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PDP crisis: Wike, Bode George battle Ayu over ‘children’ jibe

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…Your comment shows you’re immature — PDP chieftain tells embattled Chair

…We will help PDP lose election — Wike threatens

By Uthman Salami

The crisis rocking the major opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has continued to leave major cracks in the unity of the party, brewing tons of disuniting comments amongst several chieftains of the party.

The recent jibe by the Chairman of the party, Sen Iyorchia Ayu against those calling for his resignation ahead of the 2023 general elections as ‘children’ who knew nothing about the formation of the party.

The scathing remark has since received backlash from both Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike whose Ayu’s comments were directed at, as well as a chieftain of the party, Chief Bode George who described the Chairman’s comments as rather immature.

Both George and Rivers State Governor were reacting to the Chairman’s interview with BBC Hausa on Wednesday.

Recall that Nigerian NewsDirect reported that the PDP chairman had insisted that he would not resign, adding that he would not allow people calling for his resignation to destroy PDP.

Ayu said, “I was voted as PDP Chairman for a four-year tenure and I’m yet to complete a year. Atiku’s victory doesn’t affect the Chairman’s position. I won my election based on our party’s constitution.

“I didn’t commit any offense; I’m only reforming the party so I’m not bothered with all the noises. I know I’m doing my work and I didn’t steal any money so I see no reason for all these talks.

“When we started PDP, these children were not around. They are children who do not know why we formed the party. We will not allow any individual to destabilize our party,” he said.

…Your comment shows you’re immature — PDP chieftain tells embattled Chair

George, in his reaction to the development on Thursday, said Ayu’s comments showed that he was immature and childish, asking him to watch his language thenceforth.

The former Deputy National Chairman said this during the commissioning of Omerelu Internal roads in Ikwerre Local Government Area of Rivers State.

He said, “When a serving national chairman of our party is calling elected governors that they are children. Does he think that children don’t grow? Or is there a life perpetual to him? We need to watch our language. It shows to me that it is him who is immature.”

George asserted that Ayu should vacate his position for a Southerner to take over before the 2023 elections, adding that the tussle about the party’s chairmanship must be immediately resolved.

“We are not begging for it; we demand it because it is our right,” he said.

He argued that it is unfair that the PDP chairman; presidential candidate and PDP Board of Trustees Chairman are all from the North.

He said the right thing to do is for Ayu to vacate his seat before the campaign, as it will not be right to go into the campaign with a divided house.

George added that what Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State is asking for is the right thing, in the interest of justice, peace and unity of the party.

…We will help PDP lose election —   Wike threatens

Meanwhile, the Rivers State Governor has threatened to help the Peoples Democratic Party lose the 2023 presidential election.

The Governor issued the threat at the commissioning of the internal road in Omerelu community in Ikwerre local government area of Rivers on Thursday.

He said, “Doctor Ayu said we are children. Yes, the children brought you from the gutter to make you Chairman.

“Now we have seen that you don’t want the party to win the election, we will help you.

“These children you said we are, that brought you from nothing.

“Ayu, you said you founded this party, but you left the party in 2007. You founded a company, you left the company, people stood and brought out the company to what it is today, you have no moral right to still come and claim that you founded that company, you left with your shares.

“You want to show integrity, you want to show a party to Nigeria that we want to take over, you must convince Nigerians that we have integrity.

“You are the driver that will drive the vehicle to convey us to our destination. That is the victory we are looking for.

“If the driver has no integrity and cannot show honesty, how do you convince Nigerians?

“If you tell Nigerians something and cannot do it, is it when you enter into power that you will do it?

“Nigerians have seen how ungrateful some of you can be, and that’s why Nigerians also want to be careful, if we give these people power, are you sure they will also be grateful to Nigerians.”

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Court adjourns suits seeking to stop Secondus, Omehia from PDP NEC, BoT meetings

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A Federal High Court, Abuja, on Friday, fixed April 16 for hearing of a suit seeking to stop former Chairman, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Uche Secondus, from participating in the party’s meetings.

Justice Inyang Ekwo, in a short ruling, also fixed the date in a separate suit filed to bar sacked Rivers Governor, Celestine Omehia, from attending the PDP’s National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting pending the hearing and determination of the matter.

Titus Jones, a member of the PDP at Ward 5, Ikuru Town, Andoni Local Government Area (LGA) of the state, had filed a suit marked marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/440/2024.

In the suit, Secondus; PDP; acting PDP Chairman, Umar Damagun; PDP Secretary, Samuel Anyanwu; PDP NEC; PDP National Working Committee (NWC); PDP Board of Trustees (BoT) and Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) are 1st to 8th defendants respectively.

Jones, through his counsel, Joshua Musa, SAN, had sought an order restraining the NEC, NWC, party’s chairman, secretary, and BoT from allowing Secondus to attend any of the meetings pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice, having been suspended from the party.

Also in another suit filed by Precious Wobisike, a member of PDP at Ubima Ward 8, Ikwerre LGA, Omehia, PDP, Damagun, Anyanwu, NEC and INEC as 1st to 6th defendants respectively.

In the originating summons marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/436/24, Wobisike, also through Musa, sought an order of Injunction restraining Omehia from demanding from Anyanwu, the party’s secretary, any notice of meetings of the NEC.

He also sought an order of injunction restraining Omehia from attending any NEC meeting of the party or participating in the proceedings/deliberations of such meetings in any manner howsoever.

Besides, Wobisike sought an order of injunction restraining Anyanwu from giving notice of meetings of the NEC to Omehia, “not being a former Governor of Rivers State as to be a member of the National Executive Committee.”

He equally sought an order restraining INEC from according recognition to the reports, proceedings, conclusions or resolutions reached at any NEC meeting attended by Omehia.

