IF President Goodluck Jonathan had expected an assurance from Sikiru Adetona, Awujale and paramount ruler of Ijebuland, to canvass votes for him, he must have been disappointed. The monarch told the president who paid him a private visit in Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State, on Thursday, March 12, that it was not proper in Ijebuland or Yorubaland for any Oba to canvass for votes for any candidates seeking elective posts.
Instead, Adetona said monarchs in Yorubaland would only encourage their subjects to make their informed choices. He insisted that any monarch canvassing for votes for any politician or political would be courting trouble. He said rather than engaging monarchs for campaign, each candidate must go out and sell his or manifesto to the electorate.
“In Ijebu here, it is not possible for any Oba, not even only in Ijebu, in Yorubaland, to go out and say vote for this, vote for that; that person is looking for trouble. But give them the opportunity to present their programmes so that people can make up their minds on what to do. I think this is a very sound democratic principle and that is what I have decided to do, to give you the opportunity of meeting with the people,” Adetona said, adding: “Each time I have cause to talk to our people, I have always told them, in the churches and mosques that when you’re going to vote, make sure you back your sons and daughters who will give something back to you; not the ‘Ojelus’ (looters).
“Those who will be honest with you, who know the way of God; those are the people you should vote for; not those who will give you two, three spoons and mortgage your future. It is not right.”
President Jonathan had earlier, in his speech, highlighted his achievements to the monarch, which he said, cut across party, ethnic and religious lines in the last four years. “In the road infrastructure, we have tried. Railway is back, we are trying to improve our terminal buildings and security environment in our airports.
“The Health sector, we have tried both in the tertiary level, or what we call health tourism. Some of our hospitals are now open for kidney transplant and at the primary level we are able to eradicate guinea worm and we are on the way of eradicating polio completely from this country,” the president said.
President Jonathan was accompanied by Adamu Mu’azu, national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party; Gbenga Daniel, a former governor of Ogun State; Governors of Bayelsa and Ondo states, Seriake Dickson and Olusegun Mimiko, respectively, among others.
Smear Campaign Can’t Distract Me – Buhari
GENERAL Muhammadu Buhari, presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, on Thursday, March 12, vowed that he would not allow the smear campaign to dissuade him from his obligation of liberating the country from the bondage of misrule and misery of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
Speaking to a cross section of Nigerian youths at town-hall meeting in Lagos, Buhari said that the series of personal attacks on him by leaders of the PDP was meant to distract him, but he would allow himself to be distracted. He said: “My love for this country is supreme and that is why I am offering myself to serve you. But our vision can only be possible when you get your PVCs and make sure you vote for APC. Don’t stop at voting, ensure that your votes are protected. We have a duty to liberate this country, such liberation cannot be done overnight.
“It is a question of saving the country from free fall. I have not come here to make promises to you but to tell you that we have a duty to save our nation, and that is what March 28, and April 11, election dates are all about. No Nigerian should accept any postponement because there is no constitutional provision for postponement. We must conduct election and it must be free, fair and credible.” Buhari promised that his plans for a better life for Nigerian youths would be backed by a robust focus on education, guarantee of security and enhancement of infrastructure.
The occasion graced by different youth and student groups was also attended by Chibuike Amaechi, governor of Rivers State and director-general of the Buhari Campaign Organisation; John Odigie-Oyegun, national chairman of the APC; Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State; Nasir el-Rufai, APC governorship candidate in Kaduna State and Kayode Fayemi, former governor of Ekiti State, among others.
Akau Replaces Agwai as SURE-P Boss
RETIRED Lieutenant-General Martin Luther Agwai, former chief of Army Staff, was on Tuesday, March 10, removed as chairman of the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme by President Goodluck Jonathan. The incident happened five days after Agwai delivered a lecture at the 78th birthday of former President Olusegun Obasanjo. He has since been replaced with Ishaya Dare Akau.
In a statement by Reuben Abati, special adviser on Media and Publicity to Jonathan, the president attributed Agwai’s sacking to the continuation of government’s efforts to continuously reposition federal government’s agencies for optimal delivery.
Abati’s statement on Agwai’s sack read, “In furtherance of his efforts to continuously re-energise and reposition agencies of the federal government for optimal service delivery, President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has appointed Mr. Ishaya Dare Akau as the new Chairman of the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P). Mr. Akau, whose appointment takes immediate effect, replaces Gen. Martin Luther Agwai (retd.), who served as chairman of the SURE-P until today (Tuesday, March 10). The new SURE-P chairman hails from the Jema’a Local Government Area of Kaduna State and holds Bachelors’ degrees in the Arts and Law.
“Mr. Akau comes to the job with years of experience as a high-level administrator in the nation’s public service. His record of service includes tenures as chairman of the Kaduna State Universal Education Board and Chairman of the National Assembly Service Commission.
“President Jonathan thanks the outgoing chairman of SURE-P, General Agwai, for his service to the nation and wishes him well in his future endeavours,” it said.
But observers say Agwai apparently put himself in trouble while delivering the lecture last Thursday, March 5, saying change in the national leadership was inevitable and that the country’s leaders must accept it and move with it. He had said: “In life, you find out that everything needs change, if that is what the community wants, what the people want, you must give it to them and as such, it becomes inevitable.
“You can have everything nice, but if you don’t have the right leadership to propel it, it cannot go anywhere. Integrity matters, doing what is good for the larger society, and not just what you want to do for a narrow society to please yourself.”
Agwai, had in February, 2014, replaced Christopher Kolade, pioneer SURE-P chairman, who resigned his appointment. He has been deputy chairman to Christopher Kolade, pioneer chairman SURE-P, and had acted as acting chairman before the president confirmed his appointment in February 2014.