North-east Seeks Leadership Of National Assembly

NASS-on-zoning principal officialCivil society organisations in Nigeria have joined the debate on the zoning arrangement of National Assembly principal officers, demanding that it should be zoned to the north-east.

At a news conference in Abuja, on Wednesday, the coordinator of the Justice and Development Consultative Forum, Mr Elisha Ishaku, said the north-east deserved the position of the Senate president, having delivered the second highest number of votes for the party.

Mr Elisha argued that the north-east had been marginalised in the political equation in the country since the inception of democracy.

At a separate news conference, the coalition of Buhari-Osinbajo campaign movement argued that the zone deserves the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

On Monday, the Deputy Senate President urged the incoming administration to learn from the mistakes of previous governments and avoid imposing principal officers on the National Assembly.

Senator Ike Ekweremadu gave the warning at the opening of an induction seminar for incoming legislators held in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

He urged the presidency to allow federal lawmakers choose their presiding officers.

Re-strategize Rather Than Fizzle Out, Donald Duke Urges PDP

donald dukeA former governor of Cross River State and one time presidential aspirant, Donald Duke, has urged the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to re-strategize and form a strong opposition rather than fizzle out.

In an exclusive interview on Channels Television’s ‘View From The Top’, Mr. Duke said that the PDP recorded many loses during the elections because they offended electorates in some areas.

He further explained that the manner in which they handled the Boko Haram crisis in the North-East was also very poor and lacked empathy.

“The insurgency situation in the north was not seen to be addressed, the purchase of private jets and extravagance of public service holders abused the sensitivity of the poor which is a large number,” he said.

He urged members of the PDP to get over the defeat, having ruled the country for a long time.

According to him, being an opposition party would help make the current ruling party be on their toes.

Mr Donald Duke added that the strength of the PDP is from the South-East and South-South region of the country and they should build on that to be able to come out better during the next elections.

APC led FG Will Run All Inclusive Government – Okorocha

Gov-Rochas-OkorochaImo state governor, Rochas Okorocha has said the incoming Federal Government of Nigeria led by the All Progressives Congress APC will run an all inclusive government, expressing his optimism that APC will emerge victorious in Imo state in the coming governorship and State House of Assembly elections on April 11.

Okorocha has also appealed to all Nigerians irrespective of their political, religious or ethnical differences to come together and support the incoming APC led federal government with President-elect General Mohammodu Buhari as the driver.

Speaking to our Imo state correspondent at the Government House in Owerri the Imo state capital, the governor said the APC led government will run an all inclusive government irrespective of where their interest lies during the presidential campaign.

The governor also assured the people of the South East that the Buhari led administration will bring the desired change Nigerians yearn for.

Speaking on his chances at the April 11 governorship polls, the APC governorship candidate said he is optimistic that his party will emerge victorious following his achievements in the lasts 3 and a half years in the state.

He however called on all security operatives especially the army and SSS to desist from intimidating voters and carry out their lawful duties as stipulated by law.

Fuel Crisis: Imo Residents Groan Over Hike In Fuel Price

fuelResidents of Owerri in Imo State have continued to groan over the hike in the price of premium motor spirit also known as petrol as most marketers within the region sell at prices higher than the Federal Government approved price of 87 naira per litre.

A visit to some filling stations, the meter read above 87 naira. Some 97 naira, 100 naira and 115 naira per litre of petrol, and this has not gone well with consumers as they appealed to Federal Government to intervene as soon as possible.

However, the Independent Petroleum Marketers, at a joint meeting between petroleum marketers in Imo and Abia State in the south-east, have disclosed that reasons why they sell at higher prices is due to non-availability of fuel at the government approved fuel depots in the South-East and South-South.

The Zonal Chairman of the petroleum marketers in Aba and Imo unit, Bobby Eberedick, explained that this has led them to buy from private fuel depots where they sell higher than the government approved prices.

They appealed to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the DRP to compel the private fuel depots to sell at the Federal Government approved price so it can be made available to consumers at the Federal Government approved price of 87 naira per litre.

They also threatened that if the Federal Government through the NNPC and DRP does intervene in the issue of pricing at the private depots, they would not have any other option than to close down their stations nationwide.

