Good morning Nigeria, welcome to the Naija News roundup of top newspaper headlines in Nigeria for today, Saturday, 21st January 2023.
In a cerebral presentation at the Chatham House in London Tuesday afternoon, Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof Mahmood Yakubu told his audience that this year’s general election in Nigeria belongs to the youth. This is in line with the fact that out of the 93.4 million registered voters in Nigeria at the moment, 37 million prospective voters constituting 39 percent, are young people between the ages of 18 and 34. He added that this demography is closely followed by 33.4 million or 35.3 percent middle-aged voters between the ages of 35 and 49.
Yakubu then said, “Put together, these two categories constitute 75.39 percent of registered voters in Nigeria. So, actually, the 2023 election is the election of the young people because they have the numbers. Even the majority of the PVCs collected are collected by young people. So, out of the 93.4 million, 70.4 million registered voters are between the ages of 18 and 49”. This newspaper makes haste to ram this message in because this swing segment of the population doesn’t seem to know they hold all the aces. What with them acting as lap and attack dogs when they should be the top dog? It doesn’t have to be the anti-climax of a tethered animal that fails to embrace freedom even after the rope locking it down has been loosened from the anchor point.
The youths of Nigeria have been getting the short end of the stick in the scheme of things in the country. Perks like sound education, school feeding, scholarships, bursary, sundry opportunities, and functional public amenities which those currently calling the shots took for granted as youth have now become a tall order. The youth who toil and even endanger their lives to avail themselves of what the current system denies them have been maliciously categorized as lazy and an entitled bunch. No, it is not just the President who let out this notion on one of his foreign trips. The wife of a leading presidential candidate had in 2019 said as much when claiming that youths in Lagos come to her home to demand that “they want to enjoy Asiwaju’s money. Most of these youths don’t want to work… the moment you give them work to do, they fall sick.”
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has insisted that the Labour Party (LP) Presidential Candidate, Peter Obi, is better than others contesting to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari, adding that only an “unpatriotic and bad Nigerian” would vote for a candidate with bad character.
Speaking on Thursday in Abeokuta, the capital of Ogun State, while featuring in an interactive session of the Experiential Leadership in Africa, the former president maintained that Peter Obi was his preferred candidate for the presidency.
While reacting to his new year message where he expressed support for the LP candidate, Obasanjo insisted that he did not use the word “endorse,” but he only gave his opinion on the candidates.
Obasanjo said, “Whether the letter is open or not, what I believe is that I will be punished by God if I know what is right and I do not put it where it should be.
“The word I used is that one particular candidate has an edge. Taking everything together, I take the character, track record, vision, and what you see in this man as a child of God.
“I said they all claimed to be my mentees, and of course, I won’t deny that, but if you are my mentee, they must also admit that I know them a little bit, and if I then know them a little bit, I must be right to say…
“I have done this before. I said President Buhari does not understand the economy, and that is true, and you have seen it. I wasn’t running him down; that is what he is, and he will admit that.’
President Muhammadu Buhari will be in Lagos next week Monday and Tuesday for a two-day working visit to commission five projects within the State.
Naija News reports that this was made known to newsmen on Friday by the Lagos State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Gbenga Omotoso.
He stated that all hands are on deck by the State Government to ensure a hitch-free event during the two days working visit.
The projects to be inspected and commissioned by President Buhari are; Lekki Deep Sea Port, 32-metric tons per hour Lagos Rice Mill, 18.75-kilometre six-lane rigid-pavement Eleko Junction to Epe Expressway, John Randle Centre for Yoruba Culture and History, and Phase One of the iconic Lagos Blue Line rail project, as well as turning of the sod for the second phase of the project.
The two-day trip to Lagos will also see President Buhari commissioning a private sector project, MRS Lubricant factory, in Apapa.
Omotoso said President Buhari’s visit to Lagos is tagged ‘A Festival of Project Commissioning.’
The Commissioner said the Lagos State Government will welcome the President with “our signature centre of Excellence slogan and put on display our characteristic excellent performances and executions.”
An order to compel the arrest and prosecution of the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar has been sought by the Director of Public Affairs of the Presidential Campaign Council, (PCC), of the All Progressives Congress, (APC), Festus Keyamo.
Naija News reports that Keyamo approached the Federal High Court in Abuja on Friday following a 72-hour ultimatum he gave over a fraud allegation against Atiku by one of his former aides, Michael Achimugu.
It will be recalled that Keyamo had in a letter dated January 16, demanded Atiku’s arrest, interrogation and prosecution for alleged money laundering.
Keyamo in the suit listed the Code of Conduct Bureau, CCB; the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission, ICPC, and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC as 2nd, 3rd 4th defendants respectively.
The Supreme Court, on Friday, affirmed the former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, as the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, for the Akwa Ibom North-West Senatorial District election billed for February 25.
The apex court, in a unanimous decision by a five-member panel of Justices, upheld an appeal Akpabio filed to challenge the Court of Appeal judgement that nullified his candidacy.
In the lead judgement that was read by Justice Ibrahim Saulawa, the apex court, held that the appellate court lacked the jurisdiction to meddle in the issue of nomination of candidate for an election, which it said was within the purview of an internal affair of a political party.
