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2023: Disquiet In Kwara APC Over Governor’s Sister

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The protracted leadership crisis rocking the Kwara State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) took a new twist following calls for the removal of Senator Khairat Gwadabe, a sister to Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq, from the Membership Registration Appeal Panel set up by the Governor Mai Mala Buni-led Caretaker Committee by some aggrieved founding members the party in the state.

The call for Khairat’s removal is coming on the heels of the fierce struggle for the control of the soul of the party in the state between the governor and some aggrieved leaders over the second term ticket for 2023 as the next electioneering campaign beckons.

The governor and some notable leaders in the party have been at loggerheads since the administration came into power in 2019 in the state over disagreement in his style of leadership.

But despite some spirited efforts to bring everybody on the same page, according to insiders in the party, the issue appears to have festered, with the latest imbroglio having the potential to consume the party in the race for the top seat come 2023 if the needful is not done by uniting all the forces that collectively defeated the last Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) administration in the state, led by former Senate President Bukola Saraki.

For many members of the aggrieved group, which has the support of top party leaders like the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed and his counterpart for transport (state), Gbemisola Saraki, under the factional caretaker chairman, Hon Bashiru Omolaja Bolarinwa (BOB), Khairat’s inclusion in the membership of the committee was part of a grand plan by the governor to hijack the party machinery in the state in the build-up to the 2023 elections.

Some of the top leaders and party supporters in the state, who said they had been disenfranchised from the registration/revalidation process, pointed accusing fingers at the former senator, who they accused of working with the Senator John Danboi’s committee which headed the last exercise in the state to disenfranchise leaders and members believed to be against the governor.

Her membership status of the committee, they argued, was to finish the work she started in the state at the national level to remove any obstacle against the second term ticket of the governor and pave the way for his smooth emergence as the party’s candidate in the next gubernatorial election.

In one of the press releases that have since trailed the issue, a faction of the APC in the state believed to be loyal to the camp of Lai Mohammed and other aggrieved leaders, openly rejected the inclusion of Senator Gwadabe in the 61-member committee.

The group, known as Integrity Group, in a statement signed by Comrade Abdul-Rahoof Bello, declared the appointment as unacceptable.

According to the group, “Here was a governor’s sister who worked in tandem with the Danboi committee to commit all sorts of atrocities and impunities against the party’s interest in Kwara State.”

Their call was echoed by another group believed to be fronting for the minister, Concerned APC Youth Stakeholders, which petitioned the national secretariat of the party as run by the Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) over the issue, alleging the over 600,000 of its members have been disenfranchised with the connivance of Senator Khairat.

But shortly after their positions were made known, the governor’s men and foot soldiers also went to town with their trumpet to drum support for the governor and his sister over the matter.

It was the publicity secretary of the party, Alhaji Folaranmi Aro, a staunch loyalist of the governor that fired the first salvo thus, “Those against the senator’s inclusion have no basis.’’

Under the aegis of the Reformist Progressive Forum, the group that supports the governor, in a rejoinder to the statement by the Integrity Group, noted that Senator Gwadabe’s rejection “by the group of political puppets in Kwara is baseless and unfounded. This is unreasonable, illogical and destructive criticism.’’

When contacted for comment, Saheed Popoola, a loyalist of the minister and lawmaker in the Kwara State House of Assembly from Offa, told Daily Trust Saturday that he was not in town. But a top member of the party and diehard supporter of the minister from Kwara Central said although Alhaji Lai Mohammed and few others registered despite condemnation of the exercise, the action was in demonstration and solidarity with prominent national leaders of the party like Chief Bisi Akande and Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who did but still faulted the process, calling for improvement.

But on the issue of how this might affect the party’s chances in 2023, the top party official said, “There is still a long way to go, and many considerations may be laid on the table before then. Our workings now are first to get the sham which the last exercise clearly was upturned and get the national leadership to approve the conduct of a fresh exercise in the state.

For Kunle Suleiman, a lawyer and pioneer chairman of the PDP in the state and an unrepentant apologist of the governor, what is happening is politics and the party will rise above it when the time comes. He, however, said their concern was how to deliver good governance, which the governor promised.

However, a member of the AA group and supporter of the governor in Ilorin west told Daily Trust Saturday that those aggrieved party members kicking against the inclusion of Senator Khairat were jesters. He added that the party had since moved on from that exercise.

“For God’s sake, those who are complaining don’t know what they are doing and saying. Khairat is a member of the APC and can be made a member of any committee based on her contributions and recognition in the party. She is entitled to it. If she is a sister to the governor, should that deny her right?

