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Ringing endorsement for the Asue/Ogie ticket

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By Michael Ovienmhada

 

Once every 70-80 years approximately, the periodic Halley’s Comet blazes a truly spectacular trail across the heavens in a majestic confluence of power and glory that portends uncommon brilliance.

 

Just such a confluence can be personified in one person, with duty, on a mission to shape and change things beyond seasons in timeless, fundamental ways.

 

Over 70 years ago, we had all these qualities come together in one man, Chief Jeremiah Obafemi Awolowo.

 

He was a man on a mission to tell and to show us that possibilities existed which most others could not wrap their heads around. He looked at the Western Region, and he saw the wealth of extensive arable land and flowing waters where others simply saw bush.

 

He looked at the teeming population as far as his eyes could see. In his boundless imagination, he thought to himself—-“if only I could put these men and women to work, nothing would be beyond our reach as a people.” He did. Western Region was first in everything. As the world went at the time, if the Western Region were a country, it would have been rated a First World nation. Awo’s work was a gift—one that keeps on giving.

 

In Edo State today as things stand, a candidate in the image of Awo may be here with us. I had a one-hour meeting with him in December 2023, as a friend of mine for 30 years introduced me to Asue Ighodalo, his friend of 50 years. Our paths had never crossed even though his younger brother, Ituah, had also been my friend for 38 years.

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It was quite easy to immediately recognize that we would be fortunate as a State to have Asue Ighodalo as our horse in the race for Governor. Beyond great upbringing, great education, and great leadership skills, this man brings a certain level of camaraderie to the room, an attribute which is rarely found in people like him whose work has been crowned with outstanding achievements.

 

I found myself sitting in a meeting with the Comet Haley of our time as we finished each other’s sentences. There was hardly any daylight in our ideas and concepts and possibilities of what could be done with the vast arable land in Edo State that stands at 19,000 sq km, an expectant population of 5.2 million people, and 3 million thick vibrant youth population who yearn for jobs, and a safe and secure State where they can express themselves and reach for the moon.

 

Asue Ighodalo had no doubt in his mind that the best way to grow our IGR from a paltry N48 Billion a year to N1Trillion a year would be in the ability of the State to establish a connection between man, machinery and land.

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When I heard him speak, at one point, I stopped him and I said—“Man, you are almost as smart as I am!” He replied, “That’s arrogant.”

We had a good laugh as our mutual friend interjected—- “I told you, you would love his brilliance. You both think alike.”

 

I left the meeting saying to myself, “Hey Meekey, you made a promise to ‘Esan Okpa,’ an Esan Cultural Group. You told them that if you found a candidate of superior quality, intelligence and firepower, you would gracefully bow out of the race and work to ensure that the candidate makes it to the finish line.”

 

In fulfillment of that promise, I am today making a happy decision to shine a spotlight on a candidate of very high quality, great pedigree, and first class education, in the Edo Gubernatorial race for 2024.

 

In assessing the three major candidates in the Edo Governorship race, it is clear beyond a shadow of a doubt that—Heads and Shoulders, he is without peer.

 

At a time like this, when we are fortunate to be presented with a candidate of transcendental credentials, what would be ground-breaking is—-great minds coming together to create a grand coalition across parties. It is my proposition that 2024 should be a negotiated compromise. Let all the major parties come together. Let them bring their best men and women for consideration into the different commissionerships and parastatals and let us speak with one voice and shoo in this uncommon aspirant at the top of the ticket.

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Add to that the selection of a gentleman, loyal Party man, a man focused and knowledgeable in administration with an unbroken stint in government since the beginning of the current political dispensation in Osarodion Ogie, and Edo State will undoubtedly emerge as the State with the greatest potential to be an insurmountable number one as history has ever assembled.

 

Oshiomhole needs to huddle with Igbinedion, Dan Orbih and Obaseki in a mini conference of Edo elders for the sake of the future of Edo peoples.

 

It’s time to make a deal.

 

Let’s put our best foot forward. Our State is bigger than any combination of parties, personal grudges or interests.

 

Politics aside, grudges aside, Obaseki nailed this.

 

Without equivocation therefore, I am today endorsing the candidacy of Asue Ighodalo, (Batman) and Osarodion Ogie, (Robin) to be our Pilots for the next four years.

