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The suspect, Murtala Muhammad, was also in possession of a Black Toyota Land Cruiser Prado Sports Utility Vehicle and one single barrel gun; one locally made Revolver Pistol.
His arrest at a housing estate was said to have followed a tip-off.
According to a statement by the Acting Head, Media and Publicity of EFCC, Mr. Tony Orilade, the N60million was stacked in four bags with each bag containing N15million.
The statement said: “The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Sokoto zonal office yesterday arrested one suspected politician with N60million cash, following intelligent report of his suspicious money laundering activities.
“The suspect Murtala Muhammad who is alleged to be a brother to Secretary to the Zamfara State Government, Professor Abdullahi Shinkafi, was arrested at No.145 Igala Housing Estate, Off By-pass Road, Gusau, Zamfara State, by the operatives of the commission.
“Items recovered from him at the point of arrest include: one Black Toyota Land Cruiser Prado Jeep with registration number DKA 67 PX Kaduna loaded with 4 bags of Ghana Must go containing N1,000 note of N15million each, totaling N60million; one single barrel gun; one locally made Revolver Pistol, 25 rounds of cartridges and 12 rounds of 12.9mm live ammunitions.
“He will be charged to court as soon as investigation is completed.
The Osun State Police command has secured the release of Prof Yinka Adegbehingbe, the abducted lecturer of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife.
This was confirmed to Channels Television by the spokesperson of the force command in Osun state, Mrs. Folasade Odoro.
Professor Adegbehingbe was abducted by suspected gunmen at Apomu town along Ife-Ibadan Expressway on his way to Ife on Sunday the 5th of May, 2019.
Though the police are yet to confirm whether any ransom was paid for his release, the Public Relations Officer of the Institution, Abiodun Olarewaju confirmed that the lecturer was on the way to the campus in the company of security agencies, to be reunited with his family.
President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday spoke of his administration’s future plan, saying he will continue to emphasise on high impact infrastructure to “vastly improve the people’s lives.”
The President whose second term in office begins on May 29, spoke in Lagos where he inaugurated five “Next Level” projects undertaken by outgoing Governor Akinwunmi Ambode.
The projects are the Ayinke House at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), Ikeja, which has been renamed Institute of Maternal & Child Health; the 500-seater Lagos Theatre, the Oshodi Transport Interchange, 820 mass transit buses, and the rehabilitated International Airport Road, Ikeja.
“Our government will continue to prioritise high impact infrastructure which will vastly improve the lives of our people,” he said, and thanked Lagosians for returning him and the All Progressives Congress (APC) to power in the last elections.
The President praised Ambode for his “satisfactory performance”, saying: “We should all commend him for his contribution to the growth and development of the state”.
At the Oshodi Interchange, the President said the three key projects reflected his administration’s drive in pursuing policies and programmes that will positively impact on Nigerians.
He said: “The New Oshodi Transport Interchange, the mass transit medium and high capacity public buses and the reconstructed Murtala Mohammed International Airport Road by Lagos State Government clearly demonstrate the need to continue to provide high impact projects for the development of infrastructure and opportunities for job creation at all levels.”
He added: “The mass transit buses totalling 820 buses will also move the people of Lagos State in a more comfortable and more efficient manner.
“These projects by Lagos State perfectly align with the efforts of the Federal Government to improve the country’s infrastructure, especially in the transport sector.
“To complement Oshodi Transport Interchange, the Federal Government has recently approved the reconstruction of the Apapa-Oshodi Expressway up to Oworonshoki and Old Toll Gate which was last attended to 40 years ago.
“We have recently commissioned the new international airport terminals in Port Harcourt and Abuja, as well as the rail lines from Abuja to Kaduna. The Lagos to Ibadan Rail Line is under construction. Our government will continue to prioritise high impact infrastructure which will vastly improve the lives of our people.”
Thanking Lagosians for supporting him and the ruling APC during the last elections, Buhari said: “Earlier this morning, I commissioned the Ayinke House of the Institute of Maternal and Child Health and also the Lagos Theatre in Oregun. Your Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode has performed satisfactorily and we should all commend him for his contribution to the growth and development of Lagos State.
“I once again thank all the people of Lagos State for their support for our government and our party.”
Ambode said the projects would not have been possible without Buhari’s direct influence and support.
He said: “These projects and facilities are: Oshodi Transport Interchange, Murtala Mohammed International Airport Road and 820 medium/high capacity transport buses”, adding that the high-impact projects have the utmost interest of Lagosians at heart.
“In our promise to deliver people-oriented projects and programmes, a closer look at all the projects indicate that nearly all the different pillars of our development plan as a State have been affected positively through these projects. The Institute of Maternal and Child Health at LASUTH contributes to our health and education sectors simultaneously.
“The Lagos Theatre, Ikeja is about our social development sector while the Oshodi Transport Interchange and buses come under our transport, infrastructure and commerce sectors. The Murtala Mohammed International Airport Road is an infrastructural development project.
“All these projects together form the thrust of our vision as a government and the end result is to make life better for all our people, irrespective of gender, tribe or political leanings.”
The governor said the state’s future prosperity was secured, noting:
“It is on record that our state has never had this measure of support from the Federal Government as we have enjoyed under your leadership.
“Mr. President, we believe strongly that the projects being commissioned today are our own modest contributions to national development.
“As I said earlier, these projects would not have been possible without Mr. President’s quiet but impactful decision to approve and release the payments of the Paris Club refund and the refund on federal road projects incurred by the states.
“Mr. President, the first tranche of the Paris Club refund to states approved by Your Excellency was what we used to pay the 40 per cent down-payment for the 820 buses you see here today. We are grateful, Mr. President.
