2023: Labour Party has not Released Manifesto – Peter Obi

The presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi says his party is yet to formally release his manifesto for the 2023 presidential election.

Obi’s comment was against the backdrop of a viral document purported as his manifesto.

However, in a tweet on Monday, Obi asked the public to disregard the document in circulation, saying that he will personally release his manifesto at the appropriate time.

“We have not formally released our Manifesto. I will do so personally. It seems an earlier draft copy under review has made its way into the public space. Until I release the approved and final draft, please disregard what is being circulated,” he tweeted.

The former Anambra State governor started his campaigns on Saturday in Lafia, the Nasarawa State capital and promised to solve Nigeria’s flood challenge as well as ensure the country attains sufficiency in food production if elected in 2023.

Obi is in the race alongside other frontline candidates such as Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).


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2023: Adebanjo insists on Obi regardless Fasoranti’s support for Tinubu

Pa Ayo Adebanjo, leader of Pan Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, on Monday, restated support for the 2023 presidential ambition of Labour Party’s Peter Obi.

Adebanjo told Channels Television that his stance on Obi remains despite the endorsement of All Progressives Congress presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu by his predecessor, Pa Reuben Fasoranti.

Tinubu visited Fasoranti on Sunday at his residence in Ondo State where the nonagenarian ‘anointed’ him.

However, 94-year-old Adebanjo, who succeeded Fasoranti as Afenifere leader last year, said while he won’t want to join issues with his predecessor, Obi remains his choice candidate for the February 2023 presidential poll.

“My stand on Obi remains,” Adebanjo told Channels Television in a telephone chat on Monday.

Last month, Adebanjo said to keep Nigeria one in 2023, every Nigeria should be “Obi-Datti compliant”. Obi is running for Aso Rock’s top job alongside Datti Baba-Ahmed.

He also said he won’t compromise his cherished principles of justice, equity, and inclusiveness.

“The South-West has produced a president and currently sits as vice-president, the South-South has spent a total of six years in the presidency but the Igbo people of the South-East have never tasted presidency in Nigeria, and now that the power is due back in the South, equity demands that it be ceded to the Igbo.

“We cannot continue to demand that the Igbo people remain in Nigeria, while we at the same time continue to brutally marginalize and exclude them from the power dynamic.

“Peter Obi is the person of Igbo extraction that Afenifere has decided to support and back, he is the man we trust to restructure the country back to federalism on the assumption of office.

“We will not compromise this principle of justice, equity, and inclusiveness because one of our own Asiwaju Bola Tinubu is a frontline candidate,” he said.


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Enugu auto crash: Passengers burnt to death

Many passengers were reportedly burnt to death in a fatal accident in Enugu State.

The auto crash happened on Sunday night around 9:30 pm along Enugu/Port-Harcourt road near the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Ituku-Ozalla.

The Federal Road Safety Corps has confirmed the accident describing it as unfortunate.

Although FRSC could not provide the causality figure, reports claimed that 13 passengers were burnt beyond recognition.

It was gathered that the accident involved a 14-seater bus said to be travelling from Imo State to Adamawa. The vehicle reportedly ran into a trailer before bursting into flames.

Confirming the incident, Enugu State Sector Commander, FRSC, Mr. Joseph Toby, told our correspondent that the operation was still ongoing at the scene of the accident.

According to him, any figure out there is false and speculative.

He said, “My boys are still at the accident scene. It was a commercial vehicle that was involved in the crash that caused a fire. So, my people are still there, as I am telling you now, we don’t know the exact number of persons that were involved and I don’t want to start giving wrong information.

“But as soon as details are gathered, we will post it online. We don’t know the number of persons that were involved. It happened yesterday night. Throughout the night we were there with the fire service to make sure we put out the fire but because of the sit-at-home order, we found it difficult to go there this morning, eventually, I have taken my boys and we are there now. Any number you see is just speculation because we have to be very sure of what we give to the public.”

He, however, described the incident as unfortunate.


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India bridge accident – Buhari sends condolences

President Muhammadu Buhari, on Monday expressed heartfelt condolences to the government and people of India following reports that at least 141 people have died after a British-era bridge in Gujarat’s Morbi collapsed on Sunday evening.

