Aregbesola Should Be Emulated – Ojuade

The Osun State governor; Mr. Rauf Aregbesola, has been described as a God-sent and caring man, who should be emulated, irrespective of political affiliations, because of his interest in the upliftment of the less-privileged and provisions for the down-throdden in the society.
He has also been described as a man who has the quality of placing the right people in the right positions.
This commendation came on the heels of the recent directives from office of the state government, directing all fuel stations to sell kerosene to the people at the rate of N50:00 per litre.
Honourable Kunle Ojuade; a former Ife-East Vice-Chairmanship candidate under the Alliance for Democracy (AD) in the 2004 local government elections in Osun State, further disclosed Aregbesola was seen by all as a person who had come to raise the standard of living of citizens in the state through the introduction of various welfarist programme like the OYES, OREAP, O’CLEAN and others.
While recalling that he got to know the governor in 2004 during the inauguration of Oranmiyan group in Ile-Ife, he revealed that he accepted Oranmiyan and the candidature of the governor because he perceived that there was significant relevance in the group’s name and also something he could offer the people of the state.
“I accepted Oranmiyan and Aregbesola, not because I have met him personally, but because there was a significant relevance in that name; Oranmiyan. I was quick to know that the group would go far because of the name”, he added.
According to the one-time vice-chairmanship candidate, there was initial opposition to Aregbesola’s candidature under the aegis of Oranmiyan, due to the fact that some people had already identified themselves with some gubernatorial aspirants in and outside Ife.
As one of the first set of politicians to be aligned to Oranmiyan group, the broadcaster-turned- politician hinted that he was saddled with the responsibility of appointing coordinators for the various local government council areas, which made up Ife land.
Honourable Ojuade explained that prior to the launch of Oranmiyan in Osun State, the initial meetings of the group were held at Aromire Street in Lagos State.
“Then there was no Oranmiyan Group in Osun State. We were holding our meetings on Aromire Street, Lagos State.
Every week, I used to travel to Lagos to attend meetings with fellow members of the group”, he stated.
In describing the type of politics obtainable in Ife land, Honourable Ojuade explained that Ife people would go for anyone whom they believed was working in their interests.
“We always tilt towards the same direction and all you need is to convince us that you are working for our interests”, he observed.
Honourable Ojuade maintained that the PDP had in 2004 planned an all-out political battle to upstage the AD in Osun State.
He was of the opinion that the Alliance for Democracy won the local government polls in 2004, but for the massive anti-progressive propaganda and rigging by the PDP.

Workers, Part Of Govt Machinery For Service Delivery, Says Aregbesola

The Osun State governor, Mr. Rauf Aregbesola, has said that workers are parts of the machinery of governments anywhere in the world to serve the people.
Aregbesola stated that it is an erroneous notion to say that the governments exist only for the welfare of workers in any society.
Governments, he argued, will fail should all they focus on payment of salaries aloneand abandon the larger part of the society.
Speaking after attending the Jumat service at the Alhaji Salaudeen Oladejo Memorial Mosque, Osogbo, the state capital, the governor explained that the lingering disagreement between the government and the workers over the modalities for the implementation of the N18,000 minimum wage across the country is premised on the wrong belief that the government must be concerned about the welfare of workers alone.
Zeroing down on Osun State, Aregbesola, who was responding to remarks by the Chief Imam of the mosque, Sheikh Shittu Abdul Ganiyu, said government would then be existing for the welfare of workers alone should all the resources generated be used to pay workers’ salaries.
The cleric had earlier during his sermon, commended the governor for what he called excellent service delivery, but added that governments are meant for workers.
The governor said: “For long, we have been under this erroneous impression that the welfare of the workers alone is the purpose of governance. No! Workers are part of the machinery of government for the delivery of excellent service to the people.
“If you then commit the entire resources belonging to the state to the payment of workers’ salaries, who are only on the payroll of the government, what happens to millions of other people who are also stakeholders in the same state, who are not on the payroll of the government?
“Don’t they have rightsof access to good roads? Don’t they have right of access to qualitative education? Are you not going to provide water for the generality of the people? You must be able to provide good infrastructure, but all these will remain dreams, if all you do is to pay salaries and nothing else remains. When a government commits over 90 per cent of its total earnings on salaries of workers alone, how do you embark on developmental projects?”
The governor said all the financial books in the state are open to the workers, adding that, already the state government had committed a huge chunk of the state funds to the implementation of the minimum wage for workers between salaries grade levels one to seven, while the rest of workers would be taken care of as the resources of the state improves.

Osun PDP And Frivolity

Now that Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, governor of Osun State, has formed his cabinet, it is hoped that  Otunba … Ojo-Williams, acting chairman of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Osun State, would engage himself in more worthwhile and befitting ventures, aside from being the annoying busybody in the political space that he has turned himself into.

He has been a star actor in the Osun PDP frivolity, so much so that it is clear, in political terms, that a frivolous party has sought out a frivolous chairman, and both have struck a frivolous equilibrium, so much so that the man symbolises the party as much as the party proudly displays itself as the Palladium of frivolity!

When confirmed vote robbers in the South West were in death spasm, yelling about lost lollies from stolen but retrieved mandates, Otunba Ojo-Williams was there, screaming louder than the bereaved.  Ace and judicially confirmed vote thieves like former Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola and Iyiola Omisore thought they could bluff and bluster to blackmail the judiciary into giving them back mandates they clearly stole.  On that score, Otunba Williams was a happy cheer leader, mouthing infantile allegations and signing absurd advertorials. The PDP strategy seems to be that whoever shouts most carries the day in a logical argument.

But alas! That unholy campaign fell flat and there is no reprieve for mandate thieves – mandate thieves who corralled their pseudo mandate in the most cynical of ways: killing, maiming and destroying the psyche of the people.  Thank God, the Judiciary stayed resolute, because a single man,  Justice Ayo Salami, would not compromise his principles.

