I WAS MISUNDERSTOOD ON PENSION ACT OJUDU

babafemi OjuduSenator Babafemi Ojudu (Ekiti State Central) says his views on pension reform act on the floor of the house was misunderstood. The senator who made this observation in a statement to Starconnectmedia said what he meant on the N3.4 trillion accumulated pension fund was that the money should be used to construct affordable housing accessible through mortgage for contributors.

“The underlying idea of my contribution is that of eating our cake and having it back. For instance, a Nigerian is employed in Abuja or Lagos. He has to live in the suburbs due to high cost of rent and goes through harrowing stress commuting to work daily. If this fund is used to construct affordable housing accessible through mortgage and he benefits, he can live a happier life, keep his job, pay the mortgage and still have his pension paid when he retires. The fund can be used to construct other infrastructure that improves standard of living”, he said..

Full text of Senator Babafemi Ojudu’s statement;
“My attention has been drawn to the misgiving generated by media reports on my contribution to the debate on amendment of Pension Reform Act.Some of the reports quoted me as saying that the pension fund, which recently hit N3.4tr, is lying idle and should therefore be channelled into infrastructure development. Many have interpreted this to mean that the pension fund will end up as proceeds of corruption.

First, I want to appreciate the scrutinising attention that Nigerians now pay to issues of governance. This is healthy. I wish more Nigerians, especially youths, will continue to deepen the practice of engaging leaders and holding them responsible.However, I wish to clarify here that the quote ascribed to me in the reports on the debate largely misrepresented my views.

The underlying idea of my contribution is that of eating our cake and having it back. For instance, a Nigerian is employed in Abuja of Lagos. He has to live in the suburbs due to high cost of rent and goes through harrowing stress commuting to work daily.

If this fund is used to construct affordable housing accessible through mortgage and he benefits, he can live a happier life, keep his job, pay the mortgage and still have his pension paid when he retires. The fund can be used to construct other infrastructure that improves standard of living.While it is fair to argue that housing and roads are government’s responsibility, but judging from global trends, I fear that Nigeria’s real sector may be damned for as long as this argument holds in its strictest sense.

The May 2013 World Bank’s Nigeria Economic Report on Nigeria repeated what we knew already: that “Nigeria’s economic growth has not automatically translated into better economic and social welfare for Nigerians.”

The money market is growing but the real sector is crawling. This is the reason why the poor will get poorer because they lack the capital and financial intelligence to be a player in the money market.
It will be ironical for us to complain that financial institutions are not lending to the real sector when about 60 per cent of the Working Class’s pension fund is tied up in the money market.

So, if pension fund is channelled to work for the working class through investments in the real sector, especially housing, agriculture and Information Technology which have the highest job creation potential, I believe it is the right way to go. This may even encourage financial institutions to have a rethink.

The amendment bill for the Pension Reform Act has been sent to Committee for Establishment and Public Service of the Senate.

As public hearing starts earnestly, I urge Nigerian workers, labour organisations, students and other stake holders to attend with this same spirit of ensuring that their money is used to work for them.

Signed
Senator Babafemi Ojudu
Ekiti Central Constituency

June 14, 2013.

YOU MAKE MORE ENEMIES FOR JONATHAN ACN TELLS ABATI

ACN Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed

ACN Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed

The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has said that Special Assistant to the President on Media, Dr. Ruben Jonathan is making more enemies than friends for President Goodluck Jonathan by the  choice of words he employs  in replying critics of the federal government.

Publicity Secretary of the ACN, Alhaji Lai Mohammed who made the observation accused Abati of resorting to foul language against critics of the Jonathan Administration, saying such crude verbal attacks may boomerang on the presidency if left unchecked.

”Contrary to what Dr. Abati may think, ‘attack’ and ‘criticism’ are not synonymous. An effective presidential spokesman is not the one who employs gutter language to respond to critics of his principal, or one who makes more enemies than friends for his boss, but one who is able to convey the activities and achievements of the president to the citizenry with dignified language.

”By virtue of what is believed to be his sound education, professional training and exposure, Dr. Abati should be well placed to know how to tell a man to go to hell and the man will still be smiling!

