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Face-off: Bode George Should Shut Up Already, Leave PDP — Jimi Agbaje

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Things seem to be falling apart in the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Lagos State.

Perhaps, this can be attributed to the party’s dismal performance in the last general elections.

The party seems not to have gotten over it and it has led to the blame game among leaders of the party.

The latest crisis rocking the Lagos PDP is between its candidate in the governorship election, Mr. Jimi Agbaje, and a former Deputy National Chairman of the party, Chief Olabode George.

The two are at each other’s throat over defection insinuations.

Bode George and Jimi Agbaje

Though, there have been insinuations making the round that Agbaje had perfected plans to dump the PDP, he has since refuted the claims.

While Agbaje accused George of insinuating his defection from the PDP, George described the former as failed governorship candidate.

Posts that Agbaje had joined APC have featured prominently on social media platforms such as WhatsApp and Facebook in the past few days.

One of the posts sighted recently both on WhatsApp and Facebook read: “Lagos PDP finally emptied as Jimi Agbaje defects to APC”.

Mr. Felix Oboagwina, media aide to Agbaje, had denied reports that his principal had dumped the opposition party.

Agbaje, through the aide, also accused the leadership of the party in Lagos of alleged plans to “give the dog a bad name and chase it away from the party.”

Oboagwina said that social media posts that Agbaje had left the PDP to join the All Progressives Congress, APC, were untrue.

He said: “There is nothing like that, nothing like that at all. He is still in PDP; he has not defected.

“How can people say he has defected on social media? He is too big for that; he is in PDP.”

When asked if there were plans by his principal to dump the PDP for APC, he answered in the negative.

While lampooning the a former Deputy National Chairman of the PDP for insinuating that he has defected to the APC, Agbaje said: “People should please tell Bode George to shut up and leave PDP if he lacks any value to add to the party, instead of being a dog in the manger hampering the progress of the party in Lagos State.

“He should tell the world where he got the news being spreading round.

“These party leaders have 2023 in mind. The game-plan is simple: Give the dog a bad name and chase it away from the party. By 2023, this mudslinging will have scared off credible people from the party, which will leave the whole field to them to continue to operate.

“I am too big to sneak out of one party into another one. And the reality remains that I have not left PDP for any other party, least of all APC.”

Describing Agbaje’s outburst as shameful, Prince Uthman Shodipe, Special Adviser to George, said the PDP candidate has “bitten the hand that fed him.”

George boasted that he gave Agbaje his first break in politics and a platform to actualize his political ambition.

The statement reads: “We have read with disgust an absolute report of idiocy that emanated from one Mr. Jimi Agbaje, who was a failed gubernatorial candidate of the PDP in last general elections in Lagos State, against the leader of the party in the state, Chief Olabode George.

“For the record, it is a public knowledge that Chief Bode George gave Agbaje his break in politics; he gave him the PDP platform without knowing him and also empowered him. It is sad and shameful that Agbaje has bitten the hand that fed him.

“Whether he has gone to APC or wherever, it is none of our business. We don’t know where he concocted this malady about Bode George saying that he has gone to APC.

“Bode George lifted him up in 2015 without knowing him; he secured the party’s ticket but his heart is not with the PDP.

“Bode George is a man of dignity and repute, he is a father of figure for the PDP not only in Lagos and South-West, but also across the nation.”

Lagos PDP also mediated in the matter, but castigated Agbaje over his comments.

The state Chairman of the party, Dr. Dominic Adegbola, threw up a new perspective on how the party lost the 2019 governorship election in Lagos.

He also expressed shock over the Agbaje’s “abusive statement” on George.

Dominic said that Agbaje was never a party candidate for the election.

According to him, Agbaje was not prepared to win the election.

The party chair was also quick to note that their candidate was imposed on them.

He accused a serving governor from the South-South and a former governor from the South-West of imposing Agbaje on the party. Dominic said Agbaje sidelined the party structure. He said: “During the governorship primary, many of the party leaders didn’t want Jimi Agbaje because he only appeared at the party every four years, but with the interference from outside the state, he eventually emerged as the party candidate.”

“But I can sense it from Agbaje’s attitude before, during and after election that he was not prepared to win and the people of Lagos had deserted him.

“He is an unwillingly candidate, uninterested in winning, he did not carry any leader along and did not campaign, he only held town hall meetings which were not well attended. Even when we drew up campaign programmes, he refused to run with it.”

The party chairman also berated Agbaje’s outburst against George, saying, “I am shocked to read such a statement from Agbaje but not very surprised because we are not expecting much from him.” (Vanguard)

BIG STORY

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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BIG STORY

Reps Order Probe Of FG’s Abandoned N97bn Cancer Centre

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The House of Representatives has resolved to investigate the National Cancer Control Plan established by the regime of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari, to determine why fewer Nigerians with cancer cannot access treatment at the special centers.

The House particularly mandated its committees on Health Institutions and Health Care Services to “investigate the Federal Government’s implementation of the National Cancer Control Plan 2018-2022 to ensure its implementation.”

The committees are also to “ascertain the status of all radiotherapy cancer treatment centers in the country to come up with a workable plan to subsidize treatment for cancer patients.”

These resolutions were sequel to the unanimous adoption of a motion moved at the plenary on Wednesday, which was titled, ‘Call for Federal Government’s Intervention in Cancer Treatment in Nigeria’.

A member of the House, Olusegun Odebunmi, while moving the motion, recalled that the President had on December 29, 2017, signed the bill for the establishment of the National Institute for Cancer Research and Treatment of Cancer Patients in Nigeria.

Odebunmi also recalled that in 2018, the Federal Government launched the National Cancer Control Plan, which was to be implemented between January 2018 and December 2022, and with a proposed budget estimate of N97,321,725,422.53.

The lawmaker noted that both the federal and state governments were required to provide 75 percent of the funding to implement the plan, while donors and development partners would bridge the gap with 25 percent.

He said, “The House is worried that in 2018 alone, Nigeria recorded an estimated 116,000 new cancer cases with 41,000 mortalities and since then, the mortality rate keeps increasing, with breast and cervical cancer being the major causes of the mortality cases.

“The House is also worried that despite the increasing rate of new cases, only four out of the eight treatment centers in the country are functional.

“The House is concerned that Nigerians barely have access to cancer specialists for proper diagnosis and adequate treatment.

“The House is also concerned that for a cancer patient to go through a complete session of radiotherapy, an approximated amount of N750,000 is needed, an amount Nigerians suffering from the ailment cannot afford.”

 

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BIG STORY

BREAKING: EFCC Places Anambra Governor Willie Obiano On Watchlist

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has placed Willie Obiano, governor of Anambra, on its watchlist.

The development comes months before Obiano is expected to leave office as governor.

According to a letter dated November 15 and addressed to the comptroller-general of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), the anti-graft agency asked to be informed whenever Obiano is seen attempting to travel out of the country.

It is not clear why the EFCC placed Obiano on its watchlist.

However, according to sources, the Anambra governor is being investigated by the commission.

More to follow…

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