Updated: I’ve not resigned as Vice President – Osinbajo

ABUJA—VICE President Yemi Osinbajo on Thursday debunked the allegation that he had quit his position as Vice President, saying that there was no iota of truth in the allegation.

Some social media platforms had on Wednesday published that Prof. Osinbajo had thrown in the towel as the Vice President because he was allegedly sidelined from the security meeting President Muhammadu Buhari had with Service Chiefs and head of security agencies as well as three governors from the north on Tuesday at the State House, Abuja. But the Vice President in a statement by his spokesperson, Laolu Akande described the purported resignation as fake news and deliberate propaganda. Akande in the statement said, “Contrary to the fake news in circulation yesterday, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, has not resigned his position in the Buhari administration.”   He said that Prof. Osinbajo in a meeting with young Christian leaders in Lagos on Wednesday night, personally debunked the purported resignation being circulated on some social media platforms.  He dismissed the false information as deliberate propaganda.    Akande in the statement quoted the Vice President as saying, “They are deliberate propaganda. Today (Wednesday), they’ve been spreading some information around that I’ve resigned. They said I didn’t attend a security meeting yesterday. I was too busy in my office.  “The same security people were meeting with me that same evening. Must I attend every meeting? Can’t the President hold a meeting with the security chiefs without me? They said I was so angry that they didn’t bring me to that meeting, that I was excluded, then I resigned! I have not resigned.”   The Osinbajo’s spokesman said that in continuation of the Next Level engagements, the Vice President visited Ikeja, Lagos State, where he met with the Hausa community.  He further stated that, “He then proceeded to Yola, in Adamawa State, where he met a group of Christian leaders “On his return to Lagos yesterday night, the Vice President held an interactive session with young Christian leaders at Muson Center, Onikan, where he spoke on the fake news.   “Prof. Osinbajo continues the Next Level engagements and is expected in Kwara and Abia states later today (yesterday).BENGBENRO NEWS

Okorocha’s son-in-law’s party pledges one million votes for Buhari in Imo

The Chairman of the Imo state chapter of the Action Alliance (AA), Anthony Ahaneku, Thursday said that the party in the state is supporting the re-election bid of President Muhammadu Buhari irrespective of the position of the national leadership of the party.

The Action Alliance offered Governor Rochas Okorocha’s son-in-law, Uche Nwosu the governorship ticket.

Ahaneku, speaking at a press briefing in Owerri, said that there was no justifiable reason for the party in Imo state not to support Buhari’s re-election.

He said, “The Imo state chapter of the Action Alliance was quoted wrongly in the media.We are supporting Buhari for the rescheduled presidential polls and nobody else

“The Imo state chapter of the Action Alliance in conjunction with other well meaning Imo people will deliver no fewer than one million votes for president Muhammadu Buhari in Imo state on Saturday.”

“We are not apologetic about our support for president Muhammadu Buhari. Apart from being a man of integrity, Buhari has proved that if reelected he will fix Nigeria and make it a country of good people and not corrupt politicians.”

The chairman said that to ensure that the president wins the rescheduled presidential polls in the state, said all the members of the party in the 27 LGAs of the state were being mobilised and directed to vote massively for Buhari.

I didn’t resign as Vice President, says Osinbajo

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has dismissed the rumour making the rounds about his resignation from office for being allegedly sidelined in the scheme of things in the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration.

Osinbajo’s absence at Buhari’s meeting with security chiefs on Tuesday fuelled speculation on social media on Thursday that he has resigned citing misunderstanding with the cabal in the Presidency.

But Osinbajo took to his official twitter handle to dismiss the report and attributing it to mischief makers, who he said are bent on creating rifts and tension within top officials of the current administration.

He wrote: “Misleading/FAKE news is on the rise especially in this season when Nigerians will make a choice about who will govern them for the next four years.

“I have not resigned!

“I remain committed to the service of the Nigerian people under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari.”

He added a video explaining why he was not at the meeting between security chiefs and presidential officials.

Addressing the rumour at a forum meeting on Thursday morning, Osinbajo said: “There is deliberate propaganda. Today, they’ve been spreading some information around that I’ve resigned.

“They said I’ve resigned; they said I didn’t attend the security meeting yesterday.

“I was in my office… What time do I have? Must I attend every meeting? Can’t the President hold a meeting with security chiefs without me?

