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Fayemi to harness local mat production for global market

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The Kayode Fayemi led Ekiti State government has expressed its readiness to support local mat weavers in Ogotun and expose their products to both the local and international markets for economic benefit.

Director-General, Ekiti State Council for Arts and Culture, Mr. Wale Ojo-Lanre, disclosed this at a meeting with local mat manufacturers in the community.

Ojo-Lanre, who was accompanied by the Director -General, Bureau for Labour Productivity and Employment, Mr. Lanre Ogunjobi, said ‘Eni Ogotun’ is, no doubt, the best in the world and should be well promoted.

He further assured that the Council for Arts and Culture will be supporting the local mat manufacturers to exhibit their crafts at local and international events as well as collaborate with local governments to train more people in the art of weaving and making use of the mat to create more products.

Ogunjobi in his remarks said the government will enhance their production through the provision of soft loan to assist them in their creative ability.

“Governor Kayode Fayemi and his wife Erelu Bisi Fayemi are interested in creating Jobs through our local products and promotion of local potentials. Therefore, I want to assure you that ‘Ogotun Mat’ producers will also benefit from the economic and financial empowerment scheme that will boost your productivity.”

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Also, Olori Comfort Omolade Oyebade, wife of Ologotun of Ogotun, Oba Samuel Oyebade, who coordinated the event said ‘Ogotun Mat’ manufacturers are open to receive any form of support from the government to enhance their productivity and creative ability.

According to her, “we have featured in both local and international exhibitions before and some of our people have been awarded for their genuine creativity. We want improvement in our production and patronage and we would appreciate any form of support from the government”.

Febi Oyemade, Managing Director, Estera Concepts said Eni Ogotun’ can be used for the production of souvenirs, bags, table mats and coasters, mats and leather tote and furniture, among others.

Ologotun of Ogotun, Oba Samuel Oyebade, commended Ekiti State government under the leadership of Dr. Kayode Fayemi for the resolve to enhance the production of ‘Eni Ogotun’ and assured them of maximum cooperation and supports.

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Do Buhari, Malami know a man called Tafawa Balewa?|By Festus Adedayo

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Apparently a young officer of the Nigerian Army at the time Abubakar Tafawa Balewa was the Nigerian Prime Minister from 1957-1966, it goes without saying that President Muhammadu Buhari must know of Balewa, even if he didn’t know him. Conversely however, if his official birthday of April 17, 1967 is indeed real, Abubakar Malami probably encountered Balewa as a historical piece. For both however, the life of Balewa and his disposition to Western Nigeria, especially during the crisis that seized the region from 1962 to 1966, should be a reference point if both men do not want the fate that befell Nigeria as a result of Balewa’s self-imposed deafness to the turmoil that began like a minor crisis in the West, to take another shuttle back to Nigeria.

Western Nigeria, aftermath the fiasco of the 1963 national census and the 1964 Federal Elections, was literally a bedlam. The census provoked a narrative of divisionism as results claimed that the whole of Southern Nigeria was less than the North. Commentators were riled by what was perceived as fictitious figures “concocted from harem curtains.”

The allegation was that the North hid behind the purdah system of ba siga, gidan aore ne (no entrance, it’s a house of married women) to stuff figures in the headcount under the conspiratorial goggles of Balewa. In the same vein came allegation that foreigners were being imported into Northern Nigeria. Commentators after commentators pilloried the idea of women in purdah not being physically counted by the census inspectors, relying on verbal figures handed them by family heads. They warned that if a doctored figure was imposed on the people, Nigeria was a few meters from Golgotha. As Buhari does today, 56 years after, Balewa’s silence to this tinder that was primed to burn Nigeria was palpably bothersome.
Balewa advertised this silence when the Federal Elections of 1964 became an orgy of killings in the Western Region. Acrimonious and vengeful campaigns, preparatory to the elections, especially in the West, became the order of the day. Deputy Premier, Victor Babaremilekun Adetokunboh Fani-Kayode, Richard Akinjide and Bayo Olowofoyeku formed the Nigerian National Democratic Party (NNDP), comprising Akintola’s United Peoples Party (UPP), the rump of fragmented National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons (NCNC) leaders and the Northern Peoples Congress (NPC), to form the Nigerian National Alliance (NNA). The rump of the Action Group (AG) that was left also went into an alliance with the NCNC, Northern Elements Progressive Union (NEPU) and United Middle Belt Congress (UMBC), to form an alliance it called the United Progressive Ground Alliance (UPGA). At the end of the day, the election was so farcical that it brimmed with violence. UPGA then announced a boycott. In the 1965 regional election, there was It was a repeat of this gangsterism with both Akintola’s NNA and UPGA’s Dauda Soroye Adegbenro laying claim to having won the election. Sworn in for another term, the Akintola government met serious resistance by the populace, including decisions of the people not to pay tax, which forced government to review cocoa price from £110 per ton to £60. This eventually led to the Weti e upheaval.

