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10th Reps Speakership: G7 Accuses APC of Acting Gbajabiamila’s Script

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By Ubong Ukpong, Abuja 

The group of seven Contestants (G7), for the Speakership seat of the 10th House of Representatives has indicated that the National Working Committee (NWC) of the All Progressives Congress (APC ), was acting the script solely prepared and funded by incumbent Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, to foist Tajudeen Abbas and Benjamin Kalu as Speaker and Deputy, on other elected members.

A member of the G7 and key contender for the seat, Rt Hon Ysuf Adamu Gagdi, disclosed this to newsmen in Abuja, on Tuesday, absolving the President-elect, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, of any complicity in the said conspiracy.

This was just as Gagdi expressed displeasure over the way and manner Gbajabiamila was going about the issue in a way he said was quite deceptive, knowing fully that he allegedly stabbed in the back, his loyal Allies, who are all members of the G7.

Gagdi told journalists that he found it hard to believe that Gbajabiamila could jolt members of the G7 to Settle for someone like Tajudeen Abbas, after all that they have done for him and their long-standing loyalty to him and the party.

He said this explained why Gbajabiamila allegedly denied sponsoring the Joint Task, which his helmsmen told journalists during it’s inauguration that the body was not being bankrolled by the Speaker.

It could be recalled that Joint Task in nation building first started in 2019, on which platform the interest of Gbajabiamila to be Speaker was pushed and achieved.

The system gave rise to a rebellion by certain members of the opposition People’s Democratic party (PDP), against the party’s choices of minority principal officers, as Femi Gbajabiamila rejected outrightly on the floor of the House the list forwarded to him, paving way for Ndudi Elumelu, Tobby Okechukwu and others, who were members of his Joint Task Team, to emerge as leaders of the opposition, thereby frustrating the party’s choice of Kingsley Chinda.

Other members of the team, like Onofiok Luke, who were first termers, also got recognitions and juicy committees, but Like and a lot of others, including  all these minority principal officers, were unable to secure their seats in the 10th Assembly.

Gagdi said that it was immoral for Gbajabiamila’s men to deny that he was not bankrolling the Joint Task Team, only for Gbajabiamila’s to be be seen steering the activities of the team that was the basic platform the APC NWC was pushing their speakership interest.

He insisted that Gbajabiamila should have played neutrality in the contest and not allegedly asked the APC NWC to employ it’s powers to help him push his candidate against the interests of other party men, without adequate and due consultations.

Gagdi swore that he could stake everything for Tinubu that he was not aware of this script and as such, never endorsed it.

He said Tinubu by his political antecedents and pedigree, will not fall for the arrangements being peddled around, and assured that the protesting group will be willing to meet with the President-elect at as soon as the opportunity presents itself. “I don’t believe that the President-elect is aware, and I don’t believe this is his idea”, he submitted.

The lawmaker also faulted the manner in which the purported zoning arrangement came to the knowledge of other aspirants through media reports,  a development he tagged “an insult to some of us (the aspirants)”, warning that the G-7 should not be taken for granted as it is an alliance seeking for justice,  and will stop at nothing until a reversal is made.

According to him, the North Central geopolitical zone cannot be totally pushed out of the power equation in allocating the six constitutionally backed positions in the national political scene to the advantage of another zone.

“We (the G-7) have not started anything yet, and people are already running to meet governors…The G-7 has come to stay. Zoning is not a covenant that cannot be amended”, he said as he faulted the decision of the APC to narrow down its decision to individuals, without consulting the others who were nterested in the race.

He said the members of the G7 were patiently waiting for the action of Tinubu on this matter, to prove him as a true democrat, who preaches and was a beneficiary of fairness, justice and equity.

Gagdi further said his team was not perturbed by the ongoing activities of the APCNWC and the Joint Task Team, knowing that they don’t have the blessings of well meaning leaders of the party across the country.

The lawmaker vowed that he would not stepp down or stop fighting this decision, being convinced that it was against all principles of fairness, justice and equity.

However, he said there were two conditions that could make him reconsider his stand, if the G7 arrives at a consensus candidate and it didn’t favour him or if the Deputy President of the Senate is zoned to North Central, which is his desire for the geopolitical zone to have a constitutional position in government.

POLITICS

Edo Primaries: Court Orders PDP to Show Cause why 381 Delegates Should be Excluded

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A Federal High Court, Abuja, on Wednesday, ordered the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to show cause why 381 delegates elected on Feb. 4 at its ward congress should not participate in the primary scheduled for Thursday.

Justice Inyang Ekwo made the order in a ruling on the ex-parte motion moved by the plaintiffs’ counsel, Adaze Emwanta.

Justice Ekwo thereafter ordered that the defendants be served with all the court processes within two days of the order.

Reports says that three aggrieved ad-hoc delegates, on behalf of the 378 others, had sued the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the PDP, its national secretary and the vice chairman, south south as 1st to 4th defendants respectively.

