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Joining APC’ll Diminish Your Political Stature, PGF Warns Jonathan

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The Director-General of the Progressive Governors’ Forum PGF, Salihu Moh. Lukman has cautioned ex-President Goodluck Jonathan against leaving his current Peoples Democratic Party PDP for the ruling All Progressives Congress APC, saying any such move would only serve to diminish his political stature as an elder statesman.
Lukman made the caution in a statement titled, “APC’s High-Profile Membership Recruitment and Issues for 2023″ issued Sunday in Abuja.
He also faulted the ‘red-carpet’ reception offered a former critic of the current administration, Chief Femi Fani Kayode, who last week defected to the APC, but advised aggrieved party members against protesting the gesture saying if President Muhammadu Buhari and party leaders have accepted Mr Kayode, then party members should not be more catholic than the Pope.
Lukman said; “Part of the reason why high-profile membership recruitments by political parties in Nigeria attracts a lot of debate, attention, and controversy, is that it hardly comes without any ambition to contest the election by those joining the party. Although in the case of Mr Fani-Kayode, no one can associate it with the ambition to contest the election, which is why many questioned his electoral value, with 2023 elections less than two years away, and with the APC leadership efficiently succeeding to win so many high-profile leaders joining the party, there has been lots of speculation in terms of what all the high-profile membership recruitment into APC represents.
“Partly because President Buhari will be completing his 2nd term and therefore ineligible to contest, the question of who will emerge as the Presidential candidate of the APC for 2023 is quite open.
“Two of the Governors who recently joined the APC from the PDP are speculated to have done so because of ambition for 2023. And since the 2019 Bayelsa State Governorship election, when APC leaders met former President Goodluck Jonathan to lobby support for APC candidate, Mr David Lyon, there have been speculations that he (former President Jonathan) will also be joining the APC.
“Some have even alleged that as part of the negotiations, former President Jonathan has already been offered the APC Presidential ticket for 2023. Amid the controversy around Mr Fani-Kayode, the Secretary of the APC Caretaker Committee, Sen. John James Akpanudoedehe, is reported to have confirmed that anyone who joins the party will be free to contest.
However, it is important that the issue of high-profile membership recruitment by APC is clarified beyond the narrow expectations of the electoral contests.
Why should the objective of recruiting high-profile members be reduced to the issue of contesting elections? Assuming someone like former President Jonathan agrees to join the APC and he fails to emerge as the Presidential Candidate of the party for the 2023 election, what will happen to him?
“As Nigerians, we must begin to take steps to protect our leaders. As APC members, we have campaigned against former President Jonathan in 2015.
“As President, former President Jonathan made every effort to block the emergence of APC in 2013. But those should not be the reference point.
“The reference point should be the historic decision of former President Jonathan to concede defeat in 2015 even before the final votes were counted.
“With that, former President Jonathan ranked himself as one of those who fought and defended Nigeria’s democracy. On no account, therefore, should any political party be allowed to push former President Jonathan to diminish his stature, either as an aspirant or a candidate for any office. Doing so will mean that we want him to gamble away all his legendary achievements.
“It is sad enough that PDP leaders, being who they are, don’t recognise and respect former President Jonathan’s deservedly political stature. No doubt, every speculation about the possibility of former President Jonathan joining the APC has to do with the reality of being unappreciated by PDP leadership.
“Negotiating to bring him into APC should not be based on aspiring for any office. It must be recognised that former President Jonathan, and indeed every former President, is beyond holding any office in the land. Bringing former Presidents to that level will amount to diminishing their political stature.
“Already, President Buhari is doing excellently well by delegating some high-profile diplomatic responsibilities to former President Jonathan. One of the failures of PDP is the inability to create responsibilities that can match the statures of former Presidents. Inability to create responsibilities for former Presidents is perhaps what accounts for the overbearing restlessness of former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
“With President Buhari scheduled to end his tenure in 2023, less than two years away, negotiations to recruit former President Jonathan into APC must be used to settle the question of the roles of former Presidents within the APC.
“APC must not allow the situation to emerge whereby party leaders and members-only respect elected and appointed functionaries.
“Part of the lessons from the challenges created under the last National Working Committee led by Comrade Adams Oshiomhole had to do with the absence of Board of Trustees.
“Is it possible therefore to organise the APC Board of Trustees’ and get former Presidents to provide the needed moral leadership that can serve as a check to both party leaders and elected functionaries of the party?
“Having former Presidents discharging persuasive moral responsibilities as leaders of Board of Trustees would strengthen the capacity of party leaders and members to influence decisions of elected functionaries. Just imagine two former serving Presidents of the standings of President Buhari and former President Jonathan working in harmony towards a common political goal. It will take a rascally elected functionary at whatever level to ignore their recommendations. On the other hand, the big risk is when they are unable to work in harmony.
“That will tear the party apart and may potentially destroy the party. There is the need, therefore, to broaden consultations and agree on everything required to ensure that the framework of operations of the APC Board of Trustees guarantees that former serving Presidents can work in harmony”, he stated.
On My Fani Kayode, the PGF DG said; “Almost every member of APC is angry that our leaders have brought someone like Mr Fani-Kayode into our party. This is made worse by the red-carpet reception given to him, which he doesn’t deserve. But since it has happened, there is no need to cry over spilt milk.
“What is very clear is that our leaders, especially President Buhari have forgiven Mr Fani-Kayode and embrace him as one of us. As members of APC, our anger with Mr Fani-Kayode is that he has abused the APC, President Buhari and virtually every leader of the party.
“For instance, he claimed that the ‘emergence of Buhari in 2015 annihilated Nigeria and plunged her into darkness, death and destruction. He came to steal, kill and destroy and for the last disastrous 5 years that is all he has done.’ More than this, he has said unprintable things against the APC and all its leaders.
“At this point, therefore, if with all these, our leaders can accept Mr Fani-Kayode into the party, APC members should not be more Catholic than the Pope. Why should APC members be sad that our leaders are magnanimous? Perhaps, because of the red-carpet reception, which many committed APC members cannot even dream of, it should be legitimate to feel unappreciated like Mr Joe Igbokwe had cried out.
“But as APC members, especially those who have been in the party since its formation in 2013 and have endured all the challenges of being loyal members, we must always be reminded that our commitment is to contribute in whatever way and manner possible to change Nigeria for the better.
“If, therefore, someone like Mr Fani-Kayode, who is considered unreliable, and therefore, not qualified to be a member, would seek for forgiveness from our leaders, based on which they extended their arms to him, members of the APC should also show understanding”.

