The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has again defended its choice of former Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Prof. Charles Soludo as its governorship candidate for the 2010 gubernatorial election in Anambra State, even as it berrated critics of both Prof Soludo and the Party over its decision to field Soludo.
The Party in defence of its action in a statement issued yesterday in Abuja, and signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Prof. Rufai Ahmed Alkali condemned the reckless remarks made by Action Congress, AC, spokesman, Alhaji Lai Mohammed in the media about the selection process that led to the choice of Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, saying that the party had consistently ignored comments by Alhaji Lai Mohammed who, like Emperor Nero seems to be fiddling while AC burns.
“Given the fact that Lai Mohammed spends most of his time talking and thinking less of Party organization and mobilization, we do not expect him to understand the dynamics of administering a Party as large as the PDP.
“In view of this therefore, we sympathize with him for finding himself in a small party whose influence in the nation’s political environment has been dwindling to a point of extinction.
“There is no way anybody can compare the democratic credentials of the PDP, where 47 candidates were contesting to fly the Party’s flag and the AC which has a lone anointed candidate ab initio. That 47 credible citizens of Anambra State sought to be candidates of the PDP bears ample testimony to the strength and acceptability of the Party in that state. We therefore do not owe Alhaji Mohammed any apology on how our candidates emerge.
“For the avoidance of doubts, we wish to once again state that the choice of Professor Chukwuma Soludo as the PDP candidate was arrived at after all options for choosing a candidate were exhausted.
“The NWC relied on Article 17.1 of the PDP Constitution which vests on the NWC, acting on behalf of the National Executive Committee the power as the final authority for resolving all disputes relating to the choice of candidates for the Party in any election and for confirming the names or list of names of candidates for the Party in any elective public office in the federation.
“The choice of Prof. Soludo cannot therefore be described as an imposition, neither is it a predetermined option but a product of wide consultation and the need to present a formidable candidate capable of uniting all political forces in Anambra State and ensuring our victory in the forthcoming gubernatorial election.
“We wish to advise Alhaji Lai Mohammed to concentrate on selling his candidate and desist from meddling into the internal affairs of the PDP. We also wish to ask which AC is Alhaji Mohammed speaking for? Nigerians are all aware that the Action Congress (AC) as presently constituted is an empty shell without a compressor. Leaders of the AC are known to be holding meeting for the formation of an illusionary mega Party because they have lost faith in the AC as a political platform. Alhaji Mohammed would therefore be wallowing in self delusion if he still thinks he has any one listening to his empty statements.
“On the threat by a nebulous organization called the Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP) to go to Court over the purported late submission of the names of the PDP flagbearers to INEC, we wish to state that the PDP adhered to the deadline given by INEC and will be ready to present its case before any court or panel that requires it.
”We once more appeal to our stakeholders in Anambra State to ignore the diversionary antics of discredited politicians and rally round our candidate Prof. Chukwuma Soludo and his running mate, Senator Emmanuel Anosike to ensure our victory at the forthcoming poll.”
US Embassy Receives Latest COVID-19 Vaccines For Nigeria
The United State Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Beth Leonard, yesterday, visited the National Strategic Warehouse to welcome the latest delivery of U.S.-government donated COVID-19 vaccines.
During the visit, she discussed COVID-19 vaccine storage and distribution with the Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, Dr. Faisal Shuaib, and his technical and warehouse staff.
The visit marks the most recent donation of 3.2million Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines by the United States to Nigeria.
A statement by the mission in Abuja, and made available to The Tide in Port Harcourt, said, “These vaccines have over six months of validity before expiration and are being stored at the National Strategic Warehouse for distribution to thousands of COVID-19 vaccination sites nationwide”, she said.
During the visit, Leonard inspected the vaccine doses and discussed how the agency was maintaining proper ultra-cold storage, “as safe and effective vaccines are our best tool to ending the pandemic”.
The latest shipment reflects the United States’ commitment to purchase and donate 1.2billion COVID-19 vaccine doses worldwide.
“To date, the United States has delivered more than 370million vaccine doses to over 110 countries.
“This includes the over 24.7million U.S-donated doses of COVID-19 vaccines to the Nigerian people.
“It is important to note that all U.S.-donated Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccine doses to Nigeria have had an expiration deadline of, at least,six months or more upon receipt to ensure adequate time for use.
“Vaccine donations are a part of the U.S. government’s continued partnership with the Government of Nigeria in combating COVID-19.
“To date, the U.S. government has provided over $130million of technical and financial support to Nigeria’s COVID-19 response specifically for vaccination roll out and administration, deployment of personnel to support the response, last mile delivery and supply chain logistics, epidemiological and vaccine related COVID-19 surveys and surveillance systems, testing capacity and molecular lab networks, personal protective equipment, and provision of rapid response teams.
“The U.S. government has also contributed to the training of over 200,000 military and civilian personnel on COVID-19 control measures and maintaining preventive health and social service.
“The U.S. government urges all Nigerians to go out and get vaccinated to make themselves safe and make use of the donated COVID-19 vaccines.
