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Category: News

UNILAG

Federal universities remain tuition free

The Federal Government has not increased tuition fees in its universities in the country, presidential spokesman Dele Alake said.

He said tuition in those schools remain free.

He described reports about the increase inaccurate.

Referring to the denials by some universities, Alake said the jacked fees are for discretionary charges by each university for hostel accommodation, registration, laboratory and other charges. They are not tuition fees.

“President Bola Ahmed Tinubu remains committed to his promise of ensuring that every Nigerian, regardless of the economic situation of their parents, have access to quality tertiary education.

“In addition to the Students’ Loans Scheme, under the Student Loans Bill signed into law by President Tinubu last month, which will go into implementation ahead of the next academic session in September, the Federal Government will also strengthen other mechanisms to support indigent students.

“Parts of the government’s plans to make sure all diligent students complete their education on time, notwithstanding their parents’ financial situation, include work-study, merit-based scholarships and grants”.

Tinubu and Atiku

Atiku, Obi have no proof that Tinubu’s election was rigged: APC lawyers

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The All Progressives Congress, (APC), has said that Alhaji Atiku Abubakar failed to provide credible evidence to substantiate his allegation that the presidential election was rigged in favour of President Bola Tinubu.

The APC has also said that Mr Peter Obi and the Labour Party’s evidence against President Tinubu was minuscule and deficient in credibility.

Both Atiku and Obi and their parties dragged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) before the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC), challenging the victory of Tinubu at the Feb. 25 presidential election.

The APC in its final brief of argument filed at the court through its team of lawyers led by Mr Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, argued that Atiku and the PDP were not entitled to any of the reliefs they were asking for in their petition.

The APC held that the petitioners only dumped documents on the court and claimed that such documents were enough evidence to prove their allegations.

The party further argued that the petitioners failed to demonstrate or link the documents to specific allegations they raised against Tinubu’s victory.

According to the APC, it is not enough to merely identify exhibits without making the added effort to demonstrate their relevance by correlating them with witnesses adopted depositions.

“On the effect of the dumping, we urge your lordships to hold that all the documents have no probative value.

“The fact that the documents were tendered by learned senior counsel for the petitioners from the bar makes the case even worse for them.

“The duty is not on the judge to retreat to his hallowed chamber and engage in cloistered examination of the documents that were dumped before him in the open court,” the party said.

The party further argued that the allegation of the petitioners that the election was rigged, was not tied to any specific polling unit in the local government areas of each of the 24 states whose elections they challenged in the petition.

It said that the petitioners made blanket allegations and that some of the allegations were criminal in nature.

“The law required that they should be proved through cogent, credible and reliable evidence.”
The party insisted that most of the exhibits tendered by Atiku were not relevant to the petition since they were not pleaded or set out any relevant fact.’

“Aside from the allegation of non-qualification that the petitioners raised against the respondent, all other allegations in their petition are supposed to be set out on polling unit basis or proved beyond reasonable doubt.”

The party submitted that the case of the petitioners must fall like a pack of cards and prayed the court to dismiss the petition and uphold the election of Tinubu.

On the educational qualification of the president , the party argued that the exhibits tendered in court only established that he indeed attended Chicago State University in the United States and graduated with honours.

The party also held that the petitioners failed to produce the genuine certificate from which the alleged forged certificate was made.

On the alleged forfeiture of 460, 000 dollars following his alleged involvement in a drug related case, the APC, said there was no evidence that he was ever charged, convicted or fined for any criminal case.

The party held that there was no criminal proceedings or pronouncement of verdict of guilty against Tinubu to warrant his disqualification.

On the allegation of dual citizenship, the APC, argued that his possession of Guinean Passport was not a sufficient grounds to disqualify him from contesting or nullifying his election.

The APC held that the president was a bona fide Nigerian by birth and not by registration or neutralisation.

“A Nigerian born citizen does not lose his citizenship as a Nigerian or his right to vote or be voted for in an election in Nigeria by acquiring dual citizenship of a second country.”

Moreover, the party held that Tinubu’s sole witness had testified to Tinubu’s Nigerian citizenship.

The party held that the petitioners submission that Tinubu did not secure 25 per cent of votes cast in the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja, in the presidential election was pedestrian and preposterous.

