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Governors must act now to save Nigeria – Atiku

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Former Vice-President Abubakar Atiku has called on Governors to come together irrespective of party divides and convene a national summit that will iron out the thorny issues affecting the destiny of Nigeria.

The presidential candidate of PDP in the last general election made the call in a statement on Sunday.

In the statement, entitled, “Nigeria Is Drifting: We Must Stop Waiting For God”, the former Vice-President challenged the governors to act on time.

The statement read, “The major challenge facing Nigeria today is that we are drifting. We are not just drifting politically and economically. We are also drifting apart from each other.

“I have often said that the difference between us is not North and South, but between good and bad. Therefore, those who are good should come together to show those who are bad that we are in the overwhelming majority.

“I have repeatedly said that I am a Nigerian. Full stop. That is my identity. And now more than ever, we must ask ourselves this question: what does it mean to be a Nigerian?

“A Nigerian is one who is committed to the idea of the indivisibility of Nigeria and who is invested in respecting, even if you disagree with, the differences that exist within this nation space, and respecting the right of others to coexist with you irrespective of religious, regional or ethnic differences.

“That is what being a Nigerian means to me. And that is why I believe that all those who believe in Nigeria should stand up to be counted.

“It is un-Nigerian to terrorise your fellow citizens. Up until about a decade ago, we did not have this. It is un-Nigerian to abduct people. And this is undoubtedly a new menace that has low historical precedence in Nigeria.

“The truth is that if at a National level, we address these un-Nigerian tendencies immediately and dispassionately, we would not have Nigerians congregating at a regional or sub-regional level to address these issues.

“What our present challenges therefore call for is not fragmentation but concentration. We must concentrate and focus our national willpower and resolve towards fighting these unNigerian tendencies.

“Governors representing some states have met. And I completely understand the necessity of their meeting and the wisdom of their decisions. But no matter how much you try to clap with one hand, the vibrations will not be the same as when you clap with two hands.

“We have a national challenge. And as Albert Einstein said, “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”

“These problems were created by those with a regional mindset, and will not be solved by those with a similar mindset.

“For too long, we have erroneously thought that the power to make effective changes lies at Aso Rock. But without the states, nobody can get to Aso Rock. That is why for anyone to emerge as President of Nigeria, he or she must secure enough votes in two-thirds of the states that make up the Nigerian federation.

“Let us apply this wisdom to our present challenges. I call on Nigerian Governors to stop waiting on Abuja to make changes, and instead convene a National Unity Summit of all Nigerian Governors to iron out the thorny issues affecting the destiny of our nation until they figure out a way to resolve them.

“Forget about your party. Forget about your tribe. Respect your religion and allow it to bring out the better part of you. Meet together. Talk together. Come up with the solutions to all our collective challenges.

“And then go back to your states, and consult with your federal and state legislators, with a view to getting them to work with their colleagues to implement the solutions you came up with.

“That is how to save Nigeria.

“To keep waiting for this Federal Government to take the lead, and effect the changes that Nigeria needs to stop drifting, is to keep waiting for Godot. And that is a luxury we cannot afford.

“We cannot afford it because, according to the Global Terror Index, our beloved nation is now the third most terrorised nation on Earth. We are featuring prominently on the Failed States Index, and the symbols of our nation, our currency, our passport, and our international standing are fast losing value.

“To quote Einstein again, “Those who have the privilege to know have the duty to act.” We do know that our Governors know that all is not well with Nigeria. That is why they have been meeting. At regional and sub regional levels. That knowledge comes with a duty to act, and to act together. Because if we do not act together, then the alternative is that we fall asunder. And God forbid that should ever be our fate.

“We must be mindful of the fact that one in four Africans is a Nigerian. And one in seven Black people on Earth is Nigerian. Therefore, being so centrally placed by God, it ought to be clear to us that it is our duty to be a beacon of light to the Black World.

“If we succeed as a nation, our successes will resonate beyond our borders. It will give hope to the Black Diaspora and increase the standing of Black people all over the world.

“That is why we cannot fail. That is why we cannot retreat into our regional enclaves. Too much is at stake. We are too centrally located to be dislocated.

“Together we must win forever. We are far too interconnected to be disconnected. Where would my children, who have a parent from each leg of Nigeria go? Where would your children, who have sunk roots far from their ancestral heritage, go?

