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What Went Wrong Sowore?

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I and Mr Peter Claver have been friends since the late 80s. Peter Claver and Omoyele Sowore were in the Student Union Exco of the University of Lagos in the days of the annulment of June 12 1993 Presidential Elections won by Chief Moshood Abiola, GCFR. We all fought for June 12 and through Mr Peter Claver I met Sowore and we all became friends till date. When Sowore founded the once famous Sahara Reporters we became contributors of articles to enrich and to promote the Tabloid and this we did very well and today we are grateful to SOWORE for giving us the platform to express ourselves.

When President Buhari who made attempts to rule Nigeria in 2003, 2007 , 2011 and failed came again in 2015 Sowore rolled out Sahara Reporters to support him. We all rallied round him with millions of other Nigerians and PMB won . Suddenly in the middle of his first term Soworo and Sahara Reporters started withdrawing their support for PMB especially when the President was sick. I followed Sahara Reporters reports on the President’s health and noticed that the Tabloid was working in tandem with the opposition and haters of the President to make mockery of the sick President. It pained to the marrows but I endured it . After all this is democracy. But the attacks continued unabated and uncontrollable. I followed all this like a student of history with pains and sorrows.

In 2018 Sowore joined the presidential race to unseat President Buhari and the veil was eventually removed. I followed the campaigns even though some of us felt that as his friends he would have reached us, at least for advice. This move eroded the glory, respect and support enjoyed by Sowore and his Publishing house and things have never been the same again. Sowore scored less than 40,000 votes and the less is now history.

Today we have seen Sowore wining and dining with our own Nnamdi Kanu who has been fighting to divide Nigeria by tearing Igboland away from Nigeria. He now wants a revolution to bring President BUHARI down by all means. This is unacceptable and I will never never support this nonsense. I do not know what Sowore is seeing that I cannot see. I do not know why SOWORE fought so hard to enthrone President Buhari only to turn around to begin to lay mines on the way. What went wrong? Do we think that rebuilding a country plundered for many decades will be done overnight? Can’t we see that the corrupt entities are fighting hard to get back to power? Are we not handing weapons to the enemies to get back to power? Is it that Sowore cannot see that Corruption is fighting back across Nigeria using herdsmen as a shield? Can’t Sowore see the big picture? Can’t Sowore see that human rights community who are supposed to stand behind PMB to deal a deadly blow to corruption in Nigeria are giving up? When Gold rust what will iron do? A school of thought once told me that he freed a thousand slaves and he would have freed more if only they knew they were slaves.

As for me I have chosen to remain and stand behind PMB come what may. I do not give up easily. Iam seeing what I wanted to see from PMB’s Government. At my age I know genuine people when I see one and PMB is one of them. I remain as constant as Northern Stars in my support for PMB and APC in the efforts to rebuild and rework Nigeria. I am doing this because I am convinced that evil triumph in every society when good men do nothing. I am convinced that PMB knows where he is taking Nigeria to. Nigerians have fed on corruption for years that we need to go extra miles to dislodge and dismantle corruption.

I am therefore saying that Sowore’s call for a revolution is a fluke and a misnomer because a revolution is not announced. It comes naturally. President Buhari’s government is the revolution we have been waiting for even though some people cannot see or feel it. PMB does not need attacks but encouragement. He does not deserve heckling but support. He does not need abuse but prayer because Nigeria is not yet where it should be. With your efforts we will get there.

Let me appreciate those that have been standing with President Buhari since 2002 to 2019 even on empty stomachs and even with all the abuses and name calling. They know themselves and they are not ready to give up even at gun point. They are men and women of honour and of great courage who are ready to suffer today for a better tomorrow. There is what is called principle of Delayed Gratification which suggest that every hard work will be rewarded in the fullness of time. The rewards will come by the Grace of God.

Joe Igbokwe
Lagos.

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Alleged N6.9bn Fraud: Court Grants Fayose Permission To Go On Medical Trip Abroad

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The Federal High Court in Lagos has again granted permission to a former governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose, to travel abroad for medical treatment.

It will be recalled that Fayose is being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for an alleged N2.2bn fraud.

Following an application by his lawyer, Olalekan Ojo (SAN), Justice C.J. Aneke, for the second time, granted Fayose permission to go abroad for treatment.

The judge had in July first granted Fayose permission to go on foreign medical trip.

The prosecuting counsel for the EFCC, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), did not oppose Friday’s request.

After granting the travel permission, Justice Aneke adjourned till January 16, 2020 for continuation of trial.

Fayose is being prosecuted alongside a firm, Spotless Limited.

In the charges, the EFCC alleged, among others, that Fayose, on June 17, 2014, “took possession of the sum of N1, 219, 000,000 to fund your 2014 gubernatorial campaign in Ekiti State, which you reasonably ought to have known formed part of the proceeds of an unlawful act, to wit: criminal breach of trust/stealing.”