Apart from those that died, 177 of the 500 have been saved and teams are searching for several others who are still missing.

Buhari’s condolence was contained in a statement signed by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu.

The president said, “On behalf of the government and people of Nigeria, I wish to express my profound sorrow and sincere sympathy to the Prime Minister, families of the deceased, and the people of India following this tragic incident.”

He however prayed for recovery of all the persons who suffered injuries.


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Create nomadic affairs ministry – Miyetti Allah

• Slams Ortom over anti-grazing law

Socio-cultural group, Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore Fulani Association, on Monday, called for the establishment of a ‘Federal Ministry of Nomadic Affairs’ with a mandate to broaden educational opportunities and address pastoralist challenges.

The group also knocked the Governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom, over his stance on the anti-grazing law.

Miyetti Allah stated this in a communique issued Monday and jointly signed by its National President, Abdullahi Bodejo, and its National Secretary, Mr. Saleh Alhassan, at the end of the expanded National Executive Meeting with State Chairmen of the association held in Abuja.

It also demanded the immediate designation, gazetting and development of all the 415 grazing reserves across the country.

It said: “The meeting called for the immediate designation, gazetting and development of all the 415 grazing reserves across the states of the Federation as the only first strategic step in addressing the challenges confronting Fulani herders in Nigeria.

“This will include building of earth dams and solar boreholes. Building of veterinary clinics. Development of dairy (milk) collection centres.”

The group noted with dismay the recent massacre of Fulani pastoralists in Taraba State and called on the Inspector-General of Police to set up a high-powered panel to unmask those responsible for the dastardly acts and ensure justice is done to the victims’ families to avoid people resorting to self-help.

“The meeting dismissed the consistent claims of farmers-herders conflicts as a major setback of instability and insecurity in Nigeria. But rather the conflicts are exacerbated by activities of states sponsored vigilantes and tribal hordes who willfully continue to carry out extra-judicial killings of Fulani pastoralists.

“The leadership of the association also condemned the continuous profiling of Fulani pastoralists by Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, through the anti-grazing law. It said the governor had been using the law to officially confiscate and auction cattle belonging to Fulanis in Benue-Nasarawa and Benue-Taraba border communities”.


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BREAKING: Buhari goes to London for medical routine check

The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), will on Monday, October 31, depart Abuja for London, the United Kingdom for a routine medical check-up.

This comes shortly after he presided over an emergency meeting with security chiefs at the State House, Abuja.

According to a tweet by the President’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, Buhari is expected back in the country in the “second week of November.”

Monday’s trip will be one of several medical trips the President has embarked on since assuming office in 2015; spending at least 212 days abroad.

On February 5, 2016, eight months after being sworn in, the President took his first medical trip to London, the United Kingdom, spending six days between February 5 and 10.

Buhari’s second medical trip would follow four months later on June 6, 2016.

He spent 10 days treating an ear infection after which he rested for three extra days before returning on June 19, 2016.

On January 19, 2017, the President embarked on his second-longest medical trip. Before leaving, however, he wrote to the Saraki-led Senate revealing his plan to travel to London on a 10-day vacation.

In the letter, Buhari said he would hand over to his Vice, Professor Yemi Osinbajo. Though the medical holiday was due to commence on January 23, 2017, Buhari left Abuja the same day.

On March 10, 2017, he returned to the country. The trip lasted 50 days.

In May of the same year, barely two months after his last trip, the president departed for London for his longest medical pilgrimage lasting 104 days.

It is still unclear what ailment he was being treated for but the country was advised to “pray” for the President.

What followed were speculations and rife misinformation about his health status, with some presuming him dead and replaced with a body double.

The long treatment must have helped as the President would not visit London for another medical checkup until a year later in May 2018 when he spent four days on “medical review.”

In late March 2021, Buhari departed for London again for a “routine medical check-up,” which lasted 15 days.

His trip came amid a labour crisis in the health sector which saw members of the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors commencing on an indefinite strike over the unpaid allowance.

