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Interview: How I will run my ministry —Fayemi

Posted By Theresa Ugwuanyi on Tuesday, 24 November 2015 | 10:27 a.m.

Minister of Solid Minerals Development and immediate past Ekiti State governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi, was in the state recently, the first time since his swearing-in as a member of the Federal Executive Council (FEC). He addressed some journalists at his Isan-Ekiti home on the expectations of Nigerians in the Buhari administrtaion, his ministry and other issues. 

Tribune brings some excerpts: 

You are a researcher, an academic and a teacher. Many Nigerians are wondering if you have not found yourself in a position that makes you seem like fish out of water in the Ministry of Solid Minerals Development.
From the day he was sworn-in, President Muhammadu Buhari made it very clear that in the face of dwindling revenue from oil resources, it’s time for Nigeria to look in very different directions and he mentioned two specific directions: Agriculture and Solid Minerals. I’m delighted that the president has reposed confidence in me to be able to function in an area that is of great importance to him and I believe, to all Nigerians too. So, for me, it’s service not expertise. When you look at the position I occupy, it is really about direction and management; not about expertise. I believe that there are technical experts, there are geophysicists, there are geologists, there are mining and metallurgical engineers in that ministry and that is also for a purchase. I can hire consultants to come and assist me. What the president wants is somebody to turn the potential to reality because that’s what we’ve been pursuing all these while.
So, whether I’m a teacher or researcher, it only comes to relevance because I’ve been a governor. As governor, I superintendent over the activities of budget, finance, health, education, solid minerals in Ekiti State, trade and investment, etc. I have broad knowledge and experience of governance, of management and of leadership. And once I’m able to follow the marching orders of the president in my ministry, we should be able to deliver on the promise made to the Nigerian people.

So, looking at solid minerals to be the next thing for the country, what will you say will be your directional strategy to drive the ministry and attain the diversification so desired by the president?
It’s too early to talk about directional strategy. I just told you that my own sense of Mr President’s mandate is that I turn to potential to reality. So, that’s my strategy.

What are some of the potential you’ve seen?
Oh, the potential are huge. There are 44 key minerals across 250 spots in the country covering the 36 states of the federation. There’s no state in the country that is not endowed with one mineral or the other. To that extent, we have them. Nigeria has gold; it has even diamond in Nasarawa; it has titanium, it has barite, it has tin and we have coal. There are so many things that are there. What we haven’t managed to do in the last 55 years of our independence is translate that. In fact, we used to do it in the past. Nigeria used to be the centre of tin and coal. We started mining tin in Nigeria in 1903 and coal long before the world war. And then petroleum came and we regressed in those two, not to talk of even moving into the other sectors. I thing the focus for us would have to be getting back to that past and ensuring that we are able to fulfill the promise of translating the potential to reality. Right now, solid minerals account for 0.3 per cent of the GDP of the country. I don’t want to give a figure of where I want us to be by the time Mr President completes his assignment as president but clearly, we really need to be moving in the direction of contributing, at the very minimum, five per cent to 10 per cent of the GDP from solid minerals.

There are cartels everywhere. Cartels also await all the ministers across the ministries. How do you intend to rein the cartels in that sector?
I don’t know of any cartels. I don’t belong to any cartel. So, it is difficult for me to start commenting on cartels. But you know that the present administration came into office on a strong current of integrity and character and what we do will be driven largely by our integrity quotient. If there are people operating outside of the rule of law, including in the strategic minerals sector, I think it is time for them to start packing their bags. People operating illegal mines, just to cite an example of that cartel you’re talking about, we would assist them to mainstream their activity. But if they insist to continue along the path of illegality, then they are going to face the maximum wrath of the law.

Illegal miners and sundry activities seem to thrive because of obsolete legislation. So, without a modern, effective law we may not be able to turn this sector around. How do you intend to go about this?

I am new but I happen to know that this is one sector where regulation and law is not the problem. When my friend, Mrs. Oby Ezekwesili, was Minister for Solid Minerals, she put through the National Assembly the current Mining and Minerals Act 2007. So, the law that we have in place now is one of the most comprehensive laws governing the mineral sector anywhere in the world.

P It looks at the governance of the sector, it looks at the relationship between the ministry and the various mining institutions, it looks at the place of the community where mining takes place. It also looks at the position of the operators and their accountability to the system. The law is quite comprehensive. 

There may be the need to tweak one or two things in the law but I don’t think the law is the problem. The problem is the strategy to translate the law into reality by ensuring an enabling environment for the operators to realise their ambition. Government has tried its best but it surely hasn’t done enough, that is why you will see that every speech by Mr President is punctuated by his determination to diversify to agriculture and solid minerals. That task is what we are saddled with and we just have to try and deliver.

Your successor in office as governor of Ekiti State, Mr Ayò Fayose, while congratulating you for your new appointment, said you should use your good office to turn around the solid minerals sector in the state in the face of its dwindling resources. How do you react to this?

I am Minister for Solid Minerals Development in the Federal Republic of Nigeria,  not just in Ekiti State. Yes I come from Ekiti but, my responsibility is to Nigeria and I will do everything within my powers to ensure that we maximise the resources available in all the 36 states of the country. 

The demise of the traditional ruler of your community, which he explained was as a result of the sudden demise of the traditional ruler of the town, Oba Sunday Ajiboye, came suddenly. What’s your message to the people and his family?

