The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, has said President Muhammadu Buhari, who is also the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, is not interested in ensuring free, fair and credible elections in 2019.
Atiku’s party, the PDP, also accused the President of planning to extend the service of the Inspector General of Police , Ibrahim Idris, in order to use him to manipulate the presidential elections in favour of the APC.
Atiku said this while speaking through the spokesperson for the PDP Presidential Campaign Council, Umar Sani, at a press briefing in Lagos, yesterday.
Also, the PDP’s rejection of the IGP’s service extension was stated at the same briefing which had the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan in attendance.
Atiku said it was evident that Buhari was not interested in credible elections because his refusal to sign the Electoral (Amendment) Bill 2018 despite the provisions in the bill to address election manipulations was a manifestation of his intention.
The PDP Presidential Campaign Council’s spokesperson said, “ Elections are usually manipulated at coalition centres and the amendments in the Electoral Bill is trying to prevent this but the President has refused to sign it.
“ When former President Goodluck Jonathan was in office, he was pressurised to extend the service of the then IGP, MD Abubakar but he did not succumb. Election was also close then and he refused to succumb to the pressure to extend his service.
“ We will not accept this now, we won’t accept anything less than what was done then. A precedent has been set, so we won’t accept anything less.”
Sani said Atiku had continued to say that he would engage younger persons with brilliant ideas and energy to drive the economy of the nation, saying an enabling environment would be created for businesses to thrive.
This, he said, would translate to job creation while stressing that Atiku, who was an entrepreneur and a good manager of humans and resources would unite the nation and reposition its economy to make life better for the people.
He explained that Atiku would also initiate the process of restructuring of the country which he had been promising in his electioneering while urging the electorate to discountenance the alleged lie of the ruling party that the PDP candidate said he would restructure the country in six months.
Sani said it was not enough to have integrity, saying Buhari had brought disaster to the economy and other aspects of the nation because he lacked the required competence to govern Nigeria.
Ologbondiyan stated that no administration in Nigeria has been found to be as corrupt as the Buhari administration. He said Buhari’s lieutenants had stolen so much from the public treasury but said the most painful thing was that the President had kept looking at another direction each time his aides were fingered in corrupt practices.
He said, “ We reject the any extension of service for the IGP. We in PDP reject this. We know what the President is planning to do by the extension of service is to use the IG to perpetrate his rigging plan.
“ We want to appeal to the IGP to insulate Nigeria Police from partisan politics. From the body language of Mr President, it is evident that he is not ready for free and fair elections in 2019.”
Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party Presidential Campaign Organization (PDPPCO) has accused the Presidency and the All Progressive Congress (APC) of hawking the 2023 presidency to secure votes for next year’s election.
This followed the promised by different key officials of the administration including Vice President Yemi Osinbajo asking different regions to vote for President Muhammadu Buhari so that they may have the 2023 presidential slot.
But in a statement issued by the spokesman of the campaign organization, Kassim Afegbua in Abuja on Sunday, the PDPPCO said the move was in desperation to hang on to power despite its abysmal failure so far.
It noted that the ruling party has “resorted to trading with the lure of 2023 presidency, promising both the South East and South West respectively of the 2023 presidency in exchange for votes.”
The statement said giving out two promises has exposed the insincerity and dubious intention of the Buhari-led Federal Government with the people of the South-East and South-West geopolitical zones with empty promises of bequeathing power to the two zones at the same time in 2023.
According to the campaign spokesman, this is why Nigerians cannot take the APC and the Buhari presidency serious any longer, as we prepare for the 2019 election.
The statement recalled that speaking on behalf of President Buhari in Owerri last week, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, told the APC campaign that the President would hand over the reins of power to a South-Easterner while calling on the people to support Mr President.
It pointed out that meanwhile, the Vice President also told leaders of the South-West to support the re-election of President Buhari so as to get the presidency in 2023.
The statement added: “Two principal officers of the same government cannot be fooling Nigerians with vainglorious promises all in the name of re-election.
“Such discordant tunes by the first and second citizens of our dear country have exposed lack of synergy and display of double standard and double-speak by chieftains of a government that has continued to display wanton desperation to hold on to power at all cost in the face of monumental failure.
“How can the president be promising South-Easterners the Presidency when his Vice President is also promising the South-Westerners same position in 2023, all in the name of 2019 re-election?.
“This is a clear show of deceit, desperation, crass insincerity and hypocrisy of the highest order. This is a clarion call on the South-Easterners not to trust such carrot being dangled before them as it has become obvious that this government neither fulfils promises nor keeps any covenant.
