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APC Chairman Defects To PDP In A’ Ibom

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A factional Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Akwa Ibom State, Udoma Ekarika has defected to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Mr Ekarika announced his defection at a political rally organised last Monday in Onna by the people of Akwa Ibom South District to endorse Governor Udom Emmanuel’s bid for re-election.
Mr Ekarika, a medical doctor and a former Commissioner for Works in the state, was one of the APC leaders who laid claim to being the “validly” elected state chairman of APC in the state during the state congress of the party in May this year.
A son-in-law to a former governor of the state, Victor Attah, Mr Ekarika was groomed by Mr Attah to take over as governor in 2007 but was narrowly defeated at the PDP governorship primaries by Godswill Akpabio who was serving then as a commissioner for local government and chieftaincy affairs in the Attah administration.
At the rally, Mr Ekarika reportedly said “I’m coming back from a very useless party called APC, I am proud to become part of PDP again”.
When our correspondent contacted Mr Ekarika yesterday, he clarified that his use of the word “useless” applied only to the APC in Akwa Ibom, and not in the entire country.
“Yes, APC in Akwa Ibom state is a useless party because of the useless people who have come to join it,” he said, apparently referring to the recent defection of Mr Akpabio from the PDP to the APC.
On what has become of his ambition to lead the APC in the state, Mr Ekarika told our correspondent “My aspiration to lead the party was borne out of my desire to reposition the party for electoral success in 2019 and beyond.
“But the cabal who were the destroyers of PDP who came to APC because they believe in impunity and imposition came to say instead of doing the needful which was to conduct an election, they preferred to do an unconstitutional thing called consensus. There is nothing like consensus in the APC guideline.
“I was not happy about it, they should have allowed the will of the people to prevail.”
Mr Ekarika said Governor Emmanuel would have an easy ride to victory at the poll in 2019.
“Udom will not have any tough battle with anybody. What is on the ground is that Victor Attah did two terms, Godswill Akpabio also did two terms, so Udom Emmanuel would be allowed to do two terms too.
“Apart from that, Udom has done very well. Udom has done very well, I can say it loud. One of the things he has done which Akwa Ibom people appreciate it is that he has brought peace to this state,” he said.
He said the killings, kidnappings, and general insecurity that plagued the state when Mr Akpabio was governor of the state would eventually become a political burden for the APC during the 2019 election.
“Do you think Akwa Ibom people will give APC the opportunity to bring back that era to this state?” Mr Ekarika asked.
He added, “The cog in the wheel of Udom’s administration was Akapabio, and thank God, God has removed him.
“I am sure Udom will now see clearly, with focus, and move ahead.
“Godswill Akpabio is overrated by people at the national level, and not in Akwa Ibom.”

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Ogoni Youths Give FG 14 Days To Fix East-West Road

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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

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Rising Prices Push 7m Nigerians Below Poverty Line -World Bank

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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.

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Inflation Dips To 17.93% In May, NBS Confirms

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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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