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The National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Adams Oshiomhole, on Wednesday, said the honourable thing for Dr Abubakar Bukola Saraki was for him to vacate his seat as the President of the Senate since he has relinquished the membership of the party that threw him up.

Oshiomhole said this after a meeting of the leadership of the APC and senators elected on the platform of the party with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

He said it should follow logically that since Saraki had quit the APC, he should hand over the crown to the party that produced him to nominate a successor.

He said: “But whatever is the reason, we can decamp from the party, but we can’t decamp from Nigeria.

“The only thing is that there are other consequential issues that every man or woman of honour who had taken such decisions would be expected to follow through.

“I mean, you should not collect a crown that belongs to a family and wears it on behalf of the family if for your personal reasons which he has enumerated that he has gone to another family.

“It is just a matter of honour to leave the crown in the house that the crown belongs to.

“As it stands even now, APC is still the largest party in the Senate. We have 53 senators, that is much more than PDP or APGA has.”

Saraki had on Tuesday defected to the Peoples Democratic Party.

He was joined by the Kwara State Governor, Abdulfatah Ahmed, and the National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi.

On Wednesday, the Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Tambuwal, also declared for the PDP from the APC.

Their defections came after that of the Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom.

BIG STORY

Ekiti Debt Less Than N60bn; Not N170bn, Fayemi Preparing Grounds For Impending Failure – Fayose

Gbemileke Ajayi

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The immediate past Governor of Ekiti State, Mr. Ayodele Fayose has insisted that his administration did not commit the State to any financial institution in form of bonds and commercial loans, describing claim by Governor Kayode Fayemi that the State was indebted to the tune of N170 billion as false and “a way of preparing grounds for his impending failure just as he did when he assumed office in 2010.”

Fayose’s Media Aide, Lere Olayinka, said in a statement issued on Wednesday that Ekiti State indebtedness was under N60 billion and that the debt was either directly incurred during Fayemi’s first tenure or as a result of the loans restructuring done at the instance of the federal government and the Federal Economic Council.

He gave the breakdown as follows; Commercial Bank Loan, N2,087,788,065.28; CBN Grant for Water Project, N163,450,000; Excess Crude Account Backed Loan, N9,545,173,472.78; Bailout, N9,083,761,215.40; FGN Bonds, N18,226,699,707.18; State Bonds, N3,484,469,345.51 and Budget Support, N16,869,000,000.

While challenging Fayemi to name the banks being owed the N170 billion and monthly repayment by the State Government to such banks, Olayinka said; “He should not wait till 100 to cook up false stories of how much debt was left by the Fayose administration. He should rather tell Nigerians how it is possible for a State that is indebted to the tune of N170 billion to be making N1.1 billion repayment monthly.

“Instead of lying so blatantly to cover up his impending failure, Fayemi should publish the Debt Management Office (DMO), Ekiti State Executive Council and House of Assembly approvals for the loans since no loan can be taken without these approvals.”

Describing Fayemi as a “multiple-mouthed” person, Olayinka said; “In September this year, Fayemi claimed that Ekiti debt was N117 billion, one month after, he said the debt is N170 billion. So the debt increased from N117 billion to N170 billion in less than 30 days?

“The reality is that Fayemi is reputed for speaking from both sides of his mouth. In the past, when Fayose assisted him to be governor, he described him (Fayose) as an honourable person whose word is always his bond and today, he goes about denigrating the same Fayose.”

Fayose’s spokesperson, who admonished Fayemi to face the task of governance and stop his usual grandstanding, said; “The federal government deliberately refused to release legitimate funds belonging to Ekiti State to the Fayose administration and for this reason, the arrears of salary could not be cleared as promised.

“We are aware that in a matter of days, the withheld fund of over N30 billion is to be released to the State by the federal government as a refund on federal roads construction, arrears of Budget Support and Paris Club refund.

“Our plea is that Governor Fayemi should stop making excuses and use the over N30 billion to pay workers salary.

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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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BIG STORY

Labour Meets Today For Final Decision On Minimum Wage

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The Organised Labour says it will meet today, Thursday, October 18, 2018, to take a final decision on the new National Minimum Wage for workers, following the delay by the Federal Government to announce its figure.

Mr Ayuba Wabba, President, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Abuja.

NAN reports that Sen. Chris Ngige, Minister of Labour and Employment, had said there was no agreement yet by the Tripartite Committee on the new National Minimum wage figure in the country.

Ngige had also said negotiations were still ongoing and the capacity to pay by employers remained the guiding principles as the Federal Government is proposing N24,000.

NAN also reports that organised labour and the Tripartite Committee on the New National Minimum Wage had completed its assignment for onward submission to President Muhammadu Buhari.

Wabba said that the struggle for a new National Minimum Wage for workers was on course, saying that labour was proposing N30, 000 as requested by organised private sector.

“So, we as organised labour will be meeting tomorrow (Thursday) in Lagos after which we will brief newsmen on the outcome of our decision.

Mr Joe Ajaero, President, United Labour Congress (ULC), told NAN that the organised labour has been taken for granted by the Minister of Labour and Employment.

Ajaero said that with the ways things are going as it concerns the new national minimum wage for workers in the country it might lead to an indefinite industrial strike.

“We as members of the ULC, we are not happy, initially we were asking for N90, 000 as the new National Minimum Wage for workers.

“But due to the Organised Private Sector’s appeal to the organised labour, we decided to fix it at N30, 000 for affordability.

“Right now if you look at what economy is talking about, you will find out the N30, 000 is nothing to write home about.

“Just look at what students are paying to sit for WAEC and JAMB, is it not too much, so how can somebody who earns N30, 000 pay such for his or her child.

“Are these not agencies of government that are charging such, why would the Federal Government says that they cannot pay N30, 000.

“We will be meeting tomorrow (Thursday) to take a definite decision and we will brief journalists after the meeting,” he said.

He called on the Federal Government to have a rethink by ensuring that the agreement reached by the Tripartite Committee on the New National Minimum Wage was approved and implemented to avoid industrial action in the country.

Also, Mr Bobbio Kaigama, President, Trade Union Congress (TUC), said the organised labour was waiting to be called by the Chairman, Tripartite Committee on the National Minimum Wage for the signing of the agreement.

“Who said we have not concluded our meeting. Who said that the Federal Government cannot pay the agreed figure,” Kaigama asked. (NAN)

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