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Appointments: Group Accuses Akume of Nepotism

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From David Torough, Makurdi

A group under the aegis of Benue Youth for Peace and Unity has accused the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Sen. George Akume of being nepotistic in his appointments especially in Benue state.

It also appealed to Tor Tiv, state chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), and other political and opinion leaders to call Akume to order before things get out of control.

The group led by its president, Comrade Mah Charles and secretary, Comrade Dyako Joseph at a press conference held in Makurdi, the state capital, on Friday particularly accused the SGF of displaying a narrow focus in the distribution of political resources, particularly, favouring his immediate locality of Jemgbah.

Comrade Mah also alleged that “this has been evident in his influence over key appointments and positions, such as securing the exclusive zoning of the speaker of the Benue state House of Assembly to Jemgbah, appointing Prof. Joseph Utsev as Minister and installing his close relative, Dr. Dajoh as the acting rector of federal polytechnic Annune as well as Prof. Kortor as the Chief. medical doctor of federal medical center Makurdi over other qualified candidates from different regions has further raised alarm”. 

The group also faulted governor Alia for planning to mobilize the resources to celebrate SGF, Minister and other appointees from Jemgbah appointed Senator Akume.

“The questions begging for answers is how can His Excellency, Rev. Fr. Hycenth Alia mobilize the state resources to celebrate SGF, Minister and other appointees from Jemgbah only? We at this point appeal to the governor to think deep and possibly reconsider his  earlier stand on the reception because not only Jemgbah is Benue state people are not happy with Akume and his Jemgbah people”.

“Our astonishment grow as Akume continue to concentrate his efforts solely on advancing the interests of Jemgbah, neglecting the broader Benue community. Akume distanced himself from his initial allies, instead aligning closely with individuals from Jemgbah to share in the spoils of power.

“In 2007, Akume even  forcefully secured the zone B Senatorial seat and the position of speaker of the Benue house of Assembly to Jemgbah, denying other intermediate areas within the zone B their fair share in the adminstration”.

The group also accused Senator Akume of engaging successive governors in the state   in conflicts. “Following his tenure and is currently undermining the administration of the incumbent governor, Hycenth Alia.

“Our concern arises  from the fact that, in the wake of the 2023 elections, the overwhelming   support for the APC extended all over Benue state. Thus, it is disheartening that  Akume’s actions disproportionately favor his own Jemgbah people alone”. Comrade Mah Charles stated.

The media space in the state has recently been whitewashed with press and counter  press briefings (for and against the SGF) following some federal appointments so far made to the state.

POLITICS

Senate Assures Ekiti of Commitment to Develope State

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By Eze Okechukwu, Abuja

The President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio has assured the people of Ekiti State, through the Ewi of Ado Ekiti, His Royal Majesty, Oba Rufus Adejugbe of the readiness of the 10th Senate under his leadership to influence development projects to the state.

Akpabio gave the assurance, while receiving in courtesy, the Ewi-in-Council in his office yesterday.

According to him, “we are happy to receive our father and other traditional council members here today.

The 10th Senate has the interest of Ekiti people in mind and that is why the very first appointment that was made by the leadership of the 10th Senate was that of the Senate Leader, Opeyemi Bamidele, who is one of your very illustrious sons in the Senate.

“Any request from Ekiti is not what should be delayed. Let me assure our revered Kabiyesi that your request has been acceded to particularly on the bad roads, and it is very possible that before the festival, that would be given a facelift to ease transportation to the festival

“Akpabio noted that the calibre of political office holders from Ekiti State is those who know their onion and can be relied upon at any time.

He described the state governor, Biodun Oyebanji as a great man, saying,” with people like him, Nigeria has a great future.

“We in the 10th Senate and the National Assembly as a whole are like a family. The Senate collaborates with the House of Representatives in the overall interest of all Nigerians. We accord so much respect and regards from the traditional institution. We hold them in very high esteem because of their roles in the society.”

Akpabio described the Ekiti monarch as a man whose names open doors for his people, assuring them that the Renewed Hope Agenda of the President Bola Tinubu led- administration would get to the door steps of all the people of Ekiti.

