Sunday, 21 January 2018

Robert Mugabe will continue to have a role to play in Zimbabwean politics, the Jesuit priest who helped negotiate his resignation has told the BBC.

Father Fidelis Mukonori said he would provide "advice" as an elder statesman, including to the new president.

Mr Mugabe, 93, resigned on Tuesday after a military intervention and days of mass protests.

Mr Mukonori said he could not confirm reports that the ex-leader was granted $10m (£7.5m) to ease him out of office.

Emmerson Mnangagwa was sworn in to replace Mr Mugabe as president on Friday.

Mr Mnangagwa, long a close ally of Mr Mugabe, was sacked earlier this month, triggering the political crisis that eventually saw his boss's downfall.

Father Mukonori, 70, who is close to Robert Mugabe and acted as a mediator between him and the military, said the new president would go to his predecessor for political counsel.

"In the African world, senior citizens are there for advice," he told the BBC's Richard Galpin at a church outside the capital, Harare, after leading a service that included prayers giving thanks for the peaceful transfer of power.

He referred to what Mr Mnangagwa said about his predecessor at his inauguration.

"When he says 'he's my father, he's my leader, he's my mentor', you tell me he's going to stay off from his father, from his mentor, from his leader? I don't think so."

The priest said that Mr Mugabe and his wife Grace remained at their house in Harare and had no plans to leave the country.

The military takeover came in response to Mr Mugabe's decision to position Grace as his successor and sack Mr Mnangagwa from the vice-presidency.

Father Mukonori said he could not confirm reports that the ex-president was granted millions of dollars and promised that his assets would not be touched to persuade him to step down.

"We didn't offer him anything... He resigned for the good of Zimbabwe," he said.

He added: "What I have read in the newspapers is about immunity [from prosecution], and that he will be looked after like any other former head of state."

Mr Mugabe leaving power, he added, was the best thing he had ever done.

 
President Mnangagwa called Robert Mugabe "a father, mentor, comrade-in-arms and my leader"

Separately on Sunday, Robert Mugabe was described as being "quite jovial" by a nephew in an interview with the French news agency AFP.

"He is actually looking forward to his new life - farming and staying at the rural home. He has taken it well," Leo Mugabe said.

He said that Grace wanted to focus on already announced plans to build the controversial $1bn Robert Mugabe University in Mazowe, near Harare.

There are fears that President Mnangagwa, who is associated with some of worst atrocities committed under the ruling Zanu-PF party since independence in 1980, will not usher in the democratic reforms that many in Zimbabwe are hoping for.

But Father Mukonori said he believed the former spymaster knows that democracy is "crucial".

Published in Headliners

• Lamido, Shekarau, Dankwambo, others may not step down 

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has one more hurdle to cross in his secret deal with some stalwarts of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) led by ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, The nation can authoritatively report.

It was learnt yesterday that Jonathan said Atiku must beg or apologize to ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo to get the 2019 presidential ticket of the PDP on a platter of gold.

Although Obasanjo has quit partisan politics, Jonathan was of the opinion that “he is still a strong factor in shaping the future of the nation in 2019 because he is a force among the revered kingmakers.”

Former President Jonathan  had in early November told the publisher of Ovation magazine in an interview that “If Atiku gets our party ticket, he would compete well. But he would have to reach out to our boss, Baba OBJ, the boss of all bosses. We’ve all learnt at different times that you ignore OBJ at your peril. OBJ has the magic wand. He is respected at home and abroad.”

It was however unclear if Atiku has either accepted the condition or opted to go it alone in seeking the presidential mandate of the PDP.

But some presidential aspirants in PDP were said not to be ready to step down for Atiku, whom Jonathan is working to the answer for.

The aspirants said they prefer to slug it out with Atiku during the presidential primaries.

The affected aspirants are ex-Governor Sule Lamido, ex-Minister Ibrahim Shekarau, Governor Ibrahim Dankwambo and a former governor (now a Senator), who is expected to defect from APC to PDP.

The fate of the Chairman of the Caretaker Committee of PDP, Sen. Ahmed Makarfi on the party’s 2019 ticket was hanging in the balance as at press time.

Findings by our correspondent revealed that the secret deal, which made Atiku to resign from the All Progressives Congress (APC), was comprehensive and targeted at the ex-VP securing the PDP presidential slot.

It was gathered that the package also borders on hijacking the party structure at the National Convention on December 9 to make Atiku’s choice as the PDP presidential candidate a reality.

Following lobbying by Jonathan, some founding fathers of PDP (including a few retired military officers), have been part of the latest course in PDP.

Investigation revealed that most governors of the PDP were said to have bought into the Atiku project in deference to Jonathan.

A top source, who was privy to the deal, said: “The unfolding script on Atiku’s return to PDP has the blessing of some founding fathers of PDP who are out to salvage the party. A major component is a likely waiver for the ex-VP to contest the party’s presidential primaries.

“So far, Atiku is complying with the secret accord for his return to PDP. A formal declaration in Yola is being expected either on Wednesday or December 6 as indicated in a tentative timetable.

“But in one of the negotiation shuttles with Atiku, ex-President Jonathan added a caveat that the former Vice President can comfortably secure PDP ticket and win the 2019 poll if he begs ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo.

“We were all shocked by this condition because Obasanjo is no longer in partisan politics. But Jonathan said Obasanjo is an institution whose action or inaction could make or mar the electoral fortunes of Atiku.

“The former President also believes that Obasanjo may persuade any of the presidential aspirants to withdraw for Atiku after weighing all the indices. He said if Obasanjo could reconcile with him, he can also forgive Atiku.

