The burial committee set up to plan a state burial for Late Alex Ekwueme says the former Vice President will be buried on February 2. The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Boss Mustapha, made this known while briefing newsmen on Thursday in Abuja. Mustapha, who is the chairman of the committee, was represented by Dr Chris Ngige, Minister of Labour and Productivity, who is also a member of the committee. The committee, which was inaugurated on the December 15, 2017, has come up with a nine day long Programme for the burial. The programme will start from January 19 to February 2, 2018. The SGF described the first elected vice president of Nigeria as an accomplished Architect, Town planner, Philanthropist and politician. Mustapha noted that the death of Ekwueme was a painful loss to his family and the nation at large, while announcing the details of the ceremony as follows: On Friday January 19 at 2.p.m, there will be a Memorial Service at Cathedral Church of Christ, Marina Lagos, while at 5.p.m, there will be the Evening of Tributes and Music at Muson Centre, Onikan Lagos. On Saturday Jan.27 at 2.p.m, there will be a Memorial Service at St Marylebone Parish Church London. On Sunday, Jan.28 at 6.p.m, there will be a Service of Songs and evening of tributes at the International Conference Centre, Abuja. Similarly, on Monday, January 29 at 12 p.m., there will be a Parade of Honour at the Presidential wing, Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, after which body departs immediately to Enugu and will be received by south-east governors at the airport. On Tuesday, January 30 at 4.p.m, there will be a Service of Songs at Cathedral Church of the Good Shepherd, Independence Layout Enugu. Accordingly, on Wednesday January 31 at 10.a.m, there will be South-East commendation service at Okpara square Enugu. On Thursday, February 1 at 10 a.m., body departs for Awka at 12. p.m., there will be Anambra Commendation service at Ekwueme Square, Awka. Also at 4p.m. body departs for Oko, Ekwueme’s home town and at 5.p.m, there will be service of songs at his residence. Also, on Friday, Feb.2 at 8.a.m, there will be lying-in-state at his residence; and 11.a.m there will be the funeral service at St. John the Divine Church, Oko, followed by interment and reception. On Sunday, February 11 at 9 a.m, there will be an outing service, at the St John the Divine Church, Oko. The SGF, however, called on all professional groups and individuals whose lives and interests were impacted on by the departed statesman to be part of the burial ceremonies to pay him their last respect.
National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu has advised Fulani herdsmen to embrace modernity and stop killing people. The former Lagos governor also said the herdsmen have no right to cling to the obsolete nomadic way of life by killing others. ”The crux of the matter is that the nomadic way of life is fast becoming obsolete. Large scale nomadic practice does not belong in this day and age. This is reality and it is inescapable. ”Thus, herders have no right to cling to this way of life by killing others. Government must stop their violence but also offer them a viable new way of life by moving them toward more modern, non-nomadic cattle rearing,” Tinubu stated. Tinubu who was represented by a former Commissioner for Finance in Lagos State, Olawale Edun, at the Daily Trust dialogue, said killings by Fulani herdsmen is not a recent occurence. “It is important that we place the current crisis in proper context. No one should pretend that this evil just suddenly appeared from nowhere. We have been living and dying with this lethal situation for many years. ”In years past, there have been herdsmen attacks smaller than this. There also have been attacks larger than this. ”The current hue and cry against these killings is hopefully a sign that we are maturing as a nation. That we shall no longer countenance the wanton destruction of human lives no matter the religion, ethnicity or origin of the victims or the villains. If so, maybe this nation is coming of age and none too soon. ”As such, this outcry is as welcome as it is overdue. We should have been agitating in this manner 5, 10, 15 years ago. Lives would have been saved. For reasons I cannot completely fathom we have come late to the point of strong, collective outrage at this bloodletting. Yet, all in all, late is better than never in this regard. ”This spirit of compassion and care must be enshrined in our political culture because it is integral to national greatness and democratic progress. True patriotism requires that you love more than the concept of Nigeria. You must love the people who comprise this nation, whether they worship in a church, mosque, and shrine or not at all. ”Over the course of history, nations have faced crises more crimson than this. Through wise policy, many nations emerged from the thicket better situated to realize their better destiny. These nations and their people are no better than us. We can and we must do the same thing. Against this backdrop we must take prudent action. It is incumbent on the federal government to do what past governments neglected to do. We must forget our age-old prejudices in order to resolve this problem. What we need is serious committed action. At its essence, this crisis was not born of religious or ethnic hatred. It is about a shrinking amount of grass and water. In recent years the desert has expanded, consuming land