Thursday, 06 May 2021



Politics (189)

Gov. Gboyega Oyetola of Osun has congratulated his Ondo State counterpart, Rotimi Akeredolu, on his re-election as governor of the state, saying his victory did not come as a surprise.

Oyetola, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Ismail Omipidan, on Sunday in Osogbo, also described Akeredolu’s victory as sweet and well deserved.

The governor is a member of the National Caretaker Committee of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Chairman, Contact, and Mobilisation for the Ondo Governorship National Campaign Council.

He also congratulated President Muhammadu Buhari, national leaders of the party, members, and supporters of the party on the electoral victory.

Oyetola said the outcome of the election was a true reflection of the wishes and aspirations of the people of Ondo.

He added that the sterling performance and achievements of Akeredolu in his first term also informed the decision of the Ondo electorate to re-elect him for another term.

Oyetola also expressed confidence that Akeredolu would continue to deliver the dividends of democracy to the people.

“I heartily congratulate Gov. Rotimi Akeredolu on his well-deserved re-election as Governor of Ondo State.

“I also congratulate Mr President, the National Caretaker Committee, and other leaders of our great party including Baba Bisi Akande, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, members and supporters of the APC, on this sweet victory at the just- concluded Ondo State governorship election.

“This victory is a true reflection of the wishes and aspirations of the people of Ondo.

“It is apparent that Gov. Akeredolu’s sterling performance and achievements in his first tenure informed the decision of Ondo people to vote him for another term.

“I’m confident that Gov. Akeredolu will continue to deliver the dividends of democracy to the people of Ondo State,” Oyetola said.

The governor also lauded the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the security agencies, political parties, and their candidates, and the people of Ondo for the peaceful and successful conduct of the election.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports that the Independent National Electoral Commission on Sunday declared Gov. Rotimi Akeredolu winner of Saturday’s governorship election in the state, having polled the highest score of 292,830 votes.

Posted On Sunday, 11 October 2020 18:18 Written by

By Jethro Ibileke/ PM NEWS

With less than 24 hours to the commencement of the governorship election in Ondo State, three key gladiators are favourite to hold sway. After a careful examination and sifting of the candidates of the 17 political parties contesting the poll, opinions narrow the chances to three candidates, namely, the incumbent Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu of the APC; his erstwhile deputy, Agboola Ajayi of the Zenith Labour Party; and Eyitayo Jegede of the PDP.

The three main contestants are busy strategising and plotting the defeat of their opponents. The big question is, who wins the race at the end of the voting exercise, who wins the battle for the soul of Ondo State?

The trio have one thing in common; they are lawyers. They also have one goal in common, they set their eyes on the governorship seat. But, only one of these three gladiators will be declared winner of the election come Saturday.

Below is a careful analysis of the three favourite candidates.

Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu

Governor Rotimi Akeredolu

Sixty-four-year old Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, graduated from the prestigious University of Ife (now named Obafemi Awolowo University in 1977. He hailed from Owo town, in the northern senatorial district of the state. His campaign slogan, when translated from Yoruba language, means “let’s do it once more”.

Beside being a senior advocate of no mean repute, Aketi, as he is popularly called, is actually not a green horn in politics, having been in politics for over a decade. He served as the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, during the first tenure of former Governor Olusegun Mimiko, who won his election on the platform of the Labour Party, but later defected to the PDP.

In 2013, Akeredolu contested for the governorship seat on the platform of the APC, but lost to his former boss, Mimiko, who won the election for a second term with a landslide. He, however, got lucky on his second attempt, and was sworn-in as governor on 24 February 2017.

This APC candidate obviously enjoys the support of his party, President Muhammadu Buhari and other APC governors. During the grand finale of his electioneering campaign rally which held inside the main bowl of Akure Stadium on Wednesday, Buhari in a goodwill message, described Akeredolu as a good brand who should be reelected for a second term.

“No doubt, our candidate is a good brand. I am particularly delighted with his approach to governance, he is a good brand. I join you to declare that Governor Rotimi Akeredolu deserves to be reelected for a second term,” Buhari had said.

The presence of 10 APC governors at the campaign is a further attestation of his acceptance in his party.

To win the support of the people of Ondo South Senatorial District where one of his main challengers, Agboola Ajayi hailed from, Akeredolu argued that they ought to give him their support, for the governorship rotation to get to their turn at the end of his second term. He reasoned that voting for the PDP candidate, Eyitayo Jegede, would jeopardise their chance of getting it in 2025.

Agboola Ajayi

Agboola Ajayi

The 52-year-old Igbinedion University, Okada-trained lawyer who hailed from Kiribo, in Ese-Odo Local Government Area of Ondo State, is an astute and a grassroots politician. He was called to bar in 2010 after his graduation from the Nigerian Law School, Abuja.

Ajayi though began his political career in 1989 when he was elected ward chairman of the Social Democratic Party (SPD), in the Old Apoi. When the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) was formed in 1998, he was made Secretary of the party in Ilaje/Ese-Odo Local Government between 1998 and 1999.

In 2004, Ajayi was elected chairman of Ese-Odo Local Government Council, and was made the Treasurer of Association of Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON), Ondo State chapter between 2004 and 2007.

