Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has endorsed ex-Vice-President Atiku Abubaklar for the 2019 presidential election.
Mr. Obasanjo spoke when Atiku Abubakar and leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party visited him at his Abeokuta home on Thursday.
Abubakar, who served as Obasanjo’s deputy between 1999 and 2007, is the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
He said he believed Atiku has ‘re-discovered and re-positioned himself’ and is now good enough to enjoy his support in the next election.
Mr. Obasanjo said, “Let me start by congratulating President-to-be, Atiku Abubakar, for his success at the recent PDP Primary and I took note of his gracious remarks in his acceptance speech that it all started here.
“Yes, when it started, it was meant for Atiku to succeed Obasanjo. In the presence of these distinguished leaders of goodwill today, let me say it openly that we have reviewed what went wrong on the side of Atiku. And in all honesty, my former Vice-President has re-discovered and re-positioned himself. As I have repeatedly said, it is not so much what you did against me that was the issue but what you did against the Party, the Government and the country.
“I took the stand I had taken based on the character and attributes you exhibited in the position you found yourself. I strongly believe that I was right. It was in the overall interest of everyone and everything to take such a position.
“From what transpired in the last couple of hours or so, you have shown remorse; you have asked for forgiveness and you have indicated that you have learnt some good lessons and you will mend fences and make amends as necessary and as desirable.
“Whenever or wherever you might have offended me, as a Christian who asks for God’s forgiveness of my sins and inadequacies on daily basis, I forgive and I sincerely advise you to learn from the past and do what is right and it will be well with you. Obviously, you have mended fences with the Party and fully reconciled with the Party. That’s why today, you are the Presidential Candidate of the Party. In addition to appreciating all that the Party has done for you, may I advise you to work together with all those who contested for the Party’s flag with you as a team for your campaign.
“There are still areas, nationally and internationally, where you have to mend fences and make amends. You will know how to handle what is already out and what may yet be put out by the opposition. But, I am convinced that if you continue with the attitude that brought you here with these distinguished leaders of goodwill, with remorse and contrite heart, the rest of the coast within and outside the country can be cleared. And if there is anything I can do and you want me to do in that respect, I will do.
“I am sure with the right attitude for change where necessary, and by putting lessons learned by you to work, you will get the understanding, cooperation, support and mandate – all at the national level. With Nigerians voting for you, it will mean that you secure their forgiveness and regain their confidence. It will be with the hope or assurance of a Paul on the road to Damascus Conversion. After all, change and conversion are of man. I believe that with a contrite heart, change is possible in everybody’s life and situation.
“For me, relatively and of all the aspirants in the PDP, you have the widest and greatest exposure, experience, outreach and possibly the best machinery and preparation for seeing the tough and likely dirty campaign ahead through. From what I personally know of you, you have capacity to perform better than the incumbent. You surely understand the economy better; you have business experience, which can make your administration business-friendly and boost the economy and provide jobs.
“You have better outreach nationally and internationally and that can translate to better management of foreign affairs. You are more accessible and less inflexible and more open to all parts of the country in many ways. As Pastor Bakare, one-time running mate of the incumbent President said, “You are a wazobia man.” And that should help you in confronting the confrontable and shunning nepotism.
“As you know, along the road to where you are today, many leaders and ordinary people cooperated and overtly and covertly worked hard. On your behalf, I thank them all. May their coast continue to be expanded. And when you become Nigerian President which, insha-Allah, you will be, remember what we did together in government – we ran an administration by Nigerians for all Nigerians where merit and performance count more than blood relationship, friendship or kith and kin. Although some time and ground have been lost, you should endeavour to start from where we stopped and recover some lost ground, if not time.
“Please uphold truth, integrity, principles, morality and fight corruption, crimes and insurgency. The fundamental law of the land, our constitution must be scrupulously defended. I make one demand and one demand on you today, I need you to say before God and man that you will always remain irrevocably committed to upholding ALL the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the whole country will remain your single indivisible constituency.
“Constitutionalism, popular participation and inclusiveness are pre-conditions for reversing the deficits of the past three and half years. They will ensure abiding faith in our indivisibility, oneness and faith in the survival of all against none.
“The fundamentals for our development, economic growth and progress are hard and soft infrastructure. Remember to always give adequate places in your administration to our youth and women.
“All the authorities involved with the preparation, all processes and conduct of the election must ensure that the election is free, fair and credible.
“Once again, congratulations and I wish you well. My distinguished brothers and leaders of goodwill, thank you for making this happen. I will now count on you to encourage all hands to be on the deck to take Nigeria to the level God has created it to be – autopilot level.”
NIJ appoints new deputy provost, acting registrar
The governing council of the Nigerian Institute of Journalism (NIJ), Lagos, has approved the appointment of a new deputy provost, Dr Dele Omojuyigbe and an acting registrar, Mrs Patricia Kalesanwo for the institute. The Witness reports.
In a statement signed by the Provost of the Institute, Mr Gbemiga Ogunleye and obtained by The Witness on Friday, the council said the appointments take effects immediately.
