PDP And Darkness In The Land

The ineptitude which the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) mistakes for governance is nowhere more pronounced than in the power sector. The gross incompetence exhibited by the party in this sector simply beggars belief.

Billons of dollars belonging to the people of Nigeria simply went down the drain as a result of lack of planning, corruption and a refusal to pay attention to details. That there is no light anywhere in Nigeria should not come as a surprise. The weak political structure of the PDP had at its summit, a man who was impervious to reason. After all, this was the man who once infamously retorted that ‘I am not bound to take your advice’ when addressing his newly-sworn-in advisers. The rest, of course, is history. Nigeria has been living since then in the dark ages.

While neighbouring less endowed West African countries are forging ahead, achieving increases in volume of electricity generated, transmitted and distributed, Nigeria is in a terrible mess. The wobbling and fumbling in the power sector has come with a terrible opportunity cost. The so-called ‘Peoples’ Democratic Party continues to wallow in graft, ineptitude and corruption, while the country is effectively been de-industrialized.

Everyday, there is alarming news that whatever is left of Nigeria’s manufacturing base is literally fleeing from the country’s notorious infrastructure deficit. Ghana is now the preferred port of call.

The irony should not be overlooked. Lacking Nigeria’s mouth-watering resources, it nevertheless has that most vital of ingredients-sensible governance. This has translated into superb retooling of the country’s infrastructure. No wonder, companies that have been in operation in Nigeria in some cases for over 60 years are heading there. If this is not for us as Nigerians, a national calamity, what then is?

Good governance makes a difference. Pivotal governments with focused programmes have been decisive in the history of nations. Examples include our own Action Group government in Western Nigeria in the 1950s, Indira Gandhi’s ‘Green Revolution’ in India and Lee Kuan Yew’s remarkable feat in taking Singapore from inconsequence to first world status within a generation. This shows, with due apologies to Barak Obama, that it can be done.

Unfortunately, it’s not going to be done by a totally unprincipled formation such as the PDP. Two years into President Umaru Yar’Adua’s government, the country has nothing to show in terms of achievement. Wobbling and fumbling, lacking a coordinated position, the government is in a perpetual state of confusion. It could not have been otherwise. For, it takes the deep to call to the deep as the avatar; Chief Obafemi Awolowo had cause to observe. A comparison with the focused, superbly prepared, progressive government in Lagos State is enough to make a grown man to weep. Fashola and his able crew have shown in Lagos State that it can be done.

The issue now becomes how to translate this purposeful sort of governance into the Centre. Luckily, the year 2011 is just a round the corner. By vigorously protecting their vote, the PDP can be booted out. There is no other conceivable route. Continuation of PDP rule means stagnation, unemployment, misrule and the absence of social and economic justice.

Preparations for regime change in 2011 must start today with all hands on deck. To wrestle power from the do nothing PDP is a task that must be done in the nation’s interest.

PDP Thugs Go On Rampage, Attack AC Supporters

STARRED by the possibility of loosing power and defeat at the Court of Appeal in Ibadan, Oyo state capital, on the appeal suit filed by Osun State Action Congress (AC) governorship candidate in the last election, Engineer Rauf Aregbesola, armed political thugs allegedly hired by the People Democratic Party(PDP) unleashed terror on members and supporters of the AC, who were outside the court premises.
The armed hoodlums were reportedly acting under the directive of the PDP Deputy state Chairman, Mr Ojo Williams, who ordered the thugs to attack any of the opposition party members seen around the court premises.

According to an eye witness at the court, the armed political thugs were allegedly led by the Supervisor for Works in Olorunda Local Government Council Area of the state, Mr Olatunde Babatunde Solomon, who came to the court in an 18-seater bus, loaded with guns, cutlasses and charms.

Immediately after the Justice Victor Omage – led panel admitted the result of Adrian Forty’s finger- print analysis, the physical counting results and the police report on the controversial April 14,2007 governorship election in the state, Williams reportedly ordered the hoodlums to unleash terror on the AC members and supporters.

The outcome of the court proceeding was believed to have intimidated the ruling PDP, a situation that instigated the chieftain to order the attack, having known the imminent loss by the party in the governorship legal tussle.

Not less than 20 people sustained various degrees of injuries in the attack, which lasted for nothing less than 30 minute before the policemen came to the rescue of the victims.

The supporters of the AC, who came from Lags State were among those people that were injured by the PDP thugs.
OSUN DEFENDER gathered that about 40 members of the armed PDP thugs have been arrested by the armed mobile policemen, who stormed the court premises following a distress call sent to the police station by the people around the area.

However, William (the PDP deputy chairman) had fled the scene shortly after the hoodlums started unleashing terror on members of the opposition parties from Osun State.

Besides, the outcome of the court proceeding had reportedly sent jitters down the spine of embattled governor of the state, Olagunsoye Oyinlola and the ruling party as they maintained what many regarded as uneasy silence in Osogbo, the state capital and other areas of the state.

