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Dangote Makes History! Launches Nigeria into Petroleum Importation Independence



By Eric Elezuo

History was made on Monday, May 22, 2023 at the Lekki Free Zone area of Lagos State when the ambitious 650, 000 barrels per day Dangote Refinery was commissioned by President Muhammadu Buhari in company of four other African presidents, one presidential representative, past and serving governors, senators, representatives, traditional leaders, captains of industries, ministers, members of the diplomatic corps and the general public.

Situated on a land space of about 2675 Hectares, touted as seven times the size of Victoria Island, the Dangote Refinery, a project expected to go beyond the refining of petroleum products, will also place Nigeria on a $11 billion annual revenue, and more importantly save the nation from the twin enemy of petroleum subsidy and unequivocal independence from the importation of petroleum products both for private and commercial consumption.

The refinery set up to refine 650,000 barrels of crude oil per day will transform crude oil into different petroleum products such as diesel, gasoline, jet fuel and kerosene. The refinery will produce Euro-V quality gasoline and diesel, as well as jet fuel and polypropylene. The facility, in addition, was designed to process a large variety of crudes, including many African crudes, some Middle Eastern crudes, and US (United States) Light Tight Oil.

The event, which kickstarted at exactly 11:22am at the arrival of the president, was heralded by the national anthem, and opening prayer by the Governor of Nasarawa State, Abdullahi Sule, after which the podium was made available for the ‘man of the moment’, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, for his opening remarks.

Dressed in complete purple danshiki attire, and beaming with a visible smile of accomplishment, the visioner and brain behind the project in particular, and the Dangote Group in general, mounted the podium, acknowledging the supports received from various individuals, agencies, parastatal, banks, the CBN and the host community for the successful execution of the massive adventure.

Dangote particularly acknowledged President Buhari’s confidence in him to execute the project, saying that his fatherly encouragement was the catalyst that birth, sustained and completed the project. Dangote also heaped encomiums on the Lagos State governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu for the window of assistance, and for being a good host, as well as past Lagos State governors including Mr. Raji Fashola and Akinwunmi Ambode. He did not stop there, but paid glowing tributes to the Central Bank Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, for practically taking the project personal, and ensured that whatever that was needed to bring it to fruition was not lacking. He thanked also the commercial banks for the the contributions, especially Access Bank and Zenith International Bank as well the members of the host community.

He hinted that the first products of the refinery will be ready by the end of July 2023 or early August at the latest.

Other entities that made the list of Dangote’s appreciation were the AFREXIM Bank, the Chief of Naval Staff, the Chief of Defence Staff, General Leo Irabor. He did not forget to hail the members of staff of Dangote Group, led by Mrs. Adenike Fajemirokun, who he encouraged to stand for recognition, and his immediate family members.


Your Excellency – Mr. President,
It gives me immense pleasure to welcome you to this commemoration of the commissioning of the Dangote Oil Refinery and Petrochemicals Complex.

Your Excellency may recall that just about a year ago, you were here to commission our 3MT Fertilizer plant, and you graciously accepted our invitation to return to Lekki to commission the Refinery then under construction. On behalf of the Board, Management and Staff of Dangote Industries, I wish to extend our deep appreciation for this great honour.

For Your Excellency, not only to be here this morning, in fulfillment of your promise, but to do so in the company of His Excellency- The President Elect – who will be succeeding you in just a week- is indeed a matter of divine providence, for which we must thank the Almighty God. For we appreciate how incredibly tight the schedules of both of you must be at this very moment. Permit me, therefore, Mr. President, to extend our special welcome and deep appreciation to H.E. Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu- The President Elect.

We are also highly honoured to have with us this morning the
Presidents of Ghana, His Excellency, Nana Akufo-Addo
President of Togo, His Excellency, Faure Gnassingbe
President of Senegal, His Excellency, Macky Sall
President of Chad, His Excellency, Mahamat Deby
President of Niger, His Excellency, Mohamed Bazoum
Our former President, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan,
Our President-Elect, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu

Your Excellencies, we thank you most sincerely for accepting our invitation despite the rather short notice and the enormous responsibilities of your offices.

