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Akin Omoboriowo: The man, the myth Akin Omoboriowo: The man, the myth

By Deji Fasuan

Chief Akin Omoboriowo, one of the most colourful and discussed politicians in the last three to four decades has passed on.  But his reputation – in whatever form you view it, lingers.  By far the most demonised of Southwest politicians (apart Garrison Commander Adedibu),  Omoboriowo bowed out, still a controversial figure.  Beside the label of betrayal which his trauducers have stubbornly attached to him, Omoboriowo was a bundle of humanity.  His trait as a party loyalist (indeed fanatics), was the sources of his seeming double personality, hence odious perception.  Infact Omoboriowo was a decent, forthright and considerate human specie.  His fault, if it was, lay in his origins and beliefs.

Let me start with some fundamentals.  The man grew up in an environment and among associates who elevated loyalty to a course or a boss to the level of religion.  See through the list.   Oga Sam  (Aluko), Agunbiade Bamise, Prof David Oke, Prof Banji Akintoye, Ayo Fasanmi, Chief Joel Babatola, Chief Falodun, Ade Akilaya.  All these great faithful are of Ekiti Origin.  In the discipleships (not hierarchy) of the Action Group – and its successor political organisations, only Wunmi   Adegbonmire (Omo Ekun) from Akure can match the level of religions devotion and commitment these Ekiti men had for Chief Obafemi Awolowo.  These eight men and of course Akin Omoboriowo are miles ahead of the Ajayis, the Adebanjos, the Onabanjos, the Otebanjos of this world in relation of their followership or discipleship, but not necessarily in hierarchy as has been noted above.  Let us admit one fact.  Omoboriowo did not earn public opprobrium until the events of 1980-83 in Ondo State.  When the UPN big wigs in their wisdom gave the impression that Ajasin would run one term as governor to be succeeded by Omoboriowo for the second stanze, it was an unfair treatment for Ajasin who was being denied his right.  Curiously, nobody in the UPN hierarchy believed in this concoction – except Awolowo and Omoboriowo.  As Wole  Soyinka would say, this was ‘pathetic naivety’.

As from the second year of the Ajasin administration, the ‘Omoboriowo Group’ began to emerge – both in the Assembly and the state as a whole.  This was an unnecessary distraction to the government, but it was doubtful whether Awolowo or Omoboriowo perceived it that way.

The situation was almost balanced between the Awolowo/Omoboriwo forces and the Ajasin forces in terms of numbers and level of commitments.   Indeed it was doubtful whether Chief Awolowo saw any imminent turmoil.  He was free with and confident of his long life associate Governor Ajasin, while he was always reassured of the followership/discipleship of his Ondo State ‘Baba Kekere’ .  As it   turned out, the two perceptions were not ad idem.

Slowly the centrifugal forces were giving way.  In Ondo State, the two camps became distinct and apparent in all legislative and political matters.  Omoboriowo garnered his support from Ekiti and Ilaje – Eseodo mainly, with sprinkles from Akoko.  Of course Ajasin’s foot soldiers were strong,  determined, intellectually based and would give no quarters.  Remember Adegbonmire, Adegoke, Adedipe, Akintoye, David Oke et al?

Then the UPN primary.  Some primaries! The most charitable thing one could say is that it was inconclusive.  In today’s political lexicon, it was manipulated – and Omoboriowo was declared the looser. – And hell  broke.  Not the physical combat yet.  That was still months off.  Tragically, Akin Omoboriowo got paid back at the primaries when his trusted agent took his pound of flesh as a reprisal for an earlier political maneuvering between the two.

Then suddenly Omoboriowo became the beautiful bride who many political organisations courted.  He finally succumbed to the NPN – the arch – enemy of the ‘progressives’ of the West.  The subsequent election and the declaration of the results by FEDECO signaled the beginning of what the Ekitis in old Ondo State called the ‘Holocaust’.  Some Ekiti and Akure indigenes were killed, houses belonging to Ekiti public and private persons destroyed and most known  Ekitis chased out.  For us in Ekiti it was the beginning of the beginning.    First some people have not yet outlived the trauma, second, the job of convincing some doubting Ekiti indigenes of the need for a separate  political entity became easier.

Looking back  still baffles the imagination why Chief Awolowo deserted Omoboriowo and opted for his grand ally Chief Ajasin.  Also one wonders why Omoboriwo and his close political associates could not wait for Ajasin to complete two terms as chief executive of the state  after which he most probably would have been presented the prize on a platter.  In a haze of madness the Ekitis, Akures, and Akokos who are culturally connected took on themselves and almost succeeded in destroying centuries – old affinity.

