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Updated: 1 hour 41 min ago

We Won't Present Certificate Of Return To Okorocha, INEC Insists

19 March 2019 - 12:42am

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has insisted that its decision not to present certificate of return to Rochas Okorocha, the outgoing Governor of Imo State and senator-elect still stands.

Festus Okoye, INEC’s National Commissioner for Information and Voter Education, stated this on Monday.

According to Okoye, the commission stands by its decision because the Returning Officer for Imo West senatorial district election had disclosed that the declaration was made “under duress”.

"Yes, we’ve made it clear on why we didn’t present any certificate of return to him (Okorocha). If you look at our website, we said the declaration and return were made under duress and that we are not going to give any certificate to any person who procured a return under duress," he said.

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My Assets Declaration Forms Have Been Tampered With, Says Onnoghen

19 March 2019 - 12:40am

Onnoghen in court

Walter Onnoghen, the suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), has alleged that his Assets Declaration Forms submitted to the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) have been tampered with by agents of the Nigerian government.

Onnoghen made the allegation on Monday at his resumed trial on alleged fraudulent declaration of assets before the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) in Abuja.

The said documents are the CCB Assets Declaration forms of 2014 and 2015.

The prosecution having called its 1st witness, James Akpala, a Senior Investigative Officer with the CCB, had sought to tender the said documents in support of his evidence against Onnoghen.

However, when the documents were shown to the defendant, Onnoghen through his counsel, Chief Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN), told the Tribunal that a careful look at the documents showed that they had been tampered with.

According to him, the 2014 form has become loosened, part of it mutilated and has become blue in a way.

Awomolo said a similar observation was made on the 2015 form, with some duplications and omission of some pages.

“We have some reservations on the documents. We will not object in the interest of justice, but we have reservations that would be addressed at the end of the day,” the senior lawyer stated.

Akpala in his evidence-in-chief, told the tribunal that the CCB on January 10, referred a petition written by the Anti-Corruption and Research Database Initiative to his team for investigation.

The witness said that on the strength of the petition signed by one Chief Dennis Aghanya, he visited Onnoghen in his office at the Supreme Court, during which a cautionary statement was obtained from him, while letters were also written to the Standard Chartered Bank for account details of the defendant with the bank.

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Lawmaker-Elect Presents Certificate Of Return To MC Oluomo

19 March 2019 - 12:37am

Bashiru Dawodu, winner of the Oshodi/Isolo Federal Constituency 1 election, has visited Musiliu Akinsanya a.k.a. MC Oluomo, leader of the National Union of Road Transport Workers in the area, to show him his (Dawodu’s) certificate of return issued to him by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Dawodu, who contested on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), visited Oluomo’s home and thanked the NURTW leader for the role he played in his victory.

In his response, Oluomo said he would support Dawodu to become a senator in 2023 by "God’s grace".

“Maybe after this, we will be going to the Senate by God’s grace," he said.

The election in Oshodi/Isolo Local Government Area, where Okota is located, was one of the areas that suffered violence during the elections in Lagos State.

In one of the incidents that occurred, thugs were caught on camera destroying ballot boxes and tearing ballot papers on election day.

In another video, people were seen running away from polling units, while gunshots could be heard in the background.

Oluomo had in January been stabbed by hoodlums, who invaded the Skypower Ground, Ikeja venue of an APC rally with guns, daggers and other dangerous weapons.

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Buhari Told Me Suing INEC Is The Best Way To Go, Says Bauchi Gov

19 March 2019 - 12:31am

Mohammed Abubakar, Governor of Bauchi State, says President Muhammadu Buhari give him the nod to sue the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on its decision to collate results in the two Local Government Areas (LGAs), instead of conducting a supplementary election.

The incumbent Governor, who contested against Bala Mohammed, candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), said this on Monday after a meeting with the President in Abuja.

Kyari Mohammed, the Returning Officer in the state, had declared the election inconclusive after it was observed that the margin between the two leading candidates was less than the number of cancelled votes.

PDP got 469,512 votes, which was 4,059 votes more than the incumbent Governor, who secured 465,453 votes.

“I am a lawyer and I am pursuing the legal angle. I briefed him and he emphasized that it is the best way to go," Abubakar said.

Besides, Yekini Nabena, the Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), has blamed the loss of Bauchi on malfunctioned card readers.

Addressing reporters in Abuja, he enjoined the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) not to rush into jubilation, as “INEC would be made to offer explanations” for the alleged infractions.

Alleging collusion, Nabena wondered how APC that won 21 seats to PDP’s five in the state assembly could have lost the governorship.

While justifying the need for a rerun at the aforementioned council, the spokesman noted that Mrs. Dominion Anosike, the Returning Officer, had alleged intimidation and harassment during collation of the results.

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I Acted Within CCT Powers To Suspend Onnoghen, Says Umar

19 March 2019 - 12:18am

Justice Danladi Umar

Danladi Yakubu Umar, Chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), says he acted within the inherent powers and jurisdiction of the Tribunal in ordering the suspension of Walter Onnoghen as the Chief Justice of Nigeria.

He also noted that only the Court of Appeal can determine if he had rightly applied the powers.

He said this on Monday in response to a petition filed by Grace Stephen Wogor, a lawyer.

The petition was then forwarded to him by the Federal Judicial Service Commission (FJSC).

Umar said the Tribunal did not comply with the order of the High Court and the National Industrial Court, because they are courts of coordinate jurisdictions, stressing that the chairman and members of the CCT are not “constitutionally subject to disciplinary proceedings by either the National Judicial Council (NJC) or the Federal Judicial Service Commission (FJSC)”.

The CCT chairman said: “It is left to the appellate court to determine whether or not the order was rightly or wrongly granted. The petitioner had alleged that I granted an ex parte order directing the President to suspend the Chief Justice of Nigeria, who is a defendant in a charge filed against him at the tribunal.

“It is important to state that I acted within the inherent powers and jurisdiction of the Tribunal and that whether or not the order was rightly or wrongly granted is now a matter to be determined by the Court of Appeal, since the defendant appealed against the ex parte order.

“Therefore, with the appeal against the ex parte order at the Court of Appeal, the matter is now subjudice. The petitioner alleged that I assumed jurisdiction on the matter of the CJN as defendant in a charge filed against him by the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB).

“The defendant (Onnoghen) had appealed the ruling of the Tribunal on the jurisdiction to the Court of Appeal.

“On 30th January, 2019, the Court of Appeal delivered a ruling on the appeal filed by the defendant to the effect that the defendant should appear before the Code of Conduct Tribunal to answer the charges filed against him by the CCB.

“Consequently, the appeal by the defendant was dismissed by the appellate court, thereby affirming the ruling on the Tribunal’s jurisdiction.”

On failure to comply with some lower court orders to halt Justice Onnoghen’s trial, the CCT chair said it was because they are courts of coordinate jurisdiction with his tribunal.