“It may also interest you to know sir that, our second tranche of the Paris Club refund, in addition to the refund by the Federal Government on federal road projects executed by states, are the resources we applied to the construction of the Murtala Mohammed International Airport Road and this first in Africa transport interchange.
“This is our report card, Mr. President. We have used your approval and releases judiciously because we believe strongly in you, in your leadership and in your vision for our country. This is our modest contribution to the growth and development of our state and to the country in general.”
Ambode said the projects would serve the needs of Nigerians, pointing out that the Murtala Mohammed Airport Road and the U-Turn Flyover will be open for public use immediately.
He said: “The two flyovers will be open for use from May 10 after the quality assurance work is completed. Of the three terminals at the Oshodi Transport Interchange, Terminal 3 will become fully operational on May 1 while Terminals 1 and 2 will become operational by the end of May.
“We have, in the last four years, invested so much in strengthening the social and physical infrastructure base of the state economy. The dividends of these efforts are becoming manifest in all sectors of the economy.
“With the completion of these projects and given the level of commitment of the next administration as well as the continuous support of the Federal Government, I am assured that the immediate and future prospects of our state is very bright.
“Mr. President, Lagos State will continue to support your aspirations to move Nigeria to the next level. The business community in the state is desirous of partnering with your government in moving our economy forward.”
Earlier, Ambode described the Ayinke House upgrade as historic, expressing optimism that the facility would provide world class childbirth and maternal care services to Nigerians residing in Lagos.
He said: “Today, seven years after the closure of the facility, the new edifice is now a 170-bed facility with five surgical theatres. It has a 16-bed emergency care unit with three-organ support facilities, 30-bed special baby care unit, five neo-natal intensive care units, a fully equipped laboratory with support services, laboratories and a blood bank.
“Beyond the significance for the health sector, this institute is a major contribution to our education sector also; as it becomes a veritable platform for our medical students in the state university to enhance their exposure and experience with the top-class medical equipment provided”.
Ayinke House, the governor said, had been digitalised with state-of-the-art medical facilities as well as information technology services supported by the Ministry of Science and Technology.
Present were some governors, ministers and special advisers.
They included: Governors Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun); Abiola Ajimobi (Oyo); Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (Ondo); Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti); Jubrila Bindow (Adamawa); Acting Edo Governor Philip Shaibu; Lagos State governor-elect Babajide Sanwo-Olu, deputy governor-elect Dr Obafemi Hamzat, Oba of Lagos, Rilwan Akiolu, Communications Minister Adebayo Shittu and Special Adviser to the President on Media & Publicity Femi Adesina. Osun State Governor Gboyega Oyetola was unavoidably absent as he was at the Appeal Tribunal where he is challenging the voiding of his election by the election tribunal.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) will on Thursday arraign Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia on 18 charges at the Federal High Court in Lagos.
Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia is to be arraigned before Justice Rilwan Aikawa, alongside Godwin Obla, SAN.
The EFCC had on Tuesday arrested Rita who is a dismissed judge of the Federal High Court.
Her arrest took place on the premises of the Lagos High Court, Lagos, Ikeja shortly after Justice Hakeem Oshodi struck out the corruption charges made against her by the EFCC.
As she attempted to leave the courtroom, EFCC officials moved to surround the dismissed judge.
Upon sighting them, the judge made a hasty retreat and went back upstairs into Justice Oshodi’s courtroom to seek the protection of the court from the EFCC officials.
Justice Oshodi, when notified about the development, said there was nothing he could do, as “the file had been closed.”
Her co-defendant, Mr. Godwin Obla, SAN, was however allowed to leave the court premises.
Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia was standing trial before the court on charges bordering on unlawful enrichment, taking property by a public officer, corruption, forgery and giving false information to an official of the EFCC, while Mr. Obla was Charged with bribing her with N5m.
They had both pleaded not guilty to the charge.
Before her arrest, the trial judge, Justice Oshodi, in a ruling, had struck out the 31 counts filed by the EFCC against Ofili-Ajumogobia and Mr. Obla on the grounds that the court lacked jurisdiction to hear the suit.
According to Channels TV, the judge ruled that, based on the judicial precedent set by the case of Justice Nganjiwa Vs FRN, the EFCC had “jumped the gun” in filing the first amended charge.
The ambition of Senate Leader, Ahmed Lawan, to become the Senate President in the 9th Senate has received a boost with three senators from Kano State endorsing his candidacy.
The three senators, namely Barau Jubrin, Kabiru Ibrahim Gaya and senator-elect Malam Ibrahim Shekrau, threw their weights behind Senator Lawan’s candidacy, describing him as eminently qualified to occupy the exalted seat, going by international parliamentary best practices.
Senator Barau Jubrin, who is the secretary of Ahmed Lawan Campaign Organization, led other members of the campaign train to the residence of Senator-elect Shekarau, who also endorsed Lawan.
Among those who visited Kano with the Senate Leader were Senator Yahaya Abdullahi (Kebbi North), chairman, Ahmed Lawan Campaign Organization; Senator Danladi Sankara who is the new Senator-elect for Jigawa North-West Senatorial District; Senator Bello Maudiya (Katsina South); Senator Solomon Adeola Olamilekan (Lagos West); Senator Degi-Eremienyo (Bayelsa East) and Senator Lekan Mustapha (Ogun East).
According to Senator Jubrin, “the National Assembly leadership is elected based on international parliamentary best practices. What used to be the case was a beat appellation to that parliamentary best practices.
“In every parliament, leaders are elected based on ranking, based on experience, and once a parliament goes by election and the party that gets the majority in that election produces the leader, and in this case, the majority leader in such a parliament automatically becomes the Senate President or the Speaker, as the case may be.
