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Adeleke’s victory, not blood-stained

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By Goke Awoyemi

When the people of Osun State, South-West Nigeria, trooped out enthusiastically to elect who governs them for the next four years on 16th July, 2022, they had two candidates in mind. These are Governor Isiaka Adegboyega Oyetola and Senator Nurudeen Ademola Adeleke, as the other contestants as INEC results has shown were mere appendages. Immediately Senator Ademola Adeleke was announced as the winner, President Muhammadu Buhari from the rulling All Progressive Congress congratulated him. The mere fact that no single life was reportedly lost during the exercise has further strengthened the credibility of the poll that Adeleke’s Victory was not blood-stained.

Except for Ismail Omipidan, the Chief press secretary to Governor Adegboyega Isiaka Oyetola’s article, published in the Nigerian Tribune, one would have reserved his comment on the Osun matter since it has been subjected to judicial process for determination. Omipidan’s article is seen as an attempt to use the paraphernalia of office to whip up sentiment, so that the reading public could sympathise with his principal and influence the decision of the tribunal.

However, the civil society organization, YIAGA AFRICA which Omipidan wanted to use to whip up sentiment has described “as lies efforts to twist its report on the outcome of the governorship election in Ekiti and Osun States.” The organization in a report published by Saturday Punch on September 17, 2022 stated this while reacting to publication credited to Ismail Omipidan claiming that the recently launched YIAGA AFRICA election result analysis dashboard report for the two elections in Osun and Ekiti confirmed that the governors who contested on the platform of All progressive congress won the elections. YIAGA AFRICA, in the statement issued by its Executive Director, Samson Idodo, said “Omipidan was only twisting the fact.”

Omipidan should think of going back to The Sun newspaper, a reputable platform where he was an Assistant Editor before his engagement. He should take a cue from elderly people like us, who has not been on any newspaper payroll since 2015, when INSIDER magazine where I was the South-West Bureau Chief went bankrupt. It was in the course of this adventure that I encountered Femi Babafemi, former Saturday Sun Editor who now works as the Public Affairs Director, Nigeria Drug Law and Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), who gave me a brief on specific target among the Yorubas who has national and state voices for interview that could adorn the front page of the newspaper. Senator Iyiola Omisore, who has not officially joined the rank of All Progresive Congress from the Social Democratic Party, but enthroned governor Oyetola in 2018 in a run-off election was among top Yoruba leaders I was commissioned to interview. But on sighting me when I entered the inner-most part of his living room, inspite of the fact that I told his closest political confidant, shouted at me with anger and said “Kilodegan?  Moni mi o fe press interview” meaning which, What is the problem? I said I don’t want any press interview. I did not shake, but was motionless for about 3 minutes, perhaps because his late father Oba Olajide Omisore (may his soul rest in peace), who was gesticulating at me was there with him. He (the late Oba), must have remembered when my late father (who told me that himself and the late Oba were contemporaries in the civil service before they retired) and myself  met with the Oba at his Orilonise residence, Moore area, Ile-Ife. I from there placed a call to Femi Babafemi to talk to Omisore himself, But he advised me to leave him if he doesn’t want to talk. Since then, I always have mix feelings before going to Senator Omisore’s house without invitation. These are some of the ugly encounters in this thankless job even if you meant no harm. Omipidan should not be afraid of going back to his desk instead of engaging the public in trivialities.

The journalistic instinct in me invoked my monitoring the poll in 3 polling boots namely, Gidiogbo, Ogbo-Oya (the ancestral home of Senator IyiolaOmisore, the National Secretary, APC) and Lujumo all situated at both Ife East and Central Local government arears. In all the 3 polling units, the polls were peaceful, free and devoid of any form of intimidation, except at Gidiogbo where a young man came shouting forcefully at the people on the queue that they must vote for a particular party in the presence of security agents. But because he was alone devoid of gangsters, he quickly left and his impact was not felt by the people waiting to cast their votes.

Governor Isiaka Adegboyega Oyetola lost the Osun governorship poll because of the lack-lustre performance of the President Buhari led Federal government on security, economy (where the dollar keeps rising every day and the price of commodities keeps soaring, with a loaf of family bread inches to N1,000, pushing higher the number of suicide especially among youths to commit suicide), infrastructural decay, (a road of one major street in Ile-Ife which the government started four years ago has not gotten half way till date), and the whole gamut of human endeavour, which prompted media guru Bashorun Dele Momodu to reason that APC is leading Nigeria to Golgotha,  and except Nigerians want to get crucified, APC should not be the choice.

