‘Don’t manipulate election results’


A group, the Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders, has called on the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof. Attahiru Jega, not to allow himself to be used by any cabal to manipulate the final outcome of the presidential election, which held on Saturday and Sunday.

Though CACOL commended Jega on his effort so far in ensuring a free, fair, credible and violence-free election, and for putting all necessary materials in place for the success of the presidential election, it condemned the postponement of the announcement of the election result.

In a statement issued on Monday by its Executive Director, Mr. Debo Adeniran, the group said, “We also commend the efforts of all Nigerians who equally came out in their numbers to vote and also ensure that the election was violence-free despite the threat of violence before the election.

“We however condemn the postponement of the announcement of the election result. INEC chairman had promised the Nigerian people that the election result would be ready 48hrs after the election would have been concluded.”

According to Adeniran, the suspension of the announcement of the election result by the INEC chairman has been arousing suspicion in some quarters that the ruling party, the Peoples Democratic Party, may be up to something sinister.

He said, “We want to warn that any attempt to manipulate or overturn the will of the mass of Nigerians will have great consequence that Nigeria as a country cannot afford at this time. We hereby urge Jega not to pander to the wish of some cabals that may want the status quo to remain against the wish of the Nigerian majority.

“He should not allow himself to be used as a tool in the hand of politicians in manipulating the result, thereby rendering the efforts of Nigerians who went through pains to ensure that a credible leader takes over power comes May 29, 2015.”

SOURCE: The Punch.

Anti-Graft Group Queries Fashola On Lagos’ Finances, Threatens Protest

  Posted: 2015-03-25 12:09:21

With the general elections few days away the Executive Chairman of Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders (CACOL), Mr. Debo Adeniran, has threatened to raise a seven million-man march against Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola and the All Progressives Party (APC), if he refuses to give a detailed account of the state’s income and expenditure from 2007 to 2011, before the election day.

Adeniran said that the march would commence this week.

“CACOL will from this week raise seven million people from all walks of life to demonstrate against the financial recklessness and impropriety of Governor Fashola. He should give account of how he has been spending the state’s money to the people who elected him into power and failure to do this before next week, we shall take to the streets.”

Addressing the press in Lagos, Adeniran said concerned citizens, groups and organisations in the state had at various occasions called on the state government to do so, but the governor refused.

He said a petition had been sent by CACOL to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) requesting it to investigate the Lagos State Government but regretted that the agency ignored it.

The CACOL boss, who said he was apolitical, called on the Lagos State House of Assembly to probe Fashola and his predecessor, Bola Tinubu, on the issues raised about Alpha Beta Consultancy.

SOURCE: The Guardian

Corruption Allegations: Coalition Demands Tinubu, Fashola Probe

Corruption Allegations: Coalition Demands Tinubu, Fashola Probe

A Civil Society Group Marched Yesterday In Ikeja Lagos Demanding That Efcc Probes Corruption Allegations Against APC Leader, Bola Tinubu And Lagos Governor, Babatunde Fashola

Adjekpagbon Blessed Mudiaga

The Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders (CACOL), an aggregate of human rights, community based, and civil society organisations with anti-corruption agenda across Nigeria, headed by Mr. Debo Adeniran, organised a protest rally yesterday, demanding for answers to questions bordering on the greed and corrupt practices allegation levelled against former Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Bola Ahmed Tinubu, by various sources. The rally was kick-started under the Oba Akran Avenue Roundabout Bridge, Ikeja Lagos, and moved onward to the Lagos State House of Assembly complex, Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos. During a chat with The UNION while the rally was going on, Adeniran said Lagos Internal Revenue Service (LIRS) is the statutory Lagos agency for the collection of taxes and rate, but this responsibility has been unconstitutionally given to Alpha Beta, a private consulting company purportedly owned by the former Governor of Lagos state, Tinubu. “We have been asking questions for clarification on this issue since 2010 but no response has been forthcoming.

Hence, we organised this rally from Ikeja Under-bridge onward to the Lagos State House of Assembly, to demand for clarification and other corruption allegations levelled against Tinubu,” Adeniran declared. When asked what the allegations are, he said “Alpha Beta is a consultancy firm rumoured to be owned by Bola Tinubu, and has been deducting 15 per cent from the internally generated revenue by the Lagos state government”. “Government and political leaders are accountable to the people. We agitated for participatory governance, and what we have noticed since a very long time in Lagos State is that, what has been happening is not participatory. “The accountability they claim they do, maybe, every 100 days, quarterly, so to say, is a gimmick with which they bamboozle the people.

