It’s My Turn to Be Senate President, Says Orji Kalu
The Chief Whip of the Senate, Orji Kalu, has declared his intention to contest for Senate presidency in the 10th National Assembly.
Kalu, who won re-election to represent Abia North in the Red Chamber, disclosed this Tuesday while briefing newsmen at the National Assembly.
The ruling All Progressives Congress maintained a majority in the Senate, having secured 57 seats.
APC senators eyeing the Senate presidency have been lobbying their colleagues to seek their support.
Aside from Kalu, who has publicly declared interest in the position, Godswill Akpabio (Akwa Ibom); Sani Musa (Niger); Barau Jibrin (Kano); and Dave Umahi (Ebonyi) are also said to be interested in running for the coveted office.
The final candidates for the position will largely be determined by zoning.
However, the APC leadership said it has not zoned the Senate presidency.
Some pundits believe that it is likely that APC might zone the post to the South for power balance, especially after its Muslim-Muslim ticket triggered outrage from some quarters, especially the Christian community.
Kalu told reporters that it was his turn to become Senate President, being a ranking lawmaker and from the South East.
He said, “It is my turn to become the Senate President. If I’m elected Senate President, I will be team Nigeria. I’m going to work in every corner of Nigeria.
“I schooled in Maiduguri, Borno State. I started my business in Lagos and spread it across all state capitals. My first name will be team Nigeria, my last name will be team Nigeria.
“Remember, I’m the only former governor who has never changed phone line for more than 20 years ago. I’m still willing to maintain that telephone number to answer all my calls. I’m not going to switch off my phones because I’m Senate President.
“I’m hoping that Nigerians will pray for me to become Senate President because it’s my turn.”
Flying Eagles Lose 1-0 to South Korea, Crash Out of U-20 World Cup
The Flying Eagles’ quest to win their first-ever U-20 World Cup ended in the quarter-final stage on Sunday, after they lost 1-0 to South Korea at the Santiago Del Estero.
An extra-time goal by Choi Seok-hyeon was the difference as the Asians progressed to the semi-final of the U-20 World Cup in Argentina, where they face European champions, Italy.
Ladan Bosso made one change to the side that defeated hosts Argentina on Wednesday as Samson Lawal made way for Victor Eletu, who provided the assist for the second goal against the South Americans four days earlier.
Nigeria started the encounter as the better side and almost got the opener just two minutes into the game.
After dribbling past two opponents, Daniel Bameyi floated a nice cross into the Korean area, but the ball, intended for Ibrahim Muhammad, was blocked and cleared into safety following frantic defending by the Asians.
Bosso’s boys continued their dominance and in the eight minute, Abel Ogwueche almost broke the deadlock.
A well-taken corner-kick by Tochukwu Nnadi was headed straight into the hands of goalkeeper Kim Jun-hong by Ogwueche.
The Flying Eagles continued their dominance and were able to contain the pacy and skilful Red Devils.
At the start of the second half head coach Kim Eun-jung sent in Bae Jun-ho to replace Kang Seong-jin as he added more threat to his attack.
Despite the early change from the coach, the Nigerians remained the team looking likely to score and captain Bameyi drew out a fine save from Jun-hong after hitting a long-range shot with venom, but the goalkeeper was equal to the task to keep the score level.
After an hour of action, South Korea began to look more dangerous and had their first shot of the game, with Lee Seung-joon’s curler beating Kingsley Aniagboso, in goal for Nigeria, but narrowly missed the target.
In response, Bosso made two quick changes as he sent in Umeh Emmanuel and Kehinde Ibrahim for Fago Lawal and Muhammad respectively.
Bameyi then missed the opportunity to give Nigeria the late winner after winning the ball from Park Hyun-bin on the edge of the box in the 86th minute, but he dragged his shot just wide as the game headed into extra time.
And just four minutes into extra time, South Korea took the lead with their first shot on target in the encounter, Lee Young-jun’s corner-kick headed in by Choi Seok-hyeon.
With just 10 minutes left, Emmanuel squandered a glorious chance to hand Nigeria an equaliser after he volleyed his shot way high beyond the posts from inside the box.
The South Koreans held onto their slender lead as they sealed a spot in the semi-finals and will face Italy on Thursday.
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.
Nigeria End Argentina’s U20 World Cup Dream, Reach Quarter-Finals
The Flying Eagles advance to the quarter-final of the ongoing FIFA U-20 World Cup for the first time in 12 years after defeating host Argentina 2-0 at the Estadio San Juan del Bicentenario in the early hours of Thursday, The PUNCH reports.
Second-half goals from Ibrahim Muhammad and Rilwanu Sarki secured a shock win for Ladan Bosso’s team.
They will face either Ecuador or South Korea in the quarter-final of the competition in Santiago del Estero on Sunday.
The Flying Eagles started brightly but as the first half wore on, La Albiceleste dominated play.
Striker Alejo Veliz had two scoring chances to break the deadlock as the break approached but missed those sitters.
First, his glancing header went narrowly wide in the 14th minute while his second attempt before the break was saved by Kingsley Aniagboso who was in goal for Nigeria.
In the 61st minute, The Flying Eagles broke the deadlock through Emmanuel Umeh when he flicked the ball over the top for Muhammad, who slotted home a low shot past goalkeeper Federico Gerth.
The goal saw Argentina pile the pressure in search of an equaliser and in the process they had 20 shots at goal as against Nigeria’s nine.
Javier Mascherano’s boys came agonisingly close when Luka Romero’s low drive from a distance hit the upright of the post for Daniel Bameyi to put the ball to safety.
In additional time, substitute Victor Eletu came off the bench for Ibrahim Muhammad to make an assist for Haliru Sarki to score Nigeria’s second on the night and secure a famous triumph for Nigeria for the first time in the competition since 2005.
Nigeria’s win on Thursday ended a run of 10 straight U-20 World Cup victories for Argentina. The young La Abliceleste had won all seven games when they hosted the tournament in 2001, and their first three at this edition.