Former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar has rejoined the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) which he helped found some years ago, saying he took the decision after due consultations with party leaders and stakeholders nationwide.
In a live Facebook chat with Nigerians, Atiku said rather than the promise to create three million jobs annually, no fewer than three million Nigerians have instead lost their jobs in the more than two years of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration.
“Hello, my name is Atiku Abubakar”, the Wazirin Adamawa had begun.
Going further, he said; “I am speaking to you today on Facebook Live as I want to reach as many of our young people as possible as I have an important announcement to make about the future of Nigeria. As it is you, our youths, who represent the future of our nation.
“I have found in my travels across the country that whenever I get into conversations with young people, their number one concern is whether they will be able to get a job for without a job they have no means of sustaining themselves or begin a family. And without the security of a job, we cannot have security in our country. So without jobs, there is no future for you or for Nigeria.
“And I also know as a parent that the older generation is also concerned about jobs for their children and, too often today, for themselves as well.
“Creating jobs is something I know about as I have created over 50,000 direct jobs and 250,000 indirect jobs in my own State of Adamawa. And I also know how the Government can help create the right environment for businesses to create jobs. When I was Vice President in 1999, I was responsible for liberalising the telecommunications sector which enabled us to increase the number of people who could access a phone from less than 1 million then to over 100 million today.
“This transformation resulted in the creation of hundreds of thousands of new jobs from the top-up card vendors you see on every street corner to the many new businesses that fed off the mobile phone revolution”.
Recalling how he was “elected Vice President under the banner of the PDP, which is the political party I had helped to found some ten years before”, Atiku said he had left the PDP based on principle and the excitement created by the APC’s promise of creating three million jobs annually.
“And some of you may also know that I left the PDP four years ago when I believed it was no longer aligned to the principles of equity, democracy and social justice upon which we had founded it.
“I joined the APC as I had hoped it would be the new force that would help improve life for our people and I was excited about the party’s manifesto to create three million new jobs a year.
“The result has not been the change people had been promised or voted for, as in the last two years almost three million Nigerians have lost their jobs.
“And today, with a record 25% of people aged 18-25 unemployed, I can see how difficult it is for our youths to find a job.
“The key to creating jobs is a strong economy and that is what we are currently lacking. So today, I want to let you know that I am returning home to the PDP as the issues that led me to leave it have now been resolved and it is clear that the APC has let the Nigerian people, and especially our young people, down.
“But rather than giving a long political speech on this matter, I thought it would be more helpful to invite you to ask me questions and share with you my answers”, Atiku ended his speech. .How I will tackle challenges facing the youth asked about how he would deal with the challenges facing the Nigerian youth as an old man, Atiku said; “I meet young people every day. I have children and grandchildren and most of my employees are youths. The key to knowing what young people want is to listen to them. I’m good at that. Sometimes when I am on the phone with my kids, they ask me are you still there, because I just listen to them without interrupting. Young people are on social media and so I go there. They tell me that their number one challenge is jobs. Terrorism, militancy, kidnapping, and other forms of exuberance that may lead to criminality are a symptom of the disease of joblessness. Once you can get Nigeria working again and get Nigerians working again, youth restiveness will ease and gradually disappear”.
On how he intends to focus on leadership while also managing his vast business concerns, the former APC chieftain said leadership must be separated from management. “I lead my businesses. I do not manage them. I have qualified managers managing them including some in their early 20s. As a leader, you provide direction and then you bring in skilled people and inspire them to implement your roadmap to getting to the destination of your direction. So in answer to your question, I am more into leadership and this gives me the clarity I need to take in the larger picture”, he said.
When he was asked to react to a recent declaration by the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed that the PDP will not be returning to power anytime soon, the Wazirin Adamawa said only arrogance makes people say such things.
“Nobody knows the future other than God and to dictate what the future will be is not within man’s purview. But it is about Nigeria not about power. Power for power’s own sake breeds arrogance and arrogance makes men say things like that. All I am saying is that we need a party that speaks to national sentiments not regional ones. We need a party that can make all Nigerians one till we can boldly say that we are all brothers and sisters with only one mother Nigeria”, he stated.
