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.
Obi Replies El-Rufai On ‘Nollywood Actor’ Comment, Solicits For Entertainment Industry’s Support
The presidential candidate of the Labour Party, LP, Peter Obi, has reacted to the statement by the Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El-Rufai, that he should focus on Nollywood instead of running for presidency.
The former Anambra State Governor said he would work hard to improve on the Nollywood industry.
Obi gave the reply on Sunday while featuring on Arise Television’s Sunday Show Program.
Recall that El-Rufai had while featuring on the Channels Television’s programme over the week dismissed Obi’s chances in the forthcoming presidential election.
El-Rufai also claimed that Obi wouldn’t score more than 1% in Sokoto and 2% in Katsina States, respectively.
However, Obi said he would focus on the Nollywood if elected president, calling on Nigerian actors to support him since El-Rufai had tagged him as one.
He said, “I thank El Rufai for what he said, at least he gave me some percentages; I’ll work hard to improve on that. The Entertainment Industry is one of the engines that will develop us as a Nation, I’ll focus on that and Nollywood.
“And since he said I’m an actor, I’m calling on all those in the entertainment industry, including Nollywood, to support me.”
Police Arrest 10 Yoruba Nation Agitators, Dismantle Group’s Camp In Lagos
Operatives of the Lagos Police Command on Sunday arrested 10 suspected Yoruba Nation agitators over unlawful assembly.
The police also dismantled a protest camp set up by the agitators at Alausa in Ikeja ahead of the planned nationwide anti-Buhari disturbance billed to commence February 6.
According to The Nation, a flier with notice of the protest surfaced on the social media calling on all Nigerians against the lingering cash crunch and fuel scarcity to join the “Buhari Must Go” protest in all major cities.
Although unsigned, the information was however greeted by mixed reactions with those against it accusing the government of plans to stop the general elections billed to hold in two weeks.
It was gathered that the agitators had stormed Alausa with cooking wares, tents, generators, bread and other food items in order to set up their base there.
According to police sources, there were intelligence reports that the group planned to use the location as their base from where they would lunch massive protest and ground activities in the state.
Unfortunately for them, security operatives were swiftly deployed and the camp dismantled.
Confirming the incident, spokesman for the command, SP Benjamin Hundeyin told The Nation that 10 of the suspects were arrested and we’re currently being interrogated.
He said the command would not condone any form of lawlessness anywhere in the state.
Warning against any form of violence, the Force Public Relations Officer (FPPRO), CSP Olumuyiwa Adejobi, said it was clear that miscreants with criminal agenda were those behind the looting and other crimes being committed ij the guise of protest against fuel and naira scarcity.
He said: “We condemn the violent protests we have recorded so far. It’s crystal clear that these were orchestrated by hoodlums who had their targets of robbing banks’ ATM, looting shopping malls, shops, stealing from persons, etc, not peaceful protest as claimed.
“How does protest against fuel and naira scarcity affect innocent drivers, sellers, market women, and even the police, who were victims of attacks from the so-called “peaceful” protesters? In ibadan, they went to set ablaze a station, for what?
“Anyway, we will not allow any lawlessness or breakdown of law and order in any part of the country. No way. So, we want to urge well-meaning Nigerians to be patient, law abiding, and maintain decorum in whatever they do so that the long arm of the won’t catch them. Thanks.”
N195 Enforcement: Fuel Marketers Plan Operations Shutdown Beginning From Monday
Independent marketers of Premium Motor Spirit, popularly called petrol, are getting set to shut down operations beginning from Monday once the government starts the enforcement of N195/litre pump price.
It was gathered on Saturday that the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria, Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association of Nigeria, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, security agencies and the downstream regulator had all agreed that petrol be sold at N195/litre.
Oil marketers said the agreement was reached at a meeting in Abuja on Tuesday, as participants resolved that beginning from Monday, February 6, 2023, the pump price of petrol should not exceed N195/litre, a development which dealers, particularly independent marketers, described as tough due to the high ex-depot price of the commodity.
They told our correspondent that to avoid having their outlets sanctioned, many filling stations operated by independent marketers would be shut from Monday as it made no business sense to sell a product lower than the cost price.
