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Oyedepo blasts political leaders

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The Kwara State Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Akogun Iyiola Oyedepo, is miffed that Kwara State, despite all pretensions to the contrary, has remained largely underdeveloped in the last three decades.

Oyedepo, who bared his mind at the public presentation of his book entitled “Letters to the Emir”, opined that evidences of the backwardness are legion, notwithstanding the tendency to hoodwink the people that the State is developing simply because Ilorin, the state capital, is becoming highly urbanised with several houses springing up in the hitherto forest areas of the metropolis.

He said: “A visit to the rural areas will show serious decline in increase in all sectors of our rural communities. We are fast witnessing rural-urban drift at an alarming rate to the detriment of the rural communities when we all know that urbanisation at the expense of the rural poor is a distorted development.”

He noted that motorcycle, locally known as ‘Okada’, was unknown in the 70s and 80s as a means of public transportation in the state and across the country and lamented that today secondary school leavers and graduates of tertiary institutions gladly take to ‘Okada’ riding business as a career as a means of livelihood.

This, to his consternation, even received the blessings of the state governments across the country which buy many motorcycles as a form of economic empowerment for the teeming youth.

To the PDP Chairman, who was pissed off by such glorification, he sees the use of motorcycle as a means of commercial transportation at this age as an evidence of a backward economy.

He took a swipe at Nigerian leaders most of whom he likened to vagabonds in power, only lusting for power. He said: “Leaders are supposed to give vision, direction and focus.

If we are rich in minerals and other natural resources, but deficient in leadership as is the case presently, we are therefore the poorest of men. It is sad that our leaders only pay attention to their cars, ward robes, looks, bank accounts and high places they must occupy than serving us which explains why we are in this sorry pass.”

 

In particular, Oyedepo rued the people’s complacency and lackadaisical attitude to the pervading bad governance, lamenting that instead of taking up the gauntlet, they resign themselves to fate because they are afraid of harassment, arrest, detention, dismissal or termination of appointments and death. By democracy, he said the leaders derive their power from the people, but regrettably such leaders who should be servants are unjustifiably mystified by the people. He said: “We say we do not want to die but through inertia we submit to slow poison of death imposed on us by wrong, wicked policies and our refusal to hold those in political authority accountable for their tenure.”

 

Advocating freedom and genuine change, the author opined that the change being craved is not a dinner party as change would not come easily. He said: “The drivers of the programme of freedom and change cannot be men or women of the feet of clay that melt away at the face of intimidation from the temporary custodian of political authority. The bottom-line is that if we shall have freedom, genuine change, fairness and justice, we must stand up and fight.”

 

Oyedepo, who said he wrote the book out of a genuine concern for the future of Kwara State, disclosed that he was motivated to write it because of the dire need to cast a vision of the direction of the political journey in the state on some followers. “The book is not a mere critique of the present social order but rather a solution-packed document that must be read and used to raise the army of liberation,” admonished Oyedepo who craved a State that “ will be truly a State of Harmony, not the present State where harmony or silence of the graveyard provides for frustration and underdevelopment.”

 

Reviewing the book, Chief Ayo Opadokun, who was represented by Mr. Michael Ajayi, applauded the author for being objective in his analysis of the challenges facing the state.

In particular, he described Oyedepo’s courage and resolve to write the 27 letters to the Emir as “a powerful exploitation of the revolt of ethnic nationalities striving to free themselves from the ruthless exploitation of their traditional overlord,” pointing out that the issues raised are fundamental and relevant to the corporate existence of a heterogeneous society like Kwara State.

To Opadokun, the author has, through the book, spoken the minds of many people and “has surely lit the candle for us to expose the occurrence of ungodliness and profligacy in the corridors of Kwara politics and power,” adding that the challenge Oyedepo and the book pose is that rather than grumbling silently about the negative situation, all and sundry should take up the responsibility to inform, educate and mobilise various platforms and constituencies to constitutionally change the status quo.

In his remarks, the Chairman of the occasion, Dr. Hezekiah Oyedepo, said the author has, by the book, set an agenda for discussions on how to move the state forward, adding that those who have the interest of the state at heart should be interested in the book.

Noting that the state needs more courageous people like the author, the Chairman said all and sundry should be prepared to play their part in order to redress the situation in the state.

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Court soft-pedals on Nnamdi Kanu’s trial

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The authorities of the Federal High Court in Abuja have soft-pedaled on the stringent conditions imposed on the trial of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu.

Against their last month decision, the court authorities have stopped the movement of the trial to the Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT, at Jabi District of Abuja.

Also, the authorities of the Court have permitted the media to witness the treasonable felony charges brought against the Biafra nation agitator by the Federal Government.

