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We’ve No Regrets Working against Jonathan, Say ACF, NEF

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The Arewa Consultative Forum and the Northern Elders’ Forum on Wednesday defended their opposition to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan when he contested the 2011 and the 2015 presidential elections.

The groups, in separate interviews with The PUNCH, indicated that they had no regrets for their position in the two elections.

On its part, the ACF while justifying its position, said leaders should learn to honour their words.

The spokesman for NEF, Prof. Ango Abdullahi, told one of our correspondents on the telephone that the North worked against the former President because he and his party jettisoned the power shift (zoning) policy.

He said the forum never hid the reason for working against Jonathan, as according to him, “We told him(Jonathan)why we worked against him,” he stated.

He added that the forum expected the former President to respect the zoning formula shortly after the death of the late President Umaru Yar’Adua but regrettably, Jonathan and his party reneged on the zoning agreement.

The former Ahmadu Bello University vice-chancellor, stated, “Yes, it is true that Northern Elders’ Forum worked against Jonathan and we told him why.

“They themselves (PDP) admitted that they made a mistake in reneging on the power shift and why what happened happened,” the spokesman said.

On its part, the ACF adduced the same reason for working against the former President and his party, saying Jonathan contested in 2011 and 2015 against the arrangement of his party that zoned the presidency to the North.

The National Publicity Secretary of the ACF, Alhaji Muhammad Ibrahim-Biu, told one of our correspondents that the former President’s assertion that the North worked against him was odd, considering the “circumstances at that time.” The spokesman admonished Nigerian leaders to always honour agreements they entered into.

He said, “It is on record that Jonathan contested the 2011 and 2015 polls against the zoning arrangement of his party that zoned the presidential slot to the North.

“Therefore, his assertions that Northern leaders and socio-political groups in the North worked against his presidency is rather odd, considering the circumstances at that time.

“Yet the ruling party secured 25 per cent in most states of the North. It may interest you to know that his party has since admitted the oversight in the party winning game plan.”

He added, “This clearly means that leaders should always honour their words with deeds if they want to earn the respect of their followers.”

The former President, in his new book, ‘My Transition Hour’ had said that he battled opposition from Northern leaders and socio-political groups, which felt he was usurping power from the region.

Jonathan said the northern power blocs had tried to deny him his constitutional right of contesting the 2010 presidential election after the death of   President Umaru Yar’Adua in 2010.

According to him, despite the threats and opposition, he was able to win the 2011 election.

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Court Denies Binance Executive Tigran Gambaryan Bail

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Justice Emeka Nwite of the Federal High Court Abuja, on Friday, refused to grant bail to an executive of Binance Holdings Limited, Tigran Gambaryan.

Justice Nwite held that Gambaryan is likely to jump bail if granted to him.

The company and its executive were arraigned on a five-count charge bordering on money laundering before Emeka Nwite, judge of a Federal High Court in Abuja.

The defendants pleaded not guilty to the charge.

Moving an application, Counsel to the Defendant, Mark Mordi, argued that the court had the power to grant bail to the defendant and impose conditions to ensure his presence in court.

The prosecution counsel, Ekele Iheanacho, however opposed the bail application, stating that the defendant is a flight risk.

He stated that the defendant attempted to obtain a new passport, which he claimed was stolen, and this is a suspicious act given the proximity to his colleague’s escape from custody.

He added that the court cannot risk granting Gambaryan bail, especially as he is not attached to any community in Nigeria.

“The fact that the passport of the defendant is with the complainant does not guarantee that he will remain in Nigeria because the defendant is not only an American citizen but also an Armenian citizen by birth.

He urged the court to refuse the application and instead remand him in EFCC custody to ensure his safety and prevent potential flight risk.

Delivering ruling, the judge said several factors including the nature of offence and its severity must be considered when trying to decide whether or not bail should be granted to the defendant applicant.

Justice Nwite agreed with the depositions made by prosecution and was of the view that the applicant will jump bail if bail is granted to him.

He subsequently ordered that the trial be given an accelerated hearing.

After the ruling, the EFCC called its first witness, a staff of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

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Governor Adeleke Felicitates with Dele Momodu at 64

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The Executive Governor of Osun State, Senator Ademola Adeleke has felicitated with the celebrated journalist, and Publisher of Ovation Magazine, Akinrogun Dele Momodu on the occasion of his 64th birthday, describing him as “a pride of the media industry.”

Governor Adeleke noted Akinrogun Momodu’s heartwarming contributions to a just and equitable society, saying he has touched the minds and hearts of countless people with insightful words, logistic support and unwavering dedication to truth and justice.

The Governor appreciates the Ovation Magazine Publisher’s sustained commitment to informing and enlightening the public as a weapon of nation building, acknowledging him as an inspirational figure, who has empowered readers to think critically, and engage meaningfully.

“I congratulate my dear friend, Akinrogun Dele Momodu, on the auspicious occasion of his birthday. The Aare Tayese of Iwoland is a unique personality, who has touched lives positively and brought smiles to countless faces,” the Governor was quoted in a congratulatory message, signed by his spokesperson, Mallam Olawale Rasheed.

“On this auspicious occasion, I honour both your wonderful life and exceptional contributions to the media sector and the larger society. I note, with admiration, Akinrogun Momodu’s deep sense of commitment to a better Nigeria, which is manifest in columns and public discourse.

“On behalf of my family, I convey best wishes to Akinrogun Momodu on his birthday and it is my prayer that God grant him many celebrations in good health and happiness while also bestowing him the grace to give more to humanity.”

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Why We’re Charging Helicopter Landing Fee – Aviation Ministry

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The Ministry of Aviation and Aerospace Development on Monday said the introduction of helicopter landing levies was in line with global best practices and cost recovery measures.

This is contained in a statement by Odutayo Oluseyi, Head, Press and Public Affairs of the ministry in Lagos.

According to Mr Oluseyi, the ministry recognises the importance of helicopter operations in Nigeria’s aviation industry and is committed to implementing international best practices in helicopter operations.

He said that helicopter landing levies were commonplace in countries such as the US, the United Kingdom, India and various other regions worldwide.

He maintained that Tallahassee International Airport in Florida began implementing helicopter landing levies under Vector Airport Systems, since 1 October 2022.

Mr Oluseyi said helicopter landing levies were common across airfields in the United Kingdom, ranging from major commercial ones, to small general aviation fields.

He added that, typically, helicopter levies matched or exceeded those for fixed-wing aircraft, and varied based on factors like location and services provided.

“The federal government has granted NAEBI Dynamic Concepts Ltd exclusive rights to collect helicopter landing levies in line with the MoU between NAEBI Concept and NAMA (focal Agency), Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).

“It is instructive to note that NAMA, under the Act as amended in 2022, is empowered to collect aeronautical revenues in both the upper and lower airspace to support her self-sustainability.

“However, over the years, NAMA has predominantly relied on the upper airspace for her revenue generation.

“Government in her wisdom, having discovered a lacuna on the lower airspace where helicopter operations is dominant, directed NAMA to live up to its responsibilities, to enable them generate enough resources, to sustain their aeronautical architecture, enhance security and surveillance and improve the overall quality of helicopter operations in Nigeria,” he said.

According to Mr Oluseyi, the government is confident that the move will improve capacity, efficiency, safety, security and attract more investments in the aviation industry.

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