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Ambode Reaffirms Commitment To Complete Ongoing Projects

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Lagos State Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode on Wednesday said plans have been firmed up to roll out the Bus Reform Project of the State Government in March with 820 high and medium capacity buses, saying that the initiative would redefine public transportation and make the State to be globally competitive.   

The Governor, who said this during an extensive inspection tour of ongoing projects across the State which lasted from morning till late in the night, said the initiative was basically designed to inject 5,000 buses, modern terminals, facilitate ease of mobility for residents and also rev up Lagos economy, among others.

While inspecting the assembling plant at Awoyaya in Ibeju Lekki area of the State which is also serving as the temporary holding bay for 500 out of the 820 buses, Governor Ambode expressed optimism that the buses would be rolled out after the elections, while the next phase of the project would be to assemble the buses in Lagos.

“This is an assembling plant. The dream is that beyond the procurement of 820 buses by government, the next set of buses in the vision should be assembled in Lagos in this assembling plant and another one in Epe.

“That is the dream and the whole project is scalable and in this scale right now, we would run with the 820; you have seen the maintenance workshops and all that, and then the next scale which is the next phase is for Nigerians to be able to assemble the buses in Lagos and then we create employment opportunities and also allow the GDP of Lagos to grow. The buses are ready and we think with everything we have done, we should be able to roll out these buses maybe immediately after the elections,” he said.

The Governor said though the 5, 000 buses would not be enough for the State, but the government was showing good example and creating the conducive atmosphere to allow the private sector to come in and participate in the whole arrangement.

“What has happened is that government has gone ahead to procure these buses using its funds and the buses are being owned by a government company called Lagos Bus Services Limited (LBSL). So, the LBSL will lease these buses to operators who would use the three depots at Oshodi, Anthony and Yaba to ensure that the buses are sustained and maintained properly so that they don’t get wasted before their lifespan expires.

“The idea is if we are able to show good example of which we have procured these buses with our own money, the private sector can join hands with us and start to procure those additional buses that will take it to 5,000, while government can also procure more and by so doing, we would have had assembling plant in Lagos and create job opportunities for our people.

“By the time you put these buses on the road, it will create jobs for drivers, engineers, technicians, and so on, thereby growing the economy of Lagos coming from the transport sector in addition to 100 bus stops being constructed simultaneously across the State with attendant positive impact on the economy. So, the idea is create jobs, grow the economy, make the city to be globally competitive and then make life comfortable for the people.”

Among the projects inspected by the Governor and his team are Oshodi Transport Interchange which is 85 per cent completed; Bus Depot at Oshodi, Yaba, Oyingbo to be ready by March; International Airport Road to be ready by early May; Oshodi-Abule Egba BRT Corridor to be delivered by April; and vehicle assembling plant at Awoyaya in Ibeju Lekki.

The bus depots are equipped with facilities such as depot office, dormitory, 30,000 litres underground tank, 30, 000 litres overhead tank, automated and elevated car wash, toilets, fuel dump, utility buildings and central workshop housing spare parts and operational offices, as well as equipment for the maintenance of the buses.

The 820 buses, which have already been delivered, are equipped with cameras, USB point, internet, television, and special spaces for physically challenged, pregnant women and the aged, among others.

The Governor, who rode in one of the buses with cabinet members, allayed fears of some residents over ongoing projects, saying that concerted efforts would be made to complete many of them before the expiration of his tenure.

He said the good thing about the continuity in governance which he had been preaching is that the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the State, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu had signed on to the projects.

“I know that the feedback we are getting is that Lagosians are worried whether some of this our critical projects will be delivered before we leave office.

“We want to assure them that with what we have had from the contractors and the inspection we have done today, these projects will be completed and some of them if they are not completed, Jide Sanwo-Olu will complete them and that is the whole essence of governance of continuity that we are preaching and that is why we believe strongly that he would not only complete them but also escalate them to higher level and that is the whole idea about APC,” Governor Ambode said.

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Issue Adeleke Certificate of Return as duly elected Osun Gov, tribunal orders INEC

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The Osun State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja has ordered INEC to issue Certificate of Return as duly elected governor to Senator Ademola Adeleke, candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in the 2018 election.

The three-man tribunal upheld the petitions filed by Adeleke and the PDP, challenging the victory of the All Progressives Congress and Gboyega Oyetola at the September 2018 governorship election.

The tribunal had earlier dismissed the objections of the APC and Oyetola, insisting that Adeleke’s petition had merit.

The tribunal also declared the rerun election as illegal.

