TOP STORIES FOR TODAY, SUNDAY APRIL 17, 2022.Adunni Adetola
*Olu Of Warri Dismisses Report On Endorsement Of Tinubu’s 2023 Bid*.
The Olu of Warri, Ogiame Atuwatse III, has dismissed the report on his endorsement of the 2023 presidential bid of the All Progressives Congress (APC) National Leader, Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
A report emerged on Friday that the monarch endorsed the ex-Lagos State governor for the presidency when a delegation of the South-West Agenda for Asiwaju (SWAGA) and Delta for Bola Ahmed Tinubu visited him at his palace on Thursday.
The Olu of Warri made the clarification in a statement issued by the Head of Back Office Operations in the palace, Oriiz Onuwaje.
He said the reports were “taken out of context to suit a narrative.”
The traditional ruler insisted that he had no affiliation to any political party, or candidate vying for any office in the 2023 elections and accused the writer of the report of contravening the palace’s non-partisan status.
The statement read: “On the instructions of His Majesty Ogiame Atuwatse III, The Olu of Warri firmly refutes the statement claiming Ogiame’s endorsement of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
“Ogiame has no political affiliation or preferred political candidate for any office in the forthcoming 2023 elections, be it at the regional, sub-national, or national level.
“Ogiame is a father figure to all and has no personal favourite or special interests in any candidate, or political party vying for any office in the forthcoming elections one way or another.
“He will, therefore, not endorse or discredit any candidate to the detriment or advantage of others.”
*2023: Ngige Speaks On Contesting In Presidential Race*.
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige on Saturday noted that he would disclose his presidential ambition on Tuesday.
Ngige in his statement said he would disclose his position on the 2023 presidency after Easter celebration.
The former Governor of Anambra State stated at the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu while responding to a request from a pressure group under the aegis of the South East Progressive Forum who stormed the airport and asked the minister to contest the presidency in 2023.
He said, “This is an ambush. It’s an Easter ambush and anything done in Easter is spiritual. So I thank you people for meeting us here and saying what is in your mind. Make no mistake about it. It is us in the southern part of Nigeria that the presidency is due for. It’s also true, a truism that of all the zone in the Southern Nigeria that is only the South East zone that has not tasted the presidency.
“So, that gives much weight to the demand you are making now. Yes, in PDP, they are considering whether it will be North or South. No, in our own, as gentlemen we have already agreed in South.”
According to Ngige, he waited till after the resurrection of Jesus to enable him inquire from God on the presidential race.
He said, “In December 31, 2021 I told a group that after the spiritual season of lent, I will consult with my God and Angel and Arch-Angels. Easter is tomorrow and Easter is a resurrection day. We shall rise with the resurrection and after Easter Monday, I will make a pronouncement on my journey to the presidency.
“So we have done the consultation with mortal and immortal people and we are going to speak but make no mistake again, anything to be shared, if it is seven, it should be shared equally. If you collect first, collect second and collect again without others collecting, that’s where the problem comes.”
While commending the group for believing in him, Ngige said, “I am inviting you on Tuesday to Alor, in Idemili South, that’s where I am going to unveil my intention for the Presidency.”
On the possibility of the South East aspirants presenting a consensus candidate, Ngige said, “the issue of consensus candidate has not arise now. You have to wait untill when all the declarations have been made. Not only the declaration, the buying of forms, when the forms have been bought and expression of interest. That is the official first step on declaration.
“So, after declaration of interest the people will buy the forms and fill, some people will buy form for some people too but that’s when the question for consensus will arise. So until we get to that bridge, we will cross it.”
*Bauchi Speaker Defects To PDP*.
The Speaker of Bauchi State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Abubakar Sulaiman, on Saturday night, announced his defection from the All Progressives Congress (APC) to the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Abubakar, who is the chairman, Conference of Speakers of State Houses of Assembly, made this known during the Ramadan Iftar (breaking of fast) hosted by the State governor, Senator Bala Abdulkadir Mohammed, for PDP stakeholders from Ningi, Toro, Warji and Dass Local Government Areas of the State at the Government House, Bauchi.
The Speaker said that his decision to defect to the PDP was in recognition of the exemplary leadership style of Governor Mohammed and his commitment to transforming the State.
