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100 Days Giant Strides of  Yobe Governor, Buni | By Abba Dukawa

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Benjamin Franklin once said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” Abraham Lincoln was even more graphic in underscoring the value of planning when he said, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four hours sharpening the axe.”  

 

As an observer, since Governor Mai Mala Buni
took over the affairs of Yobe State,  he had unveiled his administration’s readiness to partner with North East Development Commission, local and international humanitarian organizations toward implementation of his ambitious Resettlement, Reconstruction and Rehabilitation (R3), for the people affected by insurgency to live a life of honour and dignity.  To accomplish his plan named – R3,  Governor Buni signed an agreement  with Family Homes Funds Ltd,  to construct 2, 600 housing units across the state.

The houses, comprising two-bedroom and three-bedroom bungalows, will be built at the total cost of N10, 830, 339, 654.00 with an envisaged completion period of 18 months.

 

Within one hundred days in office he had made   a giant stride in many infrastructural developments in the state, starting from  Agricultural development in the state, Buni’s administration plans to hold another “Yobe Agricultural Retreat”,  the retreat aimed at assembling relevant stakeholders  to re-position agriculture and move it away from its current subsistence level to a commercial enterprise.

 

For example, Yobe State Governor, Mai Mala Buni directing that a bag of the NPK varieties, which sells for N10, 000.00 in the open market, be sold to farmers at the subsidized rate of N3, 000.00 and also unveiled 103 Mercy Ferguson tractors which will be deployed to the 17 local government areas to be used by farmers’ associations to boost food production in the state.

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On his aspersion towards  improving  educational development in the state, precisely on Wednesday, June 19 this year in Damaturu, the state capital, the stakeholders in primary and secondary education gathered to proffer solutions to the emergency declared on the sector in the state.  The summit birthed a working committee called the ‘Technical Committee to Revitalise Basic and Secondary Education’, which was charged with the responsibility of materialising the lofty recommendations of the education summit.

 

In his efforts toward sustaining the success of the education summit,  the governor has already studied and approved the report, and instructed for specific course of action to be taken, including the recruitment of qualified teachers, establishment of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education schools, and an audit of teachers across the state to ascertain their competencies and determine those who need training, re-training or even deployment to other sectors as appropriate. There is justified hope that education in Yobe State will witness an  outstanding uplift in the coming months and years.

 

On healthcare delivery as the saying goes, health is wealth; Mai Mala’s  administration considers it necessary to upgrade the capacities of health institutions in the State by providing state-of-the-art medical facilities and equipments to provide the best services to the people.

 

Governor Buni  continues to look into the welfare of healthcare providers to enhance healthcare delivery. Mala’s administration set to establish at least one functional primary Health Care Centre in each of the 178 wards of the State. Similarly, General hospitals on the course in the Local Government Headquarters where none exist to ease the burden of travelling long distances to access secondary healthcare services.  His administration   fast – tracked the establishment of the Contributory Health Management Agency and a Drugs and Consumables Management Agency to make the state eligible to access the basic healthcare provision fund.

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The state’s economy is largely dependent on the federal allocation with very low Internally Generated Revenue (IGR). However , Governor Buni had set to change this trend of the state dependency on the monthly federal allocation.  To achieve his administration’s target towards improving  the state Internally Generated Revenue (IGR), Governor Mala Mai Buni has already provided 50 hectares of land in Potiskum for the construction of trailer park under the  Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement.

 

The foundation-stone-laying ceremony of the park, which will also house a mechanic village, hotels, fuel stations, among others, and projected to create over 5,000 direct jobs was performed receynty.  In conjunction with the Nigerian Shippers’ Council, Governor Buni is building a Modern Trailer Park in Potiskum, which has the distinction of being home to the highest number of trailer trucks in the whole of the North.

 

The purpose of human life is to serve and to show compassion and the will that will help others. Described by most people as gentle, generous, humble, trustworthy, extremely loyal and down-to-earth, Mai Mala no doubt, displayed high and esteemed leadership qualities which endeared to the people of the state. Indeed, he perfectly fitted into the postulation by John C Maxwell when he said: “Success knows your purpose in life, growing maximum potential and sowing seeds that will benefit others.

