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South-East leaders blast Atiku over Igbo president, demand apology

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South-East leaders have taken a swipe at the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, over a statement credited to him that Ndigbo should wait until after his tenure as President to have a shot at the presidency.

They also demanded an apology from him as they described Atiku’s comment as an insult to the collective sensibilities of the entire Igbo race.

The former vice president last Tuesday during the PDP South-East Zonal Stakeholders’ Meeting in Enugu said he would actualise the Igbo presidency if elected in 2023.

“So, why do you say I will not give Igbos a fair chance to lead the country after my tenure as president? I did that in 2019 when I brought Obi and another Obi in 2011 and for 2023, I chose Ifeanyi Okowa, another Igbo man as my running mate, even when Ohaneze said no Igbo should contest for Presidency under PDP”, he had stated.

However, the comment by the PDP’s standard bearer did not go well with many Igbo leaders who berated him for being insensitive to the political marginalisation of Ndigbo.

Recall that Chief Raymond Dokpesi had, in January 2022, during a consultation parley with the PDP leaders in Umuahia, the Abia State capital, said Atiku would only do a single term and hand over to an Igbo person.

Dokpesi, who was then the leader of the Technical Committee for Atiku Abubakar’s Presidential Campaign, assured that if Atiku was elected for a single four-year term, it would pave the way for the South East to produce the president in 2027.

Recall also that similar promises were made to Ndigbo by the ruling All Progressive Congress, APC, during the electioneering for the 2019 general elections.

In December 2018, the Secretary to the Federal Government, SGF, Mr Boss Mustapha, restated APC’s resolve that President Muhammadu Buhari would hand over power to an Igbo person in 2023.

Mustapha, while speaking in Umuahia, at the inauguration of the South East chapter of the Presidential Support Committee, PSC, assured Ndigbo that the shortest route to producing a president of Igbo extraction was by supporting and voting for APC in 2019.

Note that since the return of democracy in 1999, the gentleman agreement was that power would be rotating between the North and the South. In that order, the South got the first shot at the presidency with Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, from the Southwest. After him, the presidency went to the North with Umaru Musa Ya’adua emerging as the president. Unfortunately, Ya’adua died on the seat and his vice, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan from the South-South filled in as acting president and then substantive president.

Going forward, the presidency returned to the North with Buhari almost rounding up his second tenure. Therefore, by the gentleman agreement operational, the presidency ought to return to the South once again.

But since the Dokpesi statement of January 2022 that Atiku will do a single term if elected in 2023 is not a direct commitment from the PDP presidential candidate, it can then mean that Igbo will have to wait till 2031 to be President if he decides to seek re-election in 2027 and succeeds.

The Igbo leaders argued that out of the three geopolitical zones, namely, South-West, South-East and South-South, the South-South and South-West have had their time at the presidency, leaving the South-East.

They believed that if equity, justice, fair play, and most importantly, owing to the tenets of the gentleman agreement which is in tandem with the federal character principles, the geo-political zone should have been supported by the other southern blocks who already have had their take at the presidency, but it became a tug of war, one which has generated a lot of bad blood.

Those who spoke to Sunday Vanguard noted that Atiku, who is at the centre of the problem, rather than supporting a candidate from the South-East, threw his hat in the ring to be allowed to succeed a fellow northerner who just did two tenures.

According to them, it is ironic that Atiku is now the one telling Igbos to support him becoming the president so that he would assist the region to get their turn at the presidency.

The implication of Atiku’s promise, the South-East leaders noted, is that if the ex-VP wins the 2023 presidential election and decides to go for a second term, the Igbos will have to wait until 2031 to have a shot at the presidency.

Atiku can’t be trusted – OYC

Reacting, the National President of Ohanaeze Youth Council, OYC, Comrade Igboayaka O. Igboayaka, regarded Atiku’s statement as a mere political chorus.

He said the PDP’s presidential candidate cannot be trusted. “We know politicians that can keep to their words and Atiku is not one of them. So what he’s doing is just to manoeuvre to get the opportunity to become the president of this country and continue his private and personal agenda.