“The FCT does not enjoy a special status as a constituent unit or a state under Section 134(2) (a) and (b) of the 1999 Constitution, as amended.

“Abuja voters have no veto power to singularly hang the outcome of presidential election that is otherwise conclusive, simply because a candidate did not poll or secure at least one quarter of votes cast in the FCT in a presidential election.

“We submit that there is equality before the ballot.”

The court on July 4, concluded hearing in Atiku’s petition as the respondents closed their defence.
Atiku and his party who came second in the election, approached the PEPC asking the court to nullify the Tinubu’s election and withdraw the certificate of return he was issued.

Atiku and the PDP called 27 witnesses as against the 100 they had said in the pre-hearing report that they would call.

For his part, Obi called in 13 out of the 50 witnesses he has planned on calling and tendered a plethora of documents including over 18,000 blurred results sheets on which INEC based its declaration of Tinubu as winner.

Obi and his party led evidence by calling witnesses from only a few polling units, wards, local government Areas and local area councils from the disputed states and the FCT.

“Specifically, petitioners called a total of 13 witnesses only in a failed attempt to prove their allegations concerning the 119, 973 Polling Units.

The Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC), the first respondent in the petition called a lone witness just as president Tinubu also called only one witness.

The APC, however, said that it found no reason to call any witness saying there was no point whipping a dead horse

Shettima

Tinubu’s Solution to Insecurity, Poverty Underway, Says VP Shettima

The Tinubu administration will in the coming weeks unveil an initiative that will address insurgency and poverty, among other challenges confronting Nigerians especially those living in the northern region, according to the Vice President, Sen. Kashim Shettima.

The Vice President disclosed this today in a chat with journalists while on a condolence visit to Kano.

Sen Shettima, accompanied by the Deputy Senate President, Sen. Barau Jibrin, among others, was in the ancient city to commiserate with the government and people of Kano over the passing away of elderstateman, Alhaji Abubakar Imam Galadanci.

Speaking on the plan to address challenges confronting Nigerians, the VP said, “the President is determined to define the meaning and concept of modern governance, and the crisis we have in the northwest which is further accentuated by poverty. The social exclusion is also something that the President is determined to frontally confront and in the coming weeks he is going to unveil the Pulaku solution.”

“Unless we want to engage in an endless war of attrition, there cannot be a military solution to the crisis in the northwest. There has to be a kinetic and non-kinetic solution.

“In the next couple of weeks, we will unveil the Pulaku solution which will address the grievances and social exclusion of our Fulbe cousins in the northwest and also towards addressing the root causes of all the banditry and insurgency in the nation,” Sen. Shettima explained further.

Earlier on arrival in Kano, the Vice President received by Governor Abba Yusuf, proceeded to the residence of the Emir of Bichi, HRH, Alhaji Nasiru Ado Bayero, where he commiserated with him on the passing away of the late Imam Galadanci, expressing President Tinubu’s condolences.

From the Emir of Bichi’s residence, the VP proceeded to the family compound of the late Alhaji Abubakar Imam Galadanci where he was received by Prof. Shehu Galadanci and Air Vice Marshal Nura Imam (Rtd), on behalf of the extended family.

The Vice President, on behalf of President Bola Tinubu, expressed his condolences, prayed Allah to grant the deceased eternal rest and to also console the entire Galadanci family.

Thanking the Vice President for the visit on behalf of the family, Prof Shehu Galadanci emphasized the need for unity of purpose among northern leaders and urged Nigerians to always support the Tinubu administration in prayers and otherwise, for the success of its programmes and policies.

From Kano, the Vice President then flew to Katsina on another visit to condole renowned businessman, Alhaji Dahiru Mangal over the demise of first wife, Hajiya Aisha Dahiru, who died Saturday evening in Abuja after a brief illness.

Hajiya Mangal has been buried according to Islamic rites.

Other members of the Vice President’s delegation included a member of the House of Representatives from Kano, Hon. Abdulmumin Jibrin and Senior Special Assistant to the President on Political Matters, Alhaji Ibrahim Masari.

Tinubu, 5th right and the Class of the 1999 Governors

Tinubu to ex-governors: Subsidy palliatives on the way

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President Bola Ahmed Tinubu Wednesday in Abuja assured Nigerians that the framework for palliatives to remedy the effects of fuel subsidy removal is being worked out.

