Nigeria: Former Ondo State Governor, Olusegun Agagu Is Dead

Former governor of Ondo state, Dr. Olusegun Agagun is dead.

Born on 16 February 1948, he became Governor of Ondo state from 29 May 2003 until February 2009, when a court pronouncement voided his re-election as governor on account of electoral irregularities.

Agagu was the first minister of aviation during former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s return to power in 1999.

Obasanjo commended him for the work he had done leading Ondo State, saying “You have taken time to plan. We have also seen that the execution of the plan is now showing results.”

He commenced his elementary education at St. Luke’s Anglican School, (now known as St. Paul’s Anglican School) Okitipupa, in 1954. In January 1958, he moved to live with his cousin, Edward Fagbohun in Ibadan, where he continued his primary education at Ebenezer African Church School, Oke-Ado, Ibadan.

In 1959 he transferred to Kano in 1959 where he studied at the Ebenezer Methodist School and Baptist Primary School Sabon-Gari, Kano. He then moved back to Ebenezer African Church School, Ibadan where he completed his primary education in 1960.

Thereafter, he was in Ibadan Grammar School between January 1961 and 1967 where he passed his West African School Certificate and the Higher School Certificate examinations. He was admitted to the University of Ibadan in 1968 to study Botany but later changed to Geology in which he graduated with a B.Sc. (Hons) degree in Second Class Upper Division, in 1971. As an undergraduate, his academic record was replete with laurels and prizes.

Agagu went to the University of Texas between 1973 and 1974 for his Masters degree in Geology. Returning to Nigeria, he obtained a Ph.D degree in Petroleum Geology from the University of Ibadan in 1978. Source: Channel

Ethiopia to Continue Land Grabbing and Forced Resettlement

By Curtis Kline, IC Magazine
Millions of acres of Ethiopia’s most fertile lands are being offered to foreign investors, often in long-term leases and at bargain prices. At the same time, through its ‘villagization’ program, the Ethiopian government is forcibly displacing hundreds of thousands of Indigenous Peoples in order to free up their land so the transnational agro-industry can move in and grow foodstuffs and bio-fuels for export. It is a process of dispossession in which Indigenous Peoples are being forced to become dependent on aid handouts having lost their land and their ability to produce their own food.

For over a year, the Anuak and other Indigenous Peoples of the Gambella region of Southwest Ethiopia have been forced into government created villages which seldom contain the amenities promised to them. There is little access to food, arable land, water or electricity.

Last year the Anuak implicated the World Bank in the many severe human rights abuses that are being carried out as part of this resettlement. Last April, Bank President Dr. Jim Yong Kim announced, “The World Bank Group shares these concerns about the risks associated with large-scale land acquisitions. He conceded that more efforts “must be made to build capacity and safeguards related to land rights—and to empower civil society to hold governments accountable.”

The World Bank has been a key investor in several more land grabbing scandals across the developing world, despite their stated principles of respecting Indigenous People’s right to Free, Prior and Informed Consent before projects that affect their lands.

However, in this case, the World Bank, with its links to the Ethiopian Government’s Protection of Basic Services Program (sponsoring the villagization), has denied evidence that their funds are linked to villagization and says they haven’t encountered any human rights violations in the area.

An independent panel at the World Bank has been created to investigate the issue. The Inspection Panel, argues the position of denying the allegations of financing human rights abuse is not sound, saying: “The two programs depend on each other, and may mutually influence the results of the other.”

In a letter sent to the panel last year, Ethiopian refugees say some people have been forcibly relocated from their land, which is now being leased to foreign investors. “These mass evictions have been carried out under the pretext of providing better services and improving the livelihoods of the communities,’ says the letter. “However, once they moved to the new sites, they found not only infertile land, but also no schools, clinics, wells, or other basic services.” It also says they were forced to leave their homes and abandon their crops just before the harvest, and were not given any food assistance during the move. Those farmers who have refused to move from their land have been targeted for arrest, beating, torture and killing,” the letter says. The refugees state that they have been severely harmed by the World Bank financed project which is contributing to the Ethiopian Governments program of forced villagization.

US and UK development agencies have been tied to the same alleged abuses, especially in the Lower Omo Valley. Around the same time the World Bank was implicated for its sponsorship abuses and land theft, the U.K. Department for International Development (DFID) and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) were accused of ignoring evidence of human rights abuses including intimidation, beatings and rape.

A farmer from the Gambella region is attempting to sue the UK government after claiming that its funding of a project led to such human rights abuses against his family. The man–known as Mr. O–told his lawyers he was evicted from his farm, beaten and witnessed rapes as part of the “villagization” scheme.

