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Buhari/Saraki Relationship: A Partnership That Works…



Just last week, I reviewed most of the pictures from the Muhammadu Buhari campaign before the March 2015 presidential election that I culled from the newspapers. From my observation, the sitting arrangement was a big surprise. It is as if as at then, those who arranged how the key individuals in the campaign sat had envisaged the eventual ranking. In most of the pictures, Buhari was ensconced between his deputy, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo and then Senator Bukola Saraki.

As fate will have it, the three men are now occupying the top three positions in the land. Those pictures made me to do a flashback into how Saraki emerged as Senate President. It has always been clear to President Buhari that what Saraki wanted in the emerging new government was to be Senate President and the then Presidential Candidate, seeing the commitment of the man morally, intellectually, physically and financially, was not opposed to it. In fact, both men worked together closely.

This was the situation until some forces who had an agenda to control the National Assembly as a devise to constitute a constant check to the Buhari Government identified Saraki as a threat to their design. They then covertly went to the President and poisoned his mind against Saraki. That was when the claim of being “too ambitious”, “will use the legislature against you” and “he cannot be trusted with such a powerful position” came.

They then encouraged the President to support a candidate who they presented as the party’s candidate. What those power mongers hid from Buhari was their own plan to hold the National Assembly as a means to always checkmate the President. However, even though they succeeded in making the President withdraw his plan to openly endorse Saraki for the Senate Presidency, Buhari chose not to join the fray in a bid to stop him. Rather, he announced his preparation to work with whoever emerged.

However, Saraki created his own coalition to emerge as Senate President. When Saraki upon becoming Senate President refused to accept the list sent to him by the APC National Working Committee, he incurred Buhari’s wrath. The President felt it was an overkill and that the Senate President wanted to do a winner takes all.

The same anti-Buhari group masquerading as his acolytes told Buhari to allow them teach the recalcitrant Senate President a lesson he would not forget. And that was how the Code of Conduct (CCT) and the forgery of Senate rule book trials commenced in September 2015.

The forgery case has since collapsed as the initiator saw that it lacked substance. The CCT case is still wobbling there with its prosecutor fumbling along. The asset declaration case appeared not well investigated and inelegantly drafted. Even the evidence produced by the prosecution has been debunked and made empty by their own witnesses under cross-examination.

Buhari realized the antics of his ‘new friends’, when they moved against the President on the Kogi and Ondo governorship polls. At that time, the friends refused to toe the party position. Rather, they were ready to destroy the party structure to ensure they get their own candidates in. Their anti-party activities in aid of the candidates of the opposition made Buhari to have a re-think on these type of ‘friends’.

Actually, these ‘friends’ had planned to move alongside their loyalist incumbent Governors with their supporters into another party and fight the President. Their plan was foiled when Saraki aligned with the President and mobilized men and materials to ensure their defeat and the victory of APC candidates in the two elections.

After their failure in both Kogi and Ondo States, the group shifted attention to the party and plotted to get Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, the party’s national chairman, out of the national secretariat. However, the President stood by the party chairman. In defending Oyegun, Buhari enjoyed the support of Saraki. All these defeats and the cold shoulder the ‘friends’ now get from Buhari made them uncomfortable. They quickly beat a retreat and started plotting on how to win the President’s confidence all over again.

In what appeared to be a show of support for Saraki, he and the President began to see very regularly. They share same thoughts on key national issues and presented a common front. This renewed partnership between the President and the Senate President led to the appointment of Saraki’s protege, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, a former Minister of Youth and Sports as the National Publicity Secretary of the party. Today, Abdullahi is one of the young Turks providing cover for Oyegun who continues to enjoy the President’s support.

Another indication of the closeness between Buhari and Saraki is evidenced in the turn of events in the relationship between the President and Governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai. During the period the President was in London attending to his health, a memo El-Rufai wrote to him several months before became public. The private memo was a damning report on the general situation of things in the government and as it concerns key members of the administration.

Close watchers of government believed the private memo became public because somebody miscalculated that the President might not survive the illness and was therefore eager to remove himself from what the blame that may result from the perceived failure of the government. An African proverb says ‘let us feign death so that we can know those who will genuinely mourn us when we eventually depart’.

However, in the case of Saraki, he led the National Assembly’s three man delegation to London to see the President. At another occasion, he privately saw the President and informed the nation that there was no cause for panic. His statement after the visit contributed in calming down the tension and apprehension over Buhari’s ill-health. Saraki further briefed his colleagues that the President was okay and would soon return home. His message averted the plan by some hawks in the Senate who wanted the President’s health and prolonged absence from the country debated on the floor.

Since Buhari’s return to the country, Saraki has been a frequent visitor to the Presidential Villa without making any noise. On such occasion, he and the President exchanged ideas and Buhari gets briefed on issues in and around the work of the legislature. On many occasions, Saraki served as sounding board to the President on some executive policies and initiatives which if implemented the way it was initially conceived would have led to public outcry or have a backlash.

