Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, pioneer chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission scored a major political goal on Saturday when he brought Nigeria’s political and business elites together at the Al-Nur Mosque in Abuja.
They came to attend the wedding of Nuhu’s two sons, Mahmud and Abubakar Sadiq, to their beloved partners, Aminatu Ismaila and Fatima Jijiwa. President Buhari was the only major political actor that was absent, but he was ably represented by a delegation led by Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari.
Luckily, the wedding was held without incident.
Tinubu and Atiku discuss at the wedding. Months ago, Tinubu’s party and Atiku’s were fighting over Aso Rock
Buhari’s digital economy minister Isa Pantami and Atiku
However, images out of the occasion offered some sobering lessons to Nigeria’s political followers, who break bottles and kill themselves, all in the name of politics. At the top, the elite ‘Dey Kampe’, to use a pidgin phrase made popular by former president Olusegun Obasanjo. The political elite surely know how to sort themselves out despite superficial differences and acrimony on the political turf.
VP Osinbajo and ex-VP Atiku Abubakar
APC, PDP dignitaries at the wedding fatiha of Nuhu Ribadu’s sons in Abuja
Femi Otedola, Aliko Dangote and Isa Pantami at the wedding
Just watch Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar sharing one big mirthful laughter. Watch Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and Atiku Abubakar discuss as old friends or Digital Economy Minister, Isa Pantami sit calmly beside Abubakar Atiku.
The truth is ‘there is no fight upstairs’. It’s political ‘make believe’. We cannot but agree with the comment of Oluwaseyi Adeniyi, who posted photos of the wedding showing the dignitaries exchanging camaraderie: Today at the Wedding Fatiha of Mahmud Nuhu Ribadu & Amina Aliyu Ismaila, Son of Mallam @NuhuRibadu at The Al-Nur Mosque Abuja. And you think our political elites are fighting? If you allow yourself to be killed all in the name of defending them. You die for nothing”.
This is the takeaway lesson from Al Nur Mosque in Abuja.
It has been a long time coming, it has even been alluded to in some Sci-Fi series such as Incorporated, where in the near future a corporation runs a country and is also a state in its own right. With Facebook earlier in 2019 officially unveiling plans to launch Libra, its own (along with other corporate partners) digital currency, in 2020, it is almost safe to say that Mark Zuckerberg’s (despite being a public company, Facebook’s share structure and voting rights afford Zuckerberg a lot of control and power) social network is almost a country in its own right.
With approximately 2 billion monthly active users as reported at the end of 2018, even if you had to account for duplicate and fake accounts, it would still measure up as one of the largest populations any country has on the planet.
If you add WhatsApp, considering that the messaging app’s users will also be able to transact using Libra (once, or rather if, it eventually launches), with its reported 1,5 billion active users (although some are already Facebook users), you are looking at a size of a country like one we have never witnessed before.
Welcome to the .
Strong political opposition
It didn’t take long after the official announcement of Libra earlier in the year that three countries, France, England, and Germany, started displaying signs that they were feeling threatened by Facebook & Co.’s newly proposed digital currency. Specifically, France’s Finance Minister stated unequivocally that Libra cannot be a replacement for sovereign currencies.
So far, it has not been an easy ride for Libra since that official announcement earlier in 2019. What looked like a good list of partners has been reduced with several of its (Libra Association) member companies deciding to pull their membership and support for Facebook’s proposed digital currency. It all started with PayPal withdrawing from the Libra Association, this was then followed by Visa, Mastercard, eBay, Stripe and Mercado Pago who all announced that they will no longer be participating nor supporting Libra.
The withdrawals, which ended up leaving Libra without any major global payments companies as members, were politically motivated as the United States Senate sent a letter to the various Libra Association member organizations CEOs urging them “to proceed with caution until Facebook is able to provide real answers to you.”
Despite this strong political opposition to Libra by various countries and regulators, which has also seen Facebook being hauled before the USA’s policy makers to answer questions about the planned digital currency, I still think there is a high probability that not only will Libra launch in 2020, but it has better than average chances of gaining traction.
This is despite those involved in the Libra project at Facebook stating that there is no clear product roadmap nor a s et launch date.
However, important to note that Patrick Ellis, one of the board members of the Libra Association, confirmed to Reuters that Libra would launch during 2020, but couldn’t provide any indication of when or even the initial markets it would be launched in.
Before I elaborate on why I think it will succeed, what will it mean for your money to be controlled and managed by Facebook?
Your money in Facebook’s control
To further understand why some countries, including the USA, have been vocally opposing Libra in public, the letter that The United States House of Representatives Committee on Financial Services wrote to Mark Zuckerberg, Sheryl Sandberg (COO at Facebook), and David Marcus (CEO of Facebook subsidiary, Calibra), gives us a few hints in my opinion.
