Senate Mourns Death Of Two Nigerians Killed In Ethiopian Airline Crash

The Nigerian Senate today, 19th March 2019 mourned the death of two Nigerians who died in the Ethiopian airline crash of 10th March 2019. The Senate equally resolved on the need for Nigeria to protect its airspace from the Boeing 737 MAX 8 Series while also ensuring that all aircrafts’ operating within Nigeria are air worthy in order to keep Nigerians safe at all times.

The Senate resolution flowed directly from a motion titled “The Sad Demise of two illustrious Nigerians in the recent Ethiopian Airlines Crash of 10th March, 2019 and the need for Nigeria to protect its airspace from the Boeing 737 Max 8 series pending the determination of its Air worthiness”. The Motion was sponsored by Distinguished Senate Gbenga Ashafa, representing Lagos East in the Senate and Chairman Senate Committee on Land Transport.

Ashafa moved the motion expressing sadness that Nigeria lost two illustrious citizens in the crash. He was quoted as saying thus “Notes with great sadness that two illustrious Nigerians were among the 157 people who lost their lives in the ill-fated Ethiopian Airlines flight ET – 302, which went down near Bishoftu a community roughly 60 kilometers southeast of the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.

Notes that the said late distinguished Nigerians aboard the flight were Ambassador Abiodun Bashua, a former United Nations and African Union, Deputy Joint Special Representative in Darfur, Sudan and Professor Pius Adesanmi, a Professor of Literary Arts in Carleton University, Ottawa Canada, and a popular advocate for good governance”

The Senator went on further to intimate the Senate that the two Nigerians who lost their lives were no ordinary citizen as the two of them distinguished themselves in their various fields and till their death were worthy Ambassadors of Nigeria in the Diaspora.

Ashafa observed that it was not the first time that a Boeing 737 Max 8 series aircraft had crashed under similar circumstances. He thereafter commended the Minister for Transportation (Aviation) Senator Hadi Sirika for the restriction placed on the use of the Boeing 737 Max 8 and 9 series aircrafts within the Nigerian airspace pending the outcome of the investigation of the plane crash.

In their contribution to the Motion, Senator Mao Ohuanbunwa and Minority Leader, Senator Biodun Olujimi expressed their sadness over the death of the two Nigerians, while also commending the Minister of State for Transportation for the restriction on the use of the Air craft. Both Senators agreed on the need for Nigeria to own its own National Airline to be able to monitor and regulate its use.

The senate along with the resolutions made observed a minute silence in honour of the two deceased.

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Senator Ashafa Conducts Mega Door To Door Campaign For President Buhari In Lagos

The Senator representing Lagos East at the Senate and a member of the Election Planning and Monitoring Directorate of the APC Presidential Campaign Council, Senator Gbenga Ashafa, on Monday 10th February, 2019 in conjunction with the leadership and members of the Magodo Residents Association, conducted a door to door campaign in support of President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

The campaign exercise which had a large turnout of residents and party faithful was geared towards sensitizing the Members of the Magaodo Residents Association on the need to re-elect the Buhari/Osinbajo APC Ticket as well as all National Assembly Candidates in Lagos East. The exercise also doubled as the launching of a compendium of Bills Signed into Law by President Muhammadu Buhari in the past 42 months.

While speaking at the occasion, Ashafa stated that the APC had always recorded victory in the Magodo Shangisha, Isheri and Ikosi axis as well as across Lagos East Senatorial district, however they still felt the need to go all out in order to leave no stone unturned.

In his words “This morning in conjunction with the Magodo Residents Association, we have decided to embark on this door to door campaign across Magodo Shangisha to galvanize our support-base and sensitize the residents on how to make sure their votes count and take us to the Next Level by supporting both President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.”

Speaking further, the Senator Noted that “Over the course of past election cycles, we have always retained the confidence and trust of the electorate around this axis of Magodo Shangisha, Ikosi, Isheri and indeed across Lagos East. Notwithstanding, we  have decided to come out once again to ensure that we leave no stone unturned as we prepare for victory come Saturday, 16th of February, 2019. We have given more materials to our supporters who have joined us today from all over Lagos East Senatorial District, to ensure that they replicate this exercise in their own areas.

As he concluded, the Senator noted that the compendium which was being launched shows the sound and professional working relationship between the Executive Arm and the Legislative Arm under the Buhari Presidency and stated that it was this relationship that guaranteed the unprecedented signing of over 60 Acts of parliament by President Muhammadu Buhari.