“As a matter of fact, Jonathan cited cases of chairmanship aspirants in PDP travelling to Abeokuta to seek his blessing.

“We are expecting Atiku to comply with this proviso because we want to begin the media war (based on facts and figures) in earnest.

“Jonathan’s position on Obasanjo has been endorsed by some founding fathers of PDP, especially the military class which contrived the existence of the party.”

Meanwhile, there were indications yesterday that some presidential aspirants in the PDP may not step down for Atiku.

These include Lamido, Shekarau, Dankwambo and a former governor (now a Senator), who is expected to defect from APC to PDP.

It was not clear if the Chairman of the Caretaker Committee of PDP, Sen. Ahmed Makarfi will seek the party’s 2019 ticket.

A governor, who played a significant role in the pact with Atiku, said: “As part of the deal, we have been trying to prevail on some of these aspirants to step down but they have chosen to contest the primaries with the ex-Vice President.

“Some of them queried why a politician will cross from the opposition party and just be given PDP presidential ticket.

“One of the aspirants said since 1999, he has never defected to any party. He said loyalty to the party and competence should be compensated by PDP.

“Well, we have looked into PDP Constitution, it is immaterial when you join, you can enjoy the rights and privileges which a Methuselah member enjoys. Go and look at sections 8 and 18 of our constitution.”

While Section 8(a) and (b) of the PDP Constitution deals with the procedure for rejoining PDP, Section 18 is on the Status of Returnee Members.

Section 8 reads: “A person who desires to rejoin the party after leaving it shall: (a) apply to his Ward Secretary for readmission; and (b) unless given waiver by the National Working Committee(NWC), be placed on probation for a period of not less than one year.

“Subject to the provision of Section 8(b), a member on probation shall have the right to attend all meetings of the party but shall not be entitled to vote at such meetings, nor shall he be eligible to contest for elective office on the platform of the party.

Section 18 says: “A person who has earlier decamped from the party but later decides to return to the party shall lose the seniority and privileges conferred on him by his previous status.”

But the PDP top shot said: “As the opposition party, we are looking at the larger picture of the return of Atiku, we will give him all waivers required to ensure his readmission.

“Some of our leaders, who were initially opposed to the return of the ex-VP, had shown enough understanding in the past few months.”

Meanwhile, a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, Alhaji Kehinde Olaosebikan yesterday said the exit of Atiku would not have any significant effect on the fortunes of the party in the 2019 general elections.

He said no serving governor, no presiding officer of the National Assembly or key national executive officer of the party was in sync with Atiku’s defection.

Olaosebikan who spoke with journalists in Abuja yesterday said in spite of the defection, President Muhammadu Buhari would win hands down and that the party would perform better in 2019.

He added:  “Going through the resignation letter, I found out that the Turaki did not exercise enough fortitude. He allowed politics and ambition to take control of him. He should have stayed with his avowed position in 2013 that the All Progressives Congress was his last bus stop politically, and leave the rest in the hands of Allah.”

“What the President needs from us, particularly the big political players is love, understanding, support and prayers as already being exhibited by the National Executive of the party and our National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu who at different fora recently gave us hope and assurances of a better tomorrow.”

When asked of the declaration of Asiwaju Tinubu that the party would not give automatic ticket to President Buhari for a second term, Olaosebikan told journalists that the position of Tinubu was in the best interest of the President, APC and the country as a whole.

“Asiwaju,  with the declaration of no automatic ticket was merely portraying  the President as a genuine democrat who believes in due process. What Asiwaju Tinubu said was in support of strengthening our democracy and our political institution which we need to do with all seriousness.

“You would recall too, that he stated that all the organs of the party would support him through the processes. In a nutshell, he is in full support of his second term and you know with him, all the APC governors and the presiding officers in the National Assembly, the ticket is already in the pocket of the President.

“And when it comes to the general election, it is a platitude that you cannot compare the popularity and acceptability of President Muhammadu Buhari with that of any person in the country today. He will win in the North and in the South convincingly. Buhari is not loved for money or any material thing; he is passionately loved for his strong character and piousness.”

Published in Business and Economy
Saturday, 25 November 2017 20:33

Messi extends Barcelona contract until 2021

Lionel Messi ended months of speculation when finally putting pen to paper on Saturday to extend his contract with Barcelona until 2021, the club announced, making official an agreement reached in July.

The Spanish giants had announced in the summer that Messi, 30, had committed his future to the club but the Argentine had not signed the new deal.

With his previous contract set to expire in 2018, Messi could have left Barca for free next summer had he not extended his deal.

“FC Barcelona and Lionel Messi signed on Saturday morning a new contract that will keep the Argentinian superstar at the club through the 2020/21 season,” read a club statement. “The buyout clause was set at 700 million euros ($835 million).”

The steep rise in the five-time World Player of the Year’s buyout clause from 300 million euros in his previous contract is designed to avoid any repeat of Paris Saint-Germain’s capture of Neymar from Barcelona by paying the Brazilian’s 222 million euro buyout clause in August.

Pressure has been mounting on beleaguered Barca president Josep Maria Bartomeu to get Messi to put pen to paper.

Bartomeu was heavily criticised for his role in Neymar’s departure and a haphazard search for replacements in the final weeks of the transfer window.

However, Bartomeu saw off a vote of no confidence measure launched by disgruntled fans thanks to Barca’s fantastic start to the season, in large part inspired by Messi’s form.

And Bartomeu now has the image he craved of a smiling Messi tying the remainder of his peak years to the club.

Messi’s 30 trophies are along with teammate Andres Iniesta the most in Barca’s history, including eight La Liga and four Champions League titles.

