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Posts tagged ‘Adams Oshiomhole’

Has Success Ruined Gov. Adams Oshiomhole? By Jude Collins.


By Jude Collins

When Omotala, a renowned Nigerian actress secured a slot in the Time Magazine’s highly coveted positions, for the 100 most influential people in the world, for the year 2013, a very humane comment describing the quality of her rich personality, was made by Richard Corliss, Time’s movie critic.  According to him, Success hasn’t spoiled Africa’s most renowned leading lady. Rather than going Hollywood, Omotola wants to stay Nollywood. What Richard Corliss pointed out about Omotala is a rare quality among the rich and the influential in Nigeria. In Nigeria today, there is a social phenomenon that is being created by what I have chosen to articulate as ‘celebrity syndrome.’

Once people who were hitherto nobody shoot their way to fame and stardom, the next thing that follows is a radical change of attitude. Beginning with the pomp and pageantry that announce their movement, as well as the security details that glow all around them like the halo of holiness, one cannot but expect, as a necessary corollary of such status, a paradigm shift in their relationship with the common folk. True to this claim, some events in the past and even at present have etched into our collective consciousness the utter reality of this paradigm shift. For instance, not so long ago, a buzz about Ayo Balogun, popularly known as Wizkid, dissing a fan on his Twitter handle for daring to correct his wrong grammar rented the sky. I think the exact words of Wizkid read like this; broke people always think they have opinion. What of the embattled words of our amiable Chimamanda Adichie, describing Elnathan John, one of the nominees for the 2013 Cain prize, as one of her boys at the workshop she normally organizes?

Those words might appear mindless and patronizing when viewed dispassionately. And most recently, our collective consciousness was once again jostled by a verbal assault, from a serving governor to a poor widow. It was a most unfortunate statement in which Gov. Adams Oshiomhole of Edo state, told a poor widow hawking her goods at one of the road sides in the state, to go and die for daring to use widowhood as an alibi, for indulging in the roadside trading that has been banned in the state.  All these mindless comments of our elite men and women and the constant media buzz trailing them, is a testament to the reality of the social tension rife in Nigeria. Mind you this is no attempt to pithy the poor against the rank and files.

However, the point is that unlike our amiable Amazon, Omotala, success has spoiled most of our elite men and women and especially our elected officials. Within the privileged circle of Nigeria’s elites and celebrities, one notices a culture of exclusivity, poshness and a disturbing elitism that not only set them apart from the rest of the masses, but also dubs them as sacred cows. In Nigeria today, the divide securing the world of the rich from the poor is clear and impassable. There is hardly any meeting point. But the irony of our age is that we celebrate this divide using beautiful expressions like: celebrities, elites, V.I.Ps, aristocrats, cream of societies and so on without knowing the enormous claims they are making on the fabric of our social life. How prescient was Fulton Sheen when many years ago, he summarized the leanings of this age with a most perceptive title of a book called Old Errors and New Labels?  It is pretty concerning that our sociologists and other social activists are not being perceptive to how portentous such seemingly harmless expressions are becoming for the health of human family.

While there is a vast corpus of literature condemning the ancient and traditional caste system for the stigmatization and segregation it has brought to human family, there is hardly any known voice (be it political or religious) condemning the social tension celebrity syndrome is creating in our age. But the fact is that these seemingly harmless phrases have no doubt fragmented and stratified the human family with a radical nature never seen before. Think of the many young men and women who have been killed or maimed just for the crime of falling in love with the daughter or son of a wealthy man. Think of the human struggle for survival in Nigeria and how many Nigerians that loses that battle on daily basis. Think also of the fact that social media like facebook has created a celebrity page where poor masses can neither send nor receive the offer of friendship from men living on the affluent strata in our society.  For all its atrocities as a social crime, caste system has never been anywhere near the fatality score-card of celebrity syndrome. As the world counts her victory over the strongholds of caste systems of the old and traditional order in some parts of the globe, she should warm up for a more challenging task. Celebrity syndrome has created a new social caste system that is more infernal than the old caste system.

Gov. Adams Oshiomhole has already given the red light betraying the banality of this social phenomenon. While the caste system of the old and traditional order regards its human victims as totems that must not be abused, the new caste system created by wealth and fame treats its human victims as sub-humans with debatable humanity at that. What is destroying human family today is far from hunger and poverty or even the major humanitarian emergencies like war and religious crisis. It is rather the ever widening gap securing the world of the rich from the poor. No one who visits places like Ajegunle and Victoria Garden City both in Lagos or Okpoko and Akpaka housing estate both in Onitsha will come out without having the feeling that ours is a cruelly divided planet. And to aggravate issues, the major dramas of today’s world are continually being cast and recast on the stage of the rich and mighty where the poor could hardly gain access. How many of the people living on the poverty divide in today’s world, could relate with the reality of a world whose affairs are constantly being modeled on the aristocratic patterns of wealth, bureaucracy and opulence?

