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Posts tagged ‘Kwara State’

Northern govs meet over oil exploration.


Northern-Elders-Forum

Thirteen northern governors, whose states falls under the regions’ sedimentary basin are set to meet today on how to kick start oil and gas exploration activities in the Inland Basin States.

Niger State governor, Dr. Babangida Aliyu, who is also the chairman of the Northern State Governors Forum, NSGF, will declare the meeting of the Association of Petroleum Inland Basin States of Northern Nigeria, APIBONN, open, according to a press statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Danladi Ndayebo.

The statement said Governor Aliyu in his capacity as the chairman of the forum has invited his counterparts whose states fall within the region’s sedimentary basin to direct their relevant commissioners to attend a meeting of the association in Minna, the Niger State capital.

 

The meeting, according to the statement, would enable them brainstorm on the modalities and action plan that would kick start and sustain oil and gas exploration activities in the north.

The forum said; “The meeting will fashion out strategies to harness the resources in Sokoto Basin, Chad Basin, Bida basin and Benue Trough, whose hydrocarbon contents are yet to be properly developed and estimated.”

The forum expressed support for the ongoing efforts by the Federal Government to explore oil in the sedimentary basin of northern Nigeria.

The Inland Basin States comprise of Adamawa, Bauchi, Benue, Gombe, Kogi, Kebbi, Niger and Sokoto States. Others are Zamfara, Kwara, Nasarawa, Taraba, Yobe and Plateau States.
by PRISCILLA DENNIS

Source: Radio Biafra.

Ejigbo Pepper Sodomy And Murder Case : Lagos Gov’t Moves Rest Of Victims And Family Into “Witness Protection”, Rewards Whistleblowers.


 

By SaharaReporters, New York

The Lagos State Assembly handed over the family of Mr. Freeman Agomah to the Office of the Public Defender today in the latest development in the Ejigbo pepper sodomy, torture and murder case.

The Lagos State Assembly told the family they would no longer live at their residence but live far away from the area to help them overcome the trauma. Mr. Agomah and his wife were given N500,000.

Mr. Agomah’s wife and two daughters were tortured and sodomized by a gang of men in Ejigbo, allegedly last February.  One of the daughter’s Juliana died as a result of her injuries two months later.

A video of the horrific incident went viral on the internet leading to public outrage and a demand for a full investigation.  The Lagos State Assembly held a public hearing this month.  A criminal gang has since been arrested accused of the torture, extorting money from Mr. Agomah, and banishing the family from their residence in Ejigbo. The Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar had earlier directed federal detectives in Lagos to take over the case from the Lagos command.

At the Assembly public hearing a reward of N1.25million  was offered for any information leading to an arrest of the perpetrators, and information about the family.  A woman who contacted Dr. Joe Okei-Odumakin, President of Women Arise through her Facebook page told her of the whereabouts of the family, was rewarded N500, 000. An elderly Ejigbo man whom gave information that led to the arrest of the gang was rewarded with N250,000.

Mr. Agomah’s daughter, a teenager also sodomized by the vigilante gang gave testimony today.   She was 12 years old when the incident happened.   The family had moved her to Ilorin, Kwara State to help her forget the incident, and continue her schooling.

During her testimony, she said she was sodomized with pepper after the gang had finished with her stepsister, Juliana.  She gave names of the gang members saying she knew them all, and that one of them had asked her out before but she had turned him down.

She said he made mockery and fun of her exposed parts during the torture, quoting him saying, “You rejected my love advances and now I hope you can see that I have it by other chance.”

Dr. Joe Okei-Odumakin, President of Women Arise told Saharareproters, only now could she relax since seeing the horrible video, “I could not sleep, I could not feed well and I did not actually feel we were in a festive period because I was totally devastated looking at how a fellow woman was being dehumanized.”

“But now that the perpetrators have been apprehended and the family rehabilitated, although it’s sad that one of them is dead, if someone greets me my own Christmas and New Year greeting, I will answer. I could not answer it at the time when I saw the clip,” she said.

She called on the government to enact a law that criminalizes jungle justice. She added that fellow citizens could relate similar injustices to her through her Facebook page, facebook.com/jokeiodumakin so that collective actions could be taken on issues of human dignity and violation of rights.

Before It REALLY Is Too Late.


By Abiodun Ladepo

They are acting as if they have never seen this picture before – the picture of politicians behaving badly.  And they are acting as if they never heard the “Fellow Nigerians” salutation before – the one that used to be preceded by martial music.  They are acting, yet AGAIN, as if they are omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent – our politicians, I mean.

Not too long ago, precisely December 31st, 1983, our dearly beloved Brigadier Sani Abacha came on the FRCN air with his “Fellow Countrymen and Women” speech, to address us, as he put it “on behalf of the Nigerian Armed Forces.”  By the time Abacha was done, President Shehu Shagari was gone.  Vice President Alex Ikwueme was gone.  Lateef Kayode Jakande no longer governed Lagos State.  Cornelius Adebayo no longer governed Kwara State.  Omololu Olunloyo no longer governed Oyo State.  Sam Mbakwe was gone.  Jim Nwobodo was gone.  Ambrose Ali was gone.  Olabisi Onabanjo was gone.  Solomon Lar was gone.  Barkin Zuwo was gone.  Senate Leader Olusola Saraki was gone.  Minority Leader Jonathan Odebiyi was gone.  In fact, from loudmouth party apparatchiks Uba Ahmed (NPN) and Ebenezer Babatope (UPN), all the way up to party leaders Adisa Akinloye, Obafemi Awolowo, Nnamdi Azikiwe, Aminu Kano, Waziri Ibrahim, Tunji Braithwaith; all were gone just like that.  Fiam!  In one fell swoop!  They went down and took with them all the ministers, the rest of the governors, senators, representatives, assemblymen, commissioners and special advisers.  They also took with them all those local government councilors.  On their way home, some of them took a detour through Kirikiri and other prisons across the country.  In short, we were back where we started just four years prior, when the military voluntarily disengaged from Nigerian politics and civil administration.

Sani Abacha told us that the Supreme Military Council decided to sack the politicians because of the “…great economic predicament and uncertainty, which an inept and corrupt leadership has imposed on our beloved nation for the past four years.”  Abacha went on in his speech: “Our economy has been hopelessly mismanaged…our health services are in shambles as our hospitals are reduced to mere consulting clinics without drugs, water and equipment…Our educational system is deteriorating at alarming rate…Yet our leaders revel in squandermania, corruption and indiscipline…” Abacha ended his announcement thus:  “Fellow countrymen and women and comrades at arms, I will like to assure you that the Armed Forces of Nigeria is ready to lay its life for our dear nation but not for the present irresponsible leadership of the past civilian administration.  You are to await further announcements.”

The very next day, on January 1st, 1984, General Muhammadu Buhari (yes, the same one currently hobnobbing with Bola Tinubu in APC) told the nation that the crux of the reasons why the military struck was corruption and mismanagement.  Hear him: “…The last Federal Military Government drew up a programme with the aim of handing over political power to the civilians in 1979.  This programme, as you all know, was implemented to the letter.  The 1979 constitution was promulgated.  However, little did the military realize that the political leadership of the second republic will circumvent most of the checks and balances in the constitution and bring the present state of general insecurity…The premium on political power became so exceedingly high that political contestants regarded victory at elections as a matter of life and death struggle and were determined to capture or retain power by all means…The only political parties that could complain of election rigging are those parties that lacked the resources to rig.  There is ample evidence that rigging and thuggery were relative to the resources available to the parties.  This conclusively proved to us that the parties have not developed confidence in the presidential system of government on which the nation invested so much material and human resources (Emphasis mine)… The corrupt, inept and insensitive leadership in the last four years has been the source of immorality and impropriety in our society (emphasis mine also).”