Meanwhile, the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike has declared that the emerging strength of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was built on the people who are enjoying the benefits of good governance from PDP governors and lawmakers despite the economic downturn.
Wike said: “Nigerians should know that the only hope for the country is the PDP. Nobody should deceive you. I want to tell you that you should not be intimidated.
“The time for intimidation is over. They have done everything in my state to intimidate us, but we told them, no way. We will continue to tell them, no way”.
He added: “I have always told them that our own soldiers are the people. It is your work that will speak for you. I am proud that I was elected on the platform of the PDP”.
Wike said that it is now obvious to Nigerians that there is no alternative to the PDP.
Similarly, as the December 9 National Convention of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) draws nearer, former and present heavyweights in the party have intensified lobby for their respective candidates.
Top contenders for the national chairmanship include former Acting National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, ex-Minister of Education, Prof Tunde Adeniran, former Deputy National Chairman, Chief Olabode George, former Minister of Sports, Prof Taoheed Adedoja, former Governor of Ogun State, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, ex-Governor of Oyo State, Senator Rashidi Ladoja, Media Mogul, High Chief Raymond Dokpesi and former governorship candidate in Lagos State, Jimi Agbaje.
The Tide learnt that most of the national chairmanship aspirants are allegedly been supported and sponsored by party bigwigs and members of the Board of Trustees (BoT)
Political analysts say that the jostle for offices at the national convention was going to be battle royale because the godfathers in the party and some serving governors were already squaring up to slug it out by deciding who controls the delegates at the convention.
It was believed that if the party fails to get it right this time around, the party may as well say goodbye to its chances in 2019 presidential and other elections in the country.
N148bn Funds For Roads: Wike Slams Buhari, APC, FG Over Deliberate Neglect Of Rivers …Says Real Madrid Football Academy Has Come To Fruition
The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has berated the Federal Government for deliberately neglecting Rivers State in the recent release of N148billion for roads’ construction across the country.
Wike declared that the action of the Federal Government was the most shameful act of marginalisation in a federation where Rivers State contributes to the financial sustenance of the country.
The governor said this before commissioning the new Rivers State Civil Servants’ Quarters at Amassoma Street in Port Harcourt, yesterday.
He said Rivers politicians in APC should be able to plead with the Federal Government to site projects in Rivers State to expand their political relevance.
According to Wike, “The Federal Government released N148billion for the construction of roads and it did not consider one road in Rivers State. Look at the condition of the East-West Road.
“Shame on those who say they are working with the current Federal Government, but cannot protect the interest of Rivers State in that government.
“We are producing oil that finances projects in the country and the Federal Government can release N148billion for roads and Rivers State was neglected. You are working with the Federal Government and you cannot attract projects to Rivers State. Anyone who is in APC and is from Rivers State, shame on you.
“You are there; you cannot even say for my sake, help me and give me one road, so, I can go home and tell my people this is what I brought to Rivers State.
“What offence has Rivers State committed in this country that this Federal Government cannot for one day remember the state? They have our son who was their director general. If for nothing, since he was your director general, help him and do one project for his people.
“Tomorrow, you will say Rivers people should vote for you. Which vote? We won’t do that. Nobody is a slave. We are not slaves. We cannot be conquered by anybody”, Wike added.
Similarly, the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike has expressed happiness that the Real Madrid Football Academy has become a reality, saying that major international football stars will be groomed at the facility.
Addressing journalists, yesterday, after inspecting the Real Madrid Football Academy in readiness for the commissioning programme on Saturday, Wike said that all the facilities have been put in place for the successful take off of the academy.
“The administrator in charge of Africa and Asia for Real Madrid will be in Port Harcourt on Thursday night. Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State will be commissioning the project on Saturday.
“When we promised that we will set up a Real Madrid Football Academy that will help groom international stars in the area of football, so many people played politics and said that it was fake.
