Former Manchester United boss – Sir Alex Ferguson recovers.

After undergoing an emergency surgery on brain hemorrhage on the 5th May 2018, Man – U former boss is said to recuperating. Sir Alex Ferguson, 76, was rushed immediately to Macclesfield district hospital from his home in Wilmslow, Cheshire on Saturday, 5th of May 2018 after which he was transferred to Salford hospital alongside police escorts where he was surgically operated on and had been in comma for 4 days with his wife, Cathy and son, Darren at his bedside. Heartfelt messages has been pouring in including that of the epoch making Liverpool manager -Jurgen Klopp “I had few words when I heard it on the way to London, I couldn’t believe it. He was last night and will be 100 percent in my prayers”. I’m looking forward to seeing him again” Klopp added. Alex Ferguson has won Manchester United a total of 49 trophies; 13 premier leagues,5 FA Cup, 4 league cup, 10 charity/community shield, 2 champions league, an European cup, intercontinental cup and FIFA World Cup . As of today, 8th May 2018, Sir Alex recuperating and is communicating with his family.
Richard Okundia,
Reporting for Urhokpota Reporters.

Corps members train on financial inclusion

The Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development on Monday 7th May concluded training for NYSC Peer Educator Programme on Financial Inclusion at the NYSC Orientation Camp, Okada.

The Minister of Youths and Sports, Barrister Solomon Dalung had flagged-off the pilot scheme for the National Peer Educator Pro- gramme for Batch A stream 1 Volunteer Corps members in 2017.

The Programme aims to create awareness among young people on the need to make use of financial products and services. It is executed through volunteer National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) members across the country using the platform of their Community Development Service (CDS).

The training held at the Okada Orientation Camp with Financial Inclusion alumni in Edo state training of the volunteer corps members.

In his address at the event, the state coordinator Y. B. Abdulahi said the Peer Educator Programme came as a result of the need to reverse the very low patronage of financial products and services in the country compared with Nigeria’s peers.
He added that “the programme will help reduce the rate of youth unemployment and restiveness and provide young entrepreneurs with increased access to fund/ credit facilities and business skills”.

Other partners involved in the implementation of the programme apart from the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports and the National Youth Service Corps include the Central Bank of Nigeria, Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation, National Pension Commission, Securities and Exchange Commission, the Association of Non-Bank Micro- finance Institutions of Nigeria and the National Insurance Commission.

Richard Okundia,
Reporting for Urhokpota Reporters.

Edo Govt. restates commitment to reposition education sector, lauds donation of chairs by Niger College old students

…Obaseki urges more stakeholder support for sector’s devt.

The Edo State government has restated its commitment to reposition the state’s education sector to deliver better learning outcomes that are relevant to current needs.

Commissioner for Education in the state, Hon. Emmanuel Agbale, gave the assurance while commissioning chairs and tables donated by the Niger College Old Students Association (NICOSA), class of 1992, in Benin City.

According to Agbale, “The Edo State governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki, is very passionate about revamping the state’s education sector and has commenced the training of teachers on the use of modern technology to improve teaching and learning outcomes in the basic education sub-sector. This training will be extended to the senior secondary schools across the state while efforts are ongoing to address the infrastructural challenge in some schools.”

He commended the 1992 set of Niger College, for “appreciating the concept of giving back to their alma mater,” adding that the Obaseki-led administration appreciates contributions from old students, parents, host communities and other stakeholders in the development of the education sector.

He assured that his ministry will attend to the requests for more chairs, library and laboratories for the school.

Special Adviser to the Edo State Governor on Media and Communication Strategy, Mr Crusoe Osagie, said the gesture is coming at a time the state government is partnering with all stakeholders for the sector’s uplift.

“Governor Obaseki’s approach to issues is wholistic. He does not believe in tokenistic approach to problems. In the education sector, every stakeholder is being carried along to play their part. This donation is commendable and we want similar associations to rise to the occasion and give back to their old schools,” Osagie added.

