Ogombo, amid highbrow Lekki-Epe, longs for road development

By Tope Templer Olaiya, Assistant Lagos City Editor

FOR the residents of Ogombo community in Eti-Osa East Local Council Development Area (LCDA) of Lagos State, it is time the village shed its toga of primitive settlement and caught up with its neighbours in the Lekki-Ajah corridor, which includes Awoyaya, Sangotedo, Ibeju-Lekki, Okun-Ajah and Ajah and others.

   With inhabitants predominantly fishermen and farmers, Ogombo, which is estimated to have a landmass of over 2,000 hectares, is daily receiving influx of settlers from other parts of Lagos.

   The prospects of this relatively unpopular community look bright as the ruling families are in possession of a global Certificate-of-Occupancy (C-of-O) covering 550.11 hectares, which is more than Lagos Island. Residents claim that Ogombo is the largest community in the whole of Eti-Osa.

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There are many notable organisations in the neighbouring community among which is the Pan African University. Prominent corporate and individual citizens have acquired most of the plots in the adjacent areas and the community is close to the proposed site at Epe that had been mapped out for the Lagos airport and deep seaport. 

   Residents of the place, some of whom have built impressive mansions, cannot boast to their colleagues and friends that they are living in the highbrow Lekki-Ajah axis of Lagos.

   The reason is that, no matter the make of your vehicle, whether sedan or sports utility, you can’t drive it to your house in the area because of the appalling state of the roads.      The vehicles are parked at some distance away from their owners’ homes precisely at the community square, where development partially ends. After the cars are safely parked, their owners trudge through the sandy roads to their houses.

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For those who do not know the community, the way to the place is through Abraham Adesanya Estate and the stretch of over five kilometres is well tarred, but this terminates at the Ogombo roundabout.

   To the dwellers in the community who are well over 6,000, the few months of the dry season are the best time of the year. Once it is rainy season, it gets worse, as the roads become nearly impassable.

   A concerned resident, who is the chief executive officer of the Institute of Credit Administration (ICA), Dr. Chris Onalo, said during the rainy season, everywhere is completely flooded.

   “You can’t pass through Ogombo without folding up your trousers to your knees or using rain boots. You wade through the water until you get to where you park your car. To show you how terrible the situation is, even in this dry season, we are still using machine to drain water from the roads.

   “The whole of this area is waterlogged and this problem is beyond what community efforts can solve. We need a proper drainage system to eject water to the lagoon, apart from inner-city roads that will link the communities and reduce congestion of the Lekki-Epe Expressway,” he said.

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 It is not all bad news in the area, as Onalo gives thumbs up to the security in Ogombo. “This place is very safe. You can keep your car anywhere and nothing would happen to it. Initially, when we came here, we were scared that typical of Lagos, they would vandalize your car or even steal it, but nothing of such has ever happened.

   Just a few people who bought lands close to the roundabout have the luxury of driving into their homes, for the majority of residents, the roads are not motorable and the cars are always safe where it is parked.

   “However, from time to time, there are pockets of incidents of petty stealing, but the security is marshaled by members of the Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC). We also have a police divisional post in the area.”

   A community leader and the Supervisor for Works in the Eti-Osa East LCDA, Mr. Samad Oseni Ogunbo, told The Guardian that as a community, they have been championing for the construction of a senior secondary school for Ogombo. 

   “What we have now is a community school that terminates at Junior Secondary School Three (JSS3). They will then be transferred to Olomu, which is in Ajah and it is a huge risk, especially now that the Lekki-Epe road has been expanded.

   “We record accidents daily on the road and school children are usually the victims. It was the same situation that led to the death of six pupils at Ikota recently. So, if our children can complete their secondary education here, it will reduce the influx of people going to the expressway.

   “In addition, a lot of traditional activities take place in many of these communities, which involve ritual killings and the most vulnerable people used for such acts are school children. We don’t want them to be exposed to this ugly culture, that is why we are appealing to government to come to our rescue.”

