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Underdevelopment: Nigeria’s economy suffering from ‘Dutch’ disease –Osinbajo

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Underdevelopment: Nigeria’s economy suffering from ‘Dutch’ disease –Osinbajo

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo (SAN), yesterday likened the economic quagmire bedevilling the growth and development of the country to the ‘Dutch’ disease of over-dependence on a particular product as the mainstay of the economy.

 

Specifically, he noted that millions of Nigerians were wallowing in abject poverty occasioned by the fact that they are indolent and not gainfully employed because the country had abandoned agriculture and other mineral resources, depending solely on proceeds from crude oil.

 

Speaking at the 18th Economic Summit of the Joint National Board (JPB) and National Council on Development Planning (NCDP), tagged ‘State Fiscal Sustainability and Economic Diversification in Nigeria,’ in Asaba, the Delta State capital, Osinbanjo charged participating states to chart a new course to liberate the country from its economic woes.

 

He explained to the host, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, the Minister of State, Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Agba, and hundreds of delegates from states of the federation, including Commissioners of Finance and Economic Planning and their Permanent Secretaries, that the discovery of oil, which was supposed to be an added advantage to the natural endowments of the country, has now put its economy in straitjacket, thereby impoverishing its citizens..

 

He said: “When a Dutch disease hit a country such as our own, the country slides into poverty, poor fiscal discipline and joblessness becomes the order of the day. After the discovery of oil, Nigeria became stronger, making free money from oil production at the detriment of our cash crops that had been the mainstay of our economy.

 

“But it is a pity that all our hope that oil price should continue to increase on monthly basis, just as civil servants patiently wait for monthly salaries without becoming entrepreneurs, was dashed.

 

The country soon started losing jobs and here we are, poverty in the land.” He said to lift Nigeria out of poverty, all tiers of government – local, state and federal, must be openminded and start engaging in strategic planning in areas where they have comparative advantage, specialise in agriculture that will enhance the theory of ‘from farm to table’ and boost entrepreneurial-vocational programmes and technical education.

 

While the Vice President insisted on the zero dependence on oil of the Federal Government, Okowa, who maintained that his administration had adhered strictly to the culture of fiscal discipline, he advised that farmers, traders, market women, unemployed youths, school leavers should not be disenfranchise from agricultural and skill acquisition programmes.

 

He said the economic growth and development of any nation depends on the ability of local, states and federal governments to diversify its economy from over-dependence on one product as its mainstay and keeps to fiscal laws. “We expect that at the end of this economic summit, glowing recommendations will be made for a better Nigeria,” Okowa said.

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APC crisis gets messier

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APC crisis gets messier

The crisis rocking the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Edo State worsened yesterday as the Edo Peoples Movement (EPM), a splinter group which laid claim to the leadership of the party, said it had suspended Governor Godwin Obaseki, his deputy, Hon. Philip Shuaibu, state party chairman, Anslem Ojezua, as well as the Secretary to the State Government, Mr. Osarodion Ogie.

Their suspension came 24 hours after the state party executive led by Ojezua suspended the National Chairman of the APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole for allegedly fuelling the crisis in the state chapter of the party.

The factional group, led by Col. David Imuse, revoked the suspension of the state secretary, Lawrence Okah, saying his purported and subsequent removal from office by Ojezua was a nullity.

The faction rather passed a vote of implicit confidence in Okah as the Secretary of their own faction of the party.

But in swift reaction, Special Adviser to the Edo State Governor on Media and Communication Strategy, Mr. Crusoe Osagie, described the suspension of his principal and other top government functionaries as a nullity.

Osagie stated that EPM cannot suspend any member of the APC in the state, as they were not recognised by the constitution of the party.

He argued that the said suspension was a huge joke as any decision taken by members of the EPM is ultra vires, null and void, and not binding on any bona fide member of the APC in Edo State.

“The rogue organisation, Edo Peoples Movement (EPM), claiming to have suspended the governor, the deputy governor and the SSG is outlawed by the APC in the state.

“This group was operating against the provisions of the constitution of the APC and was proscribed by the party. The group is, therefore, unknown to law. Hence, it cannot take any disciplinary action against any member of the APC.

