Edo 2020: Why APC’s Ize-Iyamu Trumps Obaseki, By Segun Tomori

The Edo State governorship elections scheduled for 19th September, 2020 promises to be interesting and keenly contested for many reasons. There has been a swap of roles by the two major candidates – Pastor Osazie Ize-Iyamu has switched allegiance to the All Progressives Congress (APC) and is running as its candidate, while the incumbent, Gov. Godwin Obaseki formerly of the APC, is running on the platform of the opposition, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Backtrack to 2016, Obaseki won as APC candidate, while Ize-Iyamu lost as the PDP flag bearer. Therefore, it is understandable that the forthcoming elections will be a battle royal between the two leading candidates.

Between 2016 and 2020, a lot has changed and it is important that the Edo electorate get issues in proper perspective. Gov. Obaseki was disqualified based on discrepancies in his credentials by the screening committee of the APC, of course the then National Working Committee (NWC) endorsed the report, alongside two other aspirants also disqualified. The party had swallowed the bitter pill after losing Bayelsa State which it won at the polls to the jurisprudence of the Apex court based on purported discrepancies in the credential of its Deputy Governorship candidate. Who would have thought a sitting Senator’s credentials would in anyway come under the hammer of the Supreme Court? But as we know, the Supreme court judgment is final and the APC preferred to err on the side of caution on Obaseki instead of backing him and risking the “Bayelsa treatment”. The same opposition party now fielding Obaseki raised eyebrow about his qualifications in 2016, and would have done same if he had emerged as APC candidate.

Most analysts have reduced the disqualification of Obaseki to his disagreement with the immediate past APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, but his ordeal transcends such insular conclusion. For reasons best known to Obaseki, 14 out of the 24 Edo House of Assembly members have been surreptitiously shut out of the State and prevented from being inaugurated, over a year after their election despite interventions from the National Assembly, Party hierarchy, Presidency amongst others. The incumbent thumped his nose at the party that brought him into power, not only preventing elected legislators from serving their constituencies but also carried on as “lord of the manor” riding roughshod over party leaders, and at a point threatened the National Chairman for not getting his permission to land in the State. Such was the rabid display of power by Obaseki that alienated him from party faithful across the State and even resulted in the resignation of his Chief of Staff and top aides at some point. It would have been counter-productive for a party worth its onions to field him, even if he had scaled through the screening process.

After receiving an estimated N350bn in three and half years, nothing on ground suggests that his performance is commensurate with the resources. In the words of the Edo PDP Chairman, Dan Orbih, late 2019, “Obaseki brought agony and deprivation to the populace, denying them the benefits expected from democracy. For instance, the 200,000 jobs he promised youths have remained a mirage, infrastructural development for schools have been nothing to write home about, roads and other indices of developments across the State have not fared better.

Now that Obaseki is running under the party of the kleptomaniacs, where all they do is loot, Edo’s future will be mortgaged, God forbid PDP takes the State. If Obaseki can purportedly fritter away N8bn of Edo resources to purchase the PDP ticket, how much more will he need to cater to “fat cat godfathers” in PDP for 4 years? There is a saying that if we don’t look at where we are coming from, we won’t know where we are going to. Edo people must cast their minds back to the “8 years of the locust” of former PDP Governor Lucky Igbinedion where the state resources were turned into a slush fund. He was eventually convicted for defrauding the State.

Pastor Ize-Iyamu like any human might have imperfections, but running under the platform of the APC – a party with progressive ideology led by President Muhammadu Buhari will make Edo State fare better. We have seen the yeo-man’s job of the Federal Government with the National Social Investments Programme (NSIP), infrastructural renewal that has seen Lagos-Ibadan, Warri-Itakpe railway spring up, 2nd Niger Bridge, agricultural revolution in local staples production amongst other laudable, on-going initiatives. A Gov. Ize-Iyamu will be able to synergise with the Federal Government to hasten development of the State. Just recently, Gov. Wike of Rivers, though a PDP Governor, showered encomiums on President Buhari for returning N78bn spent on Federal projects in the State. If he can do that for an opposition State, how much more a State controlled by his party?

The choice before Edo people is crystal clear. It is between choosing a party renowned for its welfarist and pro-people ideology and another whose stock in trade is feathering the nest of its bigwigs with State resources. In this race, you cannot seat on the fence. Don’t be deceived that Obaseki is the candidate of the people, he is actually the candidate of PDP godfathers who are already aroused by the aroma of Edo treasury. We must stop them in their tracks by voting APC’s Pastor Osaze Ize-Iyamu (POI). Yes, we can!