Firstly, as compared to say, Bitcoin, it is easier and possible to write to Facebook’s Zuckerberg and Sandberg regarding Libra compared to trying to write to Satoshi Nakamoto. In this case, there are real people and organizations that can be held accountable. Secondly, and as they allude to in the letter, the policy makers feel that Libra is a threat to the US Dollar and the country’s monetary policy, despite it being merely a stablecoin and not a cryptocurrency in the strictest of terms.
There’s also the matter that should Libra ever get into trouble (eg. not be able to guarantee customers withdrawals etc.), the US government in one way or another would need to step in to protect Americans as we’ve seen it do before with some of the country’s large banks (side note: this is exactly what Bitcoin avoids, but alas. A discussion for another day).
However, more importantly for us in Africa is, does Libra offer any of us any value?
Does it help us with anything we are struggling with currently?
Does it make life easier?
To use and transact in Libra, users will have to download and run the official wallet, Calibra (a subsidiary company of Facebook). From what I’ve seen and what has so far led me to say in its current form Libra will struggle to gain traction (unless they address the following two issues) is that to use Calibra one will require a bank account and a government issued ID.
It’s no secret that Africa has a high number of unbanked people mainly as a result of low income and unemployment. As such, it is mind boggling that a product punting financial inclusion would require users to first have a bank account before using it. However, it’s possible that this will change by the time Facebook launches the digital currency and wallet in 2020. If it doesn’t, it could prove to be a stumbling block for gaining traction especially across Africa.
The second issue, which also leads me to explaining why I think Libra will succeed, is around the requirement of government issued ID.
On the surface, in most countries in Africa at least, the requirement for a government issued ID could prove a real stumbling block to adoption. In many African countries, eg. Nigeria, there is no real organized government ID system. Immediately this makes it rather interesting how Facebook is going to verify identity in such cases.
However, Facebook and its Libra partners seem to already have thought of this and have a possible solution in mind. A solution which, once it can be implemented, will make a strong argument that Facebook is now essentially a country.
Facebook’s possible Trojan Horse
Earlier in 2019 when the noise around Libra was at its peak and being frustrated that no African policymakers we commenting on it or providing any clarification on how they view Facebook’s proposed digital currency that is mainly targeted a developing countries, I set out to read the Libra white paper for the third time. Somehow, I found something in the Libra white paper I had missed or wasn’t paying enough attention to previously.
Hidden (in plain sight) deep in the guts of a white paper light on details and heavy on marketing talk about financial inclusion and the world’s 2 billion without adequate financial services are two sentences that seem to be placed nonchalantly atop page 9 of the Libra white paper, yet they could have far reaching impact.
“An additional goal of the [Libra] association is to develop and promote an open identity standard. We believe that decentralized and portable digital identity is a prerequisite to financial inclusion and competition.”
This, the development of an open standard for digital IDs, as mentioned, could mean that Facebook already has a solution for part of this problem. The other part of this solution is that Facebook previously acquired a company that verifies government issued IDs in 2018. These two solutions combined could help onboard and verify people onto Libra and from there start issuing them with verified Facebook IDs.
Considering that Facebook, along with its subsidiary platforms like WhatsApp, Instagram, and Messenger, is home to over 2 billion people, could this be the new global ID standard that will surpass and be more trusted than government issued IDs?
Although I could not find any further details on the proposed Libra digital ID and Facebook have also refused to comment when I asked, in my opinion it has a far bigger impact than the proposed currency as, if adopted and rolled out successfully it solves one of the web’s biggest issues, trust. I can already envision how it fits in with some of its other acquisitions, for example, Facebook acquired a face recognition tool that it incorporated into its main Facebook platform that would identify faces in the photos you post automatically and suggest you tag them. This, could possibly be used outside of government issued IDs given the trove of (tagged) photos Facebook already has of billions of people around the world, to verify identity.
This to me is Facebook’s Trojan Horse with Libra a necessary part but of lesser significance than the ability for Facebook to be able to run a platform that can verify and vouch for the identity of billions of people independent from any government.
Managing the flow of money gives you some power. Handling trust and identities gives you control, and essentially, makes you a nation state.
A virtual nation state
As far as why I now think this completes the idea of Facebook becoming a country, it’s simply because of the leverage it will hold over some countries especially across the continent who not only do not have near as accurate data about their citizens like Facebook has, but are struggling to maintain the value and usefulness of their own sovereign currencies (e.g. Zimbabwe).
At the heart of it (Libra) people just want a quicker and cheaper way to transact and send money, and already in Africa, many are used to using mobile money for their daily living.
