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Ayo Adebanjo: A ‘conservative’ progressive betrays his camp again



Afolayan Adebiyi

The Federal election of 1959 was around the corner. The National Council for the Nigerian Citizens (NCNC) and Action Group (AG) were the main parties in the race; at least in the Western Region. The area that is now known as Delta, Edo, Osun, Oyo, Ekiti, Ogun, and parts of Lagos and Rivers States. The other major party, the Northern People’s Congress (NPC) was practically non-existent, while the fringe parties, the Ibadan Progressive Party, the Mabolaje Movement, were not that effective since the demise of the stormy petrel of Ibadan politics, Adegoke Adelabu, popularly known as “Penkelemesi”. But the remnants of the Zikists movement were still active enough to heighten the electoral tension of the time.

There was a certain Ayo Adebanjo. He was a newcomer to the AG camp of Awolowo. He was initially a rabbid campaigner with the Zikists movement and the NCNC, before moving over to Action Group led by the visionary premier of the defunct Western Region in 1959 when the election was fast approaching and immediately was made one of the Organisation Secretaries at the Ward level, thus began his voyage in the progressive camp of the late sage, Pa Obafemi Awolowo’s school of political thought.

Pa Adebanjo, like his many other contemporaries of the time, such as Tony Enahoro, Lateef Kayode Jakande, Olabisi Onabanjo, Adekunle Ajasin, Bola Ige, Abraham Adesanya, Olanihun Ajayi and several others, always lay claim to and espoused the ideals and ideas of the sage, Pa Awolowo. The basic tenets of the group was founded on the welfareism principles of democratic socialism with progressive manifestos. The party’s credo in the ill-fated First Republic was ‘Freedom for All – Life More Abundant’.

It was this mentality of ‘life more abundant’ that distinguished the legion of Awolowo’s disciples from others, hence the sobriquet AWOISM.
Pa Adebanjo, in all his entirety, is built from this deep-rooted school of thought. Therefore, the principle of people-centered progressivism socialism is always pursued with iron-cast determination.
This socio-political philosophy, Pa Ayo Adebanjo has been espousing and professing, since he became an integral part of the group since First Republic. Now at an advanced age of ninety-four, he sits atop the apogee of the group’s pyramidal structure as the Acting Leader. He emerged the acting leader since the leader, Chief Reuben Fasoranti has been incapacitated by old age infirmities.

But, presently, Pa Adebanjo’s entire political gamut is under turmoil. His progressive credentials are seriously being questioned. Surprisingly this is not by outsiders or critics, but by his own immediate constituency, among the group he leads as the acting leader.
The question now is: has Pa Ayo Adebanjo abandoned the progressive democratic socialism ideology? Why is he abandoning a known subscriber to progressive credo to support a person with capitalist credentials? The question,Pa Adebanjo himself tried to downplay at a recent press conference where he said “not a few leaders of the Committee of Afenifere has questioned his decision and judgement on the issue of 2023 Presidential contest”.
Many groups that subscribed to the late Pa Awo’s political ideas and ideals, believed he had abandoned the ideology of the group. They are now alleging ‘political turn-coat’, when referring to him. And it all has to do with his stand on the 2023 presidential contest.
There are four prominent candidates jostling for the position of the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Dr. Rabiu Kwankanso of the NIPP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party PDP, Mr. Peter Obi of Labour Party and Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu of the All Progressive Congress APC. The closest to the late Pa Awolowo’s ideas is Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu. The remaining three can be safely categorized as dye in the wood conservatives.
Former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar needs to profiling. He is a capitalist blue and black. All his pronouncements, in and out of government, are devoid of people-oriented welfareism.
Peter Obi’s Large scale importation business gives him out as a capitalist. When he was at the helm of affairs in Anambra State, he ran a pseudo-capitalist policies. government.
From Kano State, Dr. Rabiu Kwankanso needs to introduction. A two time Governor of the State, first from 1999 – 2003 and 2011 – 2015. Kwankanso clearly showed that he was no late Mallam Aminu Kano nor late Alhaji Abubakar Rimi. He clearly moved away from the Talakawa welfarist programme of the late iconic leaders and ran the State with conservative ideas.
Bola Tinubu’s progressive credentials displayed in his eight year tenure as the helmsman in Lagos State has been overtly documented. His successors have also been pushing the people-oriented programmes he initiated along the social Progressive ideas. He better espouses the late Pa Obafemi Awolowo’s welfareism tenets that Pa Ayo Adebanjo so much acclaimed, all the time.
However, since Bola Tinubu declared his presidential aspiration under the banner of APC, the acting leader of the Pan-Yoruba organization has not hidden his disdain for both his person and aspiration. He spared no harsh words in condemning him.
To further escerbate the issue, Pa Adebanjo came out a few weeks ago to endorse the presidential aspiration of Mr. Peter Obi of the rival LP. He did not stop at personal endorsement, but also claimed to have the authorization of the Pan-Yoruba organization to endorse Peter Obi.

