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Battle for Okorocha’s Job Intensifies……

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In this piece, S.A takes a look at the political developments in Imo State as the 2015 governorship race gathers momentum
As activities for the 2015 elections gradually gather momentum, the quest for the political soul of Imo State continues to witness an increase in the number of contestants.

According to political observers, governorship elections elicit in Imo State uncommon interest due to the unique nature of its politics. The state has a fair representation of the three dominant parties – the ruling All Progressives Congress, the All Progressives Grand Alliance and the Peoples Democratic Party.
Before now, Imo had remained a core PDP state but the inability of the party to produce a governorship candidate in 2007 changed the equation as the state fell into the hands of the little known Progressive Peoples Alliance, whose candidate, Ikedi Ohakim, emerged winner. But midway into his tenure, Ohakim defected to the PDP, following complaints of overbearing influence by the founder of the PPA, ex-Governor Orji Uzor Kalu of Abia State.
In 2011, Ohakim’s second term ambition was halted when his re-election bid suffered a loss. There were allegations of maladministration, highhandedness and disrespect for the clergy. He lost to the incumbent Governor, Rochas Okorocha, who came in on the platform of APGA but later defected to the APC.
APGA, which felt betrayed has been aiming at reclaiming its mandate come 2015. On the other hand, the incumbent, who had before now promised to be in office for only one term, changed his mind and is now desirous of a second term on the platform of his new party, the APC. But the PDP has vowed to reclaim the state at all cost. Imo parades a good number of PDP chiefs such as Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, Senator Arthur Nzeribe, Nze Ozichikwu Chukwu, to mention a few. Thus, all the three parties are leaving nothing to chance in their quest to occupy the Imo Government House in 2015 but the quality and credibility of their candidates in the make-or-mar exercise will play a major role in determining the winner of the race.

Based on the foregoing, a brief perusal of the profiles and chances of the various aspirants jostling for the exalted position has separated the contenders from the pretenders.

Okorocha

Okorocha came in as the people’s darling in 2011. His popularity at the beginning of his tenure was at its peak as he was generally seen as the best option to wrest power from Ohakim whose popularity had dwindling drastically. Okorocha hails from Orlu zone which also produced ex-Governor Achike Udenwa who was in power for eight years (1999-2007). He rode to power on the goodwill of APGA and also enjoyed the support of the people at the beginning of his tenure. His decision to slash his security vote and plough back same for the development of education endeared him to many even as he was tipped for the prestigious position of Igbo leader at the demise of Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu. His oratory and outspokenness on national issues – especially those concerning Igbo interests – added an impetus to his growing popularity across the South-East. His massive developmental projects also counted in his favour.

But his rising political profile nosedived when he joined the APC; a step many political analysts believe was miscalculated. Despite the fact that Okorocha for now seems to be the only known governorship aspirant of the APC in the state, political observers say he has very slim chances of winning re-election for a number of reasons. One of the reasons is the consideration that if Okorocha is re-elected, his Orlu senatorial zone would have unfairly dominated the governance of the state, a development political forces in other zones, particularly Okigwe zone, have vowed to resist.

Okorocha’s critics also accuse him of working against the Igbo interest by distancing himself from governors from other South-East states. His opposition to the Presidency is also believed to have denied the state some federal interventions and goodwill, particularly, ecological funds. They say his fraternity with the North and the South-West over his rumoured vice-presidential ambition is not in the interest of the Igbo.

His free education policy is also believed to be neither here nor there. There is serious grumbling among ‘Imolites’ that the tertiary education policy of the governor, which makes indigenes pay less than non-indigenes, is rather injurious to the state as more admission slots are given to non-indigenes in a bid to generate more funds. These notwithstanding, the massive structures in Owerri, the state capital, as well as the transformation in Orlu are all to Okorocha’s credit. His supporters also believe he will coast to victory because of his transformations in the health sector. Time will tell whether or not the governor would be able to scale the hurdles before him.

