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Ogun 2019: Prominent Ogun State Obas Endorse Bimbo Ashiru



By Eric Elezuo

As the race for Ogun State seat of power gathers momentum, top contender and current Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Otunba Bimbo Ashiru, has begun sensitization tour to drum up support for his ambition.

Ashiru was on November 17, 2017 presented as the preferred candidate from the Ogun West Senatorial district, and endorsed by not a few stake holders.

During his consultation visits during the week, seasoned economist and great achiever visited palaces of prominent obas, who gave their blessings and pledged to stand by him before during and after the electioneering season, when the battle would have been won.

The visits began with homage to the Palaces of three eminent Obas in Ijebu Land, and the moments turned out to be that of praises, blessings and support for his aspiration to succeed his hard working boss Senator Ibikunle Amosun CON, FCA.

The high point of the occasion the decision of Oba (Engr.) Mufutau Kasali, the Moyegeso of Itele-Ijebu to make a turnaround at his palatial residence at Itele-Ijebu and declared his support for the aspiration of the governorship hopeful and prayed for him.

With Oba Amos Awobajo, Limeri of Awa-Ijebu

Oba Kasali had openly opposed the emergence of Ashiru when the Ijebu-Remo Agenda presented him to the Ijebu Obas at the palace of the Awujale of Ijebu land on the 17th of November, 2017. He declared that he had seen the reason Ashiru should continue in the strides of Senator Amosun.

The train moved to the palace of Oba Adesesan Oguntayo FCA, JP, and the story was not different as the monarch eulogised Ashiru’s contributions to the economic developments in the state as Commissioner for Commerce and Industry. He expressed confidence in his abilities, stressing that he believe the performing Commissioner will perform excellently when he succeeds Amosun, especially as it concerns continuity in the ongoing mission to rebuild the state.

At the palace of the Gbegande, Ashiru received a rousing welcome which stated the acceptability of the governorship hopeful.  In his words, the Gbegande expressed confidence in Otunba Bimbo Ashiru, having followed him closely in his activities in addition to the long standing relationship he has with the Ashiru Family. He also expressed confidence in the ability of the banker-turned-politician to deliver on his words.

Oba Gbengande also pledged his support and prayed for Otunba Ashiru who was accompanied on the visit by Dr. Gbolade Osinowo former Chief of Staff to late President Musa Yaradua and Alhaji (Dr.) Olusaga Adenusi a Real Estate guru and Accountant.

With the Akarigbo of Remo

There was very clear boost of Ashiru’s aspirations when the train visited the palace of the Alakija of Ikija-Ijebu, His Royal Highness, Oba Kayode Alakija,. The presence of high chiefs and prominent personalities to receive the aspirant was highly commendable.

In his words, Oba Alakija stated that Otunba Ashiru has performed exceptionally well as a Commissioner in the cabinet of Gov. Ibikunle and therefore, is a credible personality who can take Ogun State to greater heights.

“You are credible, you have performed creditably well; you have made us proud as an Ijebu man. Otunba, you are the best man to continue the good job come 2019.”

“We can see your meaningful contributions in the present administration as the Commissioner for Commerce and Industry. Without mincing words, you are the most qualified person to succeed Governor Ibikunle Amosun CON, FCA come 2019,” the Alakija stated.

With Oba Kayode Alakija

The visit also gave Otunba Ashiru the opportunity to highlight some of his programmes which included employment generation, youth empowerment and skill acquisition programmes as priority projects if elected governor in 2019.

The campaign team moved to Odogbolu where the Alaye of Odogbolu, Oba Adedeji Onagoruwa also gave his blessing to the aspiration of the gubernatorial hopeful. Otunba Ashiru also took time to inspect one of the state Investors’ site – the Solis Agro Group, located in Odogbolu Local Government Area.

The Akarigbo of Remoland, His Royal Majesty, Oba Babatunde Adewale Ajayi, was also on hand to receive Otunba Ashiru and his team in his palace at Sagamu. He said that the emergence of Otunba Ashiru as the consensus candidate of the Ijebu-Remo Agenda is a ‘choice that cannot be faulted’.

