President Muhammadu Buhari has sent his warm felicitations to the National Leader of All Progressives Congress (APC) Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu on his 67th birthday.
Tinubu, a two-time governor of Lagos state will celebrate his birthday on Friday.
President Buhari described Tinubu as one of the strong pillars of Nigeria’s democracy.
“President Buhari joins the APC family in celebrating the Asiwaju of Lagos, who is also the Jagaban of Borgu Kingdom in Niger State, for his selflessness in serving his country, and making life better for many,” Mr Femi Adesina, Special Adviser to the President, quoted Buhari as saying.
The President listed some of the sacrifices of the party chieftain to include standing up against injustice in 1993 when the June 12 elections were annulled, which led to his going on political exile for many years, and a protracted legal battle with the Federal Government when funds for Lagos were withheld.
“President Buhari affirms that Asiwaju’s uncompromising posture in the face of injustice and refusal to follow the path of least resistance for personal gains stand him out today as a rare breed and one of the cornerstones of Nigeria’s democracy, especially with his track record of persistence, consistency and effective leadership.
“As the father of modern Lagos State, the President commends the visionary and inclusive leadership style that the Asiwaju provided for the commercial nerve centre of Nigeria for eight years, laying the foundation for a modern and technologically driven city, and ensuring that every successive leader in the state sticks with the masterplan of a greater Lagos.”
President Buhari rejoiced with the family members, friends, political and business associates of the Jagaban on the auspicious milestone, “which is further brightened with the many successes recorded at the recently concluded polls by his strong leadership”.
The President believes the best years of the APC National Leader are still ahead, praying that the almighty God will grant him longer life, good health and more wisdom to keep serving the country he loves so much.
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.”
PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari yesterday mourned literary icon Gabriel Imomotimi Gbaingbain Okara, who passed on few weeks to his 98th birthday.
A source close to the family said the celebrated poet and novelist died yesterday in his sleep at his residence at Okaka Estate, Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital.
Mourning the passage of Okara, the President, in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, commiserated with the deceased immediate family and the people of Bayelsa State.
The statement reads: “On behalf of the Federal Executive Council (FEC), the President extends heartfelt commiserations to the Okara family, the government and people of Bayelsa State, the literary community and all who drank from the writer’s fountain of knowledge.
“As a dedicated and well-published writer in all the literary genres, President Buhari, believes Okara, who was deservedly known as the ‘founder of Modern African literature’ will be fondly remembered for his immense contributions to the development of African literature, drawing on experience from his native Ijaw language.
“The President extolled the great story-teller whose powerful use of imagery and symbolism in his literary writings helped the world to appreciate and understand the richness, complexities and uniqueness of the African heritage and culture.”
Born on 24 April, 1921, in Bumoundi in Yenagoa, the prize-winning poet had verse in his works translated into several languages in the early 1960s.
As an elder statesman of Nigerian literature, the late Okara was the first modernist poet of Anglophone, who literary career spanned six decades.
After leaving school, the late Okara wrote plays and features on radio programmes. In 1953, his poem: “The Call of the River Nun” won an award at the Nigerian Festival of Arts.
Some of his poetry works were published in the literary magazine Black Orpheus, and by 1960, he had won recognition as an accomplished literary craftsman.
In April 2017, the Gabriel Okara Literary Festival was held at the University of Port Harcourt in his honour.
In both his poems and his prose, Okara draws on African thought, religion, folklore and imagery, and he has been called “the Nigerian Negritudist”.
Some of his works include: “The Voice (1964)”; his award-winning poetry, published in “The Fisherman’s Invocation (1978)”; “The Dreamer” and “His Vision (2005)” among others.
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.”
Miss-K beamed of victory, this past weekend as she was celebrated on International Women’s day, at the third International W.A.W’s (Women Appreciating Women) Awards and Gala; an evening where inspirational women from all walks of life, were awarded for they contribution to society and supporting other women.
An event where Miss-K has been awarded an Honorary Award for her impact to contributing to other women’s empowerment and growth.
Moreover Miss-K has also been selected by the founder Dr.Long to be published in the WAW book of “100 Most Inspirational Women in the World.”