While all those tomfoolery was going on, the Osun PDP, under Ojo-Williams, launched a drama of the absurd, urging Ogbeni to constitute its cabinet.  They even went as far as suggesting names for the governor, as if a party that was mercilessly shellacked in the April 2011 has a constitutional right to hold a watching brief over a government that sent it to electoral Golgotha.

Again, that battle has been lost and the reason for the PDP rascality has been removed.  Ogbeni has formed his cabinet to near-universal acclaim.  The sheer calibre of the people in that cabinet, from the late Bola Ige’s son, Muyiwa, to Chief Awolowo’s grandson, …. Soyode and even Sunday Akere, the indefatigable former Osun Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) director of research and strategy, is enough to make the point that governance is serious business, not the civilian equivalent of idle, tipsy and drunk soldiers plotting coups over beer and pepper soup!

Hon. Akere, you would recall, was one of those locked in Oyinlola’s gulag for phantom offences, with the illicit conspiracy of a certain judge in the Osun Judiciary, with the fond hope that it would break their spirit.  But no!

Now that the cabinet has been formed, stolen mandate has been retrieved and given back to rightful winners and the governor has given his team an ideological-driven charter of performance, would the Osun PDP rise above its frivolity and put the government on its toes?  That would be ideal.  But nobody should bet on that.

A party that ruled for almost eight years and could not even manifest the most basic part of good governance is in no condition to drive another government to higher performance.  To be sure, it would make some noise; but just absurd yammering  to ensure that people note that it is not dead.  But it is the nuisance value of that noise that will grab people’s attention and further consign the PDP to where it really belongs in Osun State and Western Nigeria in general – the waste bin!

But as PDP continues with its rascality and buffoonery, the Aregbesola government would do well to stay focused and give the Osun people they government they have always deserved, but have seldom got.

This is the time to give them that quality service and totally expose the PDP to power jesters that they are.

Keeping Awo’s Heritage In Tow

The current simmering dispute about the legacy of the sage Chief Obafemi Awolowo should be put into clear perspective. A lot has been said about the sage. So superlative were his achievements that they have stood the test of time. The pivotal achievements of the great pioneering government he led, mentored and tutored in the erstwhile Western Region is still referred to on all sides of the political divide as a positive and decisive reference point.

Nevertheless, in spite of his enduring legacy there is a great danger of Chief Awolowo’s legacy becoming ossified. This is a point to ponder about. A sage for a start does not become past tense. It is a contradiction in terms to refer to a ‘late sage’. No such concept exists neither is it tenable. We may care to use another sage who passed away centuries ago as a point of illustration. Plato the Greek philosopher passed away before the birth of Jesus Christ. However, the central thrust of his philosophical position continued to be of great importance and relevance. Centuries after his death, in the 1930’s the late British politician, scholar, man-at-large who went on to serve in various ministerial cabinets in the 1960’s, Richard Crossman brought Plato back to life.

Crossman’s ‘Plato Today’ was a seminal updating of the thoughts, ideas and actions of the great man. It’s effect on its publication was startling; it brought Plato back to the top of the discourse. There is an urgent need to do the same for ‘Awo Today’. A clear distinguishing factor about Awo is that he cerebrally matched theory with action. This is a gift given to just a few. The position he represented is now been replicated today in a few quarters. We may care to note the fusion of theory, practice and action in the governance of let us say, Ogbeni Governor Rauf Aregbesola in Osun State, Dr. John Kayode Fayemi in Ekiti State and on a slightly different variant the managerial politics of Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola in Lagos State.

The present current which these five men of valour represent is actually taking Awo today to the next level. For this reason there is a lot to be thankful about. A great air of optimism, of great expectations is therefore in the air. From this positive reactivation of the positions of Chief Awolowo we are seeing the activation of ‘Awo Today’. And just about time. ‘Awo’ cannot be allowed to degenerate into just an electioneering slogan. This will do great injustice to the memory, to the life, work and thoughts of a great man. For Awo represented an outstanding embodiment of the endless possibilities which lies within the human soul.

Today we must prod on the Aregbesola’s, the Fayemi’s and company to rev up a gear and extend the frontiers even further. And for a clear decisive reason. Society today is more complex, in a greater state of  flux than in the nineteen-fifties when Awo ruled the roost in the Western Region. To compound matters Awo’s giant strides took place within the operating framework of a proper fiscal federalism. Those who lay claim to his mantle today must within the context of the current reality swim against the tide. Awo was uncompromising in his belief that a multi-ethnic configuration is best operated on a federalist basis. Alas, Nigeria today can at best be described as ‘quasi-federalist.’

Therefore Awo’s heirs must re-define the territory of debate and of action. The national leader of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) Asiwaju Bola Tinubu was at the forefront of this when he defended the federalist ethos against the rampaging forces of the presidential unitarism of the Obasanjo era. He was absolutely correct to have done so, for Awo would have been compelled to do the same. Serious, irreversible gains were made as a result of his actions with the effect still reverberating and resonating till today.

Following on from the Asiwaju’s valiant action we must continue to extend the frontiers today. Urgent answers are required to today’s questions: What is the position of today’s Awoism/progressive on education, widening of the access to healthcare, modernization of agriculture, the provision of social housing and so forth? To provide sensible answers to these questions, today’s progressive must think outside of the box. New schemes and initiatives must be brought forward as we once again put the people first.

The examples of the worthwhile initiatives of the workers party in Brazil and a host of bodies of work elsewhere are worth looking at and adapting. We have to remember that Chief Awolowo was influenced greatly by the reinvigoration of social democracy which took place while he was a student in the United Kingdom. The outstanding performance of the Labour Party government 1945-51 great influenced Awo’s thoughts and action. That great Labour government in Britain extended the progressive impetus in every area of human endeavour and influenced not just Awo, but progressives such as Paudit Nehru, Kwame Nkrumah, Nelson Mandela amongst many others.

