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Why I appointed Oyerinde Principal Private Secretary, by Oshiomhole

Governor Oshiomhole flanked on the left by the widow, Labake and Elder Akinwusi...at the burial
Governor Oshiomhole flanked on the left by the widow, Labake and Elder Akinwusi…at the burial

By Adesoji Adeniyi, Osogbo and Osagie Otabor, Benin

EDO State Governor Adams Oshiomhole, yesteday explained why he appointed the late Olaitan Oyerinde his Principal Private Secretary.

He was addressing a crowd of human rights actvists, civil society groups, labour movement and students, who thronged the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) Orientation Camp, Ede, venue of the lying-in-state and burial service.

Oshiomhole told his audience that the late Oyerinde understood him more than anyone else.

The late Oyerinde, he said was invited to join his administration to remind him of his principles and to caution him anytime he was drifting from his ideology.

“Olaitan had the gift to play with words and can easily read my lips and put to paper exactly what is in my mind,” the comrade-governor said.

He described the deceased as a fearless and dogged fighter, who proved himself a dependable ally.

His words: “When I was considering to run for governorship, I called him and asked for his opinion. He was my confidant. When I was appointing him, I never bothered about the town where he came from. No primordial sentiments featured in his appointment at all. It will be difficult to find someone who could capture my mind on issues like Olaitan.

“Those who killed him really got me where it hurts most. They knew that if they could not get the king, they would get the son. I know we will use the day light to get the cowards, who used the night to kill Olaitan.

“The cowards only wasted their bullets because they only killed the flesh but not the spirit of Olaitan because he has children and he will forever be in our hearts. They have succeeded in killing Olaitan but not the fighting in me.”

Oshiomhole, who said a street has been renamed Olaitan Oyerinde Crescent in Edo State to immortalise him, assured that his family would not be allowed all to suffer anything in his absence.

He sent his condolence to his aged parents, the Osun State Government and the people of the state.

There were speeches from many labour leaders and notable activists, including Lagos lawyer Femi Falana, amid wailings and tears the remains of Oyerinde were buried.

Oshiomhole, who arrived in a chartered helicopter at about 1.55 p.m., was received by the Osun State Head of Service, Elder Segun Akinwusi, who represented Governor Rauf  Aregbesola.

Akinwusi was accompanied by top government officials, including commissioners, special advisers and local government chairmen to give  the deceased a befitting burial.

Expressing regret over the gruesome killing of Oyerinde, Aregbesola  urged security agents to find his killers and bring them to justice.

President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) Comrade AdulWaheed Omar and his Trade Union Congress (TUC) counterpart Peter Esele had a hectic time delivering their farewell messages.

Their presentations were interrupted by students, who used the platform to berate them over the role they played in the January anti-fuel subsidy removal protest.

The students pelted the labour leaders with satchets of pure water.

Former Secretary of Trade Union Congress (TUC), Lagos State chapter, Omotaje Olawale St. Jericho, paid a glowing tribute to the late Olaitan for his sterling leadership qualities from the students’ unionism days.

According to him, the deceased rallied support for the labour struggle against injustices.

He recalled his active role during 1989 anti-Structural Adjustment Programme protest under military president General Ibrahim Babangida (rtd).

He recalled the late Oyerinde led the peaceful protest without compromise, adding that he coordinated all the campuses and ensured the protest was successful.

The Special Adviser to Governor Aregbesola on Environmental Matters,  Mr. Bola Ilori, also a  student-activist in his university days, described Oyerinde’s death as a wake-call to all on security issues.

Falana, challenged the students to emulate the good spirit of the late Oyerinde, whom he said proved himself a selfless and dedicated activist.

The activist-lawyer,  who enjoined the students to always take responsibility for their actions, urged them to ask if they are on the side of justice.

Recalling that he spoke with the deceased four weeks ago, Falana said the late Oyerinde planned to return to activism to re-organise the youth movement.

He challenged the youths to work hard and fight for justice, saying that the fate of the people should not be left in the hands of the “reckless political class.”

The hearse bearing Oyerinde’s remains,  accompanied top government functionaries, left Benin City at about 6:15am.

At a service of songs held Wednesday evening at the Government House for the late Oyerinde, officiating Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, said God and time will reveal those who killed Oyerinde.

The cleric described Oyerinde as a lover of freedom and a man who devoted himself for a better Nigeria.

He said: “He was quiet, unassuming, friendly, firm and focus. A man who will not a hurt a fly. Why did they kill him? What was his offence?

“An innocent man has been killed in his private residence. They wanted to make sure that he was dead. Those were not armed robbers or kidnappers. This is not the best way to settle dispute.

“It will not be well with Oyerinde’s killers. Today we call the blood of heaven that those who took Oyerinde’s life will die a terrible death.”

Pastor Ize-Iyamu recalled how the late Oyerinde felt indifferent when they received security report. He said many of them took extra measures to protect themselves but that late Oyerinde never believed anybody could harm him.

In his tribute entitled: “We shared the dream of a new Edo State”, Oshiomhole said he picked Oyerinde because he needed a companion who operated on the same intellectual frequency.

