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How Oshiomhole met his Waterloo [Sun]

Yesterday, the National Executive Committee (NEC), the premier organ of the All Progressives Congress(APC) took a seeming  bold step to end the festering crisis bedeviling the party.

In an emergency meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari , the leader of the party, APC NEC sacked the National Working Committee (NWC), led by Comrade Adams Oshiomhole.

The move is , expectedly, raising huge dust both within the fold of the party and in Nigeria’s political space.

For some, the action has the capacity to end the festering leadership crisis that has enveloped the ruling party. But others argue that it may kick-start a new duel.

In the last couple of weeks , the party has been on the lips of Nigerians. And it is for bad reason. It has been a house divided against itself.

The  NEC’s intervention was not surprising. Key members of the party literally went on their knees demanding that President Buhari wades into the simmering crisis. It is on this score that many party faithul bleieve yesterday’s parley  which held in the State House, Abuja saved APC from an  outright descent to chaos. The meeting   dissolved Oshiomhole’s  NWC and replaced it with a Caretaker/Special Convention Committee chaired by the governor of Yobe State, Mai Mala Buni.

Governor Buni, who was the former Secretary of the APC was sworn-in by the Attorney General of the Federation, AGF, and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami. To further save the party from imminent implosion, President Buhari at the meeting  advised that all litigations in APC should stop and urged aggrieved members to withdraw such suits.

The development also officially ended the turbulent and nearly chaotic tenure of Comrade Oshiomhole who took over the reins of APC from John Odigie-Oyegun. Since he became the national chairman of the APC following a voice vote by delegates at the party’s National convention on  June 23, 2018, the party had known no peace.

Among others, Oshiomhole was accused of high-handedness, micromanaging the party and weakening the other organs of APC as well as  establishing a culture of zero accountability in the party.

It was not surprising that he had had to contend with  deluge   of attacks. Interestinggly the flaks streamed from notable members of the party-Progressives Governors’ Forum, some  NWC members, disgruntled party stakeholders,  factional forum of APC state chairmen, non-NWC and NEC members.

His critics accuse him of leading APC into misfortune. They claim that since  he became chairman of the party, APC  suffered major electoral losses in Zamfara and Rivers states where the court disqualified its candidates from contesting elections in 2019 due to internal party crises and the failure of the party to conduct valid party primary within the time allowed by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The party also lost control in key states like   Bacuhi, Sokoto, Adamawa, Benue and Oyo States to rival  PDP . His critics insist that his style of leadership resulted in the party cascading from from   24 states  to  18 .

Arguably among the very few past national chairmen of the APC, Oshiomhole may go down in history as the man who faced and survived the harshest and most consistent sack threats.

Following his travails, Oshiomhole this year had described himself as a good tree with good fruits that must constantly attract stones, boasting that his detractors were fighting a lost battle.

Some political watchers seemed to have agreed with him because at every stage the battle to consume him had arisen in the past, some form of natural and human intervention saved him.

Recently, in an attempt to trivialise the spate of crisis rocking the party, he had noted: “Every time I pick up newspapers and see where they are writing that APC is in crisis and by the time you turn to the next page, they will announce that APC has won this or that elections, I was like, if crisis is what it takes to win election, maybe we will continue to be in crisis.”

Demolition: No land certificate issued to Nigerian High Commission –Ghanaian govt [Sun]

  • FG accepts Ghana’s apology, others

The Ghanian government has revealed that no land certificate was ever issued to Nigeria in Accra in respect of the residence of the High Commission at the centre of demolition controversy.

It stated this after an investigation comprising officials of its Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Lands Commission, National Security Secretariat and Ghana Police Service constituted to investigate the incident and make appropriate recommendations.

Tempers rose between Nigeria and Ghana at the weekend when a block of apartments within the residence of the Nigerian High Commissioner in Ghana was demolished.

Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration of Ghana, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, in a statement issued in Accra and made available to Daily Sun in Abuja by spokesperson, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ferdinand Nwonye, said a search by the Lands Commission did not show that any proper documentation had been obtained in respect of the property.

