Leave Buhari Alone, Pray More, Kinsmen Beg Nigerians, PDP Now In The Hands Of Looters! And other major headlines you missed today

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PDP Now In The Hands Of Looters – Sheriff 
Former National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, has said that the party has been returned to those he described as treasury looters.

He also denied media reports  that he had congratulated the Chairman of the party’s National Caretaker Committee, Senator Ahmed Makarfi, over his victory at the Supreme Court on Wednesday.

He denied having any Twitter account, where the alleged message was taken from. The Supreme Court had in its judgment, upheld the constitution of the caretaker committee and endorsed the removal of Sheriff at the party’s national convention, held in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, in May 2016.

The judgment, therefore, ended the 14-month battle for the leadership of the party, which was the country’s ruling party from 1999 to 2015. The crisis in the party led to the defection of some of its members to other parties, and during the time the leadership tussle was going on, it lost the governorship elections in Ondo and Edo states to the All Progressives Congress.

The spokesperson for the Makarfi-led committee, Prince Dayo Adeyeye, had on Thursday said it was offering Sheriff and his group “amnesty”, adding that nobody would be punished for the loss which the party had suffered since the beginning of the crisis. He, however, warned that the party would not condone further negative actions by Sheriff and his group.

But Sheriff, who spoke through the spokesperson for the National Working Committee sacked by the Supreme Court, Mr. Bernard Mikko, said it was wrong for the Makarfi-led caretaker committee to have said the PDP would grant him and members of his former executive committee “amnesty”.

Others in Sheriff’s camp include the party’s former National Secretary, Prof. Wale Oladipo; Sheriff’s deputy, Dr. Cairo Ojougboh, and some members of the National Assembly.

The Sheriff-led faction also had the support of some state chapters of the party and some governors.

Mikko, in a message sent to our correspondent, described Adeyeye’s statement as reckless, saying that “amnesty” ought to be given to those who had committed offence against the party.

He said that Sheriff and his group did not occupy the national secretariat of the party illegally, adding that the party belonged to all.

He said, “I take exception to the reckless statement credited to Prince Dayo Adeyeye, suggesting that amnesty has been granted to Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, his National Working Committee and supporters. Amnesty is a reprieve for those who have committed offence under our statute.”

According to Mikko, Sheriff and his camp were forced to vacate the party’s national secretariat by the police.

He said, “However, the office was officially reopened for us after we presented the Certified True Copy of the judgment of the Court of Appeal, Port Harcourt Division, to the Inspector- General of Police.

“I am, therefore, concerned about the future of our party in the hands of some of those who are known to have pending criminal cases, bordering (on) fraud, treasury looting and dishonesty, with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

“The Supreme Court of Nigeria is the highest court in our land and we await the copy of the full judgment delivered on July 12, 2017.

“No one owns the party and those making unguarded and reckless statements in the public domain should realise that the solution to the problem of Nigeria is beyond any political association. Unacceptable and unjustifiable means cannot lead to a justifiable and acceptable end.”

On the alleged congratulatory message to Makarfi and his group, Mikko described “the alleged congratulatory message credited to an imaginary Twitter handle of Sheriff” as a fraud.

He said, “For the avoidance of doubt, Senator Sheriff does not have or own a Twitter account and could not have tweeted any message.

“We, therefore, view the said message as fake and mischievous and should be regarded as that of evil doers.

“We further warn all mischief-makers to desist from trying to exploit the huge political capital of Senator Sheriff for selfish gains.”

In its reaction, the Makarfi-led committee said it would no longer allow Sheriff and his group to distract it, adding that it would henceforth devote its time to building the party.

It also said its time would be spent constructively criticising the APC-led Federal Government.

Adeyeye also said the PDP no longer had factions.

He said, “I will no longer engage them. Supreme Court is the final arbiter and it has pronounced that there is no faction in the PDP.

“We have done the right thing by offering our hands of fellowship to them. We won’t engage them any longer because we are now one.”

 FG’ll Resolve Issue Of Poor Power Supply – Osinbajo
The acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, has said that the Federal Government is working assiduously to solve the challenge of epileptic power supply in the country, in order to boost the manufacturing sector of the economy.

He said this on Thursday at Ososa, Ogun State, during the facility tour of an indigenous company, Rite Foods Limited, which produces sausages and beverages.

Osinbajo, who spoke with journalists after the tour, allayed the fears of manufacturers about power supply, promising that the Federal Government was working at resolving the nagging problem of poor power supply.

He, however, commended the management of the company for producing products that could compete globally with locally sourced materials.

The acting President said he did not believe there was a problem of trust with goods manufactured in Nigeria.

He said he was proud of genuine local investors with a high sense of patriotism and the spirit of hard work and entrepreneurial development.

He said, “I don’t think there is a problem of trust for a world class product. This is a great enterprise; we have seen that the product is all over the country.

“There are few problems, such as power and all of that, which we hope are going to be resolved.

“This is a classic example of the Nigerian spirit of hard work and entrepreneurship.”

Osinbajo later attended the 7th edition of the Federal Government Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise Clinics for Viable Enterprises, held in Abeokuta, where he highlighted some of the government’s policies on economic development.

