National Assembly Election Has Proved Omisore Wrong

 
Mr. Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola was sworn-in as the democratically-elected governor of Osun State on the 27th of November, 2010 after what seemed an eternal battle to regain his stolen mandate from the illegally-installed government of the Peoples Democratic party (PDP).
With the landmark Appeal Court judgement that brought in the people’s governor, it was clear that the governorship ambition of the Ile-Ife politician, Senator Iyiola Omisore was slipping away before his very eyes and brought to an abrupt end.
With the Oke-Fia Government House out of his reach forever, Omisore pulled out every available weapon of propaganda out of his arsenal to discredit the new administration of Mr. Rauf Aregbesla.
Amongst one of his propaganda was that the governor; Mr. Aregbesola’s victory was judicial and it was not secured through the ballot, which was proper and legitimate.
Well, let me remind Senator Iyiola Omisore that in the 2007 gubernatorial elections in Osun State, the electorate voted massively for Rauf Aregbesola and indeed the Action Congress (AC) as it was called then because they desired a change, which they believed he could offer only that the powers that be from Abuja under the able guardianship of Professor Maurice Iwu and Chief Olusegun Obasanjo manipulated the whole process in the favour of the PDP.
To put the Senator where he belongs, once again the electorate in Osun had proved him wrong by voting massively for their choice party, the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) during the National Assembly elections of Saturday 9th April, 2011.
Since he is of the opinion that Mr. Aregbesola’s government came into being as a result of judicial backing, I dare say that he is wrong as the people of Osun State rightly demonstrated during last Saturday’s election. Good enough, these same members of the electorate are poised again to vote overwhelmingly for the party and candidates of their choice under the ACN.
By their singular act, they have proved Omisore wrong and all his ranting over Mr. Aregbesola’s government as being the baby of the Judiciary is baseless.
Omisore should humbly go and lick his wounds as the recently concluded National Assembly elections had proved him wrong. Mr. Aregbesola’s administration and the ACN have come to stay in Osun State.
 
•Kamorudeen Olalekan, Osogbo, Osun State.

Self-declared President Laurent Gbagbo Detained in Ivory Coast – CNN

THE WILL

The self-declared president of the Ivory Coast, Laurent Gbagbo, was arrested Monday, the French Embassy in that country said.

Security forces of the Ivory Coast arrested him, the embassy said.

A Gbagbo adviser, Ahoua Don Mello, said earlier that the French military had stormed Gbagbo’s residence.

Gbagbo’s refusal to cede power triggered a political crisis in the West African nation.

Forces loyal to the two men who claim to be president of Ivory Coast had clashed in the country’s main city overnight, the United Nations and a local resident told CNN Monday.

U.N. forces are not planning strikes on Gbabgo’s forces Monday but were prepared to hit his troops “if it’s needed,” said Hamadoun Toure, a spokesman for U.N. mission to the country.

The U.N. “was not involved” in the fighting between Gbagbo’s troops and those of Alassane Ouattara overnight, Toure said.
Gbagbo lost a presidential election to Ouattara in November, according to international observers, but refused to leave office. The two sides have been battling for control of the main city, Abidjan, for weeks.

U.N. military helicopters pounded heavy weapons positions of fighters loyal to Gbagbo on Sunday, United Nations officials said.

The attack came after pro-Gbagbo forces shelled the hotel where Ouattara and the United Nations are headquartered, said Choi Young-jin, head of the U.N. mission in the country.

“So we decided we cannot pass this moment without action,” Choi said.

Together with the French military, U.N. forces targeted key positions. Choi said there were “several camps” belonging to the Gbagbo loyalists. “We are taking them out.”

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he ordered the military operation Sunday “to prevent the use of heavy weapons which threaten the civilian population of Abidjan and our peacekeepers.”

The U.N. mission does not extend to extracting Gbagbo from his residence, Choi said. It would be up to pro-Ouattara forces to oust Gbagbo, he said.

Ban renewed his call for Gbagbo “to step aside immediately.”

“Civilians are bearing the brunt of the violence,” the secretary-general said. “The fighting must stop. Mr. Gbagbo needs to step aside immediately.”

U.N. spokesman Toure said that Gbagbo loyalists continue to control three main areas — the presidential palace, Gbagbo’s residence and the state television station, RTI. He said the French military and U.N. forces are in charge of the Abidjan port.

Violence erupted after Ivory Coast’s disputed presidential election in November and escalated into all-out war when Ouattara’s forces launched an offensive that brought them into Abidjan.

As Gbagbo has refused to cede power, the political stalemate has plunged the cocoa-producing West African nation into crisis.

The U.N. human rights office said Friday that its investigators found more than 100 bodies over 24 hours in three Ivory Coast towns.

Ouattara’s forces appeared to be on the verge of capturing Gbagbo last week, but he seems to have used an offer to negotiate as a way to buy time and gather his forces.

Mark Toner, acting deputy spokesman for the U.S. State Department, released a statement Saturday echoing that idea.

“It is clear that Gbagbo’s attempts at negotiation this week were nothing more than a ruse to regroup and rearm. Gbagbo’s continued attempt to force a result that he could not obtain at the ballot box reveals his callous disregard for the welfare of the Ivorian people, who will again suffer amid renewed heavy fighting in Abidjan,” he said.

Most areas of the capital, however, are now under U.N. or French military control, journalist Seyi Rhodes reported from the French military base in Port Bouet. The French military has been working to reconnect the disrupted water and electricity supply in the country’s main city.

Laurent Gbagbo surrenders -Victory for African Masses

By Efoghor Joseph Ezie


Article first published as Laurent Gbagbo Surrenders – Victory for African Masses on Technorati.

The embattled Ivorian president Laurent Gbagbo has finally surrendered power to the acclaimed winner of last year’s presidential elections Mr Alasane Ouattara.

According to Radio New Zealand, the erstwhile president is already trying to negotiate with the UN to guarantee his protection.

Forces loyal to Alasane Ouattara have already taken over the key positions in the national capital Abidjan, including the president’s residence. The incumbent is now negotiating for a deal because his defense has now been overwhelmed.

The UN, AU and ECOWAS have all been calling on Gbagbo to cede power since it was clear he lost the election but all pleas fell on deaf ears. He is now considering that option when a lot of innocent souls have been sent to their early graves.

This still brings to question the kind of leadership Africans have had to grapple with for centuries. No one wants to accept defeat and no one wants to peacefully vacate his position. Some even see the seat of governance as their birthright and so would do anything humanly possible to cling to the reins of power.

Surprisingly, all through this period of political upheaval in Cote D’ivoire, ECOWAS and The African Union watched helplessly and failed to do anything tangible to curb the rate of violence and bloodshed that erupted after the elections. They kept buying to negotiate Gbagbo’s exit.

Even when at a time it seemed that Laurent Gbagbo’s loyalists would override the opposition, the ECOMOG troop stationed in the country waited endlessly to receive order from the powers that be in order to use military force to flush out the incumbent who refused to be a good loser.

It however took the intervention of the French troops to box Gbagbo into surrender. When would these regional powers learn to handle situations or intervene at the nick of time to avert the killing of unarmed innocent civilians?

The triumph of Outtara’s men over Lauraent Gbagbo and his loyalists is victory for the masses in Africa and indeed victory for democracy. It should send a warning signal to other leaders that there would always be people who are ready to defend democracy with the last drop of their blood.

Gbagbo has now understood that those who live in a glass house should not be the first to cast a stone. He started by carrying arms: he should understand that “he who lives by the sword dies by the sword”. Now that he has wasted so many innocent lives, he should not be thinking of how to preserve his. Those lives he wasted were as important as his.

 

Laurent Gbagbo Surrenders

By Efoghor Joseph Ezie

The embattled Ivorian president Laurent Gbagbo has finally surrendered power to the acclaimed winner of last year’s presidential elections Mr Alasane Ouattara.

According to Radio New Zealand, the erstwhile president is already trying to negotiate with the UN to guarantee his protection.

Forces loyal to Alasane Ouattara have already taken over the key positions in the national capital Abidjan, including the president’s residence. The incumbent is now negotiating for a deal because his defense has now been overwhelmed.

The UN, AU and ECOWAS have all been calling on Gbagbo to cede power since it was clear he lost the election but all pleas fell on deaf ears. He is now considering that option when a lot of innocent souls have been sent to their early graves.

This still brings to question the kind of leadership Africans have had to grapple with for centuries. No one wants to accept defeat and no one wants to peacefully vacate his position. Some even see the seat of governance as their birthright and so would do anything humanly possible to cling to the reins of power.

Surprisingly, all through this period of political upheaval in Cote D’ivoire, ECOWAS and The African Union watched helplessly and failed to do anything tangible to curb the rate of violence and bloodshed that erupted after the elections. They kept buying to negotiate Gbagbo’s exit.

