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Wike, not Atiku, frustrated Peter Obi out of PDP – Paul Ibe

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Paul Ibe

Paul Ibe, the spokesperson of the 2023 Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, has disclosed that the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Nyesom Wike, was instrumental in the exit of Peter Obi from the party.

Ibe said Atiku wanted the PDP to zone the 2023 presidential ticket to the Southeast but Wike worked against it.

Obi was the vice presidential candidate of the PDP in the 2019 presidential election but dumped the party for the Labour Party, LP, ahead of the 2023 presidential election.

He later became a force in the last general election, securing over six million votes.

Since the PDP and LP lost to the All Progressives Congress, APC, in the 2023 election, the leading opposition party has yet to resolve its internal crisis.

However, Ibe said Atiku was ready to zone the PDP presidential ticket to the Southeast.

In an interview on Seun Okinbaloye’s Mic On podcast, Ibe said Wike frustrated the move to zone PDP’s ticket to the Southeast.

He said: “Atiku did not force Peter Obi out of the party, Wike was instrumental in the exit of Obi because Wike had promoted the zoning of the presidency to the south.

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“Atiku Abubakar had said that he was prepared to get himself off the ticket if the party zoned the ticket to the Southeast.

“Wike frustrated that effort because he believed that if it was zoned to the south, not the southeast, he would be in the best position to be able to get the ticket.”

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Minister hails NCDMB, Nedogas Strategic Partnership, lists benefits of Gas Gathering Facility

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The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Gas), Rt. Hon. Ekperikpe Ekpo, has commended the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) and Nedogas Development Company Limited for initiating and successfully executing the 300 million standard cubic feet (MMscf) Kwale Gas Gathering (KGG) Facility and Nedogas Plant in Umusam community, Delta State.

Speaking at the formal commissioning of the two projects on Thursday, the Minister said the outcome of the strategic collaboration between the two companies represents “a significant advancement in the country’s efforts to promote sustainability, energy efficiency, and economic expansion.”

According to him, “The NCDMB and Nedogas Limited, of which Xenergy Limited is a part, deserve praise for their tireless work and steadfast dedication to this admirable cause,” and that the collaboration serves as evidence of the effectiveness of our local content policy, which seeks to increase the involvement of Nigerian businesses in the oil and gas industry while promoting local knowledge and capability.”  

He said the country’s capacity to extract and use natural gas resources has been significantly boosted with the completion of Nedogas Plant, which will increase domestic supply and export potential, while generating jobs, “fostering industrial expansion, and ensuring energy security.”

The Kwale Gas Gathering Facility, he pointed out, solves a persistent environmental issue as it captures associated gas that would otherwise be vented and thus turn a potentially waste product into a useful resource. The ‘Decade of Gas’ plan of the Federal Government, he observed, is being promoted in the two projects of Nedogas.

In concluding, he enjoined all to note that “It is essential that we keep enhancing the collaborations amongst all parties involved as we progress,” while assuring that “The Ministry of Petroleum Resources (Gas) is still dedicated to helping programs that improve local content, promote investments, develop capacity, and give Nigerians opportunity.”    

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In his Strategic Partner Remark, the Executive Secretary, NCDMB, Engr. Felix Omatsola Ogbe, said the achievement recorded by the Board and Nedogas represents “a triumph of partnership and shared vision” and “confirms that the Government, the private sector and local communities can collaborate effectively to bring value to the economy.”

He assured that “NCDMB remains committed to fostering such collaborations and creating an enabling environment for investments” and that the Board is equally proud of strategic projects it is developing in partnership with other chain investors in the last 10 years. These, he noted, “are geared towards actualising Federal Government’s policy direction.”

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According to the Executive Secretary, the KGG Facility and Nedogas Plant are not only infrastructural achievements but also serve as catalysts for local content development and job creation, among other things.

“Looking ahead,” he reaffirmed, “NCDMB will continue to support similar initiatives that promote local content, drive economic growth, and improve the quality of life of Nigerians.”

The Delta State Governor, Rt. Hon. Sheriff Francis Oborevwori, represented by his Deputy, Chief Monday John Onyeme, expressed happiness that his State is playing host to such an important project which would address the energy needs of Nigerians.  

He said the economic importance of the KGG Facility andNedogas Plant would be best appreciated if placed within the context of the energy crisis in the country. Citing World Bank statistics, he stated that power supply is so poor that companies spend as much as $29 billion yearly to remain in business, and that “the country is ranked as the lowest in terms of access to electricity globally.

