By Louis Odion, FNGE
One read with bewilderment, even a sense of dark foreboding, the statement by former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, yesterday calling for the cancellation“of all elections that do not pass the credibility and transparency test” during the Saturday (February 25) presidential elections.
We have always known Chief Obasanjo to harbour anti-democratic proclivities. But never did one anticipate this effrontery, this in-your-face audacity by the General and his co-travellers to seek to re-enact the perfidious circus that eventuated in the June 12 annulment of 1993, thereby plunging the country into needless catastrophe yet again.
There is clearly no basis — whether legal or moral — to cancel an election which, on the whole, has been adjudged by the Commonwealth Observer Group as a significant improvement on all previous elections.
Nothing perhaps readily exemplifies this than the outcome of the presidential election in Lagos where the ruling party, APC, lost to Labour Party the home base of its candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu; the first in the last 24 years!
Of course, the “feat” has since been celebrated with wild jubilation in social media as proof of “transparency and credibility” of the Saturday elections. But the song of celebration echoed by Obasanjo and his cohorts seems to change only where APC won! Note, on the same day that Labour won Lagos, opposition PDP also won the following key states namely Katsina (home of President Muhammadu Buhari); Plateau (home of DG of APC Campaign, Governor Solomon Lalong who also lost his senatorial election); Nasarawa (home of APC National Chairman, Senator Adamu); Kaduna (home of Governor El Rufai, Special Adviser to APC Campaign) and Kano (home of Governor Abdullahi Ganduje, another Special Adviser to the APC Campaign whose son also lost House of Reps bid).
So, considering this overwhelming backdrop, what else could still be driving the cry of “massive rigging” and call for outright cancellation of results if not perfidy and pure treason? Just how possible is it to nurture democracy without democrats?
For instance, results authenticated by INEC show that Obasanjo, the promoter-in-chief of the Labour Party candidate, could not deliver his polling unit in Abeokuta, Ogun State to his anointed as he only secured 9 votes to the 56 votes scored by the APC candidate. Part of the issue with Chief Obasanjo is indeed the lack of shame and comportment expected of his stature as former president. Otherwise, having openly expressed partisan interest in Peter Obi and proceeded to campaign vigorously for him and then getting beaten soundly in his own very polling unit in Abeokuta, he should know he had ipso facto forfeited the privilege to invoke the spirit of statesmanship to speak in the lofty terms he now aspires.
To be sure, one aligns oneself with competent opinion already offered by legal authorities that the INEC is in order thus far vis-a-vis the announcement of results, consistent with the extant provisions of the Electoral Act. In any case, the provisions of the law clearly avail anyone with contrary view to take advantage of the Election Petition Tribunal.
Inviting the cancellation of the results like Chief Obasanjo did is, therefore, akin to seeking to abort a pregnancy when the midwives already delivered the baby. A laughable exercise in futility indeed.
With this, Chief Obasanjo appears to finally confirm wild speculations that started gaining traction in the last several weeks of a subterranean resolve by some anti-democratic forces to short-circuit the 2023 electoral exercise and foist another Interim National Government on Nigeria by any means possible.
They are the amorphous group of self-interested, self-styled “owners of Nigeria” who arrogate to themselves the prerogative to forever dictate the outcome of every electoral exercise in Nigeria, in utter contempt of the democratic yearning and aspirations of the rest of the populace.
The owl’s flight in daylight is ominous indeed. How ironic that Obasanjo, who had absented himself from the Council of State meeting held two weeks ago at the Presidential Villa, out of spite, is suddenly adopting a solicitous language in an open letter to the same President Buhari.
Symbolically, what Chief Obasanjo is offering President Buhari in the unsolicited epistle is a poisoned chalice indeed. With the Saturday polls already receiving plaudits from all and sundry as “one with little or no monetary inducement of voters”, Chief Obasanjo must be stung to the marrow by bitter jealousy.
Out of mortal envy, he would not want President Buhari to go down in history as organising polls better than his, thereby potentially displacing him as the new authentic “moral voice” of the African continent after iconic Nelson Mandela. For the better part of President Buhari’s two terms, Obasanjo did all within his power to undermine the latter.
At international fora, he never let any opportunity pass without attempting to discredit the incumbent president who ironically is widely adjudged to have recorded more tangible achievements in office with lesser resources compared to the preceding 16 years of PDP profligacy of which Obasanjo had the distinction of squandering billions of dollars with nothing to show.
A classic example was the $16b splurged on phantom power projects that only generated more darkness for Nigerians by 2007 when Obasanjo’s tenure ended. Now that he has a sinister agenda, the Ota famous letter-writer is suddenly shouting “hosanna!” to the same President Buhari, in a shameless emotional blackmail.
Throughout his eight-year imperial reign, the name, Obasanjo, was of course a by-word for bare-faced electoral robbery and willful subversion of due process. Nigerians will indeed never forget how Obasanjo’s enforcer and INEC chair, Professor Maurice Iwu, had, for instance, appeared in Abuja in 2007 to declare PDP winner of Katsina elections while voting was still ongoing!
