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Adeola Fayehun

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The senator representing Gombe South, Joshua Lidani, was held on Monday by protesters in his constituency.

A live Facebook update by an activist, Ibrahim Wala, monitored on Monday said Mr. Lidani paid an unscheduled visit to Talasse town, the headquarters of Balanga Local Government Area to meet with political associates.

However, one of the protesters who spoke on phone said Mr. Lidani, a former deputy governor, is currently hiding inside the residence of the traditional ruler of the town.

He said the protesters are asking the senator to come out and “answer some of their questions.”

He said the grouse of the protesters with Mr. Lidani is that “he refused to visit Talasse since his election despite several appeals.”

He also said the senator refused to answer or return calls from the people of his constituency “only for him to sneak in today.”

He said the police were invited to the scene but they had to retreat to a distance to avoid confrontation with the large crowd.

“Apart from those at the emir’s palace, several youth groups have also blocked all other roads the senator may seek to sneak out, not just in Talasse here, but other villages along the road as well,” he said.

Premium Times

At least 18 people have been killed and 84 wounded after Boko Haram jihadists clashed with Nigerian soldiers near the northeastern city of Maiduguri overnight. 

It was one of the most brazen attacks in recent months and was a precursor to a planned strike on Maiduguri, the capital of Borno State and the birthplace of the hardline Islamist group.

Boko Haram fighters attacked the base in the Cashew Plantation area on the outskirts of the city with suicide bombers, mortars and guns, leading to a prolonged battle, a senior military officer in Maiduguri said.

‘Eighteen Boko Haram terrorists on foot attacked the military base while seven suicide bombers targeted residents of nearby Bale Shuwar and Alikaranti villages at 7:50 pm GMT,’ said the officer who asked not to be identified because he was not authorised to speak about the incident.

‘The terrorists fired mortars at troops,’ the officer said.

‘So far we have recovered 18 dead bodies from the two villages,’ Benlo Dambatto, an official from the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) told AFP.

‘The victims were killed while trying to escape the fight between the insurgents and the military,’ said Dambatto.

It was not immediately clear if the casualties involved only civilians or included the jihadists and soldiers as well.

The attackers were trying to infiltrate into the city, said Ba’Kura Abba Ali, a militia leader in the area helping soldiers in fighting Boko Haram.

The assailants climbed up a moat dug round the city to stave off Boko Haram suicide and gun attacks, and attacked troops, Ali said.

Maiduguri residents reported hearing at least five explosions and sounds of gunfire coming from the Cashew Plantation area.

‘Huge blasts and sounds of gunshots were heard all over the city last night and they continued for more than an hour,’ said one resident, Ibrahim Gremah.

On Friday, four teenage girl suicide bombers killed two people in multiple attacks in Zawuya settlement on the outskirts of Maiduguri in the first assault since the government announced it was in ceasefire talks with Boko Haram.

The Islamic State-affiliated faction reportedly in talks with the government is led by Abu Mus’ab al-Barnawi and is known for attacks on military targets, while another faction led by Abubakar Shekau is notorious for suicide bombings killing civilians.

The attacks highlight the challenge the government faces in striking a ceasefire agreement with the factionalised Boko Haram.

Late last month, when more than 100 schoolgirls were returned to Dapchi after being kidnapped by the jihadist group, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari said his government was offering amnesty to ‘repentant’ jihadists.

But senior security officials cautioned that reaching any agreement with the group will be difficult, as it is split into competing factions with different goals.

Boko Haram’s nearly nine-year fight to establish a hardline Islamic state in northeast Nigeria has claimed at least 20,000 lives and displaced more than two million people.

Maiduguri, the capital of Borno State, is the birthplace of Boko Haram, whose nearly nine-year fight to establish an Islamic state in northeast Nigeria has claimed at least 20,000 lives and displaced more than two million people.

‘The victims were killed while trying to escape the fight between the insurgents and the military,’ said the Borno branch of SEMA.

AFP
An abandoned Chinese space laboratory is set to meet a fiery end within hours as it re-enters Earth’s atmosphere, hitting a speed of around 26,000 kilometres an hour before disintegrating.