Earlier, President of the Class 92 of Niger College, Mr Isaac Aimurie, said the chairs and tables were sponsored by their members spread across the world.

The class embarked on the remodelling of the sculptural representation of Niger College badge, sponsored two teachers for a training on the detection of Neurodevelopmental disorders in school age children at the Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital, Uselu, Benin City, after a member of their class was treated at the centre, courtesy of the class.

The Principal of the school, Mr Fred Omodamwen, expressed the appreciation of the school to the old students and the commissioner for gracing the occasion.

Hon. Emmanuel Agbale during the commissioning of chairs and tables donated by the Niger College Old Students Association (NICOSA)
Edo State Commissioner for Education, Hon. Emmanuel Agbale commissioning the remodelled badge donated by the Niger College Old Students Association (NICOSA), class of 1992, in Benin City.
The donated chairs and tables by Niger College Old Students Association (NICOSA), class of 1992, in Benin City.

 

 

 

Drug abuse: POWA organises walk against social vices in Anambra

By Osarugue Idemudia

As part of activities aimed at intensifying nationwide campaign against drug abuse, child molestation and cultism, the wife of the Inspector General of Police, Princess Asmau Idris today led a sensitization walk through the state capital, Awka.
The exercise organized under the auspices of Police Officers Wives Association (POWA) in collaboration with the state police command, National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) and the state Ministry of Health saw the IGP’s wife, the wives of men of the Nigerian police Anambra state command move from the Police Headquarters through Zik Avenue to Eke-Awka and back to the Police headquarters.

Speaking after the exercise, the Wife of the IGP, Princess Idris said as mothers, they want to unit, speak with one voice and condemn all manner of social vices bedeveling  the society and urged members of the society the need to live right.

She said the awareness campaign which had started in Abia and Imo states, is targeted to be held in all 36 states of the Federation.  She concluded her address by commending the state police command for the support towards the exercise.

Also speaking, Mrs Chioma Ntomchukwu,  wife of the Deputy Inspector General of Police, Val Ntomchukwu described the initiative as highly commendable in view of the recent happenings in Nigeria and expressed optimism that by the end of the exercise social vice would have been reduced to its barest minimum in the country.

The State Commissioner of Police, Mr Garba Umar explained that the state Command decided to partner the initiative in response to the recent fitness challenges experienced by officers and men of the Command.

On his part, the Commissioner for Health, Dr Joe Akabuike said the Obiano administration always support initiatives aimed at ensuring that people of the state are at their best capacity.

Osarugue Idemudia,
Reporting for Urhokpota Reporters

Obaseki Appeals to Donor Agencies to Sustain Support For Edo’s Development

 

Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has called on donor agencies for continued support of its development initiatives, assuring that the government is committed to ensuring high impact of donors’ assistance for all stakeholders.

The governor said this at the First Quarterly Review of Donor Agencies’ projects in the state held at the Banquet Hall, Government House in Benin city, the Edo State capital.

Obaseki, who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Osarodion Ogie Esq., said that in the light of Nigeria’s transition from low to middle income status, the country risked losing access to certain funding for development.

He said this calls for more creative approaches to addressing developmental challenges, especially in healthcare and education, noting that the state government is adopting the Edo State Health Insurance Scheme to ensure that accessible and affordable healthcare does not elude her people.

According to him, “Edo State is not sleeping on its oars in the face of such dire situation. Hence, we are adopting a special Edo State Health Insurance Scheme.

“As donor support is shrinking, we must put on our thinking caps to begin to look at other sources of funds to assist us with our developmental projects. It is on this note that we request our donor partners to keep granting Edo State the understanding it truly deserves because of our unalloyed commitment of ensuring that every of your effort crystalizes into high-yielding gains for all stakeholders.”

He said the meeting was also to acquaint local government executives with the different donor funded projects in their domain so that they do not only have inventory of the projects, but also to ensure monitoring and maintenance.

