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Melaye/Tinubu: Okun Progressives Call for Truce

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Melaye/Tinubu: Okun Progressives Call for Truce

Okun Progressives, a socio-political and economic association of all Okun people has called for truce in the verbal fiasco between Senator Dino Melaye and Senator Oluremi Tinubu.
We appeal to the All Progressives Congress (APC) to quickly intervene and yank off their daily tirade of abuse from the political firmament.
We urge the leadership of the Senate to deploy the internal mechanisms of dispute resolution to resolve all the issues between these two Senators.
We call on the two senators to give peace a chance and concentrate on the values for which they were elected to represent their people.
We advise the supporters of these senators to stop fanning the embers of discord and allow for peace to reign.‎

 Signed 
-Olayinka Samuel-08033900634 ‎
For: OKUN PROGRESSIVES

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Otò ge: Why Governor Abdulrahaman Abdulrazaq enjoys massive support in Kwara

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Otò ge: Why Governor Abdulrahaman Abdulrazaq enjoys massive support in Kwara

By Anjolaoluwa Folajimi

For several years, late Chief Olusola Saraki, Waziri Ilorin reigned supreme in the Kwara State politics. From the second republic down to the present democratic dispensation, his name made or marred the political fortune of many aspirants in the State.
His political clout transcend over three decades. The political legacy “Oloye” remained unrivalled until 2019 when the “Oto ge” Tsunami put an end to the political influence been enjoyed by the Sarakis in Kwara State politics.

With a change in government, courtesy of the “Oto ge” revolution, a political “greenhorn”, under the platform of All Progressives Congress (APC), Alhaji Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq emerged as the Governor of the State of Harmony. The new Kwara helmsman, a consumate businessman is the son of the first lawyer from the Northern Nigeria, late A.G.F AbdulRazaq, SAN.

Though not known in the political landscape of the state and by extension, the country, Abdulrazaq was fully prepared for governance, having contested and lost the Governorship seat in 2011 under the defunct Congress of Progressive Change (CPC), he has attended to the demand of the office since May 29, 2019 with total zeal, dedication and commitment. A focused and committed leader, the 7th executive Governor of Kwara State in the less than two years on the saddle, has changed the narratives of governance in the State. A development that has endeared him to the people in the 16 local government areas of the state. Not even his political detractors and the oposition can denied the fact that the 61 year old Governor has turned the face of governance, delivered dividend of democracy, give purposeful leadership to the state and written his name on the hearts of Kwarans with indelible ink.

Despite the rot in the system and the downturn of the economy, Abdulrazaq has brought his ingenuity to bear in turning the almost comatose fortune of the state back of its heels.

In the words of Ambassador Nurudeen Mohammed, a Chieftain of the ruling All Progressives Congress and Nigeria’s immediate past Ambassador to Malaysia, “Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq remains a man of the people and he stands tall as a man of honour among the majority of our party members in the state, in spite of the unfair demarketing campaign launched against his administration by some party chieftains and their co-travelers in the opposition. This is not by chance. Not only has the Governor demystified the office of Governor with his uncommon humility, simplicity, and prudence, he has redefined the story of our state in many positive ways. Whether in health, education, road, or water, the Governor has touched lives in many ways never seen before. He has strategically taken governance to the people such that there is no electoral Ward in the state that cannot point to one or two things that they have benefited in just 18 months of his administration.

“A modest and humble personalty, the Governor who has driven his own private car since day one of his administration to date. Here is a Governor who lives in his own house till date. Here is a Governor who is not taking salary. Here is a Governor who is willingly opening up his government for accountability through the phenomenal social audit process. Here is a Governor who just wants to deliver his campaign promises to the people, despite the biting economic realities. Here is a Governor who gives every part of the state a fair sense of belonging by always identifying with them in time of cultural celebration or mourning, and extending government’s patronage to every segment of the state. Today, Kwara is a model state on the continent in youths and women inclusion in government.”

The retired diplomat rated the Governor high in the health sector. According to him, the health sector of the state has received about the highest priority even before the advent of Covid-19 pandemic.

Mohammed further said, “the administration has started rehabilitation works across dozens of decrepit primary healthcare facilities. Long-abandoned routine immunisation and vaccination is back. For the first time, Kwara now has isolation centres equipped with modern gadgets like ventilators, defibrillators, patient monitors, and others. Its oxygen plant has been revived. For the first time, the state now has ambulances with capacities to manage patients in critical conditions on the go. Indeed, Kwara is now listed as A-list state in healthcare sector.”

