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Of Misfiring Myth-makers and a Tainted god

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My good friend, Obiora Aghadinuno reacts to the growing attempt to blame Governor Willie Obiano for the decision of the management of International Breweries Plc to site its new brewery in Ogun State; a purely business decision. In his fiendish, take-no-prisoners approach, he challenges Val Obienyem to explain to Ndi Anambra why there is no outlet of NEXT Shopping Mall in Anambra State.

Val Obienyem, the misfiring myth-maker began his menu of lies with the following paragraph –
“The makers of Hero were brought to Nigeria by Mr. Peter Obi in the nineties. As governor, he pulled all strings possible to get them to build their facilities in Anambra State. Off (sic) course they were not enthusiastic about that but only banked on Obi’s integrity, having dealt with him over the years.”
Whenever Obienyem writes, every line reeks with obscene praise-singing. And we are reminded of ‘integrity’ that has since bled to death through so many avoidable lies.
Sadly, Obienyem has learned nothing. He was re-writing the history of International Breweries Plc, a company that has a website that can be accessed by anyone from any part of the globe. A quick visit to the company’s website gives us a totally different story.
It says – “International Breweries was founded in 1971 by Dr. Lawrence Omole and commenced production in December 1978 with the launch of Trophy lager. We were listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange in 1995. From humble beginnings, our portfolio has grown and now includes Trophy Lager, Trophy Black, Castle Milk Stout, Castle Lager, Redds, Hero, Grand Malt, Betamalt malt drink and Voltic Water. Our brewery and corporate headquarters are located at Omi-Asoro, Ilesa in Osun State and with distribution centres in Ibadan, Lagos and Ilorin.”
With this backdrop, the fatuous claim about who brought who into the country is sincerely of little consequence. What is a fact, however, is that International Breweries Plc, Pabod Breweries Limited and Intafact Beverages Limited merged in late 2017 and became subsidiaries under AB InBev, a multi-national brewery based in Leuven, Belgium. Obienyem should look for another straw to clutch at.
Then came what is obviously another embarrassing lie from Obienyem; “After he left office, the people met with Anambra Government on the project, but got the shock of their lives, just as happened to Distel people. You are left to imagine the impact of the shock that made them move over to Ogun State immediately. This is a story for another day.” How can a company that began its operation in Ogun State 47 years ago “move over to Ogun State immediately” after Peter Obi left office in 2014? Haba Val! This is utterly preposterous! Please, apply a little more rigour to your efforts next time.
I find it appalling that in the same piece where Val was blaming Governor Obiano for allegedly discouraging International Breweries from investing in Anambra State, he made a naive attempt to have his cake and eat it when he wrote; “In his characteristic way, when I asked certain questions, Obi world tell me that the most important thing was that the project would be of benefit to the entire country, refusing to be caught by provincialism.” Obi and his team are masters of double-speak. In one breath, they scoff at provincialism and in another they wail in the open that a phantom opportunity has been lost by a particular province. They assume that they could easily practice reverse psychology on Ndi Anambra and no one would notice. Obi made a business decision as a shadow director in the company and suddenly wants to exploit the political baggage of his decision by crying wolf where there is none. But we must tell him not to point a broken finger at the governor of Anambra State for any reason.
This is beacsue, the Onitsha office of Interfact Beverages Limited was one of the first important places that Governor Obiano visited when he assumed office in 2014. During the visit, he assured the management of his unflinching support and his readiness to create an environment that would boost the company’s sales figures and facilitate its expansion plans. Governor Obiano also assured them that he would intervene in persuading a neighbouring company to cede a part of its adjourning property to enable SABMiller carry out its own expansion plans. As usual, Obiano kept his promise. The facts are there for anyone who cares to verify. So, the claim that the management approached Anambra State Government is false. On the contrary, it was the governor that led his Economic Team to the company to hear its challenges and seek areas of intervention.
Since that visit, SABMiller Breweries which started out in 2012 with an installed capacity of 500,000 hectolitres has expanded three times. It first increased its capacity to 1.2 million hectolitres and then to 1.7 million hectolitres and finally to 2.7 million hectolitres. SABMiller invested $100 million to bring this expansion to conclusion.
