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OPINION: Ellupee Lawmakers Refuse Shishi, Collect Exotic Cars



Tunde Odesola

I didn’t shoot the sheriff. I was only a member of a three-man gang that robbed a friend in Lagos in the mid-80s. Thank God, he survived the robbery and he’s alive to tell the story. Despite the incident, we remain friends. So, I’ll shield him from klieg light by referring to him by his first name and middle name, Abiodun Oluseyi, because he never liked being in the public eye. He’s an introvert, I’m an extrovert.

Towering above six feet, Biodun, a man of few words, doesn’t throw his weight and height around. When secondary school set our feet on the journey of friendship more than 40 years ago, lying ahead unbeknownst to us was a shared future of mutual respect, love and understanding.

We had our strengths and weaknesses; I was better than Biodun in football, table tennis, scrabble and non-school activities which our parents must not know. Biodun played excellent guitar and chess. He loved serenity. He also loved to be underrated. Like the Piscean that he is, the whale in him loved to swim from the depth of the deep, shooting up in the air, and splashing back into the ocean, swimming to the belly of the sea. Don’t think he didn’t see the shock and admiration in your eyes as he wowed you with his prowess, yes, he did; Biodun loves being appreciated but he won’t demand it.

His nickname, B-Fat, an amalgam of his first and last names, is incongruous with his slim and straight physique. However, B-Fat was fast like a pilot whale reaching a speed of 75.6 kilometres per hour at short bursts, and was intelligent like the killer whale, smashing the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board examination in 1985 to set a record and gaining admission to study medicine at Great Ife aka King of Nigerian Universities, a title bestowed on the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, by prankish students.

Another friend living in the neighbourhood, Lanre Akintunde, paid me a visit at home in company with his relative, whose name I can’t recall. Then, there was no smartphone to save time and money on wasted journeys. People risked lives and limbs crisscrossing the length and breadth of Nigeria only to discover that the relatives they went to visit had also travelled on a long journey like Apostle Paul.

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On the fateful day of the robbery, I was seeing Lanre and his cousin off when I told them I was going to see Biodun, who lived two streets away. Lanre said he would like to say hi to Biodun, too. His cousin didn’t need to know Biodun; friendship then was as instant as making a coffee or splurging N160m each on 360 exotic cars to be enjoyed by heartless National Assembly members driving on toxic roads.

Was Biodun happy to see us? He showed it in the lavish food he provided. He fetched a massive bowl and went to buy rice, beans, fried plantain and pieces of meat enough to feed six hungry men. After all, he was a big boy studying medicine at Great Ife. So, four spoons, like shovels, set out to demolish the white and brown mound of food covered in a stew like magma covers a volcano mountain.

We all turned up in our best table manners. No one uttered a word as our teeth and tongues worked, crushing and grinding. There was no time to drink water even though we didn’t rush; we were all young, responsible adults, and our spoons didn’t clash. The mountain of rice and beans was going down gradually, like Stamford Bridge.

As the mountain finally gave way, hitting rock bottom, Biodun let out a shout, “Ha! Eyin people yi, e ti je gbogbo eran tan! Mi o ri nkankan je!,” lamenting, “You these people, you have eaten all the pieces of meat, I didn’t get any to eat!” Gentleman Biodun was waiting for the delicious meal to climax in the eating of pieces of orísirísi meat, but his patient dog didn’t even get a bone to eat. In the serenity of Biodun’s room, three separate spoons held by Lanre’s cousin, Lanre and Tunde airlifted the pieces of meat secretly and deposited them into colluding mouths. We didn’t connive to rob Biodun, there were no furtive glances, each of his guests was just concerned about his stomach, collective good was alien to them. We were the ajélójú onílé house rats that eat in the presence of the house owner.

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Thank goodness, Biodun survived the robbery. He’s now a renowned consultant paediatrician in Nigeria while Lanre went on to become a lawyer, setting up his practice in Lagos and yours truly remained a journalist. The three of us are still friends to date.

