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What’s wrong with these end-time Governors?

By Reuben Abati 

I believe we all have that one family member who thinks that he or she has the right to intrude into your schedule and order you around. When they call you, they won’t give up until you pick their calls. And these people, they can call you liked a hundred times. Send text messages. Whatsapp. Report you to the entire neighbourhood.

They can be so ferocious, your phone will keep ringing non-stop, you would think the fire service is at your door. This is exactly that happened to me, for at least two hours, as I sat down to write this piece. I stubbornly refused to take the calls. Wetin? Some people can use the phone to harass and intimidate.  Ki lo de? I could neither think nor write.

I had other things in mind: the defiance of the Sudanese Professionals Association, for example. The people of Sudan want a new post-Omar al-Bashir order, a complete break from the past,  by all means. They have refused to accept whatever has been offered by the military council that took over after Omar al-Bashir’s ouster.

They want an immediate transition to civilian rule that is led by the people themselves not by soldiers. I am fully in support of the people of Sudan. Omar al Bashir is a shameless dictator. He deserves the place that he has now been given in the Kober Maximum Prison, the same place where he used to keep his critics and victims.

He also deserves a day before the court of justice: to answer for his crimes against humanity and the hardship he imposed on his own people. African dictators, like Percy Shelley’s Ozymandias, believe that they are invincible but we have seen them falling one after the other and there are more that should fall: Paul Biya in Cameroon, Yoweri Museveni in Uganda, Teodoro Obiang Mbasogo in Equitorial Guinea and Idris Deby Itno in Chad. Between 1993 and 1999, our own professionals used to be like present-day Sudanese Professionals.

We had the Concerned Professionals, who stood up and insisted on an immediate end to military rule in Nigeria. But that was then. Our professionals have all since taken to pepper soup and goat head, and to inanities garbed in the cloak of acquiescence and indifference. Many of them have developed pot-bellies.

They have eaten their own part of the forbidden Nigerian fruit, their mouths smeared with oyel, I mean oil. And hence: Professor Pat Utomi who was one of the original minds behind the revolt of the Nigerian middle class in the mid to late 90s Nigeria is now writing a trilogy on the complicity of the Middle Class and how that Middle Class has failed Nigeria. There are lessons for the Nigerian Middle Class in what is happening in Sudan.

I also had in mind the Easter Day killings in Sri Lanka, over 290 dead and over 500 injured in what looked like a pre-meditated, organized attack on churches, guest houses, hotels and other buildings. Coming shortly after the tragedy of Notre Dame de Paris, those who argue that Christianity seems to be under assault and that our humanity is under siege may not be too far from the truth. Sri Lanka is a country with serious ethnic and religious fractures, a little trigger could throw that country back into civil war and protracted humanitarian crisis. The response of the enlightened world is in order; the blatant act of terror has been condemned from the Vatican to Nigeria’s Aso Rock.

I wondered though, how our own Aso Rock picked up the tragedy in Colombo with such emotional clarity and promptly issued a statement. On Good Friday, there were reports of Christians being killed in Katsina-Ala Local Government of Benue State as they returned from church. The Nigerian Presidency apparently missed that, but of course Sri Lanka was in the international news networks, and our leaders in Nigeria hardly watch Nigerian news channels. But let someone fire a shot in the West Bank, or release a report in Washington DC, or a bullet in Yemen, there will be a buzz around Nigeria.

It is amazing how the yet unaddressed imbalance in the global information order leaves Nigeria constantly showing up at the lower end of the moral, governance and policy spectrum.

I was also thinking of the Sharia Council telling President Muhammadu Buhari to take national security seriously and protect Nigerian Muslims, and I thought the best message would be to insist that all Nigerian lives matter- Muslim, Christian or animist. I also read a story about the Minister of Finance saying Nigeria is mindful of its borrowings from the Chinese, Eurobond loans, the World Bank and the Africa Development Bank and how we have not even borrowed enough because we have not yet reached the threshold of borrowings within our peer group, and I felt like lamenting how poorly digested textbook knowledge sabotages Nigeria.

By now, Nigeria should be tired of all these half-baked ideas about debt-to-GDP ratio, and all these power point intellectuals who get to high office after a weekend course in Harvard where they learn nothing other than the ability to do power-point magic. Their village-type, poorly exposed bosses look at the power point and they think it is magic.

Pat Utomi may need to investigate the abuse of technology as an instrument of deception and theft in policy corridors, facilitated by the complicit middle class that he is disturbed about.

My head was trying to sort out these issues, even as my phones kept ringing, buzzing and tingling. The calls would not stop. The urgency was intimidating. The persistence was offensive. I picked.

