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Posts tagged ‘Rudy Giuliani’

Giuliani: Let Gov. Christie Do His Job.

Until there is concrete evidence to prove that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie did something wrong, he should be left to do his job, his friend and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani says.

“There’s nothing wrong with saying the following, ‘Until and unless there’s evidence that proves he did something wrong, we’re going to take the governor at his word. We’re going to let him do his job,'” Giuliani told “Face the Nation” host Major Garrett Sunday. “I believe it’s going to come out all right. If it doesn’t, there’s always time to take action then.”

Story continues below.

Giuliani has been standing behind Christie throughout the growing George Washington Bridge lane closure scandal. He reiterated that statements made by former Port Authority official David Wildstein’s attorney that Christie knew about the lane closures were no bombshell revelation.

“Here’s what it is,” Giuliani told Garrett. “It’s an offer from a guy who says he has evidence, hasn’t given the evidence yet. However, you have to take that into context. This is a lawyer who’s writing for a man who wants somebody else to pay his legal bills and he can’t get them paid unless the governor is responsible. And he’s a guy that’s seeking immunity.”

Giuliani said the recent disclosures and others that will likely come should be put into context.

“This is a long investigation,” said Giuliani. “It’s going to take a while. There’s going to be stuff like this that just jumps out and everybody’s going to exaggerate. They’re going to have to back off.”

If Christie is lying, Giuliani said, it’s a bad situation, but if the governor is telling the truth, “then something very unfair is being done to him. So let’s see what happens.”

Meanwhile, Giuliani said that he does not think Christie should step down from his leadership position at the Republican Governor’s Association.

Further, Giuliani agrees that the allegations that Christie was behind closing lanes on the George Washington Bridge in retribution for the Fort Lee mayor’s refusal to back his re-election campaign are “unfortunate and bad,” and the governor did apologize.

“But what I’m saying is, you take that real incident and now you’ve got pile on,” said Giuliani.

“You have a Democratic legislature with a guy who’d like to be governor, who very, very oddly announces at the beginning he doesn’t believe the governor. And no Democrat in the state sees that it’s odd that he should be running an investigation when he’s already announced that he knows the answer that none of us know the answer to.”

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Sandy Fitzgerald

Jindal, Giuliani Defend Chris Christie.

Big-name Republicans are standing behind New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie days after a former loyalist said evidence exists that Christie knew about a politically motivated traffic jam last year even as it happened.

Christie has denied that claim and said he learned about the jam ordered by one of his aides only after it was over.

Former Port Authority of New York and New Jersey executive David Wildstein hasn’t detailed the evidence.

U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin says “nothing has been proven.” The 2012 vice presidential candidate appeared Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.”

On other news talk shows, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani said there was no reason for Christie to step down as chairman of the Republican Governors Association.

Jindal, R-La., said Sunday that Christie should not step down as head of the Republican Governors Association.

“I think he ought to stay there,” Jindal said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

“No one governor is more important than the other…What really matters is the RGA is a place where our governors come together,” he said.

© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Newsmax Wires

Giuliani: Christie Holds People Accountable, Obama Doesn’t.

Rudy Giuliani praised New Jersey Governor Chris Christie Friday for firing the aides responsible for the so-called bridge-gate fiasco, saying he did what President Barack Obama “finds impossible to do” — hold people accountable.

“He explains it. And, here he does something that the Obama administration finds impossible to do. He held people accountable for it. He actually fired them,” the former New York Mayor said of his fellow Republican on “Fox & Friends.”

“All you have to do is contrast it with Benghazi, the IRS scandal. The way they obfuscate. They hide. The way they never have press conferences,” he added, referring to the Obama administration.

Giuliani called Christie’s apology for the shutdown of traffic last year across the George Washington Bridge connecting New York and New Jersey caused by his aides as “refreshing.” Not many politicians would have dealt with such a controversy by hold a full-blown press conference and giving “definitive answers. He said it was “exactly the opposite of what we have in the White House right now.”