And with those two speeches, Nigeria began another long military interregnum; one that saw us meander in a peripatetic manner through eight years of IBB, the return of Abacha (now as President), and finally, AbdulSalam Abubakar.  Which of the current set of political leaders lived outside Nigeria when the colossuses of IBB and Abacha (especially Abacha) bestrode the Nigerian political space and took from us the basic tenets of human dignity?  Who did not wish that they had a different country or a different leader when the military was in charge?  Even when the self-righteous Buhari/Idiagbon junta called the shots, who did not wish that they were under a truly benevolent civilian administration? And now that we have civilian administration, why are we acting as if we lived on Jupiter when the military was in charge?  Why are we acting as if we learned nothing from the follies and foibles that brought military tanks on our streets and at the gates of our radio and TV stations?  Why do we want to fritter away what we sacrificed so much in blood treasure to achieve?

Some Nigerians with a sense of history and enough patriotic blood in their veins have tried to remind our power-drunk political leaders that at this rate, we may be inadvertently inviting the military to truncate our democracy.  Rather than heed their advice, our leaders put their blinders on as if merely wishing away coups is enough to prevent one.  Yes, I said it.  Coup….that is the word they do not want you to utter.  They have even gone further to threaten anybody who talks about coups with treasonable felony charges, as if the word is a taboo.  Yet, the elephant in their living room right now is a coup; and they ignore it at their peril. Or what did they think Obasanjo’s lengthy diatribe to Jonathan mean?  Do they really think this was a self-aggrandizing epistle?  Somebody had better wake up from their slumber and smell the gunpowder, sorry coffee.  Since when did a former military ruler engage in hackneyed warning to a sitting “bloody civilian” president of dire consequences, and then admit publicly that he reflects the views and opinions of two other former military leaders, as well as a powerful and influential retired general?  I am referring to no less a personality than Obasanjo, who had discussions with Babangida, Abubakar and Danjuma.  Does anybody really believe that since these gentlemen no longer wear the uniform, they no longer share camaraderie with current officers who were their protégés and were beneficiaries of their professional mentorship?  To whom do they think the current military leadership (regardless of their rank and ethnicity) owes its allegiance; former military heads of state or a “bloody civilian” head of state?  If you think it is the latter, you are as wrong as two left shoes.

But this does not mean that I encourage the subservience of our political leadership to our military leadership; quite the opposite indeed.  And to be perfectly unambiguous, I am not calling for a coup either.  Quite frankly, I think a coup right now, like all the ones in the past, will only set us back many years as we try to grow our relatively nascent democracy.  And whenever we do return to democracy, we would be learning to take baby steps all over.  Better to solve our myriad teething problems right now.

Those apparently malignant teething problems are part of what OBJ highlighted in his letter.  A lot has been said about the appropriateness of OBJ as the messenger: Was he not, for example, the president who forced Audu Ogbe out of office as PDP chairman?  Was he not the president who supported (indeed sponsored) the impeachment of Governor Rashidi Ladoja in Oyo State because the man refused to hand over the key to the state’s treasury to Lamidi Adedibu?  Was OBJ not the same one who went to Ibadan to raise Adedibu’s hand at a rally, telling Oyo State people they should idolize the brutish politician rather than vilify him?  Was it not during OBJ’s presidency that Chris Ubah lawlessly kidnapped Anambra State governor, Chris Ngige, and brought governance to a screeching halt in that state?  Was it not OBJ that withheld Lagos State’s statutory budget allocations as punishment for Governor Tinubu’s effrontery to create more local governments in Lagos State?  Was it not under OBJ that Bola Ige, Harry Marshall, Alfred Rewane, Funsho Williams, Ayo Daramola, to mention just a few, were gruesomely murdered and no one was held responsible?  And didn’t OBJ try to perpetuate himself in office by allegedly seeking to run for a third term?  So, who is OBJ, many have asked, to now wear the toga of reformist imbued with self-righteous indignant venom?

And I ask the same question too.  But I don’t want to fall into that same pit that swallowed the hopes of many of my generation when Abacha made his speech.  I hope that our collective amnesia and stupor clear from our psyche so we can understand that our country stands yet at the edge of another precipice.  If we fall again into another bottomless abyss at this time when the rest of the world, including some African countries, have left us in the wake of their developmental dust, our generations yet unborn will never forgive us.

But the parallels are just too scary to be ignored. We have a sit-tight national party chairman in Bamanga Tukur who has lost the trust and confidence of many governors in the ruling party.  We have a president who is allegedly reneging on his promise to not run for a second term since he would have spent a total of 10 years as president and two as vice president.  This was the same man whom providence made deputy-governor and governor before becoming vice president and president – all in sequential succession.  What more does he want to achieve in the corridors of power if he is not power-drunk (no ogogoro pun intended here)?   We have allegations upon allegations of brazen, in-your-face corruption – corruption of unimaginable proportions – to which the presidency has not responded, and which the EFCC CANNOT investigate.  We have the education and health sectors, strongest sinew that binds our society, descend into decay and maladministration.  We have airports, railways and roadways progressively deteriorating to the point of dilapidation.  Food prices have gone through the roofs.  Fuel and cooking gas prices are beyond the comfortable reach of whatever is left of the middle class.  The poor is hopelessly more destitute than they were under the military.  Things have retrograded so badly that a coupist today only has to dust up Abacha’s speech and read it to us verbatim.  We are back to 1983!  The presidency now looks to me like what Abacha described above as “inept and corrupt leadership.”  (Don’t ask me if Abacha too had the moral right to accuse anybody of ineptitude and corruption.  But the man had a gun and he got my attention.)  Aren’t our politicians providing fodder to would-be coupists by reveling in “squandermania, corruption and indiscipline” like Abacha said above?  And when our presidents and their family members (including their pets) and their entire cabinet seek routine malaria and stomach ache treatments abroad, doesn’t it mean that our health services are

“in shambles as our hospitals are reduced to mere consulting clinics without drugs, water and equipment” like Abacha said above?  So, who really is endangering our democracy?

Rather than berate OBJ; rather than threaten the rest of us with treasonable felony charges; rather than bury their heads in the sand like the proverbial ostrich pretending to not know what is going on around them, the smart ones in politics had better ignore the messenger and heed the message.  I probably could have written a more eloquent letter than OBJ did.  You could have written a better letter than OBJ did.  But none of our letters could have carried nearly as much weight as OBJ’s did.  Our politicians ARE NOT omniscient.  They ARE NOT omnipresent.  And certainly, they ARE NOT omnipotent.  Let our politicians heed the 1983 Buhari’s clarion call and refrain from circumventing the checks and balances in the constitution.  Let not the premium on political power become so exceedingly high that political contestants regard victory at elections as a matter of life and death struggle.  Those among them who have ears let them hear…”before it is REALLY too late.”

By Abiodun Ladepo                                                                                                                           Los Angeles, California                                                                                   Oluyole2@yahoo.com

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of SaharaReporters

A Special Tribute To The Late Deji Of Akure (Part 1) By Dr. Wumi Akintide.


By Dr. Wumi Akintide

The litmus test for any great leader is not how long but how effective and productive his life was and how beneficial to the people he led and what mattered to him the most? If we judge the late Deji by those indices of leadership, I will submit that the young man has done pretty good and could have done more.

Jesus, the king of Kings and the Lion of Judah lived for 33 years but he accomplished his life mission in 3 years as confirmed by the Bible. John Fitzgerald Kennedy was President and leader of the free world for less than 3 years but he made an impact and left a legacy that many of his predecessors and successors could only dream of in 4 to 8 years. Murtala Mohammed was Head of State of Nigeria for only 200 days and in that short time frame, he did what Yakubu Gowon or Ibrahim Babangida and even Olusegun Obasanjo could not do with their longevity in the same office.