The acting leader has came out openly to declared his support and allegedly that of the socio-cultural organisation’s for the aspiration of Peter Obi of LP, not a few senior members of the group has denounced the proclamation and distanced themselves from such. One of them is the former presidential candidate of the Alliance for Democracy (AD), a party founded and funded by the organization to contest the 1999 general elections, Chief Olu Falae. Another is a pan-Yoruba group known as the Yoruba Council Worldwide. Both Falae and the Yoruba Council group has unequivocally rejected the wholesale adoption of Peter Obi by the acting leader.

This nascent group has accused the leader of pan-Yoruba socio-political Afenifere, Pa Adebanjo, of embarking on a campaign of calumny against the presidential candidate of the APC, Bola Tinubu. “If you’ve been following Baba Ayo Adebajo’s approach, it is a campaign of calumny against Asiwaju. It is not because of his (Tinubu’s) aspiration now, he (Adebanjo) has always been on that. At any given instance, Asiwaju will always come to the fore,” the President of the group, Oladotun Hassan said Olu Falae distanced himself from Adebanjo sweeping endorsement of Obi as Afenifere acting leader.

According to Falae “as a responsible leader, one should consider all important parameters, including capacity, experience and proven track record before endorsing a candidate”.
The former Finance Minister insisted that this “correction is necessary in order not to mislead the public that I, Chief Olu Falae is supporting any of the candidates yet”.

He believed that “It is necessary to await the programmes and manifestos of the political parties and their candidates before arriving at a particular candidate to support”
Earlier, Adebanjo had again and again re-stated his support for the presidential ambition of the P’s Peter Obi over Tinubu, a fellow Afenifere man.
The 94-year-old Afenifere leader said to keep Nigeria one in 2023, every Nigeria should be “Obi-Datti compliant“. Obi is running for Aso Rock’s top job alongside Datti Baba-Ahmed on the platform of LP.
“We will not compromise this principle of justice, equity, and inclusiveness because one of our own Asiwaju Bola Tinubu is a frontline candidate,” Adebanjo said.

However, Hassan if the Yoruba Council Worldwide accused the Afenifere leadership of nursing a personal hate against the former Lagos State governor.
“Asiwaju is their albatross; that has been the campaign they are after. Their support for Peter Obi is at the instance of their hatred against Asiwaju.
“In the last election, Afenifere supported Atiku (Abubakar of the PDP). What is the driving force of Afenifere?” Hassan queried, adding that there is no consistency in Afenifere’s belief system and that the group’s statements could ignite ethnic violence between Yoruba and Igbo people. “As President of Yoruba Council Worldwide, we believe in Asiwaju, we endorse Asiwaju, we are giving Asiwaju continuous support,” he submitted.

However, an Afenifere chieftain, Gboyega Adejumo, countered Hassan, saying the stance of Adebanjo-led Afenifere is guided by equity, fairness, and justice.
“Afenifere has been the only socio-political organization with a high rate of success in uniting Nigerians. It was Pa Adebanjo who made Asiwaju governor. But this is not about a Yoruba man; it is about equity and what is right for Nigerians,” Adejumo said on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily.

Pa Falae although admitted that he once said that it was the turn of the South East to produce the President, since they had not had the opportunity of being Nigeria’s President, it’s for them to persuade other Nigerians that they can offer something better than candidates from other geopolitical zones. It’s not an automatic slot that can be filled without other important considerations.

He denied he had ever canvassed or claimed to be supporting Mr Peter Obi of the Labour Party for the 2023 race.
Pa Reuben Fasoranti is the leader of the Pan Yoruba socio-cultural and political organisation, The Committee of Afenifere. But since old age related informaties have grossly limited active participation in public affairs, the mantle fell, most naturally on another Pa Ayo Adebanjo. The Yoruba socio-cultural organisation is one founded on gerontocratic ideal.