Members of the ruling party that went to the appeal court arrived Osun in the night as a result of shame of the defeat they met at the appeal court and the fear of loosing power.

A member of the PDP in Ilesa area of the state reportedly lost consciousness and fainted when he heard that all the evidences tendered by Aregbesola were admitted by the appellate court.

It would be recalled that the PDP had last month celebrated what could be described as a dubious victory on the dismissal of the Call Log application as an additional evidence in the suit, a situation that turned
Osogbo, and its neighbouring towns in to one big celebration ground.

By ISMAIL USMAN

Breaking News: Aregbesola Vs Oyinlola: Appeal Court Reserves Verdict

Gov. Oyinlola Olagunsoye of Osun State

Drama As INEC Counsel Indicts Oyinlola, Police
•Says: We Are Birds Of A Feather
•Election, Not Perfect

IT was a mild drama at the Court of Appeal, Ibadan, Oyo State capital, as the Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC’s) lawyer, Mr. Joe Gadzama (SAN), has expressly indicted the embattled Osun State Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola, and the Police over the electoral heist of April 14, 2007 governorship election in Osun State, confirming before Justice Victor Omage-led five-man panel that all of them (Oyinlola, PDP,and the police) were birds of a feather.

The INEC counsel boasted before the judges that, he aligned with the embattled governor and the police counsel’s submission because they were pursing the same goal together, as they were respondents’ altogether, and as well, were holding common grounds on the issue at stake.

Gadzama also submitted that there could never be a perfect election anywhere in the country, as he insisted that he identify completely with Oyinlola and the police counsel.

Besides, after over a year of legal battle to wrestle the controversial power from Oyinlola, the Court of Appeal, sitting in Ibadan, Oyo State capital on Wednesday reserved judgment in the appeal filed by the Action Congress (AC) governorship candidate in the state, Engineer Rauf Aregbesola against the judgment of the Justice Thomas Naron-led Election Petitions tribunal that sat in the state.

The reservation of the judgment was in pursuant to the adoption of brief of argument, arguments and counter-argumentss of the counsel to Aregbesola, Oyinlola, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the police.

Meanwhile, before the adoption of the brief and arguments from counsel to the parties in the case, the court had granted the application to consolidate all the interlocutory appeals with the main appeal before the court.

Among the interlocutory appeals consolidated were the evidence of the forensic expert, Adrian Forty, whose finding on the forensic inspections ordered by the lower tribunal were rejected; the report of the physical counting ordered but rejected by the tribunal, and the security report of the governorship election, which indicated that there was violence during the election and indicted some of the Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) leaders as masterminds of the violence during the election.

Before the application for consolidation was granted counsel to Oyinlola, Mallam Yusuff Alli (SAN), Gadzama (SAN) and counsel to the police, Mr Niyi Owolade, the Attorney-General of the state, had denied having any knowledge of the appeal filed by Aregbesola’s counsel, Chief Kola Awodein (SAN) over the evidence of the forensic expert, which was rejected by the lower tribunal and subsequently appeal against it.

Oyinlola’s counsel raised the issue and to the chagrin of Aregbesola’s counsel, he flared up and expressed disappointment over the issue raised by the counsel.

Awodein fumed: “My lords, this is the least I expect from my learned friend. I wonder why he could have denied having knowledge of such appeal. My learned friend knows that what he is saying is not true at all. We came here together to argue this appeal and the panel which sat on the matter then ordered that we should go and include it in the main appeal when the lower court might have delivered its judgment.
“It was that same panel that ordered us to go and consolidate all the appeals because there are many interlocutory appeals in this matter. With respect my lords, all the counsel to the respondents in this matter filed their responses to the brief and in fact, counsel to the INEC filed an application for an extension of time to file his brief of argument over the appeal”.

Awodein then produced the application filed by the INEC counsel over the appeal for the extension of time to file their briefs.

Despite his argument, Oyinlola’s counsel and other respondents’ counsel insisted that they were unaware of the appeal.

Subsequently, the court asked for a copy of the ruling from Aregbesola’s counsel, which gave the order for the consolidation of all the appeals to clear the air over the issue.

In his response, Awodein said that he was not aware that Oyinlola’s counsel could make unnecessary issue out of the matter, saying that he neither has the application nor the copy of the ruling in court, but the records on the application would surely settle the whole show, a situation that forced him to ask for a stand down of the matter for a short time to get the record from the registrar of the court.

The court granted Awodein’s request saying: “We cannot cut off Mr. Awodein at this stage and as such, we will rise for five minutes to get the records for the benefit of doubt”.

During the process of finding the records, it was discovered that all the claims of the Aregbesola’s counsel were in order, as the ruling on the appeal, its records and the real appeal were found in the file records of the court.

