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2023 Presidency: Orji Kalu Must not Disappoint Ndigbo– Okonkwo

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From Jude Opara, Abuja

Senator Orji Kalu who is representing Abia North at the National Assembly has been urged to go ahead and declare for the. 2023 presidency on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

An aspirant for the Abia North Senatorial district on the platform of the APC, Mr Fabian Okonkwo Azubuike in an interview with newsmen said the former governor of Abia state should not drop his presidential ambition.

Azubuike who spoke shortly after procuring the expression of interest and nomination forms at the International conference centre Abuja insisted that Kalu remains the most viable aspirant from the South East for the seat of the presidency.

The aspirant who decried the marginalization of the South East geopolitical zone said it would be a great disservice for Ndigbo if Kalu makes good his threat by withdrawing from the presidential race.

Said he: “Senator Orji Uzor Kalu is a former governor, he is not running for Senate. He is a leader in the South East. People look up to him. Ndigbo is looking up to senator Orji Kalu. He is a big fish and a big player in the ocean. He should go there and play.”I don’t think he has any business with the little senatorial district of Abia north. He has been a governor, in the Senate. He became governor same day Ahmed Tinubu became governor. He became governor, he became governor same day the National Chairman of the party became governor. “He should play at that level. The Igbo nation is looking up to him to drive home the demand an Igbo man emerges President of this country. He should not abdicate that function to come back and swim in the canal of Abia north senatorial district. That would be very unfortunate. “The Igbo nation would not forgive him. He is my leader. The Igbo man has been marginalized as far as Nigerian politics is concerned and that is what is required to bring them back to the mainstream.”Azubuike who chaired the Abia chapter of the APC who denied knowledge of any withdrawal sheet inserted in his expression of interest form assured that he would not withdraw for any of his rivals at the primaries.”I am not aware of any withdrawal form and I am not withdrawing for anybody. I have just collected the form and I will go and fill it and return it. What is natural in a democracy if for us to go for primaries,” he noted.

While promising to carry everyone along irrespective of political leanings, he said he would ensure a regular interaction with his constituents on regular basis so as to and address their needs.

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POLITICS

10th NASS to Provide Legal Framework for AI Regulation

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The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rep. Tajudeen Abbas has promised that the 10th National Assembly will provide legal framework to regulate the adoption of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the country.
Abbas said this at the 2023/2024 matriculation of the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS)/University of Benin (UniBen) in Abuja on Monday.


Represented by the Minority Leader, Rep.
Kingsley Chinda (PDP-Rivers), Abbas said that the parliament was aware of the global advancement on AI.

He said that other countries had advanced their educational systems and had continued to explore opportunities in AI to optimise their human capital development.
“To key into this emerging development, the 10th National Assembly will strive to provide a legal framework for regulating the adoption of AI in our country to ensure an optimal mix of labour-capital ratio in our nation’s development process.

“In this direction, NILDS is expected to look into the possibilities of providing research-based intellectual support to facilitate the actualisation of this very important modern process,” he said.
Abbas pledged continuous support of the National Assembly for NILDS and urged the new students to attend lectures regularly, do assignments promptly, and obey all the rules and regulations that were contained in the student handbook.
In her remarks, the Vice-Chancellor of UniBen, Prof. Lilian Salami, said that the university had made some giant academic strides.
“This all-around excellence has resulted in a large number of students seeking admission into the university and the institute yearly.
“We shall continue to ensure that the template is sustained and that our students get the best in academic fulfillment and character molding because these are vital elements expected to make our products globally competitive and marketable.
“As the new students settle down for serious academic work, please remember that your role is to add value to the democratic process and not to degrade it; be worthy of this opportunity and we expect merit.
“As mature students, no one needs to emphasise to you that social biases are acceptable at all levels in this institute,’’ she said.
Also speaking, the Director-General of NILDS, Prof. Abubakar Sulaiman, said that the 2023/2024 session was unique as a total of 180 students was admitted.
He said that for the first time, the institution recorded the enrolment of foreign students into its postgraduate programmes.
“This is a testament to the increased quality of our academic programmes at NILDS,” he said.
Sulaiman said that the feat would not have been possible without the commitment of the National Assembly, the University of Benin, the Ministry of Education, the National Universities Commission (NUC), and the National Board for Technical Education.
The DG said that the best students would be recognised and offered prize awards at the end of the programme saying that the institute had invested several resources to ensure equal opportunity for all.
The 180 students were admitted for Master’s Degree in Constitutional Law and Development, Legislative Studies, and Master’s in Elections and Party Politics.
Others were Master in Laws (LLM), Legislative Drafting, Master in Parliamentary Administration, and the Post Graduate Diploma in Elections and Political Party Management. (NAN)

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Ododo Declares Aiyedatiwa Winner of APC Governorship Ticket in Ondo

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Amidst protest over the conduct of the All Progressives Congress (APC) primay election in Ondo State, Gov. Lucky Aiyedatiwa was early on Monday morning declared winner.