“Yes?”

“I have been calling you since. If somebody is calling you, you should pick your calls.”  You know that kind of tone, sounds like the guy at the other end is holding a horse-whip and would apply it on your back, to beat the devil out of you, if you were available.

I smiled, knowing that the call will soon go off and you will be told later that the caller’s credit is finished. In Nigeria, callers don’t ever have credit on their phones, particularly if they are calling from hometowns. You ‘d have to call them back and send them phone credit later.

“Yes? Ki lo sele. I hope there is no problem. A ku odun oh. Compliments of the season. How are my children?” It always helps to be polite.

“Amosun ti tun bere oh. Amosun has started again. Jemila ori e ti jeun yo o. He is on rampage”.

“What’s the problem?” Ibikunle Amosun, also known as Senator Ibikunle Amosun (SIA) is the Governor of Ogun State, Nigeria, (2011-2019).  Amosun ran for the Senate from Ogun Central, his Senatorial district in the 2019 general elections, and the people of that constituency decided to send him to the National Assembly which sadly has become a retirement home for former Governors who need a resting place and for all kinds of malcontents without measurable ability- the reason Nigeria’s National Assembly is progressively incompetent.

Amosun also wanted to impose one of his boys as Governor of Ogun State; he even chose candidates for all the seats in the election, but the people rebuffed him. They rejected his Gubernatorial candidate and voted majorly for the All Progressives Congress, the party that brought him, Amosun to power, and which he rejected to go and form a rival party, a platform he deployed to treacherous use in one of the most classical cases of anti-party politics. But Amosun is not giving up. He lost the election. He was humiliated, but since the elections, he appears set on a revenge mission.

“Amosun has sent caterpillars to Kuto market. He wants to demolish all the shops including Mama’s shop. Call your sister quickly, so that they don’t destroy the shop.”

Mama means my mother. She died in 2013. In her lifetime, she rose to be an Iyalode of one of the key groups in that market and the state. The caller was so hysterical that her shop will be demolished. But wait a moment, if Amosun wants to demolish the entire market, it would be wrong to worry about personal spaces.

“Caterpillars are already in Kuto. They say Amosun has asked them to demolish anything in sight”, I was told.

It is barely four weeks to Governor Ibikunle Amosun’s end of tenure, but he seems to find it difficult to withdraw as Governor of the state. His minion having lost the Gubernatorial election, he has since embarked on a desperate mission to tie the hands of the Governor-elect, Prince Dapo Abiodun. He is creating booby traps for him.

He is laying land mines. If what we know is so bad, how about other acts of mischief that are not yet in the public domain? Since the Gubernatorial election of March 9 in Ogun State, Senator Ibikunle Amosun has refused to conduct himself after the fashion of a gentleman. He and his chosen candidate have refused to congratulate Dapo Abiodun, the declared winner of the election. Instead, Amosun, using the power of incumbency has been busy appointing permanent secretaries, general managers, and board members.

These new appointees are not going to work with him. They will work with a new Governor that will be sworn in next month. Is it morally right, intelligent or correct to act so mischievously? Amosun has also embarked on the demolition of houses and structures while announcing new projects by the state government.

In Abeokuta his hometown where the people voted for him to go to the Senate because they believe he used the office of Governor to help his own Egba people, Amosun has been busy demolishing houses and shops in Adatan towards Moore junction, Adigbe, Lafenwa market and now Kuto. The people’s interpretation is that Amosun is targeting political opponents and their areas of influence.

But his main target is Dapo Abiodun, the Governor-elect. There are uncompleted projects across the state. Amosun is not focusing on those uncompleted projects in the twilight of his administration. He is busy destroying things and creating new problems. It may take Dapo Abiodun a whole four years to correct the damage that Amosun has created since the election of March 9. Whose interest is being served? Even President Muhammadu Buhari who may not need handover notes is asking for handover notes.

In Ogun State, Amosun has refused to set up a transition committee. The Governor-elect has a Transition Committee and 10 working groups. But there is nobody to talk to on the other side because the Governor has refused to recognize the people’s will.  Amosun can beat his chest in his wife’s presence in “the other room” and remind her that he is still the man in Ogun State – good for him- but each time he does that he should keep an eye on the clock and the timelines of history.

It is sad that our democracy in Nigeria continues to create little tyrants. Amosun is definitely not alone and this is not in any way, a partisan comment. In Oyo state, there was once upon a time a man who called himself “the constituted authority”.

He too demolished buildings and punished anyone whose face he didn’t like. His name is Abiola Ajimobi. He was also once a Senator, and he became Governor. As Governor of Oyo state, he was a male version of the legendary Efunsetan Aniwura, the bad woman of Ibadan politics. Not even the Olubadan could talk to Ajimobi. He trampled on the traditional institution and surprised even his own most ardent admirers.