Segun Tomori is a Member of the Media and Publicity Committee of the APC National Campaign Council (NCC) for the Edo Gubernatorial Elections.

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JUNE 12: That The Sacrifice Of Our Heroes Past May Not Be In Vain By Segun Tomori

Today’s 2nd commemoration of democracy day on June 12, courtesy of President Muhammadu Buhari’s foresight and political will is unfortunately tempered by the COVID-19 pandemic and its accompanying safety protocols. The Eagle Square usually the venue of such celebrations would have been regaled with dignitaries from all walks of life and enthralled with a potpourri of activities ranging from march past by the Nation’s Armed Forces, cultural displays and above all, the much anticipated Presidential address. But unusual times indeed – we could only make do with watching the Presidential address from the confines of our homes.

June 12, 1993, now a watershed in the annals of our history was the day Nigerians set aside their differences, buried ethnic jingoism, closed their eyes to proclivity for religious and tribal sentiments and elected M.K.O Abiola, a Yoruba Muslim and his Northern running mate, in an unprecedented Muslim-Muslim ticket, as President. The rest is now history as the then powers-that-be would have none of it. They conjured unscrupulous reasons and with the stroke of a pen annulled Nigeria’s freest and fairest elections till date. Of course, the ghost of June 12 never died, it continued to haunt both its killers and successive leaders until the incumbent President gave it a pride of place by reverting the hitherto less significant May 29 democracy day to June 12.

The victory of late President Abiola, inspired by the “Hope 93” campaign was hinged on better life for the downtrodden and average Nigerians, enthronement of an egalitarian society in which the welfare of the people will be the cornerstone of government.

The advent of democracy in 1999 seemed like a breath of fresh air. We thought we would have a semblance of “Hope 93”, but alas, down the years, we saw the then ruling party and its kleptomaniac administration surreptitiously superintend over electoral and money heist, quite unconscionably – spitting on the grave of June 12, and the ideals it portend for Nigeria and its citizens. It was the concerted effort of progressives to rescue the country from drifting to the precipice that gave birth to the All Progressives Congress (APC).

The APC was lucky to have a pathfinder and mobilizer in Asiwaju Bola Tinubu – himself a renowned June 12 activist as National Leader, as he, in collaboration with other leaders cobbled up a coalition of parties, that led to the first successful merger in our nation’s history. Riding on the crest of “Change”, similar to “Hope 93”, APC defeated an incumbent President in 2015, another first, by an opposition party in our democratic odyssey.

Though “Change” by it’s definition is a “process through which something becomes different”, the administration swiftly laid a foundation for progressive governance. Of particular significance is the National Social Investments Programme (NSIP) unarguably the most ambitious in sub-Saharan Africa. It gave “hope” to tens of millions through the Home-Grown School Feeding Programme, Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP) – Soft loans to artisans, farmers and market people, Conditional Cash Transfers (CCT) – an integral part of the campaigns, N5,000 monthly to the poorest and most vulnerable.

The profligacy of the past that was responsible for short-changing the people has also largely been plugged with the full implementation of the Treasury Single Account (TSA), the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) – through which tens of thousands of ghost workers were weeded out, and billions of naira saved monthly. That is why despite earning significantly lesser, the administration is making giant strides in infrastructural renewal amongst others.

The campaign for the revalidation of the June 12 elections gave rise to agitation for addressing the National question and shot up calls for restructuring. Not many know that this administration has been silently restructuring. Modalities for establishing Community Police is currently being worked out – decentralization of the Nigeria Police being a key component. Just recently, the President moved to give teeth to implementation of financial autonomy for State Legislature and Judiciary by signing an Executive Order for their funds to be released on First line charge. Though the constitution was earlier amended to that effect, bottlenecks to its implementation gave rise to the order, representing in itself a political will to enthrone fiscal federalism – also an integral part of restructuring.

But despite our best efforts at leading differently, we are not yet close to the promise land. Nigeria with a population of over 210m people and an annual budget hovering between $30bn -$35bn in recent times is abysmal compared to South-Africa’s 2018 budget which was $116bn for a country of less than 50 million people! We need to generate more revenue if we must have the capacity to lift our people on the extreme poverty index put at about 95m by the World Poverty Clock, out of poverty.

Policies to spur industrialization, provide incentives for manufacturing to thrive and ultimately be an exporting nation, rather than a largely import dependent one will suffice. The Buhari-led administration is already leading efforts in this regard in Agriculture with the revolution in local rice production and other staples, policies geared to ensure we produce what we eat like the Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP), the recently launched “Green Imperative Programme”, amongst others. These feat should be replicated in other sectors.

