policing and security measures that the government has decided to carry out.

READ ALSO: Buratai Asks Troops To Remain Firm In Fighting Insurgency

“Don’t go and tell the state police (that) community policing is about the Nigeria Police or Fulani herdsmen. It is how we on our own can partner with the police and other security agencies to ensure that security in Imo State (is improved),” he said.

Governor Uzodinma also called on residents of the state to cooperate with the security agencies by providing timely and useful information in curbing crimes in the state.

This follows the agreement between the governors of the southeast and the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu on setting up a community policing structure in each state in the region.

The committee is composed up of leaders of security operatives, traditional and religious heads as well as women and youth leaders from various communities.

Imo Governor Signs Two New Bills Into Law

Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodinma addresses residents of the state in his Easter message at the Government House in Owerri on April 12, 2020.

 

The Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodinma, has signed two new bills into law which was passed by the State House of Assembly.

The bills are “Imo Waste Management Agency bill” and the “Consolidation of Property and Land Use Charges Bill”.

Governor Uzodinma while accenting to the bills at the Government House in Owerri, explained that the “Waste Management Agency Bill will regulate the activities of the agency, curb indiscriminate dumping of refuse within the state and prosecute offenders who are found guilty of violating the law.

He added that the bill will also enable the government to take a cue from civilised countries where waste is converted into wealth.

The second bill, which is on the Consolidation of Property and Land Use Charges and other matters will help bring sanity to land acquisition and identification of landowners in the state.

The governor further noted that the law will make it compulsory for recertification of all Certificates of Occupancy (C of Os) in line with an automation process already in place.

Building Collapse: Imo Govt To Revoke CofO, Prosecute Contractor

File photo of Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodinma

 

The Imo State Government has vowed to prosecute the erring contractor as well as revoke the Certificate of Occupancy of the land, following the collapse of an 8-storey building in Owerri.

Governor Hope Uzodinma revealed this on Friday while visiting the site of the collapsed building.

According to him, it is quite unfortunate that the developers violated the lockdown order of the state Govt by embarking on construction work during the lockdown.

He also lamented that the developers did not follow the authorized plan of the state government on the building.

The governor also commiserated with the families of those affected.

This comes as emergency officials recovered two more dead bodies from the rubble of the collapsed building.

A team of rescue officials comprising the Red Cross and Owerri Capital Development Authority evacuated the bodies from the scene of the incident today.

The number of persons killed in the building collapse rose to four following the death of two persons reported on Thursday.

While 12 people have been rescued, many are still trapped including a woman and her two kids.

COVID-19: NCDC Boss Visits Imo, Worried Over No Records Of Cases In State

NCDC Director-General, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu holds a meeting with Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodinma in Owerri on April 18, 2020.

 

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has expressed worry over the yet-to-be-identified case of the COVID-19 pandemic in Imo State.

NCDC Director-General, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu expressed the worry on Saturday during a visit to Governor Hope Uzodinma at the Government House in Owerri, the state capital.

Addressing the governor, Ihekweazu said he is worried because the people of the state travel a lot and might be at risk of importing the virus into the state.

“Your Excellency, the Executive Governor of Imo State. We are a little bit worried. We know that our people travel a lot.

“We are happy that there hasn’t been a case so far. There are two ways. To be fully happy, we have to be sure that we are looking hard enough not finding.

“This outbreak is a bit of a preganant (woman). Sometimes, you will be asking people are you pregnant or not? Eventually it will come out,” he said.

In his response, Governor Uzodinma commended the NCDC team for supporting the efforts made by his administration to ensure the virus does not find its way into the state.

He however appealed to the agency to strengthen the COVID-19 team set up by the state government in preventing the spread of the virus.

“We are calling on you to help us strengthen our people so that we can be prepared fully in the event this thing finds its way into Imo State.

“I think what the World Health Organisation has done in terms of awareness and sentisation, we want to commend that. We also encourage them to continue,” he said.

Ayade, Ortom, Uzodinma, Ganduje Mourn Abba Kyari

Ben Ayade                        Samuel Ortom                      Hope Uzodinma                  Abdullahi Ganduje

 

 

Four more governors have mourned the Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari, who died from complications caused by coronavirus (COVID-19).

In separate statements on Saturday, the governors of Cross River, Benue, Imo, and Kano States condoled with President Muhammadu Buhari over the death of his aide.

Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River said he was utterly depressed by the sad news of Kyari’s death, saying his departure was a great loss to the nation.

“We have lost a great statesman, a consummate professional, and an exceptionally brilliant mind. Our nation has lost one of its best,” the governor said in a statement.

[READ ALSO] He Never Sought ‘Cheap Gratification Of The Crowd’: Buhari Reacts To Abba Kyari’s Death

According to him, Kyari was a patriotic statesman who was diligent and meticulous, uncommonly accommodating, and a great listener who was ever receptive to anyone who came across him.

“My heart and prayers are with the family at this very difficult moment. I pray for the repose of Mallam Kyari’s soul,” Governor Ayade added.

On his part, Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, sent condolences to the President on behalf of the government and people of the state.

He said the demise of a loved one such as a trusted aide can be devastating, noting that death was an inevitable end for which mankind must prepare at all times.

Abba Kyari Testifies At President Election Tribunal
Chief of Staff to the President, Mr Abba Kyari, attends the Federal Executive Council meeting at the State House in Abuja on July 25, 2018. The Presidency said Kyari died on April 17, 2020.

 

 

Governor Ortom also extended his sympathies to the Kyari family and prayed that God would grant the late Chief of Staff eternal rest.

For the Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodinma, Kyari was a pan-Nigerian who devoted his energy and time to the service of his country.

He condoled with President Buhari, Nigerians as well as the government and people of Borno State on the unfortunate loss.

Governor Uzodinma prayed God for the peaceful repose of the soul of the late Chief of Staff and grant the President, the family of Kyari, and his numerous friends and associates the fortitude to bear the loss.

Joining his colleagues, Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State prayed for Allah’s forgiveness and blessing for Kyari whom he described as highly reserved and loyal Chief of Staff to the President.

“On behalf of the government and good people of Kano State, I am commiserating with the President and Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, the Federal Government, his families, and the entire Nigerians over the death of Malam Abba Kyari,” he said.

The governor added, “May Allah see him through in the hereafter. May he meet his Lord, with all cleanliness and may Allah give him everlasting peace.”

Governor Hope Uzodinma Tests Negative For COVID-19

Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodinma addresses residents of the state in his Easter message at the Government House in Owerri on April 12, 2020.

 

Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodinma has tested negative for COVID-19.

Disclosing this on his Facebook handle on Monday morning, the governor said the test conducted on him to check if he has contracted the coronavirus disease has shown negative.

READ ALSO: Nigeria Records Five New COVID-19 Cases, Total Infections Now 323

Uzodinma said with the result showing he is free of the virus, the state government will continue to do everything humanly possible to stop COVID-19 pandemic from finding its way into the state.

He also asked residents of the state to continue to observe all the precautionary measures put in place by the state government this period.

Pray That Nigeria Triumphs Over COVID-19, Uzodinma Tells Christians

Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodinma addresses residents of the state in his Easter message at the Government House in Owerri on April 12, 2020.

 

Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodinma has asked Nigerians, particularly Christians to pray that Nigeria triumphs over COVID-19 pandemic that has ravaged the world.

The governor disclosed this on Sunday in a statewide Easter message broadcast in Owerri the Imo state capital.

According to him, indigenes of the state to join hands with his administration in the fight against the deadly virus irrespective of their political or religious differences.

“You will do well to savour the joy of Easter for Christ is risen indeed and his resurrection is the assurance that we need that after the tribulation comes the shout of joy and hallelujah.

“The truth is that the hard and painful decisions that we have taken to prevent and contain the incursion of the virus into Imo State were forced on us purely by circumstances beyond our control.

“These measures have been applied with good results by other countries that have suffered the scourge of coronavirus,” he said.

READ ALSO: Easter: Ayade Sues For Renewed Faith In God

Uzodinma noted that for the battle to be won against coronavirus, the citizens should pray fervently to God for divine intervention.

Similarly, he wants the masses to emulate the virtues of Jesus Christ and bear the present COVID-19 hardships with the uncommon patience and perseverance with which Christ bore his passion and tribulations while on earth.

Speaking further, the governor said he is confident that in no distant time Nigeria will win the battle against the virus just as Christ triumphed over death.

While urging Christians in the state to observe the Easter service either online or through the relevant electronic medium, he advised them to continue to adhere strictly to laid down guidelines in order to prevent contracting the deadly coronavirus disease.