When the court resumed about 30 minutes after, Oyinlola’s counsel quickly made a u-turn and submitted that the appeal in question existed and truly he and other counsel to other respondents filed cross-appeal to the appeal. Other respondents counsel also made u-turn and agreed that the appeal existed.

Subsequently, Aregbesola’s counsel moved the application for consolidation of all the appeals and none of the respondents counsel raised objection to the consolidation.

The court then granted the application, saying that “the appeals are hereby consolidated as prayed”.
After the application was granted, Awodein took the floor again to adopt his brief of argument and he urged the court to allow the appeal and declare Aregbesola the winner of the election having scored the highest number of votes in the election.

He said: “I respectfully adopt the said amended brief of argument and by way of emphasis, I want to focus on the relief we sought that our client ought to have been declared winner in the election and we urge you to do so. I submit with respect that the tribunal was patiently wrong in rejecting the police security report and forms EC8D and E tendered before the tribunal.

“The tribunal was also wrong in not ascribing any value to the oral and documentary evidence before the tribunal. I submit that the argument in respect of the police report is important because it would have established the substantial non-compliance in nine of the ten local governments, which are identified on page 120 of the brief”.

The counsel then called the attention of the court to the case of Asubia Vs Ogunewe as cited in the brief, which indicated that security officers should be regarded as neutral people, saying that ordinarily, the report ought to have been ordinarily admitted. He told the court that the document has been reproduced and forwarded to the court in an envelope.

On the overall result of the election, which was tendered before the lower tribunal but rejected, Awodein said that the documents were rejected in error because all the counsel to the parties had agreed at the pre-hearing stage of the matter before the lower tribunal.

The counsel argued further that the INEC did not make available forms EC8As at the polling centres of Ife East Local Government and the failure of the INEC to make available the form for the election was sufficient proof of the appellants that there were no elections in the area.

Awodein further argued that the failure of the INEC to offer any evidence at the lower tribunal was fatal to their case and supported the appellants’ claim that there was no counting of votes or announcement of result in the 10 local governments being challenged as pleaded and established, saying that with the development, the proof required of the appellant was minimal.

The counsel referred to the case of Agagu Vs Mimiko and Oshiomhole Vs Osunbor, where he prayed the court to grant his prayers as contained in the appeal.

He further argued that if the court was to nullify the election in the 10 local governments being challenged and make deduction of the invalid votes from the valid ones, Aregbesola would satisfy the required percentage in the votes of the remaining local government areas of the state.

He then prayed that after the court might have made its deductions, the AC candidate should be declared the winner of the election for he would have won the election gallantly.

In his response to Awodein’s arguments, Oyinlola’a counsel adopted his brief of argument and prayed to dismiss all the interlocutory and the main appeals.

According to him, the facts in the cases of Agagu Vs Mimiko and Oshiomhole Vs Osunbor are different from the fact in the case at hand, saying that the authority is inapplicable.

In the two cases, he said that the lower tribunal made some findings and made use of the findings, noting that the lower tribunal in Osun did not make any findings neither did it attempt to make any during the trial.
Alli asked the court to expunge a portion of the arguments, arguing that it was wrong for the appellant’s counsel to have reproduced the document (security report) that had been rejected by the lower court.

But the judges descended on him and queried him whether the rejection of the document by the tribunal was binding on the appellate court, as one of the judges said that he could only make his submission to avoid telling the court what to do. “We are not the one that rejected the document, and how can you now tell us that we should expunge it. You can only make your submission”, one of the judges snapped.

Oyinlola’s counsel, after being queried by the court, then continued with his argument, saying having regard to the failure of the appellants to proof their case, “there is no justification for the relief sought to declare the appellant winner of the election”.

He then urged the court to dismiss each and every one of the appeals, saying “they are lacking in merit”.
In his submission, the INEC counsel submitted that his clients did not call any witness, but said that calling witness was not necessary as the onus of proof lies on the appellant, adding that the appellants have failed to prove their cases.

While addressing the court, the counsel said that the court interjected his submission, but the panel chairman warned him not to use such language again, saying, “courts don’t interject, it is lawyers that interject”, a situation that forced the counsel to withdraw the statement.

On the security report, the counsel said that if the report should be admitted at the appeal, it would have effect on INEC as it would not have an opportunity to cross-examine any witness on it or go back to call his witnesses.

But the court said that the claim of the counsel that he would be denied right to call witnesses again could not stand as the INEC, in its discretion, has decided not to call any witnesses for defence.

He said that though “there can never be a perfect election”, he claimed that there was substantial compliance with the provision of the law in the election being challenged.

Gadzama then insisted that the appellants have failed to prove their case and urged the court to dismiss the appeal.

The police counsel, Owolade in his own adopted his brief of argument and relied on them and prayed the court to dismiss the appeal.

