Political friends, foes unite at Alhaja Obanikoro’s Fidau prayers

By Tope Templer Olaiya
THE 8th day Fidau prayers of Alhaja Wosilat Ejide Obanikoro, mother of immediate past Minister of State for Defence, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, united political friends and foes across all divides at the weekend in Lagos.
No sooner had the prayers started, led by the Chief Missioner of Ansar-ud-Deen Society of Nigeria, Sheikh Abdur-Rahman Olanrewaju Ahmad and the Chief Imam of Lagos, Mohammed Akinola Ibrahim, than the hall began to witness the presence of dignitaries walk in to take their seats.

Obanikoro (left) exchanging pleasantries with Seriki, Fashola (second right) and Banire

But there was some noisy interruption as soon as the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, stepped in. It caught many by surprise as the former governor of Lagos State has lately stayed away from social functions, noticeably the just concluded Lagos @ 50 celebrations.

Also, the duo of Fashola and Obanikoro had squared up fiercely as governorship candidates since the 2007 elections down to the run-up to the 2015 elections. He didn’t come alone, his mother, Madam Cecilia Omolara Fashola and Alhaji Kayode Fashola, were present.

The Minister took his seat, flanked by Chief Rasak Okoya, Justice George Oguntade, National Legal Adviser of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Dr. Muiz Banire, and former Minister of State for Defence, Ademola Seriki, and began going through the programme booklet.

Some paragraphs in the Obanikoro’s tribute to his late mother caught the attention of the former governor. Fashola got his chance moments later to throw banters at Obanikoro after they embraced, reading the paragraph to him: “I can recall how troublesome I was growing up and how much my troubled nature tested your patience. Even when bad companies derailed me, you never gave up on me. Your commitment to my education and self-discipline is legendary.” This was followed by outbursts of roaring laughter.

Obanikoro welcoming Senate President, Olubukola Saraki

Things got to a head with the arrival of the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki Saraki, who was returning from the wedding ceremony of one of the daughters of Chief Bisi Akande, a former National Chairman of the APC in Ibadan. He had stopped by to honour Obanikoro, whose mother died on July 2, aged 95.

Saraki was accompanied by Senators representing Lagos West, Ondo Central, Ogun East and Bayelsa East, Solomon Adeola, Omotayo Alasoadura, Buruji Kashamu and Ben Bruce, respectively. A special prayer session was held for Saraki, albeit on Obanikoro’s request.

Obanikoro, Saraki and Alao-Akala, former governor of Oyo State

Others at the event included former governors Gbenga Daniel (Ogun) and Adebayo Alao-Akala (Oyo); Senator Ganiyu Solomon, former Air Marshal, Adesola Amosu (rtd); former Deputy Governors of Lagos State, Otunba Femi Pedro and Kofoworola Bucknor-Akerele; Secretary to the Lagos State Government, Mr. Tunji Bello, who represented Governor Ambode; former Senate Leader, Senator Teslim Folarin; Dr. Reuben Abati; former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Malam Nuhu Ribadu and prominent Borno State politician, Malam Kashim Imam.

https://guardian.ng/news/political-friends-foes-unite-at-alhaja-obanikoros-fidau-prayers/

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Ambode inherits N418.2b debt burden

• Cuts cost of governance
• Relocates to Ikeja
By Wole Oyebade
AS he officially resumes work on Monday, the new governor of the State, Akinwunmi Ambode, is inheriting a debt burden of N418.2 billion from the outgoing administration.
The debt burden, though accompanied with a repayment plan lasting 40 years plus, is an astronomical increase from the N15 billion Babatunde Fashola (SAN) inherited from his predecessor, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, in 2007 when he took over.
A breakdown of the debt bequeathed to Ambode showed that the Fashola administration has a domestic debt of N69.666 billion, which it obtained from borrowing from banks; N225 billion from bond issuance and N207.499 billion external loan from foreign bodies.