“We are happy that it has come to fruition. We have sent people to Madrid and they have been trained as instructors and coaches. We also sent the players of Banham Model Primary School, winners of Channels Television Kids Cup to Madrid for training. They will form the first set of students”, he said.
The governor said the development of the Real Madrid Football Academy was a confirmation that his administration was serious with keeping promises made to Rivers people.
He said that on Saturday, Nigerians will watch live on television to excellent facility that will produce the next set of international soccer stars.
Also yesterday, the governor visited the Judges’ Quarters, which would be commissioned by the administration in October, 2019.
He said: “Rivers State has provided the basic infrastructure for the Judiciary. Anybody who comes here will attest to the fact that Rivers State has provided quality infrastructure for the Judiciary to do their work as expected”.
The governor later inspected the Fruit Garden Market built by his administration after the initial market was gutted by fire.
The Fruit Garden Market would be commissioned next week.
$9.6bn Scam: Court Winds Up P&ID, Orders Forfeiture Of Assets …As Nigeria’s Legal Team Meets In London, Moves For Revocation of Fine
The Federal High Court in Abuja, yesterday, convicted and subsequently ordered the winding up of Process and Industrial Development Limited and its Nigerian affiliate, P&ID Nigeria Limited, for charges of fraud and tax evasion in respect of the contract leading to the recent controversial judgment of a British court empowering the firm to seize about $9.6billion worth of Nigerian assets.
Justice Inyang Ekwo, in his judgment also ordered the forfeiture of “the assets and properties” of the two firms to the Nigerian government.
The judge made the orders shortly after the two firms, through their representatives, pleaded guilty to the 11 counts instituted against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Relying on provisions of Section 19(2) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act, 2011, and Section 10(2) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Related Offences Act, 2006, the court ordered the Federal Government to wind up the two firms and confiscate all their assets in the country.
While P&ID Limited incorporated in British Virgin Island was represented in the dock by its Commercial Director, Mohammad Kuchazi, P&ID Nigeria Limited was represented by Adamu Usman, who is also a lawyer.
Kuchazi was represented by his lawyer, Dandison Akurunwua, while Usman represented himself.
Both men pleaded guilty on behalf of the companies to all the 11 counts read to them before Justice Ekwo, yesterday.
They were accused of among others, fraudulently claiming to have acquired land from the Cross River State Government in 2010 for the gas supply project agreement which led to the $9.6billion judgment.
After the defendants pleaded guilty to the 11 counts, an EFCC investigator, Usman Babangida, was called to the witness box for review of facts which was not opposed by the defence.
Documents relating to the controversial 2010 gas supply contract and EFCC’s investigation activities were tendered and admitted by the judge as exhibits without objection from the defence.
The judge then went on to pronounce the two firms represented by the two men guilty.
Making an allocutus, plea for mercy, P&ID’s lawyer Akurunwua, urged the judge to consider “the forthrightness and candour” of P&ID by pleading guilty and not wasting the time of the court in the trial.
Meanwhile, with the trial and conviction of both the British Virgin Island and the Nigerian affiliate of Process and Industrial Development Limited (P&ID) by a Federal High Court for fraud and corruption, Nigeria is set to present the United Kingdom Appeal Court handling the case, with a new set of pleading to revoke the monumental award against the country.
Beyond the conviction of the company, the Nigerian federal court also ordered the forfeiture of the assets of the company to the Federal Government.
Arising from the judgment, a consortium of Nigeria’s legal team is set to meet in London early next week with a view to reviewing the case and making an appropriate adjustment to its deposition towards the revocation of the award earlier granted by the court to the shadowy company, which has now been convicted.
It was learnt that with the conviction, Nigeria is likely going to argue before the court of appeal that the UK commercial and Arbitration Court was misled by the suspects to grant the huge award and should, therefore, be revoked given the new and better information that was unavailable to the country at the time.
Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, yesterday, confirmed that the legal team would be converging in London to review the case and take further steps to advance the cause of justice and Nigeria in the case, which has drawn global attention.
Malami said: “Nigeria is expected to review its strategy in view of the unfolding development as it relates to the conviction of some of the suspects that have admitted to fraud and corruption that gave rise to the award.
