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India To Award 500 Scholarships To Nigerians – Envoy



Mr Shri Balasubramanian, Indian High Commissioner to Nigeria, on Wednesday said the country would offer 500 scholarships to Nigerians in 2023.

Balasubramanian made this known during a courtesy visit to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.

The envoy said that his working visit to the agency was to promote information and communication exchange between the two countries.

Balasubramanian said, “We will be having a group of Journalists from Nigeria go to India, not on a course but” actually a field visit being organized to expose India.

“In other words, what India has been doing in the area of politics. We will not be doing it exclusively for Nigeria, but for West Africa, for about 30 people.

“I am sure that Nigeria, being a part of G20, will be able to get more numbers, so we will be doing it after March and April.

“I will discuss it with you to get your recommendations also; we do award 500 scholarships every year to Nigerians, 250 of them are on the civilian side.

“We will be happy to reintroduce the further studies in the area of Mass Communication in a prestigious place and we have short term courses also.”

He mentioned that the scholarship involved other courses that Journalists could be interested in, saying “we work on a calendar basis and our financial year comes to close in March”.

“So, April to March is our calendar through which we do all these things.
“Currently, it is two and a half month that is available, but come April it will be the first 250 and we will be happy to continue these things,” the envoy added.

He commended bilateral relations between the two countries to have been excellent and that more would be done to further deepen India-Nigeria ties in healthcare delivery.

He extolled the volume of trade between both countries saying that over 135 Indian companies so far invested $19 billion in Nigeria since the past four decades of diplomatic relations between both countries.

He said that Nigeria’s invitation as a guest participant to the G20 Summit scheduled to hold from Sept. 9 to 10 in New Delhi in India, would boost the opportunity to showcase the priority of developing countries to the world.

The High Commissioner listed the mission’s plan for 2023 to include celebration of India National Day on Jan. 26, Food Festival and Cooking Competition on Jan. 28 and facilitation of “Yoga” weekly-exercise to boost healthy living.

Responding, the Managing Director of NAN, Buki Ponle, commended Balasubramanian for the visit to have been apt in deepening relations on information sharing and news network between the two countries.

According to him, the relationship between the mission and the agency started on a very nice note and that a lot would be done to explore other spheres to produce best results for both countries.

Ponle said, “We are friendly, we accommodate and we want to be friends forever for mutual benefit; it extends to us in NAN to see outsiders as part of us.

“NAN and India share common goal right from inception, the agency was established by an Act in 1976 and we started operation in 1978 and incidentally I was a pioneer member of staff.

“We also had a partnership with the Press Trust of India, we were always going to India for further studies in Mass Communication, but there was a stage when the agreement was no longer in vogue.

“With renewed relationship we hope the partnership will be revived; we will offer everything to make your stay highly rewarding in areas of coverage, enhanced visibility and exposure.

“We are always at your service and that also translates to making ourselves available for your country’s activities in Nigeria and over there in India.”

He reiterated that such practice would be informed by news and cultural exchange through information and communication sharing, as well as other areas that would be beneficial to both countries.

The managing director assured Balasubramanian of adequate support by the agency in coverage of the forthcoming G20 Summit.

The agency boss also appealed for facilitation of the exchange programme between the NAN and news agency in India through signing of agreement to ensure seamless flow of information and communication on a daily basis.

He mentioned that two agreements were signed with the Bulgarian News Agency, as well as Turkey in addition to news exchange programmes in line with Reuters, AFP and China News Agency.

He, however, said that the agency sought to establish such a partnership with India too.

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Nigeria’s Presidential Election Marred With Irregularities – U.S. Reps Member



Minnesota Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar, says she is “deeply concerned over the delays and serious allegations of irregularities, including fraud, by multiple independent observers in the recent Nigerian presidential election”.

In a statement released by Rep Ilhan, she demanded “swift action from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), along with a full accounting of allegations of voter suppression, delayed poll openings, the failure of the new electronic voting system, and a sharp decline in turnout.”

The statement read: “I am deeply concerned over the delays and serious allegations of irregularities, including fraud, by multiple independent observers in the recent Nigerian presidential election.

“I urge full transparency and swift action from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), along with a full accounting of allegations of voter suppression, delayed poll openings, the failure of the new electronic voting system, and a sharp decline in turnout.

“Democracy rests on free, fair, and transparent elections. When elections are not fair, open, and transparent, it’s disenfranchising and shatters faith in government. Nigeria’s low turnout already suggests a lack of faith in the country’s democratic institutions. It is critical that the process plays out correctly.

“Allowing electoral challenges to go through the system is a key part of a functioning democratic process. It is also a way to help build confidence and avoid protracted conflict.

“The international community should support an independent and transparent process and wait until these challenges are resolved before prematurely pronouncing a winner.”

INEC announced Bola Tinubu winner of the presidential election amidst calls for the cancellation of the poll by the PDP and Labour Party.