No matter what we do, the security of lives and property is a “ sine qua non” to the prosperity of the nation. The recent resurgence in banditry in the North-west, and insurgency in the North-east is alarming and must be tackled radically. The capacity for Intelligence gathering by our security services should be improved and synergy among them must be fostered. Indeed, the community policing initiative should be fast-tracked so that we can nip most of these mindless attacks in the bud.

As citizens we must put aside ethnic and religious inclinations, and let our diversity be a source of strength and not division. Indeed, by harnessing our diversities and uniting for nation building is how Nigeria can become an exemplar of progress in the comity of Nations, it is how the sacrifice of our heroes past will not be in vain.

Happy Democracy Day, Nigeria.

Segun Tomori is the Executive Director (Communications), RedPole Media, and a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC) young stakeholders.

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Re-Mamman Daura’s Flamboyant Birthday Celebration In UK, By Segun Tomori

Days ago, a quack online medium, Desert Herald – obviously acting the script of its sponsors, chose to cast aspersions on Elder Statesman, Mamman Daura through its ill-fated publication that alluded to a fictitious “Flamboyant birthday celebration” of the octogenarian in the United Kingdom.

Mallam Daura had clocked 80, a milestone worth celebrating by all standards, therefore it wasn’t unexpected that his children will pull out all the stops to make it memorable. However, they chose to do otherwise, opting instead for a modest birthday dinner in honour of the President’s nephew.

But Desert Herald would have none of that! They created a façade of a flamboyant party where there was none and even alleged that guests at the party which included his close family members and associates were all flown to London on a First Class ticket. Nothing could be further from the truth as guests footed their bills, while not all attendees flew in from Nigeria, as some of Mallam’s family are resident in the United Kingdom.

The bileful Editorial also attempted to vilify Daura for “making merry” whilst his countrymen supposedly suffers. It however forgot in its haste to crucify to acknowledge his rights as a private citizen who doesn’t occupy any public office. Comparing him with Sarduana or Tafawa Balewa who had held public office at the peak of their lives is outright irresponsible.

Finally, Mallam Daura is by no means a pauper having risen to the apex of his career as Managing Director of the New Nigerian newspapers, sat atop the board of blue-chip companies, was the Chairman of the defunct Nigerian Bank of Commerce and Industry, therefore it begs the question why a Birthday celebration in London will be such a big deal.

It is obvious even to the blind that the hatchet job of Desert Herald to cast Mamman Daura in a bad light has fallen like a pack of cards. Nigerians know better when they see a smokescreen!

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Bulama: A Square Peg In A Square Hole, By Segun Tomori

As the race for who to succeed the former National Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Governor-Elect of Yobe State, Mai Mala Buni heats up, one name has featured prominently amongst party stakeholders in the APC – Arc. Waziri Bulama. Bulama, a top contender for the post in last year’s national convention had stepped down for Buni in deference to party leaders in the North-East as a loyal party man.

Aside his intimidating credentials which has seen him rise to the position of the Deputy Director-General (Coordination) of the APC Presidential Campaign Council (PCC) 2019, amongst other strategic roles in the party in recent past, what strikes one about him at first sight is his humility, calm disposition yet impeccable grasp of issues that concerns the inner working of the APC.

While the battle has been won with the victory of President Muhammadu Buhari, a lot needs to be done not only to justify the people’s confidence in the party, but also strengthen it as a viable platform for the future. At present, most analysts posit that the APC is still a conglomeration of strange bedfellows and yet to transit into a close knit party. Others infer that President Buhari is the only unifying factor within the party. Unfortunately, Buhari has only 4 years left as President, hence the party must begin the process of reengineering itself to be formidable enough to continue its winning streak. That is where Arc. Waziri Bulama comes in.

Combined with the sagacity, vision and energy of the Comrade Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, Bulama brings vast experience, intellectual acumen and excellent inter-personal skills to the table. With both men at the helm of affairs at the APC national secretariat, APC is poised to reinvent itself, evolve greater cohesion in the party and assert its supremacy in Government formed by the party both at Federal and sub-national levels.

The APC has a “Next Level” manifesto which is expected to guide the policy direction of the incoming 2nd term administration of President Buhari. Bulama having served at the top echelon of the Presidential Campaign Council (PCC) will be better positioned to assist the President with requisite human and material resources within the party that will bring the lofty manifesto to fruition.

Bulama’s impeccable credentials and qualities is not lost on party stakeholders as he has already garnered support of majority from his North-East zone amongst other influential leaders across the country.

