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Modu-Sheriff Withdraws From APC Chairmanship Race

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Senator Ali Modu-Sheriff, former two-term governor of Borno and a frontline aspirant in the contest for the  All Progressives Congress (APC) Chairmanship seat, has withdrawn from the race.
Sheriff, who spoke at a news conference yesterday in Abuja, said he withdrew from the race to respect the party and President Muhammadu Buhari’s decision to zone the position to the North Central.
He added that he decided to withdraw from the race as a party man who respected the rule of law and the party’s leaders.
“I am sure that most of you have been following the trends of activities of our party, the APC within the last 10 days or so.
“The party has taken a position that the position of its national chairman should go to the North Central, meaning it is exclusively zoned to contestants of the zone.
“The President is the leader of the party and he has taken a position. I have always told you that I will contest if the position is zoned to my zone.
“That has been my statement always, and today they have taken a position. I respect the president as a person and as a president, he is my leader, therefore, I do not want to oppose him in any way or form,” Sheriff said.
The former Borno governor added that the president and the party’s leaders must have a reason for allowing the zoning of its chairmanship to the North Central.
“I have led a party – the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP); I am a founding father of this party. I was the Chairman of Board of Trustees (BoT) of the All Nigerian People Party (ANPP),” he said.
He added that he therefore, knew the procedure and processes of a political party.
Sheriff while saying that he would abide by the party’s decision to exclusively zone its chairmanship position to the North Central, added that this was however, not a final decision.
According to him, he may still contest in case if the party rescinds its decision between now and Friday, and throws the race open for all.
He explained that normally, zoning revolved around an individual, adding that it was however, not done in a vacuum.
“And in party Congresses and Convention, there is what is called a unity list, on the last day of the convention, when the leaders make up their mind, they will bring out one list.
“And in that respect, the list will be followed by the participants because parties are made up of men and women who are also coming from the zones and states,” he explained.
Sheriff maintained that he would, however, not offer himself for an election that had clearly been zoned out of the North East.
He thanked the party members, stakeholders, and Nigerians generally, who had been with him through his campaign across the country in the last two years.
According to him, his campaign has resonated all across the country with a lot of people showing interest.
He further explained that he was withdrawing from the race because he wanted to follow the rule of law, saying that it was not correct for anybody to do otherwise.
“I Ali-Modu Sheriff, will not offer myself for the contest of the APC national chairmanship position slated for Saturday, March 26, because it has been zoned out of my zone.
“I am from the North-East. North Central where the position had been zoned to is made of Kogi, Kwara, Benue, Nasarawa and Plateau, these are the places where the party’s next national chairman will come from.
“Borno is North-East of Nigeria. I want you to communicate to all our followers, men and women across the country so that they do not expect to see my name on the ballot paper.
“But if the party changes its mind between today and Friday and says everybody can contest, within 12 hours one can fill a form.
“But as long as the position is zoned to the North Central. I’m not going to be party to that,” he stressed.
The APC National Convention had been slated for March 26, to elect new national executives to manage the party’s affairs.
The party is currently being managed by a Caretaker and Extra-ordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC).
So far, seven aspirants had bought the APC Expression of Interest and Nomination forms at the cost of N20 million to contest its national chairmanship position.
The aspirants include: Malam Saliu Mustapha, a former Deputy National Chairman of the defunct Congress for Progressives Congress (CPC), and George Akume, Minister of Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Affairs.
Others are; Sen. Sani Musa, Tanko Al Makura and a former Governor of Zamfara, Abudulaziz Yari, among other aspirants, who have also purchased the forms.

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FG Empowers 678 Farmers In Ogun, Taraba, Nasarawa

