“Above all, don’t lie to yourself. The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to a point that he cannot distinguish the truth within him, or around him, and so loses all respect for himself and for others. And having no respect he ceases to love.” Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Disclaimer: I do not write for anyone in this piece as I have never met the principal character of this article in person or ever spoken to him before. This is not a paid piece by person(s) close to him but a personal contribution to put to rest the raging political inferno that the defection has caused, for Deltans and Nigerians to decipher why certain things happened.
Last week Saturday, the mother of all defection in Delta State happened as the illegal former Deputy National of the factionalized Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr Cairo Ojougboh packed his belongings, both human and intellectual to the All Progressive Congress (APC).
When a source called me on Wednesday of same week that something big will happen in Ika through Cairo, I thought it was just a normal gathering and even when another source squealed to me that he was defecting, I still didn’t take it serious, until they began to send me the pictures of the event.
As usual, the PDP and Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa’s kindergarten Executive Assistant Media aide, Mr Fred Latimore and the infantile PDP publicity Secretary, Ifeanyi Michael Osuoza went ballistic, pretentiously crying on how Cairo’s defection is a big relief to the state and the party. What a shameless bunch of creatures.
Rather than keep quiet and watch things fizzle away as experience media aides behave in sane clime, Latimore went for the jugular by attacking personality instead of dealing with the reasons posited by Cairo for his leaving the party. Instead of keeping sealed lips and allowing the State PDP Publicity Secretary to issue a response since it’s a party affair; the overzealous aide who cannot differentiate between a Governor’s media man, Government Spokesperson and a Party Spokesman decided to fool himself again.
The very loquacious aide in his wild goose dismissed the defection as irrelevant since Victor Ochei, Ovie Omo-Agege and Ogboru did not come. For a defection that has the Ibe Kachikwu who’s the Minister of Petroleum, Otega Emerhor and the South South Party Chairman and blessings of the three persons he mentioned, no other confirmation is needed that this was an orchestrated plan from above. When we all thought that Ifeanyi was going to be more professional in his reply, he still went crude, attacking the defector than the issues he raised. I will take on each of the paragraph as I wish, to expose the many lies in Ifeanyi piece titled ‘Cairo Ojougboh: A political chameleon’. Okowa should take out time out and check comments made by Deltans on the facebook walls of his media aides on the defection and judge for himself.
In 2014, when Former Gov. Rotimi Amaechi led six other governors to defect from the party to then opposition APC, the party bade them farewell as good riddance to bad rubbish. The National PDP and President Goodluck Jonathan media aides attacked them as persons with no political relevance to winning the 2015 elections. Today we are all witness to how the PDP is struggling to play the role of opposition in the country and how Olisa Metuh as PDP Publicity Secretary was silenced till he was finally kicked out, leaving the job for Gov. Ayo Fayose, Gov. Nyesom Wike and Fani Kayode. Even his successor is yet to find his feet.
How do you describe a situation where a party got victory through the instrumentality of the Supreme Court and decree amnesty for the other faction members that lost? Are they militants or criminals that deserve pardon or amnesty? They are party members who felt aggrieved and decided to have their own faction pending the determination of the Supreme Court, but rather than treat them equally; they were made to look like outcasts.
No single form of reconciliation was done. Not a single move for harmonization was done; rather the Non Elective Convention chaired by Okowa systematically ostracized them. No sane politician will stay in such party and be further humiliated. No politician worth his salt will stay in a party where they are seen as ‘Osu’. Not even a baby politician will stay in an already struggling party and allow his ego to be further bruised.
The step then is right by Cairo to pitch his tent with any party and if he feels the APC meets his political interest and aspiration; it’s not worth attacking his person for. What the Governor should do rather than folding his arms like President Jonathan and be listening to lies, rumors and blackmail stories against people like he has turned himself into, is to look into the grievances of party members and woo them to the party. But No, he has chosen to maintain the ‘siddon look na dog name’ posture and allow his new baby Executive Assistant on Communication and party secretary to throw shades at men whose shoes they cannot unlace politically.
