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From Prison to Palace: Behold Senegal’s New President, Bassirou Faye

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By Eric Elezuo

The story of the newest Africa’s president-elect, who is due to become full-fledged president in a few days, Bassirou Diomaye Faye, is a that of focus, determination and commitment to a course set to benefit mankind in general, and the good people of Senegal in particular.

Faye has undertaken a journey of hope, scaling every known political obstacle to arrive at his destination of victory for his countrymen, defeating the old order, and taking by the storm the seat of Presidency at 44 years, after a sojourn in the dark side of political incarceration.

An analyst, By Ibrahim Abdukarim, who told the story of Faye as a wake call for Nigerians, has the following as the trajectory that melted down at the seat of power.

Read below:

In 2014, Ousmane Sonko (then 39 years) invited his friend and fellow tax worker, Diomaye Faye (then 34 years), and other political newbies to form a political party, PASTEF. The Party was led by Sonko and dominated by young Senegalese. Faye was the Secretary General while Sonko was the leader.

In 2017, PASTEF competed for the legislative election, but they only got 1 seat out of 165.

In 2019, Sonko stood as the Presidential candidate of PASTEF, while Faye was his campaign manager. At the Presidential election, Sonko finished third with 687,523 (15.67%) votes, behind President Macky Sall (1st) and former Prime Minister Idrissa Seck (2nd).

In 2022, PASTEF participated in the National Assembly election and won 56 out of 165 seats. It became clear that Sonko was in strong position to win the 2024 Presidential election.

In 2023, President Sall’s government convicted Sonko on a trumped-up charge just to block him from running for President. The Government equally arrested Faye and imprisoned him just to keep them out. By July 2023, the Government disbanded PASTEF as a political party. Later that year, the government disqualified Sonko from running for President citing the conviction. But Sonko and PASTEF had a backup plan, Faye. Faye was sponsored as a backup candidate for President while Sonko challenged his disqualification at the court. Though the court reversed it, the government didn’t implement the reversal.

The election was scheduled for March 24 after the opposition resisted its proposed postponement.

On March 14 (10 days before the election), the government released Sonko and Faye from jail. Immediately after they were released, Sonko and PASTEF announced Faye as their candidate. They campaigned for just 9 days and were backed by the young people of Senegal.

At the election that was held on March 24, Faye polled 2, 434, 110 votes (54.34%), defeating the immediate past Prime Minister Amadou Ba who polled 1, 603, p713 votes (35.8%). Mr Ba was the candidate of President Sall ruling coalition.

On April 2nd, Faye and Sonko will form the next Government of Senegal. I predict that Sonko will be named the Prime Minister of Faye’s Government. I wish them success.

 

Bassirou Diomaye Diakhar Faye was born on March 25 1980, of Senegalese parents.  He is commonly known as “Diomaye”, and was a former tax inspector. He was the general secretary of banned PASTEF before he won the 2024 Senegalese presidential election in place of his disqualified associate, Ousmane Sonko.

Faye started his primary education in his village and then undertook middle and high school in Mbour. In 2000, he earned his baccalaureate, and successfully attained a master’s degree in law in Dakar Cheikh Anta Diop University and subsequently cleared both competitive exams, enrolling at the National School of Administration of Senegal (ENA) and the magistracy in 2004.

After graduation, Faye opted to become a tax inspector in the Tax and Estates department, where he befriended Sonko, a fellow alumus from the same school. In 2014, Faye and Sonko’s relationship grew closer in the Taxes and Estates Union, created by Sonko, the leader of newly founded PASTEF. During his time at the head of the union, Faye campaigned to facilitate homeownership for tax and property agents.

Initially a guest when the party was founded, Faye swiftly ascended to become one of the most prominent figures within the party. He would go on to become one of the ideologues and designers of Sonko’s program for his candidacy in the 2019 Senegalese presidential election. Sonko gained almost 16% of the vote and came third. In February 2021, Faye became the general secretary of PASTEF after Sonko was arrested, being accused of repeated rape by a massage parlor employee. As part of its strategy to win power, Faye attempted to unite the opposition for the 2022 elections, winning 56 seats under the alliance Liberate the People.