Mr Eberedick also complained about the continuous harassment of Federal Government agencies on selling at prices higher than the government approved price.


Police IG Says Ban On Road Block Still In Force

PoliceThe Inspector-General of Police, Suleiman Abba, has stated unequivocally that the order banning the setting up of Police road-blocks nationwide is still strictly in force.

In a directive issued to all commands and formations of the Force, the IGP warned that all semblances of Police road-blocks and permanent check-points reportedly re-emerging in some parts of the country, especially in the South-East, South-South and South-West geo-political zones of Nigeria should immediately be dismantled.

The IGP, who described the trend as a serious violation of subsisting order on road-blocks, warned that severe sanctions await any Police commands, formations and personnel who violate the order.

While charging the Command Commissioners of Police and Heads of Formations to ensure total compliance with this order, the IGP further ordered extensive visibility patrol and effective surveillance on Nigerian roads.

The statement was signed by the Force Public Relations Officer, Ag. CP Emmanuel Ojukwu.

National Conference: Group Demands Conclusion Before General Election

More Nigerians have continued to express their support for the convening of a National Conference to discuss critical national issues.

Joining this call is a group of professionals from the South-South and South-East. They are, however, of the view that there should be no general elections until the conclusion of the conference.

Addressing a news conference on Thursday in Lagos, the group faulted the Nigerian Constitution, insisting that the proposed National Conference should be subjected to a referendum which would lead to a new constitution for the country.

The Deputy President of South-East, South-South Professionals, Nuhu Yakubau, said, “The only logical way to go is to subject the outcome of the national discuss to a referendum of the people so that the referendum would decide by ticking on every point. That is the referendum that we should be subjecting the National Dialogue to and not to the National Assembly.”

The Group’s President, Emeka Ugwu-Oju also added, “We are saying that we the people are not going to be stampeded into any deadline that we must have an election in 2015.

“What is the election for? The election is to get the mandate of the people. So the people say let’s fix our house because the mandate we’ve been giving have been leading us into a dead end”, He said.

National Dialogue: IPAC Condemns Exclusion Of Political Parties

The Inter-Party Advisory Council of Nigeria, IPAC, has described the composition, structure and membership of the planned National Dialogue, as recommended by the Presidential Advisory Committee as lopsided.

Addressing journalists in Abuja, Chairman of the council, Mr. Yunusa Tanko, said that the exclusion of political parties from the dialogue is an aberration that should not be allowed to stand.

“The political parties are going to talk about how they feel the country should be governed, especially as it concerns their own political agenda, but by the time you alienate them out of that particular process, you make a decision without their own input, they will only come and juxtapose whatever position you must have taken”, he said.

He added that political parties are the major drivers and custodians of any democratic process and should therefore be part of the process of a National Dialogue.

“When right from the beginning they are part of the agreement, and they sign to that particular document, it makes it more binding on Nigerians and those who are intended to execute the document”, he concluded.

APC Will Serve The Political Fortunes Of Ndigbo– Okorocha

Imo State Governor Owelle Rochas Okorocha has defended his membership of the APC, declaring that the future political fortunes of Ndigbo are better served in the new mega political party.

Okorocha who sang the praises of the new party in a town hall of the Imo State Congress of America 2013 national convention in Atlanta, USA, also reacted to a purported suspension by a faction of APGA, saying that the wellbeing of Ndigbo remains paramount in all his action and would continue to take steps to assist Igbos to regain their rightful place in the political equation of Nigeria.

“APC remains the best vehicle to promote the interest of our people. PDP has marginalized the south east and has nothing to show for all its years in power”.

Governor Okorocha urged Ndigbo to embrace the APC because it guarantees equity and political opportunities denied by the ruling party. He said the purported action of a faction of APGA is of little political consequence as the party lacks the national spread to ensure Igbos make significant headway in the political leadership of the nation.

He described the APC as a national party made up of progressive elements determined to ensure equitable distribution of political offices to all tribes in the country and as one of the tripod on which the country stands, the APC was set to redress the injustices to Ndigbo made by the PDP and urged all progressives south easterners to line up behind the new party and ensure it produces the next leaders of the country at all levels.

“Igbos has not produced the President, Vice President, Senate President, Speaker of the House or the Chief Justice of the Federation but I am confident under APC, one or more of these positions will come to the southeast”.