According to him, Governor Mohammed’s development strides endeared him (Speaker) to defect to the ruling party in the State.
Sulaiman then commended the governor for what he termed his (Governor Mohammed’s) ability to ensure harmonious working relationship between the executive arm of government and the State House of Assembly.
According to the Speaker, this was achieved by the governor despite the party differences, adding that the harmonious relationship between the two arms of government allowed for formulation and implementation of people-oriented policies and programmes in the State.
Reacting to the development, Governor Mohammed declared that it was a great honour done to him by the Speaker.
The governor said his administration chose to embark on developmental projects across the State with a view to providing the dividends of democracy to the people of the State instead of promoting corruption by sharing government resources among a few people.
He then solicited continuous support and collaboration with his administration, with a view to ensuring sustainable growth and development in Bauchi State.
Also speaking, the State PDP chairman, Hamza Koshe Akuyam, welcomed the speaker into the PDP, declaring that Sulaiman was one of the prominent politicians who joined the PDP.
According to him, with the PDP’s performance and ability, it would emerge victorious in the 2023 general elections in the State and the country in general.
*Femi Falana To Buhari: Pardon All Thieves, Criminals Like Jolly Nyame, Joshua Dariye*.
Human rights activist and lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN) has slammed the Muhammadu Buhari-led government for granting state pardon to former Governors of Plateau and Taraba, Joshua Dariye and Jolly Nyame respectively.
Speaking at the one year remembrance programme for the late Publicity Secretary of Afenifere, Yinka Odumakin, Falana said other jailed criminals should get the same privilege.
The Council of State meeting presided over by President Buhari pardoned the former governors, who were jailed for corruption, alongside 157 others on Thursday.
While stating that the pardon for Nyame and Dariye was wrong, Femi Falana said under the 1999 constitution, there is equality for all citizens.
He said that the state pardon has to be extended to all thieves and criminals serving jail terms in various prisons.
“My reaction is that all criminals, all thieves and criminals in our prisons should be released.
“Because section 17 of the constitution says there shall be equality, equal rights for all citizens and section 42 said there shall be no discrimination on the basis of class, gender, whatever, so you can’t take out two people and leave the rest there. It’s illegal,” he said.
On the 1999 constitution, Falana said it should be referred to as decree 24 on 1999.
He stated that the so called constitution was not duly signed by then Head of State, Abdulsalam Abubakar.
Falana said: “What the National Assembly has continued to do is to amend illegality. The so-called 1999 constitution is really decree 24 of 1999. When you see the so-called constitution, you will not the signature of the man who signed the law, that’s the fraud.
“When you see a law, the name of the person who signed it should be there with the date.
“Decree 24 of 1999 was promulgated by General Abdulsalam Abubakar on the 5th of May 1999 but today you will not see his name on it. It’s a fraudulent document.
“The decree was imposed on us the last set of military dictators in Nigeria headed by Gen. Abubakar and because that document is okay for members of the ruling class regardless of their political parties, ethic regional or religious inclination, they are all comfortable with the document so they can’t do anything about it including all those we are campaigning today to be President.
“It is to retain the status quo and perhaps adjust it here and there, that is the only thing they are saying, so those who are contesting particularly on the platform of the ruling party are saying we are going to continue the programme of the Buhari administration that has put our country in problem.
“Nigeria has become a huge joke in the committee of nations and so for any set of people to say they want to package his rickety vehicle and begin to panel beat it, it’s not going to move.”
*Sowore Tweets Old Tinubu Video, Says APC Chieftain Plans To Recruit Nigerian Youths Into Army, Starve Them*.
The Revolution Now activist, Omoyele Sowore, on Saturday, accused the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and presidential aspirant, Bola Tinubu of scheming to starve Nigerian youths.
Sowore made this call in reference to a suggestion by Tinubu in March 2021, over the insecurity and under policing situations across the country.
In a tweet on Saturday via his verified Twitter handle, and a video of Tinubu, Sowore said, “Employ 50 million youths into the Nigerian military and starve them to death, according to Bola Tinubu of APC.”
Tinubu had asked the Federal Government to recruit 50 million youths into the Nigerian Army in a bid to oust the insurgents and miscreants threatening the nation’s peace.
“We are under-policed and we are competing with armed robbers and bandits to recruit from the youths who are unemployed —33 per cent unemployed?