All these happened within four years. They happened because Ndi Anambra are no more afraid to come out and share a beer with their family and friends. They are no more afraid to hold marriage ceremonies, New Yam festivals, Afiaolu, Nwafor and other festivals too numerous to mention here in the state. Unfortunately, when Val Obienyem and his boss, Peter Obi ruled Anambra State, armed robbers and kidnappers would not allow the residents breath freely let alone come outdoors for any ceremony that would allow SABMiller sell a crate of malt. Again, how many families in Peter Obi’s Anambra State could afford a bottle of Beta Malt brand? Is it not the administration that former CBN Governor, Prof Chukwuma Soludo heavily blamed for spreading poverty all over the state? Disgusted with Obi’s Messianic toga and empty boasts about saving, the globally acclaimed economic genius had said, “while Obi gloated about ‘savings’ there is no signature project to remember his regime except that his regime took the first position among all states in Nigeria in the democratization of poverty – mass impoverishment of the people of Anambra. According to the National Bureau of Statistics, poverty rose under his watch in Anambra from 20% in 2004 (lowest in Nigeria then) to 68% in 2010 (a 238% deterioration!). Haha! This is fact! With such a gloomy domestic economic climate at a time Nigeria was in a season of plenty, who could buy a bottle of Hero in Obi’s Anambra? Soludo should know. He is an authority!
Indeed, it is painful to see how disingenuously, Val Obienyem suddenly seeks to burnish a political career that plunged to the lowest depths in the last Anambra gubernatorial election with his absurd piece of hagiography. But Obienyem’s effort is doomed because this halo cannot sit well on the head of a most unlikely saint. At every turn, our sensibilities are insulted by a phoney integrity that announces itself with a gong. Integrity is not hawked like a cheap jewel but we are always inundated with stories of one pair of shoes and a wrist watch. We are reminded that every governor in Nigeria is a wastrel except one exceptionally wise man from Agulu. And while they swear as has become their wont, that they own only one property, you wonder who owns Next Shopping Mall in Abuja and Port Harcourt. Don’t those ones qualify as property?
Now, the question Ndi Anambra must ask Val Obienyem the drummer and his dancer is, if they love Anambra so much, why did they not consider it a viable place to site any of the outlets of NEXT Shopping Mass that they are planting across the country, even in hostile territories? Ironically, while they were building NEXT Malls across the country, Peter Obi cleverly commenced some ‘political’ Shoprite Malls in Onitsha, Nnewi and Awka with no real intention of completing anyone of them.
Sincerely, if I were Val Obienyem, I would not allow myself to be so blinded by vendetta that I can no longer tell where to draw the line. I would not for instance rake up infantile controversies about investments when the man I serve choose to invest billions of dollars in other states after ruling Anambra for eight years. I would worry about the gut-wrenching hypocrisy that stares everyone in the face from my tactless grandstanding. I would worry that everyone now knows that whenever me and my boss talk, Nigerians hear only lies; that we have become the staple for comic jest and laughter.
The truth however is that contrary to Obienyem’s insinuation that Anambra State Government is discouraging investors; Anambra has become the favourite destination of investors. Obiano’s strategy of attracting Anambra’s numerous sons and daughters who are building industries across Nigeria has worked marvellously well. Many indigenes of the state have heeded his Aku luo uno call and big industrial agriculture is flourishing in the state. He has also catalysed a steady growth of the small and medium scale enterprises in the state through the Anambra Small Business Agency (ASBA) which has effectively empowered over 7000 entrepreneurs with N1.9bn. The Textile sector got the lion’s share of this credit package with 26.44% while Agriculture got 28.89%. They were closely followed by shoe makers who now have their own industrial cluster in Nkwelle Ezunaka with 23.92%. Trading got 15.71% while Cottage Industries got 1.585.
So, when benders of truth come to you with their dish of lies, look them in the eye and ask them to shove along. When Obienyem cobbles his poorly conceived hagiography about St Peter, remind him that if Anambra has enough financial power to host Onitsha Main Market, the largest market in West Africa it can also comfortably support an outlet of NEXT International. Indeed, when the cattle egret comes with his tall tales about a man who is so flawless the angels envy his righteousness, gently tell him that his day in the sun is over makana isi akwu dara n’ana edetugo aja!


Obiora Aghadinuno writes from Nsugbe.

