Oyo State Governor, Engineer Seyi Makinde, on Monday extolled the virtues of a former Governor of Osun State and former National Secretary of party, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, noting that the former Governor remained a strong pillar that is needed in the PDP.
Governor Makinde, who was in company of national officers of the PDP as well as some leaders of the party in the South-West geopolitical zone and members of his cabinet, said that though the visit was all about Oyinlola’s 69th birthday celebration, the former Governor remained one person he would like to return to the PDP.
He said that Oyinlola possessed the qualities and credibility of a leader who can pull every member of the PDP together in the South-West.
A statement signed by the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Makinde, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, informed that the Governor had on his entourage the Deputy National Secretary of the PDP, Dr. Agbo Emmanuel; National Organising Secretary, Col. Austin Akobondu (retd); National Auditor, Mai Adamu, National Youth Leader, Hon. S.K.E Udeh-Okoye; National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan; National Financial Secretary, Mr. Abdullahi Mai Basira; zonal executives of the PDP and top functionaries of the Oyo State Government.
Governor Makinde, who described Prince Oyinlola as his elder brother and uncle, said: “I bring you greetings from the Government and the people of Oyo State and on their behalf, I want to wish you a happy birthday, many happy returns in good health.
“If not for the assignment that I was given in Edo State to go and conduct the ward congresses over the weekend, I would have been here for the golf invitational. As much as I miss that, I believe that we will find time to come later to play with you, Sir.
“I came with the heart of our party, PDP. You have been there and you once occupied the exalted position of the National Secretary of that party. You were a strong pillar in the South-Western region of Nigeria.
“If you ask me about the individual that I want his presence back in PDP in this South-West; someone who can lead us and pull everybody together, you will be my number one candidate.”
Also speaking, the National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Mr. Kola Ologbodiyan, felicitated Oyinlola, while also commending the role played by Governor Makinde for bringing the national leadership of the PDP to celebrate with the former National Secretary of the party and receive his elderly blessings.
Ologbodiyan said: “The national chairman unavoidably and for very obvious reasons had to travel out when contact was made to the leadership, but the national organising secretary quickly put together all national leadership members of the national working committee, who are currently in Abuja.
“We’re grateful to identify with a former national secretary of our party, who at a time rendered services that stabilised the party nationwide. Today, God through His grace and mercies has made you to see the very ripe age of 69 and counting, you are just knocking on the doors of 70. We’re going to be here with you at 70 Sir. And we’ll be here with you at 80 and I want to believe even at 90.
“To say very few words, we inherited a coordinated Secretariat of the party and leadership of the party courtesy of the services that our leader here and his likes rendered to the party. It made a lot of the jobs easier for us.
“When I see the seamless way the national organising secretary is conducting the affairs of the national organising department, I see why it was easy that our elder brother and our father and leader here, Prince Oyinlola coordinated the activities of the main Secretariat of the party and the simple answer to it is the primary constituency they’re coming out from: the military.
“So, we’re deeply really very grateful for having this opportunity thanks to God and his Excellency, extended to the Secretariat to be with him this evening. Our prayer is that God will see you in great health. We want to ask again that we’re your children, this is where you left; continue to be available for us to tap from your experiences, because we know the times are challenging and we need the wisdom of the elderly, particularly those who have passed through this road.”
Ologbondiyan urged Oyinlola to always make his doors open to the party, noting that the national leadership of the party would continue to knock on his doors for wisdom and experience.
In his response, Prince Oyinlola said he was overwhelmed by the display of brotherhood and cordiality extended to him by the Oyo State Governor, noting that there would be avenues for further talks and that whenever he was going to make a decision on where next he would be going politically, it would be in the open.
The former Governor said: “I must confess that I am indeed overwhelmed by the gesture of brotherhood as demonstrated to me. I say this because it is coming from an unexpected quarter. Ever since we came across each other, he has shown that it does not matter where he belongs. The relationship has always been cordial. Truly, I belong to an opposition party but he has never, at any time, failed to accord me on the level of respect wherever we met.
“I was not with him when he was campaigning to become the Governor of Oyo State. The Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP), which I led, supported the candidature of the PDP at the national level but when Governor Makinde became the Governor of Oyo State, he never cease to show me respect. I believe that relationship starts with the way you conduct yourself one on one, and that is why I really feel humbled by your presence and entourage. May the good Lord continue to honour you.
