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Again El-rufai Takes On Lagos Big Boy, Says “I Don’t Care About Tinubu’s 2023 Presidential Ambition”

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El-rufai governor of Kaduna State

Kaduna state governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai has said that he cares less if the national leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu is nursing any presidential ambition to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari in 2023.

In an exclusive interview with Saturday Sun, the influential governor who has also been rumoured to be nursing a presidential ambition ahead of the 2023 general elections declared pointblank that the talks about Tinubu being the target of the move by some APC governors to remove the party’s national chairman, Adams Oshiomhole is irrelevant.

When asked if Tinubu is the target of the governors plot against Oshiomhole, as being suspected, he said, “I don’t know and frankly I don’t care. Those reading everything through the lens of ambitions or 2023 are missing the point. As I have said, we built this party, we created it through a merger process that was painstaking and took a long time. I was deeply involved in it from day one and for me whatever crisis emerges between members of the party, we have a duty now as governors and leaders of the party to resolve it and we are going to resolve it. Whoever thinks it is targeted or is targeting anyone is irrelevant.”

He attributed the crisis in the ruling party to the conflict of interests by the different camps and tendencies with the APC. According to him, “You know intra-party conflicts are normal. When you engage in partisan politics you always have camps within the party and they will have conflicts. It’s normal and I don’t think there is anything strange about that. But I think why the APC will differ from other parties is how we will constructively resolve these issues.”

He raised hopes for a likely resolution of the crisis. “The governors have started meeting from yesterday (Wednesday) and we are on our way to resolving all the issues. I don’t want to reopen old wounds by trying to give reasons as to how we got to where we got to with plethora of court cases and so on. All I can say is that the governors are united to try to resolve the root causes as well as any immediate impact of the crisis. So we will solve it by the grace of God.”

Responding to a question on his relationship with the Kano state governor, Abdullahi Ganduje and his role in the feud between the governor and the deposed emir of Kano, Muhammad Sanusi 11, El-Rufai said his decision to openly identify and support the banished monarch is because of his principle to stand by his friends in every situation.

His words, “The governors as a group have worked very hard to try and resolve the issues between the deposed Emir of Kano and Governor Ganduje but have not been able to. It is not just the governors, they have been groups and the last group that the government had appointed to look into the matter was Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar. They tried to resolve the issue but it was not resolved.

It has nothing to do with my relationship with Governor Ganduje, he is elder brother of mine, he is a colleague, a governor and I have known him for a long time. But the issue between them is between them. The relationship between me and the deposed Emir is that we are old friends and I stand by my friends; whether they are right or wrong is not the point. I am not taking sides in the conflict but I stand by my friends and he is my friend and I will stand by him. That is it.”

Interviews

I Was Jailed For My Husband’s Crime, Delivered My Fourth Child in Prison, Lost My Mum in The Process – Bose

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Thirty-five-year old Bose Abiodun, who has four children, spent 25 months in Ilesha Correctional Centre after her husband, Femi – under trial for manslaughter – whom she stood surety for, jumped bail. Abiodun, who had her fourth child in prison, shares her experience with BOLA BAMIGBOLA

What do you do?

I am a native of Ijebu-Jesa in the Oriade Local Government Area of Osun State. I am a tailor and was also doing petty trading alongside before I was put in prison. I am a mother of four children –three boys and a girl. I had the girl while in Ilesha Prison.

What led you to prison?

I stood surety for my husband, Femi Abiodun. He was arrested after he mistook a man for an animal during a hunting expedition and shot the person. The person eventually died. He was a hunter in Ijebu-Jesa.

How did you get involved in the matter?

The matter started in January 2014. He was arrested and arraigned. The court remanded him in Ilesha Prison and he spent a year and some months there. Our lawyer later secured bail for him. But my brother-in-law (husband’s elder brother), Dele, and I had to stand as sureties. While my husband was on bail, we appeared before High Court 6 in Osogbo about three times. Before I was arrested and sent to prison, my husband had stopped going to court.