While on a tour of Benin in June, 1964, still feigning ignorance of the crisis, Balewa was quoted to have said that he could not judge the intensity of lawlessness in the West on account of newspaper report of the brigandage. Balewa, who projected the image of an “unworried” and “unconcerned” Prime Minister with his “ominous silence,” was pummeled by the Western Region media. He still advertised a façade of insulation from the worsening fate of the West and someone who didn’t read newspapers. Worse still, as Balewa departed Nigeria for Accra to attend an OAU meeting in October, 1965, he was quoted to have alleged that the violence in the region was contrived. While at the Ikeja Airport, he was asked by journalists what he was going to do about the fire raging in Western Nigeria. Successfully tucking his bother inside his flowing babanriga, Tafawa Balewa reportedly looked round and cynically declared; “Ikeja is part of the West and I cannot see any fire burning.” That same fire consumed him on January 15, 1966. It was a case of a disease that would kill one which is always pampered and treated with kid gloves. The pillory of Balewa that resulted from this peremptory treatment of the western crisis was accentuated by his perceived shield of his party man and “fast drowning political friend” – a la the Nigerian press – Premier S. L. Akintola and Balewa’s refusal to invoke the Emergency powers as he did in 1962. This led to an editorial comment by the Nigerian Tribune saying that: “Whether Abubakar (Balewa) intervenes or not, (we are) convinced that this is a war the people are bound to win.” This was the situation on the morning of January 15, 1966 when the fire that Balewa ignored successfully gave birth to the first military coup in Nigeria which effectively ended the lives of Balewa, Akintola and others.

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This writer went into this long-winding retelling of a long Nigerian history so as to situate Buhari’s Balewa-like ominous personal silence on the fire burning from the flanks of the Western part of Nigeria which is manifesting as a slide in its security affairs. Call it tribal arrogance or needless over-hype, history tells us that the Western Region is always where the Nigerian crisis snowballs from. Apart from the consequential crash of Nigerian first democratic practice of the First Republic, the seed of which was sown in the West, military rule also crumbled in Nigeria on account of the West’s united civil resistance against autocracy, with the martyrdom of its son, MKO Abiola, in 1998. With these, a charge of unnecessary revisionism cannot be sustained against my claim that there is another ominous fire that is burning in the country from the Western flank, as well as my projection that any Nigerian leader with a heady or natural laid-back disposition that manifests as resistance to peace in the West can be said to be peering at the grave of Balewa.

If you collate the anger of the people of Western Nigeria today against the Buhari government’s attempt to stop the  Western  Nigeria Security  Network (WNSN)  called  Operation  Amotekun  and their pleasantly strange unity of purpose on Amotekun, you would arrive at a juncture that makes the current situation a throwback to Nigeria’s Western region’s palpable animosity and brimming angst against the government of Balewa. These are the offshoot of a press release issued by the office of Abubakar Malami, Attorney General and Minister of Justice, offering legalistic arguments against the security outfit. In the release, Malami also made a Balewa-like statement, to wit that Southwest could not inform him of Amotekun from the pages of newspapers. Such arrogance!

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If Buhari’s DSS would give him truthful report of current situation in the west today, he would find out that, for the first time in a very long while, Southwest Nigeria is throwing away her constant variables of politics and religion to damn the Federal Government on its apparently self-centered stand on Amotekun. It is worsened by Buhari’s baffling taciturnity to the crisis.

