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Politics of Lagos State popped up my desire to serve says Kogi Speaker

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Politics of Lagos State popped up my desire to serve says Kogi Speaker

The new Speaker of the Kogi State House of Assembly held sway in the hay days of the crises of the Assembly as a factional speaker leading the controversial group of five that impeached the former speaker Momoh-Jimoh Lawal.
He was later elected as Speaker after the reconciliation that brought the members back as one House from the minority APC, Tinubu style lured him into politics.
How did you come into politics.
Truly I came in to politics accidentally, I did not believe I can impact my society through politics, in fact I detest politics particularly because of the way Nigeria politicians have actually played their game. It kept many of us out there afraid of getting involved. Having worked and schooled in Lagos, what I witnessed in the development and progress in Lagos State after the military interregnum show that through politics really a lot can be achieved in development. I witnessed the Tinubu administration during his tenure and his ability to prepare ground for a smooth takeoff for Raji Babatunde Fashola his predecessor who indeed continued from where Tunubu Stopped. That really encouraged me to see that yes politics can actually make me impact on my people differently from what I knew about politicians. I had been approached severally since 2003 but at different levels I refused to come. I also had a knack for philanthropism. I have a scholarship scheme that I have been running for the last 15 years, I also have some skill and vocational centers where the youths drawn from the society go to acquire some skills after which they graduate to be able to start something  for themselves a and their families.
When I was persuaded to come into politics I already had the moral suasion that if I should take to politics I would achieve more than I am already achieving at the individual level. It is service to humanity at a higher pedestal that encouraged me to venture into politics

Your emergence as speaker did you envisage it?
We had expected APC to dominate the House if that had happened, I was not going to be the Speaker because I come from the West and the Deputy Governorship candidate was from the west. That is to underscore the fact that I was not having the ambition of becoming the speaker. As it turned out the Governorship election came and APC formed the Government and the Governor came from central and his deputy from the east so naturally the speakership went to the West. Even at that the APC was in the minority in the House so I knew the chances were there. Prior to that period there was a botched attempt to impeach the then speaker, naturally since I was the only one from the west who actually stood by him, when the necessity came for him to relinquish his position to pave way for his brother who had become the Governor and to also respect the sharing formular in appointments between the East, Central and west he had to give way for a more superior position so that came back to the west and of course it was like one good turn deserving another so he supported me to be chosen as a speaker. 

Why did you engage the Screening review committee committee?
People were surprised that we actually did what we did. No doubt that we had a long recess and following the renovation work going on at the Assembly complex. We were itching to resume so that we could actually intervene to bring succor to many of our suffering civil servants.
We brought to the floor the screening review committee and we took them for about four hours grill and in our own submission as a house we passed our resolution and gave some specific guide to put an end to the effect that even though they were doing good job those who are genuine workers who were not found wanting should as a matter of urgency be paid. They also promised to wind up the exercise by the end of this September but suffice it to say that we had actually asked that as they go along they should pay the salary of those genuine workers who have been cleared. If you followed immediately after that order many were paid. Some were paid five months or so but there are still issues with those who were not yet cleared; local government workers and the pensioners some of who were not screened yet. We are meeting with the review committee at the committee level so that by the end of their month a lot would be achieved in terms of salary payment.
Kogi marked 25th anniversary has the Stated fared well?
In terms of development I thought a lot supposed to have been achieved but in terms of of progress as an historian I would say we have made progress because progress is relative. You cannot say that Kogi State was like this before creation. As an historian I believe that progress has been made since the last 25 years. More would have been achieved if the pioneer administrations had a master plan for the State. This is because the State was created by the military with military administrators who were not administrators so to speak and of course they would not have had that benefit of starting off a State by so doing.
In terms of civil governance we have had 16 years approaching 17. This is also not to say that within the 17 years we would not have achieved more but we have achieved.this can only be brought about by the character and quality of the leadership and probably we have been grossly suffering from the deficit of such leadership. My own study in the academics shows that State development does not mean that all the elements must be necessary in place.
For instance there is what we call elements of State power in strategic studies and they are fourteen in some books they are eleven because they have put the geographical elements together that is to do with strategic Location, mineral resources and all that. There are so many including the economic viability of that State. What is the most important is able leadership. If you follow you will find out that there are nations that do not have these elements but they are today where they are because looking into their development as a nation they were able to have quality leadership and that became the magic that turned around their fortunes irrespective of their deficiency in the other elements. We can mention Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore, Singapore had nothing, in fact it is a landlocked country but today Singapore stands at par with the first nations of this world because Inn their developmental history they had a character in Lee Kuan Yew who actually personified able leadership the same with some other countries. So we today as a nation has that character in Muhammadu Buhari that is why I believe that if we give him the necessary cooperation he can actually be the Lee Kuan Yew, the man Setong of this world. Bringing it to our State I believe the present Governor has such mind set I believe strongly that following his blueprint which I align with to give him all the necessary support for him to succeed in the screening exercise.
So 25 years of our statehood I can only describe the development as fitful but there is progress.