Didn’t you know about it?

I knew he was no longer going to court. He moved out of the house in December 2017 and till date, I have not seen him. He left me with three kids and quietly ran away.

What did you do after your husband moved out of the house?

In the first few days, I was calling him repeatedly. He used to answer my calls; he would tell me he was working to raise money. He promised to return home as soon as he had some money. But few weeks after, he stopped answering my calls.

What happened after that?

His lawyer came to our house and informed me that my husband and his brother had stopped appearing in court. I was scared but there was nothing I could do. On April 11, 2018, I was arraigned and remanded in Ilesha Prison because the accused I stood surety for had run away.

Before your eventual release, were you not appearing in court?

I was taken to court on May 5 and October 9, 2018. Aside from those two occasions, I was not taken to court. I always asked prison officials for the date my matter would come up, but they used to tell me no date had been picked for the matter.

You had a baby while in prison, how did that happen?

I didn’t know I was pregnant until few days after I was remanded. I took ill and was taken to a clinic inside the prison. After examination, I was told by the officials there that I was few months pregnant.

So, what did you do after you realised you were pregnant?

 

I told my mother and brother, who were always coming to check on me, about it. I was delivered of the baby on a Sunday; it was on September 2, 2018. I had been in labour since around 8pm on Saturday (previous day) and to the glory of God; I put to bed around 3.30pm on Sunday without any complications. I had mixed feelings though; I was happy I was delivered of a healthy baby without complications and was sad that it was while I was in incarceration.

The baby was named Oyinkansola by the leaders of a church that usually visited the prison. She is my fourth child. My first child will be 11 years old this month (June 2020).

How did you secure your release?

My name was not on the list of inmates to be released on the day I was released. It happened that someone came to look for me and I was told that the Chief Justice’s panel wanted to meet me. I was elated when I saw the lawyer, Julie Olorunyomi, because she was involved in my matter. I was asked questions about how I got to prison and after sharing my story, I was granted amnesty.

On getting home, I realised my world had shattered. When I left my three boys with my mother, she was hale and hearty. But when I was released, I learnt she died while I was in prison. I was told she died on December 30, 2018. She and my elder brother used to come together to see me in jail but at some point, she stopped coming. When I asked my brother why she stopped coming, he said she was fine. Anytime my brother came around and I asked after our mum, he would say she was fine and that I should calm down.

How did you feel when you were released?

On the day I was to be freed, I woke up feeling extremely happy. That morning, my daughter packed her clothes and said, “Mummy, let’s go home.” Oyinkansola would wake up and sing songs of praise; she is 20 months old now and has never asked about her father.

After I returned home, I realised I had nothing anymore; the little things I was trading in were gone. My kids and I are with my aged father now. I am helpless and need the support of everyone. My parents had sold their belongings before my mother died.

Do you think you can forgive your husband?

I don’t think I can ever forgive him for what he did to me. Though before the case in 2014, he did what he could do within his capacity but after he returned from prison, he became irresponsible. He started womanising and that led to a misunderstanding between us in December 2014. I don’t want to be with him again or any other man. I have enough (children) to cater for. I just want to be able to start a new life.

I am not really educated; I dropped out of school at Senior Secondary School 2 but I want something better for my children. I want them to have the best of education. My three boys were attending a public school while I was in prison. Life in prison is not good at all. Although they fed us, being in incarceration is never a good experience. My daughter was getting diapers through donations made by churches and mosques. My brother also brought (diapers) for me. A group from Lagos, Anchor Heritage, came to the facility to train us to have some skills, especially on how to make decorations but I would prefer to go into trading if I get (financial) assistance.

I met with the legal aid council on October 9, 2018 when I was taken to court and she empathised with my daughter and promised to take over my case. I am from Ijebu-Jesa and my husband is from Ekiti State. His parents reside in Ido. They didn’t come to check on me while I was in prison and they were aware I was there. I called them and my brother also spoke to them in person, yet they were not moved.