In her remarks, Commissioner for Budget, Hon. Maryam Abubakar, said the state government organised the meeting to review performance and ascertain intervention and impact of donor agencies’ projects.

She added that the state government places emphasis on the deepening of development by donor agencies, especially in line with her developmental plan, captured in thematic areas in the State’s Strategic Plan 2010-2020.

Richard Okundia,
Reporting for URHOKPOTA REPORTERS.

Onojie of Ewu hands over Community Library to NGO, to revive reading culture

Recently incorporated NGO, the Ewu Progress Foundation also known as Ewu Political Forum, (EPF), founded, populated and led by Ewu sons and daughters both home and abroad, paid their monarch, His Royal Highness, Onojie of Ewu Kingdom – HRH. Ojeifo, a courtesy call in his Palace (Ikpebua House) Sunday.

The EPF delegation, led by member of the Board Of Trustees (BOT), Revd. Albert Omonhan Oboh, also had other illustrious sons of Eilu amongst whom are: Lawrence Isiraojie, Yakubu Omosun, Ezekiel Izzy (alias Easy Motors), Ehizogie E. Iyeomoan (Secretary General of the EPF), Hon. Sheidu (Councillor Ward 8, Esan Central LGA). And a non-native Yakubu (a friend of the Reverend who has now taken Ewu like his home).

The palace was full to the brim and spilling out as Palace Chiefs flanked HRH, Onojie Ojeifo to recieve the EPF delegation.

The EPF siezed the occasion to seek for royal blessings and prayers from the crown and the palace. A request HRH, Onojie Ojeifo gladly obliged.

Furthermore, the EPF informed the Royal Father of the main reason for its visit, that is, its most recent plans/proposed projects, namely: reactivation of the long abandoned Ewu Community Library at Eguare-Ewu, and asked to be given the opportunity to take over management of the Library which had been nonfunctional for many years.

The EPF also informed the crown and the entire palace of its proposed Ewu Political Series termed “Ikpebua House” modelled after the Chattam House of BrutaiB, which first edition has been slated for May 27 2018. The EPF solicited for royal support – and that the Royal Father be available as one of the special guests of honour.

On his part the Onojie of Ewu who was all shades of excitement, welcomed the EPF, offered prayers to the organisation (especially towards the prosperity of its members) and Ewuland in general, stating that the growth of one is the growth of another and by extension the development of Ewu.

On the demands of the EPF, the Royal Father immediately granted that the Library be handed over to the custody of the EPF for proper management.

The Onojie Ojeifo III, who is also a lawyer, immediately directed Hon. Shiedu (Councillor, Ward 8) to assist the EPF in making the Library available for its project, stating that educational projects of this nature would reactivate the reading culture of Ewu sons and daughters.

Hon. Sheidu on his part added his voice by appreciating the EPF for honouring the royal father, and informed him (Onojie Ojeifo III) that the EPF had also extended its long hand of honour to the Local Government Council (the Chairman and the two councillors from Ewu). That he is totally in support of the EPF and its very feasible projects, especially because the EPF totally guns for partnerships for the development of Ewu kingdom.

EPF delegation to the Onojie of Ewu

His Royal Highness also hinted on the series of developmental projects Ewu has so far witnessed during his time, thanking God for every single Ewu son and daughter who had in one way or the other been instrumental to the success of these rapid growth plots.

On the EPF political lecture series (Ikpebua House), the Royal father fully endorsed the idea and promised to ‘save the date, 27th May’ on his calendar.

The Onojie said that Ewuland is one of the most prominent Kingdoms of Esan land, hence the people must keep the flag at full mast by continually driving/attracting sustainable growth to Ewu.

He added that he is open to partnerships of the kind the EPF is offering to Ewu, and would do everything within his power to assist.

The Edionwele, as directed by Onojie Ojeifo III, broke the kolanuts and said more prayers to the success of the EPF and to the growth of Ewu at large.

