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Atiku’s Economic Blueprint, A Poor Photocopy – Lai Mohammed

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Alhaji Atiku Abubakar

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has said the economic blueprint recently unveiled by Alhaji Atiku Abubakar is a “crude attempt at copying all that the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has done”.

Abubakar is the candidate of the opposition party, People’s Democratic Party (PDP) for the 2023 presidential election.

Mohammed told newsmen in Abuja on Thursday that Abubakar’s blueprint is a poor version of the present government’s economic strides.

He said the blueprint unveiled by Abubakar in Lagos the previous week did not offer anything new in job creation, infrastructure financing and relationship with the private sector.

According to the minister, other areas poorly copied by Abubakar in the blueprint were the rejuvenation of the power sector, poverty reduction, debt management and the overall management of the economy.

“It is shocking that an opposition that has condemned all that this administration has done will turn around to weave its so-called economic blueprint around the same things that are currently being done.

“This news conference is aimed at exposing the hypocrisy in an opposition that condemns an administration while showcasing a blueprint that is nothing, but a poor version of what’s on ground,’’ he said.

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Buttressing his point, Mohammed said the position of Atiku in the blueprint that “reducing infrastructure deficit will enhance economy, unleash growth and wealth creation’’, is not novel.

“No one understands this better than this sitting administration.

“Even our worst critics will agree that our record on infrastructure development is next to none in the history of this country.

“Across the country, we have constructed 8,352.94 kilometres of roads, rehabilitated 7,936.05 kilometres of roads, constructed 299 bridges, maintained 312 bridges and created 302,039 jobs in the process.

“We have also delivered houses in 34 states of the federation under the first phase of the National Housing Project.

“We were able to achieve these through a combination of budget increase and innovative infrastructure financing methods,’’ the minister stressed.

Mohammed recalled that before the President Buhari’s administration came to power, budget for roads component of the Federal Ministry of Works was a meagre N18.132 billion.

He added that when Buhari got into office in 2015, the budget for the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing increased exponentially to N260.082 billion in 2016.

“The budget also increased to N274.252 billion in 2017; to N356.773 billion in 2018; to N223.255 billion in 2019; to N227.963 billion in 2020 and to N241.864 billion in 2021, he added.

“Therefore, for anyone using this as a campaign stunt without acknowledging what we have done so far is cheap and disingenuous.

“Let me say that I am not really very surprised that His Excellency the former vice-president only reeled out, in his so-called economic blueprint, what we have been doing in the past seven years plus.

“That’s what you get from someone who leaves the country after losing an election, only to parachute into town when another election is due,’’ Mohammed stressed. (NAN)/Daily Trust

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Osun 2022: Tribunal Adjourns Pre-Hearing In Suit Against Adeleke

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Adegboyega Oyetola and Senator Ademola Adeleke

The Osun Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Osogbo, on Monday, adjourned until October 4 the pre-hearing of a petition filed by Governor Gboyega Oyetola against the declaration of Ademola Adeleke as the Governor-elect.

The Chairman of the tribunal, Justice Tertsea Kume, fixed the date and granted the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and Adeleke seven days to respond to the pre-hearing form served on them by the tribunal.

Earlier, Counsel to the All Progress Congress (APC), Prof. Kayode Olatoke, SAN, had informed the court of his readiness to continue with the pre-hearing session, having filed his form TF008, where issues for determination were raised.

At the request of the tribunal for advice, Olatoke suggested that the matter should be delayed for a few hours for the respondents to also respond to the tribunal pre-hearing form.

Counsel to the INEC, Ben Ananaba, SAN, said the pre-hearing could not go on because he was just served with the pre-hearing form this morning, saying statutorily, they have seven days to respond.

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Counsel to Adeleke, Bamidele Abolarin and counsel representing PDP, Nathaniel Oke, SAN, also requested the tribunal to give them the required seven days to respond.

Addressing newsmen after the sitting, Olagoke said the adjournment was not out of place, but the tribunal has the power to abridge the days required for any of the parties to respond.

He said that PDP is ready to defend its victory in the last governorship election in the state.

Following the outcome of the July 16 governorship election in Osun, Oyetola and the APC filed a petition before the Election Petition Tribunal sitting at the State High Court, Osogbo.