Addressing small and medium scale businessmen in Abeokuta, Osinbajo disclosed that the Federal government would soon open a one-stop shop for all the regulatory agencies in Ogun State to stimulate economic growth.

The Managing Director, Rite Foods Limited, Mr. Seleem Adegunwa, said the company was faced with the challenge of power supply, as it was not connected to the national grid and had to run on generators.

He said the high cost of power generation had eaten into the company’s profit, adding that despite that, it was competing favourably in terms of product quality.

He said, “We have provided employment for over 1,000 people directly and so many others indirectly.

“Since the company came to this community, it has brought unprecedented economic growth to the area and has also reduced crime rate.”
Woman Fakes Own Kidnap To Force Husband To Relocate Her To US 
37-year-old woman, Bukola Ogun, said she planned her own kidnap in order to scare her husband into relocating her and children to the United States.

The Oyo State Commissioner of Police, Abiodun Odude, said while parading the suspect and others at the state police headquarters in Ibadan on Friday that Ogun conspired with three other persons, including her cousin, to arrange the crime.

He said, “The Special Anti-Robbery Squad of the command arrested a business woman who conspired with a three-man gang to orchestrate her own kidnap in order to fraudulently obtain money from her husband, Kayode Ogun, who lives with her in Ibadan.

“The incident happened on July 4, 2017 at around 7.45pm when three armed hoodlums stormed the residence of the supposed victim and kidnapped her. Barely four hours later, the suspects contacted the husband and demanded a N10m for her release.

“The husband, who did not know that it was all arranged by his wife, contacted the police and a manhunt was launched for the hoodlums. Two male suspects were later arrested.”

The suspects arrested are Kayode Adepoju and Olalekan Anafi. Ogun said that her husband, who has dual citizenship of Nigeria and the US, worked for the stock exchange and that the whole thing started like a joke. She added that she lodged herself in a hotel at Imalefalafia area of Ibadan.

“I just woke up one day and thought of a way to make my husband see reason why he should use his American citizen status to take me out of the country. It all started like a child’s play. I told my supposed abductors to tell my husband that the ransom was N10m although I knew he would not be able to pay such money. He is just a salary earner. I lodged myself in a hotel and I was there for two days. I went back home on the third day and no ransom was paid.”

Punch correspondent gathered that the husband, who resided in the US for many years before returning home a few years ago, had already begun the process of relocating the family to the US but the wife thought the process was too slow. They have been married for six years and blessed with two children.

The cousin, Adepoju, said, “She called me and said she wanted to stage her kidnap. She said she wanted to scare her husband with it so that he would see reason why it was necessary for him to take her abroad. We did not collect any money from the husband and we did not use any weapon in the operation. I was arrested a day after we kidnapped her.”


I’d Have Burnt My PDP Card, Flag If Sheriff Had Won - Fayose

The Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, said he would have burnt his Peoples Democratic Party’s membership card and the party’s flag if Senator Ali Modu Sheriff had won at the Supreme Court on Wednesday.

The Chairman, PDP Governors Forum said he went to court with a perfume with the intent to destroy the card and the party’s flag.

He said, “I never imagined myself being in the same party with impostors.” The Supreme Court in a unanimous judgement delivered on Wednesday declared Senator Ahmed Makarfi as the authentic Chairman of the party.

Speaking in Ado Ekiti yesterday the governor, who pointed out that Sheriff and members of his faction had been forgiven, said they must show remorse for causing the party members so much pains.

“I went to court with a perfume which I wanted to use to spray my cards and party flags and set them ablaze even within the court premises if Sheriff had won, that was why I went to court.

“Though I believe that we remain the same PDP family but no one can cause our party such pains and embarrassment and expect that he would go without being asked to account for his actions.

“Even the reactions of Sheriff people shows that we remain together. But the no victor, no vanquished that we said was a mere political slogan. Whoever that participated in this charade must show some reasonable level of remorse for their actions,” he said.

With the Makarfi’s victory, the governor said the PDP would be revived and fortified to play its opposition roles so as to dislodge President Muhammadu Buhari and Acting President Yemi Osinbajo in the 2019 presidential poll.

“Our party had ever remained one indissoluble family. It was only these impostors that were causing troubles but such had been laid to rest. PDP is a formidable force and we shall work up to the grassroots level to convince our people that we are up to the task of rebuilding this nation and win election in 2019”.

Fayose said his presidential ambition was still much alive.

“I am an early starter and that has been my style of politics. In 2003, I started earlier and I defeated Otunba Niyi Adebayo and likewise Dr Kayode Fayemi in 2014.

“I want to tell you that the APC won’t return to the Villa. We shall defeat both Buhari and Osinbajo, we are removing the two together and I want you to believe this.

“When I talk, people would say I always pose like a Nostradamus – a man who can see tomorrow. Whether they like it or not, I shall be in the Villa in 2019, so my ambition is very much alive,” he added.

Leave Buhari Alone, Pray More, Kinsmen Beg Nigerians

As uncertainty continues to grow over President Muhammadu Buhari’s health condition in the United Kingdom, his kinsmen in Daura have asked that Nigerians should intensify prayers for the President and accord him his privacy.

