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Sanwo-Olu flags off campaign, announces Badagry expressway fixing as priority

Lagos State chapter of All Progressive Congress (APC) gubernatorial candidate, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has flagged off campaign as flag bearer of the party running for governorship office in the state.

Besides, Sanwo-Olu assured that fixing of the Lagos-Badargry express way would be one of his priority should he get into office after election in 2019.

The unofficial flag of by the candidate came 24hrs after Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) officially lifted ban on campaigns for governorship candidates and that of other political offices’ seekers, aside  that of presidential,  which as removed barely two weeks ago.

Sanwo-Olu, while speaking before a political gathering at Lagos senatorial Badagry division on Sunday, which has Deputy Governor, Idiat Adebule, in attendance, after a visit to various monarchs in the axis, declared that campaign for his governorship move had kicked off on Sunday and that he would hitting ground running.

He said that those saying Lagos state is behind is very wrong as Lagos state is far ahead, and they do not know Lagos state very well. He said it’s a must Lagos – Badagry expressway is fixed, and it becomes a priority for his administration once he is elected. “I and my deputy will transform the two lanes to ten lanes if we are elected in the 2019 elections’.

Addressing the constituents, Sanwo-Olu said his visit to Badagry is imperative and significant because he will run an all inclusive government when voted in as governor of Lagos state.
He assured that the completion of the 10 lane Badagry expressway will be of utmost importance to his government .
He said his administration will bring succor to the people of Badagry as he promised to fix the Ijeodo road, Iyafin road in BADAGRY, Ijagemo and Ijegun road
Students in that area were not also left out,as Sanwo-olu promised to make free WiFi available for LASU and ACOED students this month.

Siblings’ cut-off 10-year-old head in Lagos

By Newsdesk

 

The Nigerian Police has arrested two siblings, who allegedly killed and cut-off a teenager’s head in Shapati, Ibeju-Lekki Local Government, Lagos.

It was gathered that the two siblings, Ayodeji Obadimeji, 18, and Saheed Obadimeji, 19, who reside on Tunde Balogun Street, lured their victim to a safe location before perpetrating the act.

The suspects, who wre arrested with the skull of the deceased, Joseph Makinde, 10, alleged that they were contacted by one Sodiq Abefe.

After their arrest by Lagos State Police Command on routine patrol between Ajah/Epe expressway, yesterday, they hinted that Abefe contracted them to provide him with human head at the cost of two hundred thousand Naira (N200, 000).

According to them, they lured the victim by sending him to buy Coca-Cola drink for them and when he brought the drinks to them, they held him and cut of his head with a knife.

The torso has been recovered from an uncompleted building located at Shapati and effort is being made to arrest the said Sodiq Abefe who allegedly contracted the duo to commit the heinous crime.

Meanwhile,  the Commissioner of Police, Edgar Imohimi, has directed that the case be handed over to the Homicide section of the State Criminal Investigation And Intelligence Department (SCIID) Panti Yaba for further investigation.

The CP Lagos reiterated his earlier warnings to criminals to repent or relocate from the state or regret the consequence of their action.

Iya Kabiru and Other Stories

By Reuben Abati

“Iya Kabiru must be the luckiest woman in Nigeria today”

“Who is that? I don’t know anybody so-called”

“You don’t know Iya Kabiru? But you know Baba Kabiru?”

“Do they know me?”

“This is the problem with you. You only think about you, you, you. I am sure when I tell you now who Baba Kabiru is, you will jump up and say you know him”

“Look, just say what you want to say. I have too many things to worry about other than this your D.O. Fagunwa story about Iya Kabiru. Today is a busy day for me not a day for idle talk”

“Hey, don’t get worked up, chill, my friend. Iya Kabiru is the wife of Governor Rauf Aregbesola, the comrade Governor of Osun State who is leaving office today after eight years in office. Kabiru is their first son. He got married last year. Many people who know the Governor call him Baba Kabiru.”

“So, what has that got to do with all the serious issues of survival that Nigerians are worried about. You know you should be more responsible. You can’t go about gossiping about other people’s lives.”

“I don’t gossip. I am trying to say something very serious. By the time I am done, even you will learn one or two things. Essentially, I am trying to review the eight years of Aregbesola as Governor in Osun State.”

“I tried to follow his stories. The man says he did not collect salary as Governor, even though he ate government food, used government cars…Good for him. But as for me.. I don’t like the role he played in the last Gubernatorial elections in Osun State. He practically imposed his own successor on the people of Osun State. We can’t have outgoing Governors behaving like dictators and insisting that they will hold the future of the state in their palms. And to think he is a Comrade like Adams Oshiomhole.”

“That is not what I am talking about. Osun state people are not protesting. I can’t come and be weeping more than the bereaved.”

“I know. But I thought you wanted an assessment of Baba Kabiru’s eight years in office. So, let us do it, since today is effectively his last day in office”

“Yes.”

“For example, he says he has no bank accounts anywhere. He has no money and he has only the house that he built before he became Governor. He is happy that he was able to transform the lives of the people of Osun State.”

“With Opon Imo. The tablet of knowledge. Ogbeni Till Daybreak. Let me help you. He also says he is leaving a state behind that has the lowest poverty incidence rate and the lowest unemployment rate in Nigeria.”

“He built roads and schools.”