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Flood: Obiano Holds Emergency Meeting With Stakeholders, Urges Residents Of Riverine Communities To Relocate

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BY KENECHUKWU OFOMAH

Ahead of the imminent flooding , Governor Willie Obiano has met with Heads of Agencies with responsibilities to participate in emergencies in the event of the deluge.
Present at the emergency meeting held at the Governor’s Lodge, Amawbia at the instance of the Governor were Deputy Governor, Dr Nkem Okeke, Secretary to the State Government, Professor Solo Chukwulobelu, Executive Secretary of the State Emergency Management Agency, SEMA,
Chief Paul Odenigbo and Chief of Staff to the Governor, Mr Primus Odili.
The meeting also had in attendance, members of the State Security Council and Heads of Agencies involved in emergency response activities among others.
Addressing the meeting, Governor Obiano said with emerging information indicating very worrisome signals concerning the rising flood level in some parts of the State and the latest information about Cameroun opening its dams, the meeting has become imperative to reappraise the initial strategies developed by the State Government to check the flooding.

The Governor, who noted that the State had commenced preparations for the event about five months ago, revealed that Holding Centers have been established across the affected Council areas and equipped with facilities to cater for displaced persons.
He appealed to residents of the affected areas to heed the warning by relevant agencies and vacate the flood-prone areas on time, assuring that his government is committed to their welfare.
The Deputy Governor, Dr Okeke in his remarks, acknowledged that all the agencies with responsibility during the flood have been designated to their various tasks and now await mobilization and deployment.
Briefing the meeting, the Executive Secretary of SEMA, Chief Odenigbo, said having finished with the Holding centers at Ogbaru, they have activated the nine Holding Centers in Anambra East Council Area and are now moving materials to them.
He noted that the water level is presently at eleven point eighty as against that of 2012 which was at twelve point eighty-four at its worst, adding that the signs are real of a devastating flood ahead.
The Commissioner for Health, Dr Joe Akabuike said the Ministry has worked out measures to establish sick bays at the holding centers with doctors designated to handle health emergencies that may arise.

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Nigeria Fires Back at HSBC After Bank Criticizes President

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  • Government says bank laundered more than $100m for Sani Abacha
  • Lender had said second term for Buhari raised economic risks

Nigeria accused HSBC Holdings Plc of money laundering after an analyst working for the lender said that a second term for President Muhammadu Buhari may stall economic recovery in Africa’s biggest oil producer.

“What killed Nigeria’s economy in the past was the unbridled looting of state resources by leaders, the type which was actively supported by HSBC,” presidential spokesman Garba Shehu said in a statement late Saturday. A bank that “continued until a few months ago to shield the stolen funds of one of the leaders of the Nigerian Senate has no moral right whatsoever” to criticize Buhari, he said.

Nigerian investigations revealed that HSBC had laundered more than $100 million for Sani Abacha — a military dictator who died in 1998 — in Jersey, Paris, London and Geneva, Shehu said. A spokesman for HSBC declined to comment.

Nigeria’s allegations against the London-based lender come almost two months after it published a research note saying that a win for Buhari in February’s elections “raises the risk of limited economic progress and further fiscal deterioration, prolonging the stagnation of his first term.” The note was written by David Faulkner, a Johannesburg-based economist, on July 18, but was only widely publicized in Nigeria last week.

‘50 Other Nigerians’
“With the coming of President Buhari, it is not a secret that corruption, corrupt individuals, banks and other corporate entities that aided corrupt practices are under investigation for various offenses,” Shehu said in the statement. HSBC “is also suspected in the laundering of proceeds of corruption involving more than 50 other Nigerians.”
The Nigerian government is facing intense criticism of its economic management in the run up to the elections and several ruling-party lawmakers have defected to the opposition. Nigeria was battered by the 2014 slump in crude prices and its economy is still struggling.

The main opposition People’s Democratic Party said on Sept. 12 that HSBC’s research showed a Buhari victory “portends grave danger” for the country.

‘On Edge’
“With the incoming election everybody is on edge and any analysis that is used to sway negative public opinion will be squashed as quickly as possible,” said Michael Famoroti, an economist at Lagos-based Vetiva Capital Management Ltd. “It’s possible the government is right in its claim but it completely missed the point because the issue HSBC raised had nothing to do with criminal or non-criminal activity. What is seen from their comments is that they don’t have the answers to the criticisms raised by HSBC.”

