SPEECH BY THE GOVERNOR OF THE STATE OF OSUN, OGBENI RAUF AREGBESOLA, AT THE COMMISSIONING OF ANTHONY UDOFIA GOVERNMENT ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, AT THE SCHOOL PREMISES AT OKE-FIA, OSOGBO ON TUESDAY JANUARY, 12, 2016

SPEECH BY THE GOVERNOR OF THE STATE OF OSUN, OGBENI RAUF AREGBESOLA, AT THE COMMISSIONING OF ANTHONY UDOFIA GOVERNMENT ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, AT THE SCHOOL PREMISES AT OKE-FIA, OSOGBO ON TUESDAY JANUARY, 12, 2016

Protocols,
GIANT STRIDES AT A SPECIAL TIME
It gives me great pleasure to be gathered with you well-meaning people in the joy of today, the commissioning of Anthony Udofia Government Elementary School. I congratulate the people of Osogbo, the teachers and staff of this brand new school, its pupils and their parents and those working for the development of education in this state.

Assembling here to commission Anthony Udofia Government Elementary School is the third time this joyous train will arrive in Osogbo. Actually, we began the commissioning of our legacy schools with Salvation Army Government Middle School at Alekuwodo on October 2, 2013. We were again in Isale Osun on March 13, 2014 for the commissioning of AUD Government Elementary School. You are going to see us again in Osogbo very soon to commission other legacy schools, by the grace of God.

We are building 100 Elementary schools like this across the state; though this is ambitious, the idea behind it is that there should be an elementary public school in every neighbourhood. Elementary school is the basic of the basic education. Any child with a good elementary school foundation will have no problem making progress educationally, other things being equal.

Being in this school gives the satisfaction of being in the proper environment of learning. The complex we are in is a 960-pupil capacity school with 24 classrooms of 40 pupils each, with further capacity for upgrade to 1,000. It has an ICT room, a library, multipurpose hall, 29 toilets, offices for headmaster, facility manager, staff room, food court, sick bay, security/reception office and a water fountain for aesthetics. It cost N140 million for the structure, furnishing and landscape.

I am happy and fulfilled that we have public schools that can compete with the best in the world and indeed, our new schools are the ones to beat around here.

All these are in fulfilment of our promise to provide functional basic education for the pupils in the state. This stems from our conviction that every child is owed basic education. It is a fundamental and inalienable right of every child.

Basic education is basic, pardon my tautology. A good basic education fulfils the definition of literacy as the ability to read and write and is a solid foundation on which other superstructure of vocational training or higher education can be built upon. Having the ability to read means that one can receive information and systematised knowledge stored in various retrieval forms like books, digital electronic devices and by direct observation of events and phenomena. This includes the capacity to observe, understand and make sense out of nature, creation and one’s environment in the most basic form. To write means also that one can graphically reproduce one’s thought, observations, ideas and received knowledge in clear, free flowing prose, in at least one language.

Though we usually take this for granted and confuse it with passing through an educational institution, but we are increasingly faced with the stark reality of school leavers who cannot express themselves or reproduce knowledge in spoken or written form because they neither have the knowledge nor possess the ability to reproduce it. This failure is manifest in no better form than the less than five percent success of pupils in external examinations before our coming in 2010.

This is why we have made education development the priority of our administration. As you are mostly aware, these schools and other innovations are the products of the educational summit we held immediately after my inauguration. Indeed, we are constructing 100 brand new state-of-the-art Elementary Schools, 50 Middle Schools and 20 High Schools. Out of these, 14 Elementary Schools, 15 Middle Schools and 11 High Schools, including the one we are commissioning today, have been completed, receiving finishing touches and awaiting commissioning, to the glory of God.

Fulfilling our commitment to complete these school projects and our other obligations is financially challenging, if not herculean. As at Friday January 8, the new OPEC Reference of 13 Crude Basket which includes Nigeria’s Bonny Light sold for $28.46. This is a new low for the cascading price of crude oil, the life line of the nation’s economy, which hit a dazzling height of $140 in 2013. It is a crude awakening to the grim fact that any hope of allocation from the Federation Accounts is gone. We must therefore face the twin realities of first living within our means and making our own money. We must be engaged in productive activities that will lead to job creation, wealth creation and generous taxation to the government.

Our people must work hard and double their productivity. We must all be engaged in one productive activity or the other. The youths, especially fresh graduates and school leavers, must find something to do, especially in agriculture, an area where we have tremendous advantage. As I told the people of the state recently, the era of free, unearned money is gone. This is not a situation peculiar to Osun alone. Only states that can generate its own revenue will be able to withstand the financial disaster that befell the nation on account of the precipitous slump in oil price. We are now faced with two choices: to sink or to swim to the shores of safety and prosperity. The rule of self-preservation dictates that we must take the later course.

In addressing this challenge, it is also imperative that we live within our means. It is impractical anyway to do otherwise, since states do not print money and you cannot spend what you don’t have. The government sits atop society and presides over contending and competing interests therein. It is our duty that no particular interest predominates and asphyxiates other interests and put the survival of the state in danger. We must therefore reasonably spread what we have, especially on human development. People must be the focus of development, from where it will spread to every other interest in society. This is why we have been unwavering in our commitment to human development projects like education. For this reason, this school projects must be commended by all.

There is this ignorant and unreasonable idea being vigorously promoted by a few disgruntled media organisations and their political sponsors that reduced government to paying salaries alone. We are fully conscious of our legal and moral obligations to workers, yet, the truth is that workers are less than five per cent of the population of the state over whom we have responsibilities as a government. The idea therefore that all state’s resources must be spent on workers alone is insane, unsustainable and impossible.

