APC, Edo set for showdown as gov primary holds today [PUNCH]
The All Progressives Congress and the Governor Godwin Obaseki administration in Edo State are set for a showdown over the APC primary election holding today (Monday) in the 192 wards of the state.
The Edo State APC governorship election committee headed by the Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodinma, which on Sunday released guidelines for the party primary election, insisted that the exercise would hold in all the 192 wards in the state.
But the state government said, in compliance with its COVID-19 law, the APC must apply for a waiver before organising a political gathering in any part of the state.
It alleged that the APC had imported thugs into the state with the aim of causing destruction of lives and property.
The state government had on May 28 gazetted regulations aimed at preventing the spread of infectious diseases, including COVID-19.
Obaseki’s Special Adviser on Media, Mr Crusoe Osagie, had on Monday last week, explained the law to one of our correspondents. He said any party that wanted to organise a gathering must apply for a waiver from the state government and that such must be held in one location.
APC insists on holding primary in 192 wards
But on Sunday, the APC committee said its guidelines were in compliance with the state government’s COVID-19 regulations.
A statement by the Secretary of the APC committee, Dr Ajibola Basiru, said voting would commence simultaneously at 8am at the 192 wards in the state.
It insisted that not more than 18 persons would be allowed to gather at the same time from the commencement of voting till the end of the exercise when results would be announced.
The party said, “That the process of the election of the candidate of the party shall commence at 8am on Monday, June 22, 2020 at the various wards in all the local government areas with strict compliance with Edo State’s extant law prohibiting gathering of more than 20 persons.
“Not more than 18 persons including Presiding Officers and Independent National Electoral Commission observers shall be at ward voting centre at any point in time
“There shall be simultaneous accreditation and voting in batches as aforesaid until all eligible members have cast their votes without violation of the state’s COVID-19 regulations.
“Not more than 18 persons shall be in attendance for the announcement of results at all ward centres and collation of results at all levels including the state collation.
“All members of the party and members of the public are enjoined to be peaceful and comply fully with the state’s COVID-19 regulations.”
I won’t resign, says Akeredolu’s deputy after defecting to PDP [PUNCH]
The Ondo State deputy governor, Mr Agboola Ajayi on Sunday resigned his membership of the ruling All Progressives Congress in Apoi Ward 2, Ese Odo Local Government Area of the state.
Ajayi said although he had left the APC, he was still the deputy governor of the state, adding that he would not resign his position.
“My people that voted for me did not ask me to resign, so I remain the deputy governor of this state. I was duly elected as a deputy governor,” the deputy governor said.
This came some hours after the deputy governor was restrained from going out of the government house in Alagbaka, Akure, the state capital, by the state Police Commissioner, Mr Bolaji Salami, and his team.
Tendering his resignation letter at the APC secretariat in Apoi Ward 2, Ese Odo Local Government Area, Ajayi said everybody knew why he left the APC.
He said, “The reason I am taking this action is known to all of you. I listen to the advice from all supporters across the state. The Ese Odo Local Government will continue to witness peace and progress.”
Man kills stepmother over alleged witchcraft in Ebonyi [PUNCH]
An Ebonyi State Magistrates’ Court sitting in Abakaliki, on Friday, remanded one Elom Maduka, 38, in a correctional facility for allegedly killing his stepmother, Mrs Augustina Odio.
The suspect, it was gathered, was said to have complained that the victim was appearing in his dreams and telling him that she was responsible for his lack of progress.
The suspect trailed her to her farm and dealt several machete blows to her head and legs.
PUNCH Metro learnt that the suspect committed the offence at Amohu village, Ezillo community, in the Ishielu Local Government Area of the state.
The accused was arraigned on one count of murder.
The police prosecutor, ASP Mathias Eze, told the court that the offence was punishable under Section 319 (1) of the Criminal Code, Cap. 33, Vol. 1, Laws of Ebonyi State of Nigeria, 2009.
The charge read, “That you, Elom Odio Maduka, on June 12, 2020, at the Amohu Ezillo community in the jurisdiction of this honourable court, did cause the death of one Augustina Odio, 50, by inflicting machete cuts on her head and legs, thereby committing an offence punishable under Section 319 (1) of the Criminal Code, Cap. 33, Vol. 1, Laws of Ebonyi State of Nigeria, 2009.”
