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Pretty Okafor Slams Tony Okoroji With Libel Suit, Demands N500M Damages



Following a Press release by the Performing Musicians Employers Association of Nigeria (PMAN) addressing the Coson crises, the embattled former Chairman of Coson, Chief Tony Okoroji, published a letter in which he threatened to sue the PMAN President, Pretty Okafor in his personal capacity for signing the PMAN press release, obviously out of desperation and lack of legitimate options Tony Okoroji failed to realise that the PMAN President was following the decision taken by the PMAN working committee and EXCOS.

The PMAN President’s Legal team , however, interpreted Okoroji’s gesture as an attempt to undermine the office of the PMAN President with the intent to discredit and label Pretty Okafor as an illegitimate PMAN President.

Based on this position, Pretty Okafor directed his Lawyers to slam Okoroji with defamation of character and libel lawsuit and demand 500 million naira damages " it is imperative to serve Okoroji his own food" says the PMAN President, because he , Okoroji has sued the AGF, NCC Director, Efe Omoriegbe, Audu Majority , Obi Asika, and list goes on. Anyone that challenges his illegitimate hold on COSON is a target of Okoroji’s frivolous lawsuits.

All major stakeholders in the Music Industry , including A List Artists such as 2baba, MI, BANKY W and many others have since spoken out against Okoroji’s impunity.

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Apostle Suleman: Is It Payback For Festus Keyamo?


Apostle Suleman: Is It Payback For Festus Keyamo?


As first call, I would like to open my assessment of the state of the Church and the oppressed in Nigeria with a brotherly gesture at Barrister Festus Keyamo; his award of Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) after eight attempts, and his latest appointment as the spokesman for the reelection bid of President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria.

It should be noted that Festus Keyamo is warmly referred by the majority as controversial not because he is the foulest of men, but because, he, as I have been privileged to discover, is a man who hunts with extreme anxiety and desire for results by any means possible. However, one of the most destructive of creative sins is deploying one’s talents against the success of fellow man.It is the death of creativity when bad blood is allowed to become an obstacle in man’s life.

That Nigeria is fast getting on the list of countries where the minority, and to a greater degree, the Church, is persecuted is an obvious fact. No thanks to actions of certain professionals, who, perhaps, unconsciously have been of vast assistance to plots against opposition voices.

This article is focused primarily on the alleged sex drama involving a man of God, Apostle Johnson Suleman, of which the lead actor, one Stephanie Otobo herself later confessed was falsehood and a plot organized by a clique that included those feared by Suleman’s bluntness on the Church matter and national issues as well as opportunists struggling to milk the cleric through the open. Interestingly, Stephanie Otobo mentioned Keyamo as one of the ring leaders of the aborted plan.

The partial war was so heated that Apostle Suleman’s church, sometime in March 2017, raised the alarm that the celebrity lawyer and some others had planned to publish Suleman’s cloned video clips in a desperate bid to prove that he had an amorous relationship with Otobo. It was not long after the church’s statement that series of corrupt images were released on the internet purported to be those of the cleric and the accuser. However, while the drama lasted, Festus Keyamo cleverly avoided direct connection. A lawyer from his Lagos chambers stood in all through.

It would be unfair to Apostle Suleman’s attackers to allude that he is a stranger to such plot. He is not because he has always stood tall speaking his mind like true Church leader. And the sign was obvious one clear month before the Otobo attack that indeed future surprises awaited him. The cleric had been ambushed one night by men of the State Security Service (DSS) while on a two-day crusade in Ekiti State alleging that he made inciting remarks at one of his church sermons. But for the state governor, Mr. Ayodele Fayose, who prevented them, the cleric would have been arrested and taken to Abuja that night.

His sin? Suleman had told members of his church that he received anonymous calls about Fulani herdsmen that were sent to attack him and he told his people that if any strange faces came around him, they were not there for prayers, so they had better responded.

What should be of concern around this matter is, whether indeed there’s any connection in the failed act of Festus Keyamo and his co-schemers against Apostle Suleman with the present government’s attitude toward the Church.

Is it payback for Keyamo who after eight failed attempts at securing the SAN title eventually was awarded by the Muhammadu Buhari-led federal government? Note also that Festus Keyamo was just appointed the campaign spokesman for President Buhari’s second term ambition. These are questions disturbing the mind since the ugly attacks on Suleman, a firebrand preacher known for his bold traits as Oracle of God.