Regulators have long accused the world’s biggest banks of helping manage the illicit fortune amassed by Abacha, who ruled Nigeria from 1993 until his death. In 2001, a U.K. financial watchdog said 15 lenders showed “significant control weaknesses” in handling $1.3 billion linked to him and his associates. In 2014, the U.S. Department of Justice froze more than $458 million in funds allegedly generated through corruption hidden in bank accounts — including at HSBC, Citigroup Inc. and Deutsche Bank AG — in what it described as the “largest kleptocracy forfeiture action” in its history.

HSBC has a representative office in Nigeria’s commercial capital of Lagos, but doesn’t operate a full banking unit in the country, unlike rivals such as Citigroup and Standard Chartered Plc.


Paul Wallace , Emele Onu , and Donal Griffin
— With assistance by Elisha Bala-Gbogbo, and Stefania Spezzati

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NIGERIAN AIR FORCE COMMENCES REHEARSALS FOR AERIAL DISPLAY IN ABUJA

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The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) will carry out aerial display as part of activities to mark Nigeria’s 58th Anniversary Celebration. Consequently, there will be movement of NAF aircraft within the Federal Capital Territory from now till 2 October 2018 as NAF pilots commence rehearsals for the occasion. Fighter aircraft would be flying at low level during the rehearsals. The NAF therefore wishes to advise members of the public not to panic but to go about their normal businesses.


IBIKUNLE DARAMOLA
Air Commodore
Director of Public
Relations & Information

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Why Nigeria is a burgeoning market for UK legal services

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By Joshua Siaw

I recently had the honour of accompanying Prime Minister Theresa May on her monumental trade mission to Africa. A visit like this plays a fundamental role in continuing to strengthen UK-African relationships and building an alliance for future trade and investment growth. As the only lawyer in the delegation, I was able to advocate and highlight the strengths of our unparalleled legal sector to key African decision makers as well as take part in exclusive interviews with domestic and international media channels.

The Prime Minister’s business delegation on her visit to Africa. Credit: Crown copyright.

The current conversation about Africa is all about opportunities and new ventures. The often-misguided perceptions of economic uncertainty are beginning to shift. Its young and growing population, vast resources and largely untapped markets offer a wealth of prospects for international investment and most certainly for our UK legal services.
Nigeria in particular is a burgeoning market for UK legal services. The nation has consistently been ranked as one of the top three destinations for foreign direct investment in Africa. As the most populated country on the continent with approximately 186 million inhabitants, it has potential to become one of the largest economies.
The Ministry of Justice’s Legal Services are GREAT campaign is a prime example of government championing and promoting the UK’s £24 billion legal services sector overseas. As the British government’s plan to exit the European Union moves closer to its conclusion, it is estimated that trade between Nigeria and United Kingdom is set to double by 2030.
There currently are 111 African firms listed on the London Stock Exchange. This suggests that the UK remains an attractive international investment prospect which, in turn, creates opportunities for law firms in London. Many commercial law firms located in the UK have established relationships with Nigerian firms. This is partly because Nigeria’s legal system is based on English common law and there is huge growth potential.
Our legal services sector is one of the UK’s greatest exports and we want to continue to showcase our expertise on the global stage. Why not get involved in the Legal Services are GREAT initiative and champion the UK’s pre-eminent legal sector?


Joshua Siaw is a partner in White & Case’s Global Banking Practice and Director of the Firm’s Africa Practice.
To find out more, please email the team at legalservicesaregreat@justice.gov.uk

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I will not resign as senate president, Saraki insists

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Nigerian Senate president and 2019 presidential hopeful Bukola Saraki has said his position in the National Assembly is in the national interest, saying he will not step down until his term runs out.
Saraki had been under fire by the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to resign as Senate president since he left the party to join the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on August 1.
National chairman of APC, Adams Oshiomhole has consistently asked Saraki to step down as Senate president following his defection to the PDP.
“Saraki must vacate the position of Senate president as a matter of honour,” the APC chairman said.
“If he does not choose the path of honour he will be democratically removed as the president of the Senate. I am emphasing logic and political morality plus law.”
Oshiomhole claimed that it was unacceptable in any democracy for a minority party to provide leadership to govern the majority.
But, Saraki, who spoke to journalists during his visit to a former military ruler, Ibrahim Babangida in, in Minna, Niger State, said the APC lack the numbers to remove him as Senate president.