Denouement in literature is the final part of a play, movie, or narrative in which the strands of the plot are drawn together and matters are explained or resolved.

In the ruinous action of the three visitors, I see the three leading Nigerian political parties – the callous All Progressives Congress, the confused Peoples Democratic Party, and the deceptive Labour Party. Biodun represents Nigeria, ever trusting and accommodating.

Lanre’s unknown cousin represents the Labour Party. Lanre symbolises the APC while Tunde exemplifies the PDP. Lanre’s cousin (LP) journeys with Lanre (APC) and Tunde (PDP) in the hope of forging new grounds at Biodun’s (Nigeria) home. Despite being young on the block and looking promising, Lanre’s cousin betrayed the trust Biodun (Nigeria) had in him as he joined corrupt Lanre (APC) and Tunde (PDP) to wreck Nigeria.

National Chairman of the Labour Party, Mr Julius Abure, a few days ago, told the eight senators and 34 House of Representatives members of the party to reject the N160m SUV vehicle per each lawmaker in the National Assembly. Abure described the ‘gifts’ as the height of insensitivity.

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He said, “We are calling on Labour Party legislators in the 10th Assembly to kick against this unnecessary wastage of resources, in line with the ideology of the party which is social justice and equal opportunity for all. Nigerians will hold them responsible if they fail to live above board or give proper account of the electoral investment reposed in them. The poor must be allowed to breathe again in this country.”

But various LP lawmakers in the National Assembly, who spoke with THE PUNCH, said Abure was belching hot air, insisting that they would collect the Toyota Prado and Landcruiser SUVs. Specifically, LP’s lawmaker representing Aniocha North and South of Delta State, Ngozi Okolie, said Abure’s call was unrealistic, calling on Abure to provide LP lawmakers with cars to perform their jobs.

The representative of Igbo Etiti and Uzo-Uwani constituencies of Enugu State, Stainless Nwodo, commended President Bola Tinubu for approving the vehicles, adding that Tinubu deserved ‘three gbosas’.

The senator representing Edo-South senatorial district, Neda Imasuen, said he would not count his chicks before they hatch, maintaining that he would wait for the vehicle to arrive before he comments.

I’m not surprised that LP lawmakers abandoned the profligacy mantra the party levelled against the APC in the countdown to the last general elections. In many published articles, I’ve said that the LP doesn’t hold the key to the country’s emancipation and that the party is not better than any of the APC and the PDP.

If Peter Obi, the LP presidential candidate, had won the 2023 general election, some of these lawmakers would have been transmuted into ministers, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Chief of Staff etc. Many of them would have influenced the appointments of the heads of the EFCC, ICPC, CBN, Police, Army etc, and the vicious cycle would have continued.

The Chairman of the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission, Mohammed Shehu, says Tinubu’s total monthly earnings, including allowances, come up to N1.3m. With a monthly salary that is N1.3m, a N160m vehicle purchase means that Tinubu himself cannot afford either of the Prado or Landcruiser jeeps even if he saved up all his salaries in eight years.”

Nigeria is a laughable country where the President’s salary doesn’t reflect his spending and wealth. The same ignoble level of sleaze is found in the judiciary, military, church, mosque, schools, media, civil service, private sector, and everywhere yet we pray noisily to God to heal our country when the blind can see our open sore.



Disclose How Much Oil Nigeria Produces, Exports Daily, SERAP Tells NNPC




The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP, has urged Mele Kolo Kyari, the Group Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian National Petroleum Company, NNPC, Limited to disclose how much oil Nigeria produces and exports daily within seven working days.

SERAP alleged that the NNPCL had failed to disclose the amounts of barrels of oil the country produces and exports according to information at its disposal.

The organization also asked Kyari “to disclose how much of the revenues generated from oil have been remitted to the public treasury since the removal of subsidy on petrol.”

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This was disclosed in a letter signed by SERAP Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, noting there was a legitimate public interest in disclosing the information sought.

“Nigerians are entitled to the right to receive information without any interference or distortion, and the enjoyment of this right should be based on the principle of maximum disclosure, and a presumption that all information is accessible subject only to a narrow system of exceptions.”

