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Tinubu vs. Oyegun: The Battle For 2019 Begins

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The recent call by a national leader of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu, that the party’s National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, should resign has shown cracks in the party, which may set the pace for the 2019 presidential election.

For more than a decade, there has been a lion at the centre of South-West political empire whose name is Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu. But the enduring rein of the man also known as the Lion of Bourdillon appears to be facing its stiffest test yet.

Tinubu rose to the position of real influence and prominence because of his hold on Lagos politics and the roles he played in breaking the dominance of the Peoples Democratic Party in Oyo, Ogun, Osun and Ekiti states as the leader of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria.

Then his role in the merger that brought about the All Progressives Congress and the success the party recorded at the last general elections further enhanced his profile as a political godfather.

The ACN, the All Nigeria Peoples Party, the Congress for Progressive Change, and a faction of the All Progressives Grand Alliance had merged to form a mega party which ended the PDP’s rule after 16 years.

Of the parties that make up the APC, the ACN was the biggest so Tinubu can be said to be the biggest partner.

But recently, the fallout of the APC’s governorship primary in Ondo State has snowballed into crisis within the party and thrown up political intrigues capable of damaging its chances in the forthcoming Ondo Governorship election and even the 2019 general elections.

Tinubu, had in a communiqué from his media office on Sunday, called for the resignation of the National Chairman of the APC, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, saying he had “dealt a heavy blow to the very party he professes to lead” by derailing from the path of progressives.

Oyegun has, however, declined to comment on Tinubu’s statement, saying he would need to consult before replying the party’s national leader, which political experts have described as understandable, considering that the latter had played a big role in the former’s emergence as the party’s national chairman.

A lawyer and political analyst, Yemi Adetoyinbo, who linked the crisis in the party to its governorship primary in Ondo State, said it was clear that Tinubu was still angry that his godson, Dr. Olusegun Abraham, lost the election to the eventual winner, Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN).

Akeredolu had 669 votes to put Abraham in second place with 635 votes.

“The election was seen to be transparent by the media but there was inkling that there would be issues when the party’s chairmen in Ondo East and Ondo West local government areas, Akintunde Samuel and Adeola Ademulegun, respectively, submitted a petition that their delegates had been replaced but the election had to go on,” he said.

“Tinubu had endorsed Abraham but others had ganged up against his godson to make sure that he was defeated, until the presidency met with them in Abuja and a list of delegates was given to them. But when the votes were cast eventually, Abraham had 635 votes and Akeredolu led with 669 votes. Olusola Oke came third and Prof. Ajayi Boroffice came fourth.

“We heard that Tinubu had guaranteed 805 votes for Abraham but that was not possible because the Osun State Governor, Rauf Aregbesola, decided to work for Oke because of his Special Adviser on Environment, Bola Ilori, who was his running mate.”

Therefore, following allegations by some party members including Oke, who specifically alleged that some names of the delegates were removed from the delegates’ list while non-delegates were allegedly allowed to vote, the APC set up a three-person Appeal Panel Committee, headed by Mrs. Helen Bendega.

Two of the committee members, which represented the majority, voted that the primary election won by Akeredolu should be cancelled and that a fresh one be organised.

The committee’s report was then submitted to the party’s National Working Committee, headed by Odigie-Oyegun, which upheld the primary and dismissed the report.

But reports that later came suggested that six out of 11 NWC members present at the meeting had voted in favour of the committee’s report and that Odigie-Oyegun had deceived the NWC by leaving to submit Akeredolu’s name to the Independent National Electoral Commission while they were praying or under the guise that he was visiting the toilet.

One of those said to have voted that the Appeal Panel Committee’s report be dismissed was the party’s National Legal Adviser, Muiz Banire (SAN), who had argued that there was no documentary evidence to support all the allegations put forward except oral accounts.

In a five-page letter to Odigie-Oyegun, Banire had recommended “the rejection of the recommendations of the Appeal Committee and the dismissal of the petitions as same are lacking in merit.”

However, Tinubu’s communiqué has enhanced the fault lines within the ruling party to make them bigger.

