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Why I Am Backing Ize-Iyamu As Edo Governor – Capt. Hosa Okunbo



By Michael Effiong

Captain Hosa Okunbo is a businessman with interests in many sectors of the economy, he had supported Edo State Governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki in 2016, but for the forth-coming 2020 Gubernatorial elections, he is backing All Progressives Congress (APC) Candidate, Pastor Osagie-Ize Iyamu.

In this interactive session with top Editors in Wells Carlton Hotel & Apartments, Asokoro, Abuja,  one of his businesses, he revealed why Edo people should jettison Obaseki and made many revelations…

How did your quarrel with Governor Obaseki start? What went wrong between you both and where does your relationship stand?

I want to thank you for honouring my invitation. I am a very press shy person; I hardly grant interviews but I find it very important and relevant at this time for me to also talk. I have written but I think I should talk.

Thank you for the question about Edo. Facts are facts and a lie will remain a lie. You will get real facts today.

First, I consider myself an elder statesman of this country, I also consider myself a relevant stakeholder in my state.

Just as important as that market woman who is also a stakeholder that sells tomatoes and pepper so I have always wished my state and I still do.

At the beginning when Governor Godwin Obaseki approached me in 2016 that he wanted to run for the Governorship of Edo State, he came in the company of a friend, Noggie Meggison, to my house in Ikoyi (Lagos) and that day, I unveiled to him the relationship between me and his late father who happened to be like a father to me, in fact he nurtured me in my youth.

I told him the relationship between myself and his father, that as a child, I was his father’s friend and that I had no choice but to support his ambition.

And after that, he kept coming to my house with Rasaq Belo-Osagie.

When he came, he respected me and we respected each other. We ate together and the relationship was very cordial and I was happy that at least somebody from the private sector like myself had come into the governorship race in Edo state, apart from the relationship I had with the father which was very dear to me.

When it came to the time to support financially, he came to me in Abuja with the same Rasaq and I did my little bit to support him and thank God it is the same candidate today that is also his opponent again.

I will support Ize-Iyamu with my hard-earned sweat not stolen money and people that know me know that when I believe in something, I can spend my last kobo to achieve it. He is lucky to have someone like me. When God wants to work, he will bring all together to work for your good.

Now, what happened after that?

He was elected as the Governor in 2016 and I was very elated and as we continued, the political class that helped him get were all coming to me including Rasaq Belo-Osagie that brought him to me.

I want to start mentioning names now so that there can be reference.

They were complaining about how he was treating them and how he didn’t want to see them anymore after being elected and I kept calming them down.

I even quarrelled with Rasaq, I said “Rasaq, leave this man alone” and I kept talking to the political class and said listen, that I know investment bankers, you can’t squeeze anything out of their hands. They said he was not implementing the plans and projects that they had agreed

He said he was gathering money to improve our state, I said so be it.  He said he was developing our state and I said so be it. So, I said let him be but I kept going back to him to say my brother please manage these people.

I told him, you have found yourself in the political turf, so please manage them because I believe there are so many attributes of leadership, the ability to manage people, perseverance and patience are very important.

I told him that when you have even more than ten workers in your establishment, you will have different kinds of people and the ability to manage them to achieve your desired goals is what is important because as I was fighting the political class, I was advising him on how to manage them because for me, the state was my major concern, development of my state is top priority all the time..

That was why when I was going to China to meet some investors, I mentioned it to him and he was willing to come, I was excited that he was willing to come, I bought his ticket and that of his aides.

And we went to China and we met my investors and we spent good time together, I did that and paid all the bills not because I have too much money but what I wanted to show to my brother was look I am not coming for Government purse.  I wanted to show him that I wanted to help genuinely and I seriously meant well for him but to my surprise, the things that started unfolding after, I couldn’t believe it. I began to wonder what I had done.

For instance, when the President was coming to Benin for the Army Day, I reached out to the Presidency, the President had seen my products, the President had eaten products from my farm, the President loves the products, so I wanted to use that opportunity of his coming to Benin to invite the President to commission my farm and I also thought that was an opportunity for Godwin, the Governor to also showcase the farm as one of his achievements.

I was therefore shocked to hear from the grapevine that he never wanted the President to come to my farm. I went again to confirm if the President was going to come to my farm and I did.

Then I got a phone call from Godwin he said, I learnt the President was coming to your farm, he will come but he was not going to come out of the car

I was wondering how will the President come to my farm for the commissioning of my farm and not come out of the car?

Whatever I am saying here today, God Almighty knows that I am saying the truth.

He gave me that call and I laughed, only for the event to be cancelled because there was an incident in Maiduguri and the President had to go to Maiduguri.  I began to think, what was going on here.

Most of these things started last year.  It is very true that a few people had approached me that I should come and run against him.

But for me, let me be honest, I will be the last person to quarrel with any government that is performing or any government at all.

Because at the very beginning when Godwin told me his plans for Edo State, If Godwin presents to you his plans for Edo State on PowerPoint, you will kiss his feet.

I don’t have any money to fight Obaseki and I am not fighting him. I will never fight government but I will defend myself against any aggression, my daily food, my character, and anything that will destroy me.

It is like in the Bible when the devil said take all this and bow before me and Jesus said get thee behind me Satan. And as we progressed, all those packages that he presented, none was done

I learnt most of them were all on paper and they continue to be on paper and consultancy services attached to most of them. Of course, as we speak, most of those projects are not on ground and me, I can’t be deceived. Some can be deceived but I cannot.

A situation where you have 600 children packed in a room selling propaganda on social media, of projects that are not there. It is appalling

But that is why most of our brothers in the Diaspora are sold on his agenda but they do not know that most of those projects are just not on ground.

You can’t continue selling propaganda because when you tell lies continuously, it becomes truth in some peoples’ ear.

You sell propaganda, you impoverish them and then when it is election time, you now throw corns at them and tell them to see white and call it black. I will not allow that in a society I grew up in.

I don’t live permanently in Benin but I have always retraced my steps to my home because there is a saying that a child that doesn’t remember where he comes from is lost.

I am completely in touch with my environment back home. I know that is where I am from and whatever I can do to relate with my people, I always do.

Like I said, a lot of people approached me to run for Governor of Edo State and most of the people that did, will tell you I said I wasn’t interested because I have set a trajectory for my life and over the past 32 years, I have been involved in business and before that, I was a very  good professional pilot.

And at 63, my mates that ran for Governorship did that in 1999 and I was not ready to start learning new things.

And that is one of the reasons I tried to help Godwin, because in his old age, he could not learn new things, that is why he fell a victim.

He found himself in politics which was not his turf, it was not his forte and he would have sought for God’s wisdom to be able to manage the position he had found himself.

