I will start by sending my best wishes to Akwa Ibom people on this very auspicious occasion of the 35th anniversary of the state. It was September 23, 1987 that General Babangida announced the creation of Akwa Ibom and Katsina States. Every year since then, we have been marking this anniversary with pomp and pageantry. But the lavishness of the celebrations by the state government this year have been over the tops, and at odds with the mood of the nation. Nigeria has been challenged by spates of insecurity, violence and killings in the last few years. Thousands of our compatriots still live in IDP camps and millions go to bed hungry. Of all the states of the federation, Akwa Ibom is the only one that continues to throw big parties to mark the creation of the state. This year’s events began last week. Among those who attended were Bukola Saraki; Gov. Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto; Gov. Ahmadu Umaru Finitiri of Adamawa (who represented Atiku Abubakar) and former Governror Abduka’aziz Abubakar Yari of Zamfara; and former Governor Gabriel Suswan. The whole thing was in a way another PDP convention. The state government, I understand, has just received over N80 billion windfall in derivation payments, and with just eight months left for him to go, the governor felt an urge to indulge in some excesses. But was it prudent and necessary?
I think this ostentatiousness every September is no longer necessary. We should discontinue it and begin to save for future generations. I like the idea that our governors always strive to commission projects as part of the activities of the anniversary. But throwing big banquets and inviting people from all over the nation to attend, paying for their air tickets (or dispatching the government’s plane to pick and return them or hiring private jets for them), in addition to providing hotel accommodation and giving them huge sums of money (dollars) as they return, constitute huge wastes and drain on the treasury. The sheer size of hungry, poor and unemployed people in Akwa Ibom state make such profligacy an unconscionable exercise. We should discontinue it, for Heaven’s sake! I commend Chief Ndueso Essien, a former Minister of Lands and former Member of the House of Representatives and a PDP chieftain from Eket, for speaking out against this unnecessary extravagance. I’m so proud that we still have men of conscience who are courageous enough to speak their minds in the society.
And this brings me to the state banquet over the weekend in which some people were given some award (was it productivity or patriotism award that they called it?). Apart from the fact that these people are mostly PDP chieftains, what else recommended them for the honor? Why did the government not honor those Akwa Ibom heroes who fought the Obasanjo administration fiercely for the abrogation of the onshore-offshore oil dichotomy? Is Governor Udom Emmanuel not well briefed on the momentous contribution of they made? Is he not aware that without the efforts of these people, Akwa Ibom government would not be awashed with billions of Naira as it is today?
A few months ago, the Udom administration received about N80 billion in derivation payments from the Federation Account, making over N3 trillion revenue it has earned since it came into office. Much of this is from the payment of derivation funds on our offshore oil resources which some people fought for tirelessly. Why were they not honored? I am talking about people like Obong (Arc) Victor Attah; Chief Don Etiebet; Senator John James Udoedehe; Senator Emmanuel Ibok Essien; Rt. Hon. (Chief) Ndueso Essien; Senator Ita Solomon Enang; Mr. Umana Umana; Senator Udoma Udo Udoma; Mr Udom Inoyo; Mr. Uko Udom; Chief Assam Assam and many others. The invaluable roles of these brave men in the abrogation of the oil dichotomy are well documented in my book published last December. How can you celebrate the creation of Akwa Ibom and invite Senator Saraki; and leave out Senator Liman who was the Senate Leader during the onshore-offsore battle? Liman moved the motion with 23 other senators for the abrogation of that obnoxious law. What has Senator Saraki done for Akwa Ibom State?
It is a shame that instead of properly recognizing people who sacrificed for our state, Gov. Emmanuel has invited former President Obasanjo to commission a road today. It was Obasanjo who had refused our state the payments of the derivation funds. If not for the bravery of the above-named persons, Obasanjo would have gotten away with his meanness. What an irony that he is now being feted and given dollars! Truly, the governor needs to be brushed up on some aspects of our history. If the government could not honor the onshore-offshore abrogation heroes, how about the people who fought gallantly for the creation of the state? Why does Akwa Ibom government forget them? I have actually commenced initial research work on the history of Akwa Ibom State, and I note that the roles played by people like Chief Efiong Okon Eyo (Eyo Uyo) in the creation of our state is very epochal. It is so painful that not a single street or monument has been named after him, or any of the persons who fought for the creation of the state. Are we so ungrateful, or is our government just bereft of a sense of history?