On 20 January 2024, the Senegalese Constitutional Council published the final list of candidates for the presidential election and Sonko did not appear there after several legal battles. Faye’s candidacy was validated because he was never convicted although remaining detained. Sonko quickly announced his support to Faye for the election.

On 15 March 2024, a day after Faye’s release from jail, he gathered hundreds of supporters at his first public appearance as a presidential contender. Former president Abdoulaye Wade and his Senegalese Democratic Party (PDS) endorsed Faye on the same day, in a boost to his chances of winning election. The move came after PDS candidate Karim Wade was disqualified from contesting the race because he was a dual citizen at the time he submitted his candidacy. Cheikh Tidiane Dieye, another candidate in the presidential election, withdrew in favor of Faye.

During the presidential campaign, he has promised to create jobs, campaigned strongly against corruption, and vowed to reexamine energy contracts. He ran under the slogan “Diomaye mooy Ousmane”, which means “Diomaye is Ousmane” in Wolof, and is hoping Sonko’s charisma and popular appeal amongst Senegal’s youth will boost his campaign. Faye’s program is similar with Sonko’s for 2019. During the campaign, Faye released a declaration of his assets and called on other candidates to follow suit.

Faye is married to two wives: Marie Khone Faye and Absa Faye. Marie Khone is a close relative of her husband, and together they have had four children: three boys and a girl. He has not had any children with Absa. Faye and Ousmane Sonko are close friends, even naming one of his sons Ousmane in honor of their friendship. He had a traditional village upbringing and is Muslim.

On April 2, Faye will officially ascend the Presidency of Senegal, and it is left to be seen what positive changes his youthful, candour, experience and Africanism can do to make Senegal better than it is at the moment.

Additional information: Wikipedia

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Akpabio Commits to Collaboration with Tinubu, Governor Umo Eno

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The President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio, has stated his commitment to working closely with Nigeria’s President, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, and Governor Umo Eno to ensure the delivery of democratic benefits to the people of Akwa Ibom State.

Akpabio stated this in his country home, Ukana, Essien Udim Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom, while briefing his constituents on the journey so far as their representative in the red chamber.

He assured the people of Akwa Ibom North West Senatorial District of his commitment to their welfare in appreciation of their total support for him, President Bola Tinubu and the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in last year’s election.

The Highpoint of the constituency briefing was the distribution of over 10,000 bags of rice and other essentials for his constituents from the wards, to the local governments.

A statement by his Special Assistant on Media, Jackson Udom, quoted Akpabio as saying, “I am here once again, to thank you for standing by me, our President and the party, before, during and even after last year’s elections. I have come to say thank you and also bring Renewed Hope to you all.

“As the President is doing his own, the Senate President is also doing his bit and being complemented by the state governor, Akwa Ibom would be the better for it. We have finished elections and politics, we are now into governance. The governor of the state must touch you, because he is the governor of all the people in the state irrespective of political affiliation.

” As I am touching you now from the political angle, I will also touch the state without any political party affiliation. Most of the projects we are putting in place would be used by people resident in the state. Relax, things are getting better.”

The former Governor of the state, assured his constituents that his current position as the Senate President would be used for the development of the state in collaboration with the President and the Akwa Ibom State Governor.

Hear him: This Senate President is not the one that would be fighting the state government. I will collaborate with , I will collaborate with , to make the state better for us all. We cannot be out of government for a long time. You have to go to a government that carries you along”

Akpabio promised to work for his constituents and Nigeria with all his strength, noting that, “as the President of the Senate, I am for the Southern region and the entire country. I may not come here regularly to tell you what I have been doing for you, but you will be feeling the impact on way or the other. Our unemployed youths would be gainfully employed. I will construct a mini stadium in all the local governments in the district, for our youths to develop their sporting potentials. ”

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Akwa Ibom Government Invests N112 Billion in Road Infrastructure Projects

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…DAKKADA OIL PALM FACTORY COMMENCES MILLING SOON

“Since May 2023, Akwa Ibom State Government Invests N112 Billion in Road Infrastructure”

Commissioner for Works and Fire Service, Prof. Eno Ibanga disclosed this when he presented a breakdown at the State Executive Council meeting in Uyo.

