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The All-Atiku Support Group has blamed the criticism by the Buhari Media Organisation of the proposal by former Vice President Atiku Abubakar to privatize some aspects of the oil and gas sector as a display of poor knowledge about modern economic management. The AASG in a press statement signed by its Coordinator, Mr. Oladimeji Fabiyi said that the Buhari administration was least qualified to pass a remark about ideas geared towards modernizing and optimizing the operations of the Nigerian oil and gas sector, and indeed of any other sector of the economy.

“What the BMO has done by its criticism of Atiku’s proposal is to further expose its lack of knowledge in the ways modern economies are run. As it is today, the NNPC is unprofitable, unwieldy and not accountable. Compared to its contemporaries like Petronas of Malaysia and Petrobras of Brazil which have since liberalized and modernized its operations, the NNPC still riddles in inefficiency and obvious lack of capacity.”

Continuing, the group said: “There are clearly good examples of how liberalization of some sectors of the economy had benefitted Nigerians such as in the telecommunications industry and the banking industry. If the Obasanjo/Atiku administration had held on to NITEL, we wouldn’t have had the GSM revolution. If our commercial banks were not recapitalized, we still would be having failed banks. It is important to note that similar groups to the BMO had opposed the banking consolidation and telecoms revolution as anti-people, but history has shown that they were wrong.

“The trend the world over is for countries to liberalize the downstream sub-sector of the oil sector to improve efficiency and ensure product availability at all times. We are surprised that the BMO is ignorant of Saudi Arabia’s celebrated decision to privatize Aramco and raise needed cash to fund its social and economic services. We know exactly who the masquerades are: they are the very people who feed fat on the misfortune that has befallen the refineries – largely as a result of the inaction of the government.”

“What will happen when the NNPC is liberalized is that the company will be more transparent and accountable and Nigerians can actually buy into the shares of the NNPC. Maybe, by that time too, we could have energy revolution. “Tying the proposal for the liberalization of NNPC to ‘amplifying the long condemned IMF recommendation’ smacks of illiteracy and a poor attempt to hoodwink Nigerians about the shadiness in the operations of the NNPC,” the group said.

“For an administration that campaigned heavily about jettisoning subsidy regime and ‘stabilizing global oil prices’ coming out to criticize a workable idea to liberalize the country’s oil and gas sector is unfortunate to say the least,” the statement said. The group noted that while the operations and revenue of the Nigerian oil giant has been shrouded in secrecy for years past, it is worrisome that a group such as Buhari Media Organisation will employ cheap blackmail to cover up the operations of the NNPC, saying such tendencies isn’t in line with the change that Nigerians expected.

“Today, this administration pays over N1.4 Trillion annually on subsidy on fuel consumption in Nigeria, a staggering 386% when compared to the figure of N774 million daily given in March this year. Till this day, ordinary Nigerians have no idea how much revenue the NNPC makes in crude sales and the NNPC continues to drench in corruption without transparency and accountability.

“The contradiction inherent in the position of President Buhari on subsidy is evident for Nigerians to see. After saying there was no subsidy, to making Nigerians buy fuel at the highest price in the history of this country without palliative or cushioning effects to Nigerians and now paying over 1 trillion naira on subsidy. This same contradiction attendant upon by shallow understanding of economics is what leaves Nigeria with a jumbled compassless economy devoid of defined ideology. The world has moved beyond indecision.

“You can’t be going to the US to negotiate free market deals in the name of wooing investors while coming home to frustrate any genuine attempt to free the economy. The most fundamental question is what has the Buhari administration done to the refineries? Three years down the line, Nigeria still imports fuel. And some people want us stuck to a past that does not work. We need a present that can make Nigeria work again.”

Oladimeji stressed that if privatizing the refineries, and even providing the required incentives for the private sector to get competitively involved in owning and running modular refineries is what can make Nigeria wriggle out of the trap imposed on her by NNPC, the courage to say that, and the commitment to do it, should be commended not condemned.

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BIG STORY

No Way For Dapo Abiodun In Ogun, Akinlade Remains The Consensus Candidate — Amosun

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Ogun State Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, has described his reported support for the emergence of Prince Dapo Abiodun as the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship candidate in the state as false.

Amosun declared that he stands solidly behind the duly elected consensus candidate of the state APC, Hon. Adekunle Akinlade.

This was contained in a statement signed by the state Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Otunba Dayo Adeneye, and made available to reporters yesterday. The governor said he had followed with deep reflection and consternation, “the false and embarrassing reports in some sections of the media” that he had been prevailed upon by some party leaders in the state to support Abiodun.

According to him, the reports were nothing but another in a series of political propaganda to tarnish his image. He added that those behind the “unfounded rumours” are doing so to heat up the polity ahead of the 2019 general elections.