The day I encountered a woman struck with childlike wonder and fascination, on seeing a running tap for the first time in her life, was the day it dawned on me that human family has left many of its members far behind the light of civilization, as she struggles to keep pace with the very few privileged ones. Henri J. Nouwen was closest to the truth of this type of encounter when he said; “From time to time someone enters your life whose appearance, behaviour, and words intimate in a dramatic way the contemporary human condition.”

The contemporary human condition is that, giving the ever-widening gap between the worlds of the rich and the poor, the poor have become so backward and out of touch with the trends of time, while the rich have allowed wealth and success to spoil them, to the extent of making them deride and ridicule the poor with impunity. Gov. Adams Oshiomhole’s encounter with a certain poor widow remains a point of reference in this regard. Interestingly, Gov. Oshiomhole seems to be getting an invitation for something special. Of all the governors in Nigeria, the destitution of his own people keeps making headlines of our national dailies. The first time it was the saga of the stowaway kid whom he eventually gave scholarship. This time around it was the poor widow whom he offered a job and N2 million in cash.

As good as all these gestures might appear, they are nevertheless akin to the act of a physician treating the symptom of a disease without curing the cause of the disease. Who knows the struggle for survival and how many people that lose that struggle on daily basis? Must we wait for public outcry before something is done? Therefore, I challenge Gov. Oshiomhole to go beyond the mere use of using palliative measures in tackling the problems of his people and look for more concrete things to do to heal our divided planet. I challenge him to prove to Nigerians that success has not spoiled him and that he has not taken a tumble into the pitfall of fame.

A story told of Siddhartha Gautama, popularly known as Buddha, the founder of Buddhist religion was that, as a child from a wealthy family, he was ordered by Suddhodana, his wealthy father, to live a life of total seclusion which made it impossible for him to relate with the poor folks in his land. But one day as providence would have it, Siddhartha ventured out into the world and was confronted with the reality of the inevitable suffering of life. The next day, at the age of twenty-nine, he left his kingdom and newborn son to lead an ascetic life and determine a way to relieve universal suffering. This is how Buddhism-a religion that strives to bridge the divide between the rich and the poor-was born. Who knows if Oshiomhole’s encounter with the poor is not an invitation from God for him to found-may be-a new religion that can address concretely the problems of his people. If he so wishes, we can call it Oshiomholeism.

(You can reach the writer through jienislaw@yahoo.com)

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

…What Mandela Told Me By Prince Dickson.


By Prince Charles Dickson

Sometimes, I sit and look: sometimes I look and sit: and sometimes, I just look, I don’t sit…and some other times I don’t sit, I don’t look…I just stare at the distance spaces—not looking, not sitting, just staring—Segun Oruame

The man died, he was 95 years, there would be no Mandela, I offer my heartfelt empathies to the people of South Africa in this moment of grief.

Beautiful words have been used, eulogies are countless, in the social, and conventional media even those that cannot spell his name “Rolihlahla” have had a word or more to say.

I consider myself privileged to be part of a generation that witnessed the passing away of a man that was loved by friends and foes in different measure, for different reasons.

I cannot recall, when a prostitute celebrated a man, in like manner a president, a mechanic, a footballer, or an activist, such is the love that the world had for this one man, from India to Canada, Abuja to Adelaide.

I will not be writing a tribute, nor will this be a eulogy, I am not fit, I am not South African, and wont cry more than the bereaved. Also many persons in the last few days and weeks to come would be drawing lessons that can be learned from this great man. So there would be no need to sound repetitive and hypocritical.

Here in Nigeria, I have read the briefs of the likes of Chris Ngige, Tinubu, Orji Theodore, Atiku, Jonathan, PDP chiefs, APC maids and mere mortals, whose several lifetimes may be difficult to replicate one man’s 95 magnificent years. I have also seen some comical comparisons, and all I can say is “what a life”

I read Obasanjo talk about what Mandela told him, “Certain that his task was completed, Mandela modestly refused to seek re-election after his first term in office as his presidency elapsed. I still recall his pragmatic words when he said to me ‘Olu, show me a [reasonable] place in the world where a man of 80 years is running the affairs of his country’.

“This, to me, reflects an unequaled sense of modesty for a man who spent 27 of the prime years of his life in prison for a just cause.”

After reflecting so hard on those lines, I share in my admonition in the next few paragraphs what Madiba told me, specifically what Tata said to me about Nigeria.

Mandela shortly before he passed on, asked me if it made sense to my leaders, the PDP, the opposition, traditional rulers, and clergy, opinion leaders and the so-called elder statesmen, that Nigerian children were at home for more than six months and what was more important was 2015, the next election and the best we off, is exchanging ‘mouthicufs” while a future was being negotiated away.

He told me that he could understand that as Journalists, sometimes we are tied by words for purposes of marketing and often break the rules—but really he did not understand what we meant by…for example ‘ASUU “vows” to continue strike ‘, what kind of vow is it?

Just as it makes no sense that government issues ultimatum for universities to resume, and then teachers defy presidency and shun classes…He asked me to sit and look, or look and sit, and tell him if it made sense.