While Balewa at least showed his patent disregard for the escalating violence, Buhari’s embarrassing absence of a personal opinion on the matter, leading to the projection of his government’s voice by surrogates like Malami make the belief that Nigerians are being ruled by unelected triumvirates to gain notoriety.
Malami’s press release has been subjected to a forensic post-mortem by very knowledgeable Nigerians which makes a repeat of the damning verdict on him irrelevant here. The greatest way to put a lie to Malami’s legalistic argument is to scan it for abidance by the principle of natural justice. This resultant query will emanate from the scan: Is man made for law or laws are made for man?

When South-westerners were being killed, kidnapped and ransomed like pawned necklace by rampaging Fulani herdsmen from the North or wherever, with a Federal Government that was either too inept to counter them or too complicit in the plot to lift a finger, should the letter of the law or its spirit rescue the people from the bind that the Malamis conscripted them?

The frenetic pace with which Northern Nigeria demanded the surrender of Southwest’s desire to secure herself, against the backdrop of the Federal Government’s inability or incapability to ensure peace in Nigeria as a whole, is not only suspicious but smacks of an ulterior motive. Only a few days ago, Miyetti Allah, the umbrella body of a group said to be one of the most deadly terrorist groups in the world and whose reckless public utterances are festering by the day, audaciously asked Southwest to drop the idea of Amotekun if it wants the presidency in 2023. It was also reported to have asked that governors behind Amotekun should be arrested. What arrant nonsense and magisterial belief in entitlement to power!

All these seem to confirm earlier tissues of rumour that the banditry of the Fulani felons, the attempt by the Buhari government to get settlements for them in all parts of Nigeria, the defence of herdsmen’s bloodletting by no less a person than Buhari himself with all manner of ill-logics at his disposal, as well as by top officers of his government, the RUGA plot and other shenanigans by government that were largely targeted at getting the people’s tormentors-in-chief soft landing in all the nooks and crannies of Nigeria, are all parts of a larger plot to Fulanize the rest of Nigeria. If you lay the premises like this: Fulnai herdsmen are tormenting Southwest Nigeria; Buhari and his government are defending Fulani herdsmen; Southwest Nigeria plans security outfit to combat Fulani herdsmen and other criminals; Buhari government wants to stop Southwest Nigeria, that conclusion will naturally flow from the premises. Amotekun and the resistance of its coming to life are a palpable indication that the satanic plot to inflict Fulani herdsmen on Southern Nigeria was real after all.

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The coincidence of the 40th anniversary of the end of the Nigerian Civil War with this current governmental bigotry must have made the world realize that the about one million Nigerians killed in the war may have been martyred needlessly. This is because the Nigerian Hausa-Fulani leaders have not purged themselves of the rank, narrow-minded and selfish leadership that rankled Emeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu and which was the major impetus for the civil war. Yakubu Gowon was recently quoted to have said that he didn’t regret his actions in the war, which included the killings of multiple of thousands Igbo and thousands of soldiers on both sides. Except he is fascinated with untruth, Gowon should know that it is very glaring from the experiences of other ethnic groups in Nigeria under this government that going through the 30-month war only to have a Nigerian leadership consumed by this government’s kind of thinking makes the death of our heroes past a vainglorious exercise. It is obvious that resistance to Amotekun is fired by a narrow-minded protection of the President’s ethnicity while other ethnicities are left naked and at the mercy of violent murderers.

Just like Balewa, Buhari has turned a deaf ear to solicitations not to set Nigeria alight by this ominous silence on Amotekun. He is egged on to a destructive stiff-neckedness by his ostensible obsession with the defence of his Fulani kin. I cite a prophetic Nigerian Tribune editorial of November 18, 1965 where the newspaper had written, inter alia: “Whether Abubakar (Balewa) intervenes or not, (we are) convinced that this is a war the people are bound to win…with all (his) cunning of a fox and all the trickery of a monkey…”

Buhari should learn from Balewa’s fall and not take the silly silence of self-styled Yoruba leaders who Yakubu Danjuma called Fifth columnists, as approximating a bendable will of the Southwest people. Southwest Nigeria has always been the graveyards of the Balewas and their recalcitrant offspring in federal office.

