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I’ve decided to run, I owe no one else any allegiance – Osinbajo

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The vice president, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, yesterday, took his nationwide consultation tour, in promotion of his presidential ambition, to his home state of Ogun, with a declaration that he swore the oath of allegiance only to Nigeria, and not to any single citizen of the country.

Osinbajo was addressing swirling allegations that his decision to run for president was a betrayal of his former principal and erstwhile political godfather, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, who had also declared his presidential aspiration ahead of 2023.

The vice president, who addressed an ecstatic crowd of supporters, said he was not in the state to campaign yet, but to inform his people of his intention to be president. He added that he was one candidate, who would hit the ground running.

Ogun State Governor Dapo Abiodun declared support for Osinbajo, saying the vice president is eminently qualified to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari, after seven years of working with him as his deputy.

The Alake of Egbaland, Oba Adedotun Gbadebo, while praying for the vice president at his palace, also attested to the fact that Osinbajo was competent to run. He told Osinbajo, “I want to pray that you will come back to this palace as a president and Nigeria will gain tremendously under your watch.”

Osinbajo said he owed no one, aside Nigeria, any allegiance, an apparent reference to Tinubu. The statement draws the line at accusations of disloyalty and betrayal being sold by supporters of the former Lagos State governor.

In his speech, Osinbajo said he had consulted widely across different sections of the society and leaders, including Buhari, before throwing his hat into the ring.

He said, “After all I have learnt, if called upon to serve the nation, should I say No? I have decided that I will run for the office. I have sworn an oath to the Federal Republic of Nigeria. It is an oath to our people; our children and the future of Nigeria. I owe nobody else any allegiance outside the oath.”

Recounting his contributions to the administration, Osinbajo said he was actively involved in the judiciary reforms and repositioning of the judicial sector for optimal operation. He noted that working with Buhari had exposed him to governance at the highest level and placed him in a position to tackle serious issues concerning the economy and security, among others.

Osinbao stated, “The vice president position is an opportunity to serve and I have served with utmost loyalty. I put everything into my work. I am a candidate, who will hit the ground running when I am elected.

“I have the requisite knowledge to do the job and build on what others have put in place. My presidency will bring peace, unity and development to the country.”

Osinbajo commended the Abiodun administration for giant strides it had recorded in the last three years and expressed the hope that his quest to lead the country would be fruitful.

Abiodun said Osinbajo had acquitted himself well, declaring that Ogun would support Osinbajo’s presidential ambition to enable him continue with the laudable projects of the Buhari administration. He said the vice president also stood by him during his governorship battle in 2019. The governor spoke at different stakeholders’ meetings with Osinbajo, held at the Akarigbo Palace, Sagamu, the Alake Palace in Abeokuta, the palace of the Olu of Ilaro, paramount ruler of Yewaland, and the Presidential Lodge, Ibara, Abeokuta.

Abiodun said Osinbajo had in the last seven years contributed to the successes recorded by the federal government, noting, “He is eminently qualified to lead the country.”

According to the governor, “The vice president present here is home coming. We are pleased with his decision to run for the office of the president. He is competent and committed to lead the country in a higher capacity.

“Your steadfastness, integrity and character are all well-known. You are serving this country and the president meritoriously for the last seven years as the vice president. We have no doubt that you will do well as the president and we will support you.”

While extolling Osinbajo’s academic achievements, the governor recalled how he stood behind his governorship election success and described him as a man interested in fairness, justice, equity, and the rule of law.

The paramount ruler of Remoland, Oba Babatunde Ajayi, in his remarks, said the vice president was competent with requisite qualifications to lead the country. He observed that his performance was there for all to see.

The Alake of Egbaland, who attested to Osinbajo’s competence, said, “The vice president has paid his dues and is eminently qualified to succeed as president.”

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Organ harvesting: Dino Melaye reacts to arrest of Ekweremadu, wife

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Dino Melaye

Former Kogi West Senator, Dino Melaye has expressed his support for ex-Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu amid controversy of alleged organ harvesting.

Melaye said he stands with Ekweremadu because there was no wrongdoing by the Senator.

Ekweremadu and his wife, Beatrice were arrested in London for allegedly plotting to harvest the kidney of a Nigerian minor.

The UK metropolitan police had arrested and charged Ekweremadu and his wife to court, but the duo pleaded not guilty to the charges at the Uxbridge Magistrates’ Court.

“These are serious allegations and these matters are now adjourned until 7 July back here at Uxbridge,” Magistrate Lois Sheard said.

Ms Sheard remanded both defendants in custody ahead of their hearing next month.

Sharing Ekweremadu’s letter via his Twitter handle, Melaye wrote: “Sen. Ike Ekweremadu notified the British authorities on his trip with the said boy. I stand with Ike.”

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Supreme Court set to rule on controversial Electoral Act on Friday

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The Supreme Court of Nigeria will on Friday deliver judgment on the legality or otherwise of the controversial section 84 (12) of the Electoral Act 2022 .

