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Udom: A brand not branded

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Udom: A brand not branded

B

y introspection one can assume that 53 years ago when a teacher called Gabriel Nkanang christened his second son Udom, he was inspired by two factors: the fact that that was the surname of his landlord and the meaning of the name.

 

 

The man under whose roof Nkanang and his family lived at the time Udom was born was called Etokawasi Udom. He was a prominent personality in Afaha community, which is in present day Ukanafun Local Government Area in Akwa Ibom. It is not known whether the accommodation was free or paid for. But from continuous servicing of the relationship by the succeeding generation of the two families, it could be deduced that harmony was freely flowing between them. The name of the young Udom must have been Nkanang’s reciprocal gesture and mark of lasting admiration of the older Udom.

 

Udom is masculine name in Akwa Ibom and some parts of Cross River State. It denotes right hand and connotatively implies best, right-hand-man, confidant, cornerstone, favourite, pillar, trust, reliability, and the likes. In polygamous families, where strife of envy poisons blood of members of the family, naming a child Udom may worsen fault lines, especially if given to a person other than first son of the family. But Udom Gabriel Emmanuel is not envied by his siblings. The credit goes more to his father for religiously disciplining himself on the path of monogamy.

 

The governor stands out in his family as he is the only one not using the family name. That launches him to unique club of few famous persons who are popular by their first name other than surnames. In contemporary time, prominent in the category of those with popular first name is the world most celebrated monarch, Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II (Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor). In Nigeria few names readily come to mind: Gani (Ganiyu Fawehinmi, who, a decade after he passed on, remains Nigeria’s most dogged activist lawyer and social critic); Fela (Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, Nigeria’s music legend); and Atiku (Atiku Abubakar, Nigeria’s former Vice President).

 

Given that surname holds sway in many cultures in today’s world, those whose first names are more popular than surnames are exceptional. First name makes one a common being, in that it reinforces bond of commonality, especially among mates in formative stages of life. It makes one hoi polloi. It is uncommon seeing a famous person or those in authority with striking first name.

 

A striking first name evokes personal image of the person while a surname flies the family flag. Those who have rich family names but unable to carve personal niche for themselves often go about dropping family names to get doors opened for them. Surname has imperialistic aura while first name presupposes a person with unimposing demeanour, one that does not put on air.

 

There is a middle-age man in Akwa Ibom that has risen from grass to grace through instinctive entrepreneurial acumen and passion for excellence. He implores his mates not call him his first name any longer because, though he still uses his first name, he reasons that with his relative prominence the name given to him by his parents name has vanished along with hitherto obscurity. Udom is not like that. Even before he got into macro politics everyone from his work place at Victoria Island to church in Surulere called him Udom and still call him so today. Unlike the common trend among topnotch politicians he has no title other than Mr. Though the uninformed and the sycophants would not stop calling him “Executive Governor”, Udom wants to be addressed by the real name of the office he occupies and not with the superfluity.

 

 

In the build up to 2015 general election when Udom launched his campaign to become the fourth elected governor of Akwa Ibom, “Udom is right” was the catchphrase. Moses Ekpo, his deputy, who by virtue of his rousing career in journalism, understands far better how branding could  better the lot of products, was always distinguishing Udom at campaign rallies with admonition to the people that only fools would prefer left to right.

 

 

To Akwa Ibom audience, anywhere in the world, Udom is more catchy than Emmanuel. Reasons because of its nativity and meanings. Even outside Akwa Ibom community, Udom is more popular than Emmanuel because it is a one-syllable word and not tongue-twisted. It instantly connects the governor to his ancestral place, the Akwa Ibom society, which is currently the constituency of his core concentration.

 

Get it correct: there is nothing wrong with having a strong family name, as it is also not without its sterling significances. After all, in most cases those who are famous with first names do not deliberately create that niche. First names in most cases filter through the news media. It is therefore unfortunate that the news media has not taken cognisance of Udom in headlines relating to the governor.

 

Really, regarding his mentioning in the news media, Udom is a brand not branded. In brandings or headlines, keyword is of essence. In the name, Udom Emmanuel, and with regard to the target audience of the governor, the keyword is Udom and not Emmanuel. Also, since simplicity and space also factor into branding the one-syllable word of four characters is more fitting than  “Governor Emmanuel”, Akwa Ibom governor” and “Emmanuel” often used in headlines in the news media.

 

However, this writer does not intend to argue with those who go about marketing the governor at every opening with the tag of “Udom is Right”. But it can asserted that the governor is not always right, just as it is also certain that certain wrongs in the state are yet to be got right. That is why Udom does not have to look at criticism of his government as abuse, as he mentioned while inaugurating his second term cabinet last Thursday, which was precisely the 53rd anniversary of his birth. Critics are contributors to good governance at the opposite end. When constructively done, criticism pays better than praise-singing.

 

While the branding of Udom, the governor, with emphasis on his name is of essence in the media, the brand himself must constantly work to the billings of his name and beneficial to all.

 

Ekanem sent this piece from Lagos through nsikak4media@gmail.com

 

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Laurels for Afe Babalola, ABUAD

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Laurels for Afe Babalola, ABUAD

Yet another feather was recently added to the already crowded cap of the Founder and Chancellor of Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti (ABUAD), Aare Afe Babalola (SAN), when the General Assembly of the African Union Economic, Social and Cultural Council (AU-ECOSOCC) nominated him for the Premier Continental Ambassadorial Award titled “African Role Model and AU Agenda 2063 Ambassadorial Award.”

 

 

This is in recognition of what it described as Babalola’s “iconic Pan African and philanthropic orientation as well as immense contributions to the realization of African Union Agenda 2063” which, according to AU-ECOSOCC, is “specifically predicated on the guiding vision of an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa …in the international arena.”

 

 

The cheering news came vide a letter signed by Dr. Tunji John Ashaolu, the Nigerian Representative/Chairperson, Committee on Social Affairs & Health at 3rd Permanent General Assembly of the AU-ECOSOCC & Member, African Union Labour Migration Advisory Committee.

 

 

Ashaolu noted Babalola’s contributions to the implementation Agenda 2063. He said: “The AU is aware and it is on record that your institution performed three Open Heart Surgeries/Interventions a couple of months ago. You have made us proud and we are so happy about this and of course we are equally happy about the other successes which your university has achieved over the years.

 

 

“You have also established the implementation of Agenda 2063 particularly Aspiration Number 1 which deals with ‘A prosperous Africa based on inclusive growth and sustainable development’ and Aspiration Number 2 which relates with ‘An African whose people development is purpose-driven, relying on the potentials of African people’.”

 

 

Reacting to the development, Babalola thanked the AU-ECOSOCC for taking note of his modest contributions through his various humanitarian programmes and for nominating him for the prestigious Premier Continental Ambassadorial Award.