Why and how do good men end up as villains in Nigerian politics? I have no clue yet. It is sad that in Oyo state as in Ogun state, we have been hearing stories about the outgoing Governor behaving badly. Ajimobi also wanted to go to the retirement house in the National Assembly. The people have rejected him and also rejected the candidate he wanted as his successor. Ajimobi has not been smiling since then. He too has been behaving like a bull in the China shop.

Ajimobi is just probably slightly better than the out-going Governor in Imo State, Rochas Okorocha who also wants to go to the National Assembly. INEC won’t give him a Return Certificate because INEC insists he forced the state Resident Electoral Commissioner to declare him winner under duress. Okorocha wanted his son-in-law as his successor, but the people of Imo state refused. They voted instead for Emeka Ihedioha of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

In Imo state, the people have rejected Okorocha’s “Iberiberism”, whatever that means.  Ihedioha should humour Okorocha after May 29, by erecting his statue at the market place so the people of Imo State will for long remember the “Iberiberism” known as Rochas Okorocha.

These are only three examples of the end-time Governors in Nigeria. Their two-term tenures have ended but they want to retain control and remain in charge. This is not the first time we would see this withdrawal syndrome on display. Power is like opium. It is addictive. Once you take it, you get hooked. End-time Governors probably deserve some kind of rehab treatment.

They must learn to let go. There must be legislation banning all departing Governors from making last minute bank withdrawals, contract approvals, demolition of houses and shops, and new appointments. The rule that a serving Governor is in power till the last minute is made for decent people, not for the types we have seen in Nigeria. The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) should be more concerned about these rogue, end-time Governors than the politics of the 9th National Assembly.

Nigeria and the Misery Index: Not a miserable country

By Reuben Abati 

In a Report titled The Misery Index 2018 authored by Dr. Steve Hanke of the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, Nigerians have been labelled the sixth most miserable people in the world.

The misery index was introduced in the 1970s by Arthur Okun, an American economist, author of the seminal work, Equality and Efficiency: The Big Trade Off (1975). The original index considers such factors as unemployment rate and inflation rate.

It is a formula, a methodology as it were, consistent with what is known as Okun’s law, but modified subsequently by Harvard Professor, Robert Barro and Professor Steve Hanke. The latter releases a Report annually.

He tells us that: “My modified Misery Index is the sum of the unemployment, inflation, and bank lending rates, minus the percentage change in real GDP per capita. Higher readings on the first three elements are “bad” and make people miserable. These are offset by a “good” GDP per capita growth which is subtracted from the sum of the bads. A Higher Misery Index score reflects a higher level of misery, and it’s a simple enough metric that a busy president, without time for extensive economic briefings can understand at a glance.” 

In the 2018 Report which is basically a forecast of what to expect in the year 2019, Hanke identifies Venezuela as the most miserable country in the world, followed by Zimbabwe, Argentina, Iran, Brazil, Turkey, Nigeria, South Africa, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Egypt and Ukraine. . Is Nigeria the sixth most miserable country in the world? Where is Syria? South Sudan? Somalia. Steve Hanke’s Report does not necessarily cover all the countries of the world. But certain points are clear from his submissions.

First, the Misery Index makes the point very clear that economic growth is linked to the people’s prosperity and happiness. Countries that suffer from stagflation are likely to have very miserable citizens.

Second, lack of economic growth or a poor economy can result in political and social crisis as we have seen in Venezuela where inflation rate is said to be above 6,000% and Zimbabwe where inflation is allegedly over 97%, although this has been disputed in other evaluations which unlike Hanke’s Index, accommodate the employment rate in Zimbabwe’s informal economy.

Third, good governance, leadership and political stability are important factors for macro-economic growth. The least miserable countries in the world as seen in the Misery Index 2018, would also seem to have strong leadership, and institutions and a certain measure of stability.

Fourth, poverty should be avoided because it could lead to misery. Fifth, the state has a responsibility to prevent the growth of poverty and promote economic growth.

It is important to break down and outline some of these well-known, elementary points because I see a tendency in this season to ignore external rankings or politicize them. The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has already jumped on the back of the Misery Index to say that the Report confirms the party’s position that Nigeria’s economy “has virtually collapsed under Buhari.”

The Hanke index does not say that the Nigerian economy has “virtually collapsed”. It says the people are among the ten most miserable people in the world. It is an economist’s index not a political review.