And Pa Adebanjo is next in line in age to the leader. But his politics, his style of running the organization are drawing the ire of the Yoruba elders in various forums, not only in the Committee of Afenifere alone.
An elder of the Yoruba Unity Forum told that nongenerian, Ayo Adebanjo is a well-schooled product of late Pa Obafemi Awolowo’s school of politic. He joined the group late 50s when the preparations for the Federal elections of 1959 were in top gear. Late Pa Awolowo’s type of political mobilization and organisation required mobile and active young men. He called them “Organisation Secretary”. Pa Adebanjo was one of them.

Pa Adebanjo put up a strong defense of his actions thus: “Before the political parties conducted their primaries, a journalist asked what is my view about the 2023 general election? I answered and said the country should be restructured before the general election, and he followed up by asking if there should be an election, which zone should the Presidency come from? And I unhesitatingly said, of course, the South East. He continued his defense: “when the primaries and the candidates emerge with Asiwaju Bola Tinubu from the South West, APC, Atiku Abubakar on the platform of PDP and Peter Obi on the platform of Labour Party and I announced Afenifere’s support for Peter Obi, not a few Yoruba leaders question why I should be supporting Peter Obi a candidate of Igbo extraction against Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, a Yoruba”. According to him “I took my time to explain that the presidency is not a contest between the Yorubas and the Igbos and to a large extent I was able to convince many.
“But ever since social media has been filled with comments tending to ethnicize the campaign instead of making it issue-based.

Afenifere has therefore decided to address you today and through you educate the public on the ideological and equitable principles which have influenced our decision.
He alluded to the core idea of the group, arguing “let me state here for the benefit of those who may not know that Afenifere is the Yoruba interpretation of the social welfarist ideology of Action Group, a political party founded by Chief Obafemi Awolowo and his colleagues in 1951 with strong advocacy for federalism as the best form of government to give the federating units the requisite autonomy to thrive and peacefully compete among themselves for the ultimate development of Nigeria.
“The system was eventually agreed to by our founding fathers, Sir Ahmad Bello, Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe, and Chief Obafemi Awolowo, and endorsed by the Colonial Secretary, Sir Oliver Littleton in 1954 and embodied in the 1960 independence constitution.

This is the modest contribution of Afenifere in shaping Nigeria into a federation where no person or ethnic nationality is oppressed.
Pa Adebanjo veered into the background of his decision to jump ship his progressive camp. “In the countdown to the 2023 General elections, long before the parties conducted their Conventions to elect their National Executives and candidates, we had insisted and still advocate restructuring before the elections proposing a synthesis of the identical Resolutions of the 2014 National Conference and the APC El Rufai 2018 True Federalism Committee. We did this as Afenifere and on the wider spectrum of the Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum (SMBLF). We did this, when politicians, in spite of the monumental crises confronting the nation, carried on as if the attainment of power was all that mattered, the SMBLF unanimously proposed that the minimum condition for a peaceful transition from the disastrous 8years of Buhari’s government headed by a President of northern extraction was to have the next President from the South.

Be further stated that this position was supported by all the southern governors, irrespective of their political parties at a meeting held in Asaba, Delta State.
He added that “incidentally, this North/South consideration which is at the very root of our amalgamated federation is also the most important testament of all political parties in Nigeria. The principle of federal character enshrined in the constitution dictates that the government of the federation or any part thereof shall not be concentrated in any ethnic group or a combination of such groups.

The Afenifere leader argued that “It is therefore preposterous to adopt this principle for employment in public service admissions in educational institutions, political appointment, the composition of the executive committee of a political party only to jettison it in the most important question of rulership of the federation.

He believed that if the country is to hold firm to her “quest for peace, based on equity and inclusiveness, the Yoruba took the first turn at the zoning arrangement in 1999, and that led to the emergence of Chief Obasanjo, the current Vice President is a Yoruba man and equity forbids us for presuming to support another Yoruba person for the presidency in 2023. The current President is a Fulani from the Northwest and by virtue of the zoning arrangement that has governed Nigeria since 1999, power is supposed to return to the south imminently. The southwest as I have pointed out has produced a president and currently sits as VP, the South-South has spent a total of 6years in the Presidency, but the Igbo people of the South-East have never tasted presidency in Nigeria, and now that the power is due back in the South equity demands that it be ceded to the Igbo.

