End In Sight For APC Crisis As PMB Backs Giadom [LEADERSHIP]
There are indications that the crisis rocking the leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) may soon be resolved, as President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday threw his weight behind the Chief Victor Gaidom-led leadership of the party.
Consequently, the president will be attending the virtual National Executive Council (NEC) meeting of the APC convened by Giadom today from the presidential villa.
Giadom, a deputy national secretary of the party, had insisted that he is the acting national chairman of the party after the affirmation of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole’s suspension.
But some members of the National Working Committee (NWC) while rejecting Giadom, adopted deputy national chairman of the party (South-west), Senator Abiola Ajimobi, as the acting chairman of the party.
But hinting about the outcome of President Buhari’s intervention, presidential spokesman, Mallam Garba Shehu, stated the president’s position on the leadership crisis, saying the president would always act in accordance with the law.
According to Shehu, President Buhari received very convincing advice on the position of law on the crisis rocking the party.
In a statement he issued yesterday, Shehu said, “The president has received very convincing advice on the position of the law as far as the situation in the party is concerned and has determined that the law is on the side of Victor Giadom as acting national chairman.
“Because he will always act in accordance with the law, the president will be attending the virtual meeting Giadom called for tomorrow afternoon.
“We urge the media to stop promoting manufactured controversies and to not give any further room for mischievous interpretations of the law on this matter”.
He also confirmed that NEC meeting would be well attended by governors and leaders of the National Assembly.
“In addition to the president, the Giadom meeting will, hopefully, be attended by our governors and the leaders of the National Assembly.
A High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) had recognised Gaidom as the acting chairman of the APC after the Court of Appeal had affirmed the suspension of Oshiomole as the chairman of the party.
Coast Now Clear For Obaseki As 2,229 Delegates Choose PDP Candidate Today [LEADERSHIP]
All is set for Edo State governor, Godwin Obaseki, to pursue his governorship ambition under the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as a Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, yesterday cleared him to contest the party’s primaries billed to hold today.
Over 2229 PDP delegates will today converge on the newly renovated Samuel Ogbemudia stadium in Benin City, the Edo state capital, to elect their candidate for the September 19 governorship election.
Justice Emmanuel Obile, who sat over a suit seeking to disqualify Obaseki, struck out the suit filed by another PDP governorship aspirant, Omoregie Ogbeide-Ihama.
Ogbeide-Ihama had on Tuesday obtained a restraining court order from a Porthacourt preventing Obaseki from contesting the today’s primary.
Also joined in the suit was former Edo State PDP chairman, Dan Orbih.
Barely 48 hours after the order on Obaseki, another High court in Ekpoma, Esan Central local government area of Edo State vacated the restraining order excluding the governor.
The matter was struck out following an out-of-court settlement between Ogbeide-Ihama and PDP national leadership.
Meanwhile, the PDP primary today would likely to be a straight contest between Obaseki and Barrister Ken Imansuagbon, following speculations that Ogbeide Ihama may have withdrawn from the race.
On Tuesday, another aspirant, Engineer Gideon Ikhine, had at a press conference, stepped down his ambition for Obaseki.
But in a statement yesterday, Imasuagbon said contrary to reports, he has not withdrawn from the race.
In the statement he personally signed and made available to journalists in Benin, Imasuagbon debunked the rumour that he accepted $2million from the governor to step down for him.
The Abuja-based educationist stressed that he was in the governorship race to win and not to make up the number of aspirants for the PDP ticket.
He noted that the rumour of him accepting $2 million from the governor was being spread from his (Obaseki‘s) camp to sway the votes of delegates in his favour.
He said, „The governor knows am popular with the delegates and he is doing everything possible to change this.
“For the sake of emphasis, I have not and will not consider accepting any money for me to step down from the rave for the PDP ticket.
“I also understand that they are trying to manipulate the delegate list to their favour. I want to warn that if they try it, we will do everything possible to resist it and we shall meet in the court of law”.
Meanwhile, before striking out the case seeking to disqualify Obaseki from the primaries, Justice Obile of the Federal High Court, Port Harcourt, stood down the matter for three hours, after counsel to the plaintiff prayed the court to grant the parties four hours to conclude meeting on reconciliatory moves by PDP leaders.
Dan Orbih informed the court that the process of out-of-court settlement had commenced within the party and expressed hope that within the period they would report back to the court.
Justice Obile granted the prayers of the plaintiff‘s counsel to enable the parties resolve their terms of settlement.
