Connect with us

News

Buhari, Obasanjo, Others Mourn Rawlings

Published

on

President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, mourned a former President of Ghana, Jerry Rawlings, who died at the age of 73.
In a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, the President said Africa would miss what he described as the deceased’s sterling qualities.
The statement titled, ‘President Buhari mourns Jerry Rawlings, says great loss to Africa,’ read, “President Muhammadu Buhari sends heartfelt condolences to government and people of Ghana over passing of the country’s former President, Jerry Rawlings, 73, affirming that the entire African continent will sorely miss the sterling qualities of the great leader.
“President Buhari believes the passion, discipline and moral strength that the former Ghanaian leader employed to reposition his country over many years continue to reverberate across the continent and beyond.
“The President notes, with commendation, the unique role the former President played in strengthening political institutions in his country and Africa, stimulating the economy for sustainable growth, and vociferously championing the African cause by urging many leaders to work towards interdependency on the global stage, especially in areas of competitive advantage.
“President Buhari joins family, friends and associates of the former Ghanaian leader in mourning his departure, assuring that the ideas that Rawlings postulated, particularly for development in Africa, and his sacrifices in working in various countries as an envoy for peace and democracy will always be remembered.
“The President prays that the almighty God will grant the Ghanaian leader eternal rest, and comfort all his loved ones.”
Also, the former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, said that the former President of Ghana, Jerry Rawlings, “will be remembered for his critical role in the evolvement of modern democratic Ghana”.
He recalled that Rawlings, who died on Thursday at aged 73, supported and accommodated his non-governmental organisation, the Africa Leadership Forum, when former Nigerian Military Leader, late Gen Sani Abacha, jailed him in 1995.
Obasanjo stated this in a condolence letter to Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Ado, a copy of which was made available to newsmen by his Special Assistant on Media, Kehinde Akinyemi.
He condoled with the Government of Ghana and the family of the deceased over the demise of his “dear brother and friend”.
The letter partly read, “President Rawlings will be missed for his exemplary leadership across Africa but particularly for his contribution to nation-building in the Republic of Ghana where he served, first as the military Head of State of the country from 1981 to 1992, and later as a democratically-elected President from 1992-2000.
“As you know, I worked very closely with our departed brother within the remaining two years of his completing his second term in office, i.e. 1999-2000 and during which time I had become a democratically-elected President of Nigeria. I found in him a reliable friend, ally and confidant.
“It must also be on record that President Rawlings played a key role in furthering the actualization of the objectives of the Africa Leadership Forum (ALF), a non-governmental organization which I founded in 1988 to develop leadership capacities in Africa in order to increase productivity of major actors in government, parliament, business and civil society.
“He supported and accommodated the organisation and its staff during the period of the relocation of the organisation’s base to Ghana because Abacha wanted to have them destroyed just immediately after he got me arrested and imprisoned on a trumped-up charge of coup plotting in 1995.
“No doubt, his generous assistance to ALF and its staff makes me forever indebted to him. I can proudly say he was a true friend and brother. His works, values, and principles have had and will continue to have a great influence and impact in Africa and beyond.”
Similarly, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2019 general election, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, yesterday, mourned the death of ex-Ghanaian President, Jerry Rawlings.
Rawlings was said to have died of Covid-19-related complications at the age of 73.
Describing his as African giant, the former vice-president said that, “Rawlings tenure as leader of Ghana remains emblematic with the restoration of that country. Even after office, he stood tall for African unity and renaissance.
“He represented a generation of leaders who gave their all for the rebirth of his country and Africa at large. I pray for a pleasant repose of his soul and console with the people of Ghana; his contemporaries and current leaders in Africa on the loss of a worthy patriot.”
Also reacting, the former Senate president, Dr Bukola Saraki, said that the former president of Ghana, Jerry Rawlings’ death at Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital in Accra, was a monumental loss to Africa.
The former president led a military junta until 1992, and then served two terms as the elected President of Ghana.
Saraki described Rawlings as a revolutionary known to match his words with actions.
The former Senate president commiserated with Ghanaian President, Nana Akufo-Addo and Gaga Asians over the loss of Rawlings.
Saraki, on his Twitter page, wrote: “From his early days as a young revolutionary to his later years as a renowned statesman and pan-Africanist, Jerry Rawlings always led from the front and matched his words with his actions.
“As we mourn his death, I commiserate with President @NAkufoAddo and our Ghanaian brothers and sisters.
“It is my prayer that God will grant President Rawlings eternal rest as we all take solace in his achievements and contributions to the development of a more united continent,” his tweet read.
Meanwhile, Akufo-Ado has declared a seven-day national mourning in Ghana as a mark of respect for the departed nationalist.

Continue Reading

News

North Can Live Without VAT Accruals, NEF Boasts …Backs Wike, Southern Govs On Fiscal Federalism, Restructuring

Published

on

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.

Continue Reading

News

Boxing: Joshua Facing Toughest Test In Usyk?

Published

on

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”.

Continue Reading

News

2022 AFCON: ‘Cameroon On Track’

Published

on

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.”

Continue Reading

Trending