“The kangaroo meeting of the rogue group was held at the residence of Gen. Charles Airhiavbere, who himself has been suspended by the party in the state. So whatever decision that might have been taken by the group is ultra vires, null and void,” Osagie said.

In revoking the suspension placed on Oshiomhole, the faction equally claimed that the no confidence vote passed in Oshiomhole was the handiwork of an unknown organ of the APC in Edo State.

“This development would have been laughable if it did not have serious implications for the overall integrity of our party. Their decision is unconstitutional and it is unheard of, for a lower level party hierarchy official to want to take disciplinary action against an official or organ on a higher level. We, therefore, pass a vote of implicit confidence in the National Chairman, Comrade Adams Aliyu Oshiomhole and the National Working Committee (NWC) of the APC.

“We wish to reiterate our position that Edo APC was plunged in this crisis by the unguarded actions and inflammatory statements by Anselm Ojezua. Thuggery and political violence has spiked and escalated in the pursuit of the second term ambition of Governor Obaseki and his deputy, Shuaibu.

“This is exemplified by the various incidents of attack on the Benin residence of the National Chairman, the congregation of thugs on motorbike that were led by Shuaibu to the convocation of Edo University Iyamho, the mayhem that was visited on the political meeting in Owan East LGA. The same pattern repeated at Ikpoba Okha LGA in Hon. Osarobo’s residence.

“On 18th June, 2019, members of our party who were elected into the Edo State House of Assembly were violently attacked by armed thugs led by the Chief Security Officer of the governor,” he said.

Imuse accused Governor Obaseki of anti-party activities which he said resulted in widespread electoral losses for the APC in Edo South Senatorial District during the 2019 general election.

“There is clear and unambiguous evidence by the admission of the governor himself that he actively supported and worked with opposition candidate in areas where his favoured aspirants did not pick the party ticket. This pattern of anti-party activities led to widespread electoral losses in Edo South Senatorial District, including the ward and local government of the governor where we lost.

“In the desperate bid of Mr. Obaseki to suppress all forms of perceived opposition and in his determination that no credible opposition emerges in the forthcoming primaries, elected council officials are indiscriminately removed from office with impunity.

“In light of the foregoing, it has become obvious that Mr. Obaseki has become a liability to the APC. We can no longer fold our arms and watch him drag our collective political fortunes into the abyss in his desperate bid to destroy the party. The only option is to protect the interest of all stakeholders who have laboured assiduously to build up the party,” he said.

Imuse alleged that there have been threats on the lives of members of his faction and urged the Inspector-General of Police and other security agencies to take necessary steps to protect their lives and property which are now at risk.

He alleged that since his group decided to salvage the image and future of the APC in Edo State, thugs and hoodlums have been mobilized to hound them in their homes in the dead of the night, while some have been stationed at strategic locations, including the Benin Airport. 

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DSS: We’ll release Sowore to his sureties

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DSS: We’ll release Sowore to his sureties

…denies shooting at protesters

…accuses Falana of ‘subverting state authorities’

 

The Department of State Services (DSS) has assured of its readiness to release the convener of #RevolutionNow, Mr. Omoyele Sowore, from detention, once those that stood as sureties for him, come forward.

This was as the DSS denied reports that its operatives opened fire at a group of protesters who staged a protest for the release of Sowore on Tuesday in Abuja.

This was the first time the secret service was speaking on the development, which has continued to generate diverse opinions.

The Service reiterated its adherence to due process and the rule of law, in the conduct of its operations.

In a statement yesterday by its Public Relations Officer, Dr. Peter Afunanya, the intelligence organisation called out a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Mr. Femi Falana, accusing him of not only playing to the gallery, but mobilizing miscreants to subvert the Service and other state authorities.

“The DSS wishes to state that its operatives did not open fire on alleged protesters who had stormed its facility on 12th November, 2019.

“As a normal global security practice, the operatives stood in defence of their facility when some group of persons made unruly attempts to forcefully break into the place and effect the release of Omoloye Sowore.