That was why I was talking to him and trying to mediate in the matter because I never wanted him to fight anybody, not to talk about fighting me.

When he started fighting the political class, I told him, when he came to my house, I said GO, please if you keep fighting these guys, they have a boss who is Comrade Adams Oshiomhole and very soon, you and Adams will quarrel.

He said God forbid, instead of him and Adams to quarrel, he will resign from being Governor.

I said okay and not long, Adams became Chairman of APC and the people on ground whom he was fighting now found solace in Abuja and they came to seek help from him. I was watching and comrade started helping some of them through his position.

My beginning was very humble, I was a Captain in 1983 with Intercontinental Airlines, General Aviation, as at that time, I was the highest paid Pilot in this country, because in Intercontinental Airlines, most of them were expatriates, I was the first Nigerian Captain.

And the quarrel started, He became angry with Comrade and complained why Comrade was helping people that were fighting him in the state.

Then it came to their primaries and the full-blown quarrel erupted, I went to him and tried settling them.

I went once, then the second time, I said GO my brother, your position today is Governor and Comrade is Chairman of APC, I don’t think there is anything both of you will sit  in front of the President and ask for our state that we would not get.

I said please this quarrel should never happen. I said let’s nip it in the bud for the sake of everybody. I was in his house for three hours. I knelt down, begging. I said for the sake of the state, I don’t want this animosity to continue, whatever it takes, please close it out.

That night, I left and that same night when I got home, I got a call from common friend in Lagos who told me that Godwin said you should stay out of this matter, otherwise, you might be a collateral damage.

I said, collateral damage? Me? I said should I ask him? He said ask him.

The next morning I called him, I said Ogierebor that is what I call him, I said Ogierebor, this is what this guy told me, he said  yes, it is fight to finish o, you better stay away so that you will not be caught up in the middle.

I said Thank you! But I said I won’t relent. I reached out to elders who were more power than myself, that we should not have a state where there are no elders.

Was that the day after you saw him?

Yes, and because of that the dispute was never resolved till today.

Now, let’s talk about myself. There was a particular Sunday that Thisday published a story on its front page and I know that newspaper front pages are very serious.

The headline was NPA Cancels SAA and they put a bogus figure that we were earning, that we were operating illegally and that the person behind this company, OMSL, my name was mentioned and they twisted it that I was interested in the governorship.

That particular write up was a big embarrassment to me and co-incidentally, Jim Ovia was hosting Emefiele at the Civic Centre that day on his reappointment as CBN Governor.

I was there at the venue and some friends were questioning me if I was interested but I was responding to them that I was not.

As I was leaving, thank God, Godwin was coming in, we were outside, he pointed at me and embarrassed me in front of everyone, shouting “incoming Governor”, I held him,  that is the photograph you guys see of both of us and cuddled him and I said:  Are you one of them?

I took him back inside the venue and in order to disabuse the minds of those who had interrogated me earlier, I went behind his seat and grabbed him and they took our photograph, that photograph is what people see and I left.

As that incident grew, SAA saga grew. Everywhere I went, they told me this is political, your problem is political, and somebody actually told me he was behind it. But I did not believe it and one evening to his house and we were outside among some common friends,

I told him, I said GO, they told me that you are the one behind my saga at NPA, he said no. I am not the one.

He carried his phone and dialled someone very important whom I also respect.

He told the person, why is Hadiza harassing my brother now, the guy replied (he was on speaker), Godwin you said that man is the man troubling you in Edo State.

Hadiza is fighting your battle for you, are you not the one who sent her or have you changed your mind? He quickly switched off the phone.

I said Godwin, I have caught you, you are the one who caused this and you are going to repair it for me.

The common friends that were there included Anselm Ojezua, Barr. Austin Alegeh, SAN, former NBA President, my friend Peter Okundaye was there, Chief Oseni Elamah was there and a few others. You can call any of this people. I don’t lie. He now told me and said on Tuesday, we will see in Abuja. I never saw him.

After that, I was called in NNPC. I was called that there was an enquiry and the Adhoc Committee on Pipeline Security and Oil theft wanted me make a presentation.

Since I’ve known Osagie as a Christian, I’ve always seen a very genuine man, a man of God and we need good people to come into our politics whether they have money or not.

The night before that presentation I went to my brother, I said I will be making a presentation to the Sub-Committee and you are the Chairman.

He said no problem, you have nothing to fear just come, make your presentation and that will be it.

The next day, the Oil majors were there, Shell was there, NNPC Management was there, Aiteo was there, different people were there. The industry was complete.

I went with Chief Ayiri Emami. I went with him so he could talk about how we have been managing the Community since our operations covered his community.

He does not work for me, but he was there.  That day to the admiration of everyone that was there, I presented flawlessly. The only question was from my brother,

he said, how are you paid, what is your contract like? 

Who asked that question?

The Governor, he is the Chairman. I said Your Excellency NNPC has my full dossier, they have the payment terms and legal have my contract.

There is huge network of pipelines in this country and I was only handling four- Escravos to Warri, Bonny to Port Harcourt, just four. There are many, you have the transnational lines, where losses are being recorded.

But of all the lines, the ones my company were taking care of were performing above expectations and there were no losses because my contract is performance related.

I work for NNPC, I don’t work for Amnesty Office, NNPC is a structured organisation were contracts are properly drawn.

NNPC is like a relay, your performance will impact on the next person, the next person’s performance will impact on the next etc. before the oil finally gets sold.

My four lines that I was taking care of were the best, I pride myself at being the best at what I do.

When the report came out, my brother wrote the report like I was the one handling all the whole pipelines in Nigeria, despite all I was doing, giving the impression that we were responsible for the losses, it was only my name he put there.

I was not upset because I am a businessman and the principle of every businessman or human being is, there are three things you must not fight “God, Government, Gun”

I’m very conscious of those three things and that was why I was patient.

I am still not fighting Godwin; I am continuously defending myself and that passed.

Then write-ups started coming out, they started attacking me, I finally wrote “CAPTAIN HOSA SPEAKS, LEAVE ME OUT OF POLITICS”, it was well published and circulated.

My brother called me like an Emperor, and said, Capt., this is what I have been expecting from you and I said Your Excellency, I have told you I was not contesting. He said very good, like he was my class room teacher.

My son that works in his government, I call him my son, Osaze Uzamere, also called me and said daddy thank you for coming out, I have been defending you and telling them you are not doing this thing.

Igbinidu, the Head of his Tax, several others, called me, thanking me for coming out. I said wow, I did not know the matter was this serious.

I believe that for Osagie with his simple agenda people should give him a chance to turn around our State. APC will win the election with a wide margin, a landslide, I have no doubts about that.