He added: “The petitioner alleged that I failed to comply with orders issued by the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory and the National Industrial Court restraining the Tribunal from taking further steps in a matter before it.

“It is worthy of note that both the High Court of FCT and the National Industrial Court are courts of coordinate jurisdiction with the CCT.

“More so, the High Court of FCT and the National Industrial Court have nothing to do with any matter pertaining to non-declaration of assets. The Tribunal is the only court that has jurisdiction on the matter relating to failure to declare assets or false declaration by public servants.

“The only courts that have supervisory powers over the Tribunal are Appeal Court and the Supreme Court of Nigeria.”

The CCT chair denied breaching judicial oaths because he did not subscribe to such, noting that he could not be sanctioned either by the NJC or the FJSC.

Umar said: “The petitioner alleged that judicial oaths were breached and that the NJC should consider appropriate sanctions.

“It is to be noted that the chairman and members of the CCT are not judicial officers. This is predicated on the fact that the chairman and members of the Tribunal, during swearing into office, only subscribe to official oaths and not judicial oaths.

“Therefore, not being a judicial officer, I did not subscribe to judicial oaths and therefore could not have breached any judicial oath as alleged.

“With regards to the prayer of the petitioner for appropriate sanction against the CCT chairman, it is important to note that the chairman and members of the Tribunal, not being judicial officers, are not constitutionally subject to any disciplinary proceedings by either the NJC or the Federal Judicial Service Commission (FJSC).”

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After Visiting Buhari In Abuja, Sanwo-Olu Addresses Collapse Of Buildings In Lagos

18 March 2019 - 2:02pm

Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the Governor-elect of Lagos State, has revealed the reason he visited President Muhammadu Buhari at his office in Aso Rock, in the company of his deputy, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat.

According to Sanwo-Olu, their mission in Abuja was to congratulate Buhari on winning a second term in office.

The President also congratulated the duo on their victory in the Lagos governorship election. 

Speaking to journalists shortly after the meeting, Sanwo-Olu said: “It is important for the Deputy Governor-elect and myself to have a one-on-one short discussion with the Commander-in-Chief, and it's a rare privilege. It was a short one, just to say congratulations to him on his own election and he also said the same thing to us. So it's a very short courtesy visit to Mr. President.''

The incoming Governor said Lagosians should expect a lot of solutions to many of the challenges they face in areas of transportation, housing, waste management, health and education, adding that he and his deputy have the competence and capabilities that would bring good governance as soon as they are sworn in.

''We are actually very excited," he said.

"We are excited because we've seen all the challenges ahead of us and we know that given all the plans and strategies we are putting in place for execution, we will certainly be bringing about solutions that will solve various challenges in Lagos very quickly. 'We know that with a mega city of our status, it comes with a lot of challenges, but we are lucky that we have been part of it before now and we are excited that the solutions we are bringing up, many of which we told our people on the campaign trail. We are sure we will very quickly, be able to bring about positive development that will improve the quality of lives and ease all of the challenges that we currently have in Lagos."

On the recent building collapse in the state, he said the current government in the state is doing all that is possible to ensure building codes are strictly adhered to and that his administration would strengthen the existing codes and also apply the rules without pandering to sentiments. 

''It's an unfortunate incident. I used to be the Vice Chairman of the Committee on Building Collapse. That was about 10 years ago, which was what led us to create an agency called Lagos State Building Control Agency (LABCA). It was meant to identify structures well ahead before issues like this begin to happen. But it's an unfortunate thing, extremely very unfortunate and it also means that we expect it would happen again if nothing drastic is done to check it. Our administration will strengthen the agency and apply the law without sentiments.

“Lagos truly really needs regeneration, especially Lagos Island and that was part of the things we promised on the campaign trail. So, it's to have a conversation with all of the families on the Island and we'll see the kind of redevelopment that is important as it's being done by a lot of other big cities like Lagos.”

Speaking on the issue of urban renewal, Sanwo-Olu said proper enumeration of properties is the ultimate solution to achieve success. He said once properties are properly enumerated and the owners see the government's sincerity of purpose, they will key into it and regeneration can take place.

''Well, it's really not that regeneration has been a challenge, but because we have not been able to see it through to the end. When you want to take people's properties and you want to regenerate, they must first see the sincerity of purpose; what are the additional plans that you have for them? Before you could regenerate, there must be a stop gap; in the next two to three years what are the plans you have for them? And you need to do what we call proper enumeration. Once you can enumerate properly and determine who the original owners are, and you sit and have an agreement, then the regeneration will start.

''But like I have said, the major thing is sincerity of purpose, knowing full well that you are not out to circumvent them or to short-change them. Once that is put on the table very clearly and transparently, I believe that as it's also done in other jurisdictions, we will make success of it,'' Sanwo-Olu stated.

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How Fumes From Newly-Bought Generator Killed Four Children In Bayelsa

18 March 2019 - 1:51pm

Tragedy struck in Aghoro II community in Ekeremor Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, with the discovery of four lifeless bodies in the early hours of Saturday.

According to residents of the area, the children inhaled the fumes expelled by the generator that powered their home.

All four children, who were still in primary school, had just finished the term’s examination.

According to the neighbours, the newly-bought generator was positioned at the veranda right next to the children’s room.

The deceased children — identified as Lucky, Ebitimi and Ruth London — with their cousin Ebi Binasuode were discovered dead in the morning.

Only one, Favour Stephen, survived the incident.

The distraught father of the deceased children said he kept the generator at the balcony far from the room of the girls. However, when he woke up at 6am the next day, he discovered that the generator had shifted close to the door of the girls’ room.

“The generator was outside, but it was on tiles. The generator shifted close to the door. At about 6am, I came out to put off the generator and saw that it was close to the door. Eventually, when I entered the room I saw that all the children were dead,” he lamented.

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Army Counters INEC, Says Wike’s Security Aides Attacked Soldiers At Rivers Collation Centre

18 March 2019 - 1:43pm

Governor Nyesom Wike

The Nigerian Army has responded to the accusation by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) accusing its officers of disrupting the governorship and state house of assembly elections in Rivers State.

A statement issued by Colonel Aminu Iliyasu, Deputy Director, Army Public Relations, on Monday, claimed that it was thugs working for Nyesom Wike, Governor of Rivers State, who attacked the Rivers collation centre.

INEC had berated the officers of the Nigerian Army for disrupting elections in the state.

However, the Military denied the claims, also faulting INEC for refusing to acknowledge that one of its officers was shot at close range by one of the security aides attached to the Governor, while another soldier was injured with a machete.

The statement read: “Headquarters 6 Division Nigerian Army (NA) has observed with dismay and a sense of betrayal in the statement made by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) signed by its National Commissioner and Chairman Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye Esq, on 15 March, 2019. The statement, according to INEC, was the findings of its Fact-Finding Committee that assessed the situation in Rivers State.

