Gowon urges Nigerians to live in peace

Former Head of State, retired Gen. Yakubu Gowon, has called on Nigerians to continue to live in peace, irrespective of their religious beliefs.

He made the call at the opening ceremony of the 2017 Annual Meeting of the Barewa Old Boys Association on Saturday, in Katsina.

Gowon, who is the Chairman Board of Trustees of the association, said Nigerians should continue to embrace peaceful coexistence for the development of the country.

“Muslims and Christians should use dialogue to find out what divides them and should unite themselves in the interest of peace.

“We need peace to move forward as a nation. People in position of authority should provide quality education for the pupils in public schools,” he said.

Gowon said that the provision of quality education to pupils would address problems of societal miscreants and hoodlums that pose a threat to the nation.

In a paper presentation titled: “Reviving the National Pledge on Education for All”, Prof. Jibirn Ibrahim called on leaders in the country to do more in developing the education sector.

Ibrahim, who is also a member of the association, said state governors should allocate more funds to public schools for functional and conducive learning.

“Governors should set aside at least 35 percent of their total annual budget to promote the development of education in their states.

“The children of the poor should be supported to get quality education because if neglected, they can become time bombs to the nation.

“Efforts should be made to give all Nigerians the best of education so as to avoid pumping money into solving security challenges,” he said.

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Counting ongoing in most areas in Anambra governorship poll

COUNTING of votes has started in some polling units where elections commenced on schedule in the Anambra governorship poll.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that voting ended at exactly 2 p.m, and counting of votes immediately commenced in the polling units where accreditation and voting commenced between 8 a.m and 9 a.m on Saturday.

NAN reports that INEC has 4,608 polling units across the 21 local governments areas.

ALSO READ: Anambra Guber poll records impressive turnout

In most polling units located in Orumba, North and South, Aguata, Awka South and Awka North Local Government Areas, counting of votes was still in progress as at 2.30pm.

Also, at Anaku, Anyamelum Local Government Area, Mr Tony Ifeanya, Secretary of APGA, described the process as impressive, though there was apathy in some areas of the local government.

Voting has also ended in Ogbaru, while counting is ongoing in most polling units in Onitsha North and South council areas.

At Umudina- Nteje, Iruama-Nteje, Uruokwe-Enugwu-Ukwu all in Oyi Local Government Area, counting and collation of votes are ongoing.

NAN, however, reports that election is ongoing in Umuchu Civic Centre Ward 1, in Orumba North Council area where the PPA governorship candidate, Mr Godwin Ezeemo, voted at 1:30 p.m.

NAN reports that the officials and materials arrived at the polling unit at 1:02 p.m.

Also, commercial vehicle operation had resumed in most areas where voting had ended.

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Wenger salutes Arsenal ‘urgency’ in derby win

Arsenal’s German midfielder Mesut Ozil (C) vies with Tottenham Hotspur’s English striker Harry Kane during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur at the Emirates Stadium in London on November 18, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / IKIMAGES / Ian KINGTON

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said his side’s intensity had been the decisive factor in their 2-0 victory over north London derby rivals Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday.

Quick-fire first-half goals from Shkodran Mustafi and Alexis Sanchez at a drizzly Emirates Stadium earned Arsenal a first win over Tottenham since March 2014.

It was Arsenal’s 11th successive home victory in league football and left them a point behind Spurs, who finished above them last season for the first time since 1995.

“They had the urgency, the desire and the focus,” Wenger said.

“In a derby like that, that plays a part. We didn’t lose the defensive focus for 90 minutes.”

Wenger also hailed the display of German playmaker Mesut Ozil, who departed to a standing ovation late in the second half after an uncharacteristically battling performance.

“I’m convinced that Mesut Ozil adds physicality to his game and when he needs it, he can produce it,” the Frenchman told Sky Sports.

“He got a standing ovation because he added to the team’s defensive job. He’s not a specialist in that, but he can do that because he’s an intelligent man.”

Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino was unhappy about the free-kick that led to Mustafi’s 36th-minute opener, which was awarded for a challenge on Sanchez by Davinson Sanchez that looked clean.