“These actions will strengthen not only the health and well-being of the nation but the overall worldwide response to the pandemic.
“Every individual plays a vital role in supporting the global effort needed to stem the spread of COVID-19.
“The U.S. government will continue its partnership with the Nigerian Ministry of Health and Centre for Disease Control to defeat COVID-19 and deliver life-saving vaccine doses across the country via COVAX”, the statement said.
By: Nelson Chukwudi
Govs To Engage NLC, TUC On Fuel Subsidy Removal -Fayemi
The Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) is to engage organised labour unions on the removal of fuel subsidy in the country.
The NGF Chairman and Governor of Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, disclosed this while briefing newsmen at the end of the forum’s meeting which ended in the early hours of yesterday in Abuja.
Fayemi said that the 36 states governors met and discussed issues of national importance including removal of subsidy and Electoral Amendment Bill.
“We discussed the issue around petroleum subsidy and concluded to engage the leadership of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress.
“We will engage them on how best to address this issue without causing any disaffection, but with a view to salvaging the Nigerian economy for the Nigerian people at the end of the day.
“So, we shall be engaging the NLC as sub national leaders and with a view to ensure that the outcome of our engagement will also be fed into the national discourse,” Fayemi said.
Speaking on what was the input of the NGF in the proposed price of N302/litre as price of petrol; Fayemi said the matter was not a decision of the governors but the exclusive responsibility of the Federal Government.
He said that even though it was the responsibility of the National Economic Council, the governors were contributing to the debate.
Fayemi also commended the Senate for accelerating the removal of the contentious clauses in the draft Electoral Amendment Bill.
He expressed hope that the House of Representatives would follow suit, so that the revised electoral Bill could be returned to Mr President for assent on time.
This, according to him, will enable the various institutions, particularly the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to proceed at pace with its responsibilities towards the various elections in 2022 and 2023.
“We also discussed the health update particularly in relation to COVID-19 infection and expressed happiness that the current Omicron variant has been declining progressively.
“However, we also note that there is need for states led by us to ramp up the COVID-19 vaccination exercise.
“On nutrition which remains priority of the government, the governors concluded that there is need to increase our support in terms of budgetary provisions for nutrition,” he said.
Fayemi disclosed that the governors received presentation from the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) on Ease of Doing Business.
He said that the governors at the meeting discussed the next phase of ease of doing business survey with the Special Adviser to the President on Ease of Doing Business, Dr Jumoke Oduwole and the World Bank Country Director for Nigeria, Shubham Chaudhuri.
“The presentation elaborated on the need to step up the reforms towards improving the investments and business climate at the sub national level.
“Governors also reviewed the recently launched National Development Plan 2021 to 2025.
“This is with a view to ensuring that the National Development Plan is aligned to individual state development plans that have been produced or in the process of being produced to ensure synergy between the development efforts by the federal as well as state governments,” Fayemi said.
Banditry: ‘Over 61,000 Nigerian Schools Vulnerable To Attacks’
In the wake of consistent attacks on schools by bandits in some parts of the country, Commandant General, Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Dr Abubakar Audi, has disclosed that over 61,000 Nigerian schools are vulnerable to security threats.
He, however, said the corps would not rest on its oars in seeing to the success of the Federal Government’s Safe Schools Initiative.
Speaking at the inauguration of a 16-member committee on the development of a standard curriculum for Civil Defence Training Colleges across the country, Audi said Nigeria has a total of about 81,000 schools out of which 61,000 are vulnerable to threats.
Audi also told the newly inaugurated committee that the curriculum was a deliberate step towards actualising his vision to reposition the corps.
He said; “I set out to upgrade facilities in our existing training colleges knowing full well that training is an essential ingredient towards attaining optimal performance, skill acquisition/capacity building, and productivity.
“I also initiated the process of developing a standard curriculum for the training schools in order to develop career progression and development courses which will form the basis for future progression in service.
“This issue was discussed extensively at the management level and it was agreed that a committee of professional experts is set up to develop a standard curriculum for our training colleges. The management’s recommendation and membership of the committee were subsequently given a ministerial nod by the Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, hence today’s inauguration ceremony.
“It is worthy of mention that this ministerial committee is made up of eminent Nigerians and professionals who are experts in curriculum development and have distinguished themselves in the field of education.”
A representative of the Minister of Interior, Peter Ogbodo noted that training was the “live wire” of any organisation, adding that it “is the motivation for individuals to re-educate themselves to the service they have been committed to.”
The committee, which has four weeks within which to turn in its report, has a Professor of Crime and Political Sociology and Development and Vice-Chancellor, Nasarawa State University, S. B. Mohammed as chairman.
Others are a Professor of Law at the University of Jos, Ibrahim Adamu; retired Commandant, Command and Staff College, Jaji, Gen. M.A. Nasamu; a retired Deputy Commandant General (Operations), NSCDC,Evans Ewurum; a retired Commandant of Nigeria Police Academy, Wudil, DIG Mohammed Sani; and a retired Deputy Commandant General of the NSCDC, Adeoye Emmanuel, among others.
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