Ranking of Obas: Awujale blasts Alake, queries source of rating

By Clifford Ndujihe, Yinka Kolawole, Amaka Abayomi, Gbenga Oke & Princewill Ekwujuru LAGOS—

THE Awujale and Paramount Ruler of Ijebuland, Oba Sikiru Kayode Adetona, has tongue-lashed the Alake of Egbaland, Oba Adedotun Aremu Gbadebo, over his recent ranking of Yoruba Obas, which is still generating heat in the polity. The Alake, in the ranking of the five top Obas, placed the Ooni of Ife as the first, followed by the Alaafin of Oyo, the Oba of Benin, with the Alake coming fourth and the Awujale fifth. Dismissing the ranking as self-serving, false and misrepresentation of facts, Awujale said the Alake was not higher than him in order of ranking, adding that at best, he was a junior traditional ruler in Yoruba land. Awujale and Paramount Ruler of Ijebuland, Oba Sikiru Kayode Adetona, and Alake of Egbaland, Oba Adedotun Aremu Gbadebo To get the records, the Awujale advised the Alake to meet with former President Olusegun Obasanjo for proper tutelage. “My advice to Alake, being a young and inexperienced traditional ruler, is that he should contact Chief Olusegun Obasanjo for proper education so as to save himself and his people from further embarrassment,” he said. Oba Adetona spoke in Lagos at the Inaugural Lecture of the Professorial Chair in Governance he endowed at the Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago Iwoye. The Alake’s ranking of Yoruba sparked off heated debate, with the Benin Kingdom countering that no Yoruba Oba was higher than the Oba of Benin. The polity had been suffused with series of arguments and counter-arguments over the issue since then. Picking holes in the ranking, the Awujale faulted the 1903 gazette the Alake based his categorisation on. His words: “Not long ago, after the installation of Oba Alaiyeluwa Adeyeye Ogunwusi as the Ooni of Ife, he undertook steps to foster unity and cooperation among leading Yoruba Obas and for which I personally commend him. See photos of Awujale, Sanusi,others at the inaugural lecture for Oba Sikiru Adetona in Lagos “First, he joined the Alaafin at his 77th birthday celebration at Oyo. Thereafter, he visited me at Ijebu-Ode on Friday, January 29, 2016, followed by another visit to Abeokuta on Sunday, February 7, 2016, where he met Oba Adedotun Aremu Gbadebo in his palace at Ake, Abeokuta, with the exception of the Agura of Gbagura, Abeokuta, who was not around then. “The Alake, while receiving the Ooni at his palace, said the Yoruba Obas (the Big Five so to say) had been categorised with the Ooni in the first position, followed by Alaafin, the Oba of Benin, with Alake coming fourth and the Awujale as the fifth in that order. “He also went further to quote wrongly from a 1903 Gazette to support all the fallacies in his statement. When I learned of the statement, I made several calls to Alake until I eventually succeeded in finding out from him if those statements were actually made by him, which of course he vehemently denied. “In a recent discussion between the Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Akiolu, and I, we also touched on the same issue and the Oba of Lagos told me that he too had asked Alake the same question, which he had again denied vehemently. “Regrettably, however, when the said statement a few days later was continuously credited to Alake on the pages of newspapers, I expected him to deny it or issue a rebuttal, but he did not do so. Therefore, I consider it necessary to debunk the aforementioned falsehood and misrepresentation of facts from Ake Palace so as to put the records straight. The true history— Awujale “First, I would like to make it abundantly clear that the 1903 Gazette referred to by Alake was a Newspaper publication that he, in his self-serving role, is now presenting as an official Government Gazette. “The first question to Alake is: Who categorised the Yoruba Obas and when? I challenge him to produce the document of the said categorisation. It is a known fact that Alake was a junior traditional ruler under the Alaafin at Orile Egba before he fled to Ibadan for refuge as a result of the war then ravaging Yoruba land. “Following the defeat of Owu by the Ijebu Army in 1826, the Owus became refugees all over Yorubaland. Some