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As the 2019 election primaries slated between February 2018-April 2018 draws nearer, the leaders of Ijebu/Remo today met amidst tight security to ratify the screening process conducted by eminent and seasoned administrators comprising of Sen. Odujinrin MFR, Bashorun Adebisi Adesanya, Pa Aare T Olu Dawodu and the permanent secretary emeritus in Ogun State, Chief Olu Okubadejo -Chairman.

According to the report presented to the house led by the Chairman of the screening agenda Chief Olu Okubadejo, but read out by the Chairman of the Ijebu/Remo agenda, Dr Osinowo Gbolade opined that, all the aspirants did well and are all men of valour but it is of necessity that only one of them will emerge.

He said during the screening process endorsed by the Paramount ruler of Ijebu Land, Oba Sikiru Adetona, the panel gave out questionnaires to all aspirants which they answered under sweaty conditions.

He therefore presented the score sheet as below;
(1) Abayomi Ogunnowo 52/110
(2) Prince Segun ADESEGUN 55/110
(3) Dr. T. Kazeem 58.5/110
(4) Arch. Opayemi 70.25
(5) Jimi Lawal 77/110
(6)Alh. Adegbenga Kaka 80.25/110,
(7) Hon. Muyiwa Oladipupo 88.25/110
(8)Senator Mamora 88.25/110
(9) Bimbo Ashiru(89)

The committee therefore recommended, Bimbo Ashiru as preferred aspiration among the others APC aspirants

In his acceptance speech, Otunba Bimbo Ashiru incumbent Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Ogun State, applauded the Committee for finding him worthy to fly their trust. He said the trust is a collective task for him and other aspirants declaring that he cannot do it alone without their support. He therefore called on them all to sheath their sword and work together for the benefit of Ijebu Remo. He assured the house of being the Governor of the State and not a marginalized Governor if elected in at the primaries and general election in particular.

Earlier the Chairman of Ogun East Senatorial District All Progressive Congress (APC) Pa Elias in his address said it is pertinent that Ijebu/Remo comes up with a candidate and plead that whosoever the panel choose should be supported for the sake of Ijebu’s/Remo’s Unity.

Also Speaking, a former Special Adviser to President Obasanjo who is also the Chairman of Ijebu/Remo Agenda Dr Gbolade Osinowo noted that the aspirants had all signed to accept whatever decision the screening panel will bring forward without threats to the unity of the senatorial district. He commended the screening committee for a thorough job appreciating them that posterity will not forget then. He assured that all hands will be on deck to promote and sell their candidate in all Senatorial District and the party, APC. He submitted that of the four members of the panel, three were from Remo Axis while Ijebus only have one.
While responding to questions from journalists, Dr Osinowo alluded that the members of the committee are all integrity personified, men who had national honour, men who have all achieved great things in life and can never be compromised.

The selected candidate, Otunba Bimbo Ashiru (OBA) noted while responding to questions that the mission to rebuild agenda of Sen Ibikunle Amosun is what he is part and parcel of not just as a member of the state executive but being an insider of how the government is achieving greatness. He reiterated his commitment to the agenda as well as banking on the relationship that exist between him and the Governor who he described as a leader, mentor, boss and friend.

Also at the meeting the Paramount ruler of Ijebu Land Oba Sikiru Adetona sent his emissary to inform the house of his support for whatever decision taken by the screening committee, he said no matter how pained it might be to some people they should put Ijebu/Remo’s interest above personal interest and aspiration.
The meeting was attended by four of the five aspirants while Sen Mamora sent his apology for not attending. Also at the meeting are Party Chairmen, Local Government Chairmen, Consultative and Advisory Chairmen, Party Leaders, Dr Tokunbo Oshin, Serving Commissioners, Board Menbers, Ijebu/Remo Agenda Youth members, Party members and other dignitaries who are not partisan.

Profile of OTUNBA BIMBOLA ASHIRU: He was born in Ijebu-Ode to the illustrious Ashiru family. His father, late Pa Simeon Adeyemi Ashiru, was a distinguished Ijebu statesman while his mother ‘Omo’ba (Princess) Moradeun Ashiru, is from the Fidipote royal family of Ijebu Ode and the ruling house of Owu-Ijebu.

