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LP Crisis: Peter Obi, Obidients Dump Abure, As Search For New Chairman Begins

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The crisis rocking the Labour Party, LP, took a dangerous dimension last week, with members of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, picketing the party’s national secretariat and some of its state offices.

There are also indications that the presidential candidate of the party in the 2023 election, Peter Obi and his supporters known as Obidients have abandoned the party’s National Chairman, Julius Abure to his fate.

This is not unconnected to the internal crisis that has been rocking the party structure since the 2023 general elections was concluded.

After a series of legal battles with the factional chairman of the party, Lamidi Apapa, Abure has been in the news over alleged financial impropriety and other disturbing issues.

Abure’s unending alleged financial scandals

Recall that Peter Obi in February 2024, called for a thorough and forensic investigation into an embezzlement allegation levelled against the party’s chairman, Abure.

The call by the former Anambra Governor was in response to allegations earlier made by Oluchi Oparah, the national treasurer of the party, accusing Abure of allegedly misappropriating N3.5 billion.

Oparah also alleged that the Abure-led National Working Committee, NWC, was working hand-in-hand with the Edo State Government and the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, ahead of the September 2024 governorship polls.

Similarly, in a letter signed by Comrades TItus Amba and Chris Uyot, the chairman and the secretary of NLC Political Commission, the party expressed concerns over recurrent scandals and pending cases of fraud.

Labour Party administration under Abure

Abure was recently accused by some stakeholders of the party, including the Nigerian Labour Congress, NLC, of running the LP as a “sole administrator.”

DAILY POST recalls that the Deputy President of the NLC Political Commission, Dr Theophilus Ndubuaku, who spoke when the workers occupied the Labour Party headquarters in Abuja recently, said the decision to picket the party’s headquarters was taken to express workers’ grievances against Abure’s style of leadership.

He said, ”Now, it is in the hands of this usurper, he is looking for N30 million, N40 million, and so on to buy forms, excluding the people who founded the party. Enough is enough, Abure must go,” said the acting General Secretary of NLC, Comrade Bello Ismail on the cost of governorship interest and nomination forms.

Similarly, in a letter issued by Comrades TItus Amba and Chris Uyot, the chairman and secretary of NLC Political Commission, respectively, the union also knocked Abure for not being committed to the ideology of the Labour Party.

Controversial national convention

The embattled LP Chairman was in the news recently again over his alleged plan to hold National Convention without due processes.

DAILY POST reports that the Abure-led National Working Committee, NWC, was accused of planning to hold the national convention of the party in Umuahia, Abia State capital on March 27.

The planned convention was captured in a notice issued to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, on March 13.

The move was, however, rejected by critical stakeholders, such as the House of Reps Caucus and the NLC, leading to the recent picketing of the party’s secretariat last week.

Recall that the Nigeria Labour Congress Political Commission – the political wing of the NLC, had in an open letter dated March 15, condemned the planned convention.

While demanding for the immediate resignation of Abure, the commission described the plan as illegal, noting that it would not allow any form of illegality in the affairs of the party to stand.

A source who spoke to DAILY POST on Saturday on condition of anonymity, alleged that Abure’s intention was to impose leadership on the party.

He said major stakeholders in that party were against the March convention, stressing that the party needs more time to select its leaders.

“Everybody in the party including our leader, Peter Obi is tired of Abure’s leadership. If we are not in court today, we will be in the news for one allegation or the other.

“The time we need to use to prepare for elections like the ones coming up in Edo and Ondo is used in settling disputes.

“Abure knows that everyone wants him out and the next thing he wants to do to remain relevant in the party is to impose a chairman on the party.

“How can you be talking about conventions and stakeholders of the same party are not even aware? The Labour Party is not Abure’s personal company”, he said.

Search for new chairman begins

DAILY POST gathered on Saturday that a former Deputy National Campaign Manager to Peter Obi/Dati Presidential Campaign, Comrade Isaac Balami from the Northern region may take over from Abure.

An insider told DAILY POST that some party leaderships and chieftains have had a meeting and suggested Balami as the next National Chairman of the party.

When contacted, Balami told our correspondent on the phone that he was “under pressure to run for the chairmanship of the party”, but that there are issues on ground still stopping his declaration.

According to him, he doesn’t even know whether the convention will be held as scheduled as “there are forces fighting against the unity and progress of the party”.

“But then, I can’t refuse or turn down a request coming directly from the youth constituency of the party.

“You know they were instrumental to the change in the political narrative and advancement of the Labour Party in the last election, so we can’t joke with their position.

“I truly appreciate their commitment to the success of our party and I won’t take their call for granted.

”In a couple of hours, we shall make our final decision on this matter.”

DAILY POST reports that the former All Progressives Congress, APC, chieftain had prior to the 2023 general elections, dumped his party for the LP, saying he believed in the ideology of the party and its candidate, Mr Peter Obi.

