Former National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Abubakar Kawu Baraje has stated that notwithstanding the zone that eventually gets the nod of the party leaders to produce the next national chairman, qualified sons, and daughters of the North Central zone will vie for the 2023 Presidential ticket.
Baraje in a statement in Abuja noted that the North Central zone will follow to the letter the earlier declaration of the National Executive Committee (NEC) that zoning of Party offices will not affect who flies the party flags for various elective offices.
He noted that the people of the zone aspire to produce the next President of Nigeria and that it has produced five national chairmen already for the party while there is a zone in the North that is yet to produce a substantive national chairman.
He also advised that the PDP should sustain its tradition of justice, equity, and fairness by ensuring that the zone which has not produced a substantive national chairman in the North is allowed to present a solid candidate capable of leading the party to victory in the next election.
He added that the North Central has produced five national chairmen in the 23-year history of the PDP while the North East has produced two. The North West has produced only one interim chairman and a caretaker chairman.
“From late Chief Solomon Lar, Chief Audu Ogbeh, Dr. Ahmadu Alli, Chief Barnabas Gemade, and myself, all of us from North Central have led the party at different times. Alhaji Bamanga Tukur and Alhaji Adamu Muazu from North East have emerged as national chairman while Dr. Haliru Bello spent only one year as acting chairman with Sen. Ahmed Makarfi serving as caretaker chairman. With this history, in the spirit of fairness and equity, the North West is most suitable to produce the next chairman.
“We have noted that some leaders outside the North Central zone are scheming and exerting a lot of energy to push the national chairmanship position to the North Central Zone to ensure that the post is not in their zone. If the chairman eventually comes from the North Central Zone, it is just an extra for us. Presidential aspirants from the zones will still vie for the post.
“Let it be noted that it is our position in the North Central zone that we stand by the earlier announcement by the party leadership that the presidential ticket will be free for all qualified aspirants to seek. We believe the party should respect its publicly declared position.
“It is not in the interest of the party for leaders to impose their will on the people. Leaders must consult widely and ensure that their decisions reflect the will and aspiration of the people on any issue. The issue of how we source the leadership of our party and who flies the flag of the party in the general election should reflect the wishes and aspirations of the people. Leaders must act in the best interest of the party and the nation. Anything short of that is courting needless crisis”, Baraje stated.
World War III Will Be Caused By Fake News – Lai Mohammed
Lai Mohammed, minister of information and culture, has cautioned against the spread of fake news, saying it may cause World War III.
Mohammed spoke on Monday when he appeared before the house of representatives committee on information, national orientation, ethics and values to defend his ministry’s 2022 budget.
The minister said the manner in which information is disseminated today has drastically changed.
He said the means of receiving information 30 years ago was through television and radio sets, adding that people now prefer to patronise social media where fake news is easily spread.
“The people today, they don’t read newspapers, they don’t watch television — it’s social media. And it is most expensive; the most unseen enemy, they are there every moment,” he said.
“With fake news today and misinformation — I have always said here that the next world war will be caused by fake news.
“You can see even the US that use to pride itself on the freedom of the press is now questioning the role of the social media.”
Mohammed has often expressed concerns about the menace of fake news and its potential dangers.
This has prompted the federal government to push for legislation to bring social and online media under control.
At a public hearing in June, Mohammed asked the house of representatives to amend the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) act to empower the agency to regulate social and online media in addition to other channels of broadcasting.
This was after NBC had asked all social media platforms and online broadcasting service providers operating in Nigeria to apply for a broadcast licence.
In August, Mohammed said the federal government will not rest until social media platforms are regulated.
Buhari Swears in Two INEC National Commissioners
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.
Aggrieved Benue Pensioners Task Ortom On 33 Months Arrears
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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