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Ekiti APC and the need to Choose the right Governorship Candidate in 2022



Mr Biodun Oyebanji and Senator Michael Opeyemi Bamidele

Oluseyi Olubanjo

It is hoped that the All Progressives Congress, which is the ruling party in the State, would get it right again this time by ensuring that it’s decision in choosing a gubernatorial candidate is informed by objective considerations and ingenious political thinking rather than primordial sentiments, sectarian affiliation and crude political intrigues.

Coming to terms with the dynnamics of political reality and strategic planning towards electoral victory, it is essential that the APC leadership in the State should ensure that the most popular, widely accepted, profoundly marketable and well experienced candidate emerges at the party’s governorship primaries coming up on 22nd January, 2022.

The People’s Democratic Party, which is the main opposition party in the State is already getting it’s house together, leaving no stone unturned to dislodge the APC in the ensuing contest. The likes of Chief Segun Oni, a former Governor of Ekiti State are already jostling for the PDP ticket, wanting to stage a comeback to Oke Ayoba Government house. Given the fast- approaching 2023 presidential polls, the PDP in Ekiti and Osun States are not likely to take chances at all in the forthcoming 2022 gubernatorial elections.
They may likely end up taking the most strategic measures in ensuring the emergence of popular candidates with a view to dislodging the APC in the two respective States.

The strategic implication of this to APC in Ekiti and Osun States and the rest of Southwest is that the leadership of the party should not only put it’s house in order through genuine reconciliation, by placating all aggieved factions and also by ensuring a level playing field for all contestants during the party primaries early next year.

In the array of the APC gubernatorial aspirants in Ekiti State, Sen. Michael Opeyemi Bamidele (M.O.B) is the most outstanding personality truly deserving worthy of the party’s guber ticket this time around.
Firstly, by next year, Sen. Bamidele would be gunning for the Ekiti State Number One Seat for the third time. He contested for the seat in 2014, and he did same in 2018 after which he became the Director-General of Kayode Fayemi Campaign Organization when JKF was running for a second term in office. In the wake of his emergence as the Chief Stretegist of the JKF campaign, Bamidele was involved in a ghastly shooting incidence that almost claimed his life, but for the favour and benevolence of Almighty God.

Given his penchant for the service of his people in Ekiti State as well as his profound vision to further help in transfoming their living conditions, Bamidele is, once again, throwing his arms in the ring as a well experienced and widely acceptable contender.

Bamidele is not a green horn in Nigerian politics of today. He is not a light-weight gladiator waiting to ride on someone else back in determining his fate for electoral victory.
As a loyal and reliable party man, he is not only prepared to submit to the direction and democratic guidance of the party leadership in the state but he is also ready to join hands with all relevant stakeholders and progressive forces in ensuring that the APC coasts home to victory in the 202 governorship election.

Bamidele’s political pedigree and professional carriage is what is urgently needed for the APC in Ekiti State to defeat any other party’s candidate at the June 18, 2022 guber poll.

Currently the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters and equally the Chairman of the Southern Senators’ Forum, Bamidele is a shining light and trail blaizer in the upper chamber of the 9th National Assembly. He is a Member of the Body of Benchers, Nigeria, a foremost student and youth leader and a prominent human rights activist during the dark heinous days of military dictatorship in Nigeria. He was on several occasions incarcerated and held incommunicado by the successive military junta before travelling to the United States of America on political exiile.

Bamidele has been in the prestigious legal practice over the last three decades. He is a lawyer without border; a member of the Nigerian Bar Association, American Bar Association, New York Bar Association and International Bar Association. He is a Fellow of several professional bodies such as the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, the Chartered Institute of Public Administration and Local Government as well as the Chartered Institute of Management Consultants.
An Award-winning parliamentarian of no mean stature, Bamidele was also a three term member of the prestigious Lagos State cabinet between 2002 and 2011.

He is a thorough- bred progressive politician with consummate energy for grassroots politicking.
Owing to his profound political maturity, his Omoluabi kind of “easy going” attitude and strategic dynamism, Bamidele has carved a niche for himself within the political circle as a reliable and dependable bridge builder between the town and gown, between the old and the new breed of politicians as well as between the leaders and the led.

