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Real Reason Ogbemudia dug his grave, shared his property to family members before death…



The news of the death of the two-time former governor of old Bendel State, Dr Samuel Osaigbovo Ogbemudia, at the age of 84, came to many as a shock. This was because many knew that the civil war hero had been battling diabetes and high blood pressure just like other people of his age for some time, but dying was something nobody thought of.

The elder statesman had been living a quiet life since he resigned from partisan politics shortly after his 83rd birthday in 2015. On that occasion, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, who was governor of Edo State then, appealed to Ogbemudia to quit partisan politics and become a statesman that he deserved. Oshiomhole noted that the retired army general laid the foundation on which Edo and Delta states were being built, adding that he should not be a PDP leader alone but a leader of the people. Two months later, Ogbemudia announced his retirement from politics. He was an ardent supporter of the Oshiomhole administration and that pitched him against his own party then, the PDP. And the late elder statesman owed nobody any apologies for that after he described Oshiomhole as God-sent to Edo. It would be recalled that even while he was in the PDP, some of the party leaders visited him with a view to convincing him to support the party due to his aloofness in the affairs of the party since the coming of Oshiomhole. His answer to their request shocked the PDP leaders. He asked them: “Which road did you people pass through to get to my house?” They explained to him that they passed through New Lagos Road”.

While the PDP leaders acknowledged that the road was beautiful, he further asked them: “Who built the road?” The PDP leaders, who were now confused about where he was heading to, told him it was Oshiomhole. The late elder statesman went further to query the visitors, “So you people now expect me, as old as I am, to deceive my people? How do you expect me to tell the people of this community to vote against a man that built the roads in my area, roads that PDP failed to build when they were in power. Do you want me to look like a stupid leader?” The elder statesman admonished the PDP leaders to go and support the Oshiomhole administration which, he said, was working for the people, adding that being in opposition does not mean they should continue to criticize a government that was working for the masses. The PDP leaders left disappointed. And following what he described as the satisfactory performance of the APC administration in Edo, Ogbemudia endorsed the incumbent governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki. His Edo Mass Movement (EMM) has supporters across the three senatorial districts of the state made up of youths, veteran politicians and market women. And because he is adored across the state, his directive that the people of Edo should vote for Obaseki contributed immensely to the victory of the governor in the September 28, 2016 governorship election. Despite his differences with the PDP in the state, the late Ogbemudia kept his relationship with the former Chairman, Board of Trustees of the PDP, Chief Tony Anenih, who he described as a “very good friend and political ally”. Iheya residence For many in the state, it is still unbelievable that despite his profile as a military and civilian governor, he chose to live in his Iheya Street, off New Lagos Road residence when leaders of his calibre live in the Government Reserve Area (GRA). Ogbemudia’s humility had no bounds. Asked why he chose to live in Iheya Street, he said, “GRA is too quiet for me. I prefer to live where our people live. I enjoy the noise. Secondly, my mother was buried in this my Iheya residence and I cannot abandon where my mother is buried. In fact, I dug my own grave close to that of my mother. That is where I will be buried the day I die. I want to be laid close to my mother because it was through her I came to this earth”.

Also explaining why he decided to share his property amongst his children while he was alive, he explained: “I have seen such things tear families apart when the bread winners die. And I don’t want that to happen to my family when I die. So I have shared all I have to my family and nothing is being contested. So if God calls me any day, my children know what belongs to them and there will be no quarrel because I hate quarrels and such crisis in the family”. Even at death, Ogbemudia remains the humble general. He had directed that he would want to buried within seven days of his death and that his body should not be kept in the mortuary. Consequently, Obaseki expressed his desire to respect the wishes of the elder statesman and the programme for his burial was arranged accordingly. His remains arrived Benin Airport from Lagos on Tuesday and were received by Obaseki and his counterpart from Delta State, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa. Shortly after the military aircraft, which ferried the body arrived the Benin airport, Obaseki and Okowa went inside the aircraft where they opened the corpse with a view to ensuring it was that of the elder statesman. The corpse was accompanied by Ogbemudia’s younger wife, Yetunde. Others who received the corpse at the Benin Airport include the deceased’s eldest son, Sam Ogbemudia Jr, the Deputy Governor of the state, Comrade Philip Shaibu, Secretary to the State Government, Osarodion Ogie, Chief of Staff to the Governor, Taiwo Akerele, APC leaders, market women and youths. Members of the Benin cultural troupes, who sang to welcome the corpse, betrayed emotions when the body was transferred to a black BMW ambulance. The casket was gold plated. Tears flowed freely when the body arrived. The pains were visible on the faces of Obaseki and Okowa. Obaseki lamented: “This was not what I bargained for because I just came into office few months ago, and our late elder statesman was one of those I was hoping will help me lead our great state because he had been very supportive from day one. I saw him after my victory in the election when I went to visit him and we spent quite a lot of time in public and in private and he admonished me and assured me of his support. I cannot forget the encouragement he gave to me,, without his open and clear endorsement, my campaign and victory would have been very difficult. For us in Edo we will miss him, but we will remember him for the great legacies that he left for us”.

