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Last seven years in Enugu a ‘disaster’ – Frank Nweke, APGA guber candidate



Last seven years in Enugu a disaster - Frank Nweke, APGA guber candidate

A former Minister for Information and the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, in Enugu State, Mr. Frank Nweke Jr has faulted the adoption of “Continuity” as campaign slogan by the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP in the state ahead of the 2023 governorship election, saying the party whose administration failed to perform in seven years does not deserve another chance.

He declared that the last seven years in Enugu State “has been a disaster of great proportion” saying the present administration had been unable to lift the state beyond where his predecessors left it.

Nweke, who interacted with members of Enugu Professional Online Publishers (EPOP) at his GRA residence in Enugu, said that it was wrong for anybody seeking the mandate of the people to publicly declare his intention to continue with the activities of the administration that  has failed to move the state forward in terms of economic development.

“Most of the problems we are facing today is as a result of leadership failure. Why do you aspire to lead? What is your vision?. Do you understand what service means – is it about you, your cronies, family and friends? Do you know the essence of governance and do you understand what it means?

“My position is that the last seven years has been a disaster of great proportion in Enugu and all the indicators and indices of development point to that fact. Water crisis in Enugu has persisted, insecurity is at an all time high…,” said Nweke, who was also Director General of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group, NESG.

Continuing, he said: “I always wonder what people mean when they begin to preach continuity to us in Enugu state. What are they continuing?” Is it continuity of land grabbing, poor infrastructure, potholes in the capital city, and bad governance? We need to know.

“This was how one man told us nrashi in 2015 and we never asked what is nrashi? But today we might have seen the meaning. His government has nothing to offer and someone is campaigning with continuity.

“We should ask those adding Continuity to their posters to come out boldly and explain what they want to continue. For me, this is exactly what Enugu Professional Online Publishers and all media practitioners should be interrogating”.

Frank Nweke Jr

The APGA governorship flag bearer, who said he has deep knowledge on what governance entails especially in a state like Enugu having participated actively in governance, expressed his intention and eagerness to create a conducive business environment and boost the wellbeing of the people.

He said: “The responsibility of a good government is to maintain security, law and order, improve the welfare and wellbeing of the citizens for the economic progress of the society.

“The welfare and wellbeing of the citizens cannot exist if there’s no law and order. Farmers will be unable to go to farm which will result in food insecurity, hunger, poverty.

“Man by nature will tow the part of least resistance if there are no consequences for certain action. Every state must retain her coercive powers. The moment you begin to share those coercive powers, it becomes a classic symptom of state failure.

“The reason for the lack of investments in Enugu is very simple, the current state of affairs is not conducive for businesses to come. This also is the cause of the increase in unemployment because there aren’t so many jobs that the government can provide. Giving 200 young people ‘Executive Assistant’ jobs is not enough. I believe in sustainable jobs and this can be done through investments.”

On his plan for the transformation of the state economy, Nweke Jr said: “The knowledge economy is the new economy and through technology you can catalyze thousands of jobs and Enugu can be transformed as the technology hub of southeast of Nigeria.

“And how do we do this? We need to create the enabling environment. The access to land must be easy. The acquisition or receipt of certificate of occupancy must be easy. I mean, what will you be doing as a commissioner for land? So as a governor, if you cannot guarantee the issuance of a certificate of occupancy to a potential business within 48 hours to one week maximum, what exactly are you doing?”

According to him, the APGA government would “establish what I call a Geospatial Land Management System, similar to what was done under President Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration in the Federal Capital Territory. And these things don’t require geniuses. It is the political will, it is the vision, it is the determination and then it can work.”

Nweke praised the determination and commitment of past leaders of the state, who, he said, left indelible legacies, noting that their  efforts created conducive business environment and economic development which the current administration had failed to sustain.

His words: “When our revered Senator Jim Ifeanyichukwu Nwobodo was in government, he built Nike Lake Hotel, established the then Anambra State University, Sunrise Flour Mills, Anambra TV, Premiere Breweries, Anambra Vegetable Oil Product and so many others within 4 years. Think about the number of jobs that were created.