So indefensible was the process that eventually ushered in President Umar Yar’Adua that he was forthright enough to openly admit Obasanjo’s “electoral atrocities”, and thereafter sought atonement by instituting electoral reforms contained in the Justice Uwais Report.
Against this backcloth, it might not be out of place to now ask lovers of democracy in Nigerian to stay vigilant at this critical moment against the antics of Obasanjo and other so-called “owners of Nigeria” intent on derailing democracy with a view to sustaining their chokehold on the neck of the Nigerian nation.
AIYEDATIWA: THE NEW SHERIFF IN TOWN
By Adeboro Onibalusi
In the dynamic landscape of Ondo State politics, a new era has dawned with the emergence of Governor Lucky Aiyedatiwa as the beacon of progress and transformation.
Following the unfortunate passing of his predecessor, Governor Akeredolu, Aiyedatiwa swiftly stepped into the leadership role, bringing with him a renewed sense of purpose and vision for the state.
Since assuming office, Governor Aiyedatiwa has embarked on a mission to unite stakeholders across Ondo State, recognizing the invaluable contributions each person brings to the table in his quest to move the state forward.
His commitment to inclusive governance is evident in his unwavering outreach efforts, ensuring that every voice is heard and every perspective considered in the journey towards the development of our beloved sunshine state.
One of Governor Aiyedatiwa’s most commendable achievements has been his steadfast dedication to the welfare of civil servants. Through prompt payment of salaries and allowances, he has demonstrated a profound understanding of the importance of ensuring the well-being of those who tirelessly serve the state.
This unprecedented commitment to the workforce not only fosters a culture of productivity and loyalty but also sets a standard of excellence for governance.
Furthermore, Governor Aiyedatiwa’s proactive approach to infrastructure development has been nothing short of remarkable. By mobilizing contractors back to project sites, he his accelerating the pace of development, laying the groundwork for a prosperous future for Ondo State. His strategic investments in key sectors such as education, underscore his unwavering commitment to building a resilient and sustainable state for generations to come.
Moreover, Governor Aiyedatiwa’s dedication to the advancement of the All Progressives Congress (APC) is a testament to his unwavering loyalty to the party and its ideals.
His efforts to reward party executives at all levels reflect his recognition of their invaluable contributions to the party’s success and his commitment to fostering unity and cohesion within the APC family.
As we look towards the future, Governor Aiyedatiwa’s leadership offers a beacon of hope and promise for Ondo State. His visionary leadership, coupled with his unparalleled dedication to the people, positions him as the transformative force that our state needs at this critical juncture. Let us rally behind Governor Aiyedatiwa as he leads us towards a brighter, more prosperous future for Ondo State. Together, let us embrace the dawn of a new era under the stewardship of Governor Lucky Aiyedatiwa, the new sheriff in town. With the slogan ‘Odatiwa, Odi rorun’ resounding across the state, it’s imperative that we support a renewal of his mandate come the April 2024 APC primaries. This will ensure the entrenchment of progressive continuity, securing our collective journey towards sustained growth and development.
Signed: Hon Adeboro Onibalusi, APC stalwart (Akoko North West) Ondo state
VACCUM IN THE OTHER ROOM AT ALAGBAKA: WHERE IS MRS AYEDATIWA?
By Sola Ajisafe, Esq
” Aponle o si fun Oba ti ko ni Olori” – (Yoruba proverb populaised by Miliki master, Chief Ebenezer Obey).
There have been arguments that the Nigerian Constitution never provided for the place of a First Lady in anyway. It had equally been argued that aside from being a constitutional aberration, it was seen as a way to eat into our commonwealth by the occupiers of our seat of powers.
Honestly, I do not know when it started but I am aware that even under the parliamentary democracy and so soon after, under the jackboots, spouses of our Chief Executives played vital roles in the administration of government and government business in Nigeria. Even if it’s from the “Ooza room”. Victa icta (whichever way), they add value by providing stability to the system.
This does not in anyway presurppose it’s constitutionality or neither did it make it a wrong. It had become a convention. Under our laws, conventions are aptly recognized.
In our system, we have seen Chief Executives who kept their wives out of the political radar. One of such was, Pa Adekumle Ajasin of old Ondo State, Chief Bola Ige of old Oyo State, Chief Bisi Akande of Osun State and of recent Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola of Osun State. There are many others too. It’s a personal decision. For instance, if I become the Governor or President today, my wife will remain in her post as Mrs Ajisafe and her duty as a trained nurse. It’s that simple.
Contrarywise, our Ondo State under Chief Ade Adefarati gave some leverage to his wife. This position was taken to a higher level with the coming of Dr. Olusegun Mimiko whose wife emplaced the Gbebiro ( Keep the Family intact) programme and further up the ante, our own Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu ( Digital Mama).
More than anyone, Betty Akeredolu bested everyone with her many iconic ideas and efforts to assisting her husband and our people one way or the other. Take for instance BEMORE, BRECAN, FOWOSO, and all her legislative activities for the women and the girl child in Ondo State. It had never been that good or loud.