AmboBut the Lagos State Government is quick to defend its position, saying its debt profile is sustainable, quoting Agusto and Co, Global Credit Rating (GCR) and Fitch Ratings to justify its position on the debt sustainability.
Commissioner for Finance, Ayo Gbeleyi said government’s huge debts were sustainable, as it would not constitute a burden to the incoming government.
He said the total revenue of the state government currently stood at N33.95 billion monthly from N27.82 billion monthly it used to be in 2011, as the state’s Internal Generated Revenue (IGR) averages 65 per cent of total revenue with Statutory Allocation plus Value Added Tax (VAT) being about 35 per cent.
Gbeleyi stated that the internal loans from Commercial Banks have tenors of four to six years, while the Multilateral Agency Financing-World Bank, French Development Agency and others are generally on concessionary borrowing terms, such as 20 – 40 years tenor and average of 1.75 per cent per annum interest rate. On the Debt Issuance Programme of N275 billion, in which N50 billion was paid last year, leaving a balance of N225 billion currently outstanding, he disclosed that government had over N100.73 billion as at March 2015 in its Sinking Fund reserve for repayment.

Governor Fashola

Fashola

On the Commercial Bank debt of N69.666 billion, Gbeleyi added that the incoming government is expected to pay N14.27 billion this year; N13.68 billion in 2016; N34.68 billion in 2017 and the balance of N6.85 billion in 2018.
On the overall loan of N418.2 billion, the mode of payment, according to the commissioner, is that the Ambode government would pay N15.96 billion in 2015; N16.796 billion in 2016; N48.57 billion in 2017 and N10.644 billion in 2018, while the next government after Ambode in 2019 would service the remaining debt by paying N59.313 billion in 2019; N86.54 billion in 2020 as the remaining N180.397 billion would transcend beyond 2020.
MEANWHILE, there are indications that Ambode will streamline operations in the state to reduce the cost of governance.
Besides, the governor has hinted that he would be residing at the Lagos House, Ikeja, to help him resume work and be available from 8am daily.

LAGOS HOUSE: Front view of the Governor's Office, Alausa

LAGOS HOUSE: Front view of the Governor’s Office, Alausa

Speaking in his inaugural meeting with the Body of Permanent Secretaries in the State Public Service at the weekend, Ambode said though new offices would be created, the present ones would be streamlined in order to ensure that cost of governance is reduced while ensuring greater efficiency.
Some agencies, according to him, would be returned to their original supervising agencies to ensure that the control, which used to be in place for those agencies returns. He noted that part of his speech at Friday’s inauguration ceremony already dwelt on the creation of a Ministry of Wealth Creation that would ensure that not only does his administration create wealth, but also ensures that when investments from foreign sources drops, a pro-active situation is in place to take care of them.
The governor added that since the All Progressives Congress (APC) has already formed a government at the centre, investments are also bound to come from the centre, saying when such investments come, the state should have a front desk office that would attend to such people bringing in the investments and people with interest.

Inauguration Ball: Ambode, Dame Abimbola Fashola, Babatunde Fashola and Bolanle Ambode

Inauguration Ball: Ambode, Dame Abimbola Fashola, Babatunde Fashola and Bolanle Ambode

Harping on a revisitation of ministerial responsibilities of all ministries, departments, and agencies, he said that the ministerial responsibilities were last reviewed in 2001.
Ambode stressed that he would saddle the Body of Permanent Secretary with the task of taking a look at the draft, which the administration of Babatunde Fashola (SAN) could not conclude, urging them to work on such drafts to fit into his vision.
He added that he would ensure that Permanent Secretaries exercise the authority that comes with their positions efficiently and ensure that each officer works for the position he has attained.
The governor insisted that his latest pronouncements were not about reinventing the wheel but about his taking full advantage of the experience he had garnered while in the public service of the state. While advising the public servants to align with his administration, Ambode said he expects all public servants to also be at their desk by 8am so that if he has cause to get in touch with anyone, they would be readily available.
He said he expects the protocol of his administration to be as simple as possible to convey the essence of seriousness and professionalism that would be the hallmark of the administration.
The governor reiterated that the state civil service would drive the change and the continuity, which he intends to put in place in the next four years.

Ilubirin… Mounting concerns over sand-filled Lagos

By Tope Templer Olaiya, Assistant Lagos City Editor
It took a public verbal spat between Governor Babatunde Fashola and the Minister of State for Defence, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, over the ongoing Ilubirin housing estate for the project site to attract a second look from motorists plying the Third Mainland Bridge.
Before the tirade, which began in April, the area had generated a passing interest despite being listed among the locations of the Lagos State Home Ownership Mortgage Scheme (Lagos HOMS). The government had planned to build on the reclaimed land, a total number of 1,254 flats, comprising two and three bedroom apartments on eight floors.
Until recently, Ilubirin was inhabited by Ijaws, Ilajes, settlers from Badagry and migrants from Benin Republic and Togo, who traded on commodities that riverine dwellers are known for. Specifically, their men fished, while the women supply fish to the major markets in Lagos.
This was until the Lagos State government demolished the settlement and embarked on reclaiming the place from the sea through the process of sand filling. While the removal of people from the environment was hailed, the reclaiming of land from the sea has continued to attract condemnations.

