Thursday July 24th, 2014
Thursday July 24th, 2014
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Aregbesola deserves second term

  /   in Frankly Speaking 7:44 pm   /   Comments

Aregbosola

Certainly, most good leaders are enigmatic individuals who invariably sharply divide the society. Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola of Osun State is one such political leader. Since making his grand entrance into political office in Lagos State, Aregbesola had carved for himself a niche as a workaholic and an original thinker. He is also totally passionate about what he chooses to do. And like late Chief Obafemi Awolowo, late General Murtala Mohammed, late Gani Fawehinmi and late Chief Bola Ige, you always know where he stands on any issue. That, to me, is the most important attribute of a leader. One might not always agree with him, but, you know where he stands. Very few Nigerian leaders who had occupied executive positions could be so described. So despite the setback to the All Progressive Congress, APC, in Ekiti, there is no hesitation endorsing this most complex of all the governors in Nigeria.

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Assessing the performance of govs and presidents – My way (2)

  /   in Frankly Speaking 12:26 am   /   Comments

Jonathan-wth-the-G5-governors

Permit me to try my hands at some elementary philosophy borrowed from Philosophy 1a, which I read as an undergraduate in 1964. It goes like this “Facts and truth are not always synonymous; but, anything claiming to be the truth must contain elements of fact(s) which are indisputable.”

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Assessing the performance of governors and presidents – My Way

  /   in Frankly Speaking 12:02 am   /   Comments

Daily, if not every minute, people all over Nigeria are passing remarks reflecting their assessment of the performance of their elected officials. President Jonathan, who, unfortunately, is the first President to rule during the Age of Facebook and Twitter, had been known to lament that he is the most insulted President in the world today. He has my sympathies. But, I can assure GEJ that the lashes he is now receiving will be love pats compared to what his successors will experience in the future – if that is any consolation.

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Congrats Fayose; Lesson for Fayemi and APC

  /   in Frankly Speaking 12:06 am   /   Comments

Gov. Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti (l) and Governor-Elect, Mr Ayo Fayose, during Fayose's visit to the Governor in  Ado-Ekiti on Monday

It was like a thunder bolt. I supported Fayemi; but, I had reasons to believe that he might not win the election. Still, I was prepared for a very close contest. The result, confirming the overwhelming preference of the people of Ekiti State for Fayose, was stunning and totally unexpected. So, let me start by extending my congratulations to Governor-elect, Ayodele Fayose – whose election has, at least, blown away one long-held myth. We now know that the people of Ekiti State don’t respect scholarship any more than other Nigerians.

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Ochendo and inspirational legacy projects

  /   in Frankly Speaking 12:00 am   /   Comments

*Gov Theodore Orji

Politics has reached fever pitch in Nigeria; even when the 2015 elections are still seven to eight months away. Not wanting to be left on the starting block, politicians have embarked on doing what they do best – peddling half truths or blatant falsehood against their opponents and in their own favour. The last thing the public should expect is absolute truth from professional politicians. When Louis Howe, 1871-1936, wrote that, “You cannot adopt politics as a profession and remain [totally] honest”, (VANGUARD BOOK OF QUOTATIONS p 192), he left us with an axiom which will stand the test of time.

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Adams Oshiomhole elephant invaded by soldier ants

  /   in Frankly Speaking 12:17 am   /   Comments

EDO ASSEMBLY CRISIS—Police at the Edo State House of Assembly as the crisis in the House continued, yesterday. Photo: Barnabas Uzosike.

Albert Einstein, the man reputed to have possessed the highest Intelligence Quotient, IQ, of any human since the metrics for measuring IQ were developed, and who left the world with an equation, E=MC2, about which several thousand PhDs have been awarded, knew the problem about being a genius among intellectual inferiors. His sojourn at Princeton University was a lonely one – interrupted frequently by the vicious attacks of yam-heads in and out of the Physics Department of the Ivy League institution. He was not alone.