Okowa said: “ I saw him last when he celebrated his birthday in 2015 at the Public lecture and it was quite an interesting moment. We talked about a lot of things, I thank God that he still lives through his works. Obviously our elder statesman was somebody that meant a lot to us, Edo and Delta states. I recalled in 2015 when he invited me for his birthday. We will remember him for so many good things. I, particularly growing up in Edo, particularly Edo College, he was military administrator then. He did a lot for the Midwest Region and today a lot of things stand in his name and we continue to remember him and I believe he is a role model to all politicians. There is a lot that can be done even in the midst of difficulties, that is exactly what he represents. He was a friend to all”. Meanwhile, the committee set up by the state government to give the late elder statesman a befitting burial, led by the Edo SSG, Osarodion Ogie, is forging ahead with its assignment. Dignitaries across the country also continued to throng the state to pay condolence. Oshiomhole, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida, Chief EK Clark, former governor of Rivers State, Dr Peter Odili, Gen.Yakubu Gowon, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, Chief James Ibori, Chief Lucky Igbinedion, Parry Osayande, Prof.Gregory Akenzua and several others have continued to pay tributes. Oshiomhole said: “ I have enjoyed a long history of relationship with our leader. It is not flattering when I say to people that God sent Ogbemudia to come and lay foundation for us. And you begin to appreciate this more when you discover that by the time he made this undisputable solid foundation, there were some of his counterparts who felt that they had no obligations to the people of their states, that they were accountable to their masters at Dodan Barrack. But what Ogbemudia did flowed from his conviction that this part of the world deserved the very best that government could provide. So we must find sufficient consolation in the fact that our leader immortalized himself before he left”.

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Paris-bound bizman arrested with 111 cocaine wraps




The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency has arrested a 48-year-old businessman, Emmanuel Orjinze, at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, for ingesting 111 wraps of cocaine.

The suspect, who claimed to be a professional footballer in Europe, was arrested on May 21 during the outward clearance of an Air France flight to Paris, France.

This was made known in a statement signed by the agency’s Director of Media and Advocacy, Femi Babafemi, and shared on the agency’s website on Sunday.

The statement read, “Operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency have arrested a 48-year-old Paris, France-bound businessman, Emmanuel Okechuku Orjinze, for ingesting 111 wraps of cocaine, which he excreted after days of observation in the agency’s custody following his arrest at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.

“Okechukwu, who also claims he is a professional footballer in Europe, was arrested on Tuesday, May 21, during the outward clearance of Air France flight AF 878 from Abuja to Paris, France.

“After a body scan confirmed he ingested illicit drugs, he was taken into custody where he excreted a total of 111 pellets of cocaine that weighed 1.603 kilograms over three days. The suspect claimed he did business in the maritime sector while still scouting for any European football club to engage him. ”

In the same vein, the NDLEA officers operating at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja, Lagos hinted that they had dismantled another drug trafficking syndicate at the airport.

This, they said in a statement, followed the arrest of four members of the network and the seizure of a total of 8kg of methamphetamine and 7.60kg of Loud, a synthetic strain of cannabis imported from South Africa.

The statement added that a drug trafficking syndicate was busted at the airport when an official was caught with illicit substances in their backpack and bag.

On May 21, 2024, the NDLEA officers, supported by aviation security, intercepted the official at Terminal 1 and discovered the drugs during a search, blowing the lid off the syndicate.

“A swift follow-up operation at the Ajao Estate area of Lagos led to the arrest of two other members of the syndicate: Chris Nwadozie and Chinedu Nwaosu. Further investigation led to the arrest of another member of the cartel working within the airport system on Saturday, May 25,” the statement added.

In a related development, the agency also arrested a freight agent, Sonubi Abiodun, for attempting to export eight parcels of cocaine concealed in paint buckets to the United Kingdom.

Additionally, the NDLEA operatives arrested suspects producing and distributing skuchies, a mixture of black currant and illicit drugs, in Lagos, and recovered 2,480 litres of the psychoactive substance.

