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Northern Govs, Traditional Leaders Reject Rotation Of Presidency, Back FG On VAT

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Northern Govs, Traditional Leaders Reject Rotation Of Presidency, Back FG On VAT
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The political rhetoric in the contest for the presidency ahead of the 2023 election continued yesterday after political and traditional rulers in Northern Nigeria rejected the insistence of Southern governors that the presidency should return to the South after the tenure of President Muhammadu Buhari.

The Northern leaders held that the demand that the North yield the presidency to the South in 2023 negated the 1999 constitution which provides that the winner of the election will emerge by garnering the majority votes in the poll.

In a communiqué signed by Gov­ernor Simon Lalong of Plateau and Chairman, Northern States Gover­nors’ Forum, after their emergency meeting to deliberate on issues af­fecting the region, which top on the burner was the issue of insecurity and VAT, in Kaduna, the Forum said the statement was contradictory with the provision of the consti­tution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (1999) as amended that the elected president shall score the ma­jority votes, score at least 25% of the votes cast in 2/3 of the states, and in the case of run-up simple majority win the election.

The 19 governors of the northern states also reviewed security up­dates from the region and observed the need for a sustained synergy and coordinated efforts between the federal and Northern states governments while noting success of recent measures. ­

The meeting also noted with concern the constraint of the security services and urged the armed forces to em­bark on simultaneous oper­ations and resolved to share the plans of the frontline states, assuring of its readi­ness to work in synergy with the Federal Government in finding lasting solution to the current security challenges.

The Forum appreciat­ed the ongoing onslaught against banditry, kidnap­ping and Boko Haram espe­cially in the North-East and parts of North-West and North-Central states and en­couraged the armed forces and other security agencies to sustain the tempo to en­able the security challenges be permanently addressed in the shortest time.

It also received updates on the renewable/solar en­ergy project and noted that request for land for the proj­ect had been submitted and are being processed by the Northern states.

“The committee had com­menced negotiations in a public private arrangement and sovereign guarantees to ensure bankability of the project by multilateral financial organisations. The Forum called on states yet to process the request for allo­cation of land for the project to expedite action.

“The meeting received updates on activities of some committees constituted by the Northern States Gover­nors’ Forum and noted that recommendations contained therein are being considered with a view to coming up with implementation strat­egies.

“The Forum observed that some Northern states’ gover­nors had earlier expressed views for a power-shift to three geo-political zones in the South with a view to pro­moting unity and peace in the nation. Notwithstanding their comments, the Forum unanimously condemns the statement by the Southern Governors’ Forum that the presidency must go to the South. The statement is quite contradictory with the pro­vision of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nige­ria (1999) as amended that the elected president shall score the majority votes; score at least 25% of the votes cast in 2/3 states of the federation. In the case of run-up simple majority win the election”, the governors said in the communique.

On the on-going national debate on the collection of Value Added Tax (VAT), the northern governors said, “As responsible leaders while we are constraint by the fact that the matter is sub judice we, however, for the purposes of educating the public make the following observations:

“The judgement of the Federal High Court calls to question the constitutional­ity of VAT, withholding tax, education tax, Niger Delta Development Commission, National Information Tech­nology Development Agen­cy, 13% derivation, National Economic Development Council and many other cur­rently levied and collected by the Federal Government of Nigeria, Federal Inlands Rev­enue Service.

“Rivers and Lagos State governments had enacted their own VAT laws and the Southern Governors’ Forum have expressed support for this course of action.

“VAT is being confused by these state governments as a sales tax. If every state enacted its own VAT law, multiple taxation will re­sult in increases of prices of goods and services and collapse in interstate trade. VAT is not a production tax like excise, but terminal tax which is paid by the ultimate consumer.

“Another confusion is ignoring observation above and its ‘overall effect’. The reason Lagos account for our 50% VAT collection is because most of the tele­communication companies, banks, manufacturing and other trading activities have their headquarters in Lagos with the resultant and wrongful attribution of VAT.

“Until and unless the Su­preme Court pronounces judgement on the substan­tive matter between Rivers State and Federal Govern­ment, the matter is sub ju­dice and Northern States Governors Forum would respect this”.

The Forum also called on the Federal Government to expedite action on the well-es­tablished National Livestock Transformation Programme as a spring board in transit­ing from the open grazing system as widely practised in the North.

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Politics

APC Picks Ondo Gov Candidate Apr 25, Pegs Form At ₦50m

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Ahead of the November 16, 2024 governorship election in Ondo State, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has released its timetable and schedule of activities leading to the party’s selection of a candidate on April 25, 2024.

The APC timetable released late Monday was signed by the party’s National Organising Secretary, Sulaimon Argungu.

According to the party, the sale of nominations, expression of interest and delegates forms for contestants will begin on April 3 and end on April 10, 2024, while primary election is slated for April 25, 2024.

Like its governorship primary in Edo State which produced Monday Okpebholo as the flag bearer, the APC pegged the price for the Expression of Interest and Nomination forms at N10m and N40m respectively for Ondo.

