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APC Political Appointees Must Resign Today or Risk Disqualification

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Ministers affected by the presidential directive to resign after declaring their interest to contest in 2023 general elections have today to turn in their resignation letters inspite of President Muhammadu Buhari’s directive giving an ultimatum ending Monday, May 16.

This is because, in the adjusted schedule of activities and timetable of the All Progressives Congress (APC), today is the last day for submission of completed forms and accompanying documents, while screening of aspirants for all the offices is scheduled for Saturday and Sunday and the publication of screening results to be done on Monday.

It was gathered that members of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) with political aspirations may have to appear before the APC screening committee with copies of their letters of resignation and acknowledgement as part of the additional stipulations aspirants are expected to comply with.

Hours after the presidential directive, the Federal Government, yesterday, released detailed list of categories of political appointees who are expected to resign from their positions on or before Monday. The latest directive was contained in a circular with Ref.No.SGF/OP/I/S.3/XII/173, signed by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, and dated May 11.

According to the circular, the affected persons include all ministers, heads and members of extra-ministerial departments, agencies and parastatals of government, ambassadors, as well as other political appointees, who desire to contest for elective offices.

The SGF directed that the concerned ministers hand over to ministers of state where they exist or to the permanent secretary, where there is no minister of state, for smooth running of the machinery of government and foreign missions.

According to Mustapha, “Ambassadors shall hand over to their deputy heads of mission or the most senior foreign service officer in line with established practices while heads of extra-ministerial departments, agencies and parastatals are to hand over to the most senior director/officer as may be peculiar to the organisation, in line with the service wide Circular No. SGF.50/S. Il/C.2/268 of December 4, 2017. The contents of this circular and the incidental directives take effect immediately.”

Some of the ministers and heads of agencies, who have indicated interest in contesting election but yet to resign are: Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige; Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi; Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva; Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami; Minister of State, Mines and Steel Development, Uche Ogar; and Minister of Women Affairs, Pauline Tallen.

Others are governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele; Director-General of the Nigerian Security Printing and Minting (NSPM), Abbas Masanawa; Director-General of Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency (SMEDAN), Dikko Umar Radda among others.

Amaechi was said to have resigned on Wednesday night. However, a tweet from his aide, Israel Ibeleme, debunked the report. When contacted yesterday, the aide said his boss was in the office yesterday (Thursday), but would drop his resignation today or tomorrow.

Speaking last night on Channels TV’s Politics Today, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, said the law supports the position of President Buhari on resignation order of political appointees and it is with immediate effect.

He stated that the President’s directive came at the appropriate time, noting that there is need for those who have signified their intention to run for political offices to concentrate on their ambition, adding that it is important that work of governance does not suffer setbacks.

He said: “There is nothing as good as an idea whose time has come. The President made the announcement at the right time. The FEC meeting had been held and we were closing, when the president addressed the gathering that some were interested in running for the position of the President, and he said it is advisable that those who have collected forms tender their resignations.

“This is so that those who have signified their intention to run could concentrate on their ambition. If they are running their ministry and also running their political campaign, they can’t concentrate, so it was in their interest that the President said that. It is also in the interest of government so that governance will not suffer.

“There is also the legal angle, though it has not been fully determined yet, but we know that there is the danger of everything being voided if APC is not careful. There is a popular Section 84(12) of the Electoral Act. It is not fully determined now but what if the highest court in the land determines it and it ruins the party, so it’s safer to be on the side of caution.

“When a President speaks, he has the force of law behind it, the president doesn’t have to bark. I am sure nobody will wait to be beaten over this, it’s law already and has taken effect.”

The Guardian

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UN Deputy Sec Gen Condemns Gruesome Killing of Deborah, Demands Justice

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Amina Muhammed, the United Nations Deputy Secretary-General, has called for justice following the killing of Deborah Yakubu in Sokoto over blasphemy.