”To be sure, the use of dignified language by a presidential spokesman is important because whatever he says is believed to have emanated from his principal. It is therefore unimaginable that President Goodluck Jonathan will resort to the use of the kind of language that has been spewing out of the mouth of his spokesman in recent times. To the best of our knowledge, no presidential spokesman in Nigeria’s history has employed such base language in defence of his principal,” it said.

The ACN spokesman said  using such words as ‘ethically-challenged’, ‘hypocrite’, ‘medieval-era ignoramus’, ‘habitual indolence and brainlessness’, ‘descent into moral abyss’, ‘mental indolence’, ‘bootlicking’, ‘hideous and second-rate characters’, and ‘foolish’ to describe the critics of the President is rude, crude, uncouth, unconscionable and uncalled for adding that those who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.

”Dr. Abati, while you are free to exhibit your bombastic prowess, the rarefied realm of the presidency is not the ideal place for that, because when those who are being assaulted with such words respond in kind, it debases the presidency and ultimately hurts the occupier of the office. In a truly global world, such unrestrained response to critics of the presidency also hurts not just the President but the image of the entire country.

”Even if some critics use words that Dr. Abati finds annoying and insulting or engage in criticism that he deems unfair, it is still incumbent on him to avoid responding in kind, simply because he is not speaking for himself but for an institution. It is therefore not enough defence for him to say that he is responding in kind to critics of his boss.

”May we also remind the presidential spokesman that there will be life after that office, and that he should remember that in an era where the power of the written word has assumed more potency for various reasons, it is important to be more circumspect in tongue-lashing critics of the President.

”We will like to advise and encourage the presidential spokesman to learn to use facts and figures to counter whatever he considers an unfavourable criticism of his principal, instead of subsuming such under verbal pugilistic,” ACN said.

WINNERS SUDDENLY BECOME LOSERS IN TINUBU’S ACN SAYS OKUPE

Senior Special Assistant fo the President on Public Affairs,Dr. Doyin Okupe,

Senior Special Assistant fo the President on Public Affairs,Dr. Doyin Okupe,

Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Dr. Doyin Okupe says that Senator Bola Tinubu’s Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) is a haven of electoral fraud.

Okupe who was reacting to the speech ‘Leadership, National Development and the people’, which he delivered in London recently, said Tinubu was  wrong when he contended that there are too many false winners who are true losers.

“The only cases which could probably justify his claim that “we have too many false winners who were true losers” are found in the elections conducted into local governments by the Action Congress of Nigeria state Governments. For example, Nigerians will recall that under Tinubu’s watch, massive electoral fraud was perpetrated during the Local Government elections in Lagos State where winners in 24 hours suddenly became losers. Tinubu himself was widely reported in the papers as having voted without a voter’s card”, he said.

See full text of Okupe’s reply.

On Monday,10th of June,2013,on a day when his new political party called APC battled unsuccessfully to produce a new set of leadership, the National leader of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu was at an event in London speaking on a topic he called LEADERSHIP,NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT AND THE PEOPLE. We have noted several inconsistencies, political razzmatazz and utter falsehoods contained in the address. We begin by responding to his assertions, which were not only wide off the mark but betray the hypocrisy for which the national leader of ACN and his party have become very well known. His claim that,“everyone claims to be democratic but not everyone is faithful to his or her word”, is a clear case of self-indictment as will be evident in due course. As any keen and discerning observer of Nigeria’s democracy will attest,                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Senator Tinubu and his ACN are completely lacking in democratic temper.The ACN as a party is not only undemocratic but blatantly autocratic and makes no pretenses about it. We recall that only recently, its national chairman, Chief Bisi Akande, haughtily asserted that whosoever is not pleased with the national leadership of the party’s way of running the ACN and picking its candidates was free to leave the party. It is clear that CAN leadership’s  understanding of democracy is tainted and skewed by his undemocratic mindset, which has seen him exert authoritarian control over the party. With such disposition, it is easy to understand his warped and defective reading of the democratic situation in Nigeria.

