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Obaseki, Ize-Iyamu’s Aides In Verbal War Over Alleged N20b Loan



Special Adviser to the Edo State governor on Media and Communication Strategy, Mr. Crusoe Osagie, and Chairman, Edo State APC Media Campaign Council, Mr. John Mayaki, have exchanged tough words over the former’s principal (Obaseki) alleged plan to obtain N20b loan from the nation’s capital market.

Group known as Joint Forces for the Defence of Democracy (JOFDEkS) had Monday, July 14, protested the government plan to obtain N20b (Twenty billion naira) from the Nigeria Capital Market.

The group also alleged that the Godwin Obaseki-led government intends to obtain another $100Million and $150m loan from the World Bank respectively, just as it described the act as ” reckless, irresponsible and ignominious for the Obaseki-led state government to obtain another loan.”

READ ALSO: N20b Loan: Group Protests, Rolls Out State’s Indebtedness

However, reacting to the allegation, Cruseo alleged that the protesters were sponsored by governorship candidate of the APC, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu.

He alleged that it was calculated attempt by the APC governorship candidate to distract Edo people from his (Ize-Iyamu) N700m fraud allegation.

“In a bid to distract Edo people from his ongoing trial in court for a N700 million fraud allegation, candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has resorted to sponsoring protests over non-existent issues.

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The SSA claimed that there’s no plan by the Obaseki-led government in the state to obtain loan from any quarter.

“There is no such thing as N20 billion debt proposal by the Edo State Government, and Edo people cannot be distracted by such wild claim,” Osagie said.

Responding to Crusoe’s allegation, Chairman, Edo State APC Media Campaign Council, Mr. John Mayaki, said it’s insulting to the people of Edo independence of thought for Crusoe to have attributed their protest and expression of anger to a sponsored one.

While stating that his principal did not sponsor any protest or any group of person, Mayaki questioned Crusoe if youths of the state have no right to read news, interpret it to their own understanding and react.

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“It is ludicrous and insulting to the people of Edo State who are known for their agency and independence of thought, for Crusoe Osagie to suggest that the anger they expressed today on the streets of Benin over the 20 billion naira loan Obaseki is trying to obtain for his collapsing campaign was done at the behest of Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu.

” Is Crusoe suggesting that Edo youths cannot read the news, interpret it, and understand the implications of a failed government seeking loans toward the end of its tenure?.

” We do not sponsor protest and we do not claim to control the minds of the people. If Obaseki and his aides have such an arrangement through which they channel funds to people to protest on the streets, they should come out and tell the world as that is not part of the APC modus operandi.” Mayaki said.

The Chairman, State APC Campaign Media Council, said for the governor’s aide to have shifted blame rather than attending to the allegation was an attempt to distract Edo people’s attention from the proposed N20b loan.

He noted, ” What’s interesting here and journalists ought to focus on, is Crusoe, and implicitly the Edo State Government, refusing to directly speak to the reports on the loan acquisition. There has been no one to state categorically and on the record that no such plans exist.

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” Once again, Crusoe Osagie and the government he serves are trying to deflect attention and distract the people and the press from the real issues. Are you obtaining a loan or not? What is the loan for? Why are you seeking a 20 billion naira loan during the heat of an election you are already guaranteed of losing? Those are the issues that need answers.”



Obanikoro Testifies Against Fayose, Says Ex-Ekiti Gov Got N1.2bn For Election




A former Minister of State for Defence, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, on Wednesday, narrated to a Federal High Court in Abuja how N1.219bn cash was airlifted to support the election of a former governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose.

According to him, the inability of a defunct bank, Diamond Bank, to handle huge amount of money prompted the airlifting of the money.

Fayose and Spotless Investment Limited are standing trial on 11 charges bordering on money laundering and stealing to the tune of N6.9 billion.

Led in evidence by the counsel for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Wahab Shittu (SAN), Obanikoro explained that the money came from the former National Security Adviser, Col Sambo Dasuki (retd.), adding that only he could explain its source.

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He added that he only got the information about the money from Dasuki, saying that it was the former NSA who told him that the said money had been paid into the account of Sylvan Mcnamara Limited.

Obanikoro said, “I was a minister under Jonathan’s administration in 2014. Sometime in 2014, we were going to have an election in Ekiti State. I was saddled with the responsibility of coordinating the activities in the election.

“Some days before the election, I got a call from Gov. Fayose asking me if I received any message for him from ONSA, I can recall that prior to that, we had some activities among which was fundraising for that election.”

