Mantu’s Confession: Charlyboy Leads Peaceful Protest to INEC

Maverick showbiz star and musician, Charles Oputa, aka Charlyboy, yesterday, led the Ourmumudondo group on a peaceful protest to the headquarters of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Abuja over Senator Ibrahim Mantu’s alleged poll-rigging confession.

According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), the protest, which took place in Abuja, was to urge the electoral body to prosecute Mantu on electoral malpractices over his recent ‘poll-rigging confession.’

The group said the protest was to remind the INEC that Mantu’s incidence is an opportunity for it to demonstrate its resolve to prosecute electoral offenders and sanitise the electoral system.

Its National Secretary, Raphael Adebayo, alleged that Mantu, a former deputy president of the senate recently revealled how he helped his party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to win elections in the past.

“The Ourmumudondo Movement deems it imperative to ask the INEC to immediately initiate the prosecution of Mantu.

“Ibrahim Mantu, who was a senator on the platform of the PDP, recently confessed how he rigged elections during an interview on a live programme aired on a private television channel.

“I know Buhari very well, He is not corrupt”, Orji Kalu

Orji Kalu, a former Governor of Abia State proclaimed that President Muhammadu Buhari will return in 2019 if he re-contests despite the series of attacks from former President Olusegun Obasanjo and others. In his words, he vouched for the President and claimed to know him well enough.

Kalu said this in an interview with journalists in Ile-Ife, Osun State, on Friday, after his peace and advocacy visit to the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi.

The former governor said Obasanjo, who spent eight years in office, was the least person competent to attack Buhari’s integrity, adding that the former President did not allow anybody to criticise him while in office.

He said, “Talking of integrity, Obasanjo is incompetent to criticise President Buhari. When I was the governor of Abia State, I wrote letters to President Obasanjo, criticising him and because of that, he swore to make life difficult for me. He is today writing letters every week, attacking Buhari.

“I know Buhari very well. He is not corrupt. He does not own property anywhere. Some people should not just put the country in crisis. Whatever they may have in plan, Buhari will return in 2019.”

The former governor said that Buhari had demonstrated that he loved the country more than Obasanjo and added that there was no way Nigerians would dump the President based on the series of letters written by Obasanjo to discredit him (Buhari).

Kalu also said that the Igbo could realise the ambition of producing Buhari’s successor in 2023, stating, “We can’t do it alone. Late Chief MKO Abiola came to my mother’s house in Abia many years ago seeking political support.

“While discussing with my mother, MKO said no one could clap with one hand. I will also adopt that adage. We Igbo can’t do it alone. The rest of the country should assist us to realise this ambition.”

Earlier, the Ooni of Ife thanked Kalu for promoting unity and peaceful coexistence among Nigerians.

10 Corpses Recovered at Benue

The Benue Police Command said on Friday that it had recovered 10 corpses of villagers killed by suspected bandits in Tse-Audu and Enger villages in Gwer West local government area of the state.

The Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Moses Yamu, said in a statement that the corpses were victims of the Thursday attacks on the villages.

He said the corpses were found by the mobile police contingent deployed to Naka, the headquarters of the local government council.

NAN reported that Yamu attributed the deaths to bandits, saying that the police had in their routine surveillance also encountered the bandits.

He said, “Eight dead bodies were found in the bush around Tse-Audu and Enger villages in Gwer West local government. This is in addition to the two bodies that were removed from the same area on the same day.”

The PPRO, however, assured residents of the communities of their safety, pointing out that a detachment of police team on counter insurgency had been deployed in the area.

He also advised members of the public to always report any suspicious movement to security agencies for immediate action.

Offa Bank Robbery Update: Death Count Increases to 30

A robbery attack on 5 banks in Offa, Kwara State has reportedly claimed 30 lives.
This was a sharp increase in the 12, comprising six policemen and six civilians, that was reported on Friday.

Several eyewitnesses said body count at the scene of the incident indicated that those who lost their lives were about 30.

