Tinubu Emerges as Chairman of ECOWAS; Fayose Admits Working Against Atiku in Presidential Election | 5 Things That Should Matter Today

  • Tinubu Emerges as Chairman of ECOWAS
  • DSS Dismisses Arrest Claims of Senator Yari over Refusing Tinubu’s Call
  • Court Orders Disclosure of Abacha Loot Spending Details by Obasanjo, Yaradua, Jonathan, and Buhari Govts
  • Fayose Admits Working Against Atiku in Presidential Election
  • Code of Conduct Bureau Denies DSS Raid on its Offices

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

Tinubu Emerges as Chairman of ECOWAS

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has been elected as the chairman of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) during the 63rd ordinary session of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government in Bissau, the capital city of the Republic of Guinea-Bissau.

In his post-election remarks, Tinubu expressed his deep appreciation for the trust placed in him and pledged his unwavering commitment to providing purposeful leadership that serves the interest of the community.

He emphasized the urgent need for collective action from member states to tackle the escalating threats of insecurity and terrorism, which hinder the progress and development of the region.

Tinubu stated, “Without a peaceful environment, progress and development in the region will continue to remain elusive. In this regard, we must remain committed to utilizing all regional frameworks at our disposal to address the menace of insecurity.” His call for intensified efforts to combat security challenges underscores the critical importance of fostering peace and stability for the advancement of the region.

Notably, Tinubu’s election marks him as the eighth Nigerian leader to hold the position of ECOWAS chairman, following President Buhari who held the role twice, both as a military head of state and as a democratic president. This achievement further solidifies Nigeria’s influential position within the regional bloc.

This ECOWAS summit in Guinea-Bissau served as Tinubu’s first international engagement on the African continent since assuming office as the President of Nigeria on May 29. Prior to this, he had attended the summit for ‘A New Global Financing Pact,’ hosted by French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris, France, in June, showcasing his commitment to participating in crucial regional and global discussions.

Established in 1975, ECOWAS currently consists of 15 member states with a combined population of 387 million and a nominal GDP of $816 billion.

The member states include Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Togo.

The organization plays a pivotal role in fostering economic integration, regional cooperation, and collective security within West Africa.

DSS Dismisses Arrest Claims of Senator Yari over Refusing Tinubu’s Call

The Department of State Services (DSS) has categorically denied inviting Senator Abdulaziz Yari, representing Zamfara West, over allegations of refusing telephone calls from President Bola Tinubu.

Recent reports had suggested that Yari was arrested and detained by the DSS for purportedly ignoring phone calls from Tinubu in June, with the call allegedly aimed at dissuading him from aspiring to become the Senate President.

However, in an official statement on Sunday, Peter Afunanya, the spokesperson for the DSS, dismissed the online report as both “laughable and petty.” Afunanya clarified that Yari is fully aware of the reason for his invitation by the secret police, asserting that the allegations of arrest were baseless.

Furthermore, the DSS spokesperson refuted claims that the agency’s operatives had confiscated incriminating files related to Tinubu and his close associates from the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) and the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB).

Afunanya emphasized that the DSS had not conducted any operations at the ICPC or CCB offices and highlighted that both agencies had issued statements refuting the circulated news themselves.

Afunanya stated, “The DSS did not execute operations of any kind at the ICPC and CCB or remove files from their offices. Instructively, the two agencies have, on their own, refuted the news in widely circulated press statements.”

The spokesperson further criticized the notion that Senator Yari was invited by the DSS for disregarding the President’s phone call, describing it as “junk journalism” and lacking any factual basis. He reiterated that Yari knows the true reason behind his invitation and dismissed the allegations as mere products of the imaginations of their creators.

Court Orders Disclosure of Abacha Loot Spending Details by Obasanjo, Yaradua, Jonathan, and Buhari Govts

In a significant judgment, the Federal High Court in Abuja has mandated the disclosure of spending details pertaining to the approximately $5 billion Abacha loot by former Nigerian presidents Olusegun Obasanjo, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, Goodluck Jonathan, and Muhammadu Buhari.