Meanwhile, Nigeria has expressed satisfaction over moves by the Government of Ghana to address issues concerning the demolition of the residence of the Nigerian High Commissioner in Accra.

Edo guber: Obaseki clinches PDP ticket [Sun]

  • Why I stepped down –Imansuangbon

Incumbent Edo Governor, Godwin Obaseki, yesterday, picked the ticket of The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

It was easy ride to victory for him as Kenneth Imasuagbon stepped down shortly before the commencement of balloting at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, Benin.

Obaseki will now slug it out with Osagie Ize-Iyamu, his PDP opponent in the 2016 election and over a dozen others.

Meanwhile, Imansuangbon has attributed the reason for his action to his desire to build a strong and united PDP in the state.

Fielding questions from newsmen in Benin, Imansuangbon said, though it was a painful decision for him and his supporters across the state and beyond, he refused to be “a spanner in the cog of the party.

Oshiomhole-backed NWC dares Buhari, says NEC meeting illegal [Punch]

Eighteen members of the All Progressives Congress National Working Committee loyal to the party’s sacked National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, on Thursday,  insisted that the APC  National Executive Committee meeting attended by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), was illegal.

The NWC members, who said this in a statement signed by the acting National Chairman, Hillard Eta, and the acting National Secretary, Waziri Bulama, stated that they were consulting their lawyers and other stakeholders on the dissolution of the NWC and other decisions taken at the NEC meeting on Thursday.

They insisted that the NEC meeting was illegally convened by the suspended  Deputy National Secretary of the party, Victor Giadom.

A few hours after the NWC was dissolved at the instance of Buhari, the 18 members dared the President and others at the NEC meeting by issuing a statement where they referred to themselves as officials of the party.

Buhari recommended NWC dissolution – Aide

Before the end of the virtual NEC meeting,  which began at noon on Thursday at the State House  Abuja, Buhari’s social media aide, Bashir Ahmad, in his Twitter handle, said the dissolution of the NWC was based  on the recommendation of the President.

He wrote, “Following the recommendation of President Muhammadu Buhari, the National Working Committee of the All Progressives Congress has been dissolved. Details to come…”

Balarabe’s troops served as escorts for Wadume –Hamisu’s kinsman [Punch]

A kinsman to Bala Hamisu (Wadume) has said soldiers under Capt. Tijjani Balarabe’s command served as escort to the suspected kidnap kingpin.

Kawu Mohammed, an indigene of Taraba State, explained that Wadume enjoyed military protection, noting that the soldiers used to serve as escort to him in Taraba.

The 30-year-old was arrested for attempting to contract a broadcast station to launder Wadume’s image shortly after he was re-arrested.

Mohammed, in his statement to the police dated August 29, 2019, said Wadume’s brother, Auwalu Bala, asked him to get the bank account of a broadcast outfit in order to counter the police narrative on the kidnap kingpin who is facing trial in Abuja.

According to him, Auwalu later informed him that he had sent the money to a media outfit hired to launder Wadume’s image.

The student of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, stated that he had known Wadume for over six years, noting that he was popular as a fish seller.

Mohammed also said that Wadume was known to be generous to the troops, adding that he regularly gave money to soldiers at the various checkpoints in Ibbi town.

He stated, “But the members of the public started complaining about him because they didn’t know the source of his money. There is a friend who said Wadume gave N1m on to one army captain at Ibbi. He used to give money to soldiers at checkpoints.

“Again, anytime Wadume wants to travel to Taraba town, the military used to serve as escort to him. That is all I know.”

Wadume had identified Balarabe and nine other soldiers as his accomplices. They are Staff Sgt. David Isaiah; Sgt. Ibrahim Mohammed; Corporal Bartholomew Obanye; Private Mohammed Nura; Lance Corporal Okorozie Gideon; Corporal Markus Michael; L/Corporal Nvenaweimoeimi Akpagra; Staff Sgt. Abdullahi Adamu, and Private Ebele Emmanuel.