The sorry state of the modern Church is aptly captured in this legendary quote by Martin Luther King Jr; “So often, the contemporary church is a weak, ineffectual voice with an uncertain sound. So often, it is an arch-defender of the status quo. Far from being disturbed by the presence of the church, the power structure of the average community is consoled by the church’s silence and often even vocal sanction of things as they are.”

However, with a voice like Apostle Johnson Suleman’s, it is professed that the Church is not the master or the servant of the state but rather the conscience of the state. The Church must be the guide and the critic of the state and never its tool.

In order words, it is time the Church freed itself from the shackles of political correctness, speak the truth, and face the facts about the violent persecution of the poor, especially Christians.

The war is real against the oppressed and the climate of injustice and oppression is more prevalent in today’s Nigeria. The attempted plots at shutting down voices against persecution of the Church is manifest in the fact that Nigeria has become like a giant Ponzi scheme in which the sweat, toil and earnings of the masses used to improve the fortunes of a privileged class at the leadership level. This is the battle voices like Apostle Suleman are determined to win, possibly. Yet, this is the vision a category of people by action and inaction are positioned to kill.

The most common idiocy in Nigeria now is criticism of the Church of God and servants of God; the reproach is focused on tithing, first fruits, private jets, church-owned educational institutions, testimonies, teachings, and more. But such debate is unwise. It is a debate so flawed that no matter how smart one may feel, the moment you participate in it, you are in the realm of the stupid.

I do not say the Church is beyond criticism, it is not. But I strongly believe that the church leadership must be ready to face the moral challenge of the day and stand up and be counted.

-Deacon Ademola Paul writes from Igbosere, Lagos Island

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Ahbea Awards 4th Edition Sets To Hold


All for Africa and Africans in Broadcasting and entertainment industry, is Afro-heritage Broadcasting and Entertainment Awards (AHBEA).
Put in place to Appreciate, honor and celebrate Africans who have done well by promoting Africa’s culture, tradition and language through their works.
The Prestigious African media and Entertainment Awards is in its fourth edition this year 2018, as previous editions all took place consecutively previous years in Houston, Texas, USA and saw many top African entertainment celebrities and media broadcasters across Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya and South Africa to name a few being honored, as several others across the African continent grace the occasion. Joined by other Europe and America based African media entertainment celebrities.
According to President of the event planning committee, Prince Sola Olaniyan, Appreciating, honouring and celebrating of Africa’s legends and icons is great while they are still live, hence the reason for honoring them with this award which comes in Legend and Icon category. The forthcoming 4th edition according to the project coordinator, Mr. Yomi Fashlanso, iconic Nigerian movie actor, director and Celebrity entertainer will witness more awardees from across Africa such as Ghana, Gabon, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Kenya, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Tanzania, Morocco, Egypt among others, Naija Online TV gathered.

To partner, support or sponsor call +2348133283483/ +2348075526696 or +18328181276

Visit for more information.

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Coson Denounce Efe Omoregbe, Threaten To Report Him, To Oba Of Benin



The attention of Performing Musicians Employer’s Association of NIGERIA PMAN, has been drawn to the above titled statement addressed to Efe Omorogbe, respected writer/composer, label executive, publisher, talent manager and chairman of the management board of the Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON).

Our knowledge of the history and facts of the matter makes it imperative for us to issue a statement for the benefit of those who may have been misinformed.

Okoroji was sacked based on alleged infractions. These infractions were highlighted by respected members of COSON via a petition to the Nigeria Copyright Commission.

Okoroji who was sacked for his failure to satisfactorily defend questions on financial impropriety, unethical conduct and high-handedness, plotted a reinstatement that was declared illegal by the regulator, the Nigeria Copyright Commission.

Contrary to the story being sold to unsuspecting right owners and members of the public, it is Okoroji, his co- accused and their agents that have refused to comply with the directive of the regulator and are therefore, putting the society at risk.

Okoroji’s actions over the last few days seem to suggest that he would rather destroy COSON than accept the reality of his sack.

Going by the obvious fact that Efe Omorogbe and 5 other board members have repeatedly called for a full forensic audit of COSON account and operations and Okoroji’s obvious and continued position is to resist the audit and dodge the issues, Efe Omorogbe’s fearless insistence on accountability is something all industry stakeholders and well-meaning Nigerians should support and all Edo sons and daughters should be extremely proud of.

Distortion of facts, deliberate misleading of stakeholders and empty promises of positions on a non-existent COSON Edo Chapter exco does not represent respect for the Edo people.

