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Fashola dresses Buhari in borrowed robes





Tunde Odesola


After spending over 46,824 hours in office as the 15th Nigerian Head of State without tangible achievements to show for it, Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, has besmeared the image of Nigerian President, Major General Muhamadu Buhari (retd.), with the mishmash colours of green, white, grime and deceit.

I’ll confess. Fashola never set out to disfigure the President. He actually set out to drape the threadbare Buhari government in brilliant paints, but somewhere along the line, Fashola stepped on gloss and tripped, inadvertently dipping the canvas bearing Buhari’s image in a smorgasbord of riotous colours.

Thus a bespattered Buhari image emerged with red lips, purple head, green torso and blue limbs – in the eyes of millions of Nigerians who are daily whacked by hunger and stricken by diseases, withering and falling off to death like brown leaves falling off iroko tree.


Verily, verily, I say, Nigerians living below the poverty line won’t look at Fashola with kind eyes, aka ‘oju ire’, for the interview he granted last week to celebrate Nigeria’s 60th independence anniversary.

Eni ba ma je ogun k’ogun, o gbodo pa itan k’itan is a Yoruba proverb that warns against the antics of the undeserving, laying false claims to unmerited inheritance. Fashola really put up a keen effort to paint the Buhari regime in bright colours but his bucket of white paint fell flat on hot tar.

Exactly one year ago, an unpalatable index on the World Poverty Clock gave credence to the wracking poverty in the land, saying 94 million Nigerians spend less than $1 each per day and live below the poverty line. With the stagnating unitary system of government tenaciously run by the country and the ruinous coronavirus pandemic, the number of Nigerians living below the poverty line must have shot beyond the sky by now.

Nigerians who fall into this starving category can confirm that when hunger sits in the pit of the stomach, nothing else can enter, except food. Anger is the monster in a hungry man.

In the story published in The PUNCH on October 1, 2020, Fashola said Nigerians are disappointed in the Buhari regime because they lack a proper understanding of the functions of government at different levels. Insult upon injury!

The PUNCH report quoted Fashola as saying, “The government that can transform and give us what we want quickly are the governments closest to us – state and local governments.

“Looking for the Federal Government or a magic President is why we seem to have been disappointed. We’re looking for the results in the wrong place.”

Expatiating, Fashola said that basic infrastructure like primary healthcare, primary education, among others being agitated for by many Nigerians, are the responsibilities of state and local governments.

Fashola, a silk, is dead right and I agree with him.

But the over 94 million Nigerians daily threatened by starvation are grumbling and insisting that their tears of poverty haven’t blinded them from seeing the truth and asking, “Are state governments responsible for the billions-of-naira-gulping white elephant called Aso Rock Clinic? Are state governments responsible for federal universities, polytechnics, colleges of education and secondary schools, where maggots swim in toilets, bedbugs snuggle under duvets and electricity lies in the belly of darkness.

Ensconced within the high walls of his palatial residence in Abuja, the murmuration of Nigeria’s 94 million suffering heads can’t reach up to Fashola on his high horse, but I’ll help them amplify it, though I’m fully in support of Fashola in his intolerance of the masses’ stupidity.

With refreshed nowness, I can hear the 94 million rejects of the scorched Nigerian earth recalling that this isn’t the first time left-handed Fashola would viciously pull the ears of the Nigerian masses and ram down his knuckles on their fungi-ravaged head.

To properly situate Fashola’s indignation of the Nigerian masses, the 94 million poverty population looked back in time and paused at the December of 2018 when Fashola, defending the underachievement of Buhari in the power sector, said, “There are problems, without a doubt, and we must deal with them. But let me remind you, all of the assets that the Ministry of Power used to control were sold by the last administration before I came. And so if you don’t have power, it’s not the government’s problem. Let’s be honest.”

Fashola didn’t shut up. He spoke further, “The people who are operating the power sector, generation and distribution are now privately owned companies. I’m here because I’m concerned. If your telephone is not working, it’s not the minister of telecommunication that you go to. Let’s be clear.”

Nigeria’s 94 million suffer-heads won’t let Fashola the philosopher king be. They mutter and accuse him of also opening his mouth in November 2019 to say Nigerian roads weren’t as bad as they were being portrayed by Nigerians.

The latest lecture on the functions of government is the third consecutive year when the masses will be lacerated by the sharp tongue of Fashola, who as two-term Lagos governor, inscribed signs along horrible federal roads, saying, “This is a Federal Government road, please, bear with us,” to mock the Peoples Democratic Party-led FG when his All Progressives Congress administration rehabilitated some federal roads in Lagos.

