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‘One Month, One Error’, PDP’s Guber Ticket Struggles To Fly In Kwara




…Misinformation, corruption, sectional politics, and godfatherism dogged candidacy

On Wednesday 25th July, 2022, it was exactly three months since the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Kwara State nominated Shuaibu Yaman Abdullah as its gubernatorial candidate for the 2023 general elections.

The former commissioner on the board of Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) emerged after defeating two other contestants in the race by 518 votes.

The two other contestants, two-term member of the House of Representatives, Aliyu Ahman Patigi; and former Nigerian Ambassador to Japan, Professor Yisa Gana, scored 31 and 14 votes respectively.

Despite initial rancour within the party over the results of the primaries, Kwara PDP seems to be clawing out of the rubbles , especially with uniting the guber contestants behind the flagbearer. However, there was recently a scar with a gale of the defection of some of their members in Kwara South and Central districts to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state.

Notwithstanding, Yaman Abdullah is widely considered the most visible challenger to the incumbent Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq on the account of party structure, financial war chest, etc., in the coming elections in the state.

But according to temperate observers and political analysts, the gubernatorial candidate appears to be struggling to prove his preparedness and capability for the Ahmadu Bello Way. This was said to be evident in his “oft-simplistic, error-riddled” statements on issues and a generally “largely pedestrian” campaign. Believed to be the sentiments of the critical elites and young intelligentsias, Yahman’s candidature with former lawmaker Gbenga Makanjuola is also beleaguered by allegations of corruption, godfatherism, and sectional politics.

Upon a careful background check, PotPourri brings to you three big gaffes the guber candidacy has reportedly made in the last three months in the course of electioneering.

*May: ‘The blind carries the crippled.’*

Immediately after the May 25th gubernatorial primary elections, plots for the choice of running mate to Yaman Abdullah began.

Apparently decided to be a slot for the Kwara Southerners, a local online newspaper in Kwara, reported June 7 that the party leadership were considering two term federal lawmaker, Hon Gbenga Makanjuola; former adviser on Agriculture & Water support to ex-Governor Ahmed, Hon. Anu Ibiwoye; socialite and former senatorial aspirant Chief Bode Oyedepo, among others.

The party leadership, which many believed were influenced by its supreme leader, Senator Bukola Saraki eventually settled for Makanjuola, a former aide to the former senate president.

Apart from the fact that factors pointing to the disappointment in the process of selection has made one of the hopefuls, mercurial Chief Bode De-Way to join the ruling APC, local media and young voters also appeared unexcited by the pick.

In the weeks preceding the unveiling, many of the local reports represented Makanjuola’s running case with the EFCC on fraud and embezzlement as banner headlines in apparent protest. A widely read opinion article by a youth leader identified as Ibraheem Abdullateef also described Yaman/Makanjuola ticket as “leprous.”

While all these are probably not representative of the general mood of the public at the moment, it is undeniable that the people of Kwara state are not favourably disposed to scandals involving corruption, embezzlement of funds, and other act of impunity post- O’toge revolution.

It may well come up that Makanjuola’s tainted image will be a baggage to Yaman’s candidacy.

While craving anonymity, a frontline anti-corruption activist dubbed PDP’s team as “The blind carrying the crippled.’

*June: Kwara’s debt acrobatics*

While addressing party faithfuls and supporters at an event unveiling Hon. Gbenga Makanjuola as his running mate in the capital city, Ilorin, Yaman attempted to talk about the state’s debt profile with a view to criticise the incumbent on its ” alarming” rise.

However, the June 18 event appeared to be overshadowed by the gaffe he made during the address.

“We are not unaware of the problem the APC has put on us in Kwara State by the astronomical increase in the debt portfolio with over 300%. Kwara from the least indebted state is now one of the most indebted,” Yaman remarked.

According to multiple factchecks, there were major false claims in the above statement.

By March 2022, Kwara was only listed as the 19th most indebted state in Nigeria by the Debt Management Office (DMO).

The available record also vitiated the statement that the debt profile of Kwara has jumped 300% between 2019 and now.