After the adoption, Alli said “I sincerely thank you from the bottom of our hearts for the indulgence” but the presiding judge replied him saying, “Mr Alli, whether you thank us or not, we can not be moved because we will do our job as expected of us”.

The court then reserved its judgment in the case, saying that the date of judgment would later be communicated to the counsel to the parties in the matter at a later date.

By KAZEEM MOHAMMED

BREAKING NEWS: Aregbesola Vs. Oyinlola: Appeal Court Proceedings Live!

Road Map To Judicial VictoryThis afternoon we recieved an electronic message showing the live coverage of the proceedings of the appeal court sitting in Ibadan, in the case of electoral and legal disputes between the Symbol of Oranmiyan, Engineer Rauf Aregbesola and impostor Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola of Osun State.

A site called OSUN TRIBUNAL PROCEEDINGS is carrying the story right from the courtroom live, where impeccable minute-by-minute account is being rendered: CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM APPEAL COURT PROCEEDINGS.

Tension Mounts As Aregbesola, Oyinlola Close Case Tuesday

ANXIETY has continued to rise in Osun State over the further hearing of the appeal filed by the Action Congress (AC) governorship candidate in Osun State, Engineer Rauf Aregbesola before the Court of Appeal, sitting in Ibadan, Oyo State.

The hearing, which is expected to be the last before the judgment was at the last adjourned date fixed for Monday, March 9, but was rescheduled to Tuesday March 10.

The re-scheduling of the hearing was prompted due to the declaration of March 9 as public holiday by the Federal Government.

The presiding judge, Justice Victor Omage had told counsel to the parties in the matter, the intention of the appeal panel to conclude the hearing’ of the matter at the next adjourned date.

However, the information passed across by the panel has made the expectation of political parties’ supporters, especially of AC extraction to be higher.

The expected hearing has become a talk of the town, as people were being heard discussing about the legal tussle.

As members of opposition political parties in the state hoped that what they called the stolen mandate would be retrieved by the AC candidate, some Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) supporters have reportedly been gripped by fear of losing power through the appellate court.

While members of AC across the state have remained more fervent in prayer and fasting, OSUN DEFENDER gathered that some of the Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola‘s aides in the state have allegedly started packing some of the government properties from their official quarters to their personal houses.

It would be recalled that at the last sitting of the appeal panel, the application filed by Aregbesola’s counsel to include the certified true copies of the call-log of the alleged secret telephone conversation between Oyinlola’s counsel, Kunle Kalejaiye (SAN) and members of the Justice Thomas Naron-led Election Petitions
Tribunal was rejected on the basis that it was not tendered at the lower tribunal.

The ruling of the appeal panel was misinterpreted by Oyinlola and his supporters, as they started jubilating that they have won the matter, a situation that depressed, opposition parties’ members in the state.
When they were enlightened that the rejection of the call-log has not affected Aregbesola’s case, their hope rose, as their expectation over the case became higher.

By KAZEEM MOHAMMED

Exposed: Oyinlola Awards N5bn Stadia Contract To Brother -In-Law

IN line with the non-challant and bare-faced corruption posture of the current administration in Osun State, findings have revealed how the Oyinlola-led government has concluded plans to award the contract for construction of six stadia across the six zones in the state to a construction outfit reportedly owned by a relation of the state’s governor’s wife, Princess Omolola Oyinlola.

Reliable information made available to OSUN DEFENDER revealed the decision to build the stadia by Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola, as contained in this year’s budget, was not borne of his administration’s love for sports or development of the benefiting areas but self-serving purposes.

The medium gathered from authoritative sources that going by the administration’s antecedent in the last six years, the sports’ ministry has been starved of necessary funds for better performances at various competitions at national levels.

Therefore, the sudden decision to build the stadia raises few eye-brows with speculations in several quarters as to the motives behind the administration’s change of attitude to sports development in the state.
According to impeccable sources, the contract was reportedly awarded to one Majekodunmi & Associates believed to be owned by one of Princess Oyinlola’s siblings.

The governor’s wife happens to be nee Majekodunmi, the source added.
Awarding the stadia construction to his in-law was found not to have been the first time the embattled governor would award juicy contracts to members of his extended family or using them as fronts to corner contracts.

A case in mind, the source added, happens to be the importation of various brands of Chinese cars into the state, through which the state’s fund has been siphoned into private pockets, as a close relation of the governor continues to act as a front for the state’s helmsman.

It would be recalled that Governor Oyinlola had included in his 2009 budget his administration’s plan to construct six stadia to be sited in each of the six zonal headquarters across the state billed to cost #5 billion.

In his reaction to the stadia construction, a financial analyst and political observer, Dr. Johnson Atitebi regarded the state government’s plan as sheer misplaced of priorities as, according to him, millions abound in the state that could not afford three-square meals a day while the state government is busy perfecting plans to bleed the state dry through reckless spending on projects that have little or no bearing on the people’s welfare.

