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EXCLUSIVE: LG Election: Crisis Rocks APC In Epe As Party Leaders Accuse Lagos Deputy Gov Of Imposing Three Candidates

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…Deny Incumbent Chairmen Second Term Tickets

…Party Leaders Seek Tinubu’s Intervention

The last might not have been heard of the crisis that trailed the conduct of the local government primaries of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Lagos, as party leaders in Epe have accused the Deputy Governor of the State, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat of circumventing the decision of the party hierarchy and imposing his choice candidates in the three councils in Epe.

Last week, the party released its final list of candidates across the 57 councils in the State, after reaching a decision to give first term chairmen automatic second term tickets in order, according to the party, to douse the tension that greeted the primaries in several councils across the State.

But fresh facts made available to Thepledge showed that the names of first term chairmen in the three councils in Epe, including Onanuga Samson Adeniyi of Ikosi-Ejinrin Local Council Development Area; Adeniyi Saliu of Eredo Local Council Development Area and Adedoyin Adesanya of Epe Local Government were conspicuously missing.

A reliable source who is one of the prominent party leaders in Epe, told Thepledge that the development ran contrary to the decision reached by the leaders’ days before the May 29 primaries, to give the three incumbent chairmen second term tickets on the basis that they performed well, most especially during the senatorial by-election in which Epe local government delivered the most votes for the party despite having the second least registered voters in the Senatorial district.

The source who did not want his name mentioned in print accused two lawmakers in the House of Assembly, Hon Abiodun Tobun (Epe Constituency I); Hon. Sylvester Ogunkelu (Epe Constituency II) of circulating false rumors that National Leader of the APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu had kicked against returning the incumbent chairmen, but that the rumors were soundly dispelled by the leadership of the party.

According to the source, Hon Ogunkelu, few days to the primaries had gone ahead to introduce an aspirant as the choice of the Deputy Governor contrary to the decision of the party leaders in Eredo LCDA.

“Hon Ogunkelu actually led his gang members to shoot randomly around the place even a day before the primaries so as to scare people away but he was shocked at the mammoth crowd of party faithfuls that trooped out on Saturday May 29. This is simply because leaders have signed their agreement to return the Chairmen”, the source said.

The source added that both Tobun and Ogunkelu continued in their plan to stop the incumbents and proceeded to feed the Deputy Governor with all sorts of falsehoods including the fact that the chairmen aren’t popular and that they are agents working for former governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, who had given them N20million each to “fight for the election”.

The source said that days before the primaries, in order to resolve the lingering issues, two members of the Governor’s Advisory Council (GAC) from Epe Division, Chief Shakiru Akanni (Seriki-Bamu) and former Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Rt Hon Adeyemi Ikuforiji, met with the Deputy Governor but Dr. Hamzat insisted on going ahead with the primaries, apparently, based on the false information he (Hamzat) was fed with by Tobun and Ogunkelu.

“A few days before the primaries, having realized that their candidates have no slightest chances in the primaries they decided to disrupt the primaries. The deputy Governor actually told Alhaji Bamu and the Speaker two days before the primaries that there’s going to be chaos at Epe during the primaries and true to their plans they disrupted the primaries in almost all the wards.”

Before the primaries was disrupted, the source said, the incumbent chairman in Epe Local Government, Adedoyin Adesanya won convincingly in Wards A4 and C1 where the exercise was duly conducted and completed.

“The question to ask is why is the Deputy Governor of Lagos State using his influence as the Chairman of the Local Government Election Committee to impose his people in the three councils in Epe? We, as leaders in Epe will not allow such travesty to stand.”

“Why will Epe be singled out for such? Out of 42 incumbents who are first term chairmen have been given a return ticket except for the three Epe chairmen. The question everyone in Epe is asking, especially staunch followers of our leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, is why single out Epe?”, the party leader asked?

Asked what the next step will be to address their complaints, the source said they are patiently waiting for Tinubu to be back in town to enable them table their grievances to him.

When Thepledge reached out to the office of the Deputy Governor, one of the aides who spoke anonymously, laughed off the allegations against his principal, saying that the Deputy Governor was not one to get involved in such party politics.

“These are just spurious allegations. I can tell you for a fact that it is not true. Yes, he is the Chairman of the Election Committee for the Local government polls, but that does not mean that he will take advantage of such to tamper with the process. Anyone can make such allegations, but I can assure you that nothing of such is true,” the aide said.

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It’s Impossible For FG To Borrow N1.1trn To Meet ASUU’s Demand, Says Umahi

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Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State says the Nigerian government cannot borrow N1.1 trillion to meet the demands of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) who have been on strike for over five months.

The Chairman of the South-East Governors’ Forum said this on Wednesday when he received a delegation from the Nigeria Police Trust Fund led by Dr. Ben Akabueze, in Abakaliki, the Ebonyi capital.

“There is no way Nigeria will go and borrow N1.1tn to meet ASUU’s demand, it’s quite unreasonable. Are their demands genuine? Yes. But we can start little by little,” the governor said.

“There must be a commitment on the side of both parties that look, ‘ASUU is not asking for this to take to their houses’ so to say. It’s asking for it for our children, to better the infrastructure, to better the lecturers and the students. Yes, but we can start with a fraction of that and then have a programme that will run on the platform of sincerity to address all the lots.”