“I know. I know. But what are the people of Osun themselves saying? What is the impression of the civil servants who were denied salaries for months? I will prefer to hear from the average man on the streets of Osun. But that is not what I want to talk about.”

“You want to talk about Iya Kabiru”

“Yes. I want to congratulate her. And I say, Iya Kabiru, e ku oriire o.”

“What of the Governor himself? You don’t want to congratulate him on his successful completion of two terms in office?”

“I will leave that to people like you. My big take-away from the exit of the Comrade Governor is the statement he made about his wife, Iya Kabiru. He told the people of Osun State that he has been an absentee husband for eight years. He was so busy as Governor, he had no time for his wife. He wants to go back to Iya Kabiru and “enjoy each other”. He doesn’t want to go to the Senate like others in his shoes, he just wants to go home and spend time with Iya Kabiru.”

“And how does that affect you?”

“You don’t get the point? This is the era of women empowerment. Our Governors should not get to office and become absentee husbands. That is an abuse of human rights and a violation of the integrity of the other room! If I had my way, I will recommend immunity for wives from the absenteeism of husbands. If there was more time, I would recommend that Mrs Aisha Buhari, the wife of the President, should lead a movement to defend the right of women who are married to politically exposed men in office, not to lose their rights of access and enjoyment with their husbands. Public service should not interfere with the rights of wives!”

“You always like to trivialize things.”

“No. When Comrade Aregbesola was asked what his regrets could possibly be, and I consider that an important question, his memorable response was that his being Governor did not allow him to enjoy his wife for eight years. He now wants to go and enjoy his wife. For me that was the most profound thing he said.”

“How profound! I thought you would raise serious questions. Will his successor become his stooge? Will Aregbesola continue to rule over the state of Osun and treat Gboyega Oyetola as his proxy? Is Aregbesola now a Godfather pulling the strings from the corner? Will the new Governor Oyetola be his own man? Is Osun going to revert to its constitutional name, that is Osun State, or will it still bear the strange name: The State of Osun?”

“Why should those things bother me? The one that I want to reflect upon is the absenteeism of Aregbesola as husband for eight years! And I identify with Iya Kabiru on this special occasion, marking the return of her beloved husband to full-time husband duties.”

“It is not your duty to intrude into other people’s privacy. What are you driving at? What the man says about his wife is not our business. He probably was talking more about truancy rather than absenteeism.”

“Na you sabi. I am saying congratulations to Iya Kabiru, all the same. As an advocate for women empowerment, I congratulate her on the many good things ahead: this special honeymoon that awaits her, in the loving hands of Baba Kabiru. And I say Iya Kabiru, e ku amojuba. E ku oriire, lopo lopo. In nine months, please invite us for a rice-and-soup-very-plenty-naming-ceremony. Triplets by the Grace of God!”

“You are very ridiculous. You are off limits”

“My friend, don’t be hypocritical. If our father, the Iku Baba Yeye himself, the Alaafin of Oyo, at 80 plus is still celebrating the arrival of babies, not just babies, multiple twins, Baba Kabiru must show proof of his own statement in nine months as a true son of Osun.”

“You are absolutely incorrigible. Who told you the only way a man can show affection to his wife is to put her in the family way. Is that what you call empowerment”

“I am just very happy for Iya Kabiru. I am overjoyed. Politics turned her husband into an absentee husband. Now, out of office, her husband says she will now be her project. Alihamdulilali!”

“I don’t see how Aregbesola can leave politics. Politics in Lagos and Osun. He will still be busy.”

“But with Iya Kabiru fully attended to. And by the way, Aregbesola should leave Lagos politics alone. He should stay in his own state of Osun.”

“You are crazy. Did you drink anything this morning? Can we change this subject?”

“On one condition”

“What condition?”

“You will congratulate Iya Kabiru”

“Okay, congratulations Ma. Thank you for standing by Governor Aregbesola through thick and thin. One yeye man in Lagos says you are the one we should congratulate”.

“Say it in Yoruba”

“Iya Kabiru e ku oriire o. E ku ti ipadabo Baba Kabiru o.”

“Only God knows how many women out there who have to deal with the challenge of having absentee husbands because their husbands are involved in the public arena. Such women are the true heroes of Nigerian democracy.”

“You know when you say that, what comes to my mind really, is the plight of the wives of the many soldiers who were killed recently by Boko Haram terrorists in Matele, Borno State. It is one thing to have a husband go to the battle-field, if he is absent, you at least know where he is and that he is busy, but to have him die on the battle-field, never to return, that is tragic. I feel for the widows of the fallen soldiers of Matele..”

“I am not satisfied with the way the Nigerian government has handled the matter. Obviously, Boko Haram has not been technically defeated. Has Alhaji Lai come up with anything yet?”

“Alhaji Lai? No, please. I watched a video of the attack that was in circulation over the weekend. I was horrified. The Boko Haram terrorists caught the Nigerian soldiers off-guard. They ambushed them and mowed them down. Sad. Very sad. I later saw a social media tweet by someone who said he saw his father in the video and the family has not yet heard from the Nigerian military. I also saw a post by a woman who cried out over the loss of her husband. Each time a soldier dies at the battle-front, many lives are affected.”

“118 of them. Just like that.”

“The government is obviously overwhelmed.”