The European Space Agency forecast that China’s defunct Tiangong-1 craft would come down during “a window of about four hours… centred on 01:07 UTC (GMT)” on Monday.
The agency said in a blog post Sunday that this was its “final estimate” because it is “at the limit of what we can forecast”.
The China Manned Space Engineering Office had said earlier Sunday that the abandoned orbital outpost would make its earthbound plunge on Monday.
The eight-tonne craft is unlikely to cause any damage when it comes down, but its fiery disintegration will offer a “splendid” show akin to a meteor shower, Chinese authorities said previously.
Debris from the lab could land anywhere between the latitudes of 43 degrees north and 43 degrees south — from America’s Midwest to New Zealand, the ESA has said.
“The high speeds of returning satellites mean they can travel thousands of kilometres during that time window, and that makes it very hard to predict a precise location of reentry,” said Holger Krag, head of the ESA’s Space Debris Office, in comments posted on the agency’s website.
The ESA added, however, that the space lab will likely break up over water, which covers most of the planet’s surface. And it described the probability of someone being hit by a piece of debris from Tiangong-1 as “10 million times smaller than the yearly chance of being hit by lightning”.
There is “no need for people to worry”, the China Manned Space Engineering Office said earlier on its WeChat social media account.
Such falling spacecraft do “not crash into the Earth fiercely like in sci-fi movies, but turn into a splendid (meteor shower) and move across the beautiful starry sky as they race towards the Earth”, it said.
Tiangong-1 — or “Heavenly Palace” — was placed in orbit in September 2011, an important step in China’s efforts towards building its own space station.
The module — which was used to practise complicated manual and automatic docking techniques — was originally intended to be used for just two years, but ended up serving considerably longer.
During its brief lifespan, it hosted Chinese astronauts on several occasions as they performed experiments and even taught a class that was broadcast into schools across the country.
– Out of control? –
Tiangong-1 had been slated for a controlled re-entry, but ceased functioning in March 2016. Space enthusiasts have been bracing for its return ever since.
The ESA has said that ground controllers were no longer able to command Tiangong-1 to fire its on-board engines, which could have been used to control where it re-entered Earth’s atmosphere.
In contrast, Russia brought down its massive Mir space station through a controlled re-entry over the Pacific Ocean in 2001.
A Chinese spaceflight engineer denied earlier this year that the lab was out of control.
Chinese media have downplayed comments by the ESA and others that the country’s engineers have lost control of the lab, with reports saying that the idea it is “out of control” is an invention of foreign media.
But on Chinese social media, commenters criticised the government’s reluctance to own up to the situation.
“Can you or can’t you report that you’ve lost control of the situation?” one person wrote on the Twitter-like Weibo.
“It’s not unusual that something this complicated would have a mishap.”
Beijing began its manned spaceflight programme in 1990 after buying Russian technology that enabled it to become the third country with the ability to launch humans into space, following the former Soviet Union and the United States.
China sent another space lab, Tiangong-2, into orbit in September 2016 as a stepping stone to its goal of having a crewed space station by 2022.
It also plans to send a manned mission to the moon in the future.

AFP

An abandoned Chinese space laboratory is set to meet a fiery end within hours as it re-enters Earth’s atmosphere, hitting a speed of around 26,000 kilometres an hour before disintegrating.

The European Space Agency forecast that China’s defunct Tiangong-1 craft would come down during “a window of about four hours… centred on 01:07 UTC (GMT)” on Monday.

The agency said in a blog post Sunday that this was its “final estimate” because it is “at the limit of what we can forecast”.

The China Manned Space Engineering Office had said earlier Sunday that the abandoned orbital outpost would make its earthbound plunge on Monday.

The eight-tonne craft is unlikely to cause any damage when it comes down, but its fiery disintegration will offer a “splendid” show akin to a meteor shower, Chinese authorities said previously.

Debris from the lab could land anywhere between the latitudes of 43 degrees north and 43 degrees south — from America’s Midwest to New Zealand, the ESA has said.

“The high speeds of returning satellites mean they can travel thousands of kilometres during that time window, and that makes it very hard to predict a precise location of reentry,” said Holger Krag, head of the ESA’s Space Debris Office, in comments posted on the agency’s website.

The ESA added, however, that the space lab will likely break up over water, which covers most of the planet’s surface. And it described the probability of someone being hit by a piece of debris from Tiangong-1 as “10 million times smaller than the yearly chance of being hit by lightning”.