 

 

He said his modest contributions to the educational landscape of the country is a dream come true and expressed happiness that this is happening in his life time, pointing out that his decision to set up a university was informed by his experience during his seven-year stint as the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Council at the University of Lagos during which time he was able to see, first hand and bare-facedly, the decay and rot in the nation’s educational system.

 

 

Together with his colleagues in Council and the Management of UNILAG, he recalled that they were able to do the little they could do then as a result of which the university was not only voted the best in the country then, Babalola was twice voted the Best Pro-Chancellor. But because he  did not believe that was enough and to prove a point, he sold virtually everything he had, including choice properties in Lagos, Abuja, and United Kingdom as well as in the United States to establish ABUAD to show Nigerians how a university should be run and how it should not be run.

 

 

He noted with relish that the beautiful and commendable things AU-ECOSOCC said about him in its letter of nomination dated August 5, 2019 are equally being noticed by reputable universities and organizations around the world.

 

 

The stuff his university is made of started showing almost immediately it commenced academic activities on Monday, January 4, 2010. For example, on April 10, 2014, the University of Oxford, United Kingdom, invited ABUAD to participate in a symposium titled “Global Higher Education in the 21st Century”, at Balliol College, University of Oxford from August 27-29, 2014.

 

 

In the same vein, during ABUAD’s maiden convocation on October 21, 2013, UNESCO’s Assistant Director-General for African Development, Dr. Lalla Aicha Ben Barka, in appreciation of the monumental achievements of the university promised UNESCO’s collaboration with the university on issues related to education, particularly on the Flagship Programme 2 of Operational Strategy for Priority Africa (2014-2021) titled “Strengthening Education Systems for Sustainable Development in Africa: Improving Equity, Quality and Relevance”.

 

 

Ben Barka also volunteered “to publicize UNESCO-ABUAD initiatives on UNESCO’s website”, thereby ‘portraying the university as one of the shining beacons of excellence in its endeavour to be one of the best universities in African and the world’.

 

 

Again, through its letter of March 25, 2014, UNESCO picked ABUAD, ahead of other older universities, to play host to its first ever Regional Retreat during the 2014 summer.

 

 

The university recorded another milestone achievement in July last year when all the 43 pioneer medical students presented for the final MBBS Examination recorded 100% Pass with Eight Distinctions. Their superlative performance has thus made ABUAD the first university in Nigeria to produce its first set of Medical Doctors within six-and-half years.

 

 

This was followed closely in August last year with the mindboggling performance of ABUAD Law Graduates during the 2018 Bar Examination conducted by the Council of Legal Education where they recorded 100% Pass, with the Overall Best Student coming from ABUAD. In addition to these uncommon accomplishments, ABUAD Law Graduates won 24 out of the 36 available Prizes as a result of which many of the much older universities have been congratulating the institution.

 

 

It must be in appreciation of all these national and international recognitions and encomiums that the university, which was then less than five-year old was in 2014 appointed as the ‘Mentoring tertiary institution and affiliate’ to the new College of Industrial Development (UID), Accra, Ghana. Two years later in 2016, one of the oldest state universities in Northern Nigeria approached ABUAD to be mentored. This was followed by the 14-year-old International University of Grand Bassan, Cote D’Ivoire, which visited ABUAD in July 2019 for mentorship and partnership.

 

 

• Olofintila writes from Ado-Ekiti

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Kogi 2019: Another Zamfara, Rivers in making

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Kogi 2019: Another Zamfara, Rivers in making

K

ogi State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) is looking set to attain the unenviable status of its counterparts in Rivers and Zamfara during the 2019 general election: disqualification from fielding a candidate in the November 16, 2019 governorship poll.

 

 

In the February 23 and March 9 National Assembly, and House of Assembly and Governorship elections, respectively, the courts banned the Rivers chapter from fielding candidates, and turned over the party’s wholesale victories in Zamfara to the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

 

 

What was the offence of both chapters of the APC? They failed to conduct valid primaries, in line with the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria (as amended); the party’s constitution; the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended); and the guidelines for the general election issued by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

 

 

The Kogi chapter bears imprints of the political rumbles that ensured the party lost in its strongholds, and promising terrains: unbridled ambition of incumbent or former officeholders; desire of big wigs to enthrone cronies; and opposition by other aspirants.

 

 

The result was a plethora of court cases prior to and after the conduct of cantankerous primaries across the country. Some of the cases are still running alongside election petitions initiated after the polls in February and March.

 

As it’s in Zamfara and Rivers, several court cases, filed within and outside Kogi, have dogged the APC primaries scheduled for August 29. The party may be playing with breaching court injunctions!

 

 

The National Working Committee (NWC) of the APC, as the organ mandated to pick the mode of primaries, and conduct same accordingly, has chosen “indirect” primaries for the Kogi chapter. But about 20 “aspirants” are opposed to the process, and call for a “direct” primary contest.

 

 

The opponents of “indirect” primaries argue that it favours Governor Yahaya Bello, who’s seeking re-election. And they allege of plans by the governor to substitute the delegate list for the primaries.

 

 

But over 30 “aspirants” are in support of “indirect” primaries, as a method they claim has brought victories to the Kogi chapter in elections since 2015, and as such, “you don’t change a winning formula.”

 

 

Whereas the indirect election is by delegates chosen in ward and local council congresses, who vote to pick the candidate at a state convention; the direct primaries involve all card-carrying members casting ballot at the wards to return a candidate at the convention.

 

 

The real headache for the APC in Kogi isn’t the conduct of the “indirect” primaries per se, but how the delegates would be chosen, as there’re two factions laying claim to the leadership of the chapter.

 

 

Besides the “aggrieved aspirants” getting the court to put the APC on notice for a hearing on an injunction to stop the primaries; some “stakeholders” have also dragged the party to court, to determine the authentic State Executive Committee (SEC) of the chapter.

 

 

Among issues canvassed are: Whether, during pendency of the suit, the APC, through persons claiming to be members of the Kogi SEC, can adopt indirect primaries; whether the party can ignore the suit, which seeks to determine the authentic members of the Kogi SEC; and who constitutes the delegatesto the primaries.

 

The implication of this case, with the hearing adjourned to October 2 – four days after the primaries slated for August 29, is obvious: Any primaries conducted before the court day would be in breach, and contempt of the court order.

 

 

Will the APC abide by the order, and save the Kogi chapter the odium of being disqualified from fielding a candidate for the governorship contest billed for November 16?

 

 

During their protest to the APC secretariat in Abuja, the dissatisfied aspirants drew the party’s attention to an untoward fallout from using a delegate list from an “illegitimate” state executive.