He further admonished the Oyinlola administration to stop playing politics with projects but face serious business of governance without minding whose ox is gored, reminding him that posterity would not forgive him should he continue to embark on policies that are meant to serve the interest of few of his partymen.

By SOLA JACOBS

Osun And Other Yoruba States

Embattled Governor Oyinlola of Osun StateWith a governor who is a by-word for indolence, you do not have to be palicularly imaginative or need to under take back-breaking research work to know that Osun State is at the bottom of the table when it comes to assessing the performance in government of the Yoruba states.

It can hardly have been otherwise. The impostor Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola appears to have a rather bizarre idea of what administration is all about. Evidently, whatever training he must have received in the army hasn’t made any difference. Morning, of course, harbingers the day. So, certainly not a great deal should have been expected. His career in the increasingly politicized Nigerian Army was hardly glorious.

Certainly, the man was no Benjamin Adekunle or anything remotely comparable. The high point of Olagunsoye’s career was obviously his appointment as governor of Lagos State. Now, anyone of average intelligence should have made something out of a tenure of office in Lagos.

The advantages of governing Lagos is huge. The resources, human, capital, what have you are mouth-watering. It is almost like running a separate country. However, it proved to be a disastrous tour of duty for the intellectually challenged, fun-loving prince from Okuku or is it cloud cukoo land? What the state’s first administrator, the much respected Mobolaji Johnson had in common with civilians such as Lateef Jakande and Asiwaju Bola Tinubu is that all three had focus and application, which enabled them to do a good job. It is this lack of focus and application odd for someone with a military background which makes Oyinlola so ineffective.

The People’s Destruction Party which through electoral subterfuge has foisted him on Osun State, has played a cruel joke on the people of Osun. Oyinlola’s lackadaisical attitude to governance is now legendary. A man with a notoriously short attention span, his restlessness has resulted in his undertaking 77 foreign trips in five years. These trips have sunk a one billion naira hole in the state’s finances. Predictably, in view of the man’s track-record, nothing has come out of those trips. For Oyinlola, it has been one long owambe party. The foreign junkets is a classic example of how not to run a state. The trips have not resulted in any new industrial initiative or employment generation. There is nothing to show for the record, unprecedented disbursements to the state from the federal purse. Osun State has never had it so bad.

It’s been one scam after the other. In a burst of sheer stupidity, inflated allowances have been legislated for board members in a state without a serious, self-sustaining industrial or commercial base. The scam involving the so-called Osun State University is so nauseating, it beggars belief. The comprehensive rip-off of pupils and parents alike will never be forgotten.

It is therefore not surprising that when Tell Magazine in one of its recent editions did a performance rating of state governors in the federation, Oyinlola was rated very, very low. He was as usual at the back of the class. Like any seasoned exam cheat, he had tried to pull a fast one, on the invigilator. This came in the form of placing millions of naira worth of adverts in the paper, in an attempt to curry favour. The magazine which has a reputation to protect simply refused to ‘play ball’.

All this is not surprising. Not being stupid, the overwhelming majority of the people had sensibly voted for Rauf Aregbesola, a man of both quality and substance with a superlative track record. The PDP with characteristic destructive verve, robbed the people of their mandate. The result is what you see – maladministration on a ridiculous scale. In other Yoruba states, there has, at least, been a modicum of progress. Asiwaju Bola Tinubu was superb in Lagos State and’ Fashola, his successor is coasting home with new, well-thought out initiatives.

Propaganda apart, at least, the Daniel administration is up to something in Ogun. The Oyinlola interregnum has been a complete disaster for the people of Osun. They have had to put up with maladministration hitherto thought to be impossible in a Yoruba state.

We look forward to the election petitions tribunal doing the right thing by restoring legitimacy. Until then, we must sing in unison – “Oh Lord, our help in ages past”. With a comedian in state house, we all need prayers to fortify our resolve in this difficult time.

‘Power Must Devolve To The States’ – Bisi Akande

Action Congress (AC) National Chairman, Chief Bisi Akande spoke with Deputy Editor of THE NATION Newspaper, Emmanuel Oladesu on constitution review, electoral reforms, independent candidacy, Niger Delta crisis and other issues.

Question: The National Assembly has put in motion the machinery for the review of the 1999 Constitution. What are your expec­tations?

Chief Bisi Akande: I don’t know what again to re­view in the constitution. But, if you are talking what is practical, the only thing that has to be done is to implement the Constitution as it is now. I read in the newspapers recently that the Fed­eral Government would ask the states and local governments to fund the Nigerian Police. That has not been properly explained. Who will be doing the funding? Who will be doing the controlling? In civilized countries all over the world, police authorities are decentralized.

