Category Archives: West Africa – Nigeria

Just in: Wife of Akeredolu’s CoS, Olugbenga Ale kidnapped

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The late monarch was returning to his domain after attending the monthly council of Chiefs meeting held in Akure, the state capital.

Barely 24 hours after a first-class traditional ruler was murdered in Ondo, the wife of the Chief of Staff to the Ondo state governor, Chief Olugbenga Ale has been abducted by suspected gunmen.

A source said that the victim was returning from Lagos to Akure when she was abducted by the bandits who laid siege on the highway and took her into the forest.

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“The case has been reported to the security agencies especially the Amotekun and army to comb everywhere and we are expecting a feedback soon.”

“The governor is aware of the incident already and has also visited the house of the Chief of Staff at Alagbaka with plans to ensure the safe release of the woman.

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Contacted, the state police command spokesperson, Tee Leo lkoro told newsmen that he was not aware of the abduction of the wife of the governor aide.

Recall with NoRM that bandits murdered a first class traditional ruler, the Olufon of lfon, Oba Isreal Adewusi on Thursday at Elegbeke in Ose council area of the state.

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He was rushed to the Federal Medical Centre in Owo but died before he could be attended to by medical personnel.

Police commissioner, Bolaji Salami said Divisional Police Officers in the Northern senatorial districts have been mandated to fish out the killer of the monarch.

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#Newsworthy

I cannot continue in PDP, Umahi is lucky to have left – Matawalle

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According to the governor, the extent of bad blood in the PDP is partly responsible for Mr Umahi’s defection to the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, saying “everyone feels welcome only in a house where he feels comfortable”.

Governor Bello Matawalle of Zamfara State has said that the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, is becoming hostile for its members, lamenting over his recent experience with his governor colleagues from the South-South region of the country.

Mr Matawalle, who made the lamentation in a statement on Friday by his media aide, Zailani Bappa, commended Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State “for his bold decision” to leave the party.

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He said: “If this trend of generating bad blood amongst us continues unabated, our great party will increasingly be on the receiving end as we move towards the election year, 2023.”

Speaking further, Mr Matawalle said: “I am having a very bad experience of recent from some of my PDP governor colleagues which I still find very puzzling.

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“For instance, the South-South governors [who had been] accusing me in the media are PDP Governors.

“They are also the same people who brewed controversy over the so-called Zamfara gold, [which was] premised on deliberate misinformation and outright lies.

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“Surprisingly, it is the APC Federal Government which has all the correct records on the gold mining issue that came out to defend me in this saga.

“As PDP colleagues, I expected the governors to contact me first and find out my own side of the story before unleashing their venom in the media,” Mr Matawalle posited.

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“As the brouhaha lasted, I commended President Muhammadu Buhari for being supportive of our efforts to organise the economic sector in the state to avoid using the mineral deposits to promote insecurity in our dear state”

“Today, the Federal Government is issuing licences to deserving companies to operate in the mining sector in the state. The biggest company with an investment of billions of naira is owned by a Nigerian from Anambra state.

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“And I wonder where the idea of Zamfara state owning the gold mines emanated from. As at now, the state Government does not have a hand in any of the mining activity in the state because the constitution does not empower us to do so,” Mr Matawalle noted.

The governor, therefore, called on the South-South governors “to eschew intellectual idleness and support its people to operate modular refineries as provided by the law and lift their people out of fear rather than sit behind and start chasing shadows rather than substance.”

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#Newsworthy

Breaking: One shot dead in Ondo bank invasion

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Sources say the armed robbers numbering about 10 entered the bank premises located at Ode-Irele and over-powered the bank’s security operatives and made their way into the banking hall.

NoRM reports that a branch Of Union Bank is currently under attack by a group of armed robbers.

Noble Reporters Media gathered one of the bank’s security guards have been shot dead.

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#Newsworthy

COVID-19: Nigeria reports 169 cases as death toll stands at 1,169

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As the global stigma of COVID-19 gradually reduces, NCDC alleges smooth and close recoveries to total infections in Nigeria.

Nigeria reports 169 cases of COVID-19 as total death toll hit 1,169.

