Tag Archives: Tinubu

As We Begin the Journey to 2019

As We Begin the Journey to 2019

By Dele Momodu; dele.momodu@thisdaylive.com
Fellow Nigerians, unbeknown to many of our people, the battle for who becomes our next President has already started in earnest. Never mind the fact that the incumbent President is still firmly in power even if he’s spent more time outside than inside in recent times. Despite his absence, President Muhammadu Buhari continues to exert almost total control on the affairs of state through regular phone chats with the Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, who is deeply loyal and committed to their joint cause, and emissaries who criss-cross the two continents to transmit messages to him and relevant officials. Nonetheless, you can’t blame the gladiators for shaping up this early for the big contest that is looming. It is big because it is unlikely that the current incumbent President will run again because of the fragile state of his health. Like joke, like joke, the Buhari/Osinbajo government is in its third year. By this time next year, the general elections would just be about six months away. That’s just too close for comfort.
The Presidential race is always the biggest deal in most countries, Nigeria in particular. The reason is simple. The President of Nigeria is probably the most powerful black President in the world. This is why you find so many perpetual contestants who never get tired of seeking power. Let me just go straight to the meat of my message without wasting your precious time on any long preamble.
Some aspirants have actually started making subterranean moves, here and there, to prepare the grounds for their eventual launch. The most obvious ones include former Vice President Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and former Governor Rabiu Kwankwaso of Kano. The boldest and most vocal visible aspirant is the current Governor of Ekiti State, Peter Fayose who has even announced a date for the official declaration of his bid for the Presidency. Fayose seems to have mastered the art and science of politics. He has warned that no one should underrate him. I won’t because nothing is impossible in our clime.
Anyway. Let’s move on. The main cause of the early moves is the general belief in political circles that President Buhari is not likely to contest in 2019. His poor health has virtually eliminated him from the race no matter how much and how well he recovers from his present ailment. I think so too. Baba himself had declared in one of his rare interviews that he’s never been this sick in his life. Only the cruellest human being would advise President Buhari to continue to subject himself to the rigours of the Presidential office when he returns. To add the vagaries of rough and tumble of a Presidential race to his recuperation would be inhuman indeed. God has been very kind to him and there is nothing more to prove or to achieve. Others must carry on the fight as his able Vice President, now Acting President has been doing.
Alhaji Atiku Abubakar had shown interest in becoming Nigeria’s President since 1993 when he contested the Presidential primaries of the then Social Democratic Party alongside Chief Moshood Abiola and Baba Ghana Kingibe. He was persuaded to withdraw from the contest and throw his weight behind Chief Abiola on the basis of his relative youth amongst other things. Age, it was said, was on his side, and he had many years to seek the Presidency. Since then, he has never stopped dreaming and aspiring. Unfortunately, he has always just fallen short! He had made his next move in 2003, after he served as Vice President to President Olusegun Obasanjo from 1999. The “abortive coup” (as it was described), to force Obasanjo out and bring Atiku in, by the all-powerful Governors of the time failed spectacularly. The cold war between Atiku and his boss exploded into full view and became a smouldering inferno. Atiku instantly became a marked man. He himself would be forced out of the party he helped to found and had to join others to form another party. But before too long Atiku was compelled by circumstances to scamper back to PDP. Not many felt that was a smart move. He was viewed as being too desperate and unprincipled. This flip-flop has been his major albatross. And he was not yet done! Atiku again jumped ship from the floundering PDP when some five Governors defected and joined the fulcrum of APC. There are already indications that he may be compelled to abandon ship again but where to, we don’t know. Some say that he is grooming PDM for this purpose and has already caused a crisis in his former movement.
There is no doubt that Atiku would make a good leader. He is a seasoned politician who is known to have the ability to unite Nigerians because of his extensive networks across the nation. He also has the penchant for recruiting the best brains to work with. If he becomes the President, he would be bringing in his wealth of experience in public service and private business that is almost second to none. But there are major setbacks against him. One is how to find the detergent to cleanse or unglue himself from the sticky mud his former boss President Obasanjo had generously splashed on him. He’s largely portrayed as a very corrupt and corruptible leader who may lead Nigerians into temptation and perdition with his acolytes. Whether this is a fair assessment or wicked blackmail is his business to deal with but it won’t be so easy to wish or wash away.
Atiku will find it difficult to clinch the APC ticket. There are obvious signs that he has already positioned some of his close associates in PDP, in case of emergency but he may be scammed at the end of the day if he takes the risk of pulling out of his present party. He needs to worry about his age. He has already crossed 70 and it is doubtful if most Nigerians want to be saddled with another old man who may collapse under the brutal weight of presidential stress and pressure. He would require more of a clean bill of health to persuade young Nigerians that he’s not carrying some health liabilities like others in the past. In summary, we have a reasonable bridge-builder and veteran administrator who may be too old and too late in seeking political office.
Next is the former Governor of Kano State, Senator Mohammed Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, a man with very vast political and administrative pedigree. He has gone through the whole gamut of governance at both executive and legislative levels. His performance as Governor of the massive state of Kano is an eloquent testimony to the fact that he may be the one to ignite the infrastructural revolution in Nigeria. He cuts the image of a frugal Aminu Kano with his simple mien. His grassroots non-governmental movement known as Kwankwasiyya Pillars of the Nation is well mobilised and may give him an edge over most aspirants. He also has in his favour the fact that Kano State has the highest number of registered voters and may be able to count on garnering a significant number of these. He is also expected to draw strength from his former colleagues in the Governors’ Forum across the nation but no one is sure how relevant they still are. Kwankwaso is 60 years old and falls the under the age of 65 that many want as the upper limit for contestants. On the negative side, he is not likely to have the formidable war chest of an Atiku Abubakar though this did not stop him from beating Atiku to third place in their last APC Primaries.
Say what you will, the Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, must be factored into the equation by all means. The reason is that he seems to enjoy a special rapport with his ailing boss who may prefer to hand over fully to someone he knows well than risk certainty for uncertainty. Osinbajo has been a very loyal and dependable ally, the sort that are not common in this clime. This is no surprise because his vocation as a lawyer, his service as a teacher and his calling as a Pastor makes him imbued with integrity and dignity. Osinbajo has also succeeded in bringing Nigerians together and calming frayed nerves. His handling of the economy, security and national awareness is quite commendable and many Nigeria’s applaud his brilliance and performance in steering the affairs of state to its present comfortable position. His only worry would come from ethnic jingoists who do not care about merit but prefer only members of their tribe no matter how useless or incompetent they may be.
Osinbajo is likely to be vehemently opposed by such powerful forces who think only about themselves, although it seems to me that the people of the North are not with them on this occasion. There is no question that Osinbajo has restored hope and promise to Nigeria and should ordinarily be allowed to stabilise the polity and lead us out of the doldrums. The fact that he lacks his own political platforms may be a great disadvantage because he would need to lean on his political godfather and kingmaker, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu who seems tired of fixing others into positions of power without being the ultimate King of Kings himself. However, Asiwaju is canny and wise and would prefer to be in the hallowed corridors of power with his protégé in charge than be outside it particularly given that he is himself ageing and would be over a couple of years over 65 by the time of the next elections.
There has always been speculation that the Senate President, Dr Abubakar Bukola Saraki, is interested in being President. He is eminently qualified to do so. The way he has managed the Senate and worked assiduously on churning out unprecedented number of very efficacious bills is a pointer to his effectiveness as a modern and cosmopolitan leader who understands what the people want and how to give it to them. His biggest migraine apart from allegations of corruption and mismanagement of Societe Generale Bank which has seemingly not gone away, is that he comes from Kwara State. The State is geographically Northern but culturally Southern. His father was Olusola. He is Bukola. His wife is Toyin. His sister is Gbemisola. His Brother is Olaolu. His son is Olaseni. No one could be more Yoruba than Saraki. However, surprisingly, despite this great Yoruba credentials, the Yorubas do not also apparently view him as a Yoruba man but as a Northerner. I do not know how he plans to overcome that challenge of being neither cat nor rat.
The Governor of Sokoto State, Waziri Aminu Tambuwal, attempted very briefly to run the Presidential race in 2015 but seemed to have chickened out and pulled back to settle for the gubernatorial race, where he eventually emerged successful. It is being mentioned in informed circles that he may still want to try his luck. As a former Speaker of the House of representatives and now Governor, he comes with some intimidating arsenal as e is still clearly well loved by his old constituency, the Federal legislators. It is not certain if he would abandon his almost guaranteed second term as Governor for a not so certain Presidential bid. His antecedents in this regard would persuade me not to expect too much of a change in Tambuwal’s circumstances this time around.
The same goes for one of my favourite leaders, Mallam Nasir El Rufai, the Governor of Kaduna State, one of the most cerebral, experienced and visionary leaders in Nigeria today. He is silently revolutionising Kaduna State although people see more of the controversial stuff coming out of that State because of its highly volatile religious mix of Muslims and Christians. Though he is yet to declare his interest openly, he is someone to watch…

