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The nexus between Asiwaju Tinubu and Edo election by TUNDE RAHMAN

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It was indeed a free and fair election in the recently concluded Edo Gubernatorial election as the people were allowed to peacefully perform their franchise without duress and sentiments.

The election before and after has erupted series of conversations from different political analysts on several media platforms , one of which was the viral video by the former Governor of Lagos state, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and also not forgetting the “Edo no be Lagos” theme.

Tunde Rahman, Former Editor, Thisday on Sunday and Media Advisor to Asiwaju Tinubu has technically expounded the nexus between his boss Asiwaju Tinubu and the recently concluded Edo election in his write up titled “Asiwaju Tinubu and Edo election.

According to him: The tension-soaked Edo governorship election may have been concluded with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) announcing Governor Godwin Obaseki as the winner of the poll. However, one is not unmindful of the fact that the election may not have been completely over as it were. Obaseki’s main challenger, the All Progressives Congress candidate, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, says he is still studying the result and consulting widely on his next line of action. This is within his sphere to do.

It is interesting that the Peoples Democratic Party, its candidate, Governor Obaseki, and the Chairman of the party’s Campaign Council for Edo, Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike, all of who had initially alleged the APC had perfected the rigging of the poll, suddenly turned round, after seeing the results being declared going its way, to say the election was now the best thing to have happened since Nigeria’s independence and that INEC had redeemed its seeming sullen image. Yet, this was the same Wike who had alleged that 300 policemen were deployed to restrict him to his hotel in Benin as part of APC’s plot to rig the election! Is there more the nation needs to know about that election?

Beyond that, however, there are a few remarkable things about the election. One, contrary to the expectation that that poll would be characterised by massive violence, we all have providence to thank for the fact that the election was devoid of any major incident, save for some skirmishes in some areas. The poll was largely peaceful. The peaceful election may have been helped by the heavy deployment of policemen. Reports had it that over 30,000 policemen aside from some men of the armed forces and officers of other para-military outfits were engaged for the election.

Also, the culture of debate seems to have been further cemented in our electoral process. Both Obaseki and Ize-Iyamu participated in a number of debates where they spoke about their manifestoes and their plans for the people of the state. It is instructive, however, that whereas both turned up for the Channels Television debate, Obaseki shunned the debate, tagged conversation, put together by ARISE Television to which he had earlier promised attendance.

Of particular note in the days leading to the poll is the broadcast by APC National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, where he urged Edo voters to shun Obaseki in the election because of his anti-democratic credential. The governor, it would be recalled, issued a proclamation inaugurating the state House of Assembly in an ungodly hour, paving the way for nine members to usurp the powers and responsibilities of a 24-member assembly. 14 majority members were shut out and all entreaties to Obaseki to allow room for them to be inaugurated fell on deaf ears. The opposition PDP and their agents made a heavy weather of Asiwaju’s video on social media.

Now, Asiwaju did not seek to dictate to the people of Edo. He was not out to oust their rights to chose by themselves. He understands so well that widely-held categorization of Edo people, as brilliantly captured by Columnist Segun Ayobolu last week, as “proud, dignified, industrious, culturally and historically self-conscious people not inclined to bowing before mere mortals”. Far from usurping their power to determine who should govern them, the broadcast was an appeal to the people borne of commitment to democratic principles, clear appreciation of the fundamental role of parliament in a democracy, adherence to the principle of separation of powers, and his irritation by the antic of Governor Obaseki against the 14 lawmakers. It was an appeal for the people to think about the democratic credentials of the candidates in casting their votes.

Obaseki’s anti-peace and reconciliation stance also came out in bold picture in the altercation between him and former APC Chairman and his estranged friend and leader, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole. All appeals to Obaseki to toe the path of peace and allow room for settlement in the matter were arrogantly rebuffed. Asiwaju was in the forefront of some of these peace efforts. Others also intervened all to no avail. Eventually, one thing led to another and Obaseki, quite unfortunately, failed to scale through the APC screening. He eventually defected to the PDP. There is no evidence that the APC leader was part of that screening process or made input into it.

