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Ex-PDP Govs Vow To Scuttle Jonathan’s 2015 Ambition

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State Governors who left the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) last year to form the New Peoples Democratic Party (nPDP) before finally merging with the All Progressives Congress (APC) have vowed to abort the second term ambition of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan.
“We have noted President Jonathan’s claim made last Thursday at the National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting of the PDP in the federal capital, to the effect that PDP is not missing us, as well as his boast that some of us cannot win even our wards during elections,” the ex-PDP governors said in a statement issued yesterday in Port Harcourt by former National Publicity Secretary of the defunct nPDP, Chief Eze Chukwuemeka Eze.
The former PDP governors described Jonathan’s claims as “both shocking and ridiculous considering that he wouldn’t have been President today if not for our sacrifices which ensured that he won both the PDP Presidential Primaries and the 2011 presidential election.”
Eze cited Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi of Rives State as an example. “It is on record that Rivers State under Amaechi’s watch made Jonathan’s Presidency possible by delivering over two million votes in his favour during the 2011 presidential polls.
“For the same Dr. Jonathan to turn around, only three years down the line, to describe Governor Amaechi as a political lightweight who cannot win his ward speaks volumes about how ungrateful and uncharitable a man he is,” Eze said.
The former nPDP spokesman berated PDP for commending and congratulating President Jonathan on his handling of the security challenges facing the country, including the Boko Haram insurgency.
He said: “By commending President Jonathan at a time when he has proved to be completely overwhelmed by the security challenges confronting Nigeria, PDP has demonstrated without any reasonable doubt that it has lost its sense of value, which explains why it is celebrating a clueless and spineless President who watched helplessly as insurgents took away and has kept over 200 innocent school girls, and who continues to watch as Nigerians are slaughtered like chicken on a daily basis.
“It is unfortunate that PDP should be commending a sleeping, confused and misguided Presidency without showing any sympathy for the wanton killing of innocent Nigerians by outlaws. PDP should hide its ugly face in shame. Nigerians should get ready to oust this ruthless party that has brought hardship and shame to our country, come 2015.”
As for President Jonathan, Eze told him “to prepare for a grand political war come 2015 as the ex-PDP governors, working in concert with other democratic forces in APC, are battle-ready to send him and his directionless PDP packing from the Presidential Villa in Abuja so as to rescue Nigeria from the doom towards which Jonathan and PDP are inevitably leading the country to.”

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Disclose Nigeria’s Loan Agreements Since 1999, SERAP Tells Tinubu