“Again, nobody that is reasonable will ask Ndigbo or South East to support them to get power in 2031, no. It’s an insult to Ndigbo and unacceptable. I blame some so-called Igbo stakeholders in PDP that stood there and watched him making such a caricature statement against Ndigbo.

“Ndigbo have waited for more than 57 years to have a position of the number one citizen of this country. No person from South East has become the president of this country. So when you ask our people to wait, it is an insult to us.

”So the South East is politically marginalized and this is part of the things that are fueling the agitation in the old Eastern region. So it’s morally, socially, and justifiably the time for South East to produce the next president of this country. It is non-negotiable, we cannot negotiate it for any reason”, Igboayaka stated.

Also speaking, a socio-political analyst and convener, Ikoro Ndigbo Assembly, Ugochimereze Chinedu Asuzu, cautioned Atiku not to denigrate the Igbo race further, by such an “insulting and patronizing statement, as the presidency is not his to give.”

Asuzu said: “While Atiku is at liberty to say whatever he wants to say because there’s freedom of speech, I’ll only advise that he shouldn’t for any reason whatsoever, denigrate the Igbo race further, by such insulting and patronizing statement. The presidency is not Atiku’s to give to anyone, therefore, giving a promise that obviously is above his actualization is only being unnecessarily mischievous.

“This same patronizing statement we heard before the advent of the present occupier of the office of the Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari. It was part of their campaign statements during the period of the campaigns, and it’s been observed in the breach already because the APC ticket has been ceded to a southwesterner already.

“Therefore, it’s becoming increasingly a pattern of a sort that the sensibilities of the Igbos are continually being insulted by politicians of other ethnicities who believe dangling such carrots at the faces of the Igbos will earn them votes.

Unwritten Code

“We say enough of the insults because the Igbos aren’t second-class citizens or is it that we aren’t aborigines of Nigeria that we’re being placarded in that manner? Will the heavens fall if an Igbo person rules Nigeria, or is there an unwritten or hidden code that forbid the Igbos from becoming president?

“Therefore, all these fire brigades’ promises to the Igbos during campaigns of supporting them next time to be president should stop, because it’s glaring becoming utterly nonsensical and demeaning. We have our people in contention too who are qualified to be president now. So we won’t wait for that beggarly presidency Atiku will give to us, because Nigeria is not his to give to anyone, and he’s not more qualified than our people who already offered themselves for that position which if following logically, morally, ethically and otherwise, it’s the rightful time for a president of Nigeria of Igbo extraction to become a reality, and that is where we stand now.”

I pity Igbos supporting Atiku – Nwodo

Former President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, Dr Nnia Nwodo, while contributing, said that he pities any Igbo political elite supporting the presidential candidate of the PDP at a time many Nigerians from other tribes are supporting the candidacy of Mr Peter Obi, an illustrious Igbo son.

According to Nwodo, “Atiku has been there as vice president and has contested for the presidency severally and he thinks we should wait after several times the North has occupied that position. I don’t support that statement by Atiku. I also pity those of them who had earlier supported the struggle for the Igbo presidency and now saying another thing. I don’t know what will be going through their minds.”

Continuing, he wondered why the Igbo political elite would not sacrifice political correctness and party interest on the altar of regional interest.

The former Information Minister said that apart from the fact that Obi hails from the South East that should by equity and justice be allowed to produce the president in 2023, the former Anambra governor towers higher above other presidential contenders.

“All I feel for those Igbo, including my state governor and my brother, Dr Okwesilieze Nwodo, now supporting Atiku to be president after eight years of the presidency of another Fulani man when entire Nigeria is saying that Peter Obi who happens to be Igbo is the best candidate in the race, is a pity. But they are entitled to their opinion.”

Total Insult

Also reacting, the President of Igbo National Council, INC, Chilos Godsent, said the group was sad about Atiku’s statement and viewed it “as a total insult to the Igbo nation.”

He called on the PDP’s presidential candidate “to endeavour to study history as that may help guide his utterances in this electioneering period.”