“They said I was so angry that they didn’t bring me to that security meeting — I was excluded — so I resigned.”

He went on to explain that he was aware of the security meeting but couldn’t attend because of official engagements.

The Vice President assured that he remained committed to working with Buhari to move the nation forward.BENGBENRO NEWS

Buharinomics: 10 salient facts to know

The Fourth Quarter 2018 Gross Domestic Product (GDP) results released recently by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) show that the Muhammadu Buhari administration has put the Nigerian economy on firm, solid footing. Here are 10 salient points to note about Buharinomics:

*The economy has recorded continued progress since it emerged from recession in 2017. Current result shows a Real GDP growth of 2.38% compared to 1.81% in Q3 last year, representing the strongest growth since the economy slipped into recession in 2016.

*For more than five decades, Nigeria has paid lip service to diversifying the economy, from sole dependence on oil. The latest result shows that economic growth has continued to be driven by the non-oil sector, which grew by 2.70% in Q4 2018, up from 2.32% in Q3 2018. It represents the strongest growth in the sector since Q4 2015.

*The non-oil GDP growth was driven by Quarrying and Other Minerals, followed by Telecommunications, Agriculture, Manufacturing, and Construction. That is diversification in progress, real time, no matter what the naysayers may say.

For more than five decades, Nigeria has paid lip service to diversifying the economy, from sole dependence on oil. The latest result shows that economic growth has continued to be driven by the non-oil sector, which grew by 2.70% in Q4 2018, up from 2.32% in Q3 2018. It represents the strongest growth in the sector since Q4 2015.

*While the non-oil sector actually drove GDP growth, the oil sector contracted with crude oil and gas GDP reducing by -1.62%. This shows that with good governance, focus, prudence and accountability, the life of the country need not depend on oil ad infinitum.

*The NBS report further shows that Services GDP growth recorded its best performance in 11 quarters, growing by 2.90% compared to 2.64% in Q3 2018 and 0.10% in Q4 2017. Overall, while growth in the economy was moderated by the contraction in the oil sector, 39 out of 46 economic activities recorded positive growth in the quarter under review.

*The improved GDP growth can be attributed to Government’s continuous implementation of the policy initiatives in the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP), which has boosted the performance of the non-oil sector.

*The growth in Q4 2018 GDP is consistent with the improvements in other macroeconomic indicators, including inflation, capital inflows, foreign trade, external reserves, amongst others.

*Headline inflation has been trending downwards from 18.55% as at December 2016 to 15.37% in December 2017 and further to 11.44% in December 2018.

Those who do not see any good in something not initiated by them toil endlessly to hoodwink Nigerians into believing that nothing good is happening on the economic front. But facts are stubborn things. The more they try to deny the facts, the more they rudely stare at them in the face.

*The total value of capital importation into Nigeria stood at $2,140 million in the fourth quarter of 2018. This translates to a full year capital inflow of $16.812 billion compared to $12.228 billion in 2017.

*Although the economy is now growing, more must be done to deepen its diversification and make it less vulnerable to external shocks. That is an unflinching commitment of the Muhammadu Buhari administration.

Those who do not see any good in something not initiated by them toil endlessly to hoodwink Nigerians into believing that nothing good is happening on the economic front. But facts are stubborn things. The more they try to deny the facts, the more they rudely stare at them in the face.

With the Buhari administration, economic Eldorado beckons. Nigeria is inexorably set for that Next Level.

Senate 2019: Orji Kalu says his popularity will give him victory

Dr Orji Kalu, the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate for Abia North senatorial zone, says he will emerge  victorious at the National Assembly poll scheduled for Saturday, Feb.23.

Mr Kunle Oyewumi of Orji Kalu Campaign Group, via a statement made available to the News Agency of Nigeria(NAN) in Abuja, said Kalu spoke, while addressing his supporters in his country home, Igbere.

Kalu said that his popularity across the state would give him victory to enable him provide quality representation to the zone.

The former governor also said that people of the zone, would vehemently resist any attempt by anybody to rig the elections.

According to him, as a firm believer in democracy, I do not have to connive with officials of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) before winning any election.

The former governor also said that the incumbent Senator, Mao Ohuabunwa, did not deserve to be re-elected as he was in Abuja for sightseeing.

He stressed that in a free contest, Ohuabunwa would never defeat him.