Indeed, those who quipped that Edo no be Lagos, apparently referring to former governor Akinwumi Ambode’s inability to secure a second term, got the context of the two scenarios wrong. Ambode scaled through his party’s screening exercise and participated fully in the direct primaries at which Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu emerged as the party’s candidate. Indeed, Asiwaju just like Oshiomhole had advocated direct primaries involving all registered members of the party in Edo State to deepen and strengthen the intra-party democratic process. It is on record that Obaseki vehemently canvassed indirect primaries to narrow the extent of membership participation in the primary had he successfully scaled the party’s screening exercise. It is ironical that in a post-election interview, the same Obaseki seeks to impugn Asiwaju and Oshiomhole’s democratic credentials.

With Obaseki firmly in PDP and the battle line drawn for the election, it would be foolhardy to not expect Asiwaju as a leader in the APC to work to advance the cause of his party and the party’s candidate. He is very much unlike some of the other so-called leaders and governors in the same party who paid lip service to party loyalty and ideals and who openly worked against their own party and candidate. In their perverse and illogical world, their party’s victory in Edo would amount to personal defeat for them all because of a blinding 2023 ambition. Those who know him would know that the former Lagos governor has remained consistent and constant in sticking out his neck for his party. For him, the party is supreme. Not one to jump political ship, his political trajectory would reveal he has kept faith with the progressive parties over the years. He invested quality time, energy and resources in the formation of APC and would not want to see it crumble. How ironic it is that some of his traducers have been those known to be hopping on political parties at the snap of a finger, including even the same Governor Obaseki?

Asiwaju’s political background is replete with his fight for the enthronement and entrenchment of democracy in the land even at the risk to his own life. In his first appearance in the Senate in 1992, he played a leading role in the resolution passed by that august body that the military must ensure it handed over to a democratically-elected president after the annulment of June 12 election. Such was his agitation against the military that on one occasion during the darkest days, his house was petrol-bombed by the agents of the military who thought he had been roasted inside. He managed to escape abroad on exile where he continued with the agitation for democracy in Nigeria.

The question can be asked as to who is more of a threat to democracy and democratic practice? The one who stalled all avenues for peace and conflict-resolution and who also later blocked attempts by 14 duly -elected lawmakers from assuming their constitutional seats and performing their responsibilities? Or the other whose only alleged offence is urging the people to enrich democracy by factoring in the anti-democracy backgrounds of the candidates in casting their ballots.

Neither in the days before the election, on Election Day, nor in the days after the Edo poll did Asiwaju step his foot on the soil of that state, contrary to what the evil merchants of fake and hate news would want to have us believe. Yet, the likes of Governors Wike, Aminu Tambuwal, Ifeanyi Okowa and former Anambra State governor Peter Obi were busy traversing the length and breadth of the state on the eve of the election. A few of them, including Governor Wike, were even on ground in Edo on Election Day. For the life of me, are these PDP leaders citizens of and voters in Edo?

Indeed, it must be pointed out clearly that beneath all the shenanigans that trailed Edo poll, underneath all of that rabble-rousing, rumour-mongering, campaign of calumny, character assassination, deceit and double-dealing is the matter of 2023. Rather than first helping their party solidify its stronghold and strengthen it for future elections and re-commit themselves to the party’s ideals and principles, the APC chieftains were tearing at the party’s fabric, destroying its foundation and preparing it for eventual disintegration in the name of playing politics of 2023. But like Asiwaju rightly observed, he is but a mere mortal who does not foresee tomorrow. What tomorrow holds, indeed what 2023 holds, is within the province of God Almighty.

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Pyrates warns against extra-judicial killing, insecurity, harassment in S’East, S’South

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The National Association of Seadogs (Pyrates Confraternity), has warned security agencies against extra-judicial killing and harassment of innocent Nigerians in the course of fishing out those responsible for the killings of security personnel and attacks on security formations and those fuelling insecurity in the South- East and South-South.

President Muhammadu Buhari had on Tuesday during deliberations of the Security Council meeting approved undisclosed new security measures for the two regions aftermath of multiple attacks on security formations.

