The All Progressives Congress has challenged the opposition Peoples Democratic Party to a public debate over an alleged misappropriation of N400 billion by the Katsina State Government in 31 months. The state APC Chairman, Alhaji Bala Musawa, threw the challenge at a news conference in Katsina on Tuesday. Musawa said: “The APC is 100 per cent ready to have a face to face debate with the PDP on the allegation of mismanaging N400 billion public funds. “We are waiting for the PDP officials to fix the time for the debate, we are ready to tackle them either in the day or at night. “We are calling on them to come up with documents to prove that the state government received N400 billion either from the Federal Government or any other source within 31 months.” Musawa said the allegation was a ploy to stop the current mass defection of PDP members to the APC in the state. He said: “The allegation came because the state PDP Chairman, Alhaji Salisu Maigari, was disturbed that several of his top members have decamped to the ruling APC. “The former Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Alhaji Yau Gwajo-Gwajo, and his followers as well as his deputy, Alhaji Bilya Rimi, have all left for the APC. “A top PDP member, Senator Ibrahim Ida, has also decamped to APC and a former Commissioner of Agriculture under Governor Shehu Shema has also decamped to APC. “Several PDP members have joined the APC and this is the reason for making the allegations because the chairman is left with no one to continue to grumble to over non-performance.”
Political parties have been given an October 7 deadline to produce their presidential candidates for the February 16, 2019 presidential election.
Governorship, National/State Assemblies candidates are also to have been picked on the same date.
Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Chairman Prof. Mahmoud Yakubu released the time table and schedule of activities for the 2019 general elections in Abuja yesterday.
He reaffirmed that Presidential and National Assembly elections will hold on February 16, 2019; Governorship/ state Assembly/ FCT Area Council elections are slated March 2, 2019.The parties have between August 18 and October 7 to pick candidates for all the elections.
The Presidential election campaign will start on November 18 and end on February 14, 2019 while the governorship/state assemblies’ campaign will hold between December 1 and February 28, 2019
Parties are expected to collect forms for all the elections at the INEC headquarters between August 17 and 24.
All the duly filled forms for Presidential and National Assembly candidates are to be submitted latest by October 18 and forms for governorship and state assemblies to be sent in by November 2.
Parties have between November 7 and December 1 to withdraw/replace candidates.
INEC will publish the list of nominated Presidential and National Assembly candidates on January 17, 2019; Governorship and Assemblies elections January 31, 2019.The commission also fixed January 2, 2018 for the publication of notice for all elections while January 7, 2018 is fixed for the publication of official register of voters for the election.
The political parties are also expected to submit names of their agents for the elections on February 1, 2019 for presidential and National Assembly eections.
Prof Yakubu said INEC would be conducting elections for 1558 constituencies made up of one presidential constituency, 29 governorship constituencies out of 36 as seven governorship elections are staggered, 109 senatorial districts, 360 federal constituencies, 991 state assembly constituencies, 6 Area Council chairmen as well as 62 councilor ship positions for the FCT.
The INEC boss urged all the political parties and all and sundry “to eschew bitterness and conduct their activities with decorum.”
He also assured the country that the commission was determined to better the 2015 general elections which became a watershed in the history of the country’s democracy.
“The commission is determined to build on this legacy by ensuring that our elections keep getting better,” he said, adding: “The decision of the Commission to fix election dates is to engender certainty in our electoral calendar and enable all stakeholders to prepare adequately for elections, as is the case in any mature and developing democracies.”
The Federal Government approved N280.1 m cash payments to former Presidents and Heads of State in 2017 to buy cars.
This was disclosed on Tuesday by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, before the House of Representatives’ Committee on Governmental Affairs.
Mustapha appeared before the committee to defend the 2018 Budget of his office.
While giving the members of the Committee a breakdown of the 2017 Budget for his office, he said out of the N280.1 million for the vehicle, N40 million had already been released, but final releases would tally at “100 per cent.”
He said there is an outstanding balance of N240.1 million to be paid to the former leaders.
Vehicles worth N120 million were also approved to be purchased for former Vice-Presidents in 2017.
But instead of purchasing the vehicles for the former rules, the monetisation option was adopted.
The beneficiaries include Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, Alhaji Shehu Shagari, General Yakubu Gowon (retd), General Ibrahim Babangida (retd) and Chief Ernest Shonekan.
The former Vice-Presidents include Atiku Abubakar, late Alex Ekwueme and all former Chiefs of General Staff.
For 2018, the former rulers will get N186 million for purchase of vehicles.
While the former presidents will share N96 million, the former vice presidents will get N90 million.
The Peoples Democratic Party is the only party that will transform the country and take its economy back to prosperity.
Former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, said this in Kaduna at the weekend when one of his supporters, Zainab Musa Pindar, organised a reception for him at the Arewa House, welcoming him back to the PDP.
A statement by Jacob Onjewu Dickson, the spokesman of the Chairman of Atiku Care Foundation, Ambassador Aliyu Ibn Abbas, made available to newsmen in Kaduna on Monday, informed that the Wazirin Adamawa further told his supporters to spread the gospel of PDP’s good plans to the people at the grassroots.“PDP still remains the only national party in Nigeria. It is the hope of the common man to be free from the fraud called the APC,” Abubakar, who was represented by Abbas said.