Their spokesperson, Mohammed Ali, said: “Arising from the pendency of the various suits to determine the legitimate party executive council in the state, the use of any factional delegate list may amount to an exercise in futility.

 

 

“And lastly, we may have unconsciously set booby-traps for our party and the stage for the replay of the unfortunate Zamfara scenario.” The APC can ill-afford a repeat of that occurrence!

 

 

The main problems in the Kogi chapter, as in all other APC chapters nationwide, are: The adoption of one of three methods of conducting primaries; indiscipline and impunity among powerful members; and failure of the party leadership in dispute resolution.

 

 

The constitution of the party recognizes consensus, indirect and direct methods of primaries, and it empowers the NWC to pick any of the modes for each election.

 

 

Direct method is popular with the majority of party members, but unpopular with incumbent and former governors, who lobby to get consensus or indirect primaries, or impose same on the members.

 

 

In the Kogi example, it’s alleged that Governor Bello, through stakeholders of the chapter, got the NWC to approve “indirect” primaries for the November poll.

 

 

Though the governor has denied such indiscretion, and said he’s ready to contest under any method picked by the party, the aggrieved “aspirants” have insisted there weren’t adequate consultations for the adoption of indirect primaries.

 

 

The die is cast, and as usual, the APC leadership is found wanting at resolving the Kogi logjam. The party’s failure to intervene, or as some alleged, intervened and sided with one faction against the other camp, led to its loss of several Government Houses and State Assemblies in the 2019 general election.

 

 

So, is fictionalization in the Kogi chapter a recipe for poor outing at the poll? Or, in the worst case scenario of conducting yet invalid primaries, get slammed by the courts or INEC with zero participation in the franchise?

 

 

Whatever the outcome of the election, it would be to the eternal good of the APC to adopt one method of primaries – preferably the direct process – for all chapters, and for all elections.

 

 

Direct primaries allow for mass participation, and provide ordinary members, who are actually the voting blocs, a say in the choice of candidates for elective offices. Any other method is subject to hijack and manipulation by the powerful and mighty in the party.

 

 

Adopting the direct primaries would curtail, if not curb their scheming excesses, and thus enhance party supremacy, which has suffered incalculable disregard and disrespect in its barely six years of existence as an “agent of change.”

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Chief Obasanjo’s love for Nigeria knows no bounds

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Chief Obasanjo’s love for Nigeria knows no bounds

 

On January 20, 1961, when John F. Kennedy took the oath of office to become America’s 35th president, he made a memorable statement: “Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.” This quote pretty much sums the person of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo.

 

 

As a vastly traveled medical doctor, who has trained and worked at different levels in three major continents of the world; Africa, Europe and North America (USA and Canada) especially in Public Health, I have interacted with many people including leaders, but none has impressed me as much as former President Olusegun Obasanjo whom I have known at close quarters in the last five years.

 

 

One thing that stands out is the confidence with which he talks about Nigeria, to him it’s like the best product in the world yet under-marketing it. Baba (has Chief Obasanjo is fondly called) oozes confidence when he talks about the prospect in the country, be it, natural resources or human resources. For those who know him, Nigeria is the only project he knows and he has proven beyond reasonable doubt, his unflinching love for the country.

 

 

In Africa and internationally, Baba is talked about only in the same sentence as President Nelson Mandela of South Africa. He is revered and respected not only because he has ruled Nigeria but because of his love for the country, Nigeria.

 

 

He thinks, he talks, he eats, he drinks and he sleeps Nigeria. I have never met anyone who is more concerned about his country than his personal self. Having served Nigeria as a military Head of State and also as a civilian President, Chief Obasanjo has seen it all but nothing gives him more joy than when Nigeria thrives.

 

 

So, when I read on Saturday, 3 August 2019 that he had met with some Fulani cattle breeders, I was not surprised. He is a man who will stop at NOTHING to ensure that Nigeria succeeds. He has seen it all, he knows what it means to go to war and he also understands what it means to live in peace.

 

 

During his meeting with Fulani cattle breeders in the Southwest as well as Kogi and Kwara states, something stood out, and that is his continuous call for everyone to live in peace irrespective of where they find themselves in Nigeria.

 

Speaking to the Gan Allah Fulani Development Association of Nigeria (GAFDAN), Baba said that Yorubas wanted peace, harmony, wholesomeness and progress in the region, stressing that the time had come for everybody to acknowledge that “bad things are happening” in the Southwest and which have been attracting bad names to the Fulani in their midst.

 

 

But one thing that stunned me is the fact that the action by Chief Obasanjo did not grab the front page of all the newspapers. Many Nigerians have often wrongly accused him of always writing letters to Presidents and leaders when in the real sense of it; he is carrying out more actions than even the government.

 

 

The traffic at his country home in Abeokuta is a testament to this. People from all works of life and across the world are always there waiting to see him. How he manages to attend to everyone person or group shocks me. He is always willing to listen to anyone who has a plan or thought about improving Nigeria.

 

 

Nothing catches Baba’s attention like the name ‘Nigeria’, he never jokes with it, he loves Nigeria so much that one doubts if he can actually stay out of this country for more than one week but what he loves even more are the people.

 

 

He is always constantly seeking new ways of improving the lives of Nigerians, he is seeking new ways of ensuring that Nigeria lives up to its billing as the ‘Giant of Africa’ and he is always seeking peace in this country. For those who have forgotten, when he became President in 1999, he assembled the most balanced, most intellectual cabinet this country has ever seen. Technocrats after technocrats where appointed to key political positions.

 

 

Names that readily come to mind are those of Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Dora Akunyili, Charles Soludo, Oby Ezekwesili, Nuhu Ribadu, Nasir Ahmad el-Rufai, amongst others. His cabinet caught the ‘Nigeria First’ bug from Obasanjo and were willing to deliver and indeed delivered. Nigerià then was more or less a pariah state owing so much because of bad governance.

 

 

But Chief Obasanjo’s sterling leadership turned the situation around. He paid or got relief for Nigeria’s humongous outstanding debts, introduced a lot of reforms including banking, telecommunication, shipping/marine and other reforms which we now enjoy in Nigeria today. Anti-Corruption institutions such as EFCC were not only instituted but war against this cancer was fearlessly and honestly waged without caring whose ox is gored.

 

 

Baba is fearless. He only fears God. He talks where others keep ominously quiet. He succeeded in rebranding Nigeria in the international community of nations. But it is either Nigerians’ memories are too short, or many deliberately forget all these great achievements of Dr Olusegun Obasanjo a world leader and indubitable father of modern Nigeria with spurious disparaging comments.

 

 

As President, Chief Obasanjo ensured that both internal and even external security were top priority. The Nigerian military was even named the best in Africa which led to him winning international praise for Nigeria’s role in crucial regional peacekeeping missions in Sierra Leone and Liberia.