“Now, Ahmed Lawan is the current leader and he will be the oldest senator, the most ranked Senator in the 9th Senate. He was a two-time member of House of Representatives and four-time member of the Senate. So, he is the most experienced and most ripe for the job of the Senate presidency, going by intentional parliamentary best practices.”
On his part, Shekarau, two-time governor of Kano State and senator-elect for Kano Central who hosted the Lawan’s campaign train, said: “I am so highly honoured to be visited by this high-powered delegation led by the leader of the Senate, Senator Ahmed Lawan.
“I am now a Senator-elect and I pray the 9th National Assembly will be a very peaceful and smooth one, where we will all join hands together to move Nigeria forward.
“I also congratulate you for aspiring to lead the National Assembly. It is one thing to be there, it is another thing to be identified as a leader. It is a challenge and we are all proud of the fact the it is one of those that we have known before that is aspiring to lead the National Assembly.
“I believe you have all it takes to lead the National Assembly. We are already your canvassers. Whether you are around or not, you need not to be out to it, or recruit us to do it. We understand where we need to go and who needs to have the responsibility to lead us.
“It is not that you a super person among the rest, but one thing is that you are the first among the equals, and I believe that with all the other experienced people around, you will be able to give Nigeria, a Senate that everybody will be very proud of.
“So, I pray Allah in his wisdom will see you through and I pray you will make it, you will succeed. For the fact that others are interested is nothing new. It is a contest, many others may want to come in.
“Sometimes it is more interesting to say that I won election than just say it is dashed over. So, I pray Allah in his wisdom will grant you the success. Allah will give you the required guidance and bless you.”
In his response, Senator Lawan said they were in Kano to solicit the support of Malam Shekarau whose wealth of experience he said is much needed to move the 9th Senate forward.
According to him, “we are very happy you are going to be part of the 9th Senate. The 9th Senate will be a very good one because we have so many people who have gone through some other experiences in life.
“Even before you became a governor, you were a very disciplined person, a very thorough person and a very considerate person.
“Now, when you became a governor, you introduced sanity in Kano. You have gathered a lot of experience in life. We hope and pray that such experience will be made available in the Senate and I want to say that you are going to be one of our leaders in the Senate because we always have a small group of people that we refer to as leaders, not because they are former governors, but because they have seen so much in life.
THE three tiers of government – federal, states and 774 council areas —yesterday shared N619.857 billion as Federal Allocation for February.
A communiqué issued by the Technical Sub -Committee of the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC) at the end of its February meeting, indicated that the gross statutory revenue received was N478.434 billion. It was lower than the N505.246 billion received in the previous month by N26.812 billion.
Addressing reporters at the end of yesterday’s meeting in Abuja, the Director of Funds in the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation (OAGF), Muhammed Usman, said: “Federation crude oil export sales increased by about 46 per cent resulting in increased federation revenue from $425.00 million previously to $574.95 million. Shut-in and shut-down persisted while some terminals remained closed due to leaks and maintenance.
“Petroleum Profit Tax (PPT) increased significantly while Companies Income Tax (CIT) recorded a marginal increase. Revenues from Value Added Tax (VAT), Oil Royalty, Import and Excise Duties decreased in February, 2019.
“The distributable statutory revenue for the month is N478.434 billion. The total revenue distributable for the current month (including VAT, Exchange Gain, Excess Bank Charges recovered and Forex Equalisation) is N619.857 billion.
“Therefore, from the total distributable revenue for the month, the Federal Government received N257.681 billion representing 52.68 per cent; states received N169.925 billion representing 26.72 per cent; local government areas received N127.722 billion representing 20.60 per cent; while the oil-producing states received N50.946 billion also representing 13 per cent derivation revenue.”
Usman further disclosed that “the balance in the Excess Crude Account (ECA) as at 27th March, 2019 is $183 million.”
All Progressives Congress (APC) leaders yesterday moved to prevent the “hijack” of the new National Assembly leadership. They met with would-be lawmakers.
President Muhammadu Buhari dined with serving APC senators and senators-elect at the New Banquet Hall of the State House.
The meeting came on the heels of a similar parley between APC National Chairman Adams Oshiomhole and House of Representatives members-elect at the Shehu Yar’Adua Centre in Abuja.
At the President’s meeting with the lawmakers were APC leaders, including Lagos, Plateau, Kogi, Kaduna, Jigawa, Kebbi, Zamfara and Osun governors.
Oshiomhole and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, were also present.
Although, details of the meeting were unknown, it is believed to be connected with zoning and selection of the leadership of the Ninth National Assembly.
Unlike in 2015 when the leadership was hijacked by senators, against the wish of the APC leadership, the ruling party is determined to ensure that its wishes prevail now.
The dinner, which started around 8pm, was still in progress at the time of filing this report.
Senators Ahmed Lawan, Ali Ndume and Danjuma Goje have indicated interest in Senate President.
Also yesterday, Oshiomhole ruled out the possibility of the ruling party sharing legislative powers with the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Giving an insight into what to expect from the Ninth National Assembly, the party chair insisted that the mistakes of 2015 would not recur.
The leadership of the National Assembly was constituted on June 8, 2015 against the directive of the party. Those listed for principal offices were meeting at the State House when the lawmakers elected Dr. Bukola Saraki as Senate President and Ike Ekweremadu of the PDP Deputy Senate President.
Addressing the Representatives-elect, Oshiomhole said the APC was not prepared to share principal offices and headship of critical committees with the PDP, except for positions reserved for minority members.
Oshiomhole told the lawmakers that Nigerians have reposed confidence in the APC, giving it overwhelming majority in the House and will use the numerical strength to its advantage.