The military had refused to have over the troops for trial despite their confessions and illicit association with a criminal gang in their area of operation.

Hushpuppi defrauded 1,926,400 persons, made N168bn – Dubai police [Punch]

The Dubai Police Force, United Arab Emirates, has revealed how it arrested Nigerian Instagram celebrity, Ramon Abass, aka Hushpuppi.

In a video released on its official Twitter handle on Thursday, the police said a special team had been tracking the suspect and his gang’s activities on the social media for about four months.

The DPF revealed that upon the arrest of Hushpuppi and 12 other members of his crew, including Olalekan Ponle, aka Woodberry, they discovered that fraud amounting to 1.6 billion dirham (N168bn) had been perpetrated  by the gang.

No fewer than 1,926,400 persons from different parts of the world were also said to have fallen victim to the suspects.

According to the police, 13 luxury cars, estimated at 35 million dirham (N3.7bn) were recovered from the house, where the suspects were arrested.

The Dubai police said the raid, carried out on June 10, 2020, was dubbed: Fox Hunt 2.

While footage of the operation played, a narrator said, “In less than just four months, the Dubai Police Force was able to solve the new operation dubbed: Fox Hunt 2, where 12 other gang members were also arrested.

“Six raids were carried out simultaneously, while the suspects were sleeping in their Dubai residences. After months of investigating and hours of monitoring the gang’s social media accounts, a team of highly-trained Dubai police officers were able to confirm the gang’s whereabouts and fraudulent activities.

“The Nigerian Instagram celebrity, who was arrested on multiple fraud charges for crimes committed in different parts of the world, boasted about his wealth and expensive possession on social media, claiming he is a successful businessman.

“Little did Abass (Hushpuppi) know that the Dubai E-police were tracking his every move and taking note of all his social media activities.”

States to begin COVID-19 testing next week [Nation]

From next week, every state will be able to conduct COVID-19 tests, the Federal Government said on Thursday.

Tests will no longer be exclusively handled by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), its Director-General, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, said.

Speaking during the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 briefing in Abuja, he said the tests will be possible with the activation of the GeneXpert platform.

“We have provided the testing infrastructure and the reagents. By the end of next week, we hope to roll out the GeneXpert platform.

“Already, three states have started. By the end of tomorrow (today), we will have the GeneXpert in seven states.

“By the end of next week, every single state in Nigeria that wants to will be able to test within its boundaries,” he said.

The GeneXpert machine, used to test for tuberculosis, is being repurposed for COVID-19 using a different reagent (cartridge).

It tests far more samples than the standard PCR machine, has the same level of accuracy and produces results in less than two hours.

Ihekweazu said the shortest possible timeline for the development of any vaccine will be next year.

He said: “If we have a vaccine in 2021, it will be the fastest time to the development of a vaccine ever. The normal timeline for vaccine development has been between five to 10 years.”

World Health Organisation (WHO) Country Representative, Dr. Fiona Braka, said it usually takes many years to develop a vaccine.

Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and PTF Chairman Boss Mustapha said tracing and testing of cases had been made more difficult because of the fear of stigmatisation.

“Let me emphasise, therefore, that COVID-19 is not a condition to be ashamed of as it has no respect for status, nationality, race, creed, tribe, etc. Every person infected must be treated to prevent the spread and avoidable fatalities,” he said.

He urged hospitals not to reject patients but to follow the protocols for managing COVID-19 after getting accreditation.

Mustapha said he would return Nigeria to lockdown if he had the powers to do so because some persons are “already romancing with COVID -19” in the manner of Tom and Jerry.

“With 500 plus fatalities, you can’t be ignorant. You can’t say you don’t know of anybody that has fallen victim either by way of name or pictures but today they are no more,” he said

Mustapha indicated that the PTF will submit its first assessment report to President Buhari next week.

How Giadom left NEC meeting [Nation]

Erstwhile APC National Deputy Secretary, Victor Giadom, left the NEC meeting, which he summoned as national acting chairman in dramatic fashion on Thursday.