There have been several allegations flying around that the former Governor of Lagos State, Tinubu has almost half of all the property that we have in Lagos. We are not saying that he is guilty as charged, but we are saying that he should respond to all those allegations. “It is good, fashionable and civil to get court injunctions, but court injunctions only under-mine the right of the people to know. And what we are saying is that, instead of getting court injunction, he should just explain his own side of the story, so that people will know whether or not to take him and his candidates serious as they have taken him before now. And that is why we are now insisting to tell the Lagos House of Assembly that they should compel the gentleman that they so much love, to respond to all the allegations.

“The incumbent governor of Lagos State, Raji Fashola, should also state his own side of the case, and tell us what his relationship with Alpha Beta Consulting is. At the end, he should also tell us how much is being paid, so that Lagosians would have some information/knowledge about how their money is being spent. “It is a simple questions and answer thing, but because they didn’t answer when we asked them directly, we now want to ask them through institutions. These institutions will have the power to compel them to offer explanation on all these nagging issues”, he said. Apart from the issues commented on by the CACOL head, the rally organizers also distributed a leaflet with a heading “Greed Leads To Corruption- Tinubu The Greedy.” The contents of the leaflet stated that: Tinubu is stupendously wealthy, among his list of investments include TV and Radio Continental stations, First Nations Airlines, The Nation Newspapers, Oriental Hotel, to mention a few. The leaflet also informs that Lagos collects taxes and Tinubu’s company, aforementioned, collects it on behalf of Lagos state and receives commission. Lagos awards contracts and his company bids and wins such contracts. Tinubu, who is usually called ‘Jagaban or Asiwaju’ by his stooges runs a political empire and replicates the same mechanism in the states his party (APC) wins. The leaflet raised a fundamental question such as, “don’t you find it amusing that despite the perceived highhandedness of Asiwaju, and these governors remain loyal and are even submissive to the point of being errand boys?

SOURCE: The Union.


CACOL Challenges Tinubu To Defend Allegations

CACOL Challenges Tinubu To Defend Allegations
debo adeniran

Peterclaver Egbochue

The Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders (CACOL), has challenged the national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), and former Lagos State Governor, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, to publicly defend the allegations contained in the documentary to prove his innocence.

The president of CACOL, Comrade Debo Adeniran, at a press briefing on Tuesday in Lagos called on the Lagos State House of Assembly to initiate a probe of Fashola/ Tinubu deals especially on the issues raised by the ‘True Face of Lagos’ in their petitions and the ones he raised on Alpha-Beta Consultancy and come up with satisfactory report.

Adeniran called on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), to make public their findings on the allegations of the ‘True Face of Lagos’ as contained in CACOL’s petitions.

His words, “Beyond getting an injunction to stop the airing of his alleged misdemeanour, as a statesman that Senator Tinubu is expected to be, he should please come out to the open to defend the allegations against him. After all, he who comes to equity must come with clean hands.

“We also demand that former Governor Bola Tinubu should make public statement on Alpha-Beta Consulting and his other properties in Lagos. We insist that every governorship candidate should make public commitment on how they will do things differently especially on Alpha Beta Consultancy and be more transparent and accountable as well as allow participatory governance.

“As a Coalition of several pressure groups, I must reiterate as contained in our advertorial that we shall mobilize our affiliates, network with other allied groups to blacklist and mobilise votes against any Governorship Candidate that ignores this demand. In the case of the incumbent governor, we shall mobilise over Seven Million Lagosians across all walks of life to occupy strategic areas of the state.”

The CACOL boss disclosed that the briefing was essentially aimed at presenting before the public, a chronicled account of series of efforts made by the Coalition since 2010 at making the Lagos State Government provide answers to various questions raised by concerned persons, organisations and groups, over the detailed budgetary reports of income and expenditure for the period of 2007 to 2011 which the state government was yet to accede to.

