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Governors, legislators and political leaders cutting across the two major political parties – the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) – met Tuesday night at an undisclosed location to continue discussions on the formation of a new major political party expected to wrest power from APC in 2019.

The nocturnal meeting came hours after former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s bombshell in the form of an open letter to President Muhammadu Buhari, advising him not to re-contest the 2019 presidential election.

A report this morning by THISDAY quoted undisclosed sources as saying that last night’s meeting was a follow-up to previous meetings held by the amorphous group of political leaders in Dubai, Saudi Arabia and London, with the objective of forming a “third force” that can meet the aspirations of its members.

The paper quoted one source “who provided clarity on the coalescing of politicians that can trounce the APC and PDP in the next general election” as explaining that the concept of a third force in the political firmament has two strands.

His words: “One is the Nigeria Intervention Movement (NIM) that is not a political party but is trying to galvanise professionals, civil society groups and activists to support credible candidates in different parties.

“The second is an amorphous group of political leaders, serving and former governors and National Assembly members of both parties, as well as retired military leaders who have been meeting in places like Dubai, Saudi Arabia and London to fashion out a modus vivendi for the new party that will challenge both the APC and PDP.”

The source, according to the report, however, explained that even though the political leaders had bought into the formation of a third major party and were waiting in the wings to step out once it is formed, they are conscious of the fact that there may be insufficient time to get it registered by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) before the elections.

“Since time is of the essence and most of the politicians who want to dump the APC and PDP for this new party know that there might not be enough time to get it registered, they are also on the hunt for one of the already registered political parties that they can use as a platform to actualise their goals,” he said.

Providing more insight into what may have galvanised some politicians from the two main parties to push for the formation of another party, the source, according to THISDAY, said those from the APC are unhappy with the trajectory of the ruling party and the fact that it has lost legitimacy, especially in the Middle Belt region of the country.

He was quoted as saying: “As you know the clashes between herdsmen and farmers, especially in Benue and Taraba States, and its mismanagement by the Buhari administration, has caused outrage and left many people in both states and the rest of the region bewildered.

“Key supporters of Buhari in Benue, Taraba and other Middle Belt states like General T.Y. Danjuma are bewildered over the way these conflicts have been handled. They believe the president could have intervened promptly, but he has failed to do so and has allowed the problem and killings to get out of control.”

Another source reportedly explained that Benue is the archetypical swing state in the North-central zone that has always voted with the winning party.

“In 1979 to 1983, Benue people backed the then ruling party, National Party of Nigeria (NPN), and it formed the government; in the current Republic, the state also backed the PDP and it formed the government; it also voted for APC and it has formed the government.

“But the killings in Benue State have caused its political leadership to reassess their support for the APC, because Buhari has been slow to act and has allowed the problem to fester,” he said.

The report said that source disclosed that several APC leaders desirous of a new platform are also unhappy with the Kaduna State Governor, Nasir el-Rufai, and the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, who have been accused of taking over the Buhari political machinery, and have used divide and rule tactics to sideline many members of the ruling party.

He added that several APC politicians have read the writing on the wall and know that the party has eroded the goodwill on which it rode to win the 2015 elections.

“As such, they are seeking a new platform which is not the PDP, because both the APC and PDP are not popular with the Nigerian people,” the source said.

He said the reason PDP was not considered as an option stemmed from the fact that the opposition party had become too “toxic” and has been hijacked by the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, and his Ekiti State counterpart, Ayodele Fayose.

“Even Obasanjo alluded to their procurement of the Supreme Court judgment and how one of them is now dictating the tune in the PDP to do his bidding.

“Also many familiar with the move to form the new party know that the South-west is a no-go area for the PDP because of the way it treated its South-west leaders at the last national convention of the party.

“The PDP is a tainted brand and is deemed by millions of Nigerians as a corrupt party, so there is no way it can be factored as an alternative platform for aggrieved APC members,” the source added.

BIG STORY

More Trouble For Sowore As FG Charges Him With Treason, Money Laundering; Accuses Him Of Insulting Buhari

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The Federal Government on Friday filed seven counts of treasonable felony and money laundering against the Convener of #RevolutionNow protest, Mr Omoyele Sowore.

Sowore, the publisher of Sahara Reporters and a presidential candidate in the February 2019 presidential election, is charged along with Olawale Bakare, also known as Mandate.

The charges were signed on behalf of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), by Aminu Alilu, a Chief State Counsel in the Department of Public Prosecutions of the Federation, the Federal Ministry of Justice.

The charges were filed a day before the expiration of the detention order of the Federal High Court in Abuja permitting the Department of State Service to keep the activist for 45 days.

The detention order elapses on September 21.

In the charges instituted against the defendants, the prosecution accused Sowore and his co-defendant of committing conspiracy to commit treasonable felony in breach of section 516 of the Criminal Code Act by allegedly staging “a revolution campaign on September 5, 2019 aimed at removing the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria”.

The prosecution also accused them of committing the actual offence of reasonable felony in breach of section, 4(1)(c) of the Criminal Code Act, by using the platform of Coalition for Revolution, in August 2019 in Abuja, Lagos and other parts of Nigeria, to stage the #RevolutionNow protest allegedly aimed at removing the President.

It also accused Sowore of cybercrime offences in violation of section 24(1)(b) of the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention) Act, by “knowingly” sending “messages by means of press interview granted on Arise Television network which you knew to be false for the purpose of causing insult, enmity, hatred and ill-will on the person of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

It also accused Sowore of money laundering offences in breach of section 15(1) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 by alleged transferring by means of swift wire.

