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Group Rejects APC’s Choice, Gbajabiamila, for House Speaker, Endorses Wase



Elders under the aegis of North Central Elders Forum have formerly endorsed the Deputy House Leader of the House of Representatives, Idris Wase, for the seat of the speaker in the ninth assembly.

The forum made its stand known on Tuesday at a press conference in Abuja.

Muhammadu Ari-Gwaska, who spoke for the group, said after due consultations, the forum decided to adopt its most senior member for the position.

He said he was optimistic that Umaru Bago, another aspirant from the zone, would step down for his “senior brother”.

He went further to say the North Central geo-political zone in its diverse nature and peaceful disposition had always been predisposed to being shortchanged in power sharing.

“The people of this zone have over the years molded our diversity into a strong quilt that has strengthened us with the capacity to engage and interrogate the exogenous manipulation of power, leadership and patronage among the comity of nations to bring into sharp focus the understanding of our place as a bridge in the Nigerian Project,” he said.

He appealed to the All Progressives Congress (APC) hierarchy to as a matter of deliberate policy, give the speakership to the geo-political zone.

This he said was for the purpose of fairness, equity, justice, unity and loyalty as necessary ingredients in forming a government that will effectively drive the agenda of the party.

Mr. Wase, who is yet to formally declare his intention to run for the position, will be facing some of his colleagues in the race.

They include the Majority Leader, Femi Gbajabiamila, Mukhtar Betara, Abdulrazak Namdas and Umar Bago.

The APC leadership recently declared support for Yobe senator, Ahmed Lawan, for Senate President. The party is also believed to be in support of Mr Gbajabiamila for Speaker.

The adoption of Mr Lawan was condemned by some APC lawmakers, including Borno senator, Ali Ndume, who also seeks to be the Senate president.

Mr Ndume has vowed to continue with his ambition, saying he enjoys the support of many APC senators-elect.

The APC enjoys a clear majority in the incoming House of Representatives, winning over 200 of the 360 seats.

The party is expected to produce the Speaker, but as it happened in 2015, a different candidate other than that endorsed by the party leadership may contest the election.

While both Messrs Lawan and Gbajabiamila were endorsed by the party for the positions in 2015, Bukola Saraki and Yakubu Dogara emerged as the Senate President and Speaker of the House respectively.

The two winners later defected from the APC to the PDP.

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Nigeria Needs 300,000 Medical Doctors to Meet WHO Recommendation, Says NUC



The National Universities Commission says Nigeria needs about 300,000 medical doctors to meet the doctor-patient ratio of 1:600 recommended by the World Health Organisation.

The Executive Secretary, NUC, Prof. Abubakar  Rasheed, said this during the maiden matriculation of the Bayelsa Medical University held on the university campus, Amarata, Yenagoa, on Wednesday.

About 208 pioneer students took the matriculation oath on the occasion.

The BMU, which started on January 31, 2018, received the NUC accreditation five months’ after.

Rasheed said the current “doctor-patient ratio in the country stands at 1: 3,500,”  stressing that this was among the several challenges bedeviling the nation’s health sector.

According to him, the nation’s medical schools produce about 3,000 doctors yearly and this is not enough to achieve the WHO standards to deliver on health care services.

The NUC boss, who was represented by the Director, Protocol and Special Duties, Mr Chris Maiyaki, said, “With less than 40,000 registered medical doctors practising in Nigeria, the doctor-patient ratio in the country is about 1:3,500.

“What this means is that we need about 300,000 doctors to meet the World Health Organisation’s recommended doctor-patient ratio of 1:600.

“It is also common knowledge that the Nigerian health care sector continues to face myriad of challenges, chief among which is the brain-drain syndrome occasioned by an absence of the enabling environment for medical practitioners to thrive.”

Rasheed further noted that medical tourism embarked upon by patients seeking “robust health care systems of other countries” had also significantly affected the Nigeria’s health care system.

He said there was an urgent need for huge investment in health education and health care services by all stakeholders to mitigate the acute shortage of manpower and services in the sector.

In his address, the pioneer Vice-Chancellor of BMU, Prof. Ebitimitula Etebu, said the institution was equipped with state-of-the-art facilities to aid teaching, learning and research.

Also speaking, the Pro-Chancellor, BMU and a former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Port Harcourt, Emeritus Professor Nimi Briggs, described the medical university as “a dream come true in our section of the country.”

He commended Governor Seriake Dickson for conceiving the idea of a specialised medical school and charged the students to focus on their studies as the institution had given them hope of an assured future.

Dickson, in his remarks, said the establishment of the BMU was “a strategic decision to maximize the state’s investment in education and development.”

The outgoing governor called on the incoming government to support the university to achieve the objectives for which it was established.