Aside from the referenced story of Fashola in The PUNCH of October 1, 2020, the elated minister also granted an exclusive video interview to News Central TV to celebrate Nigeria’s pyrrhic independence.

In the interview, Fashola spoke about the need for Nigeria to continue to exist TOGETHER as one indivisible entity, the aspirations and duties of the Nigerian youth, the ‘enviable’ level of Nigeria’s infrastructure and his Sugar Candy Mountain dream about Nigeria’s future.

Despite ruling for more than five years in office, Fashola, in the video interview, couldn’t mention ONE tangible achievement of Buhari, but tried to teach Nigerians what they can do for their country, and not what the country can do for them.

If the interview was to project Fashola as a brilliant technocrat and position him ahead of 2023, it failed disastrously as his responses not only contained grammatical blunders, it also was an untrue assessment of the socio-political temperature of the country.

Blandly stating the obvious, Fashola said in the video interview, “I think the thing that is true is that our economy and our population has (sic) grown faster than the rate of deployment of the infrastructure,” while he enjoined the youths in these words, “You don’t need a title to serve, there are so many little little things everybody can do, in his community, in his home, his family that adds (sic) up…Life itself and progress is (sic) a very dynamic and continuing effort.”

Dubiously, all the mouthed projects of the Buhari government listed by Fashola as ongoing infrastructural works are in the pipeline, not one has been completed. These include five competitive 21st Century type airport terminal buildings, road network, rail network; Lagos-Kano rail, Ilorin-Abuja rail, Lagos-Ibadan rail and an increased broadband connectivity that will ‘link the last man’ and all Nigerian villages. Let someone shout, “H-a-l-l-e-l-u-y-a-h!”

Despite all these undelivered heaven-on-earth promises, an all-knowing Fashola still has the audacity to lecture Nigerians on how to use his word-of-mouth infrastructure, tasking Nigerians to use his unseen infrastructure with a sense of duty.

By telling Nigerians to place their expectations for electoral deliverables on state and local governments, Fashola underscores the deafening call for restructuring. But need I whisper to him that, ‘President Buhari mustn’t hear such a heresy!’

In the ecstasy of Nigeria’s diamond jubilee, Fashola says, “I see that future already in my mind’s eye.” I see no future but farce. If Buhari had put his hands to the plough since May 29, 2015, Nigeria should be singing Bob Marley’s ‘One Love’ today, but Eedris Abdulkareem’s ‘Nigeria Jagajaga’ is what I hear.

There’s a natural mystic blowing through the air.




Sanwo-Olu, Cabinet Members Visit Obasa Over Father’s Demise



Sanwo-Olu, Cabinet Members Visit Obasa Over Father's Demise

Sanwo-Olu, Cabinet Members Visit Obasa Over Father’s Demise












– Governor presents condolence letter to Speaker







– Obasa says Lagos Assembly is governor’s support base









Sahara Weekly Reports That Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Friday led members of his cabinet to the Agege home of the Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Ajayi Obasa, on a condolence visit over the demise of Alhaji Suleimon Atanda Obasa.










Alhaji Suleimon Obasa, father of the Speaker, passed away on Tuesday at 83 with Governor Sanwo-Olu describing the incident as shocking especially as he was hale and hearty a few days before his demise.










“On behalf of the government and the people of Lagos State, I want to extend my sincere condolences to you and the entire Obasa family.






Sanwo-Olu, Cabinet Members Visit Obasa Over Father's Demise






“No matter how old one’s parents are, one can never want them to go. So one can imagine the shock that the incident came with, but we have the belief that it was the appointed time.


“This is something that all of us owe life. We only pray that we live long and leave good legacies.


“It is clear that having produced you, your dad actually left a good legacy. So the onus is now on you to carry on with his good works as a community leader and one that brought together the entire family,” the governor said.


Sanwo-Olu also commended the Speaker for his effective leadership of the Assembly and his service to Lagos. He prayed that the Speaker will continue to have the capacity to lead the legislative arm as he had always done.


In his response, Dr. Obasa described the House as the Governor’s support base adding that the legislative arm is poised to ensure the success of the current administration.


Obasa said the visit by the Governor and his cabinet is a confirmation of the love, cooperation, unity and friendship that radiate in government.


“The truth is that I hold you in high esteem always. And because we have the same father in Asiwaju Tinubu, we have always worked for the same goal which is service to the people of Lagos.