Akin Omoboriowo in his twilight made his peace with men and his God.  He said often that he had forgiven his detractors – and I believed him. He had a stout heart.  He was affable to his friends and  preached peace, peace most of his later life.   May he rest in peace.

 

• Fasuan JP, Chairman Committee for the creation of Ekiti State.

Source: The Nation

#Nigeria Fayemi: My worries about the Nigerian polity

• Fayemi
• Fayemi

Governor Kayode Fayemi is not just a politician, but also a scholar. In this interaction with journalists in Lagos, the Ekiti State governor addressed controversies surrounding the West’s attempt to integrate the region, the security report on Osun State and the Ondo State political imbroglio. Group Political Editor BOLADE OMONIJO was there.

 

Is regional integration possible with the altercation between ACN and Labour Party in Ondo?

What is wrong, if Aregbesola one of the leaders of the Action Congress of Nigeria wants his party to produce the governor of Ondo State? I have already told you about style and language. Is there anything fundamental about Aregbesola’s involvement in politics? Will he be promoting other parties? If we go as far as Adamawa, we sent people to Kogi, we sent people to work with our party in all the states we have potentials to win, what is wrong with that. The people you say people are not harassing, Adams in BRACED, don’t they come to campaign in Edo for PDP, do they get harassed? Has their rally been disrupted? Let us be fair about it. If we have a problem with Aregbesola language or style there is nothing wrong in advising him to moderate his style. I still insist that Ondo believes in regional integration. In regional integration everywhere it happens, you will have leaders who are uncomfortable with one another. Take the European Union, at the beginning, Britain stood out, they said they didn’t want to be part of it, Germany and France pushed on for some time till it became economically unwise for Britain to stay out of it as they realised that the market, that big European market, is there for them. This is an economic and development issue, it is not a political issue. It is not about the governors, it is about the economic necessity. Can we survive on our own? Can we remain in our silo? What happens to us when this handout from Abuja, that we call allocation stops? How do we want to organise our society? It is a futuristic agenda, it is not even an agenda for now.

What is your view on recent development in Osun State and its effect on the image of your party?

Our party, the Action Congress of Nigeria, has a manifesto. Our manifesto is not apologetic in any way about how we see the Nigeria state today. We believe in the promotion of equity. We have offered what we consider to be the mechanism for re-ordering state, federal and local government relations. That is properly documented. Whether it is called in some sectors devolution of power or it is called by another decentralisation or it is called true federalism. There are all sorts of names that are used for what we believe in. We all have our styles of governance. It may be easy for me because of my nature to relate with an Ayo Fayose who is my brother, regardless of whatever his political position is or Oni or any of the other people in my state in a manner that Governor Aregbesola may find difficult, if not impossible, to relate with Iyiola Omisore or even his predecessor; Governor Oyinlola. That is personal style but we must not elevate that personal style to the level of fiction because that is exactly what is happening with the so called security report. I come from a security background as many of you know. I know how security reports are put together and when you put together a report that is mishmash of discussion, I don’t want to say beer parlour or pepper soup joint discussion, with no head no tail, I have my worries. Governor Aregbesola is seen as fiery and fearsome, but he is quite soft at heart. It may be difficult for some to believe that is really what he is. Because he is a shy person, his own mental defence mechanism may be to put a wall between himself and those who he doesn’t want to relate to but when you really subject it to logic what is in that report that is worthy of a second look from any serious minded person. As I said in my statement, we had a flag before Osun had a flag. Lagos had a flag 20 years ago. It was the only state that remained when the other states were balkanized. We have an anthem. If you come to Ekiti, we don’t sing just the national anthem, we sing our own Ekiti anthem and if you come across any document from Ekiti State, you will see that it is not the federal government coat of arms that we have in the state. We don’t even have the Federal Government’s coat of arms on our document. That is not to say that we are not a constituent part of the federal state called Nigeria, and we are proud to be, but we believe that we need an identity that speaks to the core value of our state, that our people can relate to and when you see the Ekiti crest, if no name is written on it, if you have 10 crests put together and you see the Ekiti crest you will not be in any doubt. You will actually say this must be Ekiti without being told. I think that is what Governor Aregbesola has done.

What about Omisore’s threat to stop and search the convoy of Aregbesola?