According to him, Nigerians have punished 15 out of the 16 senators who defected the APC by not re-electing them.
He urged the members to collaborate with the government on the implementation of the party’s programmes.
He said: “The first is the challenge of ensuring that this time around we ensure that we have a leadership of the National Assembly that shares the vision of the executive. Although we speak to separation of power, but there is only one government and unless the various arms pursue the same agenda, it is difficult for the executive to realise its purpose because legislative backing is often required for the executive actions.
“So, I will expect that you bear in mind that we are one family joined together as shown in our broom, with a share commitment to bail Nigeria out of the condition in which we found it in 2015.
“And that you have the numbers and we will use those numbers to ensure that we have a leadership that commands the trust and the respect of all the members of the House of Representatives.
“There will be contestation; that is why we are in democracy, but after the contestation and debate, we have to agree, and once you have agreed, you move forward.
“We have the numbers to produce the Speaker and we will produce the Speaker who must be a member of the APC. We have the numbers to produce the Deputy Speaker and we will use the numbers to produce the Deputy Speaker, who must be a member of the APC. We have the number and we must use the number to elect a House Leader who must be a member of APC.
“We have the numbers and we will use the numbers to produce a Chief Whip and a Deputy Whip who must be members of the APC. I think the only position that we are not interested in is the Minority Leader. Let it remain minor in the hands of the minors in the opposition.
“We will not share power in the House of the Representatives and the leadership must ensure that critical committees that drive government are chaired only by APC members. If the Nigeria people wanted them to be chairmen of committees they would have voted for them.
“So, all the chairmen of committees, except the one that is statutorily reserved for opposition, which is Public Account, they can have that. So, we would not do the kind of thing that happened the last time in which some APC members as members of the leading party became distance spectators in the management of committees, when PDP had majority of the strategic committees in the House, that will not happen in the next Assembly.
“We are aware that they believe they can use the divide and rule by sponsoring many people within our ranks to contest for which of the position so that they then become the king maker and in return the person will offer them some chairmanship seats.
“Honourable members and comrades, I’m sure you are not going to do business with them. We will see them as partners in progress but in democracy, the rule is, and it is a universal rule, majority must have their way but minorities must be allowed to have their say.
“So, the PDP and other minority can have their say, but working together APC must have its way in legislative agenda, in the leadership of the National Assembly and the leadership of the committees in the National Assembly. I thought we should make this thing clear so that those who may not understand what is happening don’t fall into the trap.”
Calling on the would-be lawmakers not to allow anybody to divide them, Oshiomhole said his leadership will consult with President Muhammadu Buhari and all the leaders of the APC.
“We will work out a sensible zoning formula that seeks to carry everybody along and give people chances to demonstrate their capacities and their capabilities. We are working on that,” he said, adding:
“Somebody told me the opposition party people are already doing something, raising money to bribe people and I said, ‘no, we are anti-corruption, we cannot be corrupted’.
“If they bring N1 billion to each member, a PDP person will not be Speaker, a PDP person will not be Deputy Speaker, a PDP person will not be Whip, a PDP person will not be Leader and a PDP person will not take any of the committees that are meant for the ruling party. We are determined to achieve that and be rest assured that the party will stand by you.”
Congratulating the in-coming lawmakers on the electoral victory, the party chairman said: “We are proud that Nigerians in your various constituencies have reposed confidence in the APC.
“I was looking at the number this morning and I realised that at the level of the House of Representatives, the Nigerian people gave the APC a resounding vote of confidence.
“Before the election, we had about 190 members. The Nigerian people elected and re-elected 223 members of the House of Representatives on the platform of the APC. This has given us overwhelming majority, almost two-third that we need even if we want to amend the constitution.
“I like to, on your behalf, thank the Nigerian people for reposing confidence in our party. I would like to say that by the same token, the Nigerian people has reposed less confidence in the major opposition who went into the election with more members and returned with 111 members.
“It is easy the first time to ask people to give you the benefit of the doubt. But when you have occupied an office for four years, and the people choose to favour your party to the extent to which they have favoured the APC, it is a thing of joy. We are grateful to the Nigerian people for giving us the number we need to carry through our legislative agenda.”
Alluding to party supremacy, Oshiomhole said: “For us to be able to enjoy our numerical strength in the House of Representatives, we must recognise that we were elected on a party platform.
“Over the last couple of weeks, I have been invited by INEC to forward names rising from court decisions to the effect that APC has won in a certain constituency even when there is dispute about who is the candidate.
“I am sure that when you went to vote, you did not see the portrait of any candidate, but the logo of the APC, which is the broom. Something unique about the broom is that when you pick a stick of broom, you can easily break it. But when it is together, as it is in our logo, it will be difficult to break.
“The essence of that broom is to remind us that when you are together, we share ideas together, make decisions on the basis of inclusion and we carry everybody along, we encourage debate, contestations and agree that at the end of the day, agreement reached are binding on all, then we will be as strong as the broom in our logo.
“We have called this meeting to remind us that we have a huge task ahead of us. Nigerians have voted the way they did and they expect new vigour and have injected new blood into the House of Representatives and I am sure that you have all come determined to make a difference in the way the National Assembly is run.
“As people who are active, you are very familiar with the issues that bogged down the National Assembly between 2015 and 2019, arising from a unique concussion and I pray that this time around, we have all learnt a lesson from our immediate past and allow the positive lessons of our immediate past to shape our future.
“You have been elected at a very challenging time to provide legislative backing for APC agenda and manifesto. Our President, who has been reelected, reminded us that the three critical issues on which we canvassed for votes in 2015 are still valid even now in 2019.