Continuing, he added “we cannot continue to demand that the Igbo people remain in Nigeria, while we at the same time continue to brutally marginalize and exclude them from the power dynamic”.
“Peter Obi is the person of Igbo extraction that Afenifere has decided to support and to back, he is the man we trust to restructure the country back to federalism on the assumption of office.
“We will not compromise this principle of justice, equity and inclusiveness because one of our own Asiwaju Bola Tinubu is a frontline candidate. “It is on this same principle, we condemn the PDP for sponsoring Atiku Abubakar, a Northern Fulani Muslim to succeed General Muhammadu Buhari another Fulani Muslim who will soon complete 8 years of uneventful and disastrous rule. One can imagine such a high degree of political insensitivity. “On our part, we are certainly not alien to sacrificing personal interests in the quest for a National coalition to put Nigeria on the proper pedestal.

In this regard, the starting point is Southern solidarity for which we first enacted a handshake across the Niger, which had dovetailed to the Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum. We enjoin the labour movement, students, youth organisations, women associations, and every institution whose foundation is built on fairness and justice to join hands in this task of enthroning a democratic government by supporting Peter Obi. If we are sincere and honest about keeping Nigeria together in peace, the slogan henceforth should be
‘To keep Nigeria one, everyone should be Obi/Datti compliant.’

In the final analysis, let it be said that we have no apologies but due courage of our conviction that Nigeria can only prosper in righteousness.
“For me, in the twilight of my sojourn on earth at 94, it is too late to derail me on the track of true federalism and National inclusiveness on which I have travelled for over 70 years of my life as one of the few surviving initial prophets, I prefer to ascend on a chariot of fire, fueled by justice and equity”, concluded his defense
But to Comrade Ademola Olaoye, “this is pure semantics, it’s signified nothing”.
Comrade Olaoye dismissed Pa Adebanjo’s claims, saying since Pa Awo’s demise, the old man has not deemed it fit to support a Yoruba man for the Presidency, save Olu Falae.

He went further that “even at that, be used his support for Olu Falae to disrupt late Bola Ige’s aspiration”.
To Comrade Olaoye and several others, Pa Ayo Adebanjo’s derailing from the Pa Obafemi Awolowo’s school of thought has long been coming.
A young progressive Kunle Olawale in Oshogbo,.Osun State asked rhetorically if it was true Pa Ayo Adebanjo abandoned his leader and mentor and his other colleagues during the treasonable felony trial of 1962-66.

The truth of the matter was that the young Ayo Adebanjo eloped to Ghana to escaped the big hammer which the then vicious Federal Government targeted at late Pa Obafemi Awolowo and his lieutenants. Awo and the remaining twenty-six others braved the odds, faced the music and came out victoriously.
Pa Ayo Adebanjo is on another journey akin to the 1962 elopement and 1998.De’Rovans betrayal of his old fellow the progressive fold for a new comer, Pa Olu Falae.
Is History is.on the verge of repeating itself? (C2022)

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Tinubu’s Bold Moves Against Poverty, Insecurity



The President, Bola Ahmed Tinubu got cranky late Friday (9 June, 2023). He has been working at breathtaking speed all week long. He had held strategic meetings, focusing mainly on how to resurge the flailing economy. He summoned the Security Chiefs to the Presidential Conference Room in Aso Rock to look also at the worrisome state of insecurity in the country. He surely means business.

His task is well defined. He too blurted out at the inaugural dinner later in the day after the swearing-I ceremonies: “Please do not pity me”. He is focus on revving up the economy, stem the dangerous tide of insecurity across the country, bring the spiralling inflation and bring back the laughter and smiles to the faces of the over two hundred million traumatized Nigerians. 

He pledged defiantly at an interactive session with the Royal Fathers under the aegis of the National Council of Traditional Rulers of Nigeria (NCTRN) at the Aso Villa, Friday (9 June) that “any roadblock in the way of the progress of the Nigerian people would be removed by his government”.

The President for the umpteenth time justified the removal of fuel subsidy, saying that the country cannot continue feeding smugglers and acting as Father Christmas to neighbouring countries, saying “the decision to remove fuel subsidy, improve security, create jobs, and sustain the environment”.