This, he said, is in violation of the judgment of the Supreme Court in the case of AMAECHI v. INEC (2008) 5 NWLR (Pt. 1080) p. 227, the judgment of the High Court of Rivers in the case of Sir Celestine Omehia v. The Governor of Rivers  & 2 Ors – Suit No: PHC/3317/CS/2022 and Article 31(1)(w) of the Constitution of PDP (2017 as amended).”

NAN observes that Justice Ekwo had, on April 5, granted the motions ex-parte moved by Musa on behalf of Jones and Wobisike restraining Secondus and Omehia from participating in the party’s meetings pending the hearing and determination of the substantive matters.

The judge, who ordered that the processes be served on the respondents within five days, fixed the matter for today for motion on notice.

When the first matter was called, Musa, who appeared for Wobisike, told the court that the ex-parte order had been served on the defendants.

He said the matter was fixed for hearing of the motion on notice.

However, Ibrahim Mark, who represented Omehia, told the court that they were served on Monday and due to the public holiday, they were yet to regularise their processes.

He sought an adjournment to enable them regularise their court documents.

M. S. Atolagbe, who appeared for 2nd to 5th defendants, aligned with Mark’s submission, and Musa did not oppose the application for adjournment.

Justice Ekwo consequently adjourned the matter until April 16 for hearing.

The judge equally fixed the sister case against Secondus to April 16 for hearing.

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Price crash: Dangote Refinery diesel will reduce Nigeria’s inflation — Aliko Dangote

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President of Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote has revealed how diesel obtained from the Dangote Refinery can reduce Nigeria’s inflation rate.

Nigeria’s inflation rate reached 31.70 percent in February 2024, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), with food inflation at 37.92 percent – a 27yr high. The country’s inflation rate has been on the rise since January 2023.

Similarly, the fluctuating exchange rate of the dollar to naira has been pushing the prices of commodities and services. However, with the gradual gains recorded by the Naira over the past weeks, economic experts predict a gradual fall in the price of goods and prices with some manufacturers like Dufil Prima (makers of Indomie), airlines already crashing their prices.

The price of Diesel had also been affected in recent times by the exchange with the cost per litre rising to over N1,700.

Responding to this hike, Africa’s richest man Aliko Dangote has urged Nigerians to expect a drop in inflation given the reduction of diesel pump prices.

Speaking on Wednesday during a chat with journalists after he paid Eid-el-Fitr homage to President Bola Tinubu at his Lagos residence.

“I believe that we are on the right track. I believe Nigerians have been patient and I also believe that a lot of goodies will now come through. There’s quite a lot of improvement because if you look at it, one of the major issues that we’ve had was the naira devaluation that has gone very aggressively up to about N1,900.

“But right now, we’re back to almost N1,250, N1,300, which is a good reprieve. Quite a lot of commodities went up. When you go to the market, for example, something that we produce locally like flour, people will charge you more. Why? Because they’re paying very high diesel prices.

“Now, in our refinery, we started selling diesel at about N1,200 instead of N1,650 and I’m sure as we go along, things will continue to improve quite a lot,” Dangote said.

Speaking further, he said, “If you look at it now, when you are buying N1,650 or N1,700 for a litre of diesel, and that one has been cut off by almost two-thirds, you are now paying N1,200 for diesel.

“Maybe, going forward, even though the crude prices are going up, I believe people will not get it much higher than what it is today, N1,200. It might be even a little bit lower, but that can help quite a lot because if you are transporting locally-produced goods and you were paying N1,650, now you are paying two-thirds of that amount, N1,200. It’s a lot of difference. People don’t know.

“This can help to bring inflation down immediately. And I’m sure when the inflation figures are out for the next month, you’ll see that there’s quite a lot of improvement in the inflation rate. So a step at a time. And I’m sure the government is working around the clock to make sure that things get much better because it is in the interest of everybody that things get better.

Recall that marketers had earlier confirmed that the Dangote Refinery had commenced the sale of Diesel and that the product was dispensed to marketers at between N1,225/litre and N1,300/litre depending on the volume of purchase.

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Lagos-Calabar Coastal road to be completed in Tinubu’s tenure — Works Minister

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The Minister of Works, Dave Umahi has noted that the Lagos-Calabar Coastal road will be completed in President Tinubu’s tenure.

While fielding questions about the project on Channels Television’s The Morning Brief, Umahi said, “We are looking at eight years in the life tenure of Mr President [Bola Tinubu].”

The Minister said each kilometre of the coastal road would cost N4 billion but said the government’s prudence made that possible.

“You know, there are other projects not awarded by me that are also going for about N4 billion per kilometre,” the former lawmaker explained.

“So, I will pride myself, to the glory of God, that this project is the most prudent project that I’m starting. Other projects I made, we are reviewing, we are fighting, and we’re trying to review, the cost,” he said.

Umahi, however, said the cost is a tentative one.

“Well, I cannot sign my signature on that because it can come down, it can go up,” the minister said.

But there are plans to recoup the money via tolling, according to the minister.

“Let me leave out the infrastructure along the corridor. Let me just concentrate on the tolls and I put 50,000 vehicles as an average passage on these toll points per day,” Umahi said on the breakfast show.

“I put N3,000 as an average cost. N3,000 because the cars could be like N1,500, and the big trucks could be like N5,000,” he said. “So, we put an average.”

“In 15 years, you make back the money,” he said, dismissing calls that the cost budgeted for the road was high.

He explained further that there will be security at the toll gates and also some facilities like filling stations.

“At every point of tolling, we also have toll station where we have a kind of relief activities: the restaurants, filling stations, parking lots, and so on and so forth,” Umahi said.

“So, people will now have confidence. In these sections, we intend to put CCTV all through.”

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