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Godwin Emefiele: The Beginning of the End?

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By Eric Elezuo

A very profound question on the lips of every Nigeria, who has been following recent trends is how would the Central Bank of Nigeria governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, survive the next administration in 2023 if for any reason he survives President Muhammadu Buhari’s next five months on the saddle. The CBN has recently been enmeshed in one scandal after another since his infamous declaration to run for the office of the presidency as a sitting public servant, contrary to the dictates of the Nigerian Constitution. His recalcitrant attitude to the ambition, even as calls were made by prominent Nigerians, even the generality of the public, for him to jettison the plans, put him on the bad pavilion of public discourse. His inglorious handling of the economy that has seen the Naira continue a free fall did not help matters.

An appointee of former President Goodluck Jonathan after Alhaji Sanusi Lamido Sanusi’s tenure was cut short in 2015, Emefiele, was retained by Buhari, and began his second term in office in May 2019 after his reappointment, and confirmation by the Senate. He was thereafter sworn in by the Bank’s Secretary and Director, Corporate Secretariat Department, Mrs Alice Karau, according to a statement by the Director Corporate Communications, Mr Isaac Okoroafor.

The governor expressed high hopes after taking the oath, dsiclosing that he will unfold a new roadmap for the Bank and the economy, in the days ahead, after consultations with critical stakeholder groups, and reiterated the bank’s focus to play an active role in supporting job and wealth creation in Nigeria.

In his words: “We must strengthen our efforts over the coming years to stimulate growth and job creation in critical sectors of the economy, which will help insulate our economy from shocks in the global economy.

“We must also work to build a healthy and stable financial system that will contribute to the growth of our economy while preserving price stability”.

Emefiele went ahead to unveil his economic blueprint for the country, promising to recapitalise banks within the next five years to make them contribute significantly to economic growth, promising that during his next five years, which will elapse in 2024, he would pursue an economic agenda that would make the economy grow by double digits through targeted programmes that would boost output, and work with Deposit Money Banks to boost credit to the real sector as well as the creative and education sector. In addition, he said the apex bank will increase its support to farmers in order to bring down the rate of inflation.

However, events began to take a dramatic turn as the matters of the naira showed the traces of a currency given inadequate attention with plummeting agenda against other currencies of the world, coupled with the advent of the electioneering season, which categorically sort of distracted the CBN governor with his overtly ambitions trend to become president, even without resigning his appointment as a public servant.

Earlier, the CBN governor was laced in a scandal following a leaked tape, where he and other senior bank officials were heard discussing discrepancies in the bank’s accounts, addressing a stolen money from the bank’s coffers. Though the tape was audible enough declaring the anxiety in the bank at the time, the authorities promptly denied the development, saying the tape was misquoted out of context, and distorted

Again, the Director, Corporate Communications, Mr Isaac Okoroafor, was on hand to veil the authenticity of the allegation saying said that no money was missing or stolen from the bank’s coffers as reported in some section of the media. He said that the audio was distorted in a manner which creates a different impression of the matter being discussed, which was to proffer solutions to a misunderstanding that affected the Bank’s balance sheet.

He said: “As publicly known the CBN was approached in 2015 by the National Economic Management Team and the National Economic Council chaired by the Vice President, to assist State Governments with Conditional Budget Support. This happened in the aftermath of the significant nose-dive in global oil prices and associated FAAC allocations.
“In order to ensure that ordinary Nigerian workers  got their salaries, pensions and gratuities, and that the economy continued to recover from recession, the Bank provided about N650 billion in loans at 9 per cent with a two-year grace period to 35 States of the Federation.
“These monies were distributed to the states monthly with documented approval of the Federal Ministry of Finance and the Presidency.
“In closing the Bank’s 2018 accounts, external auditors in their Draft  Account, erroneously classified about N150 billion of these loans as bad, which negatively affected the Bank’s Balance Sheet and shareholders fund.
“The selective  conversation being circulated was simply a discussion to ascertain why the auditors took that position and next steps to resolving it.
“Obviously, it soon became clear that a State Government loan cannot be classified as “bad” or “irrecoverable” when the State still exists and getting FAAC allocations.
“The Bank then reached out to the Federal Ministry of Finance and they jointly gave comfort  to the auditors who accepted in writing that these monies would be repaid.
“On this basis, the auditors reversed the negative entry and the certified that the CBN’s 2018 accounts were a true reflection of the State of Affairs.”
The statement ended with Okoroafor saying that Emefiele had “no account in Dubai or anywhere in the world and would never convert the funds of CBN for personal use. Not in the past, not now and not ever” while urging Nigerians to disregard the audio and continue to trust that the Bank is doing everything it could to represent their interests in the best possible way.” He stated that efforts to malign the CBN governor’s character and integrity will never stand.