In between all these, he was able to squeezed in time to meet the newly elected  parliamentarians, both at the Upper and Lower Chambers of the National Assembly, to moderate boiling tempers over the zoning of the Principal Officers of the National Assembly. Behold the hurricane Asiwaju is on the prowl.

After the meeting with the newly elected parliamentarians, Hon. Amobi Godwin Ogah, a newly elected Labour Party member to represent Isiukwuato/Umunneochi Federal Constituency, Abia State, was aghast. He could not hide his admiration for the President. He told newsmen: “I never knew Tinubu is so intelligent” 

He went further: “This Is my President,  Today is my best day. After listening to him speak today. President Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu is so intelligent and is prepared to serve this country. I saw the love and hope today”

The President’s avowed determination to frontally combat and crush the twin issues of poverty and insecurity holding down the country by the jugulars. He surely meant business. This crusade he had started with the inaugural address to the nation. He had simply declared: “Now that the subsidy is gone”. He also went further to vowed that that he intended to unify the exchange rate.

The reverberating effects of that simple declarations quickly resonated across the four poles holding the country. it simply jerked everybody up from their lethargy. He had since met with both the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, (CBN), Emmanuel Emefiele and the Managing Director of the NNPCL PLC, Mele Kyari to discuss modalities for achieving these targets.

However, it is not hyperbolic to state that Nigeria’s economy is on the edge of the precipice, if not down there already. This trend, the newly inaugurated President Tinubu fully takes cognizance of in his inaugural address to the nation. The need to revamp the economy is urgent, and pressing. He has started the revamping by halting further subsidies of fuel, a move that have trigger multi-dimensional responses across the country.

Part of the President first step was the call on the members of the European Union to assist Nigeria and Africa in strengthening its security and economic development to alleviate poverty in the continent. The President spoke during a telephone conversation with the President of the European Council, Mr. Charles Michel.

According to President Tinubu, Nigeria and the whole of Africa would require the help and partnership of her friends and development partners like the EU to address the excruciating poverty in the continent.

 While requesting the EU to look at specific areas of security challenge like the Lake Chad and coastal areas, the Nigerian leader promised to remain in contact with the European Union and other member states.

 He said poverty and insecurity were priority areas for his administration and he would do all that is required to address them.

Also, the President has expressly directed the National Economic Council (NEC) led by Vice President Kashim Shettima to device an approach and begin the process of working on interventions to mitigate the impact of subsidy removal on the Nigerians.

The Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPCL) confirmed in Lagos during the week that “once the Dangote Refinery starts pumping out refined petroleum products from late July or early August, the Corporation will cut down on its imports of Premium Motor Spirit, popularly called petrol”.

NNPCL is currently the sole importer of petrol into Nigeria, a task which it had shouldered for several years. Other oil marketers stopped importing the product due to their inability to access the United States dollars at the official rate.

The NNPCL also owned 20 per cent stake in the Dangote Refinery. The 650,000 barrels per day single line, crude oil processing refinery was inaugurated on May 22, 2023 by former President, Muhammadu Buhari, who described the facility as a “game-changer” in the World’s oil market.

The promoter, Aliko Dangote stated at the occasion that the refinery would start delivering refined products to the Nigerian market from late July or Early August this year.

When contacted by our correspondent and asked about what would happen to the NNPCL fuel imports programme once the Dangote Refinery began to push out products in August, the national oil firm’s spokesperson, Garba-Deen Muhammad, said emphatically that this would change.

According to him, “NNPC Limited is bringing in products from outside Nigeria as a matter of necessity, not as a matter of choice. We would have preferred that we produce here, refine here and we sell and provide the energy security that the country needs.

“Because of the circumstances that surround our refineries, we cannot allow the country to be grounded. So we have to buy wherever we can get and sell. So if Dangote products are available, why should we not buy from Dangote?

“There is absolutely no reason. And that is the reason why we are interested in the Dangote Refinery. We are co-owners, shouldn’t we do business with our partners rather than do it with other people?”

While President Tinubu faces these hydra-headed demons head-on, certainly heads must roll. There must be scape goats from the mess of the past. After days of speculation, the hammer eventually fell on the CBN Governor, Emefiele Friday (9 June, 2023). The man was on his seat all day, held meetings and closed for the long weekend, Monday (June 12, 2023) being a public holiday, was headed for home. He had hardly settled down when he heard the news of his immediate suspension. 