Miss-K who is an Afro-Caribbean Latina Artiste, Model, Humanitarian and Entrepreneur, without forgetting a passionateSupporter of women’s rights, has dedicated her time to inspire women for the past decade through her career, by becoming a barrier breaker herself, working her way into the forefront of fashion, earning her the right to be considered as aSupermodel in the field, who has previously been contracted by giant brands such as former Vogue UK Editor, MTN Nigeria, African image Creators, and Rosemary Avenard Fashion House, including standing as a judge for emerging brand, such has Miss Ghana Tourism UK.
Despite the fact that Miss-K couldn’t attend the stylish event, she took to her social Media, to share those words:” How Grateful and blessed I feel for receiving such award.” She further added: “I was incredibly humbled when receiving the invitation from the founder Dr Pauline Long. She is an amazing visionary for having created such movement and I was even more humbled and astounded when she relayed the news to me that I would become the recipient of an honorary award. I am ever so happy to have been given such privilege”
Thus far, the WAW movement, has honoured 360 remarkable women, which has included many iconic names being inducted into the WAW’s hall of fame. Yet, only few have been presented with the WAW honorary Awards, such as: The First Lady of Jamaica, Juliet Holness, MP former President of Zimbabwe Dr. Joice Mujuru, Founder of Ann Franck Trust Gillian Walness MBE, and now the golden girl herself, Karina Theresa Martinez popularly known as Miss-K, just to name a few.
Inclusively Miss-K was inducted on their Hall Of Fame, alongside other amazing WAW women which is dedicated to recognizing and celebrating the achievements of great women internationally who push for positive progress together.
This esteemed group grows with each induction ceremony as women continue to influence and shape the world of arts, athletics, business, education, government, humanities, healthcare and philanthropy.
Miss-K who is also known for her notorious curves, used her voluptuous assets to create a positive change, by proving that women of all shape and size who are part of this society should be reflected in today’s fashion. All this leading her to inspire women to love and believe in themselves and embrace their shape & size no matter what.
Indeed, Miss-K has been a prominent force in the industry and has been such a believer in empowering women’s abilities to do more for themselves, as a result she has written a book titled “Powerful Beauty: Breaking barriers with Kurls, Kurves, and Konfidence”, which is due for release this year. A powerful tool containing 10 points that has led her to walk such successful path.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has declared Kano State Governor Dr. Abdullahi Ganduje and the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as winner of the just- concluded supplementary re-run poll.
Declaring the winner of the election, the Collation Officer for the Governorship election in Kano, Prof. Bello Shehu announced the APC candidate polled 1,033,695 while that of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) scored 1,024,713 votes.
He said that the registered voters stood at 5,426,989,accredited voters ,2,268,305,while the valid votes cast is 2,199,535,with rejected votes of 50,861,adding that,the total vote cast is 2,242,396.
He added that the APC candidate defeated his immediate opponent of the PDP with 8,982 votes.
According to Shehu, the winner was declared after the collation of result from all the 28 affected Local Government Areas where the supplementary elections were conducted on Saturday.
He said: “That Abdullahi Umar Ganduje having satisfied the requirement of the law, has scored the highest votes, is hereby declared winner and returned elected.”
He said the governorship election was earlier declared inconclusive following the high number of cancellation of votes as a result of violence and over voting.
According to the collation officer, the total number of votes cancelled during the earlier election, which led to the declaration of the poll as inconclusive, was beyond the margin between the PDP candidate which was leading with 26,000 votes and that of the APC candidate.
The PDP candidate, Abba Kabir Yusuf, was declared to have 1,014,474, against the APC candidate Gov Ganduje who garned 987,819 votes before the supplementary poll.
Votes cancelled during the governorship election stood at 128,572 which the collation officer said the electoral act has it that such election must be declared inconclusive.
The PDP agent, who is also the party chairman, Suleiman Rabiu Bichi frowned at the exercise.
He rejected the entire re-run election process, especially that of Gama in Nassarawa Local Government Area.
The APC Chairman, Abdullahi Abbas, described the election as another land mark victory for the party.
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.
The Federal High Court (FHC) has sanctioned the approved scheme of merger between Access Bank Plc and Diamond Bank Plc, the final seal that effectively brings the merger of the two commercial banks into effect.
Consequently, the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) yesterday suspended trading on the shares of Diamond Bank Plc, which will be dissolved without being wound up and subsequently delisted from the Exchange.
The court sanction, statutorily the final phase of a pre-merger process, which was filed at the NSE, affirmed all the key headlines of the transactions, which had earlier been approved by shareholders of the two banks, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
The Nation had on Monday reported that financial regulatory authorities had given final approvals to the scheme of merger, paving the way for submission to a Federal High Court for the final court sanction.
