Recep Tayyip Erdogan: Saudi Arabia still has many questions to answer about Jamal Khashoggi’s killing (opinion piece in Washington post)

The story is all too familiar: Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist and a family man, entered Saudi Arabia’s Consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2 for marriage formalities. No one – not even his fiancee, who was waiting outside the compound — has ever seen him again.

Over the course of the past month, Turkey has moved heaven and earth to shed light on all aspects of this case. As a result of our efforts, the world has learned that Khashoggi was killed in cold blood by a death squad, and it has been established that his murder was premeditated.

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Yet there are other, no less significant questions whose answers will contribute to our understanding of this deplorable act. Where is Khashoggi’s body? Who is the “local collaborator” to whom Saudi officials claimed to have handed over Khashoggi’s remains? Who gave the order to kill this kind soul? Unfortunately, the Saudi authorities have refused to answer those questions.

We know the perpetrators are among the 18 suspects detained in Saudi Arabia. We also know those individuals came to carry out their orders: Kill Khashoggi and leave. Finally, we know the order to kill Khashoggi came from the highest levels of the Saudi government.

Some seem to hope this “problem” will go away in time. But we will keep asking those questions, which are crucial to the criminal investigation in Turkey, but also to Khashoggi’s family and loved ones. A month after his killing, we still do not know where his body is. At the very least, he deserves a proper burial in line with Islamic customs. We owe it to his family and friends, including his former colleagues at The Post, to give them an opportunity to say their goodbyes and pay their respects to this honorable man. To ensure that the world will keep asking the same questions, we have shared the evidence with our friends and allies, including the United States.As we continue to look for answers, I would like to stress that Turkey and Saudi Arabia enjoy friendly relations. I do not believe for a second that King Salman, the custodian of the holy mosques, ordered the hit on Khashoggi. Therefore, I have no reason to believe that his murder reflected Saudi Arabia’s official policy. In this sense, it would be wrong to view the Khashoggi slaying as a “problem” between two countries. Nonetheless, I must add that our friendship with Riyadh, which goes back a long time, doesn’t mean we will turn a blind eye to the premeditated murder that unfolded in front of our very eyes. The killing of Khashoggi is inexplicable. Had this atrocity taken place in the United States or elsewhere, authorities in those countries would have gotten to the bottom of what happened. It would be out of the question for us to act any other way.

No one should dare to commit such acts on the soil of a NATO ally again. If anyone chooses to ignore that warning, they will face severe consequences. The Khashoggi murder was a clear violation and a blatant abuse of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations. Failure to punish the perpetrators could set a very dangerous precedent.

This is another reason we were shocked and saddened by the efforts of certain Saudi officials to cover up Khashoggi’s premeditated murder rather than serve the cause of justice, as our friendship would require. Though Riyadh has detained 18 suspects, it is deeply concerning that no action has been taken against the Saudi consul general, who lied through his teeth to the media and fled Turkey shortly afterward. Likewise, the refusal of the Saudi public prosecutor — who recently visited his counterpart in Istanbul — to cooperate with the investigation and answer even simple questions is very frustrating. His invitation of Turkish investigators to Saudi Arabia for more talks about the case felt like a desperate and deliberate stalling tactic.

The murder of Jamal Khashoggi involves a lot more than a group of security officials, just as the Watergate scandal was bigger than a break-in and the 9/11 terror attacks went beyond the hijackers. As responsible members of the international community, we must reveal the identities of the puppetmasters behind Khashoggi’s killing and discover those in whom Saudi officials — still trying to cover up the murder — have placed their trust.

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DEAR SEN. BUKAR ABBA, PLEASE IGNORE THE IGNORANCE By Abubakar Bukar Kagu Machinama (PhD)

