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Resign Now, PDP Tells Buhari

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The Peoples Democratic Party has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to leave office immediately.

But before quitting, the former ruling party asked the President to return the country to how he met it when he assumed office on May 29, 2015.

The spokesperson and a member of the party’s National Caretaker Committee, Prince Dayo Adeyeye, said this in a statement he signed in Abuja on Wednesday.

The former minister of state for works said his party was not happy with the state of affairs in the country.

He specifically mentioned the statement credited to the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, that, “recession is a word.”

Adeyeye said, “Is this statement as a result of ignorance, lack of patriotism or in-line with President Buhari’s comment that his ministers are noise makers?

“For the record, recession is characterised as a period of negative economic growth for two consecutive quarters, given rise to high rate of unemployment, fall in output, increase in government borrowing, etc.

“Following this understanding, Nigeria’s economy is already near depression. The crass ineptitude and lukewarm-attitude of this All Progressives Congress government is no longer tolerable, and therefore, we are calling on President Buhari and his team to return Nigeria to its state of booming economy before they assumed office in May, 2015, and then quit immediately to allow other capable leaders revive our ailing economy.”

Adeyeye said about three airlines, local and international, and some banks had allegedly suspended operations and sent their members of staff on an indefinite leave due to the poor state of Nigeria’s economy.

He said Nigerians were aware that the PDP government invested heavily in most of the nation’s airports, an action he said resulted to alleged ‘facelift’ and improved operations through remodelling, construction of new airports, refurbishing and equipping of the local and international airports to meet the best practices in the aviation industry.

He said the APC’s administration had frittered away all the good policies and programmes which he claimed the PDP put in place, thereby bringing down the aviation sector in the country amongst other catastrophes he said the new leadership had caused.

He said the President should sit down to work instead of constantly blaming past governments at all time.

He said, “What Nigerians want from this administration are positive results and not resorting to throwing tantrums on the PDP at every given opportunity.

“Our call for the President to return the country to how he met it in 2015 is justified on the following grounds.

“In 2015 when the President came to power, a bag of rice was selling at N7,000, but now, it is above N20,000; a ‘mudu’ of beans was N150 then and now, it is N500; one US dollar was then trading for N197 but now it is over N400.

“Also, a litre of fuel was N87 but now is N145; cost of transportation and other services had skyrocketed. Given our observations since the inception of this government, they have nothing to offer and as such, quitting will be a solution because nobody can give what he/she does not have. The APC has failed.”

Adeyeye called on Nigerians to recall President Buhari’s purported “body language” at the beginning of his administration and reiterated that governance “is a serious business and not about someone’s body language’ and de-marketing strategies of Mr. President while ‘globetrotting’.

“When this government came to power in May 2015 riding on the achievements of the previous PDP administration, President Buhari’s handlers and his party, the APC, claimed it was his ‘body language’ that brought some positive changes the country was witnessing at that time.

“So, we want to know what are the results of the so-called ‘body language’?”

He concluded that the earlier the President and his team quit, the better for the country, saying “there is no better time than now to make this call for the President to return the country to how he met it and quit.

“He can even quit right away for a more experienced team to take over.”

Adeyeye appealed to members of his party and other well-meaning Nigerians to keep praying to God to intervene so that the country could quickly recover from the ailing economy.

The Director-General of the Voice of Nigeria, Mr. Osita Okechukwu, who was until his appointment, the South-East Zonal spokesman for the APC, has dismissed the PDP’s call for Buhari’s resignation.

Okechukwu said the PDP was simply trying to make Nigerians forget the 16 years of its maladministration.

He said, “On May 13, 2010, the Jonathan administration announced the contract award of three refineries which he called the greenfield refinery. One was to be located in Bayelsa, one in Kogi and one in Lagos, if those refineries were constructed, the billions of naira we are losing through vandalism of our pipelines would not be the order of the day.

“If his wife, Patience, was wise enough to use the money she used to build a hotel in Yenagoa for the refinery, we wouldn’t have been where we are today.

“The Nigerian people know where the rain started beating us. As the Petroleum Task Force chairman, Buhari, with the meagre resources at his disposal, was able to build more kilometres of roads than the PDP did in 16 years, even though they had more money.

“Are they saying Nigeria should return to the years where Boko Haram held all of us to ransom and the looting of the public treasury was the order of the day?”

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

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2023 Voter’s Registration Will Be Online, Biometric To Be Captured Physically- INEC

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) yesterday unfolded plans to allow online filing during the continuous voter registration for the 2023 general election.

The National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee of INEC, Mr. Festus Okoye, however, said only the biometric would be captured physically by INEC officials.

But the commission suffered another setback yesterday as arsonists torched its office in Ohafia Local Government Area of Abia State.

Okoye, during a stakeholders’ meeting on expanding voter access to polling units in Kano yesterday, said: “On June 28, the voter registration exercise for those above 18 years and those who have not registered before will commence with two new innovations. Those versatile with computer can register online and only visit a registration centre to capture their biometrics.”

Okoye stated that the online registration would be introduced to reduce crowd at registration centres in line with COVID-19 protocols.

The commission called on citizens, especially those willing to contest elections, whose voter cards have been defaced, whose names were wrongly spelt or addresses and locations wrongly captured to present themselves for authentication or correction.

INEC also called for valid data of all those with disabilities or physical challenges to be captured during the continuous registration for proper projections ahead of the 2023 general election.

INEC also warned political parties and politicians who have started campaigning to desist from doing so.

Okoye said: “There is a ban on political campaigns which has not been lifted yet. And I find it necessary to draw your attention for you to understand the legal implication of violating this ban.