“We’ve spent the last three or four years trying to figure out why President Obama never explains things. Is never transparent. Is never direct. Always seems to be leading from behind, which is, of course, following.

“Now we have an example of the opposite, a guy who gets out front and leads and tells the truth,” Giuliani said of the governor who is viewed as a major contender for the presidency in 2016.

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Wanda Carruthers

CBS Newsman Miller to Join New NYPD Chief.

Veteran newsman John Miller is planning to quit CBS News to rejoin New York’s new police commissioner Bill Bratton, according to the New York Post.

Miller, who produced and reported the “60 Minutes” investigation into the National Security Agency on Sunday night, has worked under his old friend Bratton twice before.

He became Bratton’s deputy commissioner for public information when Bratton was New York’s police chief for two years until resigning in 1996 after a falling-out with former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani.

Miller then headed the Los Angeles Police Department‘s counterterrorism and criminal intelligence units when Bratton became that department’s police commissioner.

For the past two-years, Miller has been a senior correspondent and the primary reporter on national security issues, as well as on crime stories, for “CBS This Morning” and on the “CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley.”

Last week New York Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio named the 66-year-old Bratton, who has also been Boston’s police commissioner, as the city’s next police chief.

During his tenure in L.A., Miller created the Automated Critical Asset Management System, a terror-target risk-assessment program now employed by several states. He also enrolled in the L.A. police academy and was sworn in by his buddy Bratton after seven months.

“It was the proudest day of his life,” Bratton recently told Men’s Journal.

Starting in 2005, Miller worked for six years with the FBI and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. In 2011, he returned to broadcast journalism with CBS.

According to the Post, Miller is expected to take over a top intelligence position or counterterrorism role with Bratton, who will assume his duties as police chief in January.

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Drew MacKenzie

Bratton Selected by De Blasio to Return as NYPD Commissioner.

Image: Bratton Selected by De Blasio to Return as NYPD Commissioner

New York Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio chose William Bratton to be the city’s next police commissioner, returning him to the job he held for two years until he resigned in 1996 after a falling-out with former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani.

Bratton, 66, served as Boston police commissioner before arriving in New York in 1994 to lead the NYPD, and was chief of the Los Angeles police department from 2002 to 2009. Since then, he’s been a security consultant and was chairman of Kroll, a corporate-investigations firm, for two years until 2012. De Blasio made the announcement today at a news briefing in Brooklyn.

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The new commissioner will take over a 34,000-officer department. He must continue to reduce crime while refining the stop-and-frisk street tactics that de Blasio campaigned against, saying they damaged police-community relations. He’ll also be responsible for a 1,000-officer division devoted to terrorism investigations and prevention that has been criticized for its surveillance of Muslims.

“This is a strong appointment of a proven police leader with a national reputation for reducing crime and earning community respect,” said Jeremy Travis, president of John Jay College of Criminal Justice in Manhattan and a member of de Blasio’s transition committee. “Bill Bratton wrestled with the same problems as ours in Los Angeles. He dealt with a court- ordered federal monitor. He created a counter-terrorism task force. His appointment will resonate very positively with the rank and file.”

Time Cover

His 27-month stint heading the NYPD began a 20-year period in which crime dropped 74 percent, an achievement Travis attributed in part to CompStat, a system Bratton pushed that uses a database to map, categorize and time-stamp crimes to begin managing dangerous neighborhoods.

Bratton’s relationship with Giuliani soured after the commissioner appeared on the Jan. 15, 1996, cover of Time magazine with the caption, “Finally, we’re winning the war against crime. Here’s why.” Giuliani, a former prosecutor, wasn’t mentioned.

He will take over the department at a time of contentious negotiations now in arbitration over a labor contract that expired years ago.

Bratton was an early advocate of community policing, involving street patrols and engagement with civic and religious leaders.

