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Op Ed

APC and the Asiwaju Bola Tinubu question

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APC, ASiwaju

WITH the party conventions over, Nigerians now know the flagbearers of the political parties and can prepare for as well as make their forecast for the 2023 election. The last hurdle of the process has apparently been scaled with candidates naming their running mates.

In the case of the All Progressives Congress, APC, and the Labour Party, LP, a final seal is yet to be put on the position of their respective running mates.

The nomination of Kabir Masari and Doyin Okupe as mere “placeholders” was to meet the deadline of June 17 set by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC. Both men are to remain in that capacity on an interim basis, pending when the pork barrelling that goes on in the name of horse trading will be over and done with.

Balancing the geopolitical and religious demands of Nigeria’s electoral system, in view of the conventional practice of rotating power between the country’s regions, has made the nomination of party flagbearers as well as their running mates both a contentious and tricky issue that requires careful consideration.

To get that wrong is just one remove from losing an election, no matter how bright are the prospects of a party and their candidates. The process is more rigorous for some candidates than it is for others. Perhaps more than any other candidate, APC’s Asiwaju Bola Tinubu has a relatively tough row to plough in this regard. Being a South-Western Muslim and Yoruba, his running mate should in the light of the aforementioned geopolitical demands of Nigerian politics be a Christian from the Northern region. That is the minimum requirement by convention.

Electoral success is, however, the goal of every politician and any one of them worth their calling cannot but place victory at the polls over and above the contingency of ethno-religious imperative. This is where the crunch lies: the electoral value in terms of vote count that such affirmative acts carry. Otherwise, it is mere wishful thinking to expect that a politician like Tinubu, one whose lifelong ambition has, by self-admission, been to steer the ship of the Nigerian state as president, will put that ambition at risk in a romantic chase after a political convention that lacks voting power.

Which is to say that as far as the issue of choosing a running mate goes, the most electorally viable option for Tinubu and the APC at this present time, is to pick a Muslim, not just from any part of the North but either the east (to cut into his main rival, Atiku Abubakar’s, votes) or west (to consolidate on the support already being enjoyed by the APC in those parts) of that region.

Either way his prospects are far better and brighter than he stands to gain from choosing a Northern Christian even from the North-West or North-East which is the appropriate and intuitive option to take in view of the power sharing convention that has been in place since the return to civil governance in 1999. That option is, however, fraught with so many pitfalls that can only provide a soft landing to elements within and outside the APC opposed to a Tinubu presidency, not to mention the transition of power from the North to the South.

The effect of the blowback that the Northern Muslim option presents to Tinubu in the South is far lesser, if not infinitesimal, to what he stands to gain in the North from taking it. And that is hoping that the Northern political class in the APC keeps faith with him and remains steadfast about their position that power shifts to the South.

Otherwise, should this class of politicians choose to, they can proclaim their support for Tinubu on rooftops while they work for and give their votes to Atiku Abubakar.

The last observation, if it does play out, will be a clear act of betrayal but it is by no means a foolish proposition or an impossible scenario. I say this in view of what transpired in the APC in the runup to the convention that led to the emergence of the party’s flagbearer. Try as anyone might to deny it, there was a clear attempt to wrongfoot Tinubu’s search for the APC ticket. The move for a consensus candidate was an offense to stall, and eventually stop him in his track and prevent him from becoming the APC’s candidate in next year’s election.

It was evident to the party’s top echelon that Tinubu would be the clear winner of a free and fair contest and they were determined to stop him even before it got to that stage. That President Muhammadu Buhari, who has always come across as an unperturbed onlooker when issues turn to wranglings within the APC except where he is concerned, vacillated in the manner he did never helped the situation. He might have had reasons to reconsider his support for Tinubu in view of the latter’s contribution to his victory in 2014, he had an obligation to come out and say so with reasons in clear terms.

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo not only made clear he didn’t want Atiku to succeed him despite being his deputy for eight years, he put his objection in black and white for posterity even if he would later support Abubakar in his 2019 campaign for the presidency. Not even Tinubu’s worst critic would deny the critical role he played in Buhari’s eventual success in 2014 after three failed attempts.There should be honour among thieves but that is apparently too much to expect of Nigeria’s politicians. That Buhari looked on as others tried to stymie Tinubu did nothing to portray him as the leader of the APC. Rather, he came across as untrustworthy.