Culled from ThisDay 


I had not met Tinubu when he made me Attorney General  —Osinbajo

I had not met Tinubu when he made me commissioner —Osinbajo

Acting President Yemi Osinbajo

Nwafor Polycarp 

LAGOS— Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, said, weekend, he did not meet former governor of Lagos State, Bola Tinubu, when he was appointed a commissioner.

Osinbajo served as Attorney-General and Commissioner of Justice between 1999 and 2007.

Speaking in Lagos at 50 anniversary gala nite, which held at Lagos House, Ikeja, on Saturday night, Osinbajo commended Tinubu for taking cognisance of the diversity of the state while forming his cabinet in 1999.

Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, gives a keynote speech during the “Biafra, 50 years After” Event held at the Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Centre, Abuja. 25th May 2017. Photo: Novo Isioro

He said the quest to evolve a greater and more prosperous Nigeria laid in the prosperity of Lagos.

Osinbajo described the state as the foremost migrant community in Nigeria, aggregating talents from everywhere and the undisputable commercial capital accounting for over 70 percent of business in the country.

He said: “I did not and I had never met Bola Tinubu before I was appointed commissioner and that says a lot about the kind of individual that he is.

“This is the kind of thinking that makes nations great; that is the kind of thinking that would make Nigeria great.

“A type of thinking that considers all of our diverse talents; a kind of thinking that does not allow parochialism; a kind of thinking that does not allow us to say anywhere belongs to only a set of people. That is when our country would be truly great.”

Osinbajo said though he was sympathetic to the course of those craving for a Lagos for only its indigene, it was now evident that the momentum of history could no longer hold down the elemental force of the state.

“This Lagos is going to be a leader; it would be a leader in expressing the world’s view that the black man is capable of governing not just himself but in leading the world,” Osinbajo said.

He alluded to a recent statistic released by the Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, to the effect that Lagos accounts for 912 of 914 individual businessmen who paid self-assessed tax of over N10 million.

Osinbajo said the strategic contribution of the state to the country’s economy could not be overemphasised.

He commended Ambode for his “giant strides” in the state, saying the new vistas being opened in the state by the governor were capable of making Nigeria great.

“Everyday that we see the giant strides that Akinwunmi Ambode is making here in Lagos; everyday that we watch television and see the new vistas that he is opening up, it is evident of the fact that surely in this Lagos State lies the seed of the great Nigeria of our dreams,” Osinbajo said.

The event was well attended by top dignitaries, including governors of Ogun, Oyo, Gombe, Ekiti, Imo and Edo states; Lateef Jakande, former governor of Lagos; Mobolaji Johnson, Olagunsoye Oyinlola, Buba Marwa, and Ndubuisi Kanu, all former military administrators of the state.

Also in attendance were Aliko Dangote, CEO of Dangote Group, Femi Otedola, CEO of Forte Oil; Olabode George, and Jimi Agbaje.
Source: Vanguard 

Fraudsters clone phones of Tinubu, Saraki, others to dupe applicants of N20m

​Fraudsters impersonate Tinubu, Saraki, dupe job seekers of N20m

Adelani Adepegba and Afeez Hanafi

Some suspected fraudsters , who specialised in cloning phone numbers of ministers, politicians and aides to President Muhammadu Buhari , have been apprehended by the police .

