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Southern Nigeria must produce president in 2023, Akeredolu insists

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Akure—The Ondo State Governor Rotimi Akeredolu has insisted that a southerner should emerge as Nigerian President in 2023 in order to maintain the country’s power rotation arrangement.

Since the return to civil government in 1999, power rotation has been an unwritten agreement in the nation, according to Akeredolu, and it needs to be rectified right away.

He said this on Wednesday at the one-year remembrance of Prof. Bankole Oke of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Ibadan, while delivering a lecture entitled, ‘Nigeria: The politics of religion in a transitional society,’ the Punch newapaper reports.

He advised Nigerians to make sure that power did not return to the North under what he described as the guise of a party to a southerner as its vice-presidential candidate.

The presidential candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), Atiku Abubakar and Ibrahim Kwankwaso are two of the prominent northern names contesting for President in 2023.

He said, “A party that picked somebody from the North as its presidential candidate is not doing so in the country’s interest. (Peter) Obi has the right to contest because he is from the South.

“We are ready to give it whatever it takes to make sure power returns to the South in 2023.”

“There appears to be an understanding that power must rotate between the North and the South. This understanding witnessed the contest of two candidates from the South-West for the Presidency. It was part of the unwritten agreement that the power equation must be balanced to allay the fear of domination harboured by the people of the South.

“There is a conscious attempt not to disrupt the extant agreement. There has been a seamless transition from one civilian regime to another since 1999, the longest in the political history of the country.

Read also: You are not representing Igbo, stay away from Igbo land—MASSOB tells Okowa

“The current political permutations raise strong suspicions on an undeclared motive to thwart the arrangement that has been working for the country. The rotation of the office of the President is between the North and the South since the inception of the Fourth Republic,” he added.

The governor issued a warning to Nigerians, cautioning them to watch out for political ploys to use religion to polarise the populace.

Religion should not be a factor in determining those elected and appointed into offices, according to Akeredolu, but rather, it should be about their capacity to deliver.

He urged Nigerians to be hopeful that their country would become great once again, saying that before independence, Nigerian leaders toiled hard to reclaim power from the colonial masters.

He, however, acknowledged that the road to reclaiming greatness was taking too long for Nigeria.

In order to solve the rampant insecurity in the nation, he emphasised the need to reform Nigeria and have a state police.

“Religion is currently being deployed most shamelessly by the elites to gain unmerited advantage. The earlier we stop this dangerous and divisive campaign, the better it will be for everyone.

“Any war fought to establish the supremacy of a faith over others can only end in tears. The manipulative skills of politicians currently put to use will aggravate an already bad situation,” he said.

Politics

People want to use me to make money—Tinubu explains why he snubs debates

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London—The presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, has said those inviting him for debates are only trying to use him to make money because he’s a marketable individual.

Channels Television reports that the former governor of Lagos State said this at Chatham House in London on Monday, barely 24 hours after he snubbed a town hall meeting attended by three other candidates in the 2023 presidential race.

Fielding a question from the audience on why he snubbed debates, Tinubu said, “I see myself as a marketable individual. You want to use me to make money and I’m saying no.”

On controversies surrounding his age, school and time in the private sector, he said, “At the time of birth, I was dated March 29, 1952, in the family record. Then, I don’t think I had decided to be President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, not even that I would go into politics.

“I’ve had a very good record in life. My record is consistent in the university they questioned. They’ve now confessed that they wasted their money and their time. The record is there, and the transcript is there showing March 1952.

“I’m not claiming another father, I’m Tinubu and Tinubu proper. If they want a DNA, they could as well request for one.

“One of them was even accused of not being a Nigerian citizen, I didn’t touch that area.

“Equally, it remains the same. Chicago State University where I graduated has attested to that. Now, I can announce that I have received my original replacement degree certificate from them.

“Deloitte trained me as an accountant. Mobile Oil has attested to my outstanding record. I got to the pinnacle of my career in the private sector. Who among them can brag about that?

“Yes, you want to wrestle with the pig, you’ve got to live with the dirt. That’s what I’m doing. I got into politics knowing fully well that it is muddy water. Smog will come, and you will have to live with the dirt and make sure you are upright to finish the job.”

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Dogara joins PDP from APC after declaring support for Atiku

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Abuja —Former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara has dumped the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) for the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Channels Television reports that Dogara was received into the party during the presidential campaign by the party’s presidential candidate and former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar in the nation’s commercial capital, Lagos State.