Ilubirin 2Those who frowned at the sand filling argued that constant encroachment on the ocean and lagoon does not augur well for the state ecologically and environmentally. They maintained that the damage to the ecosystem by excessive reclamation of land is gradual, accumulative and imperceptible, noting that the effects are irreversible.

While Fashola had taken excerption to the minister’s use of military personnel to disrupt the ongoing project, Obanikoro, who represents Lagos in the federal cabinet of President Goodluck Jonathan, had wondered aloud why the state government has decided to build affordable houses on water and with barely a year to the expiration of the governor’s tenure.

“It is no longer a secret that most of the affordable housing communities in the world were built on land and not water. Moreso, the location of the Ilubirin project breaks all the laws on setback requirements for highways and roads.

“This administration has consistently done amateur-styled land reclamation projects across the state, an action that has caused severe environmental damage and extreme discomfort to many families living in Lagos,” he told The Guardian.

Though the act of reclaiming land from the sea is a global practice, it is surprising that the latest one by the state government to build a low-cost housing estate has generated controversies. With the expertise employed by the government in all its sand filling projects, the existence of fears about ecological and environmental impact assessment of the projects, has somewhat been sustained.

Governor Fashola (middle) in discussion with his security team

Governor Fashola (middle) in discussion with his security team

Commenting on the growing incidence of land filling and reclamations going on in Lagos Island, Emeka Okonkwo, an estate surveyor and valuer, said it is a project driven by fraud because the cost of sand filling is going to be ten times the cost of opening another place.

“There are tablelands all over Lagos. There are places even in swampy areas that can be recreated and redeveloped than going to pour sand in water, which is unreasonable. They reclaimed a lot of places in Dubai but the costs of those apartments are simply ridiculous.

“The island is already chaotic. How are you going to manage the traffic? Yet, the government is spending so much money reclaiming the land when there are slums littering Lagos that could have been redeveloped like Badia. But in the face of profit, money, and tax for government, the action may just make sense. However, as a professional, my advice to government would be opening up other areas instead of sand filling,” he said.

An environmentalist, Chief Osawe Irabor, said he saw nothing wrong with the exercise. “If done in an organised manner, I believe nobody will complain. But when it becomes rampant and reckless, the people must resist it because usurping natural settings could be disastrous in the long run,” he said.

Backing his argument with contemporary examples, Osawe said: “Nearly every part of the Netherlands was reclaimed from the sea. What is happening in Lagos should not be different. Statistics have it that China reclaimed 13,455 hectares of land from the sea in 2010, resulting in earnings of more than 7.82 billion yuan.

“However, with every sense of purpose, I will say that what is happening in Lagos is being driven by the desire to make money. It is business on the part of those doing it because poor people don’t benefit from the houses being built on the reclaimed land. I hope they are being done according to the best practices in order to protect the ecosystem,” he stated.

Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, Minister of State for Defence (middle) on a recent visit to Naval Base, Apapa

Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, Minister of State for Defence (middle) on a recent visit to Naval Base, Apapa

Still on his worries, he said there are possibilities of buildings erected there to sink while the state stands the risk of being swept off by earthquakes and tsunamis.

A professor of Geography, Prof. Kaine Amikpume, in his environmental impact assessment of the project told The Guardian that there are inherent dangers associated with sand filling.

“We must tell ourselves the truth that this is a coastal state. And we are not immune to natural disasters associated with littoral states. It is just that we have been lucky not have experienced something beyond an ocean surge. Continuous reclamation of land from the sea distorts the ecosystem. But if done in an orderly manner with proper environmental impact assessment, the possibilities of failure will be minimal.

“I understand what the state government is going through in trying to meet up with population explosion, but the future of those you are trying to cater for should not be endangered by the same process. Other alternatives to sand filling should be explored to prevent the long-term effect, like opening up tablelands because you pay less to open up tablelands. But when you reclaim, you pay much and that informs the high cost of properties on reclaimed lands.”

