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Tinubu: ‘Last man standing!’ Now Tony Elumelu is mocking Nigerian youths

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By Sunny Igboanugo

Onye oha n’ekili ekili adiro mma ikpo ntu. Loosely translated, it means a man supposedly being admired by the public, has no business with packing ashes. It is a popular Igbo proverb that tells you to stay away from an igbo (Indian hemp) joint, if you don’t want to be seen as a hoodlum.

I’ve just finished watching a short video clip in the social media in which Tony Elumelu, Chairman of Heirs Holdings, hosted Bola Ahmed Tinubu at his home and the drama that went with it. I was practically pinching myself to see if indeed I was not dreaming.

Why do I say so? There’s something completely wrong with the image that outing cut. What I saw, simply did not fit into the persona of the multi-billion business mogul, arguably one of Nigeria’s influential men of stature. There was something clearly odd out there.

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Of course, Tinubu, a man well-advertised as possessing very “sharp” brain, has been up and about, since he was declared victorious in the election, visiting members of the top echelon – the billionaire world in Nigeria – players in the exclusive club of Nigerian celebrated fat cats.

Before now, images of him with African richest man, Aliko Dangote, had surfaced. I had also seen him with Femi Otedola, another member of that club. I’m sure that within this period, there would be more of such visits. After all, as a sharp man, the Jagaban Borgu, might just be putting what his admirers confer on him at play.

While I didn’t have any problem with the previous images, knowing that in their world, it is what it is, as people are wont to say these days, but with the Elumelu joining in the fray and in the manner he did to boot, I do have a problem – plenty of it. There’s something that tells me that the Delta State-born billionaire, was either play-acting or following a script meant to send a message out to the public over the event of last two weeks. Was that scenery meant to contrive a image of fait accompli on Nigerians regarding the 2023 presidential election? Nobody would doubt with his status, he would not be well-acquainted and there might be plenty of such visits in the past, with Tinubu, who is also one of the most influential Nigerians around today, arguably. So, I wouldn’t have any issue of the two of them visiting each other or even running things together.

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Like I do know many wealthy men actually spread their wings around in obvious political game. I know of one particular one, who distributes his money to as many politicians as possible in the hope of reaping dividends at the end of the day should some of “investments” hit target. There is no telling, that Elumelu might as well have contributed to Tinubu’s political slush fund.

Much as it might not really be morally acceptable, I might not have any problem with that either. What I find completely odious, if not reprehensible is what appears to me like a mockery of Nigerians. I’ve tried to put it in context, but unfortunately, there seems no other interpretation I could give this than the banker willingly stepping into the morass of objectionable conduct.

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Now, why do I pick Elumelu out of the bunch? This is a man, who has somehow connected with youths of Africa or makes a show of doing so. While others might either be keeping quiet with their own programmes, or fancied using their money to enjoy the best life has got to give – cruising around the world in expensive yachts or buying expensive cars – the bank chief has gone beyond that to establish The Tony Elumelu Foundation through which he has promoted, established and empowered thousands of African youths.

Now, is it the same man that would act in such a manner that obviously negates the same ideal he seems to be promoting by conducts clearly diametrically opposed to the clear message the same youths have passed to the entire world through the February 25 presidential election?

Don’t get me wrong. Though the youths have shown their preference and the direction they are headed in the current Nigerian socio-political firmament, nothing compels or impels him to follow in that direction, being an older man, widely travelled and widely connected to know much more and much better.

But what is on ground today goes far more than just making a political choice. He cannot say he is not aware about the general feelings not only among Nigerians, but specifically the youths about the election that produced Tinubu, his guest the winner of that election. Why descend into the arena, when everything is still oozing of bad smell? That’s the point.