To assert as he did in that paper that Nigeria under the leadership of President Goodluck Jonathan is a dysfunctional democracy is not only the height of ignorance but equally of unbridled mischief. Tinubu must be talking of an imaginary Nigeria not the Nigeria we all know and live in. His submission on our democracy is nothing but wild conjecture, completely unrelated to reality. For the records, the Nigerian democracy is robust, vibrant and unattenuated. Unlike the ACN chieftain would have us believe, Nigerian democracy does not stand in any dark and uncertain corridor neither is it authoritarian. Rather, it looms large in the minds of Nigerians for its respect of fundamental human rights and the rule of law. For followers, local and international of Nigeria’s democratic journey since 1999, there is unanimity of opinion that no administration has equalled the Jonathan administration in the observance of and respect for the hallowed principles of maintenance of rule of law, free press, sanctity of the electoral process, separation of powers and respect for public opinion. President Goodluck Jonathan’s opening up of the democratic space through institutional reforms clearly mark him out as a committed democrat.

It is trite to observe that President Jonathan is perhaps the most unjustifiably maligned leader in the history of Nigeria with critics using their overriding influence on Print and Electronic Media freely and in many cases unfairly to take potshots at him. It is common knowledge  that no administration has been abused, lied against and harangued like the present administration under Jonathan. Yet, there have not been any reprisals or harassment from government agencies. Instead, the administration has encouraged free speech and open government. It is on record that despite the avalanche of criticisms and attacks in the media, journalists and their organizations have not been hounded or closed down as we witnessed in recent past.

Rather than muzzle free speech, this administration has always explored the legal option in seeking redress as was the case recently with the recent Leadership Newspaper issue. Furthermore, the signing into law of the Freedom of Information Act after previous administrations had stalled it was a pointer to the inherent democratic character of the Present administration. Unlike the governments being run by ACN party at the state levels, the administration of President Jonathan however, has always bowed to the wishes of the Nigerian public on a number of occasions when they have disagreed with certain policies of his government.  The reversal of his decision on the removal of subsidy on petroleum products, the offer of amnesty to terrorists at the insistence of Nigerians in the northern part of the country and the decision to shelve the introduction of the N5000 note following public opposition, are three examples that will suffice in this regard.

Like the other assertions contained in his paper. Senator Ahmed Tinubu’s take on the electoral process rings hollow. It is a fact attested to by all, including members of the international community, that the electoral system in Nigeria has been sanitized following reforms implemented by the present administration under President Jonathan. Opposition parties, including Tinubu’s ACN, won elections conducted by a Federal INEC under these reforms. The only cases which could probably justify his claim that “we have too many false winners who were true losers” are found in the elections conducted into local governments by the Action Congress of Nigeria state Governments. For example, Nigerians will recall that under Tinubu’s watch, massive electoral fraud was perpetrated during the Local Government elections in Lagos State where winners in 24 hours suddenly became losers. Tinubu himself was widely reported in the papers as having voted without a voter’s card.

The ACN national leader talked glibly about perversion of national development and alleged inability of the Jonathan administration to solve the problems of hunger and inequality in Nigeria. Clearly, Tinubu must be either living in a different Nigeria or he is being mischievous. It is on record and facts bear this out, that no administration in Nigeria’s 53 years of independence has done more to address these problems more than the Jonathan administration. We will address this shortly but first let us make a few observations concerning few states controlled by the ACN.

It is an irony that despite huge financial resources available to Lagos states government in form of revenue from the Federation Account and massive Internally Generated Revenue in the 8 years that Senator Tinubu governed Lagos, how many of these high sounding programmes which the ACN leader pontificated on did he implement?

What social security system did he put in place for workers and peasants in Lagos state? Why have the Action Congress of Nigeria governments in Oyo, Osun, Lagos and Ekiti removed subsidy on health care and tertiary education making it impossible for the poor in those states to send their wards to State Universities, Polytechnics and Colleges of Education or have access to affordable health care in the last few years? Will Senator Tinubu deny that school fees in LASU,EKSU,OOU and the teaching hospitals owned by Osun, and Oyo state governments have increased by between 200 and 300% in the last two years? Is this the model they hope to replicate at the National level?

