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Atiku, Saraki, Tambuwal, others in final showdown for presidential ticket



Atiku, Saraki, Tambuwal, others in final showdown for presidential ticket

Presidential aspirants, delegates, party officials, independent observers, journalists and other accredited participants have gathered in Port Harcourt for the Peoples Democratic Party 2018 National Convention.

The event, officially scheduled for 6-7 October in the major commercial hub, would end in the emergence of a presidential candidate for Nigeria’s main opposition party.

The PDP governed Africa’s largest economy and most-populated entity under three successive presidents between 1999 when the country returned to civil rule and 2015 when Muhammadu Buhari emerged the first opposition politician to be elected president.

The PDP has come a long way since March 2015 when Nigerians denied it a fifth presidential election victory. In that general election, the party did not only lose the centre but also saw its grip on over a dozen states successfully wrestled by the All Progressives Congress, which was only established in mid-2013.

Shortly after President Goodluck Jonathan handed over to Mr Buhari at the end of May 2015, the PDP was plunged into a series of protracted internal wranglings that became so critical at some point political observers were predicting its demise.

The crises, which bordered largely on the leadership complexities, were eventually resolved at the Supreme Court in mid-2017, and the party seemed to have steadily regained its posture ever since.

The first sign that the party may enter the 2019 as a strong contender came a few months after the Supreme Court victory in December 2015 when Uche Secondus emerged national chairman at a competitive convention.

Although the outcome was heavily criticised by Mr Secondus’ challengers, especially those from the South-west who believed the new chairman was helped in by Governor Nyesom Wike to spite the Yoruba and relegate them to the fringes in party affairs, the frayed nerves were soon pacified by a reconciliation committee the party set in motion.

Also, within a few months after the PDP victory, and with the opening of 2019 election season looming on the horizon, political heavyweights began joining the party’s folds, and their number built as the election proper approached.

Now months to the general election in February 2019, the party is arguing that but for its top stalwarts who broke away in a major revolt between 2013 when APC was formed and well into the last weeks of the 2015 election, it would not have lost the centre.

The party also said since Mr Buhari’s performance has been underwhelming beyond belief, Nigerians would not be reluctant in relieving him of power at the polls next year.

But the Buhari administration and the APC have shot back at the oppostion party’s talking points, saying the current government had been preoccupied with reversing the disastrous policies of the past and accused the PDP of trying to return to power to continue looting the treasury.

The opposition party, however, apologised to Nigerians for its breach of citizens’s mandate during its 16-year reign, promising a new dawn in its conduct going forward.

With former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, Senate President Bukola Saraki, Speaker Yakubu Dogara, Governor Aminu Tambuwal, Rabiu Kwankwaso, and a host of other famed politicians who were part of the pre-2015 renegades now back in the PDP and even seeking presidential nomination, the opposition party is now more confident of its standing than at any time since its 2015 shellacking.

The need for aspirants to remain in the PDP and form a united front against Mr Buhari next February has been amongst the top concerns of the PDP in recent days. Last week, the party reportedly demanded that all aspirants must commit to remain in the party and work together after the convention, its outcome notwithstanding.

Party insiders also said the convention was deliberately scheduled to end on October 7 so as to prevent aspirants from decamping to other parties to participate in their convention upon the deadline set by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for primaries.

Most aspirants have openly expressed willingness to work with whoever emerges the candidate amongst them, and none of them has openly indicated interest in defecting after the primaries this weekend. Instead, they have been largely busy canvassing delegates.

At least half of the 12 aspirants met with delegates at different levels throughout the night between Friday and Saturday.

At least 4,000 delegates, comprising automatic, statutory and ad-hoc members, are expected to vote. Politicking amongst the aspirants for the highest number of delegates score is expected to continue until the last minute.

Organisers estimate voting would start by late evening, and continue well into Sunday at Adokiye Amiesiemeka Stadium.

The 12 candidates are: Atiku Abubakar, Ahmed Makarfi, Aminu Tambuwal, Datti Baba-Ahmed, Attahiru Bafarawa, Sule Lamido, Bukola Saraki, Sule Lamido, David Mark, Jonah Jang, KabiruTuraki and Rabi Kwankwaso. They have all expressed confidence in their individual abilities to clinch the ticket and face President Muhammadu Buhari as the main challenger in the general election next February.

