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Recognise Jerry Gana as presidential candidate, court gives order – SDP

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The Social Democratic Party (SDP) said it had received a Federal High Court judgment directing it to recognise Prof. Jerry Gana as its presidential candidate for 2019 election.

The party’s Deputy National Chairman, Dr Abdul Isiaq, disclosed this when he received Gana who paid a courtesy visit to the party national secretariat on Wednesday in Abuja.

The Federal High Court in Maitama, Abuja had last Friday declared Gana as the rightful Candidate of SDP in the 2019 election.

The party had earlier declared former Governor of Cross River, Mr Donald Duke, as its flag bearer for the 2019 General Elections.

The party declared Duke as winner of its primary election; that he polled 812 votes while Gana had 611.

However, Gana went to court seeking that it should declare him the winner in line with the zoning and rotation formula of the party’s constitution.

In his judgement, Justice Hussein Baba-Yusuf held that the regulations contained in the party’s constitution were binding on every member and must be obeyed.

He held that the zoning and rotation formula as contained in the party’s constitution stipulated that both the chairman of the party and the flag bearer should not come from the same zone.

Isiaq said that the party would comply with the court directive.

“As a party we have received the judgment from the High Court.

“This party like you know is a very disciplined party and you will not find impunity in the process of our party. By so doing whatever the court say is what the party will comply with.”

The deputy national chairman said that the party would do the needful on Gana’s request to approve his policy document to enable him to launch his campaign.

Gana, speaking earlier, called on the SDP leadership to complete his nomination process with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in line with the recent court order.

“Arising from the court ruling, the INEC has been directed that you ensure that the processes of my nomination are put in place.

“Therefore, they (INEC) have given us the forms, we have completed them, and the forms are supposed to be directed back to INEC through you.

“I like to take this opportunity to say that by the grace of God the candidate of your party will be the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.’’

Gana, who presented his nomination forms to the party, urged the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) to endorse his policy document to enable him to commence his nationwide campaign rallies.

“We like to appeal to the party’s leadership to facilitate the processes of our reaching out to the nation because we have lost some times. We are ready to go into campaign.’’

Gana said that details of his five-point agenda coded “SWIFT’’ would be made public once endorsed by the party leadership.

“As soon as you show us the green light we will reach out to the nation. We will run an issue-based campaign.

“We want to present to Nigeria a programme of development that will change the situation of ordinary people of Nigeria regarding the serious issue of security and biting poverty.’’

Gana, who promised to carry everyone along irrespective of what had happened, sought the support of the party leadership and its members.

“All of us must now mobilise because Nigerians are waiting for us. APC and PDP are not the answer, they are waiting for credible alternative, which is SDP.

“We believe in solidarity and in working together so, there will be tremendous reconciliation and accommodation so that we can move together because we want the SDP to win and by the grace of God we will win,” he said.

Asked if he was considering picking Duke as his running mate, Gana said it was a matter for the party leadership to approve.

“I will make proposal to them and they will approve and announce to the nation,” he said.

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COVID19

COVID-19: three more pastors die; one may have exposed hundreds to the disease at funeral in New York-Christian Post report

Bishop Timothy Titus Scott, Sr., 88, of St. James Temple Church of God in Christ in Clarksdale, Mississippi; Pastor Alvin Charles McElroy, 79, of Friendship Baptist Church in Riverhead, New York; and Father Gioacchino Basile, 60, a priest of the Archdiocese of Newark

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Pastors die as a result of COVID19

At least three more pastors have lost their lives to the new coronavirus in just over a week, leaving more churches across the nation mourning in the fallout from the pandemic.

Bishop Timothy Titus Scott, Sr., 88, of St. James Temple Church of God in Christ in Clarksdale, Mississippi; Pastor Alvin Charles McElroy, 79, of Friendship Baptist Church in Riverhead, New York; and Father Gioacchino Basile, 60, a priest of the Archdiocese of Newark, who had been leading Saint Gabriel Church in East Elmhurst, New York City, all died as a result of the coronavirus.