What I saw in that video, might as well be likened to a star-struck kid facing a Cristian Ronaldo, Roger Federer or Davido. He was not only seen exhibiting what could only pass for obscene excitement, but had the temerity of recording it in a video and sending it out to the social media, for the consumption of the same youths he is supposed to be mentoring. What a contradiction! couldn’t he have kept the outing private, knowing the present mood of the nation until the coast at least becomes clearer? What indeed calls for such level of laughter and joy in Nigeria today, with the INEC performance? As I said earlier, these issues are relevant because it is about Tony Elumelu and what he represents. Else, nobody would bother.

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Yes! Plausible as his TTEF may be, it is still a one man show and the effect pales completely to insignificance compared to what a country with good leadership could give to the same youths, which is what the youths are pursuing at the moment. In other words, he could do more for Nigerian youths if he helps in enthroning good leaders in Nigeria or at least does not encouraging implausible electoral processes that will produce doubtful products, such as we have in Tinubu, his guest. Is it lost on him that the 2023 presidential election is being seen as the worst in the history of Nigeria or does he belong to the group that are applauding INEC today or are saying it doesn’t matter?

On Wednesday, Olawale Rhodes-Vivour, father of the governorship candidate of the Labour Party (LP) for this year’s election, captured the essence of the Nigerian youths in recent years thus: “It is true that there is this momentum that commenced at the point of #EndSARS and that momentum is the flood that is pushing up a lot of people that we’re talking about now. The momentum itself is a momentum of character. Nigerians have just had enough. They wanted to have good government. They just want to have normal decent people in power. that’s all they’re asking. We’ve had so much of the negatives that the Nigerian people have been pushed to the wall.

“At the point of #EndSARS, there was nobody who was the face of the momentum. So, the momentum began to look for its own officials. On the national level, they found Peter Obi and Datti Ahmed. You know their antecedents – they’re people that we can be proud of. If I go anywhere in the world and Datti or Obi is my President, I will not be ashamed. But you can imagine when I go into Heathrow and the person who won is my President, you know my passport, I begin to see if I could turn the green to yellow, because what usually happens is that they just move you – you’re from Nigeria -oya, stay there and let’s deal with legitimate people first.”

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This is indeed what seems to be at the heart of the current struggle in Nigeria today, the reason the message in that imprudent, if not thoughtless Tinubu-Elumelu mocking video seems quite obvious. It is even so, when the issues surrounding that election are still live.

What Elumelu seems to be saying is that he is satisfied with the election that produced Tinubu. In other words, he’s giving his endorsement to the outcome, regardless of the notorious, if not squalid details flowing from the entire exercise. It is either that or that he just doesn’t care as long as it is good for business.

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Again, it is not that as a private citizen, he doesn’t have the right to host any visitor of his choosing or even support a political candidate he fancies, but it is about the message that he seems to be sending and consequences thereof.

Already, the reactions are coming with the social media currently abuzz. I’ve just read one of the reactions entitled: Nothing hidden that shall not be revealed, which is literally linking Elumelu to the current cash crunch in the country using the Tinubu affair as evidence.

It reads: “A a rare video clip that speaks volume. You may choose to call it a thank you visit. These are the evil bankers that frustrated CBN and the Nigerian masses. Made sure all CBN cash released where diverted to one man. Yet the public were deceived. A classified visit of Seyi and his father Tinubu’ to Tony Elumelu. In the next video you could hear him propose a ministerial appointment for one of his daughters.”

Of course, notwithstanding that the veracity of this claim, could be ensconced in the bowels of fiction than reality, the accomplished banker and businessman will have to devote many of his time to do more of explaining henceforth, except he is no longer interested in maintaining his rather pristine public image.

For certainly, he will not be smelling roses, now, in the near future and probably for a long time, if not forever – a byproduct of momentary indiscretion of gathering the axiomatic ant-infested faggots. The way the cookie crumbles, you might say!  .

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Igboanugo, a journalist, wrote from Lagos

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Obi: Lagos-Calabar coastal highway, not now, may take 20-30 years

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Presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), in the February 25, 2023 election on Monday, raised issues with the controversial Lagos-Calabar coastal highway awarded by the Federal Government to Hitech Construction, at the whopping amount of N13trillion, saying such a gigantic road project was not needed now at a time most of the Federal roads across the country are death-traps.