How is it going to be done? Some of the people fighting him, where were they in the politics in their state. You have my brother who claimed to be the South West Chairman of their party.

It will not be news to you that he has no place at home. He couldn’t even go home. He is settling quarrel all over the South West, he could not go home to his party to resolve the conflagration that is there.

Is it feasible for a state to champion secession?

Is Osun State championing secession? One, it is not feasible. We have our own design, our own grand dream about what we want to achieve for our state. I have just come from the opening ceremony of the Lagos Economic Summit. Lagos is still a sub nation in Nigeria but it is the fourth largest economy in Africa. It is not a sovereign state, but many of the things that Lagos wants to do, many sovereign states in Africa cannot do. It is a matter of choice. If Osun has a vision of building a state that is self sufficient, that has food security, that can respond to the needs of the people and you then find that difficult, then it is not secession that you are worried about. You are worried about what the performance level will do to the fortune of your own party, if he was to achieve all of those elements. It is the same old age battle between the reactionaries and the progressives. That is what is happening. Don’t let us kid ourselves. I dare say it has some level of Abuja connection in it. We are not worried. We have no issue with the Federal Government. The issue that we have with the Federal Government, we have put them on the table, the lopsidedness of the relation between the centre and the state. That is open; people know our position on that. We want our regional bloc to serve the people of this region. We are unapologetic about that and nobody can accuse us of going into our siloh because that is a model that is being represented everywhere. As we speak some people are gathered in Asaba called BRACED meeting on South South agenda and working on the South South development. Let us not mix development with politics. They are not meeting on South South sharing of money, they are meeting on how to bring development to the region. Peter Obi, my brother and his colleagues gather time to time to organise in response to the economic challenges in the South East and unless we do that how am I going to access the N3 billion food market in Lagos, if I don’t work within the regional hub and discourage Lagos from even venturing into Agriculture so that I can bring the food here? That, for us, is the issue. The time for governance is for governance. It seems to be in their own views which are being parroted by the media, Aregbesola is the most recalcitrant of the lot. If you can crush him, Fayemi is easy, Amosun used to be with us we can get him back, Ajimobi is a nice man, Fashola is a technocrat. That is their own estimation and that is what is driving what they are doing. Unfortunately for them they are on the wrong track. 

How will you describe what happened at the venue of the botched Adebayo Adefarati Memorial lecture in Ondo?

It is a worrisome development. I hope, it is not yet an ugly event. If it is an ugly event, I hope it is not going to become a process; that it will remain an event. I was surprised by what happened. I want to be as frank as possible. I found it strange because I regard the governor of Ondo State as my brother and I have said this to many of you on many occasions that in my party, I am seen as the closest link to him, even when some of the leaders in my party are not necessarily very cordial in their relationship with the governor. I have always maintained that the relationship that I have with him goes beyond the personal. We have very strong personal bond. We were in the trenches together. We fought together, even though, he was on the other side, (the Labour Party) but were both the underdogs when we went into our elections and necessarily, we exchanged notes. We did many things together, even now, particularly developmentally. He was one of the first people that I spoke to when the Adefarati family came to me that I should come and give a lecture. I told the family when they came that since this was not a partisan matter; it was a memorial of somebody who had been governor of a state, who had been a leader of the progressive movement. I don’t think it should be partisan, and I asked the family pertinent questions: who are the people that are coming? Have you told the governor of the state? What role will it play at the event? The family members made it clear to me that they had informed the governor, even though they had difficulty in seeing him but they handed over the letter to his Chief of Staff.

About two days to the event, I called him and confirmed to him that I would be coming to deliver Baba Adefarati’s 5th Memorial lecture. He said that he didn’t like the way the lecture was being handled, that he felt that there was a political undertone and all that, which is natural. Any of us could come with any impression of this matter and I said to him, well as far as I am concerned, this is an important thing to do. It is the 5th anniversary of a man in whose administration he himself was very much involved as a commissioner, even more than someone like me. I told him that I would come over to him and we would go together to the event which. But, before I left Ado-Ekiti, I received the first warning shot because my advance team was already there, and, they informed me that there was problem, altercation between the Labour Party supporters and those of the Action Congress of Nigeria, (ACN) at the venue of the event, but at that time they had not attacked Dr. Olaiya Oni. It was the early period of the day.

Did you at that point get in touch with him again?