From this wonderful precedent as we extend the progressive frontiers and profer have grown solutions we must also look at the extension of the progressive frontiers abroad. Awo incontrovertibly understood this. For example the free education programme was greatly influenced by the British education Minister R.A Buther’s ‘Education Act of 1944.’ Overall we must continue to support and encourage those like Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola who are irreversibly committed to the concept of ‘Awo Today.’ Therein lies a great progressive future.

Oyo High Court To Hear Suspended LAUTECH V-C, Registrar’s Suits

An Oyo state High Court sitting in Oyo, will on Tuesday continue the hearing of the suit filed by the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomoso, suspended principal officers against the government of Osun and Oyo States.
The four principal officers; Prof. M.L. Nassar, the Vice-Chancellor,  Mr. Niyi Fehintola, the Registrar, Mr. E. A. Alagbe ,the Bursar and Dr. G. Adio, the Libarian, respectively, instituted a case, seeking an order of interlocutory injunction restraining the defendants, the governor of Oyo State, Oyo State government, the Attorney General of Oyo State and the Secretary to the Oyo State government from implementing or take any step to execute or enforce the contents of the letters of suspension given to them.
The suspended principal officers are challenging their suspension by the Oyo State government.
Oyo State government had suspended the principal officers last month in a letter with reference number SP/C.225/T/111, dated 27th July, 2011, signed by the Secrectary to the Oyo State government, Mr Akin Olajide.
According to the letter, the decision was taken by Oyo and Osun State governments based on the ruling of a Federal High Court restraining the principal officers of the university from parading themselves as the officers of the university.
The letter further stated that both Oyo and Osun State governments were served with the order of the interlocutory injunction granted by the court in the suit no FHC/05/CS/35/ 2011, which the two owner’ states have to obey.
The court had earlier entertained the matter on Wednesday, August 3rd, and adjourned the case to August 16, 2011, for hearing, based on the fact that the defendants were yet to be served with the writ of summons.
Before the change of government in Oyo and Osun States, the appointment of the University principal officers had been generating serious controversies, as a result of the ownership tussle between Osun and Oyo State governments.
Professor Benjamin Adeleke, the former VC is currently in court challenging his removal from office by the former Oyo State governor, Otunba Adebayo Alao-Akala, 6 months before the completion of his tenure.

FIBAN Commends O’Clean Programme

The environmental initiatives of Osun state Government had received major commendation from the states Freelance and Independent Broadcasters Association of Nigeria (FIBAN).
Speaking during a courtesy visit to the  O’ CLEAN programme Co-ordinator, Mr Bola Ilori, last Thursday, in Osogbo, Osun State capital, FIBAN Chairman, Oluwashina Akede, , described the environmental sanitation programme initiated by the state government as being innovative and unparalleled in the history of the state since its creation.
Akede said “Bola Ilori had displayed so much enthusiasm and commitment to the programme and panoramic understanding of environmental matters, which had become a reference point in the state.
“We have waited and watched events to be sure of the genuineness of the programme, understudied the characters and commitment of the individuals handling the programme and to ascertain that it was not just another film trick that we had seen previous governments embarked upon, before we decided to endorse the programme.
“We are particularly impressed by the swift response, resourcefulness and dexterity of your team on de-flooding of Osogbo, Ilesa and Ife Towns and we are hereby assuring you of our support and readiness to key-into the O-Clean initiative”.
The O-Clean coordinator commended the association members for their interest in the O-Clean programmes and the awareness they have been generating for the environmental sanitation exercise.
“This is a government where mission meets passion and it’s currently producing positive action for the good of the greater majority of Osun State residents,” Bola Ilori said.
“Ogbeni Aregbesola is a responsive and responsible governor that holds education in high esteem. He holds the development of human capacity as the most important assignment of any purposeful government, so the government would spare no efforts at enhancing the educational growth of the state” Ilori asserted.
“It is the expectation of the governor, under his six-point agenda, to make all and sundry, particularly the students that form the nucleus of future leadership of the nation, to internalise cleanliness as a way of life and not once-in-a-month exercise.
“That is what the governor had promised and that is what he is doing under the O-Clean Programme, which is what is called good governance”.
Ilori encouraged FIBAN members across the state to accentuate the campaign for the internalisation of the culture of cleanliness in the daily lives of the residents of the state and not just as a necessity under the O-Clean programme.

Ramadan: Muslims Charged To Be Faithful To Allah

Muslims in the country have been advised to submit themselves to the will of Allah, as they engaged themselves in the holy month of Ramadan with fasting and prayer.
The Chief Imam of Federal Polytechnic Ede, Osun State, Sheik (Dr) Taofeek Hammed cautioned Muslims against acts capable of undermining their faith.
Imam Hammed gave the charge in Osogbo at the turbanning ceremony of Alhaja Nusirat Asunke Lawal as Otun Iya Sunna of Nawar-ud-deen Society of Nigeria, Osogbo Branch.
Delivering a lecture on the topic “Turbanning, Its Significant in Islam”, Sheikh Hammed stated that it was very unfortunate that Muslims had failed in their primary role of being callers to goodness.
He lamented that Muslims had been carried away with frivolities on earth, such as excessive leisure and love for materials things.
The Imam enjoined the Muslims to embrace the virtues of the holy Prophet Mohammed (SAW), as attributed in the fear of God, humility, honesty, selflessness, service to humanity and submission to the will of Allah.
According to the Islamic Scholar, who drew inspiration from the Hadith, good character makes one successful in this life and beyond, for anyone that believes in Allah”.
He said, “Islamic organizations are not reaching to the people again in the propagation of Islam, which constitutes the greatest challenge facing Muslims across the country and that Muslims must strive to overcome”.
“The most painful aspect of the situation in the country now was that most Islamic faithful had forgotten the purpose they had been sent to this world and also forgotten that they would account for all their deeds to Almighty Allah on the day of Judgment and this is in fact, the greatest challenges facing Islam in Nigeria”.
Sheikh Hammed, who is also a lecturer at the Polytechnic maintained that Muslims Umah should ensure that they abstain themselves from anything evil and distance from a place that would not make them listen to the world of Allah.
He then advised Muslims to belong to one Islamic society or the other with the fear of Allah, in order to join hands with other Muslims to fight the current rot in the religion and spread the gospel of Islam.
Responding after her installation, Alhaja Lawal maintained  that she would use her new position for the development and progress of Islam, promising that she would not let down the society that deemed it fit to  bestow on her the honour.