He maintained that CACOL had, in reaction to an advertorial placed on Pages 44 and 45 of The PUNCH edition of Thursday, January 28, 2010 under the title: ‘The True Face of Lagos’ – the publication which contained several allegations bordering on financial recklessness and misappropriation against the state government, petitioned the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), vide its letter dated 3rd February, 2010, requesting its thorough investigation and necessary actions, to which the EFCC adopt.

According to him, when EFCC was not forthcoming, CACOL followed with another petition dated 20th February, 2011, addressed to the Lagos State House of Assembly, demanding that ‘the House investigate itself and perform its oversight functions’ on the allegations of financial impropriety levelled against the state Governor.

The House however replied vide its letter dated 24th February 2011 stating its inability to accede to CACOL’s demand, citing an earlier court injunction, which stopped further deliberation on the matter until the case was disposed of.

Not satisfied with the response, CACOL on the 29th August, 2012, relying on the constitutional strength of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), forwarded a letter dated 29th August, 2012 in which it applied for the Lagos State Budgetary Reports Detailing Income and Expenditure for the period of 2009 till 2011, directly to the State Governor, Babatunde Fashola, (SAN).

He further disclosed that similar applications were also made on the 3rd June, 2013 and 17th July, 2013, to Mr. Rahman Adeola Ipaye, the State Commissioner for Justice and the Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget respectively.

According to him, whilst the Office of the State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice replied on July 2, 2013 stating the inapplicability of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), to the State Government as, according to him, citing relevant provisions of the law, the said law was not binding on the state government, its counterpart in the Ministry of Economic Planning and Budget simply directed the coalition to obtain a series of publications from the ministry for the needed information.

Recently, acting on facts at its disposal, CACOL placed a set of newspaper advertorials titled, “Alpha Beta Consulting (ABC) Deductions: Take A Stand Now”. The adverts which appeared on Page 7 of the NIGERIAN TRIBUNE edition of Wednesday, 11th March, 2015 and page 56 of the DAILY SUN edition of same date as well as the Yoruba version of it on page 7 of the ALAROYE’s edition of same date, had unveiled the facts surrounding the process of tax collection, remittance and deductions to the aforementioned consulting firm which allegedly belongs to a former governor of Lagos State, Senator Bola Tinubu.

His words, “We must emphasize for the records that we have no personal grouse against Senator Bola Tinubu as he is presumed innocent until various anti-corruption and law enforcement agencies find enough reasons to apprehend him (since he is not known to be hiding) and prosecute him (since he has no immunity) and he’s found guilty by a court of competent jurisdiction. However, his unwarranted silence on the Alpha Beta issue is worrisome.

“Besides, we believe Bola Tinubu, being Gov. Fashola’s immediate predecessor, has not done enough to guide the incumbent on how to productively implement budgets in Lagos State or come out in public to disown him if he is recalcitrant. His silence only shows that Bola Tinubu is either complicit, approved or tolerate the budgetary malfeasance. We are equally flabbergasted that Tinubu went to court to obtain an injunction to stop the airing of the documentary about him on Africa Independent Television (AIT).

“That he sought protection under the law that gives him respite that can be sustained for a very long time, is escapist and smacks of cowardice. It is our belief that this should give any well-meaning person utter concern since he who comes to equity must come with clean hands.

“Facts have it that the ABC is contracted to deduct from source a regular 15 per cent of all monies collected as taxes in the state at any given time or period. As a matter of verifiable fact, a total sum of N27,743,310,520.93 was paid to ABC between 25thJanuary, 2012 and 26th October, 2014 through Skye Bank PLC account.

“The open letter, which was addressed to the incumbent Governor and the 2015 governorship candidates, had demanded from each of them to come out with a categorical stance on this development.”

Adeniran recalled that a forum tagged, “Lagos Open Parliament,” organised by CACOL in partnership with People’s Action Democracy (PAD), was held on Saturday, 18th December, 2010, at the Federal Institute of Medical Research, Yaba, Lagos attended by all the twenty local governments in the state, civil society organisations and other concerned Lagosians, during which many questions on the state of the state’s budgets and implementations were raised.

He added that it was against this backdrop that CACOL and other concerned parties had been demanding from the state government, detailed facts on the state’s budget since 2007; a demand that was yet to be responded to, many years after.