According to a terse press statement by Willie Bassey, Director of Information Office, of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Emefiele was directed to immediately hand over the affairs of his office to the Deputy Governor (Operations Directorate), who will act as the Central Bank Governor pending the conclusion of investigation and the reforms. 

The suspension, according to the statement is “sequel to the ongoing investigation of his office and the planned reforms in the financial sector of the economy”. 

But in a dramatic twist, minutes after his suspension as CBN Governor, the state secret police (DSS) was alleged to have him. He was said to have been arrested by the men of the DSS late  Friday. 

But prior to CBN’s suspension, the DSS, on December 7, 2022, in an exparte application with reference no: FHC/ABJ/CS/2255/2022, sought an order of the Federal High Court to effect his arrest.

The security agency had accused the embattled CBN Governor of financing terrorism, fraudulent activities and economic crimes of national security dimension.

The Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice J. T Tsoho, however, refused to grant the application of the DSS. The court said such an application should have been accompanied with the presidential approval because of the grave implications for the Nigerian economy if the CBN governor is arrested and detained. But late Friday, he was sent on indefinite suspension and then the arrest.

But on Saturday (10 June, 2023), the service tweet that “currently, Emefiele is not with the DSS”.

While the CBN’s Governor unfolds on, there are also strong speculations about the safety of the job of the Chief Executive Officer of the NNPCL, Mele Kyari at the weekend. It was speculated that the President intended to clean the old rot and refocus and reposition the economy, especially the financial and oil sector.

Later Saturday afternoon the Service released another tweet confirming the arrest of the CBN Governor. 

According to the Service, the DSS has finally confirmed that the suspended CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele is now in their custody.

A tweet from the agency reads: “…DSS hereby confirms that Mr Godwin Emefiele, the suspended Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, is now in its custody for some investigative reasons.

Meanwhile investigations across the country revealed that in less than a fortnight after putting an end into the fuel subsidy regime, reports across the country indicate a mixed reaction by the generality of the people. 

The major hope is that once the Dangote Refinery starts production late July or early August, prices of fuel is expected drastically since there wont be need for US dollars exchange in transactions any longer.

© 2023


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Democracy Day 2023: Full text of President Bola Tinubu’s address



Fellow Nigerians,

  1. It is exactly three decades today that Nigerians went to the polls to exercise their inalienable right to elect a President of their choice to lead the transition from military dictatorship to a representative government of the people.
  2. The abortion, by military fiat, of the decisive victory of Chief Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola of the defunct Social Democratic Party (SDP) in the June 12, 1993, presidential election, up to that time, the fairest and freest election in the country’s political evolution, turned out, ironically, to be the seed that germinated into the prolonged struggle that gave birth to the democracy we currently enjoy since 1999.
  3. In rising to strongly oppose the arbitrary annulment of the will of the majority of Nigerians as expressed in that historic election, the substantial number of our people who participated in the struggle to de-annul the election signified their fierce commitment to enthroning democracy as a form of government that best ennobles the liberty, the dignity of the individual and the integrity as well as the stability of the polity. The fierce opposition to the annulment of the June 12, 1993 presidential election and the unrelenting pro-democracy onslaught it unleashed was the equivalent of the battle against colonial rule by our founding fathers that resulted in the gaining of Nigeria’s independence in 1960.
  4. Just like the anti-colonial movement, the pro-June 12 vanguard demonstrated, once again, the enduring validity of the 19th century historian, Arnold Toynbee’s eternal postulation, that civilization and societies experience progress as they are forced to respond to challenges posed by the environment. The unjust annulment of a widely acknowledged free and fair election was a challenge that elicited resistance by a resurgent civil society, leading ultimately to the attainment of our ‘second independence’ as exemplified by the return of democratic governance in 1999.
  5. Fellow compatriots, we celebrate a day that has remained a watershed in our nation’s history, not just today, but for every June 12, for the endless future that our beloved country shall exist and wax stronger and stronger, generations of Nigerians will always remind themselves that the democracy that is steadily growing to become the defining essence of our polity was not gifted to us on a silver platter.
  6. We can easily recall the sacrifice and martyrdom of Chief MKO Abiola, the custodian of the sacred mandate that was so cruelly annulled. He sacrificed his life in unyielding, patriotic defence of the ideals of democracy as symbolized in his choice, by his fellow countrymen and women, as their duly-elected President. There was an easier choice for him. It was to forgo the justice of his cause and opt for the path of ease and capitulation in the face of the tyranny of power. To his eternal credit and immortal glory, Abiola said no. He demonstrated the time-tested eternal truth that there are certain ideals and principles that are far more valuable than life itself.
  7. Everyday, on this day, down the ages we will recall the several other heroes of democracy such as Kudirat Abiola, wife of Chief Abiola, who was brutally murdered while in the trenches fighting on the side of the people. We remember Pa Alfred Rewane, one of the heroes of our independence struggle and Major General Shehu Musa Yar’Adua (rtd) who were silenced by the military junta while in pursuit of democracy. They gave their yesterday for the liberty that is ours today.
  8. The point is that we must never take this democracy for granted. We must forever jealously guard and protect it like a precious jewel. For, a people can never truly appreciate the freedoms and rights democracy guarantees them until they lose it.
  9. We have traversed the dark, thorny path of dictatorship before and those who experienced it can readily testify to the unbridgeable gap between the dignity of freedom and the humiliation and degradation of tyranny. True, rancorous debates, interminable wrangling, ceaseless quarrels, bitter electoral contestations may be perceived by some as unattractive features of democracy. But they also testify to its merit and value.
  10. This year, we held the seventh in the cycle of elections that have become sacred rituals of our democratic practice in this dispensation since 1999.