Credit : PUNCH.

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We Have Recorded Remarkable Achievements in the Security Sector- Bauchi Govt

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The Special Adviser on Security to the Bauchi State Governor, Brigadier General Marcus Kokko Yake Retired, says the state government has recorded remarkable achievements in the security sector.

The Special Adviser made this known while answering questions from Government House Correspondents on the efforts of the governor towards the maintenance of peace and security.

General Marcus Yake said the successes were recorded as a result of ensuring the maintenance of peace and security in the state.

The security experts who insisted that no any meaningful development without peace and security, attributed the relative peace enjoyed in the state to the support and cooperation of security agencies.

” In the security sector, there is one fundamental thing, and it is maintaining peace, law and order so as the good peace loving people of Bauchi State will conduct their daily businesses without any hitches.

” Since our governor assumed office, maintaining peace, law and order has been achieved in addition to other developmental projects with the support of our security agencies working in the state.”

According to him, the state government has maintained synergy with critical stakeholders notably the security organizations with a view to ensure every situation is brought under control.

The Special Adviser assured citizens of the state on the determination of the administration of Governor Bala Mohammed towards the protection of their lives and properties and called for their support to enable him succeed.

” I want to call on those wishes to engage in criminal activities or to break law and order in the state to desist from such plan as our security agencies will not allow them to operate.”

On the celebrations of Good Friday and Easter Monday, General Marcus Yake enjoined Christian communities to maintain social distancing to reduce the spread of coronovirus.

” My message is that I urge the law abiding citizens to remain calm throughout the period of the celebration because of the outbreak of coronovirus, try to abide by the advices of experts.”

The Security Adivser used the opportunity to congratulate Governor Bala Mohammed for the recovery from coronovirus, saying that with this, the governor will continue to execute his developmental projects geared towards the advancement of the state.

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Interview : I Pity Those Playing Politics With The Issue of COVID-19 ,Only Those Alive Can Play The Politics of 2023 – Makinde

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Governor Seyi Makinde’s Phone Interview with Mayor Isaac Brown of Fresh FM 105.9 Ibadan (10 AM, March 31, 2020)

Q: How are you feeling?

A: Well, I am okay… feeling okay. Like I posted on my wall yesterday, you all know that I took the test for COVID-19, as I promised and everybody knows what the result was.

Q: Can you confirm to us again. There are those who probably were unable to even access your page yesterday.

A: Well, the result came out positive. So, I have the virus. I delayed it because I promised that we have to get the diagnostic centre in Ibadan going and once we get it going, I’ll be the first to get tested through that facility. So, the medical team came to my house, where I have been self-isolating, at about 9 o’ clock [PM] on Saturday, March 28, they took my samples. I waited for the result and during this time, of course, I was anxious but I kept busy with some of the work at hand, especially COVID-19. But we also have other issues that we have to deal with; security issues and other issues of state, palliatives, what do we do if things get more difficult and challenging. So that’s what I have been doing and when the result came out eventually, just yesterday, it was positive. So, it is what it is and we have to deal with it.

Q: While chatting with me live here on Saturday, you did say on Saturday that the Nigeria Governors’ Forum asked all governors that attended the last FEC meeting as a precaution to self-isolate since one of the attendees tested positive. Is it fair to say that that could be your likely source of exposure?

A: Well, Isaac, the truth is that yes, all governors who attended the… it was the National Economic Council meeting, were advised to self-isolate once one of the attendees tested positive. So, based on that advice, I started self-isolating a week ago. In fact, I had to cancel the face-to-face EXCO meeting for Tuesday last week because of that.

What we are dealing with right now is that well, I have done the test, it is positive, I have the virus so it is something that we know is real and we have to deal with it.

Q: Having tested positive, can you describe how you are feeling right now? Because reading on your page yesterday, you said you are asymptomatic. How are you feeling?