He praised Pindar for committing her resources to funding the lavish reception, while adding that Nigeria needs such patriotic youth in good positions to contribute meaningful ideas that would move the country forward.
Earlier in her remarks at the gathering, Pindar vowed to do everything within her capacity to project and campaign for the success of the Waziri Adamawa and the PDP come 2019.
“We will use our time, resources, energy and contacts in ensuring the PDP and Waziri Adamawa are successful in the 2019 election. #AtikuCareProject2019,” she said.
The programme attracted some very important personalities, including Alhaji Ibrahim Aliyu Wusono, the PDP Secretary i. Kaduna State; Hon. A.A Yaron Kirki Sardaunan Kajuru represented the dormer Governor of Kaduna State, Alhaji Mukhtar Ramalan Yero; Alhaji Yusuf Dan Bala; and the PDP Local Government Chairman Igabi Local Government.
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode on Sunday expressed optimism that the State will experience new and wonderful milestones this year.
Governor Ambode, who spoke at the State's 2018 Annual Thanksgiving Service held at the Lagos House in Ikeja with the theme, 'Ceaseless Praise', said that despite the several economic and security challenges that enveloped some parts of the country, Lagos has continued to experience peace and prosperity over the years.
Attributing the steady progress of the State to divine intervention and the grace of God, the Governor said he was confident that the State would record more landmark achievements throughout the year.
"Since the inception of this administration, we have called on God at the beginning of the year and our prayers have been prophetic as He always granted our desires beyond our expectations. At a time when the nation was in recession, our State was experiencing economic growth and while there was insecurity in other places, Lagos remains calm and peaceful.
"This is not as a result of what the Government has done but by the special grace of God. And all we need to do is continue to give Him praise and thanksgiving and He will continue to bless and provide for us as Lagosians and a State.
"In this New Year, we submit to Him again and I am confident that irrespective of whatever is happening elsewhere, our State and all our people will continue to excel in peace, good health, prosperity, love and joy. God will continue to shower His blessings on us as a State and our families and homes will experience new and wonderful milestones by His grace," Governor Ambode said.
He said the Annual Thanksgiving Service presents an opportunity to commit the affairs of the State to God, in acknowledgement of His supreme power in the development of the State.
"It is my prayer that as we come to His Gates and Courts with thanksgiving and with praises today, He will release His blessings upon us, guide and direct our path and lead us through the year successfully," Governor Ambode said.
The Governor also used the occasion to appreciate the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) Pastor Enoch Adeboye and his wife, Pastor Mrs Folu Adeboye and other religious leaders for their prayers and support for the State since the inception of his administration.
"I offer my sincere gratitude to all our religious leaders for your presence today and continued support for the peace and progress of Nigeria and Lagos in particular. God bless you all," he said.
In his sermon, General Overseer of the RCCG, Pastor Enoch Adeboye urged Nigerians to draw closer to God, assuring that when they do so, they will continue to enjoy special favour and blessings from God.
Among dignitaries who graced the service include Governor Ambode, his wife, Bolanle, first Civilian Governor of the State, Alhaji Lateef Jakande, his wife, Abimbola, Chief Judge of Lagos, Justice Opeyemi Oke, Chief Rasak Okoya, Professor Pat Utomi, Commissioner of Police, Imohimi Edgal, Senator Ganiyu Solomon, Pastor Paul Adefarasin, Pastor Mathew Ashimolowo, Pastor Ituah Ighodola, Rev Adebola Ademowo, Bishop Mike Okonkwo, among others.
A former Governor of Akwa Ibom State Godswill Akpabio, has given conditions for him to support the incumbent, Udom Emmanuel, for a second term. Akpabio, now a senator, gave the conditions at the annual get-together organized by the Deputy Governor, Chief Moses Ekpo, to fete the people of Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District, which he represents. Akpabio said Emmanuel must correct the perceived current marginalization of his senatorial district if he hopes to get his support. He said Emmanuel’s policies and programmes are discriminatory against the Ikot Ekpene geopolitical zone. He equally said some of the projects embarked upon by his (Akpabio’s) administration, including the multi-million naira Four Points By Sheraton Hotel at Ikot Ekpene and the dualisation of the Uyo-Ikot Ekpene Road, had been abandoned by Emmanuel. He said the completion of the projects would form part of the recommendations for Emmanuel’s re-election in 2019. Akpabio said: “2018 is less than one year to election. “All is not well. “Don’t allow anybody to deceive you that all is well. “If the hotel in Ikot Ekpene rots after so much money had been expended on the project, would that be a good thing? “That road from Uyo to Ikot Ekpene is still the way it was. “In the 2018 budget, what is the percentage for Ikot Ekpene senatorial district? “My job is to say the truth because if at this level I cannot say the truth, then I am not doing well. “So please I want us to start the hotel because when the Commissioner for Works addressed the youths in August, he assured them that the hotel would be opened in December. “Please let us check the budget to know what has been earmarked for that place. “I am not interested in what I did and what I did not do, I am only interested in what I am going to do. “The truth is that Godswill Akpabio expects us to set our path straight so that we can take one route. “Even when you are going for communion, you must be in a state of grace. “So let us have something from the senatorial district to use in talking about election, to use in convincing the people to stand by us. “We are in opposition, we don’t have government, we don’t have police, we don’t have Independent National Electoral Commission.”