Barely a week after resuming as Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu said the experience in office has caused him to lose weight.
Speaking to State House correspondents after a meeting with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo in Abuja, on Friday, he predicted that he would lose more weight because of the amount of challenges he has ahead of him.
Asked to describe his experience after a week in office, he said: “Well, the experience is real, it got to show that the challenges are real, they are there, it’s not a tea party. You don’t sleep and wake up and the traffic has gone down. You don’t sleep and wake up and there is no rain and that you’ve resolved Apapa gridlock, it’s real.
“So, it’s something that has psychologically prepared one. So, the best thing to do is to ensure that you are not about looking for what the other person did but it’s for Lagosians to seeing you do what you said you are going to do for them.
“You don’t do it from the office, you have to do it from the road, you have to do it so that people will see and truly know that you mean business.
“I dare say that I have lost weight and probably I will loose a little bit more but I think it’s worth the job entails and is to also ensure that you have the right team of people that would also support you.
“So, when as a leader, you show that leadership support, then the message itself will trickle down and trickle down very well and that is why we have to take that very bold idea and you’re going to see a lot.”
The governor, who had earlier in the day participated in a security meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari, said averred that state chief executives have the responsibility to ensure the safety of lives and property in the state.
He added: “Security is everybody’s businesses but as a governor we also have a major responsibility to ensure that as number one security officer of the state, security of lives and properties is also paramount as the chief executive officer of a state.
“But beyond the fact that everybody has some responsibilities or the other, just as a father has his kids, a wife has to her children as managing director has to his staff, so the state Governor also has to the entire state.
“So, It’s a work in progress for us as a state and for me in particular, it’s something that I take very seriously. We are not just to be mouthing it but we make sure that we put resources in place and strategies.
“We’ve been talking about domesticating and pushing part of the initiatives around security trust fund that we’ve done. We will continue to engage, and continue to identify what are the sources, what are the underlining issues that is bringing about it. Are they economic? Is it more than that? So that we will also attack the root cause.
“It is something that for us as a government that is looking for investors, we certainly must continue to be in a position where we can give confidence to all our investors that it’s a safe haven to come and invest.
“So, for me it’s important, it’s paramount and I thank Mr President for calling us to have this conversation.”
On kidnapping and banditry in the south west and governors quest for cooperation with the federal government to curtail the menace, Sanwo-Olu affirmed that the process was ongoing.
“It’s still work in progress and we have a south west leader who I am sure has also addressed the press on the matter. I don’t want to be at the risk of preempting what that body will do. Let us wait for them to come up with a proper action plan at the regional level and let’s see what solution it will come with,” he said.
Also speaking on the nagging Apapa gridlock, the Lagos state government assured that something was being done about it.
According to him, “It’s a work in progress. If you go to Lagos now, you will see that they have started clearing it. So for us, it’s not just to do it but to ensure that we sustain it. So, sustainability is critical.
“It’s to build a model where it’s sustainable and we are also involving the big players we are also discussing with them – the shippers council, the shipping lines, NPA, NIMASA and all of them that are stakeholders in the conversations around port utility. We are settling it. We will continue to engage ourselves and come up with a sustained resolution not just a one off.”
INEC continues to deny existence of server
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) yesterday insisted that the results of the 2019 general election were not transmitted electronically to its server, stressing that the commission only experimented with the technology during some staggered elections held in 2018.
The commission said that the clarification was necessary because of rising controversy on the transmission of 2019 presidential election results from states to the INEC server.
Speaking during the post-election retreat organized by the commission for its staff and ad hoc staff engaged for the last general elections in Osun State, INEC National Commissioner, Mr. Solomon Soyebi, explained that many factors forced the commission to drop the idea of electronic transmission of the results to a central server.
Soyebi added that INEC experimented with electronic transmission of results during Anambra, Sokoto and Osun States’ elections held before 2019 elections but the commission did not sustain the use of the technology during the 2019 general election.
He maintained that the late release of INEC’s budget for the 2019 elections and controversy over the Electoral Act, among other reasons, forced the commission to jettison the idea of using the technology to transmit results to the central server.
He explained: “We piloted the use of transmission of election results electronically in Sokoto, in Anambra, even in Osun. What happened was that we were trying to pilot to see the desirability of such technology in our electoral process.
“First, our budget came out very late; there was also issue (with) the Electoral Act. For these and some other reasons, the commission did not adopt that option. 2019 elections were conducted according to law.
“We used the Constitution of the Federal Republic; we used the Electoral Act and our guidelines for 2019 elections. If you look at the three instruments carefully, the issue of the server was not highlighted.
“Once in a while, you will see an experiment going on but we have to pilot it before we will deploy wholesale for election.
More foreign observers knock 2019 general elections
Two United States’ institutes that monitored the 2019 general elections said yesterday that the election did not meet previous standards and the expectations of Nigerians. In their Joint report, presented in Abuja, the National Democratic Institute (NDI) and the International Republican Institute (IRI) said that 2019 elections were marred by irregularities, such as intimidation of voters/electoral officials, vote buying and election-related violence.
They also condemned the suspension of the former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, saying the judiciary plays a crucial role in post-election matters.