He revealed that 39 new road projects have been undertaken with N78.77 billion released to fund them, while old projects have been funded to the tune of over N30 Billion, with an additional N12 Billion recently released by the Governor.

Details of the Exco meeting were made public by the Commissioner for Information, Ini Ememobong.

The Executive Council also approved the increment of pension for pensioners who retired before 2012, effective April 2024.

Following the ongoing harvesting of fruits, milling will soon commence at the Dakkada Global Oil Palms.

The Managing Director of the Akwa Ibom Investment Corporation, Pastor Imoabasi Jacob announced this during his presentation at the State Executive Council meeting presided over by Governor Umo Eno.

Two projects executed through the Direct Labour Agency have been completed with 19 other ones ongoing.

The Director of Operations of the Agency, presented a status update on the projects under their supervision, also disclosed that 31 of the 100 initial ARISE Compassionate Homes will be completed and presented soon.

The Council was also briefed on the progress at Ibom LED, where 800 people have been trained and N400m has been approved to fund the grant of N500,000 to each of the participants, which will soon be done.

The Governor charged all the Executive Council members to ensure that all the projects and programmes under their supervision are people-centric from ideation to execution. He advised that project monitoring should be ramped up to ensure quick completion.

Major Highlights of the meeting are as follows:

√Status update on Food sufficiency received; proposal on increased cocoa, rice production & Ibom Model Farm submitted by HC for Agriculture & Rural Development

√Presentation of proposal by MD, AKICORP on Ibom Towers, FalconNext, Landmark Beach Resort.

√Dakkada Global Oil Palms Ltd ready to commence milling of ongoing harvested fruits

√Confirmation of N400m disbursed at N500,000 each to 800 IBOM-LED trainees in two batches

√Briefing by HC Works & Fire Service on N112 billion disbursed by the Governor for road infrastructure since May 2023, with 39 new road projects receiving N78.77 billion & N30 Billion for old projects, with additional release of N12 Billion

√Presentation by HC Culture & Tourism on tourism blueprint for proposed development of Tourism hubs at Ikot Abasi, Itu, and Oron

√ Two projects ready, 19 ongoing through Direct Labour Agency on 1 Project per Local Government Area; 31 ARISE Compassionate Homes nearly completed

√Approval for increment of pension for pensioners who retired before 2012, effective April 2024.

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Oyo Prince Encourages Peace and Continued Charitable Acts Among Muslims

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Prince Afeez Siyanbola Oladigbolu, the grandson of the 40th Alaafin of Oyo and the youngest contender for the Alaafin throne, is calling on Muslims in Oyo State and across Nigeria to uphold peace and carry forward the spirit of sacrifice and kindness observed during Ramadan.

Prince Oladigbolu made the call in his Eid-El- Fitri message where he bemoaned the state of affairs in Oyo Kingdom.

According to him “We don’t have an Alaafin and we also currently do not have a Chief Imam. The two vacuums remain unfilled due to the passage of HRM Oba Lamidi Adeyemi and late Mashood Adebayo Ajokidero and this requires urgent attention because of the leadership gap it has caused in Oyo.

“The absence of the Alaafin has led to a state of stagnancy since Oba Adeyemi joined his ancestors in April 2022, while our spiritual growth has not been at its highest without a Chief Imam”

The young prince challenged Muslim leaders and communities to be fervent in unstoppable prayers for Almighty Allah’s intervention in the affairs of Oyo town, the State and Nigeria.

He also used the opportunity to urge the youths to be calm, stay away from violence and embrace hard work.

In his words ” Violence leads to crime , while crime leads to jail”

He further also advising youths to abstain from being used against the government, noting that nobody or group of people have the capacity to fight the government at any level.

” If the political behaviour of any candidate is not going down well with you, wait for the next election and vote such a candidate out. That is the civil way to react.

” Violence, insults, and most especially curses on our leaders are not options we should explore and will not change anything. Let’s pray for them so that they can always fulfil their campaign promises.

The former Mariner and real estate Entrepreneur also extended some assistance to senior citizens to commemorate the season.

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