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Ahead of the 2019 general election, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has fixed N12 million for the expression of interest and nomination forms for its presidential aspirants.

The party also accused President Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressives Congress (APC) of using blackmail to undermine the conduct of 2019 general election, saying they are apparently afraid of losing the polls.

It further restated its claim that the presidency was bent on removing Senate President Bukola Saraki and his deputy, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, by force.

According to the approved schedule for the sale of forms for the party’s primaries obtained Monday, expression of interest form for the presidency costs N2 million, while nomination form goes for N10 million.

Forms for gubernatorial election is to cost N6 million, while senatorial aspirants will spend N3.5 million.

In the same vein, the party said the forms for the House of Representatives and the state House of Assembly will go for N2.5 million and N600,000 respectively.

According to the INEC’s timetable for party primaries for the presidential, governorship, federal and state elections would begin on August 18 to end on October 7, 2018, while that of the FCT Area Council Elections will commence on September 4 to end on October 27, 2018.

Also Monday, the PDP accused President Buhari and the APC of using blackmail to undermine the conduct of next year’s general election, saying they are apparently afraid of losing the 2019 elections.

The main opposition party challenged Buhari and his party to urgently respond to various allegations of corruption and underhand deals, including the alleged diversion of a whopping N9 trillion in crude “shady’’ deals.

The party also challenged Buhari to tell Nigerians why he has failed to deal with officials of his administration who have been fingered in corrupt acts.

Addressing a press conference in Abuja, the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, said from every indication it had become clear that the APC and the president were only playing to the gallery and trying to blackmail the National Assembly over its failure to provide funds to enable INEC to organise the 2019 elections as schedule.

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Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) to host the 2018 Heads of Missions Conference



The Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) will host the 2018 Heads of Missions (HOM) conference from 21 to 25 October 2018 under the theme: “A new dawn: Inclusiveness of South Africa’s foreign policy which aims to promote a better South Africa, Africa and the world.”

The biennial Heads of Mission Conference brings together the heads of South Africa’s diplomatic missions abroad to assess national, regional, continental and global trends and dynamics, and to determine a strategy to be implemented in line with South Africa’s foreign policy vision and mission.

The conference will also serve as a platform for South Africa’s diplomats to be briefed about progress on government’s programmes and plans.

The media are invited as follows:

Opening Session

Date: Monday, 22 October 2018
Venue: DIRCO Conference Centre
Time: 08:00- 10:30

Media Briefing

Date: Monday, 22 October 2018
Venue: DIRCO Conference Centre
Time: 12:00-13:00.

Address by President Cyril Ramaphosa

Date: Tuesday, 23 October 2018
Venue: DIRCO Conference Centre
Time: 08:00-12:30

For access control, media are requested to arrive at 08:00. Members of the media are also requested to present their valid press cards at the gate.

RSVP: Cossa Dolly at and

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No fewer than 150,000 athletes both locally and internationally are expected to participate in the 4th edition of Access Bank Lagos City Marathon, Lagos State Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode said on Monday.

Addressing a press conference at Lagos House in Alausa, Ikeja to officially announce commencement of preparations for the marathon which is billed to hold on February 2, 2019, Governor Ambode said the target of the State Government, was to use the forthcoming edition to take the tournament from the bronze label of International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) to silver, in partnership with the sponsors.

According to him, “The whole idea is to turn the competition from bronze to silver level. In the last three editions, we had between 100,000 and 120,000 participants. This time around, we want to make sure that come February 2019, we would have not less than 150,000 participants.

“The reason why we want to take it to that level is to create a new record and create a new platform to allow the 2019 edition to herald what is going to happen in the next six years. We believe strongly that in another six years when we are marking the 10th anniversary, we should actually become a top class marathon, and that is our vision for this competition.  

“We believe that it is achievable. This is not necessarily about me; it is not even about the sponsors but about making Lagos to be on that top brand across the world and that is how cities are elevated to become global brand,” Governor Ambode said.

He said arrangement had equally been firmed up to encourage more local participation, as well as more physically-challenged athletes, a development he said necessitated the increase in prize monies for the two categories. 

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode (2nd right); President, Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN), Hon. Ibrahim Gusau (2nd left); Group Managing Director, Access Bank, Mr. Herbert Wigwe (left) and Chairman, Lagos State Sports Commission, Dr. Kweku Tando (right) during a press conference on the 2019 Lagos City Marathon at the Lagos House, Alausa, Ikeja

“We think obviously that we should pay more attention to our physically-challenged athletes this time around and also to embrace more of local participation. This time around, we would push more money to the local races and we would push more money to also our physically-challenged athletes to encourage more people to come in, while the main prize remain the same,” he said.

Speaking further at the media briefing which was attended by Nigeria’s sports icons including Mary Onyali, Samson Siasia, Waheed Akanni, Seye Ogunlewe, among others, the Governor said the idea of the marathon was part of his administration’s initiatives to use sports, entertainment and hospitality to grow the economy and positively engage the bourgeoning youth population in the State.

“Looking at some of Nigeria’s sport legends here, it just summarizes everything that we have tried to do in the last three and half years. The idea is that it is possible to create a new set of jobs and services using sports, using hospitality, using entertainment to create a new level of creativity and innovation and then drive the Nigerian economy into different direction that creates positive energy, and when you come to this kind of gathering and you are able to now see the private sector, sports people, it means that there is still hope in this country,” Governor Ambode said.