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The Nation have since April, 2020 suffered over 66,000 cases as total infections hit 66,974 and total recoveries and discharge stands at 62,585.

Kaduna, FCT & Lagos reports highest cases of 74, 42 & 17 respectively as Delta, & Ondo State reports lowest case(s) of 1 each.

Newest cases of 169 was reported from 12 states.

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Stands•

169 new cases of #COVID19Nigeria;

Kaduna-74
FCT-42
Lagos-17
Kano-8
Ogun-6
Oyo-6
Rivers-6
Ekiti-3
Bauchi-3
Katsina-2
Delta-1
Ondo-1

66974 confirmed
62,585 discharged
1,169 deaths

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#Newsworthy

AfDB President, Adesina react to allegation against Gowon.

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Days after the allegation was leveled against the former Head of State, Nigeria’s Former Agriculture Minister and the current head of AfDB, Akin Adesina has decided to speak out.

Noble Reporters Media reported few days ago that the former Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon had looted the CBN when he was in charge.

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The allegation which was leveled against him by the British Minister for Africa, who was represented by Mr James Duddridge.

In a tweet he made on his twitter handle, he warned Nigerians to be careful of misinformation.

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He went on and made it clear that Gen. Yakubu Gowon is indeed a man a great honour, decency, honesty, amazing simplicity, humility and integrity.

He made it clear that he knows his well, as he regarded him as an elder statesman of Nigeria.

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He ended by making bit known to all that his honesty and integrity is impeccable.

Akin Adesina might be right in all he has said about the former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon.

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But since the statement was released against him, he has said little or nothing regarding that allegation.

Nigerians are still waiting to hear what he has to say as it regards that kind of weighty allegation.

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#Newsworthy

Former President of Nigeria, Gowon finally react to UK parliament over theft allegation

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The former head of state, Yakubu Gowon had stated that the information is “rubbish” and “untrue”.

The nation was hit with both confusion and apprehension as the UK parliament labeled one of her very respected ex-presidents as a looter and political thief.

During a parliamentary section in the UK house, a British parliamentarian, Tom Tugendhat had made deafening allegations against ex-president Yakubu Gowon on Monday, November 23, 2020.

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The occasion was when British lawmakers debated a petition targeting some Nigeran government officials allegedly involved in human rights abuses amid the #EndSARS protests.

Nigeria’s former military Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon (Rtd), has today, replied to the allegations against him that he engaged in a large scale government fraud as he was accused of stealing half of the nation’s storage of cash in the central bank, (CBN) when he ran away from the country while on exile in the UK after his overthrow in July 1975.

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He added that he served Nigeria diligently and his time of service is an open book that anyone can always refer to.

The ex-president also wondered who could make such accusations against him and why anyone would even want to tarnish his hard-earned image.

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Recall with NoRM the viral pictures which shows the exact time Gowon was informed of his ouster in far away Kampala, Uganda while he was on a summit of the Organization of African Unity, OAU in 1975.

Ex-president Gowon ruled Nigeria from 1966 to 1975.

His exile in the UK saw him enroll at Warwick University where he studied Political science and International relations.

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#Newsworthy


COVID-19: Nigeria reports 198 new cases; no death

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As the global stigma of COVID-19 gradually reduces, NCDC alleges smooth and close recoveries to total infections in Nigeria.

Nigeria reports 198 cases of COVID-19 as total death toll hit 1,169.

The Nation have since April, 2020 suffered over 66,000 cases as total infections hit 66,805 and total recoveries and discharge stands at 62,493.

FCT, Lagos & Ogun reports highest cases of 53, 48 & 40 respectively as Edo & Kwara State reports lowest case(s) of 1 each.

Newest cases of 198 was reported from 13 states.

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Stands•

198 new cases of #COVID19Nigeria;

FCT -53
Lagos-48
Ogun-40
Akwa Ibom-20
Bauchi-9
Plateau-8
Kaduna-5
Kano-4
Benue-3
Jigawa-3
Nasarawa-3
Edo-1
Kwara-1

66,805 confirmed
62,493 discharged
1,169 deaths

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#Newsworthy

Ibadan: Massive unrest as Okada riders, prison officials clash

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Another person selling drinks in the area, who confirmed the clash, said youths made bonfires on the road to protest against the shooting.