There is “no need for people to worry”, the China Manned Space Engineering Office said earlier on its WeChat social media account.

Such falling spacecraft do “not crash into the Earth fiercely like in sci-fi movies, but turn into a splendid (meteor shower) and move across the beautiful starry sky as they race towards the Earth”, it said.

Tiangong-1 — or “Heavenly Palace” — was placed in orbit in September 2011, an important step in China’s efforts towards building its own space station.

The module — which was used to practise complicated manual and automatic docking techniques — was originally intended to be used for just two years, but ended up serving considerably longer.

During its brief lifespan, it hosted Chinese astronauts on several occasions as they performed experiments and even taught a class that was broadcast into schools across the country.

– Out of control? –

Tiangong-1 had been slated for a controlled re-entry, but ceased functioning in March 2016. Space enthusiasts have been bracing for its return ever since.

The ESA has said that ground controllers were no longer able to command Tiangong-1 to fire its on-board engines, which could have been used to control where it re-entered Earth’s atmosphere.

In contrast, Russia brought down its massive Mir space station through a controlled re-entry over the Pacific Ocean in 2001.

A Chinese spaceflight engineer denied earlier this year that the lab was out of control.

Chinese media have downplayed comments by the ESA and others that the country’s engineers have lost control of the lab, with reports saying that the idea it is “out of control” is an invention of foreign media.

But on Chinese social media, commenters criticised the government’s reluctance to own up to the situation.

“Can you or can’t you report that you’ve lost control of the situation?” one person wrote on the Twitter-like Weibo.

“It’s not unusual that something this complicated would have a mishap.”

Beijing began its manned spaceflight programme in 1990 after buying Russian technology that enabled it to become the third country with the ability to launch humans into space, following the former Soviet Union and the United States.

China sent another space lab, Tiangong-2, into orbit in September 2016 as a stepping stone to its goal of having a crewed space station by 2022.

It also plans to send a manned mission to the moon in the future.

AFP
Botswana’s new president, Mokgweetsi Masisi, used his inauguration speech on Sunday to vow to tackle youth unemployment in one of Africa’s most stable countries.

The swearing-in ceremony in parliament came after Ian Khama stepped down having completed the constitutional maximum of 10 years in office.
As the vice president, Masisi took over automatically, and he is likely to secure a further five-year term in elections in October 2019 when the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) is expected to hold on to power.
Botswana prides itself on good governance and rule of law, and the carefully managed handover of power comes a full 18 months ahead of parliamentary elections in 2019.
Masisi, the former vice president, takes over a county widely seen as an African success story that has made good use of its lucrative income from diamond, beef and tourism.
It is rated as the least corrupt country in Africa by Transparency International.
But it has also struggled with rising unemployment rate of about 18 percent and an HIV epidemic.
“It is because of the peace and tranquillity that our leaders have sustained for so long that Batswana (people) have continued to enjoy relative prosperity,” Masisi said after taking his oath.
“One of my top priorities as the president of this country will be to address the problem of unemployment especially amongst the young people.”
He also pledged to improve treatment and prevention of HIV in a country with a 22 percent infection rate among adults.
– Continuity politics –
President Masisi, 55, is a close ally of Khama and a BDP veteran.
He is a US-educated former teacher, UNICEF official and education minister, whose father was also a cabinet minister.
“Despite its small size, Botswana continues to play an important role in the promotion of global issues such as respect for human rights, democracy, good governance (and) the rule of law,” Masisi said.
Khama, 65, completed a months-long national farewell tour last week, bidding goodbye to the country’s population of 2.2 million.
He earned a record for straight talking, often criticising leaders including US President Donald Trump and — unlike many in the region — neighbouring Zimbabwe’s then-president Robert Mugabe as well as Democratic Republic of Congo President Joseph Kabila.
Khama led the BDP to landslide victories in two elections, although the party won less than 50 percent of the vote for the first time in 2014.
“Internationally, Khama positioned himself as a moral leader,” Matteo Vidiri, a BMI Research analyst, told AFP.
“(But) a slowing economy and increasing public discontent has damaged the narrative of Botswana’s ‘special character’, of a country being able to escape the ‘resource curse’.”
Four opposition parties have said they could unite for the 2019 election to try to unseat the BDP, which has held power since independence from Britain in 1966.
At a farewell event in his home village, Khama was showered with gifts including a 4×4 truck, 143 cows, hundreds of chickens, more than 415,000 pula ($44,000, 35,000 euro) and a fully-equipped luxury caravan.
His father, Seretse Khama, served from 1966 to 1980 as Botswana’s first president.

