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Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna state has vowed not to recall the over 22, 000 teachers sacked in the state for incompetency. Speaking in Abuja on Tuesday, the governor disclosed that the sacked teachers were unqualified based on the Education Sector Support Programme in Nigeria (ESSPIN). El-Rufai insists the ongoing reforms in the education sector in his state would be sustained.

He said: “They told us that we are going to lose the election if we continue with what we were doing but we said, it is better to lose the election because until we fix this problem, we do not have a future. Nobody should blame the federal government for poor education and healthcare, the state government should be blamed because it is the responsibility of the state.

“It is unfortunate that the products of public schools gave up on public schools. They have allowed unqualified people to be employed in public schools because there children are part of these schools.

“About 58% of the of the teachers they presented to us that were qualified had some contents of fake certificates. Out of the 36,000 teachers that sat for the promotion examination, 2,000 failed. We want to set a standard for our children in Kaduna State and there is no going back on our reforms.”

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Nnamdi Kanu Is Safe and In London —- Orji Uzor Kalu

Gbemileke Ajayi

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Former Governor of Abia state, Orji Uzor Kalu, has countered the impressions that the leader of the Independent People of Biafra (IPOB), Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, is in the custody of Nigerian military, but that Kanu is safe and currently in London.

The crises rocking the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) over the nomination of candidates at the national, states and local government levels is only natural because “politicians agree to disagree in any political setting and for the development of the polity,” Kalu also hinted.

Kalu, who made the declaration when he visited former Military President, General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida (IBB) to drum support for the second tenure of President Muhammadu Buhari, however, did not give details.

“Nnamdi Kanu is where I told you he is, he is in London. He is safe”, former Governor Uzor Kalu told journalists after a closed-door meeting with the former President General Babangida at his uphill residence in Minna, Niger state capital on Tuesday.

Uzor Kalu said he was in Minna to woo former President Ibrahim Babangida on the second term of President Muhammadu Buhari “because virtually all the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Presidential aspirants had been coming to him for blessings.”

On the outcome of the meeting which lasted nearly two hours, the former Abia state Governor said, “I have talked to him (Babangida) to allow Buhari finish his second term, we have discussed, he is thinking about it, February 16 is still a long way.

“Our discussion was positive it is blue and white,” Uzor Kalu said, arguing however that all that Nigeria needed now was to build cohesion in the nation, “We need continuity of government and that is important that President be allowed to continue after 2019.”

According to Kalu, “Buhari is the head of government he has played four years he is almost done with the first half as it is done in football. He has played 45 minutes, it remains 45 minutes, we should allow him to finish the game”.

Kalu who appears not considering the pains Nigerians were going through and which has given rise to the clamour for a change in government said, “We appeal to Nigerians to allow him finish his second term, it makes more sense.”

The former Abia state Governor said he had also been soliciting for the support of other prominent Nigerians at home and abroad, adding that, “even foreigners” for the realisation of the second term Presidential ambition President Buhari.

He, however, declared that his campaign for the re-election of President Buhari had nothing to do with South-Eastern Nigeria getting the Presidency in 2023 or for his personal ambition of becoming the next President after 2023.

Kalu, one of the PDP decampees to the ruling APC further explained pointed out that the year, 2023 was still a long way and time would tell if he would vie for President or not then.

Meanwhile, Orji Uzor Kalu has described the crises within the ruling APC over the nomination of candidates as part of politicking.

According to Uzor Kalu, “The crisis is part of political development if there is no crisis there will not be political development. Crisis is what makes political development there must be crisis and there must be solution”.

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Senate 2019: Kogi State Ex-Governors Endorse Victor Adoji

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The candidacy of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) aspirant for Kogi East Senatorial district in the 2019 general election, Dr. Victor Alewo Adoji got a major boost recently when immediate past governor of Kogi State, Captain Idris Wada and his predecessor, Alhaji Ibrahim Idris openly endorsed his nomination to run for the seat.

Adoji, a former banker and journalist, visited the former governors separately in Abuja for endorsement after obtaining the PDP nomination form.

He described them (Wada and Idris) as credible leaders of the party who have laboured to keep hope alive in Kogi state.

The Senate aspirant has so far toured six local government areas in Kogi East to declare his interest to vie for the much-coveted senate seat.

In his speech at his declaration in Ofu Local Government, Adoji said he was there as an aspirant for the people to convert him to a candidate.

He said he is worried when he sees youths without employment as what he sees are not human beings but industries.

