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EXCLUSIVE: Party Leaders, GAC Members In Battle Royale As Crisis Rocks APC Ahead Lagos LG Polls

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…Faleke, Odunmbaku Clash In Ikeja As Olusi Lock Horns With Ojora In Lagos Island

…I Have Not Endorsed Any Aspirant- Tinubu Insists

Things are no longer at ease for the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Lagos State as the July 24 Local Government Elections has degenerated into a free for all, as party leaders are currently locked in a battle for supremacy, to pave way for their choice candidates to emerge as the party’s flag bearer.

In the last three weeks, there have been pockets of crisis in some local governments arising from the build-up to the party primaries slated for May 29.

But Thepledge gathered that a major crisis is brewing in Ojodu Local Council Development Area (LCDA) where a House of Representatives member representing Ikeja Federal Constituency, Mr. James Faleke is currently at loggerheads with a member of the Governor’s Advisory Council (GAC), Cardinal James Odunmbaku, popularly known as Baba Eto over the chairmanship candidacy for the council.

While Faleke is pulling enough weight for his own aspirant, Alhaja Funmi Layeni, Odunmbaku is bent on ensuring that his son, David Odunmbaku (who is currently the Council Secretary) emerges as the next chairman of the council.

Thepledge gathered from a top party member that Faleke, a former two-term Chairman in Ojodu LCDA and Odunmbaku had engaged in a shouting match due to their disagreement on the issue while neither of the duo is ready to back down.

A recent statement from Faleke to his supporters had read, “I have received calls and messages from most of our APC members from Ikeja Federal Constituency to ‘confirm if it is true that our governor has written a list of some aspirants as his anointed candidates?’

“I want to put on record all I have told those who called me that Governor Sanwo-Olu is the governor for all and has no special or anointed candidates within our Ikeja Federal Constituency or the state. All party members are for him.”

“Please disregard any pressure from anyone using his name or sending any list to all of you in the constituency.”

Faleke’s grouse, according to a top member of Layeni’s campaign team was that “they cannot serve the father and also serve the son”, referring to Baba Eto’s strong influence in the political structure of Ojodu LCDA.

The statement did not go down well with those in Odunmbaku’s camp who felt it was directed at them.

Odunmbaku on his part has insisted that his son is eminently qualified to contest.

Speaking at his son’s declaration for the chairmanship position a few months ago, Odunmbaku said, “I chose my son at the very last. You know I have been sponsoring other people with all my strength, politically and financially with the permission and blessing of Asiwaju Tinubu, putting people in respective positions in politics, ministries, local government administration, but I decided to sponsor my child in the final analysis, and not without the blessing of Asiwaju.”

A close associate of Odunmbaku’s son who preferred not to be named told our reporter that it was unfortunate that Faleke who Baba Eto supported to rise to limelight politically is now the one spearheading opposition against Baba Eto’s son.

“That is the height of betrayal. What does Faleke want again? He has been Chairman of Ojodu LCDA twice, he has been a member of the House of Representatives for two terms and this is the same Baba Eto that supported him, why is he now against his son’s ambition. This is the height of ingratitude; he is stabbing the back of the man who fed him. But Baba Eto is not perturbed by the conspiracy against his son. Besides, David is meeting critical stakeholders in the council and is focused on the task ahead,” the

In Lagos-Island Local Government, Prince Tajudeen Olusi, the party leader of Lagos Central Senatorial District who is also a member of the GAC has also come under fire over his alleged involvement to ensure that his son, Adetoyese Olusi, who is the incumbent chairman returns for another term despite accusations from several quarters over his lackluster performance in his first term.

But Olusi’s plan has met a stumbling block as party members have vowed to oppose the move.

Besides, another aspirant, Prince Taorid Adewale Ojora, who enjoys popularity among the people of Lagos Island, has resisted attempts from emissaries from the party hierarchy to step down his ambition for Olusi’s son and has vowed to contest the primaries.

In Surulere Local Government, there is a cold war brewing among party members as two viable aspirants, the incumbent Vice Chairman of the council, Suleiman Yusuf and Idris Aregbe are currently in neck to neck to grab the chairmanship ticket.

While Idris Aregbe, who is currently the Youth Organising Secretary of the APC in Lagos enjoys the support of the party’s national leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Yusuf on the other hand has the backing of key grassroots’ leaders and members of the party in the local government, including the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon Femi Gbajabiamila, who hails from the council.

A party member from the local government who spoke to our correspondent said the party leaders are queuing behind Yusuf for obvious reasons and are confident of his candidacy producing good benefits for the people of Surulere, however adding that the party’s decision on who gets the ticket will be respected.