AFP
The Nigerian government has released more names of alleged looters of the treasury during the Goodluck Jonathan administration.

The Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, in a statement on Sunday listed 23 people.
Below is the full statement:
The federal government has said the list of alleged looters which it released earlier was based on verifiable facts, including the amount involved, the date the amount in question was collected and from where it was taken.
Releasing a fresh list of alleged looters, in a statement issued in Lagos on Sunday, the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, also said those complaining that the list was too short
apparently did not understand that it was strategically released as a
teaser.
”At the press conference where the list was released, I did say it
was a tip of the iceberg. Apparently, this does not mean anything to
people whose style is to comment on issues they barely understand, or
just to shoot down anything coming from the government,” he said,
adding that the Federal Government has a large number of alleged
looters on its list.
Mr Mohammed slammed the PDP for daring to challenge the Federal
Government over an issue that the party knows is its weakness: Looting
of public treasury.
”What was the PDP expecting when it challenged the FG to name the
looters of the public treasury under the party’s watch? Did the PDP
actually believe that the massive looting under its watch was a joke?
Did they think it is April Fool?” he queried.
The minister said the PDP’s reaction to the looters’ list has shown
that its recent apology is an election-induced act, contrived to
deceive unsuspecting Nigerians to vote for the party in the 2019
general election, even when it has not come clean on its looting spree
during its time in office.
”The hysterical and panicky reaction from the PDP has shown that the
party is not at all sincere about its choreographed apology. Were it
not the case, the party would have followed in the footsteps of one of
its leaders, Senator Ibrahim Mantu, who simply owned up to his role in
the party’s rigging in the past elections and said he had turned a new
leaf.
”It is said that a true confession is done in humility with an
attitude of repentance. It is clear that the PDP does not know this,
hence its resort to hubris instead of humility and genuine
penitence,” he said.
Mr Mohammed said the federal government will neither be
intimidated nor blackmailed into silence, adding that it will also not
rest until all those who looted the public treasury have been brought
to justice.
SECOND BATCH OF ALLEGED LOOTERS AND THE AMOUNT ALLEGEDLY EMBEZZLED
1. Former NSA Sambo Dasuki: Based on EFCC investigations and findings
alone (this is beside the ongoing $2.1 billion military equipment
scandal), a total of N126 billion, over $1.5 billion and 5.5 million
British Pounds was embezzled through his office. A good number of
these monies were simply shared to persons and companies without any
formal contract awards.
2. Former Petroleum Resources Minister Diezani Alison-Madueke: In
just one of the cases the EFCC is investigating involving her, about
N23 billion is alleged to have been embezzled. She is also involved in
the Strategic Alliance Contracts of the NNPC, where the firms of Jide
Omokore and Kola Aluko got oil blocks but never paid government taxes
and royalty. About $3 billion was involved. The Federal Government is
charging Omokore and Aluko and will use all legal instruments local
and international to ensure justice.
3. Rtd. Lt.-Gen. Kenneth Minimah: N13.9 billion. N4.8 billion
recovered by EFCC in cash and property
4. Lt.-Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika: N4.5 billion. N29m recovered by the EFCC so far.
5. Alex Barde, former Chief of Defence Staff: N8 billion, and EFCC
recovered almost N4 billion in cash and property already.
6. Inde Dikko: former CG Customs: N40 billion, and N1.1 billion in
cash recovered in cash and choice properties.
7. Air Marshal Adesola Amosun: N21.4 billion. N2.8 billion recovered
in cash. 28 properties and 3 vehicles also recovered.
8. Senator Bala Abdulkadir, former FCT Minister: N5 billion. Interim
forfeiture order on some property secured.
9. Senator Stella Oduah: N9.8 billion. Interim forfeiture order on
some property secured.
10. Former Niger State Governor Babangida Aliyu: N1.6 billion – from NSA.
11. Senator Jonah Jang, former Plateau State Governor: N12.5 billion.
12. Bashir Yuguda, former Minister of State for Finance: N1.5 billion.
$829,800 recovered.
13. Senator Peter Nwaboshi: N1.5 billion
14. Aliyu Usman: Former NSA Dasuki’s aide: N512 million
15. Ahmad Idris: Former NSA Dasuki’s PA: N1.5 billion
16. Rasheed Ladoja: Former Oyo Governor: N500 million
17. Tom Ikimi: N300 million
18. Femi Fani-Kayode: N866 million
19. Hassan Tukur, former PPS to President Goodluck: $1.7 million
20. Nenadi Usman: N1.5 billion
21. Benedicta Iroha: N1.7 billion
22. Aliyu Usman Jawaz: Close ally of former NSA Dasuki: N882 million
23. Jonah Jang, former Plateau State Governor: N12.5 billion
24 Godknows Igali: Over N7 billion