Analysts close to the APC say there are two major cabals and possibly three operating within the party, with Tinubu on one side, President Muhammadu Buhari on another and former Vice President and presidential aspirant, Atiku Abubakar on the third.

They say Oyegun, even though, has Tinubu to thank for his position, had acted the script of the Presidency’s cabal when he submitted Akeredolu’s name to INEC.

A source in the APC confirmed that Buhari had earlier promised to support the former NBA President, who was one of the President’s foot soldiers during the 2015 electioneering as a member of the presidential campaign committee, which was headed by the former Governor of Rivers State, now Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi.

So Amaechi is said to belong to the Presidency’s cabal along with the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola (SAN); Minister of Solid Minerals, Dr. Kayode Fayemi; Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State; and Governor Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State.

Meanwhile, on the other hand is the Tinubu faction with elders of the party like its former Chairman, Chief Bisi Akande, and former Ogun State Governor, Chief Olusegun Osoba. Then the third cabal in the party is said to belong to Atiku, who has a leg in each of the other factions and still calls some shots in the PDP.

Adetoyinbo said, “We have the Presidency’s group and the Tinubu camp. What everyone did was to defeat the candidate of Tinubu. The Presidency and his team allegedly came together to ensure Akeredolu emerged winner at the Ondo APC governorship primary.

“It means that it is now a battle between the President and Tinubu and Oyegun is allegedly with the Presidency while Tinubu is on his own. So if anybody will remove Oyegun, it will have to be the President and there is no way Buhari will remove because he is enjoying his loyalty to him instead of to Tinubu, his benefactor.

“It is like a chess game, you hold your own tail and shake Tinubu’s hand while you go behind to plan against him.”

Analysts believe that President Buhari’s moves suggest that he is laying the foundation for his re-election or for the election of the person he will nominate to succeed him should he wish to pass the opportunity to go for second term to someone else.

A political analyst, Mr. Segun Balogun, said, “It appears that Buhari’s camp is after two things: one, cutting Tiinubus’ wings and two, laying the groundwork for himself or the candidate that he will anoint ahead of 2019 presidential election.

“Tinubu did not support the nominations of Fashola and Fayemi as ministers but he picked them to work with him all the same and that has won him their loyalty and broken Tinubu’s influence on them and in the region. So it is a game that will get really interesting later. Gradually, Tinubu is being demystified and the situation will repeat itself henceforth. It used to be suicidal for party members to challenge Tinubu’s anointed candidate but many people will start to do so now because some others have done it successfully.”

Also, Adetoyinbo said the Presidency’s cabal has limited Tinubu’s influence to the South-West, where it is also being threatened.

“Tinubu still has the support of Akande and Osoba, so his influence is more regional now, limited to the western region and even in the region, there is a crack. Amosun never supported Senator Adeola Solomon (YAYI) from Lagos to be anointed to succeed him as Governor of Ogun State because he is already grooming his own candidate to replace him in office.

“Tinubu nominated Wale Edun, who was his Commissioner for Finance when he was governor, to be Buhari’s Minister of Finance, but Amosun nominated Kemi Adeosun. Edun and Adeosun are both from Ogun State but Amosun convinced Buhari that Adeosun did well as his commissioner and would do well as minister.

“She is the daughter to the late Oluwole Adeosun, the renowned economist and former Managing Director of First Bank of Nigeria Plc. And Amosun, as an accountant, trusts Adeosun, so it will be difficult to remove her despite the economic crisis.

“So the practice by Tinubu to always want to plant people everywhere may not work every time as it has shown in Ondo and the National Assembly, where his candidates for the positions of Senate President and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Senator Ahmed Lawan and Femi Gbajabiamila, lost out to Dr. Bukola Saraki and Yakubu Dogara.

“Buhari is now creating his own political structure; he had none as of the time he vied to become the President because he was never a politician. So this politics will go on until 2019.”

According to Adetoyinbo, the intrigues that the APC crisis could throw up before 2019 could see Tinubu working with Atiku or Rabiu Kwankwaso, former Governor of Kano State, who is also interested in becoming the President of Nigeria someday.

He said, “They are trying to checkmate Tinubu, but if the situation continues like this, he is likely to support another candidate in 2019 and they may use one of the new parties. This is because Tinubu is not likely to run for the position himself.

