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Ahead of the 2019 elections, series of meetings were yesterday held in the Seat of Caliphate, Sokoto and Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, between the leadership of the main opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and high ranking members of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Though held under the cover of condolence visits, it was learnt that the marathon meetings took place preparatory to the defection of some APC leaders to the PDP.

PDP national chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, led party leaders to meet with Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki; APC governors – Aminu Tambuwal (Sokoto), Samuel Ortom (Benue) and Abdulfattah Ahmed (Kwara) in Ilorin and Sokoto.

Report says PDP is perfecting strategies ahead of the defection of Saraki, Tambuwal, Ortom, Ahmed and high ranking members of the APC before the end of July.

“We will soon take over the control of the National Assembly leadership. The three governors are almost in PDP. We will soon harvest APC members,” a source at the meeting told New Telegraph.

Four PDP presidential aspirants namely Atiku Abubakar, Ibrahim Shekarau, Tanimu Turaki and Sule Lamido were part of the meeting.

Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State; Chairman, Board of Trustees (BoT) of the PDP, Senator Walid Jibril; and National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Mr. Kola Ologbodiyan, among others, were also in attendance.

The first meeting was held in Sokoto. The meeting with Tambuwal, which lasted for about 35 minutes, had Secondus, Jibril, former Vice President Abubakar, Shekarau, Turaki, and Lamido, among others.

The Ilorin meeting was held after some of the dignitaries had taken part in the eighth day fidau prayers for Alhaja Aishat Baraje, mother of former National Chairman of defunct New Peoples Democratic Party (NPDP), Alhaji Kawu Baraje.

Other dignitaries at the prayer session include Deputy National Chairman of the APC (North), Lawan Shuaibu and his Southern counterpart, Niyi Adebayo; Senators Barnabas Gemade and Shabba Lafiagi; members of Kwara State House of Assembly; representatives of the Emir of Ilorin and Arewa Youth Consultative Forum (AYCF), as well as members of the Kwankwansiya Movement in the state.

Those who did not participate in the prayer session, but were present at the Ilorin meeting are Tambuwal, Lamido, and Secondus.

Yesterday was the second time the PDP national chairman would be coming to Ilorin within five days.

Secondus had earlier visited the Baraje family house on Saturday, where he warned against rigging in the now concluded governorship election in Ekiti State.

No one was ready to shed light on the outcome of the meeting which took place at Saraki’s home in Ilorin. The meeting lasted about one hour before the dignitaries departed for Abuja at 4:05p.m.

Saraki’s media aides declined to speak on the issue other than to dismiss speculations about its purpose as they insisted it was merely for the fidau prayer.

The Senate President had, on his return to Ilorin on Tuesday, asked that he should be not rushed on the issue of his speculated plan to leave the APC.

It was reliably gathered that Saraki, alongside the Kwara State governor and their supporters, are on their way out of the APC.

Senior Special Assistant (Media) to Governor Ahmed, Dr. Muideen Akorede, said while his principal is yet to defect from the APC, there are indications that he and other political leaders are being gradually shown the way out of the ruling party.
His words: “Kwara State governor, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed, is yet to take a decision on his political future with the APC.

“While I have not been briefed on any planned defection, I am aware that my principal and other political leaders in the state are gradually being shown the way out of the APC.”

Earlier, Ortom had told newsmen that his meeting with the national leadership of the APC slated for yesterday (Wednesday) will determine his next political move. He, however, explained that the final decision lies on his people who are more important to him.

Ortom said the Benue State chapter of APC had issued him a red card and hoped that the national leadership of the party, which is the larger body, is capable of upturning the decision of the state chapter.

Ortom said: “I have told you before that I have been given red card by the leadership of the party in Benue State, but I am happy that the national leadership of APC has invited me. I am meeting them today (Wednesday) by 3p.m. I will listen to them. Of course, as the Supreme Council of the APC in Nigeria, maybe they can reverse what was done to me in Benue State. But I will go back to my people and still inform them. Then I will decide on what to do. It depends on the people; I am the people’s governor. It’s whatever they tell me that I will do.”
The meeting didn’t hold yesterday.

Speaking after the Sokoto meeting with Tambuwal, Secondus, who led a PDP delegation to commiserate with the Sokoto State governor over the recent killing of 39 people in Tabanni village of the state, challenged the Federal Government to live up to its responsibilities by stopping the killings and destruction of property across the country.

The PDP national chairman, who expressed deep concern over incessant loss of lives in the country, noted that Nigerians are now living in fear due to persistent killings.

According to him, President Muhammadu Buhari should focus on addressing the security challenges bedevilling the country rather than embarking on foreign trips.

His words: “How long will it take the government to put in place the necessary security architecture to tackle these problems? The Federal Government is doing nothing and the governors have no control over security in their states.

“Nigerians are now liv ing in pains and fear of the unknown because the killings are too many. From Zamfara to Sokoto, Borno, Benue, Plateau, Taraba and Adamawa states, what we see every day is bloodshed across the nation.”

Condoling with the government and people of Sokoto over the recent killings in the state, he said: “We are in Sokoto in solidarity to the people that lost their loved ones and I urge you to take heart in this period of sorrow.”

