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FOR SARAKI’S HEAD: FG, APC AND THE OLD POWER BROKERS – Victor Ojelabi

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POWER BROKERS

Senator Bukola Abubakar Saraki is a member of the ruling class by birth, having been born into the Senator Olusola Saraki’s political dynasty in Kwara State. The young Bukola, like most privileged children of the elites, had his path to success well laid out. He had the best education both in Nigeria and the United Kingdom. He also quickly cut his teeth in leadership at a tender age, jumping on the board of Societe Generale Bank in 1990 at just 28, after a one-year practice as medical professional in the UK. Bukola had rapid boardroom capacity development and corporate leadership in the space of 10 years with SG (1990-2000). And at the young age of 38, he entered into public service, becoming the Special Assistant on Budget to President Olusegun Obasanjo in 2000. He held this position for the president’s full first term and was credited for initiating the famous and widely praised Fiscal Responsibility Bill.

In 2003, Bukola Saraki took his political career home to Kwara State, where he contested and won the seat of Governor with a large margin. Many attributed his victory to the existing political power structure of his father, but Saraki would prove everyone wrong when he went against his father’s dictates and contested against the Saraki’s political lever in 2007. He emerged victorious again, and just then announced his arrival to mainstream politics in one single swipe.

Bukola Saraki was no longer that protegee and son of Chief Olusola Saraki, who enjoys the mercies and support of his father’s friends -individuals (mostly retired generals and first republic politicians) who maintained a nation-wide grip of power, each running their own political caliphates, states by states, zone by zone. Bukola became a brewing storm in the tea cup, because the growth of his influence was sporadic, his political style unusual, views contemporary and revolutionary. Bukola came with the position that threatened control and centralization of power. There was a worry about his mysterious style, unpredictability, unusual desire and ability to work with people across political divides. He had also proven to be too independent and headstrong, that quickly cemented the perception that the boy was headed for a solo run, a development that started setting out political enemies and stiff opposition for the new Saraki.

Power brokers, started noticing how this new kid on the block gets through with all he sets to do politically, without expected subscription to the loyalty demands, nor referencing of the supremacy of the power court. The Saraki Jnr at this point, had gone rogue. He would beat off this father’s power play to take one of the three senatorial seats in Kwara, after successfully doing two terms as governor and installing his choice successor. Even so, just at his second term as a senator of the federal republic, Bukola Saraki played grandiose national politics by winding his way to the seat of senate president, against the wish of his party and national political bigwigs. Dr. Bukola Saraki’s adversary grew quite rapidly. Even now, drawing battle plots all across the country, particularly with the organized political South West, whose regional agenda (as led by Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu) took a massive hit with Saraki’s emergence as senate president.

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Into his term as Senate President, Bukola Saraki was famous for his independent opinions and audacious stand against the Federal Government and his party’s leadership. He led the 7th assembly to earn the reputation of total independence, an impressive allusion to principle of separation of power. For the first time in Nigeria’s about 2 decades of democracy, there was a senate that was largely non-partisan. Bukola’s complete grip of the very volatile senate presidency seat shocked many. In previous assemblies, senate leadership was only as stable as the extent of party loyalty. Here was a 50-year-old senate president whose leadership was never in contention, had support across party lines and even enjoyed the activism of some apostle-colleagues, who would go against any view or move to unsettle or question his authority. Without any doubt, Saraki led the most independent and stable Senate in our recent political history. This also, came with its own harvest of political enemies. Young Saraki in his political journey had congregated so much foe-men that it is not illogical to expect the relentless call for his head.

In the space of 12years from when Bukola rooted his political career as Governor of Kwara state, there hasn’t been a year without a big case hanging over his head. From anti-graft bodies, to party’s disciplinary committee, the police force, DSS, and recently the Code of Conduct Bureau, Bukola Saraki seems to be under constant investigation, always answering to one summon or the other.