He said the decision to remove the subsidy was in the best interest of the country, especially in guaranteeing future prosperity.

President Tinubu, who received 18 governors who served with him in 1999, at the Presidential Villa, appealed for more patience from Nigerians, while the government will increase effort, speed up the process and ensure a full-proof social security structure that will not be compromised, especially in cash-transfer.

“I understand that our people are suffering yet there can be no childbirth without pain. The joy of childbirth is the relief that comes after the pain. Nigeria is reborn already with fuel subsidy removal. It is a rebirth of the country for the largest number over a few smugglers.
“Please tell the people to be a little patient.

The palliative is coming. I don’t want cash-transfer to fall into wrong hands. I know it pinches and it is difficult. In the end, we will rejoice in the prosperity of our country,’’ he told the governors, who were led by former Governor of Edo State, Lucky Igbinedion.

“We served as governors and sat in this Council Chamber. All I wanted was democracy and the salvation of the country. I never thought I was going to be here as President, but God Almighty has brought me,’’ President Tinubu stated.

The President assured the governors and Nigerians that he will work towards “unity, equity, stability, and prosperity of the country’’.  

“My commitment to that democratic value is unwavering. I am overwhelmed and honoured by the numbers of you here,’’ he said.

“I have an open door policy. You are my advisers. We went into the pond and wrestled with a pig. We got dirty, and cleaned up. That is why I am here today.’’

President Tinubu noted that the country will not make meaningful progress without fixing electricity, assuring that his administration will harness gas resources, and explore every opportunity to ensure stable power generation and supply.

On Security, the President who had earlier met with Governor Babagana Zulum of Borno State to review situation in the North East, appealed to Nigerians, especially Plateau State, to sheath their swords and use dialogue in resolving conflicts, adding that issues of borders were man-made, not created by God.

“We will do everything possible to stabilise the country,’’ he added.

The former governors urged the President to pursue his vision for a greater Nigeria with vigour, steadfastness, and resilience, trusting their support for development policies, and promising to provide the necessary social structure for actualization.

“We are here with you. We are your foot soldiers, and you can tap into our experience. You are a person who believes in Nigeria. With your good leadership, Nigeria will take its place,’’ Igbinedion, Chairman, Class of 1999, said.

He affirmed that they were 19 at the meeting, including President Tinubu, who was former Governor of Lagos State and Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), George Akume, former Governor of Benue State, while ten of their mates had passed on.

Other governors at the meeting with President Tinubu were Niyi Adebayo, Ekiti State, Sen. Orji Uzor Kalu, Abia State, Sen. Sam Egwu, Ebonyi State, Adamu Muazu, Bauchi State, Donald Duke, Cross River State, James Ibori, Delta State, Obong Victor Attah, Akwa Ibom State, Chimaroke Nnamani, Enugu State, Saminu Turaki, Jigawa State, Sen. Aliero Adamu, Olusegun Osoba, Ogun State, Adebisi Akande, Osun State, Sen. Joshua  Dariye, Plateau State, Attahiru Bafarawa, Sokoto State, Ahmad Sani Yarima, Zamfara State and Rev. Jolly Nyame, Taraba State.

APC National chairman Abdullahi Adamu was also in the Class of 1999 as governor of Nasarawa state. He was absent at the meeting, like former Rivers Governor, Dr Peter Odili.
 

Tinubu unanimously endorsed as ECOWAS chairman

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President Bola Tinubu was unanimously endorsed Sunday by West African leaders as the new chairman of the regional economic group, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

Tinubu was endorsed by the leaders at the 63rd Ordinary Session of the Authority of Heads of State and Government on Sunday in Bissau, Guinea-Bissau.

President Tinubu, who is the latest entrant into the exclusive club of Heads of State in West Africa, enthusiastically accepted the honour, on behalf of Nigeria, with a solemn pledge to bear the responsibility of the office and run an inclusive administration of the regional organisation.

The Nigerian leader, however, warned that the threat to peace in the sub-region had reached an alarming proportion with terrorism and an emerging pattern of military takeover that now demand urgent and concerted actions.

He said insecurity and creeping terrorism were stunting the progress and development of the region.