Apart from having such a huge virtual population, a currency, and possibly its own verifiable IDs for its citizens, Facebook also does not fall under any single country’s jurisdiction. For example, its US-based users are governed by a corporation registered in the USA, its users in the rest of the world are governed by a corporation registered in Ireland, while in China it works under different laws. This not only applies to laws but where it pays taxes too. So, as such, you cannot exactly call it a US company as it is not bound any single country’s laws and to make matters worse (or good if you’re Facebook) it is a virtual entity.
It really, in my view, has officially become the People’s Republic of Facebook (and like its namesake, it’s not a democracy 😊)
It’s been such a busy week with so many stories. It’s possible that you may have missed some of our most interesting stories from this week.
The 2020 Budget, Trump’s impeachment, Orji Kalu’s dilemma, Uwajumogu’s death, Adoke’s arrest and others topped this week news trend.
To make sure you’re up-to-date, The Nation brings you a brief round-up of the major stories this week in case you missed the mark. ALAO ABIODUN reports.
Here is a roundup of the major political news stories this week below –
Donald Trump impeached by U.S House of Reps
The U.S. President, Donald Trump, has been impeached by the country’s House of Representatives.
The house voted late Wednesday to impeach the president on his 1,062nd day in office for alleged obstruction of Congress and abuse of power related to his dealings with Ukraine.
A trial will now be set up in the Senate to decide whether he remains in office.
Mr Trump is only the third U.S. President to face such trial and if the odds go against him, he will become the first to be removed from office via the impeachment process.
After several hours of heated dispute on the House floor between two leading parties in the U.S – Democrats and Republicans – the lawmakers voted largely along party lines.
The proceedings on Wednesday began with members of Mr Trump’s Republican Party calling for votes on procedural issues in an effort to frustrate the process.
Democrats control the House 233 to 197 seats over Republicans, with one independent and four vacancies.
According to the Washington post, the Democratic-controlled House passed two articles of impeachment against Trump — abuse of power and obstruction of Congress — related to the president’s attempts to withhold military aid to Ukraine and pressure its government to investigate former vice president Joe Biden.
Mr Biden is a potential presidential candidate of the Democratic Party and could be Mr Trump’s major challenger in the upcoming 2020 U.S general elections.
The House voted 230 to 197 to approve the article accusing the president of abuse of power. On the obstruction of Congress vote, which followed soon after, the tally was 229 to 198.
Trump’s Republican Party members in the house all voted against both articles, but it was not enough to stop the process.
The Senate trial on whether to remove the president is expected to begin in early January.
Should Trump eventually be removed, Vice President Mike Spence will step in.
Senate confirms new chairpersons for FIRS, AMCON
The Senate has confirmed the appointment of Muhammad Nami as the Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service.
Also confirmed are members and representatives of geopolitical zones for FIRS.
Those confirmed are James Yakwen Ayuba – Member (North Central); Ado Danjuma – Member (North West) and Adam Baba Mohammad – Member (North East)
Others are A. Ikeme Osakwe – Member (South East); Adewale Ogunyomade – Member (South West) and Ehile Adetola Aigbangbee – Member (South South).
Representatives of MDAs confirmed are Ladidi Mohammad – Member Attorney-General of the Federation; Godwin Emefiele – Member Central Bank of Nigeria; Fatima Hayatu Member – Ministry of Finance and Maagbe Adaa – Member Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission
Others are Umar Ajiya – Member Nigerian National Petroleum Commission; T. M. lsah – Member Nigerian Customs Service and Registrar General – Member Corporate Affairs Commission.
The confirmation comes about a week after President Muhammadu Buhari wrote to the Senate seeking their confirmation.
It was sequel to a presentation of the report of the Senate committee on finance.
The chairman of the committee, Solomon Olamilekan, who made the presentation, recommended that the Senate confirm the appointment of the nominees.
The Senate also confirmed the appointment of Edward Adamu as the chairman of the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) – following the presentation of the Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and Other Financial Institutions.
Alleged Fraud: Maina to remain in jail till 2020
The former chairman, Pension Reform Task Team (PRTT), Abdulrasheed Maina, who is facing trial for alleged money laundering will remain in the Correctional Centre in Kuje, till January 2020.
Mr Maina’s son, Faisal, is also being prosecuted for money laundering by the anti-graft agency, EFCC.
At the last adjourned date, the court had granted Faisal’s plea to be transferred to Kuje Correctional Centre from Police Tactical Squad, Asokoro.
Mr Maina is being prosecuted by the EFCC on a 12-count charge bordering on money laundering, operating fictitious accounts and other fraudulent activities.
The former PRTT chairman, who was in hiding for almost two years, was arrested by the State Security Service (SSS).
The SSS then handed over Mr Maina to the EFCC, which had declared him wanted for over a year.
Mr Faisal was arrested alongside his father in September. The father is accused of diverting N100 billion of pension funds.
His son is accused of operating an account he used to divert various sums of money, including N58 million.
The two men were arraigned by the EFCC on October 25 on separate charges. They pleaded not guilty.