This dates back to his tenure as Kwara State governor, particularly during his second term. Senator Abubakar Saraki, his wife, family, friends and associates had government search light constantly beamed at them. From 2003 – 2007, Saraki had seven separate investigations done on him by the EFCC, none of which resulted in any conviction. The matters either ended in a judgement in Saraki’s favour or a total case abandonment for lack of merit and traction.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC) have had a steady run on Saraki. In more recent times this seem to have garnered more fire. A lot of people keep wondering if the resources available to the EFCC suddenly swells when it bothers on anything Saraki. For an organization that has hip of inconclusive case files in several court rooms across the nation, it is bewildering that it seams to open fresh cases against the senate president every 6-8months. Questions are being asked if this special attention to details and concerted effort is not worthy for the investigation and conviction of several public office holders the organization have fingered in recent times. There is also a particular momentum in the unearthing Saraki’s dirts’ effort of the Magu dispensation of the EFCC. It seems rather peculiar to Saraki, that even hitherto closed investigation, some over a decade-old, are getting reactivated. Previous EFCC bosses, reached conclusions on some allegations of financial crime against Saraki during his term as Kwara Governor. It is strange that Magu would discredit the positions of his predecessors by launching new inquiries into activities as far back as 16 years. Kudos to that level of commitment from an EFCC boss who took 17 months to charge former SGF, despite the substantial report of the Presidential Investigation Panel (led by Vice President Osinbajo) that led to his sack.

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This backward pry into Saraki is also very unique to him. Erstwhile governors of same dispensations as Saraki, whose investigation and prosecution on financial crime matters were hindered by immunity are still drumming their political careers at this time without any worry. This preference for Saraki’s cases only lifts the lid on people’s curiosity. Could there be a covert intent and purpose of the Magu-led EFCC on Saraki?. Will it be out of place to adduce that it has a spatial relation with the senate’s refusal to confirm Magu as the substantive chairman of the EFCC?

Since Ibrahim Magu was appointed by Buhari as EFFC chair in November, 2015, he has worked in acting capacity, since the senate rejected his appointment on two occasions. With this Magu will be the ONLY chairman of the EFCC, whose appointment was never confirmed. You would recall that the senate had unanimously voted to reject Magu based on the report of the SSS about his suitability for job, but Buhari has kept him as chairman rather than send a replacement to the senate. It is rather too circumstantial that the leadership of the senate quickly attracted the investigative powers of Mr Magu’s EFCC more vigorously after.

In September of 2006, Nuhu Ribadu, then Chairman of EFCC, took to the floor of the Senate to give a clean bill to six states, of which Kwara was one. Under Ribadu’s successor Waziri’s Chairmanship, Kwara Local Council was investigated in 2010 at the time that Dr Saraki joined the presidential race. Then, in 2011 at the same time that the Senator raised a motion on the floor of the senate he was investigated by SFU, but the Ministry of Justice wrote to him clearing his name of any wrongdoing. Meanwhile, under his Governorship, Kwara State was the first state to open its accounts up to public scrutiny, and the first to gain an internationally recognized Fitch credit rating.

Notably, most of the investigations have taken place after Senator Saraki raised issues of public concern, such as the mismanagement of the fuel subsidy, or when he was pursuing his presidential ambition. The newly announced investigations, by EFCC, on Saraki’s time as Governor which ended over 12 years ago, point to questionable motivations for the investigations. In 2003/4, whilst Governor, Senator Saraki gave up his immunity to answer questions on SGBN and till date he is one of only two governors in the history of Nigeria to ever give up immunity.

Victor Ojelabi is a social commentator, wrote from Ilorin, Kwara State.

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ECOBA Lagos Present Prizes and Awards to deserving Students of Edo College

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The Lagos branch of Edo College old boys Association, ECOBA has presented nineteen prizes and awards to deserving students and teachers of Edo College, Benin City at the 2019 graduation and prize-giving ceremony of the institution.

Speaking at the graduation ceremony for one hundred and forty-three students, the chairman of the occasion, Mr. Isaac Ehiozuwa, Edo state Head of Service commended the staff of the school for maintaining the excellent standard of the school.

According to the Head of Service, who was represented by Mr. Edwin Oaikhena Edionweme, a director of administration and supplies, a lot has been done by the school authorities, but a lot still needs to be done.

He advised the staff to continue to ensure that the right discipline is inculcated in the students which would bring joy to every parent.

“We are all aware of the steps the Edo state governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki has been taking in the education sector. It is therefore good to key into the mission and vision of this administration,” he added.

The National President of ECOBA, Dr. Reuben Osahon who thanked the old boys of the school for their numerous contributions to the development of their Alma-Mata enjoined the new graduands to find the nearest branch wherever they find themselves and join the association.

“The law states that after two years of graduation from the school without being expelled you are qualified. If you have benefited from the institution, it is your responsibility to contribute your quota to the development of the school that is 82 years old,” he noted.

