Connect with us


Jigawa University: Sule Lamido’s vision, Gov Namadi’s transformation



Sule Lamido
Share this story

By Adamu Muhd Usman

For those closely connected to His Excellency, the former Governor of Jigawa State, Dr. Sule Lamido (CON), it is not a surprise that a high-powered delegation from the Jigawa State government, led by the Secretary to the State Government (SSG) Alhaji Bala Ibrahim (Mamser), visited Sule Lamido. Their purpose was to express appreciation and gratitude for Lamido’s generous donation of his magnificent mansion in his hometown of Bamaina, in the Birnin-Kudu area of Jigawa State, to the state university named after him: Sule Lamido University, Kafin-Hausa. The mansion will serve as the Islamic Research Centre, after his demise. Allahu Akbar (God is great).

Every patriotic Jigawa indigene should or must eulogise Sule Lamido for establishing the Jigawa State University in order to afford the state indigenes more access to higher education opportunities. Before the establishment of the state university, many eligible candidates of Jigawa origin who sought admission into higher institutions (universities) were left out due to the lack of opportunities, hence the warm welcome with which Jigawa citizens received the establishment of the state university.

In 2007 Sule Lamido inherited an agrarian state. Virtually everything was dilapidated, especially the educational sector. The backwardness in education made Jigawa the most disadvantaged state in the country, and its people were sharply divided. In terms of development, Jigawa State lagged behind in all respects, especially with the deterioration of education. Samuel M. Lindsay once said, “The quality of education and the level of educational attainment of a people determine the quality of its leaders and people.

Sule Lamido had prioritised education to the core and also allocated a lot of money in his budget every year to the educational sector in order to bridge the gap or to give rebirth to education at all levels when he held sway as the governor of the state to the extent that when he left office in 2015, Jigawa was a state driven by knowledge.

The donation of that house to the state university is the least Sule Lamido can do for Jigawa and its people. Lamido has sacrificed his life for the emancipation of the downtrodden. Lamido was jailed several times during the PRP days and the military junta, all for the sake of the happiness and wellbeing of the common man. Lamido in person and the legacies he left behind will, for centuries to come or forever linger in the hearts of Nigerians, especially the Jigawa people, specifically Kafin-Hausa town. Miyyati alaraini (thank you)

Lamido has set the pace for any Jigawa governor to come after him. We hope and pray that the present governor, Malam Umar Namadi (FCA), a.k.a. Dan Modi, will make a difference in that regard with reference to Sule Lamido University.

Though some indices and other things he started from its inception towards improving the school and making the varsity excel are signs he will do well and are worth extolling.

The most astonishing one is the rapid, ongoing faculty of medicine project.

The appointment of
Prof. Muhammad Ibrahim Yakasai, as the new Vice Chancellor of Sule Lamido University, Kafin-Hausa on December 5th, 2023, by governor Namadi is another step in the right direction to making the university a fantastic educational environment because he is a good and sound educationist with vast experience in administration and knowledge.

Also, the release of the N774,810,085,00K scholarship allowance to 26,835 Jigawa indigenes studying at different tertiary institutions in Nigeria with the exception of foreign students as allowance is part of Governor Namadi’s passion and commitment to higher education in the state.

The authorization of recruitment of more staffs in the university will bring about efficiency and smooth operation. The ongoing 150 housing estates project opposite the varsity to accommodate the staff is actually part of staff welfare. The continuation of student housing (hostel) is also ongoing to provide for conducive learning environment in the university.

We appeal to Governor Namadi to keep the tempo. In a few years, by the special grace of God, Sule Lamido University will compete with any university in west Africa, not even in Nigeria, not to mention the north. Because the university has all it takes to attain that; Security and safety are in place; there is conducive teaching and learning environment; the climate and weather conditions are conducive; affordable life; economic and moral aspects are obtainable. Even for affordability and ease of enrollment, it is the best in the country. Jigawa, here we come; SLU, here we are; sound education and good moral upbringing are available and attainable.

Adamu writes from Kafin-Hausa, Jigawa state.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Wigwe’s Death: Obi mourns, abandons trip for AFCON final, sacrifices travel ticket




Share this story

The Presidential Candidate of the Labour Party (LP) in the 2023 general elections, Peter Obi is deeply distressed by the news of the helicopter crash in California, USA on friday night that took the life of the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Access Holdings, Herbert Wigwe, alongside his son, wife and Chairman of the Nigeria Exchange Group PLC (NGX), Abimbola Ogunbanjo.