When Chief Paulinus Akpeki defected to the APC, the government and his crèche media team termed him as a spent force who have lost political relevance. But as soon as he was wooed back to secure strategic victory for the Governor in 2019 in Sapele LGA following his cold war with the former impeached Speaker, Rt. Hon. Monday Igbuya; they hailed him as a Daniel come to judgment. Today, he’s the government Chief Strategy Officer! What manner of people are these, without direction and purpose of existence? Like liars and bad losers that they are, they brood over every strong politician they lose, but rather than keep quiet and make silent moves on how to bring them back, they turn to blackmail and names calling.
Cairo listed the wasteful spending of the Paris Debt Fund as one of the ills of Okowa that made him decamp, but the PDP publicity secretary want us to believe that the money was judiciously spent. I will not play the role of the opposition APC to follow how money is spent in the state. Cairo may not be far from the truth as the breakdown of the N10 billion is the most ridiculous and unintelligent I have ever known in all my years of studying mathematics. How the State Commissioner for Information broke down the details and not a single kobo was left in the bank’s account needs immediate auditing. We challenge Okowa to allow the citizen bring independent auditors to audit how the N10 billion was spent and zero Naira was not found in the account it was lodged.
It is most pathetic that Ifeanyi who has good prospect politically started off worse than Lai Mohammed of the APC by brazenly lying on how Okowa has engaged citizens on how the money accrued to the state has been spent and constantly engaged Deltans in townhall meetings. No Sir, the so called townhall meetings were subtle form of campaigns for second term and no one asked question on how our money has been spent. All the questions asked during the wasteful townhall jamboree were all programmed!
For Ifeanyi to lie before his creator and man that Okowa enjoys “overwhelming support and understanding of our citizens and indeed their decision to invest their trust and confidence in the capacity, capabilities and the honest, transparent leadership of Governor Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa” is most uncharitable to him and Deltans. I hope he’s able to look at the mirror after writing the speech and smile at himself? I hope he’s able to pray that God runs his life the way Okowa has run Delta State and say Amen to it? I really hope he can forgive himself when posterity opens the book of records and he finds himself among the sycophants that are leading Okowa to his Gethsemane.
Ifeanyi, Esiso and Okowa should disguise themselves and walk the street of Asaba, Warri, Ughelli, Sapele, Oghara and even his own Agbor, to ask question on his street credibility since he came into power, and compare it with 2014/2015. If he gets 5/10 as his score, I will publicly organize a rally where I will apologise to Deltans and then quit journalism for life to go into farming, just like Okowa advised Delta youths, even when his brothers are not farming but enjoying the state commonwealth. I dare Ifeanyi and his EA on Communication to take up this challenge within one month!
While we cannot wash Okowa’s laudable project in many area, Ifeanyi and the State party goofed by leaving his area of strength to focus on where the governor can easily be punched. According to his write-up, Okowa has “created over forty two thousand direct and indirect jobs, through the YAGEP, STEP, PPSP, Micro Credit Scheme and its Agricultural Initiatives”. Pray, where are these jobs?
We only know the names of such initiative but there are NO success stories attached to any of them. What Okowa has done is to create new set of Ika millionaires to man the Job Creation Office. Simple! The party and government should show us just REAL hundred persons who were trained and empowered by these programmes and are doing well and have employed other persons through it, and I will point out two thousand persons who are currently regretting going for such programme and have been impoverished worse than they were; before they were deceived into applying for it. I have the proofs.
From all that we saw in the Ika defection, it will be self defeating for Okowa and his party to pretend that all is well. From Patani to Warri; from Ughelli to Agbor; it has been loss of popular politicians leaving the party for a safer haven and leaving the party to Okowa who wants to run a one man show and never tolerates dissenting voices. Woe unto him who deceives himself when the worst form of deceit is self deceit. Like we say back then in the University, “He who do he, do he”.