“I always say there is no amount of money one can acquire that would sustain one better than what one has done in one’s community,” the Speaker said noting that Agege has experienced massive progress because of the Governor’s collaboration and intervention.


“Like I continue to say, we should continue to be particular about the people, not ourselves because there will come a time when we will leave office and people will make reference to what we have done.


“Mr. Governor, you’re my brother anytime and day. Whatever we achieve in the House of Assembly is because you support us. We are there to work for your success and that is why as part of our religion, we must pray for you, the deputy governor and every other person before ourselves. That’s the only way one can grow,” Obasa added.


Eromosele Ebhomele

Chief Press Secretary to the Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly

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Yahaya Bello: Anti-Corruption CSOs question alleged unusual collaboration between opposition parties, EFCC



Yahaya Bello: Anti-Corruption CSOs question alleged unusual collaboration between opposition parties, EFCC

. Those still calling for Bello’s arrest ill-informed, sponsored by opposition figures

. We refuse to support lawlessness, EFCC should reform its activities



Again, scores of Anti-Corruption Civil Society Organisations have kicked against what they described as the perceived use of the platform of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission by politicians to fight their political battles.

They said this during an emergency Press conference on Friday, in reaction to a joint press conference by “a civil society organisation and a group, which called itself Kogites United Against Corruption Coalition.”


The frontline CSOs, led by the Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, wondered why a few Nigerians were not seeing the persecution in the current case against the former Governor of Kogi State, considering the anomaly in the undending calls for arrest, mainly by members of the opposition party in the state, in collaboration with alleged sponsored CSOs, when the matter was before the courts.

According to them, the line-up of lawyers, both at the Tribunal and as seen on the current charge sheet against the former Governor, throws up the name of the same lawyer standing for the opposition party at the Tribunal and for EFCC in the suit against the former Governor.

Addressing the press on Friday, Chairman, CACOL, Debo Adeniran, said, “One wonders how opposition politicians and the EFCC now collaborate on a case of corruption allegations as is so glaring in this matter. We are aware of all the clandestine meetings by opposition political parties with some activists with a view to sponsoring protests and Press Conferences against us. For as long as they do that, they’ll continue to spoil their own case in public view and justify the fact that this is beyond corruption investigation but direct persecution.”


They described those who addressed a press conference, calling for the arrest of the former Governor and attacking their activities as “ill-informed folks” allegedly being sponsored by opposition political parties who had seen the EFCC as a reliable ally in actualising their interests.

“Today’s Press Conference by those ill-informed folks, who we have reasonable suspicion are being sponsored by opposition political Parties who are fighting their own political wars on the matter and, even, the Commission against us, was filled with a poor comedy of judgment and an apparently orchestrated blackmail against our coalition. This is why this is so political rather than prosecutorial,” the activists said.

According to them, the EFCC would be doing itself a lot of good by ignoring characters asking the Commission to disobey lawful court orders and apply maximum force by bringing in the military “with a view to violently arresting a defendant we are repeatedly told by the Commission is being investigated for ‘white collar crimes.'”

Adeniran said, “Anyone who has even a little knowledge of our pedigrees in the fight against corruption should know that we have fought many battles against corruption and at the same time against all forms of injustice in this country, even at the risk of our lives and livelihoods. We do not pick and choose which injustice to fight against. We invest time, energy, resources and relationships into pursuing the cause of justice throughout this country for decades now.

“We are not emergency activists and we are beyond compromising even with all the billions in the world. We stand for the cause of humanity which is about justice, fairness and the highest ideals of a decent and free society.

“Therefore, any individual or a group of individuals who allege us of supporting corruption is either ignorant of the subject matter or doesn’t know us at all and, therefore, cannot make an informed judgment on us or our activities.”

The CSOs said their struggle was not only against corruption but also against injustice, adding that they would not be intimidated into silence in the EFCC/Yahaya Bello matter because there was a clear case of injustice and disrespect for the rule of law, which in itself was corruption.

Adeniran stated, “We are not politicians and we are not in the business of partaking of the loot by corrupt public officials, we fight them. Even as a sitting president, we came out vehemently against Olusegun Obasanjo because we believed he had a case to answer. Who paid us to do that?

When the current EFCC Chairman was nominated and there was brouhaha about his qualification for the job due to him not having a security training background, I was among the leading figures who stood by him and insisted that he was qualified enough for the office. Many groups were sponsored against his confirmation, some of whose leaders I personally called to convince them to drop their opposition and they did. How much did the EFCC chairman or anyone pay me for that?