During the presentation of prizes and awards from the Lagos branch, the ECOBA National President gave the best mathematics SS3 student award to Efosa Illoware Eghenayamose, sponsored by Senator David Dafinone Foundation; The best English Language SS3 award sponsored by Mr. Sunday Airrue Uaboi to Odiase O. Micheal; the best SS3 Economics award sponsored by Senator David Dafinone Foundation to Elaigwu Augustine Ugbede-Ojo; The best Accounts SS3 award sponsored by Senator David Dafinone Foundation to Izekor Jefferson and the best SS3 Physics award sponsored by Engr Edward E. Iyamu to Emina Attah Emeka.

The Benin branch chairman. Barrister Peter Oibor made the presentation to the best Fine Arts SS3 award sponsored by Micheal I. Omo Osagie to Elaigwu Augustine Ugbede-Ojo; the best Agric Science SS3 award sponsored by Osazenaye Osarenkhoe to Ofuase Kikachukwu Oluwatimilehin; the best Biology SS3 award sponsored by Mrs. Hilda Gregory (AKA Edede Edo College) to Oghagbon Osasenaga; the best Geography SS3 award sponsored by Omaha Endowment Fund to Ikilo Eghosasere Evidence and the best sport person SS3 award sponsored by Uyi Akpata to Isreal Edosomwan.

Other awards presented by the ECOBA Benin branch Chairman were the best mathematics SS2 award sponsored by AVM Joe Ehigie (Rtd) to Iyase Eghosa; the best Athletics SS2 award sponsored by Madam Ofure Akpata to Egharevba Blossom; the best mathematics JS3 award sponsored by Godwin Ize-Iyamu to Agas Eseoghene David; the best English Language JS3 award sponsored by Mrs. Omokhuwe Alegeh to Aiwehoe Osayuki Gabriel; the Best French JS3 award sponsored by Amb. Vincent Okobi went to Abiodun-Mudasiru Moyosola Marcel while the Best JS1 French Class award went to JS1c and the Best teacher in Geography award sponsored by Omaha Endowment Fund went to Mr. Aghedo B.O.

Other awards presented by the representative of the Head of Service include the outstanding teacher in English to Mrs. Theresa Ehigie, the best N-power outstanding award to Evance Erhabor and the principal of the school, Mr. Samuel Ogbebor also presented the principal award to ECOBA for their contribution to the overall development of Edo College.

“The laudable contributions of ECOBA to the overall development of Edo College cannot be over-emphasized. The old boys have played key roles in activating the core values of the college, its physical environment inclusive, management is extremely grateful to the class set of 92 that built and commissioned a basketball court. By so doing, they have revived the spirit of sportsmanship amongst students,” he added. 

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IGP Must Read This: Shocking Details Of How Police Allegely Manipulated Rape Victim

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Kidnapper

A 19 year old lady simply identified as Oyindamola, was allegedly drugged and gang raped by her boyfriend and his friends at a party in the Alagbado area in Lagos state on June 30th.

 

The older sister of the victim, Mrs Afolabi, in an exclusive interview with LIB, said the victim who was a virgin, was invited to a birthday party by her boyfriend, Roy Arinze, who drugged her, took her away from the party while she was unconcious and raped her alongside two of his friends.

 

On the 30th of June, my sister Oyindamola went for a birthday party with one of her best friend called Roy Arinze. Arround 6pm, Roy invited her to a birthday party which was celebrated by one of his brothers. On getting to the party, Roy brought beer for my sister to drink  and she had never taken beer before. He begged her to drink it so she collected it from him and she drank it. After taking the alcohol, she said she doesn’t know what is happening to her. The next thing, she found herslef in Roy’s house.  Roy took her to his house. She was unconcious. When she woke up, she saw three guys packing blood. She was like what is going on here? What happened. Roy responded that he just fingered her.  She was like you just fingered me and I am seeing three guys packing blood. Roy responded that they came to her rescue.

 

She said she wants to start going home. She woke up around 9.30pm. During that period, she had switched off her phone. We have been looking for her.  They asked her to sleep over but she said no that she cannot wait that she has to go back home. They put her to a bike and she went home.

When my sister got home, she went straight to bed. She did not inform anybody. The next day, my mum went out and she called me to say she wasn’t feeling alright. She said she was feeling pains in her vagina. I asked her what happened and she told me that she went to her boyfriend’s place yesterday and that he told her that he fingered her and that since then, she hasn’t been feeling okay. I was thinking maybe normal tears, maybe the guy slept with her and disvirgined her and she had a few tears. I called a nurse who told me she can take Ampiclox and then sit on warm water.