“In politics, and where you have factions, this type of thing happens. Somebody that is not given something always complains; and those complaining now belong to BOB and Lai’s group. They thought they could control the registration exercise and party politics but now realised that it has suddenly moved out of their hands. They are complaining because they lost in the party’s power game for now, “he added.

He, however, said the party would get its acts together in the remaining two years, adding, “We came to the APC in factions. These same people that are saying the governor will not get the ticket also said so during his first term and did not vote for him, yet he got it; and he will get it again. It is about strategy and getting your politics right. We are not afraid.

Also, the issue of the governor’s kind of politics has been at the centre of the present disagreement, with notable figures like Professor Abdulraheem Shuaib Oba and Akogun Iyiola Oyedepo describing him as a featherweight politician that could be easily discarded in 2023. In the view of some political watchers, what has played out in the way the governor has “dealt” with Lai’s group and how he handled the registration exercise only indicate how things could get complicated in the struggle to control the party ahead of 2023.

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We’ll not ban Almajiri qur’anic education, but reform it — Gov. Tambuwal

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Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State has said the state government was targeting the remodelling of the Qur’anic education system and not banning it.

Tambuwal stated this on Saturday at the closing of a two-day workshop for the adaptation of the Indonesian Pondok system into the Almajiri-Islamiyya educational system in the state.

He expressed government’s determination to ensure that the initiative was implemented to the letter, stressing that any recognisable success of the system would upgrade and improve the state’s educational system.

He said: “We are not aiming to ban the Almajiri qur’anic education system as some people have urged the Sokoto State Government to emulate other states.

“We are striving to provide reasonable solutions to the challenges and with the present initiative the time has come.”

Tambuwal assured of full implementation of the suggestions made by resource persons and the design of a programme that would surely be a solution to the educational challenges, especially bridging the gap of out of school children.

In his remarks, the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III, urged the Federal Government and its agencies, including the Universal Basic Education Commission, to consider making financial provisions to the Almajiri qur’anic educational system.

Abubakar noted that when the implementation of the initiative begins, the out of school children figure will drop as well as curtail those roaming the streets.

The Sultan urged others states to emulate Sokoto state on the initiative, in recognition of its importance and suitability to Nigerian’s system of education.

The Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on National Social Investment Programmes, Maryam Uwais, expressed delight at the initiative as it was in line with the President’s efforts at reducing poverty and empowering Nigerians.

Uwais said: “The huge numbers of marginalised youths and children, who have no education, school dropouts who have no skills, have contributed to the dismal outcomes of security challenges.

“The challenges also include females who faced incidence of gender based violence, along with cases of early marriages arising from lack of education, which leads to diminished opportunities.”

She noted that the Pandok system focuses on character development and addressing socioeconomic challenges that children faced, as well as improving educational levels which were all aligned with Sustainable Development Goals.

Uwais added that her office was working towards empowering between 30 to 50 youths in all the local government councils, to supervise and monitor others on valuable skills to be acquired, through various initiatives.

Earlier, the Executive Director, Sokoto State Arabic and Islamic Education Board, Alhaji Umar Altine, said based on the study conducted, the Pandok system of education in Indonesia were owned and managed by individuals or communities, regulated and assisted by the federal ministry of religious affairs.

Altine said the major sources of sustainability were Endowments (Waqf) and Alumni, noting that based on advocacy and sensitisation by the board, six Qur’anic schools had adopted the model.

In her presentation, UNICEF Education Specialist, Sokoto Field Office, Dr. Safiyya Tahir, said that no fewer than 1.2 million children were out of school in Sokoto State, noting that early children development centres were mostly owned by private schools, with only a small percentage owned by public schools.

Tahir said the Pandok system would be relevant to the culture of Sokoto people because they shared similarities with the Indonesians as many families prepared their children for enrolment in religious schools in early life.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that several resource persons made presentations at the occasion, including Dr. Bala Muhammad of the Mass Communication Department, Bayero University, Kano, and Prof. Abdullahi Sule-Kano of the Political Science Department, BUK.

Others were: Prof. Maryam Koko of the Centre for Entrepreneurship Development, Usmanu Danfodio University, Sokoto; Prof. Suleiman Khalil, Sociology Department in UDUS; Prof. Bashir Galadanci; and Prof. Muhammad Junaid.

The Eagle Online

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Resident Doctors Vote to Continue Indefinite Strike

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Striking resident doctors in the country have resolved to sustain their ongoing industrial action until their demands are met by the federal government.