“The same government cannot promise the Igbos and Yorubas at the same time if it were sincere about the shape of politics of 2023 presidency.
“This government has an uncommon reputation for deceit, lies, insincerity and hypocrisy especially when it has to do with its 2019 re-election bid.
“Nigerians are beginning to see through the pretensions and dubiety of purpose of the Buhari-led Federal Government; a government that has shown its incapacitation and leadership atrophy in the last three years and crippled the fabric of our collegiate solidarity and unity through nepotism and cronyism.
“The president cannot, on the one hand, be playing God by decreeing which zone it intends to bequeath the reins of power, while his Vice President, on the other hand, is also promising his South-West zone of the same position.
“This is a typical feature of power hawkers, in their desperation to hoodwink buyers to patronise their morbid products.
“The Nigerian public must wake up to this double-speak and vote out this inconsistent government in 2019.
“It is a responsibility that every Nigerian must buy into in order to save the country from further maladies and misgovernance.”
Also, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Presidential Campaign Organisation (PPCO) has demanded for apology from President Muhammadu Buhari for allegedly making false claims in his Wednesday’s budget presentation to the National Assembly.
The Director, Media and Publicity of PPCO, Kola Ologbondiyan, said in a statement issued in Abuja last Saturday that the organisation noted with consternation, “the deliberate reliance on falsehood” by President Buhari in the 2019 budget presentation.
The campaign spokesman said Nigerians and the international community were shocked as fact-checks revealed that a large part of the claims made by Mr. President, particularly on projects he claimed to have completed, were outright falsehood, apparently designed by the Buhari Presidency to mislead the nation and the world.
He observed that the fact-checks showed that most of the projects which Mr President claimed to have been completed did not have the least attention of his administration, if they existed at all.
He added: “Of particular reference is President Buhari’s claim that he had completed the Ugwashi-Uku Dam in Delta State, a claim which casts a long shadow on his assertions, as the project had been abandoned since 2015.
“In fact, the dam, which President Buhari barefacedly said he had completed, is overgrown with weeds, while the road leading to the complex has collapsed.
“The scenario is mostly the same in other capital projects, particularly those in remote parts of the country, which, perhaps, our dear President thought Nigerians would not fact-check on.
“This explained why federal lawmakers booed him during his budget presentation, a development that is unprecedented in our national history.
“In his desperate plot to nudge up a trajectory of dismal performance, President Buhari resorted to falsification of achievements, thereby violating his oath of office, the oath of allegiance to the people of Nigeria and corrupted our national performance indices.
“This elevation of lies to a standard practice of governance is embarrassing and the PPCO completely condemns it.
“All over the world, leaders of nations are expected to be truthful in their dealings, but this is no longer the case as it concerns our dear nation.
“While we do not want to call Mr. President a liar, we urge him to tell Nigerians, in his own words, what he would call a person who claims to have done what he did not do, particularly, given his perception by a minority few as Mr. Integrity.”
The PPCO invited Nigerians to note that since fact-checks exposed the myriads of false claims in Mr. President’s budget speech, the Presidency had not offered any form of explanation.
“This goes to show that the claims were deliberate and intended to mislead,” he stated further, adding that “Nigerians will recall that the PDP had always alerted that the Buhari Presidency had nothing to offer Nigerians except lies, falsehood, deception, beguilement, intimidation, harassment, hunger, starvation and disobedience of court orders.”
The PPCO, therefore, charged President Buhari to apologise to Nigerians and get his handlers to turn a new leaf “and save his reputation from further nose-diving within the few months he has left in office as the President.”
Southern Govs Back Wike, Insist On VAT Collection …A’Court Urges Rivers To Submit Written Application For Receiver
Southern Governors met in Enugu, yesterday, and declared their support for Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, insisting that it is within their purview to collect the Value Added Tax (VAT).
This is coming amid row between the Rivers State Government and the Federal Government, a case that is now subject of litigation.
The governors also reaffirmed their stand on open-grazing ban, urging every state in the region to quickly pass a law to that regards.
The resolution by the Southern Governors Forum is part of the six-point communique reached at its meeting at the Government House, Enugu, Enugu State, and read by Chairman of the Forum and Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, SAN.
The meeting of the Southern Governors Forum, which reviewed the state of the nation and the progress of the implementation of the decisions reached in its previous meetings, expressed satisfaction with the rate at which the states in Southern Nigeria were enacting and amending the anti-open grazing laws which allowed a uniform template and aspiration of Southern Governors, and encouraged the states that were yet to enact the law to do so expeditiously.
Reading the communique after the closed door meeting to journalists, Akeredolu said that the meeting reiterated its earlier position that the next President of Nigeria most come from the southern part of Nigeria, in line with politics of equity, justice and fairness.