Kabiyesi probably had a premonition or some inkling that his work on this Earth was winding down but none of his life-changing activities and achievements as  one of the 13 shortest-reigning Dejis in Akure history could be used to prove he knew he was about to die. Our grand father Afunbiowo the First woke up every morning in his 60 years on the same throne consulting Ifa oracle and seeking guidance on how his day was going to be. He was therefore able to predict his own death with some accuracy. Not so with his grand son, Afunbiowo the Second whose life like a candle in the wind was abruptly put out in his palace on December 1st without a chance to say goodbye to any of us. Death again is the unavoidable debt we all owe. The young man is gone now and all the seas of tears would never bring him back but he will live in our hearts for a long time.

Last Thursday the Kabiyesi called me to ask if I could represent him at one of the birthday ceremonies of one of our nieces in New York the next day. I had to say “yes” because nobody who treasures Akure history and tradition as much as I do would ever have the nerves to say “no” to “Kabi o ko si” the paramount ruler of Akure kingdom and the pleni-potentiary chairman of the Ondo State Council of Obas. I was more than happy to say “yes” because I already had an invitation to the same party and my going there to stand in for Kabiyesi was only going to add more to my welcome in that gathering as it turned out. The man started going into a coma in his palace around the time the party was still in full swing in New York.

What I took away from his brief phone call is bound to loom larger than life as I reflect on the tragic events that followed the call 72 hours later. Kabiyesi would normally call me, if he needed me for anything. What baffles me as I look back now on that particular phone call, was how quickly the Kabiyesi veered away from the initial purpose of his call to start talking about something else. He asked if I was open to writing his biography just like I did for our grand father.

I politely told him there would be plenty of time to talk on that because he still has a long way to go on the throne. I assured him there would be plenty to write about him 10 to 20 years down the road, if he continued on the path he was going just like Afunbiowo the First.

I tried to steer him away from from that conversation because I thought he still had many more years to live. I told him that my prayer was that he should be the one to survive me and not the other way round. I wanted him to let us talk about something else, but he refused to let go insisting that it might be a good idea for me to start thinking about the project because it was one of his priorities. He had found a copy of my book on our grand father at the US Library of Congress and he wanted his legacies preserved like that for generations yet unborn after his demise. He told me he had read “the Lion King” more than 4 times in his quiet moments and he wanted to be remembered like that and he could think of no better Akure historian in Akure to handle the project.

I told him I was flattered, but I wasn’t going to let the conversation continue and I did it by quickly changing the topic. Looking back in time now, I suspect the Kabiyesi probably knew something I did not know. I could not have imagined that his tenure was drawing down and he was probably giving me some indications of the like great leaders do. I could never have imagined that Akure would be mourning and singing 3 days later a song that is only reserved for sorrowful moments like the passing of every Deji as we begin the burial protocols and formalities of their burial. The song is  “Oju ro li toni, Okoro koro Oju ro” meaning sorrow and devastation have hit Akure town where it hurts the most and our eyes are heavy with tears and sorrow as we mourn the passing of our awesome traditional ruler who has raised so much hope in his 3 short years on that throne. My heart goes out to his loving wife and children, to Akure as a whole, to the Adesida Descendants Union of Akure at home and abroad. My heart goes out to the Ondo State Council of Obas that he presided over for more than one year out of his 3 years on the throne. It is fair to say that he died as Chairman, and he took that honor to his grave like none of his predecessors in Ondo State. He was a Deji with many firsts like his grand father, Afunbiowo the First even though he had reigned for only 3 years putting him among the rank and file of 13 previous Dejis who have ruled for less than 10 years as I would show in the remaining segment of this tribute.

Two Dejis in Akure reigned for only one year. They were Deji “A mo roro bi Ojo” who reigned from 1850 to 1851 and Omoremiosun from 1851 to 1852. Deji Osuon reigned for 2 years from 1832 to 1834.  Deji Agboyere like the latest Deji reigned for 3 years from 1846 to 1849. Deji Ogunlegboju reigned for 4 years from 1819 to 1823. while Deji Ajalaga led Akure from 1828 to 1832.  Two among the Dejis reigned for 5 years each.  The first was Deji Ausi who reigned from 1823 to 1828. The second was the deposed Deji Osupa Adepoju who reigned from 2005 to 2010. Deji Olarako reigned for 6 years from  1299 to 1305. Deji Arosoye reigned for 7 years from 1890 to 1897 while Deji Odundun Asodedero reigned for 8 years from 1882 to 1890 just like Deji Ataiyese who also reigned for 8 years from 1991 to 1999.

So in the normal scheme of things Deji Afunbiowo the Second who reigned for 3 years from 2010 to 2013 was not the shortest-reigning Deji but the young man has recorded many a first in those 3 years.

He was the second grand child and a non-omo ori ite candidate to be crowned a Deji in Akure because his own father Atobatele Prince Josiah Stanley Adegboye Adesida was never crowned a Deji  even though he would have been one, had he  survived his own father, as documented in my book which is fast becoming the only reference book on Akure history as we speak.

Late Kabiyesi was the first Deji to come to the throne married to the highest educated Olori with a Ph.D. Olori the first wife of Kabiyesi, the Akala of Ikaram, a professor, was the first Ph.D Olori in Nigeria. Olori Mojisola Adesida nee Abitogun was the second. Mojisola who was my student at Queens College, Ede, was a full time Director in a Federal Parastatal in Kwara State before her husband’s coronation. She made a huge sacrifice quitting her very lucrative job to go look after her husband while at the same time serving our people. Afunbiowo the Second was the first Deji in Akure who never took a second wife even though he was rumored to have had a chain of girl friends. It was only a rumor that nobody has been able to confirm. He joined the short rank of one or two Dejis who did not produce a child on the throne after their coronation. Deji Ataiyese was one and the Deji Afunbiowo the Second would be another, if no woman shows up after his death to claim she had a child for him.

Kabiyesi’s 3 years on the throne were among the most peaceful and the most eventful in Akure History. He became the first Deji of Akure to be named the Chairman of the Ondo State Council of Obas on his own merit. The highest position any other Deji has ever risen to, was Deputy Chairman and that was Deji Otutubiosun Adelegan Adesida III who reigned from 1975 to 1991. Afunbiowo the Second was the first Deji ever to possess all of the powerful combinations of factors that made that possible. Governor Mimiko who gave him his staff of office, was his junior boy at St Joseph’s Secondary School in Ondo town and the same Governor and his younger brother, Prince Adelana Adesida were both classmates in the same school.

The late Deji was the first Deji ever to develop a special relationship with a Nigerian Head of State, Olusegun Obasanjo who became his adopted father and personal confidant. He was a Deji with a powerful connection to several powerful Emirs in the North and to two of the most powerful Yoruba traditional rulers namely the great Ooni of Ife and Iku Baba Yeye, the great Alaafin of Oyo.  Two weeks ago the Kabiyesi performed the wedding ceremony of his Aremo in Lagos in a gathering that would go down in history as one of his greatest outings as a Deji of substance and gravitas similar to that of Deji Ataiyese Adebobajo Adesida who as a retired Commissioner of Police was also a very influential Deji. Kabiesi’s son’s wedding was a carnival attended by many Governors and powerful traditional rulers from all over Nigeria and celebrities and socialites like Otumba Kunle Ojora, Michael Adenuga, Alhaji Dangote and Chief Okoya Thomas and a few Emirs from the North and many members of the great Island Club of Lagos where his immediate junior brother, Prince Adelana was Social Secretary for many years.