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Fayemi Versus Fayose In Ekiti

  /   in Frankly Speaking 12:00 am   /   Comments

Fayemi and Fayose

Generally, I seldom write about issues at state or local government levels. Since coming on this page almost 20 years ago, I had prioritized my attention to focus on the Federal government – which still controls most of our lives. In a really federal republic, this should not be the case. But, nobody can change reality. So occasionally, a matter comes up at state level which calls for comments. With respect to Ekiti State, I write because I am involved. My maternal grandfather Pa Agbe-Davies, the first Nigerian to reach the rank of Inspector in the Nigeria Police, was from Ogotun Ekiti. So, this is home front.

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Should Jonathan have gone to Chibok?

  /   in Frankly Speaking 6:46 am   /   Comments

Army-Jonathan

History never repeats itself; human beings do. Unfortunately, our almost total regard for the lessons of history drives us, and we sometimes drive our leaders, to avoidable disasters.

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Derivation: Thank God for old men at Confab

  /   in Frankly Speaking 12:24 am   /   Comments

Delegates at the on-going national conference

Indisputably one of the greatest historians ever, Plutarch brought us the story of the Athenian general – Phocion – who led his people to several victories – often acting against popular advice. Phocion later received the blessing of Mandela, who had this to say about leaders.

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Chibok: After the hysteria; time for sober reasoning – 1

  /   in Frankly Speaking 12:25 am   /   Comments

Abuja : Former Nigerian Education Minister and Vice-President of the World Bank's Africa division (3r L) Obiageli leads a march of Nigeria women and mothers of the kidnapped girls of Chibok, calling for their freedom in Abuja on April 30, 2014.

“Nor should we listen to those who say ‘The voice of the people is the voice of God’. For the turbulence of the [masses] is always close to insanity.” Alcuin

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“How the oil was lost by Niger Delta governors” (1)

  /   in Frankly Speaking 12:57 am   /   Comments

obong_victor_attah

“The onshore/offshore oil dichotomy issue has been constitutionally resolved by the 1994/95 Constitution. OMPADEC has been retained and is expected to be community based for effective participation of the affected communities. Besides, the revenue sharing formula, which I helped to fashion out, at the national Conference, though not meeting our target of 30 per cent derivation, promises to place more money at the disposal of the state administrators.” And for a while it seemed as if Attah was on sure grounds.

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Support our Armed Forces and security for your own sake (2)

  /   in Frankly Speaking 12:02 am   /   Comments

Officers of the Joint Military Task Force (JTF) patrolling  in Maiduguri in a sweeping offensive against Boko Haram militants.
AFP PHOTO/

“A steady patriot of the world alone/ The friend of every country but his own. George Canning, 1770-1827.

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M&M: The two most dangerous men in Nigeria

  /   in Frankly Speaking 12:10 am   /   Comments

Alhaji Lai Mohammed of ACN and Chief Olisa Metuh of PDP

One American politician once said that every political party, sooner or later, develops its “lunatic fringe” – people who carry the advocacy for the political party to the most dangerous extremes. Nigeria has not reached there yet. But, we are getting too damn close for comfort. And two men, one belonging to the Peoples’ Democratic Party, PDP, and the other a member of the All Progressive Congress, APC, are driving us “hell for leather” to the brink of political madness.

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Why Jonathan must run in 2015

  /   in Frankly Speaking 12:46 am   /   Comments

JonaMua

“You can’t beat something with nothing.” American Baseball Team Manager; after his team lost seventeen games in a row.”

