The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has threatened to boycott the 2019 general election if the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and security agencies do not show neutrality during the exercise.
Uche Secondus, chairman of the opposition party, said this when a combined delegation of the International Republican Institute (IRI) and the National Democratic Institute (NDI) paid him a visit at the party’s national secretariat in Abuja on Thursday.
Secondus, who alleged that the Ekiti governorship election was rigged, said his party does not have confidence in INEC.
“We are still contemplating on whether we will participate in the 2019 elections or not. We are yet to take a decision on this,” he said.
We are not sure that the security agencies and INEC would be impartial and transparent. In the Ekiti elections, there were instances our party agents’ tags were removed and given to the APC agents.
“There were clear cases of manipulation, ballot snatching and harassment of our party agents.”
Kayode Fayemi of the All Progressives Congress (APC) defeated Kolapo Olusola, PDP candidate in the exercise.
Former President, Olusegun Obasanjo on Wednesday said President Muhammadu Buhari was confused and incompetent to deal with national issues.
He said this during a summit organized by the Northern Elders Forum (NEF) in Abuja.
Obasanjo was represented by a former National Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola.
Reading Obasanjo’s letter to the participants, Oyinlola quoted the former President as saying, “We lamented the harm that the present Administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, by his action and inaction, has done and is doing to our commonwealth and our common heritage.
“Nigeria, in recent times, has not been so divided along religious and regional lines as at today with inexcusable killings and devastating poverty and with Government’s wringing hands and apparently incompetent to stem the tide except giving one unrighteous and unacceptable justification after the order.
“The obvious indication is that the Government is seemingly confused and has got to the end of its tether and the nation is being left divisively and perilously to drift.
“Earlier last week, I noted in a speech some undesirable elements being allowed and being introduced to our democracy by this Administration.
“If these are not stopped, they could be the death knell of our democracy. In spite of this unfortunate situation created by the Government my contact and consultation, which brought me face-to-face with people plights and frustration, also gave me hope.
“People are not ready to give up in despair and leave their fate and their present and future in the hands of inept leadership for their lives to be ruined.
“I see common concern across the nation irrespective of tribe, religion, region, language and social standing that the situation should be retrieved and the nation should be saved
“My dear brother and friend, Ango, this is why I strongly believe that this meeting, which is beyond politics, beyond religion, beyond economics, beyond status, is for saving the heart and soul of our nation through non- partisan and all-embracing participation to dialogue for our present and our future.
“Because we do not dialogue enough, most of us live in ignorance of one another, burdened and influenced by received prejudices, biases and twisted history.
“The time has come when we should constantly dialogue among ourselves at different levels to inform, educate and enlighten ourselves and dispel bad influences.
“A lot of misgivings, misunderstanding, misconception, misrepresentation, erroneous beliefs and outdated ideas and concepts can be cleared and a lot can be achieved.
“This “Dialogues Amongst Ourselves”, which are starting today, must not be a once-and-for-all affair. We must dialogue often for our collective progress.
“And I have no doubt that this first one will be a huge success. We are in dialogue because we are concerned for our country.
“I will hold myself ready to lead the holding and hosting of the next one at our end after due consultation with you and with others.
“Dialogue removes tensions, clears the air, leads to sharing views and to understand one another’s point of view. It promotes concord, harmony, cohesion, peace, security, inclusiveness, development and progress. It enthrones justice and equity and removes impunity.”
Ekiti State Governor-elect, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, on Thursday said he would probe what transpired in the last four years in the state under the outgoing governor, Ayodele Fayose.
He said it was in the interest of good governance for him to investigate how much accrued to the state and why salaries were not paid.
Fayemi said this in an interview with State House correspondents shortly after he met President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The former Minister of Mines and Steel Development seized the opportunity of the meeting to present his certificate of return issued by the Independent National Electoral Commission to the President.
Although he said he would look into the state’s books, Fayemi said it was not all about probing Fayose or his deputy.
He said the idea was to ensure that mistakes of the past were not repeated.
He said, “l think we need to remove this election from personalities. This was an election that we fought on issues and it will be irresponsible on my part to come here and say that we will not examine what transpired in the last four years in the manner of government.
“What was received in Ekiti State and the expenditures in that period, why were we not able to pay salaries in the state? These issues should be examined in the interest of good governance.
“It is not about probing Fayose, probing Eleka etc. It is about not repeating the mistakes of the past and giving our people good government. So, we will also involve in looking at what transpired in the last four years.” (Punch)
The Senator representing Bayelsa East in the Senate, Ben Murray-Bruce, has recommended a new pattern of voting ahead of the 2019 general elections.
The lawmaker wondered why Nigerians cannot vote by text since there are over 100 million phone lines in the country.