Of all the dignitaries that were invited to the anniversary celebrations, it is former President Goodluck Jonathan who made the most memorable statements. Said he at a church service yesterday: ‘’Elections are coming soon. I urge you not to vote for killers and murderers. Anybody who assumes power by killing, will continue to kill to stay in power’’. This admonition has resonated with Akwa Ibom people in many ways. Our politics has always been filled with bloodshed. So many people were killed during the 2015 elections when our incumbent governor was ‘’elected’’. How time flies! Some of the people who perpetrated those killings are still with us. Some are running for election next near and were even in the church service listening to the words of Dr. Jonathan. Today, as we prepare to elect a new governor and other, Akwa Ibom people are reminded yet again to elect only those who have never been associated with cultism, gangs, killings and violence. I am happy to note that Senator John James Udoedehe, the leading governorship candidate who is running on the platform of NNPP, has never been associated with any these vices.
Controversial Nigerian transgender woman and socialite, Okuneye Idris Olanrewaju, popularly known as Bobrisky, has announced that he needs a child to take over his wealth.
While calling on any beautiful girl in the United States or the United Kingdom interested in becoming a surrogate mother, the socialite noted reasons his first child should come as a girl.
Bobrisky, in a post on social media, said a girl child would understand him better.
He said, “A girl child remains the best and tender-hearted. Well, I don’t have problems with a boy child, it’s just that I have so many explanations to make to him on why I ended up being a woman, but you see a girl child, they are easy, no too much explanation she will understand me.”
Also, he listed all properties that his child stands to inherit.
“One house in Bera estate, one house on Orchid road, one house at Pinnock, hotel in Lekki and filling station almost ready in Lekki.
“I have many properties I need a child to leave everything for. Nobody knows when death is coming. If I can get a girl child, omg I’m never leaving her sight for a sec. I’m 31 years old, time is going.
“I will spoil her with my life. I will call my lawyer and write my will the day she will be born. I love girls,” he added.
Dino Melaye, the spokesperson, Peoples Democratic People, PDP, Presidential Campaign Management Committee, has rubbished the one million-man march for Peter Obi, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, LP, over the weekend in Abuja.
According to him, the so-called Obi supporters were just hungry Nigerians paid N1000-N2000 and assembled from all parts of Abuja and Nigerians, in general, to stand to say they were Obi-dients.
Melaye insisted that the forthcoming presidential election is between the presidential candidate of the PDP and the others, adding that Peter Obi’s presence at the recently concluded governorship election in Osun State did not make his party a challenger.
“Just like if you go to court they’ll say Federal Government vs Dino Melaye and others and this particular case you have Atiku Abubakar and others including the APC, Labour Party, SDP, NNPP all of them are others in this regard,” Melaye said on Arise TV’s The Morning Show
“And I want to tell you that to assemble crowd is just to bring out money. Mobilization is very very cheap in this country.
“People are hungry. If you go to Nyanya, Mararaba people were being loaded in buses from Lugbe and every part of the country to stand and say they’re supporting…let them to the election.
“I think Peter Obi was in Osun. He spoke in Osun, and we saw the result of the Labour Party in Osun – 2700 votes – while PDP was counting four hundred and something thousand votes…so it’s not about the commercial mobilization of the people.
“Nigerians are hungry definitely if you go to Mararaba today to say you need 5000 people with the blow of a whistle, they’ll assemble and collect their N1000 or N2000. It is not the match on the streets that will determine the votes.
“We’re talking of proper votes and Nigerians know that Atiku is speaking to the issues. We’re not on hype movements.”
The All Progressives Congress (APC) has shifted the inauguration of its Presidential Campaign Council (PCC) for the Party’s 2023 candidate, Bola Tinubu.
The event earlier scheduled for Monday was postponed to Wednesday, September 28.
Bayo Onanuga, PCC Director of Media and Publicity, made the announcement in a statement Sunday night.
Members nominated to serve in the various directorates are to report at the campaign headquarters on the new date.
They are expected to participate in the special prayer sessions marking the commencement of the presidential election campaigns.
There would be a peace walk after the prayers; all nominees would be issued their letters of appointment on the same day.
“We know this is a call to serve our great party that will demand total commitment and sacrifice from all of us”, Onanuga said.
“It is the council’s strong belief that all members will work hard to deliver a resounding victory for our great party in the 2023 presidential election.”
The spokesman urged the support groups to continue their work and to formally register with the PCC immediately for proper harmonisation.
A chieftain of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) in Nasarawa State, Hon Musa Ibrahim Abubakar, last Wednesday escaped assassination attempt on him by suspected gunmen in Doma Local Government Area of the state.