The story of education sector of the state has continue to beat the imagination of Kwarans. Priority attention was accorded the sector, which had hitherto suffered neglect by previous administrations leading to the state been blacklisted from accessing from the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) fund for more than seven years before his advent as the Governor.
It is on record that Kwara State under Abdulrazaq, has accessed a backlog of N7.1bn UBEC counterpart funds with a matching grant of N7.1bn to gradually reposition the schools. Aside from the upcoming UBEC intervention, the state on its own is carrying out renovation works in at least 43 basic schools. With the UBEC funds in the kitty, no less than 600 basic schools are to get facelifts while teachers are also to be trained.

Worthy of commendation is the transparent process of recruiting 4701 qualified and competent teachers into our public primary, junior and senior secondary schools in the State.

Abdulrazaq’s developmental efforts are not limited to public institutions. In the wake of the novel Covid-19 pandemic, he extended his hands of kindness to Proprietors of 1,119 privately cowned schools in the state. Soft loan were given to help cushion the effects of the pandemic due to shutdown on public places on their schools and teachers.

Recalling Governor Abdulrazaq intervention in the provision of portable water, Hon. Abdulmumin Katibi, a one time member of Kwara State House of Assembly said, “in May 2019, water tanker was the source of potable water in most parts of Ilorin, the capital city, even in the Government House. Today, Pipe-borne water is back and stable in the metropolis while nearly 500 boreholes have either been dug or rehabilitated across the state. No fewer than nine water works have been fixed since this Governor came on board while contracts for more have been awarded. With water situation being tackled, Kwara is keying into the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), a key component of the Sustainable Development Goal 6 to promote hygiene and end open defecation. Under this scheme, many schools and hospitals across the state would now for the first time get tap water and pour-flush toilets.”

Urban and rural road infrastructure since Governor Abdulrazaq assumed office has continued to receive attention. The administration has fixed over 100 rural and urban roads/culverts/bridges. Many agrarian communities are now getting standard roads, those hitherto cut off from civilisation are being linked, while at least 500 rural roads are to be fixed under the World Bank-enabled Rural Access and Agricultural Marketing Project (RAAMP) arrangement for which the administration had earlier paid counterpart funds. These road projects are spread across the senatorial districts, deliberately linking agrarian areas to the urban centres.

Modelled after President Buhari’s Social Investment Programme, Kwara State Social Investment Programme (KWASSIP) is the Governor’s multi-faceted and nonpartisan response to the question of extreme poverty and government’s poor attention to the vulnerable. Under the scheme, at least 21,623 petty traders have accessed soft loans to stay afloat while over 10,000 transporters who could not work during the COVID-19 lockdown were supported. Similarly, already-enumerated 10,000 vulnerable and poor senior citizens, from age 60, are now getting monthly stipends under what would be the state’s first ever institutionalised social protection scheme.

The scheme is also offering free digital training to young people to help them cope in the new economy. Over 3000 persons received training in July last year while 10,000 more are undergoing a richer version of the course in the second phase of the programme in conjunction with Wootlab Innovation and Grow With Google. A total of 30,000 young people are billed to benefit from the training within three years.

It is on record that the federal government has indeed hailed Kwara State’s version of the Owo Isowo (TraderMoni) for its innovative features, such as the inclusion of BVN of the beneficiaries. This is just a few of the many interventions Governor Abdulrazaq has made to lift our people out of purverty. The interesting thing about him is that he sees governance as an affair that transcends party loyalty, and this explains why he has become so popular with the masses, to the chagrin of his traducers!

To achieve the desired transformation in the State, Governor Abdulrazaq’s administration has positively changed the narrative of staff welfare in the state civil service. There is now regular payment of salary. No more percentage payment and promotion of staff has resumed while arrears of salaries and allowances dating back to as far back as 2012 are now being paid. Besides, pensioners now enjoy regular payment of pensions. A sustainable arrangement for payment of gratuities on monthly basis has now been put in place.

However, the unprecedented achievements recorded within this short period is now being threatened by some self serving political leaders, with dangerous sense of entitlement, greed and lust for personal gains are out to forment trouble.

