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”THE UNSPIRITUAL SIDE OF ASO VILLA”, Femi Adeshina replies Reuben Abati

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Let me begin with two clarifications. Aso Villa is not my home, I am just passing through. Even this world is nobody’s home, we are just birds of passage. So, let nobody turn up his nose in derision, and say; “he’s writing like the landlord of Aso Villa, defending a place where’s he’s just a tenant.” Yes, nobody is landlord in the Villa, not even rational presidents. They can only live there for maximum of eight years, if Nigerians so decide. And for me, my treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue. The angels only need to beckon me from Heaven’s open door, and I wouldn’t feel at home in this world anymore.

The second clarification. Let nobody, particularly on social media, begin to insinuate that Femi Adesina is at war with Reuben Abati, his immediate predecessor as presidential spokesman. This piece you are beginning to read is not about Abati as a person, it is about his spiritual ideas and convictions, which I think need some appraisal, as they are rather unspiritual. Abati and myself have been professional colleagues for almost 30 years, we have a lot of mutual friends, and know how to reach each other when necessary. So, this is not a case of Muhammadu Buhari’s spokesman being at war with Goodluck Jonathan’s spokesman. What for?
In his piece in The Guardian of October 14, 2016, Abati wrote under the headline, ‘The spiritual side of Aso Villa.’ What were his conclusions? For the benefit of those who did not read the highly entertaining piece (in fact, there were moments I had my two legs in the air, laughing, as I read), let me do a brief summary. Call it ‘gospel’ according to Abati, and you would be right: There is some form of witchcraft, which causes occupants of Aso Villa to take weird decisions. Working in the Villa makes you susceptible to some sort of evil influences, because there is something supernatural about power and closeness to it. Some of those who lived or worked in the Villa had something dying under their waists (for the men), while some of the women became merchants of dildo, because they had suffered a special kind of deaths in their homes. “The ones who did not have such misfortune had one ailment or the other that they had to nurse. From cancer to brain and prostate surgery and whatever, the Villa was a hospital full of agonizing patients,” Abati posited.
Reading the piece through, you would think Aso Villa was nothing but what Godfrey Chaucer called “a thoroughfare of woes.” In fact, Abati submitted that the Villa “should be converted into a spiritual museum,and abandoned.” Holy Moses! Jumping Jehoshaphat!
If Aso Villa was such a haunted house, why then do most occupants like to stay put, right from the first tenant, Ibrahim Babangida, who was virtually forced to step aside in August 1993? And why did Goodluck Jonathan, Abati’s principal, spend money in trillions (in different currencies of the world), just to perpetuate himself in a house that consumes its occupants? Being a literary scholar, Abati would remember the doctor in Macbeth, that work of William Shakespeare, who was detailed to cure Lady Macbeth of the neurosis that afflicted her, after she had been party to the deaths of King Duncan and Banquo, so that her husband would be the king of Scotland. A spiritually troubled Lady Macbeth sleepwalked every night, trying to wash her hands of the innocent blood that had been shed. The doctor was so fed up with the terrifying atmosphere, that he said to himself:”Were I from Dunsinane away and clear, profit should hardly again draw me here.” Did Abati ever say the same of the Villa, a place where men became women “after something died below their waists?” We do not have it on record that Abati showed a clean pair of heels, or that he would not have stayed if Dr Jonathan had won reelection, and had asked him to continue in his position as adviser on media. Or was it the case of eternal fascination for the thing that repelled and terrified you? Mysterium tremendum et fascinas, as it is called in Latin.
For me, what Abati did in the October 14 piece was simply a glorification and deification of superstition, something that attempted to elevate works of darkness above the powers of God. The writer merely fed the cravings and propensity of people for the supernatural, in a way that stoked and kindled the kiln of fear, rather than that of faith.
Let’s take the issues one after the other, and look at them against true spiritual principles. Christianity is the one I am most familiar with, and that would be my benchmark.
In Aso Villa, houses were haunted, people were oppressed into taking curious decisions, they fell ill, died, or suffered the losses of loved ones, so Abati claimed. Are such peculiar only to the presidential villa? Should all those who live or work there automatically enjoy immunity from the vicissitudes of life, simply because they walked the corridors of power? Wasn’t President Umaru Yar’Adua right inside the presidential villa, when he told us on national television: “I am a human being. I can fall sick. I can recover. And I can die.” That was a practical man for you. Abati unwittingly wants his readers to believe that once you operated in or around Aso Villa, you became a superman. No. You are as mortal as can be. The Holy Bible does not even give us such leeway. “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man…”(1 Cor 10:13). There are certain things common to man, and they can happen to you wherever you are. At the White House. At 10, Downing Street. Buckingham Palace, Aso Villa. Wherever. “But such as is common to man…” Let no man feed us with the bogey that such things happen because of where you live or operate from. There are some things that are just common to man, and which may happen to you as long as you are on this side of eternity.
