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Obasanjo Knelt Down For Atiku In 2003 -Wole Soyinka

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Former President Olusegun Obasanjo knelt down for then Vice President Atiku Abubakar in his desperate bid to secure the ticket of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the 2003 poll, according to Professor Wole Soyinka.

The revelation came yesterday as the Nobel laureate gave a rare insight into the high-stake lobbying and negotiations that preceded the PDP’s presidential primaries in which Atiku was highly favoured to win at the expense of his then boss Obasanjo.

Besides, Soyinka spoke on how genuine efforts by Chief Bola Ige to reposition the energy sector as Power Minister between 1999 and 2000 were sabotaged by Obasanjo.

Soyinka was replying a question at a special reading session to mark the presentation of his latest book, “Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes?: Gani’s Unfinished Business”, at the Freedom Park, Lagos.

Speaking at the event, Mr. Louis Odion, one-time Edo State Information Commissioner and The Nation columnist, asked the literary giant whether he believed a sensational claim last year by Ekiti State Governor Ayodele Fayose of witnessing Obasanjo going down on his knees in Tripoli before the late President Muamar Ghaddafi in his desperate bid to secure the Libyan strongman’s support for an extension of his chairmanship of the African Union (AU), since the former Nigerian President has neither denied nor confirmed the account.

Fayose’s account was published by an Abuja-based monthly magazine, The Interview.

Ghaddafi was younger than Obasanjo. Libya is smaller in size and population compared to Nigeria.

Responding, Soyinka said he had no cause to doubt Fayose, given his knowledge of how Obasanjo did the “unthinkable” when his aspiration for a second term in office was similarly threatened in 2003.

Said he: “Before the PDP primaries in January 2003, Obasanjo got everyone he knew could reach me on the surface on the earth including Yemi Ogunbiyi and my son, to get me to help him intercede when it was clear that (Abubakar) Atiku was in a position to take his job. He knew Atiku had a lot of regard for me and calls me ‘Uncle’.”

In the now famous BBC interview few days to PDP’s 2003 primaries, Atiku had declared that he was under tremendous pressure from his supporters to contest the ticket against Obasanjo but was yet to make up his mind in what triggered panic in Obasanjo’s camp.

“The pressure was intense,” the literary giant recounted. “Of course, I could not have knelt before Atiku not to embark on a course of action that would lead to his boss’ disgrace. But I can confirm to you that Obasanjo as President knelt down before Atiku so that he would not lose his job.

“But I warned Atiku that for making Obasanjo to kneel down for you, be sure you would have to pay heavily for that. I guess my warning came to pass if you remember Atiku’s dramatic change of fortune once Obasanjo was sworn in for a second term of office.”

As expected, yesterday’s book reading turned out a day of reminiscences of many bizarre dramas and unsavory episodes that characterised Obasanjo’s reign as two-term president betweeen 1999 and 2007. The panel of disscussants included frontline rights activist-lawyer Femi Falana (SAN) and Mr. Sam Omatseye, author and Chairman of “The Nation” Editorial Board, and was moderated by Mr. Kunle Ajibade, award-winning author and Executive Director of “TheNews/Tempo”.

The roll-call at the event included literary colossus Prof. J. P. Clark, Colonel Tony Nyiam (retd) and Mr. Jahman Anikulapo.

Dispelling the notion that the long-running disagreement he has with Obasanjo is personal, Soyinka said his motivation is the desire that those he described as cause of the nation’s problems do not continue to recycle themselves as the solution.

He also dismissed Obasanjo as a hypocrite for denying that he did not have a hand in the third term agenda in 2006.

Said the playwright: “I remember I was invited to a conference in Germany around the time the third term game was unfolding in Nigeria. Then, I received thi

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After Meeting NGF Chairman, Akpabio Apologies To state Governors Over N30bn Claim

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The President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio, has finally apologised to the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) under the leadership of Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq of Kwara State over his comment on the N30bn allowance allegedly given to them to cushion the effect of inflation in food prices.

This was coming after the Senate President held a meeting with the NGF Chairman and some of his counterparts in Abuja yesterday.

Akpabio had, at a plenary sitting last Tuesday, said an “unverified report” indicated that state governors received N30bn each from the Federation Account to cushion the effect of inflation and the high cost of food prices.

The statement has generated controversies in the public space, with some commentators asking governors to come clean about the money they did not collect.

However, on Monday, Akpabio in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Eseme Eyiboh, retracted the statement, saying the SP held the governors in high esteem.

The statement reads below:

“During the session, the President of the Senate commented on the payment of an unverified cumulative sum of about N30bn to the sub-national governments by the Federal Government for various interventions to ameliorate the food situation of our citizens at the sub-national governments.

“The unfortunate conjectures to take away the kernel in the material facts of FAAC payment are rather regretted. In considering the well-intended motive of urging state governments to collaborate with the Federal government of President Bola Tinubu to facilitate strategic interventions to mitigate the prevailing economic situation in the country remains the underpinning motivation in the comment.

“The President of the Senate is not oblivious to the fact that state governments are functional partners in all the efforts of the current administration of President Bola Tinubu and are also valuable stakeholders’ in the various legislative engagements of the legislature in creating the nexus between the legislature and the people.”

Eyiboh added that Akpabio has always demonstrated commitment to team building and shall not do less in the circumstance.

He, therefore, urged the sub-national governments not to be distracted by any misunderstanding of the context and true meaning of the statement.

He added, “The President of the Senate recognises and appreciates the current efforts of the governors at ameliorating the adverse effects of the current inclement socio-economic environment and therefore invites more hands on the plow to complement the renewed hope agenda.”

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“I Discourage Young People From Leaving The Country Because Abroad You Get Only 9-5 Jobs, But In Nigeria You Can Wake Up One Day And Become A Minister” — Rotimi Amaechi

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In his words; ‘’I have always discouraged those who want to leave the country. You can always get a 9-5 job when you leave the country but you can never get the opportunity you will get in Nigeria. You can just wake up one day and become a Minister in Nigeria, a governor. It just happens. I don’t know how this country operates. If you are looking for opportunities, please stay back in Nigeria”

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No Community Should Be Asked To Pay For Transformers, Cables, Poles -Minister Warns Discos

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“It is the responsibility of the distribution companies to provide transformers, cables and poles to communities so that power supply can improve.

“A situation where communities buy transformers, cables and poles must stop. I know that you have these centers but how effective are they to ensure that customer complaints are attended to?

“As a minister, I don’t want to hear news of communities being asked to purchase electric transformers, cables and poles. If the consumers are paying for the electricity, then it is the responsibility of the distribution companies to provide these items.

“There must be improvement in power supply. That is what the government planned to do. People should not pay for darkness. When people have a 24-hour power supply, they can pay double for electricity because you have saved them the money to power generators.

“We don’t want to hear the news of communities buying transformers, cables and poles for themselves again. The federal government frowns at it. You see what we have done in Kaduna. Service to our people is paramount. It is the responsibility that Mr. President has placed on us. You are not number one, two or three, you are struggling to be number four on the rating.” -Adebayo Adelabu, Power Minister At Meeting With IEDC Mgt

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