The sums of money he was said to have been involved in the alleged transfers were the sums of $19,975 on April 2, 2019; $20,475 on May 21, 2019, $16,975 on June 27, 2019, and another $16,975 on July 16, 2019.

The DSS arrested Sowore in Lagos on August 2, 2019, following his call for revolution in a protest he organised to take place in some major cities on August 5.

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COZA Reacts Officially To Allegations Against Biodun Fatoyinbo, Indicts Unnamed Pastors Of Jealousy; Says Busola Dakolo Never Had A Relationship With Their Founder

Peter Okunoren

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Commonwealth of Zion Assembly (COZA) has condemned what it called recent ‘unprovoked satanic campaign of calumny orchestrated against its leadership and members by agents of darkness.’

Ademola Adetuberu, Executive Senior Assistant to the Senior Pastor, in a statement on Saturday, said the church would like to break its silence and clear certain misconceptions and misinformation being churned out in order to misguide members of the church, public and relevant authorities.

It reads: “We stand with anyone who has been a victim of rape. We stand by our Founding and Senior Pastor, Rev. Biodun Fatoyinbo, who has been at the receiving end of organized blackmail and all sorts of attacks because of his innocence and we are sure that our faithful and unfailing God will vindicate him very soon.

“As for Busola Dakolo, justice will soon be served. We would like to, again, for the record reiterate that our Senior Pastor, Rev. Biodun Fatoyinbo has never had anything personal to do with her. Busola was not raped by Rev. Biodun Fatoyinbo, and she had never been in a relationship with him either.

“We see this ugly development fuelled by envy and sheer jealousy as an unnecessary distraction and a fight from the pit of hell against the ministry that God gave Rev. Biodun Fatoyinbo, as well as a declaration of war against the Church of Christ to which COZA is a flourishing branch under God’s grace.

“We are not unaware that certain pastors that felt threatened by the unprecedented growth of COZA and the grace of God upon His Servant are after some of our members, just making every effort to cash in on the attack against God’s servant. There was nothing they had not done behind the scene until this rape scandal.

“They are accusing our Pastor of snatching their members. Some are even asking why he couldn’t remain in Ilorin. Our focus is the Kingdom of God and winning souls for Christ. COZA is home to those who have sold out to Jesus. At COZA, we believe that every sent servant of God has his or her harvest field given to him or her by God and not by poaching souls or believers of another ministry.

“We, therefore, urge those sponsoring these evils to desist however if they do not, the God of vengeance will visit them. They should let Rev. Biodun Fatoyinbo continue freely with the divine mandate that our Lord Jesus Christ gave him. It is ungodly and sinful to be used by satan against the anointed”.

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BIG STORY

Police Arraign 15 Over Alleged Attempt To Kill Patience Jonathan, Rob Her Of N.3billion

Peter Okunoren

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Authorities of the Bayelsa State Police Command have arraigned 15 persons before the State High Court sitting in Yenagoa over an alleged plot to kill the former First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan and rob her of her valuables worth over N.3billion.

A 17-count charge of conspiracy to commit murder, conspiracy to commit a felony with armed robbery, malicious injury to property, conspiracy to commit felony, stealing and burglary were filed against the suspects.

Those arraigned included Golden Vivian (40 years, Erama Deborah (45yrs),Precious Kingsley (20yrs), Vincent Olabiyi (28yrs),Ebuka Cosmos (25yrs), Williams Alamo (29yrs),Tamunokuro Abaku (32yrs) and Boma Oba (42yrs).

Others include Emmanuel Aginwa(42yrs), Emeka Benson (33yrs), Tamunosiki Achese Frisberesima (30yrs), Wariboko Salome (28yrs), Sahabi Lima (35yrs),Reginald Sunday(20yrs) and John Dashe(39yrs).

The charge sheet was signed by S. A. Ofoegbu Esq. O.C. Legal State Criminal Investigation Department, Yenagoa Bayelsa State.

Defending the accused persons are Stanley Damabide, Padiowei P.P. Tamuno, E. Samuel, Chuks Momoh.

They all pleaded not guilty to all the charges.

In the charge sheet, the count 1 accused the arraigned persons of conspiring to commit murder which is an offence punishable under section 252 of the Criminal code law cap. C14 Laws of Bayelsa State.

According to the charge, ”All the accused and some at large, sometime in the month of June 2019 at Otuoke community in Ogbia local government within the Ogbia Judicial Division of the state high court did conspire to kill Her Excellency, Dame Patience Jonathan, former first lady, there committed an offense.’

”That you and some other persons at large, on the same date and place aforementioned Judicial division of Bayelsa did steal seven gold bangles and pieces of jewelry, five Samsung Air Conditioner, Two sets of upholstery chairs, six Samsung flat-screen television stands at two hundred Million Naira (N200,000,000). These are the property of Dame Patience Jonathan and thereby committed an offense.”

It would be recalled that operatives of the Operation Puff Adder of the State Police Command had in June arrested some persons over alleged involvement in the illegal entry into his home in Otuoke community in Ogbia Local Government area, carting away pieces of jewelry, custom made walking stick and other valuables worth over N.3billion.

It was gathered that one of the arrested suspects, who is a management staff of the Aridolf Resort, Hotel and Spa owned by the former First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan had mysteriously duplicated the keys to the rooms where the valuables were kept and led the forceful entry and gradual looting of the valuables.

It was also gathered that after some domestic staff to the former President discovered he was informed and he quickly called in men of the Bayelsa Police Command to effect their arrest and recover the looted valuables.

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