The chairman of the Southern Governors’ Forum and Ondo State Governor, Mr Rotimi Akeredolu, on Saturday stated that the Southern governors would not hesitate to resist any political party that looks northward for its Presidential candidate in the 2023 presidential elections. Akeredolu who stated this while featuring on a programme on Channels Television programme, “Politics Today” said all the governors from the three major parties in the southern region of the country have collectively and unanimously agreed on the zoning of the presidency in the next election in the country. He said the All Progressives Congress (APC), Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) were unanimous in their resolution on the zoning of the presidency and would follow it to the letter. It will be recalled that the Southern governors in their meeting in Lagos in July had said the presidency should be zoned to Southern Nigeria in 2023 after the expiration of President Muhammadu Buhari’s second term. The governors also re-echoed their stand on the zoning of the presidency to the region in Enugu during their last meeting last Thursday. Akeredolu said: “If we have anything that we have agreed, that we have unanimity, it is the issue of president in 2023. All of us, irrespective of our political party; there are three political parties that are in the Southern Governors Forum. We have the All Progressives Grand Alliance, the Peoples Democratic Party, and the All Progressives Congress and we all agreed on this. Any party that picks any candidate from the North will have to face all Southern governors because they will not support [it]. But it has to come from the South. We are saying that there must be rotational, justice, and fairness in it, that is what we are pushing. If my President, Muhammadu Buhari has ruled for eight years, then it cannot be from the North again. The next president must come from the South. We have not got to the stage where we will say let us give it to somebody who is competent. There are many people that are competent. We have competent people in the North as we have competent people in the South. So, the president can come from any part of the country. But if you have occupied the position for eight years, then it has to rotate back to the South.”

President Muhammadu Buhari has directed the incorporation of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, the State House has announced. A statement on Sunday issued by Special Adviser to the President (Media and Publicity), Femi Adesina, said the president gave the order in his capacity as Minister of Petroleum. “This is in consonance with Section 53(1) of the Petroleum Industry Act 2021, which requires the Minister of Petroleum Resources to cause for the incorporation of the NNPC Limited within six months of commencement of the Act in consultation with the Minister of Finance on the nominal shares of the Company,” the statement said. The statement said the NNPC Group Managing Director, Mr Mele Kolo Kyari, had been directed to take necessary steps to ensure that the incorporation of the NNPC Limited is consistent with the provisions of the PIA 2021. President Buhari has also approved the appointment of the Board and Management of the NNPC Limited, with effect from the date of incorporation of the company. The President named Senator Ifeanyi Ararume aa Chairman of the Board while Mele Kolo Kyari and Umar I. Ajiya were appointed as Chief Executive Officer, and Chief Financial Officer, respectively. Other Board Members are; Dr Tajudeen Umar (North East), Mrs Lami O. Ahmed (North Central), Mallam Mohammed Lawal (North West), Senator Margaret Chuba Okadigbo (South East), Barrister Constance Harry Marshal (South-South), and Chief Pius Akinyelure (South West).

Three policemen have been shot dead by unidentified gunmen in Onitsha, Anambra and their patrol vehicle set ablaze. The ill-fated cops were on duty around Ukaegbu/Ezeiweka road in Onitsha when they were attacked around 0900 hours on Sunday. During the attack, two civilian bystanders sustained gunshot wounds. Anambra police command spokesperson, DSP Toochukwu Ikenga confirmed the incident. He said details of the attack are still sketchy but the police would react after gathering more information on how the attack happened. In neighbouring Enugu, arsonists on Sunday set the INEC office at Awgu Local Government Area on fire. The Chief Fire Officer in Enugu State, Chief Okwudili Ohaa, confirmed the incident to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Enugu. Ohaa said that a distress call was received by the Enugu State Fire Service at about 0130 hours. “As usual, when we received the distress call our trucks and men at Ozalla Station quickly moved to the scene. We equally mobilised fire engines and firefighters from Enugu metropolis. Our prompt intervention saved the entire complex as only one office room was affected in the raging fire before it was extinguished,’’ he said. Ohaa said that the quick response of firefighters gave credence to the establishment of fire stations in local government areas by Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi. “With the development, it is important to note that the state’s residents and infrastructure are now benefiting from massive investment of Gov. Ugwuanyi in building and equipping new fire stations throughout the state,’’ he said. There are feelers that the arsonists climbed through the perimeter fence to gain access to the INEC complex. Festus Okoye, INEC’s spokesperson, said the fire caused extensive damage to stores where election materials were kept. “The identity or motives of attackers are unknown while the incident has been reported to the Nigeria Police Force for investigation,” he said in a statement. “The Commission appreciates the prompt response of the security agencies comprising the Nigeria Police Force, the Nigerian Army, the Department of State Services (DSS) and the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) as well the Enugu State Fire Service and the Awgu Local Government Neighbourhood Watch. This unfortunate incident is the first since the last attack on our facilities four months ago in May 2021,” he added. Arsonists had earlier in the year attacked the INEC Headquarters in the state capital Enugu and the INEC office in Udenu Local Government Area of the state. The commission said sensitive and non-sensitive materials, including generators and card readers, were lost in all attacks.

Guinea’s military leaders say they will not let deposed President Alpha Conde seek exile after regional mediators attempted to mount pressure to secure his release following a coup earlier this month. The statement on Friday came after the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) met Colonel Mamady Doumbouya in Conakry. “We will not yield to any pressure,” military leaders said following the conclusion of the talks. “Conde is and will remain in Guinea.” The ECOWAS Chairman, Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo, and the president of Ivory Coast, Alassane Ouattara, met Doumbouya, the coup leader and head of a special forces unit in the military, and visited Conde, who has been detained since being toppled on September 5 after more than 10 years in power. Akufo-Addo said the delegation had “a very frank, fraternal discussion” with Doumbouya and his associates. “I think that ECOWAS and Guinea are going to do well together,” he said, adding that they had also been able to hold a fruitful meeting with Conde. The bloc agreed on targeted sanctions on Thursday after Guinea’s military leaders failed to meet its demands. ECOWAS has called for Conde’s immediate release and for a swift transition of power, with elections held within six months. Soldiers behind the coup say they are holding consultations with various public figures, groups and business leaders in the country to map a framework for the transition. They claim to have overthrown Conde because of concerns about poverty and corruption, and because he was serving a third term only after altering the constitution to permit it. The adopted sanctions include the freezing of the financial assets and the imposition of travel bans on Guinea’s military leaders and their relatives. West and Central Africa has seen four coups since last year, intensifying concerns about a backslide towards military rule in a resource-rich but poverty-stricken region.