  1. That the polls were intensely contested is in itself positive evidence that democracy is well and alive in our land. It is only natural that even as those who won and experienced victory in the various elections are elated and fulfilled, those who lost are disenchanted and disappointed. But the beauty of democracy is that those who win today can lose tomorrow and those who lose today will have an opportunity to compete and win in the next round of elections.
  2. Those who cannot endure and accept the pain of defeat in elections do not deserve the joy of victory when it is their turn to triumph. Above all, those who disagree with the outcome of the elections are taking full advantage of the constitutional provisions to seek redress in court and that is one of the reasons why democracy is still the best form of government invented by man.
  3. For Chief MKO Abiola, the symbol of this day, in whose memory June 12 became a national holiday, democracy is eternal.
  4. It is about rule of law and vibrant judiciary that can be trusted to deliver justice and strengthen institutions. It has become imperative to state here that the unnecessary illegal orders used to truncate or abridge democracy will no longer be tolerated.
  5. The recent harmonization of the retirement age for judicial officers is meant to strengthen the rule of law, which is a critical pillar of democracy. The reform has just started.
  6. The democracy that will yield right dividends to the people who are the shareholders means more than just freedom of choice and right to get people into elective offices. It means social and economic justice for our people. To the winner of June 12, democracy offers the best chance to fight and eliminate poverty. Thirty years ago, he christened his campaign manifesto, ‘Farewell to Poverty’ because he was convinced that there is nothing divine about poverty. It is a man-made problem that can be eliminated with clearly thought out social and economic policies.
  7. It is for this reason that, in my inauguration address on May 29, I gave effect to the decision taken by my predecessor-in-office to remove the fuel subsidy albatross and free up for collective use the much-needed resources, which had hitherto been pocketed by a few rich. I admit that the decision will impose extra burden on the masses of our people. I feel your pain. This is one decision we must bear to save our country from going under and take our resources away from the stranglehold of a few unpatriotic elements.
  8. Painfully, I have asked you, my compatriots, to sacrifice a little more for the survival of our country. For your trust and belief in us, I assure you that your sacrifice shall not be in vain. The government I lead will repay you through massive investment in transportation infrastructure, education, regular power supply, healthcare and other public utilities that will improve the quality of lives.
  9. The democracy MKO Abiola died for is one that promotes the welfare of the people over personal interests of the ruling class and one where the governed can find personal fulfillment and happiness. That is the hope MKO Abiola ignited throughout our country in 1993.
  10. On this year’s Democracy Day, I enjoin us all to rededicate ourselves to strengthening this form of government of free peoples that has been our guiding light these past 24 years. In particular, those of us who have been privileged to be elected into public offices at various levels in both the executive and legislative arms of government must recommit ourselves to offering selfless service to the people, and delivering concrete democracy dividends in accordance with our electoral promises.
  11. On my part and that of my administration, I pledge anew our commitment to diligently fulfilling every component of our electoral pact with the people – the ‘Renewed Hope’ agenda.
  12. We shall be faithful to truth. Faithful to equity. And faithful to justice. We shall exercise our authority and mandate to govern with fairness, respect for the rule of law, and commitment to always uphold the dignity of all our people.
  13. On this note, I wish us all a happy Democracy Day celebration and pray that the light of liberty shall never be extinguished in our land.
  14. Thank you all and may God continue to bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