The compendium of bills signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari which was also compiled by Senator Gbenga Ashafa, contained over 60 bills which the president had assented to in the past 42 months.

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Ashafa Lauds President Buhari’s Commitment To Rail Revitalization, As Ajaokuta-Itakpe-Warri Rail Line Becomes Functional After 35 Years

The Senator representing Lagos East Senatorial District and Chairman of the Senate Committee on Land Transport, Senator Gbenga Ashafa has lauded the Government of President Buhari for delivering on the Ajaokuta-Itajpe-Warri rail line after its abandonment by successive administrations.

The Senator made his remarks during an oversight visit by the Senate Committee on Land Transport to the Itakpe-Warri Rail line which is currently undergoing a test run on Tuesday, 6th November, 2018.

Key stakeholders who were present at the oversight function included members of the committee, Senators Osinakachukwu Ideozu, Olanrewaju Tejuoso and Yahaya Gamau Lawal. The Federal Ministry of Transportation represented by the Government Inspector of Railways, Engr. A.B Yusuf, Managing Director of Nigerian Railway Corporation ably represented by Engr. B Kehinde (Deputy Director Rail Mobilzation and Rehabilitation, Fed Ministry of Transportation) as well as the representatives of Julius Berger Nigeria and China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation Ltd CCECC.

In his remarks Ashafa said “I am excited by the fact that after many years of lack of commitment by successive administrations, and failure by these administrations to revive this all important rail route, the Government of President Muhammadu Buhari has finally been able to do the needful.

“You will recall that from the very beginning of our assignment in 2015, I assured you of the commitment of our committee to ensure that we work collaboratively with the executive to ensure that we deliver to the Nigerian people a functional railway system that cuts across the length and breadth of the country. This we have done through the guarantee of appropriation for critical infrastructure as well as effective monitoring of expenditure as at when due. We have disagreed on processes, checked and balanced ourselves as should be, but most importantly our collective resolve to see a Nigeria that works, a railway that functions and an administration that succeeds far outweighed our differences politically and institutionally. This remains our commitment”

Ashafa further said “In the past 3 years of this administration, we have been able to work together (the Executive and this committee), to deliver to Nigerians the Port-Harcourt to Owerri line, the Abuja to Kaduna Standard gauge line, a substantial rehabilitation of the entire narrow gauge rail infrastructure which now includes the Ajaokuta – Itakpe – Warri line. We also have in the works for delivery very soon the Lagos to Ibadan Standard gauge line.”

At the end of the inspection by the committee which took them through Sector 7 in Agbor, Sector 8 in Abraka and the Warri terminal point in Delta State, Ashafa commended and acknowledged the effort of the Minister of Transportation. Rt. Hon. Rotimi Amaechi and all those who played a role in ensuring that the Ajaokuta- Itakpe-Warri rail line becomes operational.

The Senator concluded by urging the contractor, Messrs. CCECC to continue to maintain a high standard of operation and to deliver on all outstanding projects, particularly the Lagos to Ibadan Standard gauge railway timeously.

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Senate Calls For Suspension Of Bank Charges As Ashafa Challenges Illicit Charges On Customers’ Accounts

The Senate on Wednesday, condemned the illicit and excessive deductions charged by banks from their customers. This followed a motioned sponsored by the Senator representing Lagos East Senatorial District, Senator Gbenga Ashafa.

Ashafa while moving the motion titled “Motion condemning Illicit and Excessive charges by Nigerian Banks on Customers Account with particular focus on Automated Teller Machine (ATM) Maintenance and withdrawal charges noted that, “the Central Bank of Nigeria in 2017 increased the maintenance fees charged by banks on debit and credit card maintenance from N100 a year to N50 per month (N600 a year) as contained in its “Guide to Charges by Banks and other Financial Institutions.”

He expressed concern that there have been several complaints from Nigerians generally and on social media concerning Illicit and excessive charges being deducted by Nigerian Commercial Banks and cited examples such as the campaign tagged #Reform9jabanks led by a UK Based Nigerian Medical Doctor, Harvey Olufunmilayo who lamented about the state of Banks in Nigeria compared to those abroad.

On the issue of ATM withdrawal charges, the Senator further drew the attention of the Senate to the fact that some Banks deliberately manipulate their ATM to dispense smaller amounts of cash so that customers can exceed the three monthly withdrawal limit thereby subjecting ATM card users to the repeated payment of the N65 charge.

