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2023: PDP is the party to rescue Nigeria – Diri

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From Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa

Governors Douye Diri and Nyesom Wike of Bayelsa and Rivers State have said that the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) is the party to rescue Nigeria by producing the next president.

The duo spoke when Wike led a powerful delegation from Rivers State to pay a courtesy visit to Diri at the Government House Yenagoa.

Wike was recently in the eyes of the storm when the Ijaw National Congress (INC) and the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) took a swipe at him for what they considered anti-Ijaw remarks he made during the celebration of the Ogoni Day.

According to sources, discussions between the two governors centred on strengthening the bonds of unity between the two states and the PDP.

Diri in his remarks said only the PDP can rescue Nigeria from its present state of insecurity and economic woes.

He described the presidency as a sacred office, noting that the PDP has been repositioned to ensure it wins the presidency in the 2023 general election.

“The presidency is one sacred office and we must do everything to protect it and ensure that our party clinches victory at the 2023 general polls.

“The number one thing for our party is our unity. Second is who becomes president. We have a capable national chairman that can steer us back to power come 2023,” he said.

Commending Governor Wike for demonstrating leadership and purposeful governance, the governor stressed that states in the Niger Delta needed to unite more to tackle their common challenges, particularly in the areas of environmental pollution and underdevelopment.

He also commended Wike for his role in ensuring the repositioning of the PDP, describing him as a committed party man.

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Making a veil reference to recent issues, Diri stressed the need for more consultations between him and his Rivers counterpart towards strengthening their bond of unity.

“Bayelsa and Rivers states are brothers and sisters historically and culturally and if anyone is trying to divide us, we must come against them.

“I call on Ijaw leaders to come together and resolve whatever issues we may have amicably. Within a family, we will always have issues but that should not remove our brotherliness,” he said.

In his remarks, Governor Nyesom Wike expressed confidence that the PDP will produce the next president of Nigeria.

He said Nigerians were waiting for the party to rescue them from the current situation in the country, stressing that leaders and members of the party cannot afford to miss this opportunity.

Wike emphasised the need for unity of purpose between Bayelsa and Rivers and the entire PDP, saying without a united front, success would be elusive.

“Today, I came to let everybody know that Senator Douye Diri is one of the governors I can tell you have shown commitment even though he is new and he believes in the development of his state. I am not someone that will come and say what is not correct.

“I have also come to tell him that everybody must work together to make the PDP united because without a party there cannot be a presidential candidate. Let us all unite.

“Nigerians are waiting for PDP and we cannot afford to miss this opportunity. As governors, we must work together.

“Anybody can be a presidential candidate but if we are not united it cannot be possible,” Wike said.

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Ugwuanyi fetes Haitians on trace of Igbo roots

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Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State, yesterday, received a Haitian delegation at the Government House, Enugu, amid excitement and pomp.  

The 10-man delegation led by Senator Moise Jean-Charles was on a homecoming mission to Enugu, the political capital of Igboland, to perform conventional Igbo rituals such as traditional naming and name adoption, after they traced their roots to Igboland.

Addressing the delegation, Ugwuanyi, who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Prof. Simon Uchenna Ortuanya, delightfully welcomed them to Enugu State in particular and the entire Igboland in general, and commended them for the bold step.

The governor also appreciated them for keeping a date with history and following their heart and for getting back to their roots.

The governor, while stressing the significance of the visit said: “Today is a new beginning for all of us. We open our doors to you and we are ready as we have demonstrated. We also want you to know that changing your names is in agreement with the Igbo tradition that you have a new name for a new born.

 “Today, you are born new in Enugu State and in the land of your fathers. Congratulations!”

In his remarks, leader of the delegation, Sen. Jean-Charles, who described the visit to Enugu State as homecoming, thanked Ugwuanyi for the hospitality accorded to them in the state.

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He recounted the affinity of the people and culture of Enugu State and Haiti, revealing that Enugu has five letters as Haiti and that Enugu and Haiti mean cities on top of a hill.

