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Rivers APC Guber candidate, Tonye Cole reportedly skipped NYSC, omits degrees in nomination forms

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The gubernatorial candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State, Tonye Cole, is in trouble for skipping the mandatory National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) scheme, the NEXT EDITION has found out.

Sources close to the stylish businessman-turned-politician said he is struggling to get the NYSC to help him out with the problem.

The Lagos-based billionaire emerged APC’s gubernatorial candidate for 2019 during the party’s primary in Port Harcourt on October 1.

Lawal Isa, Chairman, Rivers State APC Governorship Primary Election Committee, had said Mr. Cole got 3,329 votes to beat other aspirants.

According to him, Dawari George, a former aide to Rotimi Amaechi, scored 491 votes to come a distant second.

Dumo Lulu-Briggs, another business mogul who stood the election, secured 38 votes while a serving Senator, Magnus Abe, got a single vote.

Mr. Abe was the only person who voted for himself in the primary that was attended by no fewer than 4000 delegates.

But weeks after the primary was conducted and won, Mr. Cole is yet to name his running mate, situation observers blamed on the fear he might be disqualified after all.

This newspaper found out Mr. Cole deliberately omitted his tertiary education qualifications in the nomination forms he submitted to his party and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Under academic records, Mr. Cole indicated he attended Corona School, Victoria Island, Lagos from 1973-1978 and King’s College, Lagos, between 1978 -1983.

This shows in spite of his rich educational background, he only filed his primary school leaving certificate and the ordinary level West African Examination Council General Certificate of Education he obtained in June 1983 from the King’s College.

Apart from the WASCE, Mr. Cole also attached a testimonial from King’s College which showed he was born on January 11, 1967, and had attended the institution from Form One to Five.

With registration number 4107, he was a member of Mckee Wright House as well as the Literary and Debating Club.

The principal of the school at the time, Olapeju Oladele, indicated he held no leadership position but indicated he had a promising career.

“He has very strong personality traits and was well-behaved,” under behavioural traits.

However, under general remarks, Mr. Oladele wrote, “Patrick was a very promising student who has high potential to succeed in his chosen career.”

Based on his WASC attached to his nomination forms, Mr. Cole had credit (4) in English Language, good (3) in Geography, credit (4) in Economic and credit (6) in Mathematics.

Others include Physics – pass (7), Biology – credit (5), Art –credit (5) and Technical Drawing –pass (7).

With only WASC and a testimonial from King’s College attached to his forms, it seemed Mr. Cole, for some undisclosed reasons, deliberately omitted his degrees as contained in his public profiles.

While he failed to indicate his tertiary education qualifications, the APC candidate sumptuously showcased the training he has attended across the globe and the many papers he has presented and positions he has occupied.

But findings by this newspaper showed Mr. Cole went straight to King’s School, Ely, Cambridgeshire, the United Kingdom after he left King’s College, Lagos at age 16.

He is also said to be an alumnus of the University of Lagos and Universidade de Brasilia, Brazil, where he was graduated with merit honours in Architecture.

Curiously, information regarding his tertiary education and the record of his compulsory NYSC participation are all absent in the document he filed with his party and INEC.

 

Given his family background and the age he completed his primary and secondary education, it is very clear Mr. Cole got his first degree before he was 23.

The one-year service, organised by NYSC is compulsory for all Nigerians who graduate from universities or equivalent institutions at less than 30 years of age.

Apart from being a prerequisite for obtaining government and private sector jobs in Nigeria, the NYSC Act prescribes punishment for anyone who absconds from the scheme or forges its certificates.

For instance, eligible persons, who skipped the scheme, are liable to be sentenced to 12 months imprisonment and/or N2, 000 fine, based on Section 13 of the NYSC law.

In Section 13 (3) of the Act, a three-year jail term or option of N5,000 fine is prescribed for anyone who contravenes the provisions of the law.

Subsection 4 of the same section also criminalises giving false information or illegally obtaining the agency’s certificate.

It provides for up to a three-year jail term for such offenders.

NEXT EDITION made several attempts within the last two weeks to speak with Mr. Cole on the issue but failed.

The APC chieftain would not pick calls or respond to text messages from this newspaper.

However, when contacted, on one of his allies, Tonye Princewill, said Mr. Cole could not speak on the issue because the party was yet to set up a campaign structure for the 2019 polls.

All of Mr. Cole’s public profiles show he had tertiary education in Nigeria and in Brazil but none indicates the dates of his graduation.

NEXT EDITION could not also extract any record of where he served in any of such profiles, some of which have been edited recently.

Attempts to speak with the NYSC spokesperson, Adenike Adeyemi, failed as her line was unreachable and text message to her phone was not replied.

But a senior staff of the scheme, who could not be named because he is not authorised to speak on the matter said the NYSC has no record Mr. Cole served or was offered an exemption.