   Ogunbo explained that there are three existing roads that need critical attention – the Okun Ajah-Ogombo road, Ogombo-Okun Mokun road and the most important, Ogombo-Sangotedo road.

   “There is no need for someone going to Epe, Eleko and environs to get to Ajah when you can link the Lekki-Epe expressway from Sangotedo. The same thing applies to those coming from Epe to this area, there is no need returning to Ajah and Abraham Adesanya before getting here.

   “Once the road infrastructure is in place, there would be numerous development in this area and this would also benefit over 20 road settlement villages around us. On our part as a council, we have presented this to the state government and the reaction we get is some experts coming around to take pictures and measurement, but what we want is action.”

Buruji Kashamu exposed in fresh scandal

After a scathing remark in a letter ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo wrote to President Goodluck Jonathan, where reference was made to Buruji Kashamu, leader and financier of Nigeria’s ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ogun State as a fugitive, more details have emerged of Kashamu’s illicit dealings.
According to the letter, Obasanjo condemned the president for his relationship with Kashamu, a man wanted in the United States for drug-related offences, as one of the reasons the president’s war on corruption is tepid.
Kashamu has now been accused of using a fictitious company to obtain a fake agreement with the Nigeria Postal Service (NIPOST) by Mr. Adetola Adekoya, Chief Operating Officer of the School of Banking Honours (SBH).

Pince Kashamu

Pince Kashamu

The SBH had early in the year partnered with NIPOST to lead the revival of N50-stamping on all bank receipts in the form of banking tellers and electronic transfers with values of N1,000 and above, with Adekoya as the project consultant.

Several months after the Master Services Agreement between NIPOST and SBH was signed, the project take-off was stalled due to a delay in the release of a circular by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) mandating all commercial banks to comply with the Stamp Duties Act 2004, Section 89(2), which stipulates “ every receipt given by any person in acknowledgement of goods purchased or services rendered should be denoted by an adhesive postage stamp worth N50 and issued by NIPOST.”

After hitting a brick wall in the project roll-out, Adekoya was desperately seeking for an audience with Jonathan to draw the president’s attention to the stalemate, particularly as 300,000 jobs are being targeted on the NIPOST assignment and the federal government is losing about N2 trillion annually.

Kashamu

Kashamu

He was introduced to Kashamu on the recommendation of an Ogun State monarch, the Ebumawe of Ago-Iwoye on Saturday, October 12, 2013 to facilitate his meeting with the president.

But surprisingly after Adekoya’s meeting with Kashamu, a court order from a Federal High Court with Suit No: FHC/L/CS/1462/13 was served by ex-parte motion against 22 banks, NIPOST and SBH by Prince Kashamu rendering a subsisting service agreement between NIPOST and SBH null and void, while fraudulently obtaining an agreement with NIPOSt with an unregistered firm for the same purpose.

With Kashamu’s recent move to force himself on NIPOST/SBH job-creating project by presenting fake documents at the court, it is clear that he is acting on his own. Sources close to President Jonathan insist Kashamu is on his own and Jonathan should not be linked to such vicious actions of Kashamu. The youth youth whose work Kashamu is trying to manipulate are set to protect their intellectual property.

According to Adekoya, “We met with Prince Kashamu and his lawyer, Prince Ajibola Oluyede on October 12, 2013 to reach and alert President Jonathan on our job-creation effort that was being delayed by the CBN. But it was shocking that after our discussion, Kashamu, using Kasmal Financial Services, secured an agreement with NIPOST dated August 2013 (two months backwards), which duplicated our own agreement with the same organization dated September 14, 2012.

“At our meeting with Kashamu, which was largely exploratory and inconclusive, we did not sign any sub-contract for Kashamu to join us on our contracted duties and NIPOST could also not have signed any valid agreement with the Postmaster-General of NIPOST, Alhaji Ibrahim Mori Baba, when there was a subsisting agreement if not that it achieved it dubiously using his influence with the president. He even went ahead to render our own agreement, which is over a year now, null and void by a jankara ex-parte court order.