Though the bank threatened to ‘pursue every legal means to bring the perpetrators to justice’, nothing was heard of the matter till date.

It was not long thereafter that the CBN’s governor’s foray into the murky waters of politics became public knowledge. While Nigerians were not averse to his contesting political positions, all the more than a few persons asked for was for the chief monetary officer to resign his position, and squarely politics, but he blatantly refused. And sought court ruling to enable him run while retaining his office.
Across the length and breadth of Nigeria’s political circle therefore, pleas and knocks began flooding in, asking for the immediate resignation of the Central Bank of Nigeria Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, for venturing into partisan politics.

His actions were completely against the rules of the game, as he had already purchased the expression of interest and nomination forms of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) valued at N100 million to contest the primaries, thereby contravening the CBN Act of 2007 and the Civil Service Rules, which stipulate that no public officer will engage in another job, whether paid or not, or present himself for any elective position while still in service.

But Emefiele claimed that the forms were purchased for him by three groups without his consent, and that he wasn’t interested, but only focused on strengthening the nation’s economy amid calls. The groups, according to report were the Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria, Friends of Emefiele and Emefiele Support Group. The report added that the group said Emefiele is the only responsible and responsive person to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari at the 2023 general election.

The CBN governors denial, was dismissed by a cross section of Nigeria as lame, and not in tandem with his body actions, wondering why he went to court to uphold his candidacy. The political stakeholders and social analysts therefore, condemned him for taking the path of politics while still in office, adding that the story of groups buying forms for him was unrealistic. They alleged that the CBN boss was totally aware of the process, and is feeding Nigerians with tales of unawareness.

It would be recalled that earlier before now, Nigerians have expressed concern over the way the apex bank boss was frolicking with politicians, and making utterances that suggest his interest in politics, and called for either his voluntary resignation or be sacked by President Muhammadu Buhari. Consequently, the eventual purchase of the forms did not come as a surprise to many when it was announced on Friday t.

Earlier in February, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential aspirant, who is now the Director of Strategic Communications of the party’s Presidential Campaign Council, Chief Dele Momodu, had warned of the possibility of the nation’s number one banker delving into partisan politics following his utterances and body languages, and asked the CBN Governor to resign honorably for dabbling into politics while still in office as well as for magnitudes of failures recorded under his watch.

In the press release which was exclusively made available to The Boss, Momodu accused the CBN boss of supervising an economy that has so far nosedived.

“The chicanery of a Central Bank Governor Godwin Emefiele dabbling into politics while still in office

“While it is the right of every Nigerian to aspire to the highest office, it is a joke carried too far for a  Central Bank Governor to remain in office while he and his well known sponsors are seeking to hijack the political process.

“Under Emefiele’s watch, Nigerian economy has nosedived yet he and his collaborators seek to deceive Nigerians that all is well. Let me say categorically that Nigeria can never be bought by a few individuals because they want to protect themselves,” Momodu said.

Echoing Momodu’s stand, a popular online medium, shortly after, called for the resignation of the CBN governor in its editorial commentary, noting that “It is our considered view that the statutory independence granted the Central Bank and its governor is compromised, if not totally eroded, when a sitting and serving Governor of the Bank becomes a closet politician angling or lobbying to be appointed to or to contest for a partisan political office. Whether he openly makes known his partisan political interest or does so through shadow proxies is immaterial.”

