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Bayelsa: Loyalists Pit Gov. Diri Against Deputy, As Impeachment Plot Looms

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Hours after the Supreme Court dismissed six appeals that sought to nullify the election of Bayelsa State Governor, Sen. Douye Diri, his political associates have resumed plans to set-up Deputy governor Lawrence Ewhrudjakpor, and prepare grounds for his impeachment.

Checks revealed that no sooner than the Supreme Court nullified the declaration of All Progressives’ Congress (APC)’s David Lyon as governor-elect in February than antagonists of the deputy governor began pushing for his removal.

Checks further revealed that some of the antagonists had advised against moving “too soon” against Ewhrudjakpor then in the light of anticipated legal hurdles ahead, and the political backlash it could generate.

In the build up to the Nov 16, 2019 Bayelsa governorship election, the unassuming current deputy governor came under severe coordinated media attacks from elements from the Peoples Democratic Party ( PDP) and the opposition who were uncomfortable with him being Diri’s running mate.

Some interest groups had at the time sued for caution in the light of the huge political contest between the PDP and formidable APC.

Shortly after APC’s David Lyon was declared governor-elect in an election largely believed to have been rigged on favour of APC, calm returned to the PDP camp as it’s deputy governorship candidate Senator Ewhrudjakpor once again, became the rallying point of the legal battle to upturn the APC “victory”.

An experienced lawyer and politician, Ewrudjakpor soon found himself shouldering the responsibility of instituting court cases, especially the one that eventually led to the disqualification of the APC candidate David Lyon and his running mate, Senator Degi.

Thereafter, old fault lines began to emerge with the same elements renewing demands that the newly sworn-in deputy governor be removed to placate their political interests.

It is also gathered that Diri loyalists there are several underground moves by some of the same members of Governor Diri’s cabinet, the opposition APC, and opposition PDP to cause a major rift between the Governor and his deputy setting the stage for the impeachment of the deputy governor.

The pressure group routing for the deputy governor’s removal have reportedly earmarked a current serving two-term member of the House of Assembly from Ogbia as his replacement. Alternatively, they want any other person from Bayelsa East senatorial district.

According to very reliable sources, part of the plan is for the current two-term serving House of Assembly member from Ogbia who has been tapped to replace the current deputy governo to be used by very high ranking political leaders from Ogbia and Bayelsa East, and some loyalists of Gov Diri, to create bad blood between Diri and his deputy to the point that they would no longer be able to work together.

According to the plan, there will be several syndicate publications in the media alleging that the deputy governor is not only too overbearing, but is being backed by the immediate past governor Seriake Dickson, to dislodge Governor Diri.

Emissaries are reportedly being recruited to meet Governor Diri immediately after Wednesday’s Supreme Court judgement, to immediately take steps to remove his deputy “if he wants to enjoy the support of the Bayelsa East senatorial district for reelection purposes.”

Another plan, added the source, is to induce members of the House of Assembly with humongous sums of US dollars to ensure that the deputy governor is impeached on the strength of frivolous allegations.

The said two-term lawmaker from Ogbia has already reportedly assured of his commitment to penetrating his colleagues in the House of Assembly once the money is provided.

Noted a federal lawmaker from the state: “Even though the immediate plan is to impeach the deputy governor and create a rift between Gov Diri and his immediate predecessor. former Governor Dickson who foisted Diri and his deputy on Bayelsans in the face of serious opposition from top politicians specially from Bayelsa East, the ultimate aim would be to make Diri vulnerable politically and easy to impeach and replaced by the same Ogbia lawmaker.”Added the source, “In fact, it is going to be replay of the Diepreye Alamieyeseigha– Goodluck Jonathan scenario once the current deputy governor Senator Lawrence Ewrudjakpor is taken out of the equation.

“It is common knowledge that Bayelsa East district have not been comfortable as they failed to produce the governor or the deputy in the current dispensation, the first time since 1999. Having realized that the current deputy governor would be difficult to use to impeach Governor Diri, who is largely seen as Dickson’s stooge, they’ve decided to, first, impeach the deputy governor before coming for Diri”, opined the lawmaker.

He added, “Some unsuspecting Diri loyalists who don’t understand the larger objective appear to be falling for the bait that the deputy governor should be removed from office. This, in the ultimate, will harm their boss Diri.

“I don’t want to believe that Governor Diri is this naive. However, it is important for him to be careful of the antics of these latter day advisers who left him and the same deputy to join David Lyon shortly before God used the Supreme Court to change everything for good,” he declared.

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Group Backs Call For EFCC, ICPC’s Probe Of Kogi Gov

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A socio-political group in Kogi State under the auspices of Progressives Mandate Movement (PMM) has expressed support for the call by the Anti-Corruption Network (ACN) to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC), for the investigation of allegations of financial mismanagement and corruption against Kogi State governor, Yahaya Bello.

It would be recalled that a former Kogi West Senator, Dino Melaye, had earlier in the week on behalf of the ACN petitioned the EFCC, ICPC, Transparency International, US Ambassador to Nigeria and the British High Commissioner to Nigeria over “financial recklessness, corruption, money laundering and fraudulent application of Kogi State’s resources” by Governor Bello and his cronies.

The group, however, alleged that Governor Bello had received over of N300 billion from the Federation Account in the last five years without reasonable or tangible achievement to show for it.