This comes 48 hours after a group led by Dogara, the Northern Leaders Consultative Forum adopted Atiku as the preferred presidential candidate for the 2023 election.

On December 2, the group consisting of Christian and Muslim religious and political leaders in the north said after evaluation of all the presidential candidates, Abubakar is “the best”.

“It is evident that the All Progressives Congress (APC) is heading for implosion and extinction; hence, it cannot be the party for now and in the future, because of its rejection to embrace inclusiveness in a diverse country like Nigeria. After the 2023 elections, APC may be dead and buried as a political party,” the group said.

“While the duo (NNPP and LP) may emerge as strong contenders in the political arena in the future, from all indications, PDP appears to be the best option to adopt and support.

“All it takes is to sustain and tackle some of the problems and challenges this country faces.

“Certainly, with proper consultations and inclusive appointments, which is mindful of the federal character principle with a sincere consideration of diverse issues such as religious affiliation, geographical location, and ethnic identity, which many believe will enhance justice, fairness and equity, after a careful evaluation of all the issues highlighted above, we now recommend the adoption of the PDP to all lovers of democracy in Nigeria for the 2023 presidential election,” the group said.

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My administration’s prudent with 13% derivation, other funds, says Diri

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Yenagoa—Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, has said the focus of his administration is to open up the riverine state by linking rural communities by roads.

The governor speaking through his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Daniel Alabrah, on a Yenagoa-based radio station on Saturday, said Bayelsa was not in competition with any other state as all states had their peculiar needs and priorities.

According to the governor, one of the major challenges of the state is its riverine nature, which restricts access to rural communities by road as well as hinder agricultural produce from reaching markets in the state capital and other cities.

He said, “This is why our administration is focused on constructing roads to rural communities where the bulk of the poor people live.”

Diri further stated that his administration is prudently expending its 13% derivation funds and other refunds by the Federal Government on the construction of the three senatorial road projects as well as other people-oriented projects.

He listed some of the ongoing big-ticket projects to include the 42km Sagbama-Ekeremor road, which costs N34.4 billion with seven bridges and five already done by his administration.

He also said the 22.2km Yenagoa-Oporoma road will gulp N31.4 billion as well as the 21km
Igbogene-Elebele road expected to gulp N54.56 billion.

“Our administration has also embarked on the first phase of the Nembe-Brass road with 10 bridges at a cost of N54 billion as well as the 10.2km dual carriageway Glory Drive road from the Ecumenical Centre at Igbogene to the Tombia-Amassoma road.”

Some other infrastructure projects embarked upon by the administration were listed to include the 4.5km Igbedi road, the media complex, Elebele bridge, Nembe Unity bridge, phase one of the Igbogene-Elebele ring road, lecture halls and laboratories at the Bayelsa Medical University, which were all completed and inaugurated during the administration’s second anniversary in February this year.

Governor Diri further stated that his administration has equally carried out numerous training and empowerment programmes such as the ICT-focused Diri Digital Entrepreneurship Empowerment Programme (DDEEP) with 8,000 beneficiaries across the eight local government areas of the state as well as training in other vocational areas such as catering, fashion designing, shoe making and agriculture.

“No fewer than 500 of our youths and women have been trained at the CSS Integrated Farms in Nasarawa State,” stressing that the government is setting up those trained to own their farms and small-scale businesses.”

In addition, he said the administration initiated a social welfare scheme that captures small business in the rural communities.

According to him, under this scheme, 210 different beneficiaries from each of the 105 wards in the state get N200,000 each monthly to grow their small businesses.

While acknowledging that the state had received the crude oil, SURE-P and oil subsidy refunds from the Federal Government in installments in the last two years, Diri said the receipts had always been captured in the monthly transparency briefings and that the state had nothing to hide.

The Bayelsa helmsman insisted that insinuations in some quarters that the government did not disclose the receipt of the funds is false and urged the people to pay attention to the transparency briefings as the financial books of the state were always open.

He further explained that statutory allocations to Bayelsa and its internally generated revenue were not more than N3 billion monthly, saying it is the derivation funds that make it possible for the state to embark on the big projects as well as pay workers salary regularly.

He assured that his administration was determined to make a positive difference in the lives of people of the state.

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