Even as a mere bystander with no partisan political affiliation, I consider it a positive development that the treacherous elements in the APC did not succeed with their scheme to have Tinubu edged out of the APC convention. This is for the potentially permanent damage that would have done to regional trust and collaboration between Nigerians, not just the politicians, from different parts of the country, especially those who may have to work in the future with their peers of Fulani extraction.

Tinubu’s political sins are probably as many and weighty as the good he has done and these have both been chronicled and advertised widely by alike his foes and friends. But it is never a good policy to rob Peter to pay Paul or allow some to have their cake and eat it as the APC attempted before the convention and since in its plan to return Ahmed Lawan and Godswill Akpabio to the Senate after their failed presidential run.

Source: Vanguard

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Op Ed

Time calls time on Chief Duro Onabule

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Chief Duro Onabule

An outstanding journalist, editor and newsroom manager in the best traditions passed on yesterday.

Chief Duro Onabule provided me with an entry into journalism as a cub. The year was 1982. I was on vacation my first year and did not fancy idling away. National Concord was reigning, and it was a walking distance for a young man from our home in Mafoluku, Oshodi.

So off to Concord, I went. Dele Giwa informed me that there was no room for an intern. I then walked up to the daily editor. He asked critical questions and sent me to Mrs Ebun, Chief Sub-Editor. That’s how I commenced journalism on the sub-desk: editing and fitting copy, trimming and casting headlines.

Chief Onabule wrote with wisdom, moderation and candour. He said it as it is and was never afraid to run contrary to the day’s wisdom. Fare thee well, Sir.

The IBB era dampened and almost smudged his reputation. But he rallied based on a record of good works and a strong network.

He earned the Double Chief cognomen from being a Chief and leader of the Press pack at the time to become Chief Press Secretary to President Ibrahim Babangida.

Onabule was born on 27 September 1939 in Ijebu-Ode. He was at CMS Grammar School and the School of Journalism, London. His first media work was as a reporter for the Daily Express in 1961; three years later, he joined the staff of the Daily Sketch. He spent some time with the Daily Sketch before returning to his previous employer, the Daily Express.[2] In 1969, he served as the London correspondent for the Daily Express. In the mid-1970s, he worked for the Daily Times, rising to become a deputy editor of the Headlines magazine. When MKO Abiola started the Concord Press, Onabule was appointed features editor and became the National Concord editor in 1984.

Onabule died on 16 August 2022, at 83.

By Chido Nwakama

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Op Ed

The secret diary of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo

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Yemi Osinbajo, Vice President of Nigeria

If Buhari had supported me, I would have been the presidential candidate of the APC.


This morning, after my praise and worship and morning prayers, I scanned through online newspapers. As usual, I read both the local and the international news headlines. Apart from the election in Kenya, the other headline that caught my attention was the New York Times’ story about how General Mark Milley, President Trump’s Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, almost resigned. According to the newspaper, he wrote a resignation letter that was biting. It made me have a flashback. I remembered my resignation letter, which, just like General Milley, I did not submit.

General Milley wrote his resignation letter days following the killing of George Floyd and the protest that followed. What triggered him was the event of June 1, 2020, when Trump took him and other top government officials, like the Secretary of Defence Mark Esper and Attorney General William Barr and others, on a walk from the White House to St. John’s Church in Washington DC. As part of the walk, SSS deployed security personnel to clear people protesting the death of George Floyd along the path. In his letter, General Milley told Trump that he ruined the international order and caused damage to America abroad. He reminded Trump that the Greatest Generation fought a war against tyrannies, dictatorships, fascism, and Nazism, that killed over 150 million people to put in place that order.

From the extract the paper published, it was a fascinating letter of resignation. CNN said that General Milley was set to excoriate Trump. My resignation letter had gone a step more than denouncing Buhari and blaming him for destroying what remained of Nigeria’s unity, for which millions died in the war to keep Nigeria one. I laid bare how Buhari weaponized religion, ethnicity and nepotism to blow up the remaining guardrails that separated the veins of the nation from hordes of people drunk in ignorance and wallowing in poverty of the minds.

