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Buhari, Osinbajo, Others in Crucial APC NEC Meeting

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President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo are some of the attendees of the National Executive Committee meeting of Nigeria’s ruling party, APC.

The meeting is currently ongoing at the APC secretariat in Abuja.

Mr Buhari arrived the meeting at 11:19 a.m., after Mr Osinbajo and other stakeholders arrived.

Among the earlier arrivals was former Lagos State governor, Bola Tinubu.

Thursday’s meeting will, among other things, address the type of primaries to be adopted by the APC to select its candidates for the 2019 general elections.

Premium Times reports that some senators have said they could leave the APC if the party adopts indirect primaries, favoured by some governors.

The senators said they fear governors would use the indirect delegates system to ensure only their favoured aspirants emerge party candidates.

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Atiku Describes FG’s Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway As a Fraud

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Former vice president Atiku Abubakar on Thursday described the N15.6 trillion attached to the 700km Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway as its tentative cost by the Minister of Works, Dave Umahi, as wasteful and a highway to fraud.

In a statement emanating from his media office, he criticized the minister for altering the initial plan of the project after Gilbert Chagoury’s Hitech had been awarded the contract without any competitive bidding.

The statement observed that Umahi had, during his media rounds at select TV stations on Thursday, said the road project would cost N15.6 trillion ($13bn at an exchange rate of N1,200/$1), while the rail, which will pass through the road, will be costed separately.

Atiku stated: “Umahi had announced that the project would be fully funded by Hitech, and based on this, there was no competitive bidding. He (Umahi) then turned around to say that Hitech could only raise just 6% of the money for the pilot phase. This smacks of deceit.”

The statement pointed out that the minister had also said the project would not be undertaken under a Public-Private Partnership (PPP), but the government would be providing 15%-30% counterpart financing.

Responding to this revelation, Atiku said the tentative cost was equivalent to the total budget of all 36 states of the federation combined.

He added: “The total budget of all 36 states of the federation for 2024 stands at about N14 trillion. If you add that of the FCT, the entire budget of all sub-nationals is N15.91 trillion. This is scandalous. Worse still, they have already awarded the contract but are still not sure of the level of the counterpart funding component of the federal government!

“Umahi had said in September 2023 that Gilbert Chagoury’s Hitech had the money to construct the highway and that it would be PPP. Hitech was to build, operate, and transfer it back to the Nigerian government after years of tolling.

“It was reported by every media organization, including those owned by Tinubu. It was on the basis of this proposal that Hitech was picked. Why did Umahi then turn around to claim that it was not to be a PPP but that the government would pay 15%-30%?”

The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2023 election noted that in the 2024 budget, the project was captured as the Lagos-Port Harcourt coastal highway and was put at a cost of N500 million.

“Although the National Assembly approved N500m for the project this year, the Tinubu administration has released N1.06tn. That is more than 200 times what is in the Appropriation Act. This is what happens when the National Assembly fails in its duties,” he added.

Atiku said it was curious that the N15.91 trillion announced by Umahi did not include the cost of the railway component. He, therefore, wondered how much the project would cost if the railway component is included.

“If N15.6 trillion is for the road component alone, then the total cost could be far higher when the railway is included. We want to know the cost of the railway,” he said.

The Tribune

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Hope of Rescue Dims for Two Passengers Thrown into Lagoon from TMB Bus Accident – NEMA

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The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) said on Wednesday the hope of rescuing the two passengers who fell off a bus into the Lagos lagoon following an accident on the Third Mainland Bridge has become dim.

The South-West Coordinator of NEMA, Ibrahim Farinloye, disclosed this to journalists at the scene of the accident in Lagos.

He said the impact of an accident earlier on Wednesday, had left two adults thrown off an 18-seater LT bus into the lagoon.

Farinloye said personnel of the Marine Police were in search of the two adults, a male and female, who fell off the bus.

According to him, the crash occurred by Adeniyi Adele axis inward of Lagos Island on the bridge.

The NEMA coordinator revealed that the driver of the vehicle who was on top speed, swerved off the road and hit the bridge railings with the impact pushing the two passengers off the bus into the lagoon.

He said: “However, by now, we are not looking at the search and rescue again, but recovery.

“This is because the male passenger was said to have floated about three times before he was finally drowned, while the woman did not even surface at all.

“Therefore, the possibility of anyone of them surviving is slim,” he added.

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We Regret Voting Tinubu, Northern Elders Lament, Reveal Plans for 2027

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The Northern Elders Forum (NEF) has expressed regret for supporting President Bola Tinubu in the 2023 election.

Spokesman of the forum, Abdul-Azeez Suleiman, said this on Tuesday.

He noted that in subsequent polls, particularly the 2027 general elections, the northern region will prioritize unity and consensus in selecting a candidate for the highest office in Nigeria.

“The North made a mistake in voting Bola Tinubu to the presidency in 2023, and it is unlikely that they will repeat the same error in the future.

“They have learned from their past misstep and will strive to select a candidate who can unite the country and govern in the best interests of all Nigerians.

“Moving forward, the North will be more cautious in selecting a candidate for the presidency. They will prioritize someone who is seen as more inclusive, less controversial, and more aligned with the interests of all regions of the country,” he said.

President Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) polled the highest votes from the region to beat his major contenders, including a northerner, Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Since his inauguration in May 2023, the president has been widely criticised over some policies of his administration, which are have largely been tagged by the opposition as anti-masses.

Tinubu is also accused by northern groups of lopsided appointments in the Federal government.

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