“Atiku wants to be President by all means and he is working in-between the APC and the PDP and funding candidates here and there. The problem now is that Tinubu wants to be a supremo, the power broker and for Buhari to be under him. He wants to be the authentic party leader and not just a ceremonial national leader; he wants to sit down at meetings, take charge and give orders to the President but Buhari will not agree to that.

“But Kwankwaso will still want to contest and Saraki as well; all of them, including Tinubu are showing interests in new parties now. Atiku is still keeping his Peoples Democratic Movement in the cooler despite being in the APC and still funding candidates in the PDP.

“Tinubu has fielded Atiku as presidential aspirant for the ACN before and he can do it again because there is no permanent friend or enemy in politics. The two of them can still work together in 2019. Even Kwankwaso may work with Tinubu tomorrow as things stand because Tinubu will not likely support the return of Buhari for second term in office. Tinubu believes that he should be able to call the shots and anoint candidates.”

If Tinubu chooses any of the options highlighted by Adetoyinbo, it will throw up a stiff contest between the APC; the PDP, particularly, if its two factions are able to unite; and a new party that is likely to have the backing of the APC National Leader and either Atiku or Kwankwaso.

A similar situation is already playing out in Ondo State ahead of the governorship election, where Oke and his political structure are said to have almost finalised their move to Action Alliance, should Akeredolu remain the APC candidate for the election.

Oke is banking on the support of Abraham and Boroffice to defeat Akeredolu and the candidate of the PDP, Mr. Eyitayo Jegede (SAN).

Both Balogun and Adetoyinbo’s advice is that Tinubu and Buhari should close ranks and resolve the crisis in the party, describing the power of the Presidency as difficult to beat into submission.

“Buhari has the power of the Presidency and does not mind to step on toes, so even tomorrow, we can see Tinubu being hounded by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission because Buhari doesn’t believe there is any powerful toe that cannot be stepped on,” Adetoyinbo said.

Balogun said, “It will be difficult for Tinubu to win the war because even the people with him can switch alliances tomorrow and align with the Presidency because of the benefits that the office can provide.”

A member of the APC, Mr. Niyi Ajidahun, said the solution to the crisis was to have a fresh primary.

“I’m not comfortable with everything going on in the party but I think that we should cancel the primary and have a fresh one,” he said.

“Why should some people sit in Abuja and doctor the delegates’ list and say we have no resources to conduct a fresh primary? And without the support of Oke, Boroffice and Abraham in the Ondo governorship poll, I don’t think Akeredolu can win.”

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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Government

Federal Government Raises Price of Electric Meters

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The Federal Government through the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission has raised the price of both single-phase and three-phase electricity meters starting from November 15, 2021.

The regulator increased the price of a single-phased meter to N58.661.69, up from the present cost of N44,896.17. While the price of a three-phase meter was raised from the current cost of N82,855.19 to a revised rate of N109,684.36.

The commission announced this in a circular dated November 11, 2021 and addressed to managing directors of all electricity Distribution Companies and all meter asset providers.

The circular, with reference number NERC/REG/MAP/GEN/751/2, was entitled ‘Review of the unit price of end-use meters under the Meter Asset Provider and National Mass Metering Regulations’.

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Complete Text of President Buhari’s Speech at the Furniture Investment Initiative Summit

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Buhari arrives Bamako, Mali

President Muhammadu Buhari is one of the global leaders invited to speak at the ongoing 5th Future Investment Initiative Summit organised by Saudi Arabia.

As reported by Investors King, President Buhari arrived Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on Monday at about 11.50 pm for the summit.

On Tuesday President Buhari delivered the speech below.

“Let me begin by conveying my heartfelt gratitude and appreciation to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud for inviting me to the 5th edition of the Future Investment Initiative Summit in Riyadh.

In the short period of its existence, this summit has emerged as a credible forum for interaction between the public and private sectors, to explore ways of advancing economic growth, development and global prosperity.