Tweeting on Thursday afternoon, he suggested that to end vote buying as was widely reported in Ekiti state governorship election, voting via SMS should be considered.
He wrote, “There are 100 million phone lines in Nigeria. Almost every Nigerian adult has a phone.
“All mobile lines are registered by the NCC, which captures names personal details, photos and fingerprints of the registered owners.
“Why can’t we vote by text? It will end Ekiti style.”
When will this country be ok? A report has shown that staff of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) spent as much as N5.7 billion on pay TV subscription and fuel allowance.
Ishaya Awotu, the chairman of the panel, said that there were irregular allowances totalling N5.7 billion paid to staff and management.
“These allowances were paid without the approval of the National Salary, Incomes and Wages Commission,” he said.
“Some of the allowances were management staff allowance, staff education allowance, DSTV subscription allowance, and dressing allowance.”
The others were generator and motor vehicle fuelling allowance which were not provided for in the Condition of Service of the fund.
Awotu said the internal audit department of the fund did not audit the accounts between 2013 and 2017, which violates section 1701 of the financial regulations.
“There were several transfers of funds in bank accounts without authorisation and approvals. The sum of N15,737,757,697.91. was transferred from one account to another.
“Evidence to show the approvals and payment vouchers authorising the transfers were not presented to the panel.
“The panel observed that N2.9 billion was expended on computerisation and other related lCT equipment.
“Despite this expenditure, not much was achieved on computerisation of the Fund.”
According to the chairman, various taxes worth N2,650,731,225.93 were deducted without remitting to the appropriate authorities.
A 38-year old arrested suspect, Walter Ogwu, has expressed satisfaction having to go back to prison after a court in Lagos ordered him to be remanded in custody.
He had pleaded guilty before Isolo Magistrates court for stealing and was expected to be jailed before the prosecutor; Mr. Oje Uagbale, asked the court for a short adjournment to enable him present the facts before he will be sentenced.
The excited Delta State-born Ogwu said he was used to the prison condition and had gone to prison several times for stealing before the last arrest. He frankly explained why he preferred to stay in prison for now; he wants to have some rest and know if God will also change him to become a normal person in the society.
He traced his stealing habit to some years ago after he had completed his training as an apprentice mechanic and started his own in Ajegunle area of Lagos where he resided with his parents.
Ogwu said that he was surprised that he was not getting any job despite the fact that he was good in repairs. That made him to take to stealing and it became a habit he found difficult to curb. He also revealed that he went from place to place to steal but his last operation was at Okota where he was nearly mobbed after he stole a phone and attempted to escape.
PM Express reports that Mr. Ogwu was apprehended after he went into a retail office at Ago Palace Way, Okota, Lagos and stole a phone belonging to one Miss Lydia.
He was unlucky as he was captured by the CCTV camera and was forced back to the office. The video was replayed and he was asked to identify the person that stole the phone. He admitted to the crime, they were beating him before the police arrived, rescued and detained him at the police station.
He was brought before the court on Friday and he pleaded guilty.
The prosecutor, Mr. Uagbale, made the application for adjournment in order to present the facts.
Thus, the Presiding Magistrate, Mrs. O.A. Teluwo ordered that Ogwu be remanded in prison and adjourned the matter to 16th July 2018 for facts and sentence.
When asked if he had contacted his parents in Ajegunle, he said that he will not contact them because they had known about his bad habits and were tired of him. But he reiterated that if he gets the opportunity to be a changed person, he will change to the surprise of his family.
The Lagos State Government has called on the Federal Government to postpone the closure of the Third Mainland Bridge in order not to further paralyse traffic in the metropolis.
A statement issued by the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Kehinde Bamigbetan on Thursday said the State Government would urge the Federal Ministry of Works, Power and Housing to consider shifting the proposed closure dates for the Third Mainland Bridge to a latter date to avoid compounding the situation.
The government said the Ikorodu Road and adjoining roads would not be adequate to cope if Third Mainland Bridge was shut for repairs at a time that Apapa-Oshodi express road and others leading in and out of the ports were experiencing an unusual, albeit, temporary traffic snarl.
“It is indeed pathetic that private firms seeking to make profit from legitimate commerce would continue to subject the citizens of Lagos State to horrendous pains inspite of the provision of holding bays for their trucks and tankers until it is their turn to pick goods at the ports,” it stated.
However, the state government expressed deep sympathies with commuters and residents of Apapa and other parts of Lagos affected by the lingering logjam occasioned by the congestion created by trucks and articulated vehicles along the Apapa vehicular corridor.
The statement said government expressed sadness over the difficulties faced by motorists and commuters seeking the use of the Apapa-Oshodi highway and other routes leading to the ports.
