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Ayade seizes my official residence – Chief Judge cries out

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The Chief Judge of Cross River State, Justice Michael Edem has accused the Cross Rivers State Governor, Prof. Ben Ayade of seizing his official quarters.

Explaining at the formal opening of the 2019/2020 legal year in Calabar, Cross River State, Justice Edem lamented the seizure of his official residence by the state government.

In his words, “The fact of the matter is that during the last Green Carnival programme of the state, the Governor called for the keys to accommodate two Governors since the available government guest houses were not in a position to accommodate them.

“I was told that for security reasons, the Governors would not be accommodated with my staff. (Who were living in the back house). So they would have to move out of the quarters. sincerely believing that it was a mere palliative or a temporary measure, I conceded.”

“Fortunately the event had since come and gone and I have written to His Excellency to surrender the keys and by extension the property back to me for the use of the premises in the opening of the legal year and my forthcoming November retirement events.

“Besides, I had clearly spelt out in the letter that ‘….it shall be my duty to surrender the keys and by extension the property to my successor’. I still await his reaction. “If that is what is meant by ceding and forceful ejection, then words cede and eject cry to the high heavens for a redefinition. I am much at home with the legal decree that I cannot give out or cede what I have not.”

The Chief Judge who also spoke on other issues including the delay by the State Governor, Prof. Ben Ayade in swearing in two new judges screened and confirmed by the National Judiciary Council, as well who would succeed him as he retires from service next month said, “The Chairman of the Bar and some of her resourceful senior members had confronted me on the issue and even in writing, querying both the status of the Chief Judge’s quarters and the rumour of succession.

“I cannot and will not as a commander of the law stand the constitution on the head to rape it against the sword of the nihilism of the NJC, and I will cite the constitutional provisions in section 271 (4) which says, “….the Governor of the state shall appoint the most senior Judge of the High Court….’

“It calls for no debate as to who is the most senior Judge of the Cross River State High Court after me. Indisputably, the most senior Judge, for the avoidance of any illusion, is Justice Akon Bassey Ikpeme, admitting of no sentiment”, he added.

On the issue of the judges awaiting swearing-in, the Chief Judge said, “It is worrisome to note that in the outgone year, two judges were appointed and approved by the National Judicial Council for swearing-in, regrettably, this has since become a distant drums at the instance of His Excellency, the Governor who has refused to swear them in.

“I sue for the lifting of the swearing-in embargo forthwith. Otherwise, we stand to miss the two slots plus three already given to us for 2019. The self-induced catastrophe can be unimaginably conflagrating.”

The chairmen of three Bar branches of the Nigeria Bar Association in the state, all showed solidarity with the state chief judge in calling for the concerns of the judiciary in the state to be addressed without undue interference from the state executive branch.

Mba Ukweni SAN, Etung Eteng, Esq and many other senior lawyers maintained that, “There is undue interference by the executive in the affairs of the judiciary. We have to be resolute and firm if not, it will not augur well for the judiciary”.

The State governor, Sen. Ben Ayade did not attend the special court session to mark the opening of the legal year. He was only represented in the church service by the state deputy governor, Prof. Ivara Esu who used the occasion to appeal for continuous cooperation with the executive by the judiciary.

In the absence of a sitting Attorney General in that state, the Solicitor General and Permanent Secretary in the state ministry of Justice represented the government at the special court session.

TIMELY POST gathered that the Chief Judge had been living in his private residence in the last two years since he assumed office on June 2019

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Politics

Oshiomhole suspects Obaseki of defection from APC

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The National Chairman, All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole, has become suspicious that Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State was creating crisis in the state ostensibly to dump the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC.

Oshiomhole also accused the governor of blackmail as excuse for possible defection someday.

But he, however, advised Obaseki to focus on delivery of good governance to the people rather than blackmailing his personality.

He gave the advice in a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Simon Ebegbulem, in Abuja on Tuesday.

The APC chairman said: “We have it on good authority that the governor (Obaseki) intends to create disaffection and crisis in the state, APC and probably dump the party for another party.

“That is why, he has embarked on this brigandary which Edo people will resist. So, he should stop blackmailing me and face governance which is why Edo people voted him into power.

“We are even more scared now that the governor is making every effort to coerce me into giving him details of my movement in Edo State. Who knows what he is plotting again. But every evil plot against me will fail.”