Obama: Something Is Wrong With Country’s Politics

Aligning himself with a public fed up with economic uncertainty and Washington gridlock, President Barack Obama declared Thursday: “There is nothing wrong with our country. There is something wrong with our politics.”
His toughly worded message — he said there was frustration in his voice, in case anyone missed the point — came amid a series of polls showing that people are disgusted with political dysfunction and are dispensing blame all around, including on Obama.
Obama aired his frustration with the ways of Washington at an event in Michigan before pivoting to his re-election campaign and a pair of big-money fundraisers in New York City.
He delivered a condensed version of that message at a fundraiser at the lower Manhattan home of movie producer Harvey Weinstein, where celebrities Gwyneth Paltrow and Jimmy Fallon, were among the approximately 50 guests who paid $35,800 each to attend.
Obama said he told his Michigan audience that it deserves better than what it’s been getting from Washington.
“They look at what’s happening in Washington and they think these folks are really from outer space because they don’t seem to understand how critical it is for us all to work together, Republicans, Democrats, independents, in order to move this country forward,” Obama said.
He added that the country is realizing the need to get involved.
“We’re going to have to get engaged and we’re going to have to speak out,” Obama said. “We’re going to have to register the fact that we expect more and we expect better.”
Obama’s visit Thursday to Holland, Mich., and New York, was his first official trip outside Washington after spending more than a month in the nation’s capital dealing with the debt debate. Obama said Americans were right to be worried about the country’s 9.1 percent unemployment rate and fluctuations in the stock market. The contentious and partisan debt debate in Washington, he said, has done little to help.
“Unfortunately what we’ve seen in Washington in the last few months has been the worst kind of partisanship, the worst kind of gridlock, and that gridlock has undermined public confidence and impeded our efforts to take the steps we need for our economy,” Obama said after touring a Michigan factory that makes advanced batteries for alternative-fuel vehicles.
A Washington Post poll released this week showed widespread and deep discontent with Washington. Nearly 80 percent said they were dissatisfied with the way the country’s political system works, compared with 60 percent in November 2009. Seventy-one percent said the federal government is mostly focused on the wrong things, up from 55 percent in October 2010.
Both Obama and congressional Republicans were targets of unhappiness, with only 19 percent of people polled saying that Obama had made progress in solving the country’s major problems, and just 10 percent saying that about Republicans. At the same time, 28 percent said Obama had made things worse, while 35 percent said congressional Republicans had done that.
Obama sought to channel the public’s anger in order to avoid being sunk by it himself. He urged the public to tell Washington lawmakers they’d had enough with the bickering and stalemates.
“You’ve got to tell them you’ve had enough of the theatrics, you’ve had enough of the politics, stop sending out press releases. Start passing some bills that we all know will help the economy right now,” he said. “That’s what they need to do. They’ve got to hear from you.”
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, promptly responded with a news release, calling the president’s remarks “political grandstanding” and urging him to deliver on promises to outline recommendations to rein in the nation’s deficits.
The president has said he will send those recommendations in the coming weeks to a congressional supercommittee tasked with finding $1.5 trillion in savings. He also said on Thursday that he’d be offering new proposals “week by week” to create jobs, though he provided no details.
Despite Obama’s calls for urgent action on the economy, Congress has left Washington for its August recess and Obama will soon follow for his annual summer vacation in Martha’s Vineyard.
Obama urged lawmakers to get to work in September and pass a series of initiatives the White House says will spur job growth, including an extension of the payroll tax cut, three free-trade agreements and funding for road and bridge construction.
Obama has touted spending on clean-energy technologies as a job creator, and on advanced batteries such as those made at the Johnson Controls plant in Holland, Mich., as a way to boost U.S. auto companies.
Obama won Michigan in the 2008 presidential election and the economically battered state is crucial to his re-election hopes in 2012.
After the Michigan stop, Obama attended a pair of fundraisers in lower Manhattan that raised more than $2 million.
He attended a reception with about 15 people at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Battery Park that was thrown by Gary Hirshberg, chief executive of organic yogurt maker Stonyfield Farm, before heading to dinner at Weinstein’s brick row house. Weinstein and Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour were hosts.
Other notables seated at the round dinner tables were New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, singers Alicia Keys and Chris Martin, who is Paltrow’s husband, Gayle King and designer Vera Wang. Obama’s motorcade passed by ground zero on the way to the dinner.
The $35,800 admission price is the legal maximum donation per person. Obama’s campaign keeps $5,000 and the Democratic National Committee pockets the remaining $30,800.

