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LAGOS GOVERNORSHIP TICKET: Ambode loses out as Tinubu is adamant

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…APC, PDP in verbal exchange over Kemi Adeosun’s resignation***

Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State may have finally lost out in the battle for the ticket  of  the All Progressives Congress, APC, to contest the 2019 governorship election despite  interventions by President Muhammadu Buhari’s proxies and governors aimed at staving off what they claimed was a damaging crisis in one of the party’s strongest bases.

Reflective of the interventions, there were deliberate moves, early yesterday, towards lowering the momentum of the mobilization for the governorship bid of  Ambode’s main challenger for the APC ticket, Babajide Sanwo-Olu. In one of such moves that initially brought some breather to the Ambode camp was the report in Lagos political circles that Sanwo-Olu’s declaration ceremony had been put off because of the interventions. Governor Ambode’s camp is still of the belief that something positive can still come out of the interventions from high quarters. However, Sunday Vanguard gathered  that the declaration ceremony would still proceed today but with less fanfare. The ceremony has, however, been moved from the more spacious Police College, Ikeja to City Hall in Lagos Island.

The implications in all of these is that in the event that Ambode insists on seeking the governorship ticket of APC, there would be a direct primary contest. Before the relocation of the Sanwo-Olu declaration, there were reports that the interventions initiated by Buhari, using Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and APC National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, were reviving hopes for a second term for the embattled governor. Sunday Vanguard learnt that Ambode’s fate was sealed at a meeting held in Abuja on Friday night where the National Leader of the APC, Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu, reportedly ruled him out of election on the platform of the APC. Tinubu was said to have told the governor pointedly at the meeting that he (Ambode) could get some other position in the APC but certainly not the ticket of the party for Lagos governorship in the 2019 polls. Party sources said a soft landing may be arranged for the governor.

Meanwhile, a source privy to the development revealed that the Presidency was especially concerned that a crisis in the Lagos State chapter of the party could further jeopardise the electoral chances of the APC in the country. “Lagos is about the most stable state in the APC and it is also the most prosperous and there is no need to instigate a crisis in the state especially for political and selfish considerations,” a high-level source privy to the developments said yesterday evening. “Now that the President’s (electoral) chances are becoming slimmer, it is the belief that no one should play around with Lagos.” Even more, some governors, notably from outside the South-West, Sunday Vanguard gathered, had also stepped into the fray with the intention of intervening on behalf of their colleague. “APC governors are not happy that their poster boy should be denied a second term because he is the one they look up to in performance,” a source apparently supportive of Ambode based in Abuja where the governor was still holed-in, as of yesterday.

The support for the governor was, however, not universal as some South-West chapters of the APC took his travails with much indifference. “What happens to Ambode does not concern us as he does not relate with us and lives on his own,” an associate of a South-West governor said yesterday. “When we did the election in Ekiti, was he there? When we did inauguration in Ondo and campaigns, did you see him? I think it is the same snub he gives his people in Lagos that he gives to his fellow governors”. In Lagos, while some party operatives were still insisting that Ambode should not return, some were, however, more apprehensive. “ Talks are ongoing and it is being resolved,” one party operative in one of the local governments in Lagos told Sunday Vanguard. “It is in everybody’s interest to resolve this matter because if it is not, the crisis that will fall out will be too much for everyone”. Perhaps it was in that direction that Sanwo-Olu’s high profile declaration was scaled down from the Police College to City Hall to limit the number of people who would come.

However, the full complement of the APC Caucus in the state House of Assembly, the state delegation to the House of Representatives, and at least one of the three senators from Lagos are expected at the declaration. Senator Gbenga Ashafa, Lagos East, who is facing a stiff challenge in his third bid for the Senate, and Senator Remi Tinubu, wife of the National Leader of the APC, Sunday |Vanguard was made to understand, are not expected at the Sanwo-Olu’s declaration for what one source said as “obvious reasons.” Ashafa incidentally was at Ambode’s declaration last week. Sanwo-Olu is presently a subordinate of Ambode and managing director of the Lagos State Development and Property Corporation, LSDPC.

In the meantime, the ruling All  Progressives Congress, APC, and Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, were, yesterday, locked in verbal exchange over the resignation of Finance Minister, Kemi Adeosun, and the former’s call on security agencies to track election finances of opposition politicians, especially those of the latter. While the APC asked relevant agencies in the country to track election finances of opposition politicians, particularly those of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, ahead of the 2019 general elections and also described the resignation of Kemi Adeosun as an act of honour, strength, character and integrity, PDP said APC and President Buhari cannot speak of integrity and honour until Adeosun was arrested and prosecuted.