Even when at a time it seemed that Laurent Gbagbo’s loyalists would override the opposition, the ECOMOG troop stationed in the country waited endlessly to receive order from the powers that be in order to use military force to flush out the incumbent who refused to be a good loser.

It however took the intervention of the French troops to box Gbagbo into surrender. When would these regional powers learn to handle situations or intervene at the nick of time to avert the killing of unarmed innocent civilians?

The triumph of Outtara’s men over Lauraent Gbagbo and his loyalists is victory for the masses in Africa and indeed victory for democracy. It should send a warning signal to other leaders that there would always be people who are ready to defend democracy with the last drop of their blood.

Gbagbo has now understood that those who live in a glass house should not be the first to cast a stone. He started by carrying arms: he should understand that “he who lives by the sword dies by the sword”. Now that he has wasted so many innocent lives, he should not be thinking of how to preserve his. Those lives he wasted were as important as his.

Welcome, Black Mayors


AT the heels of the Global Conference of Black Nationalities held in Osogbo, Osun State capital in late August last year, the World Conference of Mayors was scheduled to hold the same year between December 2 and 8. Fortunately for Osun State and its people; and unfortunately for the erstwhile ‘governor’; Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola and his cohorts, the summit was not destined to see the light of day as scheduled. This was due to the change in government which the state witnessed, courtesy of justice upheld through the judgment delivered by the Court of Appeal which sat in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital on Friday, November 26, 2010.
Earlier, precisely since April 2007, the people of Osun State, known then by the totem State of the Living Spring, had been held hostage by the instrumentalities of the devilish cabal, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), which stole the mandate of the people in an ignoble and conspiratorial fashion and plundered them as if it would be with eternal impunity. As it were, the ongoing Conference of Black Mayors would have been a disgrace to the entire black race and rape on democracy if it had held under the illegitimate Oyinlola administration. Administration at the grassroots across the supposed host-state was then a foisted one which was imposed on the people of the state in a most fraudulent and degrading manner. If the conference had held under the sacked administration, it would have passed in history as the most brazen, shameless and conscienceless convergence of our time, where the whole world was gathered to watch a show of mockery and utmost
display of ludicrous lucre. More so, when the government in vogue at that time had as its major motive, diversion of all available public funds into coffers of its principal functionaries.
The last Global Conference of Black Nationalities which has been cited above was a proof of the fact that the Oyinlola administration had no concrete motive, purpose or well-intentioned vision in mind for hosting these global, elaborate and well-enriched conferences, other than self-enrichment and further dragging of the populace, whose funds were squandered on them, into the murky waters of poverty, sloth, penury and squalor. The fact that providence held the ongoing conference in wait till now; is clear affirmation of the Biblical keeping the best wine for the latter end. If no concrete communiqué or resolute action of policy which could impact the lives of the citizenry positively followed that conference of black nationalities of last year; this current Summit of Mayors is clearly an improvement which would show to the whole world the clear difference between a purposeless government and a people-friendly, purposeful one. The latter one, the like of
the government of the day in Osun State, is better by far.
As black mayors from Africa and Africa in the Diaspora are converged on Osogbo to rub minds on how to move governance at the grassroots ahead in our parts, we are glad that the governing structure that subsists today at the local government level is democratic, representative and reflective of the people’s collective choice and will. In other words, Osun State has conformed to the real standards and ideals of democracy – the way it is practised in societies where sanity and rectitude are the order of the day. Just during the penultimate week, new caretaker committees were sworn-in for the thirty local government council areas in the state and the Ife East Area Office. These committees, it is expected, would be saddled with the responsibility of holding the fort of governance at that level, pending the forthcoming general elections. If justice had not prevailed through the verdicts of the appellate court aforementioned; and that of the Supreme Court
which followed barely a month after November 26, 2010, our State would have witnessed another charade in the name of local government elections on December 18, 2010. The Supreme Court verdict of December 17, which sacked the illegitimate structure which bestrode our councils, was a full consummation of riddance to bad rubbish.
The fact that the ongoing World Conference of Black Mayors was retained by the present administration of Engineer Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola is a pointer to the intrinsic advantages inherent in the summit. Like any other human arrangement, it is not usually the summit that is bad in itself. But if the intent, motive and impetus are faulty, then the entire summit would be rubbished and rendered useless in its entirety. The emergence of the present administration has saved the day for us. So what we have today is a convergence of black local government/grassroots administrators drawn from all over the world to explore means and ways of moving grassroots governance in our state forward, enabling our people to live abundant and fulfilled lives thereby.
In this special edition, OSUN DEFENDER Magazine is all-out to cast a broad-spectrum glance at the World Conference of Black Mayors; in terms of its origin, vision, sponsors and/or co-sponsors, aspects of focus of the summit, thrust of activities at the summit, among others, with the ultimate view of keeping citizens abreast of events, activities and the whole essence of the Conference. At the end of this edition, no one would be left in doubt as to the essence and integral value of the Conference. It is also hoped that at the end of the summit, the communiqué and resolutions passed would be made available as a way of improving lives at the grassroots in Osun State in particular and Nigeria and Africa in general.
The rescheduled World Conference of Black Mayors, holding in Osogbo from Friday, February 25 to Thursday, March 3, 2011 will gather leaders at the local government level and its equivalents throughout Africa and the African Diaspora. The primary focus will be restoring, strengthening and uplifting working relationships and collaborations among the various participating leaders. Through the seven areas of focus which are Trust, Training, Trade, Treasury, Twin Cities, Technology and Tourism; the conference is hoped to fashion out a formidable magic wand with which dramatic transformation could be brought to bear on grassroots administration and its dividends to our people in general.
As Osogbo, the capital city of Osun State of Nigeria plays host to this epoch-making event, the people fondly welcome the entire world into their midst in their characteristic receptive warmth and accommodating spirit. At the background of this is what we parade with pride, in terms of the rich cultural heritage of the black race. Immense proportions of this cultural heritage are eloquently demonstrated in all areas of our lives. Our cultural heritage finds expression in our arts, literature, music and other social activities. It is marvelous having a convergence of our people – members of our great race scattered all over the world. It is impressive and gratifying having them around to savour the beauty of our well-acclaimed cultural inheritance.

Other speakers include: His Royal Highness, Oba Rasheed Olabomi, Odundun iv, the Aragbiji of Iragbiji; President, Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON); Professor A.K. Noah; Professor Banji Fajonyomi; Professor Charles Dokuboh; Professor C.N. Nwoke; Professor Dayo Akinmoladun; Profesor Foluso Okunmadewa; Professor Iyabo Oloyede; Professor Omolara Orafidiya (Panel Chair); Professor R. Olorede (Panel Chiar); Professor S.V. Kobiowu; Professor T.O. Adewole; Professor Y.K. Yusuf (Panel Chiar); Professor J. Fawole, Professor M.O. Ologunde; Professor O.O. Oladele; Professor Solomon Akinboye; Professor Temi Ologunorisa (Panel Chair); Professor Wole Ogundele; Dr. A T. Akande; Dr. Dayo I. Akintayo; Dr. Akhpe Ighodalo; Dr. Asekun Olarinmoye; Dr. Ayo Omotara; Dr. Bayo Afolabi; Dr. Bosun Awoyemi; and Dr. C.O. Akanbi.
Others are Dr. Friady Nchuchuwe; Dr. M.O. Shuaib; Dr. Suraj Ogunyemi; Dr. T.J. Kehinde; Dr. Adeola Faleye; Dr. Anthony Oladoyin; Dr. Dhikr Yagboyaju; Dr. Emma Omisore; Dr. Jones Oluwole Aluko; Dr. K.T. Oladepo; Dr. Olalekan Aransi; Dr. Olu Akomolede; Dr. Orafidiya; Dr. R. Aderinoye; Dr. S.G. Odewumi; Dr. Tunde Sanni; Dr. Tunji Olagunju; Dr. Fayenuwo O,; Engineer Nurudeen Adeagbo; Father Godfrey Nzamujo?; Mallam Adamu Abdullah; Mr Bamidele Salam; Mr. Roland Ogidan; Mr S.O Olaluwoye; Mr. Supo Asaolu; Mr. Bisi Opejin; Mr. Dipo Oguntola; Mrs. Bunmi Salami; and Mrs. A.O. Ologunde.

Osun State Amidst Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON)
There are 774 local government councils in Nigeria. Out of this, Osun State has thirty (30) local government councils, which shall be listed in another segment of this report. Outside this figure, Osun State has one additional area council – Ife East Area Office. Before we showcase the councils and their helmsmen as at today, OSUN DEFENDER Magazine shall first present the profiles of two key national executive members of the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON).

