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APC MISTAKE : A LEADERSHIP TRAGEDY IN KOGI STATE

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APC MISTAKE : A LEADERSHIP TRAGEDY IN KOGI STATE

BY: John Akoji Adama

Information filtering in has it that Kogi State government temporarily relocated government activities to an hotel within the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, for a cabinet brain storm on arrays of issues — ranging from the glaring slow pace of developmental activities (despite huge resource investment and the augmentation from accruals), unpopular government programs, crass insecurity, intra-party squabbles cum the natural sonorous opposition campaign against the government of the day, among other crying concerns.

Before going into the kernel of the limitations mitigating against the administration of Governor Yahaya Bello, it would be a point of interest to refresh our memories on how the man emerged as an imposed replacement for Alhaji Prince Abubakar Audu, of blessed memory.

It was held against Yahaya Bello that he resisted all appeals to collapse his campaign tructure into the unified structure of the winner of the primary election at which he, Yahaya Bello, came far second.

He declined all frantic and genuine reconciliation efforts by the party executives, opinion moulders, leaders of thought at all levels and the NWC of APC to resolve the greavance and acrimony that preceded the primary election — a display that caused for every rational thought to believe that Bello’s strange actions after his defeat at the primaries was stamped on the fact of his celestial assurances of a ‘done deal’ because his subsequent assertions and claims were without recourse to any known laws or logic in both the party’s constitution and our national electoral laws. His campaign strategist Edward Onoja and his lieutenants were bragging and boosting that the mandate was theirs and that whoever would come forward as a competitor was just wasting his time. They deployed all propaganda mercenary with spurous allegations against the bona fide winner, Prince Audu, but all of which efforts proved futile.

Bello, in his desperation to become the party’s candidate at all cost, levelled a court case against Abubakar Audu who is the party’s gubernatorial candidate. He alleged that Audu, who is on the Board of Trustees of the party, cannot be qualified to fly the party’s ticket without first relinquishing his membership of the board, an action which all critical onlookers saw as an after-thought and ridiculous.

Yahaya Bello, having failed all round and still hell-bent in making sure his party would fail in the general election resorted to negotiation with the incumbent Captain Idris Wada, who, upon the agreement of their teams, equipped him against his party in the election proper, hence the defeat of APC in Yahaya Bello’s Okene home even though, he himself could not exercise his civic duty as he did not have a voter’s card!

Turn around point: Alhaji Prince Abubakar Audu, the APC flag bearer, was the first and the second Executive Governor of Kogi State. In the state, before his ill-timed demise, Audu was seen as the only governor with an unbeatable track record of development; he was a consummate leader with a passion for innovative programmes for capacity building and empowerment with a view to quality livelihood for all and the rapid structural development of his dear domain.

He was consistent in his opposition party until they merged to form APC, which is the ruling party in Nigeria’s present political dispensation.

Audu won the 2015 election but never realized it, as he was snatched away by the cold hands of death. The news of his sudden departure to eternity while electoral processes were still on-going raised novel issues in our legal framework and created a vacuum in the candidacy of APC. The situation, which simply required expert interpretation from the supreme court to resolve was shamefully assumed by the independent or, better still, undependable electoral body (INEC) which, in their sentimental incarceration, aligned with the powers that be — and

and the party in power whose winning candidate died to invoke a discretionary resolution of “vote-appropriation and imposition of candidate” in a way and manner that would not put their spot….

Yahaya Bello, who apparently did not participate in the campaign nor made any financial contribution to the party during the campaign in anyway or form, became the beautiful bride for the widower county’s wedding.

The choice of Yahaya Bello as a replacement was outrightly rejected by the state party leadership and other interest groups across the state; these described the action of the APC national body as an aberration to the valiant party men and women who brought the party to victory. It came as a rude shock to others while the eastern flank of the state with the majority vowed never to work with ‘a stranger’.

Some aggrieved party members as well as opposition PDP went to court to seek redress if it was enshrined in our laws for votes of a dead man to be inherited or appropriated to another person who never participated legally in the associated election.

Futhermore, the puported adoption of Yahaya Bello in the stead of Audi’s joint ticket-holder (James Faleke) was as insensitive as it was unlawful. Under normal democratic circumstances, where politics is founded on morality, strength of numbers and acceptability, the dead man’s associate (running mate) should be bestowed “offer of first refusal”. And this is the position of even the party’s western flank in the state, where Honourable James Faleke hails from! The people’s agitation was “We can’t keep hope on nothing”.