“We strongly refuse to be a party to any form of fraud against the federal government of Nigeria and have instructed our lawyers to file a counter action that will vacate the order obtained by Kashamu based on fake locus standi, voidable agreement, voidable commission and plagiarism of our institution’s research work/intellectual property,” he said.

A grateful world bids Nelson Mandela farewell

IN what has turned out as one of the largest gatherings of global leaders in recent history, presidents from Barack Obama of the United States (U.S.), Cuba’s Raul Castro, Nigeria’s Goodluck Jonathan and Brazil’s Dilma Rousseff, Tuesday paid tributes to Nelson Madiba Mandela who died last Thursday at the age of 95.

They were among the presidents and prime ministers, celebrities and royals and ordinary people from across the world – Bangladesh, Palestine, India, Chile, and literally, the world over – who joined hundreds of thousands of South Africans to pay tributes to Mandela, in a memorial service that celebrated a man seen as a global symbol of reconciliation.

Every living former U.S. president was there except George Bush (Snr.) as well as every living former British Prime Minister.

The world of entertainment also was well represented with South African actress, Charlize Theron, U2′s Bono and Kirk Franklin in attendance.

Despite the heavy rain, which in his native Xhosa tribe is seen as a blessing, the atmosphere in the FNB Stadium, Johannesburg, was celebratory, with people dancing, blowing ‘vuvuzela’ (plastic horns) and singing songs from the anti-apartheid struggle.

nelson-tribute-bg-2Many carried banners honouring ‘Madiba’ Mandela’s traditional clan name, or his picture. Others were draped in materials covered with his face or the green, yellow, black, red and blue colours of the South African flag.

Some had skipped work and queued for hours to secure a seat so that they could pay their respects at the stadium where Mandela delivered his first major speech after his release from prison.

The four-hour service, which coincided with United Nations (UN) Human Rights Day, is the centrepiece of a week of mourning and brought much of South Africa to a stop.

It began with the national anthem before South Africa’s presidents – past and present – were introduced.

There was a loud cheer from the crowd for F.W. de Klerk, the last leader of white South Africa, who shared a Nobel Peace Prize with Mandela for helping to end apartheid.

The arrivals of Liberia’s president, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, and Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe, wearing a yellow rose and customary dark sunglasses, brought cheers from the crowd.

The joyous cries died down as speeches from Mandela’s family, friends as well as a fellow Robben Island prison inmate began. Anguished faces listened quietly as a sorrowful chant to “Tata Madiba” filled the air. “Tata” means “father” in Xhosa.

“This is how Nelson Mandela would have wanted to be sent on,” said Cyril Ramaphosa, the deputy ANC leader who chaired the proceedings. “These are blessings. In our African tradition (when it rains), it means the gods are welcoming you and the gates of heaven are open.”

Among the crowd, a scarlet-robed Desmond Tutu stood out as he watched the proceedings with a sombre expression.

Mandela’s ex-wife, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, barely held back tears as she walked slowly into the stadium supported by her eldest daughter, Zindzi. She embraced Graça Machel, Mandela’s widow, before taking a seat.

Speaking on behalf of the family, General Thanduxolo Mandela said he was mindful that they shared the former president with the rest of the country and the world. “He is gone from before our eyes but never from our hearts and minds,” he said.

The memorial service may have given birth to the first steps towards thawing one of the frostiest relations created since the cold war.

In a mark of reconciliation that Mandela himself would have approved of, Obama making his way to the podium shook hands with Raul Castro of Cuba.

The U.S. and Cuba have literally not been on speaking terms for more than 50 years.