One of them said, “I personally counted up to 30 dead bodies and I am sure the figure might increase because a lot of people were critically injured by gunshots.”

Meanwhile, the Kwara State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Lawan Ado, said on Friday that nine policemen and seven civilians were killed by the armed robbers that stormed five banks in Offa.

Sources disclosed that the operation lasted for over one hour. It was also learnt that the armed robbers, who were about 30, blew up the entrances to the banks with dynamite and reportedly carted away millions of naira.

They had shot aimlessly and killed many people during the operation.

But speaking through the command’s spokesperson, Mr. Ajayi Okasanmi, in a telephone interview on Friday, the commissioner said the police had commenced investigation into the robbery and that six vehicles used by the robbers for the operation had been recovered.

Ado said, “Nine police personnel and seven civilians were killed during the robbery operations,” he said.

Meanwhile, Kwara State Governor, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed, has pledged that the state government would pay the medical bills of the victims of the accident.

Speaking when he visited the victims at the hospital on Friday, the governor, who had ordered that the victims be moved from Offa to Ilorin for better medical care, had, on his Facebook page, directed health services in the state to rapidly deploy emergency services to treat those injured in the attack.

The governor, who went round the wards to meet with the victims, described the incident as unfortunate, while praying to God to grant the injured victims quick recovery.

He said, “We will take care of all their hospital bills; we must begin to watch one another’s back. Policing is everybody’s job, therefore, when we see strange people in our communities, we must learn to report to appropriate security agencies because activities like this require some time for planning and execution.

“I offer my heartfelt condolences to the people of Offa and the families of the victims of this attack. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of those who died in the attack. I’m in constant touch with the security agencies in the state and I have urged them to do all within their powers to secure Offa and environs and bring the perpetrators to justice.”

He also stressed the need for community policing, saying the police would do better if they have information.

Other persons who spoke on the tragedy were the Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Dr. Ali Ahmad tasked security agencies to provide adequate security for lives and property in the state. He pledged that the Assembly would not hesitate to provide the required legislative support to both the executive and security agencies to make Kwara safer for all and sundry.

Buhari Cautions Influential Leaders on Choice of Words

The Presidency, on Saturday, cautioned leaders in the country against making inflammatory statements that could threaten it’s unity.

Shehu In an apparent reference to the recent call by a one time Minister of Defence and Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma, rtd, where he alleged that the military was on the side of the terrorist group to wipe out some of the minority groups in the country and advised citizens to defend themselves, the presidency warned against any act that could bring the Somalia experience to Nigeria.

The statement, signed by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, said such public declaration could instigate people of ethnic groups against one another. The statement read, “The Presidency wishes to appeal to prominent Nigerians, who have national influence, to use their influence wisely and not continue to engage in public declarations that are likely to inflame emotional passions and threaten National Security.

“The Presidency is very worried that criminal gangs will feel justified in defying legal governing and democratic institutions, and authority of legitimately elected democratic government if unrestrained pronouncements are made.

“Silence can be dignified, but sometimes it can be misinterpreted and exploited. It is both shocking and scary to hear the recent comments by a senior citizen calling for Nigerians to defend themselves.

“The Presidency commends the Nigerian military’s efforts to maintain peace and stability, despite being pulled in various directions by elements determined to destabilize the country and government for their selfish reasons. “What country would survive if its citizens rise against the country’s organized, trained and equipped military?

“We advise former leaders to take advantage of the various fora where people with a history of national security can offer advice to the government without resorting to the exploitation of emotional sentiments. “The civil war motto: “TO KEEP NIGERIA ONE IS A TASK THAT MUST BE DONE” rings very timely at this time in our nation’s history. We must be careful to avoid the mess that destroyed other African countries like Somalia.”

Dangote Commits to Wiping Polio

Penultimate week, Aliko Dangote, African top business mogul, and his American counterpart, Bill Gates, embarked on campaign trips to ensure Nigeria is polio free.