Deji Afunbiowo the Second was a Deji who could claim his full right in the committee of traditional rulers in Nigeria from Port Harcourt to Maiduguri and from Gwagwalada to Oweri. He has accomplished in 3 years what many of his predecessors on that throne could not do in 20 years. His record on the throne was comparable to the achievements of the Lion King himself,   Erinlakatabu Afunbiowo the First, the greatest Deji of all times during whose tenure Akure rose from a mere hamlet to become the doyen of all towns in Ondo State.

Akure is today the the State capital and one of the 8 Millennium Centers for Development in Africa in large part because of the vision and tremendous power and influence of Adesida One who reigned for 60 years becoming the longest reigning Deji in the 900 years of Akure history.

Above all, Deji Afunbiowo the Second did one thing his tenure would long be remembered for 50 to 100 years from now. His predecessor in Akure, Deji Osupa, the first Deji to be crowned under the obnoxious 2 ruling House formula imposed on Akure by Sunday Olukoya had brought horrendous shame, humiliation and disgrace to the Deji’s Institution like no other Deji before him. He was exiled from the throne as a perpetrator of domestic violence who could easily have ended up in jail for physically beating up his wife in the market place and pouring acid on her. The wife never recovered from her injuries and emotional stress until she died miserably in Nigeria less than one year later.

It was the lowest point for any Deji in living memory. Many of us from the royal family in Akure were so devastated and embarrassed. The best we could do was to beg Government to save the institution from further disgrace by just sending the individual into exile rather than putting him in jail.
Deji Afunbiowo the Second therefore came to the throne with a promise to sanitize the throne and to restore it to its past glory and to fight for the restoration of the old Asodeboyede Ruling Line which has always widen the scope for selection of subsequent Dejis in Akure rather than narrowing the selection down to some hoodlums with no traceable linkage to royalty in Akure. The last time an Osupa ever reigned in Akure was in 1845, so it was easy for fake princes with plenty of money to throw around to start bribing their way to coronation as the Deji. The last Deji Osupa issued a post-dated check for 20 million Naira to the king makers before they agreed to pick him. Guess what happened to the check. It bounced. That would tell you how desperate and how far some fake princes would go to snatch the throne from the rightful owners in a very corrupt country like Nigeria.

The late Deji has already started working on the project to restore the Asodeboyede Ruling Line which would mean a worthy candidate like attorney Ademola Adegoroye from the Faturoti unit of the Asodeboyede Line could again contest now and be considered along with candidates from other units including another Adesida. It is doubtful if that would be allowed to happen now because the Osupa/Odundun line which was an imposition, to begin with, might now want to come in again despite their abysmal record on that throne, the only time the 2 Ruling House formula was ever tried in 2005.

Reverting back to the Asodeboyede line after the Omo ori-ite-clause in the Deji’s Declaration has been expunged by consensus would have made more sense and made it easier for the king makers to find a most qualified candidate from any the surviving units of Asodeboyede Ruling Line like was done in Akure from the dawn of our history. Any Akure man or woman who is interested in this history can buy himself or herself a copy of “the Lion King and the Cubs” which is not just a biography of Deji Afunbiowo the First, but the history of Akure in a nutshell. The bane of our society is that not much of our history is documented. That is why I have devoted the rest of my life to doing that for whatever it may be worth. Somebody has to speak up.
The Late Deji again has done one thing that has set him apart as one of the most authentic Dejis of all times that Akure King makers, if they are wise, thoughtful and patriotic would seriously think about before picking the next Deji.

Reverting back to the Asodeboyede Ruling Line is totally conceivable, given the sudden death of the late Deji and his unique track record which has now been cut short by the tragic hands of Death. But the charismatic young man has died with his dignity intact and while the ovation is loudest. It doesn’t get any better than that for a throne that has been so bastardized by politicians and military rulers with little regard for history and due process.

The late Deji’s decision to build his new home and residence in the Deji’s compound makes him a “sui generis” among his peers in Yoruba land and his predecessors in Akure Kingdom. It has now become part of Akure history that what is now known today as the old Palace was the brain child of Deji Afunbiowo the First who led the community to build the old Palace where the late Deji died in the early hours of  December 1st. The next Palace which was first occupied by the deposed Deji was built during the reign of Deji Adelegan and Deji Ataiyese Adebobajo Adesida who would have been the first to live there had he survived for a few more years.

The newest ultra modern palace befitting the Chairman of the Ondo State Council  of Obas could easily have been built in any of the private lands of the late Deji in the Government Reservation area of Alagbaka or Ijapo Estates in Akure, if the young man was thinking of himself and his nuclear family alone. He refused to build the ultra modern house outside the Palace because he told his people he had devoted the rest of his life to serving them and he was not interested in building a mansion that his own children and family could easily take over when he is no longer around. Nigeria would be a different country if most traditional rulers and most of our political leaders could think like that. Every one is thinking about their own needs and wallet and would hardly think big like the late Deji who has forever earned the respect and adulation of many Akure elites for his selfless spirit.

I give part of the credit for that to his Olori, Dr. Mojisola Adesida who I understand is being tortured and punished right now by Akure people and traditional chiefs even though she had played her role very well as a big partner in progress for the realization of her husband’s dreams for Akure. If she had prevailed on her husband to not build that new Palace within the four walls of the old Palace, she would have succeeded. I give kudos to the woman for not dissuading her husband from going ahead to build the property.
I seize this opportunity to appeal to the present Olisa Oteru Oba Ode as head of the Iare group of Chiefs and Baralaiye and GOC, the Sao of Akure as the Ikomo head to protect the woman from further embarrassment and humiliation in the hands of Akure people who want to return Akure to the stone age.

Olori  Mojisola is another Awe woman from old Oyo who made a decision to devote her entire life to serving Akure people just like the late Eyesorun the first daughter of Pa Ajao of Lagos did for Deji Agunsoye Adesida. Olori Mojisola may not have the charisma and the flawless appeal of the Eyesorun of blessed memory, but she is definitely a very good and responsible woman who has done Akure proud as a pillar of support for her husband. She should be respected and honored for her role not humiliated.

The Taj Mahal the late Deji has built for Akure is now in the last stage of completion. The finishing has started and the furnitures and other accessories ordered for millions of Naira by the Kabiyesi in 8 containers and shipped from the United States, are already in Akure as we speak. In more civilized and thoughtful towns, the city’s King makers and Akure leaders of thought and Council of Chiefs would have factored that development in assessing the contributions of the late Deji just like the Owo king makers never forgot the contributions of late Olowo Olateru Olagbegi  to making Owo the shinning city she has become in Ondo State.

A Deji with the same kind of mind set as the late Deji would be hard to find in many parts of Nigeria. Akures must never forget that as they remember the young man. Kabiyesi Atobatele  Adesoji Aderemi, the great Ooni Risa of Ife was that kind of traditional ruler. Same thing can be said of Ooni Risa Sijuwade Olubuse the Second and the current Olugbo of Ugbo Nla in Ilaje Ese Odo or the late  Aloko of Iloko- Ilesha the former Nigerian Minister of Finance,Oba Olasore.

Those are great and selfless traditional rulers who want to leave behind a legacy too big and too fundamental for any of their king makers in their towns to ignore or dismiss with the wave of the hand. Their public spiritedness and patriotism are unique in Nigeria.  We all must recognize that attribute and treasure it.

Deji Adebiyi Adegboye Adesida, Afunbiowo the Second has followed the foot steps of his grand father, Afunbiowo the First in being one of the greatest builders of Akure in his own time. True he was a very sociable Oba who loves life to the fullest but those of us who know him the best know that he was an authentic Deji who wanted the best not just for himself but for Akure, and has gone the extra mile to place Akure on the world map. He was the first Deji to ever go on a cruise with his wife to the Bahamas and the Caribbean on the sponsorship of his children.