“Manifesto was something that was built in the 50s and 60s and it is not a workable material, I will not have one for you. What I will sign with you is a social contract where you will tell me what you will want me to do for you and not what I want to do for you.

“The world is evolving and countries are moving away from oil, most developed countries of the world do not rely on mineral resources because they do not even have one, what they rely on is the strength of their innovation.

“I will sign a contract with you and will want any other person contesting with me if given the mandate to do so, after 24 months as your Senator I do not move you from where we are to where Kogi East should be, recall me,” he said.

He said he was aware that as their Senator, he will not have the budget to build schools, build hospitals, build roads, but would ask them to carry him on their shoulders to where he can drag these basic things down to the people.

Meanwhile, a coalition of political parties in Kogi state recently endorsed Dr. Adoji as their preferred candidate for the 2019 Kogi East senatorial election.

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Ogun Govt Has Stalled Our Progress, Made Future Bleak –Teachers Who Await Documentation Years After Paying Millions For C of O

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Mr Rotimi Adeniyi has recently stopped using the mirror because his reflection scares him – hollow eyes, wrinkled face and all the external signs of ageing. The mirror reminds him of how grey he has gone and it worries him.

In another year, Adeniyi will be 60 years old and also be bidding farewell to his life as a civil servant. So what really scares him is not the mirror but the reminder of a dashed hope that has kept him as a tenant. He has spent the better part of his life teaching at public secondary schools in Lagos. A state government policy has ensured that in the last few years, he never spent more than six years in a school.

If Adeniyi was asked about 10 years ago if he was still going to be a tenant at his current age, he would have dismissed the notion outright with a wave of the hand. It would have sounded silly to Adeniyi because he had a plan in place to become a landlord and he was saving to ensure that the dream became a reality.

But today, he looks back at how his hope of becoming a landlord in his life is being threatened by the Ogun State government.

In the hope of becoming a landlord, Adeniyi had joined a co-operative in the school where he worked at the time – Itire Community Secondary School, Surulere, Lagos.

The co-operative – Itire Community Secondary School Teachers Welfare Fund – had bought land measuring 13.288 hectares at Gaun-un town, close to Magboro, along the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Ogun State for interested members and Adeniyi had quickly subscribed to it.

For Adeniyi, it felt like everything was falling into place at the right time. He bought two plots from the land, hoping that one of them would become the dream residence for his family and the other his retirement benefit.

“I was so happy that I bought two plots; I wanted to build a school on one of the plots. I thought that the school would be where I would retire to after my years in public service. I was saving N10,000 per month with the scheme and the co-operative bought the land on our behalf.

“The land was approved by officials of the relevant agencies in Ogun State government and we spent so much money to do the survey and allocation to divide the land into plots for all of us. The state government asked us to pay about N23m to get Certificate of Occupancy for the land and we paid all the money, but since 2013, the government has not given us the certificate.

“This has really affected us as it has prevented us from building anything on the land. The issue of ownership and documentation is not clear and nobody wants to invest money in such a place because, without the proper documentation, the government can choose to demolish any structure there later,” he said.

It was learnt that when the Ogun State government in 2008 announced that all owners of land in the state should ratify the land titles, the co-operative was given approval by the Director of Lands Ratification under the Bureau of Lands and Survey in the state and encouraged to pay the sum of N23, 242, 000 as condition for the granting of a Statutory Right of Occupancy over the land.

A letter dated December 21, 2012, from the Bureau stating the breakdown of the amount that was required to be paid to the government purse was given to the co-operative, a copy of which was obtained by Saturday PUNCH.

The letter was said to have been issued in response to an application made by Itire Community Secondary School Teachers Welfare Fund on December 30, 2008.

The letter, which was signed by Isq’eel Aboaba, the Director of Lands Ratification on behalf of the Special Adviser/Director-General (Lands), said, “I am pleased to inform you that the state government has graciously granted provisional approval for the ratification of your right of occupancy in the parcel of land/property lying, being and situate at Gaun-un town, measuring 13.288 hectares.

“Consequently, you are hereby granted a Statutory Right of Occupancy over the said land/property subject to the following terms and conditions.”

According to the letter, the conditions include paying a sum of N23.2m to cover for Premium, Annual ground rent, Preparation fee for Certificate of Occupancy, the Registration fee for Certificate of Occupancy, Government survey fee, Capital contribution and others.

It was however learnt that in July 2018, some officials of the state government informed some executives of the co-operative that the delay in issuing the C of O was as a result of the discovery that the said land fell within a proposed satellite town in the state to be called Akute City.

