- PDP Expels Buruji Kashamu, Three Others
The National Executive Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party has approved the expulsion of Senator Buruji Kashamu and three others from the party for hobnobbing with the opposition.
Those expelled with Buruji, who represents Ogun East in the Senate are Semiu Sodipo, Bayo Adebayo and Segun Seriki.
They were alleged to have worked with the opposition in Ekiti State to deny the PDP victory in the election.
“The party took disciplinary action against its members who have been hobnobbing with the All Progressives Congress in ways that were detrimental to the interest of the PDP,” the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan, said.
The NEC meeting, which was presided over by the National Chairman of the PDP, Prince Uche Secondus, was attended by governors and other members of the party across the six geopolitical zones.
The PDP NEC also set up a committee to look into the possibility of changing its name before the conduct of the 2019 general elections.
Ologbondiyan stated this after the 80th meeting of the NEC in Abuja on Monday.
Though he refused to give the name of the chairman of the committee and its members, an investigation by our correspondent, however, showed that it is headed by the Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremmadu.
Ologbondiyan said that the committee, which is known as “Harmonisation Committee,” was not given a deadline within which to submit its report.
He also said that the meeting approved that members of the Reformed All Progressives Congress be absorbed into the party.
He said that the committee was set up based on the discussions the national leadership of the party had with those willing to join it ahead of 2019 general elections.
He said, “The NEC constituted a committee on harmonisation and to commence the process of name-changing and rebranding. The names of members of the committee will be made known soon.”
Asked if the committee was given a time frame, he said no, adding that the issue at hand did not warrant issuing a deadline.
He said, “We have no deadline. The issue at hand does not warrant a deadline at all. We can call you tomorrow or even on Thursday and say we have approved this or that. So, don’t talk about a deadline.”
He added, “NEC also approved the discussion members of the National Working Committee had been having with the members of the R-APC.
“NEC approved the alliance we have had with the 38 political parties and associations, and agreed that the members of the R-APC be allowed to fuse into the PDP. We will continue to hunt for members of other political parties.”
He said that the party also approved the decision of the leadership of the party to challenge the outcome of the Ekiti State governorship election in court.
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Nigeria Eyes BRICS Membership within Two Years as Foreign Minister Emphasizes Strategic Alignment
In a strategic move towards global economic collaboration, Nigeria is aspiring to join the BRICS group of nations within the next two years.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Yusuf Tuggar, affirmed that Nigeria is open to aligning itself with groups that demonstrate good intentions, well-meaning goals, and clearly defined objectives.
Tuggar stated, “Nigeria has come of age to decide for itself who her partners should be and where they should be; being multiple aligned is in our best interest.”
He emphasized the need for Nigeria to be part of influential groups like BRICS and the G-20, citing criteria such as population and economy size that position Nigeria as a natural candidate.
BRICS, comprising Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, stands as a formidable bloc of emerging market powers.
In a recent move to expand its influence, BRICS invited six additional nations, including Saudi Arabia, Iran, Egypt, Argentina, Ethiopia, and the United Arab Emirates, to join the group.
Nigeria, as Africa’s largest economy, has been absent from the BRICS alliance, prompting discussions on the potential economic and political advantages the bloc could offer the country.
Analysts have noted that BRICS membership could provide Nigeria with significant leverage on the global stage.
Vice President Kashim Shettima clarified that Nigeria did not apply for BRICS membership after the bloc’s announcement of new members in August.
Shettima emphasized the principled approach of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, highlighting a commitment to consensus building in decisions related to international partnerships.
As Nigeria eyes BRICS membership, the move is seen as a strategic step towards enhancing its global economic and diplomatic influence.
Nigeria Spends N231.27 Billion on Arms Procurement in Four Years Amidst Rising Security Challenges
The Federal Government of Nigeria has disbursed a total of N231.27 billion for arms and ammunition procurement over the past four years.
Despite this significant investment, security agencies argue that the allocated funds are insufficient to effectively tackle the myriad security challenges afflicting the nation.
Chief of Defence Staff, General Christopher Musa, defended the substantial budget for arms purchases during a session with the House of Representatives.
He emphasized that Nigeria’s dependence on foreign countries for military hardware, which are priced in dollars, diminishes the impact of the substantial budget when converted to the local currency.
General Musa explained, “We don’t produce what we need in Nigeria, and if you do not produce what you need, that means you are at the beck and call of the people that produce these items. All the items we procured were bought with hard currency, none in naira.”
He further illustrated the challenges faced, citing that a precision missile for drones costs $5,000, underscoring the magnitude of the expenses associated with arms procurement.
An analysis of the annual budgets for the Ministry of Defence and eight other armed forces from 2020 to 2022 reveals allocations of N11.72 billion, N10.78 billion, and N9.64 billion, respectively.
In 2023, N47.02 billion was disbursed for arms procurement, supplemented by a recently passed budget of N184.25 billion, resulting in a total of N231.27 billion.
Security expert Chidi Omeje raised concerns about the Defence Industries Corporation of Nigeria (DICON), which is tasked with manufacturing arms locally. Omeje criticized DICON’s underperformance, urging the government to revamp the agency to reduce reliance on foreign nations for arms and ammunition.
Omeje stressed, “The new government must make sure that DICON lives up to its responsibilities,” highlighting the urgency of fostering self-sufficiency in arms production to address the country’s security challenges effectively.
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