 

*Culled from THE NEXT EDITION

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BUSINESS

Wema Bank, Dana Airline in alleged money laundering scandal

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One of the nation’s topflight banking institutions, Wema Bank and Dana Air, owners of Sri Sai Vandana Foundation, a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) have been fingered in a money laundering crime and may be prosecuted by the anti-graft agency.

According to a source, the airline’s inflight donation collected between 2014 and 2018 without following due process is the bane of contention.

“The EFCC will take it up. We will investigate and prosecute the crime element once prima facie is established,” the acting spokesperson of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Tony Orilade said.

Dana started Nigeria’s Sri Sai Vandana Foundation in 1995 and commenced the inflight donation in partnership with the Sickle Cell Foundation of Nigeria. But after the airline suffered a major crash in Lagos in 2012 in which 153 persons died, it ceased the collaboration, ‘re-strategised’, and solely ran the inflight donations.

Reports also reveal how Dana through Sri Sai Vandana Foundation, got the inflight donations between January 2014 and October 2018, raking in millions of naira deposited into the Wema Bank account number 0121291839 without due registration with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), a prerequisite for complying with the Special Control Unit against Money Laundering (SCUML) regulations.

The EFCC official stated that the company will be sanctioned and that when there is a vacuum that is when we will lift the veil.

He further explained that by ‘lifting the veil’ he simply means “The company cannot run without humans. So, it is when everyone denies being members of the company that we go after the individuals.”

In line with the Money Laundering Prohibition Act, it is mandatory every Designated Non – Financial Institution, DNFI, to register with SCUML in order to legally operate in Nigeria.

Contravening the SCUML guidelines have some specific penalties, including “suspension or revocation of license, fines or imprisonment or both,” according to Sections 15 to 17 of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011 (as amended).

It stipulates a maximum of 14 years jail term for an individual but, in the case of a corporate organisation, the law says such organisation would pay “a fine of not less than 100 percent of the funds and properties acquired as a result of the offense committed” and would also have its license withdrawn.

Precisely, the law defines the unlawful act listed in subsection (2) of the Act to include “corruption, bribery, fraud, counterfeiting, and piracy of products…or any other criminal act specified in this Act or any other law in Nigeria.”

As such, Wema Bank officials involved in Dana’s account opening process may as well be prosecuted by the anti-graft agency, as soon as SCUML forwards its findings to the EFCC.

Source: ICIR

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INVESTIGATION

Sanwo-Olu’s Chief of Staff, Tayo Ayinde dumps wife, …Marries millionaire’s sister

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Barely one year after the crash of his marriage, popular Lagos politician, Mr. Tayo Akinmade Ayinde has found love again. He is romantically involved with Doyin Ojora, a popular society lady. Ayinde, who presently serves as the Chief of Staff to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos state, was the Director-General of the Babajide Sanwo-Olu Independent Campaign Group between 2018 and 2019.

This newspaper gathered that Ayinde ended his marriage to his first wife, Titilola, shortly before Sanwo-Olu’s gubernatorial project kicked off. Sources disclosed that Ayinde decided to end the marriage to Titilola and send her packing, for the flimsiest of excuses, which continue to elude the couple’s close friends. Not satisfied with his decision to call it quit with his first wife, Ayinde, reportedly, denied her access to their children.

Close sources disclosed that Ayinde’s decision to end his marriage with Titilola, has refused to sit well with his close friend. They can’t seem to fathom why he would dump the woman, who started from the scratch and made a lot of sacrifices to make him what he is today.

Sources revealed  that Titilola almost went into a state of depression when all efforts she made to reconcile with her family was frustrated by her estranged husband. Left with little or no option, the 49-year old lady left Nigeria and relocated to the United States, where she currently resides.

Meanwhile, Ayinde has since found love in the bosom of Doyin Ojora, a party-loving society girl. The two have since consummated the affair and now carry on as husband and wife. Doyin is in her late 30’s, and she is the niece of Otunba Adekunle Ojora, the boardroom businessman. She once worked with Ayodeji Joseph, during his tenure as Chairman of Apapa Local Government. Later, she was appointed as a caretaker of Apapa Local Council.

Ayinde, who hails from Ikorodu, Lagos State was born on the 24th of August, 1964 at Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos. He is an alumnus of Havard Business School, Boston, USA and University of Cambridge, United Kingdom. Ayinde is a former security and intelligence personnel. He had previously served as chief security detail to the former Governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu from 1999 to 2007.

A source close to the chief of staff, however disclosed that he and his estranged wife have been separated for about 3 years and they finally divorced last year. “It was as a result of irreconcilable differences, he’s a good man who has right to live well.