Amosun implored political actors to be wary of statements that could demarket the state and reverse the enormous gains of the recent years. He said: “Those behind the unfounded rumours are doing so to heat up the polity ahead of the 2019 general elections. They are doing it on behalf of their paymasters for cheap political motives. It has become a routine of many political jobbers in Ogun State.

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POLITICS

Ogun 2019: Ex-Speaker Dimeji Bankole Emerges ADP Governorship Candidate

Gbemileke Ajayi

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Former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Dimeji Bankole, has emerged the governorship candidate of the Action Democratic Party in Ogun State.

Bankole emerged the party’s candidate on Saturday evening at its primaries in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital.

Announcing Bankole as the candidate, the Returning Officer for the primaries, Chief Chamberlain Amadi, said he polled 157,466 votes to clinch the ticket in an election held across the 236 wards in the state.

Amadi commended members of the party for conducting themselves peacefully during the elections.

He urged them to work assiduously well in ensuring that candidates of the party for all elective posts emerged victorious in the forthcoming elections.

He said: “I am glad today to announce that the former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Dimeji Bankole, has won the governorship primary of our party in Ogun state after polling 157,466 votes.

“This election was conducted across the 236 wards scattered across the 20 local governments and 37 LCDAs in the state.

“We have the total number of members accredited across the state to be a total of 157,600 and the election free and fair.

“By the power conferred on me as the Returning Officer in Ogun State, I hereby declare Rt. Hon. Dimeji Bankole as the winner of this primary election and flagbearer of the party during the 2019 governorship election.”

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BIG STORY

2019: Gbenga Daniel Tipped As Atiku’s Running Mate As PDP Reportedly Zones VP Slot To South-West

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The search for a running mate for the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, began immediately after the conclusion of the primaries in Port Harcourt, Rivers State on Sunday.

According to Eagle Online, Atiku Abubakar, a number of the aspirants for the presidential tickets, some governors and chieftains of the party, including the Director General of the Atiku Presidential Campaign Organisation, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, met immediately after the primaries to iron out the issues of zoning of positions the party will adopt ahead of the 2019 elections.

According to informed sources, the meeting agreed that the vice presidential slot should be zoned to the South West in order to counter the ticket of the ruling All Progressives Congress, which has President Muhammadu Buhari for the North and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo from the South West.

According to sources at the meeting, the position of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation was zoned to the South East.

The Eagle Online was told that one of those mentioned for consideration at the meeting for the vice presidential slot was Daniel.

He was said to have been considered fit for the position because like Osinbajo, he is from Ogun State and has huge network across the country, especially having been a crucial part of the Goodluck Jonathan Presidential Campaign Organisation in 2015 and campaigned across the country for the national chairmanship seat of the PDP, which was eventually won by Prince Uche Secondus.

Sources said those at the meeting also said Daniel performed creditably as governor and has succeeded in rallying the party in his home state for a formidable challenge of the APC in the general election.

One of those said to be in pole position for the SGF slot from the South East is a former Governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi.

Obi rose to national prominence as governor based on his performance, especially the prudent management of the state’s resources, and has sustained this outside political office with his contributions to education and knowledge of economic issues.

Some party leaders and members are, however, said to be rooting for the emergence of a South-Easterner as the vice presidential running mate.

They also canvassed the position at the meeting, which was adjourned to a later date, which will be soon, for the presidential campaign to commence.

In a related development, Chief Chinedu Eya, a chieftain of the PDP in Enugu State, on Sunday congratulated Abubakar following his emergence as the presidential candidate and called on him to choose the country’s former Finance Minister, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala or Senator Ben Murray-Bruce, representing Bayelsa North Senatorial District as his running mate, to give technical coloration to his aspiration.

Eya, a former Enugu North Senatorial District aspirant on the platform of PDP, who spoke after a keenly contested primary election of the PDP at the national convention of the party held at the Adokiye Amasiemeka stadium, Igwuruta-Ali, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, congratulated the party’s delegates for their bold decision during the exercise.

Eya noted that his choice Murray-Bruce and Okonjo-Iweala was to allow front-line technocrats in the country the opportunity to chart a new course for the Nation’s bastardized economy under the APC in one term.

In a statement by his media aide, Gwiyi Solomon, the PDP chieftain urged the other presidential aspirants who participated in the primary election to happily accept the outcome of the contest and rally round the chosen candidate of the party as the tasks ahead of the general election will be daunting.

Eya said: “The wise thing to do at the moment is for Atiku to choose Dr. Okonjo Iweala or Senator Ben Murray-Bruce to give technical colouration to his aspiration.”
“While I congratulate our delegates for a good job, I also want to beg other contestants in the exercise to hug Atiku and become ‘Atikulated’ as the tasks ahead of the coming general election will no doubt, appear very daunting.”

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