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The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has urged President Bola Tinubu to disclose the agreements and spending details of loans obtained by the administrations of Nigeria’s past presidents since May 1999.
SERAP also urged Tinubu “to direct appropriate ministries, departments and agencies to provide our organisation with copies of the loan agreements obtained by the governments of former Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo, Umaru Yar’Adua, Goodluck Jonathan and Muhammadu Buhari.”
This was disclosed in a statement issued by the organisation’s Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, yesterday.
SERAP is seeking “the spending details of any such loans as well as the interests and other payments so far made on the loans.”
SERAP ‘s request covers the tenure of four Nigeria’s past democratically-elected presidents who ruled for eight years from 1999 to 2007.
Obasanjo’s administration was succeeded by the late Yar’Adua (2007 – 2010); followed by Jonathan (2010 – 2015); and then the immediate past president, Buhari, whose administration ruled from 2015 – 2023.
The organisation stated that “widely publishing the agreements would allow Nigerians to scrutinise it and to demand accountability for the spending of the loans.”
SERAP lamented that the details provided may help to explain why “despite several billions of dollars in loans obtained by successive governments, millions of Nigerians continue to face extreme poverty and lack access to basic public goods and services.”
This latest demand by SERAP is coming two weeks after it gave the Kaduna State Governor, Uba Sani; the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Nyesom Wike, and other 35 state governors one-week ultimatum to provide the loan agreements and spending details of the loans obtained by their states and the FCT.
As contained in the latest sub-national debt – domestic and external debts, which were released by the Debt Management Office as of December 30 and June 30, 2023, respectively; The Tide learnt that “for the sub-nationals, Plateau got N16.32bn; Rivers borrowed N7.07bn; Zamfara, N14.26bn; and the FCT under the leadership of Nyesom Wike borrowed N6.75bn from domestic creditors,” amongst others.
However, in its response, the Zamfara State Government refuted the DMO’s report that it borrowed N14.26 billion, adding that it has “never applied for loans or approached the state Assembly or National Assembly for such a request.”
Also, the Kaduna State Government, through the Ministry of Finance, denied procuring a fresh $17.69m loan.
“We did not borrow the said amount or any other amount as reported. The claims are entirely false and fabricated,” said the state Commissioner for Finance, Shizzer Bada.
However, SERAP demanded that Tinubu should establish an “independent audit on the spending of the loans obtained by the governments of the former presidents,” and make its results available to the public.
“Democracy requires accountability and accountability requires transparency.
“Nigerians are entitled to information about what their government is doing in their name. This is part of their right to information,” SERAP said.
The statement noted that publishing the agreements and details of spending of the said loans “would demonstrate” Tinubu’s “oft-expressed commitment to openness in government and to promote accountability,” adding that it would also “improve public accountability” in the MDAs.
Quoting the DMO, SERAP said that “the total public domestic debt portfolio for the country is N97.3 trillion ($108 billion). The Federal Government’s debt is N87.3 trillion ($97 billion).”
It said that the interest paid on loans by the FG in 2015 was $5.5 billion; in 2016, $4.4bn; in 2017, Nigeria paid $5bn as interest; in 2018, $6.5bn was paid; while $6.2bn was paid in 2019.
“We would therefore be grateful if the recommended measures are taken within seven days of the receipt and/or publication of this letter. If we have not heard from you by then, SERAP shall take all appropriate legal actions to compel your government to comply with our request in the public interest,” the organisation said.
It noted that Tinubu’s administration “has a responsibility to ensure transparency and accountability in how any loans obtained by the Federal Government are spent, to reduce vulnerability to corruption and mismanagement.
“Our requests are brought in the public interest, and in keeping with the requirements of the Nigerian Constitution 1999 [as amended], the Freedom of Information Act, and the UN Convention against Corruption, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights to Nigeria is a state party.
“The Nigerian Constitution, Freedom of Information Act, and the country’s anti-corruption and human rights obligations rest on the principle that citizens should have access to information regarding their government’s activities,” the statement concluded.

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Fubara Laments Shortage Of Teachers In Rivers Primary Schools

