Former Senate President David Mark has reiterated the importance of the 2023 elections, calling on Nigerians to entrust the leadership of the country to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
He said this during his address at the 2022 PDP National Convention in Abuja on Saturday, describing next year’s poll as a battle of survival for the nation.
“The 2023 election is not a contest between the PDP and other political parties; it will be a moment of historic decision for all Nigerians to right the wrongs of the misrule by the APC,” the Chairman of the PDP National Convention Organising Committee said at the Moshood Abiola Stadium Velodrome.
“For Nigerians, it is a battle of survival. But thank God they have found solace and faith in the PDP as the vehicle to redeem the situation and give them a chance to live again. No wonder, our logo the umbrella, is a veritable shade and shield for Nigerians and Nigeria as an entity.”
Senator David Mark also expressed optimism that the PDP will deliver a credible presidential primary election.
“It is therefore a call to patriotic national service, for all of us; delegates to make the wise decision which will ultimately save Nigeria,” the former lawmaker added. “All our presidential aspirants are of proven integrity.”
He lamented the increasing spate of insecurity across the country and the harsh economic climate among others are making living in Nigeria “worthless”.
“Fellow countrymen and women are today in captivity with kidnappers and our government looking overwhelmed and unable to rescue them,” he said.
“Sadly, the government has mortgaged the future of Nigerians by ceaseless borrowings with nothing tangible to show. Nigeria is now the poverty capital of the world.”
“These have made living in Nigeria worthless,” the APC chieftain explained.
The governorship candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Charles Soludo, has received his Certificate of Return from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) following his victory in the just-concluded guber election in Anambra State.
Soludo, a former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), received the Certificate of Return in a ceremony on Friday in Awka.
The Deputy Governor-elect, Onyeka Ibezim, also got his Certificate of Return.
Friday’s event followed an election that saw Soludo sweep to victory in an emphatic style. The Isuofia-born banker won 19 of the 21 local government areas of the state to clinch the position.
The 61-year-old polled 112,229 votes, twice higher than his closest rival, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)’s Valentine Ozigbo who had 53,807 votes.
“That Charles Chukwuma Soludo of APGA, having satisfied the requirements of the law is hereby declared the winner and is returned elected,” the returning officer for the election, Professor Florence Obi, said while pronouncing him as the winner.
Congratulatory Messages Pour In
A flurry of congratulatory messages – including those from his opponents – have continued to pour in since his electoral victory.
President Muhammadu Buhari, who was among the first to congratulate Soludo on his feat, described the election as a reflection of the people’s will and said he looks forward to working with him.
“President Buhari enjoins Prof. Soludo, member of the Presidential Economic Advisory Committee, to rally other stakeholders to tackle the enormous challenges confronting the State and the Southeast in general,” presidential aide, Femi Adesina, said in a statement.
“The President looks forward to working with the incoming governor for the peace, security, and development of not only Anambra State but the entire country. ”
Soludo had, in the wake of his win, thanked the people of Anambra State for giving him the mandate.
He equally extended the olive branch to other contestants, asking them to keep the “spirit of Anambra alive and strong” and “take our homeland to the moon”.
The Governor-elect of Anambra State, Charles Soludo, has extended a hand of fellowship to the other contestants in the race, asking them to come together to keep the “spirit of Anambra alive and strong” and collectively “take our homeland to the moon”.
Professor Soludo said this while delivering his acceptance speech at his country home in Isuofia community, Aguata Local Government Area of Anambra State in the early hours of Wednesday.
He said the outcome of the election reflected the true will and wishes of the people and therefore, thanked everyone for their massive support, promising not to disappoint, but to work in collaboration with relevant stakeholders to take the state to the greatest height.
There was jubilation in the living room of the governor-elect, moments after he was announced the winner as himself, friends, family, had been waiting with bated breath for the result of the keenly contested election.
Soludo, 61 and former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, swept to victory after he secured 112,229 votes from 19 of the 21 LGAs – twice more than his closest rival – PDP’s Valentine Ozigbo.
Ozigbo had 53,807 votes while the other two frontline contenders – Andy Uba and Ifeanyi Ubah scored 43,285 and 21,261 votes respectively.
A former governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha, has denied the allegations that he acquired properties with government funds.