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The 100 days in Yobe State have been action-packed and applause-worthy and indicate that the governor has started his journey on a very sound footing. Nevertheless, Governor Buni has gone beyond sharpening the axe in many areas of infrastructural development. He has already chopped down many trees these past 100 days.

 

What should be obvious by now to any perceptive observer is that Buni has devoted a large chunk of his first 100 days in office to plan, strategize and solicit broad experts counsel on government policies, planning and forethought are central to success in governance.

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Opinion

Makinde’s Concession of Agbowo Complex: Is 4.9Billion Naira Equal 50years? | By Moruf Smith

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Yesterday, Governor of Oyo State, Engineer Seyi Makinde flagged off the concession of the long moribund Agbowo Shopping Complex to Messrs Whitestone Global Limited at a cost of 4.9 Billion Naira on a long lease of 50years!

 

The company was given a mandate to renovate the complex to a commercial real estate and a 4-star hotel within 24 months. In his remarks at the flag off event, Governor Makinde took a swipe at the immediate past administration of late Senator Abiola Ajimobi which signed an MOU with Agbowo Mall Infrastructure Development Company Limited to remodel, redevelop and rehabilitate the expansive complex at a cost of 8 Billion naira. The said MOU was said not to have seen the light of the day until the tenure of the last administration wound up.

However, the concession of the complex by the current administration was not a smart move. It was not well thought out. Everything was wrong with the concessional arrangement; from the funding of the concession to the long lease of 50 years. It’s worthy of note to revisit the story behind Agbowo Shopping Complex.

The complex was constructed by the administration of late Chief Bola Ige in 1983 on 30 plots of land. The complex was being managed by Oyo State Housing Corporation and had been a source of employment and job opportunities for the teeming people of the state while it contributed to the economy of the state and a source of revenue to the government. But Agbowo Complex suffered neglect and mismanagement as successive governments in Oyo state made no effort to resuscitate the sprawling monument until the administration of late Senator Abiola Ajimobi decided to renovate it.

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The immediate past administration signed an MOU as explained above but a protracted court case remained a clog in the wheel of progress on the renovation of the abandoned complex. It’s however not clear whether the present government has resolved the issue of the court case on the complex before the governor went ahead to initiate the concession.

It ought to be commendable that, at last, pragmatic efforts were being made to get Agbowo Shopping complex up and running. But what cast doubts on the sincerity behind the latest flag off of the concession arrangement are the manner of funding and the years of lease. It would be recalled that during the first tenure of Senator Abiola Ajimobi, Oodua Group under the chairmanship of Bar Sarafadeen Alli and Mr Adebayo Jimoh as the Group Managing Director, embarked on construction of Heritage Mall and redevelopment of Cocoa Mall in Dugbe Business District at the cost of 3 Billion Naira.

Construction of Heritage Mall was wholly financed by the Oodua Group, costing 2 Billion naira while Cocoa Mall redevelopment was carried out in partnership with Frontline Developer Services Limited, costing 1 Billion naira. Oodua Group is owned by governments of Oyo, Ondo, Ogun, Osun and Ekiti states. After the construction and redevelopment of the two malls, Oodua Group outsourced the facilities to a consortium of facility managers who see to the functionality and maintenance of the malls. Heritage Mall and Cocoal Mall, housing Shoprite, cinema house and other important stores are doing well as we speak.

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If Oodua Group, jointly owned by states in the south west, including Oyo state, could finance construction of malls and other facilities without concession or long lease, what stops Oyo government to toe the same more viable path? 4.9 Billion naira is too paltry to seek concession and long lease for. If the present government is still creditworthy, it should be able to get a consortium of local banks to finance the project after which the government can also engage a consortium of real estate managers to manage the facilities.