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‘Lekan Are’s death came at a time his wise counsel is still required’ – Ajimobi

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Immediate Past Governor of Oyo State, Senator Abiola Ajimobi has expressed great sadness at the passing away of foremost agronomist, businessman, philanthropist and Chairman of University Press Plc, Dr Lekan Are.

Senator Ajimobi said his death came at a time his wise counsel is still required by the people of Oyo State and Nigerians in general. “ We however take consolation in the fact that he lived a life of service to the people. He has also left indelible prints in the sands of time”, Ajimobi said.

A condolence message by the Spokesman to the former governor Bolaji Tunji, quoting Senator Ajimobi said Dr Are would be missed by all and sundry especially those he had touched through his philanthropic gestures. “His legacies of good work will continue to live after him”, Ajimobi said.

The former Governor said the family should however take consolation in the fact that the late Laguna Bobajiro of Ibadanland lived a good life.

“His contribution to the development of his alma mater, the Government College Ibadan where he was a former chairman of the old boys association, his investment in the health sector in Oyo state and Nigeria are worthy legacies that his family should be proud”.

Senator Ajimobi noted that Dr Are in his lifetime had shown deep concern for the development of Oyo State. “ In this we had always been in agreement and that contributed immensely to the cordial relationship we shared. We pray for the repose of his soul”.

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Our society demands us to be magnanimous to the less-privileged – Makinde

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The wife of Oyo State governor, Mrs Tamunominini Makinde has charged the rich in the society to always find ways of giving back to humanity by caring for the less-privileged.

 

She said the rate of poverty and despair among the people has called for concerted effort to create means of survival and shelter for those in dire need, especially Nigerians suffering from loss occasioned by insurgence or natural calamities.

 

Mrs Makinde said this over the weekend while receiving gift items donated by MTN Foundation to Juveniles Correctional Institution and Child Care Unit, Ijokodo, Ibadan on behalf of the State government.

 

She said “a large percentage of Nigerian population today are going through hell on earth for reasons they were not the cause or directly responsible for, the rate of suicide and despair among Nigerians could be traced to the condition of the economy which has forced many out of their jobs and rendered many homeless.

 

“It is the responsibility of those who have the financial power to cater for the need of these sets of Nigerians, we urge the corporate bodies to tow the path of MTN Foundation and give back to the society by donating items that will keep those in need alive, they should start to build institutions like schools, libraries, hospitals and the rest to facilitate empowerment for those in dire need of survival.

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“The present administration in Oyo State has made it the major cardinal programme to put the welfare of workers, the less-privileged and the generality of the people into consideration in all policies and activities of the government, this is reflected in the free education policy and you can see the result in the influx of pupils back to school, as financial burden on the parents are now light.

 

“Children used to beg in the street and those that have left school due to reasons of homelessness among others are today going to school from government-controlled orphanage homes and it is a thing of joy when you think of the outcome of such interventions,” she added.

Mrs Makinde was accompanied by the Wife of the Deputy Governor, Professor Bolanle Olaniyan and the State Commissioner for Women Affairs and social inclusion, Alhaja Faosat Sanni to the event.

 

Earlier the Executive Secretary, MTN Foundation, Mrs Odunayo Sanya while handing over the items donated said, the gesture was part of the organization’s corporate social responsibility to the people and a way of raising the living standard of the less privileged in the society, as according to her, everyone deserved the benefit of a conducive living.

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She explained that the provision of basic living amenities and consumables to the less privileged was critical to the growth and development of the nation, emphasizing that the Foundation was passionate about making life better for the children.

 

Expressing her gratitude to the Foundation, Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Inclusion, Alhaja Faosat Sanni described the gesture as timely and uplifting and appreciated the caregivers for their support, love, care and dedication to humanity, enjoining them to use the gifts donated maximally for the benefit of the children.

 

Items donated are consumables, toiletries, detergents, diapers among others.

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