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My Grouse With Northern PDP Presidential Aspirants -Wike …Recalls Assassination Attempt On Him, Slams Buhari

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Rivers State Governor and presidential aspirant on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Nyesom Wike, has explained his grouse with former President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki; Sokoto State Governor, Hon Aminu Tambuwal, and other presidential aspirants from the North over zoning of the presidency to the South ahead of the 2023 general election.
Wike said he had always supported presidential aspirants from the North, wondering why those he supported in the 2019 elections were now aspiring to be president in 2023.
He stated this while appearing on a Channels Television current affairs programme, ‘Politics Today’, monitored in Port Harcourt, last Monday.
Wike said that he had supported Tambuwal to become Speaker of the House of Representatives and Saraki to become Senate President against all odds.
The governor also noted that only Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, from the North had personally expressed his support for his presidential bid.
When asked about his relationship with Saraki, Tambuwal and other governors on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Wike stated that the problem he had with Nigerians was that “people don’t want to tell the truth, and I feel so bad.”
Wike said, “There is nobody today contesting for president of this country from the North that I did not have a relationship with or that I did not support. There are nine of them who have not come to me to say, ‘Wike, with you, I think I will have my way.’ And I always told them, ‘I agree, but what is on the ground; what is on the table?’
“If you ask most of my friends, the problem I have with friendship is that if we agree on something, let’s keep to it. If there is any reason why that shouldn’t be done, I should be notified.”
He added, “I will tell you one. Sadly, it is with one very intelligent young man Nigerians listen to – Bukola Saraki, with all due respect. I was one of those who made sure he became a Senate President. He was in APC. I tweeted and spoke about his intelligence. Whether you hate him or you don’t like him, this young man is intelligent. Why would you not allow such a person to be at the helms of affairs? I never hid my feelings.
“My brother and friend, Tambuwal, when he wanted to be Speaker, the government and the PDP didn’t want him to be the Speaker. I was one of those who said no, we shouldn’t do that. I came out, and said, he should be Speaker. Even when he wanted to be president, I was one of those who said he was a vibrant young man, and it didn’t matter; that we should not do it by age. People were fighting me all over…in the South, in the West, in the North, in the East. They all fought me. ‘Why are you bringing Tambuwal?’ I said it was not about me bringing Tambuwal. I said I had found somebody that I thought had all it takes to lead.”
Wike stated that he had no apology to anybody for previously supporting Tambuwal and Saraki.
The governor stressed that he did not support the presidential bid of a former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, adding that when Tambuwal lost to Abubakar at the primary in Port Harcourt, he gave all his support to the ex-VP.
Wike said, “I want to challenge anybody, any governor, any person in this party who would say they gave Atiku the support I gave. In fact, I can tell you that in the South-South, it was only in my state that APC never got 25per cent (votes). Atiku knows that I came all out and supported him”.
According to Wike, there was a gentleman’s agreement that power should remain in the North while it is shifted to the South in 2023.
“If there are factors that have come up, you can say, ‘look, gentleman, my brother, I think what is now is not what was available then.’ And then, we can sit down and talk about it. So, what I do not like…I feel bad when people say, ‘oh, it is not right for a Wike.’ No group can win an election without the other group. No northerner can win without the southerners.’
Recalling earlier attempt on his life, Wike said that he was nearly assassinated while working as the Chief of Staff to ex-Governor Chibuike Amaechi, in 2007.
The governor, who is aspiring for the office of the President under the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), also slammed President Muhammadu Buhari and those that brought him to power in 2015, describing the current system as a failure.
Wike suggested that Buhari’s alleged failure was because people came together and gave him power even when he was not ready to serve the country, insisting that it was wrong for people to get power, especially when it comes to presidential power, on a platter of gold.
“If you remember, when I was the Chief of Staff, on December3, 2007, I was nearly assassinated. I was nearly assassinated on December 3, 2007, if I can remember vividly”, Wike said.
“Even at that point, I was a threat unknown to me … I’ve never one day said I want it on a platter of gold, never! In fact, when you give people things on a platter of gold, it doesn’t work well.
“Power is not given. Nobody is going to give you presidential power on a platter of gold.
“Take for example, President Buhari, people were saying, ‘give it to him, give it to him, he’s the messiah,’ now look at what has happened….
“That period they came to deceive Nigerians that ‘this is the only man who can solve the problems, this is the only man who has the key to Nigeria becoming one of the greatest countries’, and Nigerians were deceived and we all bought it. Now, look at where we are today. They told Nigerians ‘if you don’t elect General Buhari, there’ll be no Nigeria again…”
On the questions from certain quarters about his certificates, Wike said that he has never had issues with his academic certificates.
Wike also said that he attended the University of Port Harcourt in Rivers State and the Rivers State University of Science and Technology, now Rivers State University, and can mention his seat-mates while in those schools.
Hemade it clear that he attended Government Secondary School, Eneka in Obio/Akpor, before proceeding to the University of Port Harcourt where he studied Political Science, and later went to the Rivers State University of Science and Technology (RSUST) and studied law.
He obtained a Bachelor of Laws degree from RSUST before proceeding to Law School in 1997.
Wike holds a Master of Arts degree in Political and Administrative Studies also from RSUST.
The former minister of state for education and later minister of education,said “As I speak to you now, I can tell you who was my seat-mate from year one, year two, year three, year four in the University of Port Harcourt, and who was my seat-mate in the Rivers State University.
“I’ve never had any controversy concerning my certificates. The schools I attended, nobody can say, ‘let’s go and ask’.
“And as I came for my youth service, I served in the former Gongola State …So, I can tell you who my colleagues were as youth corps members,” he added.
On his position on the agitation for Biafra by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Wike said he supports the agitation by IPOBbut added that he frowns against the group’s violent approach.
Wike recalled that IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu, once sang his praises.
He, however, urged the Federal Government to listen and discuss with IPOB over their agitation.
According to the presidential aspirant, “IPOB is not a threat to me, it’s because of the division in the country that we have the kind of agitation we have today.
“There was a time IPOB was singing praises of Wike, Nnamdi Kanu was singing praises about Wike that he is our son.
“There is nothing wrong in people agitating but all the Federal Government should do is listen to their agitations, talk with them; there is nothing wrong about that.
“My problem came when they came to my state and burnt infrastructure like the courts, police stations, and I told them not to do that.
“Whether anybody likes it or not, I support the agitation, I support that we should sit down and discuss the marginalization of the South-East.
“I’m a governor and I asked them, do you need to kill people in my area, destroy infrastructures put in place for you to know I’m with you? I said no; I won’t do that.”