“For many years, we were going to Abeokuta (Ogun State capital) to inquire about the status of an application for Certificate of Occupancy after paying over N23m and all we were told was to come back the next day or the next week or be patient. But just last month, some government officials told us that the state government had not approved the Certificate of Occupancy for us because our land fell within Akute City.

“But nobody told us that when they ratified the land title and asked us to pay over N23m to get Statutory Right of Occupancy over the land. We paid the money in 2013 and after five years of wasting our time and government holding on to our money, they are now saying a different thing.

“The situation has caused me so much pain; it is as if my life has been at a standstill. It appears that all my life savings are going down the drain before my eyes and there is nothing I can do about it. I hope Ogun State government will quickly clarify the situation and give the Certificate of Occupancy for the land so that we can start building on it before our time on earth comes to an end,” Adeniyi said.

Similarly, the clock is ticking for Mr. Idowu Ajagbe, who is set to retire from his teaching profession in another two years.

According to him, the situation serves as a warning that his days in retirement might be spent in regret.

“I bought a plot there with the hope that someday, I would leave the life of a tenant and become a landlord. My plan is to build a small house there and have a shop where I can sell goods after my retirement. My retirement is just two years away and that dream is looking more and more impossible to realise.

“For long, many people have said that the reward of teachers is in heaven but some of us thought that we could change our story and have our reward on earth. I believe that the reward of teachers should be on earth and not in heaven as some people say. But now, we don’t know our fate over the land. It brings the feeling that the future is bleak. It is as if there is no hope. Ogun State government has dashed our hopes,” he said.

There are 186 plots on the land with about 100 owners. It was learnt that some interested persons who were not in the teaching profession were also allowed to buy from the land when the co-operative needed to raise the N23m required for the Statutory Right of Occupancy over the land.

One of such persons is Mr. Wale Ogunfemi, who was a banker at the time; though, he is retired now.

“I heard about the land from my brother who was a teacher at Itire Community Secondary School at the time. So I bought a plot each for my wife and me there, paying N600,000 for them. Since then, we have paid more for other expenses like the Certificate of Occupancy.

“We are afraid to build anything on the land because whatever is put there can be demolished by the government if there is no proper documentation. We have been on the matter for many years now. It was only recently that we heard the state government was claiming that the land fell within a satellite town,” he said.

Ogunfemi had also planned to build a house on his land and resettle his family there but the delay caused a setback for him.

“Some people who bought land in adjoining communities years after I bought my land are already living in their houses. My plan was to build a residential place to live like a normal Nigerian but with the problem with documentation, nobody will want to take the risk of investing money there,” he added.

A former President of Itire Commmunity Secondary School Teachers Welfare Fund, who has been handling the matter on behalf of the members, Mr. Marcus Bello, told Saturday PUNCH that some of the affected members had been demoralised by the situation.

He said the co-operative wrote a letter to the Governor of Ogun State, Ibikunle Amosun, in 2016, pleading with him to look into the matter but that neither was there a reply nor was any action taken to resolve the issue.

A copy of the letter obtained by Saturday PUNCH read: “We hereby write on behalf of the above named association to appeal for the issuance of C of O of the parcel of land at Gaun-un town as shown in the government agency survey attached.

“The approval of the said land was issued on December 21, 2012 and the total amount payable of N23, 242, 000.00 has been fully paid from the society’s contribution since 2013.

“All the teachers had moved to the land to develop their plots only to hear that the state government wanted to re-acquire the estate.

“We hereby appeal to you to use your good offices to ensure that our lifetime efforts will not be in vain.

“The appeal letter was written two years ago but there was no response whatsoever and nothing was done about the problem. We appeal to the state government to look into our plight,” Bello said.

Efforts made to speak with both the Director-General of Ogun Bureau of Lands and Survey, Mr. Biyi Ismail and the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Dayo Adeneye, on the issue proved abortive.

One of our correspondents visited the office of the DG on two occasions. When our correspondent visited the office located within the secretariat at Oke Mosan, Abeokuta on Friday August 10, 2018, he was unavailable and despite a note on the land matter left with his secretary, nothing came out of it.

Our correspondent repeated the visit on Wednesday, August 15, 2018, and this time, the DG was in the office.

Our correspondent filled the visitor’s form at the front office which was passed to the DG’s secretary. After some few minutes, the female secretary emerged from her office and told our correspondent to go and speak with the Commissioner for Information and Strategy.

She said, “You need to go and see the Commissioner for Information and Strategy.”

Our correspondent had earlier called the Commissioner for Information and Strategy on the matter but he declined to make any comment.

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