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Saraki, Others Right to Block Tinubu’s VP Bid — Northern Elders

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  1. Saraki, Others Right to Block Tinubu’s VP Bid

Some northern elders have said they supported Senate President, Bukola Saraki, and Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir el-Rufai’s staunch opposition to Asiwaju Bola Tinubu’s vice presidential ambition and a Muslim-Muslim ticket for the 2015 presidential poll.

Last week, Tinubu was reported to have stated that his moves to become President Muhammadu Buhari’s running mate was prevented by Saraki and el-Rufai.

Tinubu had in a book, ‘Against the Run of Play’, authored by the Chairman of ThisDay Editorial Board, Olusegun Adeniyi, accused the Senate President and other individuals of prevailing on Buhari not to pick him as the running mate for the 2015 election.

Speaking on Saturday, one of the northern elders, Rev. Bitrus Dangiwa, who is also a chieftain of the Northern Elders Forum, said he was one of those who threw their weight behind those who opposed Tinubu to become Buhari’s running mate.

The cleric, who was the Youth President, Christian Association of Nigeria in the 19 northern states and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, stated in an interview with journalists in Kaduna on Saturday that a Muslim-Muslim ticket would have worked against the All Progressives Congress.

Dangiwa described Tinubu as being “selfish” to have thought that a Muslim-Muslim presidential ticket would have worked for the party in 2015.

He went further to praise Saraki for ensuring that the Muslim-Muslim ticket as advocated by Tinubu did not work, arguing that a good percentage of the country’s Christian population would have been neglected.

“Tinubu’s thought of becoming (Nigeria’s) Vice President to a Muslim presidential candidate was not only self-centred or selfish, but it would have worked against the APC. We knew Tinubu’s move for a very long time – most northerners contributed to Saraki’s choice of working against a Muslim-Muslim ticket in the 2015 poll.

“So, Saraki’s decision not to have a Muslim-Muslim ticket was in the best interest of the socio-political development of the nation. There are still good Muslims and good Christians who mean well for this country, and Saraki is one of such good examples,” the NEF chieftain noted.

His views were corroborated by the National Leader of the Arewa Youth Consultative Forum, Yerima Shettima, who spoke to one of our correspondents on Saturday night.

Yerima said that while the country looked forward to a time when religion and ethnic background would not be the determining factors in electing the president of the country, the 2015 presidential election would not have been won by the APC if the party had gone into the poll with a Muslim-Muslim ticket.

“There’s no way that Muslim-Muslim ticket could have worked with the current way the country is set up and with Tinubu who wanted to run with Buhari. The APC would have lost the election. While the youths of this country want a situation whereby religion, ethnicity and language do not determine who govern the country, we are mindful of the fact that present realities wouldn’t have given victory to the APC if it had Muslims for its candidates (president and vice president). Everybody knows that Tinubu wasn’t an ideal person to be Buhari’s running mate.

“Making him Buhari’s running mate would have affected the party adversely. It is true that he has helped many people. He has been useful to many causes and people. But I am not sure anybody would have supported him as Buhari’s running mate. As he said during the week that Senate President Bukola Saraki and Governor Nasir el-Rufai blocked his chance of becoming Buhari’s running mate – that wasn’t a bad move because APC wouldn’t have won the election with a Muslim-Muslim ticket involving a Tinubu,” Shettima stated.

In a similar vein, a National Executive Council member of the Arewa Consultative Forum, Mohammed Abdulrahman, criticised Tinubu’s vice presidential aspiration, noting that a Muslim-Muslim ticket would have killed Buhari’s 2015 presidential bid.

He said, “There is no viability for any two people that are Muslims to steer the ship of peace and unity in Nigeria at the moment. Tinubu is a Christian most of the time. It is only when it is convenient for him that he is a Muslim. It is when it is convenient that he becomes Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

“He is what we call ‘Christ-Mus.’ He is a ceremonial religious person. But they (APC) would never have made it (with him and Buhari for the 2015 presidential poll). That will not push Nigeria forward.”

Speaking on the issue, another northern elder, the National President of Arewa Youth Forum, Gambo Ibrahim Gujungu, commended Saraki for promoting peaceful coexistence among Nigerians and for truncating the Muslim-Muslim ticket proposed by Tinubu during the 2015 presidential poll.

He argued that a Muslim-Muslim arrangement would not have given the APC the winning ticket in the last presidential election and would not have yielded any positive result in future elections.

“The Muslim-Muslim ticket will only cause crisis in the country. Nigeria is not ripe for a Muslim-Muslim ticket for the nation’s presidency because Nigerians now play politics of religion and ethnicity,” Gujungu stated.

He also said that he would not support a Muslim-Muslim ticket in future presidential races.

Asked why in 1993, Nigerians, particularly Christians, did not raise eyebrows at the MKO Abiola/Babagana Kingibe Muslim-Muslim ticket under the defunct Social Democratic Party, he pointed out that Nigerians then were not into the politics of religion and ethnicity.

