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N50bn bond not for Akeredolu’s second term bid – Ojogo

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N50bn bond not for Akeredolu’s second term bid – Ojogo

Ondo State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Donald Ojogo, in this interview with ADEWALE JIMOH, speaks on Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu’s administration and the state’s bid for a N50 billion bond, among other issues

 

Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State will be clocking three years in office by February next year. How will you assess his administration?

 

 

So, far we can say that the current administration under Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (SAN) has fared well. The feat so far achieved is commendable and I think it is encouraging enough to say that we are on a very high pedestal. In the area of agriculture, what we met on ground was a sorry state. Cocoa used to be a flourishing component of the economy of the South-West and you see what has happened to that sector in the last 10 to 15 years. But, this government has distributed over 600,000 cocoa seedlings to people. Cassava farming has been transformed with the cassava ethanol project that is going on at Okeluse. Farmers were shortchanged in the last 10 to 15 years, now farmers are smiling to the bank.

 

 

In the education sector, over 840 primary schools out of 1,008 have been renovated and reconstructed with modern facilities within two and a half years. You can imagine what will have happened after the full cycle of four years. Government is also giving capital grants to tertiary institutions in the state. It has never been stopped unlike the case with the previous government. If you look at the South, the star project of this government is the Ore flyover, which the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has been struggling vainly as a Federal Government project. In any case, it is not a Federal government Project.

 

 

The records are there. That is what the governor has done for the people of Ondo South Senatorial district. It reduces time for those travelling; it eradicates permanently the issue of gridlock in that area during festive period. It will also enhance the local economy of that area. No project came more than that. Then you look at the Araromi-Lekki road that the government has initiated in partnership with the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC). In 20 minutes you will get to Lagos from Ilaje. We have acquired licenses of bitumen exploration and we are dealing with serious-minded private investors. Look at what is going on at the Ore Industrial Park. A minimum of 5,000 direct and indirect workers are going to be engaged. The Ore industrial park is an industrial hub, where we have a textile company, plywood industry among others.

 

 

What is your take on allegations by the PDP that the governor gets N900 million every month as security vote and that it has not impacted on the security situation in the state?

 

 

Thank God you said PDP said it, I am not privy to who actually said it in PDP and I may not want to delve into the reason for that outburst from whoever said. But the truth remains that this is the time we must allow PDP to say whatever they want to say. But we cannot because they are in the opposition, when they say certain things that are not compatible with acceptable norms; we need to put the records straight. To say the least, it is the most preposterous of all allegations. It demeans even those alleging, it diminishes every thought of mankind. It also reduces those alleging. But the truth of the matter is where is the evidence that he is collecting N900 million.

 

 

To say the least, this shows the inconsistency of the PDP. We are not surprised and we won’t be surprise if they come out tomorrow to say that the governor collects N2 billion as security vote. If they don’t talk now, when will they talk? This is the time for them to say whatever they want to say. In any case, just last week, one of the spokesperson of PDP alleged that the governor collects N800 million. Another one said he collects N500 million. Now, someone says he collects N900 million. That is inconsistency. It is a wicked lie. The truth is that when the governor came on board; he did not increase his security vote. It is left for you journalists to conduct discreet investigation of how much goes into the purse of the governor.  In any case, I want to say that what goes into the governor’s purse is not enough.

 

 

One area the Akeredolu administration claims it has performed is road construction, but it is alleged that the total road projects are slightly over 100 kilometres compared to the achievement of the previous administration…

 

 

If the PDP said road project is only happening in Akure, first and foremost, they have to thank God. One of the spokespersons of the PDP is from Idanre. The selected roads in Idanre are about 2.7 kilometres and they have been completed. Do they want to say road construction is not going on? What they are alluding to is that it is not enough. Even for us in government; we believe that it is not enough. We are praying for our revenue to rev up, so that we will do more of the things we intend to do for the people of the state. It can never be enough. There is no way the government can say we have done enough for the people because the people always yearn for development.

 

 

Recently, recruitment of medical doctors was done in the state and there have been allegations that the Igbo were given priority over qualified indigenes, which were attached to the influence of the governor’s wife, who is an Igbo woman…

 

 

There is no way the first lady will not be attacked. It is also impossible for us to think with what the wife of the governor has done in sensitising women, particularly young girls in the secondary schools in so many areas of social and mental empowerment. It is one of the ingredients of democracy. But where the foolishness of anybody will come into is when fact is not addressed. The facts are there in the Ministry of Health and the Health Management Board.

 

 

The facts are there with any agency saddled with the responsibility of engaging these persons you are talking about. So, it is not something for them to say in public. As a government, we are responsible to talk and speak with fact. The irresponsibility of the PDP can also be permitted because they are permitted and allowed by the fact of being in opposition to speak without facts. So, when they are talking, we know the motivation for talking, we know they must talk if they don’t talk now, when will they do that?

 

 

The Ondo State House of Assembly recently approved a request of the governor to get a N50 billion bond, but some people are claiming that the bond is part of strategy to raise slush fund for the forthcoming governorship election in the state. How would you react to that?

 

 

I would have been surprised if you didn’t ask about that. First, I want to show the appreciation of the executive arm of the government to the state House of Assembly for showing understanding. Without mincing words, we have one of the most vibrant assemblies in recent times. The stakeholders in the state House of Assembly are a bunch of young, vibrant, forward looking, focused, intelligent and unwavering personalities as far as legislative duties are concerned. They are not people anybody can cow. They must have seen the reason for this N50 billion bond. Here again, financial and economic illiteracy comes in. People who don’t know what they are talking about are bound to say what they think must be said.