Muhammed spoke out via her official Twitter page on Tuesday, stating that religions should not be “misinterpreted to preach violence”.

“Justice must be done for the senseless, brutal killing of the young Deborah Yakubu in Nigeria. Religions should not be misinterpreted to preach violence when they promote peace.

“My prayers are with the family and for the repose of her soul,” she tweeted.

Yakubu, a second-year student of the Sheu Shagari College of Education, Sokoto, was lynched on the school premises on Thursday after classmates accused her of blasphemy.

On Monday, the Sokoto Police Command arraigned two suspects, Bilyaminu Aliyu and Aminu Hukunci, before a Chief Magistrate’s Court in the state, for their alleged participation in the crime.

The suspects pleaded not guilty to the charges while the defence counsel, Prof. Mansur Ibrahim, applied for their bail on liberal terms, citing constitutional provisions and sections of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law.

The trial judge reserved the ruling on the bail application and ordered the accused to be remanded at a correctional centre.

The Punch

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AfDB’s Adesina Not Contesting for Presidency – Report

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The President of the African Development Bank, Akinwunmi Adesina, will not be contesting the Presidency of Nigeria.

A support group had purchased and submitted the N100m Presidential form of the All Progressives Congress for the top banker last week.

Some had also reported that Adesina visited Mamman Daura, the influential nephew of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) last week to seek his support.

But The PUNCH confirmed that Adesina will not be taking part in the Presidential screening of the APC slated for May 23.

Adesina’s office is expected to issue a statement in a few hours distancing himself from Nigeria’s partisan politics.

The AfDB regulations bar its President from partisan politics.

Specifically, Paragraph 2 of Article 38 of the agreement establishing AfDB, titled ‘Prohibition of Political Activity; the International Character of the Bank’, states that “The Bank, its President, Vice Presidents, officers and staff shall not interfere in the political affairs of any member (country); nor shall they be influenced in their decisions by the political character of the member (country) concerned.”

Paragraph 3 of the article states that “The President, Vice Presidents, officers and staff of the Bank, in discharge of their offices, owe their duty entirely to the Bank and to no other authority.”

Similarly, the AfDB code of conduct bars its executive from partisan politics. Section 10 of the Code reads: “Although Executive Directors are elected representatives of governments from their constituencies, they shall during their tenure of office as executive directors refrain from participating in active politics in their home countries or elsewhere.”

Should Adesina seek to run for the office of President of Nigeria, he would need to resign his current position permanently, a risk it was learnt the top banker was not willing to take.

There are at least 25 other aspirants running for President on the platform of the APC.

Some of them include APC stalwart, Bola Tinubu; Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo; former Transport Minister, Rotimi Amaechi; Senate President Ahmad Lawan; oil mogul, Tein Jack-Rich; Senator Ajayi Boroffice; Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State; Governor Badaru Abubakar of Jigawa State and many others.

The Punch

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N80bn Fraud: EFCC Arrests Accountant-General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris

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Nigeria’s Accountant-General, Ahmed Idris, has been arrested over alleged money laundering and diversion of public funds, according to a report by PREMIUM TIMES.

According to the report, Idris was intercepted in Kano by operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Monday evening and flown to Abuja, the nation’s capital, for interrogation.

Sources said the EFCC has for sometime now been investigating a case of diversion of at least N80 billion in public funds which was allegedly laundered through some bogus contracts.

The companies used in laundering the funds have allegedly been linked to family members and associates of the accountant-general, investigators said.

The sources further said that after progress was made in the investigation, Idris was summoned repeatedly for interrogation but he failed to honour the invitations.

“We kept inviting him but he kept dodging us,” one of our sources said. “We were left with no choice than to keep him under watch and arrest him.”

However, a top EFCC confirmed the development but asked not to be named because he had no permission to discuss the matter with the media.

President Muhammed Buhari appointed Mr Idris accountant-general on June 25, 2015.

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