Ajayi who dumped the PDP for the APC in 2016, was nominated as running mate of Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu and together, they were sworn-in on February 24, 2017.

In the build-up to the 2020 governorship election, Ajayi clashed with his boss, when he declared interest in gunning for the Ondo top job. Following the rivalry that ensued, Ajayi dumped APC for the PDP on June 20, where he declared his interest to contest against Akeredolu during the governorship election. But when the PDP primary election was conducted on July 22, Ajayi lost to Eyitayo Jegede.

Few days later, Agboola Ajayi decamped to Zenith Labour Party (ZLP), where he is currently seeking election. He is banking on the over 514,000 voting strength of his home base of Ondo South, and whatever votes he could win in other parts of the state, to unseat his boss as governor.

Eyitayo Jegede

Eyitayo Jegede

The PDP candidate for the gubernatorial election, Eyitayo Jegede, Senior Advocate of Nigeria, was born to the family of late Chief Johnson Bosede, the Odopetu of Isinkan, Akure, in the central senatorial district of the state. He graduated from the University of Lagos in 1983.

The Chief Justice of Nigeria in 1992 appointed him as a Notary Public, before being elevated to the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria on 16th December, 2008. He was a two-time chairman of the Adamawa State chapter of the Nigerian Bar Association.

He served as a former Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice during the second tenure of Olusegun Mimiko.

On Monday, August 22, 2016, Eyitayo Jegede was voted as the PDP governorship candidate but Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court judgement issued on October 14, 2016, recognised Jimoh Ibrahim as the candidate of the PDP for the governorship of Ondo State. But on November 23, 2016, the Court of Appeal reversed the judgement of the lower Court, pronouncing Jegede as the PDP’s gubernatorial flag bearer.

Jegede emerged the flag bearer of PDP’s Governorship Primary for Ondo State in the October 2020 election after polling a total of 888 votes, defeating the Deputy Governor Agboola Ajayi who emerged second with 657 votes.

There is no gainsaying that Jegede’s presence in the governorship race is not only a nightmare to Governor Akeredolu, but a threat to his ambition of getting re-elected.

In summary, the fate of Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, Agboola Ajayi, Eyitayo Jegede, and indeed, that of the other candidates in the election, now depends on the decision of the over 514,000 eligible voters in Ondo South, the over 816,000 in Ondo Central and the over 485,000 in the North.

There is no doubt, however, that one of the three gladiators will emerge victorious on Saturday. We can only wait to see who finally wins the battle for the soul of Ondo.

Posted On Friday, 09 October 2020 21:17 Written by

By Osagie Otabor, Akure/ THE NATION

Candidate of Zenith Labour Party (ZLP) Mr. Agboola Ajayi, has boasted that he will defeat Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Eyitayo Jegede of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Saturday’s governorship election.

Ajayi, who spoke at Owo in Owo Local Government at the end of his campaign, said he was confident of defeating other candidates.

The deputy governor assured residents that security would be provided to protect them from harassment.

He urged them not to panic, even as he regretted the violence that claimed people’s lives in clashes among rival political parties.

Ajayi warned his supporters not to take arm against anybody but to go out and vote.

He said: “We are here to campaign. We are not here to fight anybody. Please, don’t allow anybody to provoke you. Vote and protect your votes.”

Former governor Dr. Olusegun Mimiko said it was sad that five people had died in the last few weeks due to violence.

He said eligible voters were no longer ready to attend rallies due to violence.T

Posted On Friday, 09 October 2020 01:51 Written by
By Lawrence Njoku (Enugu), Kanayo Umeh, Anthony Otaru, (Abuja) and Monday Osayande (Asaba)/ GUARDIAN.NG
As the world marks World Teachers Day
• UNN non-teaching staff joins varsity workers strike

President Muhammadu Buhari has approved a special salary scale for Nigerian teachers as well as increased years of service from 35 to 40.

The President made the announcement, yesterday, as the world marked World Teachers’ Day.

The declaration came as the non-teaching staff of the University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN), yesterday, swelled the ranks of protesting university workers by joining a 14-day nationwide warning strike declared by the Joint Action Committee (JAC) in public universities.

For years, teachers have agitated for an increase in their retirement age, welfare, and salaries.

Buhari, who was represented by the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, announced the changes in teachers’ salary scale and retirement age in Abuja at an event to mark the day.

The theme for the celebration, ‘Teachers: Leading in Crisis, Reimagining the Future,” reflects the resilience of teachers and school administrators globally amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

Buhari instructed the ministry to facilitate the implementation of the new salary scheme, saying it would encourage teachers to deliver better service.

According to him, teachers have the power to shape and reshape the lives of young people and enhance their potential.

“Only great teachers can produce excellent people and students that will make the future of our country great. A positive or negative influence of a teacher on any child will have an effect on that child. Therefore, the Federal Government is ensuring quality education.”

He said his administration had resolved to ensure quality education of teachers by giving priority to continued professional development.

He emphasized that the future of the country would depend on quality education for children and that the quality of teachers would depend on motivation.

He said, “To address these challenges, my administration has approved the following for teachers and the teaching profession. That in order to attract investment in the teaching profession, the quality of the introduction of a bursary award has been restored.

