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APC, PDP battle over Tinubu’s visit to Jonathan

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…As parties contend over performance profile

…Opposition rattled, in panic — APC

…We will focus on issues, not trading personal insults — Campaign Council

By Moses Adeniyi

Running political battle between the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the main opposition in Nigeria’s political space, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has become messier with raging war of words since the consultative visit of the APC presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola  Tinubu to former President Goodluck Jonathan who held office as a member of the PDP.

Although, Jonathan officially has not declared his departure from the PDP, his default party, yet his passive and reserved disposition to the party’s activities recently began to attract concern from certain quarters.

Tinubu, who in his broad consultations  has been reaching out to erstwhile political rivals, particularly those with affiliate influence with the main opposition, met with Jonathan last week.

Although Tinubu’s consultations with PDP affiliates and political juggernauts including Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike and also former President Goodluck Jonathan who also led the country under PDP, have been taking toll, his recent visit to Jonathan instigated political hostilities with raging war of words between both parties and their stakeholders, since the meeting took place.

While PDP had taken a blow on the ruling party on Sunday describing its flagbearer as “a paper candidate who is confused, nervy and intimidated,” the later and its candidate on Monday fired back with blistering attack, stating that the PDP has run into panic and is rattled by the visit of its candidate to former President Jonathan.

“Rattled by the recent  visit of our Presidential Candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, to former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, the opposition People Democratic Party, PDP, has hit the panic button in false alarm, saying the move won’t help our candidate and party,” APC said in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Felix Morka.

The APC lashed the opposition party, stating it has again proven itself as a “party afflicted with chronic myopia, lacking in vision and incapable of recognising the imperative of elevating the common good above partisan quibbles.”

The ruling party described Tinubu’s consultative visit to the former President as “a strategic move for national unity and cohesion, a move worthy of commendation and emulation,” while maintaining that the opposition is blind to “existential and strategic opportunities to heal old wounds, mend fences, and build bridges of national unity and harmony.

“That party’s obsession with puerile partisanship blinds it to existential and strategic opportunities to heal old wounds, mend fences, and build bridges of national unity and harmony. Sadly, the PDP would rather fan the embers of hate and division.

“Asiwaju’s consultative visit to the former President was a strategic move for national unity and cohesion, a move worthy of commendation and emulation.

“The infantile outburst on the Asiwaju/Jonathan parley by the same PDP that claims to be on a self-styled mission to unify Nigeria only betrays the party’s extreme hypocrisy and folly.

“The PDP’s track record of 16 years of misrule, corruption and squandermania, remains indelible in the consciousness of Nigerians. Contrary to PDP’s laughable claim that the duo of Asiwaju Tinubu and Sen. Shettima are distancing themselves from President Buhari’s administration, it is on record that this government deftly managed two economic recessions, and pulled the nation back from the precipice where PDP’s years of atrocious rule left it hanging precariously.

“Our party and its Presidential Candidate are seeking the mandate of Nigerians to consolidate on the foundation of restoration and greatness that has been laid across all sectors by the Buhari administration. The PDP and it’s co-peddlers of hate and disunity cannot stop this noble aspiration,” APC stated.

We will focus on issues, not trading personal insults — APC campaign council.

Moreover, the APC Presidential Campaign Council, in a statement issued on Monday by the Director, Media and Publicity, Bayo Onanuga, in reaction to a PDP’s direct whip on Tinubu, describing him as a ‘paper candidate,’ said its campaign would be issues based against trading personal insults.

The PDP had on Sunday lampooned Tinubu, over what it described as his fixation on the opposition party amidst the glaring failures of the Muhammadu Buhari-led APC administration.

The main opposition party noted that Nigerians are appalled by yet another attempt by Tinubu, to divert attention from the main issues of the failures of the APC government by making derogatory remarks about the PDP.

The PDP, in a statement by its  National Publicity Secretary Debo Ologunagba, said on Sunday that “Such fixation on the PDP only exposes Asiwaju Tinubu as a paper candidate who is confused, nervy and intimidated by the PDP’s Presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar and the achievements of the PDP, which stare him in the face in mortal fear of failure ahead of the 2023 general elections.”

The main opposition having claimed that Tinubu appears to be battling issues of ethical challenges and ineligibility to contest the election on account of inconsistencies in his educational qualifications, name, ancestry, age, and corruption allegations among myriads of issues, challenged him to respond to allegations that he is the promoter of the increase in VAT, electricity tariff, import duties, Stamp Duty, fuel price hike and other exploitative tolls by the APC-led government.

