Just In: Makarfi, Obasanjo In Closed Door Meeting

The Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party’s caretaker committee, Sen. Ahmed Markafi and former Nigeria President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo are presently in closed-door meeting in Abeokuta.

The meeting which is holding at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library had in attendant Makarfi, Osun state caretaker chairman, Isola Sarafa among other PDP chieftain.

Mr. Markafi later went into a private meeting with Chief Obasanjo, at the section of the library.

 

After the closed-door meeting between the former president and Sen. Makarfi, those who accompanied Markafi were invited into another meeting that lasted for about 25 minutes.

Details later……..

I Don’t Believe In True Federalism, Says Obasanjo

Former President of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo has said that those agitating for true federalism are ignorant of the concept.

Obasanjo who made this statement during a tour to promote his new book, ‘Making Africa Work’, told his interviewers: “I don’t believe in true federalism. What is true federalism?”

“Why are they (the states) not accountable? What powers do they not have? They have power.

“In fact, state governors are more powerful than the president. That’s the truth.

“(So) if anybody tells you they want devolution or true federalism, he doesn’t know what he is talking.”

Obasanjo insisted that some of those agitating for the sovereign state of Biafra do not know what the (Biafra) struggle is all about.

He, however, admitted that “the government’s military intervention – in the secessionist agitation – have “made things worse”.

“All youth in Nigeria have legitimate reasons to feel frustrated and angry,” he said.

“The protesters don’t even know what the struggle is all about, but if it gives them false hope, why not hang onto it?

“Let the elders handle it (the secessionist agitations) or ignore it until it loses momentum. There are elders in any community who are still respected… After all, they’re their fathers and mothers, grandfathers and grandmothers, and can still be used effectively.”

He also said President Muhammadu Buhari has not done “enough” in the area of youth employment, especially with regards to sustainability.

“Is Buhari doing enough about it (youth employment)? I don’t believe he is. Can he do enough about it? Of course he can.

“He (Buhari) has tried to keep on going in the area of agribusiness, but not enough. It is not yet enough to prepare the ground for uninhibited growth of the economy, which we need.

“Youth empowerment, skill acquisition and youth employment – education must be able to do that. If you do that, the ticking bomb of possible youth explosion out of restiveness and anger will subside.”

 

Falana To Obasanjo, Jonathan: Your Advice to Buhari Over IPOB Is Needless

A human rights lawyer, Femi Falana, has criticized two former presidents, Olusegun Obasanjo and Goodluck Jonathan, over their advice to President Muhammadu Buhari on how to tackle the tensions caused by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).

Falana called on Obasanjo to apologise to Nigerians over the deployment of the military, to invade communities under his administration.

Obasanjo had said: “I don’t see anything wrong in that (Buhari meeting with Kanu). I would not object to that; if anything, I would encourage it. I would want to meet Kanu myself and talk to people like him; people of his age and ask, ‘What are your worries?”

Reacting, the legal luminary said: “In calling for a dialogue between President Buhari and Mr. Kanu, former President Obasanjo ought to have apologised publicly for the military invasions of Odi in Bayelsa State and Zaki Biam in Benue State ordered by him.

“The basis of the call should have been explained since President Obasanjo charged Niger Delta militants, leaders of ethnic militias and separatist movements with treason, which led to their prolonged detention in prison custody.

“Convinced that former President Obasanjo has realised that the criminalisation of such agitation did not achieve its objective, his suggestion for a dialogue should be seriously considered by President Buhari and the South-East governors.”

The Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) also faulted Jonathan, for calling for a meeting of the Council of State, to resolve the crisis caused by the secessionist group.

“For goodness sake, why was such a meeting not called before soldiers were deployed in the Niger Delta to deal with militants? Did President Jonathan call any meeting before deploying soldiers all over the country for the 2015 general elections in defiance of the judgments of the Federal High Court and the Court of Appeal?

“Instead of suggesting irrelevant meetings, the root causes of the increasing loss of faith in the corporate existence of Nigeria by unemployed youths and other poverty-stricken people should be urgently addressed by the ruling class.