“The implication of today’s conviction of the suspects by the FHC in Nigeria is that Nigeria has a judicial proof of fraud and corruption as a foundation of the relationship that gave rise to a purported liability and arbitral award.
“From the available evidence, Nigeria now has a cogent ground to ask for the setting aside of the entire liability.
Female Hotel Murders: Kudos To Rivers Police Command
The response of the Rivers State Command of the Nigeria Police over the incidents of hotel murders of at least eight ladies, qualifies for attention, given the far reaching impact it will have beyond the immediate circumstances of the heinous crimes. Following the incidents of murder of these ladies in some hotels in the state, the Commissioner of Police, Mustapha Dandaura, summoned hotel owners to a meeting where some new codes of practice in guest reception and management were adopted. Among these were the installation of close circuit television (CCTV) systems and detailed profiling of hotel guests pursuant to providing same information to the police on demand. To accentuate his point, the Commissioner clarified to them that in the event of untoward developments in their facilities – such as the incidence of criminal conduct, they as hotel operators and staff immediately qualify as accomplices to the crime, at least until their innocence is proved beyond reasonable doubt.
Drastic and novel as the measures may be seen by some, they constituted the minimum standard with respect to the issue of integrity of hotel services. The utility of such measures far outweighs whatever inconvenience and costs they may impose on the respective hotel operators and guests. Just as well, the implications of the measures with respect to enhancing the general state of insecurity in the state justify by far, the need for their effective implementation. Already, their effectiveness has been established as some suspects in respect of the reported crimes have been arrested and are helping police investigations. The most recent was that of a man who was allegedly in the act of suffocating with a pillow, the lady he spent the night with in a Diobu hotel. Her vigilance saved her life as she was able to stop him from executing his plan before raising alarm. Meanwhile, as a manifestation of the public revulsion over the development, the outcry over it has been stringent with at least one group of sympathetic women has actually taken to the streets to express solidarity with the victims of the dastardly acts.
Seen within the context of the riot act by the Police to the hoteliers, it could not have come at a more auspicious time than now. Even as it can be said that the unprecedented murders of the unfortunate ladies prompted the Police order to hoteliers in the Rivers State, the measures are better late than never. Among the factors that define the merit of the Commissioner’s position are at least two. In the first place is the fact that hotel management has its traditional code of ethics which are intended to guarantee the safety of both workers and guests. Being locations where anybody no matter the character, capabilities and motives can come in and enjoy hospitality, there are traditional risks associated with their operations. For this reason, developed countries where hoteling has been better managed, pay premium attention to the issues of identity of guests and other patrons of hotels. Among hotel guests can be the good, the bad and ugly characters, and as the playwright, William Shakespeare put it, one cannot tell the character of any individual just by the facial features. So ordinarily, hotel monitoring remains a primary duty of the Police as they constitute the choice locations for sundry crimes, due to the anonymity they provide guests.
Secondly, given the heightened scale of anti-crime operations in the state courtesy of the resolve of the government to tackle its perpetrators to a standstill, the traditional bases of the miscreants are under surveillance, hence, forcing them to seek fresh bases which include hotels, especially the non – descript ones that can easily escape the prying eyes of the law. Hence, the new initiative by the Rivers State Police Command offers the promise of placing tracers on not only serial women killers but also other criminals that habitually use hotels as their operational rendezvous. Thus, by the riot act to the hoteliers, the Police is expected to kill more than one bird with that single metaphorical stone.
Meanwhile, this is to express the condolence of this column to the bereaved families of the deceased, whose deaths have stirred the conscience of the society to the outrage spawned by the presence of demented serial killers in our midst. We have been hearing of killings by armed robbers whose proclivity to murder their victims is borne out of the devilish urge to instill fear and facilitate compliance with their demands. There is also the spate of killings by cultists in order to press home their underworld values. What then can be said about killers who do it for no justifiable reason other than the fun of seeing others, and in this case women with whom they could have been passionately intimate, die?
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