He wondered why Nigerians were carefree, and easily manipulated, we talked about Adams Oshiomhole, I was surprised he knew the governor, and I told him, I am not a fan of the opposition as currently composed. He smiled and asked can we get saints from sinners, in local parlance they say it is the same market. Talking Adams, for those that watched the soap, “go and die”, the sequel,  “N2Million and the tea breakfast”, you would understand.

He asked me where did the governor get the N2million, and what was the reasoning behind the figure, and how about other widows, what is symbolic, why do we play politics with lives and reality. Does the governor run a charity?

I told him like a number of states in Nigeria, Edo is owing arrears of one thing or the other, apart from salaries, but state CEOs are giving away widows’ mite of N2Million and more to widows, spinsters, girlfriends, etc. It is no big deal, that’s how legends are created in our own world.

He asked me, when would we get leaders that love this nation, or as they say, if we get what we deserve, it implies Nigerians do not love their country. And I dare agree with the legend, we do not: that is why we were the first nation to declare a three days mourning, leading the way for Mandela, when indeed several spheres of our national lives is in mourning and we have refused to mourn.

Thinking about Tata, as his people fondly called him, I was moved by the testimonies of the ordinary lives he touched, those calls when they had a baby, or got married. The simplicity of a great man, and the greatness of an ordinary man, reconcile that with the many that are dead because of one government convoy, or leadership irresponsibility.

The man lived as a legend, died as one, he was still human, recall when he wanted 14year olds to vote, or when he was adamant about his successor, and many other wrong steps he took, but indeed he is living a South Africa with so many good memories, a world with so much to ponder on.

Who are the legends of the Nigerian cause, so many of them, just in case we need reminders—Legend of the pension thief, legend of highly paid legislators that do nothing, legend of strikes in education, health, aviation and more. Legend of Boko Haram, legends of ghosts, the list is endless.

In Nigeria, we are blessed with very virile minds, intellects, academicians, but we lack leadership with purpose and a humane heart, in the words of Leonardo da Vinci, there is so much shouting, there is no true knowledge—will Nigeria celebrate her own Mandela, I just stare at the distance spaces—not looking, not sitting, just staring—only time will tell.

Prince Charles Dickson

Source: SAHARA REPORTERS.

The Governor, The Widow, The Burden Of Poverty By Sonala Olumhense.


Columnist:

Sonala Olumhense

If Governor Adams Oshiomhole doubted the power of social media and the Internet before he came face to face recently with a widow who would change his life, I am sure he no longer does.  In the past couple of weeks, he has been insulted and called all kinds of names.

The governor deserved the flak.  As the camera starts to roll on an infamous footage that travelled worldwide in just two days, he is seen standing in the middle of a tumult.  The location turns out to be Mission Road in Benin City, one of the key streets he has been trying to keep clear.

And there, right before the powerful governor like a scene out of the Bible, is a woman on her knees.  The world now knows her to be Joy Ifije.

At that moment, she is nameless, faceless, and—it would seem—powerless.  On her knees, partly surrounded by her belongings, she is begging the governor for mercy, explaining that she is a poor widow.

As governor, the former labour leader has toiled in the past few years to redefine the face of the state capital.  Ruined by decade after decade of misrule, poor planning and neglect, Benin City became an overpopulated open market.

In stepped Comrade Oshiomhole in his khaki shorts, his short sleeves already rolled up from his days as a labour combatant, determined to build a modern city.  The reality is that you cannot build a modern street when people are sitting all over it, a lesson he has continued to teach and to preach.

Mrs. Ifije would hear the worst of his frustration: “Go and die!” the governor yells as the woman pleads.

Governor Oshiomhole has since apologized to her, explaining that he got carried away.  Supremely contrite, he gave her a job, as well as money to start a proper business.

But this story is of universal application.  You cannot be indifferent once you know about it.

If you believe in God, you have to question yourself about the coincidences in the story.  Mrs. Ifijeh might have been on another street at that time.  She was left to explain she did not know the governor would be on an inspection tour that day.

Her explanation is untenable: crimes are typically not committed when law enforcement is present.  But it was not what she said: it is what she did when the governor appeared.  Others ran away; she fell on her knees.  It was all a question of who was where, and at what time.

Mrs. Ifije was at the right place at the wrong time because Time needed her to trigger a sequence of events.

Governor Oshiomhole, fated to set foot on Mrs. Ifije’s Time trap, stepped forward, believing he was in his city to iron out a simple problem, and was in control.  But Time had written the story, not he, penning one into the story of the other, placing the governor in the wrong place, for him, at the right time.  The governor did not need to acknowledge her or say a word to her, but he did.  And because the words were put into his mouth by the author, Time, he said the wrong thing at exactly the right time.

It was the right time because the real hero of their story was present, in the crowd, fated to engrave their story in Time.  He filmed the all-powerful governor who would become humble, and the humble widow who would be catapulted onto the front page.  The pivot of this great story was that storyteller with the camera.  This story would not have been placed in front of the world had he not been where he was: the right place at the right time.  That footage took the matter out of the hands of the governor, the widow and the videographer.