At the time of this report, fully armed operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS), have taken perfect control of the security situations within and outside the court premises.

Journalists, lawyers, litigants, as well as workers are being allowed into the court premises unhindered after formal introduction and presentation of identity cards.

The court had last month issued a Practice Direction which moved the trial to CCT believed to be large and spacious enough to accommodate the crowd that usually surged to witness the trial.

The Practice Direction endorsed by the Chief Judge of the Court, Justice John Tsoho had also prohibited media coverage except where expressly permitted.

However, it was observed that the stringent conditions have been jettisoned.

Although, reasons for deviating from the Practice Direction have not been made known, it was gathered that Jabi Code of Conduct Tribunal was considered too porous for such a sensitive trial, especially from the security points.

Apart from unhindered access being granted to lawyers and media practitioners, roads leading to the court are not blocked, while food vendors are also having their businesses done without molestation.

However, adequate security measures are being observed to prevent security breaches.

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Finland and Sweden submit applications to join NATO

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NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg says that Finland and Sweden have officially applied to join the world’s biggest military alliance, a move driven by security concerns over Russia’s war in Ukraine.

“I warmly welcome the requests by Finland and Sweden to join NATO. You are our closest partners,” Stoltenberg told reporters on Wednesday after receiving their application letters from the two Nordic countries’ ambassadors.

“This is a historic moment, which we must seize,” Stoltenberg said at NATO headquarters in Brussels.

Neutral throughout the Cold War, the two countries’ decision to join the alliance is one of the most significant changes in Europe’s security architecture in decades.

The applications must now be weighed by the 30 member countries. That process is expected to take about two weeks, although Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has expressed reservations about Finland and Sweden joining.

If his objections are overcome, and accession talks go as well as expected, the two could become members within a few months. The process usually takes eight to 12 months, but NATO wants to move quickly given the threat from Russia hanging over the Nordic countries’ heads.

Canada, for example, says that it expects to ratify their accession protocol in just a few days.

Several NATO allies, most notably the United Kingdom, have offered security assurances to Finland and Sweden during the application period before they are covered by the alliance’s mutual defence pact.

Finland and Sweden submit applications to join NATO

“Over the past few days, we have seen numerous statements by allies committing to Finland and Sweden’s security. NATO is already vigilant in the Baltic Sea region and NATO and allies’ forces will continue to adapt as necessary,” Stoltenberg said.

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 Nigerian government puts Facebook under watch over IPOB

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Facebook and other social media platforms have been cautioned against yielding their platforms to the members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) to incite violence and instigate ethnic hatred in Nigeria.

The Federal Government gave the instruction through Information, Culture & Tourism Minister Lai Mohammed at a meeting with a team from Facebook.

In a statement signed by his media aide, Mr. Segun Adeyemi, the minister said since IPOB had been proscribed and classified as a terrorist organisation, Facebook has no justification to continue allowing its platform to be used by the organisation to further its campaign of hate and destabilisation of the country.

Mohammed was quoted as saying: “I have called this meeting to enable us to discuss the increasing use of Facebook by separatists and anarchists, especially those of them based outside the country, to instigate violence and ethnic hatred in Nigeria.

“For whatever reason, they seem to have now chosen Facebook as their platform of choice. And their tools include disinformation, incendiary statements and hate speech.

“They use Facebook broadcasts to reach their followers, who are in thousands. They tag those opposed to their violent ways as ‘saboteurs’ who must be attacked, maimed and killed. They use both English and their local language as it suits them.”

He said the actions of the outlawed group have real-life implications, adding: “By purveying hate and inciting violence, people are getting killed while private and public property are being attacked and destroyed. Security agencies and other symbols of government are their choice targets.”

The minister said that despite the numerous complaints to Facebook on the activities of IPOB, nothing has been done by the company to curtail the group’s excesses on the social media platform.

He said: “Our social media people have been monitoring these separatists, anarchists and purveyors of hate, and have been reporting their atrocious actions to Facebook, but all they get are default responses that their complaints have been received and are being looked into.

“Most often than not, nothing has been done about such complaints… The truth is that whatever Facebook is doing to check these people is mere tokenism and is totally ineffective.”

Mohammed said the government would be monitoring Facebook and other platforms closely in the days ahead to ensure compliance with the demand, as it steps up the campaign for the responsible use of social media.

He said: “We have always advocated a responsible use of social media, and consistently called on all stakeholders to join us in achieving this. Some have tagged our efforts as an attempt to stifle social media.

“They are wrong, because we have no intention of preventing Nigerians from using social media responsibly. All we have been advocating is a responsible use of social media,” the minister said.

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