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Fresh $1.2Bln Loan From Brazil Worries Nigeria’s Opposition Party

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Nigeria’s main opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has expressed concern over fresh plans by the Federal Government to secure an additional $1.2 billion loan from the Brazilian Government.

The party, in a statement issued by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan, in Abuja on Wednesday, said it was worrisome that government had such a plan in spite public outcry against the accumulation of loans from China and other foreign interests.

The Federal Government said it is seeking approval from the National Assembly for $1.2 billion loan to address issues in the agriculture value chain.

The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, disclosed this on Tuesday in Abuja when she appeared before the House of Representative Committee on Finance to defend the ministry’s budget.

Ologbondiyan said that the loan will further weaken the nation and will be to the detriment of the poor masses and generations yet unborn.

He slammed the idea of using agricultural programmes as a justification for further accumulation of foreign loans, without clear terms and conditions.

The party further warns that the loan request, if approved by the National Assembly, “will exacerbate our nation’s debt burden, mortgage our agricultural sector, weaken our investment capacity and worsen our food security challenge.

“Our party invites Nigerians to note that with the $1.2 billion (N459 billion) Brazilian loan, in addition to the N5.20 trillion borrowing already proposed in the 2021 budget, our nation’s debt burden will hit N36.2 trillion.

“This will plunge our economy into a devastating pitfall,” he said.

The PDP therefore urges the National Assembly to save the nation by being circumspect in handling the loan request in the national interest.

Ologbondiyan appealed to the Federal Government to rather look inwards and find ways to harness as well create wealth with the resources abounding in the country.

He said what Nigeria needed now is for government to be more innovative and resourceful in galvanizing a productive economy.

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Politics

Akufo-Addo, Mahama Go Toe to Toe as Ghana’s Presidential Election Draws Closer

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President Nana Addo Akufo-Addo of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) will face former president John Dramani Mahama, leader of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), in the West African country’s December 7 presidential election.

The election has been dubbed the “battle of two giants.”

It is the third time Akufo-Addo and Mahama will compete against each other for the highest office in the country, with each previously having won one poll each– Akufo-Addo in 2016 and Mahama in 2012.

Although 12 candidates are vying for the presidency, including two women, only Akufo-Addo and Mahama are said to have a chance of coming out victorious.

The electoral campaign has been dominated by Ghana’s economy, infrastructure development, education, corruption, and debt relief.

Akufo-Addo, 76, has been touting economic growth during his current four-year term in office as well as the streamlining of government services and implementation of free schooling for senior high school pupils.

Mahama, 62, has meanwhile stressed the many infrastructure projects, including roads, bridges, schools and hospitals, he realised during his presidency, promising do invest more in this area if re-elected.

Political analysts of the University of Ghana in the capital, Accra, predict a slim win for Akufo-Addo in the December elections.

Polls have indicated voters prefer Akufo-Addo’s policy-driven approach to run the nation of 30 million people, the university’s head of the political science department, Kaakyire Frempong.

A candidate is required to gain at least 50 per cent of votes to be elected in the first round.

Ghana’s roughly 17 million registered voters will also elect 275 legislators from 914 candidates on Dec. 7.

Akufo-Addo’s NPP is expected to once again gain the majority of seats in parliament.

Voting will take place at more than 33,000 polling stations between 7 am and 5 pm (0700 and 1700 GMT).

The electoral commission will announce results within 72 hours after the election.

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North Africa Politics

Libya Prepares for Elections

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The Libyan National High Electoral Commission (HNEC) has begun discussions with the chairmen of boards of electoral departments of the Commission in all Libyan regions preparations for the general election due in December next year.

An official source in Tripoli, the Libyan capital, said the managing director of the HNEC, Yahya al-Jadid, met with more than 20 participants via Zoom to discuss obstacles, challenges and the means to overcome them.

In a statement, the commission said al-Jadid underlined “the importance of that communication between the general department and its offices, in light of the developments of the political process and tasks awaiting the commission”.

He stressed the need for concerted efforts to raise the level of preparation and address the potential needs and obstacles.

The chiefs of office reviewed the need to procure office materials and to resolve the obstacles linked to the administrative aspect and the state of preparation of the commission.

The HNEC heads the electoral department which in turn counts 24 offices shared in all Libyan regions charged with implementing the electoral process, each within its electoral area.

The participants in the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum held on 9-15 November in Tunis, under the aegis of the UN Support Mission in Libya, agreed on a roadmap setting a transitional period and the date for the presidential and parliamentary elections for 24 December 2021.

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East Africa Politics News

Ethiopian Forces Capture Tigray’s Capital In Final Offensive

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Ethiopian forces have captured Mekelle, the Tigrayan capital.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed announced this in tweets on Saturday, as he said the “Tigrayan criminals” will now be hunted by the Federal Police.

Ahmed on Friday met African envoys in Addis Ababa and reiterated that civilians in the region will not be harmed in the final offensive.

“I am pleased to share that we have completed and ceased the military operations in the #Tigray region.

“Our focus now will be on rebuilding the region and providing humanitarian assistance while Federal Police apprehend the TPLF clique.”

He said the town is now under the control of National Defence Forces, as humanitarian assistance will be provided to inhabitants of the region.

Recall that Ethiopia earlier announced that a Tigrayan town, Wikro, 50km north of Mekelle has been captured.

Tigray officials are yet to react to the Prime Minister’s claims as the region has been cut off from internet and phone access.

Both forces have been at daggers drawn since the 4th of November when Ethiopia accused Tigrayan forces of attacking state properties.

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