He also called on varsities lecturers to show some level of understanding so the strike can end.

“So, it is important for ASUU to show some understanding and for those who are negotiating on the side of government to also show some understanding,” he added.

“Let’s meet ourselves halfway and then open the schools to save the fate of our children.”

The governor, who equally faulted the poor maintenance culture in the country, added that there is a need to work on it.

“But let me also say that most of the time, our people have a low appetite for maintenance of public works,” Umahi said.

“No matter how much you deploy to these universities unless the users and the industry regulators begin to treat public infrastructure as their own in the various universities, it will continue to go bad.

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2023: You Need Wike For Your Rescue Mission, Mimiko Tells PDP

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…Says Rivers Gov Has Been The Party’s Solid Rock

Olusegun Mimiko says the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) needs Rivers State governor Nyesom Wike for its rescue mission in the next general elections.

The former Ondo State governor spoke on Wednesday at the flag-off ceremony for the construction of the Azikiwe -Iloabuchi Road in Mile 2 Diobu, Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

“Your Excellency, our Party, the PDP, a Party for which you have laboured so much, seems saddled with the historical duty of forging this unity, a unity premised on truth, equity, and justice, a unity upon which rescuing Nigeria from the far from satisfactory performance of the past seven years will be built,” he said during the event.

“It is a mission that must be accomplished. A mission for which you are specially positioned and favoured to play a major role. A mission that must be subscribed to by all lovers of our country.”

He explained that when some forces tried to destroy the PDP, Wike was a bulwark that resisted such attempts.

“Beyond the self-evident physical transformation, you (Wike) have stood as a bulwark against those sworn to emasculate the main opposition party, all in their bid to force a one-party State down the throats of Nigerians,” Mimiko added.

“You were at one point virtually a one-man countervailing force, defending and protecting our dear PDP. You have also, through bold legal challenges, deepened the national consciousness on the defects in the running of our defective federal system.”

Mimiko’s comment came amid speculations that the Rivers Governor may dump the PDP following a fallout with the party after its presidential primary.

Wike lost to former Vice President Atiku Abubakar in the exercise, a development that has since caused a rift between him and Adama-born politician.

The PDP is making reconciliatory moves but Wike’s recent invitation of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos (a state governed by the leading All Progressives Congress, APC) to commission a project has generated further speculations that he may leave the PDP.

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Real Madrid Beat Frankfurt 2-0, Clinch UEFA Super Cup

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Goals from David Alaba and Karim Benzema gave Real Madrid a 2-0 victory over Eintracht Frankfurt and a fifth UEFA Super Cup on Wednesday.

While Frankfurt were dangerous, particularly in the first half, Madrid’s experience and individual quality saw them through, as it did so often in their victorious 2021-22 Champions League campaign.

Frankfurt had the best of the early stages, with Madrid keeper Thibaut Courtois forced into a stunning anticipation save when one-on-one with Daichi Kamada in the 14th minute.

Madrid almost got their first, when Benzema released Vinicius to curl past Kevin Trapp in the penalty box, only for Tuta to clear the ball off the line.

With Madrid dominating possession, Frankfurt mounted several counter-attacks until Madrid launched a counter of their own in the 37th minute.

A diving Trapp got his fingertips to a goal-bound shot by Vinicius, pushing the ball out for a corner.

From the ensuing play, Benzema linked with Casemiro just next to the right post.

The Brazilian sucked in several Frankfurt defenders and a diving Trapp, before heading back to an unmarked Alaba who scored from close range.

After the goal, Madrid stepped it up a gear and should have gone 2-0 up, with Benzema uncharacteristically dragging the ball wide with the goal begging in the 41st minute.

Vinicius, Benzema Connect
Madrid’s quality became more obvious in the second half, with Trapp saving a deflected Vinicius shot in the 54th minute and Casemiro hitting the crossbar with 61 minutes gone.

Borussia Dortmund loanee Ansgar Knauff had a chance saved just minutes later before Vinicius and Benzema combined to put Madrid 2-0 up.

Vinicius skated down the left before slicing the ball back seemingly unsighted for the Frenchman to hammer home from the edge of the box.

Frankfurt fought hard in the closing stages but Madrid were able to dominate the game to win their fifth Super Cup from eight attempts.

The clash, in Helsinki’s Olympic Stadium, was the first time these two sides had met in a European decider since 1960 when Madrid dismantled Frankfurt 7-3 through four goals to Ferenc Puskas and three to Alfredo di Stefano in the European Cup final.

The match also highlighted the growing gap between the Champions League and Europa League competitions, with Madrid being the ninth Champions League team to win the competition in the past 10 years.

Only city rivals Atletico Madrid have won the Super Cup when qualifying via a Europa League win in the past decade, having done so by beating Real in the 2018 edition.

In the 10 years before, Champions League and Europa League participants won five Super Cups each.

Frankfurt joined Hamburg (1977 and 1983), Dortmund (1997), and Bremen (1992) as losing Super Cup finalists from Germany, with only Bayern Munich (2013 and 2020) having won the showpiece event.

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