Nigeria’s ruling APC in crises; factional congresses held across states

Nigeria’s ruling party, APC, held its state congress in several states on Saturday. The congresses were to elect new leaders

Nigeria’s ruling party, APC, held its state congress in several states on Saturday. The congresses were to elect new leaders for the party in Nigeria’s 36 states and Abuja.

The congresses at several states, however, show a party that is unable to resolve its differences as parallel congresses were held in many states.

The parallel congresses occurred both in states governed by the APC and those governed by opposition parties. The split of the party, in many states, also shows the rift among top leaders of the party including those holding sensitive elective and appointive positions in the federal government.

KWARA (Saraki VS Lai Mohammed)

Two parallel state congresses of the APC took place in Ilorin on Saturday, the News Agency of Nigeria reports.

While the faction loyal to the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, held its congress at the Banquet Hall opposite the Government House, another congress by a faction loyal to the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, took place at Arca Santa Event Hall.

Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed; APC National Publicity Secretary, Bolaji Abdullahi; a senator, Shaaba Lafiaji; and lawmakers representing the state at the National Assembly and state House of Assembly were present at the congress held at the Banquet Hall.

Mr Saraki, while speaking at the congress, commended members of the party for the peaceful conduct of the ward and local government congresses.

He said most of the executive members at the wards and local government level were youth, adding that this was a sign of good things to come in 2019.

Senate President, Bukola Saraki [Photo: Sahara Reporters]

“In 2019, it will be a test for the youths to demonstrate their ability to take charge in the state,” he said.

Mr Saraki, however, appealed to the delegates to comport themselves in an orderly and peaceful manner.

Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed [Photo: Daily Trust]

The party’s chairman, Ishola Balogun-Fulani, commended members for their conduct during the last two congresses of the party.

The congress, loyal to the information minister, held at Arca Santa Hall. It had Moshood Mustapha, a former Special Assistant to the Senate President on Special Duties and Inter-Parliamentary Affairs in attendance.

Raheem Adedoyin, a former Commissioner for Information under the Saraki administration, was also in attendance.

Also present was a former Secretary to the State Government under the Saraki administration, Ganiyu Cook-Olododo.

NAN reports that executive members of the two factions emerged through consensus arrangement.

While delegates at the Banquet Hall still cast their votes in spite of the fact that the candidates had no opponents, those at the Arca Santa Hall only affirmed the return of candidates.

Moshood Bolarinwa emerged the state chairman of the faction loyal to the minister while Abdullahi Samari was affirmed the deputy chairman.

Others were Abdulganiyu Saka, Secretary; Abegunde Goge, Assistant Secretary; Rahmat Abolaji Women leader; and Samuel Isaac, Youth Leader.

Also included were Olayemi Olabanji, Kwara South Senatorial Chairman; Sulyman Yahaya, Kwara Central Senatorial Chairman; and Raheem Usman, Kwara North Senatorial Chairman.

Kayode Oyin-Zubair emerged Publicity Secretary of the faction while Abiola Nasir was affirmed Financial Secretary, with Wahila Sakariyah becoming the Organising Secretary.

OYO (Ajimobi vs Shittu)

The two Oyo factions are those of Governor Abiola Ajimobi and that of the communications minister, Adebayo Shittu.

In a repeat of the May 13 parallel local government congresses in Oyo State, the state congress of the party also held in two locations in Ibadan metropolis on Saturday.

Oyo State Governor, Abiola Ajimobi

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that while Mr Ajimobi attended the congress held at the Lekan Salami Stadium, the Unity Forum of the party held its own at the Liberty Stadium.

Apart from Ajimobi, also present at the Lekan Salami Stadium were former Governor Adebayo Alao-Akala, Abdulfatai Buhari (APC-Oyo North), Olagunju Ojo, Speaker, Oyo State House of Assembly; and Teslim Folarin, a former Senate Leader.

Moses Adeyemo, the Deputy Governor, and his predecessor, Taofeek Arapaja were, however, absent at the congress.

Akin Oke, the APC Chairman in the state and several others were returned through consensus for another four-year term as party executives.

NAN reports that the exercise was conducted by the National Congress Committee led by Abdullahi Gwarzo, a former deputy governor of Kano State, while INEC officials were present.

Mr Gwarzo, who read the guidelines for the congress to members, urged them to imbibe the spirit of sportsmanship.

