The Big 5: Presidency, Buhari Campaign Organisation, APC reacts to Atiku’s endorsement; Dankwambo joins race for Senate | More stories

These are the stories you should be monitoring today:

The Presidency late Thursday reacted to former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s endorsement of his former deputy, Atiku Abubakar, as the candidate to beat in the 2019 presidential election, saying the Presidency was least surprised by the development which it called a predictable U-turn and somersault that showed the usual ego trip and “I know it all” character of Chief Obasanjo.

In a statement by Media Assistant to the President, Garba Shehu, the Presidency further said the event was a “well-rehearsed theatre” that “betrayed a lack of understanding of today’s politics which is about good governance,” stressing that President Muhammadu Buhari and his campaign team would not be distracted by the endorsement while expressing confidence that “they will lose together.”

“It is just eleven years ago that the former President and Vice President in their ugly fight for power accused each other of corruption. Nigerians are yet to forget all that,” Shehu said.

Similarly, President Muhammadu Buhari Campaign Organisation, on Thursday reacted to the endorsement for the PDP Presidential Candidate, as  it said the desperation to get the endorsement of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo by the PDP and its candidate is a clear sign that they want to return us to our sordid past where a few people decide who should govern us.

Spokesman of the organisation who issued a statement shortly after the announcement, said while Buhari depends on the endorsement of Nigerians, his opponent was relying on the support of those who think they can continue to choose people who will govern Nigeria.

“When a person invokes the curse of God upon himself if he does a particular thing, like Obasanjo has done, and then deliberately does that particularly thing and calls on Nigerians to follow him to receive his curse, Nigerians must flee in the opposite direction. We urge Nigerians NOT to follow this character to receive the curse he invoked upon himself,” he explained.

Nigeria’s Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu has replied a Premium Times report stating that he lied about his claims that he graduated with a First Class Degree.

In the statement published on Twitter on Thursday, Kachikwu said there was no time when he misled the public on his degree and that, at the time when he graduated, his certificate was equal to a First Class Degree.

In 1979, the Nigerian Law School had not begun a process of classifying its certificates. That begun many years later. However, best graduands have subsequently now been classified in the First Class category by the Law School,” he said.

Following his loss at the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Presidential primary on Sunday, Governor Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo has been handed the party’s Senatorial ticket to contest the Gombe North Senatorial elections in the 2019 elections.

The previous flag bearer,  Mohammed Usman Ribadu, while addressing a rally on Thursday to welcome the Governor back to the state after the PDP convention, said he is stepping down to allow Dankwambo who he said is more qualified to represent Gombe North at the Senate, adding that he deserved to contest for the seat because of his achievements in the last seven years as governor of the state.

The Emir of Kano, Muhammad Sanusi II, has said that it is criminal to sponsor people to Hajj and other pilgrimages with government’s funds.

Speaking at the two-day Northern Nigeria Traditional Leaders Conference on Out-Of-School Children, in Kaduna, the former Governor of Nigeria’s apex bank said any one who takes one kobo to sponsor people for hajj is stealing, insisting that it is not an act of piety, but we do it all the time.

“In 2000, I wrote an article on a government that sent 300 scholars to hajj. We are all malikis’ here. Imam Malik said it is prohibited, unlawful to take money from the treasury to sponsor a poor man who has no money for hajj,”  he said.

And stories from around the world:

The Trump administration is hopeful that American pastor Andrew Brunson who is on trial in Turkey could be freed at a Friday court hearing, but the State Department said it was unaware of any deal with the Turkish government for his release.  (Reuters)

Turkey has accepted Saudi Arabia’s proposal to form a joint working group to investigate the case of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who vanished after entering his country’s Istanbul consulate over a week ago. (Al Jazeera)

Socialist Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro accused the Trump administration on Thursday of seeking to assassinate him, as relations strain between the ideologically opposed nations. (Reuters)

China’s trade surplus with the United States ballooned to a record $34.1 billion in September, despite a raft of US tariffs, official data showed Friday, adding fuel to the fire of a worsening trade war. (AFP)

Lawyers in Cameroon defending leaders of a movement to create a separate state of Ambazonia have called on the government to produce evidence that their clients are still alive. (BBC)

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