My heart again goes out to his wife and life partner, Olori Mojisola Adesida and their adorable children. My heart goes out to his younger brother, Prince Adelana Adesida who would have taken a bullet, so to speak, to save the life of his senior brother. My heart goes out to his late senior sister, Princess Adekunbi Faloye nee Adesida who is no longer with us but whose children and husband have been a pillar of support to the late Kabiyesi without any question. My heart goes out to the Adesida Royal Dynasty of Akure which has taken a big hit on the Deji’s death.

My condolences go to our hardworking and progressive Governor, Olusegun Mimiko who has had the stressful role of  burying no less than 4 of his predecessors in that office in under one year of his second term.

I am talking of Olusegun Agagu, Okhai Mike Akhigbe and Lucky Mike Torey  and his last Commissioner for Trade and Tourism, Deji Falae talk less of Governor Adekunle Ajasin and his wife, Mama Funke Ajasin, Governor and Commodore Bamidele Otiko, Governor Adebayo Adefarati  and Governor and Captain Onyearugbulem and the wife of the first military Governor of Ondo State Air Force Captain Ita David Ikpeme.

All of these individuals have died and only God knows who is going to be next in Ondo State.

The death of the late Deji could not have come at a more difficult time for the Governor because he has lost one of his ardent supporters among traditional rulers in Ondo State.

Akure people at home and abroad must learn some useful lessons from this unfortunate death. I hear some ignorant traditional chiefs are objecting to carrying out an autopsy on the body to determine the cause of death as a precaution for the future. There is nothing in Akure tradition which bars a Deji from seeking medical treatment at home and abroad or doing an autopsy to determine the cause of death in this modern era. Any tradition that forbids that has outlived its usefulness and should be thrown overboard. We have to know what killed the Kabiyesi without a chance to even say good bye to the people he loved.  Did he die of stress or sleep deprivation or food poison. Akure has a right to know. How come he was not rushed for Xray and more intense treatment once he complained of stomach upset and fatigue. Akure deserve to have answers to all of those questions.

If it is a natural death, we would know. If he was poisoned, we would also know. Gone are the days for those barbaric traditions.

An educated man like the current Olisa and Baralaye, the Sao of Akure and the General Officer Commanding Akure traditional Forces and the Head of Ikomo group must join hands to ensure that some of those barbaric rites like burying different body parts of the Kabiyesi at different places must cease, from now on.  I love the good side of our tradtions but never the negative side of it in a country where every store front is a Church.

The late Deji has given his life to God and his wishes ought to be respected even in death. It would be nice if the Kabiyesi becomes the first to be given a decent and transparent burial.  Gone are those days when the Oluasorun has to come to town to perform his own rites on the corps of the Deji. Those rites have been abandoned for decades without any reprisal or repercussions. Why go back to them now?

The few in our town who are criticizing the late Deji for building a Mosque and a Church along with the new Palace  are living in the past. The late Deji has set a new standard in modern monarchy that should be praised and not condemned in a multi religious society that Nigeria has become.

I take off my hat for the great Oba and so should many of us.

“Agbogbo Moja, O gbo moniburuku ori. Olori Alade, Ajiwajiwa Ileke. O mu gege ja bi arira o m’ogbon inu ja bi ase. O tumupon jayan Ola. Iwerepe gba rare gba igi oko. Orisa jimila kimiri bi oluleyi, ku o ri bi Oluleyi, sugbon kue ladin ba sikan? Omo Eleyinkule a to wire. O pakoko, pa koko, o pakoko torotoro .O pa Alani O mu aremo re se ji.. Aga a mori re, O toye gboro. Gberinla fodi. O moyinbo go ke. O beri omo sagongon toke Eda rodo. Odudu gbemu gbemu, o lomi sira bi aboyun. Omi nini eiye mu.  Okun Araba ribi. O jo yere abi o jobare. Ha ha ha, Oba li jebe. Oodio, Saki Ekun. O darinnako O doju Ala”.

Stay tuned for the part 2.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of SaharaReporters

Aggrieved PDP Governors, Others Outline Grievances Against Jonathan.


 

By SaharaReporters, New York

Seven aggrieved governors who have identified with a splinter faction of the Peoples Democratic Party today outlined their grievances against President Goodluck Jonathan.

In a statement released in Abuja Monday, the governors said they were displeased that Mr. Jonathan had shown no commitment to addressing the issues they raised at past meetings with him. The governors are Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso (Kano), Aliyu Wamakko (Sokoto), Chibuike Amaechi (Rivers), Sule Lamido (Jigawa), Aliyu Babangida (Niger), Abdulfatai Ahmed (Kwara), and Murtala Nyako (Adamawa).

The statement was signed by the National Publicity Secretary of the new PDP, Chukwuemeka Eze. It disclosed that members of the PDP faction met Sunday night in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, and deliberated on issues brought to the president’s attention by the aggrieved governors at two separate meetings they held with Mr. Jonathan.

The statement revealed that some of the aggrieved governors’ demands included “the need to reverse the impunity in Rivers State, where a sitting Governor was suspended from the party against the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the PDP Constitution, and refusing to uphold the result of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum election that saw Governor Amaechi winning 19 to 16 votes against Governor Jang.”

According to Mr. Eze’s statement, the splinter group also demanded the removal of Bamanga Tukur as the party’s national chairman, citing the flawed nature of his election into the post. They also called for an end to what they called “the impunity in Adamawa State,” adding that their demands would put the PDP “in a strong position as a political party but for reasons not too clear to some of us failed to receive the blessing of Mr. President.”

Mr. Eze stated that the faction’s Sunday meeting noted with sadness that, instead of President Jonathan critically examining and acting on some of the issues raised, Mr. Jonathan had looked the other way as members of the new PDP in various states of Nigeria were being persecuted, humiliated through the unfair use of state power, arrested and put into prison as reportedly happened in Bayelsa and Gombe States. He suggested that the acts of intimidation demonstrated a disdain for peace and represented a plot to destroy the party.

Prominent members of the new PDP who attended Sunday’s meeting included Governors Kwankwaso, Wamakko, Nyako, Amaechi, and Lamido. Other participants included former Governors Adamu Aliero (Kebbi State), Bukola Saraki (Kwara State), Danjuma Goje (Gombe State), and Abdullahi Adamu (Nasarawa State). The meeting was also attended by the faction’s national chairman, Abubakar Kawu Baraje; deputy chairman, Sam Sam Jaja, national secretary Olagunsoye Oyinlola, and vice-chairman, North-West, Ibrahim Kazaure, among others.

The governors of Kwara and Niger States sent messages explaining their inability to attend the meeting.

Several Die In Stampede As Kwara PDP Members Scramble For Former Gov. Saraki’s Sallah Gifts-PREMIUM TIMES.


Former Gov. of Kwara State, Bukola Saraki
By Monday Ateboh

A yet unknown  number of members of the Kwara state chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, died on Wednesday night as they scrambled for handouts distributed by former Governor of the state, Bukola Saraki.

A source said no fewer than a dozen people were feared dead.

Several others were injured in the incident which occurred at  a venue popularly called PDP Charity House, which is near Mr. Saraki’s Ilorin residence.

Tragedy struck as indigent party members tried to outsmart one another as Mr. Saraki and other philanthropists distributed the yearly sallah gifts.

The dead and the injured were packed into ambulances and rushed to nearby hospitals.

In a statement emailed to PREMIUM TIMES on Wednesday night, the Publicity Secretary of Kwara PDP, Mas’ud Adebimpe, confirmed the incident and commiserated with the families of the victims.

He, however, confirmed the death of only four PDP members , with many others injured.