Obi, former Governor Peter Obi, who broke his silence for the first time over the project, since the news was first broken that the Federal Government had since awarded the contract, while acknowledging its potential benefits, expressed serious concerns about its pricing and raised questions regarding the timing and prioritization in the current Nigerian situation.

The LP boss, who highlighted the pressing issue of numerous uncompleted roads across the country, emphasising their role in economic growth and regional connectivity, maintained that the government should invest such huge resources to deal with the various roads across the country which were in various stages of disrepair, rather than plunging it into one road.

He listed critical roads in various zones, many of which have been under construction for several years due to poor funding and planning to include:

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  1. NORTH-WEST Abuja – Kaduna – Zaria – Kano Road, – Sokoto – Funtua – Zaria Road, Kano – Hadejia Road, Kano – Katsina Road , Zaria – Funtua – Shema – Tsafe – Gusau – Talata – Mafara – Sokoto Road , Kano – Kwanar – Danja – Hadejia Road
  2. NORTH-EAST Kano – Damaturu – Maiduguri Road – Mubi – Maiduguri Road, Nguru – Gashua – Bayamari Road, Gombe – Biu – Numan Road, Dikwa – Marte – Monguno Road, Potiskum – Fika – Bajoga – Gombe – Biu Road, Mayo Belwa – Jada – Ganye – Tongue Road, Tumu – Pindiga – Kashere – Bashar – Wase – Wamba – Nassarawa Road.
  3. NORTH-CENTRAL Abuja – Lokoja – Okene – Auchi – Benin Road, Ilorin – Jebba Road, Kabba – Omuaran Road, Suleja – Minna Road, Makurdi – Gboko – Yandev – Katsina-Ala Road, Buruku Bridge across Katsina River.
  4. SOUTH-WEST Lagos – Badagry Road, Ibadan – Ife – Ilesha – Osogbo Road, Itoikin – Ijebu Ode – Ibadan Road, Ibadan – Ilorin – Jebba – Mokwa – Bokani Junction Road, Abeokuta – Ibadan Road, Ikorodu – Shagamu Road, Ado – Igede – Aramoko – Itawure Road, Ajasse Ipo – Offa – Erinle – Osun State Border Road.
  5. SOUTH-EAST: 9th Mile – Oturkpo -Makurdi Road, Enugu – Port Harcourt Road, Onitsha – Awka — Enugu Road, Onitsha – Owerri – Umuahia Road, Bende – Arochukwu – Ohafia Road, Okigwe – Afikpo Road, Nsukka – Obollo Afor – Ehamafu – Nkalagu Road, Oba – Nnewi – Okija Road.
  6. SOUTH-SOUTH: Benin – Sapele – Warri Road, East – West Road, (Warri – Kaiama – Ahoada – Port Harcourt – Eket – Oron) Yenegoa Road, Junction – Kolo – Otuoke Road, Sapele – Agbor – Ewu Road, Benin – Akure – Ore – Ife Road, Ikot Ekpene – Aba – Owerri Road, Jattau – Fugar – Agenebode Road, Bodo – Bonny Road with Bridge across Opobo Channel, Port Harcourt – Onne Road, Agbor – Sakpoba – Ogharefe Road, Odukpani Junction – Itu – Ikot Ekpene – Umuahia Road.
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With the Federal Ministry of Works allocating a capital budget of N892 billion for 2024, in addition to funding from multilateral loan projects and other sources, Obi questioned the wisdom of embarking on another massive project that may not be completed for the next 20 or 30 years.

He warned against exacerbating the problem of abandoned, incomplete projects that do not contribute to economic growth, urging the prioritisation of existing uncompleted projects, while emphasising the need to allocate resources towards repairing and completing vital infrastructure.

