Thugs suspected to belong one of the political parties contesting in the Governorship and National Assembly elections in Kogi, have allegedly attacked Mr Sam Egwu of the Leadership newspaper and Mr Sunday Omachi of Radio Kogi.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the incident happened at Ayaingba.
Both journalists were on election duty when they were attacked by the hoodlums at Unity Roundabout , Ayaingba.
Meanwhile, the Commissioner of Police in the state, Mr Akeem Busari, said reinforcements had been sent to Ayaingba to bring the situation under control.
Busari, however, has yet to confirm arrests over the incident.
Huge protests ahead of poll as Algeria holds first televised presidential debate
A vast crowd rallied in Algiers on the final Friday before a contentious presidential election as five of the candidates pariticipated in the country’s first ever televised election debate.
It is a crucial time for Algeria after nationwide pro-democracy protests forced ailing President Abdelaziz Bouteflika out of power in April. But the country’s 9-month-old mass movement believes the presidential poll is a sham and fear it will be rigged in favor of the old regime.
On Friday in central Algiers they chanted “We will not vote” and held aloft banners reading “The people are fed up.”
The army, the major force within the Algerian state, sees the December 12 election of a new president as the only way to restore normality, reports France24.
The leaderless opposition movement casts the election as pointless if the ruling hierarchy, including the army, continues to wield power, and wants it put off until more top officials step aside and the military quits politics.
“We will stick to our position. We don’t care about next Thursday. We need change,” said post office employee Aissa Baha’i, 32.
As the last protesters were still leaving, state television began broadcasting a debate between the five men running for president, all of whom are former senior officials.
Some people were watching in Algiers cafes, though others were showing a soccer match, including some protesters who rejected it as political theatre.
“These candidates are part of the same system. They don’t have new ideas. It’s a shame,” said Mohamed Tabi, a taxi driver.
The first question was about Algeria’s political system, and candidates tried to mollify the opposition.
One candidate, Abdelaziz Belaid, said he would hold a referendum to change the constitution and another, Abdelmadjid Tebboune, said he would grant all the freedoms sought by the protesters.
The debate is the first in an Algerian election, and some people watching in a nearby restaurant said they were interested and were planning to vote.
Farid Hamiti, a state bank employee, said the election was “the only way to stop the situation from getting worse”.
Though the protest movement, which during the spring was regularly bringing hundreds of thousands of people out, has so far been peaceful, there have been signs of growing tensions as the election nears.
Earlier this year the authorities detained dozens of protesters for waving flags with Berber symbols, as they began
to put more pressure on the marches. Many were later sentenced to year-long prison terms for undermining national unity.
Late on Thursday, the security services accused a Berber separatist movement of planning to disrupt the election by using agents provocateurs among the protesters to incite police violence, saying a student in the banned group had confessed.
The government has also arrested several opposition figures and journalists, charging some with attacking army morale.
On Friday state media reported that thousands of people had joined marches in towns in western and eastern provinces in support of next week’s vote.
In recent weeks, opposition protesters have marched more frequently and demonstrated against candidates by hanging bags of garbage in public spaces reserved for electioneering.
Meanwhile, the government has sought to appease protester anger over corruption, arresting dozens of senior officials and former officials and businessmen, many of them associated with Bouteflika, and sentencing some to long prison terms.
‘Obaseki must pacify aggrieved party leaders’
Comrade Emmanuel Owie Aiguobasinmwin is the Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Oredo Local Government Area of Edo State. In this Interview with our correspondent, he spoke on the political feud between Governor Godwin Obaseki and the National Chairman of the party, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole. Excerpts…
With the crisis currently rocking the APC in Edo State, how prepared is your party towards the 2020 gubernatorial election in the state?
The 2020 governorship election in Edo State will be very easy for our party. Though there is little crisis now, notwithstanding, the APC is one family and I do know that, very soon the problem will be over. Edo State for now is an APC state, and it will be very difficult for any of the opposition parties to take over the state from APC.
Are you saying that the crisis won’t have effects on the party, and that the end to the political rift is near?
Yes I make bold to say that the end of this crisis is just at hand. One thing I want the leaders of our party to know is that crisis is not good for anything, especially now that the governorship election is around the corner. They should remember that when PDP lost the federal seat to APC, it was because of internal crisis. When they lost the state to APC during the era of prof. Osunbor it was also as a result of crisis. I want to use this medium to call on all the aggrieved people in the party to swallow their pride and ego in the interest of the party. We cannot afford to make mistakes that will give opposition party the chance of taking over the state.
Is this just a problem between Obaseki and Oshiomhole? Or are there other party leaders to be blamed for it?
Actually the issue is not between Oshiomhole and Obaseki, in fact, I must tell you that there are people who are benefitting from this crisis and they are praying for it not to end because of their greedy nature. Just like what President Muhammadu Buhari said about Edo State crisis, he said that it would soon be over, that if Oshiomhole can settle other states’, he can also find solutions to the problems in his state. For now, nobody is interested in who is responsible for it or who is to be blamed for it. What we are begging for now is having the issues settled so that we can forge ahead. There is no more time, before you know it, we are in 2020.
How will you settle the issue of those disobeying the party’s constitution?
As far as I’m concern, nobody is bigger that the party’s constitution, the party’s supremacy should be followed. The NWC is the highest organ in the party, whatever it decides is the final. I will never be in support of anyone who flouts the party’s constitution. Those in power now should know that people brought their money together to form this party, and there are political leaders that determine what happens in the party. You do not run government like a bank, people call you to come and serve, and it is compulsory for you to listen to them.
Do you think Edo South voters will abandon Obaseki to follow Oshiomhole when the chips are down?
No, we are not talking about any individual now, the party must come first. It is after the party primaries that we can mention names, and then we can now be talking about the electorate. For instance, in Kogi State, Yahaya Bello did not offend the party, but he offended the people, and when it was decision time, the party said it wanted him back and he got the supports of the powers that be and he won for the second term.
Now that Edo South is divided, who does Governor Obaseki banks on for support?
My only advice for our governor is to call prominent men in the state to go and talk with Oshiomhole, it is not too late to meet him. It was Oshiomhole that did everything to ensure that Obaseki was made the governor. Yes, Edo South is divided, if he is not able to put his house in order before the primaries, only God knows what will happen. Our governor should not be deceived, Oshiomhole has total control of Edo North and part of Edo South, and this is where the problem lies.