That’s really why I’m home today. It was an unfortunate occurrence. Those of you who have been around in Ekiti for sometime will know that our late Kabiyesi was a strong supporter of mine, not just because I come from this community but also because he was actually my cousin. Most people don’t know that. The Oba Onisan is my cousin and I feel a sense of deep personal loss at his sudden death because I spoke with him a day before. He was preparing to come to Abuja for my swearing-in but the next day I heard the news that overnight the unfortunate occurrence happened. We can’t query God. We have to thank God for he really sacrificed for our community to the very last, he did his best. He put in a lot of effort to make a difference. He was a scholar and he was studying for his Ph.D and he did a lot to ensure that peace and tranquility continues to reign in our community.

Tor Tiv, Alfred Torkula dies at 71

The paramount Ruler of TIV land, Tor Tiv, Dr. Alfred Akawe Torkula is dead.
DAILY POST gathered that the royal father died in Abuja on Sunday night at the age of
The late Tor-Tiv was born on July 10, 1944 in what is today known as Mbadwem district of Guma local government area of Benue State.
Meanwhile, there was an emergency meeting of the Tiv Traditional Council in Gboko yesterday.
It was gathered that after the meeting in Gboko, a delegation of the Tiv Traditional Rulers’ Council would depart for Makurdi to brief Governor Ortom on the development.

Funmi Iyanda makes history as first African woman to receive honorary fellowship from UK varsity

Funmi Iyanda
Nigerian media entrepreneur, Funmi Iyanda, will on November 25 receive an honorary fellowship from the University of Cumbria in recognition of her significant global contribution to human rights and sustainability.
Iyanda is the first African woman to receive the award.
The investiture will take place at a graduation ceremony in the historic Carlisle Cathedral in Cumbria, North West England in acknowledgment of her outstanding and high profile work.
An award winning producer, talk show host, journalist and activist, Iyanda is best known for independently producing and hosting Nigeria’s most popular and ground-breaking talk show, New Dawn with Funmi, which ran on the national network for eight years.
She is a Director at Creation Television, a film production company in the United Kingdom acquiring classic African literary content for film adaptation to a global audience.
She is also the founder of Change-A-Life Foundation, a social service non-profit organisation that acts as a bridge between exceptional but indigent youth and women and the individuals, agencies and organisations with the capacity and willingness to meet these people’s needs.
Iyanda has worked closely with the University of Cumbria for a number of years, in particular with its Institute for Leadership and Sustainability, where her achievements and inspiration make her a role model to the growing contingent of African students who enrol on the MBA.
She has been recognised by the World Economic Forum, making her a Young Global Leader, and by Forbes magazine, naming her one of Africa’s most powerful and influential women, and is a Fellow of the Aspen Institute World Global Leaders Programme.
Speaking on receiving the award, Iyanda said: “I am truly honoured to have my work and career recognised by such a historic institution and thankful for a great space to contribute to a diverse body of knowledge.”
IFLAS Founder and Professor of Sustainability Leadership, Jem Bendell, says of Iyanda: “She demonstrates how celebrity and media can be used to raise the level of debate about what kind of society, politics and economy we want.
“Given the gossip and squabbling in much mainstream media, it is important that our cultural leaders call us to consider what really matters in life, like poverty, equality, and the environment.  We look forward to working further with Funmi on a range of our activities in both the UK and Africa.”
The University of Cumbria teaches leadership and sustainability to hundreds of senior executives from across Africa through its MBA programmes with the Robert Kennedy College.
IFLAS has over 500 African MBA students.

Culled from the Eagleonline. 

It is a shame the FG can’t account for Chibok Girls – Soyinka

Prof Wole Soyinka
Prof Wole Soyinka
Nobel Laureate, Prof Wole Soyinka has described the inability of the federal government to give account of the over 200 missing Chibok girls abducted by Islamist sect, Boko Haram, as a “shame”.

Soyinka’s reaction to the federal government’s shortcoming was expressed after a mega-school was named after him in Osun state by Governor Rauf Aregbesola.

He also said the school was an an “emphatic rejection of what Boko Haram insurgents preach”.
“It is a shame that the nation cannot account for over 200 girls in Chibok.

 I sympathise with the religious policy of governments in school; children must not be brought up feeling that religion inhibits knowledge.

“In schools, we need not distinguish our children, the fatalistic religious holiness and the holier-than-thou attitude must be reduced among our pupils.”


Tinubu breaks silence over Abubakar Audu's death. " we are stunned"!

National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and a former governor of Lagos, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, yesterday, said the death of Prince Abubakar Audu has stunned his friends and political associates.
In a condolence message he issued through his media office, Tinubu stated that Audu’s death was painful, sorrowful and shocking, saying Prince Audu’s demise reminded us of our mortality.

“None of us is on this earth forever. While here, we must make positive impact. We must strive toward good. I knew Prince Audu roughly 30 years. He was a good friend, a good man. Some may not have known this but Prince Audu was a renowned financial expert well known in banking circles before his entry into politics.

“From banking to politics Prince Audu became a dominant feature of our national landscape. He was an industrious man and a determined, hardworking leader with few equals.