There must have been a loud gasp when they first brought the howler to the attention of the governor.  It is not difficult to imagine top Edo State administrators such as Professor Julius Ihonvbere and Patrick Obahiagbon wearing uncomfortable smiles and scratching their heads.

Governor Oshiomhole, immediately recognizing the error of his tongue, set about rectifying it.  In addition to his words, he took immediate action to improve the life of the family that had crossed his path so dramatically.

When you think about it, the governor could easily have ignored the entire matter, knowing it would blow over in no time.  Nigeria does not have a history of its powerful showing any concern about what the people think or feel.

His response is a victory for democracy’s journey in Nigeria.  One of the reasons that Nigeria’s governing personnel often ignore the people is that they see no correlation between the citizen and their powerful offices.

In Oshiomhole’s case, that is untrue.  He has shown faith in the voter since he contested the governorship, and has fought the political forces that had held the state to ransom.  In Oshiomhole’s Edo, votes, and voters, count.  As a result, it is not difficult for him to make the connection between the power he enjoys and those whose votes gave it to him.  Those who commit murders, give bribes and stuff ballot boxes to obtain power know they owe their power not to the voter, but to their bloodlessness.

In the crisis of governance in which Nigeria is embroiled, they hold the voter in contempt; they are driven by the nightmare that if they uplift the poor, they are somehow diminished.  They do not understand the concept either of Time, of transient power, of legacy, or of service.

Governor Oshiomhole is to be praised for apologizing for his mistake over Mrs. Ifije, and for making his peace with Time.

But the governor must go one step further.  Helping one widow thrust into the limelight is to be applauded, and I join the applause, but it is not the question, let alone the answer.  A compassionate leader is a blessing, but the challenge that has been posed by this matter is: what do we do about widespread poverty?

Governor Oshiomhole should go one step further and set an example for other states and governments in the country by responding to this challenge in creative ways.

One such response might be small grants to the poorest under a Brazil-style Bolsa Familia system.  Using it, Brazil has lifted about 20 million people out of poverty in recent times.

If the burden of education and health are increasingly lifted from the shoulders of poor families through responsible policies, those small grants will go even further.

The government may also want to consider broadening the education base through the establishment of a network of libraries, including mobile one, thereby extending reading facilities and cultivating the reading culture. Retired teachers can serve as resource persons.

Finally, Governor Oshiomhole may want to find a way to encourage the contributions of Edo State citizens abroad.  I know of several in the United States alone whose offer of expensive free equipment to universities and hospitals were rebuffed in recent times because the officials involved felt they were no personal gains in the arrangements.  Some of the equipment is still rotting away in the state.

How do we help the poor so they are not murdered by poverty?

Source: Newsmax.com

Edo State House Press Release: Governor Oshiomhole Employs Widow, Gives Her N2 Million.


 

Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State, Mrs Joy Ifije, Benin widow harshly treated by the gov. and her son Bright Ifije
By Peter Okhiria

Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State has offered employment to the widow, Mrs Joy Ifije, whom he upbraided, penultimate week, and whose goods were seized by men of the State War Against Indiscipline for obstructing the Mission road in the state capital.

The Governor who announced the job offer to the woman, in addition to a N2 million grant for her to get a shop and trade, said during a breakfast meeting with her at the Government House, yesterday, that her job would be to join State’s War Against Indiscipline in the campaign against street trading and to keep the state clean.

The Governor who again apologized to the widow said “when you put your things on the road a vehicle can run into you and they have killed some people like that and that was why I said if you are a widow do you want more people to be widowed? But when I said go and die, that one was said in a fit of anger. And I am really sorry”, he said.

“I want you to join us. We would employ you and pay you salary. You would help us to campaign to other women not to trade on road sides. We should not use poverty as a yardstick. We would also talk to taxi and bus drivers not to block roads when carrying passengers”, Oshiomhole said.

“You will assist me to talk to women and traders not to litter the roads and sidewalks so that people walking and driving can have free road. If they want to park they can park properly so as not to disturb others.”

The Governor said government was trying to change Benin City from its old status adding “as you can see Benin is becoming a modern city. So you join us now and every month you begin to get salary so that you can look after your children”.

“For your child who is preparing to enter into the university, my daughters and myself have agreed to support him. If he does well as we pray he does, he would assist the family. Maybe this is the way God wants it. That is why I asked them to look for you so that I can personally offer my apology, but also to support you, so that God helping you, you can overcome the pain of widowhood”, he said.

“As a single mother I want to see how I can help you to train your children and God can use any of them to become a leader of our country. Please resist the temptation to do anything that would break the law. The law is the law; it is no respecter of persons. If Government does not enforce the law there would be confusion”, he remarked.

The Governor who gave the woman a cash gift of N2 million said “in addition to working with the War Against Indiscipline, I am also giving you the sum of two million naira so that you can hire a shop, trade inside the shop and not roadside and I pray that God will bless your decision on how you utilize the money. This money is not for you to share or distribute but to help you as a working capital”.

