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Presidency, PDP Clash Over Economy, Security

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The Presidency on Wednesday clashed with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) over the latter’s claim that the country was collapsing under the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led government.

It (the Presidency) referred the opposition to the President Muhammadu Buhari administration’s economic scorecard in the past four years to show how it has taken the economy out of the woods.

“Nigeria’s economy is not in trouble,” presidential spokesman Garba Shehu said in a statement last night. It was a reply to a claim by the PDP leadership that the government has scored below average in tackling insecurity, political uncertainties and poor economy.

PDP spokesman Kola Ologbodiyan said the opposition political party decided to raise the red flag because the country was collapsing under the APC.

But Shehu insisted that the economy had grown under President Buhari.

He said: “In keeping with historical trends, there is less economic activity during the electoral cycle. For instance, the economy grew by 2.35 per cent in Q2 of 2015 and 3.96 per cent in Q1 of 2015 as compared to 5.94 per cent in Q4 of 2014

“While foreign direct investment can help, it is not the only source of investment in the economy. There is also domestic investment, which is either undertaken by the government or by the private sector.

“It is also noteworthy that capital importation into Nigeria grew by 21.6 per cent in the first quarter of 2019 as compared to the last quarter of 2018. Indeed, foreign portfolio investment (which is still foreign investment) was $7.14 billion in the first quarter of the year.

“A look at business pages in newspapers shows that there is a lot of business activity going on in the country.

“Two stories in today’s paper point to increasing economic activity.

“First is that the profit of UACN grew in the first half of this year by 61 per cent (pg 12 The Nation).

“Second is that Business Day (pg1) states that cargo imports jumped by 21 per cent in the first half of 2019.”

Increasing imports, Shehu noted, is a pointer to greater economic activity and the availability of foreign exchange with which to conduct business in the country.

He went on: “A major constraint to business was the Apapa gridlock which a number of companies had listed as the major impediment to doing business. This situation has improved tremendously (see pg 23 of The Nation)”

He said that President Buhari improved relations with China, the United States (U.S.) and Europe and won their support for the administration’s development agenda in his first four years.

According to Shehu, President Buhari has channelled unprecedented sums of money into infrastructure development.

He said: “Capital spending has been kept at about 30 percent of annual budgets. Construction of roads, highways, public transport and airports has sharply increased. The government is spending heavily on power.

“This, combined with private sector investment, has grown power generation capacity.

“All said and done, President Buhari remains the best hope for the Nigerian economy. The country needs change and this remains the person with the will and determination to deliver.”

The PDP leadership had expressed a deep concern that the nation, which it said was hitherto a prosperity hub and a reference point for democracy, personal freedom and good governance, was becoming a failed state.

It lamented that the Buhari administration could not has been unable to guarantee any of its fundamental duties, thus making citizens “now desperate to take their destinies in their hands”.

According to Ologbodiyan, the PDP leadership took the decision to flash the red flag after a crucial meeting in Abuja yesterday.

The PDP statement reads: “The red flag has become urgent following the manifest total loss of faith by Nigerians across the board, in the ability of the Buhari Presidency to provide a democratic leadership that can engender a peaceful and secure nation.

“It is clear that the APC and the Buhari Presidency have held Nigerians hostage. Nigerians are now being treated like a conquered people. They can no longer freely exercise their constitutionally guaranteed rights; executive high-handedness has become a state policy just as the APC government, burdened by challenges of illegitimacy, has lost direction and only thriving in vindictiveness.”

The PDP alleged that the government opted to breathe down on perceived opponents following what it called the collapse of the APC’s defence at the tribunal.

It said: “Our party has also noticed that since the defence of the APC and President Buhari collapsed at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal, the APC and its government have taken to harassment and repression of Nigerians by surreptitiously suspending constitutional provisions of freedom of speech and association in our country.

“Many compatriots are being taken in as political prisoners all in a bid to foist a siege mentality and suppress public opinion.

“Today, the Buhari Presidency cannot guarantee the security and safety of citizens. Bloodletting and violence have become the order of the day. Invaders, insurgents, kidnappers and killers have taken over major highways and communities; our nation’s security machinery have become overstretched; Nigerians now live in palpable fear; they cannot freely travel within their country and the government has no answers.

“On the economic front, President Buhari has ruined our economy and led our nation to become the world’s capital of poverty, while condoning the humongous corruption that has become the hallmark of his failed administration.

“Sadly, President Buhari’s anti-development policies, the corruption in his government as well as its failure to provide security have scared away foreign investors from our nation”.

PDP observed that only recently, the United Nations declared that “43 per cent of Nigeria’s Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) has taken flight to other countries, adding that unemployment has gone out of proportion and there is no hope in sight.”

The party called on Nigerians of good faith as well as the international community to speak out against the prevailing situation before it is too late.

It urged Nigerians not to despair, assuring them that the PDP candidate in the February 23 presidential election would get judicial victory at the Presidential Election Petitions’ Court (PEPC).

When contacted for reaction, the APC said it would not glorify the PDP with a response.

Its spokesman Lanre Issa-Onilu told The Nation last night: “My response is that when the PDP starts making sense, we’ll respond to them. We have issues of governance to deal with an attempt to respond to their senseless talk will be a distraction.”

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Supreme Court Orders APC to Pay PDP 10million Naira , Dismiss APC Appeal For Review For Lacking In Merit

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The Supreme Court has dismissed an application for review of the judgment which sacked the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Bayelsa state, David Lyon and his deputy, Senator Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo.