Hon Abubakar, who recently defected from the All Progressives Congress (APC) to the NNPP, is the immediate past Nasarawa State Commissioner for Environment and Natural Resources, and is contesting the Nasarawa State House of Assembly seat of Doma South state constituency on the platform of the NNPP in the forth coming general election.
The NNPP state assembly candidate, who is receiving treatment in a private hospital in the state, told journalists yesterday on his sick bed that he was attacked while returning to Doma after donating relief materials and cash to victims of a flood disaster in Rukubi town.
“After the donation in Rukubi town, I was returning to the headquarters of Doma Local Government Area when about nine gunmen opened fire on me from different directions. They shot and hit me on my elbow and back. 46 bullet shots hit and penetrated my car.
“The incident occurred at about 5:30pm close to Igbabo village, about 20 kilometres to the Doma Local Government headquarters. I alleged that the perpetrators are high profile politicians outside my party,” he claimed.
According to him, “after I was shot, I accelerated the car and lowered my head and the car stopped when it nearly reached Igbabo village, when I came down and ran towards the people calling for help.”
He continued that at the Igbabo village, good Samaritans rescued him, took him on a motorcycle for 20 kilometres journey to Doma town, and was subsequently conveyed for another 20 kilometres to Dalhatu Araf Specialist Hospital (DASH), Lafia, the state capital.
He disclosed that three bullets were removed from his body at DASH where he spent three days in the Intensive Care Unit of the hospital, but relocated to a private hospital in the state.
When contacted, the chairman of Doma Local Government Area, Ahmad Sarki Usman, expressed shock and confirmed that the matter has been reported to the Police.
Suspected kidnap kingpin behind a series of high profile kidnap incidents in Bayelsa State has been arrested by operatives of Operation Puff Adder in Abuja and the police have revealed his real identity.
As against the name Lyon John that trended on social media, the suspect’s real name is John Ewa.
Vanguard gathered that John Ewa changed name to John Lyon when he was a dispatch rider at a commercial bank after he was sacked due alleged involvement in criminal activities at the bank.
While working at the bank, Ewa, it was learnt, had run several errands for his superior which gave him access to privileged information which was supplied to criminal elements to carry out operations.
After his appointment was terminated, Ewa was said to have recruited boys to run a kidnap syndicate with specialisation in kidnapping high profile residents of the state.
According to investigations, operatives of Puff Adder got on the trail of Ewa after the arrest of two suspects, Kingsley Innocent and Godlives Donald involved in the kidnap of Mr Danjuma Emeije a manager with Premium Trust Bank Yenagoa.
Emeije was kidnapped on June 30 2022 and was released after he was said to have parted with a ransom of 50 Million.
Police sources said Ewa, who runs Lyon Interior hub as cover for his criminal activities, is known for his lavish lifestyle and heavy spending at night clubs in Yenagoa.
He was said to have masterminded the kidnap of the sister to former governor Seriake Dickson and top Igbo businessmen forcing many of them to relocate from the state.
During interrogation Police sources said Ewa confessed to have been involved in only two kidnap incidents and denied being part of the gang that kidnapped Danjuma.
Recall that the suspected kidnapper’s story first trended on social media on Sunday. In a viral video, Ewa was seen in handcuffs wearing a boxer at the premises of Operation Puff Adder Yenagoa.
The suspected kidnapper, in the viral video, was seen begging the Police officers to forgive him noting that his wife just gave birth
“I was not involved in your kidnap (referring to the Danjuma). There is a guy they always call for a job, his name is Millow. Please, sir, forgive me. I was not involved in your matter. Please Sir my wife just gave birth”
According to police sources, Ewa had gone to Premium Trust Bank pretending to be making inquiries on opening an account for his children but was actually gathering information about Danjuma.
Danjuma, who was also at the premises of Puff Adder insisted that he could recognise Ewa as one of the kidnappers who was on a couch while his gang members were brutalizing him.
A Police source said a close friend of Ewa, who is an in-law of a governorship candidate of one of the major political parties in the state, is also in Police custody answering questions on the kidnap incidents in the state.
According to the source, barring any change of plans, Ewa should be paraded before the media this week.
...Denies dropping nominees of state Govs
The All Progressives Congress APC Presidential Campaign Council has reaffirmed its inclusion of Senator Chimaroke Nnamani on its 422-member team unveiled at the Weeknd, saying it was never a mistake.