The governor noted he was not in doubt that Oyerinde was killed to weaken his resolve to fight for the people.

He said: “It was immaterial that Oyerinde did not hail from Edo State insofar he was most resourceful, creative and could work under severe pressure.

“In the last three and half years of my stewardship in Edo State, I attest that Comrade Oyerinde proved most supportive, to say nothing of his terrific sense of humour which often provided comic relief during moments of tension.”

Source: The Nation Newspaper

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#Nigeria ACN Govs Demand Security Overhaul

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Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State

 

By Adibe Emenyonu

Governors elected on the platform of Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) have demanded an overhaul of the security architecture in the country.

They made the demand when they paid a condolence visit to Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State over the gruesome murder of his Private Principal Secretary, Mr. Olaitan Oyenrinde.

Oyerinde was killed in the early hours of Friday, May 4, 2012 by unknown gunmen.

The police, meanwhile, announced Sunday that Oshiomhole had offered a reward of N10 million to anyone who could volunteer information that would lead to the arrest of the killers.

The governors said the time had come for the Federal Government “to do something urgently before the situation gets out of hand”.

Osun State Governor Rauf Aregbesola, speaking on behalf of four other governors — Ibikunle Amosun, Ogun; Kayode Fayemi, Ekiti; Babatunde Fashola, Lagos;  and Abiola Ajimobi, Oyo — said the security situation in the country remained precarious because all security agencies (military, police, SSS) are under the direct command of the Federal Government.

He said if state governors were in direct control of at least the police alone, most crimes like murder, armed robbery, assassination and kidnapping would to a large extent be nipped in the bud.

“But the situation we find ourselves in this country is that state governors are merely called chief security officers of their various states, while the Federal Government is in direct control,” he lamented, adding that there must be a reversal of the status quo.

Also speaking, Fayemi said it was a sad moment not only for the Edo State Government but for all of them in the labour community especially as the late Olaitan was a major link between Edo and other ACN states.

His words: “We came to commiserate with you and the family of Olaitan. Though we cannot query God, but we have the right to question why bad things happen to good people. Those who have cause to come in contact with him know that he is a principled man.

“We pray that God in His infinite mercy will give the wife and the children the fortitude to bear the loss. However, we have decided collectively we will contribute our quota in supporting the family our fallen hero left behind.

“For those who killed him, we assure them that they must be caught because like you said, it was not a case of robbery or unorganised event. It was deliberate because those who did it knew full well that this is a government that has earned the confidence of the people, and they had to do what they did.”
Oshiomhole assured his fellow ACN governors that the killers would be fished out.

He told them that already, a 14-day ultimatum had been given to the police to track down the killers, adding: “I hope Abuja is sensitive to what is happening and will call the godfather to order. Otherwise, we will call him to order and we have the capacity to do so.”

According to Oshiomhole, “I have already told the police that inasmuch as we do not believe in killing because no office is worth spilling human blood for and that we rely on them to do their job… but if they are not willing to help us, we will help ourselves.”

He said the calculation of those who are behind the killing of Olaitan and the accident that resulted in the death of the three journalists in his convoy was to create distraction and fears among the people so that on the election day, they would have a field day with their rigging strategy.

“But what they have failed to realise is that I have conquered fear many years ago,” he declared.

Describing the late principal secretary as one of the most competent staff that worked with him during his days at the NLC, Oshiomhole said: “He reads my mood, understands my body language. And when I came in as governor, I had to persuade him to come and work with me. That is why his death is more painful to me.”

Announcing the N10 million reward in Benin City Sunday, the Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG), Force Headquarters, Abuja, Mr. Peter Gana, said no stone would be left unturned to get the killers.

The DIG said he was in Benin City to complement the efforts of the state police command.

Source : Thisday

Petrodollars, Politics and Parasites

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Simon Kolawole Live!: Emailsimonkolawole@thisdayonline.com
Listen: those who have done some research on the curse of oil are not surprised by the deadly run of events in Nigeria. They are not surprised at the poor quality of governance, the pseudo-democracy, the massive corruption, the lack of public accountability and the violent contestation for political power. These are some of the symptoms in many countries where rents from natural resources constitute the bulk of public revenue. It is even made worse by the nature of the Nigerian structure where the executive can be described as the almighty arm of government. My worry, however, is that the symptoms have persisted for too long here. Some countries have overcome many of these symptoms. For us, there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight.

Acclaimed founder of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and Venezuelan politician/lawyer, Juan Pablo Perez Alfonzo, famously said in the midst of the maddening oil boom of the 1970s: “It is the devil’s excrement. We’re drowning in devil’s excrement… Ten years from now, twenty years from now, you will see: oil will bring us ruin…”  He saw something that many other leaders of oil-rich countries might not have seen then: the danger of getting sunk by a flood of petrodollars. He was speaking at a time things appeared rosy and the future looked even more promising. “Look at us,” he warned in 1976, “we are having a crisis… We are dying of indigestion.”