“We, in CACOL, see it as a responsibility bestowed on us as patriots and watchdogs over the activities of those placed in the saddle of governance, with the main objective of ensuring transparency, accountability and above all, to play the whistle-blower against any act of corruption in any form or shape,” he stated.

The CACOL boss stressed that the group was committed to naming, nailing, shaming and shunning corrupt leaders anywhere, everywhere, regardless of whose ox was gored, urging all compatriots to join voices in prevailing on the Lagos State Government to come out and present the true position of the state of finances in the state to the tax payers of the state.

SOURCE: The Union.

Again, CACOL Petitions EFCC to Investigate Lagos State Government

20 Mar 2015

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150513F.Babatunde-Fashola.jpg - 150513F.Babatunde-Fashola.jpg

Babatunde Fashola, Governor of Lagos

Chiemelie Ezeobi

A civil-society and non-governmental organisations group, Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders (CACOL), on Thursday said it had again petitioned the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to investigate the activities of the Lagos State Government.

CACOL’s Executive Chairman, Debo Adeniran, made this disclosure as the group staged a peaceful protest that kicked off from Ikeja under bridge, with a detour to the government house and then ended up at EFCC.

He said they decided to involve the commission again because the objective of the group was targeted at fighting corruption and corrupt persons by any means possible at all levels in Nigeria.

In the petition made available to THISDAY, the group said their grouse was the failure of the Lagos State Government to provide answers to various questions raised by the coalition since 2010.

He said the questions raised were over the detailed budgetary reports of income and expenditure for the period of 2007 to 2011.

Adeniran said so far, the state government was yet to accede to this demand, as it allegedly kept hiding under one legal technicality or another since 2010.

In the petition, the coalition said it had in reaction to an advertorial placed in one of the national dailies on Thursday, January 28, 2010 under the title: ‘The True Face of Lagos,’ petitioned the EFCC on February 3, 2014, requesting for thorough investigation and necessary actions.

He said the publication had contained several allegations bordering on financial recklessness and misappropriation against the state government.

Adediran said the protest was because answers were not forthcoming even after another petition on February, 2011, addressed to the Lagos State House of Assembly, demanding that they investigate itself and perform its oversight functions’ on the allegations of financial impropriety leveled against the state governor.

He said house however replied vide its letter dated February 24, 2011 stating its inability to accede to CACOL’s demand, citing an earlier court injunction which stopped further deliberation on the matter until the case was disposed of.

Again, he said they forwarded a reminder to its earlier petition to the EFCC on August 6, 2013, to express their displeasure at the alleged utter neglect and the slow pace of investigation.

The coalition said based on facts at their disposal, they had placed different advertorials titled Alpha Beta Consulting (ABC) Deductions: Take a stand now.

He said: “The advertorials unveiled the facts surrounding the process of tax collection, remittance and deductions to the aforementioned consulting firm which is rumoured to belong to a former governor of Lagos State, Senator Bola Tinubu.

“Facts have it that the ABC is contracted to deduct from source a regular 15 per cent of all monies collected as taxes in the state at any given time or period.
“As a matter of verifiable fact, a total sum of N27,743,310,520.93 was paid to ABC between January 25, 2012 and October 26, 2014 through Skye Bank Plc account.

“These unfolding revelations are not only mind-boggling, but embarrassing as they have once again opened up the Pandora’s Box of the rots and high level of impunity in governance in Lagos State, with particular emphasis on the abuse of office, unguided recklessness and profligacy at the state level.
“Against this backdrop, CACOL is calling on the EFCC to make public your findings on the allegations of the ‘True Face of Lagos’ as contained in our previous petitions.

“We urge you to prevail on your personnel to expedite actions on the request made that the allegations raised in our petition are diligently investigated, its report made public, and whoever is indicted be prosecuted and punished appropriately.”

SOURCE: Thisday Newspaper


CACOL Seeks Probe of Tinubu, Fashola

The Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders (CACOL) on Tuesday took on the Lagos State Government headed by Governor Babatunde Fashola as the group demanded for a probe of the activities of his government so far.

CACOL, through its leader, Debo Adeniran, also demanded the probe of Fashola’s predecessor and former governor of the State, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, saying despite being cleared by the Code of Conduct Bureau, there were still some issues hanging about some of his activities, especially on the role of a company, AlphaBeta Consulting, allegedly linked to him and which takes 15 percent of whatever the state derives as internally-generated revenue.