“What really can government do? Terrorism is the new tragic reality of the age. It is the worst form of inhumanity known to man. It leaves governments in a bind; it drives society to the edge. It disrupts the order of values.

“There is a lot that the Nigerian government can do.”

“Please, this is not about politics. Don’t bring politics into this.”

“Who is talking about politics? I am saying our soldiers need to be better equipped and better protected. When a man signs up to be a soldier, he knows that he has signed up to die for his country if need be, but that does not mean he must be served up like barbecue to the enemy. Why are our military bases so porous, so poorly defended? Why is it so easy for anyone to get a military uniform? When our soldiers fall at the battlefront, what are the protocols for informing their families and managing the communication process? We need to professionalize the Nigerian military. If we must rely on technical assistance from other countries, let us do so. When our soldiers die, there must be special grants for their widows and survivors, to be paid for life if possible.”

“I will add another point. Any service chief that is not ready to focus on the job should be changed. Nigeria’s security chiefs should stop attending political rallies and meetings. We want soldiers in uniform, whoever wants to do politics should remove his uniform and wear agbada.”

“Anyway, the President has said that the loopholes that led to the fatalities will be blocked once and for all. I take that to heart.”

“Yeah, he spoke a whole week after the incident. I am surprised nobody is making an issue out of that.”

“You never know. May be the President was busy at the time. And a President doesn’t just talk. He has to consult and be briefed.”

“What is that? Busy doing what? Donald Trump talks every day. He is on twitter every morning, commenting on anything that catches his attention. He is involved.”

“This is Nigeria. This is not the United States. We have our own way of doing things here, from the Presidency to the man on the street. The President could have been busy for example, preparing for the 2019 Presidential debate.”

“Which debate? You think he will agree to participate in a debate?”

“Why not? I will like to see him in the debating hall, taking on issues with the likes of Omoyele Sowore, Oby Ezekwesili, Kingsley Moghalu, Tope Fasua, Donald Duke, Obadaiah Mailafia and of course Waziri Atiku Abubakar. Let him defend the “Next level” and let Ezekwesili and Sowore take him on.”

“I see you are not a nice man at all.”

“How? There are things the President can and should talk about. You have been lamenting over the killing of soldiers, for example, but look at what the Federal Government has just done for policemen.”

“And what is that?”

“Yesterday, the President approved more pay for Nigerian policemen. He approved the Rank Salary Structure Adjustment for policemen”

“No wonder”

“No wonder what?”

“There is this policeman that I know. I saw him and his wife yesterday evening. The two of them were laughing like jackass. I have never seen them look so happy. I thought something was wrong. So, it is the salary increase?”

“Let’s just say policemen deserve to be happy too. But it is not enough to increase their pay. Nigeria is heavily under-policed. We need more policemen. Like the military, the police should also be better equipped. They need better training. Clean uniforms. Decent barracks. An average policeman should be a university graduate, not a primary school drop-out.”

“Why are you saying policemen should be graduates, when most of your politicians don’t even have secondary school certificates? Sometimes, I don’t get you.”

“I know what I am saying. Every policeman should be a college graduate. You don’t understand. It is a next level thing. Nigeria can only move to the next level if we all begin to think out of the box.”

“Like your thoughts on Iya Kabiru eh”.

“Ha. Iya Kabiru! A hero. Someday, she should tell her story: the story of the big sacrifice her husband made as Osun State Governor!”

Breaking news: Sanwo-Olu adjusts campaign structure, appoints Ambode’s aide

By Olawale Abdulfatai

Less than a week to commencement of Gubernatorial campaign for 2019 election, All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate in Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has adjusted campaign structure, appointing Governor Akinwunmi Ambode’s aide, Abdul-Hakeem Abdul-Lateef and Lagos House of Assembly, Deputy Speaker, Wasiu Eshinlokun-Sanni as Directors.

The adjustment, the Guild gathered, was embarked upon to ensure that candidates of other political parties vying for the seat were kept on their toes till after the election.

Besides, the campaign team also adopted Independent Campaign Group (ICG) platform to run an inclusive campaign house that would accommodate aggrieved members and form a joint front ahead of 2019 election.

Under the new structure, 43 members of the party were appointed based on their expertise as directors and coordinators who were to serve across the three senatorial districts in the state.

After the adjustment, Tayo Ayinde was appointed as Director-General of Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu Independent Campaign Group (BOSICG), haven previously served in same position before the merger of Ambode and Sanwo-Olu campaign teams.

Aside him, Sanwo-Olu also appointed former APC Vice Chairman, Cardinal James Odunbaku as Deputy Director-General for the group.

At the inauguration yesterday, Ayinde announced the names of directors of the each created directorates, with various tasks tied to the entire positions.

On the list, Lagos State Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) former chairman, Moshood Salvador, was announced as Assistant Director-General who would oversee the group’s affairs in West Senatorial district of the state; with responsibility of coordinating President Muhammadu Buhari’s campaign in Lagos.

To handle other senatorial districts, the gubernatorial candidate appointed former lawmaker, Wahab Alawiye-King, also as Assistant Director-General for Lagos Central Senatorial district while former chairman, Agboyi-Ketu Local Council Development Area (LCDA), Yetunde Arobieke as Assistant Director-General for the East senatorial district.