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For his part, the Commission Chief Executive (CCE), NigerianUpstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC), Engr. Gbenga Komolafe, said the inauguration of the cutting-edge Facility and Plant represents a pivotal milestone for NCDMB and Nedogas.

According to the CCE, represented by Chief OgunnubiOlusegun, Regional Coordinator of the Commission, “By pushing the boundaries of energy production capacity, you are setting a commendable standard for others to aspire to.”

Earlier in his Welcome Address, the Chairman of Nedogas, Mr. Emeka C. Ene, expressed appreciation to partners in the two projects that had contributed to the success being celebrated at the commissioning ceremony. He was particularly impressed with NCDMB’s strategic capacity development initiatives under successive Managements, from Engr. Simbi Wabote to Engr. Felix Omatsola Ogbe.

He said the KGG Facility and Nedogas Plant “align perfectly with the ‘Decade of Gas’ initiative which the Federal Government has continued to promote, noting that the location of the KGG hub, being close to the Delta State Industrial Park, would significantly enhance economic activities and development of the State.

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The location, he explained, is also strategic as the Facility would serve as a home, a collection point, to gas from different operating fields. According to him, “All the stranded gas in the area is to be harnessed for the benefit of the people.”

On the wider significance of the KGG Facility, he noted that “This is a modular plant; it can be replicated 10 times over,” and that similar facilities need to be developed to deal with the 140 flare sites in the oil-producing areas.

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Key Project Drivers, as the company explains in its official brochure, are Stranded Gas, Proximity to Market, Evacuation Pipeline, Gas Development and Socio-economic Benefits. In regard to the first above the company states, “Natural gas stranded in OML [oil mining lease] 56 (Kwale area) due to absence of evacuation pipeline,” while noting under Gas Development that “A unique gas development opportunity exists for cluster members using shared facilities to leverage on gas network.”        

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Bill proposing return to regional govt to be presented to Tinubu Friday

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Tinubu to receive bill on regional government next week
President Bola Tinubu

President Bola Tinubu will, on Friday, receive a draft bill seeking a return to a regional system of government for Nigeria.

The proposed legislation authored by a chieftain of the Yoruba socio-cultural association, Afenifere, Akin Fapohunda, and titled, “A Bill for an Act to substitute the annexure to Decree 24 of 1999 with New Governance Model for the Federal Republic of Nigeria’, seeks among others, new extant laws to be cited as “The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria New Governance Model for Nigeria Act 2024.

The bill was disowned by the House of Representatives last week as its spokesman, Akin Rotimi, and the Chairman, Committee on Rules and Business said it has not been listed for deliberation in the ongoing moves to review the 1999 Constitution (as amended).

However, Fapohunda told our correspondent on Thursday that the bill would be transmitted to the President on Friday.

“I’m submitting my letter (draft bill) today but I will wait for seven days before releasing it to the public,” he told our correspondent.

Meanwhile, Fapohunda who also represents the Coalition of Indigenous Ethnic Nationalities told The PUNCH that the organisation is proposing the division of the country into eight geo-political regions with approximate interim boundaries.

The proposed regions. according to Fapohunda. include the southern region to be made up of Akwa-Ibom, Bayelsa, and Cross Rivers States and “Optional inclusions of the Annang, Effik, Ekoi, Ibibio, Oro Ohaji/Egbema in Southern Imo, the Adonia, Efemia, Ijaw, Ogoni, Bini, Ishan, Isoko, Urhobo and the Ijaw-speaking people in Northern Ondo State with land contiguity.”

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He continued, “The South Eastern region consists of Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu, and Imo States. The Western region comprises Lagos, Ogun, Ondo, Osun, Oyo, and Ekiti States, incorporating the Yoruba-speaking people in Kogi and the Igbomina people in Kwara State. Additional options would be the Itsekiri people of Delta State and Akoko-Edo people of Edo State to make their respective choices.”

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Others include the Mid-Western Region “Made up of Edo and Delta States, possibly incorporating the Anioma people and the Eastern Middle Belt Region comprising Northern Cross River, Southern Kaduna, Southern Borno, Adamawa, Benue, Kogi, Plateau, Nasarawa and Taraba States.”

The Western Middle Belt Region comprises Southern Kebbi, parts of Kwara and Niger States while the North Eastern Region will be made up of parts of Borno, Gombe, Bauchi, Jigawa, and Yobe States.

The North Western Region, according to the Afenifere chieftain, comprises Kaduna, parts of Kebbi, Kano, Katsina, Sokoto and Zamfara States.

