Thursday July 24th, 2014
Thursday July 24th, 2014
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Where is the honour in Nigerian politics?

  /   in Frankly Speaking 6:55 pm   /   Comments

Anambra Supplementary Election: INEC Chairman Prof. Attahiru  Jega addressing pressmen , announcing November 30 for Supplementary election at  Anambra State  while National Commissioner Lawrence Nwuruku looks on in Abuja. Photo by Gbemiga Olamikan.

Because I am a Christian Evangelist and have boldly made several predictions on these pages, which have turned out to be true, unlike those who wait for a disaster and then call a press conference to claim they predicted it, let me start with the last among the things which Ghandi predicted would destroy any nation – “Worship without sacrifice”. In my entire life, and my family was deeply involved in politics since the First Republic, I have never known of a religious leader, Muslim or Christian, who had ever, so openly, wrapped himself around a Prime Minister or President as the present CAN President.

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Behold the world’s largest Slave Republic – Nigeria

  /   in Frankly Speaking 12:45 am   /   Comments

iver Niger Bridge, major gateway to the South-East and South-South will ‘rest ’for three days, starting dusk today

By contrast, when Nigeria became a republic in 1963, neither the Prime Minister, Alhaji Tafawa Balewa, nor anybody else, warned Nigerians in the same vein. It was just assumed that a democratic republic, once pronounced and a constitution written would guarantee and perpetuate liberty. Unfortunately, for our founding fathers (Ahmadu Bello, Awolowo and Azikiwe included), they were the first victims of their collective folly. The democratic republic they pronounced in 1963 was demolished by a small band of armed adventurers; who promptly sent democracy in Nigeria to the dustbin of history. It has remained there till today.

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Lagos State bedroom cabinet 2015

  /   in Frankly Speaking 12:30 am   /   Comments

*Exco in session

“Power is the probability that one actor within a social relationship will be in a position to carry out his own will despite resistance”. Max Weber, 1864-1920.

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You deserve the insults of don’t give a damn government (2)

  /   in Frankly Speaking 6:34 pm   /   Comments

Stella Oduah at the House of Reps hearing..

That we deserve Dr Ebele Jonathan and his Ministers is not in doubt. First, we voted for him in 2011, overwhelmingly, based on promises – mostly now unfulfilled. The “breath of fresh air” was one of those promises. If what we are watching, at the hearings in the National Assembly, turns our stomachs and is malodorous to our noses, blame not Jonathan; blame us. A man cannot act beyond his abilities. For any leader, the most important decisions concern human resource choices. The President’s fate, like those of Chief Executive Officers, CEOs, anywhere are determined by the people he invites to top office to assist in executing his programmes.

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You deserve the insults of don’t give a damn government (1)

  /   in Frankly Speaking 12:56 am   /   Comments

When the going was good...President Goodluck Jonathan (right) and former President Olusegun Obasanjo

The PUNCH of Wednesday October 23, 2013 was for me particularly remarkable. Its reports – regular columns and opinions – summarized all Nigerians need to know about the government they overwhelmingly elected in 2011. Many long term readers of this column would recall my strident calls for Nigerians to massively reject the PDP, including Jonathan, at the polls. My reason was simple. Based on information at my command, some of which was published in my book, PDP: CORRUPTION INCORPORATED, Nigeria could never get out of the mess in which we are stuck as long as the PDP, as presently constituted, is in power at the centre. And, by power, I mean the legislature as well as the Presidency.

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From Barbados with love for Nigerians

  /   in Frankly Speaking 12:08 am   /   Comments

obong_victor_attah

Tuesday October 29, 2013 will mark exactly one year since Mrs Nenyin Alison Attah, the former First Lady of Akwa Ibom State departed this world for eternal life. For the two children, Felicia and Christopher, and for His Excellency, Obong Victor Attah, the Father of Akwa Ibom State, it has been a long year; made longer by the absence of the centre-piece of every home – a loving wife and mother. Life had ceased to be the same for them; but life must go on.
But it was not only the husband and kids who will miss her. Eno, the house help of over three decades, who through the generousity of the former First Lady, had sent two kids to university and is the proud owner of three bedroom bungalow, with boys quarters attached, had refused to go. Like the Biblical Ruth she had decided that even in death “Your people shall be my people”. She represents a lot of people who are still to come to terms that their long term benefactor had gone – never to return.

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Lagos State governorship 2015: A matter of numbers

  /   in Frankly Speaking 12:00 am   /   Comments

Subsidy-crowd

“The population of Lagos State is estimated at 20 million with 10 million being Christians. The ten million have no more control over their lives than ten million cows being driven about by nomads”. Dele Sobowale, September 26, 2013, at the Seminar organized by Christian Conscience at Alausa, Ikeja.