Also on the director list were Eshinlokun-Sanni, who was appointed to oversea Research and Intelligence, Commissioner for Home Affairs and Culture, Abdul-Lateef, was assigned for Conflict Resolution while Lagos State former Solicitor-General, Lawal Pedro, was made to handle the group’s legal affairs.

Also, former Commissioner for Agriculture, Enoch Ajiboso, was appointed as Director, Community Affairs and former Commissioner for Rural Development, Cornelius Ojelabi, as Assistant Director-General, Lagos West (Badagry axis).

As Sanwo-Olu announced his appointment, a source from APC secretariat, disclosed that the party had created nine directorates that would handle 2019 election campaign for the party in the state.

The source said that, though, the party was making efforts to compel Sanwo-Olu’s ICG to collapse 41 directorate structures to nine, but that may not be achievable since the independent campaign group’s aim was to harmonize all aggrieved party members after the recently conducted primary election.

He hinted that the party had invited Ayinde and Odunbaku on the aforementioned but met stiff resistance of directors who were earlier privy to APC plan.

According to him, the party may have no option than to stay away from the group’s structure and accept Sanwo-Olu’s campaign plan.

Meanwhile, as part of the strategy to reach rural dwellers, an arm of Sanwo-Olu’s ICG was also established to engage citizens at grassroots level across the state.

The arm, ICG Grassroots Engagement Committee, as part of its responsibility is saddled with the responsibility of coordinating street canvassers and artisans within the state.

As part of the group’s responsibility, they would mobilise Community Development Association and Community Development Committee and other grassroots based organizations, basically to ensure full participation during electioneering campaign.

Police Still Determined To Prosecute Saraki Over Offa Robbery

The Nigerian Police Force has pointedly told Senate President Bukola Saraki not to entertain any sense of relief over the death of Michael Adikwu, a major suspect arrested in connection with the deadly multiple robberies in Offa last April.

Police said the five suspects arraigned in court in Ilorin, Kwara State, had already given them enough clues about Saraki’s involvement in the robberies and they were determined to prosecute him.

Police gave this position in a response to the statement by Yusuph Olaniyonu, Senate President Bukola Saraki’s spokesman.

Olaniyonu called for a probe of Adikwu’s death.

But the police appeared to have ruled out a probe of the death, saying that the the 30 year-old suspect slumped and died in detention.

“There is a post-mortem examination result in respect of the death of Michael Adikwu”, police spokesman, Jimoh Moshood said.

In any case, he went further, Adikwu’s death did not exculpate the Senate President, who was allegedly indicted by the five suspects now on trial in Ilorin, Kwara State.

Adikwu was a dismissed policeman, who in the course of interrogation admitted killing 22 persons, including pregnant women and nine policemen, police claimed. He was also the man who led the police to the other suspects and the recovery of 22 AK 47 Rifles carted away from the police.

“The law must take its course”, the police said, as they insisted that the arraigned suspects will provide enough testimony to prosecute the Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki.

The Police also dismissed political motive in the case they have against Saraki and explained why they were determined to prosecute Saraki for the crime committed.

“It should be of serious concern to all, that human life is sacrosanct and where investigation has been concluded and suspects arraigned in Court, judicial process must be exhausted and not hindered for the law to take its course in ensuring justice for the families of more than 33 innocent persons including pregnant women that were gruesomely murdered in cold blood”.

Here is the edited version of the police statement:

“The attention of the Nigeria Police Force has been drawn to the innuendo in the media on the death of a sectional gang leader Michael Adikwu ‘M’ 30Yrs, a dismissed policeman and an ex- convict, who confessed to have killed Twenty Two (22) persons including pregnant women and Nine Police personnel and carted away of 22 AK 47 Rifles at the Offa Police Divisional Headquarters during Offa Bank Robbery on the 5th April, 2018. It is therefore imperative that the Nigeria Police Force respond to the publication and set the record straight.

“The Nigeria Police Force is conversant and mindful of contempt of Court in commenting on cases already before the Court of competent jurisdiction.

“However, the Force is constrained and compelled to respond to the statement from Mr. Yusuf Olaniyonu, Special Adviser (Media and Publicity) to the Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki and not on the Court processes and proceedings on the case of Offa Bank Robbery for which Five principal suspects are now standing trial in a State High court in Ilorin, Kwara State.

The police insisted that the five suspects now in court—Ayoade Akinnibosun, Ibukunle Ogunleye, Adeola Abraham, Salawudeen Azeez, Niyi Ogundiran arrested for direct involvement and active participation in the Offa Bank Robbery and the gruesome killing of 33 innocent persons, indicted the Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki.

“The Five suspects admitted in their confessional statements to the Police investigators that they were political thugs of the Senate President, Federal Republic of Nigeria, Sen. Bukola Saraki and the Executive Governor of Kwara State, Alh. Abdulfatah Ahmed.

“The Five (5) gang leaders further confessed during investigation that they are political thugs under the name Youth Liberation Movement a.k.a “Good Boys” they also admitted and confessed to have been sponsored with firearms, money and operational vehicles, such as a Lexus RX 300 Jeep with Reg. KWARA, KWA 143 RM with inscription SARAKI on a sticker attached to the vehicle and Mercedes Benz Compressor Reg. LAGOS, LT 496 KJA.

“These two Vehicles were used for the Offa Bank Robbery by the five gang Leaders. The first vehicle was later registered after the Offa Bank Robbery to divert attention while the suspects were in detention.

