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Presidency, Obi Clash Over New Presidential Jet

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The Labour Party presidential candidate, Peter Obi, on Monday, faulted the plan by the Federal Government to buy new aircraft for the presidential fleets.

He described the move as insensitive while Nigerians grapple with economic hardship occasioned by the Federal Government’s policies.

But the Presidency, in a swift reaction, described Obi’s comment as insensitive, wondering if he would rather have the life of the President jeopardised by flying faulty aircraft.

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Speaking with The PUNCH on Monday, the Special Adviser to President Bola Tinubu on Information and Strategy, Bayo Onanuga, said, “Does Peter Obi want the President dead? Is that his wish? Does he want him to continue moving around in a rickety plane and die like the VP of Malawi and Iran President? Let him tell us. This is a basic thing any sane government will do. You can’t toy with your President’s welfare.

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“The plane he used now, I learnt, was bought during (former President) Obasanjo’s era. That was over 20 years ago and I learnt it was a very small plane. The plane developed a problem the last time he travelled to Saudi Arabia. The President had to go from there to the UK on a commercial airline. Even those managing them said the aircraft needed to be replaced.

“Why will any right-thinking person still want the President to move around in it? In any way, it is the National Assembly that officially recommended that new ones should be bought. Sometimes, Peter Obi opened his mouth to make unnecessary statements.”

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The House of Representatives Committee on National Security and Intelligence had recently called on the FG to buy new aircraft for President Bola Tinubu and Vice-President Kashim Shettima.

The committee’s recommendation was contained in a report released after it investigated the status of the aircraft in the presidential air fleet.

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Benin monarch faults LP candidate Akpata’s ‘son of the palace’ claim
The recommendation comes a few months after three planes from the Presidential Air Fleet were pencilled down for sale.

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But Obi described the move as unacceptable and a clear show of insensitivity to the suffering of the Nigerian people.

Reacting on his X handle on Monday, the former Anambra governor said it was rather unfortunate that at a time when the country was making headlines over the economic crisis, occasioned by hyperinflation, a falling currency and widespread poverty, the FG was contemplating securing new presidential jets.

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He said, “This demonstrates extreme insensitivity to citizens’ struggles. With rising insecurity, poverty, hunger, and homelessness, this decision highlights the disconnect that is apparent between the government and the people. It is unacceptable as the situation in the country today more than ever demands a more compassionate use of resources, prioritising citizens’ welfare.

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“It is on record that our presidential jets have an average age of 12 years, purchased when most Nigerians could afford necessities. Now, as our country faces significant challenges, including a high debt profile, our citizens are in even greater need. Instead of adding to our luxuries, we should be focused on alleviating their suffering and finding solutions to their problems.

“While we had earlier refurbished the old VP residence with $2m, the over 100-year-old US Vice President’s house has only undergone wide-scale renovations twice, funded by taxpayers’ money; in 1993 and 2021. Every new US VP is free to finance any minor refurbishing from his funds.

“It is, therefore, time to stop this impunity, insensitivity, and shamelessness and refocus on the needs of our people. We must prioritise education, healthcare, and lifting our citizens out of poverty. Let us work together to build a nation that truly serves its people, not just the interests of a few.”

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Reinstated Shaibu Appoints Aides, Edo Govt Kicks

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The reinstated Deputy Governor of Edo State, Philip Shaibu and the state government have disagreed over the appointment of some political aides by the former.

Recall that Shaibu was on Wednesday reinstated by the a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja after being impeached by the Edo State House of Assembly on March 8, 2024.

Following his reinstatement by the court, Shaibu reinstated some of his former political aides.

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Some of the reinstated political aides are: Kingsley Ehigiamusor, Chief of Staff, Office of the Deputy Governor; Musa Ebomhiana, Chief Press Secretary; Hon. Emmanuel Akhaba, Senior Special Assistant; Charles Olubayo, Senior Special Assistant.

READ ALSO: APC Condems Shooting At Benin Airport, Urges IGP To Probe Alleged Assassination Attempt On Okpebholo

Others are: Mustapha Lawal-Omokpo, Senior Special Assistant; Matthias Akhanemhe, Special Assistant; Comrade Robinson Akhenoba, Special Assistant; Robert Ojele, Special Assistant, and Isioma Ogochuwku, Special Assistant.

A statement signed Musa Ebomhiana, Chief Press Secretary to the Deputy Governor, said all the appointments are with immediate effect.

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Speaking more on the appointments, Shaibu said they are not fresh appointment but that the aides were reinstated to their former positions in line with the court judgment that reinstated him.

Shaibu assured that more appointments would be made in no distant time.

Reacting to the development, the Edo State Government in a statement signed by the Commissioner for Communication and Orientation, Chris Nehikhare, described the appointments as fake.

READ ALSO: APC Condems Shooting At Benin Airport, Urges IGP To Probe Alleged Assassination Attempt On Okpebholo

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He said, “The Edo State Government has observed that some unsigned statements are circulating on social media purporting to appoint certain persons as aides in the Office of the Deputy Governor.

“The fake document should be disregarded as it is part of the provocative actions by the impeached Deputy Governor, Comrade Philip Shaibu, to foment crisis in the State.