 

 

There is a difference between a bond and a loan. This bond is going to be assessed in two tranches. The first tranche will be N30 billion and these things are projects specific. They are tied to projects, no money, not even 50 cents out of the N50 billion bond is coming into the coffers of government. People are coming in to stake their funds; it not possible for any government that does not have integrity to access a bond of even N50,000, how much more N50 billion. Public funds are involved, they believe that these projects are completed; they will go a long way in helping to develop the state. If they say it is because of the 2020 election that we are trying to access that, let them know that there is a difference between a bond and a loan.

 

 

The Mother and Child Hospital used to render free services for expectant mothers during the last administration. Why is your government now charging N75,000 for delivery?

 

 

It is an unpardonable lie. What this government has come to say is don’t lie to the people, say exactly what it is. We cannot be telling people that we are changing something free; meanwhile what the patients are going through is more than N100,000 per attention that they get. It was a fraud. We met a fraud, monumental fraud in the health sector.  Yes, one of the very resounding successes of the immediate past administration for which the governor has always given accolades to the very sound initiatives of Olusegun Mimiko. We are not surprised because as a medical expert, he may have decided to give priority to that sector. But, the truth of the matter is that so much was going on that could not be said in public. It was fraudulent.

 

 

While the man had good intentions, the operators were using that opportunity to perpetrate massive fraud. We have come to block leakages and the leakages that have been blocked are so much. The state, which used to generate N500 million per month in the area of Internal Generated Revenue (IGR), now generates nothing less than N1.5 billion every month. The only way an IGR can rise is for the people to have confidence in government. They are seeing what Akeredolu is doing with the taxes, levies, and tariffs that are collected in the state. So, there is confidence. The bond of this government is the integrity of the governor, which he has staked in the governance of the state.

 

 

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Imo Tribunal affirms Ihedioha’s election

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Imo Tribunal affirms Ihedioha’s election

The Governorship Election Petition Tribunal for Imo sitting in Abuja on Saturday affirmed the election of Governor Emeka Ihedioha of Imo State.

 

Delivering judgment, Chairman of the tribunal, Justice Mallami Umar-Dogondagi, dismissed the petition of the candidate of the Action Alliance Party, Mr Uche Nwosu, for incompetence.

 

In a unanimously decision, the three-member panel, also struck out  the petition of the All Progressive Congress (APC), candidate, Sen. Hope Uzodinma.

 

 

Three petitions were filed by the governorship candidates of the Action Alliance (AA), All Progressives Congress (APC) and All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), asking the tribunal to nullify the election of Mr Emeka Ihedioha of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), on the ground that he was unlawfully declared as the governor of the state by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

 

 

The tribunal held that the three petitions challenging the declaration of Ihedioha of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), lacked merit.

 

 

The petitioners, challenged the emergence of the PDP candidate as winner of the March, 9 governorship election on the grounds that the election was marred by irregularities.

 

The tribunal held that candidate of the AA, Uche Nwosu, Ifeanyi Ararume of APGA, and Uzodinma of the APC, failed to establish their petitions against governor Ihedioha.

 

The tribunal held that the petitioners failed to discharge the burden of proof placed on them by the law.

 

Umar-Dogodaji stressed that Sen. Uzodinma of the APC was unable to prove his allegation that wrongful collation of results by INEC led to Ihedioha’s emergence as winner of the governorship election.

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Kogi guber and the gladiators in focus

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Kogi guber and the gladiators in focus

On November 16, Kogi State will be on the nation’s political spotlight, a day when the people of the state will decide who governs them for another four years. MUHAMMAD BASHIR in Lokoja, analysed key governorship candidates that will shape the much-awaited day.

 

 

 

It is obvious that the political activities heralding the November 16th gubernatorial election is gathering heavy storm that may turn positive or otherwise, as many observed that it could change the negative narratives of the nation’s democracy. The major gladiators that could weather the storm, includes the incumbent Governor Yahaya Bello who is seeking re-election for another four years under the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Engineer Musa Wada will be running under the platform of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Barrister Natasha Akpoti will be contesting under the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Mrs. Justina Dolapo Abanida will fly the African Democratic Congress (ADC), flag and Alhaji Sanni Shaibu Teidi will contest under the Young Democratic Party (YDP). Other candidates cleared by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) are, Ibrahim Itodo of ZLP, Idris Abegunde of NNPP, Abu Omogani (UPC), Abdulahi Mohammed (Accord Party), Abdulmalik Mohammed of the HDP, Shaibu and Mr. Dele Bello-Williams of the GDPN. Others are: Umar Zekeri (ABP), Chinga David (YPP), Ndako Tanko (ADP), Mr. Kabir Abdulwasiu (AAC), Mr. Abdulhamid Yusuf (AAP), Mrs Anne Oluwaseun (DPC), Mr. Danjuma Mohammed, (MRDD), Mr. Mohammed Dangana (NCP), Mr. Alonge Methusela, (Mega Party of Nigeria), Mr. Niyi Ejibunu (AGAP), Mr. Abdulrazak Emeje (UDP) and Mr. Godwin Atawodi (DA). The list also include: Mr. Ephraim Medupin (AD), Musa Sadiq (APP), Victor Akubo (UPP), Mrs Harirat Yakubu (LP), Alfa Oboy (JMPP), Atiku Isah (ANP), Ayodele Ajibola, (PRP), Sheik Ibrahim Jibril, (APGA), Samuel Abolarin (ASD), Okpanachi Nichol (KOWA), Rev. Moses Dridu, (PPN), Ikwueje Samuel (PDC), and Mr. Jimoh Yusuf (MAJA), Mr. Orugun Emmanuel of the ANRP, Mrs Grace Adepoju, (MMN), Idris Isah (CAP), Sule Daniel (SNG), Mohammed Aliu (NPC), Noah Abiodun (PPA), Obagaye Raphael (BNPP), Yisuf Dantale (APM), Usman Imam (DP), Victor Akubo (GPN), Ukuwonu Joseph (PPN), Elegbe Amos (PDC), Usman Salifu, (ANDP) and Yusuf Nagari of (APA), are also cleared by the electoral umpire to contest. The incumbent governor, Yahaya Bello, who is from Okene in the Central Senatorial District of Kogi State, is seeking reelection for a second term under the ruling APC.

