NEWS AND STORIES
Gov. Gboyega Oyetola of Osun has congratulated his Ondo State counterpart, Rotimi Akeredolu, on his re-election as governor of the state, saying his victory did not come as a surprise.
Oyetola, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Ismail Omipidan, on Sunday in Osogbo, also described Akeredolu’s victory as sweet and well deserved.
The governor is a member of the National Caretaker Committee of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Chairman, Contact, and Mobilisation for the Ondo Governorship National Campaign Council.
He also congratulated President Muhammadu Buhari, national leaders of the party, members, and supporters of the party on the electoral victory.
Oyetola said the outcome of the election was a true reflection of the wishes and aspirations of the people of Ondo.
He added that the sterling performance and achievements of Akeredolu in his first term also informed the decision of the Ondo electorate to re-elect him for another term.
Oyetola also expressed confidence that Akeredolu would continue to deliver the dividends of democracy to the people.
“I heartily congratulate Gov. Rotimi Akeredolu on his well-deserved re-election as Governor of Ondo State.
“I also congratulate Mr President, the National Caretaker Committee, and other leaders of our great party including Baba Bisi Akande, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, members and supporters of the APC, on this sweet victory at the just- concluded Ondo State governorship election.
“This victory is a true reflection of the wishes and aspirations of the people of Ondo.
“It is apparent that Gov. Akeredolu’s sterling performance and achievements in his first tenure informed the decision of Ondo people to vote him for another term.
“I’m confident that Gov. Akeredolu will continue to deliver the dividends of democracy to the people of Ondo State,” Oyetola said.
The governor also lauded the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the security agencies, political parties, and their candidates, and the people of Ondo for the peaceful and successful conduct of the election.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports that the Independent National Electoral Commission on Sunday declared Gov. Rotimi Akeredolu winner of Saturday’s governorship election in the state, having polled the highest score of 292,830 votes.
By Jethro Ibileke/ PM NEWS
With less than 24 hours to the commencement of the governorship election in Ondo State, three key gladiators are favourite to hold sway. After a careful examination and sifting of the candidates of the 17 political parties contesting the poll, opinions narrow the chances to three candidates, namely, the incumbent Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu of the APC; his erstwhile deputy, Agboola Ajayi of the Zenith Labour Party; and Eyitayo Jegede of the PDP.
The three main contestants are busy strategising and plotting the defeat of their opponents. The big question is, who wins the race at the end of the voting exercise, who wins the battle for the soul of Ondo State?
The trio have one thing in common; they are lawyers. They also have one goal in common, they set their eyes on the governorship seat. But, only one of these three gladiators will be declared winner of the election come Saturday.
Below is a careful analysis of the three favourite candidates.
Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu
Sixty-four-year old Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, graduated from the prestigious University of Ife (now named Obafemi Awolowo University in 1977. He hailed from Owo town, in the northern senatorial district of the state. His campaign slogan, when translated from Yoruba language, means “let’s do it once more”.
Beside being a senior advocate of no mean repute, Aketi, as he is popularly called, is actually not a green horn in politics, having been in politics for over a decade. He served as the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, during the first tenure of former Governor Olusegun Mimiko, who won his election on the platform of the Labour Party, but later defected to the PDP.
In 2013, Akeredolu contested for the governorship seat on the platform of the APC, but lost to his former boss, Mimiko, who won the election for a second term with a landslide. He, however, got lucky on his second attempt, and was sworn-in as governor on 24 February 2017.
This APC candidate obviously enjoys the support of his party, President Muhammadu Buhari and other APC governors. During the grand finale of his electioneering campaign rally which held inside the main bowl of Akure Stadium on Wednesday, Buhari in a goodwill message, described Akeredolu as a good brand who should be reelected for a second term.
“No doubt, our candidate is a good brand. I am particularly delighted with his approach to governance, he is a good brand. I join you to declare that Governor Rotimi Akeredolu deserves to be reelected for a second term,” Buhari had said.
The presence of 10 APC governors at the campaign is a further attestation of his acceptance in his party.
To win the support of the people of Ondo South Senatorial District where one of his main challengers, Agboola Ajayi hailed from, Akeredolu argued that they ought to give him their support, for the governorship rotation to get to their turn at the end of his second term. He reasoned that voting for the PDP candidate, Eyitayo Jegede, would jeopardise their chance of getting it in 2025.
The 52-year-old Igbinedion University, Okada-trained lawyer who hailed from Kiribo, in Ese-Odo Local Government Area of Ondo State, is an astute and a grassroots politician. He was called to bar in 2010 after his graduation from the Nigerian Law School, Abuja.