The real Chameleons are Okowa’s aides who praise you today once you are with them and curse you once you leave them, only to hail you as a juggernaut in your field when you are back to their fold. Those who will never sing the songs of sycophancy are quickly issued ban from Government House and any Government premises with instructions to SSS to arrest and charge the person for ‘wandering’ (Only heaven know where such laws come from) whenever they are seen in Asaba.
Cairo Ojougboh has gone, but the real blow is yet to come. During Ovie Omo-Agege’s campaign, one of his slogan was “you dey look am, e dey go”. This is currently the nemesis of Okowa who instead of winning back aggrieved members who left like Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom is doing, Nyesom Wike of Rivers has done and still doing as well as other governors; he’s chasing away the few ones left. It is such a shame that it happened in Okowa’s backyard, right in Ika where he comes from. He has lost every moral justification to tell party leaders to hold their members together when he could not hold his from defecting.
This is the crux of the matter; this is the reality on ground for “Reality denied comes back to haunt.” ( Philip K. Dick).
May his lot not be like Ex Gov. Emmanuel Uduaghan who as a Governor of a ruling party could not influence the emergence of his choice successor. Ise.
These little things matter…
Fejiro Oliver, an Investigative Journalist, Media Consultant and Human Rights Activist is also the Co-Convener of Coalition of Human Rights Defender (CHORD) and can be reached on +2348022050733 (SMS ONLY) or email@example.com. Engage him on twitter on @fejirooliver86.
Before you crucify Primate Ayodele, By Lukmon Akintola
Those who know Primate Babatunde Elijah Ayodele would acknowledge that he is one of the finest prophets of God.
As far as prophesy is concerned, Ayodele, has been the most consistent, prophesying on both local and international fronts.
His prophesies that have come to pass are countless and as such it would be a waste of time reeling them out. However, for the sake of those just familiarizing themselves with the servant of God who leads the flocks of Inri Evangelical Spiritual Church both home and abroad, his prophesies includes demise of Oba Adeyinka Oyekan, death of General Sanni Abacha and the return of Olusegun Obasanjo as President.
Others are the reorganisation of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), the travails of the Lagos state governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, a loss in profit by social media platform Facebook, and attacks on camps of Internally Displaced People (IDP). Also, he did prophesied about about the sack of erstwhile Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, and the death of Punch Newspapers Chairman, Gbadebowale Adeborin
His annually released collection of divine signals titled ‘Warnings To The Nations’ is verbosed on his prophesies, and till date remains one of the best collector’s item and reference point of call any day or time.
However, in recent times a misconception about a certain prophesy by the man of God involving the Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki, has necessitated clarifications.
The spirit of God is necessary for the understanding of prophesies in some cases, while at other times common sense would suffice. One prophesy which has been consistently heard from Primate Ayodele remains his prophesy that “Only Saraki can up seat President Muhammadu Buhari if given the right support by Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)“. While there is no denying that the man of God had said this, there is the need to understand the meat of the prophesy. Primate Ayodele severally said “Only Saraki can up seat President Buhari if given the right support by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). He however didn’t make mention of the fact that he (Saraki) would win the PDP primaries, something which is currently being confused by a lot of people who have been trying to misconstrue the prophesy. Indeed, you have to win the primary election to be able to contest for the President.
While it might be easy to confuse both positions, they are indeed very clear cut and separate issues. There is a clear difference in the statement that “Only Saraki can up seat President Buhari if given the right support by PDP” and his winning the primaries. While the confusion has been ragging on for a while, it would make more sense if in February when the Presidential election hold Atiku Abubakar, the PDP candidate defeats President Buhari in the polls. Then, the talking point would be that the man of God was wrong in his prophesy and that someone other than Saraki had up seated President Buhari.
However, claims that because Saraki lost the primaries to Abukbakar, thus Primate Ayodele’s prophesy is wrong is like trying to tag the north and south pole as the same.
The need to be precise and on point when when analyzing cant be overemphasized, but at this point, it is very important to clarify that the the chance to crucify Primate Ayodele would only come after the general election. For now, please let Primate Ayodele be.
