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BMO urges Buhari to probe government expenditure from 1999 and 2014




The Buhari Media Organisation (BMO) has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to set up a commission of inquiry on government expenditure between 1999 and 2014.

The BMO made the call in a statement signed by its Chairman Niyi Akinsiju and Secretary Cassidy Madueke on Friday in Abuja.

The organisation said such commission was necessary to set the records straight on actual accruals and projects done by three successive Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)-led administrations.

BMO added that such commission would give a clearer picture of how the PDP spent the oil receipts it got within that period.

“We agree with the President that PDP owes Nigerians some explanations on how it spent the unprecedented oil earnings which has been conservatively put at about $1tr from the Obasanjo years till 2014, when the party lost control at the centre.

“Like the President has often said, the average crude oil price at that time was$100 dollars per barrel with daily exports peaking at 2.1 million barrels per day in 2010.

“It was the same period that Dubai was transformed into one of the fastest growing cities in the world with a number of large scale projects, including the Burj Khalifa and the Dubai Mall completed within six years.

“But the state of Nigeria’s infrastructure was nothing to write home about with absolute no rail transportation until 2015, while many major roads and highways were in a state of disrepair,“ the group said.

The organisation added that Nigerians needed to know the actual earnings from their common patrimony within the period in question and how the earnings were spent.

The group said it was still shocked that the party that was culpable in the alleged mismanagement of funds at the national level had the audacity to run a campaign with a theme of ‘Making Nigeria work again”`.

This, it said, the party did without accounting for perhaps the worst period in the nation’s political history.

It added that what was even more shocking was that millions of voters allowed themselves to be conned by the PDP and a Presidential candidate who was a central figure in half of the “ruinous“ years.

It recalled that this was after the party had delivered a half-hearted apology through its chairman Uche Secondus.

The BMO noted that the apology was done without necessarily providing any explanation on how it spent the hundreds of millions of dollars that accrued to the country at a period of oil boom.

“We are however glad that an overwhelming majority of Nigerians did not forget the locust years and said a resounding no to the PDP and Atiku Abubakar on February 23.

“They are also with us in our bid to have a proper explanation on the irresponsible spending that characterised the years that the party was in office.

“Although the National Assembly in 2008 probed an aspect of the expenditure incurred on power infrastructure, it is common knowledge that nothing substantial came out of what was then known as the $16bn power probe.

“This is the best time to have an all-encompassing probe that might lead to the trial of individuals behind the irresponsible spending of government funds between 1999 and 2014, “ the BMO stressed.

It maintained that those involved in large scale looting and mismanagement of public funds would not sleep in peace in the next four years unless they gave account of their stewardship.

BMO said this was the best option especially as President Muhammadu Buhari had been doing far more, especially on road and rail network with less oil receipts, since assuming office in 2015.

edited by Sadiya Hamza


Why we’re at war with Obaseki: APC chieftain



A chieftain of the APC in Edo, Gen. Charles Airhavbere, explained on Sunday that a faction of the APC is at loggerheads with Gov. Godwin Obaseki because the governor has “refused to listen to voice of reason.’’

Speaking in an interview with the Nigeria News Agency in Benin, Airhavbere, a former soldier turned politician, said that Obaseki lacked interpersonal skills needed to make the difference in the exalted office.

The party chieftain said that the governor had resorted to use of raw power in dealing with his political associates, a development, he said, had alienated many APC stalwarts in the state.

Edo State is billed for governorship polls next August, in a high-stakes election, expected to be characterized by back-stabbing, violence and betrayals.

Airhavbere, who contested for the plum job with Obaseki in 2016, said the APC would never know peace in Edo with the way the governor was relating with other members of the party.

He said that contrary to what Obaseki wanted people to believe, agitations in the state were not because of “stomach infrastructure’’ or a quest for the resources of the state by the party members.

“It was never about godfather and god-son struggling for the control of government or resources of the state.

“It is all about ensuring governance with human face and our resolve is to check the destructive approach to governance in Edo State and put our party on the path of moral rectitude, transparency and inclusion.

“The struggle is all about a governor who lacks interpersonal relationship skill; who is vindictive and repelled by the presence of his party members and without provocation, resorts to anger and pugnacious display of raw power.’’

Airhavbere said that Obaseki had failed to fulfil his electoral promises and had refused to embrace dialogue, consultation, negotiation and compromise.

“This is a governor who believes in all ramifications that he is above the people and who has suddenly become a tyrant.

“We cannot fold our arms and watch helplessly. With these traits, it is obvious that the governor was never psychologically and emotionally prepared to be a leader.”

The party chief said it was because of these issues that `authentic’ members of the party came together on Nov. 13, to abolish the Edo Peoples Movement and suspend the governor, his deputy Philip Shaibu and the Secretary to State Government, Mr Osarodion Ogie.