“Despite serial and unwarranted provocations, the Service, as a professional and responsible organisation, did not shoot at the so-called protesters. It could not have done so.

“For emphasis, the Service reiterates its avowed readiness to release Sowore once the processes are concluded. It maintains that the appropriate persons have still not turned up to take delivery of Sowore,” the DSS said.

According to the Service, “While all those that have so far shown up are not directly concerned with the matter and, therefore, unqualified, many others have either chosen to grandstand or politicise it to achieve hidden interests.

“In the last few days, the Service has continued to witness deliberate campaigns of calumny, threats and aspersions against it. It will not, for any reason, join issues with its mudslingers. The media is called upon to be neutral and remain champions of the truth.”

On Falana, the DSS noted that: “It is only appropriate that those who stood surety for Sowore present themselves and have him released to them.

“It is even more disappointing that Femi Falana, who is a senior lawyer, would wrongly guide his client and supporters.

“He is rather playing to the gallery and mobilizing miscreants to subvert the Service and other state authorities. He has excellent relationship with the DGSS. But in the circumstance, he has refused to reach out to him over the case like he had on previously related ones.

“For the avoidance of doubt, the Service restates its commitment to the rule of law and particularly respect to the court. It, therefore, calls for calm, but states that it will not be intimidated or harassed into hasty actions.”

Accordingly, it reassured the public that it will not waste a second to release Sowore if the proper processes are followed.

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FEC approves purchase of $50.6m shares in W’Bank’s IBRD

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FEC approves purchase of $50.6m shares in W’Bank’s IBRD

            …okays N1.7bn for Bonny Jetty

  • FG confirms N650bn releases for capital projects

 

The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved for Nigeria to subscribe additional 3,230 shares, worth $50.637 million, in the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) of the World Bank.

The IBRD, at the last meeting of the World Bank Group in 2016, granted approval for Nigeria to secure the additional subscription.

Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, while briefing State House Correspondents after the FEC meeting presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, said that Nigeria, prior to now, had a share capital of 16,187 shares at the IBRD.

She was joined at the briefing by the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed and the Minister of State for Transportation, Gbemisola Saraki.

The Finance Minister explained that the increase in the share capital will assist in strengthening the country’s position and enhance the nation’s voice in the global financial architecture.

She said: “Prior to now, Nigeria holds 16,187 shares at the IBRB. During the last meeting of the World Bank Group, a capital increase was adopted in October 2016 and an additional allocation of 3,230 shares were allocated to Nigeria, both for general capital increase as well as selected capital increase. The total value of these shares is in the sum of $50,637,747.60.

“This additional subscription to the Bretton Woods Institution by Nigeria is not just desirable, but necessary. It will strengthen the country’s position and enhance our voice in the global financial architecture.

“It is important that we also reported to council that Nigeria is now classified by the World Bank as a middle-class income country by reason of its GDP of over $387 billion and a per capital income today or as at the end of 2018 of $1,960 per head.

“This makes Nigeria qualify for a Bretton status in the World Bank Group that gives a country the leverage and enables us to access some less restricted resources of the bank both at the IBRD as well as the either windows.”

According to the Finance Minister, the subscription of shares will enhance the future of the status of Nigeria as a middle-income country as well as project the image of the country as strong emerging market.

“We are required to, at the end of March 2019, have accepted this offer. We have done the acceptance,” Zainab noted.

The Finance Minister also disclosed that the Federal Government has so far released a total of N650 billion for capital projects in the 2019 budget.

She said that additional N250 billion would be released by December 2019 to bring the total releases for capital projects to N900 billion.

The minister explained that the figure had already surpassed the N600 billion President Muhammadu Buhari directed to be released as of October.

While responding to the excuse given by the Minister of Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, that poor funding was the reason road projects were not executed at a faster pace, Ahmed explained that much as the government was faced with revenue challenges, works, housing, power and transportation had so far received the highest releases.

She said: “Works is always on the priority list; housing is always funded, same is transportation and power, though we have revenue challenges.