“Yusuf is our preferred candidate of choice. We respect other aspirants but that is our decision. Even the Speaker of the House of Representatives has given his blessings to him (Yusuf) and we are going all out to ensure that he emerges as the candidate during the May 29 primaries.”

But a top party source told Thepledge that Aregbe, who enjoys popularity within the party hierarchy and with the State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu is pulling heavy strings to land the party ticket and is confident of emerging the party’s choice.

“Aregbe will do better if he emerges as the candidate, but the big question is can he upset the odds against him? The battle is not between Aregbe and Yusuf, but against Aregbe and Gbajabiamila, because the Speaker of the House of Representatives is calling the shots in Surulere.

In Agboyi Ketu LCDA, the quest by the incumbent chairman, Mayor Dele Oshinowo to earn a second term ticket looks to be going according to plan after earning endorsement from members of the GAC in Kosofe including Otunba Bushira Alebiosu, Omoba Muyiwa Sosanya, and Dayo Bush respectively.

Lately, the lawmaker representing Kosofe Federal Constituency, Rotimi Agunsoye also threw his weight behind his candidature.

Thepledge however gathered from a reliable source that it is not yet Uhuru for the council boss as his ambition is currently a subject of debate among the party hierarchy in the GAC and leaders in the council, some of whom are opposed to his returning as chairman.

Despite the internal challenges plaguing the APC, a top party source told our correspondent that the party is confident of sweeping the council polls as the main opposition party in the state, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), according to him, is still grappling in the dark.

“If the PDP were on ground in Lagos, it would have made our party sit up and fix all these issues you have rightly pointed out as far as the Local government elections are concerned because such issues are capable of causing disaffection among party members and also have some effect on the likely outcome of the polls. But that is not the case,” the source said.

In Ejigbo LCDA, incumbent chairman, Monsurudeen Obe is in a race of his life in his bid to secure his second term ticket.

What earlier seemed as a coast-clear race for him became a hard nut to crack after Peter Ajayi, a senior aide of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, threw his hat into the race and is fast gaining ground and bagging endorsements from the who’s who in Ejigbo as well as in the party hierarchy.

Thepledge learnt that Ajayi also has the full backing of Sanwo-Olu’s Chief of Staff, Tayo Ayinde (a former ADC to Tinubu) and is poised to cause an upset in the primaries.

But the development has not gone down well with loyalists of the incumbent chairman who feel it will be a great disservice to the council if Ajayi is imposed on them.

“We have decided to stand on our mandate which is for a second term for Obe. All the politicking from Alausa which we are fully aware of will come to naught. Recently they were circulating rumour that APC leaders who are backing Obe are doing so in order to return Ambode for second term in 2023. This is the height of propaganda and lies from the pit of hell. They have failed in their bid and are clutching to any straw to save their already dead political ambition”, a member of Obe’s campaign team told Thepledge.

Last Friday evening, Thepledge also learnt that top APC leaders were locked in a crucial closed-door meeting at the residence of Tinubu in Lagos.

Among those who were present at the meeting include Tinubu, Gbajabiamila, Sanwo-Olu and other members of the GAC. A source privy to the meeting said the meeting was called on the instance of Tinubu ahead of the May 29 primaries.

The party hierarchy, the source said, are concerned about the bad blood the crisis is generating among its members, noting that such could be inimical to the ideals of the party, especially going into a grassroots election.

Speaking to journalists on Sunday on the outcome of the meeting, Tinubu dismissed reports that he endorsed his preferred candidates for the upcoming council polls.

The APC Chieftain then urged all aspirants to compete with zeal, energy and to respect the results of the primaries.

Part of the statement read: “Asiwaju Bola Tinubu would like it to be known by way of this statement, that he has no preferred candidates for the upcoming local government primaries.

“He has no intention to endorse any of the people contesting for the party nomination in any election, whether for chairmanship or councillorship positions.

“On this matter, Asiwaju believes he can speak for the rest of the GAC regarding their belief in the impartiality and transparency of the internal party process.

“Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and the other GAC leaders seek a free, fair, and transparent process in which the candidates who emerge are those who gather the most support among the party rank and file.

“Only in this manner do we best prepare ourselves for the general election.”

To this end, Thepledge gathered that Tinubu has called for a larger stakeholders meeting at the party secretariat in Acme, Ikeja to resolve all the differences before the primaries.

But a top party source said Tinubu’s statement denying that he had his choice candidates was only a smokescreen, insisting that the party stalwart, like previous council polls in the state, will have the final say on the chairmanship slots across the 57 councils.