The NAS Capoon, Mr Abiola Owoaje, in a statement titled ‘The Growing Tempest in East & South’   said it is important “that the security services do not engage in presumption group-blame, collective punishment, and extra-judicial killings in the course of investigating these crimes”.

Owoaje pointed out that such “unbridled illegalities and high-handedness will only go to further alienate local communities, and deepen the antipathy that already characterizes the relationship between them and law enforcement agencies.”

The association while strongly condemning the attacks and killing of security personnel condoled with families that lost loved ones and urged the government to do all within the confines of the law to get the perpetrators and make them face the fall wrath of the law.

According to him, NAS is disturbed that the insecurity in the two regions has further exacerbated the deteriorating security situation in the country.

Owoaje called on the government to move swiftly, and with unaccustomed competence and diligence, to arrest the current climate of insecurity across the two regions.

The statement read in part “This gradual slide into anarchy in the South-East and South-South regions has the potential to expand the number of ungoverned spaces in Nigeria, further, stretch our security apparatus, and engender devastating social and economic consequences for the country as a whole.

“We urge the security agencies in the two regions to resist the temptation of seeing themselves as a force of occupation out to subjugate the people and unleash terror among the teeming law-abiding citizens. They should approach their task with a sincerity of purpose, and rein in the criminal elements intent on foisting terror and bloodletting. Evidence abounds of previous overzealous interventions by security agencies that have aggravated insecurity in the two regions rather than contain the same. Unprofessional conduct and prejudice from those entrusted with such operations must not be tolerated.

“The government and security agencies have a constitutional duty to protect the lives and property of the peace-loving residents of the two regions from harm. No innocent Nigerian should be harassed, intimidated, or made to suffer under any guise of combing for suspected criminal elements in the South-East and South-South regions.”

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LASG Okays Science-Based Quiz Competition For Secondary Schools, Targets Inventors

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As part of efforts to develop manpower that can address future challenges in Nigeria, the Lagos State Lotteries Board (LSBL) has established a science-based educational quiz competition that would aid young inventors towards achieving their goals of producing technologies that could proffer solution to human needs across the country.

The science-based quiz competition, LSBL said, is Eko S.T.E.M Quiz, would prepare the students for science and technology and bridge the invention gap between Nigeria particularly in Lagos and other major cities globally.

According to the lotteries board, the EKO STEM competition was designed for the public and low-cost private secondary school students in Senior Secondary School (SSS) 2 to boost their passion for science and technology.

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the lotteries board, Bashir Are, while addressing pressmen yesterday in Ikeja, added that the aim was to further sustain the ongoing development in the education sector embarked upon by the State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, to take education to next level in Lagos.

Are noted that the intervention was part of the board’s functions, saying, we are allowed by section 33 of Lagos State Lotteries Board (amended) law of 2008 to give some interventions in Education, infrastructure, environment, social, and health in the state.

He added that the intervention in education development would ensure that the state has a skilled workforce that could address its challenges in science and technology which had continued to alter previous workforce arrangements globally.

Earlier, the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Lotteries, Olufunmilola Olotu, stressed that to prepare the students for the future, “it is important to proactively promote the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) curriculum”.

Olotu stated that quiz competition is a form of education, just as she described education as a process of acquiring general knowledge, developing the powers of reasoning and judgment, and generally preparing oneself or others intellectually for mature life.

Olotu explained that this competition would provide the ground for the state government to achieve its goal in technology, preparing the mind of the students for the future, adding, the contents could be re-used for teaching.

The senior special assistant explained that the competition was essential for the children and that it would not only educate but also entertain the students in the country particularly Lagos.

She argued that the EKO STEM quiz competition would afford the students an opportunity to choose their career path and understand importance of teamwork.

Olotu, who emphasized that the year-long competition would be broadcast on Television for viewers that would watch from home, hinted that the ultimate prize for winners is a Scholarship award to study anywhere globally and a visit to the Silicon Valley.

“lt is our belief that in any educational system, academic competition is of utmost importance because it contributes to a child’s development and learning process. A healthy competition among academic institutions nurtures various values and opportunities, including but not limited to prestige, media exposure, monetary donations, and research grants,” she added.

