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Oyegun: I Will Not Join Issues with Tinubu on Ondo Primary

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The National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief John Odigie-Oyegun said on Monday that he would not be drawn into a war of words with one of the National Leaders of the party, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu, over the allegations levelled against him by the latter on the Ondo State governorship primary until after the governorship election in Edo State.

Tinubu on Sunday took a swipe at Oyegun over the outcome of the Ondo State governorship primary of the APC, declaring that the chairman must step down for rejecting the report of the Appeal Panel set up by the party to review the outcome of the primary in the state and instead submitted the name of Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN) as the governorship candidate of the party to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Oyegun who spoke in Benin City, the Edo State capital, said: “Asiwaju is a well respected leader of the APC and as such, I cannot be heard speaking evil against him,” adding that he had to consult properly with other leaders of the party before making any definite statement because “you know we have a crucial election here in Edo which is my priority right now”.

According to Oyegun, “I don’t want to lose focus and I know Asiwaju also wants us to win because we all worked hard for this. So may be after the election if there is need, I will speak if there is no need, I will relax.

“But all I can say now is that most of the things said in the papers about me are not true. I have always believed in internal democracy, that the credibility of primary must be taken seriously.”

He added: “I believe that if the primaries of parties are not credible, it may derail any democracy, so I don’t play with these things at all. Everybody knows me and I don’t joke with my credibility and I have tried to maintain it.

“Like I said, Asiwaju is our leader and we all hold him in high esteem, so I will never join issues with him.

“But may be after the Edo elections, after we must have emerged victorious, we may speak on some of the issues raised. So there is no problem at all.

“Edo is the focus for now and as you know this is my state, so it is a very serious election for us. So I want to be allowed to remain focused; then after the election we can speak.”

However, Tinubu’s call for Oyegun’s resignation was backed by the estranged Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Mr. Timi Frank, who described it as a vindication of his earlier position that the Oyegun leadership had fallen short of expectations.

Speaking at a press conference in Abuja yesterday, Frank said that based on the weighty allegations made by the former Lagos State governor, he was urging the party leadership to immediately convene an emergency meeting of the National Executive Committee (NEC) to wade into the crisis generated over the conduct of the Ondo State governorship primary, among other nagging issues.

He said Oyegun’s leadership had not been able to resolve a single crisis since its inception.

“Based on this weighty allegations from our national leader and founding father of the party, I want to restate my earlier position that we must call for an emergency NEC meeting.

“If Oyegun knows that he has nothing to hide and that whatever Tinubu has said about him is not true, I am challenging him to immediately call for an emergency NEC meeting to enable us come together face to face and look ourselves in the face and tell ourselves the truth and see how we can resolve this internal crisis. If we cannot resolve this crisis now, we may never be able to resolve it,” he said.

Frank, who had earlier alerted the party members to the brewing crisis in APC, said that things had now reached a stage whereby the president could no longer continue to remain silent on the things going on in the party.

He said the president must step forward to get the party to summon the NEC meeting in order to look into the allegations made by Tinubu as well as other problems heating up the polity.

According to Frank, if nothing was done urgently to arrest the situation in Ondo State, things might get worse and the party might lose the governorship election in the state.

“I am calling for an investigation of the whole process of the primary election in Ondo,” he said.

He threatened to mobilise members of the party to demonstrate against the Oyegun-led leadership if after 14 days the party had not summoned a NEC meeting.

“I want to use this medium to appeal to Mr. President because it has gotten to a situation where he can no longer be silent on the party’s internal issues. The president must speak out and save our party. He is the leader of the party and must not leave the party in the hands of these people that cannot resolve one crisis.

“Every party member is loyal to the president and he should see the need to immediately call for an emergency NEC meeting to enable us come together and look at these allegations.

“They are not just mere allegations, but very critical ones which must be looked into by the party and a position taken.

“If we don’t do something, even APC supporters in Ondo State will sabotage the process for us because they are not happy. We must do everything possible to bring every aggrieved person together. If we don’t take emergency steps to resolve these issues, we will have ourselves to blame.

“I am giving Oyegun 14 days from today to convene a NEC meeting. If he fails to do so, I will mobilise members to demonstrate at the secretariat. I have started mobilising NEC members to ensure that the APC leadership is made to do the right thing and summon a NEC meeting.

“Today, God has practically vindicated me in my struggle to save my party the APC. It is very clear that I was one of the first persons in the party who took the bull by the horn and said there are issues and a brewing crisis in the party. Then, I was alone as nobody saw where I was coming from.

“This crisis started when the issue of the National Assembly came up and I foresaw it then because of the decision the party took at that time against their party members, especially against the Senate President and Speaker of the House of Representatives.

“I foresaw the danger at that time when the party closed its eyes to the injustice against these two persons at that time. I came out to shout and nobody listened to me.

“When my immediate boss, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, left to become the Minister of Information, I was supposed to step into his shoes as acting National Publicity Secretary of the party, but they fought me for their own selfish interests because they knew that I am one person who will not allow them to do certain things.

“They deprived me of performing my duties and assigned my job to themselves, saying only Oyegun and the National Secretary can speak for the party. How is that possible in a political party that wants to allow justice to prevail?” he demanded to know.

Frank lamented that the APC was currently troubled in many states, with a plethora of unresolved issues leading to a crisis of confidence, which he warned have the capacity to cripple the party ahead of the 2019 general election.

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.

Government

COVID-19 Vaccine: African Export-Import Bank (Afrexim) to Purchase 270 Million Doses for Nigeria, Other African Nations

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African Export-Import Bank (Afrexim) Approves $2 Billion for the Purchase of 270 million Doses for African Nations

African Export-Import Bank (Afrexim) said it has approved $2 billion for the purchase of 270 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines for African nations, including Nigeria.