“Those who are familiar with his style of politics know that the statement he made was just to douse the tension out there. But the truth remains that the party leadership knows that Asiwaju will have the final say as regards who gets what. The council election is crucial and there is no denying the interest he has especially as it is the last council elections before the 2023 general election,” the source said.

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Surprise As BBNaija Names Maria, Pere As Two Wildcards

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Maria and Pere have been revealed as the Wildcards of the BBNaija Shine Ya Eye House.

After days of speculations and accusations in the House, the two were finally revealed after the Diary Room session where the Housemates were invited to make their predictions.

Both Wildcards did a good job of blending in with the rest of the Housemates in the House. For Maria, it was all about actively participating in the Task and making sure her voice is heard.

Pere took a more laid-back approach in the House. Right from his bromance with the rest of the guys to casually having conversations with the rest of the Housemates and even on course to building a romantic alliance with Jackie B, he had his cover well secured.

His military experience must have come into play here. On a few occasions, both Wildcards spearheaded conversations about who the possible Wildcards were and pointed out other Housemates as likely suspects. Talk about throwing people off your scent.

Maria was particularly surprised to find out there was another Wildcard in the House during her conversation with Biggie in the Diary Room.

When asked if she knew who it was, she correctly guessed Pere. She was bothered that she had to lie and maintain a front with the other Housemates but she was confident she pulled it off.

Pere on the other hand was glad when he heard the revelation of another Wildcard and guessed it was either Maria or Nini.

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Just In: IGP Orders Investigation Of Abba Kyari Over Alleged Hushpuppi Link

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..FBI Have Genuine Evidence Against Him -Adeyanju Alleges

…Abba Kyari Must Be Arrested Now -Omokri, PDP Charge Buhari

The Inspector General of Police, IGP Usman Alkali Baba, on Thursday ordered the review of the allegation against Abba Kyari, Deputy Commissioner of Police by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, FBI.

Kyari, who is the head of the Intelligence Response Team (IRT), was linked to fraudster, Hushpuppi, whose name is Ramon Abass.

Hushpuppi, an alleged international fraudster risks jail term of 20 years after pleading guilty to fraud.

Reports had it that Hushpuppi had bribed the IRT boss to jail a disloyal member of his gang. This, Kyari has denied

However, the IGP said the review was in line with the commitement of the Nigeria Police Force to ensure justice and professionalism.

This was contained in a statement by the Force spokesman, Frank Mba entitled: “Alleged indictment of DCP Abba Kyari: Inspector General of Police orders a review of the information.”

The statement reads: “Sequel to the receipt of allegations and indictment processes from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) against one of the personnel of the Nigeria Police Force, DCP Abba Kyari, the Inspector General of Police IGP Usman Alkali Baba, has ordered an internal review of the allegations.

“The Nigeria Police Force reaffirms its commitment to the pursuit of justice and the strengthening of its professional relationship with the FBI and other international partners.

“Further developments on this case will be communicated to members of the public accordingly.”

Meanwhile, popular Nigerian activist, Deji Adeyanju, has suggested that the Federal Bureau of Investigation, FBI, has evidence of Abba Kyari, Deputy Commissioner of Police involvement in international fraud.

Adeyanju made the remark while wondering why Kyari, who is the head of the Intelligence Response Team (IRT), was specifically linked to Hushpuppi, whose name is Ramon Abass.

Hushpuppi, an alleged international fraudster risks jail term of 20 years after pleading guilty to fraud.

Reports had it that Hushpuppi had bribed the IRT boss to jail an errant member of his gang, this, Kyari has denied

However, the activist wondered why other celebrities who lived off Hushpuppi were not linked to his activities but Kyari.

In a tweet, Adeyanju wrote: “FBI is not stupid. You think they will be saying Abba Kyari was involved in international fraud without evidence?

“Why didn’t they link all the celebrities Hushpuppi was giving money to his fraudulent acts? Almost all Nigerian celebrities live off yahoo boys and politicians.”

Also, Reno Omokri, a former aide to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, has charged President Muhammadu Buhari to arrest Deputy Commissioner of Police, Abba Kyari.

Omokri said the Buhari-led government should arrest Kyari with the same speed it went after Yoruba nation agitator, Sunday Adeyemo also known as Igboho.

In a series of tweets, the former presidential aide noted that Kyari would have been suspended, if he was an Igbo man.

Documents from the United States, US, Department of Justice had linked Kyari to celebrity Instagram Influencer, Ramon Abbas known as Hushpuppi.