President Tinubu called for a collective action from member-states, pledging that under his leadership, frameworks would be harmonized to actualize the dreams of ECOWAS.

“On peace and security, the threat has reached an alarming level, and needs urgent actions in addressing the challenges. Indeed, without a peaceful environment, progress and development in the region will continue to remain elusive. In this regard, we must remain committed to the utilisation of all regional frameworks at our disposal to address the menace of insecurity,” he declared.

The President noted that ECOWAS had developed a security architecture, which “covers a wide range of areas that involved kinetic and non-kinetic operations, including preventive diplomacy. There is also the Regional Plan of Action on Fight against Terrorism 2020-2024 as well as the operationalization of the ECOWAS Standby Force on Fight Against Terrorism.

“I will ensure that we immediately harmonize these plans and mobilize resources as well as the political will towards the actualisation of the initiatives. As terrorists do not respect boundaries, we must work collectively to have an effective regional counterterrorism measure,” he further stated.

On his emergence as Chairman on his first participation at the summit, having just started out as the elected leader of Nigeria, President Tinubu stated that he was humbled and honoured by the trust to assume the leadership of the regional body, pledging his commitment to serve the interest of the community.

“Indeed, I’m humbled and honored by this trust, and want to assure you of my unalloyed commitment to provide the necessary leadership with dedication to serve the interest of the community.”

To underscore his commitment towards regional integration, the Nigerian leader declared that he would prioritize political stability, peace and security, regional economic integration and strengthening of the ECOWAS institutions, declaring that democracy and good governance remain the abiding cornerstone of peace and sustainable development.

While decrying the emerging pattern of coup d’etat in West Africa where soldiers have truncated the popular mandate, President Tinubu charged ECOWAS to stand firm in defence of democracy.

“We must stand firm on democracy. There is no governance, freedom and rule of law without Democracy. We will not accept coup after coup in West Africa again. Democracy is very difficult to manage but it is the best form of government.

“There is no one here among us who did not campaign to be a leader. We didn’t give our soldiers resources, we didn’t invest in them, in their boots, in their training to violate the freedom of the people. To turn their guns against civil authorities is a violation of the principles upon which they were hired, which is, to defend the sovereignty of their nations. We must not sit in ECOWAS as toothless bulldogs,” the President warned.

On political stability, he said: “You will all agree with me that democracy and good governance are the cornerstones of peace and sustainable development of every society. I’m fully committed to deepening democracy and good governance in the region.

“We must strengthen our democratic institutions and ensure the respect for human rights and the rule of law. I will enhance engagements with the countries in transition to ensure their quick return to democratic rule.”

The new ECOWAS Chairman called for improved private sector participation in the effort towards the economic development of Member States as well as their social integration.

“We would work collectively to pursue an inclusive economic integration, which will be significantly private sector driven, in order to unlock the vast economic potentials of our region. We would actively promote trade, investment, and business cooperation among Member States by addressing the barriers impeding intra-regional trade, as well as creating a conducive business environment.

“We must encourage economic partnerships to raise the level of trade and investments in our region, hence facilitating employment creation and sustainable development and prosperity for our citizens.

“To this end, we must look inward and work with our regional economic facilitation platforms such as the Federation of West Africa Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FEWACCI) as well as ECOWAS Trade Organisation Network to attain our desired goals,” he added.

President Tinubu assured the regional leaders of the immediate implementation of his vision for the body, declaring that:

“In furtherance of my vision for our region’s economic recovery and growth, Nigeria intends to convene an ECOWAS Extra Ordinary Summit on Trade and Investment in October 2023.

“The event will provide opportunity for Member States to showcase their potentials and encourage match-making, in order to evolve business cooperation among the various organized private sectors within the region,” he added, while calling for the strengthening of the institutions of the body.

“In the area of strengthening our Organisation’s Institutions and ensuring effective performance, we underscore the need for the conclusion of the on-going institutional reforms of the organization.

“Given that Community Levy remained the biggest source of generating funds to run our organization, we must ensure that our citizens being taxed must be positively impacted by the programmes and projects of ECOWAS. This is in line with the shift of ECOWAS slogan from ‘ECOWAS of State’ to ‘ECOWAS of People,'” President Tinubu emphasised.

