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Nigeria on a keg of gun-powder – Obasanjo *Says, clueless leaders courting implosion



“We are living dangerously on a keg of gunpowder, driving more people into poverty through good policies poorly and thoughtlessly implemented or bad policy and no policy at all,” were the exact words of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, on Monday as he weighed in into the parlous stat of the nation, linking it to the poor quality of leadership in the country over the years.

Obasanjo, in a keynote address at the public presentation of a book titled, Reclaiming the Jewel of Africa, written by Olusegun Aganga, former Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, who had also served as Minister of Finance, on Monday in Abuja, took a critical look at the state of the nation.

Obasanjo, who regretted the rate at which the country’s leaders were pushing many citizens into poverty because of poor implementation of good policies, lamented that over the past 63 years, the country had not lived up to expectations as the much-taunted giant of Africa, thus disappointing the continent and the world, at large.

At the event which held inside the conference room of the Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Centre, virtually, said: “Even though Nigeria is a potential jewel of Africa, if you want to put it that way, we have never attained that position. Can you reclaim what you have never had or attained?

“Over the last 63 years, we have not lived up to expectations. We have disappointed ourselves; we have disappointed Africa; we have disappointed the black race; and we have disappointed the world. What Segun (Aganga) has tried to identify, itemise and recommend in his book is the way forward. But the beginning of charting a new course for ourselves is to admit our failure because we have not always put the round peg in the round hole.

“We are carried along by ego and emotion of self, selfishness and self-centeredness, ethnic and religious jingoism, with total lack of understanding of the world we live in and gross misunderstanding of what development entails and how to move fast and continuously on the trajectory of development.”

Identifying two major, though interrelated, factors for all-round development, he said: “These are peace and security, which we cannot achieve without justice, equity and inclusive society. And telling ourselves the truth, we have not done well on these scores in the recent past — in the last decade and a half.

“I will also point at the issue of education, where over 20 million children that should be in school are not in school. We do not need an oracle to tell us the consequences of that for tomorrow.”

The former president said skills acquisition, empowerment and employment of the youth seemed to be ignored or not appreciated, adding: “We do not need to look far for the remote causes of banditry, Boko Haram, kidnapping and other organised crimes.

Commending Aganga for making an impressive contribution to the body of knowledge on Nigeria’s development annals, said: “You are welcome to the League of Authors on Nigeria’s development endeavours. I hope this will not be your last publication.”

Emphasising the need to harness Nigerian talents in the diaspora towards the development of the country, the former President, added: “The point I am making is that we have, both at home and in the diaspora, Nigerians who have attained world and best standard in their character, professions, attributes, performance and reputation in all walks of life. With such men and women, why are we underperforming at home?

“Aganga stands out as one of the best in these categories of best performers – home and away. The publication is a timely and relevant book for Nigeria, coming out of practical experience, exposure, professional understanding and interaction.

“I’m substantial responsibility for drafting Aganga into the noble Project Nigeria, which I did midway into my incarnation as leader of Nigeria between 1999 and 2007. I first met Segun while he was the Managing Director of Goldman Sachs in London, a very important position in the financial world. He was part of the Bank’s delegation that visited me in Abuja between 2004 and 2005 or thereabouts. Both of us connected, quite naturally when he was introduced as Segun.

“But more importantly, because I was highly impressed with his contributions during our discussions, I challenged Segun, who was a diasporan to get more involved, from his base in London, in our nation-building efforts here in Nigeria.

“I am pleased to indicate that my call considerably inspired Segun to establish the Nigeria Leadership Initiative (NLI), which was registered in the United Kingdom in 2006. NLI’s mission is to create a growing, global network of credible, accomplished community-spirited Nigerian leaders, committed to taking responsibility for driving positive change in Nigeria and Nigerian communities.

“Because of its lofty objectives, NLI attracted the support of many global and international organisations, including the World Bank, which mandated NLI to replicate the initiative in Rwanda. Our administration also invited NLI to conduct a programme for members of the government in April 2006. This background explains why in 2010, I gently hinted the then President Jonathan of the need for him to appoint Segun as his finance minister. I did not feel let down by Segun’s performance in the two portfolios that were assigned to him. I remain proud of him for his performance.

“Let me make a point here. I always look in and look out for men and women of intelligence, track record of performance, ability, love of Nigeria and humanity and love and fear of God and courage with humility and integrity to serve Nigeria. None of them is perfect nor a saint but all those that I have so recruited, particularly from the diaspora, have performed creditably well in government.