Scott, who died last Friday, had been the pastor of St. James Temple Church of God in Christ in Clarksdale since 1972, according to the city of Clarkdale’s website. He also served as prelate of the Northern Mississippi Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction of the Church of God in Christ and prior to his death was the longest serving Jurisdictional Prelate in the Church Of God In Christ.

“Bishop T. T. Scott is an icon of fatherly leadership, humble servitude, and unwavering faith,” Bishop Robert G. Rudolph, Jr., adjutant general in the Church Of God In Christ, Inc., wrote in a statement on Scotts passing.

Both Scott and his wife tested positive for the virus after attending a funeral on March 7, WREG-TV reported. One of the attendees at the funeral from New Orleans had tested positive for the virus.

Prior to his diagnosis, Scott may have also unknowingly exposed about 300 people to the virus at a funeral held at his church on March 14, WREG-TV said. Due to restrictions on gatherings due to the ongoing pandemic, COGIC said they will wait until after the restrictions have been lifted to celebrate Scott’s life.

Pastors die as a result of COVID19
Pastors die as a result of COVID19

“During the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic resulting in local and state restrictions on public gatherings to achieve social distancing, the Terry family will hold a private memorial service for this valiant soldier of the Gospel. When the restrictions are lifted, a date will be set for a Jurisdictional Memorial Service that will appropriately recognize the godly life and notable achievements of Bishop Timothy Titus Scott, Sr,” Rudolph wrote. “During this time of uncertainty, we request the continued prayers as well as acts of emotional and spiritual support for the family. It is with great honor that the National Adjutancy will assist the Scott family and the Northern Mississippi Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction during this most difficult time.”

Friendship Baptist Church member Bonnie Cannon told the Riverhead News-Review that Pastor McElroy, who died at the Peconic Bay Medical Center on March 26 after contracting the coronavirus, was a leader who practiced what he preached.

“He’d pour into you things that would help you live from week to week. How to have peace and joy even if you’re in a circumstance others would see as a bad situation. He wasn’t just preaching it, he lived it,” she said.

His wife, the Rev. Maryanne McElroy, remembered her husband as a man who loved his community.

“He was well-grounded,” she recalled. “He was very community minded. Most people just think a pastor shows up to preach on Sunday. It’s much more than that.”

Father Basile, whose death was announced by church officials on Saturday, is the second priest from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn to die from the coronavirus in a week, the New York Post reported. A week earlier, Father Jorge Ortiz-Garay, 49, who served at St. Brigid’s Church in Wyckoff Heights, died from the virus.

“Father Gioacchino Basile, a native of Calabria, Italy who died today, was small in stature, but mighty in energy for the Lord. Unfortunately, Father’s underlying health conditions made it difficult for him to fight the virus. In addition to English and Italian, Father spoke Spanish fluently and ministered well to all of the people of his parish and the faithful of the Diocese in Brooklyn and Queens,” said the Most Rev. Nicholas DiMarzio, bishop of Brooklyn.

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Inside Nigeria

Military government is better than democratic government in Nigeria – APC’s Senator Adeyemi

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On Wednesday, an All Progressives Congress member representing Kogi West senatorial district, Senator Smart Adeyemi,  said he preferred military rule to the current democracy being practised in Nigeria.

His submission created direct opposite opinions, describing his statement as anti-democratic.

Adeyemi spoke while contributing to the debate on the bill for the establishment of a National Electoral Offences Commission, sponsored by Senator Abubakar Kyari.

Kyari had said the Independent National Electoral Commission was too overwhelmed to effectively prosecute election offenders, hence the need for a commission specifically for that purpose.

The President of the Senate,  Ahmad Lawan, cautioned Adeyemi and said the opinion of the former National President of the Nigeria Union of Journalists was personal and did not represent the position of the Senate.

Other senators like James Manager and George Sekibo,  also disagreed with Adeyemi by insisting that democracy was better than military government.

Adeyemi noted with anger that the way democracy was being practised in Nigeria,  particularly the electoral process,  was nothing but a charade.

He said, “To say without any fear of contradiction, there cannot be democracy in any nation where we do not have a free and fair election.