He appreciated the Authority of Heads of States and citizens of the Community for trusting him to lead the West African body, saying, “Your Excellencies, let me conclude by once again deeply appreciating the Authority of Heads of State and the citizens of the Community for your trust in me. Together, we can shape a brighter future of shared values of peace, democracy, and economic prosperity of our region.”

In his welcome address, the outgone ECOWAS Chairman and President of Republic of Guinea-Bissau, Umaro Mokhtar Sissoco Embalo saluted his fellow leaders for sustaining the vision of the organisation despite the global economic headwinds and trouble spots within the region. He cited Mali, Burkina Faso and Republic of Guinea as countries where the constitutional order had been distorted while congratulating Nigeria and Sierra Leone for sustaining constitutional order through democratic process with the recent successful elections.

President Tinubu visits Nigerian troops in Guinea Bissau

Tinubu visits Nigerian troops in Guinea Bissau

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President Bola Ahmed Tinubu visited the Nigerian military contingent stationed in Guinea Bissau on Saturday.

His visit to the troops, the first by any Nigerian leader, came after his arrival in the country for the 63rd Ordinary Session of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

The Nigerian troops are part of the ECOWAS Stabilisation Force.

President Tinubu thanked the soldiers and their Commander, Brigadier-General Al-hassan Grema, for their dedication and service to Nigeria and their host country, adding that Nigeria would continue to support democracy in West Africa and around the world.

“I am here to show solidarity with you. I want to assure you we are committed to support peace and democracy not only in West Africa but around the world.

“Nigeria is a giant that has made its mark in Sierra Leone and Liberia and other places. We count on your support for the defence of constitutional order. I heard your allowances have been paid up to date. Nothing else should make you angry. We will continue to build a virile force.

“We are proud of you. Proud of your loyalty. Nigeria depends on you. There will be peace and progress in our country,” President Tinubu said.

Brigadier-General Grema expressed the appreciation of the troops to President Tinubu for being the first Commander-in-Chief in Nigeria’s history to visit his soldiers outside the shore of the country.

The 63rd Ordinary Session Summit, which will open on Sunday July 9, 2023, will be the first international engagement of the President within the African continent since he assumed office on May 29, 2023.

President Tinubu’s whose plane touched down at the International Airport in Bissau at exactly 5.30pm local time will be the centre of attraction at the Summit.

The 16 regional leaders are expected to address memoranda on pressing sub-regional issues including Report of the 50th Ordinary Session of the Mediation and Security Council (MSC) covering security challenges faced by the member countries, Report of the 90th Ordinary Session of ECOWAS Council of Ministers on the financial situation of the body and the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

Other matters slated for consideration by the leaders are the Report on the status of Transition in the Republics of Mali, Burkina Faso and Guinea, Memoranda on the ECOWAS Single Currency Programme and the Report on Obstacles to Free Movement of Goods on the Abidjan- Lagos corridor.

While in Guinea-Bissau, the Nigerian leader is scheduled to hold bilateral meetings and have other engagements on the sidelines of the Summit.

On the entourage of the President on the trip are National Security Adviser, Nuhu Ribadu, Acting Governor of the Central Bank, Dr. Folashodun Shonubi; Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Adamu Ibrahim Lamuwa; Permanent Secretary Ministry of Defence, Dr. Ibrahim Kana; Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance, Mr. Aliyu Ahmed, and ECOWAS Permanent Representative, Ambassador Musa Nuhu.

Others on the entourage include former Governors, Senator Abubakar Atiku Bagudu (Kebbi), Abdullahi Ganduje (Kano), Abubakar Badaru (Jigawa) and Senator Abu Ibrahim from Katsina State.

Taiwo Oyedele

Tinubu taps tax guru Taiwo Oyedele to lead tax reforms

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In consonance with his promise to remove all barriers impeding business growth in Nigeria, President Bola Tinubu has approved the establishment of a Presidential Committee on Fiscal Policy and Tax Reforms.

The committee will be chaired by Fiscal Policy Partner and Africa Tax Leader at PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC), Mr. Taiwo Oyedele.

It will comprise experts from both the private and public sectors and have responsibility for the various aspects of tax law reform, fiscal policy design and coordination, harmonization of taxes, and revenue administration.

