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Funds expended on political campaigns in Nigeria is now a critical component of Nigerian corruption…Otunba Opeyemi Agbaje,Chairman Afenifere Ogun state

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The Ogun state Chairman of Afenifere,a vibrant and active social Political group,Otunba Opeyemi Agbaje spoke extensively with our News medium on INEC’s demand for all candidates to declare their bank assets prior to the 2023 General elections and other concerned issues.

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In his words on INEC and Party Candidates Bank assets,he said “My first concern is what is INEC’s definition of “bank assets?” Is it just bank account balances or more than that? If its just bank account balances, I doubt what practical use such information will be to INEC.

Secondly, I wonder whether INEC has the legal authority to request candidates to declare their “bank assets”. Yes the agency is authorised to monitor campaign expenditure but does that ipso facto confer on them the power to request bank balances? I’m not so sure of that. Code of Conduct Bureau and perhaps EFCC or ICPC may have such authority but its not clear that INEC does.”

Responding to the commission’s move to establish a finance monitoring teams,Otunba Opeyemi Agbaje says, “It is desirable and proper for INEC to establish mechanisms to monitor campaign finance and expenditure. The funds expended on political campaigns in Nigeria have become unreasonably huge and is now a critical component of Nigerian corruption and political dysfunction. I support any lawful effort to constrain and control this issue within the ambit of the law.”

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The Ogun State Afenifere chairman emphasized that The EFCC and Deposit Money Banks have the responsibility to report suspicious financial transactions and he support leveraging this mechanism to monitor campaign finances…

“The Constitution guarantees freedom of association to all Nigerians so I can understand as many parties as possible seeking INEC registration. As a practical matter of course I recognise the operational, logistics and political difficulties inherent in having too many political parties. Nevertheless I believe every legitimate and conscientious political tendency should have the right to express themselves through a political party.”Otunba Agbaje maintained.

“I am excited at the news that youths and students top new voters registrations. I urge all youths, students, professionals, workers and indeed all Nigerians who are yet to register to do so. We can aim to register 12 million additional voters before the General Elections and take new registrations to over 20million!!! I know that’s an ambitious target but we need ambitious objectives and goals if we must reform and transform Nigeria.The Youths deserves encouragement to take up challenges and prepare for the future.

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Presently, Afenifere Social Political group is made up of very active, focused and visionary youths with their membership growing by the day,”he added

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Nigeria

Queen Josephine Steps Down as Chairperson Bayelsa State Traditional Rulers Wives Association after years of meritorious service

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It was a moment full of emotions, celebration, and expressions of love and gratitude as the tenure of the Queen of Twon Brass Kingdom, Her Royal Majesty Dr. (Barr) Dame, Evangelist Josephine Diete-Spiff, came to an end as the Chairperson of the Bayelsa State Traditional Rulers Wives Association (BSTWA).

Queen Josephine, who also doubles as the President of the Niger Delta Royal Queens Initiative, subsequently handed over the Secretariat to the new leadership after occupying the Royal position for eight (8) years, from 2014 to 2022. The Royal Queens in Bayelsa State described her tenor as incredibly impactful and the best in leadership ever seen.

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She spoke during the handing over ceremony at the Traditional Rulers Council office complex in Yenagoa on Thursday, April 22, 2022. Queen Diete-Spiff expressed her profound gratitude to their Excellencies Senator Henry Seriake Dickson and Senator Douye Diri for their benevolence, adding that she stayed in office for eight years instead of the usual four years by God’s providence.

She also thanked and appreciated the Royal Queens of Bayelsa State for their support throughout her tenure as the Chairperson.

Queen Diete-Spiff said, “I have called this meeting to let you know that I am stepping aside; my tenure ought to have ended four years ago, but by God’s providence and the pleasure of their Excellencies, Senator Seriake Dickson and Senator Douye Diri to whom I am grateful, I have stayed this long as Chairperson of the Bayelsa State Traditional Rulers Wives Association. I have occupied this position for eight years.