of the Ijebu troops that fought the war proceeded to Ibadan where they met Alake and sacked him, consequently forcing him to seek refuge at Ake in Abeokuta in 1830 where, of course, he met Osile, Olowu and Agura already settled at Oke-Ona, Owu and Gbagura sections of Abeokuta township respectively. “Even then, the Olubara, of Oyo origin had always argued that all the aforementioned four rulers met him in Abeokuta and, therefore, claimed to be their landlord. Alake’s real title “To ever refer to Alake as Alake of Abeokuta, let alone of Egbaland is a misnomer as his control since arrival at Ake in 1830 and till today is restricted to Ake section of Abeokuta. The official Government Gazette testifies to this fact. “In short, the Alake from history and all available records is a very junior traditional ruler in Yorubaland. His peers in Ijebuland are the Dagbuwere of Idowa, Ajalorun of Ijebu Ife, Akija of Ikija-Ijebu, Olowu of Owu-Ijebu, Oloko of Ijebu-Mushin, Orimolusi of Ijebu-Igbo and Ebumawe of Ago-Iwoye. “I wish to recall that there had been an occasion in the past for three of us, the Awujale, the late Alake, Oba Lipede and the late Oba Okunade Sijuwade, the Ooni of Ife, to sit over the issue with former President Olusegun Obasanjo at Aso Rock, Abuja. “It is important for Alake’s education to appreciate that Ijebu has been in existence for almost 1,000years and that we are the only people that still remain in our original homestead while other Yoruba towns and villages have relocated twice or more. “If only he cares to obtain a copy of the book: “The Ijebu of Yorubaland (1850-1950”) by the late Prof. E.A Ayandele, that erudite Professor of History, and endeavour to read it, there he will know who the Ijebus are and appreciate that from time immemorial and since our settlement on Ijebu soil, Ijebu was, indeed, a nation until 1892 when we were defeated in the Magbon War by the British colonial forces. “As to be expected, the British colonial masters left no stone unturned to humiliate us for daring to engage them in a war. “When Sir Gilbert Carter read intelligence reports on Ijebuland at the Home Office in London, he felt convinced that the Ijebus were a special breed. Therefore, when he later found himself as Governor of Lagos colony, he prepared a treaty for the Awujale to sign so as to allow the missionaries to educate and evangelize the people as well as surrender their monopoly of trade between the coast and hinterland and for which he offered an annual payment of 800 pounds that was rejected. “Notwithstanding the conquest, our early contact with the expatriates was quite significant and rewarding. It was during this period that our God-given commercial acumen was bought to play, resulting in enormous prosperity for the Ijebus to the envy of our neighbours. “In conclusion, I hereby strongly admonish Alake to refrain from making such unsavoury, unguarded and unfounded statements which if not checked, may seriously jeopardize the unity of Yoruba Obas and their people.” The Roll call Prominent Nigerians at the event where over N400 million was realised for the Kayode Adetona Professorial Chair in Governance, included members of the Ijebu Traditional Council, who donated N250 million; Professor Akin Mabogunje, who delivered the guest lecture; Emir of Kano, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi; Governor of Bayelsa State, Seriake Dickson; former Governor of Ogun State, Aremo Olusegun Osoba; Ogun State Deputy Governor, Mrs Yetunde Onanuga; Managing Director of Sahara Energy, Mr Tonye Cole; General Tunji Olurin, Chief Alex Duduyemi, Mr Jimi Agbaje, Mr Emeka Oparah, Chief Oba Otudeko, former Governor of Ekiti State, Mr Niyi Adebayo; and Chairman and Publisher of Vanguard Newspapers, Mr Sam Amuka. There were also Justice George Oguntade, Dr Segun Oshin, Pro-Chancellor, Olabisi Onabanjo University; Professor S.A Adesanya, Vice chancellor, Olabisi Onabanjo University; Mrs Ibukun Awosika, chairman of First Bank; Senator Daisy Danjuma, Senator Olorunimbe Mamora, Chief Chris Ogunbanjo, Mr Jimi Agbaje, Senator Lekan Mustapha, Chief Kola Daisi, Chief Subomi Balogun and Chief Olanihun Ajayi. 
Source at: http://www.vanguardngr.com/2016/03/ranking-of-obas-awujale-blasts-alake-queries-source-of-rating/

