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JUST IN: Ajimobi’s aide defects to PDP

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Abiola Ajimobi

The candidate of the All Progressive Congress (APC) for the Ibadan Southeast/Northeast Federal House of Representatives in Oyo state during the 2019 general election, Mr Deji Aboderin has defected to the ruling People’s Democratic Party.

Aboderin served as the Senior Special Assistant on Public Affairs to former Governor Abiola Ajimobi.

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He cited many cases where party leadership worked against his electoral victory in the last election

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Okonjo-Iweala Urges WTO to elect a credible candidate for the position of Director-General

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Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala on Wednesday in Geneva stressed the need for the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to elect a credible candidate based on merit for the position of Director-General.

Okonjo-Iweala who is among the eight candidates vying for the position, stated this while answering questions from newsmen at a press conference held shortly after her presentation to the WTO General Council.

“Choosing a Director-General for WTO should be on merit. The best person should be chosen to lead an institution that’s having challenges.

“If it happens to be a woman, great. If it happens to be an African its also great. It should be based on merit,” she said while extolling the qualities which make her well suited for the job.

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“The WTO needs leadership and I’m someone with a strong managerial capability with the ability to forge consensus and reforms.

“These bundles of qualities in addition to my leadership quality is what I’m bringing to the WTO,” she added.

Okonjo-Iweala also spoke on various issues ranging from trade implication of COVID-19, challenges to micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMSE) as well as e-commerce.

According to her, e-commerce and the digital economy are vital forms of trade, especially in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

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However, she said, there was a need to address the challenge of the digital divide in developing and least-developed nations – where infrastructure remained a major impediment to such a form of trade.

Similarly, she emphasized the need to strengthen MSMSE – a vital part of the global economy which was adversely affected by the pandemic.

In the same vein, the former finance minister, also said that in tackling COVID-19, if elected as director-general, she would ensure that vaccines are accessible to poorer countries.

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“When vaccines become available, there will be allocation criteria that will ensure that it’s accessible to all,” she said while noting that she will bring her experience as Chair of GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance board to bear.

Other issues addressed by Okonjo-Iweala include fostering relations among member countries to rebuild trust in restoring consensus decision making- in other to strengthen the WTO.

Alongside Okonjo-Iweala are candidates from Mexico, Egypt, Moldova, Republic of Korea, Kenya, UK, and Saudi Arabia vying for the WTO Director-General position.

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JUST IN: Ganduje reshuffles cabinet

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Ganduje

The Governor of Kano State, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, has effected a minor reshuffle of his cabinet.

He has redeployed three commissioners to other ministries.

At the end of the State Executive Council (SEC), the governor inaugurated the new commissioners and assigned them portfolios.

Among the new commissioners, Lawan Musa, a past state Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), has been moved from the Ministry of Housing and Transport to Ministry of Justice.

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Mahmud Muhammad Dansantsi of the Ministry of Commerce is now Commissioner for Housing and Transport.

Ibrahim Mukhtar, who was Commissioner of Justice and Attorney General of the State, has been moved to the Ministry of Commerce and industry, while Idris Garba Unguwar Rimi, a newly appointed Commissioner, has been assigned the Ministry of Works and Infrastructure.

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The governor, in a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary (CPS) Abba Anwar, urged the cabinet members to remain committed to the policy drive of the All Progressives Congress APC-government.

“You must be resolute in delivering credibly well to the overall development of Kano state,” Ganduje said

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Protesters confront President Macron in public garden

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Macron

The security arrangements of French President Emmanuel Macron were brought into question on Wednesday after he was confronted by protesters during a walk in a public garden in Paris.

A group of anti-government “gilets jaunes” (yellow vests) demonstrators hurled abuse as he and his wife Brigitte walked with bodyguards in the Tuileries Gardens in Paris on Tuesday.

In a video posted on the Gilets Jaunes Infos page on Facebook, what appears to be a few dozen protesters boo and shout “Macron demission!” (Macron resign) as they surround the presidential party, many filming on their phones.

“It’s incredible, we’ve stumbled upon the thorn in our side,” one protester is heard saying.

Macron then engages in a close encounter with agitated men who wave fingers in his face while complaining about economic inequality and heavyhanded policing of protests.

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Neither Macron nor the demonstrators shown in the video were wearing face masks, recommended for preventing coronavirus contagion.

The heated exchange, with security guards looking on, lasted about six minutes.

– ‘Be cool’ –

It poses a real security problem,” the head of the opposition rightwing Republicans party, Christian Jacob, told French television. “How can the president of the republic take such risks?”

Leftist leader Jean-Luc Melenchon said Macron should have been more “cautious” as “a president walking in the Tuileries where there are so many people should expect to come across detractors”.

But government spokesman Gabriel Attal said on Wednesday the incident underlined Macron’s “absolute openness to dialogue”, pointing out that his opponents often criticise him for being too distant from the people.

“The president of the republic can leave the Elysee, and fortunately so,” Attal said of the official presidential residence.

In the video, Macron is seen repeatedly urging the group confronting him to “be cool” while taking time to listen to some of their gripes.

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He said he understood their “feeling of injustice” but in response to complaints about alleged police abuses, he pointed out that “there are also violent people among yourselves”.

“This is a public holiday, I am taking a walk with my wife, and you are heckling me,” Macron tells one of them, referring to Bastille Day, a national holiday in France.

According to an official count, about 2,500 demonstrators and 1,800 law enforcement agents have been injured in weekly yellow vest protests that kicked off in November 2018.

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The protests had largely faded by the summer of 2019, though sporadic protests drawing much smaller crowds have continued almost weekly since then.

The rallies, which started as a protest against a loss of spending power and Macron’s perceived contempt for ordinary people, often sparked confrontations and riots.

Activists say two dozen civilians lost an eye as police used rubber bullets to quell the violence, and five lost a hand to stun grenades.

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