In his response, Dr. Gbolade Oshinowo, Special Adviser to former President Olusegun Obasanjo and a chieftain of the party in the State thanked the monarch for the reception, stating that Ashiru has been presented to distinguished leaders in the state including former President Olusegun Obasanjo, who all testified to his sterling character as someone who is eminently qualified to govern the state and exploit the economic potentials of Ijebu-Remo.

Otunba Bimbo Ashiru congratulated the Akarigbo on his coronation and led others in observing a minute silence in honour of the late wife of Oba Akarigbo, Olori (Dr.) Linga Ajayi.

In his speech, he stressed that professionals are needed in politics so that they can deploy their wealth of experience in governance, adding that the same promoted him as a two-term Commissioner for Commerce and Industry in a state reputed to be the industrial hub of Nigeria to present himself for the plum job.

OBA receiving royal blessings

He stated further that he wants to continue with the good works of Gov. Ibikunke Amosun who he referred to as his boss, friend, brother and mentor, promising to leave a lasting legacy for generations to come.

Oba Ajayi, who expressed his shock on the huge turnout of followers at the occasion advised the team to further reach out to well-meaning people in other divisions of the state in order to gain their support.

“This is a cause I agree with. The candidate you are putting forward cannot be faulted. He is a man of peace who would not hold anything against you and I will only advise that the team intensify more efforts by working hard to ensure victory. “If you have a good candidate, you still need to work hard to reach your goal”, he said.

In continuation of the consultation, Ashiru moved to Ijebu North Local Government with visits to the palaces of the Ebumawe of Ago Iwoye, Oba Adewale Adenugba and the Limeri of Awa, Oba Amos Awobajo.

At Ago Iwoye, where Ashiru was received by the monarch, palace chiefs and eminent personalities, he reiterated his motive to contest the governorship election which is a genuine desire to consolidate on the achievements of the present administration through the employment of the experience he has garnered over the years in both private and public sectors.

This, he stated could only be achieved with the support of all, especially community leaders whose positions are very significant in the running of the society.

Hon Ashiru paying homage

He said further that in achieving his set goals for the State, a blueprint tailored to guide his government has been formulated indicating his readiness to hit the ground running once elected.

OBA, as he is known based on his initials, also assured that no area will be left out of the development process as he is aware of the peculiar potentials of each community in the state and Ago Iwoye is not an exception.

In response, the Ebumawe of Ago Iwoye, Oba Adewale Adenugba welcomed Otunba Ashiru to his domain and urged him to continue to consult widely with the people as democracy is people’s government.

Acknowledging Otunba Bimbo Ashiru as ‘the only best” and “the most qualified” person to succeed incumbent Gov. Amosun, the Ebumare also advised elders on his entourage to guide him on the right path to ensure his emergence.

Oba Amos Awobajo, the Limeri of Awa, in his own response stated that the aspiration of Otunba Bimbo Ashiru could be likened to that of the biblical Moses who took his people out of the wilderness.

According to the traditional, ruler, Otunba Ashiru’s audacity and resoluteness to lead the Ijebu cause and vie for the position of governor is laudable and deserves every support being a beacon of hope for the Ijebu people both home and in the Diaspora. He also charged Otunba Bimbo Ashiru to mobilise notable sons and daughters of Ijebu to strengthen his chances and ensure victory at the general election in 2019.

Among prominent citizens present at the consultations were Pa O. Okuboyejo, Aare Are T.O. Dawodu, Bashorun Adebisi Adesanya, Senator Dipo Odujinrin, Chief Bisi Rodipe, Prof. Toyin Ashiru, Asiwaju Tobi Lawal, Alh.O. Adenusi, Prince Segun Aderibigbe, Hon. Tokunbo Oshin, Chief Jare Dada, and other distinguished personalities.

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We’re Not ‘Officially Aware’ of Anyone Working Against Tinubu’s Victory – FG




The Federal Government, on Wednesday, said it was not “officially aware” of any entity in the Presidential Villa working against the victory of the All Progressives Congress’ flag bearer, Bola Tinubu. It also said that President, Muhammadu Buhari was neither favouring nor disfavouring any presidential candidate ahead of the February 25 election.