As Senate President, Saraki has led his colleagues to confirm the nominees of the President, even when some of the lawmakers have objections. These nominees include ministers, ambassadors, heads of parastatals and many others.

However, it is obvious that those who feel they have something to lose when it becomes obvious that Saraki and Buhari are getting on fine have continued to invest so much resources and efforts in propaganda stuff to create tension between some members of the executive and the legislature while presenting it as if there is a rift between the President and the Senate President.

It should be restated that it is in the interest of Nigeria if these two leaders, against all odds, maintain their good relationship and co-operate to deliver the good times that their party, APC, promised Nigerians, irrespective of the intrigues spawn by the power mongers around them.


Leadership NG

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JUST IN: Tinubu Meets Ibori, Wike, Makinde In Abuja




President Bola Tinubu is currently holding a closed door meeting with James Ibori, former Governor of Delta state; Nyesom Wike, the immediate past Governor of Rivers state; and Seyi Makinde, the Oyo State Governor.


The meeting is taking place at the President’s office in Aso Villa.


Reports say the three politicians arrived at the Aso Rock Villa at about 4:20om on Friday, 2 June, 2023.


Details shortly…

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Court Orders Union Bank To Pay Former Manager N20.2m Over Wrongful Termination…….



Justice Maureen Esowe of the Lagos division of the National Industrial Court has ordered the Union Bank to immediately pay the total sum of N20, 261, 810 million to one of its retired staff, Asenime Claire Ojuzo.


The judgment sum according to Justice Esowe, is the shortfall of gratuity Union Bank ought to pay Mrs. Asenime, upon her retirement.


Justice Esowe made the order while delivering judgment in a suit marked NICN/LA/534/2017, filed by a retired officer and the bank.


The claimant, a former senior manager at Union Bank, through her lawyer, Chief Paul Omoijiade, had asked the court to “declare that the purported approval by the bank of the claimant’s withdrawal from service which the Claimant did not apply for was wrong.


“A declaration that the purported determination of the Claimant’s contract of service by Union Bank is wrongful, same having been done without due process as laid down in the bank’s handbook and the bank’s custom and practice.


“A declaration that the purported removal of the claimant from his employment as Senior Manager (SM) without due process amounts to redundancy for which the claimant is entitled to redundancy benefit.


“A declaration that Union Bank is in arrears of N18, 114, 600 million, in the payment of the Claimant’s gratuity.


“A declaration that the deduction of the sum of N16,106,219.66 million, as outstanding loans, status car, unearned medical, outstanding status generator, and car from the claimant’s gratuity is unlawful.


“An order of the honourable court directing Union Bank to pay to Ojuzo the sum of N16,106,219.66 million, deducted from the claimant’s gratuity.


“An order of the honourable court directing Union Bank to pay to Ojuzo the sum of N18,114, 600 being a shortfall in the gratuity paid to her.


“An order of the honourable court that the bank pays the sum of N12 million, to the Claimant as compensation for the defendant’s wrongful and unlawful action withdrawing the claimant’s services without due process.


“An order of the honourable court for the payment of interest at the rate of 20% on the deductions and withheld gratuity under paragraphs (f) and (g) above.


“An order of the honourable court that the bank pay to the claimant the sum of N1 million, being the cost of litigation.


During the trial of the suit, the claimant told the court that she was a staff of the bank until her employment was wrongfully withdrawn on November 22, 2013, and her terminal benefits were never paid in full.


She also told the court that Union Bank also deducted the sum of N16, 106, 219.66 million, which the bank referred to as outstanding loans, unearned housing, status car, and unearned leave from her benefit, adding that, said she never applied for withdrawal service, therefore, the withdrawal of her services is tantamount to redundancy.


Defending the suit, Union Bank through its witness, Francis Idiaghe, who was led by Feliz O. Ogungbemi, told the court that there is no provision in the Trust Deed of variation that the claimant or any employee of Union Bank can remain in service till the age of 60. Rather, than underemployment, either party can determine the contract by giving a month’s notice.


The witness told the court that the Defendant, exercising her right under the contract, determined the contract by a letter of withdrawal of service dated November 22, 2016, issued to the claimant. Adding that the sum of N16,106,219.66 million, deducted from the claimant’s terminal benefits covers the loans (N13,683,188.86 million) taken by the claimant during the pendency of her employment and the outstanding and unpaid money (N2,247,210 million) covering the cost of her status car and a generating set.


Union Bank in its final written address, asked the court to determine “Whether the claimant is entitled to a declaration that the withdrawal of the Claimant’s employment is unlawful.


“Whether the Claimant having been paid her terminal benefit and having accepted same, can be heard to complain that his contract was not properly determined.


“Whether the termination of the Claimant of employment by the Defendant amounts to redundancy.


“Whether the Claimant is entitled to the sum of N18,114,600.00 (Eighteen Million One Hundred and Fourteen Thousand Six Hundred Naira) as outstanding gratuity from the Defendant.


“Whether the deduction of the sum from the Claimant’s terminal benefit in the liquidation of Claimant’s outstanding staff loans, status, generator loan, and unearned medical is unlawful.