Akhabue, Felix (Honourable), National President, ALGON BORN in Ekpoma, Akhabue Felix Ehiguese Godsent is the Executive Chairman of Esan West Local Government Area of Edo State. He had his primary and secondary education in Ekpoma. He then proceeded to the Edo State University where he read Accounting; he then secured a master’s degree in Business Administration (MBA). He holds a doctorate degree in Administration from the Madonna University, Okija, and Anambra State. He is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN); a corporate fellow of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries/Administrators, and an Associate Member of the Institute of Chartered Economists of Nigeria. Honourable Akhabue has held several positions including Managing Director/CEO of several companies; Executive Member, United Cities and Local Governments Africa; National Publicity Secretary, ALGON; Chairman, ALGON, Edo State, and Executive Chairman, Esan West Local
Government, Ekpoma.

Udensi, C.U, Chief C.U Udensi is the Secretary, Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON). He is also the MD/CEO of Sheiks & Bishops, an IT Consultancy Company formed in 1994 to provide proactive cutting edge technological services in matters of security aimed at making security consciousness a culture.

AS at the time of filing this report, Osun State Chapter of ALGON is yet to have its executive. This is because the Caretaker Committees in charge of the thirty (30) local government councils in the state; with the Ife West Area Office are newly inaugurated; following the sack of the last impostor chairmen on December 17, 2010 by the Supreme Court sitting in Abuja. However OSUN DEFENDER Magazine shall here present the names of the new caretaker chairmen who recently emerged at the helm of affairs at these grassroots units of administration:

THE membership of the Local Organizing Committee (LOC) of the World Summit of Mayors’ Conference 2011 is made up of ten (10) men and women who are technocrats and professionals of repute in their various chosen fields of endeavour. The chairman of the LOC, who doubles as Chairman of Programme Planning Committee is Professor Siyan Oyeweso. Oyeweso is a professor of History; Provost, College of Humanities and Culture, and Chairman, Committee of Provosts, Deans and Directors, Osun State University, Osogbo, Nigeria. The Secretary of the LOC is Mr. Diran Fashesin. A Master of Science Degree holder in Agricultural Economics from the University of Ibadan, Mr Amos Oladiran Fashesin belongs to the Administrative Officer cadre in the Osun State Civil Service, where he is currently the Director, Monitoring and Evaluation.

Other members include Dr. Olukoya Ogen, an Associate Professor of History and Head, Department of History and International Studies, Osun State University, Osogbo; Dr. R.F. Bestman, who teaches in the Department of Foreign Languages, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria; Dr. Senayon Olaoluwa, a doctorate degree holder from the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa and currently a teacher of Postcolonial Literature and Cultural Studies in the Department of Languages and Linguistics of the Osun State University, Ikire Campus; and Mr. Wole Ajewole, who is the Assistant Secretary of the LOC. Ajewole graduated with Bachelor of Arts (B.A) Honours in English Studies from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife in 1997 and is at present Senior Administrative Officer in Osun State Civil Service working in the Office of the Chief Private Secretary to the Governor of Osun State.

The LOC further comprises as members Mr. Bamidele Akinola, a Bachelor of Arts (B.A) Honours degree holder from the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife) in 1979 and a Post-Graduate Diploma in Public Administration from the same university in 1990. He is currently the Permanent Secretary for Civil Service in Osun State. Mr. Moronkola Olarewaju Adetunmbi combines his membership with Head, Protocols Desk of the LOC. He is Permanent Secretary. Cabinet, Protocol and Government House in Osun State.

Mr. Samson Adeyeye Ayanwole is the Permanent Secretary, Bureau of Policy Co-ordination in the office of the Governor in Osun State. A seasoned administrator and bureaucrat, Mr. Ayanwole holds a Bachelor of education (B.Ed.) and a Master of Public Administration (MPA) from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria. Last but not the least is Mr. Oni Olawale, who is a Media Technology scholar and a doctoral candidate of the Department of Communication and Language Arts, University of Ibadan. He teaches Communication Studies at the Department of Languages and Linguistics of the Osun State University, Nigeria.
The Programme Planning Committee for the World Summit of Mayors’ Conference 2011 comprises Eight (8) members, five of who overlap as members of the LOC. The membership of the Programme Planning Committee comprises Professor Siyan Oyeweso (Chairman) Dr. Olukoya Ogen, Dr. Senayon Olaoluwa (Secretary), Mr. Olawale Oni (Member); and Dr. Uzoma Chukwu (member). Others include Dr. Rotimi Fasan (Member); Mr. Oluwole Ajewole (member); and Dr. Adenike Akinjobi (member).
With these able, competent and highly-informed men and woman at the saddle of affairs concerning the World Summit of Mayors’ Conference 2011, holding in Osogbo, the Osun State Capital, it is hoped that resolutions passed at the conference shall go a long way in moving our dear state to the next level, most especially, in the area of grassroots governance, democracy and good governance.

Programme Discussants
Discussants at the Conference cut across various nations, sub-regions, continents and climes. The expected discussants are great men and women who have distinguished themselves in various walks of life. Some are macroeconomists, politicians, presidents and statesmen; while others are private or public professionals of international renown. The list below showcases these discussants in a way that gives utmost regard to economy of space and time:

1. Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan (GCFR), President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Federal Republic of Nigeria.
2. Architect Mohammed Namadi Sambo (GCON), Vice-President, Federal Republic of Nigeria.
3. General Yakubu “Jack” Dan-Yumma Gowon (rtd.) Former Military Head of State, Federal Republic of Nigeria.
4. General Olusegun Obasanjo (rtd.) Former President, Federal Republic of Nigeria.
5. Ambassador Adefuye Nigeria’s Ambassador to Jamaica
6. Ban Ki- Moon Current Secretary-General, United Nations
7. His Excellency Mr. Jean Ping, President, 59th Session of the United Nations General Assembly; Ministre d’Etat, la Francophone of the Gabonese Republic.
8. Harriet Fulbright, Founder and President, J. William & Harriet Fulbright Centre (NGO).
9. Collin Luther Powell, American statesman and Retired Four-Star General in the United States Army. 65th United States Secretary of State (2001-2005).
10. Jesse Louis Jackson, American Civil Rights Activist and Baptist Minister.
11. Vanessa R. Williams Executive Director of the National Conference of Black Mayors (NCBM).
12. Mayor Robert L. Browser, 12th Mayor of the City of East Orange
13. Mayor Ronald K. Davis, Baptist Deacon; Former Mayor of the City of Prichard Alabama, South America; former Interim President, World Conference of Mayors and Board Member of the National Conference of Black Mayors.
14. Michael Anthony Battle, Sr. United States Ambassador to the African Union, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; Former President of the International Theological Centre in Atlanta Georgia.
15. Peter Okebukola (OFR) D.Sc. Professor of Science Education Former Executive Secretary of National Universities Commission (NUC), Former President of Science Teachers’ Association of Nigeria (STAN).
16. Professor Sola Akinrinade Professor of History, Political Science and International Relations; Former Chairman, Committee of Deans, and Dean, Faculty of Arts, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife; Vice-Chancellor, Osun State University, Osogbo.
17. Professor A.G. Adebayo, Professor of History, Kennesaw University; former visiting Professor, New York University, Canada (1991-92), former Assistant Director of international programmes, Kennesaw State University (1995-1997).
18. Professor Sidi Osho, Vice –Chancellor, Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti.
19. Ambassador Segun Olusola, fulfilled Broadcaster, Television Producer and creator of the hugely-popular now-rested television series, “The Village Headmaster”; former Ambassador (1987); Reference Authority in matters bordering on Television programmes and arts and culture in Nigeria as well as peace advocate on the African continent.
20. Femi Osofisan, Professor of Drama since 1985; playwright, poet, essayist; Fellow of Interweaving Performance Cultures, International Research Centre, Freie University Berlin, Germany.

Others include the following: Profesor Siyan Oyeweso; Chief Ifayemi Elebuibon; Professor (Mrs.) Adenike Oyinlola Osofisan; Professor Ademola O. Dasylva; Dr. Yemi Farounbi; Olatunde Michael Oni; Ayobami Ojebode; Dr. Fayonyomi; Dr. Fatile J. Olofemi; Oluwakemi Abiodun Adesina; Dr. Rafiu Olatoye; Dr. Noah Echa Attah; Dr. Olufunmilade Omisanjo; Jendele Hungbo, Dr. Anthony I. Odigwe, Nchuchuwe Friday Francis; Dr. Adetunji Lawrence Kehinde; Dr Ogaga Okuyade; Dr. Osita Ezeliaora; Dr. Henry Hunjo; Dr. Oyeniyi Okumoye; Dr. Peju Layiwola; Professor Sophie Oluwole; Tunji Azeez; Oni Olawale; Professor Yemi Kayode Adedeji; Chibuzor N. Nwoke; Tunde Adegbola; Dr. Akhpe Igbodalor.