I made predictions, or if you like, prophecies, too. And so far, some of my prophesies in that letter have already started to manifest. Only now, when I release the letter with my memoir, some of you would think I wrote it in hindsight. Thank God I mailed two copies of the letter to two of my most trusted confidants. I may even show the different drafts and editing my letter went through in the memoir.

Here is General Milley in his own words in that resignation letter. “It’s now obvious to me that you don’t understand that world. You don’t understand what the war was all about. In fact, you subscribe to many of the principles that we fought against. And I cannot be a party to that. It is with deep regret that I hereby submit my letter of resignation.”

I had to pause reading General Milley’s letter to attend to the love of my life. She came into my study to show me the viral clip of Peter Obi’s visit to Dunamis Church.

“This could have been you,” she said.

I wanted to say, “Even you.” But I swallowed the words. She apparently did not know how many people had sent that same clip to me in the last few days. I asked Laolu if he thought this could have been me. He was coy, as usual. He shrugged and said, “God knows best.” I looked at him suspiciously. He recovered and rephrased his sentence, saying, “God’s time is always the best.”

I will get to all that in this first entry into my Secret Diary. But first, let me finish the story of Milley’s resignation letter because it is connected to my letter and why I have decided to keep this secret diary.

I am writing this on a password-protected diary website. Even the love of my life does not know the password. Suppose the next president of Nigeria sends the EFCC to search my home and break into my safe in search of documents connecting me to Tunde Fowler, the Executive Chairman of the Federal Internal Revenue Service that Buhari fired in 2019; they won’t see this secret diary. And I know one of the current presidential candidates that won’t wait to do to me what the FBI did to former U.S. President Donald Trump yesterday.

So, General Milley did not submit his resignation letter after consulting prominent military leaders like Gen. James Dubik and former secretary of defence and CIA chief Robert Gates.

I was shocked at the similarities of Milley’s predicament to mine. I wrote my resignation letter after the uproar that followed my firing of the Department of State Services director-general in August of 2018. Nigerians have forgotten the DSS siege of the National Assembly that prompted me to fire the man. As acting president, I ensured that we maintained law and order in Nigeria under my watch. I was not going to compromise such an essential part of my job. Also, it was one thing to sideline and even insult me when I was only the Vice President, but such behaviour was unacceptable to me as acting president. I had to make that very clear.

To have that decision to fire Lawal Daura questioned, to have it considered for possible reversal, to have some people who think they own the country use it as a basis to question my loyalty to the president, to have them instigate my isolation and emasculation, was all that I needed to pen my resignation. In my letter, which you will read in my memoir, I pointed out incredible ways I had been loyal to the president. For example, when he was sick in London, again and again, against every fabric of my being, I lied to the Nigerian people that the president was “hale and hearty.” It was loyalty. But the reward I got was to be disrespected and ostracized more than ever.

After broad consultation, I did not submit the resignation letter that I wrote. Though now, I wonder if those people who advised me were honest. I wonder if they were not moles of the people who did not want me to be president. I was leaning on leaving. If I had done that, I believe I would have been in Peter Obi’s position today.

Unlike Milley, I had another incident down the road that compelled me to update the letter. And I did. But once again, I failed to submit it. You will read all about that and the updated letter in my memoir. A part of me now wished that I did tender the letter. It would have made all the difference if I had done so, either the first or second time. It was not that some people did not advise me to do so. Many prominent people did. Even knuckleheads like Dr. Damages, I saw him running his mouth everywhere. They were talking about how I needed to separate myself from Buhari’s government if I wanted to show that I disapproved of what was happening within the administration.

But I firmly believed that the dividend of loyalty superseded all other contingencies. I underestimated the power of vengeful older men who strode Nigeria’s corridors of power. I trusted God, who took me this far to finish the job that I believed he had handpicked me to accomplish for the country. Unfortunately, God had a different idea in the end. I say so because I have prayed hard and fasted to reach this mild conclusion. I had resisted the temptation to say that God failed me. I was sure that God would turn the mocked mere commissioner into the president of Nigeria. Maybe, what I missed was God’s signal to resign. Maybe.