By the provisions of sections 9 and 11(2)(c) of the CBN Act, a Governor, Deputy Governor or Director ceases to hold office if

a. He does not devote his full time to the service of the bank;
b. Engages in full or part time vocation like politics;
c. Engages in a personal cause (like politics) which (i) conflicts with his full time duties to the bank, or (ii) detracts from his full time duties to the bank; and
d. Is guilty of serious misconduct in relation to his duties under the Act.

As a result, the CBN’s governor’s participation in politics has been termed a breach of each of these sub-heads, and consequently, deserved to be sacked if he fails to resign.

In Section 11(3) of the same Act, it is required of the Governor or a Deputy Governor of the CBN to give three months notice of his intention to resign. Ideally, Emefiele should have done this before picking up membership of APC not to mention the Presidential nomination form.

Either way, there is an issue of eligibility hanging on the the apex bank boss. Stakeholders are of the opinion that ‘if Emefiele is not an APC member, he can’t contest now because he would fall foul of the requisite membership period. If he is, then he is conflicted under the Act and should resign or be deemed to have ceased to hold office.’

This is not the first time Emefiele has been called upon to resign.

In May 2019, SaharaReporters made public a phone conversation of Emefiele; his deputy, Edward Lametek Adamu; Director for Finance, Dayo M. Arowosegbe and one of the Special Advisers to the CBN Governor, Emmanuel Ukeje discussing how to cover up the loss of over N500 billion stolen from the CBN in a private investment that collapsed. The CBN accepted the authenticity of the audio conversation, but said no money was missing from the bank.

In September of the same year, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) asked the CBN governor to resign over allegations of overseeing looting of funds in the nation’s apex bank.

According to the PDP, the allegations were based on the affirmations from the then Secretary of the National Caretaker Committee of the APC, Senator John Akpan Udoedehe during a Channels TV programme.

“The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) demands the immediate resignation and prosecution of the Governor of the Central bank of Nigeria (CBN) Godwin Emefiele going by allegations by the All Progressives Congress (APC) that he superintended over massive looting of funds in the CBN.

“Our party calls on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to immediately invite Emefiele for questioning over allegations by the National Secretary of the illegal APC National Caretaker Committee, Senator John Akpan Udoedehe, that the CBN governor supervised over the pillaging of the nation’s vaults under his watch,” the party had said.

“Our party insists that beyond Akpan Udoedehe’s allegation, the tenure of Emefiele as CBN governor under the APC administration has witnessed colossal failures of monetary and fiscal policies, requiring him to vacate the office and hand himself over for investigation.

“It is instructive to note that when Emefiele took over office as CBN Governor in 2014, naira exchanged for N164 to a dollar. Today, in the hands of Emefiele and the APC, the naira has tumbled to a near N600 to a dollar, putting the nation’s economy on its knees.

“Painfully, under the leadership of Emefiele, the CBN has failed in its core mandate of managing the economy and took a dive into propaganda with claims that do not reflect the harsh economic reality on the ground,” it had added.

Other notable personalities followed up, and called for the resignation of the nation’s number one banker. Some of them were the Governor of Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu, the Governor of Sokoto State, Aminu Tambuwal among many others with the PDP asking for his arrest.

PDP’s allegation read in part: “Importantly, Section 030502 (g) of the Rule lists “engaging in partisan political activities’ as SERIOUS ACT OF MISCONDUCT.

Emefiele’s involvement in politics without resigning as CBN Governor therefore amounts to gross misconduct in contravention of Section 11 2 (2)(c) of the CBN Act.

Now that Mr. Emefiele has joined politics and reportedly obtained the N100 million Presidential aspirant form from the APC, he cannot continue to resume at the CBN which is the commonwealth of our nation.

By this Mr. Emefiele has become a clear and present danger to the health, integrity and reputation of the CBN and our nation’s financial sector. His continued stay as CBN Governor will further destroy investors’ confidence in the integrity of our nation’s financial regulatory Institution.

