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Apathy mars PDP congress in Kwara, As Prominent Members Stay-off

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There was low turnout of members of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, during the state congress held in Kwara state, today, September 25th 2021.

The internecine war within the state chapter of the party may likely be responsible for this poor turnout of party members for the congress.

Prominent among the causes of this boycott is the power play between the former President of the Senate, Dr Abubakar Bukola Saraki and a former Minister and current Director General of the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies , NILDS, Prof Abubakar Sulaiman.

A group loyal to Sulaiman had in press release prior to today’s congress stated that the current executives who were elected in 2018 are expected to spend four years tenure according to the Constitution of the party, vowing to drag the party to court.

Findings show that the former Kwara political lord has received the blessings of the national leadership of the party to change the executives of the party in Kwara state and take control, a development which surprisingly is being resisted by Sulaiman, a beneficiary of Saraki’s patronage, having been assisted with his present appointment during Saraki’s reign as President of the Senate.

According to an inside source, Sulaiman had been avoiding prior political interface with Saraki, choosing to offer excuses for his absence at pressing political engagements.

Many prominent members of the party also stayed away from the Congress in apparent support for the constitutional rights of the present executives across the 16 local government areas of the state.

With this face-off, there is the likelihood of a forced takeover of the Kwara PDP by Saraki, since he enjoins the support of the national secretariat of the party.

The fate of the executives and members loyal to Sulaiman is dangling, and may be determined at a meeting to hold sometime next week in Ilorin.

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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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