“As a matter of urgency, the underdevelopment of the nation caused by the mindless corruption and criminal diversion of public funds by unpatriotic public officers on our hapless people should be addressed,” he added.

 

Negotiate With Kanu, Obasanjo Tells Buhari

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has advised President Muhammadu Buhari during an interview with Newsweek Magazine, to dialogue with the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, to curb the secessionist agitations instead of the deployment of soldiers in the South-East.

Obasanjo said “I don’t see anything wrong in that (Buhari meeting with Kanu). I would not object to that; if anything, I would encourage it. I would want to meet Kanu myself and talk to people like him, people of his age, (and ask) ‘What are your worries?’ Not only from the South-East but from all parts of Nigeria.”

Obasanjo, who led the final offensive that brought the civil war to an end in 1970, said he had seen too many wars and it was time for Nigeria to move on. He said, “Those who fought in the war in Biafra will not want to fight any other war. I fought in that war and it was an unfortunate war and I said I had fought one war too many in Nigeria; I don’t want to see another.

“The heavy boot is not the solution. I believe also whatever may be the frustration of any youth in any part of Nigeria; I believe secession is not the solution.”

He however stated the need to “satisfy the youth in job creation, in wealth creation, in giving them a better, fulfilled life, in giving them hope for the future. There’s no easy way out”.

Fani-Kayode Speaks On Restructuring, Says Obasanjo Position Is In Minority

By Toba Ajisafe

 

 

A former Aviation Minister, Femi Fani-Kayode, has described former President of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo as a small minority to condemned ‘Restructuring’

 

Kayode who was among leaders that attended Yoruba Summit on Restructuring held in Ibadan said though he respects the former president but against his position on restructuring of Nigeria.

 

Kayode who stated this on a radio programme monitored by OSUN DEFENDER reporter in Osogbo on Friday said restructuring is panacea to many problems facing the country.

 

According to him, “Many of us believed that if that is not done, this country will break up and what will happen is that the cry for establishment of Oduduwa Republic will far more in pronouncement. This can’t be stopped unless we dissolve power from the central, it will erode the thought that some are slaves while others are kings.

 

He said “We are talking about the emancipation of the Yoruba nation, we (Yorubas) has been cheated humiliated, jailed and insulted by the same people over and over again. Those people killed Awolowo, Abiola and they incarcerated Obasanjo; when he even became the President, they push Sharia law on him, same people established Boko Haram, they turn the Vice President to coordinator when the president was not around because they don’t believe in anybody in the country, they believe their own Nigeria.

 

“We need to have a self-autonomy and we must be emancipated as people so that we can be able to achieve our full potential and that is why we are fighting for, doing it constitutionally, lawful, reasonable and rational manner and agitate for restructuring of the federation.

 

He said, “What we resolved in the communiqué yesterday as Yoruba nation is that we need to have restructuring based on regional line.

 

“Let us have the control of our destiny, move our people forward to greater height. Nigeria as a country we are greater than many nations in the world.

 

“Yoruba nation has taken a position on restructuring because we don’t have federation in Nigeria

 

However, Fani-Kayode condemned Federal Government on the said war declared on hate speeches.

 

He alleged that, All Progressives Congress is the architect of ‘hate speeches in Nigeria, they convened against former president, Goodluck Jonathan by engaging spite words against him.

 

“The blood that is running in their vein, preaches hatred.

 

They wanted to suppress freedom of speech by declaring war on ‘hate speeches. If they want to stop hate speeches the need to lead by example and we all going to start from there. He noted.

 

FUNABB Gets Diabetes Center As Obasanjo Confirms Effectiveness Of Herbs

The Board of Trustees, Centre for the Advancement of Research in Diabetes in Nigeria, has concluded plans to establish a diabetes research centre at the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB).

The centre, according to the Head, Directorate of Public Relations of the institution, Emi’ Alawode, when operational, would foster research and the use of medicinal plants for the benefit of diabetic patients; both in Nigeria and Africa.

The Grand Patron of the Centre and former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo made the disclosure during a working visit of the Board of Trustees to the land allocated for the centre by FUNAAB.