I then called him, I said you too write, CAPTAIN HOSA IS MY BROTHER, HE IS NOT A POLITICIAN, LEAVE HIM ALONE and that will put a stop to everything.

He told me he has so many support bases at home and abroad and he doesn’t know those who were attacking me and gave excuses.

I felt he had attacked my business and didn’t succeed. Coming from the private sector, he knows the only thing he can do was to damage my integrity and damage my compliance by writing all these things.

I am not a politician, for a politician if you throw stones at him, he may not reply but as a businessman, when people throw stones at you, a day will come in your compliance where they will ask you, when you were accused of this,  how did you respond? So as they kept attacking me, I kept responding.

I said this man wants to destroy my business, not physically but through compliance that is why at a point I threw everything into the papers.

You saw me in the papers every day, showing people exactly who I am, I started exposing myself, I have done business for over three decades only a few knew me

Friends called me and said, Captain, what is going on, you are in the news every day, I had to tell them that I was defending myself. My brother exposed me.

When the attack got too much. I wrote an open letter. One of the boys that wrote a libellous article against me, I filed a complaint and he was arrested and was to be charged to court but his lawyer came to me.

He came to apologise, I have so many children, my biological and many others that I look after, I am a role model, I mentor these children.

So, I was not ready to destroy this young child who should have been positively engaged but was set up in a room to be abusing his fathers.

When I finished speaking to him, the guy broke down and was crying. He said he never knew this is the kind of person I am.

The guy was even abandoned. Nobody came for his bail even though he was SA to the Governor. He still calls me a father to day, I have never for one day called him to ask him about what his happening in his camp. I have helped him and that is it. It was obvious that the attack was coming from government circles.

My beginning was very humble, I was a Captain in 1983 with Intercontinental Airlines, General Aviation, as at that time, I was the highest paid Pilot in this country, because in Intercontinental Airlines, most of them were expatriates, I was the first Nigerian Captain.

What I believe is that my brother, Godwin actually thought I was going to run against him so he set up a war room against Captain Hosa and when he knew I wasn’t running, he still needed to deploy it.

o, I wrote an open letter to the President and the Edo people and I catalogued all my actions to everyone, and everything I said there before my God, is the truth I wanted people to ask him what I’ve done to deserve this?

At least even the tomato seller or the beggar on the street has a right to choose who he wants to be and who he wants to support in politics.

Up to this moment, the same man that came to me in 2016 begging me for support, hasn’t come to me to tell me that he was interested in a second term, no discussion.

And I kept telling him that instead of him to read the letter and come to terms with the situation and find a way of brokering peace, he is fighting me. I am a man of peace. You will not believe this, on the same day of my letter, another libel was fired, that I was gathering people, buying guns that I wanted to come and disrupt the election.

It was written by Crusoe Osagie, and this was sent out on the Government letterhead. There is no way my business partners will take that lightly.

I instructed my lawyers immediately; we are in court and the whole thing escalated.

Also, when it became obvious to friends, my people that this guy was after me, this government started crumbling and people started resigning. And that was what I wanted him to avoid.

I called him and said all these statements you are writing and referring to me as billionaire, billionaire, I don’t have money, what I have is goodwill which is more than money.

I never place emphasis on money. I was brought up from a very humble background, my father was an Educationalist and my mother a Teacher, we were not rich but my father gave us good values and he was a man of truth.

As a young man, I watched my father settle disputes in our home. They used to say if you want to hear the truth, go to Okunbo’s house.

And rich men’s children were brought to our house for correction. My father will treat all of us as one. He was a man of truth and in that truth, the light in me has come out. So my values have never been money- oriented.

In that same vein, throughout my life though I never went to school in Benin, but I had always related back to my roots. And in my own little way, I have blessed my people with whatever God has blessed me with. Unmerited favour from God.

I believe a man is not blessed because of himself alone and I believe it is for his environment and his people, you must share it. It is not for you to keep.

I sent words to him, we have built very strong goodwill in this environment, you were in Lagos, the money you are talking about I don’t have because I can never compete with any government when you talk of resources. But we have goodwill.

Where are we now? I still consider Godwin my brother but I don’t consider him a leader because he doesn’t have the attributes of a good leader.

Edo State is a collective responsibility, it is a place where we all must support, I have no other place to call my foundation apart from that place. It is more important to me than any other place.

He lacks the leadership qualities and he also lacks the temperament and patience to govern people He is deceitful.

It’s only unfortunate that Osagie Ize-Iyanmu who he also contested against him in 2016 is out there and I am supporting him by default and of course, I want a better Edo State and that’s all I can say.

I don’t have any money to fight Obaseki and I am not fighting him. I will never fight government but I will defend myself against any aggression, my daily food, my character, and anything that will destroy me.

Despite all you have said as a stakeholder, do you see anything stopping the PDP because they seemed so confident. Are you worried about violence.?

Well, we’ve had elections Edo State, this is not the first time and I can tell you that it has not been this bad because the whole country is shaking because of one state. We have had many elections in Edo State.

My being dragged into this whole thing like I have said earlier is no fault of mine.

It is rather unfortunate that the Governor in his mind because he thought he was going to run against me began to plot against me, and I became an imaginary candidate, Comrade Oshiomhole who initially brought him as Governor, by default is also an imaginary candidate. So, you on the street’s you are hearing Godwin/Captain Hosa, Godwin/Oshiomhole, but the real candidate is Osagie Ize-Iyamu. He has given himself three candidates to contest against. One being real the other two imaginary.

Let me tell you something, Mahatma Gandhi was not a rich man yet he changed the fortunes of India,  Martin Luther King was never a rich man but he changed the fate of black people in America,  Usman Dan Fodio was never a rich man, Ahmadu Bello died without a house, Tafawa Balewa same,  even up to our President right now, Muhammadu Buhari,  when he became President of this country, he had nothing but people believed in him and voted him into power for a change.

So what I expect from our people is that they should look and see within their environment what has happened in the last four years, see how our state has been managed, see the personality of the Governor that has ruled them, see the violence, the quarrels and the fight in our state, let every man search their conscience, it is not about money, it about what you can see around you.

If my people believe that this election is about money them let their conscience be sold but me Capt. Hosa, I have played my part because if they are happy with what they see and they want to continue in that suffering, so be it.

But I will know that I have played my part and I will definitely excuse myself from my dear state for the next four years because that’s what they’ve chosen, I will stay away

But I believe that this election is not about money but the truth. And our people believe in the truth, I believe if the election is based on truth and it is held today, I believe APC will win with landslide.

But if you want to talk about propaganda, money, violence, forcing his will on the people, then you can mention the incumbent. I don’t have to buy the conscience of the people. I’m sure evil can never surpass good.

