The Big 5: Funds will be released in the coming weeks, FG appeals to ASUU; Donald Duke faces hurdle as Jerry Gana drags him to court over SDP primary | Other top stories

These are the stories you should be monitoring today:

The Federal Government has appealed to striking members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to call off its ongoing nationwide strike for proper negotiation to take place.

Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, who made the appeal on behalf of the Federal Government at a news conference on Monday in Abuja, assured the aggrieved lecturers that the government was already making efforts to address their concerns. He said, “the issue of the release of N20 billion to the universities – on this, let me state in unequivocal terms that I am in touch with the Minister of Finance and that she is very optimistic this will be released in the coming weeks.”

“For us to negotiate under the pressure of strike, we will end up producing the kind of agreement we had in 2009, which almost all stakeholders have agreed is not easily implementable,” the minister explained.

Presidential aspirant on the platform of the Social Democratic Party, Prof. Jerry Gana has approached the High Court in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), seeking a nullification of Donald Duke as the party’s Presidential flag bearer.  

The former Information Minister is arguing that the process which produced Duke violated the SDP constitution, despite his participation in the party’s primary where he scored 611 votes, thus losing to the former Cross River governor with 812 votes at its national convention in Abuja, on October 7.

The matter was stalled at the court on Monday due to the indisposition of the judge, Justice Husseini Baba-Yusuf, owing to ill health and the parties agreed to return on November 13 for hearing.

The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) on Monday challenged President Muhammadu Buhari and his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) to speak out on the issue of the N378 billion proceed from the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) dividends, allegedly diverted by the officials in the Presidency.

Spokesman for the PDP, Kola Ologbondiyan, who issued a statement on behalf of the party said Nigerians were startled by the revelations of how the funds from an agency under President Buhari’s purview as Minister of Petroleum, was secretly lifted and spent without the appropriation of the National Assembly, adding that “such humongous corruption and stealing of trillions of naira in the oil and gas sector is directly responsible for the biting economic recession and its attendant high cost of living, acute hunger and starvation, poor living standard, dilapidated infrastructure, escalated violence and high mortality rate in the country in the last three and half years.”

“If there was no ulterior agenda; if the money was actually meant for payment of subsidy, why was it drawn and purportedly spent without recourse to the constitutionally required approval of the National Assembly and other due process procedures under our laws?” the statement read in part.

The Social Democratic Party (SDP) on Monday said its governorship candidate at the September 22 election in Osun, Senator Iyiola Omisore did not present himself for the ticket of the Osun East Senatorial District.

Secretary of the party in the state, Taiwo Akeju, who disclosed this in an interview with Punch on Monday, said, “I think he wants to give other people an  opportunity to be elected, he doesn’t have interest in the senatorial election.”

Omisore who came 3rd in the governorship election and was reportedly offered the ticket of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to contest the seat in support of its candidate, Gboyega Oyetola in the September 27 governorship rerun, which the latter won, but checks reveal his name is not on the list of candidates submitted by the APC to the Independent National Electoral Commission for the seat.

The Southwest Governors’ Forum on Monday expressed concern about the economic and security challenges posed by gridlock in the Apapa port and urged the Federal Government to urgently revive alternative routes linking Tin Can Island through Tomoro Island to Ibafo in Ogun.

In a statement at the end of its meeting in Osogbo, capital of Osun, the forum reiterated its commitment to regional integration as a key to sustainable development in western Nigeria, as it called on government to in the interim, enhance the capacity of the Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC) to evacuate goods from the port to alternative terminals.

Secretary to the Ekiti Government, Biodun Oyebamibi who represented Governor Kayode Fayemi, also urged the Development Agenda for Western Nigeria (DAWN) commission to initiate processes to tackle decline in critical sectors in the region.

And stories from around the world:

U.S. President Donald Trump has made a last bid for voters to back the Republican party on the eve of the mid-term election, a nationwide vote on Tuesday seen as a referendum on his presidency. (BBC)

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Monday he was unsure if he would meet with Russian leader Vladimir Putin during a visit to Paris next week, but he will meet him at the summit of the Group of 20 nations in Argentina at the end of the month. (Reuters)

The EU business lobby in China has dismissed President Xi Jinping’s latest market-opening pledge as a rehash of earlier unkept promises, saying European companies had become “desensitised” to Chinese vows. (AFP)

France flexed its muscles in West Africa on Monday granting millions of euros in aid to Gambia to support its democratic transition amid fears of regional instability and took aim at Russia over its “opportunist” role in Central African Republic. (Reuters)

Saudi Arabia’s crown prince has launched a project to build the first nuclear research reactor in the kingdom, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

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