Universities would employ their own police. Railway will employ its own police. The local government will employ its own police. Even, the community will make arrangement to employ its own police. For instance, Police ‘College or Police Training Centres are ap­proved by the government of America. Their curriculum, train­ing methodology and so on, are done by the federal law. As soon as the police is trained, whoever wants to get police can recruit po­lice to serve its own purpose, and not Okiro sitting in Abuja to com­mand police at the corner of my village. How would he know what happens there? It is impossible within human energy in a country as large as Nigeria, for a man to sit down in Abuja and see what is happening everywhere. You can’t manage such a thing.

The Constitution needs to be amended with a view to decentralizing the authority of the Federal Government, in such a way that the constituent states will have more authority than they have at the moment. Particularly, how do you justify the law of Nigeria that says only the Federal Government should manage the energy, electric­ity? What is happening now? I have a generator in my house. Everybody is having generator. The bar­ber is having a generator in his shop. So, instead of decentralizing the authority of Federal Govern­ment, with regard to all these things, what they are doing is to centralize the authorities. It is a different thing we write in the law book. It is a different thing we are practising.

Until the government can agree, until all Nigerians agree to decentralize federal authorities, there is no law anybody writes that will come to fruitions. May be they want to write in the constitution of Nigeria how to perfect rigging.

Question: Mohammadu Uwais Electoral Reforms Panel has made sugges­tions on penalty for rigging and independence candidacy. What is your comment on these two ele­ments?

Chief Bisi Akande: Those are matters of details. When you overwhelm the adjudi­cating authority with crime, it may be confused. It is when the crime is few and far between that the judges can penalize. When everybody is a criminal, possibly, including the judges themselves, how do you penalize the criminals? So, it is a good suggestion. But, I don’t be­lieve that the present National As­sembly that was put in place through a fraudulent election can make that type of law.

Question: And independent candidacy?

Chief Bisi Akande: Oh, it is a normal thing. I don’t see anything wrong with indepen­dent candidacy. If party A says it wants blue and Party B says it wants black, if I want red, I may not join party A and B. If I can get my con­stituency to vote me, what is wrong with it? Independent candi­dacy is not limited to the presi­dency alone. Even, at presidential level in ‘America, independence candidacy is allowed. Why not allowing independent candidacy in Nigeria? What is wrong with it? There could be a powerful person who may lobby so well, that the nation votes an independent presi­dent.

It is’ more important at the grassroots level. Independent can­didate can become a councillor, a member of the House of Assem­bly, Representatives and Senate. When you get to that place, you will align with the party with better policy.

Question: People are also calling for a re­duction in the number of political parties. Some people are even saying that we should have two party system. What is your view?

Chief Bisi Akande: Honesty, there are two things I don’t like. I don’t want a one-party system. It is a very bad system. It is the system for the dictators. It is very bad system. It is a system for the fraudulent politician. It is system for the thieves.

Also, I don’t want regimentation of the numbers of political parties. It is never regimented in England. It is not regimented in America. But so much that today, we have two parties in England, and two in America. There were times, even within living memory, when England, there were three or more parties. But today, there are only the Labour and Conservatives as dominant parties. In America, there are the Republicans and Democrats as dominant parties. So, I don’t like regimentation of the number of political parties and I don’t like one party state. But, whether you will have two, three or five, they will evolve. If they don’t support you and people don’t vote for you, you will close business. But, to do it by law, it is not good enough. It is not democratic.

Question: When you flash back and recall how you rule Osun State and you now look at the style of governance there today, what do you make of it?

Chief Bisi Akande: Honestly, what I did in Osun State is what I am harvesting now. I don’t know my date of birth. But, people came together and said they wanted to celebrate my date of birth. I know a lot of money might have gone into it. Nobody as asked me for one kobo. People are returning from Lagos to Ila, from lla to Abuja, from Abuja to Benin only to organize a birthday for me. I think whatever you do when you are in office or when you are alive, you are not doing it for anybody. You are doing it for yourself. If you do good, people take note.

If you are doing bad, people take note. You are doing it for yourself. If you do good people will repay you with good many folds. And, since I left office, six or seven years ago, I have enjoyed so much honor and respect, and even, monetary gifts’ that I never dreamt of when I was governor. So, we should leave those who are doing good to continue and those who know how to do bad to continue. It is better to do good when you are holding the money of people in trust. That was why I did what I did in Osun State.

Question: How can we stem corruption?
Chief Bisi Akande: Ah, honestly, I don’t know. Anybody who sits down and says he wants to stop corruption in Nige­ria, if you want to stop other people from being corrupt, you are going to be destroyed. You can start curb­ing corruption by refusing to be corrupt. It is a matter of individual decision. Even, an institution that wants to stop corruption, if they sincerely wants to do it, they will run into difficulties. It was easier for Obasanjo to do all that he did be­cause he needed it for a project. He was doing it to pave way for elon­gation of his tenure. He was merely dramatizing it. He never really meant to stop corruption. He wanted to create scapegoat who would think he was a goodman. He was never sincere. Today, go and ask him. He is much unhappy compared to what he was then. He is reaping the dishonesty with which he went about it.