When contacted for his comment, the President of the EPF who was unavoidably absent, stated that EPF was established to raise the banner of prosperity and unity for Ewu and that he would use his tenure to see that Ewu regains her rightful pride of place in Esan Central, Edo State and Nigeria.

Nullify the March 3rd local government election in Edo – Candidate tells Election Tribunal

Candidate of the Action Democratic Party (ADP) from Avbiosi, Ward 5, in Owan West Local Government Area (LGA), Mr Ernest Ofeimu Eguaoba, has approached the Edo State Local Government Election Tribunal in Benin City to challenge the outcome of the March 3 local government election conducted in Edo State, which was boycotted – and its validity currently being challenged – by the main opposition party in the state, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).

The ADP candidate’s suit is challenging the outcome of the purported election in Avbiosi and also seeking an order of the Tribunal to invalidate the entire local government election held across Edo State for failing to comply the the laws governing election in the local government.

In a suit filed by his Legal Counsels, Barr Saturday Elefan and Barr Darlington Enereba, the Councillor candidate of the ADP petitioned the Tribunal that the purported election was held in contravention of the provisions of Section 30 of the Electoral Act.

In their pleading, the Petitioners argue that elections did not hold in Ward 5 of Owan West LGA on the 3rd of March as ballot papers and other sensitive election materials never got to any of the respective polling units in Ward 5 yet election was result was announced.

Returning Officer for the contested election declared one Mr Ijeboi Monday of the All Peoples Congress (APC) as the winner of the purported election that allegedly never held anywhere in the Ward.

This development obviously irritated the claimed popular candidate of the Action Democratic Party hence his decision to approach the Tribunal for a redress.

If this Petition succeeds, the Election Tribunal may invalidate the entire election conducted in Edo State or the election purportedly conducted in the contested Ward.

Friday, the 20th of April 2018, one of the lawyers to the Petitioners approached the Election Tribunal to seek leave to serve the Petitioned by substituted means as the said Mr Ijeboi Monday has been evading service.

 

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Ewu Declaration: Our Resolve Against Continued Inequity And Marginalization

Press Release:

14 January 2018

Ewu Declaration: Our Resolve Against Continued Inequity And Marginalization

The Ewu Political Forum (EPF) is a voluntary socio-cultural/political movement made up of Ewu sons and daughters.

Ewu Political Forum is one of the brand names for the incorporated name of Ewu Progress Foundation (EPF).

The membership of EPF is drawn from Ewu people living within and outside Ewu kingdom and Ewu people in the Diaspora. The body is exclusively for charitable, humanitarian, educational and developmental purposes of Ewu Kingdom.

As to be expected, this body could be partisan, if the need arises. But before doing that, it shall be very critical and dispassionate in all assessments, before taking sides. The EPF shall only support anybody or party that will help minister to the perennial and contemporary problems and aspirations of the Ewu people and kingdom.

In a statement signed by Mr. Isiwele Osezuwa, the Protem President, and Mr. Chris Egbele, the Protem Secretary General of Ewu Political Forum (EPF), the body is constrained to make public pronouncements after painfully observing the decades of deliberate neglect of Ewu kingdom in the areas of development, economics and politics.

This statement, therefore, is categorical that the good people of Ewu kingdom who are naturally peaceful, law-abiding and loving to their neighbors will no longer allow the decades of neglect and marginalization to continue. The EPF has resolved and is determined to alter this position through all lawful and available means no matter the consequences.

The Crux Of The Matter.

1. The present Esan Central Local Government Area Council made up of Irrua, Ewu, Opoji and Ugbegun was carved out of the old Okpebholo Local Government Area Council by the regime of the former Military President General Ibrahim Babangida in 1991. 27 years after, no other person from the three ethnic Esan groups that make up the Esan Central LGA  has been deemed fit enough to lead the council in any elective or executive capacity.