“The President is doing everything possible to turn the economy around and to ensure that we work and create job led growth and not jobless growth where we celebrate abstract statistics that does not reflect the quality of life of the Nigerian people.
“We must work hard to rebuild the economy, strengthen the private sector, create job, make the business environment friendly, and expand the capacity of our current investors.
“If Nigerians consume what we produce, our economy will grow in double digits and that growth will reflect on the quality of lives of our people. What has been missing has been leadership and that President Buhari has brought.
“We need to sustain and deepen these policies and I sure that some aspects of it will require legislative intervention. We will need to reinvent the manufacturing sector. If we have sensible and sustainable industrial policy in place with appropriate legislative backing to give people the confidence of policy stability, even to cloth half of our population will generate more than ten million jobs in the textile sector alone.
“There is no reason while Michelin should not return to Nigeria, especially if we have sensible industrial and trade policy that discourages the importation of these items which we were producing before. All these need a collaborative National Assembly.
“We need to pursue sensible monetary policies and should not price the funds out of the reach of the ordinary person. There must be coherence in all our policies so that we can witness sustainable growth and get our young people busy.
“President Buhari has a rare opportunity to now think of what legacies to leave behind for Nigerians. He has spoken about corruption and we all know that it is one factor that has destroyed the country.
“What we owe the Nigerian people is to create an environment for people to work and earn a living and for investors to have decent results for their investment and this also requires legislative action.”
Governor Samuel Ortom of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has won the keenly contested Benue Governorship election held on March 23.
Ortom polled 434,473 votes to defeat his closest rival, Mr Emmanuel Jime of the All Progressives Congress (APC), who polled 345,155 votes.
The INEC Returning Officer for the election, Prof. Sabastine Maimako, declared the result on Sunday in Makurdi.
He said that Ortom “having polled the highest number of votes at this election is hereby declared winner”.
Maimako said the total registered votes were 2,471,894, total accredited voters were 858,947 while total valid votes stood at 830,954.
He sad total rejected votes were 15,268 while the margin of lead between the winner and his closest rival was 89,318 votes.
Paul Pogba has described Real Madrid as “a dream club for every player” but says he is happy at Manchester United.
The midfielder, 26, has praised caretaker-manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer but says Real represent “a dream for every kid, for every football player”.
“It’s one of the biggest clubs in the world. I’ve always said Real Madrid is a dream club for every player,” Pogba told a news conference in France.
“At the moment I’m happy in Manchester. I play. There’s a new coach.”
BBC reports that Pogba is set to feature in Euro 2020 qualifiers against Moldova on Friday and Iceland on Monday.
While on international duty, the former Juventus midfielder has given all of his France World Cup winning team-mates world champion rings modelled on those produced for many American sports.
His club future appeared in doubt during widespread reports of acrimony between him and Jose Mourinho, who was succeeded as manager by Solskjaer in December.
Solskjaer’s arrival coincided with an uplift in form for Pogba, who scored four times in his first three games under his new boss.
The 46-year-old signed a deal until the end of the season but Pogba says he has done enough to get the job full-time.
“Of course we want him to stay,” said Pogba, who is under contract until 2021.
“The results have been great. I have a great relationship with him; he has a great relationship with the players.
“When a player is happy, he wants to keep being happy. Solskjaer deserves it. He knows the club, he knows everything about the club.
“He is a really happy coach that gave confidence back to the players. This gave us the freedom to play and enjoy football again because maybe we lost that with the results we had before.”
When Mourinho was sacked, United were sixth in the Premier League, 11 points off fourth, but they are now fifth, three points behind third-placed Tottenham.
United have also progressed into the quarter-finals of the Champions League, after knocking out French champions Paris St-Germain in the last 16.
“We are better now and the results have been brilliant,” added Pogba.
“I like to talk about the future because that’s what matters, I don’t like to talk about the past. Maybe we lost confidence, maybe things went wrong. A lot of talking outside that we weren’t used to.”
•Police ban rallies in Bauchi
The All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are locked in a battle of wits as the clock ticks towards this weekend’s governorship supplementary elections in some states.
While the PDP chairman in Kano State, Alhaji Rabi’u Suleiman Bichi is boasting that his party is ” always ever prepared to win ” the election, the APC dismisses the statement as wishful thinking .Leaders of the two parties in Sokoto State are also racing against time to tidy up loose ends ahead of the Saturday supplementary polls.
“We are more than ready, especially as we have won the election conducted on the 9th of March. We are happy that the security agents have ensured security of lives and property of everybody by protecting the electorate,” Bichi told The Nation in Kano.
“We have already won the election. The only thing left for us now is to consolidate on the areas where the rerun will be held. We have no fear as we are battle ready for the rerun.”
But the Kano Commissioner for Information, Youth and Culture, who doubles as the Chairman, Publicity Committee of the Kano APC Campaign Organization, Malam Muhammad Garba dismissed PDP’s position as wishful thinking.
He said: “we are very confident of victory because the local government areas where the rerun will take place remains an APC stronghold and the electorate in these areas have made up their mind to vote massively for the Governor they trust.
“I believe that from what is happening, we are very much prepared this time around; and as such, there is no cause for alarm because we have been able to identify some grey areas in the conduct of the inconclusive election, and we have taken cogent measures to ensure that by God’s grace, we will win the election.”
Declare Jime winner now APC elders call on INEC
The Elders Council of the APC in Benue State have asked INEC to declare the party’s governorship candidate, Mr. Emmanuel Jime as winner of the March 9 election.
The elders council said it had been informed of plans by anti-APC elements to disrupt the supplementary election in the party’s strongholds.
Addressing reporters in Makurdi, spokesman for the APC Elders Council, Chief Terlumun Akputu, asked INEC to cancel votes in in Guma, Buruku and Logo areas of the state where, according to him, card readers were not used on March 9.