It is also hard to see how personal visitation to friends, self serving public relations stunts and hang outs with agents/ co – mischief makers probably paid for by COSON translate to contribution to the growth of music and entertainment business in Edo State.

Okoroji and his agents should do their best to maintain their futile run away from probe but should spare the good people of Edo State the insult of their warped logic.

Okoroji and his agents should also be advised to keep the revered name of the Oba of Benin out of their
condemnable and doomed struggle to subvert justice.

Nothing will stop #AuditCOSON. And when the facts are established, nothing will stop the prosecution of everyone found complicit.

Pretty Okafor

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Primate Ayodele Commissions New Church Branches in Lagos


It is no longer news that the zeal and hunger for soul wining for the kingdom of God are the primary objective of servant of God and founder of INRI Evangelical Spiritual Church, Primate Babatunde Elijah Ayodele (JP). Two important events of the last three weeks have proven this fact.

Two new branches of INRI Ministries were built and commissioned in Lagos State; one at Isheri Olofin and the other at Badagry axis.

Both events were awesome in their respective outlook as the Isheri Olofin had Lagos top female politician, Chief (Mrs.) Kemi Nelson, declare it open for worship including several other dignitaries.

A renowned evangelist, preacher and seer of note, Primate Ayodele’s joy knew no bounds as the Badagry’s branch of the INRI Cathedrals on Saturday, April 7th 2018, was publicly unveiled. It was another opportunity for the servant of God to touch and transform lives, materially, financially and spiritually.

The unveiling of the Badagry branch tagged ‘Temiaseyori Mini-Cathedral’ was done by popular man of God, Prophet Israel Oladele Ogundipe of the Genesis Parish of the Celestial Church of Christ; distinguished personality, Engr. (Dr.) Gabriel Bamisaye Adewunmi (JP); His Royal Highness Oba Oyekan Adekanmi Possi III, the Alapa of Egun Awori, Apa Kingdom, among other dignitaries and anointed ministers of God.

Star Gospel music singer, Bunmi Akinnaanu Adeoye a.k.a. Omije Oju Mi, and the INRI Choir band lifted souls with their renditions.

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Ayo Adebanjo: The man and his politics By Reuben Abati


OPINION, Tuesday, April 10, 2018:

Ayo Adebanjo: The man and his politics
Reuben Abati

When friends, family and political associates gather in Ijebu-Ogbo, Ogun state today, to celebrate the 90th birthday of Chief Ayo Adebanjo, they will be honouring a radical and progressive politician, a lawyer, elder statesman, a patriot, and a nationalist of Yoruba extraction, who is without doubt, one of the most remarkable politicians of his generation and a voice of reason in the Nigerian politics of the 20th century and early 21st century. In a country where life expectancy is 53, “one of the most dangerous places to give birth” according to Bill Gates, a house which Karl Maier describes as “fallen”, the attainment of the nonagenarian grade is no mean feat.

Born on April 10, 1928, barely six years after the Clifford Constitution and the first legislative elections in Nigeria, Adebanjo has lived through the finest and ugliest moments of Nigerian history: the constitutional processes, the struggle for independence, party politics leading to independence and after, the civil war, military rule, return to democracy, the struggle for the protection of democracy and civilian rule, and the bigger struggle of ensuring the survival and development of Nigeria. He joined the struggle early in 1943, as a Zikist, as a follower of Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe but in 1951, he became a member of the youth wing of the Action Group, and a mentee and political disciple of late Chief Obafemi Awolowo. This became the defining moment of his life and 67 years later, he has remained faithful to the ideals of that political party and the ideology/political philosophy of his mentor – that is Awoism.

As Adebanjo turns 90, what is to be celebrated is not necessarily his longevity, even if there may be lessons to be learnt from his life habits – he maintains a rigorous exercise regimen, a daily routine we are told includes aerobic sessions, he neither smokes nor drinks, and for more than 60 years he has remained married to the same woman- but there are no hard and fast rules about longevity perhaps – some alcoholics live up to hundred, and some chronic womanisers outlive their own hubris- longevity, if I may essay a religious tone, is a matter of grace. Adebanjo has lived a true life of blessing and amazing grace.