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Tinubu Lauds Dangote’s Diesel Price Cut, Foresees Economic Relief

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President Bola Tinubu, yesterday, applauded Dangote Oil and Gas Limited for reducing the price of Automotive Gas Oil, also known as diesel, from N1,650 to N1,000 per litre.
The Dangote Group recently reviewed downwards the gantry price of AGO from N1,650 to N1,000 per litre for a minimum of one million litres of the product, as well as providing a discount of N30 per litre for an offtake of five million litres and above
Tinubu described the move as an “enterprising feat” and said, “The price review represents a 60 per cent drop, which will, in no small measure, impact the prices of sundry goods and services.”
In a statement signed by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Ajuri Ngelale, Tinubu affirmed that Nigerians and domestic businesses are the nation’s surest transport and security to economic prosperity.
The statement is titled ‘President Tinubu commends Dangote Group over new gantry price of diesel.’
Tinubu also noted the Federal Government’s 20 per cent stake in Dangote Refinery, saying such partnerships between public and private entities are essential to advancing the country’s overall well-being.
Therefore, he called on Nigerians and businesses to, at this time, put the nation in priority gear while assuring them of a conducive, safe, and secure environment to thrive.
This statement comes precisely a week after Dangote met President Tinubu in Lagos, where he said Nigerians should expect a drop in inflation given the cut in diesel pump prices.
“In our refinery, we have started selling diesel at about ¦ 1,200 for ¦ 1,650 and I’m sure as we go along…this can help to bring inflation down immediately,” Dangote told journalists after he paid homage to President Bola Tinubu at the latter’s residence to mark Eid-el-Fitr.
The businessman said his petroleum refinery had been selling diesel at N1,200 per litre, compared to the previous price of N1,650–N1,700.
He expressed hopes that Nigeria’s economy will improve, as the naira has made some gains in the foreign exchange market, dropping from N1,900/$ to the current level of N1,250 – N1,300.
Dangote said this rise in value has sparked a gradual drop in the price of locally-produced goods, such as flour, as businesses are paying less for diesel. Therefore, he asserted that the reduced fuel costs would drive down inflation in the coming months.
“I believe that we are on the right track. I believe Nigerians have been patient and I also believe that a lot of goodies will now come through.
“There’s quite a lot of improvement because, if you look at it, one of the major issues that we’ve had was the naira devaluation that has gone very aggressively up to about ¦ 1,900.
“But right now, we’re back to almost ¦ 1,250, ¦ 1,300, which is a good reprieve. Quite a lot of commodities went up.
“When you go to the market, for example, something that we produce locally, like flour, people will charge you more. Why? Because they’re paying very high prices on diesel,” he explained.
He argued that the reduced diesel price would have “a lot of impact” on local businesses.
“Going forward, even though the crude prices are going up, I believe people will not get it much higher than what it is today, N1,200.
“It might be even a little bit lower, but that can help quite a lot because if you are transporting locally-produced goods and you were paying N1,650, now you are spending two-thirds of that amount, N1,200. It’s a lot of difference. People don’t know.
“This can help bring inflation down immediately. And I’m sure when the inflation figures are out for the next month, you’ll see that there’s quite a lot of improvement in the inflation rate, one step at a time. And I’m sure the government is working around the clock to ensure things get much better,” Dangote added.
He also urged captains of industry to partner with the government to improve the lives of citizens.
“You can’t clap with one hand,” said the businessman, adding, “So, both the entrepreneurs and the government need to clap together and make sure that it is in the best interest of everybody.”