According to the communique, the Southern Governors agreed to encourage the full operationalization of already agreed regional security outfit which will meet, share intelligence and collaborate to ensure the security and safety of the region.
Akeredolu opined that the meeting also reaffirmed its earlier commitment to stick to fiscal federalism as resolved at the inaugural meeting of the forum held on Tuesday, May 11, 2021, at Asaba, Delta State, and emphasize the need for the Southern States to leverage the legislative competence of their respective state Houses of Assembly, as well as representation in the National Assembly to pursue its inclusion in the Nigerian Constitution, through the ongoing constitutional amendment.
The communiqué, according to the forum’s chairman, expressed satisfaction with the array of issues around the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) and ownership of NNPC by the larger Nigerian Governors Forum.
The forum thanked the host Governor, IfeanyiUgwuanyi, and chose Rivers State as the next host for the Southern Governors Forum meeting in November, 2021.
Present at the meeting were Rivers StateGovernor, Chief NyesomWike; Delta StateGovernor, Dr.IfeanyiOkowa;AkwaIbom StateGovernor, Chief Emmanuel Udom; and Osun StateGovernor, IsiakaAdegboyegaOyetola.
Others were Enugu StateGovernor, IfeanyiUgwuanyi;Bayelsa StateGovernor, Senator DuoyeDiri;Lagos State Governor,BabajideSanwo-Olu; and Ogun State Governor,EngrOluwaseyiAbiodun.
The governors of Oyo, Ekiti, Edo, Imo, Abia, and Ebonyistates were represented by their deputies.
The communiqué read in full, “The Nigerian Southern Governors’ Forum at its meeting of Thursday, September 16, 2021 held in the Government House, Enuqu, Enugu State, reviewed the state or the nation and the progress of implementation of the decisions reached in her previous meetings and further resolved as follows:
“Expressed satisfaction with the rate at which the states in the Southern Nigeria are enacting or amending the Anti-Open Grazing Laws which align with the uniform template and aspiration of Southern Governors and encouraged the states that are yet to enact this law to do so expeditiously.
“Encouraged the full operationalization of already agreed regional security outfits; which would meet, share intelligence and collaborate, to ensure the security and safety of the region.
“Reaffirmed its earlier commitment to structural and fiscal federalism as resolved at the inaugural meeting of the Forum held on Tuesday, May 11, 2021 at Asaba, Delta State, and emphasized the need for the Southern States to leverage the legislative competence of their respective State Houses of Assembly as well as representation in the National assembly to pursue its inclusion in the Nigerian Constitution through the ongoing constitutional amendment.
“Following from paragraph 3 above, the meeting resolved to support the position that the collection of VAT falls within the powers of the states.
“Expressed satisfaction with the handling of issues around the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) and ownership of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) by the larger Nigerian Governors’ Forum.
“Reiterated their earlier position that the next President of Nigeria must come from the Southern part of Nigeria in line with politics of equity, justice and fairness.
“The forum thanked the host Governor, IfeanyiUgwuanyi, and chose Rivers State as the next host for the Southern Governors’ Forum meeting in November, 2021″.
However, the Court of Appeal, yesterday, declined to accede to the request of Rivers and Lagos states for the appointment of Receiver or Manager for the purpose of collecting and keeping Value Added Taxes (VAT) in place of the Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS) pending the resolution of all legal disputes in the matter.
The two states separately canvassed that the order of status quo ante bellum granted on September 10 in favour of FIRS to continue the collection be put on hold given the appeal already lodged at the Supreme Court against the order.
Counsel to Rivers State, IfedayoAdedipe, SAN, in his oral application, pleaded with the appellate body to exercise its power under Order 4 Rule 6 of the Court of Appeal to appoint a Receiver or Manager to take custody of the VAT in the interest of justice to parties in the matter.
The Attorney General of Lagos State, Mr MoyosoreOnigbanjo, SAN, who stood for his state, toed the path of Rivers in canvassing that the court be fair and just in the pending appeal.
Onigbanjo specifically asked the Appeal Court to restrain FIRS from further collecting the tax and replace it with a Receiver or Manager that would act for parties that are locked in the legal battle.
The Lagos Attorney General predicated his expressed fear of unjust treatment on the fact that FIRS apart from collecting the tax has been sharing it among the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) despite the pendency of the legal tussle.
“I think it is also necessary to restrain the FIRS, because they collect the VAT, distribute to all the states and keeps their own 4 per cent.
“If, at the end of the day, the court agrees with the judgment of the Federal High Court, how do we retrieve the funds that have been shared?”,Onigbanjo added.
