Pope Francis Accepts Resignation Of Vatican Spokesman, Deputy

Pope Francis speaks during his weekly general audience at Aula Paolo VI (Paul VI Audience Hall) at the Vatican on August 1, 2018. Andreas SOLARO / AFP

 

The Vatican on Monday announced the resignations of its spokesman and his deputy, without giving any explanation.

Pope Francis “has accepted the resignation of the director and deputy director of the press office of the Vatican, Greg Burke and Paloma Garcia Ovejero, and named Alessandro Gisotti as acting director,” it said in a statement.

American Burke, a member of the ultra-conservative and influential Opus Dei movement, was appointed in July 2016 after having been deputy spokesman.

The 59-year-old had previously worked as a journalist in Rome for the weekly National Catholic Reporter, for Time magazine and for the US television network Fox News.

He was the second Opus Dei member to hold the post after Spain’s Joaquin Navarro Valls, the powerful head of communications for Pope John Paul II.

Garcia Ovejero, 43, a Spaniard, was the first woman to hold the number two post in the press office. She was previously Vatican correspondent for Spanish radio network Cadena COPE.

AFP

I Won’t Probe Past Government In Ondo, Akeredolu Says

I Won't Probe Past Ondo Government, Rotimi Akeredolu SaysOndo state governor-elect, Rotimi Akeredolu says his Ondo election victory was a manifestation of God’s power and he would like to focus on this mandate rather than probe the past government.

Reacting to the conduct and outcome of the election in Akure on Monday, the APC candidate said that he was surprised by the margin of votes between him and his closest rivals.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), on Sunday, declared the APC candidate, winner of the 2016 Ondo state governorship election.

He polled 244, 842 votes to beat his closest rival, Eyitayo Jegede of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who polled 150, 380 votes, while Mr Olusola Oke of the Alliance for Democracy (AD) followed with 126, 889 votes.

“What has happened in this election is quite beyond my personal expectations but then it is a case of saying we cannot limit God – I want to believe it is God-given victory to the people of Ondo state.

“What was beyond my imagination was the magnitude – the number of votes we scored vis-a-vis what two other contestants scored. I never believed that the margin would be that wide,” Akeredolu said.

Therefore, on the issue of probing the state’s accounts, the Governor-elect said that this is a venture he would not embark upon.

“I don’t believe in probes. What I believe in is that I’ve been given a mandate to govern the state and when I come into office I will face the task.

“The past is the past and I am one person who believes that government is a continuum,” he said.

Party Support

Mr Akeredolu went into the election without the support of some key members of the his party and this further made his victory a surprise for many.

He, however, maintained that the support of the party is more important than individuals’ in an election.

“I believe that the party included everybody. So, the party gave us support and whether we like it or not, that will be larger than what an individual can give.

“If you have a national party behind you, it is larger than what any individual can give. So I believe that whatever individuals have done, they must have done through the party.”

Industrialization

Mr Rotimi Akeredolu promised during his campaign to bring back the industries in the states and he provided an explanation of how he intends to achieve this.

“I used the word revamp when I was talking about the educational infrastructures and co, but when it comes to the issue of industries, I have argued during my campaign that people use the word wrongly.

“They say to us some industries are moribund (but) most of these industries are dead. So, its not easy to wake up a dead person and just like an industry, you cannot wake them up.

“The important thing is that industrialization is important to us and we are going to have to get as many people as are interested.

“We have the sand for glass industry in the south. It is not necessary we have to go back to Oluwa Industry, the furnace there is already old and the technology there is no longer in use.

“So all we need is to have people come. We will provide the enabling environment for them and they can start another one. It might be in the same premises.

“We have industry on ceramics in Ifon. We are thinking about what we have on cement and I know that in the next few weeks, many more will come.”

He said that foreign investors have been approaching him to invest in the state even before the election and he was sure that with an enabling environment a lot of development would be achieved in Ondo state.

AD Candidate, Olusola Oke Decries Monetization Of Ondo Election

AD Candidate, Olusola Oke Decries Monetization Of Ondo ElectionThe governorship candidate of the Alliance for Democracy (AD) in Ondo State, Mr Olusola Oke has decried the heavy monetization of the election process which produced Mr Rotimi Akeredolu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as governor-elect.