Broken Windows

He also was a proponent of the “broken windows” concept of law enforcement, a theory introduced in 1982 by sociologists James Q. Wilson and George Kelling that linked neighborhoods’ social cohesiveness — clean streets, no graffiti and lack of petty street crime — to reducing assaults, robberies and other felonies.

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Bratton will be the city’s first new commissioner in 12 years, succeeding Raymond Kelly, 72, chosen by Mayor Michael Bloomberg while smoke still billowed from the ruins of the World Trade Center after the Sept. 11 attacks. Bloomberg, 71, is founder and majority owner of Bloomberg News parent Bloomberg LP.

Since Kelly became commissioner, crime declined by 31 percent, according to NYPD statistics. Kelly’s stint also represented a return to the post after he had served as former Mayor David Dinkins’ commissioner in 1993.
© Copyright 2013 Bloomberg News. All rights reserved.


Giuliani: Mafia Offered $800G to Kill Me.

Rudy Giuliani has claimed that the mafia in Italy put an $800,000 contract on his head while he was mayor of New York City.

Giuliani, who was praised for his leadership during the 9/11 terrorist attacksy, revealed to Oprah Winfrey on her OWN cable-channel show “Oprah: Where Are They Now” that as a former prosecutor he was a target for criminals who he’d put behind bars, especially mobsters.

“I don’t think anybody prosecuted more mafia members than I did,” said Giuliani, who was U.S. Attorney before becoming the mayor from 1994-2001.

“Certainly, no one sent them to prison for the lengthy periods of time that I did.”

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Story continues below video.

Giuliani, a Republican, said that a contract to kill him was put out by the Sicilian mafia the first year he was mayor.

“They offered $800,000 to kill me. Then, toward the end of the time I was the mayor, a particular mafia guy who we convicted and put in jail for 100 years put out a contract to kill me for $400,000.”

Giuliani, who turns 70 in May, added with a laugh, “I kind of felt bad that I went down in value. I started at 800, I went down to 400.”

But, he said, he never was that concerned about threats from members of organized-crime gangs.

“Now, when we start talking about Islamic extremist terrorism — that worries me more, because they are suicidal.

“Part of why I didn’t worry about the mafia was because there was a certain rationality to their kind of violence. This other kind of violence is completely irrational violence.”

Giuliani, who runs the security consulting service Giuliani Partners, that helps companies and governments deal with terrorism and crime, pointed out that New York has bounced back since 9/11 and is now doing “fabulous” with a record 50 million tourists last year.

“Even though we were attacked, even though there were threats of attacks, people know how to process it correctly. They realize it’s a small, small risk in comparison to the wonderful things you can do here.”

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Drew MacKenzie

Walker Seen As GOP’s Alternative to Christie in 2016.

Image: Walker Seen As GOP's Alternative to Christie in 2016

Many Republican activists, citing Congress‘ deep unpopularity, say they want a governor to be their next presidential nominee. The buzz centers on New Jersey’s Chris Christie for now, but Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is using a national book tour to try to climb into the 2016 conversation.

A small but potentially potent group of GOP insiders say he’s a can-do governor with Christie’s good qualities, and few of Christie’s downsides.

Everything depends on Walker winning re-election next year. If he does, he can join Christie in casting himself as a two-term Republican governor who thrived in a Democratic-leaning state.

Then, Walker’s supporters say, his more conservative stances on several issues would help him in GOP primaries. And Walker’s calm Midwestern demeanor, they say, will play better in Iowa, South Carolina and other places than would Christie’s penchant for bombast and confrontation.

Plenty of potential hurdles stand in Walker’s way, as they do for other Republican governors, such as John Kasich of Ohio. They are not well-known outside their states. And they are untested on national stages, which have chewed up many once-promising governors, including Texas’ Rick Perry and New York’s Rudy Giuliani.

Still, some well-known Republicans say Walker deserves a bit of the attention that showered Christie after his easy re-election this month.

