Obasanjo condemns ‘Igbophobia’, speaks on appointment of Soludo, Okonjo-Iweala
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has condemned the “persistent” aversion to people of southeastern extraction, which he describes as Igbophobia.
Speaking at an event in Anambra State to commemorate Governor Chukwuma Soludo’s one year in office, Obasanjo recalled his work with the professor of economics as well as the current Director General of the World Trade Organization (WTO), Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.
In Obasanjo’s administration which spanned 1999 to 2007, Soludo served as the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), while Okonjo-Iweala was the Minister of Finance.
The former president stated that Soludo, who worked closely with him as an economic adviser, “never misadvised me”, and the economist’s performance impressed him so much so that he was asked to lead the apex bank.
According to the 85-year-old statesman, Soludo was the second Nigerian CBN governor who was not a commercial banker of some sort.
However, soon after appointing the academic, the ex-president said, he found himself in an encounter with a dissenting voice.
“Somebody came to me and said, ‘Wow! You have ruined the economy of Nigeria.’ I said, ‘How?’ He said, ‘An Igbo woman, Minister of Finance; an Igbo man, Governor of the Central Bank? Then you have clearly completed the task of ruining the economy of Nigeria.’
“I don’t know why he said that, except for what I can call Igbophobia, and I don’t take that lightly. It remains, it persists. But when you have that type of thing that was said to me and the type of thing that you know is going on, as I have just called it, what do we do with it?
“I believe we have to go back to the scripture, which says we must conquer evil with good. And whoever you are, wherever people are afraid of you, you must make yourself friendly to those who are afraid of you and earn their friendship by being good to them, and that is what we have to do,” Obasanjo said.
The former president noted from his personal experience, nothing wins friendship like one being friendly.
He added that the appointments of Okonjo-Iweala and Soludo were “probably the best of the appointments that I made when I was president”.
Daura honours Buhari with special Durbar (PHOTOS)
Less than 24 hours after he handed over the reins of power to Bola Tinubu, former president Muhammadu Buhari was hosted to a special durbar by a large crowd in Daura, his hometown.
There was plenty pomp, pageantry and celebratory gymnastics on display.
A durbar is a festival that normally holds during Eid el Kabir and Eid el Fitri celebrations.
It begins with prayers, followed by a parade of the emir and his entourage on horses.
Bashir Ahmed, Buhari’s former special assistant on digital media, described the event held on Tuesday as a “special Durbar celebration” hosted by the Emir of Daura in honour of the former president.
In pictures and videos shared on his Twitter page, sonorous traditional sounds permeate the air.
Men on horseback stir dust into the clouds, with energetic dance moves to go with it all.
“How to welcome your son after eight years serving the country as its commander-in-chief of the armed forces,” Ahmed wrote.
Why I fell out with Ibori and refused to accept his candidate as my successor – Okowa
The immediate past governor of Delta State, Ifeanyi Okowa, has addressed his fallout with his former boss and governor of the state, James Ibori.
Okowa and Ibori have been at loggerheads since the Delta Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship primary election in 2022.
Ibori had supported David Edevbie, a commissioner of finance in his administration, while Okowa threw his weight behind Sheriff Oborevwori, former speaker of the state house of assembly.
Oborevwori eventually won the primary and subsequently triumphed in the governorship election. He was sworn into office on Monday.
Okowa said Ibori’s insistence on backing Edevbie resulted in a disagreement between them
‘I WAS SURPRISED AND DECEIVED’
Speaking with newsmen on Sunday, Okowa opened up on why he opposed Ibori’s choice and resolved to pitch his tent with Oborevwori.
Okowa said Edevbie had tricked him into believing he would respect the Delta PDP zoning provision ahead of the governorship election in 2015.
The immediate past Delta governor said he shared his reservation about Edevbie with Ibori — but the latter was unmoved.
Okowa and Edevbie were commissioners in the Ibori administration.
“I don’t like to talk about it but obviously there’s no doubt that we didn’t work together,” Okowa said“We went into the primaries not agreeing on the same candidate, we talked about it but he(Ibori) did not want to shift ground on his candidate. That’s the truth and I did not agree with that candidate for basic reasons which I made clear enough to him and also to his own candidate.
“I did not hide it. Till tomorrow, I speak about it in truth not because I thought I was a god that needed to install somebody. David Edevbie is my friend. We were with the former governor in his tenure together as commissioners, but in 2014, when it became obvious that it was the turn of the Delta North — Delta Central and Delta South had had their turns — I heard that David was going to run and he was indicating interest.
