APC explains Osibanjo’s absence at Tinubu rallies; FG denies fuel pump price hike as scarcity persists | 5 Things That Should Matter Today

  • APC explains Osibanjo’s absence at Tinubu rallies
  • FG denies fuel pump price hike as scarcity persists
  • Wike clarifies Peter Obi ‘endorsement’
  • Banks to pay N1m daily for failing to collect redesigned naira notes – CBN
  • FG fixes March 29 to April 2 for census

Across Nigeria’s 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory, these are the five top Nigerian news stories you shouldn’t miss:

APC explains Osibanjo’s absence at Tinubu rallies

The All Progressives Congress has disclosed the reasons why Vice-President Yemi Osibanjo and some other stakeholders in the party are not involved in the campaign of the party’s presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.

Since the APC flagged off its presidential campaign in Jos on November 15, 2022, some members of the party, including the Vice President have not been seen campaigning for their party’s candidate.

Osibanjo, who has been seen attending other social activities, including the recently held centenary celebration of the Baptist Boys High School in Abeokuta, had been silent on Tinubu’s campaign since he lost at the party’s primary election.

Even on social media where the VP has a strong base and posts all his major activities, he has never posted any material to show his support for Tinubu’s candidacy.

Similarly, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, has also been absent from the campaign train of his party.

Reacting, the APC Presidential Campaign Council spokesman, Festus Keyamo, said, the Vice President was acting on the directive of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), to concentrate on governance.

He said, “Rotimi Amaechi (former Minister of Transportation) was there in Adamawa State and Jos recently; he has been going to the rallies but he has picked the ones he wants to attend.

“For the Vice President, it was a directive for him to face governance, and you can see Mr. President has been going round campaigning. Also, Ngige is not campaigning against our party, he just said he will remain neutral for his own reasons and that is just one minister out of 43.

“We have an absolutely strong coalition in the APC unlike the PDP that has virtually collapsed.”

FG denies fuel pump price hike as scarcity persists

The Federal Government yesterday denied giving any directives to marketers to raise the pump price of petrol from N180 per litre to N195.

This denial came a day after marketers raised the price of petrol after a memo from Federal Government-owned NNPC Retails Limited.

Despite the hike in rate, the queues are still seen at petrol stations in Abuja with the stations dispensing at the new pump price.

The Minister of State Petroleum Resources Chief Timipre Sylva in a statement by his media aide denied that the government gave the order for the price hike.

Sylva said President Muhammadu Buhari has not approved any price increase for PMS as reported in the media.

According to him, “President Muhammadu Buhari has not approved any increase in the price of PMS or any other petroleum product for that matter. There is no reason for President Muhammadu Buhari to renege on his earlier promise not to approve any increase in the price of PMS at this time. Mr. President is sensitive to the plights of the ordinary Nigerian and has said repeatedly that he understands the challenges of the ordinary Nigerian and would not want to cause untold hardship for the electorates’.

“Government will not approve any increase of PMS secretly without due consultations with the relevant stakeholders. The President has not directed the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) or any agency for that matter to increase the price of fuel. This is not the time for any price increase in pump price of PMS”.

The Minister noted that “What is playing out is the handiwork of mischief makers and those planning to discredit the achievements of Mr. President in the oil and gas sector of the economy. I appeal to Nigerians to remain calm and law-abiding as the government is working hard to bring normalcy to fuel supply and distribution in the country”.

Wike clarifies Peter Obi ‘endorsement’

Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers on Friday opened up on endorsing the Labour Party, LP, presidential candidate, Peter Obi.

Wike said his comment that Obi was presidential material does not mean he endorsed the LP presidential candidate.

Speaking with BBC Pidgin, the governor said: “If I tell Obi that he is a presidential material, does that mean an endorsement?”

In 2022, Wike played host to the former Anambra State governor, a situation that led to speculations that he may endorse Obi.

Despite being a member of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Wike is yet to endorse his presidential candidate.

Wike and the G-5 governors are aggrieved with PDP leadership, hence their refusal to endorse the party’s presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar.

Banks to pay N1m daily for failing to collect redesigned naira notes – CBN

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) says any commercial bank that fails to pick up the new naira notes for distribution will be fined N1 million daily.

Adeleke Adelokun, a deputy director at CBN, made this known while sensitising traders on the need to embrace the new currency and return old ones to banks, at Ayegbaju International Market in Osogbo, the Osun state capital, on Friday.

Two weeks ago, the CBN ordered banks to halt dispensing the new currency notes over the counter, and only make them available via automated teller machines (ATMs).

It further threatened to penalise commercial banks who fail to comply with the directive of loading the redesigned naira notes in their ATMs.

Speaking with the traders, Adelokun said the apex bank had printed enough naira notes but observed that commercial banks were not collecting them.

“As at today, CBN has printed enough new naira notes of N200, N500 and N1,000,” NAN quoted the CBN official as saying.

“But, what we discovered was that most of the banks that are supposed to collect the new notes have not collected them. So, we have put a sanction on the banks.

“Any bank that fails to collect the new notes from CBN will pay N1 million as sanction per box, per day and the amount they are to pay now will depend on the number of days they have not collected the notes.

“We also mandated the banks to put new naira notes in their ATMs all over Nigeria so that Nigerians will have access to the new naira notes.”

FG fixes March 29 to April 2 for census

The National Population Commission (NPC) says the census exercise will be carried out from March 29 till April 2, 2023.

Nasir Kwarra, NPC chairperson, announced the development on Friday.

Speaking with journalists after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the state house in Abuja, Kwarra said the 2023 census would be different as it would prioritise the use of technology.

“By March 29 to April 2, our staff will be on the field enumerating people,” he said.

“This census is going to be different from past censuses. The theory and practice is essentially the same, but we’re using high-end technology to conduct this census and it’s such that nobody can tamper with any figure. Nobody will be counted more than once.

“We’re visiting households to do direct interface with the household, collect data.

“In the past, if you’re doing an operation manually, it’s very cumbersome. But this is being aided by technology and I believe it’s going to be transparent and very fast, and it is going to be verifiable, because we are able to provide data up to local government, up to ward level.

“So, it is something that you can always verify.”

Kwarra also said global positioning system (GPS) and satellite imagery would be used during the exercise, adding that the demarcation of areas had already been completed.

On if the commission was worried about security challenges, he said the NPC hopes that the exercise would be smooth across the country.

The last national census was conducted in 2006.

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