To the Africa’s richest man, “it is quite embarrassing that Nigeria is one of the only three countries in the world that are yet to be certified polio free.” The other two countries are Pakistan and Afghanistan. Therefore, for the whole week, Dangote Foundation and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which have been at the fore front of the campaign to eliminate polio, went on assessment of the situation in the areas earlier affected by the disease and the neighboring Chad Republic, where the two business moguls and their teams met with President Idris Deby in Ndjamena.

Polio is a crippling and potentially fatal infectious disease. It is an infectious viral disease that affects the central nervous system and can cause temporary or permanent paralysis, most especially in the leg. Children not older than 5 years are more likely to contract the virus than any other group, therefore the epidemic inflicts economic loss of colossal dimension on a nation as youths, the future generation, which forms a plank of the productive population are affected. Polio is caused by a highly contagious virus specific to humans. The virus usually enters the environment in the feces of someone who is infected.

Over the years, Dangote Foundation has been involved in causes that guarantee healthy life for the Nigerian child and reduce extreme poverty among the vulnerable especially women.

It was in this spirit that he had deployed his resources, for critical interventions, among which are issues bordering on nutrition, routine immunization and commitment to eradicate polio. The Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) described as multiple factors hampering eradication of the virus especially in the North. Many of the factors, it stated in one of its report on Polio eradication, are embedded in the country’s broad social-political dynamics and enduring chasm between the governed and the government and a decentralized governmental system that often neglect service delivery to marginalized communities.

Some of the obstacles to polio eradication in Nigeria as in many other countries are the lack of basic health infrastructure, which limits vaccine distribution and delivery, the crippling effects of internal strife occasioned by insurgents’ activities which has turned some areas in the North-East as hard-reach. The visit to Chad was necessitated by the fact that Chad is next to Nigeria from North East axis where immunization penetration has been very difficult.

Any movement of the virus across the border might put Chad into jeopardy hence the need to intensify immunization in the country especially in the islands close to the insurgents’ enclave. Besides Chad is said to be spending less than before on vaccines and routine immunization operational costs – both in absolute terms as well as a proportion of total expenditures.

Therefore, both Dangote and Gates were able to obtain commitment from Deby to personally track the ability of the polio program to access and actually go to all 800 Chadian islands in the lake Convince with a promise to step up his political and financial support for routine immunization. The Chadian President then signed a declaration, committing to increase immunization rates in Chad and end polio in the region. Though Chad has not seen a case of wild polio since 2012, a 2016 polio outbreak in Nigeria placed those in neighbouring countries at risk, particularly children who live on the hard-to-reach islands of Lake Chad.

Déby reaffirmed his support for the region-wide effort to stop polio. “Improving the health of Chad’s children is critical. I am committed to working with neighbouring governments to end polio for good in Africa, and to protecting more of our country’s children with vaccines against other deadly diseases”, he told his visitors.

After the signing, Dangote said all countries in West Africa—including Chad—share a responsibility to protect every child with polio vaccine. Until this happens, the risk of wild polio cases spreading remains. Said he: “We are close to stopping polio on the continent – but we are not done yet. We want to save the lives of 250, 000 children with the application of right vaccines. Unless we protect all children in Africa with the polio vaccine, the risk of the virus spreading will remain. That is why the Dangote Foundation is determined to continue working with Nigeria’s neighbours including Chad, to improve immunization rates and end polio for good.”

He stated that polio eradication is a must because it is a disease that causes paralysis and in some instances, death. 30 years ago, it paralyzed an estimated 350,000 people – last year there were just 22 cases confined to Afghanistan and Pakistan, a record low. But, the fight against polio is not over until there are no cases anywhere in the world for at least three years. “As a Nigerian, I feel that I have a special responsibility to make sure that Africa is free from polio since my country has been the one exporting the virus for so many years”, the African richest man said.

