A former President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Dr Olisa Agbakoba (SAN), has said he is in support of Atiku’s decision to challenge the result of the February 23 presidential poll in court.
He, however, expressed doubts that Atiku would get justice because “President Muhammadu Buhari has subverted the Supreme Court by the removal of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Honourable Justice Walter Onnoghen, and the appointment of the acting Chief Justice of Nigeria (Justice Muhammad Tanko).”
Agbakoba, who had earlier urged Atiku not to go to court to challenge the poll result, said his earlier advice was based on his view that the PDP presidential candidate would face “an uphill task, given the circumstances of challenging election results” in the country.
He said from his experience as one of Nigeria’s experienced election petitions lawyers, the burden of proof to succeed in an election petition “is unfairly huge.”
“We first have to prove that there are electoral irregularities and in my view, once you prove this, you should succeed. Unfortunately, even if you prove electoral irregularities you will have to show how that affected the results of the election.
“Remember that the gap between former Vice-President, Atiku Abubakar, and President Muhammadu Buhari is about four million votes. It is clear to me that the presidential election results were manifestly riddled with electoral irregularities.
“Now that former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar has approached the court, it is important to emphasise that he is constitutionally entitled to do so. My personal advice has become irrelevant. I fully support and wish former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar every success,” Agbakoba said.
He, however, bemoaned the delay by the National Judicial Council in dealing with the case of the suspended Justice Onnoghen and the acting CJN, Justice Tanko.
He said, “My perception is that we need to resolve the status of the Supreme Court. I wonder what is taking the National Judicial Council so long. I am also worried about the historical precedent, as no petition on presidential election result has ever succeeded.”
Bottled Water Seller Becomes China’s Richest Man
The owner of China’s largest bottled water maker has overtaken Alibaba’s Jack Ma to become China’s richest man, the Bloomberg Billionaires Index showed Thursday.
According to Financial Times, Nongfu Spring founder Zhong Shanshan’s net worth has hit $58.7 billion after a massive listing by the bottled water company in Hong Kong, according to Bloomberg estimates that makes him richer than Mr. Ma, whose fortune dipped to $56.7bn after shares in e-commerce group Alibaba fell 0.9 percent in New York on Wednesday.
This makes him $2 billion richer than previous number one, Alibaba founder Jack Ma, the wealth index said.
Zhong’s Nongfu Spring, which claims to be number one in China’s massive bottled water market, is ubiquitous across a country where most people shun tap water for health reasons.
The company raised nearly $1.1 billion in its initial public offering.
Zhong is also the chairman of Beijing Wantai Biological Pharmacy Co. Ltd., a vaccine manufacturer listed on the mainland in April.
It is developing a Covid-19 vaccine nasal spray in conjunction with a prominent university.
Zhong, a 66-year-old former reporter from Zhejiang who state media say was also once a construction worker, is often referred to by Chinese media as a “lone wolf” for his rare public appearances and reluctance to be interviewed.
He founded Nongfu in 1996, just as China’s bottled water market began to take off.
Kogi Gov Blames Federal Roads for Tanker Explosion
The Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello, has blamed the Wednesday fatal tanker explosion in Lokoja, the state capital, on the deplorable state of federal roads.
The tanker carrying Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) ran into oncoming vehicles after the brake failed around Felele area of Lokoja about 8:00 a.m.
Cars, motorcycles and a school bus were destroyed in the inferno.
About 23 lives, including students of the state polytechnic and primary school pupils, died in the blaze, the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) confirmed.
Following the incident, Mr Bello visited the minister of works and housing, Babatunde Fashola, to solicit urgent Federal Government’s attention to the deplorable condition of federal roads in Kogi.
According to his spokesperson, Onogwu Muhammed, the governor told the minister that the deplorable state of all federal roads across the state led to recurrent accidents in the state.
“He said the state government has done a lot in maintaining the roads but owing to the large volume of traffic on the roads, in view of its strategic location as gateway state, such repairs and maintenance do not stand the test of time.
“He appealed to the minister to expedite action in carrying out reconstruction of roads across the state to curtail the preventable accidents on the road.”
