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2023 election: Court seals Lawan’s fate, declares Machina  APC candidate for Yobe North

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By Moses Adeniyi

After much fight to clinch the ticket to run again as the All Progressives Congress’, (APC’s) senatorial candidate for Yobe North in the forthcoming 2023 National Assembly elections, the fate of Nigeria’s President of the Senate, Ahmed Lawan, seems to have been shattered as the Federal High Court sitting in Damaturu, Yobe State Capital, on Wednesday declared Bashir Sheriff Machina as the APC’s authentic senatorial candidate for Yobe North.

The verdict delivered by the presiding judge, Justice Fadima Aminu, further directed the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to adopt and publish his name accordingly.

Recall that no candidate was included in INEC’s list of candidates for National Assembly and Presidential elections list released on 20th September, 2022.

In her verdict on Wednesday, the Judge affirmed Machina as the duly and validly elected Yobe North senatorial candidate for APC, thereby upholding the May 28 primary election of the Party that produced him.

She thus ordered the APC and the INEC to recognise Bashir Machina as Yobe North senatorial candidate of the party.

The judge nullified the parallel primary election that produced the Senate President on June 9, 2022, ordering the APC to forward the name of Machina to INEC as the authentic winner of the primary held in May.

“In the final analysis, the conditions for the validity of primary elections were fulfilled in the election of May 28, 2022, which produced the plaintiff. The phantom election of June 9 2022 which produced the second defendant is hereby declared invalid in view of the outline provision of the law of the very primary election.

“Consequently, the plaintiff has hereby declared the validly elected candidate of the first defendant of the Yobe North senatorial candidate of the first defendant conducted on 28/05/2022 for the 2023 general election.

“The first defendant is hereby ordered to prepare the name and details of the plaintiff to the third defendant as its rightful candidate. This is my decision,” the Judge ruled.

The judgement was coming weeks after Machina distanced himself from a notice of withdrawal from the race which went gone viral.

A copy of the notice had showed a letter allegedly written by Machina addressed to the party’s National Chairman stating his withdrawal from the Yobe North senatorial race.

Both Lawan and Akpabio had contested the APC Presidential primaries. However, after losing, both of them were listed as senatorial candidates by the APC, but INEC refused to recognise them.

Lawan, Akpabio, and Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi, who all aspired to clinch ticket to run for presidency contest under the APC had chosen to pick Senate tickets for Yobe North, Ebonyi South and Akwa Ibom North West Senatorial Districts respectively, after losing out at the presidential primaries of the APC.

Following the controversy, INEC in August had denied recognising Lawan and Senator Godswill Akpabio as senatorial candidates of the APC respectively.

Surprises had trailed the senatorial candidates list released by INEC as the name of the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, was missing in the circular.

The development had given indication that the Senate President may have finally lost out in his bid to return to the red chamber, following the omission of his name from the final list of candidates for the 2023 Presidential and National Assembly Elections.

Recall that Lawan had preferred contesting to clinch the APC presidential ticket to run as the party’s presidential candidate for the 2023 elections, but lost at the primary, coming fourth.

However, while Lawan lost it on the list, Godswill Akpabio, another APC Presidential Aspirant made the list as the party’s candidate for Akwa Ibom Northwest Senatorial District.

Lawan’s predicament may not be unconnected with his failed attempt to clinch on the presidential ticket as the flagbearer for the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Having lost the primary, his move to clinch again the senatorial ticket for Yobe North had ensued into battle with Bashir Machina, an unsuccessful fight which appears to have cost the APC with no candidate for the Yobe North senatorial district.

Unlike Lawan, Godswill Akpabio, a former governor of Akwa-Ibom who also had aspired for the APC presidential ticket, had through a court order, secured his party’s ticket to contest for the Akwa-Ibom North-West senatorial district in next year’s polls.

INEC documents had earlier showed that Machina was duly nominated as the candidate of APC for Yobe North senatorial district which is being claimed by Lawan.

In a certified true copy (CTC) of the report of INEC officials that monitored the primary election, signed by Omale Samuel, dated May 28, 2022, Machina scored 289 votes out of the 300 delegates that participated in the exercise.

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Ondo 2024: APC will remain party of choice — Sanwo-Olu

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…Receives congratulatory letter as Zonal Coordinator for APC South-West

…South-West APC leaders back Lagos Governor as Zonal Coordinator

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Sunday said the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the South-West Zone will continue to work with stakeholders to ensure the party remains the party of choice.

Sanwo-Olu stated this position as the preparation for the November 16 governorship election in Ondo state is in top gear.

According to a press release signed by the Special Adviser to the Governor on Media and Publicity, Gboyega Akosile, Sanwo-Olu said members of the National Working Committee and Zonal Working Committee in the zone had resolved to intervene on issues and engage with critical stakeholders to ensure they were not only taken care of but also enjoyed the dividends of democracy.

