FG To Obasanjo: Don’t Truncate Electoral Process ~Ajasa-Info


The Federal Government has urged former President Olusegun Obasanjo not to truncate the 2023 General Elections with his inciting,
self-serving and provocative letter on the elections.

In a statement in Abuja on Tuesday, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said what the former President cunningly framed as an ‘appeal for caution and rectification’ is nothing but a calculated attempt to undermine the electoral process and a willful incitement to violence.

The Minister expressed shock and disbelief that a former President could throw around unverified claims and amplify wild allegations
picked up from the street against the electoral process.

”Though masquerading as an unbiased and concerned elder statesman, former President Obasanjo is in reality a known partisan who is bent on thwarting, by subterfuge, the choice of millions of Nigerian voters,” he said.

Alhaji Mohammed recalled that the former President, in his time, organized perhaps the worst election since Nigeria’s return to
democratic rule in 1999, hence he is the least qualified to advise a President whose determined effort to leave a legacy of free, fair, credible and transparent election is well acknowledged within and outside Nigeria.

”As the whole nation waits with bated breath for the result of last Saturday’s national elections, amid unnecessary tension created by professional complainants and political jesters, what is expected from a self-respecting elder statesman are words and actions that douse tension and serve as a soothing balm.

”Instead, former President Obasanjo used his unsolicited letter to insinuate, or perhaps wish for, an inconclusive election and a descent
into anarchy; used his time to cast aspersion on electoral officials who are unable to defend themselves, while surreptitiously seeking to
dress his personal choice in the garb of the people’s choice. This is duplicitous,” he said.

The Minister reminded the former President that organizing elections in Nigeria is not a mean feat, considering that the voter population of 93,469,008 in the country is 16,742,916 more than the total number of registered voters, at 76,726,092, in 14 West African nations put together.

”With a deployment of over 1,265,227 electoral officials, the infusion of technology to enhance the electoral process and the
logistical nightmare of sending election materials across our vast country, INEC seems to be availing itself creditably, going by the
preliminary reports of the ECOWAS Electoral Observation Mission and the Commonwealth Observer Group, among other groups that observed the election.

”Therefore, those arrogating to themselves the power to cancel an election and unilaterally fix a date for a new one, ostensibly to ameliorate perceived electoral infractions, should please exercise restraint and allow the official electoral body to conclude its duty
by announcing the results of the 2023 national elections.

”After that, anyone who is aggrieved must follow the stipulated legal process put in place to adjudicate electoral disputes, instead of
threatening fire and conjuring apocalypse,” he said.

Segun Adeyemi
Special Assistant to the President (Media)
Office of the Minister of Information and Culture



By Rilwan Ayodeji Tinubu

When the news about the Federal Government of Nigeria Commissioning the Mfum-Ekok border broke out to my notice, I quickly recall a first hand experience I have had about the place called Ajassor and a very important question that came to my mind was that “Why have you travelled so far from Lagos to that end part of Nigeria”?