Obile, who had frowned at the four-hours stand down, ordered parties in the suit to document the terms of settlement within three hours and inform the court.
When the Court resumed at exactly 2:00pm, one hour and 30 minutes behind the scheduled resumption time, lead counsel to the plaintiff, Donald Den-Nwigwe, informed the Court of their intention to withdraw the suit following the settlement of the matter by PDP leaders.
Speaking with newsmen outside the court, PDP national legal adviser, Emmanuel Enoidem, said the withdrawal of the suit follows the resolution of the matter that led to the legal action.
Counsel to the 1st defendant and PDP national chairman, Uche Secondus and six other defendants, Emmanuel Enoidem, Counsel for the 2nd defendant, Higher King, and that of the 8th and 9th defendants, Alex Ejesiema and M. E. Ani, concurred with the request.
Transparency: AfDB Ranks 4th Among 47 Global Development Institutions [LEADERSHIP]
A global campaign for aid and development transparency, Publish What You Fund, has ranked the African Development Bank (AfDB) fourth on its aid transparency index (ATI).
The AfDB was placed in the highest category of transparency in an index that ranked the Asian Development Bank first, with the International Development Association of the World Bank and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) taking the second and third positions.
A statement by media relations officer with the bank, Emeka Anuforo, noted that 47 global development institutions were considered in the ranking.
This is even as the World Bank yesterday announced a $750 million International Development Association (IDA) credit for Nigeria’s Power Sector Recovery Operation (PSRO) to improve electricity supply.
The African Development Bank was in the news recently when the United States Treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, called for an independent probe of allegations by a group of whistleblowers against the AfDB president, Dr Akinwumi Adesina.
But applauding the AfDB for coming in the global transparency rating, CEO of Publish What You Fund, Gary Forster, stated: “We congratulate the African Development Bank – Sovereign Portfolio on achieving 4th place in the 2020 Aid Transparency Index.
“As large quantities of aid are being reallocated to deal with the COVID-19 emergency, the transparency of international aid is more important than ever”.
The organisation has been producing the index each year since 2011.
Publish What You Fund ranked AfDB ‘very good’, the highest of the five categories used to assess organisations’ transparency.
The ranking is based on several criteria, including finance an budgets, basic information data, organisational planning and performance.
In the new Index, which covers 2019, the AfDB scored 95.5 out of 100 on transparency, a significant improvement on its score for 2018.
Gary Forster further said, “It is promising to see an increase in the quantity, quality and timeliness of aid data now being shared by a broad cross section of the world’s major aid agencies.
“As we work together to fill the gaps in the aid data landscape, we look forward to exploring how we can best meet the demand for data and data engagement”.
The institution’s commitment to total transparency is illustrated by MapAfrica, a web-based platform that maps all of the Bank’s investments across the African continent.
“I am absolutely delighted with this achievement!” said Swazi Tshabalala, acting senior vice president for the African Development Bank Group.
“It crowns this institution’s commitment to transparency at a time when it has never been so important. With such large volumes of funding now being assigned to combat the Covid-19 pandemic, it is crucial for our citizens to know how much, where and when the African Development Bank is investing in Africa’s development”, Foster added.
Meanwhile, the World Bank, in announcing the $750 million IDA credit for Nigeria’s Power Sector Recovery Operation (PSRO), said the target is to achieve financial and fiscal sustainability and enhance accountability in Nigeria’s power sector.
In a statement that was issued yesterday, the World Bank explained that about 47 per cent of Nigerians did not have access to grid electricity and those who had access, faced regular power cuts.
According to the bank, the economic cost of power shortages in Nigeria is estimated at around 28 billion dollars, which is equivalent to two per cent of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
It stated that getting access to electricity was one of the major constraints for the private sector according to the Ease of Doing Business report.
It added that improving power sector performance, particularly in the non-oil sectors of manufacturing and services, would be central to unlocking economic growth post COVID-19.
World Bank Country director for Nigeria, Shubham Chaudhuri said, “Lack of reliable power has stifled economic activity and private investment and job creation. This is ultimately what is needed to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty.
Chaudhuri said the objective of this operation is to help turn around the power sector and set it on a fiscally sustainable path. This is particularly urgent at a time when the government needs all the fiscal resources it can marshal to help protect lives and livelihoods amid the COVID-19 pandemic”.
Gbajabiamila To Pay Additional 50% Hazard Allowance To 450 Doctors, Others [THE NATION]
House of Representatives Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila promised to pay 50 per cent of the hazard allowance in addition to what is currently being paid by the Lagos State Government to about 450 doctors and other health workers at the Randle General Hospital, Surulere, Lagos State.
