Today, 29th of May, 2019, happens to be a double celebration for the people of Ogun state as the governor-elect, Prince Dapo Abiodun will be given the baton of another race of four or eight years in the history of the state and continuity of development sustainability, and also he will celebrating his birthday as he clocked 59 years of age, indeed, it will also represent a further confirmation and validation of the collective resolve of Ogun people as expressed on March 9th, 2019, though, Prince Dapo Abiodun, now the Governor of the state, as he will be inaugurated as the fifth governor of the state. And by the privilege/confidence reposed on him by the people in given him their mandate, it is imperative to commit himself to an all inclusive, equitable and fair minded approach to governance as pledged by him during the electioneering campaign and in his acceptance speech while given certificate of return.
Though, it could be recalled that, there was a slogan during the campaigns, tagged “Igbega Ipinle Ogun, Ajose Gbogbo Wa Ni”, and with this slogan, it is time now to start working together, there is more to gain as a people in collective efforts than otherwise. There is a Yoruba adage which says, “Agbajowo la’finsoya, Ajiji Owo Kan Ko’gberu Dori”. Now that the storms had been waded through, there is no need of flashing back at those who wanted to mar him or fall him down and those who make it possible for him to clinch the seat of number one in the state. But, what really important is to co-opt the people of likes mind in order to move the state to the greater height.
As a successful businessman and oil magnate, with the believes by the people of the state that the dividend of democracy that has over the years eluded in terms of human face will surely come to them, he is the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Hyden Petroleum Limited (HPL), an indigenous player in the downstream, midstream, upstream oil and gas industry in Nigeria, he is also reportedly to be the founder of First Power Limited. With his experience in operating in business and achieve greater in those sector, then, Ogun State people need not to entertain any fear in handling their socio-economic of the state, believing that the governor-elect will probably be prudent and judicious with the state fund and resources.
Indeed, the journey to success might be rough, because there are some whom you contested with that even more capable to that position too, clinching to that mantle of leadership was like a war battle, though to some, you are not a popular candidate among your contenders, whose names appears on the media frequently and oftentimes, but some veteran politicians in the state knows that Prince Dapo Abiodun has been playing Ogun politics decades ago, moreover, let’s jettison the idea of popularity debate, not a discussion of today, but it is no more news that Prince Dapo Abiodun will steer the affairs of state for the next four years or thereabout, having gotten the mandate of Ogun state people in the last gubernatorial election that appeared to be a “War” full of political tension and aggression.
Prince Dapo Abiodun really fought a battle like a wounded lion in the ring, so as to clinch the exalted seat, but the most glaring part of it was the stiff opposition he faced from the out-going governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, his bosom friend/ally who turned to be his open enemy midway as a result of the former decision to contest for the state number one seat, which Amosun wanted to rule again in proxy, by planting his stooge/sorrogate or godson in person of Abdulkabir Adekunle Akinlade (triple A), which attained second position at the elections.
No one ever deed what Prince Dapo Abiodun done during his electioneering campaign in term of stretching his hands of fellowship to other opposition candidates, he brought together opposition forces in Ogun State within the little of his emergence. The political vendetta orchestrated and shown to oppositions within the seven and half years of Governor Ibikunle Amosun seems to be going down the line. Well, if you say Dapo Abiodun is accommodating, yes of course, indeed, you are not far from the truth. Dapo Abiodun has proven to the world what magnanimity in victory is all about, a steadfast, a forthright, a knowledgeable, a brilliant, a gentle man to the core and a straight forward man which do not play to the gallery when it comes to human face.
Even to cap it all, Prince Dapo Abiodun spread his arm of passion, love and compassion to oppositions and all top politicians within and outside his camps, in fact, he could not keep his kind heartedness away than to pay then special visits after his declaration as governor-elect. He went to Otunba Gbenga Daniel (OGD), of the PDP, he also went to Gboyega Nasir Isiaka (GNI), of the ADC, also to Buruji Kashamu of the PDP, he went to Ladi Adebutu (LADO), factional governorship candidate of the PDP despite the fact that he leased and adopted triple A in a few days to the election, he also went to Rotimi Paseda of the SDP, also to Demeji Bankole of the ADP to mention but a few.
