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Nigeria’s Greatness Not Solely In Mineral Resources — Otti

Nigeria's Greatness Not Solely In Mineral Resources — Otti
Abia state Governor, Alex Otti.

Abia State Governor Alex Otti emphasizes that Nigeria’s true greatness extends far beyond its vast mineral wealth, highlighting the nation’s untapped human potential and resilience.

Governor Otti energized the crowd on Democracy Day, declaring that Abia’s true strength lies in its people’s unbreakable spirit, their fierce defense of their beliefs, and their remarkable generosity in celebrating the things that bring them joy.

He observed that the occasion underscores the enduring spirit of democracy, which is passed down from one generation to the next, forming an unbroken chain of collective striving towards a common purpose and a shared destiny.

His added that “democracy is therefore more about what could happen tomorrow than it is about today’s realities. It speaks in principle to our commitment to building a better society for those coming after us, to shield them from the troubles of today while empowering them to deal with the challenges of tomorrow.

The governor noted, “Twenty-five years have passed since we made the ultimate transition from military to democratic governance. Leaders like Chief M. K. O Abiola, GCFR, his dear wife Kudirat, Pa Alfred Rewane, and several other notable and unsung heroes of the democratic struggle offered so much in sacrifice to the campaign for the simple reason that they believed in the promise of democracy. But democracy is not just about votes and the push to occupy political offices. It is about what we do after the polls are closed, and how we use the power that has been conferred on us as citizens, voters, and leaders of conscience to steer the ship of state in a desirable direction.

“It is not every time that democracy fulfils our expectations. When done right, however, democratic outcomes inevitably reflect the will of the majority. Even then, the minority are always guaranteed to have their say and ultimately, get another opportunity to sell their ideas in the future”.

According to him, “In Abia, we have come a long way as we walk the democratic path. Our commitment to excellence is the reason Abians excel in all fields of human calling, creating innovative solutions, and ultimately making the world a better place.

“How can a State be so blessed and yet remain uninspiring on very critical frontier of development? To find reasonable answers to this and other nagging questions, the enduring promise of democracy as the most important vehicle for changing the fortunes of society became very attractive”.

Read also: Alex Otti Pays Condolence Visit To Family Of Fallen Soldier

“Today we celebrate the tenacity of our people and their enduring belief in the superior proposition of democracy. Because we believe, Abia has become a model democratic society where the leadership is accountable to the people, not to a tiny cabal of godfathers. Great things are happening and millions of Abians at home and in the Diaspora are genuinely proud of the transformation that has taken place over the past 12 months.

“Whether it is the reconstruction of long-abandoned roads in different parts of the State, the rapid push to rid the city centres of mountains of refuse and make our urban centres more habitable, the efforts to reclaim several communities from the hold of criminals, and the return to regular payment of salaries and pensions, none of it could have happened outside the wheels of the democratic process”, Otti said.

He further noted, “The various development projects we initiated since May 29 last year are pathways to a better future for our hardworking population. Businesses that left the State following a long period of infrastructure collapse and abandonment are returning, new investments are springing up simply because the investors have gotten a signal that excites them.

“Our target is to create millions of new jobs for young people, support our local entrepreneurs to dream bigger, and ultimately tackle the menace of poverty. We will make Abia a prime destination for all who seek superior rewards for every legitimate investment in efforts and resources. Wherever you are, whatever you do, the Government will do its part by providing you with the right support to soar higher.

“The last 25 years have been very challenging and many are understandably losing faith in the promises of democracy. As a Government, we shall continue to do the best we can, within the limits of available resources, to cater for everyone by providing the right structures to support the labour of the general population, without ignoring the material needs of those who for one reason or the other, are unable to fend for themselves.

He declared that the path to achieving their objectives would be long and challenging, but they would remain resolute, dedicating all their energy to meeting the collective aspirations of their democratic community, ensuring that Abia State would become a shining example of greatness during their lifetime, a vision they were unshakably committed to fulfilling.

The Eastern Updates 

APC Can’t Win Without Manipulating Polls, Lukman Alleges

APC Can't Win Without Manipulating Polls, Lukman Alleges
Salihu Lukman

Salihu LukmanSalihu Lukman, a prominent political strategist, has abandoned the All Progressives Congress (APC), claiming the party has become electoral liabilities and can only win through undemocratic means. Lukman, a former National Vice Chairman, says the APC’s fortunes have dwindled.

