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Why Wike Must Go- Dumo Briggs…. Opts for Direct Guber Primary in APC

One of the major contenders for the governorship seat in Rivers State under the platform of the APC, Dumo Lulu-Briggs has underscored the need for all Rivers people to vote for power shift to the riverine part of Rivers State.

He said the incumbent, Nyesom Wike cannot continue to be in office from 2019 because it would further compound the injustice meted to the riverine communities of the state, who have not been allowed to produce a governor since 1999.

Briggs who spoke with TNN over the telephone on Sunday night also said the best option for the APC to adopt in its choice of governorship candidate was the direct primary, to enable all members of the party take part in the processes of choosing the flagbearer, in view of the pending court cases over leadership of the party in the state.

The aspirant who has since returned his expression of interest and nomination forms said although the four aspirants in the APC-Tonye Cole, himself, Dawari George and Magnus Abe-were duly qualified to govern the state, he was better placed to pick the party's ticket.

 He said: “It is clear that once you have bought the form, you have a bright chance. It depends on how the press will view the chances. Magnus is there feeling very comfortable. I am very comfortable, two persons were brought out by the minister (of transportation, Rotimi Amaechi), that is Tonye Cole and Dawari George; how they are going to manage that, I do not know. I do not know how he intends to navigate that.

“There are two schools of thought, whether we should do indirect or direct primaries. Indirect primaries is election by delegates. But the national is more disposed to direct primaries and Magnus is disposed to that as well. I think that it makes a lot of sense right now to go for direct primaries because of the pending court cases.

“You don't know what faction the court will hold eventually as the authentic faction, even though there has been a court ruling in Abuja, basically granting injunction against all factions and kind of in favour of the Ojukaye Flag Amachree led state exco. But you know there is another matter in Port Harcourt that is pending and two of them are at the federal high court and appeal court level.

“So, the safer option for the national is to rule in favour of direct primary option so that every card carrying member can vote, so that no matter how the court matters turn out eventually, nobody would have been disenfranchised.

“It is still not cast in stone what options are available in Rivers State. But I think we are going to do direct primaries. I have a very close affinity with the rank and file in the party and so it is fairly obvious to everybody and across the LGAs and party members, I am quite popular; if it comes to that, I stand a very close chance of winning the primaries.”

He also spoke on the recent comment by Abe, to the effect that as a Rivers son, he was also qualified to be called a riverine aspirant. He dismissed the comments as a comic relief.

“Nothing in life is static so the definition of concepts can be expanded(laughs) to accommodate aspirations. One thing from that statement is that there is no upland or riverine, and everybody is from rivernine. So, you can stretch that and see if it makes sense. If it does not make sense, then you can just conclude that the statement was made to arouse our comical sensibilities.

“Maybe what he was saying was that because of the way the name sounds, so everybody from Rivers is rivernine. But when you go to the second layer, you will find out that there are rivernine and there are upland communities. He is a gentleman, he is a great guy.

“Sometimes, you need to introduce these things into our discussions so that we don't forget that no matter what happens, we don't forget that all of us are from Rivers State. I think that is the point he is making.”

 Briggs said it was almost a consensus in the state that power must move to the riverine part of the state from 2019. “Frankly, it is not only the rivernine people that are saying so. The minister (Amaechi) is not riverine. He is Ikwerre and he has said that the thing should go to the riverine communities.

“And his argument is that from 1999, recognising those sentiments, that it is not fair for the upland part of the state to have retained power for 20 years, he is saying that in 2019, it is time for the upland communities to also occupy the seat.

“Even the Ogoni people are in support that the thing should go to the riverine. So, I think that it is an argument that has gained a lot of merit and made a lot of sense to a lot of Rivers people.”

 Apart from the Amaechi faction of the party, other contenders are of the view that the direct primary option should be adopted in the choice of candidates for the gubernatorial election.

Abe, in a recent statement justified this position when he appeared on a national television.

He said "Rivers State is one of those states where we cannot have indirect primaries. The entire structure of the party in the state is embroiled in legal controversy with about four or five court cases. So if you want to do indirect primaries, which particular list of delegates are you going to use and which particular congress?"

"They say where you stand on an issue depends on where you sit. What you call indirect primaries is a situation where known party members meet in a place to elect candidates”.

 

 

"These known party members are invariably part of a structure that is already organized. So when people have control of such structure, the entire exercise is predetermined because they already know who they are going to elect”.

 

"You have to understand that life is dynamic and part of what we promised Nigerians is that we were going to bring change into the country and make it better. Part of the challenge people have with indirect primaries, is like I said, the outcome is predetermined”.

 

"Secondly, it is very vulnerable to financial inducement because the delegates are known and you can't target a particular number of people as those that you need to service in order to get your nomination”.

 

"So, this has led over the years to a vast increase in corruption in terms of financial inducement for delegates. In bringing our message for change in Nigeria, there is, therefore, every need for us to look at these things and improve the processes as the country grows older and our democracy matures”.

 "No matter the argument one may have or may not have, I believe that as far as Nigerian democracy is concerned, the days of indirect primaries are fast drawing to a close."