Ajayi though began his political career in 1989 when he was elected ward chairman of the Social Democratic Party (SPD), in the Old Apoi. When the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) was formed in 1998, he was made Secretary of the party in Ilaje/Ese-Odo Local Government between 1998 and 1999.
In 2004, Ajayi was elected chairman of Ese-Odo Local Government Council, and was made the Treasurer of Association of Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON), Ondo State chapter between 2004 and 2007.
Ajayi who dumped the PDP for the APC in 2016, was nominated as running mate of Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu and together, they were sworn-in on February 24, 2017.
In the build-up to the 2020 governorship election, Ajayi clashed with his boss, when he declared interest in gunning for the Ondo top job. Following the rivalry that ensued, Ajayi dumped APC for the PDP on June 20, where he declared his interest to contest against Akeredolu during the governorship election. But when the PDP primary election was conducted on July 22, Ajayi lost to Eyitayo Jegede.
Few days later, Agboola Ajayi decamped to Zenith Labour Party (ZLP), where he is currently seeking election. He is banking on the over 514,000 voting strength of his home base of Ondo South, and whatever votes he could win in other parts of the state, to unseat his boss as governor.
The PDP candidate for the gubernatorial election, Eyitayo Jegede, Senior Advocate of Nigeria, was born to the family of late Chief Johnson Bosede, the Odopetu of Isinkan, Akure, in the central senatorial district of the state. He graduated from the University of Lagos in 1983.
The Chief Justice of Nigeria in 1992 appointed him as a Notary Public, before being elevated to the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria on 16th December, 2008. He was a two-time chairman of the Adamawa State chapter of the Nigerian Bar Association.
He served as a former Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice during the second tenure of Olusegun Mimiko.
On Monday, August 22, 2016, Eyitayo Jegede was voted as the PDP governorship candidate but Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court judgement issued on October 14, 2016, recognised Jimoh Ibrahim as the candidate of the PDP for the governorship of Ondo State. But on November 23, 2016, the Court of Appeal reversed the judgement of the lower Court, pronouncing Jegede as the PDP’s gubernatorial flag bearer.
Jegede emerged the flag bearer of PDP’s Governorship Primary for Ondo State in the October 2020 election after polling a total of 888 votes, defeating the Deputy Governor Agboola Ajayi who emerged second with 657 votes.
There is no gainsaying that Jegede’s presence in the governorship race is not only a nightmare to Governor Akeredolu, but a threat to his ambition of getting re-elected.
In summary, the fate of Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, Agboola Ajayi, Eyitayo Jegede, and indeed, that of the other candidates in the election, now depends on the decision of the over 514,000 eligible voters in Ondo South, the over 816,000 in Ondo Central and the over 485,000 in the North.
There is no doubt, however, that one of the three gladiators will emerge victorious on Saturday. We can only wait to see who finally wins the battle for the soul of Ondo.
Candidate of Zenith Labour Party (ZLP) Mr. Agboola Ajayi, has boasted that he will defeat Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Eyitayo Jegede of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Saturday’s governorship election.
Ajayi, who spoke at Owo in Owo Local Government at the end of his campaign, said he was confident of defeating other candidates.
The deputy governor assured residents that security would be provided to protect them from harassment.
He urged them not to panic, even as he regretted the violence that claimed people’s lives in clashes among rival political parties.
Ajayi warned his supporters not to take arm against anybody but to go out and vote.
He said: “We are here to campaign. We are not here to fight anybody. Please, don’t allow anybody to provoke you. Vote and protect your votes.”
Former governor Dr. Olusegun Mimiko said it was sad that five people had died in the last few weeks due to violence.
He said eligible voters were no longer ready to attend rallies due to violence.T
President Muhammadu Buhari has approved a special salary scale for Nigerian teachers as well as increased years of service from 35 to 40.
The President made the announcement, yesterday, as the world marked World Teachers’ Day.
The declaration came as the non-teaching staff of the University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN), yesterday, swelled the ranks of protesting university workers by joining a 14-day nationwide warning strike declared by the Joint Action Committee (JAC) in public universities.
For years, teachers have agitated for an increase in their retirement age, welfare, and salaries.
Buhari, who was represented by the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, announced the changes in teachers’ salary scale and retirement age in Abuja at an event to mark the day.
The theme for the celebration, ‘Teachers: Leading in Crisis, Reimagining the Future,” reflects the resilience of teachers and school administrators globally amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
Buhari instructed the ministry to facilitate the implementation of the new salary scheme, saying it would encourage teachers to deliver better service.