“These confessions were made before the media and the public on the 3rd of June, 2018. It is therefore, evidently clear that the Senate President, Sen. Bukola Saraki has case to answer in the whole matter.

“It was also discovered during investigations that three gang leaders who participated actively in the Offa Bank Robbery, Viz: Ayoade Akinnibosun aka AY, Ibukunle Ogunleye aka Arrow and Adeola Abraham followed the Senate President, Sen. Bukola Saraki to Olofa’s Palace when the Senate President paid a condolence visit to Offa after the bank robbery.

“Further investigation into the matter revealed that all the Five gang leaders namely; Ayoade Akinnibosun, Ibukunle Ogunleye, Adeola Abraham, Salawudeen Azeez, Niyi Ogundiran have direct connection to the Senate President, Sen. Bukola Saraki as a picture of one of the five gang leaders when paraded by the Police was in ‘Aso Ebi’ (trouser) used during the Senate President daughter’s wedding.

“The Five gang leaders further admitted that they attended the Senate President daughter’s wedding held in Abuja.

“Consequent on all the above, a thorough and discreet investigation was concluded by the Police into the matter and all the five gang leaders arrested for direct involvement and active participation in the Offa Bank Robbery that indicted and implicated Senator Bukola Saraki, Senate President in the Offa Bank Robbery are alive and now in Court”.

Presidential debate: Buhari, Atiku to clash in December

The Nigerian Election Debate Group has fixed Dec. 14, as date for presidential debate that will see candidates of different political parties unveil their plan for country ahead of the 2019 general election.

The group’s chairman, Mr John Momoh who disclosed this on Thursday in Abuja at a press conference said the vice presidential candidates would slug it out on Jan. 19, 2019.

Momoh who is also the chairman of the Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria (BON), noted that the debates would hold at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja and would be broadcast live by all BON member stations.

NAN reports that President Muhammadu Buhari is the candidate of the All Progressives Congress with Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo as his running mate.

The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party is Alhaji Atiku Abubakar with Mr Peter Obi as his running mate.

Jonathan raises alarm over counterfeit version of book

Former President Goodluck Jonathan has raised the alarm over a fake online version of his book, “My Transition Hours’’ which he launched to mark his 61st birthday on Tuesday.

In a tweet on Thursday, Jonathan said: “ We have just been informed that a fake document contrived by mischief makers is being passed on as the e-version and hard copy of the just launched ‘#MyTransitionHours’’’.

“ Also, note that the e-copy of #MyTransitionHours ’is not being marketed, as such, the fake online version could only have been created by those out to deceive the unsuspecting public.

“ We advise the general public to ignore such publication as the chapters and contents are not the same as the book publicly presented two days ago in Abuja. #MyTransitionHours,’’ Jonathan further tweeted.

As the cover of the book displayed to differentiate the true from the false version, he further threw more light on the difference.

Jonathan in his book accused ex-President Barack Obama of U.S of pushing for his defeat in the 2015 Presidential election.

Jonathan said Obama took unusual step by “prodding the electorate to vote for the opposition” in the election.

“On March 23, 2015, President Obama himself took the unusual step of releasing a video message directly to Nigerians all but telling them how to vote,” Mr Jonathan wrote.

“In that video, Obama urged Nigerians to open the “next chapter” by their votes. Those who understood subliminal language deciphered that he was prodding the electorate to vote for the opposition to form a new government.”

Jonathan said that the message undermined Nigerians and smacked of hypocrisy.

“The message was so condescending, it was as if Nigerians did not know what to do and needed an Obama to direct them,” he said.

The former Nigerian leader added that although Obama, in his message, said “all Nigerians must be able to cast their votes without intimidation or fear,” his government was vehemently and publicly against the postponement of the elections to enable the military defeat Boko Haram and prevent them from intimidating voters.

“This was the height of hypocrisy!” Jonathan declared.

Jonathan’s grouse with Obama went beyond the video. He narrated in the book that the actions of the then U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, especially his visit to Nigeria after the elections were rescheduled from February 2015 to March belied a plot to humiliate him.

This, he explained, was because even though the decision to postpone the elections was taken by INEC after a meeting of the Council of State, Kerry refused to accept that it was in the interest of the country and the electorate.

“In fact, John Kerry did not accept our reasons for the rescheduling.

“How can the U.S. Secretary of State know what is more important for Nigeria than Nigeria’s own government?

“How could they have expected us to conduct elections when Boko Haram controlled part of the North East and was killing and maiming Nigerians? Not even the assurance of the sanctity of May 29, 2015 handover date could calm them down. In Nigeria, the Constitution is very clear. No President can extend his tenure by one day.”

Despite the criticism that followed the decision to reschedule the election, Jonathan insisted that the decision was the right one and it paid off.

“Anyhow, the six weeks served us well. We received the military equipment we were expecting within that period and our Armed Forces commendably dealt a deserving blow on the terrorists and repossessed all territorial areas of Nigeria previously occupied by the terrorists. Boko Haram was deflated up to the point I handed over to my successor on May 29, 2015.

“We conducted the elections peacefully, even if there were issues raised about its fairness. At least, the nation was relieved that the election held peacefully and that there was no post-election violence.”

“The decision and announcement to postpone the elections were eventually made by the only body which could do so under the Constitution. I should talk briefly about the INEC here because of the insinuations that my administration muscled INEC to make the pronouncement. Of course, nothing could be farther from the truth as people came to realise.