OSUN DEFENDER Magazine wishes them a peaceful tenure of office, filled with life-touching achievements and people-oriented, monumental accomplishments. We also wish them and their counterparts across the globe – the delegates to the ongoing conference of mayors, peaceful deliberations which shall move us all to the next, higher pedestal of democracy and good governance.

About Osun State: Ipinle Omoluabi
Osun State got her name from the Yoruba goddess of water worshipped in some parts of South West Nigeria. The state was carved out of the old Oyo State on August 27, 1991. Osun State formerly had its totem as the State of the Living Spring, but events since the monumental and landmark emergence of Ogbeni Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola as helmsman on November 26, 2010 have culminated in the metamorphosis and rebranding of the slate on Sunday, February 6, 2011 as Ipinle Omoluabi, the literary translation of which is the State of the Gentlemanly People. Osun State covers an area of approximately 14, 875 square kilometres, lies between longitude 04 00? E and 05 05? E; and latitude 05 558? And 08 07?; and is bounded by Kwara State in the North, Ekiti and Ondo States in the East, Oyo State in the West, and Ogun State in the South. The state is peopled entirely by the Yoruba-speaking people of several sub-ethnic groups, namely the Ifes, the Ijesas, the Oyos, the Igbominas and the Ibolos. The 1991 National Population Census
put the population of the State at 2.2 million. There are more than 200 towns, villages and settlements in the state. Results of the 2006 National Population Census revealed that the state’s population had increased almost by double, as the figure was put at 3,423,535. With some of the major towns including Osogbo, Ile-Ife, Ilesa, Ikirun, Iwo, Ede, Ila-Orangun and Ikire; others that are fairly large are Ipetumodu, Ejigbo, Ilobu, Gbongan, Inisa, Ijebu-Ijesa, Ipetu-Ijesa, Okuku, Iree, Ifon-Osun, Iragbiji, and etcetera.
The political delineation of the state goes thus: 3 Senatorial Districts, 9 Federal Constituencies and 26 State Constituencies. The State has 30 local government councils and one area office that comprise more than 300 wards. The structure of local government administration and grassroots governance is presented in the table below.
Having specified the indigenous sub-ethnic groups of the state so succinctly, non-indigenes from all parts of Nigeria and foreigners reside in the state, living together in harmony. Yoruba and English are languages of the people for official and business transactions. Osun State is endowed with largely literate and articulate populace, who constitute a virile and productive workforce.
Traditionally, the people engage in agriculture and product sufficient food and cash crops for domestic consumption (subsistence) and as inputs for agro-allied industries and for export. Reasonable segments of the populace are also traders and artisans. Other occupations of the people include hand weavings, mat making, dyeing, soap making, wood carving, among others.
The people of Osun State have a rich cultural heritage which is eloquently demonstrated in all areas of their lives. Their cultural heritage finds expression in their arts, literature, music and other social activities. It is marvelous being among the people and savouring the beauty of their well-acclaimed cultural inheritance.
The physical environment is quite auspicious as there are roughly 8 to 9 months of rainfall annually, with dry harmattan spell of about 3 months. This annual variation in climatic elements, coupled with abundant fertile soil favour the growth of a number of food crops, including vegetables, yam, orange, banana, plantain, as well as cash crops like cassava, coca, rice, kolanut, and palm trees, etcetera. There is expanse of grassland scattered across the state, which favour animal husbandry.
The festivals of the people include Olojo Festival in Ile-Ife; Iwude Festival in Ijesaland; Orisa Nla or Orisa Ogiyan in Ejigbo; Odun Sango in Ede; Ipedi Festival, also in Ede; Oke-Iragbiji Festival in Iragbiji; Egungun festivals across the state; and the global Osun Osogbo Festival in Osogbo.
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WHAT THE SUMMIT IS ALL ABOUT

Except the purpose of anything, idea or concept is known and exposed, its abuse is inevitable, OSUN DEFENDER Magazine finds it imperative to centre attention to the summit in question and all about it, in terms of focus, vision, mission, organisation and events featuring at the programme.
As pointed out earlier, the summit is intended to gather local government leaders throughout Africa and the African Diaspora; with the primary focus of restoring, strengthening and uplifting working relationships and collaborations among the various participating leaders. These activities shall be carried out based on seven areas of focus; also afore-mentioned, which are Trust, Training, Trade, Treasury, Twin Cities, Technology and Tourism.
The vision of the summit hinges on the foundational belief that the unified work on the development challenges facing cities on the global landscape is essential to the improvement and the well-being of the collective.
The conference sessions, it is anticipated, will provide an opportunity to enhance the individual capacities of local governments to discuss and develop strategies to solve universal problems such as:
•Housing
•Education
•Health Care
•Gender Equality
•Agricultural Development
•Economic Development
•Tourism
•Trade
•Good Governance
•Environmental Protection
•Clean Water and Air
•Justice and Public Safety.

Prior to the evolution and emergence of this Conference, similar ones had been held, which now serve as model and co-sponsors to the on-going Conference holding in the Osun State Capital of Osogbo. The National Conference of Black Mayors Inc. (NCBM) is a 36-year old 50 (c) (3) nonprofit, nonpolitical, nonpartisan organisation. NCBM serves more than 656 African American mayors throughout the United States of America.
The National Conference of Black Mayors is committed to enhancing the executive management capacity of its members for the purpose of governing viable municipalities. NCBM’s Mission is accomplished by:

•Providing technical and management assistance;
•Articulating the membership’s position on national public policy and legislation;
•Serving as a clearing house on information pertinent to municipal development; and
•Conducting educational forums for the exchange of ideas.

The current President of National Conference of Black Mayors (NCBM) is Mayor Robert L. Browser, one of the discussants at the ongoing Conference.

THE World Conference of Mayors, Inc. (WCM), the
sister organisation of NCBM was founded in
1984 as a nonprofit, nonpolitical international network of municipal associations throughout Africa, Europe, Asia, the Caribbean and the United States.
The World Conference of Mayors aims to stimulate positive and constructive relations between mayors and local public officials internationally, based on interlocking interests and concerns. WCM’S mission is accomplished by:

•Disseminating current data to enhance local government capacity;
•Supporting sister city relationships and strategic planning;
•Promoting public policies that strengthen international inter-governmental frameworks;
•Conducting educational forums for the exchange of ideas.
The current President of World Conference of Black Mayors (WCBM) is Mayor Ronald K. Davis, one of the speakers at the ongoing conference.

Prior to its rescheduling, the World Conference of Black Mayors (WCBM) was slated to hold in Osogbo, Osun State from Thursday December 2 to Wednesday, December 8, 2010. According to the programme released by the Local Organizing Committee, the first day was to centre on Technology; Day 2 had its focus on Trade and Treasury; Day 3 was devoted to Tourism; Day 4 on Twin Cities Development; Day 5 on Training; Day 6 on Trust; while Day 7 was to be the closing day. Available information at the disposal of OSUN DEFENDER Magazine revealed that this programme is most likely to be adopted to fit into the new time limit, spanning from February 25 to March 3, 2011.
Highlights of events packaged into the programme include reception and recording (registration) of delegates, opening ceremonies, welcome luncheon, plenary sessions, working sessions, country reports, state reception, heritage ball and Valiant Award Ceremony, tourism, cultural concerts, excursions, roundtable conferences and buzz sessions. Others include dinner, community meetings, closing reception, business meetings, among others.
The Chairman of the occasion is the former Governor of Lagos State, His Excellency, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu; while the academic icon and Nobel Laureate in Literature, Professor Wole Soyinka is the presenter of the Keynote Address at the occasion.

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About The Chief Host

THE Chief Host of the summit is none else than the current Governor of Osun State, Nigeria, Engineer Rauf Aregbesola. He had his primary and secondary education in Ondo State, and later attended the Polytechnic, Ibadan where he studied Mechanical Engineering and graduated in 1980. While he was at the Polytechnic, his knack for politics manifested as he was elected Speaker of the Students’ Parliament in the 1977/78 session. He was also the president of the Black Nationalist Movement between 1978 and 1980. An associate member of the American Institute of Industrial Engineers (AIIE), member of the Nigerian Institute of Management (NIM), and a Fellow of Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), Nigerian Association of Technological Engineers (NATE), and Certified Marketing Communications Institute of Nigeria (CMCIN).
His wealth of experience garnered through dint of hard work cuts through the public and private sectors, such as the Nigerian External Telecommunications now renamed Nigerian Telecommunications Ltd and Lagos Airport Hotel before establishing his own Engineering Services Company, Aurora Nigeria Limited in 1986. The Company had since its establishment handled numerous major projects for both government and private organisations in most states of the federation. In June 1990, he became an elected delegate to the Social Democratic Party inaugural local government area congress. In July of the same year, he was also a delegate to the party’s first National Convention in Abuja. Engineer Aregbesola as a pro-democracy and human rights activist, was a major participant in the demilitarization and pro-democracy struggles of the 1990s.
He is equally active in community associations, especially in Alimosho, his base, where he remains the Secretary to the LGA’s Elders’ Forum to date. Aregbesola has continued to confound all with the strength of his commitment to selfless service. His diligence, sincerity and tirelessness in the administration of the vast Ministry of Works and Infrastructure as well as supervision of the Public Works Corporation and State Electricity Board have been acknowledged as being responsible for the outstanding success that has been recorded by the present Lagos State administration, especially in road rehabilitation/maintenance and street lighting. After three and half years of legal battle for the control of Osun State, the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) candidate, Engineer Rauf Aregbesola was declared as the winner of the 2007 gubernatorial election in Osun State by the Court of Appeal sitting in Ibadan, Oyo State.