 

Oyindamola was in so much pain that she couldn’t walk. So she wanted to go and buy the drugs which is Ampiclox. On getting to the pharmacy which was in our neighboorhood, the pharmacist saw the way she was walking and was like what happened to you Oyindamola? She responded that she is having pains all over her body and that she wants to buy drugs. The pharmacist was like you are having body pains and you want to buy Ampiclox? The pharmacist forced her to come closer to see what was happening down. She bent and opened her vagina for the pharmacist.

The pharmacist was shocked and was very suprised. She directed her to    Fumbi Medical Center hospital in our area. She went there and she was admitted. Because my mum wasn’t around and I wasn’t around as well, , she called Roy to tell him she was in the hospital.  The guy came down to the hospital. The doctor asked them to pay N38, 000 to stitch it for my sister. I think the doctor did not know it was something big.

 

Later on,  my mum got in touch with her and asked her ”where are you?’. She said she was in the hospital. When she got to the hospital, my mum was very surpised. She rushed down to the police station  on AIT Alagbado to report. She got there and at the counter, met a female police officer who accompanied her to get Roy arrested.

On getting there, they saw Roy and the doctor discussing. Roy was promising the doctor that he will pay extra N25, 000 to take care of Oyindamola as well as beg our mother on his behalf.

Roy was immediately arrested and taken to the police station. When they got there, the policemen were asking my mum to pay N5000 to open file, another N5000 for transport and another N5000.  They were just asking her for money. She was like money for what? Is it a crime for me to come and tell you that something happened to me and you can’t come to my rescue? (sic)  The police woman told my mum if she cannot pay the money, then she should forget about the case. My mum was surprised and was like why would she say such a thing? She left for home and returned with N5000 which was all she could gather. Before she returned to the police station, I think the police woman and Roy had discussed. Roy asked her to please help him beg my mum  and that he is going to settle the woman.

 

The police woman told my mum that she come so they can settle the matter because she knows she doesn’t have money. She told my mum that if they go to court, she would lose because she doesn’t have money.  She was like you don’t have money to pay N5000 for  transport. My Mum was like why would she say such a thing. She told my mum that she should provide the remaining money asked for as soon as possible otherwise she would release the suspect, Roy.

My mum did not have much with her. She rushed down to the church and called upon the brethren that they should please come to her aid. My mum and the church members visited the police station on Wednesday July 2nd. They went straight to the DPO’s office as the female police officer was not on sit. The DPO wasn’t aware of what was even happening. The DPO said he was not even aware wasn’t even in the cell.

 

He begged my mum and church members.  Some people hinted us that we should call humanright activists that they are ready to fight for us and can take up the issue. We got their number and called them that same Wednesday. We called and Mrs Fola from Ikeja spoke to us. She came on Thursday July 3rd. She met my sister in the Hospital and asked her questions. She also met with doctor. The doctor told Mrs Fola he did not see any sign of penetration and that he doesn’t understand the case and that she should just take it easy.

Mrs Fola then said no that she will not take it easy and that it must be charged to court. That Thursday, the doctor gave us a bill of N55, 000 and asked us to go and pay. My sister all through this period couldn’t urinate by herself. They had to pass a pipe through her body. Unfortuately we don’t have much, we are very rich. We didn’t have much with us. We tried to run helter skelter to raise the money. We didn’t have much because my dad has not been feeling fine for a very long time. He cannot walk. We have been spending much on my dad. This Oyinda own coming suddenly made us weak.

Before then, Roy’s family members have been coming down to the hospital, begging us that we should settle this matter because they are Igbo, we we are Yoruba (sic).  They said they will pick up the bill and that they will give  us some amount of money and that anything we want we should ask for. I personally said no because  this guy is not telling us the truth because after he injured my sister, he cleaned her blood with his clothes and white handkerchief. We even asked for the clothes he used to clean her blood but he said he had burnt it. We don’t even know what he used the blood to do.

 

The police just put him in their custody. They did not question him nor ask him We were also surprised because my sister said they were three when she openned her eyes. They left the remaining two guys. They did not interrogate them.” she said

 

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Speaking further, Mrs Afolabi said the Humanright activisit insisted that Oyinda must be examined at the Mirabel Medical center within seven days as the test will not be able to detect anything after seven days.

On Saturday July 6th, the humanrights activist came to take Oyindamola for the test but the doctor denied her access because we had not paid the hospital bill. The doctor said she cannot release Oyindamola unless the hospital bill is paid. We pleaded that she should just allow Oyindamola to go for the test and come back to the hospital. We were like we will try and go to church on Sunday and gather something. The doctor refused.  Thank God for Mrs Fola. , she spoke with the doctor who pledged to ensure Oyindamola returns to the hospital.