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Election Must Hold As Planned, ‘No To Interim National Govt’ – Gen Olanrewaju



Former Nigeria’s Minister of Communications and General Officer Commanding (GOC) Third Armoured Division Nigerian Army, Major General Tajudeen Olanrewaju (Rtd), has declared his support for the February 25, 2023 general elections as already planned by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

In a statement sent to IfakoIjaiyeNews, he said in spite of whatever effort by anti-democratic forces within or without, the elections must hold as scheduled.

According to him, “Postponing the February election will lead to a low turnout of voters, and genuine winners will not emerge. Surely, the enthusiasm to come out to vote will drop.”

On insinuation of Interim National Government, General Olanrewaju posited that there must be no room for it, adding that his experience, in the consolidation of Interim National Government led by Chief Ernest Shonekan in 1993, puts him in better stead to speak against it at this time.

The former Corps Commander Artillery Nigerian Army, who commended President Muhammadu Buhari’s commitment to a successful transition of power as scheduled to kick off in three weeks time, said the best legacy the Daura-born President will be remembered for leaving behind for coming generation of Nigerian leadership is actualised civillian-to-civillian transition of power, democratically.

The prominent Lagos State-born General reviewed the situation of impunity in public and private places, which has resulted in the agonising new Naira notes and fuel scarcity across the country, and assured Nigerians that those challenges are not enough excuses to disrupt the transition election process embarked upon by government.

He, therefore, threw his weight behind President Buhari on doing whatever reasonably possible to clear the problems, adding that any banker or petroleum marker, who has respectively hoarded cash or products to sabotage the process and thereby igniting public unrest should be appropriately handled because nobody is more powerful than state.

“Mr. President has the capacity to handle the situation and he has my support for doing exactly that because, nobody stands in the way government has taken for the good of the people, except that such person is incurring the wrath of the law requiring that government takes action against him and the nation moves on,” the General said.

“…in another climes, these bankers who inflict pains on citizens would have been in the gulag. They are simply wicked. Yes, the new notes are limited in supply to the public but can be shared pro rata on the counters by the banks for the low income customers to meet minimum demands.

“This is a good monetary policy, but ‘shylockly’ handled for personal gains along the distribution chain to the consumers.  Nigerians like inflicting pains and injuries on fellow citizens.  This is not a matter of leadership at the top, but it cuts across down to the grassroots.

“We (Nigerian citizens) need to assist the government in succeeding at this time. If you don’t have fuel and low value currency, it’s the poor people who will suffer in the supply and demand chain,” Retired Major General Tajudeen Olanrewaju said.

He added that, “Banks are sufficiently stocked with enough new notes that there’s no reason for Nigerians to be going through the current suffering. This is just terrible. This is not a matter of leadership at the top,” he said.

Speaking on the governorship election of Lagos State, General Olanrewaju said, “Lagosians must shine their eyes this time around. The 2023 elections will determine our identity, rights, and future. Every genuine IBILE (IBILE (Ikorodu, Badagry, Ikeja, LAGOS and Epe) citizen must be ready to challenge the present status-quo and liberate themselves from one man dictatorship.

“The Lagos State revenues have to be redefined. The upland communities have suffered from development as our collective heritage and resources have been sold out for the benefit of a few powerful elements in the state.  As ÌBILE citizens, let’s vote wisely for the benefit of all of us. IBILE had never been so downgraded the way it is today,” General Olanrewaju, who is also Trustee of Omo Eko Pataki, said.

In the meantime, Major General Tajudeen Olanrewaju has called for immediate removal of the INEC representative in Lagos over his alleged statement that he has no option than to engage the Lagos State Park Management Committee headed by Alhaji Musiliu Akinsanya a.k.a. MC Olu-Omo, a Lagos State APC chieftain, to distribute election materials in an exercise being contested by many political parties.

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Government Orders Universities To Shut Down For 2023 Elections



The Federal Government, through the National Universities Commission (NUC), has directed all Universities and Inter-University Centres to shut down and academic activities suspended from February 22 to March 14.

The directive was contained in a circular dated February 3, 2023 and addressed to all Vice-Chancellors of Nigerian Universities and Directors/Chief Executives of Inter-University Centres.

In the circular seen by IfakoIjaiyeNews, NUC said Vice-Chancellors, as well as Directors/Chief Executives of inter-university centres, are by this Circular requested to shut down their respective Institutions from Wednesday 22 February 2023 to Tuesday 14 March 2023.”

The circular reads in parts: “As Vice-Chancellors of all Universities and Directors Chief Executives of Inter University Centres are quite aware, the 2023 General Elections have been scheduled to hold on Saturday 25 February 2023, for the Presidential and National Assembly, and Saturday 11 March 2023 for Gubernatorial and State Assembly, respectively.

“In view of the foregoing and concerns expressed on the security of staff, students and properties of the our respective institutions, the Honourable Minister of Education, Mal. Adamu Adamu has following extensive consultations with the relevant security agencies, directed that all Universities and Inter University Centres be shut down and academic activities be suspended between 22 February and 14th March, 2023.

“Consequently, Vice-Chancellors, as well as Directors/Chief Executives of inter-university centres, are by this Circular requested to shut down their respective Institutions from Wednesday 22 February 2023 to Tuesday 14 March 2023.”

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