By: Nelson Chukwudi

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World Bank To Fund $30bn Projects In Nigeria, Others

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The World Bank has said it is set to disburse a total of $30billion to fund existing and new projects in Nigeria and other countries as part of a global response to combat the ongoing food security crisis.
According to the bank, it is working with countries on a $12billion new projects fund for the next 15 months.
It said the projects are expected to support agriculture, social protection to cushion the effects of higher food prices, and water and irrigation projects.
It added that most of the funds would go to Africa, the Middle East, Eastern Europe, Central Asia, and South Asia.
The global bank disclosed this when it announced how it plans to be part of a comprehensive, global response to the ongoing food security crisis.
It stated that it intends to roll out this fund in existing and new projects in agriculture, nutrition, social protection, water, and irrigation.
It said, “This financing will include efforts to encourage food and fertiliser production, enhance food systems, facilitate greater trade, and support vulnerable households and producers.”
World Bank Group President, David Malpass, said, “Food price increases are having devastating effects on the poorest and most vulnerable.
“To inform and stabilise markets, it is critical that countries make clear statements now of future output increases in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Countries should make concerted efforts to increase the supply of energy and fertilizer, help farmers increase plantings and crop yields, and remove policies that block exports and imports, divert food to biofuel, or encourage unnecessary storage.”
The bank added that its current existing portfolio includes balances of $18.7billion in projects with direct links to food and nutrition security issues, covering agriculture and natural resources, nutrition, social protection, and other sectors.
It stated, “Altogether, this would amount to over $30billion available for implementation to address food insecurity over the next 15 months. This response will draw on the full range of Bank financing instruments and be complemented by analytical work.”