A cross-section of the President’s kinsmen expressed the view during the week when Saturday Punch visited Daura, his hometown in Katsina State.

At the palace of the Emir of Daura, Alhaji Umar Farouq Umar, a senior official who didn’t give his name, said Nigerians should continue to support the President in prayers and respect his privacy.

He said, “We offer prayers for him here on a daily basis and every Jumaat; we pray for him in the mosques and eagerly look forward to his safe return to Nigeria very soon.”

Also, an official in the Daura Local Government secretariat, Alhaji Haliru Majigiri, who described the President as a father figure to many residents of the town, begged Nigerians to allow Buhari to rest and regain his health in the UK.

According to him, Nigerians should intensify prayers for the President.

He said, “We are talking about the nation’s president and not an ordinary Nigerian. The government has the right to either disclose details of his health status or not. The government can also decide not to disclose the amount it has spent on him. People should allow him to recover since he handed over to the Vice President before leaving the country.

“I will still appeal to every Nigerian to offer more prayers for the President’s recovery. He is like a father to all of us here in Daura. All I would say is that we should all continue to pray for his recovery.”

To Mallam Abdulilyas Kareem, a public commentator based in the state, what President Buhari deserves from Nigerians are prayers and not additional trouble. Kareem described calls for the public disclosure of the President’s health status as a distraction and a waste of time.

He said, “It is an open secret that President Buhari is a lone ranger in his fight against corruption and he is doing all he could to put a stop to the problem. But now that he is ill and out of the country for treatment, political jobbers have turned the issue to unnecessary distraction and political issues instead of assisting in continuing with the fight against corruption so that we can salvage the country.

“Personally, I will urge Nigerians not to relent in their prayers for the President’s recovery for the sake of the progress of the country.”

Also, Katsina State Chairman, Nigeria Labour Congress, Mallam Tanimu  Saulawa, said, “I believe the President had done what was expected of him constitutionally before his medical trip. This is our President and Nigerians, irrespective of tribe or religion, should show the spirit of nationalism.

“We should rather intensify prayers for him for his recovery because the national responsibilities on him are enormous.’’

Some elders in Daura, namely: Alhaji Lawan Saidu, Alhaji Ahmed Haroun and Alhaji Seidu Awalu, who spoke with Saturday Punch, also expressed the same view, saying the President should be left alone to recuperate.

“Anyone can be sick, so why is everybody attacking the President as if he is not a human being? The last time he was in the country, he told Nigerians that he was ill and had never been that ill, so what else do you want him to do?” Awalu asked.

The community leaders also urged Nigerians to intensify prayers to God to grant Buhari good health.

Ahmed Garba and Mohammed Salisu, who are both students at the School of Health Technology, Daura, also called on Nigerians to leave Buhari alone, adding that the President should not heed calls for his resignation as they believed he still had a lot to offer Nigerians.

“As human beings, we all fall ill at one time or the other, so people should leave the President alone,” Garba said.

A commercial driver in the town, Kamar Majigini, also called for a united Nigeria, adding that Buhari “should be left in peace to regain his health.”

Katsina-based civil society organisations, the state chapter of the National Conscience Party and others have criticised Fayose and Fani-Kayode for their comments against the President.

Although they supported the calls for the government to be more open with Nigerians about Buhari’s health, they lambasted those calling for the President’s resignation.

For instance, the state Chairman of the Coalition of Civil Society Organisations, Dr. Bashir Ruwangodya, said he was saddened by the comments made by Fayose and Fani-Kayode, which he described as sentimental, political and bad for the nation’s progress.

Ruwangodya said, “I am saddened by the comments of Governor Fayose and Chief Fani-Kayode doubting the Acting President’s claims on the health of President Buhari. They have introduced politics and sentiments into the whole development instead of being realistic. Osinbajo has demonstrated his commitment and neutrality on the matter.”

He, however, said that as Nigeria’s President, issues concerning Buhari should be made known to Nigerians.

The chairperson of the state chapter of a non-governmental organisation, ‘Women for Peace,’ Hajiya Halima Dangiwa, said all inquiries regarding the nature of the President’s ailment, the amount so far spent on his treatment, and sundry issues, should be reserved for Buhari to answer when he returns.

She said, “Nigerians should continue with their prayers for the recovery of the President. We should wait for him till when he recovers and returns to the country before raising all the issues concerning his sickness. As a mother and as a Nigerian, my concern is for the recovery of President Buhari and I enjoin every patriotic Nigerian to continue to pray for him.”

But the Chairman of the National Conscience Party in the state, Mallam Abdul Shehu Sani, said Fayose and Fani-Kayode were entitled to their opinions but called for caution.

Sani said, “Both Fayose and Fani-Kayode are entitled to their calls for the true status of President Buhari’s health. Their demands are in line with the principles of transparency and accountability of the present regime. But I believe this is the time Nigerians should see themselves as one and forge a common front.”

He, nonetheless, implored Nigerians to continue to pray for the recovery of the President.

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