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Deepening Crisis Stalls Rivers APC Exco’s Inauguration …As VON DG Tells Okorocha To Leave Party

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The National Working Committee of the All Progressives Congress has dashed the hopes of some of the party’s gladiators in Rivers State, when it ordered that the purportedly elected new executive officers should not be inaugurated until pending issues were resolved.
The Tide recalls that a High Court in Port Harcourt, last week, nullified the ward, local government and state congresses of the APC in Rivers State, describing the process for the conduct of the congresses as fraudulent, thereby heightening already deep-seated crisis in the party in the state.
The party’s decision came at the inauguration of the newly-elected chairmen of the various state chapters of the APC by the outgoing National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, at the party’s National Secretariat, in Abuja, last Monday.
At the event, party chairmen from the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory were sworn in and given the mandate to begin the process of reconciling aggrieved members of the party in their domains.
Speaking at the ceremony, Odigie-Oyegun advised chairmen in Rivers, Lagos, Oyo, Taraba, and Delta, among others, not to go ahead with the inauguration of other members of the state executives to allow for harmonisation and reconciliation.
Explaining further, Odigie-Oyegun said, “There is a serious need for quick reconciliation especially in Rivers, Taraba, Oyo, Delta, Lagos and others.
“Let the chairmen here wait and should not inaugurate their executives like the others until the issues with the congresses in such states are resolved.
“I’m going to set up a committee headed by the deputy national chairman, (North) to study the situations in such states for possible actions. There will be concessions and harmonisation after the exercise within this week.”
On Lagos’ case, the APC National Publicity Secretary, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, said, “The case of Lagos is clearly a constitutional matter. We set up a committee to consider the report of the congresses held there. Of course, we overruled those who conducted their congress in 57 local government areas, because the constitution only recognises 20 local governments.”
He, however, explained that the party leadership was not opposed to seeking for political solutions to some of the issues not only in Lagos but in other states where the “so-called” parallel congresses were conducted.
It was learnt that notable party chieftains who did not secure the party’s support for their case include: the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara; a former Kano State governor, Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso; and Senator Shehu Sani of Kaduna.
Their supporters stayed away from the congresses conducted in Bauchi, Kano and Kaduna states.
Others who lost out include the Imo State Governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, and an aspirant for the position of the APC National Chairman, Chief Clement Ebri, who conducted a parallel congress in Cross River State.
Odigie-Oyegun while addressing the newly inaugurated state chairmen, urged them to work for the success of the APC in the forthcoming election.
He said, “You have the onerous task of nurturing the APC. You have to work hard to return the lost glory of the party. Also make sure you work hard for the re-election of our President.
“We are aware of conflicts, disaffections and bad blood in the party. Put all this aside and work for the victory of our party at the 2019 general elections.
Some of the state chairmen inaugurated on Monday are Chief Derin Adebisi (Ogun); Ojukaye Flag-Amachree (Rivers); Godwin Etim John (Cross River); Dr. Ben Nwoye (Enugu); and Alhaji Tunde Balogun (Lagos).
Others are Jothan L. Amos (Bayelsa); Dr. Hillary Eke (Imo); Abdullahi Abass (Kano); Nitte K. Amangal (Gombe); Abdullahi Bello (Kogi); and Ade Adetimehin (Ondo).
Meanwhile, ahead of the June 23, national convention of the APC, it has been revealed that each aspirant to the chairmanship position will pay N500, 000 for the nomination form.
However, the Director-General of the Voice of Nigeria, Mr Osita Okechukwu, has said the Imo State Governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, was free to have the All Progressives Congress.
Okechukwu said this while responding to questions from newsmen at the National Secretariat of the APC, in Abuja.
However, one of the conveners of the APC Restoration Coalition in Imo State, Dr. Toe Ekechi, said the VON DG was merely expressing a personal opinion.
Ekechi noted that Okorocha, for now, remained the governor of Imo State and that his support and contribution would be welcome should he decide to continue to support the APC.
Earlier, Okechukwu had said the APC was now better positioned to make a greater impact on the South-East with or without the governor.
He expressed confidence that the APC would consolidate on its power come 2019 by winning seats at the executive and legislative levels in state and at the federal levels.
Okechukwu said, “At least, there are more than 60 political parties now, Okorocha is free to join any of his choice. Though we are not forcing him to leave, what we are saying is we have taken the leadership out of his hands because he was playing God.
“He was personalising power, so the majority of the leadership and membership of the APC in the South-East said, ‘thank you, so far so good enough is enough.’
“So, what I am just saying is that he was at liberty to leave the APC but let nobody anywhere think that the APC will lose because we have retrieved the party from him. No, the APC is the winner as a political party.
“In my place, there is a saying that when a bird is dancing on the main road it means there is a drummer in the bush, and I am pointing at the drummer of all that is happening in the South-East. But luckily, the majority, over 90 per cent of the leadership and membership of the APC in the South-East has said enough is enough to our former leader, Owelle Rochas Okorocha.”