“The 40 billion Naira Ama Breweries built during the government of His Excellency Chimaroke Nnamani is a testament to how jobs can be created and other businesses established because of the conducive business environment.

“Under the government of Governor Sullivan Chime, the Mexicans established a major farm in Enugu which led to exportation of pineapple products, bananas and others.

“Regrettably, most of these businesses have shut down within two years of the emergence of the current administration, as a result of the unfriendly and obnoxious policies of the government. The key to job creation and economic regeneration is in a very strong partnership with the private sector underpinned by a conducive business environment.”

The former Information Minister, however, advised the electorate to make a wise choice in next year election, pointing out that voting for anyone in PDP or APC “is as good as backing impunity and bad governance in Enugu state.”  He described APGA as one of the best options for the political revival of the southern states.

Explaining his campaign slogan which is “Arise, Let’s Build Enugu’, Nweke further assured that if he is elected into office, he will invest hugely in the Knowledge-based economy.

“If you look at the theme of my campaign, it is simply “Arise, let Build Enugu” because I realized that we need the partnership and support of the people. I will keep it simple. Sustainably resolve water crisis, clean up our city, patch the roads and open new roads where necessary.

“I will invest heavily in technology infrastructure, and my first shot will be on knowledge-based-economy where you will have youngsters who will be in Enugu and have the opportunity to work for companies all over the world using available I.T infrastructure”.

He further added that he will market Enugu, and attract investors due to the peculiar nature of the state and position in the Southeast adding that with many institutions in the state; both local and foreign investors will make Enugu the first choice.

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Yahaya Bello nominates Primary School Teacher as Kogi APC running mate



Usman Ododo and Gov Yahaya Bello

The Kogi All Progressives Congress (APC) Guber Candidate, Mr Usmam Ododo, on Sunday unveiled a Primary School Teacher, Salifu Joel, as his running mate for Nov. 11 governorship election.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the running mate is the current Chairman of Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT), and the Treasurer of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) in Kogi.

Gov Yahaya Bello, who spoke at the event at the Government House, said that the choice of Mr Joel, a class teacher and unionist as the deputy governorship candidate of the APC, was borne out of the party’s desire to carry every body along in its quest for the development of the state.

Bello assured that he would leave no stone unturned to ensure that the APC won the Nov 11 governorship election in the state.

“APC will follow and abide by all the existing electoral laws to win the Nov 11 election, more so that my administration has performed creditably well in the areas of provision of infrastructure, quality education, healthcare delivery, among others.

“We have shown competence, dedication, and Commitment to Kogi people in terms of performance to also ask for their votes in the next governorship election.

“In this dispensation, we won’t tolerate any politics of bitterness nor condone any act of political violence because Kogi as a state is bigger than any personal interest.

“Politics of ethnicity, religion will never be a barrier and has no place in Kogi, therefore, you should desist from any comment that can put you in trouble tomorrow, ” he warned.

Also, the State’s APC Chairman, Abdullahi Bello, congratulated the Kogi guber candidate and his running mate, and commended the governor for providing good leadership to the party.

He said it was ap and commendable, the choice of the running mate to Ododo, coming from a very critical section of the society as a teacher.

Joel said: “I am short of words for me as a classroom teacher to be nominated as the running mate and deputy governor to the APC guber candidate.”

“When I was first approached, from the bottom of my heart, I joyfully and heartily accepted the position, because it is divine.

“I wish to assure that I will do all I could to ensure that our party becomes victorious in the forthcoming governorship election, ” Joel assured after being picked as the running mate to the Kogi APC gubernatorial candidate.

In their goodwill messages, the National President of TUC, Mr Audu Anaba; Kogi NLC Chairman, Mr Gabriel Amari and the immediate past NLC Chairman, Edoka Onu; commended the governor for choosing one among the labour unions as Ododo’s running mate.