Honorable Faleke’s association with Audu on the same platform was never a liability but an asset. They traversed lengths and breaths, days and nights canvassing for vote with huge resources and logistics to make sure they defeated the incumbent Captain Idris Wada in his second term bid….. it was perceived in their lamentations that the party called APC was still in the claws or inclination of primordial Northern political sentiments. Otherwise, why would a defeated aspirant at the primaries who later crossed over to another party, worked against the party and, above all, was not qualified in any ramification, be the best choice for replacement?

Little wonder then that Alhaji Bello, the executive governor of Kogi State, the party’s best for the plume job has not been able to unveil his blueprint on development plan almost two calendar years in office! When he came on board, there were mixed feelings amongst youngsters across the state: to many among this critical sector of the populace, what transpired was a paradigm shift, while others felt a change was needed but that his emergence was undemocratic and, as such, would cause political turmoil in the state.

The government of Yahaya Bello is generally adjudged the weakest with little or no people-oriented project amidst huge resources. Close allies of the government vituperate their misgivings as intellectually endowed persons are not allowed to go near the Governor or have input in the business of governance by the iconoclastic and arrogant Chief of Staff; though the business of the state as a government is reduced to a kindergarten play stage but, we appreciate the timely intervention of the Nigerian foremost anti-graft agency in our dear state to check the cleptomanic nature of those in custody of our funds.

Pathetically, Kogi civil servants and pensioners are being dehumanized daily as they are reduced to inevitable starvation! Sicknesses and deceases have ravaged families as the aged pensioners could no longer cater for their medical bills, food, etc.

In conclusion,
I salute the rare courage of TUC/NLC for their resilience and continuous pressure on the government to do the right thing. Needless to remind us of the incessant but vain staff screening exercise which, according to the mischief maker, is aimed at ascertaining the genuine staff strenght and actual wage bill to enable the state plan.
The implication of this unending exercise is negative on the productivity of the state as it is technically edging to insolvency.

Kogi State is embroidered with a juvenile-leadership deliquency and, if not rescued at this time, then she is heading for a collapse.

God save us and bless Kogi State.

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Cowards not the brave walk into an Early political grave

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By Yusuf Idris Gusau

Opposition politics in Zamfara State is regressing by the minute, hour and day, something akin to childish banters and motor park gist. Ironically, it’s being promoted by an otherwise seasoned politicians who have been around for two decades at the least.

In the motor park the usual conversation is often centered on rumors, heresays and crude conjectures. If you were to be a witness listening from outside the conversing group you would be at a loss who introduced the topic or where the topic originated from.

It is a cacophony of voices each one swearing to know better than the other.
That is how the topic of everyday, Governor Bello Mohammed Matawalle, has become within the rank and file of the opposition All Progressive Congress.

They live in the day with his name on their lips. They go to bed with his image stalking their nights, and dream the nightmare he has become to their political survival.

Isn’t it surprising that the “strong” men and women of Zamfara politics can be in such disarray, disorganized and bereft of ideas on how to reposition themselves and the APC if they were the political heavyweights barely two  years since losing to one whom they considered a less formidable opponent? How can they resort to hiring neophytes in mudslinging and fear mongering to do their dirty jobs if indeed they are “masters” of Zamfara politics as they claim to be?

For the last one year or so the subject of discussion within the APC has been whether or not Matawallen Maradun and Shettiman Sokoto will defect to the APC.

Why should that be an issue, and why should his domineering presence send chills into their spines?
Why should 2023 elections be a subject at hand when there are so many days and months to go and whereas there are lots of cleaning of the dirt they left in the augean stable?
Do they not know that Matawalle has a job to do than bother with who gets the governorship seat in 2023?
Are they not aware Matawalle believes, like every good Muslim should, that playing god as they did when they shared positions in their bedrooms in the past was the genesis of their failures to date?
If they don’t know, they should know now, that the Shattiman Sakkwato will certainly not wait for any person to decide his fate which he believes is in God’s hands and will only be processed when the time comes through popular support from the people.

It is ridiculously funny that the so-called political big-wigs have continued to engage the services of anyone they can lay their hands on including people who do not accept the mighty powers of Allah nor the rights and privileges of citizens in Zamfara politics. A coward who hid behind a sydonym of Musa Dangusau to dictate to the incumbent Zamfara governor not to move from his party, the PDP to another party the APC. Which oracle told him to pass such a despicable message for a contest that is open and where only the brave dares?
I want to quickly make one basic note and correction here that for these people who political cowards see as Zamfara political deep pockets, the fear of Matawalle joining APC is certainly the begining of their political wisdom.
Since the rumour began making the rounds that governor Matawalle was defecting to the APC, the whole partners in the party in Zamfara came crashing because of the fact that the writings on the wall have become so clear.