The apex court panel resolved 10 issues Akpabio raised before it in his favour and accordingly vacated the November 14, 2022 judgement of the Court of Appeal in Abuja, which directed the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to recognize Mr. Udom Ekpoudom as the authentic candidate of the APC for the senatorial contest
Former president, Goodluck Jonathan, in 2015 relieved Saratu Umar of her duty as the Chief Executive Officer of Nigeria’s Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC).
Jonathan had sacked Umar following a recommendation by a ministerial panel.
The panel had indicted Umar for several offences, including lack of administrative competence, power-play and ineptitude.
Workers of NIPC in May 2015 had shut down operations to protest against the poor leadership of Umar.
The angry worker demanded her immediate sack from the commission over her “gross incompetence, high-handedness, staff intimidation” and her alleged divide-and-rule policies.
The worker noted that they were tired of her leadership despite her just spending one year as the executive officer of the agency.
The staff union chairman of NIPC, Ahmad Ghondi in a statement said, “Mrs Umar violated so many provisions of the Procurement Act in awarding contracts to her cronies and had been running the commission as a private entity.”
She was also accused of several misappropriations, including approving a contract of N35 million for refurnishing her office.
The Minister of Trade and Investment at the time, Olusegun Aganga following the agitation of the staff, set up an investigative panel, led by one Abdulkadir Musa, then a permanent secretary, to probe the series of allegations against Umar.
The National Working Committee of the All Progressives Congress (APC) is currently battling an internal crisis with the 2023 general elections in sight.
Naija News learnt that the leadership of the APC is in a crisis over the control of agents’ data portals for the 2023 general elections.
There is also an issue in the ruling party over the mode of primaries to adopt for the governorship elections in the Imo, Kogi and Bayelsa states.
A source that spoke with Daily Sun on the crisis revealed that the National Chairman of the party, Abdullahi Adamu and National Secretary of the party, Iyiola Omisore secretly wrote to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on the two issues without the knowledge or approval of the NWC.
The source further stated that Adamu and Omisore, in a letter to INEC, demanded a change of the Access Code given to the organising department of the party to access the agents’ portal without the knowledge of the department.
The crisis got worse when the party’s national chairman wrote INEC on the mode of primaries for the states without any input from governors and major stakeholders.
According to the source, the crisis escalated when the National Vice Chairman, North West, Salihu Lukman wrote a 17-page counter letter to the commission.
Concerns have been raised following the confirmation of a bacterial infection, Diphtheria disease in Lagos and Kano State.
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC) confirmed the discovery of the reportedly serious disease in a statement issued on Friday morning, noting that it has responded to cases in the mentioned states while other states are currently been monitored.
According to the NCDC Director General, Dr. Ifedayo Adetifa, the agency is closely monitoring Diphtheria in Osun and Yobe States where cases are now being picked up.
In the Friday morning advisory, Adetifa said in addition to clinically suspected cases, there have been laboratory-confirmed cases and it is working with state ministries of health and partners to enhance surveillance and response to the outbreak.
Naija News understands that Diphtheria is a serious bacterial infection caused by the bacterium called Corynebacterium species that affects the nose, throat, and sometimes, skin of an individual.
The European Union (EU) has warned that the 2023 general election might not hold in some parts of the country due to insecurity rocking the nation, adding that the “security climate” was very hostile.
Also, the United Kingdom and Australia have directed their citizens to avoid travel to Nigeria in the latest security advisories issued on Thursday.
Naija News recalls that the United States, UK, Canada, Germany, and Bulgaria had in October last year issued terror alerts, warning their citizens in Nigeria to avoid shopping malls, religious centers, hotels, and other strategic locations that could be a target for terrorists.
But the Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal government had dismissed the advisories, describing them as false, and assured Nigerians to go about their lawful business as the country was safe and secure.
But in a fresh travel advisory released on Thursday, the government of Australia asked its citizens to reconsider or outrightly abandon their plans to visit Nigeria.
In a statement, the Australian government said: “Nigeria is scheduled to hold national and state elections between 25 February and 11 March. The risk of election-related violence is high. You should avoid all political gatherings and election-related sites in the lead-up to, during, and after this period.
“Offices of the Independent National Electoral Commission across the country have already been targeted and should be avoided. Politically motivated murders and kidnappings have occurred, and the threat of further incidents remains high.”
For those planning to visit, the government, through the statement, also asked its citizens to reconsider their need to travel to Nigeria.
The Governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom, has disclosed that he has a personal issue with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar.
Speaking with reporters on Thursday, the governor said the former Vice President has turned a blind eye on the sufferings and the plight of the people of Benue in the hands of Fulani herdsmen.
Ortom stated that Atiku’s comments on the Benue killings at the dialogue with the Northern Elders Forum (NEF) held in Kaduna State last year were offensive to him.
He asserted that the safety and well-being of the people of Benue state are his interest and driving force because politics is a game of interests.
The governor argued that any candidate whose interest clashes with that of Benue people cannot enjoy his support nor that of the citizens and residents of the state.
He said injustice, undemocratic practices and another attempt to deny him a second term ticket because of his firm stance in defence of the security of Benue people made him dump APC and retained his seat as governor under PDP.