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Rivers APC Boils, As Amaechi, Abe Trade Words Again

Rivers APC Boils, As Amaechi, Abe Trade Words Again

Rivers APC boils, as Amaechi, Abe trade words again

The crisis rocking the Rivers State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has continued to deepen following a renewed war of words between Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi and former Senator representing Rivers South-East district in the National Assembly, Magnus Abe.

The first shot was fired by Abe at the inauguration of a socio-political pressure group, the Rivers Voice of Freedom, on Sunday, when he accused Amaechi of trying to push him and his supporters out of the APC.

“I am one of the founders of the party and I am one of the leaders of the party in the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“Nobody can take that away; If you have contributed, you have contributed. All of us here have contributed. Without us, there would have been no APC in this state,” Abe said.

Also speaking on the party’s local government congress held in the state on Saturday, Abe said:

“You are aware of the current activities going on in the party. You are aware that we have been excluded by those powers that be within the state, led by the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, who deliberately took the decision to push us out of the party.

“Push all of you out of the party for no other reason than because you associate with Senator Magnus Abe. I am happy that you continue to associate with me. I will also continue to associate with you.

“Those who do not want to see me, when they hear the name Senator Abe; they cannot sleep, when they hear Senator Abe, they are worried, you have taken congress and you are still worried, let me assure you that even in your dream you will still see Abe.

“I am not going anywhere. This is Rivers state and we will play politics in Rivers state. If you don’t know the rules of the game, go and learn the rules of the game.”

In a swift reaction, Amaechi, in a brief statement issued by the the state APC spokesman, Ogbonna Nwuke, advised the former Senator to move on like Amaechi has done, pointing out that the party’s local government congress which held on Saturday was quite successful, but that Abe chose not to take part, but would rather go to court.

“We would like Senator Abe should just move on like Hon. Rotimi Amaechi has done. That is the mark of great men.

“We don’t need his obsession with the Minister. He should stop his politics of bad-bellicking as it is doing him no good.”

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Sudan Fighting: Over 300 Persons Killed, Says WHO

The World Health Organisation (WHO) says no fewer than 330 people have been killed due to fighting in the capital Khartoum and several other states, including Darfur States.

The UN health agency on Thursday also said no fewer than 3,200 have been injured in Sudan since a military power struggle between the Sudanese armed forces and a paramilitary group sparked violent clashes six days ago.

“The situation in Sudan is increasingly concerning and heart breaking,” WHO Director-General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, wrote in a statement posted on his official Twitter account.

Ghebreyesus condemned all loss of life, especially attacks on civilians and healthcare.

He expressed deep concern over reports of forces occupying health facilities, underlining that attacks on healthcare are a flagrant violation of international law.

“The lack of safe access, of electricity, food, water, personnel and the diminishing medical supplies are making it nearly impossible for many health facilities to function at the exact time when there are thousands injured in need of urgent care,” he said.

Ghebreyesus urged the sides to respect the truce so that people can seek refuge or healthcare, or access food, water and medicine.

Similarly, the head of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) also called on the parties to respect their international obligations to protect boys and girls from harm and to ensure humanitarians can quickly reach children in need.

“Five days of intense hostilities in Sudan, and four failed ceasefires, have already taken a devastating toll on the country’s children,” UNICEF Director, Catherine Russell, said in a statement.

“If the violence does not stop, this toll will only increase.”

She said at least nine children have reportedly been killed, and more than 50 reportedly injured as hostilities continued in Khartoum, the Darfur states and North Kordofan, though insecurity makes it difficult to collect and verify information.

“We have received reports of children sheltering in schools and care centres while fighting rages around them, of children’s hospitals forced to evacuate as shelling moves closer, and hospitals, health centres and other critical infrastructure damaged or destroyed, limiting access to essential and lifesaving care and medicine,” she added.

Russell said the crisis has disrupted critical-life saving care for an estimated 50,000 children suffering from acute malnutrition, who need ongoing round-the-clock care.

