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Bayelsa Poll: Diri Flaunts Track Record, Boasts of Victory

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By Johnson Eyiangho, Abuja

Bayelsa State Governor,  Douye Diri has brushed aside the boast and threats of the opposition -All Progressives Congress (APC) Candidate in the Nov. 11 Governorship Election in the state as he said he was  confident that he will be re-elected based on his track record of achievement in his first tenure.

Diri boasted that the people of Bayelsa had written a testimonial for good governance for him based on his record of achievement in infrastructural development, as well as his giant strides in education, health, peace and security, and youths and women empowerment.

The governor, who spoke to newsmen at the PDP Headquarters in Abuja on Wednesday shortly after the inauguration of the Bayelsa State Campaign Council Chaired by Gov.

Agbu Kefas of Taraba State said, his re-election “should be a vote of confidence based on the track of records of what we have achieved for this short period of three years plus as against our opponent, who was also in the saddle as a governor for about five years.

“It is a vote of confidence for what we have done in terms of infrastructural development of the state, in terms of peace and security of the state, in terms of youths and women empowerment, in terms of education, in terms of health.

“And so, we may not solve the problems of Bayelsa under three years plus as a whole, but we have actually provided solutions and that’s what we are standing on and God on our side, we will come out victorious.”

Asked whether he was worried by the boasting of the APC’s Candidate, Timipre Sylva, that the APC would win the Nov. 11 election, Diri said he was not bothered.

According to him, “ I am not worried. But let me tell you this, in my place back home in Bayelsa, we have this saying: A mad man says I will stone you, a blind man says I will stone you. For a blind man particularly, who you know is blind is telling you he will stone you, it means that he’s standing on the stone already.

“What we will do as a  party, as a people, and let me tell you, Bayelsa has gone beyond political party, the people of the state are looking at good governance, not APC, not PDP.

“They are writing a testimonial for good governance for the candidate of the PDP. And so, it borders and crosses party barriers. And so, for us, it’s to remove that stone that the blind man is marching and telling us that he will win. How are you going to win.

“In Bayelsa, this election (Nov. 11, 2023), it’s not just about APC and PDP, it’s about good governance.”

Earlier, Gov. Agbu Kefas, who is the Chairman of the Bayelsa State Campaign Council, said the PDP’s efforts was  not only to capture power again in Bayelsa but a commitment to transformative leadership that fosters growth, equity and unity. 

Kefas said Bayelsa has limitless potential and stands at the crossroad of history waiting to shape a trajectory, adding the campaign will be  by the voices of the people and will reflect  the aspirations of the people.

“We recognize the weight of our responsibility to the people of Bayelsa State. As we set our sight to retain our governorship position in Bayelsa State, we embrace the task of a prosperous and great future for every citizen of Bayelsa State. 

“Our success will not be defined by victory at the polls, but by the trust we have built over time and the positive impact we have made in the lives of Bayelsans. 

“As we embark on this journey, let us remember that unity is our strength. Let us foster an environment of collaboration where innovative ideas flourish and define our strategies. Sooner or later in the month of November challenges will face our resolve, but together we shall overcome them. 

“We shall do that with the support of our people in Bayelsa. As we move forward, let us lead with our hearts and minds united, guided by the belief that we shall win again as we have always won. We promise the people of Bayelsa a brighter future,” he said.

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Investing in Davido, Meme Coins Highly Risky – SEC

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By Tony Obiechina, Abuja

The Security and Exchange Commission has warned that investing in meme coins, including $Davido, is highly risky and should be done with a full understanding of the associated risk.

According to the Commission in a Circular, “The attention of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Nigeria (“SEC”) has been drawn to a meme coin known as “$Davido” allegedly linked to the popular Nigerian singer, David Adedeji Adeleke AKA Davido.

“Generally, meme coins are crypto-currencies inspired by memes and internet jokes. They are often envisaged as fun, light-hearted crypto-currencies promoted through a social media community and sometimes through celebrity endorsements”.

The SEC further stated that Meme coins are also NOT intended to serve as a medium of exchange accepted by the public as payment for goods and services, or as digital representation of capital market products such as shares, debentures, units of collective investment schemes, derivatives contracts, commodities or other kinds of financial instruments or investments.

The Commission therefore advised the general public that meme coins lack fundamental value and are purely speculative.

“The general public is further WARNED that investing in meme coins, including $Davido, is highly risky and should be done with a full understanding of the associated risk.