As if this is not enough insult on the collective sensibility, Ewu the next major kingdom after Irrua in this group, has been deliberately marginalized in all areas, be it political, economic and also in the areas of appointments, infrastructure and human development.

2. To make matters worse, in these  27 years under review, there is nothing tangible on ground to show that Ewu, that we call City of Commerce, Industry and Hospitality, belongs to an area council.  No single road has been built or tarred in any part of Ewu Kingdom. The same is the case in other areas of the economy or infrastructure. But within this same period in question, just to mention one area, almost all the major roads and adjoining roads in Irrua town have either been reconstructed or built afresh. This act of injustice can no longer be allowed to continue, and the EPF has therefore vowed not to allow this to continue, if we must continue to live in peace as Esan people from the same area council. If this state of affairs continued, we are left with no option but to demand for our excision from Esan Central LGA and rejoining with our equally oppressed brothers; Ukhun and Idoa in Esan West LGA, and Jagbe in Etsako West LGA, we will demand for our new local government area or local council development authority, as the case maybe – which name may be Esan North LGA or Kugbe LGA.

3. Another very disturbing trend is the deliberate abandonment of the Ewu market. For centuries now, the Ewu market sited in Ehanlen-Ewu, has been the center of trade and commerce in the whole of Esan land and Etsako areas of Edo State. For unexplainable reason(s), the Esan Central Local Government Council officials who diligently and dutifully collect tax and other levies from the town and market have continued to watch while the market deteriorates to a state where it is now a great source of a possible epidemic outbreak. As at this present time, no effort has been made or contemplated to clean up the market. We demand an urgent action from the Esan Central LGA council government so that we could continue to be law abiding.

4. For emphasis sake, it must be stated very clearly that Ewu people are not asking to be given undue advantage over other people or towns that make up Esan Central Local Government Area Council. All that the EPF is saying is that local government councils as the third tier of government is meant to draw development closer to the people that make up the council area; in this case, development has only been centered and concentrated in Irrua town. This is certainly not good enough for good neighborliness, peace and harmony; hence the EPF is now demanding an immediate change of tactics in the handling of the council’s affairs.

As law-abiding citizens and loyal Esan people, the EPF is not ready to play any second fiddle in the affairs of the Esan Central Local Government Area Council anymore, and is therefore appealing to the Federal Government of Nigeria, the National Assembly, the Edo State Government, the Edo State House of Assembly, and the Esan Central LGA to immediately look into the unjust and inhuman treatments of the Ewu people, so that the people continue to live in peace in this area council.

5. For the avoidance of any doubts, as from now onwards, and as 2019 approaches, any politician seeking to represent Ewu people in the Local Government Area Council, State House of Assembly, House of Representatives and Senate, must have the Executive and vibrant Members of the Ewu Political Forum (EPF) to contend with as this is the only way we can guarantee quality representation for the people.

The EPF meanwhile awaits the immediate and prompt response of all those concerned, especially the members of the National and Edo State Assemblies representing Ewu in any capacity, Edo State Government and the Esan Central Local Government Area Council to the demands.

We make these non negotiable demands because, as we say in Esan language, Oneghe, Osele!

The time to agitate for action through justice and fairness has come.

I am heartbroken – Obaseki decries state of facilities at ICE abandoned by Oshiomhole

The Governor of Edo State, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, on Tuesday, paid an unscheduled visit to the Institute of Continuing Education (ICE) in Benin City for an on-the-stop assessment of the facilities at the institution. He decried the state of facilities at the institute.

Obaseki, who expressed the view that he was heart broken about the the state of affairs in the school, was taken round the institute by the Acting Rector of the institute, Victor Ajagun. The governor told reporters after the inspection that based on the facilities on the ground, the institute did not deserve to be called a school.

“I am here to see things for myself and this does not deserve to be called a school. I have seen the facilities and I am heartbroken. We are going to take a decision on what to do with the institute,” he said.