Obama was in his element delivering a rousing speech that was both personal and political. “It is a singular honour to be with you today, to celebrate a life unlike any other. To the people of South Africa – people of every race and walk of life – the world thanks you for sharing Nelson Mandela with us,” said Obama, who compared Mandela to Abraham Lincoln.

“It was precisely because he could admit to imperfection – because he could be so full of good humour, even mischief, despite the heavy burdens he carried – that we loved him so,” he added, prompting applause.

South African President Jacob Zuma in his speech said: “Today, Madiba is no more. He leaves behind a nation that loves him dearly and a continent proud to call him an African.

Madiba laid foundation for better life for all.

“Madiba never hesitated to speak his mind, regardless of how uncomfortable his words may be.

“Under his leadership, the democratically-elected government focused on building a democratic society based on non-racialism and non-sexism.

“Indeed, Madiba was one of a kind.”

To Castro, Mandela was a prophet of unity.

“Mandela’s life teaches us that what threatens the existence of humanity can be eradicated only by effort from all countries.

“We shall never forget Mandela’s moving homage to our country’s struggles when he came,” said Castro who spoke of Mandela’s ‘bond of affection’ with Fidel Castro and quoted Fidel Castro as saying about Mandela: “Honour and glory for ever to the great comrade Nelson Mandela and the heroic people of South Africa.”

President Pranab Mukherjee of India in his tribute said: “Madiba was a towering personality of great compassion.

“Indeed, his life and struggles that represented hope of the downtrodden across the world reminds us of Father of our nation, Mahatma Gandhi.”

Though now aged, Desmond Tutu seemed not to have lost much of his old energy as he brought the service to a close.

He scolded the crowd that seemed to be unruly by making noise.

“I won’t speak until there is pin-drop silence,” “You must show the world you are disciplined. I want to hear a pin drop.”

He also made them swear: “We promise to God we will follow the example of Nelson Mandela.”

With 91 heads of state attending, security was tight but South Africa rose to the occasion working off plans developed for years in secret, using an elite military task force, sniper teams and canine teams to help secure the stadium.

“Should anybody, anything dare to disturb or disrupt this period of mourning and finally taking and accompanying the former president to his last resting place, then that person will be dealt with,” Brig.-Gen. Xolani Mabanga had told Cable News Network (CNN) on Monday.

A minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane, had also confidently told journalists on Monday:  “We can assure that all necessary steps have been taken, and that is why the leadership of the world and former leaders of the world have confidence to come to our country at this time to share with us this moment.”

As Obama flew into South Africa, Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes had told reporters aboard Air Force One that they were satisfied with security arrangements.

“We do not have any concerns.

“The South Africans hosted the World Cup, so they have experience hosting significant crowds and managing events like this, although clearly this is really a unique event in the world.”

While Tuesday’s memorial is the first major event honouring Mandela since his death, it won’t be the last.

A state funeral will be held on Sunday in Mandela’s ancestral hometown of Qunu in Eastern Cape Province.

Yesterday’s has begun to be compared with other significant state funerals in recent decades, such as that of former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill in 1965 and the 2008 funeral of Pope John Paul II, which attracted some two million people to Rome – among them four kings, five queens, at least 70 presidents and prime ministers and the leaders of 14 other faiths.

Metal detectors and some 15,000 members of security forces stood watch over the event.

Muanya is newspaper journalist of 2013, Ojo best education reporter

A CORRESPONDENT with The Guardian, Chukwuma Muanya, has emerged the newspaper journalist of the year. This was disclosed at the 2013 Nigeria Media Merit Award held on Saturday in Ikogosi, Ekiti State.
Another journalist with The Guardian, Olawunmi Ojo, won the Ibrahim Shekarau Prize for Education Reporter of the year. Ojo’s “Yaba ‘University’ of Technology: A dream in limbo” gave him the award.
Muanya won the Ernest Sisei Ikoli for Newspaper Reporter of the Year and Cecil King Memorial Prize for Print Journalist of the Year.
His story “Deaths from measles drop, anti-malaria project threatened”, beat The Nation and National Mirror to win the coveted Ernest Sisei Ikoli Prize for Newspaper Reporter of the Year. Muanya again defeated the TELL’s duo of Adejuwon Soyinka and Mordi Raymond to win the Cecil King Memorial Prize for Print Journalist of the Year with the story “When ignorance, ill-equipped hospitals complicate breast cancers in Nigeria.”
The Guardian also did well in other individual awards, narrowly losing the News Photographer of the Year to Sunday Olufemi of TELL. Ayodele Adeniran Olushola and Emmanuel Arewa of The Guardian were the first and second runners-up in that category.