What is the solution to this protracted Niger Delta crisis?
Niger Delta crisis? Let them con­trol their resources in the Niger Delta and you will have a solution to the problem. Let the Federal Government tax anybody with resources. If you have agricultural resources, pay tax. If you have min­eral resources, pay tax. Let the tax be just and fair. You will see that a lot of money will be coming to the Federal purse from the Niger Delta, area.

Now that the Federal Government had seized the contro1 of the resources in the Niger Delta, there, are a lot of wastes. There are a lot of bunkering going on which the Federal Government cannot stop. Nigeria does not have the exper­tise to explore the crude oil. The foreigners are enjoying that. They have the expertise, to explore, re­fine, market and distribute. Even, to transport, we don’t have the expertise. We only provide the driv­ers. We cannot manufacture the ve­hicles. So, the whole profit of control is going to the foreign land. Why can’t we leave the control of the resources to the Niger Delta, so that Nigerian will learn how to ex­plore, refine, distribute, transport, market and tax reasonably to fetch revenue for government? The con­trol by the Federal Government is giving useless revenue. I support that Niger Delta should be allowed to control their resources.

What is your assessment of Yar’Adua administration?
He is enjoying himself. He has been doing a lot of sleeping in of­fice. What do you do about that? He is in the ‘Federal Government to enjoy himself. He never has the capacity to serve and he is not serv­ing. He is not trained for the job. He never had the capacity, train­ing, antecedent. He was put there to enjoy and he is enjoying him­self. He is there to sleep and he is resting. What has he done wrong? The common-man will carry the burden of Yar’Adua in action of office.

What is your vision for Nigeria in the coming days?
Nigeria will be great. But, we must do something. Nigeria has potentials for greatness. We must do every thing possible to rebuild and energize our educational sys­tem from primary to tertiary level. Today, most graduates cannot write prose, and unless you can, you cannot delve into the kind of research that can lead to the kind­ of technology that is taking the Western world into faster mo­ment, pleasure, and transportation.

So, our educational system must be reviewed, restructured, recognized and reenergise in a way that can produce better product. And the future of this country will be better.

•Culled From THE NATION

Fayose Please Watch It!

I was amazed when I read one of the dailies dated 25/02/2009, where it was stated that the so-called who-is-who in the PDP converged in Abuja and the arrowhead of their meeting was Ayodele Fayose, who not only invited, but was made a member of the campaign committee for the re-run election in Ekiti State coming very soon.

Fayose, if you are being deceived, please don’t deceive yourself. PDP, as we know is a shameless party that has no foresight. With hindsight, the way you were treated, dumped and disgraced out of the party call for attention. What was your offence and why did the power that be in Abuja descendon you?

Where are those selfish big party loyalists of Ekiti origin that worked in tandem with Abuja to remove you? Let PDP go back to them now or if I may ask, where are the so-called PDP governors of the South West during your political travails’.

Suddenly they have now turned you to the proverbial stone that the builder rejected.

For avoidance of doubt, let the whole PDP governors, vice-president, senate president, chairman of chairmen of whatever category come to Ekiti State, there they will come and meet their waterloo. The hoity-toity way PDP misbehaved and treated him is now telling on them.

Ayodele Fayose is enjoying his popularity today because of his achievements during his short reign in Ekiti. He was wonderful. Engr. Oni should equally be proud of his own achievements too. He cannot be compared to Ayodele Fayose.

Ekiti is an enlightened state where both human and natural resources abound. I know they will not want any stooge, solely hand-picked by the so-called farmer to direct them again. What can an average Ekiti person say is his gain from the federal authority. Federal Government that cannot guarantee free education, free health and reasonable shelter etc to the citizenry, should not be taken seriously.

Lest I forget, my people, please take whatever amount they give you because this has always been their system, They may decide to part with as mucn as N 10,000.00 or even more per vote. They are coming to give you part of your national cake. N10,000:00 or more cannot fund your children education nor build a home for you. They are bunch of deceivers, who want to enslave and perpetuate hunger in Nigeria as far as they remain in power. God Almighty father will restle power from these cabals.

Where is PDP BOT chairman now who years before, equated himself with almighty God. He should go and campaign for Engr. Oni and PDP now.

Yoruba has woken from slumber and this is forever. NO! to conservatism, act of slavery and bad rulership. Progress! Progress!! is now our watch-word.

God Bless Ekiti State.

•EMMANUEL EDEMA LAGOS

Change Of Guard In Ondo: Oyinlola Mourns Agagu’s Removal

New Governor Mimiko savours victory

•Orders Workers To Go Home Before Closing Time

THE mood in Osun State Secretariat, Osogbo, Osun State capital on Monday could be likened to that of mourning, as the Court of Appeal that sat in Benin, Edo State capital, pronounced Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, popularly known as ‘Iroko’ as the duly-elected governor of Ondo State.