Mustafi was also narrowly offside as Ozil struck his free-kick and Arsenal profited from the benefit of the doubt in a possible offside call against Alexandre Lacazette prior to Sanchez’s goal.

“You saw what happened during the game,” Pochettino said.

“I’m disappointed because the small details were against us, which makes it difficult to win.”

Asked about which “small details” he was referring to, Pochettino replied: “The free-kick. And I think it was offside.

“In this type of game, when you play against a top-six side like Arsenal, the small details change games and put the game on one side.”

Wenger said: “I don’t see where the referee’s decisions went for us. For me, the foul (by Sanchez on Sanchez) was a foul.

“I can give you plenty of games since the start of the season when we had bad luck.”

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NYSC assures ‘abandoned’ corps members of election allowances

Mr Ebenezer Olawale, the NYSC State Coordinator, Anambra, said that all the corps members brought from Enugu would be paid their election allowances.

Olawale, who reacted to allegations of abandonment of the corps members, said that he got the information at 1.57 p.m. on Saturday.

”I am going to the place where the corps members are kept to see how they are fairing.”

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that scores of NYSC members drafted from Enugu for Nov.18 governorship election in Anambra are stranded on Saturday.

NAN reports that the NYSC members, brought in three luxury buses on Friday Nov.17, were not deployed, but left at Amawbia Office of INEC.

One of the corps members, who preferred anonymity, told NAN on Saturday at Amawbia, that they were brought in from Enugu North Local Government Area in Enugu State for the election, but were not deployed by INEC.

“Most of us are NYSC members serving in Enugu North and other parts of Enugu State, they brought us in three luxurious buses about 3 p.m on Friday, but as we speak, none of us was sent to a work in any polling unit.

“From the time they brought us to this place, (INEC office, Amawbia), they abandoned us. We slept in open halls and exposed to mosquito bites.

“In my rating, the treatment they have given to us so far is like that given to a leprosy patient.

”Nobody asked if we have had breakfast as at noon, nor if we have taken our bath, this situation is a big puzzle for me.

“If I have my way, but for the restriction of movement, I would have gone back to Enugu,” he said.

A female corps member, simply called Iniobong, said she gathered that their abandonment was because a political party contesting the election accused INEC of trying to use NYSC members deployed from Enugu to rig the governorship election.

“I learnt that a political party raised issue of possible usage of NYSC members coming from Enugu to rig election during INEC Stakeholders meeting in Awka on Tuesday.

“Since the issue of suspicion of NYSC coming from Enugu came on Tuesday, NYSC and INEC management should not have allowed us to be brought here on Friday after that Tuesday.

“This manner of treatment is to say the least, very sad and I feel highly pained over the inhuman treatment we are facing here.’’

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How ex-Zamfara governor Yerima blew N464m meant for dam – ICPC

The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) yesterday said it had tendered 25 exhibits and called six witnesses against a former Governor of Zamfara State, Ahmed Sani Yerima, who is standing trial for allegedly mismanaging N464,820,189.24out of N1billion loan meant for the repair of Gusau Dam in 2006.

The agency also said it had made its final submission before Justice Bello Tukur Gummi of Zamfara State High Court 5, sitting in Gusau.

A statement by the spokesperson of the ICPC, Mrs. Mrs Rasheedat A. Okoduwa (mni), said the ex-governor’s statement corroborated the charges preferred against him.

The statement said: “The commission’s prosecuting counsel led by Mrs. Christiana Onuogu, after calling six witnesses and tendering 25 exhibits made their final submission while the counsel for the ex-governor, Mahmud Magaji (SAN), tendered 8 exhibits.

“In her submission, Mrs. Onuogu argued that the prosecution had proved the essential elements of the offences with which the former governor was being charged, and that the principle of a no-case submission made by him failed where the defendant had explanations to make in response to the charges against him.

“She also averred that the defendant’s confessional statement that he had diverted part of the N1billion UBA loan to other projects and services corroborated the charges preferred against him.

“The action, according to her, was contrary to and punishable under Section 22 (5) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act 2000.

“Mrs. Onuogu, therefore, prayed the court to dismiss the no-case submission entered by the defence counsel.

