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OVIE OMO-AGEGE BLOWING HURRICANE AND THE LESSONS OKOWA’S PDP MUST LEARN AHEAD OF 2023

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By: Fejiro Oliver

The darkest place in hell are reserved for those who maintained their neutrality in times of moral crisis – Dante Alighieri

If Senator Ovie Omo-Agege decides to run for Delta State governorship in the 2023 elections, the only force that can stop him is the force of God and the will of the people. I don’t see him running, for the stage he currently occupies has grown beyond Dennis Osadebey. He is like a volcanic acid that can’t be curtailed. The Warri blood in him makes him aim for the very best leaving the crumbs for others to scramble for. In all of these, he is never desperate, rather leaving everything to God, chance and political leadership.
Like the King in the chessboard, he allows everyone go ahead first before moving in swag and style, losing little and conquering many. In conquest, he does not jubilate against the conquered and does not sneer at the politically wounded but retreat to his quiet moment and plot how to make them feel like it was a fair conquest. In doing this, he wins absolute loyalty and trust of them all. I have seen it time and time again and one incidence will suffice.
When he appointed a South Western person as his Special Adviser on Media and another one as Special Assistant on Electronics and New Media from same tribe, I wasted no time in condemning it, not because they were wrong choices. I vented my anger because there are tens of Deltans fit for such position and even if there are none, his first list of appointment should come from Delta. I felt like the conquered one who gave my all against my political family for him but now spited as I watch the very tribe we both belong not getting their rightful place.
Something was promised to be done in regards to the media section and what has never happened before was done and I felt like the conqueror (at least for that moment). That is the Omo-Agege political striker to you, fixing every piece of puzzles in their right places.
The wave of political appointment from him has swept both the All Progressive Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). One begin to wonder what his interest is by giving appointment to core PDP members who worked against him but never recognised by their own mother party. With his vacation in the United States of America, every state in South South have persons currently appointed under him. In his words to me “Fejiro, this my position no be for only Urhobo or Delta o. Na for everyone wey dey South South”.
But he is human and in being so, he makes his mistakes. He errs not because he wishes to. He errs not because he loves to. He errs because he is flesh and blood, subjected to limited knowledge and surrounded by too many distractions. He falters because those who should tell him the truth fear to do so due to what they seek from him. I seek such from him too but morality binds me first to him, after all, that is what brought us close and has bonded us till date. Isn’t that was the quote above said?
The Agege I know should have called all the House of Assembly aspirants that contested and lost in the last general elections for a meeting and assured them of appointments, even if not tied to his office, but other Federal agencies. Thankfully enough, he has grip of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) with his ally, Benard Okumagba as Managing Director Designate. This is where I expect him to push people like Prince Koyoyo and others to serve as Special Assistants to the MD since Efe Duku who also contested has been elevated to his Special Adviser. Why he has not done it, I do not know. For is it not said among them by Vladmir Putin that “there are no morals in politics; there is only expedience. A scoundrel may be of use to us just because he is a scoundrel”.
If the above can be said of the PDP in Delta State, it could have been better. But what do we see? Few weeks in Asaba to monitor event points to few people hijacking the appointments meant for those who truly worked and deliver their units and wards during the keenly contested election especially in strong places like Ughelli, Sapele, Ethiope West, Uviwe and Udu LGAs.
I peeped through the last eighty names of appointees released and saw names of people who didn’t leave their bedrooms on election day or did anything tangible during the build up to the election. I see names of PDP Chairman lover sitting comfortably on the lists and girlfriends of other political kingmakers dancing with appointment letters. The only service they rendered was warming the beds of their sugar daddies, while the young men and ladies who did their best on the political field and others on social media still waiting for the rainbow. Monkey work, baboon chop is the order of the day.
Governor Ifeanyi Okowa must be made to know that these same persons who stuff the appointment lists with names of people who never worked for him will be the first to deny him when the Omo-Agege hurricane that is already spreading will begin from next year. I can tell for a fact that people who deserve to get their appointment letters from the PDP government they worked for but neglected will get it from Omo-Agege and there is no worse defeat and pain than the one from a former loyalist turned foe, for they fight with blood and life to crumble that which the former suffered to build.
The beginning of a new election begins the very day a king is sworn in and Omo-Agege knows this. Loyalty will begin to shift from next year and it will depend on what Okowa decides to allow his foot soldiers who are giving him names of their loved ones do to the trust he entrusted them with. There are never friends among them he should know but loyalists and their pockets determine their loyalty. When the Agege hurricane starts, may it not be said that I was alive and as a close member of the governor’s team, who was privileged to see things, hear from the streets but never advised him. May it not be written that when the battle to take over Delta State in 2023 was successfully hatched and executed, Fejiro Oliver betrayed the political family that loves him, even though when they were sharing the luxury Liberty Estate with all facilities built with government funds among themselves, I was not part of it.