The petitioners who were seeking justice challenged the results of the election in some of the Local Government Areas and prayed the Tribunal to return their mandate to them.

The INEC had declared Adeleke winner of the July 16 governorship election having polled a total number of 403,271 against 375,027 polled by Oyetola. (NAN )/Daily Trust

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Ayu in fresh trouble over whereabouts of N10bn nomination fees

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National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Dr. Iyorchia Ayu

The embattled National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Dr Iyorchia Ayu, is in fresh trouble over the whereabouts of N10 billion realized by the party from nomination fees paid by aspirants.

The fresh controversy is coming barely 48 hours to the kickoff of the 2023 election campaigns scheduled for September 28, 2022.

The PDP had fixed its presidential nomination form and expression of interest forms for N40 million, governorship N21 million, Senate N3.5 million, House of Representatives N2.5 million, and House of Assembly N600, 000.

It was learnt that a bloc in the party is trying to offer each National Working Committee (NWC) member N28millon to gloss over the huge cash in order to curtail any further crisis in the party but some members of the NWC, who rejected the bribe, are insisting on accountability and on getting answers about the depletion of the cash from over N10billion to N1billion.

According to The Nation, the aggrieved camp of Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State was pushing for accountability to increase the pressure on Ayu to resign.

It was gathered that members of the PDP NWC were surprised to learn that former Vice President Atiku Abubakar allegedly made N1billion available to the party before the presidential primaries.

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Recall that Governor Wike, during a media chat on Friday, claimed that the opposition party chairman took N1 billion from a presidential aspirant before the PDP primary and did not remit the said sum to the party.

A top source, who spoke in confidence, said: “Ahead of our campaign, all is still not well in the party because some NWC members have raised issues over what had become of the N10 billion nomination fees.

“They are demanding immediate accountability from the party. I think their anger followed a leakage that the amount collected has reduced from about N10 billion to N1billion.

“Governor Wike’s disclosure of a N1 billion gift to the party before the PDP Presidential primaries has compounded the challenge in the party because some NWC members and stakeholders were just hearing for the first time.

“The anger is mounting and Wike’s camp is already capitalizing on the situation to push for accountability and plot Ayu’s exit.

“I can tell you that the party is in a tinderbox. Some forces wanted to use accountability as an excuse to cause confusion. We know that Ayu has repeatedly assured party leaders of being accountable and transparent.”

The source added, “These NWC members have been adamant on accountability. They are demanding the whereabouts of the huge cash.”

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Pastors are to lead people to salvation not politics, Keyamo tells PFN

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Spokesperson for the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential campaign council, Festus Keyamo, has fired back at the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria for the body’s criticism of the MUslim-Muslim ticket of the party’s presidential candidate and running mate, saying says pastors should lead the people to salvation and not politics.

David Bakare, deputy national secretary of the PFN, in an interview, said the group has no affiliation with members of the Pentecostal Bishops Forum of Northern Nigeria who met with Bola Tinubu, APC presidential candidate, on Friday.

The PFN also said its opposition to the Muslim-Muslim ticket of the APC remained unchanged.

Speaking during an interview with Channels Television on Sunday, Keyamo said the PFN has no right to criticise the decisions of the ruling party.

He said, “The PFN are not members of our party. They should go and vote that day. They should not be coming to question the decision of our party publicly. The purpose of pastors or their duty is to lead people to heaven not to lead people to [presidential] villa.

“If I go to church every Sunday, I want to hear the sermon of God and I don’t want to hear the sermon of politics or who should rule me.

“I want to hear the sermon of God and what will lead me to salvation and not what to lead me to the villa.”

Asides from the PFN, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has also condemned the selection of Kashim Shettima, a Muslim, as the running mate to Tinubu.

Commenting on the APC’s campaign strategy for the 2023 elections, Keyamo said the party will present to Nigerians the performance of Tinubu during his time as governor of Lagos.

The minister added that Nigerians are too hungry to be bothered about issues bordering on religion.

“Nigerians are hungry, they want to see how that hunger will be addressed, not how their Christian or Muslim faiths will be addressed,” he said.

“They want to see our policies on agriculture and what Asiwaju has done before as governor of Lagos state, how he improved Lagos and how he will bring that kind of posterity to Nigeria as a whole.”

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