A small but remarkable new migration is taking place in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, as well-heeled Congolese up sticks to live in Rwandan towns lying just across the border.

Gisenyi and Kamembe, on the northern and southern tips of Lake Kivu respectively, are seen as more stable, more secure and with a better standard of living than their sprawling, troubled Congolese neighbours, the cities of Goma and Bukavu.
“In 2013 I received threats in Goma. I was evacuated to Gisenyi. I went back to Goma a year later. I was still worried for my safety. Three friends in my district were killed,” said Jacques Kahora, a humanitarian worker who settled permanently in Gisenyi in 2016.
Adrien, a 28-year-old employee with an NGO, has been renting a house in Gisenyi for 80 dollars (65 euros) a month for almost a year, roughly half of what he would pay in his home town of Goma.
Each day he nips back across the border to Goma, a matter of a few kilometres (miles), to work and see family and friends.
“I mainly do it for access to certain basic things, like water and electricity. In Gisenyi, there are hardly any power cuts, but in Goma they happen daily — sometimes you can go a whole week without electricity,” said Adrien.
Rwanda also offers a high-performance wifi service, which is used by residents of Goma and Bukavu whenever Congolese authorities cut internet access as part of a crackdown on anti-government protests.
Like Adrien, most of the Congolese nationals still work in Goma or Bukavu and only spend the night in Rwanda. “Here all we bring is sleep,” says Leston Kambale, 38, who moved to Gisenyi eight years ago and has put his three children into Rwandan schools.
“As an IT specialist, I needed electricity 24 hours a day. And there’s also the question of safety. Here in Gisenyi, you can walk around from dusk to dawn without a problem,” he added.
To cross the border, Congolese must present their passport or special authorisation issued by the Economic Community of the Great Lakes Countries (ECGLC) at the two brand-new customs posts on both sides of the border.
People returning at night have to watch the time, as the Congolese border post closes at 10 pm.
To live in Rwanda, the Congolese must pay 20,000 Rwandan francs (about $23) to obtain a two-year residence permit — more than a week’s average pay in this part of the world, but a modest sum for middle-class Congolese.
– ‘1,000 hills, 1,000 holes’ –
How many Congolese live part-time or permanently in Rwanda is unclear. But anecdotal evidence — the numbers of people looking for homes or building plots, and rising prices driven by the demand — suggests the movement is gaining momentum.
On Sundays, young people from Goma, which lies on the northern tip of Lake Kivu, cross the border to enjoy a day of relaxation on the Tam-Tam beach, a popular well-tended spot on the shore.
“In Goma, there are only private properties on the lakeside. Here in Gisenyi, we can still go for a swim,” says Guilain Balume, a journalist met between the paddle boats and the volleyball pitch.
At the southern end of the lake, Congolese people are leaving overpopulated Bukavu, where houses with steep roofs are clustered together on rising hillsides. They head for Kamembe, close to Cyangugu on the frontier.
“More than 900 families have left Bukavu to live in Kamembe,” said Patient Bashombe, a lawyer in charge of the coordination bureau for civil society in DR Congo’s South Kivu province.
“Rwanda is the ‘Land of a Thousand Hills’ and we live in the Land of a Thousand Potholes,” a Congolese driver, Jean, said drily as he contemplated a cratered local road.
At the Goma-Gisenyi border post, an aged Congolese man was returning “back home” to Rwanda after a Sunday spent with the family in Goma.
Referring to Rwandan military involvement during the Second Congo War, which officially ended in 2003, the man quipped, “The Rwandans conquered us by force of arms. Today we are conquering them economically.”