“Consequent upon the above, the INC, therefore, request Atiku to immediately apologize to the Igbo nation for that reckless and unguided statement or we shall declare a political fatwa on him and the PDP state governors in the Igbo land”, Godsent warned.

Igbos still unhappy with PDP
Adding his voice, the leader of the Coalition of Southeast Youth Leaders, COSEYL, Goodluck Ibem, expressed disappointment over the statement by Atiku especially, at a time when Ndigbo were still unhappy about the outcome of the PDP presidential primary election.
He said, “It is very wrong for Atiku to make such a statement in Enugu when the people of South East are still unhappy with the outcome of the PDP presidential primaries that failed to zone her presidential ticket to South East after many years of unalloyed support to the party.
“Whoever may have advised him to make such statement in Enugu did not advise him rightly. Enugu remains the capital of Ndigbo and it is not complementary for him to have made such a comment there.”

– Vanguard story, apart from headline and intro

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Why Oyetola, others took away official vehicles – Osun APC

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Former Osun State Governor, Mr Adegboyega Oyetola

The Osun State All Progressives Congress (APC), on Friday, admitted that the immediate past governor of the state, Gboyega Oyetola; former deputy governor, Benedict Alabi, and other appointees of the administration took away their official vehicles after getting approval from Oyetola.

The state’s APC Director of Operations, Sunday Akere, who affirmed this during a radio programme monitored by The Guardian in Osogbo, while reacting to the directive by Governor Ademola Adeleke that the past appointed officials should return government vehicles and property in their possession within 48 hours, said it had become a tradition in the state that governors and their appointees leave offices with their official vehicles.

In his revelation, the new Deputy Governor, Kola Adewusi, said that when he got to his official quarters, it was left empty by his predecessor, Benedict Alabi, as building fittings down to kitchen utensils were carted away.

Also, some documents obtained by The Guardian revealed that some principal officers of Osun State College of Education, Ila-Oragun, were given their official vehicles after N20,000 “depreciation value” was paid.

In the same vein, Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs released some government vehicles to some local council officials after approval was got from Oyetola, according to a document.

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But Akere, who maintained that it had become a norm in the government circle for officials to take away their official vehicles in as much such gifts were approved by the state governor, said that it is the practice in Osun State and other states as well as to the National Assembly.

On the removal of building fittings and other items from government official residences, Akere contended that such action was also right because those building items were bought to the place, though with government money, but through personal names of their occupants.

He said that the official quarters were met empty when the administration of Oyetola took over power from Aregbesola, adding that it was justifiable for the immediate past occupants to have removed what they acquired in the buildings.

MEANWHILE, a group, Good Governance Globally, has asked Akere to tender apology to the state on his admittance that the former government officials made away with government property, adding that they should return all the assets back to government.

In a statement signed by its Convener, Goke Omigbodun, said: “Akere should in fact apologise for mentioning the government of Olagunsoye Oyinlola, in which I served as Special Adviser. We all returned our official cars, and some of my colleagues were even hounded for what was not!

“I also served in Bisi Akande’s administration and returned all my official vehicles. It is almost certain that the official cars of the then Commissioner for Education, whom Chief Sunday Akere served as Personal Assistant, were also returned.

“This said tradition is new and confined to the APC administration. It is an unbearable tradition of “a heavy knee on the neck” of Osun State lean wallet.”

 

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2023 Presidency: Dogara, Aggrieved APC Leaders Adopt Atiku

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Former House of Representatives Speaker, Yakubu Dogara

Ahead of the 2023 general elections, former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, and some aggrieved leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) have adopted the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar.

They said after a critical look at the prevailing situation in the country, the Northern Christian leaders decided to work with their Muslim counterparts in the North, to adopt one of the presidential candidates in a bid to defeat the same-faith presidential ticket of the APC next year.

Presenting the report of the committee put together to appraise the presidential candidates in Abuja on Friday night, former Deputy Governor of Kogi State, Simon Achuba, said Atiku was adopted after due consideration of the report of the technical criteria committee put together by the leaders.