The accused was not represented in court by a counsel, thus no bail application was made on his behalf.
Govt releases N13.6b for health workers hazard allowances, life insurance [THE NATION]
A princely sum of N13.642 billion has been released to pay hazard allowances and group life insurance to health workers and federal civil servants, the Federal Government announced on Sunday.
The announcement came on a day the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) said it was suspending its one-week-old strike for four weeks to give the government more time to meet its demands.
But the government said it has resolved all the issues raised in the doctors’ 14-day strike.
It described the “inexplicable strike as a dangerous setback for the nation’s efforts at tackling the Coronavirus pandemic.”
Besides the resolution of the issues, the government also unveiled juicy packages for frontline health workers in the battle against COVID-19.
Information and Culture Minister Lai Mohammed dropped the hint at a joint news briefing in Abuja with Health Minister Dr. Osagie Ehanire and Labour and Productivity Minister, Dr. Chris Ngige.
They trio said the Federal Government had trained over 33,000 workers on how to manage COVID-19.
Mohammed said: “It is pertinent to say that the issues raised by the Association, while issuing its ultimatum on June 1st have received or are receiving full attention.
“Personal Protective Equipment (or PPE) have been supplied to all state and federal tertiary hospitals and funds for the same have been provided in the revised 2020 budget.
“Implementation of the Residency Training programme was backed by the National Assembly, which provided N4 billion in the revised 2020 Budget, while the ministry of Health is working with the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission (NSIWC) to build a template to assure same in the personnel cost of next year’s budget.
“We have also paid N9 billion as premium for Group Life Insurance to all our health workers and N4,642,485,146.00 as Special Hazard Allowance to health workers as already acknowledged in at least 35 hospitals.
Police, DSS, INEC deployed in Edo for APC shadow poll [THE NATION]
Edo State All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship primary will hold today in the 192 wards across the 18 local government areas.
Two aspirants – Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu and Dr. Pius Odubu – are participating in the direct primary election, which a Court of Appeal in Benin on Thursday technically cleared to hold.
Ize-Iyamu, the 2016 governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) defected to APC in December and was on May 21, cleared by the ruling party’s National Working Committee (NWC) to contest the shadow election.
Odubu served as deputy governor in Adams Oshiomhole administration.
Chairman of the seven-member Governorship Primary Election Committee, Imo State Governor Hope Uzodimma, said on Sunday that not more than 18 persons would be allowed into the voting centre at a time.
Uzodimma explained that the novel idea was to prevent violation of the state government’s COVID-19 regulations, especially the part that bars a gathering of more than 20 persons at a point.
He also promised a free and fair contest.
He spoke through his Commissioner for Information Declan Emelumba.
Nigeria’s COVID-19 cases exceed 20,000 [THE NATION]
Nigeria on Sunday night recorded 436 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total number of infections in the country to 20,244.
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) announced this through its official Twitter handle.
NCDC said that the 436 new confirmed cases were from 19 states.
The NCDC said Lagos reported the highest number of cases with 169 new cases and Oyo was second with 52 new infections.
Amongst others were Plateau – 31, Imo – 29, Kaduna – 28, Ogun – 23, FCT – 18, Enugu – 18, Bauchi – 17, Bayelsa – 14, Rivers – 8, Osun – 6, Kano – 6, Edo – 5, Benue – 5, Adamawa – 3, Borno – 2, Abia – 1, Ekiti – 1.
Meanwhile, the NCDC has said a sudden loss of taste and smell with fever, headache or runny nose might be COVID-19.
It called on Nigerians not to ignore these symptoms, adding that they should call their state hotline immediately to arrange for a test.
Jonathan, Atiku, Saraki, Onu, Okonkwo win Okpara leadership awards [SUN]
Former President Goodluck Jonathan and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar would be presented Gold Awards while 10 governors drawn from across the country would be honoured for exemplary leaderships at the centenary celebration of the late premier of the old Eastern Region, Dr. Michael Iheonukara Okpara, billed to hold in August.
The late Igbo leader, Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu and the former governor of Imo State, Sam Mbakwe, would be presented with the posthumous Heroes Awards.