He also stated that he was unaware of a parallel congress, urging aggrieved members to channel their petition through the party’s Appeal Committee.

But at the congress of the Unity Forum held at Liberty Stadium, the Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu, said members must check the impunity that had characterised the running of the party’s affairs in the state.

The Minister of Communication, Adebayo Shittu, [Photo credit: THISDAYLIVE]

He expressed concern over what he called the dictatorial attitude of a few persons running the party without any consideration for those that had worked for its success.

“It is in the course of our efforts to liberate the party from these individuals that we have brought this congress and we will continue to do the wishes of the people so as to bring sanity into the system,’’ he said.

The minister assured all party faithful to remain focused and steadfast, saying the interest of all members would prevail.

Among prominent members of the group apart from Mr Shittu are a senator, Monsurat Sumonu, representing Oyo Central and Adedapo Lam-Adesina as well as some federal and state lawmakers.

The 26 candidates for the state executive positions were elected unopposed by the 2,840 delegates across the 33 local government areas.

Isiaka Alimi emerged as the State chairman while Remi Olalekan was elected the State Secretary.

In his acceptance speech, Mr Alimi pledged to ensure internal democracy prevailed in the conduct of the party’s activities.

He solicited the cooperation of all members to ensure that the party wins all the state and national elections in 2019.

ABIA (Different Supervisors From Abuja)

The APC in Abia on Saturday held parallel state congresses, leading to the emergence of two factional state executive committees.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the two congresses, which held at different venues, under heavy security, were peaceful.

While the Donatus Nwamkpa-led faction held its congress at the Umuahia Township Stadium, the faction loyal to Ikechi Emenike, held its own in a private building on Ossah Road, Umuahia.

While Mr Nwamkpa and Perfect Okorie were returned as Chairman and Secretary, respectively, along with the former executive members, the Emenike-led group elected Emmanuel Ndukwe as the Chairman.

While the congress at the stadium was conducted by a four-member State Congress Committee led by Jonathan Zwingana, the one at Ossah Road was conducted by Rabiu Sulu-Gambari and Garba Sani.

In separate speeches, Ms Sulu-Gambari and Mr Sani said that the national leadership of the party sent them to Abia to conduct the exercise.

They described the congress that produced Mr Ndukwe as the authentic and legally recognised one.

They said that the committee was committed to upholding the rule of law.

NAN reports that all the contestants at the Ossah congress were returned unopposed.

Notable chieftains of the party who attended the exercise at the stadium included a former deputy governor of Abia, Chris Akomas; Nkechi Nwogu and former governorship candidate of the party, Nyerere Anyim.

On the other hand, the congress at Ossah Road was attended by Mr Emenike and Paul Ikonne, two notable chieftains of the party.

In an interview at the end of the congress at Ossah Road, Mr Ndukwe said his leadership would make APC strong and capable of winning the 2019 governorship poll in the state.

“Therefore, I’m inviting everybody who wants a change in Abia to come and join APC right now so that we can salvage Abia.”

He promised a level playing field for all the aspirants, saying “There will be equal opportunity for everybody.”

The party held similar parallel congresses at the ward and local government levels following a protracted leadership tussle between Emenike and Nwamkpa factions.

The parties are currently in court over their disagreement.

LAGOS (Challenging Tinubu)

In Lagos, stronghold of party leader, Bola Tinubu, some members dared him to hold a parallel congress.

APC Chieftain, Bola Tinubu

A faction, led by Fouad Oki, challenged the other faction of the party led by Mr Tinubu.

Mr Oki, until recently a loyalist of Mr Tinubu, was the campaign director for Governor Akinwunmi Ambode’s 2015 gubernatorial contest. Mr Oki also acted in that capacity for both Mr Tinubu and former governor Babatunde Fashola.

He had in February, launched the Broom United Movement, a faction of aggrieved party members.

While the faction held its parallel congress at the Lagos Airport Hotel, Ikeja, the Tinubu faction held its own congress at the party secretariat, Acme Road, Ikeja.

PREMIUM TIMES’ correspondent who was at the congress reports that the faction led by Mr Oki claimed that it would elect officials into the state executive of the party.

The congress held at the Event Centre of the Airport Hotel, has in attendance wards and local government delegates from different parts of the state.

