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Opinion: Gov. Abdulrasaq In Turf War Against Saraki Over Durbar



By Victor Ojelabi

The news coming out of Kwara may not be shocking, but the underlining factors and the probable trajectories is a cause for concern for many.

It was recently reported how the organisation of the 2019 Annual Durbar has become chaotic, because the governor is bent on obliterating Bukola Saraki’s name and influence from the festival. The report alleged that the invitation cards had gone to press thrice tending towards making a final copy without the ex-governor’s name on it. It is also of the Governor’s bidding that the seating arrangement should copiously omit Senator Bukola Saraki, who is the Waziri of Ilorin. Here goes the problem, which caliphate holds a Durbar without the prominent participation and honour of her Waziri(s)?

The organisers of the event, who have never dealt with power plan in planning of this yearly festival are bewildered by the directive from the state government. His position is said to have been a bump on the part to hosting another successful event this year. It is mostly perceived has scent marking by political analyst, a coverture way to iterate that there is “a new sheriff in town”.

Admittedly, change in power connotes switch in the order, prerogatives and protocol, which comes with new ascendancy, but it berates reasoning that a state’s chief executive will be involved in trivial activity of invitation card design and sitting arrangement at a festival. It is not new to our clime, when power changes hands, for opposition to get repeated boot-offs, sidelining and complete obscuring, but this comes to a shameful market fight and a show of littleness on the part of the governor.

Abdulrazaq before now, was a long ally of Senator Bukola Saraki. He had a major part of his banking career at the Saraki-owned Societe Generale Bank. He also served under his administration (as state governor) as a two-term commissioner. He was head of key strategic programs of the Bukola Saraki government. How the boat rocked recently is still puzzling to many, despite the fact the Abdulrazaq even followed his former boss to ditch the APC for PDP as recently as 2018 (before his eventual return and victory at the polls).

It is believed that Ahmed joined the federal-backed conspiracy to scuttle Bukola Saraki’s rising political career with the ‘Otoge’ movement. In fairness to him, all loyalty at home buckled under the tremendous political force from the highest cadre of the APC, which was marshaled to Kwara politics in the build up to the elections. What comes to mind and calls for reasoning is the extent to which Governor Abdulrazaq would go to make Saraki irrelevant and dishonoured.

The worry of concerned citizens of the state goes beyond the possible drama at this year’s Durbar. The actual concern is that the administration of Governor Abdulrahaman Abdulrazaq may be coloured by adversary-hunting, party-groveling and unhealthy power tussle. Bukola Saraki on his part has continued to show that he has a life beyond partisan politics. After the rigorous and spiteful election campaigns, his loss at the polls, the Waziri Ilorin, has not been seen on the political turf of the opposition. He seems to have taken everything in its stride and moved on. With Abdulrazaq’s constant poking, how long can the lion within hibernate?

Finally, the Durbar is largely the Emir’s party. The state governor is merely a ceremonious host, because it is funded with state resources. The festival has a cultural background and rich history, which has become the highlight of Ramadan for many years. The beauty has always been the honour of the Emir riding along his caliphate in company of his Waziri(s). The hallmark of the festival as envisioned by the British colonial rulers and displayed in over hundred years of its existence, is to showcase the glory and power of the ruling class, the king, his officials ride through his subjects. The Durbar honours the Emir and his Waziri(s) and one without that goal is an aberration.

Is it then safe to opine that the administration of AbdulRahman AbdulRasaq in Kwara State would rather engage in cheap popularity contest at stamping his power to govern the state for expiring four years than provide better governance for the people of Kwara State?

The coming days would judge.

-Victor Ojelabi, journalist and social commentator, writes in from Lagos

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Fuel Subsidy Removal: FG, Labour Meeting Ends in Deadlock




Talks between the Federal Government and organised labour over the removal of fuel subsidy ended in a deadlock on Wednesday as they failed to reach a consensus following the hike in petrol pump prices to over N700 from N195 per litre by oil marketers.

The hours-long meeting which was held at the Presidential Villa was to, among other things, prevent a labour crisis following the recent increase in the petrol pump price occasioned by the discontinuance of petroleum subsidy.

Earlier on Wednesday, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited said it had adjusted the pump price of Premium Motor Spirit to reflect the market realities. The agency, however, failed to state the new prices of petrol.

However, several retails outlets sold the product between 600 and N800 in Lagos, Abuja , Ogun and some other states.

The National Public Relations Officer, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, Chief Chinedu Ukadike, pointed out that the hike in the cost of PMS would trigger galloping inflation in the country, stressing that some outlets in the South-East were currently dispensing the product at N1,200/l.

Ukadike stated, “Once NNPCL retail stations have adjusted their pumps to reflect the new price, there is nothing you can do about it; that is the new price. As I speak with you, all of them are now selling at the new prices. The situation is so bad, that somewhere in Ebonyi State our members informed us that it is now N1,200/litre.

“We thought the President would remove the subsidy through a seamless means because the source of this petrol is the NNPCL. They are the ones subsidising petroleum products, they are the people who use their revenue to subsidise this product.’’

The IPMAN spokesperson expressed worry over the rate of increase in inflation and hardship that would come as a result of the latest hike in petrol price.