Between Jibiti And Real Call-logs

I was ruminating on how to hit the National Judicial Council (NJC) over its aggressive investigation and decision on the concocted allegation of judicial misconduct against the Court of Appeal President, Justice Isa Salami, when it ordered one of Governor Rauf Aregbesola’s counsel, Barrister Ajibola Bashiru, to appear before it and establish the call-log saga allegation he made against the Justice Thomas Naron-led Election Petitions Tribunal and Mr. Kunle Kalejaiye (SAN), one of the lawyers to the disgraced ousted governor of the state, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola.
When the NJC quickly swung into action and set up a panel to investigate the petitions forwarded to it by the acting Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Chairman in Osun State, Mr. Sunday Ojo-Williams and the ousted governor of Ekiti State, Mr. Segun Oni, alleging that they had in their custody, the call-logs of telephone conversations between Justice Salami and some Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) leaders and lawyers, to compromise the judgments of the appellate court on Osun and Ekiti governorship tussles. I suspected a foul play and connivance between the NJC and the PDP. I don’t know whether anyone else suspected the same.
My suspicion arose, not because the NJC was investigating the allegation, but because a similar petition was pending before the council and not investigated since 2009 if I am right. Ojo-Williams and Oni, battling the euphoria of their defeat at the appellate court, cooked-up a fake call-log against Justice Salami, and the NJC swung into action immediately, while another earlier petition was left unattended to.
There were calls on the NJC to take up the matter and investigate the allegation, but the council seemingly turned deaf ears to the calls, until it set up a panel to investigate the matter penultimate week.
Some people might be wondering why so much interest in the allegation against Kalejaiye and Naron, but I must tell you that with the alleged misconduct, Nigerians, including myself, were directly or indirectly affected. Though, the call-log saga still remains mere allegation, but inspite of the hues and cries on the matter, neither Kalejaiye nor Naron denied the allegation. Can we now say that they admitted to the allegations?
In case you have forgotten what transpired then, and for the purpose of those who did not follow the case, I will take you around it and you will decide whether to show interest in it or not.
Before I dabble into the matter fully, it is important for me to appreciate the President, Oranmiyan Group Worldwide, Prince Felix Awofisayo for hosting the entire members of Staff of OSUN DEFENDER newspaper recently. The reception was in honour of myself for my election as the Chairman, OSUN DEFENDER chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ); Sola Jacobs for her election as the state Chairperson, National Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ) and Goke Butika for his appointment as Press Secretary to the Speaker of the State House of Assembly.
Baba, thank you for being there for us; we are proud of you. This is not your first time you would be doing this kind of things in our honour and we pray that God Almighty would also honour you. We promise that we will not let you down but rather strive harder in our pursuit of the truth, fairness and service to the people, which you also stand for.
Back to the issue, Kalejaiye was the lead counsel to Oyinlola during the hearing of the petition filed by Aregbesola against the doctored declaration of the ousted governor, before the Justice Naron-led tribunal that first presided over the legal tussle. Few months after the inaugural sitting of the tribunal, the story started changing for the then opposition Action Congress, now ACN and its members that were eager to see the manifestation of substantial justice, which later turned to ‘judicial frustration’. The tribunal no longer saw anything good in the case of the petitioners.
The then opposition members, who hadall along been suspecting foul play, were eventually vindicated, when The News Magazine published a complete call-log of telephone conversations between Kalejaiye and Naron. Subsequently, Kalejaiye made empty threats to sue the magazine for libel and up till today, neither the lawyer nor the judge had taken any step to sue the magazine or deny the allegations.
When the call-logs of the telephone conversations between the duo during court proceedings were unveiled, it was actually a national disgrace. The judicial misconduct attracted reactions from all over the country and beyond. Activists staged protests, demanding investigation into the matter; lawyers kicked, politicians reacted and the electorate cried.
The allegation was further established when the Court of Appeal that sat in Ibadan, Oyo State accused Naron-led tribunal of bias, having denied the petitioners fair hearing in the petition and ordered the retrial of the matter. What a conviction!
Unlike the fake call-log presented to the council by the PDP, the one obtained from the Mobile Telecommunication Network (MTN) by the ACN against Kalejaiye and Naron-led tribunal was authenticated by the telecommunication company and certified. That tells us which of the call-logs is real and which one is fake.
It is interesting to note that the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has investigated and got to the root of the matter and subsequently indicted Kalejaiye in the call-log saga between him and Justice Naron. The NBA panel had recommended the prosecution of the legal practitioner after his indictment. However, if the NJC is actually serious about this case and determined to get rid of judicial misconduct in the nation’s judiciary, the NBA report can assist the council in getting to the root of the matter.
Findings had however revealed that when it was published in the national dailies penultimate week, that the NJC had set up a panel to probe the call-log saga against Kalejaiye and Naron, and directed Aregbesola’s lawyer to furnish it with evidence, the impression of bias against the NJC was changed, as those that followed the matter had been wondering why the council neglected the earlier petition for the one that came later.
However, now that the council had set up a panel to look into the matter and started the hearing, it is worthy to note that it is not enough to see that the matter is heard, but the most important thing is to see that the matter is properly investigated, heard and justice done as done in the petition against the Court of Appeal President. What gives so much concern to the people is that, since justice in the matter had been delayed, would the maxim “justice delayed is justice denied” not take effect in this case? This is one of the things that people expect the council to work on, to see that justice is not denied.
In deciding this matter, the jurists in the NJC panel, should put it at the back of their minds that Nigerians are watching and are eager to see where the pendulum will swing, because expectations are high. The integrity of the nation’s judiciary is at stake here. They should remember that the matter had travelled far and wide.
Nigerians hope that once again, the judiciary would indeed be reformed and the council will do us proud over this matter.
See you later.