If these truth be my crime, that politicians who work are desirous of their appointments like Omo-Agege has done and is still doing for his party men is my crime, so be it. If political treason is to speak truth to power that girlfriends of party chieftains should not be appointed but sincere youths who gave their all be appointed, then let the judgment for offenders be pronounced on me.
When the die is cast and Okowa is out of power, be it known that most of them will not be there for him.
In 2010, when Fmr. Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan election was annulled, he didn’t believe it. As he left government house for the then House of Assembly Speaker, Sam Obi to take over, it felt like a dream to him. He went to the House of a top political contractor to stay, with his world shattered.
Sam Obi took over office, looked around the office and called for cabinet meeting, which he dissolved. While with some party member, Uduaghan called his phone; he looked at it, smiled and refused to answer. After sometime he called back and Uduaghan asked him why he has not been taking his calls and he replied “Your Excellency, you were not also picking my calls when you sat on this seat”. Uduaghan became humble for his destiny lies in the hands of the man that was once his subordinate.
The above scenario I’m very sure Okowa should be privy to, on how Sam Obi became just powerful in three months. The new Prado Jeeps and Toyota Corolla that Uduaghan bought and refused to share to appointees were ordered to be shared by him. When Uduaghan finally found his way back, he learnt his lessons, the lessons of a lifetime that all his political books never taught him, even though people who should have called his attention refused to do so out of fear of being blacklisted by him.
The lesson to learn by Okowa and the Delta PDP is to stop taking the people who staked their all for a ride. The lesson to learn is that power is transient and can only be sustained when the genuine people are empowered and those who deserve reward are not short-changed.
In 2015, few months after Uduaghan left power, one of the first stinker he got was from a popular news reporter who lashed out on how the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) have invited him. Uduaghan was shocked, not because the story was false but this was a reporter that he made to build a duplex in Asaba and other benefits associated with his job. In his days as governor, none of these reporter will do so for they were loyal not to him but his pocket. You do not buy loyalty, you earn it.
If the reason for the governor not asking questions from unbiased persons on those who truly worked and deserves speedy inclusion in his government but listen to words from those who will help to ruin him once the time is ripe, I will leave him with this fable.
Years ago in an ancient kingdom, a servant offended the King and in anger, he ordered him to be thrown to his wild dog. The servant begged the keeper of the dog to allow him take care of it for seven days before he is thrown into the cage to be eaten up. The keeper agreed.
For seven days, he cleaned and fed the dog, taking care of its wound. On the seventh day, the King ordered that the big cage be brought before him, with the dog inside, which was done. The servant was then brought forward from his prison and thrown inside the cage. The dog went to meet him and stretched his paws towards him while playing with the man. The king and everyone around was shocked and ordered the servant be brought out.
“Why didn’t the dog devour you?”, he asked the servant.
“My King, I served you for seven years and for one error, you forgot all the times I saved you and all the good deeds I did for you. I served this dog for only seven days and even when he was hungry and I was his meal, he remembered the little good works I did for him”, the servant answered.
In tears, the king ordered that the servant be elevated to Chief Servant which is modern day Chief of Staff.
As the Agege whirlwind of appointment and political patronage sweeps across the land, may the fable above be a constant reminderthat loyalty not caused by political or wealth influence remains the cradle by which dynasties are built.
DELTA STATE BOARD OF INTERNAL REVENUE CHAIRMAN APPOINTMENT
The race for the Executive Chairman of the Delta State Board of Internal Revenue (DBIR) rages as Monday Onyeme rounds off his tenure next month.
Ordinarily, there should be no competitor, for Onyeme has led the board more than anyone who has ever held the position. This is the first time in history that DBIR has not only been transparent but scandal free.
As the Chairman of the board, the IGR has not only been maintained but became the saving grace when oil prices fell down in the beginning of this government. The board needs someone like Onyeme back to consolidate for a Stronger Delta. Onyeme did not come to the board a poor man and will not leave richer than he came. Unlike his predecessors who acquired wealth after leaving, he already had his hotel and establishment all booming before he was drafted in to rescue the board that was almost crumbling. Today, Delta State is better off.
The reward for a good job is more work. When music is nice, you play it twice and even thrice. Onyeme is nice music to the ears and should be played twice.
These little things matter…
Fejiro Oliver, an investigative journalist can be reached on +2348022050733 (SMS ONLY). He tweets with @fejirooliver86 and IG handle of @elahuva