I will also advice him to stop all these sackings and termination of appointments; he is making the people lose trust in his administration. The election is coming; this is not the time to fire people. It is not a good omen for us in the party.
What is your take on the return of Pastor Osagie Ize- Iyamu to APC; does he pose any threat to other aspirants?
Pastor Osagie Ize- Iyamu’s coming back to APC is highly appreciated by his friends and political allies. He is one of the founding fathers of the party, nobody knows why he decided to come back and so, I am not in a position to speak on it. But I do know that anybody the paryt brings forward as the candidate will be supported by all.
Should Obaseki fail to get the 2020 ticket, don’t you think that he is likely to dump the APC for another party?
Obaseki cannot do that. If God forbids that he gets the ticket, he will not leave the party, he has tried his best. If that happens, he will go back to his business. Politicians who jump from one political party to another are not serious people; you should be able to stand with your party, whether good or bad.
You said Obaseki should take some leaders to see Oshiomhole. Are you indirectly advising that Obaseki and Shaibu should go and beg Oshiomhole?
Begging Oshiomhole is not the issue, nobody owns the party. Oshiomhole came as a father to work for you so that you can take over from him, he made you governor, so it is expected that you respect him too. Elders went to Oshiomhole to complain that you are not carrying politicians along, and that you are not doing things according to the laws of the party. As a governor that rose on the platform of the party, he should do the needful, give political party leaders their due respect and patronage. Oshiomhole was good to all, and that is why you see that people are ready to die for him. So I expect our dynamic governor to do the same, so that he can have easy ride in 2020.
Stepping into Prof Alele-Williams’ shoes is a privilege –Prof. Salami
Professor Mrs. Lilian Imuetinyan Salami is the new Vice Chancellor of the University of Benin, Edo State. She is the 10th substantive Vice Chancellor of the university and the second female Vice Chancellor since the university was founded in 1970 by the late Dr. Samuel Ogbemudia. Professor Salami joined the university in 1974 becoming the first female professor in the Faculty of Education in 2005. She was appointed as the Director of General Studies from 2009-11 and has held various positions in the university. In this interview with OJIEVA EHIOSUN, she spoke on her new appointment, the challenges, her vision and mission for the institution. Excerpts…
Professor, today is a remarkable day in your life; how do you feel becoming the second woman Vice Chancellor of the University of Benin?
I’m so happy and delighted, and I want to give glory to the Almighty God for making this dream come true. I also want to thank the immediate past Vice Chancellor for this opportunity and for the cooperation I received from him even before the whole exercise of the selection process. We meet at all times when people are not watching; he has really given me his assurance and full support. For those who think that we are not friends, I think they should change their song. I want to say that we are friends, brothers and sisters, we are one family, and I want us to remain like that. I want to say that I will build on Prof. Friday Orunmwense’s foundation so that we can make the University of Benin one of the outstanding institutions of higher learning. That, for me, is my mission and my dream, which I think will come to fruition with everyone’s hand being on the deck. You see everywhere I go I’m proud to be Unibest, so we must put everything in place to match action with words so that we can take the University of Benin to where it belongs.
In what way do you want to improve on the welfare of students?
The reason I’m here is primarily for the students. Yes, there are top challenges no doubt, but with total commitment to our duties, those challenges are surmountable. Every student on this campus came here for a purpose, so as fathers and mothers, it is our collective responsibility to see that they actualise their aims and objectives of coming to University of Benin. As you know, I have been in this system for a long time, I know the terrain, I know the challenges faced by the students, and my administration is committed to making sure that we provide a conducive environment to learning so that graduates of UNIBEN will be able to compete with their contemporaries in all disciplines across the globe. So I will listen and take their welfare problem as my priority; I will particularly look at the accommodation of students because the more you have students living on the premises, the better it will be for their academic enhancement. We also need to have an environment that is friendly; we cannot produce hoodlums, we need to have an environment that is friendly to our students so that they can learn. We need to have students that are marketable internationally so that they will be proud wherever they go to be products of this university. We are not going to rest on our laurels so as to make sure we achieve already set targets.
What would you say is your story in all of these?
Yes everyone has a story; mine started with having loving parents (Mr. Benjamin and Mrs. Alice Emovon) who believed that education was paramount and committed their very existence to ensuring that my siblings and I had access to the best that they could afford. They had tall aspirations for me, but never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that I would be where I’m today. As you know, I joined this great citadel of learning in 1994 and then becoming the first female Professor in the Faculty of Education in 2005. Thereafter I was appointed as the Director of General Studies and later chairperson University of Benin Integrated Enterprise, Director of Part- Time Programme, Member Postgraduate Board, Member Appointment &Promotion Committee, Senate Representative in Governing Council. I was also first elected Dean of the Faculty of Education among others. I stand on the wide shoulders of endearing mentors who have guided my steps, seen beyond typical stereotypes of age and gender and challenged me to stretch in ways that made me a better person.
I want to appreciate the founding fathers of this institution; they foresaw a world where its very existence had far reaching implications and impact. They understood that education is beyond what is learnt in the classroom, but what exists long after theory is forgotten. They understood that the true marks of success is our sustained ability to make our immediate and extended communities better than we met them. I’m proud to acknowledge that the University of Benin has produced several distinguished alumni who have made their mark in different relevant fields. So, to make University of Benin a better place, we must reflect on where we stand today and where we want to be tomorrow.
You said you have a seven-point agenda to take University of Benin to the promise land; what are these seven points?
My strategies for bringing this vision into fruition have been captured under the seven pillars. These are: Increased funding and sustainable initiatives, develop environmental values and ethical orientation, ensure quality academic programmes, enhance staff and students’ welfare and security, expansion/enhancement of physical structure development and management, increase in human capital development and management and community impact initiative.
How do you feel stepping into the shoes of Professor Grace Alele-Williams as the second female Vice Chancellor of this university?
