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My attention has been drawn to a tweet in which I was mentioned as the major financier to a political movement or organization, presumably not even in existence, called the “Third Force”. While I have received calls and messages advising me to ignore the tweet and regard its publication as the handiwork of detractors, the delicate nature of the tweet – having taken into consideration my travails in recent times, fueled largely by the adverse effects of incomprehensible media falsehood –  require that I immediately, authorize the release of a rebuttal, given the malicious, damaging effect the unprofessional tweet is capable of creating. 



For the record, I wish to state, categorically and unequivocally, that I am not a financier of the said organisation or any socio-political partisan association or political party in Nigeria or anywhere else in the world.  As an International businessman of repute, I have deliberately kept stayed away from politics preferring, instead, to focus and give my all to the development of my business interests across the African continent.  Corporate Social Responsibility contributions has seen the Aiteo Group, which I lead, provide investment support in Medicine and Medical Research dedicated to seeking cures for several ailments which affect the African continent as well as investment in Sport and Sport as a panacea for the development of Africa’s teeming youth population.  The latter has been particularly evident in the Sport of football where we have major relationships with the Nigerian Football Federation and Confederation of African Football (CAF).  This is even as we continue to regularly provide financial support and investments to encourage building the “Nigerian Dream” through multi-dimensional and multifaceted socio economic interventions. Neither I, my immediate family or companies in which I have interests would embark on the sponsorship of a movement which is unknown to us.  This would be crass, irresponsible and inconsistent with the commercial prudence that a businessman of my accomplishment would consider. 
To, therefore, name me as a financier of such a venture is not only vile and callous, it is insensitive and inconsiderate.  It is a sad reminder of the length that some people, manipulating the malleable, depraved and downright dishonest elements of the media, can go (for reasons best known to them) in their despicable and contemptible attempts to continue to pitch me against the government of the day in Nigeria! 

Apart from seeking to impugn my integrity as the publication has done, the authors appear to premise the absurdity of their fabrication on my very well publicized relationship with former President Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, GCFR. I confirm that I know the former President very well.  He is like a father to me.  He was a friend of my father, the late Chief F.B Peters and has a relationship with my family that dates back over 30 years.   In the publishers’ indecent haste to malign the former president and I, amongst others, they demonstrated a shameful shallowness that paid no heed to the very personal nature of our relationship. 

For the avoidance of any doubt whatsoever, I also confirm, categorically, that the former President has, on no occasion, discussed or mentioned any such plan or intention to me.  This situation very pointedly affirms the irrationality and farcicality of the allegations as a whole.

As unconvincing and implausible as these allegations are, I am constrained to take steps to address these unbridled excesses as a means of protecting my family, my business and I from these unwarranted personal attacks.  Accordingly, I have instructed my lawyers to immediately take steps to obtain a retraction, in the absence of which they are to take all steps available to provide me with protection, remedy and relief. 

I ask the general public and well-meaning Nigerians at home and abroad, to disregard the tweet and its contents. It is nothing but FAKE NEWS. 

Finally, my message to the COWARDS who have, again, sought to use cheap, fabricated publicity and dirty media propaganda to cause me embarrassment, is that no assemblage of hatchet jobs/men or media manipulation can shake my unwavering stand and belief in the fortunes of the Nigerian economy and the success of the “Nigerian Project”. Aiteo as a business endeavor has come to stay and will grow bigger in the years to come.

God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Signed:

BENEDICT PETERS

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“The Labour Of Our Heroes Past Shall Never Be In Vain” —-By Moyo Odunlami

Peter Okunoren

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This line from the Nigerian national anthem is a paradox in itself, especially when one takes a look at present-day Nigeria and realizes that the labour of the dead heroes who fought for the nation’s independence seems to be wasted. It has been sixty-one years since Nigeria gained her independence from Britain.

For the past sixty-one years, Nigerians have had to deal with the same regurgitated set of leaders. In fact, if Nnamdi Azikiwe and co. were to come back from the dead and take a field trip to Nigeria, they’d be shocked to find the same set of people, who were in power during the 80s, still ruling Nigeria.

As Nigerians, it is clear that we have a leadership problem. The old men who ruled when our fathers were half-naked, innocent children are still in power today. This brings us to the big question: why?

Why are youths not holding the reins of power? To any foreigner observing from outside Nigeria, two answers may seem correct. One, the nation is practicing gerontocracy. Two, the youths are too incompetent to handle power.