“When he was eventually confirmed, we not only congratulated him but we also cautioned that he should avoid the pitfalls of his predecessors by doing everything according to law and must never act contrary to the orders, rulings and judgments of courts of competent jurisdiction because that would be a recipe for anarchy and his own downfall like the others. We were confident that as a lawyer, a senior one for that matter, he wouldn’t follow the route of disobedience to lawful court orders.

“Therefore, when we saw that the commission under him was tilting towards that direction, we decided to speak up as a reminder to the chairman that this wasn’t the way to go. Nobody should take this as a crime against us. We refuse to be intimidated into silence. We refuse to stop speaking out against injustice. We refuse to support lawlessness.”

The activists said an EFCC chairman should engage in less of media celebrity show and concentrate on the critical assignments of making the Commission work.

“An EFCC chairman should not be someone you see everyday in the media exposing critical information that should even be secret in order to assist in the effectiveness of their investigation. An EFCC chairman should be seen lesser but be heard by the competence and capacity he brings to bear on his office. That is why the Commission has a publicity department. Let them do the talking whilst you provide effective leadership,” they insisted.

“I don’t know Yahaya Bello, I’ve never met him, I don’t intend to meet him. But the same way that the June 12 actualization struggles were not about M.K.O Abiola as an individual is the same way that this intervention is not about Yahaya Bello as a person,” Adeniran noted.

“Already, many of Yahaya Bello’s supporters are alleging an assassination plot. The government would do well to avoid anything that could confirm these suspicions and the only way to avoid this is by playing by the rule of law to the letter,” he said.

Those who represented over 80 Anti-Corruption Civil Society Organisations on Friday were Comrade Sina Loremikan (Campaign Against Impunity); Comrade Olufemi Lawson (Centre for Public Accountability); Declan Ihekaire (Activists for Good Governance); Gbenga Soloki (CAIDOV); and Ganzallo Gbenga (Transparency Advocacy for Good Governance).
Others were Comrade Funmi Jolade (Community Women Forum); Princess Ada Nwandu (Ohaneze Youth); Alh. A. Abdullahi (Justice and Peace Centre); Comrade Adeshina Ishola (Transparency Agenda); Comrade Daniel Oyesola (Stop Impunity Coalition); Comrade Leke Adebanjo (Committee for Amnesty); and Kayode Sampson (Democracy and Justice Forum), among others.

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Rivers’ Journey of Transformation Under Fubara* By Paul Thomas



*Rivers’ Journey of Transformation Under Fubara*

By Paul Thomas



As I stepped into Rivers State, I was bracing myself for accounts of a prolonged and bitter conflict, perpetuated largely through social media and fueled by a dominant narrative that has come to define the state in recent times – one of incessant strife and unyielding hostility. Expecting to witness chaos and turmoil, I was prepared to encounter a state mired in political squabbles and clashes, as sensationalized by the headlines. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find a vastly different reality. Instead of the anticipated disorder, I was met with a transformative landscape that told a more comprehensive and optimistic story, one that is frequently obscured by the din of political theatrics. Under the visionary stewardship of Governor Sim Fubara, Rivers State is undergoing a remarkable renaissance. In a mere 10 months, Fubara has spearheaded numerous projects, effecting a radical overhaul of the state’s infrastructure and ushering in an era of peace and security, thereby redefining the very fabric of the state.

One of the most striking aspects of Governor Fubara’s administration is his commitment to peace and security. During my visit, I observed a palpable sense of calm and safety. People went about their daily activities without fear, a stark contrast to the tense atmosphere that once pervaded the state. This peace is not accidental; it is the result of deliberate policies and actions by the governor. His administration has prioritized security, investing in the police force and implementing measures to curb crime and violence. The once-turbulent state now exudes an aura of calm, an evidence to Fubara’s commitment to security. But it’s the infrastructure development that truly left me in awe.


In this last 10 months, Governor Fubara has embarked on an ambitious journey to reshape Rivers state. From the bustling city of Port Harcourt to the serene rural areas, the signs of progress are evident. Roads are being constructed and rehabilitated, schools are being renovated, and healthcare facilities are being upgraded.

One of the most impressive projects is the reconstruction of the Port Harcourt-Aba Road, a critical artery connecting the state’s economic hubs. This thoroughfare, once notorious for its deplorable condition, has been transformed into a modern, safe, and efficient transportation route.

