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Edeoga to Enugu voters: Don’t despair, your mandate will not be stolen



Chijioke Edeoga, governorship candidate of the Labour Party (LP) in Enugu State in the March 18 election, has promised voters in the state that their efforts in giving him their mandate to lead the state would never be allowed to go to waste.

He said in a personal letter to thank them for their massive support particularly to the party throughout the presidential and National Assembly and on February 25, where the party pocketed a whopping 88 per cent of the votes and thereafter the governorship and House of Assembly edition, with a similar showing, he said such massive showing could only point to the fact that they were fully in support of the wind of change blowing across the country through the LP.

The full letter, read: “I would like to thank, from the depths of my heart, Ndi Enugu State for voting overwhelmingly for transformational change in the two elections held on February 25 and March 18, 2023, in our dear State. You stood strongly with the Labour Party. And you have continued to be in solidarity with our transformational political party to this day, despite the determination of a handful of inelegant elements to change the course of history.

“In the Presidential election, you gave the Labour Party 428,640 out of the 468,891 votes cast, or 88.7 per cent of the votes. In the same election, your total support made our party win seven out of the eight federal constituencies in our State. The rival Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) could win only one seat. In the Senate election, your unflinching support saw the Labour Party win the Enugu North district with 104,492 votes; the incumbent State Governor, who is of the PDP, received only 46,948 votes, as he was well-beaten in his polling unit and ward by the Labour Party candidate. As expected, the Labour Party also won convincingly in the  Enugu East senatorial race, which was rescheduled to March 18, 2023, following the assassination on Wednesday, February 22, of the Labour candidate, Chief Oyibo Victor Chukwu. The good people of Enugu East gave Sir Kelvin Chukwu, a younger brother of the assassinated Chukwu, 69,136 votes, as against the 48,701 votes scored by his closest rival, Dr Chimaraoke Nnamani of the PDP, a former Enugu State two-term Governor and a serving Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. All this took place because you want a change in Enugu State.

“The wind of change continued to blow across the State when you went to the polls on Saturday, March 18, 2023, to participate in the Gubernatorial and House of Assembly polls. You voted clearly for Labour Party candidates in the legislative election because you want a House of Assembly to work harmoniously with the Labour Governor of Enugu State. “Consequently, 14 out of the 24 seats in the Assembly went to the Labour Party, with another one still on the way. In other words, you gave the Labour Party a two-thirds majority in the legislative vote to enable the Labour Governor to deliver the goods effectively and efficiently to the Enugu people.

“Your strong desire for change made you vote overwhelmingly for me as the Labour Party candidate in the gubernatorial election. By the night of Saturday, March 18, the result from every Local Government Area (LGA) in the State was already well known, and it was clear that I had been given the mandate to lead Enugu State in a new direction in the next four years. This mandate is a sacred trust. It is not negotiable.

“The desperation of a coterie of politicians in the state working in cahoots with a handful of compromised Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) officers to toy with the destiny of a great people cannot succeed. These persons cannot be allowed to subvert the will of millions of our people. The people’s will is supreme. Our team of dedicated and competent lawyers has been instructed to take the appropriate legal steps to restore the people’s mandate to me and the Labour Party.

“The Labour Party has been the subject of vicious attacks by cowardly and reactionary forces in different parts of the country simply because it represents change, a new social order. Its members, candidates and supporters have been murdered in different states. Its supporters have been demonised, maimed and disenfranchised in different states, and their businesses incinerated just because they believe a new Nigeria is possible. It took INEC a whole four days to engage in creative vote allocation before declaring the so-called result of the governorship election which the whole of Enugu State and the entire nation have  rejected as one man. INEC engaged in sheer sacrilege.

“I plead with Ndi Enugu to go about their normal business. We have great confidence in the Nigerian judiciary. The judiciary has restored stolen mandates in a number of instances and has consequently proved to be the last hope of the people. I thank Nigerians from different walks of life for their tremendous support. I will ever remain indebted to the Enugu people for their solidarity. There are not enough words to thank the Nigerian Labour Congress, the Nigerian Bar Association, the Nigerian Medical Association, the business community, the market associations, the religious community, students, the academic community, civil service members, and, of course, my primary constituency which is the media, as well as individuals too numerous to mention here; they are committed to the truth, the common good and justice. My confidence in the Nigerian possibility is once again rekindled.”


Speak now! Catholic priests want Kaduna gov’s reaction to El-Rufai’s Islamisation comments



Uba Sani, must either officially distance himself or affirm the declaration of his predecessor Nasir El-Rufai that Muslim-Muslim executive branch leadership, have come to stay or stand up to denounce it immediately.

These were the demands from Catholic priests in parts of the North, who as they expressed disgust at the statement, which showed the former governor captured in a video, which went viral last week, practically celebrating the continuation of an arrangement, which he first introduced in 2019, and which has now been sustained with the new governor having a Muslim deputy.

Clerics from Kaduna, Kafanchan and Zaria chapters of the Nigerian Catholic Diocesan Priests Association (NCDPA), in a public letter to Sani, urged him to declare his position on what they described as political supremacism in Kaduna state and Nigeria, as part of their reactions to the video, which has raised a lot of dust.

El-Rufai, who in his speech to Muslim clerics in the state, had recounted how after instituting an all-Muslim executive in the state himself and made it permanent in the state, the arrangement was pushed through at the national level with the election of Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Kashim Shettima, as President and Vice President, respectively on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Informing that while Nigerians were actually believed that religion was not the issue in pushing through with the ticket, when it was in fact the case, the former Governor, who spoke in Hausa, declared that the arrangement had come to stay and would last for the next 20 years at the initial stage after Tinubu, adding that the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), had been defeated by the outcome.