Oke who addressed the Press in Akure on Monday, congratulated Mr Rotimi Akeredolu on his victory and commended both the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the security agents deployed to the state for being fair in the handling of their duties.

He, however, regretted that the open and free use of money to purchase votes during the election by the ruling party remains a sad commentary on the nation’s electoral process.

This development, according to him, required the urgent intervention by government if the much publicized anti-corruption agenda of the Federal Government must have meaning to Nigerians.

He said: “In the last seven years, the policy direction of the government of the day (in Ondo State) has resulted in the growth and circulation of poverty to our people.

“The resultant effect is the debilitating poverty that had made the people so vulnerable. Therefore, trading away dignity in the face of excruciating hunger during electioneering process requires little or no considerations for morals and values that defined us as a people.

“The open and free use of money to purchase votes, during the election by the ruling parties remains a sad commentary on our electoral process. This requires urgent intervention by government if the much publicized anti-corruption agenda of the Federal Government must have meaning to Nigerians.

“Offer of money for votes is worse than looting the government treasury. Apart from compromising the dignity of the people, it provides a fertile training ground for future looters of government treasury.

“The consequence of it is to render the anti-corruption fight a farce. There may be no economic matter more urgent, difficult to unravel and more sensitive to the pursuit of the average person in Ondo State than the current indignity foisted on the people by poverty, orchestrated by maladministration and priority misplacement by the current administration.

“We hope the incoming administration will address the problem of poverty so that the integrity of our electoral process will be restored.”

He noted that from the observation of the people of Ondo State, they appear confused and unsure of what would follow the immediate satisfaction from the naira handout received in consideration of the votes cast.

“They appear wondering whether the votes they delivered yesterday would restore light, revive dead industries, complete the uncompleted ones, give hundreds of thousands of unemployed graduates employment, pay arrears of salary to workers and guarantee regular payment of salary; whether their votes will make water to flow again in their unused and rusted water pipes, reduce dust on our roads, revive our education and health sectors and so on,” he stated.

Big Challenge

Oke, who recalled the event leading to his and his followers’ movement to the AD, said that the movement was necessitated by the need for “us as democrats and conscience of the people to shun the in-built perfidy and organized deception in APC as revealed during its primary election.

“We moved to AD less than six weeks before the gubernatorial election. We knew it was a big challenge and the greatest challenge was time. But we were determined in the pursuit of our dream.

“We know how bad the situation is and we are aware that the art of governance is difficult and complex, especially during trying times. The steep reduction in global oil prices from over 120 dollars per barrel to roughly 30 dollars and the huge debt profile of Ondo State present a hard challenge that requires a prepared mind and experienced hands in the saddle. We are convinced that we can no longer afford past practices.

“That was the compelling re-occurring issue that defined our struggle. We thank the people of Ondo State who believed in the struggle of Alliance for Democracy and its candidate, Chief Olusola Oke.”

He went on to give recommendations to the incoming administration: “Ondo State requires economic re-engineering, creative reform, materially changing the substance of its economic policy as well as the objectives of that policy in a way that the economic well-being of the people will be restored again.

“Therein lies the essence of progressive democratic governance and that is what our party, the Alliance for Democracy stands for.

“The incoming government therefore must urgently address the issue of ravaging poverty in the state through: Industrialization; Job/Wealth Creation; Rural Integration; Infrastructural Development; Security.”

He gave the assurance that as members of the opposition, the AD shall continue to contribute to the process of governance and would not hesitate to point, in a civilized manner, the attention of the incoming government to any area where the masses seem not to have been considered in the policy framework of governance.

“We shall voice our opinion whenever we believe any member of the incoming government strayed from the progressive calling required of the administration,” he posited.

He congratulated the governor-elect, Rotimi Akeredolu, and wished him success, praying to God to guide him as he directs the affairs of Ondo state.

Mimiko Promises To Facilitate A Smooth Transition To Akeredolu

Mimiko Meets Buhari, Says Jegede Remains PDP's Lawful Candidate,The Governor of Ondo State Olusegun Mimiko, of Ondo State has promised to facilitate a smooth transition from his administration to that of the Governor-elect, Mr Oluwarotimi Akeredolu.