Governor Sanwo-Olu who is the APC Zonal Coordinator for South-West pledged to live up to the responsibility by working with the entire team to reposition and strengthen the party in the South-West.

It would be recalled that the APC National Chairman, Dr Abdullahi Ganduje, inaugurated and presented letters to six governors at the party headquarters in Abuja on Wednesday, March 26, to coordinate party activities and reconcile aggrieved members of the party in each of the six geo-political zones.

The zonal coordinators are Governors Babajide Sanwo-Olu (South-West), Hope Uzodinma of Imo (South-East), Bassey Otu of Cross River (South-South), AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq of Kwara (North-Central), Mai Mala Buni of Yobe (North-East), and Uba Sani of Kaduna (North-West).

Speaking to journalists after a meeting with the APC National and Zonal Executive members from the South-West at Lagos House, Marina, on Sunday, Sanwo-Olu said the inaugural meeting with the party’s national and zonal executives was to deliberate and come up with far-reaching decisions that would put the party on its feet and the right pedestal.

Governor Sanwo-Olu, who was handed a congratulatory letter on his appointment as the Zonal Coordinator for APC South-West by the officials.

He said, “We are engaging in all the issues that we have in all our states and trying to bring all of us together. We are beginning to look at areas where we can indeed intervene as a zone, especially with critical stakeholders. We have identified students, youths, and people living with disabilities. We all have things we can do differently.

“We all have things from the South-West that we can continue to push into our national conversation to ensure that the stakeholders in the region are very focused and ensure that people feel the real dividends of democracy. And to generally put APC as the biggest party in Africa, the biggest party in the country, and to continue to remain the biggest party in the South-West.

“We have identified the places we need to work, and the work is continuous. We are working in Oyo State. We will continue to work in Osun State. We will continue to work in Ondo State. Ondo State has a unique issue because we have an election coming up that affects all parties.

“There are candidates that have been thrown out; there are people who have aspired to be aspirants and will turn out to be candidates after the primary elections. We are all brothers and sisters; we will resolve all our issues in-house, and I want to assure you that APC will continue to remain the party of choice in Ondo State.”

Also speaking at the inaugural meeting, the national and zonal officers of APC in the South-West passed a vote of confidence in Governor Sanwo-Olu, saying the appointment of the Governor as zonal coordinator by the national leadership of the party is well deserved.

The APC national and zonal officers from the South-West, while presenting a congratulatory letter to Governor Sanwo-Olu during their inaugural meeting with the Governor, pledged their support and loyalty to the Zonal Coordinator as he leads the South-West of the party to strengthen and reposition it for the future.

Reading a communiqué after the meeting, APC National Vice Chairman (South-West), Hon. Isaac Kekemeke, said they have decided to ensure harmonisation and reconciliation in all the states in the South-West, particularly in Oyo, Osun, and Ondo State, where the party will participate in a governorship election later this year.

He said they also resolved to prioritise empowerment and engagement with students, youths, women, and persons with disabilities, amongst other initiatives.

The communique read, “After discussing the challenges facing the party in the South-West zone, the meeting resolved to immediately set up a zonal office of the party in Ibadan and also to immediately set up a liaison and operational office in Lagos since the zonal coordinator is the Governor of Lagos.

“The meeting also resolved, as part of engagement with the leadership, formal and informal, of the party, to convene a South-West Assembly of the All Progressives Congress in early June this year.

“The meeting also resolved that, under the leadership of Governor Sanwo-Olu, this forum will continue to engage with relevant stakeholders, to ensure their empowerment and productive engagement by the government of the federation and various governments in the South-West.”

Among the APC national and zonal executive members from South-West who attended the meeting are; National Secretary, Senator Bashir Ajibola; National Youth Leader, Mr. Dayo Israel; Deputy National Auditor, Hon. Femi Egbedeyi; National Ex-Officio Member (South-West), Hon. Olubunmi Oriniowo; National Vice Chairman (South-West), Hon. Isaac Kekemeke; Zonal Secretary, Hon. Vincent Bewaji; Zonal Organising Secretary, Dr. Lateef Ibirogba; Zonal Publicity Secretary, Chief Ayo Afolabi.

Others are Zonal Woman Leader, Hon. Yetunde Adesanya; Zonal Leader of People Living with Disability, Comrade Moshood Erubami and APC Chairmen in South-West states, Hon. Cornelius Ojelabi (Lagos), Chief Yemi Sanusi (Ogun), Chief Isaac Omodewu (Oyo),  Sooko Tajudeen Lawal (Osun), Engr. Ade Adetimehin (Ondo) and  Hon. Sola Elesin (Ekiti).

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Alleged misappropriation: EFCC recovers N32.7bn, $445,000 from Humanitarian Ministry amid corruption probe

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..Uncovers extensive fraud in COVID-19 funds, W’Bank loan, Abacha loot allocations

…Vows crackdown on Naira abuse, reveals several celebrities are under investigation

By Sodiq Adelakun

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has made significant strides in its investigation into alleged corruption within the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management, and Social Development.