PDP also said the APC could not speak of honour and integrity until its chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, was investigated and prosecuted for financial impropriety during the period he ran the affairs of Edo State as governor. But APC in a statement signed by its spokesman, Yekini Nabena, yesterday, alerted Nigerians to the plot by some politicians to buy up votes during the elections. While it recalled the successes of the anti-corruption fight of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, the party noted:  “Sadly, they have resurfaced to canvass votes of Nigerians for various elective positions. Nigerians are neither gullible nor stupid. ‘’They have not forgotten the yoke they bore under the corrupt Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, regimes and deserve no more of it.

“While we alert Nigerians to the plot of some politicians to buy votes and deploy other illegal means to subvert the people’s will during the coming elections, we urge relevant agencies to be proactively involved in tracking of election financing. “The same people who criminally diverted public monies to fund their political activities as brazenly displayed during past administrations, must be prevented from doing same in coming elections.”

Adeosun’s resignation shows character, integrity —APC

Meanwhile, the party has described weekend’s resignation of Finance Minister, Kemi Adeosun, as an act of honour, strength, character and integrity. The party’s spokesman, Yekini Nabena, who said this in a statement issued in Abuja, yesterday, said: “Like all responsive and responsible governments concerned about the truth and due process, the Federal Government undertook diligent investigation of the allegation. “Now that the report of the investigation is out, the right thing has been done. The honorable minister has taken the path of honour and resigned. We congratulate Mrs. Adeosun for her action. “In President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration of integrity and transparency in the conduct of public affairs, no officer of government with a modicum of questionable conduct or integrity should stay in office.

Buhari, APC can’t speak on integrity unless… — PDP

Meanwhile, PDP, yesterday, berated President Buhari and APC, for apparently seeking to take credit for the resignation of Adeosun, over alleged forgery of National Youth Service Corps, NYSC, exemption certificate. According to PDP, both cannot speak of honour and integrity unless Adeosun is arrested and investigated and APC chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, investigated and prosecuted for alleged financial misconducts during his stewardship as governor of Edo State. The party also accused the Presidency of failing to prevail on security agencies to promptly arraign Adeosun, given its stand on rooting out all forms and shapes of corruption. National Publicity Secretary of the party, Kola Ologbondiyan, also tasked Police authorities to bring back the former minister to answer to all kinds of financial crimes committed by the present administration. He said: “PDP is saying she must be prosecuted and if found guilty, must be made to face justice. “She will also have to tell the world what she knew about the financial shenanigans allegedly perpetrated by this administration since it came on board in 2015. “We are demanding the investigation of the alleged misdeeds of APC national chairman, Mr. Oshiomhole, whose stewardship as Edo State government has been put on the spotlight for a while now. Until this is done, APC and the Presidency can’t speak on honour, character and integrity.”

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Edo Assembly Impeaches Deputy Governor, Shauibu

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Edo Assembly Impeaches Deputy Governor, Shauibu

The impeachment followed the adoption of the recommendation of a seven-man judicial panel led by retired Justice Stephen Omonua.

At plenary in Benin, the Majority leader of the house, Charity Aiguobarueghian said the report of the 7-man panel presented to the house found Shauibu culpable of disclosure of government secrets.

Aiguobarueghian further disclosed that though the panel was unable to establish the case of perjury against the deputy governor, it made two findings and one recommendation upon which the decision to impeach the deputy governor was anchored.

According to him, “the seven-man judicial panel of inquiry recommended that the deputy governor be impeached on the ground of disclosure of government secrets.’’

During voting on the motion, 18 out of 19 members present at plenary voted for the impeachment of the deputy governor while one abstained from the headcount and voting process.

The Clerk of the House, Yahaya Omogbai conducted a head count of the lawmakers who voted for and against the impeachment of Shaibu.

The clerk said with the figure, the house stated that it met 2/3 (16 members of the House was needed to carry out the impeachment).

The assembly thereafter upheld and approved the recommendation of the seven-man panel and thereafter impeached the deputy governor.

The speaker, Blessing Agbebaku directed the Clerk of the House, Yahaya Omogbai to forward copies of the impeachment to Gov. Godwin Obaseki for assent.

The Edo House of Assembly on Monday impeached the Deputy Governor, Mr Philip Shaibu.

The impeachment followed the adoption of the recommendation of a seven-man judicial panel led by retired Justice Stephen Omonua.