The suspects were identified as Chief Ovie Ogogo , 47 ; Abdulazeez Eragbe , 40 ; Babatunde Oshamoto , 49 ; and 25 -year – old Samuel Idah .

Fourteen phones with SIM cards allegedly registered with names of top government officials were reportedly recovered from the suspects .

Among those impersonated by the syndicate , according to the police , are Chief of Staff to the President , Abba Kyari; the National Security Adviser, Babagana Moguno ; the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibeh Kachukwu ; and the Minister of Finance, Mrs . Kemi Adeosun .

They were also accused of impersonating a national leader of the All Progressives Congress , Asiwaju Bola Tinubu ; the Senate President , Bukola Saraki; the Minister of Transport , Rotimi Amaechi; and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation , Babachir Lawal .

PUNCH Metro learnt that operatives of the Inspector – General of Police , led by ACP Abba Kyari, trailed the syndicate to a hotel in Kaduna State on Tuesday , after receiving complaints from some victims .

A police source disclosed to one of our correspondents that the suspects impersonated Moguno to collect N 13 m from a Ghanaian , who wanted to get an oil block in Nigeria , and posed as Lawal to swindle one Nnamdi Udo of N4 m under false pretences of helping him to get a federal appointment .

“ They also posed as the Chief of Staff to the President and collected N2 . 5 m from one Mr . Bishop , who was looking for a contract , and another N700 , 000 from one Shehu Dan Yahaya , who was seeking a federal appointment .

“ Ogogo , a native of Omoku Rivers State , impersonated prominent citizens from the South – South and South – East ; Eragbe impersonated prominent persons from the North ; Oshamoto posed as prominent citizens from the South – West and North -Central ; while Idah supplied them SIM cards registered with the names of the top government officials .

“ They were arrested in a luxury hotel in Kaduna and had confessed to impersonating several prominent citizens , ” the source added .

Another senior police officer disclosed to PUNCH Metro that the suspects confessed to have realised N20 m in six months from their criminal activities.

He added that the mastermind of the gang was based in the United Kingdom .

He said , “ Ogogo is their leader ; but they mentioned one Prince Maurice , based in the UK, as their gang leader . Fourteen different phones, several registered SIM cards, and a diary containing phone numbers of several top government officials, were recovered from the suspects .

“ Ogogo further confessed that they had made over N20 m from their criminal activities within the last six months. ”

Parading the suspects on Thursday in Abuja , the police spokesman , Jimoh Moshood , said all the suspects confessed to the crime.

He said , “On March 23 , 2017 , the Intelligence Response Team arrested these notorious criminals who posed as top government functionaries .

“The four- man syndicate , led by one ‘ High Chief’ Ovie Ogogo , was arrested in a hotel in Kaduna State . All the suspects confessed to the crime and admitted to have impersonated several prominent citizens and made over N20 m within the last six months. ”

The police said other suspects would soon be arrested , while those in custody would be arraigned in court at the conclusion of investigation .
Source: The Punch