“There will be a special pension scheme to enable the teaching profession to retain its experienced talents as well as extend teachers retirement age to 65 years and the duration of teaching years to 40 years.”

He added that his administration had also approved the building of low-cost housing for teachers in rural areas, sponsorship of teachers, prompt payment of salary, and timely promotion to eliminate stagnation, to motivate and restore lost glory to teachers and teaching in the country.

THE Minister of State for Education, Mr. Chukuemeka Nwajuiba, identified the teaching profession as the greatest profession in the world, which must be accorded adequate recognition and respect.

Nwajuiba noted that the picture of a Nigerian teacher in the 1960s and 1970s, which reflected discipline, needed to be replicated.

He said, “In those days, very comfortable and important figures in the society would send their children to a teacher’s house for grooming. That was the teacher then.

“Teacher’s children and those that lived with them became the crème de la crème of the society. The society sadly has tilted towards ephemeral appearances that negate the standard of teachers as role models.

“We think this should stop. Teachers deserve recognition and respect. The first step is to have qualified teachers in practice.”

To achieve the goal, he said his ministry, through the Teachers Registration Council, was making effort to withdraw unqualified teachers nationwide.

He urged individuals, states, and local government education authorities and corporate organisations to reintroduce a reward system to boost productivity in the education sector.

MEANWHILE, the Delta State Governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa; and the Federal Capital Territory [FCT] Minister, Mallam Muhammad Bello, have described the teaching profession as the bedrock of nation-building, and expressed their commitment to the profession.
At an event to commemorate the event in Asaba, Okowa commended teachers for their commitment to teaching and learning in all public and private schools in the state, saying his administration placed a high premium on the welfare of teachers.

“I thank teachers in Delta for their contributions to nation-building and to the intellectual development of our children.

“We have also ensured we improve on the teaching and learning environment for our teachers and students through the provision and necessary infrastructure and materials.”

Bello said the commitment of the FCT administration was based on the fact that education is the bedrock of society and no nation desirous of progress and development could afford to ignore the sector.

“We remain committed to the development of education in all its ramifications in the FCT and we will continue to commit time and resources to ensure the sector meets up with the expectations of residents of the FCT’,” the minister stated.

He commended Ms Omoregbe Osarobo of JSS Gwagwalada, who was declared the 5th best junior public school teacher in the country.

He said her recognition was a testament to the hard work and dedication of FCT schoolteachers.

But as the celebrations went on, the strike declared by Joint Action Committee (JAC) escalated as the UNN non-teaching staff joined the protest.

JAC comprises the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) and Non-academic Staff Union (NASU) in public tertiary institutions in the country.

Addressing newsmen shortly after a congress in Nsukka, the chapter Chairman, Paul Aruah, asked workers to go home until the end of the 14-day warning strike declared by the national body.

Eruah said the congress was called to explain to members why they must join the strike and warned that any member found sabotaging the action would be sanctioned.

“We have held our congress. It has started today and will end on Monday, October 19. It is just a warning strike but if at the end, the Federal Government fails to meet our demands, it might result in indefinite strike action,” he said.

Eruah said their grouse include the inconsistency in the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) in the payment of salaries of members; non-payment of earned allowance to members in spite of various memorandum of understanding between JAC and government.

Others, he said, were the government’s failure to pay arrears of national minimum wage and retirement benefits to members.

Posted On Tuesday, 06 October 2020 18:07 Written by
Michael Adeshina/ PM NEWS

The Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, on Wednesday commended the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, for the roles he played after he was pushed out of the All Progressives Congress.

Obaseki described Wike as a true brother, who sheltered him during the stormy period.

The Edo state governor gave the commendation during his thank-you visit to Wike at Government House in Port Harcourt.

Obaseki, who was accompanied by his wife, Mrs. Betsy Obaseki; Deputy Governor, Philip Shaibu, and his wife, Mrs. Maryann Shaibu, with members of the Edo PDP Campaign Council led by Chief Dan Orbih, said;

“I want to thank Edo people for their doggedness and determination in ensuring that their votes counted and the will of the people achieved.

READ ALSO We have opened up Rivers for economic prosperity - Wike

“The victory in the September 19 poll was made possible by God and God used the people as an instrument to actualise my second term ambition.

“After I was pushed out of my former party, this house was the first place I sought solace. You took me in as a brother, out of the storm, changed my clothes, and gave me food to eat.

“It was in this house, the Campaign Council met to work out the key strategies that led us to victory. You mobilised people across the country. You moved to Benin, went through the humiliation and attacks. You supported us and we won.

“As the chair of the National campaign council, you applied yourself diligently to task. Indeed, you are a true brother.”

READ ALSO Why Obasanjo, Wike must not speak at NBA Conference

“It will be a sin against God if we do not come to say thank you. Even if the victory we are celebrating is from God. He has used people like you to make it happen.”

Reacting to Obaseki’s statements, Wike commended him and his deputy, for standing firmly to defend the interest of the Edo people.

He said Obaseki and his deputy’s determination was a motivating factor for them to join hands in solidarity.

Wike, however, urged Obaseki to forgive those who stood against him in the build-up to the election.