“Whether by the evidence placed before this Honourable Court, the Claimant is entitled to damages in the sum of N12 million.


“Whether the Claimant is entitled to interest at the rate of 20% on the alleged outstanding gratuity and the amount allegedly deducted from her gratuity.


“Whether the Claimant is entitled to the sum of N1 million, as cost of litigation.”


Justice Esowe, in her judgment on the suit after the evaluation of parties’ submissions, and citing plethora of legal authorities, held that: “having gone through the claimant’s claim, evidence led in support, the defendant’s defense, evidence led in support, with the final written submissions of Counsel on both sides, this Court, while adopting all the issues formulated by Counsel, has distilled a sole issue for determination, to wit: Whether the Claimant has proved his case to be entitled to the reliefs sought.” culled: Business Hallmark.

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Dr. Ope Banwo Speaks On Transitioning  Naija Lives Matter Organization To Non-Partisan Mode 





***Says Organization Will Now Focus On Projects To Improve Nigerian Lives


Dr. Ope Banwo, the founder of Naija Lives Matter (NLM), a non-governmental organization committed to better lives for Nigerians has explained the organization’s decision to refocus its priorities.


In a statement released on Tuesday, Dr. Banwo stated that the organization’s mission and goals extend beyound the 2023 elections, electioneering campaigns, and politics.


According to him, the process of the organization had been clearly communicated from its very beginning to avoid any accusations of opportunism or policy inconsistencies, which are unfortunately common in our country when disagreements arise.


He said; “Since 2011, the NLM organization has consistently de-emphasized its partisan support for any specific candidate after the elections and campaigns are over, enabling it to concentrate on its global mandate of making Naija lives matter to all Nigerians, irrespective of their political affiliations.


“When Naija Lives Matter endorsed Peter Obi as our chosen candidate in August 2022, we made it clear that our partisan involvement would solely extend until the conclusion of the elections. Subsequently, we would focus on other aspects of our mission and goals, for which our organization was founded in 2011.


“In the past, we supported Jonathan through the GEJ project, rallied behind Buhari through the Buhari4Naija project in 2015, and even had a Moghalu4Naija project before eventually endorsing Peter Obi for the 2023 elections.


“Our commitment is not irreversibly tied to any particular politician; it lies in what we believe is in the best interest of Nigeria and its people,” Dr. Banwo said.


With the transition, NLM now moves beyond the recent election cycle, with a current focus on organizing projects aimed at making the lives of all Nigerians better.


“Henceforth, we shall therefore leave the legal and political affairs to lawyers and politicians, and respect the decisions of the courts, whatever they may be.


“In alignment with our mandate and the previously declared engagement period for the 2023 elections, we hereby inform our members that Naija Lives Matter will now shift its focus towards other aspects of our charter such as mass non-partisan mobilization on national issues, youth empowerment training, workshops, community assistance services for the less privileged in Nigeria, and other activities.


“In light of this new direction, we will convene meetings with our state directors and cell leaders to announce additional NLM initiatives that extend beyond politics in the coming days. These initiatives will focus on non-partisan national mobilization, youth empowerment through training and workshops, and community-building responsibilities.


“All our threads on WhatsApp and other social media platforms will once again be dedicated to NLM as we officially conclude the Peter Obi Nation Project for the 2023 elections,” Dr. Banwo noted.


Thanking members of the Peter Obi Nation Project of the NLM organization for their tremendous efforts during the 2023 elections, Dr. Banwo said that together they fought valiantly in a highly contested electoral process, adding that together they gave as much as they got in the very bitter partisan electioneering campaign for the organization’s endorsed candidate, Peter Obi.


“We did not compromise and many of us even paid the price of alienating some of our long-term friends in the heat of partisan battle.


“To this end, I am immensely proud of every individual involved in this monumental battle, and it has been an honor serving as the Chief Vawolence Officer for Naija Lives Matter side of things during this 2923 election cycle. We also offer No apologies for our passionate campaign for what we passionately believed in. It was what it was.


Acknowledging the fact that many individuals who joined NLM’s special Peter Obi Nation Project were primarily interested in supporting the Labour Party (LP) presidential candidate, and may not share NLM”s broader mandate and NGO charter, Dr. Banwo said that the organization would understand if those solely focused on partisan politics choose to disassociate themselves from the NLM organization across it numerous groups and threads, adding that the organizational continuity transcends any single election cycle.


“To be clear, this pivot by NLM does not mean we no longer support Peter Obi. We continue to stand behind his 2023 mandate which we believed in, wholeheartedly. Nevertheless, our organization was not established solely for this election cycle. We have followed the same refocusing approach after the elections in 2011 and 2015. Although the intensity of this cycle was undeniable, our policy remains intact.


“We hope that our fellow compatriots engaged in the highly intense campaign for 2023 will understand and respect our decision to shift away from combative partisan politics at this juncture. Instead, we aim to engage the Tinubu government in a non-partisan yet critical manner, reminding them of their promises and holding them accountable. Should the courts later remove him from office, we will also celebrate. But for now, we have a country to assist in governance.”

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