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Ondo Guber Race: PDP rejects OAU VC as Chief Returning Officer, says don is Akeredolu’s crony

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The National Campaign Council of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP),  for the October 10, 2020, governorship election in Ondo State, on Thursday rejected the appointment of Professor Eyitope Ogungbenro Ogunbodede, the Vice-Chancellor of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, as the Chief Returning Officer for the election.

Chairman of the Campaign Council, who is also the Governor of Oyo State, Engineer Seyi Makinde, who addressed newsmen in Akure raised the alarm, declaring that the people of Ondo State could be shortchanged if Ogunbodede is allowed to serve as the Returning Officer.

He said that the VC is a crony of the Governor of Ondo State, Arakunrin Rotimi Areredolu (SAN), adding that such a situation cannot guarantee a free and fair election.

According to him, there appears a high plot to sabotage the will of the voters in the state by ensuring that they do not get a free and fair election.

A statement by the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Makinde, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, quoted the governor as saying that the appointment of Ogunbodede, a crony of the incumbent Ondo State Governor, who is also the standard-bearer of the All Progressives Congress (APC), will compromise the election.

Besides being a crony of the Ondo State governor, Ogunbodede equally hails from Owo town, the governor added.

Makinde called on INEC to replace Prof. Ogunbodede as Chief Returning Officer with a neutral individual, adding that such a sensitive position must be held by someone who has no affiliation with any of the parties in the election.

The PDP National Campaign Council also declared that Professor A.S. Bamire, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, who conducted the training for returning officers, is not a neutral party for the purpose of the election.

The statement also indicated that the governor called on all lovers of democracy around the world to be alert to the machinations of the APC-led Federal Government to rig the Ondo State governorship election.

The campaign council urged the United Nations, the European Union, the United States of America and the United Kingdom and all lovers of democracy to call INEC to order, stating that it is already compiling names of all actors and would not hesitate to recommend the same for visa ban based on their actions and inactions in Saturday’s election.

Makinde said: “All the hard work and support that we have provided for our candidate, Eyitayo Jegede (SAN), who will help us reclaim Ondo, comes down to one date, the 10th of October, 2020.

“However, it has come to our notice that the people of Ondo State will not be getting a free and fair election if the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), as presently composed, will be overseeing the election in Ondo State.

“We are speaking in particular about the appointment of Professor Eyitope Ogungbenro Ogunbodede, the Vice-Chancellor of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife as the Chief Returning Officer of the Ondo State governorship election.

“The PDP totally rejects Prof. Ogunbodede, who is acting as the Chief Returning Officer. The reasons are very clear. He is a known crony of the current governor of Ondo State, who is also the candidate of APC, Governor Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN). He hails from Owo, the same hometown as the candidate of the APC. He cannot be a fair party in the proceeding by the virtue of their association.

“We also want to state that Professor A.S Bamire, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, who conducted the training of returning officers, is not a neutral party for the purpose of this election.

“We, therefore, call on INEC to stay true to their names and replace Professor Eyitope Ogungbenro Ogunbodede with a disinterested party. The Chief Returning Officer should have no affiliations with any of the participating parties in the election.”

Governor Makinde, who called on the international community to be alert to what the APC-led administration in the centre is trying to do in Ondo, said: “We also take this opportunity to call on all lovers of democracy around the world to pay attention to what the APC-led administration in the centre is trying to do in Ondo State.

“We call on the United Nations, European Union, United State, and the United Kingdom and, indeed, and indeed, all allies of democracy, to call INEC to order.

“We are compiling the names of the people involved in there and I believe those people will be good candidates for the visa ban, because if they try to rig this election and they stay here with us, then we will reach out to them after the election to either say thank you or show them what it is if they allow themselves to be used to deny the people of Ondo State the free will to choose their leader.”

The governor commended security agencies in Ondo State for doing well so far, warning, however, that they should not allow themselves to be used as tools to subvert the will of the people.

He further said: “We call on all security agencies in Ondo State not to allow themselves to be used as a tool against the will of the people.