An astute visionary and well-traveled technocrat himself, Bamidele remarkably has what it takes to sustain the progressive trend and consolidate the good works and giant strides of the Fayemi administration. His credible personality, outstanding professional competence, his great international exposure as well as his superlative political networking skills and affliation across the nation would readily open innumerable doors of favour and goodwill for Ekiti State if he becomes the next Governor of the State.
Ekiti State is ripe for large scale industrialization and is in dire need of an aggressive, vision-driven actualizer whose primary objective is to open up the State for foreign direct investment, mass scale commercial activities and technological innovation through the optimum utilization of the State’s teeming human and material resources.

This calls for the rejuvenation of a new legal regime to provide an enabling environment for private sector-led economic growth accompanied by rapid infrastructural development, agricultural revolution, sustainable peace and security.

Bamidele’s unusual wealth of experience as a seasoned lawyer, foremost federal lawmaker and well- accomplished administrator, .has prepared him over the years for these ensuing tasks of governance in Ekiti State.
What he needs and is presently craving for is the unanimous support of the party leadership, critical stakeholders and all the members and stalwarts of the All Progressives Congress in Ekiti State to fly the party’s ticket in June next year.

Sentiment apart, given his unmatched political pedigree, his great administrative acumen, his profound preparedness for service, his invaluable Contributions to the enthronement and sustainability of democracy and good governance in Nigeria right from his tender age as a university undergraduate as well as his readiness to deliver the development deliverables to the good people of Ekiti State, Bamidele is obviously the best man to occupy Oke-Ayoba Government house come October 2022 when the next Governor of Ekiti State would be sworn in, all things being equal.

Bamidele’s aspiration is to create a new, united, prosperous, peaceceful and virile Ekiti State where the lofty dreams nurtured by it’s founding fathers and for which they worked so hard for it’s creation almost three decades ago could come to reality.

He is persuaded that the attainment of these laudable goals lies in the enactment of an atmosphere of new understanding, new vision, new determination and a new spirit that requires the genuine integration and enduring input of all stakeholders in the collective rebirth of our dear State.

His Manifesto Booklet, ‘Ekiti Charter of Prosperity’ more than any previous blueprint, emphasizes the need for every citizen of Ekiti to see himself or herself as a moral agent for the urgent rescue and elevation of our dear State from the status of a civil service State to that of an industrialized centre and hub of commercial activities.

Bamidele is seeking to re-invent governance, engender freedom and democratic ethos, create jobs, eradicate poverty, build infrastructure, sustain businesses, secure lives and prosperity, re-enact the essence and value of peaceful co-existence among Ekitikete and restore the lost glories, hope, faith and confidence of our people.
This he pledges to undertake by dedicating his talents, his time, his resources and his unusual wealth of political, legal and administrative experience in ensuring that these lofty goals are realized, to the utmost benefit and prosperity of Ekiti people.

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Ode To People’s President



Senator Michael Opeyemi Bamidele and Asiwaju Bola Tinubu
Senate Leader, Sen. Michael Opeyemi Bamidele and President Bola Tinubu

By Senator Opeyemi Bamidele, CON

Today, I celebrate a timeless doyen of democracy and an astute mentor of many leaders, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR. By global standards, Asiwaju is truly a man of the people and the visionary of our times, who devoted his life to pursuing the greatest goods to the greatest number of people. This has been the core of his heart and life from when he was a boardroom guru in the 1980s to when he joined partisan politics in the 1990s.

Born on March 29, 1952, Asiwaju’s foray into politics in 1991 was never a mistake, though it came with a huge sacrifice that cost dearly. As a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, I celebrate how Asiwaju firmly stood with the people rather than dining with the military oligarchy that annulled the outcome of the June 12, 1993 presidential election ostensibly won by Chief M.K.O Abiola (now of blessed memory), an annulment that set our fatherland back to the pre-colonial era.

I also celebrate how Asiwaju teamed up with the progressives to establish the National Democratic Coalition, a movement of likeminds and progressives that fiercely challenged the regime of the late tyrant, General Sani Abacha; mobilised support for the restoration of democracy to our fatherland and campaigned for the recognition of Chief M.K.O Abiola as the winner of the June 12 presidential election. And this conviction and pursuit eventually earned him exile from the land of his birth. Yet, he was undaunted in his quest to see his fatherland liberated from the era of locusts that pitched us against the comity of nations.