“The polio outbreak in Borno a year and a half ago was a big setback. And a lot of work has been done to get it under control. But I’m concerned especially about the risks that still remain. Nigeria cannot reach thousands of settlements, and its islands in Lake Chad because of Boko Haram. And until we do, you will need to be super vigilant on your side. “One of the risks I see is the islands on your side in Lake Chad. As Bill mentioned, they are difficult to reach, and they have not been visited on a regular basis by the polio program. I think it would be very helpful if you gave instructions to the military to help transport vaccinators to each of the islands we’ve been talking about – so that they are all visited at least 3-5 times this year. With logistics and planning support from the military, I think you can take the final steps to ensure Chad remains polio-free.

“If you personally lead a public review of the program every six months – with the Ministers of Health, Interior, Finance and Communication – along with the Governors and administration, traditional and religious leaders, it would send a clear signal that it is not business as usual. I would be happy to come back for your first review, if you conduct it mid-year.

“Like Nigeria, Chad needs to spend more of its own money on routine immunization. If we cannot immunize our own children to protect them from disease, they have failed them. My recommendation is that you establish a clear budget line for routine immunization in the annual budget at least 40%. That would get you back to the level of commitment the government was making in 2012. Bill and I will work hard with the global partners to try to secure the rest. From Chad, the team arrived Sokoto where they met with the Sultan, Alhaji Saad Abubakar, and the community heads as well six governors from the Northern region on renewed commitment to intensify immunization to ward of the polio virus and take Nigeria off the list of polio countries. While thanking the Sultan for his commitment in ensuring that Nigeria is polio free, Dangote lamented that despite all efforts made to ensure the immunization reached majority of the targeted populace, not much ground has been covered. In his own state of Kano, for instance, routine immunization coverage is 16 per cent while that of Sokoto is less than five per cent. And whereas vaccines, staff and funding are available, the coverage is not moving and has been abysmally low. “It’s both a demand and poor service quality problem. We cannot make progress on the demand side without traditional leaders”, he said.

“I Did Not Commission (sic) or Launch Eko Atlantic City”, Says President

The Presidency and the Governor of Lagos State, Akinwunmi Ambode, have disagreed over what President Muhammadu Buhari went to do at the Eko Atlantic City during his two-day working visit to the state.

Governor Ambode said in his official Twitter handle that the President went there to inaugurate the project.

The tweet read, “We took a tour of the Eko Atlantic City with Mr. President as he officially commissioned (sic) the project. Eko Atlantic is a good example of what Public and Private Partnership can do to the Nigerian economy.”

However, Twitter went wild with many users pointing out that it was former President Goodluck Jonathan who in company with the then Governor, Babatunde Fashola, and former United States President, Bill Clinton, that inaugurated the project in 2013.

The pictures of Jonathan inaugurating the project were also shared multiple times on the micro-blogging site.

In his response on Twitter, however, Buhari disagreed with Ambode, insisting that he only went to inspect the project.

Using the handle, @NGRPresident, he said, “The President did not commission (sic) or launch Eko Atlantic City. His visit was a tour as part of a two-day offical visit to Lagos State and the plaque he unveiled was to commemorate his visit to the site.”

Northern APC Govs Back Off Tenure Elongation Support for John Odigie-Oyegun

There are strong indications that northern governors in the All Progressives Congress have withdrawn their support for the elongation of the tenure of the party’s National Working Committee.

It was gathered on Saturday that the party’s stakeholders were looking beyond the National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, to lead the party.

One of our correspondents gathered that key supporters of the party’s National Chairman, especially northern governors, had shelved their earlier decision to sink or sail with the chairman.

A highly-placed party leader, revealed on anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the media on the issue, the President’s move during last Tuesday’s National Executive Council meeting was akin to a “checkmate in a game of chess.”

The party leader said, “President Muhammadu Buhari is the main reason why Chief (Odigie-) Oyegun lasted this long as chairman, many may not know or simply choose to disagree with this fact.

“Some of our governors, who felt comfortable with Oyegun’s leadership style, aligned with certain interests at the Villa to convince the President on the need to allow Odigie-Oyegun to complete his term despite resistance from people like Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu.

“The argument then was that we should not behave like the Peoples Democratic Party where party chairmen were changed almost every year.