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FG Postpones FAAC Meeting Over AGF’s N80bn Probe

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The Federal Government has announced the postponement of May, 2022 Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) meeting.
The sudden postponement may not be unconnected with the ongoing investigation of the suspended Accountant General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris, over alleged fraud to the tune of N80billion.
The FAAC meeting is a monthly meeting where the federation allocates monthly revenue among the three tiers of government.
The meeting had earlier been scheduled to hold virtually between May 18 and 19, 2022.
The Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, said this in a letter signed by Director, Home Finance,Stephen Okon.
The ministry said the meeting was postponed due to “certain circumstances.
“I am directed to inform you that the Federation Account/Allocation Committee (FAAC) meetings earlier scheduled to hold/virtually on the 18th and 19th May, 2022 have been postponed due to/certain circumstances,” the circular reads.
“In view of the foregoing, I am to further inform you that the new date for the meetings will be forwarded to you in due course.
“While we regret the inconveniences this change might cause you, please accept the assurances of the Minister’s warm regards,” the letter read in part.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had on Monday arrested and detained Idris over an alleged N80billion fraud.
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, announced indefinite suspension of Idris, last Wednesday.
Ahmed said the suspension “without pay” was to allow for “proper and unhindered investigation” in line with public service rules.

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Nigerian Out-Of-School Children Hit 18.5m

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Nigeria has 18.5million out-of-school children (OSC), the highest number in the world, and out of the figure, 10million are girls, the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) has said.
The Chief of UNICEF Field Office in Kano, Rahama Farah, stated this at a media dialogue on ‘Girls’ Education under the Girls’ Education Project 3, GEP 3’, funded by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), and implemented by UNICEF.
“For those lucky to be in school, their condition is also not enviable given the situation of public schools in the country. Only recently, the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), said 50per cent of schools in Nigeria lack basic furniture”Farah said.
The Executive Secretary of the commission, Hamid Bobboyi, said this in Abuja at a one-day civil society organisations’ CSO-Legislative Roundtable Meeting where some National and State Houses of Assembly members were present.
According to him, emerging constraints in basic education delivery in the country may necessitate an increase in the consolidated revenue funds from the current two per cent to four per cent.
He buttressed his position for an increase in funding on the security challenges bedevilling the country, insisting that rising student population also poses urgent need for teaching facilities.
Also speaking, the Chairman of Senate Committee on Basic Education, represented by Senator Frank Ibezim, decried the failure of State Universal Basic Education Boards (SUBEBs), to sustain some UBEC-initiated projects such as classrooms and libraries earlier introduced by the commission in all constituencies in the country.
While commending UBEC over the construction of classrooms in schools across the country, he lamented the poor maintenance culture, noting that there is no school in the country that does not have a dilapidated block.
A representative of MacArthur Foundation, Mr Dayo Olaoye, called on stakeholders to review the impact of the country’s annual budget on education, stressing that it was not enough that the country is increasing its budget to the sector.
“As we think about reforms, let us think beyond buildings that have been delivered, let us start thinking about how many children have been brought to school,” he said.
“If classrooms are dilapidated, and there are not enough furniture, what about teachers and the quality of the ones available? The Registrar, Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria (TRCN), Prof. Josiah Ajiboye, said there are over 300,000 unqualified teachers in the system.
“Education is very important to be left in the hands of quacks and that is why at TRCN, we are stepping up efforts at ridding the system of unqualified hands. We implore teachers and their employers to take advantage of the various windows TRCN is providing to improve the quality of teachers in the country so as to get better results from our education system,” he said.
For the General Secretary of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), Dr Mike Ene, there is need for better funding of the education sector.
He noted that in many states, teachers are overwhelmed by the number of pupils and students they handle.
“In so many states, there is inadequacy of teachers. Some states have not recruited teachers in the last 10 years and yearly, teachers are leaving the system through retirement, resignation or even death. Worse hit by poor staffing are schools in the rural areas. Such schools are called hard-to-staff schools.”
It is in that regard that the welfare packages announced by the Federal Government are very much necessary,” he said.
Also speaking on the issue, the National President of the National Association of Parent-Teacher Association of Nigeria (NAPTAN), Alhaji Haruna Danjuma, decried the manner some state governments are implementing the Basic Education Policy of the government whereby pupils and students in primary and junior secondary schools are to enjoy free education and are given textbooks in some core subjects.
“Some states are not doing well in that respect. They have abandoned the programme. They are not funding education as it ought to be funded. Even counterpart funds that some states should put down to complement the funds from UBEC are not provided. Some states have even misused UBEC funds and are suspended from getting further grants.
“We are talking now about our tertiary institutions that are grounded by workers’ strikes, the basic education level, which is the foundation, is not faring better too. Something urgent must be done to redress the situation before the sector collapses finally,” he noted.

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