“It is however pertinent to note that representatives of the 6 Division met with the Fact-Finding Committee on Tuesday, 12 March, 2019, at the INEC headquarters in Port Harcourt and had honest discussions and made a written submission to aid the Committee in its task. Regrettably, none of the Division’s input form any of the findings of INEC as made public. This clearly indicates lack of trust by an institution that the NA sacrifices so much to assist in the course of performing their role.

“What INEC failed to mention or even consider is the fact that at about 10:30 pm on Saturday 9th March, 2019, troops of 6 Division NA detailed at the outer perimeter of Obio/Akpor Local Government Headquarters Collation Centre were brazenly attacked by Governor Wike’s security aides and armed thugs who stormed the collation centre with the Governor in a convoy of more than 50 vehicles, while collation of results was going on. In the ensuing melee, Captain Adams Salami was shot at close range by the security aides of Governor Wike, while Corporal Adeosun Adebayo was macheted by Governor Wike’s thugs. Both victims are currently receiving treatment at University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital (UPTH) Intensive Care Unit and Military Hospital Port Harcourt, respectively, with life threatening injuries. Thereafter, election materials were carted away and electoral officials abducted by the Governor’s thugs to an unknown destination. This was made known to the INEC Fact-Finding Committee but INEC does not see it worth condemning or mention in its report.

“Consequently, after due consultations and considerations between 6 Division and the Rivers State Police Command on Sunday the 10th of March 2019, the Rivers State Police Command, on their own, took the initiative to invite the media to the hospitals where the two victims are receiving treatment and thereafter to host a press conference on the matter with the view to dissociate itself from the unprofessional conduct exhibited by their men attached to Wike and tell the public what disciplinary action the command will take or is already taking. However, while the visit to the victims was accomplished and the two victims interviewed by the media, the press conference was aborted by the Police after journalists had been assembled.

“Coincidentally, a rescheduled press conference on the matter was also aborted on Thursday the 14th of March, 2019. Most disheartening is that while the Rivers State Police Command accepts the involvement of their personnel in the attack at Obio/Akpor LG headquarters, till date those personnel have not at least been reprimanded. To this end, in the circumstance, the 6 Division NA as a stakeholder in the 2019 General Elections takes exception to the lopsided and therefore unfair INEC report and is hereby strongly and totally rejected by the NA.

“The Division is equally disappointed with the attitude exhibited by the Nigerian Police in this regard and hereby request the Police leadership to commence full scale investigation of those security aides to Governor Wike that attacked troops at the Obio/Akpor LG Headquarters Collation Centre and shot at Capt. A.A. Salami with a view to appropriately sanctioning those found responsible/culpable. Until that is done, Headquarters 6 Division NA will have to review all existing joint activities with the Rivers State Police Command.”

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BREAKING: Cries, Sporadic Gunshots, Explosions As Boko Haram 'Takes Over' Michika

18 March 2019 - 1:30pm

Suspected Boko Haram terrorists are currently on the rampage in Michika Local Government Area of Adamawa State, SaharaReporters can report.

Hordes of residents have escaped to the mountains to take refuge, while those trapped in their homes were crying with deafening sounds of gunshots followed by explosions in the background. The insurgents, SaharaReporters understands, also had the audacity to enter a filling station to refuel some of their cars.

"Boko Haram has taken over michika," a resident screamed to SaharaReporters on the phone before going off the line abruptly.

Narrating the incident, a resident of Michika who simply gave his name as Sebastian, told SaharaReporters: "It’s really sad for us in Michika, because Boko Haram guys have struck again. Personally, I'm not in Michika at the moment, but my mum and siblings have managed to escape to the mountains where they're taking refuge as I speak with you. Only God can help us now.”

Adamu Daniel, another resident, said: “I called home from Maiduguri only to hear my sister's cries and I could hear a loud bang in the background; shortly thereafter, her phone went off. I'm so scared now and I haven’t been able to reach them again.”

Wosini Marwa, a resident of the neighbouring Bazza town, said: "We heard that Boko Haram people have entered a village called Kwapa, between Shuwa and Michika, so we've been placed on red alert.”

Also a former Michika Local Council Chairman, who preferred not to be named, confirmed: "Presently, we have fled to the mountains. Only God knows what will happen to us."

However, the state Police Command could not confirm the attack outright, as Othman Abubakar, the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), told our correspondent: "I'm getting to hear about the attack from you, but please give me some time to verify what happened.”

As of the time of filing this report, he had not responded.

Michika is one of the 14 LGAs where the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is expected to conduct supplementary governorship election on March 23, 2019.

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NSCIA Condemns Terrorist Attack On Mosques In New Zealand

18 March 2019 - 1:11pm


The Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) has condemned the attack on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand.

The incident occurred on Friday, March 15, 2019.

The NSCIA, under the leadership of Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, its President-General and the Sultan of Sokoto, berated “the enabling environment created by racists, supremacists and left-wing extremists that allows Islamophobia to fester all over the world”.

A statement signed by Professor Salisu Shehu, the NSCIA Deputy Secretary-General, issued on Monday, read: “On Friday, March 15, 2019, all the civilised citizens of the world were horrified by the dastardly attack of a Christian terrorist and Australian citizen, Brenton Tarrant, on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, as Muslims converged for the worship of their Lord. In a gripping and carefully orchestrated plot that was intended to shock and awe the world, the terrorist live-streamed the video of his horrific massacre.

“In the terrible attack that was unprecedented in the annals of the country, at least 50 Muslim worshippers across various nationalities were gunned down, while more than 40 others sustained various degrees of injury. While many right-thinking people and governments across the world have expressed outrage at such a heinous crime and mass murder of various nationalities, there are those whose hearts are blotted by hatred and bigotry to the extent that every crime against Muslims is welcome. A typical example is the Australian Senator Fraser Anning, who still blamed Muslims for being attacked!   

“The Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) under the leadership of its President-General, the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, CFR, mni, strongly condemns this brazen act of terrorism on the defenseless Muslim worshippers in Christchurch. The Council also totally condemns the enabling environment created by racists, supremacists and left-wing extremists that allows Islamophobia to fester all over the world.

“Corrosive anti-Muslim rhetoric and bigoted media reportage have led to a spike in hate-motivated and terror-induced attacks on Muslims across the world in recent years. From the Imam and his associate killed in the US in August 2016, the murder of six Muslims at a Quebec City Mosque, Canada, in January 2017, the killing of a 58-year old Muslim after a night prayer in London in June 2017 to the recent one, among many others, many Muslims have died and are still dying because of the monstrosity of Islamophobia.

“In all those attacks and others, the religious identities of the perpetrators have always been downplayed because they were Christians. But if a criminal who happens to bear a Muslim name is involved in a crime, his religion would be dragged into it. It is such double standards and other injustices that serve as enablers of the current state of the world where victims are conveniently branded aggressors and mass murderers are labelled gunmen.”