He explained that he had always been a successful person before coming into office in 2011 and dared anyone to come forth with evidence that he mismanaged funds meant for the government.
“I challenge anybody to prove that I acquired any property with any government fund,” said the former who was a guest on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics.
He added, “I think people have forgotten that I was Rochas before becoming the governor of Imo State; I think they have forgotten completely.
“If anything, becoming a governor made me even poorer than what I was in the past. I don’t know whether I acquired any property here in Abuja, there is none.”
Okorocha, who now represents Imo West senatorial district in the National Assembly, believes those making the allegation are referring to a hotel that belongs to his wife and is used to fund their foundation.
According to him, there is no way he would have stole the government’s money when its monthly allocation is small.
The lawmaker stated that during his two-term as governor, he built the best international cargo airport and police state command in the country, as well as 27 hospitals, a new government house, a new court, and a new prison, among others.
He also spoke about his encounter with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over the same issue, noting that he spent two nights when he was arrested.
“I said to them (EFCC) that I have not come to respond to your call because there is already a matter in court and once a matter is sub judice, you cannot talk about it.
“Imo State government has taken me to court on the same subject matter, and we are at the Federal High Court in Abuja on the same subject matter,” Okorocha said.
He added, “EFCC is doing their job because if there is no report, they can’t nose into whatever you are doing; EFCC is not witch-hunting, they are acting on a petition being written by somebody.”
“Between the Local Governments and the state, in this December alone, we have spent over N5billion. When we didn’t have the money, we had to borrow because touching people like this gives me a lot of joy,” Umahi said.
“So when few people are saying there is no empowerment, don’t mind them. This is the real empowerment, to set the patients free, to set the poor free, to set the oppressed free, that is the real empowerment.
“Roads is the basis of the development of every state and we needed this road so badly. Remember we are the salt of the nation, but today, we are the road of the nation.”
The governor also used the opportunity to donate some food items to various hospitals as well as pay the outstanding medical bills for indigent patients across the state.
Following the emergence of Governor Godwin Obaseki as the winner of the Edo State governorship election, more congratulatory messages have continued to pour in from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governors.
One of them is the Cross River State Governor, Professor Ben Ayade, who described Obaseki’s victory as well deserved.
The governor, in a statement issued on Sunday by his spokesman, Christian Ita, attributed the Edo leader’s victory to his achievements in the past four years.
“I extend my warm felicitations to you on your well-deserved victory in the just concluded Edo gubernatorial election. For those of us who have keenly followed your giant strides in Edo state, your victory did not come as a surprise.
“Your re-election therefore, represents a bold and emphatic testimony to the good work you have done in the past four years,” the governor was quoted as saying.
Similarly, Governor Douye Diri of Bayelsa State said the victory was a triumph for democracy and the Edo people.
In a statement by his spokesman, Daniel Alabrah, the governor observed that people’s power, as expressed in the Edo election, remained the most potent force in any democracy.
He, therefore, commended the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for upholding the people’s will despite reported pressure to unduly influence the outcome of the poll.
The Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, equally sent his congratulatory message to the re-elected Edo leader who stated that another term for Obaseki is an indication that the people’s choice will always prevail.
“With their loud and irrefutable votes in #EdoDecides, the people of Edo State have sent a strong message that they choose to continue under Governor Godwin Obaseki’s development agenda to Make Edo Great Again!”Okowa tweeted, Sunday.
‘Power Belongs To The People’
“I congratulate my colleague and brother, Governor Obaseki on his victory at the just-concluded Edo State gubernatorial elections,” the Governor of Bauchi State, Senator Bala Mohammed, also said in his message to the Edo Governor.
“Your win is a victory for Edo State and our great party, PDP. It also validates that truly, power belongs to the people.”
A Job Well-Done
Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State equally commended the Edo Governor for a “well-deserved victory,” and hailed the PDP for the win.
A five-man panel of the apex court led by Justice Mary Peter-Odili ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), to withdraw the Certificate of Return that had been issued to the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the winner of the November 16, 2019 governorship election.
The court then ordered INEC to issue a fresh Certificate-of-Return to the candidate of the party with the next highest votes and with the required constitutional spread of votes in the results of the election, which was the PDP.
Hours before the swearing-in on Friday, INEC officially declared Diri as the winner of the election in the state.
