And the Ijebu paramount ruler joins the Octogenarians

  Oba Adetona celebrates 80 in grand style
By Tope Templer Olaiya
Some people are so poor in life that all they have is money, a fact accentuated by a popular saying among the Southwestern Nigerians that people are the quality of a man’s true assets. This was highly demonstrated at the weekend in Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State during the grand luncheon party and climax of the activities marking the 80th birthday of the Awujale and paramount ruler of Ijebuland, Oba (Dr.) Sikiru Kayode Adetona.
   It was a quality audience of first-class monarchs, politicians, astute businessmen and illustrious sons and daughters of Ijebuland that filled up the 2,500-capacity hall at the Otunba Dipo Dina International Stadium.    
   Leading the pack of dignitaries was President Goodluck Jonathan’s representative, his Chief of Staff, Gen. Jones Arogbofa; the Minister of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina; Governor of Bayelsa State, who has traced his lineage to Ijebu, Seriake Dickson; and the national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Adamu Mu’azu.
ImageOgun State Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amsun (right) his wife, Olufunso (2nd right), the Awujale and Paramount Ruler of Ijebuland, Oba Sikiru Kayode Adetona (2nd left) and his wife, Olori Oluwakemi (left), during the Grand Luncheon to mark the Awujale’s 80th birthday held at the Otunba Dipo Dina Stadium, Ijebu-Ode.
Others who added colour to the occasion with their presence included Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, host governor, Senator Gbenga Amosun; the Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Akinolu; Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi; Alake of Egbaland, Oba Adedotun Aremu Gbadebo; Chief Michael Adenuga; Otunba Subomi Balogun; Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Alfred Achebe; Aremo Segun Osobo, Otunba Gbenga Daniel; Pastor Tunde Bakare; and Nasir El-Rufai among a host of many others.

   At exactly 11:45am, the celebrant was ushered into the hall that had been exquisitely draped in glistering yellow and white colours, by a retinue of his council of chiefs, members of the organizing committee, the Ijebu Renaissance Group and palace guards. He was led to his exalted seat with songs from the musical legend, who manned the bandstand, Chief Ebenezer Obey.
Image Ogun State Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun (right), his Bayelsa counterpart, Hon. Seriake Dickson (2nd left), Chief of Staff to the President, Gen. Jones Oladeinde Arogbofa (left) and the Awujale and Paramount Ruler of Ijebuland, Oba Sikiru Kayode Adetona (2nd right)
Proceedings began immediately with opening prayers offered by Oba Rilwan Akinolu. His birthday cake was cut after which the Awujale danced to songs chanted by an eminent group of Ijebu octogenarians, who welcomed him to the exclusive club of the aged 80s.

   Then the floodgate of speeches and goodwill messages followed. The president’s Chief of Staff said it was not possible for the president to fulfill his promise to Awujale of felicitating with him on his landmark celebration due to the current security challenge confronting the country. Arogbofa, who promised that the challenges would be resolved sooner than Nigerians expect, however, told the Awujale that the president would still pay him a private visit at a later time.
   Amosun said the Ijebu paramount ruler loves his people to a fault and has used his wealth of experience over the years to bring prosperity to his subjects and the people of Ogun State.
   “He has been a rock and pillar of support to me, including my predecessors. We would not have achieved much without his support and other royal fathers in the state. He is a man of peace and I have benefitted immensely from his wealth of experience.
   “In appreciation of this, I today rename the first flyover in Ijebuland to Oba Adetona flyover bridge, so that in years to come, when the history of Ijebu State is being written, the story will be told of the exploits of their illustrious son of Ijebuland whom the bridge is named after,” he said.
ImageAwujale cutting his 80th birthday cake
Dickson described Oba Adetona, who is also marking his 54th year on the throne, as one of Nigeria’s finest and best traditional rulers, who have been an exemplary figure to a host of other traditional rulers in the country.    

   Justice George Oguntade in his remarks said the Awujale’s 80th birthday celebration was in honour of a great man of intellect, “a man who cannot be deceived and who will not deceive you; whose goal is to unify Ijebu nation and bring to reality the Ijebu statehood.”
   Responding, the celebrant thanked his guest who had taken the pains to be at the event in spite of the prevailing security situation in the country. He reiterated the call for traditional institutions to be given a constitutional role in the country.
   “In the pre-colonial era, the traditional rulers were in charge, but the indirect rule imposed by the colonialists elevated their appointees, who are local politicians above traditional rulers. When we gained independence, the conditions of the obas were worse than when we were under the Oyinbos.
ImageFrom left: Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi; the celebrant, Awujale of Ijebuland, Oba Adetona; Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Akinolu; Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Alfred Achebe; Alake of Egbaland, Oba Adedotun Aremu Gbadebo; and Otunba Subomi Balogun
“We were given paltry sums of money that made the head to constantly be in conflict with the stomach. But I am grateful to God for blessing all my activities when I went into distributorship business with Portland Cement at Ewekoro. The rest today is history.”