“It gives me an opportunity to state that the Minister of Works and Housing has a proposed budget of N247 billion for the year 2020 and the greatest component of this budget is the fixing of Nigerian roads. It is true that we are not able to fund the budget 100% but whenever we release funds for capital projects, the Ministry of Power, the Ministry of Works and Housing are always the priority and also the Ministry of Transport.”

FEC also approved a draft of Executive Bill to be sent to the National Assembly for legal framework for the National Metallurgical Training Institute, Onitsha, Anambra State.

Council also approved a total of N1.7 billion for the award of contract of a jetty in Borno, Rivers State.

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NNPC trucks out N2.5trn worth of petrol in 10 months

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NNPC trucks out N2.5trn worth of petrol in 10 months

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) trucked out N2.517 trillion worth of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) also known as petrol in 526,000 trucks across the country in the last 10 months.

The corporation noted that 17.36 billion litres of PMS were moved out between January and October, 2019.

Using a N145 litre modulated price, the 17.36 billion litres of petrol stood at N2.5172 trillion.

Releasing this data as part of measures to ensure safety and smooth operation in the petroleum products distribution value chain, the NNPC yesterday said it had activated the Safe-to-Load initiative to mitigate incessant petroleum product tanker accidents and ensuing fire outbreaks across the country.

The meeting of the stakeholders, which held at the corporation’s towers in Abuja, was sequel to the initiative of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and the Inter-Ministerial Committee for Haulage Operations in Nigeria aimed at ensuring safety in the whole gamut of bridging process across the country.

The Group Managing Director of NNPC, Mallam Mele Kyari, in a statement issued by Acting Group General Group Public Affairs Division, NNPC, Mr. Samson Makoji, said proffering a lasting solution to the challenge had become imperative, given the frequent fire incidents from petroleum tankers with attendant loss of lives and properties.

Kyari stated that the corporation, as a socially responsible entity, placed high premium on the lives of workers and citizens, noting that safety was one of the core values of the organization.

“As an organisation founded on operational excellence, NNPC has a safety checklist for loading of petroleum products from its terminals and is interested in ensuring harmonization of the Safe-to-Load checklists being used by all terminals across the country,” he said.

He stated that the corporation had commenced digitalising all its analogue-loading facilities to ensure that all trucks leaving the NNPC depots comply with the required axle limits, emphasising that the corporation had kick-started installation of weigh-bridges and sprinklers across all loading gantries to forestall incidents.

The NNPC boss said that the corporation currently relied much on the land transportation system to get its products across various locations in Nigeria.

He hinted that efforts were on to fix the corporation’s pipelines to efficiently move petroleum products across the nation.

Kyari, who recognized the support of the SGF, Mr. Boss Mustapha, in the Safe-to-Load project, stressed that NNPC, as a player in the hydrocarbon business in the country, would continue to champion any cause geared towards efficient product distribution for the benefit of all Nigerians.

Speaking at the event, Mustapha, who was represented by an official of the SGF Office, Mr. Ademola Ali said his office remained committed to ensuring safe roads for petroleum product distribution in the country.

Making a contribution at the event, President, National Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO), Alhaji Kassim Bataiya, solicited the intervention of government in funding the subsector, saying safety on the road was a responsibility of all stakeholders, drivers, law enforcement agencies, among others.

He called for local manufacturing of vehicle components to curtail costs being incurred by transporters.

In his remark, the President, Petroleum Tanker Drivers (PTD), Mr. Otunba Oladiti, commended the management of NNPC for its consistent interventions in cushioning the hardships faced by tanker drivers in their task of distributing products across the country.

Oladiti expressed the view that fixing the roads should not be the sole responsibility of the government.

Earlier in his presentation, the President of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), Comrade Akporeha Williams, lauded the corporation for always complying with all safety standards in all its depots and restated the union’s commitment to work with the NNPC management in ensuring the success of the Safe-to-Load initiative. 

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NWC upholds suspension of Edo party chair, Ojezua

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NWC upholds suspension of Edo party chair, Ojezua

…sets up fact-finding/reconciliation committee

 

The National Working Committee (NWC) of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has upheld the suspension of the Edo State party chairman, Hon. Anslem Ojezua.