The Chairman of the party’s Primary Election Committee for Ondo State and Governor of Kogi,  Usman Ododo said that Aiyedatiwa having satisfied the requirement of the law and scored the highest vote was the winner.

Reports says that 171,922 members of the party were revalidated to vote in 203 wards in the 18 local government areas of the state.

Ododo said that Aiyedatiwa polled  48,569 votes to defeat his closest opponent, Mr Mayowa Akinfolarin, who had 15,343 out of 95,178 valid votes counted.

Mr Olusola Oke, SAN, was placed  third with 14,195 votes.

According to the chairman of the election committee, Aiyedatiwa won in 16 out of the 18 local government areas of the state while Oke won in one

He said that there was no voting in Ifedore Local Government Area as a result of widespread violence and threat to life.

Ododo appreciated all party members who participated  in the exercise for their courage and perseverance, describing the primary election as peaceful.

He said that the real work had just begun, adding that the aspirants and their supporters should not allow the results of the primary election to divide them.

According to him, there is no reason to abandon the party.

The chairman asked the party members to be in unity in order to come out more united and stronger in the subsequent political contests.

NAN reports that the party adopted the direct mode for the conduct of the primary which held on Saturday.

However, due to some irregularities a rerun was ordered on Sunday in the 13 wards in Okitipupa Local Government Area of the state.

Earlier, some of the aspirants criticized the conduct of the primary election alleging violence and none arrival of materials and officials in some wards.

There was also a protest on Sunday by supporters of some of the aspirants at the APC secretariat in Akure, who called for the cancellation of the exercise.

Other aspirants that participated in the primary are: Mr Isaac Kekemeke, Mr Olusoji Ehinlanwo, Mr Olugbenga Edema , Sen. Jimoh Ibrahim, Mr Diran Iyantan; Prof. Dayo Faduyile, Mr Ifeoluwa Oyedele.

Others are Mrs Funmilayo Waheed-Adekojo, Mr Adewale Akinterinwa; Mr Olusola Oke, Mr  Ohunyeye Felix; Mr Morayo Lebi, Mrs Judith Omogoroye and Mr Jimi Odimayo. ( NAN)

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PDP NEC Not Victory for Wike, Senate Caucus Saved the Day

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From Mike Tayese, Yenagoa

An insider in the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, said the National Assembly caucus, on Thursday took a strategic decision that saved the day by resolving to allow the party’s acting national chairman, Alhaji Umar Damagun, to remain in office until the national convention in August 2024.

That action was a victory for the party, as it denied the different camps who were poised to either remove the chairman from office or confirm him as a substantive chairman for a tenure, the opportunity to do so.

This was revealed by an insider, who spoke to our correspondent saying being their first National Executive Council meeting, after the elections, all parties were advised to sheath their swords and allow for wider consultations and respect for the party’s constitution.

According to our reliable source, “Each camp was prevailed on to downplay their anger, and this being our first meeting after the general elections of 2023, we should neither discuss the removal of the acting chairman nor replacement with a new chairman.

“Rather we should address internal issues that should strengthen the party on discipline and reconciliations. And by next NEC meeting we should address the issue of the chairmanship. And at that meeting we would apply the party’s constitution, which states that the next national chairman should come from North Central.

Our source, who pleaded anonymity, further said, “Between now and then is enough time for consultations and we should agree on who should be the national chairman. We also resolved that the party should not be stampeded into making a choice of who should be our national chairman without the input of all major stakeholders.

“That was the position canvased by the leadership of NASS PDP Caucus. And it was taken. It is not about the the Minister of Federal Capital Territory, Chief Nyesom Wike, as being wrongly carried by some people.

“It was actually a position championed by the National Assembly Caucus led by the Senator representing Bayelsa West Senatorial District, Senator Seriake Dickson. They took that decision that saved the day.

“Senator Dickson raised the issue which was carried and we set up a team and Dickson spoke on our behalf. It was a strategic decision, as we all agreed that the Alhaji Damagun will go by August, after he had concluded the congresses”.

The insider stressed that it was insulting to imagine that it was a Wike’s victory over Atiku, adding that the former Vice President and the presidential candidate for 2023 elections was there at the meeting and sat quietly. 

“So it was a no victor or vanquished situation, because if Wike’s camp had their way, Damagun could have been confirned; just as those who went there with a mind of having a new chairman  also failed in their mission”.

“Interestingly, Damagun also said he is not a sit-tight chairman, just as the PDP Governors also toed same line. We will agree on a North-Central candidate that will strengthen the party after consultations.

“The Chairmanship has been zoned to the North-Central but that will not be enough qualification. We need someone who has capacity to re-build the party,” said the insider who attended the meeting. 

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