Blaming the renewed congestion on the recalcitrance of owners and drivers of tankers and trucks to fully comply with the subsisting directive that restricts their movement within the State, the Government also attributes the worsened situation to the ongoing industrial action by a section of workers at the Apapa ports which has slowed down the pace of goods clearance as well as the slow pace of repair works on the roads leading to the ports, most of which are federal roads.
To ameliorate the situation, the Government assured Lagosians that the State Police Command and the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) have been directed to flood the affected areas with sufficient officers to further control traffic and bring sanity to bear “on this hectic situation so as to bring immediate succour to our people.”
The statement added that the recent rehabilitation of the truck park at Orile Iganmu, with capacity to take 3,000 trucks shows the commitment of the Akinwunmi Ambode administration to find a lasting solution to the enormous challenge posed by the indiscriminate use of the highways by articulated vehicles.
According to the Commissioner, government had hoped that, with the unfortunate loss of lives and property to destruction caused by tanker explosions and truck mishaps, the conscience of the haulage stakeholders would be pricked sorely enough to save Lagosians from the threat of carnage on the highways by adhering to directives and also investing in truck terminals themselves.
He, however, assured that the State Government would not allow its highways turned to death traps while urging speedy delivery of the roads under reconstruction within the axis and full computerisation of the ports operations in order to save the State from this incessant but avoidable hardship.
“If the powers of the State is inadequate to force these powerful merchants to obey the law, shall we also say that the Federal Government with all the forces at its command, is unable to protect residents of Lagos against this common threat?”
The statement noted that while Mr. President had assured Lagos State that the Federal Government would tackle this matter decisively, the latest hardship makes the much needed intervention extremely imperative.
The Commissioner expressed regrets that ongoing rehabilitation of roads in Apapa and its environs and the efforts towards sanitizing truck entry procedures have pushed the trucks to other parts of the city all because the haulage operators have continued to illegally turn major roads to parks thereby using public facilities to increase their private profit.
“We therefore once again call on the Federal Government to save Lagosians by assisting to enforce the rule that all haulage operators must have designated parks immediately, while we continue to solicit the understanding and cooperation of the general public.”
The Board of Directors of Ecobank Nigeria Limited is pleased to announce, the appointment of Patrick Akinwuntan as the Managing Director designate of Ecobank Nigeria, subject to the approval of the Central Bank of Nigeria.
Prior to this appointment, Patrick was the Group Executive, Consumer Banking responsible for leading the Consumer Banking business across Ecobank’s global network of 40 countries, 36 of which are in Africa. As a seasoned banker with over 20 years of senior and executive management experience, Patrick has held several strategic positions for the Ecobank Group in Ghana, Togo, and Nigeria. He had previously been a Group Executive Director on the Board of ETI and earlier, Executive Director in Ecobank Nigeria.
Patrick started his career with Ecobank in 1996 as Head of Commercial Bank and Regional Head in Ecobank Nigeria and since then he has held various senior and executive positions in Nigeria and within the Ecobank Group, including Executive Director, Retail Bank, Ecobank Nigeria, Group Chief Finance Officer, ETI, Group Executive Director, Operations & Technology, amongst others.
Prior to joining Ecobank, Patrick was a General Manager, Springfountain Management Consultants, Lagos from 1993 – 1996; Deputy Manager – Corporate Finance, Credit and Marketing, Manufacturers Merchant Bank Plc, Lagos from 1991 – 1993, and; was a Supervisor in Ernst & Young International (Chartered Accountants), Lagos from 1987 – 1991. A fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (FCA), Patrick also holds a Masters in Business Administration from the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife.
He is an alumnus of the senior executive program (SEP) of the Harvard Business school, a honorary senior member of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria and an associate of the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria. In line with our leadership and business continuity procedures, the outgoing Managing Director, Charles Kie, will continue to manage Ecobank Nigeria throughout the transition period and ensure a smooth handover to Mr Akinwuntan. John Aboh, Chairman of the Board of Ecobank Nigeria has congratulated Patrick on his new appointment.
He said “We warmly welcome Patrick back to Ecobank Nigeria and look forward to providing him with full support from the Board. I must, once again, extend our most sincere gratitude to Charles for his tremendous contributions to Ecobank Nigeria’s development and wish him every success in his future endeavors “.
Benue state Governor Samuel Ortom may have shelved his decision to leave his ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, following a trouble-shooting meeting he had with the National Chairman of the party, Comrades Adams Oshiomhole, Thursday in Abuja.
Speaking with journalists at the national secretariat of the party in Abuja, Ortom said the party leadership has assured him that no individual in Benue state can push him out of the party.
“I was given a red card by a Senator…but the leadership of the party told me that the decision of the party leadership at the national level is superior to any individual and I think that is good enough. We have spoken to him, he has spoken to me, stakeholders are going to be spoken to and that is where I belong. We have not concluded the matter, it is an ongoing process because I have always stood for peace and I always want peace to prevail.
