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2023: PDP can’t afford to lose – Atiku

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2023: PDP can’t afford to lose – Atiku

Former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar has called on the Board of Trustees members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to be united in working towards the victory of the party in 2023.

Abubakar in an interactive session with BoT members to seek their support for his presidential aspiration in Abuja said anything short of victory would not be good for the party.

He said that the 2023 general elections offered the party opportunity to return to power.

“I am worried and you should be worried too that if we do not win, it means we will be in opposition again for the next eight years.

“By the next eight years, I don’t know how many will be left in politics and it may even ultimately lead to the death of the party because people gravitate, particularly in developing countries, towards governments.

“Ordinary people naturally gravitate towards the government. So this is a very, very crucial and historical moment in history, for our survival. I want you to think about it.

“We are now at a crucial moment in this country. Many of you here, it is either we retire together or we move on together” Abubakar said.

The former vice president said that the PDP administration had from 1999 to 2007 had remarkable achievements that has not been matched by any subsequent administration.

Abubakar said that PDP would scored more votes in 2023 of the Boat members worked together.

“Somebody said that we recorded 12 million votes during the last election. Those are not only my votes, those were our votes.

“In achieving or recording those 11 million votes, it was all of us and I believe if we work together again, we can surpass those votes,” he added.

He, however, dismissed insinuations that he was working against the possible zoning of the PDP Presidential ticket to the South-East.

“In the party, we invented and formulated this zoning policy simply because we wanted every part of this country to have a sense of belonging and I personally have paid my dues on the issue of zoning.

“Many of you were members of our government when all the PDP governors came in 2003 and said I should run and I said no. We have agreed that power should remain in the South-West, Why should I?

“Some of those governors that supported me, some of them went to jail, some of them were kicked out of their offices, we made sure that we kept the policy.

“Therefore, you cannot come and try to imply that the PDP has not been following the zoning policy,” he said.

According to him, the many years of PDP government eight years and six years all of them were from the South. So, we should not be stampeded by the opposition party. They have a moral obligation that is inescapable.

“Some say the South-East have not been given the chance. When I joined the Action Congress of Nigeria (CAN) which my friend Bola (Tinubu) set up, he gave me a set of conditions for giving me the ticket, one of which was that I should make him the Vice President.

“I said no, ‘I’m not going to make you Vice President,’ instead, I took Sen. Ben Obi,” Abubakar said.

He also recalled that when he got the ticket again in 2019 to run, he took another Obi (Peter) coincidentally.

“So, there is absolutely no reason they should say that there is a deliberate attempt to exclude the South-East in political participation or power-sharing.

“So, I thought I should disabuse your mind and of course, as an enlightened political class, I don’t think there’s any deliberate policy to exclude anybody in this country,” he said.

On his part, Raymond Dokpesi who is the Director-General of Atiku Abubakar Campaign Council called on BoT members to disregards all the ethnic and religious sentiments

He said that only the former Vice President has what it takes to reposition the country.

“We have seen the list of aspirants that have shown interest across the various parts of the country but there’s none that has his credentials, his experience, his capacity and acceptance internationally and nationally.

The Chairman of the BoT, Sen. Walid Jubrin assured that the BoT would provide a level playing field for all aspirants.

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SPOTLIGHT : Dr. Oluyinka Olutoye A Beacon of Hope in Pediatric Surgery

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In the vast tapestry of medical excellence, there are few individuals whose brilliance shines as brightly as Dr. Oluyinka Olutoye. Born in Nigeria, Dr. Olutoye’s journey to becoming a world-class pediatric surgeon is not just a testament to his personal tenacity but also a beacon of inspiration for aspiring medical professionals around the globe.

Dr. Olutoye’s educational  began at the prestigious Obafemi Awolowo University in Ile-Ife, Nigeria, where he earned his medical degree. His thirst for knowledge led him to Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, VA, where he obtained his PhD in anatomy, showcasing his dedication to understanding the intricacies of the human body at a profound level.

With a solid foundation in medicine and anatomy, Dr. Olutoye embarked on his surgical residency at the Medical College of Virginia Hospitals. It was here that his passion for pediatric surgery began to blossom, ultimately leading him to pursue fellowships in pediatric and fetal surgery at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. These formative years laid the groundwork for his future endeavors, shaping him into the world-renowned fetal and neonatal surgeon we know today.

One of the hallmarks of Dr. Olutoye’s career is his unwavering commitment to advancing the field of pediatric surgery. As co-director of the Fetal Center at Texas Children’s Hospital and a tenured Professor at Baylor College of Medicine, he not only provided exceptional clinical care but also played a pivotal role in shaping the next generation of surgeons through his mentorship and leadership.

Beyond his clinical duties, Dr. Olutoye is a trailblazer in medical research. His groundbreaking work on fetal wound healing and the early detection of necrotizing enterocolitis has significantly contributed to our understanding of these complex medical phenomena. By pushing the boundaries of scientific knowledge, Dr. Olutoye is paving the way for innovative treatments and improved outcomes for patients around the world.

