Nigeria Today: Top 5 Headlines

2 August, 2018 | Chik

These are the headlines...

Saraki’s Exit is not a Surprise, FG Says

Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism, Lai Mohammed yesterday, August 1st said the deflection of Senate President, Bukola Saraki was neither a surprise nor a blow.

Speaking after the regular Federal Executive Council, FEC meeting, Alhaji Mohammed said: “If Senate President Bukola Saraki were not a member of the APC, the party and the government it leads could not have suffered more than they had already done, with regards to the delay in passing the budget, approving key appointments and so on.”

“In other words, Saraki has behaved all along as a member of the opposition, deliberately slowing down the progress of the APC-led Federal Government. “It is therefore neither a surprise nor a blow that he has defected. Perhaps the only surprise is that when he eventually defected, it was a mere whimper. If we didn’t gain by having our member as Senate President, we stand to lose nothing by losing him.”

“Realising this, the true APC members in the state have come together to strengthen the party, open its doors to new members and reposition it for the 2019 elections, with a view to delivering Kwara to President Muhammadu Buhari. This was what we did this past weekend, and you saw the way the people reacted. Yet, what happened at the weekend was not even a rally. It was a consultative stakeholders’ meeting. And it was a defining moment for the millions of Kwarans seeking political direction and emancipation. Thankfully, the national leadership of our party has hearkened to our demands by dissolving the exco and constituting a caretaker committee. That offers a fresh start for the APC in Kwara. No one tree, no matter how big, can make a forest. Every Kwaran is important in the emerging political dispensation in the state, and it is the realisation of this new dawn that has set the state agog for the APC.”

He said that with the defection of the Senate President, “Kwara State is now breathing the air of relief. The future of the party in the state can only get better.”


Sokoto Governor Dumps APC for PDP

Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal of Sokoto State alongside 18 members of the State House of Assembly yesterday, August 1st deflected to the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP) from the ruling All Progressives Congress, (APC).

Tambuwal alleged that the APC had been transformed into a safe space for the corrupt. Also yesterday, 23 of the 24 members of the Kwara State House of Assembly formally crossed over from the APC to the PDP at a session of the House. The defection blitz also touched the national secretariat as the party’s spokesman Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi chose loyalty to his political mentor, Senate President Bukola Saraki over what he termed the fractures and failures of the ruling party.

Tambuwal expressed his disappointment in the APC federal administration saying that the expectations were not just met, but that the Muhammadu Buhari administration even compounded issues by failing to manage the inheritance from the previous administration.

“I did not expect that the APC, which promised so much when the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) stood under the sway of impunity, could not maintain or manage whatever good it inherited. It has also not broken new grounds in any positive sense but has instead reached historically unprecedented heights of impunity in all manner of vices far above and beyond the challenges which made some of us leave the PDP about four years ago to join others to form the APC. The party has brazenly turned itself into a sanctuary for the corrupt and a machine for rigging and for the rape of democracy.”

“Let me also put it on record that all attempts to discuss the electoral promises of the APC-led government, including the restructuring of the country as promised Nigerians and as contained in the APC manifesto, have proved abortive. He also lamented the lack of Federal Government patronage to the state in terms of projects and appointments even as he bemoaned what he described as the Buhari administration’s disregard for traditional institutions.”

“The recent attack in Tabinnii in Rabah LGA of Sokoto State, the routine invasion of Zamfara State by armed bandits, the now-regular killing of policemen by unknown gunmen all over the country, the regular massacre of innocent people in the North East axis and many similar daily incidents, do not attract much attention any more. Information from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) shows that over nine million jobs have been lost in the last 3 years since the APC Government came into office. While youth unemployment rate was 11.70 per cent during the fourth quarter of 2014, it rose to 33.10 per cent in the third quarter of 2017 under the APC Government. The economy is not showing any real signs of improvement. Our educational and health institutions are in retreat. Poverty is on a rampage and still ravages the land. It is unacceptable that the majority of those who voted for APC in 2015 should have nothing good to show for it.”

“I return to the PDP with a clear conscience today, because the party has learnt some bitter lessons and noted what mistakes it must avoid in the future. It is now a repositioned and forward-looking political party to which I now pledge loyalty, in my resolve to contribute towards improving the lives of Nigerians and expanding opportunities for the youths.”