A party stalwart told PREMIUM TIMES that officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) were expected to monitor the exercise.

Party stalwarts at the factional congress took turns to throw jibes at members of the other faction while addressing the crowd.

At the party secretariat where the faction believed to be loyal to Mr Tinubu held its congress, there were top political office holders in the state in attendance.

At the APC factional congress held at the Lagos Airport Hotel, Mr Oki emerged as the chairman of the APC in the state, while Sanni Oloye and Wole Oshodi became deputy chairman and secretary respectively.

PREMIUM TIMES could not verify if the factional congress at Lagos Airport Hotel was supervised by officials sent by the National secretariat of the APC.

But the congress conducted at the party secretariat on Acme Road was witnessed by the state congress committee headed by Uche Ekwunife.

At the end of the congress, Tunde Balogun, a former commissioner, emerged as chairman at the congress.

Similarly, Sunny Ajose emerged as the deputy chairman; Funsho Ologunde as vice-chairman, West; Kayode Olusanya as vice-chairman, East and Hakeem Bamigbala as vice-chairman, Central.

Others are Wale Ahmed as secretary, Ms Olasunmbo as treasurer, Joana Adebobuyi as assistant treasurer, Joe Igbokwe as publicity secretary, Abiodun Salami as assistant publicity secretary, and Ademola Sadiq as legal adviser.

They new officials emerged as consensus candidates.

In her address, Ms Ekwunife commended the members for the peaceful manner they conducted the congress.

She also promised to market Lagos to other states of the federation on how to organise a rancour-free transition.

She thanked the Henry Ajomale-led exco for leading the party right, adding that his leadership style has engendered growth in the party.

Mr Ajomale, in his address, thanked party members and leaders for their support and cooperation.

The congress at the party secretariat was attended by numerous party chieftains and about 1,500 delegates.

KOGI (Bello, Faleke battle continues)

Two different executive councils on Saturday emerged in the Kogi State chapter of the APC following the holding of two parallel congresses by the two main factions of the party.

A correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) who monitored the two congresses in Lokoja reports that the two executives emerged by affirmation.

While the faction loyal to the state governor, Yahaya Bello, held its own Congress at the Confluence Stadium, the Audu / Faleke faction held its own at St Peters Primary School, Felele, Lokoja.

Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello [Photo Credit: The News Nigeria]

At the Congress held at the Confluence Stadium, Abdulahi Bello emerged as the state chairman of the party, Ibrahim Abdulrahman, Deputy Chairman and Josiah Onoja, Secretary.

Mr Bello was until now a Senior Special Assistant on political affairs to the state governor. Aside from Messrs. Bello, Abdulrahman and Onoja, 34 other persons were elected by affirmation into various positions to make the state executive council of the party.

The congress was attended by Gov. Bello, his deputy, Simon Achuba, the Speaker of the state house of assembly, Mathew Kolawole, the Secretary to the state government, Folashade Ayoade, commissioners, some members of the House of Representatives and members of the state house of assembly.

Maman Magaji, the Chairman of the state Congress Committee from the headquarters of the party conducted the congress while the state Resident Electoral Commissioner, James Apam, led other officials of the Independent National Electoral Commissioner to supervise it.

Mr Bello, the new state chairman, in his acceptance speech promised to run an open door policy and lead the party to victory in the coming elections.

He also thanked the state governor, other members of his cabinet and delegates from the across the 21 local government areas of the state for their peaceful conduct before and during the congress.

However, the Audu / Faleke faction at the congress held at St Peter Primary School Felele, re-elected the outgoing state chairman of the party, Haddy Ametuo, as the new Chairman.

He and 34 other outgoing executive members were elected by affirmation by all delegates that attended the congress.

The Returning Officer for the congress, Theman Saurara, announced the results of the congress.

“Having successfully conducted the state congress, I announced the return of all but two of the former state officers,” Mr Saurara stated.

In his acceptance speech, Mr Ametuo expressed gratitude to the delegates for the confidence reposed in him, promising not to let them down.

He also assured them that their sufferings for the party over the years will not go unrewarded, urging them to remain steadfast.

“We suffer for this party together and we will all reap the fruits of our labour together.