Tinubu: Tribute to an icon at 65

Tinubu: Tribute to an icon at 65
By Babafemi Ojudu

Bola Ahmed Tinubu

Today, he stands as strong as the cedar of Lebanon, neither by his knowledge nor his wisdom alone, but also by his keen reflex, his courage and his bull-like determination to pursue a people-driven cause. It is rare in Nigerian politics, a country always in a state of flux, to have a man dominate the space for almost three decades. There are very few of leaders in this category. Some come like a comet, only to fizzle out like the foam from a detergent, some like a temporary whirlwind, only to be still at its short surge. Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu has been on the turf since 1990, unflinching, never waning, but increasing in strength and capacity by every minute of the day.
The history of the most reputable campaign for democracy in Nigeria will not be complete without chapters devoted to him, so also will the account of the movement to deepen democracy be incomplete without constant references to his name. Asiwaju has become a recurrent decimal on Nigerian political chess game, where he has assumed the status of the indomitable knight.
  As a Senator under the platform of the Social Democratic Party,(SDP), Nigerian history would have been different if Asiwaju had collaborated with the then military junta to scuttle the will of the people and truncate their best expectations. He had offers. He had juicy plates put forth by the anti-democracy capons, being one of the most vociferous voices In the then National Assembly. Rather, he pitched tent with the masses, his private home serving as the launch pad of resistance against the uncountable arrows fired at the pro-democracy coalition, the only group at the time that stood against the tyrannical manipulations of the military class. Considering the enormous arsenal of the military and the marauding network of hawks, his decision at that time, like many of us did, was like standing bare-chested to face a fast moving train that was off track.  
It was an epoch of killings and the nights of long knives. Asiwaju became one of the most remarkable figures in the campaign against the annulment of the June 12 Presidential election and the zeal for the enthronement of democracy. It was a battle for live and death. There were countless assassination attempts; there were immeasurable plots, having been singled out as one of the brain boxes of the movement. It was around this time that destiny brought us closer together and our relationship was sealed.
Meeting and working with a man in a period of national adversary, is always a relationship that one should treasure and preserve. Our meetings had to be conducted in the darkest recesses, under the trees, in the motor parks, on the shores of the Lagos beach, in the underground garage and sometimes inside the mosques or churches in the bid to avoid the prying nozzles of the enemies. It also required a high level of trust and confidence in each other. Betrayal of him as a leader would mean handing him over for treasonable charges.
Asiwaju thought me that when you believe in a cause that is just, there should be no going back. From him, I learnt more that you begin to see obstacles only when you take your eyes of your goal. Asiwaju has a will cast in iron, his determination is etched in stone and his clarity of purpose cannot be disputed. He is firm, resolute and dogged.
In the tortuous history of the 1990s, Asiwaju was convinced that the will of the people would triumph. His family was as at great risk. His businesses singled out for assault and meltdown, his finances isolated for state-sponsored attacks, his home raided and kept under deadly watch, but one thing that could not be taken away from him was his will.
In the campaign for democracy in Nigeria, he gave his flesh, his soul, his energy, his heart and the totality of his being. His personal resources were invested in the tough campaign against one of the most formidable military institutions in African history. Going into exile became the inevitable option. While abroad, the enemies kept on the pursuit, recruiting covert agents to strike life out of him. For us at the homestead, the heat had reached a boiling point with many seized on the streets, killed or thrown literarily into the lion’s den.
Raising a global anti-military campaign was not an easy task, especially when you have to do it with virtually no resources. The result was the enthronement of democracy in 1999. It is to the benefit of Nigerians that Asiwaju kept this zeal till date which has helped in many ways to transform Nigeria and institute eternal democratic ethos. It is to the credit of credible leaders like Asiwaju that the future of democracy in Nigeria was defended with their own sweat and blood, to the benefit of all today.
Since 1999, Nigeria has been squelching through difficult and muddy pathways. The progress may be slow, and the steps not too fast, but Nigeria is not moving backwards. The gains are enormous. For the first time in Nigerian history, there have been unimpeded political civilian-to-civilian transitions. For the first time in history, Nigerians have been making their choices without jackboot interventions.   
Asiwaju’s determination to help sustain democracy is legendary. Within the contradictions of the democratic space, Asiwaju continues to stand out as a man of principle. It was no surprise that he was the only State Governor that did not lose the 2003 gubernatorial elections among all the Alliance for Democracy, (AD) State governors. He fought hard like a lion, against the enormous state machine of the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP) and amidst the cynicism of his peers. The result was that almost all the topmost echelon of the ruling party relocated to Lagos, all eyes on him and all state machinery directed at bringing him unto his knees. He won the battle decisively and convincingly. Since then, he has become the tiny bone choking the throat of reactionary elements across the country.
I have always had course not to doubt Asiwaju’s deep sense of judgment. Nigeria by 2014 was almost going to the dogs. There was a meltdown. Fear and trembling held the nation in awe. Terrorism was at its prime. Suicide bombers ruled a part of the country. Nigerian slipped into the red light district of mourning and affliction. The ruling party was helpless and hopeless, except to browbeat the people and hide her incompetence under the cloak of bullying.
When the whistle was blown in 2014, the race seemed so long, the hill looked too high and the task too daunting. How could a new political coalition uproot a political party entrenched for 17 years? How could the mountain be moved? Asiwaju was again singled out as the albatross. He was hunted. His home was seen as the hotbed for radical ideas that would latter humble the ruling hegemony. Asiwaju became a pestilence, a ghost, that hunted the foes from dusk to dawn. Offers came for him to back down, promises made, if only he could leave the stage, but it was too late. His alliance with the masses could not be thrown into the thrashbin. He already had his gloves on, right in the ring, and would not have let down the enthusiastic but toil worn audience, whose liberation from the fetters of iron was tied to the victory against the sham regime. But at the end of the pitched battles, Nigerians, led by the likes of Asiwaju, broke a jinx in Nigeria by defeating the almighty Federal Government in a convincing battle that brought the elephant down on her kneel in one big bang.
Since 2015, hope has been reinstalled, despair fading, like the evening sun under the able leadership of President Mohammadu Buhari. At 65, I have no doubt in my mind that Nigerians still need and will continue to need the services of Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu. His qualities are sterling, his intellect keen. His liberalism and sense of patriotism are not in doubt, so also is his passion for the renaissance of a great nation founded on justice, liberty and the dignity of man. As you mark your 65th birthday, we all wish you a long life, blessed with happiness and fulfillment of your desires. Happy birthday to Asiwaju, a fighting spirit whose life has been dedicated to the promotion of the most cherished values of democracy. Happy birthday to an uncommon hero.
Senator Babafemi Ojudu is Special Adviser on Political Matters in the Presidency

I’ll not contest against Buhari, Bola Tinubu says report aimed at causing friction

​I’ll never contest against Buhari —Tinubu
By Emmanuel Aziken, Political Editor

LAGOS— Leader of All Progressives Congress, APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, yesterday, vowed never to contest the Presidency against President Muhammadu Buhari.

He noted that a newspaper report to the contrary was conjured to put him at odds with the President.

In a strongly worded rebuttal to the news report by the daily, Tinubu affirmed his unwavering loyalty to Buhari, saying permutations of him defecting were ignorant of his consistent political principles.

The daily in its front page report, Tuesday, had alleged that Tinubu had stepped up plans to contest the presidential election, irrespective of Buhari’s intentions, saying he had pencilled down three possible running mates, including Governor Aminu Tambuwal, Senator Abu Ibrahim and Serikin Kano, Alhaji Sanusi Lamido Sanusi.

Tinubu in his reaction issued by Mr. Tunde Rahman, his Media Assistant, said: “The story is a manufactured tale weaved by its authors to try to create division where there is none. Those who wrote this fantasy piece seek to place Asiwaju Tinubu at odds with President Buhari. Writing such a baseless report is a very foul and wrong thing to do.

Political outlook

“As long as that patriotic and committed man named Muhammadu Buhari holds and seeks to hold the mantle as our president, then Asiwaju Tinubu stands behind him in unwavering support and confidence.

“Asiwaju Tinubu remains faithful to the mission of progressive reform and change that President Buhari, he and the All Progressives Congress, APC, have started. Tinubu was instrumental in the formation and success of the APC.

“His toil and efforts helped establish this government. He is not one to tear down something he laboured so dutifully to build.”

Noting that the report aimed to skew the banter the APC leader had with reporters in Akure last weekend, he said the report “opted to gain false sensation by completely mocking the tenor of the brief banter Asiwaju Tinubu had with journalists at the inauguration of Ondo State Governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu.

“When asked about future political office, Asiwaju said he could not discount that possibility if the nation called upon him for such service, provided, he emphasized, that all political conditions were appropriate; particularly the office in question would have to be vacant, even if it’s local government chairmanship.

“In our political lexicon, this means the office is not held by a member of the APC in good standing. We all know this.

“Moreover, if you really listen to his words, Asiwaju did not mention any office or any time-frame. The conditions he mentioned may not become ripe for years to come and they might not pertain to the Presidency. In effect, all Asiwaju said was the position that any political figure would hold.

