Minister Flags Off Preparations For Tokyo 2020 Olympics

The Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, has reiterated the necessity of various National Sports Federations under his watch to start early preparations for Tokyo 2020 which he assured would make a big difference between success and failure.

He said: “We are left with barely 280 days to the commencement of the first two games as the Olympics and Paralympic games are scheduled to take place in Tokyo, Japan from July 21st to August 9th 2020 and 25th August to 6th September, 2020 respectively.

He made this known in a meeting with the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games Federations President, Technical Directors, Secretaries General and Stakeholders at the Media Centre Package” A” of MKO National Stadium, Abuja.

Dare said that countries see Olympic Games as avenue to show off their sports prowess, make statement that they are leaders in their own right, and we cannot afford to employ the Olympics as a trial events, this is a global sporting competition.

The Permanent Secretary, Olusade Adesola, in his opening remarks, said that with just 280 days to Olympics, we need to start preparations in earnest, and this meeting marks the beginning of the journey to 2020.

Bayelsa 2019: APC Replies Dickson, Says He Is A Habitual Trickster, Slanderer

Ahead of the November 16 governorship election in Bayelsa State, the All Progressives Congress (APC), has dismissed what it describes as “habitual deception and mudslinging allegation” by Governor Seriake Dickson that the party was about to form “a government of criminals and cultists” in the state. 

Dickson had made the claim on Monday in Yenagoa at the inauguration of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship election campaign team. 

The APC’s State Publicity Secretary and Secretary of the Media and Publicity Committee of party’s 2019 Governorship Campaign Council, Mr. Doifie Buokoribo, in a statement on Wednesday in Yenagoa, dismissed the claim as “Dickson’s normal, customary and habitual trickery, meant to hide his nervousness by defaming the opponent, when jittery and faced with tough political opposition.”

“At its elemental level, Governor Seriake Dickson’s deception machine has essentially run on creating falsehood around formidable opponents as a ploy to justify intended poll rigging and violence. The most basic step in this criminal strategy, as the whole world is witnessing currently, has always been to identify intimidating rivals they cannot stand in a fair poll, cast mud at them, and then activate an electoral manipulation process, using thugs, corrupt officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), and some dishonest security personnel.

“The immoral scheme had worked for Dickson in the past, but it will never work again.

“We know it as a matter of fact that Governor Dickson has converted the Bayelsa State Government House into a den of thieves and criminals. He even appointed known lawless elements as Local Government Council Caretaker Chairmen in the past.

“Bayelsa people have come to know Dickson and his gang in PDP for what they are: a band of tricksters devoid of ideas and integrity.

“If not, why would a serious politician spend all his energy calling out and singing the name of an opponent at a campaign launch when the electorate are eager to hear and see what the one seeking their vote has in stock for them. As always, this demonstrates the emptiness of Dickson and his gang.

“APC is not distracted by those tricks and manifestation of defeat.

“Dickson and his cohorts in PDP will suffer the inevitable outcome of embodying the elemental forces of failure: they will be roundly defeated by APC at the November I6 governorship election in Bayelsa State,” the APC said.

Avoid Actions That Emphasize The Country’s Differences, Buhari Tells Nigerians

President Muhammadu Buhari has charged Nigerians on the need to avoid actions that emphasizes the country’s differences but instead work together for a united nation.

He also called on citizens to be security conscious while restating his government’s commitment to secure lives and property.

President Buhari made the call during the emblem appeal launch for the 2020 Armed Forces Remembrance Day which at the council chamber of the Aso Rock Villa.

Highlight of the event was the decoration of the President, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and Senate President Ahmed Lawan, with the emblem.

A sum of ten million Naira was also donated by the Federal Government to support the work of the Nigerian legion.

The Chief of Defense Staff, the Service Chiefs, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and members of the Federal Executive Council were present at the ceremony.

Credit: Channels Television

Falana Apologizes To Moghalu Over Allegation Of Appointment With APC

Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN), has apologized to former presidential candidate of Young Progressives Party, YPP, Kingsley Moghalu, for saying he resigned from his party because he received an appointment from the All Progressives Congress, APC.