Speaking on the controversy surrounding the convention, Dr Yunusa Salisu Tanko, Chief Spokesperson for the Labour Party Presidential Campaign Council for the 2023 election, told DAILY POST on Saturday that Abure failed to carry the stakeholders of the party along in the planned convention.

He said, “all we want is for us to build a political party we all will be proud of. A part that will represent the interest of everybody.

“We have all that it takes to build the structure of the party. That is the best thing that can happen to us as a party.

“We don’t want a closed convention like the Chairman is trying to have. Because it is likely going to be a closed convention instead of an open convention and that is not good for us.

“Many people did not even know that there was going to be a convention. I was not aware of the convention too. I saw it in the newspaper just like any other person.

“This is what NLC is also saying. Nobody is against any particular person but for us to have a convention that all of us will be proud of. Peter Obi has also said that the convention should be open for everybody.”

Asked to clarify the viral report purporting Peter Obi’s decision to dump the Labour Party ahead of the 2027 presidential elections, Tanko simply said, “It is not true. As far as I am concerned, there is nothing like that”.

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Fidelity Bank Eyes Oversubscription To N127.1 Billion Combined Offers

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Against the background of groundswell of supports and enthusiasm for the bank’s ongoing offers, Fidelity Bank Plc has started preparations to allow the bank absorb oversubscriptions.

With investors rallying behind the bank’s N127.1 billion combined rights and public offer, market pundits had indicated that the bank would raise more than initial size of the combined offer.

Reports have shown high subscription levels for the offers early weeks of the offer period, riding on the back of acceptances by existing shareholders and demand by the general investing public.

Fidelity Bank is offering a rights issue of 3.2 billion ordinary shares of 50 kobo each at N9.25 per share. The bank is also simultaneously offering 10 billion ordinary shares of 50 kobo each to the general investing public at N9.75 per share.

The acceptance and application lists for the rights issue and public offer, which opened on Thursday, June 20, 2024, are scheduled to close on Monday, July 29, 2024. The rights issue has been pre-allotted on the basis of one new ordinary share for every 10 existing ordinary shares held as at the close of business on Friday, January 05, 2024.

With promising feedbacks from receiving agents and as shareholders, investors, experts and other stakeholders continue to rate the combined offers high, the board of Fidelity Bank has called an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) to enable the bank to absorb expected surplus funds.

Shareholders are scheduled to meet later this month to authorise the company “to accept surplus monies arising from potential oversubscription of the combined offer in such proportion as may be determined by the board of directors, subject to the company’s issued share capital and obtaining relevant regulatory approvals”.

Shareholders are also expected to increase the issued share capital of the company from N22.6 billion divided into 45.2 billion ordinary shares of 50 Kobo each to N26.70 billion through the creation of up to 8.2 billion in order to “accommodate potential oversubscription of the combined offer in the proportion of 5.0 billion additional ordinary shares under the public offer and 3.2 billion additional ordinary shares under the rights issue”.

The meeting will also mandate the board to take all necessary actions in line with the absorption of the oversubscription funds.

The board of the bank reiterated its commitment to retain the bank’s international banking license by meeting the new capital requirement within the regulatory timeframe.

According to the board, the resolutions proposed for shareholders’ approval at the upcoming EGM of July 26, 2024, are to enable acceptance of potential oversubscription from the combined offer, subject to relevant regulatory approvals.

The board pointed out that with the resolutions to accept oversubscription, the bank will be in stronger position to take advantage of emerging business opportunities and secure long-term profitability and competitive advantage, while ensuring increased shareholder value.

The net proceeds of the offer would be applied to investments in information technology infrastructure, business and regional expansion, and product distribution channels.

“The company is on a strong growth trajectory and requires additional capital for improved profitability, expansion- domestic and international, and enhancement of its digital capabilities.

“Continuing advances in technology, the rapid evolution of the business of banking, and changes in the operating landscape also make it imperative that the bank remains agile, adaptable and properly positioned to respond appropriately to developments, whilst remaining a competitive and forward-looking institution,” the board stated.

Directors of the bank assured that notwithstanding the continued rapid evolution of the banking industry, Fidelity Bank has been placed on foundation for strong and sustainable growth.

Fidelity Bank Plc’s combined N127.1 billion rights and public offer had struck early success as enthusiastic shareholders mobilise to pick their pre-allotted shares and buy more stakes in Nigeria’s most-widely owned commercial bank.

Shareholders have said they would pick their rights and buy more shares from the public offer in a massive show of support and positioning in the bank. Fidelity Bank had delivered an average annual capital gain of more than 100 per cent over the past five years and ranked among the elite stocks with the highest corporate governance rating at the Nigerian stock market.

In separate interviews, shareholders across Nigeria’s leading shareholders’ associations, said the pricing of the highly discounted rights issue and public offer, the operational growth of the bank over the years, dividend records and capital gains were attractions to buy more stakes in the bank. Fidelity Bank is one of the few companies that pay dividends twice a year at the stock market.

They envisioned that a post-recapitalisation Fidelity Bank would deliver higher returns and continue to be a leading preserver of values for shareholders’ wealth.