His emergence as the governor was due to the sudden demise of the party’s candidate in the 2015 gubernatorial election, the late Prince Abubakar Audu. The late Audu along his running mate Hon. James Abiodun Faleke, were already coasting to victory before the inevitable happened, a situation that led to legal conundrum, but eventually ushered in Bello as governor.

The argument was that he was the second runner up during the party’s primary election that produced Audu as candidate. Against every believe that Bello was not going to scale through the party primary election conducted by the Jigawa State Governor, Mohammed Abubakar Badaru, the governor defeated other candidates with a wide margin of votes and was subsequently returned as the APC flagbearer for the November 16 election. Since his emergence as the party’s candidate, things began to favourably fall in line for him. The party at the national level in the efforts to ensure victory, began to reconcile aggrieved members including those who lost at the primaries and those who were disqualified.

 

Olafemi’s obstacle

Some other factors going well for the governor is the current crises engulfing the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) occasioned by the outcome of its primary election. Some top leaders of the PDP who felt aggrieved by the outcome of their party’s primary election are already nursing the ambition of working with the ruling APC, to ensure that the PDP lose the polls.

The Director General of Abubakar Ibrahim Idris Campaign Organisation, and former acting governor of the state, Chief Clarence Olafemi, was said to be on his way out of the party to join the APC, as he was alleged to have visited the governor to discuss his defection to the ruling APC. Saturday Telegraph however learnt that this would not be the first time Olafemi would be dumping a political party for another. As a member of the state House of Assembly under the platform of Alliance for Democracy (AD), he became the minority leader of the House, and eventually dumped the party to join the then ruling PDP in the state and federal level. From being the Speaker of the House of Assembly, he subsequently became acting governor of the state in 2007, when the Appeal Court annulled the gubernatorial election over the unlawful exclusion of the then cancidate of the All Nigerians Peoples Party (ANPP), the late Audu. Olafemi later joined the APC in 2014, during the merger of the defunct ACN, ANPP and CPC. The former acting governor later left the party and returned to the PDP to join one of his political associates whose son was contesting for governor, Alhaji Ibrahim Idris, an ex-governor of the state. His recent decission to return to the APC might not be unconnected with the outcome of the primary, which did not favoured the son of his political friend, Ibrahim Idris. Olafemi however said he visited the governor because of impunity in the PDP, noting that PDP has cheated him several times and he cannot continue to stay in the party. He pointed out that he is one of the strong members of PDP in the state, yet the National Working Committee of the party failed to recognise his input and efforts in the party. “I was the running mate to Jubril Issah Echocho in 2015 governorship primary election of the party but we were later replaced by the party and brought in Captain Idris Wada and Yomi Awoniyi as running mate without any reason.

“In 2019 general election, I was one of the senatorial aspirant from Kogi West, I was denied from contesting as the party imposed Senator Dino Melaye who just defected from APC to PDP. “My governorship aspirant in the just concluded primary of the party, Alhaji Abubakar Ibrahim Idris, was denied the ticket of the party by some powers-thatbe in the party and gave victory to Engr. Musa Wada because they hate the former governor. “With all these impunity how do you expect me to continue staying in PDP? I am not the first person to defect from one party to another. President Mohammadu Buhari, and my mentor Alhaji Abubakar Atiku, all decamped from one party to another. I am not going to be the first or the last. “I had a fruitful discussion with Governor Bello and I am very satisfied with the outcome of our meeting”, he said, noting that his defection will follow due process, and that he will do it openly because he has taken a rightful decision.

Bello’s headache

Governor Bello is currently galvanising many politicians, including PDP topshots, into his fold but one of the challenges that would have steered the governor in the face was the issue of non payment of salary. However, the governor, with the help of the N30 billion bail-out fund by the Federal Government, was able to pay five months salary arrears including payments to former local government appointees. However, the governor has to do more than bringing other members of the party on board, he still needs to reconcile with those who are aggrieved with his emergence as governor.

Faleke’s hurdle

Hon. James Abiodun Faleke though in Lagos, still control enormous followership in Kogi State especially among the Okun speaking Yorubas in the western senatorial district. Faleke at a recent forum in Abuja, had vowed to work for any candidate produce by the party in the state but not Yahaya Bello and two others. But the governor, who is said to be enjoying the patronage of the party’s national leader and former governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, will have to explore the gesture to bring Faleke into his fold.

Wada

Engineer Musa Wada from Dekina Local Government Area in eastern senatorial district of the state, is a younger brother to the former governor Idris Wada. Wada, who is the candidate of the opposition PDP, needs true reconciliation with other aspirants who are aggrieved with the outcome of the PDP primary election, which produced Wada as the candidate. Already, one of the front line aspirant, Abubakar Ibrahim Idris is already in court, challenging Wada’s candidature, arguing that he was supposed to be declared winner of the primary contest. He is also claiming that the missing 247 votes could have given him victory, since the margin between him and the declared winner was not much. Barrister Natasha Akpoti, from Okehi Local Government Area in the Central Senatorial District of the state, was senatorial candidate under the Social Democratic party (SDP). Akpoti lost the seat to Senator Yakubu Hussaini of the APC. The woman legal luminary would have sprang a surprise at the polls by winning the 2019 senatorial election, owing to her doggedness, vocality and tenacity. However, the support and mobilisation put up by the APC became her albatross. She challenged Hussain’s victory at the tribunal and lost. She will be contesting the governorship under the same SDP in the November 16 election. Will her interest for governorship dent the victory of her kinsman, Yahaya Bello? Time shall tell. Alhaji Sanni Shaibu Teidi from Idah Local Government Area in the eastern senatorial district of Kogi State, will be contesting under the Young Democratic Party (YDP). Teidi was a former Accountant General of the state, later became the Federal Director of Account in charge of pension, where he later retired as Federal Director of Pension. Unarguably, the November 16 election will be a keen contest between Governor Bello of the APC and Engineer Musa Wada of the PDP.