He was sworn-in along with his Deputy, Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo.
Britain on Friday named Andrew Bailey, head of the Financial Conduct Authority regulator, as governor of the Bank of England to help guide the economy through any Brexit fallout.
“I am delighted to announce that the next governor of the Bank of England will be Andrew Bailey,” said finance minister Sajid Javid, adding that the former BoE deputy will succeed Mark Carney on March 16.
“Without question, he is the right person to lead the bank as we forge a new future outside the EU.”
The 60-year-old Briton, who has spent most of his career at the BoE, will have the heavy task of conducting the country’s monetary policy at the time of its exit from the European Union — promised by new Prime Minister Boris Johnson by January 31.
Canada-born Carney — who steps down after six years in the job — has meanwhile agreed to extend the end of his tenure from January 31 to March 15 to oversee an orderly transition.
Chancellor of the Exchequer Javid added that Bailey was the “clear front runner” in the contest to succeed Carney, describing him as the “standout candidate in a competitive field” and a “leader of international standing”.
Cambridge-educated Bailey worked at the Bank of England in various posts between 1985 and 2016.
He played a key role during the global financial crisis and subsequent vicious recession, overseeing the BoE’s special operations to help troubled banks.
Bailey was also a deputy governor for prudential regulation between 2013 and 2016 when he was appointed as head of the FCA finance sector watchdog.
Javid continued: “What matters is that we appoint someone who can make the right decisions.
“Andrew Bailey has the experience, the record and the character to do just that. He is, without doubt, the best candidate for the job.”
Bailey had been one of the favourites to take over, but there had also been speculation that institution could see its first female chief.
Carney, 54, who became a British national during his time in London, had already extended his tenure twice due to Brexit uncertainty.
The Financial Times, citing sources close to Javid, reported on Friday that all candidates had been “vetted” on “whether their views were compatible with the direction” of Johnson’s pro-Brexit administration.
The BoE under Carney had repeatedly warned over the impact of Britain’s departure from the European Union, arguing it could push the economy into recession.
Friday’s news comes one day after the BoE froze interest rates at 0.75 per cent but left the door open to a reduction in the event of fresh turmoil, in the first decision since Johnson’s election triumph last week.
The new BoE boss may need to consider raising interest rates “back to more normal levels or fight the next downturn with not much ammunition” and defend the bank from “the growing risk of political interference”, noted Ruth Gregory, an economist at Capital Economics.
Economy strengthens –
However, bright official data showed Friday that the British economy strengthened by more than expected in the third quarter of 2019 — despite looming Brexit.
Gross domestic product rebounded by 0.4 per cent in the July-September period, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said in a second estimate.
That was stronger than the previous estimate of 0.3-per cent expansion and followed a 0.2-per cent contraction in the second quarter — meaning that the economy avoided a technical recession
The BoE had cautioned Thursday that it might need to alter its monetary policy “if global growth fails to stabilise or if Brexit uncertainties remained entrenched”.
She added, “Maybe it is not in my destiny to be the Governor of Taraba State, but somebody has to be there in any case at one time or the other.
“We will continue to support you and if there is anything you think we can do for you, I personally will be always available to do that. We are highly delighted to be here and we wish to wholeheartedly congratulate you.”
According to the former minister, who contested for the governorship seat in March on the platform of the United Democratic Party (UDP), power comes from God and he gives it to whoever he desires.
She gave assurance of her willingness to support the programmes and policies of the state government.
She explained that she and her supporters have no other state than Taraba, stressing that they have a responsibility to support the government in any way they can.
Alhassan also said the visit and her decision to support the governor was to ensure that the success of his administration and progress of the state for the good of the people.
She stated, “You’re the commander of the rescue mission, so we have all joined the rescue team … on behalf of myself and my party loyalists, UDP, and all their supporters in Taraba State, we wish to congratulate you heartily.
“In a contest of this nature, somebody has to win while others lose. I lost not victoriously, but gallantly.”
On his part, Governor Ishaku said he was overwhelmed by the former minister’s show of support, adding that it would serve as a morale booster to his administration.
He said she has truly shown that politics should be played without bitterness and victory as a politician should not be seen as the end of life.
Alhassan contested the Taraba governorship election in 2015 on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) but lost to Governor Ishaku.
