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Struggle to woo Wike: Atiku strikes meeting in London, as Obi, Obasanjo, others meet Wike

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…Reconciliation moves in PDP, APC firm-up as Tinubu sets to meet APC presidential aspirants

…Atiku warns supporters, party stakeholders against deriding Wike

By Moses Adeniyi

The struggle by the major political blocs to gain Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, on their side, has grown tougher as political gladiators from each camp have continued to hasten moves to strike a deal with the Governor.

Although, Wike belongs to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the fall-out of the Governor with the Partys Presidential Candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, has opened the door for opposition camps to seek to woo him to their sides.

While Presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, met Wike in London on Wednesday, a meeting which was put in place to woo the Governor to work for the APC in the 2023 Presidential Election, more visits from other political camps followed suit on Thursday, making the struggle a hot seat.

Atiku who had been on a fall-out with the Governor since the primary election of the PDP, won by the former, flew into London so as to meet with Wike after a series of peace meeting with him to settle scores  proved abortive.

However, the narratives of wooing Wike took a more controversial form, as  former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo was on Thursday alongside the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi; Seyi Makinde of Oyo State; Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State and Samuel Ortom of Benue State, spotted in a joint photograph with Wike in London.

Although details behind the photograph was yet to be ascertained as at the time of filing this report, it might not be unconnected to the permutations ahead the 2023 presidential elections, particularly as it concerns wooing Wike who is believed to wield a strong political influence in the South-south.

Recall that the meetings with Wike on Thursday trailed Tinubu’s visit to the Governor on Wednesday, a development which sources claimed the Governor has assured his support to work for the APC and its presidential candidate in 2023.

…Reconciliation moves in PDP, APC firm-up as Tinubu sets to meet APC presidential aspirants

Meanwhile, in the APC, Tinubu in a bid to settle scores with aggrieved members is set to meet Aspirants who participated in the last presidential primary election of the APC.

Schedule for the meeting slated for next week, less than six months to the Presidential election slated for February 28, 2023, was disclosed in a statement signed on Thursday in Abuja by the media office of the APC’s youngest presidential aspirant, Dr. Nicolas Felix.

Among those expected to be in attendance are Vice President Yemi Osinbajo; former Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi; former Science and Technology Minister, Ogbonnaya Onu; former Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba and former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio.

Others include five governors who participated in the exercise, namely Yahaya Bello (Kogi), Dave Umahi (Ebonyi), Abubakar Badaru (Jigawa), Ben Ayade (Cross River), and Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti).

Also listed Senate President, Ahmad Lawan; former Ogun state governor and serving senator, Ibikunle Amosun; another serving senator, Ajayi Boroffice; former Zamfara governor, Ahmad Sani; former Imo State governor and serving senator, Rochas Okorocha; a former Senate President, Ken Nnamani, a former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole; fiery cleric, Tunde Bakare; Pastor and Businessman, Dr. Nicolas Felix; former Information Minister, Ikeobasi Mokelu; businessman, Tein Jack-Rich and the only female among them, Uju Ken-Ohanenye.

The statement partly reads; “The special invitation to the strategic meeting of all 2023 APC Presidential Aspirants which will be held at Transcorp Hilton in Abuja, on Wednesday, August 31st, 2022 by 2pm is to brainstorm on adopting winning campaign strategies that will carry every Nigerian along and address the challenges bedeviling our country.”

The Aspirants’ last outing together was the APC presidential primary which held at the Eagle Square from June 7 to 10.

…Atiku warns supporters, party stakeholders against deriding Wike

As peace talks keep Nigerians on suspense, the PDP Board of Trustees as at the time of filing this report, has said it was still expecting the report of the reconciliation panel set up to look into the feud between Atiku and Wike.

Meanwhile, as Atiku muster moves to settle with Wike, the former has warned his aides, close associates and all party stakeholders against making utterances capable of jeopardising the ongoing peace process.

The appeal came on the heels of a backlash generated by comments made by one of his close associates and former Governor of Jigawa State, Sule Lamido against Wike.

Lamido had while featuring in a television interview alleged that Wike was acting like an Emperor who was giving an impression that the people of the State were subservient to his whims and would vote as he (Wike) directs in 2023.

In a statement signed by his Media Adviser, Mazi Paul Ibe, in Abuja, on Thursday, Atiku further called on all stakeholders of the PDP and his supporters to desist forthwith from making statements that are capable of compromising the ongoing work towards further strengthening the party and bringing all its leaders together.

The statement read partly, “It has become imperative to appeal to all party members, leaders and everyone related to, connected with or associated with the presidential candidate of the PDP,  Atiku Abubakar to desist from making comments that potentially reduce the optics of PDP’s image as a united political party.

“This appeal becomes necessary in order to call the attention of party leaders and members to the diversionary antics of the ruling All Progressives Congress which, in manufacturing a false impression of division within the PDP, aims to hoodwink the Nigerian public to overlook the monumental failures of the ruling party.

“Today, Nigerians look up to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to lead the charge in ousting the ruling party. This expectation from the people is the reason why the APC is jittery of their impending fall in next year’s general election.