Mr. Emefiele’s involvement in partisan politics while still holding office as CBN Governor underpins the impunity, lawlessness and recklessness of the Muhammadu Buhari-led APC administration. It further confirms that the CBN under Emefiele has all along been the finance department of the APC.

It is now evident that the summersault of the economy under Mr. Emefiele as CBN Governor has been influenced by a personal partisan interest for which the CBN under his watch allegedly allowed multiple leakages in our financial regulations through discriminatory exchange rate policies and nebulous subsidies to funnel billons of naira to political lackies to fund a presidential ambition.

This also explains why under Emefiele, the CBN which is supposed to be the bankers’ bank continues to engage in fraudulent retail banking services under ill-defined economic intervention programmes to plunder the treasury.

The tsunamic macro-economic and fiscal policies of the CBN under Emefiele brought untold hardship to the productive and service sectors of our nation’s economy with consequential negative effect on the lives of our citizens.

It is provocative that instead of being remorseful, Mr. Emefiele is even insulting the sensibilities of Nigerians by seeking the office of the President while still holding office as CBN Governor.

The PDP points to reports in the public space of how Emefiele’s agents through corrupt practices, including manipulation of exchange rate, allegedly amassed sum close to $1 billion dollar which is already being deployed by the purchase of hundreds of Emefiele branded campaign vehicles in the colours of the APC in furtherance of a lavish Presidential campaign.

The direct consequences of such atrocious regime in the CBN under Emefiele is the collapse of our naira from N197 to N600 to a dollar, the crippling of our productive sector, multiple economic recession, increased poverty, inflation and unemployment rates, high costs of living and excruciating hardship to our citizens.

It is indeed saddening that President Muhammadu Buhari, who promised zero tolerance for corruption will enable, encourage and condone such atrocious regime in the CBN where our economy is opened to fraudulent pillaging to promote a political ambition.

Our Party stands with Nigerians in demanding the immediate arrest, investigation and prosecution of Mr. Emefiele by security and anti-graft agencies, particularly the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for alleged financial malfeasance and abuse of office in the CBN under his watch.

As Nigerians we are determined to confront this evil. We wish Mr. Emefiele well in his new found but ill-fated political vocation but we demand that he must be brought to account for the activities that he undertook, supervised and superintended over the years that he has been at the helm of affairs at the CBN and for which our economy is in comatose.

The PDP calls on all Nigerians; the Civil Society, Students, Organized Labour, the Media and all lovers of good governance to rise up as the PDP takes drastic actions in leading the charge to defend the integrity of the CBN, Rule of Law and ensure that those who brought our economy to its knees face the wrath of the law.”

But like one sold to his ambition, Emefiele went to court, represented by eminent jurist and rights activist, Mike Ozekhome, but the courts came to the rescue, denying him of the request to run without resigning. The Abuja Federal High Court failed to grant the requests for an order to prevent attempts to stop him from the 2023 Presidency.

Emefiele had applied for an order of status quo ante bellum against INEC and AGF so that he would not be made to resign from office until 30 days to the general election.

In an ex-parte application, Emefiele denied being a political appointee but a Public servant not caught by section 84 (12) of the new Electoral Act 2022, and asked the court to invoke section 318 of the 1999 Constitution to bar the defendants from asking him to vacate office until 30 days before the February 2023 Presidential election.

He expressed apprehension that the sale and submission of the Presidential nomination form would expire on Wednesday and that unless the INEC and AGF are ordered to maintain status antebellum as of May 5 when he filed the suit, he would be made to vacate office before his form would be accepted by the appropriate authority.

Moving the motion exparte, Ozekhome noted that by Wednesday, May 11, the timeline for the collection of expression of interest form for the presidential poll will expire, thus the need for the order.

“The timeline for the primaries, congresses or conventions of political parties for the presidential election which the applicant is interested in, comes up on May 30 and June 1.

