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74 Candidates to participate in February by-elections

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Seventy-four candidates are to participate in nine by-elections to be conducted by INEC on Feb. 3.

The by-elections became necessary after the death of some members of the national and states’ Houses of Assembly.

By-elections would hold at two senatorial districts in Ebonyi South and Yobe East.

The elections would also hold in four federal constituencies – Shanga/Ngaski/Yauri in Kebbi; Surulere I in Lagos State; Akoko North East/Akoko North West in Ondo State and Jalingo/Yorro/Zing in Taraba.

Candidates would also contest elections into vacant state assembly seats in Guma I in Benue; Chibok in Borno and Chikun in Kaduna State.

Eight of the 74 candidates contesting for the nine vacant positions are female.

Three of the 10 candidates contesting for the only vacancy seat in Chikun, Kaduna State are female.

Overall, seven candidates are jostling for position in Borno; nine in Kebbi, 11 in Lagos State, while there are eight candidates in each of Ondo and Ebonyi states.

Benue and Yobe have five candidates each, while Taraba has 11 candidates. No female candidate is featuring in the three states.

INEC published the personal particulars and final list of the candidates in affected state offices on Wednesday.

Mr Sam Olumekun, INEC’s National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, said the list had also been published in the affected constituencies in compliance with the Electoral Act (2022).

“INEC appeals to Nigerians to scrutinise the personal particulars of the candidates.

“Any aspirant who participated in his or her party primary election with reasonable grounds to believe that the information provided by any candidate is false can challenge the nomination.

“Such aspirant is free to file a suit at a Federal High Court as provided for in the Electoral Act,’’ he said.  (NAN)

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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POLITICS

Benue Diaspora Lambasts Benue National Assembly Caucus, Enumerate Alia’s Achievements

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From Attah Ede, Makurdi

A political group, under the umbrella of Divine Mandate Benue Diaspora (DMBD), on Sunday said Governor Hyacinth Alia has recorded remarkable achievements within seven months of his administration more than other governors that had ruled the State in the past.

The group further said it is regrettable that a surge of political manoeuvring had unfolded over the recent months, marked by numerous politicians vying for recognition and relevance thereby portraying the administration of Alia in bad light and unjustified criticisms.

The DMBD is an arm of governor Alia’s campaign group, who pulled human and material resources together to galvanized support for his victory during the 2023 governorship elections in the State

Speaking at a press conference in Makurdi, the State capital, the group Chairman and Lagos State coordinator, Mr.

Akpur Emmanuel, said the group have not just become a beacon for leadership recruitment in Benue State, but also presented a wonderful brand, in person of Alia and cannot fold arms to continue to watch the brand tossed about and distracted from delivering on his campaign promises and mandate.

Mr Akpur, while reacting to remarks by the Benue National Assembly Caucus who claimed that governor Alia had embezzled security votes of about N3 billion and  unlawfully dissolved the local government council chairmen, development they alleged were responsible for the insecurity in the state, said such accusations must be condemnable.

He explained that Alia’s administration had succeeded within seven months where past leaders who stayed longer years in office failed.

The group’s chairman stated that Alia has embarked on unprecedented projects including construction of 16 township roads and flyovers within Makurdi, purchased 300 metric tons of fertilizer and sold them to farmers at subsidized rate.

“Fr. Alia’s administration stands out as it is taking the bull by horns in exercising the hydra-headed demon of non-payment of salaries and uncanny reference to pensioners as dead people as it was the case in the previous administration.

“Our action governor has also wasted no time in domesticating the federal government approved new retirement age for primary and secondary school teachers, thereby retaining seasoned hands within the bedrock of our educational system.

“Knowing fully the financial challenges in the State, Governor Hyacinth Alia has taken the registration of WAEC and NECO examinations for SS3 students from government approved schools as responsibility of his administration. This is a step to enhance development in education.

“Contrary to the puerile remarks by the national assembly members concerning insecurity, Fr. Alia has continued to interface with various security agencies of the Federal Government to set the necessary security safeguards to guarantee the return of the IDPs to their ancestral homes and instituted a regime of fair and equitable distribution of both relief materials and palliatives to all.