Sentor Ademola Adeleke won with heavy reliance on his late brother’s solid political structure, late Isiaka Adetunji Adeleke who was the third Republic governor, and the first democratically elected governor in Osun and a serving Senator until he died in April 23rd, 2017. One would have expected governor Adegboyega Oyetola to congratulate him for defeating him twice, first before the run-off in 2018 and second on July 16th, 2022. In the America Presidential system which we copy from, when they try the Republicans for one or two terms, they switch over to the Democrats.

Goke Awoyemi, media consultant, sent this piece from Ile-Ife, Osun State

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Opinion

NIMASA in Blue Economy: Tinubu’s brainchild-ministry promoting Nigeria’s bilateral relations

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By Dr. Jimoh Olorede

Some deliberate initiatives taken by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, upon his election and assumption of office in May 2023, did not only show the President was innovative, decisive and proactive, but also showed he came prepared and ready for a serious business of governance. One of the products of Tinubu’s innovative ingenuity is the creation of the novel Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy, which has been applauded by many national and international stakeholders.

This new Ministry, for a reason of its great economic potentials, is now a cynosure and centre of economic attraction to many countries of the world. The creation of the new ministry out of the preexisting Ministry of Transportation, seemed to have broadened and widened our economic perspectives and horizons in relation to increasing Nigeria’s economic growth through the sustainable use and maximization of its maritime vast resources, as against merely generating revenues from marine transport.

Recently, the newly appointed Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Dayo Mobereola, received, in Lagos, the Spanish Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Juan Ignacio Sell, on an inspection of two additional Bulletproof Security Boats from Spain, purposely built for NIMASA by Aresa, a Spanish company. Sell, as reported by the press, said: “We got the message with the creation of Maritime and Blue Economy Ministry by the Federal Government of Nigeria, and knowing there are lots of things to harness from the sea, we also want to be partners in that process”, adding Spanish government has pledged to support Nigeria through NIMASA on maritime security. Similarly, earlier in November 2023, the Spanish Navy was also in the country for collaboration in personnel training and ship building in a bid to curbing maritime crimes.

The viability, uniqueness, and resource-potentials of the then-old-but-now-new agencies (at least, now being under a new ministry) like NIMASA, the Nigerian Port Authority (NPA), and the Nigerian Shippers Council (NSP) among others, which hitherto were under the Ministry of Transportation, are now being appreciated for their revenue generation potentials, economic contributions to the growth of the nation and socio-utility, especially as causative of the administrative experience and fiscal expertise of the Minister, Mr. Adegboyega Oyetola, who is now steadily turning an eyesore of the inherited agencies as evident in the dilapidated infrastructure of the nation’s ports and others, into a cynosure of economic attraction to some countries of the world.

President Tinubu’s commendable innovative initiatives would not only boost the economic stamina of Africa’s most populous country, ensure security in the maritime sector, but also simultaneously increase and strengthen Nigeria’s bilateral ties with other countries. For instance, the President in March 2024 received the Special Envoy of the President of Equatorial Guinea, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, in Abuja, according to a Release by The State House, during which he reaffirmed Nigeria’s commitment to enhancing maritime security and safety in the Gulf of Guinea.

The Gulf of Guinea is central to maritime activities because is a great inlet of the Atlantic Ocean on the western African coast whose tributaries are the Volta and Niger rivers with offshore oil deposits and metal ore deposits as its natural resources (Britannica), and via which about 80 percent of the trade with Nigeria goes.

Also in February this year, the Nigerian Navy led by the Chief of Training and Operations, Rear Admiral Zakariyyah Muhammed met with the U.S. Navy in Naples, Italy, hosted by the Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa, Admiral Stuart Munsch, with a view to improving regional cooperation, information-sharing practices, and maritime interdiction expertise aimed at countering sea-based illicit activities.

More so, Nigerian and Indian Navies, in October 2023, strengthened bilateral ties between the two countries to ensure maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea aiming at maintaining its sea lanes as a conduit of international trade. The visit led by Indian Defence attache° to Nigeria, Col. Romi Singh Legha was said to have recorded positive results on collaborative training against piracy and other maritime criminalities in the region.

Suffice to add was the arrival in Nigeria of the Chinese team and vessels earlier in July 2023, with the Chinese Ambassador to the country, Mr. Chi Jian Chun saying the visit, according to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), “was to strengthen bilateral relations between the two countries and enhance maritime security within West Africa.” The above narrative shows the rate at which President Tinubu’s ingenious brainchild-ministry is attracting partnership-attention, engendering Memoranda of Understanding (MoU), and promoting bilateral relations with other nations.

Dr. Olorede, Head, Department of Strategic Communication and Media Studies at The Federal Polytechnic Offa, Kwara State, writes via

[email protected]/08111841887.