Lukman took a bold step yesterday, penning a letter to key figures within the APC, seeking to clarify his position on the party’s turmoil and the broader political climate in the country.

He said: “First, it is a shared concern of most leaders of the party that the situation in the country has deteriorated in the last year since the assumption of office of President Bola Tinubu.

“Given a reality that the party structures have been demobilized and the government is implementing policies that have eroded the value of incomes of citizens, conditions of living are rapidly getting worse by the day. With that, both the APC and the governments it controls are getting more and more unpopular.

“It doesn’t require any investigation, at this rate, there is no way we can win election except through rigging. The popular saying in the country now is that President Tinubu is a one-term President. The hard truth is that the country will be lucky to get to 2027, without witnessing upheavals,” he stated.

Read also: Abia APC Leadership Ousts Several Party Chieftains

Lukman stressed that Nigerians must learn from their experiences with the Buhari and Tinubu administrations, prioritizing the development of a strong party machine that can rein in the President and all elected officials, ensuring they remain answerable to the party’s governing bodies.

“Given all this, it is not possible to remain in APC, if at all President Tinubu will allow internal reform in the party to return it to its founding vision, which as it is, is very remote. But my reality now in the party is that my membership has been rendered useless and there is no need for me to continue to impose myself.

“I have, therefore, gone back to the trenches and will try to work with all committed Nigerians, who agree and subscribe to the goal of actively campaigning for the survival and development of democracy in Nigeria. We must grow our democracy to the point whereby elected representatives at all levels are accountable to the party and it is possible for Nigerians represented by various interests to develop strong relationships with political parties and elected governments based on which policies of governments can be made to reflect wider interests of Nigerians.

“Although I pray that God Almighty will touch the heart of President Tinubu to make him recover whatever is left of his democratic credentials, I have lost hope that after one year of planless leadership, not much can be achieved during his tenure.

“It, therefore, behoves on all patriots, democrats and progressives in the country to take up the responsibility of organising and mobilising Nigerians towards rescuing Nigerian democracy. As it is, APC and the government of President Tinubu have been lost to the whirlwind. Just like we campaigned against military rule and the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, we must rise to the task of campaigning against the President Asiwaju whirlwind,” he stated.

As democracy faces an existential threat, Lukman implores Nigeria’s progressive forces to unite and mobilize the masses against the APC’s suffocating grip on power and President Tinubu’s administration, echoing the historic struggles against dictatorship and PDP rule that shaped the nation’s political architecture.

The Eastern Updates 

Igbos Interest: Nwodo Leads Ohanaeze Cmte. On Restructuring

Igbos Interest: Nwodo Leads Ohaneze Cmte. On Restructuring
Nwodo

While Nigeria has begun its journey through the path of restructuring, Ohanaeze Ndigbo has taken a proactive step to ensure the Igbo community’s concerns are heard loud and clear.

To achieve this, a high-powered 20-member committee, led by Dr. Okwesilieze Nwodo and Adolphus Wabara, have been established to champion the Igbo cause, promote their welfare, and safeguard their rights in the country.

The committee’s roster reads like a who’s who of Nigerian leaders, with former Imo State governor Ikedi Ohakim, Chief Onyema Ugochukwu, and senators Ben Obi and Julius Ucha among its esteemed members. Rounding out the list are legal expert Dan Nwanyanwu, respected professors Epiphany Azinge, Charles Nwekeaku, and Onyebuchi Chukwu, as well as Chief Osita Chidoka and several other notable individuals.

At the committee’s inauguration in Abuja on Wednesday, Ohaneze Ndigbo Worldwide’s President General, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, charged members to approach their task with the gravity and dedication it warrants.

He said: “I’m therefore of very strong belief that restructuring of Nigeria is a social, economic and cultural imperative. Many other groups in Nigeria have continued to make demands for secession from the country.

Read also: Restructuring: Ndigbo Must Not Be Blown Away By Obi’s Dreams

“Such demands have come from the Northern, Western and of course, Eastern part of Nigeria.

“Once the structure of Nigeria is right, all these demands and agitations will stop and Nigeria by God’s grace will be one of the greatest countries in the world.