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“Why is Dele Sobowale introducing religion into politics?”— (2)

  /   in Frankly Speaking 12:59 am   /   Comments

APC-toon

I wrote the first part of this series on Sunday, March 30, 2014. On Monday, March 31, 2014, THISDAY published a lead story alleging that a Muslim-Muslim ticket was being planned by the All Progressive Congress, APC. According to the paper, General Buhari (rtd) is proposed to be the presidential candidate, while Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, would be the Vice Presidential candidate. I smiled; because it was no news to me. First, I have been informed about the development a few days before. One of the two had visited someone in Abuja; and, he made the point that ‘ANYBODY CAN DEFEAT JONATHAN’ [capitals mine]. And on that basis, it was decided that A Muslim-Muslim ticket was safe – after all Christians voted overwhelmingly for the Abiola-Kingibe ticket. Christians, again, failed to protest, vigorously, the Buhari-Idiagbon military leadership – both of which were Muslim-Muslim teams. I had smiled when this was mentioned to me – because I expected it. Why? Let me explain. But, first, permit me to make two pertinent comments.

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“Why is Dele Sobowale introducing religion into politics?”

  /   in Frankly Speaking 12:00 am   /   Comments

religions

Ordinarily, I would not have tried to offer any explanations to those asking this question, except that last week, the matter was raised by the Publisher of VANGUARD, our dear Uncle Sam, in Abuja. We had gone to the nation’s capital for different reasons and accidentally met at the VANGUARD office. On our way to lunch (for me a free lunch which no ajeru Area Boy would turn down) Uncle Sam informed me that he was with some friends who were “disappointed” that Dele Sobowale, who writes mostly philosophical articles, would descend so low as to start introducing religion into politics.

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Is the National Conference doomed before it starts? – 2

  /   in Frankly Speaking 12:20 am   /   Comments

President Goodluck Jonathan flanked by Vice President Namadi Sambo and the Conference Chairman, Justice Legbo Kutigi  (4r) while the Speaker TIONAL CONFERENCE House of Representatives, Hon. Aminu Tambuwal (3l); Vice Chairman of the Conference, Prof. Boolaji Akinyemi (3r); Chief Justice of the Federation, Justice Aloma Mukhtar (4l) and other dignitaries watched in a group photograph with delegates after the inauguration of the 2014 National Conference of the People of Nigeria at the National Judicial Institute, Airport Road, Abuja. Photo by Abayomi Adeshida 17/03/2014

Forgive me for breaking up the article IF I DON’T MAKE IT. The National Conference is far more important than anyone’s private life – including mine. Two weeks ago, I had written the first part of this piece with a definite bias which must again be declared up front. I want the 2014 CONFAB to succeed. As the publisher of THISDAY Newspapers, Mr Nduka Obiagbena, had pointed out, this CONFAB cannot solve all of our problems. No CONFAB can do that because previous military governments had endorsed constitutions which had led us into the dead end in which we find ourselves.

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If I don’t make it (1)

  /   in Frankly Speaking 12:10 am   /   Comments

File photo

Words of wisdom, as you will soon discover. If I wake up on the morning of May 8, this year, I will beam a benevolent smile on anybody saying to me “go and die”. What else is there to do? On that day, I would have broken a family jinx or curse as a result of which no male child in the Sobowale family, in two hundred years, had made it to 60. On that day I will be 70.

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Ibibios take on Akpabio for control of Aks –1

  /   in Frankly Speaking 12:10 am   /   Comments

*Akpabio

Call it calling a dog a bad name in order to hang it; or what you like. But, the Ibibios, who constitute more than sixty five per cent of Akwa Ibom State, have regrouped under former Governor Victor Attah and they have jettisoned zoning. The next governor of Akwa Ibom State will be an Ibibio. Part of the reason for their change of mind on zoning is contained in the allegations quoted above.

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Resurgence of child trafficking in Akwa Ibom State

  /   in Frankly Speaking 12:54 am   /   Comments

CHILD-TRAFFICKING

At least two people, one alive and one departed, must be shaking their heads, with sadness and disbelief, when reading that story about Akwa Ibom. This was one tragedy they struggled for eight years to bring to an end in the state. And they largely succeeded such that by 2007, Akwa Ibom state was rid of child traffickers and baby factories. Now, it appears as if the progress made by 2007 had been dissipated in another eight years. The most important question which should bother all of us is: if the progress which we see daily advertised about the state is real, why are people still engaged in this trade/ why are kids still being treated worse than slaves? It was not always like this; not in 2007.