What is your.oulook on the master plan and orderly development of Lokoja?
I said if when the state took off we had seasoned administrators who would have helped planned the State particularly Lokoja the State capital it would have had a befitting status.
Nobody who is from Kogi is happy with what is on ground today as State capital, the landscape is so distorted and with half hazard arrangement. As you can see it is a one way in and you are out of the State capital. We want to have a symbol of our State where we can all as Kogites be proud to invite our friends to come and celebrate our festivals with us. That is why I said the blueprint of this administration has given me some hope because it touches on the landscape of the State such that by the time we have this deliberate plan to actually follow the master plan that is on ground with a leader who has the political will to carry out those plans we can only have a better State capital. I have discussed this with some of my colleagues and I am encouraging any member to come up with a bill called Kogi State Development Authority bill so that we can in the end have a law that can bring that about. In some other States they have similar agencies that can take care of the issues you raised regarding half hazard building without plan it is the responsibility of such agencies to ensure the master plan of the town is respected and defaulters can be brought to book. Only through that we can have a well planned landscape that would be a beauty to behold as a State capital and without that law to support it, it would be difficult to curtail the violation of the master plan hence things would continue to be done haphazardly. So I am hoping that by the time that bill is passed to law it would further enable the Government to carry out the Kogi State master plan to the fullest.
What is the way out of the crises in the APC house in Kogi?
The problem actually started when our late leader Prince Abubakar Audu died when he was yet to be declared Governor. The party became divided along interest lones; first group pitched their tent with Honorable Faleke who was the running mate to the late leader, the second ground who had to obey party supremacy where I also belong and some of my colleagues pitched our tents with the party’s choice. Which was the second runner up in the primary in the person of Alkali Yahaya Bello and that was because the party had taken superior legal advise from senior lawyers and of course it paid off, if it had were otherwise the party would have.lost to PDP. The differences in the party is not crises but natural. The hope is that now that the case at the Supreme Court is done with there is going to be reconciliation and indeed the Governor would have the necessary support of the party to assist him in translating his blueprint to success.
Presently there is no doubt that these divergent interests and group within the party have seriously impacted negatively on the party’s fortunes and if it continues it will embarrass us but we are hoping that very soon there will be light at the end of the tunnel..

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UI’s Prof of Economics Femi Kayode buried amidst tributes

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UI’s Prof of Economics Femi Kayode buried amidst tributes

The late Professor Matthew Olufemi Kayode, former Special Adviser to the President on Economic Matters has been buried in his hometown, Egbe, Yagba West Local Council Kogi State at the weekend, amidst torrents of tributes from family, friends, associates and mentees.

The late Kayode until his death, was Director, Centre for Resource Management and Consultancy at the University of Ibadan.

He died on August 10, 2020 at the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, after a brief illness, aged 81 years.

The weeklong celebrations of the life and times of the erudite scholar included the Service of Songs, ‘Night of Tributes’ and launch of Femi and Dupe Kayode Foundation, named after him and his late wife.
The event held at the Theophilus Ogunlesi Hall, UCH, Ibadan and Trenchard Hall, UI between Tuesday and Wednesday respectively, with prominent Nigerians in the academia and all walks of life, including President Muhammadu Buhari paying tributes to the late Kayode for his service to the nation and humanity.

In his message at the commendation church service at Bodija-Ashi Baptist Church, Ibadan, Thursday, Rev (Dr) S.O Wojuola who led the service urged the congregation to use the opportunity of the service for the late don to devolop a relationship with God and live wisely to understand God’s will and gives thanks to God for everything.

According to him, “God has spoken through the service that the days are evil and you cannot afford not to live wise”.

In a tribute, a former Vice-Chancellor, University of Ibadan, Professor Olufemi Baniro, said the Late Professor Kayode served the nation meritoriously in his career as an economics professor.

He noted that the late Professor would be greatly missed in the Department of Economics, at the University of Ibadan.