Obasanjo who is also an Honorary Awardee of the University recalled what brought about the idea of establishing the centre, stating that he believed Nigeria had not done enough in the area of research for medicinal plants and diabetic patients.

The former President confirmed the efficacy and effectiveness of herbal medicines and called on stakeholders and practitioners to promote its cause through research and collaboration.

In his view, pharmaceutical companies have not extracted up to 20 percent of needed “active ingredients” in roots and herbs, to cure ailments and diseases, while confirming that China and South Africa had made appreciable progress in the field.

The Chairman, Board of Trustees of the centre, Emeritus Professor Oladipupo Akinkugbe, said the project, which was conceived nine years ago, would promote collaborative research for the promotion of “Town and Gown”; offer curative mechanism for diabetic patients across Africa and ensure health-free society.

He added, “You need this kind of collaboration in the universities for the overall development and the Town and the Gown, like that of the University of Ibadan and the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture”.

Road Infrastructure: Fashola, Please Wake Up

By Kassim Afegbua

I have had the rare privilege of serving in a government at the state level, so I can’t pretend not to know the procedure involved when trying to fix some of our decrepit infrastructure. Under emergency situation, what is usually at issue is getting the right funding to meet with several competing issues begging for attention.

Road construction happens to be quite an expensive project depending on the terrain. It is money guzzling because of its engineering details and other components that make for good road construction.

I have not elected to ridicule one of the finest Nigerian public servants in person of Babatunde Raji Fashola, Senior Advocate of Nigeria, the Honourable Minister for Power, Works and Housing; a man whose intellect I admire so much. I have just set out to pour out my reservations about the state of our roads and the need to take some drastic actions to arrest the present drift.

I can understand Fashola’s frustrations in the light of declining revenue amidst a plethora of infrastructural challenges in the road sub-sector, I am nonetheless sure that he can do better than what we are witnessing presently.

I do understand also that road construction suffers a lot of neglect during rainy season for reasons that are obvious, but we cannot use that as a flourishing excuse for the parlous state of our roads across the country. It has gotten to an embarrassing level that one begins to wonder if there is actually a government in place. Even when one is privileged to call the attention of some state governors to these deadly roads, the fact that they are called federal roads makes the intervention not forthcoming.

State governors would tell you that the Federal Government owes them for previous interventions and remedial works done on the roads, hence they wouldn’t want to commit further funds to carrying out any palliative works on the roads until the outstanding payments are paid. Travelling across the country by road has become a nightmare.

Some of the roads are not just littered with pot holes and craters; they are easily impassable thus making travelling very troubling and tiring. The road to Minna is left with what former President Ibrahim Babangida did over 25 years ago when the road was rebuilt.

There was initial effort to dualise the road from Suleja to Minna by Obasanjo-led administration; which approximates 90 kilometres. For the past 10 years, such dualisation has not seen the light of the day.

Today, the road is not just in a sorry state of disrepair, it has become embarrassing and deadly to road users. When you travel on that road, you will still see one caterpillar or another scavenging for sand by the road side and pretending to be working. Visit the road again in another one month, you will still see the workers on the same spot forming clusters and blowing hot air as if work is ongoing but alas, it is all a mere fluke.

But the state government is making some impacts by patching parts of road. If Minna road is in a bad state, that of Okene to Benin passing through Okpella and Auchi is another road to hell. From Okpella to Auchi portion of the road has become huge death trap and totally unacceptable. If Okpella to Auchi offers road users some escape, that of Ekpoma to Ehor has become almost cut off.

The bridge at Okpella is almost caving in. With gridlock of heavy duty vehicles permanently on the bridge, it will soon give way. That bridge was built in 1977 and its present state needs serious reinforcement and urgent repair.

The traffic on that road as we speak runs into 20 kilometres stretch on a daily basis. The heavy duty vehicles mostly from BUA Cement Factory are not helping matters in any form. BUA itself has shown a complete disdain for corporate social responsibility.

Because of the bad roads in Okpella, accidents at the bridge end of the road have become prevalent. Travelling to Benin by road these days has become eyesore, debilitating and grossly nerves breaking.

