The papers for Monday, October 9, focus on a meeting former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, had with ex-president, Goodluck Jonathan, among other issues.
Former vice president Atiku Abubakar has had a meeting with ex-president, Goodluck Jonathan, over the 2019 presidential election.
This Day reports that Atiku Abubakar is considering decamping to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to enhance the opposition party’s bid to defeat the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the 2019 presidential election.
Sources told the newspaper that the former vice president is thinking of accepting the offers made to him by a section of the leadership of the opposition party to return to their fold.
Following the meeting, Jonathan was said to have advised Atiku to consider returning to the PDP early enough to avoid being caught by certain provisions of the party’s constitution, which stipulate a period of time a member has to spend in the party before he could be eligible to contest for a political office.
“Atiku was advised to return early to enable him to fulfil the eligibility condition in the party’s constitution and also have ample time to integrate his political structure into the PDP’s,” a source privy to the meeting said.
The source said it was made clear to Atiku that he stood a better chance to realise his ambition in the PDP than the APC since President Muhammadu Buhari looked set to be given a right of first refusal by his party’s leadership.
Meanwhile, the Senate has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately suspend the minister of state for petroleum resources, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, and the group managing director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporatio (NNPC), Dr Maikanti Baru, over the $25 billion contract controversy that has plagued the government oil firm, Punch reports.
Senator Tayo Alasoadura, who made the call when he spoke during a live programme on Channels TV, said that Baru’s continued presence at the NNPC could jeopardise the Senate investigation into the allegations that he allegedly approved contracts to the tune of $25bn without the approval of the corporation’s board.
Alasoadura said:“So, I think the two of them should be asked to step aside and when investigation is over, whoever is culpable will go and whoever is not culpable, will continue with his duties.”
In a related news, both the NNPC and its group managing director, Dr Maikanti Baru, have insisted that the approved contracts to the tune of $25bn was validly within the expenditure limits of the agency.
They claimed that the board of NNPC cannot approve contracts but they can review and give advice.
According to the Nation, President Muhammadu Buhari is said to be keeping mum over the issue to hear from all sides and let the facts and figures speak for themselves.
He is said to be unbothered by the allegations in an August 30 memo to him by minister of state for petroleum resources Dr Ibe Kachikwu.
PAY ATTENTION: Read the news on Nigeria’s #1 news app
The newspaper stated that there is pressure on the president to spare Kachikwu and Baru if any infractions are noticed at the end of ongoing investigation to avoid any ethnic backlash.
Meanwhile, Vanguard reports that there is a looming clash between the presidency and the National Assembly over the prolonged delay by the National Assembly to approve virement of funds for key national projects, which the executive considers crucial in growing the economy and boosting infrastructure and development across the country.
The newspaper stated that sources on Sunday, October 9, said the executive was displeased by the fact that the Senate did not approve the N135 billion virement request sent to it late July by then Yemi Osinbajo, before the senators proceeded on vacation, only for the lawmakers to resume last week and summon some ministers for questioning over what they called ‘poor implementation’ of the budget.
A top official said the executive is unhappy that the virement request for the execution of the Second Niger Bridge, Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Mambilla Hydroelectric, Railways, and several other projects was yet to be attended to by the lawmakers for over two months.
In other news, former head of state, Yakubu Gowon, has appealed to well- meaning Nigerians to convince those calling for the breakup of the country to desist.
Guardian reports that Gowon, who is the founder of the interfaith association, Nigeria Prays, made the statement when he spoke with journalists at The Honour Nigeria Awards organised by Trinity House tagged Fulfilling Nigerians potential, held at Victoria Island, Lagos.
The former head of state said that there are more people in support of the unity of the country than those who are agitating for its breakup.
Nigerians want PDP back in 2019 - Goodluck Jonathan declares at PDP Caucus Meeting on NAIJ.com TV