Those people that truly love our state, and know that this is the future of our children should know who to vote for irrespective of political inclination. Who at this time can move our state forward, who is best for us at this time that is the crux of the matter?

If you say I’m bankrolling Pastor. Ize-Iyamu, so be it. But one thing though, I can never compete with state resources. I am supporting him with my hard-earned sweat.

When it comes to violence, it is unfortunate what is happening in our state. Even when bombing has now become a thing of the past in the Niger Delta, they started bombing houses of people that were against him in Benin. Very sad

A Governor that could not manage 24 House of Assembly members from his own party, they were not in opposition, all APC, some of us worked to make that possible for him so he could have a smooth ride but he squandered the chance

He started fighting them from day one. How can you start talking of conviction for a crime you did not commit?

He was screaming about being impeached. What did he do that he was afraid of impeachment?

That confirms my earlier assertion that his is a government of deceit. His conscience was heavily laden with guilt that was why he was afraid of impeachment. And he ran a state with about seven House of Assembly members.

As I speak, I have no representatives in the House of Assembly.

Even the President had to reach out through the party to the National Assembly to move the country forward. He did not plant a bomb at the Assembly.  The last National Assembly we all saw it, did the President use all his apparatus of state against Saraki?

What is all the fight about? Pepper Dem, Pepper Dem, if they what to continue to be peppered, let those ones go on but the majority know what is right. I don’t agree with you that PDP is on ground.

If there is going to be a free and fair election today, I am sure the people will vote Obaseki out.

What is at stake for you, is it interest or ego? 

I am a very humble person. There is no strand of ego in me. There is nothing I cannot sacrifice for the betterment of my state.

In this election, it is the future of our children that is at stake, the liberation of our state from someone who thinks he is an emperor in this modern day is at stake.

If that state was running well, if everything he said he was going to do he did, if the people in his Constituency are happy? If he spits on my face, I will just wipe it off with a towel and move on. I will take it in my stride and say it is for the sake of our state.

But you cannot, having performed poorly, having not done the right thing, dealing with people and you expect to spit on my face and join me among the oppressed, I will defend myself. Nothing else is at stake but the betterment of our state

What is the state of your farm, the one the President was to commission?

It is doing well. That is not the only farm I have, I have the biggest greenhouse farm in Nigeria today, 27 hectares of greenhouses, I have done more than half of that in my farm. And I intended to complete it.

In fact, our father, the Oba of Benin had also given me a land free of charge, he was very impressed with what we were doing.  I was supposed to expand.

The farm today is employing youths, the pleasure I get when I see them at the farm, working, earning good money, gladdens my heart. I have another 9000 hectares in Ovia North East where I was going to bring my investors to develop. I have the master plan.

But when I started noticing Godwin’s attitude and wickedness, I was afraid because he was an unfriendly friend and his policies in Edo State can crumble my business.

God has given me the wisdom to know the friendly environment to invest and the one not to invest. If I had thrown all my eggs there and he holds me in the balls, what will I do? Today, I would have been singing his song against my will.

So, I will wait for a friendly government to come for me to continue my investment aspirations in Edo State.

I’ve known Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu for over 30 years, I knew his character before, I knew his character when he became a born-again Christian, let me tell you something, Osagie is a testimony of how God can actually turnaround somebody.

In 2016 you said you me Godwin Obaseki, have you met Osagie Ize-Iyamu?

Of course!

Do you believe in his agenda?

Of course!

Are you bankrolling him? (General laughter)

Well, that’s a good question, Ize-Iyamu has met with me, he has also shown me the vision he has for the State. He calls it the Simple Agenda. He also has the vision of farming and he is a farmer; he is very passionate about the agenda.

I believe the only thing that has not been exploited to the benefit of Nigeria and our children is farming. We have arable land everywhere; farming will take a lot of our children from the streets. And it is one of the agenda he is passionate about.

Godwin also spoke to me about Farming in 2016 but where is the farm?

I’ve sat down with Pastor and he believes in farming because through farming, the people will be empowered and our youths will be engaged. He has the same vision as I have about farming

Talking about supporting him, you should know that Pastor is a Pastor and the last time he was in government,  he was SSG and for a man like that to be facing a monster of the state government, some of us will have to come out to support him if we believe with me.

I will support Ize-Iyamu with my hard-earned sweat not stolen money and people that know me know that when I believe in something, I can spend my last kobo to achieve it. He is lucky to have someone like me. When God wants to work, he will bring all together to work for your good.

You might want to ask another question; you are supporting him with your man now how do you intend to recoup your money?

People have asked me this question and what have I told them is “Red Cross”, what do I mean”, Charity.

If today, I am supporting Osagie Ize -Iyamu to liberate my state, and tomorrow I am now expecting something from a state that they have riddled with debt? Our children have been mortgaged and you said I should not talk.

Let me tell you, I have worked all my life, I am 63 years old and if I do not have money kept away that I can use in the day of danger, then I have failed. Osagie is a beneficiary.

If I dare go to him after he wins to say Old boy, how about the money that I spent, that will be the beginning of our fight. So, I am very conscious.

Let me tell you, at this age, what do I want?

God has been so good to me, I’ve been blessed beyond my expectation, my blessings are unmerited, in my 63 years, God has made me realize most of my ambition

My ambition now is to be able to go back to my people with whatever God has blessed me with, share it with them, if possible, partner with the government to create employment through agriculture.

So, my ambition is to go back home where I can once more relish in that roasted yam and palm oil that my grandmother brought me up with in my childhood and in the evening, I tie my wrapper, go to my palace to make my King laugh. That is my ambition. Nothing else.

For me, money is an instrument and it will always be an instrument and at 63, I’m nearer to where I’m going than where I’m coming from.

At the airport sometimes I run into my colleagues the ones we trained together in Zaria and when I get home, I kneel down and say God, I thank you.

What do I want God to do again that he has not done, unless I am a greedy fool? That is why I will not be afraid to say the truth, I am a grandfather of four grandchildren, that is why I will never do anything that will make people laugh at them or bring shame children.

So, if you say I’m bankrolling Pastor. Ize-Iyamu, so be it. But one thing though, I can never compete with state resources. I am supporting him with my hard-earned sweat.

Sir I salute your courage, because I believe not everyone can come out to say some of these things. Now, you believed Governor Obaseki in 2016, why should now believe Ize-Iyamu

In 2016, even though I had a relationship with Godwin’s father, Godwin was a stranger to me, total strange.

Though we used to see in Lagos, we were not close, I knew his younger brother, Gilbert, his father brought Gilbert to work for me.

