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EKWEREMADU: DECLARE ME ENUGU WEST SENATOR – LAWYER TELLS COURT

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An Enugu-based lawyer, Barr. Ogochukwu Onyema has approached a Federal High Court sitting in Enugu, praying it to declare the Enugu West Senatorial seat vacant.

Our correspondent reports that the seat is currently being occupied by a former Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu.

The lawmaker is currently in detention in the United Kingdom where is facing charges bordering on alleged organ trafficking.

Onyema claimed that the seat cannot continue to be vacant owing to Ekweremadu’s absence.

In the lawsuit marked FHC/EN/CS/7/2022 filed at the Federal High Court Enugu, Onyema is also seeking an order of the court “commanding and mandating” the National Chairman of the PDP, Dr. Iyorchia Ayu and PDP to “select, nominate, and forward” his name to the National Assembly “as a replacement” for Senator Ekweremadu.

He further prayed the court to command and mandate the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu and INEC to “withdraw or revoke, as the case may be, the Certificate of Return earlier issued to the 3rd defendant (Ekweremadu) and issue a fresh Certificate of Return” to him.

Ekweremadu had at the PDP senatorial primary election, which took place at Awgu, Enugu State, on 2nd October 2018, polled 690 votes to emerge winner, defeating his closest rivals, Mr. Isaac Okah, who polled 84 votes and Chief Onyema polled a distant 61 votes to place third.

But in an Originating Summons, Onyema wants the court to determine, among others: “Whether it is the intendment and contemplation of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (1999) as amended 2018; the Senate Standing Orders 2015 as amended; and the Senate Legislative Calendar 2022, that the seat of Enugu West Senatorial District in the 9th Senate will be declared vacant by default, if the Senator representing, without just cause absent from sittings of the Senate for a period amounting in the aggregate to more than one-thirds of the total number of days during which the Senate meets in any one year, which is one-thirds of 181.

“Whether by virtue of the continuous absence of the 3rd defendant (Ekweremadu) from the Senate since 22nd day of June 2022 or days prior (when he last attended the sitting of the Senate), up till the date of adaptation of this Summons, or any other date thereafter, it could be said that the 3rd defendant is still validly representing the plaintiff (Chief Onyema) and Enugu West Senatorial District, as provided by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and the Senate Standing Order 2015 as amended, in Nigeria Senate.

“Whether going by the heinous allegations levelled against the 3rd defendant and his incarceration at the United Kingdom, Wandsworth Prison, since around 22nd day of June 2022 up till the date of adoption of this Summons, the 3rd defendant can be said to have defaulted and be away from representing the plaintiff and Enugu West Senatorial District in the House of Senate, for no just cause, as provided for in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (1999) as amended in 2018.

“Whether by virtue of the 3rd defendant’s travails, which was not caused by the plaintiff or any of his constituents, and going by the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (1999) as amended, the Senate Standing Order 2015 as amended, it is wise and best, for the 3rd defendant to honourably agree that he has defaulted in representation, withdraw from his position, and mandating the 1st and second defendants (the Senate President and the Senate) to declare his position vacant by default, and instantly communicate same to 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th defendants (Clark to the National Assembly, Dr. Ayu, PDP, Prof. Yakubu, and INEC) for appropriate and timeous actions, of his replacement with the plaintiff, by the 5th and 6th defendants. And Certificate of Return to be issued to the Plaintiff by the 7th and 8th defendants”.

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APC CAMPAIGN COUNCIL EXPLAINS TINUBU’S WHEREABOUT

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The presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Bola Tinubu

The presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Bola Tinubu is in the United Kingdom to rest ahead of the campaign season.

This was the comment of a member of the APC Presidential Campaign Council Ayo Oyalowo during his appearance on a television programme.

“The man, like I said, needed a few days off because the pressure on him is a bit too much and he needed to rest because the campaign is pretty long – we have about four, five months to campaign before the general election,” the APC chieftain said on Monday.

“So, he needs to ensure that he is not worn out by the show of love, and camaraderie – too many people coming to see him. So, yes, he needed to take that breather.”