He was consummate in the art of politics. Yet, Audu was also dedicated to the betterment of his people. He was an Honorary title holder of Lagos, honored by the late Oba of Lagos, Oba Oyekan.

“Very kind, generous and at ease with his friends and with the people,
Audu wanted to make his state a better place. That was his driving concern. His people loved him because of this and he loved them in return. He was a man of great vision, committed to the Nigerian project and committed to the well-being of his people. He loved Kogi passionately. As was his character, Prince Audu gave his all during this election because he wanted to move Kogi to a better place.”
He stressed the need to preserve his memory by continuing to serve people and sympathised with the people of Kogi on the passing of their illustrious son who he described as a colorful and progressive politician.

As BAYELSA gets hot, Timipre Sylva’s cousin abducted

The cousin of Timipre Sylva, the All Progressives Congress governorship candidate in Bayelsa state, has been kidnapped by unknown gunmen.
Krinpere Douglas was abducted on Monday, November 23, by gunmen in a boat along the Ogbia-Brass waterways
According to Sahara Reporters, Douglas was on his way to a political rally of Timipre Sylva, when the convoy of boats he was riding in was attacked by the gunmen.
The rally where he was headed, was being held in the Okpoma and Brass areas of the State.
Nathan Egba, the Director for Media and Publicity of Sylva’s campaign, has confirmed Douglas’ abduction.
“The victim was coming for this campaign but, unfortunately, their boat which was in our convoy was attacked by the gunmen who abducted him to an unknown destination.”
“I pray that nothing will happen to him”, Egba was quoted to have said.

Oshiomhole again! ‘I called the Igbinedions thieves and they’ve not denied it’

Edo State Governor Adams Oshiomhole says he’s not afraid of the Esama of Benin Kingdom, Chief Gabriel Igbinedion and his son, former Governor Lucky Igbinedion.
Oshiomhole also reiterated his claim that father and son looted the state’s coffers and also converted government properties for personal use.
The governor spoke in Benin on Monday, when thousands of women in white attire marched on the streets, demanding an apology from Chief Igbinedion to the residents.
Addressing the women, Oshiomhole said he would be ashamed to speak in public, if two of his children were convicted for corruption and money laundering.
He said: “Chief Igbinedion and his son dragged the Oba (of Benin) to court. Have you forgotten? If an old man is a thief and I called him a thief, did I disgrace him?
“They are putting your money in their pockets and they say they are rich. They sold government houses to themselves.
“Should I be quiet to what is wrong? I only reveal what they stole in government and they have not denied it. I will not respect a thief. I will not worship a thief, if everybody else worships the thief.”

Opinion: Diezani, the untouchable ‘super woman’ has suddenly become a frightened toddler

Few people illustrate the transient nature of positional power like the erstwhile Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke. The hitherto untouchable ‘super woman’ has suddenly become like a frightened toddler seeking sympathy from the same people she despised while in power.
We all remember how she reportedly contrived her flight booking to coincide with President Muhammadu Buhari’s and ran with abandon after him to seek his attention at the airport, only to be politely ignored by the latter. The question is, why did she suddenly become so terrified as soon as it became clear that she was no longer in power?
After being arrested in the UK where she fled for cover, the new narrative is that she is battling cancer and asking Nigerians to pray for her. Have Nigerians suddenly become important to her now that she is in trouble?
Why didn’t she respond to the cries of the populace when everyone was crying out about the opaque manner in which she ran the nation’s oil sector -our primary source of revenue? Now, she wants us to believe that she was working in our best interest all the while when in fact, she was only enriching herself at the expense of the nation. Too bad!
Madam Diezani’s futile attempts to rewrite history would not have warranted my attention if not for her ill-advised decision to soil the names of well-meaning Nigerians in her bid to garner public sympathy. Have you observed how she has started to mention the likes of former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Lamido Sanusi, and the former Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala?
The erstwhile CBN Governor, now Emir of Kano, made rather damning revelations that shook the whole world when he disclosed that the NNPC under the watch of madam Alison-Madueke did not remit $20billion (later reconciled to $10.8billion) to the federation account and that marked the travails of Sanusi as he was immediately suspended from office and had his AfDB presidential nomination withdrawn by the Nigerian government on the recommendation of the super petroleum minister, Sanusi has been open in his challenge to Diezani to render account of her stewardship to Nigerians.
But, all we hear from her so far are insults, counter-accusations and health news.
In her latest ranting, she ‘revealed’ how she prevented the former President from approving a sum of $2billion which the former Minister of Finance requested to pay contractors. Now, of what consequence is that ‘revelation’? Is the government not supposed to pay contractors who have duly fulfilled their obligations? And is the finance minister not supposed to ensure that such contractors receive their payments? She went on to talk about kickbacks as if that would absolve her of culpability.
Can Madam Diezani Alison-Madueke honestly say that she did not receive kickbacks from anyone all through her tenure in office? Well, the answer is very clear. Otherwise, she wouldn’t be running from her own shadow. The Goodluck Jonathan administration had outstanding bills and it is only right and responsible to clear such bills rather than hand them over to the incoming government.
Why would anyone be proud of blocking statutory payments all in a bid to curry favour and perhaps make a name for herself? Diezani would have been better off if she had kept quiet. Her attempts to vindicate herself have only gone to reveal the morally reprehensible attitude with which she handled our resources. It is generally believed that Nigerians have short memory; but it is not so short as to easily forget the havoc wreaked by the once powerful, now jittery Diezani.
Her advisers and sympathisers should tell her the truth. Nigerians have no sympathy for her. No amount of PR and blackmail can rewrite the evil that she has done. She should rather face the allegations that are being levelled against her. If she is indeed innocent as she claims, why is she hiding and using all tricks in the book to seek public sympathy? Nigerians are too discerning to attach any importance to her words now.
Authoritative sources have it that the recent visits of former President Goodluck Jonathan to President Buhari were because of madam Diezani, so that she could be granted a soft landing in the anti-corruption drive of the present administration. But all the overtures of the former president have been met with stiff resistance by Buhari who was as shocked as everyone else by the monumental damage the petroleum minister had done to our national coffers.
It is even reported that the recent visit of Mr Dele Momodu followed by the sickly pictures of Diezani that have gone viral are the latest PR spins from her advisers to whip up public sentiment. We wait to see how effective that will be.
Diezani had hitherto acted as though Nigerians mean nothing to her. Now, does she expect her words to mean anything to Nigerians? If they mean anything at all, they are simply the woeful wailings of a drowning woman. She should face her issues head on and accept responsibility for her actions. That is the only way she can avoid making herself a national nuisance.
Olusola Daniel is a political observer and advocate for community development. He writes from Lagos, Nigeria.