According to a statement released by the EFCC’s Head of Media & Publicity, Mr. Dele Oyewale, the Commission has recovered a staggering sum of N32.7 billion along with $445,000 from the ministry.

This revelation comes amidst a flurry of commentaries, opinions, and assumptions surrounding the ongoing probe.

The EFCC emphasised the importance of setting the record straight, as misinformation and speculation have been rampant.

According to the statement, “EFCC has noticed the rising tide of commentaries, opinions, assumptions and insinuations concerning its progressive investigations into the alleged financial misappropriation in the Ministry Of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development.

“At the outset of investigations, past and suspended officials of the ministry were invited by the commission and investigations into the alleged fraud involving them have yielded the recovery of N32.7billion and $445,000 so far,” Oyewale said.

…EFCC uncovers extensive fraud in COVID-19 funds, Abacha loot allocations

The EFCC revealed that its discreet investigations have uncovered additional fraudulent activities related to COVID-19 funds, the World Bank loan, and allocations from the Abacha recovered loot designated for poverty alleviation initiatives within the ministry.

These investigations have also established links between the alleged financial malfeasance and several interdicted and suspended officials of the ministry.

The EFCC also said the investigation did not focus on individuals but on the ministry as a whole.

“It is instructive to stress that the commission’s investigations are not about individuals. The EFCC is investigating a system and intricate web of fraudulent practices. Banks involved in the alleged fraud are being investigated. Managing directors of the indicted banks have made useful statements to investigators digging into the infractions. Those found wanting will be prosecuted accordingly.

“Additionally, the EFCC has not cleared anyone allegedly involved in the fraud. Investigations are ongoing and advancing steadily. The public is enjoined to ignore any claim to the contrary,” the statement added.

On the issue of the works of the commission against Naira abuse, dollarisation of the economy and the enforcement of all extant laws relating to them, the EFCC said it appreciates the avalanche of public awakening, support and involvement demonstrated so far.

“Increasingly, members of the public are drawing the attention of the commission to video recording of abuse of the Naira by Nigerians from all walks of life. These gestures amply demonstrate rising consciousness of the public to the sanctity of our national currency and the need for collaborative engagement to sustain the tempo,” Oyewale said.

He stressed that the commission will always investigate and prosecute anyone involved in the abuse of the Naira, saying old videos being exhumed and flying around for the attention of the Commission are noted as the Commission is sensitive to the fact that its Special Task Force against Naira Abuse and Dollarization of the economy commenced operations on February 7, 2024.

“However, going forward, new videos of such infractions will be investigated and prosecuted.

…EFCC vows crackdown on Naira abuse, reveals several celebrities are under investigation

At the moment, “the commission is investigating several celebrities involved in Naira abuse. Many of them have made useful statements to the commission and many more have been invited by investigators working on the matter,” the Commission said.

The EFCC has also committed to maintaining its unwavering stance of holding all accountable, without exceptions. It warns the public to remain vigilant against violating laws related to this crime.

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Junior Pope: NSIB commences investigation into boat accident

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The Nigeria Safety Investigation Bureau (NSIB) has commenced an investigation into the devastating boat accident that claimed the life of actor, Junior Pope.

Junior Pope was found dead following an accident last week on the Anam River in Anambra State while shooting.

Among the victims were Abigail Frederick, Precious Oforum, and Joseph Anointing.

In an official statement released on Sunday, NSIB’s Director of Public Affairs and Consumer Protection, Bimbo Oladeji, confirmed the initiation of the investigation.

The objective of this inquiry is to uncover the circumstances surrounding the accident, pinpoint any contributing factors, and propose preventative measures to avert similar tragedies in the future.

The accident occurred when a speedboat, transporting twelve film crew members and a boat operator, tragically collided with a canoe on the Anam River.

In the statement, NSIB Director General, Captain Alex Badeh, said an investigation team has been dispatched to the accident site, and an inquiry has begun.

He said, “The investigation scope includes, but is not limited to, examination of the wreckage from both vessels involved in the collision, interviews with surviving crew members and eyewitnesses, review of operational procedures for the commercial speed boat, analysis of weather and environmental conditions at the time of the accident, and assessment of compliance with relevant safety standards and regulations for inland waterway transportation.”

The NSIB, according to its DG, will collaborate with the Anambra State Police Command’s Marine Police section, maritime authorities, and industry experts to investigate the recent boat accident on the Anam River.

The investigation will produce both preliminary and final reports, aiming to provide recommendations for preventing similar accidents in the future.

The DG said, “The NSIB extends its deepest sympathies to the families and loved ones of those who lost their lives in this heartbreaking accident.”

“We share in your grief and are fully committed to conducting a thorough investigation to determine the cause of this tragedy and prevent similar occurrences in the future,” he said.

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