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I’m sure of victory, won’t step down for Atiku, Tinubu

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In this exclusive interview with ABIODUN SANUSI, presidential candidate of the New Nigeria People’s Party and national leader of the Kwankwasiya movement, Rabiu Kwankwaso, said he would not forego his presidential ambition for anyone, including the presidential candidates of the major opposition Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, and that of the ruling All Progressives Congress, Bola Tinubu.

How do you intend to defeat the APC and the PDP, considering their nationwide spread?

The Kwankwasiya movement is very popular, and we’ll even win in the North-Eastern region. I’m happy that the Electoral Bill was signed into law, and that would make it difficult for anyone to rig us as they’ve always done in the past.

Once there’s a free and fair election, it’ll be difficult for anyone to defeat us. Hence, I am certain of victory against Presidential candidates of the ruling All Progressives Congress, Bola Tinubu, and Atiku Abubakar of the major opposition, Peoples Democratic Party, at the polls in 2023.

Are you ready to sacrifice your presidential ambition for Atiku Abubakar to facilitate the defeat of the APC in the general elections?

I won’t be stepping down for anyone, our party is popular across the country, and we’re sure of victory at the polls.

Our candidacy is based on capacity and performance. Nigerians will not vote for any experiment now, people are looking for those that have done it better in the past, and people who are trusted. Nigerians want someone that can unite Nigeria, improve the education system, and end the issue of incessant insecurity. We’ve always cared for the people. And many, especially the poor masses, were happy that I got the presidential ticket of the NNPP.

Do you not see Bola Tinubu and Atiku Abubakar as threats to your ambition?

It is not me that would defeat Tinubu and Atiku, rather, it is the masses of this country that believes in us. Although I and the party will only be a symbol on the ballot paper, it is the people that will go to the polling booths to vote them out because the difference between me and the two other major candidates is very clear. They are well-known to Nigerians, and they have nothing new to tell Nigerians. And I am also well-known, and the people know what I stand for.

How do you intend to penetrate the South-West and the South-East?

Our party has grown very fast. Months ago no one knew about the party, but in the last four months, the party has been popular across the country. The NNPP is now a household name, we have leadership and followership across the nation. Our ideology is different.

We also have so many supporters who are indigenous to the Southern region of the country. And, of course, the Arewa community in the Southern region would have no other choice but to vote for us because I’ve always represented their interests.

How and where do you and your party intend to get a running mate?

We’re currently making consultations, and a committee will be instituted to help get the best Nigerian who will be a Christian from the Southern part of the country as the Vice-Presidential candidate of our party.

The Kwankwasiya national movement is already in the Southern part of the country. And we’d get someone that is widely accepted in the Southern part of the country as my running-mate, and I’m sure they would come with their own benefits to be added to the NNPP for the success of the party. And when we come together no candidate of the APC or the PDP would be able to defeat us.

What do you think about the chances of your party, NNPP at the polls?

The New Nigeria People’s Party was registered about 21 years ago, and before we joined the party about four months ago many people knew very little or nothing about it. However, since our group, the Kwankwasiya movement and the national movement joined the NNPP, the party has become a household name. We’re everywhere. We have complete leadership and followership in every local government, state, and national political spectrum. People have continued to join our party, especially since we had our congress.

The congress and primary elections that we had to elect our State Assembly, National Assembly, Gubernatorial candidates, and even the national convention wherein I was affirmed as the candidate of the New Nigeria People’s Party, have made it clear that we have three major candidates in the forthcoming general elections. One from the APC, another from the PDP, and my humble self, and we at the NNPP are sure of victory at the polls.

Do you think you have what it takes to win the forthcoming Presidential elections?

Definitely, I have all that is required to become the President of this great country. I was a governor under the PDP between 1999 and 2003, and I was Minister of Defence from 2003 till the end of 2006 when I resigned to contest the gubernatorial elections again in Kano, and I won for a second term before I went to the Senate.

Between all these times, I was in the NDDC as the representative of the North-West. I can also say this anywhere, that I am one of the founding fathers of the Peoples Democratic Party in 1998.

During the 1995 Constitutional Conference, I was also elected as one of the delegates from Kano. In 1992 I was elected as a member of the House of Representatives representing Madobi Federal Constituency and subsequently won election as deputy speaker in the House. The masses of this country believe in my capacity, and they know my antecedent.

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Governor’s wife advises Jerusalem pilgrims on conduct

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The returnees who participated in the 2022 pilgrimage to Jerusalem and Jordan have held a thanksgiving service to appreciate God for the successful journey.

According to a statement issued by the state government, the service, held at Chapel of Christ The Light, Alausa, was graced by the wife of the Lagos State Governor, Dr Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu.

Represented by the wife of a former Speaker, Lagos State House of Assembly, Mrs Mayowa Ikuforiji, Sanwo-Olu advised the returnees to be true ambassadors of Christ and allow their encounters during the pilgrimage to strengthen their relationship with God and the people around them.

