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2023: Bode George says PDP gave tickets to rich aspirants

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A chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party, Bode George on Wednesday accused some members of the party’s National Working Committee of being the cause of the party’s failure in the 2023 presidential polls.

George while speaking to journalists in Lagos also faulted members of the NWC for handing the party ticket to individuals who had deep pockets.

Citing the case of Lagos, the former PDP Deputy National Chairman said the NWC deviated from the established procedures designed by the party’s founding fathers for conducting primary elections and congresses, stating that it was important to return to these established processes to improve the party’s chances in future elections.

He said, “A typical example is the primaries in Lagos either governorship; they will send people who don’t live here and who have no business here to come and conduct primaries.

How can somebody from outside know your house more than you by the time they land rather than allowing people to vote, they will be looking for the aspirants and they become their Automated Teller Machine.

“Once they finish, they will run back to the national organising department to affirm the person they supported. But I won’t expand more than that, and that is the major crisis which you see because, if you go to the bottom and do your primaries at the wards and local government levels and create division at that level, how can you fight the outsiders?”

He called for the establishment of a reconciliation committee to address the issues and pave the way forward for the PDP. He stressed the importance of conducting a thorough review of the party’s experiences in each state during the 2023 elections.

He added, “There should be no short approach; sweeping everything under the carpet is a foolish way to do it.
“We must set up a committee that will go around the country, move state by state, and make inquiries about their experiences, what happened to finances, and the political aspect. How were the primaries conducted in each state? Who did what?”

Passengers stranded as protesting NLC, TUC members picket Abuja airport

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Passengers at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja are currently stranded and unable to continue their journeys due to a protest organised by labour unions on Thursday morning.

The protesters, who blocked the entrance of the airport, are members of the Nigeria Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress.

This protest is coming after the recent alleged attack on the National President of the NLC, Joe Ajaero, in Imo State.

Many vehicles transporting air travellers to the airport were trapped outside the airport with passengers left stranded.

A passenger, Siraj Abubakar, told our correspondent that the protesters stopped vehicles from gaining entrance into the airport at around 8.30 am on Thursday.

They stopped us from entering the airport at around 8.30am. They said they are protesting against the maltreatment of the NLC chairman in Imo State and I wonder how that affects us here in Abuja,” Abubakar stated.

Officials of the NAIA have yet to respond to calls and messages regarding the development.

The unions also declared Governor Hope Uzodimma of Imo State persona non grata in all airports.

Sanwo-Olu inaugurates Oyingbo Flyover

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Aerial view of the newly built Oyingbo Overpass of the Lagos Rail Mass Transit (LRMT) Red Line project, commissioned on Sunday, 05 November 2023. Inset (l-r): Managing Director, LAMATA, Engr. (Mrs) Abimbola Akinajo; chairman, Lagos House of Assembly committee on Transport, Hon. Temitope Adewale; Deputy Governor, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat; Governor of Ekiti State, Mr. Abiodun Oyebanji; Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu and Minister of Power, Mr. Adebayo Adelabu during the commissioning of the Oyingbo Overpass.

The Oyingbo Flyover serves as a major transit link between Lagos Island and Mainland, ascending from Murtala Mohammed Way in Ebute Metta and dropping traffic into two separate arterial roads – Iddo and Costain.

The project solved vehicular congestions and delays, which hampered free movement in the vicinity. The overpass also eliminated pedestrian and vehicular interference on the rail tracks, significantly reducing the risk of accidents and collisions between trains and vehicles.

Sanwo-Olu said the investment would not only enhance uninterrupted flow of vehicular traffic at level crossings along the Red Line corridor, but the infrastructure would also improve commerce and life quality of the residents.

He said: “Today, we are opening another Overpass Bridge constructed to ensure safety of lives and uninterrupted flow of vehicular traffic at level crossings along the Red Line. This key project, which is the second of the five bridges undertaken by Lagos State Government along the rail corridor, has been delivered in Oyingbo, famous for being a thriving centre of commerce.