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Opinion

The rise and fall of Philip Shaibu

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By Bola Bolawole

Edo State deputy governor, Comrade Philip Shaibu, has kicked the canvass; he was impeached by the Edo State House of Assembly days ago and a replacement was promptly provided by his erstwhile boss, Gov. Godwin Obaseki. Shaibu was in court while his impeachment was being perfected; we await the court’s verdict but time is not on his side. Governorship elections are due in the state on September 21st, a few months from now. It is said that one of the reasons why Shaibu had to be impeached was his insistence on contesting the governorship position in that election; apart from other “irreconcilable differences” between him and Obaseki.

Shaibu’s desire from Day One, and the pact he thought he had with his boss, was that Obaseki would hand over the baton of leadership to him; an “emilokan” kind of arrangement. And while the good times lasted between the two buddies, Shaibu enjoyed it to the hilt. He was loud! He was visible! He was influential! He was powerful! He was feared! He made Obaseki’s enemies his enemies and Obaseki’s friends his friends. He fought battles on behalf of Obaseki and waged wars in defence of a man he held dear. But nothing lasts forever and spanners often get thrown into the works. Gentlemen’s agreements are often honoured in their breach and what goes around, as they say, comes around! The reasons for this are not far to fetch.

The period between one election and another is damn too long for anyone to gain say what can happen along the line. Just one night – usually referred to as the night of long knives – can change many things. Politicians always lack fidelity; they make agreements, knowing full well that they will break them. That is why our people refer to any agreement with politicians derisively as “adehun alagbada.” Agreements made by politicians wearing flowing robes (agbada or babariga). You trust such agreements to your chagrin. Sometimes the politicians themselves are not to blame: shifting alliances dominate politics; today’s friends are tomorrow’s enemies; and political permutations are in a state of constant flux. Hence, the saying that there are only permanent interests and not permanent friends – or enemies. Especially here in Nigeria where our politics lacks principles and ideological underpinnings and political parties are nothing but Special Purpose Vehicles or mere platforms for the purpose of contesting elections.

Few deputy governors serve out their term gracefully; fewer, still, succeed their boss. The reasons for this are also many. To start with, not many governors are agreeable to the running mate chosen for them. All manner of interests play a role here and the principal oftentimes simply stomachs his misgivings so he could achieve his goal before he begins to think of what to do next. Where a deputy governor is stronger politically than his boss, that is a disaster waiting to happen. Once the governor finds his feet, his next project will be how to cut his deputy to size. Where a deputy loves to hug the limelight, it is a matter of time before he falls out of favour with the boss.

There were people who contested the running mate slot and were not happy they lost out. And from Day One of the administration, there are people scheming to replace the sitting deputy. A deputy that has a mind of his own will also not be a good friend of the boss. Leaders here love docile and pliant subordinates and followers. They want someone who will not outshine them if he succeeds them. They want someone who will not probe them after they leave office. They want someone who will cover their tracks for them. They hate anyone with a strong personality or character. They will not stomach anyone who has a mind of his own.

If you think a deputy governor is close to the governor, you will be deceiving yourself; the razzmatazz and public show of effusive affection notwithstanding. They may be Number One and Number Two but that is where the closeness ends; they may be poles apart in their thinking, political philosophy, orientation and way of life. They may belong to different political camps and may harbour divergent opinions on critical issues. Some governors and their deputies are like night and day, light and darkness. Their marriage of convenience is just for them to win an election, after which the competition and trouble begin.

I once was in a meeting where we were discussing with the governor until the Deputy Governor walked in. The conversation stopped abruptly but the JJC that I was, I resumed the conversation after the usual pleasantries but soon noticed that everyone else was quiet. So, I, too, went numb. After Her Excellency had left, His Excellency scolded me severely: “My man, why were you talking so freely before a stranger?” A stranger? The deputy governor in an administration was a stranger, I asked. “Yes! Is she one of us?”

So, you can be Number Two in an administration and yet be a stranger! I also witnessed a governor ditching people who were instrumental to his winning an election only to pitch his tent with a political neophyte with no political base. I took him up! He listened to me patiently and then replied mockingly: “Excuse me, Sir, the politics you learned is that of the classroom; the politics that we are practising here is that of the streets. What benefit will it be to me and you if we support a person to win an election and after that, you and I will no longer have access to this Dining Room (in the Government House)?” I simply gazed at his mouth! Realpolitik!