once used to graze livestock. This pushed cattle herders farther and farther south to collide with the farmers who were there. Ecological peril spawned economic conflict which descended into violence. This violence has taken on religious, ethnic and regional consequences because of the identities of the parties involved. This tragic episode tolls a caution to us all. Left to fester, this problem expanded to assume dimensions that now tremors the body politic. This is what too often happens when dire problems are left unattended. Now, the current administration is moving to arrest the lethal situation. I welcome the deployment of more law enforcement and military into the troubled areasThese security measures will stem the immediate violence and loss of life. As we commend these security measures, we must not lose sight of the fact that the problem bears an economic origin. Thus, agro-economic policy initiatives must help shape the lasting solution. The crux of the matter is that the nomadic way of life is fast becoming obsolete. Large scale nomadic practice does not belong in this day and age. This is reality and it is inescapable. Thus, herders have no right to cling to this way of life by killing others. Government must stop their violence but also offer them a viable new way of life by moving them toward more modern, non-nomadic cattle rearing. To resolve this lethal problem, government must implement a multi-dimensional policy that encompasses security, agro-economic, educational and emergency relief elements. This is the art and mastery of governance that our nation and its complex problems require. The APC leader also identified 8 measures the Buhari administration must take to develop the country. ”In addition to mending this rupture of peace, I believe those who seek to enshrine good governance must boldly act to improve the quality of life of the people.” “1. We are a populous nation with large, ever-growing cities. We need to provide jobs for this expanding urban population. This means we must press forward with a national industrial policy by fostering strategic industries that will provide employment into the foreseeable future. 2. We need a national infrastructure plan that envisions a coherent and integrated infrastructural grid, as no national economy may grow beyond the capacity of the infrastructure that serves it. This particularly is true of electrical power. 3. We must reject the notion of orthodox economics that governmental balancing of budgets or surpluses are always good. In our case, following this mainstream approach may lead to perpetual stagnation and deter us from the brave steps required to promote true development. In this regard, an immediate opportunity to provide stimulus to the economy while simultaneously alleviating the hardship of retirees and old-age pensioners presents itself, through the comprehensive tackling of outstanding pension payments. While what is needed is a holistic review and reform of the disjointed social security and welfare apparatus, a good place to start would be the clearing up of existing pension arrears and the establishment of a framework for averting their future build-up. The wider task of comprehensive social security reform would inevitably require a high-level body to review and advise on the harmonization of various initiatives and deductions from workers’ payrolls in the name of welfare, such as pension contributions, national housing fund, national health insurance etc 4. Monetary policy should move toward lower interest rates to make credit is more accessible to business and the consumer. This will spur industrial investment and help us reach more conducive levels of consumer demand. It also will dissuade people from corrupt temptations. The need to pay for homes and other costly items in one lump sum payment is a strong invitation to corruption. For example, if mortgages and credit instruments are more available to the judiciary, jurists would be able to purchase homes, decent care and other items considered the basic amenities of modern life via long-term installment payments that can be met through their salaries. Able to purchase these things properly and thus afforded a comfortable life, jurists would be less vulnerable to improper inducements. 5. The government-backed home mortgage system must be re-structured and land conveyance more streamlined make mortgages and all forms of landed transactions are easier and less bureaucratic. This will increase the wealth of the nation and improve the efficiency of land use. It also opens the door to affordable housing for millions of families now beyond the reach of owning their own homes. 6. Agriculture remains the backbone of the nation. We must help the common farmer by improving rural output and incomes. Here, we must revive an old policy that served us well. We must return to commodity exchange boards which will allow farmers to secure good prices and hedge against loss. An agricultural mortgage loan corporation should be inaugurated to further promote these goals. 7. To achieve better levels of overall governance, we need to re-balance the duties between federal and state governments by giving states more power, authority and resources. 8. Last, Government must be sufficiently bold to begin a process that will ultimately result in a government-backed pension plan for all elderly Nigerians, this is something akin to Social Security which all great nations provide for those of advanced age.”
