The Big 5: 23 PDP Reps threaten to defect to APC, 2 others Join Ambode in 2019 Lagos guber race | More stories

These are the stories you should be monitoring today.

Jide Sanwo-Olu, a former Commissioner for Establishment & Training and Obafemi Hamzat, a former Commissioner for Works & Infrastructure have joined Governor Akinwunmi Ambode for the Lagos 2019 governorship election.

The candidate will be picked by direct primary — the system in which all party members will vote to choose the candidate.

Meanwhile, businessman, Femi Otedola is said to have been offered the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) ticket.

President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday described defectors from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) as selfish and, the weakest members who could not align with the vision of his administration.

Buhari spoke at the Presidential Villa while accepting the Expression of Interest and Nomination forms to contest the 2019 presidential election on APC’s platform.

23 House of Representatives members under the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) may soon defect to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), The Nation reports.

The lawmakers are not happy with their state governors plan to substitute them with “anointed candidates” and may announce their defection immediately after resumption.

In another development, the Speaker of the House, Yakubu Dogara, has declared his intention to seek re-election.

He said he was doing so in response to the yearnings and aspirations of his constituents in Bogoro/Dass/Tafawa Balewa Federal Constituency, who requested that he should return to represent them.

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has said it is trying to ensure an amicable resolution between the government and the MTN Group as the two parties negotiate the $10 billion dispute.

The Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, NCC, Umar Danbatta, made this pledge at the ITU Telecom Conference in Durban, South Africa on Tuesday, as reported by Bloomberg.

The Nigerian Communications Commission is doing what it can to facilitate an amicable resolution of MTN’s standoff with the tax and finance regulators,” Danbatta was quoted as saying.

The Federal Government on Tuesday confirmed in a statement issued by the Director of Information in the Ministry of Finance, Hassan Dodo, that it had approved the sum of $2.68 billion as final payment to states for the Paris Club Refund.

The explanation is coming amidst the controversy that has trailed the payment of the sum of N13 billion to Osun.

The Ministry of Finance said in the statement that the money was being released to the states in phases based on some conditions.

Some of the conditions are that salaries and staff-related arrears must be paid as a priority; there must be commitment by all states to the commencement of the repayment of budget support loans granted in 2016; and clearing of amounts due to the Presidential Fertilizer Initiative.

Another condition is commitment to clear matching grants from the Universal Basic Education Commission, where some states have available funds, which can be used to improve primary education and learning outcomes.

And stories from around the world…

US President Donald Trump has been criticised for praising the US response to the deadly Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico last year as “tremendous“.

The mayor of its capital tweeted: “If he thinks the death of 3,000 people is a success God help us all.”

Puerto Rico only finished restoring full power last month, 11 months after the hurricane hit.

Liberia president George Weah played in an international friendly for his country on Tuesday – at age 51.

Weah, the first African footballer to win Fifa’s World Player of the Year award, featured for 79 minutes of a 2-1 home defeat by Nigeria in Monrovia.

Liberia arranged the friendly to retire their number 14 shirt, worn by Weah.

The former AC Milan striker, sworn in as president in January, received a standing ovation as he was substituted.

Hurricane Florence continues to move wildly toward the Carolina coastline — about two days away from coming very close to landfall in North Carolina.

The storm is reported to be capable of causing extreme damage, and will deliver a deadly one-two punch of coastal impacts from storm surge flooding and high winds, along with an inland deluge that will turn farms and communities into a virtual extension of the Atlantic.

President Trump is expected to sign an executive order on Wednesday that would threaten sanctions on foreign companies, individuals or governments that meddle in U.S. elections, Reuters reports citing two sources.

News Corp in Australia has doubled down on a cartoon published by its Melbourne paper that has been widely derided as a racist caricature of Serena Williams.

The cartoon by Mark Knight made international headlines as people argued that Knight had used the style of racist “Sambo” cartoons used to dehumanise black Americans in the early 20th century.

The Herald Sun, released a cartoon with an editorial front page attacking political correctness. The editor, Damon Johnston tweeted an image overnight of today’s provocative front page.

Welcome to PC World,” the headline reads, accompanied by a “Satire Free Zone” stamp in the foreground.

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