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Man Utd Crash to Third Defeat in Four EPL Games



Troubled Manchester United crashed to a third defeat in their last four Premier League games as Burnley powered to a surprise 2-0 win at Old Trafford on Wednesday.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side were rocked by Chris Wood’s first half opener before Jay Rodriguez scored with a superb strike after the break.

It was a dismal display from fifth placed United, who are in such poor form that there will be fresh questions about Solskjaer’s job security in the coming days.

Solskjaer could have no complaints about a result that laid bare everything wrong with a rudderless team lacking steel in defence, creativity in midfield and a cutting edge up front.

United trail six points behind fourth placed Chelsea but, given how they have struggled so often this season, the only surprise is that the gap isn’t bigger.

Stunned by their second home league defeat this season, United’s tally of 34 points is their lowest after 24 matches of a top-flight season since 1989-90.

United must regroup to avoid more misery in the FA Cup fourth round against Watford or Tranmere on Sunday before they head to Manchester City looking to overturn a 3-1 first leg deficit in the League Cup semi-finals next Wednesday.

If United are knocked out of both cup competitions, Solskjaer is likely to find the patience of supporters who idolised him during his playing days will dwindle even further.

Those that hadn’t already fled before full-time made their feelings known as they booed United off at full-time.

Losing to a Burnley side who had won one of their last 30 Premier League matches against established top-six opposition was another blow for United fans already depressed by the prospect of bitter rivals Liverpool winning the title for the first time since 1990.

The gap between United and runaway leaders Liverpool stood at 30 points after Sunday’s defeat at Anfield and there is no sign of Solskjaer bridging the divide any time soon.

– United made to pay -He hasn’t been helped by an injury to United’s top scorer Marcus Rashford, who has been ruled out for up to three months with a stress fracture in his back.

With Rashford sidelined, the sight of France forward Anthony Martial in pain on the turf after an early aerial challenge would have been a huge concern for Solskjaer.

Martial was eventually able to gingerly rejoin the fray, but sliced horribly wide with the goal at his mercy when he was picked out by Aaron Wan-Bissaka.

Juan Mata fared no better with an embarrassing miscue when he tried to meet Wan-Bissaka’s cross with a close-range volley that ended up hitting his own leg.

Daniel James went closer with a towering header that belied his diminutive size and forced Nick Pope to tip over.

United were made to pay for their profligacy as Burnley snatched the lead in the 39th minute.

Exposing United’s weakness at set-pieces, Ben Mee rose above Nemanja Matic and nodded down to New Zealand striker Wood, who got in front of the ponderous Harry Maguire to fire home from close-range.

Wood’s 10th goal of the season was the first time Burnley had scored in the first half of a Premier League game in their last 12 games.

United had now kept just four league clean-sheets all season and Solskjaer responded by introducing teenage forward Mason Greenwood at the interval.

They still looked nervous and Fred was fortunate not to concede a comical penalty after handling when he tripped in his own area.

Just when Solskjaer thought it couldn’t get any worse, United hit rock bottom in the 56th minute.

A quick exchange of passes carved open United’s defence and found Rodriguez, who ignored the tight angle to unload a blistering strike that cannoned down off the bar and over the line to clinch Burnley’s first win at Old Trafford since 1962.


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World Cup Qualifiers: Cape Verde Pose a Threat, Rohr Admits



Super Eagles coach, Gernot Rohr, has admitted that Cape Verde pose a threat after the two countries were paired together in Group C of the second round of the African qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup, saying it won’t be easy beating the Tubarões Azuis.

The other teams in the group are Central African Republic and Liberia.

The German, who missed the World Cup draw at the Nile Ritz-Carlton in Cairo on Tuesday, singled out the side led by Rui Águas as the team that could cause problems for Nigeria.

Nigeria have met Cape Verde only twice, with the first tie, a friendly in 2013, ending in a draw, while the tiny island country emerged victorious against their more illustrious counterparts at the 2019 WAFU Cup of Nations, beating the home-based Eagles on penalties.

And the 66-year-old believes that the quality in their team means that the Eagles will have to be on top of their game to beat to triumph against the Cape Verdeans.

“I saw the groups,” Rohr told ESPN.

“There are some very tough groups, when I see Cameroon and Ivory Coast together.

“Our group is also a tough group, because Cape Verde is a very good team. They have very good players playing in Portugal, some of them in France. So it will not be easy to beat this good team of Cape Verde.

“I am very confident but very careful at the same time. I am confident because our team is on the right way and they will progress.

“We have to work very hard, prepare well, like we did at the last edition. It is very important to start well. When you win the first game, it is very good. But I am confident because our team is young and has some players already with World Cup experience.”

The World Cup qualifying matches originally scheduled to be played in March will not hold until early October.

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