“Capital Market Operators are by this Notice warned not to associate with instruments that fall outside the SEC’s regulatory purview. Such instruments should not in any manner be distributed or monitored through any capital market mechanism”.

The SEC also emphasised that the Commission does not recognize $Davido as an investment product or investable asset class under its regulatory purview, as such individuals who patronize it, do so at their peril.

“The Commission will continue to monitor developments within the ecosystem and will not relent in deploying its regulatory powers as and when required” , the circular added.

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Presidency to New York Times: Tinubu Gov’t Tackling Economic Crisis

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By David Torough, Abuja

The Presidency has reacted to a report published in the New York Times criticising the Nigerian economy as facing the worst trajectory in a generation.

Special Adviser to the President on Information and Strategy, Bayo Onanuga, responded on Sunday to the report by Ruth Maclean and Ismail Auwal.

According to the Presidency, the feature story, titled ‘Nigeria Confronts Its Worst Economic Crisis in a Generation’ and published on June 11, reflected the typical predetermined, reductionist, derogatory, and denigrating way foreign media establishments have reported on African countries for decades.

Onanuga stated that due to the ‘misleading’ slant of the report, the government needed to clear up some misconceptions conveyed by the reporters regarding the economic policies of President Bola Tinubu’s administration, which took office at the end of May 2023.

He noted that the report painted a dire picture of some Nigerians’ experiences amid the inflationary spiral of the last year and unfairly blamed it all on the new administration’s policies.

He argued that the report, based on several interviews, was at best jaundiced, portraying all gloom and doom without mentioning the positive aspects of the economy or the amelioration policies being implemented by the central and state governments.

Onanuga emphasized that Tinubu did not create the economic problems Nigeria faces today but inherited them.

“As a respected economist in our country once put it, Tinubu inherited a dead economy.

“The economy was bleeding and needed quick surgery to avoid being plunged into the abyss, as happened in Zimbabwe and Venezuela,” he noted.

He explained that this context led to the policy direction taken by the government in May/June 2023, including the abrogation of the fuel subsidy regime and the unification of the multiple exchange rates.

Onanuga highlighted that Nigeria had maintained a fuel subsidy regime for decades, which consumed $84.39 billion between 2005 and 2022 from the public treasury, in a country with significant infrastructural deficits and a high need for better social services.

He also alleged that the state oil firm, NNPCL, had accumulated trillions of Naira in debts due to unsustainable subsidy payments.

He noted that when Tinubu took office, no provision was made for fuel subsidy payments in the national budget beyond June 2023.

“The budget itself had a striking feature: it planned to spend 97 per cent of revenue servicing debt, with little left for recurrent or capital expenditure. The previous government had resorted to massive borrowing to cover such costs.”

Onanuga further explained that like oil, the exchange rate was also subsidized by the government, with an estimated $1.5 billion spent monthly by the CBN to defend the currency against the unquenchable demand for the dollar.

“This low rate led to arbitrage and failures to fulfil remittance obligations to airlines and other foreign businesses, drying up foreign direct investment and investments in the oil sector.

“To address these issues, Tinubu rolled back the subsidy regime and floated the naira on his first day”, Onanuga said.

Despite initial challenges, Onanuga noted that some stability is being restored, with the exchange rate now below N1500 to the dollar and prospects for further appreciation.

He cited a trade surplus of N6.52 trillion in Q1, as opposed to a deficit of N1.4 trillion in Q4 of 2023, and renewed interest from portfolio investors as indicators of improving economic confidence. Loans from the World Bank, AfDB, and Afreximbank are also contributing to Nigeria’s renewed bankability.

Onanuga highlighted efforts to control inflation, especially food inflation, through increased agricultural production and state-led initiatives to sell food at lower prices.

“The Tinubu administration has invested heavily in dry-season farming and provided incentives to farmers.”

He concluded by comparing Nigeria’s economic challenges with those faced by the USA and Europe, emphasizing that the Tinubu administration is working hard to overcome these difficulties.

“Our country faced economic difficulties in the past, an experience captured in folk songs. Just like we overcame then, we shall overcome our present difficulties very soon.”

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Eid-el-Kabir:  Tinubu, Leaders Preach Peace, Religious Tolerance

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By Laide Akinboade, Abuja

As Nigerins joined the rest of the world to celebrate this year’s Eid-el-Kabir, President Bola Tinubu, state governors, top government functionaries as well as other notable Nigerians have called for peace and religious tolerance to enhance peaceful coexistence.

