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APC behind current attacks – LP *Plotting against our sure victory in November polls

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The All Progressives Congress (APC) has been fingered as the main sponsor of every attempt including sponsored court cases, all aimed at destabilising the Labour Party (LP), moves that would all come to naught.

Umar Farouk, National Secretary, told reporters at the party’s National Secretariat, Abuja, on Friday that the LP was well aware of the desperate plot by the ruling party to cause confusion within its fold in a bid to scuttle its rising profile.

Stating that the latest move was to scuttle the chances in the forthcoming Governorship Election in Imo State, he said it was necessary to clear the air on the current development in the state, where yet another attempt by expelled party members who rebelled against the LP had gone ahead to misinform members of the public on its progress.

He said: “As you already know, the party surprised many Nigerians with the huge success it achieved during the last general election. The party became a household name, all to the envy of the older political parties. You also know how the ruling party, forced itself into power at the expense of the Labour Party and the entire Nigerians.

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“We are still in the tribunal challenging both the process and outcome of the presidential election. In order to ensure a subjugation of the Labour Party, the ruling party has deployed all manner of strategies to stifle the party, part of which was to sponsor insurrection amongst some suspended former members of the party, Lamidi Apapa and a few others.

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“Their assignment was to ensure that no progress is achieved in the party. The heavily-funded dissidents have tried to mislead the courts and some section of the media to harass the party leadership, but all have failed. Only recently, the Court of Appeal sitting in Benin City affirmed Julius Abure as the National Chairman of Labour Party (LP).

“Only yesterday, the Court of Appeal Owerri, which sat in Abuja, while giving judgement in the case brought before it by one Basil Maduka, one of the two aspirants that were deceived by the Apapa camp to participate in their illegal primaries also ordered that the status quo remains with Senator Athan Achonu as the validly nominated candidate of Labour Party for 2023 Imo governorship election. It noted that Basil Maduka has no locus to seek redress in the court as he is not known by the Labour Party.

“For emphasis, you may recall that Apapa group had hoodwinked and arranged governorship primaries for two members of the Labour Party, namely Chief Ukaegbu Ikechukwu and Sir Maduka, after which Ukaegbu won the contest.

“Maduka was piqued by the outcome of the fake primaries and had gone ahead to challenge the emergence of Ukaegbu. He sued both Ukaegbu and the Labour Party. Neither the authentic Labour Party led by Barrister Julius Abure nor its candidate Senator Athan Achonu was put on notice and were not aware of the situation.

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“The case was decided on behalf of Ukaegbu against Maduka. The matter has nothing to do with the leadership of the party or the candidacy of Senator Achonu, a product of a properly conducted primaries by Abure-led NWC.

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“With this judgement, the pro-Apapa choice, Chief Ukaegbu had gone to town declaring himself as the Labour Party candidate for the Imo governorship election. For emphasis, the court never pronounced him as the candidate of the Labour Party. No court has given judgement de-recognsing Barrister Abure as the National Chairman of the Labour Party up till today.

“Meanwhile, the Labour Party appealed the Bayelsa court ruling on the ground that it lacks the jurisdiction to entertain a suit filed by the Apapa camp without putting the leadership of the party which is known to law into notice. Senator Achonu who was also not a party to the suit filed by Sir Maduka but on hearing about the matter before the Federal High Court, sought to be joined as an interested party.

“However, the Court of Appeal re-emphasised the implication of lack of jurisdiction in a Motion for leave to appeal as an interested party and held that the Motion was filed out of time hence it lacked jurisdiction.

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Soyinka, terror to dictators, face of democracy – Tinubu

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President Bola Tinubu, spared no nice words in showering accolades on Wole Soyinka, Africa’s first Nobel Laureate on Literature, extolling his democratic credentials, ending it all with the renaming of the National Theatre as The Wole Soyinka Centre for Culture and the Creative Arts, in honour 90th birthday of the celebrated playwright, novelist and activist.

The President’s sentiments, on Soyinka, a professor of literature, globally celebrated essayist, actor, singer, composer, and documentarian, who brought great honour to Africa and Nigeria when he won the coveted prize in 1986, was conveyed by Ajuri Ngelale, his spokesman in a statement, ahead of the birthday on Saturday, July 13.

Describing him as one of the finest minds of his generation; conforming to the highest standards of human enlightenment, but unyielding to injustice, oppression, and base impulses, Tinubu hailed his long-time friend, with whom he was in the trenches some three decades ago, during the June 12, 1993 struggle.

The statement, which stressed that Tinubu also hailed Soyinka as one of Nigeria’s living repositories of history, knowledge, and courage, and commended him for his valiant efforts in the trenches for the nation’s future both as a pro-democracy champion and as a trenchant voice against corruption and maladministration over several decades, recalled the days of the struggle.

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His words: “Our paths crossed during our just struggle for the enthronement of democracy in Nigeria following the annulment of June 12, 1993 presidential election. When faced with a trial in absentia and death sentence by the military regime at home, he galvanized opposition in exile through NALICON and NADECO. His global stature made him the face of our struggle to validate June 12 and restore democracy in Nigeria.”

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Wishing him many more years in good health and creative fulfilment as a global force for change, he added: “Today, I join the world to celebrate his profound influence on generations of writers, scholars, and activists who have been inspired by his work. I celebrate him for giving us the spark to fight and confront military dictators in our country.

