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PDP To Zone National Chair Slot To South-west, North Gets Party’s Secretary; Presidency to Northwest

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The Peoples Democratic Party may zone its national chairmanship position to the South-West, The PUNCH has learnt.

The recommendation to zone the position to the South-West was contained in a leaked working document prepared by the party’s 44-member National Convention Committee on Zoning.

The committee recommended the position of secretary for the North in the document was sighted by our correspondent on Wednesday.

The committee chaired by the Enugu State Governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, will meet on Thursday (today).

According to the document, the main consideration is that the zone has not produced the party’s national chairman since inception.

In zeroing in on the South-West, members considered the past distribution pattern of the geopolitical zones that produced chairmen and came to the conclusion that the South-West deserved to get the slot.

Apart from the past distribution pattern, members were said to have noted that before the emergence of Uche Secondus as the national chairman, no fewer than 12 members from the South-West aspired to lead the party before it was taken to the South-South.

The distribution pattern as considered by the party is that the North-Central has produced five past chairmen in persons of Chief Solomon Lar, Barnabas Gemade, Audu Ogbeh, Ahmadu Ali and Kawu Baraje; while the North-East has produced three chairmen in persons of Dr Bamanga Tukur, Dr Adamu Muazu and Senator Ali Modu Sheriff.

The North-West produced two – Dr Haliru Bello and Senator Ahmed Makarfi; the South East produced two – Vincent Ogbulafor and Okwesilieze Nwodo; while the South-South produced Secondus both as acting and as substantive chairman.

“It is now clearly seen that the national chairmanship position has stayed long in the North, and particularly dominant in the North-Central. The South-West had never been given the opportunity.

“In actual fact, it is was an issue generally acknowledged that the national chairmanship was aspired by no fewer than 12 aspirants from South-West before the twist that took it to the South-South,” the document read.

It’s reliably been informed that the party has decided to zone the presidential ticket in 2023 to the Northwest, based on its believe that the north with its huge electoral size, would be of benefit to the party as the ruling party, the All Progressive Congress, APC, is being said to have concluded on zoning it’s presidential ticket to the South.

In this regard, the Vice presidential ticket of the PDP would be zoned to the SouthSouth, Senate President to the Southeast, Speaker to North Central and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, to the Northeast.

However, it is yet to be seen if the party’s NEC will endorse the zoning arrangement, even though the northern presidency may be a concluded issue with the party.

PUNCH

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Buhari Swears in Two INEC National Commissioners

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President Muhammadu Buhari has sworn in two National Commissioners of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The swearing-in took place on Monday at the Conference Hall of the First Lady’s office at the State House, Abuja, before the official launch of the eNaira and 2022 Armed Forces Remembrance Day emblem.

The new National Commissioners are Prof. Muhammad Sani Kallah (Katsina State) and Prof. Kunle Cornelius Ajayi (Ekiti State).

The duo are part of the six INEC commissioners cleared by the Senate in July this year.

President Buhari had on September 15, 2021, sworn in three of the cleared National Commissioners.

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Aggrieved Benue Pensioners Task Ortom On 33 Months Arrears

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Coalition of Aggrieved Pensioners in Benue State has called on the state government to direct the payment of their outstanding pensions and gratuities.

The union made this appeal, yesterday, in a rejoinder signed by its Chairman, Akosu Orban, and Secretary, Mac Mtsur, and made available to The Guardian in Makurdi.

Recently, the pensioners had protested against the non-payment of over 32 and 34 entitlements owed state and local council pensioners, even as they disclosed that they lost over 500 members to economic crunch.

But he state government had said it had agreement with the Nigerian Union of Pensioners (NUP) leaders, who are part of the Local Government Joint Account, and had been paying N700 million to pensioners in the state monthly.

Acting Press Secretary to the Governor, Nathaniel Ikyur, said out of this amount, N300 million was paid to the local council pensioners and N400 million to state pensioners.

He added: “This mode of payment has been in effect in the last six months and government intends to continue with it until we are able to stabilise the payment system.”

The aggrieved retirees, in the statement, wondered how N700 million would be released by the state government monthly as claimed by the governor, yet the number of months owed them kept rising.

Chairman of the forum intimated that out of the 33 months pension owed pensioners, only six months was inherited from the previous administration.

RELATEDLY, Ortom has raised the alarm over sharp practices at the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), where a wage bill of primary school teachers is padded.

Ortom, who expressed this at a meeting with local council chairmen, SUBEB among others, yesterday, at the New Banquet Hall of Benue Peoples House Makurdi, said, with the continuous hike in wage bills, the dead seemed to be coming to life to receive salaries.

The governor, who vowed to take decisive steps to end padding of salaries, gave the local council chairmen one month to unmask the cartel behind the padding.

If proper checks are carried out with the involvement of council chairmen, Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), Parent-Teacher Association (PTA), leakages and other unwholesome activities would be stopped to give room for more recruitment.

According to him, since the decision to engage 2,000 teachers in primary schools was sacrosanct, his government would do everything possible to block financial leakages in the sector to guarantee expected goal.

The Special Adviser to the Governor on Bureau of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Kenneth Achabo, presented a report on audited accounts of the 23 local councils from 2015 to 2019.

Ortom described the report as a novel initiative and stressed the need for those in positions of trust to keep financial records straight, to support auditors with facts and figures to do their job.

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Buhari Departs Abuja For Investment Summit In Riyadh

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President Muhammadu Buhari has departed Abuja for Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, to participate in the investment conference organised by the Future Investment Initiative Institute.

The presidential aircraft conveying the president and few members of his entourage took-off from the presidential wing of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Abuja at about 4.10 p.m.

A statement issued by Malam Garba Shehu, the president’s spokesman, on Monday said the president would be joined at the 5th edition of the flagship investment event by business executives from Nigeria, bankers, captains of industry and energy experts to discuss issues on the future of investments across the globe.

He said: ”The three-day event, with the theme, Investment in Humanity, which will host global executives and asset managers, will deliberate on progress and prosperity with energy; true final frontiers in investments; science in action; and impact of climate change on communities among others.”

According to Shehu, the president will perform the lesser Hajj in Madinah and Makkah before returning to the country on Friday.

Those accompaning the president on the trip include the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Niyi Adebayo; Minister of Communications; Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Pantami, and Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Amb. Zubairu Dada.

Others are the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Mr Timipre Sylva; Director General of National Intelligence Agency, Amb. Ahmed Rufai, and Managing Director of Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority, Uche Orji.

Some of the invitees from the private sector include Alhaji Mohammed Indimi, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, Tope Shonubi, Wale Tinubu, Alhaji Abdul Samad Rabiu, Hassan Usman, Omoboyode Olusanya, Abubakar Suleiman, Herbert Wigwe, Leo Stan Ekeh, Alan Seinfield and Alhaji Dahiru Mangal.

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