 

 

Baba even earned praises from the UK and US government for being the first African ally to openly criticize the abuses committed by former Zimbabwe President, Robert Mugabe. This should be resounding to Nigerians who didn’t know much about his Presidency.

 

 

He has never been afraid of speaking to power, once the government is working against the wishes of the people, he speaks up, he says it as it is and he does it without any fear or favour. So when he writes letters to serving Presidents, he does so because he wants the best for the country.

 

 

Listing his achievements as president will make this write up endless. A simple Google of his achievements as President and after his Presidency will turn out hundreds of pages. Or do we want to speak about his international engagements?

 

 

Obasanjo was appointed as Special Envoy by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to the war-torn Democratic Republic of the Congo. He held separate meetings with DRC President Joseph Kabila and rebel leader Laurent Nkunda. The result of those engagement was peace.

 

 

During the Zimbabwean election of July 2013, Obasanjo headed a delegation of African Union election observers and has embarked on many more since then and that is why Nigerians must understand his urge to fix his own country.

 

 

For him achieve great exploits across Africa and the rest of the world, yet his home country is ridden with all sorts of security problems? This makes Baba very sad and that is why I make bold say that Baba’s love for Nigeria knows no bounds.

 

 

Dr Joseph Onigbinde, DMD, PhD, Public Health Consultant writes from Lagos

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When Dapo Abiodun read the riot act to criminals

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When Dapo Abiodun read the riot act to criminals

The people of Ogun State may have good reason to remember the just concluded Eid-el-Kabir festival. Beyond the spiritual notes and gaiety that usually attend the festival, this year’s Sallah festival had so many mementos to cherish. Apart from the fact that the festival was celebrated in a convivial atmosphere, reinforcing the bond of brotherliness and good neighbourliness that exists among the people of the state, the celebration was devoid of any unsavoury event.

 

 

Also, on that day, the industrious Ogun people received a very reassuring gift from a man who had sworn to protect their interests always, the governor of the state, Prince Dapo Abiodun. And this gift was none other than the renewal of his vow to ensure the safety of all residents in the state no matter their status, when he made a bold declaration that outlawed criminals in the state. In other words, the Ogun State governor was emphatic when he read the riot act to criminals who might be planning to carry out their ignoble activities in any part of the state.

 

 

Governor Abiodun, who did not hide his aversion for criminals who have been marauding and terrorising people all over the place, seized the unique Sallah event to pass his message when he played host to leaders of the Muslim community in Remoland at Iperu, his home town.

 

The Muslim leaders, League of Imams, led by the Chief Imam of Remoland, Sheik Junaid Abdukadiri, was at Iperu to felicitate him on the occasion of Sallah and also offered prayers for him and the state, especially on the pervading insecurity in the country. The governor had in the spirit of the occasion reassured the Muslim leaders of the strong resolve of his administration to ensure that lives of Ogun indigenes and other residents in the state matter.

 

 

Abiodun’s avowal to protect of life and property of the people under his charge is viewed generally as the perfect elixir for this troubling times. With growing insecurity across the nation, made more strenuous by incidence of banditry and kidnapping, many a Nigerian now lives perennially in fear. From the far North to the edge of the South, and indeed the South-West, where life and living used to be luxuriant, the situation has changed drastically.

 

 

There is hardly a day that the news media would not be awash with reports of either deaths from banditry, unknown gunmen or kidnappings on the nation’s highways. Ogun had its own share recently when some hoodlums struck on the highways in the state. Seven persons were abducted. Though the victims, with the concerted efforts of security agencies in the state, have now regained their freedom, the Ogun governor had referenced those incidents in his response to the Muslim leaders’ apprehension and vowed that such incidents would never be allowed in his domain again.

 

 

“You will recall that there were two cases of kidnapping along Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, involving seven victims in all. That was between the 23rd and 24th of July, and another one on Thursday, 1st of August, 2019, along Sagamu-Benin- Ore Expressway, involving five victims, including Deaconess Chidinma Ebeleji of the Redeemed Christian Church of God,” Abiodun recalled, while appreciating the Ogun State Police Command and the state Commissioner of Police, Mr Bashir Makama and the state Director of the Department of Security Services for their professionalism in ensuring that those abducted were rescued unhurt.

 

 

“However, we give all the glory to the Almighty God that the quick intervention of the men and officers of our security agencies have brought this to a positive conclusion. All victims of the two cases have been rescued unhurt, while most of the suspect have been arrested…

 

 

“Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, these incidents are a test of our resolve and we have demonstrated in clear terms our strong commitments to ensuring that our their state will continue to be secure for our people and all those who have made our dear state their home…

 

 

“Let me state in clear terms that no part in Ogun State is a safe haven for criminals and criminality in whatever form. Whether on the Lagos-Ibadan, Sagamu- Benin-Ore, Abeokuta- Sango-Lagos expressways or even our township roads or interstate roads, we shall smoke them out. We shall arrest them and hand them over to [face] justice,” Abiodun had vowed, declaring Ogun a no-go area for men of the underworld and their collaborators while also giving strong warning to landlords and those who might give them cover.

 

 

However, Abiodun did not lose sight of the state he is superintending over as one of the most strategic economic nerve points of the country and why his government viewed security as critical to the survival of the state and the people, just as he assured those with legitimate business that the government would not spare any effort to protect their investments.

 

 

“We occupy a unique position in our country,” he stated. “We are a gateway to the fifth biggest economy on the continent and also the gateway to the rest of this country. So any issue that pertains to security, it is of extreme importance to us in Ogun State…

 

 

“For people with legitimate businesses, let me assure you that Ogun State will continue to be a paradise; however for people with criminal tendencies, hell, for you, will be a child’s play. All of us who have decided to make Ogun State our dear home will have to cooperate and collaborate with our law enforcement agencies. We also have to support our agencies by giving them information on any suspicious movement of people. These criminals are not ghost; they are not spirits. They are human beings. They live with us; they live within us. We should and we must fish them out.”

 

 

With that assurance and insurance of safety from the governor, the Muslim leaders expressed satisfaction with the government of the state, acknowledging the efforts that had been made so far and promising to take the message of war against criminals by the governor to the people. Sheikh Abdukadiri, who delivered a sermon on the occasion, urged the people to support the Abiodun-led government which he described as the will of God.

 

 

Onasanya works with the Ogun State Information Ministry

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Taraba killings: Time to invoke esprit de corps

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Taraba killings: Time to invoke esprit de corps

On Tuesday, many Nigerians were aghast on hearing the news of the shooting deaths of three police officers, and a civilian, by men of the Nigerian Army.