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No, not Tunji Okusanya; he shouldn’t die

  /   in Frankly Speaking 12:26 am   /   Comments

*The late Tunji Okusanya

Why am I writing a tribute to someone who was unknown to me until May of this year? And when we first met, I discovered that he was just about old enough to be my second child? Yet, in less than six months, I had become so fond of him that when the news of his sudden death in the Associated Airline crash reached me at Ibadan, my regular refuge from the chaotic life in Lagos, tears came tumbling out of my eyes uncontrollably for hours – as if he was my son. In reality, right from our first conversation on the phone, which started with him calling, he always called me “Daddy”. Even, when I told him that “Uncle will be more appropriate”, he had replied, “Sir, you are like a Daddy to a lot of us educated young ones around Campus Square. We are proud that you are one of our own; and we read you every Sunday religiously”.

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Calls for finance minister’s resignation

  /   in Frankly Speaking 12:15 am   /   Comments

Okonjo-Iweala

In 2008, I wrote two articles titled “WHEN GENIUS FAILS”. The first was about the former Director-General of the Nigerian Stock Exchange, Dr Ndidi Onyuike warning about the imminent collapse of the Stock Exchange that year. It happened as predicted. The second was related to the crisis in the banking sector even as Professor Soludo was pretending that all was well with the banks. Today, everybody knows better. Where are OCEANIC, INTERCONTINENTAL, BANK PHB etc today? This article also might have been titled “WHEN GENIUS FAILS -3” and it would have been appropriate because the Federal Minister of Finance is no longer the highly respected figure she was in 2003-2005. Her return is shaping out to be some sort of personal disaster for her for many reasons – mostly political.

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Obong Victor Attah: Father of Akwa Ibom State

  /   in Frankly Speaking 12:10 am   /   Comments

obong_victor_attah

On some of her visits to Nigeria from Barbados, she had been known to sit next to IBB, our future Head of State and playfully pull his ears while saying: “Why did a handsome boy like you get into the army? You want to get yourself killed”

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Forget Ghana, try Nigeria’s best universities – 2

  /   in Frankly Speaking 12:38 am   /   Comments

A Cross Section of the Final Year Students  Photo By Diran Oshe

The story continued by reporting that Mr Fidelis Chukwujindu and his accomplice, Mrs Ngozi Ayoha, operating University College Hospital Ogboko, Ideato, P.O. Box 1960 (Nigeria’s year of independence if you don’t remember), Orlu, Imo State, had collected N8,000 from prospective candidates this year alone for application fees alone.

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Forget Ghana, try Nigeria’s best universities – 1A

  /   in Frankly Speaking 12:10 am   /   Comments

A Cross Section of the Final Year Students  Photo By Diran Oshe

“0803-307-2836 …You are quite right about the quality of private universities in Ghana and those in Nigeria and it’s no brainer to say there’s no comparison. Most of the ones in Ghana are not better than glorified secondary schools in terms of infrastructure and course contents. I should know, because I was in that country to inspect a few on behalf of my son…Mike Oteri.

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Forget Ghana. Consider Nigeria’s best private universities –1

  /   in Frankly Speaking 12:15 am   /   Comments

Asuu cartoon

Every monumental task I have assigned myself on this page, since the first article appeared in August 1994, always calls for too quotations. It invariably marks my departure from the tedium of present economic, social and political crises on which everybody is focused – especially my co-columnists writing for every paper.

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Eight years of “Madam President”: Issue for 2015 (2)

  /   in Frankly Speaking 12:10 am   /   Comments

* Dame Patience Jonathan

Henry Fielding, the author of world classic, TOM JONES, was an excellent writer and the classical “woman wrapper”. So, he knew what he was talking about. For Fielding as for all men, there is an abiding warning – be careful when your woman (wife, running mate, mistress, girl-friend etc) intrudes too much in your business. Irrespective of whether the business is politics or a church or illegal oil bunkering the odds of a happy ending are very long. Conventional wisdom has it that “behind any successful man, there is a woman”. But, conventional wisdom is not history and the verdict of history has not been too kind to conventional wisdom.

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Eight years of “Madam President”: Issue for 2015 (1)

  /   in Frankly Speaking 12:17 am   /   Comments

Patience Jonathan

President Jonathan certainly did not wish this to happen. But, whether the country will be willing to stomach four more years of Mrs Patience Jonathan, or not, has suddenly become a campaign issue – even before the struggle for Aso Rock 2015 starts. However, before going into the details, permit me to bring the issue into historical, global and political perspective – if not for anything else but because of those who already concluded that Dele Sobowale hates Jonathan.