Special Adviser to the President on Revenue, Mr. Adelabu Zacch Adedeji, explained that President Tinubu recognizes the importance of a sound fiscal policy environment and an effective taxation system for the functioning of the government and the economy.

”Nigeria ranks very low on the global ease of paying taxes while the country’s Tax to GDP ratio is one of the lowest in the world and well below the African average.

”This has led to an over reliance on borrowing to finance public spending which in turn limits the fiscal space as debt service costs consume a greater portion of government revenue, annually resulting in a vicious cycle of inadequate funding for socio-economic development.

”While some incremental progress has been recorded over the years, the outcomes have not been transformative enough to change the narrative,” he said.

Adedeji outlined the key challenges in Nigeria’s tax system to include multiple taxes and revenue collection agencies, fragmented and complex tax system, low tax morale, high prevalence of tax evasion, high cost of revenue administration, lack of coordination between fiscal and economic policies, and poor accountability in the utilisation of tax revenue.

The establishment of this committee reflects President Tinubu’s commitment to addressing these challenges and bringing about transformative reforms in fiscal policy and taxation.

The committee’s primary objective is to enhance revenue collection efficiency, ensure transparent reporting, and promote the effective utilisation of tax and other revenues to boost citizens’ tax morale, foster a healthy tax culture, and drive voluntary compliance.

These efforts will not only improve Nigeria’s revenue profile but also create a more conducive and internationally-competitive business environment.

”Our aim is to transform the tax system to support sustainable development and achieve a minimum of 18% Tax to GDP ratio within the next 3 years without stifling investment or economic growth.

”It should be noted that this committee will not only advise the government on necessary reforms, but will also drive the implementation of such recommendations in support of the comprehensive fiscal policy and tax reform agenda of the current administration,” the SA on Revenue added.

OYEDELE’s PROFILE

Mr. Oyedele is a highly accomplished professional with extensive expertise in fiscal policy, taxation, and economic matters. He currently serves as PWC Africa tax leader.

In addition to his role at PwC, Oyedele holds several important positions in prestigious organizations.

He is the Thematic Lead for the Fiscal Policy & Planning Commission and serves as the Chairman of the West Africa Debt Management Roundtable of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG).

Furthermore, he chairs the Taxation & Fiscal Policy Faculty Board of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) and is a member of the Nigerian Taxation Standards Board.

He also serves as a member of the Ministerial Committee on the implementation of Nigeria’s National Tax Policy.

He is a member of the Global Tax Forum and has previously served as a member of the Global Governing Council of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA).

As an educator, Oyedele holds the position of Associate Professor at the Babcock University Business School.

He is an alumnus of the London School of Economics & Political Science, Yale University and Harvard Kennedy School Executive Education. He is a guest lecturer at the Lagos Business School and the Founder and President of Impact Africa Foundation.

Dele Alake
Special Adviser to the President
(Special Duties, Communications and Strategy)
July 7, 2023

Tinubu with MTN's Mcebisi Jonas

MTN plans $3.5B investment, pledges to mobilise $1.5T to Nigeria

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The MTN Group Chairman, Mcebisi Jonas said the company has a plan of investing $3.5 billion in the Nigerian economy over the next five years, while also promising to mobilise an additional $1.5 trillion investment.

He spoke in Abuja today when he led a delegation of MTN officials to a meeting with President Bola Ahmed Tinubu at the State House on Friday.

The Group President/CEO of MTN, Ralph Mupita, Chairman of MTN Nigeria, Ernest Ndukwe and Chief Executive Officer, Olutokun Karl Toriola were part of the meeting.

Jonas said the new investment comes with a broader vision of becoming a pan-African company by moving investments from the Middle East and focusing more on Africa, especially Nigeria, where it gets the highest return on investment.

He congratulated Tinubu for the upswing of interest in the country within a short period since he assumed office, May 29, 2023.

He promised to support in mobilisation of other investors with about $1.5 trillion to look towards Nigeria, where reforms had been styled to favour business and encourage inclusive development.

“The message you have given us is that Nigeria is investible, and with your election, we are seeing decisive, prompt and keen interest in structural reforms,’’ the MTN Group Chairman noted.

President Tinubu assured the manufacturing and service sectors that more reforms will be unfolded to enable efficiency and attract investments, saying the ongoing economic ‘‘revolution’’ will be deliberately steered to capture and favour teeming youths in the country.