Again, I called my brother and said this is what I was hearing about the place and I hoped it was proper for me to come and he said that he too had heard that there were problems, they were not allowing members of the Labour Party to come in. that was his own perspective. By the time I got to Akure, I discovered that it was really pointless going to the place because the feedback I was getting was not palatable. I went to the house of our party leader; the former Secretary to the State Government under Chief Adefarati; Omo Ekun, Chief Wunmi Adegbonmire. I was there with our National Chairman, Chief Bisi Akande and some other chieftains, watching the development whether things would calm down or not. We eventually got a message that the situation was yet to abate. My own security team actually wanted to go, but I felt that it wasn’t proper. If I had gone, those who had been shooting and throwing all sort of things, my own security team would have found it necessary to respond and that would have escalated the entire thing beyond what later transpired. So, I decided that I was leaving town. Again I called my brother that given what had transpired, I couldn’t go to the event, I was returning to Ado-Ekiti and he said that he was in Ile Oluji at the time. We agreed to see subsequently.

Do you think this could foretell what to expect during the campaign?

What I found surprising was that an event of this nature could be turned into a redress rehearsal for the shape of things to come in Ondo State. I really do hope it is not the shape of things. It was also more shocking to me, naturally, when matters like this happen, security people will do their investigation and Ondo and Ekiti are like Siamese twins, there is very little you can do in one angle that will not filter to the other. I was surprised when I discovered from evidence shown to me later that elements close to the party and government in Ondo State were central to everything that happened. I don’t know if my brother was aware of the role they played because it is also possible as governors often find themselves in a situation where their supporters and their key actors may do things that they are not privy to. It is not impossible that he may not even know the activities of some of his men but I have it on very good authority that at least three of the drivers of the fracas are key officials in his party. It was not spontaneous. It was not accidental. It was organised and they had been there since 7am. In fact, some of the people they used had effrontery to go to an event where the governor was presented an award same evening to lodge a complaint that the money they gave to them was not enough and I don’t think that is something I really want to associate with the governor of Ondo State. I feel very strongly as earlier said that I am almost regarded as umbilical cord between my party and himself because we have close relationship. I respect him, I discuss a lot of things with him, particularly in relation to our states because hardly can one do anything without the other.

Beyond the Fayemi/Mimiko personal relationship, what about the two states?

We are closely tied, not just because of our shared history, but also because of the practicality. There are many of my people who live in Akure and come to Ado-Ekiti, including senior functionaries of my government. I wouldn’t want a situation in which Ondo State citizens in Ekiti and Ekiti citizens in Ondo will find themselves in the line of fire which they had not caused which is driven by political machination rather than any objective animosity on the part of both states, particularly, the two of us really have nothing but I also know that in politics, friends easily becomes enemies and I will hate a situation in which that will be the case. I have seen a lot of reports in newspapers, attributing what happened to all sorts of funny things like ACN aspirants fighting among themselves, Labour people not being allowed to come into the venue.

Do you agree with those expressing fear that we may be sowing the seed that could consume the Republic?

What is much more fundamental and which I think should worry us collectively and, as leaders in the media and society I will like all of us to reflect on it together, is the potential that this holds even for the survival of our democracy. The West has a history in this country, and more often than not, the West is always the trigger of crisis. There are those, particularly conservative elements in this country who always find it necessary to arrest development in the West without considering the full implications of that on the country and more often than not when that thrives, it ends up destroying the very fabric of this fragile democracy called Nigeria and I hope we are not going down that route again with Ondo State becoming Achilles heel in our country.

There are those who will even see some of the things that I have jokingly talk about with you on development in Osun. I am an unapologetic advocate of regionalism and many of you have read my interview or comment that I do not necessarily believe that we all must belong to the same political party for regionalism to take root. I used to give example that in our lifetime Chief Kehinde Sofola came from the same community as Chief Obafemi Awolowo and he was Attorney General of the NPN, the party in government in the Second Republic. There is nothing that says that we cannot even belong to the opposing side. Let us market ourselves to the people. Let us sell our idea to the people and it is on the basis of that that we should ask for their votes and for legitimacy. None of us should be indulged in any attempt to force ourselves on our people. Once there is a legitimate product of legitimate process, the ownership comes automatically In my state I make bold to say that some may say Fayemi is a passivist. Governor Ayo Fayose was with me to greet me on my mother’s passage. When former Governor Oni’s mother died, I was one of the first people that went there, in spite of our political differences and I was at her funeral. Politically, many of you may know that Chief Afe Babalola is not exactly on my side of the divide, but at every opportunity because I recognise that he is an icon, we have a state calendar, he is one of the first people on the Ekiti state calendar as a brand ambassador for my state. That is me. I don’t see why I cannot disagree with you politically and still share bread with you. Call it naivety, lack of readiness to play politics the way it is meant to be played in our setting. I think this is an intellectual process and we can have an intellectual approach to disagreement which does not impair my personal relationship with you. That is why I am saddened by what happened in Ondo State. The lecture did not make a single reference to the impending election in Ondo State, neither did it talk about the relationship between my party and the Labour Party. It focused on how we could rebuild this society on the basis of equity, fairness and justice.