NSCIA appealed to Nigerian Muslims to embrace patience and continue to pray, just as it commended Jacinta Arden, the Prime Minister of New Zealand, for labelling the incident a “terrorist attack” and for reaching out to the Muslim community.

The statement continued: “While appealing to Muslims in Nigeria and the world to remain patient and prayerful in the face of all attacks and provocations, the Council commends the New Zealand Prime Minister, Jacinda Arden, for calling the attack what it was, ‘a terrorist attack’, and for the efforts being made by her and her government to engage the Muslim community in this sorrowful period. That is an example of leadership that is lacking in many world leaders. The Council also acknowledges the solidarity of the Christchurch community and the good citizens of New Zealand.

“Our prayer is that Allah admits the martyred Muslims to Aljannah Firdaos, give their families the fortitude to bear the irrecoverable losses, grant the injured quick recovery and protect His own people all over the world from the devilish plots of their enemies.”

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Gbenga Daniel 'Frees' His Supporters For PDP And APC — But They Insist 'We Haven't Asked For Freedom'

18 March 2019 - 1:01pm

Gbenga Daniel, Director General of the Atiku Abubakar Presidential Campaign Organisation, says he hasn’t made a final decision on if he wants to re-enter partisan politics.

He said his supporters in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are free to move to whichever party they choose, but his supporters have insisted that he cannot leave them.

Daniel had announced his resignation from the PDP, as well as his decision to quit partisan politics in a letter dated March 14, 2019. But he denied reports that he had decided to move to the All Progressives Congress (APC), after a meeting on the matter with his supporters from across the state.

In a statement on the subject issued on Sunday, the former Governor of Ogun State said: “I have not agreed. Please report well. There was a resolution I picked from the meeting.

"The meeting agreed that my resignation from the PDP was in order. The meeting vehemently disagreed with my decision to quit partisan politics. The meeting raised a motion that I should lead them into APC which motion was unanimously adopted.

“I earlier on in my speech said that I have freed them and they can choose to stay in the PDP or join APC or any other party of their choice, since I have decided to be non-partisan to which they all responded that APC is their choice, having worked for Dapo Abiodun on my instruction.

“Mrs. Apampa, in her closing speech, then propounded the Duck theory literally meaning that they will move ahead to APC and will drag me along behind them. I made no further comments and the meeting ended.

“Summary is that whereas our people are free to move, I am yet to decide finally if I want to re-enter partisan politics having just quitt.”

Meanwhile, members of the OGD Political Family have rejected Daniel’s decision to quit partisan politics.

A communiqué issued at the end of an emergency meeting on Sunday and signed by Ayo Giwa, Media Aide to Chief Gbenga Daniel, noted that the former Governor’s decision to quit partisan politics is “unacceptable”.

The communiqué read: “Consequent upon the letter of resignation from partisan politics released by His Excellency, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, on the 14th of March, 2019, leaders and members of the OGD Political Family converged at an emergency meeting on Sagamu residence of the former Governor on Sunday 17th day of March, 2019. The meeting was well-attended by stakeholders and members of the Otunba Gbenga Daniel Political family. The ‘family’ resolved as follows:

“That the decision of H.E. Otunba Gbenga Daniel to quit partisan politics is unacceptable to the entire leadership and members of the structure.

“That members of the political structure have not requested for political freedom from Otunba Gbenga Daniel, hence, the move to give them one is null and void.

“That with the seeming disdain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the Southwest and Ogun State and most especially the person of Otunba Gbenga Daniel, his resignation from the party is a welcome development.

“That members are hereby pleading with Otunba Gbenga Daniel to take them to the All Progressives Congress (APC) having supported the governorship candidate of the party to win the election in the March 9, 2019 governorship elections in Ogun State.

“That Otunba Gbenga Daniel should consider this plea greatly.

“After the meeting, His Excellency Otunba Gbenga Daniel left the gathering without any commitment to the plea. He later told the pressmen who swooped on him that he has listened to his people and will consider what he heard carefully. That was the summary of the meeting.”

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2019 Election Aftermath: The Presidential Sowore, Anti-Poor Buhari And The Thieving Atiku

18 March 2019 - 12:53pm

As I put my pen to paper or, in this case, my fingers on the keyboard, I can't help but dedicate this piece to the memory of our beloved Prof. Pius Adesanmi. The world and Africa today may be sophisticated with a vast number of professors, many of whom find it very difficult to actually profess anything worthy of true intellectualism. But in all of this and in all ways, Pius Adesanmi stands out.

Like George Orwell once posited, in times of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act. Orwell probably had Pius in mind when making that statement. Pius was a radical intellectual whose writings, speeches and actions were strictly dedicated to  the defense of the Nigerian people whose dignity and humanity has been subjected to perpetual rape by the unconscionable ruling class. In a country and continent where most professors are mostly praise singers, and  bootlickers of this dubious ruling elite, Pius Adesanmi chose to be on the side of the oppressed; he spoke truth to power without let or hindrances. His body may have been killed by systemic greed and irresponsibility of business interest as we have it in Boeing, But the ideas and ideals he stood for remain in the hearts of many. They are unquenchable.

Do not be surprised that this piece spent the first paragraph paying tribute to Prof. Adesanmi. This is because everything you would be reading here are many ways synonymous to  his everyday intervention in our national life. In one of his social media engagements, he reacted via Twitter to Ben Bruce on 1st of March, pointed to the "Common Sense Sinnator" the disparity between the wealthy — constituted largely by our ruling class — and  the poor, a class dominated by the ruled. The fact that the rich keep luxuriating in affluence while poor are languishing is mind-boggling. He helped emphasize the urgent need to get rid of this thieving class if we must free the most populous black nation from the clutches of poverty. What Pius was doing was simply to prepare us for the struggle ahead beyond the sham of an election that we witnessed nationwide recently.

But for some few supplementary polls, it may be safe to assume that elections have come and gone. To say the elections were ridden with unbelievable anomalies is an understatement. We have always known that elections in the past years have always been decided at collation centres and not the true reflection of the wishesof the electorate. But what happened in the just concluded elections is no doubt the greatest electoral robbery and by far the biggest sham of an election in our country's history. Amidst the madness of rigging, vote buying and voters' intimidation, Buhari returned to Aso Rock. He wasn't returned by the people, definitely not.  But through electoral absurdities and sundry malfeasance engineered by the ruling party Buhari returned himself to power. Compared to what we saw in 2015, the announcement of another four year term for APC's Buhari threw the country into a mournful mood.

Ours, however, is not to lament but to understand. Just few days after his re-emergence, Buhari said the next four years would be tough. Omo this guy no get chill at all. Person dey inside fire dey burn, u still con sey u wan add petrol so the bone wey remain go turn ashes sharp sharp. There is no doubt that this administration will viciousy attack the living conditions of the Nigerian people. Already, Boko Haram and the killer herdsmen have resumed killings in the north. The next four years would not only be marred by bloodletting, it would also be characterised by attacks of workers' wages, education and general attacks on living standard. Already, statistics have shown that over 125million Nigerians are living below poverty lines. And this figure is bound to get worse in the coming years. The signs are widely circulated around us for those who care to observe. The NNPC's notification of vacancy had over 26million applicants within the space of 24hours. The same happened to access bank just some few weeks ago. The bank's portal just had to crash under the influence of over 24million applications in less than 24hours. 

