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Sanwo-Olu at 55: the simple man in the service of Lagosians  

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By Olusegun Fafore

 

Without purpose, life is meaningless. With insight, our path is illuminated. When purpose and insight are embedded attributes of anyone’s life, such an individual will not only inspire others, but serve God through humanity.

 

In the race of life and our quest to own the world we did not create, only few mortals remain led by insight and driven by purpose. While many see their time on earth as a race in the service of mankind, and others carried awaybylife’s privileges, especially the temporary opportunities that come their way.

 

Thus, they miss their paths and wander on the highway of vainglory.It is not unnatural for humankind to get missingin the pursuit of phantasm. Therefore, this failing does not constitute a reason for judging anyone. However, we are compelled to reflect deeply when certain individuals with privileges, influence and power deliberately understate them to remain humans. Their ways compel us to ask the question,‘what life is really about?’.

 

The outlook of the limited individuals in this category contradicts the reasons why we crave power, pursue outstanding success or exceptional wealth. It is indeed paradoxical that after acquiring ‘temporal omnipotence’, these people are still extremely humble, empathetic and authentic. These dispositions are a rarity after ‘conquering the world’, but when you find them at the foundation of the heart of a leader, then there is something really exceptional about him or her.

 

It is Governor Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu’s 55th birthday on this earthly plane, having been born on Friday, June 25, 1965. This occasion presents a veritable opportunity to discuss and present the ‘limited in circulation’ aspect of an outstanding and purposeful leader.

 

The governor belongs to the small class of people who deliberately understate their privileges, influence and power to remain connected to the society and their friends. Consistently, he shows introspection in his conducts and engagements with people of different categories, which gives hope and encouragement about the beauty ahead of them.

 

With the office he occupies, there is no gainsaying that life has been kind to him. But instead of getting lost in the oblivion of self-importance, Sanwo-Oluremainsawake to the impermanence of the exalted seat that has increased his endearment to humans, with a fixed gaze on God for wisdom and continuous guidance on his assigned responsibility leading Lagos to greatness.

 

It may be briefly, but I have seen the governor in two different roles. Initially as an aspirant to the exalted office of the Governor of Lagos State, when hispassion for service took him to every nook and cranny of the State, canvassing for votes and engaging people with solutions to some of the challenges facing the State.

 

Even though Lagos was an All Progressives Congress (APC) dominated-State, he left no stone unturned in chasing his vision and constantly sought the face of God. He demonstrated that faith without work is dead, just as he proved that vision is more important than sight in achieving aspirations. Day and night, he worked really hard to convince Lagosians about his seriousness and readiness for the office.

 

Subsequently, he was elected the 15th Governor of Lagos State. The ceremony that ushered himinto office signalled the responsibilities of the life ahead of him as the Governor of Africa’s most populous city and 5th largest economy. On that glorious day, it rained heavily, which affirmed that God is with him on the journey of leading Lagos to greatness.

 

Undeniably, the occasionwas so beautiful that it could stoke the embers of envy and inadvertentlyattire him in conceit, if temperancewas dead. But none of these will happen because Sanwo-Olu has made himself everybody’s Governor, willing to listen and ready to act.

 

Since his inauguration a year ago, the governor has become the model for how to control power and make it subservient to the people. We all know that power can be likened to a rabid dog, imbued with riotous energy to shield their owners from the truth and isolate them from humanity, but Sanwo-Olu has remained accessible and connected.

 

As governor, he dropped the title of ‘Your Excellency’ and chose to be addressed as ‘Mr. Governor’ because he reflected that no man is excellent, no matter his status in the society and enormity of his wealth, except God.

 

On that subject, he once jokingly said “Let us agree that it is true that the red ink that flows from the pen of a Governor is powerful enough to sign ‘life to death’, but have you people also thought about the power in the blood that has been signing ‘death to life’ from the beginning of the world? The power in that blood can also take life from the living, but the ink from a Governor’s pen cannot bring the dead to life”.

 

“You people need to understand that position is a privilege and power is temporary. How well you impact humanity with the opportunity fate has bestowed upon you is what is actually important and that should drive every leader. Let us not encourage a culture of executive arrogance and mislead people into thinking that they are semi-gods. Well, for me; only God, the Almighty, is excellent”.

 

The exchange was not strange because that is how he engagesfreely with everyone. However, hiswords were heavy and intriguing. While the conversation providedreliable avenues for peeping into the workings of his gracious mind, it also forced every participant in the conversation into moments of deep reflection.

 

Clearly, he has had his owncontemplations decades before this great moment. Otherwise, he would not have been able to effortlessly arrest power with his uncommon humility. The manner he judiciously dispenses power and asserts his authority with consideration, further proved that he came prepared for this office. He masterfully de-emphasises ‘You’ and emphasises ‘We’ in his dealings because he is a fervent believer in the impressive outputs of synergy.

