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War Of Words: I Don’t Know Any Godfather In Lagos, Says El-Rufai…Talk Is Cheap,El-Rufai Can Say Whatever He Likes, Asiwaju Remains Our Leader, Lagos APC Declares

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Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State said Monday he owed no apologies to anyone regarding his advice to Lagos residents last week to discountenance godfathers in their political dealings.

The governor, who spoke to State House correspondents after meeting behind closed doors with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, however, did not mention any name.

But in a swift reaction last night, Lagos State chapter of All Progressives Congress, APC, said talk was cheap, adding Tinubu remained their leader saying: ‘”they want to be like ASIWAJU, they want to command respect, they want the world to accept them the way they have accepted ASIWAJU , they want to get great followers like ASIWAJU BAT, they want to be admired the way people admire ASIWAJU, they want the people to love them the way they love ASIWAJU, they want to stand tall anywhere they go like ASIWAJU, they want to attract attention like ASIWAJU, they want to be celebrated and honored like ASIWAJU, they want to be worshiped the way ASIWAJU’s great followers worship him, they want be lifted up the way God has lifted ASIWAJU up, they want to be noticed like ASIWAJU, they want to stand out like ASIWAJU and they want to influence decisions at all levels like ASIWAJU, etc.’
Recall that the Kaduna State governor’s recent comments in Lagos were largely construed by pundits in the media as a deliberate attack on the national leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC and former Lagos State Governor Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, who has a strong influence on political developments in the state.

But el-Rufai told journalists that he stood by what he said, even as he dismissed insinuations that he was at loggerheads with the party leadership.

He said: “There is no dispute between me and anyone in the APC, the APC is one family, I don’t dispute with my own party. They may dispute with me but I don’t.

“I made comments in Lagos about how to retire godfathers. It is a template that we have used in Kaduna and it has worked. If anybody thinks he is a godfather, the template may apply to him but I am not in dispute with anyone.

“I expressed my views firmly and very clearly, there is no human being that I am afraid to express my views on, and when I am ready to express my views, specifically on a particular name, then I will do so but I haven’t.”

Pressed to know if he wanted Tinubu retired as the godfather of Lagos politics, the governor said he was in same party as the former Lagos State governor, adding that they got along very well. ”But I don’t know if he is the godfather of Lagos, it’s up to him to say that. What I know for sure is that we have retired godfathers in Kaduna and I have told those that asked me the question that ‘there are six million registered voters in Lagos but only one million voted,’ in the last election.

”So there are five million people that you can bring into the electoral play ground and you can defeat anyone if you work hard’.

“It’s hard work, it’s four years. That is what I said and if anyone feels offended by that, that is his or her business. “I have no apologies, I don’t apologise for my views.
My views are thought-out and I put them there. I don’t have to explain anything to anyone. This is a democracy, and in a democratic space, there must be room for people to express their views.”

On why he was at the State House, the governor said: “I came to see Mr President to brief him on the general security situation in Kaduna which I do from time to time and also to update him on the various initiatives by the Inspector General of Police (IGP), the SSS, and the Army, with a view to improving the security situation in Kaduna in general and particularly along the Abuja-Kaduna road.

“I want to say that the initiatives put in place have made the road quite safe now. I can say confidently that anyone can get on that road because I don’t want to go into details of the measures that have already been put in place but I am confident with the security system in place now that people can be confident to drive on the Abuja-Kaduna road without any fear.”

Reacting to el-Rufai’s statement yesterday, Publicity Secretary, Lagos chapter of All Progressives Congress, APC, Mr. Joe Igbokwe, said: “Talk is cheap, anybody can make any statement. They want to be like Asiwaju, they want to command respect, they want the world to accept them the way they have accepted Asiwaju, they want to be admired the way people admire Asiwaju.

Tinubu lauds Nigerians on Buhari’s re-election says he will continue anti-corruption fight “But in actions and deeds, they are not like Asiwaju. In character and in tolerance, they are not like Asiwaju.

In commitment and hard work, they are not like BAT. In grace and empathy, they are not like BAT. In temperament and love for humanity, they are not like Asiwaju.

”They cannot surrender their home to the people the way BAT has been doing. They cannot fight for others the way BAT does. They cannot deny themselves freedom for the sake of others the way BAT does. They cannot stand for the ordinary people the way Asiwaju does.

”They cannot be trusted the way we trust BAT. They cannot give the way BAT does.
They cannot sacrifice what BAT has sacrificed for humanity for close to 40 years.

They cannot live for others the way Asiwaju has done for years. I can go on and on but he who must lead others must first lead himself.

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We Can Treat COVID-19 Patient In Our State, Akeredolu Boasts

Peter Okunoren

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Ondo State Governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, has said that the state is well equipped to treat the only COVID-19 patient it currently has.

Governor Akeredolu said the patient would not be transferred to Lagos State.

Speaking at a world press conference in Akure, Governor Akeredolu said the state’s own Infectious Disease Hospital where the patient is currently admitted has all the needed facilities.

The Ondo Governor urged the people not to be scared as the patient did not leave the premises of a military barrack when he returned from Indian.

Akeredolu stated that the military officer returned from Indian on an official assignment and was placed on self-isolation but developed symptoms on Friday which made his samples to be collected and tested positive.

