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Politics

Kayode Fayemi Is All Set

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Elders

The question of when Kayode Fayemi will resign his appointment as Minister of Mines and Steel Development has lingered for a while.

His political strategists held the opinion that his non-resignation would only raise questions, thus they asked him to get it over with.

Well, the man has heeded their request, as he has now resigned his appointment.

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His resignation took effect from Wednesday, May 30, as he gets ready for the new challenge ahead.

Fayemi emerged the All Progressive Congress (APC) candidate in the forthcoming Ekiti State governorship election. On Saturday, July 14, he will contest the election with other candidates, including the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) candidate and Governor Ayo Fayose’s deputy, Kolapo Olusola-Eleka.

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Opinion

Rivers APC Crisis: I Advocate for Peace and Not Attack as Way Out

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Russia

Politics like life is always in a state of constant evolution. The way that things were, back in 1999, changed in 2007. Governor Odili and Omehia found this out the hard way. Since then, things did not stop changing and it’s now a lot clearer to many, that power of incumbency alone, is not enough to guarantee outcomes. Nothing is guaranteed. Nothing. Not even second terms. More and more people are beginning to have a say. Odili did not choose his successor, Amaechi suffered a similar fate, let us see what happens to Wike.

I’ve been known to speak my mind in the past. Today is no exception. I’m doing so today, not to offend, but to reveal a foundation and maybe even a possible solution. Today I just want to talk about the opposition in the opposition and by that I mean the current politics of APC in the Treasure base of our nation, my own dear Rivers state. Let me start by saying that my own position on recent events is already on record. Though I stand with Amaechi, on two distinct occasions since Hon Igo Aguma’s open letter to the APC National Chairman, I have stated that even though I do not agree with some of what he said, nor his approach, my default position is still peace, not to attack Igo and defend my leader. There are many others who can do that. That’s easy. The position for peace is the one that is very hard. Wayne Dyer once said, “Peace is the result of retraining your mind to process life as it is, rather than as you think it should be.” Talking Peace with people you don’t agree with is not easy, but that is what peace talks are designed for. They require big doses of patience, temperament, maturity, forgiveness, love and plenty selflessness. Not a long list of qualifications many have time for anymore. But Igo and Emma are my friends, and Amaechi is my brother and our Leader. We have to find a way.

The Bible in Matthew 5:9 said “Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God.” In the Bible, this is the last of the 7 beatitudes Jesus handed down to us that define the character of a Christian. It is also the hardest. I am reminded by something Thomas Watson said. He said “Satan kindles the fire of contention in the hearts of men and stands back and warms himself in the heat.”

My exact words in response to Igo Aguma’s letter were: “Granted not all of what he said will go down well with many of us, but he spoke some hard truths and the minds of many silent others. As leaders we must learn to listen. Roy T Bennet once said that just as you should not let compliments get to your head, don’t let criticism get to your heart.”

I then went on to say that “I don’t want another disagreement to lead into a crisis and so on my part I will work for unity and a new style of conflict resolution. We are where we are today, as a party and as a state because of choices that we made yesterday. We can’t keep doing the same thing and expecting different results.”

So there you have it. My objective is a different result from 2015 & 2019. Not a peace built on any terms. That would be way too easy, unrealistic and completely unsustainable. The peace I am referring to is a lot more sustainable. I want to see if we can co-exist. Make no mistake, I see no short term reconciliation here. The mistrust is deep seated and well founded. On all sides. Hence I must say it upfront, such a peace will be very hard to achieve. Many of the leading actors are pretty stubborn.  They either don’t mind seeing APC lose in Rivers state again for a third time or they believe 2015 and 2019 cannot be repeated in 2023. I for one am not familiar with what it is that they are drinking. In the case of those who are the optimists, I also want some. A close look at Psalm 55 reveals a deep insight into what we are all going through. I implore us all to read it.

Many well meaning people frown at peace as an option. That is because to some, they are tired of betrayal. A war is now their way forward. While for some, peace means giving up something impossible. There are many benefits in war. There are many reasons why good people make wrong choices. It’s important not to generalize or to be too quick to be judgmental. On all sides. Let me start by explaining why these options are not necessarily the way forward and why we absolutely need peace. This advisory is for all of us.