In 1962, during the travails of the Action Group and Chief Obafemi Awolowo’s trial for treasonable felony, Adebanjo was charged for felony, along with 30 others. He had to flee to Ghana. He has been detained more than once for his political beliefs, but this has not altered his resolve. Following the annulment of the June 12, 1993 election, which was won by Chief MKO Abiola of the then Social Democratic Party, Adebanjo was one of the chieftains of the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO). He joined protests, stood at the barricades and made his voice heard. Members of the democratic coalition and other groups in civil society were shot at, harassed, humiliated and their family members were intimidated. Used to the dangers of a political life in a dangerous society, Adebanjo’s resolve remains unshaken, even in the winter season of his life.

When he fled into exile in 1962, his father was arrested, detained and rough-handled by the state. Many of Adebanjo’s colleagues have died in the course of the struggle. Some moved to the other side of the fence. Others adjusted in later life. The very essence of Chief Adebanjo’s politics lies in his consistency, his unwavering commitment to ideas rather than opportunism, his courage in the face of fire and intimidation, the life of sacrifice that he has lived, and his loyalty to Awo and Awoism. On this last score, he may in fact be described as the last of the original Awoists.

This emphasis on ideology, party politics, and Awoism is important, as an entry point into the interrogation of Chief Ayo Adebanjo’s politics. The kind of post-politics reality that has developed in Nigeria since the early 2000s has been a politics that is not driven by any ideology or principles or core beliefs, but by the desperate search for power by any vehicle possible. For this reason, there are many politicians in Nigeria today who cannot effectively articulate what exactly they believe in or stand for, and there are many of them who in less than a decade have used up to about five political platforms of disconcertingly contradictory impressions. This is probably the reason Chief Ayo Adebanjo has stayed away in the last few years from direct party politics. In 1951, he joined the Action Group, in the Second Republic, he was a member of the Unity Party of Nigeria, in the 90s, he was a member of the progressive democratic coalition; with the return to party politics in 1998, he was a member of the Alliance for Democracy which was more or less an Awoist party. When the AD seemed to have transmuted, or well, to have been compromised and something called the ACN emerged, Adebanjo kept his distance and functioned more as a leader of the Afenifere, the pan-Yoruba socio-cultural group, which till date seems more committed to the Awoist ideology. What is this ideology?

The Action Group, the Unity Party of Nigeria, the Alliance for Democracy had consistently preached the same ideology of public good: free education, health, and prosperity for all, rural development and welfarism. It was on this platform that Chief Obafemi Awolowo transformed the Western region as leader in the First and Second Republics and it is these same principles that have continued to guide those who profess to be Awoists. But Awoism in a real sense is not just about service delivery, it is also a mode of engagement with the rest of Nigeria by a group of political actors in the Western region. These actors are committed to federalism, a restructuring of Nigeria, regional autonomy, and a re-negotiation of the mandate of 1914. In real terms, these are the same issues that have caused much political difference in Nigeria. Awoists naturally align with minorities across Nigeria, historical circumstances, particularly the civil war pitched them against Igbos, and hegemonic politics pitted them against the mainstream Northern political establishment. When this is disaggregated, the researcher will find in-between, much that relates to the ethnic, regional and religious politics in Nigeria. I will return to this shortly.

Chief Ayo Adebanjo has been one of the most vocal, most unrelenting apostles of Awoism in Nigeria. His loyalty and religious devotion should be a worthy study. He believes that Nigeria should, no, must be, restructured, and that Nigeria’s unity is indeed negotiable, the basis for that having been established in 1954 and the subsequent Lancaster House conferences. As a member of the 1978 Constituent Assembly, and the 2014 National Political Conference, Adebanjo has been consistent in demanding a restructuring of Nigeria through the vehicle of a Sovereign National Conference. He believes almost with thuggish resolve in federalism, as he continually makes the point that Nigeria as presently arranged is doomed to fail. In his more recent interventions, he argues almost with Papal magisterialism, that Nigeria can only move beyond 2019, if the country is restructured.

It is however this kind of talk that exposes the contradictions at the heart of Awoism and Adebanjo’s own politics. Amitai Etzioni has written about “The Moral Dimension” in a book of the same title: The Moral Dimension: Toward A New Economics, but what he examines is not necessarily economics, but the whole range of social relations. When people assume an absolute, “They and We”, “Them and Us”, “They and I’, “We and Them” deontological ethics, they create a narratology of “I-s” and “We-s”. This is precisely what the original Awoists did and what Adebanjo does with his politics. They assume a superior moral position over everyone else, and whoever does not agree with them or deviates from their own definition of morality or duty is a villain. From Awo to Chief Anthony Enahoro, Chief Bola Ige to Chief Abraham Adesanya to Sir Olaniwun Ajayi, Bishop Gbonigi, Reuben Fasoranti, Chief Alfred Rewane, and Ayo Adebanjo, this very hubris has led to a situation whereby other Nigerians dismiss the principles that this group holds so much dear as nothing more than sheer arrogance, or at best Yoruba irridentism. And yet the label of irredentism is most unfair because the values and principles that Adebanjo has championed in particular are patriotic ideas about the common good. He is not a nihilist. He is not an anarchist. In his entre career, he has only argued for a better Nigeria. What he and his colleagues want is nothing but a better Nigeria and they have demonstrated a capacity and a willingness to work with other Nigerians who share the same progressive ideas.