Mr. Adebimpe said, “The Peoples Democratic Party Kwara State chapter held its annual Sallah celebration at PDP Charity House where many party faithful were in attendance.

“The event which is an annual activity of the party went on smoothly until the unfortunate incident of a stampede, which led to some people fainting. They were immediately rushed to a hospital few blocks away from the venue.

“While some are currently responding positively to treatment, we however regret to announce that we lost  four of our party members to the unfortunate development.

“Our prayers  go out to the families of the deceased and we pray for the quick recovery of those that are responding fast to treatment.”

The yearly sallah gifts distribution by the Sarakis and the party have of late led to multiple deaths.

On May 27, 2011, several people died at the Mandate House, Ilorin, as they scrambled for rice and other items.

At least 11 others died in a similar fashion in November 2010, but only four deaths were also confirmed by the Kwara government at the time.

Source: SAHARA REPORTERS.

Nationwide security alert over Boko Haram.


boko-haram-4

We ‘re ready for any eventuality –Army

FOUR days to the celebration of the Eid-el-Kabir festival, the Federal Government has put all security forces on nationwide security alert.

A top security source told Saturday Tribune last night that the charge from the Federal Government was for an inter-agency surveillance and combat readiness for a hitch-free Sallah celebrations.

Specifically, it was gathered that security operatives were asked to pay particular attention to prayer grounds, shopping malls, public parks and other relaxation centres across the country during the celebrations. Members of the public were also warned to be careful of wrapped gifts, the sources of which are not known.

The order, it was gathered, followed fears in government and security circles that the extremist Boko Haram sect might be plotting to strike during the festive period.

All security agencies in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) were on Friday put on red alert to forestall any breach of security.

Troops of the Guard Brigade are also complementing the efforts of the police in stop-and-search operations.

Director of Army Public Relations, Brig.-Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru, told the Saturday Tribune that the Army was always on the alert everyday of the week and that there was no cause for alarm.

He said, “The Nigerian Army has put its strategies in place for any eventuality and so, there is nothing to worry about.”

Informed security sources told Saturday Tribune that all the security agencies’ heads had been directed to be at their duty posts during the celebrations.

According to the sources, all troops in the states where state of emergency is in force have been directed not to travel out of their stations.

Also, the security agencies were said to have been directed to intensify their stop-and-search operations as terrorists might want to infiltrate innocent citizens.

In Abuja, police have rolled out their armored personnel carriers in strategic positions while surveillance has also been intensified.

Lagos
No fewer than 28,000 conventional and mobile policemen have been drafted to different parts of Lagos State to ensure a hitch-free Sallah celebration in the state.

Police authorities said they had also deployed an unspecified number of personnel to shopping malls, cinemas and other public places during the celebrations.

This was on Friday evening confirmed to the Saturday Tribune by the acting Public Relations Officer in charge of the command, Mr. Damasus Ozoani, who expressed the readiness of the police for the celebrations.

“The highways, economic places of interest and other public places will experience high presence of police personnel during the period,” he said.

He also enjoined residents of the state to report any breach of the peace to the nearest police station in their area.

Saturday Tribune investigations revealed that men of the anti-bomb squad and the state security outfit, Rapid Response Squad, would also be drafted to major prayer grounds in the state.

Osun
AS Muslim faithful prepare for the Eid-el-Kabir celebrations, the Osun State command of the Nigeria police says it has put effective security network in place to guarantee peaceful and crime-free celebrations.

In a statement on Friday, signed by the state’s Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Mrs. Folasade Odoro, the Commissioner of Police, Mrs. Dorothy Gimba, assured residents of the state of adequate security and urged them to go about their businesses without fear, adding that policemen would step up patrol to ensure peace and tranquility.

While imploring residents to volunteer prompt and useful information in case of any noticeable breach of peace, Mrs. Gimba said security operatives had been put in strategic locations to maintain law and order.

Jigawa
Also, the Jigawa State police command says it has enough police to handle all challenges during this year’s Muslim Eid festival.

The acting Police Commissioner in the state, Deputy Commissioner of Police Mohammed K. Mohammed, told Saturday Tribune in a telephone interview that the command had mapped out strategies to secure lives and properties during the period.

He said the police would work with other security agencies to provide effective security “during the days of the celebration and even after.

“Our men and officers will be stationed at strategic areas while enough vehicles and other policemen in mufti will be put on surveillance,” he said.

Edo
On his own part, the Public Relations Officer of the Edo State command, Moses Eguavoen, said “We know that Sallah period is a special one for Muslim faithful, so we are prepared to make Muslims enjoy it without fear.

“Right now, I can’t tell you the number of officers that has been deployed or will be deployed, but I can tell you that the operation order is out. By Monday, assignments will be handed out to everyone on what to do and where to go.”

He added that the command would not want to be caught off-guard and that finishing touches on how to tackle possible security breaches during the celebration would be completed by Monday.

Ogun
Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Ogun State command, Olumuyiwa Adejobi, said the command, in collaboration with other security agencies in the state, had put security measures in place to ensure a hitch-free Sallah celebration.

Adejobi, a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), said there would be operational patrol within the major cities across the state, and that security personnel would be deployed to all prayer grounds.

He told Saturday Tribune that security meetings with all relevant stakeholders had been held to make the celebration a worthwhile one.

Rivers
Spokesman for the Rivers State police command, Ahmed Muhammad (DSP), said the command had taken all necessary precautions to ensure a hitch-free Sallah celebration in the state.

“The command is up and doing to ensure a hitch-free Sallah. An operation has been mapped out. Our men – both overt and covert – will be deployed to all vulnerable spots to proactively contain any unwarranted event,” he said.

Kwara
Security agencies in Kwara State have expressed their preparedness to ensure crime-free and hitch-free Eid-el-Kabir celebrations in all parts of the state.

The Police Public Relations Officer of the state command, Mr. Femi Fabode, told Saturday Tribune on Friday that the command had drawn up strategies to arrest any security problem, adding that all men and officers would be involved.

He said that every member of the command would be on duty on the day of Sallah celebration.

Also speaking, the Public Relations Officer of the National Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Kadiri Olanrewaju Ibrahim, said the command had deployed 5,000 of its officers and men to all Eid praying grounds in all the 16 councils in the state.

He said the officers of the agency would move around during and after the celebration to ensure crime-free festival.

In her own contribution, the sector commander of the Federal Road Safety Commission in the state, Mrs. Mary Wakawa, appealed to motorists to drive carefully and avoid excessive-speeding, over-loading, dangerous overtaking and obstruction, as well as avoid night travels during the period.

Sokoto
Sokoto State police command has also assured residents of the state of its commitment to secure lives and properties during the celebration.

The PPRO, DSP Almustapha Sanni, said on Friday that officers and men of the command would embark on a ‘Show of Force’ as part of the command’s preparedness to ensure security during the period.

Sanni said the command would deploy enough manpower in all parts of the state to ensure a hitch-free celebration.

He called on residents of the state to support officers and men of the command during and after the celebrations.

Niger
As part of the comprehensive plan by the Niger State police command to ensure a hitch-free celebration, the Commissioner of Police, Mrs. Desire D. Nsirim, has placed officers and men as well as other special operatives on red alert across the state.

In a statement on Friday by the state’s Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Richard A. Oguche, the police boss in the state specifically directed Area Commanders and Divisional Police Officers, including the Marine Unit, to ensure adequate and effective deployment of operational tools and manpower within their divisions and to pay special attention to the prayer grounds, public parks, water falls, highways and other sensitive areas in order to guarantee the safety and well being of the citizenry before, during and after the festive period.

Oyo
Oyo State police command said it had put in place an “impregnable security arrangement” for the Ed-el-Kabir celebrations, urging members of the public to go about their lawful businesses and celebration without fear as both plain-clothed and uniformed policemen have been deployed across the state to provide security before, during and after the celebrations.

