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Jega, Utomi, Donald Duke, Others Team Up Against APC, PDP, Unveil New Party October 1st

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Prominent Nigerians including a former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Attahiru Jega, and a political economist, Professor Pat Utomi, will on October 1 unveil a mega political movement.

It was gathered that the mega-group, which would later transform into a political party, would challenge the country’s dominant parties, the All Progressives Congress and the Peoples Democratic Party.

This came to the fore on Wednesday as INEC told newsmen that 95 groups had applied to it to be registered as political parties.

But for the new mega group planned for October 1, it was learnt that talks had reached an advanced stage for the merger of some existing opposition political parties as part of the new movement.

A source privy to the development, who spoke to one of our correspondents in confidence, explained that the focus of those involved in the new group was to push for electoral and political reforms.

The source said, “By God’s grace, we will be unveiling our movement on October 1 to coincide with Nigeria’s 61st independence anniversary. We cannot call it a political party for now because talks are still ongoing.

“I’m aware that talks between leaders of the Peoples Redemption Party including Professor Attahiru Jega, those of the African Democratic Congress including its National Chairman, Chief Ralph Nwosu, and the Labour Party, have reached an advanced stage.

“The proposal being considered is the collapse of the structures of existing political parties involved into one strong one. We recognize the fact that forming a political party from the scratch is both cumbersome and capital intensive.

“It will involve getting offices across the 36 states of the federation and Abuja and going through all kinds of hurdles before being registered by the Independent National Electoral Commission and we know time is of the essence.

“To avoid this, we are looking at first agreeing on terms of engagement. We will adopt a name, hold our conventions where structures will be collapsed into one then we will approach INEC for a change of name to reflect our new identity.”

In response to a question on what was holding the body from fully identifying itself as a political party, the source said, “With the current Nigerian political structure, we don’t want to just join the fray. We need to make a difference that is why we are first pushing for electoral reforms. We will be working with like-minded people to push for the electronic transfer of election results and changes in Nigeria’s constitution to make it truly representative of ‘we’ the people.’’

There was confusion over the status of a group, Rescue Nigeria Project, which was unveiled by a former presidential adviser and diplomat, Dr Usman Bugaje, in Abuja, on Tuesday.

A section of the media had reported that Tuesday’s meeting was the unveiling of a political party. Some of those listed as attending were Jega, Utomi, a former Governor of Cross River State, Donald Duke; a former Kwara State Governor, Abdelfattah Ahmed; Senator Lee Maeba and Professor Tunde Adeniran among promoters of the new party.

However, several persons, who attended the event said nothing of the sort was discussed. Attempts to get clarification from the convener of the event were futile. Calls to his mobile telephone number were neither picked nor returned. A response to a text message sent to him on the subject was still being awaited as of the time of filing this report.

However, a former Minister of Education and retired politician, Adeniran who attended the event, explained that the gathering discussed good governance and what was required to move the nation forward.

He told newsmen, “I have since retired from partisan politics. However, I have made myself available to give advice as well as guidance in order to continue to contribute my quota to national development. I am certainly not forming any political party.

Another attendee, who is a leading member of the PDP in Rivers State, Senator Lee Maeba, dissociated himself from the formation of a new political party.

Maeba, who spoke to one of our correspondents on the telephone on Wednesday, said the Rescue Nigeria Project event he attended in Abuja, on Tuesday, was not for the formation of a new party but for the advancement of good governance.

He said, “The majority of us there are PDP members. In fact, some of us who were there were agitating that we should close early because they are members of PDP zoning committee and that a meeting was ongoing then.

“I have been a PDP member since 1998 and I don’t have another party. If I have not joined the APC, what is the need of forming another one?

“I did not discuss anything about the formation of a new party. That was the first time I attended the meeting. When I saw the names of those involved, I was attracted to talk on good governance. I am an advocate of good governance.

“It was a seminar and the theme was good governance. Even the organizer, Usman Bugaje, did not talk about political parties. What they talked about was good governance and how to strengthen political parties to ensure good governance, that’s all. Nobody mentioned the party.

“There are ways of forming a political party. The organization will apply to INEC. It has to submit signatures. Is my signature on any paper? There was nothing like that.

“We believe that the place was infiltrated because how can a talk about good governance become a talk of the formation of a party?

“I did not enter a meeting with anybody to form a political party because I am a satisfied member of the PDP. The party is doing well in my state and the governor is doing very well. So why will I go and start forming another party?”

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It’s Idiocy To Claim Buhari Is Dead and Replaced With Jubril From Sudan —- Femi Adesina

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The Presidency has rubbished claims by Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), that President Muhammadu Buhari is Jubril of Sudan.

Buhari’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity said it is “idiocy” to claim that the president is dead and was replaced with Jubril from Sudan.

Adesina disclosed this in his latest article titled, ‘The Essential Buhari: VP Osinbajo got it!.’

He recalls how Buhari, upon return from his medical trip abroad in 2017, recognized him.

