Alleged Coup: DSS Invites Fani-Kayode for Questioning
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
A former Minister, Mr Femi Fani-Kayode, has disclosed that he has been invited by the Department for State Services (DSS) for questioning over his allegation that a former Vice President, Mr Atiku Abubakar, had a secret meeting with army generals with a view to scuttling the February 25, 2023, presidential election and plotting a coup.
FFK, as he is fondly called, claimed that Mr Atiku was doing this because he feared that his chances of winning the poll were slim and was desperate to cause chaos and prevent the emergence of the candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr Bola Tinubu.
However, the military issued a statement to discredit FFK’s claims, emphasising that it was loyal to the constitution of Nigeria and would do everything possible to protect democracy. It then warned against such utterances capable of causing trouble.
In response, FFK claimed he relied on an unnamed newspaper report and on Monday, February 13, 2023, he disclosed that he had been invited by the DSS for questioning today.
“Three days ago, on the day that I tweeted about newspaper reports alleging that Atiku was secretly meeting with Army Generals, I received a text message from someone who claimed to be a DSS officer asking me to report to them on a matter of national security.
“I dismissed the invitation because it was vague, and I was not sure whether it really came from the DSS.
“In any case, I had no intention of going anywhere unless I was formally invited.
“To my surprise, I received a formal letter from them to report to their office without fail two days later, which was yesterday evening.
“I put a call through to them and was advised to take the matter very seriously and report to them on the stipulated day and time otherwise, the worse may happen.
“I found it interesting that a call came from one of Atiku’s dogs for me to be arrested by the security agencies yesterday, and had it not been for the fact that the DSS had actually sent a text to me two days earlier, I may have thought that they were acting on the instructions of what can only be described as a hopeless and desperate presidential candidate, opposition party and PCC who are clutching at straws, drowning fast, seeking to silence those that give them sleepless nights, shivering in despair and staring defeat in the face in the upcoming presidential election.
“Clearly, the DSS was not influenced by Atiku and were simply doing their job by inviting me on a matter that needs explanation and clarification and for a thorough interrogation.
“And, of course, being a responsible and law-abiding citizen, I will present myself before them accordingly.
“Unlike cowards like Emefiele, Atiku and their strange bedfellows, I do not fear my own shadow, and neither do I shiver and shake when I am invited by the security agencies.
“I always honour their invitations when properly invited because that is the right and proper thing to do.
“This is all the more so when it touches and concerns matters of national security, which I take very seriously, and when it involves agencies like the DSS who are professional and thorough in their methods and approach.
“I have nothing to hide, and consequently, I will present myself before the DSS this morning as I have been asked to do.
“I maintain my utter contempt for Atiku and the vermin that are around him, and no matter what happens to me today or at any other time, know that as long as there is life in me, I will oppose the darkness and evil that they represent.
“I am used to arrest, interrogation, detention, prosecution, and so much more and have suffered these indignities on many occasions over the last 15 years.
“I have no fear: nothing moves me, and only death can silence me.
“The most important thing now is not what happens to me but rather achieving the noble quest to ensure the election of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu as our next President.
“That is the mission that we must focus on because that is the only way to save our country. I hope that I will be at liberty and free to continue to play my role in that quest, but if I am not and I am detained indefinitely or till the election is over, so be it.
“In such circumstances, be assured that I will be praying fervently for Asiwaju’s victory from the inside.
“For the record, I have said or done nothing wrong or that I should not have said or done, and I stand by everything that I have said or written in the past on all issues.
“It is not a crime to express my concerns about the despicable activities of Atiku, who, in my view, has a hidden agenda and who is so desperate for power that he is prepared to do anything and turn the whole country upside down in order to achieve it.
“May God protect our people and nation from such a shameless and questionable character and such a disastrous plight, and may He continue to be with us all,” he said.
Tinubu’s Vast Experience An Asset for Good, Effective Governance—Buhari
By Adedapo Adesanya
President Muhammadu Buhari has joined many Nigerians to celebrate the President-elect, Mr Bola Ahmed Tinubu, on his 71st birthday today, Wednesday, March 29, 2023, saying his vast experience as a politician will help achieve effective governance.
In a statement signed by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, the President joined “members of the President-elect’s family, especially his wife, Senator Oluremi Tinubu, business partners and political associates in celebrating the recently elected president who is expected to lead the country from May 29.”
Full of praise, he said his successor, endeared as Asiwaju, is “heralded with many years of experience and achievements in the private and public sectors, which prepared him for the historic win on February 25, 2023.”
The statement noted that President Buhari believes, “Asiwaju’s warmth, friendliness and generosity has set the pace for a network of friends, home and abroad, that will shape his presidency with the requisite expertise to guide the economy and consolidate on the investments of past leaders, particularly in people-first development and infrastructure.
“As the President-Elect prepares to take over the mantle of leadership at 71, the President affirms that his political pedigree from the ’90s, active role in party politics, being elected Senator and later Governor of Lagos State, and diligent involvement in structure of leadership at the Executive and Legislative levels for many years, will serve as an asset for good and effective governance.
“President Buhari prays for the wellbeing of Asiwaju and his family,” the statement added.