Trucks and heavy duty vehicles have converted decrepit street roads in Okpella into familiar terrain for want of escape from the disturbing gridlock that has become a permanent feature on that road. Before Comrade Adams Oshiomhole bowed out of office, Fashola paid a facility visit to Edo State and travelled on that road. What he saw was total decay in the area of federal road infrastructure.

He did promise to come back and fix the road; we are still waiting for that “genuine” promise to materialize. If the road was bad last year, it has now become worse. I found it interesting when I watched the Acting President visit the site of the collapsed bridge along Mokwa-Jebba road. Such prompt response to disaster sites is desirable, but preventing them from happening would have been more judicious and rewarding.

The Jebba-Tegina road has been in the news long before the bridge caved in. I can’t remember how many times I watched the disturbing site on television alerting the government of the danger of that road. Government did not take immediate action to remedy the situation, but when the bridge decided to bow to the pressure of decay and erosion, it caved in.

The rest, as they often say, is now history. Suffice it to say that a stitch in time saves nine that is why it is imperative for Fashola’s Works Ministry to spring into action before another embarrassment befalls the nation, aware that the said road connects the North to the East. The previous regime of PDP rather than fix our roads ended up vandalising the roads further in the name of mobilizing to site.

Their caterpillars came to Edo, stopped at Aduwawa and Ehor axis along Benin-Auchi road, and removed part of the tarred surface.

They left the caterpillars on site and campaigned with them declaring to who cares to listen to their litany of lies, that they were working on Edo roads. As soon as they lost election, the roads whose tarred surfaces have been removed, were now exposed to agents of denudation.

As we speak, the Aduwawa end of that road down to Ramat Park in Benin City has been properly constructed by the Fasholaled ministry with side drains. What is urgently required now is to commence work on the other part of the road leading up to Okpella and Okene. The present hardship being experienced by road users plying that road can no longer be tolerated. Honourable Minister, please do something urgently.

Please, please. There are several roads across the country that are also suffering similar condition of disrepair. Kabba-Ilorin road is one of such deadly roads let alone other East-West roads that were left uncompleted by the PDP government.

We cannot continue to lament the present state of our roads, we must take urgent steps to arrest the descent to anarchy on our highways and save our people the orgy of road accidents many of which are caused by these unwholesome roads. Once the rains abate, we must jump into action and help give Nigerians a breath of fresh air in the area of good road infrastructure.

I feel terribly ashamed these days when one is being confronted and shown terribly bad roads as the relics of APC poor performance. Even when you try to blame PDP-led government for  the cause of the ridiculous state of our roads, they ask a simple question; since APC has come, what have they done? Over to you, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN.

Despite Mother’s Opposition Obasanjo’s Son Weds

Despite the controversy surrounding the union of the son of the former Nigerian president to the daughter of Kessington Adebutu, the wedding took place, against the groom’s mother’s will.

Taiwo Obasanjo, wife of the ex-president, had said the wedding will lead to disaster and strange deaths in the country.

She had filed a suit at an Ikeja high court, seeking to stop the wedding but Lateefat Okunnu, the presiding judge, dismissed the suit on the grounds that the court lacked jurisdiction to hear it because Olujonwo, 33, is an adult.

The traditional marriage, which held at the Balmoral Hall of Federal Palace Hotel in Lagos, was attended by politicians, business moguls, as well as traditional rulers.

The white wedding of Tolulope Adebutu and Olujonwo Obasanjo is expected to take place on Saturday.

Tolulope and Olujonwo had their introduction ceremony in December, at the Ikoyi, Lagos home of Adebutu.

See How Fans Reacted To Skales Photo With Ex President Obasanjo

Kaduna born star singer Raoul John Njeng-Njeng was returning home after a ground breaking performance in Ethiopia yesterday when he came across a special man.