“As a politician, he cannot preclude the possibility of running for office in the future because no man knows what the future will hold. To translate this general statement of political reality into a tale that he is actively preparing for a 2019 presidential run is reckless in the extreme.”

No list of possible running mates

“Asiwaju Tinubu has not held any planning meetings for any such presidential campaign and is not contemplating any such meetings. He has no present list of possible running mates because he has no present intention of running.

“The headline also libels Asiwaju by asserting he was going to join the PDP. This is as shameless as a lie can be. Asiwaju is acknowledged to be the intellectual father and the driving force behind the APC.

“It makes no sense that he would abandon the party that he worked hard to build in order to enter the dilapidated building the PDP has become. Asiwaju worked for over 16 years to break the PDP yoke on the nation.

“After breaking that yoke, it is not in his nature to voluntarily place it back on our necks. Anyone who has followed his career, even his staunchest critics, knows Asiwaju for his partisan consistency.

“He is not a party hopper. He is loyal and sticks with the party to which he belongs.”

After fighting for so many years to elevate his party to the position of national leadership, he would not give that away in order to join with those who blame him for their currently bleak political circumstance.’’

Concluding that the newspaper had joined “with those who seek to put Asiwaju Tinubu at odds with our President,” he said: “This scam will fail. Asiwaju supports and stands behind President Buhari. He wishes the President well and that he returns soon. ‘’Whether the President is here or away, he has the full loyalty of Asiwaju Tinubu. President Buhari can rest assured on this point: Asiwaju Tinubu will never contest against him nor will he support anyone who does.”
Source: Vanguard

How Afenifere leaders imposed Bucknor-Akerele on Tinubu- Ajomale

How Bucknor-Akerele was imposed on Tinubu as deputy gov – Ajomale


‘Bucknor-Akerele, a product of imposition’

National leader of the All Progressives Congress, APC and former governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu has been absolved of any blame in the events leading to divisions within the Alliance for Democracy, AD, the party on which platform he served as Lagos chief executive in 1999.

Making this declaration in an interview with SATURDAY SUN, Lagos State chairman of the APC, Chief Henry Ajomale noted that it was Tinubu that stood up when some elements wanted to introduce some anti-democratic practices into the party.

Ajomale who spoke while reacting to some claims made against Tinubu by a former deputy-governor of Lagos State, Senator Kofoworola Bucknor-Akerele also spoke on some other issues.

How would you react to the claims by former Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Senator Kofoworola Bucknor-Akerele that it has been impossible for the PDP to win Lagos State since 1999 because APC, the ruling party is a party of perfect riggers, that your party is good at manipulating polls?

It is unfortunate that she could say so because she was with us from the beginning in 1999.

Kofoworola Bucknor-Akerele started with us at the founding of the Alliance for Democracy (AD). She was also one of the leaders of the Afenifere who were then controlling AD.

As a matter of fact, she was picked from nowhere. She was running around people like late Pa Abraham Adesanya, Lanihun Ajayi and others who were AD leaders then. She was running after these elders with a view to lobbying them to ensure that she became the Deputy Governor.

If you can recollect, she was first elected a senator during the military era of SDP and NRC, the only two political parties in Nigeria. We also knew how she got elected as a senator at that time. It was late Senator Wahab Dosunmu that was supposed to go to the Senate.

At that period, she was in the Senate alongside Asiwaju Bola Tinubu. In fairness to her, Kofo Bucknor-Akerele also played a prominent role in the struggle that led to the termination of military rule in Nigeria. She was one of those who played key roles during the resistance to Sani Abacha’s dictatorship.

But when Asiwaju Tinubu won the election to become Lagos State governor in 1999, Bucknor-Akerele was virtually imposed on Tinubu as his deputy by Afenifere leaders.

Are you saying that she didn’t merit occupying the position?

I don’t know whether to say that she merited it or not as at that time, but she was imposed on Tinubu. If Tinubu was given a free hand to pick somebody of his own choice as his deputy, I’m sure Tinubu would not have picked her — for certain reasons which I will not like to mention on the pages of newspaper.

With her closeness to us for many years before she left and for her  now to  turn round to call us riggers, then she must be a rigger herself.

Then it also means that it was through our rigging machinery that she became deputy-governor.

But her take on that was that when she was in the AD with you and Tinubu,  AD was a political party naturally loved by people throughout the Southwest, and that it was later that the party was hijacked by Tinubu and turned into another thing …

It is true that AD was well loved by people in the Southwest   and   it was also true that the party  later became another thing .But who were the elements that were responsible? It is Kofo Bucknor and her godfathers in AD that turned the party into another thing and eventually destroyed the party.

The point I want to emphasise here is that it was Bucknor-Akerele and some others that destroyed AD.  Contrary to the false information Bucknor -Akerele is peddling, Tinubu was the person that stood up to Bucknor-Akerele and her godfathers when they wanted to hijack AD and turn the party into another thing. Tinubu resisted them. I’m an eyewitness to all the events and I was there when all these things happened. Tinubu didn’t hijack AD, and he was not a dictator or autocrat.

Bucknor-Akerele, her godfathers and their supporters did a lot of harm to AD but Tinubu did his best to checkmate them.  Before they were exposed, Buckno-Akerele and her godfathers were pretenders. They don’t believe in democracy, and they don’t believe in majority decision. They believe in imposition, and this was why Tinubu disagreed with them. At that time, some Afenifere leaders believe in imposition and this is against tenets of democracy.

But some of us including Tinubu resisted Afenifere leaders by insisting that imposition is undemocratic, and that everybody should be provided a level playing ground. We insisted that instead of imposition, candidates or aspirants who signified interest in contesting elections should be made to go through primaries and let the aspirant that has the highest votes emerge as the party’s candidate.

Then Alhaji Ganiyu Dawodu was AD chairman in Lagos State. Politics is a game of numbers, it would be unfair to go for imposition.

The situation got so bad that time that Afenifere leaders were asking us to reserve a percentage of elective offices to people from Ganiyu Dawodu’s side. But some of us said no to imposition – this was the genesis of the crisis in AD. So you can see that it was Bucknor-Akerele and some of her godfathers in Afenifere that actually precipitated crisis in AD. They were not democrats. If they were democrats, they wouldn’t have come up with the idea of imposition or allocating certain percentage of elective positions to Alhaji Ganiyu Dawodu.