Alfonzo, who died in 1979, saw what many oil-dependent countries, such as Nigeria, could not understand. All we could see then was that our revenue had gone up astronomically—which meant we could triple salaries, backdate it and pay arrears in the name of Udoji awards; we could begin to devote less energy to agriculture and industry and focus on sharing federally-collected revenue every month; we could afford to disconnect the state from the society by deemphasising the role of taxation in governance and focussing instead on the windfall of petrodollars. Alfonzo foresaw trouble. He foresaw mess. He saw a shift in emphasis from economic productivity to parasitic proclivity. He saw a deformation of the structure and the values of the society. It’s a shame Alfonzo is not alive today to see the results of his lamentations—especially in Nigeria.

Take a look at political contestation, for instance. In the early hours of Friday, an aide to Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State, Comrade Olaitan Oyerinde, was murdered in cold blood in the presence of his wife, children and brother in Benin City. Days earlier, the Commissioner for Information, Mr. Louis Odion, was lucky to have slept at a friend’s place as the assassins came calling at his house same night. Last week, in what looked like a stage-managed accident, a truck ran into the convoy of Oshiomhole, killing three journalists. Oshiomhole was lucky to have been in another car. All these, coming a few weeks to the governorship election, can only point to one fact: there is a heavy dose of political undertone.

What has that got to do with oil money? I will explain. Our oil wealth has created a society full of parasites. In advanced countries, industry and professional services offer people the biggest sources of income. Another source, identified by the founder of World Economic Forum, Professor Klaus Schwab, in his book “The End of Capitalism”, is “talentism”. Talent is the new capital, he argues. Bill Gates does not have an oil block; Microsoft is a product of his talent. Facebook is not an oil company. Yahoo! is not an oil company. Industry has created billionaires. In Nigeria, the shortest cut to billions is oil money. And this money is concentrated in the hands of the government. So if you want to make it, become president or governor or minister or commissioner or one of their friends and cronies. Your “prosperity” is instantly guaranteed. Inevitably, the contestation for political offices is fierce and fraught with violence and murder. Petrodollar has created parasites everywhere, within and without. The parasites feed on the oil wealth. If you deny them access, expect death and destruction.

In Nigeria, it’s winner takes all. If my party wins elections, those who are unfortunate to be in the opposing party are done for. Except, of course, they are ready to defect to my party. That is how they can be guaranteed juicy contracts and political appointments. Even if you operate in the private sector, you have to play the ruling party politics. If you had a contract with the previous government or minister, chances are it would be cancelled. We run a system where virtually everybody kowtows to the ruling government for economic survival. To hold political power, therefore, is to become a demigod. The struggle to win this political power is inevitably laden with danger and death. People will maim and kill just to take charge of the petrodollars.

Why my frequent reference to oil money? Why should oil money be responsible for this kind of politics? To be sure, what I mean is natural resource wealth; oil happens to be our natural resource in Nigeria. Many countries have also experienced political violence and civil wars over other natural resources such as diamond. Countries which depend on these resources for budgetary revenues are very vulnerable to violent politics. The Nigerian situation is made worse by the fact that these resources not only account for about 90 per cent of budgetary revenue, they are also concentrated in the hands of the government. Before we suddenly hit oil wealth, there were other avenues for people to make money. But as soon as we hit money, the laws were changed so concentrate the petrodollars in the hands of the government. We are still paying the price.

Resource-dependent countries are less democratic. People who refer to Norway and Botswana as exceptions have probably not taken time to study their circumstances. Norway had developed before hitting oil wealth; it already had well-developed structures for public accountability. With all its oil, the bulk of Norway’s revenue is from tax. Botswana’s diamond wealth, on the other hand, constitutes only a small percentage of public spending and is targeted at only the critical sectors. In other words, it is not like Nigeria where every kobo we make from oil goes into a central purse where it is, by law, distributed monthly in Abuja. So, here, we have politicians presiding over the wealth of the country which they spend as they wish without let or hindrance.

It is even worse at the federal level, which takes more than half of the oil revenue and controls all the oil blocks. From Abuja, somebody determines almost everything. The president has the power to create billionaires, without productivity, overnight. That is why the battle to be president of this country is always a do-or-die affair, and is alarmingly becoming a shoot-and-bomb affair. That is why, more than anything, restructuring the economy is as important as the oxygen we breathe. The questions we should be addressing now are: how can these politicians be less powerful in economic matters? How can political offices become less attractive? How can this economy produce genuine billionaires on the basis of their talents and industry rather than political patronage? How can political positions become more about service than “eating”?

I am longing for the day INEC will complain that there are not enough presidential or governorship candidates because there is virtually nothing to steal or favours to dispense in public office again! Public office is too powerful and attractive; we should understand the spate of political killings and the tension and mindless violence going on over the 2015 presidential election within this context. Sure, political violence is not limited to Nigeria or oil-dependent countries. In Nigeria, however, the link between “juicy” political offices and violent politics is very obvious—as we can see in Edo now. We need to think and think and think again about the political and economic structure of the country. Things cannot continue this way.