The former governor, who stressed the importance of focusing on the urgent needs of the people and ensuring that investments serve the collective good of the nation, advocated for prioritising the completion and rehabilitation of existing infrastructure over embarking on colossal new projects with uncertain completion timelines, adding that fiscal discipline and strategic prioritisation in addressing the country’s infrastructure challenges, must be paramount to leaders of the country.

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Fubara, Rivers assembly return to trenches! Lawmakers override gov on LG laws

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The seemingly unabating schism between Siminalayi Fubara, Governor and members of the Rivers State House of Assembly, assumed another stage on Monday, with the lawmakers deciding to pass the local government Amendment Bill into law without the assent of the state governor,

The Assembly, in apparent defiance of the state High Court’s order directing the status quo on the issue of elongating the tenure of elected local government officials, which formed part of the amendment, went ahead to screen as well as confirm the chairman and other members of the Assembly Service Commission in the spirit of the new law.

Martins Wachukwu, spokesman of Martin Amaewhule, Speaker of the assembly, conveying the development in a statement, said the lawmakers made the decision at its 159th Legislative sitting held at the Assembly Quarters in Port Harcourt, which has since served as their sitting venue since the demolition of the main House of Assembly quarters by Fubara, last year.

Stating that Fubara declined assent to the Local Government (Amendment) Bill initially passed into law on March 13, 2024, by the House, the statement, said the lawmakers were bent on performing their constitutional duties and therefore decided to override the governor’s decision on the matter by a two-thirds majority.

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The statement read: “Determined to perform its Constitutional duties, the Bill was represented by the Majority Leader, Hon. Major Jack and debated upon by Members. Thereafter, the House in accordance with the provisions of Section 100(5) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as altered, which empowers the House to override the Governor, where he withholds his assent; the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Martin Amaewhule put the question, and with a two-thirds majority vote, the House agreed to override the Governor and passed the Bill into Law.”

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In another development, the House screened and confirmed nominees for the position of Chairman and Members of the Assembly Service Commission, including: Sampson Worlu as Chairman, Abinye Blessing Pepple, Blessing Belema Derefaka, Gbaranen Robinson, and Dorcas Amos as Members.

The statement recalled that on March 22, 2024, the House passed the Rivers State Assembly Service Commission (Amendment) Bill into Law, wherein the House donated back to itself the power to appoint the Chairman and Members of the Assembly Service Commission.

The statement added: “On a sad note, the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Amaewhule, announced the demise of Mr Lucky Amadi, the husband of the honourable Member for Obio/Akpor Constituency II, Hon. Emilia Lucky Amadi, and stated that Members would pay a condolence visit to their colleague.”

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BREAKING: Five days after sacking Ganduje, Kano judge reverses self

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Justice Usman Mallam Na’Abba, of the Kano State High Court, on Monday, reversed himself five days after making an order barring Abdullahi Ganduje National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), from parading himself or performing any official function in that capacity.

In vacating the order made ex-parte, following a plea by Haladu Gwanjo and Laminu Sani Barguma, who claimed to be the Chairman and Secretary of the APC Ganduje Ward in Dawakin Tofa Local Government area of the state, for the suspension of the former Governor of the state from his present job, Na’Abba said he relied on fresh arguments made on the matter.

The fresh applications were brought by Glory Adah, a litigation secretary at the law firm representing the APC boss in a motion ex-parte, accompanied by a 27-paragraph affidavit in support, and a written address dated April 22nd, countering the grounds of his previous orders.

Na’Abba, who adjourned the case to April 30 for the hearing, said: “An order of interim injunction is hereby granted staying the execution of the order of interim injunction contained in the ruling of this court delivered on 17h April 2024 directing parties to maintain status quo ante as at the 15th day of April 2024 in relation to the suspension of the 4th respondent/applicant from the 1st respondent by the Ganduje Ward Executive Committee pending the hearing and determination of the 4th respondent/applicant motion on notice.”

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