“Walker is the type of leader who is the future of our party,” said Fred Malek, a Republican fundraiser and activist since the Nixon administration. He said Walker can appeal to an array of Republicans and unite the party, which has lost the popular vote in five of the last six presidential races.

Walker has used TV, radio and other forums this week to promote his new book, “Unintimidated,” while also subtly pushing his presidential potential. At a conservative gathering Thursday in Washington, a friendly interviewer helped him make his best possible contrast with Christie.

Marc Thiessen, Walker’s co-author, said Christie “is moderate in policy and immoderate in temperament. You are very moderate in temperament but immoderate in policy.”

Walker didn’t quarrel with the premise. “Chris and I are good friends,” he said, and both of them stay true to their principles.

“The demeanor you have does have an impact,” Walker said. In New Jersey, he said, “the way that Chris has reacted to things actually fits.”

“I just have a Midwestern filter, that’s the difference,” Walker said. “I’m willing to speak out, but I’m not going to call you an idiot. I’m just going to say ‘That’s a ridiculous question,’ and move on.”

Walker brought up Hillary Rodham Clinton without being asked, calling her the likely Democratic nominee for president. She is “a product, by and large, of Washington, not just of late, but for decades,” he said. The way to defeat her, he said, is with a Republican team that’s “completely focused on being outsiders, taking Washington on, successful reformers in states.”

Walker uses similar language to downgrade the political prospects of members of Congress. That would include such potential GOP presidential candidates as Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas, Rand Paul of Kentucky and Marco Rubio of Florida and Rep. Paul Ryan, a fellow Wisconsinite.

“I think both the presidential and the vice presidential nominee should either be a former or current governor,” Walker told ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday. “People who have done successful things in their states.”

Walker’s biggest achievement as governor was curbing the powers of government-sector unions, which triggered a ferocious backlash. Walker survived a bitterly fought recall election, making him a hero to conservatives who oppose unions.

Walker says he wasn’t intimidated by death threats against his family, thus the name of his book.

Walker takes a more conservative stand on some issues than do fellow Republican governors such as Christie and Kasich. Unlike them, Walker refused to expand Medicaid in his state with new federal funds under President Barack Obama’s new health care law. Democrats accused him of putting political ambition above the best interests of low-income Wisconsin residents.

“Accepting Medicaid expansion through Obamacare would be an anathema to Walker’s tea party base and his corporate backers,” said the liberal Daily Kos website.

Walker joined many other governors in criticizing congressional Republicans who prompted a 16-day government shutdown last month in a failed bid to block the Affordable Care Act. Chief among them was Cruz, who establishment Republicans fear will appeal to hard-line conservatives in Republican primaries but not to general election voters in November 2016.

Campaign strategists say Walker is trying to carve a middle path between Christie’s moderation and Cruz’s staunchly right positions.

Walker “is best positioned to unite the conservative and establishment wings,” said Texas-based consultant Matt Mackowiak. “Winning victories over public unions and beating back a recall attempt,” he said, can help Walker build a national image for conservative voters.

At least one liberal group is taking note of Walker. Progressives United is criticizing his record and seeking donations “to stop his political career dead in its tracks.”

Even Walker’s biggest fans note that the 2016 election is far off, and any number of unforeseen events can boost or doom potential candidacies.

Christie planted himself in the middle of Republican speculation by winning two terms in a state that hasn’t backed a Republican presidential nominee since 1988. Walker, several other governors and a few members of Congress will see if they can join him.

© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Giuliani: If Y2K Went Like Obamacare I’d Have Looked ‘Like a Fool’.

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani says Y2K could have landed him in a similar situation to President Barack Obama’s predicament with the disastrous Obamacare website rollout, but he averted it.

“I had to face Y2K when I was the mayor,” Giuliani said Monday on Fox News Channel’s “Hannity.” 

“Everybody was afraid the computers were going to go down, people were going to be let out of jails, trains wouldn’t run. We spent a couple hundred million to make sure that that worked.”