“My goodwill in Abia will give me victory in a free, fair and credible poll.

“I am not afraid of election because of my popularity.

“My antecedents and accomplishments in all spheres of life will continue to speak for me.

“I have paid my dues in business, politics and philanthropy.

“My desire to represent the people of Abia North in the red chamber is borne out of my passion for community service and good governance.

“During my stint as governor of Abia, I offered free education and free healthcare.

“Salaries and pensions were paid on or before 25th of every month.

“I understand the challenges of our people and I have the right contacts and political sagacity to take our communities to the Next Level,’’ Kalu said.

The former governor called on INEC, security agencies and other stakeholders to be vigilant to ensure the exercise was not manipulated.

According to him, Abia people are tired of falsification of election results.

“We must remain vigilant to frustrate any plan by anyone to thump-print ballot papers and fill result sheets before the poll,’’ he said.

Kalu further urged the electorate not to take the law into their hands in spite intimidation and molestation by those who are bent on rigging the election.

He also emphasised the need to beef up security in Abia in order to forestall any plan to manipulate the electoral process.

Elections: Buratai reads riot act, directs commanders

The Chief of Army Staff, Gen. Tukur Buratai, has directed commanders to deal decisively with anyone caught doing anything that will be inimical to the success of the election.

At a meeting with principal officers and commanders of the Nigerian Army in Abuja on Wednesday, he said the army was taking a proactive approach to stop election crimes such as ballot box snatching and violence.

He also directed the commanders to ensure the restrictions of movement within their commands and also carry out a stop and search, anyone found culpable should be handed over to the police.

He said that there would be no military escorts for politicians especially retired military during the general elections.

Buratai warned that should any officer have any doubt as to his or her loyalty to the Nigerian state such a person has until February 22, 2019, to resign.

President Muhammadu Buhari had earlier ordered security operatives to “deal ruthlessly” with anyone who attempts to snatch ballot box during the rescheduled general elections on Saturday, February 23, 2019.

The President said he had ordered security agencies to prepare to crack down on potential trouble makers during the rescheduled elections.

He said that he had briefed the law enforcement agencies and the military, who have identified the hot spots and flashpoints.

$4m puts Atiku’s man in trouble

The Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) is reported to have arrested an associate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate,Atiku Abubakar, over alleged laundering of $4 million.

The money is termed “suspicious election cash”, the Nation said.

The arrest followed an intelligence report on a suspicious transaction by a Bureau De Change (BDC) operator.

The Nation had exclusively reported how the PDP reportedly allocated $3million each for “logistics” to its 36 state branches and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

Most Bureau De Change operators and banks have, however, refused the “pressure” to convert the hard currency to Naira.

“A BDC operator was intercepted for shipping $2million from Abuja to Lagos for suspected money laundering,’’ Sources in EFCC is reported to have said.

The source said the BDC operator admitted that the suspect paid the Naira equivalent of $4 million into his account in exchange for hard currency.

“We invited the suspect for interrogation on Monday and Tuesday. Our detectives have also conducted a search of his home. Some useful documents were retrieved. Investigation is, however, still in progress.”

“Apart from documents relating to posh properties at home and abroad, a copy of the EFCC Investigation Report on Atiku’s relationship with a jailed U.S. lawmaker, Williams Jefferson, was retrieved.’’

Nigerians in diaspora beg Boko Haram to free Leah Sharibu

The Nigerians In Diaspora Organisation Americas (NIDOA) USA, has appealed for the release of Miss Leah Sharibu who was abducted in 2018 by a faction of the Boko Haram terrorists group.

NIDO, in a statement by its Board Chairman, Ms Patience Key, said it was disheartening that Sharibu was still being held in captivity by the factional Boko Haram terrorist group after one year.

“NIDO remembers and is deeply saddened by the predicament of Leah Sharibu,” the statement said.

“We call on the Nigerian government, Nigerians and the international community to unequivocally and forcefully denounce the continued captivity of Leah Sharibu, and to do everything in their power to secure her unconditional release.”

NIDO condemned all forms of terrorist atrocities, and and unequivocally denounced the practices of targeting schools and attacking children, it said.

“At no time and under no circumstance should a child, or any human being, ever be subjected to such brutal and inhumane violence and terror.

NIDO regretted that Feb. 19 marked one year that Sharibu had been held captive because of her refusal to renounce her faith.