Senator Aisha Alhassan Resigns as Minister of Women Affairs to Run for Governor

The minister of women affairs and social development, Senator Aisha Alhassan has resigned her position in order to contest the 2019 governorship election. President Muhammadu Buhari confirmed the resignation in his acceptance of her notification through a letter conveyed to her dated July 27, 2018.

In the letter, however, President Buhari raised a condition of supporting her so long as she vies on the platform of the All Progressives Congress, APC. Alhassan had famously last September vowed that she would not support Buhari’s second term ambition on the claim that he had promised to serve only one term and that she would only support former Vice President Atiku Abubakar.

Abubakar who was at that time in the APC has now defected to the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. It was yet unclear yesterday if she would follow Abubakar to the PDP. Alhassan was the candidate of the APC in the 2015 governorship election and lost it by the whiskers.

In his acceptance of her resignation letter, Buhari said, “I have today received your letter notifying me of your intention to contest for the governorship of Taraba State in the 2019 election. Let me thank you on behalf of the Federal Executive Council and Nigerians for your services as a minister under this administration. I note with passion your past contribution to our great party APC during and after the 2015 elections. As you are aware I am totally committed to free and fair elections. Our policy is to support all APC candidates. I wish you well in your ambition to be governor of your state. Rest assured that all security agencies, as well as INEC, will have my full support to conduct free, fair and transparent elections in 2019.”


Buhari Meets with APC Governors

President Muhammadu Buhari last night, August 1st met behind closed doors with the All Progressives Congress, (APC) Governors at the First Lady’s Conference Hall, Presidential Villa, Abuja. The meeting came barely six hours after the President met with the APC Senators and the National Chairman of the party also behind closed doors at the State House. Although the agenda of the meeting was not made available to journalists, it may be connected to the wave of defection that battering the party.  

Already President Buhari has transmitted a letter to the National Assembly informing them of his holiday while the Vice President will be acting on behalf of the President. As about 9:45 pm the President arrived for the meeting only 15 governors and one deputy governor were present. In attendance at the meeting were Governor Abubakar Badaru of Jigawa, Akinwumi Ambode of Lagos, Yahaya Bello of Kogi, Rochas Okorocha of Imo, Kashim Shettima of Borno, Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano and Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun. Others were Abubakar Bello of Niger, Nasir El Rufai of Kaduna, Simon Lalong of Plateau, Mohammed Jibrilla of Adamawa, Abubakar Bugudu of Kebbi and Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo state, Aminu Masari of Katsina, Governor Tanko Almakura of Nasarawa, and Godwin Obaseki of Edo.

The Deputy Governor of Osun state, Grace Titilayo Laoye- Tomori represented the Osun Governor. The Attorney General of the Federation, AGF, and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Boss Mustapha, the Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari and the National Chairman of the APC, Adams Oshiomhole were in attendance. Absent were the governors Zamfara, Abdulaziz Yari, Ondo, Rotimi Akeredolu, Yobe, Ibrahim Geidam and Bauchi Mohammed Abubakar.



Marine Police Rescues 3 after Boat Capsize

The Marine Police on Thursday, July 2nd said its men rescued three persons on Pashi river, Badagry, Lagos State, when their boat capsized on July 29.

DSP Uchenna Itinyi, the Divisional Marine Officer (DMO), Badagry, said the men were coming from Cotonou, Benin Republic, and the boat was loaded with different goods when it capsized. He said the police officers, who were on 24 hours water patrol when the incident occurred, immediately moved to the scene and rescued the passengers.

“We were able to save them before sinking, but unfortunately, we were unable to save their goods as everything went down. I asked them to sit down for a few minutes to see if the incident had affected them so that we could take them to the hospital for treatment. When I discovered that they were in good condition, I told them to write an entry and released them. I urged them to come back the following day to check if we would be lucky to find any of their goods,” he said.

The DMO implored travellers on a boat to always put on life jackets. The Marine Police, established in 1891 in Lagos, was then known as ‘Night Water Patrol,’ with initial personnel of 12 headed by a sergeant. It was saddled with duties such as anti-smuggling patrols, anti-piracy operations, enforcement of ports, harbour and Shipping Acts, guards, escorts duties, surveillance and general anti-crime duties