“Segun Aganga is one of them.  So are Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Lesley Obiora, Akin Adesina, Rilwanu Lukman, and Bayo Ogunlesi. There are others who secured international appointments after their services at the national level under my watch. Among such distinguished ones are Amina Mohammed, Babatunde Osotimehin, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Oby Ezekwesili, and Akin Adesina after he had initially been encouraged by me to serve at home.

“Here I have my first minor disagreement with Segun on this book.  It is not in terms of the content, which I will come to later, but in terms of the title.  Should it be Reclaiming or Claiming the Jewel of Africa?  If we have not reached there, which we have not, our first assignment is to reach there. Not long ago, I decided to have on record the experiences of some of the Nigerian ambassadors from independence to date. One of the first set of ambassadors, Ambassador Ogunsulire, during the interview, recollected that at the first meeting of the United Nations General Assembly attended by Prime Minister Tafawa Balewa for the admission of Nigeria as a member of the United Nations on October 7, 1960, Nigeria was referred to as Giant in the sun.”

The book, which offered a “blueprint for taking Nigeria and Africa from potential to posterity”, was launched by President Bola Tinubu, who was represented by his Special Adviser on Monetary Policy, Wale Edun at the event, which was graced by many dignitaries, including former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, who also addressed the gathering virtually; former governor of Ekiti State, Mr. Kayode Fayemi; former Director General, Nigeria Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Ms Arunma Oteh; and former Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Niyi Adebayo.

Jonathan, who congratulated Aganga on his effort in writing the book, describing it as a “special one because I know the capacity of the author, who worked closely with me in managing the economy of our country, under our administration, said: “Then, Aganga handled key portfolios in the economic sector, including the finance minister, chairman of the economic management team, and Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment. You could simply describe him as an insider on economic issues, in our administration.

“It is comforting that he has documented his experience in government and his substantial experience in global finance and economic management in this book.

“I am privileged to have seen the book before many of you because Aganga sent me a copy in advance. I will say that the book is a rich resource on development and a pathway to progress, focusing on the solutions Nigeria needs in order to unleash its greatness for the good of our people.

“Dr. Aganga at a point turned me into a marketing manager by travelling with me to at least 40 countries in search of foreign investment. I am glad that the venture and travels, which he captured in one of the chapters in the book, paid off, as our nation then became Africa’s first destination for foreign direct investment and one of the fastest growing economies at that time.

“It is not surprising that the book is already a bestseller, even before it was first publicly presented in London and now here in Nigeria. This is because of the unique character and personality of the author. Dr. Aganga has a great passion and desire for Nigeria and Africa’s development. I believe that for Dr. Aganga to pour that boundless passion into a book is to create a masterpiece. And he has been gracious enough to render it in a simple language that all of us can read and understand. I recommend the book to everyone as an important tool in our march to greatness.”


Imo massacre: Armoured vehicles procured for police used to rig elections – LP



Labour Party, palpably in anguish at the slaughter of eight soldiers in Imo State on Tuesday by some rampaging gunmen, has raised questions over the whereabouts of the nine Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs) Athan Achonu, it claimed its governorship candidate for the November 11 election, repaired and donated to the authorities in the state.

The party, all but called out the leadership of the Imo State Police Command, to whom they claimed the equipment were handed over, alleging that the last time they APCs were seen was during the last general elections, where they were used by members of the All Progressives Congress (APC), the party in power in the state to snatch ballot boxes for candidates in the national and state assemblies.

The claim, was made when Nick Opara-Ndudu  and Nnaemeka Onyeka Obiareri , chieftains of the party appeared as guests on The Morning Show, a breakfast programme on Arise Television to sell the candidacy of Achonu, whom they said would never have allowed the type of insecurity in the state to endure under his watch.

Both men, who said that Achonu, whose highest political office so far, was his short stint in the Senate, where he served via the 2015 election before he was removed through the courts, remained the only solution not to the insecurity, in the state and even the South East,  but the one to rescue the people from years of underdevelopment from poor leadership.

Obiareri, spokesman of the LP in the state, argued that if the APCs had been in place, Tuesday’s incident in which the military men were killed alongside some policemen and officials of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), would probably not have happened, said a check on the social media would reveal how they were used by party men of the APC for rigging the 2023 general elections.

He said: “The military men that were killed if they had armoured vehicles patrolling, they wouldn’t have been shot by those criminals. Athan Achonu, go and confirm from Innoson, paid hundreds of millions of naira to Innoson, Innoson is still alive, you people can still go and interview him, to repair nine armoured vehicles for the police. Five were supposed to be in Okigwe zone. Till today, we don’t know where those nine armoured cars are.