I celebrate how Asiwaju returned to Nigeria in 1998 when the darkest era of the late tyrant finally folded into the abyss of extinction after fighting doggedly on the side of the people. The end of the dark era culminated in his election as the third civilian governor of Lagos State in January 1999. Though faced with diverse heinous challenges at the inception, Asiwaju came out strong and victorious, setting Lagos on the path of irreversible progress, reforming the coastal state to a globally competitive smart city and turning it to a constant destination of strategic investment. And the world can no more look away from Nigeria just because of the pro-people reforms he carried out in Lagos.

Asiwaju’s quest for the greatest goods for the greatest number of people pushed him to national politics, the kind of venture that consumed the nationalists and patriots who lived before him. At different times, he challenged the traditional forces that held our fatherland down. He first fought for the soul of our fatherland on the platform of the defunct Action Congress, and it did not entirely produce an enviable outcome. He later switched to the Action Congress of Nigeria, and banished the regressive elements from the six states of the South-west. Full of hope, Asiwaju stressed forth his hands across Benue and Niger, and together, they rescued Nigeria from the hands of the regressives.

At 72, as the President of Nigeria, Asiwaju has brought rare conviction and passion to the business of public governance, courageously daring the forces of regression and tirelessly  pursuing the interests of over 227 million regardless of their faith, ideology and race. The task is truly daunting, but the victory is undoubted. Only within 10 months of Asiwaju’s ascendancy to the presidency, we have started witnessing the dawning of economic restoration and the ray of political renaissance under his watch.

As I nostalgically reflect on the journey so far, I remember his labour and toiling for our fatherland, even when most misunderstood. I remember his undying passion to lead the path to a greater nation, even when the future looks so bleak and always unsure. I remember his utter commitment to a movement of patriots and progressives eternally sworn to rescue our fatherland from the claws of the ageless vultures and the blood-thirst beaks of mindless hawks that always seek to feast on the flesh of Nigeria. Despite their ferocity, he eventually subdued the enemies of our souls, even right in the midst of inferno they set ablaze for us all.

That is the reality in our fatherland today. Asiwaju is at the forefront of that reality. And we are all witnesses to this history, even from its making to its maturation. Now, as he graciously turns 72 on this auspicious day, I cannot, but earnestly pray God grants him longer life and inner strength to steadily paddle the ship of our nation to the coast of endless ecstasy. 

 Heartiest 72nd Birthday, my leader and mentor.

  • Bamidele, Leader of the 10th Senate, writes from Abuja

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Chronicling Deputy Senate President Barau’s 100 days of parliamentary excellence



Deputy President of the Senate Barau Jibrin
Deputy President of the Senate Barau Jibrin

By Ismail Mudashir

Tomorrow, Wednesday, September 20, 2023, the 10th Senate will mark its first 100 days following its inauguration on June 13, this year.

The inauguration of the parliament followed President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s proclamation, via a letter to the Clerk to the National Assembly, Sani Magaji Tambawal, in line with Section 64(3) of the 1999 Constitution.

The first duty of the senators was the election of the presiding officers – the President of the Senate and the Deputy Senate President. After a keen contest, Senator Godswill Akpabio, from Akwa Ibom State, emerged as the President of the Senate, defeating Senator Abdulaziz Yari, a former governor of Zamfara State.

Apparently, because of his rare personality traits, Senator Barau I. Jibrin, a fourth timer at the National Assembly (three times in the Senate – 2015 to date and once in the House of Representatives – 1999 -2003) emerged as the Deputy President of the Senate unopposed as all his colleagues threw their weight behind him.

Three weeks after the emergence of the two presiding officers, eight principal officers were named, thus the leadership of the 10th Senate was duly constituted. With the constitution of the leadership, the lawmakers got the parliamentary work started as urged by the President of the Senate, Senator Akpabio, in his speech on July 4, 2023, titled, “Let’s get the work started.”

On July 6, Senator Barau, for the first time, presided over the plenary session. During the session, five motions were moved including the one on Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano.

After the July 6 session which attracted applause from across the Red Chamber and beyond, Senator Barau had presided over the plenary on other occasions in the absence of the President of the Senate in the last 100 days.

Among the critical motions sponsored by the Deputy President of the Senate during the period under review was the one on the poor state of road infrastructure and the menace of gully erosion in the country. Also to his credit was a motion on the emergence of President Tinubu as the Chairman of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

Four bills of the Deputy President of the Senate, including the one on the creation of a development commission to fast-track the development of the country, have been introduced at the Red Chamber.