The apex Court is set for its verdict in the suit instituted against the National Assembly by President Muhammadu Buhari and the Attorney General of the Federation AGF and Minister of Justice.

A notice for the judgment delivery has just been sighted, indicating that the apex Court will make its position known this morning.

The notice was served on Buhari and the National Assembly on Thursday, inviting them to appear before the court today for their judgment.

Our correspondent further observed that the suit is the only one for determination today.

Buhari and Abubakar Malami had filed the suit at the Supreme Court, seeking an interpretation of the controversial clause in the Electoral Amendment Act 2022.

In the suit filed on April 29, Buhari and Malami, who are the plaintiffs, listed the National Assembly as the sole defendant.

Section 84 (12) has been a subject of intense litigation and political debate in Nigeria since President Buhari signed the amended Electoral Act 2022 into law in February this year.

Shortly after signing it into law, Buhari had asked the parliament to delete the controversial clause in the Electoral Act, but the National Assembly declined the president’s request.

According to Section 84 (12) of the legislation, “No political appointee at any level shall be a voting delegate or be voted for at the convention or congress of any political party for the purpose of the nomination of candidates for any election.”

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World’s most livable cities: Vienna climbs back to its No. 1 spot. These are the biggest decliners

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World’s most livable cities: Vienna climbs back to its No. 1 spot
The Stephansplatz is a square at the geographical centre of Vienna. It is named after its most prominent building, the Stephansdom, Vienna's cathedral and one of the tallest churches in the world.

After two years, Vienna has overtaken Auckland as the world’s most livable city, according to a report by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).

Vienna ranked first in 2018 and 2019, but was overtaken by Auckland, New Zealand, during the pandemic and slipped to 12th place in 2021, according to the Global Liveability Index 2022.

The EIU said that Auckland’s position on the index dipped to the 34th place this year because of higher Covid-19 infection rates and strict border controls in 2021. Although lockdowns ended in New Zealand in December, well-vaccinated cities in Europe and Canada had begun easing restrictions earlier.

However, it’s unlikely that Auckland would’ve clinched the top position in this year’s ranking even without a pandemic, according to the EIU.

“Other cities falling was why Auckland was top last time. Without Covid, it would likely be top 10, but not number one,” said Simon Baptist, global chief economist at the research and advisory firm.

Five other European cities — Copenhagen, Zurich, Geneva, Frankfurt and Amsterdam — also made the top ten. Canada’s Calgary and Vancouver took the third and fifth spots respectively. Japan’s Osaka and Australia’s Melbourne shared 10th place — the only two “Asian” cities that made it to the top 10.

The 172 cities that were included in the rating were assessed on these categories: stability, health care, culture and environment, education and infrastructure.

Biggest decliners
Cities in New Zealand and Australia were the biggest fallers in the EIU’s livability ranking.

New Zealand’s capital Wellington dived by 46 places, while Australia’s Adelaide and Perth lost their 2021 positions in the top 10. They are now in the 30th and 32nd place respectively.

Australian and New Zealand cities snagged six of the top 10 spots last year, but were “much, much lower down” on this year’s list as their partial reopening coincided with the spread of the more contagious omicron variant, Baptist told CNBC’s “Street Signs Asia” on Thursday.

But the EIU is optimistic that these cities would bounce back.

“We can expect to see Australian and New Zealand cities moving up the rankings next year, when we do the next round of the survey. And this will be because they will have relaxed more of their Covid restrictions,” said Baptist.

Other cities in the region saw their rankings slip as well.

Singapore fell three spots to 37th place this year, while Hong Kong dropped to 62nd place from 49th last year.

“This is a long term change, it’s not just about Covid. That is part of it. But Hong Kong’s loss of connectivity is likely to be permanent,” said Baptist, citing the decline of cultural and political freedom in the city.

Russian cities plunged
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine saw Moscow’s livability ranking fall by 15 places, while St. Petersburg dipped by 13 spots, the EIU reported.

“Both cities record a fall in scores owing to increased instability, censorship, imposition of Western sanctions and corporates withdrawing their operations from the country,” the report said.

The war on Ukraine also affected the rankings of other Eastern European cities that have been facing political standoffs security threats, food and energy insecurities, and rising inflation, EIU said.

For example, Poland’s Warsaw and Hungary’s Budapest saw their stability scores slip as a result of rising diplomatic tensions, the EIU added.

Ukraine’s capital Kyiv was also excluded from this year’s report, and 33 new cities — 11 of them in China — were added.

The top 10
These are the world’s most livable cities and their scores, according to The Global Liveability Index 2022:

  1. Vienna, Austria (99.1)
  2. Copenhagen, Denmark (98.0)
  3. TIE — Zurich, Switzerland (96.3)
  4. TIE — Calgary, Canada (96.3)
  5. Vancouver, Canada (96.1)
  6. Geneva, Switzerland (95.9)
  7. Frankfurt, Germany (95.7)
  8. Toronto, Canada (95.4)
  9. Amsterdam, Netherlands (95.3)
  10. TIE — Osaka, Japan (95.1)
  11. TIE — Melbourne, Australia (95.1)

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