Very few bosses will support a strong personality to take over from them. Bosses are averse to a deputy who has a mind of his own. These are fundamental truths that anyone aiming to play second fiddle must understand before throwing their hat in the ring. Another useful hint is to take this advice of the elders very seriously: Prepare for the trouble that is certain to come when things are still rosy between you and your boss. Scriptures say in the Book of Habakkuk, it may tarry but it will surely come. And because it will surely come, it will not tarry! What do you make out of that? China’s revolutionary leader, Chairman Tsetung Mao, put it this way: “To have peace, prepare for war!” Does this sound contradictory? Diplomats and theorists of war define this as the principle of detente or of mutual assured destruction (MAD). Mad indeed! Scriptures again say the horse is prepared for the day of battle, not on the day of battle. Shaibu appeared not to have taken the wisdom of the elders to heart.

To survive as a deputy, you must wear loyalty and servility like a badge. This must radiate in you inside-out. Either you have this gift endowed in you from heaven or you learn how to stoop to conquer. How many politicians can stomach what Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu put up with to become Mr. President? I once listened to the head of a Mission, a highly-respected man of God, give the criteria needed before any pastor could be promoted to the topmost echelon of the organisation: “Someone who has not, not even once, raised his voice against the authorities”! And I marveled! Lick spittle? That criteria is even stricter than that of Stephen Decatur when he said: “Our Country! In her intercourse with foreign nations may she always be in the right; but right or wrong, our Country!” Decatur at least wished that his Country would make an effort to be in the right! It will be much easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a deputy to satisfy some bosses.

This, however, is not to discourage the likes of Shaibu from challenging ungrateful, use-and-dump bosses; whether they succeed or fail does not really matter. One such politician succeeded some years back: his name is Olusegun Mimiko in Ondo State. Mimiko dared the sitting president, Olusegun Obasanjo, to resign as Obasanjo’s Minister of Housing and Urban Development and take on the incumbent governor of Ondo State, Olusegun Agagu. Mimiko built the Labour Party from scratch and, with it, ran a campaign that unhinged the then ruling PDP and unseated the sitting governor, Agagu. The election was blatantly rigged – I was on ground in the state as Media Consultant to Agagu and witnessed it live and direct – but the court eventually restored Mimiko’s stolen mandate.

History often repeats itself, especially with those who fail to learn from history, as George Santayana has posited. There is, therefore, nothing wrong if Shaibu tries his luck in Edo state. Maybe he will be the next giant-killer! Even if he is not, there is no harm in trying because every experience deepens our renascent democracy.

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Nigeria: between religion economy and knowledge economy

A beautiful piece that aptly captured my feelings and thoughts on how religious activities contributed to the economic woes/crisis and general backwardness of the country. – Oso Victor Gbolahan.

Am blessed and educated by this article. It really opened my eyes to see the foolishness of religion economy taking priority over the knowledge economy. I now have a better understanding why Nigeria is the poverty capital of the world! Indeed, it will continue to be until we move from religion economy to knowledge economy. Pilgrimage should be a personal responsibility. – Aderemi Ajadi Desalu.

We have to expose the rot in all subsidies associated with religion so as to promote an effective knowledge economy that can rebuild the Nation. Nigeria can, and will be, better than it is now if we do away with religion economy. – Palcorub Nig. Ltd.

It is possible that Nigerians flock to churches and mosques because they think that their hope lies there. And the churches themselves may be bearing the weight of Nigeria’s failure because its members face the suffocating atmosphere of Nigeria’s stagnation and its attendant influence and corruption. I think, therefore, that it is not the complete truth that Nigeria is the way it is because Nigerians are religious but, rather, because Nigerians pay lip-service to religious teachings. – Ayodele Iyiola.

Bolawole is a former Editor of PUNCH newspapers and also a public affairs analyst on radio and television.

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Opinion

Osun 47bn first phase infra plan: How Governor Adeleke’s Govt allocated N23bn on a single road in Ede

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By Waheed Adekunle

Following the release of whooping sum of N47billion recently approved by Governor Ademola Adeleke of Osun State for some of the ongoing roads projects in the state, it has been conscientiously observed and conspicuously noticed that nothing less than N23 billion naira was deliberately skewed to dualise a single road in Ede.

This humongous fund was purposely earmarked to further isolate the Governor’s country home through deliberate effort to complement many roads that had been constructed, rehabilitated and reconstructed within Ede axis at the detriment of the other parts of Osun, since the inception of Governor Adeleke.

Recall that the state government had a few days ago released the financial implications of some of the roads already embarked on, after incurring several bashings from the general public particularly members of the opposition party.

The state chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) had since last year, continued to advocate transparency and accountability in the management of the public funds, calling out Adeleke’s government to make public the costs of the approved contracts and unveil the identity of contractors handling many of the public infrastructure projects in the State.