Also penned down for exemplary leadership award include President of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Nnia Nwodo; former Governor of Anambra State, Mr Peter Obi; former Senate president, Dr Bukola Saraki; Ministers Timipre Silva and Ogbonnaya On; Ndoma Egba, and the Chairman of the Dome Entertainment Centre, Abuja, Dr Obiora Okonkwo.
First Republic Minister of Aviation, Chief Mbazulike Amaechi, Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu and Dr. Peter Odili were nominated for Lifetime Achievement Awards.
A statement jointly signed on behalf of the Organising Committee by son of the late premier, Chief Uzodinma Okpara, and the Publisher/CEO of Verbatim media group, Tobs Agbaegbu, said the event is to “immortalise the epitome of good governance.”
The committee stated that the programme line-ups would begin with a World Press Conference and leadership awards in July/August, followed by other activities, ahead of a grand finale in December 2020.
“All the activities are meant to further immortalise Okpara, the patriot, statesman of repute and uncommon administrator under whose tenure as Premier; the eastern regional government became one of the fastest growing economies of the world between November, 1959 and January, 1966”, the statement partly read.
The committee added that the idea of the awards to personalities was to acknowledge achievement and commend vision of Okpara’s core areas of excellence and ideals for adoption and emulation.
“There are no tears again but memories of the good legacies in family life and good governance that the Okpara era represented”, they said.
APC crisis: Acting chair rules out emergency NEC
The All Progressives Congress (APC) has said it would not succumb to the nationwide clamour for it to convene an emergency National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting to resolve its myriad of crises, which has led to the sack of its national chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, by the courts.
Addressing newsmen in Abuja yesterday, acting national chairman of the party, Hilliard Eta, said, with over 120 members, a NEC meeting would violate the COVID-19 pandemic protocol prohibiting public gatherings: “I do not believe there is anybody afraid or scared of convening NEC meeting. For those who want to build this party, who want this party to outlast this present government, they are such in number that there is no fear of convening NEC meeting.
“What has been militating against constituting NEC meeting in the recent past is, of course, the COVID-19 pandemic that has stopped everybody from gathering more than a certain number of persons.
“As you are all aware, we have over 120 members of NEC and it would amount to breaking the COVID-19 protocol as established by the Nigerian authorities prohibiting gathering of more than 50 people at a time. It will take our breaking that protocol for us to have a NEC meeting. But, if it is possible to have a waiver, so to speak, to be able to have a NEC meeting, we can explore that. There is nobody afraid of having NEC meeting. There is no way the ruling party will voluntarily disobey or break rules it is part of making.”
Regardless of his explanation, the newly formed Integrity Group of the party has insisted that an urgent emergency NEC meeting should be held to resolve the leadership crisis and challenges confronting the party.
At a press conference in Abuja yesterday, spokesman for the group and NorthWest national youth leader of APC, Alhaji Abubakar Fakai, said the party had a critical leadership problem, and the development was threatening the unity of the party.
He expressed concerns over the crisis and challenges confronting the national leadership of the party, adding that, if left unchecked, it could wreck the foundation and structure of APC across the country.
Fakai said members of the Integrity Group comprised elected and appointed members of the party and the group had resolved to critically look into the party’s constitution regarding the current situation with a view to addressing them amicably.
He advised President Muhammadu Buhari, national caucus of the party and the Progressive Governors Forum to take necessary action and decisions to resolve the situation.
He also urged the National Working Committee of the APC to look inward and strictly adhere to its schedules and stop encroaching or abusing the power of the NEC.
FG demands urgent action from Ghana over attack on high commission [SUN]
Diplomatic row appears imminent between Nigeria and Ghana as the Federal Government over attack on the Nigerian High Commission in Ghana.
Some persons, Friday night, invaded the residence of the Nigerian High Commissioner in Accra and demolished a building within the premises.
The block of apartments, Daily Sun gathered, is an official quarter within the residence of the High Commissioner under construction to house staff and visitors.
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, in a tweet, yesterday, said those responsible for the attack must be brought to book immediately.
“We strongly condemn two outrageous criminal attacks in Accra, #Ghana, on a residential building in our diplomatic premises by unknown persons in which a bulldozer was used to demolish the building. We are engaging the Ghanaian Government and demand urgent action to find the perpetrators and provide adequate protection for Nigerians and their property in Ghana,” said Onyeama.