The appeal by the FIRS is against August 9, 2021 judgment by Justice Steven Pam of the Federal High Court in Port-Harcourt, voiding the Value Added Tax (VAT) Act and holding that states could collect VAT.
Justice Haruna Simon Tsanami, who led a three-member panel, directed them to make the application formal by providing the necessary facts, including ascertaining the amount being collected as VAT.
Other members of the panel are Justices BatureGafai and Peter Affen.
Meanwhile, the court has reserved ruling on an application by Lagos State to be made a respondent in the appeal filed by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).
The court, after listening to arguments by lawyers to parties, yesterday, said they would be informed when the ruling was ready.
In arguing Lagos’ application, Onigbanjo (SAN) said his client was a necessary party as it would be affected by the outcome of the case.
He noted that, as a federating unit/state in Nigeria, Lagos was entitled to collect VAT by virtue of the judgment of the Federal High Court that annulled VAT Act.
Onigbanjo argued that even the appellant (the FIRS) recognised that Lagos State has an interest in the case, which he said, was evident in the affidavit it filed, wherein copious reference was made to the Lagos State Government.
He further argued that since FIRS, in an affidavit supporting its application for stay of the judgment, recognised the interest of the Lagos State Government in the case, “it cannot now turn around to say the Lagos State Government has no interest in this case and should not be joined. It cannot blow hot and cold or speak from both sides of its mouth.”
Onigbanjo also contended that it was unfair for the FIRS to oppose Lagos’ request to be heard in the case after making allegations against the state.
He added that even the court recognised the interest of Lagos State in the case when it extended its order on maintenance of status quo to Lagos State, which was not yet a party in the case.
Onigbanjo prayed the court to join his client as a respondent.
Adedipe adopted Onigbaajo’s argument, and urged the court to allow the application by Lagos State.
Following the observation by Onigbanjo that the written address filed by the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) was incompetent, the lawyer representing the AGF, TijaniGazali (SAN), withdrew the address, subsequent upon which the court struck it out.
Lawyer to FIRS, Mahmud Magaji (SAN), objected to the joinder application filed by Lagos State, arguing, among others, that the state was not a necessary party.
Magaji faulted the competence of the application, and urged the court to discountenance it.
On second thought, Magaji said if the court was willing to join Lagos; it should extend such indulgence to the other states of the federation.
Okonjo-Iweala Makes ‘TIME 100’
Nigerian-born Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has thanked the Duke of Sussex, Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan Markle, for the kind words they penned about her as she makes the TIME 100 list of The World’s Most Influential People.
The magazine has noted the globally-rated economist’s activities around the efforts to ensure that everyone on the planet earth gets vaccinated against any preventable disease for which there is a vaccine.
The ex-World Bank guru has been the Board Chair of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, since January 1, 2016.
Gavi has the goal of increasing access to immunization in poor countries.
Concerning the TIME entry, the Duke and the Duchess state, “What will it take to vaccinate the world? Unity, cooperation—and leaders like Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala”.
“As the first African and first woman to lead the World Trade Organization, a 164-member group of nations that oversees trade across the world, Okonjo-Iweala took on the role of director-general this March at a watershed moment for our global health and well-being. Make no mistake; her job affects every person, family and community.
“As we face a constant barrage of vaccine misinformation, bureaucratic slowdowns across both government and industry, and the rise of variants that underscore the urgency of the situation, Okonjo-Iweala has shown us that to end the pandemic, we must work together to equip every nation with equitable vaccine access.
“Our conversations with her have been as informative as they are energizing. This is partly because, despite the challenges, she knows how to get things done—even between those who don’t always agree—and does so with grace and a smile that warms the coldest of rooms.
“The fragility of our world right now cannot be overstated. Just over a quarter of the nearly 8 billion global population is fully vaccinated.
“Achieving vaccine equity is a global duty of compassion for one another. Our hope is that guided by strong leaders like Ngozi, we can get there soon”, they wrote.
Relocation Of Insurgents, Wake-Up Call, CAN Warns
The Chairman, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Kaduna State Chapter, Revd Joseph Hayab, has described the alleged relocation of Boko Haram leaders to Southern Kaduna as a wake-up call on people of the area.
Hayabsaid that though the news of the alleged relocation was not new, government has not done enough to protect the people.
He claimed all the calls from voices of reason appeared not to have moved both the federal and state governments to rise to the occasion.
“The relocation of Boko Haram to Southern Kaduna is not new. Who are those that have been killing people indiscriminately in that area in the last few years? The church, SOKAPU and the people have been complaining about killings in Southern Kaduna but only fell on the deaf ear of those in authority.