“One thing is clear, I will not sacrifice the interest of the country for my personal interest, and in the last three years as a senate president, I have demonstrated that my interest is second to that of national interest, I will not step down from the Senate presidency,” Saraki said.
“They know that we are in the majority, and whatever they want to do, they know that they don’t have the number.”
Saraki described the call for the National Assembly to reconvene for the purpose of removing him as unnecessary, stating that the Senate was properly adjourned and would reconvene as scheduled after its annual break.
“We did not adjourn the Senate in the dark, there was a procedure, where at the end of the session there was a vote and it was seconded that we should go on annual recess.”
“So it wasn’t anything done in the secret, everybody was there. It is not that some few people met somewhere and took the decision. Everybody participated and everybody took the decision that we should adjourn for a normal annual recess.
“The date that we agreed to resume is the same date that we resumed last year and the year before, so there is nothing abnormal about the Senate adjournment,” Saraki explained.

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Son of president of Court of Appeal joins Gombe governorship race

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The son of the first female president of Nigeria’s Court of Appeal Zainab Bulkachuwa has joined the race to succeed Hassan Dankwambo as the governor of Gombe State.
Aliyu Haidar Abubakar is contesting on the platform of the All Progressives Congress and has submitted his nomination and expression of interest forms at the party’s national headquarters in Abuja.
“The tragic and appalling level of governance in Gombe State demands a youthful leadership greatly imbued with charisma, foresight and vision,” youthful Abubakar said.

“My aspiration and fervent dream to pilot the affairs of the state and take it to the promised land are altruistic and noble.
“This is the time to change the Gombe narrative for good. It’s time the state takes its rightful position in the comity of states across the federation.
“It is sad that we are still at a crossroads, while sister states have become model for accelerated growth and progress in all facets of human endeavours.
“A new dawn awaits Gombe if I am elected next year. I will definitely raise the bar of exemplary, accountable and service leadership.”

 


Guardian

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2019 and APGA’s new game plan

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• To Field Presidential Candidate From North
Rising from an emergency meeting of its Board of Trustees (BOT) recently, the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) pulled what came as a surprise to many, when it announced its resolve to field a presidential candidate of northern extraction in the February 2019 election.
Observers had expressed surprise over the decision, apparently because of the previous position adopted by party leaders that APGA was not willing to contest the presidency in the coming elections.
National Chairman of the party, Chief Victor Oye and Governor Willie Obiano had been vocal on the issue. They hinged their reason on elections held in the state, which ended in the party’s favour without interference from the Presidency.
The elections were those of the November 2017 governorship that produced Obiano and the National Assembly re-run election that produced Chief Victor Umeh as Senator for Anambra Central. Umeh’s election delighted the party because it was the first time APGA was producing a senator.