I’m indeed very graceful, honoured and privileged to be the 10th substantive Vice Chancellor of the University of Benin. Yes, I recognise the gravity of this role and do not take this great opportunity lightly, especially when called upon to fill the big shoes left by the first female Vice Chancellor of this great institution, Professor Grace Alele-Williams. What can I say again than to say ‘God I thank you greatly’. But I want to say that I will walk on the path of integrity, authenticity, equity, transparency, accountability, courage, selfless service, good working relationship and high level partnership. I will like to remind our students that the days of producing hoodlums are over. University of Benin must be ranked among the best in the world, so we must all be ready to
I won’t divert Edo State money to Lagos –Idehen
Hon. Uwuilekhue Saturday Idehen, a former commissioner on the board of the NDDC, is now an APC governorship aspirant in Edo State. The erstwhile local government boss spoke with our correspondent on sundry issues. Excerpts…
As the immediate past commissioner representing Edo State on the board of the NDDC, what were your challenges?
Part of my challenges was the act establishing the NDDC. The President in one of his visits, agreed that a forensic audit had to be carried out, I don’t think that is the problem, the main problem of the NDDC is the act establishing the commission. If the Act is amended to actually fit the reason why the NDDC was established, Niger Delta people will experience a huge development. But if the Act is not amended, you can do any audit you want to do, but the first thing is the government must take a critical look at the audit. I’m not saying the effort is not gear towards probity accountability to be able to know what has been happening over the years, but the major problem is the Act. The Act establishing it is faulty and was hastily and wrongly put together in 1999/2000.
How would you react to Governor Obaseki’s claim that the NDDC did not do any meaningful project in Edo State?
I think Mr. Governor is uninformed when it comes to the issue of the NDDC. You know jack of all trade, they say is master of none. You cannot presume to have suffered fire burnt more than the man who was actually involved in the incident. I think Governor Obaseki has to seat back to look at the workings of NDDC. The truth is that nobody is being mobilised in NDDC, the governor has to go back to his records and see if money has been corruptibly taken from the NDDC.
Yes, there are some contractors who are actually fraudulent, they execute shady projects in connivance with some fraudulent civil servants and they will certify these jobs. Because the certification of these jobs does not lie with the commissioner, it lies with the management. So, there are fraudulent staff who are engineers sent to the sites to certified these jobs reporting that the jobs had been done. This thing is not peculiar with Edo. It is across the nine states of the Niger Delta, that is why you see jobs done two weeks ago eroded today.
And you will be sure that engineers of this commission certify these jobs and until now, no sanction has been carried out against such engineers. It doesn’t also mean that there are no transparent engineers and staff in the NDDC management. If you see one project that is being certified by one fraudulent engineer in NDDC, it does not mean that there are no good people there, you still have good supervisors, and site engineers that can still do some good jobs.
I know that there are people who are actually Godly who we can still trust, like a man who was the project supervisor in Benin. By the time he stood his ground and ensure that the project should actually be done, the contractor ran to me.
When he came to me as the commissioner I said, ‘okay, because he is close to one of the executive directors, he feels he can use that one to intimidate the Head of Project Monitoring in Edo office’. I was shocked when the man spoke, from there I knew yes there are actually some people who cannot be cajoled into doing bad things. I knew that there are still people that are transparent that actually want the best for Niger/Delta. There is also the problem of design, whereby a project head will design a project and post to a state without consulting the commissioner. So that is why I said that the Act must be looked into.
What should the people do to get more Federal Government attention for the development of the nine NDDC states?
The attention of government is sufficient to develop the region, because the budget of the NDDC is about a billion naira per-annum. If the application of such fund is justified, you will discover that the level of development in the Niger Delta will be unprecedented. So, to still talk about Federal Government support is not called for, I think we have to be accountable to what we are given first.
Federal Government has a lot of intervention funds for the Niger Delta. What we have to do is to be very prudent in the management of the funds made available. We do not need to bother government, I was in the saddle for two years as commissioner representing Edo State. So when I talk, I know what I’m talking about. There are other NGOs assisting the UN, World Bank, European Union, among others. So, we need to manage what these organisations are helping with before asking more from the government. To my own understanding, I know that a lot of things are going on in that sector, I just pray that one day, we will get a messiah that will be bold enough to step on toes and bring these fraudulent people to book. So that the main aim of establishing the NDDC will be achieved and Niger Delta people will received the needed development.
You want to run for the governorship of Edo in 2020 under the APC. How prepared are you?
In terms of preparation, I do not think there is any battle that is too big for God to fight, I think the first thing that will win in any contest if we have to face the reality, is the conscience and the mind of the people, especially when the people’s interest is paramount in your mind. And having God in anything that we do goes a long way into helping us.
In my consultation with my people, I have received a lot of calls and write ups which I never masterminded, calls for me to run and they are coming from the good people of Edo base on my antecedents and the role I have played in the lives of people. When I was hosted to a ground reception by my people in my community, they told me to go and contest for the governorship post that I have their full backing. Let me tell all that my ambition is basically bank rolled by friends who know my worth and what I’m capable of doing. Just few days ago, a group called me to say that they have printed 10,000 T. shirts for my campaign. They also said that they would raise money for my nomination form. So these are the handiwork of God.
If I get the governorship ticket and eventually becomes the governor in 2020, all I’m going to do is going to be about the people not about me. I’m not that kind of person that will take Edo people’s money to Lagos, Abuja and Europe. I never dwell in all those places, all my life I have dwelt in Benin City and my village. I don’t have that ambition to acquire wealth that will not give peace. I have an integrity and a family name to maintain.
Apart from being NDDC commissioner, what other experience qualifies you for the governorship?
I have held several positions, starting from party secretary, Secretary of the DPN in my local government, Secretary of PDP in my local government, secretary of council, chairman of the council, former Senior Special Assistant to the comrade governor, Adams Oshiomhole.
I was two times commissioner, in the NDDC, I was member of the equity committee. All these positions I have held is not by magic, it is God that is seeing the hearts of men. So, if I’m also aspiring to the be governor today, it is not out of place, it is a challenge that is not bigger than God.
What do you have to offer?
I have to accept the call and take the bull by the horns to rewrite the history of this state. The state has suffered enough, there are issues that need to be addressed; first is a system that can create jobs. Edo people need a government that can provide jobs that the youth will be actually hungry to do. You need a system that is open, accountable and passionate about the feelings of the people, so, I think that is what Edo people need now. We don’t need a system where you use security votes for personal business.