I remember all this because I had received over a dozen times the clip of what transpired when Peter Obi, the presidential candidate of the Labor Party, visited Dunamis church in Abuja. When I saw him with Pastor Paul Enenche, I felt it could have been me if only I had resigned. It could have been me if I had read the handwriting on the wall. It could have been me if only I had been bold. It could have been me if only I had not confused loyalty to a man with loyalty to my country and God. It could have been me if only I had understood all these years of being a pastor and following in the footsteps of my Daddy GO that God had not stopped treating us like his sheep. He would take us to the pond but would not force us to drink. 

These are the two things that have prompted me to start this diary. In the days to come, as I recuperate from leg surgery done in Nigeria by excellent Nigerian doctors, I will have enough time to reflect on the events of the last few months. In my remaining months as the Vice President, I will be putting my thoughts on paper. I will use some of these reflections in my memoir when this is over. I already have a title for it: “God is not mocked” with the sub-title, “Prof. Yemi Osinbajo’s years as Buhari’s Vice.” While going through my squashed presidential dream grieving process, I considered some controversial titles. 

At one point, I blasphemously thought of calling it “Why I am disappointed in God.” Because I prayed hard… and my people also prayed. There was a time when I wanted to incinerate everything. Then, the title running around in my head was “No brotherhood in a zoo.” But thank God, cool heads have prevailed. But I can assure you that I will not bite my tongue when I finally put pen to paper. I have had enough of sitting in this office and crushing my testicles.

Watching Kenyans vote and the president’s candidate Raila Odinga on the road to victory even though he is from the opposition party, I got angry again. Undoubtedly, if Buhari had supported me, I would have been the presidential candidate of the APC. But he didn’t. And because of that, a grossly infirmed man is leading our party. Lurking behind him is a hyena, waiting to take over. When he does take over from our man with a fake name, fake age, fake state of origin, or fake school, he would be lenient to our Igbo brothers and sisters but not to my Christian family. 

For those who accused me of betrayal, I will address you all, too. Real betrayal would have if I had revealed what I knew about Alpha Beta and some under-the-radar, never disclosed deals that happened while I was in Lagos. There is a reason why people like Babatunde Fashola, Akinwunmi Ambode, Rauf Aregbeshola, and I purse our lips, skin our smiles, and wrap our winks when you see us around the man.

Even though I still feel disappointed in myself, my advisers, and others that I will name in my memoir, I sincerely believe my Father in the Lord when he said to me days after the APC’s primary, “God is not done with you.”

Looking at this election season, I can see a possible outcome and permutation that will have the whole country begging me to come and take over in 2027. Forget Peter Obi and his dance in the market square. The big moment has not eluded me. It has only been postponed.

Alright now, I have to stop here. The love of my life is coming over for us to take our evening walk. I can hear her ever-soft footsteps that serenade my soul.

Source: Gistcore

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Op Ed

A new star is born!

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Amusan: Buhari Congratulates Gold Medalist

There was celebration amongst the stars. It had been long in coming.

For several years, a young Nigerian female athlete had been knocking on the door of success, to be let in.

It was always so close that it became only a matter of time before she was going to make it, and to win at any one of the major events around the circuit of a track event that combines sprinting and scaling over hurdles for 100 metres. Hurdling is one of the most technical and challenging of races on the tracks.

Not too long ago, she mouthed her frustration to friends and thought briefly of accepting her fate, giving up the sport entirely, and thanking the Creator of the Universe for the relative success she had achieved in her life – fame, a sound grounding in education, a good income from running in the European circuits, and the opportunity to start a project to touch the lives of young girls in Ogun State of Nigeria where she comes from and to make her life a model they can emulate.

Earlier this year, in February 2022, she visited Nigeria and together with her mentor and greatest supporter (Omoba-Abiola Onasanya – a former national sprinter and US-trained athlete, coach and administrator) they funded the establishment of a sports program in Ijebu Ode that was to eventually become an annual clinic for the certification of coaches, to discover young talented athletes in selected secondary schools in Ogun State, to train those discovered locally, and to prepare the best of them for placement in American Colleges and Universities, a similar path she had trodden successfully on her own journey.