“Recruit 50 million youths into the army, what they will eat —cassava, corn, yam, will grow here.
“Don’t talk about illiteracy, anybody who can hold a gun, who can handle a gun, who can cock and shoot is technically competent to repair a tractor in the farm,” the Asiwaju stated while addressing guests at the 12th colloquium organised in his honour in Kano.
*Kaduna Train Attack: FG Dares Terrorists, Reject Their Demand For Release Of Commanders*.
The federal government of Nigeria is not ready to meet the demands of bandit terrorists that attacked the Abuja-Kaduna train on March 28.
While it has been established that the government has started negotiating with the terrorists on how to secure the release of victims kidnapped during the attack, fresh information on the negotiations has it that some of the terms given by the abductors are not acceptable to the government.
Particularly, it will be recalled that the terrorists had in a viral video asked the Nigerian Government to meet their demands or they will kill the abducted victims in their custody.
In the video, the terrorists had threatened to “turn their abode into an abattoir” if the government fails to heed to their demands.
Though they failed to identify the specific thing they want, the terrorists disclosed that they are not after money but the government knows what they want and should be fast in meeting their demands.
On Sunday, the terrorists released another video where some of the captives were seen calling on the government to come to their rescue.
However, later on, the terrorists are understood to have specifically demanded the release of 16 top commanders and sponsors in government detention centres in exchange for the release of the kidnapped victims.
But this demand is not acceptable to the government, sources have confirmed and the government’s refusal is understood to have stalled negotiations for the release of the victims.
The government is also not ready to pay ransom for the victims.
A source quoted by Punch said, “The Federal Government is looking into their demands because of the hostages, but the government is being cautious; it cannot meet the demands of the terrorists. The last time the government released some commanders, they went back and the insurgency became worse.
“So, nobody is considering releasing the commanders. The terrorists were also given money previously and the situation did not improve.”
*Nigerian Army Troops Kill Top ISWAP Commander Abu Fatima With Super Tucano Bombs*.
Troops of the Nigerian Army have eliminated another top commander of the Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP) identified as Abu Fatima.
The ISWAP Commander was killed alongside fifteen other fighters in the Lake Chad area following massive airstrikes by troops of the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) using the Super Tucano jet fighters.
According to information made available to the media, the successful airstrikes were carried out on April 9, 2022, by the Nigerian Air Force Super Tucano in coordination with the Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNJTF), Niger Air Task Force’s Mi35 and Mi171 Helicopter Gunship.
The strikes targeted identified hideouts of the terrorists in the North of Jubularam in Marte Local Government Area of Borno state.
Quoting a top military source on the incident, a counter-insurgency expert and security analyst Zagazola Makama said, “The successful airstrikes were carried out on April 9, 2022, by the Nigerian Air Force Super Tucano in coordination with the MNJTF, Niger Air Task Force’s Mi35 and Mi171 helicopter Gunship, targeting an identified hideouts of the terrorists in the North of Jubularam in Marte LGA
“The surgical airstrikes were conducted on the strength of credible intelligence which indicated that the Commander and his fighters had taken a position to fight back against the crushing intrusion of their enclaves in the Lake Chad by the combined forces
“A ground assessment shows that Abu-Fatima, a high ranking ISWAP Commander Of Rijal Amne (Special Forces), who took over from Bakura RPG, and Adam Kaiga after they were killed in the previous military airstrikes, was neutralised in the attack.
“The notorious ISWAP Commander who has about 500 fighting militant troops under his special forces’ command has his jurisdiction in the entire southern islands, including Kirta Wulgo, Sabon Tumbu, Kwaleram, Sigir, Jibularam, Abbaganaram and Yarwa Kura.”
*2023: Wike Vows To Stick With PDP Irrespective Of Presidential Primary Outcome*.
The Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, said on Saturday he would remain in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) irrespective of the outcome of the party’s presidential primary slated for next month.
He stated this addressing the party’s stakeholders in Niger State on his presidential ambition.
The governor stressed that he has nothing against the consensus arrangement if it was based on equity, justice and fairness.
Wike called for the support of the party members, saying he has the capacity to wrest power from the All Progressive Congress (APC) next year.
He said: “I am here today to tell you that I have made myself available to run for the seat of the President of this country under our party, PDP, I have been a member of the PDP since 1988, I have never left the party and I will never leave.