Ahead of the 2019 general elections, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Ebonyi, on Wednesday sought collaboration of National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), for easy movement of personnel and electoral materials. Prof. Godswill Obioma, the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Ebonyi, who spoke at a meeting in Abakaliki with NURTW members, said the collaboration was necessary in order to ensure successful elections. Obioma, who described NURTW as critical stakeholder, said effective collaboration with the union was needed to ensure successful movement of men and materials. According to him, the meeting is convened to map out strategies and actions necessary for effective engagement of members of the union. “The INEC in Abuja has directed states to carry out preparatory inventory of what the commission needs for smooth and successful conduct of the 2019 general elections. “This meeting with the union aimed at boosting our partnership and collaboration is part of the preparatory inventory. “The meeting will foster greater cooperation and commitment which will ensure that only those people who are trustworthy and credible will be engaged in the transportation services during the elections. “There are 1782 poling units in Ebonyi, and the implication is that not fewer than 1782 sound vehicles will be needed to convey our men and materials to these voting areas. “You can see why the union is very important and indeed a critical stakeholder in the electoral process. “The commission must count on you to enhance timely and effective distribution of the electoral materials to the various poling units,” Obioma said. He said that the commission would engage the officials of the 29 branches of the union operating in Ebonyi in similar interactive meeting. The NURTW’s State Chairman, Mr Ewa Oko, who led other officials of the union to the meeting, commended the REC for the timely initiative. He said that the meeting would assist both organisations to work out areas of common collaboration and cooperation as well as strengthen grey areas. Oko said that the union has been supportive of the commission in previous elections and had always mobilised its members during elections. “We are going to cooperate and collaborate with the commission to ensure that 2019 general elections become a huge success in Ebonyi in terms of transportation of materials and men to various polling units. “If NURTW says yes; then you know that our yes is our yes. We have assured our support and cooperation to the commission for the success of the elections in Ebonyi and we hold on to it,” Ewa said. He said that the union had launched operation ‘show your voter card’ explaining that members who were yet to register and obtain their Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) were not allowed to attend the union’s meetings. “We in NURTW are taking the 2019 elections very seriously. We launched operation show your PVC which makes it compulsory for members to show their voter cards before they are allowed to sit in our meetings. “If you don’ t have your voter card we send you out of our meeting ,because you are not a good citizen,” he added. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the meeting inaugurated a seven – man INEC / NURTW transport joint sub-committee to work out modalities for effective engagement of the transporters.
Minister for Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, has said solar powered electronic voting system produced by National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI) is ready for use. Onu made this known on Thursday in Abuja. According to him, the product is of world standard designed for effective and efficient voting. He said using of the indigenous voting system for 2019 or 2022 could only be decided by Independent Electoral Commission (INEC). “We have improved on our solar powered electronic voting system so much that we have taken it to INEC and show it to the chairman and all the National Commissioners. They were very impressed. “We took it to the National Economic Council where the Vice President is chairman and all our governors are members and showed it to them.” But I can’t say when the solution will be used whether in 2019 or 2022 that is a decision to be taken by INEC but our law now allows electronic voting, he said.” Onu said the aim of developing the solar-powered electronic voting machine for collating results was to ensure free and fair elections as well as to tackle current electoral challenges. The minister said the machine had provision for real-time election results collation as voting progressed and provision for Diaspora voting. He said the solar-powered electronic voting system developed was built on the gains of the present INEC. In another development, the minister said the government was presently discussing with some countries towards having a constellation of satellites. “This means that instead of one country having one satellite, many countries can have many satellites that can do so many things. “Then you pull the resources together and pull the data together from all participating countries. So in that way, you share cost and also share data and it is more cost-effective.” “We have very serious constraints in terms of funding but we are working on how we can have funding for research and innovation in the country from outside the budget,” he said. He said the Federal Government was still working on the speeding limit system of a Nanosatellite set up last year at National Space Research and Development Agency to bring the cost down. He said the government was also intensifying effort to ensure the Nanosatellite was the best in the country and world. According to him, using the Made in Nigeria satellite will cut a lot of costs and provide jobs.