The Rivers State-born politician was excused out of the Aso Villa venue, following the dissolution of the National Working Committee (NWC).

After the dissolution, Gaidom attempted to speak, but sources at meeting said House of Representatives Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila, objected, saying that he had ceased to be a NEC member, owing to the NWC dissolution.

The point of order was sustained and Giadom left the hall.

APC NWC: How Buhari ambushed NEC members [Nation]

  • President’s proposals endorsed without room for debate
  • Sacked national exco members mull legal option

A new page was on Thursday turned in the affairs of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

The tenure of Adams Oshiomhole-led National Working Committee (NWC) was terminated two years, two days after it came into office.

A Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Committee to run the affairs of the party and plan its national convention was inaugurated.

Yobe State Governor Mai Mala Buni is chairman of the caretaker panel with Senator John James Akpanudoede as secretary.

The members are Osun State Governor Adegboyega Oyetola (Southwest), Niger State Governor Abubakar Sani Bello (Northcentral), Senator Ken Nnamani (Southeast), Senator Abubakar Yusuf (Senate Rep.), Hon. Akinyemi Olaide (Reps.) and Mrs. Stella Oketete (Women Representative).

Other members are Dr. James Lalu (physically-challenged), Chief David Lyon (Southsouth), Senator Abba Ali (Northwest), Prof. Tahir Mamman (Northeast) and Mr. Ismail Ahmed (Youth).

The decisions were taken by the National Executive Committee (NEC) summoned on Thursday by feuding ex-deputy national secretary Victor Giadom, who was laying claim to the chairmanship granted him by an interim court order.

The meeting at Aso Villa, according to sources, was held without a pronounced agenda.

President Buhari merely read an address, in which he made proposals to end the impasse in the party.

There was no for a debate. They were merely robber stamped.

A source at the NEC meeting said decisions at the meeting  were premeditated.

The source added that the meeting had no agenda but President Muhammadu Buhari only made some recommendations which became binding on NEC members.

“We were shocked that there was no agenda. All the decisions purportedly agreed at the NEC session were from a meeting held on Wednesday by some anti-Oshiomhole governors and others.

“The President just came in with their recommendations. We thought they were going to throw issues open for debate as expected in a democratic setting but there was nothing like that.

“The plot was already signed and sealed to the consternation of everybody.”

“It was an ambush”, one of the party leaders at the meeting said.

The caretaker’s first assignment was writing a letter to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), notifying it of its new role and on the plan for the Ondo State primary election slated for July 20.

The President made the following  proposals which were adopted without a debate.

             immediate discontinuation of   all   pending litigations involving the party and its members;

             ratifying the primary election conducted in Edo State;

             dissolving the current National Working Committee, and

             appointing Caretaker/Extra-ordinary Convention Planning committee.

On litigations, the President said: “The directive had been issued before, unfortunately some members failed to heed the directive. Thus, at this time, it must be made a Resolution of  the Party which must be effectively enforced with dire consequences for members who choose to ignore the directive.”

The President said in order to return to the “winning ways”, the APC must maintain cohesion by closing its ranks.

“We must be alive to the time and the task that is before us. As we all know, we are immediately confronted with the upcoming gubernatorial elections in Edo and Ondo States. Therefore, this is the time to get our acts together.”

Buhari added: “Fellow party members, this is a very crucial moment in the life of our party and it is with a deep sense of concern that I stand before you today to speak as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria who has been elected on the platform of our great party – the All Progressives Congress.

“The issues currently confronting our party at this time are such that should worry every party member. At the moment, our great party is faced with internal wrangling; there are on-going litigations amongst some party members and we cannot clearly ascertain the status of certain National Working Committee (NWC) members”, he said.

The President expressed worry over the shifting loyalty within the party and inconsistency in leadership, which had opened the governing party to mockery.

“There are other associated disputes as to the legitimacy or otherwise of holders of certain National Offices of the Party.  The Party is also contending with Judicial claims and counter-claims, orders and counter-orders   and   indeed   Judgments   and   counter-judgments   that   are   predominantly at cross-purposes.