“I am, accordingly, delighted to have the honour to announce the decision of the Federal Government to rename the National Theatre in Iganmu, Surulere, as The Wole Soyinka Centre for Culture and the Creative Arts.”

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S’Court: No more allocations to 37 Development centres in Lagos, others  

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The 37 Local Government Development Centres (LGDC), created in Lagos in 2003, during the tenure of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, as Governor of the state, may have been dealt a hard blow, as they will no longer be captured in the funding bracket of the state, going by the interpretation of Thursday’s ruling of the Supreme Court, by some legal minds.

One of those who believe that by the judgement, the councils have lost their source of funding, following the pronouncement of the courts that allocations from the Federation Account be paid directly into the accounts of recognised entities is, Mike Ozekhome, Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN).

Lagos has 20 local governments originally created by the Federal Government, while the 37 LGDCs, were created by the Tinubu administration, in a bid to further take governance to the grassroots, a development, which led to a bitter feud between the government and the Federal Government under the President Olusegun Obasanjo.

In fact, throughout the period Obasanjo was in power after the creation of the LGDCs, the state was denied its council allocations, as a punishment to the state, following the former President’s aversion to the move.

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It was only the government of Umaru Yar’Adua, Obasanjo’s successor, who released the entire entitlements to the state, when he assumed power in 2007, after the state had funded the councils from its own resources for four years.

Ozekhome, a renowned constitutional lawyer,  who was a guest of The Morning Brief, a breakfast programme on Channels Television, on Friday, told his host that Thursday’s apex court judgement on the autonomy of the councils, made it clear that the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) would not send funds to local government areas headed by caretaker committee chairmen, or development centres.

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Hear him: “The judgement of the government is clear. If you want to receive funds from the federation account, then conduct an election. If what you have in place is a caretaker committee as local government chairman, be sure that it will not have money from the federation account.

“What this law is saying is that if you are not a democratically elected local government council, you cannot have this money under section 162 subsection 5 and 6 of the 199 Constitution. So, what it means is that money should now be ploughed to those local governments that are in existence democratically.”

The only remedy, he stated was for the state to find ways of funding the development centres from the allocations of the councils, adding: “They can do that internally to share. That is their internal business. Nobody can control that one. But for now, the money can only go to those local government areas named in the constitution. Don’t forget they are even named in the constitution, 774 local governments. If you want money from the federation account, such councils must be democratically elected.”

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The apex court not only endorsed full local government autonomy and ordering that funds from the FAAC be paid directly to their accounts, but also barred governors from henceforth dissolving democratically elected officials for local governments adding that doing so would amount to a breach of the 1999 Constitution.

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Tinubu completely caged, now surrounded by thieves, Ndume insists

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Ali Ndume, Senator representing Borno South at the National Assembly, on Thursday dug deeper in his earlier revelations putting Nigerians on notice that President Bola Tinubu is currently under a cocoon thrown around him by his aides, who have used the opportunity to mindlessly fleece the national till.

A guest of Prime Time, a current affairs programme on Arise News Network, Ndume, Chief Whip of the Senate, told his host that the seat of power has now been captured by “kakistocrats” – a government run by the worst, least qualified, or most unscrupulous citizens and kleptocrats – one run by thieves.

Absolving Tinubu of complicity in the alleged massive thievery he alleged that the Presidential Villa and top government bodies have become, he said: “The government is also populated by kleptocrats, but unfortunately that is not what the President is up to. He really meant renewed hope, but you can only do that when you have people around you that are on the same type of thinking.”

Ndume one of the longest serving members of NASS, explained that much as Tinubu, whom he described as a close political associate and a democrat, would always be quick to act on any act of malfeasance that came to his attention, such as his recent repudiation of the Cyber-crime bill, the said unscrupulous aides, had been doing much to keep him away from some critical information.

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Hear him: “When the president realised that he had not heard about it, he quickly suspended it.” He highlighted the significant challenge of hunger and food scarcity, mentioning that inflation has risen to 40%. In some places, even with your money, you won’t find the food items you want to buy, which is very dangerous..

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“Nigeria has never been included among countries facing severe food crises or food insecurity, but recent UN and World Food Programme figures rank Nigeria as a hotspot. For people like me, I have to be scared because I’m 64 years old with 10 children, 20 grandchildren, and I don’t have a passport or visa to anywhere.

“Some Ministers only meet the president during council meetings and that the President is often the first to leave. I’m the chief whip, and if the chief whip can’t have access to the president, the new senators won’t have access either. During the time of President (Olusegun) Obasanjo’s administration, any senator could see the president within 24 hours.

“President Tinubu is caged in. There are no visible efforts by the government to address pressing issues like climate change. The President has to harness Nigeria’s natural and human resources. He must get the right people into office and dominate his government with democrats. The president needs people who will realise his dream and tell him when something is wrong.”

Ndume who also bemoaned the effect of the removal of the fuel subsidy, argued that much as it was a good move to eliminate corruption and allow savings to benefit the people, measures must be taken to cushion such effects, like the introduction of food stamps, adding that presently the anger of Nigerians over their parlous situation could snowball into uncontrollable conflagration.

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