The governor’s wife said, “You cannot afford to go back to your old ways and lifestyles. As you have been described as the light and salt of the world in the Holy Book, it means that you have a lot of tasks ahead of you.”

Sanwo-Olu then thanked God on behalf of the pilgrims for the successful completion of the exercise and the journey mercies experienced.

She said, “We bless the Lord that there was no report of any negative eventuality. It is fitting at this point to state that we are indeed peculiar people with a deep sense of appreciation and we show this trait in praises and thanksgiving to God who specifically called us out of darkness into His marvellous light.”

In her remarks, the Secretary, Lagos State Christian Pilgrims Welfare Board, Mrs Yetunde Gbafe, said the thanksgiving service was in line with God’s injunction as recorded in Psalm 100 where believers were enjoined to come into His presence with praise and thanksgiving.

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Nigeria needs $12bn to clean up oil spills – Report

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Nigeria needs $12bn to clean up decades-old oil spills in southern Bayelsa State over a 12-year period, a new report revealed on Tuesday, as it singled out two international oil companies, Shell and Eni, for being responsible for most of the pollution.

Oil majors in Nigeria have long faced legal challenges over Niger Delta spills, which they mostly blame on sabotage and vandalism of pipelines and illegal refining.

The Bayelsa State Oil and Environmental Commission said in a report that it started an investigation in 2019 on the impact of spills and looked at evidence from forensic scientists, blood samples from people in affected areas and company data, according to Reuters.

The investigation discovered, among other findings, that toxic pollutants from spills and gas flaring were many times higher than the safe limits in samples of soil, water, air, and in the blood of local residents, the commission said.

“The report finds failures of strategy, prevention, response and remediation by oil companies,” it said.

Reuters stated that a spokesperson for Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited said the oil firm was not privy to the final report and could not comment.

An Eni spokesperson said the oil spills were due to theft to feed illegal refineries as well as illegal exports and sabotage but the company undertook to remedy all spills.

Most of the gas produced from Eni’s Nigerian unit was converted into LNG and fed local power plants, the spokesperson said, adding that “Eni conducts its activities according to the sector’s international environmental best practices, without any distinction on a country basis.”

Toxins that cause burns, lung problems and risk of cancer were widespread while oil company-led clean-ups were often poorly executed and could further contaminate soil and groundwater, the commission’s report said.

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Experts advise marketers to leverage technology

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Experts have advised marketing professionals to take advantage of technology to revamp marketing tactics.

The marketers were admonished at the National Institute of Marketing of Nigeria Ikeja Chapter 3rd Annual Public Lecture held recently in Lagos.

Speakers at the event said due to the highly competitive marketing arena, marketers must be willing to adjust their approaches in response to shifting market trends and economic circumstances, to remain competitive and achieve success.

The Ikeja Chapter Chairman of NIMN and Chief Executive Officer of Procon Group, Adebayo Oke, noted that the conference was basically to review the position of things in the institute in the face of the country’s dynamic economy.

He said, “We all know that in terms of political economy, we are going to be having a change very soon. Where we are coming from, there are issues that have affected consumerism in terms of the power of a consumer, choices and whether it will get tougher or better that is why we are here. To also share knowledge among the top practitioners to floor it down.”

According to him, a lot of quacks are in the market and most companies believe marketing is anybody’s function.

“And going forward, we are going to be regulating the practice of marketing across all industries and in partnership with the international brands in the areas of marketing, including the Chartered Institute of Marketing UK, amongst others,” he stated.

He disclosed that the institute would be partnering with most companies to ensure that only certified marketer would be allowed to practice marketing, to enable the institute get rid of all the quacks.

The President and Chairman of Council for NIMN, Idorenyen Enang, in his keynote address, highlighted the significance of marketers harnessing the potential of technology while ensuring that they adhere to ethical principles of the profession.

He said, “The benefits of technology in streamlining operations are widely appreciated. However, concerns about job displacement due to AI have arisen. Marketers must strive for a harmonious implementation of these technologies, striking a balance that mitigates such disadvantages.”

He added that while automation greatly enhances efficiency, there is a potential loss of intellectual capacity as the current generation prioritises speed, brevity, and simplicity.

Also, the Head Sub-Saharan Africa Digital Media & Insights of FrieslandCampina WAMCO Plc, Ifeoluwa Obafemi, said, “In the phase of technological advancement and changes in consumer behaviour, as marketing professionals, we should set our organisation in a future forward mode. For businesses to maintain a competitive edge in the present-day business environment, undergoing a marketing transformation is a necessary process.”

On his part, the Chief Executive Officer of Axiom Intel Limited, Kolawole Oyeyemi, said, “Marketers should attract and retain their customers. Nowadays, customers are now more informed and know your business more than you do because they now compare your services to global best practices.

“There is a revolution in technology which has assisted in creating tools and devices and building platforms to allow customers to interact with companies across the world.”

According to him, it is a volatile environment and things one does not think will connect one’s business may connect from a very long distance.

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