Four stockbrokers are currently facing trial before Justice Josephine Oyefeso of a Lagos State High Court, Ikeja, for their involvement in an alleged N13 billion fraud. The defendants, Adeyemi Oluwaseun, Suleiman Yusuf Obhakume, Yusuf Imran Adekunle and Haruna Issah , are being prosecuted by the Economics and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for stealing the sum of N13 billion naira, property of First Marina Trust Limited. The defendants, who were arraigned on November 16, 2017, on seven count amended charges pleaded not guilty to the charges. They were alleged to have committed the offence while they were in the employment of the organization. Part of the amended charges before the court stated that ” Adeyemi Oluwaseun, Suleiman Yusuf Obhakume , Yusuf Imran Adekunle and Haruna Issah on or about 17th day of May, 2016 in Lagos within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court stole the sum of (N237,250, 000) two hundred and thirty seven thousand, two hundred and fifty thousand naira only, property of First Marina Trust Limited. ” Adeyemi Oluwaseun, Suleiman Yusuf Obhakume, Yusuf Imran Adekunle and Haruna Issah, on or about 27th day of May, 2016 in Lagos within the jurisdiction of this Honourable court stole the sum of N500,200,000, property of First Marina Trust Limited.” They were also accused of ‘stealing the sum of N183, 500,000, N180, 000,000, N186, 000,000 and N14, 749,000 respectively,’ all property of First Marina Trust Limited. The prosecution counsel, Mr. Anselm Ozioko, had held that the offense is contrary to Section 285(1) and (8) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2011. During examination by the prosecution counsel on January 17, 2018, the prosecution witness who is the Chief Risk Officer of the company, Anthony Onyeoghane, told the court that the report of an internal investigation conducted by the company indicted the defendants of the offence. “I was a member of the investigation committee set up by the company. A report was delivered to the management after investigation. I signed the report and every member of the committee signed the report. It was during investigation that this fraud was discovered,” he told the court. The matter was adjourned till April 16 for continuation of trial.
A second-half strike from Cristiano Ronaldo was enough to hand Real Madrid, the FIFA Club World Cup for the second successive year. Zinedine Zidane’s Madrid have thus become the first side to retain the cup, beating South America’s champions Gremio1-0 win at UAE 2017. Madrid surely deserved the victory, having dominated the encounter with the South American champions in Abu Dhabi on Saturday evening. The game began with a thump, with plenty of physicality on show. However, it was the title holders that found their rhythm quickest. Dani Carvajal and Luka Modric both had the band blue and black-clad fans in the Zayed Sports City Stadium inhaling sharply. Though the large amount of local support were not spared some nervous moments either in the opening period, with Edilson striking a swerving rocket of a free-kick inches over Keylor Navas’s crossbar. Having had two-thirds of the possession before the break, Real returned for the second half looking to make it count. It did not take them long and it was Ronaldo, who broke the resistance. He struck a free-kick from 25 yards straight into the net. There was an instant inquest among the Gremio wall, as the ball nestled in the bottom corner, having seen the Portuguese’s shot pierce clean through it. Ronaldo thought he had taken his record goalscoring tally in the Club World Cup from seven to eight, volleying in seven minutes later, but Karim Benzema’s fine nod down was adjudged to have been from an offside position. Gremio failed to rouse a response, with goalkeeper Marcelo Grohe forced into fine saves from Modric – tipping his effort onto the post – Ronaldo, and Gareth Bale to stay within touching distance of Los Blancos. However, they could not prevent Zinedine Zidane guiding the Spanish side to successive titles, equalling Barcelona’s record tally of three. “We wanted to win because Real Madrid have never won five trophies in one year,” said Ronaldo at the end of the match. “I think we played a very good game and deserved to win.” Ronaldo has now scored 15 goals in 20 appearances for Madrid this season despite a slow start in La Liga. “The numbers speak for themselves,” added the Portuguese. “I give my answers on the pitch. The team were phenomenal and it is another trophy for the CV.”
