Good morning Nigeria, welcome to the Rant HQ roundup of top newspaper headlines in Nigeria for today, Saturday, 1st April 2023.
One blowback of the hotly contested yet highly disputed presidential election is speculation about the installation of an interim national government (ING) to prevent the handover to the announced winner of the polls. Such illegal contraption only happened to Nigeria in 1993 when the retreating Ibrahim Babangida military junta imposed an interim national government which lasted only for 83 days. With the poor management of the 2023 political process particularly by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), it has emerged that some highly placed Nigerians are working towards the reiteration of an ING, albeit the previous one declared illegal by a court of competent jurisdiction at the time.
INEC had at about 4 am on March 1 declared Bola Ahmed Tinubu of the ruling APC as the winner of the February 25 presidential election. He polled 8,794,726 votes to defeat the PDP candidate, Atiku Abubakar, who got 6,984,520 votes, and the Labour Party’s Peter Obi who garnered 6,101,533 ballots. The morning after, Atiku and Obi, at separate press conferences, rejected the outcome on the ground that the election was massively rigged. Both leading presidential candidates have since lodged petitions at the courts citing irregularities, even as PDP bigwigs staged a peaceful protest in Abuja against the polls. Two days ago, the Department of State Services (DSS) alerted Nigerians to plots by some political top-shots and their collaborators to bring an interim government into power and stop the president-elect from being inaugurated as Nigeria’s 16th president on May 29.
Before this release, some protesters specifically canvassed an interim government at the center over the brazen bungling of electoral processes. A coalition under the aegis of the Free Nigeria Movement while protesting in Abuja, urged President Muhammadu Buhari to annul the February 25 poll and set up an interim government. These persons were however countered by a group called ‘The Natives’, who stormed the streets of Abuja on Monday in support of the president-elect, warning against the imposition of an ING. The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) has also vowed to resist any attempt to stop the inauguration of Tinubu as Nigeria’s president on 29, May 2023.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Friday said the naira redesign policy was a step in the right direction taken in the interest of Nigerians.
The CBN’s Acting Director of Corporate Communications, Dr. Abdulmumin Isa made the disclosure at the bank’s special day at the 34th Enugu International Trade Fair.
According to him, the naira redesign policy led to relative stability in the exchange rate and supported the efforts of security agencies in combating banditry and ransom-taking in the county.
Represented by the Assistant Director of Corporate Communications, Mr. Esu Imoh, the CBN Director noted that the redesign is in line with international best practices.
On the growing usage of online banking facilities by Nigerians, the CBN assured that the Nigeria payment system infrastructure is robust enough to handle the pressure.
Two Chinese citizens have been sentenced to prison in Nigeria over alleged corruption.
The suspects are Meng Wei Kun and Xu Kuai.
The Court of Appeal in Sokoto State found them guilty of the charges against them and passed three years imprisonment on them, Rant HQ learnt.
It was gathered that the Chinese nationals were earlier arraigned before the Federal High Court sitting in Sokoto on a 3- Count charge bordering on Conspiracy, Money Laundering and attempted bribery.
The convicts were said to have offered an N50 million bribe to the Sokoto Zonal Command officials of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The lower court, however, discharged and acquitted them of the said charges which necessitated an appeal by the anti-graft agency.
Governors elected on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) have called for the arrest of elements behind the call for an interim government.
The governors charged the Department of State Services (DSS) to initiate the arrest and prosecution of those sponsoring such agitations.
The governors said the development is not only treasonable but designed to truncate Nigeria’s democracy, adding that the elements are working to stop the swearing-in of the President-Elect, Bola Tinubu on May 29.
The Chairman of the Progressive Governors’ Forum (PGF) and Governor of Kebbi state, Atiku Bagudu made the call in a statement released on Friday.
He said, “The Progressive Governors’ Forum notes the press statement issued by the Department of State Services DSS on the unfortunate, condemnable and treasonable conduct of some undemocratic elements who are agitating for an interim government.
“We condemn such agitations. It is commendable, however, that the Department of State Services exposed the plot, and we call upon them to arrest and prosecute anyone involved.”
The Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) has asked the Department of State Services (DSS) to arrest and prosecute those involved in the plan to impose an interim government.