Clarifying the allegation, Falana in a statement on Tuesday, titled ‘My Mea Culpa’, said his statement was a case of mistaken identity.

“At the symposium held in memory of the late Fela Anikulapo-Kuti in Lagos yesterday, I did say that Professor Kingsley Moghalu had called it quit with the YPP, the political party which sponsored his presidential election in February 2019.

”I equally said that he had joined the ruling party and accepted an appointment from the federal government.

“While confirming his resignation from the YPP, Professor Moghalu had stated that he has neither joined the ruling party nor accepted an appointment from the federal government. I believe him in toto.

“I did not set out to embarrass Professor Moghalu as it was a case of mistaken identity. Any embarrassment caused by the incorrect aspect of the statement is deeply regretted.” Falana said.

Jigawa Signs MoU With 10 Pension Administrators

The Governor of Jigawa State, Muhammad Badaru Abubakar

Jigawa State Pension Board has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with 10 Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs) for management of its funds for a period of two years, DailyTrust reports.

“Jigawa state and local government contributory pension board has signed a memorandum of understanding with 10 Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs) that will oversee the management of the boards total assets worth N19.788 billion,” the state acting Head of Service, Hussaini Ali Kila said.

Kila, who made this known while speaking with Chronicle after signing the agreement on Monday in Dutse, said the contract was a renewal with eight PFAs that were originally managing the board’s funds while two others that did not perform to the expectation of the board were replaced with new ones.

He noted that in the past the contractual agreement was usually renewed after every one year but this time, owing to some obvious reasons, the board decided to extend the duration to two years.

He said, “In the past the board reviews the agreement yearly but now decided to extend it to two years. Premium Pension, Trustfund Pension, Veritas Unity Gravills, OAK Pension, Leadway Pension, Fidelity Pension, First Guarantee Pension, Radix Pension and NLPC Pension, were the PFAs selected for the next two years contractual agreement to manage the funds.”

Kila explained that the funds were shared among the PFAs based on their pedigrees particularly the ability for return on investment, adding that the highest allocation was 14.09 percent while the lowest was 9.09 percent.

He said the board caters for pension of both the state and local government councils’ retirees, insisting that the recent local government financial autonomy reform did not in any way affect the pension contribution scheme of the state which the board was managing.

Speaking on behalf of the PFAs, the Managing Director of Nigerian Live Providence Company (NLPC), Wole Kolawole, assured the board that the selected PFAs would live up to expectation by adhering to all the clauses in the agreement particularly, on return on investment.

ANALYSIS: In Bayelsa Politics, Is Dickson Pushing Jonathan Out Of Relevance?

As the people of Bayelsa go to the polls on November 16 to elect a new governor who will succeed Seriake Dickson, there is a question about the influence of the former Nigerian president, Goodluck Jonathan, in the politics of the oil-rich state.

Mr Jonathan is not just from Bayelsa, he was a deputy governor and governor of the state before he became Nigeria’s vice president and later president in 2011.

Going by the character of the Nigerian politics, Mr Jonathan is a ‘big man’ who should be pulling strings, at least in his own state, to determine who gets what in the politics of the state. But he is not doing that. He appears not to be bothered about such, as well.

And that naturally comes with a price – disenchantment and withdrawal of goodwill from political supporters.

It is uncertain to what extent this may have contributed to the recent political upset against the former president in his own Bayelsa East Senatorial District, where the All Progressives Congress (APC), the main opposition party in Bayelsa, defeated Mr Jonathan’s Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2019 senatorial election.

Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo, of the APC is currently representing the district in the Senate.

The APC also won Brass/Nembe Federal Constituency election, which is under the Bayelsa East district.

The APC candidate for Brass/Nembe federal constituency election, Israel Goli, scored 41,150, while the PDP candidate, Marie Ebikake, scored 19,279.

Mr Jonathan is from Otuoke community in Ogbia Local Government Area of the state.