Agbaso

Chief Martin Agbaso is one of the backbones of APGA in Imo State. But for some political opponents, Agbaso would have won the 2007 governorship election in the state. The Owerri-born businessman has since then maintained close ties with the APGA national leadership just as he did maintain a close relationship with the late Ojukwu. His political structure was very instrumental to Okorocha’s victory in 2011 when his younger brother, Jude, was elected the deputy governor but was later impeached when he fell out with his principal. Since then, the elder Agbaso, who felt disappointed in Okorocha, wants to unseat the governor come 2015. He is widely seen a strong leader of APGA in Imo State today. But the recent defection of an ex- Minister, Captain Emmanuel Iheanacho (retd.), from the PDP to APGA, poses a serious threat to Agbaso’s governorship ambition as both stalwarts hail from the same political bloc in Owerri zone.

Iheanacho

The defection of the Emekuku-born politician to APGA is already causing ripples within the party. The financial capacity and educational background of the oil magnate have put him in good stead in the race. Another factor which seems to be counting in his favour is his perceived cordial relationship with the Presidency. He is believed to have maximised his opportunity as Minister of Interior to empower a lot of Imo indigenes and this has endeared him to many Igbo youths.

But analysts believe it would be difficult for Iheanacho, who is considered a newcomer in APGA, to hijack the party’s structures. Some believe his apparent popularity is because of his financial capacity.

Be that as it may, the people of Owerri zone are strongly gunning for the number one seat using two formidable platforms – APGA and PDP. They believe that should both Agbaso and Iheanacho fail to clinch the APGA governorship ticket the zone will press its governorship quest through PDP.

Ihedioha

The Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives, Emeka Ihedioha, is one of the prominent PDP governorship aspirants from Owerri zone that is generally believed would make a serious impact in the race. He is a three-term member of the House of Representative with vast political experience. The Aboh Mbaise/Ngor Okpala federal lawmaker is also believed to have the needed resources and political clout to match Okorocha’s power of incumbency. His closeness with the Presidency is also a plus to his ambition. He also enjoys the overwhelming support of notable PDP heavy weights in Owerri zone.

But the odds against him include the growing animosity that he allied with House of Representatives Speaker, Aminu Tambuwal, to negate the zoning arrangement of the PDP, which ceded the position of Speaker to South- West. His critics say he should not be allowed to be a beneficiary of zoning in his state because he worked against it at the national level.

Apart from the anti-zoning slogan against the deputy speaker which political pundits believe will soon fizzle out as the election draws nearer, Ihedioha appears set for the race to occupy the Imo Government House come 2015.

Anyanwu

Senator Chris Anyanwu, who has represented Owerri zone for two consecutive tenures, has not hidden her ambition to be the first female governor of the state. She is one of the most charismatic senators in the National Assembly. Her numerous empowerment programmes as well as her stance on national issues have endeared her to many. Her recent defection from APGA to the PDP seen by many as a strategic political calculation has further brightened her chances of realising her ambition.

But her major hurdle remains the fact that in the political circles many do not think the state is ripe for a female governor. Imo still parades a large army of political lords that may prove too tough for a woman to control.

Ararume

Senator Ifeanyi Ararume from Mbano in Okigwe senatorial zone is no debutant in the Imo governorship race. But for the stiff opposition of ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo in 2007, when the former President openly campaigned against him despite being in the same party, there is a strong possibility that Ararume would have been Imo governor. Even when he took the PDP to court to reclaim his denied victory at the party primaries, Obasanjo, bent on stopping the multi-billionaire politician declared at a rally in Owerri that the PDP had no candidate for the election, thus paving the way for Ohakim to sweep the polls. In protest, Ararume defected to the Action Congress of Nigeria (now APC) on whose platform he almost realised his ambition in 2011.

Some of the things that may work in his favour are his contributions in the restoration of Imo and Abia states to the Niger Delta Development Commission when both states were unjustly removed from the commission.

Ohakim

The former governor, whose second term ambition in 2011 was shattered by Okorocha, has vowed to reclaim his mandate in 2015. His loyalty to the national leadership of the PDP seems to be working in his favour. He is also believed to have learned from his mistakes. But his public rating doesn’t seem to have improved.

Uzodinma

The Omuma-born Senator Hope Uzodinma, who represents Imo-West senatorial district, hails from Orlu senatorial zone that is being accused of dominating Imo governance. The PDP lawmaker’s popularity has been on the increase and many believe he may clinch the party’s ticket if he decides to run especially considering his closeness to Aso Rock. But his major challenge is the zoning formula as the PDP is less likely to try the people’s patience by giving its ticket to an Orlu man in 2015. Already, party stalwarts from Owerri zone have threatened to defect en masse with their structures and followers to APGA should the PDP deny the zone the governorship ticket

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I Know My Husband Likes Women – Olori Sekinat Elegushi

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Olori Sekinat, the first wife of Oba Saheed Ademola Elegushi, Elegushi of Ikate-Elegushi, said she is not bothered by her husband’s love for women.