Responding, the widow, Mrs Joy Ifijeh thanked the Governor for the gesture and promised that she would be part of the fight to keep the City clean.
She apologized to the Governor for blocking the road with her wares, saying she recognized that what she did was wrong but she did not know that the Governor was on inspection that day.

According to her, she had been a victim of theft by a truck pusher who went away with her goods, a week before her encounter with the Governor, that was why she was on the road with her goods that day as she no longer trusted truck pushers not to do away with her goods.

Source: SAHARA REPORTERS.

Why Do Our Governors Hate Poor Nigerians? By Abdullahi Yunusa.


by Abdullahi Yunusa

One cannot help but ask the innocent but serious question on why our elected representatives, especially the governors so hate the poor masses with passion. Ideally, in climes where leaders think with their brains and not their butts, the masses are the hugest asset of any leader who is desirous of leaving enviable positive imprints on the sands of time.

In such humane societies, a leader’s successes or accomplishments are judged basically on how he has turned around the fortunes of his people through people-based governance and massive provision of basic infrastructure. Ideally, there should be no barrier between leaders and their followers. Followers should have unfettered access to their representatives. Regrettably, what we have or practice here is a far cry from what is obtained in serious and civilized climes where public interest overrides personal, group or sectional considerations.

Why do our governors so hate same poor, hapless, defenseless and powerless Nigerians they swore and took oath of allegiance to serve, protect and govern, even at the expense of their personal comfort? Leaders are elected to hold office in trust and confidence on behalf of the people. Anything short of this amounts to gross violation of agreement and social contract entered into. More worrisome is the fact that a typical Nigerian leader doesn’t give a damn on people’s perception about how he conducts himself while in office. Instead of meaningfully fulfilling their own part of the agreement, they violate them with choking impunity. Yes, like the Lord of the manor, they ride roughshod and operate like dictators. Whatever they say is law, no matter the dangers they pose to the people they pledged to govern.

In virtually all democratic environments around the world over, elected (selected, imposed or handpicked in fraudulent elections in the case of Nigeria) nominated or appointed leaders are in office to serve the people and nothing more. Democracy places power in the hands of the people. Sadly, instead of using such powers to make life meaningful for the people, our leaders abuse the masses and treat them with disdain. Most leaders in this part of the world are guilty of this charge. In their warped thinking, the power in their hands is to advance their course, intimidate opposition elements, gag the media and enact laws and policies that suites their whims and caprices. They think less of the people. All they know and seek to protect is the interest of their families and cronies. This could account for the desperation of such leaders to cling on to power. The only time they think more of the people is prior to elections. Once they contest and win, all becomes history and they return to status quo.

Our democratic history, at least from 1999 till date, is replete with heartrending stories of how state executives breathe down heavily on poor Nigerians. We have heard and seen instances where sitting state governors direct their overzealous aides to kill, maim, harass and intimidate anyone who dared to question their ostentatious, profligate and wasteful lifestyles. In extreme cases, they often send security men to do the dirty job of filing spurious charges against their perceived enemies or antagonists just to ensure that those elements are kept out of circulation. In dealing with the poor masses, their excellencies watch with grin how their security aides beat, harass and flog ordinary men on the streets for reason as useless as getting close to their ‘Oga At the Top’s’ convoy. This is how sad, pitiable and frightening things have become in this part of the world. Same leaders who once dined, wined, courted and related seamlessly with the downtrodden before their ascension to power suddenly cut off and sever existing contacts with the masses. This is the magical power of power!

The local media is daily awash with growing recklessness, brazenness and shameless posturing of these state executives in their dealings with the poor. It is either they kill innocent Nigerians or deny others right of way on federal roads or they openly direct their security aides to gun down ordinary road users. The touching story of how Governor Sullivan Chime of Enugu state ordered his security aides to rain life bullets on protesting students of Kogi State University, Anyigba, on the 2nd of October, 2007 which resulted in deaths, still remains very fresh in our minds. Governor Chime could have stopped his trigger-happy aides to use teargas in dispersing the protesting students, rather he watched them test their shooting dexterity on helpless, armless and defenseless undergraduates. As usual, the case went the way of others and bereaved families were left to mourn their dead.

The recklessness of the accident-loving-convoy-drivers of Governor Idris Wada of Kogi state reared its ugly head recently when they abruptly ended the life and existence of former President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Professor Festus Iyayi. Before Iyayi’s case, same convoy had in the past crashed into vehicles of other road users in the past. To a very large extent, the governor’s recurring road crashes are tied to human errors. His convoy drivers have the habit of literarily flying instead of driving on the highway. They chase other road users away with neck-breaking speed and dangerous overtaking. Sadly, the poor and helpless masses, at times who eke-out their leaving on the roadsides and popular bus stations are usually the victims of these power-drunk fellows.