PDP described him as baggage to his party, claiming that he is responsible for the daily exodus of “millions of APC members across the country into the PDP.”

“In the last month, over five million APC members have defected to the PDP. In the Lagos State axis, his supposed stronghold, close to one million APC members have decamped to the PDP since his emergence as APC presidential candidate,” the statement read.

According to the APC Campaign Council, PDP, by taking a direct whip on Tinubu descended in its response, into the pit of hatred and abuses.

The Council said the PDP has been jolted by its own unedifying mirror image as lucidly presented to Nigerians by itself at the weekend.

“Tinubu’s offence was that he reminded the PDP of its 16 years of cash and carry government which left the mess that the APC government has been clearing.

“Asiwaju Tinubu had queried the moral basis for PDP’s plot to return to power eight years after leaving thousands of uncompleted projects and commitments in trillions of Naira,” the campaign council said.

It noted that the APC presidential candidate only said a party still battling with leadership crisis and without a legacy of visionary planning has no place in Nigeria’a future.

“Uncompleted projects abandoned by the PDP administration include the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Abuja-Kaduna railway and the Second Niger Bridge. PDP left undone railroads, roads, power and ports that signalled a prostrate economy and a socially disoriented country.

“The APC presidential candidate contrasted the PDP era with seven years of the APC government and its plans for the future,” the council stated.

“They spent 16 years and forgot that there is a railway infrastructure that can do haulage, human carriage, animal and food carriage across the length and breadth of the country.

“They (PDP) got there and turned it to an incubator. I wonder why they still exist as a party. These are people still fighting for leadership of their party, looking for the direction of the compass. We are not equal at all; we are smarter. We know the road; let them follow.

“We are not just the ones to hurl abuses and insults at our rivals’ party. We don’t need it. We are smarter; we are brilliant; we are courageous; we are not like them,” Tinubu had said.

The APC presidential Campaign Council noted that instead of the  PDP which it described as ‘incapacitated’ to respond to the clear issues raised by Tinubu, the party abandoned all decorum and hurled personal abuses at him.

“This is usually the trademark of a party that has nothing to offer the people. no decent person expects PDP to do better though. The party and its leaders were clueless as ruling party and still rudderless in opposition.

“We have had cause in the past to state our objective in the 5-month campaign leading to the 25 February, 2023 presidential election not to trade personal insults. Our party and our presidential candidate will focus on issues that are important to improving the quality of life of Nigerians.

“The PDP has again demonstrated that it has nothing to offer to better the lives of our people just like its sordid past in government. PDP only wants to keep its floundering campaign alive by engaging in groundless muckraking.

“PDP and its ever clueless leaders did more shameful things, by declaring falsely that the governing party was dead, when they know it is the party that they needed to beat to realise the inordinate ambition of their perennial candidate and perennially failed Atiku Abubakar,” the APC Campaign Council added.

Exchange of words over performance profile had attracted accusations and counter-accusations since Tinubu over the weekend accused the PDP of ruining the nation.

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Bauchi: Police apprehend final-year law student for alleged online harassment, character defamation

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Adeyanju Esther

In a significant development that underscores the growing concerns over online defamation and harassment, The Bauchi State Police Command has apprehended a 34-year-old final-year Law student of Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria, Usman Adamu, for alleged involvement in defaming a Divisional Police Officer (DPO) in the state, CSP Danladi Mohammed, on Facebook.

According to a statement released by the spokesman of the Bauchi State Police Command, SP Ahmed Mohammed Wakil, Adamu stands accused of making derogatory statements against CSP Danladi Mohammed on his Facebook page, thereby tarnishing the officer’s reputation and character.

The arrest came after Adamu confessed to the online publication during police interrogation, admitting that he had based his statements on hearsay without a thorough investigation of the situation. The statement from SP Wakil highlighted the sequence of events leading to Adamu’s arrest.

It was revealed that the incident prompting Adamu’s defamatory remarks occurred on April 2, when one AbdulmumuniLiman, also known as Kwakiya, allegedly assaulted and inflicted injuries on another individual over a land dispute. The police received a complaint about the incident, prompting an investigation into the matter.

The situation escalated when a mob gathered in solidarity with the complainant, leading to a physical confrontation between the two sides. However, the timely intervention of a police team, led by DPO CSP Danladi Mohammed, helped resolve the conflict and prevent further escalation.