At a press conference with selected journalists, Adeniran said his organisation was being frustrated by several bodies including the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) and the Lagos Government. Continue reading “CACOL Seeks Probe of Tinubu, Fashola”

CACOL Condemns Slash Of Ministry Of Works Allocation In Proposed Budget


The Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders (CACOL) has condemned the action of the Federal Government over the proposed Works Ministry’s budget of N100 Billion naira that was slashed to N11 Billion naira, which amounted to 89 percent slashes leaving the ministry with peanut to work with.

The Minister of Works, Mike Onolememen, said the ministry’s N100bn proposed budget for 2015 was slashed by the Ministry of Finance to N11bn, representing an 89 per cent reduction. Onolememen, who was in the Senate to defend his ministry’s estimates for the fiscal year, added that no sum was approved for   the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency’s capital projects and the Office of the Surveyor -General of the Federation. He said the Finance ministry predicated its action on the economic realities on the ground. Continue reading “CACOL Condemns Slash Of Ministry Of Works Allocation In Proposed Budget”

Who is afraid of the Card Reader?

Mar 13 2015 – 7:58pm

Debo Adeniran

The forthcoming 2015 general elections have recently been throwing up series of interesting scenario which, by all estimation, marks it the most controversial, most contentious and in fact, the most chaotic in the history of electioneering in this country. The two prominent gladiators i.e. the ruling Peoples Democratic Party and the opposition All Progressives Congress have since been at other’s jugular, trading accusations and brickbats.

Party campaigns, which should have been an issue-based exercise, have so far been reduced to mere mud-slinging, brickbats, name calling, hate campaigns, innuendoes and in many cases, outright blackmailing. However, we cannot but allow all these to go on, on the excuse that, as some are quick to remind us, that ours is still a nascent democracy; “we are still growing; we shall certainly get there someday”.

Granted that our over 50 years democratic experience is still considered young and that mistakes made are meant to serve as tools for getting better as we advance towards perfection, we cannot however help asking the question: can we ever get any better in the face of apparent retrogression in our attitudes generally especially with the way we operate under our own peculiar, but absurd form of democracy? One would naturally have expected that an over 50 year old person should be able to display some appreciable degree of maturity but when such person now behaves like a toddler, something fundamentally nay pathologically is wrong and as such, a major, comprehensive surgical operation, cannot be substituted.

Excuse-makers, for series of abnormalities displayed by the major players in our political turf, are always quick to remind us of how the likes of the United States of America had had to grow steadily through decades and centuries before getting to where they are today. But the basic question these excuse-makers should have to provide answers to is; could America have been able to get to this enviable stage today if it had been a case of one-step-forward, five-steps-backward, as is seemed to be the case with Nigeria? Can growth be synonymous with retrogression?

Well, it is generally agreed that the very foundational bane of our society, has always been the issue of poor leadership. This being the case therefore, the only option left for Nigerians to effect the desired change is no other than to elect leaders of their choice and this could only be made possible through a free, fair and credible elections.

The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission Professor Attahiru Jega, today, has had placed squarely on his shoulder, that onerous task of organizing elections that would be acceptable to Nigerians in particular and the international community that has expressed so much interest in what becomes of the world’s largest black nation as it files out to choose its leaders for the next four years.

Since making public his commission’s time-table for the election, the afore-mentioned two leading gladiators have been having one issue after the other to contend with. Most pronounced of these contentious issues have centreed on the appropriateness or otherwise of amendment in the set time-table, allegation of lopsidedness in the distribution method of the PVCs by INEC, the competence of the INEC as presently composed particularly the Chairman, Professor Atahiru Jega, as a section of agitators, mainly from the ruling party, the PDP, now calls for his removal and substitution ahead of the elections and most recently the issue of the appropriateness or otherwise of the use of the CARD READER in the process of voting at the polls.