Perhaps in the long run, the most remarkable legacy of the Nigerian leader known as Olusegun Obasanjo would be his personal example, in terms of the manner in which he continues to creatively reinvent himself and the Renaissance quality and force of his achievements. In addition to all that we already know about him, Obasanjo last week bagged a Ph.D degree in Christian Theology from the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN). I am impressed. It is therefore with great admiration that I welcome Dr. Olusegun Aremu Obasanjo to the distinguished class of Nigeria’s Ph.D elite. As his senior colleague in this class, I have an idea of the amount of effort and determination that must have gone into the study, research and writing that produced the Ph.D. Anyone who has ever attempted a research-based course of study would readily attest that a Ph.D is a rigorous test of patience and endurance. The Professors who supervise doctorate theses do not give them out as chieftaincy titles. They make you work for it. Dr. Obasanjo is one of the oldest Nigerians to date to bag a Ph.D degree, and probably the first to do so as an octogenarian, but it is not just his age that is noteworthy, but how his achievement is a significant advertisement for the value of knowledge and education, and how it makes him an even more interesting case study for the profiling of leadership and the theory of personality. The great man theory of history often tends to focus on the political and the cultural as enabling contexts, but the finest blend of all of that is to be traced to the individual – what manner of man? What makes the man? As for Obasanjo, he is already widely known and remembered for his role in Nigerian history, but with him, we encounter something else: an extra, somewhat mysterious, if not inexplicable force which propels him to seek new frontiers, new conquests, labels, a questing, restless, bullish, insatiable spirit, to prove a point, or perhaps to test his own humanity. What is known is the important life that he has lived: Obasanjo, the soldier, Obasanjo, the farmer, Obasanjo, the leader, Obasanjo, the statesman, Obasanjo, the politician, Obasanjo, the author, Obasanjo, the entrepreneur. He probably does not need a Ph.D to validate or prove himself further, but here he is: Obasanjo the scholar. Everything Obasanjo touches, he wants to get to the root and height of it. He projects a competitive spirit that is complex and near-mystical. His refusal to slow down as an octogenarian contains significant lessons for the younger generation. Many young men and women today are unwilling to go the extra mile, or think out of the box. They are happy to be “slay queens and boys” and hunters of entitlements, in this case, unmerited entitlements and instant gratification. In a society where knowledge is derided and scholarship is under-appreciated, the new role models are not knowledge-seekers, but cross-dressers, naira plunkers and persons of indeterminate means. We have become a country of short cuts, where value is subjected to partisan considerations. I am shocked at how so different the younger generation is from my own generation, and how so much different from our own fathers’ generation. Obasanjo belongs to a different generation that produced, made and unmade Nigeria: there were sluggards in that generation too just as there were challenged privilege-seekers, but it was a different kind of generation, once described by Wole Soyinka as a wasted generation but now in retrospect, not a wasted generation at all, because it managed to produce values, now lost, now devalued sadly, but with memories of a country that could have been. The individuals in that generation many have given us a broken country, but there are many of them whose stories of individual accomplishments and discipline continue to hold out a fig of hope and inspiration. Take Obasanjo whose Ph.D I am celebrating and whose portrait I am trying to paint. When he left office the first time in 1979 as Nigeria’s Head of state, he had devoted the following years of his life to self-improvement. Soldiering has always been a noble profession, and in that line, Obasanjo had distinguished himself in training in various parts of the world (India and Aldershot, Chatham, England), and on the battlefield in then Congo and the Nigerian civil war. He famously and fortuitously received the instrument of Biafran surrender in 1970, and served in the post-civil war Yakubu Gowon government before history and fortune propelled him to the highest office in the land in 1976. His boss, Murtala Muhammed was killed in a military coup d’etat, and he became against his will, Nigeria’s Head of State and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces. When he later ensured the return to civilian rule in 1979, the civilized world praised him to high heavens. The military handing over power was an unusual thing at the time. It was the age of Idi Amin and the culture of