Perhaps most awe-inspiring is Dr. Olutoye’s pioneering spirit in the operating room. His successful completion of a sacrococcygeal teratoma operation, where a baby was temporarily removed from the uterus for surgery and then safely returned, stands as a testament to his surgical prowess and unwavering dedication to saving lives, no matter the odds.

In recognition of his outstanding contributions to global healthcare, Dr. Olutoye was honored with the prestigious Nigerian National Order of Merit (NNOM) Award, a testament to his status as a true luminary in the field of pediatric surgery.

As we reflect on Dr. Olutoye’s remarkable journey, we are reminded that greatness knows no boundaries. From humble beginnings in Nigeria to the pinnacle of surgical excellence on the world stage, Dr. Olutoye’s story serves as an enduring reminder of the power of passion, perseverance, and the indomitable human spirit. In a world often fraught with challenges, Dr. Olutoye stands as a beacon of hope, illuminating the path forward for future generations of medical professionals and inspiring us all to reach for the stars.

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« Pioneering Pride: Nigeria’s First Female Officer Graduates from Royal Military Academy Sandhurst »

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The Sovereign’s Parade at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst (RMAS) in London witnessed a historic moment as Officer Cadet Owowoh Princess Oluchukwu, a 24-year-old from Nigeria, graduated alongside 134 peers from Commissioning Course 232. Notably, Princess Owowoh became the first Nigerian female officer to achieve this milestone at RMAS.

Representatives at the ceremony included Général d’armée Pierre SchilI, Chief of the Army Staff, standing in for His Majesty King Charles. Princess Owowoh expressed profound gratitude, stating, “It is a profound honour to be the first Nigerian female officer to commission from the esteemed Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.”

Her journey to this achievement began at the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA) in Kaduna State in 2018. Progressing through the ranks, she served as Cadet Lance Corporal, Cadet Sergeant, and eventually as Company Senior Under Officer Charlie (CSUO C) during her fifth year. Notably, she and two female counterparts made history as the first females to hold the position of CSUO in the academy.

Princess Owowoh’s graduation carries significant historical weight, marking not only her personal achievement but also the 190th Nigerian graduate from RMAS. This milestone underscores the enduring partnership between the UK and Nigeria in professional military education, a commitment reaffirmed during the UK-Nigeria Security and Defence Partnership talks in February 2024.

Looking ahead, Princess Owowoh is determined to represent Nigeria with pride and contribute positively to the world. Her success joins a legacy of Nigerian officers, including former President Yakubu Gowon and Major General Emmanuel Undiandeye, as RMAS alumni, further solidifying the bond between the two nations.

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‘I just sit and hope’: A Sierra Leonean mother’s refugee story

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Standing in the drizzle outside the Tunis office of the International Organization for Migration, Saffiatu Mansaray is staring down at her swollen stomach.

On the other side of the alley, her husband works alongside other undocumented people, building a plastic-covered wooden shelter for refugees whose stay in Tunis is continuing with no end in sight.

The couple have come to Tunisia from Sierra Leone and are hoping to get to Europe. But the longer they remain stuck here, the more anxious Saffiatu, 32, is growing about her pregnancy.

“I am seven months gone,” she says, one hand resting protectively on her belly. “I have been here since February.”

Before embarking on a journey she knew could be lethal, she left two children in Sierra Leone’s capital, Freetown, with an aunt. The memory is still fresh in her mind.

Saffiatu and her husband have found other difficulties in Tunisia. They were living in the port city of Sfax until a couple of months ago when the police came for them. She’s not sure when that was exactly.

“The police catch us and take us to the desert,” she says. “They will come again.”

That was the second time Saffiatu found herself on the Tunisian-Algerian border after crossing from Sierra Leone, which she left with her husband in November.

This time, she, her husband and the others who were herded onto a bus by the Tunisian security services in Sfax found themselves alone and vulnerable to gangs of “bad boys” she says operate in the forest near Tunisia’s northern border with Algeria. These gangs prey on refugees, asylum seekers and migrants, stealing their phones and any money or valuables they have with them.

“We walked back by foot [from the Algerian border]. Some people die. Some people get sick,” she says with a passive shrug. She describes how the group was later intercepted on their journey by the police before being returned to the border. “I got sick,” she says. “I had pains all over, under my stomach. This was three weeks ago. It was cold.”

Saffiatu’s parents still live in Freetown. Her father, who is 70, is too frail to work in construction any longer. Saffiatu says she would like to send money back, but with no work available to her or her husband in Tunis and a baby on the way, there is none to spare. “I sit over there and beg. Every day I beg. I will tell them, ‘Mon ami, ca va?’ [‘How are you, my friend?’] Some people give me one dinar, some two dinars [33 or 65 United States cents]. So for the day, I survive.”

On the other side of the alley, a rough shelter is beginning to take shape. The wood has been salvaged from construction sites and repurposed pallets and is being wrapped in thick black plastic that those living in the cold alley have pooled their meagre resources to buy.

“If God grants me the wish, I will continue to Europe. There is no work for any of us here,” Saffiatu says. “Up until now, I see no doctor, no nurse, nothing. I just sit and hope.”

This article is the first of a five-part series of portraits of refugees from different countries, with diverse backgrounds, bound by shared fears and hopes as they enter 2024.

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA

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