 

I may not have noticed his shortcomings, but he alerts us to his own imperfections each time he says “You guys should work on yourselves. You need to aspire to get better. I am also working on myself. I want to be better every day”. This is candour. This is humanity. The essential Governor Sanwo-Olu. I want to say to Mr. Governor,this is the leadership that inspires us and motivates us to surpass ourselves. So that he knows, that conversation is like an adrenaline booster, it keeps us awake and alert for weeks.

 

Everyone knows that perfection is not a human attribute, but that is a daily journey for Sanwo-Olu is quite inspiring. This is also evident in the way he handlesawkward moments. Not out of weakness, but as an expression of a mastered temperament to keep power under control, he intentionally mortifies himself.

 

As a leader, through his deeds and actions, Sanwo-Olu hasshown that power is not actually dangerous, it is human beings that get dangerous with power, because they tend to lose self and sense of empathy as a result of its intoxicating influence.

 

With Governor Sanwo-Olu, it is obvious that good people make good places. Therefore, Lagos will certainly become better and greater under his leadership. His sense of purpose is steadfast enough to bring alive the vision of a greater Lagos. His efforts thus far are masterstrokes and suggestive of the masterpiece Lagos will become as envisioned in the THEMES Agenda.

 

As Mr. Governor marks his 55th birthday today, I wish him long life and prosperity. I pray that God will continue to grant him wisdom and uphold His covenant of excellence with him. Always remember that “The highway of the upright leads away from evil; he who guards his way protects his life”, Proverb 16:17.

 

 

Olusegun Fafore is the Executive Assistant on Public Relations and New Media to the Lagos State Governor

 

 

 

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Ibrahim Magu: The Rise and Fall Of The “almighty” EFCC Boss

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After five years as the public face of the federal government’s anti-graft crusade, the suspension and arrest of Ibrahim Magu, acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), who is being investigated for corruption is a major blight on the toga of President Muhammadu Buhari’s war on corruption that reinforces the public perception that the whole anti-graft war is just a smokescreen to harass and intimidate perceived opponents of the regime. Notwithstanding his offense, the public drama in which a combined team of policemen and officers of the Department of State Services (DSS) invaded the office of the EFCC to arrest Magu; whisked him off manu militari to face a presidential panel investigating allegations of corruption against him is shameful and most embarrassing to Nigerians. It is a debasement of Nigerian democracy and a sad manifestation of the rule of force over the rule of law. Although the Presidency touted the incident as an affirmation that no one under the Buhari administration is above the law, such brigandage lowers the country’s image before the comity of nations. This is the tragedy of Nigeria.

After over 20 years of democracy, there should be no more room for such conduct. The situation could have been handled more professionally without portraying the DSS as a Gestapo organization. This must never be allowed to repeat itself. Magu has been reportedly detained at the Police Force Criminal Investigation Department in Area 10, Abuja, on the orders of the presidential panel, which continue to question him over “weighty” allegations of misconduct. This is an insult to the Nigerian people carried too far, which does little credit to the image of President Buhari, whose promise of a new dawn in democratic governance and respect for the rule of law formed the plank of his political covenant with the people prior to his electoral mandate in 2015.

To begin with, a person of Magu’s status ought to be treated with dignity and respect in a democratic dispensation. The cavalier manner, in which he was arrested from his office after Buhari had recently applauded his services to the country and personally assented to Magu’s plan to auction over 400 luxury cars forfeited by internet fraudsters, was most undeserving. Without prejudice to any investigation, it is worth noting that it is not within the remit of the presidential panel to probe acts of corruption by public officials. The arrest and detention of Magu certainly need to be justified, but such justification cannot be in violation of due process and the right of presumption of innocence until proven guilty, which Magu is entitled to as a Nigerian citizen. That the presidential panel is treating Magu as if he is a convicted felon is most unfortunate. What if Magu ends up being exonerated?

Besides, a presidential panel is not a court of law and has no authority to order Magu to be detained without bail. In fact, Magu has the right to bail while the investigation is conducted. To subject him to questioning and remanding him in detention even when no competent authority or jurisdiction has established that he is a flight risk; are clear violations of Magu’s fundamental rights, and respect for the dignity of his person and personal liberty as guaranteed by Sections 31 and 35 of the Constitution. Such barefaced violation of the right to privacy and dignity cannot be in the best interest of democracy; it is lawlessness. The president on whose authority the panel is acting must guard against repeating such lawlessness and acting in a manner suggesting a disdain for due process. As for Magu, he should be released immediately or charged in court.