Obi, a staunch supporter of the Super Eagles from his days as Governor of Anambra state (2006-2014) has shelved his plan to travel to Abidjan, Cote Ivoire on Sunday as Super Eagles of Nigeria take on the Orange boys of Cote d’Ivoire in an epoch final of the Africa Football Cup of Nations, (AFCON).

It would be recalled that Obi was in Abidjan to cheer the Eagles to victory during their quarter-final match against Angola.
It was gathered that he had already purchased a return ticket and was to depart Nigeria by 1 pm on sunday to the west African country before tragedy struck in the United States that devastated him.

OBI’S love for football dates back to his days as a student at Christ the King College, CKC, Onitsha during which he was also an ardent supporter of Rangers International of Enugu and the old Green Eagles.
As a Governor, he had further demonstrated his love for the game when he renamed the Onitsha township stadium in Fagge, Onitsha after the first National team Captain Godwin Achebe.

But the Guardian reliably gathered that he will not watch the epic final match following the helicopter crash in California, USA.
As a result, Obi is in shock, and mourning and can no longer Tavel to Abidjan as already scheduled but his heart remains with the boys as he wishes them victory to bring home the trophy.

Writing about the deceased in his X handle, Obi said “I’m deeply saddened by the tragic news of the passing of my dear friend, Mr. Herbert Wigwe, CEO of Access Holdings, along with his wife and son, and another close friend, Abimbola Ogunbanjo, former group chairman of NGX Group.
“This loss is profoundly felt across the nation.

“I first met Herbert during his early days, on the brink of starting his marital journey. I vividly remember assisting him in preparing for his traditional wedding and being there for the ceremony with his wife, Chizoba, from Achina, Anambra State.

‘Since then, I’ve maintained a connection to his endeavors in my own modest ways.

“Herbert, a determined and forward-thinking individual, led Access Bank to new heights following his brother Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede. His noteworthy contributions extended beyond the professional realm, with commendable philanthropic efforts in health and education, exemplified by the establishment of Wigwe University, showcasing his deep commitment to education as a driver of development.

“The loss of such an exceptional individual reminds us of life’s fleeting nature, encouraging us to live with a purpose that contributes to the betterment of humanity.

“My heartfelt thoughts and prayers are with Herbert, his beloved wife, his son, and all those who lost their lives in the tragic plane crash.

‘May God grant them eternal rest and provide strength to Herbert’s family, Access Holdings, and all of us mourning this irreplaceable loss.

Continue Reading


Fare thee well, Amaka Ahaba




Nath Okechukwu
Share this story

By Tunde Olusunle

There was almost always a familial disputation between his friends, about the most appropriate moniker to prefix to his name, at every point in time. He aggregated quite a number of them over several decades of leading his organisation to deliver global standard, durable public infrastructure as commissioned by an avalanche of government ministries, departments and agencies. Most famous of his references were the chieftaincy titles Ochendo Awka-Etiti and Eziafa Amaka Ahaba.

He was also a Knight of the Anglican Communion who was at liberty to prefix the honorific “Sir” to his name. He was also the chairman and chief executive of his companies. The title Ochendo conferred on him in his hometown, Awka-Etiti, Anambra State literally means “the umbrella.” This was most fitting considering his various contributions to his traditional community. He assisted in modernising and beautifying Awka-Etiti by building roads and engaging qualified professionals in departments of his organisation.

Eziafa Amaka was bestowed on him by His Majesty, Obi (Professor) Joseph Chike Edozien, CFR, Asagba Asaba in Delta State, about 20 years ago and it translates as “a good name is better than riches.” Instructively, he was honoured on the same day with the iconic retired Lieutenant General and political figure, Jeremiah Timbut Useni. Being draped with a knighthood in his religious denomination must have been informed by his attributes in secular service. Useni, we got to know, was instrumental to inspiring the subject of this treatise, to explore opportunities in the construction industry back in the days when Useni was military Governor of the former *Bendel* State in 1984, before its sectioning into Edo and Delta states in 1991.

I first met Nath Okechukwu early January 2002, through Onyema Ugochukwu, the revered economist, redoubtable media practitioner and pioneer Chairman of the Niger Delta Development Commission, (NDDC). Olusegun Obasanjo was President at the time and part of his official schedule was to regularly tour the nation’s 36 states. He elected to check up on how well the dividends of democracy which he assured Nigerians democracy would beget was actually impacting people at the grassroots. Obasanjo took the visits very seriously and passed at least one night in the host state. State governors used the opportunity to showcase projects they had completed, initiatives they were driving and new grounds they intended to break.