“Yes, the posture of INEC could appear edgy, but it knew it was not ready and that the election was too important to mess up.

“The PVC shortage was everywhere. The lopsided collection of PVC caused an uproar that grew into a national din. The suspected housing of PVCs in the custody of non-INEC personnel was an issue.

There were also issues with card readers. All of these happening despite years of preparation and substantial funds made available. It was all building up to a perfect storm, but those were INEC’s problems which we were willing to help resolve.

“Even then, the security of our country was our job and the military advised as they deemed fit. Before the election was eventually rescheduled by INEC, I summoned all the Service Chiefs, the NSA, the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Director General of State Security (DG DSS), among others to get further information.

“Then I called a meeting of the Council of State and requested the heads of security services and the INEC chairman to attend. These were not apolitical, but at least they could rise above politics and represent the interest of the entire country.

“At the end of deliberations, it was agreed that the elections should be postponed for six weeks in order to create a safer environment for voters and officials on Election Day.

“Let me add that the Council of State comprises all former Presidents and Heads of State, all former chief justices of the federation, and all 36 serving State Governors who are from different political parties.

“The INEC was then directed to hold meetings with political parties while the NSA was to brief them on the security angle to the rescheduling.

“The vote in favour of the rescheduling was overwhelming. INEC thereafter announced the rescheduling of the election to the nation.

“I must add that beyond security concerns, one finds it difficult to understand how INEC or the political parties would want elections held at a time when more than 30% of the Nigerian electorate where yet to get their PVCs. This would have disenfranchised a significant portion of the electorate.

“The foreign pressure on the issue of election rescheduling was intense. They maintained the curious posture of one who had been deceived before and therefore had every reason to cede no credence to our position. But there was no reason to have such a posture.

“The United States and the United Kingdom were especially agitated. David Cameron, then the U.K. Prime Minister, called to express his concern about the election rescheduling, just as John Kerry came from the United States to express further worry. It was at best unusual and sobering. In fact, John Kerry did not accept our reasons for the rescheduling.

“It was unbelievable because at the back of our minds we knew why the agitation was beyond what meets the eye. There were deeper political interests.

“In attendance at the meeting of the Council of State where the decision to reschedule the election was taken were almost all the living former Heads of State of this country.

“That should have convinced John Kerry of the good intentions of the government. He cannot claim to love and defend Nigeria more than all our former heads of state present at the meeting. I have stated earlier how Kerry’s visit was designed to humiliate a sitting Nigerian President and clearly take sides in the country’s election.

“Anyhow, the six weeks served us well. We received the military equipment we were expecting within that period and our Armed Forces commendably dealt a deserving blow on the terrorists and repossessed all territorial areas of Nigeria previously occupied by the terrorists. Boko Haram was deflated up to the point I handed over to my successor on May 29, 2015.

“We conducted the elections peacefully, even if there were issues raised about its fairness. At least, the nation was relieved that the election held peacefully and that there was no post-election violence,” Jonathan stated in his book.

Osinbanjo extends TraderMoni initiative, captures three more markets in Lagos

By NewsDesk, 

The Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, has extended Federal Government’s TraderMoni initiative, which has been giving traders across the country access to N10,000 interest free loans, to three other markets in Lagos State, the development of which came weeks after the programs were flagged off in the state recently.

Osinbajo, who led other Federal and State Government officials to Ikotun, Igando and Ile Epo markets yesterday, urged the traders to make judicious use of the loans to secure more from Federal Government.

While interacting with the traders, Osinbajo said the objective of the scheme would be defeated if traders do not repay the loan to secure more from Federal Government.

“This is one initiative this administration has put in place to address the plights of those at the grassroots. To help you grow your businesses and make lives meaningful to you and your families. That’s why we ensure there is no collateral and when you repay the loans, you can secure more from government because it shows you are serious with what you are doing, ” he said.

Some of the traders who spoke to Daily Trust applauded the gesture but pleaded for more loans saying they would be willing to boost their trades and businesses with as much fund as possible made available to them.

Yemisi Babalola, a salt trader in Ikotun market expressed readiness to invest the money in her trade. She said although she would love the money to be increased, she is nonetheless going to make judicious use of the initial fund to qualify for more loans.

Similarly, Jide Akanni, a butcher at Old Epo market said he took the arrivals of TraderMoni officials in the market for him to be convinced that it was really. He said having been registered and his account credited, he now believes the scheme is real.

“When they say TraderMoni, I always thought it was one of these political gimmicks. But today, I am convinced it is real. If I can repay the initial loan given, I have been assured of prompt increased money,” Akanni said.

Aig-Imoukhuede and the initiative for public governance

By Reuben Abati

A week ago, I stumbled on an article titled “Africa and the burden of Leadership” (The Guardian, Nov. 7), written by Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, banker, investor and entrepreneur, former Managing Director of Access Bank Nigeria, our compatriot. The piece was actually excerpted from a speech he delivered at the graduation ceremony of government and public policy students at the Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford, UK, in his capacity as founder of the Africa Initiative for Governance (AIG). The AIG was founded by him in 2014.