It is a known Convention in the ruling All Progressives Congress that the Governor of a state is the leader of the party in the state. This explained why the likes of Minister of Information, Lai Labode, his counterpart, Minister of State Transportation, Gbemisola Saraki and Akogun Oyedepo have failed in their bid to highjack the party machinery from the Governor.

Despite a well sustained campaign of caluminy by this set of individuals, the political rating and public perception of the Governor continue to assume a constant rise.

An instructive development was the recent endorsement of Governor Abdulrazaq by the kinsmen of the Information Minister from Irepodun Local Government area of the state. Lai Mohammed kinsmen and APC leaders who publicly identified with the Governor include former Kwara State Commissioner for Information, Oloriewe Raheem Adedoyin, a member Kwara State House of Assembly, Hon. Tayo Awodiji, Deputy Chief of Staff, Government House, Princess Bukola Babalola, Prince Shuaib Olanrewaju, Barr. Teju Ogintoye, Gen. Lasisi Abidoye(rtd), Elder Agboola Adewumi, Conrade Ben Dintoye, Alhaji Raheem Olokoba, Prince Samuel Alebiosu, Mrs. Deborah Aremu, Gen. Lasisi Abidoye(rtd), Mrs Shade Omoniyi, Chief Raphael Awotunde, Mr. Yomi Adeboye, Mr. Femi Ajibade, Dr. Sule Popoola, Mr. Debo Adeleke, Hon. Azeez Yakubu and others.

Declaring their support for the Governor at a Press Conference recently in Ilorin, the Minister’s kinsmen through their spokesperson, Hon. Olabanji Olayemi, who is also the Chairman, Kwara South caretaker committee, was quick to refer the Minister to some laudable projects of the Governor in their area. The projects include, “the completion of Taiwo Road, Omu Aran-Esie Museum Road asphalt lay, renovation of court building in Omu Aran, free surgery, state government social investment programmes such as Owo Arugbo and Owo Isowo, comprehensive renovation and construction of additional facilities in Oro Grammar School, Oro.

“Renovation of block of 3 classrooms with an office and store, GSS, Omuaran, renovation of a block of 4 classrooms, CHS, Ajase-Ipo, renovation of a block of 4 classrooms and workshop building, Esie/Iludun Technical College, renovation of examination Hall, GSS, Omu Aran, renovation of a block of Laboratory, PMC, Oro-Ago, and many mores.”

In their verdict, Olayemi said, “In the light of the enumerated achievements of the governor in Irepodun LGA, it is not difficult for us to publicly declare unequivocal support for His Excellency, Alhaji Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq, the Governor and our party leader in Kwara State.”

The voice of people of Irepodun is on a daily basis being re-echoed from all the nooks and crannies of Kwara State. If in less than two years, Governor AbdulRazaq has recorded these milestone achievements spread across all the wards in the state, no sooner than later, he may emerge as the new political force that will dominate the political horizon of Kwara State for long.

Folajimi is a member of APC in Kwara state.

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Opinion

OKOROCHA: ABUSE OF POWER AND BRIGANDAGE BY A GOVERNMENT OF HATE

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OKOROCHA: ABUSE OF POWER AND BRIGANDAGE BY A GOVERNMENT OF HATE

By Frank Tietie

I have not hidden my personal admiration for Rochas Okorocha who became a billionaire long before he held any major political office in Nigeria.

By privilege as an adjutant counsel to Okorocha in one of his cases, I have personally engaged him in exchanges and briefings for many hours and I am convinced beyond doubt, by moderate standards that he is a good man, especially in comparison to the average Nigerian politician.

By dint of hard work and the natural business knack of the Igbo man, Okorocha became very rich and did not need to be the governor of Imo State to make money. He made money without government.

No politician or business man has ever done what Okorocha has achieved for human development through the Rochas Foundation which has offered free quality education to thousands of orphans and indigent students in Nigeria and all over Africa. These he started before he became governor and has continued after leaving office as governor of Imo State. I will therefore, not apologize to anyone for loving such a man who possesses such humanity.

So what has Rochas Okorocha done?
The man possesses a worldview that sets him apart from the normal Nigerian politician. I see him as a highly misunderstood person yet his works speak better for him. He is so people oriented, driven by his uncommon brand of philanthropy while his business ideas spin so much money. That is why he is so loved by many and equally hated by his political rivals for being so different.

If Okorocha stole money while in Imo State Government House, the EFCC would know, considering the staggering number of petitions currently against him. He is about the most investigated former governor by the anti-graft agencies.