The diminutive Argentine, who joined Barca at the age of 13, has also smashed 523 goals in 602 games to become the Catalans’ all-time top goalscorer.

News of Messi’s renewal also comes as a huge boost to the La Liga leaders ahead of Sunday’s top of the table clash at Valencia (1945GMT).

Barca lead a revitalised Valencia by four points, with both Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid a further six points adrift, thanks to a club record start of 11 wins and one draw from 12 games.

Published in News & Stories

A former Minister of State for Defence, Sen.Musiliu Obanikoro, on Saturday in Lagos finally dumped the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) for the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Obanikoro’s defection at his Lagos Island constituency ended months of speculations about the status of his political allegiance.
There were earlier reports that he had settled his differences with the national leader of APC, Chief Bola Ahmed Tinubu , as a step to joining the ruling party.
Though Obanikoro acknowledged reconciliation with Tinubu, he had neither denied nor confirmed plans to join his political mentor in APC.
He, however, finally gave the hint of his defection during a television interview on Thursday.

NAN reports that Obanikoro defected to the APC along with other PDP bigwigs in the state, including a former aide of former president Good luck Jonathan, Mrs Modupe Sasore.
Others are a national officer of the PDP, Mr Jide Damazio, and another PDP chieftain, Chief Kola Balogun.
They were received by chieftains of APC, including the state chairman, Chief Henry Ajomale; Alhaji Kashim Imam, Chief James Odunbaku as well as the Attorney General of Lagos State, Mr Adeniji Kazeem who represented Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode.

Past and serving members of the National Assembly including Sen. Ganiyu Solomon, Sen. Gbenga Ashafa and Rep. Jide Jimoh were among APC bigwigs present.
Presenting the APC flag to Obanikoro and others, Ajomale said the coming of the former minister and others meant the opposition was totally dead in the state.
He described Obanikoro as politically experienced and sagacious, and said his joining the party would no doubt add to the electoral fortune of the party in the state.
“We are happy to receive Obanikoro back in our fold. He was with us when we started the Alliance for Democracy (AD) but he decided to go the other way.
“Thank God he has realised his mistake and he is back. We are indeed happy to get back this big fish, along with others.
“Obanikoro is an asset and he will no doubt add value to our party,’’ he said.

Obanikoro, in his speech, said he was happy to return to the fold of his age-long political associates after his long sojourn in the PDP.
He said he defected because he couldn’t find fulfillment in the PDP and he joined the ruling party because he had a mission to render service on its platform.
The ex-minister said his former party could not offer him the platform for the kind of service he wanted to render.
“Today, I and others are not just joining the APC for joining sake, we are joining because we are on a mission.
“I had joined the PDP a few years ago with the hope that certain things would be done right to enable me make the desired impact. That did not happen.
“And now, Asiwaju Tinubu has taken leadership to another level, not only in the state, but at the national level.
“So, my joining the APC is not by accident. It is to return to my people and seek a platform on which I can render service to my people, because leadership is about service and co-ordination of talents to achieve results.
“We have looked everywhere, and the only party that offers that platform for service delivery is the APC.
“For me, this is not really a defection; it is a home-coming, because in a way, this is my root. I am happy to return to my people; no place like home,” he said.
Obanikoro praised the leadership style of Tinubu, which he said had ensured the development of the state.
He thanked Tinubu for being magnanimous to accept him back in the fold after years of altercations between them.
“I thank Tinubu for his magnanimity. I am here because he is generous and has a forgiving heart. If it were other leaders, they will say ‘God forbid’.
“He has accepted me back despite all the issues between us, I am grateful to him,” Obanikoro said.

The former minister said he we would do his best to add value to his new party.
Also, Sasore and Balogun took turns to thank the party for allowing them into the fold.
They said they could not find fulfillment in PDP hence, the decision to join APC.
The duo promised to do their best to ensure APC progresses in the state.
Imam, in his remark, said the party was happy to receive Obanikoro and others.
He said the defection meant the party was the only party in the state, as it marked the end of PDP.

The National Vice-Chairman of the APC (South West), Chief Puis Akinyelure, who represented Tinubu, said the party was glad with the home-coming of Obanikoro and others
He said the defection meant the PDP was dead as Obanikoro was one of its pillars in the state.
NAN reports it was a carnival-like ceremony as party faithful danced and sang to receive Obanikoro and the others.
A popular Fuji musician, Wasiu Ayinde Marshal, was on hand to thrill those present. (NAN)

Published in News & Stories

Deputy President of the Senate, Sen. Ike Ekweremadu, says restructuring Nigeria is inevitable for all-inclusive advantages it will confer on federating units and enhancement of national unity.

Ekweremadu stated this at a two-day Retreat by Southern Senators Forum in Calabar on Friday, and dismissed the fear in certain quarters that restructuring would cause the break-up of the country.

He explained that restructuring was not the same as exclusive resource control as the renewed and aggressive search for oil around the Lake Chad, Sokoto and Benue River Basins in recent times appeared to suggest.

According to him, whereas federating units will have more control over their resources in a restructured Nigeria, there would always be an Equalisation Fund to ensure that every region thrives above a reasonable threshold.

“In fact, oil and gas is among the least strategic endowments of the nation today and in the years ahead. Oil is fast losing its import in the global economy.

“Many of the heavy buyers are not only finding alternatives to oil, but are also setting deadlines for the phasing out of oil-powered engines and automobiles.

“But, what else can cure our fixation on oil except a return to the original master plan – the quest for a return to the old covenant and original foundation laid by the country’s forefathers.

“This quest is to revive the original master plan, removing those ugly and excess weights introduced by successive military regimes.

“It is an admission that we cannot continue to do the same thing that has failed us for more than half a century and expect a different result.