Source : The Nation

Beyond Aregbesola’s Treason Trial

Femi-Falana(1).jpg - Femi-Falana(1).jpg

 

Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, the candidate of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), was elected the governor of Osun State in 2007. But since it was a “do or die” election for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP),  its candidate, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, was falsely returned by the Independent National Electoral Commission. The illegal declaration was fought in a protracted legal battle. Eventually, the Court of Appeal restored Aregbesola’s mandate after three and a half years.

Two months later, the appeal filed by the 30 chairmen elected on the platform of the PDP against the verdict of the Court of Appeal, which had ordered their removal from office, was dismissed by the Supreme Court. Having handled the case for the Osun State chapters of the Action Congress, National Conscience Party and All Nigeria Peoples Party from the High Court to the apex court, Aregbesola asked for my interpretation of the Supreme Court judgment in the case of Osun State & Ors v Action Congress & 2 Ors (2011) 10. Notwithstanding the pressure mounted on the governor by his party leaders to dissolve the council chairmen and councilors on the basis of the judgment he refused. He directed that they be allowed to remain in office since they had only one month left to complete their tenure.
The governor’s handling of two other issues confirmed his political maturity. The ACN members had vehemently opposed the appointment of a top lawyer in the ministry of justice in the state on the ground that she was used by the ousted regime to prosecute its political opponents including the governor. He made the appointment on the ground that the prosecutor was discharging her duty at the material time. In the same vein, he dismissed the objection of his party leaders on the appointment of a significant number of children and wards of PDP members in the state employment scheme. He made it clear that he is the governor the state and not the chairman of the ACN.

THE TREASON CHARGES
As far as the PDP leaders were concerned the stat Aregbesola of recruited 20,000 thugs under the pretext of job creation. It was also alleged that his decision to rebrand the state of Osun and design a flag, anthem and coat of arms were treasonable. It was, however, intriguing that the Director-General of the State Security Service, Mr. Ita Ekpeyong, who had discharged his duty without fear or favour, decided to team up with the ruling party in justifying the monstrous allegation that the governor had concluded arrangements to dismember the Federal Republic of Nigeria by excising Osun State there from. In a tendentious report  Aregbesola was alleged to be associating with a Muslim group, which is linked with the Boko Haram sect.
Although no one has referred to the specific provisions of any law violated by the governor, it is pertinent to examine the legal implications of the rebranding of Osun state in the context of the relevant laws. It is unfortunate to note that those who compiled the security report on  Aregbesola are not familiar with the constitutional history of Nigeria. Otherwise they would have found that in the First Republic, the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria existed side by side with regional constitutions and that there were regional police forces.

Apart from the embassies of the Federal Government the federating units had consulates and properties in some foreign countries.  Even under the defunct military dictatorship when to keep Nigeria one was a task that required absolute loyalty every state had their own coat of arms. At a time that there were 12 states in Nigeria it was only the western state, which established a regional Court of Appeal, which served as an intermediary court between the State High Court and the Supreme Court. But in line with the tenets of federalism the remaining 11 states did not establish any Court of Appeal. Under the current political dispensation the Olagunsoye Oyinlola Administration in Osun State set up the Customary Court of Appeal in 2010. No other state in the south-west has set up such an appellate court even though it is provided for in the Constitution.
Another ridiculous allegation is that   Aregbesola dispatched some Osun State indigenes for training in Cuba. In spite of her economic difficulties aggravated by the economic blockage imposed by the United States over 50 years ago,  Cuba is acknowledged to have excelled in the areas of education, medicine and peace keeping operations. Because of his implicit confidence in the Cuban educational system  Aregbesola sent his first son, Abdul,  to Havana for his first degree in informatics before proceeding to the United Kingdom for post -graduate studies. For over a decade, the Cuban government has awarded scholarships to scores of Nigerian youths to study in Cuba. The federal ministry of education, which administers the scholarship scheme, has always appreciated the generosity and solidarity of the Cuban government. It is curious that the SSS has not accused the Federal Government of engaging in treason by allowing Nigerian youths to acquire education in Cuba!

