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Daily Archives: November 9, 2019

Don’t resign, Yoruba elders tell Osinbajo

The Yoruba Council of Elders has advised Vice President Yemi Osinbajo against resigning his position because of the alleged war against him by a cabal in the Presidency.

The Yoruba elders also advised President Muhammadu Buhari to remember Osinbajo’s loyalty to him and refuse to be used by some power against his Vice President.

The Secretary General of the YCE, Dr Kunle Olajide, said this in an interview with Saturday PUNCH in Lagos on Friday.

Olajide said it was obvious that some persons were “seriously” working against the Vice President, saying the 2023 presidential ambition of some of Osinbajo’s persecutors was the reason for doing this.

The YCE scribe said, “We know like other Nigerians that there are enough signs that some people are working against Osinbajo but who the people are, I don’t know.

“It is obvious that some people are working against him and unfortunately, it appears as if Mr President is dancing to their tune.

“I will urge Mr President to remember the Vice President’s loyalty to him in the past four years, especially when he was out of the country for three months and refused to allow unguarded ambition to push him.”

Olajide said the elders’ council did not support the advice given by some people to Osinbajo to resign his position.

“President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo hold the ticket together. Both of them were elected on a joint ticket, so Osinbajo should not resign,” he said.

He urged the Vice President to remain loyal to the President and serve the country “patriotically.”

He said, “Osinbajo should remain god-fearing and people-centred in his activities and in the end, he will be vindicated.

“No matter the motivation of some 2023 presidential aspirants against him, he should remain steadfast in what he is doing in the past four years that are acceptable to Nigerians and to God.”

Meanwhile, the Presidency on Friday admitted that President Muhammadu Buhari ordered the sacking of some aides to Osinbajo.

It came after days of silence from the President’s office and barely 24 hours after the VP’s aide denied that any Osinbajo aide was sacked.

The Presidency stated that the aides were sacked as part of the ongoing overhauling in the seat of government to cut costs.

A State House statement by Buhari’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu, which officially confirmed the sacking, denied that the exercise was targeted at Osinbajo or that there existed any rift between Buhari and Osinbajo.

The statement read, “The Presidency wishes to confirm that there is an ongoing unprecedented overhaul of the nation’s seat of government, arising from which a number of political appointments have either been revoked or not renewed in the second term.

“The exercise, which has been ordered by the President, is to streamline decision-making, cut down multiple authorities and reduce the cost of administration.

“It is also an appropriate response to the general perception that the Presidency has an oversized and bloated workforce which acts as a drag on efficiency.”

It added, “As may have been noticed by discerning members of the public, a number of political appointees among the few that served in the office of the President were not returned for the second term.

“The office of the Vice President, His Excellency, Yemi Osinbajo, has, in compliance with the directive of the President, equally been shed of a number of such appointees.

“In carrying out these exercises, the overriding objective is to save taxpayers’ money and deliver the needed service to the public. As far as the President is concerned, there is no scope for an excuse for administration after getting a huge mandate to run the country for four more years.”

Denying that rift existed between Buhari and Osinbajo, the Presidency insisted that their relationship remained cordial.

He said, “In the light of this, the Presidency wishes to strongly deny rumours of a rift between President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo. The relationship between the two leaders remains excellent and trusting. Together, they will script a glorious future for the nation.

“The media reports of a sour relationship are originating from the minds and mouths of mischief-makers, who are desperate for entertaining stories from the Aso Rock Villa with which to titillate the public. This ulterior motive is the basis of the wrong interpretation given to the recent exercise in the Presidency.

“There has been a streamlining of staff going on for a while. The President has always had fewer members of staff than the Vice-President, and there were always plans to reduce the number of staff at the Villa.”

The VP’s spokesperson, Dr Laolu Akande, had, in his comment on Thursday, dismissed the sacking of 35 of his boss’s aides.

“A list circulating in the media on the so-called sacked presidential aides is not genuine and ought to be ignored,” he had said.

MKO’s doctor, Ore Falomo, dies

Physician to late Chief Moshood Abiola, Dr Ore Falomo, is dead.

Sources at his Maryland, Lagos hospital said he died around 2 am on Saturday after a brief illness.

A renowned doctor, Falomo had as clients many eminent Nigerians, top military leaders, monarchs, businessmen and diplomats.

He was also subjected to a sort of psychological torture by the military, which denied him access to the detained winner of June 12, 1993 presidential poll.

The late Chief Gani Fawehinmi picked quarrel with the distinguished doctor, who was permitted to briefly see Abiola but without any medical tool.

He was a great friend of Abiola, held in esteem by the family.

Telcos warn of disruption over stoppage of fuel supplies to border towns

Telecom operators say some parts of the country will experience network disruptions as a result of the directive to stop diesel supply to base stations close to the border.

The federal government had, through the Nigeria Customs Service, directed that petroleum products should not be supplied to fuel stations within 20km of the borders, in order to check smuggling.

But PUNCH has reported that Gbenga Adebayo, chairman of the Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), wrote to Umar Danbatta, executive chairman of the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC), highlighting the implication of the directive.

Adebayo reportedly said by mid-day on Saturday, hub sites in Calabar area, Cross River state, would be shut down due to lack of diesel.

The letter read: “Following the directives by the Nigeria Customs Service in a circular dated Wednesday, November 6, 2019, directing all customs zonal coordinators not to allow petroleum product to be delivered to any filling stations within 20 kilometres radius of any border area in Nigeria.

“The directive is already having huge negative impact on our members’ operations and this may be significant if the necessary agencies of government do not urgently intervene in the situation.”

Maikanti Baru, the former group managing director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), had raised the alarm about the increasing number of filling stations in border towns, saying they are funnels for smuggling fuel to neighbouring countries.

Akpabio to contest for senate again as appeal court orders rerun

The Court of Appeal sitting in Calabar, Cross River state, has ordered a rerun election in Akwa Ibom north-west senatorial district where Godswill Akpabio took on Chris Ekpeyong, a former deputy governor of the state, in February.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had declared Ekpeyong, who contested under the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), winner of the election but Akapbio filed a petition against his victory at the tribunal.

He had asked the tribunal to set aside Ekpenyong’s election, alleging that it was marred by irregularities.

But describing the petition as “lacking in merit”, the tribunal said the petitioner failed to prove that he won the election as well as failed to present convincing evidence of non-compliance with electoral act as raised in his petition.

Dissatisfied with the verdict of the tribunal, he headed to the appellate court.

In its ruling on Saturday, the court ordered a rerun election in Essien Udim local government, where Akpabio hails from.

The court ruled that the rerun should hold within 90 days.

Akpabio, a two-term governor of Akwa Ibom, is the now minister of Niger Delta affairs.