On March 6, 2022, the President jetted out to London for a two-week medical trip which lasted 12 days.

Earlier, Buhari was scheduled to visit London from Nairobi, Kenya where he was attending the United Nations Environmental Programme at 50.

He, however, returned to Nigeria on Friday, March 4, but departed for London on Sunday, March 6.

Earlier, the president’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, had announced that Buhari would proceed to London from Kenya for “routine medical checks that will last for a maximum of two weeks.”

Mr. Adesina has defended Buhari’s medical trips abroad saying he “has used the same medical team for about 40 years.”

He also said it is advisable that the President stays with the team that has his medical history.


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Angry workers transfer N483bn to new PFAs

No fewer than 109,522 workers have transferred their Retirement Savings Accounts to other Pension Fund Administrators since the National Pension Commission opened the transfer window in 2020.

Findings by The PUNCH revealed that the workers moved N483.3bn RSAs for different reasons.

The National Pension Commission disclosed this in its report titled ‘Quarterly Summary of Retirement Savings Accounts Transferred by Pension Fund Administrators’.

According to the figures, 2,799, 12,681 and 10,166 workers transferred N18.9bn, N47.78bn, and N35.89bn in the Q4 of 2020, Q1 of 2021 and Q2 of 2021,

Similarly, 12,872, 12,874, 12,336 and 14,821 transferred N45.56bn, N42.49bn, N36.36bn and N50.22bn in Q3 of 2021, Q4 of 2021, Q1 of 2022 and Q2 of 2022.

As more awareness rises on the transfer window, PenCom’s figures revealed that 30,973 workers moved N143.1bn in the third quarter of 2022.

Section 13 of the Pension Reform Act 2014 specifies that a Retirement Savings Account holder may transfer his RSA from one PFA to another.

It adds that such transfers should not be more than once a year.

According to the pension industry regulator, the PFAs must only process requests for RSA holders registered on the Enhanced Contributor Registration System and those whose recaptured information have been successfully uploaded on to the ECRS.

“PFAs shall only process RSA transfer requests for eligible RSA holders who have not transferred their RSAs within the last 365 days using the RTS, irrespective of whether it is a leap year or not,” it stated.

PenCom opened the transfer window in November 2020, which allowed contributors to change their PFAs.

“Effective transfer of RSAs from one PFA to another requires an accurate and reliable database as it is important to ensure that the pension assets transferred belong to the bona-fide RSA holders initiating the transfers,” it said.

PenCom noted that the opening of the RSA transfer window was done after it ensured that robust IT infrastructure to drive the process was put in place.

It said the process was finalised in June 2019 with the deployment of an enhanced contributor registration system for the pension industry.

The pension regulator said the ECRS incorporated extensive validations, controls and data requirements that would deliver high data integrity standards for the pension industry.

It said the upgrade of RSA holders’ details to meet the ECRS standards was, therefore, a prerequisite for RSA transfers.

Those who registered with various PFAs from inception of the Contributory Pension Scheme to June 2019 were required to get recaptured, it added.


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APC convention: Buhari, North proved to me Nigeria can survive – Tinubu to Afenifere leaders

Over four months after the national convention which produced him as the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu has said the role played by President Muhammadu Buhari, the governors elected on the party’s platform from the North and other northern leaders proved to him that Nigeria can survive its myriad of challenges.

Asiwaju Tinubu said this Sunday in Akure, Ondo state at the residence of Afenifere Leader, Pa Reuben Fasoranti, where he presented his 80-page policy document – Action Plan for a Better Nigeria – to the leading Yoruba socio-cultural group.

During the visit, the national leader of the pan-Yoruba group poured his blessings on Tinubu while kneeling before the renowned Yoruba leader who placed hands over his head and offered prayers.

Fasoranti’s position ran counter to some members of the group, including Ayo Adebanjo, who had offered their support to Peter Obi, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, on account of regional “fairness and equity.”

 The APC national leader had March 4, this year, visited Pa Fasoranti during his nationwide consultation before the APC primaries, and promised the Yoruba leader he would return after picking his party’s ticket as the flag bearer.  