Northern Leaders at the meeting included: Dogara, Former Governor of Kogi State, Idris Wada, Former Minister for Water Resources, Barrister Mukhtar Shagari, among several others.

The report was signed by the chairman and secretary of the committee, former minority leader house of representatives, Mohammed Kumalia, and Barrister Mela Nunge.

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Achuba said candidates evaluated were Atiku, Bola Tinubu of APC, candidate of Labour Party, Peter Obi and Rabiu Kwankwaso of the New Nigeria Peoples Party, (NNPP).

According to him, the leaders took consideration of existing structure of the party, capacity of the candidates, evidence of national penetration, religious and ethnic balance, among others to arrive at the decision.

He said it was observed that the APC and PDP are almost at par in terms of political structure, but the compounding albatross on the neck of APC is the “unfortunate self-inflicted divisive same-faith-ticket which cannot guarantee the desired peace, unity and cohesion in Nigeria.”

He explained that while the duo NNPP and LP may emerge as strong contenders in the political arena in the future, from all indications, PDP appears to be the best option to adopt and support.

Achuba said: “The seven and a half years of the APC government has engendered wide spread national perception of its inability to tackle security challenges and turn around the national economy.

“A further compounding albatross on its neck is the unfortunate self-inflicted divisive same-faith-ticket which cannot guarantee the desired peace, unity and cohesion in Nigeria, a decision that has been kicked against by a huge population of Nigerians.

“The perception that the APC Presidential candidate has some health challenges makes people very uncomfortable. There is the fear that it may precipitate a situation where unelected surrogates will be running the government while the president left attending to his health.

“From the existing Structure of the Labour Party and even from the records of Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, as it stands for 2023 elections, even if all their candidates win in the 2023 elections, can the party still produce the President? Very unlikely indeed.”

On the NNPP, he said,” The NNPP on the other hand has similar characteristics with the LP and there is no need repeating same except that ~ NNPP appears to be building a party for the future with – little or no impact in the 2023 elections.

The leaders, therefore said PDP, from all indications seems to be above board in every criterion as postulated.

The leaders also said the PDP ” is nationalistic in spread even though not free from internal crisis like each of the other political parties. if the momentum is aggressively sustained, it will be the party to reckon with.

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“From the above evaluation and analysis, it is evident that the APC is heading for implosion and extinction; hence it cannot be the party for now and in the future because of its rejection to embrace inclusiveness in a diverse Country like Nigeria. After the 2023 elections, APC may be dead and buried as a political party.

“While the duo (NNPP and LP) may emerge as strong contenders in the political arena in the future, from all indications, PDP appears to be the best option to adopt and support.

“All it takes is to sustain and tackle some of the problems and challenges this Country is facing. Certainly, with proper consultations and inclusive appointments, which is mindful of the Federal Character principles with sincere consideration of diverse issues such as religious affiliation, geographical location and ethnic identity, which many believe will enhance justice, fairness and equity.

“After a careful evaluation of all the issues highlighted above, we hereby recommend for the adoption of the PDP, to all lovers of democracy in Nigeria, for the 2023 presidential election.

“However, this should be subject to getting the necessary assurance from the party to run an all-inclusive government, details of which shall discussed with the leadership of the party in the nearest future.

Earlier, Dogara said: “This is a difficult moment for Nigeria. I know that some of us may not even find it easy. By the time we have taken this decision.

“But if you are a student of history, you will know what division has has done. I challenge us if there is anyone here, whether it is a professor or teacher, Beholder that can point to any human civilization ever attempt by divided people.”

Daily Trust

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I will turn Bayelsa into an industrial hub – Tinubu

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Bola Ahmed Tinubu

Bayelsa State residents yesterday defied the heavy downpour to receive the All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential campaign train, led by its candidate, Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu, in Yenagoa, the state capital.

Tinubu, who addressed party faithful and supporters at Ox-Bow Lake Pavilion, venue of the rally, promised to turn Bayelsa State into an industrial hub.