From what you are now saying, are you trying to tell us that the former deputy governor was distorting history?

Yes. It is clearer and glaring that she wanted to distort history. She and those Afenifere leaders that backed her including others with them in Ganiyu Dawodu’s camp were the ones that tried unsuccessfully to foist imposition on us. They were the anti-democratic elements. But those of us in Tinubu’s camp resisted them. I was there from the beginning and I’m speaking authoritatively on this issue. Tinubu’s pedigree is well known. He is a democrat to the core, and Nigerians can still remember the yeoman’s roles he played in the struggle against military dictatorship.

It was in Ijebu-Igbo, the hometown of late Papa Abraham Adesanya that Afenifere leaders decided that elective offices in Lagos State should be on 60 – 40 ratio. By this they told us that 40 percent of the elective offices should be reserved for Ganiyu Dawodu while others should take the remaining 60 percent but we said NO.

When we resisted they reduced it to 80 – 20, but we still said NO – we told the elders that it would be unfair to allocate certain percentage of elective offices to an individual to decide who he will put there without due process being followed. We insisted that every member should be given equal chance to aspire and contest for any elective position on the party’s platform.

Bucknor-Akerele should stop manipulating history – the simple truth, and which she can’t deny if some of us see her face to face is that she belonged to the group that believed in imposition in AD. But for true democrats like Tinubu and some of us we said no. Why we believe that democracy must be upheld is that we reasoned that our struggle against military rule would have been in vain if after chasing away the military, we now embrace another form of dictatorship.

How would you react to her claims that she was one of the original founders of AD and that Tinubu was not even there when the party was formed?

It is true that Tinubu was not around when the party was formed, but he was part of those who formed the party.

As at that time Tinubu was outside the country leading the campaign against military dictatorship. It was not only him that was sent outside the country to mobilize the outside world against the military dictatorship, we had others like General Alani Akinrinade, Dr Amos Akingba, Commodore Dan Suleiman and a host of others. But Tinubu was communicating regularly with the home front, and the elders and others were also carrying him along at the home front. So he was part of the original founders of AD.

How can Bucknor-Akerele now describe Tinubu as an outsider in the history of AD? Tinubu was one of those who led anti-military campaign in US, UK and other foreign countries. I can also confidently say that it was Tinubu’s effort in mobilizing external forces that made military to abdicate power. It was the collaborative efforts of democratic elements like Tinubu, and others who were outside the country, and that of others within the country that led to the birth of AD.

What about the allegations against  Tinubu that he was not a genuine democrat and that he  subsequently hijacked AD ?

Like I said earlier, Bucknor-Akerele and those supporting her were the ones that destroyed AD, Tinubu never hijacked the party. We were having election in 2003 when Afenifere leadership made an alliance with the then President Olusegun Obasanjo. But Tinubu warned Afenifere leaders against it. He told them that Obasanjo can’t be trusted.

The plan was that during the presidential election, AD supporters in the Southwest won’t vote for for AD but for Obasanjo and PDP. But what eventually happened, Afenifere and AD leaders kept their own part of the bargain, as AD voters voted for Obasanjo during the presidential election, but during the gubernatorial polls when Obasanjo was to support the AD governors, what he did was to ensure that AD governors were voted out – it was only in Lagos State that AD won and this was as a result of Tinubu’s personal efforts and his refusal to join or form any alliance with Obasanjo — Obasanjo tricked Afenifere leaders and they fell for it.

On the issue of her not having harmonious working relationship with Tinubu as his deputy, Bucknor-Akerele claimed that her uncompromising attitude on matters of principle and the desire to protect her name …

Cuts in … The simple truth is this, if you have somebody as your leader, accept him as your boss and leader. Accept the fact that it was God that put him there, and give him or her all the necessary support. You may be older than your boss, but as long as he is the boss, give him the necessary respect. Give him his dues. This is what Bucknor-Akerele failed to do.

Because she and Tinubu went to the Senate at the same time, and that both of them belonged to the Afenifere, she felt that she was above Tinubu or that they are on the same pedestal. If you have such an attitude, definitely you will run into trouble with your boss. Certainly there can’t be two captains in a ship. You must show respect to your boss.

You come to the office anytime you like – you come to the exco meeting at your own time. In spite of all these, Tinubu didn’t show any provocation. Rather, he continued with his job. I was a witness to all these because I was a member of Tinubu’s cabinet then – Tinubu is very simple and also humane. He doesn’t discriminate. I can tell you that even till now he harbours no grudges against Bucknor-Akerele.

On the allegations by Bucknor-Akerele that Afenifere elders took sides with Tinubu during that period, and that she warned them against taking sides with Tinubu and that she was eventually vindicated as they later regretted their action…

Cuts in … In 2003, Bucknor-Akerele and her supporters including late Ganiyu Dawodu had already left AD – she and others who left AD were the ones that betrayed democratic cause.

I don’t know of any Afenifere leader that regret backing Tinubu – Tinubu has tremendous respect for all Afenifere leaders.

In Yoruba tradition, we show respect for elders. Up till today, Tinubu still respects Afenifere leaders because they are like fathers to him, and on the claims that it was the Tinubu factor and the crisis then rocking AD and Afenifere that led to the polarisation of Afenifere and the formation of Afenifere Renewal Group, Tinubu should be counted out of that.

Tinubu knows nothing about how Afenifere Renewal Group came about. He has nothing to do with them. It was some young Awoists in Afenifere that felt that some Afenifere leaders were drifting away from the principles of late Chief Obafemi Awolowo that broke away from the mainstream Afenifere to form Afenifere Renewal and the group is led by Hon. Wale Osun. Tinubu should not be in any way linked with the polarization of Afenifere.

But like I said earlier, Tinubu is not fighting Bucknor-Akerele.

What is your reaction to the way the issue of the president’s vacation and medical treatment has been generating controversies and debates?