Fapohunda said the coalition envisaged a two-tier government, federal and regions, adding that the latter would be at liberty to manage her affairs, “Including the creation of sub-entities, based on the stipulations that are agreed upon and embedded in their respective constitutions.”

In its proposed governance stipulations, CIEN stated that “In the quest for re-configuration and downsizing, an option to consider might be to retain the present boundaries of the 36 States, as would have been adjusted, but to creatively downgrade the paraphernalia of political administration as follows:

“To introduce a new regional government framework with executive and legislative functions and bodies with the headship title of Premier.

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“In the new dispensation, the present States (for example the six in the Western region) would be converted to provinces. Governance at this level shall be by Provincial Councils that integrate executive and legislative functions, with Chairman and Support Specialist Administrative Officers. The regions shall be at liberty to create provinces, subject to viability and self-sustainability.

“The present Local Government Areas are to be transformed into divisions, with divisional managers and specialist administrative officers; to operate as socio-economic development institutions. The new provinces shall also be at liberty to create divisions, subject to viability and self-sustainability.”

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The coalition also proposed a new constitution to embody novelties including freedom of the regions to “Create, merge and or re-configure their sub-political units and may adopt provinces, divisions or districts as may suit their circumstances without interference from any other authority.

“Regions and sub-regional entities are to be reconfigured such as would reduce the cost of public and civil service administration to less than 20 to 30 per cent of generated revenue.

“In drafting their Constitutions, the peoples of the respective regional territories will take a cue and also dismantle any arrangement or configuration that will favour the politicians and the political class; with a focus on freeing resources for true development.

“A uni-camera federal legislature comprising members that are elected at the discretion of the regions for which they would be representatives at Abuja.

“Decentralization of federal power in favour of not more than 10 regions on which there is a general national consensus, rather than the presently unwieldy number of 36 States. These old States are inconsequential indeed in being a viable unit of a truly federal system of government.”

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In all, the coalition proposes that the Federal Government “Shall comprise not more than nine Ministries and Ministers,” adding that “The very big United States has just 15 Cabinet Ministers, while Nigeria is not even up to just a State of Texas or New York.”

The group is also advocating a return to the parliamentary mode system of government “Built-in statutory rotation of headship among the regions.”

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Ex-Kogi Gov Bello’s trial for alleged N80.2Bn graft stalled again, to appear in court June 27

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Follow AGF’s advice, submit to EFCC – Group tells Yahaya Bello
Former Governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello

The arraignment of former Kogi State Governor Yahaya Bello for alleged N80.2 billion fraud slated for Thursday was stalled again as the case was adjourned to June 27 based on requests from both counsels in the case.

Bello, who was expected in court on Thursday, before Justice Emeka Nwite at the Federal High Court Abuja on a 19-count charge, was absent.

According to the EFCC, through the counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo (SAN), the court had previously adjourned the case on May 10 with the expectation that Bello would be present for arraignment today.

However, Bello’s lawyer, Adeola Adedipe (SAN), argued there was a misunderstanding.

He claimed the lead prosecutor, Kemi Pinheiro (SAN), had suggested to his colleague, Aliyu AbdulWahab, of postponing the arraignment to June 27 for convenience sake during an informal meeting outside of court.

Adedipe stated that he was surprised to find EFCC lead counsel, absent from the court today.

“They (EFCC) agreed that junior counsel would be sent to court today to formally pick a date. And the registry can confirm this.

“Kemi Pinhero, SAN, has been calling us to say today is not convenient,” Adedipe said, accusing the prosecution of attempting to “ambush” him.

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The EFCC prosecutor, Rotimi Oyedepo (SAN), countered by saying the defense team was misrepresenting the situation. He argued that holding an unofficial meeting was not a valid reason for Bello’s absence and called for an apology to the court.

“Assuming without conceding that there was a conversation between the counsel for Bello and the prosecution (outside the court), to have this matter adjourned, the fundamental issue today is compliance with the order of my lord; to with, the appearance of the defendant,” he said.

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According to Adedipe, Yahaya Bello was prepared to appear today as originally scheduled.

“Under 266 ACJA there are instances when defendants don’t need to come and this is one of them.

“We came here to pick a date. Of what use will the defendant coming here be? It is the prosecuting counsel that approached us, we did not approach them. We have nothing to hide,” Adedipe argued.

After hearing the arguments from both sides, the judge acknowledged the confusion and accepted the defense team’s apology.

“I am minded to take the apology on the ground that the defendant is making a fresh undertaking that the defendant (Bello) will be produced on June 27.

“The matter is adjourned to June 27 for arraignment,” the judge ruled.

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