“Although many new political parties nominated candidates for the 2019 elections, the polls were largely a contest between the incumbent All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP); the APC hoped to renew the mandate of President Muhammadu Buhari and consolidate its majority in the National Assembly and of governorship. However, the party faced internal wrangling and defections of some key figures in the months to the polls.
“The PDP fielded former Vice President Atiku Abubakar as its standard bearer and, entering the process for the first time as an opposition party, challenged the APC: record, claiming the ruling party not kept its campaign promises to fight corruption, improve security and boost the economy’’, the report said.
The IRI/NDI observation mission said that the 2019 elections did not meet the expectations of many Nigerians.
On security and elections related-violence, the report said, “Ahead of the 2019 polls, the poor security situation in Nigeria, mainly attributed to Boko Haram’s resurgence in the North-east, inter-communal violence in the Middle Belt and widespread crime and banditry, raised concerns about the safety of voters and candidates.
“Increased politically-motivated violence and conflict in the pre-election period was also a concern, especially around political party primaries in some areas.’’
The report further stated that for many Nigerians, the 2019 elections-the sixth since the country’s 1999 transition back to civilian democratic rule, were an opportunity to consolidate democratic gains and build on sound electoral practices.
‘’Significant improvements in the administration of the 2011 and 2015 elections boosted expectations in the 2019 electoral process. Moreover, Nigeria’s first peaceful transfer of power between political parties following the 2015 elections underscored for Nigerians that credible elections matter,” the report said.
The joint report further said that the last-minute postponement of the presidential and National Assembly elections on February 16 showed that INEC had underestimated challenges associated with the administration of the elections.
According to the report, “the commission did not communicate sufficiently with political parties and the public about election preparations. Such a late postponement likely depressed voter turnout and created confusion about the duration of candidate and party.
‘’Most significantly, the delay also undermined public confidence in INEC. After the one-week postponement, it increased its public outreach and communications through regular press briefings. Since the polls, however INEC has been slow to release information, including detailed results.’’
The report said that the last-minute postponement of the presidential and National Assembly elections on the morning of February 16, and delays in opening some polling units and other administrative challenges on February 23 undermined public confidence in INEC.
Ex-minister’s son abducted at gunpoint
Some unknown gunmen on Tuesday evening abducted Dayo Adewole, who is the son of the immediate past Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole. The military, the police, security agents and local hunters were already on the trail of the kidnappers as at press time.
The ex-minister has, however, been forced to cut short his trip abroad.
The abductors were yet to contact the family on their motive and the condition of their victim.
According to a source, Dayo was ambushed at gunpoint on his farm in Iroko, near Fiditi in Afijio Local Government Area of Oyo State at about 6 pm.
Although there were some employees with Dayo, the abductors went for him as a prime target.
It was gathered that the kidnappers later took Dayo away to an unknown destination.
A source said: “The villagers were alerted by the staff who survived the ordeal. Local hunters were mobilized by the Oniroko of Iroko.
“The hunters were said to have located the car of the abductors along the road to Iware village near Iroko
“But they are yet to locate Dayo’s whereabouts. It was suspected that the kidnappers might have changed their vehicle following persistent announcement on the radio after Oniroko had raised the alarm on air.”
Findings confirmed that the military, the police, and security agencies have joined forces with the villagers to search for Dayo.
A top official of the Federal Ministry of Health said: “We are in sad mood over the abduction. Dayo was a graduate of agriculture and he opted for farming.
“He has been managing his farm peacefully in Iroko until he was abducted by some gunmen on Tuesday.”
Responding to a question, the official said: “The ex-minister left for abroad last Thursday for recess but he is on his way back. He has cut short his trip.
“The military, the police, and other security agencies are on top of the situation.”
Imo Governor suspends LG chairmen
Imo State Governor Emeka Ihedioha has suspended chairmen, vice chairmen, councilors and political appointees of the local governments for six months. The suspension is contained in the instrument signed by the Governor, pursuant to the recommendation made to him by the Imo State House of Assembly.
This is in pursuant also, to the provisions of Sections 4, 5, and 6 of the Local Government Administration (Amendment) law, 2019 and S.73(3) of Imo State Local Government Administration Law No 15 of 2000 (as amended) and all other laws enabling him.
He set up Interim Management Committees to manage the affairs of each Local Government.
Consequently, the Directors of Administration and General Services(DAGS) of each Local Government have been directed to take over management, pending the confirmation of Interim Management Committees by the State Assembly.
He also removed the chairman and members of the Imo State Independent Electoral Commission (ISIEC).
This is following a resolution supported by a two-thirds majority of the State Assembly rendered on 6th June 2019 seeking their removal from office.
The action is also in accordance with the provisions of S.7(1) of the Imo State Independent Electoral Commission Law and all other extant laws of the State.
The Commission will be reconstituted in due course to put in place the machinery for conducting a credible election into the local governments.
The Governor further directed that these officers handover to the most senior civil servant in the Commission.
The governor also dissolved all statutory boards, corporations, agencies, and parastatals. This is in line with relevant enabling laws of the state.
A statement by his Chief Press Secretary Chibuike Onyeukwu directed the chairmen and sacked to handover to the most senior civil servant in their various establishments.