“If you are driving to Abuja from Ibadan and you face Lagos, you can only end up in Badagry or the Atlantic,’’ he said.
The lawmaker pointed out that the subject of restructuring appeared to have had divided opinions.

He recalled that Nigeria’s independence was delayed till 1960 to give room for more dialogue and ensure that no part of the country was left behind.

He explained that it was wisdom of the founding fathers that ensured that the current map of Nigeria was retained.

Ekweremadu said that there was no other viable option than restructuring if Nigeria must reap the blessings and promises of self-rule.

According to him, it must be done in a way that every part of the country will have a true sense of belonging.

He urged Nigerians to embark on more responsible and patriotic public discourse and enlightenment to break down the meaning and processes of restructuring, saying that the fears inherent in restructuring needed to be addressed.

“I believe that the man from Zamfara is unlikely to stand against a return to true federalism if he is made to understand that such would allow the state to exploit the abundant gold and granite in the state.

“The woman from Kogi will not likely oppose restructuring if she understands how rich the state is in solid minerals such as coal, iron ore, ornamental stone, gemstone, limestone, feldspar, phosphate, mica, and granite.

“And, how restructuring the country will give the state constitutional access to those mineral deposits could transform Kogi to one of the richest states in the country.

“The man from the North-East will not likely oppose decentralised policing if he understands that his family and business will be better protected,’’ he said.

The deputy senate president said the Nigeria Police Force needed to be decentralised as a significant component of the envisaged restructuring exercise.

He said the rating of International Police Association and the Institute for Peace and Security of Nigeria Police as the worst police in the world called to mind the imperative of restructuring of the nation’s police.
He pointed out that the rating had been the worst on all the measured parameters because the police had not been effectively decentralised.

He said, “Nigeria is the only country in the world with a federal system of government but running a unitary system of policing.

“Again, it is not realistic to expect the North to easily give away the advantages the status quo confers on it.

“Since revenues, appointments, projects, and other various opportunities are shared mainly on the basis of states and local governments, we will not realistically expect the region to give up the numerous states and local governments it currently enjoys.

“We will not expect the region to give up all these to embrace regionalism or creation of more states to strike a structural balance.

“But, we stand better chances if we engage in good faith, responsible and respectful dialogue to make every section of the country to see the bigger picture.

“Such healthy dialogues will also show that a man cannot enjoy his perceived advantages when his neighbours are angry since a man who feels unjustly treated will never be interested in peace.’’

Ekweremadu said that restructuring could only be addressed by adopting a piecemeal approach rather than seeking to do everything or so much at a go.

According to him, as the people begin to reap the gains of gradual restructuring, they will drop their fears and crave for more.

He said that if some Nigerians insisted on addressing all the issues at once, it would create the grounds for the suspicion that there was a hidden agenda.

“Interestingly, quite a number of prominent voices in the North have also thrown their weights behind the restructuring of the country. I am sure that many will join in due course.

“We must leverage on the influence of those who are on the same page with us on the vexed matter.

“This is having at the back of our mind a restructuring outcome that guarantees our indivisibility and promotes national integration.

“A restructuring that will guarantee our unity and national integration must address the issue of power rotation among the constituent parts of the country.’’

He called for the devolution of powers to make the centre less attractive as well as a single-term presidency that would rotate among the geographical zones.

The legislator said that such may prove reassuring to ethnic groups and promote national unity and loyalty to the nation, while constituent parts would be reassured that power would come at a given interval.

He commended the forum for raising the standard of ongoing national debate on restructuring, adding that he was impressed by the aptness and auspiciousness of the theme of the retreat – National Unity and Restructuring.

He said: “As we sit back to listen to the erudite minds here gathered, and as we share ideas, let patriotism and dedication to a better and greater Nigeria, rule.

“Let us bear in mind that we cannot restructure without unity, and certainly that restructuring will better guarantee a united and prosperous Nigeria.

“So, we should never fear to restructure and we should not restructure in fear.’’

Published in News & Stories

Ex-President Robert Mugabe is reportedly worth more than $1bn despite his country being one of the poorest in the world.

Mugabe’s wealth has come under the microscope following a military coup earlier in the week.

The 93-year-old dictator has accumulated significant wealth during his rule under which thousands of people have been killed over the past 37 years.

Local media reports suggest a small part of his fortune was reaped from Zimbabwe’s diamond deposits. Mugabe owns the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Co.

He has repeatedly been accused of stealing from the country’s coffers, while he also reportedly acquired 15 acres of land during land seizures in 2000.

According to a 2001 US diplomatic cable, later released by the whistle-blowing organisation WikiLeaks, Mugabe has about $1.75bn worth of assets, mostly invested outside Zimbabwe.

It said that while reliable information was difficult to find, there were rumours his assets “include everything from secret accounts in Switzerland, the Channel Islands and the Bahamas to castles in Scotland.”

Opposition politicians have claimed the Mugabes own 14 farms in the bankrupt country, which would be in contravention of the constitution, which limits land holdings.

The best known is the Omega Dairy farm, one of the largest dairy farms in southern Africa.

Although the family has claimed not to be wealthy, Mugabe has flaunted his wealth in the past. Just three years ago, he famously dined on elephant and lion meat at his lavish 90th birthday celebrations.

Mugabe’s home in Harare is said to be extraordinarily opulent but it’s not the only mansion in his property portfolio. The president purchased a $5.2m mansion in Hong Kong in 2013 and also owns Hamilton Palace in Sussex, UK, which was estimated to be worth about $40m before it became a construction site.