“If you go to Youtube, you’ll see Youtube record of members of the House of Assembly in Imo State using those APCs to carry ballot boxes. It’s there on Youtube, you can search it out. What Athan Achonu will do is very simple. Every local government area will have one humvy vehicle for the police. Police stations had been totally burnt in Imo State and Athan repaired most of those police stations.

“Then, there will be community vigilante. We’ll train those 50 youths per community – train them, equip them and arm them. They should guard their communities. When you have over 50,000 hectres of land, reclaimed from the bandits, and you have youths who are not only just farming, but who are trained to protect their communities, they’ll do the job.

“Then, we have to set up a security trust fund. Ndi-Imo are not scared. As at today, there are some communities in Imo State, where bandits – unknown gunmen, are ransacking and collecting levies from the communities. Basically, Athan Achonu will provide training, recruitment for people donated by the communities. Communities know those who are the terrible ones in their midst. And I tell you, in six months, they will flush them out.”

Opara-Ndudu, who dismissed the claim by the state governor, Hope Uzodimma that the carnage and other killings in the state were politically-motivated, blamed the governor for misplacing his priorities and failing to provide jobs for the teeming youth population in the state, questioning why nobody had been arrested and prosecuted fully in the courts if the insecurity in the state was all about politics.

Hear him: “The security problem has to do with objective conditions in the state. The young people are frustrated. The government is not making any investments in the areas that are required. We’re busy pursuing projects that are designs in deception. Look at the roads that are being done in Imo State, you know for you to deal with the problem of poverty and other economic challenges, you have to deal with the problem of infrastructure.

“In Imo State, the government has dedicated all of its time and half of its time to reconstructing federal roads without any attention – little or no attention paid to the rural areas. If you go to length and breadth of Imo State – Ngor Okpala, Ezinifte Mbaise, even in the governor’s local government – everywhere in Imo State, you find that the rural areas are looking desolate and abandoned.”

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Police find body of missing female student dumped in the bush, vow to get killers



Operatives of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), command, have vowed to fish out the killers of a university student, Blessing Karami, whose body was said to have been picked up from the bush days after she was declared missing on September 11.

The FCT police, which released the painful news on Thursday, said in a statement by its spokesman, Josephine Adeh that the remains were found in the woods in the Karimu area of the city.

The police spokesman acknowledged that her disappearance was reported to the police authorities last,  Thursday, September 14 added that 26-year-old Blessing, a student of the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN), was declared missing after leaving her place of work in Garki, Abuja.

She said in the statement: “The body of Blessing Karami Moses, a 26-year-old woman who had been missing since September 11, 2023, was tragically discovered in a wooded area in Karimo. Her disappearance was reported to the authorities on September 14, 2023,” the statement read.

She said Commissioner of Police, FCT, Haruna Garba, had directed that command should conduct a thorough and impartial investigation into the circumstances surrounding the incident, adding: “While we are working closely with the Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB) to facilitate the respectful retrieval of the decomposed remains acknowledging the sensitive nature of this task, we will continue to provide updates to the public as our investigation progresses.”

Adeh, a Superintendent of Police (SP), also commiserated with Blessing’s family and loved ones over the incident.

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Ogun cult massacre: DSS raid home, pick up PDP lawmaker, five others



Damilare Bello Mohammed, a serving member of the Ogun State House of Assembly (OGHA), is currently telling operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS) his side of the story, after he was picked up over his alleged involvement in the rival secret cult clashes that occurred in Sagamu town.

Mohammed, recently elected on the platform of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to represent Sagamu State Constituency 1, was picked up on Wednesday by the agency over the incident in which at least eight persons were killed last weekend during the violent clash in the town, alongside five other suspected cultists allegedly involved in the cult violence.

The five other suspects; Debbo Animashaun, Bamidele Saheed, Ismaila Onitire, Adewale Otesanya and Tobi Owoade, were arrested by the DSS operatives during a sting operation after a tip-off at the early hours of Thursday within the residence of the lawmaker.

Lekan Adeniran, spokesman to Dapo Abiodun, the Ogun State governor, announced the development in a statement on Wednesday, saying the secret police tracked the six suspected cultists to the official residence of the lawmaker.

Accusing the lawmaker of providing shelter to the cultists, Adeniran, said in the statement, that the suspects were presently undergoing interrogation in DSS custody after many dangerous weapons, including guns, were recovered from them.

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