But in its belated response to the clamour, which though appeared very suspicious and ambiguous, the Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, Kolapo Alimi, was quoted to have said Governor Adeleke approved over N23 billion for the construction of Akoda to Oke-Gada road in Ede. A road that is less than 12km.

According to the statement, N12,200,512,000 was approved for the dualisation of 5.50km Akoda to Baptist High School road and N11,090,838,764 for the dualisation of 3.86km Baptist High School to Oke Gada road, both in Ede, totaling N23,291,350,764.

It was however, conspicuously noticed that the less than 12km dual carriageway was unnecessarily divided into two segments for no just cause, as each of the segments was given to different contractors, for the reasons best known to the government. It is equally on record that the award of the same road which started last year was severely criticised by the opposition party for not following the due process and in accordance with the Osun 2015 Procurement Law.

In a saner clime, if not for personal gratification, awarding 12km intra-city road to two companies is nothing but a charade as such could only encourage corruption, nepotism and poor service delivery.

It is no long news that the resurface, regurgitation and promotion of ‘Edenisation agenda’ started from the draconian Executive Order made by Governor Ademola Adeleke right from the spot where he was being sworn-in as the Governor. The Executive Order that had ruined the lives of many people such as (over 20,000 OYES volunteers that were arbitrarily sacked; many health workers that were callously ordered home; school teachers that were sent packing and rendered jobless; O’meal vendors that were cruelly sacked among others). These are the people whose sources of livelihood had been hampered and future mortgaged in the hands of tyrannic policies that had yielded no positive impact or provided commensurable replacements thus far. No doubt the “Order” was considered as an instrument of reprisal skillfully crafted and widely enunciated to subdue perceived enemies and score cheap political points.

Taking cognisance of the fact that, Osun is one of the few states in the country with major cities and towns, the approval of over N23 billion out of N47 billion plus acclaimed ‘first phase infra project’ to execute a single road in Ede at the expense of other cities and towns in the state, has further validated the Edenisation agenda of Adeleke’s government.

It is far from rational thinking that in spite of inherent nepotism and clannishness that characterised the administration, the Adeleke’s government could still allocate humongous funds to execute just a single road in Ede at the expense of many deplorable roads that had become death traps in many villages, towns and cities in the state.

A visit to Ede would definitely expose one to and give a clear picture of many intra-town network of roads that the current government had used the people’s commonwealth to rehabilitate or reconstruct in the Governor’s country-home in the last 15 months. Some of the roads that had been constructed and completed so far in Ede under Governor Ademola Adeleke’s government are: total filling station to Alusekere through Muslim Grammar School to Owode-Ede road; Akankan to Prof. Oyeweso road; Anuolu junction through Obada to Alusekere road; Akankan to Agate road; Orita Alajue junction to Elerin road; Orita Oloki to Ogberin road; Orita Oloki to Orita Oja-Timi road; Oja-Timi to Isale-Apaso road; Okunola Okunade Sawmill to NYSC Camp road; Isibo through Muslim Grammar School to Orita Muslim Cemetery road; Ibiyemi to Sawmill Oke- Gada road; Manyasahu filling station to Hamaddiyah road.

Aside from the aforementioned roads (all in Ede) that had been completed by Adeleke’s government, there are many other ongoing networks of roads in Ede which include Orita Agate to Olorin among others.

Some of the raging questions agitating minds are; if former Governors and governments had used the state resources parochially to solely advance the cause of their towns particularly in infrastructural development while serving the state, would it be possible to have some of the physical infrastructural development we have today in most of the villages, towns and cities? How life would have been for other towns in Osun if for instance, former Governor Adebisi Akande (from Ila-Orangun) whose tenure opened up Osun to socioeconomic renaissance and infrastructural rejuvenation concentrated all or larger chunks of the infrastructural development to his country-home? Ditto others. This is a food for thought!

Chief Abdul-Kareem Adebisi Akande was once a governor, he didn’t ‘ILANISE’ Osun but rather ensured even, fair and equitable distribution of resources across the state under his watch, ditto former Governors Olagunsoye Oyinlola (from Okuku); Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola (from Ilesa) and Mr. Adegboyega Oyetola (from Iragbiji).

As painful as the scenario of nepotism, chauvinism and flagrant disobedience to the fundamental principles of fairness, equity and rule of law which are the hallmarks of the current government, it is crystal clear that history beckons on all either positively or negatively. Many have governed Osun and they have written their names in the golden pages of history for generations to come, thus, the current government should know that people are copiously taking record of everything that is happening under it for posterity sake.

May God heal our land!

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