IN DEFENCE OF AREGBESOLA
A few weeks ago, I attended the convocation ceremony of the Ekiti state university (ESU) at Ado, Ekiti state. Unlike most universities in the country which have commercialised their honorary degrees the ESU conferred doctorate degrees honoris causas on three distinguished Africans  namely Mr. John Dramani Mahama, Vice President of Ghana, Dr. Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella, Director General of UNIDO and Professor Tekena Tamuno, former vice chancellor of the University of Ibadan.

On that occasion the anthems of Ghana, Nigeria and Ekiti State were played to mark the commencement and conclusion of the ceremony. The state governor, and  the Visitor to the university, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, was present at the occasion.  Last week,  Fayemi presented the staff of office to the Oba of my home town, the Alawe of Ilawe Ekiti, Oba Adebanji Alabi. The anthems of Nigeria, Ekiti and Ilawe were played to the delight of the audience. My wife asked me if the SSS would not accuse  Fayemi of treason for leading the audience to sing the Ekiti anthem. I reminded her that no one has ever been charged with any crime for singing the famous Egba anthem, which was composed by Fela Anikulapo’s grand father several years before Nigeria was born.
In a country where religious bodies, schools, trade unions, political parties, clubs and other friendly societies have their constitutions, anthems, mottos and emblems it is bunkum to accuse a governor of committing treason for causing a state to have a flag, coat of arms and an anthem. Indubitably, section 1(2) of the Constitution prohibits any person or a group from taking over the government of Nigeria or any part of it. Having contested and won the governorship election of Osun State  Aregbesola cannot be said to have taken government by force.

It is also submitted that the 68 items in the exclusive legislative list in the Constitution on which only the National Assembly can legislate does not include flag, coat of arms and anthem. To that extent,  Aregbesola cannot be said to have usurped the legislative powers of the federal government. Neither has his decision to call the state the “State of Osun” violated Section 3 (2) of the Constitution, which states that there shall be ” a Federation consisting of states and a Federal Capital Territory”. In the United States of America from where Nigeria copied her Constitution most of the states have their courts of appeal, supreme courts, flags, coat of arms, police forces etc. Even counties (local governments) and corporate bodies including universities have their own police or quasi military institutions without being accused of courting treason.
The attempt by the SSS to link Aregbesola with the Boko Haram sect is dangerous. It should not be taken lightly as it was deliberately designed to promote religious crisis in a peaceful environment. No doubt, Aregbesola is a devout Muslim  but certainly not a fanatic. On the day of his inauguration he led the huge crowd at Osogbo to sing many Christian songs while thanking God for restoring his mandate. Last year, I attended a public function at Osogbo presided over by the governor. Before the commencement of the event he invited a pastor, an imam and an Ifa priest to pray for Osun state and the Federal Republic of Nigeria. To the embarrassment of the Christian and Muslim members in the hall there was a prolonged ovation when the Ifa priest said prayers in undiluted Yoruba language. At the end of the programme a born again Christian friend walked up to the governor and questioned his blasphemous policy of promoting idolatry. To which Aregbesola replied “you saw the reaction of the audience. The people were not clapping for the Ifa priest. They were applauding our decision to recognise and promoting traditional religion. That is in line with section 10 of the Constitution which states that the State shall not adopt any particular religion”.
It is germane to draw the attention of security forces to section 37 of the Criminal Code Act which defines treason as the act of levying war  against the State, in order to intimidate or overawe the President or the Governor of a State, and any person involved in the offence is liable to the punishment of death. In Dokubo-Asari v Federal Republic of Nigeria (2007) 30 WRN 1 at 75 the Supreme Court held that “a charge of treasonable felony is a very serious offence and is prejudicial to national security”. The late jurist, Dr. Akinola Aguda was of the view that a person accused of treason  “must be shown to have had the intention to intimidate or overawe the President or any state governor by any physical or unlawful means”. On intimidating or overawing the President the learned author opined that it “involves creating a situation where the government feels compelled to choose between yielding to force or exposing its members or the public to a very serious danger”.
From the foregoing a charge of treason or treasonable felony cannot be sustained against Aregbesola for having a state flag, coat of arms and anthem. So far no scintilla of evidence has been adduced to show that the governor has planned to levy war against the State with a view to intimidating or overawing the President. Instead of demonising the governor he should be commended for embarking on massive job creation in a country where mass unemployment has led to unprecedented wave of armed robbery, kidnapping, terrorism and other violent crimes.