Despite the resolution of the situation, Adamu’s defamatory remarks on Facebook sparked concerns about potential misinformation and its implications for community peace and security. Consequently, Adamu was arrested and transferred to the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID) for further investigation, in accordance with directives from the Commissioner of Police.

In a public apology posted on his Facebook page on April 8, Adamu expressed remorse for his actions, acknowledging his mistake and seeking forgiveness from the authorities and specifically from CSP Danladi Mohammed. He emphasized the fallibility of human nature and urged individuals to disregard his previous statements.

The arrest of Adamu serves as a cautionary tale regarding the consequences of online harassment and defamation, highlighting the need for responsible use of social media platforms and adherence to ethical standards in communication. As the investigation progresses, authorities remain vigilant in upholding justice and ensuring the protection of individuals’ reputations from unwarranted attacks.

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Ondo 2024: Aiyedatiwa coasts to victory

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..As supporters of aggrieved aspirants storm Party secretariat

…Aspirants call for cancellation of election, allege irregularities

By Akintunde Jacobs, Akure

Governor Lucky Aiyedatiwa of Ondo state, has emerged as the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the forthcoming November 16th, 2024 governorship election in the state.

Aiyedatiwa was declared winner of the governorship primary election which took place on Sunday by the Chairman of the APC Primary Election Committee and Governor of Kogi State, Ahmed Usman Ododo at the International Culture and Event Centre, The Dome, in Akure, the Ondo state capital.

Ododo, while announcing Aiyedatiwa as winner, said he scored 48,569 votes to beat other 15 aspirants.

He said the other aspirants score is as follows: Wale Akinterinwa; 1,952, Olusola Oke; 14,915, Mayowa Akinfolarin; 15,343, Jimoh Ibrahim; 9,456, Isaac Kekemeke; 1,045, Gbenga Edema; 395, Olamide Ohunyeye; 424, Jimi Odimayo; 490, Olusoji Ehinlanwo; 492, Morayo Lebi; 290, Diran Iyantan; 348, Francis Faduyile; 353, Ifeoluwa Oyedele; 462, Funmilayo Waheed-Adekojo; 529 and Funke Omogoroye; 115.

While Ododo said that the total numbers of voters; 171, 922, accredited voters; 95178, total vote cast; 95178, valid votes; 95178, invalid vote; nil.

According to Ododo, who was flanked by the secretary of the committee, Ovie Omo-Agege and other members of the committee said; “reports from the field revealed that the primary election went on peacefully, and the end of the exercise, votes were counted and recorded.

“By the power conferred on the committee, and in line with APC guide lines for the nomination of the candidate, of the party in the general election, I Ahmed Usman Ododo, Governor of Kogi State and the Chairman of the Committee and the Returning Officer of the Ondo State APC governorship primary election, held on the 20th, 2024, hereby declared that Lucky Orimisan Aiyedatiwa having satisfied the requirements of the law and scored the highest numbers of votes cast in the direct primary election, is hereby return elected and declare winner.”

Some aggrieved members of the All Progressives Congress (APC), in Ondo state, on Sunday stormed the Secretariat of the party, in Akure, to express displeasure over alleged irregularities in the conduct of Saturday’s governorship primary election across the 18 local government areas in the state.

The protesters who were supporters of Olusola Oke, Wale Akinterinwa and Jimi Odimayo, alleged that the primary was fraught with irregularities and illegalities.

The demonstrators, who stormed the Secretariat, however, demanded for the suspension of Kogi state Governor, Ahmed Usman Ododo from the party, who led other seven-man committee to conduct the primary.

While flaunting different protest banners and placards such as “No election in Ondo.,” “APC primary electoral officers failed to show up in all wards in Ondo State,” “We demand fairness and justice in APC primary election in Ondo,” they alleged that; “Ododo is a criminal and a thief. In a saner clime, Ododo by now will be in jail. Election crime is a serious crime. You cannot come to the wards of our people and start terrorising them against their will.”

The placards also include inscriptions like, “No mandate for Aiyedatiwa, We’re calling for fresh primary election,” “NWC of APC, No Mandate for Aiyedatiwa,” “Saturday ‘s APC primary in Ondo was a sham,” “APC Must Not Collapse In Ondo State,” “Primary Election materials were not distributed in all wards across Eighteen LGAs in Ondo State,” among others.

They, however, called for fresh primary elections for the interest of peace and tranquility.