I would also like to extend our warm welcome to:
 H.E. The Senate President
 The Right Honorable Speaker of the House of
 Distinquished Senators and Members of the House of Representatives here present
 Your Excellency, the Governor and Chief Host, Babajide Sanwo-Olu
 Their Excellencies Executive Governors and Governors-Elect of our various States here present.
 Honorable Ministers, here present
 The Governor of CBN
 The Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Ltd.
 Members of the Diplomatic Community
 Our Royal Fathers, Religious leaders
 Leaders of our Host Communities
 Our Dangote Staff, Management and Directors
 Dangote & Dantata Family

Let me also recognize and welcome my colleagues and friends. Leaders of the Business Community, particularly, our Bankers and Financiers, our Contractors and Suppliers, all of whom have demonstrated great patience and cooperation in the course of the execution of this project.

Your Excellencies, Distinguished guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, the Dangote Petroleum Refinery we are here to commission this morning is the fulfillment of a long-held dream and the product of our Group’s Corporate vision driven by our Mission to produce what we consume and to promote self- sufficiency in the basic needs of our people while competing globally in areas of our comparative/competitive advantage.

Over two decades ago, we made the commitment to invest in the downstream petroleum Sector in response to the increasing shortages of petroleum products in our country and the consequent challenges on our economy and its negative impact on the lives and livelihoods of our people.

Initially, we sought to enter the industry by acquiring brownfield Refineries under the Federal Government’s Privatization Programme in 2006/7. Regrettably, the privatization Policy was reversed, and our payment returned.

This motivated us to re-think our Market-entry Strategy and our Business Model. We subsequently committed to enter the Market boldly with a vision to invest in a greenfield Refinery that will transform the Industry in Nigeria and Africa.

We decided on a plant designed with the State-of-the art technology and at a scale in capacity that will be a “game-changer” in Africa and the global market.

Your Excellencies, Distinguished Guests, the Facility we are commissioning today is aimed to reposition Nigeria as a key player in the Downstream Petroleum Sector of the global market.

We have built a Refinery with a capacity to process 650,000 barrels per day (plus 900,000 tonnes of polypropylene) in a single train – which is the largest in the world. We have selected the best plants and equipment and the latest technologies from across the world.

Our products slate is designed to meet the highest quality standards and high-value products including Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), Automotive Gas Oil (Diesel), Aviation Turbine Kerosine (ATK); all of Euro V Standards that will enable us not only meet our Country’s demand but also to become a key player in the African and global market.

Our coastal location and offshore loading and offloading (SPM) facilities with a capacity to receive all our crude oil supplies and evacuate up to 75% of our liquid products give us direct access to the rest of Africa and the global market for exports. In addition, 80 per cent of our production can be discharge through trucks nationwide.

Your Excellencies, Distinguished Guests, our huge investment of over $18.5billion in this Industry has been prompted by our desire to support and contribute our quota to the Federal Government’s sustained effort to transform our economy and properly position our Country as the leading Nation in Africa, and a respected member among emerging economies in the world.

Your Excellency, Mr. President, this commissioning ceremony is just the beginning of a great journey, a milestone in a new and exciting trajectory for the Downstream sector of Nigeria’s Oil and Gas Industry. It is our firm commitment that we will replicate in this sector, what we have achieved in the cement and fertilizer markets, where Nigeria transited from being the largest importer of these products to a net exporter.

Beyond today’s ceremony, our first goal is to ramp up production of the various Products to ensure that within this year, we are able to fully satisfy our nation’s demand for high quality products to enable us eliminate the tragedy of import dependency and stop, once and for all, the dumping in our market of toxic sub-standard petroleum products. Your Excellencies, Distinquished Guests, our first product will be in the market before the end of July this year.

Beyond this, we intend to ensure that our plants are run at the highest capacity utilization and highest efficiency to enable us to export competitively to other markets- especially in the ECOWAS and the wider Africa Region in which 53 Countries out of 55 are dependent on imports to meet their petroleum products demand. This is a clear opportunity for Nigeria given the Continent’s commitment to the creation of an African Common Market through the recently established African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCFTA) regime.

Let me now briefly touch on the immediate benefits today’s commissioning will bring to our economy and our people.

First, beyond the constant availability of high-quality fuels for our Transportation Sector, the Refinery will also make available to our Industries, vital raw materials for a wide range of manufacturers in the plastics, pharmaceutical, food and beverages, packaging, construction, and many other sub-sectors.

Second, while the Refinery operation and ancillary businesness will generate massive jobs opportunities, the downstream supply and distribution of its products will equally provided far more absorptive capacity for labour in hundreds of thousands.

