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Igbo Leaders Storm Presidential Villa, Allege Marginalisation of South-east



Buhari talks tough, orders Nigerian agencies to switch to Treasury Single Account
  • Igbo Leaders Storm Presidential Villa, Allege Marginalisation of South-east

Igbo leaders, led by Deputy Senate President, Dr. Ike Ekweremadu and the President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, the Igbo socio-cultural group, John Nnia Nwodo, yesterday met with President Muhammadu Buhari in Aso Rock and alleged perpetual marginalisation of the South-east region.

The delegation comprising governors and deputy governors from five states of the zone, National Assembly leaders and ministers from the South-east, urged the President to address their plight, during the meeting held behind closed door.

Answering questions from newsmen after the meeting, Nwodo who said the group had a blunt and fruitful discussion with the President, said successive governments had abandoned infrastructural developments in the region, resulting in what he described as infrastructure deficit.

According to him, the emergence of the Independent People of Biafra (IPOB) which has been campaigning for the secession of the South-east from Nigeria was a product of the region’s marginalisation.

He said the situation had continued to make their youths restive.

Nwodo listed issues they tabled before the President to include cases of abandoned major roads such as Enugu-Onitsha, Enugu-Port Harcourt, Aba-Ikot Ekpene roads, in the region, which he said were no longer motorable.

He also said the delegation called the President’s attention to infrastructure decay in the main airport in South-east, Akanu Ibiam International Airport in Enugu as well as the need to dredge the River Niger, reticulate gas pipelines in South-east and devolve powers to the states.

He said the President in his response, requested for time to comprehensively examine their complaints, pointing out that he was frank in his expressions and they had no reason to doubt him.

“We had a frank and robust exchange. We discussed problems of the South-east and as Head of State, he is the final repository of an appeal for the resolutions of those problems. We went into great details about each of those problems and l have confidence that they will give it the attention they deserve.

“We dealt with problems of development in the South-east, basic capital projects which have for a very long time been neglected not just from this government but for a very long time, major arteries of federal highways in the South-east have been in complete state of disrepair. Enugu-Onitsha, Enugu-Port Harcourt, Aba-Ikoti Ekpene roads are virtually impassable.

“We talked about the inland waterways and the dredging of the River Niger. We talked about the reticulation of gas pipeline on the South-east. We export gas from the South-east to other parts of the country, but there is no reticulation of the pipeline and industrial clusters in the south east.

“We talked about the only international airport we have in the South-east which has very bad infrastructure in terms of the buildings. We got assurance from the President that he will deal with each of those problems.

“Like I have said, these problems have been there overtime and we have had several presidents. It didn’t just happen in the last two years. But we expressed the desire that he should be able to address them.

“We came here for the issues of developments in our place. We talked about IPOB as a symptomatic consequence of the continuous marginalisation of the South-east over a long period of time. Understandably, our children are restive and we want to make sure that the federal government is responsive to the issues that have cumulated in the quintessence of these agitations.

“We did talk about the issue of devolution of powers, the constitution, the paucity of the states and local governments in our place and the President has asked that he be given time to look at this more holistically. There is no reason for me to doubt them because this is the first time I have had this interaction with him. I have the feeling that he spoke to us very frankly,” Nwodo submitted.

A statement issued later by the president’s chief spokesman, Mr. Femi Adesina, over the meeting, added that the President told the delegation that he came to government with clear conscience, pledging that a substantial part of counterpart funding from the Chinese government would be deployed to fund infrastructural deficit in the region.

On allegation of under-representation of the Igbo in his government, Adesina said the President told the delegation: “I gave South-east four substantive ministers in the ministries of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Investment, Science and Technology and Labour. Seven states in the North got ministers of state and of the two ministries headed by your sons. I cannot take any decision on foreign policy and investments without their input.”

He said the president promised the leaders that he would visit the states in the zone soon.

Present at the meeting besides Ekweremadu and Nwodo were: Chairman of the South-east caucus in the National Assembly, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, Governors of Enugu State, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, his Abia and Ebonyi States counterparts, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu and Dave Umahi while the governors of Imo and Anambra States, Rochas Okorocha and Willie Obiano, were represented by their respective deputies, Eze Madumere and Dr. Ikem Okeke.

Others were Ministers of Trade and Investment, Dr. Okechukwu Enelamah, Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonaya Onu, Minister of Labour, Dr. Chris Ngige and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geofrrey Onyema.

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President Declines Nomination, Endorses Harris for 2024



In a significant political announcement on his account, President Joe Biden has decided to forgo the opportunity to seek re-election in 2024, instead throwing his full support behind Vice President Kamala Harris.

The surprise move, shared with the public this morning, represents a pivotal moment in the Democratic Party’s journey toward the upcoming presidential election.

In his statement, Biden said that his choice to step aside is driven by a desire to concentrate on his remaining duties as President.

