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As Mr No-Nonsense Gov, Baba Akande Clocks 85, Here Are 10 Of His Most Controversial Statements

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The pioneer Interim Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Chief Bisi Akande, will clock 85 on Tuesday.

He was the governor of Osun State from 1999 to 2003 as a member of the defunct Alliance for Democracy.

He was born in Ila Orangun on January 16, 1939, in what is now the Osun Central Senatorial District.

President Bola Tinubu, on Monday, celebrated the former governor on his birthday.

“Baba was a principal actor in the founding of our great party, the All Progressives Congress. He has always been a progressive; always noble and disciplined in thoughts and actions, and given to rational and enlightened ideals,” Tinubu extolled.

As the influential political figure marks his 85th birthday, PUNCH Online revisits some of his most controversial statements:

Jonathan is a kindergarten leader”

He criticised President Goodluck Jonathan, stating that he believed the President was unfit to govern the nation, suggesting that the responsibilities of the presidency require more experience and competence.

Akande stated, “What the country needs is a thinking leader not a kindergarten president with no solution to the myriad of problems plaguing the nation.”

READ ALSO: Why Corruption Is Difficult To Tackle In Nigeria – Bisi Akande

Akande spoke with reporters at his Ila-Orangun country home.

He claimed that Jonathan, instead of focusing on effective government, was abusing the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to go after those he saw as opponents.

This sparked a response from the then-president.

According to a statement from Dr Reuben Abati, President Jonathan’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Jonathan urged Akande to show respect for the truth, his age, and Nigeria.

The President expressed disappointment at Akande’s remarks, stating that they were disrespectful to the esteemed position of the President of Nigeria.

“Nigeria may not celebrate 100 years of democracy together”

Akande issued the caution while unveiling his book, “The Bisi Akande Phenomenon: Governance, Economy and Politics.”

Akande emphasised the importance of the Federal Government prioritising an advanced educational curriculum that promotes the principles of democracy while reducing the emphasis on religion and ethnic bias.

The Federal Government has been charged on the need for technology advanced educational curriculum as a panacea for economic and political advancement. If leaders do not uphold the tenets of democracy, the country might not celebrate 100 years of democracy together as a nation,” Akande said.

“Returning PDP to power will cause more suffering”

Onn Sunday, January 14, 2024 Akande addressed journalists in Ila Orangun, Osun State. He was speaking as part of activities to celebrate his 85th birthday anniversary.

During the event, he was asked about the opposition parties’ plan to form a coalition in order to challenge the ruling APC at the national level.

READ ALSO: I Don’t Know How To Advise Nigerians On Current Hardship – APC Leader, Bisi Akande

He said, “If the PDP was rejected and the same PDP coalesced again and people say, okay we will go back to it, the people will go back to their suffering. The PDP was defeated because it had no clue.”

“Nigeria moving in wrong direction”

During an exclusive interview with former presidential aide Laolu Akande, he made this statement on the debut of his TV programme, ‘Inside Sources’ on Channels TV in December.

When asked whether Nigeria was moving in the right direction, the former Osun State governor said, “Nigeria has been having a stunted growth, and today the sources of its nutrition are in deficit. The nutrition for a good polity is infrastructure and human capacity. Both we seem not to have in the right direction.

“So for that reason, I don’t see Nigeria in the right direction. But with the reason attempt to change the situation let’s hope Nigeria will be strong enough to bear the change.”

Nigeria does not have a constitution now”

In the same interview, Akande noted that Nigeria’s constitution is fickle.

“We have no constitution now. What we have is the understanding. What we have now is that the Federal Government takes a decision and the rest of us queue behind it, that is why you see a market woman whose stall has been blown away by the wind, say we voted for the President (Tinubu), come and see flood (in our market) but that is a local government job and should be directed by the state governor, it has nothing to do with the Federal Government but because the constitution is not well defined, or simply defined see how long it takes, it is too long.”

“All the angels in heaven cannot make 1999 constitution work”

He described the 1999 Constitution as the greatest misadventure of the country, saying that the law cannot make the progress of Nigeria work.

Akande called for the adoption of the 1963 Republican Constitution as a means to facilitate the development of a more appropriate constitution.

The Constitution breeds and protects corrupt practices and criminal impurities in governance. The 1999 Constitution can never be beneficially reviewed and the ongoing piecemeal adjustments or amendments can only totally blot the essence of national values and accelerate the de-amalgamation of Nigeria.

“All the angels coming from heavens cannot make that Constitution work for the progress of Nigeria. It should only be scrapped as a bad relics of military mentality; it ought to be temporarily replaced with the 1963 Republican Constitution to enable a transition to the writing of a suitable constitution.

“Otherwise, the 1999 Constitution would continue to dwarf Nigeria’s economy and stifle the country’s social structure pending a disastrous and catastrophic bankruptcy,” he stated.