I lost my sister in a road crash last year. She was a professor of Dramatic Arts at the Obafemi Awolowo University in Ile-Ife. Abati knew her well, as they both did post-graduate studies at University of Ibadan in the 1980s. Abati was among those who called to condole with me. My sister never visited the Villa in her lifetime. Even if she did, that could never have had anything to do with her death on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway. To believe and teach otherwise is to carry superstition to ridiculous level, and venerate the Devil, granting him omnipotence, an attribute that belongs to God only. For the Devil, doing evil is full-time business, and whether you had anything to do with Aso Villa or not, he continued with his pernicious acts. Does that then suggest that mankind is helpless before evil? No. God still has ultimate powers. He can spare you “as a father spares the son that serves him.” (Malachi 3:17). If you are under the pavilion of God, sleep, wake and operate daily in Aso Villa, you are covered, no matter the evil that lurks around, if any. There is a better covenant established on greater promises, and that is the canopy under which you should function. God can spare you from all evils, and if He permits any other thing, it is “such as is common to man,” and not because of Aso Villa.
If houses catch fire in the Villa, how many conflagrations occur in other parts of the city? If some men in the Villa suffered erectile dysfunction in Abati’s time, doesn’t the Journal of Sexual Medicine tell us that about 20 million American men have something that has died under their waists? It is one thing that became prevalent in the last two to three decades, due to modern lifestyle. Causes range from age, to stress, depression, anxiety, alcohol, medication, and several others. Even, a study showed that watching too much television kills something under the waist. So why does Abati make it seem as if it is a copyright of Aso Villa?
Now, another clarification. Don’t I believe in demonic infestation and manifestation? I sure do. I wouldn’t be a student of the Holy Bible if I don’t. Jesus talked of the man who got delivered from demonic possession, and because that man did not yield himself to a better influence, the evil spirit that inhabited him came back with seven more powerful spirits, and the end of the man was worse than his beginning. Abati wrote of persons in the Villa, “walking upside down, head to the ground.” Let me share this story I heard over 20 years ago. There was this young Christian who gave scant regards to demons and what they could do. In fact, he almost didn’t believe demons existed. One day, as he walked along the ever busy Broad Street in Lagos, God opened his spiritual eyes. Some people were walking on their heads! And not only that, as they passed by other people, they slapped them with the soles of their feet. If you got so slapped, you developed an affliction, which you would nurse for the rest of your life. Yet, you never knew where it came from.
As the young man saw that vision and got its spiritual explanation, he began to s-c-r-e-a-m. Was that in Aso Villa? “Such as is common to man…” Evil exists everywhere. Trying to source and locate it in Aso Villa is disingenuous. You need God everywhere. In Europe, Asia, America, Oceania, Aso Villa. There is evil everywhere, and we need not make fetish of any place as being more evil infested than other places. Since Satan got thrown out of Heaven due to his inordinate ambition, evil had resided in the world. “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!” (Isaiah 14:12). The Devil lives in the world, but God is never helpless before evil. He will never be. Let the Devil commit suicide if he is not happy about that fact. God rules!
If every principal officer including the President and his wife suffered series of tragedies as Abati claimed, and he himself had breathing problems, and walked with the aid of crutches for months, it was ” such as is common to man” and not necessarily because they were in Aso Villa. But of course, if such people put their hands in evil, possibly to gain some things in power or perpetuate themselves beyond the time heaven granted, then “he who rolls a stone, a stone shall be rolled back to him. He that digs a pit, shall fall into it.” That is what the Good Book says. You can then hardly blame Aso Villa for such payback time, can you?
To avoid getting sucked into what Abati calls “the cloud of evil” that hangs around power, what to do is to hold ephemeral things loosely. Know that they are temporal, and will truly end. Power is one of such things. Will anybody be a permanent landlord at Aso Villa? It would be foolhardy to have such mindset. A couple of times I’d had some private discussions with President Buhari, and he had lamented the state of the nation, he invariably ended with the statement, “while we are here, we will do our best.” It shows a man who knows that he’s not a permanent landlord at Aso Villa, and can never be. He would use the opportunity he has to do his best for Nigeria, and then move on. That is a good mindset, and a safety valve from getting sucked into “the cloud of evil.” Daily, I tell myself that I am just passing through Aso Villa. And while there, just like my principal, I will do my best. It could be long, it could be short, depending on God and the man who appointed me, but one day, it would be over, and some other people would come in to do their bit. It is inexorable. The real treasures are laid somewhere beyond the blue.
Abati says we should pray before people pack their things into Aso Villa. I say not just Aso Villa, but everywhere. Pray before you pack into any place, because there are some things “such as is common to man.” It is only God that keeps from such. And He is sovereign in terms of what He prevents, and in what He allows. Ours is to pray, and believe. Prayer works.
“Aso Villa is in urgent need of redemption. I never slept in the apartment they gave me in that Villa for an hour,” wrote Abati. Well, different strokes for different folks. Hear what the Good Book says: “It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows; for so he giveth his beloved sleep.” Here am I. For over one year, I have lived in the house allocated to me at the Villa. I sleep so soundly, I even snore. In fact, I snore so loud that at times, I wake myself up with the sound.