Nonetheless, there are certain basics that should be established. Indeed, unemployment rate in Nigeria is about 23. 10 per cent (Q3 2018, an all-time high between 2006 and 2018. Youth unemployment according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) is even higher. Inflation rate is about 12%. Food inflation is higher at 13.5%. Recently, the Central Bank of Nigeria reduced Monetary Policy Rate (MPR) to 13.5%, down by 50 basis points from 14%.

Nigeria’s GDP growth is 1.8%.  Compared to statistics from other parts of the world, these Nigerian statistics paint a gloomy picture. Unemployment rate in India, for example, is 6.1%, Canada (5.8%), Australia (4.9%), United Kingdom (3.9%), Germany (3.1%), Ghana (2%), Cote d’Ivoire (2.6%), Saudi Arabia (12.7%) etc.

There is also no doubt that the Nigerian economy has gone through major contractions in the last five years. The sharp drop in the spot price of oil depleted the country’s reserves, created a foreign exchange crisis  and soon resulted in recession.

In 2016, Nigeria faced the consequences of a negative growth of up to 2.3 %; in 2017, inflation was as high as 18%. In September 2018, the Economic Intelligence Unit of The Economist Magazine and the HSBC Research Unit predicted a gloomy economic prospect for Nigeria in 2019 and also jumped into the troubled waters of analyzing Nigerian politics, with predictions about the likely outcome of the 2019 Presidential election in Nigeria. Both the ruling party in Nigeria – the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Nigerian government kicked. They told the “experts” to keep their opinions to themselves.

The EIU/HSBC in retrospect got the political analysis wrong (PDP lost the 2019 Presidential election, APC won) but the economic projections remain relevant and instructive. The Steve Hanke Misery Index Report may have been influenced by the EIU report.

Rather than dismiss it however, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Presidency (Hanke insists the message is so straightforward even a busy President can follow it) should study the report and attend to the messages about economic growth and the careful management of certain indicators to deliver prosperity to the people. Nigeria’s palace economists may quarrel over the statistics and the methodology, but not the common sense.

But is Hanke’s description of Nigeria as the 6thmost miserable country in the world accurate? Even if the Nigerian economy has not “virtually collapsed”, can misery be affirmed strictly on the basis of unemployment rate, inflation rate and lending rates? Does poverty necessarily translate into misery? Is the correlation absolutely given?  Nigeria ranks low in this 2019 Misery Index, just as it ranks low on the Human Poverty Index and the Human Development Index – these are challenges for governance and leadership. But does all that mean that Nigerians are miserable? The word misery connotes unhappiness, distress, wretchedness, hardship, suffering, affliction, anguish, sadness, sorrow, melancholy.

I think there are gaps in the Hanke Misery Index in terms of the parameters adopted; perhaps a more holistc assessment of the connection between economic growth and a people’s response as individuals and communities may have shown that economic prosperity and growth do not necessarily guarantee a people’s happiness. There may well be more misery in all the developed countries of Central Europe taken together than may be in Kenya or Cape Verde.

There are perhaps certain anthropological factors, a certain kind of neuroscience that accounts for a people’s happiness rather than cold macro-economic statistics. In 2011, Nigeria was classified as the happiest place on earth in a Gallup Poll and its people as the most optimistic. This was within the context of widespread underdevelopment, and all forms of social sector crisis.

Nigeria’s status as a happy country was again confirmed in a World Values Survey in 2014. It is noteworthy however that in 2018, Nigeria was listed as the 91sthappiest country in the world, and the 5th happiest country in Africa in the World Happiness Report. OBv iously so much happened negatively in Nigeria between 2014 and 2018. But the sum indication is that as at 2018, Nigerians were adjudged happier than they were between 2014 and 2016.

How then can we suddenly become the sixth most miserable country in the world a year later? The difference is who is looking at what. The UN 2019 Happiness Report, for example, focusses on the human being and community, on relationships, or the neuro-science and the anthropology of happiness, rather than economic indicators.

The World Happiness Report is more reflective of the Nigerian situation in my view than the Misery Index. We may have moved from being the happiest people on earth to the 91stin the world, a reflection of the existential crisis that Nigeria faces, but the word misery does not quite capture the people’s true essence.

My point is as follows: the measurement of happiness or its antonym, misery is perhaps more subjective and experiential than academic and statistical. Culture and context should matter. Nigeria has been described as one of the poorest countries in the world. The country faces a problem of low level insurgency in the North East.

Corruption is rife. Reports of all shades of violence are common place. The country’s wealth is concentrated in a few hands. Steady economic growth is a challenge. But we the people are not in misery. There may have been a slight increase in cases of suicide and depression in the country since 2015, but generally Nigerians are a resilient lot.