sit-tightism in African politics. But rather than wallow in the adulation that came, Obasanjo embarked on a mission of self-reinvention. He became a farmer, the famous Uncle Sege with the luxuriant moustache, a signature pot-belly which scores of women found irresistible, and the hoe on his shoulder. But he did something else: he established the Africa Leadership Forum (ALF) and what he called the Farm House Dialogues. Through these platforms, Obasanjo turned his Ota Farm into a rendezvous for intellectuals and policy makers, who visited regularly to discuss matters of national, regional and global interest in a sober, calming village environment. In-between feeding his chickens and monitoring the pens in his farm, Obasanjo encouraged learning and knowledge. He became the host and the friend and mentor of the best and the brightest on the continent of Africa. Presidents visited him. Everyone courted him as the Africa Leadership Forum grew into a leading think-thank. In my early years, I was privileged to be one of the resource persons for the Forum. I wrote and edited reports and travelled with the ALF team. I did my first public review of a book through the Forum and never looked back. I co-wrote my first two books at Obasanjo’s instance, and I travelled round the world and Africa with ALF and through Obasanjo. But I was not alone. The ALF actively sought out young, smart Nigerians and other Africans, and tried to build a community of ideas across sectors. But the greatest beneficiary was Obasanjo: he re-educated and re-invented himself. When he went to prison, implicated in a phantom coup by the military junta led by General Sani Abacha, the ALF survived and even grew bigger. In the intervening years, Obasanjo had established himself as a credible global voice: member of the Global Eminent Persons Group and a voice of reason in Africa. He had moved from being merely a retired soldier who did well to an acclaimed man of integrity and knowledge. His search for and cultivation of knowledge after his retirement as a soldier stood him in extreme good stead. It was the fashion in his neck of Nigerian woods to look down on soldiers. Soldiering was seen in the Western region of his time as a profession for those who had more brawn than brain and had chosen the rough path. Obasanjo’s place of birth, Abeokuta in particular, boasted of generations of educated people and families. A soldier may have been prominent, but he was certainly not in a position to intimidate anyone in a town with so many distinguished and accomplished persons. Being rich also meant nothing to the people, but education and knowledge attracted respect. Obasanjo’s biographers have told us how he gained admission to the University of Ibadan to study agriculture, but he had to turn down the offer because he could not afford the school fees, and so opted for a career in the Military which offered free feeding, boarding and a tidy monthly allowance. A psychoanalytic reading of Obasanjo’s persona may in fact reveal a compensatory self-assertion in this direction, but he has continuously remained relevant and important because of his capacity for self-growth and re-alignment. When he returned to power in 1999, as Nigeria’s President and Head of State, he was absolutely well prepared. Nobody had any reason to question his credentials. In a country where political office seekers often present affidavits, NEPA bills and trashy excuses in place of secondary school certificates, or claim not to remember the exact name of the universities that they attended, Obasanjo had no such problem, for indeed, his life has remained an open book. Years of preparation and exposure made him an impactful President. Within 24 hours after assuming office in 1999, Obasanjo hit the ground running and announced key policy decisions. He also did not have to wait for six months or fish around the forest to compose a team, and there was no way he could ever have made the mistake of referring to the Chancellor of Germany as the President of West Germany. In Nigeria’s history since independence, Yakubu Gowon, Olusegun Obasanjo, Ibrahim Babangida and Goodluck Jonathan have recruited the brightest minds into government. Both Obasanjo and Babangida openly craved the company of intellectuals. Some of Obasanjo’s close friends to date are among the brightest minds in their respective fields and this ranges from Emeritus Professors to Christian priests or local farmers and hunters. Before now, perhaps because of this polyvalent association and his robust efforts as a writer, Olusegun Obasanjo has always tried to assert himself as an intellectual, to which the likes of his kinsman, Wole Soyinka have always responded with friendly snobbery, but now, I assume that in their next brotherly spat, the farmer of Ota is likely to engage the Nobel Laureate far more confidently. Kongi should note: Olusegun Obasanjo, now Dr. Obasanjo, has become a licensed intellectual. With a Ph.D, no one