Earlier in his remark, the Ekiti monarch thanked Senator Akpabio for accepting to receive him even at a very short notice, which is a demonstration of who he is.

He commended Akpabio for running a rancour free Senate and by extension the National Assembly.

Oba Adejugbe told the Senate President that he was in his office to pray for his success in office and to formally invite him as the Principal Guest of Honor and his colleagues to the 2024 Odun Olorunborun UDIROKO festival.

“I am here today with my people to pray for your success in office and to formally invite you as the Principal Guest of Honor in our 2024 UDIROKO festival. You are doing a very job as the President of the Senate and Chairman of the National Assembly. You have in the last one year, ran a rancour free Senate and by extension the National Assembly,” he said.

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POLITICS

Senate Kicks Against National Road Transport Council Establishment Bill

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By Eze Okechukwu, Abuja

The Senate yesterday killed a bill seeking to establish a National Road Transport Council, which was sponsored by the Deputy Senate Leader, Senator Oyelola Ashiru (APC, Kwara South).

The legislation was intended to be saddled with the responsibility of regulating the road transport industry and the transport profession in Nigeria.

The bill which was titled National Road Transportation Council (Establishment) Bill, 2024, was earlier introduced to the Senate plenary, which was the first reading of the proposal on the floor of the Senate.

Senator Ashiru, earlier in his lead debate, revealed that if signed into law, a Council Board would be established which shall consist of a Board Chairman and six members drafted from each geo-political zone of the country.

He also stated that the board shall be presided by a representative from Ministries of Transport, Commerce and Industry and Aviation, and they shall not be below the rank of a Director.

According to the explanatory memorandum of the bill, the functions of the proposed Council include; creating an effective regulatory framework on road transport service operators; determining the standard of knowledge and skills required for road transport service operators; encouraging the advancement of education in road transportation.

”Ensuring accessibility of road transport facilities, channels, and routes; monitoring the performance of the regulated road transport industry; conducting background check on road transport service operators; registering all road transport service providers and determine the fees for such registration; setting guidelines and general policies for road transport service operators.

“Updating the Federal Government on its activities and progress through annual and audited reports; reviewing progress and suggest improvement within the provisions of this Bill and do such other things as are necessary or incidental to the objects of the Council under this Bill or as may be assigned by the Federal Government,” the senator debated.

However, contributing to the debate, Senators Victor Umeh, Adams Oshiomhole, Natasha Akpoti-Uduaghan among others, kicked against the bill, saying that it was tantamount to undue duplication of functions with some existing agencies of government, such as the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC).

Consequently, when the President of the Senate, Senator Godswill Akpabio put it to voice vote, majority of the Senators voted against it and it ended its journey at that point.

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POLITICS

Alleged Forgeries: PDP Wants Police to Investigate Edo APC Guber Candidate

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By Johnson Eyiangho, Abuja

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has called on the Police to invite the APC candidate in the Edo State governorship election in September, Sen. Monday Okpebholo, for questioning and investigation over  alleged submission of fake documents to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The PDP alleged in a statement by its Spokesman, Hon.

Debo Ologunagba, yesterday that Okpebholo presented falsified and conflicting birth records to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

“This reported presentation of falsified birth documents coming on the heels of earlier revelation of submission of forged INEC voter card by the APC governorship candidate only points to the reprehensible and deep-seated inclination of the APC to cheat.

“Such alleged criminal tendencies if allowed in governance will destroy ethical standards, entrench mediocrity, institutionalize fraud and deception as official policies of State to the detriment of the development and wellbeing of the people of Edo State.

“It is however not surprising that the APC nominated and sponsored a governorship candidate with questionable credentials as such is consistent with the APC’s established inclination and acceptance of lies, falsehood and deception,” the statement alleged.

 It further alleged that the APC was trying to manipulate INEC to compromise its data, having realised that its candidate, Monday Okpebholo “is basically disqualified and unelectable”.

The statement said that APC’s choice of Monday Okpebholo as its governorship candidate “is a self-inflicted injury with irredeemable consequences which the APC must accept by immediately withdrawing from the race”.

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