This is another admission of the monumental failure of his predecessor in office, Adams Oshiomhole, who indebted the state to frightening proportion with nothing tangible to show for it.

Also, in apparent reaction to the ever increasing violence and criminality in the state, the governor disclosed his plans to meet with President Muhammadu Buhari to strengthen the security apparatus in the state to address the security challenge.

Obaseki stated this while responding to questions on the killing of three police officers and the kidnap of the Chief Executive Officer of Ogba Zoological Garden and Nature Park, Mr. Andy Ehanire, on Sunday, in Benin City.

He described incident as unfortunate and assured that a revamp of the security architecture in the state especially the strengthening of the State Police Command will curb crime and improve security in the state.

“As we move towards the end of the year, crimes of this nature tend to raise their ugly heads, but we have taken the necessary steps to ensure the state is safe and secure for everyone and we have enough information on what has happened,” he added.

Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki (left); the Acting Rector Institute of Continuing Education (ICE), Mr. Victor Ajagun and other state government officials, during the unexpected visit to the institute in Benin City on Tuesday, September 26, 2017.

 

 

I am convinced that there is an evil spell enveloping this country – Reuben Abati

The spiritual side of Aso Villa

Reuben-Abati

People tend to be alarmed when the Nigerian Presidency takes certain decisions. They don’t think the decision makes sense. Sometimes, they wonder if something has not gone wrong with the thinking process at that highest level of the country. I have heard people insist that there is some form of witchcraft at work in the country’s seat of government. I am ordinarily not a superstitious person, but working in the Villa, I eventually became convinced that there must be something supernatural about power and closeness to it. I’ll start with a personal testimony. I was given an apartment to live in inside the Villa. It was furnished and equipped. But when my son, Michael arrived, one of my brothers came with a pastor who was supposed to stay in the apartment. But the man refused claiming that the Villa was full of evil spirits and that there would soon be a fire accident in the apartment. He complained about too much human sacrifice around the Villa and advised that my family must never sleep overnight inside the Villa.

I thought the man was talking nonsense and he wanted the luxury of a hotel accommodation. But he turned out to be right. The day I hosted family friends in that apartment and they slept overnight, there was indeed a fire accident. The guests escaped and they were so thankful. Not long after, the President’s physician living two compounds away had a fire accident in his home. He and his children could have died. He escaped with bruises. Around the Villa while I was there, someone always died or their relations died. I can confirm that every principal officer suffered one tragedy or the other; it was as if you needed to sacrifice something to remain on duty inside that environment. Even some of the women became merchants of dildo because they had suffered a special kind of death in their homes (I am sorry to reveal this) and many of the men complained about something that had died below their waists too. The ones who did not have such misfortune had one ailment or the other that they had to nurse. From cancer to brain and prostate surgery and whatever, the Villa was a hospital full of agonizing patients.

I recall the example of one particular man, an asset to the Jonathan Presidency who practically ran away from the Villa. He said he needed to save his life. He was quite certain that if he continued to hang around, he would die. I can’t talk about colleagues who lost daughters and sons, brothers and uncles, mothers and fathers, and the many obituaries that we issued. Even the President was multiply bereaved. His wife, Mama Peace was in and out of hospital at a point, undergoing many surgeries. You may have forgotten but after her husband lost the election and he conceded victory, all her ailments vanished, all scheduled surgeries were found to be no longer necessary and since then she has been hale and hearty. By the same token, all those our colleagues who used to come to work to complain about a certain death beneath their waists and who relied on videos and other instruments to entertain wives (take it easy boys, I don’t mean nay harm, I am writing!), have all experienced a re-awakening.