Here is exactly what transpired in court during Nnamdi Kanu’s hearing today

The Department of State Services has requested that the trial of Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People Of Biafra (IPOB), who is charged with criminal conspiracy, be stopped by a Wuse Zone 2 Senior Magistrates’ court in Abuja.
The request was made by the DSS on Monday, November 23.
Kanu has pleaded not guilty to a three-count charge of criminal conspiracy, intimidation and belonging to unlawful society for which he is standing trial for.
However, as the trial resumed, the prosecution counsel, Moses Idakwo revealed that after the accused had been arraigned, the plaintiff came across some information that took the case out of the jurisdiction of the court therefore it should be discontinued.
He stated that the complainant had found the Kanu was involved in terrorism which he has also been financing.
The prosecutor sought to upgrade the charges brought against Kanu to terrorism which would require sitting at a higher court.
“In order not to waste the time of this honourable court, I will like to inform the court that the complainant has stumbled on some facts which take the matter out of the jurisdiction of this court.
“As a result, we are asking for the discontinuance of this case in line with section 108 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act.
“Coupled with the fact that the accused person has been unable to perfect his bail condition and the fact that there is a court order remanding him in the custody of the complainant, the complainant is ready to expeditiously arraign him before the appropriate court.”
As justification for the continued incarceration of Nnamdi Kanu, Idakwo also said the DSS received an order from the Federal High Court, Abuja, dated November 10, to keep the accused in their custody for 90 days.
In disagreement, Kanu’s lawyer, Vincent Obetta, requested the court not to throw out the case as the prosecution did not present any information from the Attorney-General of Federation who had the authority to approve such.
Obetta also informed the court that the DSS flouted the order of the court which granted bail, adding that all the requirements were met but not granted.
The magistrate, Mr Usman Shuaibu, after hearing out both counsels adjourned the case till December 1.

Culled from Ynaija. 

STOP PRESS: The death of Prince Audu- Resolving the legal conundrum

Posted By Theresa Ugwuanyi on Monday, 23 November 2015 | 11:36 a.m.


The death of Prince Audu, Governorship candidate of the APC in the inconclusive Kogi Governorship Poll, held on Saturday 21st November, 2015, has created serious legal and constitutional conundrum that demands urgent and quick judicial address and resolution.

We are in a strange legal and constitutional territory. The 1999 Constitution and the Electoral Act 2011 do not envisage the unfortunate circumstances the death of Prince Audu in the middle of a poll foists. Recall that INEC declared the Saturday poll inconclusive, which makes the provisions of Section 181(1) of the Constitution, 1999 inapplicable in the circumstances

. Whatever positivist interpretation ( an approach the Supreme Court has adopted in a plethora of authorities) commentariat gives to Section 181(1), the phrase, " if a person is duly elected as Governor", couldn't have availed late Prince Audu were he alive because he didn't meet the conditions set out in Section 179 (2) of the Constitution, 1999. Or that Prince Audu and Gov Wada did not meet the conditions set out in Section 179(2) (b) of the Constitution as aforesaid. And it was for this reason that INEC declared the Saturday poll inconclusive and ordered supplementary poll for 91 polling units. My view, here, however, is that any positivist interpretation that seeks to clothe the APC with what S.181(1) does not avail it is to inflict violence on the Constitution. Since we are in a strange legal and constitutional territory, no inference can be drawn from Boni Haruna's case to fit the present circumstances because the facts are not similar.


As it stands, what should serve as the icebreaker of this seemingly intractable legal and constitutional logjam is the interpretation the court places on Section 36(1) and Section 33 of the Electoral Act, 2011. My sense, here, is that in resolving the conundrum and breaking the logjam, our court cannot go beyond the purview of Section 36(1) of the Electoral Act, which deals with the death of a candidate and Section 33 of the Electoral Act which sets out the right of a political party to substitute its candidate who has withdrawn his candidacy or has died. The questions our court must address itself to therefore are: 1) What nature of poll does Section 36(1) envisage- fresh election, re-run, or bye-election? 2) Does the INEC-ordered "supplementary poll" fall within the purview of this section? 3) What does the phrase, "dies before the poll" mean?