again can accuse Obasanjo of lacking in theoretical thinking. He now combines the learning of theoretical thinking with his talents as a man of quick wit, action and native wisdom. I don’t want to start a family squabble much as I do not deliberately seek to run into foul weather with this commentary by taking the risk of discussing Obasanjo’s politics, which in my informed assessment is a landmine of contradictions. So let me move on to more urgent matters and state that what further makes Obasanjo important is the creative manner in which he planned an exit strategy for himself after the expiration of his tenure as Nigeria’s President in 2007. No other Nigerian President alive or dead has been better prepared. From being a soldier, farmer, global statesman and a two-time President, Obasanjo is the only former Nigerian/African President alive with a living, robust legacy in spatial and ideational terms. The other man is Nelson Mandela, who is now a legend and an ancestor. After leaving office in 2007, Obasanjo has managed to set up in his home-town of Abeokuta, a sprawling, intimidating Presidential Library, appropriately named Legacy Resort, which is fast growing into a cultural melting point for the historic town with Obasanjo’s image and brand at the centre. Since 2007, Obasanjo has also always managed to make himself an issue in Nigerian politics. His Hilltop home in Abeokuta is a target of pilgrimage for politicians and seekers of support. Not every former African President manages to speak, have a voice or remain relevant after office. Obasanjo’s voice continues to be heard in part because he continues to strive to develop himself. For a man who is in the departure lounge, it is amazing how he continues to live as if life is immortal. He represents a study in leadership for all men and women who seek only the shortcut and have sworn an oath to a life of indolence. His life reminds us of how we live in a knowledge age and how knowledge and education are the only redemptive forces at whatever stage in life. Education, indeed continuous education can improve the individual, but it can also save communities and societies. Indolent, self-indulgent Nigerians and other political leaders can learn a lot from the Obasanjo School of Leadership. For all his accomplishments however, Obasanjo does not necessarily speak for the stifled masses of Nigeria, but he is committed to the idea of Nigeria and has spent his life and career defending that idea and the unity and progress of his homeland. I congratulate him on his fulfillment of requirements and completion of the course of study for the award of a Ph.D in Christian Theology. This is probably for him, another beginning. With a Ph.D in Theology, Obasanjo now better understands the subjects of forgiveness and love. Nobody should be surprised if Baba, as we call him, launches a Pentecostal Christian Ministry tomorrow, and declares himself a General Overseer in the Lord’s Vineyard. Should he venture in that direction, however, I may be tempted to join his ministry, and if I so decide, he would have to reciprocate by putting me in charge of the collection of tithes and offerings… Well, yeah…Dr. Olusegun Obasanjo, congratulations.
Deputy Governor of Kano State, Prof. Hafiz Abubakar has vowed not to support Governor Abdullahi Ganduje for a second term in office, come 2019. In a leaked audio which is causing trouble in the state chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC), the deputy governor who was a lecturer at the Bayero University in Kano before he was picked to serve as deputy governor, said he was tired of the shenanigans of his principal and longed to return to the classroom in 2019. Prof Abubakar reported said in the leaked audio which had gone viral: “When they were campaigning for election, my picture was juxtaposed with the governor (Ganduje), president (Muhammadu Buhari) and our leader Engr. Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso. “But today at my birthplace, my picture was replaced with somebody else’s picture. What have I done to my birthplace? I do not deserve this even as a university lecturer at Bayero University, where I hope to return in 2019 at the expiration of my tenure. “Pray for me to return to the university by May 2019, and this is what I’m fervently asking from Allah. Those who want to continue should go on, but my prayer is to go back to Bayero University. “I will not be part of a system whereby the leadership of my party, APC, would be formed at my Mandawari ward, my birthplace, and my blood brother was removed without anyone consulting with me. “I did not bring myself here. I was engrossed in my academic activities when I was picked as the deputy governorship candidate. God that chose me is not sleeping. Whether I am in the university, God knows the best. I pray to him to choose the best for me”. Reacting to the leaked audio, Governor Ganduje expressed “shock” over the turn of events, Daily Trust reports.