You Have to Envy the ‘God Banker’
A lot has happened in the financial sector over the past eight years with its boom-and-bust cycle but, let’s be honest, we have managed to weather the storm. In this same country, years back, National Bank and Savannah Bank, among many others, went into serious crises and depositors lost their monies. Many customers developed high BP and had stroke; some committed suicide. This time around, no bank has failed, as mergers and acquisitions have saved the troubled ones, along with the injection of bail-outs by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the purchase of “toxic assets” by the Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON). True, many investors lost their assets as the capital market crashed, but it could have been worse: depositors could have lost their savings also. In a way, therefore, we have to be thankful.

One of the biggest winners is clearly the CEO/GMD of Access Bank Plc, Mr. Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede (one of the most misspelt names ever). You have to envy him. One, his bank waded through the turbulence successfully. Although Access shares also took a hit like every other stock, the bank was never in trouble of not meeting its obligations to its customers. Two, the bank has successfully acquired Intercontinental Bank, although it must be quickly added that it was not as easy as I have put it here. But the end result is that Access Bank is now in the top five most capitalised banks on the Nigerian Stock Exchange. Its asset base has grown to N2.018 trillion and customer base to 5.7 million.

Three, as if these are not enough, Aig (as we call him) is going to be at the helm till 2015, contrary to initial calculations that his tenure would be over this year. The CBN had set a new rule two years ago forcing bank CEOs to leave after 10 years. Aig and his deputy, Herbert Wigwe, were appointed in 2002, so we thought. As it has turned out, they were only appointed in acting capacities by Access Bank. Their appointments were confirmed in June 2005 by the CBN and that is when the effective dates are counted, according to Section 48 (1) of the BOFIA 1991, which requires CBN approvals for the appointments of directors and CEOs to be substantive. No wonder, Aig is called the “God Banker”. He has been having a wonderful share of fortune.

In any case, even if Aig were to leave today, his “Siamese twin”, Wigwe, is there to carry on the vision. They both worked 10 years each for GTB, rising to executive management level before leaving to raise Access Bank from the dead in 2002. Their synergy from day one shows a clear succession plan and a commitment to it. The bank staff would eagerly tell you about the existence of robust corporate governance in the institution as well as forward thinking.

In a telephone chat recently, I asked Aig why he is called the “God banker”, an expression I started hearing about six year ago. His reply: “I honestly can’t explain the run of events in my life. They are without any doubt blessings from God. And I have never failed to acknowledge this favour in my life. So they started calling me the ‘God Banker’. Look at all the awards I’ve won, the positions I’ve attained, the successes we’ve recorded at Access Bank… it can only be God!” Aig, who is the first African co-chair of the Global Business Coalition on Health (GBC-Health), is a member of the National Economic Management Team and chairman of Access Bank UK Limited, among several other positions.

Truly, situations in life always produce winners and losers. In all the financial crisis, while some will be crying their eyes out and regretting the day they were born, others will be smiling to the bank. Such is life. You can ask the “God Banker”. Or ask God himself.

Source: Thisday

#Nigeria Edo guber race: Why we abandoned PDP for Anenih – Obadan

BY SIMON EBEGBULEM

Rev. Peter Obadan is the first civilian Deputy Governor of Edo State and was a Chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state until last week Friday, 27 April, 2012 when he resigned from the party. In this interview with Vanguard in Benin City, Obadan  gave reasons why  according to him the founding members of the party in the state  decided to abandon the party for the former chairman Board of Trustees of the PDP, Chief Tony Anenih. Excerpts:

Can we know you resigned from the PDP?
Like I stated in my letter we had a lot of irreconcilable differences in PDP. You have those demagogues that will never let go. We want to hold on to power using their cronies without due process, with out democratic processes. There is no transparency in Edo PDP. Like I stated the PDP in Edo state has been gravely commercialized and privatized, you can see it as a one man business.

Where one man thinks he is the Alpha and Omega of politics in Edo state, then it is better to say to your tents oh Israel. I think they are without credibility, without conscience and I also believe that the PDP in the state has been totally eroded by the good works of the present governor, Adams Oshiomhole.

He has sold a seed in the hearts of men and women. It is obvious that he is delivering the dividends of democracy with the little the state has. I know there is no morality in politics to many people but too much lies are being told. And as a professional accountant I know that some of the lies we are pushing to the populace now, are things that are not workable.

For example, when the PDP says they will reduce taxation by 80 per cent, when the law is there and the operations of taxation is guided by the laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the fact that in the past these laws were not fully operated meant that some body at the helm of affairs was just not responsible.

But now the laws have been fully implemented as we have in other states and for one to deceive the public that taxation will be reduced by 80 per cent, he is playing on the intelligence of Edo people and I think we are more than that. For us to take a graphic work of design to say that the Governor is building N10 billion mansion, to incite the people?

These are not the ideas that the PDP with all the maturity should be selling. When they come up with ideas like this I wonder whether these fellows are actually educated. There are lots of issues that have affected both the common man and the Edo state PDP is not ready to address those issues.

