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Secret report bombshell: Cash-strapped PDP plans to sell party membership, ministerial slots…

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A high-powered committee set up to revamp the fortunes of the Peoples Democratic Party has submitted a report that may throw the fractious party into a new crisis. Among others, the committee advised the party to sell its membership and also restrict senior government positions and other perks to the highest bidder.

 

Reliable sources within the party told SUNDAY PUNCH that the plan had been accepted by the leadership of the Senator Ahmed Makarfi faction, which also set up the committee.

 

The Makarfi faction is the bigger of the two factions fighting for the soul of the former ruling party. It has the support of an overwhelming number of former governors, ministers and power brokers.

 

However, it suffered a major setback at the courts recently when the other faction led by former Borno State Governor, Ali Modu Sheriff, was declared as the authentic executive of the party. The Makarfi faction has however, challenged the decision of the Court of Appeal at the Supreme Court.

 

According to SUNDAY PUNCH findings, the committee, which has 201 members and is chaired by a former Minister of Information, Prof. Jerry Gana, is moving around the country, distributing copies of the report to prominent members of the party.

 

Among those who are said to have received it are former President Goodluck Jonathan; a former Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Chief Tony Anenih; and a former National Security Adviser; Gen. Mohammed Gusau (retd.) Some other members of the BoT and the national caretaker committee have also collected copies of the document, sources say.

 

The report, which was seen by our correspondent during the week, groups the party’s membership into six categories in descending order of members’ financial contributions. Those in the highest categories are to have special benefits based on their financial contributions to the party.

 

The categories are: Platinum, Diamond, Gold, Silver, Standard and Students in Tertiary Institutions.

 

According to the report, male members of the party who desire to be Platinum members are to pay N500,000 a year or N50,000 monthly instalments while women are to pay half the amount.

 

The benefits accruing to those in this category include “opportunities to attend the expanded national caucus meetings of the party, be invited to social and political events of the party with the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the national chairman of the party.”

 

Members in this category are also to contribute and participate in the formulation of key policy decisions for the next general election.

 

“Consideration shall be given to platinum card-carrying members for appointment into boards of Federal Government-owned parastatals, agencies, ministerial appointments as well as other benefits that accrue to the party,” the report says.

 

Other perks, the report says, “are inclusive, but not limited to procurements, contracts and projects (awards) at all levels of the party governance structure.”

 

For those in the diamond category, they are expected to pay N250,000 (men) or N200,000 (women) annually to the party.

 

The document also states that diamond card-carrying members will enjoy most of the privileges associated with those in the Platinum group.

 

The report adds that those in diamond category “will (however) not be eligible for consideration into the membership of Board of Trustees as well as contest for the position of President and national party offices as the national chairman, deputy national chairman and national secretary.”

 

Gold card members will be expected to pay N200,000 (men) or N100,000 (women) minimum a year. They are expected to enjoy the benefits accruing to those in the diamond card category.

 

Holders of Silver cards in the party, according to the document, are expected to contribute N100,000 (men) or N50,000 (women) per annum to the party.

 

But they will not enjoy contracts from the government or be allowed to contest for national offices or be considered for appointment as ministers.

 

However, Silver members may be considered for commissionership appointments as well as other benefits that may accrue to the party such as “procurements, contracts and projects” at the state levels of the party’s governance structures.

 

Members who cannot afford to part with the sums quoted above will be asked to cough out N3,000 (men) and N2,000 (women) annually. However, they will only be allowed to contest for public posts at the local government and ward levels. Those in this category are called “Standard membership” card holders.

 

Student membership is planned to be free, but the document says it will be limited to “students in tertiary institutions approved by the Federal Ministry of Education.”

 

In his reaction, the National Chairman of the party, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, said the cash-for-membership plan would not work, adding that the party was not for sale. Sheriff added that the plan of the Makarfi-led caretaker committee was to handover the party to the rich.

 

Speaking through the Acting National Publicity Secretary of the party, Mr. Bernard Mikko, the former Governor of Borno State said, “That idea won’t work. We are talking and planning to handover the party to the people, yet some people are secretly planning an alliance to hijack it.

 

“The PDP is not for sale. We won’t allow it to happen. The party is for ordinary Nigerians who are committed to its ideals and not for a few, who are desperate to hijack it.”

 

Deputy National Chairman of the PDP, Dr. Cairo Ojougboh, also condemned the new membership plan.

 

“The committee should stop misrepresenting us. It is going about dishing out the report to eminent members of our party without authorisation,” he said.

 

But the spokesperson for the Makarfi faction, Prince Dayo Adeyeye, disagreed with the critics of the new plan, saying that it would be wrong for anyone to say that the committee was not serving the interest of the party.