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Evolution Of Current Local Government Structure In Nigeria

FFOLLOWING the Local Government Reforms of 1976, a new landmark was reached in grassroots administration in Nigeria. Before those reforms, what existed were imprints of district councils left behind by the British colonial administrators, who had governed the present-day entity called Nigeria prior to her attaining independence on October 1, 1960. In the said year 1976, Nigeria also took a leap forward, shedding off her 12-state status attained under the Gowon administration in 1967 to become a 19-state nation. Sequel to the foregoing, it could be stated unequivocally that Nigeria’s first remarkable, meaningful and conscious effort at modern, well-defined and well-structured grassroots administration, which was destined to last till date, dated to 1976.
Thanks to the panel headed by Justice Ayo Irikefe which saw to those creations. It was this same panel which saw to these creations that began the proposal of getting the nation’s Federal Capital to the centre of the country. This has been achieved today.
Considering the foregoing, the auspicious place of grassroots governance, visible in local government councils in Nigeria cannot be undermined. Also, local government council administration is of a long antecedent in Nigeria. Today, of the three tiers of government, the one that is most influential and which presence is most pervasive is the local government. This is mostly due to the fact that it is the government that is closest to the people.
By this obvious impact of local government councils as a form of grassroots administration, much credence has been lent to it by successive administrations, both military and civilian, in Nigeria all along. What we have on ground today is a product of evolution, which still yearns for greater improvement. This is more so when the abyss of retrogression and dysfunction into which this grassroots administration has been plunged is taken into account.
According to the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (Promulgation) Decree of 1989, Local Government areas and their councils are a veritable instrument to good governance. In Paragraphs (Sub-sections) 283 to 285 to Part 1 of Chapter VIII of that blueprint, issues bordering on the establishment of Local Government Councils are provided for as follows:

LOCAL GOVERNMENT COUNCILS
A – Establishment of local government Council 283 –

(1) There shall be a Local Government council for each Local Government Area of the Federation;
(2) Local Government Council shall stand dissolved at the expiration of a period of 3 years commencing from the date of the first sitting of the council.

Division into wards and boundaries thereof 284-

(I) Subject to the provisions of this constitution, the National Electoral Commission shall divide each Local Government Council Area into such number of wards, not being less than 10 or more than 20, as the circumstances of each Local Government Area may require;
(2) The boundaries of each ward shall be such that the number of inhabitants thereof is as nearly equal to the population quota as is reasonably practicable.

Periodical review of wards 285. The National Electoral Commission shall review the division of every Local Government Area into wards at intervals of not less than 10 years and may alter such wards in accordance with the provision of section 284 of this constitution to such extent as it may consider desirable in the light of the review.

Why then are local governments created? Better put, what roles or functions are expected of a local government in Nigeria? One best way of providing clues to these questions is to search records, especially for information documented in the era of greater degree of sanity; when the system was well-functioning as expected. In the Fourth Schedule of the same 1989 Constitution, the functions of a Local Government are given as follow under section 7:
Fourth Schedule
Part 1
Functions of a Local Government
Section 7
Functions of local government council are as follows:
(a) the formulation of economic planning and development schemes for the Local Government Area;
(b) collection of rates, radio and television licenses;
(c) establishment and maintenance of cemeteries, burial grounds and homes of the destitute or infirm;
(d) licensing of bicycles, trucks (other than mechanically propelled trucks), canoes, wheel barrows and carts;
(e) establishment, maintenance and regulation of slaughter houses, slaughter slabs, markets, motor parks and public conveniences;
(f) construction and maintenance of roads, streets, street lightings drains, parks, gardens, open spaces or such public facilities as may be prescribed from time to time by the House of Assembly of a state;
(g) naming of roads and streets and numbering of houses;
(h) provision and maintenance of public conveniences, sewage and refuse disposal;
(i)registration of all births, deaths and marriages;
(j) assessment of privately owned houses or tenements for the purpose of levying such rates as may be prescribed by the House of Assembly of a state;
(k) control and regulation of –
(i) out-door advertising and hoarding,
(ii) movement and keeping of pets of all descriptions,
(iii) shops and kiosks,
(iv) restaurants, bakeries and other places for sale of food to the public,
(v) laundries, and
(vi) licensing, regulation and control of the sale of liquor.

2. The functions of a Local Government shall include participation of such local government in the government of a state as respects the following matters, namely –
(a) the provision and maintenance of primary, adult and vocational education;
(b) the development of agriculture and natural resources, other than the exploration of minerals;
(c) the provision and maintenance of health services, and
(d) such other functions as may be conferred upon a Local Government by the House of Assembly of the state.

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FEDERALISM AT WORK

“…. Those portions of Self-Government for which they are best qualified…. Little Republics…” -Thomas Jefferson

THE federal entity created by the constitution is by far the dominant feature of the American governmental system. But the system itself is in reality a mosaic, composed of thousands of smaller units –building blocks which together make up the whole. There are 50 state governments plus the government of the District of Columbia, and further down the ladder are still smaller units that govern counties, cities, towns and villages.
The multiplicity of governmental units is best understood in terms of the evolution of the United States. The federal system, it has been seen, was the last step in an evolutionary process. Prior to the constitution, there were the governments of the separate colonies (later states) and prior to these, the governments of counties and smaller units. One of the first tasks accomplished by the early English settlers was the creation of governmental units for the tiny settlements they established along the Atlantic coast. Even before the pilgrims disembarked from their ship in 1620, they formulated the Mayflower Compact, the first written American constitution. And as the new nation pushed westwards, each frontier outpost created its own government to manage its affairs.
The drafters of the U.S. Constitution left this multilayered governmental system untouched. While they made the national structure supreme, they wisely recognised the need for a series of governments more directly in contact with the people and more keenly attuned to their needs. Thus, certain functions-such as defense, currency regulation and foreign relations – could only be managed by a strong centralized government. But others such as sanitation, education and local transportation – belong mainly to local jurisdictions.

BEFORE their independence, colonies were governed separately by the British Crown. In the early years of the republic, prior to the adoption of the constitution, each state was virtually an autonomous unit. The delegates to the Constitutional Convention sought a stronger, more viable federal union, but they were also intact on safeguarding the rights of the states.
In general, matters that lie entirely within state borders are the exclusive concern of state governments. These include internal communications, regulations relating to property, industry, business and public utilities, the state criminal code; and working conditions within the state. Within this context, the federal government requires that state governments must be democratic in form and that they adopt no laws which contradict or violate the federal constitution or the laws and treaties of the United States.
There are, of course, many areas of overlap between state and federal jurisdictions. Particularly in recent years, the federal government has assumed ever-broadening responsibility in such matters as health, education, welfare, transportation, and housing and urban development. But where the federal government exercises such responsibility in the states, programs are usually adopted on the basis of the cooperation between the two levels of government, rather than as an imposition from above.
Like the national government, state governments have three branches: legislative, executive and judicial; and these are roughly equivalent in function and scope to their national counterparts. The chief executive of a state is the governor, elected by popular vote, typically for four-year term (although in a few states the term is two years). Except for Nebraska, which has a single legislative body, all states have a bicameral legislature, with the upper house usually called the Senate and the lower house the House of Representatives, House of Delegates or the General Assembly. In most cases, senators serve four-year terms and members of the lower house serve two-year terms.
The constitutions of the various states differ in some details but generally follow a pattern similar to that of the federal constitution, including a statement of the rights of the people and a plan for organizing the government. On such matters as conditions governing the operation of businesses, banks, public utilities and charitable institutions, state constitutions are often more detailed and explicit than the federal one. Each state constitution, however, provides that the final authority belongs to the people, and sets certain standards and principles as the foundation of government.