* Balanced appointments

Recognizing the heterogeneous nature of the country, the Deputy Senate President selected his seven key appointees from across the country – four were drawn from Kano State – two from the southern part of the country – Oyo and Imo states, and one from Kwara State – North Central geopolitical zone.

The appointees who hail from Kano State include the Chief of Staff, Professor Muhammad Ibn Abdullahi; the Special Adviser (Policy & Monitoring), Professor Bashir Muhammad Fagge; the Special Adviser (Political), Yusuf Aliyu Tumfafi and the Special Assistant (Media & Publicity), Shitu Madaki Kunchi.

The Special Adviser (Media & Publicity), Ismail Mudashir, hails from Kwara State; the Special Adviser (Special Duties), Idris Abiola Ajimobi, Oyo State; and the Special Adviser (Administration), Mrs. Ngozi Ndawi Nkemdirim, from Imo State.

Commendations have followed what has been described by lawmakers, media practitioners, civil society organisations, and other stakeholders in the country as balanced appointments.

* Constituents driven representation

For Senator Barau, his representation has been constituents and pro-masses driven. Hence the unfettered access he grants to people from Kano North, Kano State, and beyond; the old, young, rich, and poor; APC members and members of other parties.

For instance, in August, he instituted a scholarship programme through which hundreds of tertiary institution students from Kano North Senatorial District were given N50,000 each. The programme was flagged off at Bayero University Kano (BUK).

Before the scholarship scheme, the Deputy President of the Senate had paid WAEC and NECO fees for hundreds of secondary school students.

To boost agriculture in the state, Senator Barau also distributed fertiliser to farmers across the 44 local government areas of the state.

According to beneficiaries, this initiative would enhance their output and contribute towards attaining food security in the state and country.

On September 6, the people of Rimindako community in Bagwai LGA of Kano State, through a human rights activist, Barrister Muhammad Zubair, lauded the Deputy President of the Senate over the construction of Yasanya bridge and access road in their community.

· Visits Abuja Industrial Park

On the invitation of the Zeberced Group, the Deputy President of the Senate was at the Abuja Industrial Park located in the Idu Industrial District on September 4. Sitting on 245 hectares of land, the park will house 200 factories, a helipad, a train station, a lorry park, a bank, a recycling station and a power plant, among others when completed.

The park is an initiative of the Zeberced Group, jointly founded by Adil Aydin Kurt and Cemal Kurt from Turkey. The company’s Managing Director, Aidl Aydin Kurt, conducted Senator Barau around the project. Kurt told his visitor that the project when completed will provide 40,000 direct jobs to Nigerians.

Moved by the 40,000 jobs to be created , Senator Barau said the parliament would provide the necessary legislative support to the company, saying the project was in line with the commitment of the federal government to address unemployment, boost and diversify the country’s economy.

* Keeping parliament alive during recess

Even with the annual recess embarked upon by the parliament on August 7, the office of the Deputy President of the Senate has been active, five days a week (Mondays – Fridays), with Senator Barau performing official engagements. During the period, he met with ministers, heads of agencies, civil society/pressure groups including the promoters of Tiga and Gari states, clerics, and party leaders, among others.

During their visit, stakeholders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Kano North Senatorial District, led by Hon. Sani Mukaddas, hailed Senator Barau, describing him as an exceptional lawmaker and leader.

In the same vein, a forum of former zonal women leaders of the APC has thumped up Senator Barau, saying he is not discriminatory in his dealings with all.

“Continue to support us, we won’t disappoint you, Insha Allah,’’ were the words of the Deputy President of the Senate to those who visited him. He also assured them of the commitment of the parliament to support the executive with the necessary legislation to address the challenges facing the nation.


Mudashir is the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the Deputy President of the Senate

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Ahmad Lawan: The Doyen of Nigerian Parliament @64



Senate President Ahmad Lawan
Senate President Ahmad Lawan

By Ola Awoniyi

Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan, the Distinguished Senator representing Yobe North Senatorial District of Yobe State, turns 64 on 12th January, 2023. Within those almost six and a half decades, he has seen it all, especially in public service. In just about five months from now, he will conclude his tenure as the 14th President of the Nigerian Senate and sixth consecutive session in the National Assembly.

Lawan has been around for so long in Abuja that it is easy to assume he was never elsewhere. Yet, his earliest work experience was in the academia, and it lasted long enough for him to bag a Doctorate degree in Remote Sensing and Geographic Information System (GIS) before yielding to the pull of partisan politics in 1998.