However, it is ironical that while the state security service was reading treason into the Osun State Aregbesola of treason the World Bank led officials of the federal government and 15 states to Osogbo to understand the employment generation programme of his administration.

•Falana is a lawyer and member of THISDAY Editorial Board.

-Thisday

#Nigeria Jonathan’s 2015 ambition fuelling insecurity – Speaker

President Goodluck Jonathan

Ekiti State House of Assembly Speaker, Dr. Adewale Omirin, has blamed the rising security in the country on President Goodluck Jonathan’s alleged plan to seek a second term in 2015.

Omirin said this in an interview with journalists in Ado Ekiti on Wednesday.

The speaker, who lamented the violence in some parts of the country, particularly the wave of bombings in the North, alleged that tensions had grown increasingly since Jonathan said his first term would end in 2015.

Omiri said, “African leaders are not honest. If somebody who begged for a term is now seeking a second term, there is no honesty in that. It is not that the Peoples Democratic Party is popular.

Nigerians are tired of the PDP, they are still in power because they are the one who organised elections in the country but I hope by next election we are going to have a more credible election that would automatically reduce the number of PDP governors in the states. The PDP cannot win more than 10 states if a credible election is conducted.”

On the claim by the National Security Adviser, Gen. Owoye Azazi (retd), that the zoning formula of the PDP was the cause of the crisis in the country, the lawmaker said the NSA being an insider could not be wrong.

The speaker feared Nigeria might disintegrate if a solution was not found to the problem of terrorism ravaging the country.

He said the security challenges facing the country had reached an alarming rate, urging Jonathan to find a permanent solution.

According to him, Nigerians have yet to see any improvement in the security situation in the country, despite the assurances given by the President in his numerous condolence messages.

Omirin said, “Security should be the first in any society. The security situation in the country is cause for concern because bombs are being thrown everyday and lives and property are being destroyed.

“Whatever the problem of those throwing the bombs is, dialogue is the solution. They should consider dialogue, the Federal Government should also be ready to dialogue with them. If they continue this way, it may be the end of Nigeria.”

Afe Babalola heads panel on Ekiti airport

Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi has inaugurated a nine-man committee, chaired by the legal luminary, Aare Afe Babalola (SAN), to examine the possibility of establishing an airport in the state.

He said his administration is committed to the transport sector as a key area in the state’s development.

The governor said his administration has invested heavily in road construction and rehabilitation in the 16 local government areas to drive home its commitment to the development of the transport sector.

Dr. Fayemi said the proposed airport would bring Ekiti State into the limelight with its emerging economy and attract investors as well as tourists, who have flair for comfort.

He noted that though the establishment of an airport would require a lot of money, the state government, through a Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement, would accomplish the task.

The governor said the airport has become necessary as the Federal Government is establishing an Export Conditioning Centre and a silo in the state while the Ikogosi Resort would also attract many visitors and tourists.

A statement by the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Olayinka Oyebode, listed the terms of reference of the committee as: examining the viability and feasibility of an airport in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital, and proposing a practical implementation roadmap for same.

Fayemi was optimistic that when the Ikogosi Resort becomes functional, the proposed airport would market it. A South African hotel management group has agreed to manage the resort for the government.

Babalola described the inauguration as “historic in the history of Ekiti State”.

He noted that the project is dear to members of the committee.

The eminent lawyer tied the lack of industries in the state and the failure of the take-off of the Ikogosi Resort to the absence of an airport.

“There is an urgent need for meaningful industrial development in Ekiti by involving foreign developers from China, Europe, Japan, the Middle East and America. Any foreigner who comes to Ekiti with the intention of establishing an industry and who comes through Lagos by road to Ado-Ekiti or from Abuja by road, otherwise called the death traps, would never come back to Ekiti,” he said.

Other members of the committee are: Sir Remi Omotoso, Afolabi Esan, Segun Ologunleko, Femi Tolani, Kayode Jegede, Babajide Arowosafe, Jide Adeniji and Capt. Bolaji Agbelusi.

-The Nation

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