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Poverty almost denied me secondary school education – Nigerian Senator

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The Senate Minority Leader, Godswill Akpabio, has narrated how as a boy it was difficult for him to get into secondary school because his mother, a widow, was not able to sponsor his education.
“My dear late widow mother, may her gentle soul rest in perfect peace, had told me that it would be difficult for me to enter secondary school on completion of primary school because her hands were full with my siblings,” Mr Akpabio said on Thursday in Ikot Ekpene, Akwa Ibom State, during his investiture as the pioneer chancellor of Ritman University.
“But because of my love for education, I used to sneak into a nearby secondary school to mingle with the students and acquire education. One day, the security man spotted me and chased me and I ran for my life. I fell down and injured my leg with a deep cut.
“The scar is still there,” he said, in an emotional tone.
The senator said the school which he had the encounter wasn’t far away from the university where he was standing to be honoured as its chancellor.
He continued: “It was then, as I lay on the ground and bled and cried, that I vowed that if I had the opportunity, I would chase our children to schools instead of chasing them away from schools.
“God allowed that scar to remain there as a constant reminder of this vow. Chase them with the same ferocity the security man chased me.
“That scar has become a trophy for our children, for when God brought forth the opportunity, I, as the governor of this blessed state instituted the free and compulsory education of all children living in Akwa Ibom State.
“Run to school do not run from school!” the senator said.
Ritman University was among the nine private universities in Nigeria that was granted operating license in 2015 by the then administration of President Goodluck Jonathan. It is owned by a former senator from Akwa Ibom State, Emmanuel Essien.
Mr Akpabio said he knows what is expected of him as the chancellor of the young university and that he sees the university becoming the “Harvard of our nation”.
Mr Akpabio, 55, is one of the most influential leaders of the Nigeria’s main opposition party, PDP.
He was the third elected governor of the oil-rich Akwa Ibom State for eight years, from 2007 to 2015, and was unpopular for frittering away the state resources.
Although he is credited with the introduction of free and compulsory education at primary and junior secondary school level, Mr Akpabio presided over the collapse of classroom blocks and several other infrastructures in public schools in the state.
Also, poverty and unemployment remained high in the state during his tenure, despite billions of naira that accrued to the state as derivation fund from oil.
Several decades after his self-confessed struggles against poverty, Mr Akpabio, after his tenure as Akwa Ibom governor, has continued to be a man of affluent, funded with public money; as a senator, he receives N13.5 million every month as ‘running cost’, irrespective of what he gets as monthly salary and allowances.
Mr Akpabio, during his first term as governor, had told a crowd of people in Eket how terrible life was for him before he became governor.

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Politics

Osun APC primary manipulated to favour Tinubu’s cousin, Aspirant alleges

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The Secretary to the Osun State Government, Moshood Adeoti, has accused his party, the APC, of manipulating its primary to elect a candidate for the September governorship election.
He has, therefore, withdrawn from the primary being held today.
Mr. Adeoti alleged that the primary is a mere endorsement of Isiaka Oyetola, whom he said is a cousin of APC national leader, Bola Tinubu.
“The primaries was arranged, skewed and designed to favour Alhaji Isiaka Gboyega Otedola, the cousin of the National Leader of our party, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu,” Mr Adeoti’s campaign organisation said in a statement.
Mr. Adeoti said there is no credible register of members with which a free, fair and transparent ‘direct primaries’ could be conducted.
Since the APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, announced the use of the direct primaries system , it has faced stiff criticisms from aspirants.
Twelve of the 17 governorship aspirants criticised the move, saying there was no comprehensive register of APC members across Osun State.
The direct primary means all card-carrying members of the APC are eligible to vote.
This is the first time the APC is using the system in primary elections. That of Ekiti and previous primaries were done through voting by delegates, mostly party officials and government appointees.
Mr Adeoti also alleged that a “cooked-up register comprising handpicked persons loyal to the emergence of Oyetola was computed, and printed in a firm owned by Oyetola in Lagos.”
Mr Oyetola is the current chief of staff to outgoing governor, Rauf Aregbesola.
When contacted, the Director of Media and Publicity of Moshood Adeoti Campaign Organisation, Kayode Agbaje, said: “Yes, it is true, we have withdrawn.”
Mr. Adeoti’s campaign said the entire facilities of government in Osun State were used in favour of Mr Oyetola.
Governor Aregbesola gave clear instructions to exclude other contenders from the race, the statement said.
This newspaper earlier reported the withdrawal of another aspirant and current senator, Babajide Omoworare.
“This development is with the ultimate view of ensuring party cohesion and for All Progressives Congress to secure victory at the September 22nd governorship election in the state,” an aide to Mr Omoworare’s said.