The media was once awash with stories of how former governor Ikedi Ohakim of Imo state slapped and ordered the detention of a Catholic Priest who condemned Ohakim’s poor governance and abuse of office during a church programme. Not too long ago, Governor Sule Lamido of Jigawa state ensured that a certain social media activist, Mallam Moukhtar Ibrahim Aminu, who allegedly placed a curse directed at Jigiwa State Governor, was arrested and detained. Also in Bauchi state, north east Nigeria, Governor Isah Yuguda orderd the outright dismissal of a civil servant, one Abbas Faggo for daring to write on the governor’s below average performance. Aside being arraigned in court, the civil servant was detained for weeks. It took the intervention of human rights bodies to secure his release.

Then, earlier in the week, the self-styled Comrade Governor, fire-spitting, petit, vocal and attention-seeking governor of Edo state, Adams Aliyu Oshiomhole, who has the poor to thank for his ascendency to power joined the unenviable league of ruthless state governors in the country. For a man who rode on popular support to power, his recent outings call for concern. The Oshiomhole who once pride himself as the advocate of the poor now sees same people as his enemies and people to be treated with disdain. Governor Oshiomhole didn’t only demolish the poor widow’s makeshift shop, he brazenly told her to ‘go to hell and die’. Yes, that was the new Oshiomhole at his best. The old Oshoimhole has since departed ever since he became his ‘Excellency’. If I may ask, when has it become a sin or crime to be poor? Was Oshiomhole born rich? Do I need to remind anyone of Oshiomhole’s humble background? Do I need to restate the obvious that he, Oshiomhole, lived from hand to mouth?

Mr Comrade Governor, why test your might against a poor, downtrodden and defenseless widow who is striving hard, amidst harsh economic realities fueled by activities of the political class, of which you are a member to make ends meet? What kind of reforms are you carrying out that doesn’t have room for poor people? Any reform, no matter how beneficial and necessary with no human face is a grand plot to make life difficult for low income earners and the poor. Recent report released by an NGO has it that Edo state has the highest number of citizens serving various jail terms in different countries across the globe. Are you not bothered by this sad development? What are you doing about the shameful fact that young women from your state have become famous for taking prostitution to frightening dimension across countries in Europe and North America? Instead of showing your might against the defenseless poor in Edo state, I’d expected you to go against those giving your dear state bad image. The young, pretty, good looking ladies in great world cities like Paris, Rome, New York, Amsterdam, etc who engage in prostitution and drug peddling should be more of concern to you and not dealing ruthlessly with a poor hardworking widow. The ones at home are your hugest asset. Do your best to ensure that they don’t ‘Port’ to other countries like others. Cheers.

Abdullahi Yunusa wrote in from Imane, Kogi State. meetprofwills@yahoo.com.

Source: SAHARA REPORTERS.

Gov. Oshiomhole Apologizes For Harsh Public Dismissal Of Helpless Benin City Widow.


Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State has apologized for his abominable dismissal of a helpless widow on a Benin street during a “project tour.”

A fast-circulating online video shows the governor, who was leading a large team of officials, telling the crying woman, who was on her knees begging him, to “go and die.”

The incident was videotaped and uploaded to the Internet and widely-circulated to social media activists, including Saharareporters.  By early today, the video had already garnered over 100,000 views and 360 comments on SaharaReporters fanpage alone.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the governor apologized to a delegation of Muslim women of the  Federation of Muslim Women’s Associations in Nigeria (FOMWAN), which visited his office yesterday, and explained that he made his comment in anger and now regrets it.  It is unclear if the governor has apologized to the woman herself.

Several commentators on SaharaReporters were seething with anger in condemning the action of the governor.

Several other groups set up an online campaign to raise money for the poor woman to enable her set up a business in Benin City.  Even the opposing Peoples Democratic Party (Edo State chapter), cashed in on the campaign by donating N250,000 to the widow.

Source: SAHARA REPORTERS.

National confab proceedings end in free-for-all.


Gov-Adams-Oshiomhole

Political party thugs hired by politicians and parties yesterday clashed during the proceedings of the Presidential Advisory Committee on National Dialogue/Conference meeting in Benin City, Edo State bringing the meeting to an abrupt end.

Members of the committee and participants took to their heels in the ensued melee. The beginning of the end of the meeting that held at the rebuilt Imaguero College on Sapele Road started when the committee made frantic but unsuccessful attempts to stop Edo State Governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole and others from making their contributions to the debate.

Attempts by the committee led by Col. Tony Nyiam (retired), to shout down the state governor from making a point that they probably felt uncomfortable about, ignited the melee that soon resulted into a free-for-all by thugs loyal to the different political parties in the state, during which chairs, tables and sticks were freely used to inflict severe injuries on participants. It all began when a group of thugs believed to have been hired by one of the political parties began to heckle the

governor, who started with a complain about the lack of agenda for the meeting.

Oshiomhole began by stating his objection to the spending of huge public funds on a wasteful venture such as the dialogue while insisting that during the tenure of President Olusegun Obasanjo, money was spent on a similar conference at the end of which nothing came out. “I will be surprised if anything changes. Sincerely, I have no business to deceive or mislead anyone.

I believe that the outcome of this conference will not be different from that of other conferences we have had in the past,” he said. But as soon as Oshiomhole made his statement, committee member, Nyiam rose and shouted the governor down while he was still making his contribution before he was joined by some thugs who attempted to stop the governor too. While the governor insisted on concluding his remarks, he however yielded on the floor when the thugs were getting violent.