“Having listened to the submissions made by both the defence and the prosecution, the trial judge adjourned the case to 5th December, 2017 for ruling on the no-case submission”.

It should be recalled that Senator Yerima had earlier been arraigned in 2016 by the ICPC before Justice Bello Shinkafi of High Court 4, Gusau, Zamfara State on a 19-count charge bordering on the alleged diversion of N385.5million and other sums from the N1bn loan meant for the repair of a collapsed dam and rehabilitation of flood victims while he was governor.

The case was subsequently transferred to Justice Gummi with the agreement of both the defence and prosecuting counsel on account of several adjournments because of the judge’s ill-health.

Some of the charges against Sani, popularly called Yerima Bakura, are as follows: “That you Ahmed Rufai Sani on or about November 2006, whilst being the Governor of Zamfara State at Gusau within the jurisdiction of this court did commit an offence of spending money allocated for one project on another to wit: out of the N1billion additional budgetary allocation by the Zamfara State House of Assembly for the repair of collapsed Gusau Dam and settlement of the victims of the said dam which was obtained through a bank loan, you spent the sum of N20m purportedly on assistance to the INEC and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under section 22 (5) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act 2000.

“ On another to wit: out of the N1billion additional budgetary allocation by the Zamfara State House of Assembly for the repair of collapsed Gusau Dam and payment of compensation to the victims of the said dam which was obtained through a bank loan, you spent the sum of N10million purportedly on donation and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under section 22 (5) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act 2000.

“ Did commit an offence of spending money allocated for one project on another to wit: out of the N1billion additional budgetary allocation by the Zamfara State House of Assembly for the repair of collapsed Gusau Dam and payment of compensation to the victims of the said dam which was obtained through a bank loan, you spent N43,008,000 purportedly on surveillance of guests and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under section 22 (5) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act 2000.

“That you Ahmed Rufai Sani on or about November 2006, whilst being the Governor of Zamfara State at Gusau within the jurisdiction of this court did commit an offence of spending money allocated for one project on another to wit: out of the N1billion additional budgetary allocation by the Zamfara State House of Assembly allocated for the repair of collapsed Gusau Dam and payment of compensation to the victims of the said dam which was obtained through a bank loan, you spent the sum of N21,450,000 purportedly on settlement of publication equipment and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under section 22 (5) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act 2000”.

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UI hosts international conference on Muslim Unity Monday

Scholars from all walks of life would converge University of Ibadan (UI) from Monday Nov. 20 to Thursday Nov. 23 to brainstorm on Muslim Unity and the quest for National Integration.

A statement by one of the conveners of the conference, Prof. Wahab Egbewole, said the conference was being facilitated by the Islamic Welfare Foundation (IWF) in collaboration with the Department of Arabic and Islamic Studies, University of Ibadan.

Dubbed: 2017 Conference On Islam in Nigeria (COIN) the event has as its theme: “Muslim Unity and Quest for National Integration’’.

Egbewole said the formal opening ceremony of the conference would hold on Nov. 21 at the Arts Theatre, University of Ibadan ( UI ), with the Minister of Communication, Adebayo Shittu and Prof. Ishaq Oloyede, JAMB Registrar, in attendance.

He said keynote addresses would be given by Prof. Muibi Opeloye of Obafemi Awolowo University ( OAU ) Ile-Ife, on “the National Integration Discourse in Nigeria: Wither the Muslim Ummah?” and Prof. Isaac Albert of University of Ibadan on “Religion and Consensus Building in Nigeria’’.

Egbewole said four other lead papers from Prof. Afis Oladosu and Dr Folake Tasita of University of Ibadan, Prof Lakin Akintola, Lagos State University and Prof. Musa Aibinu of Federal University of Technology (FUT), Minna, would be presented.

He also said that more than 100 Abstracts had been received from other stakeholders both within and outside the country on issues relating to the theme.

NAN

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‘Leave Zimbabwe Now’: Protesting Zimbabweans call for Robert Mugabe to go

Protesters march calling for Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe to step down in Cape Town, South Africa, November 18, 2017. PHOTO: REUTERS.babwe

Zimbabweans celebrating the expected fall of President Robert Mugabe began marching towards his residence in the capital Harare on Saturday, live television pictures showed, as the country prepared to oust its leader of the last 37 years.