Beyond this politics, Adebanjo, originally a journalist before he went to study law in England, has proven to be media-savvy. He is not shy in expressing his views. He understands the power of the media. He is brutally frank. He is an engaging conversationalist. He enjoys public engagement. He is intellectually gifted and confident enough to hold his own in any argument. He actually enjoys engaging professional intellectuals and calling them out for duty. You can’t intimidate Chief Adebanjo. You can’t bully him. Journalists like to interview him, knowing that he will speak his mind, truthfully and forthrightly, and thus help to sell the newspaper. But when he dismisses Igbos collectively as he has done, on more than one occasion, or he calls those who disagree with him, ideologically, names as he is wont to do, he reinforces his persona as a professional opposition figure and as a self-styled superior moral force; at the same time, though, he plays up certain contradictions even at his own local, ethnic, base. Awoists by nature and choice are professional opposition politicians. There also seems to be a consensus among them that anyone who disagrees or falls out of line with them is to be vilified.

Chief Adebanjo in and out of party politics has upheld and sustained this tradition: the same tradition that blacklisted Samuel Ladoke Akintola, Adegoke Adelabu, Remi Fani-Kayode, Oduola Osuntokun, Meredith Akinloye, Richard Akinjide or anyone at all who dared to play “national politics” or question the core beliefs of the Awoist group. Hence, today, in his autobiography: Telling it as it is, Chief Adebanjo flagellates Olusegun Obasanjo whom he accuses of not being a Yoruba man or not being Yoruba enough, and so on. Obasanjo can defend himself, so I would leave that task to him. Bola Ige is similarly portrayed as a traitor because he chose to join national politics and work for Obasanjo. In various interviews, Chief Adebanjo is on record as having criticized Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, Professor Yemi Osinbajo and others for daring to work with either Obasanjo or Muhammadu Buhari, who in his view is nothing but a confirmed “disappointment.” The argument about either joining national politics or remaining in the opposition or acting as a moral compass has remained at the centre of Yoruba politics in Nigeria and it may never disappear so soon. Whether it is also right or wrong for a class of ideologues to constitute themselves into dictators of a regional, political ideology is a matter for interrogation. I do not intend to make any final evaluation, not yet.

But just to say that the good news about Chief Ayo Adebanjo is indeed his honesty, his commitment to the tradition of opposition politics, his loyalty and ability to go on record for his beliefs and convictions, his joie de vivre, his objection to dictatorship – military or civilian, his agelessness and the capacity to remain relevant with both the old and the young in all seasons. With him, and the likes of Chief Adekunle Ajasin, Chief Alfred Rewane, Chief Anthony Enahoro, Senator Abraham Adesanya, Chief Olaniwun Ajayi, Chief Olu Falae, Chief Reuben Fasoranti, Bishop Bolanle Gbonigi, Chief Bola Ige, Rev. Emmanuel Alayande … and their mentor, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, you never had to second-guess. You could always be sure of where they stood. We can confidently say that they don’t really make them like that anymore in this age and time when prominent politicians in Nigeria are better known for their dancing, fibbing, and singing skills, the number of women in their harems, and certainly not for the quality of their ideas or principles. Adebanjo belongs to and represents a different tradition of the politics of character and dignity and truthfulness. In recent times, he has projected a lot more of his nationalism, seeing how Yoruba politics has turned out perhaps in the hands of new stakeholders – with his support of “the handshake across the Niger” and his focus on more nationalistic issues about Nigeria’s future.