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Minister Blames Judiciary For Prisons’ Congestion

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The Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, has blamed the congestion in Nigeria’s correctional facilities on the country’s Judiciary, explaining that the Nigerian Correctional Service (NCOS) was not allowed by law to reject inmates sentenced to correctional centres or to release them.
Aregbesola, represented by Special Adviser on Nigerian Correctional Service, Suleiman Tala, stated this while delivering a paper at a policy advocacy conference entitled, “Decongestion of Correctional Centres: Status Quo”, organised as part of the 60th-anniversary celebration of the Order of The Knights of St Mulumba, Nigeria, Lagos Metropolitan Council, which was held in Lagos, adding that the primary responsibility of NCOS is to hold offenders pending the adjudication of their cases before a law court.
“It is important for the public to be aware that the NCOS and the Ministry of Interior are trying their best to tackle the issue from different angles as the length of time the inmates stay at the custodian centre is not determined by NCOS but by the justice system. I may not be able to reiterate exactly what the challenges are with the judiciary, however, as it affects the NCOS we are doing all we can not to compromise the traditional responsibility of the NCOS,” he stated.
Representing the Inspector General of Police, Baba Usman, Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, accepted that the police contribute to the congestion but gave his reasons.
“Inconsistence of the appearance of police officers to give evidence at trials has been identified as one of the alleged causes of prolonging trial but the IGP has mandated officers must attend court cases as at when due. The police are being hampered by a high level of distrust between the citizens and their police institution,” he stated.
Also at the conference, Lagos State Catholic Archbishop, Alfred Adewale Martins, who was represented by Rev. Paschal Uwaezeapu, stated that decongestion of the prisons would continue to be a matter as long as the government has refused to fix the country.
“The prison would continue to be congested if we don’t fix the society. As long as our society is a place where everybody takes for himself without considering the neighbour then our prison would continue to be congested. If we need to fix the prison we need to fix the family. These prisoners come from a family. We need to fix the education system also. We need to promote justice, without all these, the prison will soon overflow,” he stated.
Meanwhile, the Lagos Metropolitan Grand Knight, KSM William Adebisi, urged the government to declare a state of emergency on the congestion of prisons.
“The government needs to take the matter seriously as it affects the health of the inmates, economy of the company and behavioural change of the inmates,” he stated.

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FG Seeks $3bn With Eurobond Offer

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The Federal Government has announced plans for a Eurobond issuance in the International Capital Market (ICM) to raise $3billion.
The Debt Management Office (DMO) said, yesterday, that Virtual meetings with investors have been scheduled for today, and September 20, 2021.
It said, “In order to avail local investors the opportunity to invest in the Eurobonds, meetings will also be held with local investors.
“This is the first time local investors will be included in the Roadshows, and this is one of the reasons why a Nigerian Bookrunner (Chapel Hill Denham Advisory Services Ltd) was appointed as one of the Transaction Advisers.
“Through the Eurobond issuance, Nigeria is expected to raise up to $3billion but no more than $6.2billion.”
According to the DMO, the issuance for which all statutory approvals have been received, would be to implement the New External Borrowing in the 2021 Appropriation Act and that “Proceeds are for the financing of various projects in the Act.”
The agency gave further insight, saying, “In addition to providing funding to part-finance the deficit in the 2021 Appropriation Act, the issuance of Eurobonds by Nigeria benefits the country in many other strategic ways; amongst which are: 1. It is an inflow of foreign exchange, leading to an increase in External Reserves.
“External Reserves help support the Naira Exchange Rate, and Nigeria’s sovereign rating.
“When Nigeria raises funds externally, through Eurobonds, it frees up space in the domestic market for private sector and sub-national borrowers. In effect, it helps the sovereign not to crowd out other borrowers in the domestic market.
“The issuance of Eurobonds by Nigeria has opened up opportunities for Nigeria’s corporate sector notably banks, to issue Eurobonds to raise capital in the ICM.
“By so doing, their capital base has been strengthened to provide banking services whilst also meeting regulatory requirements. Nigeria has a sovereign yield curve in the ICM, extending up to 30 years.
“The local listing of Nigeria’s Eurobonds on the Nigerian Exchange Ltd. and the FMDQ Securities Exchange Ltd., have increased the range of products on these two (2) exchanges and their respective market capitalization.
“Overall, Eurobond issuances by Nigeria and the investor meetings that precede the pricing have provided a strong global platform for Nigeria to tell its own story and opportunities available in Nigeria for investors.”
The Transaction Advisers appointed by Nigeria for the issuance were: International Bookrunners – JP Morgan, Citigroup Global Markets Limited; Joint Lead Managers -Standard Chartered Bank and Goldman Sachs; Nigerian Bookrunner – Chapel Hill Denham Advisory Services Ltd; Financial Adviser – FSDH Merchant Bank Ltd; while White & Case LLP, was appointed International Legal Adviser; and Banwo&Ighodalo would serve as Nigerian Legal Adviser.
The last time Nigeria accessed the ICM was November 2018.

