**The Federal Government has produced a list of six Nigerian companies eligible to bid to execute projects in government contracts in 2023 The list was produced based on companies’ compliance with employee pensions and insurance In 2022, no few than 26,556 companies were listed across different sectors of the economy. The National Pension Commission said that it has awarded clearance certificates to six Nigerian companies in the first days of 2023. With clearance, the six companies are now eligible to pursue government contracts in the 2023 budget that fall under their organization’s purview.

**During the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN), visit to President, Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday, he declared that his government would not take the foot off the pedal in delivering the gains of democratic rule to the people. At the Aso Rock Villa in Abuja with executive members of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN), President Buhari assured that infrastructure, security, and economy will remain the focus of his administration. He added that the gains already recorded in several sectors will be consolidated before handing over on May 29, 2023. On the Northeast, the President said he has received first-hand information that the security situation had improved over the years, and his government will support efforts targeted at rebuilding infrastructure and re-orientation on education. He said according to a statement by his spokesperson, Femi Adesina: “I am very grateful for your visit to the Presidential Villa, and I agree with you on some of the observations you have made. The question of insecurity is most important to us because unless a country or institution is at peace, it will be difficult to manage. “I just came back from Adamawa and Yobe States. During the visit to both states, I listened carefully to what the people and officials had to say. And they all said the situation had improved since 2015, especially in Borno State. “Boko Haram was just fraudulent and a plot to destroy Nigeria. You can’t say people should not learn; the people need to grow intellectually.”

**Going by his experience in military and civilian rules, President Muhammadu Buhari has declared that multi-party democracy is the best system. The President spoke, yesterday, at State House, Abuja, while playing host to a delegation of Universal Peace Federation. He wondered why some African countries were still grappling with unconstitutional change of government, saying: “I thought we had finally put that behind us.” On the Peace Summit being planned for Abuja to bring all African countries together before the end of this administration, Buhari pledged Nigeria’s support, resources, to help in stabilising neighbouring countries. The President described the interest of Universal Peace Federation Africa in the continent as “quite genuine,” saying he was very pleased at the development. Chairperson of the Federation in Africa, Dr. Katherine Rigney, Chairman, Universal Peace Federation International, and Dr. Thomas Walsh, said they believed the forthcoming summit in Nigeria “will top them all,” having held similar meetings in Niger Republic, Senegal, Sao Tome and Principe, South Africa, among others. “During the Abuja Summit, Buhari will be given the Leadership and Good Governance Award, as appreciation of the fantastic results you’ve brought to Nigeria, and a celebration of your anti-corruption credentials,” they disclosed.

**According to the Nigerian Tribune Newspaper Online yesterday, it was reported that Aare Abdulsalam Abdullah, who happens to be a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the former Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice in Oyo State, has spoken on the Muslim-Muslim presidential ticket of the All Progressives Congress, APC. When he was talking during an interview with Tribune’s correspondent, he said that people should vote for the right person in this forthcoming election and they should not vote based on money, except they don’t love their country. He said, “When you talk of the Muslim-Muslim presidential ticket, we keep asking ourselves why will they do that ? I am a Muslim for instance, should a party come up with a Christian/Christian ticket, how will the Muslims feel ? I belong to many Muslim groups and they are happy about the APC’s ticket but I asked them, why were they happy ? So if next time Christians come up with a Christian-Christian presidential ticket, will you align with that political arrangement ? But, APC took Christians in the country for granted.” Further talking, he said, “They took liberty in the fact that Nigerian Christians are liberal, that with them anything goes. You cannot try Christian-Christian ticket with Muslims, the protest will start from the North.”

**Fillers from the quarters of how some prominent APC members left the party’s presidential campaign rally in Enugu State, on Wednesday, depicted how worsening the crisis rocking the All Progressives Congress, APC is brewing. Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the APC’s presidential candidate, spoke to a crowd in Enugu’s Michael Okpara Square, according to reports, Leaders of the party in the state, such as Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama, minister of foreign affairs, Senator Ken Nnamani, former president of the Senate, Barr. Sullivan Chime, former governor of Enugu, Mr. Eugene Odoh, former speaker of the Enugu State House of Assembly, Chief Onyemuche Nnamani, and others, opted not to attend the event. Mr. Osita Okechukwu, director general of Voice of Nigeria, Barr. Ben Nwoye, former state party chairman, and Barr. Mrs. Juliet Ibekaku, presidential aide, were also not present. Though Tinubu was earlier welcomed by most of these leaders at Akanu Ibiam International Airport in Enugu, but were not seen at the campaign ground.

**The rising debt status of Nigerian is not in any way a bother to President Buhari who said creditors see Nigeria as credible and loan worthy being the reason why the Nigeria has been able to secure loans for infrastructural developments. “We are credible, that’s why the countries and institutions agreed to support our development with the loans,’’ Buhari went on to state that the country needs to break the over-reliance of the government on oil and develop other areas while dealing decisively with saboteurs who are destroying the oil installations across the country.