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Is APC the answer? — 2

  /   in Frankly Speaking 12:29 am   /   Comments

FLAG LAUNCH: From left— Prince Abiodun Ogunleye, former Deputy Governor of Lagos State; Chief Henry Ajomale, former Chairman, Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, Lagos;  Princess Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, Lagos State Deputy Governor; Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State; Chief Kemi Nelson, former Women Affairs Commissioner, and others at the formal inauguration of All Progressives Congress, APC, flag in Lagos, yesterday.

SUNDAY PUNCH of August 11, 2013, on pages 70 and 71 provided the names and pictures of people it called “Opposition Power brokers: The Strongmen of APC”. It reads to me like pictures of WANTED men at a Police Station. For a start, the list had no single woman – that tells us a lot about the gender discrimination in the new political organization. It is doubtful if this new “progressive” political contraption is what will take us to the promised land.

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Is APC the answer? — 1

  /   in Frankly Speaking 12:15 am   /   Comments

APC-toon

Until the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, registered the alliance of political associations which had come together under the banner of All Progressives Congress, APC, to me, there was nothing to discuss about the matter. APC is now a reality, so there are loads of issues to consider. The first, and most important, has already been addressed by Harold Macmillan. The former British Prime Minister, on February 3, 1960, in a speech to the South African Parliament, had pronounced as follows:

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Alabi-Isama Versus Obasanjo: Will a duel follow?

  /   in Frankly Speaking 12:30 am   /   Comments

*Olusegun Obasanjo

By Dele Sobowale “There is such a thing as a man being too proud to fight”. Woodrow Wilson,1856-1924,  28th President of the US. (VANGUARD BOOK OF QUOTATIONS p 60). Woodrow Wilson was an academic, President of Princeton University before he became President of the United States and he was the originator of the League of

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Did Patience Jonathan call a grown man “boy”?

  /   in Frankly Speaking 12:10 am   /   Comments

*Patience Jonathan

After all the lies and denials by the presidency, Mrs Patience Jonathan had revealed the truth; which most people knew anyway. She and her husband are at loggerheads with the Governor of Rivers State. She, on account of her wish that parts of Okrika be spared from demolition. Those with any memory at all will recollect the incident.

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Rivers of blood: A prayer for Jonathan

  /   in Frankly Speaking 12:00 am   /   Comments

President Goodluck Jonathan being received by Governor Rotimi Amaechi at the Port Harcourt International Airport . The President was on his way to Abuja from Bayelsa Sunday morning.

“In every mess I find a friend’, Charles Dibdin, 1745-1814.Sometimes being prophetic and turning out to be right can cause as much anguish as being wrong – when catastrophe results. About five weeks ago, I wrote in an article titled” PRESIDENT JONATHAN: AMAECHI SHOULD NOT DIE, that given Governor Amaechi’s open feud with Jonathan and the alarm that somebody wants him (Amaechi) dead, then it is the President’s duty to ensure the governor does not die. The fingers of suspicion will point in one direction.

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If Jonathan is the leader; who are his followers?

  /   in Frankly Speaking 12:13 am   /   Comments

SENATE PRESIDENT DAVID MARK; PRESIDENT GOODLUCK JONATHAN AND THE  PDP NATIONAL CHAIRMAN, ALHAJI BAMANGA TUKUR AT THE PDP FAMILY DINNER IN ABUJA ON THURSDAY

Just a little over two years ago, My Fellow Nigerians went to the poles to elect a candidate called Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan as our president – by a wide margin. He won in all the six zones of Nigeria; in what, in my opinion, was the second free and fair presidential election since 1979 when we started experimenting with the presidential system. Given the position and the strangle-hold a president has over our lives, one would have supposed that we considered the matter carefully before casting our votes.

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SS mutiny: PDP’s ship of counterkerous elements (2)

  /   in Frankly Speaking 12:48 am   /   Comments

PDP

Late President John Kennedy, 1917-1963, of the United States, in his classic, PROFILES IN COURAGE, recalled a Senator who told anyone, who cared to listen, “I never quarrel; but I fight. And when I fight, a funeral follows”. From the second year of PDP in Nigeria, the party had left a trail of blood.

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Stop over in Lagos: Two govt initiatives

  /   in Frankly Speaking 12:03 am   /   Comments

*Gov Fashola

“Seek home for rest for home is best”, Thomas Tusser, 1524-1580.
It was almost nineteen years ago when my first article appeared on the pages of the Sunday Vanguard. But, even before that first one came out, a policy decision had been made about this page. Because the Federal Government looms so large and the states are, by comparison, midgets, the focus will be on issues which are federal or national in scope – with only occasional stop-over to address state or local matters.