In this regard, the former Lagos state governor said he was in Akure to fulfill his promise and also urged Yoruba leaders to thank President Buhari and the northern governors for their support and being promise-keepers.

Addressing the gathering, he said: “The North proved to me Nigeria can survive its unity. Some people want President Muhammadu Buhari to announce someone but the President said No. He insisted the process must go on democratically. The President said anyone that would mess up the APC process would see the other side of his eyes. He remained upright and saw to the process to the end.

“Northern APC Governors resolved that the Presidency must go to the South and especially South West. Governor Nasir El-Rufai, Abdullahi Ganduje and others supported me to the end. The battle was tough and at a point I was in doubt. There were many rumours and I became confused of what to believe.”

On Buhari’s role, Tinubu said: “President Buhari told me I promoted his name with the way I won the primary election because the process was clean and transparent and nobody can accuse him of manipulating the process. President Buhari said I gave him credibility and I deserved to be President. When I asked him to nominate the VP candidate for me, he said I should pick whoever I want and it is the reason I chose a competent man in Kashim Shettima who never lost any election and protected Christians in time of trouble in his state.”

While admitting there were disagreements among members of the group, the APC leader said given that democracy is a game of numbers, it was necessary to be “strategic” and “tactical” to win the presidential election next year.

Tinubu said he needed the votes of the South-west and a sizable part of the north to emerge victorious as it was in 2015 and 2019, just as he thanked Fasoranti for providing formidable leadership in the South-west.

Welcoming Tinubu and his entourage, General Secretary of Afenifere, Chief Seinde Arogbofa, charged the APC standard bearer to be a leader that would unite Nigeria and work for the progress and development of the country.

“You are not just a Yoruba man but a Nigerian. When you become President take Nigeria into consideration in all you do but never forget home. Our demands are what you know already; restructuring, security and fixing the economy. Our country is no longer safe. We want state police so that the country will be safe,” Arogbofa said.

Also, in a statement after the meeting, the Afenifere group said Tinubu “shared with us his vision of a greater and more prosperous Nigeria where democratic rights, rule of law, justice and fairness will reign supreme. He also gave assurance on steps to be taken to ensure safety and security of Nigerians and their properties.

The statement signed by its national organising secretary, Abagun Kole Omololu, said: “Following exhaustive deliberations informed by presentations by various stakeholders, the Afenifere states as follow:

“We affirm that Nigeria as a country must be established on the basis of democracy, true federalism and social justice; we affirm that Democracy is the most civilised method of governance because it is based on the fundamental human rights of every citizen to determine how he or she wants to be governed; we support the decision of all qualified citizens to exercise their fundamental rights of seeking offices provided by the federal Constitution. 

“Having taken cognisance of his commendable antecedents as Lagos State Governor and his demonstrated ability in building physical and human capital, the Yoruba Leaders at today’s meeting are in no doubt that Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria offers the best opportunity to produce a government of that will usher in a new Era of hope, peace, security, harmony, gainful employment for the multitude, economic development, social and political stability.

“We were also assured us of his commitment to the promotion of true federalism that will give states more control over their affairs. Afenifere wishes him success in the pursuit of his vision. The Meeting urged other presidential candidates to utilise similar opportunities to articulate their vision,” they added.

Earlier, Ondo state Deputy Governor, Hon. Lucky Aiyedatiwa, who received Tinubu and his delegation on behalf of Governor Rotimi Akeredolu, said people of the state would support Tinubu to win.

“Asiwaju has the reach, the competence to lead Nigeria,” the deputy governor said.

Also in his remarks, Ekiti state Governor Biodun Oyebanji assured the Yoruba leaders that all the governors of South West and Ekiti people were solidly behind Tinubu. 

“We are happy to receive our leader, Asiwaju Tinubu, today. I want to assure him and our fathers that we will support him to the end.”

Also speaking, an Afenifere leader and former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Chief Olu Falae, charged the APC presidential flagbearer to fix the economy.

Falae who decried the falling value of the Naira, said he used all his life to serve Nigeria and at his old age he does not want all he used his life for to be wasted.