Third, once our plant is fully on stream, we expect that at least 40% of the capacity will be available for export and this will result in significant Foreign Exchange inflows into the country.

Overall, we are committed to operating our Plant in line with international best practice requirements, recognizing the importance of protecting the environment, and putting in place stringent environmental, health and safety policies to ensure that the Refinery operates in a safe and sustainable manner.

Mr. President, Distinguished Guests, the journey to this event was long and arduous. It could not have been possible without the support and collaboration of many parties and individuals.
So, permit me Your Excellencies, Distinguished Guests to recognize and appreciate just a few.

Let me start with Your Excellency, Mr. President. Your sustained support and encouragement over the past eight years have been, for me personally, a source of great motivation and strength. At times when I felt like giving up, your quiet words of assurance and confidence have made the difference. Mr President, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Those, like me, who have made Lagos our home, will surely recall that it was the President Elect who established the Lagos Free Zone and initiated the massive economic developments of which this project is a part. We must therefore, appreciate and thank the Asiwaju for his incredible vision and foresight.

The Government of Lagos State, under the successive leadership of the last three Governors, has been eminently remarkable in its support and cooperation. Specifically, the Government of Babajide Sanwo-Olu has been incredibly proactive in ensuring that the many challenges we encountered in the course of executing this project were quickly resolved. I thank him immensely.

The Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources and its various Agencies especially the NNPC, our partner, has helped to steer this project to this successful event. Under the leadership of Mele Kyari, the NNPC has moved mountains to ensure that no obstacles stand in the way of progress.

As in most mega projects, financing has been a source of many significant challenges. Governor Emefiele’s belief in and commitment to this project has been awesome. Indeed, apart from the top Management of the Refinery itself, no one in this gathering has visited this site more times than Governor Emefiele. We are indeed very grateful.

Our Bankers and financiers, both local and off-shore, have demonstrated a great deal of patience, and indulgence in seeing us through many difficult times. I must especially appreciate the Afrexim bank and its President Prof. Benedict Oramah, CON, whose unwavering support, encouragement and thoughtful advice have helped us to overcome even the most daunting challenges. I want to most especially acknowledge Zenith Bank International Plc and Access Bank Plc for going the extra mile in supporting us in this epoch making journey.

Our Security Agencies have been most proactive in helping to ensure that this project progressed under the strict vigilance and concern of our security network. We are particularly grateful to the Chief of Naval Staff who has kept the project continuously under his personal attention and watch.

However, I cannot close this address without appreciating the Board, Management and Staff of the entire Dangote Group whose commitment, perseverance and hard work made today’s event possible.

Last but not the least, I must extend our sincere appreciation to our host communities and their Traditional leaders for their sustained patience, forbearance and admirable willingness to work with us to find amicable and win-win resolutions to the many issues we have had to deal with as the construction of this huge facility progressed.

Finally, we must not forget, that it is the Grace and Mercy of the Almighty Allah, that inspired and enabled the building of this huge complex, and we must give the glory to Him for granting us the opportunity to witness this ceremony in our life time.

Your Excellencies, Distinguished Guests, I thank you all for attending the commissioning of this monumental project.

In his response, the Managing Director of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation Limited, Mr. Mele Kyari, observed tha President Buahari, as the biggest beneficiary of the product as it was achieved under his administration, should be proud of the project. He lauded the partnership the corporation had with the Dangote Group from conception to conclusion of the project.

In his speech, the CBN governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, noted that history has been rewritten with the commissioning of the refinery just as trajectory has been enhanced. He recalled the started point of the history in perspective, saying that Buhari deserve the credit of the accomplishment.

Following, the governor of Lagos State, Sanwo-Olu, in his speech told three stories of those to be applauded for the humongous refinery. The first was the Chairman of Dangote Group, who 45 years berthed in Lagos, and out of nothing has created among other things, the biggest single train refinery in the world. The second was President Muhammadu Buhari, who also 45 years ago, as the Commissioner of Petroleum, delivered the Warri Refinery. The third was the president-elect, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, who in his wisdom, established the Lekki Free Zone in 2006 while the governor of Lagos State. He said that the trio shared a common vision, believe in the prosperity of the people they are leading and the fact that things can be different. He called however, for the replication of the likes of Dangote to create more people-oriented projects.

Speaking on behalf of Tinubu, the Vice President-elect, Senator Kashim Shettima, called on CNN, BBC, SkyNews and other international media to widely report the commissioning of the refinery, adding that Africa is not just about crises in Sudan and other negative issues, adding that ‘good things also happen in Africa’.