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.Adesina is Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to President Muhammadu Buhari

 

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Sahara weekly online is published by First Sahara weekly international. contact saharaweekly@yahoo.com

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Egbe Obaneye Okunrin Earmarks #15m To Empower Members At SME Business Seminar

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Egbe Obaneye Okunrin Earmarks #15m To Empower Members At SME Business Seminar

Egbe Obaneye Okunrin Earmarks #15m To Empower Members At SME Business Seminar

 

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SAHARA WEEKLY Reports That One of the fastest growing age-groups, otherwise known as Regbregbe in Ijebuland, Egbe Obaneye Okunrin Akile-Ijebu will on Tuesday, May 28, 2024 hold the second edition of its SME Business Seminar.

 

 

 

 

 

Egbe Obaneye Okunrin Earmarks #15m To Empower Members At SME Business Seminar

 

 

 

The event which promises to be business friendly and educative has been scheduled for Chinese Hall, of the upscale Conference Hotel, Ijebu-Ode, the heartbeat of Ijebuland.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

According to a statement by the headship of the Regberegbe, Giwa Oluseye Yusuf, the group through its Baba Egbe has earmarked #15m for the empowerment of 10 members during the SME business seminar to be anchored by Mr Bola Bhadmus, CEO WelthBrifge Asset Management Limited.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘You are cordially invited to the Idokowo Egbe Obaneye 2.0 SME seminar, where industry experts and thought leaders will share insights and strategies for small and medium-sized enterprises to thrive in today’s dynamic business landscape. Join us for a morning of networking, learning, and growth’.

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How RealtorMax became one of the fastest-growing real estate companies in Nigeria – Mike Adeyemi

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How RealtorMax became one of the fastest-growing real estate companies in Nigeria - Mike Adeyemi

How RealtorMax became one of the fastest-growing real estate companies in Nigeria – Mike Adeyemi

Nigeria’s real estate industry has witnessed significant growth in recent years, with many companies battling for a stake in the market.