The transient nature of life was the reason history is still an important discipline. It is through writing that the stories of heroes’ past were kept, transmitted that we revere them for the things we did not see; we did not feel, but have in many ways shaped who we are. In those words that resonate through space and time, the soldier’s epitaph is one that tells of how he sacrificed his today for our tomorrow. It is because of the prodigious foundation you put in place, especially in terms social cohesion and human development that your successors had the leverage to focus sturdily on infrastructure.
To begin with, let me stress that I am a core Buharist and have an ardent reverence for what Governor Gaidam has achieved over the years. Yet, it will haunt to my conscience if I remain aloof in the face of the incessant mischief, attack and attempts to demean your personality, character, political opinion and legacy. Like many others, I am a living witness to the kind of sacrifice you made in the quest to place Yobe on the path of growth and development. The ignorant can be forgiven for not knowing how you nursed and nurtured Yobe State. For the ingrates, we have little but to remind them that for every one of them, there are hundreds of us, Yobe indigenes, that are eternally grateful to you. Hence, I feel the moral duty to write this piece, which coincidentally I am doing from the comfort of my office at the Yobe State University; a foundation you laid that was subsequently enhanced by Gov. Gaidam.
Going back to when Yobe was created, its indigenes came from former Borno carrying only their enthusiasm, experience and a sense of hope. A little later, you emerged as the first democratic leader and arguably the foremost catalyst for a propelled developmental legacy, democratic sense of belonging, inclusiveness and a systemic strive to build what was hitherto a low level of human capacity. It was, therefore, not a coincidence that when you contested the second time, the support of Yobeans was emotional and overwhelming. We vividly recall that during your campaign to be a governor for the second time, you didn’t have money, only your goodwill, the kind of goodwill that money cannot buy. For those of us now at our prime, it will be impish to forget, so soon, that you made democracy and governance a collective prerogative, you redefined humility in power and gave the opportunity and space for people to achieve, to earn and to prosper. Lacking the space to embark on the whole narrative of how you captained Yobe, I will start and end with the basics.
Yobe began as mundane enclave that is at the bottom of every developmental index. Then came your silent but far-reaching policies for education, rural development, housing and employment. For every son and daughter of Yobe that is employed in government at the time, your policy affirms an unconditional leeway to proceed with his or her education. All of us, in our hundreds that attended and graduated from places like the University of Maiduguri will attest to this historic reality. Life was easy for most students across Universities and polytechnics as many earn the minimum wage and were also given scholarship. Parents were also relieved from paying tuitions and in many cases, living stipends. Although some may argue that the system does not follow the due bureaucratic process, our peculiarity as a people demands that we focus on the defining our priorities and policies on what best suits our peculiarities. This you understood very well that a liberal approach is necessary in order to propel, support and encourage the young from Yobe, many of whom are today doctors, lawyers, managers in various institutions and leading technocrats of our state ministries and parastatals. For every team of educated men and women in today’s Yobe, the better equation will admit that directly or by extension, Sen. Bukar Abba has played some role in their lives.
Having worked with the Borno State government for years, you came to Yobe as a leader with a broad-based experience, especially in the areas of rural development. That idea you often discussed as part of your understanding of utility of the defunct Directorate of Food, Road and Rural Infrastructure (DFRRI) led you to establish the Ministry for Integrated Rural Development (MIRD). To date, the better equation of our rural infrastructure, water, rural electrification, dispensaries and schools were first built during the hay days of MIRD. Then came the idea of mass housing scheme. For those who know, and to those who wish to know, most of Yobe indigenes came from Borno with very little to show for their years of public service and private hustle. The population they met in what is today Yobe wasn’t any better too. It is you Sen. Bukar Abba Ibrahim that laid the foundation for what was to continue as a mass housing project for public servants. This saw, for the first time, a driver, a messenger, a school teacher and all those whose life’s choices seldom denotes owning a house of their own, having their thinking and limitations turn around. From Ali Marami to Waziri Ibrahim Quarters, families began living in shelters not rented from other individuals. As if that was not enough, the scheme was reworked into the ‘owner occupier policy’. As it stands today, a large number of retired civil servants live in houses that were part of these humane policies or successors to those policies.
Whatever the criticism or insult, history will always remember that it was your empathetic policy-mindset, approach and focus that set the first great ball rolling for Yobe. Of recent, the attack has been on your opinion that often drifts to your personality. As a true son of Yobe who travelled the miles seeing this state become what it is today, I challenge anyone without a sin to cast the first stone.
Dr. Abubakar Bukar Kagu is the Director, Centre for Research and Capacity Development on Humanitarian Studies of the Yobe State University. He can be reached on
abbakagu@gmail.com

Professor Osinbajo Is Being Economical With The Truth Atiku

PRESS RELEASE

Again, Professor Osinbajo Is Being Economical With The Truth

The Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Professor Yemi Osinbajo (SAN), is being economical with the truth in his statement that former Vice President Atiku Abubakar was against restructuring while in office between 1999 and 2007.