These media organisations have been inciting workers and pensioners to rebellion, subversion and sabotage, with the intent of destabilising the state and disrupting the peace of our communities. In the past, they have made futile attempts to precipitate religious crisis by inciting Christians against Muslims in the state. It did not fly. They have also made repeated but failed efforts at inciting Civil Servants against the government. They have failed also. They hunt for crises and where they could not find any, they invent stories and write fiction, thereby putting the noble profession of journalism into disrepute, just because they want to stoke crises in the state.

I must commend the mainstream Civil Servants for not taking the bait and falling prey to the infernal political schemes of failed politicians whom the people of this state have consistently rejected at the polls and who want to take over the government thorough subterfuge and conspiracy.

This is why other categories of workers in the state’s employment must see reason and cooperate with government on the need to live within our means. We have the lesson of history that the greatest leap in human development comes from the greatest challenges. The greatest monuments and the greatest scientific innovations were recorded at uneasy periods. This is a very special time that requires faith, understanding, creativity and new thinking. Albert Einstein, the great physicist, once defined insanity as doing the same thing, the same way, all the time and expecting a different result.

I have the faith that with the various efforts we are making and fresh opportunities we are exploring in agriculture, solid mineral development, tourism and manufacturing, we will surmount the present challenges, create wealth and usher in new round of prosperity and wealth creation.

I will like to thank all the people that have made today’s occasion a huge success, beginning with the Federal Universal Basic Education Commission and its state counterpart, all the agencies and officials of government on education, especially my able deputy, Iyaafin Grace Titi Laoye Tomori, the construction firm that handled the project, the teachers, staff and pupils of this school and all men (and women) of goodwill.

I thank you all for your kind attention.

Osun a dara!
Aregbesola Commissions Anthony Udofa Elementary School

Aregbesola Commissions Anthony Udofa Elementary School.

Aregbesola Commissions Anthony Udofa Elementary School. .

Aregbesola Commissions Anthony Udofa Elementary School .

Rescue Nigeria From Economic Crumbles, Aregbesola Tells NLC

Aregbesola Celebrates With Former NLC President Comrade Hassan Sunmonu @75

Says the Success of the Nation’s Economy lies in its Performances
…As NLC President, Comrade Wabba Lauds Aregbesola’s Achievements

The Governor of the State of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola has highlighted the urgent need for the leadership and members of the Nigeria Labour Congress NLC to bailout the country from her present economic stalemate.

In his intellectual prediction to salvage the country from the current socio-political, economic and religious complications, Governor Aregbesola opined that the only workable fruition in combating the myriads of challenging situation in Nigeria was for organized labour, civil society organizations, professional bodies and academic leaders to wake up from slumber and seek what at stake for everlasting solution.

Governor Aregbesola made the statement while playing host to the foremost veteran Labour leader and pioneer President of Nigeria Labour Congress, Comrade Hassan Sunmonu, at a dinner party organized in honour of his 75th Birthday Anniversary.

Aregbesola said Nigeria is passing through emergency economic situation which has been the worst in her history, saying there is a need for Nigerians to collectively approach the situation as an emergency in their bid to find lasting solution.

Governor Aregbesola who expressed bitterness on the way and manner at which the nation’s economy was extravagantly managed in the past, said bad governance has led the nation to its present looming situation.

He stated that no government in Nigeria no matter how prudent today can run its affairs the way it should be run or it has been run before now simply because of persistent dwindling revenues.

Aregbesola held that the current economic situation has called for awakening, saying this is the time for the leadership of NLC to rise to the occasion in a bid to add accolades to their reputation by proving to Nigerians and the entire globe that truly they are major stakeholders of Nigeria economic enterprise.

Aregbesola said, “The financial situation in Nigeria is so bad to the extent that no government in Nigeria could run the government perfectly in the way it desires.

“Our country is going through a tough time, but quite unfortunate, we are yet to be fully communicated on the degrees of damage caused to our economy and seriousness of the situation.

“We have been misled overtimes to depend absolutely on crude oil revenues. Nobody cares for untapped, unexplored and unexploited wealth from solid minerals, agriculture, science and technology and so on.

“To appreciate the gravity of the economic challenges facing our country, graphic analysis showed that between 2011 and June 2013, our nation used to have N1.2trillion in the distributable purse called Federation Accounts to be shared between the three tiers of government~federal, states and local governments.

“From June 2013, the distributable funds dropped to about N600billion and this has been on the persistent free fall till present moment.

“Apparently, November allocation’s pool which was distributed on the 22nd of November, 2015 was N369billion for the three tiers which implies that no revenue from the Federation Accounts.

“Obviously, this has been the economic situation with our nation. But quite unfortunate, we have all been disoriented to think only on the revenues from the crude oil. If we had before now considered other sources of revenue, the impact of the economic challenge would not be as grave.

Governor Aregbesola who implored the leadership of NLC and other stakeholders to brace up and tighten their belts in liberating the country out of the current financial impasse.

“My request to the leadership of labour is that this is not an ordinary crisis and they should not treat it ordinarily because Nigeria has never had a very hard economic situation like this in her history.

“The economic situation we are passing through today remains the worst in our history. Though the current economic situation has not been declared as an emergency but there is the need for us to collectively approach it as emergency and be honest about it. Unless we want to heat up the polity with another reason, we are at the economic emergency.

“If the Federal Government didn’t call the Labour leaders, let the labour leaders call the Federal Government to seek and discuss what’s at stake and demand for a way out because if we don’t seek for a way out quickly, emergency may come up.

“This situation is beyond individual operation or finger pointing because I don’t see a way for any state to escape this in the next few months if there is no collective approach to salvage this economic mess.

“This is the time for us to look for a realistic and workable alternative to enhance our economic revenue generation.

Governor Aregbesola therefore charged members of the organized labour, civil society organizations, professional groups, stakeholders among others to rescue Nigeria and Nigerians out of this mess.

He said, “Workers must mobilize themselves to ensure that real service comes from public servants. A situation where workers don’t care about their service or how their salaries are being earned, this doesn’t edify the workers.