Mr Mimiko in a statement on Monday by his spokesman, Eni Akinsola, congratulated Mr Akeredolu, saying it behoves of him as the Governor of Ondo State to congratulate the Governor-elect and wish him success in the challenging task of governing the State.

The Ondo Governor said: “It is incumbent upon me as Governor to facilitate a smooth transition between my government and the incoming one. I will, to this end, provide the ambience for a smooth and seamless transition process”.

While promising to continue to provide leadership to the State till the takeover date, Mimiko expressed his appreciation to the people of the State.

“I use this medium to express my sincere appreciation to all our citizens for the very peaceful manner in which they conducted themselves throughout the election period. I will not waiver in providing needed leadership to our dear State till the last day of my term,” he promised.

Mr Mimiko further enjoined residents to strive to sustain the peace enjoyed in the State for the past seven years, promising to speak with them as occasion demands as his “eight year tenure inches to an end”.

Governor Mimiko of the Peoples Democratic Party will be handing over to Mr Akeredolu who is a member of the All Progressives Congress.

Mr Mimiko’s party has called for a cancelation of the election result, insisting that the election was fraught with irregularities and manipulated to favour the APC.

Shiites Seek ICC’s Intervention Over Leader’s Detention

El-Zakzaky International-Criminal-Court interventionThe Islamic Movement In Nigeria has petitioned the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague over the continuous detention of its leader, Sheik Ibrahim El-Zakzaky.

El-Zakzaky is being detained by the Department of State Services (DSS).

In the petition, the Shiites also sought the ICC’s intervention in the release of other members currently in various detention facilities across Nigeria.

‘An Open War’

Addressing a news conference in Kaduna on Monday, the Shiite members through their spokesman, Ibrahim Musa, condemned the continuous detention of El-Zakzaky 100 days after he was arrested by soldiers during the December 12, 2015, violent clash between members of the movement and soldiers in Zaria.

They stated that by the continuous detention of their leader and other members, the Nigerian government had waged an open war on the movement and its leadership with the intent to exterminate them.

According to them, the unlawful detention of hundreds of members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria at the Kaduna Central Prison and several other undisclosed detention centres across the country, showed that they would not get justice from the Commission of Inquiry set up by the Kaduna State government to investigate the incident.

They also claimed that since the attack, which took place 100 days ago, the Islamic Movement in Nigeria and its leadership have been further subjected to targeted, unwarranted and vicious attack by the Kaduna State government, the military, the police and some hired and hack writers engaged by some faceless individuals to attack the leadership and its members.

They lamented that all efforts made by their legal team led by Mr Femi Falana and Mr Festus Okoye to see El-Zakzaky in detention at the DSS facility in Abuja for the purposes of submitting memorandum to the Judicial Commission of Inquiry had been fruitless.

The Shiites further explained that they had completely lost confidence in the Kaduna Judicial Commission of Inquiry for its inability to enforce their orders to the security forces to allow them access to Shiekh Zakzaky.

Nigeria has improved on Transparency Intl’s ranking – Okupe

The Senior Special Adviser to President Jonathan on public affairs has described Nigeria’s ranking as the 35th most corrupt country in the world as an improvement against when the country was ranked second on the list, just a few years ago.

Dr Okupe,  made this assertion  on  our breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, where he admitted that it is very unfortunate that corruption is in Nigeria but decried Transparency International’s failure to reckon with the progress made with the nation’s fight against corruption.

“Transparency International started the measurement of the perception index in year 2000 and in year 2000, Nigeria was second to the last….We were 180 out of 181 countries and this continued for about 5 or 6 years.”

“Now the position we are holding now is something we should be proud of, but you know it is not that we have not made any progress at all. In 2000 we were second to the last and today we are 35th as we have a President and government that is doing something, corruption is an endemic issue and the government is doing everything to combat and i have given many examples”

The President’s spokesperson decried what he claimed has an attitude in Nigerians whereby “what we are glad to talk about is the wrong things that happens to the country and we all revel in it.”