According to him, teachers have the power to shape and reshape the lives of young people and enhance their potential.
“Only great teachers can produce excellent people and students that will make the future of our country great. A positive or negative influence of a teacher on any child will have an effect on that child. Therefore, the Federal Government is ensuring quality education.”
He said his administration had resolved to ensure quality education of teachers by giving priority to continued professional development.
He emphasized that the future of the country would depend on quality education for children and that the quality of teachers would depend on motivation.
He said, “To address these challenges, my administration has approved the following for teachers and the teaching profession. That in order to attract investment in the teaching profession, the quality of the introduction of a bursary award has been restored.
“There will be a special pension scheme to enable the teaching profession to retain its experienced talents as well as extend teachers retirement age to 65 years and the duration of teaching years to 40 years.”
He added that his administration had also approved the building of low-cost housing for teachers in rural areas, sponsorship of teachers, prompt payment of salary, and timely promotion to eliminate stagnation, to motivate and restore lost glory to teachers and teaching in the country.
THE Minister of State for Education, Mr. Chukuemeka Nwajuiba, identified the teaching profession as the greatest profession in the world, which must be accorded adequate recognition and respect.
Nwajuiba noted that the picture of a Nigerian teacher in the 1960s and 1970s, which reflected discipline, needed to be replicated.
He said, “In those days, very comfortable and important figures in the society would send their children to a teacher’s house for grooming. That was the teacher then.
“Teacher’s children and those that lived with them became the crème de la crème of the society. The society sadly has tilted towards ephemeral appearances that negate the standard of teachers as role models.
“We think this should stop. Teachers deserve recognition and respect. The first step is to have qualified teachers in practice.”
To achieve the goal, he said his ministry, through the Teachers Registration Council, was making effort to withdraw unqualified teachers nationwide.
He urged individuals, states, and local government education authorities and corporate organisations to reintroduce a reward system to boost productivity in the education sector.
MEANWHILE, the Delta State Governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa; and the Federal Capital Territory [FCT] Minister, Mallam Muhammad Bello, have described the teaching profession as the bedrock of nation-building, and expressed their commitment to the profession.
At an event to commemorate the event in Asaba, Okowa commended teachers for their commitment to teaching and learning in all public and private schools in the state, saying his administration placed a high premium on the welfare of teachers.
“I thank teachers in Delta for their contributions to nation-building and to the intellectual development of our children.
“We have also ensured we improve on the teaching and learning environment for our teachers and students through the provision and necessary infrastructure and materials.”
Bello said the commitment of the FCT administration was based on the fact that education is the bedrock of society and no nation desirous of progress and development could afford to ignore the sector.
“We remain committed to the development of education in all its ramifications in the FCT and we will continue to commit time and resources to ensure the sector meets up with the expectations of residents of the FCT’,” the minister stated.
He commended Ms Omoregbe Osarobo of JSS Gwagwalada, who was declared the 5th best junior public school teacher in the country.
He said her recognition was a testament to the hard work and dedication of FCT schoolteachers.
But as the celebrations went on, the strike declared by Joint Action Committee (JAC) escalated as the UNN non-teaching staff joined the protest.
JAC comprises the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) and Non-academic Staff Union (NASU) in public tertiary institutions in the country.
Addressing newsmen shortly after a congress in Nsukka, the chapter Chairman, Paul Aruah, asked workers to go home until the end of the 14-day warning strike declared by the national body.
Eruah said the congress was called to explain to members why they must join the strike and warned that any member found sabotaging the action would be sanctioned.
“We have held our congress. It has started today and will end on Monday, October 19. It is just a warning strike but if at the end, the Federal Government fails to meet our demands, it might result in indefinite strike action,” he said.
Eruah said their grouse include the inconsistency in the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) in the payment of salaries of members; non-payment of earned allowance to members in spite of various memorandum of understanding between JAC and government.
Others, he said, were the government’s failure to pay arrears of national minimum wage and retirement benefits to members.
The Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, on Wednesday commended the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, for the roles he played after he was pushed out of the All Progressives Congress.
Obaseki described Wike as a true brother, who sheltered him during the stormy period.
The Edo state governor gave the commendation during his thank-you visit to Wike at Government House in Port Harcourt.
