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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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Buhari Seeks Senate Approval for Fresh N2.3trn External Loan

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The President, Muhammadu Buhari , has asked the Senate to approve another N2.3trillion ($6.18bn) external loan.

This is contained in a letter addressed to the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, and read at plenary on Tuesday.

Buhari said the proposed loan which is equivalent to N2.3trillion is to finance the 2021 budget deficit of N5.6 trillion.

Buhari said the loan would enable the Federal Government to fund critical infrastructural projects in transportation, health, and education among others.

This is coming barely a month after the Senate approved the sum of $1.5bn and €995 million external borrowings for the Federal Government.

The loans were part of the $5.5 billion and €995 million external borrowings Buhari had, in May 2020, asked the Red Chamber to approve to finance various priority projects of the federal government and to support the state governments facing fiscal challenges.

Details later…

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Armed Thugs Disrupt NLC Protest in Kaduna, Wabba Accuses El-Rufai

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The protest by the Nigeria Labour Congress on Tuesday turned violent as armed thugs attacked the workers, throwing stones at them.

The workers had converged at the popular NEPA roundabout in the Kaduna capital city to continue the day two of their protest when the thugs invaded the area and started throwing stones and other dangerous weapons at them.

The attack forced many of the protesters to scamper for safety.

It is not known who actually sent the thugs, but the NLC Chairman, Ayuba Wabba has pointed accusing fingers at the state governor, Nasir El-Rufai.

Speaking with newsmen amid the protest, Wabba said he informed the DSS after he received earlier information of the plan to disrupt the protest.

“Today is a very sad moment in the history of democracy in Nigeria. Early in the morning today, we got credible information that El-Rufai has hired one Alhaji Hassan and some thugs to come and attack us.

“While we are here, they came but thank God we have chased them away because we have the number. We are not thugs And We Are Not Using Thugs we are Nigerian workers,” Wabba told Channels Television.

The armed thugs were dispersed by security operatives with teargas.

Wabba is leading day two of the NLC protest despite being declared wanted by the Kaduna State government.

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Nigeria Receives £4.2m Ibori Loot

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Nigeria has received the £4.2million seized from the associates of convicted former Governor of Delta State, James Ibori from the United Kingdom.

This is according to the Minister of Justice and the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, who disclosed this on Tuesday via a statement issued by his spokesman, Dr. Umar Jibrilu Gwandu.

He confirmed that the “Federal Government of Nigeria has received GBP 4,214,017.66 of the loot associated with the family members of former Delta State Governor, James Ibori.”

According to the statement, “the amount has been credited into the designated Federal Government account with naira equivalent value of the amount as of 10th May 2021.”

Malami was said to have signed the Memorandum of Understanding for the repatriation of the Ibori loot on behalf of the Federal Government of Nigeria.

The Minister said the development was a demonstration of the recognition of reputation Nigeria earns through records of management of recovered stolen Nigerian stolen in the execution of public-oriented projects.

On May 3, Malami had announced that the United Kingdom would repatriate the looted fund to Nigeria any moment from now.

He had explained that the President Muhammadu Buhari administration was working tirelessly to ensure the return of looted Nigerian assets kept outside the country’s territorial boundaries, adding that that the Federal Government of Nigeria was in touch with the UK government on the matter.

“Documentations with the banks in different countries often take longer than anticipated. We anticipated two weeks but we are not in control of the banks.

“There is neither complacency nor any delay as efforts are being made to ensure successful transfer of the looted funds,” he said.

He noted that the Federal Government is working assiduously to make sure that the transfer goes through successfully.

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