He stated this while interacting with his constituents of Surulere 1 Federal Constituency through a virtual meeting as part of his constituency engagements.
The Randle hospital’s workers were once exposed Covid-19 cases in the constituency.
The Speaker, during the interactive session conducted via zoom with leaders of different Communities Development Associations (CDAs), youth leaders and market women associations, said he is committed to continue providing dividends of democracy to them.
He told his constituents that as the Speaker, he needed their continuous support to pilot the affairs of the Green Chamber, urging them to continue observing the COVID-19 protocols to stay safe.
He said in the last one year, a lot of community development projects he attracted were inaugurated in the constituency.
They include rehabilitation of inner roads to provisions of solar street lights in places like Esther Dada – Ishaga link road, Yesufu Sanusi Street, Odeku Close off Adeniran Ogunsanya, Falolu Street off Akerele, among others.
He said in one year, 12 buses were distributed to notable organisations in Surulere such as market women associations, religious bodies, Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT).
The member representing Surulere 1 State Constituency at the Lagos State House of Assembly, Desmond Elliot, thanked the Speaker for his giant strides in Surulere, Lagos State and the nation as a whole.
Sagay To Buhari: Don’t Attend Giadom-Led NEC Meeting [THE NATION]
An eminent professor of law Itse Sagay (SAN) on Wednesday urged President Buhari not to participate in today’s All Progressives Congress (APC) National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting called by Victor Giadom.
He said Giadom had no right to summon the meeting because a deputy national secretary is not in line to succeed the national chairman.
Besides, Sagay, who chairs the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC), said the ex-parte order Giadom is relying on to claim acting chairmanship had since lapsed.
He said: “I’m stunned by this turn of events. How can a deputy national secretary have the ambition to be the chairman of a party when you have deputy chairmen and vice-chairmen?
“That is why it is absurd. It does not make sense. His position makes it impossible for him to be the acting national chairman.
“Second, he is relying on an ex-parte order in which he alone was present and the court gave him an interim order in March. These orders last for 14 days.
“He turns up in June to say it has been extended – something that is dead, that does not exist and has lapsed. That is the second absurdity. If he had applied for a fresh order, that would have been different.
“When I heard of the developments, I was stunned into silence. I’m so stunned as to how such a person could be given legitimacy at the highest level.
“The legal advice the President got is mischievous in the extreme because there is no court order to extend since it does not exist. It died two weeks after it was made. The line of succession of the chairman cannot come from the Secretary.
“So the whole thing is an absurdity. I always hear of the theatre of the absurd, but this is one of the worst I’ve ever heard of.”
Asked if he would advise the President to reconsider his position, Sagay said: “That’s my view. And as someone pointed out, seven days’ notice is needed for such a meeting. Only three days have been given.
“So I would advise the President to step back from this matter and not participate in it.”
For Seyi Sowemimo (SAN), it was essentially a political matter and the President had taken a decision in furtherance of what he felt was in his best interests.
“A president in opting to recognise somebody is also acting in his own best interest. It’s not strictly a legal matter; it’s all politics.
“If you go to a third court, don’t be surprised that another conflicting decision may be given,” Sowemimo said.
NWC Threatens To Boycott NEC As Buhari Backs Sacked Giadom [PUNCH]
The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), on Wednesday, declared support for the suspended Deputy National Secretary of the All Progressives Congress, Victor Giadom, as the party’s acting national chairman.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, in an interview with State House correspondents in Abuja, said Buhari would attend Thursday’s (today) APC National Executive Committee meeting convened by Giadom.
Rather resolving the APC crisis, Buhari’s declaration of his stand threw the party into more confusion as 17 members of the National Working Committee insisted the NEC meeting convened by Giadom, was illegal.
The NWC members also said they would not attend the meeting, insisting that Buhari was blackmailed to support it.
The problem in the APC NWC came to a head on Tuesday last week when the Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja upheld the suspension of the party’s National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, by the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory.
At an emergency meeting on the evening of the same day, 17 members of the NWC loyal to Oshiomhole, appointed a former governor of Oyo State, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, as acting chairman.
Giadom, in a counter move, together with two other NWC members, addressed a press conference on June 17, when he declared himself as the acting chairman. He backed his action with the judgment of the FCT high court, which in March gave him the go-ahead to be the acting national chairman.