“When you become President, please work to fix this country. We are here to offer advice. I am old and no longer looking for job. We need to fix security, fix our economy. Our naira is almost becoming useless and will soon become N1000 to a dollar. We must change that. I know your ability. We will always be here to support and I wish you well. We will be here when you bring the trophy home by the grace of God,” said the ex-SGF.

Leaders of Afenifere from the six South West states, including Kwara and Kogi were present at the Akure residence of the Afenifere leader to offer support to Asiwaju Tinubu. 

The roll-call of the Afenifere leaders in Akure who came to receive Tinubu and offered their full support included retired Methodist Bishop, Archbishop Ayo Ladigbolu, Chief Pius Akinyelure, Professor Isaac Adewole, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, General Alani Akinrinade (rtd)., General Olu Bajowa (rtd)., Mr. Sola Iji, Dr Kunle Olajide, General Secretary of Yoruba Council of Elders, Senator Cornelius Adebayo, Senator Iyiola Omisore, Chief Bisi Akande, Dare Babarinsa, Chief Pius Akinyelure, Deputy governor of Oyo state, Bayo Lawal who represented Governor Seyi Makinde.

Others were Chief Segun Adesegun, representing former Governor Segun Osoba, Senator Tony Adefuye, Senator Dayo Adeyeye, state leaders of Afenifere and several others.


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Naira Redesign: I approved it – Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari on Sunday, voiced his support for the decision of the Central Bank of Nigeria to launch new designs and replace high value Naira notes.

This was as he noted that the nation would gain a lot by the new initiative, especially its impact on illicit monies.

According to a statement signed by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, Buhari spoke in a Hausa radio interview with the famous journalists Halilu Getso and Kamaluddeen Shawai to be aired Wednesday Morning on Tambari TV on Nilesat.

The statement is titled ‘CBN has my backing in replacing Naira notes, says President Buhari.’

“Buhari said reasons given to him by the CBN convinced him that the economy stood to benefit from reduction in inflation, currency counterfeiting and the excess cash in circulation.

“He said he did not consider the period of three months for the change to the new notes as being short,” the statement read.

The President added that” People with illicit money buried under the soil will have a challenge with this but workers, businesses with legitimate incomes will face no difficulties at all.”

The PUNCH reported that the Central Bank of Nigeria, on October 26, announced its decision to redesign new N200, N500 and N1000 notes by December 15, 2022.

According to the CBN, the existing notes would cease to be regarded as legal tender by January 31, 2023.

Explaining the development, CBN Governor, Dr. Godwin Emefiele, lamented that 85 per cent of the currency in circulation is being hoarded by Nigerians.

He urged Nigerians to deposit their Naira notes, adding that the deposit fee would be waived for transactions below N150,000.

Emefiele added that the redesigning of Naira notes would help to curb counterfeit notes, as well as hamper ramson payment to terrorists and kidnappers.

In the interview, Buhari also addressed issues of food security and national security, among others.


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Soldiers kill seven terrorists, retrieve weapons in Kaduna

The Nigeria Army revealed on Sunday that seven terrorists have been neutralised in Birnin Gwari Local Government Area of Kaduna State and weapons have been recovered from the operation.

A statement by the Director, Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Onyema Nwachukwu, said troops of 1 Division Nigerian Army on Operation Forest Sanity carried out a clearance operation around Maidaro, Kagi Hill, Kusharki and Anguwan Madaki areas of the LG.

He added that after the fierce battle that led to the death of seven terrorists in separate operations, some bandits still escaped their net.

The army chieftain said that in Maidaro, Kagi Hill, Kusharki and Anguwan Madaki four terrorists were killed while troops along Sabon Birnin-Zartake, Ungwan Lima Riyawa and Tungan Madaki areas, intercepted fleeing bandits from Kagi Hill and neutralised another three.

The statement added that two AK 47-rifles with two rounds of 7.62mm special, one automatic pump action gun with three cartridges, six dane guns, three locally fabricated pistols with one 9mm round and 4 motorcycles were recovered.

The Chief of Army Staff, according to information gathered, appreciated and commended the troops for their gallantry, urging them not to relent until terrorism is brought to an end in the region.


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