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MAY YOUR ROAD BE ROUGH

By Tai Solarin, Jan. 1, 1964

I am not cursing you; I am wishing you what I wish myself every year. I therefore repeat, may you have a hard time this year, may there be plenty of troubles for you this year! If you are not so sure what you should say back, why not just say, ‘Same to you’? I ask for no more.

Our successes are conditioned by the amount of risk we are ready to take. Earlier on today I visited a local farmer about three miles from where I live. He could not have been more than fifty-five, but he said he was already too old to farm vigorously. He still suffered, he said, from the physical energy he displayed as a farmer in his younger days. Around his hut were two pepper bushes. There were kokoyams growing round him. There were snail shells which had given him meat. There must have been more around the banana trees I saw. He hardly ever went to town to buy things. He was self-sufficient. The car or the bus, the television or the telephone, the newspaper, Vietnam or Red China were nothing to him. He had no ambitions whatsoever, he told me. I am not sure if you are already envious of him, but were we all to revert to such a life, we would be practically driven back to cave dwelling. On the other hand, try to put yourself into the position of the Russian or the America astronaut. Any moment now the count, 3, 2, 1, is going to go, and you are going to be shot into the atmosphere and soon you will be whirling round our earth at the speed of six miles per second. If you get so fired into the atmosphere and you forget what to do to ensure return to earth, one of the things that might happen to you is that you could become forever satellite, going round the earth until you die of starvation and even then your body would continue the gyration!

When, therefore, you are being dressed up and padded to be shot into the sky, you know only too well that you are going on the roughest road man had ever trodden. The Americans and Russians who have gone were armed with the great belief that they would come back. But I cannot believe that they did not have some slight foreboding on the contingency of their non-return. It is their courage for going in spite of these apprehensions that makes the world hail them so loudly today.

The big fish is never caught in shallow waters. You have to go into the open sea for it. The biggest businessmen make decisions with lighting speed and carry them out with equal celerity. They do not dare delay or dally. Time would pass them by if they did. The biggest successes are preceded by the greatest of heart-burnings. You should read the stories of the bomber pilots of World War II. The Russian pilot, the German pilot, the American or the British pilot suffered exactly the same physical and mental tension the night before a raid on enemy territory. There were no alternative routes for those who most genuinely believed in victory for their side.

You cannot make omelettes without breaking eggs, throughout the world, there is no paean without pain. Jawaharlal Nehru has put it so well. I am paraphrasing him. He wants to meet his troubles in a frontal attack. He wants to see himself tossed into the aperture between the two horns of the bull. Being there, he determines he is going to win and, therefore, such a fight requires all his faculties.

When my sisters and I were young and we slept on our small mats round our mother, she always woke up at 6a.m. for morning prayers. She always said prayers on our behalf but always ended with something like this: ‘May we not enter into any dangers or get into any difficulties this day.’ It took me almost thirty years to dislodge the canker-worm in our mother’s sentiments. I found, by hard experience, that all that is noble and laudable was to be achieved only through difficulties and trials and tears and dangers. There are no other roads.

If I was born into a royal family and should one day become a constitutional king, I am inclined to think I should go crazy. How could I, from day to day, go on smiling and nodding approval at somebody else’s successes for an entire lifetime? When Edward the Eighth (now Duke of Windsor) was a young, sprightly Prince of Wales, he went to Canada and shook so many hands that his right arm nearly got pulled out of its socket. It went into a sling and he shook hands thenceforth with his left hand. It would appear he was trying his utmost to make a serious job out of downright sinecurism.

Life, if it is going to be abundant, must have plenty of hills and vales. It must have plenty of sunshine and rough weather. It must be rich in obfuscation and perspicacity. It must be packed with days of danger and of apprehension.

When I walk into the dry but certainly cool morning air of every January 1st, I wish myself plenty of tears and of laughter, plenty of happiness and unhappiness, plenty of failures and successes. Plenty of abuse and praise. It is impossible to win ultimately without a rich measure of intermixture in such a menu. Life would be worthless without the lot. We do not achieve much in this country because we are all so scared of taking risks. We all want the smooth and well-paved roads. While the reason the Americans and others succeeded so well is that they took such great risks.

If, therefore, you are out in this New Year 1964, to win any target you have set for yourself, please accept my prayers and your elixir. May your road be rough!