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How RealtorMax became one of the fastest-growing real estate companies in Nigeria - Mike Adeyemi

However, RealtorMax, owners of Urbanmax Estate, Owode Obafemi, Ogun State and Aje: The Wealthy Residence, in Ibeju Lekki area of Lagos stood out to emerge as one of the fastest-growing real estate companies in the country.

Based in Lagos and founded a few years ago by Mike Adeyemi, an innovative young entrepreneur, Realtormax has achieved success in a relatively short period.

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The company’s vision to redefine affordable housing in Nigeria and across Africa has been the driving force behind its operations, and it has remained committed to this mission since its inception.

According to Adeyemi, its commitment to developing new towns around the metropolis by not just selling lands but holding buyers by their hands and guiding them towards owning their dream homes whether luxury or affordable set apart the ambitous and fast growing firm from other real estate companies in Nigeria.

The company is not just a facilitator of land purchases; it takes a hands-on approach by engaging in project management, providing critical infrastructure, offering building materials at highly doscounted rates, providing amenities such as internet, banks and road, as well as consulting. This approach ensures that clients receive fully realised and developed their choice properties with minimal stress.

Adeyemi’s emphasis on integrity, quality, innovation and attention to detail have set a standard that has become the hallmark of RealtorMax ’s projects.

According to the CEO, RealtorMax has a line up of more innovative solutions that will redefine the landscape of real estate in Nigeria powered by technology and new thinking.

“With our plans which we shall be rolling out in due course, we will deploy technology to make not just home ownership smooth and worry free but will help many more become smart investors who will partake in amazing global real estate ventures, maximise profits and benefit from joint investment platforms,” he noted.

He added: “One of the notable projects currently being undertaken is the almost 500-acre Urbanmax Estate, located in the Owode Obafemi area of Ogun State, near the Shagamu Express Interchange, which sells for N1.3million per plot (500 SQM). The eco-friendly estate offers a range of residential and commercial options with modern amenities, providing residents with a comfortable and convenient lifestyle.

“In addition, RealtorMax Limited is also developing Aje: The Wealthy Residence, in the vibrant Ibeju Lekki area. This luxurious residential development showcases our commitment to delivering high-quality and prestigious homes for discerning buyers at N32millon per plot (500 SQM). So, we offer dream homes to all our customers whether their choice is luxury or affordability.

Both estates offer opportunities to enjoy eco-friendly homes with close proximity to Lagos metropolis.

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Nigeria Breweries-Felix Ohiwerei Education Trust Fund flags off 10th edition of Maltina Teacher of the Year Competition

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Nigeria Breweries-Felix Ohiwerei Education Trust Fund flags off 10th edition of Maltina Teacher of the Year Competition

Nigeria Breweries-Felix Ohiwerei Education Trust Fund flags off 10th edition of Maltina Teacher of the Year Competition

 

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The Nigeria Breweries-Felix Ohiwerei Education Trust Fund has announced the call for entries for the much-anticipated 10th edition of the Maltina Teacher of the Year competition.
Entries for the competition open on Thursday, May 16, 2024, and will close on Friday, July 19, 2024. The competition remains a platform to appreciate and reward teachers for their significant contribution towards the development of the education sector in Nigeria, while inspiring excellence in teaching.
To participate, eligible teachers can visit the dedicated website (www.maltinateacheroftheyear.com) to complete the entry form online. Alternatively, they can download the form, complete it, scan it, and email the completed form to maltinateacheroftheyear@heineken.com
Speaking at the flag-off ceremony held in Lagos today, Managing Director, Nigerian Breweries Plc, Hans Essaadi who was represented by the Human Resource Director, NB Plc, Grace Omo-Lamai explained that the flag-off of this year’s edition represents the beginning of another journey to appreciating and celebrating the tireless efforts and dedication of teachers.