 

Interestingly, the party’s thinkers would still like to have a situation where government funds political parties. In the report, the Gana-led committee said the Federal Government should continue to fund political parties.

 

It said, “It has been established that political parties all over the world are funded by governments of their various countries. This was also in practice in Nigeria before a PDP-controlled National Assembly stopped it.

 

“Public funding of political parties made it morally right for INEC to audit political parties’ assets since most of the funds came from the government. It is hereby recommended that the PDP should collaborate with other political parties to amend the Electoral Law to restore regular funding of political parties by the government.”

 

The committee further recommended that the party should invest five per cent of its annual income in commercial companies. In order to make more money, the committee said the party must establish companies that would bid for contracts as well.

 

The report said, “It is recommended that five percent of the party’s income be invested in reputable fund managers and blue-chip companies such as pension funds, treasury bills, bonds, telecommunications companies, oil companies etc. NEC should determine such companies from time to time.

 

“It is further recommended, if approved by the appropriate organs of the party, to establish PDP incorporated organisations to handle party investments and also bid for contracts.”

 

23 PDP state chairmen back Sheriff

 

Meanwhile, 23 out of the 36 state chapter chairmen have thrown their weight behind the National Chairman of the party, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff.

 

They also said they were backing recommendations made by the Governor Seriake Dickson’s Peace and Reconciliation Committee for a unity national convention to hold not later than August this year.

 

The state chairman stated this after their meeting in Abuja on Friday night.

 

In their communique, which was made available to journalists on Saturday, they expressed concerns that if the ongoing leadership crisis in the party was not resolved quickly, it would affect the fortune of the party, especially as the Independent National Electoral Commission had released the 2019 election timetable.

 

The communique of the meeting was read by the Federal Capital Territory PDP chairman, Mr. Yunusa Suleiman.

 

He said he and his colleagues were supporting Sheriff because of the judgement of the Court of Appeal, which pronounced him as the party’s substantive national chairman.

 

Suleiman added that the support of the chairmen for Sheriff was without prejudice to the ongoing appeal lodged by the Senator Ahmed Makarfi-led National Caretaker Committee of the party, at the Supreme Court.

 

He said whatever decision reached by the apex court would be adhered to by them as well.

 

The chairman insisted that the political solution being proffered by former president Goodluck Jonathan was the best way out of the crisis.

 

The communique added, “The PDP state chairmen are very concerned about the crises engulfing the party as it is degenerating into the several defections from the party across the nation.

 

“Bearing in mind the upcoming Presidential elections timeline recently announced by the INEC, as key political actors of the polity, we cannot sit back and allow our party to degenerate to this level and we have thus decided to come forward and proffer solutions to this crisis.

 

“In line with the only template presented by the Peace and Reconciliation Committee of our party headed by Henry Seriake Dickson, Governor of Bayelsa State, we wish to state that we support the recommendation that a political solution is the best and only solution to our crisis without prejudice to the ongoing judicial processes,

 

“We are also in support of the committees’ recommendation of an all inclusive unity convention to be held as soon as possible.

 

“We, as legitimately elected chairmen wish to state on the grounds of clarity that we shall never be in support or be a part of any plan to tinker with the option of leaving the PDP and forming another party.”

 

The communique was signed by 23 participants at the meeting.

 

But in a swift move, Makarfi described the state chairmen as fake, and dissidents.

 

Makarfi, who spoke through a member of his committee, Prince Dayo Adeyeye on Saturday, added that the action of the chairmen was a ruse.

 

He said, “We wish to state without ambiguity that the action of these elements is a ruse, lies from the pit of hell and a mere continuation of impunity of Senator Sheriff and his dissident backers within the party.

 

“For the records, we wish to make it clear that many of those men are not elected state chairmen of our party, even when Senator Sheriff was the recognised chairman of the party.”

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Transcorp Group Announces N142 Billion Revenue, N58.8 billion PBT, and Celebrates 10 year’s unbroken Dividend payment, at 18th Annual General Meeting

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Transnational Corporation Plc (Transcorp Group or the Group), Nigeria’s leading listed conglomerate, announced 57% revenue growth, from N90.3 billion in 2022 to N142.1 billion in 2023, at its 18th Annual General Meeting (AGM), held on Monday, May 27, 2024, at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja.