 

 

Ideally, the incident which happened in Taraba State, where men of the Nigerian Army are involved in counterinsurgency operations, might not have ever happened but for the perilous state of insecurity across the nation, which has now meant that the military has had to be drafted in to help their fellow uniformed personnel, in the form of the police, carry out their own duties.

 

Had the situation not degenerated to such appalling levels, the police, who have the statutory function of handling internal security, would not have been shunted aside for the better equipped and trained khaki uniform wearing soldiers. In truth, it was only a matter of time for what in military parlance is called ‘friendly fire’ to happen, especially since dating back to the time the military called the shots at the center, the police had always played second fiddle.

 

Repeated efforts by Inspectors General of Police to beef up their force had always been stonewalled by the military, who according to reports were afraid of having another force that could rival them.

 

Thus, over time, while the Army had been readily able to train her men and officers to an appreciable level, the same cannot be said of the police force, which directly deals with civilians.

 

 

Even just looking at the barracks from which both operate from shows the vast dichotomy between the two – most police barracks are completely run down, while those of the military, while not ideally what they should be, are still in the main much better than their police counterparts’ own.

 

 

Equally, the uniforms worn by the two security arms of the government cannot be compared. While it is very common to see policemen in tattered or threadbare uniforms with equally battered shoes or even no police shoes at all; hardly would one see the same thing amongst army personnel. What is, however, of big surprise is that while the men in uniform have handed over power more than 20 years ago, the situation for the police had barely improved in all this time!

 

Now back to what happened in Taraba, according to the police account, an undercover team of the Inspector General’s crack Intelligence Response Team (IRT) had gone to successfully effect the arrest of a notorious kidnapper, one Alhaji Hamisu Wadume and were taking him to the state headquarters in Jalingo when they were attacked at a military checkpoint.

 

The police officers had no time to react as the bus they were riding in was riddled with bullets from their assailants, who sadly were supposed to be on the same side with them. By the time the smoke had cleared, three of the IRT team lay dead while some of them managed to escape with bullet wounds; while the kidnap suspect was released by the soldiers!

 

A video of the incident makes for very painful watching showing the depravity to which we have descended as a people as one of the surviving police officers were then attacked and killed by the blood baying mob.

 

 

But the army swiftly disputed the Police Force’s version of events, insisting that they had received a “distress” call that kidnappers were making away with someone they had abducted, which prompted the men of the 93 Battalion to swing into action and “stop” them from carrying out their operation.

 

I am yet to see where the army also explained how the notorious kidnapper in question was not only able to escape being hit by the bullets fired by the army personnel, but also had both his handcuffs and leg chains removed, and later disappear into thin air!

 

Another question floating around is, even if they (army) thought the bus conveying the occupants belonged to the “suspected kidnappers” would it not have been more proper to have demobilised the bus and capture the occupants in order to interrogate them?

 

But of course, we all know the popular adage “dead men tell no tales” so killing them would ensure that they would not be alive to tell the whole world what had truly transpired on that faithful day.

 

Predictably the police hold the moral high ground having clearly been victims in this case, although they too have often left “sorrow, tears and blood” in their wake as last Saturday’s incident in the Ijegun area of Lagos shows when a bullet fired by one of them struck and killed an innocent woman, Busayo Owoodun, in her shop.

 

The simmering anger, people have towards them (police), exploded into violence which left an Assistant Superintended of Police (ASP), Victor Ugbegun dead and two others brutalised after they were attacked by people in the victim’s neighbourhood.

 

However, although the back and forth between the two government outfits have been going on for a time, it is the alarm raised by the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Tukur Buratai that should send shockwaves through government and ginger them to take more decisive steps to put a lid on the face-off. Although President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered an investigation into the Taraba incident, with passions running high, the move has obviously not done anything to stop it. Buratai’s fear that his men could become the victims of reprisal attacks from policemen add a new frightening dimension to the whole sordid saga.

 

 

The President needs to deal decisively with this latest problem since if the COAS’ fears do come true there is every chance that civilians may again be caught in the crossfire between two weapon-carrying government agencies. Already they (citizens) are dealing with a lot on their plates, including general insecurity, poor economic among other issues to now become cannon fodder for the rampaging men in uniform. As Commander in Chief, Buhari just has to reign in both parties before it blows into a full-blown crisis of which no one will know how it will end.

 

Besides, with so many things he is already contending with, he should know that this is one more problem he must avoid.

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How silent is the silence of the silent killer? (1)

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How silent is the silence of the silent killer? (1)

The scene Mr JJ is the Executive Director of a multinational corporation, he’s had about 20 years experience on the job and he’s been happy doing it because it’s been very rewarding.

 

He sits an average of 9-10 hours at his desk, seldom visits a hospital because he always has this overwhelming feeling of wellness.

 

A day came like every other, he was active at his desk as usual, but suddenly…suddenly, he felt a coldness/heaviness on the left side of his body, he tried to lift the left hand and leg, alas! he could not. He moved the entire body to get up but fell since there’s no functional ‘’left body’’ to balance the movement.

 

Then, he tried to shout, but his speech was slurred with saliva drooling, the mouth having been deviated to one side.

 

The hard working JJ just suffered a Stroke! For him, this was the first and only indication of being hypertensive (the blood pressure was severely high when checked).

 

Why is hypertension a “silent killer”? Most of the time, high blood pressure ( or hypertension) has no obvious symptoms to indicate that something is wrong. But why the ‘’silent killer’’ appellation?

 

• Many people with high blood pressure don’t even know they have it. Often the signs and symptoms are misunderstood.

 

• High blood pressure develops slowly over time and can be related to many causes.

 

• High blood pressure cannot be cured. But it can be managed effectively through lifestyle changes and, when needed, medication. Is hypertension an absolutely silent killer?

 

Though most patients with high blood pressure have no symptoms to alert them to the elevated pressure, over time, high blood pressure jettisons its silence by displaying tell tale signs on its victims such as ones of stroke, congestive heart failure, heart attack, and kidney failure.

 

What is blood pressure? Blood pressure is the force that a person’s blood exerts against the walls of their blood vessels. Each time your heart beats, it pumps blood into the arteries .

 

This pressure depends on the resistance of the blood vessels and how hard the heart has to work What is high blood pressure?

 

High blood pressure is a long-term medical condition in which the blood pressure in the arteries is persistently elevated. Classification of blood pressure for adults Blood Pressure SBP DBP Classification mmHg mmHg Normal <120 < 80 Pre hypertension 120–139 80-89 Stage 1 Hypertension 140–159 90-99 Understanding blood pressure readings

 

Two numbers create a blood pressure reading:

 

• Systolic pressure (SBP): This is the first, or top, number (numerator). It indicates the pressure in the arteries when your heart beats and pumps out blood.