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Governance Grounded in Ondo State as Akeredolu Refuses to Hand Over to Deputy 



Governance and all Governmental activities seemed to have grounded to a standstill in Ondo State since the State Governor, Oluwarotimi Odunayo Akeredolu (CON, SAN), became indisposed. He has also refused to transmute power to his deputy, despite several pleadings.

The Governor is said to be holed up in his private home in Ibadan, Oyo State capital since he was moved out of Abuja, Federal Capital Territory (FCT), where only his trusted aides have access to him.

The Governor according to reliable sources in government circle in Akure, Ondo State was rushed to Germany towards the end of last year for an undisclosed illness. He was said to be in Germany for about two months, before coming back to the country early this year. Upon returning to the country, he was said to had been headed straight for Abuja, where he was said to be “resting”, before moving to Ibadan.

Sources within government circle told that since he was hurriedly driven out of Akure, towards the end of last year, all governmental activities have come to a halt. His close circle was said to be against his transmuting power to his deputy, as stipulated by the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).

The Deputy Governor, Lucky Orimisan Aiyedatiwa, is said to be in a quandary about happenings in the State Government. Sources disclosed to our correspondent that he had gone to see the ailing Governor in his Ibadan home several times, but was not allowed by the Governor’s aides to see him. Several files needing urgent attention by the Governor are said to have piled up on his table in Ibadan unattended to.

For over a week now there have been some cold rumours circulating in hush tones about the health and condition of the Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu.

The absence became more noticeable when State Governors of the federation had the inaugural meeting with the President, Bola Tinubu in Aso Rock last week at State House, Abuja. At the meeting, it was only the Ondo State Governor that was conspicuously missing. The deputy could not attend. checks in Akure, Ondo State revealed however, that the Governor has refused bluntly to transmute power to his deputy, despite being aware of his health conditions since last year. Sections 189, 190 and  191 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) clearly stated with the Governor should transmute power to his deputy. 

The man popularly called “Aketi” has been out of circulation since March, immediately the general elections were done with. He was first reported to have gone to Germany for medical attention, but upon return, he made straight for Abuja. He was later said to have been moved from his abode in Abuja to his private home in Ibadan.

These conflicting reports about the condition of the Governor however, took a dangerous turn Saturday (3 June, 2023) when a news blog published reports of his death and someone also circulated a viral picture announcing his death. The State Government however, moved swiftly to dispel the rumours of his death as carried by a news blog.

But learnt that the Governor, according to some very reliable sources very close to him, is said to be in ‘a very critical condition in his private home in Ibadan’, capital of Oyo state. 

His close aides spoken to refused to give more on the ailing condition of the Governor, other than his condition has worsen since last week Friday (2 June 2023) evening. He is said to have become almost incapacitated. 

The Governor, was born on 21 July 1956, known widely as Aketi, is a vibrant lawyer and politician has been in office since 24 February 2017. Another Governorship election is due in October 2024. 

Responding to the rumours of his passing, the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Richard Olatunde released some video clips of the ailing Governor praising God.

In one of the videos, the Governor was seen dancing and singing. The lines of the lyrics showed governor Akeredolu who was joyous and full of praises to God for keeping him alive

Governor Akeredolu, left the country for Germany shortly after the APC convention in March. When he came back, he relocated to Abuja, Federal Capital Territory (FCT), ‘to rest’, before moving down to his house in Ibadan, Oyo State.

He officially wrote the State House of Assembly to take permission before embarking on an annual leave.

His adopted prefix is “Arakunrin”, while his nickname is “Aketi”. He is a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) who became president of the Nigerian Bar Association in 2008. Akeredolu was also a Managing Partner at the law firm of Olujinmi & Akeredolu, which he co-founded with Chief Akin Olujinmi, a former Attorney General and Minister for Justice of Nigeria. On 21 July 2020, he was declared as the Ondo governorship candidate after the primary elections under the platform of the APC. He is the current Governor of Ondo State and doubles as the chairman of Southwest Governors Forum.

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