To be clear, Atiku's PDP wouldn't have been any different. While Buhari's APC was coming to create an army of poor and hopeless people, Atiku was preparing to create paradise for thieves. Like Buhari, Atiku is like the biblical devil with the sole aim to Steal, Kill and  destroy. Buhari's last four years was stealing massively through "Cashivorous Animals", killing through hunger/poverty, bad roads, inadequate hospitals, general lack of infrastructures and Bokoharam/killer herdsmen. He intends to finally destroy us through attacks on our general standard of living. Atiku on the other hand has said he doesn't need the animals to assist in the robbery. He said it openly at Channels TV that he was going to use our resources to enrich his friends. He was practically coming to institutionalize corruption. His intention to sell off NNPC would definitely kill the economy of the common man and his plans to enrich his friends with public properties would completely destroy the livelihood of the already impoverished Nigerian population. Like I always like to maintain, PDP killed Nigeria in its last 16 years of maladministration, APC spent it's first four years burying the country under the dirt of gross incompetence and ineptitude,  it's next four years would be dedicated to the funeral service of our dear nation. But what we must do as oppressed citizens and victims of this economic injustice is to "disrupt" the final burial of the Nigerian nation and awaken the dead bones symbolized by our economy that was ferociously murdered by the 16 years of the PDP. And this is where our very own OMOYELE SOWORE  comes in. The 2019 elections have unconsciously produced two Presidents; The President of a lifeless nation and the President of the rising, hungry , angry and poor Nigerian masses. This President must provide and lead the way to the liberation of the impoverished Nigerian people. This President that was rigged out by the system but accepted by the conscience of the oppressed must stand up now and lead us all unto the path of freedom and economic justice.


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Journalists Attacked With Cutlasses During Protest Against IBEDC's 'Crazy Bills' In Osun

18 March 2019 - 12:43pm

Journalists on ground to cover a protest in Ilesa, Osun State, over the disconnection of electricity supply to the town have been attacked with cutlasses.

The protest began on Sunday evening, and lasted through Monday.

Marching through the streets, the youth barricaded the roads and prevented motorists from passing through, berating the Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company (IBEDC) for cutting off power supply to the area.

According to NAN, journalists covering the protest on Monday were attacked with cutlasses and other dangerous weapons, while their recording equipment got damaged.

Rafiu Muhammad of Television Continental (TVC) and his cameraman, Taiwo Adu, as well as Shittu Abdulfatai, a Channels Television reporter, and his cameraman, were attacked and their cameras destroyed.

The journalists are receiving treatment at the Ladoke Akintola University Teaching Hospital in Osogbo, the Osun State capital.

On March 14, some youth from Olomilagba and Bolorunduro communities in Obokun Local Government Area of the state had stormed the Ilesha business hub of IBEDC to protest “crazy bills”.

During the protest, the IBEDC management claimed that the youth attacked their staff and made away with money. As a result of the attack, IBEDC disconnected electricity supply to the communities, which led to the violent protest.

At the protest, which resumed on Monday, the youth allegedly vandalised the IBEDC office in Isare, Isokun and Oke-Omiru in Ilesha. Office documents as well as other valuables of the company were allegedly set ablaze by the protesting youth.

Folashade Odoro, the Police Public Relations Officer in the state, said policemen had been deployed to the town to address the situation, and appealed to residents to go about their lawful duties without fear of intimidation.

Kikelomo Owoeye, the IBEDC Regional Communication Officer, confirmed the disconnection of power supply to the area, noting that the management of the company was already meeting at its headquarters to decide the next line of action.

According to Owoeye, the disconnection of electricity to the communities was to safeguard the lives of IBEDC staff.

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Four Scavengers Retrieved Alive From Rubble Of Latest Lagos Building Collapse

18 March 2019 - 12:08pm

Four people have been rescued from the rubble of the building, which collapsed on Monday in Lagos.

The incident occurred at 57, Egerton Square, Oke Arin, Lagos Island.

The building had been marked by the Lagos State Building Control Agency (LSBCA) for demolition, which began on Sunday.

According to the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA), the officials were on top of the building when some scavengers tried to remove the doors on the ground floor and the remaining part of the building collapsed on them.

The four scavengers sustained minor injuries and were taken to the hospital.

Rasaki Musbau, the Director of the Lagos State Fire Service, said: "Information from our men on the ground at the scene showed that it was a partial collapse. They have removed four persons trapped in the building. They are all alive."

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Abuja Electricity Distribution Company Refuses To Remove Pole Resting Dangerously On A House

18 March 2019 - 12:03pm

Rita Inyibor, a resident of Kurudu, Abuja, has called on the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) to remove the electricity pole belonging to the distribution company, which is resting dangerously on her house.

Inyibor said she had notified the AEDC of the happenings but the company refused to find a solution to the matter.

She lamented the carefree attitude of the staff of the distribution company, noting that they made no effort to address the situation.

“I have had a problem with the electricity company for over two years. Their electric cables are resting on my building in construction. A pole is resting on the fence of my house with the wires touching the roofing sheets of my house at Kurudu block, Industry New Road, Abuja,” she said.

She revealed that when she notified the distribution company about the cables were creating a spark on her house, they did not respond.

“The cables resting on the roof of my house once sparked fire and what they could do was to stop the spark by placing a piece of wood in between the cable and roof.”

Explaining some of the steps she had taken to get the distribution company to fix the falling pole, she said: “I have been going to their office and calling their officers to come and straighten the pole. I have also written officially to the Kurudu office at Second Gate. After a long time of waiting, with the Kurudu office claiming they had nothing with which to remove the pole; they referred me to Jikwonyi AEDC Abuja. I also had to write officially to them but they have not done anything to remove the pole that is resting on my house.”

Inyibor also stated that she met with one Engineer Awoniyi during one of her persistent visits to Jikwoyi AEDC office, but he deceived her that a team would be sent to fix it.

“At Jikwoyi, I finally spoke with Engineer Awoniyi who sent a person to see the place after which he kept on promising that they will remove the pole. After some time, they said they don't have the machinery to remove the pole and that I should keep waiting.”

She appealed to the management of AEDC to fix the pole to prevent future disaster.

“I want the management of AEDC, especially the MD, Mr. Ernest Mupwaya, to please come to my aid and straighten the pole or totally remove it from resting on my house. We don’t want to see anybody electrocuted.”

When contacted, Engineer Awoniyi stated that Inyibor breached the right of way by constructing a building on the path of cables.

"She encroached into the right of way, that is where utilities are supposed to be," he said.