ONCE predominantly rural, the United States is today a highly urbanized country, and more than three-quarters of its citizens now live in towns, large cities or the suburbs. This statistic makes city governments critically important in the overall pattern of American government. To a greater extent than on the federal or state level, the city directly serves the needs of the people, providing everything from police and fire protection to sanitary codes, health regulations, education, public transportation and housing.
The business of running America’s major cities is enormously complex. Only seven states of the union, for example, have populations larger than that of New York City. It is often said that, next to the presidency, the most difficult executive position in the country is that of mayor of New York.
City governments are chartered by states, and their charters detail the objectives and powers of the municipal government. But in many respects the cities function independently of the states. For most big cities, however, cooperation with both state and federal organisations is essential to meeting the needs of their residents.
Types of city governments vary widely across the nation. However, almost all have some kind of central council, elected by the voters, and an executive officer, assisted by various departmental heads, to manage the city affairs.
There are three general types of city government: the mayor–council, the commission and the city manager. These are the pure forms; many cities have developed a combination of two or three of them.

•MAYOR-COUNCIL: This is the oldest form of city government in the United States and, until the beginning of this century, was used by nearly all American cities. Its structure is similar to that of the state and national governments, with an elected mayor as chief of the executive branch, and an elected council representing the various neighborhoods, forming the legislative branch. The mayor appoints heads of city departments and other officials, sometimes with the approval of the council. He has the power of veto over city ordinances and frequently is responsible for preparing the city’s budget. The council passes ordinances, the laws of the city, set the tax rate on property and apportions money among the various city departments.
•THE COMMISSION: This combines both the legislative and executive functions in one group of officials, usually three and more in number, elected city-wide. Each commissioner supervises the work of one or more city departments. One is named chairman of the body and is often called the mayor although the power is equivalent to that of his fellow commissioners.
•THE CITY MANAGER: The city manager is a response to the increasing complexity of urban problems, which require management expertise not often possessed by elected public officials. The answer has been to entrust most of the executive powers, including law enforcement and provision of services, to a highly trained and experienced professional city manager.

The city manager plan has been adopted by a growing number of cities. Under this plan, a small elected council makes the city ordinances and sets policy, but hires a paid administrator, also called a city manager, to carry out its decisions. The manager draws up the city budget and supervises most of the departments. Usually, there is no set term; the manager serves as long as the council is satisfied with his or her work.
The county is a subdivision of the state, usually but not always contained two or more townships and several villages. New York City is so large that it is divided into five separate boroughs, each a county in its own right. The Bronx, Manhattan, Brooklyn Queens and state Island. On the other hand, Arlington County, Virginia, just across the Potomac River from Washington D.C, is both an urbanized and suburban area, governed by a unitary county administration.
In most counties, one town or city is designated as the county seat where the government offices are located and where the board of commissioners or supervisors meets. In small counties, boards are chosen by the county as a whole, in the large ones, supervisors represent separate districts or townships. The board levies taxes, borrows and appropriates money, fixes the salaries of county employees, supervises election, buildings and maintains highways and bridges, and administers national, state and county welfare programme.

THOUSANDS of municipal jurisdictions are too small to qualify as city governments. These care chartered as towns and villages and deal with such strictly local needs as paving and lighting the streets; ensuring a water supply, providing police and fire protection’ establishing local health regulations; arranging for garbage, sewage and other waste disposal, collecting local taxes to support governmental operations; and, in cooperation with the state and county, directly administering the local school system.
The government is usually entrusted to an elected board or council, which may be known by a variety of names: town or village council, board of selectmen, board of supervisors, board of commissioners. The board may have a chairman or president who functions as chief executive officer, or these may be an elected mayor. Governmental employees may include a clerk, treasurer, police and fire officers, and health and welfare officers.
One unique aspect of local government, found mostly in the New England region of the United States, is the “town meeting.” Once a year – sometimes more often if needed – the registered voters of the town meet in open session to elect officers, debate local issues and pass laws for operating the government. As a body, they decide on road construction and repair, construction of public buildings and facilities, tax rates and the town budget. The town meeting, which has existed for more than two centuries, is often cited as the purest form of direct democracy, in which the governmental power is not delegated, but is exercised directly and regularly by all the people.

THE federal, state and local governments covered here by no means include the whole spectrum of American governmental units. The U.S. Bureau of the Census (part of the Commerce Department) has identified not less than 78, 218 local governmental units in the United States, including counties, municipalities, townships, school districts and special districts.
Americans have come to rely on their governments to perform a wide variety of tasks which, in the early days of the republic, people did for themselves. In colonial days, there were few policemen or firemen, even in the large cities, governments provided neither street lights nor street cleaners. To a large extent, a man protected his own property and saw to his family’s needs.
Now, meeting these needs is seen as the responsibility of the whole community, acting through government. Even in small towns, the police, fire welfare and health department functions are exercised by governments. Hence, the bewildering array of jurisdictions.

•Culled from AN OUTLINE OF AMERICAN GOVERNMENT

President Mubarak bows to the people, resigns

By Adekunle Aliyu with Agency Report


Egypt’s embattled President Hosni Mubarak abruptly stepped down as president, ending his 30-year-reign, and Egyptian armed forces will take over the leadership of the country, vice president Omar Suleiman announced today.
Crowds gathered in Cairo’s Tahrir Square erupted into loud cheers, chanting “Egypt is free,” as the historic announcement was made.

“My fellow citizens. In this difficult time that the country is going through, the president Mohamed Hosni Mubarak has decided to relieve himself of his position as president and the Supreme military council has taken control of the state’s affairs. May God protect us,” Suleiman said during his somber one-minute announcement on TV.

The resignation comes 18 days since the beginning of protests that have rocked the region.

The 82-year-old president left the presidential palace in Cairo earlier today as protesters kept the pressure on the government to force Mubarak out of office.

Sources told ABC News that Mubarak had gone to an estate he owns in Sharm el-Sheikh, a resort town on the Red Sea about 250 miles from the protests in Cairo. Mubarak told ABC News last week he may eventually retire to the resort town, but vowed never to leave Egypt.

In a sign of the regime’s collapse, Hossam Badrawi — who was appointed head of the ruling party just days ago — announced just hours ago that he will resign from his post. Badrawi was widely cited by news outlets on Thursday as saying that Mubarak would step down, reports that turned out be false.

The military earlier today announced on state television that the regime’s much hated emergency law will be lifted when the security situation allows. Egypt’s controversial emergency laws have been in place since the assassination of President Anwar Sadat in 1967 and give the government far-reaching powers at the expense of judicial review and civil liberties. The army also encouraged protesters to leave the streets and return to their homes.

But demonstrators were defiant, filling Tahrir Square for an 18th day to demand Mubarak’s ouster. Thousands more marched toward the state television building, a prime new target for today’s protests.

Others converged on the presidential palace, blocking roads leading up to the president’s residence. The mood was largely peaceful and celebratory, yet determined, as soldiers and protesters cheered and waved at each other. There were no signs of pro-Mubarak demonstrators in the crowd, as had been the case earlier in the day.

The side streets around Tahrir, or Liberation, Square were packed as crowds streamed toward what has become the heart of these 18-day long anti-government demonstration. Instead of the rage felt Thursday night when Mubarak went on national television and said he would not leave office, there appeared to be a new energy and determination in the crowd.

The health ministry doubled the number of ambulances parked outside the square, and there was a mobile hospital present. But soldiers seemed relaxed, smiling at the crowds, and there was a collective commitment by protesters to keep the demonstrations non-violent.

Similar scenes played out in the port cities of Alexandria and Mansoura.

Egypt/Tunisia: It could happen here

By Reuben Abati

 

IT all started in Tunisia with an aggrieved vegetable and fruits seller, Mohammed Bouazizi, 26, setting himself ablaze in protest against bureaucratic dictatorship. Bouazizi will now be remembered forever as a martyr whose death drew fresh attention to fault lines in governance in the Arab world. Bouazizi died because he was fed up with government officials asking him to pay bribe and all kinds of charges, ostensibly to go into the purse of a state that has not been able to offer him a life, or perhaps into the pockets of cruel state officials. One of the four agents who accosted Bouazizi slapped him, another kicked him in the face, he begged but they would not listen to him. His goods were seized.

He went to the town hall and asked for the return of his goods, he was refused; he also later went to the main government where he was again, rebuffed. He insisted on seeing the governor. The police said No. He cried and begged. Nobody listened to him. Bouazizi at that point resolved that there was no point remaining alive. His frustration took him to the tipping point. He left government premises. Then, he went and bought a bottle of petrol with which he set himself ablaze. He was not the only unemployed person in his family, or in Tunisia, but his encounter with the Tunisian state alienated him further and turned him into a lighting rod for revolt. “We are all unemployed”, his sister said. Unemployment rate in Tunisia is 13.3%. Sounds like Nigeria? Yes, in every material particular, except that the unemployment rate in Nigeria is even higher, the figure in Nigeria is about 19.7%. Almost half of 15 to 24 year olds living in urban areas in Nigeria are jobless. More than 70% of the population lives on less than a dollar per day.

