Atiku-Obasanjo reunion, National Assembly resumption and other stories of the week


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It's been nothing short of a week where everything just falls into place for Atiku Abubakar.

The former Vice President was elected the presidential candidate of the People's Democratic Party (PDP) at the party's national convention in Port Harcourt on Sunday, October 7, 2018, beating Senate President, Bukola Saraki, and Sokoto State governor, Aminu Tambuwal, to the ticket.

While his victory has led to the expected brickbat between him and the current administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, the former Vice President has been enjoying a lot of goodwill and momentum ahead of the 2019 presidential election.

The highlight of his week came on Thursday, October 11, when he was publicly endorsed by his former boss, former President Olusegun Obasanjo, who had previously been one of the most vocal opponents of his long-standing presidential ambition. Obasanjo is now backing Atiku to boot Buhari out of the Presidential Villa next year and believes he can do a better job.

Atiku got even more political boost when he announced the selection of former Anambra State governor, Peter Obi, as his running mate for the election on Friday, October 12.

Anti-climatic National Assembly resumption

After 11 weeks of legislative recess, lawmakers finally resumed for plenary sessions at the National Assembly this week.

The 11 weeks of recess had been filled with a lot of mudslinging between the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) who had vowed to impeach Senate President, Bukola Saraki, and the man who repeatedly called their bluff.

Many were expecting the fireworks to go off when lawmakers resumed on Tuesday, October 9, but it turns out APC lawmakers have put down their war drums and will not be taking any action against the leader of the National Assembly who dumped the ruling party for the PDP in August.

With impeachment drama settled, the Senate finally got around to approving the budget for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct the 2019 general elections.

The calamity of Zamfara APC

INEC wrote a letter to the national leadership of the APC to inform the party that its Zamfara State chapter will be barred from fielding candidates to contest in the 2019 general elections after failing to conduct primary elections.

The commission had set October 7 as the deadline for parties to conclude their primary elections to elect candidates, but divisions within the state chapter of the APC prevented an INEC-supervised election from taking place for the governorship and legislative positions.

In a strongly-worded reply, the party's national chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, disclosed that the party had resolved the crisis internally and had decided on consensus candidates that it'll soon present to contest in the general elections.

The party's crisis cannot be said to be over as competing factions in the Zamfara chapter are not close to resolving their issues.

In other news...

A report revealed that the Minister of State for Petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu, had been lying about his university degree when he claimed he graduated with First Class Honours from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN). Despite video evidence of him making the claim, the minister has responded that he was misunderstood.

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, disclosed this week that the Federal Government has proposed to review the national minmum wage for Nigerian workers from N18,000 to N24,000.

Ekiti State governor, Ayodele Fayose, went to war with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) when he filed a lawsuit against the anti-graft agency for its alleged unconstitutional witch-hunt against him which he claims has brought him public ridicule.

An aircraft parked inside Overland Air hangar at the domestic wing of the Muritala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos burst into flames on Friday.

Senator Dino Melaye (Kogi West - PDP) raised alarm on Friday over an assassination attempt on his life by officers of the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS). He alleged that officers arranged by the Kogi State government invaded his home in Kogi at 1am to kill him.