“Productivity, diligence, dedication, commitment, transparency, honesty and truthfulness must be the watchwords of the workforce and they must be able to justify what they earn as wages, salaries, allowance, arrears among others.

“Until the workers in civil and public service understand appreciate this simple analogy, Nigeria is going no where.

“The paradise has changed. We cannot live as we lived before. Oil is out of fashion. Oil has finished its own time and period in the world.

“We must decide as a people, as political and labour leaders to find meaningful and beneficial alternative to oil to navigate this turbulent economic period for the betterment of all.

Earlier in his remark, National President, Nigeria Labour Congress, Comrade Ayuba Wabba commended Governor Aregbesola for his firmness and resilient in spite the current economic situations.

Comrade Ayuba who lauded Aregbesola’s achievements in all sectors of the economy confirmed that the current government is building succor of thirty years to the people of the state, saying most of his policies and programmes might not be appreciated now but will be commended years to come.

According to him, your people might not appreciate your work now. But in actual fact, they will come to appreciate you and your good works in few years to come.

“You are building a brighter future for generations to come and the prosperity stands firmly to judge you aright”, he said.
Aregbesola Celebrates With Former NLC President  Comrade Hassan Sunmonu @75

Aregbesola Celebrates With Former NLC President  Comrade Hassan Sunmonu @75

Re: Doctor’s Strike in Osun: Again Punch Newspaper Partisan and Unprofessional (21 Pictures Can’t Lie!) – By Adebayo Rasheed Mabayoje

Journalistic objectivity can refer to fairness, disinterestedness, factuality, and non-partisanship, but most often encompasses all of these qualities.

These qualities are obviously lacking when any news medium like #PUNCHNEWSPAPER reports subjective stories.

In its Tuesday, January 5, 2016 (on line) edition, the newspaper (in its story, Strike: Osun hospitals deserted) says “hospitals in Osun State have turned to ghost towns…”

That a group of doctors carry out industrial action is not unfounded. However, this should not encourage the newspaper to publish fabrications representing its interest that kind of aims to discredit the Osun government.

#PhotosDontLie, it is expected that the reporter of the story should have authenticated his claim with photos of the strange “ghost towns” he claimed to have visited recently. No such evidence was produced. This is because there was none anyway.

According to the newspaper, “The Psychiatric Ward, the Accidents and Emergency Ward, Pharmacy, Male and Female Medical Wards were deserted with no single patient when our correspondent went round the hospital on Tuesday afternoon. …with no single patient” This has never happened in any hospital, even when there is a full blown industrial action by all the unions in a hospital.

Hospitals don’t get deserted, not even at wartime, more so when other health workers like nurses, pharmacists and laboratory technologists are at their duty posts.

Apart from the union on strike, other doctors and consultants at the hospitals are at their duty posts, working and attending to in and out patients.

Again we ask, how can the ‘Pharmacy’ too be deserted when pharmacists are not on strike?

This is a sponsored story written by Osun PDP, with the reporter’s name only added to it as usual, in what has now become the hallmark of #PunchNewspaper’s disreputable brand of journalism where fiction is fact.

What they hope to achieve with the story becomes clear in the clearly subjective opinion which goes thus:

“One of the nurses, who spoke to our correspondent outside the hospital said the strike embarked upon by the doctors had led to an increase in maternal mortality rate (sic) as well as infant mortality rate (sic).”

“The nurse, who pleaded not to be named said she might not have a statistics (sic) to support her assertion but she was aware of some persons who lost their lives because they could not afford the bills at (sic) private hospitals which are considered to be on the high side.”

“The nurse said there had been upsurge in the number of persons seeking treatments from quacks and those who had resorted to self medications (sic) due to the prolonged strike.”

One would think the hallmark of responsible journalism is to investigate any claim and authenticate it before publishing, but our imaginary nurse spoke so authoritatively about how pregnant women and their babies are dying in government hospitals. The Punch, the mighty national newspaper giving global publicity to the unverified views of an unnamed street nurse drew uproarious laughter from a group of doctors in Osogbo reading the report over coffee. Listening to these doctors, I cannot but chuckle on how disreputable journalism has become in this country.

What the phantom nurse and the dude reporter did not know is that Osun placed second behind Lagos in the most recent World Bank assessment of Nigerian states on maternal and infant health in 2015.

Meanwhile here are shots of activities in some hospitals in the state, including the state hospital at Asubiaro in Osogbo. Picture don’t lie. No doubt the joke is on The Punch as it continues to lose credibility in Osun as it is now largely considered to be the propaganda rag sheet of Osun PDP

Osun Hospitals NOT Deserted - Punch newspaper Lied,

Osun Hospitals NOT Deserted - Punch newspaper Lied,

Osun Hospitals NOT Deserted - Punch newspaper Lied,

Osun Hospitals NOT Deserted - Punch newspaper Lied,

Osun Hospitals NOT Deserted - Punch newspaper Lied,

Osun Hospitals NOT Deserted - Punch newspaper Lied,

Osun Hospitals NOT Deserted - Punch newspaper Lied,

Osun Hospitals NOT Deserted - Punch newspaper Lied,

Osun Hospitals NOT Deserted - Punch newspaper Lied,

Osun Hospitals NOT Deserted - Punch newspaper Lied,

Osun Hospitals NOT Deserted - Punch newspaper Lied,

Osun Hospitals NOT Deserted - Punch newspaper Lied,

Osun Hospitals NOT Deserted - Punch newspaper Lied,

Osun Hospitals NOT Deserted - Punch newspaper Lied,

Osun Hospitals NOT Deserted - Punch newspaper Lied,

Osun Hospitals NOT Deserted - Punch newspaper Lied,

Osun Hospitals NOT Deserted - Punch newspaper Lied,

Osun Hospitals NOT Deserted - Punch newspaper Lied,

Osun Hospitals NOT Deserted - Punch newspaper Lied,

Aregbesola Prays for Osun and Entire Nation’s Prosperity at First Jumat Service of 2016