“They further argued that removing Odigie-Oyegun at that time, no matter his perceived indiscretions, would create some sort of instability within our party.

“It is not easy to convince President Buhari, but once he is convinced about something, he supports it wholeheartedly.

“Being the leader that he is and a person who swore to uphold the constitution, when his attention was drawn to the adverse consequences of this constitutional breach, he sought a legal opinion.

“His legal team, including the Vice-President, convinced him and he chose to err on the side of caution.”

The party leader also said, “Most of our northern governors are aware of the President’s principles on such matters and have since fallen in line.

“What is before us now is the setting up of the various congress and convention committees and agreeing on who the next chairman is.”

A highly-placed member of the party’s NWC, who also spoke on the condition of anonymity so as not to “ruffle feathers”, explained that the issue at hand went beyond the person of the party’s National Chairman.

On the contenders for the APC top job, he said, “For now, our choice is limited to Edo State. And like you may know, when you mention Edo, Adams Oshiomhole cannot be far away.”

The National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Malam Bolaji Abdullahi, was not immediately available for comments as he was said to have travelled outside the country. Calls to his mobile indicated that it was switched off.

But when contacted, the Plateau State Commissioner for Information and Communication, Yakubu Dati, said, “As a former speaker of the Plateau State House of Assembly, Governor Simon Lalong believes in the rule of law. He believes the party’s internal mechanism will resolve this matter amicably.”

However, it was gathered that some southern governors and ministers had started a campaign in support of tenure elongation for Odigie-Oyegun and others.

Investigations revealed that the address by the President did not go down well with the southern governors and ministers, who were already enjoying a smooth working relationship with the Odigie-Oyegun-led national executives of the party.

Ogun State governor, Ibikunle Amosun, could not be reached for his comments on the issue but the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Dayo Adeneye, directed one of our correspondents to the leadership of the party in the state.

The Publicity Secretary of the state chapter of the APC, Mr. Sola Lawal, who spoke on behalf of the party, said the NEC remained the supreme body of the party, while the president is the leader.

He said, “The President only has a voice, the NEC is supreme.”

“In this case, I do not see the NEC reversing itself on tenure elongation for Oyegun and others because 20 out of the 24 APC governors voted in favour of tenure elongation.

Lawal added, “It is not possible for an individual to foist a new candidate on the NEC without carrying everyone along.”

Source: PUNCH

Atiku, Rescued From Kidnappers

Taraba State Police have been reported to have rescued Alhaji Yakubu Atiku from kidnappers and killed five suspects during gun fire exchange.
The suspects had stormed Atiku’s home in Garba-Chede, Gassol Local Government Area of the state late on Friday night, when the police were called in.

In the ensuing exchange of gunfire, the police killed five of the attackers, the spokesman of the command, ASP David Misal, said at a news conference on Saturday in Jalingo.

Misal said: 
“ The operatives attached to Bali Division on March 30 at 2300 hrs engaged a group of armed men suspected to be kidnappers and armed robbers.

“The hoodlums on the same date invaded the residence of one Alhaji Yakubu Atiku of Garba-Chede in an attempt to kidnap him.

“The report was received with swift reaction from our operatives which led to an exchange of fire from both sides.

“With the superior fire power of our gallant officers, five members of the gang were shot dead while others escaped with bullet wounds,” he said.

The spokesman said one AK47 rifle, one pump action, two single barrel guns, 16 cartridges, three expended 7.62mm ammunition, two expended cartridges and assorted charms were recovered from the suspects.

He assured that the police would leave no stone unturned until they reduced the nefarious acts of kidnapping and armed robbery to the barest minimum as directed by the state Commissioner of Police, Mr David Akinremi.

Misal appealed to members of the public to always report criminal acts to the police for effective service delivery.

O’dua Group Admit Lagos as Investor

Forty-two years of galvanizing the economy of states in the western region, the O’dua Investment Group formally admitted Lagos as one of the investing states.

The six Governors of south west region under the auspices of the Western Nigerian Governors Forum on Wednesday formally admitted Lagos State into the Group.