“This hike in petrol price will definitely lead to galloping inflation and will worsen the hardship already being faced by the Nigerian masses. It is not something to cheer about. It came as a surprise and in the coming days, we will see the very harsh ripple effects,” he stated.

Meanwhile, Ukadike has called on the Federal Government and the NNPCL to give other marketers the opportunity to start importing petrol in order to create competition in the sector.

“The NNPCL is importing and has not given people the opportunity to join them in importing so as to see whether private sector operators can import the product cheaper or not. So there is no competition. In a deregulated regime, there must be competition, everyone with capacity should be allowed to import,” the IPMAN official stated.

When asked whether other marketers could resume imports since the government had finally deregulated petrol prices, Ukadike replied, “Marketers can import, but let me tell you some of the factors militating against this. The first is that there won’t be availability of dollars.

“You will source your dollar from the parallel market and if you are not careful in doing this, and you go into the importation of petroleum products, you might not ‘come out of it alive’ at the end of the day.

“So what we are saying is that those advantages that NNPCL has, should be shared with other major importers of petroleum products. If it is through crude buy-back, they should let us know so that independent players such as IPMAN members can come together and be able to use it in the buy-back model.’’

He added, “For independent marketers, the most important thing is that there should be availability of petroleum products, and the government should open up the space for importers and investors to come in.”

NNPCL, the sole importer of petrol into Nigeria for several years running, confirmed the hike in petrol price in a statement and a new pricing template released to marketers nationwide.

But the move has sparked a groundswell of anger across the nation with the Nigeria Labour Congress demanding an immediate reversal of the decision.

The union also said it would hold an emergency meeting on Friday on the fuel price increase which had triggered hoarding and scarcity across the country with attendant rise in transport fares, goods and services.

The fuel price hike by the oil firm is coming 72 hours after President Bola Tinubu declared in his inaugural address on Monday that the subsidy regime had ended.

To pacify the growing anger over the situation, the FG hastily summoned some labour leaders to a meeting at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Wednesday evening.

The meeting had in attendance the NLC President, Joe Ajaero and his Trade Union Congress counterpart, Festus Osifo, former NLC President and immediate past governor of Edo State, Adams Oshiomhole, Permanent Secretary, State House, Tijjani Umar, Head of Service of the Federation, Dr Folashade Yemi-Esan, Group Chief Executive Officer of the NNPCL, Mele Kyari, and others, however, ended in a deadlock as the labour and government teams failed to reach a consensus.

Speaking at the end of the meeting, Joe Ajaero, said “As far as labour is concerned, we didn’t have a consensus in this meeting.”

He faulted the NNPCL over an official release published hours earlier reviewing the petrol pump price in its filling stations nationwide.

He said the move puts the labour unions in a difficult position on the negational table.

“That’s the principle of negotiation. You don’t put the partner, ask them to negotiate under gunpoint. The prayer of the NLC is that we go back to the status quo, negotiate, think of alternatives and all the effects and how to manage the effects this action is going to have on the people. If it is an action that must take off.

“The subsidy provision has been made up to the end of June. And before then, conscious people, labour management, and the government should be able to think of what will happen at the end of June. You don’t start it before the time,” Ajaero said.

The Punch

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Breaking: Founder, DAAR Communications, Raymond Dokpesi is Dead




By Eric Elezuo

The Founder of DAAR Communications, owners of the foremost radio and television stations in Nigeria, Raypower and African Independent Television (AIT), High Chief Raymond Dokpesi, is dead.

Reliable sources said the High Chief died while exercising on a treadmill on Monday afternoon.

The source said Dopkesi suffered a stroke some weeks ago.

Details soon…

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I Stand on Rule of Law, with Our Candidate, Atiku Abubakar, PDP, Says Dele Momodu




By Eric Elezuo

Frontline journalist and Director of Strategic Communications of the Atiku/Okowa Presidential Council in the just concluded Presidential election, Chief Dele Momodu, had said that he remains a loyal member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and will always stand on the side of rule of law, and with the party’s presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.

Momodu made the revelations in a statement he signed himself, noting that the last election, which brought Asiwaju Bola Tinubu to power, was savagely manipulated by the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

He praised the steps Atiku, and the presidential candidate of the Labour candidate, Mr. Peter Obi, have taken in seeking legal redress.

The statement in details:


My position on the state of our country NIGERIA is simple and straightforward. I’m a loyal member of PDP who owes absolute allegiance to Nigeria and its Rule of Law. My political party PDP and others passionately hold the view that the last Presidential election was savagely manipulated by the ruling party APC and the cases are already in courts. Nothing will make me abandon my party on the altar of convenience and profit. Win or lose, I will continue to stand on this principle without any malice or prejudice against those who think otherwise. Democracy is a game of choice and I’m resolutely standing by our candidate, the former Vice President ALHAJI ATIKU ABUBAKAR (GCON) who has taken the honorable and peaceful step of going to court to seek redress. This is the only way we can deepen our hard earned Democracy. Sacrifice is not always convenient but painful.

I salute and respect The Wazirin Adamawa and others like my dear friend and Brother, former Governor Peter Obi, the Labor Party Presidential candidate, for promoting the best tenets of Democracy in Nigeria and I’m willing to encourage them rather than discourage their onerous quests…


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