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The real tragedy of NGF

  /   in Frankly Speaking 12:07 am   /   Comments

Amaechi and Jang

The Nigeria’s Governors Forum, NGF, is not a constitutionally recognized body. But, contrary to the opinion in certain quarters, it is not illegal. The reason is simple. While everything in the constitution is “legal”; not everything that is not in the constitution is illegal. The reader should note the inverted comas in the word legal. Governments in democracies worldwide are under obligations to respect citizens’ rights to privacy; but for “security reasons”, these rights are violated in virtually every country. Governments, all over the world, including those of the US, Britain, France, Germany and India, not to talk of Nigeria, spy on their citizens, routinely, under various pretences labeled as security

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With deepest gratitude – for support and lesson learnt

  /   in Frankly Speaking 12:01 am   /   Comments

President Goodluck Jonathan

May 2013 will remain a particularly blessed month for the entire Sobowale family and, especially, for me. On May 8, one daughter and I celebrated our birthday as usual. I was 69. Two other daughters followed on May 9 and 17. And, to cap it all, the May 8 girl got married on May 11 giving the two of us a befitting birthday present. It was also the twenty-third year I would become the Head of Family in a family in which no male child had reached 60 until now.

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NGF: Wrestling as a metaphor

  /   in Frankly Speaking 12:05 am   /   Comments

Amaechi-Orubebe

This column could easily have been titled JONATHAN’s TAG TEAM SLAMMED and it would still have been appropriate. A wrestling champion who selects his tag team partners from the geriatric ward, in a contest with young and agile opponents, should expect a wicked body slam.

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Aviation: The minister should go

  /   in Frankly Speaking 12:12 am   /   Comments

Oduah-Ogiewmonyi

If you think aviation matters are unimportant, just remember that the attack on the World Trade Centre in New York in 2001 has opened the eyes of all right thinking people to the fact that those things flying over our heads are bombs. And if that is not enough, DANA Airlines crash should serve a permanent notice that those in the plane and those below are perpetually imperiled each time an aircraft flies overhead.

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Support the president and JTF: In our own interest – 2

  /   in Frankly Speaking 12:08 am   /   Comments

*Jonathan

Expectedly the President’s declaration of emergency has provoked harsh criticism from the usual opposition groups – particularly the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN. As someone born and bred in progressive politics, I had spent all my life in the same camp as the progressives – even if, lately, the Awoists and progressives have started to resemble, increasingly, like the conservatives they want to replace at the centre.

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Support the President and JTF: In our own interest –1

  /   in Frankly Speaking 12:12 am   /   Comments

*Jonathan

NOTE: The two columns below were started on Sunday, May 12, 2013 – before the President’s declaration of Emergency Rule in three states of Nigeria. More than ever, and despite the risks and dangers which could result from the measure taken by the President, I still believe that he needs our support to bring this war to an end. If for no other reason than that the opposition has failed to offer a better proposal.

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End of illusion 20:2020

  /   in Frankly Speaking 12:10 am   /   Comments

President Goodluck Jonathan (r) raising up the Vision 202020 document while the National Planning Minister, Dr. Samshudeen Usman  (l) watched during the Presidential Retreat for First Implementation Plan for Nigerian Vision 202020 at the Banquet Hall, State House, Abuja. Photo by Abayomi Adeshida

The scalp of another top government official has landed on my trophy shelve: that of Dr Shamsudeen Usman, the Minister for National Planning. He joins the likes of the technocrats, led by Chief Shonekan, who championed the cause of the Structural Adjustment Programme, SAP in the 1980s to early 1990s,which ruined us till this day.

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Fed Govt misappropriated N1.52tr in 11 years – 1

  /   in Frankly Speaking 12:10 am   /   Comments

jonathan-obj-yar

From mid-2010 until the last Sunday before the 2011 elections, a major campaign was carried on these pages. The message was simple; even a five year old could understand it – don’t vote for PDP and don’t vote for Jonathan. Yet the majority of Nigerian voters, some of them highly respected people, went out to vote for Jonathan not PDP.

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Victims of Boko Haram: Jonathan – 1

  /   in Frankly Speaking 12:10 am   /   Comments

President Jonathan

President Goodluck Jonathan, for once, has my sympathies – because he is a prisoner of circumstances. Only a few were self-created; the majority were invented by his declared enemies and undisclosed adversaries. In the entire history of Nigeria, no Head of Government has ever faced the set of problems associated with the Boko Haram insurgency that this particular President has had to confront right from the first day after inauguration on May 29, 2011.

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