The NWC also set up a fact-finding/reconciliation committee because of the crisis in the state party.

Edo State factional executive yesterday suspended the state chairman, Governor Godwin Obaseki, his deputy, Philip Shuaibu and the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Osarodion Ogie.

In the statement issued by the National Publicity Secretary, Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu, the NWC said it upholds the suspension of Ojezua by the factional party executive in the state.

“The meeting of the NWC, which held on Wednesday, at the party’s National Secretariat, received a notification of the suspension of the Edo State APC Chairman, Anslem Ojezua by 11 of the 16 members of the Edo State Working Committee (SWC). We have reviewed the process they followed and conclude that they have fulfilled the required conditions.

“We, therefore, uphold the suspension of the Edo State APC Chairman, Anslem Ojezua while we await the outcome of the fact-finding and reconciliation committee,” the party leadership said.

The NWC was silent on the suspension of the governor, his deputy and the SSG.

Onilu said: “The NWC has watched with grave concern the political development within the party ranks in Edo State and is deeply disturbed by the recent turn of events. We note that this is happening in spite of the various steps the party has taken to find an amicable resolution.

“Recall that party leaders such as the Chairman, Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) and Governor of Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi; Chairman, Progressives Governors’ Forum (PGF) and Governor of Kebbi State, Alhaji Abubakar Bagudu, and other eminent party leaders, had all tried at various times to ensure that the issues do not escalate.

“Sadly, these interventions have not yielded the desirable results.

“However, the immediate concern of the NWC is how to ensure that unity returns to the ranks of the party in Edo State. In achieving this, we have decided to constitute a high-power fact-finding and reconciliation committee of party leaders to meet with all disputing parties to ensure that all issues are addressed and resolved.”

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Testosterone supplements linked to blood clots in men

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Testosterone supplements linked to blood clots in men

Scientists in the United States (US) have warned that testosterone therapy could double a man’s risk of suffering a potentially life-threatening blood clot. These are the findings of a new study in the online edition of ‘JAMA Internal Medicine’.

The researchers reported that men who had been receiving testosterone supplements during the previous six months had twice the risk for a deep vein blood clot. According to the lead author, Rob Walker, these findings should cause men to think twice about asking for testosterone treatments to battle normal symptoms of ageing. Walker is a graduate research assistant at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health, in Minneapolis in the U.S. A blood clot is a clump of blood that has changed from a liquid to a gel-like or semisolid state. Clotting is a necessary process that can prevent you from losing too much blood in certain instances, such as when you’re injured or cut. When a clot forms inside one of your veins, it won’t always dissolve on its own.

The increased risk occurred whether or not a man had the low-testosterone condition known as hypogonadism, which is also known as testosterone deficiency. This is a failure of the testes to produce the male sex hormone testosterone, sperm, or both. It can be due to a testicular disorder or the result of a disease process.

However, the increased risk for the blood clot appeared to be more pronounced in middle-aged men than in seniors, the study findings showed. While urging men to be cautious in asking for testosterone treatments to battle normal symptoms of ageing, Walker said, “If a potential patient reads this and maybe is seeking out testosterone therapy for some kind of common symptoms, like weight gain or sexual function, maybe they should seek out behavioural changes or lifestyle changes that will improve their health without a prescription.”

Quoting an Associate Professor of Cardiology, Critical Care and Pulmonology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City, Dr. Umesh Gidwani, the ‘Newsmax- Health’ reported that testosterone posed the risk of blood clot because it “revs up the consistency of the clotting factors in the blood.”

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APC Govs’ Forum DG demands Oshiomhole’s resignation

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APC Govs’ Forum DG demands Oshiomhole’s resignation

…accuses party boss of running a one-man show

 

The Progressives Governors’ Forum (PGF), the umbrella body of governors elected on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), has asked the National Chairman of the party, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, to resign from office over his alleged failure to provide credible and proactive leadership to the ruling party.

Director General of the Forum, Salihu Moh’ Lukuman, who conveyed this demand in a statement issued in Abuja yesterday, chided Oshiomhole over the ongoing crisis plaguing the party in Edo State, alleging that the crisis had lingered for too long and was capable of hampering the chances of the APC in the 2020 governorship polls.