He said that the suspension was also to send a signal to Obaseki that it was not going to be business as usual in the countdown to upcoming governorship elections.

Edo is the only APC state in the South-South and we are not ready to lose the state.”

Airhavbere said that APC members remained loyal to the National Chairman of the party, Mr Adams Oshiomhole, assuring that everything would be done to protect the party from people bent on destroying it.

But reacting to the latest developments in the APC, the Edo Commissioner for Information, Mr Paul Ohonbamu, said the intra-party crisis was a battle for dominance and liberation between the national chairman of the party and the governor.

He described the purported suspension of Obaseki and other people from the party as an exercise in futility.

The commissioner said that Airhavbere and his group were being used to embarrass the governor, stressing that the governor was elected by the people and that the disgruntled APC members lacked powers to suspend him.

He recalled that the South-South Vice-Chairman of the party, Mr Elias Enag, had since described the suspension as null and void.

Ohonbamu described Obaseki as a “beautiful damsel of democracy’’, who is being sought by many political parties.

Edited by Silas Nwoha

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Kogi election:Politicians engage in fake news to delegitimise INEC -CDD



The Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD)said political parties used fake news to delegitimise Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)and the electoral process during Kogi governorship election.

Ms Idayat Hassan ,Director CDD ,made this known in the group’s preliminary statement on the conduct of Saturday’s Kogi governorship election.

Hassan said that CDD’ electoral environment observation report had previously predicted that political parties would use fake news during the election to cause confusion.

“Some of the fake news circulated today include the disqualification of the PDP candidates, false results, fake images of thugs arrested and snatching of ballot papers.

” CDD fact-checkers were able to debunk most of the fake news.

“The hoaxes are mainly intended at delegitimising INEC and the process; again, Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp are the leading platforms used to spread disinformation. “

Hassan said that earlier, voters across 21 Local Government Areas (LGAs) of Kogi went to the poll to elect a Governor and in Kogi West, a rescheduled senatorial election also got underway following a court verdict .

She said that at the CDD Election Analysis Centre (EAC), reports have been coming from trained and accredited observers deployed across the 21 LGAs of the state.

She said that the preliminary statement was an overview of the initial findings on the conduct of the election.

She said that it was observed the use of financial inducements to affect the outcome of the election .

Hassan said that CDD also noted systematic and coordinated violent attacks at polling units and carting away of voting materials.

She said that in many polling units, observers and journalists were being blocked from access and taking photographs in what appeared to be an attempt to prevent the gathering of evidence of electoral malpractices.

She noted that the use of violence in the campaign and open threats of more violence in the election appeared to be a voter suppression strategy which played out on Saturday.

She said CDD EAC observers reported coordinated disruption of voting across many polling units with hired thugs invading polling units, shooting sporadically to scare away voters, and in several cases carting away voting materials.

“In polling unit 001 in Ward 4, Dekina LGA, CDD observers reported sporadic gunfire;violent caused by rival party thugs who battled one other over control of the polling environment.

“These were in Felele and Ganaja areas of Lokoja LGA, especially in Registration Area 08, Oworo, Felele Area, PU 004. In Ankpa 1 Polling Unit (PU) with number 2203-04-0 in Ankpa LGA,“she said

Hassan said that notwithstanding the fact that INEC enlisted EFCC and ICPC’s support in curtailing vote-buying, vote-buying was very rampant across the state.

She said that CDD observers reported that party agents in several polling units engaged in the financial inducement of voters to influence them to vote for their parties giving them between N500 and N3,000.

She said that as at 11 a.m, accreditation and voting had started in 55.1 per cent of polling units in which CDD deployed observers in Kogi.

She said that further information revealed that a good number of INEC ad hoc staff were knowledgeable and familiar with the operation of the smart card readers in some of the polling units observed.

Hassan,however, said that late delivery of materials experienced in some parts of the state was primarily due to logistics challenge and deplorable state of infrastructures like bad roads and difficult terrains experienced in the deployment of electoral materials.

Edited by Ali Baba-Inuwa

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Minimum wage: Negotiations still in progress – Lagos govt.



The Lagos State government has said that negotiations are still ongoing with labour unions in the state over the implementation of the new minimum wage.

The Permanent Secretary, Office of Establishments and Training, Mr Biodun Bamgboye, made the disclosure in a statement issued on Saturday, in Lagos.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that the Chairman of the state Joint Public Service Negotiating Council (JNC), Mr Rasaq Falade, had said that necessary terms of settlement and agreement were reached at the end of the meeting held on Nov. 15.

However, Bamgboye said that the process of minimum wage negotiations with labour was still one, adding that the best modalities to implement it were being looked into.

He said that any agreement reached with the labour unions would be made public through government-recognised communication channels.

The permanent secretary assured public servants in the state that the outcome of the minimum wage negotiations would represent their best interest.

He reiterated that the Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu-led administration was committed to enhancing the welfare of workers in the state.