The clarification came as the council also assured APC state governors of its acceptance of the nominees submitted by them, saying they have not been discarded.
Nnamani, a serving senator is a member of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party PDP.
Italy now has a female prime minister as Giorgia Meloni emerged victorious in the elections on Sunday, September 25.
The country's national election was triggered by party infighting that saw the collapse of Prime Minister Mario Draghi’s government in July.
Voters headed to the polls amid a number of new regulations, with voting hours also contained to one day rather than two.
Addressing the media and supporters in the early hours of Monday morning, September 26, Meloni said it was “a night of pride for many and a night of redemption.”
“It’s a victory I want to dedicate to everyone who is no longer with us and wanted this night,” she said. “Starting tomorrow we have to show our value … Italians chose us, and we will not betray it, as we never have,” she said.
Preliminary results put an alliance of far-right parties, led by Meloni’s Brothers of Italy party, on track to win at least 44% of the vote, according to the Italian Interior Ministry.
With 63% of votes counted, the ultra-conservative Brothers of Italy party had won at least 26%, with coalition partners, the League, led by Matteo Salvini, taking around 9% and Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia scoring over 8%. Final results are expected later Monday, but it’s expected to take weeks for a new government to be formed.
Meloni entered Italy’s crowded political scene in 2006 and co-founded the Brothers of Italy in 2012, a party whose agenda is rooted in Euroskepticism and anti-immigration policies.
A 45-year-old mother from Rome, Meloni is deeply conservative, openly anti-LBGT, and has threatened to place same sex unions, which were legalized in Italy in 2016, under review. She has also called abortion a “tragedy,” raising fears for the future of women’s rights in the country.
The Special Adviser to the National Chairman of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Dr Iyorchia Ayu has said Ayu never reached any agreement to resign.
Simon Imobo Tswam made the revelation in an interview with Nigerian Tribune.
Speaking with JOHNSON BABAJIDE, he threw more light on the clamour by a group in the PDP led by Rivers State governor, Mr Nyesom Wike, for the resignation of his boss and why the PDP chairman will not heed their call, among other issues.
What has your boss, the National Chairman of PDP, Dr Iyorchia Ayu, done since he assumed office?
The chairman came into office in December last year; we all know the process that threw him up. He is the first chairman of PDP to have emerged through a broad national consensus. All the six geopolitical zones adopted him as a consensus candidate. Since he came on board, a lot of good things have been happening to the party. If we cast our minds to the time he came into office, PDP was near paralysis. Things were down; nothing was happening. It was like the party was going into extinction. So, the first task he had to contend with was to unify the party.
Coming from that broad consensus, it was easier for him to hit the ground running, unifying the members at all levels. Before he took office, he organised a retreat so as to chart the way forward. All the stakeholders across the country gathered in Abuja and brainstormed on the state of the party and state of the nation and the way forward. After that, the leadership under his watch began the process of rescuing the party and these efforts yielded huge success in the elections that followed in the Federal Capital Territory. You will remember that PDP won in all metropolitan centres. PDP won 80 per cent of the councillorship election except the area councils.
After that, we moved to Cross Rivers State, Plateau and other areas where the party did very well, and the climax was Osun State. PDP won the Osun State election in 2018 but the party didn’t get to office for obvious reasons, but this time, people were determined to do everything that mattered and won decisively to stun the sitting governor and his party. So, all these successes were achieved because of the good leadership the national chairman is providing. Now, Nigerians have seen PDP as the next party in government; it also shows clearly in the poster of our party presidential candidate, Alhaji Abubakar Atiku. The party is very prepared and ready. Our message to Nigerians is that they should keep hope alive. PDP is coming.
It appears that all of you in PDP are so confident, forgetting incumbency factor of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC)?
On the issue of incumbency, if you recall in 2015, PDP was in power and lost the election despite the so-called incumbency factor. Then, APC deceived Nigerians with propaganda, lies and empty promises on security, the economy and ending corruption. Almost eight years down the line, it is now clear that APC is a party of propaganda, a party of empty promises and excuses. So, you ask yourself, why will Nigerians vote APC when all the three mainstays of their campaigns were not fulfilled?
Remember that the party inherited the fastest growing economy in Africa, the biggest market, but seven years down the line, our economy has collapsed. At present, the government is living on borrowing. What of corruption? If corruption was a small boy in 2015, by 2022 it is now an adult with beard. The scandals in ministries and agencies are mind-boggling. For instance, during the COVID-19 lockdown, this government said it fed children who were in their houses with a huge sum of money. That is mind-boggling. In fact, right now, this government has stopped fighting corruption; it has surrendered completely to corruption.
