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Arson: 250 TVC production workers rendered jobless, says CEO

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Chief Executive Officer of TVC, Mr Andrew Hanlon, says 250 employees of the private TV station working in the production section have been thrown out of job after the company’s station was set ablaze by hoodlums last week.

He also said since the incident happened, the remaining direct employees of the station had been struggling to work in temporary accommodation put up by the company.

He spoke at the Ikosi-Ketu office of the company on Thursday when the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, paid a solidarity visit to the TV station.

He was accompanied by the Deputy Governor, Dr Obafemi Hamzat, Deputy Chief of Staff, Mr Gboyega Soyannwo, and Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Gbenga Omotoso.

Hanlon, who took the governor and his team round, said the main auditorium, which was the hub of the TV station’s operation, was completely razed.

A statement by the governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Gboyega Akosile, said the auditorium housed three main studios, three control rooms, three master control rooms and central transmission laboratory equipped with the modern communication gadgets worth millions of dollars.

Hanlon said, “After the rioters invaded our premises and set the place on fire, some buildings on the premises survived. But the main transmission building is completely destroyed and it was the hub of our operations. The rioters cast fear and terror in the hearts of our employees when they broke in last week’s Wednesday morning.

“People’s hard work and huge investment that went down into the TV station were destroyed in a period of about an hour. The incident was really traumatising for all of us. The rioters left immense devastation. The entire interior of the building was destroyed. This is all that is left of our bubbling building, which was a centrepiece. Thankfully, no member of staff died in the incident.”

Hanlon said the immediate priority before the management of the TV station was to ensure that all direct employees were looked after, stressing that the means of livelihood of thousands of indirect workers attached to the brand had been threatened.

He said efforts were being taken to return TVC to its full operations, promising that the station would bounce back stronger than it was.

The governor reportedly shown the wreck of burnt vehicles belonging to the station and employees.

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2023: PDP governors split over zoning

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Ahead of the 2023 presidential election, a fresh crisis is brewing in the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) over which zone should have its presidential ticket.

Since the party was defeated by the All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2015 to bring its rule for 16 years to an end, it has been struggling to reclaim the presidency without success.

While the opposition party is in the process of holding an elective national convention to elect its new leaders, there are indications that the issue of zoning is tearing it apart.

For months now, there have been severe agitations as to where the presidential ticket of the party should be zoned to, with leaders and chieftains of the party, particularly from the southern part of the country, insisting that the party’s unwritten zoning arrangement be respected and the 2023 presidential ticket zoned exclusively to the South.

It is believed in many quarters that the zoning controversy is at the bottom of the storm that has been the lot of the suspended national chairman of the party, Prince Uche Secondus.

His alleged tacit support for a presidential aspirant from the north in spite of the clamour for power shift is believed to have won him several enemies from his home zone.

However, fresh indications have emerged that anti-zoning forces may have devised new plans to forestall the possibility of the party zoning the presidential ticket to the South.

The Nation gathered that an ongoing process towards the election of a new national chairman for the party is brewing suspicion and creating a fresh crisis within it.

Very reliable party sources said the high number of southern PDP chieftains indicating interest in the national chairmanship while no northerner is showing interest has become a source of worry for pro-zoning agitators within the PDP.

It was gathered that some prominent leaders and chieftains of the party, including governors, National Assembly members and Board of Trustees (BoT) members from the southern zones have expressed dissatisfaction with what they described as an attempt to scheme the zones out of contention for the presidential ticket.

It was also gathered that governors elected on the platform of the PDP are now divided over the zoning issue.

The Nation gathered that while some of them are now openly supporting national chairmanship aspirants from the south, others like Governor Seyi Makinde and Udom Emmanuel of Oyo and Akwa Ibom states respectively are warning that the emergence of a southerner in that position may nail any hope of the region getting the presidential ticket.

An ally of the Oyo State governor explained in a chat with our correspondent yesterday that Makinde’s position is based on his understanding of the practice in PDP.

An aide to the governor said: “A look at previous arrangements revealed that the national chairman and the presidential candidate had never emerged from the same region in the past.

“So, our governor, given his commitment to the southern presidency project, is asking his colleagues for a commitment that the chairmanship is not a bait to stop power from shifting to the South in 2023.

“He is not alone in this. There are other governors with him.”

The Nation however gathered that some other governors have recently proposed that the presidential ticket be thrown open for aspirants from all zones of the country to contest for it. “Their major arguments are that the last president the PDP produced is from the South and it may not be easy to defeat the APC with a presidential candidate from the South So, they have a plan to retain the ticket in the north,” a source claimed.

Finding by our correspondent revealed that majority of southern governors are opposed to the new plan by their colleagues from the north. “Though a couple of southern governors are now being convinced to join the anti zoning push, with offers like the vice presidency and other promises, the majority is still unrelenting in the quest for the ticket in 2023,” a party source said.

Determined to send the message clearly to their colleagues, PDP governors in the south have joined their APC colleagues to insist that the next president of the country should come from the South in 2023, in spite of indications that many of their colleagues are plotting to keep the ticket in the north.