I wish to commend the organizers of this year’s summit for the foresight to look at “investment”, not only from a profitability and wealth accumulation point of view, but also bringing prosperity to humanity in general. The humane approach to investment is the only way to address the global challenges we face, especially in the Covid-19 era.

We should continue to sustain our efforts to combat the COVID- 19 pandemic and mitigate its negative socio-economic impact on our societies, build resilience and achieve recovery. It is therefore my hope, that this session will leverage on the enormous economic opportunities that lie ahead in order to satisfy the prevailing needs of our people and planet.

Investing in humanity is investing in our collective survival. This is why we in Nigeria we believe that public and private partnership should focus on increasing investments in health, education, capacity building, youth empowerment, gender equality, poverty eradication, climate change and food security. By so doing, it will go a long way in re- energizing the global economy in a post COVID-19 era.

Nigeria’s population today exceeds 200 million people. Some 70 percent are under 35 years old. When we came into government in 2015, we were quick to realise that long-term peace and stability of our country is dependent on having inclusive and humane policies.

In the past six years, our government took very painful but necessary decisions to invest for a long-term prosperous future knowing very well that this will come with short term pains.

We focused on the following areas:
a. diversification from oil to more inclusive sectors such as agriculture, ICT and mining;
b. tackling corruption, insecurity and climate change; and c. introducing a Social Investment Program.

We introduced policies that supported investments in agriculture and food processing. We provided loans and technical support to small holder farmers, through the Anchor Borrowers Program. As a result, Nigeria today has over 40 rice mills from less than 10 in 2014. Nigeria also has over 46 active fertiliser blending plants from less than 5 in 2014.

Furthermore, in agriculture, we have reformed the process of obtaining inputs such as fertilizer and seeds. We have several million hectares of available arable land and have embarked on the creation of Special Agriculture Processing Zones across the country. These initiatives we believe will make it easier for investors in agriculture.

Two months ago, I signed the Petroleum Industry Act. The Act will serve as a catalyst to liberalize our petroleum sector. It has introduced a number of incentives such as tax holidays, 100 percent ownership, zero interest loans and easy transfer of funds. In addition, we have highly skilled in-country workforce and a large domestic market.

In mining, we have also made several opportunities available for investors. Nigeria is a country rich in minerals from gold, iron ore, tin, zinc, cobalt, lithium, limestone, phosphate, bitumen and many others. We have made the licensing process easier and also made extensive investments in rail and transportation.

Infrastructure investments represent significant potential for investors in Nigeria. We have opportunities in seaports, rail, toll roads, real estate, renewable energy and many others. We have created several institutions that are available to co-invest with you in Nigeria.

We have the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority and more recently, I approved the creation of Infrastructure Corporation of Nigeria. These institutions are run as independent world class institutions to make investments in the country and are available to co- invest with you.

In addition, the development of social infrastructure such as healthcare and education present enormous opportunities for investors in a country our size.

Digital Economy in Nigeria has many potentials for investment, as it has remained the fastest growing sector in both 2020 and 2021. Nigeria has many opportunities for investment in broadband, ICT hardware, emerging technology and software engineering.

We have recently approved the national policy on Fifth Generation (5G) network. Our aim is to attract investors in healthcare, smart cities, smart agriculture among others. The benefit of real time communication will support all other sectors of the economy.

Yesterday, I launched the E-Naira, the electronic version of our national currency, which puts us on track to become the first African country to introduce a Central Bank Digital Currency. We believe this and many other reforms, will help us increase the number of people participating in the banking sector, make for a more efficient financial sector and help us tackle illicit flow of funds.

To further strengthen our anti-corruption drive, increase accountability and transparency, we have centralized government funds through a Treasury Single Account, and ensuring that all Nigerians with a bank account use a unique Bank Verification Number (BVN). These initiatives, coupled with our nationwide National Identification Number (NIN) exercise, reinforce our efforts to tackle corruption and fraud. We believe that this should give investors a lot of comfort.

As we strive to build resilience towards a sustainable economy in our various countries, let us not forget the negative impact of climate change on our efforts to achieve this goal. Nigeria and many countries in Africa, are already facing the challenges posed by climate change. Climate change has triggered conflicts, food insecurity, irregular youth migration, rising level of sea waters, drought and desertification, as well as the drying-up of the Lake Chad.