“In his speech, I picked one or two things. One thing you must understand is when you see an animal that says it does not love food and anytime you see it moving close to the food, there is a relationship. I must confess to you that whatever it is that I have achieved as a politician was on the records of the PDP.
“I wanted to become a senator because when I returned from my school in Buckingham, having studied law, I felt the best place to make use of my training was in the Senate. So, I continued to work on that. One thing led to the other and I became Governor on the platform of the PDP. “After my service as Governor, I was elected to be the secretary of the party.
“If I must confess to you, indiscipline and not fearing God started the crisis in the PDP. It is rather unfortunate that it started with me. Why did I say so? I was duly elected as secretary and, overnight, I was no longer the secretary. Some people felt it was injustice and could not let it go. One thing led to the other and before we knew it, seven governors came together and decided that they would leave the party. In fact, the movement was to serve as a scare-crow. We wanted to give them the fear so that they would call everybody to discuss the problem and settle it amicably. But sentiment came from the leader and he said the agitating Governors had no electoral value. Having said that seven serving governors lacked electoral value was the height of arrogance and lack of belief in the Lord.
“I want to pray that God will steer a new course, new belief, new discipline and the fear of the Lord in the party, and the party will get there.
“In a radio interview, I was asked where I was and I told them ADC. They asked me where I would go if I were to leave ADC. I said I didn’t know where it would be but definitely not APC. I said it and I know why I said so because I know when a wife has married two husbands.
“For the sake of today, I thank you and your entourage for honouring me. It takes a Christian mind of yours to remember that there is somebody somewhere who was part of you and feel you should celebrate on a day like this. We had an association with many other people but it never occurred to them. But for you to leave Ibadan and come with your people, it is a great honour and I know it. There will be time to talk further.
“If anything is going to change, I am not a man for the corner, I will stand on the centre stage at any time because I have always believed in standing upright anywhere I belong. If anything is going to be taken further beyond here, you will all know and know in the open.”
Chief Press Secretary to Governor Seyi Makinde
Inclusive Foundation Mourns Veteran Actress, Rachael Oniga
Inclusive Social Welfare and Empowerment Foundation, a non-governmental organisation has expressed its heartfelt sympathy to family, friends and the entire movie industry over the loss of the veteran actress, Rachael Oniga who died at age 64.
The CEO of the foundation, Chief (Mrs.) Pat Eleto, in a condolence visit to the family, on Saturday, July 31st, said the news came as a rude shock to many, but she believes that the late actress has created a great impact with her career, and her legacy should never be forgotten.
In her statement, Chief (Mrs.)Eleto said:
“It is with a heavy heart that I grief with the family of a sister, friend and adviser of Inclusive Social Welfare and Empowerment Foundation.
“Mrs. Oniga, is one of our great ambassadors, and we were actually working on a project that is meant for the later part of this year when the sad news of her demise came.
“Death is inevitable, we pray for the repose of her soul, and may God comfort all the people she left behind. We also hope and pray that all her good legacies, be sustained because, she was indeed a pillar of support to our foundation, and also one of veterans that contributed immensely to the growth of Nollywood,” the statement reads.
A native of Delta State, Oniga was one of the ambassadors of Inclusive Social Welfare and Empowerment Foundation.
Alaafin Shuns Ooni-Backed Group Over Alleged Anti-Buhari Posture
The Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, on Friday, at the last minute, allegedly cancelled an appointment he gave to a Yoruba group, Ooni’s Caucus, on the alleged complaint that members of the group are “notorious critics” of the regime of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.).
The Ooni’s Caucus, which was inaugurated at the palace of the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, on July 20, 2021, is made of many influential Yoruba persons and is being coordinated by a former Managing Director of the News Agency of Nigeria, Mr Akin Osuntokun.
PUNCH learnt that Osuntokun led about 14 members of the group to Alaafin’s palace for the alleged 11am appointment on Friday, but after waiting for about two and a half hours, the influential monarch sent words to them that he would not be seeing them.
According to a source, who spoke to PUNCH on condition of anonymity, some of the group’s members who went to Alaafin’s palace with Osuntokun were a monarch, the Olugbon of Orile-Igbon, Oba Francis Alao; a former presidential spokesman, Dr Doyin Okupe; a former commissioner in Osun State, Muyiwa Ige; a former Minister of Defence, Mrs Dupe Adelaja; a retired Deputy Inspector-General of Police, Taiwo Lakanu, Oye Oyewumi, Sola Lawal, among others.