* Akintola wrote from Lagos? Nigeria.
A.B.C Orjiako, Shebah Petroleum and creditor banks: Getting the facts right
Facts emerging in the on-going case between Shebah Exploration and its creditor banks which has been reported by few media channels since a Thisday newspaper publication of Sunday October 14, 2018 have provided actual insights.
Further investigations into recent reports reveal that actual facts are at variance with contents of the publication.
In the said publication, the writer made references to an ongoing legal matter involving Shebah Petroleum, its owner Orjiako and some of their creditor banks.
Sources knowledgeable about the matter indicate that the story contained some misrepresentations leaving the facts of the matter at variance with the contents of the publication.
Contrary to the publication, it was the banks: Afrexim bank, Skye bank (now Polaris) and Diamond bank who filed the action at the Lagos high court, where they registered the judgement of the English Court. So, any suggestion that the judgement was registered in Nigeria with the knowledge of the defendants is false.
The fact of the matter is that Shebah Exploration, Allenne Ltd and Dr Orjiako merely filed defensive action against the registration of the summary of the English court’s judgement.
Now to the issue of payment; contrary to the insinuation that Shebah had only paid back about $6.1million, the fact is that Shebah has been working to negotiate and settle with the creditor banks and meet its obligations in respect of the facility. Going by evidence filed at the Federal High Court Lagos, Shebah has paid back over $68 million in principal and interest to the creditor banks and is committed to full resolution of the issues of the loan.
Another fact that was glossed over in the report is that creditor banks suffered a huge setback when they made an attempt to obtain a Mareva injunction (freezing order) and failed as the presiding judge ruled against the creditor’s application on 25th September, 2018 according to the records of the court.
SEPCOL is a foremost indigenous player in the oil and gas industry in Nigeria, which became the first indigenous company to operate an offshore shallow water block with an FPSO, following the acquisition of 40% working interest in OML 108 from ConocoPhillips in 2004. SEPCOL was producing and meeting its obligations until 2014 when it suffered inconclusive workover program due to inadequate funding and collapse of oil prices. Consequently, the creditor banks called the facility on the company after two and half years tenure. The default in the facility was further triggered when the lenders declined a $50m repayment offer from a reputable Nigerian bank that offered to join the syndication with an additional facility in the sum of $200m
In NHIS, corruption fights back even harder, By Suleiman Abdulaziz
The Executive Secretary (ES) of the NHIS Professor Usman Yusuf’s effort to sanitise and rid the NHIS is being sabotaged and resisted every step of the way by Agents of the corrupt both within and outside the Scheme. When the scheme was created about 13 years ago, it was expected to provide affordable healthcare to all 180 million Nigerians and give them the comfort of reducing their out of pocket spending and a net of protection from huge bills associated with serious illnesses.
But several years after, the Scheme’s coverage is an embarrassing number of little above 3 million in-spite of the massive Federal Government’s contributions on behalf of its employees.
Billions of Naira have gone down the drain without any obvious benefit to majority of Nigerians who still have to pay for critical services from their pockets and are not treated well in hospitals.
This was the national embarrassment and injustice that no one had the courage to challenge until Prof. Usman Yusuf, a Bone Marrow Transplant Physician based in the United States of America was appointed the Executive Secretary in 2016. Prior to his appointments, no one was talking about the massive corruption perpetrated by Health Management Organizations (HMOs), the middle men paid by the NHIS to pay hospitals on behalf of contributors.
These HMOs were considered as untouchable sacred Cows because they are owned by strong and powerful politicians that are well connected to the corridors of power.
He was advised to tread carefully and not to “rock the boat” if he wanted to finish his tenure in peace. Little did they know the measure and resolve of this unassuming Patriot. He took time to do a thorough analysis of the situation. What he found shook him to the core and he vowed that he was not appointed to “rock the boat” but to “sink this boat of corruption “.