“We are not asking for an injunction, but due to the urgency of the matter, the applicant needs the protection and canopy of justice to stop the matter from being rendered nugatory and a fait accompli foisted on the applicant if the court does not issue an order.

Emefiele went to court in total disobedience of President Buhari’s insistence that all appointees must resign their appointments if they wish to contest any electoral position. The likes of former ministers of Transportation and Education; Rotimi Amaechi and Emeka Nwadiuba resigned just as the likes of ministers of Justice and Labour and Productivity, Abubakar Malami and Chris Ngige chickened out and were restored to their positions.

 

Then in October, 2022, Emefiele proposed to redesign the higher denominations of the nation’s currency during an announcement contained in a statement released by the Central during a press briefing in Abuja. The bank said it is undertaking the designing project to have control of the currency in circulation, manage inflation, as well as tackle counterfeiting. He noted that the targeted notes are N200, N500, and N1000, while release into the Nigerian monetary space will start on December 15, 2022, and then by January 31, 2023, the existing notes will be completely phased out of circulation.

Emefiele hinted as part of the many reasons for the action, that the currency management has faced several daunting challenges that have continued to escalate in scale and sophistication with attendant and unintended consequences for the integrity of both the CBN and the country.

However, stakeholders, analysts and the general public wondered if the CBN and Emefiele were well advised as a cross section of Nigerians believe that the project could be a dangerous gamble, seeing that there are concerns the move may lead to confusion as rural population may find it difficult to change their currency notes within the given time among a whole lot of consequences, which the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, who said she was not aware of the move, hinted.

In his address while making public the intention of the CBN, which permission, he said has been given by President Buhari, Emefiele said: “These challenges primarily include: Significant hoarding of banknotes by members of the public, with statistics showing that over 85 percent of currency in circulation are outside the vaults of commercial banks,” he said.

“To be more specific, as at the end of September 2022, available data at the CBN indicate that N2.73 Trillion out of the N3.23 trillion currency in circulation, was outside the vaults of Commercial Banks across the country; and supposedly held by the public.

“Evidently, currency in circulation has more than doubled since 2015; rising from N1.46 trillion in December 2015 to N3.23 trillion in September 2022. This is a worrisome trend that cannot be allowed to continue.”

Emefiele’s catalogue of excuses regarding why the existing naira notes must be phased out includes the fact that the increase in the hoarding of currency in circulation has affected inflation, which hit a 17-year high in September, in addition to the menace of worsening shortage of clean and fit banknotes with attendant negative perception of the CBN and increased risk to financial stability.

The CBN governor also listed that the redistribution of the new notes will discourage ransom payment as large volumes of money won’t be accessed because the amount of cash in circulation will be drastically reduced just as it will help deepen CBN’s drive to entrench cashless economy as it will be complemented by increased minting of the eNaira.

“Also, in view of the prevailing level of security situation in the country, the CBN is convinced that the incidents of terrorism and kidnapping would be minimized as access to the large volume of money outside the banking system used as source of funds for ransom payments will begin to dry up.

“This will further rein in the currency outside the banking system into the banking system thereby making monetary policy more efficacious,” Emefiele said.

As expected, the CBN governor’s initiative has received knocks and kudos from across the length and breadth of the country with stakeholders voicing their thoughts at how the redesigning of the naira will impact on the economy, and more importantly on the lives of the citizens.