At the resumed hearing of the matter on Wednesday, the presiding judge, Okon Abang, adjourned Mr Maina’s trial to January 13 to hear his application for bail variation and that of Faisal to January 20, for the continuation of his trial.
Meanwhile, Justice Abang had said that though it would not be convenient for the court to take trial, but the arguments for Mr Maian’s application for bail variation would be taken.
However, the EFCC’s lawyer, Mohammed Abubakar, said he was ready for the continuation of the trial and that the prosecution’s next witness was in court.
Buhari signs 2020 budget
President Muhammadu Buhari has signed the 2020 appropriation bill into law.
He signed the bill at about 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday.
The National Assembly had on December 5, 2019, passed the budget estimates presented by Mr Buhari on October 8, 2019.
The National Assembly increased the budget estimates from N10.33 trillion to N10.50 trillion.
The passage was a sequel to the presentation of a report by the chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriation, Barau Jibrin.
The signing was witnessed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, President of the Senate, Ahmed Lawan and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila.
Others are the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Boss Mustapha, Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, Minister in charge of Budget and Planning, Clement Agba and the Director-General of the Budget Office, Ben Akabueze.
A breakdown of the budget showed that N560,470,827,235 was budgeted for Statutory transfer; N2,725,498,930,000 for debt servicing; N4,842,974,600,640 for recurrent expenditure; N2,465,418,006,955 for capital expenditure; and N2.28 trillion for fiscal deficit.
When the National Assembly passed the bill last Thursday, new projects inserted into the budget moved it up to ₦10.594 trillion.
A breakdown of the inserted projects obtained by PREMIUM TIMES showed that the country may end up spending more on what anti-corruption agents and activists have identified as “vague, frivolous, self-enrichment projects smuggled into the budget by federal lawmakers.”
The new projects are expected to cost Nigeria about ₦264 billion.
Mr Buhari signed the budget document into law on the occasion of his 77th birthday on Tuesday, and commended the National Assembly for speedy passage of the bill.
“It is my pleasant duty, today, on my 77th birthday, to sign the 2020 Appropriation Bill into law,” a message posted on Mr Buhari’s twitter page said.
“I’m pleased that the National Assembly has expeditiously passed this Bill. Our Federal Budget is now restored to a January-December implementation cycle.”
FG declares Dec. 25, 26, Jan.1, 2020 public holidays
The Federal Government has declared Dec. 25 and Dec. 26 as well as Jan. 1, 2020 as public holidays for Christmas, Boxing Day and New Year celebrations.
The Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, announced this on Thursday in Abuja through a statement issued by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Interior, Mrs Georgina Ehuriah.
Aregbesola felicitated with Christians and all Nigerians both at home and abroad on the 2019 Christmas and New Year celebrations.
He enjoined all Christians to live by the virtues and teachings of Jesus Christ.
According to him, those virtues hinge on compassion, patience, peace, humility, righteousness and love for one another.
The minister said that living by them would guarantee an atmosphere of peace and security in the country.
Aregbesola said that the determination of government toward peace and security would engender inflow of foreign direct investment, thereby revitalising the nation’s economy.
He said it would also improve employment opportunities for the teeming youths in the country.
The minister expressed confidence that 2020 would be a breakthrough year for all Nigerians.
Lawan, APC, senators, others mourn as Imo Senator Uwajumogu dies
Chairman of the Senate Committee on Labour and Employment Senator Benjamin Uwajumogu has died.
Uwajumogu (Imo North) attended plenary on Tuesday. Less than 24 hours after, he was gone.
The cause and circumstances of the death of the 51-year-old could not be confirmed last night but sources said he slumped suddenly yesterday morning in his house while having his bath. He was confirmed dead at an Apo hospital.
Senate President Ahmad Lawan expressed shock, especially when Uwajumogu “was full of life” at the chamber on Tuesday.”
Lawan, in a statement by his Media Adviser, Ola Awoniyi, commiserated with the deceased’s family, Imo State and friends over the loss.
He added: “But God gives and takes in line with his supreme sovereignty, so we cannot question His will.
“Senator Uwajumogu’s sudden death is shocking and a painful loss to the ninth National Assembly where he always made robust contributions to debates and other activities of the upper legislative chamber.
“He will be greatly missed by all of us and staff of the Senate.”
The Senate President prayed that God will comfort his loved ones and grant them the fortitude to bear the loss.
Senate Minority Leader, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, described Uwajumogu’s death as a huge loss to Nigeria, his constituents and Imo State.
Supreme Court affirms elections of eight governors
There was jubilation on Wednesday as the Supreme Court affirmed the election victories of governors in eight states.