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UBA Revamps Kiddies, Teens Accounts; Customers to Get 13th Month Reward, Scholarships, Other Benefits

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Pan African financial institution, United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, is set to reward consistent customers with a 13th month cash reward as well as access to scholarships in the upgraded and revamped UBA Kiddies and Teens Accounts.

To qualify for these exciting rewards, customers need to maintain a minimum balance in these accounts which have been designed to enable parents and guardians save for their children aged between 0 – 12 years for the UBA Kiddies Accounts and from 13 to 17 years for UBA Teens Account, whilst also teaching the kids money management skills.

Breaking this down to both old and new customers, UBA’s Group Head Marketing and Customer Experience, Michelle Nwoga, said, the Children banking proposition have been revamped with new offerings to assist parents imbibe the culture of savings in their kids from a very tender age.

To enjoy the 13th month reward all the customer needs to do is maintain a standing instruction of saving a minimum of N5,000 for 12 months and they are rewarded automatically; in the same vein, for the Scholarship reward of N200,000; the customer simply needs to maintain a standing instruction of saving a minimum of N10,000 for six months to qualify for a bi-annual draw.

In addition to saving for their child’s future, holders of the UBA Kiddies and Teens accounts can also get discounted healthcare plans.

Nwoga said, “Typically, conversations about money start at home, when parents open their child’s first account and the kids start asking questions about money. It’s one of the most important conversations a parent has with their child, hoping to set them on the right track to managing money responsibly.

“And that is why we have introduced exciting benefits and rewards to these account holders to make it easier for parents as they help their kids develop financial and money management skills. Our Kiddies and Teens Account offers parents an opportunity to give their children a head start in life by starting to save for their future early, Nwoga stated.

In a similar development, UBA recently upgraded its mobile and internet banking applications, introducing lots of new, exciting and interactive features to aid banking, while allowing customers to perform unlimited transactions from the comfort of their mobile phones

UBA’s Group Head, Consumer & Retail Banking, Marketing, Jude Anele, who expressed delight with the upgrade said that the bank’s numerous investments into digital transformation has begun to yield good returns for customers, going by the reviews already received.

“I will like to let you know that all the investments we have made over the years in the area of technology will begin to yield now, because already UBA’s new Mobile Banking App demonstrates our resolve to provide unparalleled experience across all our channels is in line with UBA’s vision to dominate Africa’s digital banking space,” Anele said.

 

The United Bank for Africa is a leading pan-African financial institution offering banking services to more than twenty million customers globally. With footprint in 20 African countries and presence globally in the United Kingdom, the USA and France, UBA is connecting people and businesses across Africa through retail, commercial and corporate banking, innovative cross border payments and remittances, trade finance and ancillary banking services.

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Governor Dapo Abiodun’s Great Strides in One Year

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When my friend, Dr. Dapo Abiodun, told me he wanted to stand for office as Governor of Ogun State I have to admit I was very concerned and said as much to him. I didn’t understand why someone who had achieved his level of success in the oil and gas industry would want to move into politics. Anyone who was familiar with the Ogun State political landscape at the time knew that he had a very difficult fight ahead of him. Almost two years later, I have to doff my hat to Governor Dapo Abiodun.