It would be recalled that the state chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), had called on the Federal Government to halt the sand filling of the ocean and lagoons in the state in the overall interest of the country. The party also berated the state government over what it described as “deceptive and diversionary evacuation of occupants from areas tagged slums, which was worsened by direct government negligence.”

Ilubirin 3

In a statement by its Publicity Secretary, Mr Gani Taofik, the party said the call came on the heels of the frequent ocean surges, which recently claimed lives and property at the beaches.

It alleged that the unnecessary loss of lives and property should be blamed on the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led administration, which has “remained adamant, irresponsible and only pursuing business interest that it chose to sand fill the ocean in its purported Eko Atlantic Project, where a plot of land is being sold for N350 million.”

The APC had in its reaction through the state Publicity Secretary, Mr. Joe Igbokwe, said: “We take it that Lagos PDP is far gone in mischief or it is on its well known antics of conning Nigerians for sympathy when it blamed the ocean surge on the laudable Eko Atlantic City, which is generating worldwide attention.

“We feel that PDP’s greedy inclination which sees every opportunity as fat cow to be milked by greedy party men is leading it into reading such negative meanings into great projects that promise to lift Nigeria from the quagmire it had sank the country into.”

Micheal Adegbola Dominic, governorship candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in Lagos during the 2011 election, sees it differently. “I can only say that Fashola is sinking concrete into the Atlantic Ocean, building bridges across the lagoon to Lekki and Banana Island and all that, but that is not what the majority of Lagosians need.

“The people of Lagos don’t need those concretes he is burying inside Atlantic Ocean, what they need is motorable roads in places like Ayobo, Ejigbo, Ikorodu, Ikotun, and so many other places in Lagos. Fashola is doing something good for himself and his elite friends. The people of Lagos are suffering, they are living in slums.”

Fashola’s successor… Testing the water with debate on religion

By Tope Templer Olaiya, Assistant Lagos City Editor
The dress rehearsal for the battles ahead over who occupies Lagos State’s coveted governorship seat come May 29, 2015 is now in full swing.
So far, nothing has been spared by top and lowly rated performers to devote greater attention to details in the run-in to the gubernatorial election, and this includes non-verbal signs of serious and media-hyped aspirants like the nuances of facial expressions and body language, political and social affiliations, social media ratings, attendance at public functions, and visibility in mainstream media.
For the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), the choice of a party flag bearer has been benchmarked on one score: Ability of aspirants to trace their genealogy to Lagos East senatorial district.
This zoning arrangement, which is alien to the APC or the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), is a deft move by party leaders to take the governorship round the three senatorial districts. Lagos West have had it for two terms of eight years with APC national leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu from 1999 to 2007 before the baton was handed over to the incumbent governor, Babatunde Fashola, from Lagos Central, who is on the last lap of his eight years in office.
The zoning clause may not count much for some aspirants in the APC, who only need some high-profile endorsements to validate their claims of hailing from any of the three major strongholds in Lagos East – Ikorodu, Ibeju-Lekki, or Epe.

RelFurthermore, it is not a strange phenomenon for politicians in the state to cross-carpet from one senatorial district to the other without qualms.

For instance, Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Adeyemi Ikuforiji is currently representing Lagos West after his first term in the same capacity (office) representing Lagos East from 2007 to 2011.

But of great concern to Lagosians in the ongoing scheming and game of wits is the faint drumbeat from political gladiators, which is being given expression through religious ‘politricking’. It is the agitation for a Christian governor in 2015.

Waiting in the wings to benefit from this crusade (although not of his own making or that of his benefactor, who is a Moslem) is the state’s former Accountant-General, Mr. Akinwumi Ambode, whose ‘dark horse’ entry into the race for Fashola’s successor got a massive lift with the recent endorsement by the Oba of Lagos, Rilwan Akiolu.

This endorsement, which was viewed as too early by some political watchers, has elicited criticisms, which could end up as a distraction to the Ambode project.

However, Fashola unsurprisingly threw jabs at promoters of religious consideration for governorship campaign when he condemned the demand by some groups in the state that a Christian should be his successor in 2015, saying: “Do they really believe in God? It is only God that can insist.”

Ambode (middle) discussing with close associates

Ambode (middle) discussing with close associates

It is believed that Fashola expressed this sentiment while declaring open an inter-faith conference in Lagos, with the theme: ‘Peace, Religious Harmony and Good Governance: Issues and Challenges,’ because of his perceived leanings towards one of the aspirants and his Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, Obafemi Kadiri Hamzat, a fellow Moslem.