Addressing journalists, the Director General for Olusola Oke Campaign Organisation, Ondo Central Senatorial District, Adeniran Oyebade who spoke on behalf of the protesters said the election was a broad-day robbery.

His words: “We are protesting against our mandate that was stolen. It was  broad-daylight robbery, a monumental disaster. APC delegated some people to Ondo State to conduct the primary; apparently, that was never done. They remained in Akure and started writing results. They wrote the results of 203 wards all across Ondo State, taking the mandate of the people into their own hands.”

He alleged that, “at the end of the day, we started seeing different results flying around stating one particular candidate won the election, but that never happened.”

“APC as a party is about to set Ondo State on fire, and we will never take this lightly. We want the most popular candidate, a candidate that knows the people; we want the candidate whose name is a household brand in every part of Ondo State. We do not want an unpopular or controversial candidate; we don’t want a wife beater. We want someone with a sound mind,” Oyebade claimed.

He also claimed that “Ododo should be suspended from the party. Ododo is a criminal and a thief. In a saner clime, Ododo by now will be in jail. Election crime is a serious crime. You cannot come to the wards of our people and start terrorising them against their will. What we want is the cancellation of the election because any election did not take place. There is no need to say that the election was inconclusive.”

Ade Adeniyi and Bola Fisayo who also spoke said APC members, who are eligible to vote for their preferred aspirants, waited for the conduct of the poll but all to no avail.

As at the time of filing this report, the Ododo’s seven-man committee that came to conduct the primary is yet to announce the winner of the governorship primary.

Similarly another aspirant, Engr. Folakemi Omogoroye, vehemently denounced the process, alleging widespread absence of election and calling for its immediate cancellation.

The primary, scheduled for April 20th, 2024, failed to take place as anticipated, leaving Engr. Omogoroye and her supporters frustrated. “There was no election anywhere,” she asserted, decrying what she described as a “complete rape on democracy.”

Expressing her dismay, Engr. Omogoroye lamented the absence of election officials and voting materials at voting centres, rendering her and her supporters unable to exercise their right to vote. Despite her meticulous preparation and financial commitment to the party, she found herself circumvented  to participate in the democratic process.

In a bold move, Engr. Omogoroye called upon the party’s leader, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, to intervene and annul the purported election.

Her words: “President Bola Ahmed Tinubu gave us women a renewed hope agenda that prompted me to go into the race with assurance that the election is going to be free and fair and that was why I went into this contest.

“But to my greatest surprise,  the reverse is the case. I was on the field from 7am, no election materials were seen, not to talk of seeing any party officials or INEC officials and a voice came up that Aiyedatiwa has won, Aiyedatiwa has won.

“I don’t know how that happened and I don’t know how the party is going to take that, because I, Engr. Folakemi Omogoroye will not accept that; because I believe in the party, I have been in the party for years, and this is the time we have to make the party better that other parties will emulate, but this is not the case.

“Other parties are now making a mockery of our party, all my political followers from all the books and crannies of Ondo state have been calling me that the same thing happened all over.”

She emphasised the urgency the situation is required to be redressed, warning of dire consequences for the party’s future in Ondo State if swift action is not taken.

Furthermore, she threatened legal action if her demand for a fresh and transparent election was not met promptly.

“I am not going to accept it, and now, I am calling for cancellation and if this is not done, maybe we’ll meet in court,” she added.

Also, the Governor of Kogi state and Chairman of the Ondo state governorship primary election committee, Ahmed Ododo, has explained reasons for declaring the Saturday election inconclusive.

Ododo, in a statement on Sunday said that the late arrival of materials and personnel to 13 wards in Okitipupa council area of state, the All Progressive Congress Governorship Primary Election Committee, necessitated the rescheduling of the exercise on Sunday.

According to him, “The rerun election would take place in all the 13 wards of Okitipupa Local Government with the total number of 9,515 validated registered party members.”

According to him, this is because of validated reports that the exercise did not hold in the Local government due to late arrival of materials and personnel as a result of logistics challenges.

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Cardoso clarifies CBN’s stance on Naira defence, market intervention

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…Reflects on lessons learned in first six months as CBN boss

…As CBN, Ministry of Finance forge strong alliance to combat inflation

By Sodiq Adelakun

The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Yemi Cardoso has clarified the stance of the apex bank on Naira defense and market intervention.

He made this known in an exclusive interview with the International Monetary Fund African Department Director, Abebe Selassie, at the IMF/World Bank Spring Meetings in Washington DC, United States of America, held between April 11 and 20, 2024.