The average Nigerian is imbued with a fighting spirit.  If people in other countries go through what Nigerians have gone through and are still going through, such countries would have imploded. But Nigeria has not collapsed because the people’s fighting spirit is unique. In the midst of risks and vulnerability to poverty due to economic mismanagement by Nigeria’s leaders, the average Nigerian continues to forge ahead.

These are people who don’t give up easily. They believe that tomorrow will be better. When they are faced with election rigging, voter intimidation, outright theft of public resources, these are people who are likely to say: is it not four years? “Let them come and do what they want to do and go away.”  When people get killed and are abandoned by the roadside, you’d be surprised that with the corpses lying in open spaces, some Nigerians can just pull seats together and begin to have a drink, a few metres away from a decaying body.

There is no weekend when there is no celebratory feast in a Nigerian community: flashy attires, expensive cars, exotic drinks, musicians waxing lyrical, and the men and women dancing away with no care in the world. I do not know any other country in the world where the parties and celebrations are as elaborate as the parties we throw in Nigeria.

The Misery Index is talking about high unemployment rates in Nigeria. This is true but the people are so resilient, they manage to get by. They have learnt to move beyond their governments. Nigeria is the biggest market in Africa. Those who cannot get formal jobs find other things to do.

Come to Lagos, Dr. Hanke. Some of the young ladies you would see on the streets of Lagos and on Nigerian Instagram are from very poor backgrounds and they have no extra-ordinary skills, but you are likely to see them driving expensive cars, wearing bespoke clothes, the type that Kim Kardashian cannot even afford.

This is the “small girl, big God” generation that puts a lie to all that talk about misery in Nigeria.  Besides, thuggery and cultism are considered professions in Nigeria, and regarded as more profitable and influential than medicine, law or engineering. Thugs and cultists are patronized by political leaders and they are well-paid for their efforts, particularly during election seasons.

It is only in Nigeria I guess, that a security guard, earning less than a $100 a month will have three wives and 10 children while his own employer will be struggling to maintain a family of four. It is also in Nigeria that you will find a civil servant having five wives and two concubines, even when he has not been paid a salary for 24 months.

Misery? Professor Steve Hanke is an applied economist. He may not have visited some of the countries covered by his study, but in the case of Nigeria, he should not rely on textbook statistics. Unemployment rate, lending rate, inflation rate, GDP per capita may make sense to the economists, but those things sound like voodoo to the average Nigerian.

The people live in a zone that is beyond theory. The average Nigerian is not intimidated by the gap between the very rich and the very poor, for him or her, there is a religious, rather, a spiritual side to this thing called poverty or inequality.

The Nigerian is told by the large population of prosperity evangelists in the country – Muslim, Christian, and animist – that he or she can become rich overnight. In Nigeria, you can see a man as poor as a church rat in January and by December he has a mansion in his village, attended to by a retinue of hangers-on, all very happy, and he too has become an employer of labour and he is likely to pay salaries more regularly than government! Nigeria is the ultimate headquarters of trade-offs; not even Arthur M. Okun could have imagined that.

The Nigerian character and attitude both raise questions about the true nature of work, employment, economic growth, or the meaning of misery beyond the theories and “forecasts”. The other question is: what is the integrity of the applied data?

Presidency Calls Obasanjo Desperate, Slams Letter

Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, former Nigerian leader needs a good doctor and in anticipation of a good treatment, a spokesman of President Muhammadu Buhari, wishes he should ”get well soon”.

It was part of the response from the Presidential Villa to Obasanjo following the 16 page letter he wrote to President Muhammadu Buhari and which he released this afternoon in Abeokuta.

Obasanjo, a partisan in next month’s election, is supporting opposition candidate, Atiku Abubakar, who he had savaged in a book and dubbed a ‘corrupt man’ and even invoked God’s wrath upon himself, if he ever backed Atiku’s presidential ambition.

Garba Shehu, the Senior Special assistant to President Buhari regarded Obasanjo’s attack against Buhari as puerile and the “the last push by desperate politicians who can’t handle the President(Buhari) politically and have resorted to subterfuge.

“This language of his 16-page letter, likening President Buhari to General Sani Abacha, a man he dreaded and the one who jailed him under military laws is most unfitting from a former President of Nigeria”, Garba said.

“The claim that President Buhari has put in place rigging machinery is both outlandish and outrageous. We are unable to get the words to describe a 90-year old liar, except to say that by the publication of this tissue of lies against the President, he Obasanjo, not the President will fall from everyone’s esteem.

“As repeatedly said of him, since Chief Obasanjo left office in 1979, he never let every succeeding leader of the country function freely, and this included the one he personally handpicked against all known rules drawn up by the party that put him in the office of the President.