Hushpuppi, who is accused of international cybercrime was accused of bribing Kyari, which the cop has denied.

However, Omokri on twitter said, “Let us see if Buhari arrests Abba Kyari with the same speed and brutality with which he attempted to arrest Sunday Igboho.

“This will help us know whether some are more equal than others in Nigeria. Because if Abba Kyari was Igbo, by now he would have been suspended

“Now that the lid has been blown off Abba Kyari, what will Buhari’s Government do with its so-called super cop, whose recent pastime is attending celebrity burials.

“This alleged FBI indictment must not be swept under the table because he shares an ethnicity with Buhari”.

In the meantime, the Opposition Peoples Democratic Party has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to order the Inspector General of Police, Usman Baba, to interrogate the indictment of a Deputy Commissioner of Police, Abba Kyari, in a $1m fraud involving alleged international fraudster, Ramon Abbas aka Hushpuppi.

The party made this known in a statement on Thursday titled, ‘Abba Kyrai: PDP Demands Full Investigation’. It was signed by PDP National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan.

Recall that the United States District Court for the Central District of California said Hushpuppi used Kyari to arrest and jail a co-conspirator, Chibuzo Vincent, after the latter threatened to expose a $1m fraud committed against a Qatari businessman.

According to the document, Hushpuppi worked with 28-year-old Abdulrahman Juma from Kenya, and 40-year-old Chibuzo Vincent from Nigeria. Other are Yusuf Anifowoshe, 26; Rukayat Fashola, 28; and Bolatito Agbabiaka, 34.

The document added that Hushpuppi allegedly hunted Vincent after a dispute broke out among the team and after the latter threatened to expose the fraud to the Qatari businessman.

But in a Facebook post on Thursday, Kyari explained that Hushpuppi called his office and reported a death threat from someone about two years ago.

The cop said the suspect, Vincent, was arrested but later released after investigations revealed that “they are long time friends who have money issues between them”. Kyari also said he did not receive any money from Hushpuppi.

Reacting in its statement, the PDP demanded a forensic investigation into the allegations against Kyari.

The statement partly read, “The revelation of the involvement of Kyari, the head of Nigeria’s intelligence response unit, as a receiver of proceeds of international fraud is worrisome, disturbing and a stain on the integrity of our nation.

“It is indeed disquieting that the integrity of our nation has fallen so abysmally low under the corrupt and fraud-patronizing President Muhammadu Buhari-led All Progressives Congress administration, to the extent that the head of its police intelligence unit is being charged in connection with international fraud.

“Our party demands that the APC administration should not sweep this matter under the carpet given the manifest rapport between Kyari and some top APC leaders. We urge President Buhari not to ‘ease out’ this case of corruption but should immediately restore the integrity and image of our nation by allowing for a forensic investigation of the suspect.

“Moreover, if this Abba Kyari matter is not well handled, it will be a permanent stain on the reputation of our police, security system and our nation at large.

“The PDP, therefore, asks President Buhari to direct the Inspector General of Police to take in Abba Kyari for questioning and if found culpable, he should be handed over to the FBI.”

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Disqualification Of 10 Nigerian Athletes: We Take Responsibility -AFN Insists

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The Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) on Thursday admitted “lapses” on its part over the disqualification of 10 athletes from Tokyo Olympics for not complying with out-of-competition drug testing requirements.

The Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) announced the disqualification of the Nigerian athletes on Monday.

The AFN, which has been plagued by power tussle for several years, said they would take responsibility for the lapses that led to the disqualification.

“The AFN bears responsibility for any lapses that may have occurred during the process and reassures Nigerians that our performances (at Tokyo Olympics) will not be negatively impacted,” it said in a statement.

“All our athletes resident in Nigeria and who qualified for the Olympic Games completed the three mandatory tests,” it said.

“Most of our top athletes resident in the USA also completed their tests,” the AFN said.

“However, a few athletes in the American collegiate system were tested, but those tests were deemed not to have complied with WADA (world anti-doping agency) sample collection and analysis standards.”

The AFN said it had appointed a top official to head its medical and anti-doping commission.

Star sprinter Blessing Okagbare, who will compete in the 100m and 200m in Tokyo, was critical of the country´s sports officials.

“The sport system in Nigeria is so flawed and we athletes are always at the receiving end of the damages,” she said.

“They were busy fighting over power, exercising their pride over Puma contract/kits forgetting their major responsibility – the athletes.

“It´s sad that this cycle keeps repeating itself and some people will come out to say I am arrogant for speaking my truth. It´s my career,” she added.

aGENCY rEPORT

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