Speaking at a public lecture, entitled: ‘Developing the Nation through Youth Empowerment’, as part of activities marking the 68th anniversary of the Sigma Club, University of Ibadan, Professor Osinbajo said:

“All this time, this was 2000, some of those people, including the presidential candidate of PDP, who is talking about restructuring, was the vice president then; they opposed every step that we took. Of course, we were taking the Federal Government to court then. They opposed every step.”

Given that restructuring has become the major issue in the 2019 elections and given that Prof Osinbajo and his boss have been speaking discordant tunes on restructuring, we can understand their desperation to revise history, however, it is impossible to revise documented history.

Professor Osinbajo needs to be reminded that there are well documented accounts in the Nigerian media chronicling Atiku Abubakar’s support and struggle for restructuring.

To set the records straight, we recommend to Professor Osinbajo the article ‘Nigeria: 6-1 Onshore-Offshore Jurisdiction Verdict’ written by Jide Ajani, then the Political Editor ofVanguard Newspapers and published on July 13, 2001.

In that piece, which is still available online (see linkhttps://allafrica.com/stories/200107130417.html), Vanguard newspapers chronicled the successful efforts of His Excellency, Atiku Abubakar, to restructure the revenue allocation formulae to allow littoral states of the federation benefit from off shore oil proceeds. Ironically, it was precisely Mr. Osinbajo’s boss, Muhammadu Buhari, who as military dictator, cheated these states of their just due by military fiat.

It is also common knowledge that the six geopolitical zones structure which all parts of Nigeria benefit from today is the fruit of the collaborative efforts of His Excellency, Atiku Abubakar, the late Alex Ekwueme and other patriots.

Their efforts at restructuring Nigeria are captured in the Hansard of the 1995 Constitutional Conference, which is a public document and is still available at the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation. Professor Osinbajo may want to familiarise himself with that document.

The question we want to ask Professor Osinbajo is this – why do he and his boss constantly resort to rewriting history? Why can they not campaign on their achievements? Is it that they are forced to campaign on subterfuge because they have no achievements to campaign on?

President Buhari and Vice President Osinbajo promised to make ₦1 equal to $1. They vowed to create three million jobs per annum. They promised to pay the unemployed a “job seekers allowance”. They said subsidy was a scam. They also said that they would defeat Boko Haram.

Nigerians want to know if these promises have been kept. They are not interested in fairy tales about how Atiku Abubakar did not support restructuring because they know that he is and was and will always be an active promoter of restructuring.

Everywhere he goes to campaign, Atiku Abubakar has used temperate and respectful language on both President Buhari and Vice President Osinbajo. He has campaigned on his record of achievements, which include the 50,000 jobs he has created in his private capacity, and on his policies and plans to Get Nigeria Working Again.

We recommend this form of decent politicking to Prof. Osinbajo, even as we urge him to remember that as Vice President, his words matter.