Obaseki, who was accompanied by his wife, Mrs. Betsy Obaseki; Deputy Governor, Philip Shaibu, and his wife, Mrs. Maryann Shaibu, with members of the Edo PDP Campaign Council led by Chief Dan Orbih, said;
“I want to thank Edo people for their doggedness and determination in ensuring that their votes counted and the will of the people achieved.
“The victory in the September 19 poll was made possible by God and God used the people as an instrument to actualise my second term ambition.
“After I was pushed out of my former party, this house was the first place I sought solace. You took me in as a brother, out of the storm, changed my clothes, and gave me food to eat.
“It was in this house, the Campaign Council met to work out the key strategies that led us to victory. You mobilised people across the country. You moved to Benin, went through the humiliation and attacks. You supported us and we won.
“As the chair of the National campaign council, you applied yourself diligently to task. Indeed, you are a true brother.”
“It will be a sin against God if we do not come to say thank you. Even if the victory we are celebrating is from God. He has used people like you to make it happen.”
Reacting to Obaseki’s statements, Wike commended him and his deputy, for standing firmly to defend the interest of the Edo people.
He said Obaseki and his deputy’s determination was a motivating factor for them to join hands in solidarity.
Wike, however, urged Obaseki to forgive those who stood against him in the build-up to the election.
“I did not want division. I insisted that it will be good we are all together. This will make it easy to go into the electoral battle and win,” Wike stated.
“I thank you, my brother, Obaseki for carrying everybody along in the party. Edo people are also looking up to you.
“Forgive everybody. Forgive your political opponents. I am happy that today, South-South is under one political party. This will make for integration. We can speak with one voice in moving Nigeria forward. This is the sweetest electoral victory I have ever witnessed.”
Senate President Ahmad Lawan on Saturday denied nursing presidential ambition for 2023.
Lawan, in a statement by his Special Adviser (Media), Ola Awoniyi, said the media report about the said ambition must have “emanated from the sort of practice that drags the noble profession of journalism to the gutters as it only dresses up the lazy fantasy of its unimaginative authors as a fact.”
He said: “The report apparently has its source in beer parlour gossips and should be treated with the contempt which it and those who concocted it deserves.
“It is true that the Senate President was involved in the consultations that President Muhammadu Buhari held prior to the last emergency meeting of the National Executive Committee of the ruling All Progressives Congress(APC).
“But there was nothing extra-ordinary in his involvement in such consultations, given his status as holder of one of the highest political offices in Nigeria and on the platform of the APC. Such is required of any concerned member of the party.
“It is therefore sheer mischief for anyone to read ulterior motives to the Senate President joining hands with the President and other leaders in resolving misunderstanding in their own party.
“We will like to stress that the Senate President’s preoccupation is with advancing the agenda of the Ninth National Assembly to focus governance on the pursuit of the best interests of the Nigerian people and to support President Buhari in delivering his promises to Nigerians.
“The Senate President does not suffer such needless distractions as imputed by the false report under reference.
“He believes that it is premature for anybody to be talking now about 2023 when all hands should be on deck against the myriad of challenges that faces our nation in this period.
“We advise the idle pseudo-journalists to look for other engagements and stop bastardising this noble profession.”
President Muhammadu Buhari has described the late President Umaru Musa-Yar’adua as a honest and sincere public servant.
President Buhari, in his message to commemorate the 10th year remembrance anniversary of the former President’s death, also described him as a patriot, whose primary focus as a leader was easing the pains of ordinary Nigerians.
According to President Buhari, the political differences he had with the late President Musa-Ya’adua notwithstanding, he would always give him his regards as an outstanding leader in the history of Nigeria.
While extending his prayers to the family of the late President and the government of Katsina State, he charged all Nigerian politicians to emulate his rare gentle nature and avert character features that would corrupt political opposition, making enemies out of political opponents.
“Despite our political differences, President Yar’Adua was unarguably a patriot because of his passion for the masses and his reversal of policies he believed were hurting ordinary Nigerians.
“Every leader should be given the credit that he deserves, whether you agree with President Yar’Adua politically or not, I must say that history will always record his honest and sincere service to the country.
“As we remember President Yar’Adua today, let us emulate his patience and gentle nature so that we don’t introduce toxicity into our politics where opponents perceive each other as enemies.
“Let me also use this occasion to extend my prayers and goodwill to his family, and Katsina State Government on the 10th anniversary of his demise. May Allah continue to bless and comfort his gentle soul.’’
According to the PDP, the President and his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), would have no other option than to exit office at the end of this tenure.