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Ishaku: I’m one of the seven governors Buhari is plotting to stop in 2019

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Darius Ishaku, governor of Taraba state, has alleged that the government of President Muhammadu Buhari is plotting to stop seven governors, including him, from seeking re-election in 2019.
According to The Nation , he said this when former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar visited him in Jalingo, the state capital, on Thursday.
Ishaku said he has told those seeking to remove him that only the wish of God would be done.
“I have been told on good authority that seven of us (governors) have been enlisted to be stopped from coming back in 2019,” he said.
“That all arsenals, whether airplanes, guns and whatever means shall be used to wrestle power from us by hook or crook.
“I told them they are not God. It was God’s willing that I am in the saddle as governor today.
“Everyone desires that Nigeria should be one. We must continue to keep the country united.”
Commenting on the killings in the state, Ishaku said: “I am the governor and chief security officer of my state, but in reality, I am helpless in terms of security. I am handicapped, I am a toothless bulldog.”
He dismissed the anti-graft crusade of the current administration, saying “corruption is not all about money.”
“Corruption is not all about funds. If someone steals N100 million and you jail him for 100 days and another person kills 100 innocent people with AK47 and you allow him to go free, it is the worst form of corruption.”

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Sources: Buhari met Saraki over APC crisis

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President Muhammadu Buhari met with Senate President Bukola Saraki and four All Progressives Congress (APC) governors on Thursday in a bid to resolve the crisis rocking the party.
The governors who attended the meeting are Atiku Bagudu (Kebbi), Aminu Masari (Katsina), Abdulaziz Yari (Zamfara) and Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun).
Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo also attended the meeting that took place at Aso Rock.
On their way out, the politicians declined to speak with reporters.
But a presidential source told TheCable that the governors had met with Saraki on Wednesday night and later convinced Buhari to discuss with him.
The source said the president would hold a similar meeting with Yakubu Dogara, speaker of the house of representatives.
“Last night, some APC governors came to see the senate president as part of ways to reconcile the various groups in the APC. They were the ones who then went to tell the president that he must see Saraki,” the source said.
“Today, the senate president met with the president, the vice-president and some of the governors. Issues around the crisis in the party were deliberated on during the meeting.
“More meetings will still hold. The president will soon invite Dogara and others. The governors were mandated to continue with further meetings and brief the president.”
Saraki and Dogara belong to the new Peoples Democratic Party (nPDP) bloc of the APC. The group played a significant role in the victory of the ruling party in the 2015 elections.
The group had demanded to meet the president over some grievances but the president called their bluff and asked its leadership to meet Osinbajo.
Some nPDP members have teamed up with other aggrieved APC members to form R-APC, a faction which signed an alliance with 38 political parties, including PDP, to dislodge Buhari.
There are reports that Saraki and Dogara would leave the APC soon. Saraki and three APC governors held secret talks with PDP leaders on Wednesday.
Adams Oshiomhole, national chairman of the APC, is doing his best to resolve the crisis in the party.
He met with Samuel Ortom, governor of Benue state, on Thursday, and vowed that the governor who had earlier announced that he was considering joining a new party, would not leave APC.
Ortom was among the three APC governors who met PDP leaders on Wednesday.

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