Ashafa concluded saying “It appears the CBN is becoming insensitive to the plight of Nigerians who are already complaining of excessive charges by commercial Banks. If the CBN is trying to encourage a cashless Nigeria, why should they be making it more difficult and expensive for Nigerians to do transactions?

The motion enjoyed the support of most senators including the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu and Senators Solomon Olamilekan, Ibn Na’Allah, Barnabas Gemade, and Emmanuel Bwacha amongst others who spoke vehemently in favour of the prayers contained in the motion and the plight of Nigerians.

The Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki expressed his thanks to Senator Ashafa for moving the motion which he acknowledged as very important. He further said “We have done this on a number of similar cases. I want us to take effective resolutions. For me this is a major step that we are taking. This is because I introduced the first ATM that came into Nigeria 25 years ago. Now after 25 years, we should have grown out of these excessive charges and moved on. So, I believe this is something that we must address to create an environment that protects all Nigerians. Because this kinds of charges in this economy affects everyone”.

The Senate at the end of considering the motion resolved amongst other things that the Committee on Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions cause an investigation into this charges by Banks and asked the Central Bank of Nigeria to suspend the ATM Card maintenance charges pending the outcome of the investigation.

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Lagos East Senatorial Primaries: Ashafa Releases Unopposed Ticket To APC Leaders

Senator representing Lagos East in the National Assembly, Gbenga Ashafa, has reacted to the recently concluded All Progressives Congress (APC) Senatorial primary election in the district.

A statement on Monday, Temitope Atiba, his Senior Legislative Aide, said the time has come for Senator Ashafa to sacrifice his ambition for the unity and continuity of the APC at the senatorial level and across all elective offices.

It read: “Over the past 7 years and half years, I have enjoyed the mandate and support of both the leadership and the members of our party to serve as the Senator representing Lagos East Senatorial District. This is a mandate that I have held with the utmost responsibility which such high office entails.

“In this period of time, in line with the progressive ideology of our party I have been able to build on the reputation of excellent representation that has become synonymous with Lagos East flowing directly from the standard set for me by my predecessors in office.

“I have endeavoured to distinguish myself amongst my colleagues in order to ensure that my representation would be both a source of pride to you and to attract value to our district, state and nation as a whole.

“The events of the past few weeks in the build up to the Senatorial Primaries of our Party in Lagos East have led to quite a level of apprehension within the district.

“In the light of the foregoing, and upon due consultation with party leaders and relevant stakeholders, I believe that the time has come for me to sacrifice my ambition for the unity and continuity of our party at the senatorial level and across all elective offices. Hence, I hereby release my unopposed ticket to the leadership of the party in Lagos State.

“To this end, I would like to appreciate the leadership of our party at the State and National levels, our members and constituents alike for the opportunity afforded me to serve. This is an opportunity that I do not take lightly or for granted. I would also like to appreciate the magnanimity and generosity of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu towards me throughout this journey.

“Consequently, I urge all my followers and supporters across the district to support all the candidates of our party the All Progressives Congress in Lagos State and Nigeria as a whole in the forthcoming elections in 2019. I remain committed to the principles and ideals of our party and will continue to contribute my quota in service to both our party and the Nation. I stand with APC!”

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Lagos East APC Leaders Disown Osinowo, Praise Ashafa

Stakeholders in Lagos East on Sunday were full of praises for the flag bearer of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Gbenga Ashafa.

They also distanced themselves from the fake victory of the member representing Kosofe Constituency 1 in the Lagos State House of Assembly, Hon Bayo Osinowo.

The leaders who met in Epe lashed out at Osinowo for claiming victory in a primary that affirmed Ashafa as the party’s senatorial flag bearer.

They lambasted Osinowo for encouraging anarchy in the ruling party.

“The victory story of Osinowo is spurious, shocking and repulsive. It is a fabrication aimed at causing confusion in the party. It is also a figment of his imagination and that of his cohorts” the leaders said.

Meeting under the auspices of Lagos East Political Leaders Forum (LEPLF) to articulate the position of the senatorial district in the 2019 general election, the astonished leaders listed envy, selfish ambition and gluttonous appetite for power as reasons for Osinowo’s action.

“Senator Gbenga Ashafa did not call Osinowo. He never congratulated him” the leaders said.

They condemned the push by Osinowo and others to reverse the decision of APC faithful in the senatorial district.

In a statement entitled; Lagos East has spoken, the leaders lauded the role of the National Working Committee (NWC) in the fight for the ideals of democracy.