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2023: PDP G5 GIVES ATIKU CONDITIONS FOR SUPPORT

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Presidential Candidate of the PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar

Five governors of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) led by Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike have given the presidential candidate of the party, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar conditions he must meet before they can support him in the 2023 general election.

A highly placed source told Daily Sun that the PDP standard bearer is seriously under pressure to succumb to their demands few days after the flag off of campaigns by political parties.

The governors in Wike’s camp include those of Enugu, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi; Benue, Samuel Ortom; Oyo, Seyi Makinde and Abia, Okezie Ikpeazu.

Daily Sun learnt that following a meeting by the governors at the weekend in Enugu, there is renewed tension among leaders of the PDP over the protracted crisis in the opposition party in the run-up to the 2023 general election.

Our source confirmed that the resolve of Wike’s group that the national chairman, Iyorchia Ayu must be replaced with a Southerner before they could participate in the PDP presidential campaign is unsettling a lot of party leaders.

He said that well meaning members of the party were mounting pressure on the PDP standard bearer to succumb to the demands of the G5 governors so the party does not prosecute next year’s election as a divided house.

This comes as the crisis rocking the opposition PDP over recent corruption-related accusations apper to have nosedived, as the national chairman, Iyorchia Ayu; national secretary, Samuel Anyanwu; and deputy national chairman, North, Umar Damagum have been given a 48-hour ultimatum to resign or face legal action.

The threat followed a resolution by the Forum of PDP candidates and aspirants, which passed a vote of no confidence in the three officers.

They’ve also petitioned the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party on the unanimous demand of candidates for the resignation the above-mentioned officers.

The candidates who gathered and held brainstorming session in Abuja, also alleged that the leadership of the party extorted several aspirants during the congresses, primaries and national convention of the party. It claimed after primaries, the leadership swapped the names of candidates with the names of persons who did not win.

They pointed out that these “underhand actions of the leadership of the party are largely responsible for the nullification by the courts of the governorship primaries in Zamfara State and all primaries held in Ogun State, while noting that many more are still pending in Court.”

Chris Ogbu, who presided over the session as the Forum Coordinator and House of Assembly Candidate, also read the communiqué. He was flanked by Dauda Yusuf, the Forum’s Secretary and former governorship aspirant as well as several other members.

He demanded Ayu, Anyanwu and Damagum step down immediately or sacked by the party within 48 hours or face legal action to force them from office which will commence on Wednesday.

The candidates/aspirants said that by Ayu allegedly sharing money paid as nomination forms instead of utilising it for the prosecution of the historic 2023 election of the party, was very provocative and indicting on the image of the party.

•Crisis’ll soon be over –Jibrin, ex-BoT cºhair

The immediate past chairman, Board of Trustees (BoT) of PDP, Senator Walid Jibrin has said the ongoing intra-party crisis in the party should be seen as a normal family matter, which would soon be resolved.

Jibrin, a Second Republic lawmaker however, advised members of the party not to see themselves as above the provisions of the Constitution of the party, adding that every member must respect and obey the Constitution.

In a statement, yesterday, Jibrin called on members of the party to put aside their political differences to work for the victory of the party in the forthcoming general elections.

“All organs of the party must therefore create oneness and greatest positions of the party. All our elders, leaders, youths and all women of the party must talk with one voice and must never create any division from now on, and within the NWC.

“It is important that PDP remains calm and strong; talk with one voice, and remain focused to follow the path and objectives of the party. And to make sure all the elections are won in 2023, especially winning of the Presidential Election, and encouraging, voting for Atiku Abubakar to become the President of Nigeria,” he said.

Meanwhile, a source close to the Wike camp told Daily Sun that the five governors at their Enugu meeting insisted that there is no going back on the sack of the national chairman as a condition for their participation in the PDP presidential election.

Also reacting to the development, a member of the PDP National Executive Committee (NEC), who is pro- Ayu told Daily Sun that Wike and his men are unrelenting in the demand that the national chairman must be replaced before they would support Atiku in next year’s elections.

