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NDDC: Senate N40bn probe of Akpabio, IMC headless, diversionay – group

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An anti-corruption organisation known as Anti-corruption and Integrity Forum has berated the National Assembly over the recent probe of the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio and the Interim Management Committee of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) over alleged the N40 billion paid to certified contractors.

The forum discribed the probe as “diversionary and headless.”

Chairman of the forum and popular anti-corruption activist, Comrade Prince Kpokpogri, said in a statement made available to newsmen in Abuja on Friday, said the Senate recent probe of the Minister and the committee appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari to reposition the NDDC was “a needless caricature and headless task.”

The group declared that the IMC is the best thing that has happened to the NDDC since inception.

The forum called on the Niger Delta people to support the efforts of
Senator Godswill Akpabio in his quest to clean up the NDDC and position it to better the lives of the Niger Delta people according to the spirit of its creation.

Kpokpogri said what the National Assembly was doing by inviting the Minister for Niger Delta Affairs, Akpabio for questioning on the N40 billion paid to certified contractors was a shot in the dark and legislative busy body.

“Is the National Assembly saying that contractors who were owed over a year ago should not be paid even after the contracts were certified duly executed? Are they aggrieved that some of their youth contractors had been denied opportunities for more fraudulent jobs? Or are they angry that there would be no more free money from contracts that were never executed?”, he asked.

The anti corruption crusader therefore, advised the NASS to stop chasing shadows and focus on more pressing national concern of the moment, which is Covid-19.

He said inviting Akpabio to question him on the money he got the Presidency’s approval to pay contractors is nothing but distraction, either to cover up for their laxity and inability to add value to the system or a grand plan to harm Akpabio with Covid-19 infection.

Again, he averred that the headless probe could be diversionary, even as he accused some politicians for failing to use NDDC as a conduit pipe to stack money for 2023 election.

The activist further asked that if the petition to probe the hard working Interim Management Committee of NDDC was not representing vested interest, then why must spending N40 billion to offset contractual debts become a matter of urgent public importance in an era of Coronavirus pandemic?

According to Kpokpogri, “Let me tell the world that the Senate invitation on Akpabio is just an agenda to mount pressure on him to intimidate him, just for disappointing their fraudulent antics. But he should not be perturbed; it’s only but a game.

“What about the petition against the fraudulent administration of the former acting MD of NDDC, Prof. Brambrafa, which was read at the floor of the Senate and heard during public hearing? Why has the National Assembly not come up with the outcome of the investigation? Why have those who had looted the Commission dry for themselves and their godfathers not been penalised for corrupt offences?

“I, Comrade Kpokpogri is saying that the Interim Management Committee is the best thing that has happened so far in NDDC. We have never had it this good in Niger Delta. Is the Senate saying that contractors should not be paid? It is high time this nonsense stopped.

“I call on the Presidency to disregard any blackmail against the person of Senator Akpabio. We have passed a vote of confidence on him. He is doing what the NDDC was created for, which is to better the lives of the Niger Delta people as an Interventionist Agency.

“Finally, I advise the National Assembly to find something good and of national value to do and stop chasing shadows”, Kpokpogri posited.

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2023: ‘Buhari’s successor can come from any part of Nigeria’ – Sheriff

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Sheriff

… says APC must work harder than ever before to gain the confidence of Nigerians in order to retain power beyond 2023.

Ahead of the 2023 general elections, a former governor of Borno State, Ali Modu Sheriff, has asked Nigerians to choose a leader with capacity irrespective of where he or she comes from.

The leader, he said, can hail from any part of Nigeria as long as he can bring succour to Nigerians.

He made the statement in Abuja while receiving members of an All Progressives Congress (APC) pressure group, Frontier for Equality Leadership and Good Governance, on Thursday in Abuja.

The group had visited the former governor to ask that he contests for the position of APC National Chairman.

While he asked Nigerians to discard ethnicity and religion when choosing the next president, he said competence should be the main focus of Nigerians in making a choice.

“Unless we believe in ourselves as a nation, and believe all of us are equal and believe that a good leader will emerge from any part of the country, regardless of religion, tribe or where he comes from, we will not succeed in getting the country we dearly love.

“We must put our differences aside and look for leaders from anywhere.

“If the man that will bring succour to Nigeria is coming from a mountain in Ogoja (Cross River), we should go and look for him. If it is in the extreme end of Adamawa, we should go and look for him. If he is coming from the end of Anambra, we should go and look for him. We must do soul-searching and look for a leader,” Mr Sheriff said.

Leadership cross

The former governor also warned Nigerians against criticising their leaders and asked that prayers be made for them.

“When I see people criticise leaders on what they know nothing about, I pray for them because you will only know the challenges of this country when you are saddled with responsibility. When we have leaders we should pray for them that God will intervene, we should not curse our leaders.

“If you must blame any leader you must look at the followers, what have we done? To help our leaders to be strong – and we have to do soul searching.

“Everyday we wake up with a different challenge and these challenges are not only for our leaders, we must understand that, it is for all of us,” he said.