Despite his suspension by two Port Harcourt courts and his replacement as the deputy national secretary, Giadom on Tuesday issued a notice of the APC NEC meeting, which would hold today (Thursday).
But the Ajimobi-led NWC on Tuesday said having been suspended from the NWC, Giadom was not qualified to convene the NEC meeting.
FG Sets Stringent Conditions For School Reopening [PUNCH]
The stringent conditions for the reopening of schools contained in the guidelines submitted to the National Assembly by the Federal Ministry of Education, may force some schools to close down their operations.
The document, obtained by our correspondents is titled, “Guidelines for schools and learning facilities reopening after COVID-19 pandemic closure.”
According to the document, each school is required to create temporary isolation space and fully equipped clinics before reopening.
They are also to establish a referral system, including protocols and procedures to take if learners, teachers, administrators and other education personnel become unwell while in school.
Apart from that, the Federal Government in the document, mandated any state wishing to reopen schools to hold adequate consultations with the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 and the parents.
The guidelines also require school proprietors to construct additional structures and employ more teachers to ensure that they accommodate their pupils by adhering to the two-metre spacing system in classrooms.
Proprietors of schools have also been asked to seek grants to procure soap and buckets, ensure regular safe water supply, ensure constant supply of learning and instructional materials and pay salaries on time.
The Federal Ministry of Education had presented to the National Assembly, a detailed proposal on its plan to reopen schools across the country.
The Minister of State for Education, Mr Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, appeared before the Senate Committee on Basic and Secondary Education on Tuesday, but refused to give details of the proposal.
The PUNCH however, obtained a copy of the document, on Wednesday.
According to the ministry, reopening of schools demands that sufficient provisions, including infrastructure, equipment and expertise, be available in the schools as stipulated in the guidelines.
The guidelines, it said, were to ensure maximum possible safety and protection against COVlD-19 infection, and effective response if anyone exhibits symptoms associated with COVID-19 Infection.
The document read “It is equally crucial that consultations are held and communication exchanged with parents, teachers, learners and communities to understand and address common concerns.”
To observe safe distancing in schools and other learning facilities, the document recommends that students are to stay two metres apart according to the NCDC’s public advice. The ministry, however, cited exceptional cases.
It said, “However, there are exceptions where the two-metres rule cannot be reasonably applied and other risk mitigation strategies may be adopted.
Demolition: Nigeria Won’t Engage In Street Fight With Ghana –Presidency [SUN]
Nigeria will not engage in street fight with Ghana over the demolition of some apartments under construction at the Nigerian High Commission in Accra, the Presidency said yesterday.
Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo on Tuesday called President Muhammadu Buhari to tender sincere apologies for the demolition saying he had ordered a full scale investigation into the matter.
Garba Shehu, spokesperson for President Buhari, told State House Correspondents that both leaders would resolve the issue diplomatically.
“The President of Ghana has called and regretted the action and apologised to the President of Nigeria. I think he has shown leadership in the matter and what should Nigeria do; these are two leading countries in West Africa.
“Nigeria will not engage in a street fight with Ghana. This cannot happen. So, the two leaders, especially President Muhammadu Buhari, who is much respected in Africa, they all call him ‘Baba’ (Father), so he is bound to show restraint. Matters such as this when they arise, it is always better when they arise, they should be resolved diplomatically. No, there shouldn’t be a fight between Nigeria and Ghana, this will not happen,” Shehu said.
EFCC Storms Abia, Seals Property Of Top Politician [SUN]
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Tuesday stormed Umuahia, capital of Abia State, and sealed some property a top politician in the state and his family are said to have interest.
There have been reports in recent times about the anti graft agency investigating a prime family in the state and it is not yet confirmed if the property sealed were linked to members of the family.
The property in question include Benac Hotel, located adjacent the Mata Dei Catholic Church and opposite the state owned Radio/ TV station, the BCA; a housing estate at the location of former Umuahia Main Market by Okpara Square and a popular shopping mall within the city centre.
Operatives of EFCC stormed the city and immediately declared the property to be under investigation with the commission’s logo boldly printed on the walls and marked them sealed.
Benac Hotel said to be a three-star facility formerly owned by a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chieftain in the state and Nigeria’s former Ambassador to Australia, Chief Empire Kanu, but was reportedly sold a few years ago.
The housing estate, on the other hand, has choice duplexes ready for occupation, while the EFCC operatives were said to have traced the ownership of the shopping mall to those who owned the other sealed property.
It was gathered that the anti graft agency operatives, who visited other locations, are still in Abia State and are likely to seal more of such property.