In an interview with BBC Yoruba, Sekinat, who married the monarch in 2003, said she knew at the beginning of their relationship that the monarch loves women.

The queen, who argued that all men are promiscuous, said she decided to continue with the relationship because of her love for him.

“My mum had a shop at Lagos Island. That’s where the king saw me and picked interest in me… I gave him a chance and we became friends,” she said.

“However, I told him that I had a boyfriend at the time but he said there’s no problem with that since we were only going to be friends.

Whenever I tell him that I’m going to see my boyfriend, he usually insists on accompanying me there. In fact, he knew my boyfriend then.

“In 2003, he proposed to me. I love him and he also loves me… despite the fact that he had other women in his life.

“For someone like him, who loves women, I ought to have turned him down that I cannot cope but we got along till he proposed and we got married.”

The monarch took a second wife in 2019, Olori Hadizat Elegushi.

Reflecting on how she copes with the monarch’s love for women, she said: “God has given me a patient and enduring spirit since childhood, my husband knows that I don’t disturb him on issues that have to do with women.

“That is because I know he truly loves me, and he always puts me first. So, I’m not scared because I know no one can take my place.

“It’s basically all men, it does not have to do with my husband alone. It is now left for the wife at home to handle the situation well. There is no man that is not promiscuous, it’s not possible except those that are yet to be born.”

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How Green Space Recyling’s Yemi Megbope Allegedly Dupes Investor Of N42million

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Being a sustainability adherent, Joshua Adegbola participated in a seminar organised by the Lagos Business School in 2019 with the hope that the platform would connect him with the right people and ultimately propel him into realising his lifelong ambition – owning a recycling plant.

 

During the seminar, he met Yemi Megbope, who was equally a recycling enthusiast, and thought his prayer had been answered.

 

Yemi Megbope.

 

After the exchange of ideas and an extensive conversation on recycling, Megbope offered Adegbola a stimulant – an invitation to her recycling plant in Ikorodu, Lagos.

 

“I paid a visit to her factory called Green Space Recycling Services Ltd. in Ikorodu in 2019 and was impressed by what I saw. I became so excited that I expressed my desire to set up something similar to hers,” Adegbola said.

 

The N34 million invoice Megbope sent to Adegbola

 

The PSP operator said he began making payments to Megbope in tranches but was forced to ask for a refund when he noticed a grey area in the agreement they had.

 

“When I started having doubts about all the things she told me, I took my money back from her. However, when she gave me assurances that my funds were safe, I started paying the money back to her in tranches,” Adegbola said.

 

“She said there was no problem and that I should reach out to her anytime I was ready.

 

“I asked her what it would cost me to set up a similar recycling centre, especially in the area of getting all necessary equipment needed for the business, and she said she would find out and get back to me.”

 

Adegbola said he reached out to Megbope in June 2020 when he felt he was ready to start the business.

 

“When I told her I was ready, she gave me a quotation of N29.2 million and a list of the equipment that would be transported to Nigeria from China once I made payment,” Adegbola said.

“When she gave me the list, I told her I personally didn’t have that kind of money but there were people that could borrow me.”

 

The moment Adegbola recommenced payment for the equipment he needed, the narrative changed.

 

“After paying a considerable amount out of the N29.2 million she said the equipment would cost me, she reached out to me and said the dollar exchange rate had changed and that I now had to pay N34 million,” Adegbola said

 

“I couldn’t go back at that point, so I had to make the additional payment she requested.

 

“In February 2021, I completed the payment after I was able to raise the money from friends.

 

“Mogbope told me my equipment would arrive Nigeria in March, 2021.

 

“For me to be able to clear the machines when they eventually arrive the Apapa port, she initially told me, it would cost N4.6 million. But later, she said it would cost me N6.6 million.

 

“At the end of the day, the entire amount I paid to Mogbope was N42,080,000 million. It was also agreed that the equipment I ordered would come in ‘two full containers.’”