In 2021, the AbdulRazaq-led administration took N27.2bn private bond ” to bridge infrastructural gaps.” Afterwards, it also announced that like 35 other state governments across Nigeria, they accepted a Federal Government’s offer of N18.6bn loan refinancing facility to ease the burden of paying back loans which dated back to 2015.

Combined together, this would only raise the domestic debt profile by 68.3%, well below Yaman’s 300% claim.

Also, the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor Rafiu Ajakaye, while reacting, stoically refuted Yaman’s claims.

“Both claims are false. One, at no time in Nigeria’s chequered history was Kwara the least indebted state. In 2019, Kwara had the 10th highest debt profile in Nigeria,” Ajakaye added in his widely referenced rejoinder ‘ _Of Yaman’s debt gaffe and PDP’shock-jockss’_ in June.

“The first and only time the state’s debt profile rose so high was in 2009 when former Governor Bukola Saraki took N17bn bond, among other facilities he had earlier accessed. That took the debt profile to above 300%, considering the fact that he had inherited a below N5bn domestic debt from the late Mohammed Lawal’s administration.”

That time, it was clear that the figures and data had hooked Yaman’s throat.

*July: Yahman digs PDP’s rubbles*

Although it was acknowledged by a section of netizens on social media as a good move for the guber candidate to go round assessing the level of basic education in the state, majority has been vociferous in their criticism of Yaman dubbing it as a “show.” As someone who is a serial contestant for the state’s top seat, it appeared there is a standard he is expected to operate regarding governance and economy of the state.

That notwithstanding, Yaman’s attempt to rationalise the efforts of the incumbent government on the state of basic education in the state was not taken to lightly by netizens.

According to background checks, it was confirmed that rots in the basic education was one of the weaknesses of the immediate former administration in Kwara State. Due to non-committal of funds after the diversion of the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) funds, the state was blacklisted from 2013 to 2019 when the APC-led government was inaugurated.

Having cleared the arrears and raised the counterpart funds, UBEC unbanned and granted Kwara 14.2 bn to reposition the basic education sector. Aware of its ongoing efforts in renovating classrooms, recruitment and training of teachers in ICT under KWARALEARN, among other things, Yaman’s poser has since been met with disregard, ridicule, and hostility by the government’s spokersperson and the public.

“Today, as part of our fact-finding efforts on the state of education at the basic level, the above pictures were captured at Oke Apomu LGEA in Ilorin West Local Government of the State. So, what has this government done with the N14.2b SUBEB fund?,” Yaman asked while sharing pictures of pupils seated on the bare floor in a rather decrepit classroom in Ilorin.

While some members of his party, PDP, have taken it to be an inadvertent dig at his own party given the history of the ex-governor Abdul Fatah Ahmed administration in the UBEC saga, analysts felt it rather gave an opening for the current government to boast of their strides in the sector. According to an analyst, Opeyemi Quadri on Facebook, “it was unstrategic.”

Never one to miss such an opportunity, the CPS to Governor Rafiu Ajakaye replied that “Truth is that there are still dozens of such facilities across Kwara State, and this speaks to the mess that public education (indeed Kwara) was in 2019.

“In 2019 when this government was inaugurated, there were dilapidated structures across at least 2,064 basic schools in Kwara: 480 at Junior Secondary School level and 1,584 in Primary Schools. That was the Kwara story. It was a fallout of the next-to-zero investments in basic schools for nearly a generation. History: between 2013 and 2019, Kwara was under an official blacklist of the federal government for diverting funds meant for improving school infrastructures, training of teachers, among others,” he explained.

Following the rejoinder, many social media commenters said Yaman and PDP scored an “own-goal.”

“PDP scored own-goal with that pictures. They failed to address the real issue. They allow Ajakaye to capitalise on their weakness,” said a Whatsapp user in one of the Kwara’s regarded online forums.

CPS Rafiu Ajakaye described the decrepit schools as a “legacy of the PDP.”

“The public needs to understand that the 2,064 dilapidated schools and hospitals (including Oke Apomu LGEA school) were a legacy of the same individuals in the PDP who are now sharing pictures of schools in shambles. The new administration is only struggling to rebuild what became horribly bad under PDP’s watch.