Aregbesola Prays for Osun and Entire Nation’s Prosperity at First Jumat Service of 2016

Aregbesola Prays for Nigeria at 1st Jumat Service of 2016
First Jumah of 2016 Governor State of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola and Chief Imam of Afonta Central Mosque, Sheik Wahab Baani Afonta, as the governor praying for Osun State and the Nation’s prosperity at the first Jumah Service on the first day of the year 2016, at Afonta Central Mosque, Osogbo on Friday 01-01-2016
Aregbesola Prays for Nigeria at 1st Jumat Service of 2016.
From left, Former Senior Assistant on Civil and Popular Affairs to governor Aregbesola; former Commissioner for Regional Integration and Special Duties, Hon. Ajibola Bashir; Governor Rauf Aregbesola of Osun and Chief Imam of Afonta Central Mosque, Sheik Wahab Baani Afonta, after Aregbesola’s special prayer for Osun State and the Nation’s prosperity at the first Jumah Service on the first day of the year 2016, at Afonta Central Mosque, Osogbo on Friday 01-01-2016
Aregbesola Prays for Nigeria at 1st Jumat Service of 2016..
overnor State of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola and Chief Imam of Afonta Central Mosque, Sheik Wahab Baani Afonta, as the governor praying for Osun State and the Nation’s prosperity at the first Jumah Service on the first day of the year 2016, at Afonta Central Mosque, Osogbo on Friday 01-01-2016

New Year: Aregbesola says era of unearned revenues has ended

*Urges Nigerians to be ready for sacrifice

The Governor of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, on Friday said the era of unearned revenues has come to an end as he urged Nigerians to be ready to sacrifice for a country that must survive the present economic challenges.

‎The Governor, in a New Year broadcast relayed on state television and radio,‎ prayed that the year will be peaceful and usher in fresh opportunities, goodness, prosperity and abundance to all and sundry.

‎Aregbesola,‎ on the current slump in world oil prices, said 2015 witnessed dwindling national economic fortunes, adding that the pillaging of the national treasury that began with the ousted regime was compounded by continued drop in oil prices.

He stated that the effect of the sharp reduction is that the distributable pool of the Federation Accounts that hit a zenith of N1.2 trillion in 2012 dropped to a new low of N369 billion in November allocations shared in December 2015.

Aregbesola pointed out that the implication for the Nigerian governments at the federal, states and local levels is that revenue derivable from the Federation Accounts, as the basis for running government, has been reduced to little or nothing.

He said, “The era of unearned revenue has come to an end. We are now entering into a new and special period where it is imperative for us to work for our own money before we can spend it. This period demands innovation, creativity, productivity, industry and wealth creation.

“I am therefore asking of you all, that whatever your vocation may be, you must work harder, be innovative and double your productivity from now on. Whatever your estate, you need to do more than before,” The Governor emphasised

‎Aregbesola, who said no one must be idle again, advocated serious engagements in farming and skill acquisition, instead of relying on general academic qualifications in order to take advantage of the special period the country is in. ‎

‎He said that in that past year, his administration in spite of dire financial challenges, had fulfilled its obligations to the people by providing security, healthcare, education and enhanced environment for economic activities.

According to him, “You will recall that many of our legacy schools were completed and commissioned in 2015. Our administration’s flagship high school, Wole Soyinka Government High School, in Ejigbo, was also commissioned.

‎”We signed many MOU with reputable institutions, including the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) in Ibadan, the French government and a Chinese consortium for huge developmental programmes and job creation to bring giant developmental strides for our state and people.”

The Governor noted that every challenge brings its own opportunities and fresh opportunities are waiting to be tapped in the present economic challenges.

He noted that what is only required is that people reach into their natural God-given ingenuity and endowments in order to survive the period.

He added that Osun is already working in the areas of agriculture, solid mineral development, tourism and manufacturing.

‎Aregbesola held that the history of development has shown that humans are the primal agent of development, adding that development begins with thinking and coming up with ideas.

Governor Rauf Aregbesola at Christmas Carol
Governor Rauf Aregbesola at Christmas Carol

‎”Federal Government has spoken with some assurances on the challenges facing the nation. I am assuring you that solutions are being sought to the nation’s financial problems and effort is being made to cushion the effect, one of which was loans provided for states last year to offset the backlog of salary arrears.

“We must support them in our own way by working hard, create wealth and adding value to the commonwealth more than we take from it. It has also become necessary that you maximally support the government by paying your taxes, rates, levies and fines to the government.

“Every government is established on the sound foundation that it will be upheld and sustained with the taxes of the people. People place legitimate demands on their government only because they have a sense of ownership that comes from supporting that government with tax payment”. The Governor stated in the broadcast.‎

Christmas: Aregbesola charges Nigerians to pray for Nigeria free from economic hardship

As Christians worldwide celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ today, the Governor of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola has urged them and people of other faiths to take advantage of the celebration of the birth of Jesus to pray for peace and the sustainability of a new Nigeria.

The Governor also enjoined Nigerians to always strive to be role models as Christ, according to him, lived and died propagating the message of love, peace and truth co-existence among mankind.

‎The Governor, in a Christmas message by the Director, Bureau of Communication and Strategy, Office of the Governor, Mr. Semiu Okanlawon, urged Christians to reflect and re-dedicate themselves to the teachings and lifestyle of Christ, which were anchored on sacrifice, love, peace and truth.

Specifically, Aregbesola reminded Nigerians of the need to intensify prayers for a new Nigeria which they voted for during the last presidential election that ushered in President Buhari who has a mandate to change the country.

He held that with the prayers of Nigerians, it is possible for citizens to have a country devoid of corruption, ethnicity rivalry and carnage of insurgency that are challenging peace in the North-East and other parts of Nigeria.