I want to come and set a precedent like the late Professor Ambrose Ali, Dr. Samuel Ogemudia, and our national chairman Adams Aliyu Oshiomhole. These people worked their hearts out for Edo people, and today their works still speak for them. Look, despite the fact that Oshiomhole has been highly criticised, I worked with him, he still has his good side. Oshiomhole is very passionate about his people, he has a human face. These are things I also learnt from him, and by God’s grace if I’m there, we will do the right thing.
What is your take on the APC crisis?
The crisis is not to discredit the APC, rather, the crisis is to get the best. It is borne out of the fact that the best needs to be in the saddle, it cannot create any issue. Anybody saying that is a system, is not saying the truth, when a system is no longer acceptable to the people that system should be rejected. There is internal revolution and resentment; it is the resentment that will bring out the best. You cannot continue to hit at the people and expect them not to react. You cannot take the people for granted.
How would you assess Oshiomhole’s leadership of the APC?
One cannot call a day good or bad until the evening, he has just started. He was a labour leader, he became a governor, did his very best and left. He just started as a national party leader, he still has two more years to go. So what you are seeing now is part of the things we will look at the end of his tenure to let us know whether he is a hero or not.
All the great men that made remarkable marks in this country are being remembered and called heroes after they must have gone. But I want people to call Oshiomhole a hero while he is alive.
Edo people rejected Ambrose Ali who was imprisoned for N800, which was paid by Chief Gabriel Igbinedion. Today he is being remembered by the people and called a hero. For Oshiomhole, I know that he will be among the living heroes of our time because of what he is doing now in Nigeria, provided he doesn’t lose track or allow sycophants to mislead
The Nembe massacre: Will the police ever arrest the culprits?
ajor killings in the two off seasons gubernatorial elections in Bayelsa and Kogi started on November 16, 2016 in Nembe Local Government Area of Bayelsa State on Wednesday, three days before the election. An armed militia group working for the All Progressives Congress invaded the King Koko Square at Nembe Ogbolomabiri and opened fire on hundreds of PDP supporters who had assembled there for the last Local Government campaign of the PDP Candidate, Senator Douye Diri. While the gun wielding militia was mowing down innocent citizens who were in Nembe for the campaigns, another set of the hoodlums ambushed the party members and journalists at the Ogbolomabiri/ Bassambiri junction. The OB van driver of Radio Bayelsa, Mr. Simon Onu, was shot dead beside his van. A police inspector, Achibugu Odagi, who was deployed from Asaba, Delta State, on election duty, died of gunshot attacks during the gruesome premeditated massacre. Several of his colleagues were were lucky to have escaped with different degrees of gunshot wounds.
Sadly, many party supporters who went with the campaign train to Nembe and did not know the area were trapped in the bush. There are troubling reports coming out of Nembe that several people were killed with their stomachs ripped open and thrown into the Brass River to sink for ever. A day to the election, medical personnel were battling m save save the lives of 109 persons sustained gunshot injuries at the Federal Medical Centre, and the Bayelsa State Specialist Hospital, Yenagoa
Immediately after the attack, the Candidate of the PDP, Senator Douye Diri, who narrowly escaped the attacked addressed a press conference where he gave some insight into the masterminds of the attack and their reasons for it
“Before we got into Nembe for the last lapse of our campaigns, we had conflicting informations and intelligence that one Gabriel Jonah who is the head of a group called an “Otita Force” has warned that the PDP cannot campaign in Nembe and that Nembe is an APC community and they will not allow the PDP campaign in Nembe. And allegedly we are told and informed that all the killings were carried out by the “Otita Force” leader Gabriel Jonah.”
It is shocking to note that these killings which many have described as a massacre took place three days to the gubernatorial election in the state. Prior to the Nembe mayhem, the national newspapers were replete with reports that politicians were procuring arms to unleash violence on the innocent voting populace during the election.
Ordinarily, one would have expected the security agencies and the Independent National Electoral Commission to address the state and indeed take immediate preemptive steps in the interest of the innocent voters who are the unfortunate hapless victims of violence. Unfortunately, the security agencies did not find it necessary to review the pre-election violence in Nembe to reinforce security across the state to create the conducive environment for competitive voting.
A sensitive electoral commission which is guided by the tenets of impartiality and which is not in collusion with compromised security agencies on a mission to rig the election would have called a meeting to reassess the security situation in Nembe following the unprovoked massacre of innocent PDP members barely three days to the election.
Many Bayelsans found it shocking that INEC ignored the grisly images of the massacre of innocent people in the mainstream media and the social media to conduct a charade called election and even produced concocted figures to justify the infamy called election on November 16, 2019 in Bayelsa.
The horror and the gory spectacle of the bloodied injured was such that all men of good conscience would have expected INEC to take steps in the direction of voters protection. This is expected because the gun wielding youths who carried out the most devastating assault on the electoral process executed a second phase of the violence. The armed militia moved from house to house in search of members of the PDP to attack most of who fled the town. This was glaringly the case of the riot of an organized armed minority against majority of law abiding citizens who were armed with their permanent voters card. Many including some educated have said that the attack and sacking of PDP members from Nembe was made possible because the attackers and their supporters were more! What a weak argument! I would have expected the so called majority to have mocked the minority with the strength of their votes in line with the age long ethos of democratic governance! Rather, a strategy not good enough even for animals was adopted. The prospective voters were killed, and others chased away from the community for the most reckless rigging in election recorded history Bayelsa to be perpetrated against democracy! Like the plight of a virgin raped viciously by a violent alcoholic, democracy is desperately in need of the native hot bath to rectify badly severed veins in private places! What a pity! This the Bayelsa situation!
What makes Bayelsa situation even more pathetic is the deliberate steps to describe what happened as an election despite the incontrovertible video evidence of electoral fraud and the mind boggling descent into criminality. Those who carried out the brutal siege on democracy in Bayelsa are battling to foist an aura of legitimacy on the anathema they have called an election.
It is on this basis that I find it necessary to call on Nigerians to rise in fefence of the sacred place of the ballot in a democracy. The story line that while election was marred by violence in Kogi State, voting took place in Bayelsa is the most immoral attempt to create a marriage for contradictions. It is a wicked attempt to overstretch the boundary of immorality! This is worse than an image of our reverred Pope presiding over a marriage of two men!