In his remark, Tambuwal expressed appreciation to the PDP leadership for the visit and concern to the good people of Sokoto State.

When contacted, Ologbodiyan described the meeting as a gathering of like minds.

Ologbodiyan said: “It was a brotherhood meeting. Our leaders met and they shared thoughts on the future of Nigeria and how to improve on the living condition of Nigeria and how to make Nigeria a better place for all to live in.

“It was a convergence of notable Nigerians. Do not forget that the essence of today was to commiserate with Alhaji Baraje on the death of his mother. When politicians meet, they must discuss politics and how to improve on the standard of living of Nigerians. It will not be wrong to say that some issues were discussed.

BIG STORY

ASUU Replies Adamu On Students’ Compensation Comment

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The Academic Staff Union of Universities on Thursday said it “had no words” for the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu.

It was earlier reported that the minister of Education during the 47th Session of the State House Ministerial Briefing organized by the Presidential Communications Team at the Aso Rock Villa, Abuja said ASUU should compensate students for the period wasted.

Adamu had also said the government would not pay the university workers for the time lost.

Speaking with our correspondent, ASUU National President, Prof. Osodeke simply said, “We have no words for him”.

ASUU had embarked on strike on Monday, February 14, 2022, following what the union tagged as the failure of the government to meet some of the lingering demands of the union.

The union is seeking the release of revitalization funds for universities, deployment of the University Transparency Accountability System for the payment of university lecturers; release of earned allowances among others.

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BIG STORY

Strike: ASUU Must Compensate Students For Wasting Their Time – FG

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Adamu Adamu, Nigeria’s minister of education, has said it is the responsibility of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to compensate students for the time wasted during the six-month strike, and not the Federal Government.

Adamu who spoke on Thursday, also said the government will not concede to the union’s demand to pay lecturers their emoluments for the six months of no academic activities.

The minister suggested that the affected students should “take ASUU to court” to claim damages incurred over the strike period.

The Education minister said this at the 47th Session of the State House Ministerial Briefing organized by the Presidential Communications Team at the Aso Rock Villa, Abuja.

According to him, the federal government bears no liability to compensate millions of students grounded for six months over lost time.

He also said if the students are determined to get compensated, they should take ASUU to court.

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BIG STORY

BREAKING: Lagos Govt. Extends Okada Ban To Mushin, Oshodi, 7 Other LGAs

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The Lagos State Government has extended the ban on commercial motorcycles popularly called Okada to four more Local Govt Areas and five Local Council Development Areas.

As gathered, the state Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has directed full enforcement from September 1, 2022.

The additional councils where the total Okada ban is pronounced include Kosofe Local Government, Oshodi-Isolo Local Government, Shomolu Local Government, and Mushin Local Government.

Others are Ikosi-Isherri LCDA, Agboyi-Ketu LCDA, Isolo LCDA, Bariga LCDA, and Odi-Olowo LCDA.

Sanwo-Olu had in May banned the operation of commercial motorcycles on highways and six local governments and nine LCDAs. The governor announced that the ban is “indefinite and total”.

The six local governments listed by the governor are Ikeja, Surulere, Eti-Osa, Lagos Mainland, Lagos Island, and Apapa. The ban followed the February 2020 restriction placed on the activities of commercial motorcycles.

Sanwo-Olu said the Government decided in line with the State’s Transport Sector Reform Law of 2018 to immediately address the chaos and menace created by the operations of Okada in the listed areas. He told the police to enforce the order without compromise.

He said, “After a critical review of our restriction on Okada activities in the first six Local Government Areas where we restricted them on February 1, 2020, we have seen that the menace has not abated. We are now directing a total ban on Okada activities across the highways and bridges within these six Local Government and their Local Council Development Areas, effective from June 1, 2022.

“This is a phased ban we are embarking on this period, and we expect that within the short while when this ban will be enforced, Okada riders in other places where their activities are yet to be banned can find something else to do. We have given the notice now and we expect all commercial motorcycles plying the routes in the listed councils and areas to vacate the highways before enforcement begins. The enforcement will be total.”

Following reactions that greeted the ban’s announcement, the governor on May 24 insisted that the state government would go ahead with its proposed ban on motorcycles, adding that security services and government are on the same page with respect to the banning of motorcycles in the selected areas of the state.

He also assured that the security architecture of the state would not be compromised in any way so that Lagos residents will continue to live their lives and do their business without any fear or favour.

He said, “The security meeting gives us an opportunity for us to review the recent pronouncement on the future banning of Okada (motorcycles) in some selected local governments and LCDAs.

“We are able to put strategies in place. All of us were able to identify a lot of other things we need to do to embark on advocacy and ensure that we communicate effectively and efficiently to citizens. And that is why you see us giving out handbills in all of the major languages that we have in the country.

“There is a radio jingle being sent out to also communicate to people. I am also aware that there is a plan for advocacy on television stations as well.

“It is a people-driven initiative that we all agreed to live and to comport ourselves in a similar manner. And we know what has been the effect of this. So, I am happy that all of us, the security operatives and government are on the same page with this and we will also be going ahead with our plans.”

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