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Fascism: Soyinka should have condemned Onanuga, not Datti-Ahmed – Bode George

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For Olabode George, former National Deputy Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the damning label handed down to vice presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Yusuf Datti-Ahmed, by Wole Soyinka, recently over his comment on the outcome of the recent presidential election in Nigeria, should have gone to Bayo Onanuga, who is the real danger to the Nigerian polity.

The Nobel Laureate, had described Datti-Ahmed as fascist, for warning that if Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who was declared winner of the February 25 presidential election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), was sworn in on May 29, 2023, it would not only be against the constitution, but signal the end of democracy in Nigeria.

George, however sees Soyinka’s chastisement as misplaced compared to that of Onanuga, who openly supported ethnic cleansing in Nigeria when he aligned with those who assaulted, maimed and even killed some Igbo voters in Lagos during the March 18 governorship and House of Assembly elections.

Onanuga, had while hailing the action, warned that 2023 should be the last time the Igbo people should attempt to interfere in the political affairs of Lagos, which he said belonged to the Yoruba, in line with the narrative in certain quarters that the people were trying to take over Lagos by supporting the Labour Party (LP) governorship candidate, Gbadebo, Rhodes-Vivour.

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But “And until now, Bayo Onanuga has not apologised for the comment and I expect Prof Wole Soyinka to tell him to apologise rather than be abusing Datti Baba-Ahmed. That was misnormal, senseless and insane to make that kind of comment in a country where we are still trying to build the nation.

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But berating Onanuga who he accused of fanning the embers of ethnic war, George, Atona Oodua of Yorubaland, said: “I see that the misinformation grew because the Nigerian government stopped teaching history, which was a fundamental mistake on the part of our country. If you don’t learn about your past, you will repeat the same mistakes going forward.

“How can you tell them that they can’t come here? Is that the culture of Lagos? Lagos is the commercial-nerve centre not only for Nigeria but for the whole of West Africa. I believe that there is a new move in Lagos and the elders of the real Lagosians are going to meet because you don’t come here to come and define our culture. The culture that has existed. I want to apologise publicly for the statement by Bayo Onanuga. So, I want to apologise as a true born and genuine Lagosian that that is not our style and attitude. We must stop it.

“If Bayo Onanuga is not careful, we will also ban him from Lagos. He can’t talk on behalf of Lagosians. What authority does he have to make such a comment? I am sure that there is a move by elders too to get the real Lagosians, respective of political leaning, to come together, let us save the culture that was handed over to us by our forefathers. Nobody can start to manipulate or re-write the history of our state.”

George spoke on a day Igbo leaders in Lagos, on the platform of Anya Ndigbo, led by Uma Eleazu, visited him to establish their apprehension over the current threats on them, as a result of the fallout of the current elections, declaring that Ndigbo were no longer fealing safe in the state.

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Leading other members of the team, including Emeka Ugwu-Oju, Ben Akah, President of the South East Town Unions in Lagos, Amaechi Ebeledike, Segun Adebanjo, Elvira Salleras and Ikechukwu Amaechi, he said: “Some faceless people are going round fomenting trouble for Igbo people. There is a development we noticed in the last election. It turned out to be a do-or-die affair. If you do a content analysis of the just concluded elections, the words that were used were worrisome. These are words that create fear in the minds of people. In the last election, it went beyond that. In an attempt to dissuade people from voting, we saw one ethnic nationality brought out to be antagonised and given names.

“This had nothing to do with politics and it created fear in an attempt to degrade and dissuade people from coming out to vote. So, our people felt there was a need to talk to leaders like you because we have heard some people say that Igbo and Yoruba are going to fight for Lagos. This is misinformation and it puts fear in the minds of the people, they are asking whether the Igbo people are safe because we have been here for a long time.

“So, our coming to you is to tell you that the Igbo people are not in Lagos for a war or a fight. We are in Lagos to earn a living and to contribute to the development of the place where we are making a living. As a leader, we are telling you what we feel because most of our people are now afraid. Some faceless people are going around fomenting trouble for Igbo people. The latest one is that they said Igbo traders want to close their markets for two weeks. These are fake news.

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“Please help us in spreading the word that Igbo people are not at war with the Yoruba people in Lagos State. We are not planning anything and as I said, we are here to do our business and we don’t want to be molested. We need to douse this tension so that everyone will live in peace.”

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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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