Lukuman also blamed Oshiomhole for the disqualification of the APC Deputy Governorship candidate in Bayelsa State, Senator Biobarakuma Degi-Eremieny by an Abuja Federal High Court, describing the development as another manifestation of leadership failure in the party.

The forum blamed the lingering crisis in the party on the inability of the Oshiomhole-led National Working Committee (NWC) to call a National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party since last year to resolve various outstanding issues.

“Information coming from Edo State indicates that members of the State Executive Council of APC have passed a vote of no confidence in Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, National Chairman of our party, APC. In so many respects, it could be argued, it is a natural outcome of unfolding power play between Comrade Oshiomhole and Governor Godwin Obaseki since June 2019 with the contentious inauguration of the Edo State House of Assembly.

“Possible retaliatory response from both Comrade Oshiomhole and groups such as Edo Peoples Movement who are loyal to Comrade Oshiomhole should be expected. In other words, there could be counter pronouncement suspending Governor Obaseki.

“Side by side with the news of the vote of no confidence was also the discomforting report of the Federal High Court judgement in Abuja disqualifying Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo as our Deputy Governorship candidate for the November 16, 2019 Bayelsa election.

“While expecting that every necessary step will be taken to vacate the judgement, it is very depressing for every committed party member to be subjected to such ignominious reality,which only reminds us of our reckless conducts in states like Zamfara, Rivers, Bauchi and Adamawa, which cheaply gave away electoral victories to PDP,” he said.

Lukuman lamented that rather than focusing on working to win elections, the party, under Oshiomhole’s watch, has been busy undermining itself.

“All these are ominous signs that we are about to re-enact the Zamfara, Rivers, Bauchi and Adamawa experiences in Bayelsa. It is Bayelsa today; Anambra, Edo and Ondo are being set up for similar experiences.

“Somehow, unfortunately, the NEC of the party, which is the organ vested with the statutory responsibility of responding to all these challenges appear to be suspended. The last time it met was August 2018. In its place, the NWC, which is an administrative organ with the responsibility of implementing decisions of NEC and other higher organs, seems to have usurped the powers of NEC.

“Sadly, even the NWC, as at today, is a shadow of itself, as it has lost many members either on accounts of appointment into government or controversial suspension. For instance, Otunba Niyi Adebayo, Deputy National Chairman (South) is today a Minister of the Federal Republic. Senator Lawal Shuaibu, Deputy National Chairman (North) is allegedly suspended. Alhaji Inuwa Abdulkadir, National Vice Chairman (North-West) is similarly suspended.

“We may recall that in June 2019, the NWC allegedly suspended Governor Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN). During the 2019 general election, on accounts of the roles of former Governors Rochas Okorocha and Ibikunle Amosun against the candidates of the party, they were similarly suspended. Whether all these actions are permissible by provisions of the APC’s constitution is highly contestable.

“Why should all these be allowed to happen? Why is it impossible to convene a NEC or even National Caucus meetings, which are supposed to hold every quarter to resolve all these issues? Why should the NWC under Comrade Oshiomhole continue to imagine that it can conduct affairs of the party without mandatory meetings of party organs? What legacy is Comrade Oshiomhole hoping to achieve as a National Chairman by running the party in a way that suggests almost zero commitment to issues of party development?

“In the current circumstance, nothing short of a NEC or National Caucus meeting of the party can resolve all our increasing organisational challenges as a party. It is either Comrade Oshiomhole respects the provision of party constitution and convene superior organ meeting to deliberate on all our challenges, or he should just accept his inability to manage the party and simply resign.

“It is very painful for many of us who have had the privilege of being mentored by Comrade Oshiomhole to see him being devalued to a local factional leader from a very high pedestal of an illustrious national leader. As National Chairman, Comrade Oshiomhole hardly appreciates that he now has a national constituency and not just a state constituency, which may have been responsible for his apparent intemperance in the handling of matters affecting Edo State. I wish he paid similar attention to handling of issues affecting Rivers and Zamfara states during the 2019 elections.