She later defected from APC to UDP In 2018, to contest for the same position in 2019 and lost again to the governor.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) says the integrity of its Governor, Godwin Emefiele remains unassailable.
The apex bank in a statement issued on Sunday by its Director, Corporate Communications, Isaac Okorafor said that the use of selective wire-taped conversations of its management, to malign Emefiele’s character and integrity will not stand.
Okoroafor in the statement denied that the conversation which was released by an online news platform was about a fraudulent transaction.
“The purported audio recording of selective conversations amongst the Governor, Deputy Governor and some Senior Officials. Contrary to the headline-grabbing narrative that the discussion was about a fraudulent transaction, this conversation – the beginnings of which was omitted to create a different impression – was simply to proffer solutions to a misunderstanding that affected the Bank’s balance sheet.
“The integrity of the CBN Governor remains unassailable. He has no account in Dubai or anywhere in the world and would never convert the funds of CBN for personal use,” the statement read in part.
He also described the leaded audio conversation as false and misleading, denying any fraudulent transactions of missing N500 billion.
CBN’s spokesman explained that that the misleading audio relates to the meeting of its top officials on reconciliation of balance sheet items and part of regular conversations.
“The Bank provided about N650 billion in loans at 9% with a two-year grace period to 35 States of the Federation.
“These monies were distributed to the States monthly with documented approval of the Federal Ministry of Finance and the Presidency,” Okoroafor added.
The bank noted that the bailout was erroneously classified by external auditors as bad loans, stressing that Ministry of Finance and CBN gave comfort to auditors in writing that “these monies would be repaid.”
Accordingly, CBN vowed to “pursue every legal means to bring the perpetrators to justice.”
The Oyo State Governor-Elect, Mr. Seyi Makinde, has decried the violence that erupted in the state during the elections, saying it was needless to kill people over political ambitions.
He stated this on Monday during an interview on Channels Television’s special programme on the election’s coverage, The Verdict.
His statement comes 24 hours after he emerged the winner of the governorship election which held in the state on Saturday.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared Makinde winner of the keenly contested poll after polling 515,621 votes to defeat his closest rival, Mr. Adebayo Adelabu of the All Progressives Congress who polled 357,982 votes.
But Makinde having clinched the state’s top job regretted the violence that claimed the life of the lawmaker representing Lagelu /Akinyele Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, Temitope Olatoye, blaming it on desperate politicians.
“We have gone ahead to appeal to our people to stay calm. Occupying a political position does not require anyone to just kill. I saw the whole issue as desperation.
“We should allow the will of the people to prevail. If we adhere to that, then there wouldn’t be any need for anyone to lose their life for the sake of politics,” he stated.
Makinde, who would be sworn in as Oyo State Governor on May 29 promised to run an all-inclusive government regardless of who voted for him or not.
According to him, it is time to deliver the dividends of democracy to the people of the state after a rigorous campaign.
“It has never happened in the history of elections in Oyo State where a candidate will win by a landslide with over 150,000 votes. All the things that we did right during that period, we will utilise them during the process of governance.
“We have the experience and we’ve seen those things work during the process. So we will ensure that the messages get to the grass root and we will get the grass root behind the government,” he added.
When asked what he will want to be remembered at the expiration of his four-year mandate that begins in May, Makinde explained that his parting gift to the people will be a robust and buoyant economy.
An explosion and fire has killed at least 66 people who were collecting fuel gushing from a leaking pipeline in central Mexico, the Hidalgo state governor said on Saturday.
“The toll that we have until a few minutes ago… is 66 dead, while 76 are injured,” said the governor, Omar Fayad.
Forensic specialists on Saturday worked among the charred corpses at the scene, which was guarded by soldiers as a smell of fuel still hung in the air.
Scores of locals with jerrycans and buckets had been collecting gasoline that was gushing from the pipeline when the blast occurred on Friday, according to witnesses.
Video taken in the aftermath showed people fleeing the scene, screaming for help, as an enormous fire lit up the night sky in Tlahuelilpan, Hidalgo state, 65 miles (105 kilometres) north of Mexico City.
The tragedy comes as the federal government wages a highly publicized war on fuel theft, a problem that cost Mexico an estimated $3 billion in 2017.
President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador travelled to the scene in the early hours of Saturday.