“This same set of APC executives from ward to the state congress we just conducted worked hard to give President Muhammadu Buhari Victory in 2015 and it is us again that will deliver Kogi State come 2019,” he said. (NAN)

KEBBI (Fear of the Unknown)

Haliru Abdu Stadium, Birnin Kebbi, the venue for the state congress of the All Progressives Congress (APC) was deserted on Saturday by both contestants and delegates.

Anxious journalists waited in vain between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. for both the contestants, delegates and the officials from the APC headquarters.

The whereabouts of all were unknown.

Police presence was also visible at race course, another venue, apparently to stop an aggrieved group holding a parallel congress in the state.

A party delegate from Suru Local Government, who spoke to NAN on condition of anonymity, expressed concern over the whole absurdity.

He said that since he came into Birnin Kebbi for the congress, he was yet to see any party official.

“They just dumped us here for hours since morning. Nobody, including party officials, have said anything to us,” he said.

State publicity secretary, Sani Dododo, could not be reached on phone.

However, NAN learnt that party officials and electoral committee members from the national headquarters, party elders and APC Local Government Chairmen were holding a closed-door meeting in an undisclosed place to determine the fate of the exercise.

TARABA (Aisha Alhassan in Control?)

The Taraba State APC Congress was suspended, following crisis that rocked the exercise in the state on Saturday.

Chairman of the Congress Committee, Danjuma Dambazau, while announcing the suspension of the state congress said the committee would sit and look at the issues that led to the protest with a view to resolving them.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that at about 4:45 p.m. when the exercise was about to commence at the Jolly Nyame Stadium in Jalingo, some chieftains of the party stormed the venue demanding the committee to use the list earlier sent to the National Headquarters of the party in Abuja.

The protesters were led by the former acting governor of the state, Abubakar Danladi, a former governorship candidate in the state, David Kente; and the National President of Trade Union Congress, (TUC), Bala Kaigama.

They accused the committee of tampering with the delegates list duly signed by returning officers during the ward and local government congresses.

As they were engaging the Electoral Committee sent from Abuja on how to resolve the issue of delegate list, one of the supporters seized the materials for the election, while others dismantled some items on the high table, causing pandemonium in the hall.

One of the protesters, Mr Kaigama told journalists that the team from Abuja was acting a script in favour of the Minister of Women Affairs, Aisha Alhassan, to shortchange other chieftains of the party ahead of 2019 elections.

Aisha Alhassan

According to him the time of manipulation in the party was over.

“We are in the game to correct the rot in the system.

“Tarabans are now wiser and we will not take the manipulation of the five man committee sent to conduct the election in the state in favour of a particular candidate,” he said.

On his part, Mr Kente who noted that they had asked the committee to paste the delegates list at the party secretariat in Jalingo for verification before the delegate election, said the committee members were not fair to all.

“Three of the five-man committee agreed that the list they were using was not from Abuja but from the INEC office in Jalingo and that is where the problem lies.

“The State Congress will not hold here unless we sit down and resolve the issues involved,” he said.

The Minister of Women Affairs, Mrs Alhassan, refused to comment on the issue, saying “I don’t know what is happening, I am just coming into the hall.”

Answering questions from journalists, the Chairman of the committee, Mr Dambazau described the action of the protesters as a show of shame.

He explained that the committee discovered that the list sent to Abuja was tampered with and decided to use the list validated by INEC on the directive of the national secretariat of the party.

According to him the action was aimed at ensuring fairness, since INEC were part of the ward and local government Congresses that were held across the country.

“The list that was sent to Abuja was discovered to have been tempered with and the National Secretariat issued a directive for the withdrawal of the list and mandated this committee to use the list from INEC for the conduct of the state congress.

“However, since these people felt disgruntled and prevented us from using the list to screen delegates for the state Congress we will act accordingly.” he said.

ONDO (Akeredolu’s ‘thugs’ on rampage)

Political thugs suspected to be loyal to the Ondo State government on Saturday stormed the BTO Hall, Akure, venue of the state congress of a faction of the All Progressives Congress in the state, disrupting the exercise and inflicting injuries on participants.

Although the attack was targeted at the factional members of the party, journalists were attacked by the thugs who inflicted varying degrees of injuries on them.

Sunkanmi Elujoba of Adaba FM, Damisi Ojo of The Nation, Bamigbola Gbolagunte of The Sun, Olumide Abudu of Radio Nigeria Positive FM, James Sowole, of Thisday and the chairman of Nigeria Union of Journalists in the state were among those injured.