The Nation newspaper reported that the PDP almost lost in Ogbia Federal Constituency election as well, but for the effort of the current commissioner for information in the state, Daniel Iworiso-Markson, and other appointees of the state governor, Mr Dickson.

The paper described the PDP performance in Mr Jonathan’s Otuoke community as “poor”.

Jonathan ignored, pushed aside by Dickson?

There have been reports of a rift between Mr Jonathan and Governor Dickson over the just concluded PDP governorship primary in Bayelsa.

Mr Dickson’s man, Douye Diri, a senator representing Bayelsa Central District, emerged the PDP governorship candidate after defeating 20 other aspirants, including the former managing director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Timi Alaibe, who was reportedly backed by Mr Jonathan.

Although government officials in Bayelsa have dismissed it as being untrue, there are reports that Mr Jonathan was not consulted by Mr Dickson over the choice of Mr Diri as the man to succeed him as governor, and that the former president and his supporters felt let down by the governor.

Mr Jonathan’s kinsman, Michael Ogiasa, who was a special adviser on power development to Governor Dickson, recently resigned his appointment from Mr Dickson’s government, according to a report published by the Punch newspaper.

It is not clear if the resignation is in connection with the succession politics in the state.

The paper also reported the defection of the PDP chairman of Ward 8 in Brass Local Government Area, Intelligent Owei, to the APC.

The PDP national leadership on Friday set up a peace committee headed by the former president of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, to work towards the reconciliation of Messrs Jonathan and Dickson.

Wisdom Ikuli, a leader in the Ijaw Youth Council, is Mr Jonathan’s kinsman, as well as a strong political supporter of the former president.

Mr Ikuli’s remark during an interview with PREMIUM TIMES, on Saturday, somehow symbolised the way some people perceive the status of the relationship between Governor Dickson and Mr Jonathan.

“Does Dickson have any relationship with any leader in Bayelsa state, except those who are serving him or surviving from him?” Mr Ikuli told PREMIUM TIMES when asked about the relationship between the two leaders.

“Go and ask the people who introduced Dickson to A.J. Turner and Jonathan, and they will tell you what is happening.

“Dickson has deliberately relegated the great leaders who made him what he is today. He has messed up all these leaders,” he said.

“Honestly, we shouldn’t be talking about who he (Jonathan) supported, we should be talking about who he brought out. Whether you like it or not, in the Nigerian context, as a former president he should be given the respect to make input or determine who the next governor of Bayelsa State should be.

“If we say he should be given that right, we are not asking for too much.”

Mr Ikuli, however, said this does not mean that Mr Jonathan’s influence has diminished in the politics of the state.

“I am sure that as a father to all, whoever emerges as the governor of Bayelsa State, he is going to support him.”

Daniel Iworiso-Markson, the commissioner for information in the state, dismissed the reports of a rift between the governor and the former president, saying that the relationship between the two remains “very cordial”.

In an interview published on Sunday by The Guardian newspaper, Mr Iworiso-Markson said it was unfair for people to be accusing Mr Dickson of sidelining the PDP elders during the PDP governorship primary. The governor, he said, consulted the former president and other party elders in the state several times.

Jonathan Obuebite, the commissioner for education in the state, supported that position. He said both leaders are enjoying the best of relationship. He likened the relationship between the two to that between a younger brother and the elder brother, with Mr Jonathan as the “elder brother” here.

Mr Obuebite did not pointedly say that the former president supported Mr Diri’s emergence as the PDP governorship candidate when PREMIUM TIMES put the question to him.

“The former president as a party man is supporting the candidate of the party,” he said, and then went on to say that the primary was the freest and most transparent ever conducted in Nigeria.

Is Jonathan’s influence really diminishing?

“You can only be influential if your people appreciate your worth to them. If they don’t appreciate your worth to them, they will not have any regards for you,” Felix Oboro, a former senator from Bayelsa, told PREMIUM TIMES when asked about what influence Mr Jonathan was exerting on the politics of Bayelsa State.