At 90, with all his faculties in place, Ayo Adebanjo cannot however, be under any illusion that the battle for the soul of Nigeria has been won, or that Muhammadu Buhari would preside over the restructuring of Nigeria, or that Obasanjo would suddenly be as Yoruba as he wishes him to be, but he can look back with satisfaction at the meaningful life that he has lived, the struggles that he has been part of, the legacy that he has championed, and that he has lived long enough to tell his story by himself, read his own story as told by others, and enjoy the pleasure of poking a finger or two, in the eyes of his critics. They may not give him a national honour, which he more than deserves, or name a university after him in his lifetime, but he would be respected always, most certainly, for his special service as someone who selflessly wants the very best for his own people and for all Nigerians and stands by what he believes in. Enjoy your 90th birthday sir. Have fun.

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President Buhari Seeks To Recontest in 2019



President Muhammadu Monday in Abuja declared his intention to seek re-election in 2019.

President Buhari made the declaration at a closed-door meeting of the National Executive Committee of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

The President said he was responding to the clamour by Nigerians to recontest in 2019, adding that he wanted to give NEC the honour of notifying them first.

Shortly before making the declaration, the President presented a speech on the report submitted by the APC National Executive Technical Committee.

His remarks:


I am delighted to welcome you all to this very important meeting in the affairs of our party and our country. I want to specifically thank members of the Technical Committee for a job well done within the limited time frame.

2. It shows a great sense of commitment to the ideals of our party with a view to consolidating and positioning the party to continue delivering good governance in the overall interest of Nigerians.

3. With the present state of the party and based on the report submitted by the Technical Committee, It is important to focus on how to move the party forward by avoiding actions detrimental to the interest of the party. Considering that politics is a game of numbers, we must not be a house divided against itself and must try to note, appreciate and accommodate our differences as far as the law permits.

4. Upon my review of the Report, my position is to ensure that the party tows the path of unity, legality and cohesion and not that of division.

5. Therefore, I am stressing that we should strengthen our internal democracy by organising the Party’s Congresses and Convention where election of National Executive Committee members would be held. This will automatically end the cases filed by members seeking orders of Court compelling the party to hold its Congresses.

6. I also believe that the current executives should be free to vie for elective positions in the party if they so wish as permitted by our Party constitution.

7. However, considering the provision of Article 31(1)(iii) of the APC Constitution which requires any serving officer desirous of seeking re-election to resign from office 30 days before election, I am not sure of the practicality of present serving officers’ ability to meet this condition.

8. Accordingly, the party may consider granting waivers to party executives at all levels so that they are not disenfranchised from participating in the elections should they wish to do so, provided this does not violate our rules.

9. Necessary waiver(s) should also be extended to executives at the Ward level whose tenures may have elapsed, and indeed to anyone knocking at our doors from other political parties. This is in the spirit of the Right to Freedom of Association guaranteed by the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).

10. In this circumstance, the party should officially issue a statement on the above Waivers so that our house may be full. We all must not be ignorant of the times, and the journey that is ahead of us.

11. Just like our party symbol; “the Broom,” which typifies strength in unity, let us strive to remain united in our purpose. Victory is sure by the Grace of God, and together we must continue to sanitize Nigeria’s political environment.

12. Once again, I welcome you all to this meeting with the hope that we will, in our deliberations today, conduct ourselves without rancour and promote the highest interest of the party and the nation.

As gathered by Naija Online TV

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Tinubu Colloquium And The ‘Benching’ Of Fashola As A Spectator By Enitan Olukotun


Tinubu Colloquium And The ‘Benching’ Of Fashola As A Spectator By Enitan Olukotun

Immediate past governor of Lagos State, Mr Babatunde Raji Fashola, (SAN) as a football enthusiast understands the pain a star player goes through when benched for a less skillful player. While the star player would be concerned about his career, millions of fans around the globe would be grappling to know why the coach fails to show ‘Messi’ when the game became unbearable.

Most often, in the game of football , team handlers and their managers have genuine altruistic, not self-serving motive of resting their bests. But in politics, it is a jungle game.

Treacherous intrigues and use of fiery darts are part of the rules of the games.

The foregoing aptly captured what I observed at the 10th Bola Tinubu Colloquium held at the Eko Hotels on last Thursday.

It was astonishing to watch an erstwhile poster boy and the beacon of hope of then opposition, Action Congress of Nigeria(ACN), which later morphed to APC reduced to an ordinary spectator in a state he governed for 8 years.

Fashola, an arguable super performer who raised the bar of service delivery in governance in Nigeria watched the event from his seat at the second row designated for ministers.

But Fashola didn’t belong to the second row at such an historic event.

Despite his shortcomings, he stood to be counted when it mattered most for Lagos ruling political class.