They commended APC members in Lagos State for affirming Gbenga Ashafa, Oluremi Tinubu and Olamilekan Solomon.

Signed by LEPLF Chairman, Alhaji Abdul-Aleem Mujeeb, the leaders advised Osinowo and his co-travelers to lend support to Ashafa in his effort to develop Lagos East.

Specifically, the leaders urged the Lagos State House of Assembly member and his associates to stop bringing the district into disrepute and ridicule.

“The last day for the conduct of party primaries is Sunday, 7th October, 2018. The submission of forms CF001 and CF002 for the Presidential and National Assembly elections is 10th-18th October, 2018. These documents have not been submitted to INEC. Osinowo’s name is not in any list. The NWC did not give Osinowo the nod to run for the seat” the leaders said.

Similarly, former Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Prince Abiodun Ogunleye on Saturday reviewed the destruction in Ikorodu over the National Assembly primaries in Lagos East, describing the action of the lawmaker representing Kosofe Constituency 1 in the Lagos State House of Assembly, Hon Bayo Osinowo and his associates as dangerous trend.

Ogunleye said it was the party’s duty to hold free and fair primaries but it has miserably failed to do so.

Addressing journalists in Ikorodu, Ogunleye stated that open secret voting remain a vital process for the development of democracy in Nigeria.

He described the APC primary in Ikorodu as a charade.

“It was supposed to be affirmation. The party disqualified Bayo Osinowo. The exercise was disrupted by thugs, electoral officers and government functionaries who disappeared with materials in Ikorodu” he said.

Ogunleye condemned Osinowo for not quitting the senatorial race after disqualification by the National Working Committee of the ruling party.

Equally , former Secretary to Lagos State Government, Chief Olorunfunmi Basorun has urged politicians to eschew violence and rigging.

He said Osinowo was disqualified from standing as a candidate by the appropriate authority.

“We expected a primary to affirm Ashafa’s candidature and our current House of Representatives candidate who has no opponent. The only person who opposed him stepped down. The National Working Committee cleared Senator Gbenga Ashafa. We got to the venue, I started smelling foul play. We got to the field, I saw my own chairman directing people to the other side. Unfortunately for them, the votes in Ward C2 exceeded the number of people accredited. This was replicated in all the wards in Ikorodu. They eloped with the materials and went on to write the results” he said.

Basorun, lawyer and former Central Bank of Nigeria director, described Osinowo as an ineligible candidate.

“They are doing nothing. The result is nothing. Bayo Osinowo cannot contest. Once a single candidate has been cleared by the appropriate authority, there is no opponent. Ashafa is our sole candidate for Lagos East senatorial district” he stated.

He said the fake votes cast in favour of the Lagos State House of Assembly member should be treated as thrown away.

“Osinowo has no respect for the party’ he said.

The former Lagos State Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chairman who scolded some government officials for working against the interest of the party advised politicians to abide by the rules of the game.

He also urged the party to discipline Osinowo.

“The party must be strict on this particular matter. Some people cannot sit somewhere and think they are above the party. The party must discipline the man who asked people to vote for him in Lagos East senatorial district”

Meanwhile, the Director of Communication, Ashafa Campaign Organisation, Ayodele Adio is optimistic that Senator Gbenga Ashafa will be pronounced the rightful flag bearer of Lagos East Senatorial Constituency alongside Senator Remi Tinubu and Senator Olamilekan Solomon as the only candidates cleared for Lagos State Senatorial elections by the APC NWC.
“We urge all our supporters and the good people of Lagos East Senatorial Constituency to remain calm as we are sure the party’s decision remain supreme”.

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Ashafa, Osinowo Insist On Victory In Lagos East

In what has since become the most interesting of the Senatorial Primaries in Lagos State, both top contenders to be the flag bearers of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Lagos East Senatorial District have laid claim to victory at the recently concluded exercise.

Senator Gbenga Ashafa the incumbent who as at the time of the primaries/affirmation exercise was the only candidate cleared to contest the election on the party alongside the other incumbent Senators from Lagos Central and West in the persons of Oluremi Tinubu and Solomon Olamilekan respectively, has insisted that being the only recognized candidate, he was going into the elections unopposed.

However, a report has been making the rounds across a few media houses, alleging the announcement of Honorable Bayo Oshinowo as the winner of the Lagos East senatorial election. This unconfirmed report has caused palpable tension within the district due to the failure of the party to make an official statement on the matter.

