Women leaders in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), drawn from the six geopolitical zones, have condemned the threat issued to elected members of the party by a factional National Chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur.
The women leaders described it as inflammatory.
Tukur had, at a press conference last Wednesday threatened elected members of the party that have declared support for the Abubakar Baraje-led ‘New PDP’ that they would lose their seats should they fail to retrace their steps.
The women, who gathered under the aegis of PDP Female Career Politicians, spoke through their leader, Senator Florence Ita-Giwa, yesterday in Abuja, cautioning the chairman to control his emotion.
Ita-Giwa said,”When conflicts like this happen, people tend to make inflammatory statements.
“We have tremendous respect for our chairman but sometimes people say things when emotions run deep but that does not mean it is conclusive.
“Not that we are apologising for anybody but we intend to consult with our colleagues as well as our chairman and everybody.
“This is because we do not want anybody to do anything that will be counter-productive to the existence of this party and peace in Nigeria.
“We cannot afford that.
“We are all still part of the party, including those that walked out from the arena.
“If they wanted, would have said they were leaving the PDP.
“But they have not said that.
“Which means that the corporate existence of the party is still intact.
“We just have to make effort at sustaining it.”
Also, the women regretted that the crisis seemed to be taking ethnic coloration, wondering why majority of the people that had declared for the ‘New PDP’ were from the northern part of the country.
Ita-Giwa also said women were not consulted before the decision was taken to form a new faction.
She, therefore, said they had resolved to meet with Tukur and Baraje, to hear them out in the interest of the party.
Ita-Giwa said, “Not that we are saying it is ethnic-based, but if you look at those that walked out, it was six states from the North and one from the South.
“This is strange, which was why we felt it is taking on ethnic coloration.
“Also, women were excluded from that decision.
“No woman was consulted before that decision was taken.
“Notwithstanding, we are not passing judgment but we don’t want to run a Northern party and a Southern party.
“All we want is for everybody to come back together for us to have peace in this country.
“We are not taking sides and we are surely going to talk to all of them to douse the flame as best as we can.
“However. we do not want to be seen as succumbing to intimidation.”
On the 2015 general elections, she posited that the race should be thrown open to all qualified members of the party, saying that it would be immodest on the part of the leadership of the party to attempt to disenfranchise anybody.
Ita-Giwa spoke further, “however, it is our opinion that it is immodest for someone to ask another human being not to contest elections or to attempt disenfranchisement of another human being.
“If anything, why not let anyone interested contest and then lose.
“It is pertinent though that while we lay claims to neutrality in this intra-party dispute, our loyalty to and confidence in the persons and office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria remains unshaken.
“As a large party, we recognize that political dissension is inevitable from time to time.
“However, such disagreement should never be allowed to fester to the point where positions are taken that threaten the existence of the party.
“We believe that the PDP is big enough to accommodate all shades of opinion without bursting at the seams.
“It is against this backdrop that we appeal to the contending forces currently pulling the party apart, to sheath their swords, step back from the precepts and take a deep breath as they reflect on the disastrous implications of their actions.”
Other members of the group, which included past and present legislators, were: Mercy Almona Isei, Remi Adiukwu Bakare, Kemi Adewunmi, Patience Ogodo, Aduke Minna, Abiodun Olujimi, Senator Khairat Gwadebe, Grace Bent, Theodora Giwa-Amu, Folake Olunloyo-Osinowo and Amina Khadi.
Also in attendance were Iquo Inyang, Oyibo Ahaneku-Nwaneri, Azumi Bebeji, Lynda Ikpeazu, Doris Uboh-Ogunkoya, Ukachi Amaechi, Elizabeth Ogbaga, Janet Adeyemi, Oluchi Okoye, Lola Edewor, Fatima Raji Rasaki, Olanrewaju Otiti, Fendo Mohammed and May Inije.
Ogoni Youths Give FG 14 Days To Fix East-West Road
No fewer than 400 youths under the aegis of Ogoni Youth Federation (OYF), yesterday, staged a peaceful protest at the Eleme axis of the East-West Road, giving the Federal Government 14 days ultimatum to mobilize to site and fix the road or have economic activities in the area grounded.
The protesters, who carried various placards with inscriptions to press home their demands, trekked from Akpajo Junction to Refinery Junction in Eleme LGA, chanting solidarity songs to register their discontent over the neglect of the road.
Addressing newsmen during the protest, President General of the Ogoni Youth Federation, Comrade Legborsi Yaamabana, said it was regrettable that the road, which was a major route to the economic hub of the nation, has remained in a deplorable state, only becoming a death trap that has terminated the lives of innocent Ogonis.