Winner of Education Reporter of the Year, Ojo Abiodun Olawunmi (right), Editor, Martins Oloja; Head, South West Bureau, Muyiwa Adeyemi; runner-up, Agricultural Reporter of the Year and Real Estate/Construction Reporter of the Year, Temitope Templer Olaiya; and runner-up, News Photographer of the year, Ayodele Adeniran Shola, all of The Guardian at the Nigeria Media Merit Award held in Ado Ekiti at the weekend.

Winner of Education Reporter of the Year, Ojo Abiodun Olawunmi (right), Editor, Martins Oloja; Head, South West Bureau, Muyiwa Adeyemi; runner-up, Agricultural Reporter of the Year and Real Estate/Construction Reporter of the Year, Temitope Templer Olaiya; and runner-up, News Photographer of the year, Ayodele Adeniran Shola, all of The Guardian at the Nigeria Media Merit Award held in Ado Ekiti at the weekend.

Also, the Assistant Lagos City Editor, Temitope Templer Olaiya, finished first runner-up in two categories namely Bukola Saraki Prize for Agriculture Reporter of the Year and Nigerite Prize for Real Estate/Construction Reporter of the Year with the stories “Mile 12 Market and the ugly story of food waste” and “Jakande Estates: A lofty idea crippled by neglect.”

At the event which attracted leaders of the media industry, The Nation was declared winner of the Babatunde Jose Prize for Newspaper of the Year while Channels Television won the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) Award for Electronic Media.

Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi described the nation’s media as a vital tool of peace and development.

The governor, who lauded the media practitioners for their courage and untiring efforts, said: “Yours is a profession charged with the noble responsibility of informing and enlightening the public and carrying out oversight of the social and political processes of the society.

“The Nigerian press has come of age as the beacon of hope and renewal in our national experience.

“Despite the various challenges that appear to have come to bear upon it in more recent times, the Nigerian media has always been at the progressive vanguard of an ethos that continually seeks to advance and preserve the cause of our society, its systems and the institutions from its earliest incarnation to the present.

“I have equally observed, first-hand, how a vibrant and  effective, particularly print media, can crusade against injustice and lend its weight behind the cause of truth, whilst advocating the best for the good of the people.

“This has been the honourable tradition upon which the media has thrived through the years in our environment.

“Being the only formal institution granted an oversight function on government, its activities, organs and departments in the Nigerian Constitution through several decades, the media has a very sacred role in enabling the attainment of the Nigeria of our aspirations…

“The Nigeria Media Merit Award is considered as one of the most reputable prizes for media excellence in our country, instituted by some of the great veterans of the Nigerian press to encourage and reward distinction in the practice of journalism, while promoting a symbiotic relationship between the media industry and the society…”

Recalling his role during the military era as a broadcaster at Radio Kudirat, he said: “I have always considered myself as a student and practitioner of journalism having had a stint both in print and electronic media…”

Describing the NMMA as a celebration of media excellence in the country, he said: “It is a celebration of remarkable openness that our country has achieved where journalists can carry out their duties to some extent without the fear of intimidation.

“Three years ago, you probably wouldn’t have considered coming to Ekiti. It is no longer a state of one week one trouble. Stability is the rule of the game now in Ekiti State. Evidence of our work abounds in our infrastructural drive.”