“It is also the very reason why the ruling party is manipulating the political process to create a sense of division in the PDP.

“Because they know that there is nothing to campaign with from their records of performance in office, the APC has elected to play the role of the devil’s advocate, regaling in celebration of their imaginary invincibility upon a fraudulent claim that the PDP is divided.

“It is for this reason that appeal to every true member of the PDP and anyone who truly wishes the success of the PDP presidential candidate to not fall for the antics of the APC in making statements that could give credence to the false claim of divisions in the PDP.

“All the leaders of the party, including especially the governor of Rivers State, His Excellency Nyesom Wike and all governors of the PDP are united in working for the victory of the PDP in next year’s general election across board.

“What is at stake in the next year’s election is the future of Nigeria and all leaders and members of the PDP are on the same page in the mission to rescue Nigeria from the stranglehold of the APC.”

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Hardship: FG kicks off N100bn consumer credit scheme

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…Civil servants to benefit in first phase

By Grace Olatundun

The Federal Government of  Nigeria has kicked  off the N100 billion Consumer Credit Scheme for Nigerians as a tool to alleviate the escalating economic hardship in the country.

In a press statement on Wednesday by the President’s spokesperson, Ajuri Ngelale, he disclosed that interested Nigerians are expected to visit the portal of Nigerian Consumer Credit Corporation before May 15, 2024.

The President noted that the “consumer credit serves as the lifeblood of modern economies, enabling citizens to enhance their quality of life by accessing goods and services upfront, paying responsibly over time. It facilitates crucial purchases, such as homes, vehicles, education, and healthcare, which are essential for ongoing stability and the pursuit of their aspirations.

“Individuals build credit histories through responsible repayment, unlocking more opportunities for a better life. The increased demand for goods and services also stimulates local industry and job creation.”

The President stated further that every hardworking Nigerian should have access to social mobility, with consumer credit playing a pivotal role in achieving this vision.

“The Nigerian Consumer Credit Corporation (CREDICORP) achieves its mandate through the following: Strengthening Nigeria’s credit reporting systems and ensuring every economically active citizen has a dependable credit score. This score becomes personal equity they build, facilitating access to consumer credit, Offering credit guarantees and wholesale lending to financial institutions dedicated to broadening consumer credit access today and Promoting responsible consumer credit as a pathway to an improved quality of life, fostering a cultural shift towards growth and financial responsibility.

“In line with the President’s directive to expand consumer credit access to Nigerians, the Nigerian Consumer Credit Corporation (CREDICORP) has launched a portal for Nigerians to express interest in receiving consumer credit.

“This initiative, in collaboration with financial institutions and cooperatives nationwide, aims to broaden consumer credit availability.

“Working Nigerians interested in receiving consumer credit can visit www.credicorp.ng to express interest. The deadline is May 15, 2024.

“The scheme will be rolled out in phases, starting with members of the civil service and cascading to members of the public,” the statement read.

Recall that two months ago, a presidential spokesman, Bayo Onanuga, announced that the Federal Executive Council had given the nod for the establishment of the Consumer Credit Scheme.

He said the President’s Chief of Staff, Femi Gbajabiamila, will lead a committee that includes the Budget Minister, Attorney-General, and Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Finance to make the scheme a reality.

In March, the Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service Chairman, Zacch Adedeji, said the Nigerian government would unveil its proposed N100 billion consumer credit loan in a few days.

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EFCC goes after PtoP operators, hands over 14 forfeited properties to Enugu Govt

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The Economic and Financial Crimes  Commission (EFCC) has commenced a clampdown on users of Peer to Peer platforms for foreign exchange transactions.

Speaking at a meeting with media executives in Abuja on Tuesday, Chairman of the EFCC, Mr Ola Olukoyede disclosed that the EFCC,  in its bid to ensure the safety and stability of the foreign exchange market, has uncovered a new fraudulent scheme called P to P (peer to peer) trading scheme.

The platform, according to him, is operating outside  the official banking and financial corridors with more than 300 (three hundred) accounts linked to it already frozen by the EFCC.

He reaffirmed the commitment of the Commission to the economic growth and development of the country,  promising that the EFCC would not relent in the exercise of its mandate.

He also revealed that the Commission has recovered more than N120 billion from fraudsters within six months and secured more than 1300 convictions.

Meanwhile, the EFCC has also handed over 14 properties initially forfeited to the Federal government to the government of Enugu State.

The transfer of the properties to Enugu State governor, Dr Peter Mba was performed by the EFCC Chairman at the corporate headquarters of the Commission.

Speaking before the brief handover ceremony, Olukoyede who disclosed that the road to the forfeiture dated back to 2007, stated that event spoke of the mutually beneficial relationship  existing  between the federal government and states.

“What we are witnessing today testifies to a symbiotic relationship that should exist between the federal government and the state governments. The essence of our meeting here today is for us to handover properties that were forfeited to the federal government, which of course belong to Enugu State people back to the people. It shows that governance can work in Nigeria. Our people deserve the benefits of good governance and that is what is being evidenced here today.”