Under the terms of the merger, Diamond Bank will transfer all its assets, liabilities and undertakings to Access Bank and the entire issued share capital of Diamond Bank shall be cancelled and Diamond Bank shall be dissolved without being wound up. In exchange, Diamond Bank’s shareholders shall receive a cash consideration of N1 per share and two ordinary shares of the enlarged Access Bank for every seven ordinary shares of Diamond Bank held as at the effective date.
Access Bank will be the post-merger entity while its Group Managing Director, Herbert Wigwe will continue to lead the post-merger management as chief executive. The business combination is expected to leapfrog post-merger Access Bank as Nigeria’s largest bank by total assets and one of Africa’s largest retail banks.
The NSE explained that the full suspension on Diamond Bank, which took effect yesterday March 20, 2019, was sequel to the court sanction, which brought the business combination into effect on Tuesday March 19, 2019.
“The suspension is required to prevent trading in the shares of the bank in order to determine the bank’s shareholders who will qualify to receive the Scheme consideration,” NSE stated.
The NSE noted that the scheme of merger will result in the delisting of Diamond Bank Plc from the Daily Official List of the Exchange.
Directors and management of the banks said the merger will create significant values for all stakeholders, underlining the inherent synergies and value accretion in the business combination.
The business combination is expected to form a leading Tier 1 Nigerian bank and the largest bank in Africa by number of customers, spanning three continents, 12 countries, 3,100 Automated Teller Machine (ATM), more than 33,000 Point of Sales (PoS) terminals, 27 million clients and more than 10 million mobile customers.
Diamond Bank and Access Bank share many of the same areas of focus, including women, youth, entrepreneurs and the financially excluded and will be able to further develop their positioning and market leadership in these growth sectors. Diamond Bank’s corporate customers will also be able to benefit directly from Access Bank’s corporate expertise in trade finance, cash management, treasury and corporate finance.
Group Managing Director, Access Bank Plc, Mr Herbert Wigwe, said the two banks share several common values and technologies that make the business combination a seamless one.
According to him, the merger of the banks will create significant opportunities and benefits to customers, shareholders, staff and other stakeholders.
He noted that the combination of Diamond Bank’s strong retail customer franchise and Access Bank’s proven risk and capital management expertise will create a post-merger bank with strong value creation potential.
He pointed out that while the merger will lead to 19 per cent shareholding dilution, the business combination accelerates Access Bank’s plan to become a leading bank in Nigeria and gateway to Africa.
Nigeria’s former President, Olusegun Obasanjo on Wednesday denied receiving N40,000 annually as facilitator at the National Open University of Nigeria, NOUN.
A statement issued by Obasanjo’s spokesman, Kehinde Akinyemi said the attention of the former President had been drawn to a newspaper report, published on Wednesday, March 20, 2019 with the headline ‘Obasanjo earns N40,000 as NOUN lecturer –VC.’
“Ordinarily, this will have been unnecessary exercise, if it has been the usual shenanigans of the media to sell their newspapers, but, the very clear quotation of the Vice-Chancellor, Prof Abdalla Adam on the headline made this clarification imperative and to set the records straight on His Excellency’s engagement with the University.
“In putting the records in right perspective, His Excellency which to draw the attention of the Vice-Chancellor to his letter dated 12 April 2018, which was written to the University Registrar, Mr. Felix Edoka, when the Council offered him a Part-Time appointment as an Instructional/Tutorial Facilitator and Project Supervisor in the Faculty of Arts at the Abeokuta Study Centre.
“Specifically in Paragraph 3 of the letter, President Obasanjo wrote: ‘I will gladly undertake any of the functions mentioned in paragraph two of your letter pro bono and I hope that the functions will be flexible enough to accommodate my rather tight schedule.,” the statement said.
According to the statement, “The former President affirmed that he has not received any dime either as salaries or otherwise from the university and not planning for such now or forever, as stated in his letter that the appointment was received with ‘pleasure and duty to give back to others out of what God and NOUN have given me.’
“The publication, which has generated mixed reactions from the general public and calls from far and near on the elder statesman expressing concern, is to say the least, embarrassing, uncharitable, mischievous and in bad taste, with an immediate demand for a retraction and apology from the Office of the Vice Chancellor.”