Skales told fans yesterday how he met former ruler Olusegun Obasanjo on a plane that brought him to Lagos from Ethiopian capital city of Addis Ababa

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Obasanjo’s Corruption Narratives By Jideofor Adibe

Obasanjo’s recent treatise on corruption in Nigeria is a must-read for policymakers because it essentially bought into what several academics and public intellectuals have been saying over the years about the endemic ‘war against corruption’ in the country.

n a lecture in Abeokuta, Ogun State, on “The Role of the Church in the Fight Against Corruption in Nigeria”, the former President and military Head of State was quoted as saying that despite all the efforts in the fight against corruption in Nigeria, including enacting anti-graft laws, the scourge seemed to be worse now than it was in 1999. Obasanjo created the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) in 2000 and the Economic Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in 2003.

In the lecture, which took place on April 8, 2017, Obasanjo took a dim view of the effectiveness of these contraptions in the whole ‘war’ against corruption. He was quoted as saying: “How far has this [the use of contraptions like the EFCC or the ICPC] actually helped in the eradication or better still, in reduction of corruption in the country? Unfortunately, the act [corruption] has continued to spread like a wildfire, from federal to the states, to the local government level and to other authorities, even within the educational sector in Nigeria – from secondary to university levels.

“A student bribing lecturer for higher grades is corruption. Lower clerics have been found to be bribing their way through to be promoted even in the ‘house’ of God. Evidence also abounds in which female staff enjoys unqualified rapid promotion in many offices and organizations, particularly among the ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs).”

Essentially Obasanjo told us that corruption is pervasive and manifests in different forms and that our current system of fighting it has not been effective.

On the causes of corruption, Obasanjo was quoted as saying in the lecture:

“The rise of public administration and the discovery of oil and natural gas are two major events seen to have led to the increase in corrupt practices in the country. The government has tried to contain corruption through the enactment of laws and the enforcement of integrity systems, but success has been slow in coming.”

Obasanjo was right on the role of public administration and oil in the emergence and exacerbation of corrupt practices. What the former President did not bring out forcefully, however, is that it was not ‘public administration’ on its own that was the root cause of corruption but rather the alienating character of the colonial State that created the public administration. The colonized people did not have any sense of co-ownership of the State and therefore did not have any emotional attachment to the state’s institutions, including its public administration. In fact in several Nigerian languages, the colonial civil service was translated in a way that expressed its alienating character. Among the Igbos, for example, the colonial civil service was called the ‘Whiteman’s work’, a terminology that implies exclusion or people’s lack of emotional involvement in the colonial state’s public administration. Precisely because it was seen not as their own but ‘Whiteman’s work’, ‘outsmarting’ the public administration system was seen as heroic by various in-groups.

As it was with the colonial public administration so it remains today with the Nigerian public administration! And the reason is because the project of nation-building, which would have changed people’s emotional attachment to the State and its institutions through creating a sense of co-ownership, has not been very successful. If anything, it is now mired in crisis, creating alienation, which leads to several groups and individuals de-linking from the State into primordial identities. And contrary to what some think, this is not limited to groups like Boko Haram, Biafra agitators, Niger Delta militants, Oduduwa irredentist or those who talk of ‘the North’ as if it is a country within a country. It includes the wealthy who have no qualms bribing their way out of situations, the law enforcement officers who do not mind turning the other way on little inducement and the politicians and top civil servants who are treated as local heroes and heroines because they populated government jobs with their ‘people’.

Following from the above, the discovery of oil as Obasanjo rightly noted, increased the opportunities for State plunder by contending ethnic and regional factions of the elite. And because the State controls the oil resource, the struggle for State power itself also became anarchic. Apart from political power becoming a means for wealth accumulation and dispensation of privileges, there is a pervasive fear among the contending regional and ethnic factions of the elite that the faction that captures State power will use it to privilege its in-groups and disadvantage the others. Essentially therefore, any effective fight against corruption must address the question of the alienating character of the State. It is the root cause of corruption, not its manifestation in some acts of impunities and corruption by some elites. Have we wondered why the incidence of corruption is least in countries where the nation-building process is most advanced such as the Nordic countries (Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Iceland) and why it is most prevalent in countries regarded as failed or fragile states? The truth is that while nation-building cannot guarantee a corruption free society, it creates a durable template for attenuating the problem and for ensuring that other solutions proffered to challenges in the polity do not quickly become part of the problem.Corruption is likely to be endemic in polarized societies where the basis of nationhood remains contested.