Speaking to one of the officials of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Abuja who pleaded anonymity on the unfolding event, the said party official stated that “There is no way results of an election would have been announced if what took place was an affirmation. Furthermore, it would be juvenile to declare an individual, who did not scale through the screening process of the party the winner of an election he was not qualified for.”

As at the time of filing this report none of the spokes persons of both camps could be reached as interested Nigerians now look forward to the National Working Committee’s decision on the matter.

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Lagos APC Senatorial Primaries: Ashafa Urges Oshinowo To Embrace Party’s Decision

Our attention has been drawn to a statement attributed to one of the initial aspirants for the Lagos East Senatorial District primaries scheduled to take place on Wednesday, 3rd October 2018 in the person of Hon. Bayo Oshinowo, as well as an audio message disparaging and refuting the list of cleared candidates for the Senatorial Primaries Nationwide as released by our party the All Progressives Congress on Tuesday, 2nd October 2018.

Following the list released by the party wherein the said aspirant was screened out and disqualified, Hon. Bayo Oshinowo has unleashed a media attack on the veracity of the list as officially communicated by the party in order to mislead, misinform and confuse the very resolute members of the party in Lagos East Senatorial District by falsely claiming to have been cleared as well.

For the avoidance of doubt, Hon. Oshinowo was not cleared to contest by the National Working Committee of the Party which unequivocally allows Senator Gbenga Ashafa and indeed his colleagues in the incumbent Senate to return unopposed.

It is most important to state that the Supremacy of the Party is sacrosanct as stipulated in Article 2 of our Party.

We hereby use this medium to assure our teeming supporters and constituents that the position of the leadership and highest organ of the party the National Working Committee to the effect that only the three current serving Senators under the platform of the APC in the Distinguished persons of Senators Oluremi Tinubu OON, Solomon Olamilekan and Gbenga Ashafa have been cleared to return unopposed as the Senatorial Candidates for our party in the forthcoming 2019 general elections.

Furthermore, the activities of Hon. Oshinowo have shown a deep disregard for the constituted authority of our Party. It equally bellies a clear lack of appreciation of the practices and processes of our great party, as the screening and clearance process is a nationwide activity and not with particular interest to Lagos.

His activities equally reveal a departure from the school of thought of our National Leader Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu in which we are all enjoined to adhere to the supremacy of the party.

In conclusion, we express our unreserved gratitude to our National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu a true democrat and a firm believer in excellence in public service, the leadership of our party both at the National and State levels, our teeming supporters and constituents who have trooped our to their various wards to affirm their trust in Senator Gbenga Ashafa’s candidature.

#TogetherWeCanDoMore

Signed

Ayodele Adio
Director of Communications.

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Lagos East Deserves Nothing Short Of Excellent Representation In The Senate – Ashafa

The Senator representing Lagos East Senatorial District, Gbenga Ashafa, has reiterated his track record, achievements and plans for the future to his constituents and the media at a press conference held at Mercy Hall in Lagos, on Monday.

The Senator stated that considering the legacy of Excellence laid down in the Senatorial district by his predecessors, Senators Adeseye Ogunlewe, Olorunimbe Mamora and himself people of Lagos East deserved nothing short of excellent representation which he is best positioned to continue delivering.

In the speech delivered by the Senator to a hall packed full of party leaders, teeming supporters, traditional rulers and members of the fourth estate of the realm; the media, Ashafa stated that “You would agree with me that our district currently stands tall on the legislative precedents that have been laid down by the succession of Senators that have represented us since 1999. My distinguished predecessors Senator Adeseye Ogunlewe, my immediate past predecessor and brother whom I fondly refer to as my teacher, the most Distinguished Senator Olorunimbe Mamora and my humble self. It is a legacy of excellence which the Eastern District of Lagos has worked hard to maintain and improve upon. Nothing short of excellence is expected and nothing short of excellence is deserved by the resilient, industrious and hardworking people of Lagos East. It is a privilege to stand on this legacy as I address you today.”

Leaders who were present at the press conference include the former Secretary to the State Government Asiwaju Olorunfunmi Bashorun, the former Deputy Governor of Lagos State Prince Abiodun Ogunleye. Other leaders present included was also ably represented by Alhaji Badur Enifeni, the Senatorial Districts woman leader, Yeye Fausat Gbadebo, Barrister K.K Eleshin, Hon. Gbolahan Bagostowe and the Director General of the Gbenga Ashafa Independent Campaign Organization Hon. Afolabi Kazeem amongst others.

