A former national publicity secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party , Olisa Metuh, was absent from the Federal High Court in Abuja for his trial on money laundering charges involving the N 400 m he allegedly received fraudulently from the Office of the National Security Adviser in 2014.
Meuth ’ s lawyer , Dr Onyechi Ikpeazu ( SAN ) , informed the trial judge, Justice Okon Abang , on Monday that the ex – spokesperson for the PDP was absent from court because he was on an admission at the Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital in Nnewi , Anambra State.
He told the judge that the hospital on behalf of the defendant sent to the court a letter dated January 21 , 2017 stating that it had admitted Metuh since January 20. The defence lawyer sought an adjournment to enable him to report the status of the issues of his client ’s health to the court . But in response , the lawyer prosecuting Metuh and his company, Destra Investments Limited , on behalf of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mr. Sylvanus Tahir , said the development would frustrate further the trial.
He however said he would not oppose the request for adjournment since it was based on health. Tahir expressed regrets that by virtue of the provisions of section 266 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, the matter could not proceed without Metuh being in court .
He also recalled that the Supreme Court had on January 12, 2018, while delivering judgment in an interlocutory appeal filed on behalf of Metuh ’ s firm , ordered the Federal High Court to give the trial an accelerated hearing . But Ikpeazu said Justice Abang had always given the case an accelerated hearing .
He noted that Metuh ’s ill health could not have been orchestrated by the defence to frustrate the trial. Justice Abang said he would adjourn till Tuesday since the prosecution did not oppose the request for adjournment “to enable the court to be briefed ” on Metuh ’ s health status.
Chronicling Tokunbo Wahab’s Home Run In Education By Adeshina Oyetayo
Each person is a thread in the tapestry of creation but some people stand outside of the weave directing the thread and painting the pictures that become reality. Tokunbo Wahab, the immediate past Special Adviser on Education to the Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, is one of the rare latter.
Undoubtedly one of the brightest but self-effacing stars in the first term of Sanwo-Olu’s administration, Wahab covets neither paeans nor rhapsodies for his commanding tour de force in the actualisation of Governor Sanwo-Olu’s vision for the rejuvenation of tertiary education as encapsulated under the ingenious T.H.E.M.E.S Agenda. And he is forever quick to counsel folk about his ordinariness while preventing them from dressing him in what he considers spurious cloaks of a ‘messiah,’ or ‘deity’ or ‘tin god.’
Gangling and genial, generous and god-fearing, everybody seems to love the successful lawyer-turned-public servant for his humility, generosity of spirit, and fierce loyalty to the success of Governor Sanwo-Olu.
Beneficiaries of his exceptional humaneness in private and public offices frequently have wonderful stories to share from their encounters with him. However brief or extended the encounter is, Wahab snatches grief or gloom from acquaintances and replaces it with joy and joie de vivre because he sees a relative in everyone. He believes humanity is one large family divided along race, religion, and other bigoted lines and his response to this defies the depths of human failings and pretensions of altruism.
His first emergence on the political circuit in Lagos State was as a governorship aspirant in 2014 in the All Progressives Congress. He was 42 years old with lush, emergent grey beards that accentuated his smouldering, boyish visage.
Apart from fellow lawyers, social collaborators, and a sprinkling of media people, the Epe-born University of Benin graduate was barely known. Yet, he aspired to govern Lagos State! His mantra was – “Think Lagos for a tomorrow that works.” It was an audacious and astonishing move that generated a lot of discourse in the media space. Wahab did not get the ticket but he had already announced himself to those that matter in the political configuration of the state and the party at large.
Fast forward to 2019; Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu appointed Wahab as his Special Adviser on Education, charging him to steer and supervise his vision for tertiary institutions in Lagos State. Wahab went full gung-ho into the assignment, cutting large swaths through the convolution that is the tertiary education ecosystem while earning his principal accolades from far and near.