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Rivers State Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, has said that the stark reality of having 75 percent of primary schools in the State without teachers and 90 percent of such schools in dilapidated condition is very troubling.
The governor said this when he received a delegation of leaders of Muslim community in the State on Eid-el-Fitr Sallah visit to Government House, Port Harcourt, last Wednesday.
He explained that he became aware of the deplorable state of the primary schools when a firm, New Global, in its bid to partner his Administration to enhance the capacity of teachers, performed field assessment of such personnel that they intend to train.
This was contained in a statement by the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Nelson Chukwudi.
Fubara said the report from the field was very disappointing because the firm did not find the number of teachers that should so trained, which should have benefitted Rivers children tremendously.
The governor emphasised the crucial place that primary school occupies in the educational journey of any child in shaping the character, instilling essential skills, and fostering quest for learning, which, obviously had been ignored in the past.
He, however, assured that his Administration, having its focus firmly on Education, Health and Agriculture sectors, will ensure a change in what has been identified.
“It will surprise you to note that an agency came to Rivers State. They call them ‘New Global’, and they were willing to spend $5million. It is not for infrastructure but to train our teachers, to provide softwares and other things to improve the learning process at the primary level.
“I told them to go round and assess the primary schools in the state. After their assessment, you won’t believe it that 75 percent of our primary schools have no teachers. 90 percent of the schools are dilapidated”, he said.
Fubara said further: “So, how will you now put in the $5million. So, when I said education, I really mean education. It’s not education where we renovate schools, and call people for commissioning.
“We are talking about touching what is important, because, for us to develop as a society, for us to get it right from the foundation, it is at the primary school level.
“If we don’t have that aspect right as a foundation to preparing our youths as the leaders of tomorrow, then, we have lost it,” he added.
He also noted that the tertiary health institutions in the State are overstretched because the primary and secondary health facilities are not functional.
He stated that in the coming days, the five zonal hospitals will be revisited so that they can become operational to expand healthcare services available to the people.
“The only health facilities that are functional in this State are the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital (RSUTH), and maybe, the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital (UPTH).
“The other aspects of the healthcare system that should be functioning are the primary and secondary healthcare. We have to do everything that is within our power to make sure that they function.
“Now, you see, there is so much pressure because the primary healthcare centres have a limit of what they can attend to. So, the pressure is always with the tertiary institutions, what you call the teaching hospitals”, the governor said.
Fubara reassured that: “We have already taken it upon ourselves, by the special grace of God, in the next one or two weeks, we are going to make sure that we revisit the five zonal hospitals in the state to make sure that they function.
“Now, when they function, they will give support to the primary healthcare centres. A lot of people die because of minor illnesses and unavailability of health centres, not well-equipped with qualified personnel. So, we know it is important.
“It might not be something people are seeing, but those are the key things to development and the things that people need, and to prove that, yes, we have a functional government.”
In the agriculture sector, the governor said there is already so much work ongoing to revamp some agricultural facilities, and make the sector attractive in order to guarantee food suffiency and create employment for the youths.
According to him, “You already know what we are doing and what we are trying to do in the aspect of agriculture. God being on our side, it will work and work well for everyone of us”.
On reviving moribund State-owned industries, the governor said, “We know that the only way we can combat crime is providing employment. I don’t think any criminal feels happy when he is enjoying his money. This is because he does so in hiding. He does it with fear.
“When you have a legitimate means of livelihood, even if it’s N10,000 that you are making, you enjoy it happily without fear. I know a lot of people want that.
“We will visit those areas to see what we can get out of it so that employment will be, at least, more for those our unemployed youths who by virtue of having nothing to do, end up resorting to crime as the only way out.”
While acknowledging their feat in successful completion of the Ramadan fasting, Fubara thanked the Muslim community for their prayers and support to his administration.
He noted with delight their efforts at coordinating, mediating and ensuring a reduction to the minimum incidences of farmers-herders’ clashes in the State.
He assured that his Administration will continue to create the enabling environment for them to practice their faith and other endeavours that positively impact on the development of the State while promoting peace.
In his address, leader of the Muslim delegation and Vice President-General, Rivers State Council for Islamic Affairs, Alhaji Nasir Awhelebe Uhor, thanked the governor for his financial support that enabled them to participate in Hajj last year, and his inclusive policy that has given the community a sense of belonging.
Alhaji Uhor, who assured that the Muslim community would not relent in partnering with the governor and his government, emphasised that they were solidly behind him, and approve of his people-oriented policies and programmes.
He condemned in strong terms the activities of those who want to truncate Fubara’s administration with impeachment threats and persecution of his Chief of Staff, Dr Edison Ehie.

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We’re Not Recruiting, Says FRSC

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The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), says it is not recruiting and has cautioned potential job seekers against falling victims to scammers.
The Corps Public Education Officer (CPEO), Assistant Corps Marshal (ACM), Mr Jonas Agwu, said this in a statement on Sunday in Abuja.
Agwu said that the clarification became necessary following desperate efforts by alleged fraudsters to scam unsuspecting job seekers or their sponsors.
According to him, the attention of the Corps has been drawn to a publication by online platforms, misinforming the public about an ongoing recruitment of personnel into the services of the Corps.
“This medium is to let the public know that the Corps is currently not recruiting neither is there any ongoing arrangement to that effect.
“The FRSC Corps Marshal, Dauda Ali-Biu, wishes to admonish applicants seeking to join the services of the Corps, as well as the general public, to disregard the fake and misleading publications.
“The public is by this publication warned to desist from any form of engagement with the purported scammers and purveyors of that misinformation as the Corps will not be liable should anyone fall victim,” he said.

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