It should not take more than ten years long to repay the local banks the loans and interests from the purse of the state while revenues from the management of the rejuvenated complex will have been accruing to Oyo state. This is unarguably a win-win situation for government in terms of increased revenue, for people in terms of employment and job opportunities and value chain, for investors in terms of return on investment and for facility managers in terms of professional engagements.

The present concessional arrangement of 4.9 Billion naira equals 50 years is a win to Messrs Whitestone Global Limited, a win to people in terms of job opportunities but a huge loss to Oyo state in terms of revenue as acute depreciation will have befallen Agbowo Shopping Complex after 50 years of its renovation when the state is expected to take it over. It may not be wrong to dwell on the allegation that the administration of Seyi Makinde may be preparing Agbowo Shopping Complex for personal gains of its principal.

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Even if Governor Makinde was going to spend 8years in Agodi, it will take another long stretch of 44 years for the state to recover Agbowo Shopping Complex from Messrs Whitestone Global Limited, which must have fed fatter and become chubbier on Oyo state’s patrimony. If we spend three years to prepare a man for madness, when is he going to storm market?

If Messrs Whitestone Global Limited manages Agbowo Shopping Complex for 50years to recoup 4.9 Billion naira and interests accrued, when will Oyo state begin to reap her investment and profits on the complex?

 

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Opinion

Why Is Ajimobi’s Mausoleum A Subject Hypocritical Outrage? | By Maroof Asudemade

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Nigerians derive a kind of unexplainable pleasure in brazen hypocrisy. The latest in their display of mischiefs coated in feigned outrage is about the grand Mausoleum constructed by the family of the deceased former governor of Oyo state, Senator Abiola Ajimobi.

This writer must confess that he held initially that the resting place was vainly flamboyant when the video of the Mausoleum was sent to him. But after making some enquiries as to the intent and purpose of the tomb, he’s convinced that there was nothing vain about it and that it’s the best way the Ajimobi family thinks it fit to honour and keep memories of their illustrious patriarch.

Mausoleum is a phenomenon that has been embraced in all continents of the world. It was invented by Phythius and named after King Mausolus, a Persian satrap of Caria in Harlicarnassus near the modern Turkey, whose grieving widow had the Mausoleum done to immortalise him. The large Mausoleum housing the remains of King Mausolus was reputed to be one of the Seven Wonders of the world! Since its invention, mausolea have been regular features of burial and internment arrangements, cutting across continents and religions, especially among royal, political, military and economic leaders around the world.

Mausolea are monuments. Monuments represent the histories and the heritages of peoples of the world. Without monuments, histories and heritages are lost to generations who need them to develop a sense of history and to recognise past glories in which they must exude pride. But when a people choose to sneer at a monument because of flimsy consideration of vanity, then, it’s no curse that such people already have courted extinction.

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The ‘vanity’ that mausolea are tagged to be began and spread from ‘saner’ climes after which the insanity of adopting them in Nigeria afflicted us. Almost all known deceased leaders in politics, economy, royalty and military and professional endeavours had mausolea constructed over their remains in their sprawling premises. Mausolea came into the consciousness of Nigerians when the ever sagely Obafemi Awolowo died in 1987 and a mausoleum was constructed over his embalmed remains which visitors and tourists continued to troop to see even after many years before his corpses was decaying and he had to be buried appropriately. Since then, mausolea are being constructed by families of deceased eminent Nigerians as an indication of how immensely they cherish the lives and the memories of their departed loved ones.

When Mike Adenuga lost his mother, he spent several millions of naira to construct a mausoleum to house his mother’s remain. In Nigeria today, deceased eminent Nigerians who had mausolea built over their remains included Abubakar Tafawa Balewa in Bauchi, Sani Abacha in Kano, Olusola Saraki in Ilorin, Oba Okunade Sijuwade in Ile-Ife, Tayo Aderinokun in Lagos and a host of others. Even Dino Melaye built a world class Mausoleum for his mother’s remains! We can all see how vanity drives our eminent men and women to have mausolea that hold no pleasure to them built on them! Don’t Yoruba elders say ‘he who isn’t entitled to a bonus calls it unlawful’? Only a poverty of acute proportion will make one attach vanity to every luxury in life.