Giuliani said he began getting regular briefings 16 months before the big day. There were a few breakdowns, but they were fixed months in advance, he said.

“I knew if this failed I would look like a fool,” Giuliani said. “And it wasn’t my signature achievement. I guess reducing crime or welfare was. This was his [Obama’s] signature achievement.”

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Greg Richter

Giuliani: Have We Learned Lessons from 9/11?.

Image: Giuliani: Have We Learned Lessons from 9/11?

From left, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Mary Pat Christie, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo attend memorial ceremonies marking the 12th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center.

By Greg Richter

Rudolph Giuliani, who was mayor of New York during 9/11, says he thought the country had learned to be vigilant after those horrific acts of terrorism.

But the year-ago attack on the U.S. diplomatic facility in Benghazi, Libya, on the 11th anniversary of 9/11 has him wondering.

“Did we sufficiently learn our lessons?” Giuliani said Wednesday on Fox News Channel’sYour World with Neil Cavuto.”

“I don’t blame people before Sept. 11, because I think it was a hard thing to anticipate,” Giuliani said. “I blame people after Sept. 11 for letting the guard down.”

Among the “glaring questions” left after Benghazi, he said, are why the compound didn’t have more protection, even though it had been requested multiple times.

U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans died in the attack on the facility.

“And why all the attempts to button up on all these people and not let them talk, until now, apparently?” he asked. “So far, it still hasn’t happened, but they said it would.”

Giuliani called it “unfortunate” that Benghazi gets connected to Sept. 11, “because this is the worst day in our history, maybe.”

The dangers of terrorism are just as great today as they were on Sept. 10, 2001, Giuliani said.

Al-Qaida may longer be the strong organization it was, but the current situation may be worse, he said, since a large number of small organizations can do “one-offs, imitation attacks.”

“But they’re still being done in the name of Allah,” he noted. “They’re still being done in the name of distorted Islamic theory. We’ve got a president that thinks the war’s over.”

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Deportation: Where Fashola Fumbled By Rudolf Ogoo Okonkwo.


By Rudolph Okonkwo

During both winter and summer, in the same layers and layers of clothes, he sits each morning on the platform of Forest Hills train station. The stench from his body, unwashed for months, hits your nostril from 200 yards. His unkempt hair and beard rest on a heap of clothes stuffed in a plastic bag as he dozes off. Inside the F train heading to downtown Manhattan, his other colleague occupies half a section of the coach. Straphangers congregate at the other end, hands over their noses. Some days, he would be sleeping, mouth open and saliva dripping. Other days he would be in the pool of his urine or vomit or any other bodily fluid. Before you get off on 34th St, the woman with the baby would come into your coach, with a toddler in tow. In a foreign accent she would plead for change to feed her daughter. Some straphangers would take a look at the baby and give her change, even though the voice on the public address system repeats a City of New York advisory not to give money to anyone in the train because panhandling is illegal. Outside the subway, along Madison Square Garden, the one they call the preacher positions himself near the Central Post Office. When he is not reading out loud lines from Isaiah, he is speaking to a picture in an old newspaper. In the shopping cart beside him are all his possessions. The last time I tried to count the number of plastic bags hanging on his cart I stopped at twenty-four. Further up, toward Macy’s, the largest store in the world, an Iraq war veteran sits by the curb. A sign in front of him says he is a veteran who’s going through hard times and needs help to eat.

I see these poor, homeless, and in some cases, mentally ill people, every time I go into the city. The 47 million tourists who visit New York City every year also see them. The sight of the poor, the homeless and the mentally ill has not stopped them from coming. The billionaire mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg, sees them too when he takes a train to his office at City Hall or as he visits Gracie Mansion, the mayor’s official residence. It is a regular topic of discussion by the city council. Every year the city takes a census of the homeless. The last count says there were 55, 000 of them, including 21,000 children. The city provides food pantries and shelters for 50,000 homeless people each night. Another 5000 adults and children pass the night on the streets or in other public spaces. Each year, over 100,000 New Yorkers spend at least one night in a city shelter. It’s a burden for the City of New York.