The bellwether minister who should be a proud host of President Muhammadu Buhari was mistaken for a grade-B guest in Lagos, his home state.

If the position of his seat was immaterial, the none-role for Fashola at such an epoch event which had the President in attendance was a rift taken too far.

He was not even graced with honour to supervise the cutting of the cake nor given the task for vote of thanks. Yet, Fashola is the actualizer of modern Lagos.

If Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo unwittingly grouped Fashola among the ministers while saluting dignitaries, it was obviously not an oversight for the celebrator, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu not to specifically recognize his successor.

For Tinubu, there would not have been a better opportunity to demonstrate to the people who scorned and expressed doubt about his role as chief peace missioner in APC that he meant business.

This systematic degrading and humiliation of the former governor didn’t start last Thursday.

On the occasion to celebrate Governor Akinwunmi Ambode’s 100 days in office, similar treatment was meted to Fashola whom was said not to have been invited by Lagos State Government but for Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo who prevailed on him to join his entourage to Lagos.

He was not accorded the honour to commission any of the projects not even the LASEMA Emergency Centre in Cappa, Oshodi, which he (Fashola) had completed before he left office as the governor.

The political stature and influence of Tinubu would have shrunk like other governors in class 1999 if Fashola had not been a great successor.

The lion of Bourdillon could roar and expand his political conquest to other terrains because his successor was succeeding at home.

The former Chief of Staff turned governor was a political bulwark for Tinubu.

Tinubu, perhaps would have ceased to be Jagaban of Lagos, not even the touted Africa, if Fashola was like Theodore Orji, the successor of Orji Uzor Kalu of Abia State who schemed out the boss of relevance and retired Kalu politically turning him to a stateman without a state.

There were ample opportunities for Fashola to retire Tinubu. But he was benevolent to his benefactor.

In 2006 in the run up to 2017 general elections, when the speculation of stopping BRF for second term was rife, Fashola had the best chance to forever cage the lion of Bourdillon politically but he deferred to Tinubu.

The popularity of Fashola occasioned by his sterling performance in the areas of infrastructure, education, environment, health and his respect for social contract that existed between the governed and those in authorities was palpable and could not be denied by his most vitriolic critic .

Fashola became a strong brand, a mass movement peopled and driven by Lagosians.

If he had jumped ship, victory was certain and that would have signaled the political eclipse of Jagaban Borgu.

For this singular honour, Tinubu should be eternally grateful to a loyal and competent protégé despite the recent fallouts.

Former governor Fashola was a great asset in dislodging the behemoth PDP.

He modeled a seemingly working template for other aspirants in the then opposition to market to voters in their respective states. Many rode on the crest of his popularity and exemplary leadership to power.

Again, despite the wrangling of the APC governorship primaries, in 2015 Fashola enlisted to campaign vigorously for a former Accountant General in the state, Akinwunmi Ambode as the flag bearer of the All Progressives Congress, APC in Lagos.

He took Ambode round Lagos assuring Lagosians of his credibility and ability to deliver. They mounted rostrum together to canvass for votes.

Unlike Ambode, Fashola was a match for the PDP’s Jimi Agbaje who is imbue with great charisma and gift of gab.

Fashola did the most of the talking all through the campaign trail.

Fashola fantastically marketed Ambode as yet another performer who will consolidate his achievements and chart greater development path for Lagos.

While Fashola was firing darts at PDP-controlled federal government led by Goodluck Jonathan, the former governor and the campaigner in chief was hitting Jimi Agbaje below the belt in Lagos.

Shortly after Ambode emerged winner in a fiercely contested election, an agenda and campaign to totally alienate Fashola from the political landscape of Lagos was afoot.

The first salvo was the revelations of alleged odious multi-million Naira deals Fashola cut while in office.

The Ambode-led government regaled the public on how Fashola dug two bore-holes for a whopping N139 million and designed personal website for N78 million.

The alleged sleaze alarmed Lagosians who had earlier adored Fashola as a saint.

The image and reputation of the former governor were irreparable shattered while he strove in vain shrug off the stigma of a treasury looter.

Against all expectations, President Muhammadu Buhari ignored the ‘glaring’ allegations of corruption against Fashola and made him the most influential and powerful minister in his cabinet saddling him with onerous duty to oversee three critical ministries of Power, Works and Housing.

As Fashola moved to Abuja, political associates and friends of the former governor were wielded out of the Lagos State system.

Permanent Secretaries and heads of agencies perceived to be loyal to Fashola including the sister of the former governor were rudely shown the door.