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Insecurity: Put Nigeria First, FG Tells Media

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The Federal Government has tasked the media to put Nigeria first in the reportage of the country’s activities, particularly the fight against insecurity.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, made the call in Abuja during the ceremony of the renaming of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Headquarters Building after the former Managing Director and Board Chairman of NAN, late Wada Maida.
Mohammed said it may seem obvious and trite, but for any professional, including a journalist in Nigeria to be able to carry out his or her responsibility at all, the nation must first exist, in peace.
“In other words, if the country goes down, all professionals and everybody go down. It is that stark, and this is why I want to use this platform to appeal to our media to put Nigeria first”, Mohammed said.
Speaking further, the minister said if one picked up most newspapers, watched most television stations or listened to most radio stations in the country, one will be right to think Nigeria is a country at war.
While acknowledging that there were challenges in the country, especially in the area of security, Mohammed, however, said the Buhari administration had not only acknowledged the challenges, it is earnestly tackling the challenges.
“A good example is the decisive manner in which our gallant troops are tackling the banditry in the North-West or the way they are combating the terrorists in the North-East. Our security agencies have also successfully tackled the separatists in the South-East and South-West and the militants in the South-South. Unfortunately, these efforts have only been perfunctorily reflected in the reportage of the security challenges that we face. This is not only unfair, especially to those who are sacrificing their lives to keep us safe, it is unpatriotic.
“To illustrate the damage this non-acknowledgement of the efforts of the security agencies pose to the country, let me tell you what transpired when I recently hosted some members of the Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation (NIDO) UK Chapter, who visited me in my office here in Abuja. They said some of their colleagues who would have come to Nigeria for their programme tagged,‘A Week in and For Nigeria’ during the month of July, did not come out of fear of the security situation in Nigeria. However, those who made the trip said they travelled to their hometowns across the country and returned to Abuja safely. If Nigerians in the diaspora can be afraid to come to their country, imagine how foreigners, including investors and tourists, will feel about coming to the country.
“Whatever image problem Nigeria is suffering from today is mostly due to the unflattering portrayal of the country by the country’s media.
“Even when some media organisations report fake news, they never have the decency to retract such stories and apologise. They simply move on as if nothing has happened.
“We are not saying the media should not report on the security challenges we face. All we are saying is: Be fair and report accurately the efforts being made by the state and federal governments to tackle the challenges. Even if you don’t want to encourage the men and women in uniform fighting to keep us safe, please don’t discourage them with negative reporting. The security challenges we face today will be successfully tackled and Nigeria will not cease to exist, despite the antics of naysayers”, Mohammed added.
Mohammed congratulated the family, friends and associates of the late Maida for the great and much-deserved honour done to him.
He commended the management and staff of the NAN for coming up with the idea to immortalise the late Maida.
“The Federal Government’s decision to approve the proposal was not difficult, upon realising the role played by Alhaji Wada in making NAN the respectable agency that it is today. A man who was everything from Zonal Editor to Foreign Correspondent to Editor-in-Chief to Managing Director to Board Chairman, a man who built this glistening NAN headquarters edifice deserves to be immortalised by the organisation he served so well in his lifetime”, Mohammed stated.
Mohammed prayed that God will continue to comfort and strengthen the family of Maida, even as he prayed that the soul of the departed continues to rest in peace.

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