As was the case in Tunisia, state officials ask for bribe in Nigeria, they brutalise people, and our Governors are so important they are not likely to leave their offices to attend to a man complaining about cruel Vehicle Inspection Officers or other officials of the state. Revolutions have been ignited by seemingly simple causes: like famine/poverty in France, disenchantment in Brazil, anger in Poland, protest in Ukraine, Iran and Burma. But always, social revolutions are an amalgam of pent up grievances exploding in one historical moment. What has happened in Tunisia has resulted in a wave of protests in the Arab world, with young people in Iran, Burma, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, trying to seize on the moment to articulate their grievances. In Gabon, there has been a muffled imitation drama staged by those who consider the sitting government illegitimate. What has been demonstrated so far is the similarity of concerns about governance issues across national boundaries. There may be an undertone of the threat of Islamic fundamentalism to the protests in the Arab world, but clearly, what we have seen is the people’s yearning for freedom and change. In Tunisia, Yemen, Jordan, Algeria, indeed from the Maghreb to the Middle East, we have seen a rejection of poverty and dictatorship by the people.

The same issues could pose a serious challenge in sub-saharan Africa where beyond the mild protest in Gabon, there could be similar explosions in many of our countries. It is indeed curious that the contrary view has been expressed that the kind of people’s revolt in Tunisia and Egypt cannot happen in sub-saharan Africa. Such a statement is definitely ahistorical. It is more important for African leaders to learn the right lessons from the crisis in the Middle East. The myth for example that religion is a binding factor that makes the Middle Eastern population easier to control and dominate has again been exposed for what it is: a myth. Even Saudi Arabia is worried about the on-going “Lotus Revolution” in Egypt. The King of Jordan so concerned about the swell of youth protest quickly dissolved his cabinet in deference to the popular yearning for change. The reverberations have been felt even as far as China where the authorities have banned online discussions and pictures of the Egyptian unrest. Number one lesson: people everywhere are the same: it does not matter what weapon is used to suppress them, one day they may insist on change and their own freedom. Number two lesson: increased local poverty in the midst of national wealth and wide gaps of alienation could trigger social unrest.

African leaders and Nigerian leaders in particular must see the protest in Egypt and Tunisia as a reflection of the likely fate that awaits them. Egpyt’s Mubarak, ruler for 30 years, who had been grooming his son as a successor, has suddenly been told by the people that he should pack his bags and leave, today. Members of his family have fled. Mubarak may be struggling to buy time, bluffing the people, and pretending that he is in charge, but for him, the game is up. His government or whatever remains of it has practically shut down the country. The people are being denied the basic necessities of life. A curfew has been imposed. Mubarak’s agents/”supporters” have killed over 300 persons in ten days; still, the protest march is unstoppable. The people are defying every attempt to stop them. We have seen a similar type of revolt before now in Thailand, Brazil, Ukraine, Haiti, Czech Republic. The honourable option for Mubarak is to leave.

He is defiant, proclaiming that he will die on Egyptian soil. Fine, he can go and do so, in his private home or in jail, but not as President. His insistence that he will remain in office till the September polls smacks of arrogance and contempt. He has been told by his government’s strongest allies, the United States, that the time for change is now, but still like other sit-tight African leaders (Cote d’Ivoire’s Houphouet-Boigny, Malawi’s Kamuzu Banda, Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe, Libya’s Muamar Ghaddafi, Cameroon’s Paul Biya, and Gabon’s Omar Bongo), before him, he is refusing to read the handwriting on the wall. When his government falls, the winners will be the people and the ideals of freedom and change, and hopefully, the political forces behind the wind of change in Egypt, will see the urgent need to stabilize the country. Tunisia’s Zine Ben Ali has fallen after 24 years in power, Mubarak, even if he continues to sit tight, has been thoroughly discredited. Those, like Mubarak who make peaceful change impossible make violent change inevitable. It sounds trite, but it is the truth. And indeed it can happen here. Another lesson is the futility of big powers like the United States supporting sit-tight leaders against their people due to selfish sovereign considerations that benefit that the super-power. The time for the United States to turn off its life support for Hosni Mubarak is now.

It is worth noting that Tunisia and Egypt are far more efficient states than Nigeria, and many other countries in sub-saharan Africa. Unemployment rate may be high in Tunisia and Egypt, but the people enjoy regular electricity and the quality of life is fair. In Tunisia, there is even a social insurance system that provides maternity payments, family benefits as well as disability and old age insurance. Pensioners in Tunisia are paid on time; there is also unemployment benefit, the women enjoy civil and political rights. The country recognises equal pay for equal work! The major problem is prevailing poor human rights practices in the shape of arbitrary arrests and the torture of detained persons, and poverty – the cause of significant alienation. The quality of life and the economy in Egypt and other countries of the Middle East where protest is raging are also far better than what obtains in sub-saharan Africa. If people who enjoy all these privileges can still go onto the streets, then, Nigerians must be a special breed indeed.

Bouazizi killed himself because no government official was willing to listen to his grievances. Nigerians are used to that. In fact, they do not expect any kindness from public officials. Bouazizi refused to give bribe. In Nigeria, the people are willing to offer bribe to civil servants and public officials. Tunisian policemen brutalized the Tunisian street vendor and he felt he should lodge an official protest. In Nigeria, the people are used to being beaten by policemen and other uniformed officers, rarely do we have such a case as that of the lady who took the Nigerian Navy to court when naval ratings brutalized her. In Egypt, the soldiers have refused to shoot the people on sight; in Nigeria, the conduct of the military remains unpredictable in a season of turmoil.

There may be no doubt that Nigerians have shown a remarkable capacity for resistance in the past and the history of protest in our land is rich and varied. Recent examples will include the protest against military rule, and the principled objection to former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s attempt to extend his tenure in office. The revolt in the Niger Delta and the Boko Haram insurgency in Northern Nigeria also point to distortions within the Nigerian system, and the anger of an aggrieved segment of the populace. However, local protests are not always targeted at misgovernance or the people’s yearning for change and progress; often they are coloured by religion and ethnicity making cases of sustained objections occasional and episodic.

What Nigeria needs is the kind of revolution, once recommended by Professor Ben Nwabueze, which is driven by the people and their faith in human freedoms. There is no universally prescribed method of revolution, but where the quality of human life is trampled upon and the people’s rights are routinely abused, the people as a collective have a duty to stand up and declaim: “Never Again!” Poverty and alienation which are central themes in the ongoing protests in the Maghreb and the Middle East could provide such common language that is spoken by protesters. Nigerians would like to see their leaders provide good governance and show greater responsibility in office. While hoping that the possibility of a Nigerian setting himself or herself ablaze in protest is remote, Nigerian leaders should nevertheless do everything to ensure that the April polls are transparent and credible, lest they provide a trigger for widespread rebellion in the land.

 

 

 

 

Nigeria, Switzerland to conclude migration partnership

By Daniel Osunkoya

Switzerland and Nigeria will formally conclude a migration partnership in less than two weeks, Andreas Baum, the ambassador of Switzerland to Nigeria, has said.

Mr. Baum, at the inauguration of a new factory by Nestle Nigeria in Ogun State on Thursday, said the partnership will be concluded during the planned visit of Odein Ajumogobia, the foreign affairs minister, to Berne on February 14.

“The memorandum of understanding on a migration partnership has a pioneering character which will bring cooperation between Switzerland and Nigeria to a new level. The partnership, which is designed to acknowledge both the opportunities and challenges of migration, is the first of such agreement between Switzerland and an African country,” he said.

“It became clear that both Nigerian and Swiss partners were aware that capacity building – including in the field of training and education – should be an area of joint cooperation,” the envoy further said.

Mr. Baum said the Swiss Embassy looked into private initiatives and training projects by business operators and found Nestle’s Nigeria Technical Training Centre in the Agbara factory an excellent opportunity to build upon because it targets at developing young people and contributing towards the growth of Science and technology in Nigeria.

“I am, therefore, happy to make a formal announcement that Switzerland has decided to establish a scholarship for five students annually at the new Nestle’s Nigeria Technical Training Centre,” Mr. Baum said, adding that the scholarship will provide vocational training in the field of Electo-Mechanical-Automation Engineering.

“The sponsorship is one of the key outcomes of the exploratory talks the Embassy initiated with Swiss companies operating in Nigeria,” he said.

Furthermore, the five best students from each promotion will have the opportunity to participate in an additional training module of several months in Switzerland, in the framework of training programmes of Nestle’s headquarters.

Meanwhile, at the inauguration of the new factory, which was also attended by Namadi Sambo, the nation’s vice president and Gbenga Daniel, Ogun State governor, the chief executive officer of Nestle South Africa, Paul Bulcke, reiterated the company’s continuous contribution to Nigeria.