Sanwo-Olu noted that the contract for the bridge had not only harnessed the local engineering expertise, the infrastructure had also enabled skill transfer and developed local engineering solutions.

The Governor disclosed that students of engineering from tertiary institutions based in Lagos were engaged throughout the period of the construction for them to learn and derive value.

Oyebanji said Lagos had become a model for transformative leadership, progressive reforms and good governance, praising Sanwo-Olu for fulfilling his electoral promise to the people.

The Ekiti Governor said: “The commissioning of this massive infrastructure project speaks to what is possible when you have a thinking leadership and a government that works with a vision at the helm. We have seen Lagos evolve to become a great city under the grand vision of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who laid the foundation for the development initiatives being implemented by his successors in Lagos.

Chairman of Lagos Mainland Local Government Area, Hon. Omolola Essien, described the event as ”momentous occasion”, noting the bridge was “a symbol of progress” for the Lagos Mainland residents.

She promised to galvanise residents in protecting the bridge and prevent illegal trading under it.

“I sincerely extend the appreciation of Lagos Mainland residents to Mr. Governor for his unwavering commitment to the transformation of Lagos and our city. I believe this infrastructure will improve the quality of life of the people and ease transportation within this axis. We promise zero tolerance to trading under the bridge and we will preserve the infrastructure,” she said.

Tinubu sued over failure to probe missing $15bn, N200bn oil revenues

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A lawsuit has been filed against President Bola Ahmed Tinubu over his government’s failure to probe the allegations that over US$15 billion oil revenues and N200 billion budgeted to repair the refineries in Nigeria are missing and unaccounted for between 2020 and 2021.

These allegations are contained in the 2021 report of the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI).

In suit number FHC/L/CS/2334/2023 filed on Friday by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) at the Federal High Court in Lagos, an order of mandamus is sought to direct and compel the President to probe the allegations that US$15bn of oil revenue, and N200bn budgeted to repair and maintain the refineries in Nigeria are missing and unaccounted for.

SERAP is seeking: “an order of mandamus to compel President Tinubu to direct appropriate anti-corruption agencies to probe allegations of corruption involving the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company Limited, Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NPDC) and State Owned Enterprises (SOE).”

SERAP is also seeking: “an order of mandamus to compel President Tinubu to use any recovered proceeds of corruption to enhance the well-being of Nigerians.”

In the suit, SERAP is arguing that: “There is a legitimate public interest in ensuring justice and accountability for these serious allegations. Granting the reliefs sought would end the impunity of perpetrators and ensure justice for victims of corruption.”

The body also argues that “The allegations of corruption documented by NEITI undermine economic development of the country, trap the majority of Nigerians in poverty and deprive them of opportunities.”

According to SERAP, “Unless the President is directed and compelled to get to the bottom of these damning revelations, suspected perpetrators would continue to enjoy impunity for their crimes and enjoy the fruits of their crimes.

“Many years of allegations of corruption and mismanagement in the spending of oil revenues and impunity of perpetrators have undermined public trust and confidence in governments at all levels.

“The findings by NEITI suggest a grave violation of the provisions of the Nigerian Constitution 1999 [as amended], national anticorruption laws, and the country’s obligations under the UN Convention against Corruption.”

The suit filed on behalf of SERAP by its lawyers, Kolawole Oluwadare, Andrew Nwankwo, and Ms Valentina Adegoke, read in part: “The Tinubu government has a constitutional duty to ensure transparency and accountability in the spending of the country’s oil wealth.

“SERAP is seeking an order of mandamus to direct and compel President Tinubu to put in place mechanisms for accountability and transparency in the oil sector.

“Section 13 of the Nigerian Constitution imposes clear responsibility on the government to conform to, observe and apply the provisions of Chapter 2 of the constitution. Section 15(5) imposes the responsibility on the government to ‘abolish all corrupt practices and abuse of power’ in the country.

“Under Section 16(1) of the Constitution, the government has a responsibility to ‘secure the maximum welfare, freedom and happiness of every citizen on the basis of social justice and equality of status and opportunity.’