Chelsea: New Manager, Same Problems

Chelsea are once again expected to be there or thereabouts when the silverware is handed out at the end of the Premier League season, but this is a presumption that ignores three key issues regarding the manager, the club’s out-of-form record signing and a distinct lack of creativity in midfield.
Fresh-faced former Porto boss Andre Villas-Boas may have arrived at Stamford Bridge in the summer clutching a trio of shiny trophies – the UEFA Europa League, Portuguese league title and Portuguese Cup – but his entire experience as a club manager consists of just that single glittering debut campaign at the Estadio do Dragao and half a season at Portuguese also-rans Academica de Coimbra. Odd though it is to say of a treble winner, the talented young manager remains unproven.
While Villas-Boas’ record-breaking achievements in his homeland are exceptional, the Premier League is a step up in terms of quality, pressure and scrutiny for the 33-year-old, who is untested outside the borders of Portugal – if we ignore a brief stint as manager of the British Virgin Islands that included a 14-1 aggregate World Cup defeat to Bermuda – and has little worldliness to draw upon should his masterplan misfire.
A man as meticulous as Villas-Boas is sure to have ‘Emergency Plan B’ already on the drawing board but the Portuguese knows his time to implement it will be limited if Chelsea stutter and has spoken of his need to make an instant impression on trigger-happy owner Roman Abramovich, who has already seen off six other managers since buying the club in 2003 – Claudio Ranieri, Jose Mourinho, Avram Grant, Phil Scolari, Guus Hiddink and Carlo Ancelotti.
“What you expect from this club is to be successful straight away,” Villas-Boas said at his unveiling in June. “There’s no running away from that challenge. That’s what I face. I’d be surprised to be kept on if I don’t win.”
As a young coach Villas-Boas must also quickly ensure he radiates authority in a dressing room full of mature and powerful players in order to convince them to adopt his methods. Chris Coleman, who was a Premier League manager at just 32-years-old with West London rivals Fulham, warned that he faced the very same issue when he took control at Craven Cottage. “If there is a hint of fear in his voice or in his body language, the Chelsea players will recognise that and jump on it,” he told the The Guardian.
Coleman opined that if the new manager’s methods bear instant results, as at Porto, his decisions and tactics will earn the trust of the players, but if his changes take time to provide positive results then a lack of experience as either a player or coach will be used as an excuse to make things even more difficult.
Abramovich has taken a £13.3 million punt on Villas-Boas and gambled that Jose Mourinho’s former scout will bring the same Midas touch as his one-time mentor, who made a similar switch from Porto to Stamford Bridge in 2004 and delivered the Premier League and League Cup double in his first season. However, it is equally possible that Villas-Boas could be confounded by the same issues that cost the vastly more experienced Ancelotti his job after finishing second last term, nine points behind champions Manchester United.
Despite waving increasing amounts of cash at Tottenham Hotspur in a desperate effort to sign Croatian playmaker Luka Modric to provide the creativity that was glaringly absent from midfield last season, Villas-Boas has much the same group of players that former AC Milan boss Ancelotti failed to cajole into champions.
The addition of 19-year-old Barcelona B midfielder Oriol Romeu and the emergence of Josh McEachran gives Chelsea alternative options to the pedestrian John Mikel Obi in the holding role, with the dynamic Michael Essien sidelined with yet another knee injury, but neither can provide the velvet touch required to supply a plethora of expensive strikers, which will be further augmented by the arrival of £18 million striker Romelu Lukaku from Anderlecht.
Of the current squad only Yossi Benayoun, who signed for the Blues from Liverpool in 2010 but was injured for the majority of last season, has the potential trickery to unlock opposing defences from the centre of the pitch and a further playmaker is clearly required at Stamford Bridge.
But perhaps key to Villas-Boas’ and Chelsea’s success this season will be coaxing Fernando Torres back to anywhere near his best. The Spanish international set a new record for the most prolific foreign goalscorer ever in a debut season when he arrived in the Premier League but has been woefully out of form since before the 2010 World Cup and subsequently since his £50 million move from Liverpool in January.
It could be even be argued that Ancelotti’s attempt to shoe-horn Torres into an already struggling Chelsea side last season further unsettled the team and hastened his own exit. Villa-Boas must find a solution to the same problem as Abramovich will be unwilling to see the Premier League’s record signing sitting on the bench.
The discouraging signs in pre-season are that the striker, who scored just one goal for the Blues last term, continues to struggle despite a summer of rest and recuperation. Yet the 27-year-old remains the kingmaker at Stamford Bridge.
Villas-Boas is keen to stick with the 4-3-3 formation that served him so well at Porto so it could well be possible to play Torres into form in an attacking trio, rather than as an isolated striker. In pre-season, Torres and Dider Drogba have both led the line with Daniel Sturridge, who has returned from a loan spell at Bolton with renewed swagger, Nicolas Anelka and Florent Malouda fighting it out for the wider berths.
Choosing between Drogba and Torres is certainly a headache worth having. And with the Chelsea’s back five of Petr Cech, Branislav Ivanovic, David Luiz, John Terry and Ashley Cole as strong as any in the Premier League, if Villa-Boas can get the best out of Torres he will certainly have a side more than capable of winning the title. The question is, can he?

Regional Integration ‘ll Fast-Track Development In South-West – Bashiru

Surajudeen Ajibola Bashiru is a radical legal practitioner and a politician. He holds a Masters degree in Property Law with specialisation in Secured Credit, Corporate Finance and other areas, a member of the ACN legal team in Osun State governorship election, a strict believer in regional integration and a commissioner in Osun State, in this interview with SHINA ABUBAKAR, spoke on various issues.  