“But Chief Obasanjo is jealous because President Buhari has more esteem than him and the sooner he learns to respect him the better.

“It is a notorious fact that in dealing with any leader that he failed to control, he resorted to these puerile attacks. As the grand patron, more correctly the grandfather of corruption as described by the National Assembly, Chief Obasanjo released today’s letter purely for the reason of rescuing his thriving corruption establishment.

“The elections starting in February will be free and fair as promised the nation and the international community by President Buhari.

“What Chief Obasanjo and his co-travellers in the PDP should expect is that from the outcome, we will teach them a political lesson that they will never forget. This margin will be much bigger than we had in 2015.

“Claims that President Buhari and the All Progressives Congress (APC) have embarked on the president’s “self- succession project, by recruiting collation officers who are already awarding results based on their projects to actualise the perpetuation agenda, in which the people will not matter and the votes will not count” is not only utterly false, but a copious note from the book on the failed third term agenda of President Obasanjo.

“The man, President Buhari who has taken Nigeria’s reputation to a higher level internationally and is working hard to improve on the records of elections he found in place cannot descend to the level that Obasanjo has himself sunk.

“As for his attacks of the administration’s records in fighting corruption, what the former President said is no more than evidence that President Buhari’s war against corruption is succeeding. They thought it is all a joke.

“A leader who took USD 16 billion “upfront” to supply electric power yet failed to add a single megawatt to the national grid and to date, there is no trace of the money is jittery that he will be called to account. He is a coward.

“Chief Obasanjo, manifesting a confused state of mind blames President Buhari for the fall of Libya into a failed state and the unholy alliance between the Boko Haram terrorists and the ISIS, while at the same time calling it an African problem, saying “the struggle must be for all West African, Central African, North African and most East African States,” which really does not amount to saying anything new.

“Nigerians looked up to him as a role model and a ray of hope to ethical and clean leadership until President Yar’Adua called him out to explain what happened to the sixteen billion dollars of taxpayer’s money. It is clear that with him sitting on top of the heap of corruption, he is no different from the crowd he leads”.

We will not retreat until Melaye surrenders – Police

The Nigerian Police Force said its men sent to arrest Senator Dino Melaye in his residence in Abuja will not retreat until the senator surrenders himself for arrest and investigation.

According to police spokesman, Jimoh Moshood, the officers have a duly obtained Warrant of Arrest to pick the senator, representing Kogi West.

“Senator Dino Melaye is wanted by the Police for a case of Criminal Conspiracy and Attempted Culpable Homicide, committed on 19th July, 2018, when Senator Dino Melaye and his armed thugs attacked Police personnel; shot and wounded Sgt. Danjuma Saliu, attached to 37 Police Mobile Force (PMF) on stop and search duty along Aiyetoro Gbede, Mopa Road in Kogi State”, Moshood said.

50 Corpses Burnt To Ashes In Anambra

Not less than 50 corpses deposited at the Enugwu Ukwu General Hospital Mortuary in Njikoka Local Government Area of Anambra State have been burnt to ashes.

This followed a fire outbreak which started from a nearby bush, sources say, adding that no less than 50 corpses were burnt in the fire,

The mortuary which is located few metres from other buildings in the hospital, was the only building affected by the inferno.

Governor Obiano says that State government will set up a panel to look into the remote and immediate causes of the fire outbreak at the morgue.

Describing it as double tragedy, the Governor commiserated with those affected and pledged to immediately commence reconstruction of the burnt building.

He urged them to exercise patience with the mortuary attendants. Many people who kept their dead relatives in the mortuary rushed to the scene yesterday on learning of the incident and were seen sobbing uncontrollably as they were unable to identify corpses they deposited.

Among the burnt corpses was said to be that of a prominent man in the area who died in the USA, and was brought home for burial in January 2019, while his relations were renovating his house in readiness for the burial.

President-General of Enugwu Ukwu Development Union, Bonny Nkwoagu said last night that although efforts were made to put out the fire when it started, the harmattan made it difficult.

He said that fire fighters came, they ran out of water and it was when they went to fetch water that the mortuary got burnt.

 

NAN

Jimi Agbaje and freedom misconception

By Olusesan Daini,

“Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity”- Martin Luther king Jr.

Being sincerely disposed to error is excusable, but activating ignorance and making deliberate attempt to walk a population of 26 million people into the proponent’s political frenzy will not be accepted in Lagos state of today.