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The Federal Government, in partnership with the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), has empowered about 678 farmers through the IFAD COVID-19 Pandemic Rural Poor Stimulus Facility Grant in Ogun, Taraba and Nasarawa states.
The Acting National Programme Coordinator, FGN/IFAD Value Chain Development Programme, Dr. Fatima Aliyu, disclosed this at the flag-off ceremony of rice production inputs in Kogi State.
She said the Value Chain Development Programme (VCDP) was a joint programme by IFAD and the Federal Government and was implemented by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
Giving the breakdown of the beneficiaries in the three states, Aliyu explained that 37 men and 72 women totalling 109 farmers were empowered in Ogun, 234 men and 215 women totalling 449 farmers were empowered in Taraba, while 43 men and 77 women totalling 120 were empowered in Nasarawa State bringing the grand total to 678 farmers.
She stated that the programme was aimed at boosting and improving farmers’ wealth, employment generation for youths, and fortifying Nigeria’s food security.
Aliyu said that the VCDP would also provide extension services to targeted farmers who will receive training on good practices in the application of fertilisers and agro-chemicals as well as farm management and climate-smart agriculture.
According to her, “This is a special occasion of the flag-off of agro-inputs distribution to our great farmers which has been made possible through the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) COVID-19 Rural Poor Stimulus Facility grant”
“In early 2020, there was an outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic which affected the world and disrupted farming activities and food systems.  To cushion the effect of COVID-19 pandemic on farmers, IFAD gave a grant tagged Rural Poor Stimulus Facility (RPSF) to VCDP through the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
“Through the RPSF, 2,793 vulnerable farmers will receive agro inputs to support their farming activities.
“A total of 678 farmers in Ogun, Taraba and Nasarawa states will receive these inputs free consisting of 40kg certified rice seeds, 2 litres of herbicides, 2 bags of NPK and one bag of Urea fertilizers.
“To enhance transparency in the process, the programme engaged the International Fertilizer Development Centre (IFDC) for the effective management of the input – supply, redemption and delivery in all the nine states through the voucher input redemption system.
“We recognise and appreciate the support of IFAD in our quest to improve the livelihoods of our smallholder farmers and specifically to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the agricultural sector, particularly for VCDP farmers.
“To our respected farmers, we implore you to make judicious use of the inputs. The inputs are not meant to be sold out but for you to use them on your farms”.

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Anambra House Of Assembly Expresses Shock Over Member’s Murder

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The Anambra State House of Assembly has expressed deep shock over the news of the gruesome murder of one of its member, Mr  Okechukwu Okoye, by alleged gunmen.
Mr Uche Okafor,Speaker of the House,in  a statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary,Chief  Emma Madu, yesterday in Akwa,  described the act as heart piercing and unfortunate.
According to him,  Okoye was one of the outspoken and articulate  lawmakers, adding that the legislative institution in the state has lost a quality member, in the person of  the fallen law maker.
Okafor  said the late lawmaker had a great sense of humour and was deeply  committed to duty, adding  that his demise would be felt in the House for a long time to come.
He urged Gov. Chukwuma Soludo, not to relent in his efforts toward achieving maximum security of lives and property of residents.
Okafor further called on all well-meaning citizens to join hands with the governor in the direction of the fight against social ills and all forms of criminality in Anambra.
The Speaker, on behalf of other state lawmakers, then  commiserated with the immediate family of late Okoye, his kinsmen, Gov. Soludo, the entire Isuofia community and Anambra State at large on the death of the politician.
Okafor enjoined all to take solace in the fact that the short but eventful life of the the late Okoye was full of quality service to God and humanity and would remain ever green in the hearts of the people.
He prayed God to grant him eternal rest.
The Tide source reports  that Okoye  was a member of the state legislature, who represented Aguata 2 Constituency.
He was kidnapped on May 15 and his lifeless body found on May 21, at Nnobi in Idemili South  Local Government Area of the state.

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Police Arrest Primary School Teacher For Rape In Ogun

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A 25-year-old teacher at a nursery and primary school in Ago Iwoye, Ogun State, Ayobami Runsewe, has been arrested by the police for an alleged rape of a 13-year-old girl.
This was contained in a statement signed by the state police spokesperson, Abimbola Oyeyemi, and made available to journalists in Abeokuta at the weekend.
In the statement, Mr Oyeyemi said the mother had gone to the station with the victim to report how the teacher reportedly lured her to his house.
The teacher was alleged to have had “unlawful carnal knowledge” after an evening class, at about 4:30pm.
Mr Oyeyemi, a Deputy Supretendent of Police, said “the blood soaked pants of the victim was brought to the station as an evidence”.
Mr Oyeyemi added that upon the report, “the DPO of Ago Iwoye, SP Noah Adekanye, had detailed detectives to the scene where the randy teacher was promptly arrested.
“On interrogation, he initially denied having anything with the victim, but when the victim confronted him, he was unable to say anything further”.
The statement said the Ogun State Commissioner of Police, Lanre Bankole, has directed that the teacher be moved to the anti-human trafficking and child labour unit for further investigation.

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