According to Fashola: “People have said that they want one particular governor and I have asked myself two questions – the people who said that they want one particular governor or that there must be this other particular governor, are they still conscious that it is an election where a choice has to be made? If there are two democrats, they should expect that citizens must have a say in who is sworn-in as the governor of their state. Secondly, can you insist that you will be alive in the next one hour?”

The governor, who insisted that religion should not used to determine his successor, added: “Good governance means different things to people. For the majority, good governance is just food, the ability to get a job and provision of social amenities. For those people, the faith of the governor is never their problem.”

Currently, several Lagosians, aspirants inclusive, have made religion an issue in a cosmopolitan and pluralistic state like Lagos. Prominent among them is Senator Ganiyu Solomon, representing Lagos West at the National Assembly. For him, religion has never been an issue in Lagos politics and should be kept out of it.

“It is a very emotional and sensitive issue in view of what is going on in the country today. In this particular part of the country, we don’t discuss religion when it comes to governance. This is the first time some people are bringing it up and I can tell you that they are bringing it up because of their own selfish interests. I don’t want to go further,” he said.

Governor Fashola

Governor Fashola

An APC chieftain, Alhaji Ganiyu Oseni, while describing the attempts to infuse religion into politics as political shenanigans, tricks and manipulations said: “There is a clear cut difference between the church and the state. Can anybody go to Abia, Imo, Anambra, Rivers, Akwa Ibom or Cross River and say they want a Muslim candidate?

“Democracy is a government of the people by the people for the people. You can’t go to Zamfara, Katsina, Kano and Jigawa states and say you must have a Christian governor. I am very disturbed that people are bringing religion into politics. We may know the beginning of such issues, but nobody knows the end.

“Deep down in me, I don’t believe in imposition. The choice must be by the people. Lagos State is not a state of a particular religion, we have Muslims, Christians and other religious adherents in large number, but all we need is good leadership that will deliver dividends of democracy to the people.”

A Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) stalwart, who is also eyeing his party’s governorship ticket, said the issue of religion is a weapon that aspirants, who, on their own, cannot win election, are employing to gain advantage that they don’t deserve. He declared: “If you examine all the aspirants, who are using religion today, none of them has the political weight to make any meaningful impact on their own. Is it Ambode with no political relevance or Jimi Agbaje, who doesn’t know which party to join less than eight months to the general elections? The beauty of Lagos is its religious neutrality and it is in our common interest to protect that.”

LAGOS HOUSE: Front view of the Governor's Office, Alausa

LAGOS HOUSE: Front view of the Governor’s Office, Alausa

To sample people’s opinions on the matter, The Guardian took the debate to the streets of Lagos and the following was the response:

The time is ripe for a Christian governor

– Akinnibi Damilola Shina

Religion would influence the next election because it has suddenly come to the notice of everybody that majority of those in the present cabinet in the state are Muslims. Sensitization is ongoing about this and we Christians are ready to ensure we determine our fate.

The media should focus more on serious issues

– Idris Olakunle Bello

I am perturbed and disappointed that the press failed to address key issues. Growth and development of the state should be greater imperatives than question of religion. The press should stop misleading the electorate. We are wiser than the falsity of the pen.

It is politically wise for parties to pick a Christian candidate

– Olawale Oladejo

Although religion shouldn’t be a yardstick to determine who governs, but many people are clamouring for a Christian governor and to win public sentiment any serious minded political party will choose a Christian candidate and with such scenario, I believe religion will influence the choice of the next governor.

Lagos is a pluralistic state

– Akinyele Akinrujomu

Religion cannot and will not play any meaningful role. As a Christian, I know that the bulk of the people troubling Nigeria today profess to be Christians. Leadership is a calling, anybody that is called, chosen or elected should be allowed to lead and add value to governance. Lagos is a civilized and pluralistic state. Religion should not be allowed to cause division and disaffection in 2015.

We say no to godfathers

– Abdulhakeem Olanrewaju

We have both Christians and Muslims in government presently, what have they done? Nothing. Both adherents of the two religions in politics do not fear what their end will be. My opinion is that Godfatherism should be out of politics. Let us vote in a new party entirely that will govern not under the influence of some people. That’s all.

Religion will largely determine 2015 election

– Charles Iwenofu

Religion is something that can never be removed from politics of the under-developing nations, unlike the rest of the developed world. Religious forces will largely determine 2015 election, at least by 60 percent, while credibility of candidates will make up the remaining 40 percent.