The spirit of error” in Nigerian politics By Reuben Abati

About this period, four years ago to be precise I had gone to visit a notable politician and a member of the Peoples Democratic Party. Politics was very much in the air then as is the case now, and my host was neck-deep in it all. He was a major grassroots politician and a man of experience who brought into party politics so much enthusiasm. I observed him at very close quarters and it was right to conclude that he was one of President Goodluck Jonathan’s unwavering supporters. Publicly, he gave the impression that he had held down his state, and even a substantial part of his region for both the party and the President.
He reportedly ran a strong grassroots political structure which included traditional rulers, students, market women, religious leaders and the ordinary people who on election day were expected to vote en masse for the ruling party and put the then emergent and assertive All Progressives Congress and its leaders to shame.
During election season, there are persons like that in every political party. They are the people on the field. They take reports to Abuja, give feedback to the party at the national level and shuttle between their states and Abuja. They attend every major campaign. They say the right things. They pump up party leaders with adrenaline. When they do a calculation of the party’s chances and how happy the electorate are with the leadership, you would feel like celebrating even before the polls. The really talented ones among them are for the want of a better term, charmers or perhaps illusionists. This particular politician, who shall remain nameless, is experienced and talented.
We got talking. He asked me: “Reuben, what do you think of the PDP’s chances in the 2015 elections?” I told him everything looked good and that the Party will retain its majority status in power. I reeled off the achievements of the Jonathan administration. The APC Challenge? I dismissed the APC as a party of propagandists. “Those people? They will win in a few states, no doubt but they can’t take the Presidency…” When you are around politicians and you listen to them everyday, you are very likely to believe them and even begin to sound like them. Loyalty is also important, but this was not just about loyalty. I felt the President’s good performance deserved to be rewarded by the Nigerian people.
“I don’t see us winning”, my host responded. I was shocked. I almost fell off my seat. I wasn’t too sure that I heard him well. I asked what he meant by that. The party primaries had been concluded. Turn-out at campaigns was beginning to build up. The state Governors were all upbeat, or so it seemed. The traffic of politicians to-ing and fro-ing the Villa was so much there were hold-ups at the gate.
“We are going to lose”, my host repeated.
“How?”
“I will tell you”, he said. “I have been in politics for years, and I have learnt to study the art very well. I can tell you that five months before any election, you can easily tell if your party is going to win or not. It is not even a matter of analysis. As a politician, you will know – from what the people say, from listening carefully to your followers, from watching the body language of the international community, and by just generally looking beyond the façade. I don’t see us winning.”
“But the ruling party looks good to me or am I missing something?”
“Yes, you are,” he affirmed.
He then proceeded to offer a state by state analysis of the party, painting a picture of grievances over party primaries, the imposition of candidates by the party’s National Working Committee, a growing pattern of deceit, the ethnic and religious division between the North and the South, and how the PDP had lost many of its faithful members. He went on:
“I don’t deceive myself. Many of those Governors you see who are promising heaven and earth, you will see that when the time comes, they will not deliver. There are many aggrieved persons staying back in the party who will not lift a finger to help the party. The people who have been badly treated during the primaries, and they have been ignored, nobody is listening to them, they will claim to be working for the party, they may even collect money but from what I see, it is only if a miracle happens.”
“This is serious”, I said. “But sir, why don’t you take this up at the highest levels, since you are convinced that the enemies are within”.
“I won’t call them enemies. I think it is something even more serious. When people join political parties in Nigeria, they expect to gain something in return. They want to be rewarded. They may follow a leader but you have to settle them. I think the party and the government have been overtaken by the spirit of error.”
“Spirit of error?”
“Yes, spirit of error. I have been around long enough to know when a political party begins to fail and when it begins to lose the people, and even its own members. That is where we are, everybody is just making mistakes.”
A few weeks later, I saw the same man, back-slapping at party campaigns, hailing the President and other party leaders. I was confused. Obviously, I thought the spirit of error had disappeared and there was renewed hope for the party. I called the man aside out of curiousity: “Sir, what happened? Is there hope now?”
“I am a politician,” he said. “Every politician is an optimist. It is not over until it is over.” I didn’t get a chance to ask him again about the spirit of error. But his prediction turned out to be prophetic.
I believe that history is about to repeat itself in Nigerian politics. The ruling party, the All Progressives Congress is exactly where the Peoples Democratic Party was in 2014/2015. APC leaders are making exactly the same mistakes. The PDP which appears to have learnt some lessons, is suddenly a re-energized party and with the emergence of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar as its standard bearer and Peter Obi as running mate, the same Nigerian people who thought the PDP was bad are now turning around to say the PDP should be forgiven. All sleeping cells of the PDP across the country are suddenly awake. The umbrella is up again, the rope that tied the broom together is loosened.
The success of the PDP in the last few months does not necessarily owe itself to any ingenuous strategy on the part of the leaders of the party, however, but more to the many unforced errors, and own goals, by the ruling party and its government. The government at the centre has lost the plot. When these days, its foot-soldiers and spokespersons argue that members of the PDP are corrupt, the quick response by even the worst critics of the opposition party, PDP, is that they can’t see any difference between the APC and the PDP.