But how feasible the lofty ideas the CBN has expressed in this initiative is remains a mirage and gamble as most bodies have risen in condemnation of the process.
The first of the misadventure of the naira redesigning is the denial of the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning that they are not aware of the planned exercise. The Minister, Zainab Ahmed, who commented on the policy in response to questions raised by senators during the 2023 budget defence session she had with the Senate Committee on Finance, chaired by Senator Solomon Olamilekan, dissociated herself from the Naira redesign policy.
The Minister went ahead to warn the CBN of consequences that may arise from the policy just as the Senate intoned that barely two days after the announcement of the policy by the CBN, the negative effect was already being experienced in the country’s forex. The Senate noted that just bare 48 hours later, the value of the Naira to a US dollar has risen from N740 to N788 due to rush in exchange of stashed Naira Notes for foreign currencies, particularly the dollar.
In their argument, the senators were of the opinion that the policy, a well-conceived one, but has timing deficiency, going by the realities on ground. They feared that the naira may fall to as low as N1,000 to a US dollar before January 31, 2023 fixed for full implementation of the policy.
On their part, the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) said that the Central Bank of Nigeria’s plan to redesign the higher currency notes is not an economic priority for the country, considering the current challenges facing the economy.
The Executive Director of Centre, Auwal Musa, in a statement said that there are more pressing needs that the CBN ought to attend to, to set the economy on the path of revival, adding that concerned reactions from Nigerians was proof that the decision is a misplaced priority on the part of the CBN.
He said, “Firstly, the CBN’s decision to redesign and reissue new 200, 500 and 1000 notes is not an economic priority and barely a solution to addressing Nigeria’s poor monetary policy challenges and growing economic woes.

“Especially at a time when the country is grappling with huge fiscal deficits, a free fall of the naira, soaring inflation rates, multiple forex rates and rising borrowing costs. The reasons for this decision seem no different from those given for the forex demand management strategy which resulted in a non-satisfactory conclusion as the artificially low exchange rate failed to be as reflective of the market as possible to improve supply, but this time it only threatens damning economic consequences for Nigerians.

“The public perception that this decision holds no value proposition for the economy, reiterates the tendency of the CBN to be distracted from fulfilling priority statutory obligations,” he said.

But the CBN Governor’s woes were far from over as the Nigeria’s secret police, the Department of State Services (DSS), commenced a be-on-the-lookout exercise for the chief banker, as it reportedly deployed operatives, ordering them to arrest him on sight. The DSS has accused Emefiele of sponsoring terrorism. The DSS had through one U. S. Gambarawa on December 7, 2022 brought an ex parte application before the Federal High Court, Abuja, seeking the court’s order to arrest and detain Emefiele over alleged terrorism financing amongst others.

Reports monitored on SaharaReporters said that ‘two DSS officials familiar with Emefiele’s matter confirmed that the domestic intelligence office of the DSS had deployed several officers to monitor the CBN Headquarters, Emefiele’s family residence in Lagos and the Abuja home of businessman Christopher Emefiele, unrelated by blood, according to People’s Gazette’.

The medium also said that It was reported that a DSS officer who preferred hidden identity said the deployment came from an assistant director of the Services but the source could not immediately confirm whether or not Director-General Yusuf Bichi signed off on it.

“We have different teams of at least two each monitoring those places. We don’t know if they have more people deployed to even more places, but we did not see any signal from the DG’s office to suggest his involvement at this point,” the officer said.

The DSS unsuccessfully sought a warrant from the Federal High Court earlier in the month, with a federal judge ruling that sufficient probable cause was not established for the issuance of a warrant against a sitting governor of the nation’s banker and foremost regulator of the banking sector.

The DSS in an application ex-parte, an action filed to the exclusion of its defendant, asked the court to order Emefiele’s arrest on account of terrorism financing and economic sabotage, among other nefarious acts.

However, Justice John Tsoho said he didn’t see enough evidence in the DSS’s application and bemoaned the agency’s failure to take him into confidence, saying “It therefore seems that the applicant intends to use the court as a cover for an irregular procedure, which is unacceptable.”

Emefiele reportedly went out of sight after he learned of an active threat to arrest him by the DSS, and learning of his disappearance from Nigeria, a group known as Concerned Citizens Of Conscience (CCC), wrote to the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) demanding Emefiele’s immediate arrest and extradition to Nigeria.

The group in a letter dated 23rd December, 2022, requested Interpol to arrest and extradite Emefiele who is currently hiding in the United States of America (USA) “in his bid to abscond from facing the wrath of the law”, back to Nigeria to face prosecution.

From every indication, the professional life of the CBN governor is hanging on a balance, and may not be long before the end of the beginning arrives.