They are: Babajide Sanwo-Olu (Lagos), Dapo Abiodun (Ogun), Seyi Makinde (Oyo), Abdullahi Sule (Nasarawa), Nasir El-Rufai (Kaduna), Aminu Masari (Katsina) Dave Umahi (Ebonyi) and Udom Emmanuel (Akwa Ibom).
The Supreme Court held that the appellants against the eight governors failed to prove their cases and dismissed their appeals.
No less than ten people have been arrested by the Ondo State Police Command on Thursday for looting the property of the Sotitobire Praising Chapel, in Akure.
The Ondo State police command stated that the people that were arrested was because they stole from the church during the violence which took place on Wednesday.
Recall that some aggrieved youths in the state capital stormed the church over the disappearance of a one-year-old boy, Gold Kolawole, from the church during a Sunday service last month.
The youth set the church on fire over reports that the dead body of the missing child was exhumed from the church’s altar.
The incident saw two people lose their lives, including a policeman, whose identity has yet to be revealed. The spokesperson of the Ondo State police command, Femi Joseph, revealed that ten people have been arrested in connection with the incident.
He said, “We have arrested 10 persons. While the violent crisis was going on, they were busy looting the property of the church. We even recovered some of the church’s property from them.”
“Some of them were using vehicles to take the items away when we caught them. We will arrest more of those looters.”
However, the founder of the Sotitobire Praising Chapel, Akure, Alfa Babatunde, has filed a suit against the Department of State Services before the Federal High Court sitting in Akure over his arrest and detention by the security agency.
The cleric in a suit filed by his counsel, Yemi Omoware, sought the order of the court to effect his release from the detention of DSS.
The applicant said his arrest and detention by the DSS were an abuse of the legal process and violation of his fundamental right to freedom of movement.
The respondents in the suit are the DSS, the Director-General of the DSS in Ondo State, Mr. Emmanuel Anaobi, Mr. Isaac Babalola, and Mr. Remi Oluwalogbon.
Babatunde’s lawyer is seeking an order “directing/compelling the release of the applicant unconditionally from the custody of the respondents.”
The suit is also seeking an order “enforcing the fundamental rights of the applicant to liberty and dignity of the human person, which rights were violated by the respondents.”
The applicant also sought an order restraining the respondents, their agents, servants, subordinates and or any person(s) taking instructions from them whatsoever/whosoever from engaging in any further acts of arrest, detention, and violation of his right to liberty and or dignity of the human person.
The pastor filed a #100m aggravated damages against DSS over the violation of his fundamental human rights.
Adekola has acted, scripted, produced and directed several Yoruba films over the years which include Omo Colonel, Aroba, Oro, Sunday Dagboru, Monday omo adugbo, Taxi Driver: Oko Ashewo, Eku Meji, Kurukuru, Sunday gboku gboku, Adura, etc.
In December 2015, he marked his entrance into the Nigerian music industry.
Adekola in the cause of his acting career, won several awards in Nigeria, which include Best Actor in Yoruba at the Africa Movie Academy Awards in April 2014, Best Actor of the Year at the City People Entertainment Awards in 2009.
In 2011, he won the Best Actor of the Year at the City People Entertainment Awards and in 2014, he won the Best Actor (Yoruba) at the City People Entertainment Awards.
In 2015, he won the Best Actor in a Leading Role at the City People Entertainment Awards and Best Actor of the Year at the African Magic Viewers Choice Awards.
Odunlade Adekola is currently one of the most talented actors, who is married to Ruth Abosede Adekola and the marriage is blessed with beautiful children.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has observed that true leaders play down religion to cater for the issues that concern the welfare of all citizens.
He said such was the attitude of first republic leaders who he observed touched the lives of everyone regardless of religious or ethnic background.
Osinbajo was speaking at the opening session of the General Assembly of the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs in Abuja on Friday.
Osinbajo said “Decades ago in this same country, it would not have been a major topic. Leaders in the first republic did not consider religious intolerance as a major national issue, they were more concerned about the issues that touched everyone regardless of religion or ethnicity; they were concerned about providing food, shelter, education and decent livelihoods. But today, no true leader can ignore the threat that religious bigotry and intolerance poses for the development of our nation. That is just the way it is.
“But it is my respectful view that the burden of ensuring that faith promotes national development as opposed to impeding it is on leaders. This is the challenge I pose to you today.”
Drawing on the Biblical teachings of love and compassion by Jesus Christ, the Vice President challenged all leaders in the country to learn from the Good Samaritan who showed compassion to a stranger where even religious people failed. and Imam Abubakar who saved Christians from being slaughtered in Plateau State.
Osinbajo said: “All leaders and this is my challenge to you today, need to learn from the simple, but deeply profound actions of the Good Samaritan and Chief Imam Abubakar. Both of them showed great love and compassion. They were not concerned about the race or religion of those whose lives they saved or whose properties were destroyed. All that mattered was that they were flesh and blood like themselves. They were simply ready to make any sacrifice for another human being.
