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Thousands Throng Osun PDP Rally As Atiku Promises Stable Economy, Unity Among Nigerians

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Thousands of PDP supporters trooped into the Nelson Mandela Freedom Park in Osogbo on Wednesday as the party’s presidential campaign landed in Osun State.

The people of Osun who are still in celebratory mood following the recent inauguration of Senator Ademola Adeleke as their governor trooped out en masse to receive the PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, his running mate, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa and other senior party members.

Atiku, while addressing party members during a town hall meeting ahead of the campaign rally, said his government, if elected, will address security, revive the economy, unite the nation and improve the education system.

He noted that since the All Progressive Congress (APC) came to power in 2015, Nigerians have been suffering from bad governance, adding that the PDP is contesting the election to restore Nigeria.

Atiku noted, “If we are voted into office, we will stabilize Nigeria, unite its people, ensure security of lives and property and make sure our people benefit from the good governance of the PDP.”

At the rally, Atiku said: “My brothers and sisters of Osun State I have came to a very thank you and I appeal to you, I plead with you to come out in greater numbers to than you did in the last state election and vote for the PDP in the next general election.

“That is the only way that you can secure your future and the future of your children, we promise you we will not fail you.

“We are not like APC because we have done it before, we have got the experience. We have got the people who have the capacity to bring about changes we are not new as far as governance is concerned in Nigeria.”

Also speaking, Atiku’s wife, Titi, who is from Osun said: “Atiku has come to restructure Nigeria. Atiku has come to give our children good education. There will be no Boko Haram, there will be no kidnapping, there will be no abduction.

“All of these are going to stop but it has to start with you people. If you give Atiku your votes come February 25, that is when it will be possible for Atiku to make you great.
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“I employ you, don’t sell your conscience. Don’t sell your vote. I know there is hunger in the land and it is APC that brought all these predicaments to us but if Atiku is voted for, Atiku is going to change the state of this country not just Osun alone.

“The youths are the most unemployed in Nigeria and Atiku has promised women and youths 60 percent in his cabinet and he is going to fulfill it. Atiku is a man of his words, he matches his words with action.”

Also at the rally, Osun State Governor, Ademola Adeleke noted, “If Atiku Abubakar becomes the President of Nigeria in 2023, Nigeria is sure to develop and prosper.

“Atiku will restore the economy, security, agriculture, education and health; he will ensure that the nation is united. Atiku is an experienced man and the only candidate that can rescue Nigeria from its various problems and challenges.”

He added, “Under Atiku as Vice-President, Nigeria was the largest economy in Africa. Atiku will direct Nigeria to the path of development. He will restore the rule of law and due process. Atiku will secure the nation.”

Urging the people of Osun to vote enmasse for PDP in the February 25, 2023 Presidential election, PDP’s Vice-Presidential candidate said, “I urge the people to vote for Atiku Abubakar as he is the only person that can rescue Nigeria from its economic woes.”

On his part, the national chairman of the PDP, Senator Iyorchia Ayu urged the Osun people to vote for all PDP candidates during the 2023 polls.

Also speaking, the chairman of the PDP Presidential Campaign Council and Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Udom Emmanuel, noted that Atiku is the best man for the job because of his knowledge and experience in governance.

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Tinubu’s Govt Borrows $750m from World Bank to Boost Power Supply

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The Federal government has secured a $750 million loan from the World Bank to provide subsidy to developers and operators of solar mini-grids in the country.

The Minister of Finance, Wale Edun, and World Bank’s Country Director for Nigeria, Shubham Chaudhuri, signed the loan agreement on March 31 and February 19 respectively.

The loan, according to a document made available to journalists on Thursday, is aimed at augmenting the supply of electricity to both households and micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) through a surge in private sector-led distributed renewable energy initiatives.

It read: “The loan will be partly used to provide support to the development and operation of privately owned and operated solar hybrid mini grids in unserved and underserved areas through:

1.1. Minimum Subsidy Tender Carrying out of Minimum Subsidy Tender processes and provision of Minimum Capital Cost Subsidies to selected developers/operators of (a) Isolated mini- grids; (b) Interconnected mini-grids; or (c) Solar rooftop solutions in Participating States.”

Aside from providing the subsidy, the Federal government plans to also provide performance-based grants.

“There will be a provision of Performance-Based Grants to eligible mini-grid operators based on new customer connections for isolated mini-grids and percentage of capital expenditures for interconnected mini-grid projects.

“The grant will also cover Standalone Solar (SAS) Systems for Households, MSMEs, and Agribusinesses. This grant will provide “Support to the expansion of SAS systems for households, MSMEs, and agribusinesses in rural areas through:

2.1. Performance Based Grants for Standalone Solar Provision of Performance Based Grants (“PBGs”) to eligible companies to rapidly deploy SAS solutions in rural and underserved areas, through supply and demand side support and based on independently verified outputs, and to support deployment of solar productive use of electricity (PUE) equipment to MSMEs, agribusinesses and commercial customers.”

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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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