“Africa is not all about the crisis in Sudan, Africa is not all about poverty, Africa is not all about deprivation and destitution, Africa is not all about insecurity, I hope the CNN, the BBC, and the Sky News of this world will be around to give maximum coverage to this function,” Shettima said.

In his address, the Nigerian president, who couldn’t hide his joy at another accomplishment and his admiration for Dangote for the end of tenure gift in the guise of a gigantic petroleum refinery, one of the biggest in the world, expressed appreciation for being the one to commission the project as Dangote had earlier promised him. He further stated that his predecessor will continue from where he stopped in giving good governance to Nigerians.


‘‘This mega industry we are commissioning today is a clear example of what can be achieved when entrepreneurs are encouraged and supported and when an enabling environment is created for investments and for businesses to thrive.

‘‘I am confident that my successor, His Excellency Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, will sustain the improvement in our economic and business environment and strengthen the framework of our public private partnership policies to accelerate the pace of our economic growth and development.

‘‘I am happy to leave our economy in very competent hands.

‘‘I urge and encourage our other great entrepreneurs to emulate this iconic Nigerian industrialist and join the Government in accelerating our growth in order to realize our country’s globally recognized economic potential.

‘‘When I travel around Africa and meet and engage my brother Heads of State (and I am delighted some of their Excellencies are here) I often sense a quiet expectation that our country is blessed with resources and human capacity to lead Africa’s rise to economic prosperity and the attainment of Agenda 2063 – ‘The Africa we all want.’

‘‘But to achieve the goals of Agenda 2063, Africa must come together – we must integrate our economies, eliminate barriers to trade and energize our youthful population to scale up our productive capacity.

‘‘We must create necessary conditions for our private sector to grow and partner with the public sector to accelerate economic growth across the continent.

‘‘We must not allow outside powers to use some of our leaders to destabilize our economic and political trajectory.

‘‘The consequence of these challenges constitute a severe strain on our economy, limiting Government’s ability to provide basic infrastructure without resorting to huge borrowings.

‘‘Our Government, therefore, took the decision to focus attention on creating an enabling environment for the private sector to thrive and fill the enormous gap in investments not only in infrastructure but also in all critical sectors.

‘‘We recognize that without the active participation of the private sector and a strong commitment to public private partnership, our economy would continue to remain severely challenged and our economic growth impeded.

‘‘Government therefore, will and should continue to provide an enabling environment and encourage innovative public private partnerships in all sectors of our economy.

‘‘It is my hope that the succeeding Administration will continue to apply such innovative schemes in partnership with the private sector to accelerate the provision of critical infrastructure in particular roads, power and gas pipelines.’’

Other African presidents in attendance took turns to laud the gigangic efforts. The first to speak was the President of Ghana, Akufo Nana Addo, followed by the Nigerien president, Mohammed Bazu, who spoke in Hausa Language and Mr. Faure Gnassimgbe of Togo. They are praised the dexterity of Dangote, adding that by the project, Nigeria is sustaining its big brother status in the continent.

Below is a roll call of dignitaries at the occasion

President Muhammadu Buhari

Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan

Aliko Dangote

Kashim Shettima



President Nana Akufo Addo of Ghana

President Mohamed Bazoum of Niger Republic

President Faure Gnassimgbe of Togo

President Macky Sall of Senegal

Abdusallam Deby, who represented the president of Chad, Mahamat Deby



Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos

Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano

Dapo Abiodun of Ogun

Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna

Ademola Adeleke of Osun

Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State

Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa State



Peter Obi of Anambra State

Gbenga Daniel of Ogun State

Donald Duke of Cross River State

Bukola Saraki of Kwara State and former Senate President

Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State

Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State

Segun Osoba of Ogun State

James Ibori of Delta State



Godwin Emefiele, Governor, CBN

Tony Elumelu, Chairman Heirs Holdings, UBA, Transcorp

Herbert Wigwe, Chairman, Access Bank

Jim Ovia, Chairman, Zenith Bank

Femi Otedola, Chairman, Geregu Power

Razaq Okoya of Eleganza Industries

Femi Okeowo

Mele Kyari of NNPCL



Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Ogunwusi

Sultan of Sokoto

Olu of Warri

And a host of ministers; serving and past, senators, representatives, DGs, heads of agencies among many others.

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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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