No election in Enugu over assassination of LP Senate candidate *Police launch manhunt for killers
There will be no Senatorial elections in Enugu East Senatorial zone of Enugu State, as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has activated the provisions of the Electoral Act, which insists on the postponement of election, where a candidate suddenly dies.
Oyibo Chukwu, a lawyer and candidate of the Labour Party (LP) for the zone, was assassinated on Wednesday night, as he was returning with some of the party members from a campaign pitch at Amechi Awkunanaw, in the Enugu South Local Government of Enugu State.
INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, said on Thursday that the commission was waiting for a formal information on the development and where satisfied, it would countermand the election for two weeks, as provided for in the electoral law.
Recalling a situation where INEC was informed of a similar incident where another candidate for the senatorial election died in Kano recently, he told reporters, during a briefing on the commission’s preparedness for the commencement of the 2023 elections on Saturday, adding that in the Kano situation, the party had since forwarded the name of another candidate for the election, which had now been listed for the Saturday polls.
Citing Section 34 of the Electoral Act, he said: “There are procedures to handling such an issue. In such a situation, the commission will have to countermand the senatorial district for two weeks. The section can only be activated if the party involved officially notifies the commission.
“Section 34(b) stipulates that in the case of election into a legislative House, the election shall start afresh and the political party whose candidate died may, if it intends to continue to participate in the election, conduct a fresh primary within 14 days of the death of its candidate and submit the name of a new candidate to the commission to replace the dead candidate:
“Provided that in the case of presidential or gubernatorial or Federal Capital Territory Area Council election, the running mate shall continue with the election and nominate a new running mate,” the section says.
Julius Abure, National Chairman of LP, had called for the postponement of the election in Enugu East Senatorial District, following the incident, where Chukwu’s remains and those of five other victims killed with him were were set ablaze inside the vehicle they were travelling.
Abure, who in a statement, on Thursday, listed some LP candidates that had been killed, kidnapped, tortured, or injured ahead of this year’s general election, called for calm among the party’s members and supporters, stressing that the party would get to the bottom of the killings.
“Let me also condole with the immediate family of Honourable Oyibo Chukwu and the entire Labour Party family over this painful loss. I pray that God will give us the fortitude to bear this loss,” he said.
Enugu State Police Command, blamed members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and Eastern Security Network (ESN) for the incident, saying Commissioner Ahmed Ammani had since ordered intensification of discreet investigations and manhunt.
The police, in a statement by Daniel Ndukwe, a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), and spokesman of the command, stressed the move to arrest the “subversive criminal elements, suspected to be IPOB/ESN renegades, who in the night hours of February 22, 2023 at different locations, ambushed and simultaneously attacked and murdered Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Labour Party (LP) members, and also attempted to attack the convoy of the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship candidate.”
Ammani, who spoke after visiting the scenes of the incidents at Topland, by Ebony Paint Road, and Eke-Otu, both in Amechi-Awkunanaw, Enugu, condemned the attacks and commiserated with the parties and family members of the deceased.
BREAKING: Tribunal to Atiku: Our court, not a stadium for entertainment! Nails live broadcast
Justice Haruna Tsammani, on Monday killed the attempt by Atiku Abubakar and the Peoples Democratic (PDP) and Peter Obi, his Labour Party (LP) counterpart, both presidential candidates, respectively in the February 25 election to get Nigerians watch the proceedings at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal, currently sitting in Abuja, live.
The court court, ruling on the plea that originated from the former Vice President, who had argued that it would give integrity to the process and was later joined by Obi, in a unanimous ruling, held that the application was without merit, adding that televising court proceedings is not provided for in any extant law in the country.
Tsammani, Chairman of the five-man panel of Court of Appeal Justices, sitting as PEPT, who read the lead ruling, while adopting the arguments of Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu, his All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), which declared him winner of the election and which also railed against the move, agreed that it would not make the outcome of their decisions any cleaner.
To him, the court sitting in public did not mean that it should sit in a stadium or in marketplace and that there was no way televising the proceedings could advance the interest of fair hearing for parties or advance the interest of the petitioners in relation to issues raised in their petition, adding that granting the request by Atiku and the PDP could trivialise the serious business of the court.
BREAKING: Kalu’s Senate presidency quest runs into trouble, suffers APC hammer
Orji Uzor Kalu, former Governor of Abia State and current Chief Whip of the Senate, may be kissing his quest to lead the National Assembly in Nigeria by becoming 10th session Senate President goodbye, if the attempt to strip him of his All Progressives Congress (APC) identity succeeds.
Kalu, seen as one of the front runners for the nation’s number three citizen, was among the party stalwarts suspended by the ruling party on Thursday, alongside Ken Nnamani, former Senate President, Geoffrey Onyeama, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Sullivan Chime, former Governor of Enugu State.
Alongside former Speaker of Enugu state House of Assembly, Hon Eugene Odo; Director General Voice of Nigeria, Osita Okechukwu and former Commissioner in Enugu state, Joe Mammel, the APC bigwigs, who had earlier been slammed with their fate shortly after the 2023 general elections, had their suspension sustained by the party’s South East caucus.
The ratification of the suspension of the chieftains from Enugu and Abia States, who were initially slammed for allegedly engaging in anti-party activities, according to the APC Zonal Secretariat came after South East Executive Meeting on April 16, 2023.
Ijeomah Arodiogbu, National Vice Chairman (South East), who gave the reason for the action, as the need to enforce discipline in the party, in order to strengthen APC in the zone, listed other names to include: SA to Minister of Foreign Affairs, Flavour Eze, former chairman of the party in the state, Ben Nwoye; former deputy state chairman, A. C. Udeh; Obodoeze Ocho; Chukwudi Igwe; Kingsley Uduji; former Military Governor of the state, Joe Orji; Maduka Arum (A.K.A Mama) and Chidera Obed.
Others suspended alongside Kalu in Abia, included Sam Nkeire, Uche Sampson Ogah, former Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development, Senator Nkechi Nworgu, amongst others.
Ezeanyawu Michael, spokesman of the party in Enugu State, while stating that it was the right thing to do, said: “I want to further use this opportunity to call on the APC leadership, at both the state and national levels, not to relent in its efforts to rid the party of saboteurs.”
Senate Presidency race: Akpabio visits Buhari, says my track record speaks for me
Former Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Godswill Akpabio, on Monday emerged from a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Aso Rock villa in Abuja, with a definite message to Nigerians – I will introduce something new, if elected as the new Senate President.
Akpabio, who left as the Minority Leader after losing his return bid in 2019 to take up appointment as Minister of Niger Delta, flaunted his credentials as governor, where he claimed to have made significant contributions to infrastructure, stating that he would be an “uncommon transformer” as the head of the nation’s legislature.
He told State House Correspondents after the meeting: “It is well known that Akpabio is a results-driven individual. You will remember that when I was a governor, I made significant contributions to infrastructure, education, social issues, and human empowerment.
“I intend to bring a lot of reforms into the senate, in the ways and manners we do business, to assist the next administration to succeed. We will be very thorough in doing everything; we’ll bring about loyalty to the constitution.
“The restiveness that we are seeing across the nation, we’ll do our best to make good laws and to assist the administration to bring about policies that will empower the youths of the country. I made that promise even on the convention day that being a man who used to turn boys into men and who still does, that I will like to work with the incoming president, who has also shown that example in Lagos state as a governor and thereafter as a leader of the APC in Nigeria.
“So, the youths are in for a very good time, in terms of empowerment, there will be no time for slacking and we’ll restrict a lot of them from being lured into criminality, into brigandage and all that.”