In the course of Obasanjo’s visit to Delta State that January 2002, the intuitive Nigerian leader took special note of the fact that Inter-Bau Construction Ltd featured recurrently at various points. James Onanefe Ibori, the Delta State helmsman led the President to perform the ceremonial “cutting of the tape” of roads, hospitals, stadiums, and so on and Obasanjo asked to meet the Inter-Bau boss, Nath Okechukwu. He was impressed that the construction firm was a wholly Nigerian outfit doing good things as it were. Ugochukwu himself recorded Okechukwu’s Inter-Bau’s good works and asked for a formal meeting at the corporate headquarters of the NDDC in Port Harcourt. Those who know me, know my relationship with Ugochukwu over the decades. Whether it is in Lagos, Abuja or Port Harcourt, I’ve never been far from him. It therefore followed that I would get to meet Okechukwu at some point.

Inter-Bau, is a subsidiary of Landgold Holdings Limited. The parent company was originally in the business of foreign trade, logistics and the supply of medical and pharmaceuticals. After delivering on the procurement and installation of medical equipment to General Hospital, Benin City in 1984, Jerry Useni reportedly engaged Okechukwu about if his organisation ever gave any thought to diversifying into construction. Useni admonished that foreign partnership would be inevitable at the beginning but the future was bright for the construction sector. This, Okechukwu once told me, sired the baby, Inter-Bau. The first ever projects assigned the newly formed organisation was by the Useni government in 1984 in the old Bendel State. The company was commissioned to build Asaba township roads; the Asaba/Anwai link road, and to reconstruct the Isele-Uku/Olona/Illah Road. All of these are in the contemporary Delta State.

Inter-Bau acquitted itself on its primary assignment and became a much sought-after bride across sectors. It built capacity in civil and highway construction; engineering works; bridges and allied structures; flood and erosion control; engineering consultancy services, marine works and quarrying among others. Under Okechukwu’s guidance, Inter-Bau bravely sited an operational base in Asaba. This was in response to the continuing request for its services by state governments and federal organisations in the Niger Delta are. *Inter-Bau* had become more and more acquainted with the peculiar terrains and topography of the Niger Delta area. Consistent with the desire of the Obasanjo government to encourage homegrown expertise in national development, Inter-Bau’s experience easily recommended it for partnership with several MDAs.

The clientele of Inter-Bau blossomed under the hands-on leadership of Okechukwu who refused to recline into the comfort of the corporate headquarters of the organisation on Lugard Street in Ikoyi, Lagos. Neither did he ensconce himself into the coziness of the Asokoro, Abuja annex of his office. Successive administrations in Delta State continued to engage Inter-Bau even as Anambra State followed suit. The federal ministries of Works and Housing; aviation; transport; the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, (FAAN) and the National Inland Waterways Authority, (NIWA), variously engaged Inter-Bau. The organisation has also worked with the World Bank on projects in Nigeria.

At the last check, Inter-Bau’s imprimatur featured in Lagos, Delta, Anambra, Abia, Imo, Rivers, Edo, Enugu and Kogi states. “Legacy” projects undertaken by Inter-Bau include the construction of the Ekeoba-Umudibia road which links Imo and Abia; the upgrading and rehabilitation of Onitsha River Port and the reconstruction of the Port Harcourt International Airport. Inter-Bau also built the perimeter fence around the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos and its service roads. The company built the Utor road and bridge which connects Edo and Delta states, even as it is working on the Lokoja River Port project, under Okechukwu’s watch. As far back as March 2013, the plants and equipment owned by the organisation was valued at over N30Billion. Given the heedless downward spiral of Nigeria’s naira besides global currencies, the current value of equipment and devices owned by Inter-Bau would be in three-digit billions.

Despite his affluence and relative comfort, Sir Nath Okechukwu was a simple, genial, unobtrusive gentleman. He was renowned for his restlessness and would typically drag me on his extensive road trips across sites and locations where his company was engaged. We could begin from Lagos for instance, traverse Edo and Delta states and end up at his favourite “Grand Hotel,” Asaba. We’ve been through Iyuku, in northern Edo State where his outfit has a large quarry; inspected the river port project in Lokoja and passed the night in Abuja. All of these tours were before Nigeria got lost to ransom-seeking kidnappers, freestyle bandits and malevolent insurgents. He would typically patronise hawkers on the highways as a means of supporting locals. Sir Nath was ever a good host wherever you found him. He loved the banter and laughter of friendly communion.