In a statement on Wednesday by the spokesman for the PDP, Kola Ologbondiyan, the party described President Buhari’s new year message as completely uninspiring, tasteless, repetitive, vacuous, and that it not galvanise any form of hope for a despairing nation like Nigeria.
“The PDP holds that Mr. President should have the courage to issue a fresh new year message to show remorse for the corruption, incompetence and misrule of his administration as well as admonish his disintegrating APC against its crass insincerity, violence and divisive machinations that have brought so much pain, anguish and despondency to our nation.
“Indeed, President Buhari should stop presenting a picture as if he has the option to continue in office beyond 2023.
“The PDP holds, in total submission to the letter and spirit of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), that it is not an issue of ‘standing down’ or not being ‘available’ for future election, but a decided and inevitable position as contained in the constitution that he must quit office after two terms, which will end in 2023.
“Mr. President, therefore, does not have any other choice before the law. Whether President Buhari likes it or not, he and his APC will exit the arena at the end of this tenure. History is replete with lessons from those who sought to stretch our nation beyond her limits.
“Moreover, President Buhari and his extinguishing APC ought to have known by now that Nigerians have moved ahead and cannot wait to see them go.
“The citizens are no longer swayed by empty promises and false performance indices as replete in Mr. President’s new year message”, the PDP said.
The party called on the President to end what it described as “showboating” by issuing a fresh new year message to demonstrate a commitment to electoral reforms by returning the 8th Assembly Electoral Act amendment bill, which he refused to sign, to the present National Assembly without any further delay.
It also called on the President to waste no time in signing the bill into law after it might have been retooled to meet current exigencies and passed by the current National Assembly.
The President was also called upon to order the immediate prosecution of his party leaders who allegedly perpetrated violence in the 2019 general election.
Specifically, the main opposition party charged the President to ensure the arrest and prosecution of persons involved in the killings that characterised the governorship elections in Ekiti, Osun, Bayelsa and Kogi States, where APC used thugs and security agents allegedly unleashed mayhem and killed innocent persons who came out to perform their civic responsibility at the polls.
“Mr. President should apologise for the violation of human rights, attacks on institutions of democracy, disobedience to court orders and constitutional violations under his administration as well as order an immediate investigation and prosecution of all those who played roles in these ugly episodes.
“Furthermore, the PDP charges President Buhari to use the opportunity of a fresh New Year Message to apologise for his administration’s failure to secure the nation and for plunging our country into a biting economic recession occasioned by the incompetence, corruption and unbridled treasury looting in his government which led to the degrading of our nation from one of the world’s fastest growing economies to world’s poverty capital with an excruciating unemployment rate, decayed infrastructure and accumulated $83 billion debt.
“Such course of humility in showing remorse, seeking help and getting competent hands to manage our economy and security system should be the legacy which Mr. President is expected to pursue without which history cannot be kind to his administration and his APC”, the party stated.
Year 2019 was a very eventful year for Nigeria as a country. It was a year the country experienced unforgettable events among which shook it to its very foundations. Some of the events are here brought back to readers’ memory:
1. Vice President Osinbajo’s copter crash: What would have been a day of national mourning, by sheer providence, turned into a moment of excitement, singing, dancing and praising of God by Nigerians when the number two citizen in the country, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo survived an air crash for the second time. Osinbajo and few of his aides were on election campaign visit to Kogi State on February 3 when his helicopter crash-landed in Kabba. Undeterred, the VP who was unhurt alongside his aides, continued the campaign trail for his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC). The first incident was in June 2017 when he went to Gwagawalada Area Council, Abuja FCT to attend graduation of 40 senior officers of the Nigeria Customs Service. The chopper he was traveling in crash-landed shortly after take-off. He was unhurt. These two similar events earned him the sobriquet “Ojabo koku” (One who fell from up without dying) among his Yoruba kinsmen.
2. 2019 General Elections: The elections were held across the country between February 23 and March 16, with the presidential being expectedly the most acrimonious. As a matter of fact, the kind of gang up against the incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari overtly staged by various categories of people mostly from the opposition camp, some former leaders, religious leaders mostly from the Christendom, and corrupt politicians who were choking under his anti-corruption crusades had never been witnessed in the chequered history of Nigeria.