Ashiru bagged a  degree in Marketing, Purchasing & Supply, and a Masters’ Degree in Strategic Management. With this background, he entered the services of the then Chartered Bank in the year 1989. In a successful career that has spanned two decades and taken him to various institutions, he has served in various capacities of Management (Head, Private Banking Unit; Branch Manager; Head, Institution & Professional Banking; Regional Coordinator; Country Director, Personal and Business Banking; Director, Corporate Affairs and Corporate Social Investments; until his last position of Group Head, Public Sector with Stanbic IBTC Bank which he was the pioneer head of the department.

Otunba Bimbo Ashiru according to different version of those who knows him, is a man with a desire for developing people around him and this translated into his appointment as the representative of the Awujale of Ijebuland on the Ogun State Poverty Alleviation Task Force. He distinguished himself in this field and represented his people favorably to the best of his ability and well commended by the Awujale himself. He was also on the Technical and Communications Committees of the 17th Nigerian Economic Summit (2011).

He is a member of The Metropolitan Club, Ikoyi Club 1938 and a member of the Ijebu Heritage Group and Ijebu Renaissance Group.
Otunba Ashiru is a Fellow of the Institute of Strategic Management of Nigeria; National Institute of Marketing of Nigeria [FNIMN] and Chartered Institute of Commerce of Nigeria.

In recognition of his selfless service to society and having distinguished himself as a true son of Ijebu land and an astute banker of repute, Otunba Bimbola Ashiru was presented with the royal title of Otunba Adeona Fusigboye of Ijebu land in December, 2006 by His Royal Majesty, The Awujale and Paramount Ruler of Ijebu Land, Oba (Dr.) Sikiru Kayode Adetona CFR.
He is a recipient of numerous awards which include the following:
 Best Commissioner of the Year – Nigerian NewsDirect Award 2015;
 Most outstanding Commissioner – Efizzie Magazine;
 Most Proactive Commissioner – FIBAN Excellence Award 2013

 Award of Honor for Outstanding Leadership – Manufacturers Association of Nigeria
 Ijebu Man of the Year 2013 – Ijebu Flavours
 Capacity Man of the Year – Diocese of Lagos West, Anglican Communion
 Pillar of Support Award – Timothy Adeola Odutola Foundation
 Recognition Award for Excellence – Manufacturers Association of Nigeria
 Recognition Award for Excellence – Armed Forces Command & Staff College, Jaji
 Service Excellence – FITC
 Award For Excellence in Banking 2017 – Ijebu Professionals Excellence Foundation
 Award for Excellence, Outstanding – Fed. Technology Incubation Center, Ogun State contribution to Commerce & Industrialization in Ogun State
 Integrity Stewardship Award – Centre for Save & Serve Humanity Organisation
 Recognition Award of Excellence – Nigeria Union of Journalist – Ogun State

He is the Honorable Commissioner for Commerce and Industry in Ogun State. A position he has held since 2011 after being re-appointed to the same ministry in 2015.

Under his stewardship, the business environment of the state developed beyond imagination with over 1, 279.84% increase in internally generated Revenue of the State. More than 120 new companies established their presence in Ogun State with a cumulative investment profile of about N691.77 Billion in 2014, compared to N377 Billion in 2013.

This placed Ogun State in first position in Nigeria, according to the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria. During his time, approximately 75% of Foreign Direct Investment into the country between 2011 – 2016 came into Ogun State.

Also, during his tenure the World Bank Group, in its Doing Business in Nigeria 2014 Report, ranked Ogun State as one of the best five States in term of ease of doing business against the 36th position in its 2010 report. He also facilitated the creation of a One-Stop Shop Investment Center (OSSIC) which sits within the Ministry of Commerce & Industry to assist potential investors with procedures for investment and documentation processing.

POLITICS

Rivers APC Reacts To INEC’s Final Decision To Exclude Party From Participating In 2019 General Elections

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The All Progressives Congress (APC) has reacted to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) insistence that the party would not contest the governorship, federal and state assemblies rescheduled general elections.

