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2023: vote candidates who believe in one Nigeria, Jonathan admonishes Nigerians 

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Owerri—Ahead of the 2023 presidential election, the former president of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan, on Saturday called on Nigerians to vote for the presidential candidate of any political party that believes in the unity of Nigeria.

Jonathan made this call on the lecture series to mark the 80th birthday of Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, which took place in Owerri, with the theme “Igbo Quest for Nigeria’s Unity.”

According to Jonathan, “Iwuanyanwu is a man of many colours and a meticulous investor whose positive story would guide the leaders of the country. Iwuanyanwu is a man of victory and his songs tell a story he has continued to place unity above parochial interest.”

He added: “Ahead of the election, politicians must cut and deemphasise on our differences. Especially, the youths should come out and vote for those who believe in the unity of Nigeria. Let us work as one and everybody will have a sense of belonging.”

In his speech, the chief host and the governor of Imo state, Hope Uzodimma, said: “Ndigbo loves Nigeria and the evidence is everywhere. The Igbo love Nigeria fervently with all their heart.

“The problem is that the Igbos saw that Nigeria doesn’t reciprocate that same love the Igbos have for Nigeria. Despite the harsh policies and negative effects of the civil war the Igbos rose and embrace a united Nigeria.”

However, the governor said: “The Igbos have flaws. We are weak in negotiations. We always believe we can do it alone. The Igbo can achieve presidency through negotiations.”

Read also: Put proposed stadium project on hold, provide roads, housing, lecturer urges Bayelsa govt

While delivering a lecture on the theme: “The Igbo quest for Nigeria’s unity” the quest lecturer former President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, Chief Nnia Nwodo said: “No attempt should be made to force Igbos out of political relevance, we are as qualified as other Nigerians and Nigeria needs all of us now.

“We must stop brooding over what has happened to us in the past, we can still make a country. Our industry and acceptability are evidence of our preparedness to serve and our quest for Nigeria’s unity is unswerving.”

“Iwuayanwu was a victim of imperialism. He has continued to project dialogue for the betterment of Igbos in Nigeria. The Igbos have heavily invested in many areas including the economy, entertainment and others.

“Igbos we’re doing great then because of the evolution of power. Nigeria cannot pacify the Igbos or the northern Christians who have been relegated to second-class citizens. The only way out is for us to return to what was it before that is restructuring. so that our people can manage their economy.”

The Secretary General of Afenifere, Shola Oduseni, said: “It is not the fault offers that the Igbos could not produce the president. It is the problem of the constitution.

“Just like the entire South East has 95 local government areas. If we go to Kano and one other local government has more local government than the entire South East region.”

The representative of the Middle Belt forum, Birtrus Pogu, briefly said: “We have agreed that we will support the Igbos for presidency come 2023. We decided because of marginalisation.”

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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