“I have listened to comments on radio stations, which are capable of heating the polity. Media organisations should avoid providing platforms for such comments. The media should try to curtail such tensions.

“Political parties, politicians and their supporters should understand there is a legal framework for campaigns and it has not commenced yet.”

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No Plans To Relocate AFRICOM HQ To Nigeria Or Any Part Of Africa- U.S. Replies Buhari

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The United States has said there is no plan to relocate its Africa Command from its current base in Germany to Nigeria or any other part of Africa despite the worsening state of insecurity in the region.

The US gave the response barely two weeks after President Muhammadu Buhari appealed to the US government to consider relocating AFRICOM to Africa to assist Nigeria and other adjoining countries to combat worsening terrorism, banditry and other security crises.

The President made the plea in a virtual meeting with the US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, on April 27.

Germany-based Africa Command (AFRICOM) is the US military headquarters that oversees its operations in Africa.

Buhari’s request followed a series of recent military casualties in Nigeria’s decade-long fight against Boko Haram terrorists, fresh expansion of the insurgents’ bases to Niger and Nasarawa States, and heavy waves of abductions and killings by bandits in the North.

Buhari said, “The security challenges in Nigeria remain of great concern to us and impacted more negatively, by existing complex negative pressures in the Sahel, Central and West Africa, as well as the Lake Chad Region.

“Compounded as the situation remains, Nigeria and her security forces remain resolutely committed to containing them and addressing their root causes.

“The support of important and strategic partners like the United States cannot be overstated as the consequences of insecurity will affect all nations, hence the imperative for concerted cooperation and collaboration of all nations to overcome these challenges.

“In this connection, and considering the growing security challenges in West and Central Africa, Gulf of Guinea, Lake Chad region and the Sahel, weighing heavily on Africa, it underscores the need for the United States to consider relocating AFRICOM headquarters from Stuttgart, Germany to Africa and near the Theatre of Operation.”

However, the US government on Thursday ruled out any plan to relocate AFRICOM from its current base in Germany to Nigeria or any part of Africa.

According to the United States Department of Defence’ Pentagon, previous studies have shown that the cost of relocating AFRICOM from Germany to Africa is very huge.

In an emailed response to The PUNCH, the Pentagon said although it would continue to value Nigeria and other countries in Africa as important partners, the American government would not consider relocating AFRICOM to any part of the African continent at the moment.

This newspaper had asked if the US would consider Nigeria’s request to relocate AFRICOM to the continent.

“It would be inappropriate to speculate on any future actions. However, at this time, moving this headquarters (AFRICOM HQ) to Africa is not part of any plans, but USAFRICOM’s commitment to their mission, our African and other partners, remains as strong today as when we launched this command more than a decade ago,” US Pentagon spokesperson, Ms. Cindi King, said.

King also ruled out any plan to consider Buhari’s request in an ongoing global US defence review.

She said, “Although there is an ongoing Global Posture Review, the relocation of Combatant Command headquarters is outside the scope of its assessment. In the case of AFRICOM, previous studies have concluded that the cost associated with the relocation of this headquarters is significant and likely to incur the expense of other engagement opportunities and activities that more directly benefit our valued African partners.

“We greatly value the partnership with Nigeria and appreciate President Buhari’s recognition of the United States’ positive contribution to African peace and security, as well as other regional partners that have made similar past pronouncements. The United States remains committed to continuing our close partnership with African countries and organisations to promote security and stability.”

It’s ‘near impossible’ for America to accept Buhari’s invitation –Campbell, ex-US ambassador

Meanwhile, a former United States Ambassador to Nigeria, John Campbell, has listed reasons why it is “unlikely or near impossible” for the US government to relocate AFRICOM from Stuttgart in Germany to Nigeria or any part of the continent.

He said aside from the fact that the cost of doing so is very huge, the Nigerian military had proved to be a difficult partner for the US over the years.

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China Urges U.N. States Not to Attend Xinjiang Event Next Week

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China has urged United Nations member states not to attend an event planned next week by Germany, the United States and Britain on the repression of Uyghur Muslims and other minorities in Xinjiang, according to a note seen by Reuters on Friday.

“It is a politically-motivated event,” China’s U.N. mission wrote in the note, dated Thursday. “We request your mission NOT to participate in this anti-China event.”

China charged that the organizers of the event, which also include several other European states along with Australia and Canada, use “human rights issues as a political tool to interfere in China’s internal affairs like Xinjiang, to create division and turbulence and disrupt China’s development.”

“They are obsessed with provoking confrontation with China,” the note said, adding that “the provocative event can only lead to more confrontation.”

The Chinese mission to the United Nations did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The ambassadors of the United States, Germany and Britain are due to address the virtual U.N. event on Wednesday, along with Human Rights Watch Executive Director Ken Roth and Amnesty International Secretary General Agnes Callamard.

The aim of the event is to “discuss how the U.N. system, member states and civil society can support and advocate for the human rights of members of ethnic Turkic communities in Xinjiang,” according to an invitation.

Western states and rights groups have accused authorities in Xinjiang of detaining and torturing Uyghurs in camps, which the United States has described as genocide. In January, Washington banned the import of cotton and tomato products from Xinjiang over allegations of forced labor.

Beijing denies the accusations and describes the camps as vocational training centers to combat religious extremism.

“Beijing has been trying for years to bully governments into silence but that strategy has failed miserably, as more and states step forward to voice horror and revulsion at China’s crimes against Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims,” Human Rights Watch U.N. director Louis Charbonneau said on Friday.

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