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Hamzat: The goodman at 55

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Hamzat: The goodman at 55

“Hamzat is a person that exemplifies intelligence, a rare humble man, coupled with uncompromising integrity and love for the lowly. He is somebody no reasonable person would want to offend. This gentle man, though, a politician, will not toy with his integrity”.

That was how Lagos State deputy governor, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, was described by one of his colleague, Mr. Francisco Abosede, former Commissioner for Physical Planning in Lagos State when the former was the Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure.    

Truly, Dr. Obafemi  Hamzat is a man of uncanny analytical mind, with great disposition for details, who will not do anything  haphazardly. Perhaps, because of his training as system engineer, where he got his Doctorate Degree.    

One of the greatest attributes that stands Hamzat out is that his relationship with people devoid of what he will gain from you, but rather, the enormous benefits people garner from association with him. No wonder, those that have the opportunity to relate with him rarely wants to depart. 

Although, while Hamzat looks at issue dispassionately, he detests hypocrisy. Indeed, mendacious and fickle elements and character assassinators have no place in his heart. 

Hamzat doesn’t need a third party to express concern with people. If one is ever found on the wrong side of his sustained principles, he will call you and table the matter, albeit, with his usual coolness!

His Politics

Hamzat is a shining example in politics of purpose, progressive and sportsmanship, which came to public glare in his swift acceptance of the proposition of the leaders of his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) to him to drop his gubernatorial ambition in the last general elections and work as a running-mate of his long-term friend and the then candidate of the party, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, in order to present a formidable team with necessary political clout that will deliver incontrovertible victory for the party at the polls.

Promptly, and in demonstration of his commitment to public good and interest, Hamzat collapsed his political structure and merged it with Sanwo-Olu’s campaign, a deft political move that heightened the popularity of the party during the campaign and resulted in their eventual electoral success.

It is, therefore, not surprising that this rare show of camaraderie and purposeful synergy has characterised the running of the affairs of Lagos State since the assumption of Babajide Sanwo-Olu, as governor of Lagos State and Obafemi Hamzat, as his deputy.

His passion for the development of Lagos State

As the Holy Book says: “Can two work together except they are in agreement”? This saying describes the unique relationship between these adorable friends. The Lagos state THEMES project, which is the bedrock of the policy of this administration is so paramount to both of them that they are never seen afar from each other in an effort to accelerate the attainment of the project, perhaps, except when they went to sleep!.   

Little wonder that since May 29, 2019, when they assumed office, the duo have been working on full throttle. It is either one is here doing something and another one is there doing another thing, or the two being together at a time. All to ensure that government activities are seamless and coordinated.    

Hamzat, who was named the 2013 Lagos Man of The Year,  was born in September 19, 1964 in Lagos, into the family of Late. Oba Mufutau Olatunji Hamzat and Late. Alhaja Kehinde Hamzat who is from Iga Egbe, Lagos state.

The patriarch of the Hamzat family, Late Oba Mufutau Olatunji Hamzat served as a member of the Lagos State House of Assembly and as a Commissioner for Transportation in the state (1979 – 1983), before becoming the Vice-Chairman South West of the defunct Alliance for Democracy (AD).

Hamzat (Jnr.) had his primary education at Odu-Abore Memorial Primary School, Mushin, Lagos State, and his secondary education at Olivet Baptist High School, Oyo State. He graduated from the University of Ibadan, with a degree in Agricultural Engineering in 1986, and a master’s in Agricultural Engineering in 1988. In 1992, he had his PhD in System Process Engineering at Cranefield University, England.

His early political career

In August 2005, Hamzat was appointed Commissioner for Science and Technology during the tenure of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. He retained his position when Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola assumed office in 2007. It was during his tenure as Commissioner for Science and Technology that Hamzat enforced the application of modern technology in the state’s ministries, thus changing the face of data and record keeping in Lagos and at the same time eliminating the trend of notorious “ghost workers”-euphemism for financial malpractices by the unscrupulous government officials.    

After a successful tenure at the Ministry for Science and Technology, Hamzat was appointed as the Commission for Works and Infrastructure and served for four years between 2011 and 2015. He was later appointed as Special Adviser on Works to the Minister for Works, Power and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola in 2015.

In September 2018, he resigned that role to contest in the Lagos State gubernatorial elections. And after a long-fought primary, Hamzat emerged as the running mate to Babajide Sanwo-Olu for whom he had stepped down during the primaries. Sanwo-Olu eventually became the party’s nominee and later the Governor-Elect. And both men ran together a campaign that went to different parts of the state.

On March 10, 2019, after the election, Hamzat was declared Deputy Governor-Elect of Lagos State by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and received a Certificate of Return from the commission. And since his inauguration as deputy governor of Lagos State, Hamzat has been working round the clock and in accordance with the vision for a greater Lagos, which dominated the Sanwo-Olu-Hamzat campaign during electioneering.