   Going down memory lane of his 54 years experiences on the throne, he advised politicians to sheathe their swords for peace to reign in the country. “I will advise politicians to take criticisms honestly. There should be no politics of bitterness that should tear us apart. Also, leaders must be careful of their advisers, who may want to pitch them against imaginary enemies for their own selfish reasons,” he admonished.
Advertisements

Pains Agbara residents go through

• Bad roads, insecurity inflict hardship on Ogun estate residents

By Tope Templer Olaiya, Assistant Lagos City Editor

Image

AGBARA Industrial Estate is a fast-growing town booming with property business and this is spearheaded by the Ogun State Property and Investment Corporation (OPIC). The anticipated boom is not unconnected with the massive Lagos-Badagry road project embarked on by the Lagos State government.

Until recently, landed property was at a  “give away” price, but with ongoing road project coupled with the congestion in Lagos, more property investors are settling there for real business, with at least 30 estates along the axis at the moment commencing aggressive marketing to would-be investors.

Besides, Agbara is home to a number of manufacturing companies. The location and accessibility of Agbara Estate makes it a strategic place to site an industry, since raw materials and finished goods can be easily transported to and from the factories.

These include Beta Glass Nigeria Plc, Vitamalt, Pharma Deko, Nestle, Lotus Plastics, Reckitt Benckiser, DIL/Maltex, Evans Medical, Unilever, Colodense, GlaxoSmithkline, Cometstar Cables, and most recently, Procter and Gamble, which is constructing the largest of its plants in West Africa.

Image

Agbara Estate, a model integrated town development on 454.1 hectares of land, is being managed by AE Property Services Limited, a subsidiary of Lawsons Corporation Nigeria Limited.

Sadly, residents of this sprawling industrial complex are burdened by infrastructural deficiencies which include bad roads, absence of fire-fighting station, indiscriminate dumping of refuse and industrial waste, ill-equipped Agbara sewage treatment plant and lingering legal tussle between the Estate Management and the village community.

The biggest concern to private and corporate residents of the estate is the deplorable state of the road leading into the estate and connecting the inner-city roads from the Lagos-Badagry expressway.

The dreaded T-junction has now been classified the zone of death because of the increasing activities of theft and car snatching at the bad spots.

Chairman of the Residents Association, Prof. Tunde Fatunde, painting a graphic depiction of the plight of road users in the area, said: “The entrance into the estate is a death zone, especially any time after 6pm.”

“They kidnap people and snatch cars at the bad spot regularly, because no matter how good your vehicle is, you are forced to slow down and this immediately makes you a target of attack. Before you know it, an okada rider is pointing a gun at your face and you can’t run because of the situation of the road.”

ImageAbayomi Tella, former chairman Ado-Odo Ota Local Council of Ogun State

Agbara Estate, a model integrated town development on 454.1 hectares of land, is being managed by AE Property Services Limited, a subsidiary of Lawsons Corporation Nigeria Limited.

Sadly, residents of this sprawling industrial complex are burdened by infrastructural deficiencies which include bad roads, absence of fire-fighting station, indiscriminate dumping of refuse and industrial waste, ill-equipped Agbara sewage treatment plant and lingering legal tussle between the Estate Management and the village community.

The biggest concern to private and corporate residents of the estate is the deplorable state of the road leading into the estate and connecting the inner-city roads from the Lagos-Badagry expressway.

The dreaded T-junction has now been classified the zone of death because of the increasing activities of theft and car snatching at the bad spots.

Chairman of the Residents Association, Prof. Tunde Fatunde, painting a graphic depiction of the plight of road users in the area, said: “The entrance into the estate is a death zone, especially any time after 6pm.”

“They kidnap people and snatch cars at the bad spot regularly, because no matter how good your vehicle is, you are forced to slow down and this immediately makes you a target of attack. Before you know it, an okada rider is pointing a gun at your face and you can’t run because of the situation of the road.”

Image

Tella added that during his time in office, he had attempted to tar the road, but was prevented by the estate management firm, which insisted it was a private road. “They even went ahead to introduce tolling on the road, which they collected for nine good years until the youths of the community rose against them.”

“I am one of the people that took them to court to cede back the road to government so it caould  be repaired. I do hear that they collected money from industrialists in the area to tar the road, but nothing has been done to alleviate the pains of residents.”

When contacted, officials of the management firm refused  to speak to The Guardian, as they insisted that the issues raised by residents are private not public matters, since Agbara is a private estate.