According to him, the politics of religion and ethnicity became more pronounced particularly after former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration.

Gujungu said it was no longer possible to field two candidates of the same religious orientation in the country.

Weighing in on the issue, a former spokesman for the ACF, Anthony Sani, said he did not support a Muslim-Muslim ticket because of the present “atmosphere of mistrust and suspicion which tends to promote cleavages of the nation along ethnic and religious lines.”

Sani said, “When there was mutual confidence and social contract among groups in Nigeria in the past, it was possible for SDP to field Abiola and Kingibe, who were both Muslims, and it came to pass but for the annulment.

“I would not have supported not only a Muslim-Muslim ticket but also a Christian-Christian ticket until such a time mutual trust and social contract among groups would have been restored in the polity.

“The duo (Saraki and el-Rufai) advised against such tickets due to prevailing circumstances. And Tinubu himself accepted the advice without any demur. And that explains why he gladly nominated Prof. Osinbajo to be the running mate to Buhari.”

Reacting to accusations that Tinubu was self-serving in wanting to be Buhari’s running mate, the senator representing Oyo South Senatorial District, Adesoji Akanbi, told one of our correspondents that it did not matter what people said about the APC chieftain, noting that their actions and reactions were that of envy.

“It is jealousy – Asiwaju Tinubu is a man well-loved nationwide. He is not a sectional or religious leader. He warmly embraces all religions in the spirit of love and peace. He is the only member with fantastic influence across the country. Most of the other leaders in the party cannot boast of the influence Asiwaju wields. Let people say what they want to say.

“Those railing against Asiwaju Tinubu want to rewrite history. Can they achieve that? No. It is sheer jealousy to want to reduce Tinubu’s efforts to selfish acts – that’s incorrect. The APC would not have achieved any success without Tinubu in the 2015 presidential poll; there’s no doubt about that. Reasonable people will continue to praise whatever efforts and sacrifices that Asiwaju made. Remember what ex-President Goodluck Jonathan said about Tinubu that a man he feared most in the APC was Tinubu,” Akanbi stated.

Attempts to get a response from Tinubu’s media aide, Mr. Tunde Rahman, did not yield the desired results. Repeated calls to his mobile telephone were neither picked nor returned as at 9:57pm.

A response to a text message sent to him on the subject was still being expected as of the time of filing this report.

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Businessinsider, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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FG Declares June 12 Public Holiday for Democracy Day Celebration

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The Federal Government has declared Wednesday, June 12, a public holiday in commemoration of this year’s Democracy Day celebration.

The announcement was made in a statement signed by Aishetu Ndayako, the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Interior, on behalf of Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, the Minister of Interior.

The statement urged Nigerians to reflect on the struggles and sacrifices of the nation’s founding fathers and to ensure that Nigeria remains a united, secure, peaceful, and indivisible entity.

“As we mark another Democracy Day in the history of our dear country, let us all reflect on the efforts of our founding fathers and ensure that Nigeria remains a united, secured, peaceful, and indivisible entity,” the statement read.

A Historic Shift

The designation of June 12 as Democracy Day dates back to June 7, 2018, when former President Muhammadu Buhari announced that the day would henceforth be celebrated as Democracy Day.

Prior to this declaration, Democracy Day was observed on May 29, the date marking the inauguration of the Fourth Republic in 1999.

President Buhari’s decision was rooted in the historical significance of June 12, 1993, the day of what is widely regarded as Nigeria’s freest and fairest presidential election.

Despite the election’s annulment by the then-military government, Buhari emphasized that the democratic credentials of the process should be honored.

Honoring a Legacy

To further commemorate the significance of June 12, Buhari posthumously awarded Chief Moshood Abiola, the presumed winner of the annulled 1993 election, with the nation’s highest honor, Grand Commander of the Federal Republic (GCFR).

The statement from the Ministry of Interior also highlighted President Bola Tinubu’s commitment to implementing positive reforms aimed at reviving Nigeria’s economy and enhancing national security.

A Call for Unity

The Minister of Interior, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, called on all citizens and friends of Nigeria to appreciate the progress that has been made in the country’s democratic journey and to look forward to a brighter future.

“As we celebrate Democracy Day, we must appreciate the progress that has been made and remain hopeful for a better future for Nigeria’s democracy,” the minister said.

This year’s Democracy Day comes at a crucial time as Nigeria continues to navigate economic challenges and security concerns. The public holiday on June 12 provides an opportunity for Nigerians to reflect on the importance of democracy and the ongoing efforts to strengthen the nation’s democratic institutions.

As the nation prepares to observe the public holiday, there is a sense of anticipation and hope that the values of democracy will continue to guide Nigeria towards a prosperous and harmonious future.

The government’s declaration serves as a reminder of the enduring legacy of June 12 and the importance of upholding democratic principles.