“We are at a historic juncture in the existence of our nation. Here and there are religious and tribal tensions. Many are beating the drums of ethnic and religious superiority. Some even seek to divide the nation into ethnic zones. “Yet our constitution speaks in the clearest and highest terms of our national commitment to the equality of all Nigerians regardless of ethnicity, religion or status. It speaks of the imperative of all individuals and governments to respect the rights and dignity of every Nigerian. “Our constitution speaks of freedom of worship, the liberty to belong to the faith of one’s choice and even change that faith without consequence.
“But constitutional declarations mean nothing unless there are men and women ready to make the personal sacrifices to bridge the gap between rhetoric and constitutional ideals. Such men and women are not usually very many. But they do not have to be many to make a difference.”
Osinbajo regretted that whereas a particular Muslim state governor was rebuilding churches burnt during the crisis in his states, some declined to approved certificates of occupancy in theirs.
“Yet there are States where Governors refuse to grant certificates of occupancy for the building of churches or places of religious gathering in outright violation of the constitution they swore to uphold,” he said.
He noted how tolerant President Muhammadu Buhari has been citing an example of the worship in Aso Rock villa.
According to Osinbajo, “Every Sunday, my family and over 100 Christians attend service in the Chapel at the Villa. The Chapel is located in the premises of the President and his family. It is located a few seconds away from the First Lady’s kitchen. Sometimes when I see the President on a Sunday morning, he asks me whether the service is over already or I am escaping from the service! That is the sort of tolerance that we need in a multi-ethnic, multi-religious society and it is the duty of leaders to show that sort of example.
“It is the courage of leaders to live up to the ideals of their faith and their sworn commitments that invariably build nations. Leaders must live up to the commitments to which they swear, especially political leaders.
“Nations are built by the sacrifices, the hard work of leaders who do not care even if they are condemned by persons of their own religion or ethnicity, so long as they are confident that they act in obedience to the oaths they swore and to the Almighty God. Such men and women are few, but the profundity of their actions invariably transform communities and nations as they bend the arc of history in the direction of unity, peace and progress.”
Osinbajo remarked that the challenge of nation-building was not the noise of the religious bigots and nihilists, but “it is the silence and inaction of leaders of different faiths who know better, those who say and do nothing, and to whom we appeal today. Your words and actions may make the difference between peace and tragedy.”
Special Adviser to Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, on Media and Publicity, Laolu Akande has denied claims made by a newspaper columnist, Festus Adebayo, that Osinbajo recently visited a branch of the Redeemed Christian Church of God and led members of the church in prayers for the death of President Buhari.
Adedayo, in a piece published in the Tribune which was titled ”The Trial of Brother Osinbajo”, alleged that he received information that Osinbajo, who is a Senior Pastor with the RCCG, had, in a gathering with members of the church, prayed for the death of the President when he was away on medical leave. Adebayo alleged that a confidante of Buhari, who was at the gathering, informed the President of Osinbajo’s prayers rendered against him and this has led to the breakdown in the relationship between Buhari and Osinbajo.
When Buhari went on his earlier UK search for health remedy to an undisclosed ailment, it was a top gossip in the seat of power that Osinbajo, engrossed in a prayer session with his Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) accomplices in his home state of Ogun, and frantically being prayed for, for God to make him president by one of the pastors who starred at the prayer session, didn’t know that a strong ally of Buhari – unbeknown to the ally that such “prayer coup” was ongoing – had entered their midst, innocently there to pay obeyance to the VP.
Still with their eyes closed, the prayer warriors nearly prayed that the ground should swallow them when, upon opening their eyes, they saw the president’s ally with them. If you were praying the VP into the office of the president, with the VP shouting thunderous “Amen” to your prayer, weren’t you praying for the boss’ death? That was the first infraction against the laws of power the VP was said to have committed. And one of the reasons Osinbajo hounded and still harangues the ally till today.
The second foot Osinbajo reportedly hit against the stone was said to be his role during Buhari’s AWOL shuttle to his infirmary. That Walter Onnoghen, allegedly primed to package Buhari inside a judicial casket during the 2019 elections, emerged acting Chief Justice of the Federation through his acting pen angered Villa power apparatchik, so much that they imputed a political Judas into Osinbajo’s act. The removal of Lawal Daura, erstwhile Director-General of the Department of State Services on August 7, 2018 also rankled these owls. If Osinbajo stepped on their mamba’s tail by this act, he fiddled with their lion’s tail subsequently when, at a conference of Online Publishers Association of Nigeria (OPAN), he unabashedly said that, before Saturday, January 12, Buhari was not aware of Onogohen’s trial.