OSDF: Something had been bordering my mind since the day you delivered a lecture about regional integration. Do you see regional integration working in the nation’s federal structure?
Bashiru: Well, the idea is like what I will call the microcosm of Federal arrangement. That is, while the state legally and practically remains autonomous, the region harnesses its resources, because when there is advantage between the adjoining states, the idea then becomes imperative. In fact, the idea of integration is a noble one. It is even being practiced in international and regional organisations and the whole idea is to ensure that there is continuity of benefits of the same culture and heritage of the people. For instance, Lagos, Oyo, Ogun, Osun, Ondo, Ekiti, Edo and Delta states, of the then Western Region share similar cultural heritage before the subsequent balkanisation of Nigeria into several states, which make the states weak financially, toenable them embark on massive economic empowerment and development for the people. So, the whole idea is to put the resources together and pursue joint economic programmes. This would bring about comparative advantage to the region. For example in the area of education, between Lagos and Benin in Edo State, the number of state schools is too high, but how many of the schools can measure up to international standard. But integration would bring about great turn-around, where some of these universities would become colleges of a greater Western university. Like the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology in Ogbomosho might become a College of Engineering or Medicine of a greater university, this would enable them have a central resource, while maintaining their autonomy, instead of having to balkanise the resources.
Also in the area of provision of infrastructure, like the roads; the roads that interlink the region, becauseof this Federal arrangement, some of them are bad and the people living in the areas are not Federal people and cannot even approach the Federal Government for their repairs. For instance, the Osogbo-Ibadan-Lagos expressway; if one is to travel on that road and there is a problem at the Ibadan Axis, everyone is hooked in the problem, but there is an alternative route from Orile-Owu linking Ijebu-Ode- Lagos expressway and if the road is constructed, it will reduce the stress on the Lagos-Ibadan road and one can live in either Osogbo, Benin, Akure or even Ado-Ekiti and work in Lagos. There is also the idea of linking the region through rail-lines, this would bring about advantages for Nigeria. I mean, by the time people begin to see good governance, economic development on the part of the people in the region, others may be forced to enter into similar arrangement and ensure genuine federalism in the country at all levels.
OSDF: The theoretical aspect is beautiful, but, what sacrifice do you think wouldcost to implement the idea. I mean, would some state governors in the region want to give-up their autonomy for regional government?
Bashiru: The way the idea works is not about giving up authority, what it really takes is to create structure. Like in the case of Osun State, a new Ministry of Regional Integration and Special Duties has been created to show that there the government is serious about it and I believe that the same thing is being replicated in other states, not necessarily creating a new ministry for it, but even a department that would really look into the idea of regional integration and ultimately, we need to create strong institution, of which something of the nature is already in existence. For instance, the Odu’a Investment Company with a board of directors from different states taking care of their interests, without taking away the authority of the governors. This new idea is not taking anything away from it, but in evolving the concept, we would only look at what needs to be done to cater for the entire region and at the various meetings among the states, we look at how to put a board in place to cater for the interest of the states involved and I am sure that at the various meetings so far, things are beginning to take shape, except Ondo and Delta States, which are being controlled by different political parties and if the man in Delta State does not see anything wrong in joining the regional concept, fine, but I am sure Ondo State government would not want to close its eyes to the idea of developmental issues. All the other governors who are from the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) are already fashioning out modalities for the success of the noble idea.
OSDF:  Do you think the PDP led-Federal Government would not do anything to ensure that it frustrates the noble idea, especially seeing it as a rivalry from a party that is emerging as a threat to it?
Bashiru: Yes, there is a possibility. In Nigeria, it is unfortunate that even in matters that would bring developmental programmes, people still try to frustrate them. It happened during the time of Obasanjo, when he tried to frustrate the then Lagos State government, simply  because the then Governor Bola Tinubu-led administrationfelt that local government should be taking down to the grassroots level by creating additional local government councils, which is clearly within the powers of the state government. But in this case, the whole concept would involve a critical examination of the constitution of Nigeria and all applicable laws to ensure that one, even programmes that are been created are within the ambit of Nigerian law and because we are a federating unit, we would also need to interface with the federal government and we hope that public opinion and the genuineness of the programme would weigh in the minds of power holders, to ensure that the programme works.However, whether they are cooperative or not, in as much as what we are doing is within the law, it would be a good avenue to test Nigerian laws in those areas that we may want to venture in, just like the way the Lagos State government sued the Federal government over matters of planning and Lagos won the case at the end of the day. We are also prepared for such legal battles, but it is hoped that the Federal Government would be cooperative, but whichever way, the Supreme Court is always there to settle such disputes.
OSDF: If the regional integration idea is successful, is it capable of recreating the glorious days of the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo in the then Western Region?
Bashiru: You see even now, without the regional integration being implemented, you can see existing government in the South-West, particularly now that the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), my own party is bringing up programmes in all areas, and  I am proud of the party that are toeing the path of the developmental politics laid down by late Obafemi Awolowo and continued by late Chief Bola Ige and now being embodied by Chief Bisi Akande and then the national leader of our party,  Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who actually could be said now to be new leader in the area of developing platforms for politics of development, in a pubis of social advancement and economic well-being of the people.
OSDF: Sir, I want to ask; being a lawyer for all this while and seeing the current Nigerian Federalism, the way it is, do you think in future, we would have a Nigeria with true federalism?
Bashiru: Iam an optimist,I believe that Nigeria will get there because, now as you can see, even from people, who are ordinary reactionary, have begun to see that if you do not deliver, people would vote you out and to the extent that you begin to see that there is commitment to genuine free and fair election. In that circumstance, the genuine pursuit of Nigeria would push for real federalism. It is because that for a very long time, people who had been in the corridors of power at the federal level  are not just committed, to ensuring that genuine federalism is in place and especially in the area of fiscal policy, a lot of money is concentrated with the federal government, which does not commensurate with its responsibility, while other levels of government do not have the financial muscle to discharge their enormous responsibilities to the people.
OSDF: You think one day, we would have state police?