The strike by members of the National Association Resident Doctors (NARD) has entered its seventh week, with their parent body, the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), also threatening to embark on solidarity strike if the dispute is not resolved by next weekend.

The resident doctors are demanding payment of arrears of salaries of their members on GIFMIS platform as well as approval of new hazard allowance for the health sector, among other demands.

Rising from its Annual General Meeting (AGM) that ended yesterday at the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University Teaching Hospital (ATBUTH), Bauchi State, NARD said that it had unanimously resolved by vote to continue the total and indefinite strike action.

A new national leadership also emerged at the meeting with Dr Dare Godiya Ishaya as the new president of NARD.

NARD said that: “After critical appraisal of the performances of both federal and state governments on all the issues that led to the ongoing strike as stated above, the AGM unanimously resolved by vote to continue the total and indefinite strike action until our minimum demands are met”.

In a communiqué jointly signed by NARD President, Dr. Dare Godiya Ishaya; Secretary General, Dr. Suleiman Abiodun Ismai; and National Publicity Secretary, Dr. Alfa Yusuf, the doctors said that federal government should ensure that their demands are urgently met before normalcy would return to the health sector

The resident doctors said they are demanding the payment of the Medical Residency Training allowance within 72 hours since the money meant for it is available and verification of the list for payment has been completed.

They also demanded payment of the arrears of salaries of their members on GIFMIS platform within 72 hours while the migration process continues.

Other demands of the Resident doctors include: “Withdrawal of the case against us in court in the interest of peace; and payment of our withheld August and September salaries”.

NARD said that federal government should prevail on various state governments to urgently “pay arrears of salaries and allowances owed our members in the state tertiary health institutions as stated above”.

In the communiqué, NARD said they were committed to the smooth running of the health sector, but can only do so when their welfare is given the desired attention.

“We, therefore, call on all well-meaning Nigerians to prevail on the government to set aside all technicalities as directed by President Muhammadu Buhari and resolve the aforementioned demands in the interest of the masses and our members who are currently suffering because of the ongoing strike action,” it said.

Earlier during the AGM, the doctors bemoaned the delay in payment of death-in-service insurance benefit to the next-of-kin of the fallen heroes despite their sacrifices to the country.

They expressed concerns over the conditions of their members under different state governments’ employs, especially Abia, Imo, Ekiti and Ondo states, where their members are being owed 20 months, six months, four months and four months’ salary arrears, respectively.

They meeting also observed with serious concerns the poor response of most state governments in domesticating the Medical Residency Training Act of 2017 while commending states like Delta and Benue for adopting the law.

In particular, NARD expressed appreciation to the governor of Delta State, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, who has paid its members the 2021 MRTF during the ongoing strike.

The meeting lamented the acute manpower shortage in most tertiary health institutions and the attendant burnout effects on its members.

The communiqué said that NARD observed with serious concerns that despite several meetings with the presidential committee on salaries and other top government stakeholders on the review of hazard allowance for health workers, the hazard allowance still remains a paltry N5,000.

It also noted the non-payment of COVID-19 inducement allowance to some of the members in federal and most of its members in state tertiary institutions.

Onyebuchi Ezigbo, Thisday News

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BREAKING: IPOB orders sit-at-home on October 1, removal of all Nigerian flags from southeast

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The Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, has declared a sit-at-home across the Southeast on October 1.

IPOB said the October 1 sit-at-home is to show its rejection of Nigeria and all the country stands for.

In a statement by its spokesman on Saturday, Emma Powerful, the group also declared the commencement of “operation no Nigerian flag begins in Biafra land from October 1st.”

Powerful said the sit-at-home order was declared to celebrate Ambazonia Independence Anniversary.

The statement reads partly: “IPOB has declared 1st of October 2021 total shutdown in Biafra land as a sign of our rejection of the evil construct called Nigeria and there shall be no movement in Biafra land on this day.

“Also, IPOB has declared from today 25th September 2021 that all Nigerian flag mounted anywhere in Biafra land must be brought down, Banks exceptional, IPOB leadership will communicate to Banks directly and give them reason they must peacefully bring down Nigeria flag in their banking premises before we do it ourselves in our own way.

“Every body must strictly adhere to this directives from IPOB leadership, we want to let the world know you that Biafraland is not Nigeria and shall not be. Don’t say I don’t know, a word is enough for the wise.”

Seun Opejobi, Daily Post

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