“Today, I have therefore, a great pleasure and honour to inaugurate a committee comprising a very distinguished and illustrious Igbo sons and daughters under the leadership of His Excellency, Dr. Okwesilieze Nwodo, the former Governor of Enugu State to review past discussions, make wide contacts with Igbos as Igbo position on a restructured Nigeria.

“The duty you are carrying out is a very sublime one and critical to the future of Igbo in Nigeria.

“I pray the Almighty God who had led our people through past perilous times guide you as you carry out this sublime duty of producing a structure that will make the Federal Republic of Nigeria a happy country for all of us.”

Chief Iwuanyanwu traversed the nation’s eventful past, recalling the unrelenting pursuit of justice and peace that defined generations, from the pre-war era to the post-conflict time.

Iwuanyanwu provided a much-needed clarification, dispelling entrenched misconceptions about the Eastern Region’s posture at the Aburi Conference, and offering a fresh perspective on a contentious period in history.

The veteran leader illuminated a often-misunderstood chapter in Nigeria’s history, revealing that Ojukwu’s Aburi conference objectives, in partnership with Gowon, centered on devolving power to the country’s constituent parts, rather than pursuing a separatist agenda.

The Eastern Updates 

No Robbery Occurred At IGP’s Residence, Police Clarify

No Robbery Occurred at IGP's Residence, Police Clarify
The Nigerian Police Force

The Nigeria Police Force has achieved a significant milestone in the fight against crime, disbanding a jewelry smuggling operation worth billions of Naira, linked to a series of armed robberies in the nation’s capital and surrounding regions.

Contrary to previous reports, the Nigeria Police Force has clarified that no criminal activity, including robbery, burglary, or theft, has occurred at the residence of the Inspector General of Police (IGP) or any official police facilities.

On April 28, 2024, an armed robbery incident occurred at the Lugbe residence of a police officer serving at the Force Headquarters in Abuja, according to a statement released by ACP Olumuyiwa Adejobi, the Force’s spokesperson.

During the armed robbery, the police officer was almost choked to death, while the assailants escaped with a haul of loot, including a safe containing jewelry, money, academic certificates, documents, phones, and other valuable items belonging to residents of the compound, as revealed by ACP Olumuyiwa Adejobi.

“CCTV footage captured the suspect at the crime scene, which has been helpful in our forensic investigations in the case so far.

He said subsequent investigations traced the stolen items to Wuse Market, where they were allegedly purchased by one Alhaji Auwal.

Ignoring police advisories, Alhaji Auwal, a prominent member of the FCT Gold Dealers Association, facilitated the buying of stolen gold via the group’s WhatsApp platform, explicitly directing his associates on how to navigate the illegal deal.

A deeper probe by the Force Intelligence Department uncovered a web of deceit, implicating Alhaji Auwal, his sons, and cohorts in a sophisticated jewelry theft ring, where they peddled stolen treasures.

This criminal organization has a history of alleged involvement in similar cases currently under investigation by various police units across the Federal Capital Territory.

Read more: Imo: Police Blame IPOB For Attack That killed 2 Officers

Contrary to false reports, the 26 suspects taken into custody in connection with this matter, along with numerous others, are being legally detained under a court order and will face judicial proceedings upon the conclusion of the investigation.

“It is pertinent to note that the above are the facts of this matter which have been deliberately distorted by the an online media either at the instance of some of the suspects who are currently fleeing from the law, or those suspects who are lawfully detained or out of mischief, where they alleged that the said robbery occurred at the residence of the Inspector General of Police.

“Those purporting the robbery, burglary or theft to have taken place in the residence of the IGP obviously do not know how the residence of the IG looks like, otherwise they would have known that no robber, burglar or thief can get close to the residence of the Inspector General of Police of Nigeria and current chairman of the committee of West Africa Chiefs of Police.

“Assuming, in the most unlikely event such robbery, burglary, or theft occurred at the residence of the IGP, we should be talking about the number of policemen in detention and not this ring of armed robbers.

“For emphasis, the entire neighbourhood of IGP residence is fortified, safe, and secure against such security breaches and criminal occurrences”

The Nigeria Police Force has restated its resolve to champion justice and uphold the rule of law. All suspects are being processed in accordance with established legal protocols, ensuring a fair and transparent investigation.