Mr Oboro said Mr Jonathan did not bring the much-expected development to Bayelsa when he was the vice president and president, and therefore would not get the people’s goodwill and political support.

“I don’t think the people of Bayelsa have any regard for him,” said Mr Oboro, a former Nigerian ambassador to Venezuela, and a former PDP chieftain who defected to the APC in 2015.

But at the core of the issue is Mr Jonathan’s character which in a way seems to contrast with the character of a typical Nigerian politician; he appears humble, easy-going, and a respecter of other people’s opinion, willing to give up power for the sake of peace, which is interpreted by some Nigerians as cowardice.

From the pieces of information gathered, it would be safe to conclude that Mr Jonathan may not have been interested in building any political structure in Bayelsa, so the argument whether his political influence is diminishing may not even arise.

His political ascendancy both at the state and at the national level has been through sheer luck; he was a quiet university teacher before he was picked as the deputy governor of Bayelsa under Diepreye Alamieyeseigha. He became governor in 2005 following Mr Alamieyeseigha’s impeachment. The then President Olusegun Obasanjo handpicked him as vice president under Umaru Yar’adua, he became acting president in 2010 and later elected president in 2011 following the death of Mr Yar’adua.

“Jonathan doesn’t appear a power-hungry leader and doesn’t seem so interested in building a cult of followers around himself,” said Uwemedimo Udo, a chemistry lecturer at the University of Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.

“He doesn’t appear to be a major character or decider in the politics of Bayelsa State. He may not have much influence in who becomes what in Bayelsa State. The local political gladiators especially the young people seem better placed as influencers,” Mr Udo said.

Mr Jonathan’s ‘weakness’, in this context, has naturally opened the room for Governor Dickson to dominate the politics of Bayelsa, to the consternation of the supporters of the former president.

Mr Dickson once served as the attorney general and commissioner for justice in Bayelsa, appointed by Mr Jonathan when he was governor of the state, before he (Dickson) won election to the House of Representatives, Abuja, in 2007.

The education commissioner in Bayelsa, Mr Obuebite, told PREMIUM TIMES that what people termed as diminishing influence is that “the former president respects the fact that there is a sitting governor in the party”.

Mr Obuebite said “it is people who think that power is something you can use in controlling people” that may feel the former president’s influence in the state politics is diminishing.

“The man does not want to be a demi-god, works with his younger brother, the governor.

“This is a man that lost the election as a sitting president and handed over to the opposition. If he could display that kind of character, do you think what bothers him as a statesman is Bayelsa State? I don’t think so,” Mr Obuebite said.

This post originally appeared in PREMIUM TIMES on Tuesday, October 15, 2019.

Bayelsa 2019: Lyon Is Coming To Right The Wrongs Of Dickson, Says Sunny-Goli

The lawmaker representing Brass-Nembe Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, Hon. Israel Sunny-Goli, has said the mission of the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief David Lyon is to right the wrongs of Governor Seriake Dickson, whom he believes has taken Bayelsa twenty years backward.

Sunny-Goli said what Bayelsans currently need is a governor who will talk less and do more. He stated that the people of Bayelsa state deserves a governor who will not deceive his people with vague words, but with “good executive deeds, a governor who will not play politics with our development,” he said.

Media Assistant to the federal lawmaker, Sam Dogotimi, made this known in a statement on Wednesday. 

According to the lawmaker, “Under the Dickson-led government, pensioners have been unjustifiably denied their gratuities for years. Our streets are in total darkness. Students and teachers are crying for help. Peace Park, the Imiringi Gas Turbine, the Bayelsa Plastic Industry and other critical infrastructures have been made inactive.”

While stressing that Lyon is coming to provide services the self-styled restoration government could not render to the people of Bayelsa, Sunny-Goli admonishes all who mean well for the state to give the APC candidate and his running mate, Senator Degi Eremienyo, the needed support.

“Bayelsa under Lyon will not witness incessant staff verification or needless appointments without portfolios. There will be no compulsory monthly saving of one billion naira that will not be accounted for.