A member of the House of Representatives, representing Idanre/Ifedore federal constituency, Bamidele Baderinwa, Commissioner for Regional Integration in Osun State, Bola Ilori; Idowu Otetubi and Tolu Babaleye; Leye Akinola, were also not spared.

The thugs chased the party members out of the venue using machetes, clubs and other dangerous weapons. They also vented their violence on properties and vehicles within the vicinity.

The presence of men of the National Security and Civil Defence Corps did not deter the thugs from carrying out the acts.

Those injured were rushed to the hospital for medical attention.

Meanwhile, the Governor Rotimi Akeredolu-led APC held its state congress at the International Event Centre, Akure, where Ade Adetimehin was picked as the new chairman of the party.

Rotimi Akeredolu

Mr Adetimehin had been in acting capacity since last year after Isaac Kekemeke was suspended from office.

He was unopposed and was elected through a voice vote.

When PREMIUM TIMES reached the police public relations officer for Ondo State command, Femi Joseph, he said he was not aware of the event, but was only aware of the congress that held at the International Event Centre.

APC holds parallel ward congresses in Kogi

Emmanuel Adeyemi, Lokoja Heavy rains have marred the All Progressive Congress (APC) ward congress in Kogi State as delegates could

Emmanuel Adeyemi, Lokoja

Heavy rains have marred the All Progressive Congress (APC) ward congress in Kogi State as delegates could not turn out to vote early enough.

When the Sun News visited some polling units in Lokoja, the state capital, it was gathered that the ‘real election’ took place behind the scene and the Saturday outing was just mere formality.

Visiting polling units such as St Peter Primary School at Oworo Ward D, Bishop Crowther Primary School, Ward A, and Kabawa Primary School, Ward E between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., many people were seen still waiting for election materials.

The Sun News again learnt that the real election had taken place elsewhere.

Speaking with newsmen during the exercise, the House of Assembly member representing Lokoja 11, Idris Ndakwo, said the state governor had instructed them to go on consensus in choosing the candidates, and that any where there were problems elections should be held, stressing that there must not be imposition of candidates.

It was gathered however that there was a parallel congress held in the 21 local government areas in the state between the Audu/Faleke group, led by Haddy Ametuo, the nationally recognised state party chairman, and that of the factional group led by Ibrahim Aboyi, said to be handpicked by State Governor Yahaya Bello.

These two rival groups have split the ruling party in the state, the Sun News learnt.

The post appeared first on The Sun News.

Pay our salaries, we are dying – NLC to Kogi State govt

Emmanuel Adeyemi, Lokoja The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has called on Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State to pay workers

Emmanuel Adeyemi, Lokoja

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has called on Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State to pay workers salaries in the state, saying “we are dying of hunger.”

Speaking at an occasion marking 2018 Workers Day, the NLC chairman, Onuh Edoka, who spoke on behalf of organised labour, said it was painful that many workers are still been owed salaries, ranging from six to sixteen months; adding that those mostly affected are local government workers.

The NLC leader said labour decided this year’s Workers Day in the state would be muted “because our people are passing through excruciating hunger and pains and we don’t have the energy to celebrate the day as it ought to [be celebrated].”

Labour also chided the state government for its habit of breaking agreements reached with it, as it urged Governor Bello to urgently address the plight of workers in the central state.

Labour condemned the farmers/herders clashes going on in parts of the state, and urged the state government to tackle the issue of unemployment and insecurity which it said have thrown the state into uncertainty.

Deputy Governor Simon Achuba, representing the governor, admitted with labour about the plight of workers due to unpaid salaries, and promised that the Bello administration would do more to assuage their suffering.

The state meanwhile called on the Federal Government to complete the Ajaokuta steel project in order to create jobs for the teeming numbers on unemployed youths in the state.

The post appeared first on The Sun News.

President Buhari Has Faith, Confidence In Nigerian Youths, Says Gov Bello

The Governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello has said President Muhammadu Buhari has faith and confidence in the Nigerian youths, saying

The Governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello has said President Muhammadu Buhari has faith and confidence in the Nigerian youths, saying the statement credited to the President was not targeted at millions of “highly industrious youth across the nation”.

Bello stated this through a statement signed by his Director General of Media and Publicity, Kingsley Fanwo stressing that the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has done more for the “unemployed but promising youths” more than any administration before him.