The NEC member added that the former vice president has not said Ayu should not be replaced but that due process must be followed.

The Enugu meeting came on the heels of a meeting between Wike and the PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, in Abuja, last Thursday, where the former president reportedly appealed to the Rivers governor to reconsider his stance on contentious issues.

The five governors, as well as other notable leaders of the party have been on warpath with the PDP, in the aftermath of the nomination of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and Delta State governor, Ifeanyi Okowa as presidential and vice presidential candidates, respectively.

Repeated efforts to resolve the crisis have failed, with the Wike camp withdrawing from the PDP Presidential Campaign Council pending the removal of Ayu as national chairman.

Last week, five loyalists of the Rivers governor in the PDP National Working Committee (NWC) returned over N100 millon paid to them as housing allowance by the party leadership. A move, inside sources said is part of a grand plot to pile pressure on the national chairman to vacate office, ahead of the 2023 polls.

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RIVERS APC TACKLES S’WEST GOVS OVER ROMANCE WITH WIKE

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Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike

All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State, has cautioned South-West governors of the party to stop disrespecting them by hobnobbing with Governor Nyesom Wike.

Stakeholders of the party in the state gave the warning at a consultative meeting in the South-South zone in Port Harcourt, yesterday.

The party also urged its national leadership to prevail on the governors to desist from coming to the state, if not for the sake of solidarity.

Chairman of the party in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area, Sydney Nyeche, said: “Visiting Wike is an embarrassment to our effort in trying to reclaim the state.

“We find it disrespectful that while we are toiling for the party in the state, some group of governors from the West come to the state, go to Rumueprikom(Wike’s residence) and be negotiating with Nyesom Wike.

“The attention of the national chairman is drawn to this because we will not tolerate this anymore; we have had enough. We urge the National Working Committee of the party to warn these governors from the South West to desist from coming to the state to negotiate with the governor. This level of embarrassment we have suffered should stop.

“I cannot be threatened everyday because of my political leanings and somebody will come from the West to rubbish our efforts. If they cannot come to the state to show solidarity, they should stop coming to the state.”

Also, the state chairman of the party, Emeka Beke, berated the non-remittance of 25 percent of the funds generated from the sales of forms from candidates of the state during the party primaries to strengthen the party.

Beke demanded support from the party’s national leadership, stressing that the state chapter would reciprocate in the same manner it is being treated.

“Please, we urge the National Chairman that Rivers State bought forms worth over N1 billion and we are requesting that they should remit to the state 25 percent generated through the sale of the forms.”

Convener of the meeting, the Vice Chairman, South-South zone of APC, Victor Giadom,  said the essence of the meeting was to understand clearly the challenges of the party in the state and areas to improve on.

Meanwhile, some youths in Niger State have warned former Minister for Information and member of the Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) Board of Trustee (BoT), Prof. Jerry Gana to distance himself from River State Governor, Nyesom Wike and his group or face their wrath.

The youths under the auspices of “Concern Citizen of Niger state” in collaboration with Arewa Youths Council, Niger State chapter, in a letter signed by its coordinator, Alfa Nma, to Gana’s son, threatening to scuttle his ambition for the Lavun/Mokwa/Edati Federal Constituency seat if the older Gana continued his alliance with Wike.

“We wish to notify you about the activities of your father, Prof. Jerry Gana, over his unpalatable move towards our great party and its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, which is capable of affecting our chances in the 2023 general elections.

“We have observed with dismay how Wike and his group have continued their rebellion against the party and its presidential candidate despite several appeals and peace efforts from well-meaning party stakeholders. The activities of the professor has become worrisome to many of our supporters within the state and we implore you to call your father to order before it’s too late. The failure to do that within 24 hours means we would have no other option than to mobilise all our support groups in Niger State to work against your election,” the group said.

All attempts to get the reaction of the candidate, Joshua Gana, over the threat letter, failed as he promised to get back to our correspondent after several calls and text message but never did.

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