Honestly speaking, Ogun State need somebody like Prince Dapo Abiodun, that will bring his like mind to the same folder and brainstorming on how the state could move forward, with the advice of the elders of the party and beyond so as to make the state more than industrial hub of the country, though, industrialization was the hallmark of his agenda but need to excel beyond that, and it can not be done alone, moreover, a successful entrepreneurs for many decades like Abiodun could not be difficult to achieve but he need to be embraced for the interest of all and not for the interest of few as witnessed in the previous government of “Baba Onifala Gogoro” me and my family crescendo.
In fact, Prince Dapo Abiodun sojourn in the politics was as far back as 1990s when he came back from the University, he was offered to serve the people of Ogun state but came second in the primary election then, instead of him to kick against the results of the primary, he showed the spirit of sportsmanship, he immediately after the primary joined Otunba Gbenga Daniel’s train and campaigned for him fervently, eventually Daniel became the governor of the state. Again, in 2011, he joined hands with the out-going governor (Ibikunle Amosun), to win the election, and in 2015 also he was with Amosun which he singlehandedly gave him ten thousand dollars $10,000, which wasn’t deny by the out-going governor till date, but he was offered to become the Senator but was not successful in that race because he lost out to Senator Buruji Kashamu, though according to him, he was not perturbed or heartbroken for loosing out, then, he did not give up because something continued telling him that he has brighter future, vision and mission which is yet to be unaccomplished.
He is a founding member of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ogun state before, although he is currently a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC) defecting after the 2011 general elections. He contested the Ogun East Senatorial seat on the platform of the APC in the 2015 general elections but lost to opposition candidate, Senator Buruji Kashamu, though, he was elected a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on the platform of the defunct United Nigeria Congress Party (UNCP) in 1998. He has served as a member of various presidential committees and organisations. In 2019, he contested in the gubernatorial elections in Ogun State and won, under the platform of APC, which his inauguration coincidentally fall to his birthday as he also mark 59th years of age today 29th May, 2019.
With all the recent peace moved by the governor, Dapo Abiodun then, the pundits still believe that this will serve as a good omen for the All Progressives Congress (APC), in the state, and honestly it will go a long way in stabilising the socio-economic and socio-political atmosphere of the state, the ideas of consultation of elders and former governors of the state by Dapo Abiodun will also give and help him in delivering of dividend of democracy to the people of the state. He shows that no man is an island and a tree can not make a forest, we need a collective efforts in running the day-to-day affairs of the state, not because of complexity but because of the kind of people involved in governing the state.
And moreover, the idea of the winner takes it all and the know it all tendencies of the “tall cap man” seems to be going down the drain, and my friends and my family members of government seems to be vanishing gradually if not totally as people expected. That’s why every discerning mind and soul must rise up to those challenges of government and keep supporting the new administration, with our support and belive in good and responsible governance, we can achieve best and make life more meaningful for not only the civil/public servants only but the entire populace, so let’s joins hands together to make Ogun State greater among the comity of states in the country.
Lastly, they say; “The patient dog eat the fattest bone”, the patience, perseverance, uniqueness, long-suffering and tenacity of purposeful leadership displayed by Dapo Abiodun in his long quest to become the Governor of the state worth celebrating, the steps taken so far by him since he won the election also proved that Ogun State is for the best of times, he has broken the barrier of party and petty political sentiments by reaching out to even fellow contestants, it’s also showed that this is one governor that will make us proud in Ogun State. Indeed, we need to be happy, rejoice and celegrate our Governor, he is a Prince of peace.
Congratulations Prince Dapo Abiodun and Happy Birthday to you sir.
Orunbon, a public affairs analyst, wrote in from Abeokuta, Ogun state.
Can be reached via: orunbonibrahimademola@
Race against public good, By Jerome-Mario Utomi
The out-of-the-ordinary political interplays and considerable uncertainties of the past weeks created by new and returning members of the 9th angling for principal positions in both the Senate and House of Representatives, have in a well-defined order exposed a systematised interest the Executive arm and the ruling party have in the 9th Assembly – a development attributable to the imponderable experience from the unfinished ‘war’ with the outgone 8th Assembly.