 

• Diastolic pressure (DBP): This is the second, or bottom, number (denominator). It’s the reading of the pressure in the arteries between beats of the heart. Key facts (WHO)

 

• Hypertension – or elevated blood pressure – is a serious medical condition that significantly increases the risks of heart, brain, kidney and other diseases.

 

• An estimated 1.13 billion people worldwide have hypertension, most (twothirds) living in low- and middle-income countries.

 

• In 2015, 1 in 4 men and 1 in 5 women had hypertension.

 

• Fewer than 1 in 5 people with hypertension have the problem under control. • Hypertension is a major cause of premature death worldwide.

 

• One of the global targets for noncommunicable diseases is to reduce the prevalence of hypertension by 25% by 2025 (baseline 2010)

 

Types For about 95 percent of people with high blood pressure, the cause of their hypertension is unknown — this is called essential, or primary hypertension.

 

When a cause can be found, the condition is called secondary hypertension.

 

• Essential hypertension. This type of hypertension is diagnosed after a doctor notices that your blood pressure is high on three or more visits and eliminates all other causes of hypertension. Usually people with essential hypertension have no symptoms, but you may experience frequent headaches, tiredness, dizziness, or nose bleeds.

 

Although the cause is unknown, researchers do know that obesity, increasing age, smoking, alcohol consumption, lack of exercise, diet (junk and high salt intake), and heredity all play a role in essential hypertension. • Secondary hypertension. The most common cause of secondary hypertension are diseases of the kidneys.

 

Other causes include airway obstruction during sleep (sleep apnea), diseases and tumors of the adrenal glands, pregnancy, hormone abnormalities and thyroid disease, congenital heart disease and long term alcohol consumption.

 

Drugs can also cause secondary hypertension; cocaine, over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen, steroids etc Diagnosing hypertension It is done mainly by measuring the blood pressure.

 

Measurement technique Poor technique is the main cause of misdiagnosis. Blood pressure measurement should be done in a quiet room (applies to both manual and electronic measurement) so the medical professional checking the blood pressure can hear the appropriate sounds;

 

• Proper blood pressure measurement requires the person whose blood pressure is being measured to sit quietly for at least five minutes which is then followed by application of a properly fitted blood pressure cuff to a bare upper arm.

 

• The person should be seated with their back supported, feet flat on the floor, and with their legs uncrossed.

 

• The person whose blood pressure is being measured should avoid talking or moving during this process.

 

• The arm being measured should be supported on a flat surface at the level of the heart. The blood pressure cuff should be deflated slowly (2-3 mmHg per second) while listening for the appropriate sounds (applies to manual measurement).

 

• The bladder should be emptied before a person’s blood pressure is measured since this can increase blood pressure by up to 15/10 mmHg.

 

• Multiple blood pressure readings (at least two) spaced 1–2 minutes apart should be obtained to ensure accuracy.

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When ‘all your mates’ are married (part 1)

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When ‘all your mates’ are married (part 1)

These days, some unmarried person is always depressed and discouraged when reminded by the inner self that all his or her friends, associates, age-mates, or colleagues are married while he or she has remained single.

 

The other person has had broken engagements or courtships several times and is devastated. The inner voice now says: “Look at yourself. Of what use is it living this life? You are a failure and life is useless.

Why don’t you just find a way of packing everything up?” Are you this person? If yes, listen! A guy woke up in the morning and went jogging. On his way back, he saw someone ahead of him and made up his mind to overtake the guy. But the more he pursued the guy, the farther the guy’s distance from his went. He kept pursuing this guy to overtake him. At some point, he came back to his senses and discovered that he had long passed his house, his destination without knowing it. If you perceive life as a competition, you will lose focus and miss your destination. This is the kind of life that many people are living today. One of them is you who is depressed because most of your contemporaries are getting married while you are not. In Jeremiah 1: 5, God said: “Before I formed thee in the womb. I knew thee.”

 

In 29:11, he said: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” The Message Translation of Jeremiah 29:11 says “I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out – plans to take care of you, not abandon you; plans to give you the future you hope for.” When God sent you into this world, he gave you a definite assignment and specific timing for each activity. It is so for every individual.

 

This is why it is not everybody that will eventually get married and bear a child even when they do everything to achieve this. The voice that tells you to kill yourself because you have not married anybody belongs to somebody. If you obey that voice, then, you have fallen into the description that Jesus gave in John 8:44. “You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of all liars.”

 

The devil is the father of all liars but you must not accept him as your father because he hides truth from people. He will not give you any encouraging words. He will not tell you that many of the people born on the same day you were born never lived to enjoy what you have enjoyed so far in life. There are too many people that do not have what you have. Are you a school graduate? Many people tried to achieve it and even had all means to achieve it but could not do so, even after getting married.

 

 

The fact that you can read this article and understand it is a testimony because many of your mates are mentally deranged or have lost their minds. So, marriage is not even the topic for discussion concerning such people. Some millionaires are currently on admission in the hospital. After being on a hospital bed for years and spending a lot of money without getting healed, what is on their minds right now is far from marriage. Just last night, some of your mates went to bed just the way you did but they are no more.

 

Tell me! How is their marriage to be discussed now in their absence? Some of your mates that married earlier, are today wishing they were you, still single. Why? Joy, peace and happiness are very far from their lives.

 

If getting married and having children are the only determinants of how joyful and fulfilled one can be in life, the, Catholic priests and Nuns would have all committed suicide. None of them would have been fulfilled enough to be preaching and encouraging people with troubled marital relationships. It is a good thing to aspire to get married and have children. As a matter of fact, it is scriptural.

 

However, these are not the only things that define your success as a human being. They don’t even determine God’s approval of your spirituality to give you a license to heaven. There is more to life than getting married and having children. God’s expectations are much more than that. Stop losing your self confidence and seeing yourself as a lower mortal just because all your mates are married and you are not. Imagining suicide because of that is even a foolish act that can annoy God the more. So, my dear! Next time the devil or his agents attempt to mock you about marrying or not marrying someone, resist the devil and he will flee from you. If you give the devil attention, he will give you direction.

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Bayelsa 2019: Sylva holds the ace in APC

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Bayelsa 2019: Sylva holds the ace in APC

As the race to Creek Haven, the Bayelsa State seat of power, gathers momentum ahead of the 16th November governorship election, the focus of Bayelsans is firmly fixed on how the main opposition party in the state, the All Progressives Congress (APC), can create a major upset at the governorship polls. Bayelsa, the oil rich coastal state, has been under the dominance of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) since the current democratic dispensation began in 1999, thereby creating the notion that it is a PDP state.

That old wife fable may soon be exposed for what it is, as it passes through the crucible of Bayelsa electorate. From all indications, Bayelsans are fed up with the deceit and grand larceny of their common patrimony by the PDP. An irredeemable divorce is imminent between Bayelsans and the party that has treated them with utmost contempt.