 

From one Edo man to another, my friends, I wish you both God speed. God bless Edo State, and may God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Michael Ovienmhada
Author, Poet, Playwright,
and Public Affairs Commentator.
[email protected]. Former aspirant for Governor.

Culled from theconclaveng, June 6, 2024.

 

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Court orders final forfeiture of over N12.18bn choice properties linked to Emefiele

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The Federal High Court sitting in Lagos on Friday ordered the final forfeiture to the Federal Government properties valued at over N11.14bn and another N1.04 billion linked to the former Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor, Godwin Emefiele.

 

Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke made the order of permanent forfeiture after hearing an application filed and argued by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), through its counsel Chineye Okezie.

 

On June 5, 2024, The judge had upheld the anti-graft agency’s motion filed and argued by its counsel, Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr. Rotimi Oyedepo for a temporary forfeiture of the properties.

 

Oyedepo informed the court that Emefiele was suspected of having bought the choice properties by proxy, with the proceeds of fraud.

 

The EFCC named two current and one former CBN staff as Emefiele’s accomplices in the alleged fraud.

The trio, according to the affidavit filed in support of the application, are Obayemi Oluwaseun Teben and Akomolafe Adebayo working with Olubunmi Makinde a former CBN staff and others.

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The properties are mostly located in highbrow parts of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.

 

Justice Aneke ordered the EFCC to publish the order for interim forfeiture in a national newspaper for any interested party to show cause why the final order of forfeiture should not be made.

 

The judge then adjourned for a hearing of the application for final forfeiture.

Upon resumption on June 21, no party appeared in court to contest the judge’s interim order and Chineye Okezie moved her application for the permanent forfeiture.

 

After reading a 41-paragraph affidavit deposed to by an EFCC Investigating Officer, Michael John Idoko, the 19 Exhibits attached, a Written Address signed by Okezie, and after hearing Okezie’s motion, Justice Aneke granted the application.

 

The properties were listed by the EFCC in two schedules, A and B.

The judge said: “Having carefully considered the application and submission of counsel, it is hereby ordered as follows: – that a final forfeiture order of this honourable court is hereby made forfeiting to the Federal Government of Nigeria, properties contained in Schedule A herein which were traced and reasonably suspected to have been acquired with proceeds of unlawful activities.”

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They include shops and apartments at Cadastral Zone Maitama and Wuse.

 

For Schedule B, Justice Aneke added: “That a final forfeiture order of this Honourable Court is hereby made forfeiting to the Federal Government of Nigeria, properties contained in Schedule B herein which properties were traced to have been acquired with proceeds of unlawful activities.”

 

The properties include lands and apartments which were paid for on behalf of Oluwaseun at a total value of N1.04 billion.

 

According to the affidavit, Obayemi Oluwaseun Teben and Akomolafe Adebayo working with Olubunmi Makinde “used their positions and Influence as CBN staff to secure retail and Special allocation of Foreign Exchange to different companies in exchange for kickbacks.

 

“That Olubunmi Makinde is the link between Obayemi Oluwaseun Teben and Akomolafe Adebayo and the various companies applying for the purchase of foreign exchange.

 

“That Obayemi Oluwaseun Teben and Akomolafe Adebayo as staffs of the Central Bank of Nigeria has access to the bidding processes and bidding Data of companies who has applied for the approval of form Ms to the CBN through their various commercial banks.”

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Cholera outbreak: Death toll rises to 24 in Lagos, suspected cases now 417

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The death toll resulting from the outbreak of cholera in Lagos State has risen to 24 from 21 earlier reported.

 

An update by the Lagos State Government on Friday indicated that a total of 24 persons have lost their lives to the disease as of June 19, 2024.

 

The report also said while a total of 417 suspected cases have been recorded only 35 cases have been confirmed so far across the 20 local government council areas in the state.

 

As of Thursday, the Special Adviser to the Lagos State Governor on Health, Kemi Ogunyemi, said that the number of recorded fatalities rose to 21 from 15. She also reported 350 suspected cases.

 

According to her, Lagos Island, Kosofe, and Eti Osa recorded the highest numbers.

 

Ogunyemi, while providing an update on the outbreak after meeting with members of the Lagos State Public Health Emergency Operations Centre (PHEOC) attributed the rise in cases to the Ileya festivities during which large gatherings occurred.