In a statement issued by the PMM chairman, Comrade Musa Enejo Stephens, in Lokoja on Thursday, the group urged the EFCC to expedite action on the investigation into the alleged financial management in Kogi State government under Governor Bello administration even as he said Bello has committed financial crimes against the people of the State.

According to him, “Yahaya Bello’s government has blindfolded the people of the State with series of lies since all this while on the allocation accrued to the State from Federation Account and as well mismanaged the huge resources accrued to the State which is against the spirit of openness, fairness, justice and accountability promised the people by All Progressives Congress APC led administration of President Muhammadu Buhari government.

“Governor Bello has plunged Kogi State into debt regime which the State may not recover from, in the next 10 years and Mr. Governor failed to give tangible explanations on how funds from federation account like; State allocation, Local Government, Allocation, Paris Refund, Bailouts Funds and Internally Generated Revenue accrued to the State and other,” he added.

Stephens, therefore, charged the newly appointed EFCC chairman, Abdulrasheed Bawa, to prove himself to Nigerians by commencing and expediting action by prosecuting those involved in the crimes detailed by the ACN petition.

He threatened that if the anti-graft agencies failed in their duty to act and do justice on behalf of Kogi people, the group will have no other option than to mobilise the people from the 21 local government areas of the State to the headquarters of the commission in Abuja and stage a protest.

He said Kogi State is now the new ATM for political jobbers of all sorts, saying all manner of characters troop to the state in number to declare support for governor Bello’s delusional ambition to become president in 2023.

He pointed out that presently, the state meagre resources were now being spent on Governor Bello’s presidential ambition on media advertorial including print media, electronics, outdoor billboards across the country even though it’s illegal to do such now as it contravenes the Electoral Act.

The PMM chairman commended the Minister of FCT Abuja and Kano State governor for ordering the removal of such billboards in their domains.

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Group Berates Ayeni Over Calumny Campaign Against Okunbo

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A group, National Youth Alliance of Nigeria (NYAN), has berated businessman, Dr. Olatunde Ayeni, over what it called his “campaign of calumny” against the chairman of Ocean Marine Solutions Limited (OMS), Capt. Idahosa Wells Okunbo.

NYAN said Ayeni, a former director and shareholder of OMS, contacted the group for a hatchet job against the person and business interests of Capt. Okunbo, especially the OMS.

National President of NYAN, Lucky Igbamodi, told journalists at a press conference that the group was hired to launch scathing campaigns against Capt. Okunbo in order to malign him through fictitious petitions and peddling of outright falsehoods.

Igbamodi said NYAN subsequently carried out its own investigation and found out that all allegations against Capt. Okunbo and OMS were untrue as they were fabricated for sinister motives by Ayeni.

“Making our stand public becomes necessary now lest the unsuspecting members of the public be misled about the real issues. Dr. Olatunde Ayeni mistook our group for agents of destruction for hire and we listened to him and carried our own investigations to ascertain the truth.

“We found out several things which point to a documented fact and established truth – that Dr. Olatunde Ayeni has since 2018 left the Board of OMS and as well sold his shares to Capt. Idahosa Wells Okunbo but only returns to launch a campaign of calumny against the latter just because Capt. Okunbo has a health challenge.

“Nigerians and non-governmental organisations should be wary of Dr. Olatunde Ayeni’s antics, which are all in bad faith and unbecoming of a businessman he claims to be,” Igbamodi added.

While wishing Capt. Okunbo quick recovery, the group admonished the Board of OMS to continue to support Okunbo and always stand by the truth as it has demonstrated so far.

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Apologise To Abia Gov Or Face Recall, Kogi West Youths Tell Adeyemi

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A group called Concerned Kogi West Youths has called on the Senator representing Kogi West, Smart Adeyemi, to immediately apologise to Abia State governor, Victor Ikpeazu, over his uncomplimentary comment on the latter or face recall from the Senate.

A statement issued by the group and signed Mr Michael Oluwaseun Bolorunduro on Monday said Senator Adeyemi must apologise to the Abia governor and the people of Abia State within seven days or be ready for the consequence.

The youths, however, apologised on behalf of the Kogi West people to Governor Ikpeazu for the “behaviour” of Senator Adeyemi on the floor of the Senate during a debate on the Safe School Initiative agaisnt the backdrop of incessant attacks on schools by bandits in the North last week.

“We the concerned Kogi West Youth are writing to apologise for the behaviour of the Senator representing Kogi West Senatorial District, Senator Smart Adeyemi, recently on the floor of the Hallowed Chamber.

“It took us this long to react or respond to his ungentlemanly attitude because the character trait that he displayed is alien to our culture in Kogi West. We tried to know reasons for such reactions and alas, we couldn’t find any justifiable and sensible reason for such.

“We, too, were personally shocked and offended by his actions and utterances which were a direct contravention of the values of dignity and good mannerism that we teach in our locality.

“We all know that emotions can get heated, but it does not excuse the language and behavior of our representative,” the group said.

They added that they as “wise constituents” have decided “to right the wrong of the malady and public show of shame as displayed by Senator Smart Adeyemi” to apologise and as well demand apology from Adeyemi.

“It is on this note that we demand that Senator Smart Adeyemi within seven days apologise at the same Hallowed Chamber of the Senate for his uncontrollable utterances against the governor and people of Abia State or face recal,” Bolorunduro declared.

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