The peaceful atmosphere of Agodi Gate area of Ibadan, Oyo State capital was yesterday disrupted following a clash between some motorcyclists and officials of the Nigeria Correctional Service (NCS) at Agodi Correctional Centre.

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In the ensuing melee, two persons were reportedly shot with eyewitnesses telling newsmen that one of the victims was shot in the face. An eyewitness, who identified himself as Taye Odewale, said he was not sure if the victims were motorcyclists, traders, or passerby.

NoRM learnt that the clash started when some officials of the correctional centre warned the motorcyclists plying the Iwo Road/Bashorun-Akobo road not to park opposite the prison yard. The motorcyclists allegedly defied the warning, forcing the officials to fire teargas canisters to scare them.

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A source, who pleaded anonymity, said many shop owners and passersby ran for their dear lives while the clash lasted. “We had to hurriedly close our shops, some of us ran away while others closed their shop and hid inside.”

NCS Public Relations Officer, Olanrewaju Anjorin, who confirmed the clash, however, said normalcy has returned to the area. Anjorin in a telephone conversation said that men of Operation Burst, a joint security outfit set up by the Oyo State government, has been stationed at the scene of the incident.

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He said: “There was a little misunderstanding between the officers and some Okada riders. They normally pack at the entrance to the prison. We usually tell them to move downward.

“We did it the same way today and there was a little misunderstanding. But, I can tell you that normalcy has returned. Nobody was shot and Operation Burst has been stationed there. Normalcy has returned to the place.”

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Also speaking on the incident, the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Olugbenga Fadeyi, said: “Contrary to the trending news online that policemen fired shots leading to injury at Agodi Gate area, the truth is that there was a clash between officials of the correctional service and Okada riders.

“Upon receipt of this information, policemen as well as other security agencies moved to the scene to ensure there was no breakdown of law and order that could lead to coordinated attack on the prison facility. Policemen fired no shot,” Fadeyi stated.

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#Newsworthy

Storyline: Why land borders would have to be reopened – Minister of Finance

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Ahmed however did not reveal when the report will be submitted and how soon the land borders will be reopened.

Nigeria’s Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, has given a clear hint that the country’s land borders may be reopened soon.

The borders that have been closed since August 2019.

But speaking to State House correspondents on Wednesday, Ahmed said the presidential committee set up on the matter has completed its job and has recommended its reopening.

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She said the committee would soon submit its report to President Muhammadu Buhari, following which a formal pronouncement would be made on the matter.

Nigeria closed its land borders last year, in a bid to curtail illegal importation of drugs, small arms and agricultural products into the country from neighbouring West African nations.

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#Newsworthy

Just in: Son, Wife of Atiku’s SSS abducted by Gunmen

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The sources said the gunmen got to the community around 2am shooting into the area and breaking into the house of the lawmaker’s brother.

Suspected gunmen have abducted the wife and son of a security detail of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar. Reports, NoRM

The kidnappers were believed to have gone for the said aid to Atiku, whose name is not given but confirmed to be a police personnel, but took his wife and son when they did not meet the man.

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Sources said Wednesday that the incident took place in the night of Monday in Yolde-Pate, Yola, when the target was believed to be still around after reportedly having come to town with Atiku for the weekend.

“The kidnappers believed that the police personnel, being so close to Atiku, would have money, so they went for him but took his wife and son when they did not find him,” a source said.

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NoRM‘s correspondent also learnt Wednesday morning that a brother of one of the state lawmakers was abducted about the same time elsewhere in Adamawa State.

Local sources said an elder brother of the state Majority Leader Hammantukur Yetisuri was abducted from his home in Jada Mbulo by gunmen who demanded N50 million as ransom.

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“They got away with the man, shouting that they would not return the man unless the family paid N50 million,” a source said.

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The Public Relations Officer of the Adamawa State Police Command, DSP Suleiman Nguroje, confirmed the two abductions, including the aid to Atiku being a police officer, but he did not give names.

He gave assurance that the police would do everything to free the abducted people and bring the gunmen to book.

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#Newsworthy

Money laundering: Maina’s lawyer ‘washes hand’ off his case

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The lawyer also apologised to the court for being absent from proceedings during some of the recent adjournments.