“Confronted with these issues, it is obvious that the fortunes of the party are currently   in   jeopardy,   administration   of   our   party   is   becoming impossible and there is consequently an urgent need for intervention to immediately arrest further drifts and internal wrangling which may lead to total disintegration.

“What   we   see   clearly   emerging,  is  that we are beginning to self-destruct. This, my dear party members, is not just regrettable but utterly gut-wrenching.”

Addressing reporters after the meeting, Chairman of the Progressive Governors’ Forum (PGF), Kebbi State Governor Atiku Bagudu, said: “The meeting was well attended, most importantly by President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Senate President, Deputy Senate President, Speaker, Deputy speaker, governors from the different APC states.

“We are indeed very grateful that the President and the NEC expressed confidence in the governors by appointing this distinguished personalities and we are happy that today, the issues bedeviling our party have been laid to rest by this momentous decisions.

“We are equally congratulating Mr President on the exercise of the mandate that has been given to him by Nigerians and today the party issues, which should not distract him, has been sorted.

“Equally, the meeting ratified all the decisions that have been taken in Edo State primaries and screening primaries and a name will be forwarded properly to INEC, the name of our candidate in the Edo gubernatorial elections.

“Equally, the schedule of activities that will commence in the Ondo state primaries, where by God’s grace, we will also be presenting a candidate, will commence under the leadership of the caretaker committee. We thank all our supporters for putting faith in our party and our party leaders for all the support they have been giving Mr President to achieve this wonderful outcome”, he said.

Buni, the caretaker chairman said: “As a former two-time national secretary, I know the party very well. It’s all about doing justice to every member of the party because without justice there won’t be peace and it is all about team play. I am a team player, I have a capable team that can work with me.

“If you don’t manage crisis, obviously crisis will manage you, so I won’t allow any crisis to fester henceforth and the process of convening this NEC, I want to tell you that it is a continuation of the last notice that was issued and we said we have adjourned and now it’s a continuation of the last adjourned NEC meeting. All the notices were issued accordingly, so in no way are we in any aberration.

“The duration of office  is for six months within which we will do whatever we can as enshrined in our constitution and ensure that we strengthen the party and cap it up with the convention.

“NEC is the highest organ of the party if not convention and by our constitution, NEC can act for convention in between . Whatever that happened during the last NWC culminating in Edo primaries have already been ratified by NEC. So we are good to go. All litigations will be withdrawn.

He denied that the dissolution of the party NEC was targeted at victimising or degrading the influence of any party leader.

“You mentioned the name of one of our leaders, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu,a founding father of this party. We are all together to rescue this party from all this, nobody is happy with the situation under which the party is now operating  because we are in court for various problems and crisis, so this decision was taken by NEC to address some of this issues. So nobody  is targeted and it is against nobody. Asiwaju is one of the leaders of this party and a founding father of the party”, Buni said.

COVID-19: Niger State Reduces Tax Rate To Ease Businesses [Leadership]

The Niger State government has approved the reduction of tax payment as part of measures to cushion the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic in the state.

In his address during a statewide broadcast, Governor Abubakar Sani Bello, said the tax reduction would take effect from 24th June, 2020 to 31st March, 2021. The governor said the filling date of annual tax returns by all businesses and individuals had been extended to 30th September, 2020.

Bello also noted that the filling of monthly PAYE returns by businesses ‘’has been grant- ed 10 days extension beginning from the 10th to 20th of every month.’’

He said: ‘’Penalties and interests on late fillings, payments, and remittances as well as default on tax liabilities have been reviewed downward to 5 per cent for penalties and 10 per cent for interest charges.’’

The governor who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Alhaji Ibrahim Matene, further said that the state government has granted 50 per cent reduction on all the rates as contained in the Harmonized Agricultural Produce and Livestock Fees Collection Regulation Act 2019.