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“Thank you, my Queens. I appreciate you all for the period you served with me and the support you gave me. I cannot thank you enough. My special thanks to our Secretary, Her Majesty Tecy Diongoli, for her kindness, for being fantastic at her job, and for superbly holding her position. For without her, the ride would have been more turbulent.

“I thank you all who showed up today and those who gave their apologies because of the short notice. Your collaboration made things easy for the secretariate. The association could not have functioned without you because if meetings and programs are called and no one shows up, there will be no leadership. I urge you to give the same support to the new Chairperson of our organization because the administration cannot be offered in isolation from the people. Meanwhile, I appreciate you all for all you did that made my tenure as Chairperson of BSTWA successful.

“Going forward, as the President of the Queens of the Niger Delta, I hope to still carry you, my Queens, along with me at that level. As Bayelsa Queens, you all will still be part of our occasions, programs, and events. So, I am still with you all, a part of you. After all, I am a Bayelsa woman, I am a Bayelsa Queen.

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“Nonetheless, I am still here to encourage the new Chairperson if she desires, and I pray that you all will also give her the needed support. If you ever need any advice or need my collaboration, please don’t hesitate to call me. I will be glad to give you as much support as you require.”

Highlighting her legacies while in office, the Twon Brass Queen said she created a slogan and an anthem for the organization, instituted a constitution and registered the organization in the state as a social and developmental organization.

According to her, she enlarged the organization from only first-class to include other classifications, giving every Royal home recognition in the organization, instituted a financial system, dress code that befits Royalty and held seminars and conferences that taught the Queen ethical behaviour, trade, self-esteem, self-reliance, public conduct, harnessing peaceful domains, supporting women and children development.

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The Royal Queen further noted that she created government recognition for the organization, gave widowed queens a pride of place by retaining their recognition in the organization, supported Queens that needed legal, financial, and social help, free and gave some disadvantaged children from their domains free scholarship to study in her school.

She instituted and formed the Niger Delta Royal Queens Initiative, where she is presently the pioneer President and caters for widows and the physically challenged through her foundation and office.

In a goodwill message, Secretary BSTWA, HRM Queen Okpoitari Diongoli, said the Royal Queens feel so bad that Queen Josephine is stepping aside, adding that they know the great impact she has created in their lives.

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“We are grateful for your support, showcasing us as royal queens of Bayelsa State. Your coming on board made the state government recognize the Queens. Ordinary, before now, the queens are never invited to State events and programs, except they attend with their husbands, their King. But today, the reality is different, as the Queens are now rightly recognized.

The Queen of Ikianbiri in the Bomo Kingdom, HRH, Dr Justina Lere Zalakoro, noted that Queen Josephine is a woman that wants every other person to have the knowledge she has and appealed to her to always guide the new Chairperson on areas she may miss.

She said, “We pray that you stay much longer, but it is not within our reach to say so. You carried us along; you exposed us. Those of us that were in the Creeks without anybody knowing us, you brought us out, and today, we are recognized in the state.

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“We have made many friends outside the state. Especially me, I have up to five queens from other states as friends. It is your doing. The ideas you brought, the knowledge you gave us, we shall continue with it and learn from you.”

In her speech, the Queen of Anyama, Ogbia Community, HRH Queen Pat Agala, said that all the good works Queen Josephine had done for the Royal Queens of Bayelsa State cannot be overemphasized, adding that God is lifting her higher as she is leaving as the Chairperson.

“We appreciate you for making us to feel like somebody in the society, for making our husbands to love us the more. These days, our husbands are no more going out with friends because you brought us out; you made us to know our rights, teaching us how to dress, personal conduct, and how to speak in public.

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“You never segregated anybody; you never discriminated against anybody. You didn’t look at our status, but you loved us. You believed in us; you worked with us”, she added.

Also, the Queen of Gbarain kingdom, HRM Queen Faye Frank Okiakpe, said that Queen Josephine had been a good chairperson who made herself available for the queens to have access to and has treated everyone equally.

“I know with the testimonies of her works, she will be a great leader to the whole Niger Delta, and I know she will do well, she emphasised.”

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