What about security? At the time this government came into office in 2015, the insurgency was limited to the North-East, but six months to the end of their eight years tenure, bandits and insurgents have taken over the country. In some places, farmers have to pay levies to go to farm. In 2015, we didn’t know anything about bandits. We were contending with Boko Haram, but today we have bandits, Boko Haram. They are holding the country by the jugular. In some parts of North-East and North-West, these bandits now enter houses and kidnap people. We didn’t have something like this in 2015. Today, you cannot travel by air; you cannot travel by rail or road. So, APC has no excuse at all; it is not an understatement to say Nigerians have seen it all. They are now yearning for PDP to come back. That is the reason you see people defecting to PDP across the country.
For instance, in Katsina State, where the president comes from, a strong APC member defected with his supporters to PDP and donated his building. Nigerians are disenchanted with APC. Is it North-East or North-West, South-South, North-Central, South-East and South-West? Everywhere, people are tired of APC. So, to answer you, it is not over-confidence, but we are sure that people have realised the empty promises of APC and having seen how the promises are seven years down the line, people’s eyes are opened and waiting for PDP to come and continue from where it stopped in 2015: A task of rebuilding the country and reclaiming our glory as the giant of Africa
Do you think your boss, Dr Ayu, will bow to pressure and be willing to resign as National Chairman of PDP?
It is not question of whether he will be willing to resign. I mean why should he resign? Why are they saying he should resign. People do not understand the whole thing. Why should a man elected for a four-year tenure and who has not done one year be asked to resign?
But there was an agreement that if Atiku emerged, he would resign?
Have you seen the agreement? We are intelligent people. We are not in the Stone Age. [b]They say there was an agreement. Where did he sign the agreement and with whom? At what time? People just say it in the media and in the street. What I want to say, because I have seen the video, is sure Dr. Ayu said two things. Prior to his emergence as National Chairman of PDP on Channels TV to the effect. The journalist asked him, if a candidate emerges from the North, what would you do, given that you are from the North-Central? And Ayu said, luckily, for me, PDP has not married party’s positions with party’s executive positions. He said something very pivotal. He said if a candidate emerges from the North and the party said he should step down based on the issue of balance, he will step down. But the question is, has the party spoken? So, rather the party at the last NEC meeting gave him and other executive members an overwhelming vote of confidence. So why did the party not ask him to step aside, following the emergence of Atiku who is from the North-East. The party knows that if Ayu resigns now, it will throw the party into a constitutional crisis.[/b] If he resigns now, he will have to hand over to the Deputy Chairman North, Ambassador Illya Damagu, who is from Yobe State. So, if you say Ayu should step down because he is from the North-Central and Atiku North-East, Damagu is from North-East. So, what would you do with North-East? If he leaves, NEC will meet to appoint an acting chairman. But the constitution of the party says his successor is to come from the same zone. So, if you say Ayu should resign because he is from the North, it doesn’t change anything. And we are saying that the party is a constitutional creation. That is why when they asked Atiku in Lagos, he said the only way this can be resolved is if the constitution of the party is changed.
The only way Ayu can go and the North will lose the chairmanship is if the party holds another convention outside an amendment to the constitution. We have six months to the elections; we should be talking about winning elections and not talking about forming convention committee. The party holds that it is not feasible right now. So, the party is quiet. After election, the party may decide. People who are saying he should resign, what if the party loses the election? It is another point we are not factoring in. People say these things, because they are not mindful of history. In 2006, the National Chairman was Amadu Ali, Umaru Yar’ Adua was presidential candidate. He later won his election and Amadu Ali remained in office. Throughout 2007, he was in office. It was in 2008 that the party held a convention and changed him.
In 2009, Umaru Yar’Adua died and Goodluck Jonathan took over. The party’s chairman then was Vincent Ogbulafor from the South-East. He was in office until he had issue with the Presidency; he was taken to court and ICPC and he resigned. Who succeeded him? It was [Dr Okwesilieze] Nwodo from the same South-East. So that is the tradition, if Ayu leaves, the person who will succeed him will be from the North-Central. There was no question that Ogbulafor should resign because he was from the same zone with Goodluck Jonathan
Benue sons are in the eye of the storm. Is there any love lost between Ayu and Ortom?
There is no issue between the chairman and his governor. Both of them are united in battle to displace APC from power so that PDP will come back to office on a rescue mission. If there is any problem between them you will know.