According to his lawyers, Mr. O asserts that his family was forced to resettle in a new village where there was no replacement farmland or access to food and water. When he tried to return to his former home, Mr. O says he was hit repeatedly with a rifle butt and taken to a military camp by Ethiopian soldiers where he was gagged and subjected to further beatings.

Despite the list of human rights complaints and strong criticism from many human rights organizations, the Ethiopian government has vowed to continue with its villagization program in the coming years.

The government has already moved 200,000 households into 388 resettlement centers. Anuradha Mittal, Executive Director of the Oakland Institute has said that it’s up to the officials of the World Bank, USAID and DFID “to swiftly re-examine their role and determine how to better monitor funding if they are indeed not in favor of violence and repression as suitable relocation techniques for the development industry.”

Ethiopia currently receives more foreign aid than any other country in Africa–over $3 billion a year–the major donors being the United States and the United Kingdom.

Jonathan, PDP and 2015…(1) By Olusegun Adeniyi

By Olusegun Adeniyi

“…The National Working Committee (NWC) members of PDP had held an elaborate meeting at the party’s Wadata House national secretariat in Abuja with the aim of adopting a common position. At the session were Chief Vincent Ogbulafor, Prof. Rufai Ahmed Alkali, Hajiya Inna Ciroma, Dr. Musa Babayo, Dr. Sam Ortom, Chief

Uche Secondus, Mr. Olusola Oke, Mr. Tukur Mani, and the late Muyiwa Collins. At the end of their discussion, they had all accompanied Ogbulafor to the meeting with the PDP governors. So, it was evident the position that he canvassed—that zoning would remain an article of faith within the PDP for the 2011 presidential elections—was not his personal opinion. The implication—even if it was not expressly stated—was that it foreclosed the possibility of Dr Goodluck Jonathan emerging the PDP presidential flag-bearer for the 2011 general elections. But that was all that the governors wanted to hear. That was also the highlight of the meeting.

“The session rounded off with the unanimous decision that the party’s zoning formula would remain for the 2011 elections. But there was no consensus about how this should be handled, though the popular opinion was that it should not be announced after the meeting. A few of the northern governors, however, argued that the party chairman should immediately announce it as part of their decisions. It was thus a reluctant Ogbulafor who had the unenviable task of briefing the media on the outcome, which was essentially to state that the party would retain the zoning formula, with the presidency rotating between the north and the south. Put simply, only a northerner could fly the flag of the party as its presidential candidate for the 2011 election. “We discussed [the] zoning formula with the governors. The south had presidency for eight years. It is fair and just that the north also keep it for eight years,” Ogbulafor said.

“This was a very weighty decision that was hailed by many prominent politicians from the north but condemned by those from the south, especially by people like Chief Edwin Clark, who had long championed the cause of a Jonathan presidency the moment Yar’Adua fell ill. With that declaration, Ogbulafor was deemed a man that could no longer be trusted. A few days later, he was facing a corruption charge filed by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC). The case had been filed originally in 2004 and was in relation to N104 million campaign donations. But the prosecution of the matter had been stalled for some inexplicable reasons. This charge of corruption began for Ogbulafor a chain of events that ultimately led to his forced resignation as PDP chairman. Instructively, the moment that was achieved, nothing was ever heard about the corruption charge again!…”

It will be naïve for anybody to assume that the recent catalytic eruptions within the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are responses to a problem that developed overnight. The fact of the matter is that they are not; as one can easily glimpse from the foregoing long narrative (of a 2 March 2010 meeting) which I excerpted from my book on the Yar’Adua years. Even when there have been shifting alliances and new actors in the long-running drama, any serious attempt to identify critical pathways in what has become a contestation for power (which has all the elements of ethnicity, religion and desperation) will be futile if we do not attack the issue from source.

What I find particularly interesting is that a motley of party leaders has been cobbled together to find solution to the problem. Not surprisingly, neither President Jonathan nor the leadership of the breakaway faction of the PDP has shown much confidence in the committee. The reason is simple: the level of distrust on both sides is deep and long standing aside the notorious fact that some of the arbitrators are themselves part of the problem. There is even a subtext that not many people are paying attention to: President Obasanjo who resigned his appointment as Board of Trustees (BOT) Chairman a few months ago is now back as chairman of an omnibus elders’ committee of which the current BOT chairman, Chief Tony Anenih, is only a member!