“Today, hundreds of thousands of Nigerian youths are proud beneficiaries of the N-Power program and other Social Investment Program in the President Muhammadu Buhari administration.

Previous governments abandoned the youths to their fate. In Kogi State, the previous administration shared a loan of  Two billion Naira meant for Youth Entrepreneurship Development through SMSE.

“Under President Muhammadu Buhari’s leadership, youths are not only given prominent roles to play in Government, but are given hope of a brighter future, providing a soft gap between unemployment and full, rewarding employment”.

Bello urged Nigerian youths to avoid being incited against the President by those who stole billions which would have gone into the development of industries with employment capacities.

I can jump into fire for Buhari, I can do anything for him -Yahaya Bello

Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello, has said he would go to any length for President Muhammadu Buhari if he so

Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello, has said he would go to any length for President Muhammadu Buhari if he so request.

Bello disclosed this while reacting to President Buhari’s decision against the tenure elongation of national chairman, John Oyegun and National Working Committee (NWC) of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

He said, “I am an ardent supporter of President Muhammadu Buhari, who has said that we must stick to the 1999 Constitution and APC Constitution. If Buhari asks me to jump into fire, I will not hesitate to jump into it.”

Speaking on why he earlier backed Chief John Oyegun on his tenure elongation, Bello said:

“They are saying that I have problem with Asiwaju Bola Tinubu; that is why I supported tenure elongation.

“I have no problem with Asiwaju, he is my leader. And President Buhari is the leader of all. I was supporting you (Oyegun and NWC) but we have to hold National Convention.”

‘If President Buhari Asks Me To Jump Into Fire, I Will Not Hesitate To Jump Into it,” Says Yahaya BeloKogi State Governor Yahaya Bello,

Kogi State Governor Yahaya Bello, has said his support for President Muhammadu Buhari remain unshaken and would do anything for

Kogi State Governor Yahaya Bello, has said his support for President Muhammadu Buhari remain unshaken and would do anything for the President if he so request.

Bello said this while reacting to President Buhari’s advise against extending the tenure elongation of National Working Committee (NWC) of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

According to him, “I am an ardent supporter of President Muhammadu Buhari, who has said that we must stick to the 1999 Constitution and APC Constitution. If Buhari asks me to jump into fire, I will not hesitate to jump into it.”

On why he earlier backed Chief John Oyegun to elongate the tenure elongation, he said:

“They are saying that I have problem with Asiwaju Bola Tinubu; that is why I supported tenure elongation.

“I have no problem with Asiwaju, he is my leader. And President Buhari is the leader of all. I was supporting you (Oyegun and NWC) but we have to hold National Convention.”


The Late 5: Gunmen invade Kogi police station, Trump pledges to guard border with the military, and other top stories

These are the top five Nigerian stories that conversation today. Former President Olusegun Obasanjo on Monday insisted that the administration

These are the top five Nigerian stories that conversation today.

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo on Monday insisted that the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has been a failure.

He spoke at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library, Abeokuta, Ogun State, while playing host to the New Nigeria 2019 Group, led by the convener, Chima Anyaso, in company with Moses Siasia.

“As I said, stop giving excuses; we met challenges. If there are no challenges, then we wouldn’t need you to come. You come in because you know there are challenges and then giving us an excuse that you have many challenges; that is why you haven’t achieved results.”

The police have arrested six persons for allegedly aiding the escape of six suspects from police custody in Division ‘A’ Lokoja, Kogi State, last week Wednesday.

They include John Beneche, 22, Seye Atowoju, 27, Danjuma Yunusa, 35, Egga Ochai, 50, Abbas Haruna, 30, and Gloria Audu, 28, sister to Emmanuel, one of the re-arrested prime suspects in Senator Dino Melaye’s arms case.

The force in a statement on Tuesday in Abuja by its spokesman, Jimoh Moshood, explained that the six suspects played criminal roles in the escape of Kabiru Seidu (aka Osama), Nuhu Salisu (aka Small), Aliyu Isa, Adams Suleiman, Emmanuel Audu and Musa Mohammed.

Some gunmen on Tuesday invaded the police station at Gegu village on Lokoja–Abuja road, killing two of the policemen on duty.

William Aya, spokesman of the Kogi state police command confirmed this.