He expressed gratitude for the opportunity to serve alongside Harris, calling her selection as his Vice President in 2020 “the best decision” he has made. “My fellow Democrats,” Biden began, “I have decided not to accept the nomination and to focus all my energies on my duties as President for the remainder of my term.”

The President’s announcement signifies a strategic shift in the 2024 election landscape. By endorsing Kamala Harris, Biden not only aims to consolidate support within the party but also to set the stage for a unified front against former President Donald Trump.

“Today I want to offer my full support and endorsement for Kamala to be the nominee of our party this year,” Biden declared. “Democrats — it’s time to come together and beat Trump. Let’s do this.”

This endorsement comes as a surprise to many, given Biden’s earlier commitment to seeking re-election.

However, it reflects a broader strategic maneuver to ensure party unity and strengthen the Democratic position in the face of a formidable opponent. By focusing on Harris, Biden aims to leverage her growing popularity and political acumen to fortify the party’s chances in the upcoming election.

Kamala Harris, who has served as Vice President since January 2021, will now be thrust into the spotlight as the presumptive Democratic nominee.

Her campaign is expected to build on the legacy of the current administration while addressing key issues facing the nation.

The move also raises the stakes for the Republicans, who will need to prepare for a robust campaign from a seasoned political leader in Harris.

As the 2024 election cycle ramps up, Biden’s endorsement is likely to reshape the dynamics of the race, influencing both Democratic strategies and Republican responses.

The coming months will be critical as Harris and her team work to solidify their platform and rally support from voters across the nation.

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Kagame Dominates Election with 99.15% of Votes Counted



President Paul Kagame has taken a commanding lead in the Rwandan presidential election, securing 99.15% of the votes counted thus far, according to the National Electoral Commission.

The provisional results, reported by the state broadcaster Rwanda Broadcasting Agency, indicate a decisive victory for the Rwandan Patriotic Front candidate.

With 79% of the ballots tallied, Kagame’s overwhelming lead leaves his opponents trailing significantly.

Frank Habineza of the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda has garnered only 0.53% of the votes, while independent candidate Philippe Mpayimana has received 0.32%.

The voter turnout has been reported at an impressive 98%, underscoring the high level of public engagement in the electoral process.

The early results suggest a strong mandate for Kagame, who has been at the helm of Rwandan politics since 2000.

Kagame’s administration has been marked by significant economic growth and development, but it has also faced criticism for its stance on political dissent and freedom of expression.

Despite this, Kagame remains a highly popular figure in Rwanda, with many citizens crediting him for the country’s stability and progress.

The National Electoral Commission is expected to release the final results in the coming days. As the tallying continues, Kagame’s supporters have already begun celebrating his anticipated victory.

Analysts believe that Kagame’s likely re-election will provide continuity in Rwanda’s economic policies and development programs.

However, they also call for more inclusive governance and respect for political freedoms to ensure long-term stability and growth.

Kagame’s near-unanimous support in the early results reflects his entrenched position in Rwandan politics.

His ability to maintain such high levels of support will be a focal point of discussion in the aftermath of the election.

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Kenya Prepares for More Protests Over Unresolved Political Crisis



Kenya is on the brink of another wave of anti-government protests as efforts to resolve the nation’s escalating political crisis appear to have stalled.

President William Ruto’s proposal for a national dialogue has yet to take off, leaving the nation in a state of heightened tension.

Activists have called for demonstrations across the East African nation on Tuesday, protesting the government’s failure to hold security forces accountable for the deaths of at least 41 people.

These casualties occurred during protests against Ruto’s contentious plan to raise taxes over the past month.

Despite the president’s announcement last week that national dialogue would commence on Monday to defuse the situation, progress has been elusive.

The main opposition party, the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM), expressed uncertainty regarding the proposed talks.

“We haven’t received any invitation,” ODM Secretary-General Edwin Sifuna stated. “When called, we’ll go because we are keen on getting broad-based reforms.”

A spokesperson for the presidency indicated that parliamentary leaders were managing the planned talks, but National Assembly majority leader Kimani Ichung’wah did not respond to requests for comment.

Protests initially erupted in mid-June over Ruto’s plans to increase taxes on essential goods, including bread and diapers, aiming to raise over $2 billion to reduce the government’s budget shortfall.

The public outcry forced Ruto to abandon the proposal, but dissatisfaction remains high.

Last week, in a dramatic move to quell public anger, Ruto fired almost all his cabinet members, underscoring the severity of the discontent.

The scrapping of the tax measures is expected to widen the government’s budget deficit to 3.6% of GDP in the current fiscal year, up from a previous projection of 3.3%.

This financial strain has not gone unnoticed; Moody’s Ratings downgraded Kenya’s rating by a step to Caa1, plunging it deeper into junk status, highlighting the country’s deteriorating fiscal condition.

On Saturday, Ruto vowed to hold accountable those responsible for the recent killings. However, his efforts to address public concerns seem insufficient to stem the tide of unrest.

On Monday, he called on the Ford Foundation, an organization promoting civic engagement, to clarify its role in the protests, though the foundation did not respond to requests for comment.

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