Whilst all other issues have been considerably addressed, that of the Card Reader has remained intractable. It has, of late, being heating up the polity almost to a boiling point. INEC, on its part, has insisted on using the card reader as, according to it, it remains the only device capable of curtailing several manners of malpractice during the exercise and has even gone ahead to carry out a test-run in many states of the federation. But if Professor Jega and his commission had thought that the appreciable success (put at 90 per cent) recorded during the demonstration of the device, would put to rest any reservation that anybody or group might have had over the issue, recent developments have so far proved they must have been mistaken as opposing voices have remained unabated and so the attendant controversy have become more intense. Electorates as well as political parties have now been polarized along pro and anti card reader. In particular, leading members of the ruling party, the PDP, has been the more vocal in opposing the use of the device. A powerful section of the party has even been calling for the sack or resignation of the commission’s chairman, Professor Attahiru Jega whom they score low on performance.

However, President Jonathan has, at various fora, denied any plan to remove Jega or force him to proceed on terminal leave. Nigerians generally are clamouring for a free, fair and credible election and the use of the card reader has been proved to be near perfect in curtailing electoral fraud to an appreciable level, why again are all the noise on its propriety? Who really is afraid of the card reader?

It is on record that apart from the ‘Option A4’ experiment of 1993 which eventually produced an undisputable winner in the person of Chief MKO Abiola on the ticket of the Social Democratic Party (SDP): an election that was so faultless that it was generally adjudged to be the freest in the history of this country, every subsequent election had had most of the offices contested for ending up in the law courts, following allegations of massive malpractices. The card reader has been tested and found to be capable of checking such malpractices as multiple registration and voting; presenting fake voter card for voting, voting by proxy, among others. Majority of Nigerians today have welcomed the card reader and are ready to vote, come March 28, 2015. But then, who is afraid of the card reader?

Reports just reaching us from the grapevine has it that, some leaders of a leading particular party, in a particular community within Lagos, has, of recent, been going round, meeting those people considered to be sympathizers of their party but who, for one reason or the other are ineligible to vote in the coming elections as they do not possess their PVCs and assuring them that they could help them secure their PVCs through the back-door.

The requirement is simply that such person produces his/her passport-sized photograph with his/her name written on a piece of paper and his/her PVC would in turn be made available to him/her. Grapevine has it that the perpetrators of this act most likely have their accomplices within the INEC circle, who help to produce the PVCs. It’s as simple as that. Such a person does not have to be at the INEC registration centre in person as demanded by law. Perpetrators of this fraud had calculated initially, that since such PVCs must have truly emanated from the INEC and bearing all the symbols of the electoral commission, the bearers would be free to vote with them without any hitch whatsoever.

However, with INEC insisting on using the card reader, they now have their plan ‘b’. These disgruntled elements are well aware that such cards are most unlikely to scale through the screening of the card reader because they would not carry the biometrics (i.e. fingerprints etc) of the bearers, what they and their highly influential godfathers and collaborators are ultimately set out to do is to resort to blackmail; fault the device’s supposed infallibility and fool-proof technology and therefore press for its rejection.

The Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders, CACOL owes it an obligation to the general public to bring this alleged plot by enemies of democracy and good governance in our nation and to implore every lover of this country to stand against any group or quarters opposing the use of the Card Reader in the forth-coming elections. We must all join hands together to ensure that, for the first time in the history of electioneering in this country, winners emerge through a free, fair and credible election. Nigerians desire no less.

SOURCE: The News

AIG Mbu: Hatchet man or professional?

 When the police high command announced the deployment of Mbu Joseph Mbu from zone 7 Abuja to Zone 2, Lagos, those of us who have keen interest in police activities knew that the Assistant Inspector General of Police was in for a battle.
We were not disappointed. Shortly after the announcement, APC Spokesman in Lagos, Mr. Joe Igbokwe, told the press that Mbu was on a mission to deliver Lagos State to the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). From Abuja, Mbu replied that he would respond to the APC allegation at the appropriate time. We are waiting.
As expected, Mbu was greeted with an avalanche of insinuations at Lagos. Less than 10 days after assuming office, he was in the news for picking and detaining policemen and a toll gate at Lekki.
The screaming headlines reported that the victims were detained for five days because they asked Mbu to pay toll fees and he refused.
This incident did not escape the notice of the Oba of Lagos, Oba Akinlolu, a retired Assistant Inspector General of Police. He was quoted as saying that nobody will intimidate Lagosians.

Continue reading “AIG Mbu: Hatchet man or professional?”