It would be recalled that the court presided over by the President of the Appeal Court, Justice Umar Abdullahi evaluated the appeal suit filed by the ousted Governor Olusegun Agagu, but finally upheld the verdict of the lower tribunal.

Information at the disposal of OSUN DEFENDER revealed that the embattled Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola and some of his aides, monitored the court proceedings at the expansive office of the governor within the state secretariat with the hope of celebrating the victory of the erstwhile governor or at worse get the news of a re-run poll like the case of Ekiti State.

But when the proceeding was concluded with the confirmation of Governor Mimiko, the governor was downcast, as if he was duped by some conmen, to the extent that he unconsciously gave the directive to all government workers to close for the day instantly and that was before 2.pm, instead of normal 4.00pm.

It was learnt that the governor, woke up to the reality of the determination of the opposition party to chase the embattled Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) out of the South West, as he reportedly told one of his senior aides that “truly, things are changing at the Appeal Court.

Information further showed that when the aide said, “Your Excellency, our own is a different ball game at the Appeal Court”, Oyinlola reportedly told him that he refused to be fooled this time, saying that the situation is dicey, and the atmosphere is still very clouded, contending that he was prepared for any eventuality.

Democracy On Sale

This publication has had cause on many occasions to thank the Nigerian judiciary for their examplary work in sustaining democracy in our country.

The gratitude of the nation is eternal and we cannot thank them enough and wish them well. No emoluments or comfort can be too much for our nation’s judiciary in order to help them to sustain their pivotal work in a good atmosphere and an invigorating environment.

Having reiterated the obvious, we must now acknowledge that the judiciary cannot alone save or enhance Nigeria’s nascent democracy (to use a well worn phrase). Most of the courts (there have alas, been some unpardonable exceptions) have done their work well. They have lived up admirably to their oaths of office.

However, the democratic process continues long after they have as it were, discharged their briefs. It cannot be part of the job of the judiciary to, for example, conduct new elections after annulling previous electoral chicaneries. This is the work cut out by the constitution and the country’s electoral laws for the electoral commission.

There is however a problem here. Where, as is the case in Nigeria, the electoral commission is far from being independent of outside interfering political forces, there is clearly a problem. The condemnation of the elections held on the 14th and 21st of April, 2007 were not based on a whim. Local and foreign observers, correctly and commonsensically saw them for what they are – a sham.

This absurd apologies for electoral arbitration have been correctly labelled by most people as the worst in anybody’s living experience. Not surprisingly, the Carter Centre resolutely refused to certify them. Indeed, the venerable centre, founded by the highly regarded former United States President, Jimmy Carter.

It is clearly absurd that the same electoral commission which contrived to make the country the laughing stock of the world can now hold re-run or by-elections. President Umaru Yar’Adua were he not hamstrung by his party – the misnamed “Peoples(?) Democratic Party” should have done the sensible thing. This should have been in the form of a statesman act, which would have entailed sending an address to the National Assembly calling for the removal of Maurice Iwu as head of INEC.

This would have been the first, laudable step towards cleansing the entire organization of the rot and partisan rigmarole in which it is enmeshed. This has not been allowed to happen and the country are very much the poorer for it.

The independence of the judiciary has acted as a break from the country degenerating into the Kenya cesspool. In Kenya, loss of faith in the impartiality as well as the efficacy of the judiciary led to those cheated taking ‘direct action’. The result sadly left hundreds of people dead and over 300,000 displaced. We have, fortunately, so far being spared all this.

However, the current attitude of INEC is fraught with grave dangers. It is now clear that the re-run elections have become cash and carry affairs. The court ordered re-runs are clearly not reflecting the wishes of a people who are now being twice cheated and denied. The denial of the right of a people to self-determination as well as the right to freely chose their own leaders is going to create problems and cannot endure.

The magnitude of corruption entailed in the country’s by-elections is mind-boggling and must stop. It is obvious that what the forces working against democracy want is already happening.

Throughout the by-elections in Kogi, Bayelsa, Sokoto and elsewhere the same decimal is recurring. Violence and the loss of faith in the electoral process is lending to apathy and an abandonment of the ballot box. Now, when people lose faith in the ballot box, what happens next? Where do they go?

The president should seek to go in history as the man who enthroned lasting democracy, democratic culture and values in Nigeria. He must find the political will and the courage to disband the discredited Iwu-led INEC and start anew. Failure cannot be contemplated. For a time comes when a people have had enough of the contrived denial of their rights.

It is our prayer that we never get to that bridge. Let the president act now, do the right thing and remove Iwu and his discredited underlings now!

•This piece first published in our Friday May 30, 2008 edition is repeated due to public demand.
-Editor