He said Bayelsa will attain its potential as one of the country’s largest producers of oil. Tinubu said Bayelsa would not be what it is today, if oil was not first discovered in the state.

He lamented Bayelsa’s under development, urging the people to vote for the APC to ensure its upliftment.

Tinubu commended former President Goodluck Jonathan, who hails from Bayelsa, for ensuring a smooth transition of power in 2015 after the APC won the presidential election.

He said: “On behalf of the entire nation, may I say thank you Bayelsa for all that you have done for Nigeria.

“You have played a critical and leading role in the development of our national economy.

“Now, I am a man of fairplay. I believe a person, a state and even a nation should be repaid for the good and positive things they have done.

“It is high time that Bayelsa was duly acknowledged for its role in national development and even more fairly paid back in kind for that positive role.

“The entire world knows that Bayelsa is rich in oil and is among Nigeria’s largest producing states. The revenue from these things has been the backbone of government income and foreign exchange earnings.

“But what the world often forgets is that Bayelsa is more than just pipelines and oil installations. It is a community of decent and good people, proud of the culture and traditions, yet hopeful of what the future holds.

“You are fishermen and boat operators of great skill and reputation. You are farmers, businessmen, market women, teachers, students and professionals in all fields.

“If you vote for me and my team, that unfair day will surely end. We will reconstruct and maintain vital federal roadways such as the Mbiama-Yenagoa-Nembe-Brass highway. We will work with willing and capable private sector partners to build a comprehensive network of swamp bridges that connect swamp settlements with upland areas and the wider world.”

Tinubu said his government would make the safety and security of the people of the state its priority.

He said he would take the necessary measures to address security challenges on the waterways by winning the fight against kidnapping, oil theft and piracy in the Niger Delta region.

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, said Tinubu would sweep the state.

He described Tinubu as a great personality, who has a good track record of achievement that nobody could beat.

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Sylva, who is the leader of the party in the state, added: “Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu has a track record that nobody can beat. And today when they ask me why I am so sure that Tinubu will win and is going to be the next president, I ask them, who is contesting with him because I don’t know anybody that is contesting with him.

“And then they say it is Peter Obi that is contesting with him. I say ehh, and then they say there is an Atiku that is contesting with him, and I say it is very clear that those people are no match for our candidate because we have to look at the record of a candidate.

“What did Obi do in Anambra State? Anambra State is a great state, a technological miracle waiting to happen. Obi was there for eight years and Anambra State is in no way an extraordinary state. But we can say after eight years of our presidential candidate in Lagos State, we have Lagos that is extraordinary.

“Obi prides himself as a frugal man who saves money, that he doesn’t spend money; he prides himself that he is a stingy man. But governance is not about stinginess, it is also not only about prudence. It is about creating the opportunity for you the youths.

“Today, Nigeria has a youth population that is largely unemployed. Who is going to produce those opportunities? Who is going to expand the economy to be able to accommodate these people that we are producing everyday?

“Today, our population is about over 200 million. In 2025, our population is going to be about 250 million people and in 2050, the projection is that our population is going to be about 400 million people. It is not only about prudence, it is about creating opportunities. And if you read the Bible very well, it is very clear about creating opportunities and also about prudence. In the parable of the Talents, it said 10 talents were given to one; five were given to another and one talent was given to another.

“The man that was given the five talent increased the opportunity, invested it and created more opportunities and doubled the talents, so, when the master came back, the master was very happy with him that he had doubled the opportunity.

“The second man also doubled the opportunity and the master was also happy with him and the third man called Obi, buried his own talent and said he was a very prudent man and that he buried it because he did not want to lose it. He brought it out and gave to the master and the master said you are a very wicked man. You can see that it goes beyond prudence; it goes beyond not spending shishi.

“As for Atiku, his only mission, according to him, is that he wants to sell NNPC. He sold others before and he discovered he did not sell the NNPC. So, all he wants is to sell the NNPC. That is why he is saying doesn’t even want more than one tenure. So, why are we going to vote for people like that?