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A’Ibom Senator In Soup

Regardless of being a lawmaker at the highest law making body of the country, the Senator, Akwa Ibom North East (Uyo) Senatorial District, Obong Bassey Albert is rather being seen as becoming popular in 'lawbreaking', having allegedly been neck deep in series of criminal activities.

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Duke Moves To Unseat Ayade, Gives Life To SDP In C’River

The decision of former governor of Cross River state, Donald Duke, to join Social Democratic Party (SDP) and even run on the party's platform as presidential aspirant has boosted the profile of the party in the state. The party is now seen by many as a credible alternative to the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state.

A governorship aspirant on the party's platform, Eyo Okon Ekpo, also defected from PDP to SDP, citing the same reason that it was a credible alternative to other parties. He said SDP had structures all over the state and was ready to win elections in 2019.

It was with fanfare that the party's state secretariat was opened on Wednesday, 12 September at Nsefik Layout along Ndidem Usang Iso Road in Calabar Municipality by Duke.

 During the event, Duke announced that the party was on a mission to rescue Cross River State and also Nigeria from its present quagmire.

  Duke was accompanied by the state chairman of the party, Eni Ikpi and Eyo Okon Ekpo. He said the party was the right choice for those who still believe in Nigeria and it is unimaginable what will become of the state if it is not salvaged next year by the SDP.

“Cross River state is not the state we knew. If we allow it run like this today, you may see Cross River in the next four years, you will not even see Cross River, you will see 'C' then 'O' and then one 'S' and then you will see 'I' and I am sure you have seen such signposts in some places where you see some railings and you see that some letters are missing. That's what Cross River will be like in the next four years if we do not do something now.

 “Just as we have to rescue Cross River, we also have to rescue Nigeria. Nigeria is in grave danger, when we have a country where 80 per cent of our youths of working age do not have jobs, then that country is in danger. When we have a country where you are not sure of what is in store for you, then we are in danger.

“Anyone who is running for any leadership position in Cross River state be it a governor, legislator or chairman of the council, it's a rescue mission. If you believe that Nigeria is worth dying for and in so doing, you want to be on the right path, then you are on the right path in SDP.”

 He said with about 200 million Nigerians who are largely unemployed, it will spell doom for West and Central Africa if the country falls apart and that unlike the present situation, it is the basic right of citizens to a job, education and basic healthcare.

 “Nigeria is a large country of almost two hundred million people. It is very large and that's why the European countries take us seriously not because of what we do positively but what we do negatively.

They know very well that if the country should fall apart, the whole of west and central Africa will be in trouble and that is why it is important that we must get this country going in the right direction where we make it a right for every citizen to have a job, a right of every citizen to have education, a right of every citizen to basic health care.”

 He said the present situation in the country where 15 per cent of the population depends on the other 85 per cent for its livelihood does not augur well for the country and the SDP is determined to reverse this ugly trend.

  Also speaking, Ekpo said the SDP hopes to recover the mandate of the people from those keeping it and start all over again.

“We shall recover our mandate from those keeping it and restore what is rightfully ours and start again. There is a different way to do something and the SDP represents it.

 “We know what good governance feels and looks like, it happened in our state and it is not something that we read in textbooks. We will show that there is still hope in the state and we will collectively drive the state forward for the benefit of its people,” he said.

Ekpo had at a different forum spoken extensively about how the SDP government would fix the dismal electricity supply situation in the state.

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Automatic PDP Tickets: Those Planning To Defect Are Free –Asuquo

Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State has been endorsed by some members of the House of Representatives representing Cross River State for the 2019 governorship election.

 They have collectively pledged their unalloyed support for his re-election bid and vowed to confront anybody who stands in the way of the governor's quest to return for a second term.

 At the forefront of the support for Ayade's return are Jarigbe Agom Jarigbe and Daniel Asuquo both representing Ogoja/Yala and Akamkpa/Biase federal constituencies respectively.

Both of them said they were speaking the minds of the other six members in the House, describing as “unfair” efforts at sending Ayade packing in 2019 after only four years in office.

 Agom said any attempt to dislodge Ayade from Government House would be  resisted, arguing that the principle of fairness meant the governor be allowed to complete his eight years just as his predecessors, former governors; Donald Duke and Liyel Imoke.

 Speaking about disaffection in the party against automatic tickets for serving members of the National Assembly, Agom said “in our party's constitution, there is something like consensus and people now take it out of context and say it is automatic ticket.

 “There is no automatic ticket for anybody. Primaries for House of Representatives is on the 30th of September and we expect that those who want to express themselves beyond what the party has said in terms of consensus should come to the field and express themselves.”

 Also speaking on the controversial automatic ticket, Asuquo observed that giving serving members 'right of first refusal' should not be seen as a crime, and therefore appealed to those crying foul over the issue to sheathe their swords rather than threaten to defect.

  “Authentic family members who know that it is good to build what they benefited from do not behave like people who preach on the pulpit and break the pulpit so that nobody stands there to preach again. Here in Cross River state, of what effect are those defections? Nothing!

“So for us, it is an ongoing thing and we are also reconciling but for those who believe they are bigger than the constitution and the party, so be it. And I tell you the truth, check their numbers, where they defect to might even be worse with them as politicians,” he said.

On Ayade's second term bid, Asuquo said it would be improper for the governor not to complete his second term since power should return to the South in 2023.

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