This was one of the issues that counted against him when he contemplated contesting for the governorship, Aswaju told him that “koni yawo nile,( he doesn’t have a wife) so, if he decides to do that now,is it wrong? The source said.

SOURCE: First Weekly Magazine

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INVESTIGATION

Crisis rocks Nigeria Centre for Disease Control as D-G refuses to leave after tenure

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There is apprehension in the Abuja head office of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), as a result of the decision of the Director-General (D-G), Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, to remain in office after the expiration of his tenure.

Despite the order from the Permanent Secretary of the federal Ministry of Health, Alhaji Abdullahi, who is the overall boss of the ministry in the absence of a minister, that Ihekweazu should vacate office based on the content of his appointment letter dated August 1, 2016, he has bluntly refused to obey the instruction.

A presidency source, who is in the know of what is going on in the agency, declared that the Permanent Secretary has made an official complaint against the D-G to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha.

The presidency source said: “There is a complete loss of confidence in the D-G and the top officials no longer hold meetings with him”.

Aside the fact that this action may affect the integrity of President Muhammadu Buhari, it may also affect the mandate of the agency to effectively respond to the challenges of public health emergencies.

NCDC Memo

The source declared that the Presidency is already shopping for a replacement “and this will be announced soon”.

The top four directors in the agency are Dr. Joshua Obasanya, Mrs. Olubunmi Ojo, Mrs. Nwando Mba and Mr. Y.Y. Abdullahi. Of these four, Obasanya is the most senior.

There are also Deputy Directors such as, Dr. John Oladejo, Mrs. Elsie Ilori, Dr. Priscilla Ibekwe, Dr. Chinwe Ochu and Dr. Olufemi Ayoola “and I can tell you for free that these top officials don’t see eye to eye with the D-G again”.

One of the junior officials in the ministry declared: “Our D-G has vehemently refused to vacate office, despite the instruction from the Permanent Secretary”.

He said Ihekweazu assumed office on August 1, 2016 based on a letter signed by the then SGF, Babachir David Lawal.

With Ref. No. SGF.6/XXI/356 and entitled APPOINTMENT OF NATIONAL COORDINATOR/CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER OF THE NIGERIA CENTRE FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION (NCDC), the letter reads:
“I am pleased to inform you that the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, has approved your appointment as National Coordinator/Chief Executive Officer of the National Office for the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC).

“The appointment took effect from 25th July, 2016 and your emoluments and other conditions of service are as provided under Certain Political, Public and Judicial Office Holders (Salaries and Allowances etc.) (Amendment) Act, 2008.

“I am to add that your tenure terminates at the end of this Administration unless otherwise decided by Mr. President.

“Please accept my congratulations and best wishes on your appointment”.

The source declared that Ihekweazu “pressed all the buttons” to ensure a renewal of his tenure in May and April but a fresh letter was not given to him.

“He should have left office since May 29 but he has been using delay tactics. I can tell you that the morale is down in our office. All our ogas (directors) don’t attend meeting with Dr. Ihekweazu again.

“I remember the last meeting they had with him was about two days after the inauguration of President Muhammadu Buhari for another term on May 29.

“The D-G should have left office on May 28 but he told them that he would leave office Tuesday of the following week. Twenty four hours to the day, he called them again and announced that he would leave office the following Thursday. All of a sudden, the next thing we saw was a letter from the D-G, informing all directors, heads of departments and members of staff that he would go on one-week leave from June 13 to 21”.

The letter, dated June 11, 2019, reads:
“Dear Colleagues, I will be proceeding on annual leave from the 13th to 21st of June, 2019.

“During this period, Dr. Joshua Obasanya will act in my capacity as Director-General.

“I am very grateful for the hard work and support from you all in the first half of this year. It has been an extremely busy period but with a lot of success and remarkable achievements.

“The prospects of what we can achieve in the next half of the year are very exciting. I look forward to more progress on this journey.

“Once again colleagues, thank you very much for your support.
Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu”

The source said the paragraph ‘The prospects of what we can achieve in the next half of the year are very exciting. I look forward to more progress on this journey’ is already causing ripples in the agency as it is believed that Ihekweazu does not want to vacate office, despite the expiration of his tenure.

The source alleged that the D-G “is still signing cheques and awarding contracts, backdating them to May 27”.

“There is a serious lacuna in our office. The sit-tight syndrome is already affecting our operations here. There is also the allegation of nepotism against the D-G. Since the D-G resumed from the one-week leave, I have not seen our ogas (directors) in his office. Now, we hear all kinds of rumours.

“There is tension everywhere. One of the ogas (directors) told me that they will not have any meeting with him. Honestly, since the Permanent Secretary advised the D-G to leave, I wonder what he is still doing in the office”.

Established in 2011, the core functions of NCDC include prevention, detection and control of diseases of public health importance.

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