As I had envisaged at the start, the road to the governorship was indeed a difficult and rocky one but in hindsight, I am pleased that he embarked upon it. Some would say that the fact that he was sworn in as governor on his birthday speaks to the fact that he was destined for the role. Unsurprisingly, when I expressed my concerns about his political ambitions to him he stood his ground firm based on his strong conviction on the role he believed he could play in the development of his beloved Ogun State. I now take it as a lesson to us all that where the vision is compelling, the fight is undoubtedly worth it.
A year after being sworn into office, I am very pleased to see that the drive and the determination that took Abiodun into office is slowly bringing transformation to Ogun State. As we all know from bitter experience, getting into office is one thing; executing on promises, however, is quite another matter.

A key pillar to Abiodun’s transformation strategy is Ogun State’s proximity to Lagos State, the economic capital of the country. Due to the gradual urban sprawl, there are areas of Ogun state already wrongly seen as being part of Lagos State. Instead of sulking, the governor is seeking to capitalise on this by working to position Ogun State as a second economic hub. The five-year Ogun State Economic Transformation Project (OGSTEP) developed by the governor and his team is a comprehensive effort that is designed to propel the state into a high-income one that is both inclusive and sustainable.

The programme is expected to lift Ogun State’s gross national income and raise per capita income, meeting the World Bank’s threshold for high income states. A key anchor of OGSTEP is to foster greater private sector participation in the State’s economy with a particular focus on improving the business-enabling environment, strengthening agri-food value-chains and upgrading the skills development and capacity building sectors.

I strongly believe that the current COVID-19 pandemic has brought to the fore the fact that “government alone cannot do it.” The only way that Nigeria as a whole, and Ogun State specifically, will make the necessary progress is for government, private sector and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to work collaboratively together to drive things forward. With this in mind, the intention is that OGSTEP will also be used to implement reforms to the public sector in order to facilitate the smooth implementation of the state’s social and economic plans.

OGSTEP is still in its implementation phase (full-blown project implementation is expected to commence in October 2020) but it’s clear that the governor and his team have already started making good progress on the key focus areas – infrastructure, social development, education, youth empowerment & employment, and agriculture.

On the infrastructure front, the Ogun State government has commenced the construction of some major state roads; the roads from Owode to Idiroko, Osi Otta to Ikola, and Ijebu-Ode to Epe, to name a few. Also, given the importance it holds to the state’s economy, it has also undertaken palliative repair works along the Lagos-Sango-Abeokuta dual carriageway. Given his stated strategy of benefiting from the state’s proximity to Lagos, it only makes sense that there is easy access between the two capital cities.

Still on infrastructure, the government has also successfully restored portable water supply by the Water Corporation to Abeokuta and 14 other communities, including Ikenne. This effort has added 7,000 more homes to the state’s water supply system. I think this is particularly timely given the current pandemic. We’ve all heard so much about the importance of hand-washing to reduce the spread of the pandemic but this becomes “grammar” when people have no access to water. The state still has a way to go to achieve 100% water connectivity but this has definitely been a big step in the right direction.
The second key focus area of social development is a hydra-headed beast; one that cannot be tackled in just a year. Again, for me, the key thing is ensuring that the state is on the right trajectory; not just showing intent but actually beginning to take concrete steps to address the myriad of issues.

First and foremost, especially at a time like this, we must look at healthcare. In the recent past, the governor has installed a molecular lab at Olabisi Onabanjo University Teaching Hospital (OOUTH) as well as commissioning five well-equipped isolation centres in the state. I hope to God that not all the isolation centres will end up being required but this is definitely one area where it is better to be safe than sorry. I read a quote mid-March as the pandemic started spreading aggressively across the globe that, “Only time will tell whether you over-reacted or under-reacted but better to find you did the former than the latter.” With this in mind, Abiodun also increased the payment to health workers by 200%, and provided a special risk allowance and life insurance for personnel treating COVID-19 patients.