“So far, they have done very well. So, we take this opportunity to commend them for what they have done so far. But we still have a long way to go. Until we see to the end of this process and a governor-elect is declared, it is going to be eternal vigilance for us. So, we urge the security agencies to still do more.

“Please, don’t forget that history and posterity have never been kind to people who allow themselves to be used as a tool for injustice. We urge our security agencies to read the mood of the people and act accordingly.

“Well, politicians, I am one, will come and go, but the people will always remain; and our state and our country will remain. And everyone should remember the world is watching us.”

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‘Stop playing politics with security situation’, Oyo governor’s aide warns sports minister, Sunday Dare, others

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The Chief Press Secretary to Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, has warned opposition elements in the state to stop playing politics with the insecurity situation in Ibarapa and Oke-Ogun parts of the state.

The governor’s aide stated that most of the comments attributed to opposition elements on the security situation in the state missed the point due to pettiness, contempt and clear attempt to play to the gallery.

“Their utter attempt at showmanship and unpatriotic conduct portray them as babes and sucklings intervening on sensitive matters,” he said.

Adisa noted that if opposition elements were true lovers of the state, they should have used the occasion to demonstrate patriotism by empathising with the people of the state and coming up with their own ideas on how to address the situation.

He stressed that merely playing to the gallery only showcases them as ordinary politicians who do not think about the state but solely about the next election.

Governor Makinde’s mouthpiece in a statement issued on Tuesday said contrary to the picture being painted by the opposition, especially the Minister of Youth and Sports, Mr. Sunday Dare, and some leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC), which suggested that the government did nothing on the Ibarapa security challenge, the Makinde administration took a number of steps.

In the statement, Adisa also wondered why a Sunday Dare could pass the buck on insecurity to Makinde when it was obvious that the lack of action and apparent dereliction of duty by the APC-led Federal Government brought the entire country to its knees, security-wise.

“Whereas Nigerians can count on their fingers the number of states ravaged by insecurity in 2015, today, none of the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja, is free of kidnapping, banditry, rape, and other crimes.

“It is unwise and completely unwarranted for Dare to fail to tell the world what positive thing he, as a member of the Federal Executive Council, has contributed to assist the state in its battles against insecurity.

“The state of affairs security-wise in virtually all geopolitical zones of the country has exposed the failure of Dare’s boss and that’s a reality no Nigerian can deny,” the statement said.

According to the governor’s media aide, Makinde had, at the height of the insecurity in Ibarapa, deployed Operation Burst, a state-backed security outfit comprising the Army, Nigeria Security, and Civil Defence Corps and the Police to Ibarapa in large numbers.

“The governor had also caused to be deployed, men and officers of MOPOL 72, located strategically in Ago-Are in Oke-Ogun axis”, Adisa submitted.

He  added that the government followed-up  that deployment with the mass deployment of the men of the Oyo State Security Network Agency, also known as Amotekun, to Ibarapa and Oke-Ogun axes to quench the rising insecurity.

Adisa explained  that the mass deployment of security operatives to the area had begun to yield positive results in the last few weeks, stating that on January 9, the Amotekun Corps worked with Vigilante Group of Nigeria, local hunters, and Miyetti Allah Vigilantes to comb forests straddling four local governments in Ibarapa and Iwajowa Local Government Areas of Oke-Ogun.

He maintained that as a fallout of that exercise, which was abruptly called off due to the massive deployment of fake news by haters of the Oyo people, the teams neutralized suspected kidnappers and criminals in Ayete area, while a number of the suspects were arrested and handed over to the Police.

Adisa said that the narrative being carved by the opposition, suggesting that Makinde had been idling away, was baseless and reckless, stating that the fact that the Makinde administration has not been engaging in showmanship on efforts to tame insecurity should not be taken as doing nothing.

The statement continued, “We have noted with concern the fickle-mindedness being demonstrated by opposition elements in Oyo State, especially individuals like the Minister of Youth and Sports, Mr. Sunday Dare.

