Making Renewed Hope Agenda work for Nigerians, All hands must be on deck — Senator Rilwan Adesoji Akanbi
Senator Rilwan Adesoji Akanbi, is a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, APC and founder, Coalition Movement for Àsiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu (COMBAT). Under the auspices of South West Agenda for Asiwaju (SWAGA), he was one of those who canvassed vigorously for the election of Tinubu in the last general election. Akanbi represented Oyo State, South, senatorial district at the 8th National Assembly.
He spoke in this session on the politics and governance of Tinubu among other sensitive issues.
You were part of those at the forefront that passionately canvassed for votes for President Tinubu. How would you assess the state of the nation so far?
Professor Wole Soyinka has spoken that we should give this administration a year. A year is about 25 percent of the tenure. Assessing a government now could be unfair. Things are so hard; things look bad but the government said it is laying solid foundation. After a year, let us see what those policies they have put on the table will bring to the masses. You can assess a government through the welfare of the populace but doing any assessment now would be unfair because it’s still early in the day. Let us give them a year, at least, Campaign will start third year. Assessing a government now will be unfair because even the policies may not have started maturing.
Things are getting harder; shouldn’t it have been a case of Nigerians seeing evidences of things getting better?
You can only assess a government through the wellbeing of the citizens, as Í pointed out earlier. If you do that right now, through the wellbeing data, you may score the government low. The basic things of life are falling under luxurious items. The prices of food items have skyrocketed. There is no way you can score a government high if the minimum wage is N30,000 and the price of rice is N60,000. I am not giving excuse for them but I think what they met on the ground was not what they expected. The cost of rising debt, for example; if that subsidy was not removed, Nigeria would have been taken over by her debtors. There was no way they could continue that subsidy but the palliative arrangement was not well put together or was put in a hurry. Governance is not about Mr President alone. The cabinet, governors, ministers; all hands are supposed to be on deck but all hands are not on deck, some are under; some are on top. It is so unfortunate that the masses are suffering.
But the consolation is that government is not folding its arm.
What should the government be doing?
The government said they are putting policies together. The cost of production in the manufacturing industry has gone up by 40 percent. Manufacturing industries are not working to full capacity. No manufacturing company can function effectively without constant supply of electricity. You can’t solve multi-dimensional problems with one solution. It is so unfortunate. Constant electricity supply will create jobs, reduce the cost of production; artisans will be better off. If they can turn it around, it will ease a lot of things, as it will create employment. Most artisans rely on electricity as the cost of powering their equipment with generating sets and it is becoming unbearable. Constant supply of electricity can help turn around the economy. Also, insurgency is not disappearing; it is even getting worse in the last three months. As a result, farmers will abandon farms; cost of production is increasing. Insecurity is a major factor and it has a chain effect on food production. Farmers are abandoning their farms and the population is growing higher by the day.
You worked with great zeal in the emergence of President Tinubu under the platform of the South West Agenda for Àsiwaju (SWAGA), but so far, none of the arrowheads of SWAGA as we learnt has been ‘compensated’ through political appointment. What is the feeling of your SWAGA members presently?
I am sure they are feeling bad. I am a founding member and co-chairman of SWAGA. SWAGA came up after the EndSARS which targeted President Bola Tinubu. After the EndSARS, the rating of President Tinubu went low. I do not know why SWAGA is being neglected. Secondly, I, singlehandedly came up with another group known as COMBAT ( Coalition Movement for Àsiwaju Bola Ahmed Tiñúbu) in Oyo State. And Oyo State gave Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu the highest surplus in Nigeria, that is 265,000 surplus. The irony is that the people that are benefitting from Oyo State, some never worked for the victory of Àsiwaju.
Governor Sanwoolu Replicates Primate Ayodele’s ‘Palliative Market’ Initiative In Lagos
*Governor Sanwoolu Replicates Primate Ayodele’s ‘Palliative Market’ Initiative In Lagos*
Since Nigeria has been enmeshed in economic hardship that started after the removal of fuel subsidy last year, Primate Elijah Ayodele, a Nigerian prophet, has been practically taking several measures to alleviate Nigerians from penury through different philanthropic activities.
Long before fuel subsidy was removed, Primate Ayodele has always dedicated the first Sunday of every month for ‘food service’, a service where everyone would go home with packs of food items like Rice, Beans, Garri, crates of eggs, tubers of yam, and a token.
Immediately fuel subsidy was removed, Primate Ayodele doubled his effort by making food service almost every Sunday. He understood the effect of the fuel subsidy removal on Nigerians and as an influential personality in the country, he effectively played the role of a succor provider for the people.
As time went on, the federal government announced that it will release some funds for palliatives in order to reduce the impact of fuel subsidy removal which has turned out to become a full blown economic hardship. When the government came up with this idea, Primate Ayodele knocked down the idea and said it would be another means to embezzle funds because it won’t get to the right people.
These were his words,
’’The N8,000 palliative is corruption, I see nothing in the palliative and it will not reach out to the poor masses. Despite the fact that Mr President has signed it, it will not make any impact. The governors will use it for their selfish needs. The poor will not enjoy it at all.’’
‘’It will not be a blessing to the majority, the palliative is just a waste of time and energy, it cannot work for its purpose,’’
Ever since, Primate Ayodele proposed in his heart to teach the government how to effectively organize a palliative that will impact the people directly. Instead of merely talking, Primate Ayodele went ahead to organize a ‘palliative market’ where he sold food items for ridiculous prices.
