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Politics

National Confab: Any steps to a united Nigeria?

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Nigerians both at home and in the Diaspora are looking up to the conference to resolve most of the nation’s multifaceted challenges since the amalgamation of the Northern and Southern protectorates by Sir Lord Lugard.

President Goodluck Jonathan, on the occasion of the 53rd anniversary of Nigeria, in a nationwide broadcast announced an Advisory Committee mandated to establish modalities for a national conference aimed at resolving issues that currently cause friction in the polity.

Prof.-Ben-NwabuezeMost Nigerians welcome the decision of President Jonathan since it takes into cognizance suggestions over the years by well-meaning Nigerians on the need for a national dialogue on the future of our beloved country while others especially the opposition took a different path. Yet, there is consensus, even among the oppositions,  that there has been discontentment and alienation in the land which has fueled extremism, apathy and even predictions of catastrophe for the country. This means that, if one united Nigeria is still cherished; the bases for such unity must be negotiated and agreed upon; taking into consideration the issue of devolution of power, that affects us most, the existing relationship between the three tiers of government in Nigeria.

Religion, ethnicity, tribalism, not even politics is the bane of Nigeria. Fulanis from Katsina tends to their herd in Akokoland, Igbos ply their trade in faaway Sokoto without molestation, while several Kanuri women are getting married to Lagosians on daily basis; the only thing that separates us in Nigeria is the inequality in the sharing of our numerous resources as being held on to by various tiers of government. Once this is fixed we are more than close to the unity we desire as one indivisible entity.

 

Proper relationship between national and sub-national governments in a federal system should be a case of give-and-take between the two levels in a context of free negotiation between the two tiers. Thus, the relationship between national and sub-national units must be framed as constitutionally guaranteed interaction and transaction between coordinates, rather than super-ordinate and subordinate. The two levels are not to share just functions; they are to share sovereignty including resource sovereignty. It is not the incumbent central government that should determine unilaterally which power to transfer to regions or states. It is both levels of government that should negotiate which powers to leave for the central government for the common good and which to leave for regions or states for effective delivery of public goods and services to citizens. These are the central issues that pertain to constructing a federal polity.

Though in setting the agenda for the delegates, Mr President aptly put it that “when there are issues that constantly stoke tension and bring about friction, it makes perfect sense for the interested parties to come together to discuss.” Delegates must not be blinded by what part of the country they come from but guided by the fact that our large size of being together as a nation has its numerous advantage over any ethnic consideration. Every ethnic component of Nigeria will definitely struggle for survival in the event of any breakup. No one will find it easy.

Even the National Assembly, a well known body opposed to the convocation of a sovereign national conference as led by David Mark agreed to the fact that every matter about the union of ethnic groups that made up the country should be opened to discussion but with the warning that the dismemberment of the country should be a no-go area for the conference. This position of the National Assembly is definitely a glimmer of hope and delegates must take it as a tonic in all of their discussion.

Several units have expressed their readiness to either stay together or go their different ways through their representatives in the course of discussions at the ongoing confab, while the Yoruba people of the South-West geopolitical zone have expressed their position n the unity of Nigeria, other zones too have spoken of not being afraid of any eventual break-up but the break-up is one issue that we don’t really want to happen especially that we have come to bond together as one family for a very long time.

If the issue of devolution or separation of power among the federating units is not resolved by this conference then it would be difficult to enforce our continual co-existence as an entity. Even though most advocates of a Sovereign National Conference would argue that there should be no restrictions as to the issues to be discussed by the conference, we all must agree that Nigeria must remain as one indivisible entity. Yet, if at the end of the discussions, Nigerians from various backgrounds decide to go their separate ways peacefully, no one should halt them.

The Golden era that was taken away by military autocrats and sustained by post-military constitution and rulers is proper relationship between the central government and sub-national governments. True Federalism has been removed from our polity by the military since 1979 and the only remedy to this cannot be through lip service but conscious and deliberate action plan. The golden era can only be restored through establishment or re-establishment of federal system of government that recognizes the need of the majority and not the essentials of the few. Whether this is called political restructuring or restoration of federalism, what is at issue is having a proper share of powers between the central government and regions or states as federating units.

For us to agree to remain as one Nigeria, we must definitely look at the current lopsided structure of the entity called Nigeria. A structure of Thirty six states, with only four viable is not sustainable or reasonable structure. For us to achieve a united Nigeria there might be need to revert to the old working structure of regional government where the likes of Awolowo, Azikwe, Aminu Kano excelled within the ambit of the existing constitution of that era, no matter how flawed it was then.

With the caliber of delegates and the freedom granted by the convener of this conference, Nigeria is on the right path of designing a veritable future provided we seize the opportunity provided by the confab to move several steps towards a united nation where equality before the law and resource sharing is upheld by the constitution of the country drawn by men of vision and mission, with the unanimous approval of the people through a referendum.