“I did not want division. I insisted that it will be good we are all together. This will make it easy to go into the electoral battle and win,” Wike stated.

READ ALSO Wike lauds NIS' new e-passport with 10-year validity

“I thank you, my brother, Obaseki for carrying everybody along in the party. Edo people are also looking up to you.

“Forgive everybody. Forgive your political opponents. I am happy that today, South-South is under one political party. This will make for integration. We can speak with one voice in moving Nigeria forward. This is the sweetest electoral victory I have ever witnessed.”

Posted On Thursday, 24 September 2020 01:14 Written by

Sanni Onogu, Abuja/ THE NATION

Senate President Ahmad Lawan on Saturday denied nursing presidential ambition for 2023.

Lawan, in a statement by his Special Adviser (Media), Ola Awoniyi, said the media report about the said ambition must have “emanated from the sort of practice that drags the noble profession of journalism to the gutters as it only dresses up the lazy fantasy of its unimaginative authors as a fact.”

He said: “The report apparently has its source in beer parlour gossips and should be treated with the contempt which it and those who concocted it deserves.

“It is true that the Senate President was involved in the consultations that President Muhammadu Buhari held prior to the last emergency meeting of the National Executive Committee of the ruling All Progressives Congress(APC).

“But there was nothing extra-ordinary in his involvement in such consultations, given his status as holder of one of the highest political offices in Nigeria and on the platform of the APC. Such is required of any concerned member of the party.

“It is therefore sheer mischief for anyone to read ulterior motives to the Senate President joining hands with the President and other leaders in resolving misunderstanding in their own party.

“We will like to stress that the Senate President’s preoccupation is with advancing the agenda of the Ninth National Assembly to focus governance on the pursuit of the best interests of the Nigerian people and to support President Buhari in delivering his promises to Nigerians.

“The Senate President does not suffer such needless distractions as imputed by the false report under reference.

“He believes that it is premature for anybody to be talking now about 2023 when all hands should be on deck against the myriad of challenges that faces our nation in this period.

“We advise the idle pseudo-journalists to look for other engagements and stop bastardising this noble profession.”

Posted On Saturday, 18 July 2020 14:48 Written by

President Muhammadu Buhari has described the late President Umaru Musa-Yar’adua as a honest and sincere public servant.

President Buhari, in his message to commemorate the 10th year remembrance anniversary of the former President’s death, also described him as a patriot, whose primary focus as a leader was easing the pains of ordinary Nigerians.

According to President Buhari, the political differences he had with the late President Musa-Ya’adua notwithstanding, he would always give him his regards as an outstanding leader in the history of Nigeria.

While extending his prayers to the family of the late President and the government of Katsina State, he charged all Nigerian politicians to emulate his rare gentle nature and avert character features that would corrupt political opposition, making enemies out of political opponents.

“Despite our political differences, President Yar’Adua was unarguably a patriot because of his passion for the masses and his reversal of policies he believed were hurting ordinary Nigerians.

“Every leader should be given the credit that he deserves, whether you agree with President Yar’Adua politically or not, I must say that history will always record his honest and sincere service to the country.

“As we remember President Yar’Adua today, let us emulate his patience and gentle nature so that we don’t introduce toxicity into our politics where opponents perceive each other as enemies.

“Let me also use this occasion to extend my prayers and goodwill to his family, and Katsina State Government on the 10th anniversary of his demise. May Allah continue to bless and comfort his gentle soul.’’

Posted On Tuesday, 05 May 2020 21:40 Written by

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has said that President Muhammadu Buhari should withdraw his remark in his new year message to the effect that he will be “standing down” in 2023.

According to the PDP, the President and his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), would have no other option than to exit office at the end of this tenure.

In a statement on Wednesday by the spokesman for the PDP, Kola Ologbondiyan, the party described President Buhari’s new year message as completely uninspiring, tasteless, repetitive, vacuous, and that it not galvanise any form of hope for a despairing nation like Nigeria.

“The PDP holds that Mr. President should have the courage to issue a fresh new year message to show remorse for the corruption, incompetence and misrule of his administration as well as admonish his disintegrating APC against its crass insincerity, violence and divisive machinations that have brought so much pain, anguish and despondency to our nation.

“Indeed, President Buhari should stop presenting a picture as if he has the option to continue in office beyond 2023.

“The PDP holds, in total submission to the letter and spirit of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), that it is not an issue of ‘standing down’ or not being ‘available’ for future election, but a decided and inevitable position as contained in the constitution that he must quit office after two terms, which will end in 2023.

“Mr. President, therefore, does not have any other choice before the law. Whether President Buhari likes it or not, he and his APC will exit the arena at the end of this tenure. History is replete with lessons from those who sought to stretch our nation beyond her limits.

“Moreover, President Buhari and his extinguishing APC ought to have known by now that Nigerians have moved ahead and cannot wait to see them go.

“The citizens are no longer swayed by empty promises and false performance indices as replete in Mr. President’s new year message”, the PDP said.

The party called on the President to end what it described as “showboating” by issuing a fresh new year message to demonstrate a commitment to electoral reforms by returning the 8th Assembly Electoral Act amendment bill, which he refused to sign, to the present National Assembly without any further delay.

