2019: It’s Official! Atiku To Face Buhari

It is official!  Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar is the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate who will attempt to snatch the presidency from Muhammadu Buhari of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in February 2019.

Atiku becomes the PDP candidate after emerging winner, against all odds, of the PDP presidential primary election that began on Saturday and ended moments ago at the Adokiye Amasiemeka Stadium in Port Harcourt, capital of Rivers State

Aminu Tambuwal, Governor of Sokoto State and former Speaker of the House of Representatives, had been the favourite to win the election, having earned the support of Nyesom Wike, Governor of Rivers State, who is currently the party’s biggest financier.

However, Atiku won overwhelmingly, polling 1,532 votes to condemn Tambuwal to second place with his 693 votes.

Atiku now gets his fifth shot at the presidency, having aspired for the office every election cycle since leaving office as Vice President in 2003.

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CBN Speaks Over Nigeria’s $44bn Foreign Reserves (See Details)

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has allayed worries over the fluctuation in Nigeria’s external reserves.

It assured that with its current level at over $44 billion, there is no cause for alarm.

Speaking yesterday during CBN’s special day at the ongoing 13th Abuja International Trade Fair, the apex bank’s Acting Director, Corporate Communications, Isaac Okoroafor, said not only does the CBN have the reserves to defend the naira, it is also sufficient to encourage small businesses to produce to boost the economy.

He added that the country’s current reserves level could support between 17 to 20 months of import compared to the international standard, which stipulated for at least three months of import to remain at a comfortable level.

He further assured that the bank will continue to ensure that finance is provided for all Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) which may require support to be able to produce and grow the economy.

His words:

“I also want to make it clear: it’s also on social media that our reserves dropped by $1.45 billion in one month.

“We are not politicians, I want you to understand that the reserves level is a moving figure; at times, it rises and other times, it comes down. And as we speak, it’s a little over $44bn.”

Giving reasons for the fluctuation in external reserves, Okoroafor said, “You’ll recall that there was a time we survived on even $23.2 billion; the economy was running.

“Now, we are over $44 billion and the reason why it is going down gently is because there’s a global squeeze on emerging markets: the Central Bank of the USA which is the FED had been raising interest rate and you know international capital goes to where it earns better returns.

“So, those who came into our economy to take advantage of the returns here seems to have found better returns in the US- and it’s not just in Nigeria- it’s happening to South Africa, Egypt, Pakistan, Iran, Argentina, Brazil, Turkey even China.

“China has lost over 1.3 per cent of its currency, Argentina lost 134 per cent; Iran, India, some of them lost 18 percent, 17 percent- but here in Nigeria, our currency has gained 6 percent in the last one year.

“You can see that the reversal of capital flows which is eating most economies and bringing about depreciation in their currency is not affecting us for two reasons- we’ve built enough buffers of reserves to be able to tackle situations like these.

“Secondly, we are using the reserves to defend the value of our currency- so that also accounts for why it’s dropping.

“Investors who brought in dollars- of course, we’ve a capital importation policy- if you bring your dollars, when you’re leaving, we give it to you. And so they brought their dollars and they want to leave to the US, we give them because our word is our bond and so that has tended to make the reserves drop a little.

“At $44 billion, we still have between 17 and 18 months of import cover, meanwhile, the international standard is three months of import cover.

“We are very comfortable- we have the reserves to defend the value of the naira, and we have the local support to also encourage our SMEs to go into production.”

The CBN director also seized the opportunity to counsel the trade fair participants on how best they could access the various interventions by the bank.

He said,

“Unfortunately, we cannot do it (the financial interventions) directly, we’ve to do it through banks.

“And that’s why we say again, people who engage in business should open an account with a bank, run that account and demonstrate that you are in business.

“Once you keep your record and you show evidence that you are in business, banks will always give you loans.

“But in a situation where people do not keep records, and there’s no difference between the money in their pocket ad their working capital, it’ll be difficult for banks to be able to do an examination and given you loan.”