READ ALSO: Throw Away 1999 Constitution, Embrace 1960’s, Akande Tells NASS

“Subsidy thieves, corrupt businessmen, enthroned Saraki, Dogara”

Back in 2015, the ex-governor pointed out that fuel subsidy thieves and corrupt businessmen were believed to be responsible for the crisis in the APC, which ultimately led to the unexpected appointments of Bukola Saraki as Senate President and Yakubu Dogara as Speaker of the House of Representatives, going against the ruling party’s desires.

Akande had said Saraki and Dogara were backed by fuel subsidy thieves and business cartels to frustrate the anti-corruption plan of the Buhari administration.

“Those who were jittery of Buhari’s constant threat of anti-corruption’s battle began to encourage and finance rebellions against the APC democratic positions which led to the emergence of Senator Saraki as the candidate of the PDP tendencies inside and outside APC.

“Before the party knew it, the process had been hijacked by polluted interests who saw the inordinate contests as a loop-hole for stifling APC government’s efforts in its desire to fight corruption,” akande said.

Most Northern elite, the Nigerian oil subsidy barons and other business cartels, who never liked Buhari’s anti-corruption political stance, are quickly backing up the rebellion against APC with strong support,” he said in a statement.

“Godfatherism is common sense”

Akande was lending his voice to the proxy war between the then-governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El-Rufai and then-APC national leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu. Clearly, this was a coded allusion to el-Rufai’s remarks about putting a stop to the godfatherism that plagues Lagos politics.

El-Rufai had insisted he had no apology over his comment that “godfather can be defeated” in Lagos State.

He said, “Like most learners serve article-ship before qualifying as Accountants; and like most lawyers serve tutelage before being professionally competent, so must a university lecturer seek mentor-ship before rising to professorship.

“In the same manner, the lower the hierarchy of a political party member, the more mentorships he required to rise from mere canvasser, to ward organiser, to party officer and to election candidate within his chosen political party.

“It is these political mentor-ships that are being presently euphemistically negated as ‘godfatherism’ by the neo-money politicians struggling to use money to hijack influence from political parties whose ideology they do not care to respect.

“It is not about defending Tinubu or responding to El-Rufai’s statement about defeating godfatherism, I am defending common sense.”

“ASUU is producing vagabond, half-baked graduates”

In 2018, Akande criticised the strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities, calling it dishonest and destructive.

READ ALSO: Why Osinbajo Visited Tinubu – Akande

He said that the union’s members’ ceaseless strikes had played a significant role in producing low-caliber graduates who, he regretted, are vagabonds and unemployable.

He said, “Can they do that in private establishment’? It is because they are employed by the government that gives them such opportunities, if they are truly sincere about their demands, they should also come together and found university.

“People go to the university and come back with half-baked education. They are teachers of vagabonds and that is the truth. That is why Nigeria is becoming worse.”

“Buhari should have removed fuel subsidy”

Akande, a fierce supporter of Buhari when he was in power, recently expressed his reservations about some of the former President’s economic decisions.

He stated that former President Buhari could have successfully removed the subsidy during his administration.

And I kept saying it but as part of the administration, I couldn’t go to the press to say it. It would have been senseless because Buhari never closed the door of his house to me. I can meet and talk to him whenever I want,” he said on Channels TV.

“And I was saying that I wasn’t comfortable with economic management. Let’s use, for example, the removal of fuel subsidy, between the time Buhari was elected as President and the time he was inaugurated, we had several sessions of discussion to see if the subsidy should be removed and he was convinced.

“And I thought that as soon as he got to power he would removed the subsidy but I didn’t know what happened. And after his inauguration he started being careful, slowing down until the first four years,” he added.

As we reflect on Akande’s controversial statements, it’s important to acknowledge the impact he has had on the political landscape.

As he celebrates his 85th birthday, we wish Mr. No-Nonsense Gov continued health and happiness.
PUNCH

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Terrorism: Court Frees Rivers APC Chieftain After Two Years

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A Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt has discharged and acquitted a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress and Deputy Chairman of Youth Movement in Emohua Local Government Area of Rivers State, Chief Fubara Ohaka, of charges filed against him by the Federal government.

Ohaka had been standing trial on six counts of alleged involvement in illegal oil bunkering, terrorism, dealing in illegal refining products without a licence, and conspiracy among other charges preferred against him since 2022 by the Federal government through the Department of State Services.

Delivering judgment in the matter, the trial judge, Justice Stephen Dalyop-Pam, held that the Federal Government failed to provide evidence to back its claims, hence failing to prove its allegations against the defendant.

READ ALSO: Rivers Eders Drag Tinubu, Others To Court Over Peace Agreement

Our correspondent reports that Justice Dalyop-Pam agreed on no-case submission by the counsel for the defendant and thereby discharged and acquitted him.