Aregbesola also enjoined Nigerians to be vigilant, saying people must learn to be their brothers’ keepers by reporting any strange faces and conducts within their communities to relevant authorities.

He stated that the country in its present economic challenges can not afford the activities of insurgents, saying all hands must be on deck at ensuring that the Nation surmounts current socio-economic and security challenges.

The Governor said, “The time we are in as a country presently calls for prayers. We must all ensure that we do all we can do as citizens and leaders to move the country forward from the present economic and security challenges facing our country.

“Now that oil has failed us as a nation, we must all encourage ourselves to look inward and turn to agriculture. Before the advent of oil, we had all relied on agriculture, from the groundnut pyramids in the North to Cocoa in the South and palm produce from the East”.

He admonished citizens to also use the occasion of the birth of Jesus to pray for President Muhammadu Buhari so that he could fulfill all his electioneering campaign promises.‎

Governor Aregbesola and wife celebrates Christmas with Osun Children 2015
Governor Aregbesola and wife celebrates Christmas with Osun Children 2015

The assassins who are still with us – By Dare Babarinsa

THE ember months were the special period for Chief Bola Ige, the first elected governor of old Oyo State, poet, historian, orator of a special class, polyglot and hero of our struggle for democracy. Uncle Bola loved to celebrate his birthdays on September 13 in low key, but not the yuletide which must meet him in Esa-Oke, the hilly town which holds the bones of his ancestors. At Christmas time, Esa Oke would be covered with the dry, dusty and cold harmattan haze.

This was the time Ige plays out his role as the Asiwaju of Esa Oke, Osun State, with generous gusto. On Boxing Day of every year, the people of Esa Oke and Ige’s friends and political associates from far and wide, would troop to the Iges expansive compound in front of The Polytechnics for the yearly feast. The three Ige brothers made exceptional marks in their lifetime. The eldest was George, the bureaucrat who retired as a federal permanent secretary. Bola Ige was the second. Sir Dele Ige, extraordinary entrepreneur, occasional politician and lawyer, was the last of the three boys. They were giants. The last time Ige hosted the yearly feast was 2000. By the following year, he was dead, killed in the sanctuary of his home at Bodija in Ibadan on December 23, 2001.

At that time, he was the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice in the cabinet of President Olusegun Obasanjo. Both of them had been friends since 1967 when Obasanjo was the Commander of the Ibadan Garrison Organisation and Ige a commissioner in the cabinet of Colonel Adeyinka Adebayo, then the military governor of Western State (Nigeria was a Federation of 12 states then). Since Ige was assassinated, efforts to bring his killers to justice have been visited with failure. This is a bitter irony for a man who lived his life seeking and fighting for justice for his country, his community and his fellowmen.

Since Obasanjo left power in 2007, both President Umar Musa Yar’Adua and his successor, President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan did not pay any particular attention to the assassination of Bola Ige. Now it is President Muhammadu Buhari’s turn. I think he has a duty to order a revisit. Those who are familiar with the case would tell you that it suffered tardy investigations and shoddy prosecution. A man who had contributed so much to the health and wellbeing of the republic deserves better.

Bola Ige was an extraordinary man. He was brave and sagacious. He was never afraid of dying for his belief or in the defence of his country and his nation. His devotion to Nigeria was total, his belief in democracy and the Rule of Law was absolute. He loved the good life, but he was prepared to give everything away in the defence of the Republic and his fellowmen and he led us with pride and panache. He was educated, knowledgeable, and gifted with a flaming tongue that recruited many foes for him and won him too millions of admirers. We were prepared to follow him into battle. In early July 1998, I had gone to meet him in Ibadan in the company of many of our colleagues including Tokunbo Ajasin, Kunle Famoriyo, Akin Onigbinde, Ademola Oyinlola, and Dokun Abolarin (now our royal father, the Orangun of Oke-Ila, Osun State).

He had just been released from Makurdi Prisons where he had been detained by the General Sani Abacha dictatorship. Abacha had died suddenly and his successor, General Abdulsalami Abubakar had decided to travel on a different route. He freed many political prisoners including Ige, his friend, General Obasanjo, the human right activist, Dr Beko Ransome-Kuti, and the journalist, Mrs Chris Anyanwu. Ige was in high spirit as he regaled us with his experience in Makurdi. “Makurdi Prison is one of the worst in this country,” Ige said. “But I had a good time there. I met Kunle Ajibade, your colleague. He was an excellent company.” Ajibade, the scholarly director of The News magazine, was one of the people convicted over the fake coup plot of 1995. In his set were the likes of Obasanjo, the late General Shehu Musa Yar’Adua, Beko Ransome-Kuti, Mrs Anyanwu (who lately served with distinction as a Senator of the Republic) and many soldiers including Colonel Lawan Gwadabbe, Colonel Gabriel Ajayi and former Major Akinloye Akinyemi. But Chief Moshood Abiola, the winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential elections, was still in detention.

Uncle Bola said the leadership of Afenifere was in touch with General Abdulsalami and he was sure Abiola would soon be released. He and Senator Abraham Adesanya were especially happy that Major-General Leo Ajiborisa, who served with credit as the first military administrator of Osun State, was one of the pillars of Abdulsalami’s government. But Abiola never made it. The military government brought him home in a body bag. After the death of Abiola, Uncle Bola wanted to be President of Nigeria. It was a hectic period. He did not have the full support of his colleagues in the leadership of Afenifere, the mainstream Yoruba political and cultural movement that dominated the National Democratic Coalition, NADECO, during the battle against Abacha dictatorship. Afenifere leader, Senator Abraham Adesanya, a ponderous philosopher and an intrepid commander in the war against dictatorship, was not prepared to take side.