According to a statement signed by the Police Relations Officer of the command, DSP. Olabisi Okuwobi-Ilobanafor, part of the security measures include prohibition of display of wares around prayer grounds or mosques.

Okuwobi-Ilobanafor urged members of the public to be careful when opening gifts, especially when the sources of such gifts are not known. She also urged members of the public to promptly report any suspicious movements or objects to the police via the following numbers.

Source: Radio Biafra.

Again, Police Invite Senator Bukola Saraki.


By SaharaReporters, New York

The Special Fraud Unit (SFU) of the Nigeria Police has invited for questioning a former Governor of Kwara State and serving Senator, Bukola Saraki.

The Senator is to face detectives at the SFU Office at Milverton Road, Ikoyi, Lagos, one week from today on October 20.

A source said that the invitation was based on facts emerging from an unresolved fraud the former Governor allegedly committed during his tenure in office.

He stated that SFU detectives headed by Compol Tunde Ogunsakin, have already visited Kwara State and Joy Petroleum Ltd, one of the companies owned by the Senator.

During their visit, the officers obtained new information on how Saraki embezzled billions of Naira during his tenure as Governor.

Contacted, however, the Public Relations office of the SFU declined to confirm the invitation sent to Mr. Saraki, claiming that today is Saturday.

Doctors’ strike paralyses public hospitals.


Patient-and-relations-leaving

The strike embarked upon by members of the National Association of Resident Doctors has paralysed activities in public hospitals across the country.

NARD had embarked upon the strike to force the Federal Government to pay arrears of salaries being owned the medical doctors.

Reports by some of our correspondents and the News Agency of Nigeria revealed that more branches of the association had joined the strike.

Consequently, patients are being hit hard while relatives of some of the sick are being forced to take their sick to private hospitals.

Resident doctors in Oyo, Ogun, Ondo, Bauchi, Kwara states and Abuja have joined the nation-wide strike called by their national

body.

The NARD Chairman at the University College Hospital, Ibadan, Dr. Babatunde Babasanya, said on Wednesday that the doctors were seeking the payment of salaries being owed them.

He also said the Federal Government’s implementation of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System had not been effective in spite of the fact that many doctors were short paid.

Babasanya said, “Some House Officers in Lagos have not been paid for four months till recently when they paid them only two months.

“We have been paid as cooks; in a month some of us received N1,000, some N20,000 and some may not even receive at all.”

The NARD boss also said that the residency training programme had come under severe challenges, especially in terms of under funding.

A NAN correspondent, who visited the tertiary health institution on Wednesday, reports that consultants and other health workers were attending to patients.

In Abeokuta, striking resident doctors at the Federal Medical Centre appealed to the Federal Government to embrace dialogue in order to end the strike.

The NARD president at the centre, Dr. Ibrahim Adewale, made the appeal while speaking with journalists on Wednesday in Abeokuta.

Adewale, who noted that patients were always at the receiving end whenever doctors embarked on strike, urged the two parties to resolve the dispute.

A NAN correspondent, however, sighted a few consultants and other health workers on duty at the medical centre.

The Chief Medical Director of the centre, Dr. Dapo Sotiloye, declined comments, saying ” it is between the doctors and the Federal Government.”

Some of the patients, who spoke in separate interviews, appealed to the two parties to consider the plight of ordinary Nigerians.

One of the patients, Alhaji Fatai Salisu, lamented the attitude of some nurses at the centre and appealed to the doctors to return to work.

Mr. Dada Abiodun, whose wife was on admission prior to the strike, said he might relocate her to another hospital.

Also reacting to the strike, the Chairman, Nigerian Medical Association, Kwara Chapter, Prof. Mikail Buhari, said the doctors were committed to the full implementation of the strike option.

He said that the strike followed the expiration of a 21-day ultimatum earlier declared by NARD.

Buhari said members were directed to embark on the strike due to “persistent unwillingness of the Federal Government to articulate a comprehensive guideline for residency training.”

Also, medical activities were paralysed at the University Teaching Hospital Ilorin, Kwara State.

Our correspondent who visited the hospital on Tuesday observed that many patients that trooped into the hospital for care oblivious of the strike were surprised when none of the resident doctors attended to them.

Though consultants at the hospital took over the responsibilities of the striking resident doctors, it was obvious that they were overwhelmed by the number of patients waiting for medicare.

Efforts by one of our correspondents to get the responses of the UITH Chief Medical Director, Prof. Abdulwaheed Olatinwo and the Kwara State Chairman, NARD, Dr. Dele Tajudeen proved abortive as their phone numbers indicated they were switched off.

But the Kwara State Chairman, Nigerian Medical Association, Prof. Olayinka Buhari, who is a consultant at UITH, said the consultants had taken over the treatment of patients that were being attended to by the striking doctors especially, those in critical conditions.

Also, doctors at the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University Teaching Hospital, Bauchi commenced strike in the early hours of Wednesday.

A Bauchi resident, Malam Auwal Bala, told NAN that he took his pregnant wife to the hospital around 1am, but was told that doctors were on strike, and advised was to move her to a private clinic.

In Lagos, only consultants offered skeletal services to patients in all the public hospitals particularly those owned by the Federal Government.

President of the association’s LUTH Chapter, Dr. Emeka Ugwu, told NAN in Lagos that they joined the strike on Wednesday.

A Consultant Psychiatrist at the Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital, Dr. Olugbenga Owoeye, said that the resident doctors at the hospital joined the strike at midnight on Tuesday.

In Abuja, resident doctors were on Wednesday conspicuously absent at their duty posts.

However, in some of the hospitals monitored in Abuja except for National Hospital Abuja and University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, Gwagwalada which were affected by the strike, doctors were seen attending to patients.

Meanwhile, the Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, has expressed disappointment over the strike, saying that the action was uncalled for as those issues brought by the association were already being looked into.

Speaking through his special assistant on media and communications, Mr. Dan Nwomeh, he said that the issues were currently being addressed by a committee set up by the Head of Civil Service of the Federation.

However, the minister said that a meeting has been scheduled with all the parties concerned including the minister of labour, Emeka Wogu on Thursday (today).

Source: Radio Biafra.

Revenue crisis cripples states.


Ngozi-Okonjo-Iweala-02

The drop in the monthly revenue allocations by the Federal Government to the 36 states of the federation has affected the finances and smooth-running of various governments.

Investigations by Saturday Punch showed that the shortfall in revenue allocation to states by the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee which started three months ago, had disrupted payment of salaries, pensions and financing of government projects in many states.

A cross-section of states that spoke with Saturday PUNCH on Thursday, lamented that the shortfall in the allocations and non-disbursement of full allocations as at when due, had reduced the financial capacity of their governments, thus making it impossible for them to execute some vital projects.

While blaming the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation for not remitting enough revenue to the coffers of the Federal Government, the states urged government to ensure adequate, transparent and accountable revenue remittance by the NNPC.

But as the states lament the toll of the shortage on their administrative efforts, President Goodluck Jonathan has intervened with a view to finding a quick solution to the problem.

Saturday Punch learnt on Thursday that the President had approved a sum of N75bn to be immediately made available to the FAAC to augment revenue shortfall for July.

This development was confirmed on Thursday by the Chairman, Forum of Commissioners of FAAC, Mr Timothy Odaah, during a telephone interview with one of our correspondents in Abuja.

He said the amount would be added to the N45bn already provided by the Ministry of Finance to make up the N115bn arrears for the Month of July.

About N336bn is being owed the three tiers of government as arrears of revenue shortfall owing to persistent decline in oil production and revenue.