He also denied taking out the money as speculated in a report by an online media platform.

READ ALSO: Bauchi SEC Approves N300bn 2024 Budget

Obanikoro said, “When Mr. Fayose called, I told him I would call him later. I had a call conversation with the NSA and was told he would get back to me. After, he got back to me that N2.2 billion was paid into the account of Sylvan Mcnamara Lomited..

“The money came came from the NSA. Only the NSA can explain the source of the fund.

The bank lacked the capacity to handle the situation. It was a last-minute decision- to ferry the money to Ekiti.

“I handed over the cash to Agbele for onward delivery to Fayose. I did not take any money or N19 million, contrary to the publication by a Lagos-based online platform.”

READ ALSO: Ondo Crisis Worsens, Assembly Demands Aiyedatiwa’s Resignation

When asked about his relationship with Sylvan Mcnamara Limited, Obanikoro said the account was initially opened to tackle terrorism in Lagos after which it was used to disburse funds for elections.

He said, “The account was created to deal with the issue of Boko Haram in Lagos, the account was created by Taiwo Kareem, and the account was used for the purpose of disbursing funds for election.

“I put a call through to let Fayose know that the money had been paid. Diamond Bank had said it did not have the capacity to make the funds available, so we opted to airlift the fund. The funds were airlifted from Lagos in two tranches, the volume was much.”

After listening to Obanikoro’s testimony, the presiding judge, Justice Nnamdi Dimgba adjourned the case till February 27, 2024.

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Northern Elders Forum Gets New Spokesman




The Northern Elders Forum has appointed Abdul-Azeez Suleiman as its new spokesman, following the exit of Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed.

The PUNCH reports that Baba-Ahmed was appointed by President Bola Tinubu, as the Special Adviser On Political issues in the office of Vice-President Kashim Shettima.

Until his appointment, Suleiman was the spokesman for the Coalition of Northern Groups which comprises over 50 civil society organisations in the 19 northern states and Abuja.

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NEF’s Convener, Prof. Ango Abdullahi, in the appointment letter he personally signed, said Suleiman’s appointment was a reflection of his contributions towards promoting and protecting the interests of the North and Nigeria.

Abdullahi, a former Vice-Chancellor of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, said, “I am pleased to inform you that I have approved the recommendation to appoint you as the spokesperson for the Northern Elders Forum.

“Your appointment is a reflection of your unwavering dedication and contributions towards promoting and protecting the interests of the North and Nigeria as a whole, during your time with the Coalition of Northern Groups.

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“Furthermore, your extensive experience in credible, fearless, selfless, and ethical journalism, also contributes to making you a great fit for this role.

“The NEF hopes that you will utilise your exceptional qualities and experience to enhance NEF’s activities and promote its image through cooperation with its directors and other members of the Forum.

“Congratulations on your appointment, and we look forward to the incredible value you will bring to the NEF.”

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Bauchi SEC Approves N300bn 2024 Budget




The Bauchi State Executive Council (SEC) has approved the medium term expenditure of about N300 billion for the 2024 physical year.

Mr Aminu Hammayo, the Bauchi state Commissioner for Budget and Economic Planning, disclosed this while briefing newsmen on the outcome of the State Executive Council (SEC) meeting on Wednesday.

According to him, the budget estimate was made on the basis of certain assumptions like increase in oil production capacity, increase in Value Added Tax.

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Other assumptions he said included the impact of the withdrawal of oil subsidy as there had been an increase in the amount of revenues accrued into the federation account as well as the increase in the cost of goods and services.

“The budget estimate for the year 2024 is about N300 billion and we have a proportion of about 58.8 per cent allocated for capital expenditure and about 41.2 per cent for recurrent expenditure.

“This means the emphasis is basically on capital expenditure so as to generate more revenue in the future.

“This budget estimate is going to be presented as a bill to the state House of Assembly and after the presentation, we will still come back to where there will be a budget briefing to give the details of what the budget is all about,” he said.

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Also speaking, the state Commissioner for Information and Communication, Mr Usman Garba, explained that a decision had been taken to create a Ministry of Regional Integration so that the problems and challenges of the people would further be attended to.

He said that this decision was taken during the Northeast Governors Forum meeting held in Yola, Adamawa state on Saturday.

“Here in Bauchi state, the governor has decided to merge this new ministry with the ministry of Higher Education.

“So, what we have now is the Ministry of Higher Education and Regional Integration,” he said.

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