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Ayu collected N1b from Lagos, manipulated PDP presidential primary, says Gov Wike

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Port Harcourt—The Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has accused the national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Iyorchia Ayu of obtaining the sum of N1billion in the guise of funding the party, but never remitted the money to the party’s account.

He emphasised that the PDP boxed itself in its current quagmire and to disentangle itself the remedies will include making sacrifices that engender inclusivity.

Governor Wike spoke in Port Harcourt during a live media chat on Friday.

A statement by Kelvin Ebiri, Special Assistant on Media to the Rivers State Governor, quoted Wike as saying, “will he (Ayu) deny the fact that he did not collect N1 Billion from Lagos? Let him deny it, I will tell him who gave him the money.

“The money was given to him in Lagos. He met one of the presidential aspirants and told him that he is not sure these governors may want to sponsor the party. Let Ayu say no. I will even call some of the businessmen and how the money was arranged in Lagos. That money did not enter into the account of PDP.”

The governor who accused Ayu of corruption said he exerted pressure on some of the PDP presidential aspirants like governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State and former Senate President, Abubakar Bukola Saraki, to step down for Alhaji Atiku Abubakar on the day of the convention.

“There’s nothing Ayu did not do for me not to emerge as the PDP candidate. Ayu did everything to manipulate the system to ensure that all the numbers did not add up,” he said.

He said the call for the resignation of Senator Ayu within the party bordered on justice, fairness and equity. According to him, “development alone is not the only problem Nigeria has. Insecurity alone is not the only problem Nigeria has.

“Part of our problem is none inclusivity of people, certain section believing they are being marginalised. Whether you like it or not you must show that you have the capacity to bring everybody together.”

Wike disclosed that the PDP’s presidential candidate, Alhaji Abubakar Atiku had during the meeting they held in London promised to work out within a week modalities for the resignation of Senator Ayu as national chairman, but never did.

He explained that after the one week that was promised elapsed, instead of returning to them to state the challenges encountered, the presidential candidate is now using the PDP constitution as defence.

“You are talking about constitution now, but you forget that the constitution says there should be zoning of elective and party offices.

“You did not remember that constitution says so. Now, is there nothing called expediency? Is there nothing called doctrine of necessity? Now, look at where we have found ourselves.”

He further added: “ab initio, the presidency ought to have been zoned to the South, you knew it. What you’ve done is to show how clever or smart you are. Now, there is crisis you’re now falling back to that constitution to say that there will be a constitutional crisis. You cannot eat your cake and have it. You can’t.”

The governor noted that the National Executive Committee (NEC) of PDP could take the decision now to accommodate the resignation of Senator Ayu as the national chairman and seek ratification at a convention later after the elections.

According to Governor Wike, such a decision will be for expediency purposes in order to allow for a southerner to become the national chairman of the PDP.

“All we want is, now that you have given the presidency to the North, let us (South) take our own chairman, because when they’re meeting for decision making, the presidential candidate seats there, national chairman seats there, the DG of campaign seats there, they take a decision and come out and tell you to execute.
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“Now, I hear the Board of Trustees (BOT) chairman is gone. Why did they put pressure on the BOT chairman to resign and then now you cannot put pressure on the national chairman to resign?

“When I was trying to run as governor, I had a lot of crises. But I had to let go of certain things for us to be able to win the election. The problem is that we have not won the election, we are arrogant,” Wike asserted.

The Governor said those who are advising the PDP presidential candidate to ignore Rivers State votes don’t wish him well in the forthcoming general election.

He said, “Anybody advising Atiku that is a wicked man, and I know those who are doing it. They don’t have electoral value in their own unit. Some of them are from Edo. Look at their calculation. Buhari didn’t win in Rivers State, but Buhari won Lagos and Kano.

“Does Atiku have Lagos now, does he have Kano? The only one he has, always had is Rivers and you say you don’t want them.”

Wike specifically accused Alhaji Adamu Maina Waziri, who hails from Yobe State and lacks political relevance, of being one of those misleading the PDP presidential candidate.

“Has PDP won Yobe State? now, what is his electoral value that he (Waziri) will bring to the table? Tell me, since 1999 we started this democracy, PDP has never won Yobe State and then you are going about, we will deal with him. We will sanction him.”

The governor said it has become imperative for the PDP to prove to Nigerians that it can be trusted with their votes, which will return it to power in 2023.

He cautioned the PDP against taking Nigerians for granted saying they are already disenchanted with the failure of the All Progressives Congress (APC) led federal government.

Wike pointed out that the promise of hope by PDP to Nigerians must be seen from how it is able to resolve the current leadership imbalance and marginalisation among its members.

“You see, people take Nigerians for granted and that’s what PDP is trying to do. Because Nigerians are not happy with APC and therefore, we don’t want to do the right thing. You don’t do that.

“Rather, since we believe that the APC government has not done well then, we, as people, who want to take over should show more seriousness to Nigerians.

“It is we as a party that must show to Nigerians that we have integrity, that we are trustworthy to do what we have promised Nigerians that when we come, all these issues of marginalisation will be a thing of the past,” 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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