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Sixty Garlands For Omo’ba Tunde Ologburo | By Olusola Sanni

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At the time when the late High Chief Lamidi Adedibu was the generalissimo of Ibadan politics, every journalist in town knew that it was more profitable to apply discretion in the way stories from Molete would be reported. Baba Adedibu was such an enigmatic personae and his army of supporters who literally took shelter in his Molete residence held him in high esteem. They would not tolerate a bad media.

So, it was more or less incumbent on journalists reporting Adedibu in those days to have inside sources in Molete who would, unwittingly most times, give you exclusive stories. Although everything about Molete’s politics was an outdoor affair as nothing was done behind closed doors most of the time – except for times when VIPs have a ‘personal message’ for Baba.

Basically, the purpose of keeping sources inside Molete was not primarily for fetching stories. They serve more as informants, giving a reporter an early alert about their stories which fell out of favour with Baba or any of his strong men. At that time, I was an Assistant Editor with the now rested Nigerian Compass and I had exclusive responsibility of reporting Molete for the newspaper.

I had run a story which had a brush with one of Adedibu’s strong men and, like most journalists who had similar experience would testify, the moment your mobile phone starts ringing ceaselessly after your story is published, your instinct tells you that you have run into trouble waters with your latest byline.

Such was the situation I found myself one Sunday morning in 2008. I had published a story about one of Adedibu’s strong men and words had come in that Molete was very upset with me.

A certain Alhaji Abass Oloko was desperate to see me because he felt I had been unfair to him in my reportorial. Later that Sunday evening, Alhaji Oloko and I met and we cleared issues about his disapproval of some details in my story. We subsequently became good friends and he invited me to his house a couple of times.

In the early days of our friendship, my interaction with Alhaji Oloko was basically about media relations. Although he too soon became one of my Molete sources, he was also eager to introduce me to some individuals in Oyo State private sector circle. Alhaji Abass, as he is fondly called, contrary to the popular impression about him, is a soft-hearted gentleman.

One day, he told me that he wanted me to join him in visiting one of the quiet influencers in Oyo State’s politics and I obliged him. The venue was somewhere at Akobo, at a building which I later found out to be an office apartment for Alhaji’s friend. Alhaji Abass climbed the stairs to go meet with his friend while I elected to wait outside by the car.

After about 45 minutes, Alhaji Abass came back with another man. He was much avuncular and spoke with some charm in his voice which foretells his genteel mannerism. The introduction was done and the strange man told me his name was Alhaji Tunde Ologburo. The three of us stood for a moment to discuss issues and personalities in Oyo State’s politics and later shared telephone numbers.

In some ways that I could not predictably explain, I found an attraction to Alhaji Ologburo and we struck a friendship. He comes across as someone who is meticulous about his inter-personal relationships. In no time he also introduced me to other influencers in Ibadan’s social circle and some of his other contemporaries in the private sector. Alhaji Ologburo is a socialite per excellence and his panache is infectiously endearing. He retains an enviable spotlight seat in the hall of fame of socialites in the entire Yorubaland and belongs in the elite club of individuals in the social circle who have an established business address. He is a CEO of one of the finest structural engineering companies in Nigeria. He is a well respected character and one that is polite to people of lower status to him.

Our relationship blossomed and we soon became family friends. My exposure to his family life earned him even more respect from me. I got to know that he is a committed family man with all his children being well educated. His brilliance and the sartorial splendor he exudes are permanent feature of every member of his family.

Perhaps the most remarkable attribute I discovered about him is his passion for excellence. I should also state that he can be abrasive sometimes, especially when he is marching towards a set goal. He is a goal driven individual and does not tolerate sluggish advances. On few occasions when we have had to work together in some political think-tank, I get to know him as a master strategists and likes to surround himself with a small, but very effective team. He is an outstanding team-player.

Alhaji Ologburo is a well accomplished man. He is blessed with a very beautiful and Godly family and you do not need to know him for long before coming to understand that his wife is pillar that supports his giant strides. He and his wife, Alhaja Omobolanle Ologburo are born with a silver spoon. Their parents are among the first generation of aristocratic and noble families from their native home of Oyo township.

But even in spite of their blue blood, their simple characterization of life makes everything about their home quite peachy.