“Here are the things to note: next time you see another dilapidated school or hospital structure, please know that it is the fallout of the PDP years. It is to be noted that the new administration is doing its best to fix these rots, while also investing in other critical needs of the people within available resources. What this means is that these rots will take years to go away. No magic will make them disappear. Only consistent investment will. This is the point the Governor made last December about the depth of the rots. The good news is that this administration is doing a lot in this regard.”Gauging the public opinion and sentiment, the Oke-Apomu LGEA saga sits as another error in the comeback campaign of the Yaman/Makanjuola’s ticket for Kwara PDP.”

Seeking external review of the campaign of PDP and Yaman/Makanjuola ticket as an alternative to the incumbent APC, Governor AbdulRazaq/Alabi ticket, a professor in the Department of Political Science University of Ilorin who seek anonymity said he was bothered by the lack of depth, ideals, and initiative in the opposition parties’ activities in the state.

While he remarked that many of them are seemingly contesting in obscurity, he decried PDP’s candidate Yaman Abdullah’s penchant for flunking data and figures for political purposes.

“It is almost one month, one error from him.” The prof. said looking worried.’One Month, One Error’, PDP’s Guber Ticket Struggles To Fly In Kwara

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Lai Mohammed bags international advocacy job



Ballard Partners, an international governmental affairs firm has appointed Alhaji Lai Mohammed, immediate past Minister of Information and Culture, as Managing Partner of its first office in Africa.

In a statement issued by the firm and made available to newsmen on Wednesday in Abuja, Mohammed is to serve as Managing Partner of its newly opened Abuja office and its satellite office in Lagos.

With its headquarters in Washington, Ballard Partners specialises in all aspects of governmental and public affairs, including legislative and executive agency advocacy.

In the statement, Brian Ballard, the firm’s President and founder said they were opening their first African office in Nigeria to expand the firm’s international footprint to three continents.

He said the opening of the office, would also help in building upon the important work they had done on behalf of African nations and companies in Africa and the U.S.

On the choice of the former minister, Ballard said that Mohammed “has a long record of public service and is one of the most respected officials in the country.

Adding that “his outstanding reputation and exceptional experience will be invaluable to our firm”.

Ballard recalled that since the advent of Nigeria’s fourth republic in 1999, Mohammed played key roles in the political life of his country as Chief of Staff to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu as Governor of Lagos.

He added that Mohammed was also the National Spokesperson for the Opposition for over a decade (2005-2015) and a candidate for the Governorship of Kwara State in the 2003 General Elections.

The statement also reflected the former Minister’s happiness in accepting the international job.

“I am very pleased to join Ballard Partners and to open the firm’s first office in Africa,”

“Ballard Partners has an impeccable reputation internationally and is well known for its success representing African countries and American firms in Africa.

The opportunities in Nigeria are substantial and I look forward to helping the firm’s clients achieve their objectives,” Mohammed was quoted as saying.

Born in Oro, Kwara state, Mohammed graduated with second class upper honors with dual degrees in modern European languages (majoring in French) and law.

He was called to the Nigerian bar in 1986.

The former Minister has also been awarded several diplomas in different parts of the world including Diplomes d’Etudes Francaise 3ieme Degree in both Dakar, Senegal and Vichy France

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Powers Behind the Throne: Era of ‘Go and See Rauf’ Appears Gone!



Powers Behind the Throne: Era of ‘Go and See Rauf’ Appears Gone!

By Ismail Omipidan

In every corridor of power around the globe, there are people who call the shots. Some are seen. Others are invisible. But you hear and see their exploits. They are real. They wield enormous powers such that the real occupier of the office, on behalf of whom the powers are wielded, most times, defers to them and relies on them to take certain critical decisions. Most times, when they are not within reach, critical decisions must be delayed. Unless they have their say, nothing moves, nothing works. They are called the powers behind the throne!

Around President Bola Ahmed Tinubu in those days, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, the immediate past Interior Minister, was the de facto Power Behind the Throne. You hardly get anything without his input and final stamp. Once you encounter President Tinubu, the next thing is ‘go and see Rauf’.

As Governor of Osun State, unless certain Lagos matters get to Osogbo, they are never resolved. Tickets into certain offices in Lagos are got from Osogbo, with the express approval of ‘Rauf’.