“Our national leaders must rise to the challenge facing us as a party and take all necessary measures to convene superior organ meetings to begin to resolve all our challenges as a party. The current public disgrace must end,” Lukuman said.   

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Edo APC ratifies Oshiomhole’s suspension

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Edo APC ratifies Oshiomhole’s suspension
  • Obaseki: No one made me governor

 

The Executive Council of the Edo State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has ratified the suspension of National Chairman of the APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, from the party in the state.

The decision was reached at an enlarged meeting of the council and other party chieftains with the state governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki yesterday.

At the meeting, the leaders said the suspension of Comrade Oshiomhole became necessary because the national chairman has been deploying divisive tactics to cause disharmony in the party in collaboration with the proscribed group, Edo Peoples Movement (EPM).

While addressing APC leaders from the 18 Local Government Areas of the state, the State Chairman of the APC, Anslem Ojezua, said the news of his removal was shocking as the State Working Committee, which purportedly removed him, didn’t have powers to do so.

“Our constitution has a provision to remove officers at the state level. It is only the State Executive Committee that has the powers to remove any officer.

“Yesterday, 15 chairmen of the APC chapters in the local councils and 23 out of the 35 members of the State Executive Committee passed a vote of no confidence in the National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, while a vote of confidence was passed in me,” he said.

Governor Obaseki said he is not happy with the recent political developments in the state, especially the disruptions from a once-trusted leader who has thrown caution to the wind to cause disaffection among APC members in the state.

The governor said when he first met Oshiomhole 12 years ago, they shared a common interest in salvaging Edo State, but all that has changed in recent times.

“I am not an ungrateful person. No one made me governor. I became governor by God’s grace, with the support of many other people. If God had said I would not be governor, no way would I have been a governor. It is wrong for someone to say he made me governor.

“No one gave me money. The funds Oshiomhole initially raised for his governorship ambition was raised by me in Lagos. If I can raise money for him for his election, why would I not be able to raise money for my own election?” the governor asked.

Obaseki said the national chairman was not truthful about comments on his administration, adding, “If you came into power on some basic principles, do not expect to change those principles because you have certain ambition. If you came to power believing no man is God, then the day you start to play God, you will get the consequences.”

Meanwhile, leaders of the APC across the three senatorial districts of Edo State yesterday suspended Governor Obaseki, his deputy, Philip Shaibu and the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Osarodion Ogie.

They were suspended from the party for alleged anti-party activities ahead of next year’s gubernatorial election in the state.

The party’s senatorial leaders and stakeholders accused the governor of allegedly hobnobbing with the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), engaging in divisive tendencies, operating an illegally constituted House of Assembly and other allegations.

A chieftain of the APC in the state, Hon. Patrick Ikhariale, told newsmen in Benin, the state capital, shortly after a meeting of APC leaders drawn from the three senatorial zones of the state, that the inability of the state APC chairman, Anslem Ojezua, to run an all-inclusive party in the state was gradually creating hopelessness among party members over issues that could have been amicably resolved.

Ikhariale alleged that Obaseki had already concluded plans to defect to the opposition PDP.

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NCC to telcos: Brace up for challenges, opportunities in AfCFTA

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NCC to telcos: Brace up for challenges, opportunities in AfCFTA

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has advised telecommunications operators in the country to be prepared for the implementation of the Africa Continent Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), which Nigeria signed recently.

The commission said the agreement comes with lots of opportunities as well as challenges for telecommunications business in Nigeria.

With liberalisation of telecommunications as one key area of the continental agreement, the NCC said operators in the country would need to invest more in infrastructure to remain competitive in the liberalized African market, which also offers them the opportunity of providing services for 1.2 billion people in the continent.

Speaking in Lagos yesterday at a workshop organised by the commission on the implications of the agreement on telecoms business, the Board Chairman of NCC, Senator Olabiyi Durojaye said: “At the NCC, we recognise that the Continental Free Trade Agreement means that we now have access to extend communications services to 1.2 billion people across the African continent.

“With a larger proportion of this population made up of young people, whose hunger for data and mobile services continues to grow, there is no limit to achievement by innovative operators/investors in terms of business opportunities.