Some even insist that the PDP is better. In three years, the APC has frittered away its goodwill. The same international agencies and platforms that used to promote the administration have turned their back on it. Internally, the party has been overtaken by all kinds of little Hitlers who have no qualms imposing their will on others and trampling upon the letters of democracy. This much was put on embarrassing display during the recent Gubernatorial elections in Osun, and the party’s primaries across the country, but notably in Lagos, Osun, Rivers, Delta, Imo, Zamfara, Ogun, Oyo and so on. In 2014, five Governors walked away from the PDP. In 2018, many leaders of the APC have also taken a walk. The PDP told its disaffected members – “good riddance.” The APC is also singing the same song in 2018.
In 2014/15, the APC’s selling point was President Muhammadu Buhari. He was promoted as a nationalist, man of integrity and a reformed democrat. He promised to fight corruption and the people hailed him. They were tired of the PDP. They wanted change. Many believed in him as the messiah who will turn Nigeria around. Close to four years later, President Buhari is now at that point where most Nigerian leaders find themselves, covered by that standard, unscientific excuse: “the good man who is surrounded by bad people, bad advisers and bad politicians.” The economy under his watch is slow and unproductive. In three months the country’s debt profile has jumped from N22. 4 triilion to $73.21 billion and the country wants to borrow more. His administration usually blames the previous administration. Many Nigerians no longer consider that a good strategy. They are similarly skeptical about the war against corruption.
This last point is well illustrated by the recent announcement of a plan to effectuate Executive Order No 6, under which the government proposes to place a travel ban on some yet unnamed and undisclosed Nigerians. Under the Order, the government seeks to stop persons indicted for corruption from travelling abroad, and to attach their properties. The argument by government spokespersons that they are relying on a judgement by Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu of the Abuja Federal High Court has been exposed for what it is: a lie, a ruse, an attempt to misinterpret the court, knowing that the judge is not likely to engage in a market-place explanation of its own ruling. That was the same thing they did at the 2018 NBA Conference, when they said the rule of law could be violated and that the Supreme Court had given them the right to do so in the Asari Dokubo case. This is not good for the state of our law.
The Court was clear: the Attorney General of the Federation can apply Executive Order No 6, only through the instrumentality of a Court Order. By by-passing the Court, the Executive arm seeks to be the judge, the jury and the executioner in its own case. It usurps the roles of the judiciary and the legislature, and serves notice of a return to dictatorship. The Order as proposed has been correctly described as a reincarnation of the notorious Decree 2 of 1984 and a violation of Section 41 of the 1999 Constitution.
The newspapers published a list of 50 names but the Executive has since announced that it has not published any list, but the people concerned know themselves. How? The combined effect of this opaqueness is that the government has imposed a regime of fear on the people. A secret watch list which can be applied at will is an act of intimidation against the Nigerian people. It is reckless and unwise, because political intimidation is the worst, most brazen form of rigging! In an election season, it is scary. As a strategy, it makes no sense. At a time when the President and his party need the people’s votes, an open subversion of the rule of law is not a good method of votes solicitation. Whoever chose this time to take Nigeria back to 1984, has only strengthened the resolve of those who are already whispering that a second term for President Buhari would translate into misery for Nigerians. Executive Order No. 6, rather than further advance the anti-corruption war, has merely promoted fear and intimidation as instruments of governance. This is one more major error by the Buhari government. I may see the need to visit that senior politician again to give me the benefit of what old men see sitting down, which younger men may not see even when they are standing.
The Persecution of Ike Ekweremadu
While writing the piece above, I kept receiving on my phone what’s app messages attacking Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu. I am sure other Nigerians would have received the same hate-message either on whatsapp or through other media. Ekweremadu is pointedly accused of being the brain behind the Igbo drama over whether or not Peter Obi is the fit and proper person for the position of running mate to Atiku Abubakar, on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). While other Nigerians have settled that matter and concluded that Peter Obi is in order, and that Igbos deserve to be Vice President of Nigeria and even President in due course, the Igbo elite, playing well-known stereotypical politics, are trying to create a little self-serving show of their own. They don’t need it. They should look at the bigger picture, and stop behaving like a child that lost a promised candy.
The persecution of Ekweremadu is unfair and undeserved. Ekweremadu, yes, has been council chairman, Secretary to the Government of Enugu State, a Senator since 2003 former Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament, and two-term Deputy Senate president, and one of the persons on the Atiku shortlist. He deserves to be celebrated and not be used as a scapegoat for the discomfort of other persons who lost out in the race. Ekweremadu himself has said that he is in support of Peter Obi. So, who are the agent-provocateurs out there in the East? Ekweremadu was for a while the last man standing for the PDP and Ndigbo. He is paying a heavy price for this. He has been brutalized.
The ruling party attacked him with the police and the EFCC. He was accused of having properties. They are charging him from one court to another. His emergence as Deputy Senate President and his loyalty to Senate President Bukola Saraki made them unhappy. When the PDP seemed to have completely lost its bearing, Ike Ekweremadu stood firm. He deserves recognition for this. The political jobbers who are trying to set him and Peter Obi on a collision course even before the 2019 elections are enemies of Ndigbo. The urgent task before the Igbo elite is to seek those who are trying to divide them, the mercenaries among them, and the need to protect the larger Igbo interest. Both Ike Ekweremadu and Peter Obi deserve the support of the Igbo elite, not a squabble of the villagers.