“Lagos is lucky to have this team with clear vision on how to take Centre of Excellence into a greater high”, Chief Tayo Olayemi, an Ikorodu-based community leader said, adding that he was not in doubt that Lagos will continue to excel.

· Alao is Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Media, Office of the Deputy Governor

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Kwara Speaker hails tribunal’s judgment

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Kwara Speaker hails tribunal’s judgment

The Speaker, Kwara state House of Assembly, Hon. Salihu Yakubu Danladi has congratulated Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, on his victory at the governorship election tribunal, stressing that it was an expected triumph.

The Speaker, according to a statement signed by his Special Assistant, Media, Ibrahim Sheriff, said: “The victory is not a surprise but it’s only a manifestation of an obvious truth. We were never in doubt of your coming out victorious, owing to the overwhelming support your candidacy and now mandate enjoy.

“It was obvious and glaring to all that the PDP had already resigned to fate knowing full well that they were roundly rejected by Kwarans, but was only relying on a wide goose chase journey.

“Your Excellency Sir, on behalf of the 9th Kwara State House of Assembly, I felicitate with you and charge you to continue discharging your duties as a truly people oriented Governor, while reassuring you of our unwavering support of the legislative towards the revival of our lost glory and setting Kwara on the path to greatness.”

The Speaker, who expressed surprise at how the PDP and its gubernatorial candidate, rather than take up and task the new government on ways to take the state out of the retrogressive status they left it, preferred to muscle strength on such a frivolous and fictitious matter. He therefore advised the opposition party to be issue based and pro people, if they wanted to be taken seriously by the citizenry.

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Kaka: PDP took Nigerians for a ride

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Kaka: PDP took Nigerians for a ride

Senator Gbenga Kaka, a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), speaks in this interview with Adewale Ajayi on the state of the nation and recent recent developments in the polity as well as governance in Ogun State

 

 

How would you assess 100 days of President Muhammadu Buhari second term viz a vis his promise of taking Nigeria to the next level?

There is always hope till the end of human race, the only thing we can say is when will the hope materialize, is it going to be at the current next  level or the other farther next level? So, to help the current administration, the best thing we can do is to contribute our individual quota to help the administration to lead us with wisdom from God. We want the administration to perform because its failure is the failure of everybody and its success is the success of everybody. We are in it together, so we can’t say there is no hope, there must be hope and the hope must be sustained. The only way to sustain the hope is to encourage the government of the day to do the right thing because we want Nigeria to survive.

There are bad eggs, there is no doubt about it, but we should expose them, no matter how highly placed they are. If we don’t expose them, we will also feel the negative impact of their nefarious activities as it was our failure to expose them that led us to where we are today. The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) took us for a ride for 16 solid years and when we add the four years Buhari has spent, it adds up to 20 years. More than 20 years ago, we had Prof. Wole Soyinka saying that his generation is a wasted generation; I wonder what he will call this generation. This is an alienated generation, so we need to appeal to our leaders, the opposition and the elite should let the country be. They are directly or indirectly contributing to the destruction of the country, deliberately holding down the masses.

How is the political class holding down the masses?

When Chief Obafemi Awolowo introduced free education in 1955, many other regions appreciated it, but they lacked the good will to replicate that. It was after the gains of the free education started manifesting that they started running. Initially, they thought about using quota system and federal character to hold us down. When they realized that things are not going the way they wanted, they decided to adopt Universal Basic Education (UBE). We have since adopted UBE, so that every state will take it as a priority, but many of them don’t meet up with their counterpart funding.

If you look at the economy, the situation is the same. That is why the elite are comfortable with high interest rate of 25 per cent and in some 40 per cent. The same elite use religion to hoodwink the people and make them to become subservient rather than emphasizing the need for them to use their brain in order to  make life better, not only for themselves, but for the society.

Insecurity is one of the major problems threatening the peace of the nation and there is the feeling that concrete steps have not been taken by the Federal Government to tackle the issue. How can this problem be addressed?

I will refer to those perpetrating the heinous crimes as criminals. I don’t want to know which ethnic group they belong to. Only those who are looking for escape route, call it one name or the other. Take as an example, it is obvious that over 90 per cent of people from the South-South and South-East are Christians; if there are criminals in those areas, the probability is that you will have a ratio 9/10 of having a Christian as being responsible. It is the same thing if you go to area with preponderance of Muslims.

It is unfortunate that some leaders are misleading the people by saying that what is going on in the country is an attempt to Islamise the nation. Such people needed to be educated. If they are educated, they won’t be saying such things. They are using a different cloak to cover the face of the reality. However, the solution to the problems we have is true federalism.

There are certain things the Federal Government should not saddle itself with beyond the basic one, which is the security of the nation and issues bordering on the arm forces, and probably immigration and some others. Power should be decentralized. Some people are clamouring for community policing, but it will not occur in isolation. There is a bridge between the community and the Federal Government and that bridge is the state. It is well recognized, it is the state that is the federating unit.

The states cannot be by passed, when community policing is being talked about. There must be synchronization and where the power of the community is being over stretched, the state police will come in. If the police at the state level is becoming over bearing, that of the federal will intervene.

What is your position on the RUGA initiative being promoted for cattle rearers? Do you think that will end the faceoff between farmers and the herdsmen?

Act of dishonesty is what is troubling us. Dishonesty in the sense that we always remain in a state of denial of what has been done that is commendable and can be emulated. I talked about free education introduced by Chief Awolowo, we have been dancing round it, we later settle for Universal Basic Education. RUGA was not well defined and badly marketed; that’s why we are having problems. The RUGA they are talking about is not different from the farm settlement that Awolowo did, but it takes the deep to call to the deep.

Does that mean RUGA is not the solution to incessant clashes between herdsmen and farmers?