‘’Payments in four installments have been granted to all taxpayers in the Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and the Informal sector,’’ he said.

He, however, assured that all the agencies responsible for the collection of tax have been notified on the development, hence anyone shortchanges should forward their complaints to the office of the Secretary to the State Government.

He also urged the general public to continue to adhere strictly to all COVID-19 protocols by the State Taskforce on COVID-19.

Buhari Nominates FCT Chief Judge For ICC Position [Leadership]

President Muhammadu Buhari has nominated Ishaq Usman Bello, Chief Judge of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court, as a judge at the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Called to the Nigerian bar in 1983, Bello has served on several bar and bench committees before his appointment as a member of the National Judicial Council (NJC).

Historically, the ICC which began func- tioning on 1st July, 2002, as an intergovernmental organisation and international tribunal which has jurisdiction to prosecute individuals for the international crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and the crime of aggression.

The ICC sits in The Hague, The Netherlands. The ICC, however, lacks universal territorial jurisdiction, and may only in- vestigate and prosecute crimes committed within member states, nationals of member states, or crimes in situations referred to the court by the United Nations Security Council. Member states of the ICC are expected

to nominate their candidates out of which only six judges will be elected to fill one third of the court’s 18 judicial seats.

The elections which are scheduled for the 19th session of the assembly of state par- ties will be held at the United Nations, New York, from December seventh to 17th December, 2020.

It Is Time For Another Lockdown, PTF Declare [Leadership]

With the increasing number of coronavirus cases in the country, the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 has said that the time had come for a national lockdown.

In the wake of the outbreak of the disease, the federal government had imposed a lockdown in Lagos, Ogun States and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) for five weeks to curb the spread of the deadly virus.

The chairman of the PTF and secretary to the government of the federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, who dropped hints of a looming national lockdown yesterday during the briefing of the Task Force in Abuja, lamented that some Nigerians were already romancing with COVID-19 in the manner of Tom and Jerry.

Mustapha said: “You want to hear the truth? If it were within my powers, this is the time to lockdown. Lockdown might not be a popular thing but this is the time to lockdown because I can see the attitude of Tom and Jerry, we are already romancing with COVID-19 and it is not good.”

While stating that Nigerians must continue to take responsibility to reduce community transmission of the virus, Mustapha urged the citizens to take the virus serious and continue to observe the guidelines developed by the task force. “I saw a real romance with COVID-19

today. People behaving as if the matter (virus) is over. It is a very serious issue and my appeal to Nigerians listening is that; let us take this thing (virus) serious.

“By now, with 500 plus fatalities, you can’t be ignorant, you can’t say you don’t know of any body that has fallen victim either by way of name or pictures but today they are no more ,” he added.

Mustapha explained the reasons why the compliance level of COVID-19 protocols is low in the country. He said that the non-compliance had been largely fuelled by skepticisms and ignorance about the disease.

All through the month, Mustapha noted that the PTF communicated to Nigerians in different ways, the dangers of complacency and non-compliance with measures prescribed for the fight against COVID-19.

Particularly, he stressed that Nigerians were reminded that there is at present no known vaccine for the virus and that all over the world, non-pharmaceutical measures still remained the most effective and avoiding being infected remains the best choice for everyone.

He stated: “The PTF also continued to assess the developments nationwide and found that non-compliance has been largely fuelled by skepticism and ignorance about the disease.

“We also noted that stigmatisation has further impacted on the willingness of people to come out to seek help and even tell their stories.

“The nature of this pandemic demands that we must detect and treat it in order to address it. Let me emphasise, therefore, that COVID-19 is not a condition to be ashamed of as it has no respect for status, nationality, race, creed, tribe, etc. Every person infected must be treated to prevent spread and avoidable fatalities.”

The SGF also expressed concern over the resurgence of the virus in Europe, China and the United States.

According to him, ”closely related to the high number of confirmed cases and fatalities at home are lessons drawn from other jurisdictions. From Europe to China to the United States of America, the rising numbers and reported resurgence in some cases should also be of concern to us.”

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