The shareholders, who spoke through their leaders, said recapitalisation has offered good opportunity to the investing public to buy into good banking stocks at reduced prices, noting that banks are the most influential stocks at the Nigerian market. Subscribers to primary market issues are exempted from paying transaction costs, unlike direct purchase through the secondary market.

Shareholders, under the auspices of Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria (ISAN), Ibadan Zone Shareholders Association (IBZA), Association for the Advancement of Rights of Nigerian Shareholders (AARNS), Pragmatic Shareholders Association of Nigeria and Progressive Shareholders Association of Nigeria among others, said they were picking up their rights and mobilising supports for the bank.

The general shareholders’ endorsements represent a major boost for Fidelity Bank, which has the most diversified retail shareholders’ base among Nigerian banks.

With nearly 400,000 shareholders, no single shareholder held up to 5.0 per cent of the issued share capital of the bank. Five per cent and above are considered the material shareholding under extant laws and market regulations.

Rights issue is traditionally pre-allotted on the basis of existing shareholdings and its success, most often, depend largely on the satisfaction and enthusiasm of existing shareholders.

Fidelity Bank appears to be riding high on its highly diversified shareholding base with its popularity showing across all cadres of investors in the market. The shareholders’ comments came on the heels of similar positive comments by investment experts and capital market stakeholders.

The combined rights and public offers had opened to a rousing support from the investing public as key capital market stakeholders recalled the symbolic importance of Fidelity Bank’s impressive growths and investor-friendly disposition over the years.

From the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) to stockbrokers, investors and customers; the N127.1 billion combined rights and public offer received unreserved recommendations, with industry thought leaders citing the performance of Fidelity Bank in its core banking operations and as a quoted company at the stock market.

They said Fidelity Bank’s N127.1 billion combined rights and public offer was the right way for the nation’s banking recapitalisation exercise to start as the bank, which has the highest corporate governance rating and an average annual capital gain of more than 100 per cent at the stock market, has strong appeal to the investing public.

The Doyen of Stockbrokers, the oldest practicing stockbroker, Alhaji Rasheed Yussuff, said Fidelity Bank has good records going for it with its history of impressive growth and profitability and dividend payments.

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NNPCL Explains Reason For Drop In Dangote Refinery’s Stake To 7.2%

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The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited has said that it decided not to add to its earlier investment in the 650,000 barrels per day Dangote Refinery.

NNPCL spokesperson, Olufemi Soneye disclosed this in a terse statement in reaction to Dangote Refinery’s announcement that NNPC’s stake is now 7.2 percent contrary to the 20 percent stake.

According to Soneye, NNPCL had several months ago decided to cap its investment at the amount already paid.

Soneye said that the decision not to invest any further in the Dangote refinery did not impact NNPC’s business.

“Several months ago, we made a commercial decision to cap our investment at the amount already paid.

“This decision was taken by NNPC Ltd and has no impact on our business,” he said.

This comes as the Chairman of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote, revealed that NNPCL’s stake in the Dangote Refinery is now 7.2 percent due to NNPC’s failure to pay the balance of their shares, which was due in June last month.

However, the position is contrary to the widely announced claim by the Group Chief Executive Officer of NNPCL, Mele Kyari, that the company had bought 20 percent in Dangote Refinery.

 

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Dem Staffer Fired After Saying Donald Trump Gunman Should Have Taken ‘Shooting Lessons So You Don’t Miss Next Time’

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Democrats staffer fired after saying Trump gunman should have taken ‘shooting lessons so you don’t miss next time’

A staff member of a Mississippi Democratic congressman has reportedly been fired after saying she wished sho0ter Thomas Crooks had ‘better aim’ to take Donald Trump’s life.

On Saturday evening, July 13, shortly after Thomas Matthew Crooks, 20, attempted to assassinate the former president during a rally in Pennsylvania, Jacqueline Marsaw, the field director for Mississippi Congressman Bennie G. Thompson shared a vile post on Facebook about the attack.

Marsaw, 61, the president and vice president of a local NAACP in Natchez, Mississippi, has since deleted the post and her account, but screenshots have been shared across social media.

She shared: ‘I don’t condone violence but please get some shooting lessons so you don’t miss next time ooops that wasn’t me talking.’

 

Democratic congressman

In a follow-up post, she said: ‘That’s what your hate speech got you!!’

Marsaw has since been fired from her position by Mississippi Congressman Bennie G. Thompson.

‘I was made aware of a post made by a staff member and she is no longer in my employment,’ Thompson said

A member of the crowd was killed in the deadly sho0ting, while two others who were wounded are in a critical condition. All three are males, according to law enforcement officials.

After Trump was sh0t, the Secret Service swarmed around the 45th US President as piercing screams were heard from the MAGA crowd.

He then got to his feet with blood down his cheek and raised his fist in the air while the audience shouted ‘USA’ as he was dragged off stage.

Trump was taken to the hospital for treatment before being later released.

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