Perhaps, the Jimi Agbaje, Lagos People Democratic Party (PDP) Governorship Candidate, recent utterance in public and inscriptions on campaign banners, that Lagosians needed freedom, at a time when Lagos is been unanimously considered the dominant and major contributor to Nigerian economy,  goes against Oxford Dictionary, which defines freedom as a state of having free will; the power or right to act, speak or think freely.

Could it be that the governorship candidate has separate meaning contrary to world accepted definition  of freedom such that gave him the right to portray Lagosians, the 21st century citizens and indigenes, as having deficiency of free will and lacking the power or right to act, speak or even think freely, the position of which obviously indicated how Mr Agbaje thinks about average Lagosian – a person with no right whatsoever.

Moving away from core issues and riding on emotional chagrin, Mr Agbaje goofed to have portrayed Lagosians as lacking political and democratic freedom. First, it must be noted that democracy is a game of number anywhere in the world. At a point in this country, the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) was the ruling party by majority decision of Nigerians; today, it is the All Progressives Congress. Also, states have been won and lost by both parties as reflection of the freedom Nigerians enjoy to make choices in the political space. Lagos is not different. One Permanent Voters’ Card is equal to one vote, and that Lagosians have continuously preferred the APC government based on conviction on the party’s ability to deliver good governance does not translate to lack of freedom whatsoever.

In APC’s Lagos State that gives no political and democratic freedom to Lagosians in the context of Mr Agbaje’s definition of freedom, six federal constituencies and six state constituencies were won by the PDP candidates in the 2015 general election. Three out of these 12 seats are currently being occupied by Lagosians of Igbo descent. The longest serving Publicity Secretary of the party and longest serving Commissioner of Finance are both of non-Yoruba ethnic origin.

Mr Agbaje’s attempt to launder his political deficit on the threshold of freedom fighting is not a goal! Also, claiming to wash Lagos financial mess under the APC is like wearing a fragrance to perfume shop to impress the owner. On two occasions that Mr Agbaje has contested to become Governor of Lagos State, his main financials were host of popular names on the looters’ directory who were members of the PDP and have participated in mindless looting of our national treasury.

The reign of PDP saw needless blockade of developmental strives such as independent power plan project, creation of additional 37 Local Governments, repair of Federal Government Roads under concessional plans, harmonisation of State traffic enforcement agency to provide assistance to Federal Government’s on federal roads within Lagos and lots more. All these anti-development policies were firmly supported by Agbaje in his several utterances on the matters. In fact, he supported the freezing of Lagos State allocations from federation account for three years during Governor Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s administration.

At a point, Agbaje, the proponent of mischievous freedom agenda, threatened Lagosians and the entire Yoruba race that Nigeria would explode should PDP lose Lagos State and Presidency in the 2015 general election. According to him, “Niger Delta militants would unleash terror”, which indeed came to pass before they were curbed at the inception of President Muhammadu Buhari’s government in 2015.

PDP is a party badly damaged leaving no trusted person of integrity as member till date – that is the platform Jimi Agbaje has been running and considers best for the good people of Lagos State.

On economic freedom, only three per cent of the State’s population have their wealth affiliated with earnings around politics and governance as active party members or serving political appointees; the rest 97 per cent are out there succeeding as industrialists, entrepreneurs, career personnel and creative talents. Lagos State is a place where someone with two pairs of shirts and trousers can become a billionaire in another one year due to enormous opportunities and freedom that are abound. No single person is capable of controlling Lagos State’s economy to himself because it is vast, diverse and limitless under a competitive economic atmosphere.

Agbaje’s attempt to divide Lagsosians along emotional line and drag them into campaign of denigration under the guise of freedom advocacy is a ruse, unpopular, uninteresting and does not represent a clear, unambiguous manifestoes for ensuring a greater Lagos, which Agbaje’s has failed to concentrate his efforts on but which APC’s Babajide Sanwo-Olu is critically addressing.

The 21st century thoughts respects facts, evidence, clear vision and deliverables in the political manifestos, which is the key thing that sells before electorates in Lagos State. As a multi-cultural and diverse ethnic base, Lagosians want issues addressed not sentiments capable of dividing the people. Agbaje needs to hearken to President Barrack Obama’s truism that any politician who divides the people for the purpose of winning election will not be able to govern them as divided people; neither would he be able to unite them back as a government.

I don’t see Lagosians trading their peace, continuity, steady development and unity they enjoy for any flimsy coax. That Agbaje thinks Lagosians lack free will, the power or right to act, speak or think freely is the biggest insult to an environment that would have been the fifth largest economy in Africa if it were to stand as a country. Agbaje is tactically misrepresenting thoughts of Lagosians, dismantling their intelligence base, reducing them to C class citizens akin to a war torn societies around the world.