 

She, however, noted that suspected cases were subsiding across LGAs particularly in previously affected LGAs due to state government interventions and surveillance efforts.

 

The special adviser stated that the Lagos State Government, through the Ministry of Health and other sister agencies, was maintaining rigorous surveillance and monitoring of the situation and implementing planned programs and activities to curb the spread.

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“The Ministry of Health, in collaboration with the State Ministry of Environment and its agency, the Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA), continues to collect samples of water sources, food, and beverages to identify the source of contamination. We have also intensified our surveillance activities in communities, particularly in affected local government areas, to address the situation head-on.

 

“We are also working with the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education as well as the Ministry of Tertiary Education to ensure all precautions are taken in our schools to protect children and scholars as they return. Residents must, however, remain vigilant, practice good hand hygiene, and participate in community sanitation activities to stop the spread of cholera,” the Special Adviser stated.

 

She advised that citizens seek medical attention immediately if they experience symptoms such as watery diarrhoea, vomiting, abdominal pain, general malaise, and fever, stressing that cholera treatment is provided free of charge at all public health facilities.

 

While noting that Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu remains committed to ensuring that residents of Lagos receive quality and affordable health care, the special adviser extended the gratitude of the state government to local, national, and international partners—including UNICEF, WHO, NCDC, NIMR, Red Cross, and others —for their support in combating the outbreak.

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“Appreciation is also extended to the dedicated team of doctors, nurses, pharmacists, lab scientists, environmental health officers, Water Corporation officers, surveillance officers, heads of agencies, members of PHEOC, and volunteers who are working around the clock to combat the disease and keep Lagos safe,” Ogunyemi said.

 

The Ogun State Government has also confirmed the outbreak of the disease which has claimed the life of a 62-year-old woman, and five persons hospitalised, according to the state’s Commissioner for Health, Tomi Coker.

 

Global Death Toll
Sadly, the World Health Organization (WHO) also confirmed a cumulative death of 194, 897 deaths and 1,932 cases globally as a result of a cholera outbreak.

 

A statement by the health organisation’s Eastern Mediterranean Region said the outbreaks were recorded from the 1st of January, 2024 to the 26th of May, 2024.

 

The cases were reported from 24 countries across five WHO regions with the Eastern Mediterranean Region recording the highest numbers followed by the African Region, the Region of the Americas, the South-East Asia Region, and the European Region.

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No outbreaks were reported in the Western Pacific Region during this time.

 

“The global stockpile of Oral Cholera Vaccines (OCV) was depleted until early March but exceeded the emergency target of 5 million doses in early June for the first time in 2024. As of 10 June 2024, the stockpile has 6.2 million doses. However, demand for the vaccine continues to outpace supply. Since January 2023, 92 million OCV doses were requested by 16 countries, nearly double the 49 million doses produced during this period,” it said.

 

By March, the UN health agency said it exhausted its global stockpile of Oral Cholera Vaccines (OCV). Still, it was able to exceed “the emergency target of five million doses in early June for the first time in 2024”.

 

WHO reported that 16 countries requested 92 million doses of OCV since January last year – almost double the 49 million produced during that time.

 

It said it was working with other partners such as the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and others, to use resources to find long-term solutions for cholera.

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Nigerian-born boxer shot dead by neighbour in US

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Isaiah Olugbemi, a Nigerian-born boxer, has been confirmed dead after he was shot multiple times in Odenton, Maryland, US.

 

According to local police, Olugbemi was found on the ground with gunshot wounds along Meadowmist Way in the city on June 17.

 

The 27-year-old was rushed to the Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center, where he was pronounced later pronounced dead.

 

Court documents later revealed that the police obtained surveillance footage showing a white male confronting Olugbemi with a handgun before shooting him multiple times and fleeing the scene on foot.

 

Nicholas Giroux, the victim’s neighbour, was identified as the suspect in the footage.

 

According to CBS, police said they interviewed Giroux on June 18, and he confessed to the crime and was charged with first and second-degree murder.

 

Abraham Olugbemi, the victim’s brother, alleged that Giroux had threatened the deceased at least two other times with a gun this year — in January and June.

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Olugbemi was a Junior Olympics gold medalist, a three-time Golden Gloves state boxing champion and a two-time Open Regional champion.

 

Giroux’s preliminary hearing is set for July 17.

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