A Governor’s Naked Dance

By Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, SAN

The name ADELEKE is revered in the annals of the history of Osun State, nay Nigeria, due to so many reasons. I met Alhaji Isiaka Adeleke (Serubawon) during my days as the President of the Students’ Union of Great Ife.

He had invited us as leaders of the students to broker peace between the students and the management of the university even though Great Ife as a federal university did not operate under his immediate authority. He did his best to convince us but we could not find a point of convergence.

He said he would give us time to think about his proposals but we never got to meet with him again. He was very jovial, accommodating and receptive to our divergent viewpoints. He was loved by the people of Osun State and the circumstances of his sudden death still remains a mystery to many.

Then of course one cannot but mention Mr. David Adeleke a.k.a. Davido, who has been an inspiration to the young ones in some ways although he still has a lot to work to do in positive influence. So, when Mr. Ademola Adeleke sought to contest for public office in Osun State, he rode upon the goodwill already built for the Adeleke family.

Even though some saw him as a jester of some sort, the people rallied round him massively and it was widely believed that he won the election but could not sustain the momentum at the end of the inconclusive election of INEC.

Governor Adeleke caught the attention of all with his eclectic dance steps and his general simplistic attitude to life. Coming from a mixed race of Ibo extraction through his mother, a stint in the North where he had his early life and the exposure to civilized life in the Western world, it was generally felt that he would make a good administrator. He chose the names Ademola Jackson Nurudeen Ifeanyi Adeleke and was at home with Muslims, Christians and even traditionalists.

There were however questions on his academic qualifications, resulting in some prolonged litigation that ended in his favour. Notwithstanding his success in court, he demonstrated humility when he went back to school abroad to acquire more knowledge. He eventually danced his way back to government house in 2022 when he was returned as the elected Governor of Osun State, after his failed first attempt.

Since the affirmation of his election by the Supreme Court, Governor Adeleke has been missing a lot in his dance steps, including his needless foray into the judicial waters.

Honourable Justice Adepele Ojo was appointed the first female Chief Judge of Osun State in June 2013 and was set to retire in October 2023 when she would clock 65 years of age. That was before the election and eventual swearing of Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

One of his first assignments as President was to assent to the pending Bill for the harmonization of the retirement age of all judicial officers of the higher bench. By that action, judges of the various High Courts would now retire at the age of 70. Many judges benefitted from this exercise, including Honourable Justice Ojo, who had five more years added to her tenure as the Chief Judge of Osun State.

For whatever reason, Governor Adeleke was not happy with this development, as he had prompted an action to push the Chief Judge into retirement, despite the new Act extending her tenure. It took the intervention of many for the Governor to back down.

As if waiting for the right moment, the governor hurriedly dissolved the State Judicial Service Commission, the body responsible for recommending the appointment and discipline of judicial officers. The end game was very clear, to get rid of the Chief Judge at all costs, but as the saying has been from time immemorial, power belongs to God.

We were all jolted when it was suddenly announced that the Chief Judge of Osun State had been suspended by the House of Assembly of the State and in her place, the next most senior judge would be sworn in as the Acting Chief Judge.

The Assembly claimed that it was conducting an investigation into some allegations against the Chief Judge, warranting her purported suspension. The Chief Judge had filed an action before the National Industrial Court, which granted an order of injunction against her removal.

To circumvent that order, Governor Adeleke directed his Deputy to swear in an acting Chief Judge. Given the fate of judges who had jumped at such illegal appointments in the past, no judge in Osun State turned up for the mock swearing in ceremony although Governor Adeleke would continue the drama through the State House of Assembly via a phantom panel of investigation.

The petition against the Chief Judge was itself bereft of any substance and lacking in merit, containing no cogent allegations worthy of investigation.

What played out in Osun State was only a reminder of the mockery of the judiciary by the Buhari regime, which perfected the odious removal of a substantive Chief Justice of Nigeria through an ex-parte order and got the next most senior justice of the Supreme Court to be sworn in as the Acting Chief Justice.

I verily believe that the judiciary and indeed Nigeria has not and may never recover from that assault on democracy and the rule of law.

Now, Paragraph 21 (d) of the Fifth Schedule to the 1999 Constitution (as amended) states that all matters of discipline of judicial officers should go through the National Judicial Council, being a provision enshrined to ensure the security of tenure of judges, as part of the tenets of democracy. This much has also been confirmed by the Supreme Court in Ngajiwa’s case.