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You’ve Nothing to Offer Nigerians, Only Insults, Akwa Ibom Gov Slams Tinubu

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Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Udom Emmanuel, on Monday, replied the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Bola Tinubu, saying that he (Tinubu) always resorts to abusing and insulting people during campaigns because he has nothing to bring to the table for Nigerians.

He also said that despite being insulted by the former Lagos State Governor, he would prefer to allow peace to reign by ignoring him and focusing on helping install good governance to rescue Nigerians from their present woes.

Emmanuel spoke on Monday evening at Government House, Uyo while inaugurating newly appointed Permanent Secretaries, Chairmen and Members of Boards and Commissions, as well as a Transition Committee to ensure the smooth transition of power to the next administration.

Recall that Tinubu had during his rally in Uyo Monday afternoon, reportedly said, “Akwa Ibom, that boy wey bring Atiku here, wey de call himself Governor, tell him enough is enough! He lives in my backyard in Lagos, If no be say we be one, I would have driven him home. You see that mansion he is living, I would just use lizards, pigeons and scorpions to put him inside.“

But reacting few hours later, the Akwa Ibom State Governor said, “for the country to remain in peace, one party must ‘play saint’ and that is why he would refrain from replying Tinubu.

Emmanuel who is the Chairman of the PDP presidential campaigns said, “I also go to other states, and if you watch our campaigns, my principal (Atiku Abubakar) has never spoken about any Governor, he has never spoken openly about Asiwaju before.”

He added that it was unfortunate that Tinubu, who was granted state-owned facilities such as the airport, security, stadium, and a good atmosphere to come in and sell his manifesto, ended up coming to insult the integrity of over 7.9 million Akwa Ibom people.

The Governor wondered if it is possible for any Akwa Ibomite to go to Lagos that Tinubu stays or the actual state that he hails from, to insult Tinubu in like manner and still be allowed to safely return home, “but here our people at the stadium including some state governors just laughed and applauded him.”

“What makes him think he will govern Nigeria? If I reply him now, people will call me and say, haba oga you are not like that. But I will reply him one day. There is nothing like ‘emilokan’ (it is my turn) here, Nigeria is in God’s hands.”

He maintained further that despite being the highest revenue contributor to the federation account, Akwa Ibom State has not gotten a single kilometre of road from the APC-led Federal Government for nearly 8 years adding that the poor response from the Federal Government also caused the delayed commencement of the seaport in the state.

Meanwhile, the governor thanked the newly appointed Permanent Secretaries for accepting the onerous task of service, and urged them to see themselves as ambassadors and work towards raising the bar of leadership which would encourage productivity and promote good working relationship with subordinates in the service.

“This is one thing I promised Akwa Ibom people that appointment of Permanent Secretaries shall be totally on merit and not by mercy, let those that can do the work be given the opportunity. Permanent Secretary is not a promotion, it is an appointment on merit.

Governor Emmanuel also reiterated his commitments towards enhancing efficiency within Civil Service, noting that during his administration civil servants have been promoted on yearly basis.

He assured that before he exits office more Permanent Secretaries would be appointed into the service to fill vacant positions left by the ones who retired.

Addressing Chairmen of Boards and Commissions, Governor Emmanuel who described them as pillars in government, acknowledged their commitment particularly, Chairman, Akwa Ibom State Environmental Protection & Waste Management Agency, Prince Akpan Ikim, for winning laurels for the state through his outstanding performance in keeping and making the state the cleanest in Nigeria for five consecutive years from 2018 through 2022, and tasked others to create an impact that will stand them out.

In the same vein, the Transition Committee members were handed the task of ensuring a seamless transition of government to an incoming administration, and also verify all projects executed by the present administration.

The newly appointed Permanent Secretaries are; Mfon Inuaesiet Edemekong Esq., Dr. Stephen Effiong, Atim Chelly Okoko, Iquo Okon Abia Esq., Uwem Sunday Andrew-Essien, Isaiah Robson Ntekim and Emaeyak Nyong Akpan as Auditor-General for Local Government.