Ige, who was his deputy, felt if Adesanya did not want to take a shot at the Presidency, then he should support him, his deputy. Some of Afenifere leaders, notably Otunba Solanke Onasanya, argued that Afenifere had earlier endorsed Chief Olu Falae, a high-flying public accountant and former Minister of Finance, for the Presidency. That was the era when General Ibrahim Babangida banned old breed politicians from contesting. To Ige, however, that was not a valid story. After the death of Chief Adekunle Ajasin in 1996, there was the possibility of a likely split in the movement. The leadership of Idile Oodua had met both Adesanya and Ige to ensure the unity of the movement. Adesanya had acted as deputy to Ajasin after the death of Senator Jonathan Odebiyi. Engineer Bayo Adenekan, Kayode Anwo, Paschal Adeleke Idowu and some of our other colleagues met with Ige at his office in Danmole Street, Victoria Island in Lagos to discuss the impending contest for the leadership of Afenifere. It was at that meeting that Ige made a pledge: “If Senator Adesanya is interested in leading Afenifere, I will not spar with him.” Now he expected Adesanya to back him to be President. Adesanya would not oblige. The Afenifere leader preferred to provide what he called “a level playing field.”

By 2001, the field of play had changed. Obasanjo was in power, Bola Ige was in trouble in his home base of Osun and Afenifere was fighting for its soul, dissipating its energy on curtailing a rebellion from its governors and maintaining a semblance of unity among its ageing leadership. A day after Ige was assaulted by supporters of Iyiola Omisore in Ile-Ife at the palace of the Ooni, I met him in the company of Odia Ofeimu, Nigeria’s pre-eminent poet, at the Ikoyi official residence of his wife, Justice (Mrs) Atinuke Ige who was then serving at the Appeal Court.

Omisore, before he was impeached, was the deputy-governor to Chief Bisi Akande of Osun State. We were in Ile-Ife on the invitation of Kabiyesi, Oba Okunade Sijuwade, Olubuse II who was honouring Stella, Obasanjo’s wife and Nigerian glamorous First Lady, with a chieftaincy title. Ige knew he was fighting the battle of his life, though he tried to make light of it. Ranged against him were his old colleagues of Afenifere leadership who portrayed his acceptance to serve in the government of Obasanjo as an act of betrayal. The governors too, who were originally in Ige supporters, were enjoying the roforofo fight among the elders.

On the political front, Ige was facing a formidable coalition that was moving in to support the rebellion of Omisore and the rebel flank of Ige’s Alliance for Democracy, AD. These were mostly chieftains of the Peoples Democratic Party, especially Chief Lamidi Adedibu of Ibadan and Chief Sunday Afolabi, Ige’s former deputy governor in old Oyo State who was now his colleague in the Federal cabinet as Minister of Internal Affairs. Less than three weeks after our meeting in Ikoyi, Ige was assassinated. At the tumultuous lying in state of Ige at the Liberty Stadium, Ibadan, Prof. Wole Soyinka, first African Nobel laureate for literature, declared during his funeral oration January 11, 2002, that the “murderers are among us.” They are still with us today. The Oyo State government did charge some suspects to court for the assassination of Ige. However, the suspects were treated like royalties inside Agodi Prisons in Ibadan. No one was surprised that at the end of the day, considering the highly polluted political atmosphere that attended the trial, that Ige was declared to have been a victim of the unknown assassins.

One of the suspects later won a seat into the Nigerian Senate. Another became a minister of the Federal Republic. I believe Ige was a victim actually of the convoluted events that attended the closing chapters of his remarkable life. The truth about his assassination may be found in these closing chapters. President Buhari should order new investigations into this cruel murder. It is time that Nigeria finally gives justice to the late Minister of Justice.

BOLA IGE
BOLA IGE

Sometimes in 1996, we were returning from a meeting at the home of Chief Ajasin in Owo, Ondo State and Uncle Bola decided to ride with us. His driver was bringing his car behind us. My colleague, Ademola Oyinlola, who was driving his Nissan Laurel, was rather speeding on the Owo-Akure road and we narrowly escaped an accident with a wood carrying truck (agbegilodo). “Demola, be careful, don’t do Abacha’s work for him,” Uncle Bola pleaded. Who could have predicted then that Nigeria beyond the era of the Abacha killer squad would still be a dangerous place for the like of Bola Ige? Fourteen years after he was buried in Esa Oke, Ige’s ghost is still abroad. We need to give him justice so that the dead can rest in peace.

SOURCE: TEMPO ONLINE

Kimberly Anyadike, 15, becomes youngest Nigerian American female to pilot plane cross-country

She departed with a dream and returned home a record-breaker.

Inspired by the Tuskeegee Airmen, 15-year-old Kimberly Anyadike flew a single-engine Cessna cross-country from her hometown of Compton, Calif., to Newport News, Va.

Anyadike is thought to be the youngest African American female pilot to complete the journey, which took 13 days. She arrived home in Los Angeles on Saturday, July 11.

Anyadike learned to fly at age 12 through the Compton-based Tomorrow’s Aeronautical Museum, which offers aviation lessons in an after-school program for disadvantaged youths, the Los Angeles Times reported. It was their plane that she flew on her cross-country trip.

The brave teenager came up with the idea for the trip on her own, the museum’s founder, Robert Petgrave, told the Times.

“I told her it was going to be a daunting task, but she just said, ‘Put it on. I got big shoulders,'” Petgrave said.

Along for the historic ride were an adult safety pilot and 87-year-old Levi Thornhill, one of the Tuskeegee Airmen during World War II.

Kimberly Anyadike, 15, stands in front of her single-engine Cessna plane during her historic cross-country flight
Kimberly Anyadike, 15, stands in front of her single-engine Cessna plane during her historic cross-country flight

“They left such a great legacy,” Anyadike said of the U.S. Army Air Corps’ all-black combat unit. “I had big shoes to fill. … All they wanted to do was to be patriots for this country. They were told no, that they were stupid, that they didn’t have cognitive development to fly planes. They didn’t listen. They just did what they wanted to do.”