By contrast the Jonathan administration has consistently intervened and placed emphasis on the key areas of increased access to education, poverty eradication, access to healthcare (with giant strides recorded in primary healthcare) and empowerment particularly of youths and women.

For instance between 2011 and 2012 over 433,650 lives were saved through the ‘Saving One Million Lives’ (SOML) initiative. In addition, thousands of frontline health workers have been recruited, trained and deployed to most remote communities in Nigeria to increase antenatal attendant coverage. Furthermore, in the last one year 1,500 primary healthcare facilities have been refurbished and supplied with the essential commodities to increase delivery skilled- birth attendant, and in 2012 alone, 1.044 million antenatal care visits were made in the 1,000 MSS facilities across the 36 states and FCT, which is a 26 percent increase from 828,922 reported in 2011 to increase postnatal care coverage.

These are verifiable facts and not imaginary figures, which Tinubu and his party cannot controvert. Aside achievements in the health sector, the Jonathan administration has intervened critically in the area of job creation and youth empowerment. A number of initiatives have been embarked upon to reverse the high unemployment trend.

Reforms in the Agriculture sector alone has created almost two million jobs in the last two years while Nigeria is fast moving on a lane of self – sufficiency in production of major food staples. Similarly, new government investment in Water Resources as well as the return of train services has not only created new jobs but has restored a the economic livelihood of several communities on the rail routes across the country. These include The Public Works and Women/Youths Employment (PW/WYE) project, which was launched by the President. The project targets 370,000 jobs across the country in 2011. Similarly, the YouWiN (Youth Enterprise with Innovation in Nigeria) project was launched in October 2011, to provide jobs for 80,000 to 110,000 unemployed Nigerian youths. Jobs would be created through businesses created with brilliant business ideas, who are identified through You Win and directly supported to realize their entrepreneurial ideas over the next three years. After intensive business development training, the first set of 1,200  potential beneficiaries were selected in March 2012 for grants to start their proposed businesses.

The Nigerian opposition leaders address their minds to the quantum of new investments coming into the country as a result of President Jonathan’s economic reforms. Are they probably not aware of the Indorama 1.2 billion dollar fertilizer plant   in Onne, the 250 million dollar Procter and Gamble Plant in Ogun State,the 8 billion dollars investments in Agriculture and others?

As with much of what Tinubu said in his paper, the ACN chieftain’sopinion that, “no large nation has ever attained sustained growth without government running deficit budget to build required infrastructure…”, is verbose and cannot be supported by any critical or statistical analysis.

Senator Tinubu’s recommendation of deficit budgeting as an instrument for National development in developing countries is just another economic view but certainly not sacrosanct. It is sound judgment for developing nations also to employ a combination of deficit and Private Sector Participation (PSP) in various degrees and combinations to finance its developmental processes and projects. It is advisable that developing nations employ PSP in funding infrastructures and deploy budget deficits to finance both the productive investment and commercially disposable projects that can then be offloaded at maturity to the public in order to re-invest the resources into other massive financial investment. This is what exactly this administration has embarked upon in order to manage effectively the financial resources of this nation. The government is spearheading the disposal of the 5000 MW NIPP projects, which the private sector is now ready to purchase in addition to the PPP scheme, which this administration is employing to enhance our infrastructural facilities.

It should interest the public that Mr Tinubu’s political acolyte, Mallam Nassir El-Rufai, accused the former Lagos State Governor of nearly running the PHCN bankrupt with his Enron power deal. This what how El Rufai put it in his book, THE ACCIDENTAL PUBLIC SERVANT, : “I saw starkly how government officials were willing to pervert the interest of the country to impress foreigners or obtain preferences for those they thought were their kinsmen…It was gratifying (and I felt that it was divine judgment for the sleepless nights and media attacks we in the BPE were put through by their executives and Nigerian collaborators for no reason other than their narrow commercial interests) that I had to witness the collapse of that evil corporation”.

