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We Studied Mood of Nigerians Before Rejecting Onochie As INEC Commissioner —- Senate Panel

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The senate committee on Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it studied the mood of citizens to reject the nomination of Lauretta Onochie, presidential aide, as a commissioner of the electoral body.

In a plenary session on Tuesday, Kabiru Gaya, chairman of the committee, said they would not recommend the confirmation of Onochie because May Agbamuche, a commissioner from Delta state, is still serving at the commission and she hails from the same state as Onochie.

Subsequently, the presidential aide was rejected by senators when her confirmation was put to vote.

Onochie was nominated for the job by President Muhammadu Buhari in October 2020.

Her nomination sparked outrage over concerns that she is a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC), but the presidential aide said she resigned her membership of the ruling party in 2019.

Speaking with reporters, Gaya said because Agbamuche is still serving, his committee was unable to confirm her.

The chairman said: “We studied the mood of Nigerians. We could not approve the appointment of Onochie because she is from the same state as an INEC commissioner from Delta State, Mrs Agbamuche-Mbu, whose tenure may expire by December this year.

“Agbamuche-Mbu is still serving in INEC till December this year. That’s why we cannot clear another candidate from the state.

“President Buhari actually specified her (Agbamuche) state, which is Delta, in the letter.

“Also, during her confirmation by the 8th Senate, I was there when two senators from Delta, Messrs Ovie Omo-Agege and James Manager, stood up to congratulate the Senate for confirming her.

“We also got records from the past senate screening that Agbamuche-Mbu was a nominee from Delta state.”

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Owo Church Massacre: Some Perpetrators Still On The Run – Akeredolu

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The executive Governor of Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu, has confirmed the arrest of five of the terrorists who carried out the horrendous massacre of worshippers at St. Francis Catholic Church, Owo on June 5.

The governor, however, noted that some of the attackers were still on the run, but assured that security agencies are on their trail.

Akeredolu said the owner of the house where the attackers stayed before carrying out the attack has also been arrested.

Recall that Gen. Lucky Irabor, Chief of Defence Staff, had earlier announced the arrest of the attackers.

The Ondo governor who corroborated the army chief’s announcement, noted that the arrest had been made for a while, but the authorities needed to confirm.

He noted that government did not spare a moment in trailing the terrorists since the horrendous attacks on innocent worshipers.

Arakunrin Akeredolu spoke during a courtesy visit to his office by the leadership of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) led by the Chairman of the Council, Prince Leke Adegbite.

He said: ”Now that the military has announced it, I can tell you that five of them have been arrested now. They are still on the trail of the rest. The home where they lodged in Owo and the person that accommodated them before the attack, has also been arrested.

“We did not spare a moment. I am happy that the Chief of Defence Staff has announced it. We have known for a while but we needed not to come out with it because more works are still ongoing. I can confirm that this arrest has been made. And they are still on the trail of some of them.”

Governor Akeredolu also called on leaders of the Ebira community in the state to warn their young ones not to copy the bad venture of kidnapping.

The Governor said recent reports from victims of kidnap in the state have established that some Ebira indigenes are now involved in the unwholesome act.

He noted that the Ebiras have lived together with the people of the state peacefully for several decades, adding that they have always been supportive and hardworking.

“I want to use this medium to urge our brothers to concentrate on their farming trade. It will be unfortunate to know that the Ebiras in our midst are now involved in kidnapping.

“We are appealing to them not to copy bad things. The traders selling by the roadside should not become informants. We are not fighting them.

“We have seen their numbers, they supported and voted for us during elections. I will call their leaders and talk to them. Our brothers who were kidnapped on their way to Ikare, talk to them. They were taken to Ebira farmsteads.

“For me, we have lived together for too long for this to happen. I am ready to make any effort to ensure that the conviviality that we have enjoyed continues. But we are begging their leaders to urge them not to copy bad things.

They are in our midst, we are surrounded by them. The issue of security is key and it’s dynamic.” Governor Akeredolu noted.

The Governor, who thanked the NUJ in the state for the cooperation extended to his administration, assured them of sustained efforts at developing the state.

On the issue of Security, Governor Akeredolu disclosed that aside from the recent recruitment and training of new Amotekun personnel, 20 hunters and local vigilantes will be trained by the Amotekun corps in each of the eighteen local government areas in the state.