**The Presidential Campaign Council of the Labour Party has come out boldly to say that the opposition made fools of themselves over the Next International (UK) Limited being removed from the record in 2021. A statement signed by the spokesman of the Campaign Council Diran Onifade on Wednesday said, “In order that the huge human and material resources deployed to search and locate any negative against the high flying Labour Party Presidential Candidate, Peter Obi is not seen to have been wasted, anything could be concocted to justify their efforts. “We have watched with bemused skepticism as agents of the political opposition unsettled by the high rising profile of the Labour Party flag bearer, ran around and made fools of themselves over the Next International (UK) Limited being removed from the record in 2021. “Ordinarily, this is the type of mischief and impishness that should deserve no response but for the credulous in our midst who are the real target by this impairment. “For the record, the entity was 99% owned by Next Nigeria International Ltd. and established as its buying office in the 90s and Peter Obi was its CEO. “At the time Peter Obi became governor of Anambra state in 2006, his wife assumed management of the winding down of the company and about one year ago requested that the company be dissolved under the voluntary strike off of the entity on grounds of dissolution and being inoperational, which is normal in winding up an entity. “Peter Obi has consistently maintained that he is no longer involved in any Next related business. “When our principal insists that you go and verify facts about him and the information he dishes out, it didn’t say go and falsify facts. “The LP candidate by his antecedents in Anambra state for eight years, in private ventures where he held sway his records among the pack in this race for the presidency, puts him miles ahead in moral rating.”

**In preparation against the forthcoming 2023 general elections, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has released the final list of voters. The INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu disclosed this Thursday in Abuja, stating that the registered number of voters for the 2023 General Election stands at 93,469,008. Yakubu who also revealed that the substantial quantities of sensitive and non-sensitive materials have been deployed to various locations across the country, the last batch of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) has been received while the ongoing configuration of the critical technology in readiness for elections will soon be completed. He said,”As a further affirmation of the Commission’s readiness to conduct the 2023 General Election as scheduled, the final register of voters has been compiled. You would recall that for the 2019 General Election, Nigeria had a voter population of 84,004,084. After the cleaning up of the data from the last Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) exercise (June 2021 – July 2022), 9,518,188 new voters were added to the previous register resulting in the preliminary register of 93,522,272 which was presented to Nigerians for claims and objections as required by law. At the end of the period for claims and objections by citizens, the Commission received 53,264 objections from Nigerians to the prevalence of ineligible persons on the register by virtue of age, citizenship or death. These names have been verified and removed from the register. “Consequently, the register of voters for the 2023 General Election stands at 93,469,008. Of this cumulative figure, 49,054,162 (52.5%) are male while 44,414,846 (47.5%) are female. The distribution by age group shows that 37,060,399 (39.65%) are youth between the ages of 18 and 34; 33,413,591 (35.75%) are middle aged persons between the ages of 35 and 49; 17,700,270 (18.94%) are elderly voters between the ages of 50 and 69 while 5,294,748 (5.66%) are senior citizens aged 70 and above. In terms of occupational distribution, students constitute the largest category with 26,027,481 (27.8%) of all voters, followed by 14,742,554 (15.8%) Farmers/Fishermen and 13,006,939 (13.9%) housewives. The data on disability was not collected for previous registration. However, the cumulative figure of 85,362 persons from the recent CVR indicates that there are 21,150 (24.5%) persons with Albinism; 13,387 (15.7%) with physical impediment and 8,103 (9.5%) are blind.”

**An intriguing revelation surfaced of a retired Colonel, Rabiu Garba Yandoto who disclosed that while he was in captivity, he had a meeting with some bandit leaders who have been declared wanted by the military. It would be recalled that retired colonel Rabiu Garba Yandoto, alongside his children were abducted by bandits on Wednesday, along Gusau-Tsafe road in Tsafe Local Government Area. The retired colonel and his children were however released on Tuesday following the payment of N10 million ransom. After his release, the retired colonel spoke to journalists in Gusau on Wednesday, where he disclosed that he was not maltreated in any way while he was in captivity. He noted that he was treated well and even had a meeting with some bandit leaders. Retired Colonel Rabiu Garba Yandoto added that during the meeting which was held in the forest where he was held captive, they discussed numerous issues. ‘We discussed so many issues which I will not disclose for now due to some reasons.’

**As the 2023 financial year is gradually opening up, predictions on the performance of the economy have continued to emerge with experts saying the economy may not witness any remarkable improvement except the nation gets a government that will be ready to positively change the system. No doubt, the Nigerian economic growth slowed in 2022 on the back of declining oil output and moderating non-oil activity. It would be recalled that the latest figures from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed that economic growth slowed from 3.4 per cent Year on Year (y-o-y) in the second quarter (Q2), 2022 to 2.3 per cent y-o-y in Q3, 2022. According to the report, the slowdown was mostly due to a poor performance in the oil sector, where the decline in output worsened from a fall of 11.1 per cent y-o-y in Q2, 2022 to 22.3 per cent y-o-y in Q3, 2022,” the report added. Managing Director/ Chief Executive Officer, Maxifund Investment and Securities Plc, Mazi Okechukwu Unegbu in an interview with Daily Champion said, “I don’t see the economy improving anywhere, in fact the 2022 economy from my own prediction will be better than the 2023 economy. I have the facts and figures to show that that is what is going to happen. “The Nigerian economy is not going to improve in 2023 except we get a government that will be ready to change the system. The present government is even not interested in working and changing the economy. “So the 2022 economy will be better than the 2023 economy, unless there is miracle that will happen but I don’t see that miracle happening. The economies that are doing well know what they are doing. We must have to work in order to get this economy right. We must have to help ourselves, we can’t just stay and be expecting miracle to happen.

**Lionel Messi was crucial in the build-up for the first goal and scored the second as PSG beat Angers to go six points clear at the top of Ligue 1.

**Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s desire to quit Chelsea could face a major stumbling block. It has emerged that the Gabon striker, who has been linked with Atletico Madrid, cannot play for another club apart from Chelsea and Barcelona. Aubameyang moved to Stamford Bridge from Barca in the summer while Thomas Tuchel was still in charge of the team. However, he has struggled for game time under Tuchel’s replacement, Graham Potter.

May the almighty God make your success divinely overcome your detractors

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