On Tinubu’s contention that under the watch of President Jonathan insecurity has grown and that Boko Haram has turned large parts of northern Nigeria into no man’s land with lives and property under severe threat and economic activities grinding to a halt, we advise the ACN leader to wake up to the reality of the moment. It is clear to any clear-sighted and right thinking Nigerian that this administration is firmly in control of the security situation. The Boko Haram terrorists have been routed and expelled from the camps and enclaves by the Nigerian military and life and commercial activities continue uninterrupted in the states currently under emergency rule. In fact, a major Nigerian airline, IRS, just announced a resumption of its flight to Maiduguri which had been suspended while the insecurity persisted. Nigerians know for a fact that were it left to Tinubu and his party, the terrorists would be having free rein in the northeast of Nigeria. It is public knowledge that whilst peace loving Nigerians fully supported the declaration of emergency rule by President Jonathan in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa States, the ACN and the Congress for Progressive Change(CPC) one of its merging partners, opposed the move going as far as calling on the National Assembly to reject the declaration. This is why we regrettably disagree with Senator Tinubu’s labelling of himself as a patriot. As everyone well knows, patriots are concerned with the image, the well-being and survival of their country and will do everything in their power to protect same even if they have political differences with their home governments.

They do not condone terrorism neither do they travel around the world denigrating their country. It is noteworthy that even though President George Bush jnr is not in sync with some policies of present American President, Barrack Obama, he does not go around the world disparaging the current American President. Also several notable Black American leaders including Ambassador Jetta, Andrew Young and Rev Jesse Jackson have visited Nigeria and other African countries quite often , yet none of them will speak evil of their home governments in spite of the various challenges facing the African American community in the United states. This is the hallmark of true patriotism. It is clear from Tinubu’s paper that the ACN chieftain and his party lack a fundamental understanding of both democratic norms and sound economic judgment.

His Third Path blueprint for economic transformation is nothing but a hollow ideological concept.  As the ACN national leader has failed to realize, the world has moved away from ideologies in favour of pragmatic and result oriented policies, which impact meaningfully on the lives of the people. Nations like Russia and China, which spearheaded Communism, one the great ideological movements of the 20th century, have since embraced market reforms and also have states in the western hemisphere dumped pure capitalism for more people oriented policies with less dogmas and economic clichés. We are sorry to say that the so called

“THIRD PATH” is a clueless path to socio-economic abyss as it remains essentially a theoretical proposition with no evidence of success either in history or contemporary climes. In conclusion, we wish to advise the leader of the Action Congress of Nigeria to adopt a higher standard of integrity as a former Governor and political leader. The advertised speech which Mr Tinubu and his unabashed promoters describe as an “address to the House of Commons” was in reality an event put together by a private concern owned by a Nigerian who only rented a room within the premises of

the British parliament. Good leadership must be distant and distinct from lies and deliberate falsehood intended to fool the public. For Leadership, integrity counts!

Dr Doyin Okupe, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs

STOP MY CHILDREN? NO, THEY’RE ON THEIR OWN SAYS SAKA

Hafiz Oyetoro better known as Saka

Hafiz Oyetoro better known as Saka

Comic Actor, Hafiz Oyetoro, better known as Saka says he will not stop his children from going into acting if they so desire. The artistes said the decision is strictly for the children to make.

“I will like them to to choose the career they prefer and encouraged them to actualise it rather than dictate to them. I do not regret any going into theatre arts.  I only want them to make decision on their own”, he said.

Saka explained that though he is fragile he remains rugged having been toughened physically and spiritually while living with his uncle. He said that some of his siblings who could not cope have to run away.

He said he was so disciplined that he became so timid that he could not relate well with people in school. “When I got to the university I had the problem of relating with people.  I had the problem of sharing ideas; I had the problems of looking into the easy of people. Indeed I had lost my confidence. I had inferiority complex”, but he said adding that he met Mr. Chuk Mike an American lecturer in the university who took him on speech therapy for four years before linking him up with Dr. Oluwole a  psychologists who succeeded in effacing timidity from his personality.

He described himself as loner who neither drinks now womanise. “When I am not working I share my spare time with my family”, he said.