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A tale of two sets of prostitutes in Abuja

  /   in Frankly Speaking 12:42 am   /   Comments

Abuja-asewo

The authorities of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, ably led by the Honourable Minister, have been working very hard to rid the nation’s capital of undesirable elements. Ever since that great friend of poor people, Malam El-Rufia, formerly of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, became Minister, they have been demolishing homes and shops, as well as the dwellings of poor people, which they call shanties – as if any really destitute person can afford palatial mansions. Malam El-Rufai is now a leading member of the All Progressive Alliance, APC, the opposition party – some of whose governors have also been demolishing buildings like the demon.

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Are you losing money on the NSE? You deserve it

  /   in Frankly Speaking 12:55 am   /   Comments

Unlike the Stock market, Forex trading is Online

Millions of Nigerians are, once again losing billions of naira on the Nigerian Stock Exchange. In the last three weeks alone, about ten per cent of the value in January had been lost and more losses are on the way. It is on occasions such as this when I wonder if writing for Nigerians is not a bloody waste of time.

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Bristol Hotel revival: Lagos CBD gets a boost

  /   in Frankly Speaking 12:01 am   /   Comments

The regular readers of this page must forgive me for postponing, once again, the continuation of the series on the INHERITORS – the second generations of Nigerians who allowed great enterprises bequeathed to them to crumble. The next would have been the LAWSON Group of Companies, among which was the ECOBANK, once headed by Mr Kolapo Lawson. The slide down the greasy slope of misfortune for the group started several years ago. But, this is not the time for that.

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To Alhaji Bamanga Tukur with gratitude

  /   in Frankly Speaking 12:00 am   /   Comments

Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)

Most often a person in high office, public or private, does not know who his true friends are, while in good standing – until he starts to slide down the greasy slope of fortune. By then it is too late. My sympathies are always with those who have been used and discarded – like tissue paper. Alhaji, your night came; when you were forced to resign the Chairmanship of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP

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PDP, APC : Two wrecked boats on rescue mission —1

  /   in Frankly Speaking 12:50 am   /   Comments

APC-PDP

Phil Graham, late Publisher of the Washington Post, who committed suicide by shooting himself, once described journalism as “the first draft of history”. I am neither a journalist nor historian but it is my hope that some time in the future, historians, if history which Obasanjo banished from our schools is restored, will read this. It will reveal to them how miraculous it was that after the 2014-2015 political upheavals there was a country called Nigeria left for them to call their own. It was all well and good for General Buhari in 1983, as the military Head of State to state that: “This is the only country we have”. Most Nigerians, in 2014, are apprehensive, more than at any other time that good old Chinua Achebe might have left a curse with the title of his last and extremely controversial book – THERE WAS A COUNTRY. In 2014, everything which could lead a fragile federation to disintegrate is happening without any countervailing forces to reassure the citizenry that all will be well.

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Thoughts on the National Conference – 6

  /   in Frankly Speaking 12:10 am   /   Comments

President Goodluck Jonathan flanked by Vice President Namadi Sambo (4th right) and the Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee on the National Conference, Dr. Femi Okurounmu while other committee members watched shortly after the inauguration of the Committee at the State House, Abuja. Photo by Abayomi Adeshida.

The Jukuns probably serve best to illustrate the problems of small ethnic groups strung across several states. To the best of my knowledge, they can be found in Benue, Nassarawa, Taraba and parts of Cross River States – in the Katsina Ala area. And like the Fulani/Hausa, they have been involved in ethnic conflicts in every state. How will their representative(s) be chosen? And, in the event of a break-up of Nigeria, where will they go?

