• Tuesday, July 23, 2024
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Five things to know to start your Saturday


Amid rejections, Saraki, Mohammed emerge PDP northern consensus candidates

Bauchi State governor, Bala Mohammed, and former Senate President Bukola Saraki have been chosen as the consensus candidates from the North ahead of the People’s Democratic Party presidential primary.

Information gathered revealed that the decision to present both politicians arose after a committee set up by four major northern presidential aspirants in the PDP decided to present a united front in their quest for the ticket.

Professor Ango Abdullahi, who chaired the committee, said that it was the decision of the committee to present a leading aspirant from the North Central and the North East as consensus candidates from the North ahead of the party’s presidential primary.

According to him, “It was resolved that a leading aspirant from the North Central and one from the North East be presented as northern presidential candidates.”

The two would, in turn, be required to make further concessions so that, in the end, one of them would be presented as the consensus candidate, out of the four that presented themselves from the North, he added.

For the purpose of this exercise, it is hereby resolved that Gov. Bala Mohammad from the North East and former Senate President Bukola Saraki from the North Central be presented as the northern consensus candidates for the moment. He concluded.

Professor Abdullahi said that the decision to produce two consensus candidates was arrived at after the former Nigerian Head of State, (Rtd) General Ibrahim Babangida, advised the four politicians vying for the position to reach a consensus.

Meanwhile, the supporters of the Sokoto State governor, Aminu Tambuwal, have rejected the news of the PDP presenting Saraki and Bala Mohammed as consensus candidates to represent the North in the upcoming presidential primary.

Nigeria stocks gain over N480bn in 4-day trading week

Nigeria’s listed equities gained about N486 billion in the four-day trading week that ended April 22, 2022, thanks to oil and gas and consumer goods stocks.

The market, which defied most analysts’ expectations of sell-pressure, trended northward after recording three (3) positive closes and one (1) negative out of the four trading days in the holiday shortened week.

The first-quarter (Q1) results of some listed companies that hit the market in the review week as well as other corporate disclosures helped drive the market’s positive sentiments.

The stock market’s positive return year-to-date (YtD) increased to 13.44 percent at the end of the review week’s trading.

The Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX) All-Share Index (ASI) and market capitalisation rose by 2% week on week (WoW) to 48,459.65 points and N26.125 trillion, respectively, from week-open lows of 47,558.45 points and N25.639 trillion.

While Lagos-based Vetiva analysts in their April 19 note had expected to see profit taking in banking counters in the review week amid the preceding week’s record gain, their counterparts at Meristem, in their April 19 stock recommendation, noted that with the resumption of dividend markdown on notable tickers, they had also noted the possibility of a decline in the equity market.

However, Meristem analysts had expected bargain hunting on the tickers post-markdown “as prices become more attractive.”

We also note that decent upside exists on tickers across sectors and expect this to spur buying interest in the market. Moreover, we do not see any negative triggers that would cause selloffs in the market. Thus, we expect the market to close in the positive this week, “the analysts said.”

Read also: Aisha Buhari and the allegory of King Ahasuerus wife’s dinner

Wall street ends week in red

The Dow Jones had its largest one-day drop since October 2020, while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 had their worst days since March, owing to news of an interest rate hike, among other things.

Investors remained jittery and concerned about rising global inflation following supply disruptions motivated by the ongoing war in Russia and the interest rate tightening by global central banks.

At the IMF and World Bank spring meetings currently going on in Washington, Jerome Powell, the Federal Reserve Chairman, made it clear that the central bank is focused on controlling inflation, which stands at 8.5 percent in the USA, the highest it has ever gotten to in the past 40 years.

According to tradingeconomics, corporate stocks of HCA Healthcare and Gap made the most falls, as they both fell more than 20% following some fundamental news that investors were uncomfortable with.

For example, investors in HCA Healthcare reacted to news of higher labour costs eating into financial results this year, while news of Gap’s CEO leaving made the company’s stock price fall.

Fraudsters jailed for multimillion-pound pension scam in UK

A multimillion-pound pension scheme that cost more than 230 people their life savings in the UK has resulted in their perpetuators getting jail time.

According to the evening standard, the perpetuators, Alan Barratt, 62, and Susan Dalton, 66, defrauded more than 235 victims out of £13.7 million between 2012 and 2014, and were sentenced to four years and eight months and five years and seven months in prison, respectively, at Southwark Crown Court yesterday.

Apparently, David Austin, the scam ringleader, committed suicide after being invited by the police for questioning in 2019.

The Judge, Gregory Perrins, who passed judgement on the case, expressed total shock and disgust that two people who looked so harmless could inflict so much pain on so many people. Noting that their actions have either caused severe mental problems for victims or pushed some to commit suicide,

He said, “Each account that I have read is a story of a life ruined by your actions, and you should both be ashamed.”

According to the evening post, information gathered during the investigation revealed that some victims lost as much as £55,000, if not more.

The judge gathered that the cash bonuses, which were part of the reward payment as commission from their investment in a new secured scheme, were actually taken from their savings.

Dalton and Barratt were believed to have passed the lion’s share of the stolen money to Austin, who used the proceeds to live a lavish lifestyle.

While Dalton was responsible for falsely taking over £5.9 million from 103 victims, amassing around £126,000 in the process, Barratt, on the other hand, amassed around £343,000 from a stolen pension fund of £7.7 million from 139 victims.

A victim who preferred to remain anonymous said that he unknowingly handed over £300,000 to Dalton. A blunder that has devastated him ever since. He expressed joy at the judge’s ruling and prayed that he and the other victims could recover their money from what was left.

Abramovich at risk of U.S. sanctions as peace talks fails

Roman Abramovich
Roman Abramovich

Roman Abramovich is at risk of getting sanctions from the U.S. after some senior U.S. officials threatened to push for sanctions against the Russian tycoon if he failed to meet up with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky for talks to end the war.

Abramovich, probably fearing incurring the wrath of Russian President Vladimir Putin, decided to speak to Zelensky’s chief of staff, Andriy Yermak, according to information gathered by Bloomberg.

In the past, Zelensky was optimistic that Putin would want to see a peaceful end to the war, but after the atrocities committed by the Russian armies in Bucha and Mariupol, and Putin’s insistence on committing more men to the east of Ukraine, the Ukrainian president is less willing to have a discussion or negotiate with any member of the Russian government.

With talks between both countries becoming less productive and Putin issuing threats to Ukraine, the U.S. and its allies, the White House has promised to impose sanctions that were drawn up weeks ago.

Bloomberg reported that officials working for Abramovich, the Ukrainian government, and the White House were yet to respond to questions about the likelihood of any sanctions following this failed round of talks.

With Putin’s insistence on a new offensive in the south and east of Ukraine, the prospect of a negotiated settlement and peace seems unlikely.

Many critics see Abramovich’s persuasive involvement as an attempt to only protect his and his fellow oligarchs’ wealth from Western sanctions, as most of their foreign assets and businesses are being severely harmed as a result of Putin’s stance.

During the early days of the war, Abramovich accepted the role as an intermediary between Zelensky and the Russian government to try to broker a peace deal. Unfortunately, all the Russian efforts, which involved shuttling from Moscow, Kyiv, Belarus, and Istanbul, failed to produce the desired result.

Zelensky believes and hopes that Putin will heed the call for peace from members of his inner caucus and accept the plea from Abramovich to intercede with the U.S. government not to sanction him and his businesses.

U.S. President Joe Biden listened to Zelensky’s appeal not to place sanctions on Abramovich or his businesses, even though some members of his administration were against it.