There is no gainsaying the fact that Arc. Waziri Bulama is the perfect “Square peg in a square hole”, that’s why we are with him and we trust that the APC won’t hesitate to utilise this invaluable asset as it’s next National Secretary.

Segun Tomori is the Chairman, Media & Publicity Committee of the Bulama Support Group.

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Apapa Federal Constituency: Hon. Ayodeji Joseph Is The Best Man For The Job – Tomori

I have worked closely with Hon. Ayodeji Joseph for the past three and half years and I can testify that issues that concern the people of the Apapa Federal Constituency have dominated his being.

On our assumption of office, the issue of the perennial Apapa traffic which is a source of concern to all Apapa constituents received attention. We immediately drafted a motion that brought the issue to national front burner.

Hon Joseph followed up with further legislative interventions including meeting with the Managing Director od the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), and other stakeholders. Today, the efforts are yielding fruits.

The Apapa- Wharf road which was in very bad shape and contributed to the gridlock is being constructed by a tripartite funding arrangement worth N4bn between Dangote AG, NPA and the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing.

We have intervened on other important national issues like “scarcity of Nigerian passports booklets and the need for proper treatment of citizens abroad in our High Commissions amongst others.

In terms of projects, Hon. Joseph has implemented Free School Bus Initiative in Apapa for students in the constituency, empowerment programmes for artisans, small business owners and market women, Quiz Competition to spur the reading culture of pupils amongst others.

Therefore, I urge APC faithfuls in Apapa Federal Constituency to vote for EXPERIENCE and return a man that is TESTED & TRUSTED for second term.

Let’s consolidate on the work we have started, we cannot afford to gamble with a green horn.

Vote Hon Ayodeji Joseph to represent Apapa Federal Constituency at the House of Representatives.

Ayo ni o … Leekansi….

Thank you.

Signed: Segun Tomori

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APC Zonal Youth Leader: I Won’t Surrender My Mandate – Segun Tomori

Being the Press Statement of All Progressives Congress (APC) Zonal Youth Leader Consensus Candidate, Olusegun Tomori

It was with great shock that I learnt late Saturday afternoon as the national convention got underway that a certain individual named Lawal Kolade that didn’t take part in the All Progressives Congress (APC) nomination process was smuggled into the ballot to run with me.

I had earlier emerged by consensus as the unopposed Zonal Youth Leader South-West of the APC after receiving massive support of key party leaders and a wide segment of youths within our great party. That resulted in the Nation newspapers publishing my candidacy thrice within a space of 4 Days. Indeed other mediums also announced my candidacy corroborating the Nation story.

The fact remains that Lawal Kolade or Laoke Olanrewaju that was announced winner never participated in the nomination process or went through the screening process. As at Saturday morning when I went to collect my “Aspirant tag” at the convention secretariat, his name was nowhere to be found and truly I was going into the election for mere affirmation as the unopposed candidate. I also received calls from prominent members of my party caucus in Lagos and the Southwest that I was the consensus candidate before the elections got underway, but lo and behold, late Saturday afternoon, abracadabra started playing out.

First, my name was omitted among the list of unopposed candidates that was announced. When I called the attention of some convention officials, they insisted my name was on the list. I however knew something was fishy when I saw ballot boxes bearing my position, and later ballot papers that included the usurper and I.

The product of that devious manipulation resulted in the electoral heist that culminated in the declaration of Olanrewaju as the winner of the election. I reject the results in its entirety and put the usurper on notice that I am the VALIDLY elected Zonal Youth Leader, South-West of the All Progressives Congress.

Under no circumstances will I surrender the mandate freely given to me by a wide segment of our youths and the vast majority of party stakeholders in the South-West.

I had thought the APC will use the opportunity of this convention to reinvent itself but a powerful few will rather the party sunk deeper into infamy. We won’t allow them. On behalf of millions of youths inspired by my #GenerationNext campaign that threw their weight behind me, I vow to explore all legal means to retrieve my mandate.

I call on President Muhammadu Buhari and the new party chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole to urgently intervene and ensure that this injustice is redressed and I am duly returned as the elected APC South-West Zonal Youth Leader.

Segun Tomori

Zonal Youth Leader South-West Consensus candidate

All Progressives Congress (APC)

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#NotTooYoungToRun Act: A Great Leap Towards Youth Inclusion, By @seguntomori

Aspirant for All Progressives Congress (APC) Zonal Youth Leader, South-West, Segun Tomori has congratulated Nigerian youths on the signing of the #NotTooYoungToRun bill today by President Muhammadu Buhari.

