The Peoples Democratic Party, yesterday, described the list of ministerial nominees released by President Muhammadu Buhari as colourless and inspiring no hope in Nigerians.
In a statement issued via its verified Twitter handle, the party said, the list showed the regard in which the President and his All Progressives Congress hold Nigerians.
It said, “President Muhammadu Buhari’s ministerial list presented to the Senate today is colourless, stagnant, uninspiring and do not convey any sense of hope or purposeful governance under the APC.
“The party says that to the chagrin and utter disappointment of Nigerians, the list is replete with incompetent individuals who failed in their erstwhile ministerial assignments and left their ministries in a shambles.
“Indeed, such a ministerial list can only come from a leadership that does not have mandate of the people. It is a complete waste of time and cannot fulfil the expectation of Nigerians.
“The list has further shown President Buhari and APC‘s insensitivity and disdain for Nigerians and it does not in any way reflect their hope and eagerness for a better Nigeria.
“Furthermore, in recycling failed yesterday’s men for today’s assignment, President Buhari and the APC have left no one in doubt that they have no vision to move our nation out of the economic and security predicaments into which they have plunged us in the last four years.
“A committed and responsive leadership would have widely consulted with Nigerians before compiling a ministerial list, given the current situation in the country.
“If, indeed, President Buhari and the APC mean well for Nigerians and are interested in revamping our critical sectors, they would not have ended up with a list of those who will help conceal the huge corruption in the Buhari administration in the last four years, as well as those who will assist in channeling funds to individuals and groups used by the APC to rig the 2019 presidential election.
“Strangely, the list has no space for the youths demography, those to whom the future is said to belong.
“The PDP holds that with this development, it is clear that the only way our nation can come out of our present economic and security quandary lies in the retrieval of Atiku’s stolen Presidential mandate at the tribunal,” the statement ended.
President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday announced names of 12 former ministers who worked with him in his first term for reappointment.
They are Babatunde Fashola (Lagos State), Rotimi Amaechi (Rivers State) Hadi Sirika (Katsina State), Zainab Ahmed (Kaduna State), Lai Mohammed (Kwara State) Chris Ngige (Anambra State), Adamu Adamu (Bauchi State), Abubakar Malami (Jigawa State), Godfrey Onyeama (Enugu State), Ogbonnaya Onu (Ebonyi State) , Osagie Enahire (Edo State), Suleiman Adamu (Jigawa State), and Mohameed Bello (Adamawa State).
Some of the former ministers not reappointed are Okechukwu Enelamah (Abia State), Udoma Udo Udoma (Akwa Ibom State), Heineken Lokpobiri (Bayelsa State), Audu Ogbeh (Benue State) and Usani Uguru (Cross River State).
Others are Ibe Kachikwu (Delta State), Anthony Anwuka (Imo State ), Stephen Ochani (Kogi State), Abdulrahaman Dambazau (Kano State), Abubakar Bawa Bwari (Niger State), Cladius Omoleye Daramola (Ondo State) Isaac Adewole (Osun State ), Adebayo Shittu (Oyo State ), Solomon Dalong (Plateau State), Aisha Abubakar (Sokoto State ) and Mansur Dan Ali (Zamfara State).
Meanwhile, Senate President Ahmad Lawan has said that the screening and confirmation of the nominees would begin, today.
He added that other legislative activities in the chamber would take back seat to ensure the speedy completion of the important assignment.
Lawan said this after reeling out the list of the ministerial nominees on the floor of the upper legislative chamber of the National Assembly, yesterday.
“The screening of the ministerial nominees will commence tomorrow morning,” he said.
“All other legislative activities will take back stage for this very important national assignment.”
President Muhammadu Buhari sent 43 ministerial nominees for confirmation.
Seven former governors and senators each are among the 43 ministerial nominees whose names were sent to the Senate for screening and confirmation, yesterday.
The seven former governors include Rauf Aregbesola (Osun), Niyi Adebayo (Ekiti), George Akume (Benue), Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi (Rivers), Senator Godswill Akpabio (Akwa Ibom), Timipre Slyva (Bayelsa) and Babatunde Fasola (Lagos).
However, the ex-governors are not likely to enjoy same privileges with the former lawmakers during the screening exercise.
In the tradition of the Senate, the seven former lawmakers would be asked to take a bow and avoid all the questions and answers that normally characterise the exercise as a mark of respect.