“Section 16(2) further provides that, ‘the material resources of the nation are harnessed and distributed as best as possible to serve the common good.’

“Similarly, articles 5 and 9 of the UN Convention against Corruption also impose legal obligations on the government to ensure proper management of public affairs and public funds, and to promote transparent administration of public affairs.

“The UN Convention against Corruption and the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption obligate the government to effectively prevent and investigate the plundering of the country’s wealth and natural resources and hold public officials and non-state actors to account for any violations.

“Specifically, article 26 of the UN convention requires the government to ensure ‘effective, proportionate and dissuasive sanctions’ including criminal and non-criminal sanctions, in cases of grand corruption.

“Article 26 complements the more general requirement of article 30, paragraph 1, that sanctions must take into account the gravity of the corruption allegations.

“Nigeria is also a participating state of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), which aims to foster greater governmental accountability for the use of natural resource wealth through the creation of a set of international norms on revenue transparency.

“EITI also aims to tackle corruption, poverty and conflict associated with natural resource wealth. Nigeria has the obligations to implement the EITI Standard, which sets out the transparency norms with which participating States including Nigeria must comply.

Subsidy pain: Abiodun inaugurates CNG-powered buses

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Ogun State Governor, Dapo Abiodun, on Monday, launched the maiden Compressed Natural Gas- powered Mass Transit Buses, as part of efforts to cushion the effects of the subsidy removal by the Federal Government.

The launch of the CNG-powered buses took place at Arcade Ground, Governor’s Office, Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta.

Abiodun, while speaking during the inauguration, said his government would leave no stone unturned at ensuring that it provides the needed relief to the people.

While recalling that Ogun is one of the first states to implement different transport and peculiar allowances to cushion the effect of the fuel subsidy removal, the governor acknowledged that Nigerians are going through  difficult times, stressing that “we are all going through a very trying period.

Oyo indigenes protest delay in new Alaafin’s appointment

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Some indigenes of Oyo town, on Tuesday, staged a peaceful protest at the entrance of the Oyo High Court in Awe, protesting the delay in the selection of new Alaafin.

They carried placards with different inscriptions, such as, “Oyo Mesi follow tradition, not money; Alaafin stool is not for sale; On Alaafin: Let dignity reign; Alaafin: Due process, Ife consultation are sacrosanct and a host of others.”

Meanwhile, the High Court sitting in Oyo, Oyo State, on Tuesday, adjourned till Thursday, October 2, for hearing a case instituted by five kingmakers against the state Governor, Seyi Makinde, the state Commissioner for Local Governments and Chieftaincy Matters, as well as Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, over the vacant stool of Alaafin of Oyo.

Police council confirms Egbetokun as substantive IG

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The Police Council on Tuesday confirmed the acting Inspector-General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun, as the substantive IGP.

Minister of Police Affairs, Ibrahim Geidam, revealed this to State House correspondents after a meeting of the council presided over by President Bola Tinubu at the Aso Rock Villa.

Geidam said Egbetokun’s confirmation follows his satisfactory discharge of duties in the past three months since his appointment on June 20.

He noted that Egbetokun has also provided a blueprint for ensuring the security of the country, which indicates his suitability for the office.

Eagles retain 40th position in FIFA rankings

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This is despite recording a win and a draw in their last friendly games during the international break, their only games since the last FIFA world rankings in September,Though the Super Eagles gained 1.62 points in the month under review to take their total point to 1490.48, they, however, maintained their position at 40th place.

The Eagles played a 2-2 draw with Saudi Arabia in their first game of the two friendlies before beating Mozambique 3-2 in their other game. Still, the results did not have much effect on their position on the rankings table.

Jose Peseiro’s team witnessed a significant drop in the ranking in April, falling to 40th, following their December ranking of 35th in Africa.

The major reason for this drop was suggested to be their non-participation in the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

Nigeria held 39th in the rankings in June and July but slipped back to 40th in September.