In the same lecture Obasanjo was quoted as saying that the spread of corruption is aided by the developed countries that serve as safe havens for stolen funds. This is unfortunately true but also understandable from the perspective that countries’ policies are primarily driven by their national interests. If it is in those countries’ national interest to domicile proceeds of corruption in their countries while, like an ostrich, publicly inveighing against the scourge in the ‘Third World’ countries, they will most likely do so – tongue-in-cheek. This should lead us to ask some sober questions: why are the corrupt domiciling their loot outside the country? How do the countries where these loots are domiciled benefit from them? Are we missing on two fronts in the ‘war’ against corruption – not winning what is obviously an unwinnable war and allowing our looted funds to accelerate others’ economies?

I have been a consistent believer that our system of fighting corruption is a charade and that what is required is a new beginning. Such a new beginning should include a conditional amnesty against all currently standing charges of corruption and a renewed focus on nation-building. Any sustainable and winnable engagement with the scourge must necessarily be institution-driven, not just mere ‘gra-gra’.

Flowing from the above is the need to stop the hype that corruption is the most urgent problem facing the country or that it is responsible for the current state of affairs in the country. It is clearly not. A starting point is to address the misnomer that we are waging ‘war against corruption’. The whole notion of ‘war’ implies an expectation of a decisive victory over a relatively short period of engagement. This is unlikely to happen with corruption because of its systemic nature. I believe that it is this wrong expectation of a decisive victory against corruption that has led to beliefs in some quarters that we need a warrior to lead the fight against corruption. Corruption, as mentioned, is tied to the success or otherwise of the nation-building process. I am happy that Obasanjo has come up with this timely treatise. Hopefully it will start a whole new conversation on corruption in Nigeria – the causes, the trajectory and the way out.

On the prognosis for action, Obasanjo’s otherwise excellent analysis however disappointed. According to him, to effectively curb corruption, “children, youth and adults must be given the power to distinguish between the rights and the wrongs. Schools should return to the teaching of moral education to empower children with the spirit of stewardship and scholarship, while adults live exemplary lives, reflecting truth, kindness, healthy competition, dignity in labor and integrity. It must be all hands on deck within the society.” This solution did not flow logically from the former President’s otherwise sober analysis. In fact this sort of wrong prognosis, which sees corruption as a simple question of moral lapses and lack of good civic culture or good moral upbringing on the part of the corrupt, is the template on which the country’s ‘war’ against corruption has been based. And it is probably why the ‘war’ was a charade under Obasanjo as it was under Yaradua and Jonathan and remains under the Buhari government.

You can contact Jideofor at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @JideoforAdibe.

OBJ Wishes To End Hunger By 2025

Former President Chief Olusegun Obasanjo on Thursday at the Hilltop Presidential residence in Abeokuta when members of the Egba Cluster Farming Initiative paid him a courtesy visit has asked Ogun state and Federal governments to give farmers in the country more support in order to achieve this feat. Obasanjo however, expressed his determination in conjunction with other farmers group to end hunger by 2015 in the country.

Obasanjo who said he is the Chairman of Zero Hunger – farmers organisation in Nigeria, said it was the resolve of the group to achieve this feat through increased food production, thereby creating “a situation where no Nigerian goes to bed or walk about hungry again.” The ex – President said the farmers in the country required quality encouragement and support of governments, institutions and well – meaning individuals to make food available in plenty and affordable to Nigerians.

He said, “Governments can help the nation’s farmers meet the objective through policy and creation of a conducive environment that will encourage food production.” Obasanjo urged the delegation of the ECFI led by its President, Sulaiman Egberongbe, to first start the cluster farming with fish, poultry, cassava and rice farms that “are less demanding of facilities before venturing into tree crops that have long gestation period before harvest.” He told the group that they would have no challenges getting raw materials – feeds and fingerlings for their fish farms, ” as he is into the production of feeds and fingerlings.” On his own part, Egberongbe, said the group were Obasanjo’s residence to solicit his support as well as draw from his wealth of experience in active farming.