For the avoidance of doubt, the official narrative that the panel is probing allegations of corruption against Magu following a damning memo by the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami (SAN) is laughable and defies logic. Nigerians have not forgotten the brazen show of megalomania, when as acting President, Yemi Osinbajo sent a letter to the Senate re-nominating Magu as EFCC chairman, after the Senate had rejected his candidacy, citing a DSS security report with the same corruption allegations, which the same AGF, Malami, later claimed to have investigated and cleared Magu of any wrongdoing. ‎

Without equivocation, Nigerians were deeply concerned about the wide-reaching implications of the president acting like defense attorney and holding brief for a man indicted for corruption by the legislative arm of government after the Senate deemed Magu unfit to hold public office. In civilized democracies, Magu himself, seeing that the matter was getting out of hand could have voluntarily withdrawn his nomination. This would certainly have fetched him accolades and leave Nigerians to fight the battle for him in the court of public opinion. But thanks to Buhari’s nonchalance, Magu stayed on for five years. In all, maintaining Magu as acting EFCC chair only authenticated impunity. With Buhari’s total backing, Magu wage a political vendetta and witch-hunt against Buhari’s perceived opponents, including loyalists of the Goodluck Jonathan administration. In the process, Magu stepped on many toes and made many enemies. The list is long and endless.

Former Defence Minister, Lt Gen Theophilus Danjuma (retd) recently visited Buhari. The billionaire oil mogul was seething with rage and anger that the check he issued to purchase an aircraft bounced! Danjuma was informed by his bankers that the order to withhold payment came from Magu! Aso Villa sources said Buhari bent over backward to convince Danjuma that he knew nothing about the incident but the sources also pointed out that Magu read the president’s mind and picked up the signal to finger Danjuma when Buhari dropped Danjuma’s protégé, Ibe Kachikwu from his cabinet. A few weeks before that incident, the Minna home of former military Head of State, Gen Abdulsalami Abubakar was raided and ransacked by EFCC operatives. Buhari also got to know only after the event had happened.

While neither Danjuma nor Abdulsalami is above the law, the instruments of state power should never be used to harass and ridicule citizens. Besides, a man who would take on the high and mighty, including members of the president’s immediate family, must be above board both in his private thinking and public action. Magu failed on both counts: in the past five years, Magu has made many conflicting claims about hundreds of billions of recovered looted funds and assets but subsequent auctions for recovered assets, resulted in choice properties being doled out to his cronies. Since in Abuja, like Washington DC, everything leaks and everyone knows which skeleton is in which cupboard (including who is sleeping with whose spouse), it didn’t take long for Buhari to become inundated with petitions how Magu and his cronies were re-looting the recovered looted funds.

Surprisingly, on November 22, 2017, Buhari appointed a three-member committee to audit all assets recovered by agencies of the federal government from May 29, 2015. Headed by Olufemi Lijadu, who later became chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the panel was given four months to complete their assignment but ended up spending ten months. But even before they submitted their report, then Finance Minister, Kemi Adeosun, noticed discrepancies from the figures that were emerging and sent Magu a memo seeking clarification on the recoveries “based on the information available to the Office of Accountant-General of the Federation.” According to Adeosun, the attention of her ministry had been drawn to “recovery figures in media reports by the EFCC that do not reconcile with the records of the ministry” asking Magu to “clarify where this cash recoveries have been deposited and provide accompanying evidence.” Magu ignored the memo.

Meanwhile, the AGF to whose office Magu should ordinarily report (but doesn’t out of sheer arrogance) bided his time before writing a damning memo to Buhari regarding the report on recovered assets, which became the basis for Magu’s suspension and arrest. All that notwithstanding, Buhari’s volte-face after keeping Magu in office for five years is the hypocrisy that reduces the presidency to one that will go to any length to pander to the ego-tripping of the president’s men, even at the risk of compromising Buhari’s own integrity. It needs also to be stated that at the topmost management of the public, respect is mutual and reciprocal for the smooth running of the state. Such mutuality is dictated by the decorum exercised by authorities in the discharge of their duties. The government should treat the office of people like Magu with some dignity. They should be treated at their exit, in the same manner, they were treated when they held office. Magu’s office invasion and arrest fell short of this required decorum, for it diminishes the office of the EFCC chairman and debases the ethos and values of Nigeria’s preeminent anti-graft agency. By elimination, it is an index of what Nigeria does not value.

Against a man who prosecuted Buhari’s war on corruption with such messianic zeal, the barbaric arrest was nothing more than whimsical and disdainful impunity, which left much to be desired about the cantankerous temperament of the president himself. Like Nuhu Ribadu, Magu’s ongoing ordeal to the detriment of his office merely advertises the culture of impunity that holds the nation up to public ridicule and does little credit to the President’s image as a statesman. But far more than anything else it engendered, the indecorous public humiliation of Magu remains a national embarrassment and an imprudent display of statecraft.

