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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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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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