He is also said to own a custom-built Mercedes Benz s600L that is able to withstand AK-47 bullets, landmines and grenades. It also features a CD and DVD player, internet access and anti-bugging devices.

The Citizen reported that Mugabe — who is a trained teacher — also owns a Rolls-Royce Phantom IV: a colonial-era British luxury car so exclusive, only 18 were ever manufactured.

The vintage black car is estimated to be worth more than Zimbabwe’s entire GDP.
(News.com)

Published in Headliners

Former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar said on Friday that he resigned from the All Progressives Congress because the party had failed Nigerian youths.

Atiku announced on his website that the ruling APC was a dying party that never took youths into account.

He said the future belonged to young people and that he joined the APC to facilitate a bright future for the young and old.

“The party we put in place has failed and continues to fail our people, especially our young people; how can we have a federal cabinet without even one single youth.

“A party that does not take the youth into account is a dying party. The future belongs to young people.

“I admit that I and others, who accepted the invitation to join the APC, were eager to make positive changes for our country that we fell for a mirage.

“Can you blame us for wanting to put a speedy end to the sufferings of the masses of our people?’’

Atiku also hinged his resignation on fractionalisation of the APC, resulting from “arbitrariness and unconstitutionality’’ over the years.

He said it was for the same reason that he defected from the Peoples Democratic Party in 2014.

“While other parties have purged themselves of the arbitrariness and unconstitutionality that led to fractionalisation, the APC has adopted the same practices.

“It has even gone beyond them to institute a regime of a draconian clampdown on all forms of democracy within the party and the government it produced,’’ he added.

Atiku said that after due consultations, he had resigned from the APC to take time to ponder his future. (NAN)

Published in Politics
Wednesday, 22 November 2017 18:11

BY ANTHONY CHUKA KONWEA, P.E.: GO HOME AND DIE  

How times have changed. What do they teach students at medical schools these days? To be heartless, devoid of sympathy and bereft of empathy? In the good old days, medical doctors could not bring it upon themselves to tell terminally ill people or their close relatives that their death is not only certain, but that it is around the corner. They would go about it in a round-about manner like this:

“Papa (or mama) you have lived a good life” (a barefaced lie, they probably do not know the patient from Adam or Eve, as to know whether he or she has lived a good or horrible life), “and God has blessed you abundantly to have lived so long.” 

“Look at all your children surrounding you on your sickbed and showering you with so much love and affection. You have trained and raised your children admirably well and I am pretty sure they are all successful in their respective professions and vocations. You have seen your children’s children. What more can any one of us ask from God?”

“It is well eh, Papa. God is in absolute control. There is nothing to fear. We shall do our best, but God will do the rest (What they actually mean is, when God calls you, who are we to stop you from answering the call).”

It is not so nowadays. Things have changed so much. Medical Doctors no longer tell you that they will do their best while God will do the rest. If you are unlucky to fall into their hands in a desperate situation, they actually give you and your family the approximate date and time God will call you.

I remember when my townsman Elder Big Harry a.k.a. Dirty Harry (behind his back of course) was terminally ill. The news spread around our little town like wild fire. People would tell one another about his sickness in hush, hush tones just like these two married women I accidentally eavesdropped upon.

“Mama Junior, have you heard that Big Harry has fallen ill?”

“No Mama Beauty. Which Big Harry are you talking about?  You mean Dirty Harry?”

“Yes oh, it is he that I am talking about.”

“No that is not possible. Is it not just a few weeks ago that I caught Dirty Harry sneaking into a hotel in the Big City with his grand-daughter’s class-mate? You cannot be serious. People like Dirty Harry don’t ever fall sick. Sickness seems to be reserved for simple folks such as you and me.”

“What? You mean you caught Dirty Harry with a small girl in the Big City? The man is truly shameless. He is never satisfied with women. He wants to have all the women and girls in the world.”

“By the way tell me Mama Beauty. What disease is Dirty Harry suffering from?

“It is terrible oh. What disease again will he suffer from. I heard it is a man-and-woman disease but of a type that medical doctors have not seen before and which lacks any known cure. “

“Ahh, Dirty Harry will kill me-oh.” Mama Junior ejaculated involuntarily.

A sly realization suddenly came upon Mama Beauty. 

“Wait-oh, wait, Mama Junior. Don’t tell me that you too have been seeing Dirty Harry.”

‘Shut up Mama Beauty. Is it only me? You think I don’t know about you and Dirty Harry? Let me tell you, Dirty Harry boasted to me that you were one of his girl-friends. Can you deny it that Dirty Harry was taking you regularly to Paradise Hotel in the Big City. He even showed me some nude pictures he took of you when you were fast asleep.” 

“He what? Ye-eh are you serious? You mean Dirty Harry actually took nude pictures of me and he kept it all this while? No wonder after I broke with him to save my marriage, he was boasting to me even up till last month that whenever he wants me he is sure to get me.”

“The man is a Devil. Who knows how many other people apart from yourself he has shown my pictures to. Now that he is sick, I hope the pictures don’t fall into the wrong hands. Ah - ah Mama Junior I am in serious trouble. What will I tell my husband if somebody comes across the pictures and sends it to him or decides to blackmail me with it?”

“Mama Beauty, your own is even good that it is only pictures that you are worried about. I pity myself. Only two weeks ago, I lied to my husband that I was going for all-night revival crusade with the Women Fellowship in the Big City. But I left the crusade venue and went to hook-up with Dirty Harry in a hotel.”

“If only I had known that the man was sick, I would not have given myself again to him or I would have used protection. I only pray that he has not infected me and that I have not in turn infected my husband. Ah - ah Dirty Harry is a wicked old man. What will happen to my children if both my husband and myself are infected?”