 

Source: Huhuonline.

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APC Chairman Arrested For Raping Two Girls

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The Nasarawa State police command has arrested the All Progressive Congress ward chairman in Obi Local Government Area of Nasarawa State, Christopher Ogah, for allegedly defiling two girls in his house in Obi town.

Alhaji Mohammad Oyimoga Oyigye, Chairman of the Local Government Area, said he saved Ogah from being lynched by angry youth, who caught him and immediately handed him over to the police.

A witness said the APC chairman lured the girls when they entered his house to fetch water, adding that it was not his first time of committing such crime.

He said the two girls were 12 and 13-respectively.

Nasarawa State Commissioner of Police, Bola Longe, said he had directed that the case be transferred to State Criminal Investigation Department in Lafia for a discreet investigation after which the suspect will be charged to court.

“The police under my watch want to warn would-be rapist to have a rethink or face the wrath of the law.

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IT’S THE DAWN OF A NEW ERA IN IRU KINGDOM, THE EARLIER ADESEGUN ABIODUN-ONIRU REALIZES THIS, THE BETTER

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People fight realities in different ways but for Adesegun Abiodun-Oniru, the Aremo of the past Oniru of Iru Kingdom, it appears the reality is just settling in that not only is he no longer the Aremo to the throne, but the fact that he isn’t the man chosen for the throne is just beginning to become a reality he is being confronted with.
During the reign of their father, the immediate past Oniru, Adesegun and his siblings and friends lived like kings, they lived it to the very hilt, a life of opulence and royalty, with undisguised disdain for the indigenes and residents of the kingdom.
Even the other princes and princesses of the other royal families were seen as lesser being to the sons and daughters of the then reigning king, this particular perception of the other princes may just be the reason Prince Tijani Oniru could raise his hands to slap a prince on official duties from the palace, Prince Murisiku Ajasa. The face-off between Prince Murisiku and Prince Tijani Oniru ultimately led to the invasion of the palace Sunday, July 5, 2020.
It is important to note that the faceoff yesterday between a prince of the Iru royal family of the Akiogun branch, Prince Tijani Oniru and some members of the enumeration committee led by Prince Murisiku Ajasa on the duty of enumerating the properties of the kingdom on the instruction of the new Oniru, His Royal Majesty, Oba Abdulwasiu Gbolahan Lawal is rather unfortunate.
As a father to all, the doors to the palace is open to all, especially to the princes and princesses of the kingdom, and should they have any grievance on any ongoing project, they ought to approach the palace and seek clarification, rather than engage the committee members who were carrying out their duties.
While there may have been a misunderstanding between Prince Tijani Abiodun-Oniru and Prince Murisiku Ajasa and the committee members, in the course of carrying out their duties, it is expected that as a prince of the royal Iru family, Prince Tijani ought to have handled the situation better and not resort to physically engaging his fellow prince and the committee.
Invading the palace in the company of policemen is an action unbecoming of princes of the kingdom but it can be understood that it may be actions taken in the spur of the moment, but speak very poorly of them. Oba Abdulwasiu Gbolahan Lawal has maintained an open door policy since ascending the throne and enjoys a very cordial relationship with all the princes of the land. Adesegun Abiodun-Oniru should have put a call through to Kabiyesi and make his grievances known, rather than invade the palace with his brother and policemen.
As a former law enforcement officer and a well read and traveled individual, Kabiyesi Abdulwasiu Gbolahan Lawal abhors violence and will never subscribe to the use of brute force or thugs in carrying out any of his plans for Iru kingdom, rather engagement and dialogues has been the route of choice since his ascension.
The ongoing enumeration exercise being carried out by the new Oniru is for the benefit of all the three branches of the royal families, i.e the Akiogun, Abisogun and Ogunyemi families. In collaboration with consultants, the palace is working assiduously to collate information and create a database of all assets, information and properties of the kingdom for records of the Oniru Royal Family. There are no malevolent intentions to the project whatsoever as far as we have seen.
The Oniru as the custodian of the heritage, values and assets of the kingdom knows that a proper documentation of everything being held in trust by the throne, will go a long way in creating accountability and equity within the kingdom, for generations unborn.
As a father to all, Kabiyesi Gbolahan Lawal has reiterated that a peaceful coexistence between all and sundry within the kingdom is his number one priority, as well as redeveloping and rebranding the kingdom for the benefit of the indigenes, residents and businesses within the kingdom.
The sons of the former Oniru should accord the new custodian of their heritage the deserved respect and should conduct themselves in manners consistent with royal upbringing. The Hausas have an adage, ‘seriki goma, sanmoni goma’ which translates to 10 kings and 10 reigns. It is the reign of a new king and the early they embrace the realities, the better.

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