It also called on the President to waste no time in signing the bill into law after it might have been retooled to meet current exigencies and passed by the current National Assembly.

The President was also called upon to order the immediate prosecution of his party leaders who allegedly perpetrated violence in the 2019 general election.

Specifically, the main opposition party charged the President to ensure the arrest and prosecution of persons involved in the killings that characterised the governorship elections in Ekiti, Osun, Bayelsa and Kogi States, where APC used thugs and security agents allegedly unleashed mayhem and killed innocent persons who came out to perform their civic responsibility at the polls.

“Mr. President should apologise for the violation of human rights, attacks on institutions of democracy, disobedience to court orders and constitutional violations under his administration as well as order an immediate investigation and prosecution of all those who played roles in these ugly episodes.

“Furthermore, the PDP charges President Buhari to use the opportunity of a fresh New Year Message to apologise for his administration’s failure to secure the nation and for plunging our country into a biting economic recession occasioned by the incompetence, corruption and unbridled treasury looting in his government which led to the degrading of our nation from one of the world’s fastest growing economies to world’s poverty capital with an excruciating unemployment rate, decayed infrastructure and accumulated $83 billion debt.

“Such course of humility in showing remorse, seeking help and getting competent hands to manage our economy and security system should be the legacy which Mr. President is expected to pursue without which history cannot be kind to his administration and his APC”, the party stated.

Posted On Wednesday, 01 January 2020 19:40 Written by

Year 2019 was a very eventful year for Nigeria as a country. It was a year the country experienced unforgettable events among which shook it to its very foundations. Some of the events are here brought back to readers’ memory:

1. Vice President Osinbajo’s copter crash: What would have been a day of national mourning, by sheer providence, turned into a moment of excitement, singing, dancing and praising of God by Nigerians when the number two citizen in the country, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo survived an air crash for the second time. Osinbajo and few of his aides were on election campaign visit to Kogi State on February 3 when his helicopter crash-landed in Kabba. Undeterred, the VP who was unhurt alongside his aides, continued the campaign trail for his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC). The first incident was in June 2017 when he went to Gwagawalada Area Council, Abuja FCT to attend graduation of 40 senior officers of the Nigeria Customs Service. The chopper he was traveling in crash-landed shortly after take-off. He was unhurt. These two similar events earned him the sobriquet “Ojabo koku” (One who fell from up without dying) among his Yoruba kinsmen.

VP Osinbajo: Escapes death twice in air crashes

The crashed chopper

2. 2019 General Elections: The elections were held across the country between February 23 and March 16, with the presidential being expectedly the most acrimonious. As a matter of fact, the kind of gang up against the incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari overtly staged by various categories of people mostly from the opposition camp, some former leaders, religious leaders mostly from the Christendom, and corrupt politicians who were choking under his anti-corruption crusades had never been witnessed in the chequered history of Nigeria.

It started with former President Olusegun Obasanjo, leading a revolt against the government, as he had done to every government that has ruled Nigeria, except his own. Other disgruntled elements who could not wait to see Buhari’s back, for various reasons, seized the opportunity to join the wagon kick-started by the former President. Even the main opposition party’s presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, whose image, had in the past been ruined by Obasanjo, in his desperation to clinch the position of number one citizen, swallowed all the bitter pills Obasanjo had rammed down his throat and went back to his traducer like a prodigal son, giving effect to the saying: ‘the enemy of my enemy is my friend’. Obasanjo also reciprocated by going back to his own vomit, asking Nigerians to vote for the same man he had warned the people to steer clear of. Primordial sentiments capable of destabilizing the country such as ethnicity and religion were employed by the opposition camp as tools of campaign. It got to a point that fear that the country was going to break up was palpable.

Former President Obasanjo: spared no effort in campaigning against Buhari

As if to worsen the matter, the country’s Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), reminiscent of the 2015 incident, announced a postponement by one week on the eve of the much awaited presidential election. The Presidential and National Assembly elections earlier slated for February 16 were shifted to February 23 while those of the Governorship and State Assembly earlier scheduled for March 2 were postponed to March 9. This event cast initial shadow on the electoral process and it took repeated statements of reassurance from the INEC and government to Nigerians and the international community that the elections would not only take place, but would also be free and peaceful, to calm frayed nerves.

Buhari: victorious in the end

In the end, Mr. Buhari triumphed as he defeated his closest rival Atiku Abubakar with a wide margin of almost 4 million votes. Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC) won 15,191,847 votes, while Atiku Abubakar of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) got 11,262,978votes.
The legal tussle and razzmatazz that followed the results’ announcement got finally settled by judgment of the apex court on October 30 which affirmed Buhari’s victory.