On the African continent, the three-time African champions remain sixth.

Meanwhile, Morocco remains Africa’s number one nation while also maintaining its 13th place in the world ranking.

Senegal still occupied the 20th place in the world, while they maintained their second position in Africa.

Tunisia, which was the only African country among the top six on the continent to move up globally last month, was the only country among the top six to drop points. They ranked 29 in the previous rankings, but in the update released by FIFA on Thursday, they now occupy the 32nd position in the world.

Algeria (33) and Egypt (35) complete the Top 5 in Africa.

Globally, World Cup winners Argentina are still the number one ranked nation ahead of France, Brazil, England, and Belgium.

Mohbad: Naira Marley’s team threatens to sue K-Solo

The legal team of a popular artiste and songwriter, Azeez Fashola, known as Naira Marley, has threatened to sue renowned record producer, Solomon Oyeniyi, popularly called K-Solo, over what they described as malicious and unfounded accusations made against the Marlian Records boss.

K-Solo had, in a recent interview on Channels Televison’s programme, Rubbin Minds, accused Naira Marley of being involved in the death of his former signee, Ilerioluwa Aloba popularly known as Mohbad, who died on September 12, 2023, at the age of 27.

He said, “Naira Marley is involved [in Mohbad’s death]. He cannot tell me he is not involved. He has a hand in his death.

“Somebody can’t be under your label, and he is being bullied every day, and you never came out to say anything. And you said you don’t know anything about it.

You’re putting up a statement? Everybody can put up a statement. Naira Marley has an involvement in. He can’t tell me no.

“Let him come out and wash himself clean and say, ‘I, Naira Marley, I’m not involved in this.’ Then let the police do their due diligence like the English they used.”

Reacting to the allegation, Naira Marley’s legal team in a statement titled, “Legal action will be initiated against K-Solo for defamation of Naira Marley’s character” which was signed by the record label’s media’ Head, Olamide Akinrimade, threatened legal action.
it partly read, “The legal team representing Naira Marley will be initiating legal action against K-Solo for defamation of character. It is essential to emphasise that making unfounded allegations and false statements can have far-reaching consequences.

“Accusations of this nature not only tarnish the image of the accused but also perpetuate baseless claims that have spread like wildfire because elements like K-Solo and others (especially two known actresses) have speared head the campaign of calumny against the person of Naira for reasons best known to them.

“In times past, we kept quiet because we wanted to honour the memory of the dead and honour the relationship with him, but we realised many people are setting negative agendas and spreading negative narratives against Naira Marley. We will no longer fold our hands and watch people with negative agendas drag Naira Marley, and neither would we allow them to achieve their aim of declaring him guilty of an offence he did not commit, at all cost.”

The team stressed that henceforth, anyone who alleges Naira Marley of being behind Mohbad’s death must present concrete proof not only on the internet but also in the court of law, adding, “Every falsehood and rumour will be met with severity and the full weight of law.

“Naira Marley has consistently refuted any involvement in Mohbad’s tragic passing and has vehemently denied the allegations put forth by K-Solo. We will give K-Solo the opportunity to provide evidence and prove his accusation, the same honour he didn’t extend to the Naira fair hearing.”

The statement further urged all concerned parties to avoid further spreading of unverified information that can harm reputations and hinder the truth from emerging.

ASUU STRIKE: TINUBU GRANTS WAIVER, ORDERS PARTIAL RELEASE OF WITHHELD SALARY

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President Bola Tinubu has approved the partial waiver of the “No Work, No Pay” order preferred against the members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU). 

ASUU commenced an eight-month strike on February 14, 2022, and ended the industrial action on October 17, 2022. The then President, Muhammadu Buhari, had invoked the ‘no work, no pay’ to compel the university teachers to return to their classrooms. Since then, the lecturers have yet to be paid during the period of the strike.

However, respite came for the lecturers on Friday as presidential spokesman, Ajuri Ngelale, saying a partial waiver has been given over the order.

