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Battle for Senate leadership continues, as North steps up campaign against Akpabio



The battle over who should become the next Senate President, has not been settled as multiple interest groups within and outside the National Assembly, are still pushing for the position with no fewer than 68 senators-elect across party lines said to have rejected the consensus arrangement said to have settled for former Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Godswill Akpabio.

After an intensive meeting, the Akpabio option is being railed against by those who fear that any form of imposition would not augur well for the NASS and are therefore pushing that other forms of electing the principal officers of the assembly billed for inauguration June 13 should be adopted.

In fact the All Progressives Congress (APC) Integrity Group is warning Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu due to take over from President Muhammadu Buhari as the next President and the National Working Committee (NWC) not to plunge the party into crisis over zoning of National Assembly offices.

THISDAY, quotes one of the 68 senators-elect, from the North East, as saying on conditions of anonymity that majority of them had indicated their strong opposition to the planned imposition, and agreed to work towards electing pan-Nigeria senators as President and Deputy President of the Senate.

His words: “All senators-elect from North-west zone, except two, have thrown their weight behind the planned resistance and pledged to support a leader emerging from amongst themselves. They do not want anybody to be imposed on them. Same with the senators-elect from the North East except a few self-seeking elected senators.”

On the issue of ranking, he indicated that only five out of the 18 senators-elect were in support of the imposition of Akpabio and Barau Jibrin, adding: “Only four out of the 15 senators-elect from the South East had agreed to the Akpabio/Barau project.”
Another senator-elect from Anambra State confided in THISDAY that a majority of the senators had subscribed to electing a leader on the floor, adding that the next Senate President would emerge without external interference.
His words: “No monetary or executive imposition will determine our choice of a leader and we will do it conscious of the fact that part of such leadership must be from the South Eastern part of the country.
“In the North Central, the plot also thickens as many of the senators-elect are reacting to the APC leadership plans to short-change the zone with the imposition.
“They are lamenting that the arrangement would not do the zone any good, as both Speaker and Deputy Senate President positions have been taken away and proposed to another zone. The action will completely distort the equitable distribution of leadership positions across the six geopolitical zones. On their part the South South region senators-elect are divided sharply as to who emerges. Senators-elect from Akwa Ibom have indicated their solidarity to the group against imposing leadership of the red chamber and have pledged their support to the emergence of an independent leadership in the Senate.”

In fact a source who say that only six out of the 18 Senators from the South West, are pushing the Akpabio Akpabio/Barau deal and that only the zone appears to be comfortable with it, mentioned  Opeyemi Bamidele (Ekiti), Adeola Somolon (Ogun), and Tokunbo Abiru (Lagos), as those pushing for it.

An aggrieved senator from the North East, was quoted as saying: “From the foregoing, the direction the National Working Committee of the All Progressives Congress and the president-elect, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, are going on the issue of the 10th Assembly leadership are crystal clear.

“They are bent on imposing leadership on the red and green chambers, which is going to be very detrimental to the smooth take off of the 10th Assembly. Many of the senators-elect that have signed an endorsement document for Akpabio/Barau said they did it because of the largesse attached to it.

“They have confided in some of us that the endorsement they signed is not binding. Majority have denounced the imposition and have vowed to cast their votes independently according to their conscience and not on anyone’s imposing anybody to them. The senators-elect have all agreed to shelve their party affiliations and work in the spirit of equity, justice and fairness in an undiluted manner in electing the right leadership for the 10th Assembly.”

Another ranking returning senators from a North West, who argued that Tinubu did not necessarily need to balance his same-faith presidential ticket with the principal officers’ positions in the National Assembly, said: “Legislative sovereignty, as enshrined in our constitution, must not be hindered by unnecessary interference. The principle of separation of powers should guide us, as it holds that the legislative body will elect or choose its leaders from among themselves, hence external interference in any form especially imposition must be resisted.”

A returning senator-elect from the South West also said, “An independent legislature has long been endorsed as one of the three pillars of good government; hence, the president-elect must toe the line of democratic ethics and be ready to work with any leadership that emerges as a democrat.”


Imo massacre: Armoured vehicles procured for police used to rig elections – LP



Labour Party, palpably in anguish at the slaughter of eight soldiers in Imo State on Tuesday by some rampaging gunmen, has raised questions over the whereabouts of the nine Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs) Athan Achonu, it claimed its governorship candidate for the November 11 election, repaired and donated to the authorities in the state.

The party, all but called out the leadership of the Imo State Police Command, to whom they claimed the equipment were handed over, alleging that the last time they APCs were seen was during the last general elections, where they were used by members of the All Progressives Congress (APC), the party in power in the state to snatch ballot boxes for candidates in the national and state assemblies.

The claim, was made when Nick Opara-Ndudu  and Nnaemeka Onyeka Obiareri , chieftains of the party appeared as guests on The Morning Show, a breakfast programme on Arise Television to sell the candidacy of Achonu, whom they said would never have allowed the type of insecurity in the state to endure under his watch.

Both men, who said that Achonu, whose highest political office so far, was his short stint in the Senate, where he served via the 2015 election before he was removed through the courts, remained the only solution not to the insecurity, in the state and even the South East,  but the one to rescue the people from years of underdevelopment from poor leadership.