“I have said it and I am here to say it for the umpteenth time that there is more than enough evidence that there is corruption in Nigeria. I am not denying that there is no corruption in the country, it is unfortunate, it is sad, you know and I am also not disputing Transparency International’s rating.”

“If a country is extremely very corrupt, you have perception about something that has been sustained for so long and when changes begin to take place it takes time for you to notice it or to recognise it” he said as he lamented that Transparency International is not quick to update their data to reflect the tremendous progress in the fight against corruption in Nigeria by the present administration.

Okupe said it was the Jonathan administration that unearthed the corruption in the oil and gas industry, the pension fund and so the administration has not been overwhelmed by the corruption fight.

Meanwhile, another guest on the programme, Mr Gbenga Omolayole,a member of the Initiative for Democratic and Economic Advancement Strategy,  reacted swiftly to Okupe’s comments making a nonsense of his analysis saying that “the politician is trying to do his job very well but he’s got a very difficult job on his hands”.

Omolayole said several prominent Nigerians are undergoing corruption cases in different courts in Nigeria and they are at the same time being appointed as party leaders all over the country and to him that doesn’t make any sense.

Watch complete interview for more details.

Adamawa Flood: 25 bodies recovered from River Benue

Officials of the Nigerian Red Cross has recovered 25 corpses after flood washed through Adamawa state and other states in the north eastern Nigeria.

The Red Cross officials claimed they recovered the corpses from the Benue River in Adamawa state.

The Red Cross secretary in Adamawa state, Mr Abubakar Ahmad noted that the corpses may have come from neighbouring Cameroon, as no one in the area could immediately identify the dead bodies.

Mr Ahmad added further that there could be more dead bodies after the flooding, as many others are still missing.

Officials previously recovered at least 45 bodies from the flooding, which they blamed on officials in Cameroon opening up a dam.

Cameroon warned Nigeria before relieving pressure on the overwhelmed dam.

Nigeria is experiencing its annual rainy season and flooding which recently claimed the lives of at least 68 people in Plateau state in north central region of the country.

12 killed in suicide blasts near U.S. base in Afghanistan

A fuel tanker laden with explosives was driven by a suicide bomb in the Wardak province injured scores as another suicide bomber wearing explosive vest detonated his explosives.

Two suicide attackers blew themselves up near a US base in Afghanistan, claiming at least 12 lives.

Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid claimed responsibility for the attack, which he said was aimed at the American base.

A spokesman for the Wardak provincial governor; Shahidullah Shadid said one suicide bomber detonated a vest rigged with explosives outside a compound housing the district governor’s office, while another in a fuel tanker detonated his bomb on a road separating the compound from the base and that eight civilians and four Afghan police were left dead. Also 59 people were wounded, including two Nato troops, 47 civilians and ten Afghan police officers.

General Abdul Qayum Bakizai who is the head of police, said it was a powerful explosion as it broke windows all over the area and most of the injuries were from broken glass from the windows of homes and shops. He concluded saying most of the truck wasn’t found to show how powerful the explosive was.

In a separate incident on Saturday, Nato said two US soldiers were killed in eastern Ghazni province. It did not provide any further information or details about the deaths, which were the first this month.

A total of 53 foreign troops were killed in Afghanistan in August.

 

 

President Jonathan, the hero of Edo state election – Doyin Okupe

Former presidential spokesman Doyin Okupe was on board the Sunrise Daily ride to discuss the Edo State Governorship election which was held and won by the incumbent Governor Adam Oshiomhole .

Doyin Okupe said, to him the true hero of the Edo State Governorship Election is the President of Nigeria; Dr. Goodluck.

Asked why by our anchor, Sulaiman Aledeh, he answered saying the President was decisive as there was state of anarchy in Edo state which built-up before the election proper and with all these the Presiden made sure every vote counted in the Edo State Election.

In furtherance, he said the President could have turned his cheeks aside and allow things to play itself out which would have allowed playing dirty between parties in contention.

He stated openly that that he was not happy Governor Oshiomhole of the ACN and the incumbent governor returned to the seat of power after the election.

 

Enjoy the rest of the interview.