He said they have begun contact tracing and told those traced to self-isolate in the barracks.

According to him, “We have moved the patient to our Infectious Disease Hospital (IDH). He has been receiving treatment and has been stable.

“If you trace the history of the officer, it leaves us with little or no potential of expansion. The man came in from Indian and on his return placed himself on self-isolation. Whatever it is, all we have to do to prevent the spread has been done with this man being in self-isolation

“We have contained it within a room or the barrack. There was never a time the man left the barrack. Our people have no reason to fear. We want to strengthen our precautionary measures. The school’s closure will remain until further notice. We have suspended public gatherings and social activities that will involve a crowd. We scaled down physical activities at the secretariat. We have to close done our markets. We directed a lockdown of our borders. This became necessary because we discovered a high movement of people from states that closed their borders.

“We have set up a special relief distribution committee. The committee is to purchase and share food through the local government.

“There is no way we can list how many contacts we are tracing. We have a well-equipped facility here in Ondo. We believe it will be enough for us. We will treat people here in our facilities. we pray there will not be any expansion. The module we have adopted is to have isolation centers in senatorial districts.

“If we have the means, we are going to spend millions of naira on palliatives. We are going to reach as many people as possible. There is no cause for fear. We should live a normal life. People should stay more at home.”

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Federal Government Seeks NASS Approval To Establish N500bn COVID-19 Intervention Fund

Gbemileke Ajayi

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The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, on Saturday, met with the leadership of the National Assembly to intimate it on an Executive proposal to establish a N500 billion COVID-19 Crisis Intervention Fund.

Ola Awoniyi, the Special Adviser to the President of Senate, Ahmad Lawan, in a statement said that the minister held the meeting with the President of the Senate and senior officials of the ministry at the National Assembly Complex in the Federal Capital Territory.

Also in attendance were the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila, Deputy President of the Senate, Sen. Ovie Omo-Agege; Deputy Speaker, Idris Wase, and some principal officers of both Chambers.

The meeting is a follow-up to another one held on March 25 between the National Assembly leadership and members of the Presidential Committee set up for the management of the COVID-19 crisis.

“What we are proposing is the establishment of a N500 billion COVID-19 Crisis Intervention Fund.

“This Fund that we are proposing should be created will involve mopping up resources from various special accounts that the government, as well as the Federation, have to be able to pull this N500 billion,” the minister said.

Ahmed added that in addition to the identified special accounts from where the money would be drawn as loans, the proposed intervention fund would also be sourced from grants being expected and loans from multilateral institutions.

“Our general view is that this crisis intervention fund is to be utilised to upgrade healthcare facilities as earlier identified.

“The Federal Government also needs to be in a position to improve health care facilities not only in the states but to provide intervention to the states,’’ she said.

Ahmed explained to the lawmakers that the Fund if approved, would also take care of special Public Work Programmes currently being implemented by the National Directorate of Employment (NDE).

“We know that there will be a need for the parliament to agree and approve the taking of loans from these special accounts and we will be coming back with a proposed bill in that regard that will define what the fund will be used for,’’ the minister said.

Earlier in his remarks, the Senate President said the meeting was in fulfilment of an earlier promise to provide support as the need arises in this time of crisis.

“Just like we told Nigerians when there is need for us to meet or to take legislative action in support of ensuring that the government responds appropriately to development issues and challenges in the country, we will do so.

“This meeting, the second in the series after we shut down the National Assembly for two weeks, is a clear testimony of what we have said.

“Governance requires that we work together, so we want to listen to those things that you have on your side and how we can also play our constitutional role in ensuring that Nigerians continue to benefit from governance.

“And to also see how we are able to weather the storm created by COVID-19.

“Going forward, we need to interact more because very fundamental decisions will need to be taken, and these decisions can only be said to be constitutionally legal if the legislature gives its stamp of authority for the executive to implement and execute.

“I think coming to us for those loans is critical because we are in an emergency and time is of the essence.

“So, we must work as expeditiously as possible to ensure that we place the request before the National Assembly.

“I think time has come for us to redefine the implementation of the Social Intervention Programme, because probably going out to communities to give them N20,000 per person might not be the best way to go.

“It is still an effort, but I think we need a better approach that will be more efficient,’’ Lawan said. (NAN)

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BREAKING: Lagos Deputy Governor, Obafemi Hamzat Tests Negative For COVID-19

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The Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Dr Obafemi Hamzat, has tested negative for Coronavirus.

Hamzat stated the result of his status through his twitter handle on Saturday.

He said that the COVID-19 test was not a pleasant experience.

He said that it was important for him to do it because as a leader nothing should distract him from his role at this period.

He thanked all health workers and appealed to the residents of the state to play their role and ended the tweet with the hashtag #StayHomeSaveLives.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that a breakdown of the cases by states shows that Lagos now has 109 cases; Abuja- 41; Osun- 22; Oyo- eight; Edo- seven; Akwa Ibom- five; Ogun and Kaduna have four cases each.

Others are: Bauchi- three; Enugu and Ekiti- two cases each, while Rivers, Benue and Ondo States have one case respectively.

(NAN)

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