On March 1, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) announced that Mr Tinubu won the 2023 presidential elections as he scored 35 per cent of 24.97 million votes cast, beating Mr Atiku Abubakar of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), and Mr Peter Obi of the Labour Party (LP).
The two main opposition parties had already rejected the results before the final count, saying the electoral commission failed to follow its own law in transmitting and announcing results.
Both parties have also filed separate cases in the courts.
Lagos, eTranzact Collaborate to Curb Unregulated Development
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Lagos State Government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with eTranzact, a foremost fintech company, to sanitise and regulate activities of setbacks and Incidental Open Spaces (IOS) and ensure physical orderliness in the state.
Signed by the Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development, the agreement will help curb unregulated development, manage setbacks and open spaces and improve the beautification of the environment in Lagos state.
The MoU will strengthen the partnership between Lagos State Planning and Environmental Monitoring Authority (LASPEMA) and eTranzact.
This collaboration will allow eTranzact to deploy an integrated technology solution for data collection, management, and digitization of revenue collection processes from the informal business players operating on the setbacks and Incidental Open Spaces (IOS) in Lagos State to regulate setbacks/IOS and enhance the State Internally Generated Revenue.
Speaking during the signing of the MoU held at the state secretariat in Alausa, Ikeja, the Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Mr Omotayo Bamgbose-Martins, represented by the Special Adviser to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu on e-GIS and Planning Matters, Mr Olajide Babatunde, said the initiative was a public-private partnership that would yield a good result hence the need to take care of the environment.
He said the MoU is for accountability and in the interest of the general public in Lagos State, as well as improving the internally generated revenue (IGR) of Lagos State.
Also speaking, the Managing Director of eTranzact, Mr Niyi Toluwalope, said his organisation was partnering with Lagos State Government for social development, noting that the project would develop solutions on data, enumeration, reordering setbacks, putting incidental open spaces in an orderly manner, among other benefits.
He said: “eTranzact is a premier technology solutions company in Nigeria. Today we are partnering with the Lagos State Government and LASPEMA for the enumeration and data management of the occupants of the setbacks and incidental open spaces within the City. We are licensed by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to provide this service.
“The Lagos State Government has taken this laudable initiative to identify the setbacks, enumerate the people on these setbacks, do the necessary data capture, and manage the entire setback infrastructure in the State so that it is structured, following the proper model for setbacks, improves beautification, improves transparency within the environment and ensures that our critical urban infrastructure is well laid out properly to ensure Lagos functions as a major critical landmark with global recognition.
“We are committed to partnering with the State government to build a beautiful and prosperous Smart City for all. As Nigeria’s Super Fintech Choice, eTranzact is committed to providing payment technology support for all public and private stakeholders.”
Also speaking, the General Manager of LASPEMA, Mr Daisi Oso, said the agency was saddled with addressing challenges that were associated with managing and regulating all activities on setbacks so as to ensure orderliness while leveraging technology.
He said the agency is saddled with the deployment of drones for mappings, collaborating with other ministries, departments, and agencies on urban development to improve security and order in the use of land in tandem with the state’s developmental plans to enhance social and political sustainability of businesses.
Ayu Steps Down as PDP Chairman, Damagum Takes Over
By Dipo Olowookere
The National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr Iyorchia Ayu, has stepped down from the position and has been replaced by the Deputy National Chairman of the party for the northern region of the country, Mr Umar Iliya Damagum.
A statement issued on Tuesday by the National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Mr Hon. Debo Ologunagba, confirmed this development.
It was disclosed that Mr Damagum would be the acting chairman of the country’s main opposition party, pending the determination of a case in court.
Recall that on Sunday, the executive of the PDP in Igyorov Ward of Gboko Local Government Area of Benue State suspended Mr Ayu for alleged anti-party activities.
He was accused of working against the success of the party in Igyorov Council Ward, and failed to “pay his Annual Subscription Fees as provided under Section 8 (9) of the constitution of the PDP 2017 (As Amended).”
“Further investigation also revealed that he did not vote during the Governorship and State Assembly Elections held on March 18, 2023.
“It was also discovered that most of his closest allies worked for the opposition party, the All Progressive Congress, APC, and hence, the abysmal performance of the PDP in Igyorov Ward.
“In view of the foregoing, we hereby pass a Vote of No Confidence on Dr Iyorchia Ayu and suspend him as a member of our party with immediate effect. The suspension takes effect from March 24, 2023,” the Ward Chairman of the PDP, Mr Kachi Philip, and the secretary, Mr Vangeryina Dooyum, announced while addressing journalists.
Today, the national spokesman of the party said Mr Ayu stepped aside from the position during the National Working Committee (NWC) of the PDP on Tuesday in Abuja, after the NWC acknowledged “the order of the Benue State High Court dated March 27, 2023 with regards to the chairmanship position of our great party.”
“After a careful consideration of the court order and in line with Section 45 (2) of the Constitution of the PDP (as amended in 2017), the NWC resolved that the Deputy National Chairman (North), Umar Ililya Damagum, assumes the national chairmanship of our party in acting capacity with effect from today, Tuesday, March 28, 2023.
“The NWC charges all leaders, critical stakeholders, teeming members and supporters of our great party to remain calm and united at this critical time,” the statement said.
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