I knew his other siblings, Eki who is his senior sister is married to Uncle Nuel Ojei, who is my godfather, godfather is a good thing (smiles)

I never knew him but I believed him, that’s where the difference is.  I’ve known Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu for over 30 years, I know his character before, I know his character when he became a born-again Christian, let me tell you something, Osagie is a testimony of how God can actually turnaround somebody.

Since I’ve known Osagie as a Christian, I’ve always seen a very genuine man, a man of God and we need good people to come into our politics whether they have money or not.

Osagie owns a farm, that’s the only business he has, he has a farm where he also trains farmers, I’ve been there, I’ve seen him farm and I believe he has the same dream and aspirations as myself for the state.

For me not roads or all those other things alone, once you are able to take people out of poverty, they will gladly be able to use the infrastructure. You do not tar roads that people will be trekking on. You need cars to ride on those roads and you need people to earn enough to buy those cars.

A lot of politicians always tell you what they can’t do. But my take is, we should begin to support politicians who we believe will impact our people and not because of what we want to get. If your conscience says believe him, believe him.

If he now decides to do otherwise it is left to him and God. And that is why you hardly see me quarrel. I can only be disappointed. The only person that can pay back is God Almighty.

If I tell you my story you will know it is only God. So I believe that for Osagie with his simple agenda people should give him a chance to turn around our State. APC will win the election with a wide margin, a landslide, I have no doubts about that.

You have investments in many sectors of the economy, when did you strike gold and now that you a man of great means, why don’t you have a foundation?

My beginning was very humble, I was a Captain in 1983 with Intercontinental Airlines, General Aviation, as at that time, I was the highest paid Pilot in this country, because in Intercontinental Airlines, most of them were expatriates, I was the first Nigerian Captain.

Victor Vanni of blessed memory, a great man said put this hardworking young man in the same salary, so, I was paid like an expatriate, I must tell you that we were paid by the hour, we had allowances by the hour apart from my salary.

I got married to a businesswoman, at that time who was a Distributor with Flour Mills and most of the breweries etc and that was what ignited my interest in business.

We started writing proposals to oil companies as Buyer. I can tell you that the first procurement I did in Warri Refinery as far back as in the 80s and it fetched me more than my one year salary and that was when I realized that this life was not in the air but on ground. And that was how I started business because in everything I do, I put everything in it

In actual fact, I left flying in 1988,.I had over 70000 miles as a pilot, I had put it behind my mind that I was a captain, I had my hours, I could still come back.The rest is  history.

But one thing I will tell you is that in all these years of business, I’ve always had one thing behind my mind, when talking about business, you are either buying and selling for profit or you are rendering services for profits, those are the two definitions of business and anything that will deviate me from these two descriptions,  I made up my mind that I will never fall into that category because when you bring a business to me, I will ask you, can we justify this profit when I cannot justify the profit in a service, I don’t do it,

I never go after free money, I don’t go after fraudulent money that is why for thirty years, my name has remained intact and that’s why till date, Police or anybody has never questioned me for any fraudulent activity, I can also proudly tell you that I’ve never gone to EFCC to write statement for any fraudulent activity.

My close friends and my workers know my prayer, and it is something I have imbibed for years.

I always pray, Almighty God, any money that will bring shame to my children and family, that will embarrass my children in school, that God should not bring such money near me.

And God has always answered that prayer. I have never fallen into any temptation of fraudulent activities, so I can proudly tell you today that in a country like Nigeria where I have reached the level that I have reached without any blemish or fronting for anybody, I have tried to work hard for every dime that I have earned and I can proudly tell you that God had been faithful

Now, this topic of foundation has always come up. My children have always said I was spending so much money on people, that why don’t I have a foundation?

My Accountant asks too because I can tell you for free that 70% of what I earn in my life goes out to other people. People pay tithe of 10 per cent but I give out 70 per cent of what I earn.

My name is Idahosa, in true terms it is Idamehosa, which means, I’m listening to God, I live according to my name and in everything I do, I listen to God and God instructed me not to set up a foundation because in his words, he said “do for me in secret and I will bless you openly”.

If I set up a Foundation before I award 50 scholarships it is on TV, before I go to the orphanage, it will be on the TV, my children may want to do it. Or if I get another instruction from God, I will do it. But for now, I believe in doing good not by announcing.

If you come to me with a problem, I can give you the last kobo in my pocket.

I am not afraid of tomorrow because God told me clearly, you are my son and you will never lack.

A lot of people close to me will tell you I am a covenant child. For 32 years I have been in business I have never lacked. I have never looked for money to pay my children’s school fees or look for money to feed my family. I have lived a constant lifestyle. There are simple principles of God that guide me. I may not be religious but I fear God.

Maybe if I had set up a foundation, my brother, Godwin would probably had said let me not touch this one, see how big his foundation is, but because my Foundation is hidden I don’t make noise but it is unfortunate that he has dragged me out of my comfort zone into the market square. This is not me. I have done my thing quietly all these years.

You will agree with me that there is a cloud of fear in Edo State because of the fear of violence. Can you vouch for your candidate?

Well, let me first tell you that I’m a man of peace and it has been demonstrated severally by me. Today, the relative calm that you see in the Niger-Delta, I contributed to it in a great way.

I’ve been able to employ so many restless youths our pipeline protection business, today they are gainfully employed under my establishment. They can tell you today what they earn monthly, so I’ve been able to turn them from their negativity to positivity.

As I speak to you, I have close to 3,000 youths in the Niger-Delta that I’m partnering with so many of them have been calling me that they are rubbishing me in Edo election that they want to go and fight my cause, but I said they should stop because I can’t see myself having spent time and energy to train these my children positively, I will now say I want to use them for election, God forbid.

I hate violence, so this issue of violence, I think is not from APC, it is the other camp you should talk to, not Ize-Iyamu. Personally, I have sponsored programmes running on TV and Radio telling people to stay away from violence.

I am praying for a free, fair and violent-free election in Edo state where everyone will be able to exercise their right, that’s what I’m praying for and that’s what the Oba explained to the leading candidates and political leaders.



Behold! The Asiwaju of Edeland, Gov Ademola Adeleke




By Eric Elezuo

The ancient town of Ede in Osun State is set to host the who’s who in Nigeria’s political and traditional institutions as the Executive Governor of the state, His Excellency, Senator Ademola Nurudeen Jackson Adeleke, is installed as the Asiwaju of Edeland.

The one in town event is scheduled to hold on Monday, May 13, 2024 at the Grounds of the Palace of the Timi of Ędę, HRH Oba Adesola Munirudeen Lawal (Laminisa 1), on the same day the governor, who has been termed as ‘performing’ will be celebrating his 64th birthday.