Essaadi stated that the company through the Felix-Ohiwerei Education Trust Fund remains unwavering in its commitment to supporting teachers in shaping future leaders and changing the lives of students for the better in Nigeria.

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Nigeria Breweries-Felix Ohiwerei Education Trust Fund flags off 10th edition of Maltina Teacher of the Year Competition

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“The Maltina Teacher of the Year competition presents an opportunity to express our gratitude to teachers for the sacrifices they make, the extra hours they invest, and the guidance and mentorship they provide to ensure the success of our youth. Through this competition, we aim to recognize the efforts of teachers in the countless ways they have shaped our future. We acknowledge their selflessness, their passion for teaching, and their relentless pursuit of the growth and development of our nation,” he said.

 

 

 

He stated that it was exciting to note that other corporate organizations have come on board to be part of this transformative initiative, adding that Union Bank of Nigeria Plc and Woodhall Capital Foundation have been enlisted as main partners while First City Monument Bank and Alert Group are supporting partners for the competition.
In her keynote address, the Corporate Affairs Director, Nigerian Breweries Plc, Sade Morgan, disclosed that the competition remains a veritable platform to reward and inspire teachers for their invaluable contribution to the development of education and society at large.

 

 

 

Morgan stated that the platform aims to recognize and appreciate teachers for the stewardship of our most precious national resource – the youth.
“Indeed, our teachers continue to play their role effectively and, as such, deserve to be appreciated, recognized, and celebrated for what they have done, and what they continue to do, to make society what it is today, particularly in the human and national development,” she said.

 

 

 

She disclosed that secondary school teachers in both public and private schools are eligible to participate in the 10th edition of the Maltina Teacher of the Year competition.
Speaking on the reward earmarked for the winners, she noted that the overall winner for the 2024 edition would receive a trophy, a total cash prize of N10 million, and a capacity development training opportunity abroad while his/her school receives either a block of classrooms or a computer laboratory.
“The first runner-up of the competition will equally receive a trophy and a total sum of N3,000,000, while the second runner-up receives a trophy and a total sum of N2,500,000. All State Champions will be rewarded with recognition plaques and a cash prize of N1, 000,000 each”, she added.
In her remarks, Winner of the 2023 Maltina Teacher of the Year Competition, Adeola Adefemi while praising NB Plc for the competition stated that her emergence as winner has attracted pride, fame, and fortune.
According to Adefemi, the success has become a confidence booster and attraction to several global opportunities in the teaching profession.
Goodwill messages of support were delivered by representatives of the corporate partners and key stakeholders in the education sector, such as representatives of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), All Nigeria Confederation of Principals of Secondary Schools (ANCOPSS), and the Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria (TRCN).
The Maltina Teacher of the Year competition was established in 2015 and funded through the Nigerian Breweries-Felix Ohiwerei Education Trust Fund, which was set up in 1994 to facilitate an active contribution to the development of the education sector in Nigeria in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal, SDG No.4.
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ABOUT THE MALTINA TEACHER OF THE YEAR COMPETITION
In 2015, Nigerian Breweries-Felix Ohiwerei Education Trust Fund introduced the Maltina Teacher of the Year, a national competition, to identify, honor, and reward outstanding teachers in Nigeria.
Maltina Teacher of the Year is proudly endorsed by the Federal Ministry of Education and other education stakeholders including the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), All Nigeria Confederation of Principals of Secondary Schools (ANCOPPS), and Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria (TRCN).

ABOUT NIGERIAN BREWERIES-FELIX OHIWEREI EDUCATION TRUST FUND
The Nigerian Breweries-Felix Ohiwerei Education Trust Fund was set up in 1994 with a startup capital of 100 million Naira to enable sustained quality education through structured intervention in the sector.
The Fund has footprints across the six geographical zones in Nigeria at primary, secondary, and tertiary levels of education. Through the Fund, NB Plc has constructed and furnished over 400 classrooms, sanitary facilities, and libraries in 74 communities across the country. The Fund has also granted scholarships to deserving students in tertiary institutions

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