He alleged that the last Saturday’s siege at his residence by Obaseki’s thugs was a good example.

“Before that incident, state government sponsored thugs have been harassing, intimidating APC members across the 18 Local Government Areas (LGAs) of the state because APC leaders refused to adopt his second term aspiration.

“People are being sacked in their jobs everyday in the state,” he said.

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PDP dismisses Villa feud as show of incompetence, urges NASS to probe Buhari for alleged illegal allotment

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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Tuesday condemned the public fight between the First Lady, Aisha Buhari and President Muhammadu Buhari’s cousins, over rooms in the Presidential villa, as disgraceful that underlines the alleged managerial ineptitude and leadership failures of the Buhari Presidency

It, therefore, urged the National Assembly to probe the alleged abuse of office by Buhari following revelation that he assigns official facilities in the Presidential villa to unauthorized persons that have no official roles in governance, and apply appropriate sanctions.

The opposition party said the chaos in the Villa further exposed the Buhari Presidency’s poor management of issues and highlights why it has allegedly failed in delivering on any of its responsibilities in governance that allegedly left the nation in a shambolic situation in the last five years.

PDP spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan made this allegations in a statement made available to TIMELY POST in Abuja.

Part of the statement reads, “The feud further uncovers the impunity, disorderliness and vanity that
pervade the Buhari Presidency and how the once serious and productive seat of power has been turned into a house of comedy and an overcrowded quarter for illegal occupants.

“Nigerians can now see why it has become difficult for our nation to witness any stability or progress under the Buhari Presidency and why the Buhari-led Federal Government has been bedeviled by confusion, infighting, policy flip-flops, statutory violations, promotion of
violence, ingrained corruption and administrative indolence while millions of Nigerians wallow in poverty and neglect.

“Nigerians and the world can equally see why no one expects the Buhari Presidency to articulate any progressive idea or proffer and implement
any solution to the myriad of economic and security problems it caused our nation; they can now see why there is no hope in sight and why
compatriots are daily agitating for a new order.

“Our party notes that our dear nation has suffered enough disgrace from the Buhari Presidency and the All Progressives Congress (APC). The PDP
therefore charges President Buhari to immediately apologize to Nigerians for his failures and be ready to vacate office for more competent hands, since it has become obvious that he is leading our country to nowhere”.

Further, the PDP urged the National Assembly to sanitize the Presidential villa by probing allegations of illegal allotment of offices and apartments to unauthorized persons, including scammers and corruption fronts in Aso Rock.

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867, 088 to vote in Bayelsa guber election

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Monday affirmed that a total of 867, 088 eligible voters are expected to vote in the November 16, gubernatorial election in Bayelsa State.

INEC National Commissioner supervising elections in Bayelsa, Edo and Rivers State, May Agbamuche-Mbu, disclosed this in Yenagoa, the state capital at the official presentation of the voter register to 45 political parties contesting in the election.

Mrs Agbamuche-Mbu, who presented soft copies of the register to the parties, explained that the document revealed the number of registered voters by polling unit, registration Area, local government areas and state.

“This is to enable eligible voters to check their details and know the location of their polling units,” she explained.

On appointment of party agents, the commissioner enjoined all political parties to submit names of their agents not later than 14 days before the election.

“Submit the names of your party agent on or before Nov. 2, as the Commission will not extend the deadline for submission,” she urged.

Also, the Commission’s National Director, Voter Registry, Iro Gambo, said though a total of 923, 182 voters were registered in Bayelsa at the end of the 2017 and 2018 Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) exercise, but only 867, 088 voters collected their Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs).

Gambo, represented by the Deputy Director, Voter Registry, Paul Ayaeze, explained that the PVCs were made available for collection during the nationwide CVR exercise at all the local government areas in the state between April 2017 and August 2018.

“In all, the number of uncollected PVCs are 33, 974,” the director said.

In his remark, INEC’s Resident Electoral Commission (REC) in Bayelsa, Monday Udoh, restated the Commission’s readiness to conduct free, fair and credible election for the people.

Udoh, who was represented by the Administrative Secretary of the commission in the state, Edwin Enabor, enjoined all political parties to play by the rules and refrain from violence.

(NAN)

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