Lagosians will vote for personality not religion

– Oshiobugie Ronald

Religion can’t play any significant role in Nigerian politics at the state level, though it has a way of influencing at the federal level. Lagosians vote personality and not on religious basis.

Religion should not be allowed to divide us

– Jamiu Abdullahi

My advice to Lagosians is that politics and politicians should not be allowed to divide us. There is hardly a family where you won’t find Christians and Muslims and they have coexisted peacefully.

Religion may end up breaking Nigeria

– Adetolu Abdulrazaq

That is the beginning of our problems in Nigeria. And if we don’t take religion out of it, we will end up breaking the country.

Those campaigning with religion are enemies of Lagos

– Asuni Ademola

Religion has never been part of Lagos politics. Those who are calling for religion are jokers and enemies of Lagos. Bringing religion into politics is a very dangerous thing.

Muslim governors are better

– Chuks Michael

Religion has nothing to do with good governance. Though I am a Christian but I see more development from most Muslim governors. I am not trying to prove others wrong but we Christians still act like unbelievers.

Religion should decide for equity sake

– Chiemeka Lloyd Agu

Yes, religion has to decide who becomes the next Lagos State governor because to the best of my knowledge, Lagos needs a Christian person as the next governor in 2015 for equity.

History will repeat itself

– Paul Yabugbe

It has happened before in Lagos when the late Michael Otedola of the NRC beat Dapo Sarumi of the SDP though SDP dominated the House of Assembly.

Religion will play a factor

– Adedoyin Adeleke Samuel

It would definitely; because that is just our mentality in Nigeria. If God says yes, no one can say no.

The game is played by the Muslims

– Iheanyi Wisdom

A Christian will hardly rule Lagos. That is the truth, just like a Muslim will never rule Abia State. Never.

Religion will play a big role

– Innocent Ani

Religion will play a big role come 2015 in Lagos. If APC wants to give the PDP a chance, let it field a Muslim candidate.

It does not determine success

– Sunmola Temitope Shogbesan

Whether it is a Christian or Muslim that rules, it doesn’t guarantee any success. Only God can lead us right. I pray God should give us the person that would have the interest of the masses at heart.

Religion should not matter

– Anthony Agbo Nath

Religion shouldn’t matter but the person who is capable of bringing development to the people. However, I have observed that Muslims can’t exist without being in power.

This debate is a distraction

– Akeem Faruq

The introduction of religion into Lagos politics is a wicked strategy to create an opportunity for a weakling to become governor. Lagosians have never been known to vote for a governor based on religion. I don’t believe religion can play any meaningful impact in the Lagos governorship elections.

Religion is a non-issue

– Banjo Julius

It should not but it may. For me religion is no longer an issue, but finding a leader who is more concerned about the people he leads.

The voters are now wiser

– Harrison Aduluwa

If the people’s wishes speak, I think Nigerians are getting wiser. But come to think of it, the Southwest never allowed such until Rauf’s unity school plan played up religion as a factor.

Rigging, not religion will decide 2015

– Nwagwu Kelechi

Religion won’t, but multiple taxation will. And just as they have been doing in the past, assassination and rigging would also decide the election.

Politics is a game where nothing is impossible

– Jephtah Omavueya

Politics in Nigeria is like football where nothing is impossible.

Aggrieved APC members stage protest in Lagos

By Wole Oyebade
Cracks in the All Progressives Congress (APC) were again obvious on Monday, as some aggrieved members of the party protest what they described as “stolen mandate” in the last ward congress.
The protesters, from Ward B, C and E, in Ikeja Local Government Area (LGA) of the state appealed to the Lagos State government, especially the Lagos State House of Assembly to investigate the matter and make their votes count “for the sake of peace and tranquility.”
No fewer than 150 members of the party defiled the scourging afternoon heat to storm the Lagos Assembly with placard either calling their Lagos leaders unprintable names or seeking “true change”.
Some posters read: We want true change… APC: We want true congress in Ikeja LGA… Let us use the broom to sweep corners of our room first… APC Ward C Ikeja LGA was clearly won by us…

IMG_5659

The aggrieved protesters alleged that their ward congress, held penultimate Saturday, was fraught with irregularities, alleging that a Chieftain of the party, “Kemi Nelson stole our mandate.”