Unlike the typical African politician who would pillage state resources and hide in Swiss banks or buy property in Dubai, Okorocha put his major investments in real estate and education in his home state of Imo because he didn’t have any skeletons to hide.

Today, impassioned by the seeds of hatefulness, some people and a current government in Imo State have decided to engage in a brutish vendetta to satisfy their hatred, by attempting to label and confiscate property linked to Okorocha in Imo State. Can they try that with his real estate investments in Abuja? They don’t even have a court order. Imagine the lawlessness!

So will Nigeria ever witness standard policing? Must the Nigeria Police be associated with everything untoward? My answer is NO!.

But if Okorocha must be arrested by the Nigeria Police for any reason, should it be made a political festival of insults and humiliation of Okorocha himself, with supervised beatings and manhandling of his aides by sympathisers of Governor Hope Uzodinma? These have been reported to have allegedly taken place on the orders of Governor Uzodinma himself and under the supervision of the Nigerian Police.

Again, this is an abuse and misuse of Nigeria Police powers. Therefore, the clamour for state police has been further defeated when contemplated with the likes of Governor Uzodinma in mind. Such brigandage and barbarity will be the order of day in states where the Governor fails to realize his duty is to preserve order and good governance by upholding legal standards in whatever circumstances.

Governor Uzodinma and many rivals of Okorocha appear to be so afraid and intimidated by the continued towering personality of Okorocha who is currently one of the most ardent voices in the Nigerian Senate. It is also rife that he wants to run for Nigeria’s presidency in 2023 to become the first Igbo President of post civil war Nigeria.

Whereas Senator Rochas Okorocha ought to be the pride of every Igbo person at this material time yet, it is his kith and kin from Imo State that want to destroy the good name of one of their own, purely out puny and petty rivalry. Who does that in modern Nigeria? From Second Republic Barkin Zuwo to Peter Odili, which former Governor, however so vilified has been so badly mistreated by his own people, the way some Imo people have decided to do to one of their own? Like they would always say: “The South eats up it own while the North protect its own”. And one wonders and complains about the continued reign of Northern hegemony in the midst of Southern hate amongst themselves?

The saga of Okorocha arrest by the Nigeria Police with the reported associated violence involving some officials of Imo State together with a band of name calling elements against Okorocha and his aides fall below the standards of law enforcement even for an emergent country as ours.

The Inspector General of Police is therefore urged to urgently investigate the circumstances surrounding the arrest of the Senator and former Governor and ensure that proper policing standards are adhered to in order to prevent a perception of witch-hunt of Senator Rochas Okorocha thus, engendering disaffection among his numerous supporters in Imo State and all over Nigeria.

Frank Tietie
Human Rights Lawyer,
writes from Abuja

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Opinion

Sule Lamido and the message of peaceful coexistence

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Sule Lamido and the message of peaceful coexistence

By: Adamu Muhd Usman

“I have a history to protect, a reputation to promote, a heritage to maintain and an attitude to exhibit, failure is not part of us.”
    —Sule Lamido on BOBA symposium lecture in Dutse Aug 3oth, 2014 

In many parts of Nigeria, those described as “settlers” live in fear for their lives, their property and their citizenship rights. Alhaji (Dr.) Sule Lamido, former Jigawa state governor believes in national unity as a matter of political and ideological principle. He said on many occasions that peaceful co-existence, mutual understanding, political stability and unity of purpose are necessary ingredients for the rapid progress of any state and of Nigeria as a whole.

His stand will not be faraway from the experiences and positions he held. former national youth leader, a former law maker, former state party secretary and state party chairman. He was one time a national party secretary (SDP). A House of Representatives’ member  Lamido was a former foreign affairs Minister, former state governor and 2019 PDP presidential aspirant

In many parts of this country, except in Jigawa State where  Sule Lamido served as the governor of the state for eight years when he went out of his way to assure non-indigenes living in the state had their equal status as every other Nigerian citizens.

He told non-indigenes living in the state when he was the governor of Jigawa that their rights as Nigerian citizens would be protected as a matter of right and not as a special privilege (nepotism).

Nigerians, he said, are free to live wherever they chose and their rights are guaranteed by the constitution. While this right is sometimes abridged by authorities in some parts of the country using various forms of subterfuge, in Jigawa State it is guaranteed in theory and in practice.