Speaking to newsmen outside the courtroom, Ohaka expressed happiness that he has been vindicated, saying the judgment has put shame on the faces of all those who conspired to tarnish his image.

He said, “I’m happy that the judiciary has vindicated me today. I told the world that I never had any idea of the allegations against me, I am not a bunker, I have never sponsored any person to do bunkering,

READ ALSO: Fresh Bill Seeks Creation Of Three States

“Thanks to the judiciary who in its wisdom have reached to the root of the matter and proven to be the last hope of the common man.

“I want to thank those who stood by me in the time of trial, I’m happy that I never disappeared from them when I was told I was innocent of the allegations against me.

“Let me also use this medium to advise government agencies to always carry out proper investigation before engaging in legal battles, because if they had I would not have spent the number of months I spent in detention before the legal action that turned out in my favour today.”

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NLC Insists On Planned Protest, Knocks DSS

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The Nigeria Labour Congress has insisted that the planned protests against the prevailing economic situation in the country will hold contrary to the warning issued by the Department of State Services to shelve its protests.

The organised labour, on Monday, began mobilising its members for a nationwide protest slated for February 27 and 28 over the cost of living crisis in the country.

The Federal Government’s failure to fulfil its promises after the 14-day ultimatum by Labour, according to sources, will be met with a two-day nationwide protest already slated for February 27 and 28.

Reacting to the planned protests in a statement on Wednesday, the DSS spokesman, Peter Afunanya, urged the union to shelve the plan in the interest of peace and public order.

READ ALSO: Economic Hardship: CSO Gives FG Ultimatum, Threatens Nationwide Protest

The Secret Service urged the union to pursue dialogue and negotiation rather than engage in conduct that could heighten tensions.

However, the NLC President, Joe Ajaero, in a statement he personally signed on Wednesday evening, noted that the protests will still hold and questioned why the DSS had yet to execute the arrest of those planning to disrupt the protests.

We are concerned by the unsolicited advice of the Department of State Security to shelve our planned protest against the unprecedented high cost of living despite the indescribable suffering in the land, spiralling inflation, deepening poverty and the Naira at an exchange rate of N1,900 to the US Dollar.

“According to the Service, the planned protest should be shelved ‘in the interest of peace and public order’, pre-supposing that the action is intended to be violent and disruptive even when we have a history of peaceful protests’.

“More worrying is the new role the Service has assigned to itself, the chief spokesperson of the government.

READ ALSO: Obasanjo Advocates Law To Curb Organ Trafficking

“We are equally worried that although the “Service is aware that some elements are planning to use the opportunity of the protest to foment crisis and by extension, widespread violence and yet have not executed the arrest of these elements,” the NLC president said.

Ajaero noted that the NLC will not compromise the sovereignty or security of the country while assuring that the protests would be peaceful.

We are equally intrigued by the innuendos of the Service, their philosophy of “peace” and wild allegations and we want to reassure them that no one loves this country more than us and on our honour, we would never do anything that will compromise its sovereignty or security.

“Having said this, we would not have ourselves blackmailed or lied against by the Service. Our protest is a peaceful one against the unpardonable cost of living of which the unserviced personnel of the Service are also victims.

“We cannot fold our hands and pretend all is well. That will be a grievous conspiracy that history will not forgive,” he said.

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VIDEO: Give Tinubu Time To Get Things Done, Gowon Begs Nigerians

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A former Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon (retd.), has urged Nigerians to exercise patience with President Bola Tinubu’s administration, emphasizing that it’s premature to anticipate flawless outcomes at this stage.

Gowon spoke in an interview with State House correspondents after a meeting he had with Tinubu on Wednesday.

The former Head of State, who noted that he was visiting Tinubu for the first time after the latter’s inauguration, disclosed that discussions revolved around matters concerning peace and security within the West African sub-region.

Responding to inquiries about his advice to the President regarding the prevailing national circumstances, Gowon acknowledged the existing challenges but stressed that it’s too early to anticipate perfection.

READ ALSO: JUST IN: Tinubu In Talks with Gowon At Aso Rock Villa

He said, “I was telling him that there’s no Nigerian leader that can get there, that will not get all of these, all that is being said about him. But certainly, there is no doubt about all that one has heard and seen from various media. I think the government is trying its best to deal with the various problems of the country.

“But with Nigerians, don’t worry, you will get criticised but people who get there know better than you know. I think all one can say to Nigerians is that they have to give the President time to get things done and it is too early to sort of say a perfect result will be achieved. That is my opinion.

“At least, if I remembered, I was told that I was too slow, fighting the war and that probably Nigeria would not make it and we should seek for discussion. Well, did we do it or not? They probably did not know the problem there on the ground there.”

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