For the likes of Musa Dangusau however it appears politics begins and ends with just one person in Zamfara State, and any challenge to this person’s will and desire threaten their well-being. That is indeed a pity because they will soon eat their bread unbuttered because Matawalle has since demonstrated his political strength as witnessed during the Bakura House of Assembly bye-election which he won for his party prompting many APC members to join him in the PDP.

He has indeed become a serious threat to their demi-god and are afraid they will lose relevance and their meal ticket.

We wish to remind the opposition that though Matawalle contested and won his election on the platform of the PDP he never went to court because he believes strongly that power belongs to God.
And when the Supreme Court declared him winner of the 2019 governorship election, it was as a result of the squabbles caused internally by APC members in the state and by its parent body.

One assumes therefore that if the opposition is politically savvy as they claim to be, one would have thought it wise to beg Matawalle to hasten his movement to the APC instead of fighting a losing battle now that the national headquarters of the APC which is made up of enlightened personalities have since realized the asset he has become and are ready to receive him whenever he makes up his mind.

Also talking about Matawalle betraying his current party, the PDP as implied by the poisonous pen of phantom Dangusau. We ask, why should outsiders say that on behalf of the PDP, it should be the PDP that will complain.
Or, are they in anyway putting words into Matawalle’s mouth when he isn’t the type to be called disloyal or afraid to quietly live whatever it is that isn’t protecting the interest of the people of Zamfara?
Shakespeare said in one of his books “cowards die many times before their deaths” and walk into an early grave. This aptly describes those who are scared of the towering personality of the Matawallen Maradun and are the ones going early to their political grave.
That we can promise them.

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HACFO on how Aisha was forcefully abducted, converted, and married off with consent of emir

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HACFO on how Aisha was forcefully abducted, converted, and married off with consent of emir

Rafin Iyaka Sabuwar Kasa, Kafur LGA of Katsina State is a mixed community of both Christian and Muslim Hausas, but the Christians continued to live in pains and bondage perpetrated by the Muslim side that constantly enjoys the protection of the District Head of Kafur and the Emir of Katsina.

These two Islamic traditional rulers do everything possible to stop the constitutionally recognized law enforcement agencies like the Police from rightly carrying out their statutory duties. That is why any crime committed against the Christians will always be swept under the carpet.

Due to the previous experiences of the Christian community of Gidan Dandada Rafin Iyaka on the abduction and forceful conversion of their young girls which Aisha happens to be the 9th person, the Family of Aisha didn’t hesitate to report some strange moves of one Mohammed Samaila around their 15 year old daughter to their village head.

As usual, the said Mohammed Samaila and his father kept denying having anything to do with Aisha. These strange moves continue for about two years and the village head was not willing to take any action against the said Mohammed Samaila. When the family of Aisha could no longer tolerate what they were seeing, they decided to relocate Aisha from the village Gidan Dandada Rafin Iyaka, to Funtua for Aisha to be staying with her elder sister.

On 10th February, 2021, Aisha went missing from the house where she stays. When the elder sister and her husband searched everywhere possible and could not locate Aisha, they quickly reported it to the Funtua Police Station to help them find Aisha.

Two days later, on 12th February 2021, Aisha’s Parents received a call from the District Head of Kafur telling them to stop searching for Aisha because she is safe with him in his house. He claimed that one Idris Shehu brought her to his house. On hearing that, Aisha’s family went to see the District Head of Kafur at his palace in order to bring their daughter back home, but to their dismay, it was not possible. He refused releasing her on the ground that she wanted to convert to Islam. Aisha’s parents insisted but the District Head refused them access to their Daughter.

Ten days later, the District Head called Aisha’s parents to tell them that one Mohammed Sama’ila wants to marry Aisha their daughter. When Aisha’s parents went to the District Head’s palace, they rejected the issue of the marriage. They insisted their daughter be returned to them and continue with her school and if anyone wants to marry her, he should follow the due process. The District Head ignored Aisha’s parents and went ahead to arrange marriage between Aisha and Mohammed Samaila without the consent and approval of Aisha’s Family.

When Aisha’s Family did everything possible and peaceful for Aisha to be returned to them and they were ignored and humiliated, they decided to engage the services of a law firm; A. U. Ajodo & CO. Legacy Chambers to help them bring Aisha back.

The Law Firm immediately wrote a petition against the District Head ( Alh. Abdulrahman Rabe and Mohammed Sama’ila to the Katsina State Commissioner of Police through the Malumfashi Area Command demanding the immediate arrest, investigation and prosecution of these two suspects and the immediate release of Aisha back to her Family.

Unfortunately, the Police did not arrest these two culprits or do anything to ensure the return of Aisha. They only summoned the District Head of Kafur without the said Mohammed Samaila. The Area Commander told the District Head not to go ahead with the marriage plans between Aisha and Mohammed Samaila, but the district head ignored the police directive.