Lagos acquired a total of 115 million shares thus growing the share equity of the company to 690 million.

In a communiqué issued at the end of a two-day quarterly meeting in Lagos, the governors also ratified a document allowing Lagos to acquire land in their respective states for massive rice production

Specifically, all the Governors resolved to embark on a Rice Accelerated Program for Integrated Development (Western RAPID) to further consolidate actions on food security and job creation in the region.

Governors of South West group at a meeting in Lagos.
The forum, which is being coordinated through the Development Agenda for Western Nigeria (DAWN) Commission, also signified interest in the concession of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport.

All the governors resolved to consolidate actions on food security and job creation in the South West region.

Odu’a Investment Company Limited was incorporated in Nigeria as a Limited Liability Company in July 1976, to take over the business interests of the former Western State of Nigeria now comprising Oyo, Ogun, Ondo, Osun and Ekiti States.

inception, it has been operating as a conglomerate owning substantial investment in Real Estate, Food and Beverages industries, Agriculture, Manufacturing, Financial Services, Hotel and Catering, Telecommunication, Printing and Publishing.

The company commenced operations on the 1st of October, 1976.

Apart from investments in limited liability companies, the Company also owns substantial properties at choice locations in Ikeja residential/industrial estates and Apapa in Lagos state as well as a number of residential and commercial properties in Ibadan including Cocoa house, Aje House, Orange Court, Almond Court.

Investments in some other parts of the country are also assets to the company.

Odu’a Investment Company Limited is a company run by an independent Board of Directors comprising of seasoned, high-flying and accomplished professionals with vast experiences in business and human resources management.

Source: NAN

“…Politics is Addictive and not Usually Easy to Quit”, Atiku Abubakar

Presidential Aspirant and Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar made the statement in a symposium tagged “The Man Atiku” in Abuja on Saturday.

He also talked on the vital importance for youths to be mentored before venturing into politics.

Speaking as a special guest of honour at a symposium tagged “The Man Atiku’’ organised by Turaki Youth Ambassadors (TURAYA) on Saturday in Abuja.

The Vice President from 1999 t0 2007 on the platform of PDP, identified poor quality of education as one of the factors affecting youths’ participation in high quality politics in Nigeria.

He was represented by the Chairman, All Atiku, Support Group, Mr Oladimeji Fabiyi, at the Symposium with the topic “Politics qua politic: Atiku Abubakar, the Youths and the Nigerian state’’.

Abubakar said that in developed countries, young people who had the potential of being politicians were identified in schools and exposed to political activities along their academic programmes.

“By the time they graduate from school they have mastered the political terrains of their countries. They also try to empower themselves before going full blast into politics.’’

Abubakar, however, said that in Nigeria, a large chunk of youths get involved in politics by accident, adding that they ventured into politics because politics was seen as a quick way to make money.

He said that a lot of them crashed in and crashed out of politics because they failed to achieve their targets within a short period.

“I have come to realise that the damage that poor quality of education has done to Nigerian youths.

“This is a matter that has to be addressed to raise high number of intellectually sound youths to play high quality politics.

“They also need exposure and financial empowerment in their quest to wrestle power from the older generation who have mastered the game over time.

“Remember, the older generation of Nigerian politicians ventured into politics when they were young and since politics is addictive it is not usually easy to quit.

“The reality is that young persons must work hard and should device superior arguments and strategies to send the older generation into retirement and to achieve their political targets,’’ Abubakar said.

He noted that a lot of mentorship is required in the country’s clime to come out of smoky political terrain.

“I did mine with the late Shehu Yar’Adua just as am impacting my knowledge, skills and experience on young persons I come across.’’

He advised Nigerian youths interested in politics to subject themselves to mentorship.

Earlier, the president TURAYA, Mr Ayo Akinrimisi, said that Abubakar has paid his dues to be the next president of Nigeria, saying he has empowered many Nigerian youths.

He pledged that TURAYA formed in 2003 would work with over 500 support groups now working and other available groups to elect Abubakar in 2019.