The Eid-el-Kabir festival is celebrated by Muslims worldwide on the 10th day of the Hijri month of Dhual-Hijjah in the Islamic calendar.

Tinubu, the Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Dr. Obafemi Hazmat, the former state governor, Babatunde Fashola, and the Chairman of Dangote, Aliko Dangote, joined hundreds of Muslim faithful to observe Eid prayers in Ikoyi axis of the state yesterday.

Other dignitaries present at the Dodan Barracks ground in Ikoyi were the Chief of Staff to the President, Femi Gbajabiamila, National Security Adviser, Nuhu Ribadu; former lawmaker, Gbenga Ashafa, the former Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Adeyemi Ikuforiji amongst others.

Accompanied by top government functionaries, the President arrived at the Eid praying ground at about 8:55 am yesterday with cheers from many worshippers who trooped to the venue to pray and catch a glimpse of the Nigerian leader.

The President enjoined Nigerians to reflect on the essence of the occasion of Eid-el-Kabir, which bears strong meaning and significance for the nation.

CAN President, Calls for Unity in Challenging Times

Relatedly, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) yesterday urged all Muslim faithful to unite in challenging times and focus on God for a better Nigeria.

President, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Archbishop Daniel Okoh in his goodwill message to celebrate Eid-el-Kabir, made available to journalists in Abuja.

He appealed that everyone should set aside their differences, heed the call for unity and peace, and trust in God’s promise for a better Nigeria, because  the nation is in dire need of God’s mercy, peace, and unity.

 “As Muslims all over the world celebrate Eid-el-Kabir, a festival symbolizing sacrifice, obedience, and faith, I, on behalf of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), extend warm felicitations to our Muslim brothers and sisters.

“On this auspicious occasion, I urge all Nigerians to embody the values of sacrifice, obedience, and faith in our daily lives. Let us set aside our differences, heed the call for unity and peace, and trust in God’s promise for a better Nigeria. Our nation is in dire need of God’s mercy, peace, and unity.

“In the face of current challenges, let us unite in love, forgiveness, and reconciliation. Let us pray for divine intervention in our security, economic, and political struggles. May God’s comfort and strength support the displaced, the bereaved, and the traumatized.

“As the Muslim Ummah celebrate this festival, let us remember that our nation deeply needs God’s mercy, peace, and unity. Let us work together to build a Nigeria where all citizens can thrive, regardless of religion, tribe, or creed. Our diversity is strength, and together, we can overcome any obstacle.

“I call on all Nigerians to embrace peace, love, and forgiveness. Let us pray for divine intervention in our national struggles and strive towards building a united and prosperous Nigeria. Let us remember the displaced, bereaved, and traumatized, offering them our support and solidarity,” The statement read.

The CAN boss who prayed that God bless Nigeria and grant the nation peace, unity, and prosperity.

Almajiri Commission Calls for Enhanced Commitment to Education

In the spirit of Eid-el-Kabi, the Executive Secretary/CEO of National Commission for Almajiri and Out-of-School Children’s Education (NCAOOSCE), Dr. Muhammad Sani Idris, has called on all stakeholders to renew their dedication to education as a fundamental right for every child.

He said this in a statement issued to commemorate Eid-el-Kabir.

“Education remains the cornerstone for unlocking the potential of our youth and empowering them to contribute meaningfully to society.”

 “As we commemorate Eid-el-Kabir, a celebration of sacrifice and faith, I extend warm greetings to all Nigerians, with special recognition for the Almajiri and out-of-school children, who are central to our Commission’s mission,” he said.

While acknowledging President Bola Tinubu’s efforts to eradicate the challenges faced by Almajiri and out-of-school children in Nigeria, he said his commitment to education and human capital development underscores his administration’s dedication to the welfare of all Nigerians, especially the most vulnerable.

Looking forward, the National Commission for Almajiri and Out-of-School Children’s Education (NCAOOSCE)

The Executive Secretary reaffirmed the commitment of the commission to enrol 10 million out-of-school children in school by 2027, saying, “We are actively working to integrate Western education into the Almajiri school curriculum, ensuring a comprehensive educational experience that prepares these children for a brighter future.”

He said they would continue to collaborate tirelessly with stakeholders, including the Federal Ministry of Education, state governments, and development partners, to address the multifaceted challenges faced by the vulnerable children.

He said: “President Tinubu’s leadership and unwavering support have been instrumental in advancing our goals thus far. Together, we are confident in our ability to make a significant impact and ensure that every child has access to quality education, regardless of their background or circumstances.”

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