“If there’s anybody who is working against any candidate, we don’t know officially,” the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, told State House Correspondents after this week’s Federal Executive Council meeting chaired by the President at the Aso Rock Villa, Abuja.

The Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, alleged that some “elements” in Aso Rock are working against Tinubu’s emergence as President.

El-Rufai, who spoke on a Channels Television breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, explained that the persons in question were aggrieved that Tinubu defeated their candidate in the June 2022 APC presidential primary.

He cited the naira redesign policy as one of several schemes targeted at the APC presidential candidate, Tinubu, who also made a similar claim a week earlier.

According to El-Rufai, “I believe there are elements in the Villa that want us to lose the election because they didn’t get their way; they had their candidate. Their candidate did not win the primaries.

“They are trying to get us to lose the election, and they are hiding behind the President’s desire to do what he thinks is right. I will give two examples: this petroleum subsidy, which is costing the country trillions of Naira, was something that we all agreed would be removed.

“In fact, I discussed with the President and showed him why it had to go. Because how can you have a capital budget of N200b for federal roads and then spend N2 Trillion on petroleum subsidy? This was a conversation I had with the President in 2021 when the subsidy thing started rising. He was convinced. We left. It changed. Everyone in the government agreed, and it changed.

“The second example I will give is this currency redesign. You have to understand the President. People are blaming the Governor of the Central Bank for the currency redesign, but No. You have to go back and look at the first outing of Buhari as President.

“He did this; the Buhari-Idiagbon regime changed our currency and did it in secrecy with a view to catching those that are stashing away illicit funds. It is a very good intention. The President has his right. But doing it at this time within the allotted time does not make any political or economic sense.”

But fielding a question on the issue on Wednesday, Mohammed argued that the Buhari-led government has been fair to all candidates regardless of party affiliations.

He said, “On a more serious note, one thing I can assure you is that, no matter who, this administration is focused and determined to ensure a free and fair election. And I think this administration, and for that matter now, the most important person in this regard is Mr. President.

“I think he has shown by words and deed that he is committed to a free, fair and credible election. And fair, free and credible elections mean not favouring or disfavouring anybody.

“Everywhere he goes, he makes that very clear, even as recently as Friday, when he was in Daura. He said the same thing. So if there’s anybody who’s working against any candidate, we don’t know officially.”

Speaking in Ogun State last Wednesday, the APC presidential candidate alleged plans to sabotage the coming election.

Tinubu cited the naira redesign policy by the Central Bank of Nigeria and the lingering fuel crisis and as part of plots to thwart the polls and his expected victory.

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2023 Elections: INEC Deploys 707,384 Presiding Officers




The Independent National Electoral Commission will deploy 707,384 presiding officers for the general elections scheduled to commence on February 25.

The commission also said that since electoral education was important, there was a need to infuse it into the National Values Curriculum of primary schools in Nigeria.

INEC National Commissioner and Chairman of its Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, stated these during the public presentation of the Electoral Education Curriculum and Teachers’ Guide for primary schools.

The curriculum which was developed by the Consortium for Elections and Political Process Strengthening  – Sustaining Electoral Engagement for Democracy project funded by USAID and FCDO and implemented by National Democratic Institute and IFES, was in partnership with the Nigeria Educational Research and Development Council, INEC (through the Voter Education Department), National Orientation Agency, Civil Society Action Coalition on Education for All and academia from across the country.

Okoye said, “We believe that electoral education is important in the goals of our nation. Electoral education is a specialized area and that is why we have this curriculum being infused into the National Values Curriculum in our primary schools.

“For instance, for the 2023 general elections in Nigeria, the commission will deploy a total of 707, 384 presiding officers and assistant presiding officers.

“These presiding officers will be drawn from the crop of young men and women doing their National Youth Service Corps, while the assistant presiding officers will be drawn from students from federal tertiary institutions.

“It is therefore important for us to understand the importance of electoral education in the development of our democracy.

“A national civic education curriculum and teachers’ guide with a specific focus on electoral education will prepare our children for the challenges ahead and also prepare them on how to respect other people’s races and also prepare them to assume leadership in future.”

The President of IFES, Anthony Banbury, said its contribution to the project was to strengthen Nigeria’s electoral process through effective teaching and learning of civic education in primary schools.