While we will come back to some of these lingering issues in the course of what may be a long series, for us to have a better appreciation of the challenge at hand, we must first look at the character of the ruling party itself. It must be said that the PDP, like all the other parties in this era, is not a political party in the strict sense of the word in that members have never been known for any shared ideals. Nothing illustrates that more eloquently than the manner in which its officials have always emerged. Even if there have been pretensions to some elections at their choreographed conventions, winners have always been product of some Aso Rock consensus. That explains why Ogbulafor who contested the 1999 Gubernatorial election in Abia State on the platform of the All Peoples Party (APP) and was defeated by Chief Orji Kalu of the PDP would emerge only about two years later as the National Secretary of the PDP (where he could dictate the party’s candidates for elective positions) and about four years later as its national chairman!

In fact, the history of all the people who have chaired the PDP in the last 14 years reveals that many of them were actually not originally members of the party in 1999. The same for many of those who are now in the Board of Trustees who tout “the vision of our founding fathers”. But if anybody consider all these as absurd, what would one say about the case of Sokoto where in 2007, the All Nigerian Peoples Party (ANPP) Deputy Governor was given the state’s PDP gubernatorial ticket with the official party candidate now made to become his running mate. Of course we also remember that the sitting Vice President at the time (Atiku Abubakar) of the PDP contested the presidential election on the platform of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN).

There have been superficial attempts to discuss the PDP crisis on which I have read many online postings but the one I consider most instructive is by someone who uses the alias, ERG, even if his riposte was a dismissive one-sentence reaction to a criticism of the president. He wrote: “The Umbrella was designed to give shelter to a finite number of persons, notably the man holding it (Bamanga Tukur) and the one for whom it is meant to be covering (President Goodluck Jonathan). All other renegade passengers can exit into the rain in their trench coats”.

As funny as that may seem, the guy sounded truer than he probably intended because it exposes the contradictions of our political parties that place more emphasis on personalities than the need to assemble and associate in promotion of some cherished values. On the surface, it would seem that Tukur is the issue and that once he is removed as being demanded by some of the PDP governors, the crisis will be over. It is naïve for anybody to assume that. If we will be honest, at the root of this crisis is the plot to either make President Jonathan not to seek re-election in 2015 or to weaken the party to such an extent that in the event that he runs, he will fail at the polls.

There are different strands to this move while the motives are diverse and in due course I intend to examine each separately. But for now there is the pertinent question as to whether it is right to bully a sitting president out of seeking the ticket of his political party for whatever reasons. I am sure any fair-minded person would deplore such anti-democratic posture and this is where the supporters of the president actually stand. But then the big question: have they always held on to this position?

That question is important against the background that in November 2011, a certain Timipre Sylva was seeking second term as Governor of  Bayelsa State. That the president did not want Sylva to return as governor of his home state was evident and even understandable since there was no love lost between them. But based on some unproven allegation that Sylva threatened the life of the president, he was made to face the full weight of the presidency in a classical Third World setting. At the end, Sylva was hounded out of PDP and practically bundled out of the Bayelsa State Government House. But up till today there has been no case bordering on the alleged threat on the life of the Number One citizen (a treasonable offence), preferred against Sylva, which then means that all those security tales were mere fabrications to oust him from power.

Yet aside the Sylva case, those who accuse the president of intolerance point to the number of persons who have been PDP’s chairpersons under him. For instance, Ogbulafor and Okwesilieze Nwodo were removed on charges of disloyalty and even though Tukur is the 9th PDP National Chairman in the last 15 years, he is the fifth under President Jonathan—all within a period of less than four years. So effectively we can say that the president himself laid the foundation for the current gang-up. But as I listened to one prominent Northern politician ask another yesterday whether he belonged to “PDP Na Banza” or “PDP Albarka,” I could not but wonder about the gullibility of Nigerians. Just by fighting the president, one faction (a side of the same coin) now earns immediate accolades while the other is demonised. Interestingly, not many people remember that the “umbrella carrier” who wielded the hatchet on behalf of the president to neutralize Sylva less than two years ago is the same man who currently chairs the ‘new PDP’ to which the former Bayelsa Governor himself now belongs!

What the foregoing says very clearly is that nobody should be under any illusion that the current crisis within the PDP is a battle over principles or that it is about the welfare of Nigerians. Notwithstanding, it is also evident that the raging crisis will determine more than the future plight of the party that received power from the military in 1999 as a democratic platform. Whether those in authorities realize it or not, the future of multi party democracy, national stability and security in our country are also at stake. Because if the crisis generates more heat than the polity can absorb, we will all be in trouble. As for Dr Jonathan, there can be no doubt that how he manages the crisis will define his presidency from now till 2015 and perhaps even beyond.