“It is sad that Mr. Dare has revealed himself as a small mind by playing to the gallery on insecurity in Oyo State, which is a fallout of the failure of the Federal Government on security issues.

“It is equally sad that such an individual serving in a government under whose watch the security system of the country has collapsed could turn around to point fingers at Makinde.

“While one would not have loved to join issues with Dare and other individuals whose desperation for relevance can make them stop at nothing, including setting their own state on fire, it becomes imperative to correct the erroneous statement that Governor Makinde is being cowed by fear in the handling of state matters.

“For the avoidance of doubt, before those fanning the embers of ethnic crisis and their Hosanna crowd went to town with their showmanship gimmicks, the government had made serious efforts to tame the insecurity situation in Ibarapa.

“Apart from initiating several peace meetings between Yoruba and Fulani residents of the axes, the government took steps to deploy a heavy security presence to Ibarapa and at a point, even backed a community-based effort to rid the forests of kidnappers and bandits.

“It would be recalled that the government had backed a similar approach in Kisi, Igbeti and Igboho axes of the state and was able to achieve a great success without necessarily making noise in the media about it.

“But since Dare, like his co-travelers in the APC, have ignorantly ventured into a matter they have little or no knowledge about, it has become important to point out to them that governance is not done by engaging in pointless garrulous displays in the media.

“It is equally sad that whereas Mr. Dare could pontificate about insecurity in the media, he has failed to do the same at the Executive Council chambers of Aso Rock which hosts the Federal Executive Council meetings, which obviously could have helped the APC government arrest the insecurity situation in the country.

“For sometime now, Dare and his journeymen have been grandstanding on issues in their home state, though they have failed to use their offices to canvass the same positions at the Federal Executive Council or make any meaningful impact in the state.

“We would like to adminish Dare and his fellows in the rat race for 2023 governorship to toe the path of honour and stop advertising ignorance and displaying unpatriotic tendencies when it comes to issues affecting the state.

“Let them adhere to the well-accepted maxim: power belongs to God and only He decides whom it fits at every instance”, it concluded.

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2023: ‘It is time for Southwest to produce President’, Pan- Yoruba group agitates

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Yoruba Patriots Movement (YPM), a Pan Yoruba socio-cultural group, on Thursday agitated that the time is ripe for a Nigerian president of Yoruba extraction to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari.

YPM also enjoined Northerners to respect the pre 2015 general election zoning arrangement for presidency, emphasizing that power should return to the south in 2023.

The Yoruba leaders, who gathered at the University of Ibadan Conference Centre said it would go a long way for the All Progressives Congress (APC) leaders to protect their integrity by heeding the gentlemanly agreement to cede the presidency to the south particularly in favour of the party’s National leader, Asiwaju Bola Hammed Tinubu, for his struggle and sacrifices in enthroned this present administration.

They explained that the Yoruba had supported other regions to achieve their Presidential dreams over the years, saying; “2023 should also be the turn of Southwest region of Nigeria to be at the helm of affairs of this country.”

Addressing newsmen during the ‘2021 Pan Yoruba Summit’ , titled Yoruba Nation: Yesterday, Today, and tomorrow, its National Coordinator, Barrister Oladosu Oladipupo submitted that Mr. Bola Tinubu has touched many lifes not only in Southwest but Nigeria as a whole, and 2023 is the time for him to become the President.

Oladosu  noted that there will always be an opposition in whatever someone does in life, adding that opposition makes someone determined and focus.

He disclosed further that the group is currently making wide consultations around the country, saying that Tinubu has been accepted in all the zones of Nigeria because he is a good product and the right man to lead Nigerians come 2023.

The summit, was well attended by eminent Yoruba personalities who come together and discuss the way forward ahead of 2023 Presidential election.

“Tinubu has led Yoruba nation twice to support President Buhari presidential ambition. Tinubu’s cabinet was Pan Nigerian not only Pan Yoruba when he was the governor of Lagos State. He remained the only Yoruba man who worked tirelessly for the emergence of Buhari, so, we should all support him to contest 2023 presidency.