It is very unfortunate the way some Nigerians have been taking to the social media platforms to peddle all manners of lies and falsehood about the President. Buhari is a human being, he can fall sick anytime –what Nigerians should be doing is to pray for this man who has shown uncommon and rare courage to restore Nigeria’s lost glory.

I don’t see any reason for controversy, the President has done the needful by communicating to the National Assembly about his trip and subsequent transfer of power to the Vice-President, Yemi Osinbajo, who since then has been the nation’s Acting President – so there is no vacuum in leadership.

My advice to Buhari and APC leadership is that they should ignore all these people spreading falsehood. By the grace of God, Buhari will live and his enemies will be put to shame — those peddling false death rumour on Buhari should desist, otherwise they will incur the wrath of God.

Culled from The Sun

APC is afraid, PDP would sweep election in Lagos State, former Deputy Governor Kofo Bucknor-Akerele boasts


‘I leave Tinubu to god’

State governors in the South Western part of the country have been advised to take measures to protect lives and properties in the geo-political zone against the menace of kidnappers and Fulani herdsmen.

Making the appeal in an interview with ’TUNDE THOMAS, former deputy governor in Lagos State, Senator (Mrs) Kofoworola Bucknor-Akerele enjoined the governors as chief security officers of their respective states to take urgent measures to stop the menace of kidnappers and herdsmen who have been wreaking havoc in some parts of the Southwest.

Mrs Kofo Akerele-Bucknor

She also spoke on other national issues including her relationship with Asiwaju Bola Tinubu  as deputy governor, insecurity, and why she quit Afenifere, PDP crisis and a host of others.

You started with the ruling party in Lagos State then known as Alliance for Democracy, AD, but later decamped to the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. Why has it become impossible for PDP to gain control of Lagos State since 1999 despite the presence of bigwigs like you, Chief Bode George, Senator Adeseye Ogunlewe, and Senator Musiliu Obanikoro and a host of others ?

Well, Lagos State has not become invincible to the PDP. What is responsible is very simple, APC or ACN or whatever name the ruling party has been calling itself has been rigging elections in Lagos State.

APC is a party of perfect riggers. The party used money to buy and confuse the electorate in Lagos State. But the results from election in recent times in Lagos State have shown that PDP is making giant strides. You know PDP in Lagos State now has elected members in the state House  of Assembly and the Federal House of Representatives.

But having been a member of the defunct AD and the ruling party in Lagos State, won’t people misinterpret what you are saying to mean that you were also part of that rigging machinery?

No. AD then when I was part of the government in Lagos State was a party not only loved in Lagos State but throughout the entire Southwest geo-political zone and the party was then winning elections 100 percent across the South-west.

Then people loved AD. They believed in AD. And AD was the party that fought for the restoration of democracy before the party later became polluted in Lagos State as a result of the personal ambition of some people who pretended to be democrats but were the real autocrats. That was the reason some principled individuals like me had to leave the party.

What is your take on recent criticism of Lagos State government over its failure to conduct local government elections in the state in the last few years?

Of course, the reason is simple, Lagos State government and APC are afraid of defeat. I dare Lagos State government to conduct council elections today, PDP will not only defeat APC, it will inflict crushing defeat on APC, and that will be the end of APC in Lagos State. People are already fed up with APC-led government in Lagos State.

Like I said, you were part of AD and Lagos State government family …

Cuts in … I was not only once a part of the AD family, but I like to get the record straight, I was one of the founders of AD, and the impression being given by those that have hijacked the party was,. they were the owners of the party.

But this is wrong, these people claiming to be the owners of the party are liars. They were not the owners of the party, they were not even around when AD was formed. They came later to join the party. They also later hijacked the party, and that’s why most of us left the party to join PDP.

Are you saying, even as some people have claimed that your former boss, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu frustrated some of you and you left AD in anger?

I wouldn’t say we left the party in anger, but we decided to leave AD for Tinubu because he hijacked AD in the most unconventional way.

Not only that, we also felt that we could no longer stay in a party where the principles on which AD was founded were no longer being respected.

How true is the fact that there was a recent attempt to reconcile you and Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, just like  former deputy governor, Mr Femi Pedro was reconciled with him?

Well, I don’t know of any reconciliation. But as far as I’m concerned, I never had anything against Tinubu. Rather, he was the one who had things against me.

But others have also claimed that Tinubu had nothing against you but that you were too tough, and later became a thorn in the flesh of an administration of which you were an integral part?

If they said that I was too tough, why won’t I be tough? But I will only be tough on matters of principles, I will be tough when it comes to ointegrity, I will be tough when it is something that has to do with honesty.

I can’t compromise honesty, integrity and principle and my family name.

But some people were saying that you and Asiwaju Tinubu should have managed the crisis without allowing things to fall apart between you, especially with the intervention of some notable elders and some Afenifere chieftains. So, what happened?

I think some of the elders in AD at that time also became compromised. But later, these elders that took sides with Tinubu realised that the party had been hijacked by Tinubu.

Although I warned them at the time but of course, the elders then were happy to go along with Tinubu until when their eyes were opened later.

With the way and manner you claimed you were treated that time, would you say you have forgiven Tinubu today?

I’m a Christian. I don’t bear grudges. I leave everything to God. Although after that time, we have met once or twice at social gatherings but he never discussed the issue. But it is left to him and others who treated me that way to know the time to apologise or not. As I said earlier, as a Christian, I bear no grudge, I’ve forgiven Tinubu but let his conscience and those of others who maltreated me while in office as deputy governor of Lagos State continue to prick them.

For those talking about reconciliation, I don’t see any need for that because I have nothing against Tinubu, and I bear no grudge against him.

Still on the issue of AD …

Cuts in … Yes I was one of the founders of AD and when we formed the party, Tinubu was not in town.

Today, there is hardly any original member of AD in APC. Most of them their eyes have become clear, and left the party to Tinubu.

Unlike what you are saying Ma, Asiwaju is widely regarded as a democrat 

Cuts in … Hmm (laughs), Tinubu a democrat? Well, go and ask those who left AD. Anyway, Tinubu is now in my past, and I have moved on with my life, I’ve forgotten about him and others who conspired against me.