Also, the Senate has announced the postponement of its annual recess by one week.
This, it said, was to enable members screen the ministerial nominees forwarded to it by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The Chairman, Senate ad hoc committee on Media and Public Affairs, Senator Adedayo Adeyeye, stated this while addressing reporters yesterday.
Our correspondent reported earlier that Buhari on Tuesday submitted the names of 43 nominees to the Red Chamber for confirmation hearing.
The Senate’s annual recess was initially billed to start tomorrow.
Adeyeye disclosed that the “Senate would start the screening on Wednesday”.
According to the lawmaker, since the exercise would be thorough, “the Senate would suspend its rules to sit beyond 2pm and conduct plenary on Mondays and Fridays until all the nominees have been successfully grilled”.
Nneka Amaechi-Nnadi, Abuja
North Can Live Without VAT Accruals, NEF Boasts …Backs Wike, Southern Govs On Fiscal Federalism, Restructuring
The Northern Elders Forum (NEF) has boasted that the North was a rich region, and can survive on its resources without the “billions” accruing to Southern states.
The NEF Director of Publicity and Advocacy, Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, made this known, yesterday, when he featured on Arise TV’s ‘The Morning Show’ breakfast programme.
He was reacting to the tussle between states and the Federal Government on the collection of Value Added Tax (VAT).
VAT is a consumption tax paid when goods are purchased and services are rendered, and charged at a rate of 7.5 per cent.
Although Rivers and Lagos states have started the process of collecting VAT within their territories, the Court of Appeal, in a ruling on September 10, ordered that status quo be maintained pending the determination of an appeal filed by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) against the judgment of the Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt.
Apart from Lagos and Rivers states, Ogun State has also started the process of passing a bill on VAT in its House of Assembly.
At the Southern Governors’ Forum meeting in Enugu, last Thursday, the 17 governors insisted that they have the constitutional mandate to collect VAT, and vowed to ensure that the rule of law prevails in the matter.
While some northern governors like Aminu Masari (Katsina), Yahaya Bello (Kogi), amongst others, had kicked against the move, the 17 Southern Governors led by Governor of Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN) had unanimously supported the position that “the collection of VAT falls within the powers of the states.”
Speaking, yesterday, during the television programme, Baba-Ahmed said, “I will advise that we wait to hear what the court says. However, even the fact that it has become an issue suggests that we really do need to address the fundamentals and the manner in which the federation works.
“We have always supported restructuring. We have always asked that a major and genuine shift initiative either by groups or the National Assembly so that matters like this be addressed properly.
“If we don’t do that now, then, we should get a leader that would do that in 2023. This administration appears not to understand the importance of restructuring; we do in the North, we recognise the fact that we need to change the manner in which we generate wealth and allocate (it).
“The thing is: the North wants restructuring; the North wants fiscal federalism. We are a rich region, and we can live on what we have, even if we don’t have the billions that accrue to others states. Our poverty is not a kind of problem that we would break this country over.”
According to him, the VAT war is a wake-up call to northern governors who need to recognise the fact that VAT or no VAT, they need to develop their resources and develop the human capital of the North.
The NEF spokesman added, “North, you said you have many people but you are under-developing your own people – the biggest liability of the North is that we have a huge population that is under-developed. You need to develop the human capital that you have.
“We need leaders; the current governors don’t recognise this. Otherwise, they won’t be involved in this argument; allow the court to decide.
“But for goodness sake, (they should) begin to think — what else can we do if the court decides now that Rivers State is right, Lagos State is right, and the Southern states are right, and they won’t be getting all these billions coming in from VAT? What happens?”
Baba-Ahmed said the Northern governors at this stage should not be sleeping, noting that the North is “sitting on wealth, we have massive resources in this country, we have to fight insecurity first, and the Federal Government has to help us, we need to clear the bushes, the forests and all the criminals that are there, and we need to go back to farming.
“Agriculture is a major asset; we have land, we have water, we have livestock, we have minerals that are literally begging to be picked from the ground but our governors are too focused on the pittance that they are getting. This is wrong”, he argued.
Boxing: Joshua Facing Toughest Test In Usyk?
Boxing champion, Anthony Joshua could face his toughest test yet when he fights Oleksandr Usyk in London on Saturday, says ex-world champion George Groves.
Joshua, 31, puts his WBA, WBO, IBF and IBO world heavyweight titles on the line against Usyk, a former undisputed cruiserweight world champion.