What, however, makes the present situation very disturbing is that an exercise like the election of principal officers which constitutionally remain an internal affair of the Assembly has suddenly against all known logic got characterized by national intrigue with non-members of the Assembly underlining the advantages, and otherwise of having a particular lawmaker in a given position.
To understand more fully, the objective of this piece, it is important to clarify that like the vast majority of Nigerians, I am not interested in who becomes the President or holds whichever position in the 9th Assembly, I am also in agreement with the wise words of Elie Wiesel, a Romanian-born American Jewish political activist and Nobel Laureate, that in every issue, people must take sides as neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. And silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented!
These facts notwithstanding, it is important that as a nation, we must ensure at all time that, ‘the means we take to achieving a defined intention must be as pure as the purpose we seek.
As an illustration, I read with real curiosity a remark credited to Senator Danjuma Goje (APC, Gombe Central), announcing his decision not to contest the Senate presidency.
In his words; I should be able to appreciate the leadership coming from our elders. So in spite of all these calls, in spite of all the support, I have among my colleagues in the Senate, I have decided to in deference to the loyalty I have for his Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari and in deference to the loyalty I have for my party, the APC, in the interest of our party and the development of this country, in order to assist Mr President to deliver his promises, I have decided to respect his wish by not declaring to contest this senate presidency. Instead, I am supporting the party’s position thereby endorsing the candidature of Senator Ahmed Lawan.
Ordinarily, this should not have come as a total surprise as Senator Goje is at liberty to withdraw, and enjoys constitutional right to support any candidate of his choice. But there is in my understanding, something fundamentally new and different about the announcement.
Aside from the fact that what happens before the elections have a lot of influence on how the government treats its people, Senator Goje by his own admission that he dropped his ambition in deference to the loyalty for his excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari and in deference to the loyalty for his party, the All Progressive Congress,(APC), has barefacedly confirmed the position canvassed by a leadership guru, Professor Sydney Finkelstein, that flawed decisions by leaders start with errors of judgment and fueled by the presence of inappropriate self-interest, distorting attachments and the presence of misleading memories.
Regardless of whether the decision which some has described as ‘statesmanly and patriotic’ was taken to achieve a particular purpose, the truth is that the world is in agreement that the survival of democracy depends on the rule of law. And the rule of law in turns depends on the respect each of the arms has for one another.
Admittedly, it is important for political office holders to respect Mr President and their political parties, but, I hold an opinion that the greater good/loyalty of any public office holder must go to the greater number- the Nigerian masses.
With the above fact in view, turning down support from colleagues who are convinced of your leadership capacity, just because of the so-called loyalty to Mr President and his party is but synonymous with robbing over 200million Nigerians their right to vibrant, more deliberative and productive 9th Assembly.
Notably also, if not errors of judgment and distorting attachments on the part of the Senator, he should have remembered that it was a similar relationship in the past that set the stage for situations in the Senate where constructive debates were given no chance and seen as unnecessary and divisive. Deferring political ideas and strategies perceived as destructive to the nation’s interest, open discussion is seen as a challenge to the leaders. And outspoken lawmakers, with a different set of ideas, values or organizing technique addressed as the enemy within.
As an incentive, instead of making loyalty to the President and the APC a reality to worry about, what needs to be the preoccupation of the members should include; how to make a difference for Nigerians of every social class and in every field of endeavour, how to do something worthwhile in the venerated space as well as how to internalize the advice by Senator Bukola Saraki, the immediate past Senate President, who during the valedictory service of the 8th Assembly cautioned thus;
‘My advice to whoever succeeds me is therefore along the same vein: be there for the people. Act in the interest of the average Nigerians, keep the legislature always at the behest of the citizens, let it be a people’s parliament. Whoever succeeds me, that person will still be a product of the 8th Senate. We did it together. Let there be continuity. When Nigerians cried out for help, we did not turn deaf ears. Where there was contention or strife, we were agents of peace and helped to find the way forward.