In its 16 years of existence, APGA has never presented a candidate outside the Southeast region for the Presidency. This was due to the erroneous belief that APGA was an Igbo party and as such, is the platform for ascendancy of Igbo person to the highest political office in the land.
In fact, the Igbo appeal in the formation of APGA is summarised in the party’s Cock head logo and slogan of “Onye Aghala Nwannee ya;” meaning be your brother’s keeper.
And to lend credence to that fact, after its registration in 2002, the party moved to contest the presidential election in the 2003 elections. The first thing it did was to freely offer the platform to former Biafra warlord, late Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu to contest the presidency. Ojukwu, many knew, never prepared for the election and was not angling for a seat at the Presidency.
The party’s founding National Chairman, Chief Chekwas Okorie explained it as part of strategies to gain acceptability for the party in the country. He said the former warlord required no introduction and would be easier to market.
Okorie said it was an honour and a way of rewarding and appreciating the former warlord for his sacrifices for Ndigbo and support towards registration of the party.
At that gathering that held in Enugu, where he unveiled Ojukwu, Okorie also added: “Since the election has become a contest of the Generals, with our brothers from the two other zones in the country presenting their generals, we also need to present our own general. So, it is a contest that must be fought and we will not be seen as playing second fiddle.”
Okorie was referring to retired generals Olusegun Obasanjo and Muhammadu Buhari, who contested the election for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP). So, Obasanjo was coming from West, Buhari was coming from North and Ojukwu from East. He also explained that lack of time contributed to it.
The scenario that played out was such that the former warlord never contested the ticket with anybody. There was also no opportunity either for any other politician outside Igboland to vie for the ticket, just as there was no primary organised, where the Ikemba emerged. This development haunted the party and followed it to the election.
When the elections came and results were counted, APGA finished third behind Obasanjo and Buhari. Ojukwu secured a little above one million votes from the over 39 million valid votes cast in the election. Obasanjo, who emerged winner, secured over 24 million votes and Buhari, over 12 million votes.
Four years later, the party re-entered the scenario. This time, crisis over the outcome of governorship election in Anambra, as well as leadership of the party had crept in. Ojukwu was again drafted as the party’s flag bearer in the presidential election. The outing was poorer than before. APGA finished sixth, securing less than 160,000 votes. No thanks to the leadership crisis that had eaten deep into the party’s fabrics and Ojukwu’s indisposition to personally take his campaigns around the country, as well as his near imposition on the party.
Since the abysmal attempts and the crisis that developed, the APGA relapsed. Its worry became how to manage the victory in Anambra State and overcome the national leadership crisis.
In the 2011 and 2015 elections, the party openly announced endorsement of PDP presidential candidates.
Thus, after the emergency BOT meeting in which its National Secretary, Labaran Maku made the announcement that the party was now ready to play in national politics by fielding a presidential candidate in the 2019 elections, pundits were taken aback as to what prompted the somersault and fresh reawakening in the party.
A school of thought said the decision to contest might have been fuelled by realisation that the inability to present presidential candidates in past elections has not helped the party’s fortunes. Rather, the political parties it promoted and supported their candidates have conspired to undermine APGA.

Its National Publicity Secretary, Ifeatu Obi-Okoye told The Guardian that APGA was merely bidding its time to enable it reposition and play in the national politics. He said there was never a time the party ruled itself out of the 2019 presidential election, and that the opinions expressed earlier were personal ones.
He said: “The party never came up with an official statement on its unwillingness to present a candidate. There are differences between personal opinions expressed by someone and official statement from the party.
“We fielded Ojukwu on two occasions and after his death, a lacuna was created. We took time to mourn him and also considered the credibility of persons who could go for elections on the party’s platform. We must sustain the national drive which the party was set up for.”
On the decision to locate the Presidency in the north, he said: “We were more concerned and sensitive to the fact that there is power rotation between the north and south, and this is what the constitutional conference approved. Former President Goodluck Jonathan held that power for four years after completing the tenure left by his boss, Yar’Adua, who was from the north.
“So, if the south interrupted the north, when Jonathan took over, it means that naturally, you should allow the north to complete that tenure. They have taken over and we will allow that to continue.”
Another party chieftain, Joe Uzochukwu said: “APGA has been discovered to be a beautiful bride and pride of the Igbo nation. This is the right time to put square peg in square hole and round peg in a round hole. It is a perfect decision taken at the party’s Board of Trustees meeting, that this time around, we shall have a presidential candidate.”
He maintained that APGA had leadership challenges that affected some of its programmes, stressing however, that the problems had been surmounted.
“We have a good and strong leadership under the person of Chief Willie Obiano,” he explained. “He has shown what it takes to be a good leader, as chairman of Board of Trustees of the party. APGA’s inability to field a Presidential candidate, all this while, has been a problem to us. It has been a predicament not arriving or getting to where we are supposed to be.
“You must know that it is only when you have a presidential candidate that you can negotiate with other presidential candidates for what is called an accord. So, all along, we cannot say we have benefitted from the Federal Government, because it believed we are ‘woman wrapper,’ that we are always in the other room. But this time around, we are in the same room. We are fielding a presidential candidate. That’s the beauty of the decision taken by APGA now.”
It was gathered that two persons have indicated interests to use the party’s platform for the presidential election. One of the aspirants, a retired Major General of the Army is said to hail from Benue State, while the other is said to hail from Kaduna State.
But Ifeatu Obi-Okoye said: “We are hoping to get someone of quality, who will represent the party’s ideals and know that APGA has a different ideology. The entire thing is open to all. We want the best persons to contest in that election. APGA was never billed for endorsement of candidates from other political parties or contented with regional politics. We are eager to have a national spread and we believe that time has come.”