“As they look to ingratiate their personal selfish agenda, we direct their attention to the fact that the Alia administration in collaboration with the Federal Government is currently constructing the dilapidated Otukpo-Enugu road.

“Alia cannot share money as it was done in the past. We urge this group of distractors to familiarize themselves with the nation’s constitution which clearly outlines the responsibilities of every office at each level of government.

“It is imperative that the national assembly members concentrate on their constitutionally mandated duty of representing their constituencies effectively at the national level.

“It is regrettable that, since 1999, the people of Benue have witnessed minimal impact from their representatives in the national assembly, whether in terms of employment opportunities or the execution of constituency projects contrary to what we observe in the States where we reside.

“We unequivocally implore our current representatives in the national assembly to refrain from becoming agents of mass distraction to the committed governor”, Akpur stated.

He however called on the people to emulate the governor’s focus and diligently work towards delivering the benefits of democracy to the constituents they are representing.

The group Chairman further enjoined every Benue indigene particularly those in leadership positions to come together and collaborate for the well-being of Benue populace.

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POLITICS

Gov Alia Raises Alarm over Plot to Destabilize His Administration

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From Attah Ede, Makurdi

Governor Hyacinth Alia of Benue State, on Sunday, raised the alarm over plots by some forces in Abuja comprised of some members of the national assembly to destabilize his administration.

Governor Alia further said he smelt this on many fronts, particularly, following the torrent of divisive concoctions sponsored in the media by these same agents of underdevelopment.

The governor particularly made reference to the senate minority leader, comrade Abba Moro, whom he said has been a serial beneficiary of the caretaker committee system in Benue state under the same 1999 constitution as amended.

Alia in a statement by his chief press secretary, sir Tersoo Kula, made available to newsmen in Makurdi, noted that comrade Moro has served in the same capacity in Okpokwu LGA some years back and wondered why Moro could alleged during a press briefing in Abuja recently that, the dissolution of the former elected LG Councils by the Benue State House of Assembly is the cause of insecurity in Benue state,

“The government of Benue state is worried because such insinuation coming from a person of Moro standing should not be overlooked.

“Benue people should ask Moro to unravel more about what he knows of the root cause of insecurity as it relates to the dissolution of elected LG councils. Our suspicion is that Moro may be discreetly cooking crooked plans to destabilize the state to justify his assertion.”

“We have also viewed the actions of Philip Agbese as a deliberate attempt at misinforming the people with the vicious aim of creating an uprising against the government of His Excellency, Rev. Fr. Hyacinth Alia.

“Agbese blatantly, during a press conference in Abuja, lied about security votes for the state. We make bold to state unequivocally here that the security vote for Benue has never risen to N1bn needless to mention N3bn under Rev. Fr. Alia’s administration. So, Agbese will surely be provided an avenue for him to prove beyond reasonable doubt such unfounded allegations against His Excellency, Rev. Fr. Hyacinth Alia and the Government of Benue State.

“We read in the media insinuations that a letter was sent to herdsmen to return to Benue for open grazing.

“However, it would be recalled that during the burial ceremony of the late Tor Sankera at Katsina-Ala recently, His Excellency, Rev. Fr. Hyacinth Alia made an unambiguous pronouncement that the Anti-Open Grazing and Prohibiting Law of Benue State is still alive and shall be enforced fully.

Therefore, His Excellency has not through directives or by himself sent a letter to any group including Herdsmen to come into the state to contravene the law in question.

“The Government of Benue State is worried that based on the already exhibited desperation of some retrogressive elements, it is possible they must have equally cooked such a nefarious communication to achieve their unholy ambition. The Benue State government is digging into this matter. If anything of such is discovered, the perpetrators must be assured, they will have to answer for their sins against the State.

“We appreciate President Bola Ahmed Tinubu who is keeping his promise to help Governor Alia in his determination to keep and fulfil his side of the covenant with the people of the state”, Kula stated.

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