 “I have visited many countries, many places around the world but this is the first time I have visited a country where everybody looks like me. I have not come here as a foreign person. I have come back home.

Before I keep on talking, I want to on behalf of all Haitians, all the blocks in Haiti, to thank you (Ugwuanyi) for receiving us after 218 years,” Jean-Charles said.

In their separate goodwill messages, the Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Hon. Ugonna Ibe, the Chairman, Enugu State Council of Traditional Rulers, HRH Igwe Lawrence Agubuzu, the immediate past President General of Ohaneze Ndigbo, Chief Nnia Nwodo and Ozo (Dr.) Ferdinand Anikwe, gave a historic background of the Haitians and their link with Igbos, applauding the visitors for taking such a bold step in identifying with the place of their origin.

The climax of the event were the traditional naming and name adoption by the Haitian delegation, which was performed by Igwe Agubuzu in company of other traditional rulers present.

The visitors also performed the Igede cultural dance and also received souvenirs from the Enugu State government. 

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2 killed, houses burnt as suspected herdsmen attack Benue

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From Rose Ejembi, Makurdi

At least two persons have been reportedly killed after gunmen suspected to be herdsmen attacked Igama community in Ojugo wards, Okpokwu Local Government Area of Benue State.

Sources from the affected community disclosed that the gunmen invaded the community last Tuesday afternoon and burnt many houses. The invaders were said to have stormed the community in broad day light and shot sporadically in all directions while the locals scampered for safety.

When contacted on telephone, the Chairman of the council, Mrs Amina Audu, confirmed the report, saying it was the third time in the last two weeks that the attackers invaded her council. She told newsmen that the attack was perpetrated by herdsmen without any form of provocation.

“Fulani herdsmen came and attacked the community and burnt houses, and a woman was found dead after several days,” she said.

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Mrs Audu, who noted that the incident was reported to the police, said some security personnel were detailed to the area to forestall any breakdown of law and order, adding that men of the Livestock Guards were also sent to the area but the herders quickly ran away before the security men arrived.

“They have attacked the community for three consecutive times since January 13, 2022. They will just come into the community and attack them. They normally come in the afternoon. It is because the security people have been stationed on ground that we did not record many casualties.”

Audu, however, disclosed that those who were killed were immediately buried because their bodies were already decaying by the time they were found. The council boss appealed to the Federal Government to urgently rise to the occasion and stop the marauding herders from taking innocent lives.

When contacted, the Benue Police Public Relations Officer, (PPRO), SP Catherine Anene, said she was yet to receive any information about the incident.

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Anti-open Grazing Law: Bayelsa govt goes tough on violators,

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From Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa

The Bayelsa State government has clamped down on violators of the Anti-open Grazing Law in the state.

To this end, it arrested 44 cows found grazing along Imiringi road, Ogbia Local Government Area of the state.

Governor Douye Diri had on March 10, 2021 signed into law the Anti-open Grazing Law known as Livestock Breeding Rearing and Marketing Regulation Law.

He also set up the Livestock Management Committee headed by the Commissioner for Agricultural Resources, Mr David Alagoa, with members drawn from the security agencies.

However, many farmers in Imiringi, Elebele and Emeyal in Ogbia Local Government Area, Tombia and Okutukutu in Yenagoa Local Government Area have been complaining of the destructive activities of cows despite the law.

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The farmers had lodged their complaint to Alagoa and the state task force to help arrest the situation before things got out of hand.

Alagoa had during a patrol at the weekend arrested the cows, while the herders escaped into the bush to evade arrest.

The arrest followed a complaint to the task force by farmers along Imiringi road near Megastar camp where the cows were said to have destroyed crops.

Alagoa said the task force would continue to take action to demonstrate that the state government would not condone flouting of its laws.

Meanwhile one of the farmers, Mr Tempo, explained that his farm at Elebele where he planted maize and cassava was destroyed by cows.

He urged the state government to take more action because any farmer that tries to confront the herders is usually threatened with attack.

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