The Asiwaju title was previously held by Governor Adeleke’s elder brother, Isiaka Adeleke, who passed away on April 23, 2017.

Among dignitaries expected at the event are the former President of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, members of the Osun State executive and legislative councils, federal legislators, members of the diplomatic Corps, business men, politicians across the nation, entertainers and the general public.


He has one of the most jovial personalities, combined with a mien that is down to earth and thoroughly enterprising. Many call him ever smiling senator; some others call him dancing senator while a whole lot of others call him the incoming governor. He is the Senator, who represented Osun West Senatorial district in the Nigeria’s upper legislative chamber between 2015 and 2019. He is Ademola Jackson Adeleke, a distinguished contender for the Osun governorship seat. 

Born of the Adeleke family of Ede in Osun State on May 13, 1960, Adeleke commenced his primary education at Methodist Primary School, Surulere Lagos State before he was privileged to relocate to Old Oyo State to continue his education at Nawarudeen Primary School, Ikire.

Adeleke was born Nurudeen Ademola Adeleke to a Muslim father and Nnena Esther Adeleke, an Igbo Christian mother. Like him, Adeleke’s father, Raji Ayoola Adeleke was a Senator and the Balogun of Ede land in Osun State. His father, Raji Ayoola Adeleke was also the leader of the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN).

On completion of his primary education, he moved on to The Seventh Day Adventist Secondary School, Ede to begin his post primary schooling. In the later years however, he attended Ede Muslim Grammar School Ede, where he completed his secondary school education and subsequently relocated to the United States of America, joining his two older brothers, who were also studying there.

In the United States, he joined Jacksonville State University, Alabama, and studied Criminal Justice, with minor in Political Science.

To prove doubting Thomases, who wiped up controversies around his educational qualification, wrong, he went back to school and got enrolled at Atlanta Metropolitan State College in the United States, where he obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice in 2021.

A businessman and administrator of no mean repute, Adeleke was the humble Group Executive Director at his brother’s company, Pacific Holdings Limited from 2001 to 2016, where his credible performances shot the company to enviable heights; a height it is still enjoying till date.

It is imperative to note that before he joined Pacific Holdings Limited, Senator Adeleke worked with Quicksilver Courier Company in Atlanta, Georgia, US, as a service contractor from 1985 to 1989. His dexterity to work earned him a progression in career, and he berthed as Vice President at Origin International LLC, Atlanta, Georgia, US, a flavours and fragrance manufacturing company. His meritorious stewardship lasted a period of five years, from 1990 to 1994.

Not a few has described Adeleke as the philanthropic capital of Ede, as his influence in aiding the less privileged and downtrodden remains top notch. He is a voracious believer in community development, and has not spared any expense to see that his community receives global influence.

Politically, Adeleke is a beacon of light and hard nut to crack, having remained an albatross to opposing powers and a reference point to ideal administration.

Shortly after he lost his brother, Senator Isiaka Adeleke, who died in April 2017, he contested the Osun West 2017 Senatorial by-election after the death of his brother, emerging as the winner under the Peoples Democratic Party, where he decamped to from the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Having emerged senator, Adeleke’s political influence waxed stronger, an on July 23, 2018, he emerged as the governorship candidate of PDP in Osun State after defeating Akin Ogunbiyi by seven votes. Efforts made to deprive him of the mandate was twated by the courts.

Adeleke’s lawyer in his defense claims his secondary school hasn’t come out to deny his testimonial asking the court to dismiss the Case. The court dismissed the suit stating that the plaintiff could not prove Adeleke’s forgery.

Adeleke ran for Osun state governorship election under the PDP against top contenders Alhaji Gboyega Oyetola of APC and Iyiola Omisore of SDP on 22 September 2018. The election was declared inconclusive by the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) while Adeleke was leading, and a rerun slated on September 27, 2018. The candidate of the APC Oyetola was declared winner after the run-off. Adeleke protested the result describing the election as a “coup”.

Much as on March 22, 2019, the tribunal sitting in Abuja declared Adeleke the winner of the election, the Supreme Court later affirmed Gboyega Oyetola as the authentic winner of the 2018 Osun State governorship election on Friday, July 5, 2019

Popularly known as the Dancing Senator because of his penchant to joyfully react to the sounds of music, Adeleke is uncle to one of Nigeria’s popular musicians, Davido.

Governor Adeleke is married to an equally successful businesswoman and a self-made boss. They are blessed with three children who are all entertainers. They are B-Red and Shina Rambo and a daughter, Nike Adeleke. He is the uncle of one Nigeria’s primus inter pares in entertainment, Davido.

As expected, Adeleke is moving Osun State to the greatest of heights as he promised, and many who know him agree that there are still very many more in the offing.


The governor has shared good news on the ease of doing business in the state as follows:

In continuation of our administration’s effort to improve the state economy and encourage the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), we have completed the harmonization of multiple taxes and levies collected by different government departments, agencies, and ministries across all business sectors of the state economy including the informal sectors into a single bill. This Harmonized Bill curates all levies, which businesses are expected to pay on an annual basis as a single bill.

This initiative is to promote ease of doing business by ensuring seamless and convenient payment of levies and taxes due to individuals and businesses across the state in equal or unequal tranches and ensure the issuance of Harmonized Bill Certificate upon completion of payment of the total amount.

I hereby note to all business owners in Osun state both in formal and informal sectors that the official online payment channels for the state is; POS machines in Tax stations across the state; commercial banks across Nigeria; and Money Transfer Services for those outside Nigeria.

In addition, we have also completed the deployment of Automation System for improved service delivery on payment of rent and lease on government properties; processing of Certificates of Occupancy (C of O) in 45 days; Electronic Affidavit System; Electronic State of Origin and Local Government Area of Origin portal; Mobile tax stations; Online Tax payment system etc.


Governor Ademola Jackson Nurudeen Adeleke, the Executive Governor of Osun state and the new Asiwaju of Edeland is a pan Nigerian by birth, by philosophy and by worldview. Born at Enugu as a son of independence on 13th May, 1960, the new Ede frontliner widely acknowledged as the Olosun of Osun is a tactical politician, a businessman, show business activist and a humanist within philanthropism. The ever lively, urbane scion of the Adeleke family of Ede North Local Government is an innovative entrepreneur, a grassroot political figure and a strong advocate of good governance, then as a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and now as the Governor of Osun State.

From his childhood, the Asiwaju is a man of complex character, a young man with multiplicity of talents and an adult with widely praised open heart, strong will and constancy of adaptation to ideas and innovations. From his secondary education at Ede Muslim Grammar School to his sojourn to the United States and tertiary education at the Jacksonville State University, Alabama where he majored in criminal justice, the Ede frontliner demonstrated deep business interest, unconventional approach and a rare mastery of intricacies of politics, business and social life.