Undoubtedly, Mr Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu has, in his brief media appearances, demonstrated proficiency and ability to take Lagos to a greater level given his vast knowledge for 13 years. Mr Sanwo-Olu has served as Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget, Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Commissioner for Establishment, Training and Pensions and Managing Director of the Lagos State Property Development Corporation spanning through three successive administrations of Governors Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Babatunde Raji Fashola and Akinwunmi Ambode consecutively.

Lagos State is the present and future of Nigeria. It is therefore very clear that only a person with clear ideas, experience and proven track records in governance is worthy to assume exalted position of a Governor of Lagos State, not an emotionally riddled and inconsistent fellow.

Daini is the Director, Media and Publicity, Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu Independent Campaign Group (BOSICG) and Chairman, Igbogbo Bayeku LCDA.

Security Guard Remanded For Stealing Judge’s Phone

An Ilorin Chief Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday, ordered that two men, Samson John and Ayodele Oluwagbemiga, be remanded in Federal Prison yard for allegedly stealing of a cellphone belonging to a High Court Judge.

Chief Magistrate Ibijoke Olawoyin, gave the order, after the accused persons were charged with four counts of criminal conspiracy, trespass, house breaking, and theft.

Olawoyin adjourned the case until Dec. 20, for further mention.

Earlier, the Prosecutor, Insp Alhassan Jibrin told the court that on Nov. 22, one Sgt. Usman Olayinka attached to High Court Judge in Basin area, Ilorin, reported the case at the Area Command office of the police in Ilorin.

Jibrin said that the complainant, alleged that the accused who is a security guard in the judge’s house, and one other, broke into the judge’s house and stole one Samsung Galaxy phone, valued at N300,000, some jewelries valued yet unknown and the sum of N10,000.

The prosecutor said that the police followed the accused to his home town in Otupa, Benue and arrested him for interrogation.

Jibrin said that during police investigation, the accused  confessed in his statement that he used the security room toilet key to open the main door and gained entrance into the judge’s room, and stole the items.

He said that the accused also confessed to have sold the Samsung Galaxy phone for N10,000 to one Micheal at Asoka village, Benue, who is now at-large, and sold the jewelries at the rate of N7,000 to the second accused person at Fakeye street, Basin, Ilorin.

The prosecutor said that the offence contravened the provisions of sections 97, 348, 288 and 317 of the penal code law.

The accused persons pleaded not guilty to the offence.

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.

Man Drowns At Friend’s Birthday Party

A 20-year-old man, simply identified as Chidiebere David, drowned on Thursday night in the swimming pool of a new but popular hotel on Margret Avenue, GRA, Aba in Abia, during a friend’s birthday party.

The Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) in Abia, Mr Geoffrey Ogbonna, confirmed the incident on Friday.

“The man is about 20 years old. His name is Chidiebere David. He accompanied his friends to a birthday party in the hotel and got drowned there. That was exactly what happened,’’ he said.

Ogbonna however did not say if the police was foreclosing further investigations into the matter.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) gathered that the deceased went with his friends who were over 16 in number to the hotel to celebrate the birthday of one of them.

Chidiebere who hailed from Imo died at the pool with no one realising that he had drowned until sometimes later.

NAN further gathered that when the deceased colleagues saw his body inside the pool and made frantic efforts to save him, they discovered that he had died.

The relatives of the young man were said to have later arrived at the scene, taken his body and deposited at a morgue close to the hotel.

An anonymous source within the hotel told NAN that the friends of the deceased were arrested and taken into custody same night by policemen from Aba Area Command.

 

NAN

Police arrests Governor over bribery allegation

By Newsdesk

The governor of Rio de Janeiro, Luiz Fernando Pezao, was arrested on Thursday over allegations he received bribes as part of the sprawling “Car Wash” graft probe, according to Brazilian media.

The Globo News television channel showed live footage of federal police at the residence of the governor, who remains in his home in custody.

Pezao is accused of taking bribes when he was vice governor under Sergio Cabral, who is currently in prison.

The police also raided the Guanabara Palace, headquarters of Rio de Janeiro’s government, searching for documents.

The Superior Court of Justice issued the arrest warrant based on the confession of Carlos Miranda, a former Cabral associate, who cooperated in exchange for a sentence reduction.

According to Miranda’s testimony Pezao would have received a monthly payment of 150,000 reais ($40,000) as well as end-of-the-year bonuses of up to one million reais.

The money would have been paid by companies and intermediaries bound by contracts with the Rio de Janeiro government during a period from 2007 to 2014.

The state of Rio de Janeiro is on the verge of bankruptcy and plagued by insecurity.

Wilson Witzel was elected in October to govern the state and is set to take office January 1.

 

NAN