 

FATAI ROLLING DOLLAR, A GREAT MUSICAL INNOVATOR- FASHOLA

Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State

Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State

Lagos State Governor, Mr Babatunde Fashola has expressed sadness over the passage of highlife icon, Fatai Olayiwola Olagunju saying that the loss of the musician would reverberate around the musical world and beyond.

In a condolence letter to Mrs Funmilayo Olagunju, the widow of the late musician popularly known as Fatai Rolling Dollar, Governor Fashola said he was a first rate guitarist under whose tutelage several other musical legends learnt to play the instrument. ‘’Your husband was a musical innovator who made a great contribution to the profile of Nigerian Highlife music on the global stage,’’ he said.

According to the Governor, Rolling Dollar is assured of his place amongst the pantheon of Nigerian musical greats with hits like Won Kere si Number Wa’ and ‘Saworo’ enduring in the memory of generations to come.

‘’Growing up in the 1960s and 1970s it was impossible to escape the presence of this iconic genius across Lagos. I am pleased and gratified that in the latter part of his life Lagos State was able to reacquaint itself once again with his singular talents,’’ he said.

While praying for the peaceful repose of the soul of the departed musician, Governor Fashola urged the family to find succour and comfort in the love of  the legion of fans that admired your Fatai Rolling Dollar’s work.

HOW WE WILL PICK OUR FLAG BEARERS IN APC – OSOBA

Chief Olusegun Osoba standing and Human Rights Lawyer, Femi Falana

Chief Olusegun Osoba standing and Human Rights Lawyer, Femi Falana

There were indications during the week that the All Progressive Congress (APC) will not hold regular primaries to select national officers and flag bearers all over the federation but will adopt either the British and or Indian model of internal democracy guided by party caucuses.

“So I assure you that we will do internal democracy guided with caucuses because caucuses in Britain are working, caucuses in India are working. This internal democracy does not mean all of you going out to vote in primaries”, the Former Governor of Ogun State and one of those working on registration of the All Progressive Congress (APC), Chief Olusegun Osoba said in Lagos.

Osoba who spoke at an occasion put together by the Lagos State chapter of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) to mark the 20th anniversary of the annulment of the June 12, 1993 election said APC will not adopt the American model, which the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) operates during primaries.

He said his party, the ACN did not hold primaries in Ogun State to select flag bearers in 2007 partly because of lack of money in the state and fear that then President Chief Olusegun Obasanjo and then governor, Otunba Gbenga Daniel would sponsor a candidate to win their primaries which will be to the detriment of the party.He said the party caucus and the elders council had to sit down and came out with a strategy to pick individuals in Ota, Ogun State where they got massive votes up to 35,000 even though they lost in Yewa North, Ikpokia and other areas.

He explained that though his party lacked fund, ACN delegates did not betray the party. According to him, while other party paid delegates N10,000, the ACN paid N2,000 per delegate adding that it was N2,000 delegates that defeated the former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, his daughter, Iyabo Obasanjo, and former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Dimeji Bankole.

MARKETERS DROP 40 FILMS

Reel tape for making celuloid

Reel tape for making films

Exactly 40 films were released by Film and Video Producers and Marketers Association of Nigeria (FVPMAN) with effect from Monday, 10th, June, this week. They include Agony Price  by Ariscole; Trouble Maker by Imperial Pictures; Azonto Game and Azonto Wahala by Olitraco: After Kiss by Gold Pictures; Humble Victory by Wazico Movies; Yankee Students by Actor Rich; Levels Don Change by Divine Touch; Reign of Terror by De Blessed; Girls on Point by Prime World; Secrete of the Soul by Actor Movies; Return of Sherikoko  and Delilah by Onye Eze; Money After Money by Mega Movies; My Secret by Dezeen and Bloody Night by Trust in God.

others are Endless Night by Sam Civic; Key Tomy Heart by Iyke Merchant; Glamour King by Film mark; Vengeance of Bullets by Duke Ventures; Akazu Diya by Danga Movies; Anger of Wealth by Bright Future and Sexy Wizard by Divine Merchant.