 

 

 

WHAT ADEGBOLA ORDERED VERSUS WHAT HE GOT

 

 

 

Yemi Megbope

 

The goods did arrive the Apapa port in March, 2021, as Megbope promised. However, they did not come in ”two full containers” as promised and this sent an immediate signal to Adegbola that something was not right.

 

“When the goods arrived, I noticed they were scattered in six different containers,” the PSP operator said.

 

“I also saw that they loaded other peoples’ goods with mine in all six containers. I quickly sensed that the equipment she had ordered on my behalf was not even up to two containers and that was why she had them scattered in other people’s containers.”

 

Just like he had suspected, when the machines were brought out, Adegbola realised that they were not complete.

 

“Without wasting any further time, I decided to confront her about the incomplete machines that were delivered to me,” Adegbola said.

 

“This was when she said the money I paid her could not buy the whole equipment and that she only later decided to buy the most important ones I would be needing among them.

 

“She added that I should still be able to start my plant with the incomplete but key machines that were delivered to me. She even advised me to buy the missing ones locally.

 

“I became so sad because the equipment Megbope handed over to me were not worth N42 million. I also became quite depressed because I knew I had been defrauded.”

 

THE ACTUAL COST OF THE MACHINES MEGBOPE COLECTED N40M FOR AND STILL DID NOT DELIVER

 

Adegbola told us that he decided to do an independent finding online to know the actual cost of the machine Megbope collected over N40 million for.

 

“Luckily for me, I came in contact with the actual Chinese company that Megbope purchased the equipment from and they sent me all relevant correspondents on the inquiry I made,” Adegbola said.

 

“I then requested for an invoice from the company, and when they sent it, the equipment she collected about $100,000 from me for – because as of then a dollar was still being exchanged for N430 – was less than $25,000!

 

“This meant that the actual cost of all the equipment was within the region of N15 million.

 

“How could she have collected almost triple the actual amount from me and still not deliver all the equipment I needed? I was really mad.”

 

“Despite making over N27 million off me, she still chose not to deliver the complete equipment. Is that not wickedness?”

 

THE MEETING

 

Adegbola told our correspondent that he later scheduled a meeting with Megbope to allow both parties fashion out a solution on the matter.

 

“In the meeting, I told her my findings and the actual amount the Chinese company told me the equipment cost and she gave an excuse that she didn’t go to China herself,” Adegbola said.

 

“She also claimed she made the purchase through an intermediary.

 

“I then asked her, ‘You claimed to have used an intermediary, yet after swindling me this much, you still did not deliver all I requested for?’”

 

Adegbola said he insisted that Megbope get in touch with the intermediary so he could speak to him directly but she became evasive.

 

“I told her I paid for two containers so that my equipment wouldn’t get mixed up with those of others. It was clear she had my equipment scattered in different containers because of the fraud she wanted to perpetrate,” he said.

 

 

 

THE FAILED PROMISES THAT FOLLOWED

 

Adegbola said he had been asking Megbope to deliver the outstanding equipment since March, 2021, but she had continued to give him excuses.

 

In February, he got his lawyer to write her a demand letter.

 

 

 

First Demand Letter Adegbola Wrote to Megbope

 

“In February 2022, I got my lawyer to write her a letter demanding that she address my concern by making the other outstanding equipment available,” Adegbola said.

 

First Demand Letter Adegbola Wrote to Megbope

 

“Her lawyer wrote us back that the reason I did not get all the complete equipment was that there was ‘a mix up from China’. He also said they would be delivered soon. Till date, however, there has been no further response from them.

 

“I later asked her to pay me the equivalent of the outstanding equipment so that I could make the purchase on my own but she still did not respond.”

 

Adegbola said he wrote another letter to Megbope in September but still did not get any favourable response.

 

Message Between Agebola and Megbope

 

“She later sent me a series of WhatsApp messages to ask me where I would want her to deliver the items to. I sent the address to her and to her lawyer also,” Adegbola said.

 

“Till we speak, she still has not delivered them.”

 

Another Demand Letter Written in March

 

Adegbola said he had been getting messages from his creditors to repay the loans he collected from them between 2020 and 2021.

 

I don’t know why she doesn’t want me to flourish,” Adegbola said.

 

“The loan that I secured in order to pay her for the equipment has now risen to over N80 million because of the interest I am supposed to pay on it. It has continued to accumulate interest at a compounding rate.

 

“She has killed my business and I know she is after my life. One of the things that can throw a man into depression is debt, especially when it is an unserviceable debt.

