Army Seizes Power in Gabon Following Controversial Election; NNPP Suspends Kwankwaso Over Alleged Romance with Peter Obi, others | 5 Things That Should Matter Today

  • Army Seizes Power in Gabon Following Controversial Election
  • NNPP Suspends Kwankwaso Over Alleged Romance with Peter Obi, others
  • Tony Elumelu Meets with President Tinubu, Commends New Reforms
  • Police Arrest 67 Gay Suspects At Delta Midnight Wedding
  • Customs Enforce VAT on Imported Diesel, Prices Expected to Rise

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

Army Seizes Power in Gabon Following Controversial Election

Gabon is grappling with political upheaval as army officers take control following the re-election of President Ali Bongo to a third term. Disputing the legitimacy of the recently held election, the officers declared their intent on national television to nullify the results, which the opposition had decried as tainted.

A group of twelve soldiers, their presence commanding the airwaves, announced the dissolution of “all the institutions of the republic.” Speaking on Gabon 24, one soldier emphasized their mission to safeguard peace by dismantling the current regime. The soldier pointed to the existing governance marked by instability and social division that posed a dire threat of pushing the nation into chaos.

The contested election had initially seen the Gabonese Election Centre (CGE) declare Bongo as the victor with 64.27% of the votes. In contrast, Albert Ossa, Bongo’s primary contender, secured 30.77% of the ballots. Ossa vehemently raised allegations of electoral misconduct, claims that Bongo’s team promptly rebuffed.

Tensions had been escalating in Gabon in anticipation of these elections, raising concerns about potential unrest. The ramifications of Bongo’s ousting would signal the conclusion of his family’s decades-long rule, tracing back to a staggering 53-year grip on power initiated by his late father, Omar, in 1969. Bongo’s presidency faced a significant health setback in 2018 when he suffered a stroke that kept him sidelined for nearly a year, resulting in calls for his resignation.

This is not the first time that Gabon’s political landscape has been marred by turmoil. In 2019, a failed coup attempt against Bongo led to the imprisonment of the implicated soldiers, underscoring the fragility of the nation’s leadership and the persistent undercurrents of instability that now threaten to reshape its course.

NNPP Suspends Kwankwaso Over Alleged Romance with Peter Obi, others

In the ongoing upheaval within the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), an internal faction has further deepened the crisis by suspending Rabiu Kwankwaso, the party’s former Kano State governor and presidential candidate for the February 25, 2023 election. The group, led by NNPP figures Boniface Aniebonam and Agbo Major, made this decision during a special general assembly held at Rockview Hotels in Lagos State’s Apapa area.

Aniebonam and Major’s faction cited “material evidence” indicating Kwankwaso’s engagement in “anti-party activities” through interactions with prominent political figures such as President Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Atiku Abubakar from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and Peter Obi of the Labour Party (LP). Consequently, the faction imposed a six-month suspension on Kwankwaso pending a disciplinary committee’s investigation.

This internal turmoil further escalated as the Aniebonam and Major group, who possess control over NNPP’s Board of Trustees, not only suspended the National Working Committee (NWC) but also saw a reshuffling of key positions. Aniebonam relinquished his BoT Chairman role, with Tope Aluko assuming the position and Babayo Abdulahi taking over as BoT Secretary.

The faction’s communique expressed dissatisfaction with the NWC’s performance, deeming it “incompetent” due to constitutional breaches and process failures in filling vacant positions. The group discredited Buba Galadima’s claim of BoT Secretary status, asserting that his actions violated the party’s constitution.

In a swift response, the Kwankwaso faction held a counter “NEC meeting” in Abuja on the same day, expelling Aniebonam and Major and denouncing their decisions as “null and void.” This Abuja meeting, attended by Kano State Governor Abba Kabir Yusuf and other party leaders including Kawu Ismaila and Buba Galadima, also addressed significant matters such as the party’s logo, constitutional amendments, and suspension of certain articles in the NNPP 2022 constitution. Amidst this internal strife, NNPP’s stability and unity remain at stake.

Tony Elumelu Meets with President Tinubu, Commends New Reforms

Tony Elumelu, the Chairman of United Bank for Africa (UBA), has lauded the reform efforts spearheaded by President Bola Tinubu. Following his meeting with the president, Elumelu expressed optimism about the potential of Tinubu’s policy initiatives and their positive impact on Nigeria’s trajectory.

Addressing State House journalists, Elumelu acknowledged the private sector’s enthusiasm for President Tinubu’s bold decisions, emphasizing the eventual benefits for the Nigerian populace. With a focus on empowering the youth and women while facilitating job opportunities, Elumelu highlighted the president’s commitment to the Nigerian people.

“The private sector is encouraged with the bold decisions President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has taken and we hope that in the fullness of time, Nigerians will benefit from it because it is all about the Nigerian people,” Elumelu affirmed. He underscored the importance of patience in realizing the long-term gains of these transformative actions.

Elumelu’s words resonated with a call he made earlier to invest in Nigeria’s power sector, noting the paradox of the nation’s abundant gas resources juxtaposed with underutilized power plants due to gas shortages. Amidst these complex challenges, he urged Nigerians to exhibit patience, drawing a parallel to the gradual nature of significant transformations by referencing the proverbial saying, “Rome was not built in a day.”

Police Arrest 67 Gay Suspects At Delta Midnight Wedding

In a significant development, the Delta State Police Command has taken action against alleged homosexuality practices by arresting a total of 67 suspects. The arrests occurred at a hotel located along Refinery Road in the Uvwie Local Government Area of the state.

Presenting the apprehended individuals to the public, the Delta State Police Public Relations Officer, Bright Edafe, revealed that these suspects were taken into custody during a midnight wedding ceremony involving a same-sex couple.

The police spokesperson emphasized that the investigation remains ongoing and that the suspects will be brought before the court to face charges once the inquiry concludes.

Customs Enforce VAT on Imported Diesel, Prices Expected to Rise

The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has embarked on the enforcement of value-added tax (VAT) on automobile gas oil (AGO), commonly referred to as diesel, that is brought into the country through imports. The directive came to light through a memo dated July 28, 2023, dispatched to importers and diesel agents, officially titled ‘Request for Charge of Value Added Tax (VAT) on Automobile Gas Oil (AGO) or Diesel Imported into the Country’.

The communication, bearing the signature of PC Chibuoke (DC admin) on behalf of the Area Controller, Area I, Port Harcourt, referred to a headquarters circular (No. NCS/T&T/T/899/217/VOL.I) issued on July 27, 2023, pertaining to the subject matter.

“I am directed to inform you that henceforth, Value Added Tax (VAT) is to be charged on Automobile Gas Oil (AGO), and Procedure Code 4900 000 shall be used on all importations of AGO,” the memorandum stated.

Additionally, the NCS emphasized that importers of diesel are prohibited from employing “additional Code 409 in their declaration.”

The move aligns with the federal government’s adoption of the Finance Act in 2020, which introduced a 7.5 percent VAT on diesel expenses. The impact of this enforcement is expected to resonate through diesel prices, potentially leading to unprecedented highs. This development, coupled with existing challenges, could exacerbate the difficulties faced by Nigerians and manufacturers.

Notably, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) reported a surge in the price of diesel in July 2023, with a liter of the product costing N794.48, compared to N774.38 during the corresponding period in the preceding year.

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