The article reads partly: “I remember that day in August 2017, when the President returned to the country finally from his medical vacation. From January of that year, he had been in and out a couple of times, but spending weeks and months outside, attending to his health. And finally, on August 19, he returned home, triumphantly.

“We were at the airport to receive him. I have told the story a number of times, to dispel the idiocy that it was a certain Jibril of Sudan that came back and not Buhari. The daughter of the immediate past Chief of Defence Staff, Gen Gabriel Olonisakin, was getting married. And I had attended both the church service and reception, decked in full Yoruba traditional attire of Agbada and a cap to match. Straight from the ceremony, I went to the airport to join the welcome party for the President.

“We the principal aides were on a line to receive the President as he descended from the aircraft. And he shook hands with each person, having one wisecrack or the other to say, as is typical of him. When he got to me, he said, “Adesina, this is the best I’ve seen you dressed.” And we both laughed.

“Jibril of Sudan? How did he know I was Adesina? How would he know how I normally dressed? Idiocy, I say again. But that is just a digression, not the story I really want to tell to support the topic at hand.”

Kanu had rumoured Buhari’s death in 2017, following the president’s medical trip to London.

He had claimed that Buhari was cloned and replaced with Jubril Al-Sudan after his death.

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Take Vaccine or Present Negative COVID-19 Result, FG Tells Civil Servants

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The Federal Government has informed federal civil servants that they either get the COVID-19 vaccine or present a negative test result.

Recall that the FG had mandated all civil servants to get the vaccine or else they would not be allowed to enter offices.

The Executive Director, National Primary Health Care Development Agency, Dr Faisal Shuaib, at a press conference, on Thursday, in Abuja, made clear that federal civil servants were not under obligation to take the vaccine, however, they must show negative COVID-19 PCR test.

He said, “The Presidential Steering Committee (PSC), on Wednesday, announced interventions to, not only protect the most vulnerable people in our society but to also ensure that the workplace is safe for all citizens. Clearly, there is a loss of productivity and its impact on socio-economic development when workers are unable to come to work on a regular, and consistent basis due to outbreaks of an infectious disease such as COVID-19.

“Following advice by public health experts, the PSC announced that all Federal Government employees should make a choice as to how they can contribute towards making the work environment COVID-19-free. The logical choice is between taking the vaccine and showing the evidence or presenting proof that one is COVID-19-free by showing a negative PCR test taken 72 hours prior.

“This provision is applicable to all Federal Government institutions. The decision to release the advisory was not taken lightly. It is part of the PSC and Federal Ministry of Health’s mantra to always use scientific evidence to make decisions for the benefit of all Nigerians.”

Shuaib also confirmed that there are enough vaccines to cover the population of employees of the Federal Government and more, stating that the PSC had already done a comprehensive analysis and forecast on the availability of COVID-19 vaccines.

“Based on delivery forecasts from the COVAX facility and African Union, Nigeria will have adequate vaccines to cover more than 50 percent of eligible populations by the end of the first quarter of 2022. In order words, please do not worry about the availability of vaccines because we have the supply chain figured out already,” he added.

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N4.9bn Fraud: Judge Angry, Slams N200K Fine On Fani-Kayode For Shunning Trial For Fifth Time

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Justice Daniel Osaigor of a Federal High Court in Lagos, on Wednesday, ordered a former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, to pay N200,000 for not making himself available for re-arraignment for alleged money laundering.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Osaigor said he had gone through the court’s file and noted five different letters by Fani-Kayode, seeking adjournment on the same medical grounds.

The court, consequently ordered that he should pay the sum or risk revocation of his bail.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission had charged Fani-Kayode alongside a former Minister of State for Finance, Nenandi Usman.

Also charged was Yusuf Danjuma, a former Chairman of the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria, and a company, Jointrust Dimensions Nigeria Limited.

The EFCC preferred 17 counts bordering on N4.6bn money laundering against them before Justice Mohammed Aikawa.

They had all pleaded not guilty and were granted bail.

The trial had begun before Aikawa and witnesses being led in evidence before the judge was transferred out of the Lagos jurisdiction of the court.

The case was consequently assigned to Justice Osaigor and the defendants scheduled for re-arraignment on Wednesday.

When the case was called on Wednesday, Mrs Bilikisu Buhari, announced an appearance for prosecution.

Mr I. J. Ogechukwu appeared for the first defendant (Usman), Mr B. F. Ajudua appeared for the second defendant (Fani-Kayode) and Y. Olabode appeared for the third and fourth defendants.

Buhari then informed the court that on July 15, the prosecution asked the court to adjourn the matter for re-arraignment of the defendants.

She told the court that on October 11, the prosecution received a letter from the second defendant informing them that he had been given bed rest.

“Whenever he doesn’t want to attend court, this is the type of letter we get,” Buhari said.

However, Ajudua told the court that although his Fani-Kayode’s illness was recurring, he had attended court regularly.

After the judge went through the court’s file, he asked his counsel to take one of two options: revocation of Fani-Kayode’s bail or imposition of N200,000 fine to be paid before the next adjourned date.

The counsel chose the fine option.

Justice Osaigor adjourned the case till November 30.

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