Lamido spoke about the incident when non-indigenes were asked to leave the state or forced to register in some states. He said those asking Nigerians to leave or register in their own country were sending a wrong signal that was not healthy for the unity of the country.

Lamido said, those in authority must understand that leadership is about understanding the people who are being governed with a view and commitment to protecting their dignity, lives and properties irrespective of their religious or ethnic background.
He said in order to promote peace and unity in this country; every Nigerian must have freedom of movement and to live anywhere he chooses without intimidation, victimization, humiliation or deprivation. He also emphasised that, everyone must be law abiding citizen.

Lamido more than preached mutual coexistence; he felt the non-indigenous people needed to feel at home. When he was the governor, he allocated plots of lands with cash donation to all non-indigenous groups living in the state capital, Dutse. Non-indigenes were having the opportunity and access like the state indigenes of free medical care, scholarship for their children, political appointments, employment and what have you. Since 2007 there was no time you hear about an incident when non-indigenes in Jigawa state were asked, threaten to leave Jigawa simply because of intimidation, riot, or fear of unknown etc up till now because Lamido has laid the foundation. 

Even communal or farmers/herdsmen clashes was not experienced in Jigawa when Lamido was in charge of the affairs of the state. 

During the occasion of plots allocation in Dutse when Lamido was the governor, the representative of the non-indigenous groups responded with encouraging words of his own, thanking the governor for transforming the state in the eight years of his administration (2007-2015)

He said that indigenes and non-indigenes live in peace in Jigawa State and he assured that this will be sustained.
Lamido has gave a sense of belonging to all the Jigawa people; he opened the doors for all Nigerians to come, visit, interact, transact business, work and live freely without fear of threats and dispossession. In Jigawa, you will see the Igbos, Yorubas, Angas, the Ijaws, Kanuris, Idomas, Tivs, Jarawas, the Nupes and the Jukun etc. This is a clear sign of selflessness, nationality and good leadership shown by Lamido and is a confirmation that, there is peace and unity in the state. Security, peaceful co-existence, equality, welfare and good salary packages attracted Nigerians to resign from their various states to come and seek employment in Jigawa state.

Jigawa State under Lamido became a rallying point for all Nigerians, in fact day in day out, all sorts of people were trouping in to the state either for visits, meetings, Business, or even leisure.

For instance during Lamido’s tenure many groups, associations, forums, organisations visit Jigawa state for one reason or the other. Even the premier Barewa Old Boys Association (BOBA) was in Dutse, the Jigawa state capital from August 29- 31, 2014 for their 2014 Annual lecture and Dinner.

Though Lamido is an alumnus of the collage, however, the choice of Jigawa State for that year’s AGM by the executive was to satisfy their curiosity on the success recorded by one of their own. All, left the state testifying that the face of Jigawa State has been transformed in the seven years by Lamido.

Throughout the meeting, the members were seen expressing surprises that despite the lean resources of Jigawa state, Lamido was able to bring development  to all sectors and the overall impact was profound and felt by the people.

They commended him greatly for his dynamic administration in which he established schools and hospitals, Jigawa state radio and television station, constructed roads, state secretariat, Malam Aminu triangle  event centre and water schemes etc.

BOBA believes that, economic activities have received a huge boost and the foundations have been laid for rapid industrialisation. They saw a first class airport built by Lamido to facilitate the ease movement of goods and services and to facilitate the coming of investors who were set to cash in on Jigawa State’s rich potentials in agriculture and minerals.

The association extolled Lamido for establishing Jigawa State University at Kafin-Hausa in order to afford state indigenes more access to higher education opportunities. Before the establishment of the university mor than half of eligible candidates of Jigawa origin who seek admission into higher institutions failed to get it due to limited opportunities, hence the very warm welcome with which Jigawa citizens received the establishment of the state university which was named after him, ‘Sule Lamido University’ Kafin-Hausa (SLU)

Lamido always prayed for peaceful conduct of any elections in the country as he always urged Nigerians to live in peace and love one another.

Some might say that these issues that I am raising are self evident but they are testament from a man who saw it all due to present happenings in the country.
Lamido’s message about unity of purpose should also attract more than a passing interest from Nigerian citizens. This great stalwart of the old PRP and one of the PDP founding fathers knows what democracy and citizenship are two sides of the same coin.

Adamu writes from Kafin-Hausa, Jigawa state
amu3333@yahoo.com

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