Amidst media report that Senate Minority Leader and former Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Senator Godswill Akpabio is set to defect to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has said it is doing everything possible to retain his membership.
The party said its constitution only allows room for defection if cracks exist within its fold, adding that at the national level and the Akwa Ibom State chapter of the party, the PDP has no factions.
A prominent member of the PDP National Working Committee (NWC) said, yesterday, that speculations on the lawmaker’s imminent defection were not new, stating, however, that the party has continued to explore ways of handling the situation.
Although the PDP would go the whole hog to retain the membership of one of its arrowheads and stalwarts, the party leader said the final decision lies with the lawmaker.
He said: “We have been on this matter for quite a while now and as a party, we have done our best. We are not resting yet and we will do more to make him see reasons to have a second thought.
“Our constitution makes provision for leaving the party which is when there is a crisis or crises leading to the creation of factions. Across all the 36 state chapters, the FCT and the national leadership, we have no parallel executives. So, there is no justification for anyone to leave our party for now.”
On the options before the party in the event of Akpabio’s defection; the PDP chieftain explained: “A man would only be able to tell which among his wife, makes the better soup after testing the soups made by each of the wives. If he chooses to leave despite the effort of the leadership of our party, we can only wait and see how events unfold for him.
“Deep inside of him, he knows what he is going into. The question is, why is he leaving? Let me add here that the choice is his but we don’t want him to leave because no party will be happy to lose its key member.”
The lawmaker, some media reports claim, is having a frosty relationship with his successor, the Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Udom Emmanuel over the control of party structures in the state.
Akpabio, Senator representing Akwa Ibom North West District, is reported to have also visited President Muhammadu Buhari in London, currently in UK for a 10-day vacation.
Also, according to a tweet by Bashir Ahmad verified account @BashirAhmaad: “Today in London, Sen. Godswill Akpabio, Senate Minority Leader visited President Muhammadu Buhari. He had earlier last week met with the Leader of APC, Alhaji Bola Tinubu. He also consulted with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo. Mohammed told newsmen in Lagos that those who left the ruling party did so for personal interests.
Mohammed said that the recent defection of some governors, state and federal lawmakers to the main opposition party, PDP, was nothing to worry about.
“There have been so much hype about this defection, and to me, it’s nothing but a storm in a tea cup. We must appreciate the fact that at the end of the day, all politics is local.”
According to him, the foundation for the defection was laid the moment Dr Bukola Saraki emerged Senate President against the wish of the party which affected the relationship between the executive and legislative arms.
He said that since the day Saraki lobbied the opposition party to become the Senate President, the relationship between the executive and legislature had been turbulent.
“In fact, we could not have suffered more as an executive in the hands of the legislature if a PDP person had been the senate president,” he said.
On allegation of sideline and lopsided appointment Kwarans in Buhari’s administration, Mohammad described it as unfounded.
He said that no fewer than 24 indigenes of Kwara were given federal appointments of which he (Mohammed) only recommended two while the Senate President recommended 20.
On those complaining of not being given juicy appointment, the minister said that people complaining were not ready to serve and turn things around but eyeing what to steal.
“It is not true that a particular part of the country is being favoured against the other.
“I challenge anybody to go to the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and take out the list of appointees under this administration, you will be surprise that we have been fair to all,” he said.
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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