“Oliver Wendell Holmes once said that “Man’s mind, stretched to a new idea, never goes back to its original dimension.”

“Let me paraphrase him and say, Nigeria unity, stretched to a new frontier, should never go back to its original dimension.

“We must grow in unity. We must glow in community. We must blow away disunity. We have no choice, considering the alternative, which is a calamity that we would not wish to return to.

“So, help us God. May God bless Nigeria as one peaceful, progressive, and indivisible nation”.

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Army withholds salaries of 45 soldiers in Borno

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Authorities of the 7 Division Nigerian Army, Maiduguri, have withheld the salaries of 45 soldiers, according to sources.

The soldiers, who were among the 149 troops of the 153 Task Force Battalion withdrawn from Marte, Borno State, after spending three years in counterinsurgency operations, were accused of for abandoning their duty posts.

The battalion came under attack on three occasions during which several soldiers were killed while a range of weapons, equipment and vehicles were either carted away or destroyed.

The battalion was overhauled after the last attack in February.

A source said necessary changes were made and troops who served with the battalion were moved to different formations in Maiduguri before a new deployment was made.

“Some of the soldiers who were not seen at their new units were believed to have gone on AWOL (Absence Without Leave). Their salaries accounts were not credited in April,” he said.

But one of the affected soldiers said the allegation of desertion against them was untrue.

“We were not given our salaries and when we asked our supervisors in the 7 Division, we were shocked to hear that we had forfeited all our entitlements over desertion.”

Attempts to get the response of army authorities were not successful.

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EFCC goes after top officials of PDP over N10bn scandal

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The Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) has invited officials of People’s Democratic Party (PDP) for questioning over alleged criminal conspiracy, abuse of office, diversion of funds and fraud.

This is coming barely a month after a chieftain in the PDP, Kazeem Afegbua, petitioned the anti-graft agency to scrutinise the Secondus-led National Working Committee on financial misappropriation.

In the letter of invitation dated May 17, 2021, and addressed to the Prince Uche Secondus, the EFCC said the need to obtain certain clarification from the party has become imperative.

The agency, however, requested the party’s National chairman to release the National Auditor, National Organising Secretary and Director of Finance to report at the EFCC headquarters from May 19th to 21st 2021.

The agency also requested the national officers to honor the invitation with relevant documents relating to sole of forms into the party’s elective positions from January 2017 to date.

Kazeem had in his petition alleged that much of the financial transactions of the PDP under Prince Uche Secondus has been shrouded in mystery, accusing the leadership of deliberate attempt to shortchange the party in the build up to the 2023 general elections.

However, Secondus had since denied the allegation and filed a N1 billion suit against the petitioner, Kazeem Afegbua.

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Nigeria’s drug control agency approves new COVID-19 vaccine

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The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), has granted approval for the conditional emergency use of Janssen COVID-19 vaccine in Nigeria.

Janssen COVID-19 vaccine is the third vaccine recommended for administration in the country.

The director-general of NAFDAC, Prof. Mojiola Adeyeye, in a statement on Tuesday, said information on the vaccine shows it met the criteria for efficacy, safety and quality.

She said, “The Janssen COVID-19 vaccine is administered as a single dose. Results from a clinical trial involving people in the United States, South Africa and Latin American countries found that Janssen COVID-19 vaccine was effective at preventing COVID-19 in people from 18 years of age.

“The Phase III clinical trial involved over 44,000 people. Half received a single dose of the vaccine and half were given placebo (a dummy injection). People did not know if they had been given Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine or placebo.

According to her, the trial showed a 67 per cent reduction in the number of symptomatic COVID-19 cases after two weeks in people who received Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine.

The most commonly reported side effects were pain at the injection site, headache, fatigue, muscle aches and nausea. Most of these side effects were mild to moderate in severity and lasted 1-2 days.

On the vaccine safety, Adeyeye said NAFDAC, in line with its pharmacovigilance and safety monitoring plan for COVID-19 vaccines, will closely monitor and subject the Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine to several activities that apply specifically to COVID-19 vaccines.

The AstraZeneca vaccine which Nigeria has been giving out has garnered many sceptics internationally after some recipients of the vaccine died.

At least 16 countries including Germany, France and Sweden have suspended the use of AstraZeneca, which put on the Nigerian government to suspend it.

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