TOP 10 NEWS MAKING THE ROUNDS IN NIGERIA TODAY, FRIDAY
1. Buhari Not Happy That Nigerians Are Suffering – FG Speaks On Naira Notes Scarcity
President Muhammadu Buhari, according to Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Hajiya Zainab Ahmed, is saddened by the lamentations of Nigerians currently, especially with the scarcity of the new naira notes.
Speaking at the 65th ministerial briefing organised by the Presidential Communications Team in the State House, Abuja, the minister admonished Nigerians to persevere a little more as the current hardship is only temporal.
On whether the Federal Government was not worried about the current hardship, Zainab said the initiative of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) was necessary for the country’s economic growth.
She likened the pains of citizens to a wound being treated which will eventually heal up after a little while. The Minister stressed that the new policy was paramount and appropriate at this moment to combat corruption at all levels.
According to her, it has some positive effects with the massive mopped-up of funds outside the banking system. Zainab said it was pitiful to see how citizens have to queue and struggle at Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) to be able to get their hard-earned cash.
2. 2023: No Plans To Postpone General Election – INEC Chairman Insists
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has insisted that it has no plans to postpone the forthcoming general election which commences in barely three weeks.
The INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu on Thursday emphasised that elections would hold as scheduled and plans haven’t changed.
The INEC boss reteirated the commission’s stand when he received the new Director General of the National Youth Service Corps, Brig. General Yushu’a Ahmed on Thursday.
It was gathered that Yakubu was reacting to reports that the commission might be postponing the polls.
Reports emerged on Wednesday morning claiming INEC may postpone the February 25 presidential election by a minimum of two weeks due to logistics issues.
However, in his brief remarks on Thursday, Yakubu cleared the air saying the election would hold as planned as the commission has no plans to shift any of the elections.
He told Ahmed how lucky the commission was to have a large pool of youths, who are largely corp members ready for deployment in the elections.
The INEC boss noted that no electoral commission can conduct any election based on its own staff strength alone across countries of the world.
He, therefore, assured the new NYSC boss of the safety of corp members during the election.
Ahmed also gave his words that the commitment of the NYSC to the delivery of credible polls in the country was unshakable.
3. Choice Of Lawan As Anointed Presidential Candidate Shocked Buhari, APC Govs – El-Rufai
Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State has said President Muhammadu Buhari and governors of the All Progressives Congress (APC) were shocked when they learned that Senate President Ahmad Lawan was the party’s “anointed” presidential candidate.
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The governor made this known while responding to questions on a programme on Television Continental (TVC) on Thursday.
Recall that hours before voting at the APC presidential primary was scheduled to start, the National Chairman of the party, Abdullahi Adamu, had announced Lawan as the consensus candidate for the party.
Following the announcement, some members of the APC National Working Committee (NWC) and several governors rejected Lawan as the anointed candidate.
Speaking further, Governor el-Rufai said the president was shocked about the choice of Lawan, adding that Buhari said he had no idea of the development.
The APC governor revealed that Buhari was very clear about his position on the choice of a presidential candidate for the party.
4. We Will Fight You – El-Rufai Threatens Aso Rock ‘Cabals’
The Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El-Rufai on Thursday noted they are not afraid of the ‘cabals’ in the Aso-Rock.
This is coming after El-Rufai claimed that some elements in the presidential villa are working against the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu.
El-Rufai in an interview on Channels TV said the elements had their preferred presidential aspirant, but he was defeated by Tinubu in the APC presidential primaries.
He further stated that those people who have a preferred aspirant are hiding behind President Muhammadu Buhari to pursue their interests.
El-Rufai said, “I believe there are elements in the villa who want us to lose the election because they didn’t get their way; they had their candidate. Their candidate did not win the primaries.
“They are trying to get us to lose the election, and they are hiding behind the president’s desire to do what he thinks is right.”
The Kaduna State Governor, in a yet-to-be-fully released interview with BBC Hausa on Thursday, said they are not afraid of the powers in the Aso Rock.
5. My Comments Misinterpreted, Buhari Solidly Behind Tinubu – Lai Mohammed
The Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, on Thursday stated that his comment about President Muhammadu Buhari ensuring a level playing field for all candidates in the forthcoming elections has been misinterpreted.