This is likely to further prolong the petrol scarcity and queues in many parts of the country as independent marketers control about 80 per cent of filling stations nationwide.
IPMAN’s National President, Debo Ahmed, told our correspondent that the approved ex-depot price of petrol was recently raised from N148/litre by the NNPCL to N172/litre, but depots hardly dispense the commodity at this cost.
Ahmed, who was reacting to the notice to members issued by the Public Relations Officer, IPMAN Ibadan Depot branch, Mojeed Adesope, stated that marketers were advised to sell the product in stock now before the enforcement begins on Monday.
In the memo, which was sighted on Saturday, Adesope said, “The top management of NNPC, other relevant authorities in the downstream sector of the economy as well as all the security agents in the country met at on Tuesday, January 31, 2023 to begin the enforcement of pump price of PMS at N195/litre at all the filling stations across the country with Immediate effect.
“Towards that end, enforcement will commence effective from Monday, February 6, 2023 to enable you to dispose of all your remaining stock on or before the enforcement date.
“Members are hereby implored not to purchase products that they would not be able to dispense at N195/litre. The above information should be given wider spread/circulation in order not to get any member caught unawares. You are strongly advised to heed this information.”
Commenting on this, the national president of IPMAN said the information was in order as he urged other independent marketers to take note.
Ahmed stated, “The information is in order, because the depots that the NNPC gives products to are selling at a higher price, and IPMAN members will not like to leave their stations idle. And to avoid sanctions, it is better to close your station.
“So what is going to happen in essence is that marketers have to buy products using the NNPCL loading tickets, and if they don’t have the tickets, all they have to do is to close down their stations. You have to buy from the NNPCL in order to sell at the government regulated price.”
He said the NNPCL was the only importer and it often gave the product to DAPPMAN to sell to IPMAN members at a regulated rate.
Ahmed added, “They also give the product to MOMAN to sell through the stations of major marketers, but DAPPMAN has to sell to independent marketers because independent marketers do not have depots.
“The 21 NNPCL depots across the country that we rely on before now are all moribund and not working. So right now, we depend on DAPPMAN depots to get our products at the price approved by the NNPCL.
“But most times, DAPPMAN would increase their price and when you buy from them at such a high price, there is no way you are going to sell at a lower price. So, that memo is telling marketers that if they cannot get the NNPCL product to buy at the controlled price, they better not sell to avoid having their stations sealed.”
When asked for the approved price that the government, through the NNPCL, had asked depot owners to sell, Ahmed replied, “In fact, there is a lot of confusion.
“As of today, we are supposed to buy at N172/litre from the NNPCL designated depots run by DAPPMAN. But if you get there at times, you don’t buy at that price; rather, you buy at higher rates.
“Before it was N148/litre, but all of a sudden, the NNPCL just did what it did and increased the price to N172/litre, which was why they said the retail price should now be N185/litre.”
He explained that the N172 ex-depot price was without the cost of conveying petrol to wherever the marketer was taking the product to.
“If you are taking it further than 400 kilometres from the place of purchase, you are going to get the bridging claims or price equalisation. But if you are taking it within 120 kilometres or around that distance, you will get some little allowance to make you sell at a controlled price.
“But, the truth is that we don’t get the product at the controlled price of N172, which is why you see a lot of areas where they sell at higher prices.
“However, for MOMAN, because they get it at the controlled price, they take it from their depots to their stations and sell it at lower prices compared to independent marketers. Mind you, independent marketers control about 80 percent of retail outlets in Nigeria.”
In Lagos, most of the outlets that sold the product on Saturday had long queues of desperate motorists, with some selling for between N280 and N350 per litre.
A similar situation was prevalent in Ogun State, where motorists struggled to get petrol from the few filling stations that had the product. Some stations on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway sold the product for between N320 and N380 per litre.
A commercial motorist, Idris Adewale, said he had banked on getting petrol at the Nipco filling station at Magboro for N195 per litre, but was disappointed to discover that the station was under lock and key. He also claimed that the Rainoil station at Ibafo did not sell the product and he only succeeded in filling his vehicle’s tank before the Sagamu interchange for N340 per litre.