…Obadan

I have nothing against the workings of the PDP at the National level, we are all working with President Jonathan because he is our son, but the National Working Committee (NWC) hitherto were so ineffective and inefficient that they believe all lies that have been told them about the PDP in Edo state. I think the PDP has actually been written off in Edo state and we all will wait to see the miracle that can up turn things.

It is unfortunate because Gen.Charles Airhiavbere (PDP candidate) is my very good friend, he worked under me, he is intelligent but he never lived in the state to understand the dynamics of Edo state politics. And a situation where the governor will have no say about the choice of his deputy, then there is a problem. A situation where a man will say this must be the deputy and whether a better candidate is presented or not the oracle has spoken.

These are issues that give one the type of administration that will emerge if you have Charles as Governor. But let me tell you simply, in the first place if Charles wins the election, which I know he will not, and tries to be his own man, the probability is that the deputy who has been fixed there will be used to impeach him.

I see the ultimate objective, is a situation where the deputy is the man that is actually being groomed to be governor not Charles, we have to be watchful. But however, there is no chance for PDP in Edo State. The Edo people are very happy with Adams Oshiomhole and he will get at least 80 per cent of the votes. No body is quarrelling with PDP at the center or President Jonathan. The mass resignation in Edo PDP to the ACN is because of the dictatorial tendences of Chief Tony Anenih.

But if Chief Anenih is that domineering; we have people like you, Dr Ogbemudia and Admiral Mike Akhigbe, why were you people unable to correct him?

The problem started from when Prof.Osunbor got into office and decided to be his own man. He meant well for the people of Edo state. He wanted a situation where truth, equity and justice will reign in the administration.  Before he took his stand, he accepted twelve commissioners from the godfather and the rest of us had to nominate the other four of five commissioners.

A situation where 80 per cent of his SAs were lifted and given to him by one person. a situation where the list of Local Governments were handed over to him and it came to party structure he is incharge and they said he was put there to be seen and not to be heard. The Professor decided to take a stand and we all accepted and heaven was let loose and the next issue was Osunbor must go.

Even if justice prevailed in removing Osunbor from office, a seed of discord has already been sown by the Anenih led group. And what further compounded was when Oshiomhole came into office, they rejoiced at the down fall of their own son, they pumped Champagne and nominated Commissioners under Oshiomhole.

And I think they thought their game plan will work for Oshiomhole only for them to discover that Oshiomhole was not a puppet and they decided to fight Oshiomhole. These were the things that balkanized the PDP in Edo state. It got to a stage when we had two parallel bodies and we expected the national body to intervene and of course, Anenih had an over whelming influence on the national body that they were reluctant to see the truth. It became obvious to many of us that they were just not serious.

Attempts were made to bring the groups together, meetings were held, the last attempt was that encouraged by the Chief of Staff to the President, Chief Mike Oghiadohme in his house and we all felt that we had fully reconciled only for issues that were buried to manifest again. That was why I said irreconcilable differences. Why should Admiral Akhigbe who is from Edo North not be allowed to manage the affairs of the party in that area as a leader. Why should Edo North be dictated to.

We looked at those that are being used, in the South they were all Anenih’s boys in the North all Anenih’s boys, no right thinking person will want to continue along those lines.  And the NWC fails to see the truth and act appropriately. You will find that of the three members of the Board of Trustees from Edo State, Edo North has none but there is one from the South in the person of Dr Ogbemudia, two from Edo Central Anenih and late Admiral Aikhomu. Is it that we have no responsible person from Edo North?

As a former Deputy Governor of Edo state, they will be considering picking some body from my own Local Government, but I will not even be consulted. You are invited to a meeting when a decision had actually been reached, they will now invite you and say come to leaders meeting, that is time wasting because you already know that they have already made their decision just to use you to legalize their illegality. My self and other leaders are quite happy to leave the PDP.

The July 14 governorship election is fast approaching, how do you think Edo people will vote?
Airhiavbere will loose 80 per cent of the votes in the South to Oshiomhole. The Oba of Benin is a man we all respect across the land, he is not an illiterate Oba, he is a former Permanent Secretary of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. He knows what development is all about, he is very articulate, he hardly make pronouncements and he does that after making consultations with his Chiefs and in this case he has spoken.

I am in the religious calling  and I can tell you the very strong feelings of all the religious bodies, Christians and they have seen a man performing and I see all of them voting for Oshiomhole. The problem my friend Airhiavere will have in the South, is that even when he was in the army he was not regular at home. So he is not well known by his own Benin people. He has selected friends and not in touch with the grass root.

There was also nothing you can pinpoint in the South that he influenced. You have Generals in the Army that have done things for their people, he is my very good friend and I don’t see him becoming governor for now but I see him becoming governor in future. Because he is very cool and calculative.

Source: The Vanguard

Oshiomhole: They Can’t Kill My Fighting Spirit

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Governor Adams Oshiomhole
– As Gunmen Shoot Dead Edo Governor’s Aide

By  Adibe Emenyonu

Six days ago his convoy was presumably attacked along Warrake-Auchi road in Edo State by a truck that curiously veered off its track and headed straight for the staff car, missing it by the whiskers.