And there are over 26,000 Social workers and over 100,000 councilors in New York state who are working in conjunction with several non-profits to rehabilitate the homeless. The city knows each of these homeless New Yorkers. They have a file on each because everyone of them has a story. And the stories are so familiar. Like in the movie, “Trading Places”, where the Duke brothers, Randolph and Mortimer, lost their fortune and we later found them as homeless beggars in the movie, “Coming to America”, the city knows that many homeless people simply hit hard times. It is common knowledge that most people in America are one paycheck away from homelessness. The 2008 economic down turn sent a lot to the homeless corner. The city is aware that they weren’t just people who entered the bus to come to New York to beg. Many used to pay taxes to the city. Others fought for the country in several wars. The city works very hard to give their lives some dignity. Even those who choose to stay in the subway or stay by the street side; those who are drug addicts; those who could have been getting transitional assistants, food stamps and other government programs for the poor, the city diligently works to rehabilitate them. Working with state and federal officials, the city knows that the measure of its humanity is not in how it treats the rich and the powerful, but in how it treats the most vulnerable. In severe weather conditions, the city goes round to make sure that each of them is not exposed to rough weather.

How to accommodate the poor, the homeless and the mentally ill is one problem that all the mega cities of the world are dealing with each day. Even Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who as a mayor was on a mission to clean up New York City, did not load the homeless in a bus and dump them across the Hudson River. If Giuliani had done so, the city police chief would have been the one to arrest the mayor. He would have been charged with mistreatment and abuse of the most vulnerable in society. The city council would have impeached him immediately and he would have spent a dozen years in jail after which his law license would have been revoked. It is that serious.

Such is not the case in Nigeria where Gov. Babatunde Fashola last week sent some Nigerians out of Lagos and back to the Eastern part of Nigeria. The haggling over which aspect of the story is true and what term to use to explain what happened does not minimize the import. On the specifics of the so-called reintegration or, if you, like deportation of some Nigerians from Lagos to Onitsha by the Lagos state government, I’m not a lawyer but my hunch is that it is not constitutional. Even if it is constitutional, it is immoral. That it has been going on for years between states does not make it constitutional, if it is not. And it does not make it moral, something I’m sure it isn’t. Just because the lynching of suspects, some innocent, some guilty, on the streets of Nigeria has been going on for years in almost every city does not make it constitutional or moral.

That many commentators seem to have descended on Gov. Fashola of Lagos state for something others have done before is primarily because people expect more from him. Take away the National cake, Lagos is probably the only economically viable state in Nigeria. Lagos state governor therefore owes Nigeria the responsibility to prove that the building of a nation that we have embarked on can work. If he is not held above board, who would? Akpabio? It’s often a waste of time analyzing the activities of some governors who have no mental capability good enough to run a local government area.

In this deportation story, several questions beg for answers: when dealing with the so-called ‘destitutes’ became a problem for Lagos state, did the state seek help from the Federal ministry responsible for such a population? Did those representing Lagos State in the National Assembly push bills asking for special help from the Federal government to deal with the influx of the “destitutes”? If it failed, did Lagos state sue the Federal government to force them to help? If everything failed, how did the Lagos state government determine the proper way to handle the process? Who did they consult to figure out the constitutionality of their plan of action? Do they understand the wider implications of what happened? How it will unleash those on the fringe and reinforce the stereotypes. Do they for instance fault those who fear that this policy implies that some Nigerians have the right to stay in Lagos while others do not? Do they understand that some of those crying foul are worried that today it may be the “destitutes” but tomorrow it may be mechanics?