3. EFCC’s onslaught against Yahoo boys: An aspect where the country’s anti-corruption agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) made record achievement to the relief and excitement of majority of Nigerians aside catching some hitherto untouchable big thieves such as former governors and making them to cool off in jail, was busting of the most lethal industry of fraud- the cybercrime called ‘yahoo yahoo’. Multitude of the yahoo boys, who on daily basis wrecked life out of hardworking citizens and foreigners alike, were rounded up this year and made to face the music. The cases were too many that the year 2019 can correctly be dubbed ‘yahoo gangs bursting year’, because hardly would a weak pass without at least a gang being busted by operatives of the EFCC. Few of the major arrests published by P.M.NEWS at various times in the year are here catalogued:

EFCC Boss, Ibrahim Magu: fearless anti-corruption fighter

– March 26 six suspected yahoo boys were arrested in Ibadan, Oyo State, when operatives of the EFCC raided their hideout at the Kolapo Ishola Estate, Akobo area of the ancient city. Items recovered from the suspects include five different models of exotic cars, laptops, mobile phones.

– In May, the United States arrested 16 suspected internet fraudsters in several US cities, Canada and South Africa, majority of whom are Nigerians.

The 27 Yahoo Yahoo suspects arrested in Owerri

– On Wednesday 3 April, the Ibadan zonal office of EFCC arrested 11 suspected ‘Yahoo-Yahoo Boys’. Six of them were arrested at 2nd Pipeline, Ologunerun, Ibadan, while the other five were picked up at a location in Ijebu-Remo, Ogun State. Same day, the Oyo State special security outfit, Operation Burst, paraded two suspected yahoo boys after a woman jumped from a two-storey building in Ibadan, Oyo State to escape from Yahoo Boys who wanted to use her for ritual.

– On April 19, Police rescued a woman captured by Yahoo Boys for ritual in Asaba, Delta State.

Yahoo Yahoo boys arrested by EFCC in Osogbo

– On April 25, Ibadan zonal office of the EFCC arrested 32 Yahoo Boys. Items recovered from them include six exotic cars, laptops, mobile phones, several documents containing false pretences and fetish objects.

– On May 1, South-east Zonal Office of the EFCC arrested 37 suspects in Owerri, the Imo State capital. The arrest followed a raid on some targeted residences in Okwu Urata, Aladinma and Egbu areas. Items including 25 exotic cars of different brands such as Mercedez-Benz, Lexus, Toyota and expensive mobile phones and laptop computers were recovered.

18 Yahoo Yahoo boys arrested in Lagos

– On May 8, fifteen suspects between the ages of 18 and 30 were nabbed by the Port Harcourt Zonal Office of the EFCC in a late-evening raid on Blue Chip Hotels, Rumuigbo in Port Harcourt, Rivers State. Many laptop computers and phones were recovered from them.

– On May 17, The Abuja Zonal office of EFCC arrested ten suspects. 2 exotic cars 6 laptops, 10 smart phones and 1 international passport were recovered from them.

– On June 20, operatives of the Ibadan zonal office of EFCC arrested 31 suspects made up of 27 males and 4 females from their hideouts in Osogbo, the Osun State capital. Exotic cars of different brands, laptop computers and phones were also recovered from them.

Some of the cars seized from Yahoo Yahoo boys

– On July 10, thirty suspects aged between 18 and 27 were arrested when the Ibadan zonal office of EFCC raided some mansions in Ado-Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital. Eight exotic cars, laptops, mobile phones and several documents suspected to contain information used to access their victims were seized from them.

– On Sept.3, the Benin Zonal Office of the EFCC said it arrested no fewer than 133 internet fraud suspects in eight months through its ‘Operation Re-wire’. The biggest of the arrested suspects was a woman, who allegedly worked in collaboration with foreign counterparts. She was said to have amassed a princely N656million through the illicit trade. Her arrest was made possible with the collaboration of FBI.

– On Sept. 9, Operatives of the EFCC Abuja and Ilorin Zonal Offices arrested 13 suspects in separate operations. As usual, exotic cars and other items were recovered.

– On Sept. 26 and 27, the EFCC arrested no fewer than 53 suspects in Lagos, Abuja and Enugu. Cars of different brands, laptop computers, phones and charms were recovered from them.

– On 14 October, a staggering figure of 94 suspects were arrested when operatives of the Ibadan zonal office of EFCC raided a night club notorious for hosting parties for suspected internet fraudsters in Osogbo. 19 exotic cars, laptops, scores of sophisticated mobile phones and other items were recovered from them.

– On Friday, Nov. 15, seven yahoo boys were sentenced to various jail terms by Justice Ibrahim Buba of the Federal High Court Enugu, Southeastern Nigeria.

– On December 4, again the Ibadan zonal office of EFCC raided a Lagos hotel believed to be a hideout for internet fraudsters and arrested a suspected internet fraud kingpin, Rasaq Balogun, and 26 others. Balogun’s illicit activities dominated intelligence gathered from previously arrested ‘police spies’ during a raid on their Abeokuta base. According to findings, Balogun harboured an army of young men recruited to carry out financial frauds through the use of internet.

4. Shiite Protest: On Monday July 22, a protest by members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) otherwise known as Shiite in the Nigeria’s capital of Abuja turned violent when the demonstrators clashed with security agents. Government vehicles including those owned by the emergency management agency were burnt by the aggrieved protesters. Many lives both of the Shi’ites, police officers and a young reporter undergoing the mandatory one year service under the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) scheme, Precious Owolabi, were lost. Among the police officers who lost their lives in the violence was a deputy commissioner of police. It was alleged that the group threw petrol bombs as part of the protest. As a result, on the following Tuesday, the Inspector-General of Police (I-G), Mohammed Adamu ordered 24-hour surveillance on the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and its environs.