The state’s APC, in a statement signed by its Publicity Secretary Chris Finebone, on Wednesday, in Port Harcourt, cited various decisions of higher courts to justify its demand.

The party claimed that there was no Supreme Court judgement anywhere authorising INEC to delist APC candidates in Rivers State.

The APC insisted that the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu’s statement on the commission’s commitment to obey Supreme Court judgement “is premised on error.”

“We are advising the INEC leadership not to constitute themselves as enemies of democracy by obeying a non-existent Supreme Court judgment.’

“Hence the chairman of INEC must be well guided by credible evidence and not mere media misrepresentations and misinterpretations which are mischievously aimed at destroying an entire political future of a state,” he said.

APC said that it had in a letter addressed to Yakubu dated Feb. 19, through its lawyers, Messrs Tuduru Ede and Co, argued that it duly submitted the list of its candidates for Rivers State for the 2019 General Elections in line with the timetable and schedule of activities released by the commission.

It urged INEC to recall that the names and particulars of the state’s APC candidates were duly published by the commission as required by law.

“Hence we are aware that pursuant to the judgment in Suit No. FHC/PH/CS/ 149/2018 between the Peoples Democratic Party V. All Progressives Congress (APC) & Anor, the names of APC candidates for Rivers State were removed from the final list of candidates published by the commission.

“However, the APC, aggrieved by the said decision of the Federal High Court on which the decisions of the Commission to remove the list was anchored, appealed to the Court of Appeal, Port Harcourt Division in appeal No. CA/PH/38/2019,” it added.

It explained that the Court of Appeal in a considered ruling delivered on Feb. 6, stayed the execution of the said judgment of the Federal High Court.

It further stated that “the Court of Appeal, Port Harcourt Division, also in another appeal No. CA/PH/39/ 2019, further stayed the execution of the judgment of Federal High Court, Port Harcourt.’’

“Furthermore, appeal to the Supreme Court in appeal No. SC 118/2019, against the order of stay of execution granted by the Court of Appeal, Port Harcourt Division, has been struck out by the Supreme Court.”

They noted that in spite of the ruling by the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court, the names of candidates of the APC in Rivers had not been published by the commission as those participating in the 2019 General Elections.

“Thus it is imperative to place on record that the judgment of the Rivers State High Court, in suit No. BHC/78/2018, which was fought to the Supreme Court in appeal No. SC 1332/2018, SC 1333/2018, SC 1334/2018 and SC 81/2018, have nothing to do with INEC as it is not a party thereto.

“You may also wish to note that in spite of the said judgment of Rivers State High Court, the commission accepted and published the names of candidates of APC in respect of Rivers State.

“And it was the judgment of the Federal High Court, Port Harcourt that warranted the removal of the names from the final list published by the commission, which judgment has now been stayed.

“In view of the foregoing, we call on the commission to without delay publish the names of candidates of APC in Rivers State for the 2019 General Elections as submitted by the APC.

“We have no doubt that the commission, as a law-abiding institution, will accede to this request without delay,” APC added.

The party maintained that the two Federal High Court judgments that INEC relied on to exclude APC candidates from the ballot paper, have since been stayed by the Court of Appeal.

“It is therefore only righteous for INEC to follow the position of the Court and stop playing to the gallery in a manner that is suspicious and in flagrant disobedience to court decisions and rule of law.

“To this effect, a further appeal to the Supreme Court against the stays of execution has since been thrown out on record.

“There is, therefore, no reason to continue to leave APC Rivers off the ballot. All other appeals as they relate to other matters do not concern INEC, they are not party to them,” the statement claimed.

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POLITICS

Goodluck Jonathan Calls For Peace, Urges Voters To Resist Vote-Buying

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Former President, Dr Goodluck Jonathan on Monday called on Nigerians to embrace peace and shun violence ahead the shifted general elections.

Jonathan was in Bayelsa his home state at the weekend for the polls earlier scheduled for Feb. 16 and March 2 and shifter by one week to Feb 23 and March 9 and called on Nigerians to remain peaceful.

Jonathan who made the call during a meeting with Niger Delta Youth Leaders also urged the electorate to shun vote buying and vote according to their conscience.