Ambode: A Bull in a China Shop

If after watching Governor Akinwunmi Ambode’s world press conference, which concluded a few minutes ago and you still did not think he is unworthy of a second chance, then, you are corruptly limited in your understanding of the inherent issues that are standing imposingly against this churlish governor.

Let’s start with his demeanor. It was very ungubernatorial. There is no debating that. His utterances were totally uncouth, childish and boorish. He left even the undiscerning without any jot of doubt that he is what he currently is: a bull in a china shop – evidently frustrated.

For the short period that the news conference lasted, coupled with the fact that the question and answer session might have been ‘arranged’ as it is always the style, I was glued to the screen observing only his countenance and the environmental nuances and all I saw was a man very well determined to destroy whatever it was that he met in the party and the government in the name of a second term, which is not a right but privilege.

Of course, it clearly does appear that he is unable to distinguish between right and privilege and by crossing the line of decency whilst struggling to make his warped points, thus unrestrainedly throwing impossible darts at his opponent, says a lot about who he truly is. He has been misconstrued all along. Whoever prepped him for that session is a disaster in public relations and image management.

Imagine a governor saying an opponent from the same party, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, was once at a rehab? The same Ambode alleged to have a case file at a psychiatric centre during the 2014 campaigns and the entire party formation rallied round him? But he had the indecency of reckless abandon to land such a hard punch.

He didn’t stop there. He also regaled us with the story how Sanwo-Olu once spent fake dollars in the US and was arrested. But how come he was quick to forget he allegedly defaulted in the payment of a mortgage, aside other immoral details of his escapades that were considered unbefitting of a governorship candidate but ‘killed’ for his ambition to thrive?

For me, Ambode just confirmed a saying in Yoruba that where a family still savours a modicum of peace, do not celebrate; it is only so because the one child in that family with questionable paternity is yet to attain puberty. So, Ambode is willing to watch APC die, because the party that gave him the opportunity to be governor, when he was the least qualified asks him to stand down this second term?

Put differently the fact that Ambode is the sitting governor of Lagos State, he is on every count at a disadvantage in this battle and those with him are sure losers. Lest he forgets, the party can on account of this poorly conceived press conference expel him and that would be the end. What would follow is an impeachment and heaven would not fall.

Whichever way, he has brazenly declared a war on the party and should not expect the party not to fight back. Running to Abuja is in itself an error. Abuja didn’t make him governor. If he had expected that those who made him governor the first time would listen to Abuja to grant him re-election, then, he is both a joker and a learner.

It is common knowledge that Abuja can barely stand his benefactor, Bola Tinubu, the man who did not know him from anywhere before making him governor. So, conceding such a sensitive decision to them would mean, Ambode wouldn’t need to check with his estranged benefactor again on anything. He would simply bypass him and take orders from Abuja since he owes his second term to them. Honestly, he has proven to be unworthy of that seat, let alone, secure a re-election.

That press conference was meant to be his ace. He had a rare opportunity to not only secure more public sympathy, but reset the mood in the APC. But he blew it all and set the stage for a battle he had long lost. He is naturally a terrible person. He just proved me right.

Everything about his disposition justifies this position. He is an ungrateful lot and innately dreadful. His desperation is akin to that of the anti-Christ and has taken a step that would destroy everything he ever stood for. Never again would the name – Ambode – resonate in the annals of the body polity. Too petty to be called governor.

Importantly, the person to pick the greatest lesson here is Asiwaju Tinubu. Perhaps, Babatude Fashola’s words on marble: ‘May our loyalty never be tested’ would begin to convey instructive meanings to him. He did not know Ambode from anywhere, but he bought into his idea just because one of his trusted allies, Prince Eludoyin, recommended him.

Today, even the said Prince Eludoyin is no longer in talking terms with him. Ambode must be a helplessly terrible lot. Yet, for a man he could not vouch for, Tinubu left those who had been with him since 1999 and went for a total stranger. Good for him!