A desperate motorist, Nnamdi Goodman, claimed to have bought 10 litres for N7,000 on Airport Road in Lagos on Saturday.
“The situation is very serious now. I bought 10 litres of petrol from a black marketer on the Airport Road in Lagos on Saturday morning. That’s N700 per litre! I don’t think I can keep going like this, otherwise I will spend all my salary and savings on fuel alone,” he lamented.
In the Federal Capital Territory, many filling stations belonging to independent marketers were shut on Saturday due to lack of products to dispense, while the few ones that sold petrol dispensed it above N195/litre.
At the Khalif Civic Oil & Investment Limited filling station located in Kubwa, a suburb of Abuja, petrol was dispensed at N300/litre, while many others in obscure locations in the capital city sold above N300.
However, the few outlets of the major oil marketers and the NNPCL that sold petrol on Saturday dispensed it at the approved N195/litre pump price. But many mega stations were not open for business due to lack of products to sell.
Eterna, Gegu Oil, Sunset Energy and MRS, among others, located on the Kubwa-Zuba Expressway, were not selling the product.
Also, Major Oil filling station on Airport Road, and the NNPC filling station on Arab Road, Kubwa, did not dispense the product as they were all shut.
However, the queues in the few outlets such as Salbas around Zuba, and Conoil in the Central Business District were not too long as the preceding day due to the fact that most residents stayed indoors for the weekend.
On Thursday, the Chief Executive, Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority, Farouk Ahmed, and the Group Chief Executive Officer, NNPC Limited, Mele Kyari, disclosed that several measures were being taken to enforce the approved price of petrol and to stop the diversion of the product.
The NMDPRA boss, while speaking on sanctions against downstream operators who flouted the approved regulations, stated that over 270 filling stations and seven depots had been closed down.
“On top of shutting the depots, we also shut down over 270 retail outlets. We are doing our work and this has brought some respite in some areas,” Ahmed stated.
On his part, Kyari said the Federal Government was now deploying operatives of the Department of State Services to monitor tankers conveying petrol to filling stations in order to halt the diversion and smuggling of the product.
He stated that already, over 120 DSS officers had been deployed to follow fuel tankers to the various retail outlets in Abuja, as more security agencies were being drafted for the exercise for nationwide coverage.
“So much is going on; there are government security interventions. I know the kind of work that we do with the security agencies; for instance, in Abuja alone, we have over 120 DSS officers following every truck to fuel stations and we are activating this across the country,” Kyari said.
Meanwhile, the Chairman, IPMAN, Enugu Depot Community in charge of Anambra, Ebonyi and Enugu states, Mr Chinedu Anyaso, has said the prevailing shortage in the supply of PMS in the South-East may not end soon because of the challenges facing marketers in procuring the product.
He said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Awka on Saturday.
NAN reports that petrol now sells for between N400 and N450 per litre and between N500 and N600 in the black market in Akwa, Anambra State.
As of Saturday, most filling stations in the city were closed for lack of petrol, while the few that had the product were selling at very high prices with long queues of motorists.
Anyaso said the quantity of the product coming to the South-East had reduced by more than 50 per cent compared to the supply in normal time.
According to him, at the moment, nothing suggests the easing of the problems as some of the marketers have yet to get supplies they paid for over a month ago, except the Federal Government takes a drastic action to flood the country with the product.
Anyaso stated, “Our members, who got NNPC allocation last year, paid for the product since December, up till now they have not received their supply; rather, they asked them to pay additional money for which most of them made overdraft of between N1.4m and N1.6m.
“As you can see, most filling stations in the zone have shut down because they can no longer source petrol normally, those that have, pay through their nose to get it; that is why there are abnormal rates because they have to recover their cost and make some profits.
“It is impossible for the authorities to enforce price now; our people are making extra effort to ensure that we have the product to buy even if it is expensive.”
Anyaso said in addition to the hardship the people were facing as a result of scarcity and high prices, thousands of workers stood to lose their jobs if the problems persisted as no marketer would continue to pay workers when they were not in business.
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