It started with former President Olusegun Obasanjo, leading a revolt against the government, as he had done to every government that has ruled Nigeria, except his own. Other disgruntled elements who could not wait to see Buhari’s back, for various reasons, seized the opportunity to join the wagon kick-started by the former President. Even the main opposition party’s presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, whose image, had in the past been ruined by Obasanjo, in his desperation to clinch the position of number one citizen, swallowed all the bitter pills Obasanjo had rammed down his throat and went back to his traducer like a prodigal son, giving effect to the saying: ‘the enemy of my enemy is my friend’. Obasanjo also reciprocated by going back to his own vomit, asking Nigerians to vote for the same man he had warned the people to steer clear of. Primordial sentiments capable of destabilizing the country such as ethnicity and religion were employed by the opposition camp as tools of campaign. It got to a point that fear that the country was going to break up was palpable.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Saturday, marked properties belonging to former Abia State governor, Orji Uzor Kalu.
According to EFCC, the marking is to ensure that the properties are not dissipated, following the December 5, 2019 order of Justice Muhammed Idris sitting at the Federal High Court in Ikoyi, Lagos that Kalu’s company, Slok Nigeria Limited, be wound up and all assets forfeited to the Federal Government.
Kalu, who is the Senator representing Abia North in the National Assembly, had been arraigned alongside his company, Slok Nigeria Limited and Udeh Udeogu, his Director of Finance and Accounts at the Abia State Government House, over an amended 39-count charge bordering on conspiring and diverting the sum of N7.65bn from the coffers of the state.
The defendants pleaded not guilty to the charge preferred against them by the EFCC, thereby leading to their full trial.
In the course of the trial, the prosecution counsel, Rotimi Jacobs, SAN, called 19 witnesses and tendered several documents that were admitted in evidence by the court.
The defendants, however, testified on behalf of themselves during the trial.
The parties, during the proceedings on Tuesday, October 22, 2019, adopted their final written addresses.
In his final submission, the prosecution counsel, Jacobs, urged the judge to jail the defendants, saying the prosecution had proved the allegations against them.
Jacobs also urged the court to wind up the company as provided by the Law and all its assets forfeited to the Federal Government.
However, the defence counsel urged the court to “dismiss the charges, acquit and discharge” their clients.
Delivering his judgment, Justice Idris found the defendants guilty on all counts.
Justice Idris held that the prosecution had established its case against the defendants.
The Judge further held that “the case was conclusively investigated, as the prosecution conducted thorough investigations.”
Justice Idris, therefore, convicted and sentenced the first defendant, Kalu to five years imprisonment on counts 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11; three years on counts 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32,
33; 12 years on counts 34, 35, 36, 37 and 38 and five years on count 39.
The second defendant was convicted and sentenced to three years imprisonment on counts 24, 25, 27, 28, 30, 31, 32 and 10 years on counts 34, 37, 38 and 39.
Justice Idris further held that “In respect of the third convict, Slok Nigeria Limited, an order is hereby made that the company shall hereupon and without further assurances, but for this order, be wound up and all its assets and properties forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria.”
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has re-arraigned a former chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof Maurice Iwu, for an alleged fraud of N1.23bn.
He pleaded not guilty. Justice Nicholas Oweibo granted him bail and adjourned till November 25, 2019.
Siddin Sarkin Kano, Alhaji Auwalu Maja, has revealed the circumstances that prompted his sack by Emir of Kano, His Highness Muhammad Sanusi 11.
He told reporters on Monday at Kano that he was sacked for honouring Kano Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje during the march for his tribunal victory.
Maja alleged he has been relegated to the background since the emergence of Sanusi, saying his hard work was not commensurate with what he gets.
Recalling the incidents that led to his sack, he said: “When Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje returned to Kano after two weeks of official trip with President Muhamamdu Buhari, last Wednesday, I was one of the people that joined the mammoth to welcome him.
“On that fateful day, I presented a regalia and the portrait of the late Emir of Kano, Sarki Ado Abdullahi Bayero to Governor Ganduje to show my excitement and joy as I joined the good people of Kano state to celebrate with him over his victory at the Tribunal.
“It was that singular action of mine that prompted the current Emir of Kano, Muhammad Sanusi 11 to give a verbal instruction for my dismissal and vacation from my official residence where I have lived for over 20 years.
“When they conveyed the Emir’s instruction to me, I immediately complied and vacated the residence. This is the third time I have been asked to vacate that office!
“Apart from that, I was also asked to hand over the keys of my office to another person as well as, all other properties belonging to the Palace and I complied.
“By virtue of my assignment, I used to work with Shamaki (the head of the Place Guards) directly. It was the Shamaki, Alhaji Wada Najalo that carried out the Emir Sanusi’s instruction to sack and dismiss me from the Palace.
“Based on the instruction given to me to hand over all the properties of the Palace, I asked my boys to bring out all the Palace properties under our care and present them to Shamaki, which they did.