Nigerians, especially the delegates must be wary of taking us back to the path of the conferences organized by Abdusalaam Abubakar and Olusegun Obasanjo saving us from the embarrassment of taking one step forward and four steps backward like the military in them. This National Conference is a golden opportunity to move closer to a united Nigeria if the business of discussion is done with every sense of sincerity and purposefulness.

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Interview

“Only Aketi can defeat Aketi in the coming election”

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Who’s Abayomi Ale?
My name is Ale Abayomi Abiodun. I am a lawyer, a transaction advisor, sustainability champion, workplace culture expert, and a politician. I am a family man. I am a proud Owo son and an indigene of Ondo State. I am debonair and conservative by nature. I may be a polymath too. I’m also a health enthusiast.

The Governorship election in Ondo State is approaching, what’s your view about the election?
It’s just another defined term for evaluation of performance. In the overview, we are lucky that Ondo State election won’t be going the rowdy way like Edo States’. Most times when too much emotions get invested in any particular election, it’s the masses and the State’s economy that suffers it the most. Such are usually violent; very expensive, as politicians may be spurred to spend ten naira where they ought to have spent five naira; and its usually difficult to recover from such battles when a winner eventually emerges. Such victories are usually pyrrhic and attended with enormous court battles.
We would have fall into same labyrinth if the estranged deputy governor of Ondo State had won the PDP ticket of the State. Its obvious God has favoured us for peace and prosperity with the way the Primary elections of the two mainstream political parties in the State turned out.

Who is your preferred candidate?
Oh… you can see that from every shade of my body language.
To be frank with you, I am of the believe that this administration has not only performed creditably well in so many sectors, but has set the economic quadrants of the State towards achieving financial sustainability. The latter is one of the reasons I preach that Arakunrin Akeredolu be allowed a second term to consolidate the foundation he has laid before handing over to another illustrious son of the State. This administration has positioned the state on a tripod stand of Industrial Opportunities; Security and Exit Strategy Seaport that will help export value-added produce and products.
This is a diversion that leads to financial independence of Ondo State. It’s a redirection that will gradually reduce our dependency on FAAC droppings from the Federal table. I strongly believe such a vision should be supported for another four years.

Are you supporting Aketi because he is your kinsman?
(Laughs)…..That’s not true. As a fact, I worked for another candidate in 2016 and didn’t support him then. This wasn’t because I didn’t trust his capacity and character then, but because I had the burden of political loyalty. My political teacher and master then supported Olusola Oke….he was even the Director-General of his campaign. There was no way I would switch loyalty midstream. I don’t give less than 100% loyalty to whomever or whatever I believe.

So you are back now with Barr. Olusola Oke to support the governor?
I have been back to support and respect Aketi as the leader of the party in the State right from when everyone returned to APC. I never supported the Unity Group. I returned to corporate practice of Law in Abuja since 2018…… I have learnt that to hold on to an ideology in Nigeria’s polity, you may need to retain and develop your second address; else the only alternative will be to become an apple-polish. I am not very good in bootlicking.

Do you think Aketi will win, or which of the candidates do you think will win the October 10 election in Ondo State?
Aketi will win! Part of my training is to be objective in analyzing products, projects, challenges and service. On this one, I reached the verdict that only Aketi can defeat Aketi in the coming election. In the scale of balances, Aketi is a strong candidate with the advantage of incumbency in the ruling party at both the central and the State. One of his contenders is a weak candidate, but with a good political party structure. The other is a good grassroot mobiliser in a political party that less than 2% of the voters in Ondo State presently can recognize its party logo. This is apart from that the latter has been labeled a turncoat with a vaulting ambition.
All Factors and Indicators point to Aketi’s win. The man is an example of what God meant in Psalm 23:5.

What is your dream for Ondo State?
That we eventually exploit our potentials to maximized benefits. Ondo State is strategically positioned with both land mineral resources and seaport advantage. If the first white man’s ship had berth at our shores, we would have been ten times greater than what Lagos is today. I believe that with the right balanced heads and economic advisers in Alagbaka for a continued period of terms, Ondo state will grow in leaps and bounds. Hopefully, the exclusive list of our federal constitution would be devolved soon. It has been a stone in the wheels of progress to many States in Nigeria.

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Award Winners and Recipients

OUTSTANDING NIGERIAN LOCAL GOVERNMENT CHAIRMEN MERIT AWARD “2020”

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Outstanding Nigerian Local Government Chairman Merit Award 2020