“It is true that there was an attack today. We lost two officers,” he said.

He said the gunmen also injured one of the suspects in the cell.

Yahaya Bello, governor of Kogi state, walked into the presidential villa in Abuja on Tuesday on crutches.

The governor was involved in an accident during the Easter holiday.

Kingsley Fanwo, spokesman of the governor, had earlier issued a statement to deny that his principal’s condition was critical.

“We wish to refute speculations in some quarters that the Governor of Kogi State, His Excellency, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, is either hospitalised or otherwise incapacitated,” the statement read.

Festus Keyamo, Lagos lawyer, has accused former President Olusegun Obasanjo of committing same act he is tackling President Muhammadu Buhari for.

He said Obasanjo “kept blaming” the military for his “abysmal” performance while in office.

Writing via his Twitter handle on Tuesday, Keyamo said — just like Buhari — the former president had asked Nigerians to be patient with his government.

He wrote: “Let’s remember that during the first four years of Obasanjo (1999-2003), he kept blaming the ‘rot’ the military left behind as the reason for his abysmal performance and begged Nigerians to be patient with him, to the extent that he reportedly knelt down for Atiku Abubakar (his then vice-president) then to get his second-term ticket.”

And now, stories from around the world…

The Duke of Edinburgh has been admitted to hospital in central London for planned surgery on his hip, Buckingham Palace has said.

The surgery will take place on Wednesday at the King Edward VII Hospital in Marylebone.

Prince Philip, 96, retired from royal duties last August.

The duke did not attend the Easter service at Windsor Castle on Sunday, with his absence said to have been because of a hip problem.

France’s rail network has been severely disrupted, as a wave of strikes against President Emmanuel Macron’s labour reforms gets under way.

The start of the strike has been dubbed “Black Tuesday”, but the action will spread over three months, affecting two days in every five.

Staff at state railway SNCF are leading the strike, but the energy and waste collection sectors are also affected.

The unrest presents Mr Macron’s biggest challenge since his election last May.

The first person has been jailed as part of the FBI inquiry into alleged collusion between Donald Trump’s presidential campaign team and Russia.

Dutch lawyer Alex van der Zwaan, 33, was sentenced to 30 days in prison for lying to investigators about contacts with ex-Trump aide Rick Gates.

He struck a plea deal in February.

Van der Zwaan is the son-in-law of one of Russia’s richest men and was the 19th person to be charged by special counsel Robert Mueller.

President Donald Trump said Tuesday that he’s calling on the military to guard the US-Mexico border until his long-promised border wall is complete.

“I told Mexico, and I respect what they did, I said, look, your laws are very powerful, your laws are very strong. We have very bad laws for our border and we are going to be doing some things, I spoke with (Defense Secretary James) Mattis, we’re going to do some things militarily. Until we can have a wall and proper security, we’re going to be guarding our border with the military. That’s a big step,” he said during a luncheon with leaders of the Baltic states.

He continued: “We cannot have people flowing into our country illegally, disappearing, and by the way never showing up for court.”

China says it will respond to any new trade tariffs by the United States with measures of the same scale and intensity.

The warning from China’s ambassador to the United States, Cui Tiankai, came after Beijing slapped tariffs on $3 billion worth of US exports including fruit, pork and steel pipes.

Those measures were in response to President Donald Trump’s tariffs on steel and aluminum from China and other countries. But Trump has also announced plans to impose tariffs on about $50 billion worth of Chinese goods.

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Is Dino Melaye’s security alarm to embassies meant to embarrass Buhari?

Has the theatrical mudslinging between Dino Melaye and Yahaya Bello become an international circus? It hasn’t, so the Senator wants

Has the theatrical mudslinging between Dino Melaye and Yahaya Bello become an international circus? It hasn’t, so the Senator wants to make it one.

On Monday evening, Mr Melaye posted images (on Instagram) of letters supposedly sent by him to the offices of the American Ambassador to Nigeria, as well as to those of the British, Canadian and French High Commissioners. Mr Melaye also wrote to the Country Head of Amnesty International, the UNDP resident representative and to the Acting Executive Secretary of the National Human Rights Commission. All of the letters were dated 19th March 2018. The images do not show the full content of the letters beyond the first pages where he outlines his role in the Senate as “vocal in [his] contributions” and that he does not spare his governor with respect to governance in Kogi state.