The court specifically directed President Bola Tinubu’s government to reveal “the exact amount of money stolen by General Sani Abacha from Nigeria, and the total amount of Abacha loot recovered, and all agreements signed on the matter by the governments of former presidents Obasanjo, Yar’Adua, Jonathan, and Buhari.”

The judgment, delivered last week by Justice James Kolawole Omotosho, followed a Freedom of Information suit (FHC/ABJ/CS/407/2020) brought by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP).

Justice Omotosho concluded that “the application by SERAP is meritorious,” and ordered the Federal Government, through the Ministry of Finance, to provide SERAP with the complete spending details of the approximately $5 billion Abacha loot within seven days of the judgment.

Furthermore, Justice Omotosho directed the government to disclose “details of the projects executed with the Abacha loot, locations of any such projects, and the names of companies and contractors involved in carrying out these projects from the return of democracy in 1999 until the present.”

The court also demanded that the government reveal “specific roles played by the World Bank and other partners in the execution of any projects funded with Abacha loot under the governments of former presidents Obasanjo, Yar’Adua, Jonathan, and Buhari.”

Justice Omotosho dismissed all objections raised by the Federal Government and upheld SERAP’s arguments, resulting in a judgment in favor of SERAP against the Federal Government.

Fayose Admits Working Against Atiku in Presidential Election

Former Governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose, has made a startling admission, revealing that he actively worked against his party’s presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, in the February 2023 election.

Fayose, a prominent member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), disclosed that his actions were driven by a sense of unfair treatment from the party.

In an interview on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics program, Fayose candidly stated, “I never worked for PDP during the last election. I cannot work for two people at the same time.”

He went on to express his support for Bola Tinubu, the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, emphasizing Tinubu’s credibility and regional significance in the South-West.

Fayose further aired his grievances with the PDP, highlighting his suspension and that of his son, Oluwajomiloju, despite his dedication and sacrifices for the party. He questioned the party’s decision to nominate Atiku, an ex-Vice President from the North-East, asserting that it was time for a Southern Nigerian to assume the presidency following the completion of President Muhammadu Buhari’s two-term tenure.

The former governor, who is also a member of the G5 or Integrity Group within the PDP, accused his party of playing games with the Nigerian people by nominating Atiku. Fayose asserted that a Southern Nigerian candidate should have been given the opportunity to lead the country.

In response to potential disciplinary actions from the PDP, Fayose vowed to take legal action against the party.

He stated, “If PDP takes action against me, I will take them to court,” asserting his determination to protect his right to express his opinions. Fayose also clarified that his recent visit to the President was unrelated to his ongoing court case with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Furthermore, Fayose expressed his disinterest in accepting a ministerial position from the President. He urged Tinubu, if elected, to allocate 40 percent of his cabinet positions to individuals above the ages of 60 and 70, 30 percent to women, and 30 percent to young people, emphasizing the importance of inclusivity in governance.

During the 2023 presidential election, Bola Tinubu secured a resounding victory over Atiku Abubakar in Ekiti State, winning in all 16 Local Government Areas. Tinubu also emerged victorious in 11 other states across Nigeria, garnering a total of 8,794,726 votes compared to Atiku’s 6,984,520 votes.

Code of Conduct Bureau Denies DSS Raid on its Offices

The Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) has dismissed allegations of a raid on its offices by the Department of State Services (DSS), stating that the reports are misleading and false. The online publication had claimed that DSS operatives removed incriminating files related to Tinubu and his associates from the CCB and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC).

In a statement released on Sunday, Daniel Okafor, the CCB’s Director of Education and Advocacy Services, refuted the allegations, describing the publication as “misleading” and highlighting the unprofessional manner in which the story was presented.

Okafor emphasized, “At no time did the DSS or any apparatus of the federal government of Nigeria carry out any raid or search for incriminating documents on the president and his associates at its head office in Abuja or any of the offices in the states and the FCT.”

He further clarified that the CCB had not received any directive from the federal government to cover up any matter regarding the president and his associates since the government assumed office on May 29, 2023.

The CCB reiterated its commitment as a foremost anti-corruption agency, vowing to fulfill its functions as outlined in the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, which empowers it to combat corruption effectively.

It is worth noting that the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) also refuted similar claims of a raid by the DSS on its office, as reported by TheCable.

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