Nomination List

  • The Executive Chairman, Aba South LGA. Abia State
  • The Executive Chairman, Mahia LGA, Adamawa State
  • The Executive Chairman, Ifedore LGA, Ondo State
  • The Executive Chairman, Ovia South-West LGA, Edo State
  •  The Executive Chairman, Eastern Obolo LGA, Akwa-Ibom State
  • The Executive Chairman, Iwo LGA, Osun State
  •  The Executive Chairman, Akinyele LGA, Oyo State
  • The Executive Chairman, Anambra West LGA, Anambra State
  • The Executive Chairman, Bogoro LGA, Bauchi State
  • The Executive Chairman, Sagbama LGA, Bayelsa State
  • The Executive Chairman, Ador LGA, Benue State
  • The Executive Chairman, Askira/Uba LGA, Borno State
  • The Executive Chairman, Akampa LGA, Crossriver State
  •  The Executive Chairman, Aniocha South LGA, Delta State
  •  The Executive Chairman, Ohaukwu LGA, Ebonyi State
  •  The Executive Chairman, Egor LGA, Edo State
  •  The Executive Chairman, Ikole LGA, Ekiti State
  •  The Executive Chairman, Igbo Eze LGA, Enugu State
  •  The Executive Chairman, Bwari LGA, Federal Capital Territory
  • The Executive Chairman, Balanga LGA, Gombe State
  • The Executive Chairman, Obokun LGA, Osun State
  •  The Executive Chairman, Oluyole LGA, Oyo State
  •  The Executive Chairman, Ideato South LGA, Imo State
  •  The Executive Chairman, Babura LGA, Jigawa State
  •  The Executive Chairman, Kachia LGA, Kaduna State
  •  The Executive Chairman, Gezawa LGA, Kano State
  •  The Executive Chairman, Dan Musa LGA, Katsina State
  •  The Executive Chairman, Argungu LGA, Kebbi State
  •  The Executive Chairman, Ajaokuta LGA, Kogi State
  •  The Executive Chairman, Toungo LGA, Adamawa State
  • The Executive Chairman, Baruten LGA, Kwara State
  •  The Executive Chairman, Ibadan South-West LGA, Oyo State
  •  The Executive Chairman, Eti-Osa LGA, Lagos State
  •  The Executive Chairman, Akwanga LGA, Nasarawa State
  •  The Executive Chairman, Borgu LGA, Niger State
  •  The Executive Chairman, Odeda LGA, Ogun State
  •  The Executive Chairman, Ilaje LGA, Ondo State
  •  The Executive Chairman, Ife-Central LGA, Osun State
  •  The Executive Chairman, Egbeda LGA, Oyo State
  •  The Executive Chairman, Langtang North LGA, Plateau State
  •  The Executive Chairman, Kaura Namoda LGA, Zamfara State
  •  The Executive Chairman, Girei LGA, Adamawa State
  •  The Executive Chairman, Bodinga LGA, Sokoto State
  •  The Executive Chairman, Kurmi LGA, Taraba State
  • The Executive Chairman, Olorunda LGA, Osun State
  •  The Executive Chairman, Iddo LGA, Oyo State
  •  The Executive Chairman, Karasuwa LGA, Yobe State
  •  The Executive Chairman, Kaura Namoda LGA, Zamfara State
  •  The Executive Chairman, Ryom LGA, Plateau State
  •  The Executive Chairman, Song LGA, Adamawa State
  •  The Executive Chairman, Alkaleri LGA, Bauchi State
  •  The Executive Chairman, Emure LGA, Ekiti State
  •  The Executive Chairman, Lokoja LGA, Kogi State
  • The Executive Chairman, Akoko North-West LGA, Ondo State
  •  The Executive Chairman, Yewa North LGA, Ogun State
  •  The Executive Chairman, Odo-Otin LGA, Osun State
  •  The Executive Chairman, Afijio LGA, Oyo State
  •  The Executive Chairman, Ado-Ekiti LGA, Ekiti State
  •  The Executive Chairman, Koton-Karfi LGA, Kogi State
  •  The Executive Chairman, Odeda LGA, Ogun State
  •  The Executive Chairman, Orolu LGA, Osun State
  •  The Executive Chairman, Mangu LGA, Plateau State
  •  The Executive Chairman, Ibadan South LGA, Oyo State

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Insight

Pastor Adeboye Leads Protest to End Killings in Nigeria

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Pastor Adeboye carrying placards

Pastor Enoch Adeboye, General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, discarded his hitherto conservative and conciliatory disposition and took to the streets to lead thousands of his members in a protest march against insecurity and killings of Christians across the nation, especially in northern states.

The action is sequel to an earlier directive by the leader of one of the most influential Pentecostal churches in Nigeria that its members should conduct the protest nationwide, with him starting his own action at exactly 11am at the RCCG National Headquarters in Ebute Metta, Lagos.

The Assistant General Overseer (Admin and Personnel) of the church, Pastor J.F Odesola, in a circular dated January 29, 2020, addressed to all regions and provinces of the RCCG, parishes of the church were asked to end their service not later than 11am on Sunday to enable members “march round their immediate environment, praying for God’s intervention in the ongoing situation in Nigeria.”

The protests are at the instance of the RCCG General Overseer, Pastor Adejare Adeboye.

The circular, read: “The Christian Association of Nigeria, the umbrella body for all Christians and Christian organisations in Nigeria, has made a clarion call for prayers and advocacy to all Christians in Nigeria in response to the inhumane acts against Christians in the country.”

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