Two of the children of the deceased, Mrs Olufunlola Afolabi and Mrs Olutomilola Miriki who reminisced on times with their father, said he left indelible marks in their lives.

President Buhari in a message by Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, condoled with the government and people of Kogi over the loss of the distinguished economist for his willingness to leave the university to share knowledge, wisdom and experience with governments.
President Buhari noted that the deceased served variously as Chairman sub-committee, National Revenue Allocation, Mobilization and Fiscal Commission and Member, National Capital Issues Commission.
Late Kayode was also Chairman, Think Tank Committee for Strategic Projects, National Raw Material Development Council; Member, Technical Committee, Vision 2010; Member, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Board of Directors and a number of strategic Committees and Commissions in Kwara, Kogi and Lagos States.
Buhari believed the former Special Adviser dedicated his time to serve the nation, and his contributions to national development would always be remembered. The president prayed for the repose of his soul.

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Magu: FCMB tenders appology to Pastor Omale

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Magu: FCMB tenders appology to Pastor Omale

First City Monument Bank (FCMB) has apologized to Pastor Emmanuel Omale, General Overseer of the Divine Hand of God Ministries and associate of suspended Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr Ibrahim Magu over N573 million mistakenly paid into his account.

The apology, published in three national newspapers, The Guardian, Daily Trust and Business Day, was sequel to a threat by Pastor Omale’s lawyer, Mr Gordy Uche, SAN, to sue the bank for N5 billion damages for defaming his client.

In a letter dated September 11, 2020, titled “Re: Bank Negligence Occasioning Unique Investigation And Defamation To Our Client” and sent to Uche, with copies of the public apology attached, the bank reiterated that the sum of N573 million was mistakenly paid into Omale’s account and also denied that the error was intentionally done to tarnish the image of the revered cleric.

Legal Counsel, Adewale Fati and Olugbenga Elemide, who signed the letter on behalf of FCMB, stated that the bank regrets the error and has accordingly published a public apology in three national newspapers as demanded by the senior advocate on behalf of Pastor Omale.

The letter reads in part, “Please be informed that in line with the undertaking contained in our aforementioned letter, we have published in three national newspapers (The Guards newspaper, Daily Trust newspaper and Business Day newspaper) on September 11, 2020. Please find attached herewith copies of our public apology to Divine Hand of God Ministries.

” It is our hope that the public apology has assuaged the grievances of your client, having seen that the error was indeed not borne out of any malice towards them. Kindly extend our good wishes to your client, whilst assuring you of our warm professional regards”.

Uche SAN had earlier written to FCMB demanding a public apology in three national newspapers and N5 billion as damages for alleged defamation of Pastor Omale and Divine Hand of God Ministries as a result of the said N573 million mistaken deposited in the cleric’s account with the bank.
It could be recalled that certain section of the media had alleged that the pastor bought a non-existing N573million house for Magu.
But the allegation collapsed like a pack of cards when the FCMB publicly stated that there was an error as no money was paid into the pastor’s account

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OBJ celebrates Okorocha at 58

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OBJ celebrates Okorocha at 58

Former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo has joined other well-wishers to celebrate with the former governor of Imo State, Senator Rochas Okorocha on his 58 birthday. 

Obasanjo noted that by all measures, Okorocha has lived a worthwhile life of service to the nation and humanity.

He added that he has proved his competence in various fields of endeavour. 

In a statement issued by his Special Assistant on Media, Kehinde Akinyemi, he said the former President appointed the former governor as Presidential Adviser (Inter-Party Relations) during his administration between 1999 – 2007.
According to him Okoroncha demonstrated strong commitment and enhanced partnership among all the shareholders.

“Between 2011and 2019, you served as Governor of Imo State, where you pursued peaceful co-existence between people of different ethnicities and religions in Imo State.
Currently as a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, he is adequately representing his Constituency, Imo West Senatorial Zone.
“For all these, we give glory and honour to God, the Creator.”

Obasanjo added that Okorocha’s life has demonstrated clearly “That from a modest background, determination, industry and dedication, one can lead a life of success to humanity.

“I am glad to note that, marking your birthday, you will be spending your precious time with the less-privileged and the vulnerable members of our society. It is not surprising anyway, as you have done similar thing in the past.

“Your underlying commitment to education and your quiet philanthropic activities which culminated in your establishment of Rochas Foundation cannot be over-emphasised. Indeed, you must be commended for the magnanimity, gesture, deep love, concern and admiration that you have always exhibited towards the common people in particular and human capital development in general,” Obasanjo was quoted as saying.

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