Iresi Community: Sustenance through socio-cultural renaissance

Posted March 6, 2015 11:54 pm by with 0 comments

Iresi, a sleepy community in Osun State, boosts the morale of residents with the annual Iresi Socio-Cultural Festival,” reports GBOYEGA ADEOYE

Residential buildings, some of them built over a hundred years ago, line the lone road that snakes through the ancient city. Old men and women, some holding walking sticks taller than their frail, bending physiques, made quite a sight in the crowd that turned out for the annual Iresi Socio-Cultural Festival.

The three day event is packaged to showcase hidden talents, ranging from academics to natural arts, as a way of boosting the morale of residents of the sleepy community. Founded about 812 years ago, Iresi community that has suffered untold neglect in the past. Almost all the houses that dominate the community are ramshackle.

Their rusty roof assaults the sight as you move round the rocky town. When one observes the environment carefully, however, no one needs any conviction that this is a community where culture is already bidding farewell to the teeming youths who, apparently, have no place for it.

And this seems to be why the Oyeladeniran Foundation for Community Development, OFCOD, presented itself as a timely voice to salvage the rich culture that was once the symbol of the community. The OFCOD was established to celebrate Late Pa and Mrs. Adeniran Awoniyi who were said to have been role models in the various communities where they lived in the course of their sojourn on earth.

The sole aim of the foundation, according to the festival coordinator, Debo Adeniran, who is also the Executive Chairman of Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders (CACOL), is therefore, to reawaken the socio-cultural heritage of the Adeniran family, Iresi community, as well as that of the Yoruba nation, which it believed have propelled their forebears to utilize the value of self worth to engage in self help that galvanized them to became self reliant, without resorting to fraudulent practices and corruption that is now endemic and controls the sensibilities of the teeming youths of the town and the entire Yoruba race, as a whole.

The new trend has been a cause of worry to the traditional ruler of the town, His Royal Majesty, Oba Sikiru Ibiloye, the Oluresi of Iresi. He says, “This town was founded in 1200 AD and ever since, we have been living peacefully together. In the area of culture, Iresi is known to be a strict observer of laid down law and order. We have how we do our things and we have been following this until recently when civilization came in to erode many things.

This has not been a good experience because things are no longer working the way they used to. “I am particularly happy and my hope is raised with the concept being brought forward by the Oyeladeniran Foundation for Community Development, to revisit our culture with a view to aligning it with modern realities.”

According to the monarch, while it is true that the community has witnessed a dose of neglect in the past, hope abounds that there are better days ahead with the positive gesture towards development by some indigenes, as well as the incumbent government of Osun State, led by Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola.

These better days will not be completed without the king having a befitting palace to go with his title. Currently, the king dwells in an ancient palace with space not enough to contain the traditional artifacts expected in the abode of a renowned Yoruba Oba, like the Oluresi.

Though, the town has taken the initiative to build an ultra-modern palace for the king, development on the building is intermittently being stunted by lack of fund, making the completion of the palace fast becoming a mirage. However, the dull atmosphere that enveloped the ancient community came alive on the eve of the OFCOD event when local musicians were given the opportunity to display their talents by the organisers of the cultural fiesta at the Olowoye compound.

It was a night of fun as the youthful Fuji musicians took turns to display their talents. Children and teenagers gathered applauded their favourites in a show that also featured a superiority contest amongst a handful of the youthful Fuji musicians, who used their songs to assert their assumed class and even went ahead to condemn those they felt were challenging their status. The show had to be concluded early enough to give time for relaxation for the kick off proper in the morning of the following day. The kick off day was a carnival of sort.

The youths of the community gathered for a combined jog of about 6 kilometers. From the Olowoye compound, the crowd was a mish mash of the good, the bad and the ugly. While some trim youths dressed smartly in sports attires with sneakers to suit the athletic exercise, some middle aged men donned various shades unsuitable attires and were bent on participating in the event even when they did not comply with the mandatory free registration that preceded the contest.

Okanlawon, 43, clad in Ankara sewn into a “buba and sokoto” was one of this set of people who out of desperation to contest at the eleventh hour provided the needed comic relief to the hectic exercise.