"After the shoulder of the road, there will be culvert and from culvert to the fence; there will be drainage and is it meant for utilities? It is where the pole is supposed to be. I told her that if she built a shop, there was nothing we could do, or if she was planning to build a shop there won't be a need for relocation."

He, however, said he would ensure AEDC aligns the pole resting on her house. "I will visit the place and see what we can do as regards to that," he promised.

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JUST IN: Atiku, PDP Currently Filing Petition Challenging Buhari's Victory At Court Of Appeal

18 March 2019 - 11:13am

Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and his party are currently filing a petition challenging the declaration of President Muhammadu Buhari as winner of the 2019 presidential election held on February 23, 2019.

The filing process, which is ongoing at the Court of Appeal, is being done by a team of lawyers led by Chris Uche.

Atiku is challenging the outcome of the February 23 poll, which he claims was rigged to favour President Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

A court had recently approved the PDP’s application to be allowed access to materials used for the election.

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How Court Nullified Candidatures Of Omo-Agege, Ogboru... Sacked Delta APC Exco

18 March 2019 - 11:02am

The lingering legal battle between the Great Ogboru/Ovie Omo-Agege faction of the Jones Erue-led All Progressives Congress (APC) executive in Delta State, and the O'tega Emerhor faction of the Cyril Ogodo-led state executive over the wards, local government areas and state congresses, took a more dangerous dimension on Monday with the sack of the Erue executive.

In a suit marked FA/ASA/CS/76/2018, the Emerhor faction of the Cyril Ogodo-led state executive had dragged the Ogboru/Omo-Agege faction of the Jones Erue-led Delta APC executive, Adams Oshiomhole, the APC National Chairman, and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to court over the conduct of the wards, local government areas and state congresses.

Among other prayers sought by the plaintiffs was a declaration that candidates that emerged from the primaries conducted by the Ogodo-led executive constitute the authentic list of candidates for the 2019 general election.

In November 2018, the Federal High Court sitting in Asaba, the Delta State capital, and presided over by Justice Tosin Adegoke, had restrained the APC National Working Committee from submitting the list of all party candidates for the 2019 elections from Delta State to INEC.

The court ordered Oshiomhole, APC, INEC, Jones Erue and the plaintiff to maintain status quo and desist from submitting any list of candidates from Delta State from the two factions to INEC till the substantive suit filed was heard.

Delivering her judgement on Monday, Justice Tosin Adegoke, the presiding judge of the Federal High Court 1, Asaba, held that the O'tega Emerhor faction of the Cyril Ogodo state executive remains the authentic state executive of the party in the state and nullified the wards and local government executives of the party under the Erue-led state executive.

According to Justice Adegoke, every action embarked upon by Erue as state chairman of the APC were null and void. The ruling also voided the emergence of all candidates from the primaries conducted by the Erue-led executive.

Affected by the judgement are the candidatures and the re-election of Senator Ovie Omo-Agege representing Delta Central senatorial district; Great Ogboru, the Delta APC governorship candidate, among others produced by the primaries conducted by the Erue-led executive.

However, Nwachukwu Okubor, counsel to the defendants, said they would go to the Court of Appeal to challenge judgment, even as he expressed hope that the judgment would be upturned at the appellate court.

On his part, Roland Ekpe, counsel to the plaintiffs, said the judgment did not fall short of their expectations, stressing that all the nominations done by the Jones Erue-led executive in the 2019 general election were illegal, null and void. 

Ebata Onojeghuo, the state legal adviser of the Erue-led executive, told our correspondent that the said judgment was inconsequential, as the consent judgment they got from a Federal High Court in Abuja was not set aside. He added that all actions taken by the Erue-led executive, including nomination of candidates were empowered by the consent judgment.

On his own, Cyril Ogodo, the state chairman of the party, commended the judgment, and the judge, whom he said “in spite of all the intimidation, blackmail and frivolous petitions went ahead to deliver a landmark judgment”.

“What an incorruptible judge. Justice is alive in Nigeria. We hail Her Justice of the Federal High Court 1, Asaba, for her boldness. This is to confirm that illegality can never stand the test of time,” he added.

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Confusion As Man Who 'Defiled His Niece' Absconds From Court During Trial

18 March 2019 - 10:53am

There was confusion at the Ikeja Domestic Violence and Sexual Offences Court on Monday as Abiodun Akinpelu, accused of defiling his five-year-old niece, absconded before he was scheduled for arraignment.

The suspect, an architect, had arrived the courtroom to take his plea on two counts of indecent treatment of a child and sexual assault by penetration. However, when his case was announced, the suspect told the court that his lawyer was on his way to court.

Justice Abiola Soladoye, the presiding judge, stood down the case to enable the defence counsel get to court.

When the case was called the second time, Akinpelu had disappeared from the court premises.

Speaking on the development, Mrs. Arinola Momoh-Ayokanbi, the lead state prosecutor, told the court: “The defendant was in court earlier this morning, I noticed he stepped out of the courtroom immediately he left the dock. Now that he has absconded, I humbly request for a bench youwarrant. Five witnesses are to testify in this matter and three of the witnesses are present in court.”

Justice Soladoye issued a bench warrant for Akinpelu’s arrest and adjourned the case till May 7 for arraignment.

According to the charge sheet made available to journalists, Akinpelu committed the offences between January 2016 and September 2017 at his home located at 29, Mayowa Street, Orelope, Egbeda, Lagos.

According to the charge, the offences contravene Sections 135 and 262 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State 2015.

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After Failing To Conduct LG Polls For Two Years, Akeredolu Set To Create LCDAs As ‘Sweet Juice’ To Loyalists

18 March 2019 - 10:48am

In an apparent move to compensate many party loyalists who are yet to get any "sweet juice" in his two-year-old government, Governor of Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu, has shown his intention to create some Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) in the state.

The decision to create the LCDAs is coming after Akeredolu was lambasted for failing to conduct elections into the council areas of the state. 

Making his intentions known in Ode-Irele, Irele Local Government Area of the state, on Monday, Akeredolu said the LCDAs would help bring people of the grassroots closer to the government at the centre. 

SaharaReporters gathered that the Governor was visiting some towns in the state for a "thank you visit" to kick off his statewide tour when he declared his intentions.

He said the LCDAs, if created, would attract development and growth to the grassroots, which will benefit the local people as well promote development.

According to him, the governments would set up a committee that will help look critically into the creation of the LCDAs. He explained that the committee would be accepting memoranda from the communities who are seeking local governments or the LCDAs as this will help to determine the number to also create. 

The 'Sunshine State’, as fondly called, has a total number of 18 LGA and it is currently overseen by Caretaker Chairmen appointed by Akeredolu.

Akeredolu is already into his second year in office but he is yet to conduct Local Council Areas election in Ondo State and has been using party loyalists as ‘caretakers’ to oversee their administration.

Last year, he promised to conduct local government election for the third tier of government to have its own autonomy, but he hasn’t fulfilled it.