It was therefore surprising that a Governor would seek to bypass the Constitution to desecrate a hallowed institution such as the judiciary. I do not by the condemnation of the illegal actions of Governor Adeleke seek to shield anyone from investigation, but it is not for the House of Assembly of Osun State to launch an investigation into the activities of a judicial officer, purport to find her guilty and then approach the NJC for ratification of the disciplinary action already taken, albeit illegally.

Should that happen,all judges in Nigeria would run into severe calamity with their Governors and indeed with the President, as once they deliver any judgment that does not sit well with the executive arm, they will be liable to summary dismissal.

The opposition All Progressives Congress in Osun State challenged the electoral victory of Governor Adeleke and succeeded in annulling it through the Election Petition Tribunal but Governor Adeleke reversed that damning verdict through the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court.

So, you imagine the same Governor Adeleke scheming to become an emperor with the power of arbitrary removal of the Chief Judge, and through that corrupt process become a terror to all other judges and indeed officers of the State! .

The unfortunate part of Governor Adeleke’s novel ambition is that it gives vent to the opponents of true federalism, as if power had been devolved to the States as we have consistently canvassed, the fate of the Chief Judge would have long been determined whimsically.

We must not be deterred however, the solution being to strengthen our institutions for optimal performance, or else we will end up with tin gods in various positions of leadership who will seek to govern with absolute powers. In the case of Osun State, the Nigerian Bar Association, the media and other civil society organisations rallied in strong condemnation of the fascist tendency of Governor Adeleke.

In the jurisdictions where we imported democracy, Governor Adeleke would have long been impeached, for the scandalous attempt to rubbish the strongest institution of democratic practice. If judges are no longer free to apply and decide the law without fear or favour, then society should prepare for a state of anarchy and terror.

The National Judicial Council eventually halted the naked dance of Governor Adeleke by dismissing the trumped-up allegations against the Chief Judge and reaffirming her status as the substantive leader of the Bench in Osun State. That should end the drama but as I write this piece, I am aware that members of the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria, Osun State branch are on strike, having failed to prevent the Chief Judge from assuming her role as such.

Although they claimed to be agitating for the payment of salary arrears and allowances, the coincidence all but points to the same direction of the dancer.

JUSUN should call off its strike and save the common people of Osun State who are at the receiving end of this bargain. When the decision of the NJC in respect of the Chief Judge has been fully implemented and consolidated, JUSUN may thereafter review its actions and take a position based on some independent factors unconnected with the current ugly dance upon the face of the judiciary.

The emperor mentality of public office holders must be decimated and buried by those who have the statutory power to checkmate them.

The impunity that we all suffer as a nation is due mainly to the condonation of the excesses of our leaders who hold themselves above the law and the institutions established to enforce the law.

If there is a genuine allegation against any judicial officer, due process of law dictates that such should be routed to the NJC for investigation and consideration.

Individuals should have no power of sanction over those saddled with the determination of the civil rights and obligations of citizens, to adjudicate on disputes between citizens and the government and to curb the excesses of the other arms of government through judicial intervention.

It is commendable that for now, the NJC has stopped the superficial dance that was orchestrated without any drum or instrument.

Obaseki Withheld Allocation To My Office Since June-Deputy Governor

Mohammed Shosanya

Philip Shaibu, Edo State Deputy Governor,Tuesday revealed that his principal, Governor Godwin Obaseki has withheld his allocation for the last six months.

He stated this while delivering his goodwill message at the unveiling of the new secretariat and end of year party of the Correspondents’ Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Edo State Council.

He said he ventured into politics in order for the people to have egalitarian society, adding,”That is why I have sacrificed a lot of things to make sure the Institution
call Edo works”.

He added: ” You know there is tension between the governor and I. For six months, no allocation to my office. I will continue to be strong because for me, Edo should be one, Edo at every time should be paramount in our minds.

“I am determined to make sure that good governance is seen, felt and touched and also determined to make sure that in all things, Edo must be first and I am determined to strengthening institutions.

“I came into politics because I feel that we should have an egalitarian society, make institutions strong because that is the only way you can have that society of our dream”.

He also pointed out that “when institutions are strong, you deal with those guys that thinks they are powerful, moderate their excesses, and also promote and help the weak n the society.

“Institution does not know the rich, strong, and the poor, it takes care of all strata of life. That is what I am standing for, that is my calling to joining politics. That is why I have sacrificed a lot of things to make sure the Institution
call Edo works”.