Adeola Adedipe, a lawyer, has applied to withdraw his services from the former chairman, Pension Reform Task Team (PRTT), Abdulrasheed Maina’s case of money laundering, NoRM reports.

Adedipe, who is representing Maina’s company, Common Input Property and Investment Ltd, told Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, Abuja, on Wednesday at the resumption of proceedings in the case, that he has filed a notice, signifying his intention to withdraw from further representation of his client.

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According to him, he has not been paid by his client.

In his ruling, Justice Abang, who on the previous day, held that, by being absent in court, Adedipe had abandoned proceedings, said that the notice the lawyer claimed to have filed was not in the court’s file.

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Meanwhile, Maina has repeatedly failed to appear in court for the continuation of his trial which led to the revocation of his bail by Justice Abang.

Abang also ordered a bench warrant for Maina’s arrest anywhere he is sighted.

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#Newsworthy

Clash of Godfathers over Lagos senatorial seat

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Tinubu unilaterally settled for Abiru. Trust and loyalty to himself always dictated such selections.

The godfather of Lagos politics, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has always preached that his followers should not expect power to be served to them a la carte.

But, his selection method has often faced condemnation for the singlehanded way it spoon-feeds anointed candidates with party tickets, to the frustration of sometimes more popular and longstanding aspirants.

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And in Tinubu’s latest selection of the All Progressives Congress (APC), candidates for the expected by-elections for two legislative seats left vacant by the demise of a Senator and a Member of the Lagos State House of Assembly, history repeated itself again.

Now, aggrieved members have said they want to show him that enough is enough. Both deceased legislators belonged to the APC.

The Lagos East Senatorial District (comprising the five local governments of Ikorodu, Kosofe, Shomolu, IbejuLekki and Epe) became vacant after Senator Adebayo Osinowo (alias “Pepper”) died last June 15.

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His friend and fellow constituent, Honourable Tunde Braimoh, transited on July 10, which also rendered vacant the Kosofe 2 State Constituency seat in the state Assembly.

Although, the #EndSARS protests had forced a 35-day shift from the original date of October 31 to December 5, the Lagos bye elections will from all indications boil down to a two-horse race.

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has 13 political parties filing their intention to contest the vacant seats, but facts on ground show that the contest will see the bereaved party APC square up against its major opposition, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Rumblings in the APC house

However, rumblings linger within the APC from the process that produced these two candidates.

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Members begrudge the fact that the flag-bearers’ emergence trampled upon the internal democracy process of the party –as usual.

This is vintage Tinubu. Not only did Jagaban unilaterally midwife Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s candidacy in the 2019 general elections, Tinubu reportedly singlehandedly sidestepped the primaries to choose 40 finalists from the 201 aspirants who purchased forms for the State House of Assembly, and got the party to refund the rest their deposits.

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The same method produced the two APC candidates in this bye-election. Both Obafemi Saheed, who emerged APC candidate for Kosofe II, and Tokunbo Abiru, the party’s senatorial candidate, were returned unopposed, as ordered “from above.”

Even then, Abiru’s candidacy remains contentious to party aficionados. Virtually lacking in core political credentials, Abiru until recently served as the Managing Director of Polaris Bank, although he had been Commissioner for Finance under former Governor Babatunde Fashola.

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But his brazen anointing and imposition by the power-that-be has left feathers ruffled within the party, so much so that a sizable number of APC members in his Lagos East Senatorial Zone have sworn to vote anti-party and either boycott the election or cast their lots with an outsider.

Asiwaju, APC leaders and wild good chase over Abiru Asiwaju had mandated the Governor’s Advisory Council (GAC), the highest decision-making body of Lagos APC, to headhunt a befitting replacement for the deceased “Pepper.”

However, the GAC soon discovered it had embarked on a wild goose chase. The council had shortlisted for the vacancy the former Speaker of the House of Assembly, Adeyemi Ikuforiji, former Permanent Secretary, Radio Lagos, Mr. Lekan Ogunbanwo, Chairman of the House Committee on Finance, Rotimi Olowo, and former member of the House of Representatives, Dayo (Bush) Alebioshu.