The Eastern Updates 

Microsoft Cedes Ground As Apple Becomes Most Valuable Company

Microsoft Cedes Ground As Apple Becomes Most Valuable Company
A logo of Apple Inc.

There’s a significant reversal of fortunes, Apple Inc. dethroned Microsoft as the world’s largest company by market value on Wednesday, reclaiming the top spot it once held.

Apple’s stock is on a roll, riding the wave of enthusiasm generated by the AI-packed iPhone features revealed at the company’s developer conference, sending its market value soaring.

Microsoft’s audacious bet on AI paid dividends in January, as its Copilot launch upstaged Apple’s more cautious approach, sending Microsoft’s stock surging and knocking Apple off its perch.

By 1530 GMT, Apple’s market capitalization had reached a staggering $3.33 trillion, edging past Microsoft’s $3.26 trillion. Both tech titans are listed on the renowned Nasdaq exchange in New York, a global center of commerce.

Apple has lifted the curtain on its latest innovation – Apple Intelligence, a cutting-edge AI platform poised to revolutionize the iPhone experience. This groundbreaking technology will be integrated into the upcoming iOS 18 update.

Read also: I Narrowly Escaped Death During Military Regime — Activist

Apple’s decision to limit its AI capabilities to high-end hardware means that only those willing to shell out top dollar will have access to the latest innovation. This move solidifies the company’s commitment to premium quality and exclusivity.

The iPhone’s AI features have won over analysts, who now predict a significant uptick in device upgrades. With 1.5 billion users eager to experience the future of smartphones, Apple’s latest innovation is poised to drive sales through the roof.

Daniel Ives, a senior analyst at Wedbush Securities, explained that the Street’s belated positive response was a result of investors eventually recognizing that the AI revolution would be spearheaded by consumer adoption of Apple’s devices over the next year, paving the way for significant growth.

The Eastern Updates 

Democracy In Peril Due To Enfeebled Institutions — Onigbinde

Seun Onigbinde
Seun Onigbinde, founder of BudgIT.

Nigeria’s democratic system is struggling to gain traction due to the weakness of its institutional framework, according to Seun Onigbinde, the co-founder and CEO of BudgIT, a civic-tech organization at the forefront of promoting transparency and accountability.

Addressing the audience at The Platform Nigeria’s 36th edition, a forum renowned for its candid discussions on Nigerian democracy, Onigbinde stressed the imperative need for institutions to place their allegiance to the people and the constitution above allegiance to the government.

Onigbinde highlighted the imperative need for the police, military, and electoral commission to maintain their autonomy, unfettered by governmental interference, to guarantee the robustness of democracy and the safeguarding of citizens’ rights.

“Our democracy has become weak because the police and military, who are supposed to be loyal to the constitution and the people, are being controlled by powerful individuals in government,” Onigbinde stated.

Onigbinde stressed that a democracy’s vitality hinges on the strength of its institutions, drawing inspiration from the United States, where a synergy of robust institutions and engaged citizens has yielded economic supremacy.

Read also: Uzodinma Hails Democracy As Ideal System Of Governance

Onigbinde decried the erosion of local governance in Nigeria’s democracy, where state governments have consolidated power, leaving local governments bereft of their rightful authority.

“Democracy is not local enough in Nigeria, but campaigns are local. Even where there’s no development, ballot boxes will get there. Systems are not built that way,” he remarked, stressing the need for more localized governance to enhance democratic effectiveness.

Onigbinde advocated for a democratic shift that prioritizes local ownership and inclusivity, recognizing that the current system’s failure to engage with grassroots realities hinders Nigeria’s progress.

The Eastern Updates 

Anambra: Gunmen Ambush Army Convoy, 2 Soldiers Feared Dead

Anambra: Gunmen Ambush Army Convoy, 2 Soldiers Feared Dead
Anambra: Gunmen Ambush Army Convoy, 2 Soldiers Feared Dead

A devastating attack in Anambra State’s Ogbaru Local Government Area has left two military officers dead. The officers were part of a five-man team traveling through Ogwu-Ikpele community when their truck came under fire from unknown gunmen.

Tuesday’s brutal assault in Ogwu-Ikpele community has sent shockwaves through the region. According to an eyewitness, the 8:10 a.m. attack left one officer fighting for their life, in addition to the two tragic fatalities. The Army has responded with force, descending upon the community with intense gunfire.