A: Well, I still don’t have any symptoms. As I am talking to you, I can take my body temperature, I have a thermometer and it will read it out to you [temperature is read out by the thermometer as 36.5 degrees Celsius].

But the fact that I have no symptoms is why I have been insisting that people maintain social distancing, follow hygienic practices and stay at home. Because we don’t know who you are interacting with. It may be someone with COVID-19 without even knowing it. So, even a gathering of ten, the maximum that I allowed in Oyo State, may still expose you to COVID-19.

So, the bottom line is; first, this thing is real. Two, we have to halt the way we interact with ourselves, at least, until we have a handle on the disease itself.

Q: What do you say to Oyo residents, they are listening to us now, who still have doubts about the existence and reality of COVID-19?

A: Okay, first, you know we had a rally, I believe two weeks ago and then I have seen the video that has been circulating on social media which is being misinterpreted to mean that I, doubted at any time, the existence of COVID-19. The reality is no, I actually never did.

I had used COVID-19 in the same metaphorical way that their APC leader did when they were fighting about their chairmanship and he said, well, the virus has gotten into the party. So, I made a joke out of it [his statement] and the video has been circulating that I said there is no Coronavirus, that it only exists in the APC. Well, it was a metaphor.

But to the good people of Oyo State, I want to say again: COVID-19 is real. So, they must follow all the measures government has put in place to prevent, contain and control this virus. When we say stay at home and maintain social distancing, wash your hands with soap and water or use hand sanitizers, regularly, those are things that we have to do to defeat this virus. And I know how resilient we are as a people, we will defeat it but I do not want any casualty, I don’t want anybody to lose their lives while we are at this and I don’t also want people to doubt the sincerity of this government. They gave us the opportunity to serve them and that is exactly what we are going to do.

Q: In your release of yesterday, you said Prof Temitope Alonge has taken over from you as head of Oyo COVID-19 task force as you concentrate on your recovery efforts and personal medication. Will you assure the people of Oyo State, this morning, that this will not in any way diminish your commitment, determination and efforts at defeating and combating the pandemic in the state. That despite being positive, despite ceding that responsibility to Professor Temitope Alonge, that you are both in it together in the fight.

A: Well, even though I was head of the COVID-19 Task Force in the state, it’s really not like I was not making unilateral decisions or I tried to project myself as the expert. It was a collective effort. I mean, you look at all the members of the Task Force, they were carefully selected due to the positions they are currently occupying or the expertise that they possess. We’ve also been bringing people in to still join it.

Yes, Professor Alonge will be the head of the task force, he will give daily briefings while I recuperate. However, I will continue to work with the COVID-19 Task Force as head of the Oyo State Government. We have a meeting at 3 o’clock, I have asked them to call right now. I’m still going to be a part of that meeting, contribute and moderate, where possible and still hold the vision of what we want to do in Oyo State.

Q: So, you are still very much in charge, sir

A: Pretty much. I just don’t want them to turn this into a Nollywood centre because I am going to be recording some videos and also some audio materials, to keep the people of Oyo State abreast of what we are doing.

So, the prevention of the spread of COVID-19 in Oyo State is a joint effort by both stakeholders and everyone in the state. So, Isaac, you have my word and I am saying it clearly to the people of Oyo State, that we will continue to take all necessary actions to ensure that Coronavirus is contained in Oyo State.

And just like they know me as a long-distance runner, I hope the people are listening. If I can outrun and outlast the virus, which I am sure, by God’s grace, I will do, so also will many of our people in Oyo State.

Q: With Lagos, Ogun, Osun, Ekiti on total lockdown, as we speak, the calls for total lockdown of Oyo appears to be on the rise. Is the possibility of total lockdown of Oyo imminent?

A: Isaac, when we spoke last Saturday, everything that can be done to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Oyo State is on the table. We will continue to assess the situation and take additional measures where necessary.