“We have a responsibility to revolutionize the economy so that our youths can share in the prosperity of the nation, otherwise we are only waiting for the dreams to be charted,’’ the President said.

“If you have any problems or impediments do let us know. We are ready to remove bottlenecks to investments in the economy,’’ the President noted while acknowledging the sweeping changes across the world, largely driven by technology.

President Tinubu said the growing rural-urban migration can only be controlled with more investments in digital technology that will directly improve healthcare systems and education for the poor.

“I am happy you are moving from Corporate Social Responsibility to be more incisive and inquisitive with technology so that we can see how we can partner structurally,’’ the President stated.

“You can do a lot for the economy by partnering with us. We believe no one can succeed alone. The structural adjustments we are making are to ensure we face the right direction and arrive at a destination that caters for our people.

“You and I will make sure that the people have a share of that prosperity. We will, together, build a well-informed society. We have to re-assess the journey. I am glad that the stock market is responding positively to the structural adjustments,’’ he added.

Atiku

APC lawyer to Atiku at PEPC: No need to whip a dead horse

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The All Progressives Congress (APC) on Wednesday in Abuja, closed its case against the election petition of Alhaji Abubakar Atiku and the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP) at the Presidential Election Petition Court, (PEPC) without calling any witness.

Counsel to the APC, Mr Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, told the court that there was no need ” whipping a dead horse” saying the evidence of President Bola Tinubu ‘s sole witness, Sen. Opeyemi Bamidele was enough to do damage to the petitioners’ case.

“Having taken a sober reflection of the entire case, we have enough evidence and we are not calling any witness.

” We do not intend to whip a dead horse, we announce the closure of the case of the 3rd respondent, (the APC),” Fagbemi said.

Fagbemi took this position after he cross examined Bamidele who was Tinubu’s star and only witness. witness.

Bamidele who is also a lawyer, told the court that the 460,000 dollars forfeiture judgment tendered in evidence by the petitioners was not strong enough to warrant the nullification of Tinubu’s election.

According to the witness, the judgment of the US court on the forfeiture of 460,000 dollars had Tinubu’s name on it but not as a criminal proceeding but as civil proceeding.

The witness insisted that it was not a criminal forfeiture but a civil one.

Bamidele, who is the Senate Majority Leader held that Tinubu was not charged, arraigned, indicted or sentenced for any criminal offence by any court in the United States.

” As far as criminal indictment is concerned, Tinubu has a clean bill of health because he was never indicted and convicted by any court in the United States.”

The witness told the court that he had known President Tinubu for over 35 years adding that in all those years, he knew the president as a bonafide Nigerian citizen by birth.

While answering questions posed by counsel to the petitioners’, Mr Eyitayo Jegede, SAN, the witness said that Tinubu did not need to score 25 per cent of votes cast in Federal Capital Territory, (FCT) to be declared winner of the Feb. 25 presidential election.

He also said that the president did not need to win the election in his home state to be declared winner.

The witness insisted that Abuja was simply the federal capital city and had no special status attached to it.

He agreed with the petitioners’ counsel that President Tinubu scored 19.4 per cent of the total votes cast in FCT.

The witness who was led in evidence by counsel to Tinubu, Mr Wole Olanipekun, SAN, said a judgment of the Federal High Court, Abuja, in a suit filed by Labour Party on the mode of collation of election results, held that INEC was at liberty to use any mode of collation it deemed fit.

The witness also told the court that he was licensed to practice at the New York Bar in the United States as well.

With the sole witness, Olanipekun also announced the closure of Tinubu’s defence against the petition filed by the PDP and Atiku.

The closing of the defence by Tinubu and the APC marks the end of one phase and takes the case filed by PDP and Atiku to its next phase which is the exchanging of final written addresses among parties and closing arguments.

The presiding judge of the five-member panel, Justice Haruna Tsammani gave the respondents, INEC, APC and Tinubu 10 days to file their final written addresses while the petitioners have seven days to respond and the respondents have another five days to reply on points of law.

Justice Tsammani said that the parties would be communicated on the date for the adoption of the final written addresses.