APGA And The Southeast
There are indications that the party, even with Igbo appeal, has not done well in the southeast since it came on board. Although it has contested in every election in the zone, this has not translated into victory, as it had always ended in the list of “those who also participated.”
Its only outstanding showing had been in the 2003 elections in which it won in Anambra State, and where it has continued to dominate and a few other states in the zone. It also won in Imo State in the 2007 elections. That victory was short-lived, as two years after, Governor Rochas Okorocha ran away with the mandate to the All Progressives Congress (APC). All efforts to recover that mandate and perhaps, spread to other states had been futile.
But towards the 2019 general elections, the party said it has repositioned to contest in every election and defend the outcome,assuring that its electoral victories would no longer be denied it.
Obi-Okoye said: “A lot has been done to reposition the party and enable it win elections in the Southeast. In Imo as at Wednesday, we have 16 governorship aspirants. We have paid the huge nomination fees. We have a coalition of persons led by Senator Ifeanyi Ararume, who have joined the party.
“We had earlier received a coalition from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from Chief Bright Nwalue. They joined us.
Today, we have at least five persons from each of the zones of the state contesting election. With this development, one cannot say APGA is not doing well in Imo.

“In Abia state, there is a strong desire by two camps to take over power. Our governorship candidate in the last election, Alex Oti held a rally in Aba, which no other party has been able to match, in terms of attendance and all that can go with it. Udensi held a similar rally at Aba and both events were hugely attended. The turnout indicated that APGA is acceptable in the state.
“We have weak links in Enugu and Ebonyi States, but in trying to solve them, we have dissolved the executive in Enugu State and we will soon reconstitute it. We have issued a stern warning to Ebonyi that they either sit up or be dissolved. We are no longer for games.

“Every seat in Anambra is being hotly contested. There is no free ticket in APGA. Even Senator Victor Umeh, our former National Chairman is recontesting his seat. He did not get a waiver. APGA has not drafted anyone into the race. You must be thrown up by the people and with that, we are sure we will win the election and sustain the tempo of progress.
“If you have been following history, you will know that our challenge mainly is not membership or acceptability. Our setbacks are mainly created by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), which will always throw up something to deny us victory.
“In 2015, everybody knew we won the election in Abia State. They came up with two local governments, where the figures did not agree to create confusion and deny us that victory. In 2007, we also won the election in Imo State with Rochas Okorocha. But a few years after, he decided to run away with our mandate to the All Progressives Congress (APC).
“In Nasarawa State, our governorship candidate, Labaran Maku was robbed of victory. It took four days for the main election results to be announced, because they were trying to perfect the rigging. APGA’s problem has been more of electoral challenge created by INEC. But we are going to defend our electoral victories with the last drop of our blood. We will ensure that votes count from this day forward. That is our resolve. No longer will anybody upturn what rightly belongs to the party.”


The Guardian

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Press Release : News of missing Girls Unfounded – Anambra State College of Education , Umunze .

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The management of the of Federal College of Education (Technical), Umunze, Anambra State has denied rumours that 16 female students of its secondary arm, Demonstration Secondary School have been declared missing.
Rumours had spread through the state of the invasion of the school by hoodlums, causing commotion in the hostel, while students scampered to safety, after which about 16 of the girls were said to have gone missing.
But a press release by Mr Sam Otti, public relations officer of the institution described the rumours as outright false.
He, however, confirmed that the school was invaded by some hoodlums, whose intent was to steal beverages from students of the college, but were quickly confronted, causing confusion in the hostel.
The release reads, “The attention of the management has been drawn to a widespread rumour of 16 female students missing from her secondary school arm, Demonstration Secondary School, Eziagu, following a burglary incident on Saturday night.
“The Management was alerted of an unfortunate incident where some hoodlums scaled the tall perimeter fence into the school premises and made their way into the hostels purposely to steal students’ beverages.
“The hoodlums were confronted by a porter and other staff on duty, who alerted the college security. The porter was injured in the process and is currently receiving treatment in a hospital.
“The commotion from the students in their hostels and efforts of the security men on duty forced the miscreants to escape from the scene.”
It stated that the DPO, Umunze police division and the monarch of the community have been alerted of the unfortunate incident, and the management of the institution has visited the school and ordered the College Chief Security Officer to reinforce security within the school premises, while more security officers have been deployed to the school for round-the-clock patrol.
The release further stated that, “Management reassures the students and their parents of high safety standard of the school, while assuring them that they will work closely with all the relevant security agencies to unmask the identities of these hoodlums and bring them to book.”
The institution also appealed to social media commentators to demonstrate responsibility in their reportage and ensure that the public get only the true version of events.


