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The Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, has made some of the most far-reaching revelations yet about the years in office of former President Olusegun Obasanjo.

Fayose said in the current edition of The Interview that Obasanjo used him to wreck the presidential ambition of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and the chance of former Kaduna State Governor, Ahmed Markafi, becoming the Peoples Democratic Party presidential candidate in 2007.

He said in his naivety, Obasanjo also used him to attack former Abia State Governor, Orji Kalu, among other political foes.

In a statement, the MD/Editor-In-Chief of The Interview, Azu Ishiekwene, described the edition as “a window on a dark and troubling past and a must read for any important political figure who has crossed Fayose’s path in the last 18 years”.

Fayose told The Interview that the scale fell off his eyes when on a trip with Obasanjo to Tripoli, Libya, where the former president had gone to ask Moummar Ghaddafi to support his Third Term bid, the former Libyan president treated Obasanjo like a serf.

Recalling the encounter, he said: “It was such a pathetic scenario, so shameful.

Obasanjo was speaking rapidly like a parrot. I was shocked beyond words. I never knew Obasanjo would be that humble.

“He was on one knee till the end of the conversation. Gadaffi kept quiet and was just watching Obasanjo. When Obasanjo stopped rambling, Gadaffi said: ‘Have you finished? Just know that I will not attend that meeting. I have other engagements.’”

Fayose also revealed how on two major occasions when he went to visit Abubakar at the height of Obasanjo’s Third Term bid, security details promptly reported him to the former president, even before he left the venue, leaving him feeling spooky and vulnerable.

On the Obasanjo-Atiku saga, Fayose said: “Obasanjo told me that when you capture a general and you don’t kill him, he’ll come back and kill you; that since Atiku tried to stop him and failed, he must pay for it. And he (Atiku) is still paying for it.”

In a statement that could reverberate beyond Nigeria’s shores, Fayose said he knew, as an insider at the time, that Obasanjo betrayed former Liberian President, Charles Taylor, to induce US support for this Third Term bid, after promising Taylor safe haven in Nigeria.

He revealed how the current Chairman of the PDP was sidelined in favour of a sick and stubbornly reluctant Umaru Yar’Adua and his role in it as chairman of the Presidential Selection Committee.

Fayose warned Kalu against “selling” the Igbo down the river “for cheap politics” and blamed President Muhammadu Buhari’s government for making the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, popular.

He also spoke on his attempts to reach Buhari directly; former governor Kayode Fayemi’s relationship with All Progressives Congress leader, Bola Tinubu; and the futile attempt to discourage former Governor Peter Odili from accepting Obasanjo’s dummy that he was heir apparent.

Also in this edition, the Executive Director of Neem Foundation, a not-for-profit NGO, Dr. Fatima Akilu, said she foresaw problems even after the shooting war with Boko Haram.

Akilu, a psychologist, warned that except there is a plan to deal with post-war stress and build inclusive communities, the gains of the military campaign could unravel.

The edition also contains interviews with the first Nigerian in the Belgian parliament, Collins Nweke; conversations with poet, Dike Chukwumerije; and inside information in the corridors of power in Interview Confidential, among others.

BIG STORY

BREAKING: Fire Ravages Katangowa, Lagos Market [PHOTOS]

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An early morning fire has engulfed Katangowa Market in Agbado/Oke-Odo Local Council Development Area, along the Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway on Monday.

The fire outbreak which started around 3.15am destroyed the entire stretch of fairly used clothes’ shops opposite the Central Mosque in the market.

As of the time of filing this report, men of the state fire service and officials of the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency were on the ground to put off the fire.

Also on the ground are policemen from the Okeodo Divisional Headquarters to prevent the looting of unaffected shops.

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BIG STORY

Stay Away From Duty Posts, NASU, SSANU Direct Varsity Workers As Strike Begins

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Academic activities will be paralyzed in the universities across the Federation from today as the Non-Academic Staff Union of Universities and Educational Institutions and the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU), have issued a directive to all their members to stay away from their duty posts from Monday.

The unions, under the Joint Action Committee (JAC) of NASU and SSANU, also warned their branches that the strike is “total and comprehensive” and that “no form of concession or internal arrangement should be made with management,” during the strike.

The directive was dated 16th August 2019 and signed by the General Secretary of NASU, Comr Peters Adeyemi and the National President of SSANU, Comr. Samson Ugwoke.