The idea behind this palliative market was to purchase items at the exorbitant prices they are being sold for and sell to the people at cheap prices. The first edition which was held in November 2023 saw a bag of rice sold for less than N5,000. There were other items like beans, indomie, tubers of yam, garri, groceries, turkey, groundut oil sold for very ridiculous prices and this wasn’t opened to church members alone, people from distant places benefited from this initiative.
As if that wasn’t enough, again on Wednesday,14th Of February 2024 to celebrate his annual thanksgiving programme, Primate Ayodele held another edition of palliative market and sold a full bag of rice for N20,000. There were also different food items bought at exorbitant prices by the man of God and sold to the people at cheap prices.
While speaking at the palliative market, Primate Ayodele called on state governors to replicate the same palliative market initiative in their various states because of the economic hardship in the country. He explained that affordability of food will go a long way in reducing the impact of the hardship on citizens.
In response to Primate Ayodele’s actions and calls, it appears Lagos state government has keyed into the palliative market initiative with the announcement of Governor Babajide Sanwoolu on Thursday morning during a live interview session.
Given the rising cost of food and other staples, Mr Sanwo-Olu expressed the state government’s resolve to open more markets where residents can buy food items at discounted rates.
Specifically, the governor disclosed that plans have been concluded to open Sunday Markets in at least 42 identified markets across the state where residents will be able to buy food items at discounted price. “You will only be able to buy items worth up to N25,000,”
This is no doubt a welcome development and it vividly shows that state governments are now interested in doing the right thing for the benefit of the people. If other state governments follow suit, the impact of economic hardship would be reduced to its barest minimum.
Labour Party Candidate Accuses Former Chairman of Forgery and Electoral Sabotage in Ebonyi State
Labour Party Candidate Accuses Former Chairman of Forgery and Electoral Sabotage in Ebonyi State
Eze Oko Splendour, the Labour Party’s 2023 governorship candidate for Ebonyi State, has levelled serious allegations against the party’s former National Chairman, Julius Abure, in a statement released on Wednesday. Splendour accuses Abure of orchestrating a campaign of “criminality, deceit and manipulation” to deny him the governorship candidacy.
Following his victory in the party’s primaries, Splendour claims Abure pressured him to step down in favour of Edward Nkwegu Okereke, who had unsuccessfully contested the primaries for the All Progressives Congress (APC). When these efforts failed, Splendour alleges Abure resorted to forgery, fabricating a withdrawal letter bearing his forged signature and submitting it to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to facilitate an illegal substitution.
“I was left in utter shock when I eventually caught wind of the reprehensible actions of the former Chairman,” Splendour states in a speech he read at a press conference. He describes Abure’s actions as a “betrayal of trust” and a “brazen act of criminality” that undermines “internal party democracy, free and fair elections, and the rule of law.”
Splendour further claims that after pursuing legal action, the Federal Criminal Investigation Department (FCID) recommended Abure’s prosecution. However, he expresses concern that the case has stalled, prompting him to appeal directly to the new Attorney General of the Federation, Lateef Fagbemi.
“The prosecution of Abure is not only a matter of justice but also a reaffirmation of our commitment to the principles of transparency, fairness and accountability in governance,” Splendour emphasizes. He urges Fagbemi to take swift action, highlighting the importance of holding those who attempt to manipulate elections accountable.
He concludes with a call for upholding the rule of law and ensuring no one is above it. While Abure has yet to respond to the allegations, Splendour’s accusations raise concerns about potential manipulation within the Labour Party and the integrity of electoral processes in Ebonyi State.
Also the party Governorship flag bearer in plateau state had his name removed and substituted by National Chairman, Julius Abure who allegedly forged his signature on purported letter of withdrawal.
EFCC declares Leno Adesanya, promoter of Sunrise Power, wanted
EFCC declares Leno Adesanya, promoter of Sunrise Power, wanted over ‘corrupt offer to public officers’
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has declared Leno Adesanya, the promoter of Sunrise Power and Transmission Ltd.
In a notice issued on Tuesday, the EFCC said Adesanya is wanted “in an alleged case of conspiracy and corrupt offer to public officers”.
Adesanwa was mentioned in three out of the seven-count charges preferred against Olu Agunloye, former minister of power and steel.
The EFCC is prosecuting Agunloye over the $6 billion Mambilla hydropower contract.
TheCable had reported that EFCC traced some suspicious payments made by Sunrise Power and Transmission Ltd to Agunloye’s bank accounts.
In one of the counts, the EFCC alleged that on August 10, 2019, Agunloye “corruptly received the sum of N3,600,000.00” through his Guaranty Trust Bank account no.0022530926 from Sunrise Power and Transmission Company Limited (SPTCL) and Leno Adesanya for approving the Mambilla Hydroelectric Power Station project.
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo had challenged Agunloye to tell Nigerians where he derived the authority to award a $6 billion contract to Sunrise for the Mambilla hydropower project in 2003.
Sunrise Power is in arbitration with Nigeria at the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), Paris, France, alleging a breach of contract.
The company said it was awarded a $6 billion build, operate and transfer (BOT) contract in May 2003 by the Obasanjo administration but that the federal government repudiated the agreement.
Sunrise is asking for a compensation of $2.3 billion, claiming it had spent millions of dollars on financial and legal consultants before the contract was jettisoned.
In its defence at the arbitration, the Nigerian government is alleging fraud and corruption of public officials in the award of the contract.
The matter is similar to the P&ID case in which a UK court nullified an $11 billion award against the country for the same reasons.
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