“Don’t speak so loudly Mama Junior. Don’t you know that the walls also have ears?”

“Yes -oh Mama Beauty. You are right of course. We have to be discreet otherwise we will end up exposing ourselves with our own mouths. But tell me what are the symptoms of the disease. I mean is Dirty Harry emaciating?”

“Emaciating? Far from it. I heard he is swelling. You know. I mean. Eh - em. You know. His manhood. I heard it scratches him incessantly and when he scratches it, it swells uncontrollably.” “One fat woman who twice went to visit with him in the hospital said the first time she visited with him, his manhood was as thick as her arms. The second time she went a couple of days later, it was as thick as her thighs. I guess by now it will be as thick as her stomach.” 

“Ah - ah Mama Beauty what on earth have I gotten myself into. My husband was scratching himself down there yesterday. And I threatened him that I hope he has not been fooling around. O what a mess. How much did I even collect from Dirty Harry to expose my family to such grave danger? The money the old fool gave me could not even fetch me a decent Brazilian hair wig.” 

“Mama Junior, were it not that life and death is involved, I would have said that your case is even better than mine. At least you can always deny meeting with Dirty Harry. But in my case, how can I deny it if my nude picture starts circulating among idle gossipers on the internet?”

“You know what Mama Junior, let us travel to the Big City tomorrow and assess his condition in the hospital. We will pretend to be sympathizing with his daughters who are our friends.  I hope he will be gracious enough on his death bed to tell me where he hid my nude pictures.   

“You have made a very good point Mama Beauty. Who knows whether Dirty Harry also took secret nude pictures of me too. The man is terrible, I don’t put it beyond him. He showed me nude pictures of many married women I know in our town. O what a fool I was. Agreed the man gave me some good money. But after the first time why did I keep going back to him? After-all the money he gave me continued to reduce after each encounter, yet I continued to go back to him. I must have been bewitched.”

“Mama Junior admit that you were enjoying it too much. To tell you the truth, Dirty Harry has magical ways and means. It took supreme effort for me to stop going to see him.”

“Mama Beauty, we shall go to the City tomorrow. Apart from asking him if he took nude pictures of me, I hope I can have the opportunity to ask the doctors and nurses if there is a medication someone can take to prevent the organ-swelling disease from reaching the full-blown stage. If that is hopefully the case then I will take it and find a way of tricking my husband into taking it too. May God help both of us in our predicament.”

As both women parted company, alarmed and dismayed by what I had just heard, I said to myself that I too will go and pay a hospital visit to Big Harry to ascertain what was going on.

I travelled to the big City early the next morning, a three-hour journey. By the time I got to the hospital, I discovered to my utmost surprise that the place was swarming with my fellow denizens particularly women from our town. Young, old, single, married, it seemed all the able-bodied adult women and girls from our town had converged there.

A health worker soon pulled me aside.

“Young man, are you from the same town as that patient in the VIP Ward called Elder Big Harry?”

“Yes, he is my kinsman.”

“He must be a very popular man who has touched many lives in your town judging from the way many of your towns people have been trooping here to visit with him since he was admitted.”

“Yes of course Sir. He is a very popular and wealthy Chief from my town who has touched many women.”

The irony in my statement was lost on the health worker as he declared. “Hmmm. Women are always more spiritually perceptive than men. Women instinctively recognize great men whose greatness may be lost on their fellow men when they see them. See apart from yourself and his sons, I can count the number of men from your town who have come here to see Elder Big Harry on the fingers of my palm. But the number of women from your town who come here daily is unquantifiable.” 

“You are right in that assessment of relative numbers Sir,” I answered politely.

Basking in my endorsement of his viewpoint, the health worker said expansively. “Although I am not a Christian, I read the Bible to expand my world-view and it struck me that when all the disciples apart from St John abandoned Jesus Christ on the cross, only the women stood by him.”

I wanted to confront the Health worker for daring to compare our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God and Creator of the world with a lecherous, dirty old man like Elder Big Harry, but decided to endure the sacrilege. Instead I asked him.

“Is it certain then that Elder Big Harry cannot recover from this ailment?”

“Medically speaking, there is no hope. This is a strange ailment which we have never come across in Medical Science. It seems to affect only his male organ which is swelling uncontrollably, yet biopsies show that it is not cancer but an allergic reaction triggering infection. That being said however, we are unable to pin-point the actual vector behind the allergy or its manner of transmission.”

“Having observed that the only way any person can be similarly affected is by coitus and noting that in his present swollen condition, coitus is impossible meaning that no other person is at risk, we the hospital management have taken the decision to discharge him so that he can enjoy his last few days in the company of his beloved people thereby preventing these women from streaming in here and causing a daily commotion.”

As he said this, he led me into the VIP ward where Elder Big Harry was the sole patient-occupant.

I could not recognize the emaciated figure lying on the bed neither could I fail to notice the enormous protrusion from his waist. It appeared all his life energies were being diverted from his body to his waist region.

As he began to address the patient, I realized the man I was conversing with was the Chief Medical Doctor.

“Elder Big Harry, I must be frank with you Sir. Your ailment is beyond us and medical science. It appears you have at most a couple of days left to live. We decided it is better for you to spend those days in your own house, in your own town and in the company of your townspeople particularly the women who seem to love you so much. “ 

“You must have been a very kind man who touched so many lives as attested to by the presence of all these women and girls numbering in their hundreds some of who are right here with us and majority outside this room. We shall convey you home so that you can have a couple of days to tidy up your estate and bid farewell to your people.”

“Okay women you are advised to leave now as we prepare to transport the Elder by ambulance back to your hometown where you can be with him these next couple of days and bid him final farewell according to your customs and tradition.”