“Therefore, the leaked document has simply confirmed our worries and shows that more days for killings of innocent citizens are coming unless the people take personal initiative to defend their lives and land. Our government has not done enough to convince us that they want to stop the killings going on all over the area.
“Now, we were being told that there is a leaked memo about Boko Haram when those in authority have always turned deaf ears to cries of our people when we complain about killers that people see every day. Boko Haram fleeing North-East to Southern Kaduna is simply a wake-up call for the Southern Kaduna people to rise to the occasion,” he said.
A leaked DSS memo had said insurgents were relocating from Sambisa forest in BornoState to Chikun LGA in Kaduna State.
The alert was in a leaked memo marked NSCDC/NHQ/INT&INVST/323/2021, dated September 9, 2021, and signed by the Acting Deputy Commandant-General of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Intelligence and Investigation, B.O. Bassey.
The DSS, therefore, asked the civil defence to be on the alert.
“It has been uncovered, plans by senior Boko Haram fighter, Ibrahim (FNU) alongside his foot soldiers relocating from ‘Sambisa Forest in Borno State to Rijana Forest in ChikunLocal Government Area of Kaduna State with a view to joining their counterpart under the leadership of one AdamuYunusu (aka Saddiqu).
“In light of the above, you are hereby directed to step up surveillance and intelligence gathering on the aforementioned areas and environs.”
Meanwhile, months after the crash involving a Nigerian Air Force (NAF) King Air 350 aircraft on May 21 at the Kaduna Civil Airport, Commissioner of the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB), Akin Olateru, has submitted an interim report to the Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Amao, at his office at NAF Headquarters, Abuja.
After the crash, the CAS directed that a joint investigative body consisting of NAF safety officers and the AIB be constituted to investigate the causes.
A joint statement by the Director of Public Relations and Information, Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet, and General Manager, Public Affairs, AIB, TunjiOketunbi, revealed that at this interim stage, a total of 27 initial findings and eight safety recommendations were made for the convening authority as well as other aviation-related agencies for immediate implementation.
They further disclosed that it is expected that the final report would contain the flight data recorder readout, the reviewed operator’s and service provider’s standard operating procedures as well as other detailed analyses.
While receiving the report, the CAS reiterated the main essence of activating the ‘joint investigative’ clause contained in the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the NAF and the AIB on July 1, 2020.
He said successful collaboration is a clear indication of the potency of collaboration in aircraft accident investigation, which must be encouraged.
Similarly, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), has blamed Almajiri system in the North for the increasing cases of banditry, kidnapping, terrorism and armed robbery in the country.
The Chairman of CAN in Imo State, Rev. Eches Divine Eches, stated this in an interview with journalists in Abuja, ahead of the organisation’s 45th anniversary and Founder’s Day billed to hold today in Owerri, the Imo State capital.
According to him, banditry and kidnapping are increasing because the authorities have failed to pay more attention to the critical factors behind the widespread insecurity in the country.
Eches also expressed concern over Sheikh Ahmed Gumi’s links with the bandits terrorising the North-West region and the alleged helplessness of the government to arrest and caution him for his many ‘unguarded utterances’ about their activities.
He said, “You can’t have Almajiri system of life and government in the last 40 years in our nation bringing up people without any trace to families, hometowns or nationalities.
“They are scattered all over the street, without you knowing that someday they will leave the street and go to the bush where they will begin to do the trade of kidnapping.
“Also, you can’t, in any sane nation, have the likes of Gumi, a religious scholar, going about promoting banditry and you don’t think that this will continue. Yet, that is what we are seeing today. We are not seeing anything more than what we have planted.
“We allowed this thing (insecurity) to continue and it is now going to consume the nation, if drastic measures are not put in place to take them (Almajiri) out of the streets, give them a sense of belonging, put them in school, and help them realise their potentials.
“These bandits we find today were the Almajiri who used to be in front of our houses and begging for food.
“We are praying and that is why God is still sustaining our nation. I trust God will continue to sustain us in Jesus name.”
On CAN’s 45th anniversary of its Founder’s Day, Eches said the programme was necessary to remember the labour of past heroes, including over 250 retired church leaders and indigent youth and women who were weak.
“They retired church leaders laboured to bring to bear what we are enjoying and working on today.
“We thought it very necessary to remember the weak among us as most of them are passing through terrible times, especially in such a time as this in our nation.
“So, we thought it very important that we will use this 45th anniversary of our Founders’ Day to celebrate such a people and remember their labours, and say to them ‘you deserve to be celebrated’ both by cash and gift,” he said.
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