It is reassuring to hear that following the directive of the President that the bloodthirsty counterparts of the Bayelsa killer gang in Kogi who murdered the PDP Ward Women Leader be fished out, the police has arrested six persons. Even the United Nations has condemned the reprehensible killings in Kogi. However, it is troubling that a similar directive has not been issued to the security agencies to apprehend the Nembe murderers!
Nigerians are still waiting or that moment of relief when President would give a specific directive to the security agencies to arrest and prosecute those who killed the OB Van Driver of Radio Bayelsa, Mr. Onu, the riot Police Inspector, Achibugu Odagi, and several people whose stomachs were ripped open and thrown into the Brass River an estuary of the River Nun to sink forever. The police authorities have not arrested anybody for this massacre and the slaughter of the innocent in the guise of election. Going by the circumstances will the security agencies ever arrest anybody for this multiple murders?
On Wednesday, a shocked Bayelsa State Government has empaneled a body investigate the murder of Bayelsans and other Nigerian citizens on the eve of the election.
While paid agents are battling to splash legitimacy on the fraud and savagery called election in Bayelsa, the fact remains that democracy as represented by the Bayelsa election is nothing different from a putrid concert of married women all dancing stark naked in the market square!
*Oputin, Secretary General PDP Youth Network writes from Tungbo, SAGBAMA
Reps to begin work on constitution review, PIGB next year – Gbajabiamila
The Speaker of the House of Representatives Rep Femi Gbajabiamila has assured that the House would commence work on the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB) and the amendment of the 1999 Constitution next year.
The Speaker said both the constitution review and the PIGB are part of the bills that the House would prioritise in 2020.
He noted that the House would do everything within its powers to give Nigeria the best in terms of laws that would promote peace and good governance in the country.
Gbajabiamila spoke at a retreat organised for chairmen of standing committees of the House by the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS), in Lagos on Friday.
The Speaker, who tasked the chairmen of the committees to work with their deputies and other members of the committees as a team, noted that Nigerians have high expectations on the Legislature; hence they must work hard to meet such.
“We have been elected at a time of great upheaval at home and abroad. We are confronted with great peril; oil prices have fallen and refuse to go back up, our population growth continues to outpace economic growth, we are besieged on all sides by rising insecurity and its consequences.
“How do we build an economy that is attractive to investment, that creates jobs to meet our present needs, and grows apace to meet future demands? How do we build a society where the weak are not afflicted by the powerful, where our differences of gender and tribe, religion and opinion are not weaponised to deprive any citizen of life, of liberty or the freedom to pursue happiness?
“How do we achieve the promise of greatness that so long ago caused the world to look upon us and say, here comes the giant of Africa? These are the questions that should engage our interests and animate our efforts because in the answer to these questions lies the best dreams we have for ourselves and the highest ambitions we hold for our country,” the Speaker said.
Outcome of Bayelsa poll, big lesson for politicians – Rasaq
Chief Lanre Rasaq, a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), believes that there was nothing unusual about the recent governorship elections in Bayelsa and Kogi states, describing the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as a bad loser. He also speaks in this interview on the 2023 presidential election, among others issues. ADEWALE AJAYI reports
Some Nigerians as well as members of the international community have condemned the recent governorship elections held in Bayelsa and Kogi states, repudiating the violence that characterized the polls. How would you describe the elections?
I will take you back to the attitude of Nigerian politicians, when they win an election, it is the best conducted; when they lose, the process of conducting the election is bad. We are all living witness of what happened in Bayelsa State. The outgoing governor, Seriake Dickson decided to field an unpopular candidate despite appeal to him not to do so. Well, it is a lesson to those, who felt they are the all in all, and that they meant everything, thinking they have right of life and death because they are political leaders. That was what the people of Bayelsa just told Dickson that he could not do that to them, his folly became our blessing.
We in the APC went through the meticulous process of picking the right candidate and he was accepted across board and that reflected in the election result, so we are happy for it. When judgement was given against APC in Zamfara and Rivers states and we lost from the National Assembly election, through governorship and House of Assembly, because our candidates were not accepted by INEC, PDP members celebrated, stating it was the best that could have happened, but we never complained. When the PDP lost at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal and the Supreme Court, they condemned the judiciary that, saying is bad, it is corrupt. That means that it is only when judgement is in their favour that it is the best.
In Kogi State, the people chose Yahaya Bello as their governor because they knew about the resources available to him to manage the state and they believed that he has done wonderfully well in managing those resources. They also believed there is a need for him to complete his eight year tenure and consolidate on what he has done and take the state to the next level.
Of course, the people are equally aware that the APC government at the federal level is doing wonderfully well and they needed to be on the same page with the federal government, so that they can attract more development to Kogi State. The people have seen the PDP spent 16 years in government in Nigeria and they know the destruction the party did to their psyche.
How about the violence that claimed several lives during the elections?
They are entitled to make allegations, but whoever wants to ascertain the allegation or hold one party or the other responsible for the crisis needs to do a thorough investigation. I am not a security officer, but the information available to me pointed accusing fingers to PDP members, who wanted power at all cost, and it takes two to tango. Look at it this way, you cannot clap with one hand, that I know too well. It is all about attitude of Nigerians to politics, people wanting to be in office at all cost. It is about I want to govern the people, either they like it or not, but it shouldn’t be so. The people will react accordingly if a political party insists it wants to govern them at all cost.
The media has a role to play in disabusing the mind of the people, who have such mindset. And you will recall that former president Goodluck Jonathan once said that nobody spill the blood of an innocent Nigerian because of power. Spilling of blood is not the way of the APC. We are peaceful and committed to the development of the country, which explains why people continue to embrace our party.
The seeming face-off between President Muhammadu Buhari and his vice, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, has been a source of concern to Nigerians and appears to be having negative impact on governance. What is your view on this though the duo have persistently denied the rift?
Nobody should cry more than the bereaved. The president has made it clear that there is no rift between him and his vice. Osinbajo has also made it clear that they don’t have problems. So, who is that person that is crying? The two of them are still working together towards actualizing the mandate that was freely given to them. Buhari is a man of God, he will not intimidate, embarrass or take a decision that will prevent his vice from performing his assigned duty. Those who are insinuating that there is a rift are just playing politics.
How about the sack of 35 aides of the vice president?
They may have reasons for taking such decision. It is not political, but for the benefit of the economic development of the nation. If you tell me that they are trying to impeach the vice president or that the vice president does not have an assignment, I will then believe that something is wrong.