“The fighting also puts at risk the cold chain in Sudan, including over $40 million worth of vaccines and insulin, due to the breaks in the power supply and the inability to restock generators with fuel,” she added.

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Nigeria needs leader who can take tough decisions — Oshiomhole

Nigeria needs leader who can take tough decisions — Oshiomhole

In this interview with ADEBAYO FOLORUNSHO-FRANCIS, the Nigeria Labour Congress ex-president and Edo State two-term Governor, Adam Oshiomhole, discusses the All Progressives Congress’s Muslim-Muslim ticket and the state of the nation

What sort of leader do you think Nigeria needs at this critical moment?

We need a leader who can get the country together without being preoccupied with religion and ethnicity issues. We should strive to have a leadership that will engender a safe environment so that you can go to your church and worship while I can equally go to my mosque and worship. So you can visit your village and I can also visit mine, even though we are all Nigerians. That is the extent to which the issues of religion and ethnicity should be of concern: having the freedom to worship and the guarantee of safety to move around the country without fear or hindrance.

What gives you the impression you can succeed in the Senate?

I was the Edo State governor, which, to a certain extent, is like a miniature Nigeria. I come from a minority part of the state that had not produced an elected governor before me.

Because of my reputation, I got the backing of the majority ethnic group, I contested for re-election against a retired general from the majority ethnic group, yet the people supported me.

By the time I left office, a large majority of Edo people, regardless of their political affiliations, had a favourable assessment of my stewardship. Even till date, you can go to the streets of any city or village in Edo State and seek the people’s opinion about me.

How will you assess the chances of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu in the 2023 election, especially with the Muslim-Muslim ticket?

By the special grace of God, he would win the next election and become president of Nigeria.

…With a Muslim Muslim ticket?

Yes, Nigeria is not all about Muslim-Muslim or Christian-Christian. The issues confronting us are not how many churches or mosques a Muslim-Muslim ticket will build.

Unfortunately, that is not the issue we have on the ground, and people believe you can continue to do the same thing and expect different outcomes. We can’t be bogged down by issues of religion and ethnicity. Each time you do that, you compromise on something else.

The finest hour of Nigerians as a people was when these issues didn’t matter and the crisis we are in today, trying to do all kinds of balancing and only when it suits us. People are quick to remind us with joy how in Rwanda today, there is no tribalism stating what they have accomplished after the genocidal war and detailing the economic and social consequences, with the economy growing in double digits and doing better than Nigeria. How are they beginning to attract foreign investments and booming tourism?

Today, it will require a man of courage to return Nigeria to the state it was in. We are a secular state and balancing won’t help us. I watched recently as a certain Senator was relating the Muslim-Muslim ticket to inhumanity. If he is a true believer in God, let him search his conscience to see the acts of inhumanity he has committed against his fellow beings. This is a man who beat up a young girl in a sex toy shop and caused a scandal that was an embarrassment to his family and the national assembly. If it was in other jurisdictions, he could not remain in the senate after the scandal.

Again, I saw another guy, who can’t deliver a unit in Rivers State, speaking against the Muslim-Muslim ticket without offering insight into why he is against it.

Are you saying Nigerians shouldn’t voice their disapproval and nurse their fear that we might as a multi-religious nation end up with a Muslim president, deputy, Senate president, Secretary-General, and House of Representatives Speaker?

Now you are quoting someone I know. He can choose to manipulate and play with the rules. It’s up to him, but it is most dishonest to say or make commentary that suggests that the incoming president and other top officials of the present administration are Muslims. These are just some elites wrestling with the truth to confuse the Nigerian victims.

Have you ever heard someone tell their housekeeper, “I’d like to eat an omelette, but please don’t touch my eggs. You know the value of those eggs?” ‘Yes sir!’ “Did you understand me? You must ensure I have an omelette tomorrow morning. Also, two visitors are coming, so make an omelette for three, but don’t touch my eggs.” Is it possible?