A former governor of Ogun State, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, is also said to be a member of Ooni’s Caucus, but he was not on the delegation to Alaafin’s palace on Friday.
The source, who is a member of the group, claimed that the group had through the Olugbon secured an appointment with Alaafin since Monday, and the same appointment was confirmed on Thursday, only for them to get to the palace and the Alaafin refused to see them on the claim that they were anti-Buhari and were also loyalists of former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
The source explained that the main purpose of the meeting was for the newly-inaugurated group to get Alaafin’s blessings and to possibly discuss the issue of the embattled Yoruba Nation agitator, Chief Sunday Adeyemo, alias Sunday Igboho, who is currently being held and tried in Cotonou, Benin Republic.
The source said, “The Olugbon, a member of the caucus, was the one who booked the appointment, but he said the Alaafin said he didn’t want to see us because we’re notorious critics of the Buhari government.
“He (Alaafin) confirmed the appointment yesterday (Thursday). But when we got there today, he kept us waiting; after a while, he asked to see the Olugbon. He (Alaafin) didn’t come to see us; we were told he said he wouldn’t see us because we are notorious critics of Buhari’s government and that some of us are close to Obasanjo, who is also critical of the government.
“We were made to wait for about two and a half hours; he gave us an appointment for 11am; we got there at 11am and at about 1.30pm, that was when it was obvious to us that he wasn’t coming (to see us). But he initially asked to see the Olugbon, who went to see him for about an hour. When the Olugbon eventually came back, he said Alaafin would not see us, saying we are a group that is critical of the Buhari government and some of us are loyalists of Obasanjo.”
On whether the group’s mission to Alaafin’s palace was to discuss Sunday Igboho’s matter, the source said, “Of course, the issue (of Igboho) would come up but that was not the purpose of the visit. The issue of Igboho concerns all the Yoruba people but that was not our reason for going to him.”
On whether the group would try and book another appointment, the source said, “I don’t know; we were all surprised that a Yoruba oba can refuse to see his children on account of not wanting to be on the bad side of Buhari’s government. I would have thought that an oba is supposed to take everybody as his children, whether they are supporters of Buhari the All progressives Congress or the Peoples Democratic Party or whatever party.”
But when contacted by PUNCH, the Media Director to the Alaafin, Bode Durojaye, said the reason his principal did not see the group was because they did not have any prior appointment with him.
Durojaye said the Alaafin would be willing to entertain the group if they booked an appointment.
He said, “Those who came are men of honour and kabiyesi did not say he did not want to see them. He did not say he would not see them because they are critical of President Buhari or they are former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s men. Obasanjo himself is a friend of Kabiyesi, so you can see that what you were told was not what happened.
“Kabiyesi said he could not see them because they did not give him prior notice that they were coming. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t want to see them again. They can notify him and he will give them an appointment. You cannot just come and say you want to see him, there are protocols to follow and due process is always adhered to at Alaafin’s Palace.
“There was no rancour, no ill-feeling even when they were going; I was there and I saw them off to their vehicles. If anybody told you that kabiyesi said he didn’t want to see them because they are critical of government or they are Obasanjo’s men, that is a lie.”
NMA Reacts As Bandits Break Into, Pick Nurse At Zamfara General Hospital
Suspected bandits invaded General Hospital, Dansadau, Maru Local Government Area of Zamfara State on Friday, resulting in the abduction of a nurse and caregiver.
Residents said that immediately the men stormed the medical facility, the armed men headed to the outpatient ward in search of a doctor or nurse.
“When they couldn’t find anybody there, they started going from one ward to another. A nurse and a caregiver were abducted. They then moved to staff quarters looking for doctors and nurses but could not find any.”
“The armed criminals had earlier attempted to attack Maigoge, a community located six kilometres north of Dansadau town.
“But when they laid siege to the community, the vigilantes otherwise known as Yan Sakai firmly defended the village. The vigilante killed some of the bandits and injured several others.
“They then invaded the hospital to kidnap nurse and doctors that will treat their injured brothers in the forest.”
Maigoge is one of the few communities in Dansadau Emirate known to be firmly defending themselves against bandits.
“The staff of the facility are not carrying out night duties now. They only attend to patients at day time. They then move inside the town to spend night usually at undisclosed locations,” he added.
Meanwhile, the chairman of the Nigerian Medical Association in Zamfara state, Dr Mannir Bature, who confirmed the attack said the association is worried by the unfortunate incident.
He said they would hold an emergency state officers council meeting on Saturday.
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