“I can become the President if I get the mandate of delegates to make me the flag bearer. The country needs someone will who see white and call it white and black and call it black and that person is me.”
He promised to handle the country’s security challenges effectively, insisting that the current administration had failed to protect the lives and property of Nigerians.
*2023: Adamu Garba To Join Presidential Race*.
Former presidential aspirant, Adamu Garba has disclosed his intentions to join the 2023 presidential race.
The CEO of Crowee, via his Facebook page on April 15, noted that he will be making his intentions of presidential ambition known to the general public on the 16th, April 2022.
Notifying the public about his declaration, Garba wrote; “I will be declaring to aspire for the office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria tomorrow 16 April 2022 insha Allahu. Let’s do this for our country, guys. May Allah, the Guarantor, Guardian and Grantor of Power and Authority see us through.”
He also shared photos of the stage for declaration with the caption; “Declaration stage getting ready. At a very symbolic location. May Allah see us through.”
Recall, Garba was a Presidential aspirant in 2019 under the All Progressives Congress (APC). He, however, stepped down for President Muhammadu Buhari who later clinched the party’s ticket.
*‘How Osinbajo Rejected Obasanjo’s Juicy Offer To Betray Bola Tinubu’*.
A veteran journalist, Mustapha Ogunsakin has claimed that Vice President Yemi Osinbajo rejected the chance to become Nigeria’s Attorney-General and Minister of Justice under the administration of ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo.
The journalist stated this on Friday amidst claims that Osinbajo has betrayed his benefactor and national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Ahmed Tinubu, for declaring to contest in the 2023 presidential election.
Ogunsakin claimed that Obasanjo offered Osinbajo, who was then Lagos State Commissioner of Justice, the AGF role in 2005 but Nigeria’s vice-president rejected the offer out of loyalty to Tinubu.
He said: “In 2005, President Obasanjo invited Osinbajo to take appointment as the Attorney-General of the Federation after Chief Akin Olujimi left office. Obasanjo saw the sterling qualities and performance that Osinbajo had as Attorney General of Lagos.
“The president without informing Bola Tinubu, the then Lagos State Governor, offered the post to Osinbajo who was then Lagos State Attorney-General. The first thing Osinbajo did was to inform his principal, Tinubu, who gave him a free hand to take his decision.”
According to the veteran journalist, Osinbajo asked Obasanjo to release the withheld Lagos State Council funds before he accepts the offer.
But Obasanjo asked him to first take the appointment and then advise him as Attorney-General of the Federation on the matter.
Ogunsakin said: “Osinbajo went underground and for weeks Obasanjo could no longer reach him.
“It was obvious to the then President that Osinbajo deliberately avoided him; he went on to appoint Chief Bayo Ojo as his Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice.
“Osinbajo rejected the position of Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice and stayed with Tinubu; nobody complained then.”
While cautioning those calling Osinbajo a betrayer, Ogunsakin said the VP not only stood with Bola Tinubu, but stayed loyal to Lagos State.
*PDP Extends Dates For Sales, Submission Of Nomination Forms*.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has adjusted the dates for the sales and submission of its nomination forms for the 2023 general elections, while extending the closing dates in the process.
According to a statement signed by the party’s National Publicity Secretary, Debo Ologunagba, on Friday, the adjustment is to enable the “party to make up for the two days Easter public holidays announced by the Federal Government.”
Going by the new timetable, the last day for the purchase of all forms has been extended to Tuesday, April 19, 2022, while the last day for the submission of already completed forms has also been extended to Wednesday April 20, 2022.
Part of the statement reads:
“Consequently, the following new dates have been fixed for the screening of aspirants for various positions:
“State House of Assembly: Friday, April 22, 2022,
“National Assembly: Monday, April 25, 2022
“Governorship: Tuesday, April 26, 2022
“Presidential: Wednesday, April 27, 2022
“Screening Appeals are scheduled as follows:
“State House of Assembly: Monday, April 25, 2022,
“National Assembly: Wednesday, April 27, 2022
“Governorship: Friday, April 29, 2022
Presidential: Saturday, April 30, 2022.
“All other dates as earlier published remain unchanged. Please note that all duly completed State Assembly Forms are to be submitted at the various States Secretariat of the Party”.