“Nestle has been operationally present in Nigeria for 50 years, bringing meaningful value to society at large. This latest investment is proof of our commitment to Africa,” Mr. Bulcke said.

With an investment of N12 billion, the new factory, Flowergate, is Nestle’s 27th in Africa and is key to its growth in Nigeria. Nestle’s activities in the country is worth about N59 billion, with over 3,000 employees.

ATIKU – JONATHAN IMBROGLIO

By: Nafata Bamaguje

For someone who reportedly started politicking way back in the early 1990s under the tutelage of the late senior Yar Adua during Babangida’s ill-fated transition program, Atiku’s recent antics and political miscalculations smacks of an inept neophyte devoid of common sense.

He squandered all the political goodwill and capital garnered from successfully battling OBJ’s abortive third term, and severally defeating the do-or-die general in several court battles, as the latter attempted to unseat him as VP, then block him from the 2007 presidential polls.

When ATK left the Predatory Demonic Plunderers (PDP) to form AC, his popularity was an all time high and many Nigerians were willing to overlook the unproven allegations of corruption against him. His new party, the then Action Congress was a welcome breath of political fresh air that swept the South West, although it took several gubernatorial court battles to fully realize the South west victory.

If ATK had remained in AC which he founded, he would automatically have become its undisputed presidential candidate to battle Jonathan this coming April.

With ACN’s solid South west base, the clamour for Northern presidency and his political integrity intact, Atiku could have given GEJ a good fight this coming election. And even if he didn’t win, he would have been positioned as the northern candidate to beat in 2015 when Goodluck’s goodluck would have run out and the politically frustrated Buhari would have given up.

But being the small minded politician that Atiku is, he lacks such long term strategic thinking. Or perhaps his patience ran out, having harboured presidential ambition for well over a decade. So instead he chose to lick his vomit and return to the same PDP he had previously vilified.

ATK’s carpet-crossing, abandoning his AC brainchild for an unrealistic PDP comeback, portrayed him as an unprincipled political prostitute desperate for power at all costs.

For some inexplicable reason, he foolishly thought he could unseat a Presidential incumbent with Federal might at the party primaries, all because of some misplaced sense of entitlement called zoning. No wonder, OBJ laughed hilariously about ATK’s unpresidential fantasies.

Since ATK initiated moves to rejoin PDP for his presidential ambition while the sick UMYA was still alive, one can surmise that the former VP coldly and calculatingly positioned himself to take advantage of Yar Adua’s anticipated death, which I’m quite sure ATK fervently prayed for …just like the Jonathan camp.

That was why even while UMYA was alive, the former VP shamelessly swallowed his pride and went to Ota to beg his erstwhile tormentor who had humiliated and frustrated him out of PDP, all in futile attempt to get Aremu’s endorsement of his presidential ambition.

In other words, long before the terminally ill late president collapsed and was rushed to Saudi Barbaria (sorry Arabia), Atiku must have been wishing him dead in order to realize his long simmering presidential ambition.

On his own part Jonathan displayed surprising political ineptitude when he allowed PDP to grant Atiku waiver to contest the presidential primaries in contravention of the same party constitution ATK and his supporters repeatedly bandied about in their abortive quest for zoning.

Apparently GEJ learnt nothing about the take-no-prisoners garrison politics from his do-or-die Ota mentor who would never have allowed ATK anywhere PDP presidential primaries in the first place. Witness how ATK was hounded out PDP, at his prior presidential attempt in 2007.

In the same vein, the paper-weight GEJ ineptly allowed PDP governors to hold his presidential ambition to ransom, until he reportedly threaten a Samson-like pull-down-the-house catastrophe. OBJ would have had no trouble whipping uncooperative PDP governors into line with EFCC and threat of Alami style impeachment.

To the best of my knowledge, section 7.2 of the PDP constitution which purportedly enshrines zoning only stipulates power rotation among the six geopolitical zones – not between north and south. Neither does it stipulate the number of terms for political office holders from each zone.

Presumably, that part of the accord may have been captured in the “gentleman’s agreement”, but not the party constitution. By this analysis, GEJ’s candidacy doesn’t violate the letter of PDP constitution, although it may flout the spirit.

In accordance with section 7.2 zoning, presidential power has shifted from South west to North west then South south.

That notwithstanding, it is disingenuous for Southerners to hypocritically talk of merit now that it is our turn to loot. But we Northerners – or rather core Northerners – have only ourselves to blame.

Thanks to Sharia-mongering Jihadist intolerance and violence, the core North has alienated the predominantly Christian/moderate Muslim Middle belt, and can no longer count on their automatic support for “one North” majority.

Witness how Kaduna nearly erupted in religious violence because of the abomination that an Aarne (non-Muslim) from the southern part of the state recently became governor after Sambo was appointed Jonathan’s VP.

Anyway in Nigeria’s present quasi-democratic sham where our votes hardly count, “majority” (‘one North’ or otherwise) is irrelevant.

That is why I find as laughable and idiotic, Jonathan’s hypocritical request at the UN seeking permission for Nigeria to invade Ivory Coast and forcibly dethrone Laurent Gbagbo. The clueless Ijaw dimwit doesn’t know what he is getting himself into…setting a dangerous precedent that could later haunt him.

Come April/May this year, Jonathan will be rigged into power by landslide. Then Buhari, Ribadu, Utomi and other anti-PDP opposition can call for UN led invasion of Naija to remove GEJ!!

Nafata Bamaguje

 

Papa Enahoro Was An Undefiled Nationalist

Late Pa Anthony EnahoroThe government and people of Osun state profoundly mourn the passing into glory of Pa Anthony Eromosele Enahoro. Nigeria, our motherland, has lost an undefiled patriot with the death of Pa Chief Anthony Eromosele Enahoro. He lived a life of puritanical commitment to the ideals of democracy from his youthful years to adulthood.

The mover of the motion for our nation’s independence made available his all to free Nigeria from colonial bondage and servitude. He never made the acquisition of material wealth his priority but was always at the forefront of peaceful quest for democratic rule. His entire existence was targeted at making life better for his nation even at the expense of his personal freedom and comfort.

He was a true father of our nation whose counselling, intervention and nationalistic involvement were indubitably sincere and unsurpassed. May the good Lord rest his soul, comfort his family and lift Nigeria to the high pedestal of development that he dreamed all his life. We shall deeply miss him.

Gbenga Fayemiwo,
Head, Media and Publicity.

ACN-USA SALUTES AND CONGRATULATES HIS EXCELLENCY, ENGR. RAUF AREGBESOLA, GOVERNOR, OSUN STATE NIGERIA

Action Congress of Nigeria - ACN

ACN-USA congratulates and rejoices with our friend and comrade Engr. Rauf Aregbesola and the good people of Osun State over the judgment of the Court of Appeal. This verdict is a victory for Osun people who voted for change, transparency and progress in April 2007. We salute the courage, the perseverance, endurance and the resilience of Engr. Aregbesola, who despite all the roadblocks thrown on his way to pervert justice and deny him the mandate given by the people, believed firmly in the rule of law and in the nation’s judiciary.

ACN-USA commends and salutes the Court of Appeal in Ibadan for finally stopping the electoral and judicial banditry perfected in Osun State by Obasanjo-Oyinlola “do or die” PDP machinery. In standing and siding for the rule of law, the Court of Appeal gave justice to the people who had to live with killings, harassments, fear and intimidations. We also commend the good people of Osun State for showing restraint in the face of obvious injustice and daylight robbery.

ACN-USA salutes Chief Bisi Akande for the strong, focus, purposeful and effective leadership he has been giving ACN in the country and around the world. We appreciate Asiwaju Bola Tinubu for his untiring and unwavering support for Aregbesola and other progressives in the country. We thank all ACN leaders and members in Nigeria especially Governors Fashola, Fayemi, Oshiomole and Ngige for their support for Aregbesola and the people of Osun State in the over 3 years of political and legal struggles to reclaim the stolen mandate from Oyinlola and his gang of PDP election robbers and riggers.

ACN-USA welcomes the bold and clear direction of Engr. Aregbesola as he restates his mission to the good people of Osun. His call on the people to join him in reclaiming the State will not only correct the mistakes, incompetence and insensibilities of Oyinlola administration, but will ensure a bountiful return on the collective effort to ensure progress and development.

ACN-USA pledges its support for the Aregbesola Government and will make the expertise and talents of its members available to Osun Government in whatever areas necessary in order to help deliver quality and innovative services to the people of Osun State .

ACN-USA calls on Professor Jega led INEC and President Goodluck Jonathan to ensure that the 2011 elections are free and fair. ACN-USA will use all the resources at its disposal to monitor the elections and expose to the whole world any irregularities discovered.

Signed

Tony Ike Isama
Chairman, ACN-USA

Kelly Adams
Publicity Secretary, ACN-USA

WASHINGTON, DC USA