Earlier in the day, tens of thousands of people flooded the streets of the capital singing, dancing and hugging soldiers in an outpouring of elation as Mugabe’s rule comes to an end.

In scenes reminiscent of the downfall of Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu in 1989, men, women, and children ran alongside the armored cars and troops that stepped in this week to oust the only ruler Zimbabwe has known since independence in 1980.

Reuters said 93-year-old Mugabe has been under house arrest in his lavish ‘Blue Roof’ compound in Harare, from where he has watched support from his Zanu-PF party, security services, and people evaporate in less than three days.

ALSO READ: Military take over: Grace Mugabe flees Zimbabwe for Namibia

Emotions ran over on Harare’s streets as Zimbabweans spoke of a second liberation for the former British colony, alongside their dreams of political and economic change after two decades of deepening repression and hardship.

“These are tears of joy,” Frank Mutsindikwa, 34, told Reuters, holding aloft the Zimbabwean flag. “I’ve been waiting all my life for this day. Free at last. We are free at last.”

Mugabe’s downfall is likely to send shockwaves across Africa, where a number of entrenched strongmen, from Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni to Democratic Republic of Congo’s Joseph Kabila, are facing mounting pressure to step aside.

The secretary-general of Zimbabwe’s War Veterans Association, Victor Matemadanda, called on those at an anti-Mugabe rally to march on Mugabe’s residence, and live television footage showed hundreds of protesters marching in that direction.

“Let us now go and deliver the message that grandfather Mugabe and his typist-cum-wife should go home,” Matemadanda told the crowd in the Harare township of Highfield.

The crowds in Harare have so far given a quasi-democratic veneer to the army’s intervention, backing its claims that it is merely effecting a constitutional transfer of power, which would help it avoid the diplomatic backlash and opprobrium that normally follows coups.

For some Africans, Mugabe remains a nationalist hero, the continent’s last independence leader and a symbol of its struggle to throw off the legacy of decades of colonial subjugation.
But to many more at home and abroad, however, he was reviled as a dictator happy to resort to violence to retain power and to run a once-promising economy into the ground.

Although Mugabe has been digging in his heels in the face of army pressure to quit, he appears to have run out of road, devoid of domestic or international support.

Political sources and intelligence documents seen by Reuters said Mugabe’s exit is likely to pave the way for an interim unity government led by Mnangagwa, a life-long Mugabe aide and former security chief known as “The Crocodile”.

Stabilising the free-falling economy will be the number one priority, the documents said.

The United States, a long-time Mugabe critic, said it was looking forward to a “new era” in Zimbabwe, while President Ian Khama of neighboring Botswana said Mugabe had no diplomatic support in the region and should resign at once.

“I don’t think anyone should be president for that amount of time. We are presidents. We are not monarchs. It’s just common sense,” Khama told Reuters.

In a sign of the depth of his demise, Mugabe’s ruling ZANU-PF called on Friday for him to go, according to The Herald, the state newspaper that has served as a loyal mouthpiece for nearly four decades.

ZANU-PF branches in all 10 provinces had also called for the resignation of Mugabe’s wife Grace, the first lady whose ambitions to succeed her husband outraged the military and much of the country.

To many Zimbabweans, Grace is more familiar as “Gucci Grace” on account of her reported dedication to shopping, or – in the wake of the alleged assault in September of a South African model – “Dis-Grace”.

Mugabe’s nephew, Patrick Zhuwao, told Reuters on Saturday that the elderly leader and his wife were “ready to die for what is correct” and had no intention of stepping down in order to legitimize what he described as a coup.
Speaking from a secret location in South Africa, Zhuwao said Mugabe had hardly slept since the military seized power on Wednesday but his health was otherwise “good”.

The extraordinary scenes in Harare are indicative of the anger and frustration that has built up in nearly two decades of economic mismanagement that started with the seizure of white-owned farms in 2000, the catalyst of a wider collapse.

The central bank tried to print its way out of trouble by unleashing a flood of cash but that only made matters worse, leading to hyperinflation that topped out at 500 billion percent in 2008.

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