He further declared, “I even sacrificed my personal entitlement to make sure this institution works and in the coming weeks, I will give a stewardship of what I have done as deputy governor from 2016 to date.

“I will catalogue it to things I am entitled that I had to forfeit for peace and tranquility and I will also catalogue some of the things that I have been asked to do as deputy governor and I have done them credibly well.

“Very soon, there is going to be a world press conference to give an overview of stewardship as deputy governor. Don’t forget when we are contesting this election before the general election I am an aspirant and immediately after the election, I will now be the deputy governor of Edo state”, he said.

He maintained that his duties is to the people of the state, noting that his loyalty to the people is not purchased but genuine.

Commending the Correspondents’ Chapel for the befitting secretariat office, Shaibu promised to continue to identify with chapel in order to strengthened journalism practice in Nigeria.

In her welcome address, the Chairman of the Correspondents’ Chapel, Mrs. Nefishetu Yakubu, said that the new office of the chapel was fueled by the need for members to more spacious and serene environment to work.

She added the office also reflected a testament of the chapel’s unwavering dedication to the principles of journalism and the pursuit of excellence.

Rivers: Police Probe Officer’s Suicide After Killing Colleague

Mohammed Shosanya

The Rivers State Police Command has commenced investigation into the accidental killing of a Police Inspector, identified as Monday Gbaramana, by his colleague during an attempt to arrest a suspect in Nyogor-Lueku, Khana Local Government Area of the state.

The slain inspector was shot and killed after the rifle of his colleague, Inspector Nelson Abuante accidentally discharged on Sunday afternoon.

Public Relations Officer for the Rivers State Police Command, SP Grace Iringe-Koko said, an investigation had been launched with a view to unraveling the circumstances surrounding the unfortunate incident.

She said, “Yes, the incident happened. We are investigating to unravel what really happened,”

The two officers who were attached to the Taabaa Police Division had attempted to arrest one Mr. Akere Akpobari in Nyogor-Lueku community after some allegations were made against him by his mother.

But the arrest turned bloody after the suspect, Mr Akere resisted the arrest, leading to a struggle between himself and the two Police Inspectors, a development that led to the accidental discharge of the rifle of one of the officers.

It was revealed that after the bullet of one of the policemen hit Inspector Gbaramana and injured him critically, adding that the other officer, realising what he had done, tried to rush his injured colleague to the hospital in a vehicle, but the fuel in the vehicle finished on their way causing delay and as a result, the injured policeman died.

The source added that after the death of the injured policeman, the second officer cocked his rifle and shot himself to death.

The source said, “In the course of the altercation, Inspector Nelson Abuante mistakenly shot Gbaramana and he sustained serious injuries. So, Abuante and Akere’s mother tried to rush the injured officer to the hospital.

“Immediately Abuante discovered that his colleague had died, he carried his gun and shot himself to death.”

It was gathered that the bodies of the two officers had been recovered and deposited at the mortuary for autopsy.

The incident is happening barely a week after the state Commissioner of Police, CP Olatunji Disu trained men and officers of the command on the latest arms handling techniques to mitigate poor rifle handling and eliminate accidental discharge of bullets during operations.

Disu after a three-week intensive training, assured that accidental discharge would be a thing of the past in the state as operatives have be taught to deploy their rifles only as the last resort during operations.

The CP said, “Arms handling is one of the most important aspects in policing, it has to do with life and death.During the course of this training, officers were taught safety and control, how they should handle their firearms.

“They (officers) have been taught the most important law about arms handling, force order 237, that is when the Police officer can deploy the firearm, when somebody’s life is in danger and there is no other means to save that life, he deploys the use of his firearm.”

Man Bags 75 Years For Investment Fraud

Mohammed Shosanya

Justice Bayo Taiwo of the Oyo State High Court, sitting in Ibadan, on Thursday, December 14, 2023 convicted and sentenced Olaniyan Gbenga Amos to seventy five, 75, years imprisonment for multiple investment fraud.

He was convicted alongside his firm, Detorrid Heritage Investment Limited.

They were prosecuted on 35-count count charges by the Ibadan Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, bordering on obtaining by false pretences, contrary to Section 1(1) (a) and punishable under Section 1(3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act 2006.