What is your take on the Hate Speech and Social Media bills, which many see as an attempt to gag the media and Nigerians?
Nigeria is in democracy, and all of us without an exception have roles to play. The constitution guarantees freedom of expression. I have said it and I will repeat it that the bill they want to pass is unacceptable to democrats like me and to several other democrats, who believe in the rule of law and the provisions of the constitution because it is entrenched in the constitution that you have the right to express your views on any issue.
If somebody now seeks for someone to be killed for airing his views, I don’t agree with the proposed law. Several APC members also do not agree with the law and they don’t support it. So, I strongly believe that the bill will not see the light of the day because it is against freedom of expression.
It is believed that the card reader was introduced into the electoral process to check the issue of over voting, but INEC recently stated that it has outlived its purpose because it is not acceptable as evidence in court. What do you think should be done to bring sanity into the electoral system?
INEC is in charge, and when they say they are facing some challenges, they should be allowed to do more research into our electoral process. We deserve the best, so let them give us the best. Let the media sensitize politicians and the electorate to stop vote-buying, to stop monetization of votes and to ensure that votes count. If that is done, the electoral system will be better.
Don’t you think that it would be difficult to stop vote-buying because of the poverty level in the country?
You said one thing; that poverty is the driving force that made people to sell their votes, but I can assure you that after Buhari’s second term; he would have succeeded in almost eradicating poverty that people won’t go and collect money to vote. So, all I am saying is that people should give support to the Buhari administration, let there not be unnecessary distraction, so that it can deliver on dividends of democracy for poverty to be reduced.
But the general impression is that the level of poverty is increasing?
That is not correct. I am a public figure and I am in a position to tell you what the situation is. I know the number people who come to my house on daily basis to request for financial assistance when the PDP was in government. I know how many of them, who are coming now, but the number has reduced.
It is good news because instead of giving them money, I assist them to be in a positions to earn their own living and stop going around to beg because there are lots of job opportunities the current administration is providing. With the development and the way the president is taking Nigeria to the next level, I can assure you Nigerians will be out of poverty sooner than expected.
The jostle for 2023 has commenced in earnest. While some are of the view that the South-West should produce the next president, others are saying that it is the turn of the South-East. However, some Northerners are insisting on their region retaining power. Don’t you think that there is the need for your party to harmonise this to avoid creating problems for itself?
All what is happening is power play. Every Nigerian, irrespective of where he comes from is entitled to the position of president, but what we need to do, and which we are doing, is to let them look at each of the candidate and pick the best. To me, despite all the names being paraded, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu still stands shoulder high than any of the names mentioned so far. I want to implore you to educate Nigerians not to just pick a president, but a president who will be effective, acceptable, knowledgeable and has the capacity to understand what the office of the president is all about. Against this backdrop, I maintain that the best man for the position is Bola Tinubu.
There is no way many Nigerians will not be interested in that office because it is attractive, but there is the need for those who have the knowledge of all the candidates to educate the citizens on the implication of picking the wrong person at this critical stage of our economy. That is why we are offering Tinubu because he has what it takes to do the job. Let everybody be aware, that they don’t need to worry too much, as God has provided this man and has been protecting his life, so that he can provide the service Nigerians require of him.
Day Lagos govt, ex-govs honoured Johnson
TEMITOPE OGUNBANKE writes on the Day of Tributes organised by the Lagos State Government on Tuesday in honour of the first governor of the state, Brigadier-General Mobolaji Johnson
It was a memorable day as Lagos State governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu and his predecessors, both military and civilian converged at the Onikan Stadium to celebrate and pay tributes to the first Military Governor of Lagos State, Brigadier-General Mobolaji Johnson (rtd), who passed on recently.
The late Johnson, who is the first and longest serving military governor of Lagos State, governed the state from 1966 to 1975. He died on October 30 at age of 83 and several events were held this week before his remains were interred.
Since his demise on October 30 till date, there have been a lot of tributes and condolence messages from different quarters and there is no doubt that majority of the comments are in line with the Biblical verse of Proverbs 10:7, which states that “a good and honest life is a blessed memorial; a wicked life leaves a rotten stench.”
Lagos State has had a total of 15 governors both military and civilian since its creation by former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon (rtd) on 27 May, 1967, but among the past leaders, Mobolaji Johnson stands tall because of his remarkable achievements in the Centre of Excellence.
The late Johnson played a crucial role in the growth and development of Lagos State and many believe that he laid the foundation for modern Lagos, considering the laudable projects his regime embarked upon during the eight years he steered the ship of the state.
While in office, he built a 60.7 Lagos–Badagry expressway, linking Nigeria with neighbouring countries of Benin, Ghana and Togo. He also constructed the Itokin Bridge to link Epe to Ikorodu; Eko Bridge as well as construction of a network of roads and bridges in different parts of the state. Another remarkable achievement of the Johnson’s regime is the reclamation of the Bar Beach shoreline.
The regime also embarked on the demolition the Ajele cemetery and the consequent disinterment of people buried at the cemetery. Notable among corpses affected by the rather unpopular decision were that of Samuel Ajayi Crowther, James Pinson Labulo Davies, Madam Tinubu, Thomas Babington Macaulay, and several others. The action was met with stiff opposition and lots of criticisms by many opinionated Lagosians back then.
Despite leaving office as governor about 45 years ago, Johnson will remain a name to be reckoned with in the annals of the history of Nigeria and Lagos in particular. His achievements earned him the privilege of a road, an avenue, a sports complex and a housing scheme been named after him.
Following the role the late Johnson played in the growth and development of the state, the Lagos State government, on Tuesday held a “Day of Tributes” at the Onikan Stadium in his honour as part of programmes for his funeral rites.
The event, which was well attended by serving and past public office holders in Lagos State, witnessed outpouring of tributes on the deceased by Governor Sanwo-Olu, his predecessors and other eminent Nigerians and members of the late Johnson’s family
Among those who graced the event were the National Leader of All Progressives Congress (APC) and ex-Lagos State governor, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and his wife, Oluremi; Speaker, House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila; Governor Sanwo-Olu wife, Ibijoke; Lagos State deputy governor, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat and his wife, Oluremi; first Lagos State civilian governor, Alhaji Lateef Jakande; former military administrators of the state; Commodore Ebitu Ukiwe (rtd), Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, Rear Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu (rtd) and Brigadier-General Raji Rasaki (rtd); Head of Service Hakeem Muri-Okunola; former Ogun State governor, Chief Olusegun Osoba; former Lagos State deputy governor, Princess Sarah Sosan; top military officers, politicians, white cap chiefs and traditional rulers.