Three journalists were killed while others including security details, sustained various degree of injuries.

The following day, at about 2.45 am, the home of his information commissioner, Mr. Louis Odion, was invaded by four gunmen who also missed him because he opted to pass the night at a friend’s house located in another part of the city.

And in the early hours of Friday, his Principal Private Secretary who was on secondment from the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Mr. Olaitan Oyerinde, was shot dead by unknown gunmen.

But a traumatised Edo State Governor Adams Oshiomhole has said nobody can kill his fighting spirit.

NLC Deputy National Secretary, Oyerinde, 44, was shot dead by four gunmen who invaded his house located in Ugbor area, Benin City around 1.00 am.

THISDAY gathered that shortly after the gunmen stormed the compound, they tied up the security guard while two of them forced their way through the front door and made straight for his bedroom.

On realising it was Mr. Oyerinde’s brother-in-law who was actually sleeping on the bed and not Oyerinde, they immediately left him and went for the wife, Funke, asking her to lead them to the husband who, unknown to them, was sleeping in the living room.

On sighting him, they instantly fired four shots, one to the head, chest, abdomen and hip, killing Oyerinde instantly. The gunmen later fled without taking anything from the house.
Oshiomhole has issued a 14-day ultimatum to the police to conclude investigation and bring to justice Oyerinde’s killers.

He gave the directive to a group of protesters who demonstrated in solidarity with the state government over Oyerinde’s killing. He advised them to resist all temptations to resort to violence.

Oshiomhole said: “We have written a petition to the state commissioner of police in which we informed him of the meeting held at the residence of the godfather where they took a typical evaluation of the forthcoming election. They agreed it is impossible for them to win, but they also resolved at that meeting presided over by the godfather that they will take series of actions to intimidate my person and if possible to eliminate me.
“At that meeting they said they will kill under the guise of armed robbery, they will kidnap some people, many of my personal staff and some of our key leaders to pretend as if they are victims of kidnapping.”

The governor said he also informed the police that at the meeting they resolved that weeks before the election they would detonate bombs in parts of the state in order to scare people from going to vote.

He asked rhetorically: “What is our crime? Our crime is that we have mobilized our people, we have deployed public resources for public good and the godfather is angry. We have no apology for the stand we have taken and we will not slow down. The blood of these young men will fire me on to fight and defeat the godfather as there is no going back. They have killed my son, they have killed my brother, they have killed my people, but they cannot kill my spirit.”

Oshiomhole said: “If the police do not find the killers, if they do not do proper investigation on the killing of those journalists and Olaitan, as governor of Edo State, I will provide the leadership to the people to find solution.

“They must not fight like cowards; they should come and let us engage face to face. Like cowards they shot Olaitan on the head, they shot him on the chest, they shot him on the belly, to make sure he never survives. Why will a man in his eighties preside over the death of young children, why will an old man who has children, great grand children, supervise the killing of young people? Why will Airhiavbere (PDP governorship candidate in the state) who wishes to lead Edo State be only talking about tribalism? They are planning violence and planning killing.

“I want to serve them notice. We have the capacity, we have the men, we have the people and if they do not behave we can stop them from coming to Edo State. I have no cause to cry today, rather than cry, the blood of those young men will whet my appetite for justice.

That is why today, because their plan is to make us postpone again for the second time our campaign. We will go ahead because Olaitan in his lifetime was a fighter. I ask you not to be afraid, don’t be intimidated, don’t give up, if anything we should be more resolved. The godfather is finished and no one can rescue him and any old man that kills will have death awaiting his own children, brother and himself and when he dies he will be in perpetual fire.

“In the name of politics, these people are bringing violence to the state, they are killing, maiming and they are planning more. You will recall that in 2007 we lost three young men. You will recall that at the state House of Assembly they planted a bomb which was meant to kill our members in the Action Congress of Nigeria in the House of Assembly. Thank God the bomb did not detonate. You will also recall that they used machet cuts and tear gas to attempt to kill our members in the House of Assembly and in all of these the police have not done justice, those who tried to kill those honourable members, nothing has happened to them.”

Oyerinde read mass communication at the University of Lagos. He was deputy National Secretary of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and was seconded to work with the governor in November 2007.

He is survived by his wife, Funke, four children and aged father and mother.

A statement by the Special Adviser on Media to the governor, Mr. Tony Iyare, said the sequence of sordid events coming each time on the eve of the flag-off of Oshiomhole’s campaign raises grave concern and therefore demands thorough investigation by the security forces.

Before Oyerinde’s murder, a member of the state House of Assembly, Hon Johnson Oghuma, was also similarly attacked by gunmen.
Oghuma who represents Etsako Central had his car riddled with bullets as he was on his way to Fugar, his hometown.

Odion had, at a press briefing last Sunday, raised fears that top government functionaries were being targeted for elimination.

Reactions to Oyerinde’s killing came in torrents last night.

Benin Monarch, Omo ‘N’ Oba ‘N’ Edo Uku Akpolokpolo, Oba Erediauwa, expressed shock at unfolding events in the state.