He added: “There is nowhere in Nigeria where the APC recorded zero votes except in Guma Local Area despite having candidates and agents who he said were chased out of the polling units.”
Parties busy with strategy meetings
Ranking members of the two parties in Sokoto State have been holding meetings upon meetings to emerge victorious in the supplementary polls.
Stalwarts of the PDP were summoned for one of such meetings at the Government House, Sokoto on Friday.
The State Chairman of the PDP, Alhaji Ibrahim Milgoma, said: “We are going by the electoral umpire’s arrangement to participate in the coming supplementary polls across 136 polling centres across 22 local governments.
“We have no fears whatsoever. Only that certain things are going wrong which is making the atmosphere a bit uncertain. We are hearing that the opposition is mobilising stalwarts from other states.
“Our concern is that there should be transparency in the conduct of the rerun. I can assure you that the process is credible and transparent, PDP will win. Otherwise, we won’t accept it. Especially where we notice foul play”, Milgoma pointed out.
His APC counterpart, Alhaji Sadiq Isah Achida, said his party was equally set for the supplementary election.
He said:”Those cancelled polling units are our strong holds. We want fresh sets of INEC officials for the rerun. We have the belief and conviction that those that conducted the last elections had been compromised.
“Kebbe local government is our traditional strong hold where supplementary polls will be conducted in 35 polling units.”
Achida, after speaking to The Nation left for Sokoto east where the party expects huge votes from Gada, Rabah and Goronyo among others to woo the electorate.
Court injunction threatens Adamawa supplementary election
The situation in Adamawa State is not all that clear following a court injunction restraining INEC from conducting the supplementary election.
An Adamawa State High Court judge, Justice Abdul-Aziz Waziri, gave the ruling in a suit filed by the governorship candidate of the Movement for Restoration and Defence of Democracy (MRDD), Rev Eric Theman.
The judge said, “The defendant herein, INEC, is restrained … from proceeding with the supplementary election in respect of Adamawa State governorship pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice.”
While the APC says the court action is in order the PDP is of the view that it is a non- issue.
The state secretary of the APC, Mr. Wafarninyi Theman, said: “From what I have seen, the complainant has a genuine case, except INEC comes out to tell us that this party was not cleared for the election. But it’s a legitimate party and it had a legitimate candidate to contest in the election. And if they didn’t find the logo of their party on the ballot paper, it means they were deprived of the chance to be voted for. So, I think INEC should have admitted in the first place that they made a mistake. However, we are waiting for the response of INEC.”
On his part, the state chairman of the PDP, Mr. Tahir Shehu said, “We do know that by the provisions of the Electoral Act, no court of law can stop the process of election. So the purported order is invalid. INEC is not bound to comply with it… The law says no court can stop either primary, general or supplementary election. Notwithstanding, we are taking steps to get that order set aside.”
Police ban rallies in Bauchi
The Bauchi State Police command on Friday banned political rallies because of the violence that broke out in parts of the metropolis during a protest over the planned supplementary election.
It said: “Sequel to the declaration of Bauchi State Gubernatorial Election held on 09/03/2019 as inconclusive by Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and subsequent scheduling of rerun election on 23/03/2019 in some parts of the State, the Bauchi State Police Command calls on the good people of the State to remain calm and avoid any act capable of causing breakdown of law and order at this critical time.
“With regards to some reported cases of attacks on innocent members of the public by suspected Sara-Suka thugs which most times emanated from political rallies in Bauchi metropolis, the Command wishes to assure the members of the public that, it is on top of the situation and is taking necessary measures to deal with the menace once and for all.
“Consequently, for the interest of peace and harmony, the Command has placed a total ban on all forms of rallies and procession in the State without its approval.
“It is done in the best interest of peace loving people of the State and to ensure that, the relative peace and security in the State is sustained,” it assures.
The Independent National Electoral Commission has decided to resume from Tuesday, the collation of the governorship election result in Bauchi State and may declare the winner of the poll, hitherto ruled as inconclusive.
The commission announced the decision in a press statement on Friday night after resolving some issues around the result of Tafawa Balewa local government and some polling units in Ningi local government.
INEC did not state whether by the decision, the scheduled supplementary election on 23 March has been cancelled.
According to INEC, the number of cancelled votes in four polling units in Ningi Local Government was 2,533 and not 25,330 as recorded.
On Tafawa Balewa Local Government election result, where collation was disrupted by armed gangs, affecting 7 out of 11 registration areas for governorship and 6 out of 11 for state assembly elections, INEC said a committee set up has found that the results in polling units and registration areas are “available and in safe custody”.
INEC thus decided to resume the resumption and conclusion of the collation of results of the council area for both the governorship and state assembly elections
A new collation and returning officer for Tafawa Balewa has been appointed “to continue and conclude the collation process in place of the original collation officer, who withdrew from the exercise citing threats to her life and those of her family members”. The collation officer was Dominion Anosike.
The governorship election in Bauchi state is a straight fight between incumbent Mohammed Abubakar of the All Progressives Congress and former minister, Bala Mohammed of the Peoples Democratic Party.
Bala was said to have won the Tafawa Balewa Local government election, putting him in an overall lead of his APC counterpart, but the INEC returning officer, Professor Mohammed Kyari, declared the election inconclusive.
In declaring the election inconclusive, Kyari, gave the scores of incumbent governor as 465,453 votes and Bala Mohammed of PDP as 469,512 votes.
“The margin between the winner and opponent is less than the total number of votes cancelled in some polling units.By law, since the margin of winner is less than the total number of votes cancelled and registered voters in the areas where the votes have been cancelled, this elections is hereby declared inconclusive,” he said.