About 50 Tuskeegee Airmen autographed the young pilot’s plane during her journey, the Times reported.

“I wanted to inspire other kids to really believe in themselves,” Anyadike said.

By Tracy Miller

SOURCE: NEWS AT 247

FG to convert unemployed graduates to teachers –Ngige

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, has said all youths in the country are not entitled to the N5, 000 monthly stipend promised by the All Progressives Congress-led Federal Government.

The minister also said the Federal Government intends to convert most of the unemployed graduates to teachers in a bid to tackle graduate unemployment.

Ngige explained that contrary to the widely-held belief that the N5,000 was meant for all youths, only the vulnerable ones amongst them would benefit.

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige

Ngige spoke at an event held to mark the 5th anniversary of Bina Foundation and graduation ceremony of its students in Enugu.

The Ministry of Labour and Employment donated equipment worth N10m to the graduands.

Commending the Foundation for uplifting the less privileged in the society, the minister went ahead to shed more light on the payment of the N5,000 monthly stipend, which is expected to commence in 2016.

He said, “The APC government anchored delivery on three pillars; security of lives and property, improving economy under which employment creation is the third sub-head, and infrastructure revival.

“You can see that employment creation is the main issue. We have heard people say we are waiting for N5, 000. We did not say we are paying N5,000 to all the youth. We are saying it is for the most vulnerable.”

Giving further insight to how the government intends to tackle unemployment, Ngige said that the Federal Government had budgeted N500bn for social safety needs in the coming year.

“Most unemployed graduates would be converted to teachers. The move is equally aimed at boosting the education sector,” he said.

Ngige noted that majority of the current crop of teachers in public schools were half-baked.

In the same vein, the minister, who said the era of white-collar jobs was gone, added that the government would pay serious attention to skill acquisition.

Ngige said, “For the social safety needs, we have budgeted N500bn for the next fiscal year.

“We have captured unemployed graduates. We are doing two things; we get those who read Law, Engineering and other disciplines but do not have jobs. We would train them for nine months and convert them to teachers.

“Most of our schools have half-baked teachers. We want to redefine our schools and make them what they are.

“We are also building skill acquisition centres. We have 12 of them across the country. The era of white-collar industry is gone.

“Nobody in Nigeria will be unemployed, people will learn how to use their hands.”

He also disclosed that the Federal Government would fight poverty in 2016, by giving aid to people with special needs while children will get their own through the school feeding programme.

SOURCE: PUNCH

Dasuki Armsgate and Matters Arising- By Nelson Ekujumi

On assumption into office, President Muhammadu Buhari kept faith with his electoral promise of fighting corruption by instituting a committee to investigate how security funds appropriated for the fight against terrorism was managed under his immediate predecessor administration.

However, even before Mr. President embarked on this fight against corruption via how the funds meant to wage war against terrorism was spent by the previous administration, one thing stood out like a sore thumb, and that was the fact that the Goodluck Jonathan administration was very insincere, unpatriotic and political in the war against terrorism. Why do I say so?

SAMBO DASUKI - ex NSA
SAMBO DASUKI – ex NSA

The reason is not far fetched. Reason being that, we were all shell shocked at the seeming incompetence and unpreparedness of our once revered military institution, which had always shone like a million stars on international assignments and even won laurels, to confront and defeat a rag tag bunch of miscreants. Infact, Nigerians were thoroughly disappointed and alarmed by how the Nigerian military personnel were fleeing the battle ground when confronted by a bunch of poorly trained gangsters, called boko haram.

Things got to a despicable level when the Nigerian troops on war duty resorted to desertion and even mutiny against their commanding officer. Infact, this indiscipline and disrespect for constituted authority by the soldiers, led to the court martialing of a lot of soldiers who complained of being poorly armed by the authorities and thus, were sent on a suicide mission. To cut the long story short, almost a whole battalion or more, were facing court martial for mutiny which exposed the fact, that there was something fundamentally wrong with the military and the way and manner, the Nigerian government was prosecuting the war.

We should also not forget that along the line and in the midst of this abnormally, the Nigerian government and the military authorities kept churning out lies, propaganda and half truths about how they were winning the war which was in sharp contrast with reality.

One also recollects, how at a point in the course of the prosecution of the war against boko haram, the governor of Borno state, ran to Abuja and raised alarm, that the terrorists were gaining the upper hand because they were armed with superior and sophisticated weapons than the Nigerian military. He was called names by the Presidential spokesperson and President Jonathan, personally threatened to withdraw Nigerian troops from Borno state in order to teach this loud mouth governor, a lesson that, you don’t speak the truth when you know its the truth.

One also want to refresh our memory with how the then previous administration of Goodluck Jonathan embarrassed Nigeria internationally by ferrying raw cash in dollars in the private jet of a cleric (Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor) into South Africa in violations of the laws of Nigeria and South Africa by not disclosing the cash in their possession and claiming that the money was meant to buy arms, but which was eventually confiscated by the South African authorities.

A stamp of confirmation of the insincerity, corruption soaked and politicization of the war against terrorism by the ex President Goodluck Jonathan administration was sealed when the ex minister of defence and ex chief of army staff, Alex Badeh and Kenneth Minimah, at their passing out parade, respectively, lamented the poor morale and funding of the military under their command. Thus, the chicken finally came home to roost with this self indicting statements which exposed the fact that the whole war against terrorism had been purely hug wash as suspected by discerning and patriotic Nigerians.

Thus, after the committee on the probe into the war against terrorism submitted its report which indicted the office of the National Security Adviser for abuse of public trust with regards to diversion of security funds meant to prosecute the war against terrorism, Mr. President ordered the arrest and prosecution of all the parties involved in the violation of the laws by the appropriate state agencies.