One of the protesters from Ward C, Yinka Banjoko noted that the congress was to enable party faithful elect their representatives through free and fair election, but it was to their disbelieve that the deciding votes was stolen to force some Ward chairman on the electorates.

She said: “They are not thinking of that ‘change’ as preached by Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and it is unfortunate. In good faith, we all went to the ward congress and mobilised our women, but Kemi Nelson stole our vote. That is why we are here.

“We want our mandate back. Enough is enough. We’ve had enough of the same wrong people leading us for 13 years, we want change and it begins from the ward,” Banjoko said.

Another protester, Segun Orji, observed that Ward C congress rekindled rivalry between two factions of the APC – Justice Forum (led by Kemi Nelson) and Mandate Group (which the protesters belong).

According to him, “The election was initially transparent. But by the time the votes were counted, starting with theirs (Justice Forum), they had 196 votes. Ours (Mandate Group) was already 297 and still counting, before it was disrupted by thugs.

“Their police started shooting, forcing everyone to run away. It was later that we heard that Kemi Nelson had won the election. How can that be possible, with 196 votes against 297 and still counting? They are a collection of losers that we no longer want,” he said.

On efforts that had been made to report the matter to top hierarchy of the party, Orji alleged that the APC Chairman in the state had also compromised in the matter.

“We were told to meet Demola Seriki, aide to Asiwaju, and he told us that Asiwaju said status quo must stand. We don’t want to believe that is coming from our leader. It is the hands of Nelson and the Lagos APC chairman at work,” he said.

Women Leader in Ward C, Abiola Balogun insisted on transparent election, adding that they must not be denied of their mandate. She noted that the faction did not participate in last Saturday’s LGA Congress in protest of the outing at the ward congress.

She said: “Until our mandate is restored, we will ensure there is no Ward meeting. We appeal to the Lagos Assembly to come to our aid for the sake of true democratic practice, peace and tranquility in Ikeja.”

Fashola Has No Approval From NIWA To Build Houses On Water, Says Obanikoro

By Tope Templer Olaiya, Assistant Lagos City Editor
THE Minister of State for Defense, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, at the weekend replied the Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola, on his comments that the minister took soldiers to disrupt the ongoing Ilubirin Housing project on the Lagos Island.
Fashola had at an event last week decried attempts by Federal Government to take over reclaimed land at Ilubirin, earmarked for housing estate by the state government.
Speaking yesterday, Obanikoro said Fashola description of his personal visit to the planned Ilubirin housing estate as “Rambo like” was mischievous.
The minister, who is representing Lagos in the federal cabinet, noted that the governor has refused to get the required approval from the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA). “He has objected to getting an approval from the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN). He does not even want the consent of the Federal Ministry of Works. The location of his site breaks all the laws on set back requirements for highways and roads.
“Despite all pleas, the governor has turned deaf ears on economic hazard of his project. As at today, the only approvals he has are the ones he manufactured for himself using various state ministries, departments and agencies. I am still confused about the logic behind building houses underneath high electric-powered cables.

KORO.

“As a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), I expect him to know that the construction is illegal. He needs to stop using the name of Alhaji Femi Okunnu to legalise his illegality. It only shows the recklessness and impunity that he governs with,” the minister said.

According to Obanikoro, it was suspicious that after being in office for over 15 years, the state government, with less than 15 months to go, is considering building affordable houses for Lagosians.

Obanikoro said:“ Surprisingly, Lagos State Government chooses to build these houses on the water. It is no longer a secret that most of the affordable housing communities in the world are built on land, not on the water.

“I have always supported housing projects, especially for families living in densely populated areas of the state. They need affordable houses. But the governor seems to have easily forgotten that Mosan-Okunola, Ijede, Ojokoro, Badagry are densely populated areas in Lagos. Residents in those areas have been crying for affordable houses since 1999.

“I know what affordable houses look like. My family and I lived in one of the good affordable houses built by former governor Lateef Jakande. Why does Fashola pretend not to know that 97 per cent of the families living in Ajeromi-Ifelodun, Alagbado, Agboyi-Ketu, Oke-Odo, Ayobo-Ipaja, Bariga, Epe and Igando do not have access to Government Housing Estates?

“Many families in Itire-Ikate can only afford to live in one room. Most Lagos State University (LASU) students still live in severely overpopulated environments. My advice to the governor is focus on building houses for families living in the areas that have the lowest house ownership rates like Ifelodun (4 per cent), Shomolu (8 per cent), or Mushin (8 per cent).”