At plenary in Benin, the Majority leader of the house, Charity Aiguobarueghian said the report of the 7-man panel presented to the house found Shauibu culpable of disclosure of government secrets.

Aiguobarueghian further disclosed that though the panel was unable to establish the case of perjury against the deputy governor, it made two findings and one recommendation upon which the decision to impeach the deputy governor was anchored.

According to him, “the seven-man judicial panel of inquiry recommended that the deputy governor be impeached on ground of disclosure of government secrets.’’

During voting on the motion, 18 out of 19 members present at plenary voted for the impeachment of the deputy governor while one abstained from the headcount and voting process.

The Clerk of the House, Yahaya Omogbai conducted a head count of the lawmakers who voted for and against the impeachment of Shaibu.

The clerk said with the figure, the house stated that it met 2/3 (16 members of the House was needed to carry out the impeachment).

The assembly thereafter upheld and approved the recommendation of the seven-man panel and thereafter impeached the deputy governor.

The speaker, Blessing Agbebaku directed the Clerk of the House, Yahaya Omogbai to forward copies of the impeachment to Gov. Godwin Obaseki for assent.

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Court Remands Emefiele In EFCC Custody As Trial Begins April 11

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Emefiele: CBN disbursed N12.65bn as agriculture intervention since January; N1.09 trillion since 2015

An Ikeja Special Offences Court on Monday remanded the embattled former Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Godwin Emefiele, for alleged abuse of office and fraud to the tune of $4.5 billion and N2.8 billion.
It was reported that Justice Rahman Oshodi remanded Emefiele in the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) custody while his co-defendant, Henry  Isioma-Omoile, was remanded in the Ikoyi custodial centre.
Oshodi remanded the defendants pending the determination of their bail applications on April 11.
The judge adjourned the case until April 11 for the determination of bail application and commencement of trial.
Earlier, EFCC arraigned Emefiele on a 23-count charge bordering on abuse of office, accepting gratifications, corrupt demand, receiving property fraudulently obtained and conferring corrupt advantage, while his co-defendant was arraigned on a three-count charge bordering on acceptance of gift by agents.
The defendants, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge.
EFCC counsel, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo (SAN) had asked the court for a trial date following the defendants’ not guilty pleas.
Oyedepo also informed the court that the prosecution would be asking for a closed section for some of its witnesses who were willing to come to court to testify but scared for their lives.

Counsel to the two defendants, Mr Abdulakeem Labi-Lawal, had in their bail applications, urged the court to grant them bail on self-recognizance and liberal terms pending the determination of the case.
Labi-Lawal, in a 35-paragraph affidavit, said that the first defendant (Emefiele) complied with the bail application given to him by Justice Hamza Muazu in his ongoing fraud trial in Abuja.
He added that the charges against the first defendant were bailable.
“Though the first defendant was granted administrative bail by the prosecuting authority, he is seeking bail based on self-recognizance, and he is ready to attend trial.
“The court should also take into consideration the status of the first defendant as he was the former CBN governor of the country,” the counsel said.
The defence counsel further said that Emefiele religiously presented himself before Justice Hamza Muazu in Abuja to answer allegations before him.
According to the counsel, the first defendant was not at flight risk as he was the first person to arrive in court.
He also prayed the court to grant bail to  Emefiele on liberal terms
Labi-Lawal also moved a bail application for the second defendant and urged the court to grant him bail on liberal terms.
Prosecution counsel, Oyedepo, did not oppose the bail applications.
Oyedepo, however, urged the court to exercise its discretion judiciously in granting bail to the defendants.
In one of the charges, EFCC  alleged that Emefiele abused the authority of his office as CBN  governor by allocating foreign exchange in the aggregate sum of $2.2 billion without bids, the act which was prejudiced to the rights of Nigerians.
It also alleged that the ex-CBN governor corruptly accepted an aggregate sum of  $26.5 million from NIPCO Plc through Donatone Ltd.
The commission also accused Emefiele of receiving the sum of $400,000 from Source Computer Ltd. on account of the approval of a “contract” in favour of the said company by CBN.
The anti-graft also alleged that Emefiele used his position as the governor of CBN  to confer corrupt advance on his associate, Limelight Multidimensional Services Ltd. by approving payment of an aggregate sum of N900 million to the company.
Emefiele was also alleged to have used his position as the CBN governor to confer a corrupt advantage on Comec Support Services  Ltd. by approving the sum of N149 million to the company.
EFCC also alleged that the former CBN governor used his position to confer a corrupt advantage on  Andswin Resources and Solutions Ltd. by approving payment of the sum of N398 million to the company.
EFCC also accused Emefiele’s co-defendant (Isioma-Omoile) of giving the sum of $100,000 to the governor as a gift reward for allocation of foreign exchange.
According to the prosecution, the alleged offences violate Sections 8, 10, and 19 of the Corrupt Practices And Other Related Offences Act of 2000, Sections 65, 73, and 328 of the Criminal Laws of Lagos State 2011.