Yaamabana, who described the mass action of the youths as a ‘warning protest’, said if the contractors handling the road were not immediately mobilized to site, then, the youths will have no option than to shut down all economic activities in the area.
He said, “we cannot continue to watch our people being killed on daily basis by tankers because of the poor state of Eleme axis of the east west road, we are calling on the Federal Government to as a matter of urgency fix the road and save our people from untimely deaths as a result of the sorry state of the road, the only bridge on the road at Aleto has collapse but nothing is being done to avert the disasters faced by our people daily”.
Yaamabana also called on the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio to constitute a substantive board for the Niger Delta Development Commission to address the development needs of the Niger Delta region, noting that the use of interim management for NDDC was “diversionary, self serving and not in the interest of the development of the Niger Delta region”.
The OYF president general also called on the Federal Government to exonerate Ken Saro-Wiwa and his compatriots who were extra-judicially murdered by the late Gen Sani Abacha military junta, and given post-humours honour as martyrs of democracy in Nigeria, while the ideals of justice they stood for should be upheld.
Also speaking, the immediate past secretary of the Ijaw Youth Council, Eastern Zone, Comrade James Tobin, who joined the protest in solidarity, decried the neglect of the East—West Road by the Federal Government, and called the immediate fixing of the road to save the teeming road users from untold pains and death.
By: Taneh Beemene
Rising Prices Push 7m Nigerians Below Poverty Line -World Bank
The World Bank has said that rising prices pushed about seven million Nigerians below the poverty line in 2020.
This was contained in a press statement titled, ‘Critical reforms needed to reduce inflation and accelerate the recovery, says new World Bank report,’ released by the World Bank’s Senior External Affairs Officer of Nigeria, Mansir Nasir.
The press statement was released, yesterday, in line with the latest World Bank Nigeria Development Update.
It was acknowledged that the Federal Government “took measures to protect the economy against a much deeper recession” but it was recommended that certain policies should be set for a strong recovery.”
The statement read, “The NDU, titled ‘Resilience through Reforms,’ notes that in 2020, the Nigerian economy experienced a shallower contraction of -1.8 per cent than had been projected at the beginning of the pandemic (-3.2 per cent). Although the economy started to grow again, prices are increasing rapidly, severely impacting Nigerian households.
“As of April, 2021, the inflation rate was the highest in four years. Food prices accounted for over 60% of the total increase in inflation. Rising prices have pushed an estimated seven million Nigerians below the poverty line in 2020 alone.”
Quoted in the statement, the World Bank Country Director for Nigeria, Shubham Chaudhuri, identified some of the challenges faced by the country and recommended a way forward.
“Nigeria faces interlinked challenges in relation to inflation, limited job opportunities, and insecurity.
“While the government has made efforts to reduce the effect of these by advancing long-delayed policy reforms, it is clear that these reforms will have to be sustained and deepened for Nigeria to realise its development potential,” Chaudhuri said.
Also quoted is the World Bank Lead Economist for Nigeria and co-author of the NDU, Marco Hernandez, who also gave a recommendation.
“Given the urgency to reduce inflation amidst the pandemic, a policy consensus and expedite reform implementation on exchange-rate management, monetary policy, trade policy, fiscal policy, and social protection would help save lives, protect livelihoods, and ensure a faster and sustained recovery,” Hernandez said.
Inflation Dips To 17.93% In May, NBS Confirms
Nigeria’s inflation rate dropped to 17.93 per cent in May, 2021, from 18.12 per cent recorded in April, 2021.
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) revealed this in its monthly Consumer Price Index report released, yesterday.
The drop in the headline inflation in May was the second consecutive month this year.
The report indicates that the consumer price index (CPI), which measures the inflation rate increased by 17.93 per cent (year-on-year) in May, 2021, which is 0.19 per cent points lower than the rate recorded in the preceding month.
According to NBS, food inflation dropped in the same month from 22.78 per cent recorded in April, 2021 to 22.28 per cent in May, 2021.
The report reads, ‘‘All items less farm produce which excludes the prices of volatile agricultural produce stood at 13.15 per cent in May, 2021, up by 0.41 per cent when compared with 12.74 per cent recorded in April, 2021.
‘‘The highest increases were recorded in prices of pharmaceutical products, garments, shoes and other footwear, hairdressing salons and personal grooming establishments, furniture and furnishing, carpet and other floor covering.
‘‘Others include, motor cars, Hospital services, fuels and lubricants for personal transport equipment, cleaning, repair and hire of clothing.
“Other services include personal transport equipment, gas, household textile, and non-durable household goods,” the NBS added.
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