“It is clear that the impeached deputy governor is hell-bent on creating a sense of chaos in the state but the Edo State Government is resolved to put his antics in check and ensure that the state continues to run smoothly.

“We restate that Omobayo Marvellous Godwins remains the Deputy Governor of Edo State and the public is enjoined to disregard the shenanigans orchestrated by Shaibu.”

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JUST IN: I’m An Unofficial APC Member, Says Shaibu

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The reinstated Deputy Governor of Edo State, Philips Shaibu, on Friday, said he was already an unofficial member of the All Progressives Congress.?

He said the only thing still keeping him in the Peoples Democratic Party was because he was yet to officially dump the ruling party in Edo.

Reacting to questions on why he was supporting the APC governorship candidate in Edo when he featured on Arise TV’s morning show on Friday, the deputy governor maintained that his spirit had left the PDP.

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READ ALSO: APC Condems Shooting At Benin Airport, Urges IGP To Probe Alleged Assassination Attempt On Okpebholo

“In PDP now, everybody can support whoever they like. On the issue of supporting a candidate, the constitution guarantees that you can support who you like and you can belong to any political party,” Shaibu said.

He added, “As of now, I’m a PDP man and I will not support anybody while I am in another party contrary to who I am supporting. For now, I am a member of PDP but going forward, I am good as being a member of APC; I can tell you that.”

When interjected that he (Shaibu) seems to have one leg in APC and one in PDP, he countered the claim, saying, “No, two legs in APC.

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“The only thing that is keeping me in PDP is that I have not officially declared. Talking more seriously, I am actually a member of APC, but on official. My spirit has left PDP for a long time, it is only my leg and body that are still there because my PDP party card is still with me and I have not picked an APC party card yet. But in terms of spirit, my spirit has left PDP and is now in APC.”

He also alleged that since the political crisis in the state started, he had called his principal, Governor Godwin Obaseki, 111 times without the governor picking up his calls or returning them.

“I had made up my mind not to call him again, but I always send him texts. Before now, when I started counting, I called him (Obaseki) 111 times during that crisis, but he never picked up. I sent him texts, and he never replied, but it never really mattered. The last text I sent to him was on his birthday,” Shaibu said.

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READ ALSO: JUST IN: Supreme Court Orders Immediate Direct Payment Of LG Allocations

Shaibu was impeached by the State House of Assembly on April 8, 2024.

However, he was reinstated on Wednesday after Justice J.K. Omotosho of the Abuja High Court ruled that he was unjustly impeached.

Meanwhile, a police officer identified as Okon, attached to the APC candidate in the September 21 governorship election, Monday Okpebholo, was killed after mobs attacked his convoy and that of Shaibu, in Benin on Thursday after leaving the Benin Airport.

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Shaibu and Okpebholo arrived at the Benin Airport around 2 pm to the rousing welcome of supporters.

 

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APC Condems Shooting At Benin Airport, Urges IGP To Probe Alleged Assassination Attempt On Okpebholo

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The Edo State chapter of All Progressives Congress, APC, has called on President Bola Tinubu to direct the Inspector General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun, and the State Security Services to probe yesterday’s shooting at Benin Airport exit gate and the alleged assassination attempt on its governorship candidate, Senator Monday Okpebholo.

A statement signed by Comrade Orobosa Omo-Ojo, Director of Publicity, APC Edo Governorship Campaign Council, the party insisted that yesterday’s “unwarranted shooting and assassination attempt on Okpebholo” must be thoroughly investigated and the culprits be punished in accordance with the law.

“…IGP Kayode Egbetokun, and the State Security Service to probe this assassination attempt and bring the culprits to book and also rein in state sponsored criminals who have brazenly made the political landscape unsafe,” he added.

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READ ALSO: JUST IN: Heavy Gunshots Erupt At Benin Airport As Shaibu Arrives

Omo-Ojo, in the statement made available to INFO DAILY on Friday noted that “anything short of this, is capable of encouraging self help in the state, especially as we enter the crucial campaign season.”

The Director, who said the “assassination attempt on Okpebholo represents glaring failure by the Police,” also described the incident as “the greatest security breach and failure.”

He added: “The attempted assassination of Senator Okpebholo, the APC gubernatorial candidate represents a glaring failure by the Police, which left a serving senator exposed to gunfire in a breach of security that caused fatality.”

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He continued: “The vantage point the assasins who were in a marked Sienna Bus opposite the exit gate managed to acquire, is the greatest security breach and failure, especially as the Edo State Commissioner of Police, Funsho Adegboye, and other top officers were at the airport to ensure peace.”

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Omo-Ojo, while regretting the killing of a Police Inspector in the gunfire, condemned the act and urged every well meaning Nigerians to do so.

“Those that committed the murder of Inspector Ako and attempted to assassinate Senator Okpebholo are the hired criminals who were identified by security agents present at the scene as representatives of the opposition party.

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“This unprovoked horrific act of political violence against a peaceful Nigerian Senator should have no place in Edo State.

“It should be unanimously and forcefully condemned by the Federal Government of Nigeria and the good people of Edo State.

“After a careful reflection, the APC regrets the killing of a serving police officer, who was murdered in cold blood while carrying out his official assignment.

“The party is also appalled by the pains caused by injuries sustained by hundreds of our members during the unexpected attack,” he added.

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