Former President Olusegun Obasanjo yesterday lamented how the annulment of the presumed electoral victory of Chief Moshood Abiola denied him of being the third president from Abeokuta, Ogun State.
Obasanjo blamed the cancellation of the June 12, 1993 presidential election, presumably won by the late philanthropist on “bad belle.”
The election, adjudged to be most peaceful, credible and fair, was annulled by the military President, Gen. Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida.
Obasanjo said the annulment robbed Egbaland and Ogun State of the rare privilege of having three of its prominent sons occupying the number one leadership position in the country at different times.
The elder statesman, who was referring to former Head of Interim National Government(ING), Chief Ernest Shonekan, himself, who governed the country first as a military Head of State and a civilian president, apparently noted that Abiola would have become the third, if the 1993 presidential poll was not annulled.
He spoke yesterday in Abeokuta after his investiture as a trustee of the Abeokuta Club, a socio-cultural organisation of Egba people of Ogun State, where Tokunbo Odebunmi, an engineer, is the president.
Obasanjo was honoured alongside the late Abiola, who was awarded a posthumous vice-patron of the club.
The former president, who noted that Abiola was his schoolmate at the Baptist Boys High School (BBHS) Abeokuta, said the late politician richly deserved the award bestowed on him by the Abeokuta Club.
Obasanjo said: “When Abeokuta Club was in the process of being birthed, things in Abeokuta were not as rosy as they are today. And the sons of Abeokuta, who were in Lagos, put their heads together in the late Chief Sobo Sowemimo’s residence to think of what they could do to improve the development of Abeokuta as a city. I pay tributes to all those founding members, those who have departed this world and those who are still here.
“I want to thank the club for this honour being bestowed on me and the honour being bestowed on my school mate, MKO Abiola, which he richly deserved.
“Kabiyesi, the Alake (of Egbaland) alluded to it. Normally, when you win a cup three times, you keep that cup. Isn’t it? If not for bad belle, Abeokuta would have produced the president of Nigeria three times, in which case, we should have kept it permanently.
“But be that as it may, we have a great heritage. And we should be proud of our heritage. On this note, I will say on this occasion, I thank the president, the patron and grand patron, members of Board of Trustees, the executive. I want to say this, I will continue to contribute my quota to the development and growth of this club and by extension, the development and growth of Abeokuta, of Ogun State, of Nigeria, of African and indeed of the world in whichever way I could.”
Also, Alake and paramount ruler of Egbaland, Oba Adedotun Aremu Gbadebo, while presenting the plaque to Obasanjo, described Obasanjo and MKO Abiola as proud sons of Abeokuta.
He added that some “bad blood” didn’t allow Abiola to emerge President of Nigeria.
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Obaseki Accepts Deputy Governor Shuaibu’s Apologies
The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has accepted the public apologies made by his deputy, Rt. Hon. Comrade Philip Shaibu, noting that as a person of faith, he was under obligation to accept the apologies.
In a letter titled, “Re: Public Apology By The Edo State Deputy Governor, Philip Shaibu,” the governor said in good faith, he trusted that the public apologies as expressed by Shaibu were genuine and followed by contrite steps to improve his conflict resolution skills.
The letter reads: “I have noted the public apology made by the Deputy Governor of Edo State, His Excellency, Rt. Hon. Comrade Philip Shaibu. This apology followed an aberrant behaviour that contradicts what the people of Edo State stand for.
“To name a few, the Deputy Governor needlessly filed unfounded petitions in the Nigerian courts restraining me, the State House of Assembly and Security agencies from a non-existent impeachment process, followed by repeated breaches of protocol; unwarranted and unprovoked attacks in the media on my person and the State Government. The media frenzy as a result of the above and more, provided an impression of crises that has been precarious and distasteful to Edo people in the State and across the world.
“Although these unwarranted provocations caused me severe personal discomfort, as a person of faith, I am under obligation to accept this apology because as they say, “to err is human, to forgive is divine.”
Obaseki further noted, “In good faith, I trust that the public apology as expressed by the Deputy Governor is genuine and followed by contrite steps to improve his conflict resolution skills. I also enjoin the Deputy Governor to guide his proxies to act in accordance with his piety.”