To my egbon, friend and mentor, Omo’ba Tunde Ologburo, the celebration of six decades of life counts more than the numbers in it. It is a celebration of a life of impact, purpose and accomplishments. Happy birthday to a rare gem and wish you many more years of success to yourself, your family and your community.

 

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Olusola Sanni, a publicist and politician; writes from Ibadan

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Opinion

If I Were President: 7 Questions to Answer to Defeat Bokoharam | By Idowu Ayodele

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After the Nigerian Civil War fought between the government of Nigeria and the secessionist state of Biafra between 1967 to 1970, the sound and sight of bomb explosions were alien to us as a nation; until 2002 when the Sect that became known as ‘Bokoharam’ was founded.

The militant Islamist group christened Bokoharam roughly translate to mean Western Education is forbidden. Initially, the group’s major aim was to oppose Western Education and also to overthrow the Nigerian government and create an Islamic state.

In 2009, when the Sect which also spread to neighboring Chad, Niger and Cameroon launched its military operations to create Islamic state, teachers were killed, maimed, the local governments were burnt down, all schools were closed, children were cast on the street. Unfortunately, most of these children saw when their parents were killed; they were confused and in helpless state.

No place is safe, none is exempted, people are affected daily in the only country they claim as their own as the domestic terrorist group is fast gaining international recognition due to series of targeted attacks on individuals and bombings carried out by its members especially in the states in the Northern parts of Nigeria which included Borno, Yobe and Adamawa among others.

There is clear national concern on the activities of the Boko haram and widespread fear among people concerning their safety and security. The Bokoharam attacks had targeted individuals, places of worship, public and private organisations including media organizations, military barracks, the police headquarters and stations as well as the United Nations building in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

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Interestingly, checks have also unearthed that terrorist groups seldom operate in isolation as the economics of the situation will not allow for strictly independent actions. According to investigations, the three Rs for terrorist cooperation include Resources, Reciprocity and Reach. Resources here stand for means, Reciprocity is exchanging ideas in an open and mutual way; and Reach embodies effective, reliable and like-minded contacts.

Concerning the reach, the underlying thoughts on what these terrorists are trying to achieve are relevant. Means to accomplish terrorist attacks , like funds, technology and knowledge, are scarce and therefore terrorists, including the Bokoharam Sect seek allies in order to be effective.

Thus, hard and soft links have been identified as the links between terrorists. The hard links are the most concrete features of collaboration between terrorist groups and include financial support, information sharing, coordinated activities, safe havens and sharing materials, resources and personnel. Soft links are intangible, while hard links are tangible.

However, soft links between terrorists include shared ideologies and beliefs, opportunities and chances, and even media strategy.

No wonder successive governments were unable to defeat the Bokoharam terrorist despite huge resources committed to tame the insurgence. Even, when the present administration led by President Muhammadu Buhari gave assurances to Nigerians that it would soon be on top of the situation, claiming that the Sect has been technically defeated.

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Regrettably however; Bokoharam is still a daily issue of insecurity, the group continue to wreak havoc in Nigeria through a wave of bombings, assassinations and abductions.

It is obvious that the domestic terrorist group is enjoying both Soft and Hard links from relevant organizations and individuals, which may include financial support, information sharing, coordinated activities, resources and personnel, shared ideologies and beliefs, opportunities and chances, and even media strategy to mention but a few.

Sadly, Boko Haram has menacingly ravaged the land in spite of several solutions such as; poverty eradication programmes, transparency and accountability in governance, better policing with the use of intelligence reports, proper funding of security architecture, use of modern technology, food security, dialogue among others being offered having faced with Socio- economic implications of insecurity. The activities of the domestic terrorist group remain undiminished.

At this juncture, to nip in the bud the problem of the Bokoharam insurgence, the Muhammadu Buhari -led federal government of Nigeria must sincerely proffer answers to the following pertinent questions:

* How do they (Bokoharam) get all these imported sophisticated weapons?

 

* Which of the airports and seaports do they (imported weapons) pass through?

* Who cleared these weapons from those ports?.

* How did the weapons get to their destinations?.

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* Where do they get their bullets from?.

* Where do they get the money to pay their staff?.

* How come the combined  efforts of JTF couldn’t decipher their base till date?

 

It is however, imperative to re- emphasize that Presidential condolences are not soothing the pains; only a final stoppage can bring gain to Nigerians through solutions and resolute answers to these questions by the federal government and security agents fighting Boko Haram insurgency

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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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