By Owei Lakemfa
HONOURABLE Oladipo Olatunde Adebutu, 57, is a wealthy Nigerian. He seems to have everything going well for him. He was elected into the National Assembly in 1992, at 30. A Commissioner in Ogun State from 2007 and currently a member of the National Assembly from which he is aspiring to become the Executive Governor of Ogun State. His chances seem quite bright given the fractious state of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC.
Adebutu, the official candidate of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, enjoys the full confidence of the party’s national leaders and has spent a lot of money on his campaigns. The challenge, however, is that the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, does not have him on the ballot. Rather, it has the name of his rival, Senator Buruji Kashamu! As things are, even if the PDP wins the Ogun State gubernatorial elections through the efforts and heavy investments of Adebutu, another person will be sworn in; he would have laboured for another to reap. Honourable Adebutu is like a man who goes to fetch water in a well but finds the well on fire; may we not fetch water in a basket.
The Allied Congress Party of Nigeria, ACPN, was an unknown party until former Minister of Education, Oby Ezekwesili became its presidential candidate. The party chairman, Abdul-Ganiyu Galadima became her running mate. Overnight, the party became one of the top five, as adjudged by the Presidential Debate Group which made it eligible to share the national debate platform with the leading parties: the APC and PDP. When Galadima ‘debated’ against Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo and PDP running mate, Peter Obi, it was a no-contest as he fumbled through, including mixing tenses. But it was enough that he suddenly became an identifiable face. When on January 24, Ezekwesili suddenly withdrew from the presidential race, Galadima and his party became orphans. Clearly, Ezekwesili was the live wire, and life line of the party. Her withdrawal crashed the party’s fortunes. Hapless party leaders within hours, called a press conference attacking her person. And before their stocks would become completely worthless, they quickly endorsed President Muhammadu Buhari’s re-election bid. Sharp guys!
Suleiman Bogoro was Executive Secretary of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund, TETFUND, from 2014. In 2016, President Buhari, the Czar of the anti-corruption crusade sacked Bogoro on the allegation that he misappropriated N200 billion. He was replaced by Abdullahi Bichi Baffa. Last Monday, the President again wielded the big stick in the agency, sacking Baffa for the same reason and the same amount of money for which he had removed Bogoro. But the surprise was that the same Bogoro was returned to the same office on the same terms. The Presidency did not tell the country whether the accusations it made against Bogoro turned out to be false, or he has simply been forgiven and told to sin no more. It might also be possible that President Buhari found out that Bogoro served President Goodluck Jonathan well, and with the general elections less than one month away, it was necessary to reinstate him. May those who seek to disgrace us, turn around and endorse us as happened to Bogoro in TETFUND. I congratulate him, and advise Baffa to go and intensify his prayers, as President Buhari may reinstate him.
Rivers State Governor, Ezenwo Nyesom Wike who is seeking another four-year term has been in public office since the return to civil rule 20 years ago. He was local government chairman, Chief of Staff, Education Minister before berthing at the Rivers State Government House. Everybody expected his re-election to be quite bloody as his former boss, Rotimi Amechi, who appointed him Chief of Staff and nominated him a Minister, vowed that Wike will not return. Both men have their private armies who had fought pitched battles in the state, and Amechi has the additional advantage of controlling the fearsome Police Special Anti-Robbery Squad in the state. Also, Amechi is not only the powerful Minister of Transport, but also the Director- General of the President Muhammadu Buhari Re-election Campaign organisation.
But Wike and other contestants from the PDP in the state may have an easy ride because rather than fight Wike, Team Amechi turned against itself with members using arms, thugs and the courts to oust themselves out of the elections. As things stand few weeks to the elections, Amechi and the APC have no candidates on the ballot papers. The prayer is, may God set confusion in the camp of our enemies so they fight and destroy themselves. The prayer point is ‘Let my enemies be scattered.’
A similar scenario is playing out in Zamfara State where the party leader, and Executive Governor, Abdul’aziz Abubakar Yari, 51, raised an army against his national party leaders. He dared them to set foot in the state. As the chief security officer of the state, he promised they will not leave alive. So the party ended up with no candidates.
Now, Yari who is also the Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, and his party seem to be seeking ways of contesting the elections in the state. Given serious incidents of banditry in the state, Yari says he has lost control and asked the Federal Government – run by his party – to declare a state of emergency. This will mean his abdication and the imposition of Marshall Rule. The implication might be that elections, with the exception of the Presidential, will have to be postponed which will give the party the opportunity to fill candidates in the postponed elections.
If no state of emergency is imposed on Bornu State which is the epicentre of the Boko Haram terrorist earthquakes, is it in Zamfara that one will be imposed? There are some prayers that will not be answered. Ameen!
Lagos State Police Commissioner, Edgal Imohimi might have gone to church on Sunday, January 13 when his replacement was announced. Lagos is a very lucrative state and Imohimi is said to have a special relationship with Governor Akinwumi Ambode. Two days later, he gathered the Divisional Police Officers, DPOs and the media to witness the handover to his successor, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Kayode Egbetokun, an engineer and mathematician. Coincidentally that same day, Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Kpotun Idris retired, handing over to Mr. Adamu Mohammed. As Imohimi moved to begin the ceremony, he got a phone call from Headquarters halting the handover and ordering him to remain the Lagos Police Commissioner. When he broke the good news to the DPOs, there was jubilation.
When our position seems threatened and people begin to mock us, may we receive that call solidifying our position and lifting us up. So shall it be for Nigeria. Ameen!