 

“Every day, I wake up, go about my business and come back home to an ever-increasing debt, and this is because Megbope has decided to hold on to what could have brought forth the income I could have used in repaying the debt.

 

“It’s been over 20 months since I made the payment to her.”

 

 

 

REVELATION FROM THE SOURCE

 

Final Demand Notice Issued in October

 

Adegbola said he later reached out to a Chinese contact who also knew about the development.

 

What the Chinese contact revealed to me was disturbing,” Adegbola said.

 

“He told me that Megbope sold my equipment to another person. I also was able to establish that she paid around N15 million for the equipment and kept over N27 million for herself. Yet she did not supply all she was supposed to supply to me.

 

“I challenged her to bring out the list of equipment she ordered and the prices that were given to her by the manufacturers, but she never released the actual price list to me. She only sent me the total sum I was to pay.”

 

Adegbola said that apart from the N27 million fraud, Megbope had also refused to deliver essential machines like a rising tank, three screw loaders and one hot washing tank to him.

 

“It has been a tormenting journey. It is an episode that can make you lose your mind,” the PSP operator said.

 

‘OUR LAWYERS ARE ALREADY SORTING ISSUES OUT’

 

When contacted Megbope for comments on the matter, she said her lawyer was already working with Adegbola’s lawyer to get the issue resolved.

 

“He already told a lawyer to write to me on the issue. I have also contacted mine and they are already exchanging correspondence,” Megbope said.

 

When she was further asked whether she would like to react to the allegation levelled against her, she said she preferred to allow her lawyer do his job.

 

“When lawyers are having conversations, it is always better to allow them do their job. At the end of the day, the legal route is like the ultimate [sic],” she said.

 

After the conversation Megbope had with our reporter, she again reached out to Adegbola in November 2022, promising to deliver the equipment in one week. But she failed again in making good the promise.

 

 

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My 3 Daughters Can Stand Shoulder-to Shoulder With Any Man — Olori Sekinat Elegushi

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Olori Sekinat Aramide Elegushi, wife of Lagos popular traditional ruler, Oba Saheed Ademola Elegushi, has revealed that she is not bothered about not producing an heir for her husband.

 

 

 

In a recent interview with BBC News, the elegant Queen of Ikate Kingdom said she is not worried but has been so blessed to have three adorable daughters together with Oba Elegushi—who she married in 2003— and they have both raised the girls to stand shoulder to shoulder with their male counterparts in any part of the world.

 

 

 

She admitted that while women are not allowed to sit on the Elegushi royal throne, her daughters are capable of competing on an equal footing with men anywhere in the world.

 

 

 

“I never believed I wouldn’t have a male child but God in His infinite mercies gave me three beautiful daughters. Of course when it comes to ascending the throne, female children cannot inherit the throne. But I am so proud of my daughters because there is no place where any of their male counterparts stand, my daughters will stand shoulder-to-shoulder with them,” Olori boasted in the interview released on Wednesday and conducted in the Yoruba language.

 

 

 

The Olori’s experience of successfully raising her three daughters has inspired her passionate love for the underprivileged and showing love to children through her Quality and Selfless Empowerment, QSE Foundation.

 

 

 

Speaking passionately about the foundation which holds annual children’s parties, and always well attended by several children in the community and beyond, Olori Sekinat said: “We care for mothers and their children. We have also been able to help many women in the community. The face of the kingdom has really changed. We have been able to introduce some modernity into the way things are done.”

 

 

 

Fielding questions on how different women swarm around her charming and well-heeled husband; Olori Sekinat said she has never been bothered by this as she claimed that it is natural for her husband to be attracted to different women because of his look and status as a first class modern monarch.

 

 

 

She however expressed confidence in her husband’s love and knowing that he prioritises her above every other woman. “God has given me the virtues of patience and endurance since I was young. My husband knows I don’t make a fuss about other women because I know he loves me and puts me first,” she exuded.

 

 

 

Olori Sekinat recalled meeting the king as a student at her late mother’s shop on Lagos Island, but he did not tell her anything about his royal status.

 

 

 

She claimed to have voiced concerns when her husband was selected for the throne at the time he —Oba Elegushi— was already rising politically and on the verge of getting the ticket to represent his people in Eti Osa at the House of Representatives but the wishes of the people prevailed.

 

 

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