Earlier, the Chairman of the NUJ, Ondo State Council thanked the Governor for his support for the management of OSRC and Owena Press PLC, adding that the upgrade of facilities in the two state-owned media outfits is commendable.

He equally appreciated the Governor for the approval of the Weigh-in allowance for journalists and information officers working in the State and Local government service.

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Millions Have Died From January 1966 To Date, To Keep Nigeria United – Buhari

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President Muhammadu Buhari has said that millions of Nigerians who have died from January 15, 1966 for the country to remain united, is a pointer to practical experience on “hard-earned patriotism”.

The Nigerian leader spoke on Tuesday when he received former state chairpersons of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), at the state house, Abuja.

A statement by Femi Adesina, presidential spokesman, quoted the president as saying that the passion and zeal for improving the livelihood of Nigerians, which culminated in the creation of the political party, had not dwindled.

The president said the self-centeredness that led to the loss of about a million lives between from 1966 — just before the Civil War — till date, must not be allowed to repeat itself.

The president called for more steadfastness among Nigerians, and urged political leaders to stay focused and uphold the ultimate objective of promoting the interest of the country.

“Our main objective is the Federal Republic of Nigeria. We are human beings. We have our weaknesses, but I can assure you that the patriotism in us is hard-earned,” he said.

“We have gone through all the troubles from 15th of January 1966 to date. You know what I mean by this. We have killed a million of ourselves in order to keep this country together.

“I don’t think there can be any practical experience more than that. We are Nigerians. God willing, we remain Nigerians and Nigeria will remain one.”

The president also urged members of the defunct CPC and political leaders to work towards preserving the unity, peace and integrity of the nation.

Buhari thanked the former chairpersons of the CPC for always highlighting the achievements of the government.

“I am delighted to welcome the forum of state chairmen of the former Congress for Progressive Change to State House today. I accord great significance to this visit as it demonstrates a determination and commitment to identify with our administration,” Buhari said.

“I commend members of this forum and all members of the legacy party-CPC, for their continued dedication to the ideals of democratic governance that we all believed in.

“I am particularly grateful for the unalterable belief the members of CPC and, by extension, the Nigerian electorate, had and still have in me as demonstrated in their unalloyed support for our electoral struggles, which reflected in the results that we consistently recorded at the polls over the years.”

He said the solid credentials that the CPC possessed gave the party a prime place in the merger that led to the formation of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Describing Buhari as the “patriarch of the CPC’’, Umar Shuaibu, chairman of forum, commended the president for providing strong leadership over the years, particularly in remaining “balanced, fair and above board” in electoral issues.

Shuaibu said the party had maintained all its structures across the country, and assured the president of their loyalty, especially in the forthcoming elections.

He said the CPC had always garnered millions of votes in elections across the country and would support Bola Tinubu, the APC presidential candidate.

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We Do Not Recognise Akpaio, Lawan As Senatorial Candidates – INEC

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has denied recognizing Senator Godswill Akpabio and Senate President Ahmad Lawan as candidates for the All Progressives Congress.

Both Lawan and Akpabio had contested the APC Presidential primaries.

However, after losing, both of them were listed as senatorial candidates by the APC, but INEC refused to recognize them.

On Tuesday, there were reports that the two had finally been recognized by the commission.

Reacting to this in a statement titled, ‘Spurious Allegations in Respect of Nomination of Candidates in Some Senatorial Districts’, the commission said it had not recognized them.

In the statement signed by INEC National Commissioner, Festus Okoye, the commission said the matter was still in court and it would maintain the status quo.

“For the record, the commission has not recognized any of the two personalities as a senatorial candidate.

“We call for responsible reportage as against the unwarranted attack on the commission and its officials over a matter than can be easily fact-checked,” the statement read.

The commission said a certified true copy of Form 9C was uploaded by the APC and received by the Commission on June 17, 2022, when the nomination portal closed was presented.

It explained that the Form EC9 submission of names of candidates by political parties is the form uploaded by parties on the INEC nomination portal.

“The forms of the two personalities in question were not published by the commission. The decision of the commission triggered legal actions which are still ongoing. It, therefore, defies logic and common sense to go around and submit doctored documents purportedly recognizing the duo as candidates when the matter is clearly sub-judice,” it said.

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