As I have consistently argued since 2011, there is no provision in our extant electoral laws that empowers INEC to order or conduct supplementary polls. The order made by INEC for supplementary poll to conclude the Kogi Governorship poll is unknown to the Electoral Act. The Electoral Act is very clear in Section 70: fresh election can only be ordered where there is equality of votes cast for two candidates with the highest or majority of votes.

I expect that while the court invariably resolves this seeming legal conundrum the death of Prince Audu foists, pronouncements can be made on the legality or illegality of supplementary polls.

Abdul Mahmud, Esq
Public Interest Lawyers League (PILL)
22nd November, 2015

Fashola at work! Contractors resume work on Lagos-Ibadan Expressway

Lagos-Ibadan Expressway
Construction giants, Julius Berger PLC and RCC, are back on site in continuation of the re-construction of the N167 billion Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the presence of workmen became more noticeable at the Redemption Camp and Arepo areas at the Lagos end of the road.
NAN reports that while palliative works were ongoing at the failed spots in the Redemption Camp area of the road, major construction work was being done at the Arepo area.
Julius Berger is handling Section One of the project, which stretches from Shagamu Inter-Change to Lagos, while RCC is in charge of Section Two, stretching from Shagamu Inter-Change to Ojoo, Ibadan.
The repair of the failed sections has greatly brought relief to motorists who now clamour for early completion of the road which, undoubtedly, remains the busiest highway in the country.
A source at the Julius Berger end of the road, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the company was back on the road for good, saying: “It is time to move forward on the project.”
The expected date for the completion of the project, which is being financed through Public and Private Partnership, is July 3, 2017.
Meanwhile, motorists and commuters who use the road have continued to appeal to the Federal Government to speed up work to make traveling on the road pleasurable.
Ojo Agege, a commercial vehicle driver plying the road daily, told NAN that it was high time the government ensured speedy completion of the project.
Lateef Mohammed, another commercial driver, told NAN that motorists would continue to have nightmares on the road until Federal Government fixed the road.
“All we are saying is that the government should help to fast-track the construction of the road to ease traffic delay being experienced daily by travellers,” Mohammed said.
Simisola Joseph, a female trader, however, expressed optimism that with the coming of Babatunde Fashola as Works and Housing Minister, the construction would soon be completed.
Motorists and travellers have also commended RCC for the progress made so far on the Section Two of the road from Shagamu Inter-Change to Ibadan.
Femi Ajegun, a driver, told NAN that vehicular movement was now easy with the completion of work on some critical areas at the Ibadan end of the road.
“With the quality of job done and removal of long stretch of diversion by RCC, motorists and travellers now experience some pleasurable ride,” Ajegun said.
Sule Maito, a bus passenger at Ogere area of the road, told NAN that if RCC could continue with the way it was going, the job could be completed on schedule.
NAN recalls that the Federal Ministry of Works last week after a meeting of stakeholders with the Presidency, said government had committed N50 billion to the project.
The ministry promised that no stone would be left unturned to ensure completion of the road rehabilitation on time.

Interview: What Buhari should do with Tompolo, Asari — Dein of Agbor

One  of the  monarchs that have carried himself with admirable gait and candor in Niger Delta, nay Nigeria and the world is His Royal Majesty, HRM, Benjamin Ikenchukwu Keagborekuzi, Dein of Agbor Kingdom, an Igbo town in Delta North Senatorial district, Delta State.
Deinof Agbor
Born June 29, 1977, the 38 –year-old monarch, who became the world’s youngest monarch when kingmakers installed him in 1979 at the age of two years, four months, has demonstrated wisdom beyond his age. The Guinness Book of World Records captured the rare feat in its 1981 edition.
He has avoided scandal like a plague and rarely grants press interviews. However, he broke his time-honored silence, last week, when he played host to a team of Vanguard, led by the Editor of Niger Delta Voice  in his palace. Excerpts:
WHAT was childhood like, how did you grow  up?
As many people know in Nigeria, I crowned at the age of 2 years, 4 months and not too long after that for security reasons, I had to travel abroad.    As at the time that I was crowned, I will take as honour to Nigeria because honour to anybody in Nigeria is an honour to the country.
The Guinness Book of Records recorded the country as having the world’s youngest crowned monarch at the time. I grew up in the United Kingdom; it was very interesting and as far as am concerned, that was the building block of who I am today.
Security reasons
Rather than growing up with silver spoon in my mouth, which I would have grown up with had I been here with my father, instead I grew up in a country where I had to be very silent about who I was for security reasons. However, the relevant authorities, royal palace and queens’ palace knew who I was and where I was. The headmaster in the schools always knew who I was,    but thanks to those who made it so and I am very grateful for this,    I was able to grow up pretty normally without the rest of the children knowing    who I was and I have always enjoyed that. Therefore, it was somewhat a strong training ground for me. I finally came back to Nigeria in the year 2000; I had been to Nigeria previously on two occasions for short visit. The final coming back was after I aged 15, I had become very pro- African after understanding that Africa is actually the cradle of civilization. Africa is where the great stories of the Bible mainly took place, Africa is where you can find the Garden of Eden, we are great people in Africa and at 15 years, I dedicated my life to making sure that the world one day will recognize Africa as it was in the distant past.
So, it has been a very interesting life, it has taught me one thing, we are all    human beings, those in position of power and leadership are simply in a position of trust, our people trust us and we must dedicate our lives to serving them. Once again, being abroad taught me that even it is once every year, those in leadership should go somewhere where nobody knows them.
Arguments and problems