I appreciate the intervention and I hope that we would be able to resolve the matter of differences and this is the funny thing about politics.
I am here in APC, a member of APC, am still flying the flag of APC and I only said I was given a red card but I have been corrected by the national chairman”, he said.
Speaking, Oshiomhole reacts said Ortom would not be allowed to return to his former party, the Peoples Democratic Party PDP.
He said; “I have, as the National Chairman, assured him that the APC does not have a red card in its cupboard so we cannot give what we do not have and we recognize that in several states, there could be legitimate legal issues, there could be agreements, disagreements, some contestations and these we are familiar with.
“There are evidences of the fact that we are a free democratic party and when leaders have disagreements, our responsibility is to help them to find a common ground and the issues in Benue are not so fundamental that we cannot resolve. We have made it clear that we would resolve them; and Sen. Akume is a very respected leader of the party, a former governor- he will recognize the need for peace and we have what it takes to make peace.
“In Benue, we are going for a win-win solution. Gov. Ortom is not going anywhere; he is a very prominent member of our party. We appreciate his leadership in Benue and we will do everything possible to help those who have issues to have those issues resolved.
“Anything we would do, we would do, provided the only thing we will not accept is anybody leaving the house that we have built together, that we are committed to and I think the government statement is clear. For PDP that is deceiving people, they must know that only people without honour will vomit in the morning and in the afternoon they convert it to lunch. People like Ortom who have honour cannot leave PDP just three and a half years ago with his eyes open and then later there are some tensions in his master bedroom and is thinking of returning to deceiving people. That, cannot be an option. He is a man of honour and he knows that one should look for one step if you want to take the second step to consolidate the first step; that is the way to go.
“Be assured that PDP can go and do whatever they do, it won’t change the minds of those who are convinced about building the future. It would not be without contestations, it will be based on the understanding that we can have contestations, but we have the qualities required to resolve issues. In Benue, those would be deployed and I am sure Gov. Ortom would be happy, Senator Akume would be happy, much more importantly, the great people of Benue state would be happy, not just our party members, because they want to consolidate what works and not to go back to a broken vehicle”, he added. (NAN)
Aviation unions have threatened to truncate the birth of the new carrier few hours after Sen. Hadi Sirika, Minister of State for Aviation, unveiled the name and logo of the proposed national carrier, ‘Nigeria Air’.
Comrade Olayinka Abioye, General Secretary, National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE), in an interview with Independent, warned that until the government paid the final severance package of the staff of the defunct national carrier, Nigeria Airways, the unions in the sector would ensure that the plan did not come to fruition.
Abioye said that the severance package of the former workers must be paid in full before the government could commence a new national carrier, stressing that the government had not been fair to the workers.
He also explained that the planned new national carrier was contrary to government’s earlier position on the establishment of a new national carrier.
He said, “We are not concerned about this new national carrier even though it is our baby with supposed benefits to the country.
“We are much more concerned about the families of the defunct national carrier, Nigeria Airways, some of whom have died.
“We are much more concerned about those who are living and managing to live and we are calling on this minister and government to speed up action in whatever capacity they can to ensure that Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, the Minister of Finance, make releases and pay our people. Enough is enough.
“The unions may truncate the process of the new national carrier; you can take that from me. There are so many fundamental issues begging for answers in some of these things.
“The national carrier that we are advocating for is not what they are planning now. We said private sector-driven national carrier, what is the problem with this government?
“The same government that said it didn’t have money to revamp our comatose airports is now spending $308 million as take-off grant for the airline.
“The same government wants to bring in six new aircraft from God-knows-where. Where then is the intervention of the private sector in all these?
“At what point is private sector going to be involved? These are issues that should be tackled. Then, how do you want to unveil a national carrier and take it overseas, leaving Nigeria behind. Those politicking are too much and we are not interested.”
However, Comrade Illitrus Ahmadu, President Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN), described the coming of the airline as a welcome development.
He insisted that Nigeria required a strong carrier to make use of its Bilateral Air Services Agreements (BASAs) arrangements.
Also, Capt. Dele Ore, former Director of Operations, Nigeria Airways, said the proposed airline looks like a profitable venture, but said for the airline to become profitable, the right people must be placed at the helms of affairs.
He, however, called on the government to pay the severance packages of the former workers of the national airline, saying most of the affected staff today, did put in their best to ensure the survival of the airline, but it was ran aground by government and its appointees.
“I don’t know if the money would be paid or not. When it will be paid, I don’t know. I have never worked in any other sector in my life. I came into aviation at the age of 22 years and I put in about 30 years and I am still here now. But, the industry has not been fair to some of us,” he lamented.