In the Lake Chad Basin region, where Boko Haram insurgency continues to undermine the peace, security and development of the region, climate change is largely responsible for the drying up of the Lake Chad which has shrunk by more than 85% of its original size.

The diminishing size of the Lake is at the root of the loss of millions of livelihoods, displacement of inhabitants and radicalization of teeming youths in the region who are recruited to serve as foot soldiers in the insurgency.

In order to redress this situation and restore the lost fortunes of the Lake Chad Basin region, strong public-private partnership through massive investments will be needed to recharge the waters of Lake Chad. I am confident that this forum will rise to the challenge in the interest of durable peace and sustainable development of our region.

We cannot invest in humanity without relieving our countries from the crushing effects of the debt burden especially when the COVID-19 pandemic has increased the risk of deepening the debt portfolio of poor countries. These nations increasingly allocate more and more resources towards external debt servicing and repayment at the expense of the health, education and other services that contribute to the overall well- being of their population.

Nigeria is Africa’s largest economy and most populous nation. Our economic reforms which focus on “humane” investments are ideal for investors looking to have profitable returns while positively impacting the citizenry.

Your Excellencies, Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, Investing in Humanity is the right thing to do. I strongly believe the historical under- investments in “humane projects” is the genesis of most of the insecurity and socio-economic challenges the world is experiencing today.

I will conclude once again by thanking the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, and also congratulate His Royal Highness, Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman for their leadership and their support through the Future Investment Initiative.

I remain confident that through such exchanges, the world indeed will be a better place. I hope and pray that this forum will rise to the challenge in the interest of durable peace and sustainable development.

I thank you.”

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UN and Zimbabwe Sign New Cooperation Framework

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The government of Zimbabwe and United Nations have signed the 2022-2026 Zimbabwe United Nations Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework that will support the country’s efforts to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The official signing and launch of the Zimbabwe United Nations Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework 2022-2026 was presided over by the Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet, Dr Misheck Sibanda and UN Resident Coordinator Maria Ribeiro. UNESCO Regional Director for Southern Africa, Prof. Hubert Gijzen witnessed the signing ceremony together with other UN Country Team members and Government officials.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, Dr Misheck Sibanda said Zimbabwe was grateful for the UN support towards the country’s development in the face of various challenges.

“I want to pay gratitude to Ms Maria Rebeiro for her commitment to uplift the livelihoods of the people of Zimbabwe in the face of natural disasters like the cyclone, droughts and the COVID-19 pandemic,” Dr. Misheck Sibanda.

He took the opportunity to bid farewell to Ms Rebeiro whose term of office ends this year and urged the UN team to continue with the legacy of her hard-work which saw the UN mobilise US$400 million towards promotion of agriculture, climate adaptation and health needs for Zimbabwe.

The UN Resident emphasised the importance of aligning the UN’s programmes with the country’s development strategies.

“In the same spirit of achieving SDGs, climate change, the COVID-19 pandemic are opportunities for us to do better by aligning the country programmed NDS1 with instruments of the UN in resource and financial mobilisation,” Ms. Maria Ribeiro.

The 2022-2026 Zimbabwe United Nations Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework (ZUNSDCF) articulates the strategic engagement of the United Nations Country Team (UNCT) in Zimbabwe to support the country to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Anchored on Zimbabwe’s National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1) 2021-2025, the ZUNSDCF encapsulates the shared commitment to leaving no one behind through delivering concrete results that ensure inclusive participation and reaching the people typically left the furthest behind.

The ZUNSDCF with full government ownership throughout the process, is a result of extensive consultations involving a wide range of key stakeholders whose inputs contributed to defining the strategic priorities and implementation modalities.

The ZUNSDCF lays out an ambitious programme to accelerate development progress during the Decade of Action as Zimbabwe strives to recover better and stronger from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Fully cognizant of the urgency to act, the ZUNSDCF represents the vehicle through which the UNCT in partnership with the Government of Zimbabwe and other stakeholders, will deliver transformative support that drives inclusive and sustainable economic growth, gender equality, human rights and climate action.

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