At the end of the day, Mrs Fola left with Oyindamola and my brother to Mirabel for the test. Me and my mum we were there at the hospital. They brought her back to the hospital. On Sunday we got to church and  we were not able to gather anything. We were just tired. Later we agreed that Roy’s family should pay the money because it is their responsibility because they are the ones that caused everything. They paid the bill and we went home.

 

On Monday  July 8th, I went to the police station to find out what is happening and they said they have not made any arrest because they have not seen any evidence. They asked me to take a sheet of paper to Mirabel to collect the result. On Tuesday July 9th, we went down to Mirabel.

 

On that Saturday when they went for the test in Mirabel, they met with one Dr who enlightened Mrs Fola that it was a gang rape. He said from what he saw, it was a gang rape. He said the result will come out in 7 days. He said they raped her through her vagina and through her anus . The doctor was so sad.

 

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According to Mrs Afolabi, on Monday July 15th, the police called for a meeting between her family and Roy’s family members. On getting to the station, Oyindamola and her mother were shocked to see Roy arrriving the police station on a motorbike. They never knew the police had released Roy. A few minutes later, the police informed them that the meeting had been postponed to the next day.  Oyindamola accused the police officer of wasting her time as she was meant to be at the Mirabel medical center for further treatment but had to cancel it because of the meeting.

 

Mrs Afolabi said that to her family’s suprise, the police officer accused Oyindamola of being rude and locked her up in the cell. She said the police threatened her mum that she will also be locked up if she isn’t careful.  She was detained in the cell till the next day July 16th.

 

In the night, the policemen were interrogating her again. They told her that when they get to court, she should tell them that she was not sleeping when Roy was having sex with her. They were collecting another statement from her again.  They did not give her food or medication.

The next day, my mummy came and they said they want to go to court because they have collected another statement. They said they were going to court that morning which was yesterday. She called me and I was surprised. I was angry because the police decided to go to court now after forcing my sister to make another statement. The police officers collected my mum’s phone so she could not be able to talk to me, forced her into a vehicle with Oyindamola and they drove to the court” she said

Mrs Afolabi said Roy was in the court and his lawyers asked the court to grant him bail.

 

The Magistrate court adjourned the case to September 26th.

 

Mrs Afolabi says all her family is demanding is justice for her sister, Oyindamola.

 

Culled: Linda Ikeji

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GTBank Holds 9th Annual Autism Conference July 30th – 31st

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For the ninth year in a row, Africa’s foremost financial institution, Guaranty Trust Bank plc, will bring together some of the world’s leading experts in Autism for two days of critical discourse on supporting children and adults living with Autism in Africa. Organized as part of the GTBank’s Orange Ribbon Initiative, the Annual Autism Conference, will hold on the 30th and 31st of July 2019 at the MUSON Centre, Onikan, Lagos.

Themed, “Autism: Transitions, Vocational skills and The Role of Technology,” the Annual Autism Conference will bring to the fore the challenges facing children living with Autism as they grow into adulthood. The conference will feature presentations and keynote addresses on how to empower children and adults living with Autism to reach their full potential. Some of the facilitators include Dr. Loretta Burns, a leading expert in the field of neurodevelopmental disorders and the founder of ABE International Clinic; Dr. Tisa Hooper-Johnson, the Medical Director of the HFHS Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities (CADD), USA; Janette Washington, a speech-language pathologist with nearly a decade of experience working with children living with autism and other special needs; and Ivie Emokpae, a qualified special needs coordinator from the Institute of Education London.

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Following the Autism conference will be free one-on-one consultations for children with Autism and other developmental challenges, as well as counselling for parents and guardians.

There will also be sessions for Speech Therapy, Physical Therapy, Behaviour Analysis, Audiology, Clinical Psychology, Developmental Psychiatry, Physiotherapy, and Occupational Therapy. These sessions will hold from Thursday August 1st to Tuesday August 6th, 2019 at Digital Village, Alausa, Lagos.

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Commenting on the 9th Annual Autism Awareness Conference, Segun Agbaje, the Chief Executive Officer of Guaranty Trust Bank plc, said; “Children and adults living with autism often lack the support and vocational training that they need to develop critical life skills for leading independent and productive lives. As an organization that is passionate about uplifting the most vulnerable in our society, we will continue to empower people living with autism with all the support and resources that they need to reach their full potential.”

Guaranty Trust Bank plc is a Nigerian financial institution that has maintained a defined Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) strategy since its inception in 1990.

The Bank actively supports numerous programmes across Africa that positively affect Infant and Maternal Healthcare, Education, the Arts, Community Development and the Environment.

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