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Face-off: Bode George Should Shut Up Already, Leave PDP — Jimi Agbaje

Peter Okunoren

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Things seem to be falling apart in the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Lagos State.

Perhaps, this can be attributed to the party’s dismal performance in the last general elections.

The party seems not to have gotten over it and it has led to the blame game among leaders of the party.

The latest crisis rocking the Lagos PDP is between its candidate in the governorship election, Mr. Jimi Agbaje, and a former Deputy National Chairman of the party, Chief Olabode George.

The two are at each other’s throat over defection insinuations.

Bode George and Jimi Agbaje

Though, there have been insinuations making the round that Agbaje had perfected plans to dump the PDP, he has since refuted the claims.

While Agbaje accused George of insinuating his defection from the PDP, George described the former as failed governorship candidate.

Posts that Agbaje had joined APC have featured prominently on social media platforms such as WhatsApp and Facebook in the past few days.

One of the posts sighted recently both on WhatsApp and Facebook read: “Lagos PDP finally emptied as Jimi Agbaje defects to APC”.

Mr. Felix Oboagwina, media aide to Agbaje, had denied reports that his principal had dumped the opposition party.

Agbaje, through the aide, also accused the leadership of the party in Lagos of alleged plans to “give the dog a bad name and chase it away from the party.”

Oboagwina said that social media posts that Agbaje had left the PDP to join the All Progressives Congress, APC, were untrue.

He said: “There is nothing like that, nothing like that at all. He is still in PDP; he has not defected.

“How can people say he has defected on social media? He is too big for that; he is in PDP.”

When asked if there were plans by his principal to dump the PDP for APC, he answered in the negative.

While lampooning the a former Deputy National Chairman of the PDP for insinuating that he has defected to the APC, Agbaje said: “People should please tell Bode George to shut up and leave PDP if he lacks any value to add to the party, instead of being a dog in the manger hampering the progress of the party in Lagos State.

“He should tell the world where he got the news being spreading round.

“These party leaders have 2023 in mind. The game-plan is simple: Give the dog a bad name and chase it away from the party. By 2023, this mudslinging will have scared off credible people from the party, which will leave the whole field to them to continue to operate.

“I am too big to sneak out of one party into another one. And the reality remains that I have not left PDP for any other party, least of all APC.”

Describing Agbaje’s outburst as shameful, Prince Uthman Shodipe, Special Adviser to George, said the PDP candidate has “bitten the hand that fed him.”

George boasted that he gave Agbaje his first break in politics and a platform to actualize his political ambition.

The statement reads: “We have read with disgust an absolute report of idiocy that emanated from one Mr. Jimi Agbaje, who was a failed gubernatorial candidate of the PDP in last general elections in Lagos State, against the leader of the party in the state, Chief Olabode George.

“For the record, it is a public knowledge that Chief Bode George gave Agbaje his break in politics; he gave him the PDP platform without knowing him and also empowered him. It is sad and shameful that Agbaje has bitten the hand that fed him.

“Whether he has gone to APC or wherever, it is none of our business. We don’t know where he concocted this malady about Bode George saying that he has gone to APC.

“Bode George lifted him up in 2015 without knowing him; he secured the party’s ticket but his heart is not with the PDP.

“Bode George is a man of dignity and repute, he is a father of figure for the PDP not only in Lagos and South-West, but also across the nation.”

Lagos PDP also mediated in the matter, but castigated Agbaje over his comments.

The state Chairman of the party, Dr. Dominic Adegbola, threw up a new perspective on how the party lost the 2019 governorship election in Lagos.

He also expressed shock over the Agbaje’s “abusive statement” on George.

Dominic said that Agbaje was never a party candidate for the election.

According to him, Agbaje was not prepared to win the election.

The party chair was also quick to note that their candidate was imposed on them.

He accused a serving governor from the South-South and a former governor from the South-West of imposing Agbaje on the party. Dominic said Agbaje sidelined the party structure. He said: “During the governorship primary, many of the party leaders didn’t want Jimi Agbaje because he only appeared at the party every four years, but with the interference from outside the state, he eventually emerged as the party candidate.”

“But I can sense it from Agbaje’s attitude before, during and after election that he was not prepared to win and the people of Lagos had deserted him.