That, in my opinion, is the way to go.
For the 9th Assembly to, therefore, move forward there should be a small shift in policy that will guarantee a visible change. They urgently need to remember that there is little hope for us as a people until we become toughminded enough to break loose from the shackles of prejudice, half-truth, and downright ignorance. As any nation that produces softminded men purchases, its own spiritual and socio-economic death at instalment plan’.
I end in this manner; when asked to share his thought about leadership, Lee Kuan Yew, a one time Prime Minister of Singapore stated that; leadership is more than just ability. It is a combination of courage, determination, commitment, character and ability that makes people willing to follow leaders.
I think the 9th Assembly needs people with these attributes and more
Jerome-Mario Utomi (firstname.lastname@example.org) writes From Lagos.
Yahaya Adoza Bello and memories of Mohammed Abdulsalam Onuka, By Debo Alabi
Each time I see television reports, online videos and snippets from the actions, activities and pronouncements of Yahaya Adoza Bello, the governor of Kogi State, I cannot but draw comparisons between him and Mohamed Abdulsalam Onuka. Not many remember the latter, but he was a lieutenant colonel in the Nigerian Army, who was deployed to serve as military administrator of Edo State, during the administration of Gen Sani Abacha.
In a state brimming with top class military talent across the services at the time, Abacha favoured the young Onuka at the time and made him chief executive of one of Nigeria’s most politically sophisticated states. Just in case you have forgotten, Edo State is the home of Brig-Gen Samuel Osaigbovo, who as military governor of the Old Midwestern State, was easily one of the greatest success stories of the Yakubu Gowon dispensation. Edo State is also the birthplace of Admirals Augustus Aikhomu and Mike Okhai Akhigbe, who served at various times as Nigeria’s Number Two citizens, in the official designation of Chief of General Staff, CGS.
Onuka was famous for intemperate language, abrasive comportment and unbridled arrogance of power. He was brusque, brash and impulsive. He traversed the expanse of Edo State, with his trademark swagger stick, barking orders, spewing threats, sacking and dismissing workers in tow. He seemed overzealous to impress his masters in Abuja, who were even more discerning and genteel than he was, as the Abacha gang strove to legitimise itself in the immediate post ‘June 12’ era.
I cannot forget one of Onuka’s televised appearances on Nigerian Television Authority, NTA Network news, in the course of his visit to one of the many state-owned parastatals, sometime in 1994. I recall I was visiting a friend in his Oregun, Lagos accommodation that day and like the newsmen we are, we tuned to the news telecast to catch up with the day’s events. And there was the voice of Onuka belching out of one of the news reports, his eyes blazing like the furnace of the bronze casters on Igun Street, Benin City: ‘This is the last time I want to see things this way. The next time I have cause (to) come back here, you will see the redness of my eyes.’ Then he stormed out, military escorts and security personnel fawning over themselves to clear the way for him…
I don’t know if Abacha watched that Aminian dramatization by Onuka. I wouldn’t know if it was the CGS to Abacha, Lt. Gen Oladipo Diya who did. Better still, I can’t recall if it was the revered royalty in Benin, the Omo N’Oba N’Edo, Uku Akpolokpolo, N’Ogidigan, Oba Erediauwa II himself who put a call through to Aso Rock, Abuja, seeking an end to the continued repression and mistreatment of his subjects by Onuka. What I know for sure is that a few days after that inglorious outing on national television by Onuka, his tour of duty as military administrator of Edo State, came to an unceremonious denouement.
Appointed as chief executive of the state on December 9, 1993, Onuka got the boot on September 14, 1994, after barely nine months in office. He was promptly replaced by a more mature, more charismatic, less noisy and controversial Bassey Asuquo, an army colonel. And trust the military with its punitive, if not vindictive reward for misdeamenour, Onuka was flung, with immediate effect, to the battlefields of Sierra Leone on a peacekeeping mission in a nondescript capacity. And that marked the beginning of the end of an otherwise promising career, the same pedestal on which the Hamid Alis, the Jafaar Isas, the Olagunsoye Oyinlolas and the Buba Marwas, among others, rode to subsisting national acclaim and relevance.