There are 3 main reasons:

1. We have powerful enemies outside of the state and inside the state. Not everyone can love you, but why make it automatic? Stretch out your hand for friendship whenever you can, at least on your own terms. One, you lose nothing. Two, any image of you as the unfriendly type, unwilling to embrace peace, evaporates. This is politics. Perception matters. I learnt that from Atiku.

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2. Your powerful enemies inside the state will join forces with your powerful enemies outside the state. Such a collaboration is not what you want to encourage. I admit it has already started, but you should be reducing their numbers and the impact, not underestimating it or even adding to it. Peace plans include such strategies. Never take any thing or any one for granted. I learnt that from Tinubu.

3. Today’s politics is edging towards consensus building and less of the carry go. The vocal minority are more protected in this government than ever before. If the electoral act is amended, expect many more exhibitions of democracy and more examples of unbelievable compromise. In other words do not underestimate anybody. In 2015 and 2019, APC in Rivers state did. Two different powers at the centre yet, same result. We not only underestimated our opponents in other parties, we underestimated our opponents inside our party. Especially at the National level. I learnt that from INEC.

The price of war is higher for us. We pay more in so many ways on many different fronts relative to our political opponents. Even if you compare us with Wike. We don’t need to. Even before 2007 it’s been one war or the other, all at the national level. With local players doing their bidding. Conscious or not.

Their aim is to show we’re disunited and we have been helping  them out by proving it. On the TV, with our back and forth abuses, on the radio, in newspapers, on social media and in beer parlors. Not just here in Rivers state, but across the region, nation and everywhere. The state of Rivers is now synonymous with conflict. Who is this truly helping? Who is it empowering? Certainly not us. Our supporters are in penury. If 10% of the money we spend on war was invested in our supporters, we would all be in a better place today. That I learnt that from the media. In all its forms.

Let me address a few myths:

1. They are sponsored. Don’t have the facts, so I cannot speak to it with authority either way. But if they are, prove it and discredit them with a neutral audience, if necessary. Otherwise consider that they may have their own agenda and are looking for a sponsor. By making them an issue, you increase their value. Many a good thing is achieved without noise while children are sleeping. In the end, we can agree to disagree. Liverpool and Everton football teams can’t stand each other but they live in the same city and conduct themselves in public as professionals on the field. Politics too is a game. Of interests. It is possible to have opposition in your space and still co-exist. If you beat them fair and square at a congress or an election, life will not need to come to an end. Why can’t we focus on that? Especially if you are a Liverpool.

2. They are irrelevant. Really? Is that not what put us where we are today? I have no doubt in my mind that Amaechi is the most popular politician in Rivers state as I speak. Anyone with a different opinion is welcome to visit a psychiatrist if he or she pleases. So why has his personal choice not won the elections in 2015 and 2019? Is it because he himself did not run? No. After all we made it about him. Less so in 2019 yes, but still. The answer my friends was it’s because we underestimated the opposition, especially within us and the key relevance of our institutions. Everybody knows someone and indirectly, information is power. I learnt very early on in my political life that it’s not always about numbers. It’s about relationships. Ask Hilary Clinton. She had 3 million more votes than Donald Trump. But who ended up as President? She underestimated him. Never make that mistake. That I learnt from my father. He told me not to believe in my breakfast until I’ve eaten it.

3. The other one is “Your people are with you.” Maybe. But this constant war war war is simply designed to shake foundations. China avoids wars while they build strength. Not because they are scared, but because they are smart. If one can avoid a war, let’s do so. Wars will come eventually. At least in politics it’s a minimum of once every four years. That’s more than enough. If you end up spending more and more on wars and yet more wars, how do you lift your people out of poverty at the same time? You can’t. Therefore you will struggle and by that, you will struggle to keep them. The APC in Rivers state has no elected official in a position to cater for the grassroots. Appointees are underwhelming. Yet the vast majority of our supporters stick with us. Let’s not take this for granted. Perhaps they know that a Minister is not like a Governor. Perhaps they have learnt to fend for themselves or perhaps they just have faith. Maybe all of the above. For us to take Rivers politics to the next level, we have to measure our progress by how many more we can add to our fold and not how many we can keep from leaving. I learnt that from Amaechi.

