The Big 5: Babangida calls Buhari an “excellent role model” as he turns 76; 37 SDP chairs reject Donald Duke’s sacking | Other top stories

These are the stories you should be monitoring today.

Former Military President Ibrahim Babangida has congratulated President Muhammadu Buhari on his 76th birthday – Buhari will be 76 on Monday, 17 December.

“I join the first lady, Aisha, and all your children and grandchildren in wishing you many happy returns of your birthday. Aisha’s loyalty and support, as the home front commander, is invigorating since by our age we require much comfort, care and affection at home. Welcome to our club of over 75,” he said.

He continued, Buhari is “an excellent role model to many young aspiring politicians and even to the not-so-young, because of the way and manner you have managed to sustain the survival of our country as an indivisible one nation albeit in the face of many daunting diversions”.


The 36 state party chairmen of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), and that of the Federal Capital Territory, have rejected the Justice Hussein Baba-Yusuf-led court order which declared Prof. Jerry Gana as the presidential candidate of the party.

In a statement jointly issued on Saturday by its Chairman, Oke Idawene, and the Secretary, Abubakar Dogara, insisted that Donald Duke remained the presidential candidate of the party for the 2019 election.

An FCT High Court had on Friday declared Gana the winner of the presidential primary election of the SDP conducted on October 6 over alleged violation of the party’s constitution.


National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu on Saturday in Ibadan said some unnamed political prostitutes and robbers denied Nigeria of vibrant Senate Presidency since 2015 when President Buhari took over the reign of governance.

Tinubu said he and indeed the APC had no regret for their preference for the Senate Leader, Ahmed Lawan from Yobe State, becoming the Senate President in 2015.

He said, “Senator Lawan, thank you very much. You are a great example of a very consistent and intellectually resourceful leader that we have in this country. We saw in him, these leadership traits and the qualities we wanted in the Senate president. We know you are qualified and competent to be, that you would have led the most important arm of our government more effectively, but the political prostitutes and their robbers and their collaborators denied you of it because of selfishness and selfish aggrandisement.”


Workers of the National Assembly under the auspices of the Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria (PASAN) have said there is no going back on their planned strike scheduled to begin on Monday.

President Buhari wrote to the National Assembly last week to notify the legislature of his intention to lay the 2019 Appropriation Bill on Wednesday. PASAN has, however, vowed to embark on the industrial action, warning that workers would not be on duty when the President would lay the budget.

As the budget would be laid on Wednesday, the National Assembly has planned to go on Christmas and New Year break on Thursday.


Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, has said he will decongest the exclusive and concurrent lists in the constitution as part of his plan to restructure the country.

Atiku added that the report of the 2015 Constitutional Conference on restructuring would be looked into by relevant stakeholders, adding that appropriate decision that would be of national interest, would be taken.

According to him, it is not for one person to dictate that the report must be adopted or not.


And stories from around the world…

Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin has said the Kremlin should play a leading role in Russian rap music and youth culture, rather than trying to shut it down.

His comments on Saturday follow a spate of concert cancellations by venue owners and local authorities across Russia and the brief arrest of a popular rap artist, Husky.


Former Ethiopian president Girma Woldegiorgis died on Saturday, two weeks short of his 95th birthday, Ethiopia Broadcasting Corporation (EBC) reported.

Girma was president of Ethiopia for twelve years between 2001 to 2013, a largely ceremonial role.

The cause of death was not given.


Negotiators in Poland have finally secured agreement on a range of measures that will make the Paris climate pact operational in 2020.

The Katowice agreement aims to deliver the Paris goals of limiting global temperature rises to well below 2C.

“Putting together the Paris agreement work programme is a big responsibility,” said the chairman of the talks, known as COP24, Michal Kurtyka.

“It has been a long road. We did our best to leave no-one behind,” Michal added.


Ranil Wickremesinghe has returned as Sri Lanka‘s prime minister, likely ending a political crisis that began in late October when he was surprisingly ousted, Aljazeera reports.

Wickremesinghe’s reinstatement on Sunday is an embarrassment for President Maithripala Sirisena, who replaced him with former president Mahinda Rajapaksa following differences over policy making and other issues.

However, Rajapaksa failed to win a parliamentary majority and resigned on Saturday as a government shutdown loomed.


UK Prime Minister, Theresa May has attacked one of her predecessors – accusing Tony Blair of “undermining” the Brexit talks by calling for another referendum.

She called his comments an “insult to the office he once held” and said MPs could not “abdicate responsibility” to deliver Brexit by holding a new poll.

Blair said MPs might back a new vote if “none of the other options work”.

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