Prof. Yusuf started the cleansing process by reaching out to all stakeholders including Anticorruption and Security Agencies for help. He started cleaning the procurement, finance and ICT departments. He created a Department of Enforcement to go after defaulting HMOs. He started recovering NHIS funds from HMOs, Banks and Contractors.
At the time he came in, the State Security Services (SSS) was in the middle of an investigation of the Scheme’s corrupt practices. This investigation was completed and the report submitted to Prof. Yusuf in April 2017.
The report, which this writer was privileged to have seen at the time, indicted some top members of Management of the Scheme who colluded in compromising the database of NHIS by padding the number of enrollees to favour some HMOs.
The Management also paid over N1.5 billion to these HMOs in fraudulent financial transactions within a year. The scam is perpetrated by the insertion of non-existent hospitals and ghost beneficiaries in the database and using the corrupted data to release funds to HMOs who smile to their banks monthly. Of course, their accomplices at NHIS are carried along and adequately compensated.
This was the kind of work environment Prof Yusuf walked into and had to choose either to rock the boat or join the gang that had turned the NHIS into an automatic teller machine. Predictably, he chose to be a change agent and decided he was going to stop the rot, especially knowing very well the stand of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration on corruption.
Out of the six recommendations for executive action, two turn out to be the reasons Prof Yusuf incurred the wrath of some powerful interest groups.
The first is the recommendation that the ES should place all staff of the ICT Department on suspension to allow for a thorough screening of the NHIS database and find out those culpable in the scam.
The second is that all payments to HMOs must be put on hold until all irregularities in the NHIS database were rectified.
While he did not suspend all the ICT staff as recommended, Prof Yusuf simply redeployed these staff and seconded new people from other Federal Government Agencies including the EFCC to clean the organization’s database. The new staff in the ICT department discovered thousands of ghost beneficiaries of the scheme. More than 23,000 names of ghost enrollees were flushed from the database in a moth by these seconded staff resulting in savings of N23m fraudulently paid to to HMOs monthly. Not only that, dozens of hospitals were also fraudulently listed among those offering services to enrollees of the scheme.
The discovery led to sanction of some top guns at the NHIS and further re-gig of the administrative organogram. The status quo was torpedoed to pave way for a sanitization of the scheme.
But entrenched interests were determined to fight back, and they have been fighting back throwing spurious allegations at the NHIS boss and mobilizing workers to protest in their interest. Redeployment of new staff to hitherto ‘lucrative’ departments, especially ICT led to allegations of nepotism against Prof Yusuf. In the minds of his adversaries, he must have brought his own men to continue the milking of NHIS funds.
This explains all the recent unsubstantiated allegations by Unions who are merely foot soldiers of the corrupt. They accused him of seconding his ‘brother’ to the procurement department “so that he can prepare the ground for him to award contracts” to his brother’s company. How can you read only such a sinister meaning into a redeployment made to correct long-standing irregularities in the operations of NHIS? In any case, how can someone be found guilty of an offence he has not yet committed?
It is sad that labour unionism is today is bereft of all vestiges of patriotism and people-interest. Whether at the levels of national, state or organizations, labour activism has been reduced to promoting narrow interests of leaders and paymasters, and not the interest of the majority of workers. The welfare of workers and their families is no longer the motivation for protests, but the threat to the interests of a few.
Why has the labour union of NHIS not hold any demonstrations calling for the delisting and prosecution of HMOs that have fed fat on people’s Contributions?Why would a patriotic and worker-centered Union not call for the sack of any staff implicated in the corruption of NHIS database?
Why is the focus of the Union on the Executive Secretary who has come to clean the system?
Who are the people that have turned the NHIS into automatic teller machines? Workers must start asking the leaders of their Unions questions and demanding answers.
I call on all well meaning Nigerian to speak up and support Prof. Yusuf in his quest to rid the NHIS of corruption.
Nigeria needs more of this fearless patriot.
LONG LIVE THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA.
Abdulaziz wrote in from Abuja