Prof. Benedict Oramah, the President of the Bank, disclosed this at a virtual Africa Soft Power Series held on Tuesday.

He, however, stated that the lender is looking to raise more funds for the COVID-19 vaccines’ acquisition.

He said: “The African Union knows that unless you put the virus away, your economy can’t come back. If Africa didn’t do anything, it would become a COVID-19 continent when other parts of the world have already moved on.
“Recall that it took seven years during the heat of HIV for them to come to Africa after 12 million people had died.

“With the assistance of the AU, we were able to get 270 million vaccines and financing need of about $2 billion. Afreximbank then went ahead to secure the $2 billion. But that money for the 270 million doses could only add 15 per cent to the 20 per cent that Covax was bringing.

He added that this is not the time to wait for handouts or free vaccines as other countries will naturally sort themselves out before African nations.

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China Calls for Better China-U.S. Relations

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China Calls for China-U.S. Relations

Senior Chinese diplomat Wang Yi said on Monday the United States and China could work together on issues like climate change and the coronavirus pandemic if they repaired their damaged bilateral relationship.

Wang, a Chinese state councillor and foreign minister, said Beijing stood ready to reopen constructive dialogue with Washington after relations between the two countries sank to their lowest in decades under former president Donald Trump.

Wang called on Washington to remove tariffs on Chinese goods and abandon what he said was an irrational suppression of the Chinese tech sector, steps he said would create the “necessary conditions” for cooperation.

Before Wang spoke at a forum sponsored by the foreign ministry, officials played footage of the “ping-pong diplomacy” of 1972 when an exchange of table tennis players cleared the way for then U.S. President Richard Nixon to visit China.

Wang, a Chinese state councillor and foreign minister, said Beijing stood ready to reopen constructive dialogue with Washington after relations between the two countries sank to their lowest in decades under former president Donald Trump.

Wang called on Washington to remove tariffs on Chinese goods and abandon what he said was an irrational suppression of the Chinese tech sector, steps he said would create the “necessary conditions” for cooperation.

Before Wang spoke at a forum sponsored by the foreign ministry, officials played footage of the “ping-pong diplomacy” of 1972 when an exchange of table tennis players cleared the way for then U.S. President Richard Nixon to visit China.

Wang urged Washington to respect China’s core interests, stop “smearing” the ruling Communist Party, stop interfering in Beijing’s internal affairs and stop “conniving” with separatist forces for Taiwan’s independence.

“Over the past few years, the United States basically cut off bilateral dialogue at all levels,” Wang said in prepared remarks translated into English.

“We stand ready to have candid communication with the U.S. side, and engage in dialogues aimed at solving problems.”

Wang pointed to a recent call between Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Joe Biden as a positive step.

Washington and Beijing have clashed on multiple fronts including trade, accusations of human rights crimes against the Uighur Muslim minorities in the Xinjiang region and Beijing’s territorial claims in the resources-rich South China Sea.

The Biden administration has, however, signalled it will maintain pressure on Beijing. Biden has voiced concern about Beijing’s “coercive and unfair” trade practices and endorsed of a Trump administration determination that China has committed genocide in Xinjiang.

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U.S. Supreme Court Allows Release of Trump Tax Returns

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President Trump Signs Executive Order In Oval Office Of The White House

U.S. Supreme Court Allows Release of Trump Tax Returns

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday paved the way for a New York City prosecutor to obtain former President Donald Trump’s tax returns and other financial records as part of a criminal investigation, a blow to his quest to conceal details of his finances.

The justices without comment rebuffed Trump’s request to put on hold an Oct. 7 lower court ruling directing the former Republican president’s longtime accounting firm, Mazars USA, to comply with a subpoena to turn over the materials to a grand jury convened by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, a Democrat.

“The work continues,” Vance said in a statement issued after the court’s action.

Vance had previously said in a letter to Trump’s lawyers that his office would be free to immediately enforce the subpoena if the justices rejected Trump’s request.

A lawyer for Trump did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Supreme Court, which has a 6-3 conservative majority included three Trump appointees, had already ruled once in the dispute, last July rejecting Trump’s broad argument that he was immune from criminal probes as a sitting president.

Unlike all other recent U.S. presidents, Trump refused during his four years in office to make his tax returns public. The data could provide details on his wealth and the activities of his family real-estate company, the Trump Organization.

Trump, who left office on Jan. 20 after being defeated in his Nov. 3 re-election bid by Democrat Joe Biden, continues to face an array of legal issues concerning his personal and business conduct.

Vance issued a subpoena to Mazars in August 2019 seeking Trump’s corporate and personal tax returns from 2011 to 2018. Trump’s lawyers sued to block the subpoena, arguing that as a sitting president, Trump had absolute immunity from state criminal investigations.

The Supreme Court in its July ruling rejected those arguments but said Trump could raise other objections to the subpoena. Trump’s lawyers then argued before lower courts that the subpoena was overly broad and amounted to political harassment, but U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero in August and the New York-based 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in October rejected those claims.

Vance’s investigation, which began more than two years ago, had focused on hush money payments that the president’s former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen made before the 2016 election to two women – adult-film actress Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal – who said they had sexual encounters with Trump.

In recent court filings, Vance has suggested that the probe is now broader and could focus on potential bank, tax and insurance fraud, as well as falsification of business records.

In separate litigation, the Democratic-led U.S. House of Representatives was seeking to subpoena similar records. The Supreme Court in July sent that matter back to lower courts for further review.

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