“There will be a misrepresentation, lousy governance, misappropriation of funds and all the shortcomings that we have witnessed over the years of the democratic rule.

“As a result, people of questionable character find their ways to elective position.

“I think the time has come for us not just to look at the possibility of having an electoral offences tribunal, I think there is a need for a special court for the electoral offences.

“One can be tempted to say that the military government is better than a democratic government.”

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Inside Nigeria

Obaseki Demands Oshiomhole’s Arrest, Prosecution

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The Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, has written to the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, to seek the arrest and prosecution of the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Adams Oshiomhole.

The Deputy Governor, Philip Shuaibu, who spoke to journalists in Abuja on Monday, said a copy of the petition would also be sent to the Director, Department of State Services, Yusuf Bichi.

Shuaibu accused the national chairman of fuelling violence in the state by serially going against the state government’s order banning political rally.

He spoke with journalists after the meeting of the Progressive Governors Forum’s Committee on Good Governance in Abuja.

At the meeting, the APC governors agreed to set up a sub-committee to review the report of the Kaduna State Governor Nasiru El-Rufai-led APC committee on restructuring to form a policy document.

Shuaibu said, “I have sent a petition to the IG and the Director of DSS to the effect that Comrade Adams Oshiomhole be arrested by the police and be arrested by the DSS for the breakdown of law and order that he has consistently perpetrated in Edo State.

“We banned rallies, the IG in a letter also suspended demonstrations. He disobeyed the orders of the state government; he violated the orders of the IG and feels that he is above the law. For us, we have officially come now to drop our petition with the IG to the effect that Oshiomhole is not above the law.

“He should be arrested for violating the state government’s order. He was a governor before, and he knows that nobody broke his orders as governor, because it is not about him, it is about the state.

“And that is why we are saying that the IG and the DG of DSS should arrest him and interrogate him for breaching the peace and disobeying government and security’s orders for rallies.

Shuaibu denied that Obaseki was fighting Oshiomhole to prepare for his exit from the APC to the Peoples Democratic Party.

“To where? Why are we leaving the APC? I can categorically tell you that the governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki, and I are in the APC, and we are not leaving the APC.”

Recall that the Governor of Ebonyi State, David Umahi, and a member of the PDP Board of Trustees, Senator Daisy Danjuma, recently endorsed Obaseki for a second term.

Shuaibu said, “That is a sign that even other parties are accepting and agreeing to the fact that the governor of Edo State is working and he should be emulated, and that is why he has the endorsements. This is the first time the APC and non-APC people are endorsing the governor, and I think it should be a pride to everybody. So, when you talk about leaving the party, it is just one of those guys trying to create a problem.”

The deputy governor also debunked insinuations that he betrayed Oshiomhole whom many have described as his godfather.

He said, “The issue of betrayal is relative. Oshiomhole remains my father, and I remain his son although presently, we are on different path politically, and it is bound to happen.”

When contacted, Oshiomhole’s Chief Press Secretary, Mr Simon Ebegbulem, declined comment.

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Inside Nigeria

Imo PDP Chairman Quits Party

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The chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party in Imo State, Charles Ezekwem, has resigned as a member of the PDP in the state.

His resignation was contained in a letter dated January 25 and cited by our correspondent in Owerri on Monday which he addressed to the National Chairman of the PDP, Uche Secondus.

The two-paragraph letter read, “Given the prevailing circumstances within my party vis-à-vis my present standing as the state chairman of the PDP in Imo State and after due consultation with my family, and with the approval of my supporters, I hereby tender my resignation as the PDP chairman, Imo State, also as a member of the party in my ward in the Okigwe LGA which has been duly communicated to the ward chairman.

“I thank the teeming population of the PDP in Imo State who thoughtfully elected me as their state chairman. I sincerely regret all the inconveniences the party faced. I thank party members for the support they gave me and the opportunity to serve in that capacity.”

Speculations are rife in the state that Ezekwem resigned to join the All Progressives Congress.

Others said he resigned to safeguard his job as the board chairman of state government-owned Heartland FC of Owerri.

Ezekwem did not respond to the speculations as he did not answer several phone calls made to his telephone line by our correspondent.

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