One woman who I recognized to be a married woman could take it no longer. “Doctor please permit me a few minutes to discuss with Elder. Our tradition and customs back home will not afford me the opportunity to have private audience with him. All the women present shouted simultaneously “I want private audience with Elder.” The news spread around like wild fire to the women and girls outside who joined the chorus. “Private audience, private audience, they chanted.”

It appeared as if a riot was brewing. It took the personal feeble intervention of the dying man to bring order to the riotous women.

“Doctor, I will only have private audience with this young man whose late grandfather was my bosom friend and whose family integrity I can vouch for.” Elder Big Harry was referring to me. “After I am no more, the women can meet him individually to collect whatever they want from me. He shall give what they ask to them at his own personal discretion and convenience.”

With this the agitating women were brusquely ushered out and I was left alone with Elder Big Harry.

The dying man’s eyes focused on me. “Young man, I have lived a very bad life. Wealth is good, but too much wealth or power as I have had is dangerous because it makes you do and get away with many evil things which otherwise you would not be exposed to.”

“You see all those women and girls outside, I had numerous liaisons with each and every one of them even including the married ones. Some of them bore children for me. Many others aborted for me. I gave them money beyond what they could ever hope to get from their husbands but as a precautionary measure I took compromising nude pictures of each and every one of them without their prior knowledge or consent as a sort of permanent control.”

“I realize that each one of them without exception is happy that I am dying but they all remain fearful because they suspect or have learnt that I have their nude pictures and are afraid of it falling into the wrong hands when I am no more.”

“I wish to unilaterally appoint you as Administrator of my Romantic Affairs and I shall tell you where all the nude pictures are. You know I cannot tell my own sons and family about things like this without eternally soiling my image. All the nude pictres are stored online at so-so and so place which you can access with so-so and so code. Review them and deal with the pictures as you deem fit.”

“Note that from this moment having taken you into confidence the women will grant me freedom to go home and die, but henceforth they will begin to pester you.”

“My son all evil be it adultery, be it murder or be it terrorism is bad and invariably enslaves its perpetrators.  Nothing you tell these women will convince them or free them from your hands except they publicly confess their individual affairs with me. For the rest of their lives they are subject to you provided you do not expose them publicly.”

“If you tell them you have not destroyed the pictures they will pester you.  Even if you tell them you have destroyed the pictures they will not believe you. They will still continue to pester you, fearful that you have stored secret copies elsewhere.”

“I am sorry young man, but that is my legacy for you. It is not for nothing that people are warned to steer clear of evil. When you associate with evil doers like adulterers or murderers or terrorists, you get to bear a share of their guilt.”

“You ought not to have come to see me on my death bed. Your inquisitiveness and curiosity for information that does not concern you has led you into a carrying a burden you shall bear as long as you and any one of these married women is alive. Thank you.”

Afterwards Elder Big Harry was packaged by the hospital and sent home to go and die.

As for me, my life would never be the same again as I unwittingly emerged as a captive inheritor of his dirty secrets and an unwilling bearer of his evil generational burden.

THE END   -

Published in Parliament

Panelists are Secondus’ men, Adeniran claims

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) remains unsettled as it heads for its December 9 convention.

National chairman aspirant Prof. Tunde Adeniran has kicked against the list of panelists to conduct the ward delegates’ election ahead of the convention. He has petitioned the leadership.

The party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting has been fixed for Abuja to ratify the list, among other decisions on the convention.

Adeniran said many members of the committee are sympathisers and supporters of Prince Uche Secondus, another chairmanship candidate.

In the Southwest, the faction led by Chief Makanjuola Ogundipe is laying claim to legitimacy. The leadership recognises Dr. Eddy Olafeso as the Vice Chairman (Southwest). Makanjuola is threatening a law suit should his faction be denied participation at the convention.

In Oyo State, a meeting on Sunday to settle the differences between the two factions on Sunday broke up in disagreement.

The director general of Adeniran’s Campaign Organisation, Alhaji Shehu Gabam, said the peace accord entered into by the eight chairmanship aspirants is threatened.

”A particular state has members on that list and some of  them are the leading campaigners for Prince Uche Secondus. We as campaign organisation were not consulted to bring one or two persons and I am sure other aspirants were not consulted too.

“It is an indirect way of short-changing other aspirants. The spirit behind the MoU we signed has been violated, not by the aspirants but by the party managers,” Gabam said.

The Adeniran camp mentioned Senator George Sekibo, Mr. Austin Opara, ThanGod Danagogo, Chief Kenneth Ubani Emeka Ihedioha as some of the Secondus loyalists on the list.

The Adeniran camp said: “Now you have just one chairmanship aspirant having his men deeply entrenched in a system that would determine how the delegates will emerge.

“The party created the division among the aspirants. The party should provide equal base for all aspirants and I want to say that we disagree with the composition of this list.”

Adeniran urged the party leadership to shun impunity and imposition of candidates, saying PDP must learn from past mistakes.

The camp yesterday rejected the call by the Ekiti State Governor Ayo Fayose for shadow primary elections for aspirants from the South West, saying the governor had already taken sides.

The Caretaker Committee of the PDP said: “We have received a petition written by Prof Adeniran on the matter and the Caretaker Committee will meet to discuss the petition this week.”

Ogundipe told reporters that the faction remained the authentic executive in the zone based on a subsisting court judgment.

Ogundipe said the continued recognition of Olafeso as Vice Chairman (Southwest) ran foul of the law as there had been no superior order to nullify the subsisting Abuja court judgment.