In the ex-parte motion marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/165/2024 dated Feb. 7 but filed Feb 8, the plaintiffs sought for two orders

These include an order for the defendants or their agents not to act but to show cause why the reliefs of the plaintiffs in their originating summons should not be granted with regard to the plan of the 2nd, 3rd and 4th defendants to exclude them and 378 other delegates, whose names and election results are contained in “Exhibits BID 8A to 8L,” from participating in the primaries.of Feb. 22 in Edo.

The plaintiffs, which include Hon Kelvin Mohammed, Mr Gabriel Okoduwa and Mr Ederaho Osagie, on behalf of others in 12 local government areas and 127 wards, averred that it would be in the interest of justice for their reliefs to be granted.

Upon resumed hearing on Wednesday, counsel for the plaintiffs, Emwanta, told the court that all efforts to effect the service on the 2nd, 3rd and 4th defendants were unsuccessful.

He said though INEC was served on Monday, the other three defendants evaded service.

He, therefore, said that a motion for substituted service on the PDP and others had been filed.

He said a party seeking to be joined in the suit also served their application on him earlier in the day.

The lawyer said since there was no opposition to their motion for substituted service, he moved in terms of the application.

He said their sole prayer was to serve them by pasting the processes at the PDP headquarters.

Justice Ekwo, who granted the application, ordered that the service be effected within two days.

The judge then asked INEC’s lawyer, Hassan Aminu, if they had filed any application but he responded in the negative.

He said though they were served on Feb. 20, they did not file any process because “we have no issue with the order.”

The judge adjourned the matter until Feb. 28 for the PDP, its national secretary and vice chairman (south south) to show cause why the reliefs should not be granted.(NAN)

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POLITICS

Senate Pushes for Nigerian Medical Graduands from Ukraine, Sudan to Sit for July, Nov MDCN Exams

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By Eze Okechukwu, Abuja

The senate has called out the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN) to allow Nigerian medical graduates from Ukraine and Sudan to sit for the MDCN exams in July and Nov without any discrimination, particularly those that the wars in both countries did not affect their academic activities.

The upper chamber also urged MDCN to in no distant time, work toward the conduct of the MDCN exams in each geo-political zone of the country like the Law Schools, to reduce the cost on the students and their parents.

The senate resolutions followed the adoption of a motion at plenary yesterday which was sponsored by Senator Oyewumi Olaler from Osun state titled: “Discrimination Against Medical Graduands from Ukraine by the Nigeria Medical and Dental Council.

In his lead debate, senator Olalere said that the issue of medical graduates from Ukraine universities has drawn attention of National Assembly since 2022, pointing out that in 2023, the House of Representatives and the Ministry of Health concluded with the Medical and Dental Council to allow the students that graduated from medical schools in Ukraine to participate in the qualifying exams like other students, or at best, organise a makeup programme for them before the exam.

The senator noted that MDCN has slated a referral programme for the 2022 graduates alone at Federal Medical Centre Gwagwalada at the cost of N1.5 million per student to be paid in one and half weeks.

He said the concerned parents of the affected students had visited the National Assembly complex to lodge their complaint during the vacation of the Senate for extension of the deadline for payment to one month from one and half week.

Olalere, who is the Senate Deputy Minority leader, said the war in Ukraine affected the eastern part of Ukraine and Kyiv, the capital, adding that the entire western Ukraine was not affected.

According to him, the students were on campus doing their programme unhindered as confirmed by the Ukrainian Ambassador to Nigeria.

He explained that since the war in Ukraine did not affect all the universities, especially, students in Western parts of Ukraine, students who graduated from those universities in 2023 should be allowed to sit for MDCN exams henceforth without any hindrance.

Other senators who supported the motion included Senators; Adamu Aliero, from Kebbi state Abdul Ningi from Bauchi state among others.

In a related development, the senate also urged the Committee of Nigerian Vice Chancellors to allow Nigerian students arriving from war torn countries to be admitted into Nigerian universities to complete their studies.

President of Senate Godswill Akpiabio in his remarks thanked the sponsor of the motion, saying that it was a popular motion and elicited comments from the lawmakers.

He expressed belief that the resolutions of the senate would be adhered to by MDCN and the Vice Chancellors to ameliorate the sufferings of concerned Nigerian medical graduates from the war affected nations.

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POLITICS

Edo Election: PDP Approves Delegates List

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By Johnson Eyiangho, Abuja

National Working Committee (NWC) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has approved the delegates list for the Edo State Governorship Election Primary to nominate a candidate for the Sept. 21 governorship election in the state.

It has also approved the conduct of the Edo State Governorship Election Primary for Thursday, Feb.

22 at the Lawn Tennis Court of the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, Benin City.

The NWC in a statement by the PDP’s Spokesman, Hon.

Debo Ologunagba yesterday charged all delegates, aspirants, leaders, critical stakeholders, members of the party and the public to note the official date and venue and be guided accordingly.

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