With Tinubu, Rauf’s words were law. Fall out with Rauf, then you are out of favour with Tinubu.

But somehow, Ogbeni Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola mismanaged the relationship, abused the trust and even attempted to play God. Now, he is left in the cold to leak his wounds.

Curiously, rather than retrace his steps, show remorse and find a way to be reintegrated into the fold for possible political rehabilitation, Aregbesola appears to be grandstanding. Unfortunately, those he misled and turned into political orphans in Osun are still urging him on. They are the ones who say they are welcoming him back to Osun. For what really, I do not know.

As minister, he was treated to a celebratory banquet by the APC Government in Osun, led by Adegboyega Oyetola. Today, he is being welcomed not by the Osun State APC.

While in Abuja, he never participated in any election here in Osun. He never showed any iota of concern for Osun as a minister during the raving COVID-19 pandemic. It is on record that as a member of the Presidential Committee on COVID-19, Aregbesola behaved as though Osun needed no support from the FG to the extent that after Osun successfully contained the famous Ejigbo 127 Ivory Coast returnees, he almost forced another set on Osun.

If the so-called ‘welcome home’ gathering is to relaunch himself back to political reckoning, I think Aregbesola and those behind it have missed the point again.

But if it is to continue his political war against the party and persons that brought him to political reckoning, it is a good start. Unfortunately, he and those behind it may not go far either, unless the Osun State PDP government is willing and ready to fund the political war. Historically speaking, since 1999, those that are today waging war on the progressives in Osun have never spent their personal money to advance any political cause. They have always relied on Tinubu’s financial war chest and government’s money. Once these two sources of funding are blocked, give them six months from now, the market will seize to exist and the traders will go their separate ways.

But one thing Aregbesola must know is that an average Osun APC faithful only appears to be waiting for the appropriate time to square up with him. One thing that is however certain for now is that, except Aregbesola changes his perceived arrogant posture, with regard to his relationship with APC in Osun especially, it may be difficult for him to return to political reckoning as far the progressives’ politicking is concerned because for now, the era of ‘go and see Rauf’ appears gone!

Omipidan, a journalist and Public Affairs analyst writes from Ile Olorisa Compound, Eyindi, Ila Orangun.

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I Owe My Success To God, President Tinubu, President Buhari – Aregbesolaa



Immediate past Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola has attributed the success of his political career to President Bola Tinubu and Former President Muhammadu Buhari.

Aregbesola, while paying a homage to the Owa Obokun of Ijesaland, Oba (Dr.) Gabriel Adekunle Aromolaran, to mark his homecoming reception in Osun, noted that the support of the two leaders of the country, enabled his success in the roles.

He expressed gratitude to family, friends, colleagues, and associates for standing by him throughout his sojourn as Commissioner, Governor, and Minister praising them for their support.

He used the occasion to enumerate some of the interventions and projects he attracted to Ijesaland during his tenure as Minister.

His words: “We thank God for how far he has brought me.

“Again, I must thank President Muhammadu Buhari for counting me worthy to be made a minister and also President Bola Ahmed Tinubu for counting me worthy to be a commissioner in Lagos. Because from there, God continued to uplift me to where I’m today.

“If you recall, when I left government in November 2018, I came here to pay homage and thanked God for a successful tenure.

“After my tour of duty as Minister in Abuja, I felt it was proper for me again to come and pay homage as a worthy son of Ijesaland.”

“Some of the projects God used us to achieve and facilitate to Ijesaland are the Fire Service Zonal Training School, 3,000 capacity custodial centre under construction, Passport front office, Regional passport production centre, Covid-19 crisis intervention fund Hospital, Ilesa and the National Institute of Domestic Security.

“The institute is a research and training centre for all paramilitary agencies in Nigeria and all over Africa,” the former Governor of the State of Osun stressed further.

In his remarks, the Owa Obokun of Ijesaland, Oba (Dr.) Gabriel Adekunle Aromolaran praised the Minister for being a worthy son of the Ijesas.

The monarch recalled with nostalgia the myriads of projects and achievements recorded while the former Minister governed Osun, and his imprints, which stands him out as a worthy ambassador of the state.

He prayed for higher responsibility and God’s continued benevolence on Ogbeni Aregbesola

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