Until 2022, Lagos had just one university – the Lagos State University. Yet, statistics from the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board revealed that in 2020, out of 574,782 candidates that applied to sit the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination from the six states in the South-West, Lagos State alone accounted for almost half of the figure at 240,829. LASU couldn’t admit more than 5,000 at a go, yet the applications were very high. It was a ticking time bomb.
Conversely, Wahab said, “Ondo has three (higher institutions) and Ogun has two. Not until recently when Osun and Oyo states went their separate ways on the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomoso, the two also had more than one state-owned university. The implication is that our students from Lagos continue to struggle to gain admission to universities because other states usually introduce classification based on indigeneship.”
With just a tenacity of purpose and a terrier devotion to the belief that Lagos State, with its growing youth population, deserved more than one university, Wahab worked round the clock, consulted extensively, and networked widely to ensure that the state’s bid to get two more universities accredited by the National Universities Commission was achieved.
On February 8, 2022, the NUC, the regulatory body in charge of universities in Nigeria, approved the take-off of the two new specialised universities in Lagos State. While the Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education and the Michael Otedola College of Primary Education morphed into the Lagos State University of Education; the Lagos State Polytechnic was upgraded to the Lagos State University of Science and Technology.
For Wahab, the approval and eventual take-off of the universities remains a veritable home run, the culmination of many years of hard work, and a fulfilment of one of Governor Sanwo-Olu’s cardinal promises to Lagosians to give the youths more access to affordable and qualitative varsity education.
He did not just help to birth new higher institutions, Wahab is also helping products of the state’s tertiary institutions to adequately prepare for the world of work with the Jobs Initiative Lagos which aims to fill the documented gaps in the current curriculum that is essential in the employment market and enhances the employability of graduates in Lagos.
The programme is a spin-off of the Ready-Set-Work initiative, an employability and entrepreneurship program aimed at preparing final-year students for immediate entry into the workforce as employees and employers of labour by equipping them with the knowledge, soft skills, business tools, and a mindset reorientation to the world of work.
It runs alongside the digital skills campaign, ‘Digital Skills Initiative Lagos’, launched in 2020 during the COVID-19 lockdown to empower young people in the state with digital skills that will invariably position Lagos as the Tech Hub of Africa.
Even more symbolic is the turnaround in LASU, which was infamous for its fractious transition of power. This time, a new vice-chancellor, Prof. Ibiyemi Olatunji-Bello, was appointed in a transparent and seamless, and applause-worthy process.
With the strong backing of Governor Sanwo-Olu, LASU did not join the months-long Academic Staff Union of Universities strike.
More than four decades after it was established, LASU is set to become a residential tertiary institution as the state government, under the Public-Private Partnership has signed a Build, Operate and Transfer agreement with six property developers to construct 8,272 units of hostels in the school’s premises.
Not forgetting that Wahab masterminded the collaboration between LASU and Cornell University, New York, for 16 professional certificate programmes to be run by the two institutions.
Wahab said then that the decision to collaborate with Cornell University rated as one of the leading universities globally, was borne out of the desire to keep and sustain LASU’s pedigree and high academic profile as the second-best university in Nigeria and one of the best 600 in the world.
He added that the establishment of LASU/Cornell University Postgraduate Professional Certificate Programmes was aimed at giving prospective students across the country an opportunity to gain global skills and professional expertise that will not only make them relevant and employable but globally competitive in the 21st Century digital economy.
At the risk of sounding clichéd, Wahab has redefined the tertiary education landscape of Lagos State and inadvertently written his name in gold with his robust catalogue of achievements in the all–important sector.
For Wahab, the dissolution of the Sanwo-Olu administration last Wednesday, May 24, was the end of an impactful era, but for a man who sees the hydraulic lifts on which his public career is being hoisted and the machinery that is steadily and surefootedly wheeling him to the centre stage, May 29, 2023, or the days after, will signal, ceteris paribus, the beginning of an even more impactful era. Take a bow, Toks!