So these people were detained at the Rehabilitation and Training Center in Ikorodu and Alausa and maybe others. How many were they? For how long? Did they learn new skills while in detention? According to Lagos State, they wanted to be reunited with their people at home. If so, why didn’t Lagos State give them money to return home since the state has been generous enough to train them and feed them for so long? Why did they need security escort to be transported home? So, Lagos state asked Anambra state in April to come to the Rehabilitation Center to meet these folks. Anambra State did not follow through. Next, Lagos State packed the “destitutes” into a bus and headed to Onitsha in the middle of the night. Is that the best practice that the state that calls itself the one of excellence can muster? Is that the example that Fashola can show the rest of the country and the world on how to humanly handle the most vulnerable in the society?

In the communications between Lagos State and Anambra State, Lagos state noted that 14 of these “destitutes” wish to be reunited with their folks at home after being locked up, incommunicado for 6 months to 2 years. Who will not want to go home after such a long time in what is virtually a prison? On Lagos State’s list of 14 deportees were Victoria Agboola from Obudu LGA and Sunday Irabo. Is Obudu a local government area in Anambra state and does Victoria Agboola sound like an Nnewi name? Did anybody in the Lagos state government check with Anambra state born Commissioner for Planning if Obudu is in Anambra state? There is no record of Lagos State informing Anambra state that on this day and at this time we will be bringing in this number of people to Onitsha, please wait for them. Was Lagos state expecting Anambra state officials to be at Onitsha head bridge at 4 am to receive these people?

Did Lagos state give the people they dumped at Onitsha head bridge transport money to get to their towns and villages? I’m assuming that Lagos state gave these people cell phone to call their folks at home and say, “Oh, come and pick us up at Onitsha head bridge. We are home! Thanks to the kindness of Fashola.” The ACN’s man from Anambra state, Chris Ngige, one of the senators who have not written a bill in 2 years issued a statement supporting the action Lagos state took. When Lagos state was not getting the right responses from the irresponsible Gov. Peter Obi, did Lagos state try to work with Chris Ngige, a former governor of the state to ensure a smooth operation? When nobody came to receive the “destitutes”, did Fashola’s people hand them over to the Red Cross, at least?

Gov. Fashola is capable of rising above the sea of mediocrity swallowing Nigeria. But he has allowed himself to be seduced by the chants of the sycophants who are drunk on the cool aid of low expectations. It’s preventing him from seeing the difficult but honorable steps to the pinnacle of greatness. It is not enough to hang out with Bono or Bill Gates or Bill Clinton. What defines you most is the value you espouse in your actions.

“Nigeria is one of the most unjust nations on earth,” says Pat Utomi. No issue brings that out like the way we treat the poor, the homeless and the mentally ill in our midst. The people we have conveniently called the ‘destitutes’. These are children of Nigeria. They, like us all, have the potential to contribute to our nation’s growth. “The society we abuse today,” the hypocrite, Gov. Obi, used to say, “will take its revenge on our children.”

A hundred years from now, our children’s children will be ashamed of us all- from East to West, North to South, for the awful way we treat the poor, the homeless and the mentally ill. They will look at our age and call it the dark ages.

Gov. Babatunde Raji Fashola fumbled at the same place that most of us do- we think there are some lives that do not count as much as ours- that for instance, our housemaid who feeds our children is less important than our children; and that our driver, whose skill determines whether we make it to and fro each day, is less important than our siblings; and that our security guard, whose vigilance secures our home, is less important than our parents. It’s at the heart of our tragedy. It is the reason why we assume that injustice inflicted on “others” will not eventually get to us. History shows that it does. Injustice usually starts with the most vulnerable who had nobody to speak up for them until it gets to us. And that is when Martin Niemöller said there would not be anybody left to speak for us.

If I were Fashola, I would have called a press conference to apologize for bungling an operation that should not have happened in the first place. Despite Fashola’s posturing as a cosmopolitan actor, he would not apologize in public because the action he took made him a hero to several characters on the edge- the likes of Femi Fani-Kayode, who harbor insular agendas.


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