Lai Mohammed insisted that Buhari is solidly behind the All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential Candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
Recall that Mohammed, while reacting to comments by Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State who stated that some individuals in the presidency are working against Tinubu, had told newsmen on Wednesday that the federal government was not officially aware of any entity in the Presidential Villa working against the victory of the ruling party’s presidential flag bearer.
Mohammed argued that the Buhari-led government has been fair to all candidates regardless of party affiliations.
Naija News reports that Mohammed’s comment was interpreted to mean Buhari was not throwing his full weight behind Tinubu’s ambition.
Clarifying his comments at a news conference in Abuja on Thursday, the minister said it was preposterous for people to claim otherwise when Mr. President is actively campaigning for Tinubu.
6. Fuel Scarcity Not Deliberate Attempt To Sabotage Elections – Kyari Replies Tinubu
The Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited, Mele Kyari, has rejected claims that the petrol scarcity in the country is a deliberate attempt to sabotage the forthcoming general elections.
Recall that the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, said the petrol scarcity and the naira redesign were attempts to sabotage the forthcoming elections.
Speaking during an appearance on NTA’s ‘Good Morning Nigeria‘ programme on Thursday, Kyari said the lingering fuel scarcity in the country has nothing to do with the elections.
The NNPC boss said the petrol scarcity situation began in 2022 and it is a cyclical issue, adding that arbitrage has a significant impact on the product’s scarcity.
Kyari said it was out of context and impossible to link petrol shortage to the elections, urging those making those claims should desist from such.
He, however, assured Nigerians that the corporation is working tirelessly to address the petrol shortage before the February 25 presidential election.
7. CBN Issues New Directives On New Naira Note
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Thursday issued a new directive to commercial banks on swapping old naira notes for new notes.
The apex bank in a statement released on Thursday directed commercial banks to start paying the redesigned naira notes to customers over the counter.
The CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, said the new directive was to alleviate the challenges that Nigerians are experiencing with getting access to the new notes.
He further stated that the new directive will reduce queues at the automated teller machines (ATMs) nationwide.
8. 2023: God Will Not Answer Your Prayers – Edwin Clark Fires Okowa, Calls Him Betrayer
The vice presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Ifeanyi Okowa has come under fire from a prominent Ijaw leader, Chief Edwin Clark.
Clark has come out to tag Okowa a betrayer, saying God would not answer his prayers as far as the elections are concerned.
Clark, at a press briefing in Abuja on Thursday, asked Okowa to apologise to the people, his colleagues and Southern Nigeria.
He slammed Okowa for accepting to be running mate to PDP presidential candidate, Abubakar Atiku, and therefore asked him to step down.
The elder statesman claimed Okowa deceived other southern governors after a decision was reached that no southern serving governor, legislator or politician should accept to be Atiku’s running mate.
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He recounted how 17 southern governors met on May 11, 2021, at the Government House Asaba to resolve that none of them should offer to be running mate to Atiku, noting that the first southern governor’s meeting, which is now popularly known as ‘The Asaba Accord’ was hosted by him Okowa.
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9. We Have Bought Weapons With New Notes – Terrorist Leader
A notorious terrorist leader, Kachalla Balleri has condemned the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) over the scarcity of the new naira notes.
According to Balleri, the policies of the apex bank are working against the poor, whom he said are living from hand to mouth.
Despite the scarcity of the new naira notes, Balleri claimed that he has purchased weapons with new notes.
According to Daily Trust, the terrorist leader in a video flaunted the newly redesigned naira notes.
This video is coming weeks after the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele claimed that the policy was targeted at minimizing terrorism and kidnapping in Nigeria.
Ballari further stated that some poor Nigerians have not laid their hands on the new notes.
10. Vote Buying: Some Presidential Candidates Have Banks – Kwankwaso
The presidential candidate of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), Rabiu Kwankwaso on Thursday claimed that some presidential candidates in the 2023 race have banks.
Kwankwaso stated this while reacting to the move by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Federal Government to stop vote buying during elections by replacing old noted with the new ones.
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He said the agenda to stop vote buying might not work, since major politicians have access to the banking system.
Kwankwaso disclosed this on Thursday while speaking on Channels TV.