“At the recent meeting of southern governors, PDP governors sent a very strong signal to their colleagues from the north and others opposed to zoning when they openly supported and signed the communique insisting on power shift. The implications are that PDP governors are now poised for showdown over the zoning issue,” our source said.

The Nation also gathered that members of the PDP caucus in the National Assembly are also not on the same page on the zoning issue.

Last week, the Southeast caucus of the PDP NASS met and decided that it will not be part of any arrangement that opposes the zoning of the presidential ticket to the South.

The legislators were responding to alleged moves to give the Southwest the national chairmanship in order to keep the presidential ticket in the north.

“Our position is to put it on record that the chairmanship is not the same as the presidential ticket and that those angling for the seat are not doing so on behalf of the entire south,” our source added.

As the drama continues to unfold, prominent chieftains of the party are urging the gladiators to be careful not to cause an implosion within the party. They have also been expressing fears about the chances of the party in the next general election.

A member of the PDP BoT, while speaking on the current crisis, accused some governors of trying to return the party to its troubled era.

He said: “The plot to give the Southwest the chairmanship so as to block the South from the presidential ticket will fail.

“It is an attempt to destroy the PDP and we must be careful. If PDP wants to win in 2023, we must respect zoning and give the South the ticket.

“I commend the governors that are still standing and I am sure they will prevail.”

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PDP crisis: APC, two more governors begin defection talks

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Following the ongoing crisis in the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), two more governors have started defection talks with the All Progressives Congress (APC).

The governors might use the defection to curtail threats from APC in their states.

The APC leadership was said to be discussing some terms with the affected governors.

One of the terms is the control of party structure in order to secure a guarantee for their second term in office.

According to a source, who is involved in the preliminary talks, one of the governors is from the South while the other is a high profile governor from the Northwest, who is rumoured to have presidential ambition but now appears to have had a change of heart and views a second term as governor as a more attainable target, using the APC platform.

Former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, hinted on Thursday that three PDP governors, namely those of Bauchi (Bala Mohammed), Enugu (Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi) and Oyo (Seyi Makinde) were planning to defect to the APC.

He made the declaration while he was being presented to President Muhammadu Buhari by the APC Caretaker Chairman Governor Mai Mala Buni, in Abuja.

However, Governor Ugwuanyi has since refuted the insinuation by Fani-Kayode that he was contemplating defection from PDP to APC.

Reacting to the insinuation while addressing journalists in Enugu yesterday, the Chairman of Enugu Capital Territory Development Authority (ECTDA), Dr Josef Onoh, described Fani-Kayode’s comment as “a figment of his imagination”, adding that Governor Ugwuanyi had no plan to leave the PDP.

Our source said the uncertainty in PDP ahead of preparations for 2023 poll was also making some Senators and members of the House of Representatives to look for alternative platforms.

The source said: “If the negotiation goes well as designed, two more PDP governors, some Senators and members of the House of Representatives will soon join the All Progressives Congress. The way the APC is coordinating and penetrating PDP, the party may end up as a carcass.

“The two governors include one from the North-East and another from the South. I don’t want to mention the second governor’s geopolitical zone in order not to jeopardise the ongoing talks.

“A respected governor is one of those trying to woo the two governors. I think the APC deal is timely for the two governors to checkmate the party’s opposition to PDP in their states.

“This is why the PDP governors have made the control of the party’s structure a condition for defecting to APC. They want to guarantee their second term ticket.”

There were indications that some Senators and members of the House of Representatives may join the two governors if the defection pact sails through.

A senator from one of the affected states said: “I have got wind of the ongoing talks. If my governor thinks that is the best, I will follow him. We work as a team.”

Meanwhile, there were conflicting signals on where PDP is headed on its zoning formula for 2023 elections.

The party’s zoning committee is being led by Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State.

The report of the committee will determine the shape of the National Convention of PDP in October and its presidential ticket for 2023 poll.

But while the committee has set out to work, it was learnt that some Northern PDP leaders have been pushing for the retention of the party’s ticket in their region.

They claimed that the 2023 poll is winnable for PDP with a strong Northern candidate.

They said it will be better to erode the 12 million voting strength of the APC in the North than to fail again at the next poll.

But some Southern governors and PDP leaders believe power should shift to the South in 2023.

They aligned themselves with the position of the Southern governors on Thursday in Enugu.

A third force in the party wants all slots thrown open, especially the presidential slot, to allow the best to emerge.

A member of the National Executive Committee (NEC) of PDP said: “Zoning is a major headache for the party. We have three tendencies in the party. The North is seeking the slot after eight years in power; the South is desperate for power shift; and we have a section of PDP, which is asking us to throw open all offices.

“We are all looking forward to Governor Ugwuanyi committee which some of us see as an afterthought to douse tension in the party. PDP is in custody of a report by Governor Bala Mohammed and we ought to build only on the panel’s recommendations.”

Findings confirmed that the confusion in the party accounted for alleged hide and seek game by some of its governors and leaders.

