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Gowon has no business praying in Igboland *Abia visit mockery to Ironsi, PDP tackles Otti

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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has launched an intensive attack on Alex Otti, Governor-elect in Abia State over his invitation of Yakubu Gowon, Nigeria’s war-time Head of State as a special guest for special prayers ahead of his inauguration on May 29, saying the decision stoked some grave implications.

Among the implications was that the former Head of State, not only led to the annihilation of millions of Igbo people during the civil war, through deliberate hunger, and bombardment of civilian targets, but was in fact at the centre of the coup that led to the killing of the late Aguyi Ironsi, first Nigerian Head of State and an indigene of Umuahia, the Abia State capital, where the inauguration would take place.

The PDP, in a statement, by Abraham Amah, the Vice Chairman, of the state chapter, maintained that Gowon was the wrongest person to pray in Igboland, let alone Umuahia, adding that without first apologising for his past roles, the attempt would amount to gross insensitivity to the feelings of the people.

The full statement, read: “The attention of the Abia PDP has been drawn to a news item in circulation on social media indicating that Nigeria’s former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon would on Sunday April 23, 2023 lead a prayer session in one Master’s Vessel Church Umuahia, Abia State under the auspices of his pet project, Nigeria Prays, to herald a new Abia. Whatever ‘a new Abia’ means.

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“The press release signed by the Abia State Coordinator of Nigeria Prays, Apostle Chuks Alozie named General Yakubu Gowon and the Abia governor-elect Dr. Alex Otti as special guests of honour, Vice Chancellor of the Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Prof. Madu Ofo Iwe as guest speaker and Governor Okezie Ikpeazu as chief host.

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“While the PDP does not object to praying for Abia State and Nigeria at large at any given time, we are worried about the choice of General Yakubu Gowon as a special guest of honour and the Team Lead as well as the timing of the prayer session. The name, Yakubu Gowon is unsettling to many people in the South East given the ignoble roles he played during the Biafran Civil War for which he is yet to render any public apology.

“Moreover, the choice of General Gowon as the guest of honour at an event in the home town of slain General Aguiyi Ironsi who was killed by coupists among whom was General Gowon and the subsequent pogrom and fratricidal 30-month Biafran Civil War that led to the massacre of millions of South Easterners in an orchestrated orgy of violence smacks of indifference and insensitivity to the sensibilities of the people of South East. To many, it sounds like the eventual triumph over the conquest of the South East and perpetuation of dominance over the Igbo nation.

“The PDP wonders if there are no other men of God who could be called upon to lead the prayer session except the very Yakubu Gowon who oversaw the genocidal killing of the people of the South East and the continuous implementation of the State-policy for her subjugation and marginalisation in all facets of Nigeria’s national life. It beats our imagination and quite irreconcilably that a state like Abia that has produced a Catholic Bishop and other high ranking members of the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN and the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, PFN that are well versed in the word and sacrament would settle for a man whose hands are tainted with the blood of defenseless Igbos to pray for the State. This is an aberration that finds no place of comfort in the face of every imaginable scrutiny.

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“Up till today, General Yakubu Gowon remains unrepentant and is yet to publicly admit his mistakes in the Civil War, including reneging on the international treaty at Aburi, Ghana where the most plausible solutions to the intractable questions of Nigeria’s unity were soundly proffered by himself, General Emeka Ojukwu and members of international community.

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“The only way the prayer session would make meaning to the millions of South Easterners, dead and alive, is for General Gowon to use the opportunity of the prayer session and convert it to a moment of truth and apologise to the people for his role in the atrocious war that led to the untimely death of millions of our very resourceful people.

“And to those who have become overzealous with the prospects of a Labour Party government in Abia State and are looking for very many ways, howbeit meaningless, to identify with the Labour Party, let us warn that this prayer session is one of the many fruitless efforts that has derailed and has no significance in the lives of Abians. This prayer session under Gowon’s watch will only bring back memories of old wounds and rather than healing, would only make the wounds afresh except there is a public atonement for the sins.