The party said female aspirants and persons living with disabilities are to pay for Expression of Interest while the Nomination Form is free.

“Youths from 25 to 40 years are to purchase Expression of Interest forms with a 50% discount on Nomination Forms,” the APC stated.

Some of the top contenders for the APC ticket in Ondo include Governor Lucky Aiyedatiwa, former Ondo deputy governor, who succeeded the late Governor Rotimi Akeredolu after the latter’s death on December 27, 2023. A former Commissioner for Finance in the state, Wale Akinterinwa; as well as Senator representing Ondo South, Jimoh Ibrahim, also want the party’s ticket.

Ondo and Edo are two of the eight states where governorship elections are held off-season due to litigations and court judgements. The others are Anambra, Bayelsa, Ekiti, Imo, Kogi and Osun.

Already, political gladiators are squaring up in the two states where governorship polls will hold this year. 19 political parties are expected to field a candidate each but the polls, like previous ones, will turn out as two-horse races or at best three-horse races.

 

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Edo Guber Poll: Uzodinma Heads APC Primary Election Committee 

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Chairman of the Progressive Governors’ Forum (PGF) Hope Uzodinma is to head the seven-man All Progressives Congress (APC) Edo Gubernatorial Primary Election Committee.

A statement late Tuesday night in Abuja announcing the names of various committee members by the party’s National Organising Secretary (NOS), Sulaiman Muhammad Arugungu showed that the committee will be inaugurated on Thursday by the National Chairman, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje by 4 pm.

His committee is to conduct the party’s shadow election on Saturday, February 17 in the 193 wards of Edo State to determine APC gubernatorial flag bearer in the September 21 governorship election.

Cross River Governor Bassey Otu will serve as Deputy Chairman of the committee while Alh. Rabiu Suleiman is appointed as Secretary.

Other members are former Osun Deputy Gov Mrs Titilayo Laoye-Tomori; Plateau 2023 APC governorship candidate, Dr. Nentanwe Yilwatda Goshwe, Hon. Umar Hassan and Lawan Garba.

The party also announced Barr. C. C Udenwa as Chairman of the five-man Election Appeal Committee while Alhaji Yunusa Mohammed will serve as Secretary.

The APC cleared all the 12 aspirants jostling for its ticket to contest the September Edo governorship election.

The 12 aspirants are: Prince Clem Agba; Senator Monday Okpebholo; Lucky Imasuen, Hon. Anamero Sunday Dekeri; Pastor Osagie Andrew Ize-Iyamu; Engr. Gideon Ikhine; Col. David Imuse (Rtd.); Gen. Charles Ehigie Airhiavbere (Rtd.); Prof. (Sen.) Oserheimen Osunbor; Blessing Agbomhere, Hon Dennis Idahosa and Ernest Afolabi Umakhihe.

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Fresh Crisis Hits Labour Party  Over N3.5bn

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A fresh crisis is brewing in the Labour Party (LP) over the 2023 general election finances.

The National Treasurer, Mrs. Oluchi Oparah, has demanded accountability from the National Chairman, Julius Abure, over N3.5 billion realized from sales of forms and other donations to the party.

Addressing a press conference in Abuja on Monday, February 12, 2024, Opara said that LP has been plagued with financial mismanagement and corruption.

She alleged that Abure owns several houses and property.

Oparah said: “I stand before you today with a heavy heart and a sense of duty to the principles of transparency, accountability, and justice. With great reluctance and deep concern, I am compelled to publicly address the media regarding the egregious financial mismanagement and corruption that have plagued our beloved party under the leadership of Mr Julius Abure, the current National Chairman.

“As national treasurer, I am constrained to come before you and the public today because the internal mechanisms of our party have failed woefully to bring Mr. Abure to account for his brazen abuse of office and misappropriation of party funds.

“His appetite for power has grown unchecked, and he has deliberately undermined my duties and authority as stipulated in the party’s constitution.”

Meanwhile, the party has dismissed the allegations.

The party’s National Publicity Secretary, Obiora Ifoh, said: “With the exception of the National Treasurer whose tenure is about to end in few weeks’ time, and who has served for 8 years as National Treasurer without a single record of party accounts, no other member of the national working committee has raised any issue of embezzlement against our National Chairman who made a pledge on assumption that the party has to be revamped.

Evidence is our proactive outing in the 2023 general election as the party presented for the first time a very good presidential candidate.

“Let it be said that the Labour Party has not earned N3.5 billion as claimed and that the National Chairman has not embezzled any money that belongs to the party as alleged.

 The records are there, except that Ms Oluchi Opara don’t even understand simple accounting even as a treasurer. An External Auditor is engaged by the party and our account is under constant scrutiny of INEC or other regulatory bodies.

“Abure does not own several houses and property as spuriously alleged by our estranged National Treasurer, even though no law prohibits him from owning properties.”

 

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