“I can equally assure you that bursaries shall be paid to the hardworking students of Bayelsa State origin. The welfare of civil servants shall be prioritized. All the abandoned road projects shall be completed. Yenagoa shall have a facelift if Lyon becomes governor.

“There is no better time to take Bayelsa State to the next level of peace and prosperity than now. It is, therefore, incumbent on every one who means well for the state to support the Lyon/Degi candidature,” the federal lawmaker said.

Child Trafficking: Kano Govt Promises To Commence Investigation, Ensure Justice For Victims

The Kano State Government has promised to investigate the case of nine children who were kidnapped and trafficked from Kano to Anambra State, Channels Television reports.

The governor, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, gave the assurance in a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Abba Anwar, on Tuesday.

He also gave an assurance that the arrested suspects would be prosecuted and punished accordingly if found guilty.

“Kidnapping is seriously abhorred and condemnable. What is more worrisome is the age of the victims, kids for that matter. My administration, Kano people and any right-thinking individual or groups of individuals, condemn this from all standpoints,” he said, adding that “no criminal will go scot-free”.

He further stated that the government will identify and invite the parents of the rescued children for further discussion while working with the security agencies to unearth similar cases.

“No stone will be unturned,” he stated.

“We are coming up with a powerful committee that will critically look at this disturbing scenario, with the view to seeing to the root cause and avert re-occurrence.
The children were rescued by the police in Kano State on Sunday.

According to the Commissioner of Police, Ahmed Iliyasu, the victims had been trafficked from Kano to Onitsha, the Anambra state capital, over the last five years.

Kebbi Governor Donates N30 Million To Build Churches

Kebbi State Governor Atiku Bagudu has donated N30m to the Christian community in Zuru Emirates to build churches, TodayNg reports.

The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) zonal chairman Rev. James Manga disclosed this while answering question from reporters.

He said the donation was to enable the Christian communities in Zuru to build churches and other on-going projects.

Manga stated it was the first time the Christian communities were getting a large sum of money from the governor.

According to him: “The money was delivered to us and it was shared according to the needs of various churches. Most of the money went into building churches in Zuru community. Although past governments did something for the churches but it not as large sum as this”

He said apart from the N30m donation, Bagudu has also personally visited the Christian communities during the last Christmas to rejoice and celebrate with them.

Audu said the Governor also donated bags of rice, clothing materials and other food items to all churches in the state to celebrate last Christmas.

He called on the governor to ensure the involvement of Christians in his cabinet, stating “in the last 4 years Christian presence is not felt in the governor’s cabinet. That has been one major challenge for Christians in the state.

“But this time around, we are pleading with Governor Bagudu to carry Christians along while forming his cabinet. We are praying for him. The church believes in his government and we will continued to pray for the success of his administration.”

Kebbi Governor Donates N30 Million To Build Churches

Kebbi State Governor Atiku Bagudu has donated N30m to the Christian community in Zuru Emirates to build churches, TodayNg reports.

The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) zonal chairman Rev. James Manga disclosed this while answering question from reporters.

He said the donation was to enable the Christian communities in Zuru to build churches and other on-going projects.

Manga stated it was the first time the Christian communities were getting a large sum of money from the governor.

According to him: “The money was delivered to us and it was shared according to the needs of various churches. Most of the money went into building churches in Zuru community. Although past governments did something for the churches but it not as large sum as this”

He said apart from the N30m donation, Bagudu has also personally visited the Christian communities during the last Christmas to rejoice and celebrate with them.

Audu said the Governor also donated bags of rice, clothing materials and other food items to all churches in the state to celebrate last Christmas.

He called on the governor to ensure the involvement of Christians in his cabinet, stating “in the last 4 years Christian presence is not felt in the governor’s cabinet. That has been one major challenge for Christians in the state.

“But this time around, we are pleading with Governor Bagudu to carry Christians along while forming his cabinet. We are praying for him. The church believes in his government and we will continued to pray for the success of his administration.”