Odaah said though the timely intervention of the President would help cushion the impact of the problem, state governments still believed the President was not well briefed on what was happening.

In Plateau State, the Commissioner for Information and Communication, Mr. Yiljap Abraham, told Saturday PUNCH that the shortage had affected all cash-flow of salaries, wages, contractual obligations, security and the smooth running of government at all levels.

Abraham, who spoke with one of our correspondents, however, assured civil servants that the state government would ensure payment of salaries immediately the shortfalls were released.

He said, “Naturally, the non-disbursement of funds and shortfalls in federal allocations from the Federal Government affects all aspects of cash-flow such as salaries and wages, contractual obligations, handling of security problems and the smooth running of government at all levels.”

He, however, said, “Sad as the situation may be, Governor Jonah Jang has always ensured prudent management of state resources.”

Akwa Ibom

In Akwa Ibom State, the Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Bassey Akpan, said that the state government got a loan of N80bn from the Standard Chartered Bank of London, not for the purpose of financing new projects, but to offset the previously acquired credit facility of N50bn from the United Bank for Africa Plc.

He explained that the state government had already met with the state House of Assembly on the need to write off the UBA loan facility which attracted an interest rate of 18.5 per cent per annum.

He stated that the UBA facility was a bridge to support the state government to fulfil its financial obligations as at the time the loan was taken.

Inquiries by our correspondent, however, showed that the state government was not owing workers’ salaries.

He said, “When we consummated the UBA facility, we were also working with international financial institutions. The essence of this loan is to enable us to bring down the cost of governance for the people. We have to do this based on the interest that has been shown by the international financial community based on the performance of the governor.”

Kwara State

In Kwara State, the governor, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed, said the dwindling revenue from the federal coffers had impacted negatively on the state government as it had prevented the state from embarking on projects that required huge funding.

He attributed the dwindling revenue to a shortfall in the state’s allocation from the federation account which he said arose because of the non-augmentation of shortfalls of revenue by either the FAAC or the Ministry of Finance.

“The state government has been suffering as a result of the unwillingness of the appropriate agencies to augment the shortfalls of the Federal Government revenue.

“The problem has lasted for about three months now, FAAC just explained the reasons for the non-augmentation of shortfalls of revenue to us in September.”

He stated that the state was still pressuring the relevant agency of the Federal Government to augment the revenue shortfall, expressing the hope that the state would soon succeed.

According to him, the shortfalls may not be unconnected with the low remittances from the revenue collecting agencies of the Federal Government.

Ahmed called for more transparency in collecting and accounting for revenue from the Federal Government collecting agencies, especially the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.

The state Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Demola Banu, told Saturday PUNCH that the state was only meeting its monthly financial obligations on payment of salaries, pensions, interests and other recurrent expenditures that could not be differed.

Banu said, “We are facing challenges. But workers’ salaries are being paid. There is never a time that we did not pay salaries. But there could be other expenses that we need to make that could be deferred. But generally it has not affected us drastically.”

Both Ahmed and Banu declined to provide information on the state’s total loan obligations to its creditors.

Osun State

In Osun State, the Commissioner for Finance, Dr. Wale Bolorunduro, could not be reached to say how much the state was being owed by the Federal Government.

Also, calls put across to his telephone indicated that it was out of network coverage area.

However, a top civil servant, who pleaded not to be named, because he was not authorised to speak on the issue, said that the state government had been paying salaries despite the shortfall in federal allocations.

He said that the government had been using the state’s reserve to pay workers’ salaries, adding that the reserve would soon be empty.

He said, “The allocation shortfall is biting harder and I know that all the states are feeling the heat. The Federal Government is owing all the states N261bn. There was N121bn deficit in June and N140bn deficit in July.”

“Look around, you will see that some states have not been paying their workers since the shortfall started in June. Many will join the league of such states if the shortfall continues.”

He said that the other two tiers of government would soon be prostrate if the shortfall continued.

He said that Nigerians should appeal to the Federal Government to pay the money, saying otherwise many states would no longer be able to pay workers’ salaries.

Enugu State

In Enugu State, government kept mum on how the state was coping with the non-payment of arrears of allocations and financial commitments to banks, contractors, among other financial issues affecting the state.

The state Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Godson Nnadi, on Thursday said, “I am not permitted to speak on any of such matters without the approval of my principal.”

Nnadi pleaded with our correspondent to call the Commissioner for Information, Mr. Chucks Ugwoke, “as he is the only one empowered by the State Executive Council to speak to journalists on any matter.”

However, SATURDAY PUNCH could not get the comments of Ugwoke as he did not pick several calls to his mobile phone. He also did not respond to text messages sent to his phone.

At the Enugu State Budget Office, the Permanent Secretary, Mr. Casmir Ugwu, was unavailable to speak to our correspondent.

Rivers State

In Rivers State, the Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Chamberlain Peterside, said the state had yet to receive allocation for September 2013.

Peterside also lamented that the state was short-paid for the month of August.

According to him, while the state was expecting N19bn, the Revenue Mobilisation and Fiscal Commission allocated only N14bn to it last month.

Peterside, however, explained that the state was finding a way out of the problem through its internally generated revenue.

“It (non-payment of monthly allocation) is the reality we are facing. We are even in a better shape than most other states.

“We have been able to fall back on our internally- generated revenue and that is why our situation is different from that of other states,” the commissioner said.

Describing the challenge as a national problem, Peterside pointed out that Rivers State had been able to pay contractors, adding that workers’ salaries had been processed and will soon be paid.

He said, “We have been able to pay contractors and that is why you can see them working at different locations in the state. The September salaries of civil servants have been processed and they will soon be paid.”

He, however, expressed the need to embrace transparency in the developments within the oil and gas sector.

Bayelsa State

In Bayelsa State, the Commissioner for Information, Mr. Markson Fefegha, declined to comment on the inquiries by our correspondent. He said, “Those are questions reserved for those who attend Federal Allocation Committee meeting or officials of the Federal Ministry of Finance.”

Odaah said FAAC was owing states N336bn. This amount, according to him, is made up of N128bn for June; 115bn for July while shortfall for the month of August was put at N93bn.

Going by the payment of the N115bn, the arrears have now dropped to N221bn

Odaah said the inability of the Federal Government to pay the N115bn arrears which was already approved in the committee’s July meeting was the major bone of contention at its September meeting.

This, he explained, led to a walkout of the commissioners at both the committee’s meeting held on September 13 and 23 respectively.

The Federal Government had during the meeting provided the sum of N548.393bn as statutory revenue for the three tiers of government for the month of September. This was rejected by the members of the committee.

Odaah told our correspondent that the major reason for the rejection was that the approved N115bn July shortfall was not provided for.

He said, “In July, we approved that the arrears of N115bn be paid to us. We met in August and nothing was done about it. In September when the meeting was held again, they still haven’t paid.

“So when we met in September, instead of paying us the arrears, they told us that from September, what we will be sharing is actual instead of budgeted revenue. This made us to demand the clearing of all our backlog of N336bn and this was what caused the stalemate.

“But now the President has approved the release of N75bn to complement the N45bn already released by the Ministry of finance to make up the July shortfall of N115bn. We are grateful to him for his prompt intervention.”

Odaah dismissed reports that the action of the states was political and insisted that the states needed to get their allocation to carry out developmental projects.

“Our position is not political. We are a patriotic forum and we are doing this to help in developing our states. We are representatives of our respective governors.

In recent times, there had been persistent decline in gross federally collected revenue accruing to the federation account.

The Federal Government had projected monthly earnings of N702.54bn in the 2013 budget, but it only surpassed that target once during the first seven months of this year, earning N651.26bn in January; N571.7bn in February; and N595.71bn in March.

Source: Radio Biafra.

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