What this did was to populate and give official imprimatur to the belief that Buhari was just a mere scarecrow decorating the patio of Aso Rock. He wore Omoyele Sowore’s activists’ bandana. More stinging to this set of people known as the cabal, was the fact that Osinbajo sidelined all of them in his decision-taking during the period, was already strutting hither thither like an accursed turtle-dove which, to them, added to the coup-prayer session, was an apparent indication that he was sure Buhari wouldn’t come back and the clock was ticking for the cabals at the Villa” he said
Reacting to Adebayo’s claim, Laolu in a statement released today, denied Adebayo’s allegation and asked the journalist to present evidence to back up all his claims.
Mr. Festus Adedayo’s article above is a sad descent into the gutter by this gentleman. When a professional columnist of Adedayo’s age and experience puts his reputation behind outright fiction and absolute mischief, usually it is a sign that the poor fellow is compromised. This is the sad reality we face today and it is truly troubling.
But let us give Mr. Adedayo the benefit of the doubt. Let us assume that he has some facts to support the reckless insinuations and innuendoes in his article.
He should then be able to answer the following questions.
He claimed that the Vice President, together with some Redeemed Church ‘accomplices’, gathered to pray at some place unstated in his home State of Ogun, at a date that was not indicated, for the purpose of interceding for the VP to become President, and by extension, hoping for, or seeking the death of the President.
So where exactly in Ogun State did this prayer session take place, and when? Was it in a church, in which case there would likely be an audio recording? Who are the prominent pastors or other persons involved that can testify to what transpired – what are their names? Who is the “strong Buhari ally” who made a surprise appearance at the gathering and brought the story back to Mr. President? If, as Adedayo claims, the VP has been hounding and haranguing this Buhari ally since then, why is it so difficult for him to cry out and publicize his strange discovery.
Who primed Onnoghen to “package Buhari inside a judicial casket” during the 2019 elections? And to whose benefit? If, for any reason, the Buhari election was nullified by the judiciary, how would that benefit his running mate, since they contested on the same ticket?
These asinine stories put together by Mr. Adedayo betray a more evil motive. The Vice President’s commitment to the service of the Nigerian people under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari is unrelenting. But there is a desperation in some quarters to create a division between the President and the Vice President. It appears that they need some well known press names who are prepared to write anything. But for what reward? One wonders. They clearly found one here, as the writer’s jaundiced article bumbled from the realm of baseless claims to outright fiction.
We do not expect an apology from Mr. Adedayo to the Vice President. This is the style of these professionals gone rogue. They are prepared to smear others and stick to their vile stories. Their conscience seems unperturbed by their reckleness. But, again, we give him the benefit of the doubt, let him answer the questions we have asked” he said
Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo’s spokesman, Mr. Laolu Akande, has denied allegations that his principal visited a parish of the Redeemed Christian Church of God where he and other congregants allegedly prayed for the death of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Akande, who is the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity (Office of the Vice-President), said this in an article published in reaction to columnist, Dr. Festus Adedayo’s opinion piece.
Adedayo had, in an article published on Sunday in several online platforms (not NigerianEye) titled, ‘The Trials of Brother Osinbajo,’ said he received information that Osinbajo, who is a Senior Pastor with the RCCG, had, in a gathering with members of the church, prayed for the death of the President when the latter was away on medical leave.
The columnist said a confidante of Buhari, who was at the gathering, informed the President of Osinbajo’s “sinister plan,” hence the breakdown in the relationship between Buhari and Osinbajo.
In his reaction, however, Osinbajo’s spokesman challenged Adedayo to state where the alleged prayer session took place and the date.
Akande wrote, “He (Adedayo) claimed that the Vice President, together with some Redeemed Church ‘accomplices,’ gathered to pray at some place unstated in his home state of Ogun, at a date that was not indicated, for the purpose of interceding for the VP to become President, and by extension, hoping for, or seeking the death of the President.
“So, where exactly in Ogun State did this prayer session take place, and when? Was it in a church, in which case there would likely be an audio recording?
“Who are the prominent pastors or other persons involved that can testify to what transpired — what are their names?
“Who is the ‘strong Buhari ally’ who made a surprise appearance at the gathering and brought the story back to Mr. President?
“If, as Adedayo claims, the VP has been hounding and haranguing this Buhari ally since then, why is it so difficult for him to cry out and publicise his strange discovery?”
Akande also rubbished claims by Adedayo that Osinbajo, as acting President, had an ulterior motive when he sent the name of the then acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, to the Senate for confirmation.
He wondered how Osinbajo would have wanted Onnoghen to sack Buhari.
“Who primed Onnoghen to package Buhari inside a judicial casket during the 2019 elections? And to whose benefit?
“If, for any reason, the Buhari election was nullified by the judiciary, how would that benefit his running mate, since they contested on the same ticket?” Akande asked.