Bashiru: I think weshould have it now, because one of our representatives at the Senate, Professor Sola Adeyeye, during screening of Ministerial nominees, asked Mr. Labaran Maku that the only argument against state police is that it is liable to be abused and added that the Nigeria Police as it is, is it not being abused. If the argument against state police is valid with Nigeria Police, should we also scrap it? So what I think we really need is that we need to strengthen our rule of law mechanism, so that if there is rule of law in place, nobody would be abused. So we need to strengthen the Judiciary and the means of enforcing the rule of law mechanism.
OSDF: You were part of the legal team that helped reclaim the people’s mandate for Mr. Rauf Aregbesola, what was the legal team’s greatest challenge during the trial?
Bashiru: Well, the greatest challenge was actually the tailored attempt to successfully subvert the course of justice. As you can see, the first tribunal, that is, the Justice Thomas Naron-tribunal, the judgment was subverted, and a panel had been set up by the Nigeria Judicial Council (NJC) to probe the tribunal and we have hard evidence that showed unholy communications between the Chairman of the tribunal (Naron) and Mr. Kunle kalejaye, who was the PDP and former Governor Olagusoye Oyinlola’s lead counsel and an engine-room of the unholy acts, which gave us a setback for three years, because we had to go to the Appeal Court and got back to the tribunal and even the second tribunal did not fare better. The only thing it did was to admit the evidence before it, but did a terrible job about evaluation, but at last we were able to get good judgment through God-fearing judges as proved by the outcome of the NJC panel that probed the alleged misdeeds against the President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Isa Salami, an allegation which was sponsored by Senator Iyiola Omisore, who felt that his right to become governor of the state had been dashed. Their allegation was not supported with any iota of evidence.
OSDF: If Justice Salami was quick to be probed, why do you think it took NJC that long to commence the probe of Naron and Kalejaye matter?
Bashiru: That is a Million Naira question that every Nigerian should ask the NJC, particularly the Chief Justice of Nigeria.
OSDF: You are also part of the ACN legal team, seeking redress in some states, with the outcome so far, do you think that the last general elections were fair?
Bashiru: You see in the South-West,maybe due to the verdicts we got at the tribunals or the awareness of the people or the desireof Jonathan to have some semblance of legitimacy, maybe that’s why they decided not to perpetrate rigging in the South-West. But experiences in some other places had shown evidence of manipulation and ringing. For instance, I was in Akwa-Ibom State, the date on the result sheet for the governorship election was earlier than the date for the local government. You know the local government collation was supposed to be done before the state collation, also the voters’ register that were certified, there was no accreditation on them and where there were accreditation, the number does not match with the numbers of voters there. The same thing happened in Benue and Kebbi States.
In fact, I just learnt about ten minutes before we started this interview that the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) just won a senatorial seat at the tribunal in Kebbi State. So there is serious manipulation of the election outcome. Then the figures in some areas during the presidential election cannot be justified, especially in the East, where 100 percent of registered voters came out to vote, even the national figure by INEC was about 35 percent. So the figures in the east did not make it look like a serious election with credibility.
OSDF: With your numerous experiences, how would you advice INEC on credible polls in the country, especially at this time that some governorship elections would be held in 2012?
Bashiru: There is a difference between law and implementation. The Nigerian security operatives have roles in ensuring credible elections. Then INEC itself has roles to play in ensuring credible elections. It needs to purge itself of the many bad eggs within the organization, who are always willing to give up credible polls for money. The opposition partiesalso have to be very vigilant and must have strength to monitor the elections. In the South-West for instance, may be the experience in 2007 showed the opposition how to mobilize its resources to ensure credible polls.
OSDF:  Do you think opposition parties are likely to win more seats at the tribunals across the country?
Bashiru: Yes, it has happened in Kebbi State and there is every likelihood that the ACN would win the other two senatorial seats in Benue State, because from the evidence on ground, the Senate President, David Mark did not win the election. Also the governorship election in Benue is a matter of contention and in Akwa-Ibom, notwithstanding the setbackat the tribunaldismissing the petition, the verdict cannot hold.Same goes for KatsinaState. We are confident that we would get redress and progressive government would be returned at the end of the litigations.
OSDF: What about Kwara State?
Bashiru: Kwara is also one of the states, where we believe election result was manipulated, especially the gubernatorial poll, it was a case of electoral heist. I believe the governor currently occupying the state Government House is a mere tenant, because very soon, with the evidence before the tribunal, we would win the seat back, by the grace of God.
OSDF: With your closeness to Mr. Rauf Aregbesola, do you think he can deliver the much-expected dividends of democracy for the teeming masses of the state?
Bashiru: I don’t want to speak as someone close to the governor, but I can confidently say that the meant well for the people. We have started seeing it in his employment drive, sanitation and flooding control. Also, urban renewal project is another one aimed at ensuring that at least one kilometer radius of the state-identified major cities is being habited by human beings. The roads would be dualised and proper structure would be put in place and the environmental emergency declared by the governor has made our cities and work places appear much cleaner and safeguard our health.
Another area is Education, I am sure more mega schools would be constructed to ensure that students have proper learning condition and the area of concentration would be primary and secondary education, because it is the bedrock upon which any further education can be strengthened and when you have a quality primary and secondary education, we would have better standard of Osun State students. There is also the issue of artisanship, where life academy would be established to train artisans in the state in entrepreneurial skills and ensure that people have a means of earning a livelihood and impact on the socio-economic development of the state. In the area of the Judiciary, am aware that a survey on how to improve judicial service has been conducted, as well as the area of law reform to ensure that our laws are able to cater for contemporary challenges.
OSDF: Some people only see you as a lawyer and not a politician. Are you a politician?
Bashiru:  Well, I don’t know how you classify a politician, but the confidence the governor has in one, has enabled us to key-in into his vision and working assiduously to achieve it. So, if working towards achieving the visions of Mr. Governor, of ensuring that the state is transformed into an enviable level is what it takes to be a politici Ian, then political pundits would have to be allowed to judge that, besides that I don’t know how a politician is identified.
OSDF: What is your advice for young and upcoming politicians in the state?
Bashiru: I think they should be focused on their career and always dedicate themselves to the service of humanity. They should always remember that they would not be remembered by the amount of money they have harnessed to themselves, but by what they are able to contribute to humanity. People like Awolowo, Bola Ige and even Aregbesola would not be remembered as millionaires, but as people that love the masses and worked to ensure their emancipation. So, we should all try to dedicate ourselves to render service to humanity, because our stay in this world is ephemeral and one day, we all would be asked to give account of what we did here.