”Being a people-oriented government, we are committed to ensuring better service delivery through a competent and motivated workforce,” the permanent secretary said.

Edited by Ekemini Ladejobi and ‘Wale Sadeeq

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Tolerance Day: Respect one another’s views, cultures, religions, LASG urges residents



The Lagos State government has called on residents to ensure mutual respect for the views, culture and religions of one another.

The Commissioner for Home Affairs, Mrs Uzamat Akinbile-Yussuf, made the call on Saturday, as the state joined other countries of the world to commemorate the 2019 United Nations International Day of Tolerance.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that the International Day of Tolerance is celebrated on Nov. 16 of every year.

Akinbile-Yussuf, in a statement issued in Lagos, urged residents to be tolerant of one another, regardless of differences in issues and beliefs, stressing that mutual understanding was a form of respect for human rights.

According to her, if mutual respect is observed by every resident, there will be less conflict and violence in the country.

She said that Lagos, being a cosmopolitan state and home to people of different backgrounds, underscored the need for tolerance during interpersonal relationships.

The commissioner acknowledged the hospitality of the people of the state, especially their receptive disposition to strangers, adding that the trait had earned the state accolades, both locally and internationally.

She commended the role of religious leaders in the state in instituting and maintaining religious harmony in the state.

”It is only in Lagos State that you will have a Muslim marry a Christian and they will live harmoniously without conflict,” Akinbile-Yussuf said.

According to her, the urge of wanting to impose one’s opinion or religion on another person is the basis for conflict and commotion being witnessed in other parts of the world.

The commissioner said that her ministry had put in place programmes to mark the Day, starting with a road walk on Nov. 16 from Ikeja Local Government secretariat to the state secretariat, Alausa.

She also said that there would be a symposium, with the theme: ”Enhancing Harmonious Relationship and Peace among Religious Bodies for Better Socio-economic Development in Lagos State” on Nov. 20, at Ikeja.

Edited by Ekemini Ladejobi and ‘Wale Sadeeq

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Kogi polls: Former Gov. Wada advocates electronic voting system to curb flaws



Former Governor Idris Wada of Kogi has called for adoption of electronic voting system with computerised data base to curb the nation’s flaws in electioneering processes, costs and security challenges.

Wada, who made the call while addressing newsmen after casting his vote at Odu Ward 4 Unit 001 on Saturday in Ogboyaga, said most of the nation’s electioneering challenges would be a thing of the past with electronic voting put in place.

He said that the electoral process needed to be organised in a way that there would be minimal human interface.

“We need to go into electronic voting, computerised data base and so on. So that people do not abuse the process.

“Because one of the major problems now is that even when you have orderly voting; when you go to the collation centre, thugs will intercept, shoot guns and change the results and it will not reflect the will of the people,” he said.

On his expectations from the polls, the former governor said, “My expectation is that PDP will win, the situation in our state is very clear to everybody. So, I believe that at the end of the day, PDP will win.

“The process looks quite orderly here in this polling unit but I have received calls and reports of various misconduct in various polling units.

“People are snatching ballot boxes, ballots papers, they broke into a Registration Area Center for ward 2 over night and they took away 7 boxes.

“It is a sad development in our democracy; people should follow an orderly process and allow people to perform their civic responsibility of voting for the candidate of their choice.

Wada said unless the unhealthy development of people imposing themselves on the people as leaders and disallow a free and fair process stopped, the country would not improve and there would be no development.

He condemned the wanton destruction of people’s property over election, saying it was not fair to burn the house of a citizen who had laboured all his life to build “simply because you don’t want him to come out and vote”.

Edited by Abdullahi Yusuf

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Bayelsa poll: Group lauds peaceful process



YIAGA AFRICA, a Civil Society Organisation (CSO) has commended the people of Bayelsa for peaceful conduct in the Saturday governorship election.

Mr Ezenwa Nwagwu, a Board Member of the CSO, gave the commendation in an interview with Nigeria News Agency while observing the election in Yenegoa, on Saturday.

Nwagwu said though there were pockets of challenges including delays in opening of polls in the morning in some polling units including Otuoke area, the election was relatively peaceful.

“Generally speaking we had a good progress. There may be challenges in one or few places.

“From our information centre we know there are places where they beat up observers, ballot boxes were snatched but so far I think we don’t have the Armageddon that was predicted.

“You could see at the polling units that people of Bayelsa were enthusiastic to vote candidates of their choice,” he said.

Nwagwu also commended security agencies for their professional conduct, although there was a case in Otuoke where election materials could not be deployed on Friday at Registration Centre, because there were no security personnel to accompany them on Friday.

“Across everywhere we have seen better mobilization, the conduct of the security officials have been cordial and we have not seen them harassing people.”

Nwagwu also said that the Smart Card Reader functioned well in most of the polling units that his team visited, except in one complaint of malfunction.

Edited by Maureen Atuonwu

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