 

AFP
After just 21 fights, Anthony Joshua is a three-belt world heavyweight boxing champion.

The British-Nigerian heavyweight finally knows what it’s like to go 12 rounds, too.
Joshua will reportedly earn around £18million from the heavyweight unification clash – the first ever in the UK
Frustrated by the movement of Joseph Parker and the irritating interventions of inexperienced referee Giuseppe Quartarone, Joshua required a decision by the judges to add the WBO belt to his WBA and IBF titles.
It was never in doubt, with two judges awarding it to Joshua 118-110 and the other making it 119-109. It was Parker’s first loss in 25 fights, and Joshua 21st straight win.
“I was switched on, focused and went 12 rounds. It was light work,” said Joshua, after a mature, patient but hardly headline-grabbing performance.
“This was about boxing finesse. I stuck to my word.”
All 20 of Joshua’s previous wins came via knockout – and only two had gone beyond seven rounds.
But, thanks to Parker’s reactions and counterattacking skills, one of the sport’s biggest punchers barely landed a clean shot with his big right hand.
Quartarone didn’t help, either, constantly getting between the two fighters and stopping the flow of the contest. There were boos at the final bell from many in the crowd of 78,000 inside Cardiff’s Principality Stadium, seemingly aimed at an Italian referee who was taking charge of his first world heavyweight title fight.
“Ref seemed too hurried to break them up at times,” tweeted former undisputed heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis. “But it was a clear win for AJ and he showed maturity (and) patience.”
Joshua moved to within one win of matching Lewis’ achievement of cleaning up the sport’s most glamorous division.
Big-punching American Deontay Wilder holds the other main heavyweight belt, the WBC’s, and could meet Joshua before the end of the 2018.
“Wilder, let’s go baby,” Joshua screamed in his interview inside the ring.
And he wants to stay in Britain to complete the set.
“I’m not interested in coming to America,” Joshua said. “We are staying right here.”
Neither Joshua nor Parker came close to getting knocked down, showing respect for each other’s undefeated records. They hugged after the final bell, though Parker knew he had been beaten.
“I was beaten by the better man,” said Parker, who demonstrated no nerves fighting in front of the biggest crowd of his career. “It’s been a good experience being here and I’m thankful for the opportunity.
“I want to go back and come back stronger.”
There is a rematch clause for the fight, but Joshua might have other ideas. Namely Wilder, or mandatory WBA challenger Alexander Povetkin, who beat David Price in the undercard.
After the epic nature of his 11th-round knockout of Wladimir Klitschko, Joshua has had to battle for two scrappy wins in Cardiff – first over the awkward Carlos Takam in October last year and now Parker.
Joshua controlled the center of the ring, using his superior reach and jab, but Parker – bobbing and swaying – proved a tough target.
One powerful left shook the WBO champion in the fourth, but Parker got through with a straight right through Joshua’s defense midway through the fifth, sending the Briton reeling for the first and only time.
Parker’s left eye was bleeding and starting to close by the end of the 10th round but he managed to take Joshua the distance. The result was emphatic, though.
It was only the second heavyweight unification title bout between unbeaten fighters, after Mike Tyson against Tony Tucker in 1987.
Culled: AP
Former Ekiti state governor and current Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr Kayode Fayemi on Sunday says he will contest the July 14 gubernatorial election coming up soon in the state under the APC.