“To catch them young, the revised curriculum is a hallmark innovation that will introduce children and youth very early to the concept, processes, ethics, and values of democratic systems and governance.

“It will be essential for the young people’s orientation to initiate a shift from the existing norms. In the long term, it will increase civic participation and knowledge of democratic systems and values, as the children of today become the adults and the voters of tomorrow,” Banbury said.

The Executive Secretary of NERDC, Prof. Ismail Junaidu, said the aim was to strengthen the fabric of the nation’s democracy for sustainable growth and development.

According to him, since the return of democracy in 1999, citizens’ participation in elections and the electoral process had remained an issue of concern.

He also said that a known reason for this was the lack of adequate electoral knowledge.

“Hence, promoting democratic electoral culture and developing civic skills are therefore necessary for well-informed and responsible participation in elections and in the electoral process,” Junaidu said.

He said that the above informed the initiative of the NERDC in collaboration with IFES to develop the Electoral Education Curriculum for primary schools in Nigeria.

According to him, the curriculum, generally, is developed to expose young learners to the rudiments of democracy and inculcate in them the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary for active citizens’ participation in the democratic process.

“Specifically, the curriculum is designed to achieve five key objectives, which are to: equip learners with basic knowledge of the concept of democracy, the role of elections in democracy and good governance.

He said the choice of primary school learners was hinged on the core principle of using education as an instrument of socialisation for the young to assume adult roles for the good of society.

“Thus, the teaching of electoral education at this level will ensure that when children reach voting age, they would have already understood the fundamentals of active participation in the political and electoral process,” Junaidu said.

While commending the management of NERDC for the initiative, the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, represented by his Senior Technical Assistant, Dr Claris Ujam, said the curriculum had become a dynamic process for sustainable national development.

He said, “Every time, there are changes or developments happening around the world, the school curricula are affected.

“Therefore, the inclusion of concepts and contents of electoral education under Civic Education is in line with the drive under the Ministry’s Education for Change: A Ministerial Strategic Plan.

“This is to enable the acquisition of citizenship values and skills through quality education. The electoral education curricular contents constitute a remarkable step to create positive change in the election landscape and political development.”

The Punch

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Pro, Anti Ekweremadu Protesters Storm UK Trial




The human trafficking case against a former Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, and his wife, Beatrice, resumed in a London court on Tuesday.

However, anti- and pro-Ekweremadu protests were staged in front of the court ahead of the proceedings.

AFP reported that before court proceedings, there was a gathering of protesters, some of whom were in support of the lawmaker while others were against him.

The lawmaker was in June 2022 arrested alongside his wife at Heathrow Airport in London on the allegation that they flew a young man from Nigeria to the UK to harvest his organ.

The allegation added that the organ was meant for Ekweremadu’s daughter, Sonia, who is currently hospitalised with a kidney-related illness.

Some Nigerians had in October 2022 protested in Abuja against the continued detention of the lawmaker who has now spent 223 days in the custody of UK authorities.

Protesters, once again, gathered at the court on Tuesday to either support the embattled lawmaker or protest his continued detention in UK custody.

“I mean, this case is unbelievable,” one protester, Citizen Gbola, was quoted by AFP as saying.

“Where else in the world would you have a deputy senate president, who is still a serving senator, he’s still getting his regular wage?”

According to Daily Mail, Sonia couldn’t make it to court on Tuesday but sought permission with a psychological report by her team claiming she was not fit to stand trial.

She had pleaded not guilty to the allegation of trafficking a homeless man into the UK to harvest his organs for herself, when she appeared in court on November 7, 2022.

The young man, who levelled the allegation against the Ekweremadus, told Staines Police Station that he was made to undergo some medical tests, none of which he consented to.

A 50-year-old medical doctor from South London, Obinna Obeta, was also arrested in connection to the allegation.

During proceedings at the Old Bailey court, Ekweremadu who wore a grey tracksuit top only said “Yes, miss” when asked to confirm his name.

Seated beside the lawmaker in the dock and dressed in black was his wife who was granted bail in July 2022 while her husband was said to be a flight risk.

The Punch

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