Fantastically, The National Youth Service Corps came to my mind even though a debate has been on as to why the scheme was introduced by the Government of General Yakubu Gowon in 1973? Has the scheme achieved its reason?
The Programme according to sources was established to enable Nigerian Youth acquire the spirit of self reliance by encouraging them to develop skills for self employment, to also contribute to the accelerated growth of the National Economy, to develop common ties among the Nigerian Youth and promote National unity and integration, it has also been argued to be at the fore front of National development efforts, as well as serve as profitable platform for imparting in our youths values of Nationalism, Patriotism, Loyalty and accountable leadership.
Let me state here that my adventure to the Ajassor community was a result of communal conflict that engulfed Riyom in Plateau state in 2012 where I was first deployed to enable me participate in the scheme. The conflict was so intense that our 3 weeks orientation program was full of fear despite report going around the the NYSC camp has been attacked, unknown to many who paraded the news it was few meters away from the Bukuru camp that was attacked leading to a repraisal mob attack that led to the killing of Senator Gyang Dantong and several others in 2012.
The news going around that period was very alarming why many Nigerians call for their wards be posted to states within their region of abode or the scheme be cancelled. Going forward, this lead to mass redeployment of corps members after our compulsory orientation and fortunately, though it was not my sole wish at that time, I was redeployed to cross river state where I completed my service year.
From the above, I can boldly say my service year was full of acquired knowledge in all spheres of life making me conclude that the National Youth Corps even though with many shortcoming has come to achieve its aim but may need to be re-modify to cater for emerging challenges of our time. That spirit was self-reliant was re-engineered into my system which has continued to help my career growth till date, should we then say the scheme has achieved nothing?
The National Youth Service corps indeed expose me to many life experiences from hospitality, culture and tourism to include many others. It also helped a Political Science graduate like me who is from Lagos and have learnt about theories and historical and political development of Nigeria having well over 250 ethnic groups, our party system before and after independence particularly The National Council of Nigeria and Cameroons (NCNC) which later became National Convention of Nigerian citizens after both northern and southern cameroon were taken out of Nigeria.
Upon my resumption to the National Youth Service Corps office in Calabar while those of us who were redeployed from various states with different reasons also showed up, a fellow corps member who was deployed to Boki Local Government of Cross river with tears on his face crying rejecting the place, we quickly sat him down and raised too many questions of why he was shedding tears after his posting? He narrated experience on his way to his place of primary assignment, he was acousted from behind by a monkey who removed his cap.
At this point many of us became very curious and sceptical to know much about local government in the state, for those who have been pre-informed, they only prayed to be deployed to about 3 local council which include Calabar South, Calabar Municipal and Odukpani LGAs but for me and many others who do not have the overwhelming influence to mastermind a place of primary assignment, we were introduced to one Mr Idowu who was the only Yoruba man working in the Calabar office of the NYSC, we were made to understand he is practically in-charge of posting but our simple approach to him only met a dust of sand as he said nothing came be done as everyone cannot remain in Calabar and that the essence of the scheme was for National unity and not selective posting.
While many of us were waiting to get a posting, shelter was another challenge for those who have been deployed to various place of primary assignment within Calabar, it became very tough that prices of accommodation doubled the entire allowance we will receive for a whole year, a few of us stared making contact while some already lodged in hotels. At this point religion also played a vital role of rescue as those of us from the Muslim faith resorted to the Muslim Association of Corpers lodge located at Goldiee road (arguably one of the longest street in Calabar) those who are Christians also found refuge at the Christian Association of Corpers lodge until our posting came out.

Consequently, I contacted my former lecturer and mentor Dr. Sylvester Odion-Akhaine who then linked me up with a felllow Comrade Dr. Edwin Madunagu who is the Editor of Guardian newspaper in Calabar, he invited me after a phone conversation and instructed his driver to pick me up to his Library where we had discussions about NYSC and Nigeria’s socio-economic and political challenges of our time, he told me frankly “I do not cut corner, where ever you are posted to is your final destination” he also gave me some books to read together with his biography and gave me an unfettered access to the Library any time I so desire to do so, his driver also took some time to take me around the city of Calabar such as Atim-Mbo, Marian road, bogobiri and the University of Calabar finally, he gave words of admonition and mobilized me to face the coming challenges of the scheme.
Few later, the much awaited posting was released where I was posted to Goodwill Secondary School in Ajassor, Etung Local Government of cross river state, there I met another colleague who was posted to Government secondary school Ikom, we started discussion and proceeded the next day. On our way, it was like a journey of no return to include bad roads travelling along Odukpani, Abi, Yakkur, Obubra (where their NYSC orientation camp is located) and Akamkpa before getting Ikom. It took us about 5 hours from Calabar. We both departed in Ikom which is a major town before Etung, it is a 27kilometers journey on a motorcycle which a major means of transportation along the tarred road at that time.
Days after I had settled down at my place of primary assignment, I engaged fellow corps members on getting to know more about the community whose people are very hospitable to visitors with all they have, we took a swipe on a visit to the mfum border to have a first hand site seeing of house the place looks like, I feel so ashamed of what we saw as a border linking Nigeria and Cameroon, here I equally agreed with those proponents who have who keep raising questions as to the porous nature of our land borders. There the law enforcement agents do not allow for pictures to be take with mobile phones, so you have to keep them away while you approached the border. This is not a good omen for us as a Nation.
After much ado, I took time to study the behaviour and culture of the good people of Ajassor, their food, culture of discipline where I saw that it was a taboo for a young person to engage in any form of gambling and particularly their marriage rites. Mfum is a town in Cross River State where it is not uncommon to find traders and articulated lorries crossing the lines that separate Nigeria and Cameroon. Items like foods, fruits and petrol are conveyed across the border. But these are not the only things that exchanged between the two countries as one could add marriage ties to the list. Inter-marriage between them and the neighbouring Cameroon town is very rampant and both speak Ejagam which is one of the dominant spoken language in Cross river, they eat similar food and share many other good things.
Very importantly in 2018 when I heard about the federal government plan to re-construct the Mfum-Ekok link bridge, I was so happy to hear because it will foster more trade and development for both countries and the economic community of west African state who also supported this development plan, quoting from the minister of works and housing Mr Babatunde Raji Fashola who says Nigeria, Cameroon border will facilitate free trade, yes I do agree with according to the 2022 United Nations COMTRADE database whose report that says Nigeria exports to Cameroon was about US$550.58 Million in 2021. Free trade  can also boast standards of living, raise incomes and reduces inequality, boast employment.
Hence, it is equal to say that life time experience which the National Youth Service Corps have afforded me is not just only an eye-opener opportunity but also an effort towards Nation building, it has also increase my frontier of knowledge, the socio-cultural, economic and political relations that may exist between two countries. More importantly, it is also a push forward for any serious government who has the political will to bring about development to clearly understand the for infrastructure to drive it and finally,  the just commissioned link bridge will have a comparative economic advantages for both countries.