But remember also that my own background is engineering and I kept saying to people that as an engineer, you take decisions that are based on logic and fact. It’s an uncharted territory. We kept on interacting with the experts to find out what are the facts emerging.

Yes, Lagos can be on lockdown, Ogun can be on lockdown, Oyo State, yes, people have been saying have a total lockdown and then I have been asking them questions. What will be the benefits here? Are there alternative courses of action for us to take? If you ask people not to come out, you lock down the market places, there are people who what they sell today – the profit from today’s activities is what they will eat tomorrow. There are plenty people like that within our environment. So, are there alternatives available to us? Can we do selective lockdowns? That’s why I imposed the curfew, to say look irin ti o ba ye ka rin ni ka rin (people should only move about when it is very essential to do so)

I think everything is on the table but it has to follow a logical pattern and it will need the input of experts. We are not just going to lockdown because everyone is locking down.

I have been watching CNN and the most successful place right now, in containing this (virus) is the Czech Republic. And one of the things they brought out is that they made a law that if you must leave your house, you must wear a mask. It may be that route for us to go. I have asked them to start evaluating that. If we must make that law and say everybody that must go out must wear a mask, then, how about those who cannot afford it. Can we make masks locally? Can we get our artisans and our tailors to commit to that with the government supporting? So, those are the type of solutions we are looking for.

Q: I am aware that WHO came out yesterday with a directive that the use of face masks should be limited to those with COVID-19 and should not be a matter of every individual. That is also an issue. I am just trying to bring this up in what you just said.

A: Well, we are all in an uncharted territory and that is why I pity those people who, rather than reflect deeply on where we are and what we are faced with, they are choosing to play politics with it. It’s people that are alive that will play politics in 2023.

Somebody called me yesterday and said ‘oh, I heard that… I heard about your result blah blah blah’ and then ‘me,’ referring to himself that he is negative. So, I said okay, you are negative now, se corona ti pari ni? This is a long thing. Se corona ti pa ri ni. Eni ti o ba test positive ni sin yi, eni ti o wa negative gan should be careful. (Is that the end of Coronavirus? Whoever hasn’t test positive now should even be more careful, negative can become positive) We all have to help one another and help our society to chase this and defeat it. That is what I am talking about here.

And to buttress what you said, all ideas, bring the ideas on and we will look at it. But we must follow a pattern, it must be logical. The experts will weigh it. But those are important because that is the only way you can validate decisions that were taken.

Q: Will you confirm to us this morning whether contact tracing has commenced of individuals, aides, cabinet members, friends that may have been in contact with you since the FEC meeting took place and whether those individuals have also gone into self-isolation.

A Yes, I can confirm to you that I took the test the same time as the Secretary to the State Government and when the result came out, they said one tested positive and the other, negative and it turned out to be that I came out positive and she came out negative.

So, everyone that has had contact with me, we are asking them to go into self-isolation and as soon as any of them shows any symptoms, then they get tested.

Q: Finally, as I let you go this morning, your word of advice and assurance to the good people of Oyo State to obey all government measures; market closures, social distancing, curfew and also cooperate with you and government in case there are further measures that you may want to reel out. The bottom line is together we can combat and curtail COVID-19 pandemic in our state.

A: Well, let me assure our people listening to me. Let me give the assurance that Oyo State Government will continue working with data from the Emergency Operations Centre, and we will do everything in our power to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the state.

The diagnostic centre, the virology lab of College of Medicine, University of Ibadan is operational now. It has been accredited by NCDC, that is, the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control. So, we can now test a lot more people. Also, the Infectious Disease Centre at Olodo, with a capacity to take 100 cases, will be fully operational by the end of this week.

I had actually thought after my result yesterday, that that would be the first place I would visit this morning but unfortunately, that won’t happen

So, I want to again urge everyone in Oyo State to continue to follow the directives of the COVID-19 Task Force and together, by the grace of God, we will defeat this virus and get our economy and our lives back on track.

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