It will make them to remember that we are all the same, I drive and I go out incommunicado on my own, we all bleed, we all cry, we all have good days and bad days and we will all join our ancestors one day. Therefore, what we do in life is cherish what we have and people around us and stop the war, the arguments and problems, be your brother’s keeper, these things are part of my growing up and what made me who I am today.
There was a report then that the Oba of Benin took custody of you then, can you confirm this?
Certainly, you can imagine that the Oba of Benin and Ooni of Ife were quite instrumental with the government of the day in making sure that I was crowned. Many people do not understand that the relationship between Benin and Agbor kingdoms is a very ancient one.
We are direct blood brothers, so at that time, there was a lot of pandemonium,    my life was at risk, the safest place for me then was to have stayed with my brother, the Oba of Benin. Therefore, I was there briefly before they finally took me abroad.
At what point in your life  did you find out that you are a king?
From the moment I was born, I knew that I am a monarch to be, just like my son, he carries his royalty very well.
There  was this succession battle while you were outside the country, how did it play out?
First, there was never anything like a succession battle, so you have two assumed facts that are very incorrect. We have a tradition here that dates back to 721 BC, which is our first dynasty of which I am the 19th  monarch. From 1270 AD, the monarchy here is hereditary, so                                                                                         if you know that there is a hereditary monarchy and there was a vacuum, then there cannot be a succession battle. The interest then was simply a matter of the Regency Council; a regency council had to be in place to manage the affairs of the kingdom.
Of course, the regency council is just like an authority, an agency, it is something that happens whenever there is a vacancy anywhere in this country, so everybody was very interested, that was simply what it was.
Can you recall while in the UK how you carried yourself knowing you are a king?
The same way I have always carried myself with the knowledge  and responsibility that I have people that are relying  on me. It  is the same way that I still carry myself knowing that if I embarrass myself, I embarrass my people.
Interest in  parties
Anybody in a position of power should know that, I have always kept myself very quiet; I have never been interested in parties and going out with friends and or that. My interest is to serve my people and how best to promote Africa. We produce the resources; Africans feed the world, so it has always been very important to me that Africans should organize themselves so that we regain back our glory from the days of Egypt. Unfortunately, every nation goes through its bad stages. Africa has gone through its bad stage of slavery and it disorganized us. During slavery, they carried away the best and fittest of our people, they took them away to build Europe for them, build America for them, we are proud of these things, but at the same time, we, as Africans have to look back and start doing for ourselves what we have done for others.
Therefore, in England, I have my friends, I have my Indians friends and African friends too and I enjoyed it because it was a period of learning for me, just like any other young man at the time.
What are the odd things that you have had to go through in life?
Odd things, I have not had odd things in my life. As I said, I have always kept myself to myself; I try to stay away from contention and problem. From when I was very young, I have never really been with people of my own age because I find them talking about girls constantly, about cars and parties. It is quite boring to me, especially when people are dying and need help. I will rather be talking about how to rebuild Nigeria, how Nigeria can take pre-eminence in not only Africa, but in the international world.
We are hoping that our present President, Muhammadu Buhari will follow up on what former presidents of Nigeria have done and improve on it. I think here in Nigeria, we like to talk about negative things too much and when you talk about the negative too much, you will be surprised that you encourage the negative to happen, this is a great nation, and we have many things to celebrate, let us talk about the positive things in life and celebrate them.
What is the strangest thing that has ever happened to your in life?
The strangest thing that has ever happened to me in life, it to be in a country that is very rich and the people are very poor. The strangest thing I have ever seen is to have such a great nation, to have such a great people, Nigerians are very intelligent people, if you go anywhere in the world, check their great institutions and achievements, you will find that there are one or two Nigerians behind the feat.
Who played the role of father to you after the death of your father?
Once again, as you mentioned earlier, Oba of Benin has played that role for me, his cousin in London, Dr. Robert Obaze also played that role. Equally, the Ooni of Ife has played that role; the Emir of Kano has played that role. In current times as I always joke with him, I call him big bros; the Sultan of Sokoto has recently been a very big brother since he ascended the throne of his ancestors.
Chief Alex Duduyemi is another man that has been a great influence in my life, I cannot forget the former president of this country, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, is a great father to me. He is somebody that I turn to when I have difficulties or I need to discuss things, I    enjoy his company, I enjoy his wisdom and I thank God that he is still willing and able to fight for this country the way he had fought.
Having spent a good part of your life abroad, what are you missing now you are in Nigeria?
I am missing good roads, instead of five hours from Lagos to Agbor, I would rather if the road is good want to spend two hours, I enjoy driving, I love powerful cars, it gives me pleasure but we do not have good roads. If we have, I will like to drive myself while my chiefs can follow me, although they might not like the fact that I am driving. However, somebody has to relax somehow; but certainly, I miss the fact that we do not have good roads because without good roads, we lose many lives.
I miss constant electricity, I feel sad that so many successful business executives in this country, rather than spend their profit on building a stronger company, they have had to dedicate so much of their profit to buying diesel and I think it is counterproductive. I also miss a lawful society, disciplined police force, but we are working towards that, I think everybody is sitting up now that we have a very strict president, we thank God for that. This is the follow up from President Obasanjo that we have always wanted.
How has it been occupying the sacred throne of your fathers for about 15 years effectively?
It has been challenging, I have been on the throne for about 36 years now, not 15 years effectively as you said. In Africa, the young ones are supposed to be seen and not heard, but circumstances have brought a situation where the young ones are now heard, many elders are not  comfortable with this, many elders would prefer to talk to the young ones and be talked back at.
Silence in  His presence
I say this is not the best, the young have the strength, I have always said that when I meet    God, his ears are going to be full because I have so many questions to ask and I know I will be given the liberty to ask those questions.
Because God gave me eyes, mouth, nose, ear and brain to use, He did not give them to me to be silent in His presence. So similarly,    I find it difficult to see  something wrong and not say something, I will  not  find out that you are involved in bribery, 419 and other crimes and you expect me to keep quiet,  it  does not matter     if you are my brother or sister. I must say something though I try to be diplomatic about it. It does not matter if you are the governor, I can tell you that the former governor of Delta state, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan had his earful with me because he had a duty, we  have federal character, and we have to recognize our brothers and sisters, who are all indigenes of the state. Just because I am the king of Agbor does not mean that I am better than others are.
That was why at the height of the Niger Delta problem, I volunteered and took myself to the creeks. Very few people knew that. I saw that the country was burning, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan then was very sceptical, saying His Majesty, what of  if  you go down there and they kidnap you and I said they would not kidnap me because these are young men and they see me with them.
Huge potential