“However, my utmost concern is that since the coming of Emir Sanusi, I am being relegated to the background.My official assignment is a tedious one which I carried out religiously but my hard work is not commiserated with my welfare.
“I have no personal animosity against Emir Sanusi or anybody in the Emirate. They humiliated me because I honoured Governor Ganduje. Now my appeal to the emir is restore my position.”
WASHINGTON — As he tries to tackle the greatest challenges to American power in Asia, President Trump is overturning policy toward China and North Korea that for decades was as canonical as Confucian ritual.
With North Korea, he is engaging with the enemy in hopes that negotiations will yield a surrender of nuclear weapons. With China, Mr. Trump says the United States must take a big step back from an economic relationship that has strengthened a formidable rival.
The shifts were prompted by internal changes in each country, combined with Mr. Trump’s unorthodox instincts and the views of his senior Asia advisers. The administration now has growing bipartisan support in Washington to widen an emerging global conflict with China and build diplomacy with North Korea.
This week, American negotiators are pressing forward with the policy transformations.
Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin and Robert E. Lighthizer, the United States trade representative, spoke to Chinese counterparts on Tuesday by telephone to continue tough trade negotiations. Meanwhile, Stephen E. Biegun, the special representative for North Korea, was in Brussels and Berlin to discuss diplomatic approaches to North Korea.
The meetings follow Mr. Trump’s June trip to East Asia, where he met separately with President Xi Jinping of China and Kim Jong-un of North Korea.
“The administration has changed the nature of U.S. government interaction in many ways with both North Korea and China,” said James Green, the former senior trade official in the United States Embassy in Beijing. “In both cases the traditional mechanics of diplomacy have been upended.”
More important, Mr. Trump has smashed the very foundations of longstanding policy.
That has alarmed some experts. More than 150 former officials and scholars signed an open letter that the writers posted last week, denouncing the administration’s combative China policy as “fundamentally counterproductive.”
“We do not believe Beijing is an economic enemy or an existential national security threat that must be confronted in every sphere,” said the letter, which was organized by scholar Michael D. Swaine.
Yet the aggressive approach to China has drawn many supporters, including some Obama administration officials and Democratic leaders like Senator Chuck Schumer. “Hang tough on China, @realDonaldTrump. Don’t back down,” Mr. Schumer tweeted in May. “Strength is the only way to win with China.”
Since the 1970s, when presidents Richard Nixon and Jimmy Carter re-established relationswith Beijing, American officials and experts have contended that economic ties between the United States and China would anchor the relationship between the two nations and, perhaps, coax Communist Party leaders toward Western liberalism.
But Mr. Xi, who took power in 2012, has exercised expansive authoritarian controls. He has detained more than one million Muslims in camps, reinforced the party’s role across strategic industries and expanded the military’s footprint in disputed areas of the South China Sea.
One economist who advised Chinese leaders in the 1980s, Janos Korani, wrote this weekthat Western experts like himself had been Dr. Frankensteins, helping build up China without realizing the eventual consequences for the West. “Now, the fearsome monster is here,” he wrote.
Trump administration officials argue that economic engagement without appropriate guardrails created a tyrannical behemoth that could supplant American supremacy. Some call for long-term tariffs to “decouple” the economies of China and the United States by breaking supply chains and other business ties.
”We seem to be at a unique confluence of Xi and Trump,” said Bill Bishop, an analyst in Washington who publishes Sinocism, a China briefing. “And Make China Great Again meets Make American Great Again is a recipe for friction.”
But Mr. Trump rarely if ever talks about strategic concerns and speaks admiringly of Mr. Xi, leading China hawks to fear a trade deal with Beijing that relents on national security issues like Huawei.
On North Korea, the general policy since the George W. Bush administration has been to avoid bilateral diplomacy and impose economic isolation to force Pyongyang to end its nuclear program.
But Mr. Trump upended that by doing face-to-face diplomacy with Mr. Kim, most recently when the two strolled for a minute in North Korea — the first time a sitting American president had entered the country. It was their third meeting, after a failed Hanoi summit in February and initial talks in Singapore in June 2018.
Former officials and analysts increasingly say diplomacy is the only way forward with North Korea, given that it already has an estimated 30 to 60 nuclear warheads. Longtime advocates of rapprochement point optimistically to the shifting consensus in Washington.
“My impression is that they are certainly singing in a new key, and it’s a good thing however or why ever they are doing so,” said Robert L. Carlin, a former North Korea analyst at the C.I.A. and State Department.
