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Gegelele Controversy: Obaseki Says ‘No Stranger In Edo’ |The Republican News

From: Ben Dunno, Warri

Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo state has clarified that the people of Gelegele community (an Ijaw settlement) in Ovia North East Local Government Area of the state are no strangers as they have a long historical link with the people of Edo State.

Governor Obaseki gave the clarification, at the weekend, when the elders and leaders of thought from the five Ijaw kingdoms of Edo State and the leadership of the Ijaw National Congress (INC), Edo State chapter, paid him a courtesy visit in his office where they presented him a paper on the way forward.

Speaking with newsmen at the end of the closed-door-meeting, the governor urged those trying to distort history by alluding to the fact that the Gelegele people are strangers in Edo State, to desist from such unfounded claim and insinuations, saying the present day Edo state has no ethnic group that could be referred to as strangers.

Obaseki, noted that it was in view of the recognition of Gelegele community as part and parcel of Edo state that prompted the initiative to embark on the seaport project in the area, adding that it was part of his administration commitment to ensure that development comes to the people of the area.

He maintained that there was nothing greater than peace in any community, saying that it is under such condition that developmental goals of any society, state or nation could be attained, especially to the most disadvantaged in the state.

“Without the rule of law, peace and order in the state, none of us will have progress; none of us will realize our vision. We all should embrace peace to move the state forward in terms of development,” he said.

He noted that though disagreements are expected as one makes progress in life, the role of leadership or government is to resolve the issues that cause disagreement or differences in an amicable way to avert chaos.

Reacting to the controversies surrounding the denial of the Gelegele people from crown their monarch, the governor noted that there were constitutional guidelines and legal framework that must be followed before arriving at such decision and urged the people to comply with such laid down procedures before embarking on such traditional rites.

But in a swift reaction to this last statement by the governor, the Ijaw team leader, Rev. (Prof) Christopher Dime, stated that as an ethnic group recognised by law, the Gelegele people reserve the right to both its traditional and cultural identity, adding that one of such ways of exercising this right lies in the peoples freewill to select and crown their monarch without being denied.

He noted that since all matters relating to local government adminstration as well as traditional and chieftaincy affairs are vested in the state government, it became incumbent on Governor Obaseki to act on it rather than playing politics with it by turning it to a constitutional matter.

Describing the governor’s view of recognising the Gelegele people as a bona fide indigenes of Edo State and bringing in constitutional matters to hinder them from installing their monarch as double standards, Prof. Dime pointed out that the first step the state government must take to prove its sincerity in resolving the issue would be to allow the people install their monarch.

Another leader of the delegate, Barr. (Chief) Robinson Esite, demanded for the establishment of Community Development Committee (CDC) as being practiced in Lagos where the people can elect its executives to office and allocate budgets for developmental projects in the community for the Gelegele people in order to give them the right sense of belonging in the state.   (The Sun)

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EDO POLLS: INEC Blames Money For Delay In Inspection Of Materials |The Republican News

Osagie Otabor

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has blamed financial constraints for the delay in the inspection and scanning of materials used in the September 28 governorship election in Edo State.
The commission said there was no budgetary provision to pay its workers’ overtime allowance, especially on Saturdays.
INEC’s lawyer Onyinye Anumonye spoke in Benin, the state capital, at the State Election Petitions Tribunal on the petition filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu.
The PDP candidate is praying the tribunal to declare him winner of the election in which Godwin Obaseki of the All Progressives Congress (APC) was declared winner with 319,483 votes.
Anumonye spoke while objecting to a PDP application praying the court to vary its order made about three months ago on the inspection of electoral materials.
He said: “In urging the Lord to refuse the application and in moving forward, the counter-affidavit filed, we made out a case of hardship, which the first respondent (INEC) occasioned, particularly in respect to financial constraints in terms of the part of the commission working overtime in view of the tenure of the prayers contained in the application.
“In their (PDP) address of citing cases, the petitioner questioned if hardship would be a ground for refusal of such application. But our submission is that if any party occasioned hardship, then, my Lord will be duty-bound to refuse the application.
“We urge our Lords to be persuaded by the submissions we have made in our written address.”
PDP’s lawyer Kemi Pinheiro said INEC was conniving with APC agents and Obaseki to frustrate the inspection and scanning of the electoral materials by the petitioners.
Pinheiro said they have succeeded in scanning election materials of on local government since the order was given last year.
Obaseki’s lawyer, Ken Mozia (SAN), urged the tribunal to dismiss the application for alleged inconsistency. (The Nation)

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Human Rights Group Attacks Obaseki Over Execution Of Prisoners |The Republican News

Ramon Oladimeji

A human rights organisation, Legal Defence and Assistance Project, has described as unlawful the killing of three death row inmates in an Edo State prison on December 23, 2016.

The organisation identified the prisoners executed on the order of Governor Godwin Obaseki as Ogbomoro Omoregie, Apostle Igene and Mark Omosowhota.

LEDAP said in a statement on Wednesday by its National Coordinator, Mr. Chino Obiagwu, that the executed prisoners were sentenced to death about 20 years ago by military tribunals under the Robbery and Firearms (Special Provisions) Decree as amended.

It, however, said they had challenged their conviction and sentence at the court of appeal.

LEDAP accused the Edo State Government of violating the rights of the executed prisoners by killing them at a time when their appeals were pending at the Court of Appeal.

LEDAP alleged that Obaseki signed the death warrants and caused the prisoners to be killed despite the appeal to him in a December 21, 2016 letter to suspend the execution pending the outcome of the appeal.

It said the execution of the three condemned prisoners and four others whose death warrants were signed by former Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State in 2013 were a breach of the declaration by the Federal Government in the 2009 and 2014 Universal Periodic Reports to the United Nations Human Rights Council that the country had put in place a moratorium on death penalty.

The statement read in part, “LEDAP is appalled that the earliest social duty of Governor Obaseki upon assumption of office was the execution of his citizens on death row. We reiterate that all prisoners, including those sentenced to death, retain all the fundamental rights endowed on all citizens by the 1999 Constitution. This was re-emphasised by the Court of Appeal in the case of Peter Nemi v Attorney General of Lagos State in 1994. The Supreme Court of Nigeria also held in Nasir Bello v Attorney General of Oyo State that a prisoner could not be legally executed while his case was pending in court.

“Insofar as an appeal against the sentences of the death row prisoners in Nigeria are pending in court, to the knowledge of the prison authorities and the government who participated in the high court proceedings before the appeal, there is no legal justification for the Edo executions, more so when it was carried out cruelly on a day to the eve of Christmas.

“It is also appalling that the Edo State Government carried out the execution despite the declaration by Nigerian government at its 2009 and 2014 Universal Periodic Reports to the United Nations Human Rights Council that Nigeria has put in place a moratorium on the use of the death penalty.”  (Punchng.com)

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