Also in the list are Baby Okun in Hotel by Gold Mart;  Days of Joy by Vin Martins;  Me Against the world by Royal Future;  The Place by  Densiot Production; Onye Nzuzu by  Paulsco International; More than a Girl by Oakfil Movies; Clash of Powers by  El-shadai; My officer at the top by Global Update;  Krakas Babes by Andy Best; Tempest by  Social Movies;  Agony of Marry by Sam Gold Production;  Sweetest Taboo by  De Kross;  The Cannibals by  Sam Gold Productions;  Bedroom Harlot by Vin Martins;  Plot of Vengeance and I Shall Not Die by Gold Mart and Daddy’s Girls by Bright Future and Actor Rich.

“ONLY THOSE WHO STEAL GOAT, HANDSETS ARE IN NIGERIAN CELLS” JAIL BIGMEN, KOKORI TELLS JONATHAN

“LAWMAKERS ARE KITCHEN GIRLS OF GOVERNORS”

Chief Frank Ovie Kokori, former NUPENG scribe

Chief Frank Ovie Kokori, former NUPENG scribe

Former Secretary General, National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), Chief Frank Ovie Kokori has called on President Goodluck Jonathan to tackle corruption headlong by jailing big men both in public and private life who have corruptly enriched themselves so that Nigeria can bounce back as a viable nation.

Kokori who was delivering a lecture on “Post June 12: The Good and the Bad”, put together by the Lagos state chapter of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) as part of activities to mark the 20th anniversary of the annulment of June 12, 1993 election said that only those who steal goat, and handsets are found in Nigerian jail unlike what you find in the civilised world.

“Throughout the period I spent in jail,  I did not see any big man”, he said adding that Nigeria is currently rated by the World Bank as 36th richest country in the world, whereas it occupies the 157th position on the human capital development index, stressing that the situation requires urgent steps to address the imbalance. Kokori who went into history highlighting some of the things he went through during the June 12, 1993 struggle said the fourth republic which came after the annulment has left many <cut>disappointed.<cut>

“We expected from now on we will now enjoy accountability but look and behold a typhoid, wonderful democracy which we now had. We expected to have a National Assembly and State Houses of Assemblies that will monitor our leaders because they say democracy is for the people and for the people”, he said. Kokori noted that he and others did not fight for governors who will convert the whole resources of the state to family properties, attributing the reason lack of performance by lawmakers. “The lawmakers are not doing their works but they have become the kitchen girls of the governors. That is why we have blatant corruption that is going on unchecked”. He explained that many who criticize government are not able to take over because of the nature of the Nigerian state, which he said evolved without a conscience. For a change, he emphasized that there must be a mechanism for rewarding industry, honour and integrity.

While speaking on the trend of nepotism in the nation’s political space, he called for convocation of a national conference for Nigerians to decide how to live together. In his remarks, former Governor of Ogun State, Chief Olusegun Osoba identified current chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Attahiru Jega as a prominent part of the struggle for democracy and challenged him to open up the political space and return the country to a two party state. According to him that if the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) wins at 2015, the All Progressive Grand Alliance(APC) will congratulate President Goodluck Jonathan, if he decides to run.

In his remarks, Human Rights Lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana called on Nigerian to remain alert during the election starting with the Local Government elections in Lagos State, calling on residents of the state to kick against imposition of candidates. He said he is against attempt by the Lagos State Government to elongate the tenure of local government, adding that even if the proposal sails through, those who came in based on the 1999 constitution have a right to re-new their mandate.

FATAI ROLLING DOLLARS (1926-2013) DIES ‘A SPECIAL ONE’

The Late Baba of Highlife music, Fatai Olayiwola Olagunju, aka Fatai Rolling Dollars. Photo by Starconnectmedia

The Late Baba of Highlife music, Fatai Olayiwola Olagunju, aka Fatai Rolling Dollars. Photo by Starconnectmedia(1926-2013)

Baba of Highlife music, Fatai Olayiwola Olagunju better known as Fatai Rolling Dollars passed on this morning after a brief ailment at Ahmadiya Hospital in Abule-Egba, Lagos. He was 85.

