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PDP Attacks Osinbajo, Calls Him a Figurehead

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  • PDP Attacks Osinbajo, Calls Him a Figurehead

The main opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party, says Acting President Yemi Osinbajo is not in charge of the country.

It said actions taken by the Acting President had shown that power was not handed over to him contrary to the claim by the Presidency that ailing President Muhammadu Buhari ceded power to him (Osinbajo) before leaving Nigeria for London on medical trip more than 90 days ago.

Spokesperson for the party, Dayo Adeyeye, who spoke with one of our correspondents on Sunday, wondered why the Acting President had refused to assign portfolios to the two ministers that were sworn in more than two weeks ago.

Adeyeye, who was a former minister of state for works, observed that the action of the Acting President indicated that he was just a figurehead.

He said, “The Acting President is not in charge of the country. He is not in charge of anything. This is why nothing is moving forward.

“How do you explain a situation where two of the ministers who were sworn in after much pressure from the people and the National Assembly have not been assigned portfolios?

“He is not in charge. He is a mere figurehead and cannot do anything. The cabals are still in charge. That is why nothing is moving forward in this country.

“The two ministers are just idle. They have no offices, nowhere to resume to and nothing to do. What is the essence of their being sworn in then? They are ministers without portfolios.

“It is a constitutional breach on the side of the government because each state ought to have a minister each. Now, these two states had been without ministers for long and after you reluctantly appointed them, you refused to give them offices. “

The ministers are Prof. Stephen Ocheni from Kogi State and Mr. Suleiman Hassan from Gombe State.

Twenty days after Osinbajo administered the oath of office on the ministers, they have yet to be assigned portfolios.

Ocheni and Hassan were inaugurated on July 26, 2017, in Abuja.

Their inauguration came after another long delay since May when they were screened and cleared by the Senate.

It also took a resolution and an ultimatum issued by the House of Representatives for the ministers to be inaugurated.

Adeyeye said it was apparent that the All Progressives Congress was not ready to rule, adding that it won the 2015 presidential election in error.

He asked Nigerians to be patient, adding that 2019 would soon come when new elections would be held.

Reps want portfolios for ministers

Meanwhile, Members of the House of Representatives on Sunday called on Osinbajo to assign portfolios to the two new ministers.

Some lawmakers observed that the delay was abnormal and asked Osinbajo to take the necessary action by assigning portfolios to the ministers.

One of the lawmakers, who is from Lagos State, Mr. James Faleke, noted that the ministers seemed to be idle, a development that he said defied explanations.

He also stated that the ministers were appointed on the basis that there were vacancies in the Federal Executive Council to be filled.

Faleke added, “I don’t think that this is the way things should be.

“The 1999 Constitution is specific on the issue of representation of each state in FEC. Kogi and Gombe states were left out for a long time.

“Now that the ministers have been appointed and the Acting President has inaugurated them, they should be given portfolios.

“They were not idle before they were appointed ministers; they were doing something. But, now they are left hanging.

“We urge the Acting President to hasten the allocation of portfolios to these ministers.”

Another member, Mr. Karimi Sunday, recalled that Osinbajo told the nation the day he inaugurated the ministers that they would be assigned portfolios “shortly.”

Sunday said he did not know how long it would take for the Acting President’s shortly to come to reality.

He said, “It s surprising what is happening these days. It will appear that this government is confused.

“It took months after Ocheni and Hassan were cleared by the Senate for them to be inaugurated.

“There was even a resolution by the House of Representatives for the Acting President to inaugurate the ministers.

“What the Presidency has done is partial compliance with the resolution of the House.

“So long as the ministers have no portfolios, it is still a case of saying no ministers. Nothing really has changed from the situation we had before their inauguration.

“The Acting President knows the right thing to do and he should do it.

“Let him not forget that Nigerians will remember that it was during his time as Acting President that two ministers existed, who had no portfolios.”

However, another member, Mr. Johnson Agbonayinma, said in as much as it was important to assign portfolios to the ministers, not doing so right away did not mean that they were not useful to the government.

Agbonayinma said it was possible that Ocheni and Hassan reported to Osinbajo daily and Osinbajo assigned duties to them to perform.

“Sentiments or complaints should not come in yet.

“Are we sure that the ministers are just sitting at home and not doing anything? Do we know whether the Acting President consults them and assigns some responsibilities to them?

“Let us be cautious for now,” he added.

Ocheni was nominated as a replacement for the late James Ocholi, who died in a car crash.

Ocholi was the Minister of State for Labour and Employment before he passed on.

Hassan, on the other hand, is a replacement for Mrs. Amina Mohammed, the Minister of Environment before she was appointed as the Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations.

New ministers’ll get duties soon, says Presidency

When contacted on the telephone on Sunday, the Senior Special Assistant to the Acting President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Laolu Akande, said portfolios would soon be assigned to the two new ministers.

He however did not give a specific time that it would be done.

Akande also did not give any reason why the exercise is being delayed.

“Very soon, portfolios will be assigned to the new ministers,” he simply said.

But another Presidency official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told one of our correspondents that the exercise was being delayed by a major cabinet reshuffle being planned by the government.

He said it would not be proper to assign portfolios to the two ministers now and then effect the cabinet reshuffle shortly after.

“The truth of the matter is that there is going to be a major cabinet reshuffle soon.

“The thinking is that there is no need to assign portfolios to the new ministers now. It will be done soon,” the official said.

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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