Despite hailing from a well to do family, the Asiwaju was in the United States and Nigeria, a man in search of opportunities for self growth and advancement. His passion for self development and business prosperity occasioned his joining the Quicksilver Courier Company in Atlanta, Georgia, US, as a service contractor between 1985–1989. He progressed to Origin International LLC, Atlanta, Georgia, US, a flavours and fragrance manufacturing company where he served as Vice President from 1990 to 1994.

A suave businessman and administrator, he served as a Director of Guiness Nigeria Limited between 1992- 1999 where he contributed immensely to the expansion of the multinational company. He was later appointed Group Executive Director of Pacific Holdings Limited from 2001 to 2016. Senator Adeleke is also an acclaimed creative Industry entrepreneur and mentor. As a talented creative figure, he mentored world rated ace musicians while his family members and children are leading stars in the global music industry.

As a man ever restless in pursuit of self growth and opportunities, the Asiwaju again opted to restart his educational sojourn which he suspended because of business and entrepreneurial preoccupations. In 2019 after he was rigged out of a governorship election he clearly won, Governor Adeleke, in a can do spirit, re-enrolled at Atlanta Metropolitan State College in the United States and obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in criminal justice in 2021.

All along and considering his family background, the frontliner was for years both a political servant and leader, learning the rope from his father (Senator Ayoola Adeleke) , a second republic progressive Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and his brother, Senator Isiaka Adetunji Adeleke, the First Executive Governor of Osun State. His business teeth were sharpened by his brother, the global business mogul, Dr Adedeji Adeleke while his political potency was strengthened by his sister, the Yeyeluwa of Edeland, Chief (Mrs) Dupe Adeleke- Sanni. The celebrant of today was eventually elected the President of the Adeleke dynasty, representing the sons and daughters of the great Adeleke family at home and abroad.

Having been thus fortified by his innate personality, his family background and his multifaceted experience, his political participation predated 1991 but he took the front seat in 2017 when he was elected with a landslide victory as a Senator for Osun West Senatorial District in 2017. His popularity reached a peak when he won the Osun 2018 governorship election before the open rigging and manipulation that was globally condemned.

As a man of steel character, the frontliner took the gauntlet again in 2022 and beat the incumbent to reclaim the stolen mandate of 2018. Imole as the Governor is popularly known has since been delivering on good governance, winning applause and praises from far and near.

In December 2023, he was honoured with a doctorate degree by the Valley View University, Accra, Ghana. The Vice Chancellor lauded the Governor’s multi-million naira education scholarship as a Senator, his sterling records on workers welfare as a Governor, his performance on infrastructure upgrades and his commitment to due process, rule of law and fear of God.

He has received several awards including the Governor of the Year Award by Champion newspapers in 2023, Sahel Standard Man of the Year in 2022, Vanguard Newspaper Governor of the Year on Infrastructure and a host of other recognition. The frontliner serves on several national governmental committees including being the representative of the South West on the National Minimum Wage Committee.

The new Asiwaju of Edeland is a strong family man, an avid sport lover, a man of God and a David of our time with incessant passion for praise singing and adulation of God Almighty.

Courtesy: Governor’s Office, 2024.

By this new office, Governor Adeleke is now the one who leads in Edeland, and is expected to use his office to better the lot of the people of Ede.

Congratulations sir!

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You’re Non-Existent, Fubara Tells Amaewhule-led Rivers Assembly




Rivers State Governor, Similaya Fubara, has taken a swipe at the Martin Amaewhule-led group of lawmakers at the state House of Assembly and declared that they do not exist anymore in the eyes of the law.

“Let me say it here, those groups of men who claim that they are assembly members, they do not exist. I want it to be on the record,” Fubara declared

The governor stated this when he received on courtesy visit the Bayelsa State delegation of political and traditional leaders, led by former Governor of the State, Senator Seriake Dickson, at Government House in Port Harcourt on Monday.

Fubara and 26 members of the assembly loyal to former governor, Nyesom Wike, have been at loggerheads after the move to impeach the governor was thwarted.

He told the delegation that he has been showing restraint since the political crisis escalated in the state.

The governor further stated that despite wielding state powers that he can deploy to achieve his aim, he has continued to act as the big brother in the face of intimidation and unwarranted attacks.

“So, I want you to see the sacrifice I have made to allow peace to be in our state. I can say here, with all amount of boldness, I have never called any policeman anywhere to go and harass anybody.

“I have never gone anywhere to ask anybody to do anything against anybody. But what happens to the people that are supporting me? They are being harassed, they are being arrested and detained.

“There is no week that somebody doesn’t come here with one letter of invitation for trump-up charges and all those things,” he said.

The governor added, “I am saying all these because of what my senior said here. I don’t think the other party has shown any restraint. I am the one who has shown restraint in the face of this crisis.

“I am the one that is badly hit, even when I have all the government instruments to shake up the table. But, why will I do it? I believe that peace is the best relationship to cultivate.”

He revealed that he had always been present at any meeting that was called to resolve the crisis in the state but after each meeting, he was met with a new dimension of the crisis from the opposing side.

He, however, vowed to continue to be peaceful, acknowledging that power is transient.

“We might have our division, but I believe that one day, we could also come together, but it has gotten to a time when I have to make a statement that they are not existing. Their existence is me allowing them to exist. If I de-recognize them, they are nowhere. I want you to see the sacrifice I have made in allowing peace to reign in our state,” he concluded.

The Punch

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Yahaya Bello vs EFCC: The Tussle Continues




By Eric Elezuo

With the declaration of the Apppeal Court, sitting in Abuja over the weekend, ordering a stay of proceedings in the contempt charge instituted by Yahaya Bello, former Kogi governor, against Ola Olukoyede, chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the stage seems set for an elongation of legal fireworks between the two feuding entities.

The declaration was a follow-up of Bello, who approached the Kogi High Court, seeking an order to issue and serve the respondent (EFCC chairman) with “form 49 notice” to show cause why an order of committal should not be made on him.

The judge, after listening to the arguments of the applicant’s counsel, the submission and the exhibits attached in the written address, granted Bello’s prayers and ordered Olukoyede to be summoned to appear before the court to answer the contempt charge.

However, while it is believed that the crisis of apprehending the former governor for prosecution is an institutional matter, many on the other hand, has accused the EFCC chairman of attaching a lot of personal interest in the matter going by the way he is fighting tooth and nail to see Bello in custody.

In a chat with editors at the EFCC Headquarters, Jabi, Abuja, the anti-graft agency chairman swore to follow the prosecution of Bello to the logical conclusion.