Count 35 of the charge reads: “That you Olaniyan Gbenga Amos and Detorrid Heritage Investment Limited on or about the 20th of February, 2020, at Ibadan, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, with intent to defraud obtained the sum of N1,540,000 (One million, Five Hundred and Forty Thousand only) from Akinlabi Qasim Dada, when you falsely represented to him that the money was meant for registration and investment with Crime Alert Security Network with a promise of 30% return on investment in six weeks (30 working days), which representation you knew to be false and thereby committed an offence of obtaining money under false pretence contrary to Section 1(1) (a) and punishable under Section 1(3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act 2006.”

Another Charge reads: “That you
OLANIYAN GBENGA AMOS and DETORRID HERITAGE INVESTMENT LIMITED on or about 27th of August, 2020, at Ibadan, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, with intent to defraud obtained the sum of N170,000 (One Hundred and Seventy Thousand Naira) only from Alhaji Mukaila Odunayo, when you falsely represented to him that the money is meant for registration and investment with Crime Alert Security Network with a promise of 30% return on Investment in 6 weeks (30 working days), which representations you knew to be false and thereby committed an offence of obtaining money under false pretence contrary to Section 1(1) (a) and punishable under Section 1(3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act 2006.”

The defendant pleaded not guilty to the charges when they were read to him.

EFCC counsel, Sanusi Galadanchi opened the case on February 17, 2022 and called six witnesses, tendered eight exhibits and closed the case on January 24, 2023.

The defendant filed a “no case submission” which was overruled by the court.

Consequently, the defendant opened and closed his case by calling three witnesses. Thereafter, Justice Taiwo reserved judgment in the matter till December 14, 2023.

At the resumption of the trial on Thursday, December 14, 2023, Justice Taiwo convicted and sentenced the defendant to fifteen (15) years imprisonment on each of counts 27, 32, 33, 34, and 35 but discharged and acquitted the defendant on counts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 ,8, 9; 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19; 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 28, 29; 30 and 31 respectively.

Besides,the court ordered that the sentence should run concurrently and the defendant should also restitute the victims.

Amos has three other ongoing trials before Federal and State High Courts in Ibadan, Oyo State.

His journey to the correctional centre began when he was arrested and arraigned before Justice Bayo Taiwo on December 14, 2021 by the EFCC. He swindled several individuals through fake investment ventures that led to the loss of money to the tune of over N1 billion by investors.

He deliberately reneged to meet up with the agreements he made with his investors, by not paying the agreed “Return on Investment” to those who invested in “Crime Alert Security Network”, a security investment programme under the umbrella of his firm.

NNPC Ltd, TotalEnergies Ink Pact On Embrace  Of Methane Detection Technology

Mohammed Shosanya

The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Ltd. (NNPC Ltd.) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with TotalEnergies for the adoption and deployment of a methane detection technology known as Airborne Ultralight Spectrometer for Environmental Application (AUSEA) in all its upstream operations.

With the agreement,NNPC Ltd. will be able to deploy the TotalEnergies AUSEA technology on its upstream operations sites to ascertain the level of methane emissions from them, with a view to working out emission curtailment measures to help in combating global warming and climate change,a statement said.

According to the statement,the MoU was signed by NNPC Ltd.’s Executive Vice President, Upstream, Oritsemeyiwa Eyesan, and Managing Director and Country Chair, TotalEnergies EP Nigeria, Matthieu Bouyer, on behalf of their respective companies, under the watch of the Group Chief Executive Officer (GCEO) NNPC Ltd., Mele Kyari, and Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of TotalEnergies, Patrick Pouyanné.

Speaking on the partnership at the MoU signing event, the GCEO, NNPC Ltd, Mele Kyari, described TotalEnergies as a great and reliable partner over the years with whom the Company was looking forward to exploring greater opportunities in the nation’s energy sector.

The Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of TotalEnergies, Patrick Pouyanné, said his company was offering the technology to NNPC Ltd. in keeping with its commitment to promote responsible production of hydrocarbons.

He commended NNPC Ltd. for its successful transition into a limited liability company, stressing that he could see and feel the energy that the reforms have brought about, not only in the company but also in the sector.

Shedding light on the deal,the NNPC Ltd.’s Executive Vice President, Upstream, Oritsemeyiwa Eyesan, said the pilot phase of the TotalEnergies AUSEA deployment would be on NNPC Ltd.’s owned operations, adding that the deal would enable the company to deploy methane abatement measures.

Other benefits of the TotalEnergies AUSEA technology include identification of unaccounted emission sources, establishment of a basis for querying and improving current emission reporting processes, provision of data to review operational system and implement corrective actions, and estimation of flare combustion efficiency.