Governor Fubara has recently reaffirmed his commitment to delivering the highly anticipated 12.5km Trans-Kalabari Road project, and has taken a significant step towards realizing this promise by paying 30 percent of the contract sum to mobilize the contractors to commence work on the project, thereby ensuring its timely completion. This development has brought immense joy to the people of Kalabari Kingdom, who have long awaited the transformation of the swampy areas, and are eager to reap the economic benefits that the completion of the road project will bring. By taking concrete action to fulfill his promise, Governor Fubara has demonstrated to his people that he is a leader who not only makes promises but also manifests them, thereby earning their trust and admiration.


Fubara’s team has also made significant strides in healthcare, with the establishment of world-class medical facilities and the revitalization of existing ones. The Rivers State University Teaching Hospital, a flagship project, has become a beacon of hope for quality healthcare in the region.

The realm of education, a crucial facet of societal advancement, has been accorded significant consideration by Fubara’s administration, which has undertaken a multifaceted approach to enhance the sector. Not only have schools been constructed and renovated, but also a conducive learning environment has been fostered, enabling students to thrive academically. Moreover, the introduction of innovative programs and scholarships has empowered the youth, equipping them with the skills and knowledge necessary to excel in an increasingly complex world, thereby brightening their future prospects.

Furthermore, the governor’s unwavering commitment to infrastructure development has extended to the state’s waterways, with the construction of modern jetties and terminals, which has not only augmented transportation but also stimulated economic activities, creating novel opportunities for trade and commerce to flourish.

The incessant unveiling of projects serves as a testament to the unwavering commitment of Governor Fubara’s administration to crafting a more affluent and thriving future for Rivers State. These projects, while indispensable for the state’s advancement, transcend mere physical edifices; they embody the very essence of a revitalized Rivers State, one that is forging ahead with unyielding resolve and unwavering purpose.

What left an indelible mark on my psyche was the palpable sense of pride and proprietorship exhibited by the residents. They spoke of Fubara’s projects with an air of possessiveness, expressing heartfelt gratitude for the profound and transformative impact on their daily lives, thereby underscoring the profound connection and sense of belonging that has been fostered between the government and the governed.

Fubara’s administration has tackled the state’s longstanding challenges with a multifaceted approach. From road construction to healthcare and education, every sector has received a boost. The governor’s dedication to creating a conducive environment for growth and prosperity is palpable.

Yet, despite these positive developments, the narrative about Rivers state in the media remains largely negative. The feud between Governor Fubara and his predecessor, Nyesom Wike, dominates the headlines, overshadowing the transformative work being done in the state. This focus on conflict is not only misleading, but it also does a disservice to the people of Rivers state, who are eager to move beyond the past and embrace the future.

Governor Fubara is not a man easily swayed by distractions. He remains focused on his vision for Rivers state, a vision of growth and prosperity. His commitment to this vision is evident in his actions. Despite the challenges and obstacles, he continues to push forward, undeterred by the noise and distractions.

My journey through Rivers State revealed a narrative beyond the feud – a tale of transformation, progress, and hope. Governor Fubara’s infrastructure revolution has set the state on a path towards sustainable growth and prosperity, inspiring a new generation of Rivers indigenes. The old narratives of conflict and feud are slowly being replaced by stories of progress and development. And at the center of this transformation is Governor Fubara, a leader who is not just building infrastructure, but also building hope.

It is imperative that we redirect our attention away from the protracted and contentious rivalry between Fubara and Wike, and instead devote our energies to acknowledging and appreciating the transformative initiatives underway in Rivers State. Let us commemorate the significant advancements achieved thus far, confront the obstacles that lie ahead with courage and resilience, and offer our unwavering support to the ongoing pursuit of a more prosperous and enlightened Rivers State. For ultimately, it is not the conflicts and discord that define our character, but our capacity to transcend them and pave a path towards progress and growth. And under the visionary leadership of Governor Fubara, Rivers State is indeed charting a course towards a brighter future, one marked by tangible progress and unwavering determination.

This is a call to action. A call to change the narrative about Rivers state, to focus on the positive developments, and to support the transformative journey being led by Governor Fubara. For it is in this journey that the true story of Rivers state lies, a story of resilience, progress, and hope.

Rivers under Governor Fubara is a state in transformation. It is a state that is shrugging off the shadows of its past and embracing a brighter future. It is a state where the daily lives of its residents are improving, where security is being restored, and where development projects are being executed with impressive efficiency. Amidst the noise of political rivalry, this is the narrative that deserves to be heard. This is the Rivers that I saw, and this is the Rivers that Governor Fubara is building.

As I left the state, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of optimism, knowing that Fubara’s vision will continue to shape a brighter future for Rivers.

Thomas is a UK trained freelance journalist writing from London.

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