The apparent disaffection with the PDP in the state, arising from its gross insensitivity toward the plight of Bayelsans, is an opportunity begging to be seized by the APC in the state. But how this golden opportunity, presented by the ineptitude of the PDP administration in the state can translate into an electoral fortune for the party at the polls, is dependent on who the party chooses as its standard bearer.

Though the Bayelsa State chapter of the APC boasts of an array of eminently qualified personalities, who can hold their own against any candidate thrown up by the PDP, only Timipre Sylva can be said to possess the needed strength of character and structures across the state, to beat the PDP in the November 16th, 2019 governorship election.

On paper, Heineken Lokpobiri, a trained lawyer and a top contender for the party’s ticket, boasts of an intimidating political profile, but in reality, his political credentials when subjected to a popularity test in an election, where the stakes are high, would turn out an abysmal result. Lokpobiri’s political trajectory from 1999 to date has seen him pocket some key political offices, but that has not earned him the kind of electoral capital required to win a highly competitive contest like a governorship election.

As a onetime Speaker of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly, a former senator and the immediate past Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, one would have expected that he would have spread his political tentacles across the state, but unfortunately, that does not seem to be the case. Aside Lokpobiri’s seemingly intimidating political credentials, he also boasts of a huge financial war chest. This, he has been using to position himself as a top contender for the party’s ticket.

How his quest to clinch the party’s ticket would materialize remains to be seen, because the structure of the party is clearly beyond his reach. And if truth must be told, it takes more than having a deep pocket to win an election. Apart from Lokpobiri, the other gladiators who have indicated interest in the party’s ticket are in their own rights top contenders. Preye Aganaba for instance, is a founding member of the party, who could be said to have made his contributions to the party as far as his capacity could provide.

But many in the party do not see him as a match for the PDP, so getting the nod of the party to fly its flag is very unlikely. Diseye Nsirim Poweigha, the retired police commissioner is relatively unknown within the party. It would take a miracle for a party facing a familiar foe in a make or mar contest, to entrust its mandate to a candidate whose capability to manoeuvre and beat its opponent in a tough political terrain has not been ascertained. There is no questioning the fact that Timipre Sylva’s popularity and acceptability transcends the APC.

It is no surprise therefore that even as a minister-designate, majority of the party adherents are still rooting for him to throw his hat into the ring for the governorship race. And this is borne out of the sincere belief in his ability to not only win the November 16th election, but also in his ability to bring the desired development to Bayelsa State. Many believe that what has made Sylva remain politically relevant many years after leaving office, is the men and women he built while in office. Sylva holds the ace in determining the fortune of the party.

He commands an unassailable followership within the party, and this fact was demonstrated at the recently held stakeholders’ meeting, where the mode of primary to be adopted in deciding the party’s standard bearer was decided. At the said meeting which held on 16th July, 2019, all the three members of the party at the National Assembly aligned themselves with Sylva’s preference for the direct mode of primary. Also, three out of four of the party’s members at the state House of Assembly also queued behind Sylva’s choice for the direct mode of primary, while six out of eight of the local government chairmen of the party also signed up for the direct mode of primary.

At the ward levels, 90 per cent of the ward chairmen are also on the side of Sylva. Sylva, a minister-designate, has kept mum over the deluge of calls from his supporters to join the governorship race. At the moment, no one can say with precision if Sylva still has an ambition to govern the state again.

Some have opined that he jettisons his ambition of returning to Creek Haven, and allow other gladiators slug it out for the party’s ticket. But of course, those promoting this line of thought are those looking forward to displaying their dancing skills in the absence of the party’s biggest masquerade at the party’s primary election. It remains to be seen if Sylva would heed to the voice of his supporters within the party. Many party supporters see him as the only one at the moment who can lead the charge against PDP, and emerge with the coveted prize.

Should Sylva decide not to run, whoever would emerge as the standard bearer of the party would definitely need his support to clinch the party’s ticket and be at the forefront of the battle for the soul of Bayelsa State. As we edge closer to the close of sale of governorship forms, party supporters are waiting to see if Sylva would join the race or not. And if he is not running, who would get his backing for the party’s ticket? Does Heineken Lokpobiri stand a chance even in the absence of Sylva in the race for the party’s flag? What happens if Sylva opts out of the race and gives his blessing to another, other than the already known gladiators? Time ticks, and soon that which is veiled shall be revealed to all.

 

 

  • Newman is a public affairs analyst based in Yenagoa.
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Of Akume’s ministerial voyage and Benue leadership question

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Of Akume’s ministerial voyage and Benue leadership question

Joseph Tarka lived for only 48 years. His life and times were eventful. He defined his eon with the magnitude of his individuality and politics. He produced and offered to the Benue people a visionary, pragmatic, inspiring and focused leadership. Since his demise on March 30, 1980, no Benue politician of Tiv ethnic stock after him has been able to command the kind of reverence, public approbation, sympathy and support that he enjoyed in the political space of Benue. Tarka left behind a legacy of loyal and committed leadership. He was loyal to his followers and sensitive to the yearnings of his people.

It is arguable whether any Tiv politician has been able to surpass Tarka’s record of accomplishments that were packed full into his short existence. Except David Mark from the Idoma ethnic stock that had been governor, minister and senator (senate president), no other Benue politician towers above Tarka in terms of strategic public offices occupied. By the time Tarka died, he had been a minister of commerce and a senator in the second republic. He died while in the Senate.

Today, the only Tiv politician that is set to surpass Tarka’s record of occupying strategic public offices is George Akume who had been governor of Benue for eight years, senator for 12 years and has just been appointed as a minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Barnabas Gemade, another Tiv politician, had only been a minister and a senator. A former governor of Benue, Gabriel Suswam, had been a member of the House of Representatives and now a senator.

The incumbent governor, Samuel Ortom, had been a minister. Akume’s impending ministerial voyage places him ahead of them all of Tiv ethnic extraction. That also positions him strategically to appropriate Benue’s political leadership, depending on how well he can deploy his ministerial position to utilitarian performance in service delivery.

Indeed, Akume’s political cruise has been phenomenal. He had taken the Benue political scene by storm as governor between 1999 and 2007 on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). His brand of politics of inclusiveness and accommodation resonated well with the vast majority of the people. He ensured the economic empowerment of men and women in the state and democratized the dividends of democratic governance while in the saddle as governor. He was very popular among his people.

To be sure, Akume has enjoyed rare reciprocal and episodic gestures from the people who have always rewarded him with their massive votes during elections. While he won the election to the Senate in 2007 as an outgoing governor, his move in 2011 when he dumped the PDP for Action Congress (AC) in the Senate and went ahead to win his re-election was remarkable.