So I took the risk, I took it for the nation, for the good of all because I could see young men that were on a dying situation. Not  understanding how to move forward was causing destruction and that destruc-tion would affect all of our lives,  that was what inspired my trip to the creeks. I was very shocked when I got to the creeks, I went with one of my subjects, who is now a chief, Rear Admiral Elumah (retd), I thank God I had a naval man to help navigate the water. The other person, who is an army general, was not too comfortable on the water, but I thank God that we got there and I saw that there is huge potential in the creek. We can turn the creeks into Miami and California, it is beautiful there but unfortunately, oil has caused so much damage.
And  indeed after hearing all the horror stories of kidnap and all that, as my boat was going this way, I saw Dokubo-Asari going the other way and I was wondering what have I gotten myself into, but while I was expecting to see a very huge leader of the militants, a very violent person, I was completely proved wrong. An amiable, respectful and soft spoken and humble Government Ekpemupolo, alias Tompolo, walked in and we sat down and discussed.
He told me what their grievances are and he took me to his house, which he had built to make a statement that it was possible to develop the creeks. After showing me the house, he asked me if the state government cannot do likewise and I remember that very clearly, his intention of building that structure was to prove that if he can do it, what is stopping government from doing it. In addition, he took me round several projects in the creek communities, which both the state and federal governments have been doing, many of which remain uncompleted.
I can tell you, these were what made the boys bitter and I took that away with me and until this day, I will never forget how they shouted, how they hollered, the Dein of Agbor in the creeks! Nevertheless, why not, is this country not my own as well. If Nigeria is embarrassed, will I  not as a Nigerian abroad be embarrassed, I will not want them to single me out when I am travelling because I am a Nigerian to search me and suspect everything about my passport.
People see Tompolo from different perspectives depending on what they know of him, how do you see him which year was this famous voyage?
It must have been around 2007 or 2008 at  the height of the problem. Many Nigerians I have noticed in the 15 years I have been here comment on people they have never met before. If I listened to people before I met Obasanjo, I would not have met him because I have heard all sorts of horrible things about him. However, when I met  him, I found out that he loves Nigeria and is a good person.    I have said this earlier.
The same thing with the young man Tompolo, he is fighting for his people, he might not necessarily be doing  it in the best of ways, but his intention is simply struggling  for his people. Now, can you imagine if we do what is correct, as President Obasanjo had tried to do, as Jonathan tried to continue and I am sure this present regime will also continue, will we not be able to tap minds like Tompolo, Dokubo-Asari instead of exerting their energy against the country? Tompolo is a man that is soft- spoken and respectful. My advice is not to judge people before you meet them and find out who they really are.
Brother’s keeper
Let us be our  brother’s keeper. What happens if Dokubo-Asari with all his fire and strength is fighting to push Nigeria forward, I think we will all enjoy it, these are very strong  people, let us  not  always give a negative picture of our people and the worst thing you can do in life is to judge somebody before you ever met him. We do it far too much, it is a very dreadful thing, discuss with somebody first. I did not know who I was going to meet when I ventured into  the creeks and as I told you, I was very shocked at how quiet Tompolo is. I have never heard an angry word from him, he speaks with such a silent voice that you start to wonder that when a quiet person blows up, the world trembles.
Therefore, please Nigeria, Buhari is a very quiet person, let us not upset the man, when your brother does something that is wrong, do not embarrass him in public.
I want better things for Nigeria because we are a great people. I am commending the effort of Jim Ovia, who is from here for going to build a petrochemical plant of 1.5 billion US dollars in Akwa Ibom state.    I hope Akwa Ibom governor will remember that it is an Agbor man that has invested in Akwa Ibom and that he will equally encourage his people to come and invest here in Agbor kingdom. Dangote, I thank you, you have been able to build yourself to the level that you are, creating many jobs, you are a role model, and we need men like these. We should be celebrating as a people; we should stop the bickering and fighting.
Bickering and fighting
We should not be saying that I am a Yoruba person or an Hausa person first before we are Nigerians.    America’s power is because you have Chinese, Germans, British there and once you become a citizen of USA, first and foremost, you are a citizen of USA no matter where you come from, that is what a great nation is built of, we must put down this tribal propensity and recognize that we are nothing but brothers and sisters.
What are the unique things about Agbor Kingdom?
Agbor kingdom dates back to 721 BC with three dynasties, which is one unique in Agbor kingdom. We have old ties with the ancient Egyptians and the world is proud of our history and contributions.    In Belgium, you must be 36 years old of age before you can be given a national honour, but Belgians were so impressed of the things that I, as the symbol of Agbor kingdom is doing that they made a ratification of their law to give me their national honour at a young age 27 years. For me, that is something I will always respect and cherish and the glory is for Agbor kingdom. Again, my dear brother and friend, a father figure to me, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo made me the youngest Chancellor ever in the world. That is not only celebration of Agbor kingdom or Delta state, but Nigeria.
My father was a one-time director in the Nigeria Shipping Line while my grandfather was a member in the Western House of Assembly. Not many monarchs can boast of these things, my people are amazing to have stayed 30 years without a monarch, remained together as a people and fought to keep their monarchy alive, which is a feat that not many nations have been able to go through.
Agbor kingdom is an amazing place; it is an amazing kingdom, as you know the Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele is from Agbor. We have one of the most successful business-persons in Africa, Jim Ovia, from Agbor kingdom too. We are almost right in the centre of the country, Agbor is certainly where you must pass through to get to other parts of the country.
What are the challenges facing Agbor kingdom?
No road, education is not what it used to be, no electricity. In the time of our ancestors, we have water running, but now, no water,  lack of understanding of ourselves, the same problems we have here in Agbor kingdom is the same in Nigeria.
How have you tried to solve them?
Government of the day, I am not attacking you, just do your damn job. I had numerous problems with the past governor of the state, Dr. Emmanuel   Uduaghan. Like the present governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, he is the number one servant of the people. He is an amazing man, honourable, always trying to help his people. As a servant, you must do the will of your people, without the people; there will not be a nation.
If the people are not happy, it shows the governments are not doing their work and you are not taking the welfare of the people seriously, meaning you need to work hard.
Leading people
Leading people is difficult, we, as a people need to encourage the government, if you scold your baby negatively, he will not learn, but if you scold him positively, he will learn his lessons. We should encourage our govern-ment officials; our media should put a stop to negativity.
You tried to call warring NURTW members in Agbor  to order and tackle cultists at a time, how did it go?
National Union of Road Transport Workers, NURTW, was not helpful. Where an organization fails to understand they are managing people, then they have failed. In the area of cultism, you are from an age group when cult started, earlier it was for positive things, unfortunately our boys turned it to be negative.
Given an object, gun, which is for hunting to collect something that does not belong to you means you are a thief. Cults are not the actual problem, but the mind of our children. We no longer correct our children in our society; our boys roam round the streets for lack of job, lack of getting things to do with their lives and an idle mind is the devil’s workshop.
What is wrong, we learnt that the Ekuku Agbor people  are on a secession path from your kingdom?
You are not correct, the Ekuku Agbor people are very peaceful and loving people, it is just for few individuals who learnt oil was flowing in their place that decided to lead some people astray, saying that few people are enjoying the dividends from the oil company, Pan Ocean, while others are suffering.  These few individuals are trying to make money for themselves while others do not know what is happening, not every Nigerian is corrupt  but few Nigerians, not every policeman is corrupt but few police officers are.