I think Nigeria has to move away from dysfunctional politics to a politics of issues. The amount of airtime and newspaper pages we devote to these issues and some, of course, who are opposed to Asiwaju, find this a ready excuse to attack him.

There is another man who has introduced another dimension recently. That should be Datti Baba-Ahmed, the running mate of presidential candidate Peter Obi. He said that he agreed that Asiwaju was a formidable politician with a good record.

However, he is one of those who entered into a partnership that brought President Muhammadu Buhari to power. Is that a crime, if I may ask?

What I would have wished to ask him, though, was if he knows how the partnership he has entered as a running mate will play out at the end. Only God knows that, no man has the power to know the future. As the saying goes, “Man proposes; God disposes.”

On a serious note, how many of the governors of the class of 1999 are still politically relevant? It is not because they don’t want to; it is just that they have faded into political irrelevance with time.

Many critics believe any serious Nigerian shouldn’t be discussing Tinubu’s presidency. What’s your position on this?

First, we need to ask what makes Asiwaju still relevant. I can share one or two things I know. You know that in 1999, the South-West rejected Obasanjo by their votes and he lost even his unit. OBJ lost all the South-West states but still became president. This is why nobody should play God in this business of elections. Only God knows who’s going to win. Now, talking about religion in the South-West, there are Christians and Muslims.

By 2003, Obasanjo was being harassed that he had no political base because he didn’t win his state. He became president courtesy of the other parts of Nigeria.

The generals may not have joined the conversation, but there were many postulations as to how he won.

In 2003, President Obasanjo wanted to make a statement that he also had his home base. He opened a negotiation with some South-West governors to support him, and in return, he would support them for their second term bid. They were all doing their first term at the time. At least once, I witnessed a conversation where Tinubu said, “No.” He was not going to make a deal with Obasanjo but insisted on working hard to win his election. He advised his colleagues that you can’t do a deal with this man.

However, his colleagues didn’t agree with him. They went ahead to support Obasanjo. The presidential election came first, and once OBJ was comfortable, he moved against Segun Osoba. While the PDP was rigging out all the AD South-West governors, Asiwaju was the only one that survived the onslaught. Is that not a fact?

And that was how the South-West became PDP and Asiwaju was the only AD governor then. Obasanjo moved to take over the AD and compromised a lot of its members. Asiwaju soon discovered that fighting within the AD where he was the only governor might just end in court and no one was sure how it would turn out. He decided to form a completely new party, which gave birth to ACN. Is that also not correct? And on the ACN platform he fought. I am sure the media won’t forget this in a hurry.

Professor Maurice Iwu changed the INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner twice within two months, changed electoral officers within 48 hours of the election and changed the commissioners of police. The last one came with 24 hours to go before the election, with one mandate to make sure Lagos becomes a PDP state.

Asiwaju fought hard and defeated Obasanjo. That was how Fashola became governor, and when you look at Fashola’s record, every effort invested in it was worth it.

Not only did he consolidate on Asiwaju’s performance, he also took governance to a whole new appreciable level. Asiwaju was not done. He re-launched his quest to reclaim the South-West, except for Lagos. And in the next election, he recovered a lot of the South-West states back to the ACN.

That was how Rauf Aregbesola, Kayode Fayemi, Ajibola Ajimobi, and Ibikunle Amosun came in.

I am familiar with this discussion because I was in the NLC. People could freely discuss in my presence because I was not partisan. So if someone has shown such courage and what Nigeria needs now is the courage to make difficult decisions, we must think out of the box, not regular politics.

Nigerians, on the one hand, want a tough, courageous leader. On the other hand, they want the same leader to be sensitive to all kinds of primordial issues.

Will the gale of defection going on in Rivers, Kaduna, Kebbi, and even in the Senate and House of Representatives, do you still fancy the chances of Tinubu?