There are claims that some elements are planning to halt the swearing-in of the President-elect, Bola Tinubu.
The Governors expressed their commitment to continue in the defence of Nigeria’s democracy as elected leaders.
The Chairman of NGF and Governor of Sokoto State, Aminu Tambuwal, in a statement on Friday at the end of the 4th meeting of the Governors, warned the DSS against issuing statements without arrest as that amounts to heating the polity.
A former Governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose, has slammed the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for taking disciplinary actions against some party chieftains.
Recall that the PDP National Working Committee had suspended former governors Fayose, Ibrahim Shema (Katsina), former Senate President Anyim Pius Anyim, and other chieftains while also directing Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State to appear before a disciplinary committee.
However, following the stepping aside of its National Chairman, Iyorchia Ayu, the PDP NWC reversed all decisions taken on the party chieftains.
Reacting to the crisis rocking his party in a post on Twitter on Friday, Fayose said the PDP NWC should be sober and reflective after losing the presidential election.
He wondered what the party would have done to them if its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, had won the election.
Top officials of the National Assembly branch of the Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria (PASAN) have been questioned over alleged financial misappropriation of about N500 million.
Rant HQ reports that the NASS officials were grilled by operatives of the Force Criminal Investigation Department (FCID).
Three affected officials were reportedly grilled for several hours on Wednesday by the FCID and were granted administrative bail on self-recognition.
The police invitation letters to the officials were sent through the office of the Permanent Secretary, Human Resources and Staff Development of the National Assembly.
The letters were separately addressed to Chairman, PASAN, National Assembly Chapter, Sunday Sabiyi; Financial Secretary, Stacy Nwodo and Treasurer, Samtiya Daniel, inviting them to appear at the Police Department on Wednesday.
The suspension of a former Deputy Speaker of the Ogun State House of Assembly, Dare Kadiri has been nullified by an Ogun State High Court sitting in Abeokuta.
The presiding judge, Justice O.A. Onafowokan on Friday described Kadiri’s suspension as unconstitutional.
Justice Onafowokan further stated that the suspension of the lawmaker was an abuse of power and abuse of office by the Speaker, Olakunle Oluomo, the House of Assembly, and the Clerk of the House.
The court ordered that all emoluments due to the lawmaker, who represents Ijebu North II State Constituency, be paid immediately by the state House of Assembly.
Recall that the House in September 2022 suspended Kadiri and one other, Solomon Osho, representing Remo North State Constituency, over allegations bordering on breach of the rights and privileges of the state legislature.
The Speaker at the Assembly Complex, Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta, the House at plenary said the lawmakers were suspended in line with the provisions of sections 14 and 15 of the Legislative Houses (Powers and Privileges) Act, 2017.
The president-elect of Nigeria, Bola Tinubu has been officially served a notice of the petition against his victory at the February 25 polls in the country.
The copies of the petitions filed at the election tribunal by Labour Party presidential candidate, Peter Obi and his counterpart in the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar have been confirmed received by the Tinubu camp.
It would be recalled the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the winner of the 2023 presidential contest in Nigeria,
Not satisfied with the outcome, however, Atiku and Obi in separate suits, challenged the results declared by INEC.
About one week after officially filing the petition at the tribunal, both men complained about their inability to serve the petition on Tinubu despite several attempts to do so.
Confusion, on Thursday, trailed claims that the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, had resigned his position as minister over his ambition to be governor of Bayelsa State.
However, Rant HQ understands that senior officials of his ministry have not been able to confirm this.
Recall that Sylva was Governor of Bayelsa State, where he served for one term between 2008 and 2012.
Following reports of his resignation, officials at the Petroleum Resources ministry admitted that the rule of the All Progressives Congress (APC) required the minister to have resigned in about 30 days before the April 14, 2023 governorship primary.
“I have not seen his resignation letter and cannot confirm to you if he has resigned. But you know the rule of the party is that one must have resigned for at least 30 days before the primaries.
“So if he has sent his resignation letter to the President, I cannot confirm, but the fact remains that he is for the office of the governor of Bayelsa State,” an impeccable source at the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources, who requested not to be named due to lack of authorisation, told The PUNCH.
That’s the top Nigerian newspaper headlines for today. Read more Nigerian news on Rant HQ. See you again tomorrow.
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