The gunmen, who had been lying in wait, sprang a deadly ambush on the unsuspecting soldiers at the Amaja crossroads in Ogwu-Ikpele, then beat a hasty retreat into the nearby underbrush.

The Anambra State Police Command is still in the dark about the recent incident, according to SP Tochukwu Ikenga, the Police Public Relations Officer. He stated that the command has not received any reports or information about the attack.

According to the eye “Five Army officers conveying oil production workers from Ogwu-Ikpele to Umunzarabia location, were ambushed at Amaja area of Ogwu-Ikpele by yet to unknown gunmen, two people were killed in the process while one person was injured.”

Read also: Unknown Gunmen Kill ARTMA Official In Anambra

“As we speak now, Army officers have taken over the whole of Ogwu- Ikpele, with heavy shooting going on in the community. No part of the community is safe, there is fear that the Army will embark on reprisal attack.

As of now, the Anambra State Police Command has no information about the incident, according to SP Tochukwu Ikenga, the Police Public Relations Officer, who clarified that the command is still in the process of gathering facts and awaiting official reports.

When reached for comment, Lt. Col. Jonathan, the Army’s spokesman in the state, sidestepped the issue, neither confirming nor denying the attack. He pledged to provide an update but had yet to do so at the time of publication, despite multiple attempts to contact him.

The Eastern Updates 

I Narrowly Escaped Death During Military Regime — Activist

I Narrowly Escaped Death During Military Regime — Activist
yomi faparusi

A Nigerian national residing in the United States, Yomi Faparusi, has recounted a terrifying ordeal in which he narrowly evaded abduction and murder by the State Security Service (now DSS) during Nigeria’s repressive military regime.

He appealed to young Nigerians to cherish their hard-won voting rights, honoring the memories of those who gave their lives for this freedom. He also  cautioned them against wasting these privileges, and do well to Vote in every election.

On Tuesday, Faparusi recounted to reporters how his vocal support for MKO Abiola, the rightful winner of the 1993 election, led to a plot to eliminate him, highlighting the risks faced by those who dared to challenge the authorities.

Faparusi, a Nigerian-American seeking to represent a Tennessee district in Congress, recounted his harrowing escape from Nigeria in 1997. He fled to the US, seeking political asylum after learning the Abacha regime had marked him for death.

Faparusi recalled how the notorious General Sani Abacha, who seized power after nullifying the June 12 election, unleashed a reign of terror, dispatching hitmen to silence pro-democracy advocates.

He recalled a brush with death at Ibadan’s Aleshinloye market, where three men dressed as security agents ominously followed him, leaving him to wonder if he’d make it out alive.

Read also: Nigerian Military Troops Allegedly Massacre, Sack Ogbaru Town

His said, “In one of those expeditions, Abacha sent his killers to Ibadan in Oyo State to get me and other student union leaders abducted. We were preparing for a nationwide strike and demonstration then; I mean the various groups involved, including students, market women and labour unions.

“But, the plan leaked and the Abacha junta started picking up people. Without cell phones back then I could not get wind of my impending arrest by security agents. At the Aleshinloye market in Ibadan, I saw three men dressed like SSS agents following me. I moved fast and hid in a shop and when I was trying to leave, I saw these men waiting for me.

“Fortunately, one of the store owners allowed me to stay in his shop. He left me at his store after the market closed. After I escaped from the market, I stayed underground. But when I heard that some of my comrades had started disappearing, I decided to flee Nigeria.”

As Faparusi delved into his medical studies at the University of Ibadan, he uncovered a new calling – activism – which would become an integral part of his identity.

He said, “I was active in the students’ union and several demonstrations. Off-campus, I worked with chapters of the Nigeria Labour Congress in strategy. Back then, the NLC would have a nationwide strike which was not sustainable for a long time.

“I was one of the proponents of scattered and sequential strikes — different chapters strike at different times so the strikes could be continuous like a relay race. When I got to the US, I attended events organised by NADECO chieftains, including President Bola Tinubu who was a key figure in the struggle for restoration of democracy then.”

Faparusi saluted the bravery of Nigerians, who defied the iron-fisted rule of General Abacha’s military junta, their resistance a shining example of the power of the human spirit.

