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APC Parallel Congresses: Amosun, Aregbesola, Lai May Lose Out, Party To Back Governors

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There were strong indications on Sunday that in states where parallel congresses were held, the All Progressives Congress would recognize executive councils supported by incumbent governors in the APC states.

A member of the party’s national caucus, who confided in one of our correspondents, also said in non-APC states, the party would recognize congresses endorsed by the highest political office holders in such states.

It was gathered that if the party’s stand was anything to go by, chieftains of the party including Senator Ibikunle Amosun, the Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbeola, and the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, might lose out in the power tussle in their states.

Violence and protests rocked the APC congresses that were held across the country on Saturday with factions emerging in states including Lagos, Ogun, Kwara, Osun, and Kano.

In Ogun State, a faction loyal to a former Governor of the state, Senator Amosun, which held its congress at the palace of Alake of Egbaland, elected Chief Derin Adebiyi as the chairman.

But another faction supported by the incumbent Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, held its congress at the MKO Abiola Stadium, where Chief Yemi Sanusi, emerged as the chairman.

In Kano State, while Governor Abdullahi Ganduje’s faction elected Abdullahi Abbas as chairman, while a rival group led by Senator Ibrahim Shekarau elected Haruna Zago to head the party.

The Lagos State APC congress, which was held at the Mobolaji Johnson Arena Stadium, was attended by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu.

Cornelius Ojelade emerged as the consensus chairman at the congress, while a rival faction, Lagos4Lagos, at the Airport Hotel Ikeja, elected Sunday Ajayi from the Agege Local Government to lead the party.

In Osun State, parallel congresses were also held by groups loyal to the state Governor, Adegboyega Oyetola, and his predecessor, Aregbesola.

In Kwara State, groups loyal to Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq and Minister of Information and Culture, Mohammed also elected different officers.

On Sunday, It was gathered in Abuja that in line with its tradition, the APC would accord recognition to the governors and in some cases, the highest political office holders from states where the party was not in power.

A member of the party’s national caucus, who spoke to one of our correspondents on condition of anonymity, “so as not to jeopardize reconciliation efforts” said, “Why will a former governor want to challenge a sitting governor who we all know is the leader of the party in the state? It has been the practice to respect our sitting governors in such matters.”

This, our correspondents learnt, was in response to cases of parallel congresses in Ogun, Kwara, Enugu, and Kano states among others.

Besides APC-controlled states, parallel executive councils also emerged in some states not controlled by the party.

For example in Enugu State, a former Commissioner for Works, Mr Ugochukwu Agballah, and an ex-Chairman of the party, Adolphus Udeh, emerged as chairmen at the parallel congresses held on Saturday.

While Agballah emerged from the faction of a former President of the Senate, Chief Ken Nnamani at a congress held at Destiny Event Centre, Enugu, Udeh emerged from the faction of the outgoing Caretaker Committee Chairman, Dr Ben Nwoye at a congress held at the party’s secretariat.

Agballa, after his election, said that his emergence as state chairman of the party signaled a new dawn for the APC in the state.

Ude on his part, stated, “I want to also commend in a special way the Dr Ben Nwoye-led executive and the Enugu state congress committee for conducting a free and fair election today.”

In Sokoto State, two factions also emerged. A congress, which was held at the party state secretariat, was attended by a former governor of Sokoto State and Senator representing Sokoto Central, Aliyu Wamakko; Senator Ibrahim Gobir, the Minister for Police Affairs, Maigari Dingyadi, former Minister for Transport, Yusuf Suleiman, among others.

Isa Sadiq Acida was re-elected as the chairman at the congress while a splinter faction led by three-term federal legislator Abdullahi Balarabe Silame, produced Muhammad Daji as the chairman.

 

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UK Imposes Travel Restrictions On Six African Countries As New COVID-19 Variant Emerges

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The UK government has imposed temporary travel restrictions on six African countries following the emergence of a new COVID-19 variant in South Africa.

A new variant of the coronavirus, B.1.1.529, was discovered in South Africa three days ago and 59 cases have been confirmed in South Africa, Hong Kong, and Botswana.

Although the variant is yet to be detected in the UK, it has gone ahead to announce that travelers from South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho, and Eswatini, will not be allowed into their shores from 12:00 GMT Friday (1 p.m. Nigerian time).

According to Sajid Javid, the UK health secretary, “the UK Health Security Agency is investigating a new variant. More data is needed but we’re taking precautions now.”

“From noon tomorrow, November 26, six African countries will be added to the red list, flights will be temporarily banned, and UK travellers must quarantine.”

Experts have said that the B.1.1.529 variant could be the most lethal and worrying yet. This is because of its “awful spike mutation profile”, which scientists fear could help it evade immunity. Early reports suggest it is capable of reducing vaccine efficiency to just 30 percent.

“The first indications we have of this variant are that it may be more transmissible than the Delta variant and that the vaccines we currently have may be less effective,” Mr Javid said.

According to him, British scientists are “very concerned” by this variant.

“We will ask anyone arriving from these countries from 4 a.m. on Sunday to quarantine themselves in hotels,” Mr Javid said, adding that those arriving before that date will have to self-isolate and do two PCR tests on the second and eighth day of their confinement.

“And if someone has arrived from these countries in the last ten days, we will ask them to do PCR tests,” he added.

The WHO will hold a special meeting following the emergence of this new variant.