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The eminent GAC members tabled these four names. But, Tinubu sent them back to the drawing board to beef up the list. Subsequently, they submitted an expanded list of seven candidates, embellished this time around with the inclusion of three newcomers; the banker Abiru, former Lagos PDP stalwart, Chief Bode Oyedele and former House of Represenataives member, Wole Diya.

But additionally, Asiwaju appeared enamoured with Abiru’s formidable credentials as a financial guru with an equally intimidating pedigree.

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Tokunbo’s father, Senator Mudashiru Akanbi Abiru, served two terms in the Second Republic on the platform of the defunct Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN), following which he became a judge after the 1983 military coup.

Also, Tokunbo’s tenure as managing director on the driving seat of Skye Bank PLC (that transmuted to Polaris Bank) saw the bank recovering over N200 billion erstwhile bad loans, just as his tenure as finance commissioner helped the state’s N80 billion bond transaction.

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Despite all this, his overnight and meteoric displacement of other aspirants has been described as curious.

It is being bandied around that the APC National Leader unilaterally imposed Abiru on the party because he might be the godfather’s ace for the 2023 governorship.

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Apart from the selection process triggering off deep grumblings among party leaders, what other factor may be working against the young man?

Party leaders view him as a technocrat lacking grassroots depth; and they had no political relationship with him; and for him, more experienced loyalists had been sidelined and sacrificed without any pretence to any democratic ethos.

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Tinubu’s recent faux pas and misadventure in the Edo election (where his intervention met with irritating tones of “Edo no be Lagos”) as well as his tangible and intangible losses in the #EndSARS protests have combined to query his infallibility and may have emboldened intra-party antagonists.

Meanwhile, major beneficiaries of the trouble currently rocking APC would be the PDP godfather, Chief Bode George, and his party’s candidates –Mr. Ademola Alebioshu for the state assembly seat and Chief Babatunde Olalere Gbadamosi (BOG) for the Senate seat.

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A scion of the famous Gbadamosi family in Ikorodu, Gbadamosi is no political neophyte. He is a businessman and estate magnate.

Despite flying the flag of another party, the Action Democratic Party (ADP) as governorship candidate, Gbadamosi benefitted in 2019 from the PDP godfather, Chief Bode George’s falling out with an erstwhile protégé, Jimi Agbaje, the party’s governorship candidate for the last two elections.

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Just a couple of days to the last election, George directed followers to abandon the PDP flag-bearer and instead vote Gbadamosi, the rival ADP candidate.

Agbaje lost. Gbadamosi lost too. With that 2019 collaboration, it took no hard marketing to convince Gbadamosi to cross-carpet and become a full-blooded member of PDP.

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In fact, the young man is supposedly being lured into the Senate to keep him occupied while George shops for a governorship candidate with a huge warchest for PDP in 2023.

PDP Divided But, like APC, PDP comes into the bye-elections with a divided house. Camaraderie has broken down between George and other PDP forces.

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Agbaje today does not see eye to eye with George. George wants to upstage and see the back of the party’s Lagos State chairman, Engineer Deji Doherty, his erstwhile godson during the 2019 governorship primaries that Agbaje won.

These internal fault-lines have been further accentuated with George’s recent spat with the former Ekiti State governor, Mr. Ayodele Fayose, and Fayose’s face-off with Oyo State Governor Seyi Makinde, clashes that have split the Lagos PDP executive between Doherty and George.

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Some who see Gbadamosi as a protégé of George will want to have the former PDP National Vice Chairman cut to size and humiliated by his candidate’s loss at the polls. Unresolved, PDP’s internal hiccups will only make George and his party play into the hands of Tinubu –again! Since the advent of this Republic, Tinubu has dominated the Lagos political scene and beaten George.

Jagaban won the governorship on the Alliance for Democracy (AD) ticket in 1999 and after serving his maximum two terms became the dominant factor in Lagos politics.

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In their previous encounters, Tinubu had caged the Lagos PDP godfather, whose party has lost all the governorship contests and recorded minimal success in elections into the Lagos State House of Assembly and National Assembly.

In fact, PDP has never won a senatorial seat for the past 21 years, only managing to clinch some House of Representatives seats.