He made his ambition known at a news conference at his Isan-Ekiti country home in Oye Local Government Area of the state.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Fayemi had hosted leaders and scores of members of the party from all the 16 Local Government Areas and the 177 Wards of the state.
He said he was driven by his past records of positive achievements, especially for workers, retirees and pensioners while in office in the state.
He explained that his decision to seek re-election was to deliver the state from incompetent and dubious hands and take her to where its supposed to be.
NAN reports that the former governor becomes the 35th person to formally indicate interest in the governorship poll in the APC alone, aside from dozen others whose campaign posters and billboards are already out on the streets without formal declaration.
Fayemi said he would formally submit his letter of intent to the state secretariat of the APC as soon as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) lifts ban on campaigns on April 15.
On the issue of a White Paper, indicting him for corruption and consequently banned him from seeking public office for 10 years, Fayemi said he was not bothered.
He declared that the said White Paper cannot stop his ambition, describing the document as final result of several months of political witchhunt launched against him by the Ayo Fayose-led administration that cannot stand the test of time.
“Regardless of whatever anybody may think, I know I am eminently qualified to contest the election, if I am not qualified, I would never have come to tell you I want to contest.
“Most of the negative things Fayose and his government said or alleged of me were deliberately concocted out of malice to either malign my character or score cheap political goal; but the truth will always prevail.
“Same goes for the manipulated debt profile of the state which was a clear case of exaggeration and distortions.
“Can you imagine, Fayose said he issued White Paper banning me from holding public office, but today, I am giving him red card. By the end of the gubernatorial poll exercise, we will know who is right between the two of us,” he said.
The Minister vowed to dislodge Fayose and his deputy in the poll if picked at the May 5, 2018 gubernatorial primary of the party in Ado Ekiti.
He advised other aspirants against divisive tendencies by their followers, stressing that whoever that eventually emerged from the coming primary must be embraced by all since the national secretariat of the party had promised that the whole exercise would be open, free and fair.
He promised to use his second-term to correct all past mistakes and improve on the good ones, saying he had learnt his lessons since leaving office about four years ago as governor.
Fayemi, therefore, asked all those he offended while in office as governor to forgive him, while also saying he had forgiven all those who erred against him, in the interest of the party.
He warned Fayose not to attempt to remove or destroy his campaign posters and billboards the way his government was currently doing to some opposition posters.
NAN reports that the minister was however silent on when he would be resigning his appointment as minister from the Federal Executive Council.

Senate President Bukola Saraki has joined the 2019 Presidential race and he is considering the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, as his running mate, media mogul Dele Momodu has revealed in an exclusive report.

Momodu disclosed this in a lengthy statement on his ‘Boss Newspaper’.
The statement read in part: “The Boss can exclusively reveal that Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki has joined the 2019 Presidential race.
“There is no doubt that he would be a formidable force that should not be ignored because only few politicians in Nigeria today have the pedigree, the experience, the clout and the connection of Senator Saraki.
“Impeccable sources reveal that as he plots his move for the Presidency, he is said to be considering building alliances with all Nigerians of like minds.
“He is also considering using the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu as his running mate. Having already exhibited the ability to work seamlessly with politicians from the two main political parties, it is a path he can easily thread.
“Having risen to the enviable position of the number three citizen, the only place to go for the two-term Senator and former two-term governor is up! Indeed, Saraki is not new to the dynamics of power politics, he is the scion of a political dynasty that is well-known across the nation.
“He has all the criteria that a modern Nigerian president should have, he is tall, urbane, suave, charismatic, cool and collected. But behind this charm, is a man of steel who is never afraid to pursue causes that he feels are right and just.
“Saraki is one of those rare breeds who is street smart as well as book smart. This was evident when he steered his political path away from his father, and triumphed without breaking up the family or the people’s faith in his leadership abilities.
“Those who know, say he is counting on his youthfulness and ability to connect with the youths and his strategy will be to spread the “I am one of you” message and show his track record of working with young technocrats and turning them into prolific achievers.
“Of course, like everything in life, Saraki would have to navigate through thorny paths to reach the Presidential Villa, he surely has many challenges ahead.
“The most important challenge, according to our source, is the perception that he is corrupt. This has been a damaging blow to his profile, little wonder that Saraki has not taken this allegation lying down.
“His father, the late Oloye, Dr. Olusola Saraki was a revered politician. He not only rose to become the Senate Leader of Nigeria under the National Party of Nigeria (NPN), but was the Chief Strategist and King Maker of Kwara Politics.
“Before politics, he was in the corporate world, working in the family-owned Societe-Generale Bank (SGBN) . Though his enemies will say he ran the bank aground and some even say, he emptied the bank vault to run for Governor, it was to his credit that after its demise, he insisted that the bank was solid and was closed down in error.”

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