They later agreed for the girl to be brought to the police station and be returned to her family but the District Head refused to comply. Instead, he decided to take the girl to the Emir of Katsina at Katsina on that same day he was to bring the girl to the police station. On reaching there, the Emir of Katsina joined Aisha and Mohammed in marriage without the consent of her parents.

As it is now, the Katsina state police command are not willing to carry out their statutory duties as enshrined in the Nigerian constitution and ensure justice is done.

It is very important to note that this is not the first time such a thing is happening. The said District Head of Kafur is known for such … acts right …. .

The village of Gidan Dandada Rafin Iyaka, Sabuwar Kasa, Kafur LGA, Katsina State has suffered such unjust treatments from the District Head of Kafur who is also backed by the Emir of Katsina. Till date a total of nine Hausa Christian Girls have been abducted, forcefully converted to Islam and forced into early marriage.

The following are the names of the girls that were abducted, forcefully converted to Islam and forced into marriage from this village by the same District Head:
1) Jamima Solomon
2) Christiana Mamman
3) Deborah Habila
4) Phoebe Dankano
5) Rifkatu Markus (Rescued)
6) Saratu Isah (Returned her when she went mad after two years)
7) Dije Yakubu Nalami (Abducted as a married woman, and returned when she died)
8) Rebeccah Ado (Returned Pregnant)
9) Aisha Mani (Currently in captivity)

It is on record that any time this Christian Community agitates against the injustice done to them, the Muslim youths will violently go after them and threaten to burn down the Church and houses of the Christians.

The Hausa Christians Foundation (HACFO) is working tirelessly to ensure the safe and unconditional return of Aisha Mani and to ensure that justice is duly served.

We covet your prayers and support to ensure that Aisha is reunited with her family. Kindly pray for the Northern Christians especially the families whose daughters have been abducted, forced into Islam and marriage. Northern Nigeria is becoming hell for Christians to live in.

▪︎The Hausa Christian Foundation (HACFO) can be reached via missions@hacfo.org and admin@hacfo.org

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Yinka Odumakin: The Exit Of A Convinced Humanist

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Yinka Odumakin: The Exit Of A Convinced Humanist

By Rauf Aregbesola

The circumstance of his demise were quite unusual. Though a picture he took with Papa Ayo Adebanjo, indicating he was not in the best shape of health had appeared on the internet not quite long ago; still, it caught us by surprise. The human mind has the incredible capacity to suppress morbid suggestions on loved ones, bordering on denial. But now, as the dust is settling and the tears are drying, we are beginning to reconcile to the fact that Yinka Odumakin is gone.

February 20, earlier this year, was the last time I had a telephone conversation with him. He was his natural self. He could be vivacious when excited and could also be dead sober, if the matter requires it. I never had any premonition it would be our last conversation.

Odumakin straddled the political spectrum, breaking into public consciousness as a students union activist at Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, then practiced journalism at The Punch newspaper; was also part the struggles for military disengagement and deannulment of June 12, 1993 Presidential election won by Chief Moshood Abiola. In the post military era, Yinka retained his public presence with his participation in the politics of AD, AC, ACN, CPC and reportedly flirted with former President Goodluck Jonathan. He later consolidated his activism in Yoruba nationalism, being a highly visible spokesperson of Afenifere. He was a tenacious advocate of his convictions; never gave up on whatever he believed in, regardless of the opposition.

How did we meet? Yinka Odumakin and Bunmi Omoshehindemi walked into my office as the CGS of Bola Ahmed Tinubu Campaign Organisation office at Sunday Adigun St., Alausa Ikeja. It was in November of 1998.

Both came to declare support for the candidacy of Bola Tinubu unequivocally. This was in defiant opposition to those then opposed to any form of accommodation for democratic building process without a clear resolution of the June 12 imbroglio. This was a courageous step, then considering that their position would have been considered anathema by the movement. We had since then built a robust relationship, sometimes very smooth and at times frosty, but all the time remarkable till his translation on Friday, April 2, 2021.

I said we had a remarkable relationship because Yinka was consistent in standing up to fight for democracy, federalism, justice and rule of law. These to me are the factors for defining the dignity of man. Whoever has this commitment is an ally and a humanist.

Yinka has had to publicly criticise me a couple of times, especially when I was governor in Osun, our relationship notwithstanding. I took it in good faith, as it never affected our relationship. His criticisms were consistent with his convictions on what constitute public interest.

I am therefore proud to have known, interacted and worked with a humanist that doggedly fought for the dignity of people.

Yinka Odumakin, you will wake up to joyful activities on the other side. May the good Lord support your wife, family and friends. Ameen.

Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola is Minister of Interior, Federal Republic of Nigeria

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