In the same manner, structures at the grassroots suspected to be sympathetic to the minister were either dislodged or coerced into the new emergent force.

In furtherance of the campaign to run the former governor out of relevance and obliterate his achievements from the consciousness of Lagosians, there were systematic efforts to undo Fashola’s feats.

The PSPs waste management scheme set up by Fashola was disbanded for Visionscape, a foreign environmental services firm which is enmeshed in controversies.

Kick Against Indiscipline brigades was replaced with Lagos Environmental Sanitation Corps (LAGESC).

The Ilubirin Housing Scheme which was under construction before the former governor left office is abandoned.

No single brick has been added since Fashola left Lagos.

This writer also gathered that Governor Akinwunmi Ambode is yet to allot parcel of land for Fashola to build Federal Housing Scheme for Lagosians which many states have plugged into.

The consequence of the Ambode/Fashola faceoff is dire on Lagos.

A bustling city plagued by huge housing deficit should not be denied of a Federal-government housing scheme because of rift between two leaders within the same political family.

Enitan Olukotun, a journalist wrote from Lagos

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Fatee Mohammed Bags Excellence Award, Fetes The Poor At Easter


Fatee Muhammed Bags Excellence Award, Fetes The Poor At Easter

A frontline candidate for the House of Representatives in Ifako-Ijaiye, Lagos State, Hon. (Mrs.) Fateemah Muhammed, has been honoured with an award of excellence. The grassroots politician, on Sunday, March 25, 2018, bagged the ‘Young Politician of the Year’ category in the awards event organized yearly by the Mayor Akinpelu-led Global Excellence magazine.

Also, 20 other notable celebrities from various professional fields were equally honoured with different categories of award.

Fateemah, the beautiful CEO of ‘Unstoppable Handlers’, a top-class drinks outfit, didn’t just develop passion for public service; she started politics at the advent of the present democratic dispensation in 1999. Her service was recognized as a formidable member of the Bola Ahmed Tinubu Campaign Organization, upon which experience she rose through the ranks and now gunning for a House of Reps seat in Ifako-Ijaiye under the platform of People’s Democratic Party (PDP).

Meanwhile, as Easter season comes, Fateemah, who is acknowledged for her passion for giving and empowerment, is doing it again through her charity scheme, ‘Women Empowerment Initiative’. She is giving out out to the poor in the spirit of Easter.

We learnt that about 250 families in her Ifako-Ijaiye constituency would be entitled to various gifts items, including cash gifts. She says of her passion; “It’s the season of love. We do this all the time, but we make it special during a period like this. We can’t help but show love to our people who cannot afford the basics and the necessities”.

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Apostle Suleman Gifts Benue IDPs, Builds House For Widow


Birthday Gesture: Apostle Suleman Gifts Benue IDPs N5m, Builds House For Widow, Shares N32m To Church Members

Sunday, March 25, 2018, was yet another momentous time for servant of God and president of Omega Fire Ministries worldwide (OFM), Apostle (Prof.) Johnson Suleman. It was his birthday celebration. And the day witnessed massive celebration as the church chose to host him and his lovely to a special feast.

From the giant cake to the impressive decoration of the church premises, the colourful atmosphere occasioned by the regal presence of spiritual men and women of caliber, the shindig was one of the best in planning in recent time.

Characteristics of him, Apostle Suleman, a firebrand preacher of the Word, who sauntered into the venue in the company of his beautiful and lovely wife, Reverend (Mrs.) Lizzy Suleman, their children and top ministers of the OFM, used the opportunity of the celebration to extend blessings in kind and cash to the less endowed of the society, including his church members, educational institution, and even students.

Significantly, the ‘Oracle of God’ as Apostle Suleman is respectfully addressed, shared a thought with Benue State government by offering N5 million in aid of persons displaced by recent herdsmen/farmers’ clashes.

OFM church workers who have continued to dedicate themselves to God’s service, were blessed with N32 million by Apostle Suleman. The man of God also donated a 133kva electricity transformer to the medium security prisons in Auchi, while a widow was blessed with a befitting house fully furnished.

A block of classrooms was also donated to a secondary school in Akpekpe, Etsako Central Local Government Area, Edo State and the tuition fees of students under his ‘Apostle Suleman Scholarship Fund’ were fully paid.

Information revealed that these regular gestures meant to relieve the burden on the government are being done from Apostle Suleman’s private pockets through his charity foundation, ‘Touch of Love’.