Besides, the Governor commended all the sponsors, media and all those who have contributed to the success of the marathon in the last three years, saying the development was a dream come true.  

Earlier in his welcome address, Chairman of Lagos State Sports Commission, Dr. Kweku Tandor said the Lagos City Marathon, was the third of its kind after Brighton and Bournemouth Marathon in the United Kindgom to earn the prestigious IAAF Bronze Label only after its second edition, which held on February 10, 2018.

He said the Governor had already given approval for the setting up of a Lagos Marathon Village at the Teslim Balogun Stadium that would not only sustain the culture of the marathon but also serve as a rallying point in the quest by the present administration to stage mini-marathons in the five divisions of the State.

“It is going to serve as the headquarters for marathon races in Lagos. What we have in mind is to have sectoral marathons, Lagos Women Run is coming up next month, we have SWAN Marathon coming up in December and we also envisage that we are going to be having Epe Marathon, Ikorodu Marathon and so on.

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode (5th right); C.E.O, Dana Motors Limited, Mr. Jacky Hathiramani (4th right); Chairman, Lagos State Sports Commission, Dr. Kweku Tando (3rd right); Consultant for Lagos City Marathon, Mr. Bukola Olopade (2nd right); Director General, Lagos State Sports Commission, Mr. Tunde Bank-Anthony (right); Managing Director/C.E.O, Revolution Plus Property Development Company, Mr. Bamidele Onalaja (left); Group Managing Director, Access Bank, Mr. Herbert Wigwe (2nd left); Head, Human Resource/Corporate Affairs, BET9JA, Kikky Boboye (4th left) and Vice President (Business Development), Dana Motors Limited, Mr. Olu Tikolo (5th left) during a press conference on the 2019 Lagos City Marathon at the Lagos House, Alausa, Ikeja

“So we need a coordinating office under the direction of the Lagos State Sports Commission and that is the vision that led to the construction of that facility within Teslim Balogun to serve as the Lagos Marathon Village. Construction work will commence anytime from now,” Tandoh said.

He said the Governor had also approved the constitution of a Marathon Council that would be responsible for the supervision of the 2019 Marathon and going forward.

On his part, Managing Director of Access Bank, Mr. Herbert Wigwe said the commitment of the State Government under the leadership of Governor Ambode has ensured that the Lagos Marathon had become an annual event on the international athletics map.

He assured that Access Bank, the major sponsors of the Lagos Marathon would continue to give its full support to the event, adding that the 2019 edition will take the event a notch higher so as to receive an IAAF Silver Label for the marathon.

In his brief remarks, President of the Athletics federation of Nigeria (AFN), Engr. Ibrahim Gusau commended Governor Ambode for setting the pace for others to follow for others to follow in sports development, saying that the 2018 edition of the Lagos Marathon was highly rated amongst top competitions on the international calendar.

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Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode on Saturday said the State Government will fully support the setting up of a Lawn Tennis Academy in the State that would make the annual Lagos Open International Tennis Championship attract the global attention that it truly deserves.

Governor Ambode, who spoke at the finals of the 2018 Lagos Open Championship held at the Lawn Tennis Club in Onikan, Lagos, said the State Government has held talks with the State’s Lawn Tennis Association to open up an academy with state-of-the-art facilities that would attract world class players in future competitions.

“This is the beginning of the support that Lagos State will continue to give to Lagos Open. The whole idea is for us to be able to move away from this particular location and set up a Lawn Tennis Academy that can actually have an upgrade of a world class competition.

“They have actually spoken to us that we need to open an academy. You see, what we have here on this ground is just seven courts, but if you want it to be globally attended and we want this Lagos Open to be globally competitive, we need an academy that would have like 16 courts and have other facilities to attract world class players and that is what Lagos is ready to partner with the association and because we want the name Lagos on the world map, Lagos State Government has to support the idea of a lawn tennis academy and that is where we are going,” he said.

The Governor commended the organisers and officials of the Lawn Tennis Association for sustaining the tradition, adding that the State Government was proud to be partners in progress with the 18-year old competition which was called The Governors Cup before it metamorphosed to the Lagos Open.

“I want to clearly say that I have enjoyed this particular tournament and I don’t think I have actually sat down somewhere for three hours in a long while. I want to congratulate the winners and also commend the officials and organisers and anytime anywhere, I would always come around because I am a lover of lawn tennis,” he said.

Earlier, the Governor displayed his tennis skills when he took part in a demonstration match as part of activities at the championship.

Governor Ambode, who played against the tennis captain of the Lagos Lawn Tennis Club, Onikan, specifically showed some of his drop shot, backhand and top spin skills, with the spectators applauding while the match lasted.

Presenting an award of special recognition to Governor Ambode, Chairman of the Local Organising Committee of the Lagos Open, Chief Pius Akinyelure said the Association deemed it fit to recognise the Governor for his “enviable, untiring and significant support in the last few years towards the success of the competition”.

In the exciting Lagos Open Men’s final match, Jack Draper of Great Britain defeated Tom Jomby from France to emerge winner of the competition.


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