“We must work hard to assist him to become the President of Nigeria. He has the mental capability and what is  required to rule this country. We have been moving across the nation to tell Nigerians that this is the time for Southwest to become Nigerian President.

“We shall ensure we work round ethnic nationality so that southwest can become Nigerian president come 2023. Yoruba was a flourishing nation under Obafemi Awolowo and the impact of Chief Awolowo put many Yorubas in a better position today which makes Yorubas to be in the main stream of politics in Nigeria.”

Also speaking at the event was  a former federal lawmaker and Commissioner for information in Oyo state, Hon. Bosun Oladele, who described the summit as a right step in the right direction, urged Yoruba leaders to looked inward, adding that this is the time for active participation to key into the Yoruba agenda.

According to him, “The time is now, this is the time to reconcile every essential voice in Southwest, so that we can consolidate on the current developmental stride going on in Nigeria and to move the country into a greater height.”

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PHOTOS: Oyo APC reunites ahead of 2023 elections

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Ibadanland stakeholders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in  Oyo state, gathered on Thursday to  mend fences  to reposition the party ahead of the 2023 elections.

The stakeholders, who gathered at the Ibadan Civic Centre,  also emphasized that the meeting was not at the instance of individual, group or bloc of aspirants or those seeking to hijack for selfish reasons, adding that efforts were made to reach out to all gladiators and prospective aspirants without any exception as they all pledged their support for the initiative.

The meeting had in attendance, the party’s caretaker chairman and secretary in the state , Chief Akin Oke, Hon. Mojeed Olaoya , Sen. Teslim Folarin, Chief. Bayo  Adelabu, Professors Taoreed Adedoja, and  Soji Adejumo.

Others included, Hon. Tolulope Akande Sadipe , Mr. Bimbo Adekanmbi, Prince Abbas Aleshinloye, Dr. Fola Akinosun, local government chairmen and councilors in Ibadanland ; among other party faithful .

Also, the trio of Prof. Adeolu Akande, Senator Adesoji Akanbi and Chief Niyi Akintola were well represented at the meeting.

According to the communique signed by Alhaji Adesina Alabi for Meeting Conveners and Communique Drafting Committee, the stakeholders informed  that the meeting was the brainchild of some concerned members of Oyo APC who feel the need for Progressive family members across the eleven Local Government Areas of Ibadanland to channel a new course and mobilize for unity, harmony and cooperation with a view to repositioning the party.

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They further re-echoed the need for oneness and togetherness, stressing that this was considered very essential for the party to bounce back and reclaim its lost glory and thus emerge stronger and more virile.

Also contained in the communique, the conveners regretted the step taken by some faceless people to discredit the meeting through what they described as sponsored noise in the mass media which was aimed at discouraging genuine members and delegates from attending the meeting.

The party’s fanatic loyalists lauded conveners for the efforts made towards strict adherence to Covid-19 protocols.

However, the stakeholders again , appealed to those behind the tagged futile call for boycott of the meeting to have a rethink and join others to rebuild Oyo APC if they were genuine in their claims as members of the Party.

The communique read, “Stakeholders at the Meeting were, therefore, unanimous in their call for more commitment, team spirit and love for one another among Party faithful as the 2023 general election beckons.

“At the Meeting, it was reported that Progressive elements from Ibarapa axis expressed their desire to be carried along in the efforts to reflect Ibadanland/Ibarapaland Agenda for the APC.

It continued, “Stakeholders welcomed briefing from the National Headquarters of the APC ahead of the forthcoming membership registration and revalidation exercise which they promised to accord all necessary support to ensure that a good population of existing and new members are captured in the exercise.

“Conveners expressed gratitude to eminent party leaders especially former governor, Otunba Adebayo Alao-Akala, who was represented at the Meeting by Chief Wale Ohu and also the State Caretaker Chairman, Chief Akin Oke”.

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