Also, Mr Bello begged Mr Fashola to direct contractors handling repairs on the Murtala Bridge at Jamata “to speed up the rate of work,” noting that the slow pace of work has caused the commuters untold hardship.
In a similar vein, he urged the minister to direct the contractors in-charge of the Kabba-Ilorin road project to return to site.
He said the total neglect of the road in the area has made life unbearable for motorists and commuters plying the road.
“The governor also drew the attention of the minister to the Lokoja-Ganaja-Ajaokuta road which the federal government awarded for over three years but contractors were yet to be seen on site.”
Meanwhile, Mr Muhammed said the minister had ordered the Federal Road Maintenance Agency to immediately fix the bad portion of the road at the Felele end of the Okene/Lokoja/Abuja road.
“The minister equally put calls across to contractors handling Kabba-Egbe-Omuaro road, Okene-Lokoja-Abuja road to inform them of the governor’s presence in his office and the need for them to speed up the works on the roads.
“He assured the governor that the ministry will use the remaining part of the year to achieve more in fulfilling the governor’s request in respect of federal roads in the state.”
NCAC Holds Discussion on Resuscitating Culture, Morality
A one day Cultural Roundtable on Morality, Culture and the Nigerian Youth has been organized by National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC). The aim of the program was to address the progressive deterioration of our cultural values and the urgent need to mount a comprehensive and sustainable value re-orientation programme to return Nigerian society on the path of moral rebirth.
In his welcome address at the event held at Abuja Sheraton Hotels and Towers, the Director-General of the National Council for Arts and Culture, Otunba Olusegun Runsewe decried the progressive deterioration in our cultural values.
Runsewe stated that while Nigeria had always been known for a rich culture, anchored on the virtues of hardwork, integrity, high public morality, respect for elders and constituted authority, decency in dressing and in public speeches among others, these virtues are rapidly giving way to various social vices.
He noted that in the past, agents of socialization like the family, school, religious institutions, took collective responsibility in inculcating high moral values among our youths. According to Otunba Runsewe, today the story is different. Runsewe lamented that what we now see, is laziness, get rich quick syndrome and primitive acquisitive tendencies by yahoo-yahoo boys, scammers, internet fraudsters and all forms of social vices.
In her speech, the Chairman of the occasion, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Women Affairs and Administration, Office of the First Lady, Dr. Hajo Sani stated that our youths in imitating foreign cultures in the way they talk and dress, are early signs of deviation from our moral values and customs.
She lamented that in our schools, many teachers who are supposed to tutor our children in cultural ethos now take advantage of the same children they are supposed to take care of. She added that the society at large, has now become bad examples to our youths by exposing them to other immoral vices like rape and other forms of evil activities.
She noted that the First Lady, Mrs. Aisha Buhari will be willing to collaborate with NCAC on building a good foundation for our youth right from childhood.
The Managing Director of Africa Independence Television (AIT), Dr. (Mrs) Tosin Dokpesi, who gave the keynote address, commended the DG, NCAC for putting up the roundtable discourse, adding that there is no better time to start the moral rebirth crusade than now. She said all hands must be on deck to rid the society of the social vices and inculcate good values in our youths. She stressed the need to arrest our eroding values and tradition with a commitment to restore the lost culture and glory of our country Nigeria.
Highlight of the occasion was the presentation of a book titled “Morality, Culture and the Nigerian Youth”, authored by the Director-General, National Council for Arts and Culture, copies of which were distributed to all the participants: discussants, speakers, journalists and other invited guests. The Director-General, National Council for Arts and Culture, Otunba Segun Runsewe also used the occasion to express the resolve of the National Council for Arts and Culture to rise up to the occasion and rid our society of moral rot and put Nigeria on a sound social and cultural footing.
Runsewe added that the book will serve as one of the literature materials that his Council intends to use to prosecute the moral rebirth in our society. He urged every parent, teacher, religious leader to critically review our values as a nation as that is the only sure way we can aspire for accelerated growth and development we urgently desire.
The one day roundtable attracted the participation of critical stakeholders from different sectors of the society.