In a statement he personally signed, Tomori stated that the Presidential assent to the bill represents a great milestone in the campaign for greater youth inclusion in the polity and governance. He however stated that other impediments to youth participation significant of which he declared as high cost of electioneering  must be  addressed headlong.

The Zonal Leader Aspirant also stated that there must be a conscious effort to ensure that only young people that have clarity of purpose and are competent are elected. He promised to use his office as Zonal Youth Leader to raise a new breed of service oriented  young politicians through his “Catch them Young” campaign if elected at the APC’s forthcoming National Convention.

See FULL text of Tomori’s statement;

Presidential Assent to #NotTooYoungToRun Bill: A Great Leap Towards Youth Inclusion

Today, history was made at exactly 2.30pm as President Muhammadu Buhari assented to the #NotTooYoungToRun bill and paved way for young people from 25 to run for political office.

It’s a great milestone in our advocacy for greater youth inclusion and we deserve a pat on the back, we deserve some accolades.

Congratulations, Nigerian Youth.

Now, we must look critically at other impediments to youth participation in politics, the most significant being the high cost of financing an electioneering campaign.

First, major political parties should, in the spirit of the #NotTooYoungToRun act, reduce the astronomical nomination fees for young people contesting for elective positions.

I intend to lobby for that in the APC when I get elected at the forthcoming National Convention as Zonal Youth Leader, South-West, by his grace.

Beyond that, our people must change their orientation that people running for office are moneybags, hence they must milk them dry.

We shouldn’t frustrate dynamic, visionary young people out of the race with our ceaseless demands for gratification. Instead, we should support those we deem competent and who pass the integrity test.

Indeed, a mentoring programme which I have tagged a “Catch them Young” campaign will be launched in tertiary institutions in the South West as part of my plan to raise a new breed of service oriented young politicians when I assume office.

We must however keep it in mind that governance is not an all comers affairs. It is a serious business that requires critical thinking and passion to contribute to nation building.

As much as we want young people, we must be ready to separate the chaff from the wheat.

We must shut out those that throw their hats into the ring without clarity of vision or purpose. We must reject those whose antecedents show a clear deficiency in competence, character or integrity.

We have made a great leap forward today. Every other encumbrances to greater youth participation must be dismantled.

A new era yet, beckons….

Congratulations once again, Nigeria.

Segun Tomori

Aspirant for Zonal Youth Leader, South-West.

All Progressives Congress (APC)

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Together, We Can Make Our Country Work, By Segun Tomori

19 years ago, we broke free from the tortuous stranglehold of military rule.

I remember with nostalgia the struggle for the restoration of democracy that gathered steam following the annulment of the historic June 12 election. That movement culminated in the birth of democracy in 1999.

Looking back, we have gone through teething challenges, some virulent enough to truncate our nascent democracy but by stroke of luck or by our sheer resilience, we have pulled through.

That is worth Celebrating.

While we might not be where we want to be, we are definitely not where we used to be.

We have gone through the pangs of the worst terror attacks that left our citizens devastated, bruised our psyche while terrorists seized territories, yet we came out unscathed.

We have gone through excruciating recession that almost brought our country to its knees, but we are now back on growth path.

While I won’t tell you that all is now rosy, what I can say categorically is that there is sincerity of purpose, clarity of vision and strong political will to lead us to a path of greatness.

No one person, no one leader or President can solve our problems. We must unite, pull our resources together as a people bounded by one destiny to make our country work.

We must get involved in the political process and be that light that will gradually neutralise the darkness in our political murky waters.

The race might be rough and tough, but will we pull through with our unity of purpose? Yes, We WILL!

Happy Democracy Day, My Dear Friends.

God bless the Federal Republic Of Nigeria

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Yoruba Youths Endorse Tomori For APC Zonal Youth Leader

The apex body of Yoruba youths Worldwide, the Yoruba Youth Council (YYC) has endorsed Mr Segun Tomori’s bid for the All Progressives Congress (APC) Zonal Youth Leader, South-West.

In a statement released Thursday by YYC President, Eric Oluwole, the group declared it’s unalloyed support for Tomori based on his antecedents as a progressive youth and his invaluable contribution to the success of the APC in the last election that led to the emergence of President Muhammadu Buhari.

The group described Tomori as a service oriented and resourceful young politician, touting his “Generation Next” manifesto as the recipe that will lead to the emergence of a new generation of visionary young leaders. The YYC restated its resolve to support like minds that have identified with it in the their political pursuit across political parties.

The YYC urged the APC leadership in the South-west to throw their weight behind the aspiration of Tomori as he is not only a round peg in a round hole but also a major back of the ideals of the YYC.

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