Aftermath of Imo Speaker’s Impeachment: Deputy Speaker resigns, Majority Leader packs property

24 hours after the impeachment of the Speaker, Imo State House of Assembly, Rt.Hon. AchoIhim, his deputy, Hon Ugonna Ozuruigbo has tendered his letter of resignation.

According to a letter received by the Office of the Clerk, Ozuruigbo who until now, represented Nwangele State constituency in the Assembly, said he wanted to focus on the new mandate given to him by his federal constituency, Nkwere/Isu/Nwangele/Njaba Federal constituency at the National Assembly, to avoid a clash between the two.

For him,“this new task has come with its own challenges and expectations, especially the need to play key roles in the formation of the National Assembly leadership, and time to strategically position, to pursue the greater interests of Imo State, South East and Nigeria, at the federal legislature. Currently, these will make my availability in Imo State irregular.”

Meanwhile, Hon. Lugard Osuji who until Wednesday was the Majority Leader of the Assembly, has removed his personal effects from the Office of the Majority Leader, thereby making way for the new man.

Our correspondent who went to monitor the situation at the premises, saw his aides carrying his personal belongings, especially bundles of files  from his office to a waiting vehicle, meaning that the tenure of the once powerful Majority Leader has come to an end.

PDP prunes number of witnesses to 49

Peoples Democratic Party candidate Aminu Shagari (PDP-Sokoto) Thursday has reduced the number of witnesses he intends to call from 95 to 46.

He disclosed the reduction during the hearing of his petition against the victory of the APC in the Shagari/Yabo federal constituency.

Shagari, who is a son of late President Shehu Shagari, is challenging the election of Alhaji Abubakar Umar-Yabo before the Sokoto state Election Petition Tribunal.

Shagari approached the tribunal, challenging the return of Umar-Yabo, on the grounds that the APC candidate did not score the highest number of lawful votes cast at the polls.

He also alleged that the election was marred by electoral irregularities not in compliance with Electoral ACT (2010 as amended).

Counsel to Shagari and the PDP Mr Kelechi Ogbonna who held brief for Mahmud Magaji, SAN, told the court that the number of witnesses had been reduced from 95 to 49.

Also, counsel to Umar-Yabo and the APC, Mr Bashir Jodi and Abdulhamid Zubair, said they intend to call one witness each.

Mr Abdulkarim Ibrahim, counsel to INEC said that the commission would rely on the witness testimony of two people.

The tribunal chairman, Justice Peter Akhihiero, ordered all parties to file their issues for determination on Friday, for continuation of pre-hearing. (NAN)

South East Development Commission bill passes 2nd reading

A bill for an Act to establish the South East Development Commission has passed second reading at the House of Representatives.

The bill is meant to serve as catalyst for the development of commercial potentials of the South-east region and is similar to North East Development Commission (NEDC) and the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).

The bill has been passed by the senate and was sent to the green chambers for concurrence Thursday in Abuja in accordance with the law.

The commission, when established, would receive and manage funds from allocation from the federation for the rehabilitation, reconstruction and reparation for lost houses and business of victims of the Nigerian civil war.

The commission would also address any other environmental or developmental challenge and for related matters in the geo-political zone.

Supporting the bill, Representative Abdulmumin Jibrin (APC-Kano) said there is need to look at the bigger picture and the historical background of the civil war.

He said there is also need for government to implement what the entire country agreed upon years ago.

Jibrin said the Yakubu Gowon administration had already begun implementation before it was interrupted and the project abandoned.

The lawmaker said that though a lot has been done there is lots of underdevelopment in the zone.

According to him, this is the time to show courage and make the South-east feel like a part of Nigeria.

Jibrin said that members must rise up above sentiments and pass the bill as it may come back to hunt the entire nation.

Abdulrazak Namdas (APC-Adamawa) urged members to support the bill as there is need for some reconstructions in the zone.

Namdas, whose constituency is a beneficiary of the North East Development Commission, said it would be unfair for him not to support the bill.

But, Saheed Fijabi (APC-Oyo) however cautioned the house to be careful in passing the bill saying that instead of establishing South East Development Commission, a Nigeria development commission should be established.

He suggested that rather than establish developmental commission for each of the geo-political zones of the country, a bill establishing Nigeria development commission should be considered.

After much debate by members, the Deputy Speaker, Yussuff Lassun (APC-Osun), put the matter to vote and majority voted in favour of the bill.

Lassun forwarded the bill to the committee of the whole for further legislative actions. (NAN)

Bayelsa, Kogi guber elections now to hold Nov 16

By Emeka Nze

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has shifted Kogi and Bayelsa governorship elections which would now hold on Saturday 16 November 2019.

According to a statement Thursday by National Commissioner and Chairman Information and Voter Education Committee, the shift in the earlier date of November 2 became necessary due to several appeals to the commission complaining about the inappropriateness of earlier date.

lNEC had on 9th April 2019, announced the timetable and schedule of activities for the Kogi and Bayelsa governorship elections fixing elections in both states on November 2. 

But the statement explained that “the commission has received several appeals from the government, state Assembly, elders, religious leaders, traditional rulers and other critical stakeholders in Bayelsa state that the election date coincides with the state’s annual Thanksgiving Day, which is backed by the Bayelsa state Thanksgiving Day Law 2012.”

It further said: “After a careful consideration of the appeals, the commission at its regular weekly meeting held today Thursday 16th May decided to shift the governorship elections in Kogi and Bayelsa states to Saturday 16th November 2019. 

“The timelines for all other activities leading to the elections have also been adjusted to align with the new date. The amended timetable and schedule of activities for the elections is attached to this press release.”

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