Additional Report  contributed by Joe Chukindi 

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Buhari Mourns On Nigeria’s Ambassador To Qatar

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President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed sadness over the sudden death of Nigeria’s Ambassador to Qatar, Mr. Abdullahi Bawa Wase.

The President, while extending his condolences to the family members, the government and people of Plateau State, praised the roles played by the late Wase in conflict resolution efforts in Plateau State.

He recalled that, even before his appointment as Ambassador, the late Wase was very prominently involved in community peace activism.
President Buhari in a statement prayed Allah to forgive the sins of the late Ambassador and grant his family the fortitude to bear the loss.

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PDP Demands Adeosun’s Arrest, Prosecution

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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) wants the immediate arrest and prosecution of former finance Minister, Kemi Adeosun, who resigned on Friday, for deserting national service and forging her National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) exemption certificate in addition to alleged impropriety and abuse of office as minister.

The party said President Muhammadu Buhari’s, administration has become notorious for shielding its many fraudulent and corrupt officials, and could not summon the rectitude to sack Mrs. Adeosun, adding that she would still be in office, if not for the sustained uproar by Nigerians and international creditors.
“our investigations reveal that the federal government, which earlier made efforts to defend Mrs. Adeosun, has already perfected a plot to help her to evade prosecution following fears that she could open up on the humongous corruption going on in the financial sector under the Buhari administration. The PDP is also aware of plots by the federal government to secretly move her out of the country, and for that we urge the international community to be alert and ensure she is repatriated to face justice in Nigeria should the federal government succeed in its devious plan”.

The PDP said it is also aware that president Buhari was not by any measure prepared to drop her from his cabinet, but for the demand by those responsible for her appointment, who protested her continued stay in office, although for their own selfish gains.
The PDP therefore demanded an immediate open inquest into the records of the finance ministry under Mrs. Adeosun, “to unravel all improprieties by the Buhari presidency cabal, including alleged diversion of oil proceeds, fraudulent oil subsidy deals, leading to high fuel price; depletion of our foreign reserves, embezzling of funds returned by Switzerland, payment of outrageous legal fees to lawyers for the repatriation of looted funds and other huge sleazes in the ministry”.
The party also insisted that president Buhari should be held responsible for all infractions in the finance ministry under Adeosun, as he appointed and retained her despite having information on the certificate forgery.

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Book Review : The Morning Sunset By Joy Chinwe Aguguo Duru

 

By Joy Chinwe Aguguo Duru
The Morning Sunset is a book written to sensitize our people over the issue of engaging in a perilous journey to Europe via Libya. It is a story written for everyone: the youths; kids; fathers and mothers. The continuing migration of people into Europe across the Mediterranean is unnecessary. People are not born to waste their future that way.
The Morning Sunset is simply passing a message to people in Africa. Those that have not been opportuned to visit western world think that it is a bed of roses. In fact a paradise . Where as it is not like that. Many chose to come in search of greener pastures. They believe that Europe is the only place they will have the opportunity to get a better life for themselves and that of their families.

My messages to Nigerians and Africans are that our people should not abandon any tangible thing they have or their education just to embark on this long and dangerous journey through road and desert because the life in Europe does not worth such risk . Also let some parents and relatives be aware especially those that are anxiously waiting for the day their beloved children will come back from Europe but they never knew that the bones of their children have been rotten in Sahara deserts and in the seas of foreign land.

 


Joy Chinwe Aguguo Duru is originally from Nigeria but lived in Italy for several years before moving to Leicester , UK.

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