It is not in the sense that there is no livestock production that is exclusive to any particular tribe. As an agriculturist, if the environment in my area is conducive, I will stay within that farming community. It is just the terminology that was not well interpreted. Awolowo did not give it any name than farm settlement. In the body of its establishment,  it was highlighted that the purpose is to develop the community into farming activities, providing basic necessities of life, assisting them with produce to go into farming, and their produce to the market and  value addition through cottage industry and export where they have excess.

Let anybody come and tell me, that what they are proposing now is better off, but if they are basing it mainly on livestock, livestock is a business, if you must go through ranch system, that is extensive, you must be prepared to acquire large expanse of land, whereby you have your pasture planted with assorted grasses that will satisfy the protein, fiber and carbohydrate need of the animal. Since you are in business, a business of which the product, you will be free to determine the price, the government has lesser business beyond providing the necessary infrastructure.

The composition of the federal cabinet has generated mixed reactions from Nigerians. The President was criticized for picking only politicians and failing to consider technocrats. What is your take on that?

The way our people think is grossly pedestrian. Politics is a vocation, so those people who call themselves technocrats have the option of remaining as technocrats or be in politics as a vocation. If they refuse to partake and other technocrats, who are probably better and socially responsible decide to embrace politics, after going through the rigour and winning election, people will start shouting bring in technocrats. What were they doing when decisions were being taken; what were their contributions?

They want to reap where they did not sow. If truly they are technocrats of goodwill and social responsibility standing, they should have been involved from the scratch in educating the electorate on the best candidate to choose and providing the needed assistance to win elections, giving necessary input into the manifesto and assisting in the implementation strategy.

Anybody can write any policy, but implementation is our major problem. They will stay somewhere, the conception would be done, the ideas would be generated, the election would be won, and when it comes to implementation of the idea, they want to get there and get it done. Can they do it better than those who generated the ideas, it is not possible.

Does it mean that one has to be a politician before one serve ones country?

I am not saying you must be a politician. Technocrats can contribute and assist the politicians, but not necessarily gunning for ministerial or commissionership positions. If they want to be in the executive, let them be involved from the beginning, right from the writing of the constitution of the party. Who is a technocrat? We have medical doctor who are fully involved in politics. We had late Dr Tunji Otegbeye, he operated his hospital in Ebute Metta, Lagos and was involved in agriculture farming activities, when it comes to politics, he was a committed Awoist.

When it comes to community service, he was always available. How do you compare that to somebody, who will remove himself totally from the people he is supposed to serve, who will remove himself from those who drafted an idea he did not help in generating only to jostle to implement it.

But we’ve had technocrats, who did well in the past; the likes of Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Akinwunmi Adesina and Oby Ezekwesili, among others…

If you say they did well; did well in what form. If they did well, we won’t have problem, the problem will not keep on lingering, I don’t want to go to issue of personality.

Is the problem with them or those who failed to heed to the advice they gave?

I am telling you many of those people you are talking about, they may have what seems to be good ideas, but which are not workable. Some of the ideas they brought were Utopian. There is no foundation laid for some of those ideas they brought from America and Europe and they are propounding the same theories for us to implement. That is negative.

How would assess governance in Ogun State given the various steps so far taken by Governor Dapo Abiodun? Will you say he is moving in the right direction?

The day is still so young, he has just spent three months and we have 48 months in the first instance. I want to believe that we should give him the room. Just as I talked about Buhari, let him pick those he can work with, but he also must be careful. There is a limit to the use of the so called technocrats. Those who worked for the party must be given opportunity to translate their ideas as he who wears the shoe knows where it pinches most.

The politicians were the ones who made promises to the electorate; they were the ones who campaigned on his behalf and other public office holders. So, they are expectant for themselves and those they made promises to.  A technocrat that does not know where you are coming from can’t implement anything. The politicians appealed to the electorate and they should be considered for positions, not people from outside, who will take one or two years to learn and before they stabilize, the tenure is over.

Those of us who know the nooks and crannies of the state know where the shoe pinches. I will advise the governor to think deeply and not allow himself to be hoodwinked by the idea of appointing more technocrats into his cabinet.

Are you saying that the governor is not carrying party members along in what he is doing?

I am saying is that he should carry party members along, he has not done anything wrong for now, but the rumour is rife that he would engage more technocrats in the administration of the state. Are they going to come from the moon or the sun? If they are in the system and they believe in the cause, they ought to have come on board to champion the cause they believe in and not coming when election has been won. If they want to implement something, they must participate in generating it.

How about his Initiative of launching job portals for the unemployed?

It is a very good initiative because we need statistics. You know that these statistics being branded about are arbitrary, we have those who are not employable, not educated, they are entrepreneurs in their own, they are employers of labour, they are working, if they do not supply their profile on the platform, it shows that they are not unemployed.

At every point in time, you will see that they will get the accurate figure of those unemployed and willing to work. Those who are unemployed and not willing to work will be extrapolated. Those who are not ready to work, government will decide what could be done to help them instead of becoming nuisance to the society. But, in implementing the information got government should be honest, if they derail, it will rubbish the effort made.

What do you make of the xenophobic attacks against foreigners in South Africa and its implication on Africa’s unity as well as steps taken by the Federal Government on the development?

Xenophobic attacks will not destroy Africa’s unity. The labour union will say injustice to one is injustice to others. So, it is unfortunate that we have allowed ourselves to be disorganized by the colonialists. The incalculable damage they have done to our psyche is better imagined, but if they have done that damage, the question is, what effort are we making to liberate ourselves, not just through aluta, but through genuine reconstruction of our life. We allowed them to give us education that will bring us back to them, we did not change the curricula, we still tailored everything towards the colonial masters.