Before the proceedings, the governor, had at a courtesy visit on him in his office by members of the Committee led by Senator Femi Okurounmu, said he had no faith in the whole process. Oshiomhole said: “All I owe Nigeria now is to speak my mind. It could be error of my head but certainly not of my heart.

As much as I wish you well, I just want to say that I have no faith in this process and I do not think it was necessary at all. “I am unable to find any basis to give me some illusion that this exercise will not be different from the others.

And I honestly think that in terms of the private sector, when a country keeps debating how we can live together that cannot be one of the basis on which the outside community will invest in Nigeria. They may well wait until we know how we want to live in Nigeria.”

He lamented that 53 years after independence, Nigerians still prefer to look at themselves from their ethnic origin rather than being Nigerians, saying, “for me, I am just a Nigerian.”

He added: “I do not think that more than 100 years when we have set aside billions of naira to celebrate centenary, celebrating the fact of our amalgamation of the North and Southern Nigeria, and we have lived together as one country for over a 100 years, and we have gone through independence, we have been free for 53 years and we are coming back to ask the question, how could we be there. “I think Nigeria needs to address very serious issues.

When I see eminent Nigerians discussing this issue, I am sure they know that Nigeria’s problem is not this politics of sharing which the national dialogue is all about, who is getting what, who has this natural endowment, who should do this or not do this.

For me, this is the act of perfecting poverty. “The real challenge is getting Nigeria back to production. The real challenge is creating industrial base and this cannot be resolved through conferences. We have moved from parliamentary system in our own wisdom to the presidential system. We have test-run it and it was aborted by the military and it has reincarnated in the present form. “Nigeria does need a serious reflection about how to return to those core values that made Nigeria work before.

Those healthy competition between the governments, visit the whole question of attitude and unless that changes, I do not see how any dialogue can work.” Oshiomhole regretted that many conferences have been held in the country without any tangible result.

“I was discussing with somebody last week and he noted that this is the 11th conference and I ask what 10 conferences could not do, how would the 11th one do it? Why do we think we can continue doing the same thing the same old way and think that this time the outcome would be different?” he asked.

Earlier, Senator Okurounmu said they were in Benin as part of their visit to the six geo-political zones to get their input as regards the content of the agenda, the duration, choice of delegation and legal framework.

Meanwhile, the Advisory Committee has condemned the disruption of its proceedings. A statement signed by Okurounmu said the committee took exception to the “unruly conduct” one of its members who joined the crowd in shouting down the governor. “We want to emphasise that the committee will listen to all shades of opinion in the areas of its mandate and will not henceforth condone the kind of unacceptable behaviour we witnessed in Benin City on Monday,” he said.

Source: Radio Biafra.

VIDEO: Gov. Oshiomhole Attacked At National Dialogue Committee Convening In Benin City.


Posted: October 28, 2013 – 22:37

The meeting of the Presidential Advisory Committee on National dialogue with stakeholders in the South-South today ended in confusion, following an outburst from participants against a remark made by Governor Adams Oshiomhole.
Pius Nsogho reports that Governor Oshiomhole was whisked away from the venue by his security details when the situation became tense.

EDO STATE GOV’T PRESS STATEMENT:
Thugs believed to have been hired by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), yesterday disrupted the proceedings of the Presidential Advisory Committee on National Dialogue/Conference in Benin City today when they stopped Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State and others from making contributions to the ongoing talks.

A member of the Presidential Advisory Committee, Col Tony Nyiam (rtd) was the arrowhead of the disruption as he shouted down the Governor while making his contribution.

The thugs believed to have been imported from neighbouring states heckled the Governor as soon as they realized that his contributions would be different from the perceived opinion.

The Governor who took the stage to make his contribution shortly after the Isoko Ethnic group had made their contribution said he objected to spending huge public funds on a wasteful venture saying, during the tenure of President Olusegun Obasanjo, money was spent on similar conference and at the end, nothing came out of that conference.

“I will be surprised if anything changes. Sincerely, I have no business to deceive or mislead anyone. I believe that the outcome of this conference will not be different from that of other conferences we have had in the past.”

But as soon as Governor Oshiomhole made this statement, committee member, Col Nyiam jumped on his feet and would perhaps have lunged at the Governor were he close to him. He was restrained by other members who were taken aback by his action.

Even while the Governor was still making his contribution, Nyiam started screaming at the top of his voice for the Governor to shut up and sit down. He was then joined in by the PDP thugs who disrupted the whole proceedings and many scampered for safety as a result of the unruliness of the committee member and thugs.

The Governor who insisted on concluding his remarks however yielded the floor when the thugs were getting violent.
However, the Governor had, at a courtesy visit to him in his office by members of the Committee led by Senator Femi Okurounmu, said he had no faith in the whole process.
Oshiomhole said “all I owe Nigeria now is to speak my mind. It could be error of my head but certainly not of my heart. As much as I wish you well, I just want to say that I have no faith in this process and I do not think it was necessary at all”.