In that calling, Lawan has clearly made his mark. And not just because he attained the dizzying height of third in the order of succession. People see politics as a dirty game. But Ahmad Lawan does not see it that way. For him, politics should not change the core beliefs and principles of an individual. Service to the people should be the driving objective of partisan political practice. And whether in politics or elsewhere, Lawan believes one’s yes must mean yes.

This has, in no small  measure, paid off for Lawan in his almost 25 years in politics, 24 of which has been as a federal lawmaker. A member of the pioneer class of the National Assembly of the Fourth Republic, he was first elected in 1999 to the House of Representatives from the Bade/Jakusko Federal Constituency of Yobe State. He was re-elected to the House in 2003. But in 2007, Lawan crossed over from the Green Chamber to the Red Chamber as the Senator for the Yobe North District. He was re-elected to that Senate seat in 2011, 2015 and 2019.

If you know what it takes to win elections in Nigeria, you would appreciate that what multiple winners like Lawan have accomplished is no small feat. His numerous reelections underscore that his constituents appreciate the quality of representation that he has been providing to them in Yobe North District.

The life of a politician is not all gloss as it may sometimes seem. Election is not a tea party. A parliamentarian in particular needs very hard work to get a return ticket from the party. In Parliament, getting the support of colleagues for  motions and bills requires deep knowledge and passion for the subject; focus and temperament. It is actually an extra burden if you are a Presiding Officer in parliament. Success or failure at every stage has its implications.

No wonder, Mallam Nasir El Rufai, the outspoken Governor of Kaduna State, at a recent public function in Abuja, said he has no intention of seeking a seat in the National Assembly like many former governors now do.

Speaking as chairman at the second edition of the “Distinguished Parliamentarian Lecture” organised by the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies(NILDS): the governor said:

“The Legislature is one branch of government I know I can never function. The hardwork needed to convince people to support even your motion is something some of us have no patience for. You know management in the Executive is very straightforward. It is very hierarchical and once you are a governor, your word is almost law. But in the Legislature, everybody is equal and there is no management that is more difficult than managing your equals. I don’t envy Mr Speaker and the Senate President at all because their job perhaps is the hardest job in this country. Managing equals is difficult.”

Despite the difficulties, Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan has shone at the National Assembly since its inauguration in 1999. Lawan is today one of only two lawmakers remaining in the National Assembly from the 1999 set. He has also attained the most enviable of heights in his many years of service at Parliament, becoming “first among equals” in the Upper Chamber, which is the very pinnacle of the hierarchy in the parliament of any democratic society. That makes him the Doyen of the Nigerian Parliament.

In his three and a half years as the 14th President of the Senate and Chairman of the ninth National Assembly, he has set a high standard for whoever will be his successors. He has demonstrated the value of parliamentary experience as a prerequisite for election as a presiding officer for the Upper Chamber.

His experience of more than two decades in parliament has made him an encyclopedia on the inner workings of the National Assembly. Lawan has the standing rules at the tip of his fingers. When any of his colleagues raises a Point of Order, he would ask the colleague to specify which order. But before the text is read out, Lawan already knows the provision and its applicability.

As “first among equals,” Lawan knows the importance of fairness in the conduct of the affairs in plenary. Even though the majority will always have its way, the minority must have its say as well.

Lawan knows the value of a bipartisan Legislature. Perhaps the most difficult aspect of the job of a Presiding Officer is to know when to hit the gavel and when not to. As one of Lawan’s aides, I heard him say, many at times, that he had no choice but to hit the gavel or rule in favour of a majority voice vote even when he held a different view to the voice vote. That is democracy.

Lawan also knows the value of promoting harmony between the Legislature and other arms of government, particularly the Executive, without compromising the independence of the Legislature.

Lawan has seen it all in Parliament. From my vintage point of observation, I quickly realized that he did not become the 14th President of the Senate and Chairman of the Ninth National Assembly by happenstance. It was the result of long years of self-preparedness, self-discipline, consistency, perseverance and tenacity of purpose.

Those attributes are essential for success in any endeavour and Lawan obviously learned that very early. And wherever he goes next, they will accompany him and pave the way for more success.

As I wish the Sardaunan Bade a happy 64th birthday, I also wish him more success in his future endeavours.

***Awoniyi is Special Adviser on Media to Senate President

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