Atiku came second in the Feb. 25 presidential election, but he is urging the court to overturn Tinubu’s victory on account of electoral fraud and non-compliance with statutory provisions in the conduct of the election.

Senator Opeyemi Bamidele

With Bamidele as star witness, Tinubu closes defence in Obi’s petition

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President Bola Tinubu, vice president Kashim Shettima and the All Progressives Congress (APC) on Wednesday closed their defence in Mr Peter Obi and his Labour Party’s petition, by calling just one witness, Senator Michael Opeyemi Bamidele.

Bamidele is the majority leader of the 10th Senate.

Counsel for Tinubu and Shettima, Wole Olanipekun , SAN informed the presidential election petition court (PEPC) that they are closing their case after the testimony of the sole witness.

Lateef Fagbemi, SAN for APC also informed the court that they have no other witness and relied on the witnesses called by other respondents.

He stated that there was nothing to defend in the separate petitions of the Labour Party and the PDP as it would amount to flogging dead horses.

Following the closure of their defence the five-member panel presided over by justice Haruna Tsammani said date for the final written addresses would be communicated .

Tsammani assigned 10 days each to the respondents, seven days to the petitioners while five days for reply.

Earlier, Tinubu through his counsel tendered some documents in support of their defence.

The documents tendered included the final report by ECOWAS observers on the 2023 election, a letter from the Nigeria Police to the United States Embassy, dated February 3, 2003; letter from the United States Embassy to the Nigeria Police, dated February 4, 2003.

Others are ; US Visas and immigration documents between 2011 and 2021, a copy of Report of the Committee on the Location of the Federal Capital of Nigeria, certified by Archives and History Bureau of the FCT.

Tendered also are Form EC 8D for Kano State in respect of the February 25, 2023 presidential election and Form EC 8D(A);copy of Form EC8D in respect of the presidential election of 25th February, 2023.

Also tendered and admitted were a list of registered members of the labour party and membership list of LP for Anambra state to claim that Obi is not a member of the labour party.

After the tendering of documents, Olanipekun called their sole witness, Senate Majority Leader Sen. Michael Bamidele to testify.

Being cross examined by Fagbemi, the witness told the court that the February 25 presidential election results for APC in Kano state were recorded with a shortfall of 10, 292 votes against Tinubu.

He added that Obi ‘s name was not contained in the membership list of the LP submitted to the INEC.

Being cross examined by counsel to Obi, Dr Livy Uzoukwu, SAN the witness agreed that there is a report by the EU election observers in Nigeria and it was tendered through him in evidence.

On whether the letter from the United States Embassy to the Nigeria Police, dated February 4, 2003 addressed issues of criminal allegation against Tinubu, the witness said the Nigeria police letter to the US requested for search for general Criminal records against Tinubu..

He added that therefore the US letter which cleared Tinubu of criminal conviction was an appropriate response.

Abubakar Mahmoud, SAN counsel for INEC told the court that they have no cross examination.

During the examination, the witness said Tinubu’s election could not be overturned based on his forfeiture of $460,000 to the United States of America (USA) through a court order.

The witness clarified that Tinubu had never been arraigned, indicted, or convicted of any criminal charges by an American court, emphasizing that civil forfeiture cannot replace a criminal trial and conviction.

Senator Bamidele stated, “As far as the criminal indictment is concerned, Bola Ahmed Tinubu has a clean bill of health because he was never indicted and convicted by any American court.”

Regarding President Tinubu’s eligibility in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), the witness, responding to questioning by Eyitayo Jegede, SAN, counsel to Atiku and PDP, stated that Tinubu did not need to score 25 percent of the votes cast in the FCT to be declared the winner of the election.

He further emphasized that the FCT holds no special status other than being the federal capital.

When confronted with the fact that Tinubu was the first president to be declared without scoring 25 percent of the votes in the FCT and without winning his home state, the witness disregarded its significance.

Obi and his Labour Party (LP) are petitioners in the petition marked CA/PEPC/03/2023 challenging the election which brought president Bola Tinubu into power

Respondents are Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), President Bola Tinubu and Vice president Kashim Shettima and All Progressives Congress (APC.)

About

Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu is a man of many traditional honours across the country, from north to south, west to east. The array of titles he has garnered was only comparable to that of Chief Moshood Abiola, winner of the 1993 Presidential election.

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