The Transition Committee has Mrs. Ekereobong Umoh -Chairman, Uko Udom SAN, Prof Augustine Umoh, Dr. Ini Adiakpan, Mrs. Nsemeke Daniel, Dr. Nathaniel Adiakpan, Mr Elijah Udoiyak, Mrs. Esther Inyang, Pastor Uwem Andrew-Essien, Mr. Isaiah Ntekim, Mr. Effiong Ekpenyong and Mrs. Bella Akpanya as members.

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PDP Condemns Attack on Buhari in Kano, Blames Tinubu, Ganduje

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The Peoples Democratic Party Presidential Campaign Council, has blamed the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, and the governor of Kano State, Abdullahi Ganduje, for the attacks on the convoy of President Muhammadu Buhari, during a visit to the state on Monday.

The spokesperson of the campaign council, Dino Melaye, who shared one of the videos from the reported attack, wrote, “The fight between Tinubu and Buhari is entering a new dimension. The attack in Kano was properly coordinated and funded allegedly by Asiwaju.

“The meeting to push Buhari to submission or face sponsored attack in the north was said to be hatched in Bourdillon. Me, I am busy with Atiku.”

A political activist, Deji Adeyanju, who shared another video of the reported attack, said, “They are showing Buhari and APC Shege in Kano and many northern states.”

Similarly, the PDP in a statement signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Debo Ologunagba, on Monday also blamed Tinubu and the Governor of Kano State, Abdullahi Ganduje, for the attack.

According to the party, the attack was designed to undermine the Presidency, cause confusion, trigger violence in the country, disrupt the conduct of the 2023 general elections “and derail our democracy having realised that he cannot win in a peaceful, free and fair electoral process.”

The statement read in part, “The PDP invites Nigerians to note how Governor Abdullahi Ganduje attempted to abridge President Buhari’s movement and even tried to stop him from visiting Kano State.

“More disquieting is the fact that the APC Presidential Campaign sought to humiliate and harm President Buhari while performing his official duties in Kano.

“It should be noted that the APC presidential candidate has been displaying open aversion and making inciting statements against President Buhari since Mr President’s declaration, in line with democratic best practice all over the world that Nigerians should freely vote for any candidate and party of their choice in the 2023 general elections.

“The apparent frustration of Asiwaju Tinubu to resort to encourage or condone violence is fueled by his entitlement mentality, that it is his turn to be President, despite his numerous ineligibility and disability baggage.”

Ologunagba reminded Nigerians about Tinubu’s infamous statement in London where he declared to his supporters that “political power is not going to be served in a restaurant, it is not served a la carte.”

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Organ Harvesting: Ekweremadu Battles for Freedom, Appears in Court Tuesday

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A former Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, will on Tuesday appear again in court in the United Kingdom where he has been accused of human trafficking.

The lawmaker was in June 2022 arrested at Heathrow Airport in London after Staines Police Station received a report from a young man claiming to have been trafficked into the UK.

The young man, who made the report shortly after arriving in the UK from Nigeria, also alleged that he was made to undergo some medical tests, none of which he consented to.

Ekweremadu was immediately arraigned before a Magistrate’s Court for bringing a child into the UK to harvest his organs.

While the lawmaker had been in custody since June 23, his wife, Beatrice, who was arrested with him, was granted bail by a criminal court in London shortly after their arrest.

Monday (today) makes it 221 days since Ekweremadu was placed in the custody of UK authorities.

The case against the lawmaker which had been slated for May was later scheduled for January 31.

The 60-year-old, who denied the allegations against him, will again appear before High Court Judge, Mr Justice Johnson.

His daughter, Sonia, had on November 7, 2022, appeared in court to defend the accusation of trafficking a homeless man into the UK to harvest his organs for herself.

According to Daily Mail, the 25-year-old, who is battling a kidney-related illness, pleaded not guilty to the charge level against her when she appeared again in court on January 13.

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