NAN reports that the PDP and Adeleke had filed a petition asking the tribunal to declare that Adeleke polled the highest lawful votes and should be declared the winner.

But Oyetola, APC and INEC had filed their notices of preliminary objection, contending, among others, that the petition was incompetent and that the court lacked jurisdiction.

The tribunal also held that the supplementary election held by INEC in seven cancelled units on September 22, 2018, was null and void.

The tribunal ruled that the Returning Officer who cancelled the results had no power to do so.

(NAN)

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Osun governorship re-run election illegal, tribunal declares

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The Osun State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Abuja has declared as illegal the September 27, 2018 supplementary governorship election held in seven polling units as illegal.

The tribunal held that the supplementary election was a product of an illegal cancellation of the results in the seven polling units during the September 22, 2018 main election.

It ruled that the Returning Officer who cancelled the results had no power to do so.

The Peoples Democratic Party and its governorship candidate, Ademola Adeleke, in the election had filed the petition urging the tribunal to declare that Adeleke polled the highest lawful votes and be declared the winner.

Punch Newspaper

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BreakingNew:FG closes case against Onnoghen after 3 witnesses

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Nigeria, CJN, Justice Walter Onnoghen, after it produced only three witnesses that testified before the Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT.

Suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) Justice Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen Though FG initially expressed its intention to produce a total of six witnesses to substantiate all the allegations it levelled against the embattled CJN, however, shortly after the third witness was discharged, the prosecution counsel told the tribunal that it would be unnecessary to call further witnesses.

The prosecution counsel, Mr. Aliyu Umar, SAN, told the tribunal that the defendant was at liberty to summon any of the listed but uncalled witnesses to testify on his behalf if he so wished. He was immediately overruled by the CCT Chairman, Mr. Danladi Umar, even as Onnoghen’s lawyer, Chief Adegboyega Awomolo, SAN, rejected the offer.

“This is the case of the prosecution. If it feels that it is satisfied with evidence of the three witnesses, then so be it”, the CCT Chairman held. Thereafter, Awomolo told the tribunal that the CJN would in line with section 303 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, ACJA, 2015, enter a no case submission with respect to all the allegations FG levelled against him. Awomolo, therefore, applied for record of proceedings of the tribunal to enable his client to file the necessary processes.

The case was subsequently adjourned till next week Friday for hearing of the no-case application by the embattled CJN, as well as for adoption of the final written addresses. Earlier in the proceeding, the third prosecution witness, PW-3, Mr. Ifeoma Okagbue, a staff of Standard Chartered Bank in Abuja, told the tribunal that it was not true that the defendant possessed either $1million or £1million in any of the five bank accounts that necessitated the charge. Okagbue who told the tribunal that she started managing Onnoghen’s bank accounts since 2015, gave a load down of both the opening and closing balance of all the accounts from January 2018 to January 2019.

She said the accounts were all linked to one Bank Verification Code, BVN, adding that the bank had upon securing an approval from the defendant, diverted funds from the accounts into various profit yielding ventures. The PW-3 told the tribunal that profits that accrued from the investments were credited back into the accounts. While two of the accounts are in Naira, the three others were Pounds Sterling, Euro and Dollar accounts. The witness told the tribunal that all the accounts were domiciliary, and were opened and managed at the branch of the bank in Wuse 2, Abuja.

Before Mrs. Okagbue mounted the witness box, the PW-2, who is a retired Director at the Code of Conduct Bureau, CCB, Mr. Awal Yakassai, told the Mr. Umar led three-man panel that contrary to what was alleged in the media, he said the suspended CJN owned only five houses.

He said it was not true that CCB investigators linked the ownership of 55 houses to the defendant. The witness made the disclosure after he was shown copies of Justice Onnoghen’s asset declaration forms, which the Federal Government tendered in evidence before the CCT.

The embattled CJN was said to have submitted the forms marked as Exhibit 2 and 3, to the CCB in 2014 and 2016.

Answering questions under cross-examination, the PW-2, told the tribunal that he served at the CCB for 29 years before he retired in April 2018. He admitted that the CCB was yet to verify Justice Onnoghen’s assets with a view to finding out if he made false declarations. Aside allegation that he failed to declare his assets as prescribed by the law, FG had in the charge marked CCT/ABJ/01/19, FG, alleged that Onnoghen operated five foreign bank accounts, contrary to section 15(2) of Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act.

FG had insisted that it was the CCB that okayed Onnoghen’s trial based on certain infractions that were discovered in his asset declaration forms.

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