The Vice-President’s spokesman said it was unfortunate that some elements were being sponsored to drive a wedge between Osinbajo and Buhari.
Sequel to an allegation made BY the Festus Adebayo against the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has debunked an allegation made by Festus Adebayo, claiming that the VP had offered death prayers to God regarding the President.
Adebayo is a journalist who was appointed by the Senate President as a spokesman, however got dismissed shortly after his appointment because of his critical comments and reviews of the Buhari led administration.
Adebayo had accused Osinbajo of being involved in a “prayer coup” when Buhari was away for medical treatment in the United Kingdom.
According to him, Osinbajo and “his Redeemed Christian Church of God accomplices” in Ogun state, prayed to God to make him president.
Adebayo further said that Buhari’s ally crashed into their prayer session which made “the prayer warriors nearly prayed that the ground should swallow them when, upon opening their eyes, they saw the president’s ally with them.”
“package Buhari inside a judicial casket” during the 2019 elections and the removal of Lawal Daura, erstwhile Director-General of the Department of State Services on August 7, 2018 also “rankled these owls.”
However, spokesman to Osinbajo, Laolu Akande, responded that, that the claim were “outright fiction and absolute mischief.”
“Was it in a church, in which case there would likely be an audio recording? Who are the prominent pastors or other persons involved that can testify to what transpired – what are their names,” Akande queried in the statement.
“Who is the “strong Buhari ally” who made a surprise appearance at the gathering and brought the story back to Mr. President?
“If, as Adedayo claims, the VP has been hounding and haranguing this Buhari ally since then, why is it so difficult for him to cry out and publicize his strange discovery?
“Who primed Onnoghen to “package Buhari inside a judicial casket” during the 2019 elections? And to whose benefit?
“If, for any reason, the Buhari election was nullified by the judiciary, how would that benefit his running mate, since they contested on the same ticket?”
“But there is a desperation in some quarters to create a division between the President and the Vice President,” Akande said.
Laolu Akande, the spokesperson of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has debunked allegations that he prayed for the death of President Muhammadu Buhari at a church in Ogun State.
This is coming on the heels of a claim made in a Sunday opinion piece by a veteran journalist and columnist, Dr. Festus Adedayo.
Adedayo had, in the piece, titled, ‘The Trials of Brother Osinbajo,’ said he received information that Osinbajo in a gathering with members of the church, prayed for the death of the President when the latter was away on medical leave.
Adedayo alleged that the strain in the relationship between Buhari and Osinbajon started when a confidante of Buhari, who was at the gathering, informed the President of Osinbajo’s “sinister plan.”
However, Akande asked Adedayo to provide proofs to such allegation while alleging that the article is part of desperate moves in some quarters to create a division between the President and the Vice President.
Akande said: “Mr. Festus Adedayo’s article is a sad descent into the gutter by this gentleman. When a professional columnist of Adedayo’s age and experience puts his reputation behind outright fiction and absolute mischief, usually it is a sign that the poor fellow is compromised. This is the sad reality we face today and it is truly troubling.
“But let us give Mr. Adedayo the benefit of the doubt. Let us assume that he has some facts to support the reckless insinuations and innuendoes in his article.
“He should then be able to answer the following questions.
“He claimed that the Vice President, together with some Redeemed Church ‘accomplices’, gathered to pray at someplace unstated in his home state of Ogun, at a date that was not indicated, for the purpose of interceding for the VP to become President, and by extension, hoping for, or seeking the death of the President.
“So where exactly in Ogun State did this prayer session take place, and when? Was it in a church, in which case there would likely be an audio recording? Who are the prominent pastors or other persons involved that can testify to what transpired – what are their names?
“Who is the “strong Buhari ally” who made a surprise appearance at the gathering and brought the story back to Mr. President? If, as Adedayo claims, the VP has been hounding and haranguing this Buhari ally since then, why is it so difficult for him to cry out and publicize his strange discovery?
“Who primed Onnoghen to “package Buhari inside a judicial casket” during the 2019 elections? And to whose benefit? If, for any reason, the Buhari election was nullified by the judiciary, how would that benefit his running mate, since they contested on the same ticket?
“These asinine stories put together by Mr. Adedayo betray a more evil motive. The Vice President’s commitment to the service of the Nigerian people under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari is unrelenting. But there is a desperation in some quarters to create a division between the President and the Vice President.
“It appears that they need some well-known press names who are prepared to write anything. But for what reward? One wonders. They clearly found one here, as the writer’s jaundiced article bumbled from the realm of baseless claims to outright fiction.
“We do not expect an apology from Mr. Adedayo to the Vice President. This is the style of these professionals gone rogue. They are prepared to smear others and stick to their vile stories. Their conscience seems unperturbed by their recklessness. But, again, we give him the benefit of the doubt, let him answer the questions we have asked,” Akande said.