APC’s burden

Mr Sheriff who was once the National Chairman of Nigeria’s main opposition party, PDP, stated that the APC might have lost the trust of Nigerians.

READ ALSO:  Anambra 2021: Stella Oduah dumps PDP for APC

The party, he said, “must work harder than ever before to gain the confidence of Nigerians in order to retain power beyond 2023”.

He noted that by the end of the tenure of the President Muhammadu Buhari in 2023, “the APC would have to work extra-hard to gain a fraction of the 12 million votes which the Buhari administration carried over the years”.

In response to the group’s for him to contest for the national chairmanship of the APC, he said he would only contest “if the position is zoned to the North-east”.

Mr Sheriff’s comments comes amidst uncertainty as to where the presidential ticket for the APC will be zoned to.

Although he is yet to officially declare his intention to run for the position of chairmanship, PREMIUM TIMES had reported him saying his decision to contest is largely dependent on how the position is zoned by the party.

“…Whether I will run for the office or not will be determined by what the caretaker committee takes as a decision on where the leadership of the party will go. Whether it will go to another place or it will remain in our zone.

“If it goes to another zone, I will not contest. But if it stays in our zone, I will contest,” he had said.

He is among other key political players jostling for the position.

Others are former governor of Nasarawa State and serving senator, Tanko Al-Makura; his counterparts from Borno and Gombe, Kashim Shettima and Danjuma Goje, who are also serving senators; former governor of Zamfara, Abdulaziz Yari; a former member of the House of Representatives from Bauchi, Ibrahim Baba; and a former chairman of the Action Congress of Nigeria in Abuja, Sunny Moniedafe from Adamawa State.

The party is expected to hold its national elective convention before the end of the year.

It is, however, not clear when Mr Sheriff and other aspirants will publicly declare their intent to contest.

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Zambia’s Hakainde Hichilema sworn in as President in rare victory for an African opposition leader

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Zambia’s newly-elected president, Hakainde Hichilema, has been sworn into office after pulling off a stunning rare victory for an African opposition leader.

Hichilema was inaugurated Tuesday morning at a ceremony attended by leaders such as Tanzania President Samia Suluhu Hassan and Malawi leader Lazarus Chakwera.

Zambia’s second female Vice President Mutale Nalumango was also sworn in during the ceremony.

Hichilema defeated outgoing President Edgar Lungu in a landslide by almost one million votes in his sixth attempt at becoming ruler of Zambia.

It was a stunning turnaround for the politician known as HH — Hichilema spent several months in prison in 2017 for what were widely seen as politically motivated treason charges. The charges were dropped under intense international pressure.

After initially indicating he may challenge the result, Lungu addressed the nation following the elections, saying: “Based on the revelations issued at final results, I will comply with the constitutional provisions for a peaceful transition of power.

Despite conceding defeat early, Lungu was booed by some of the crowd as he made his way to the stage at the packed Heroes stadium in the capital Lusaka to hand over power.

Hichilema called Tuesday “a new dawn in Zambia,” in a tweet ahead of the ceremony. “As I sit here in our vehicle being driven to Heroes Stadium, I see the love, the joy and the jubilation as people line the streets on our way. I’m overwhelmed with gratitude. I love you all so much,” he added.

An example for Africa

Opposition leaders from other African countries were also invited to the event.

Nelson Chamisa, opposition leader in Zimbabwe, told CNN: “This is a significant and fantastic for what is possible for the future of Africa. Zambia is an inspiration to stubborn laggards in democracy. Strong institutions are key for effective power transfer and smooth transitions,” he said in a statement when asked about the significance of today’s inauguration.

Chamisa added that Zambia is an excellent example to be emulated on the continent.

“Africa in general and Zimbabwe in particular needs leaders not rulers, strong institutions – not strong men. Leaders must lead and leave, serve and go. Zimbabwe must be free and Democratic. Freedom can be delayed but never denied,” he said when asked what the message for Zimbabwe is.

It is the third time that power has shifted peacefully from a ruling party to the opposition since the southern African country’s independence from Britain in 1964.

There was a huge turnout of mostly young people, some who came dressed in their academic robes to protest lack of employment post graduation.

Joseph Kalimbwe, a youth representative of Hichilema’s UPND party told CNN

Young people gave us the vote. Four million young people between the ages of 18 to 24 registered to vote. It was a huge turnout and it was very personal to them. They want to ensure the mistakes of their parents were corrected. They have voted for our leader on basis he has better policies and ideas and can strengthen our state institutions.”

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Politics

Uche Secondus Suspended As PDP National Chairman

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Court suspends Uche Secondus as PDP National Chairman

 

Uche Secondus
Uche Secondus

The leadership crisis currently rocking the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, worsened on Monday as a High Court in Rivers State has restrained Uche Secondus from parading himself as the National Chairman of the party.

The order was given by Justice O. Gbasam at the State High Court sitting in Degema local government area of the State on Monday.

The judge who gave the order, also approved the suspension of Secondus as a member of the party pending the hearing and determination of motion on notice for interlocutory injunction.

The order followed a complaint brought before the court by some aggrieved members of the party.

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