Rolling Dollars who has waxed dozens of highlife classic is quite typical of the Nigerian can do spirit. He rose to fame quite early in life only to return to penury. It was at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Surulere, Lagos, where he  worked as a gateman that the likes of the former Editor Sunday Guardian, Mr. Jahman Anikulapo and Toyin Akinosho breathed life in him as well as many among his contemporaries with the weekly gig styled Elders Forum, which took place every Sunday at Ojez then at Iwaya, Onike. It was from the show that the highlife maestro retrieved his lost magic and lunched himself once more as a wealthy and responsible musician. Till date he remains the only musician to have made such a miraculous comeback in big form.  Since then there was no looking back for baba, who is old but young in orientation and lifestyle.

He has featured in a number of commercials, de-Deon blood tonic. His greatest hit before his death was the track, Won Kere Si Number Wa. He equally proved himself a very agile individual when he fathered children even in his 80s.  Born July 22nd 1926, he is survived by three wives and sixteen children.

Expressing his shock at the news of the death of Rolling Dollar, Chairman Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON), Chief Tony Okoroji said he was given a hint by a mutual friend, Mr. Niyi Ojemakinde that Pa Fatai Rolling Dollar was in hospital.

“ I had so badly wanted to go and see him but there was just no time. He was a legend, a fantastic person with a very positive attitude to life who treated everyone with courtesy. I believe that his attitude to life was responsible for the long life he lived and that should be a lesson for all us. He was committed to the unity of the Nigerian music industry and never missed any meeting of COSON. He will be missed by a lot of people whom he inspired. COSON will ensure that Fatai Rolling Dollar is immortalized’

Speaking on the sad event, Mr. Chinedu Chukwuji, General Manager, COSON said the octogenarian’s exit is indeed a very sad one for our rapidly growing music industry. He said “It is indeed very sad to hear of the death of Pa Fatai Rolling Dollars whom as you well know is a frontline member of COSON and a major stakeholder in our music industry. It is a sad moment for the industry and we say may his soul rest in peace.”

“The death of Pa Rolling Dollar is more painful at this point in the history of the development our industry that is fatherly counsel and wealth of experience would be needed. He has been a great source of encouragement to so many of us especially the younger artistes that if you remain focused on your game, it will pay off at the end of the day and one other thing he epitomizes is that good music and good stage craftmanship will always excel. You will recall that his hit tract, “Won Keresi” was one of the songs nominated at the just held COSON Song Awards for the 10 best songs of the 60s. That explains the quality of the composition. Again may his soul rest in peace”

His illness began after his American tour was  confined him to the bed after he complained of pains in his legs. He was also reported to have been in a coma; a news that was vehemently denied; with family members confirming that he was recuperating.

Pa. Fatai Olayiwola Olagunju aka Fatai Rolling Dollar was born on the 22nd July 1926 to the family of late Chief Olagunju in Ede, Osun State. He started his musical career in 1953 and has trained many professional musicians, such as Evangelist Ebenezer Obey, late Dr. Orlando Owoh, Bob Aladeniyi amongst others. He was one of the oldest musician still playing active music at the age of 86. He is one of the pioneers of the Juju music genre in Nigeria.

HENRY NWOSU, IBU, DIKE ENDORSE IFEANYI UBA FOR ANAMBRA GUBER RACE

Patrick Ifeanyi Uba

Patrick Ifeanyi Uba

Retired Super Eagles striker, Mr. Henry Nwosu and Nollywood actors, Mr. John Okafor better known as Ibu  and Chairman Board of Trustees Actors Guild of Nigeria(AGN), Prince Ifeanyi Dike have endorsed Dr. Patrick Ifeanyi Uba to run as governor of Anambra State in the election coming up in October.

The three celebrities who made their appearance at an event put together by Anambra Peoples Forum (APF) at the weekend in Lagos canvassed their support for Uba.  Nwosu promised not only to campaign for Uba but also to organise an international friendly match between ex-international football stars and international footballers to drum up support for the politician.

He said that Uba will have the privilege to address the spectators on his manifestoe before the match and at half time, adding that he opted to join the campaign train since they believe that Uba is a good man.