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Guilty on All 34 Counts: Trump Convicted in Hush Money Case

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In a historic and unprecedented legal decision, former President Donald Trump was found guilty on all 34 counts in his “hush money” trial, making him the first former U.S. president to be convicted of a crime.

The verdict was delivered by a jury of 12 New Yorkers on Wednesday, concluding a six-week trial in Manhattan.

The charges against Trump centered around falsifying business records to cover up a $130,000 payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels before the 2016 presidential election.

The jury found Trump guilty on all counts, concluding that he authorized a scheme to falsify checks and related documents to keep the alleged affair from becoming public knowledge.

Prosecutors from the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office presented evidence showing that the conspiracy to cover up the payment began during Trump’s 2016 campaign and continued into his first year in the White House.

They argued that Trump, along with his associates, created false records to mislead voters and conceal the payment.

Trump, who has consistently denied having any sexual encounter with Daniels, responded angrily to the verdict. Speaking to reporters outside the courtroom, he called the trial “a disgrace” and accused the judge of bias.

“This was a rigged trial by a conflicted judge who was corrupt,” Trump stated.

He vowed to continue fighting the verdict, saying, “The real verdict is going to be Nov. 5 by the people, and they know what happened here and everybody knows what happened here. We’ll fight to the end.”

The conviction comes at a critical time for Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for president in the 2024 election. Despite the conviction, there is no constitutional barrier preventing him from running for office again.

Legal experts note that the Constitution’s requirements for presidential candidates—being at least 35 years old, a natural-born citizen, and a U.S. resident for 14 years—do not include any disqualification for being a convicted felon.

Judge Juan Merchan has scheduled Trump’s sentencing for July 11. The defense has until June 13 to submit any motions, with the prosecution required to respond by June 27.

Trump’s legal team indicated they would prefer a sentencing date in mid to late July.

Trump’s conviction adds to the already intense political climate as the nation prepares for the 2024 elections. The trial has drawn significant media attention and public scrutiny, reflecting deep divisions within American society.

The trial highlighted broader issues regarding campaign finance and the use of hush money in politics. It also raises questions about the integrity of presidential candidates and the lengths to which they might go to protect their public image.

As the legal and political ramifications of this verdict unfold, Trump’s conviction on all 34 counts marks a significant chapter in U.S. history.

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President Tinubu to Inaugurate Newly Paved Roads to Apapa, Tin Can Ports

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President Bola Tinubu is set to inaugurate the newly constructed paved roads leading to the Apapa and Tin Can Island ports in Lagos on Saturday.

This development is anticipated to bring significant relief to port users and operators who have endured years of hardship due to the previously dilapidated roads and severe traffic congestion in the area.

The commissioning of these roads marks a major milestone in the government’s efforts to improve infrastructure and boost economic activities around the nation’s busiest ports.

The newly paved roads are expected to enhance the flow of goods and services, reduce operational costs for businesses, and alleviate the chronic traffic bottlenecks that have plagued the Apapa and Tin Can Island areas.

President Tinubu, who is scheduled to arrive in Lagos on Saturday morning, will perform the inauguration as his first assignment of the day.

The ceremony signifies a commitment to addressing the infrastructural challenges that have long hindered the efficiency of Nigeria’s maritime sector.

Mohammed Koko, the Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), highlighted the importance of this project earlier this year.

He emphasized the NPA’s “zero tolerance for all forms of impediments to the free flow of traffic” and reiterated the agency’s dedication to improving port operations.

“Our zero tolerance for all forms of impediments to free flow of traffic is no fluke,” Koko said, noting that the rehabilitation efforts are aimed at consolidating gains achieved first in Apapa and now extending to Tin Can.

In January 2024, President Tinubu directed the Federal Ministry of Works to urgently and comprehensively repair the access roads to the Lagos Port Complex and Tin-Can Island Port Complex.

The Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, Adegboyega Oyetola, echoed the urgency of this directive, pointing out that the poor condition of the port access roads had significantly increased internal logistics costs for importers and exporters.

“The dilapidated port access roads increase the cost of internal logistics for importers and exporters,” Oyetola noted.

The improved road infrastructure is expected to curb the exodus of businesses from the Apapa and Tin Can Island areas, which had been driven away by the severe logistical challenges.

The restoration of these critical routes is also anticipated to enhance Nigeria’s competitiveness in international trade by facilitating smoother and more efficient port operations.

Following the inauguration of the port access roads, President Tinubu is also scheduled to flag off the Lagos to Calabar coastal road project at Victoria Island in Lagos.

Also, he will virtually inaugurate the newly rehabilitated 3rd Mainland Bridge, further underscoring his administration’s commitment to revitalizing Nigeria’s infrastructure.

The series of inaugurations and project launches underscore a broader strategy to enhance connectivity, reduce operational bottlenecks, and stimulate economic growth through improved infrastructure.

The completion of the Apapa and Tin Can Island port roads is a pivotal step in this direction, promising a new era of efficiency and productivity for Nigeria’s maritime sector.

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