For a deeper reflection, I will ask you: Is this the first time people are defecting? In fact, we now have on record that the only office that has not witnessed defectors is the president’s office.

Even the former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, defected from the PDP while he was vice president. The matter went to court, but did that stop Obasanjo from winning and even being succeeded by another PDP president in the person of the Late Umaru Yar’adua?

Defection, unfortunately, is part of our system. Although it is not supposed to be celebrated, it just points to the poverty of ideology in our political party formations.

There are more serious contradictions than I’ve seen but I don’t want to talk about them now because it’s not yet time for political campaigns according to the INEC timetable.

There are a lot of more important policies and individuals fitting into parties that you know but when we get there, we will discuss it.

To be honest, it is not a helpful conversation, and I’m not worried because I have seen a lot of big names, powerful people depending on your definition of power, saying this is what they want and they even go ahead to endorse somebody in another political party, yet, the person they endorsed didn’t win in the end. I don’t think anyone is against the endorsement.

Meanwhile, you people (the media) will do loud headlines as if the world has come to an end.

I think the ordinary Nigerian artisans, carpenters, bricklayers, vulcanisers and the unemployed youth just want somebody who can give them jobs. I don’t think they care about the religion of who wins. The real long-term solution is to make radical economic decisions and social policies.

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Olubadan: Osinbajo, govs, Alaafin, Ooni, others present as Balogun’s coronation begins

Olubadan: Osinbajo, govs, Alaafin, Ooni, others present as Balogun’s coronation begins

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State and Chairman, Nigerian Governors’ Forum are among the prominent Nigerians that have arrived for the coronation of Senator Lekan Balogun as the 42nd Olubadan of Ibadanland.

Ogun State Governor, Dapo Abiodun; former Vice President Atiku Abubakar; Ondo State Deputy Governor, Lucky Ayedatiwa and Osun State Deputy Governor, Benedict Alabi are also some of the prominent citizens in attendance.

The Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi; Ooni of Ife, Adeyeye Ogunwusi; Oluwo of Iwoland, Rasheed Akanbi; and Olugbo of Ugbo, Oba Fredrick Akinruntan are also present.

The new Olubadan has been ushered into the venue.

Security is very tight at the venue as many dignitaries are having difficulty entering into the venue

Indigenes of Ibadan, as well as residents and well-wishers, have started trooping in their hundreds to the Mapo Hall, venue of the installation ceremony of Oba Olalekan Balogun, as the 42nd Olubadan of Ibadanland.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that other prominent Nigerians, especially sons and daughters of Ibadanland; politicians, captains of industries, and a flock of tourists and stakeholders — home and abroad, graced the occasion.

Many associations, in different colorful outfits, are seen within and outside the Mapo Hall premises — venue of the event, dancing to the indigenous Yorùbá music of Ibadanland.

No fewer than four popular Yorùbá musicians including an Ibadan-based Fuji maestro, have set their stages to entertain dignitaries and well-wishers at the kingly occasion.

A visit to the Ali-Iwo Compound, where the new Olubadan hails from, shows that ceremonial activities are afoot, as choral groups are seen singing in praises of the Ali-Iwo Family.

Traditional drummers and native praise-singers, with scores of sight-seers, are also sighted at different spots on the Oje-Beere-Oja-Oba axis.

Meanwhile, there is a heavy deployment of security operatives to some strategic locations within the Metropolis, especially the roads leading to the venue of the event.

Correspondents of NAN, monitoring the situation, also observe the presence of teams of Nigerian security agencies including the NSCDC, Operation Burst and Amotekun personnel, gallantly deployed to prevent a breakdown of law and order.

Also, officers of the Oyo State Fire Service are on ground at the venue to tend to any fire incident.

Major roads leading to Mapo Hall have been blocked, while commuters are trekking a circuitous distance in getting to their destination and venue of the ceremony.

Also observed is the presence of traditional worshipers a few metres away from the venue chanting, dancing and ecstatic about the auspicious ceremony.

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