The Governor said “I am unable to find any basis to give me some illusion that this exercise will not be different from the others. And I honestly think that in terms of the private sector, when a country keeps debating how we can live together that cannot be one of the basis on which the outside community will invest in Nigeria. They may well wait until we know how we want to live in Nigeria”.

He lamented that fifty-three years after independence, Nigerians still prefer to look at themselves from their ethnic origin rather than being Nigerians, saying, “for me, I am just a Nigerian”.

“I do not think that more than hundred years when we have set aside billions of naira to celebrate centenary celebrating the fact of our amalgamation of the North and Southern Nigeria, and we have lived together as one country for over a hundred years, and we have gone through independence, we have been free for fifty three years and we are coming back to ask the question, how could we be there.

“I think Nigeria needs to address very serious issues. When I see eminent Nigerians discussing this issue, I am sure they know that Nigeria’s problem is not this politics of sharing which the national dialogue is all about, who is getting what, who has this natural endowment, who should do this or not do this. For me this is the act of perfecting poverty.

“The real challenge is getting Nigeria back to production. The real challenge is creating industrial base and this cannot be resolved through conferences. We have moved from parliamentary system in our own wisdom to the presidential system. We have test-run it and it was aborted by the military and it has re-incarnated in the present form” he said.

“Nigeria does need a serious reflection about how to return to those core values that made Nigeria work before. Those healthy competition between the governments, visit the whole question of attitude and unless that changes, I do not see how any dialogue can work”, he said.

The Governor noted “I was discussing with somebody last week and he noted that this is the eleventh conference and I ask what ten conferences could not do, how would the eleventh one do it? Why do we think we can continue doing the same thing the same old way and think that this time the outcome would be different?.

The Governor said nobody convenes a meeting without stating an agenda and asking others to draw up an agenda for that meeting adding “from conception we know we want to talk but we do not know what we want to talk about.”

Earlier the Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee on National Dialogue/Conference, Senator Femi Okurounmu said they were in Benin as part of their to the six geo political zones to get their input as regards the content of the agenda, the duration, choice of delegation and legal framework.

Source: SAHARA REPORTERS.

Amaechi, Oshiomhole, Okorocha shun govs meeting.


Amaechi-Okorocha-and-Oshiomhole

Three Governors – Adams Oshiomhole of Edo, Rochas Okorocha of Imo and Rotimi Amechi of Rivers – did not attend the South-East/South-South governors meeting held on Sunday in Enugu.

The meeting was attended by eight of the 11 governors in the two geo-political zones.

Governors who attended the meeting include Theodore Orji of Abia; Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom; Liyel Imoke of Cross River; and Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta.

Governors Sullivan Chime of Enugu and Peter Obi of Anambra also attended the meeting.

Though, governors Martin Elechi of Ebonyi and Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa were physically absent, they were represented by their deputies: Dave Umahi and John Gboribiogha, respectively.

Imoke, who is the Chairman of the South-South Governors’ Forum, said the meeting focused on how to promote unity in the zones among other issues.

He said the governors were not against the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan.

He said, “Governors of the South-East and South- South met again today. We deliberated extensively on the same issues that we discussed previously in our last meeting.

“Those deliberations are that we will continue to ensure that we focus on economic cooperation and unity and of course, focusing on our collective interest.”

Source: Radio Biafra.

Again Okorocha, Amaechi, Oshiomhole shun S’East, S’South govs’ meeting.


 

South-East-South-South-Govs

For the second time in three months, governors of Imo, Rivers and Edo states, Rochas Okorocha, Rotimi Amaechi and Adams Oshiomhole, respectively, stayed away from the meeting of South-East and South-South governors without sending any representative.
The meeting, which was held at the Enugu Government House, saw governors Liyel Imoke (Cross River), Emmanuel Uduaghan (Delta), Theodore Orji (Abia), Sullivan Chime (Enugu), Martin Elechi (Ebonyi), Peter Obi (Anambra), Godswill Akpabio (Akwa Ibom) in attendance, while Seraike Dickson of Bayelsa Statesent his deputy, Rear Admiral John Jonah.
According to Imoke, they were in Enugu to see how they would continue to strengthen economic ties amongst their states, as well as continue to pursue the development of their zones.
Unlike the apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo that endorsed Jonathan earlier yesterday, during the 2013 Igbo Day held at Okpara Square, Enugu, the governors of the two zones failed to endorse the president for the 2015 presidential election.
“We note that the determination of who will be president of this country in 2015 will be made by the Nigerian electorate, in line with democratic tenets and the power of the people should not be usurped by any group or individuals,” they said.

They, however, urged the president to remain focused on governance and not allow himself to be distracted.
The governors also called for continued dialogue at resolving national issues, as well as managing the security situation in the country in order to guarantee the continued corporate existence of the nation. “We commend the security agencies for their efforts in managing these challenges and commend the Federal Government for the massive reduction in crude oil theft,” they said.

Source: Radio Biafra.

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