He said his decision was in line with section 26 part 53 of the Electoral Act.
With INEC adopting the result of the Tafawa Balewa local council and amending the result for four polling units in Ningi Local government, the PDP believes that its candidate has won the election.
The battle for the Senate Presidency is gaining momentum by the day.
With certificates of return issued to senators-elect by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Thursday, the battle for the nation’s number three seat has shifted to the geo-political zones.
Impeccable sources listed North East, South South and South East geo-political zones as the front runners in the jostle for the exalted seat of the Senate President.
While the three zones are said to have stepped up their bid for the Senate President slot, the North West zone is also said to be interested in the position of Deputy Senate President.
The zones, it was gathered, are reaching out to the Presidency and the leadership of All Progressives Congress (APC) to make case for themselves in the zoning arrangements of APC.
With APC’s majority of 65 members, PDP 42 and YPP 1, APC is expected to produce the President of the Ninth Senate.
Findings showed that sitting senators and others newly elected were positioning themselves to grab available leadership positions in the Ninth Senate, which may be inaugurated on June 8.
Inside sources believe that until the APC rolls out its zoning formula, the intrigue, scheming by aspirants for the coveted seat would not abate.
Front runners in the race for Senate Presidency include Senators Ahmed Lawan (Yobe North), Mohammed Ali Ndume (Borno South), Mohammed Danjuma Goje (Gombe Central) all from North East.
Senator Abdullahi Adamu (Nasarawa West), who is also said to have indicated interest in the Senate top job, hails from the North Central geo-political zone.
New entrants for the exalted position are said to include Senators Benjamin Uwajimogu, Francis Alimikhena and Senator-elect Orji Uzor Kalu.
But some of them are regarded as mere pretenders for the top job.
Lawan, a sitting senator and Senate Leader, was highly favoured by the APC in 2015 for the position of Senate President.
Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki, however, upstaged Lawan in what is widely regarded as an “unholy alliance” with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) senators, to become the Senate President in 2015.
It is however generally believed that the Yobe North Senator looks good to become the Senate President this time around if the APC zones the position to the North East.
Lawan is said to have already stepped up his bid to clinch the Senate top job.
He appears the candidate to beat in the contest, going by his track record and standing in the APC.
Senator Ndume contested the position of Deputy Senate President in 2015 but lost to Senator Ike Ekweremadu.
Ndume, a former Senate leader, has never hidden his desire to become the Senate President.
Those close to him say the Borno South Senator is networking in and out of APC to actualise his ambition.
Senator Abdullahi Adamu, leader of the Legislative Support Group for President Muhammadu Buhari, is also said to have oiled his machinery to give the Senate top job a shot.
Adamu, it was gathered, is leveraging on his unalloyed support for Buhari and his loyalty to APC to make a case for occupying the Senate President’s seat.
The dark horse in the race is said to be Mohammed Danjuma Goje.
Close watchers of the tussle for the seat say Saraki’s loyalists and PDP Senators may back Goje in the contest for Senate presidency.
The Gombe Central Senator, though a strong APC member, is considered “a moderate who is likely to protect the interest of PDP members in the chamber.”
PDP insiders say the permutations as to how to cast their net would be directed by the party’s leadership.
Those positioning themselves for the Senate top job from the South South are said to include the Senate Deputy Whip, Senator Francis Alimikhena and the Delta Central Senator, Ovie Omo-Agege.
Observers say Alimikhena (Edo North) and Omo-Agege may be banking on the influence of APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, to ensure zoning the slot of either the Senate President or Deputy Senate President to the South-South geo-political zone.
If that happens, the duo would be in a better position to clinch one of the positions.
In the South East, Senators Orji Uzor Kalu (Abia North) and Benjamin Uwajimogu (Imo North) are said to have their eyes on the Senate Presidency if the slot is allotted to the zone.
Kalu, described as a “go getter” by those close to him, and Uwajimogu are the only APC senators from the South East.
The duo are said to be selling their aspiration on the plank that the South East geo-political zone would be out of the scheme of things if the Senate Presidency eludes the zone.
Senator Kabiru Gaya has made case for the slot of Deputy Senate President to be zoned to North West to enable him go for it.
Gaya, Kano South and Chairman Senate Committee on Works, has already declared his aspiration and claimed that his colleagues in the red chamber are behind him.
Gaya said: “I thank the Almighty Allah who granted me the grace of being elected into the Senate for the fourth time.
“As regards the leadership composition of the 9th Senate, majority of my colleagues are mounting pressure on me to run for the position of Deputy Senate President.
“I want to use this opportunity to announce that I’m running for the position, being one of the most ranking Senators in the 9th Senate.”
His ambition, according to the Kano South senator, is however subject to the determination and approval of the APC leadership and the Presidency.
The aspiration of Gaya, who hails from the North West geo-political zone, may alter the permutations being made for the Senate leadership positions
Observers say if Gaya emerges Deputy Senate President, it may be difficult to also retain the Senate Presidency in the North.
The South West geo-political zone is not left out in the scheming for Senate leadership positions.
Feelers from the zone show that the South West senators are waiting for the APC zoning arrangements to decide on their next line of action.
A source close to one of the Senators-elect from the South West, Senator Olubunmi Adetunbi, said that the Ekiti North Senator is eligible to aspire for any position in the Senate zoned to the South West.
“The truth of the matter is that APC still has to come up with its zoning arrangements, and depending on what is zoned to the South West, Adetunbi, as a ranking senator, is eligible and will show more than a passing interest in the slots,” the source said.
But aspirants banking on the support of the Presidency to secure Senate top jobs may be disappointed.
Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Affairs (Senate), Senator Ita Enang, said that President Buhari believes strongly in the principle of separation of power and may not interfere in the selection process of the leadership of the National Assembly
“President Muhammadu Buhari is a man of high principles. His stand on this matter is that each arm of government should function according to what the constitution says, and that every person in government should do the right thing, and that he will not go beyond what the constitution allows him and that every other arm of government should stick to their constitutional responsibilities,” Enang told reporters in Abuja yesterday.
Ruling party seeks CTC to prepare defence
12 categories of materials listed
The Presidential Election Petition Tribunal (PEPT) in Abuja has granted the request by the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its candidate in the last presidential election, Muhammadu Buhari, to be allowed access to materials used for the election.
The permission is to enable the APC and Buhari inspect and obtain the certified true copies (CTC) of the materials to enable them prepare their defence against the petition to be filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate in the election, Atiku Abubakar.
A three-man panel of the tribunal, led by Justice Abdul Aboki, in granting the two ex-parte motions filed by the APC and Buhari, ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to allow the applicants inspect and obtain CTC of the materials.
The tribunal, in the two rulings on both motions, granted similar orders.
The APC had, in a schedule it attached to its motion, listed 12 categories of election materials it sought to be allowed to inspect. They include card readers, card readers reports and incident forms, among others.
In the lead rulings delivered by Justice Aboki, the tribunal granted the two reliefs in Buhari’s motion, but modified the prayers in the motion by the APC.
It said: “Leave is granted the applicant to bring this application at this stage.
“The 1st respondent (INEC) shall forthwith, allow the applicant and or its representatives to inspect polling documents and obtain certified true copies of all polling documents, in the custody of the 1st respondent, used for the just concluded presidential election to enable the applicant defend the petition that may be filed by the 2nd and 3rd respondents (Peoples Democratic Party and Atiku Abubakar).
Adelani Ajibade (for Buhari) and Olusola Dare (for APC) had, while arguing the motions, stated that it was imperative that the tribunal grants their clients’ prayers.
Ajibade and Dare argued that the grant of the motion will enable their clients examine the materials used for the election and obtain the CTC for the purpose of preparing their defence to the petitions to be filed by PDP and its candidate in the election, Atiku Abubakar.
Among the items named in the list attached to the motion by the APC are all results sheets used for the election, voters’ register, stubs of all unused ballot papers, all card readers, card readers reports and data analysis, voters’ registers and all rejected ballot papers.
It also sought to inspect all incident forms, all other electoral forms or documents used in the presidential election of February 23, held throughout the country.
On March 6, the PEPT rejected the request by the candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar and his party for permission to conduct forensic analysis and scanning of materials used for the conduct of the presidential election.
In turning it down, the tribunal said such request for forensic analysis and scanning by experts, of computers, card reader machines, server, among others deployed for the election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), was beyond the scope of the provisions of Section 151(1) & (2) of the Electoral Act (as amended), which permits the inspection of election materials.
In a unanimous ruling on an ex-parte application by Atiku and his party, a three-man panel of the tribunal said Section 151 of the Electoral Act, which allows an intending petitioner to inspect materials used for an election only allows inspection and the obtaining of certified true copies of such materials.
Justice Aboki, who led the panel, however, said the tribunal granted the prayers which allow the applicants the permission to only inspect the materials and obtain certified true copies (CTC) of the materials.
The tribunal also granted the applicant’s prayer for leave to be allowed to bring such application at the pre-hearing stage of the tribunal’s sitting.
According to the tribunal, the request by Atiku and PDP to call experts to engage in forensic analysis and scanning of INEC gadgets, computers, among other materials was outside the scope of the meaning of inspection under Section 151(1) and (2) of the Electoral Act.
Justice Aboki said: “After a careful examination of the reliefs sought on the motion paper and a perusal of Section 151 of the Electoral Act (as amended), and the decision of this court in cases of Aregbesola v. Oyinlola, Akintayo v. Jolaoye, Senator Hope Uzodinma v. Senator Osita Izunaso,, it is hereby ordered as follows.
“Leave is granted to the applicants to bring this application at this stage,
“The first respondent (INEC) shall forthwith, allow the applicants and or their representatives to inspect polling documents and obtained certified true copies of all polling documents in the custody of the first respondent, used for the just-concluded presidential election, to enable the applicants institute and maintain an election petition.
“Prayers three, four, five and six on the motion paper are hereby refused.
“Forensic audit, examination and analysis by forensic experts cannot be regarded as an inspection of those documents within the ambit of Section 151 of the Electoral Act (as amended),” Justice Aboki said.
He agreed with lawyer to the applicants, Chris Uche (SAN) that the Court of Appeal had, in previous decisions, permitted the scanning of election documents used during the election at the stage of hearing in election petition.
He added that such scanned documents must be certified by INEC as true copies of the documents in its custody or held in the custody of INEC.
Justice Aboki faulted Uche’s reliance on an earlier decision in the case of Senator Uzodinma and Senator Izunaso, and noted that the Court of Appeal has since set aside the permission granted by a lower tribunal for the scanning and forensic audit and analysis of election materials at pre-hearing stage.
He said: “In that case, the lower tribunal granted the pervasive orders brought under Section 151 of the Electoral Act.
“The respondent to the said application, appealed to this court, which found that the excessive orders granted with respect to the inspection of polling documents and sundry other materials, were found to be totally outside the scope of Section 151 of the Electoral Act.
“This court found that the orders made violated the rights of the respondents to fair hearing under Section 6 of the Constitution (as amended).The orders made by the lower tribunal, in that case were set aside by this court. And orders were made, by this court, within the ambit of Section 151 of the Electoral Act.”