Placing his track record before the people and requesting that they stand on the side of competence in the coming primaries of the All Progressives Congress, the Senator noted that he has been able to deliver 96 verifiable and functional projects, 26 Bills, and 12 Motions of local and National importance, throughout his seven years in the Senate.

“Together we have been able to deliver poverty alleviation programs that have benefitted over 50, 000 of our constituents directly and through them even more. Together we have constructed and rehabilitated schools across our Senatorial District, we have provided ambulances for some hospitals and embarked on various free healthcare initiatives for our people. Together we have instituted a back to school program that annually benefits our children in public schools across all the Local Government Area’s and Local Council Development Area’s of the greater Lagos East.

“Together we have made haste calmly to deliver portable water projects as well as rural electrification projects to improve the living conditions of our people in the township and suburbs as well. Our dear state has never missed an opportunity for international funding and support because, together with my colleagues we have ensured that the Lagos State Government secures the approval of the Nigerian Senate for every such intervention. The Lagos State Development Policy Operation from the world bank in the sum of 200 Million Dollars is an example,” Ashafa said.

Narrowing down the essence of the choice to be made to his people, Ashafa stated that “the choice before us in 2019 is a choice between consolidating on the legacy of qualitative and excellent representation with proof or taking a blind gamble on a path with no proven reward. The track record of each and every one in the race for the Lagos East Senatorial District Senatorial Ticket is right before you. It is therefore only wise that our choice is made based on the strength of character, track record of service, competence and trust.”

He concluded by urging his teeming supporters across the district to troop out to the poling units on the 2nd of October, 2018 to reaffirm their mandate on him.

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Disregard Stories About Ashafa’s Withdrawal…It’s A Sign Of How Scared They Are, Says Campaign Organization

In the past 24 hours we have been inundated with phone calls and messages on various platforms seeking to clarify the veracity of the claims being forwarded around that Distinguished Senator Gbenga Ashafa has withdrawn from the race for the Lagos East Senatorial Ticket.

Please note that this is not true and it is another clandestine tactic from the camp of one of the contestants who is known to us. It is a signal of their fear and their unfortunate attempt to avoid the free and fair contest at the Direct Primaries as prescribed by our National Leader Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and the All Progressives Congress in general.

At this juncture, it is crystal clear that our opponent is jittery and intimidated by the groundswell of popularity being enjoyed by Senator Gbenga Bareehu Ashafa and has resorted to the dissemination of propaganda, fake news and the unwarranted use of force.

Within the past 48 hours some of our canvassers were equally physically assaulted by thugs associated with the same contestant that is behind the propagation of this fake news. This is undemocratic and unbecoming of anybody aspiring for the high office of the Nigerian Senate. The incident has been reported to the Nigerian Police Force and the perpetrators are now on their heels in a bid to evade justice. However, we are not daunted. The security of our teams have been guaranteed by all necessary law enforcement agencies.

We wish to reassure our teeming supporters and party faithfuls that Senator Gbenga Ashafa is in very good spirits and positive of victory at the upcoming polls. We urge you to remain resolute and confident while going about your activities peacefully and within the bounds of the law. No amount of fake news and propaganda can stop this movement. We are in this to win. We are in this for the people of Lagos East, we are in this together.

#TogetherWeCanDoMore

Signed:

Gbenga Ashafa Media Organization

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Ashafa’s Presence At Sanwo Olu’s Declaration; Right Or Wrong Signal, By Kareem Babawande

The Politics of Lagos has always been peculiar and for all those who consider themselves political watchers, yesterday’s declaration by Jide Sanwoolu sent a clear signal; “This is the incoming Governor of Lagos State”

A conspicuous political heavyweight at the event who’s attendance has caused a stir on social media, with various platforms trying to decode the meaning of his presence at both the declaration of the incumbent Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode and that of Jide Sanwoolu yesterday was Senator Gbenga Ashafa. A known loyalist of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

All politics they say is Local and you will agree with me that 24 hours is a very long time in politics. As at 10th of September when the Governor went to Abuja to pick his nomination form and declare his campaign for a 2nd Term Open, there was no clear signal from Bourdillon as to the direction of the party in relation to Governorship in Lagos State. Ashafa, who represents Lagos East where Ambode comes from, had a responsibility to attend that event. The sitting Governor was declaring and the Senator from his district should have been there.

Secondly, considering his pedigree as a Lagosian born in the Luther-Bamgbose area of Lagos Island, Ashafa’s presence at the declaration of Jide Sanwoolu’s declaration was a clear pointer of the need for him to enjoy the acceptability of the people and also a clear signal of where Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu is heading.