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Chidinma Sold Ataga’s Laptop To Me For N495,000 —– Computer Village Businessman

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A businessman, Mr Ifeoluwa Oluwo, has narrated how the laptop of the murdered Chief Executive Officer of Super TV, Michael Ataga, was sold to him for N495,000 by Chidinma Ojukwu two days after Ataga’s body was found.

Chidinma, a 300-level Mass Communication student of the University of Lagos, was accused of killing Ataga.

The undergraduate and two others, Adedapo Quadri and Chioma Egbuchu, are undergoing trial before Justice Yetunde Adesanya of the Lagos State High Court sitting at the Tafawa Balewa Square, Lagos State.

At the resumed hearing on Thursday, Oluwo, the third prosecution witness, was led in evidence by the Lagos State prosecuting counsel, Mr Yusuf Sule.

Oluwo said he sells phones, laptops, and accessories at Computer Village, Ikeja, Lagos, and has been in the business for five years.

According to him, after seeing Chidinma on social media after the sale of the laptop, he immediately ensured that all her documents were kept handy.

The witness identified Chidinma as a customer who had purchased a phone on April 30 and also sold a laptop on June 18, at the same office.

Oluwo said, “On June 18, Chidinma sold me a MacBook Pro laptop for N495,000 after negotiations and market value comparison. In order to make a sale, you have to submit some documents and fill a form with your government identification card, driving license, international passport, voters’ card, and National Identification Number.

“You also have to fill a form which includes email, phone number, house address, and full name. It will also contain the full value of the item for that day, the name of the item, and the serial number of the item.

“This is what we do to contact a customer if there are any issues.

“I asked Chidinma to unlock the laptop and she did. So, I conducted my internal observation which included speed performance, the circle count of the battery, and general functionality.

“After that, I proceeded to ask questions, ‘Do you have a receipt for this laptop?’

“She stated that it was a gift from her boyfriend and that she had two laptops and needed to sell one to pay some bills.

“I conducted a check on a website for my market evaluation. I confirmed the value of the laptop. It was $1,000 to $1,200. The exchange rate of dollars at that time was N400 to N450 and she wanted to sell for N600,000. We were able to negotiate for N495,000, which I initiated from my UBA bank account to her Sterling bank account.”

When asked if Chidinma had produced the receipt of the laptop, Oluwo stated that she was not able to provide the receipt as she had insisted that it was a gift from her boyfriend.

“After the sale of the laptop, we saw her face on social media regarding a murder case. A few days later, the police from the State Criminal Investigation Department, Panti, invited my manager, Olutayo Abayomi.

“When I got to the police station, I discovered that it was in connection to the laptop we bought from Chidinma on June 18.

“We both made a statement detailing how we came about the laptop and how we made the purchase.

“We gave the police the documents of the former owner, which included a copy of her voters’ card, a copy of our form, and all receipts which already have her information regarding the laptop.

“There is no way we can detect that a phone or laptop was a stolen one,” Oluwo said.

During cross-examination, Chidinma’s counsel, Onwuka Egbu, asked if he was shown any documents, receipts, or proof of ownership to show that the laptop was not for the first defendant at Panti but the witness said he was not shown any.

Justice Adesanya adjourned the case till November 29, for the continuation of trial.

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New COVID Variant Of ‘Serious Concern’ Detected In South Africa

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A new variant of the coronavirus has been detected in South Africa.

The variant, B.1.1.529, is said to have a high number of mutations, which may be a source of concern in relation to immunity and transmissibility.

Confirming the discovery in a statement on Thursday, the NICD said 22 positive cases of the new variant have so far been detected in the country.

“The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), a division of the National Health Laboratory Service, confirms that through collaborative efforts with private laboratories and the NGS-SA members, a new COVID-19 variant, B.1.1.529, has been detected in South Africa,” the statement reads.

“Twenty-two positive cases of variant B.1.1.529 have been recorded in the country following genomic sequencing collaborations between the NICD and private laboratories. In addition, other NGS-SA laboratories are confirming more cases as sequencing results come out.”

According to the statement, Adrian Puren, NICD acting executive director, said it is “not surprising” that a new variant has been detected in South Africa.

“Although the data are limited, our experts are working overtime with all the established surveillance systems to understand the new variant and what the potential implications could be. Developments are occurring at a rapid pace and the public has our assurance that we will keep them up to date,” Puren said.

The institute said Joe Phaahla, the country’s health minister, confirmed that the new variant has also been detected in Botswana and in Hong Kong.

He said the variant was of “serious concern” and behind an “exponential” increase in reported cases, making it “a major threat”.

Michelle Groome, head of the division of public health surveillance and response at the NICD, also said provincial health authorities remain on high alert and are prioritizing the sequencing of COVID-19 positive samples.

“This means that individuals should get vaccinated, wear masks, practice healthy hand hygiene, maintain social distancing, and gather in well-ventilated spaces. Individual compliance to preventative measures can have a great collective impact in limiting the spread of the new variant,” she added.

As of September 2021, the World Health Organisation (WHO) had identified five COVID variants — Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, and Mu.

While it is not unexpected that there will be more variants of the coronavirus, prior to the detection of the B.1.1. 529, the Delta variant had been linked to a high infection rate.

The Delta COVID variant was confirmed in Nigeria in July 2021, and is currently the most dominant strain in the country.

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