Pray he comes out of this unhurt, he must have learnt his lessons the hardest way. Please, make no mistake – Ambode has gone on this offensive, because he probably has something with which he plans to finish off Tinubu and co as he forges ahead in this battle. He doesn’t plan to go down alone. He intends to drag one or two persons with him.

Therefore, the days ahead promise to be interesting, and even more so, this current Lagos drama offers a rare lesson in political godfatherism. I know Ambode has so many hidden supports unknown to the Tinubu group, including Abuja and some former governors and their allies alike, but I also know for sure that this is one battle Ambode cannot win and I can hedge my biggest bet ever.

He is not even anywhere close to the inner caucus that ordinarily delivers the most intricate political assignments in the state. Indeed, Ambode does not know or cannot explain how he even emerged governor of the state. Some people delivered that job and that is the ace that Tinubu and his clique have over him.

Sadly, Ambode is too deceived by his current place of advantage to know that he is not an asset. Even if he quits the APC and leaves for another party, a character like him with awful attitudinal disposition is not what anyone or party can put forward as a poster face. His rebellion will only heighten the stakes and increase the frenzy of intrigues in the state; it would change nothing about the status quo, ultimately.

Even if Asiwaju’s empire would be rested eventually, it is not now let alone an even worse character like Ambode with utterly defective human relations that would orchestrate that! The earlier he knows this, the better. But then, we shall wait to see how you’d pull this off tomorrow, Governor Ambode, since you see not your palpable failings but overrated stellar performance amidst this crass elevation of mediocrity.

Why I am Against Ambode by Bola Ahmed Tinubu

GOVERNORSHIP PRIMARY STATEMENT

30th September, 2018

Tomorrow, our party and the people of Lagos will have an encounter with destiny. We shall hold our governorship primary.

With the holding of direct primaries to elect governorship candidates in Lagos and other states, the APC takes a groundbreaking step toward greater internal democracy and progressive governance for the benefit of all people.

While our party is young, it has grown fast and has travelled far in a short time. This speaks well of the character of you, the party’s rank-and-file members.

What, in other nations, has taken political parties generations to achieve, we have done in a few brief years. No other party in Nigeria dare attempt what we have already dedicated ourselves to do.

I thank and commend all APC members and all Lagosians who have lent their support to this historic and humane mission upon which our party has embarked.

We are democrats in the truest sense of the word. As such, we forever search for what is good and right for the people. With this ideal as our guide, tomorrow’s primary cannot be shaded by selfish ambition or the perceived personal grievance between this or that person. Something much greater waits in the balance. What is at stake is nothing less than the future of the people of this state and how we can best maximise our collective destiny.

By resort to direct primaries, the party places the people’s future soundly in their hands. As democracy would have it, you shall be the authors of the party’s nomination and hopefully our next state government.

I trust in the wisdom of the people and will abide it. However, as a leader of the party and as a former governor of our beloved and excellent Lagos, I would be remiss if I did not make a few observations regarding the primary.

My goal is and shall always be a better Lagos. To this objective, I have dedicated the greater part of my public life. Roughly 20 years ago, a corps of dedicated and patriotic Lagosians, put aside personal interests and rivalries, to put their minds and best ideas together for the good of the state. Out of this collaborative effort, was born a master plan for economic development that would improve the daily lives of our people.

Bestowed on me was the honour of a lifetime when I was elected to be your governor in 1999. My administration faithfully implemented that plan. The government of my immediate successor, Tunde Fashola, also honoured this enlightened plan.

Where state government remained true to that blueprint, positive things happened. During my tenure and Governor Fashola’s, Lagos state recorded improvements in all aspects of our collective existence, from public health to public sanitation, from education to social services, from the administration of justice to the cleaning of storm and sewage drains. Businesses, large and small, invested, hired millions of workers and thrived.

All Lagosians were to fully participate and justly benefit from the social dividends and improvements wrought by this plan. From the common labourer, to business leaders, to professionals and our industrious civil service. We all were to be partners in a monumental but joint enterprise. None was to be alienated. None was to be left out. And none were to be pushed aside. This is especially true for those who contributed so much to our development, whether as a business leader who has invested heavily in Lagos, the homeowner who struggles to pay his fair share of taxes or as someone employed in the hard work of keeping our streets and byways clean so that others may go about their daily tasks unimpeded.