It simply showed that his popularity among his people and influence on them were not a fluke. He worked hard to achieve their trust, confidence and goodwill. Apparently, Suswam as governor was going to deny him the senate ticket in the PDP. It was a battle of wits and grits.

Akume proved that he had the people on his side. It was in 2015 that his politics and politicking blossomed and became prodigious. His planned re-election to the Senate was a foregone conclusion. He did not really campaign. But he was rather engrossed with his plan to produce a successor to Suswam as governor of Benue State.

While Suswam denied Samuel Ortom the PDP ticket and gave it to his crony, Dr. Tehemen Tarzoor, Akume had, single- handed, paved the way for Ortom to cross over to the All Progressives Congress (APC) and rewarded him with the governorship ticket of the party. He ensured that Hon. Emmanuel Jime, who was favoured to clinch the ticket, was pacified with a federal appointment.

That was sheer political dexterity that paid off handsomely. But in the build-up to the 2019 general election, the relationship between him (Akume) and Ortom had become conflicted, resulting in their parting of ways. Ortom returned to the PDP where he sought for re-election and won.

Akume could not ensure the victory of Jime who was the party’s governorship standard bearer in the election. And, in a controversial circumstance, Akume who had become a household name in the politics of Benue Northwest Senatorial Zone, was “defeated” in the 2019 election.

A former member of the House of Representatives, Emmanuel Yisa Orker- Jev was deployed by the PDP leadership guard in the contest against him (Akume). The scenario was tantamount to a fight between an elephant and a cow. Akume was understandably overconfident and dropped his guards in the belief that he was going to overrun Oker-Jev even without electioneering. In fact, on a good day and in a free-andfair election, Oker-Jev would not be an obstacle to Akume’s victory in the political cosmos of Benue Northwest zone, but by the time the other camp was done with its shenanigans, Akume discovered too late that he had been electorally undercut and manipulated out of victory path and celebration. But to be sure, Oker-Jev, who is not half as popular as Akume in the political space of Benue, was a proxy in the witty and gritty battle of supremacy and survival.

The leadership question was about to resolve itself to the disfavour of Akume and possibly to be thrown open for contestation and appropriation by the likes of Ortom and Suswam, when providence beckoned on him (Akume) to commence his second missionary journey in the executive arm of government but, this time round, at the federal level. That gives Akume national visibility. He becomes effectively entrenched and reinforced as the leader of the APC in Benue. He remains a formidable hub around which a viable opposition against Ortom and the PDP revolves in the state.

In fact, it goes without saying that he seamlessly fits into his providential role as a leader of his people. Significantly, oiling of APC political machinery in Benue becomes easier ahead of the 2023 general election. With his cosmopolitan disposition to politics, having traversed both the PDP and APC terrains as an influential leader, Akume’s capacity to step in the driver’s seat of the vehicle of political leadership is not in doubt. As a minister of the Federal Republic, the burden is on him to provide political leadership to the entire Benue State.

 

  • Ojeifo writes from Abuja via ojwonderngr@yahoo.com Opinion
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Ogun and its new security strategy

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Ogun and its new security strategy

On Friday, August 2, 2019, the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Pastor Enoch Adeboye, announced the abduction of five pastors of the church on their way to the annual Holy Ghost Convention. Although Adeboye did not reveal the identities of the victims, they were reportedly abducted at the Ijebu-Ode end of the Sagamu-Benin-Ore Expressway on their way to the religious gathering. Before then, on July 23, 2019, kidnappers struck at the Ajebo axis of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway and kidnapped three persons.

The incident involved the son of the Chief Medical Director of the Lafia Hospital, Ibadan and two members of staff of the hospital. Of course, one common denominator those two criminal activities shared was that they both occurred in Ogun State territory. That has prompted the Ogun State government, under the administration of Governor Dapo Abiodun, to announce a review of the state’s security strategy. Speaking to reporters at a briefing about the security situation in the state, the governor reeled out some new measures to tackle kidnappings and general insecurity in the state.

At the briefing, which had in attendance the state’s Commissioner of Police, Bashir Makama, and Director of Department of State Services (DSS), David Tuksa, Governor Abiodun declared that his administration would present a draft amendment of the state’s Security Trust Fund to the state House of Assembly to strengthen the safety of lives and property. “We are going to be relaunching our security trust fund.

We have an amended bill that is on its way to the House of Assembly now, because we look at the existing bill, we compared it to other bills in other states where the security trust fund had worked very effectively and efficiently; we’ve identified the gaps in our bill and we have sent an amended version of the bill to the House of Assembly.

“The new security trust fund will have all the governance that it requires, it will have a Chairman, Executive Secretary, board, it will have a commitment from a few financial institutions of note and a few people from the private sector that are committed to serving on the board.

We are also committed to funding this fund,” the governor said. Also as part of the review of the state’s security strategy, the governor declared that his administration would demolish houses sheltering criminals or being used to perpetrate crimes and the owners of such houses would be arrested and prosecuted as accomplices. Of course, the security challenges recently experienced in Ogun State are not peculiar to the state. Lately, there has been an increase in criminal activities such as banditry, kidnapping and other violent acts in the South-Western part of the country.

The murder of Mrs. Funke Olakunrin, daughter of Pa Rueben Fasoranti, on the Kajola-Ore Road in Ondo State, sparked a public outrage about the security situation in the region. In response, the governors of the six states in the South-West met in Ibadan at a security summit where they pledged to find a lasting solution to the lingering security challenges in the region. And although there are indications that the region could have a joint security patrol team of law enforcement agencies across the border of the region, it is easy to see why the Abiodun administration is leading the charge for better security in his state and the region.

First, providing leadership when there is a crisis is a mark of commitment and a vital note of assurance to the public that the governor understands the situation and is working to address it. Also, considering the strategic location and positioning of the state, a sense of insecurity in the state would have a ripple effect on the security of other states, especially Lagos which shares its only internal boundary with Ogun. As Governor Abiodun himself noted, Ogun State is the gateway to entering Nigeria’s commercial capital and gateway to exiting it. For once, it is refreshing to see that a governor exists who doesn’t just dump issues of security at the feet of the Federal Government.

The world over, citizen’ sense of security is not in the absence of criminal activities but how their government responds to the crisis and reassure of measures taken to forestall the situation. As a seasoned administrator and private sector executive, it is unsurprising how Governor Abiodun has responded to such a delicate challenge and with the support of relevant stakeholders, it is not hard to see why his determination will lead to a safer and more secure Ogun State. More so, Abiodun is mulling sending a bill to the State House of Assembly to make kidnapping a capital offence in the Gateway State.

 

  • Somorin is the Chi
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