That done, and firmly set in her sights, she somehow dug deep into the spirit of determination, perseverance, even more hard work and a single-mindedness that was the last ingredient in the final fine tuning of her running and jumping skills, inching ever closer to perfection in a long, lonely, and frustrating experience of always ending up in the periphery of success, and never getting there.

The heavens watched her put in all the work and effort essential for success, and as Eugene, Oregon, beckoned, ministered to her spirit to take it easy, relax this time and enjoy her running because as there was nothing more to do that she had not done. All she needed now is the wind of luck, staying fit and being healthy on the night of her events.

Last week, the heavens looked down favourably on her in a spiritual conspiracy that could only have come from the Throne of Grace. No one on earth had prepared for what was to happen, no one, least of all, Oluwatobilola, herself.

When the World Athletics Championship 100 metres hurdles event started, there was the blazing fire of determination and focus in her eyes, and the wind on her feet.

Many ‘bad bele’ analysts shamefacedly demanded an investigation into the make and length of the spike of her Adidas shoes, because they saw that she ‘flew’. Even the Black African/American legendary sprinter, Michael Johnson, a former world record holder in multiple events, shocked and bemused his many fans with his skepticism by claiming, without any justification, minutes after the races, that he doubted the integrity of the timing machines used. Pure balderdash. His bias and envy were obvious. What he also forgot was that the holder of the world record in the 100 metres hurdles event going to the championship, Ms Harrison, was in the same race, and Tobi had left her trailing in both of her races with a yawning margin. 

Skeptics checked everything checkable to diminish two of the greatest sprinting events over hurdles the world has ever seen before that day, and found nothing but a slight tail wind over the limits, to deny her the pleasure of the ultimate achievement of breaking the world record twice in two successive races within minutes of each other! At last, her first record was ratified and her second time accepted, but not recorded as the new World record.

In the end, both decisions did not affect the reality of a race that was run to perfection every step of the 100 metres distance, to perfect picture of a beautiful, young Nigerian female gliding over the hurdles with consummate ease and efficiency, effortlessly and flawlessly leaving the world in awe as history unfolds. This lady was to go on to earn a deserved place amongst mortals, a seat with the gods, and sporting immortality in history.

For those interested in the stars, I urge all to look up on any bright clear night and find the brightest star in the constellation. It is a newly-birthed star named Oluwatobiloba Amusan.

She is an ordinary girl from Ijebu Ode, an ordinary town in Ogun State, Nigeria. She went to an ordinary school in the town where her talent as a sports girl was discovered. She was initially a football player , but was converted to a runner when she was found to be running faster than the ball on the field.

There is something about Ijebu Ode and that entire environment that requires some scientific inquiry. Tobi was discovered as an athlete when she was in Our Lady of Apostle Secondary School in Ijebu Ode.

She tells the story of how her father angrily burnt her running shoes one day when he felt she was devoting more time to sport than to her academics.

Looking into their past, the school and the town have a rich but quiet history of producing some extra-ordinary athletes in sports.

That’s the environment that produced Falilat Ogunkoya, the Akinremi sisters, Ajoke Odumosu, Fatimo Mohammed, Anthony Joshua, Isaac Adenuga and many other exceptional athletes. I am personally interested in pursuing that research.

Discovered by American College coaches Tobi simply followed in the footsteps of other athletes from Nigeria before her that had benefited from the training programmes offered by the University of Texas, El Paso, and went to the same university.

El paso has honed the talents of many Nigerian greats in athletics, providing them with athletics scholarships that gave them a grounding in education whilst making them exceptional athletes.

Last week, everything came together in two unforgettable races.  With billions of eyes across the planet trained on her, she put up a performance that was too good to be true – a perfect race on a perfect night.

The biggest conversation around the world now may be: ‘where were you when Tobi Amusan, the Nigerian goddess of the track, broke a world record twice on the same night?’.

Author: Segun Odegbami

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