Everyone who went under the blade has received miraculous healing, and we are happy to be out of that place. But others were not so lucky. They died. There were days when convoys ran into ditches and lives were lost. In Norway, our helicopter almost crashed into a mountain. That was the first time I saw the President panicking. The weather was all so hazy and he just kept saying it would not be nice for the President of a country to die in a helicopter crash due to pilot miscalculations. The President went into a prayer mode. We survived. In Kenya once, we had a bird strike. The plane had to be recalled and we were already airborne with the plane acting like it would crash. During the 2015 election campaigns, our aircraft refused to start on more than one occasion. The aircraft just went dead. On some other occasions, we were stoned and directly targeted for evil. I really don’t envy the people who work in Aso Villa, the seat of Nigeria’s Presidency. For about six months, I couldn’t even breathe properly. For another two months, I was on crutches. But I considered myself far luckier than the others who were either nursing a terminal disease or who could not get it up.

When Presidents make mistakes, they are probably victims of a force higher than what we can imagine. Every student of Aso Villa politics would readily admit that when people get in there, they actually become something else. They act like they are under a spell. When you issue a well- crafted statement, the public accepts it wrongly. When the President makes a speech and he truly means well, the speech is interpreted wrongly by the public. When a policy is introduced, somehow, something just goes wrong. In our days, a lot of people used to complain that the APC people were fighting us spiritually and that there was a witchcraft dimension to the governance process in Nigeria. But the APC folks now in power are dealing with the same demons. Since Buhari government assumed office, it has been one mistake after another. Those mistakes don’t look normal, the same way they didn’t look normal under President Jonathan. I am therefore convinced that there is an evil spell enveloping this country. We need to rescue Nigeria from the forces of darkness. Aso Villa should be converted into a spiritual museum, and abandoned.

Should I become President of Nigeria tomorrow, I will build a new Presidential Villa: a Villa that will be dedicated to the all-conquering Almighty, and where powers and principalities cannot hold sway. But it is not about buildings and space, not so? It is about the people who go to the highest levels in Nigeria. I really don’t quite believe in superstitions, but I am tempted to suggest that this is indeed a country in need of prayers. We should pray before people pack their things into Aso Villa. We should ask God to guide us before we appoint ministers. We should, to put it in technocratic language, advise that the people should be very vigilant. We have all failed so far, that crucial test of vigilance. We should have a Presidential Villa where a President can afford to be human and free. In the White House, in the United States, Presidents live like normal human beings. In Aso Villa, that is impossible. They’d have to surround themselves with cooks from their villages, bodyguards from their mother’s clans and friends they can trust. It should be possible to be President of Nigeria without having to look behind one’s shoulders. But we are not yet there. So, how do we run a Presidency where the man in the saddle can only drink water served by his kinsman? No. How can we possibly run a Presidency where every President proclaims faith in Nigeria but they are better off in the company of relatives and kinsmen. No. We need as Presidents men and women who are willing to be Nigerians. No Nigerian President should be in spiritual bondage because he belongs to all of us and to nobody.

Now let me go back to the spiritual dimension. A colleague once told me that I was the most naïve person around the place. I thought I was a bright, smart, professional doing my bit and enjoying the President’s confidence. I spelled it out. But what I got in response was that I was coming to the villa using Lux soap, but that most people around the place always bathed in the morning with blood. Goat blood. Ram blood. Whatever animal blood. I argued. He said there were persons in the Villa walking upside down, head to the ground. I screamed. Everybody looked normal to me. But I soon began to suspect that I was in a strange environment indeed. Every position change was an opportunity for warfare. Civil servants are very nice people; they obey orders, but they are not very nice when they fight over personal interests.

The President is most affected by the atmosphere around him. He can make wrong decisions based on the cloud of evil around him. Even when he means well and he has taken time to address all possible outcomes, he could get on the wrong side of the public. A colleague called me one day and told me a story about how a decision had been taken in the spiritual realm about the Nigerian government. He talked about the spirit of error, and how every step taken by the administration would appear to the public like an error. He didn’t resign on that basis but his words proved prophetic. I see the same story being re-enacted. Aso Villa is in urgent need of redemption. I never slept in the apartment they gave me in that Villa for an hour.