I have been checking Wikipedia recently and it tells me Yahaya Adoza Bello of Kogi State and Mohamed Abdulsalam Onuka, are indeed first cousins! Maybe herein lies the uncanny congruences and affinities in their destinies, persona, official carriage and administrative demeanour.
Yahaya Bello loves the military swagger stick. It is a part of his customary sartorial make-up. The only times I have not seen his walking stick with him, are in those short video clips of his boxing trainings where the gloves he wears, prevent him from adorning the stick. From the biography of him in the public space, he was most probably still in secondary school when his older cousin was military administrator and strutted about with that trademark stick. And he loved it.
Very much like Onuka, Bello was awarded the governorship of Kogi State on a platter of platinum. Here is a man who didn’t campaign to be elected governor, whose name was not on the ballot paper, who didn’t contest to be governor, but who was woken up by a phone call and presented the position as a fait accompli! Yes, Abubakar Audu, a two-time governor of the state and candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, was coasting home to victory in that November 2015 gubernatorial election, when the unexpected happened and he died just before the conclusion of the election. Against all electoral and political permutations, a strange legalistic invention to the effect that the runner-up in the primary election which produced Audu as candidate, become beneficiary of the votes cast for Audu, and by extension, ‘duly elected’ governor of Kogi State! And thus entered Yahaya Bello. Bello, before then was totally unknown in Kogi State.
Yes, he contested the APC governorship primaries in the state in 2015, but he walked away as soon as he lost. There is no record of him accompanying the campaign train of the APC in the build up to that election, because he was sore and bitter from his predicted loss at the primaries, and he opted to abstain from the process.
Onuka, his cousin, was as well an unknown quantity in the Nigerian Army, probably serving as Staff Officer or Battalion Commander in Bama or Bakassi, retiring to a bottle or two of kunu or Trophy lager beer at the close of work every day, before fate catapulted him to the leadership of Edo State.
And what has Yahaya Bello done with this fairy tale opportunity since his inauguration as governor of Kogi State in January 2016? He has striven assiduously, committedly and consistently to make the state the headquarters of national scorn and public opprobrium in all ways possible. Kogi State is easily the capital of mass suffering, pervading misery, palpitating insecurity, inestimable despondency and crippling despair across the country.
Workers’ salaries and emoluments are unpaid. Labour unions have been unanimous and consistent in saying that the salary backlog is in hovering around the 40-month mark. The civil service has been phenomenally degraded and debased such that permanent secretaries at the topmost echelon of the bureaucracy commute to work on motorbikes! Pensioners who gave their active and productive years in the service of state and country are deprived their gratuities and entitlements.
The economy of the state, largely powered by the civil service, is virtually crippled. Sales are low, businesses folding up. Many businessmen have indeed folded up and left the state. Hunger walks on all fours in the state, poverty has become a way of life. Kogi State today holds the infamous national medal for the state with the highest rates of depression, stroke and suicides.
Amidst such despair and hopelessness, ‘GYB Boys’ as the clique of like-minded characters around Yahaya Bello brand themselves, live in such grandeur and opulence, with contrasts so disturbingly sharply with the overall morass around and about them. They ride the choicest, automobiles adorned with women procured from tertiary institutions in the state, move about with bands of police escorts and live large like tomorrow will never come. They virtually talk down the people by their body language, as though saying: ‘This is our time, to hell with you.’ Kleptocracy is at its despicable best, even as a recent intelligence report indicated that an attempt to convert the sum of N7 Billion for a serving, top government official in Kogi State, to USD, was discovered, blocked and reported to the President.
Gangsterism, thuggery and lawlessness have become critical aspects of governance and statecraft by a governor so power-drunk he’s ever taking an aim at critics, enemies and antagonists, real or imagined. The Office of the Deputy Governor has been virtually abrogated and the powers transferred to the Chief of Staff. Even as the National Judicial Council, NJC, found no merit whatsoever in the governor’s petition seeking his summary removal, Bello has since instigated the pathologically genuflecting state assembly to orchestrate the ouster of the Chief Judge. Such is the reign of terror foisted on Kogi State by Yahaya Bello.