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My sense of observation is even more keen now that I’m recovering and seeing things from a distance. I’m convinced that the biggest challenge we have is internal. There’s an old African proverb that says, if there is no enemy within, the enemy outside can do us no harm. Many of us appreciate this, but few of us take the time to really think about what it actually means. If we did, we will not be surprised to know that you are the greatest enemy of you. Once we begin to see sense in that, we start to open our mind to other people’s varied contributions because we recognize that new ideas contain new solutions. This is what we need to do more of. God did not give us two ears and one mouth for nothing. He expected us to listen more than we speak. I still remember Obama in 08, in his first election victory speech to Americans, saying he will “listen more, especially when we  disagree”. I was there on that cold night in Chicago to hear him say the words. Are we here, not also sophisticated enough? Obama taught us a lot of things. Politics is one of them.

I see brothers and sisters on the same side of a divide even now, attacking each other because of different views on how a similar problem should be approached, only to forget about the problem and commence to labelling each other as to who is more loyal. To what end? It doesn’t make any sense!! Unless you give different views an opportunity to be heard, you will only hear the view of yes men and women. How does that help us? Healthy debate is the birth place of good ideology. That I learnt from both Amaechi and Alaibe. Igo and Emma spoke the minds of even people who are abusing them today. I know this because I speak to all. They won’t go public, because they see how Igo and Emma are treated. While the treatment is expected by virtue of the way Igo and Emma chose to go public, we miss an opportunity to learn very valuable lessons if we simplify that event.

Conclusion: Somebody in Abuja, preferably the Senate President, should call a meeting of the key players, to iron out a way forward, devoid of legal hindrances and anti party activities. The work before a meeting is called, should be just as thorough, as the work required after it. This is politics, so conflict is second nature, as is suspicion. No need to surprise anyone. Consult before making the first calls please. Rivers state APC has only one Leader. Nobody here denies it. Let’s accord him that respect as he has earned it, while respecting others too. In my opening statement I said take no one for granted.

While we wait for Abuja to do the needful, let us all in our own way, apply ourselves to a new approach where finally the true enemy of our progress is tackled. I joined APC to help them win because I believe in the men at the top that run their affairs and I believe that compared to the PDP, they are the only other option out there, there is no choice. While we succeeded nationally, here in Rivers state, we did not. We must all learn from history or else we again will be doomed to repeat it. Our opponents have sympathizers. Why? Let us do a self assessment and make changes were possible. Engage new leaders, engineer more grassroots activity, invest more in young people, position new field generals, reward hard workers and recruit new members. This might save us a lot in war funding, media expenditure and legal bills. If we’ve considered the above and still can’t make progress, then we can go to war. In such circumstances, I will be one of the ones in the front. Some of the people making the most noise now could not deliver their LGAs in the last election and have little or no electoral value in the next one. Let’s be careful in choosing not only our fights but also our fighters.

Thank you and let us pray that this is indeed a Happy New Year.

To be continued ….

Prince Tonye T.J.T Princewill

APC, Rivers state

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Politics

Kayode Akiolu’s Heart Of Gold

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Kayode Akiolu

 

That the true nature of a man is yet unknown until he becomes rich is a popular Yoruba saying.

However, there are people who never change the course even when they become rich.

Kayode Akiolu, a member of the Federal House of Representatives has stayed the course he has maintained for a long while.

A man with a heart of Gold, the younger Akiolu has always been known for his philosophic gestures towards the less privileged even as a lawyer. It was this spirit that saw him grow to where he is today, as members of his constituency maintained a man who could help with his personal resources would do more given the opportunity.

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Since becoming a politician, Akiolu has not changed his ways, as he continues to help the needy also orchestrating the life of the younger ones.

His was like the proverbial knight in shining armour when he recently visited the duo of Araromi Baptist School and Ereko Methodist School as part of the Snack For Thought initiative of the Lagos State Government, promising the students books, stationeries, computers, toilets and many more.

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On the day, the lawmaker, as usual, won the heart of the students of the schools he visited.

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Amotekun Not Threat To Nigeria’s Unity – Tinubu

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Bola Tinubu

National leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, has called for private discussion between the governors of the South-West and the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, over Amotekun, a security outfit launched by governors in the region.

Tinubu said the foundation of the country has not been put at risk with the security outfit launched by the governors of the zone in a bit to confront the insecurity in their states.