Then, Akeredolu set up members of the Ondo State Independent Electoral Commission (ODIEC) with a view to conducting the elections, but the commission has remained a shadow.

The over 10 political parties showed interest in the council's poll by obtaining the forms for their candidates, but they have been accusing the Governor of playing politics’ by not conducting the LG election.

Meanwhile, critics of the Akeredolu administration have refused to welcome the development, as many of them see the intention as an "playing politics" ahead of 2020. 

"The governorship poll is coming by next year, and Governor Akeredolu is now looking for a way to play us and seek support. He can't succeed,” one of them said.

"Firstly, he should go and pray that they give him governorship ticket of his party because I know he is now fighting a battle within his party.

"So, it is better he should not bring such idea to play us politics here. I will even lead a protest to reject it.”

A source close to the Governor told SaharaReporters that the plan to create the LCDAs might not be feasible due to financial status of the state.

"Some of us see no reason for the creation of LCDA because the issue is, where is the money to run it. We don't have the resource and we have lot of project to execute but no fund to do them”” he asked.

"Mr. Governor is just giving himself unnecessary cheap publicity. He cannot execute this for now. He doesn't know what it takes to create an LCDA. I know there is pressure everywhere and those who worked for him are yet to get paid back, particularly in those local governments. So, it will be easy to compensate them now, probably by dashing them the LCDAs.”

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Pius Adebola Adesanmi: Like A Dew On Grass, By Bámidélé Adémólá-Olátéjú

18 March 2019 - 10:46am

He appeared like a dew in the grass of my morning and evaporated at the rise of the sun. He knew, yes he knew. We were created with an expiration date. God gave us hope so we can live. Otherwise we would sit and wait to die in despondency. Pius knew, he just was not certain and he could not have been. He was, a mere mortal. He did everything in a hurry and lived quickly. 

Most people know Professor Pius Adesanmi, the University teacher, author, writer, public commentator, activist etc. I know Pius, just Pius. I know Pius, the loving and dutiful only son of Mama Louis Olufunke Adesanmi. The favourite nephew and son of Mama Oyelude. I know Pius, the wonderful and dotting father of two daughters; ten year old Damilare from his first marriage and six year old Tise from his second marriage. I know Pius the husband of Muyiwa, the brother of Iyabo and Tinuke.

To know Pius is to love him. A few years ago, he gave a lecture at Lagos State University (LASU). While at the podium, he noticed one of the people involved in making the event a successful one, looked like his primary school classmate. He gave his lecture, at the same time, he kept eye on the man wherever he was in the hall. After the event, he sought the man out, they embraced and exchanged phone numbers before he was peeled away by his professorial cycle. When he got to where he was lodged, he called his classmate and invited him over. The man told Pius he lived somewhere in the ravines of Okokomaiko. Pius wanted communion and more time with his long lost classmate. He followed him to his apartment in Okokomaiko. They ate, drank beer, and talked about the rascally little ones they once were. By the time he realised the day was far spent, he could not get back to where he was lodged. He slept at his classmate’s one bedroom apartment. At 6:30 a.m., the driver assigned to him called to remind him of a breakfast meeting; that was when Pius’ wàhálà started. He rushed out to hail a taxicab, he found none. Taxicabs are a rarity there, because his friend’s house was in the farthest interior. Without further ado, he perched on an Okada and sneaked into his room pretending to have slept in the accommodation provided by LASU. 

Pius was effortlessly ordinary. He fraternised with mechanics, “vulcanisers”, students and peasants with remarkable ease and joked around speaking “Ojulowo” (native) Yoruba without affectation, like he had never been to school. Behind the fiery notes and the wickedly humorous updates was a very simple man who loved the simplicity and survivalist life of the streets. He often dwelt there to have a feel of what it held for many without privilege. He was ordinary in a world where people invest in hopeless complexity, bought themselves airs and lost their originality. 

Pius Adebola Adesanmi was a proud Isanlu son. His voice reverberated in Yoruba cultural rediviva. He was a pride to Nigeria and a scholarly beacon on the Africa literary scene. He lived and died working towards improving Africa’s higher education and cultural renaissance. He wore the indigo plumes of Agbe (Greater Blue-eyed Glossy Starling – lamprotonis chalybaus). If you know Agbe, mourn with me the lack of indigo in my dyeing pit. He wore the carmine plumes of Àlùkò (Carmine Bee-eater – merops nubicus). If you know Àlùkò, mourn with me the loss of osùn in my jar. He wore the crimson plumes of Odíderé (Africa Grey Parrot – psittacus erithacus)’s tail feathers. If you know Odídẹrẹ́, mourn with me, over the broken pieces of my prized jar of palm oil. He wore the unstained white plumes of Lékelèké (Cow Egret – areola ibis). If you know Lékeléke, mourn with me the rending of my white garment. Pius wore these colours without contradictions, as symbolised by the many lives he touched, in many different and unique ways. 

“You killed the academic, do not kill the author”, he told me in my living room in Michigan in 2012. That sentence began my journey into public intelection. His birth lent him to me, and his existence and friendship showed myself to me. Sometimes, as we journey through life’s meandering courses, we meet that person who completes a part we never thought missing and we become kin with them. Then, you grow up together, year on year, sharing life’s triumphs and frustrations. That is when you realise the bond of kinship, the conviviality of sprit and a sense of security in each other’s company. He was my friend at play and my comrade in arms. The only one I tap when I get to E. T. C – End of Thinking Capacity. Pius Adesanmi tended the shriveled cotyledons of my late literary sprout, guiding it towards light and it blossomed. One day in May of 2014, he told Musikilu Mojeed of PREMIUM TIMES, “I have a writer for you”. After telling him, he gave me an hour to send him my first column. I muttered: ‘column!’ ‘One hour!’ It was 8 p.m. in Nigeria. I went to work. When he gave orders, I obeyed; and when I gave orders, he obeyed. With him I understood the psychology of a positive mutually reinforcing relationship. I penned “For The Love Of Country” as my first column in the PREMIUM TIMES within an hour. He read it and exclaimed! “Bamidele, o mọ iyì ara ẹ!” (Bamidele you don’t know your worth). That is Pius the enabler and promoter of latent or unrecognised talent! I considered my introductory article the best I have written and adopted the title for my book. His total belief in me made all the difference in my contribution to Nigeria’s public intellection. With me, he extended the frontiers of friendship and remade genetics. We completed each other’s sentences and predicted each other with alarming accuracy. To me, he was the face of loyalty. His loyalty to me was unquestionable! 