However, as Nigerians living in Nigeria, we all know that these answers are incorrect. The problem with Nigeria is that the country is run by a set of people whose hands are stuck to the reins of power. Young Nigerians are rarely given positions of power and in cases where youths are elected into power, they only end up being puppets to the ruling class.

So far, Nigerian youths have proven their mettle and resilience in handling leadership positions, from creating startup companies to organizing groundbreaking revolutions.

However, just one thing stands in their way: lack of opportunities. For young Nigerians living in today’s world, finding the right opportunity is almost as difficult as finding a unicorn.

To make matters worse, there is an uneasy wave of political apathy among the younger generation. Most youths who have the leadership skills required to turn this nation around are simply not interested as a result of the discouraging state of the political and socio-economic systems.

Fortunately, this problem seems to be coming to an end, thanks to one man, Hon. Shina Abiola Peller, the senator representing Iseyin/Itesiwaju/Kajola and Iwajowa constituency in the Federal House of Representatives. In January 2020, Hon. Shina Peller alongside a few young Nigerians birthed the idea of Lead Generation Initiative (LGI), a youth-driven organization committed to creating opportunities for young people to achieve their dreams and channel their creativity towards developing the nation.

Under the leadership of the young senator, LGI has successfully carved a niche for itself as a frontline organization promoting youth participation and empowerment.

In 2020, it partnered with YIAGA Africa to create the Get Involved Leadership Training (GILT), a program aimed at training youths on core leadership skills such as strategic communication, active citizenship, and nation-building. The program kicked off in Ibadan, Oyo state with up to 68 participants drawn from the 33 local governments of the state.

 

Moyo Odunlami writes from Ikeja

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Three Burnt To Death, Six Injured In Ogun Tanker Fire Accident

Gbemileke Ajayi

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Three persons were burnt to death and six others critically injured on Tuesday morning in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, when a tanker fell on ever-busy Presidential Boulevard road, following an accident.

The tanker conveying petroleum product fell after suffering brake failure while descending the Kuto Bridge.

A commercial motorcycle operator was knocked down to death by the tanker while others struggled to flee from the raging fire.

It was learnt that the tanker fell on the road and bursts into flame after it knocked down the motorcycle operator and as a side -to – side collision with a Lexus jeep and one other car.

It also left a gory sight of the charred remains of the commercial motorcycle operator and carcasses of burnt vehicles on the road.

Operatives of the Ogun State Fire Service were sighted making frantic efforts to battle the inferno.

The Public Relations Officer, Ogun State Traffic Compliance and Enforcement Corps (TRACE), Babatunde Akinbiyi, who confirmed the accident, said three persons, including the truck driver, were burnt to death while six others were critically injured.

Akinbiyi attributed the cause of the accident to brake failure experienced by the tanker driver, forcing the tanker to veer into the lane of vehicles coming in the opposite direction and back to its lane before landing on the road with a bang that ignited balls of fire.

According to him, seven vehicles and six motorcycles were also burnt in the ensuing inferno.

He said: “Three people, including the driver of the tanker, died in the explosion and six others were injured while seven vehicles and six motorcycles were also burnt.”

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Ezinne Maria Ebi’s Burial Slated for January 29, 2021

Gbemileke Ajayi

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The Matriarch of the Ebi family; Ezinne Maria Eriaba Ebi will on Friday, January 29, 2021, be laid to rest at Urualla in Ideato North Local Government Area (LGA) of Imo State.

Ezinne Maria Ebi, who is mother to former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and former Chairman of Fidelity Bank, Mr. Ernest Ebi, died on November 15, 2020, at the age of 91.

According to a statement from the family, the burial activities will begin on Thursday, January 28, 2021, with service of songs at the Ebi’s family compound by 5 pm at Urualla, while the funeral mass holds on Friday, January 29, 2021, at St. Michael’s Catholic Church in the same town by 11 am. She was a devout Catholic and community leader in her lifetime. She lived an exemplary Christian life and was renowned for humility, kindness, and generosity which earned her the sobriquet “Nne Muru Oha” – Mother of All.

Ezinne Ebi was married to the late Mr. Fabian Ebi and together they raised their biological and non-biological children with strong Christian and moral values of integrity, hard work, and perseverance. Family sources describe her as an enterprising and skilled businesswoman who was indeed a real helpmate to her husband in providing education to all her children and many others who had the opportunity to live with her or encounter her. She is survived by 9 children, 27 grandchildren, and 14 great-grandchildren.

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