The Governor unveiled his strategic vision for Nigeria’s monetary policy, shedding light on the bold decisions that transformed the Naira from its worst state to the best-performing within a span of six months.

Cardoso addressed concerns regarding the defense of the naira, emphasising that it is not the bank’s intention to intervene in currency markets to prop up the naira’s value.

He outlined the CBN’s overarching policy and philosophy, which prioritizes a market-driven approach to currency valuation. ”Basically, what we are encouraging is for the market to be a willing buyer, willing seller, and price-discover-led one,” the Governor explained.

According to him, “I know that the issue of defending the naira has become an elephant in some room. I want to try to make this as clear as possible. It is not our intention to defend the naira. It is not.

“Much as I have read in the recent few days, some opinions with respect to what is happening with our reserves. If you think back to what our overall policy and philosophy has been here, you can see that it is counter-intuitive. Basically, what we are encouraging is for the market to be a willing buyer, willing seller, and price-discover-led one.

“Ultimately, I perceive a future where the CBN may really not need to intervene except in very unusual circumstances.

“As long as we have a vibrant currency market, why do we need to intervene? I can understand that, especially at the outset, we have experienced that we needed to get the Bureau de Change segment going.

“We had to release tiny amounts of money to catalyse those happenings. Individuals must have funds to send their kids abroad and do things that are important. It is important not to keep them out of the mainstay.

“What we have seen with the shifts in our reserves are the shifts that you would find in any country’s reserve situation. When debts are due and payments need to be made, they are to be made, because that is also part of keeping your credibility intact.

Recall that when the Naira has one time been regarded as the worst-performing currency of any country.

He stated: “When I started, we had a situation where within a month or two, we were regarded as the worst-performing currency of any country.

“Six months later, we are judged to have the best-performing currency of any country. So, I think those things speak for themselves. A situation where in the recent past, the greatest amount of liquidity on a daily basis was in the region of $200m to $300m; in six months, we have traded over $1bn.

“FX liquidity has taken a centre stage in the activity of the monetary side, and I think people see that; they also see the exchange rate coming down and they understand that there is a lag. Ultimately, the objective is that we can moderate inflation.”

…Cardoso reflects on lessons learned in first six months as CBN boss

Cardoso emphasised on the daunting challenges he faced upon assuming office, including high inflation rates and a severely stressed exchange rate, which had eroded trust and confidence in the system.

He reiterated the critical importance of rebuilding trust, acknowledging the significant backlog of unmet forward transactions and committing to address them as a means to regain confidence.

He however highlighted the integration of senior leadership from the Ministry of Finance within the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC).

…CBN, Ministry of Finance forge strong alliance to combat inflation

“In the MPC, we have the presence of very senior leadership from the fiscal side as members of the MPC in the person of the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Finance, who is here today, and we always have very good and open dialogue on issues so we are able to hear the different sides of the situation. Beyond that, we have set up different committees that work hand-in-hand with respect to ensuring that we are on the same page with respect to taming inflation.

“It is also commendable that the Ministry of Finance has begun that process of securitising the outstanding Ways and Means, and I think that is extremely commendable. I think it is less of an issue now, and we can work better together, bearing in mind that as we move towards inflation targeting, there has to be a strong partnership for it to be successful,” he reiterated.

The Governor highlighted the shift away from interventionist policies towards orthodox monetary practices, signaling a clear departure from past approaches.

He emphasised the necessity of communicating effectively with stakeholders, particularly international investors, to foster understanding and restore faith in Nigeria’s economic trajectory.

Meanwhile, Cardoso outlined bold measures such as liquidity mopping and interest rate hikes, demonstrating a commitment to tackling economic challenges head-on for the benefit of all Nigerians.

He stressed the importance of continuous dialogue and transparent communication to elucidate the rationale behind policy decisions and manage public perceptions.

Collaboration with the fiscal side was deemed essential for the success of inflation-targeting objectives, with Cardoso highlighting the need for a harmonious partnership with the Ministry of Finance to achieve sustainable economic outcomes.

Reflecting on his first six months in office, Cardoso emphasised the paramount importance of trust and credibility in driving effective policy implementation, noting the need for consistent communication and realistic expectations.

When questioned about currency risk management and the development of currency risk markets, Cardoso hinted at ongoing considerations, suggesting a phased approach to implementation aligned with broader economic objectives.

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