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Advice to President Jonathan on new jet

  /   in Frankly Speaking 12:42 am   /   Comments

File: Photo NDA—From left: Governor Mukhtar Yero of Kaduna State, welcoming President Goodluck Jonathan and President Alassane Ouattara of Cote D'ivoire at the Kaduna Airport for the Nigerian Defence Academy convocation, weekend.

I stake my claim to advise my President on two things. First, I am a citizen of Nigeria, one of the 170 million souls you now lead. I don’t want to be led astray or into another nationwide conflict. Second, I belong to that group of Nigerians, called Area Boys, who live strictly on our own brand of street wisdom. In any situation, we always know when we are beaten before the fight starts and we tactically withdraw. You see, my President, there is nothing more wasteful of lives and opportunities than fighting for lost causes. You are about to get engaged in one unnecessary battle.

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Thoughts on the National Conference – 5

  /   in Frankly Speaking 12:36 am   /   Comments

President Goodluck Jonathan flanked by Vice President Namadi Sambo (4th right) and the Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee on the National Conference, Dr. Femi Okurounmu while other committee members watched shortly after the inauguration of the Committee at the State House, Abuja. Photo by Abayomi Adeshida.

Our collective tendency to think of Nigeria in terms of WA-ZO-BIA (Yoruba, Hausa, Igbo) is probably responsible for the enthusiasm with which some of us embrace break-up of Nigeria or even confederation. Some might even think that the British met us neatly divided into East, West and Northern regions. So why not simply return to those enclaves. Nothing could be further from the truth. Not even the Yorubas and Igbos formed one nation before 1914. However, one thing is clear: breaking up along regional lines will leave the nation emerging from the “North” totally landlocked. That unfortunately will be the least of its problems.

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Thoughts on the National Conference – 4

  /   in Frankly Speaking 12:41 am   /   Comments

national-conference

Dr Okurounmu and I share at least one thing in common. We were both recipients of American government scholarship in the 1960s which enabled us to attend universities in America. It is quite possible we also share in common taking a course in Speed Reading, which enables the individual to read lots of text materials at five to ten times that of an average person and still get the facts right. That speed reading ability paid off for me four years ago when I was engaged by clients to go through the PIB which the Federal Government was trying to force through the National Assembly and stop its passage

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Thoughts on the National Conference – 3

  /   in Frankly Speaking 12:05 am   /   Comments

national-conference

Last week I pointed out some of the reasons the Southwest might not be as peaceful as people think in the event of a break-up. Let me repeat that it was deliberate; I don’t want anybody reading ethnic hatred into what I would say about their own zones or ethnic groups. As it turned out I am learning about some ethnic groups for the first time in my life. Those asking for a national conference of ethnic nationalities must now begin to think of how they will handle the enormous task of mediating the demands that will come from all of them. It is not going to be easy

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Thoughts on the National Conference – 2

  /   in Frankly Speaking 12:01 am   /   Comments

national-conference

Femi Fani-Kayode and Tunde Fagbenle, without saying it, implicitly, believe that the Southwest will be better off on its own. To be candid; they have reasons for the optimism. The “Oduduwa Nation” (for lack of a better name), will be an oil producing nation – Ondo, Lagos and Ogun have oil. It has on the average the best collection of educated manpower and its educational institutions from primary to tertiary are the best nationwide. So, on the face of it, nothing stops it from becoming another Croatia or Pakistan. Nothing, that is, except guarantee of perpetual peace

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Thoughts on the National Conference – 1

  /   in Frankly Speaking 12:19 am   /   Comments

national-conference

Like people on sickbeds, Nigerians are once again getting ready to toss from side to side, without asking if the problem is with the beds or themselves. Pity.

Do we need a National Conference, sovereign or not? The answer is neither “yes” nor “no” for the simple reason that we have failed woefully as a nation to raise a set of politicians who would make any form of government work. We had tried three forms of government since independence – parliamentary, military and presidential. None of them had been able to develop this nation to its full potentials – not at the national, regional or state levels. None.

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