We can domesticate whatever thing we perceive to be good from them for our own use; otherwise we make innovation and decide to go entirely local by beginning from the scratch. What is happening now is a psychological repression in South Africa. If you look at it, Ghana has done it before to we Nigerians; Nigeria did it to Ghana; many other have done it and it all shows that they are misplaced aggression in the sense that they don’t properly identify their problem. They have not gone to the root of the problem and they are attacking the symptoms that were prepared by the colonialists.

Before the advent of the colonialism, we had a system of managing our lives, if they call it primordial, we don’t call it primordial; if they call it primitive, we won’t call it primitive. That was our way of life.

How about steps taken by the Federal government on the issue?

I want to commend the Federal Government for its maturity despite the several calls for severance of diplomatic relationship with South Africa. If they are our brothers and sisters, we should find a way of assisting them to resolve their issues.

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Mugabe: End of an era

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Mugabe: End of an era

FELIX NWANERI writes on the life and times of former Zimbabwean president, Robert Mugabe, who passed on September 6 and was laid to rest at the weekend

 

 

 

It was end of era in Zimbabwe at the weekend as the remains of the country’s former president, Robert Mugabe, was interred.

Mugabe was hospitalised in Singapore for months for an undisclosed ailment until his death on September 6 at the age of 95.

The revolutionary, who was Zimbabwe’s first post-independence, Mugabe was forced to step down by his country’s military in November 2017 following nationwide mass protests after 37 years in power.

A leader, who was initially lionized, Mugabe later came under fire for being autocratic and brutal. He was prime minister from 1980, before the Zimbabwean parliament amended the country’s constitution in 1987 to declare him executive president.

This saw him combine the roles of head of state, head of government and commander-in-chief of the armed forces. It also gave him the power to dissolve parliament, declare martial law and run for an unlimited number of terms.

The then Speaker of the country’s parliament, Jacob Mudenda, announced Mugabe’s resignation during a parliamentary hearing to impeach the long-time ruler.

According to the Mudenda then, Mugabe’s letter said he was resigning “with immediate effect” for “the welfare of the people of Zimbabwe and the need for a peaceful transfer of power.”

The case for impeachment was hinged on Mugabe’s age and the machinations of his wife, Grace, for “usurping constitutional power.”  The move caps an astonishing eight-day crisis, which started when the military took over and the country’s ruling Zanu-PF party, which voted to make sacked Vice President, Emmerson Mnangagwa, its leader and demoted Mugabe to a rank-and-file member, moved the impeachment motion and the opposition seconded it.

To celebrate Mugabe’s ouster, lawmakers roared in jubilation, while Zimbabweans trooped to the streets to celebrate the end of an era. Mugabe had previously refused to resign despite the military takeover and days of protests.

Before then, Mugabe won elections for 15 years,, but the polls were marred by violence against political opponents. He also presided over a deepening economic crisis in Zimbabwe.

But, Mugabe, who was at the time (2017), the world’s oldest head of state, was a victim of his own allies. What triggered his ouster was his dismissal of Mnangagwa as vice-president.

That decision was seen by many as clearing the way for Mugabe’s wife, Grace and her faction within the Zanu-PF to succeed her husband as leader. This riled the military leadership, which stepped in and put Mugabe under house arrest.

Though Mugabe was 93 then and his health visibly deteriorated, he was still officially going to seek re-election the following – 2018.

The key to understanding Mugabe is the 1970s guerrilla war in which he made his name. Though some still consider him a hero of the country’s liberation struggle, many reviled him as a dictator prepared to sacrifice the economic wellbeing of 13 million people to remain in power.

He had ruled Zimbabwe through a mixture of coercion, bribery and revolutionary rhetoric, but support from the security establishment waned before his fall.

Born on February 21, 1924, into a Catholic family at Kutama Mission northwest of Harare, Mugabe was described as a loner and a studious child. Reports had it that after his carpenter father left the family when he was 10, the young Mugabe concentrated on his studies, qualifying as a schoolteacher at the age of 17.

He embraced Marxism and enrolled at Fort Hare University in South Africa, meeting many of Southern Africa’s future black nationalist leaders.

After teaching in Ghana, where he was influenced by its founder, President Kwame Nkrumah, Mugabe returned to what was then Rhodesia, where he was imprisoned for his nationalist activities in 1964 and spent the next 10 years in prison camps or jail.

During his 10 years in prison, Mugabe gained three degrees through correspondence, but the years in prison were wrenching. His four-year-old son by his first wife, Ghanaian-born Sally Francesca Hayfron, died while he was behind bars, but Rhodesian leader Ian Smith denied him leave to attend the funeral.

Mugabe later rose to lead the fight against Rhodesia’s white-minority government, which unilaterally declared independence from Britain.

When he came to power in 1980, Mugabe was a self-identified Marxist-Leninist whose intellect and political flair brought him support from across the world. In 1983, then United States Vice President George H.W. Bush called him a “genuine statesman.” In 1994, he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II.

But his government’s descent was swift and dramatic. In the early 1980s, he was accused of backing the murder of 20,000 people of the Ndebele tribe, whom he considered dissidents. In the 1990s, economic mismanagement brought hyperinflation to Zimbabwe, resulting in the printing of bank notes of 100 trillion Zimbabwean dollars.

In the early 2000s, in an effort to satisfy his political allies and reaffirm his anti-colonial bona fides, Mugabe presided over the violent seizure of farmland belonging to white Zimbabweans. Much of that land sat fallow after it was redistributed. The country once called “the breadbasket” of southern Africa was forced to start importing food.