Ajuri said the waiver “will allow for the previously striking members of ASUU to receive four months of salary accruals out of the eight months of salary which was withheld during the eight-month industrial action undertaken by the union”.

He said Tinubu invoked the Principle of the Presidential Prerogative of Mercy, seeking to “mitigate the difficulties being felt during the implementation of key economic reforms in the country, as well as his recognition of the faithful implementation of terms which were agreed upon during the deliberations between ASUU and the Federal Government of Nigeria”.

Tinubu approved the grant of the waiver with a mandatory requirement that the Federal Ministry of Education and the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment must secure a Document of Understanding establishing that this exceptional waiver granted by the President will be the last one to be granted to ASUU and all other education sector unions.

WHY AKEREDOLU IS GOVERNING ONDO FROM IBADAN

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Doyin Odebowale, the Special Adviser on Special Duty and Strategy to Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State, says his principal is not working from the capital Akure due to accommodation challenges. 

Akeredolu has been absent from the state since his return from a medical vacation abroad. While the Ondo leader is working from Ibadan, Oyo State, the move has caused ripples within the state with the youths of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Monday issuing an ultimatum to the governor to return.

Odebowale said due to Governor Akeredolu‘s state of health, he needs a better apartment to carry out his task of marshalling the affairs of the South-West state.

“Aketi came back in September. Where he used to stay – the Presidential Lodge built for the visiting president at that time Olusegun Obasanjo – is a two-bedroom apartment,” he said on the show.

“Now, he is back. He cannot occupy that place again. The Old Governor’s Office – the Governor’s Lodge built by the previous administration is now the office of the investment outlet called the ODIPA. That’s the office,” the governor’s aide added.

“So, the governor has been managing a two-bedroom apartment for six years. But his current state of health would not permit him to pretend that all is well. He would need all the things for him to recover properly. That’s why the new place that is being arranged for him is almost completed.”

He wondered why critics want his principal back in the state, maintaining that governance has been going on smoothly despite Akeredolu not being physically present in Ondo State.

“When they say they want to see Aketi, do they want to see him at the site so that he would be carrying cement or following workmen? What exactly? The civil servants have been paid all their salaries. Aketi has been signing laws since he came back,” he maintained.

Akeredolu’s aide claims the recent ripples over the Ondo governor’s absence show he (Aketi) is “surrounded by enemies from within. Even his family”.

Messi unlikely to play another MLS game this season — Coach

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Inter Miami head coach Tata Martino has said that Lionel Messi is unlikely to participate in any more MLS matches for the rest of the 2023 season, Dailymail reports.

This decision comes as Inter Miami failed to qualify for the playoffs, and their season effectively concluded with a 1-0 home loss to Cincinnati earlier this month.

Despite making a recovery from an injury to be available for that particular game, Messi only spent 35 minutes on the field that night. His inaugural MLS season ended in disappointment, as he had missed the preceding four matches due to a muscle injury sustained during a 4-0 victory over Toronto, which included a loss in the US Open Cup final to the Houston Dynamo.

With two remaining regular-season MLS matches, Coach Martino of Miami has indicated that his team captain, Messi, is unlikely to participate to prevent any potential risks.

Messi will not be part of the Wednesday match against Charlotte at DRV PNK Stadium, especially after featuring and scoring twice for Argentina in their 2-0 victory against Peru on Tuesday. The final game of Miami’s season is scheduled against the same opponent in North Carolina this Saturday.

Martino said, ‘We will evaluate not only Leo, but all players who are with their national teams when they return Thursday, as we are out of the playoffs, and we don’t want to run any risks.’

With the presence of the Barcelona legend from the beginning of the next season, there is optimism within the franchise that they can climb even higher in the league standings. Coach Martino is committed to using the last two matches as a starting point for making improvements.

“We want to compete and it’s our obligation to finish the season the best we possibly can,’ he furthered.

“In some way, we want to improve the image of the team from the last three or four games.

“And, for the coaching staff, it is important because we are getting back players we haven’t had in a while, and we can use these games to evaluate and help make decisions for next season.”