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Court Halts Amaewhule-Led Assembly From Extending LG Officials’ Tenure

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The Rivers State High Court sitting in Port Harcourt has issued an interim injunction directing the maintenance of status quo ante belum following the move by the Martin Amaewhule-led Assembly in Rivers State to extend the tenure of the elected local government councils’ officials.
The Amaewhule-led Assembly, which is loyal to the Minister of Federal Capital Territory, Nyesom Wike, had amended the Local Government Law Number 5 of 2018 and other related matters.
Amaewhule, explained that the amendments of Section 9(2), (3) and (4)of the Principal Law was to empower the House of Assembly via a resolution to extend the tenure of elected chairmen and councilors, where it is considered impracticable to hold local government elections before the expiration of their three years in office.
But the court asked all the parties to maintain the status quo ante belum pending the hearing and determination of motion on notice for the interlocutory injunction.
The court presided over by G.N. Okonkwo also ordered that the claimant/applicant would enter into an undertaking to indemnify the defendants in the sum of N5million should the substantive case turned out to be frivolous.
The court fixed April 22, 2024 to hear the motion on notice for interlocutory injunction.
Okonkwo also issued an order of substituted service of the motion on notice for interlocutory injunction, originating summons and other subsequent processes on the defendants.
The orders were made following a suit filed by Executive Chairman, Opobo-Nkoro, Enyiada Cooky-Gam; Bonny, Anengi Claude-Wilcox; and five other elected council officials challenging the decision of the Amaewhule-led House of Assembly to extend the tenure of local government areas.
Also named as defendants in the suit are the Governor of Rivers State, the Government of Rivers State and the Attorney-General of Rivers State.
The claimants/applicants are praying the court for a declaration that under section 9(1) of the Rivers State Local Government Amendment Law number 5 of 2018 the tenure of office of the chairmen and members of the 23 local government councils of Rivers State is three years
A declaration that the tenure of office of the elected chairmen and members of the local government areas would expire on the 17th of June 2024 having commenced on the 18th of June 2021 when they were sworn in.
A declaration that the defendants cannot in any manner or form extend the tenure of office of the chairmen and members of the local government areas after the expiration of their tenure.
An order of perpetual injunction restraining the defendants from extending the tenure of office of the chairmen and members of the local government areas.
An order of perpetual injunction restraining the 28th, 29th and 30th defendants (the Governor, the Government House and the Attorney-General) from giving effects to any purported extension of the tenure of the chairmen and members of the local government areas.
They also prayed for an order of interlocutory injunction directing all the defendants to maintain the status quo by not elongating the three-year tenure of the chairmen and councilors.
The claimants further sought an order of interlocutory injunction restraining the defendants from extending the tenures of the chairmen and the councilors.

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Nigeria’s Inflation Rate’ll Drop To 23% By 2025 -IMF

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In a recent release of its Global Economic Outlook at the International Monetary Fund/World Bank Spring Meetings in Washington D.C., on Tuesday, the IMF provided projections for Nigeria’s economy, indicating a significant shift in inflation rates.
Division Chief of the IMF Research Department, Daniel Leigh, highlighted the impact of Nigeria’s economic reforms, including exchange rate adjustments, which have led to a surge in inflation rate to 33.2 percent in March.
Nigeria’s inflation rate rose to 33.2 percent according to recent data released by the National Bureau of Statistics.
Also, the food inflation rate increased to over 40 per cent in the first quarter of 2024.
Leigh stated, “We see inflation declining to 23 per cent next year and then 18 percent in 2026.”
This is however different from the fund’s prediction of a new single-digit (15.5 per cent ) inflation rate for 2025 which it predicted last year.
He further elaborated on Nigeria’s economic growth, which is expected to rise from 2.9 percent last year to 3.3 percent this year, attributing this expansion to the recovery in the oil sector, improved security, and advancements in agriculture due to better weather conditions and the introduction of dry season farming.
The IMF official also noted a broad-based increase in Nigeria’s financial and IT sectors.
“Inflation has increased, reflecting the reforms, the exchange rate, and its pass-through into other goods from imports to other goods,” Leigh explained.
He added that the IMF revised its inflation projection for the current year to 26 percent but emphasised that tight monetary policies and significant interest rate increases during February and March are expected to curb inflation.
An official of the IMF Research Department, Pierre Olivier Gourinchas commented on the global economic landscape, mentioning that oil prices have risen partly due to geopolitical tensions, and services inflation remains high in many countries.
Despite Nigeria’s inflation target of six to nine percent being missed for over a decade, Gourinchas stressed that bringing inflation back to target should be the priority.
He warned of the risks posed by geo-economic fragmentation to global growth prospects and the need for careful calibration of monetary policy.
“Trade linkages are changing, and while some economies could benefit from the reconfiguration of global supply chains, the overall impact may be a loss of efficiency, reducing global economic resilience,” Gourinchas said.
He also emphasised the importance of preserving the improvements in monetary, fiscal, and financial policy frameworks, particularly for emerging market economies, to maintain a resilient global financial system and prevent a permanent resurgence in inflation.

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