As Mugabe grew older and frail, opposition to his presidency mounted. Zimbabweans began talking openly about how his reign might end. For years, rumours circulated that he was critically ill, but Mugabe always reemerged, giving cogent, if meandering, speeches into his 90s.

But he often trailed off into anti-colonial rants that made it seem like Britain was preparing to invade. “Zimbabwe will never again be a colony,” became his trademark rallying cry, which meant little to young Zimbabweans who found it increasingly difficult to find work.

The unemployment rate soared over 50 per cent. More than two million Zimbabweans moved to South Africa in search of jobs as their country’s economy collapsed.

This, notwithstanding, Mugabe enjoyed acceptance among peers in Africa, who chose not to judge him in the same way as the United Kingdom, United States and other Western detractors. For instance, his criticism of the International Criminal Court (ICC) was welcomed by regional leaders who also thought it was being unfairly used to target African leaders.

Little wonder, the torrents of tributes that have continued to flow from leaders across the continent since his demise.

Mugabe’s successor, Mnangagwa, for instance, wrote:  “Mugabe was an icon of liberation, a pan-Africanist who dedicated his life to the emancipation and empowerment of his people. His contribution to the history of our nation and continent will never be forgotten.”

Former South African president, Thabo Mbeki, on his part, described Mugabe as a tried-and-tested compatriot and a great pan-African who defended his beliefs.

“The message is very clear: one of the cadres and comrades we should always value as one of the combaters for the liberation of South Africa is President Robert Mugabe,” said Mbeki.

For ex-Nigeria president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, in a condolence letter to the government and people of Zimbabwe, wrote: “The former president of Zimbabwe was a frontline leader, activist, an indomitable fighter for the liberation of Zimbabwe from apartheid and oppressive racialism, a statesman per excellence and a tireless advocate of the preservation of the mystique of Africa’s moral and cultural values.

“He had selflessly dedicated himself to public service for most of his life, particularly as prime minister of Zimbabwe from 1980 to1987 and also as president from 1987 to 2017.

“Having followed with keen interest his heroic struggles to secure an independent Zimbabwe in 1980, President Mugabe had become much more than a leader to his people. He had become the living symbol and embodiment of their long and valiant struggle for their rightful place in the comity of nations.

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Reconciliation: APC forms 39-man steering c’ttee for Adamawa

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Reconciliation: APC forms 39-man steering c’ttee for Adamawa

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Adamawa State All Progressives Congress (APC) has named a 39- member Steering Committee to oversee affairs of the party in the state and reposition it for victory.

The committee, headed by Abdulrahman Adamu, has Secretary to the Government of the Federation Boss Mustapha and Minister of FCT, Mohammed Bello as co-chairmen is to work with the APC National Working Committee (NWC).

According to a document made available to newsmen in Abuja on Thursday, a robust term of reference given to the committee was a charge to reconcile all aggrieved aspirants/candidates and other chieftains that vied for positions during the 2019 general election.

APC in Adamawa State has been in crisis, which led to the electoral victory of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state.

Also according to the document, the committee is also charged with the task of developing programme of action to reposition and strengthen APC in Adamawa State, as well as propose modalities that ensure free and fair primaries ahead of the coming local government election and future elections in the state.

Other members of the committee include the immediate past governor of Adamawa State, Mohammed Umaru Jibrilla Bindow, former EFCC Chairman, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, Dahiru Bobbo and Sen. Ahmed Hassan Barata among many others.

 

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Court grants Nasarawa PDM senatorial candidate bail

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Court grants Nasarawa PDM senatorial candidate bail

Cheke Emmanuel, Lafia

The senatorial candidate of the People’s Democratic Movement (PDM) in Nasarawa State, Alhaji Abdullah Agwai was on Thursday granted bail by a Lafia magistrate court III amidst tight security.

The court was beefed up with armed security in the early hours of Thursday to deal with any security breach following threat of invasion of the premises by hoodlums.

He was granted bail in the sum of N1million and one surety who must be a resident within the jurisdiction of the court and must deposit four passport photographs.

Agwai was arraigned by the police for alleged defamation following a formal complaint by the immediate past governor of the state aand now Senator representing Nasarawa South senatorial district at the National Assembly, Tanko Al-makura.

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Court grants Nasarawa PDM senatorial candidate bail

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Court grants Nasarawa PDM senatorial candidate bail

Cheke Emmanuel, Lafia

The senatorial candidate of the People’s Democratic Movement (PDM) in Nasarawa State, Alhaji Abdullah Agwai was on Thursday granted bail by a Lafia magistrate court III amidst tight security.

The court was beefed up with armed security in the early hours of Thursday to deal with any security breach following threat of invasion of the premises by hoodlums.

He was granted bail in the sum of N1million and one surety who must be a resident within the jurisdiction of the court and must deposit four passport photographs.

Agwai was arraigned by the police for alleged defamation following a formal complaint by the immediate past governor of the state aand now Senator representing Nasarawa South senatorial district at the National Assembly, Tanko Al-makura.

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Politics

Court grants Nasarawa PDM senatorial candidate bail

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on

By

Court grants Nasarawa PDM senatorial candidate bail

Cheke Emmanuel, Lafia

The senatorial candidate of the People’s Democratic Movement (PDM) in Nasarawa State, Alhaji Abdullah Agwai was on Thursday granted bail by a Lafia magistrate court III amidst tight security.

The court was beefed up with armed security in the early hours of Thursday to deal with any security breach following threat of invasion of the premises by hoodlums.

He was granted bail in the sum of N1million and one surety who must be a resident within the jurisdiction of the court and must deposit four passport photographs.

Agwai was arraigned by the police for alleged defamation following a formal complaint by the immediate past governor of the state aand now Senator representing Nasarawa South senatorial district at the National Assembly, Tanko Al-makura.

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