Whatever anyone may wish to say, there were high points for the Akeredolu administration and the people of Ondo State particularly the families that benefitted from it. In this wise, Lucky as Akeredolu’s successor must ensure that some of these important programmes do not die or get extinguished at the exit from government of the Akeredolus. At least, he had made promises to that extent about Aketi’s legacies. He may not be able to carry all those programes but the one like BEMORE and FOWOSO must be sustained. The best perons to do it is Mrs Oluwaseun Ayedatiwa.
Aside from the fact of balancing of the home front and consistent maintanance of the emotional and mental health of our Governor, the presence of his wife would provide a soothing balm to him when he needs it. Our Governor is still very young, smart, able and agile. He needs all the support and encouragement. Everyone needs it.
It is almost two months since our new mint Governor, Hon. Lucky Orimisan Ayedatiwa was sworn in as the Governor of our State, yet no one has set eyes on his wife. Curiously, when he was made the Deputy Governor and on the occasion of the much talked about Aketi prophesy, she was delectable beside her husband and regal in her gait.
Some minders of the Governor had said at various times that she was in Lagos and that she is in ” her husband’s house”. Yet there are others who believed the innocent woman is barred from coming near the seat of power for obvious reasons by her husband. Others are even of the view that the woman is afraid of coming near her husband at Alagbaka due to a history of unbelievable cruelty against her by her husband. This was made known sometime last year. Both parties denied it. However, the extremely beautiful woman with so much promise has not been seen near her hubby for a long time. What is the issue? We need an answer because we deserve one.
This culture of ” old age bachelor” life is not what our Governor needs at this crucial time. Our Governor needs both physical, mental and emotional balance in Alagbaka.
I hate to say this, but it is the truth, if it is a fear of the unknown that is making the beautiful wife of our Governor to stay abroad very far away from his spouse at the seat of power in Alagbaka, women groups and the people need to assuage her fears. That she is safe because she is now the mother of the State. No be by age but na favour she get from Baba God.
Also, if it is a form of punishment by her husband for any act that may have brought him to opprobrium at any point in time, I join every man of good faith to plead for forgiveness for the ” Mother of the State”. To err is human but to forgive is divine.
I strongly feel that for the physical health, safety and emotional balance of our Governor in the few months remaining for him in Alagbaka, it is important that his wife must return to take good care of him and to provide the motherly cover for the rest of us as our First Lady.
This is an iredissible minimum that we demand from our Governor. It’s nothing too hard to achieve.
Simply, where is Mrs Ayedatiwa?
Insecurity: Family seeks help after falling victim to repeated kidnapping attempts
A young couple, Adepounda Mayowa Adewale, a 37-year-old and his wife, Adepounda Yetunde Oluwakemi, 33, have cried out for help for fear of their dear lives.
The couple are seeking help and running for their lives following repeated kidnapping attempts targeting their family.
The wife has been abducted on two different occasions by daredevil kidnappers terrorising the people. On both occassions, she had regained her freedom after the family paid huge sums of money for ransom.
However, in recent times, the family has observed that the entire family, including the husband ans their children, Adepounda Oluwasemilore Love, aged 9, and Adepounda Daniel Akorede, aged 6, have been targeted by the deadly kidnappers.
According to the family, the kidnappers have made several attempts to abduct the family for a third time, with the dastardly hope of extracting another huge ransom.
Aware of the family’s relative affluence, as the husband sells phones at ‘Computer Village’ in Lagos State and the wife works in ‘Akute’ in Ogun State, the criminals see them as lucrative targets.
Despite the family’s efforts to seek assistance from the police, their attempts have been unsuccessful in ensuring their safety.
In a harrowing turn of events, it took the intervention of passers-by in their neighborhood to thwart the latest kidnapping attempt.
Tragically, one of the bystanders was shot by gunmen during the rescue and later succumbed to their injuries in the hospital.
Faced with serious threat to their lives and the inability to find refuge through official channels, Adepounda Mayowa Adewale are appealing to the general public and well-meaning Nigerians for assistance.
Their plea for help underscores the gravity of their situation and the urgent need for support to ensure the safety and security of their young family.
The Adepounda family is often forced to flee their homes due to dire circumstances beyond their control, seeking refuge and protection.
Consequently, they’ve been fleeing from one location to another to ensure their safety.
The experience of the Adepounda family is a tip of the everyday experience of the average Nigerian famy.
It will be recalled that some yet-to-be-identified gunmen, numbering nine, had attacked motorists along the highway in December, 2023, abducting seven passengers, killing one and injuring another.
One of the victims who narrated her ordeal to newsmen said, the gunmen, ambushed their Toyota Hiace bus with registration number, SUL 388 ZY while they were travelling to Lagos from Akure.
The victim, who spoke under the condition of anonymity, said she was travelling with her family along the highway when the gunmen stopped their vehicle amidst sporadic gun shots.
The Adepounda family is constantly living in fear for their dear lives.
On many occasions, a series of reports have been to police as a way of protecting themselves, but the family seems to have lost hope in security agencies, hence their cry for help.
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