He added, “It is my sincere hope and that of my other colleagues in government and all well-meaning Edo people, that these rhetorics will be put to an end forthwith to enable this administration finish strong and deliver the dividends of democracy to the greatest number of Edo people over this final twelve (12) months.”
Return Of Amosun’s Loyalists: Abiodun Displayed Exemplary Political Maturity – Group
A youth group within the All Progressives Congress (APC), APC Progressive Front, has commended Governor Dapo Abiodun for what it termed an exemplary attribute of political maturity he displayed over the weekend.
It would be recalled that hundreds of APC members, loyal to ex-governor Ibikunle Amosun, across all the 20 local governments in the State, led by the one-time Chairman of the party, Chief Derin Adebiyi, were on Friday received back to the mainstream of the party by Abiodun, alongside the Chairman of APC in the State, Chief Yemi Sanusi, and other party bigwigs.
In a statement signed on Sunday by its coordinator, Rasheed Sanusi, and made available to newsmen in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, the group lauded the leadership capacity displayed by the governor, saying it was unprecedented in the political space of the state
According to the statement, the governor has proved his capacity as a leading figure in progressive politics beyond every reasonable doubt, adding that it is now incumbent on the returnees to reciprocate the gesture and prove their loyalty to the party.
It opined that the action of the governor has given new hope of a better future to the party in the state and an undiluted testament that APC is truly a progressive party with clear-cut ideology based on popular interest.
“Prince Dapo Abiodun has truly proved himself as a leading democrat among his contemporaries. He has achieved what other leaders before him could not achieve; he has indeed redefined progressive politics in Ogun State.
“The Governor has exhibited unprecedented magnanimity in power and in governance. No one could have imagined that a governor of a state would navigate such a level of gang-up and conspiracy within the party to win an election, and after the victory, he decided to reconcile with those who worked against him and warmly received them back to the party.
“The Governor has taught us a big lesson of inclusive governance and purposeful leadership. He deserves an award in progressive leadership. He remains an institution to study,” the statement read.
The statement further noted that the party remains a formidable force in the state with focus on aggressive development of infrastructure and human capital through the ‘Building our future together’ agenda of the governor.
Thousands Dump Amosun, Re-Align With Abiodun
Thousands of loyalists of former governor Ibikunle Amosun from the 20 local government areas of Ogun State have rejoined the mainstream of the All Progressives Congress (APC) led by the State governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun.
Receiving the returnees led by the factional Chairman of the Amosun-led party Executive at the Presidential Lodge, Abeokuta, the State governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun commended them for their loyalty and being steadfast with what they believed in.
The governor said: “I want to congratulate your sense of loyalty to leadership, which I will say is not only commendable, it is enviable.
“This is a culture that we must promote and entrench. It is a culture that is fast eroding; it is a culture that we are fast losing. Loyalty is 100 per cent.
“For some others, they move once things are not working well, but for you, you stay put. This sense of loyalty is worthy of emulation. We must appreciate the fact that there can only be one leader in a party at a time.
“Even when we have ambitions and desires, we must subordinate ourselves 100% to leadership and believe that it is in that subordination that will allow us to flourish and achieve our objectives, our dreams, our desires and aspirations, not by forming factions or by breaking away.
“Because by so doing, it only weakens the fabric of that collective union that we call our party. You must appreciate that there can be only one leader of the party at a time in the state, and that leader is the governor.
“As the leader of the party, I appreciate the task bestowed on me and it is my duty to work towards individual and collective welfare of our members,” the governor noted.
The governor urged all members to put the past behind them and work towards repositioning the party to achieve its aims and work for the socio-economic development of the state.
“Let us put the past behind us. Let us promote what unites us as a family. I welcome you back. The future of Ogun State is in your hands and it is for us for the taking. The same joy with which the father of the prodigal son received his lost son back home, the same way I receive you today.
“To those who did not leave, please let us receive our brothers and sisters back. To those who are joining us, please let us display a sense of loyalty. I can assure you, you will be fully integrated. ”
The Chairman of the State All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief Yemi Sanusi, said in every human relationship, there is bound to be disagreement, adding that even in time of war, there is always a place for peaceful settlement of conflict, calling the returnees to fully integrate themselves with other members of the party.
Leader of the returnees, Chief Derin Adebiyi, said they had all agreed to return to the mainstream to contribute to the development of the party and the state in general, thanking the governor and the party members for receiving them back.
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