“We call on the organisers of the prayer session to prevail upon General Yakubu Gowon to admit his errors before, during and after the Biafran Civil War and apologise to the people of the South East while he is still alive and write his name in gold because no time is late to do the right thing. He should borrow a leaf from former German Chancellor, Angela Merkel who after more than 70 years apologised for the Holocaust and opened the doors of Germany to millions of migrants from Africa and the Middle East to change the narrative about Germany’s inhumanity as portrayed by the fascist Nazis. To the members of the PDP and the good people of Abia State, we urge everyone to remain calm, peaceful and have an abiding faith in the ability of Abians to make Abia a better place for all of us.”

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Tough economy: Trouble in APC, as staff plan strike

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A loud grumbling has enveloped the 40 Blantyre Crescent, Wuse, Zone 2, Abuja, headquarters of the All Progressives Congress (APC), where staff across different departments are threatening to down tools in protest of poor welfare and biting economic hardship.

Daily Trust, is reporting that the staff are specifically asking the party’s top echelon to make provision for their housing and other allowances, stressing that the economic situation of the country had become quite unfavourable to them.

The paper quoted one of the staff, who spoke on condition of anonymity, as saying that the party’s executive members had left them to suffer, while taking home humongous amounts of money as salaries and allowances.

Though Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, National Chairman of the party, is said to have commenced payment of N35,000 provisional wage award to them in January 2024, they argued that the largesse would in June, and they would be back to square one and therefore, they needed more stable welfare packages.

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In a swift riposte, Felix Morka, spokesman of the party, was quoted as dismissing the agitation, saying: “Those matters I don’t really discuss them. As you can see, there are many important things to discuss; at the national level, in Edo State. We are battling with all that. So, any in-house matters are not my focus right now.”

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BREAKING: Davido ups the ante, doles out N300million to orphanages

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David Adeleke Nigerian music sensation, otherwise known as Davido is stamping his giant feet with which he has mesmerised his audience across the world in the arena of philanthropy, with an announcement of a fresh donation of a whopping N300million to some orphanages across the country.

The latest is an increase of N63million up from the N237million the popular singer, who disclosed the largesse in a statement on his social media accounts on Tuesday, dolled out last year as part of the gesture in what is now turning out a yearly programme since it started a few years ago.

The gesture is coming at a time Nigeria is under an intense weather of deprivation and poverty, with the prices of food and other commodities hitting the roof and citizens, unable to afford basic items mostly going to bed on empty stomachs as a result.

In recent weeks, demonstrations had erupted in many parts of the country, including Niger, Kano, Ogun and Oyo States, where residents trooped into the streets to demand an end to the parlous situation, which they blamed on the insensitive policies of the government of Bola Tinubu, the Nigerian President.

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The singer, who first gave out N250m to 292 orphanages in October 2022, said the this year’s donation would be done through The David Adeleke Foundation (DAF), adding: “I and my foundation pledge the sum of 300 million Naira to orphanages around Nigeria … as my yearly contribution to the nation. Details of disbursement tomorrow.”

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BREAKING: Tinubu set to probe Buhari’s N23trillion Ways and Means debt

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At last, President Bola Tinubu, may be going through the N23trillion Ways and Means debt obtained by his predecessor, Muhammadu Buhari, with a fine comb to determine what the funds, which is attributed to a major part of the current debt overhang in the country, went into.

The Nation, quoted Wale Edun, Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy as revealing this much to participants at the ongoing Public Wealth Management Conference organised by the Ministry of Finance Incorporated (MoFI).

Besides, the Minister reportedly said the Federal Government would also present a bill to the National Assembly, soon to authorise the removal of “all taxes and levies that constitute nuisance from the country’s tax system, as a measure to wean itself from future Ways and Means indebtedness.

The government, Edun added, will vigorously pursue policies that will allow it harvest revenue in real time from Government Owned Enterprises (GOEs) and Corporate entities.

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It was also on the same day that the Minister explained that Tinubu’s administration inherited a surge in food and general commodity prices from the previous government, but emphasised the government’s commitment to reducing food prices and tackling the nation’s high inflation rate.

Outlining the measures government was taking in tackling the situation, he revealed that, the government had released 42,000 metric tons of grains, with an additional 60,000 metric tons scheduled for release soon.

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