He added that if the foreign policy establishment was “reconsidering the situation, what’s possible, what’s pragmatic and realistic after nearly two decades of feckless policy, that’s all to the good, and maybe just in time. “
A notable figure now preaching diplomacy is Michael Morell, the former acting C.I.A. director and host of the “Intelligence Matters” podcast.
“A negotiated solution is the only solution to this problem,” he said on CBS News’s “Face the Nation” on June 30. “There isn’t a military option. There’s not a covert action option. So getting back to talks with the North Koreans is important, and I think that’s a good thing.”
He also said the United States would have to live with a nuclear North Korea because Mr. Kim would not give up his nuclear weapons program — an assessment reached by the intelligence community. “We should push for the whole thing, but the best we can hope for is limits,” he said.
“Containment?” asked Margaret Brennan, the host.
“Containment,” Mr. Morell agreed.
In a telephone interview, Mr. Morell said the administration’s ability to shift consensus thinking is only possible because of Mr. Trump “being the Republican president that he is.”
“So political Washington in its entirety has come around to the opinion that talking to North Korea is good,” he said.
Trump administration officials stress that the goal of negotiations is to get Mr. Kim to give up all of his nuclear weapons. But senior State Department officials are now contemplating intermediate steps — including reaching a freeze of nuclear activity — rather than going for a grand deal, as Mr. Trump tried to do in Hanoi.
Morgan Ortagus, the State Department spokeswoman, said Tuesday that a freeze would be the “beginning of the process.”
Mr. Trump could shift the consensus further, if he decides the United States can tacitly accept a nuclear North Korea. Beyond Mr. Morell, other analysts are coming to that conclusion — one that would have drawn outrage if mentioned aloud during the Obama administration.
“I can’t see Kim giving up his nuclear weapons entirely,” said Jean H. Lee, a Korea expert at the Wilson Center in Washington. “They are his ‘treasured sword’ and all that he has to give him leverage. But he is willing to barter some dismantling of his nuclear program in exchange for concessions.”
Under former President Barack Obama, the United States reached a nuclear freeze deal with North Korea in 2012 but quickly backed out when Pyongyang announced a satellite launch.
Obama officials stuck to a strategy of pressuring North Korea through sanctions, which the Trump administration is also doing. But Mr. Obama did not try face-to-face diplomacy with Mr. Kim — something that one senior Obama official, Daniel Russel, called “diplotainment” when done by Mr. Trump.
“It was something the North Koreans repeatedly requested,” said Mr. Russel, a former assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs.
He said Obama officials considered it, “but immediately recognized that it would be worse than foolish to legitimize Kim with a summit before the groundwork had been laid for a denuclearization deal.”
The move left Ms. Pelosi’s natural allies in the House’s Hispanic and progressive caucuses stunned and feeling betrayed. “Since when did the Problem Solvers Caucus become the Child Abuse Caucus?” Mr. Pocan said on Twitter. Representatives Max Rose, Democrat of New York, and Dean Phillips, Democrat of Minnesota, were later seen angrily confronting him on the House floor.
Representative Raúl M. Grijalva, Democrat of Arizona and a former co-chairman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said the episode left him “very resentful,” and feeling as if the moderates had essentially forced the House to silence its natural inclinations.
“I just hope that in forcing us to do nothing, they don’t feel like they’ve actually accomplished anything,” Mr. Grijalva said. “I don’t know what the motivation was, to try to assert some power or what, but in the future, we shouldn’t hesitate bringing our agenda and our legislation forward because it might offend 23 or 24” centrists.
The episode also exposed divisions among the moderates themselves. On the House floor on Thursday, about 10 moderate freshman Democrats huddled near the marble dais, arguing about the way forward. One lawmaker said if they sided with the other party in a bid to force the House to consider the weaker Senate bill, “we might as well be Republicans,” according to one person familiar with the exchange who described it on the condition of anonymity.
Representative Abigail Spanberger, Democrat of Virginia, grew red-faced and emotional during the exchange, and stormed off the House floor, returning a short time later and accepting an embrace from Representative Katie Porter, Democrat of California. Both ultimately supported the bill.
It was a version of a point that had been made, in much gentler fashion, during floor remarks by Representative Jim McGovern, Democrat of Massachusetts and the chairman of the Rules Committee. He warned that the procedural move the moderates were threatening to join “is a vote to give control of the House floor to the Republicans.”
But the moderates said they had done the party a favor, getting the House to the only tenable position as quickly as possible.