Ibrahim El-Zakzaky: leader of the Shiites still in detention

The Monday incident followed a similar protest two weeks before when two Shiites were killed and two police officers injured at the National Assembly complex in Abuja. The Shiites were demanding release of their leader, Ibraheem El-Zakzaky, and his wife, Zeenah, who have been in detention since their arrest by Nigerian soldiers for alleged murder in December 2015. During the arrest, his house was raided by soldiers and hundreds of his followers, including three of his sons were killed.

Shiites on the March in Abuja

5. Obinwanne Okeke: The most shocking of the cases of internet frauds was that of the 32-year old billionaire Obinwanne Okeke, Chairman, Invictus Group, who prior to his arrest by the FBI, had been celebrated by the world as a role model to African youths. He made the cover of Forbes Africa magazine in 2016 and was listed as one of Africa’s Under 30s Most Promising Entrepreneurs. In December 2018, he was a guest speaker at TEDxYaba 2018, speaking on “the DNA of the Nigerian entrepreneur”. His recommendation was considered very inspiring even to the most laid-back youth. Hear him: “The success of a business is largely dependent on you as the owner. If there is any part of you that appears to be a limitation, don’t let it hold you back. Take deliberate steps to develop yourself to match your weakness, growth is continuous. Associate with people that will inspire you and are ready to support you. Develop these traits in the right proportion. Don’t be afraid to fail, be afraid not to try. Go for it. Start Something Today!”

Obinwanne Okeke: the young billionaire fraudster

Therefore, it was an embarrassed world that received the shocking news on August 16 of his arrest by the FBI. He was discovered to have fleeced companies in US and UK of hundreds of millions of dollars through wire frauds.

Obinwanne Okeke on Forbes Africa cover in 2016: everyone fails to pick the red flags

6. Xenophobic attacks: The world was jolted in September when xenophobic attacks erupted again in South Africa with many nationals of African countries like Nigeria, Zambia, Gambia, etc lynched and their properties and businesses destroyed. The outraged world roundly condemned the acts of bestiality visited by South Africans on their fellow Africans. The unabated attacks on foreigners most of whom were Nigerians led to reprisal attacks on South African businesses in Nigeria. Such investments as the popular supermarket, Shoprite and the communication giant MTN Nigeria closed shop for days during the disturbance. Nigeria evacuated its stranded nationals from the hot land with assistance of Air peace Airline. It took strong messages and actions from notable leaders in the world and visit by Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari for the madness to stop. South African President Cyril Ramaphosa apologized to Nigeria.

Xenophobic: South Africans on the rampage

7. ‘#RevolutionNow’ and Sowore’s arrest: Omoyele Sowore, activist, presidential candidate of the African Action Congress (AAC) in the 2019 election and publisher of Shahara Reporters, an online news publication known for its investigative activities, was arrested along with a colleague, Olawale Bakare, on August 3 ahead of a planned nationwide protest tagged #RevolutionNow and charged with conspiracy to commit treason. Sowore had previously led a demonstration where he called for a revolution in the country. The video clip of the protest and his address went viral. The drama of his arrest; the granting of a bail with very stiff conditions; and the disobedience to court order by government months after meeting his bail conditions brought public opprobrium both from home and abroad on the Buhari administration. The outcry, especially from the international community, pressured the government to toe the line of reasoning by ordering his release from detention. He was therefore released on December 24, 2019 alongside former National Security Adviser, Retired Colonel Sambo Dasuki who had been in detention since December 2015 over an alleged laundering of $2.1billion money meant for arms purchase during the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan.

Dasuki, Sowore: released Dec. 4

8. Sex-for-grades: The menace was very rampant in 2019. Very many cases were recorded in the year. The biggest incident being an undercover investigation carried out, for more than a year, by the BBC on some randy university lecturers in Nigeria and Ghana. Its video, at conclusion of the investigation, was released on the BBC Africa Eye on Monday October 7. The video revealed a senior lecturer known as Dr Boniface Igbeneghu from the faculty of Arts, a former sub – dean in the University of Lagos (UNILAG) and the head of a local Foursquare Gospel Church harassing a female student sexually, promising good grades in return. Boniface was caught on camera telling his victim to ”Switch off the light, lock the door and I’ll kiss you for one minute”.

DR Boniface Igbeneghu: ASUU member accused of sex-for-grade

Several students had alleged that they had been harassed by Dr Boniface, which made BBC send an undercover journalist to him, posing as a 17-year old secondary school graduate seeking admission, a trick he fell flat for. The University of Lagos (UNILAG) and Foursquare Gospel Church subsequently suspended him. Another lecturer of the university caught in the documentary was Samuel Oladipo, a lecturer in the department of economics. He was also suspended.

Taiwo Oloyede, Principal Assistant Registrar, communication unit of UNILAG on Wednesday 9 October confirmed that the university’s panel headed by Ayodele Atsenuwa, a professor and dean of the faculty of law, had suspended the two randy lecturers. The University of Ghana also suspended two of its own indicted by the famous documentary. The two lecturers are Professor Ransford Gyampo and Dr Paul Kwame Butakor.