But talking about your travails that time, some people claimed that you were being taught a lesson because some people, especially those in Asiwaju Tinubu’s camp believe that you were behind the series of problems confronting Asiwaju that time like the Chicago certificate scandal and others …

Cuts in … I’m a Christian. I will never run others down. What do I stand to gain by giving the governor problems or creating crisis for Tinubu? Those saying that are my political enemies. Those who know me very well know that I will never be a part to any evil plot to run others down. Those saying that are only trying to malign me.

On the issue of the challenges facing deputy governors, some people have described them as spare tyres, that their offices are redundant, and that state governors deal with them any how…

Cuts in … I know that some deputy governors are made redundant by their governors, others have running battles with their bosses, but I believe everything boils down to the attitude of the governors.

I think where crises happen are situations where deputy governors are even more qualified than governors, and this, in a way, creates inferiority complex for the governors. As a result, they also would begin to create problems for their deputies, and they now see their deputies as threats.

Will you support the clamour for constitutional amendments to give some bite to the office of deputy governors, so that they can be assigned specific constitutional roles?

Yes, I support such a move. Doing so will help to define the relationship between the office of the governor and his deputy. It will also help to dignify the office of the deputy governor, and save the occupant of that office the embarrassment some of them are subjected to by some state governors.

As a member of Afenifere, what is your reaction to the menace of Fulani herdsmen and Ijaw militants who have been accused of carrying out series of kidnappings and other criminal activities in Yoruba land?

I’m no longer a member of Afenifere. I now belong to the Yoruba Unity Forum, YUF.

Why did you part ways with Afenifere?

I resigned from Afenifere but don’t forget again that Afenifere also belong to Yoruba Unity Forum. YUF is an umbrella body for all other socio-cultural groups in Yoruba land.

I left Afenifere when the group was hijacked like AD by some powerful individuals. Afenifere later split into two, and you have Afenifere Renewal. I left because I couldn’t tolerate the hijacking of Afenifere. The eventual polarization of Afenifere hastened my departure from the organization.

Talking about the menace of Fulani herdsmen, and Ijaw militants in the Southwest, how do you feel about it?

It is very sad, and something has to be done about it. It is very unfortunate that innocent people’s lives are being endangered. It is high time security agents show more determination and commitment to apprehend the criminals.

I will say that enough is enough. We will not fold our arms and allow Southwest to be turned into an enclave of kidnappers and abductors. State governors in the Southwest should also rise to the occasion. They should emulate Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State who has devised constitutional ways to tame the herdsmen – we can’t sit down, fold our arms and continue to lament. Concrete actions need to be taken against anybody involved in crime.

I don’t think government is doing enough to protect lives and property of citizens.

It is sad that all kinds of crimes are being committed, and people are not being apprehended and brought to book. Something needs to be done urgently to reverse this ugly trend.

What those in authorities failed to realize is that when people commit crimes, and they are left unpunished, it leads to impunity, which at the end of the day will lead to escalation of crime.

Will the recent death sentence legislation for kidnappers passed into law by Lagos State government help to stem the tide of the crime?

I’m against death penalty since it has not succeeded in curbing the menace of armed robbery, I’m not sure whether it will also help to curb kidnapping, I believe in life imprisonment with hard labour for kidnappers.

One of the best ways to address this kidnap issue is to have state police. A state police will have in its formation, people that not only speak the language of the local people, but will also be very close to the grassroots, and this will make it easier to tackle crime. Local policing is good for us.

There has been spates of crises all over the country, militancy in the Niger Delta, Biafra agitations, herdsmen menace all over the country, insurgence in the North-east, some people are saying that the only way out of all these crises is for us to restructure. Others are aying that President Muhammadu Buhari should have another look at the 2014 Confab Report and recommendations, what do you think is the way out for us?

I was a member of the Confab set up by the Jonathan-led administration, and we gave four months of our lives to work at that confab. We also gave recommendations which would have resolved some of the crises confronting us today, but it is sad that the federal government has not deemed it fit to implement some of the recommendations of the confab.

I strongly believe that confab recommendations should be brought out from where it is dumped with the aim of implementing some of the recommendations. If we fail to do that, the crises we are having all over the place will continue.

It is almost two years since APC has been in control of the federal government, how would you assess the journey so far?

I’m sorry to say that Nigerians have got the kind of change they deserved. Today, you see a lot of Nigerians complaining of hunger, poverty, unemployment, but who do they have to blame? They have to blame themselves. We warned them against voting for Buhari. We reminded Nigerians that during Buhari’s first coming as Head of State, that Nigerians didn’t have cause to rejoice as many suffered that time, but in spite of our warning they still voted Buhari into office claiming that they wanted a change.

Now that the change they wanted is here with them, why are they complaining? Nigerians have got what they asked for. I don’t think people should complain. It is what they have asked for that they got. Nigerians should stop complaining, they asked for change, and change is now here, they should learn to live with that change until next election.

On the issue of the health challenges of the President which has led to controversies …

It is a very unfortunate situation, but the controversies would have been avoided if the president had spoken to Nigerians. He should speak out to Nigerians, assuring us that all is well.

The president should not be speaking to us through third parties because right now, everybody is worried. The entire nation would like to hear Buhari’s voice, if he can do that, Nigerians will be assured that all is well.

On the lingering PDP crisis, what is the way out?

Sheriff is destabilizing PDP. He has no moral right to be parading himself as chairman of the PDP. He was invited to come and complete somebody’s tenure, and having done that he is expected to step down, but unfortunately he has refused to do so.

I believe the crisis will soon be resolved. PDP is still very strong. If I were Sheriff, I would quietly step down and move on with my life.

On the issue of your pension and entitlements, what is the latest because at a time, it was reported that Lagos State government has refused to pay your dues?

Well, I have been paid my pension, but my other dues have not been paid. Although, the current governor Mr Akinwumi Ambode has promised to do something on it. I believe that he will fulfill his promise.

To be honest with you, Tinubu didn’t do anything about my pension and other dues when he was there. When I took it up with Babatunde Fashola, Tinubu’s successor, he didn’t even acknowledge any of the letters I wrote to him. He completely ignored me. But Ambode has promised to do something and I believe him.

Source: The Sun