The former Lagos governor, however, warned that the nation’s fabric could be torn by what he called the “dangerous rhetoric of those who should know better.”

In his first intervention in the controversy surrounding Amotekun, Tinubu said in a statement on Wednesday: “Those claiming that this limited, inoffensive addition to security threatens the Republic have taken themselves upon a madcap excursion.

Those claiming that the Federal Government seeks to terribly suppress the Southwest have also lost their compass. Those who occupy these two extremes have sunken into the dark recesses of fear and political paranoia that can undo a nation if such sentiments are allowed to gestate.”

The statement continues: “Amotekun. This issue has dominated recent discourse and media headlines. Distilled to its basics, it concerns how best state governments can assist with the safety and security of their residents. This is a matter of serious concern entitled to sober thought. However, it has been turned into a political tug-of-war. Fierce, often unthinking rhetoric, for and against, has crossed the lips of too many Nigerians. More subjective talking than objective thinking has been the fuel of this outburst.

Question those in favour of Amotekun. Most have but the vaguest notion about it. They know few details yet vigorously attribute to its opponents the most negative intentions. Ask those who oppose Amotekun. They are equally ignorant of its provisions. They oppose the initiative not on its merits but merely because it was proposed by their political opponents or because they don’t see an avenue for personal gain from it.

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“While colourful, the rhetoric has been disconcerting. How people have mishandled this matter demonstrates that we still have far to go in perfecting this democracy. Too much energy has been spent distorting this issue instead of seeking a resolution that supports local enhancement of security while keeping the constitution intact. If this becomes the standard for how we handle disagreements then we will obscure Nigeria’s path forward with our own rubbish.

“In this matter, I do not see malign intent in the differences of opinion between the SW Governors as authors of Amotekun and the Attorney-General as the primary law enforcement officer of the Federal Government. Shorn of the overly dramatic language, what lies before us is but a step in the evolution of our federalism. This is an opportunity to more clearly define that federalism; but one cannot attain this better, more functional definition through overblown, emotional language. Objectivity and calmness are required. To a significant degree, the enduring quality of our republic will be established by the sagacity with which we handle disagreements regarding the division of power between federal and state governments. Such disagreements are inevitable. This is not the first. Nor will it be the last. We must devote our energies more toward solving problems rather than amplifying them.

“Seeking to fulfil their mandates by helping protect their people, the governors of the Southwest collectively established a program to buttress existing security mechanisms. Seeking to protect the constitution as best he could, the Attorney-General offered his opinion on what he believed the governors have sought to do. No one can blame either party for seeking to fulfil what they genuinely see as their public duty.

“Until now, I have deliberately maintained a studied silence regarding Amotekun. Many have tried to goad my swift public reaction. Those who have taken this road did so not because they care about Amotekun or even the people it intends to help protect. They did so knowing this had become a delicate and emotional issue for many. These cynics did so with the adversarial hope that, in haste, I might misspeak or misstep in a manner they could twist to their political advantage.

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Such people are possessed of a mercenary aspect that permits them to sacrifice almost anything, even jeopardize the very foundations of our political unity, if they might exact personal gain from the upheaval. In that they know no nobler purpose than their own appetites, we should feel sorry for them. However, we must not allow our sympathies for their barren condition to persuade us that there is worth in their destructive misconduct. They must be left to the consequences of their own devices.

“If truly I am a political leader as I am often described, then I have not the luxury of hasty, ill-conceived utterances. There are those who will use inflamed words to spark the passions of others. This may bring transient applause. But when the cheers fade, we shall only have further descended because their words were never inclined toward resolution and long-term improvement but toward short-term popularity and perpetual confrontation.

“I believe in this nation and its benign prospects. I dearly love its people, all of them. Over the years of our existence, they have suffered much. Yet they still hold forth with heroic patience and an extraordinary optimism born of strong faith. To these people, I owe my best. I shall not treat them cheaply or bandy their emotions like some errant football. The welfare of these good and decent people is my overriding concern.

Equally, I do not cow to the demands of those who press for me to make a premature statement on an important issue. Again, that is a game devised by those who care more about political cleverness than the quality of governance. I chose to talk when my position has been made ripe by a collection of the facts and a reasonable assessment of those facts.

Culled: Qed

 

 

 

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