“He is an unwillingly candidate, uninterested in winning, he did not carry any leader along and did not campaign, he only held town hall meetings which were not well attended. Even when we drew up campaign programmes, he refused to run with it.”

The party chairman also berated Agbaje’s outburst against George, saying, “I am shocked to read such a statement from Agbaje but not very surprised because we are not expecting much from him.” (Vanguard)

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James Hope College Acquires American International School Lagos Property, Offers Full Scholarship To 40% Of Students

Gbemileke Ajayi

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The James Hope College (JHC) has announced the acquisition of the American International School Lagos (AISL) Lekki Campus facility to establish James Hope College in Lagos. This was disclosed at the signing ceremony held yesterday at the Civic Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos.

The event had the Governor of Lagos State, His Excellency Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the United States Ambassador ably represented by Carol Cox, the Chairman of AISL Board, Ali Safieddine and other prominent persons in attendance.

While giving his speech at the event, the Founder/Chairman of James Hope College, Mr. Jim Ovia stated that the College would continue to offer full scholarship based on merit, to 40% of all the students that would be admitted into the school.

James Hope College, a co-educational initiative of the Jim Ovia Foundation, offers a combination of British and Nigerian curricula. James Hope College is a Cambridge Associate School, a member of the Council of British International Schools (COBIS) and Association of British Schools Overseas (AoBSO). JHC is in partnership with Microsoft Imagine Academy and GL Education. JHC is accredited by Cambridge Assessment International Education (CAIE), Pearson Edexcel Examinations, and British Schools Overseas (BSO).

With the acquisition of this property, James Hope College is set to replicate in Lagos the outstanding academic performance it is known for. More importantly, the offer of full scholarship to 40% of the students on merit ensures that the school’s equal opportunity model of academic excellence is extended to all students regardless of their state of origin.

James Hope College Lagos will open its doors to students in September 2020.

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M.D School Embarks On 2019 Community Project

Peter Okunoren

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M.D Nursery and Primary School has announced the programmes for the 2019 edition of its yearly community project.

This year, the school, located in Agidingbi and New Oko Oba areas of Lagos State, will be providing medical support, legal advice, and other professional support to members of the two communities.

Scheduled for October 19, the theme for this year is: “Home, Emotions, Aspirations and the Child.”

It will hold between 10 am and 2 pm.

The Proprietress of the school, Omolara Adedugbe, described it as M.D Nursery and Primary School’s way of giving back to society.

Adedugbe said: “We won’t stop giving back to society.

“This is just one of the ways in which we show our gratitude to the communities in which we operate.
“We also do yearly visits to public primary schools around us, where we do a project for the benefit of the pupils and also visit the less privileged in homes close to us.”

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STOP PRESS! Before We Crucify VP Osinbajo

Gbemileke Ajayi

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Hysteria is in the DNA of many Nigerians, especially those who are, for parochial or partisan reasons, decidedly and desperately against the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.

Since the president announced the dissolution of the Economic Management Team headed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, and replaced it with an Economic Advisory Council, there has been mass hysteria in the traditional and new media.

This is apparent in the deluge of dilettante opinion articles, editorials, blog posts, blurbs, and tweets all alluding to the fact that the VP has been politically emasculated by a phantom ‘cabal’ in the presidency because of his growing popularity and influence and the need to whittle them down before 2023.

Some even said he has been marked for impeachment on trumped-up charges that could only have been products of a puerile imagination.

What the President simply did was to change the economic direction of his Next Level agenda; not ‘reduce’, as some also implied, the statutory functions of his beloved VP.

As the chairman of the constitutionally created the National Economic Council, the VP will continue to play a pivotal role in all economic matters in singular support and assistance of his Principal, Mr. President.

For emphasis, the NEC meeting, held monthly, deliberates on the coordination of the economic planning efforts and economic programmes of the various levels of government.

The council comprises the 36 state governors, Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Minister of Finance, Secretary to the Government of the Federation and other government officials and agencies whose duties hinge on the economy.

Last Thursday, the VP still chaired the NEC at the Presidential Villa.