Okanlawon, it was learnt, got wind of the fact that OFCOD would be giving cash rewards to winners in the activities lined up for the festival around 10pm the previous day. Not minding the fact that he did not have suitable clothes for a sporting event, he rushed out of his room the following morning and headed straight for the venue of the event. But Mrs. Adeniran-Adigun, secretary of the organising NGO, thought allowing Okanlawon to participate in the event was dangerous, considering his age and physique. Okanlawon who looked haggard and malnourished.

So, politely, she told him, “We are through with registration and I don’t think you can even be registered if there were chances considering your age and the fact that you don’t look like somebody that is prepared for the contest, judging by your mode of dressing.” If Okanlawon would agree that his dressing did not conform to the ones adorned by the youths around him, he was certainly not going to accept that he was spent and could not compete with the youths.

The opportunity to prove this presented itself as the ambulance and other vehicles to aid the racers proceeded from the Olowoye compound to the take off point at Orita Igbajo, with the officials. Knowing that the officials were already seated and were heading for the take off point, which is a distance of about 4 kilometers, Okanlawon began a race with the vehicles in a show of prove that he was still agile and fit for the contest. He actually made it to the point ahead of the vehicles, but fatigue soon set in. Okanlawon fell like a log of wood. It took the frantic efforts of participants who were at the point ahead of the officials to revive him.

By the take off time, he was still gasping for breath under a shade in a bid to gain full recovery. The Marathon race went well with no casualty. At the end of the contest, Ismaila Oladapo came top while Bode Odewale and Akinrinade Michael came second and third respectively.

It was Akinrinade Michael that came top in the mountaineering race. According to some of Oladapo’s peers who spoke to our correspondent, he has been a rare talent in sports. From football to athletics, he was said to have carved a niche for himself.

The entire community spoke of him as an exemplary sportsman with natural talents. “You don’t need to push him before he puts in his best when it comes to sporting activities. At the start of the Marathon race, it was clear that Ismaila would come out tops because he had been engaging himself in tasks harder than this even when there was no competition.

This is just a past time to him,” said one of the competitors in the early morning Marathon race. The sports events gave way for an interlineal cultural competition which commenced around 5:00 pm and continued well into the night.

At the cultural event, the Iresi people in their different lineages and groups displayed their interests, knowledge, talents and skills in dressing, music, dance, drama, poetry, speech making, trade, foods, arts and crafts. In all, eight groups featured in the display of oral poetry and dance.

The local hunters group was first to take the stage and was followed by the ancient Agbe group, Ifelodun group, Ajegunle group, Solabomi group, Omolere group and Orebe group. Ogundele Olusegun, an Ewi (Yoruba poetry) exponent was also on hand to display his poetic talent.

The groups were in their best and the crowd in the Ebekun Town Hall where the event took place were spell bound throughout the session. At the end of the day, the Agbe group came tops as a result of its unrivaled coordination and unique dance steps to match their Agbe output. The group was followed by the Ajegunle Group, which came second while the local hunters group came third.

The last day’s event was attended by the Osun State governor, Rauf Aregbesola as is the tradition. A paper tagged “Reinventing socio-cultural practices as means of sustaining individual and communal economy,” delivered by Prof. Samuel Ayodele of the Joseph Ayo Babalola University, Ikeji- Arakeji, in Osun State was an eye opener for a people whose youths are already becoming oblivious of the rich and protective customs that have been guiding the community over the years.

If OFCOD’s aim is to impact discipline to the youths of Iresi and re-oxygenate the dying rich culture of the people, then it is achieving this faster than anticipated. Many of the youths who spoke to Saturday Mirror after the event could not hide their joy and satisfaction since the commencement of the festival in 2011.

According to them, OFCOD has brought hope to them where they thought only despair exists. Oladapo who won the Marathon race said he now knows that his talent can push him to limelight if more hard work is put into it. “Nobody ever thought that a day would come when one of our indigenes will deem it fit to come and do a talent search such as this. We shall for ever be grateful to Comrade Debo Adeniran for this initiative and shall for ever remain ardent supporters of OFCOD through which this landmark discovery is being made.”

The event closed with a traditional night out, where only traditional dresses were allowed. Members of the community were encouraged to come with lineal traditional food. They danced themselves to daylight in an event they wished should have a rewind. But since everything that has a beginning must surely end, the band stopped the music and the curtain for the socio-cultural festival was drawn. All eyes are again fixed for yet another of such festival.

SOURCE: National Mirror.