Oyetayo, a Lagos-based media executive, can be reached on social media via @shynewriter
Remi Tinubu, Awele Elumelu, Ayanoku, 336 Others Bag National Honour [SEE FULL LIST]
The federal government has nominated a total of 339 individuals to be awarded national honors. The recipients of the 2023 national awards were announced by the government on Sunday.
Emeka Anyaoku, former secretary-general of the Commonwealth, has been nominated as the only candidate for the Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger (GCON) award.
The nominees for the Commander of the Order of the Federal Republic (CFR) award include Godwin Emefiele, the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN); Hadi Sirika, the minister of aviation; and Bisi Akande, a former governor of Osun state.
Several notable women have also been nominated for national honors, including Oluremi Tinubu, the wife of President-elect Bola Tinubu; Owen Omogiafo, the president of Transcorp Group; Sharon Ikeazor, the minister of state for Niger Delta Affairs; and Dr. Awele Elumelu, co-founder of the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) and Chairperson of Avon Medical Practice Limited.
See the full list below…
I Grieve For Our Children Still In Captivity, Mourn With Relatives Of Victims Of Senseless Terrorists Attacks, Says Buhari In Farewell Speech [SEE FULL TEXT]
President Muhammadu Buhari touched on a variety of issues, from insecurity to electoral reforms and the anti-corruption war, in his farewell address to Nigerians on Sunday.
Here is the full speech.
FAREWELL SPEECH BY HIS EXCELLENCY, MUHAMMADU BUHARI, PRESIDENT AND COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF, FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA
1. My fellow Nigerian brothers, sisters, and friends of Nigeria.
2. I address you today, in my last assignment as a democratically elected President of our great and well-endowed nation, with a deep sense of gratitude to God, a great deal of appreciation to the Nigerian people, and a modest sense of fulfillment.
3. Today we mark and celebrate another peaceful transition of power from one elected government to another in our steady march to improve and sustain Nigeria’s democracy.
4. This year we witnessed the most keenly contested Presidential Elections since the first Republic and this demonstrates that our democracy is getting better and more entrenched with each election.
5. We must as a nation improve and sustain gains we make in the electoral process, on an incremental basis for Nigeria to take its rightful place among Nations.
6. Our democracy provides for, allows, and encourages seeking redress for perceived injustices, enabling some candidates and political parties that did not agree with the results to go to court.
7. Irrespective of the outcome of the various cases, I urge all parties involved to accept the decision of our courts and join hands to build a better Nigeria.
8. I salute the doggedness and resilience of all the Presidential Candidates and their political parties for believing in our judicial system by taking their grievances with the election results to court.
9. In the course of the campaigns, we had argued and disagreed on how to make Nigeria better but we never disagreed or had any doubts that Nigeria has to be better.
10. As your President, I call on all of us to bring to bear the strength of our individualism, the power of our unity, the convictions of our beliefs to make Nigeria work better and together with one spirit and one purpose.
11. To my brother, friend, and fellow worker in the political terrain for the past ten years – Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu -, I congratulate you on the realization of your dream, which was propelled by a burning passion to put Nigeria amongst the leading nations of the world.
12. You have indeed worked for this day and God has crowned your efforts. I have no doubt that your passion for excellence, reliance on competence, fairness in relationships, commitment to equity, loyalty to the country and desire for Nigeria to be globally relevant would come through for you, under God’s guidance, as you lead our country to levels higher that I am leaving.
13. You are the best candidate among all the contestants and Nigerians have chosen well.
14. The last eight years have been an exciting experience in my desire and commitment to see a Nigeria in which public goods and services are available and accessible within a united, peaceful, and secure nation.
15. Fellow Nigerians, on the strength of your overwhelming support for me and my political party, I started this journey with a great deal of promise and expectation from you. I never intended to be just politically correct but to do the correct things that will make meaningful impact on the lives of the common Nigerian.