The directive which was addressed to all branch chairmen, Joint Action Committee of NASU and SSANU, also warned that any defaulting branch would be sanctioned.

They were directed to fully mobilize their members and ensure full compliance, as the leadership would not hesitate to sanction any defaulting branch.

In the first phase, the directive said the strike will last for five days, as a result of government failure to attend to their demands after the expiration of the 14-day ultimate earlier issued to the government. The Ultimatum ended on Sunday.

The Ultimatum read: “Following the expiration of the 14 day ultimatum given to the Government and its failure to show firm commitment towards resolving the following issues: Payment of Earned Allowances; University Staff Schools matter; Renegotiation of 2009 Agreements; you are hereby directed to embark on a five (5) day strike effective from Monday, 19th to Friday, 23rd August 2019.

“Be informed that the strike is total and comprehensive for the five days. No form of concession or internal arrangement should be made with management while all members must be directed to stay away from their duty posts.

“Kindly recall the decision of the National Executive Councils of the two unions to the effect that Branches that default in compliance should be sanctioned.

“The National leadership shall not hesitate in this regard. You are hereby directed to fully mobilize your members and ensure full compliance.”

(Nigerian Tribune)

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BIG STORY

Presidency Queries FIRS Boss Babatunde Fowler Over N12.6Trillion Tax Collection

Peter Okunoren

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The Presidency appears displeased with the taxes the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has collected in the last three years.

This is despite the fact that the FIRS generated the largest revenue in the nation’s tax history when it collected N5.3 trillion in taxes in 2018 and is targeting N8 trillion in 2019.

The Presidency conveyed its displeasure at the FIRS’ collection efforts in a query issued to the Executive Chairman of the FIRS Mr. Tunde Fowler by the Chief of Staff to the President, Alhaji Abba Kyari.

The query circulating in the social media titled: “Re: Budgeted FIRS Collections and Actual Collections”, reads: “Your attached letter (FIRS/EC/ECW/0249/19/027 dated 26 July 2019) on the above subject matter refers.

“We observed significant variances between the budgeted collections and actual collections for the period 2015 to 2018.

“Accordingly, you are kindly invited to submit a comprehensive variance analysis explaining the reasons for the variances between budgeted and actual collections for each main tax item for each of the years 2015 to 2018.

The query marked “Restricted” added that “we observed that the actual collections for the period 2015 to 2017 were significantly worse than what were collected between 2012 and 2014. Accordingly, you are kindly invited to explain the reason for the poor collections.”

Kyari directed Fowler “to respond by 19 August 2019.”

The development has raised questions over the propriety of the query, given that there is no Minister for Finance and the query did not come from the Permanent Secretary of the ministry.

In January 2019, Executive Chairman of the FIRS, Mr. Tunde Fowler, announced in Lagos that the Service broke its collection records by generating N5.3 trillion from taxes collected and is targeting N8 trillion for 2019.

According to Fowler, the N5.320 trillion collection is considered to be the highest revenue ever generated by FIRS in history.

The highest in FIRS was N5.07 trillion generated in 2012 under Ms. Ifueko Omoigui.

Fowler said “FIRS’ generation of N5.3 trillion is significant as it was at a period when oil prices averaged $70 per barrel. Oil price was at an average of $100 to $120 per barrel between 2010 and 2013.”

In realizing this milestone, the FIRS boss noted that the non-oil component of the N5.320 trillion is N2.467 trillion that was (53.62 percent), while the oil element of the collection was N2.852 trillion (46.38 percent). From audit alone, the FIRS collected N212,792 billion from 2,278 cases with a huge reduction in audit circle.

In spite of this achievement, Tunde Fowler lamented that “while we have been steadily increasing revenue collection over the years, our cost of collection has actually been going down. In 2016, we collected N3,307 trillion, in 2017 we collected N4,027 trillion and in 2018 we collected N5,320 trillion.

“Meanwhile, the cost of collection as a percentage of actual taxes collected has been reducing; in 2016 it was 2.6%, in 2017 it was 2.49% while in 2018 it was 2.14%.” The FIRS is entitled to 4% cost of collection.

He added: “The Service has been making tremendous efforts in also increasing the amount of non-oil revenue it collects. The non-oil collection has contributed 64.99% in 2016, in 2017 it contributed 62.25% and in 2018 it contributed 53.62%.

“This represents the government’s focus on increasing non-oil sources of revenue and the diversification of the Nigerian economy.”

(The Nation)

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