Again on Wednesday November 13, Vice Chancellor of the Ignatius Ajuru University of Education, Port Harcourt, Prof. Ozo-Mekuri Ndimele, disclosed that a lecturer had been dismissed, while 10 others were suspended over the allegation of demanding cash or sex for grades from desperate students in the university. He made the disclosure when the Rivers State House of Assembly committee on Education led by Christian Ahiakwo visited the institution as part oversight function. These incessant cases have led the National Assembly to propose an Anti-Sexual Harassment Bill aimed at deterring and punishing offenders. The bill sponsored by Deputy Senate President Ovie Omo-Agege seeks to jail a lecturer for up to two years if he or she winks at or touches a student in an inappropriate way. In the case of sex with minors, even if the student consents to it or lures the lecturer into it, the lecturer is liable.

Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouq: the woman President Buhari was rumoured to have chosen as second wife

9. President Buhari’s phantom marriage: On October 11, the news spread across the length and breadth of Nigeria like wild fire in harmattan that the Nigeria’s number one citizen who was less than 4 years away from age 80 had decided to marry one of his younger ministers, Sadiya Farouq, as second wife. A wedding invitation card with photograph of the President and that of the 45-year old Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management & Social Development standing by each other accompanied the fake news published by some mischief makers on social media. Absence of immediate denial from both the number one family and the concerned woman helped to keep flame the rumour blazing across the country. It took days before Nigerians realize it was a hoax.

Anthony Joshua: A pride of Nigeria

10. Anthony Joshua: On Saturday December 7 the Nigerian-born British boxer Anthony Oluwafemi Olaseni Joshua ended major events of 2019 on a happy note for Nigeria when he became a two-time world heavyweight champion following his victory over the Mexican-American Andy Ruiz Jr in a tense rematch in Diriyah, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. He had lost the belt to Ruiz in June. He outclassed Ruiz to score a unanimous points victory to regain his IBF, WBA and WBO titles in emphatic fashion. He dominated the match from the onset. Dubbed the “Clash on the Dunes”, the eagerly anticipated rematch marked the first time a world heavyweight title fight has ever been staged in Saudi Arabia. It was clearly a classic win.

The 2012 Olympic champion revealed he had adapted his style after June’s loss to Ruiz for the first time in his career. It was a moment of excitement for all Nigerians both at home and abroad with President Muhammadu Buhari leading the pack of notable figures who showered encomiums on the awesome pugilist. Joshua is a British boxer with Nigerian roots. His both parents are from Ogun State, Southwest Nigeria. He visited Nigeria in July and spent weeks before returning to the UK. He was born on 15 October 1989, and has, since the sweet victory, been ranked as the world’s best active heavyweight by BoxRec.

Posted On Tuesday, 31 December 2019 04:25 Written by

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Saturday, marked properties belonging to former Abia State governor, Orji Uzor Kalu.

According to EFCC, the marking is to ensure that the properties are not dissipated, following the December 5, 2019 order of Justice Muhammed Idris sitting at the Federal High Court in Ikoyi, Lagos that Kalu’s company, Slok Nigeria Limited, be wound up and all assets forfeited to the Federal Government.

Kalu, who is the Senator representing Abia North in the National Assembly, had been arraigned alongside his company, Slok Nigeria Limited and Udeh Udeogu, his Director of Finance and Accounts at the Abia State Government House, over an amended 39-count charge bordering on conspiring and diverting the sum of N7.65bn from the coffers of the state.

The defendants pleaded not guilty to the charge preferred against them by the EFCC, thereby leading to their full trial.

In the course of the trial, the prosecution counsel, Rotimi Jacobs, SAN, called 19 witnesses and tendered several documents that were admitted in evidence by the court.

The defendants, however, testified on behalf of themselves during the trial.

The parties, during the proceedings on Tuesday, October 22, 2019, adopted their final written addresses.

In his final submission, the prosecution counsel, Jacobs, urged the judge to jail the defendants, saying the prosecution had proved the allegations against them.

Jacobs also urged the court to wind up the company as provided by the Law and all its assets forfeited to the Federal Government.

However, the defence counsel urged the court to “dismiss the charges, acquit and discharge” their clients.

Delivering his judgment, Justice Idris found the defendants guilty on all counts.

Justice Idris held that the prosecution had established its case against the defendants.

The Judge further held that “the case was conclusively investigated, as the prosecution conducted thorough investigations.”

Justice Idris, therefore, convicted and sentenced the first defendant, Kalu to five years imprisonment on counts 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11; three years on counts 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32,
33; 12 years on counts 34, 35, 36, 37 and 38 and five years on count 39.

The second defendant was convicted and sentenced to three years imprisonment on counts 24, 25, 27, 28, 30, 31, 32 and 10 years on counts 34, 37, 38 and 39.

Justice Idris further held that “In respect of the third convict, Slok Nigeria Limited, an order is hereby made that the company shall hereupon and without further assurances, but for this order, be wound up and all its assets and properties forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria.”

Posted On Sunday, 15 December 2019 18:02 Written by
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