The presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar has warned President Muhammadu Buhari and the governing All Progressives Congress (APC) not to throw Nigeria into an avoidable crisis over their desperation to sack the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen.
CJN Onnoghen will be arraigned on Monday by the federal government.
In a statement issued on Saturday by Atiku’s Special Assistant on Public Communication, Mr. Phrank Shaibu, the PDP candidate said the principle of separation of powers remains sacrosanct in a democracy irrespective of what President Buhari is being told by his advisers or the buttons they are pressing to forcefully remove the CJN.
Atiku said the plot to sack Justice Onnoghen is a preemptive move against the bench in the face of imminent defeat and knowing the role that the judiciary plays in the final outcome of elections.
“We have just been made aware of the plot by President Muhammadu Buhari the All Progressives Congress (APC) to sack Justice Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen using flimsy assets declaration issues as a pretext. We are aware that there are plans to arraign Justice Onnoghen before the Justice Danladi Yakubu Umar led- Code of Conduct Tribunal on Monday, January, 14, 2019. The charge against Onnoghen, we understand has already been filed and served on him last Friday at his official residence in Abuja preparatory to his appearance at the Tribunal.
”But we warn that despite the clandestine meetings in the highest echelon of the APC and also involving some top officials of the federal government which include the Code of Conduct Tribunal, neither Buhari nor the APC can re-write the Nigerian Constitution just because of its impending defeat at the February 16, presidential election. Heavens did not fall when PDP lost to the APC in 2015. And heavens will not fall now that the APC is sure to lose to the PDP, seeing that the APC’s plan to rig in the forthcoming elections will not pull through,” the statement said.
Atiku added that Nigerians were aware that the linchpin of the plot, Mr. Dennis Aghanya, the Executive Secretary of the Anti-Corruption and Research Based Data Initiative (ARDI), the author of the purported petition seeking Onnoghen’s removal,was the National Publicity Secretary of President Buhari’s defunct political party, the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC).
The PDP candidate warned however that if Buhari and the APC succeed in the current plot, it then should be ready for an epic battle, the end of which no one can predict, and the consequences of which can only be imagined.
”We have the strength of character, the courage and the conviction to mount a sustained campaign in defence of justice, and in defence of separation of powers as enshrined in the constitution, which is the ground norm of our democracy ,” Atiku warned.
Atiku asserted that even if the allegations against Onnoghen are true, the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) was wrong to have referred the petition to the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT).
He said the Code of Conduct Bureau, according to Section 3 (e) of the third schedule (part 1) of the 1999 constitution, “shall receive complaints about the non-compliance with or breach of the provisions of the Code of Conduct or any law in relation thereto, investigate the complaint and, where appropriate, refer such matter to the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT).”
Atiku argued that since judicial officers are disciplined by the National Judicial Council (NJC), the CCB was wrong to have referred the matter to the CCT even if the allegations have been found to have any substance.
“The proper procedure would have been for the petition to be referred to the JSC of which Onnoghen is the Chairman, but he would have to excuse himself from the process. If found guilty, he could be asked to vacate his office as CJN, in addition to other punishments,” Atiku argued.
He further stated that Buhari’s desperation was to get Onnoghen out of the way and appoint an acting CJN whom he views as pliant and who will be made to superintend over election petitions in case his well-laid out rigging plan fails.
Atiku called on Nigerians to resist the current move to silence the judiciary, saying Nigeria’s democracy and not the judiciary is on trial.
“Buhari and his APC led government should not emasculate the judiciary as they tried to do the National Assembly and was resisted by the President of the Senate, Abubakar Bukola Saraki. This is a brazen day light assault on the judiciary because he (Buhari wants) a pliable acting Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) to sit on his election petition because he has seen the signal that he will lose the February 16 presidential election,” Atiku said.
‘Russia will continue to help Syria protect its sovereignty’ – Putin
Russian President , Vladimir Putin has said that the country will continue to help Syria protect its sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Putin on Sunday in a congratulatory message to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on the 75th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries, reechoed his commitment to Syria.
“I would like to confirm that Russia will continue to support Syria’s government and people in their efforts to protect the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as to ensure national security and post-war reconstruction,” Putin said in the message.
Putin added that through joint efforts, “terrorist forces on Syrian soil” will be defeated.
Putin also pledged to promote Russia-Syria relations, adding that it is in the “common interest” of the two countries to boost Russian-Syrian ties.
Prices of tomatoes, yam, rice drop in June, NBS confirms
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), in its Selected Food Price Watch (June 2019)’ report confirmed that average price of major food items including tomatoes, yam, and rice reduced in the month of June.