Speaking when he granted audience to Oshiomhole in his palace, the traditional ruler said, “when I heard the news of the death of your private secretary, Mr. Olaitan Oyerinde, on Independent Television, I was shocked. We leave everything in the hands of God. We will keep on praying”.

He appealed to the political actors to play the game according to the rules.
Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka also deplored the murder, saying “the agents of darkness and retrogression will not triumph”.

Soyinka said in a text message: “The hand of the assassin is clear as day. It reaches all the way back to the killing of Bola Ige. Please convey my deepest condolences to his (Oyerinde’s) widow, children and colleagues.

“Tell Oshiomhole we all stand by him against the agents of darkness and retrogression. They shall not triumph,” he said.

The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) also condemned Oyerinde’s murder, saying it raises a lot of questions, especially coming shortly after the yet-to-be-resolved ramming of the Governor’s convoy by a tipper truck that claimed the lives of three journalists and a driver.

In a statement issued in Ibadan on Friday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said the killing of Comrade Oyerinde is also another indication of the growing state of anarchy across the country, to which the PDP-federal government has no answer.

It said if someone as close to the Governor as his private secretary can be so mindlessly killed in cold blood, shortly after what now seems to be a failed attempt on the governor’s life when the truck rammed into his convoy, it’s logical to be concerned about the safety of the Governor himself.

”Yes, there may not yet be any conclusive evidence linking anyone to these incidents, but there is a growing concern that they may not be unconnected with the forthcoming gubernatorial election in the state, especially considering the desperation of the PDP to ‘reclaim’ the state at all costs.”

Source; Thisday

#Nigeria Governor Oshiomhole’s Aide Assassinated In Edo State

Comrade Olaitan Oyerinde
By Saharareporters, New York

Olaitan Oyerinde a popular labour activist and principal secretary to the Governor of Edo State Adams Oshiomhole was murdered in cold blood last night around 2: 00 AM by unknown gunmen in Benin city, the capital of Edo state.

Comrade Olaitan was shot to death in front of his wife and children by armed assassins who stormed his officials residence in the city. His murder is apparently related to the Governor Oshiomhole’s upcoming re-election campaign in Edo State. As an official aide to the governor Olaitan is crucial to the coordination and management of electioneering activities for the governor. Comrade Olaitan a University of Lagos alumni is well-known and highly respected as an excellent organizer.

Just last week the governor narrowly escaped a mysterious auto accident in the state, a truck rammed into his convoy as he was returning from a campaign rally, killing 3 journalists and injuring several others.

Also,  a few hours later a group of assassins stormed the house of the commissioner of information in the state Louis Odion attempting to kill him but the commissioner escaped being killed because he was not home when the assassins came calling.

Source-Sahara Reporters

I held no meeting with Jonathan, says Tinubu By Kelvin Osa-Okunbor

Tinubu

•Calls for solution to insecurity

 

Former Lagos State Governor Bola Ahmed Tinubu yesterday said he did not hold any meeting with President Goodluck Jonathan.

He said he was not even in town when the supposed meeting took place.

The frontline politician said there was no meeting between Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fasshola (SAN), the Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Akiolu, and Jonathan.

Asiwaju Tinubu spoke against the backdrop of a report that the trio met in Lagos when the President visited last weekend.

He said he would meet Dr Jonathan, if their discussion would centre on proffering solutions to the lingering insecurity and other national challenges. But he insisted that this should be at the President’s request.

The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) National Leader said much as any of such meetings are called by the President without politicising issues, it would enable stakeholders in the Nigerian project to solve the nation’s problems.

Tinubu addressed reporters at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Ikeja, Lagos, on his way to visit Edo State Governor Adams Oshiomhole on the Saturday road crash involving the governor’s convoy.

He was accompanied by ACN National Chairman, Chief Bisi Akande; former Ekiti State Governor Niyi Adebayo; and ACN National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed.

Tinubu said: “That report is not correct. To tell you categorically, I did not attend any meeting with the President in company of the Oba of Lagos. I wasn’t even aware that the President was coming to Lagos until after the visit of the Oba at night. So, there was no meeting between myself, the President and the Oba of Lagos. I am very sure that the governor did not attend any such meeting with the President.

“We have all been meeting on national issues. We have met several times. So, if the party leadership across board is invited to a meeting to solve the problems of the country, why not?

“This is a critical time when all hands must be on deck to help solve the security problems of the country. This is the time to get together to develop ideas. All necessary steps that can help the nation’s security should be less politicised. Advice should be solicited in good faith. If ideas are solicited in good faith, we must offer them. Those in authority should not reject the ideas outright. But these have to come through the political parties’ leadership.”

On Boko Haram and insecurity, the ACN leader said: “You have touched on a critical issue confronting the nation. It is reaching a phenomenal dimension that we all cannot afford to sleep with our eyes open or ignore the national security.

“The President, as the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, is the first person who probably should begin consultations with the people and must not politicise this problem.

“Since 1999, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has been ruling this country. It claims to have the wisdom and the apparatus, but each time it reacts to this question of national security, the tragedy confronting the country, it has not gone without blaming one political party or the other. That is passing the buck.