“I went from Abuja with three of my friends to visit him in Lagos — and I said ‘David, please, it’s only fair, I know that there are so many people competing but I’m coming to you as a friend. It will not be fair if you run. Governor James Ibori has been there, Governor Uduaghan has been there, it’s obviously the turn of the Delta North; why don’t you allow us to have our space so that we can all be said to be part of the state? Thereafter, we can all work for you to become governor’.
“And at the end, he said ‘I will not run anymore, I will support you’. I thanked him and left back to Abuja.”
Okowa, who was a senator at the time, said Edevbie went against his word and was holding secret meetings with stakeholders, strategising on how to become governor.
“And then suddenly, next thing we heard was that they had endorsed David but this same David had committed himself to me,” he added.
“So we went into the race, a very tough race but God enabled me to win.”
‘EDEVBIE CAN’T ENJOY ZONING HE NEVER SUPPORTED’
Although Okowa appointed Edevbie as a commissioner in his cabinet, he said the latter still proceeded with his plans on how to become the next governor.
“In the second year, I started hearing that he was holding meetings in Lagos and other places where they were already prepping him to be governor without anybody discussing with me,” Okowa said.
The PDP vice-presidential candidate noted that although the zoning rules meant the governorship seat, in 2023, would go to Delta Central — Edevbie’s zone — he was adamant that the former commissioner would not be a beneficiary.
“In the first instance, he did not want the zoning to Delta North, so if the zoning was going to continue, he’s my friend but he shouldn’t be the one to benefit from the zoning he did not want,” Okowa said.
“I’m careful in what I do so it will be difficult for me to support someone outside Delta Central but my only mindset is that somebody who did not believe in the zoning cannot be the one to benefit from it and I made it clear to the former governor.”
Okowa said Ibori met with him a few days before the primary election to reach a compromise on a fresh candidate — but he noted that it was too little, too late.
“I told him it would be difficult to withdraw support from my candidate. I don’t do things like that,” Okowa said.
Oborevwori defeated Ovie Omo-Agege, the APC candidate and former deputy speaker of the house of representatives, to clinch the governorship seat.
Sanwo-Olu kicks off second term with optimism for better Lagos
Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, yesterday, officially commenced his second term in office following the completion of his swearing-in by the state’s Chief Judge, Justice Kazeem Alogba.
Sanwo-Olu was optimistic that the best days of the state and its inhabitants lie ahead.
The governor, who noted that his administration had set the stage for transformative change, as well as confronted significant challenges, said: “We never faltered. Our challenges became stepping-stones; and our trials the foundation of our resilience.
“As we continue to write the story of Lagos State, let us embrace the spirit of inclusiveness and harmonious coexistence, for it is this spirit that makes us truly ‘Eko’.
“I can boldly say that we have had four fulfilling years. We have learnt a lot, we have made some mistakes, and we have also implemented many transformational policies and programmes.
“We assure you that the progress we have made will not be reversed. We will remain steadfast in our mission to make Lagos State a model of good governance, a beacon of hope and opportunity for all. Our path is clear, and our resolve is unshakeable.
“As we venture into this second term, I want to assure you that the spirit of our endeavours remains unfaltering. We will continue to tackle our challenges head-on and celebrate our successes. We will harness the potential of our greatest resource – our people.
“We stand on the threshold of a new era. Our vision for Lagos is one that sees no bounds. It is a vision of a city where dreams take flight, where every citizen is a part of our growth story, and where the global community looks towards us with respect and admiration.”
He, therefore, pledged to continue to build a Lagos that is not only a commercial nerve centre but also a hub for innovation, culture and sustainable development.
Sanwo-Olu, who maintained that he and his team would welcome constructive criticism, noted that democracy thrives on differences of opinion and belief, therefore he would strive to respect the opinions of others even as he expects the same from them.
“We will strive to communicate effectively and carry you along every step of the way.
“Let me also say that the work ahead is not for government alone. It is not the exclusive responsibility of public servants, or the civil service. We all share the responsibility of our state’s future.”
Earlier in his welcome address, Head of Service, Akeem Muri-Okunola, said that the re-election of Sanwo-Olu was a testimony of the works done under the T.H.E.M.E.S. agenda.
He noted that the governor was able to delete despite the COVID-19 pandemic and the EndSARs crisis, adding that the governor showed courage and tenacity during these periods.
He also noted that the success recorded at the polls showed that Sanwo-Olu’s efforts did not go unnoticed by the electorate. This is aside his efforts attracted international accolades.
Muri-Okunola asked that the residents of the state should commit the leadership of Lagos to prayer for more success in the next four years. At the ceremony held at the Tafawa Balewa Square were family members of the governor and his duputy, former cabinet members, serving and former permanent secretaries, party leaders and council chairmen.
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