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University of Ibadan clears Obaseki of certificate forgery

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Edo State governor, Godwin Obaseki opened his defence on Tuesday at the Federal High Court Abuja, calling  two witnesses one of whom was the Deputy Registrar, Legal, University of Ibadan, Mr Abayomi Ajayi.

Ajayi told the court that the fact that some parts of Obaseki’s original degree certificate were missing in the photocopy he attached to his INEC form EC9 and 001 did not amount to forgery.

The witness, who was led in evidence by Mr Ken Mozia (SAN), Obaseki’s counsel, explained that Obaseki’s photocopy was incomplete due to the process of photocopying.

The witness also told the court that the university was not dealing with this allegation for the first time as the Minister of State for Education had once brought the issue before the institution.

He maintained that from the records of the university, Obaseki was admitted as student in 1976 through direct entry and that he graduated in the year 1979, during the tenure of Prof. Tekena Tamino as Vice Chancellor and S.J Okufu as Registrar.

“I will not regard the photocopy of the original certificate as forged but incomplete photocopying because the certificate of the University of Ibadan is larger than the paper upon which the photocopy was made,”  Ajayi submitted.

He then went ahead to tender photocopies of various sizes of papers and their outcome when the original was not reduced.

Other documents he tendered to prove that Obaseki was a product of the university included relevant pages of the congregation for admission to degrees, award of diplomas and certificates and 31st Foundation Day Ceremony in September 1979, Obaseki’s application amongst others.

The authorities of the University of Ibadan had in June last year, before a Federal High Court in Benin, cleared Obaseki of similar forgery allegations.

The institution said that Obaseki graduated from there and was accordingly awarded the degree certificate of Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Classical Studies in 1979.

Earlier, the first defense witness, Mr Charity Aguobawekhina, Chairman of the Edo State Law Reform Commission, tendered the original of Obaseki’s certificates, including the disputed BA Arts Degree in Classical Studies.

The witness who claimed to be a close associate of Obaseki, informed the court that he made the said incomplete photocopy that Obaseki attached to his nomination form that he submitted to INEC.

He added that part of the photocopy attached to form EC9 were cut off because of the largeness of the original certificate.

He also tendered the primary school certificate obtained by Obaseki in 1971, School Certificate obtained in 1973 and Higher School Certificate obtained in 1971.

Other documents were the University of Ibadan degree certificate obtained in 1979 and another Masters Degree certificate from Pace University obtained by Obaseki as his educational qualification.

All the certificates, which were original copies were admitted as exhibits by the trial judge.

Under cross examination, the witness insisted that the photocopy of the degree certificate, which had the signature of the university’s chief registrar, the date of issuance of the certificate and the name of the vice chancellor did not make the photocopy of the certificate a forged document.

The All Progressives Congress (APC) and one of its chieftains, Mr Williams Edobor, dragged Obaseki to court for allegedly forging his university certificate he submitted to INEC to aid his qualification for the Sept. 19, 2020 governorship election in Edo.

The plaintiffs wanted the court to disqualify Obaseki,  who won the election, in the event that he was found to have forged his university degree obtained from the university of Ibadan in 1979.

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Eidel-Kabir: FG declares Monday and Tuesday public holidays

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The Federal Government has declared Monday 17 and Tuesday 18, as public holidays to mark this year’s Eid-el-Kabir celebration.

This is contained in a statement by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Interior, Dr Aishetu Ndayako, on Friday in Abuja.

She stated that the Minister of Interior, Dr Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, who made the declaration on behalf of the Federal Government, congratulated all Muslim Ummah both at home and in the Diaspora.

He urged the Muslim Ummah to continue to imbibe the spirit of peace, kindness and sacrifice, as exemplified by Prophet Ibrahim (Peace be upon Him).

Tunji-Ojo also urged them to use the period to pray for unity, prosperity and the stability of the country.

The minister assured that the administration of President Bola Tinubu, was committed to safeguarding the lives and property of all Nigerians.

While wishing the Muslim Ummah a happy celebration, the minister advised all Nigerians to take responsibility in the resolve to hand over a prosperous Nigeria to our children.

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Tinubu to receive draft bill proposing regional govt system today

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…Afenifere chieftain unveils proposal for 8-region Nigeria, interim boundaries

…Coalition advocates new constitution in Nigeria’s Governance overhaul blueprint

…Union proposes retaining 36 States as provinces with reduced powers

By Sodiq Adelakun

President Bola Tinubu is set to receive a draft bill today that seeks to reintroduce a regional system of government in Nigeria.

The proposed legislation, titled ‘A Bill for an Act to substitute the annexure to Decree 24 of 1999 with New Governance Model for the Federal Republic of Nigeria,’ was authored by Akin Fapohunda, a chieftain of the Yoruba socio-cultural association, Afenifere.

The bill aims to establish a new governance model for Nigeria, which would involve a return to a regional system of government. If passed, the new laws would be cited as “The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria New Governance Model for Nigeria Act 2024.”

Akin Fapohunda, the author of the draft bill proposing a return to a regional government system in Nigeria, has announced that the bill will be transmitted to President Bola Tinubu on Friday.

Recall that this comes despite the House of Representatives’ earlier disownment of the bill, with its spokesman, Akin Rotimi, and the Chairman of the Committee on Rules and Business, stating that it had not been listed for deliberation in the ongoing review of the 1999 Constitution.

“I’m submitting my letter (draft bill) today but I will wait for seven days before releasing it to the public,” he said

Also, Akin Fapohunda, representing the Coalition of Indigenous Ethnic Nationalities, has unveiled a proposal to divide the country into eight distinct geo-political regions, complete with interim boundaries.