The attention of the Lagos State Government has been drawn to the news report on the front page of Punch Newspaper dated 21st October, 2022 that the Federal Government, through the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, is planning to either sell or grant concession in respect of Tafawa Balewa Square situate in Lagos Island, Lagos State.

The Honourable Attorney-General of the Federation (HAGF) must be aware that the position of the Federal Government to either sell or concession the Tafawa Balewa Square cannot be valid as the HAGF is the Plaintiff in Suit No. SC.508/2012 between Attorney-General of the Federation vs. Attorney-General of Lagos State pending before the Supreme Court wherein the HAGF is seeking for a declaration that the ownership of the land, building, monuments structures and fixtures better known as Tafawa Balewa Square in the city of Lagos is vested in the Federal Government. The Suit is fixed for 1st November, 2022 for hearing by the Apex Court.

Unfortunately, this is the second time the Federal Government and its Agencies have taken this position, which is quite contrary to the recognition that there is an existing and pending dispute between the parties in relation to the ownership of the Tafawa Balewa Square and this resulted in the HAGF invoking the original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court to seek resolution of the dispute between the Federal Government and Lagos State Government.

In response to the Federal Government’s first attempt to circumvent the matter pending at the Supreme Court, on the 17th of June, 2021 the Lagos State Government took out an advertorial in the Punch Newspaper to refute the allegation of the Federal Government and its Agencies to ownership of the Tafawa Balewa Square. A copy of the advertorial is attached for ease of reference.

It is the position of law that once parties have submitted themselves to the jurisdiction of the court they are not to take any action that will affect the subject matter of the Suit and any plan to either sell or concession the Tafawa Balewa Square during the pendency of the Suit before the Supreme Court will violate the principle of lis pendis and such sale or concession is liable to be declared null and void.

As the Chief Law Officer of the Federation, it is incumbent on your office to advise the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, and Bureau of Public Enterprises that no such sale or concession in respect of Tafawa Balewa Square is to be embarked upon until the Suit instituted by your office in the Supreme Court is determined.

Nigerian Youth Parliament Speaker charges Federal Government to address ongoing ASUU strike ~Ajasa-Info

The Speaker of the 5th Nigerian Youth Parliament, Rt Hon. (Dr) Azeezat Yishawu has appealed to the Federal Government to address the demands of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) as a means to ending the ongoing strike.

Yishawu, in a recent statement, stated that the incessant strike actions by the lecturers have left the fate of thousands of public universities’ students hanging in the balance, and also pose as a serious threat to the education sector.

“There is no gainsaying that the greatest victims of ASUU strikes are the students whose future is put on hold in the process. In a country where there are relatively scarce employment opportunities, spending seven or eight years for a 4-year programme will further jeopardise the chances of young people to secure jobs,” she said.

The Speaker noted that as a matter of national urgency, the Federal Government as well as the concerned Ministries and ASUU should resolve their differences and find a lasting solution to the worrisome trend of industrial actions in the education sector.

“Education remains our best shot at providing financial freedom for young people and securing a better Nigeria for all. More than ever, the government must prioritise the sector through investments in infrastructure, research and STEM education,” Yishawu said.