“We are the authentic Southwest zonal executive of the PDP, based on a subsisting court judgment and we want the party to accord us the due recognition.

“Any other group parading themselves as exco from the zone is committing an illegality as there has been no better judgement to nullify the court judgement affirming us as the authentic executive.

“Moreso, the subsisting court order restrained Olafeso and his group from participating in the Dec. 9 national convention.

“We do not want to constitute any problem to the convention and that is why we are saying the party should operate in accordance with law and allow us to present delegates from the zone.

“In the event that we are excluded, just as we were at the non-elective convention in Port-Harcourt, we shall take the necessary legal action, and that will affect the party in the long run,” he said.

Ogundipe said the Supreme Court judgment affirming Sen. Ahmed Makarfi as Caretaker Chairman did not nullify the leadership of his faction in the zone.

He urged all stakeholders to abide by the rule of law in order not to jeopardise the progress of the party.

Ogundipe cleared Chief Olabode George of any involvement in the leadership impasse in the zone.

He said an all-encompassing meeting of stakeholders in the zone, including national chairmanship aspirants, would soon hold, to decide on a united position of the zone to the convention.

Olafeso, in a statement yesterday said the Southwest PDP did not micro zone the chairman’s post.

He denied that the Southwest executive at its last meeting with stakeholders directed that national chairman aspirant must come from a particular state.

“This is patently false as no such decision was taken. We only zoned other offices that were zoned to the Southwest among all the states in the region and this action is traditional.

“The position of national chairman and deputy national chairman is zoned to the southern states and, as such is beyond the scope of the South West zone to unilaterally adjudicate on. We declare that all those gentlemen that have signified their intentions to contest for those positions remain at liberty to continue to prosecute their ambitions without hindrance.”

The attempt to resolve the crisis between the two factions in Oyo State failed at the weekend.

Senator Rashidi Ladoja called a parley in his home on Sunday but it ended in a stalemate as the faction led by Seyi Makinde, Hon. Mulikat Akande-Adeola, Alhaji Hazeem Gbolarumi and Senator Hosea Agboola rejected the terms of truce.

At the meeting, the representatives of the Makinde faction – Akande-Adeola, Agboola and Hon. Kehinde Ayoola- rejected the offer of a position for Akande-Adeola and Agboola to appease the faction.

The faction, it was learnt, insisted on harmonisation that will see both factions have almost equal number of slots in the State Executive.

The factions held parallel congresses on November 4.

The National Caretaker Committee invited Ladoja for a resolution. Ladoja was said to have promised the committee that he would resolve the crisis.  His promise made the national leadership to stop its intervention. The committee also considered the fact that both factions accepted the former governor as the leader.

At the Sunday meeting were also Sen. Femi Lanlehin, Chief Yemi Aderibigbe and Sen.  Ayo Adeseun from the Ladoja faction.

The meeting, which lasted for over two hours, failed to resolve the problem, with each camp not ready to shift grounds.

It was learnt that Makinde also rejected the two slots already given to him, saying he should have been allowed to present his own candidates.

Published in News & Stories

Fresh facts have started emerging on what has been tagged illegal acquisition of a property by one of the lawmakers in Lagos State House of Assembly, Hon. Adefunmilayo Tejuoso. In fact, many tales were given to be the real cause of the invasion of her residence, 3 Sasegbon Street, GRA Ikeja, Lagos, by security operatives on the orders of Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode.

To some, she has done everything wrong by not vacating the building for other Deputy Speakers that came after her. Some others believed she has settled the issue by buying the property from the government at N150m.

However, according to the new findings, the issue that is still generating mixed feelings amongst many in the state with appellation, Centre of Excellence, is not only limited to the female lawmaker, who claimed to have bought the property from the state government through her company, Debam Mega Solutions Limited, when she was the Deputy Speaker of the Lagos House of Assembly through the monetization policy of the government.

We further gathered that no Deputy Speaker of Lagos Assembly has ever made use of the property as official quarters, two Deputy Speakers had emerged before Tejuoso became the Deputy Speaker of the House, and none of them stayed in the property.

It was one Mrs. Dawodu, a retired Permanent Secretary that was the last occupant of the premises, before Tejuoso packed him. 

Aside Tejuoso, findings revealed that the likes of Governors, Ambode, Rauf Aregbesola, Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, Senator Tokunbo Afikuyomi are also beneficiaries of the monetization policy which saw them acquiring properties the way Funmi Tejuoso did.

We gathered exclusively that, aside Funmi Tejuoso, the governor of Lagos, Akinwunmi Ambode also benefitted from such privilege when he bought his house on Glover Street, Ikoyi Lagos, a prominent part of the acquatuc state.

Many who are privy to this information are wondering why Governor Ambode who intends to recover government assets sold at an undervalued price cannot start with his own property

Aside the governor, there are so many other top government officials who also benefitted from the monetization policy. Now, the question that is being asked is: why are others being shielded from the same treatment the female lawmaker is getting at the moment.

Other top politicians who have benefited from the policy include Senator Tokunbo Afikuyomi who bought his property at 7 Oduduwa Street.  

Other government officials present and past who are also beneficiaries include - Justice Atilade; Justice Akande; Dr. Muiz Banire (SAN); Dele Alake; Justice Phillips; current Commissioner for Housing, Hon. Gbolahan Lawal; APC Lagos State Chairman, Henry Olawale Ajomale, amongst others.

It, however, remain to be seen if Governor Ambode will have the political will to also go after the listed beneficiaries.

Meanwhile, many have continued to allude the illegal action of the governor as a pure vendetta on the lawmaker due her perceived closeness to National legal adviser of APC, Dr Muiz Banire.

Published in Business and Economy
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