Gov. Okorocha urged Ndigbo to channel their energies and resources towards the development of their homeland and suggested a set date for Nigerians in the diaspora to return home.

“Our people should learn to leave America and return home at a certain date to contribute meaningfully to the development of our dear state”.

He pledged the commitment of his administration towards providing enabling environment to assist those willing to return home.

“My administration has embarked on projects that have significantly improved infrastructure in the state and has tackled the issue of security such that for the past six months the issue of kidnapping and other social vices have reduced significantly”.

He challenged those really interested in tapping the potentials of the state to partner with his administration for mutual benefit.

The governor however warned Igbos in the diaspora to guard against greed and corruption, urging them to lend a hand to the less privileged in the society.

S/East Actors Guild Calls On Kidnappers To Release Colleague

Following the Kidnap of Nollywood actress and Special Assistant on Public Affairs to Imo State Governor, Miss Nkiru Sylvanus, South East Chapter of the Actors Guild of Nigeria staged a peaceful protest in Owerri the state capital condemning the act and calling out to the kidnappers to release their colleague.

Led by the South East Vice Chaiman of the Guild, Iyke Ezenagu, members of the Association marched to the Government House where they called on the state government and other South East governors to provide adequate security for all actors in the region to enable them do their duties accordingly without fear of kidnap.

They however expressed displeasure over the spate of kidnapping of their members in the South East as Nkiru Sylvanus’s case is not the first of its kind.

However while addressing journalists earlier in the Government House, after the security council meeting, the Imo State Governor Rochas Okorocha disclosed that the state government in conjunction with all the security operatives in the state are doing everything possible to rescue the light skinned actress alive as well as other people who have been abducted in the state.

Okorocha further re-iterated his government’s commitment in ensuring a crime and kidnap free Yuletide for all its citizens.

South East PDP vows to return Imo to the party

The leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party of Nigeria (PDP) in the South East has shown determination to restore power in Imo State to the party in the next election year.

The regional leaders of the PDP disclosed this when they paid a solidarity visit to the Imo State PDP at the party secretariate in Owerri, the state capital.

The National Vice Chairman, South- East of the PDP, Austin Akubondu, who led the delagation said that the recent ruling by the court of appeal on the case of the 27 PDP elected Council chairmen, has clearly shown Imo State is a PDP dominated state and all preparations are on top gear to ensure that the state remains a PDP governed state in the next dispensation.

Mr Akubondu, however condemned the step taken by the Imo state government to stop the council chairmen from resuming their respective offices as directed by the court, he said it is unconstitutional and unacceptable and by this reason, all notable politicians in the party are putting all measures in place to get the council chairmen back to office.

This is the first time Mr Akubondu is visiting Imo state since elected as National Vice chairman of the PDP South East.

Speaking to journalist after the meeting, Mr Akubondu disclosed that the party is putting all necessary measures and reinforcement in place to ensure that the party returns power to the PDP in the next election as their plan is to take over the governance of the state in the next election year.

Meanwhile, out of the three years tenure for the Council Chairmen as constitutionally provided, only two months is remaining for the council bosses to stay in office.


South-east leaders demand to produce president in 2015

South-east leaders are demanding that they have a turn at the helm of power during the 2015 presidential elections.

Prominent leaders of the region converged in Abuja to discuss the pressing issue of producing a president in the 2015 race and convener Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife insisted that “rotation has meaning only in the context of six geopolitical zones”.

He argued that for the rotation system to be fair the south east must be given a turn at “producing the President”.

Presidential power is subjected to a zoning system in Nigeria, a method that was adopted to enable both the north and south ends get a chance at producing the President. So far, the South East feels rather excluded from the rotation.

“Five zones have so far had more than five years of being in power,” Dr. Emenife said, adding that the geopolitical zoning system, which has been criticised as ineffective can be scraped only after south east has had its turn at the most powerful seat in the country.

“We will go to every nook and crane, persuading Nigerians to give us teh chance that is due to us as Igbo people,” Emenife said.

He added that after gathering support, south east leaders will look amongst themselves to decide on a representative in the 2015 general elections.

“Some people will indicate interest, we will process them and select who we thing will do the best for Nigeria,” Emenife said.