Innoson motors, Chief Innocent Chukwuma has been arrested by officials of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for jumping bail. It took a reinforcement from the Enugu office of the EFCC to effect the arrest of Chief Chukwuma who mobilised thugs to prevent his arrest. Confirming the arrest of the industrialist, EFCC’s Head of Media and Publicity, Wilson Uwujaren said Chukwuma was arrested at about 11am at his Savage Crescent, GRA Enugu residence today. “Chukwuma, rather than honoring invitation by the EFCC, mobilized six truck loads of thugs pretending to be staff of his company to his residence, where they manhandled EFCC operatives. “It took reinforcement from the Enugu office of the EFCC to effect the arrest of the industrialist who is currently being grilled by a team of investigators,” Uwujaren said. The EFFC added that Chukwuma’s arrest followed his refusal to honour invitation by the Commission having earlier jumped an administrative bail granted him in a case being investigated by the Capital Market and Insurance Fraud Unit of the Commission’s office in Lagos. Chief Chukwuma is a Nigerian business magnate and investor. He is the founder and CEO of Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing, Nigeria’s first indigenous automobile manufacturing company. He is also the Head of Ford Foundation in West Africa.
A report released by the Nigeria Watch Project says Lagos recorded 837 violent death in 2016. The report is the 6th Annual Report on lethal violence in Nigeria covers the period between 1 January and 31 December 2016. It has been written at the University of Ibadan, with the support of the Nigeria Stability and Reconciliation Programme (NSRP) and the French Institute for Research in Africa (IFRA-Nigeria). “In Lagos in 2016, it recorded 837 violent deaths, including 460 resulting from various criminal incidents. In contrast, the police recorded 246 murders, or a low rate of 2.7 homicides for 100,000 people as per the 2006 census, against a national average of 20 according to UNODC. Anyone walking in the streets of Lagos would thus be quite surprised to learn that the city is almost as safe as Stockholm in Sweden or Geneva in Switzerland, two countries that record homicide rates equivalent to 2 homicides for 100,000 people,” the report said. The report added that although the statistics for fatalities in Lagos and Rivers were quite similar, the former is far more prone to criminal activities than the latter, disclosing that Lagos recorded 235 events, while Rivers listed just 108 incidents in 2016. “Also, Lagos State recorded the highest number of fatalities, 194 in road mishaps. The result is rather intriguing because there is no evidence to show that Rivers State has a better road infrastructure than Abuja and Lagos. Perhaps the explanation lies in the fact that vehicle pressures on Lagos and Abuja seem to be more intense. “In the case of Lagos, the ongoing road construction on the Lagos–Ibadan expressway may be a factor. A major aspect of crime in Rivers was cult violence, which killed 254 people, as against 93 in Lagos and 2 in Abuja. Most of the cult killings were perpetrated by gangs such as the Icelanders, Greenlanders, and Deygbam. The killings occurred in 11 LGAs, especially in Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni (80 deaths), Ahoada East (59), Emuoha (51), and Ikwerre (26). “The problem hinges on the fact that politicians reportedly use cultist groups to harass opposition parties. The overall assessment of security as a combination of both crime incidents and road accidents shows that Rivers is more unsafe than Lagos and Abuja. However, the situation in these states is not comparable with Borno State, which records 56.2 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants,” the report revealed. The report further revealed that in 2016, the main causes of violence in Nigeria in order of number of fatalities were crime (4,127), political conflict (3,502), religious violence (3,361), and accidents including road crashes (2,618).