Culled from Vanguard 

Ooni of Ife to be crowned today behind closed doors as he ends 21 days of seclusion

Ooni of Ife-elect, Prince Adeyeye Ogunwusi, on Sunday, concluded his 21 days of seclusion in Ilofi, where he has been undergoing installation rites.
The 51st Ooni of Ife is expected to be crowned on Monday, at the Ile Oodua.
The monarch’s aide, Biyi Odunlade, while briefing journalists on Sunday, said Ooni Ogunwusi will be crowned by traditional chiefs at a ceremony to be attended exclusively by the initiated.
According to Ife customs and traditions, his coronation will be a private affair and only the Isoros and Ife chiefs will be involved.
Although the coronation ceremony will be done behind closed doors, the Ooni of Ife will later appear in public briefly.
Odunlade said: “The Ooni will leave Ilofi later tonight (Sunday) and he will be crowned tomorrow (Monday). The Ooni does not receive the crown in the public. Unlike other Obas, who are crowned in public, Ooni of Ife doesn’t receive the crown in public.
“The traditional crowning will be done at the palace on Monday (today) but the inauguration would hold on December 7. The Ooni will come out to see some people after the traditional coronation.”
His inauguration and elaborate ceremony will hold on Monday, December 7.would be an occasion for the presentation of staff of office to the new Ooni.


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