To bolster the fight against the pandemic, qualified private hospitals have also been identified and enrolled as incident centres to widen the coverage of COVID-19 support at this time. On the side of the populace, the government has been donating protection masks and distributing palliatives to the people to reduce the risk of contagion and to alleviate the suffering caused by the pandemic.

From a security standpoint, the governor has procured 100 ‘4X4’ patrol vehicles and 200 motorcycles to aid the security officers in their work. The reality is that there can be no serious policing without mobility. We all know someone (even if not our own personal experience) who has called out the emergency services only to be left waiting for an inordinate amount of time as they make their way to the incident location. Thankfully that narrative is slowly changing in Ogun State.
In response to the highly contentious farmer/herdsman issue, the state has inaugurated cattle herders and farmers’ conflict resolution and peacekeeping committee. This rightly moves the conversation away from the usual blame game, to resolving the arising issues on both a holistic and a case by case basis.

Regarding education, Abiodun and his team have also successfully rehabilitated 236 schools over the year – one school per ward, across the state. Given the current social distancing realities, the state has also collaborated with Microsoft to design a remote learning system for its education sector, Ogun Digital Classroom, for primary and secondary schools on OGTV, DSTV and GoTV from Mondays to Fridays. We are all fast reaching the conclusion that aside from the loss of lives, one of the saddest outcomes of the pandemic is the significantly increased number of out-of-school children. Rather than whining about the situation, we need to focus on developing practical and sustainable solutions to the problem.

As a step towards addressing the lingering unemployment issue (which we all know eventually leads to a security issue), the governor approved the absorption of over 1,000 Administrative Staff College of Nigeria (ASCON) 2018 entrants into the civil service and the payment of nine months’ salary arrears. The state also successfully negotiated a new minimum wage with minimal contention; no mean feat. In addition, the state has undertaken a series of youth empowerment programmes including a graduate unemployment youth scheme and the distribution of palliatives.

Last, but by no means least, is the governor’s work in the agricultural sector. I for one have read with increasing concern, several articles about food security over the last few weeks. With everything going on in Nigeria in particular, and the world as a whole, the country can simply not afford a food security crisis. The human and economic cost is unthinkable. It was, therefore, a huge relief to learn of the various programmes that the state has undertaken in the agriculture sector in the last year. The initiatives include the commissioning of Ogun State Agricultural Technology and Innovation Centre, the facilitation and distribution of funding and inputs to 3,500 cassava farmers, and putting frameworks in place to attract private sector investment to the sector, amongst others.

So a year into his tenure as the executive governor of Ogun State, I am pleased with my dear friend, Governor Abiodun, because not only did he succeed in winning the hearts and minds of his Ogun State brothers and sisters, he is also making good progress in transforming their lives. My prayer for him is that just as he has achieved great success in his first year, may God grant him the wisdom and strength to continue to do right by his people.

BY SEGUN SENBANJO

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COVID-19: Laredo Chops Reach out To The Front-line Workers In Lagos Isolation Center

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King of small chops, Laredo Chops has reached out to some frontline workers with his sumptuous small chops and finger foods in a way to give his support in the fight against Covid-19.

The frontline workers that include medical doctors, nurses, support staff took delivery of the priceless chops on Tuesday, 19th Of May 2020 with so much gratitude.

According to a letter obtained by us from the Chief Executive Officer of Laredo Chops, Mr. Olanrewaju Jimoh; this move is a way of showing appreciation to all frontline workers who have been on the ‘battlefield’ ensuring the war against Covid-19 is won.

Also, he noted that there is a need to celebrate the frontline workers, hence, the need for his magnanimous move.

The astute businessman however prayed for those who have been affected by the virus, and asked God to heal them.

Furthermore, he urged Nigerians to adhere strictly to the laws and orders that have been put in place by appropriate authorities to prevent this deadly virus from spreading beyond the present level in the country.

It will also be noted that Mr. Olanrewaju Jimoh has been so active in this humanitarian gesture; since the inception of the total lockdown in Nigeria, giving out cash, gift-items, and foodstuffs to support the vulnerable people in the society.

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