According to the report, the average price of one kilogramme of tomatoes reduced from N317.67 recorded in June 2018 to N226.07 in June 2019, representing a 28.84 per cent decrease.
It added that the price of one kilogramme of tomatoes reduced from N249.52 recorded in May 2019 to N226.07 in June, also representing a 9.40 per cent reduction.
NBS, in its report, also revealed that the average cost of one kilogramme of rice (imported high quality sold loose) decreased from N373.47 in June 2018 to N352.82 in June 2019.
The price of one kilogramme of rice, according to it, reduced from N361.39 recorded in May 2019 to N352.82 in June 2019, representing a 2.37 per cent decrease.
The bureau explained that fieldwork was done solely by more than 700 NBS staff in all states across the country,
It added that the fieldwork was supported by supervisors who were monitored by internal and external observers.
NBS hinted that the prices were collected across all the 774 local government areas, as well as the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) from over 10,000 respondents and locations, stressing that they reflect actual prices households said they actually bought the items.
It said the average of all the prices was reported for each state, adding that the average for the country was the average for the state.
“Selected food price watch data for June 2019 reflected that the average price of 1 dozen of Agric eggs medium size decreased year-on-year by -8.23% and increased month-on-month by 6.55% to N495.32 in June 2019 from N464.87 in May 2019, while the average price of piece of Agric eggs medium size (price of one) decreased year-on-year by -5.01% and month-on-month by -8.20% to N39.30 in June 2019 from N42.82 in May 2019.
“The average price of 1kg of tomato decreased year-on-year by -28.84% and month-on-month by -9.40% to N226.07 in June 2019 from N249.52 in May 2019.
“The average price of 1kg of rice (imported high quality sold loose) decreased year-on-year by -5.53% and month-on-month by -2.37% to N352.82 in June 2019 from N361.39 in May 2019.
“Similarly, the average price of 1kg of yam tuber decreased year-on-year by -36.27% and month-on-month by -15.68% to N182.15 in June 2019 from N216.03 in May 2019″, the report reads.
Critics of open governance can’t distract me, says Makinde
The Oyo State Governor, Engr. Seyi Makinde has declared that critics of his style of open governance cannot distract his government from recording giant strides in the State.
Governor Makinde, who made the declaration while speaking at the inauguration of the South West Chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the United Kingdom, said that he was aware why there has been so much searchlight on his person and his administration.
A statement by Governor Makinde’s Chief Press Secretary, Taiwo Adisa, also quoted the Governor as tasking PDP Stakeholders to readily project the good deeds of the party’s office holders in order not to give room for negative narrative.
Makinde, who observed that interest groups in the United Kingdom had played important roles in the politics of Nigeria, said that no fewer than 200,000 Nigerians now live in the United Kingdom.
He said that the task ahead of the PDP is to regroup and launch chapters everywhere Nigerians are found.
The Governor said:” I am aware of the enormity of the responsibility that rests on me. The searchlight is beamed upon me, and all my actions are being met with the strictest scrutiny.”
“I know that it is the seeming controversial that will be given more attention. My open declaration of my assets is generating furore in certain quarters, but these are unnecessary distractions, my focus and the focus of our administration is on good governance. We shall not be distracted”, he added
Governor Makinde also seized the opportunity to invite investors to Oyo state, declaring that his efforts so far have been geared towards eradicating the out-of-school children syndrome, which he said, accounts for 400,000 right now, expansion of the state’s economy and promoting security.
“In the past month, I have focused on two things to set Oyo State on the path to greatness: Ensuring that we put the right policies and processes in place, and working with ideas that will help increase Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) in the state.”
He stated that his focus on security was borne out of the fact that without security, businesses cannot thrive adding that he had given his commitment to enhancing security to the Commanders of the Task Force in charge of Oyo and Osun, Operation Burst.
According to the Governor, the decision by the state government to cancel the N3, 000 school levy, and examination fees had resulted in the unprecedented huge turnout of students for placement examination into JSS1, and the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) conducted in the state last week.
The Governor also said that the commitment of the PDP towards strategizing for the future was not in doubt adding that members of the party must also be alive to their responsibilities.
He said: “The PDP has one job and one job only: regroup, refocus, re-strategise. Creating Chapters, everywhere in the world where Nigerians are found, shows our commitment to this job. I believe Nigerians have had the opportunity to see clearly which party really means business.
“I have one request to make of you: never stop talking about the good things we are doing. When good things are not given prominence, the consensus is that only bad things are happening. We cannot allow evil narratives about the PDP or its stakeholders to gain any type of momentum. It is our jobs as worthy ambassadors to shut down such narratives, quickly and definitively.”