It was gathered that while Governor Nyesom Wike has been linked with a presidential aspiration, he is also said to be interested in the VP slot as a Plan B.

Others, who are allegedly interested in the office of the Vice President in 2023 include ex-Governor Peter Obi, ex-Deputy President of the Senate Senator Ike Ekweremadu and some PDP governors who will complete second term in office by the next general election.

“The lobby for VP ticket is more pronounced and profound among PDP governors and leaders from the South than any part of the country.

“Some of us are wondering whether or not these leaders are committed to power shift to the South in 2023,” a former governor said.

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Igboho: Yoruba group to sue FG for disrupting Lagos rally

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Leader of the Yoruba Nation group and Ilana Omo Oodua, Emeritus Professor of History, Professor Banji Akintoye

REACTIONS have continued to trail Friday’s judgment of Oyo State High Court which declared self-determination agitation as legal and resistance to it by agents of government as “crude and most unprofessional.”

Leader of the Yoruba Nation group and Ilana Omo Oodua, Emeritus Professor of History, Professor Banji Akintoye, told Sunday Tribune that the verdict has made the Yoruba Nation and other self-determination groups in the country invincible threatening to take further legal action against the FG for disrupting its rally in Lagos.

“We knew it would come, because it is the truth. People can try to hide the truth for as long as they want, but someday, the truth always surfaces. The truth has surfaced.

“Nigerians now know that our struggle for self-determination is totally lawful and legal, that the government has no right to stop us. The knowledge now is that more and more people are rallying into our court.

“If our young people try to hold a rally now, it will be much bigger than that of Ado-Ekiti. More and more people are coming forward. The government has threatened our existence not only at home but even abroad. That is now coming to an end.

“We are not dissolving our organisation, but instead now realising the need to merge together and be stronger than ever now, realising we are all brothers. We are going to exploit what we have; we are going to be more active; we are going to be doing what we did in Ibadan against the government.

“We are going to do more; we are going to take them to court for the disruption of our rally in Lagos. It was a peacefully rally based upon law, but they illegally disrupted it.

“We are going to go after them with the power of the law and they will know they cannot fight us. We have become invincible. Part of our injunctions is that we respect the government and the laws of Nigeria.

“What we have led from the beginning is that our self-determination agitation is totally legitimate. The international law proclaims it as legitimate. The Charter of the United Nations and various other instruments of the United Nations support our clamour.

“Without seeking permission from anybody, a nationality can decide to assert its self-determination. When it does that, the government of whichever county they belong to must respect what they are doing and not interfere with their civic rights in the country.

“But the people who are fighting for self-determination also have a responsibility. They must not start an insurrection; they must not generate violence in the streets. Those are the conditions. So as long as you are doing it peacefully, you are in good order.

“So we Yoruba people decided from the beginning that this was going to be a thoroughly peaceful and law abiding movement, and it has been so continuously. Our children did not do anything illegal. Nobody was wounded, nobody was arrested, neither was there any altercation with the police nor destruction of properties.”

Also reacting, the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), commended the courage of the Judge in upholding the rights of citizens to freedom of expression and association. The South-South apex socio-cultural group, through its national Publicity Secretary, Ken Robinson, congratulated Yoruba activist, Chief Sunday Igboho, his legal team and all patriotic citizens for the victory.

He, however, urged the Appeal Court to live up to expectations by abiding by the “merits of the case and not get influenced by the powers that be.”

“We say well done to the court on the landmark judgment in the Igboho case. It’s commonly said that the judiciary is the last hope of the common man, but it goes beyond that.

“The judiciary is, indeed, the last hope of all citizens, common or special, particularly, in a regime like we have now, which is increasingly becoming dictatorial with unnecessary deployment of state forces to intimidate and coerce citizens, who have dissenting opinions.

“It is unthinkable that a supposed democratic administration will give citizens all kinds of labels, for simply ventilating their discontent and disaffection with the way and manner the government conducts the affairs of the country.

There are still upright men in Judiciary-Ohanaeze

The National Publicity Secretary of Ohanaeze Youths, Mazi Chika Art Adiele, hailed the judgment , saying “it is a testament that there are still upright men in the sacred temple of justice.

“It is a landmark ruling. It will help our jurisprudence,” he said.

The judgment, Sunday Tribune gathered, dominated discussions in most public arena in Enugu State on Saturday, with many calling it an indictment on “extra-judicial murders of suspected IPOB members as well as its proscription and labeling as a terrorist organisation by the Buhari regime.”

Self determination is part of Nigerian laws -Ex NBA chairman

In his own view, the immediate past chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Owerri branch, Imo State, Damian Nosike said although he was yet to read the judgment, Nigeria could not afford to go against the UN Charter to which it was signatory.

He said: “when people are not happy with the way they are treated, they have the right to say they don’t want to belong again, provided they don’t do it illegally by taking up arms.”

He recalled that Eritrea was created out of Ethiopia, while South Sudan was carved out of Sudan, through the clamour for self determination.

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