Recall in 2007 when Fashola was to emerge as the Governor? He was perceived even in the political establishment as very rigid and unlikeable. Gbenga Ashafa a civil servant at the time was appointed the Chairman of the campaigns Think tank and was charged with taking him round till he was accepted by the establishment and the people. Fast forward to 2014 during the campaign of Ambode, Same Ashafa was the first to take Ambode to meet all the Traditional Rulers in Ibeju Lekki, which was used largely to establish the roots of Ambode in the Eastern Senatorial District.

Gbenga Ashafa is used to confer legitimacy and acceptance by the establishment. Dear Lagosians, Jide Sanwoolu is your next Governor except the PDP’s Otedola is strong enough to put up a fight. But I doubt much. If you don’t believe me, you can put a bet on it.

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Ashafa: Why I Want To Return To Senate

Senator Gbenga Ashafa, who represents Lagos East District in the Senate, spoke with The Nation’s Emmanuel Oladesu on his achievements in the Upper Chamber, his re-election bid and other partisan issues.

What would you describe as your most laudable achievements in the Eighth Assembly?

I am sure by now you are aware that in the Eighth Senate, I am privileged to serve as the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Land Transport. This means that I oversight the Ministry of Transportation in the area of Mass Transit and most importantly in the aspect of rail transportation.

This has given me the opportunity to stand in the gap for the Federal Government of Nigeria ably led by President Muhamadu Buhari to ensure that the rail re-vitalization master plan of this administration is solidly defended and always on course through the way of constant ease of justified appropriation for our counterpart funding for the to main projects which are – the Lagos to Kano Rail Modernization Project and the Calabar to Lagos Coastal Rail projects.

Also, in my capacity, I have also made sure that every relevant legislative intervention necessary for the actualization of a new rail network across the country on the narrow tracks have been successful.

Furthermore, I am not only looking at the task of today which is to lay the tracks across the country, I have led the Senate Committee on Land Transport to midwife the passage of two critical legislations that would guarantee the continued transformation of this very critical sector of our economy. These are the Railway Bill and the National Transport Commission Bill which was passed earlier this year. These bills open up the Rail industry to private participation and makes it attractive for local and foreign investments.

Another critical intervention by way of a Legacy Bill, which I sponsored and has been passed by the Senate is the NIPOST REFORM Bill. This also repositions the Nigerian Postal Service and brings it in line with international contemporary ideals. This Bill apart from further opening up the logistics and courier sectors also guarantees a wider financial inclusion for all Nigerians. On this score I must also commend the effort pof my friend and brother the Post Master General of Nigeria, Basrrister Bisi Adegbuyi who is the proponent of the Bill.

And lastly the Motion on the imminent collapse of the 3rd Mainland Bridge which I moved in the Seventh Assembly. I am glad that this motion led to the periodic maintenance which the bridge now enjoys, thereby giving it a new lease of life and making it safer for the thousands of Lagosians that ply that route on a daily basis.

So, I would consider these as probably the most impactful work I have been able to drive through and deliver to the generality of Nigerians as far as bills are concerned.

What would you consider the impact of your work in the Eighth Senate on your constituents in particular?

Like I said earlier, on the rail interventions alone, there are two sides to your question. The rail revitalisation projects going on across the country will affect the lives of each and every Nigerian. Firstly, considering the magnitude of the construction and investment going on in that sector, thousands of direct and indirect jobs have been created for the generality of Nigerians.  Secondly, according to the Honourable minister for Transportation, the Lagos to Ibadan bit of the project alone would generate a conservative estimate of 7000 jobs. This is massive. Note that it starts from Lagos so a lot of Lagosians are benefitting from the jobs created by this project. Secondly, the Calabar to Lagos Coastal Rail line which is about to be commenced would run through Epe and Ibeju Lekki in Lagos East Senatorial District. This would open up these communities, improve the agricultural potentials the economic potentials of this communities as well. Also don’t forget that this is coming to complement the free trade zone in Ibeju Lekki as well.

Also, in the area of critical road infrastructure, I was able to facilitate the award of the ongoing rehabilitation of the Ikorodu – Shagamu road which was only recently embarked upon by the Federal Government of Nigeria. This project has been top on my agenda since the inception of this administration and as such I ensured that I had regular correspondence with the Minister for Power Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola to ensure that the Government prioritised the project. On a lighter note, at some point when my pressure had become too much, he instructed the Permanent Secretary to write me a letter assuring me that the project had been prioritised.