The ultimate sacrifice made by champions of democracy, who refused to accept the unjust cancellation of the June 12 election, has yielded the dividend of democratic governance Nigeria enjoys today, he noted.

The Eastern Updates 

Uzodinma Hails Democracy As Ideal System Of Governance

Governor Hope Uzodinma
Governor Hope Uzodinma

Governor Hope Uzodinma of Imo State declared on Wednesday that democracy reigns supreme as the ultimate form of government, hailed for its steady commitment to the welfare of citizens.

In a statement released to newsmen in Owerri on June 12, Governor Uzodinma joined Nigerians in celebrating Democracy Day, reaffirming his commitment to upholding the principles of democratic governance.

The governor said: “It is a thing of joy that Nigeria and Nigerians are today celebrating 25 years of unbroken Democracy. That means we have come of age and that Democracy as a system of government has come to stay. While I congratulate all Nigerians for this remarkable feat, I use this opportunity to salute our heroes and nationalists whose sweat and blood watered this beautiful system of government that we are enjoying. Because of their various sacrifices, it is now evident that we are on a journey to irreversible economic growth and greatness among the comity of nations.

“Although our democratic journey has not been a smooth sail in these past 25 years, there is no doubt that Nigerians are determined to defend it, the system’s imperfections notwithstanding. I therefore salute the resilience of our citizens who, year in and year out, had turned out to cast their votes for the sustenance of democracy. For those who died in the process, I am sure that their deaths will never be in vain.”

Read also: 2027: Orlu Monarchs Endorse Owerri Zone To Succeed Uzodinma

“Because we have gone this far in our democratic journey, we must ensure we don’t look back. No matter the inherent weaknesses in our democracy, which some unconscionable people exploit for their selfish interests, the fact remains that democracy as a form of government remains the best option for humanity. Indeed, it has been tried and tested, and the result remains that it is one system that guarantees all of us freedom of choice, justice, fair play, equity, and inclusion.

“For Nigeria, there is no other viable alternative, especially now that we have a committed democrat on the saddle in President Ahmed Bola Tinubu as our leader. He has tackled governance challenges with uncommon dedication, and the results are there after one year in office.

He appealed to Nigerians to exhibit patience and fortitude in the face of the current global economic turmoil and its repercussions on the country’s economy.

The Eastern Updates

Enugu State Officials Justify Closure Of DisCo’s Office

Enugu State Officials Justify Closure Of DisCo's Office
Enugu State Officials Justify Closure Of DisCo's Office

The Enugu State government closed the Enugu Electricity Distribution Company’s (EEDC) offices on Tuesday, after the company neglected to install prepaid meters as required by NERC regulations, leaving customers without the mandated meters.

The company stands accused of perpetuating a brazen scheme to defraud customers in the state, relying on inflated estimates to line its pockets. In a stunning display of arrogance, it has even disconnected some government offices, citing fictional debts, a move deemed unlawful, vindictive, and utterly ruthless.

The Enugu Electricity Distribution Company (EEDC) has denounced the sudden takeover of its offices by state government officials, who swooped in without warning on Tuesday. This brazen move has brought EEDC’s operations to a grinding halt, the company’s communications chief, Emeka Eze, revealed in a statement.

In a precursor to this latest development, the company had last week served notice of its plan to disconnect power to all government-owned properties, institutions, and organizations, claiming a staggering debt of over N18 billion.

Read also: Properties Destroyed As Customer Attacks EEDC Workers

On Tuesday, the Enugu State government, represented by Secretary Prof Chidiebere Onyia, challenged EEDC’s assertion of a N1.3 billion debt, pointing to the state’s reliable payment history and the resolution of a two-month debt backlog.

The government emphasized that settling the debts aligns with Governor Peter Mbah’s pledge to honor all outstanding electricity bills inherited from previous administrations, demonstrating his dedication to fiscal responsibility.

The letter titled “Re: Notice of Disconnections to Indebted Customers and Actual Disconnections of Enugu State Government Offices,” read in part, “Enugu State Government received the disconnection notice published in national daily newspapers. We have also received the information that EEDC has disconnected some Enugu State government institutions.

“We note that both the publication of notice of disconnections and the actual disconnections on Saturday, 8th June 2024, were based on wrong premises and total disregard for NERC rules and standing Orders on estimated billing of Maximum demand customers.

The Eastern Updates