The piece made me curious and I had to check out the Africa Initiative for Governance online. In this age of “google-it” or what others call the “white man’s oracle,” if you are in doubt about anything or you are looking for information, just consult the google-oracle. So I googled it to double-check some of the information already provided in the article before me.

Indeed in 2014, Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede founded the Africa Initiative for Governance (AIG) as a not-for-profit, private sector-led Foundation to promote good governance and public sector reform. Every year, since 2016, the AIG, in partnership with the Blavatnik School of Government has provided post-graduate scholarships for a Masters in Public Policy (MPP) programme at the University of Oxford. To date, persons selected from Nigeria and Ghana have benefitted from the programme. Five of them graduated in November 2018.

They are expected to return to their home country and become change agents in their country’s public sectors. Five other AIG scholars enrolled for the MPP in September 2018.

Every year, the Foundation also awards the AIG Fellowship to an outstanding public official in Nigeria or Ghana. To date, Professor Attahiru Jega, former Chairman of Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the immediate past Chief Justice of Ghana, Justice Georgina Wood have benefitted from the Fellowship.

The AIG is involved in partnership with the Office of the Head of Service of the Federation (OHCSF) to give teeth to a 2017-2020 Federal Civil Service Transformation Strategy and Implementation Plan to ensure the transformation of the Nigerian civil service, and general public sector reform. As recently as October 2018, the Africa Initiative for Governance(AIG) sponsored and facilitated a session: “The Unfinished Business of Reforms” at the 24thNigerian Economic Summit held at the Transcorp Hilton in Abuja, FCT. I further discovered that my friend and brother, Olusegun Adeniyi sits on the board of the AIG. I recall that he actually once wrote a piece on the initiative when it was first launched.

Aigboje Aig-Imokhuede is a member of the emergent generation of Nigerian wealthy men and women, the 80s generation that made its money in the last two decades, from banking, finance, securities, real estate, oil and gas and just about anything that could be turned into money as the decades progressed.

This rise of new money in Nigeria as different from “old money” (represented by the the Odutola brothers, Dantata, Ibru, Ojukwu, daRocha, Fernandez etc) also seems to have coincided with a rising consciousness about the need to give something back to society, that is philanthropy or social responsibility. There has been, in Nigeria, a re-definition of capitalism, in terms of a more benevolent construction, and the rich man as a responsible man of community and an agent for social good.

What has been seen, therefore, is the growth of institutions and initiatives devoted to the public good or ostensibly so, with too much money seeking to do much good. Alhaji Aliko Dangote, President of the Dangote Group, and one of the richest men in Africa, has the Dangote Foundation. Jim Ovia, owner of Zenith Bank, has a Jim Ovia Foundation, and is founder of the Jim Hope Schools. Tony Elumelu, Chairman of the Union Bank for Africa (UBA) runs the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) which has been supporting and grooming entrepreneurs in 44 African countries. Of all these efforts that I know, the least publicized in my view is the Africa Initiative for Governance (AIG). Or to put it differently, in a country where a Foundation that distributes food to the poor, and another small one that gives out second hand clothes, are much better known, a Foundation like the AIG which focusses on reform, governance and policy deserves more aggressive publicity – not to promote ego, but to inspire a much broader debate about its goals and objectives.

The only significant thing I notice however is that the acronym of the Africa Initiative for Governance is AIG. The founder, Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, is also more popularly known as Aig, a shortened form of his name. But greater publicity for the Foundation should expand access to the opportunities it offers. This is my point. How many persons in Nigeria or Ghana are aware of the scholarships and Fellowships on offer? Who knows that the Foundation exists? Aig-Imoukhuede may assume that the work of the Foundation will speak for it. These days, Foundations speak, and they should speak for themselves.

It remains for us to interrogate the foundations of the initiative, and some of the points raised in Aig-Imoukhuede’s article. The original assumption is that the civil service is the engine-room of a country and that for a country to function effectively, attain a competitive edge and for democracy to work, there must be in place a development-oriented civil service in place. Aig-Imoukhuede obviously believes as shown in his piece “Africa and the burden of leadership”, that the failure of African states is a function of the failure of the bureaucratic machinery in those countries, and that reform is required to reverse the trend, rediscover lost glory and reposition African countries for progress.

There is a touch of nostalgia in this. Many Nigerians growing up in the 60s, 70s, and early 80s in Nigeria will remember a country that once worked. Chinua Achebe referred to this when he titled one of his books, “There was once a country”. In that country referred to by Chinua Achebe, there may have been small corruption within the system, tongue and “tribe” may have differed, but Nigeria was a country that worked.

There was in place a state bureaucracy that provided opportunities and service for the average citizen. We had in the country some of the best schools in the sub-region, if not in the entire continent. Scholars from around the world came to teach at the country’s universities; there were foreign students in Nigeria as well. As a secondary school student, some of my teachers were from Pakistan, India and other parts of the Commonwealth. As an undergraduate, we had Faculty members from the United States, France, UK and Canada. Nigerian roads were fixed by a department called PWD, that is Public Works Department. In those days, teachers were special citizens because students and their parents celebrated them and appreciated their value.

A school principal or a primary school headmaster or headmistress was definitely a member of the local elite. There was a Sanitary and Hygiene Department at the Health Office. Today, Nigeria ranks second on the ignoble, global list of countries that are guilty of open defecation due to the absence of public latrines! There was regular power supply in those days. Nobody had any need for a generator. Today, every home is a power station. You have to generate your own water, your own electricity too. The situation is so bad that the Federal Government has had to declare a national emergency on water supply, sanitation and hygiene (WASH).