Explaining modalities for the competition that is set to provide a platform for over 1,500 students to achieve their dream, the governor’s aide explained that preliminary examination would hold May 15th for both public and private schools across the 57 Local Government and Local Council Development Area (LCDA).

According to her, all results will be collated and input into the online system, and with the system cut-off mark, those that had better scores will proceed to the Computer-Based examination stage and other stages.

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SANWO-OLU DELIVERS 14 HOUSING SCHEMES IN TWO YEARS

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… 21 Schemes In The Works, Says Commissioner

By the end of 2023, Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu would have delivered 35 housing schemes to close the huge deficit in the sector, Commissioner for Housing Mr. Moruf Akinderu-Fatai has said on Tuesday.

Of the schemes, 14 have been delivered within the first two years of the Sanwo-Olu administration, adding over 7,000 affordable housing units to the market.

Akinderu-Fatai spoke on the achievements of the Ministry of Housing during the ongoing inter-ministerial briefing to commemorate Governor Sanwo-Olu’s second year in office.

He said the Government was committed to reducing the housing deficit and providing affordable homes for the greater number of residents, stressing that the Sanwo-Olu administration would be delivering 21 housing schemes before the end of 2023.

The Commissioner was optimistic that the administration would realise its mass housing programmes, despite the prevailing economic situation in the country, adding that policies initiated had enhanced access for low- and high-income families.

He said: “The last two years have been eventful in the Ministry of Housing, as we have strengthened our efforts to realise the housing programmes of the current administration. We have completed and delivered various schemes across Lagos, including Lateef Jakande Gardens in Igando, Lagos State Affordable Public Housing Scheme in Idale Badagry, LagosHOMS Lekki Phase 2 and Babatunde Raji Fashola Estate, Courtland Villas, Igbokushu, among others.

“We have four housing schemes recently completed and are due for commissioning in the coming days. They are located in Odo Onosa Ayandelu, Agbowa, Magodo/Omole, Gbagada and Ibeshe. In all, a total of 14 schemes have been completed and these added over 7,000 affordable housing units to the market. We have other ongoing housing projects, totalling 21 schemes, which are being developed through budgetary allocation and joint ventures.”

Speaking on affordability and accessibility of the schemes, Akinderu-Fatai said the homes are for both low and high net worth individuals in highbrow and low-income settlements, including Igando, Igbokusu, Lekki, Badagry, Igbogbo, Odo-Onosa/Ayandelu, Agbowa, Sangotedo, Epe, Ilubirin, Epe and Egan-Igando.

On the strategies to tackle the housing deficit, Akinderu-Fatai hinted that the State Government was partnering multinational development partners for the construction of mass housing estates. He said henceforth, housing provision would be in the realm of thousands of homes to drastically reduce the burden.

The Commissioner praised Sanwo-Olu for his commitment and passion at ensuring that greater number of residents achieve their dream of becoming homeowners, adding that the State Government needed the support of all stakeholders towards providing decent and stable shelter for residents.

He said: “The task of bridging the housing gap in Lagos is demanding and we are extending our willingness to private sector participants to come in and invest in the housing sector to reduce the hardship faced by the people in their quest for decent shelter.”

Akinderu-Fatai said that the Lagos Mortgage Board had strengthened the “Rent-to-Own” policy, putting many residents on the homeownership ladder. He pointed out that the scheme targeted first-time homeowners, saying: “It has given a good opportunity to both to the low and middle-income citizens to become home owners.”

In the housing development projects, the Commissioner said the State Government had boosted the local economy by hundreds of local workers, artisans, suppliers and contractors for the scheme.

“There are intense construction activities on many housing schemes all over the State revitalising the housing delivery value chain. The fact that the construction sites are active means economic engagement for hundreds of workers, artisans, suppliers and contractors. This brings vibrancy that increases the economic resilience of our people,” Akinderu-Fatai said.

The Special Adviser to the Governor on Housing, Mrs. Toke Awoyinka-Benson, said the Government made efforts to make Lagos an investor-friendly State, given its housing development laws, and establishment of the Lagos State Real Estate Regulatory Authority (LASRERA).

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