Governor Sanwo-Olu as part of government’s resolve to ensure that Johnson’s name remains written in gold in recognition of his illustrious service as the first military administrator of Lagos State, renamed the newly renovated Onikan Stadium after the late Johnson. The stadium is now Mobolaji Olufunsho Johnson Stadium.
Paying tributes to late Johnson, the governor described him as a symbol of decency, humility and integrity, fairness and justice, who touched and transformed thousands of lives through his foresight, service and industry.
His words: “We gather here today not to mourn but to celebrate a distinguished life, the life of Brigadier-General Mobolaji Johnson, a great patriot, an accomplished administrator, one of the makers of modern Lagos who, sadly, will never share this physical space with us again.
“In whatever role we knew him, the first and longest serving military administrator of Lagos State stood out as a special person for his leadership and charismatic personality. If anyone was qualified to be addressed as ‘an officer and a gentleman’, it was General Johnson. Despite his imposing frame, he was as gentle as a dove. He never threw his weight around, even though he was a man of power.
“His regime witnessed an increase in the state’s revenue from N36.7million to N99.7million. The increase was largely due to the revenue allocation formula that had just been introduced and increased revenue from crude oil, which was partly shared out to the state governments. Under his leadership, the state government generated the larger proportion of its earnings from Internally Generated Revenue (IGR).
“Our illustrious and now departed son of Lagos was a constant source of support and inspiration to successive governors of Lagos State, especially from 1999 till date. He was always willing to offer his wise counsel and experience whenever the need arose. Even while it was obvious that his health could not really rigorous endeavours, General Johnson was a regular feature at every major Lagos State Government groundbreaking events. Such was his unbelievable and unswerving commitment to the cause of Lagos State. How then are we not going to miss him sorely?
“In the realisation that Lagos State is the most populous and leading state in the federation, Mobolaji Johnson was determined to turn the state into the pride of the nation. The policy thrust of his administration was shaped by his faith in the creative capabilities and boundless energies of the people, especially the masses. Thus, his early days in office clearly showed him as a man who brought resourcefulness, experience and dynamism to the task of solving some of the teething problems of our dear state. He set Lagos on a course and a race of an unending quest for improvement, innovation and development.”
In his tribute, Tinubu described Johnson as a servant leader and man of incorruptible character, who never used the opportunity of power to amass personal wealth.
His words: “We are here to honour our hero and founding father, a man of integrity, first military administrator of Lagos state, a fine officer and gentleman, a servant leader and man of incorruptible character. He never used the corridor of power to amass personal wealth, a gallant officer who did not compromise military ethics and left office as governor with a good legacy in public service.
“Johnson was a true gentleman, a servant leader and a man of incorruptible character. He never used his position to amass personal wealth. He did not compromise in his profession. He left a good legacy in public service. He laid a durable foundation for Lagos State. He served the people and made them the cornerstone of social and economic policies.
“Johnson embarked on re-engineering and assembling the best cabinet to show transparency at that time. He showed courage and strong determination for the benefit of Lagos State. His retirement was sudden following the coup in 1975. He lived a life of great contentment.”
Tinubu also recalled that 10 state administrators were arrested for corrupt practices, when General Murtala Muhammed took over as Head of State in 1976, but only late Johnson was the military administrator absolved of corruption.
Hamzat, on his part, said the late Johnson lived above pettiness, describing him as a giant “who matched his stature with achievements.”
He said the late Johnson always preferred a Spartan life, which was why he chose to live his retirement life among average citizens of the state.
Also paying tribute to the deceased, Kanu said he was a quintessential officer, a first-class administrator whose interest was to better the lives of the general public during his tenure, while Oyinlola who thanked God for the late Johnson’s life, said he was marveled by the kind of humility that was exhibited by him. “I learnt a lot from him that helped me as a governor. There is nothing else to give than to honour an untainted soldier, governor and corporate world operator,” he said.
Rasaki in his tribute described late Johnson as “an officer and a gentleman as governor. He was a soldier of all soldiers, very nice to his junior, as junior officers under him we learnt simplicity, even as his juniors we go to party together and even as a governor he did not discriminate, he was more of a soldier than a civilian.”
Also speaking at the event, Osoba described the late first Lagos State governor as austere, frugal and a disciplinarian, noting that “even as a governor his children attended public schools in public transportation, his humility rubbed off on his wife and children.”
The first son of the deceased, Seyi, thanked the Lagos government for the honour done to his father. ”One of the lessons our father taught us as children is the attribute of tolerance. He told us not to discriminate against anyone irrespective of background,” he said.
Lagos PDP: A new dawn beckons
From nowhere, a ray of light has shone on the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Lagos State as a validly elected executive council was inaugurated after years of leadership crisis. In this report, WALE ELEGBEDE asks whether the Adedeji Doherty-led leadership can turn the tide for the party in the state
The Lagos State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has never been out of crisis for once, since the return of democracy in 1999. Expectedly, the crisis dovetailed into its performances in the elections and after every election cycle, the party disperses and congregates again just before another election year.
For party members and supporters, the trend of heaping up crisis in the party after every election and starting all over again to rebuild for another election cycle is both worrisome and demoralizing for the progress of the party.
All of its six different attempts to seize the governorship seat of Lagos State have been futile. From 1999 when the party fielded a former minister, Chief Dapo Sarumi against Senator Bola Tinubu till last March 9 election when its candidate, Mr. Jimi Agbaje, ate the humble pie from Mr Jide Sanwoolu of the All Progressives Congress (APC), it’s the same old story of playing second fiddle.
The cookies crumbled again after the 2019 election as the two major influencers in the party, former Deputy National Chairman of the party, Chief Olabode George and its candidate, exchanged words over the loss of the party at the polls despite the seeming crisis of succession in the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC).
But while the two forces are still settling their scores, the party’s National Headquarters, beamed its searchlight to see who can lead the affairs of the party in the state since the interim position of the acting Chairman, Dr. Dominic Adegbola, has lapsed after its timeline of three months.