“Just the way we recognise the opportunities for investors in the African market, we also know that there are challenges, not to say threats. Operators and investors within the communications ecosystem must fully appreciate these dynamics, in order to ensure that they prepare adequately for them. Hence, the need for this sensitisation workshop,” he said.

Durojaiye added that the commission would continue to strive to improve the performance of the rapidly-evolving industry by encouraging more investments in the industry, engaging stakeholders on issues of common interest, and charting viable courses for the growth and development of the industry/economy.

Speaking earlier, Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Danbata, noted that with the ratification by 22-member states of the African Union, the Continental Free Trade Area is now the largest trading bloc in the world in terms of participating countries, since the creation of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

“What all these means, therefore, is that, with the AfCFTA, the hitherto business algorithm in Africa is going to change, as it will become difficult for any country to be regarded as the largest market in Africa, since the African continent is now going to be seen as one single international trade bloc,” he said.

Danbatta, who was represented at the workshop by NCC’s Director of Policy and Authorisation, Mohammed Babajika, said the workshop was aimed at examining how it could improve the competitiveness of the over $70 billion Nigerian communications sector market for the Continental Free Trade.

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Jigawa: Foundation offers free medical care for 5,000

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Jigawa: Foundation offers free medical care for 5,000

…donates 11 vehicles to police, DSS

 

No fewer than 5,000 people have been offered free medical care by the Nasiru Haladu Dani Medical Mission Foundation in Dutse, the Jigawa State capital.

The three-day exercise began at the Dutse residence of the founder of the foundation, Alhaji Nasiru Haladu Danu.

A statement by Danu’s spokesperson, Wabiye Idoniboyeobu, disclosed that the medical team was accompanied by partners from the United States of America.

According to him, the 5,000 beneficiaries of the medical mission included men, women, boys and girls selected randomly from all the communities in the Dutse Emirate.

Idoniboyeobu also disclosed that the foundation donated four vehicles to the Department of State Services (DSS) and seven utility vehicles to the state police command in a bid to maintain the resounding peace in Jigawa.

In attendance were the governor, who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Alhaji Abdulkadir Fanini Adamu; the Chief of Army Staff, who was represented by the Brigade Commander, 3 Brigade, Brig-Gen. B. A. Alabi, Chairman, Dutse Local Government Area, Turaki Dutse, and Prince Tonye Princewill.

The Emir of Dutse, Alhaji (Dr.) Muhammed Nuhu Sanusi, who was also on ground to witness the commencement of the exercise, visited all the treatment points and watched closely as his people received medical attention from the American specialists.

In his remarks, Danu said despite the laudable efforts of the state government, people still need help, support and assistance.

The founder noted that well-meaning people and corporate bodies must come to the rescue as government cannot do everything alone.

He said: “We are here again in Jigawa because of the vision we have for our people. With the aid of our partners and the Jigawa State Ministry of Health, the NHD Medical Mission is here to create a platform where my brothers and sisters in Dutse can get free medical attention and support.

“We are also here because it is evident that in spite of the laudable efforts of the government, our people still need our help, support and assistance. We have decided to pick up the challenge and help in whatever way we can, especially in the healthcare and educational sectors.

“This is a vision we must achieve together. Government cannot do it alone, neither can I. We all have to join in. Some of us have big ambitions and big dreams; while some just dream of making it through the day.

“But in all this, one hope we all share is to live a healthy life. This is why we have decided to better organise our outreach and build awareness.

“I am calling on all Nigerians to replicate this in their various communities. Together we can achieve the long-awaited dream, ‘Health for all.’ If I can do something, you can do something, anybody can do something.”

Earlier in the day, the Foundation donated 11 vehicles to the security agencies in the state.

The vehicles were received by the Assistant Inspector General of Police in charge of the Zone.

The AIG, on behalf of the Inspector General of Police, thanked the foundation for the donation and restated the command’s commitment to securing lives and property of all Nigerians.

He thanked Jigawa people for the cooperation they had given the police and assured Danu that the vehicles will be put to the use they were designed for.

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