He also vowed that all those who obstructed the arrest of the former governor would be brought to justice.

The EFCC is seeking to arraign Bello on 19 counts bordering on alleged money laundering, breach of trust and misappropriation of funds to the tune of N80.2 billion.

“If I do not personally oversee the completion of the investigation regarding Yahaya Bello, I will tender my resignation as the EFCC Chairman,” Mr Olukoyede had vowed, adding that those who obstructed the arrest of the former governor would be brought to book. This was a veiled accusation against the governor of Kogi State, Usman Ododo, who used security agents to forestall the arrest of Bello in Abuja.

Olukoyede had also accused Bello of paying his children’s school fees upfront with funds from the atatae coffers.

“A sitting governor moved $720,000 directly from the government account to the Bureau de Change and used it to pay for the school fees of his child in advance in a poor state like Kogi, and you want me close my eyes under the guise that I’m being used. Use by who? At this stage of my life? By who for crying out loud?

“I didn’t initiate the case, I inherited the case file,” he retorted.

The EFCC had sought to arrest Yahaya Bello following his absence from court, and an order by Justice Emeka Nwite of the Federal High Court in Abuja after his absence in court.

He was absent from court for his arraignment on a 19-count charge of alleged money laundering to the tune of ₦80bn.

The judge relied on sections 384(4) and (5) of the Administrative and Criminal Justice Act 2015, directing the counsel to the immediate past governor to receive a copy of the charge.

The court held that where it had become impossible to effect personal service of a legal process on a defendant, such could be done through substituted means.

Justice Nwite further held that it was clear that the former governor failed to appear in court for his arraignment.

Notable minds including veteran journalist, Dele Momodu; human advocate and constitutional lawyer, Mike Ozekhome among others have said that the brazen nature with which Olukoyede is going about the matter smacks of personal vendetta, noting that now that the court of appeal has ordered a stay of execution of the contempt of court charges against Olukoyede, everyone must maintain status quotes, and allow Bello to respond to court summon, as the case is now between him and the court of Justice Nwite.

On his part, Momodu has lashed out at the EFCC for selective prosecution, wondering if Olukoyede has any personal stake in the matter, adding that generally the EFCC misfired in the Bello saga.

He said in part, during his Instagram live show:

“I don’t work for EFCC but from all the things that I have read, a lot of them, they misfired. That is the honest truth. They misfired. They didn’t do their due diligence. When you said a man took out money and paid for his children’s school fees, just as he was about to leave power, and you go and check the documents and you see that these things started happening from 2021, 2022 (laughs); I am not an illiterate.

“How do you expect me to believe everything they said when they were too much in a hurry to prosecute him that they did not take their time to check the file. Once you allow a lacuna in law, everything will fall flat.

“That is it. I am not one of those people who will say because I don’t like APC and because I supported Dino Melaye in the last election in Kogi State. Dino is my guy. But, I will not because of that be blinded by hatred for Yahaya Bello and say yes, he should go and surrender himself to EFCC when there is an existing injunction.

“And he is not the only governor who went to court and if the court has granted him that, so be it. We all know that our judiciary is not so perfect but you know, even at that, law is law, it must be obeyed. If we disobey the rule of law, then, we will have to obey the rule of the jungle. So, I never said that they are lying, it is their own statement that shows that they didn’t do their due diligence.”

TheCable, in its report, recalled that “a Kogi State high court presided over by Isa Jamil Abdullahi, had ordered Olukoyede to appear before it on May 13 to show why he should not be committed to prison for allegedly disobeying its order restraining the EFCC from arresting or taking any action against Bello.

“However, the EFCC chairman filed an appeal against the court summon.

“Olukoyede filed two motions, one seeking a stay of execution of the summon, and another one asking to serve processes on Bello via substituted means by pasting the process at his Abuja residence on No 9 Bengazi Steet Wuse Zone 4.

“In its ruling, a three-member panel of justices led by Joseph Oyewole granted the two motions.

“The appellate court fixed May 20 for the hearing of the substantive appeal marked CA/ABJ/CV/413/2024.

“Bello had on February 8, 2024, instituted a fundamental rights enforcement suit, asking the court to declare that “the incessant harassment, threats of arrest and detention, negative press releases, malicious prosecution” by the EFCC, “without any formal invitation, is politically motivated and interference with his right to liberty, freedom of movement, and fair hearing”.

“The former governor also sought an order “restraining the respondent by themselves, their agents, servants or privies from continuing to harass, threaten to arrest or detain him”.

“On February 9, the Kogi high court granted an interim injunction restraining the EFCC from “continuing to harass, threaten to arrest, detain, prosecute Bello, his former appointees, and his staff or family members, pending the hearing and determination of the substantive originating motion for the enforcement of his fundamental rights”.

On March 12, the EFCC filed an appeal against the interim injunction because the court could not stop the commission from carrying out its statutory responsibility.

The Kogi high court delivered judgment on the substantive motion on notice on April 17 wherein the presiding judge granted an order restraining the EFCC “from continuing to harass, threaten to arrest or detain Bello”.

However, the judge directed the commission to file a charge against Bello before an appropriate court if it had reasons to do so.

The judgment coincided with the recent “siege” laid on the Abuja residence of  Bello by EFCC operatives seeking to arrest him.

The commission had also obtained a warrant of arrest against the former governor from the federal high court in Abuja.

The EFCC is seeking to arraign Bello on 19 counts bordering on alleged money laundering, breach of trust and misappropriation of funds to the tune of N80.2 billion.

At the scheduled arraignment on April 18, Bello was absent.

At the court session, Abdulwahab Mohammed, counsel to Bello, told  Emeka Nwite, the presiding judge, that the court lacked jurisdiction to grant the warrant of arrest in the first instance.

He referenced the February 9 interim injunction issued by the Kogi high court, adding that the appeal filed by the EFCC was still pending.

However, the EFCC has filed a notice to withdraw the appeal.

In the notice filed on April 22, the anti-graft agency said the withdrawal was predicated on the fact that events have overtaken the appeal.

The commission also admitted that the appeal was filed out of the time allowed by law.

With the present status, legal minds are of the opinion that matters have returned to status quo, and Justice Emeka Nwite, reserved the right to order Bello’s appearance in court, and await his appearance before any other injunction can be  made.

“For now, it is not about who won or who did not. The matters of the case rest with the invitation of Bello by Justice Nwite. Bello was absent during his first summon, and the case was adjourned. So, everyone has to keep the calm and wait for the next hearing and see if he appears or not as directly by his lordship,” Ozekhome noted.

As it is therefore, May 20 will be a deciding factor for both Bello and EFCC as the tussle for who laughs last continues.

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