No one to blame but ourselves, says Klopp after Napoli defeat

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said his side could only blame themselves after the last year’s Champions League runners-up were overrun by Napoli before Lorenzo Insigne’s late winner gave the Italians a 1-0 win to go top of Group C on Wednesday.

“We were not good enough and if you are not good enough, you’ll lose and that happened to us tonight. That’s it,” said Klopp.

“Napoli made a really good game, we didn’t, and that’s why they deserve the three points.”

Lorenzo Insigne scored after 90 minutes in a game Napoli dominated from the start with substitute Dries Mertens also rattling the crossbar.

The hosts had the better chances throughout as Insigne, Jose Callejon, Fabian Ruiz and Arkadiusz Milik all threatened under-pressure Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson.

Napoli owner Aurelio De Laurentiis — who hired three-time Champions League winning coach Carlo Ancelotti this season in place of Maurizio Sarri — hailed the success at their Stadio San Paolo.

“Big win against a great team! Ancelotti worthy of his fame,” wrote De Laurentiis on Twitter.

Last season Napoli’s style of football under Sarri impressed against Manchester City but the team lost 4-2 at home before exiting the competition in the group stage.

Insigne’s winner ensures they are top of Group C with four points, one more than Liverpool and Paris Saint-Germain.

“I think we timed it well,” said former Chelsea and Real Madrid coach Ancelotti.

“If Mertens had scored a few minutes earlier, it would’ve been more time suffering.

“We interpreted the game well. We had an extra central defender and were able to build the game from the back. There was a perfect balance.”

Napoli needed a win on Wednesday after their opening match ended 0-0 at Red Star Belgrade.

Liverpool, meanwhile, played as if they would settle for a point after they beat Paris Saint-Germain 3-2.

The Reds’ strike force of Roberto Firmino, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane were a shadow of the trio who terrorised Europe last season, with Napoli goalkeeper David Ospina not called upon for a single save.

Liverpool’s best effort came when Egyptian Salah shot wide after the break.

“It’s always a bad sign if you have to say your goalkeeper was your best player, but that was obvious tonight,” said Klopp.

“The first half was kind of OK, but second half was not good enough.

“Obviously no attempt on target (for us) … I don’t remember when that happened last. I am really fine to give the credit to Napoli, but I think we had a big part in it as well.”

– ‘Reality check’ –

Liverpool were also handicapped by an injury to Guinean midfielder Naby Keita inside the first 20 minutes.

“We had prepared the match well,” said Ancelotti, “then it’s all about the performance and the guys played it well and we were rewarded with this victory that keeps us in the group.

“The team did well throughout the game, we never lost control, were always very focused, above all when defending and allowed Liverpool practically nothing.”

Liverpool’s Dutch midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum said it was a “reality check” before next Sunday’s Premier League top-of-the-table clash with Manchester City.

“We have three days to recover and then we will face Man City,” added German Klopp.

“It would have been difficult at any time in the season. Now, let’s have a look afterwards, how the players are, what happened in the game, injury-wise, little knocks and stuff like that. Then we will prepare for Sunday.

“Then we have our crowd in the back. You could see tonight, Napoli used the atmosphere and we couldn’t calm it down with our performance.

“But on Sunday that –- at least — will be 100 percent different.”

Boko Haram: UN to visit Maiduguri, others in October -Minister

Foreign Affairs Minister, Geoffrey Onyeama, has said a United Nations joint delegation will visit Maiduguri, Bama and Abuja first week of October, to scale up its humanitarian intervention in the terrorism-affected areas.

Onyeama said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria after a meeting with the UN team leaders on the sidelines of the 73rd UN General Assembly in New York.

The minister said that the team would be led by the UNDP Administrator, Mr Achim Steiner and UN Emergency Relief Coordinator and Head of UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Mr Mark Lowcock.

He said that the joint UN Development Programme Principal-level mission was part of the world ogranisation’s efforts to support the victims of Boko Haram insurgency in the region.