Senator Dino, whose “aje ku iya” frolics have become part of his public resonance, has been involved in a feud with Mr Bello virtually since 2015. Dino has repeatedly affirmed that the governor is the sponsor of the campaign to recall him to the state even as INEC has fixed the timeline to begin the process. He has also alleged threats to his life, famously crying foul when the Inspector General of Police announced the relief of VIP protection from politicians (before it was later reversed).

But while a new “single” released last week was addressed to promise Bello an impending doom, Dino has turned up the alarm on his own personal safety by seeking intervention from representatives of foreign governments in the country. It is a move rather unconventional and strange for a Senator serving in his country, who is neither a refugee nor illegal immigrant, and who is also a member of the ruling All Progressives Congress and is the Chairman of the Senate Committee on the Federal Capital Territory.

So is Melaye’s SOS to these embassies an indirect charge to President Buhari, the man actually responsible for safety and security?

Senator Melaye’s life is probably no more threatened than residents of Port Harcourt who breathe and sleep daily under thick clouds of toxic soot are, nor farmers and residents everywhere in the Middle Belt.  However, the opportunity to draw international attention to his juvenile scuffles with his rival by claiming to be endangered is apparently not out-of-bounds for the subcommittee Chairman on Publicity. (Remember he is a Havard and London School of Economics “graduate”).

Yahaya Bello is known to frequent the Villa in Abuja, to the point of nausea for many commentators. If the impression is that the President is friends with Mr Bello, then Melaye – who is closely tied with a Senate leadership that has had it frosty with the presidency – looks somewhat out of favour at the Villa. In other words, Dino’s message to the world is that his president is his enemy’s friend and so will not listen to him.

It remains to be seen how the embassies will respond. All four letters as posted on Instagram bear signatures saying they were received, apparently by staff of the embassies at their Abuja offices. Whether they actually send them up to Dino’s intended destination and if they ring up Buhari in his defence will be another matter. Whatever happens, the letters in themselves are a statement by the APC senator in the faith he places in foreign powers to provide him “protection” vis-à-vis the support he expects from his own president and party leader.

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INEC announces Date for Recall Process of Dino Melaye

Dino Melaye The Kogi State Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has announced the date for the recommencement of the recall process of Dino

Dino Melaye

The Kogi State Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has announced the date for the recommencement of the recall process of Dino Melaye, Punch reports.

The INEC commissioner of the state James Apam made this known on Wednesday.

The Court of Appeal had last week ruled that the recall process could continue.

Apam announced the last Saturday in the month of April as the verification date. He said:

On this day, the Commission will endeavour to invite all those who have signed the recall register to come forward and identify their signature.

The first Saturday of the month of May has been fixed as the day for the referendum, Apam said:

Here, voters will be asked to vote either ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to the question of whether they want Senator Dino Melaye recalled.

If the answer meets the constitutional requirements of 51 percent ‘yes,’ the process moves to the next stage; but if it fails, the process stops.

Melaye has consistently been in the news, a video on Wednesday morning showing him send a message to Kogi State Governor Yahaya Bello saying that the latter will be jailed.

Kogi killings: Fayose’s aide mocks Bello, calls him ‘Aso Villa Protocol Officer’

Lere Olayinka, the Special Assistant on Public Communications and New Media to Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State, has mocked

Lere Olayinka, the Special Assistant on Public Communications and New Media to Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State, has mocked Kogi Governor Yahaya Bello.

Lamenting the recent killings in the state by suspected herdsmen, Olayinka recalled that Bello, despite warnings, gave the Fulanis hectares of land.

“Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State gave Fulani herdsmen 15,000 hectares of land for cattle colony, the herdsmen thanked the governor and paid back with brutal murder of 35 Kogites.

“Abeg, what is that Aso Villa Protocol Officer saying now?”, he wrote in a post on Facebook.

In February, Bello in Abuja, officially handed a letter conveying the donation of 15,000 hectares of land to the Federal Government for the latter’s cattle colony programme.

The governor said the people and government of the state were ready for the cattle colony programme in the state.

Speaking during a visit to the Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbeh, Bello said 15,000 hectares of land has been provided; 10,000 in Ajaokuta and 5,000 in Adavi Local Government areas, respectively, both in the central senatorial district of the state.

The governor said the people of the areas had been fully informed and were in agreement with the policy.