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NAGAFF Vows to Stop Kwankwaso from Taking Over NNPP

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NNPP inaugurates 2023 Presidential Campaign Council, Aniebonam remains BoT Chairman

…Votes N150m take off professional fees for lawyers to begin litigation warfare!

Members of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) will vehemently resist the taking over of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) by the group noted to be loyal to Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso.

It would be recalled that the NNPP was originally founded by the National Association of Government-Approved Freight Forwarders NAGAFF, largely to provide a credible platform for maritime industry stakeholders to make a national impact within the nation’s political space.

It. would also be recalled that the former Governor of Kano, Senator Kwankwaso latched on the NNPP, after his effort to run as the flag bearer of another political party was dimmed by former Vice President Atiku Abubakar who emerged as the PDP presidential candidate.

NNPP inaugurates 2023 Presidential Campaign Council, Aniebonam remains BoT Chairman

Alhaji Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso

Presently, a statement issued by the NNPP National Publicity Secretary, Dr. Clement Iwegbuna, lamented that what started as a child’s play is becoming a reality with the body language and actions of Senator Kwankwaso to highjack NNPP from the original owners, the members of  NAGAFF.

In a swift move, the president of NAGAFF, leading the pack of resourceful young freight forwarders said the original are poised to match money for money and contact for contact to retrieve NNPP from the people tagged ungrateful.

The statement revealed that the sum of N150,000,000 has been contributed as a take-off professional fee for the lawyers to take on the serial litigations upcoming.

NAGAFF accused Kwankwaso of court abuse with the institution of a court case involving INEC at Kano State High Court. “And so what does it take someone who held the position of minister of defence and member of the national assembly of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to know that it is out of jurisdiction to do so.

NNPP is a national party and INEC is a federal commission. “Let Nigerians be told that there is a new order in Nigeria judiciary at the moment. If Senator Kwankwaso likes let him, Elder Buba Galadima and all of them who are the former members of the National Working Committee led by Alhaji Abbah Kawu who was alleged not to be able to write a statement at the state police command, Abuja when he reported a case against Mr Phillip Oyana the Zonal Secretary North Central of New Nigeria Peoples Party.

“Our young, vibrant and informed lawyers shall meet him and his cohorts in court. Once again we hold no malice against any person. All members of NNPP and NAGAFF are children of God and always ready to show love to all manner of people who may come our way,” the statement further said.

The statement directed and appealed to all members of NAGAFF and NNPP to keep the peace of the society and be law abiding and respectful to the constitution of Nigeria.

“Regret to note that Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso had avoidably prided himself to have brought NNPP to relevance and recognition. Tell the American marine that trash for the fact that Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso forgot to note that NNPP is as old as People’s Democratic Party of Nigeria spanning over 24 years in existence. He joined less than 2yrs ago.

“We consider Senator Kwankwaso as someone who is avoidably arrogant and proud for no good reasons. This is because NNPP provided him the opportunity to contest the Presidency of Nigeria 2023 with great men like the current president of Nigeria, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar (PDP) and Mr. Peter Obi of the Labour Party

“Let it be on record that if NNPP were not winning elections for the period under review it would have been deregistered like the one he facilitated which was called Alliance National Party. As a matter of fact, the current headquarters of NNPP in Abuja is the same office used by the defunct Alliance National  Party whose chairman was one Moshood.

“We also know that the current executive Gov of Kano Alhaji Abbah Kabir who was shortchanged in the previous elections took advantage of us as children of God to be protected and today those evil men could not stop him from becoming the Gov of Kano State.

“Therefore senator RABIU MUSA Kwankwaso should be taught the principles of humility and gratefulness to people who have been nice to him.

“In all of these, he may wish to distance himself from elder Buba Galadima if he wants to make headway in politics. The former President, Gen. Buhari did realise and distanced himself to combine with Asiwaju B. A. Tinubu, the grand master to become the President of Nigeria.,” advised.

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