Speaking further, he said, “If you look at the history of this particular matter, it takes us back to 2007 when we started the prosecution. So we are looking at about 17 years since the matter has been on.

“Eventually some of the properties were forfeited and since then, the EFCC has been managing those properties even though the titles of quite a number of the properties have been revoked by the Enugu State government. What we are witnessing here today is the official handing over of the properties to the people of Enugu State through His Excellency, Dr Peter Mba,” Olukoyede said.

Earlier in his remarks, Governor Ubah expressed gratitude for the  handover and thanked the EFCC chair and the Commission for ensuring that the people of his state reclaimed their common patrimony.

“I would like to express my profound gratitude for the event we are witnessing today. The importance and significance of this event can never be lost on us and we do not also take it for granted.

“So I want to take this opportunity to convey my profound gratitude and deep appreciation to the chairman and members of the EFCC team that have brought us to where we are today.

“This is a journey that began several years ago and we are marking a formal closure to that journey here today.  A journey that saw the successful prosecution of certain companies in possession of assets belonging to the people of Enugu State.”

The Governor who noted that the properties were forfeited not to his state but to the federal government expressed gratitude to President Bola Tinubu for making it possible for them to be returned to the government and people of Enugu State.

“Those assets were forfeited to the federal government. And this brings me to another gratitude that I want to convey here today. I want to acknowledge and recognise the important role played by the President, His Excellency Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

“Without the proactiveness and speed at which he acted on our request to cede these assets back to the people and government of Enugu State, we wouldn’t have been here today. So I want to thank him most sincerely for granting our request for these assets that were forfeited to the federal government to be ceded back to Enugu State.”

He lauded Olukoyede’s initiatives at making the EFCC a strong institution and cautioned against attempts by some individuals to distract the Commission.

“I will not end this remark without acknowledging the work the EFCC chairman is doing in strengthening this very important institution. It is important that we do not weaken our institutions.

“Whatever we do in governance is transient. So I want to commend him for the efforts he is making in ensuring that this very important institution, the EFCC is strengthened. Thank you very much for all the great work you and your team are doing and particularly for the effort that you have put in to make today a reality,” the Governor stated.

The properties comprise houses, transmission equipment for radio and television stations, a building for medical operations, among others.

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MRS considers voluntary delisting from NGX, to hold EGM

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The management of MRS Oil Nigeria Plc is considering voluntary delisting from the Nigerian Exchange.

The company has called for an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) to make the decisions on the share buyback and voluntary delisting.

The EGM is scheduled to hold at the Civic Centre, Ozumba Mbadiwe Avenue, Victoria Island, Lagos, on May 21, 2024, at 11:00 am according to a corporate disclosure made by the company.

The corporate disclosure reads that the company will meet to transact the following special business:

“To consider, and if thought fit, pass, with or without modification, the following sub-joined resolutions as special resolutions:

“That the voluntary delisting of all the Company’s issued shares from the daily official list of Nigerian Exchange Limited (the ‘Voluntary Delisting’) be and is hereby approved on such terms and conditions (including but not limited to the timing of implementation, arrangements for dissenting shareholders (if any) and the fulfilment of specific conditions precedent to effectiveness (if any), that the Board of Directors of the Company deems appropriate in connection with the Voluntary Delisting; and subject to obtaining all requisite regulatory approvals.

 ”That the Memorandum and Articles of Association (“MemArts”) of the Company be and are hereby amended to authorize the Company to undertake a share buyback and share capital reduction.

“That the Company be and is hereby authorised to undertake a share buyback and share capital reduction in connection with any of its issued shares that may be purchased from dissenting shareholders where necessary as a consequence of the Voluntary Delisting; on such terms and conditions, in such volumes and at such times as the Board deems fit; subject to, and in accordance with, applicable laws and regulations.

“That the company’s MemArts be amended upon completion of the share buyback and share capital reduction to reflect the updated share capital.

“That upon conclusion of the Voluntary Delisting, and whilst the Company remains a public limited liability company, the Board be and is hereby authorised to take all such action as may be required to admit the Company’s shares on the NASD OTC Securities Exchange to ensure that dealings in the Company’s shares are implemented in accordance with the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Rules on Trading in Unlisted Securities.

“That the Board be and is hereby authorised to take all such lawful actions and steps (including but not limited to entering into/executing such agreements and documents, appointing professional advisers and other parties, and complying with directives of any regulatory authority) deemed necessary to give full effect to the above-referenced resolutions.

“That the Company Secretary be and is hereby authorised to make all such filings, take all necessary lawful actions and/or steps to give effect to the above-referenced resolutions and comply with all relevant regulatory requirements.

“A member of the Company entitled to attend and vote at the EGM is entitled to appoint a proxy in his/her/its stead. A proxy need not be a member of the Company. It is important to ensure that all proxy documents are properly stamped by the Commissioner of Stamp Duties and deposited at the Registrar’s Office, First Registrars and Investor Services before the EGM commences.”

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