Money laundering: EFCC recovers looted $2trn in 12 years

 ON FEBRUARY 3, 2016

*Says Abacha looted over $2m in 1998 alone *Adds Buhari has vowed to recover every kobo By Ikechukwu Nnochiri ABUJA—The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN, yesterday, said the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has so far recovered more than $2 trillion (about N400trn at current exchange rate) looted from the national treasury. Of the huge funds he said were stolen by “criminal groups and public office holders” within the past 12 years, the AGF said it was estimated that in 1998 alone, the late former Head of State, General Sani Abacha, laundered over $2million. The AGF, who made the disclosure in a keynote address presented at the ‘First Annual Conference on Financial Fraud, Cyber-Crime & Other Cross-border Crimes’, in Abuja, yesterday, said President Muhammadu Buhari has vowed “to recover the fortunes that criminals have made illegally by returning every penny that belongs to the Nigerian public.” He observed that the passage of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, ACJA, had made it possible for criminal matters to enjoy accelerated hearing in courts. The AGF said: “With more than 166 million inhabitants, Nigeria represents more than half of Africa’s total population. Nigeria’s major source of revenue is oil and Nigeria is ranked ninth highest exporter of crude among members of the Oil Producing Exporting Countries (OPEC) and 13th across the globe. “In 1998, Nigeria came under severe attacks from the international community. Political and economic sanctions were imposed on the country to pressurise the military regime at the time to create an enabling environment for democratic election. “During this period, the Nigerian financial system suffered crisis of confidence, caused in part by the inability of the financial supervisory authorities and the enforcement agencies to prevent the abuse of the financial system and enforce national and international financial laws and regulations. “It is estimated that General Abacha alone laundered more than USD2 million during this period. It was not just the financial system that broke down under severe mismanagement but also the justice system due to lack of comprehensive legal framework, weak law enforcement agencies, ill equipped judiciary, and the over-crowded court system. These were just a few of the problems that contributed to the high rate of economic and financial crimes in Nigeria. Plan of Buhari’s govt He continued: ‘“The government of President Buhari is committed to the development of an economically, politically stable and just society where the security of lives and properties are guaranteed and underpinned by a constitutionally independent judicial system that ensures respect for rule of law and promotes equal rights to justice. “It is no longer in dispute that internal security remains a challenge, especially as internal conflicts, including religious extremism, and ethnic conflicts have had a debilitating effect on the country’s development since independence. Nigeria is not an exception in Africa when it comes to internal conflicts, insurgency and terrorism”. He said that trends and statistics from the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, indicated that on the average, Nigerian banks lose huge amounts of money annually to different forms of cyber-crime and cyber-criminals. “The total estimated loss incurred by the financial system alone from 2012 to 2014 could be more than N64 billion or USD321.689m.” Besides, the AGF noted that the Nigerian Deposit Insurance Corporation, NDIC, had in a report it issued in 2014, observed that the increase of fraud in the country was a result of “astronomical increase of online banking and use of ATM as well as fraudulent withdrawal of funds.” He further identified “illicit funds flows” as a major area of organised crime in Nigeria, saying a report compiled by the presidency in 2013, identified a total of over $33.144bn (N20.6 trillion) illicit flows during 2000 to 2013, “of which over $7.456trn were proceeds of corruption and embezzlement in Nigeria”. Malami said: “As you all know, illicit funds transfer has a number of severe effects on a country like Nigeria. It drains the country’s foreign exchange reserves, reduces tax base, increases poverty levels, increases insecurity as a potential source of terror funding, and hurts the country’s international image. “The common crimes that confront Nigeria today include terrorism/ terrorist financing, cyber-crime, fraud, money laundering, corruption, kidnapping, trafficking in illicit drugs and persons, armed robbery, oil theft, sexual exploitation of young persons. All of these crimes threaten Nigeria’s economy and make Nigeria unattractive for investment. “Nigeria gained notoriety among the commity of nations since early 1980 because of advanced fee fraud commonly referred to as “419” as well as high incidence of corrupt practices by politically exposed persons and bureaucrats”. He said that available reports showed that in the past 12 years, since the establishment of EFCC, more than $2 trillion has been confiscated and recovered. “Recoveries have also been made by ICPC, NAPTIP, NDLEA and DSS. As Nigeria struggles to deal with the high-level criminality associated with greed to acquire so much wealth through criminal activities, my task is to see how we can turn back the gains of criminal groups and to recover the fortunes that criminals have made illegally by returning very penny that belongs to the Nigeria public. “With the passage of the ACJA, we have seen accelerated hearing of criminal matters. This would need to be sustained through various initiatives that we are developing”, the AGF stated. Meantime, in his remarks at the event, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Mahmud Mohammed, said there was urgent need for the country to consider and priortise the reform of its laws. “This is heightened by the need to conform with the primary concerns of law and order, national security and public interest. “However, the desire of every Nigerian for the quick and fair dispensation of justice can only be achieved where stakeholders in the justice sector work in tandem towards a common objective as a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. “It is time to leave the rhetoric behind and take visible steps forward in this fight against transnational crimes”, the CJN added. 
Source at: http://www.vanguardngr.com/2016/02/money-laundering-efcc-recovers-looted-2trn-in-12-years/