According to Justice Amina Augie who read the judgment on Wednesday, the application lacked merit and the decisions of the court are final.

She added that the applicants failed to point out errors, stating that the judgment is final for all ages.

The apex court judge said the judgment is final in the ‘real sense’ and no court on earth can review the judgment.

“There must be an end to litigation even if we review this judgment, every disaffected litigant will bring similar applications and the finality of Supreme Court judgments will be lost.”

She added that the applications are frivolous and vexatious, and awarded the cost of N10 million against the applicants to be personally paid by their counsel.

Justice Augie added that the counsels of the APC and Mr Lyon are to each pay Governor Douye Diri, his deputy Mr Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo and the PDP the same N10 million.

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Beware of Sycophants, Corrupt Politicians, Frank Charges David Lyon

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Ahead of David Lyon’s inauguration as the new governor of Bayelsa state, a political activist and former Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Comrade Timi Frank, has called on the incoming Bayelsa state governor to beware of sycophants and corrupt politicians capable of tarnishing the image of the new administration.

Frank also said the incoming governor should consider more competent women and youths in his government and not necessarily appoint people based on friendship or political affiliation.

In a statement made available to newsmen in Abuja on Thursday, the Bayelsa born political activist reminded David Lyon that his victory at the last Bayelsa state governorship election goes beyond the All Progressives Congress (APC) as a party, hence the need for him to run an all inclusive government.

Timi Frank, who expressed confidence that David Lyon will deliver on his campaign promises, said Bayelsa state is still backward in terms of development because the state has not been lucky of a committed governor.

“I will like to congratulate Chief David Lyon as he takes over the mantle of leadership of my state on Friday, 14th Feburary 2020. I expect the new governor to dedicate this laudable success to God and the people of Bayelsa because the last governorship election which produced him goes beyond APC as a political party, it was a vote of no confidence in the outgoing governor and a vote of confidence in the incoming governor.

“Bayelsans voted irrespective of party affiliation for justice, development and a new order in the state. It is my believe that the incoming governor will learn from the outgoing governor, especially how his praise singers turned to boo him at the end of his government.

“It is my believe that the incoming governor will be a governor for all irrespective of tribe, political party, religion or any other sentiments.

“I call on Chief David Lyon to be wary of sycophants and corrupt politicans with bad records with various anti-corruption agencies in the country. This is important because Bayelsans actually voted for David Lyon and it is David Lyon they will hold accountable when the time arises.

“Political jobbers should not have upper hands over technocrats and professionals. Political appointments should not be lopsided. Fairness and justice should however be your watch words.”

While praying to God for wisdom, knowledge and understanding for the incoming Bayelsa governor, Frank urged David Lyon to be firm in taking decisions but always pay attention to the feelings, outcry and demands of Bayelsans.

“I wish the incoming governor will hit the ground running. I wish David Lyon will not abandon projects started by his successors, especially those ones with direct bearing on the lives of Bayelsans.

“David Lyon should not dwell in blame game. Transparency should be given utmost priority. Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo state and Governor Zulum in Borno state are examples of dedication and focus in government today. I hope our amiable Lyon will in no time join the forum of performing governors and the confidence reposed in him by our people will not be in vain,” Timi Frank stated.

The former APC spokesman, however, called on Bayelsans at home and abroad to join hands with the incoming governor to succeed, adding that doing so will be a great interest of the state.

Frank also called on all the aggrieved politicians and leaders at all levels in the state to forget about their personal interests, political affiliations and ethnic sentiments for now but give peace a chance for the new governor to prove himself.

Sign:
Comrade Timi Frank
Political activist
Abuja.

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Bayelsa Governorship: Supreme Court Sided With Bayelsans, Says APC

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Following Tuesday’s ruling of the Supreme Court dismissing Senator Heineken Lokpobiri’s case and affirming the Bayelsa state Governor-elect David Lyon as the valid candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), the Party’s Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Yekini Nabena, has reacted to the judgement, saying the Apex Court sided with Bayelsans.

Speaking to newsmen in Abuja on Tuesday after the Supreme Court ruling, the Bayelsa-born APC chieftain said the case instituted by Lokpobiri was baseless.

He, however, stated that the former Senator was well within his legal rights to approach the courts.

Nabena said, “I congratulate the Bayelsa State Governor-elect, Chief David Lyon and all party stakeholders on the Supreme Court ruling affirming David Lyon as the valid APC Governorship candidate for Bayelsa state. The Apex Court in their ruling sided with Bayelsans.

“From the APC primaries to the governorship election, it was clear that Bayelsans knew who they wanted to govern them. The decision of Party members and the Bayelsa electorate was unanimous as seen in the overwhelming votes they gave the governor-elect, David Lyon in the APC direct primaries and the governorship election.

“Although baseless, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri decided to petition the election in the courts. As we can see, that petition has been dismissed and put to rest by the Supreme Court. We are now focussed on delivering our electoral promise to Bayelsans and bring true development which our dear state deserves.

“Finally, Bayelsans can go home and enjoy responsibly a glass of Heineken.”

David Lyon will be inaugurated on February 14, 2020.

A five-member panel of the court led by Justice Mary Peter-Odili unanimously dismissed the appeal filed by Heineken Lokpobiri, who had instituted his case seeking to be declared the valid winner of September 4, 2019 primary election of the All Progressives Congress.

Delivering the lead judgment of the apex court, Justice Inyang Okoro affirmed the January 11, 2020 judgment of the Port Harcourt Division of the Court of Appeal, which had earlier dismissed Lokpobiri’s suit challenging Lyon’s victory in the primary election.

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