Onyeama said that the visit was a sequel to the High-Level Conference on the Lake Chad Basin Crisis in Berlin in September, where the international community committed to a comprehensive crisis response in the region.

Onyeama said that the visit was aimed at discussing with senior government and donor officials in Nigeria on how to further strengthen humanitarian and development responses, including national and local ownership in the northeast.

“We are looking essentially on how to build on the humanitarian programme and the UN has been very involved and supportive on the humanitarian front in the northeast

“We realised that we have to move towards the development stage. They also want to hear from the Nigerian government.

“And of course, it is about the reconstruction, rehabilitation and resettlement; it is about creating an environment for economic growth which will require education and also jobs,” he said.

The UN had said in a statement that the objectives of the joint UNDP-OCHA Principal-level mission, was to address humanitarian, resilience and stabilisation needs of communities to prevent a protracted crisis in the northeast.

“The urgency to make progress on the New Way of Working by the UN Country Team and the Humanitarian Country Teams has been amplified by large-scale humanitarian needs and the related imperative to address the root causes of the Lake Chad Basin crises in a comprehensive and sustainable way.

“Accordingly, the Nigeria UNCT/HCTs are jointly working on formulating collective outcomes which will guide planning and interventions of humanitarian and development actors,“ he said.

(NAN)

Lagos APC Primary: Voting Yet to Commence, Says Ebri, NWC Panel Chief

Urges Lagosians to disregard results in circulation

By Gboyega Akinsanmi

The Chairman of the All Progressives Congress Lagos Governorship Electoral panel, Chief Clement Ebri, has urged the people of the state to disregard results of governorship primary posted on social media, adding that voting has yet to commence.

The panel from the national headquarters, which dissociated itself from the primary conducted by the state chapter of the APC in all the wards across the state on Tuesday, said the distribution of electoral materials was billed to commence at 1pm, which would be followed by accreditation.

The panel said this would be followed by voting which will be conducted by the APC NWC appointed officials, in order to ensure a free, fair and credible primary.

Tuesday’s primary is between the state governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, and Mr. Jide Sanwo-Olu, who has been endorsed by the leadership of the party in the state, including its national leader, Bola Tinubu.

Details later….

Labour may suspend minimum wage strike today

There are indications that the warning strike called by organized labour to compel government to resume the suspended negotiations on the new national minimum wage will be suspended today (Sunday)

It was gathered that the decision to suspend the strike may not be unconnected with the intervention of the Presidency through the office of the Chief of Staff to the President.

The Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari was said to have assured a delegation led by President of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Ayuba Wabba to the presidential Villa that the President will address the concerns of labour upon his return to the country from the United Nations General Assembly.

With the assurance, Kyrai appealed to labour movement to suspend the strike immediately.

Reassuring as the outcome of the discussion with Kyari appeared to the labour delegation, Wabba stressed that the decision to suspend the action was not entirely in that of the National Administrative Council (NAC), but other organs of both NLC and Trade Union Congress (TUC).

The various organs of organised labour are said yo have met to review the government position and may have decided to suspend the action.

Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige had said the tripathite Committee will resume sitting on Thursday October 4 to conclude it’s assignment.

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Here’s How Aisha Alhassan announced she has Joined UDP

The former Minister of Women Affairs, Aisha Alhassan, has joined the United Democratic Party (UDP).

Alhassan, who withdrew from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and resigned from her post as minister on Saturday, shared the news on her Twitter.

She’s joining the UDP with 7 State Assembly members, she shared, adding that all APC executives from 169 wards of Taraba State, all 16 local Government excos of APC, and all states executives of APC have also joined the party.

“I have officially JOINED my next POLITICAL PARTY with 7 state Assembly Members, all @APCNigeria executives from 169 wards of Taraba State.

All 16 local Government exco’s of APC

All states executives of APC, we are now in UDP”

— @Sen. Jummai Alhassan (@SenAishaAlhassn)

Alhassan was disqualified from contesting in the Taraba state gubernatorial primaries under the APC in what the party chairman has said was as a result of loyalty.