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Conversely, Tinubu’s progressives family has monopolised the Lagos East senatorial seat currently under contention beginning with Seye Ogunlewe (1999-2003), Olorunnimbe Mamora (2003-2011), Gbenga Ashafa (2011-2019) and Osinowo (2019-2020).

Today PDP has only three of the 24 House of Reps seats from the 2019 polls, while APC made a clean sweep of the entire 40 seats in the state Legislature.

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However, it will be foolhardy to discount the impact of the recent #EndSARS protests that placed Tinubu and his party at the butt of attacks by rampaging protesters.

In fact, PDP will be hoping that voters transfer their anger over the Lekki Tollgate killings to reject APC at the polls in December.

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Head or tail, the December polls will either rubberstamp Bola Tinubu’s penchant for pseudo-democratic impunity or satisfy Bode George’s long-nursed hunger to bloody the nose of his political nemesis?

Whichever way the coin spins, one godfather wins.

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#Newsworthy

COVID-19: Nigeria reports 168 cases; one death

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As the global stigma of COVID-19 gradually reduces, NCDC alleges smooth and close recoveries to total infections in Nigeria.

Nigeria reports 168 cases of COVID-19 as total death toll hit 1,169.

The Nation have since April, 2020 suffered over 66,000 cases as total infections hit 66,607 and total recoveries and discharge stands at 62,311.

FCT, Lagos & Kaduna reports highest cases of 61, 50 & 27 respectively as Edo & Kano State reports lowest case(s) of 1 each.

Newest cases of 168 was reported from 10 states.

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Stands•

168 new cases of #COVID19Nigeria;

FCT-61
Lagos-50
Kaduna-27
Oyo-12
Rivers-6
Katsina-5
Ogun-3
Kwara-2
Edo-1
Kano-1

66,607 confirmed
62,311 discharged
1,169 deaths

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#Newsworthy

COVID-19: Sputnik V is 95% effective – Russia says

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Russia hopes to avoid a second nationwide lockdown by accelerating the production of vaccines.

Russia said Tuesday its Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine was 95 percent effective and would be cheaper and easier to store than some alternatives, as the global race heats up to develop a jab.

The announcement was the latest in a flurry of breakthroughs as several vaccine makers worldwide published preliminary data showing efficacy rates of 90 percent and higher.

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Countries are hoping to begin inoculating their populations by year’s end or in early 2021 to stop a pandemic that has claimed the lives of nearly 1.4 million people.

Russia was one of the first to announce the development of a vaccine in August — dubbed Sputnik V after the Soviet-era satellite — but before the start of final clinical trials.

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In a statement on Tuesday, the vaccine’s developers said preliminary data after trials involving thousands of volunteers showed “an efficacy of the vaccine above 95 percent” after a second dose.

Russia’s health ministry, the state-run Gamaleya research centre and the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) said in the statement they expected the vaccine to record an even higher effectiveness after the next analysis.

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“No unexpected adverse events were identified as part of the research,” it said, though some of those vaccinated suffered short-term effects including fever, weakness, fatigue, and headache.

Less than $10 per dose
The two-dose vaccine will be available on international markets for less than $10 (8.40 euros) per dose, they said, and will be free for Russian citizens.

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It can be stored at between two and eight degrees Celsius (between 35.6 and 46.4 degrees Fahrenheit), they said, instead of the temperatures far below freezing required for some other vaccines.

Pharma giants Pfizer and BioNTech announced that their virus vaccine is 95 percent effective, while US company Moderna said last week early results showed its candidate was 94.5 percent effective.

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Western experts have in the past expressed concern over Russia’s vaccine, fearing that its development could be rushed.

Several welcomed Tuesday’s announcement though they said more data was needed.

“This is yet more good news demonstrating a high interim vaccine efficacy,” said Azra Ghani, an infectious diseases specialist at Imperial College London.

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“The lack of any serious adverse events in approximately 20,000 trial participants is also very encouraging,” she said.

Russia has applied to the World Health Organization for accelerated registration and pre-qualification of the Sputnik V vaccine.

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President Vladimir Putin last week said that Russia had manufacturing agreements in place with China and India and encouraged Brazil and South Africa to also mass produce Russian-developed vaccines.