Obiareri, spokesman of the LP in the state, argued that if the APCs had been in place, Tuesday’s incident in which the military men were killed alongside some policemen and officials of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), would probably not have happened, said a check on the social media would reveal how they were used by party men of the APC for rigging the 2023 general elections.

He said: “The military men that were killed if they had armoured vehicles patrolling, they wouldn’t have been shot by those criminals. Athan Achonu, go and confirm from Innoson, paid hundreds of millions of naira to Innoson, Innoson is still alive, you people can still go and interview him, to repair nine armoured vehicles for the police. Five were supposed to be in Okigwe zone. Till today, we don’t know where those nine armoured cars are.

“If you go to Youtube, you’ll see Youtube record of members of the House of Assembly in Imo State using those APCs to carry ballot boxes. It’s there on Youtube, you can search it out. What Athan Achonu will do is very simple. Every local government area will have one humvy vehicle for the police. Police stations had been totally burnt in Imo State and Athan repaired most of those police stations.

“Then, there will be community vigilante. We’ll train those 50 youths per community – train them, equip them and arm them. They should guard their communities. When you have over 50,000 hectres of land, reclaimed from the bandits, and you have youths who are not only just farming, but who are trained to protect their communities, they’ll do the job.

“Then, we have to set up a security trust fund. Ndi-Imo are not scared. As at today, there are some communities in Imo State, where bandits – unknown gunmen, are ransacking and collecting levies from the communities. Basically, Athan Achonu will provide training, recruitment for people donated by the communities. Communities know those who are the terrible ones in their midst. And I tell you, in six months, they will flush them out.”

Opara-Ndudu, who dismissed the claim by the state governor, Hope Uzodimma that the carnage and other killings in the state were politically-motivated, blamed the governor for misplacing his priorities and failing to provide jobs for the teeming youth population in the state, questioning why nobody had been arrested and prosecuted fully in the courts if the insecurity in the state was all about politics.

Hear him: “The security problem has to do with objective conditions in the state. The young people are frustrated. The government is not making any investments in the areas that are required. We’re busy pursuing projects that are designs in deception. Look at the roads that are being done in Imo State, you know for you to deal with the problem of poverty and other economic challenges, you have to deal with the problem of infrastructure.

“In Imo State, the government has dedicated all of its time and half of its time to reconstructing federal roads without any attention – little or no attention paid to the rural areas. If you go to length and breadth of Imo State – Ngor Okpala, Ezinifte Mbaise, even in the governor’s local government – everywhere in Imo State, you find that the rural areas are looking desolate and abandoned.”

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Police find body of missing female student dumped in the bush, vow to get killers



Operatives of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), command, have vowed to fish out the killers of a university student, Blessing Karami, whose body was said to have been picked up from the bush days after she was declared missing on September 11.

The FCT police, which released the painful news on Thursday, said in a statement by its spokesman, Josephine Adeh that the remains were found in the woods in the Karimu area of the city.

The police spokesman acknowledged that her disappearance was reported to the police authorities last,  Thursday, September 14 added that 26-year-old Blessing, a student of the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN), was declared missing after leaving her place of work in Garki, Abuja.

She said in the statement: “The body of Blessing Karami Moses, a 26-year-old woman who had been missing since September 11, 2023, was tragically discovered in a wooded area in Karimo. Her disappearance was reported to the authorities on September 14, 2023,” the statement read.

She said Commissioner of Police, FCT, Haruna Garba, had directed that command should conduct a thorough and impartial investigation into the circumstances surrounding the incident, adding: “While we are working closely with the Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB) to facilitate the respectful retrieval of the decomposed remains acknowledging the sensitive nature of this task, we will continue to provide updates to the public as our investigation progresses.”

Adeh, a Superintendent of Police (SP), also commiserated with Blessing’s family and loved ones over the incident.

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Ogun cult massacre: DSS raid home, pick up PDP lawmaker, five others



Damilare Bello Mohammed, a serving member of the Ogun State House of Assembly (OGHA), is currently telling operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS) his side of the story, after he was picked up over his alleged involvement in the rival secret cult clashes that occurred in Sagamu town.

Mohammed, recently elected on the platform of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to represent Sagamu State Constituency 1, was picked up on Wednesday by the agency over the incident in which at least eight persons were killed last weekend during the violent clash in the town, alongside five other suspected cultists allegedly involved in the cult violence.

The five other suspects; Debbo Animashaun, Bamidele Saheed, Ismaila Onitire, Adewale Otesanya and Tobi Owoade, were arrested by the DSS operatives during a sting operation after a tip-off at the early hours of Thursday within the residence of the lawmaker.

Lekan Adeniran, spokesman to Dapo Abiodun, the Ogun State governor, announced the development in a statement on Wednesday, saying the secret police tracked the six suspected cultists to the official residence of the lawmaker.

Accusing the lawmaker of providing shelter to the cultists, Adeniran, said in the statement, that the suspects were presently undergoing interrogation in DSS custody after many dangerous weapons, including guns, were recovered from them.

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