Adegbola, a grassroots politician who became the party’s chairman following the defection of the party’s erstwhile chairman, Hon. Moshood Salvador, to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), was however, asked by the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) to handover affairs of the party to the National Vice Chairman of the PDP South West, Dr. Eddy Olafeso.
Last November, a notice of election was issued by the NWC to the party in the state. Expectedly, leaders and members of the party see the call differently. In fact, 24-hours before the scheduled date for the election, some members of the party in the state secured a court injunction from a Lagos High Court ordering all parties in the suit to maintain the status quo ahead of the proposed special election.
Regardless of the injunction, the party proceeded with its plan and the Senator Ben Obi-led three-man committee from the National Working Committee (NWC) conducted the election to fill some vacant positions in the party’s state executive. The election produced Engr. Doherty as chairman of the party after garnering 27 votes to defeat his closest rival, Omotanwa Kudirat, who polled 21 votes.
According to Senator Obi, the election had 68 delegates approved by NWC of the party but only 45 delegates voted at the election which took place at L’eola Hotel, Maryland.
Apart from Obi, members of the three-man committee included Muktar Ahmed, as secretary and Senator Biodun Olujimi, member, who was unavoidably absent, because she was engaged with her swearing-in ceremony at the Senate, having got Appeal Court judgement in her favour.
Two weeks after the election, the party gathered again to inaugurate the newly-elected officials and this time, it came with fanfare as a handful of party members joined the party leadership at the event held in Lagos.
Conducting the inauguration on behalf of the NWC, Olafeso, congratulated the newly elected executive committee members who were elected to fill vacant slots in the state which came about from death, resignation or defection from the party to other political parties.
He said: “I commend all of you who participated in the process of peace that we have today.”
Olafeso, who reiterated that peace has finally returned to Lagos, said he had to visit Lagos State for about 67 times in his quest to find peace for the party in the state, he, however, said his current visit which is to attend the inauguration of the executive is his happiest.
“I commend you because you have fought a long and hard battle, it has not been easy. I commend all of you who participated in the process of peace that we have today.
“I am forever grateful for leaders like Chief Bode George and leaders of his generation and the foundation they had laid and for all the other leaders. We are happy to build on it.
“The South-West is at a crossroad, but this is a time for a new beginning indeed and with peace in Lagos State, it is the beginning of a new thing in the South-West. The challenges in the country today is enormous, there is a need for all of us to be united and I appeal to all of you to join hands with Doherty to take the party to new height,” he said.
Doherty was inaugurated alongside Sowole Jubril as state party vice-chairman (central senatorial district), Adejumo Ajagbe (Vice Chairman West), Prince Balogun Okanlawon (Lagos Island), Mrs. Ambode Linda (Kosofe LGA), Amode Akeem (organising secretary), Adeniyi Rotimi (assistant organising secretary), Muyideen Tejumade (legal adviser), Olalekan Akeem (assistant legal adviser), Olayinka Dada (assistant secretary), Kolawole Mike (party chairman, Apapa Local Government Area) and Akojemu Florence (party chairman, Badagry LGA).
In his inaugural speech after being sworn-in, Doherty said the PDP in the state is now well-positioned to wrestle power from the APC in 2023, saying that the state presently needs the PDP to experience development.
“Our democratic journey in Lagos over the past 20 years has been a tedious one, which has been marred with one problem or other which has led us to failures at every council, gubernatorial and presidential elections in the past.”
Giving insights on how he emerged as the party’s chairman, Doherty said that the failure of the party to win Lagos since 1999 created a serious concern for the National Chairman of the party, Prince Uche Secondus, who then decided to create a fact finding committee headed by Senator Ben Obi to look for a long-lasting solution to the division and crises in the party.
“This committee met with all our leaders and stakeholders and finally came up with recommendations to the NWC for onward action and implementation at the state level. The recommendation was simple, that is , that all vacancies at every level of the Lagos State structure must be filled according to the constitution and not by nomination, imposition or the use of any sharing formula.
“It was this bold step taken by the Prince Uche Secondus-led NWC that has finally given birth to the new dawn in our party today. Having said this, I would like to thank the major actors in this process, who ensured that this decision by the NWC became a reality,” Doherty explained.
The new PDP chairman outlined a seven-point agenda through which his leadership would rebuild the party in the state, saying, “I plead with our aggrieved members who are in various cases in court to give peace a chance. The 65 per cent, 35 per cent sharing formula used in the past hereby comes to an end, PDP Lagos State will start afresh, we are one family and the party remains supreme.”
Congratulating the newly inaugurated executive, a former factional chairman of the PDP in the state, Mr. Segun Adewale, popularly called Aeroland said “PDP is the one winning elections for APC in Lagos State, APC doesn’t win any election, PDP wins for APC, they know that the only person working in APC is Tinubu, he is the only one and he can’t be everywhere, so the moment we have the right people at the polling booth we will win the election.
“What normally happens is that over 60 per cent of our polling booth agents work for APC, so we can’t win, but if we talk to him and he listens and we have the right people at the polling booths winning election in 2023 is done.
“How can you have almost 20 million voters and in the last election the present governor won by 880,000 votes, less than a million, that shows that there is apathy against APC, so for APC to win they have to plant their men inside us and that is what I have been fighting for in the last five years, but now we have the opportunity to savage the party through Deji Doherty, all we need to do is to rally round him and the moment we do that we don’t even need to campaign,” he said.
While it may not yet be Uhuru for the PDP in Lagos, political analysts are only curious how the newly inaugurated executive will bring all hands on deck to change the political trajectory of the party.
2020: National Assembly raises own budget by N3bn
The House of Representatives on Thursday raised the National Assembly’s budget by N3 billion increasing it from N125 billion to N128 billion.
This is the earliest budget to pass by the National Assembly since 1999. The 2020 budget was presented to the National Assembly on October 8, 2019 and passed on December 5, 2019. It took one month and 27 days to be passed.
In the 2017, 2018 and 2019, the National Assembly budget was kept at N125 billion from the N150 billion, which had existed for years.
Explaining the reasons for the increase in the budget, chairman of the House of Representatives committee on media and public affairs, Hon. Benjamin Kalu (APC, Abia) said with the increment, “it is now clear that we are not a rubber stamp legislature as many people thought.”
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