The head of the RDIF, Kirill Dmitriev, said Tuesday that European Union member Hungary would also manufacture the Sputnik V vaccine.

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Russia in recent weeks has registered a steep increase in new coronavirus infections but has stopped short of introducing strict measures like some European countries.

‘Alarming’ rise in Russia cases
The country’s total infections on Tuesday stood at 2.14 million, the fifth-highest caseload in the world.

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But at 37,031, virus deaths are significantly lower than other badly hit countries, raising concerns that the authorities are downplaying the pandemic’s severity.

Data published by Russia’s federal statistics service earlier this month indicated excess deaths of more than 117,000 year-on-year between March and September, suggesting that virus fatalities could be much higher.

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While Moscow remains the epicentre of Russia’s outbreak, the country’s poorly funded regions are taking the brunt of the second wave.

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Deputy Prime Minister Tatiana Golikova on Tuesday said that in six of Russia’s 85 regions, over 90 percent of hospital beds dedicated to Covid-19 patients were occupied.

Putin has dismissed talk of another lockdown and emphasised last week that vaccines are on their way despite voicing concern over the country’s “alarming” case totals and fatality rate.

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He last month announced that Russia had registered a second coronavirus vaccine, EpiVacCorona.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Tuesday said that Putin — who has said that one of his daughters took part in the Sputnik V clinical trials — could not volunteer to take the vaccine as “head of state”.

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#Newsworthy

Just in: Court abrogate Faisal Maina’s bail amid failure to attend Trial

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The Federal High Court in Abuja had earlier on Tuesday commenced the trial of Abdulrasheed Maina in absentia.

A Federal High Court in Abuja has revoked the bail granted to Faisal Abdulrasheed Maina who is standing trial for alleged fraud to the tune of N58million.

Faisal Maina who is the son of the former Chairman of the defunct Pension Reform Task Team, Abdulrasheed Maina is also being accused of operating accounts that were used as conduits for illegal transactions.

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At the resumed trial on Tuesday in Abuja, Justice Okon Abang revoked the bail of Faisal Maina for failing to appear in court as the defendant was also not represented by a counsel.

Justice Abang also ordered Mister Faisal Maina’s surety to appear in court at the next sitting as he adjourned the trial to November 25, 2020.

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As a result of the absence of the defendants and their counsels, Justice Okon Abang fore-closed their rights to cross-examine the prosecution witnesses who was present in court.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is prosecuting Mr Maina for alleged money laundering to the tune of N2 billion.

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#Newsworthy

S/South leaders meet FG

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Governors, traditional rulers and religious leaders from the region were all seated for the meeting when Gambari called to inform them of the cancellation.

One week after it vowed not to meet with a Federal Government delegation unless the Presidency apologised for cancelling a previous meeting at the last minute, South-South leaders are set to meet with the delegation on Tuesday.

The meeting is expected to hold in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

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NoRM reports that President Muhammadu Buhari’s Chief of Staff, Ibrahim Gambari, is on his way to Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, where the meeting is expected to hold at the government house.

Noble Reporters Media had reported an angry outburst from governors of the region who demanded an “unreserved public apology” from the Presidency before agreeing to convene a fresh meeting with its delegation to the region.

“We deserve as a region unreserved public apology to the region, particularly to our traditional rulers and the leaders in this zone, which include our Christian leaders, opinion leaders, our women and our youths, and also the governors of the zone who were voted into office and that is the least that we expect for us to accept the reconvene of this meeting,” Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, had said on behalf of the South-South leaders.

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But responding last week Wednesday, the Presidency explained why the meeting was called off, but refused to apologise as requested by the region’s leaders.

Presidential aide, Garba Shehu, had said the cancellation was, “…necessitated by an emergency security meeting summoned by the President, certainly not out of disrespect,” adding that the federal government delegation was, “in full readiness to proceed to Port Harcourt until they were directed to stay back for the emergency security meeting.”

Shehu added that, “The President is strongly and resolutely committed to hearing from leaders, stakeholders and our youth on burning issues affecting all parts of the federation, and to this effect, a new date for the meeting with the South-South will be agreed after due consultations with the parties concerned.”

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