The just concluded week like the previous had many talking points which dominated the media. The 90bn allegation against Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo and his threat to sue ‘peddlers of false accusations’ was one of the biggest taking points during the week. The mysterious killing of 36 cows by lightning, believed to be a strike from the gods in a town in Ondo State; and the controversial FIFA Best Awards also attracted much attention. The Politico, however, brings you 10 of the big events that made the news last week.
1. Osinbajo and Alleged 90bn FIRS Cash
The Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, was again on the spotlight last week as he was alleged of corruption in a section of the media. A former deputy National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Mr Timi Frank, had alleged that the ‘travail’of the Vice President within the presidency was about an alleged N90bn he was allegedly given by the Federal Inland Revenue Service to facilitate the victory of the APC in the South West. The report which was published in a major newspaper in the country with the title, “N90 bn FIRS election fund, Osinbajo’s problem, not 2023 politics-Frank”, drew the ire of Osinbajo as he threatened to sue the media house if the story was not retracted. On his verified twitter handle, he also stressed that he had directed his legal team to commence legal process against Mr Frank, vowing to waive his immunity to clear his name. The VP’s readiness to waive his immunity further generated a constitutional debate on whether he has the power to waive his immunity. However, the newspaper apologised to the VP and retracted the story on Wednesday, saying that it (the story) lacked “factual substance”.
2. Court Ordered Sowore’s Release, but DSS Failed to Comply
The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on Tuesday ordered the immediate release of the convener of #RevolutionNow, Omoyele Sowore from the custody of the Department of State Services. Justice Taiwo Taiwo noted that there was no extant order allowing Sowore’s further detention before the court, hence he should be released. The court said the publisher of Sahara Reporters must deposit his international passport within 48 hours after his release and ordered that his lawyer, Femi Falana, SAN, be responsible for producing him in court once he has been notified of the charge against him. But despite meeting his bail conditions, the activist was not released by the DSS. The Services claimed that it was yet to be served the court order. However, the security agency allegedly frustrated efforts by the bailiff of the Federal High court to re-serve it (DSS) on Friday. Sowore was not released as the week ended. Sowore on Thursday, commenced a contempt suit against the Director-General of the DSS,Yusuf Bichi, for allegedly disobeying the order granting him bail.
3. Buhari Attended 74th UNGA in New York
President Muhammadu Buhari’s activities at the 74th United Nations General Assembly in New York were well reported in the media last week. He addressed world leaders on Tuesday, but the event which generated much attention was his participation at the UN Climate Action Summit 2019. Following the release of a video of President’s Buhari’s participation at the panel, the president reacted to a question he was asked by reading a prepared speech. The answer also appeared different from what he was asked. Amid heavy criticism on twitter, presidential aide, Tolu Ogunlesi, said the president’s answer was in line with the theme of his panel session, adding that he (Buhari) was also at liberty to respond to questions on the panel either extempore or from a prepared text. The president returned to Abuja on Saturday morning.
4. UK Court Granted Nigeria Leave to Appeal and Stay of Execution in Asset Award to P&ID
The battle between the Federal Government and Process and Industrial Development Limited apparently lingered for another week as Nigeria battle to appeal the UK court judgment which awarded P&ID 9.6bn in Nigerian assets following a failed gas processing project. On Thursday, the Commercial and Arbitral Court of the United Kingdom (UK) granted the Federal Government leave to appeal against the award and enforcement of the judgment that asked P&ID Limited to seize $9.6bn in Nigerian assets. The court, at Nigeria’s request, also ruled that a stay of execution be granted subject to a $200 million security payment to court within 60 days pending the determination of the appeal. The court’s ruling was seen as a major boost in the bid to upturn the earlier judgment to Nigeria’s favour.
5. Lightning Killed 36 Cows in Ondo
Reactions trailed the killing of 36 cows by lightning in a manner that looked mysterious, at Ijare sacred hill in Ifedore Local Government Area of Ondo State. The incident which occurred on Saturday was a talking point during the week as many believed that the gods were at work. The Oke Owa hill is said to be only visited by the king of the town and some chiefs once in a year, during the celebration of the new yam festival, to perform some rituals. But the killing of the cows by a fierce lighting was the consequence of the ‘invasion’of the sacred place by herdsmen, according to the Olujare of Jare, Oba Adebamigbe Oluwagbemigun.
6. One Half of Danfo Drivers, Mad Melon, Died
The news of the death of One of the Nigerian music duo of “Danfo Drivers”, Oghenemaro Emeofa, popularly known as Mad Melon, was reported on Thursday. Mad Melon as popularly called was said to have died on Wednesday night at Tolu Medical Centre Hospital in Ajegunle, Lagos after a brief illness. The shocking news of his demise led to many fans of the “Kpolongo” crooners to pay tribute to him on social media.
7. Keyamo, Alasoadura Swapped Ministries
President Buhari on Tuesday, approved the swapping of Ministries of two Ministers of State, Mr Festus Keyamo and Senator Tayo Alasoadura. A statement from the Director of Information at the Office of Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Willie Bassey, announced that Keyamo, Minister of State for Niger Delta Affairs was to move to Ministry of Labour and Employment as Minister of State, while Sen. Alasoadura, Minister of State for Labour and Employment was to move in the order direction. Keyamo however expressed his excitement at his new role.
8. House Democrat Commenced Impeachment Inquiry on President Trump
On Tuesday, Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that the House would initiate a formal impeachment inquiry against US President Donald Trump, following allegations of betrayal of his oath of office and the nation’s security by seeking to enlist a foreign country to tarnish a rival for his own political gain. Trump in a telephone conversation was said to have pressured Ukraine president, Volodymyr Zelensky, to open a corruption investigation of former Vice President Joseph Biden, a leading contender for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, and his son. The conversation is said to be part of a whistle-blower complaint that the Trump administration has withheld from Congress. House Democrats, especially Mrs Pelosi, have been in a long running battle with Trump’s administration, and the latest friction is expected to continue to dominate public discourse in the following weeks.
9. Lionel Messi Won FIFA Men’s Best Player of the Year
One of the biggest highlights of the week was the award of Best Men’s Player of the Year to Barcelona and Argentine forward, Lionel Messi, by world football governing body, FIFA on Tuesday night. He beat Liverpool defender, Virgil Van Dink, who won the European Player of the Year award, and perennial rival, Cristiano Ronaldo to win the crown. However, opinions were divided on whether Messi should have been given the award in a heated debate which lasted for days on social media. The controversies that followed among which was the two voided votes from the Egypt for Mohammed Salah and the claim by Nicaraguan captain, Juan Barrera, that he never sent a vote but his ballot was counted for Lionel Messi, further immersed the award into controversy.
10. #BBNija: Tacha Disqualified, Mercy Got Two Strikes from Big Brother
The disqualification of one of the Big Brother Nigeria 2019 housemates, Tacha, was a major talking point in the entertainment world on Friday and beyond. Tacha was involved in a hot argument with fellow housemate, Mercy, and the former was deiqualified for being violent after she grabbed the latter’s hair. The disqualification generated a tweet war among the fans of the housemates on Twitter. However, there was a twist on Saturday as a therapist, Jaruma Hausa pledged to give Tacha N50m after missing out on the N60m Grand Prize of the show. The announcement by the said Jaruma however led to criticisms in some quarters on social media as some twitter users described her financial award to Tacha as “reward for bad habit.”