In Cross River State, a suspect, Ogar Emmanuel, was arrested with 2.5kg of cannabis, while 290kg of cannabis was recovered from the warehouse of Usani Ikpi, who is still at large. Additionally, three suspects – Sa’adu Sule, Mukhtar Nura, and Hamza Nura – were arrested in Katsina State with 70kg of cannabis, which originated from Ogun State.

The statement added, “No fewer than five suspects including Ezekiel Munda, 30; and Sule Mustapha, 21, were arrested by the NDLEA operatives on Thursday, May 23, during raids at the Karu Abattoir, Jikwoyi and Tora Bora hill area of the FCT, Abuja, where 95.01kg of cannabis and different quantities of opioids were recovered from them.

“In Edo State, operatives arrested a physically challenged notorious drug dealer, Zekere Sufianu, 45, at Auchi town on Wednesday, May 22. At the time of his arrest, he was found with 751 grams of Loud, 178 grams of tramadol, and pills of swinol,” the statement concluded.

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FG suit against 36 govs over LG funds begins




The Federal Government has approached the Supreme Court with a suit seeking to compel governors of the 36 states of the federation to grant full autonomy to the local governments in their domains.

The suit, marked SC/CV/343/2024, was filed by the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), on behalf of the Federal Government.

The Federal Government is urging the apex court to issue “an order prohibiting state governors from unilateral, arbitrary and unlawful dissolution of democratically elected local government leaders for local governments.”

In the suit predicted on 27 grounds, the Federal Government accused the state governors of gross misconduct and abuse of power.

The FG, in the originating summons, prayed the Supreme Court to make an order expressly stating that funds standing to the credit of local governments from the Federation Account should be paid directly to the local governments rather than through the state governments.

The justice minister also prayed for “an order of injunction restraining the governors, their agents and privies from receiving, spending or tampering with funds released from the Federation Account for the benefits of local governments when no democratically elected local government system is put in place in the states.”

The Federal Government further sought “an order stopping governors from constituting caretaker committees to run the affairs of local governments as against the Constitutionally recognised and guaranteed democratically system.”

The originating summons was backed by a 13-paragraph affidavit deposed to by one Kelechi Ohaeri of the Federal Ministry of Justice.

Ohaeri, in the affidavit, averred that the AGF instituted the suit against the governors under the original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court on behalf of the Federal Government.

He said,“The Constitution of Nigeria recognises federal, states and local governments as three tiers of government and the three recognised tiers of government draw funds for their operation and functioning from the Federation Account created by the Constitution.

“By the provisions of the Constitution, there must be a democratically elected local government system and the Constitution has not made provisions for any other systems of governance at the local government level other than a democratically elected local government system.

“In the face of the clear provisions of the Constitution, the governors have failed and refused to put in place a democratically elected local government system even where no state of emergency has been declared to warrant the suspension of democratic institutions in the state.

“The failure of the governors to put democratically elected local government system in place is a deliberate subversion of the 1999 Constitution which they and the President have sworn to uphold.

“All efforts to make the governors comply with the dictates of the 1999 Constitution in terms of putting in place a democratically elected local government system has not yielded any result and to continue to disburse funds from the Federation Account to governors for non-existing democratically elected local government is to undermine the sanctity of the 1999 Constitution.

“In the face of the violations of the 1999 Constitution, the Federal Government is not obligated under Section 162 of the Constitution to pay any state, funds standing to the credit of local governments where no democratically elected local government is in place.”

The AGF, therefore, urged the apex court to invoke sections 1, 4, 5, 7 and 14 of the Constitution to declare that the state governors and state Houses of Assembly are under obligation to ensure a democratic system at the third tier of government in Nigeria and to also invoke the same sections to hold that the governors cannot lawfully dissolve democratically elected local government councils.

Furthermore, he urged to invoke sections 1, 4, 5, 7 and 14 of the Constitution to declare that “the dissolution of democratically elected local government councils by the governors or anyone using the state powers derivable from laws enacted by the state Houses of Assembly or any Executive Order is unlawful, unconstitutional, null and void.”

The apex court has fixed Thursday, May 30 for hearing.

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Union of Local Government Employees hailed the move by the Federal Government, saying it would join the lawsuit as a concerned party.


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JUST IN: Tribunal affirms Diri as Bayelsa governor




The Bayelsa State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja, on Monday, upheld the election that produced Governor Douye Diri of Bayelsa State.

A three-man panel led by Justice Adekunle Adeleye dismissed the petition filed by the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Timipre Sylva, and the party for lacking in merit.

In a unanimous decision, the tribunal held that the petitioners failed to prove any credible evidence to back up any of the allegations they raised against the re-election victory of Diri.

Details shortly…

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