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If all these eminent men and women mentioned above embraced vanity for having mausolea built on their remains, let me regale you with a burial story of a sincerely altruistic and the only truly radical and activist lawyer Nigeria has ever produced, Chief Ganiyu Oyesola Fawehinmi. No one can associate an atom of corruption to the late fiery lawyer! He lived a good life despite that he was an excessively incorruptible man. Yet, he planned his burial immediately he was told of his terminal lung cancer. He instructed that he wanted to be buried in gold casket! And, yes, Gani Fawehinmi was buried in gleaming gold casket! So, Gani too was vain! If Gani did not elevate vanity while alive, why would he elevate vanity in death?

No one is justified at all to wail about the vanity of life to the families of late Senator Abiola Ajimobi. What could be more vain than having to lose a man larger than his existence, an illustrious colossus for that matter? If losing Ajimobi to the inevitable death does not define life as vanity, one wonders what else will? Senator Ajimobi lived a good life, worthy of emulation in all ramifications. Yoruba elders say, ‘a dowry paid on a bride depends on how cherished the bribe is’. Therefore, it’s also apt to conclude that ‘Ajimobi was befittingly buried based on how so much he was cherished, loved and adored by his families’.

 

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Opinion

Is the word bankrolling derogatory? | By Onike Rahaman

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Subject:

Given the harsh reactions and ill-mannered responses of Femi Fani Kayode to the question asked by The Daily Trust Correspondent during the interactive session held with the journalists in the Cross River State yesterday, the action of FFK which has been largely condemned, considered as social misconduct and irrational forced me to carry out further search of the extensive meanings of the word ‘bankroll’ .

 

Up till now, I have not got any hints, tips or information on the derogatory meaning of the word bankroll to have prompted FFK outbursts of anger.Even my dictionary of insulting words didn’t include such entry.

 

Background information:

Chief Femi Fani Kayode in the past few days had been touring some states meeting the governors in those states.

He was in Calabar the capital of Cross Rivers state when he was asked by Eyo Charles the Daily Trust Correspondent in the state that who is bankrolling his tour.

Fani Kayode became livid with anger and said, ” What type of stupid question is that?

Bankrolling who? Do you know who you are talking to? I will not take any questions from this man. What type of insulting question is that? Which bankroll? To do what? Who can give me money for anything?

Who do you think you are talking to? Go and report yourself to your publisher… Don’t insult me here… I could see from your face before you got here how stupid you are. Don’t ever talk to me like that. Who do you think you are talking to?”

While some people have blamed the reporter for asking a denigrating question, others insist Fani Kayode displayed pride as it is the duty of journalists to promote accountability. Who do we blame?

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A. Eyo Charles the reporter.
B. Chief Femi Fani Kayode.

Semantics of the word that ignited the anger of Femi Fani Kayode:

Bankrolling:

1.Cambridge English Dictionary: verb. informal.
‘To support a person or activity financially’

2.Collins Dictionary:

VERB
‘To bankroll a person, organization, or project means to provide the financial resources that they need’.

[mainly US, informal]
The company has bankrolled a couple of local movies.

3. Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English:

bankroll:Informal-to provide the money that someone needs for a business,a plan etc.

4. Merriam-Webster Dictionary:
bankroll verb
bankrolled; bankrolling; bankrolls
Definition of bankroll (Entry 2 of 2)
transitive verb
: to supply money for (a business, project, or person.
5.Macmillan English Dictionary for Advanced Learners:
bankroll:to provide the money for something.

My Take:

What then could have infuriated the former Minister and Lawyer with the question asked by the timid journalist for him to have acted oddly and reacted annoyingly in a way that has exposed him to public ridicule?

The whole scenario is a pointer to the fact that the man lacks emotional intelligence, maturity, decency and capacity to handle stressful situations.

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