16. This high expectation was not misplaced because, like the ordinary Nigerian, I had grown tired of watching the country progressively moving away from the path of correctness.
17. To ensure that our democracy remains resilient and our elected representatives remain accountable to the people, I am leaving behind an electoral process which guarantees that votes count, results are credible, elections are fair and transparent and the influence of money in politics reduced to the barest minimum. And Nigerians can elect leaders of their choice.
18. We are already seeing the outcome of this process as it provided an even playing field where persons without any political God-Father or access to money defeated other well-resourced candidates.
19. The Nigerian economy has become more resilient due to the various strategies put in place to ensure that our economy remained afloat during cases of global economic downturns.
20. You would all recall the supply chain disruptions and economic downturn that the world witnessed between 2020 and 2022 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The deftness of our response to the pandemic still remains a global best practice.
21. Furthermore, we increased the ability of the poor and rural Nigerians to earn a living, provided more food for millions in our villages and gave our women opportunities to earn a living.
22. Young men and women in urban centres were also supported to put their skills into productive use. Our administration also provided an enabling environment for the private sector to engage in businesses for which their return on investments is guaranteed.
23. The private sector proved a strong partner in our drive to build a resilient and sustainable economy as evidenced by the growing number of turn-key projects in various sectors of the economy.
24. In the course of revamping the economy, we made some difficult choices, most of which yielded the desired results. Some of the measures led to temporary pain and suffering for which I sincerely apologised to my fellow countrymen, but the measures were taken for the over-all good of the country.
25. Mindful of the need to ensure adequate infrastructure to drive economic growth, we completed age-long projects and processes notably amongst which are the Petroleum Industry Act, completion of some power projects, completion of the second Niger bridge and various important roads linking cities and states.
26. Our battle to ensure that all Nigerians live in a safe and secure environment has achieved considerable results. As I complete my term in office, we have been able to reduce the incidences of banditry, terrorism, armed robbery and other criminal activities considerably.
27. To sustain the gains made so far, I call on all Nigerians to be more vigilant and support the security agencies by ensuring that our values defined by being your brothers’ keeper govern our actions.
28. Up-till now, I still grieve for our children still in captivity, mourn with parents, friends and relatives of all those that lost loved ones in the days of the senseless brigandage and carnage. For all those under unlawful captivity our Security Agencies are working round the clock to secure their release unharmed.
29. Fellow Nigerians, you know how dear the desire in my heart is, to rid the country of corrupt practices that had consistently diminished our efforts to be a great country.
30. I did pursue this commitment relentlessly, in spite of the expected push back. I am happy that considerable progress had been made in repatriating huge sums of money back to the country and also taken over properties illegally acquired from our commonwealth.
31. To improve service delivery, we began the implementation of a number of reforms aimed at producing an Efficient, Productive, Incorruptible and Citizen-oriented (EPIC) Federal Civil Service and the results are beginning to show.
32. On the international scene, Nigeria’s influence continues to grow as exemplified by notable Nigerians occupying headship and leadership positions in renowned global bodies.
33. Our democracy is built on and continues to thrive on the principles of separation of powers. The leadership and members of the National Assembly deserve my appreciation for their patriotism which did not detract from their roles as a check to the executive arm.
34. I also want to use this opportunity to express my appreciation to a good number of Nigerians who provided their support and encouragement to help me navigate the exciting journey in moving Nigeria forward.
35. I cannot and will not forget the millions who prayed for me during my illness in my first term of office. I am constantly praying for you and for Nigeria to thrive in peace.
36. As I retire home to Daura, Katsina State, I feel fulfilled that we have started the Nigeria Re-Birth by taking the initial critical steps and I am convinced the in-coming administration will quicken the pace of this walk to see a Nigeria that fulfils its destiny to be a great nation.
37. I am confident that I am leaving office with Nigeria better in 2023 than in 2015.
38. I thank you all. And may God Bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
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