“By Section 1 (1) of the Freedom of Information (FoI) Act 2011, SERAP is entitled as of right to request for or gain access to information, including information on the details of barrels of oil Nigeria produces and exports every day and the total amounts of revenues generated and remitted to the public treasury.”

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SERAP argued that the “Opacity in the amounts of barrels of oil the country produces and exports daily, the revenues generated and remitted to the public treasury would have negative impacts on the fundamental interests of the citizens and the public interest.”

The organization said it would consider appropriate legal actions to compel the NNPCL to comply with the requests in the public interest, if it did not get any response within seven days.

SERAP recalled that the former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, had last week alleged that “the NNPCL is failing to remit enough foreign exchange into the treasury despite the removal of fuel subsidy.”

According to the organization the NNPCL has a legal responsibility to promote transparency and accountability in barrels of oil the country produces and exports every day.

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Foundation Trains 50 Women Farmers In Bauchi




A Bauchi based Non Governmental Organisation known as Al-Muhibah Foundation, has conducted a three-day training for 50 women farmers on fonio farming in the state.

The founder of the foundation, Hajiya Aisha Mohammed who is also the wife of Gov. Bala Mohammed, stated this at the end of the training for the women on Sunday.

According to her, the project was funded by the Islamic Development Bank (ISDB) and aimed at empowering women in the area of farming fonio locally called acher.

She explained that 25 women were selected from Alkaleri and 25 from Tafawa Balewa local government areas of the state respectively.

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She said the decision to settle for fonio acher farming training was as a result of its nutritional value, adding that Bauchi state was among the states facing malnutrition problems due to the lack of adequate nutrition diet for children.

“It is on this basis that looking at the nutritional value of Acha fonio, are the opportunities in helping to reduce the cases of or curb severe malnutrition.

“We also key into the Islamic Development Bank policy to learn how to empower women through interventions that improve health, food security, economic opportunities, education, access to technology which would enhance women’s financial literacy and business skills.

“Today, the 50 women farmers have received farming tools, insecticide, fertilisers, farmland, seedlings, capacity building training as well as 20 water pumping machines to each of the two LGAs,” she said.

The governor’s wife further explained that the project was to also ensure that the productivity, sustainability and profitability of the Fonio-Acha value chains were sustained, developed and expanded in the two benefiting LGAs by empowering women groups in the local production of the crop.

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Earlier, the Finance and Administration Officer of the Foundation, Mr Stephen Goyit, explained that ISDB sponsored 70 per cent and Al-Muhibah Foundation sponsored 30 per cent of the project.

He said based on the project design, the 40 water pumping machines and accessories were distributed to the women farmers in a cluster for easy monitoring.

Goyit added that a total sum of N30,000 was given to each of the beneficiaries for feeding and transportation allowances.

One of the beneficiaries, Mrs Grace Yohana who expressed happiness to have received the training, appreciated Al-Muhibah Foundation for the ‘kind gesture’.

I’m very happy about this intervention. They gave us N30,000, we learned many things about fonio farming and the state Ministry of Agriculture has also promised to give each of us one bag of fertilizer,” she said.

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Pastor Adeboye Reveals How God Will Call Him To Glory




The General overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Pastor E. A Adeboye has said if rapture fails to take place soon, he would die on a Sunday after eating pounded yam.

The Man of God, who made the assertion at the ongoing Holy Ghost Congress of the church in Ogun State, said he would die the way one of his uncles died after church service.

Recounting how the uncle died, Adeboye said he was in the house after dancing during a church service and gave up the ghost without being sick.

He said the uncle died inside a toilet while the wife was preparing his meal.

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“After she finished pounding the yam, she knocked at the door of the toilet, when they opened the door, my uncle was gone; no sickness, no ache, no pain.

“I know somebody will say if we are never sick, how are we going to die and go to heaven? You don’t need to be sick to go to heaven”.

“If the Lord tarries His coming, I will go on a Sunday after a good meal of pounded yam,” he said.

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