I make no pretence that the master plan is perfect. It can always be fine-tuned. However, whenever a government departed from this plan without compelling reason, the state and its people have borne the painful consequence of the improper departure.

To ignore this blueprint for progress in order to replace it with ad-hoc schemes of a materially inferior quality contravenes the spirit of progressive governance and of our party. Such narrowness of perspective does not bring us closer to our appointed destination; it takes us farther from that destiny.

For reasons unknown to me and most Lagosians, we have experienced such deviations from enlightened governance recently.

This trend is that which most concerns me as the primary nears. We must arrest this trend before irreparable harm is committed against the people and their future. For the record, let it be known that I shall vote in this primary because I see it as one of extreme import to our state and our party. Just as I shall vote, I equally urge all party members to do so.

We must vote in a manner that returns Lagos to its better path, the one that promises a just chance for all to enjoy the fruits of our prosperity. We must always pursue our goal of a Lagos energised by creative dynamism, tolerance of others, and guided by a leadership capable of extending a collegial hand to all stakeholders, far and wide.

I am encouraged by the emergence of a candidate in this primary who has served the state in senior positions in my administration, the Fashola administration and even in the current one. While possessing a wealth of experience and exposure, he is a young man endowed with superlative vision and commitment. Most importantly, he understands the importance of the blueprint for development. He esteems it as a reliable and well-conceived vehicle for the future development of the state. He also knows the value of reaching out and working with others in order to maximize development and provide people the best leadership possible.

With people like him at the helm, the state will write the proper history for itself.

When the final word is given let it be said that we want all Lagosians to look to the future with the hope and optimism that our best days remain before us and not behind us.

We walk into this primary strong and confidently believing in the right course we are to take. We shall emerge from this primary even stronger and more confident that we have taken that course by returning Lagos and our party to their finest path.

Signed:
Aswiaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu

Dr Adesina Fagbenro-Byron emerges KOWA Party Presidential Candidate

For immediate release to your media partners and online

PRESS RELEASE 30 September 2108
Dr Adesina Fagbenro-Byron emerges KOWA Party Presidential Candidate

KOWA Party takes great pleasure in announcing that Dr Adesina Fagbenro-Byron (SFB) emerged victorious as Kowa Party’s Presidential Candidate from the party’s National Convention and Presidential Primary that took place on Saturday 29th September, 2018 from 11am to 5pm at The Alexis Hotel, Obafemi Awolowo Way, Jabi Upstairs, Abuja.

He surmounted vigorous competition from his fellow presidential aspirants, Professor (Mrs) Remi Sonaiya, who was the party’s presidential flag bearer at the 2015 elections, and veteran actor, Mr Ayo Lijadu, who ran a very strategic national grassroots recruitment campaign.

KOWA Party subjected its aspirants to a rigorous process. They were formally screened including security clearance. Then they submitted to a written examination on Friday 28th September answering multiple choice questions posed by experts from diverse fields, and writing an essay on a topic of national interest. Finally, they participated in a Presidential Debate ‪at noon‬ during the convention on Saturday 29th September moderated by Mr Soji Apampa, the founder of Integrity Group. The aspirants were also given a final opportunity to appeal for votes.

Their profiles has been circulated to all party members by sms and email prior to the commencement of paper balloting at the National Convention.

KOWA Party adopted a multi-channel voting system for its national primary. In keeping with our spirit of inclusiveness, the party used a combination of paper, online and sms voting so that all of its members, even those in rural areas could participate, including those without smart phones and who could not travel to the state convention centers that the party set up in 28 states. Indeed some members who were unwell were still able to cast their votes from their sick beds.

The online voting system was first successfully piloted at our Lagos State Congress in May 2018 and was witnessed by INEC.

KOWA Party prides itself as being the credible alternative to the traditional political parties. The party’s slogan is “Together, we make a difference” and it aims to avoid the traps that have bedevilled the big parties in Nigeria and cling strongly to its founding principles of transparency, inclusiveness, people-centred development and meritocracy. Its aspirants run based on their state of residence, not their state of origin. Women, Youth and People Living with Disabilities are not considered token or minority members, they are welcomed and embraced as full members and officers of the party at National and State levels, and are well represented at decision-making levels.

Fans of KOWA party were carried along by members of the Youth Caucus via the party’s social media handles @KOWA_Ngr and @KowaParty

We heartily congratulate our Presidential flag bearer, SFB on his win.

National Publicity Secretary
Kowa Party