Speaking to journalists, Fapohunda outlined the envisioned regions, with the southern region encompassing Akwa-Ibom, Bayelsa, and Cross Rivers States, along with other ethnic communities.

The South Eastern region is slated to include Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu, and Imo States, while the Western region would comprise Lagos, Ogun, Ondo, Osun, Oyo, and Ekiti States, with additional inclusion of Yoruba-speaking populations in neighbouring regions.

The Mid-Western Region would be composed of Edo and Delta States, potentially incorporating the Anioma people, while the Eastern Middle Belt Region would encompass several northern and central states.

The Western Middle Belt Region comprises Southern Kebbi, parts of Kwara and Niger States while the North Eastern Region will be made up of parts of Borno, Gombe, Bauchi, Jigawa, and Yobe States.

The North Western Region, according to the Afenifere chieftain, comprises Kaduna, parts of Kebbi, Kano, Katsina, Sokoto and Zamfara States.

Fapohunda said the coalition envisaged a two-tier government, federal and regions, adding that the latter would be at liberty to manage her affairs, “including the creation of sub-entities, based on the stipulations that are agreed upon and embedded in their respective constitutions.”

In its proposed governance stipulations, CIEN stated that “In the quest for re-configuration and downsizing, an option to consider might be to retain the present boundaries of the 36 States, as would have been adjusted, but to creatively downgrade the paraphernalia of political administration as follows:

“To introduce a new regional government framework with executive and legislative functions and bodies with the headship title of Premier.

“In the new dispensation, the present States (for example the six in the Western region) would be converted to provinces. Governance at this level shall be by Provincial Councils that integrate executive and legislative functions, with Chairman and Support Specialist Administrative Officers. The regions shall be at liberty to create provinces, subject to viability and self-sustainability.

“The present Local Government Areas are to be transformed into divisions, with divisional managers and specialist administrative officers; to operate as socio-economic development institutions. The new provinces shall also be at liberty to create divisions, subject to viability and self-sustainability.”

In the same vein, the Coalition of Indigenous Ethnic Nationalities has put forward a proposal for a new constitution, emphasising regional autonomy and decentralisation of federal power.

Among the key novelties outlined in the proposal is the freedom granted to regions to create, merge, or reconfigure their sub-political units without external interference, fostering a tailored governance approach to suit local circumstances.

The coalition envisions a streamlined public administration, with regions aiming to reduce the cost of civil service to a fraction of generated revenue.

Central to the proposed constitutional framework is the establishment of a unicameral federal legislature, wherein members are elected directly by their respective regions to represent their interests in the national capital, Abuja.

Furthermore, the coalition advocates for a leaner federal government, proposing a maximum of nine ministries and ministers, drawing parallels with the streamlined cabinet of the United States.

The return to a parliamentary mode of government, with built-in statutory rotation of regional leadership, is also highlighted as a crucial element in ensuring equitable representation and governance across the country.

“Regions and sub-regional entities are to be reconfigured such as would reduce the cost of public and civil service administration to less than 20 to 30 percent of generated revenue.

“In drafting their Constitutions, the peoples of the respective regional territories will take a cue and also dismantle any arrangement or configuration that will favour the politicians and the political class; with a focus on freeing resources for true development.

“A uni-camera federal legislature comprising members that are elected at the discretion of the regions for which they would be representatives at Abuja.

“Decentralisation of federal power in favour of not more than 10 regions on which there is a general national consensus, rather than the presently unwieldy number of 36 States. These old States are inconsequential indeed in being a viable unit of a truly federal system of government.”

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Lagos GDP grew by 50% in five years under my administration — Sanwo-Olu

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By Sodiq Adelakun

The Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has said the Gross Domestic Product of Lagos, in the last five years under his administration, had risen by almost 50 percent, surpassing the size of the GDPs of over 40 African countries.

The responsible factors, the governor said, could be linked to the unending effort by his administration to improve the Ease of Doing Business and the decision to leverage the technology and entrepreneurial abilities of its population for economic activities.

Sanwo-Olu said Lagos had grown from being a state in deficit in the military era to becoming a hub for investment and technological advancements.

The governor stated this while delivering the closing speech at the ongoing 3rd AfriCaribbean Trade and Investment Forum (ACTIF 2024) in Nassau on the theme: “Global Africa, Global Lagos: The Role of Sub-Nationals in Driving the Global African Agenda.”

“Lagos is an example of a unique African success story, shaped by an interesting mix of advantages and challenges. It is the smallest of Nigeria’s 36 States, yet is responsible for more than a third of Nigeria’s entire GDP.

“Lagos has grown to have a GDP that is greater than the GDPs of all but seven African countries. In the last five years, under my leadership, we have seen an almost 50 per cent increase in our GDP,” Sanwo-Olu was quoted as saying in a statement on Thursday by his spokesman, Gboyega Akosile.

“Lagos presents a significant context on how sub-national governments are vital in writing new stories of development and advancing the economic agenda of the continent. I am proud to say that we in Lagos State have indeed mastered the art and science of Public-Private Partnerships. Having pioneered this private sector-led development in Lagos, we are now exporting that template to other States across the country.

“Our growth stories speak to the importance of African solutions and African capacity for tackling African problems. As we work towards accomplishing our aspirations, it is clear that sub-sovereign entities, such as cities, states, provinces, regions, and municipalities, can be instrumental in translating African countries’ high-level goals into tangible outcomes. It is at this sub-national level that a lot of the most remarkable reforms and transformations are playing out,” He reiterated.

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