Osinbajo told attendees at the NEC meeting that both councils (NEC and EAC) are for the benefit of the president; and, “If NEC wants to be briefed regularly by the Economic Advisory Council, EAC, we will request the president to do that.” So, nothing has changed, except for the new song by dissidents.

What further sent the rumour mill into overdrive was an alleged directive that the Vice-President should, henceforth, seek presidential approvals for agencies under his supervision.

VP Osinbajo is the chairman of the governing boards of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), the National Boundary Commission (NBC) and the Border Communities Development Agency (BCDA).

He is also the chairman of the board of directors of the Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC), a limited liability company owned by the three tiers of government; and the National Economic Council (NEC), a constitutional body made up of state governors and key federal government officials, as well as the National Council on Privatisation (NCP).

Under the laws setting up the agencies, the president is empowered to give final approvals but those who chose to ignore this constitutional provision went to town, gloating and ululating, that the VP has eventually been cut to size.

A careful introspection is critical here. Apart from the fact that he is a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, the Vice President, as the whole world knows, is a Professor of Law. So, if anybody should know what the constitution stipulates as the roles and powers of a VP, it is Osinbajo.

So, why would he want to overreach himself knowing what the constitution states? At what point does doing the right thing require a directive? Some things just don’t add up in the name of playing politics.

Late 2018, the House of Representatives Committee on Emergency and Disaster Preparedness invited the VP to explain his role in the N5.8 billion North East Intervention Fund which the lawmakers said was mismanaged by the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).

The NEMA is one of the agencies under the VP. The committee said the authorisation for the release of the fund for emergency food intervention in the North East contravened Section 80(4) of the 1999 Constitution as amended. And that the funds were credited directly to the individual banks of the companies and NEMA’s bank account, in violation of the approval limit allowed by law.

Nowhere in the report was the VP alleged to have benefitted from the fund. Good enough, the Presidency issued a public statement to say that the money Osinbajo, in his capacity as the Acting President, approved for release in the dire emergency was sourced from the Rice Levy which had already been appropriated in that year’s budget. And that explanation settled the matter.

However, in the desperation of the strident opposition, the allegation, which had since been dispelled by the House Committee, is now being unearthed as if it were new, in a mere political contrivance intended to distract the President Buhari-led administration.

Every discerning mind should be above this outright fake news and sheer inanity. Just as they should about rumours that some unspecified amount of money was found in some private accounts related to the VP’s family or that some Federal Inland Revenue Services, FIRS, funds were traced to his office. The purveyors of this particular rumour even said that the National Leader of the All Progressives’ Congress, APC, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and a former National Chairman of the party, Chief BisiAkande, had been duly informed. Another such report maintained that Asiwaju himself is behind the attempt to smear the VP.

These are mere fabrications intended to drive a wedge between the VP and those he holds in very high esteem. Thankfully, the president and the party leaders are above such frivolous distractions.

Indeed, at no time since Nigeria’s democratic experience began that the President and his VP have enjoyed the kind of cordial relationship and mutual respect that exists between President Buhari and VP Osinbajo.

The president believes so much in the competence, character, and capacity of his VP that he allows him to handle some of the populist programmes of the administration. And, this has not been without politically-motivated hiccups.

The VP is the ‘face’ of TraderMoni, the empowerment scheme of the Federal Government created specifically for petty traders and artisans across Nigeria. The launch of the scheme saw the VP crisscrossing the country, enlightening the people about it and generally pressing the flesh to the delight of Nigerians. Yet, those who do not know the workings of the scheme have gone to town, falsely accusing the VP of mismanaging the Tradermoni Funds.

Instructively, the Bank of Industry is in charge of the Tradermoni; the funds never get into the hands of the VP or his aides; the money is sent to the people via their phones. The VP has just been monitoring to make sure people received what they were promised and the program was working. So any imputation of embezzlement is nothing but a frantic attempt to soil a hard-earned reputation of loyalty, integrity, and capability which the VP has built in the last four years, and which has helped to steady the incumbent administration in no small measure.

Conclusively, the news and noise of a rift or whittling down of the VP’s powers is akin to a storm in a teacup; both the president and the Vice President are still working in tandem to ensure that Nigerians are genuinely taken to the Next Level in their own time.

Abdullai Rimi, is an Abuja-based media practitioner and businessman

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