AIG believes that the narrative can be changed and that new thinking can produce a new Nigeria. Aig-Imoukhuede is convinced that public sector reforms focused on human capacity development and institutional capacity building can change our circumstances.

The truth is that there have been many public service reforms in Nigeria as has been convincingly argued and rigorously analysed by Tunji Olaopa, our former Perm. Sec at the State House who in a few days will be delivering an inaugural lecture as a Professor at the Lead City University in Ibadan. (see for example: Tunji Olaopa, Managing Complex Reforms, Ibadan: Bookcraft, 2011, 315 pp). Nonetheless, in spite of all of those reforms, Nigeria remains classified as a “hesitant reformer”. Countries like Ethiopia, Ghana, Rwanda, South Africa, Mauritius, Botswana, and Kenya are ahead of Nigeria. Nigeria remains resistant to new thinking.

Aig-Imoukhuede through the AIG, wants to intervene from within, through private sector injection, into the policy making process. His entry route is education. He believes that if the private sector can invest over time, in human capital, create a pool of public policy experts who have been schooled in some of the best institutions in the world, when such individuals are injected into the system, they can make a difference. He even intends to set up a public policy university in Nigeria where such new thinkers can be produced.

I get the point about human capacity investment. Many countries in the developing world have learnt to recruit into their bureaucracy only the best and the brightest available. In India, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Pakistan, you must be really smart to be a civil servant. It is understood that what happens in terms of the management of the state determines everything else.

In Nigeria, our civil service system has been overtaken by nepotism, lack of merit, incompetence and complete disregard for critical thinking. The same Nigerian civil service that once produced Super Permanent Secretaries (including Philip Asiodu, the late Allison Ayida and late Hayford Alile), now produces ethnic champions, looters, “area boys”, and closet politicians. Aig-Imoukhuede believes that a carefully groomed and intellectually exposed new elite can create a revolution. He has taken the strategic step of involving beneficiaries from Ghana and other African countries.

I assure Aig-Imokhuede that he may end up having more success stories from Ghana and elsewhere in Africa. But that does not mean he must give up on his own country. He made his money here and he has an obligation to contribute to the re-making of the country of his birth. The path he has chosen is much better than donating money to politicians who do not understand policy or the developmental process that will produce a better society.

It is a much wiser way of spending his money than acquiring additional wives or side chicks, living large like an octopus, dressing like a coxcomb, or becoming an embarrassing face of capitalism. My worry is this: when the new bureaucratic elite that he is helping to create through first world education return to Nigeria or Ghana, how do they fit in, into the rot in Nigeria especially? How do they fit into the prevalent culture of anti-intellectualism?

A Masters in Public Policy (MPP) from Oxford is great but is Nigeria’s civil service today, ready for Oxonian intellect and competence? What is the guarantee that some of AIG’s products will not end up elsewhere in other countries where they may be better valued? Aig-Imoukhuede wants to create 21st century technocrats for a 19thcentury system in Nigeria. Will elite public policy education also prepare his beneficiaries for the primordial constraints of the Nigerian public sector?

Let me simplify that. In Oxford, and I believe in the elite school that Aig-Imoukhuede wants to build, they will teach things like planning, processes, innovation, creativity, efficiency and outcomes as parts of the bureaucratic engine. How will the AIG agents when they return to Nigeria respond to their other colleagues who in the first place are holding strategic positions because of Federal Character and whose secondary school certificates cannot be traced and who have never been to anywhere close to Oxford? How will they relate with the horde of civil servants who will leave the office before noon every Friday and will not return?

How will they deal with a system where records are not kept and nobody wants to keep any record because of an established “Guardian syndrome” – the this-is-how-we-have-always-done-it mentality that has always made new thinking impossible in the Nigerian civil service? The plan is to train AIG Fellows to think modern, post-modern even, but what should they do with that other colleague who during the weekend had been shown wearing a masquerade attire and prancing about with a primitive sword in his hands, and paraded as the chieftain of a 9thcentury society?

I am not knocking AIG’s emphasis on human capacity development and institution building. I am trying to problematize what they propose by saying that there is a whole lot more beyond the development of a new skills-set, and a new generation of thinkers. Nigeria failed first at the level of values, culture and ideals before its public service followed suit and failed. The entire country itself needs to be re-built before the input of private institutions like AIG can be better felt. We need a different kind of leadership: a leadership that values ideas and the capacity of human beings to make a difference, and a governance system that is driven by ideas and a competitive spirit.

Nigeria cannot afford to continue drifting. It is the reason many of our capitalists are beginning to jump into the fray to see what they can do from the private sector-end to reduce the spread of institutionally generated madness. It is probably in their enlightened self-interest to be seen to be actively creating new currents within the country, and an enabling environment for capital to thrive, but we should hold Aig and others at the higher end of the spectrum: their love for country.

The founders of AIG and similar others have proven one point: that leadership is a collective responsibility and more so, between the public and private sectors. In doing so, they all hold up a candle to future generations and offer hope that some day, this country will reach the turning point of progress. AIG doesn’t want Nigeria and the rest of Africa left on the tarmac. That’s fine. Nigeria needs to board a flight to a higher destination…