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“We must vote for the man that will create opportunities for our youths, we must vote for the man that will create work for you, we must vote for the man that knows the way.”

Plateau State Governor Simon Lalong and Director-General of APC Presidential Campaign Council, said Tinubu will rescue the country.

He said: “Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu is the only way. Tinubu understands the problem of Nigeria. All we are saying is that with Tinubu, we have a renewed hope in Nigeria. Everywhere we go, the song is that Tinubu is a winner and he will win.”

The Speaker of House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, said Tinubu is a tested and trusted man who deserved to be President of Nigeria.

He said: “Tinubu has religious tolerance. He has developed men and women of consequence and deserves our votes. No other man deserves our votes. He is a man to vote for. The cap fits him and he should be the one to wear it.

“I am suggesting that those who we running should run on their records unless of course they have no record to run on. This is a consequential time in Nigeria and we need somebody who has a good track record of achievement and that person is Tinubu.”

Former governor of Edo State, Adams Oshiomhole, said: “Our Presidential candidate will be the next president and Commander-in-Chief of Nigerian Armed Forces. Let me appreciate his running mate, a man who in the face of all challenges still brought hope to the great people of Borneo State.

“This election is particularly crucial to the people of Bayelsa State. I have hope and I know it to be the truth because when I was the President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, I came to Bayelsa and saw how farmers’ farms were destroyed, how fisherman can no longer fish, how you dry your clothes outside and because of pollution, it changes colour.

“For you the people of Bayelsa, the issue of restructuring is important for you? Let it not be said that you are the proverbial fish who is in the river, but cannot drink the water because the river is polluted and poisonous.

“Our presidential candidate has the capacity and potential to deliver the country. Tinubu is insisting that Nigeria should not be run like a unitary system of government. He has courage to insist that in a true federal system, states, not Federal Government should be responsible for the creation of local governments. He didn’t just say it, he went ahead and created new local government areas in Lagos State. And what happened, he was punished by the PDP.”

On arrival in Yenagoa, Tinubu and his entourage paid a courtesy call on the Ibenanaowei of Ikpetiama Kingdom and Chairman, Council of Traditional Rulers in the state, King Bubaraye Dakolo Agada 1V.

The traditional ruler reeled out a lot of demands, including the construction of major roads linking the state capital,   revamping of Peeremabiri Rice Farm, of Aggeii Deep Sea Port and  Brass LNG.

The APC presidential candidate promised to uplift the state as a major oil producer.

But he told the royal fathers to urge their people to vote APC. Alluding to a Yoruba proverb, Tinubu said: “a woman that has not experienced a second husband will not know the difference between the two.”

The Wife of the presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress  (APC) and chairman of the Tinubu/Shettima Women Presidential Campaign Team, Senator Oluremi Tinubu, has said that the former governor of Lagos State will promise the welfare of Nigeria if elected in next year’s elections.

She urged eligible voters, especially women and youths, to vote for APC candidates.

Senator Tinubu gave the assurance at the flag off of the North-West rally of the Tinubu/Shettima Women Presidential Campaign, at the People’s Square, Katsina, Katsina State capital.

A statement by the Media Office of the Campaign Team in Abuja said the rally was attended by Hajiya Nana Shettima, the Minister, Hajiya Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed and Dr. Zainab Shinkafi-Bagudu, wife of the Kebbi State Governor and North-West Coordinator of the Tinubu/Shettima Women Campaign Team; the first ladies of Katsina, Kano, Kaduna, Jigawa, Zamfara and Lagos states.

Also at the rally were  Asabe Vilita Bashir, national coordinator of the APC Women Campaign Team and her deputy, Lauretta Onochie, who has recently been nominated as chairman of the board of the Niger-Delta Development Commission (NDDC).

Also present were Zahra Buhari-Indimi and Hanan Buhari, daughters of the First Lady and grand patron of the APC Women Campaign Team, Dr Aisha Buhari.

On arrival in Katsina, the delegation paid a courtesy call to the Emir of Katsina, and the Governor Aminu Bello Masari.

The Nation

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