The 34-year-old Ukrainian has won all 18 professional fights, beating Tony Bellew and Derek Chisora on that run.
“Technically, Usyk is brilliant,” said Groves . “He showed that in unifying the cruiserweight division in great fights and I believe he could be Joshua’s toughest test to date. This is the first fight when I wouldn’t be surprised if Joshua got beaten.
“Joshua has fought [Wladimir] Klitschko and been in with Joseph Parker and also been beaten [by Andy Ruiz] and the only question mark for Usyk Is he big enough to compete with AJ?
“If Usyk keeps a high pace and makes Joshua miss with a lot of shots, that will work to Usyk’s advantage as he has probably got a better engine.
“Joshua is a phenomenal athlete with tremendous punching power and strength but has a tendency to tire out if the pace is uncomfortable for him.”
A crowd of more than 60,000 is expected and it will be the largest attendance Joshua has fought in front of since his win over Alexander Povetkin with 80,000 at Wembley Stadium in September, 2018.
Since then, Joshua has lost to Ruiz in New York before winning the rematch in Saudi Arabia and gained a ninth-round victory over Bulgaria’s Kubrat Pulev at Wembley Arena last December, with only 1,000 fans attending because of Coronavirus restrictions.
Both Joshua and Usyk won gold medals at the 2012 London Olympics, at super-heavyweight and heavyweight respectively, with the Briton going on to win 24 of his 25 professional fights, including 22 inside the distance.
Meanwhile, Dillian Whyte, who lost to Joshua in 2015 and is pushing for a rematch with him or a shot at WBC champion, Tyson Fury, believes the key to beating Usyk on Saturday is to adopt an attacking strategy.
“I think it’s a great fight and Joshua will stop him in the first six or seven rounds,” Whyte told Tidesports source.
“Usyk will start fast and Joshua should be cagey as Usyk is a bit lighter. Joshua can sometimes lack confidence but hopefully he goes back to the old him, starts pressing, being the bigger, stronger guy and gets the job done early.
“If Joshua sets the pace, he can get an early knockout and if he is strong, confident and walks him down, then I don’t see Usyk’s punches troubling Joshua.”
Groves, who held the WBA Super-Middleweight belt in 2017 and 2018, added: “If I was Joshua, I would take control of the ring and try to dominate and bully off the front foot.
“Usyk will want to be off the back foot for the first couple of rounds, then try to pepper Joshua.
“If I was in the Joshua camp, I would say: You want to keep this guy in his box. You don’t want Usyk having any confidence, so hit him hard and early.
“In the first three rounds, you want to land something big on him.”
Promoter Eddie Hearn also suggested Joshua could get an early victory.
Hearn said: “I’m always nervous for an Anthony Joshua fight, especially when you’re fighting someone that really believes he is going to win”.
2022 AFCON: ‘Cameroon On Track’
The Confederation of African Football (CAF) President, Patrice Motsepe, has said that Cameroon is “on track” to successfully host the Africa Cup of Nations early next year after visiting Olembe Stadium in Yaounde last weekend.
The venue will host the opening match and final of the AFCON in January and February of 2022.
A CAF delegation, including President Motsepe and General Secretary, Veron Mosengo-Omba, were joined by Cameroon’s Sports Minister, Professor Narcisse Mouelle Kombi in inspecting progress made at the Olembe Stadium and various other facilities in the capital city.
“I’m very satisfied with the briefing I got and what I saw. I saw the Olembe Stadium and it is world class; we should all be proud as people of Cameroon and as Africans,” said Motsepe, as quoted by CAF’s website.
“We must applaud Cameroon [for] building such infrastructure. In partnership with the Government, the Minister of Sports, LOC, FECAFOOT President and CAF administration under Veron [Mosengo-Omba], I’m certain that in January next year, the rest of the world will be impressed. I’m very satisfied with what I have seen. We are on track.”
Motsepe continued: “The quality of football that will be played here will once again show the world that Africa has the quality to one day win the FIFA World Cup, that is the ultimate goal. The AFCON is special and I think it is important for us to set the tone in Cameroon.”
Mosengo-Omba also heaped praises on Olembe Stadium: “The infrastructure and architecture of the stadium is world class and can be compared to many other famous stadiums globally. In Cameroon, we have six beautiful match venues. Our job now is to ensure that we are ready with everything else.”
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