Dr Omojuyigbe, a seasoned journalist holds a Doctorate Degree in English Language from the University of Ibadan, and Post Graduate Diploma in journalism from the College of Journalism, Lagos.
The Witness reports that he held the position of the head of department, General Studies for over a decade and worked as a journalist in Daily Times of Nigeria and other media houses. Dr Omojuyigbe was a visiting member of the editorial board of Daily Independent newspaper.
She holds a Master Degree in Adult Education (Communication of Arts) from the University of Ibadan and has also worked as a journalist with the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria, Ibadan Zonal office.
BREAKING: Nigerian footballer contracts coronavirus
A Nigerian footballer, King Paul Akpan Udoh, who is an Italian-Nigerian player, has become the first footballer to be infected with the coronavirus.
The Witness reports that King Paul who currently plies his trade with Pianese, an Italian Serie C side, was diagnosed with the disease on February 27, and he has been quarantined.
The 22-year-old Pianese forward started his career with Reggiana before moving to Juventus in 2011 where he was loaned back for a year. After progressing through the youth ranks of Juventus, the Nigerian footballer secured a loan move to Virtus Lanciano, a Serie B side in 2016 with an option to buy at the end of the season.
However, after failing to impress, Udoh was returned to Juventus and then loaned to Lega Pro side Pontedera later the same year. He had a loan stint with Pontedera, Fernana, Fano and Viareggio before joining Pianese on July 14, 2019.
The deadly coronavirus has spread from China to countries in Europe, the Middle East, the Americas and Africa with Italy being the country in Europe with the highest number of reported cases.
This online news platform understands that some Italian Serie A matches were postponed last weekend as a preventive measure against the spread of the virus.
On Friday, the Lagos state government and the federal ministry of health confirmed the first case of coronavirus in Nigeria. The index patient is an Italian who arrived in the country on Tuesday, February 25.
Nigerian Footballer Contracts Coronavirus
Dr Osagie Ehanire, the minister of health, confirmed the case in a statement issued in the early hours of Friday, February 28, 2020, saying that the case involves an Italian citizen who works in Nigeria and just returned from Milan, Italy on the 25th of February 2020.
This online news platform understands that the statement said the Italian was confirmed to be positive by the Virology Laboratory of the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, part of the Laboratory Network of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
The ministry said in a statement that: “The case, which was confirmed on the 27th of February 2020, is the first case to be reported in Nigeria since the outbreak in China in January 2020.
“The case is an Italian citizen who entered Nigeria on the 25th of February from Milan, Italy for a brief business visit. He fell ill on the 26th February and was transferred to Lagos State Biosecurity Facilities for isolation and testing. COVID-19 infection was confirmed by the Virology Laboratory of the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, part of the Laboratory Network of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control. The patient is clinically stable, with no serious symptoms, and is being managed at the Infectious Disease Hospital in Yaba, Lagos.
“The Government of Lagos State under the Governor as the COVID-19 Incident Commander, through the Lagos State Ministry of Health, has been strengthening measures to ensure that any outbreak in Lagos is controlled and contained quickly in collaboration with the multi-sectoral Coronavirus Preparedness Group, led by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC). We have immediately activated the State Emergency Operations Centre to respond to this case and implement firm control measures.
“I wish to assure all Lagosians and Nigerians that we have been strengthening our preparedness since the first confirmation of cases in China. We will use all the resources made available by the State and the Federal Government to respond to this case.
“We are working to identify all the contacts of the patient since he arrived in Nigeria. Please, be reminded that most people who become infected may experience only a mild illness and recover easily, but it can be more severe in others, particularly the elderly and persons with other underlying chronic illnesses,” the statement read in part.
Nigerian senate slams FG over Coronavirus
Ahmad Lawan, the President of the Nigerian Senate, on Thursday, accused the Federal Ministry of Health of not putting serious measures in place to prevent the outbreak of coronavirus in Nigeria.
He, however, asked the Senate Committee on Primary Health Care to liaise with the ministry to intensify screening of passengers at the nation’s airports and seaports.
Lawan stated this following a point of order by the Deputy Senate Leader, Senator Ajayi Boroffice.
Boroffice drew the attention of the Senate to the failure of health personnel at the airports and seaports to screen passengers coming into the country.
Recall, an Italian citizen who traveled to Lagos, Nigeria’s economic nerve center, is the first confirmed case of coronavirus in sub Saharan Africa, according to the country’s Health Ministry.
The senator said the coronavirus screening at the South African airport usually takes up to 30 minutes before passengers would be allowed to disembark the aircraft.
He said the situation was different on his arrival at the Nigerian airport, when the health officials at the nation’s airports merely issued a form to passengers to indicate if they were sick or not.
He said, “There is no form of any screening of passengers for coronavirus by Nigerian officials at the airport.
“It’s worrisome, situations where travelers coming into the country were not dully screened for the dreaded virus based on his experience at the airport.”`
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