PREMIUM TIMES’ Samuel Ogundipe, Cletus Ukpong and Nasir Ayitogo are on ground for a real-time coverage of the historic event, whose aftermath would herald the 2019 election campaign proper. Refresh your browser for the latest in our live updates:


N500 healed my friend of depression — Reno Omokri




Reno Omokri on Twitter Saturday narrated how N500 healed his friend of depression.

He said this while trying to enlighten his followers on depression and how someone will know if he/she is depressed.

He said in series of tweets:

“Depression is REAL. But BEFORE you take anti depression drugs, try this. Stop thinking about YOU. Think about the less privileged. Take 24 hours to FORGET YOURSELF and do something for them. Then see if you are still depressed after the experience.

I met someone who thought he was depressed. I sent him money. He received the bank alert and got INSTANT HEALING. My point isn’t to trivialise depression. But before taking anti depression drugs, make sure you are really depressed and not just broke.

Many people are LONELY, HEARTBROKEN, BROKE, DISAPPOINTED, DISILLUSIONED, REJECTED & JILTED. But they have allowed MODERN SCIENCE to deceive them that they are DEPRESSED. Don’t allow a one time temporary EVENT become your life long permanent DESTINY.

When I was in university, a friend of mine was depressed. I traveled to Benin to tell his dad. His dad said there has NEVER been depression in their family, but I should take this ₦500 (it was 94). Behold, that ₦500 healed my friend of depression.”

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Taiwan legalises Same Sex Marriage, first in Asia




In what has been touted as the first in Asia, Taiwan’s parliament legalised same-sex marriage on Friday as the government survived a last-minute attempt by conservatives to pass watered-down legislation.

Lawmakers comfortably passed a bill allowing same-sex couples to form “exclusive permanent unions” and another clause that would let them apply for a “marriage registration” with government agencies.

The vote — which took place on the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia — is a major victory for the island’s LGBT community and it places the island at the vanguard of Asia’s burgeoning gay rights movement.

Thousands of gay rights supporters gathered outside parliament despite heavy downpours, waving rainbow flags, flashing victory signs and breaking into cheers as the news filtered out. In recent months conservatives had mobilised to rid the law of any reference to marriage, instead putting forward rival bills that offered something closer to limited same-sex unions.

But those bills struggled to receive enough votes. Gay rights groups hailed the vote on Friday, saying the ability to apply for a “marriage registration” — known as Clause Four — put their community much closer to parity with heterosexual couples.

“The passage of Clause Four ensures that two persons of the same-sex can register their marriage on May 24th and ensure that Taiwan becomes the first country in Asia to legalise same-sex marriage and to successfully open a new page in history,” said the Taiwan Alliance to Promote Civil Partnership Rights.

Two years ago Taiwan’s top court ruled that not allowing same-sex couples to marry violates the constitution with judges giving the government until May 24 to make the changes or see marriage equality enacted automatically.

The law does not bring full equality with heterosexual couples — it only allows for biological adoption, for example, and marriages with foreigners are not recognised.



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EFCC arrests 22 Suspected Internet Fraudsters in Delta




Operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Advance Fee Fraud Section, Abuja Headquarters in collaboration with men from the Benin Zonal Office in an operation on Friday 17, 2019 arrested 22 suspected internet fraudsters during an early morning raid at Sapele, Delta State.

Working on intelligence reports, the suspects, who are between the ages of 18 to 30 years, were smoked out from their hideout in an early morning operation.

A day earlier, the operatives from Abuja had arrested two suspected internet fraudster in Ughelli, Delta State.

Items recovered from the suspects include lap top computers, iPhones, phones, ATM cards and three exotic vehicles. The cars are Benz C350, Benz ML 350 and Chrysler 300.

The raid on the internet fraudsters is one in the series by operatives of the Commission in line with the directive of the acting Executive Chairman of the Commission, Ibrahim Magu to rid the entire country of internet fraud and cyber crime.

The suspects have made useful statements and will be charged to court as soon investigations are completed.


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