The ex-governor was also alleged to have on the same day “received a cash payment of $5,000,000 from Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, the then Minister of State for Defence, which sum exceeded the amount authorised by law and you thereby committed an offence contrary to sections 1 and 16(d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 (as amended) and punishable under Section 16 (2)(b) of the same Act.”

The defendants pleaded not guilty to the charges.

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APC chairman reacts to Orji Kalu’s conviction

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Mixed reactions from two political party chieftains in Abia greeted Thursday’s judgment of a Lagos High Court, which sentenced the Senate Chief Whip and former Abia governor, Sen. Orji Kalu, to 12 years in prison over N7.65 billion fraud.

The Chairman of the All Progressives Congress in the state, Donatus Nwankpa, said in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that he was disappointed and angry with the judgment.

Mr Nwankpa, who was a member of the Abia House of Assembly when Mr Kalu was governor, said that the judgment was not fair.

“The party will meet to take a position on the judgment but as an individual, I am very saddened by the judgment.

“I am not convinced that judgment was given,” he said, adding that the court’s verdict sustained his doubts about the integrity and objectivity of the nation’s judiciary.

Mr Nwankpa said that he never had the confidence that Mr Kalu would get judgment, “considering the utterances of the judge.”

“I’m highly convinced that something went wrong. The judgment is not fair,” he said.

Conversely, the Chairman, Inter-Party Advisory Council in Abia, Ceekay Igara, described the judgment as “good precedence.”

According to him, “if Kalu was found wanting as governor of the state, he should face judgment.

“It is a normal thing and goes to prove that nobody is above the law.”

Mr Igara, who is the state Chairman of the Labour Party, said that the judgment was supposed to teach two lessons.

He said, “The first lesson for those who are in government and second for others who intend to take over is that whatever they do, there is always a judgment day.”

Maduka Okoro, the South-East Media Aide to Mr Kalu, told NAN that Mr Kalu would appeal the judgment “to allow other judges and a higher court take another look at the case.”

Mr Okoro said that Kalu was not bothered by the judgment but considered it as one of the travails that every leader must experience “before becoming what God wants him to be.”

He expressed optimism that the judgment would be reversed by a higher court, adding that Mr Kalu would be acquitted at last.

He said that as governor, Mr Kalu administered Abia transparently and never defrauded the state.

Kalu was Abia governor from 1999 to 2007 and won election to the Senate in the 2019 election, after three attempts. (NAN)

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Court ‘closes’ prosecution’s case in Dino Melaye’s trial

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The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court, on Thursday, closed the case of the federal government in the trial of a former senator, Dino Melaye.

The judge’s decision was due to the prosecution’s absence and lack of diligence in prosecuting the politician.

Mr Melaye, the former senator representing Kogi West, was charged with two counts bordering on giving false information to the police.

The attorney-general’s office arraigned Mr Melaye last year after he reported in April 2017 an alleged attempt on his life at his home state of Kogi. The government said the information the former senator provided was false.

The senator had accused the Kogi governor and his aides of being responsible for the alleged assassination attempt.

But at the resumed hearing on Tuesday, the judge, Olasumbo Goodluck, gave the order after Mr Melaye’s lawyer, Olusegun Odubela, informed the court that the prosecution was absent from the day’s proceedings.

While addressing the court, Mr Odubela told the court that, “it is obvious that the prosecution is not here again today. On the 19th of November, the prosecution was here but was not ready to proceed.”

The lawyer said, “it is clear that the prosecution is not ready to move on with the trial. They have achieved what they wanted to achieve which is media trial.”

“We apply that the case of the prosecution is closed. We urge the court to adjourn for the defendant to open his defence.”

Mr Odubela told the court that he intends to file a no-case submission.

In a short ruling, Justice Goodluck said she cannot disregard the antecedents of the prosecution.

She said, “the prosecution has not written any letter to the court to state reasons why they were absent.”

Mrs Goodluck noted that the suit has been adjourned “not less than five times at the instance of the prosecution.”

She said ordinarily, she would have dismissed the case for lack of diligent prosecution.

The judge then said, “I am of the view that the prosecution case is closed and it is hereby foreclosed.”

The court adjourned to February 11, for the defendant to file a no-case submission.

Earlier ruling

It reported how the court on November 19, ordered the Nigerian government to pay N100,000 for stalling the trial the ex-senator.

Mrs Goodluck held that by the provisions of Section 396 (4)(6) of the Administration of the Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) 2015, parties are entitled to five adjournments “and nothing more than that”.

She said she was not pleased with the attitude of the prosecution in the matter, especially when the matter was placed on the fast track, day to day hearing and the defendant’s counsel coming from outside Abuja.

“A cost of N100,000 is therefore awarded against the prosecution instead of N250,000 prayed by the defendant’s counsel,” she ordered then.

Mrs Goodluck said the trial was adjourned to November 19 and 20 and both dates of the trial were stalled due to the failure of the prosecution to bring their witnesses to court.

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