But an apparently thoroughly upset Catholic priests, in an open letter on Thursday, said: “Having soberly considered the contents and implications of such communication by a former state governor who is known to be your close ally, we feel compelled to write you, to know where you stand with regard to the commotions Mallam El-Rufai intends to propagate and perpetuate in our state,” the letter reads.

“We write you today because we are responsible stakeholders in the affairs of our beloved state with our own congregations and followers. Mr governor, we do not intend to conclude that you are in agreement with all the content of the former governor’s utterances, as you have given no explicit reason to suggest so (yet), even though you were present at the occasion! We therefore earnestly expect your direct official reaction to the utterances of your predecessor in office.”

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Buhari spent more than $19billion on revamping four refineries without result – Nasarawa gov



Barely two weeks after his exit, the records of former President Muhammadu Buhari, have come to to the fore with one of them indicating a damning verdict, as he was said to have sunk a whopping $19billion in trying to rehabilitate the nation’s four refineries, without anything to show for it.

Abdullahi Sule, Governor of Nassarawa State, who used the former President abysmal failure to make a case for supporting the removal on petroleum products, compared the huge wastage to the amount Dangote refinery, cost to give Nigeria a facility with the single chain production in the world.

None of Nigeria’s four refineries, located in Kaduna, Port Harcourt, and Warri is currently operational despite the huge amount sunk to resuscitate them, most of the funds borrowed from foreign lending agencies, the latest being the securing of $1.5million loan for that of Port Harcourt.

Bemoaning the situation, the governor, said: “Look at how much the President Buhari administration spent on fixing the refineries. In the eight years, he spent more money than the $19 billion that Dangote spent in building a refinery. That is one and a half times the size of our three refineries combined.”

A guest on Sunrise Daily, a breakfast programm of Channels Television on Thursday, Sule, pinned the payments of subsidy on Nigeria’s non-functional refineries, adding: “From the government side, I think we didn’t do a good job. When the (former) President (Buhari) came in in 2015, prices of crude oil dropped by less than 30 dollars. At that time, there was zero subsidy.

“Our three refineries in Nigeria today have a total of 450,000 barrels per day, Dangote is 650,000. He spent $19 billion on building it. We spent, not building a new one, but in maintaining these refineries; more than $19 billion in eight years, yet they have not been maintained.”

The Dangote Refinery, Africa’s biggest oil refinery, which took off in 2017, drew Nigerians and global personalities in different fields of life, including four African Presidents at its commissioning on May 22, 2023 by Buhari.

Sule, who also lamented the complexity of maintaining the refineries due to their diverse components, added: “The refinery is actually a component for water, crude, and diesel, about five or six different components that constitute a refinery. The moment the government says we are going to spend $2 billion this year on the refinery. The $2 billion is spent and as far as the President is concerned, they have given $2 billion.

“Now when it goes to the three refineries that we have in Port Harcourt, Warri, and Kaduna. Then they say, you now take $700 million, you now take $800 million – by the time they take that, it goes to fix maybe only one component out of the four components that are all bad. The ideal resolve would have been to allocate the major funds to one of the refining states to fix it totally before allocating the remainder to the other states.

“So, zero work is done. These are the true realities of what is happening, and that is why none of the refineries is working. These are truly the problem, we have not really managed this thing well.”

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Japan goes tough on asylum seekers, enacts new law to check abuse



Despite desperate attempts to block it, including a ruckus, which broke out in parliament Japan went ahead on Friday to enact an immigration law that would see the government deporting failed asylum seekers, even with members of civil society, joining in the pushback.

The law gives refugees only three chances to try after which they would face deportation, unlike before when applicants could stay in Japan during the decision process, regardless of the number of attempts they made to secure refugee status, reports, say.

The revised law will “protect those who must be protected while strictly dealing with people who have violated rules. There are many people who misuse the application system to avoid deportation,” Justice Minister Ken Saito, was quoted as saying, adding that this had persisted even when such people were not fleeing danger or persecution.

Last year, Japan accepted just 202 refugees out of some 12,500 applicants, and separately allowed 1,760 people to remain in the country due to “humanitarian considerations,” including more than 2,400 evacuees from Ukraine under a different framework.

Activists staged rallies against the revised law, but a protest from the opposition bloc in parliament was voted down by the ruling coalition, which holds a commanding majority.

“It is intolerable to deport people, even if they have criminal records, to countries that may violate their human rights” and where “their life and freedom would be in danger”, the Tokyo Bar Association said this week.

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party says the revisions will bring better access to medical care and accommodation options for people whose asylum applications are pending.

Japan’s immigration detention conditions have been under scrutiny since the 2021 death of Wishma Sandamali, a 33-year-old Sri Lankan woman.

Sandamali was not an asylum seeker but had been held for overstaying her visa after seeking police protection, reportedly to escape an abusive relationship.

Her family are seeking compensation of more than $1 million from the government over her death.

Sandamali reportedly complained repeatedly of stomach pain and other symptoms, and campaigners allege she received inadequate medical care.

Controversy and political pressure over the incident led ruling lawmakers to drop a push to enact similar legal changes to immigration rules two years ago.

Shoichi Ibusuki, a lawyer for Sandamali’s family, told AFP on Thursday that the revised bill was “equivalent to having a button to execute those who seek refuge by deporting them”.

“Japan’s refugee recognition system is not working,” he said, with officials turning down applications quickly, sometimes without face-to-face interviews.

Amnesty International also said in March that Japan should scrap the proposed revision to immigration laws, calling the country’s detention policies “harsh” and “repressive.”

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