He never hid his frustrations about the Nigerian project. In almost every Facebook update, columns, lectures, keynotes, he mused with a bitter shrug, the sad perplexity and the terrible uncomprehending surrounding Nigeria. He often wondered if our dreams of a great Nigeria will ever be realised. He preached the gospel of change with tenacious commitment by shaping the discourse on the demands of leadership and the responsibilities of followership, in a narcissistic and shallow country lacking in realism. Pius was a courageous apostle of our anachronistic values and an unsparing critic of our contemporary society. He was refreshingly honest, open and real. Since he died, many who did not know him but were touched by his writing, have been celebrating him because he had a commanding passion. He was outraged by oppression, corruption, stealing, conversion, impunity, cronyism, deplorable education, fatalistic health systems, and every dangerous adjectives of “-isms”, “-sions” and “-tions” plaguing Nigeria.

My very dear friend was very visceral, and humane. He believed everyone matters, that we all are unique and entitled to a simple life of dignity, freedom, happiness and such inalienable rights ordained by God. He paid attention to small things, knowing small things lead to big things and small evils lead to bigger evils. He spoke and wrote against evil and worked against evil when it was fashionable to embrace evil. He was the pillar in many people’s fence, the irrigator of many brains, the holder of many hands, the shoulder many leaned on, the enablers of many dreams, a committed and relentless cheerleader of his many teams and a promoter of upcoming talent. 

Pius Mi Ọ̀wọ́n (Dear Pius), that was how I addressed you in my numerous email. Your high pitch cackle has been ringing in my ears since you departed this world. I have recalled every joke, every jest, every encouragement. You knew me so well as to ask: “Bamidele, isn’t that eyelash grey?” Ah! It is grey oh! I don’t understand this atúni l’àṣírí irun ojú o! I can’t recall calling you prof. Except in jest like, irú professor jákujàku wo ni ẹ́? (What manner of yeye professor is this?) Ẹ wo bata professor? (See professor’s shoes? These can only be worn by a professor). Ẹ wo okùn ṣòkòtò professor ni gbangba! We were so much ourselves when we spoke or when alone. I cannot recall a specific instance we spoke in English. I recall celebrating your appointment as the director of the Institute of African Studies at Carleton University from the perspective that you will now be forced to call meetings, be in meetings and stay glued to one place for an hour or more, play host to visiting dignitaries and be on campus daily in a strict regimen. I know regimens are a punishment you desire only for “enimis”. We know ourselves so well and we can laugh with each other and at each other without a care. We even lash out at each other and still continue the conversation. I was waiting to see you use those pesky reading glasses we thought only our village cathechist used when we were young? How I often ask if and when that nuisance was going to hang on the bridge of your nose? How I silently wanted to see greys in your hair because you cheated me so much in height and I wanted an edge. I taunted you, that grey hair and reading glasses are professorial bonafides you must acquire fast in addition to your Obesere and Rapala street creds. Oh God! How I love that guttural “Bamidele, ìwọ lọ mọ̀” (Bamidele, that is your problem), whenever I asked if you breathed for five minutes prior to taking your pictures as it was obvious you tried too hard to suck your tummy in; when I reminded you that your gym membership was more like a charitable donation, asking when last you were there? 

We all are fleeting shadows. Pius, you knew it and I know too. When your plane stalled three hours before landing in Accra in 2016, you were shaken. I tried to dismiss it as turbulence but you told me oxygen masks deployed and that events of your life flashed in your face. You told me; “Bamidele, ó dà bí plane crash lọ má pá mi”. (Bamidele, it seems I will die in a plane crash). I rebuked it. Since that day, no two weeks passed without you telling me to take care of Damilare and Tise, should you die. You asked me to make sure they become united as sisters. You told me to make sure they have education befitting the daughters of a professor. You were so convinced you would die young. Pius Mi Ọ̀wọ́n, were you an emèrè? I took your casual warnings seriously. I prayed. Although, I did not tell mama about your constant warnings; I asked her to pray. We held joint night vigils. My mother and sister joined. March 24 last year, you called me to warn Mama to stop fasting. You said she had emanciated due to excessive fasting. I did! She promised to fast less but she said she cannot stop as long as she is alive. Your death was your mother’s biggest fear. Sadly, it has come to pass. Surely, God is All-Knowing. When you had that accident along Ogbomoso/Oyo road, I felt that was it! I felt we had triumphed! I had no idea my song of victory was premature. You struggled with recovery. You lived in trepidation. It took a lot of effort to nurse you back to public life. Was that the clue I missed? I don’t know. 

You came back on your own terms. You became zestful. You wrote and wrote. You started “Injury Time With Pius Adesanmi” in the Nigerian Tribune. You pursued with renewed vigour many ideas to uplift the Institute of African Studies at Carleton University. Every Summer, nothing competes with University of Ghana Pan-African Doctoral Academy where you sat on the faculty as Carnegie’s African Diasporan Fellow. We were so excited about the African higher education summit you would have anchored later this year. We thought about proposing knowledge hubs to governors in the South-West. You championed African Institute of Governance and created African Doctoral Lounge to mentor emerging scholars on the continent. In hindsight, everything you touched worked! Could that have been a clue? 

It is a week since the crash that took you from me, from us. The sun still rises in the east and sets in the west. The stream still flows forward not backwards. Your death shook Nigeria, Africa, Canada and the world. You were a change maker in life and in death. Because you died, many will now be spared the horror of death in Boeing 737 Max 8. They say time heals all wounds. True, this wound will heal but it will leave a disfiguring scar. Why? Can I just thank you in this tribute? All through our friendship, you retained that fundamental grounding. Thank you because you did not get dense when I needed you to be smart, you did not close when I needed you to open up, you did not pretend to snore when I knocked on the door, you did not disconnect when a pertinent call is in progress pretending the network was busy, you did not hide in altars or the mansions of Abuja feeding fat on people’s ignorance. You had a rich and full relationship with me and many of us your friends and family. Thank you for living a life of meaning, for fighting important fights, for being true to yourself.

I was true to you in life, I will be true to you in death. You loved your two daughters equally. I will be there for Damilare. You never mentioned her. Many did not know her until your death. You left me to do that. To set the records straight. I thank God I pressured you to bring her to spend time with us in 2016. Now I am grateful you did. She bonded with Opeyemi, my daughter and I. I took this picture of her clinging to you in my farm in 2016. Only two weeks ago, I asked you to send me her Canadian passport so she could spend this Summer with us. You promised to renew it upon your return from Nairobi and asked me how to go about it, with her not with you in Canada. I will miss our Saturday video chat rendezvous with Tiṣe. By God, your daughters will be united as sisters. They will have good education. They will excel more than your hopes and aspirations. I will ensure that.

Okun, Pius Mi Owon! Aṣọ àrán tí mo ń wọ̀ láàárín àwùjọ lo jẹ́. Ikú rẹ gba aṣo yí ní ara mi. Ṣùgbọ́n, ká kú l’ọ́mọdé kó yẹ’ni, ó sàn ju ká d’àgbà la’i l’ádìyẹ ìrànà.

May God rest your loving and gentle soul. May he make your death a rest from all evils. 

Bámidélé Adémólá-Olátéjú a farmer, youth advocate and political analyst. Follow me on Twitter @olufunmilayo

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