“Use of money to induce voters has become very prevalent in Nigeria.

“It is more pronounced here than many African countries I have been to monitor elections and it is unhealthy for our development and my NGO is working on advocacy against it.

“Politics should be about the people and anyone who wants to make quick money should go into business and quit politics which is all about service to the people.

“People should vote according to the dictates of their conscience and not be induced by money.

“I have said it repeatedly that no one’s ambition should be worth the spilling of the blood of any Nigerian, peace is fundamental to economic development and the reports of insecurity and violence scares away investors.

“Anytime someone is killed either by security agencies or by any other exra-judicial means it affects the reputation of the country adversely and that is why peace building is very essential especially with the youths.

“Our youths are critical in our democracy because the future belongs to them so my advice is that we should be patient and shun violence in the coming elections,” Jonathan said.

Earlier, Mr Kenedy Tonjo-West, a Niger Delta Youth leader, said that representatives of Niger Delta youths from across the region were in Bayelsa to applaud the former President for his efforts at peace building.

He said that the exemplary leadership style of politics without violence and bitterness was an inspiration to Niger Delta youths.

West, who is also a Senior Special Adviser on Niger Delta Youth matters to Bayelsa Governor, noted the Jonathan’s influence on the youths of the region was responsible for the prevailing peace in the region.

He said that youths from the region were in Bayelsa to seek counsel from the former president following the shift in election date.

Mr Peretubo Oweilaemi, President of Ijaw Youth Council, said that youths from the Niger Delta region remain proud of the former President who relinquished power in the interest of peace and development of Nigeria.

“The emphasis of our amiable leader, Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, on peace and peace building is very commendable despite his political persuasion he has chosen to always advocate peace and we the youths are learning from him.

“We have seen the region which is very crucial to the country’s economy grow in peace because you advocate and preach peace all the time since you left office as President,” Oweilaemi said.

Leaders of Non Violent Youth groups including Niger Delta Youths Coalition for Peace and Progress, Ex-Militant Leaders who embraced the Presidential Amnesty programme, amongst others, were at the meeting. 

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POLITICS

APC Ready For February 23 Elections —- Bola Tinubu

Gbemileke Ajayi

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The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) on Monday declared its readiness for the Presidential and National Assembly elections, now scheduled to hold this Saturday, February 23.

APC National Leader and Co-Chair of the party’s Presidential Campaign Council, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, gave this indication while speaking with journalists after the National Caucus Meeting at the party’s secretariat in Abuja.

Below is the question and answer session…

On election postponement…

“By law we should continue to energise our people. It depends on our resources. Because the Electoral Act allows us to continue to campaign and ask us to stop campaigning only 24 hours before the actual election. And once INEC changed the election date to Feb. 23, they have given us the opening to campaign and energise our people. If you have a garden and you don’t nourish it with water, the grass will remain dormant. We don’t want our party to remain dormant.

“This is ability of leadership to convert adversity to opportunity and prosperity and that’s it; that’s what we must do.

On whether poll postponement will affect credibility of INEC…

“It depends on how it is handled and the new process. How the process is managed? You can convert what appears a crisis, a situation of adversity to an opportunity and progress

The INEC, under the law, is empowered to postpone, cancel and do whatever is necessary to ensure free and fair election. No party other INEC has this power. We can express our anger and disappointment, but no party can reverse what has been done. So, we are ready for Feb. 23.

On President Buhari’s statement that those planning to rig…

“I was in that meeting; the president was just reinforcing the fact that if you are out there snatching ballot boxes, and causing destruction, you are at risk of your own life. Whatever happens to you, no president will give an order that his own citizens be shot summarily, No! No, it’s okay, emotions are running high these days. Any individual including myself can be misinterpreted.

Shoot on sight are not his words; he is a law-abiding person and he understands categorically and clearly what the rule of law is and the lives of individual citizens, he knows that he is in that office to protect. Now, let me say this: he has been fighting Boko Haram, kidnappers and all that before this election, did you hear him asking them to be shot and executed summarily?

If he has gone through that in the last five years, please give him the benefit of the doubt.

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