They assured the governor of their total support to mobilise votes for Ododo/Joel ticket to ensure that they emerged the next Governor and Deputy Governor of Kogi State. (NAN)

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I was forced to sign Presidential Poll Result — Witness tells PEPC



Lawyers at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal

The candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, on Thursday, called his witness to testify before the Presidential Election Petition Court, PEPC, sitting in Abuja.

Atiku and his party are challenging the declaration of President Bola Tinubu of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, as winner of the presidential contest that held on February 25.

At the resumed proceedings of the court, Atiku’s first witness, Capt. Joe Agada, retd, told the court that he served as the State Collation Agent of the PDP in Kogi State, during the general election.

The witness, told the court that he was forced to sign result of the presidential election by officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission.

According to him, the INEC officials, vowed not to give him a copy of the result to take back to his party, unless he signed the document.

Led in evidence by Atiku’s lead counsel, Chief Chris Uche, SAN, the witness, maintained that result of the presidential election in Kogi State, was rigged.

He told the court that in over 20 polling units he visited, he observed how the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System, BVAS, machines, were manipulated

He said: “My lords, apart from where I voted, which was at Ogene- Oforachi village in Ogugu Ward in Kogi State, I also served as my party’s State Collation Agent.

“I had a tag and a vehicle with a sticker that identified me as being on election duty. The exemption tag which was issued to me by INEC, allowed me to move around on the election day.

“I had the opportunity of visiting some highlighted polling units in my LGA, even though I did not visit all the polling units.”

While being cross-examined by counsel for the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Mr. Abdullahi Aliyu, SAN, the witness said it would be correct to say that he observed all the manipulations that took place in Kogi state during the election.

“My lords, I am a witness of truth. I did not visit all the polling units but I was present when BVAS in over 20 PUs were being manipulated across the two Senatorial Districts that I visited.

“I may not be exact, but there are nothing less than 3500 polling units in Kogi State.

“I spent between three to five minutes in each of the polling units that I visited,” the witness added.

Asked if agents of the PDP signed the result sheets, the witness, said: “Yes, our agents signed the Forms EC8A, EC8B and EC8C.

“But they were forced to sign the results, especially in Kogi state, because INEC said they would not give us copies unless we signed.”

Answering questions from one of the lawyers that appeared for President Tinubu, Chief Akin Olujinmi, SAN, the witness, said the PDP had agents in all the polling units in the state.

Asked if as the State Collation Agent of the PDP, he signed the result sheet, he said: “My lords, I was forced to sign the state collection result because without signing, they said they would deny me a copy to take to my party.

“I thereafter protested and also wrote a petition to INEC,” the witness told the court, even as he admitted that he served as State Collation Agent for the PDP in 2015 and also appeared as a witness in the 2019 presidential election dispute between Atiku and former President Muhammadu Buhari.

“In 2015, I refused to sign the result. But at that time, INEC did not deny me a copy to take to my party. But this year, the INEC man insisted that they would not give me a copy unless I signed the result,” Capt. Agada, retd, added.

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Soludo’s commissioner, Ezeokenwa emerges new APGA national chairman



Barr Sly Ezeokenwa

A Commissioner in Anambra State, Mr. Sly Ezeokenwa has emerged the new National Chairman of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA).

Okenwa, a legal practitioner, defeated his co-contestants to emerge victorious in the election that held at the Party’s Regional Secretariat in Awka on Wednesday.

The new APGA National Chairman is the Commissioner for Special Duties under Governor Chukwuma Soludo as well as the National Legal Adviser of APGA.

Shortly after emerging the winner of the keenly-contested election, he was sworn-in alongside the newly elected National Officers of the Party.

Other contestants in the National Chairmanship election include Hon Chief Ben Nwankwo, who is a former House of Representatives member and a 2023 senatorial aspirants for Anambra South; Sir Norbert Obi, who is the immediate-past Chairman of APGA in Anambra State and Barr. Tony Ifeanya, who is the immediate-past Secretary of APGA and Commissioner for Petroleum.

Ezeokenwa took over from the outgone National Chairman, Victor Oye, who had been in the position for the past eight years.

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