You descend into the lounge of your hotel in Lokoja, and you are greeted by gruff-looking, gun-wielding fellows in unfamiliar uniforms pacing about. They are operatives of the private army of the Bello government, christened the Kogi State Vigilante Services, whose very activities as they patrol in unmarked vehicles is a recurring source of trepidation for the people.
The recent general elections witnessed a new high in provocative, state-sponsored illegality and brigandage, where state appointees, notably commissioners, advisers and local government administrators personally bore arms and targeted hapless citizens, as they fell over themselves attempting to impress the Capone in the hall of infamy. This is the abyys into which Yahaya Bello has dragged Kogi State, in the last 40 months.
Traditional rulers who were once the conscience of the people, who spoke truth to power in the service of their subjects, have become an integral part of the propaganda machinery of the administration. Except for the revered Ohinoyi of Ebiraland, Alhaji Abdul Rahman Ado Ibrahim (the paramount ruler of Bello’s home ethnicity by the way), who has been typically blunt and courageous in telling the governor some stinging truths, the others have been cringing and caterwauling before him, for fear of being deposed or not being presented their staff of office, for those who haven’t been installed.
Those of us who believe in the energy, the vibrancy, the resourcefulness and the creativity which the youth can bring to any sphere of human endeavour and have always canvssed youth inclusiveness, as well as members of the younger generation themselves, must be thoroughly disappointed and embarrassed by the below par outing of Yahaya Bello in Kogi State. Yet, our democracy has thrown up genuinely youthful bright lights across the political spectrum who left positive imprints on the sands of time. Donald Duke was 37 when he was elevated governor of Cross River State in 1999. His legacies still echo around and about the state. Nnamani Chimaroke became governor of Enugu State at 39, Bukola Saraki became chief executive of Kwara State at 41, we can go on and on with examples.
My mind just keeps going back to how people stroll into irredeemable oblivion, after handcrafting the mismanagement of providential opportunities, very much like Yahaya Bello.
There are loud insinuations that he may not get the governorship ticket of the APC at the August 2019 primaries. If the party desires to begin the process of salvaging whatever is left of its battered reputation in Kogi State, that would be strategically face-saving. Yahaya Bello is a grievously unsellable brand.
If the courts rule that his sack of Haddy Ametuo-led APC executive last year and his singlehanded installation of a new executive is null, void and of no effect like we’ve witnessed in Rivers, Delta and Zamfara states, that report card of his conquest in the last elections, culminating in two senatorial positions, seven House of Representatives seats and 25 State House of Assembly offices, becomes ash dust.
If perchance he survives these two landmines and confronts the rage of the people at the polls on Saturday November 16, 2019, not even the fear of guns, bullets and machetes will break the resolve of a people he has so Pharaonically suppressed.
And Yahaya Bello, head bowed, shoulder dropping, takes the long walk to join his ageing kinsman and mentor, Mohammed Abdulsalam Onuka, on the vacant, lonely roadway to Agassa.
* Debo Alabi is a public affairs analysts
A note for Delta Gov. Okowa, By Jerome-Mario Utomi
INVESTIGATION3 days ago
Homeowners accuse CMB Building Company, its CEO Mbagwu of fraud, petition EFCC
BUSINESS21 hours ago
Titan Trust Bank set for grand entry into Nigeria
INVESTIGATION3 days ago
Presidential panel probes Delta Senator, Peter Nwaoboshi over corruption allegations
BUSINESS2 days ago
Fidelity Bank partners NIPOST, launches agency banking
THE NEWS2 days ago
N3.4bn: Emir Sanusi lied, says Kano agency
THE NEWS3 days ago
Why Nigeria is yet to achieve economic diversification – Abraham Nwankwo
SPORTS2 days ago
SOPAN hails Falcons for South Korea Victory
INVESTIGATION5 hours ago
Publication threats: Billionaire bank debtors lobby CBN Gov to save faces