The Company’s outstanding financial results were driven by successful execution across all business lines and demonstrated Transcorp Group’s ability to deliver to all its stakeholders, including shareholders. At the AGM, Transcorp Group confirmed excellent year-on-year growth: the Group’s total assets grew by 20% increase, up from N422.7 billion in 2022 to N529.9 billion in 2023, PBT grew from N30.3 billion in 2022 to N58.8 billion in 2023, and PAT for the Group increased from N16.8 billion to N32.5 billion. This performance was due to the strong results across its subsidiaries: Transcorp Hotels Plc, Transcorp Power Plc, Transafam Power Ltd, and Transcorp Energy Ltd.

The Group’s power subsidiaries, which together with its strategic investment in OPL281, form the basis of its integrated energy strategy, also achieved significant growth, achieving a profit increase of 63%, from N17.7 billion in the previous year to N28.9 billion in 2023. Transcorp’s power businesses, Transcorp Power Plc and Transafam Power, provide over 20% of Nigeria’s installed power capacity and the Group recently entered the distribution sector, through its investment in Abuja Electricity Distribution Plc.

The Group’s hospitality business achieved record average occupancy of 81%, with profit increasing by 105% from N4.6 billion in the previous year to N9.5 billion in 2023; while revenue grew by 36% from N30.4 billion in 2022 to N41.5 billion.

President/Group CEO, Dr. Owen D. Omogiafo, OON, highlighted the Group’s strategic growth plans, including the multipurpose, world-class 5,000-capacity event centre at the Transcorp Hilton Abuja, opening this year, as well as the ambition to increase available power generation capacity. She said: “The reward for success is more work, and across our Group, we are not relenting. We are focused on maximising our strengths and opportunities for vertical growth, to deliver more value and achieve sustainable growth. We are confident that the coming year will bring even more value to our shareholders.”

Tony O. Elumelu, CFR, Group Chairman, explained: “Transcorp Group has not only recorded unprecedented growth, the Group has demonstrated its potential to deliver much more value to stakeholders and to our country. The sustained success of all our businesses reflects our resolute stance on corporate governance, our commitment to improving lives and transforming communities, and the priority we place on our people. Despite the current macro-economic challenges, the future remains an exciting one”.

“Government has a critical role to play. We remain committed to creating more value and appreciate the policies already implemented. However, we call on the Federal Government to prioritise the crippling issues in the power sector. The challenges in the power sector should be uppermost in our nation’s transformation agenda. The private sector cannot thrive without improved access to electricity. Fundamentally reforming the power sector is essential to our national economic transformation.”

Shareholders at the AGM approved a dividend of 10 kobo, a 100% increase over the previous year. The financial year 2023 is the 10th consecutive year of consistent dividend payment by Transcorp Group.

Shareholders also lauded Transcorp Group’s commitment to growing shareholder value and strong corporate governance, as well as its consistency in paying dividends year-on-year. The Group’s commitment to community and social responsibility, inclusive of its sustainability and CSR projects, was also commended at the AGM.

About Transnational Corporation

Transnational Corporation Plc (Transcorp Group) is one of Africa’s leading, listed conglomerates, with strategic investments in the power, hospitality, and energy sectors, driven by its mission to improve lives and transform Africa.

Transcorp’s power businesses, Transcorp Power Plc and Transafam Power, provide over 20% of Nigeria’s installed power capacity. Transcorp is committed to developing Nigeria’s domestic energy value chain, through its investments in OPL287. The Group’s hospitality business, Transcorp Hotels Plc owns the iconic Transcorp Hilton Abuja, Nigeria’s flagship hospitality destination, and has launched the digital platform Aura by Transcorp Hotels.

www.transcorpgroup.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Anxiety as CBN sacks 200 employees

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No fewer than 200 officials of the Central Bank of Nigeria were on Friday relieved of their duties, adding to the long list of ongoing disengagements in the apex bank, Saturday PUNCH reports.

This adds to the list of 117 staff sacked by the bank between March 15th and April 11, 2024.

The termination of appointments affects directors, deputy directors, assistant directors, principal managers, senior managers and lower-ranking staff.

Impeccable sources who are staff of the bank confirmed the sacking to our correspondent on Friday, adding that the sacked persons were more than 200 but not less than 200.

They revealed that the new move included older directors who were not affected by the last round of retrenchment.

One of the sources in a 20-second call with our correspondent simply stated, “It is true and confirmed.”

The staff who could not disclose further details for fear of being tapped added that the move had caused palpable apprehension amongst staff of every cadre as the management had not specified any standard criteria for the decisions.

Another undeniable authority confirmed the information, indicating that additional dismissals are expected in the months ahead, spread out across staggered phases.

The official said, “It is real and is even more than 200 officials but the actual number is unconfirmed yet. The sacking is coming in staggered phases and that is why we can’t confirm the number yet.