“Those in the PDP are the ones saying they are in government; they are in power. So, if they cannot solve the problem of security, why blame it on others?

“Now, there is a clear line and ideological difference between us. But Nigeria belongs to all of us. The best is the PDP-led Federal Government should do is to cry for help and, if they do, they will get it, instead of putting blames or categorising one party as one-man party. They are running around like headless chickens,” Asiwaju Tinubu added.

TheNation

NLC demands probe of Oshiomhole’s convoy crash

•Edo State Governer Adams Oshiomhle discussing with (from left) Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, National Chairman of Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) Chief Bisi Akande, Aremo Olusegun Osoba and Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo during the visit to the Government House, B •Edo State Governer Adams Oshiomhle discussing with (from left) Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, National Chairman of Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) Chief Bisi Akande, Aremo Olusegun Osoba and Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo during the visit to the Government House, B

•ACN leaders visit governor, accident victims •NUJ declares one-week mourning •Fayemi, Alaafin condole with reporters

 

ORGANISED Labour yesterday condemned last Saturday’s ‘attack’ on the convoy of Edo State Governor Adams Oshiomhole.

The Labour’s call came on a day Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) leaders, including former Lagos State Governor Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and National Chairman Chief Bisi Akande, visited the governor.

Three reporters in the travelling party were killed and several others injured.

In a statement in Kaduna by its Vice President, Issa Aremu, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) called for an investigation into the incident.

Aremu said the ‘attack’ on the convoy is coming after what he called “cyber-orchestrated personal attack” on the governor as well as open threat to him by the opposition party in the state.

The statement entitled: “Attack on Comrade Oshiomhole: We must de-militiarise our polity” reads: “We read with great shock an unprovoked seeming orchestrated attack on Governor Oshiomhole.

“His convoy was attacked on the Warrake–Auchi road. Three reporters were reportedly killed with many others injured, including security details.

“We condemn personalisation of political discourse.  We need contestation on policies and issues rather than attack on persons.

“In a related development, there was also alleged threat by former Chairman, Senate Committee on Appropriation, Iyiola Omisore,  to “attack, stop and disarm” the convoy of the Osun State Governor , Rauf Aregbesola.

“All these call for urgent and thorough investigation by the security agencies.

“We call on all political actors to play to the rule.  We need battle of ideas and not personal attacks.”

The Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) in Edo State has declared a week of mourning for its three members.

It directed its members to wear a customised wrist-band throughout the period.

Besides the three reporters who died in the accident, another reporter, Chukwudi Ogu, was killed by unknown gunmen three weeks ago.

The victims are: Olatunji Jacob and George Okosun both of the Independent Television and Radio Benin and Fidelis Ohani, a camera man with the Africa Independent Television (AIT).

A statement  by the chairman of the council yesterday, Friday Obanor, said a mass will be conducted by Rev. Angel Nwankwo today at the NUJ Press Centre.

Prayers will also be offered for the protection of reporters in the state.

At the NUJ Press Centre,  sympathisers called yesterday to condole with the union.

Those who visited  included a member of the House of Representatives, Rasaq Belo-Osagie, Speaker of the House of Assembly Uyi Igbe and the Coalition of Save Nigeria and Youth Coalition Bodies for Oshiomhole.

Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi commiserated with his Edo counterpart,  over the accident  in which some reporters died.

Fayemi in a condolence letter issued in Ado-Ekiti, urged Oshiomole not to lose faith in God or be discouraged by the incidence.

The Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi III,  also commiserated with Oshiomhole and the NUJ.

A statement by his Media Assistant, Azeez Fehintola, quoted the monarch as describing  the incident as unfortunate and a big blow to the government of Edo and the NUJ.

The Alaafin said: “I use this medium to commiserate with the governor and the NUJ on the unfortunate auto crash.

In the ACN team were former governors of Ogun and Ekiti states, Chief Segun Osoba and Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo as well as the party’s National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed. They were conducted round the wards at the Central Hospital, Benin City, where some of the victims are being treated.

Oshiomhole and the ACN leaders asked the medical personnel doctors and nurses on the state of health of the victims. Other patients, who were elated at the visit of the governor used the opportunity to present their own litany of demands.

The governor thanked his guests and told them the incident smacks of foul play and a premeditated plan to harm him.

His words: “Just a little over eight minutes after leaving the Afuze venue of the rally, where many PDP members joined ACN, a lorry suddenly emerged, heading straight for my car.

“Only providence saved me from being hit. The lorry hit the vehicle conveying security details, which immediately somersaulted and then hit the bus conveying the press crew.

“It’s unfortunate that we have lost three young men with young families. We are determined to get to the root of the matter. Our opponents will expect that we’ll be frightened by this incident but we’ll take our report card to every village and every hamlet to ensure that the reporters do not die in vain”, he said.

Akande said: “We see democracy as a thing of joy but we now see that the other side is resorting to killing and maiming. We pray that the good work you are doing in Edo State is not allowed to come to nought”.

-TheNation

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