At Oko Fufu, The Farmer Is King

By OLAIYA TEMITOPE TEMPLER
https://initsng.com/socialvoting2/team/9

 Location of Photography Ogun State.  Photography by Adeniran Ayodele

Location of Photography Ogun State.
Photography by Adeniran Ayodele

Ajoke Adigun awoke drowsily as rays of the rising sun penetrated the window slit. In order to remain in bed she had defied the odds – the cock that persistently crowed beside the window, the bleating of daddy’s favourite goat, the chatter of the neighbour’s children, whose turn it was this week to clear the animal droppings. But she couldn’t resist the unmistakable shrill voice of her mother, Iya Awero, dishing out routine instructions to the early risers in the compound.

‘Ise ya, ise ya, omo ogun ise ya, ise ma ya o,’ sang Iya Awero. This is the folklore song chanted by citizens of Ogun State in southwestern Nigeria.‘People of Ogun State, it’s time to work…’

Whenever Iya Awero sang this, it was understood by all who heard it as a call to duty. Ajoke stood up, wiped the back of her palm across her face, stretched and yawned noisily.

‘It is time to work,’ she muttered to herself. And in Ifo, a sleepy hinterland of Ogun State, work means pain and physical hardship in its crudest form. The workplace is Oko Fufu, a cassava plantation, where cassava is torn apart and manually processed into staple food items such as fufu, amala, starch, kadioka, and gaari.

3

Since President Goodluck Jonathan, through the Ministry of Agriculture, unveiled the campaign to promote cassava bread by compelling flour millers to add ten per cent cassava content to wheat flour for bread-making, cassava supplements have been in hot demand. The Oko Fufu workstation has played host to numerous confectionery companies too.

Ajoke and company – which includes her mother, siblings and her father’s other wives – do not only believe in the dignity of labour. They also take the division of labour seriously. If hard work is good for the soul, it also makes pain for soiled hands and bent backs. They, however, all hold one truism dear on the cassava plantation – the analogy of the broom. ‘When separated, the broomstick is of no use and can be easily broken; but when tied together, it is impregnable and can be used for sweeping. That is how we have been able to sustain this lifelong profession and ensured no part of the food chain is broken.’ Thus says Baba Awero, head of the Adigun family. So, together, they work their hands sore to keep the pangs of hunger at bay. Their efforts help to feed the nation, while putting money in their pockets.

6

On this particular morning Ajoke looked dejected. Dressed like a city girl in pink sweatshirt and a faded blue jean, she thought aloud:

‘There must be a less tedious way to make a living.’

‘Omo Ajoke?’ her mother enquired. ‘You are still on one basket, when you should have filled up three. Is anything the matter?’ She peered into Ajoke’s eyes to search for answers.

‘It’s nothing serious mama, I have a sore thumb and my back is aching.’

‘That is because you refused to use the local balm I prepared for baba. Hurry up! Do you know how many families will go hungry by sundown if you don’t show up this evening at the market square?’

Ajoke stared hard at her mother. She was on the point of making a sneering reply. But her resentment melted when her mother threw the sun cap she was wearing into her lap.

1

‘Have that to protect your newly plaited hair from this scorching sun,’ Iya Awero told her daughter.

For the rest of the day Ajoke worked harder by way of compensation for her mother’s gesture. She peeled the harvested cassavas into a basket and soaked them into blue-coloured large containers filled with water. That done, she earned her deserved rest while the others removed the soaked cassava and mashed them into tiny bits before commencing the back-breaking task of separating the wheat from the chaff.

During the break from active work, she pondered on her mother’s words: ‘Do you know how many families will go hungry by sundown if you don’t show up this evening?’ It had never once crossed her mind how important was this daily routine of hard work to so many families and homes, since she herself had never lacked food. This evening, she was prepped to hawk her wares, head and shoulders raised.

She looked across from where she sat and glanced at some company vans waiting to pick the dried cassava extracts. Nothing was left to waste on the plantation – even the peelings are gathered to feed goats. She nodded to no-one in silent recognition of the important role Oko Fufu was playing in the community and even beyond Ogun State.

After a studied silence, she rose up, volunteered to join the rest in cassava processing and – almost to her own surprise – began to hum, ‘Ise ya, omo Ogun ise ya.’ Others joined in and soon a cacophony of discordant voices rended the air.

 

 

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.

Seven Years After Bellview Crash… Government’s Neglect Sinks Lisa Village In Depression

By Gbenga Akinfenwa

Entrance to the arcade built by the Federal Government in honour of the 117 victims that died after the ill-fated Boeing 737 plane owned by the defunct Bellview Airline crashed on October 22, 2005. It is overgrown with weeds and bushes.