“But it is not less than 200. The sacked persons include directors and other cadres but the ones that are easily known are the directors. Some of the old directors that were not affected during the last round of sacks are now affected.”

The sack letter obtained by our correspondent and issued by the Human Resources Department on May 24, 2024, indicated that the policy was to reorganise the organisation for effective operations.

The letter, lacking a signature, read, “The new strategic direction of the bank has been widely publicised. In line with our new mission and vision, the bank is currently undergoing a significant organisational and human capital restructuring process.

“As a result of this review, I have been directed to notify you that your services will not be required with effect from Friday, 24th May 2024. Your final entitlements will be calculated and paid to you in due course. Thank you”

In February, at least 1,500 members of staff of the apex bank of Nigeria were redeployed from the headquarters located at Central Area to its Lagos office.

At the time, the CBN said the action was necessitated by several factors, including the need to align the bank’s structure with its functions and objectives and redistribute skills to ensure a more even geographical spread of talent.

It added that it was also in compliance with building regulations, as indicated by repeated warnings from the facility manager, and the findings and recommendations of the Committee on Decongestion of the CBN Head Office.

Efforts to get the reaction of the Director of Corporate Communication, Hakama Sidi Ali, was not successful as she did not respond to several calls sent across to her or reply the text messages to her line.

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Paris-bound bizman arrested with 111 cocaine wraps

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The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency has arrested a 48-year-old businessman, Emmanuel Orjinze, at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, for ingesting 111 wraps of cocaine.

The suspect, who claimed to be a professional footballer in Europe, was arrested on May 21 during the outward clearance of an Air France flight to Paris, France.

This was made known in a statement signed by the agency’s Director of Media and Advocacy, Femi Babafemi, and shared on the agency’s website on Sunday.

The statement read, “Operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency have arrested a 48-year-old Paris, France-bound businessman, Emmanuel Okechuku Orjinze, for ingesting 111 wraps of cocaine, which he excreted after days of observation in the agency’s custody following his arrest at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.

“Okechukwu, who also claims he is a professional footballer in Europe, was arrested on Tuesday, May 21, during the outward clearance of Air France flight AF 878 from Abuja to Paris, France.

“After a body scan confirmed he ingested illicit drugs, he was taken into custody where he excreted a total of 111 pellets of cocaine that weighed 1.603 kilograms over three days. The suspect claimed he did business in the maritime sector while still scouting for any European football club to engage him. ”

In the same vein, the NDLEA officers operating at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja, Lagos hinted that they had dismantled another drug trafficking syndicate at the airport.

This, they said in a statement, followed the arrest of four members of the network and the seizure of a total of 8kg of methamphetamine and 7.60kg of Loud, a synthetic strain of cannabis imported from South Africa.

The statement added that a drug trafficking syndicate was busted at the airport when an official was caught with illicit substances in their backpack and bag.

On May 21, 2024, the NDLEA officers, supported by aviation security, intercepted the official at Terminal 1 and discovered the drugs during a search, blowing the lid off the syndicate.

“A swift follow-up operation at the Ajao Estate area of Lagos led to the arrest of two other members of the syndicate: Chris Nwadozie and Chinedu Nwaosu. Further investigation led to the arrest of another member of the cartel working within the airport system on Saturday, May 25,” the statement added.

In a related development, the agency also arrested a freight agent, Sonubi Abiodun, for attempting to export eight parcels of cocaine concealed in paint buckets to the United Kingdom.

Additionally, the NDLEA operatives arrested suspects producing and distributing skuchies, a mixture of black currant and illicit drugs, in Lagos, and recovered 2,480 litres of the psychoactive substance.

In Cross River State, a suspect, Ogar Emmanuel, was arrested with 2.5kg of cannabis, while 290kg of cannabis was recovered from the warehouse of Usani Ikpi, who is still at large. Additionally, three suspects – Sa’adu Sule, Mukhtar Nura, and Hamza Nura – were arrested in Katsina State with 70kg of cannabis, which originated from Ogun State.

The statement added, “No fewer than five suspects including Ezekiel Munda, 30; and Sule Mustapha, 21, were arrested by the NDLEA operatives on Thursday, May 23, during raids at the Karu Abattoir, Jikwoyi and Tora Bora hill area of the FCT, Abuja, where 95.01kg of cannabis and different quantities of opioids were recovered from them.

“In Edo State, operatives arrested a physically challenged notorious drug dealer, Zekere Sufianu, 45, at Auchi town on Wednesday, May 22. At the time of his arrest, he was found with 751 grams of Loud, 178 grams of tramadol, and pills of swinol,” the statement concluded.

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