“NIDOA USA, Nigeria and the international community must continue to insist on Leah Sharibu’s unconditional release, and ensure she returns and reunites with her heartbroken parents,” it noted.

The organisation condemned the activities of Boko Haram terrorists and any group involved in the devaluation of life and rights of Nigerians.

Leah Sharibu was abducted on Feb. 19, 2018, alongside 109 other children by Boko Haram terrorists during an attack on the Government Girls’ Science and Technical College, Dapchi, Yobe.

Magazine demands payment of N5m debt from Shehu Sani

A Nigerian newsmagazine has demanded from Senator Shehu Sani, who represents Kaduna Central, the redemption of a N5 million advertisement debt owed since March 2018.

TheNEWS in a press statement said it decided to go public after many fruitless efforts to make the Senator to honour his promise as a gentleman, a much acclaimed human rights activist, social critic and a highly respected national legislator.

According to Independent Communications Network, publisher of the magazine, the company explored personal contacts to persuade Sani to pay. He did not.

“TheNEWS wrote a letter dated 29 November 2018, to the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, to intervene. Nothing happened”, the magazine’s editor, Ademola Adegbamigbe said.

As the last resort, the magazine’s lawyer, Barrister Umudjoro, of Umudjoro & Co, wrote a letter to Senator Sani, dated 7 February 2019, threatening legal action over the debt.

“Take notice that we shall not hesitate to seek legal remedies in a court of competent jurisdiction if you refuse/neglect to accede to our client’s demand within two weeks of the receipt of this letter. Pay up and avoid the negative publicity usually associated with litigations of this nature”, Umudjoro wrote the Senator.

The lawyer recalled how Sani, in company of his media aide, Comrade Abubakar Ahmed, walked into the magazine’s office in Ikeja, Lagos last year March and asked for the publication of 10-page advertorial at a cost of N5million.

The publication involved deployment of staff to Kaduna state to report on the Senator’s constituency projects.

“In addition to the publication highlighting the constituency projects, the magazine published an extensive interview you granted to its editors which turned out to be very explosive, nationally and internationally. Need we say, you had full coverage as you had desired and wished for”

“Unfortunately, eleven months down the line, you have neglected or refused to pay the debt of Five Million Naira (N5,000,000.00) accrued from the publication and all efforts made by our clients to persuade you to liquidate the debt, have yielded no fruit”, Umudjoro said.

PDP’s position on ballot snatching indicates it wants to rig

Presidency has said the kick against President Muhammadu Buhari’s position on ballot box snatchers by the opposition, especially Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), sounded as if it had perfected plans to rig the elections and to snatch ballot boxes.

“This sounds like members of the opposition, specifically the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP who have perfected plans to rig the elections and to snatch ballot boxes.

A statement by the Presidential Media Office on Tuesday said: “They can tell that President Buhari is not prepared to tolerate their antics this time around, and they are afraid. They have shown their intent,” he said.

The Presidency has reiterated President Buhari’s comment that anyone who dares to snatch ballot boxes during next weekend’s elections will be doing this for the last time.

It said President Buhari’s position should be seen as a strong message against the long history of savagery associated with elections in the country.

Speaking to State House Correspondents on Monday, presidential spokesperson, Mallam Garba Shehu, recalled some past elections in parts of Nigeria, during which innocent voters lost their lives while ballot boxes were being snatched by armed thugs.

“Snatching ballot boxes often entails putting the lives of innocent Nigerians at risk.

“About 10 years ago, evidence was brought before an election tribunal from one of the states in North Central of the gruesome killing of 26 prospective voters by ballot box snatchers.

“Their modus operandi is well known. They storm election venues in commando style, overwhelm the law-enforcement agents and seize ballot boxes leaving a trail of death and injury,” Shehu said.

According to him anyone who dares to put the lives of innocent citizens at risk in their desperation to rig elections, must be prepared for the possibility of losing their own lives because our security agents will certainly not stand by, clap for them and watch them kill and maim.

He added that President Buhari had the safety and security of Nigerians uppermost in mind when he made the comment, and should be praised rather than criticised for issuing this stern warning to potential ballot box snatchers.

The presidential spokesperson noted that no one had anything to fear from the President’s comments if their conscience and intentions are clear.

“Let’s just have free and fair elections and no one need worry about anything,” he said.