In the past eight years I have equally committed myself to delivering constituency intervention projects that have been tailored to the needs of the people in various communities. These projects have been based on their requests through my constituency office and town hall engagements as well. Some of my projects include, construction of classrooms in schools in every local government area in the district, construction of ICT centers, boreholes across the district, transformers/rural electrification projects, entrepreneurship capacity development trainings for constituents across board, free healthcare initiatives, annual back to school programs for children in schools across the district, and constant town hall meetings.

You will be contesting for the third term. What inspires you?

Honestly, I’m inspired by the concept of service as well as the trust that the people have reposed in me to serve them in the past and even for the future. For the most part, I have always been in service of Lagos State and by extension Nigeria. I started from the Local Government Administration many years ago, through my leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, I was able to also serve in the state Government meritoriously in various capacities till 2011 when I once again got the call of the people to represent them at that level. I do not take this for granted and as long as the people continue to express their resolve that I be their voice at the National level, I would continue to heed their call.

On a personal note, I derive satisfaction from looking back and reviewing what we have been able to contribute towards advancing the course of human and infrastructural development in Lagos State and Nigeria. I also appreciate the opportunity to mentor young people who are willing to serve as well. My team is made up of young people and I am glad that I am able to give them the opportunity to experience Governance first hand.

Many people would be asking why you don’t yield the floor for someone else?

Most importantly I must say that the power and the mandate remain with the people and I thank the good people of Lagos East for renewing their trust in me by asking me in their numbers to proceed with the representation for another term.

It is important that people realise that the constitution encourages legislators to stay as long as possible in the legislature and mature in the art of entrenchment of democratic principles and values. It is infact foundational to international parliamentary ethos. The Legislature is the heart of democracy and that is why nations the world over do not prescribe term limits. So, that you will have people who are seasoned in guiding the conscience of the nation and people who have faced different issues of National importance.

If you do a comparative analysis with the legislature in the United States, the late Senior Senator from Arizona, USA who just passed away Senator John Mc Cain spent almost 4 decades in the legislature before his passing. The late Ted Kennedy spent about 47 years in the Senate of the United States of America till his passing in 2009, the list of international figures that have lived a life of service in the legislature is almost in-exhaustive. I am not saying I want to spend the rest of my life in the Nigerian Senate, No. However, I thought it necessary to disabuse the minds of people against the concept of a term limit in the legislature.

Further to the above, I believe that the content of character and the content of work done must also be a standard of reference. I received the batton from my friend and brother Distinguished Senator Olorunimbe Mamora, who did outstandingly well and I have ensured to build constructively on that towering representation with the quality of representation I have continued to uphold. We are the center of excellence, we cannot afford to deliver for Lagos anything short of that and to role model that for other states as well.

Consequently, the older you get in the legislature the easier it becomes to attract the attention of the Federal Government towards the state or district you represent. Lagos State, despite its size is a microcosm of Nigeria. With our very large and diverse population, we sure deserve a lot more from the Federal Government. I know that we are inching closer to achieving a better deal for Lagos State from the Federal Government and as such, I believe that the experience I have garnered and with the resolute resolve of my colleagues from Lagos State, we should be able to achieve this in the no distant future.

It seems there are a lot of contestants running for your seat. Why do you think this is so?

What is a race without contestants? However, it is also important that we realise that in order to win a race you must have put in a lot of practice and whoever has trained the best and runs within the rules of the race usually emerges the winner. This is of course in the absence of unforeseen and untoward events.

Having said that, I welcome all my brothers into the race, we are members of the same party and at the end of the day we are all hoping to convince the members of our party that we are the best to represent them. As for me, my track record is clear and still available to serve. I am with my constituents, they have seen what we have achieved together over the years and just as our theme suggests, together we can do more!

Guess what I think would be interesting? I think the press ought to challenge the contestants in the race for the Senate to a public debate. Let us articulate our views on relevant issues to the people.

What is your relationship with the leadership of the party?

My relationship with the leadership of our party remains in pristine condition from our highly revered leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu under whom I have served for almost 20 years, to the State and the ward level in Ibeju Lekki Where I come. The relationship is solid.

I have remained a loyal party man, loyal to the progressive ideals of our party in Lagos State and committed to the advancement of those ideals. I have always remained within the same political family because I am a man of core convictions. I believe in ideological politics and as such you wouldn’t find me moving from pillar to post.

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