Not many would remember Lisa village, site of the ill-fated Boeing 737 plane owned by the defunct Bellview Airline, which claimed the lives of 117 people. Though it was a tragic incidence that threw the whole nation into mourning on October 22, 2005; seven years after, the grief has been reduced to a faint memory by Nigerians, relations of victims and government.
Lisa, a remote community in Ifo local government area of Ogun State is about 40 kilometres from Sango. But for the crash that gave it prominence, the community would have probably remained unknown. The disaster has, however, done little to uplift the infrastructure of the village despite government’s yearly fanfare to mark the day.
Seven years after, the eerie silence that last Monday pervaded the Lisa Memorial Arcade and Garden – jointly built by Ogun and the federal governments was never imagined, considering government’s routine jamboree in the first five years of the anniversary.
Though dead and long rested, the 117 crash victims would find it difficult in the world beyond to decipher the unusual stillness that ruled the arcade last week. During a visit to the arcade, built to serve the dual purpose of a resting place for the souls of the victims and also a tourist centre, it was a diminished edifice that greeted The Guardian.
The bushes at the front gate of the muddy entrance had wildly grown; but for a narrow footpath, there wouldn’t have been any access to the arcade. The surrounding bushes too are begging for urgent attention, which is derogatory to the memory of the victims.
In seven years, the arcade has lost its radiant look. The paints are fast fading and the walls are cracking too. Though there were signs of a recent weeding of the graveyard, it still looks unkempt. The floor of a section of the arcade from the entrance is already sinking. Sadly, nametags attached to the cenotaph are falling off, making it difficult for victims’ relations who had visited the site for long to locate their departed.

Garden of the arcade

While there was no representatives from both the state and federal governments, only relations of two victims were at the arcade that Monday to remember their loved ones. Just nine people, including The Guardian signed the visitor’s register. Even tourists who had shown interest in the centre deserted the arcade.
Some villagers attributed the uncanny neglect to the bad state of the road, which is discouraging regular visitors to the arcade. It was a nightmare getting to the site as the road constructed shortly after the crash has deteriorated. Erosion has washed away the tarred portions of the road, leaving it with wide ditches. With the raining season, the condition of road has worsened.
From Sango through Ijoko-Ogba-Oluke, the road is so bad that transporters have abandoned the route. The only available means is through commercial motorcycles, popularly called Okada, who charge exorbitant fees to the discomfort of commuters.

Though the community has moved on with life after the tragic incident, Lisa is suffering from government’s neglect. There is no primary and secondary schools in the community. The nearest secondary school to Lisa is in Oluke, which is already over-populated. There is no hospital; the nearest one is in Ota, which is about 40 kilometres away, while the area also lacks a police post to safeguard the lives of residents.

Bad road leading to Lisa Village

This discomforting situation has forced the Baale of the community, Chief Najeem Oladele Odugbemi, to embark on many self-help projects, including the construction of a police station, health centre and market to make life meaningful for his subjects. The state government, through the ministries of Community Development and Culture and Tourism recently visited the community, promising to execute some valuable facilities, but nothing has been heard from the state since then.
A resident, Mr. Aliu Saheed, recalled that the crash was a sad moment for residents but they have overcome it, adding that the volume of human traffic and government presence the community witnessed for about three years after the incident had since ceased.
He lamented that Lisa lacks basic amenities, a government responsibility the community leader has hugely taken on his shoulders to make residents live comfortably.
For Chief Odugbemi, there is nothing to cheer about the anniversary because government has not kept its promise to the community. He lamented that the memorial arcade had been left to rot away like other monuments in the country.
“The primary duty of government is to take care of the welfare of the people and provide security. We applied through the state Police command for the approval of a police station for us and we laid the foundation in 2008 with my personal effort. We have reached a level where government and the police should help us to complete it and make it operational.
“How can a community survive without health centre, talk less of a hospital. I started the building of a health centre, which is about 70 percent completed. We are even contemplating putting up a secondary school here. I have acquired over two acres of land for that too, using my personal money to acquire it from my people here. So, if government comes tomorrow and need a land to build school for us, the land is already secured.”

Baale of Lisa, Chief Najeem Odugbemi

The Baale pleaded with the governor, Ibikunle Amosun, to make true the promises made by his commissioners who visited Lisa to inspect ongoing projects in the community. “All we are saying is that we need government’s support. We are tired of taking over their responsibility. Government is a father to everybody and as such, must live up to its responsibilities,” he stated.
Residents are also appealing to the state to upgrade the status of the Baale to a monarch in order to use his connections to bring more developmental projects to the community. Joseph Ayoola said “Lisa is big enough to have an Oba. This is the time for government to upgrade our leader and link us with the national grid.”