Then, entered into our political lexicon, what is known today as Dasuki armsgate and what followed is the arrest, revelations and confessions of how the funds meant for prosecuting the war against terrorism which had claimed thousands of lives of both military personnel and civilians, destroyed properties worth billions of naira, displaced millions and assaulted our psyche as a people, was diverted and shared by the office of the National Security Adviser to cronies of the then government, in his own words, according to the authorization of ex President Goodluck Jonathan.

As the revelations continue to pour in, about how public trust was abused and national security imperiled by the criminality which went on in the office of the ex NSA, Sambo Dasuki, it is important to state issues in proper perspectives.

No matter the puerile, ridiculous and assault on our sensibilities defence being put up by agents of darkness and corruption to justify and rub salt into our injury by affirming that the office of the NSA paid people for job done, such as party primaries mobilization fees, consultancy, political party committee members, publicity of a political party candidate, campaigns, spiritual exercise, etc. This line of defence, makes you want to question the mental state of such persons or groups, except perhaps, they are being mischievous.

However, it is important to state very clearly and in unequivocal terms that the office of the National Security Adviser (NSA) to the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is purely an advisory office to Mr. President, no more, no less. It is unconstitutional, illegal, criminal and an assault on the democratic rights of the citizens for such an office to be transformed into what it was not set up to do. Which informed the reason why Nigerians shouted down and condemned Col. Sambo Dasuki when he went to London on January 22, 2015 to fly the kite for the postponememt of the 2015 general elections, which he eventually achieved in conspiracy with the service chiefs by arms twisting and forcing INEC to accede at gun point.

The ministry of defence is the institution statutorily empowered by law to handle security matters ranging from procurement of arms and ammunition to recruitment and training of personnel of the military, any other agency or institution doing that, is only embarking on illegality. So one wonders, what to make of this usurpation of the responsibility of the ministry of defence by the office of the National Security Adviser (NSA), if its not to commit criminality as exposed?

As the President Muhammadu Buhari administration embarks on prosecuting this infraction of the laws with impunity by the indicted persons, it is important to admonish the government to ensure that it remains focused in keeping to its constitutional oath and doing justice to the memory of those whose lives were cut short, limbs maimed, property destroyed, internally displaced and psychologically traumatized by the criminality of those who sacrificed the blood of their fellow country men and women for pecuniary gains.

We must request that after arraigning the suspects for money laundering, stealing and other related offences, it is equally important to demand that the Nigerian government, also prosecute them for manslaughter of those who lost their lives as a result of their action of making money at the expense of human lives and national security.

Thanks.

Nelson Ekujumi

Milestone Photonews: Coronation Ceremony of the New Ooni of Ife – Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi (Ojaja II)

Governor of the State of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola presenting the Staff of Office to the New Ooni of Ile-Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, at the Enuwa Squre, Ile-Ife on Monday 07-12-2015
Governor of the State of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola presenting the Staff of Office to the New Ooni of Ile-Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, at the Enuwa Squre, Ile-Ife on Monday 07-12-2015
Coronation of New Ooni of Ife - From left, Vice President of Nigeria, Prof. Yemi Osibajo, Owa Obokun of Ijesaland, Oba Gabriel Adekunle Aromolaran, Governor Rauf Aregbesola of State of Osun, and his wife
Coronation of New Ooni of Ife – From left, Vice President of Nigeria, Prof. Yemi Osibajo, Owa Obokun of Ijesaland, Oba Gabriel Adekunle Aromolaran, Governor Rauf Aregbesola of State of Osun, and his wife
Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Saa'd Abubakar, Chief Bisi Akande; Governor Akinwumi Anbode, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, Governor Rauf Aregbesola and the newly installed Ooni of Ile-Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi
Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Saa’d Abubakar, Chief Bisi Akande; Governor Akinwumi Anbode, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, Governor Rauf Aregbesola and the newly installed Ooni of Ile-Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi
Ooni of Ife Coronation Ceremony - Governor Rauf Aregbesola presents staff of office and certificate to new Ooni Oba Enitan Adeyeye Ogunwusi
Ooni of Ife Coronation Ceremony – Governor Rauf Aregbesola presents staff of office and certificate to new Ooni Oba Enitan Adeyeye Ogunwusi
Ooni of Ife Coronation Ceremony - Aswaju Tinubu, Governor Rauf Aregbesola pose with Ooni Oba Enitan Adeyeye Ogunwusi
Ooni of Ife Coronation Ceremony – Aswaju Tinubu, Governor Rauf Aregbesola pose with Ooni Oba Enitan Adeyeye Ogunwusi
Ooni of Ife - Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi Ojaja II
Ooni of Ife – Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi Ojaja II
Ooni of Ife - Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi Ojaja II
Ooni of Ife – Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi Ojaja II
Ooni of Ife Coronation Ceremony - Aswaju Tinubu, Governor Rauf Aregbesola pose with Ooni Oba Enitan Adeyeye Ogunwusi
Ooni of Ife Coronation Ceremony – Aswaju Tinubu, Governor Rauf Aregbesola pose with Ooni Oba Enitan Adeyeye Ogunwusi
Installation of Ooni - Oluwo of Iwoland, Oba Abdul Rasheed Adewale Akanbi, Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Saa'd Abubakar; Chief Bisi Akande, Governor Akinwumi Anbode, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, Governor Rauf Aregbesola
Installation of Ooni – Oluwo of Iwoland, Oba Abdul Rasheed Adewale Akanbi, Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Saa’d Abubakar; Chief Bisi Akande, Governor Akinwumi Anbode, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, Governor Rauf Aregbesola
Ooni of Ife Coronation Ceremony - Governor Rauf Aregbesola presents staff of office and certificate to new Ooni Oba Enitan Adeyeye Ogunwusi
Ooni of Ife Coronation Ceremony – Governor Rauf Aregbesola presents staff of office and certificate to new Ooni Oba Enitan Adeyeye Ogunwusi