He was an unyielding stickler for perfection in everything, especially on issues of professionalism and integrity. He sought second opinions about whatever seemed fuzzy to him. He called you on phone for clarification or asked that a contentious document be screenshot and forwarded for your input. He received several personal plaques for philanthropy and freewill discharge of corporate social responsibility, (CSR), as well as corporate recognitions for professionalism and innovation. His golden, grey hair was a standout characteristic. He was unmissable in a crowd. He doted on his family, his wife Lady Anne Okechukwu, his children and grandchildren. As his business engagements broadened, he engaged his children, Obinna, Doris, Kenneth and Onyeka as understudy. He was a very keen lawn tennis player and a respected member of the Ikoyi Club 1938 in Lagos. He received awards from the club for his contributions. His racquet and kits were always part of his luggage even as he challenged his friends to duels at any court of their choice!

News of his departure after an illness filtered in on Monday January 22, 2024. Chief Ugochukwu who called to inform me, actually sympathised with me on the development. He was familiar with my closeness to Sir Nath. Amaka Ahaba patented a nickname for me, Atuna derived from my name, Tunde, to underscore our chummy relationship. The news was a most unsavoury way to start the new year. He would have been 79 on October 3, 2024. By whatever name he was known, “Sir Nath,” “Chairman,” “Ochendo” or “Amaka Ahaba,” Sir Nath Okechukwu will be surely, sorely missed by us all. He was a remarkable personality no doubt, a man of style. He had his distinct ways of doing things. You would usually find some of the latest, most coveted beverages in his cellar. Fare thee well, Amaka Ahaba.

Tunde Olusunle, PhD, poet, journalist, scholar and author is a Fellow of the Association of Nigerian Authors, (FANA)

Continue Reading


AKETI: 1956 – 2023: Conjurer of mixed emotions




Late Rotimi Akeredolu
Share this story

By Tunde Olusunle

Nigerian politics over time has been flavoured by branding, the affixing of monilkers, sobriquets and aliases to major players across seasons. Iconic figures like Jeremiah Obafemi Awolowo; Busari Adelakun; Bola Ige; Abubakar Olusola Saraki; Olusegun Obasanjo, to mention a few assumed novel hues in the political and public sphere arising from such rechristening. Awolowo, the scholar, philosopher, visionary and statesman was known simply *Awo.* Adelakun was dubbed *eru obodo* to underscore his fearlessness, while Ige was emblazoned with the appellation of *Cicero of Esa-Oke,* to denominate his depth and outstanding oratory. Saraki was a cult figure in the politics of Kwara State and was celebrated as *Oloye,* “the titled one” by his followers. The publicity directorate of the *Olusegun Obasanjo Campaign Organisation,* (OOCO), of 1998 and 1999, abbreviated the surname of Nigeria’s former military Head of State, to a less mouthful *Obj* in referring to him.

Elsewhere across the country, legends like Benjamin Nnamdi Azikiwe, attorney, journalist, revolutionary and statesman was revered as *Zik of Africa.* This was to capture his irrepressible advocacy for the liberation of Africa from its colonialists. Aminu Kano, teacher, poet and writer was highly revered in the old North West, especially within contemporary Kano, Jigawa, Katsina and Kaduna states. He was invested with the necklace of *Baba’ talakawa* to denote his wholesale identification with the masses. Kingsley Ozumba Mbadiwe, the colourful politician, nationalist, statesman and orator was better known as *KO* derived from initialising his first names. Muhammadu Buhari, Nigeria’s former President rode to the State House, Abuja, on the wings of being perceived by his supporters as *Baba Mai Gaskiya,* the honest and transparent leader. Revelations by investigators into the activities of Buhari’s aides, however, have reportedly tracked about N12 Trillion to the local and offshore accounts of some of his proteges. So much for the blighted reputation of a plausible pretender.

Younger politicians have also been bitten by the same bug, and have been baptised with cognomens popularised by their supporters and followers. Nigeria’s President, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, comes to the party with quite a number of appellatives. These include *BAT,* a compression of his initials; *Asiwaju,* to underscore his leadership exertions since the birthing of the Fourth Republic and *Jagaban,* lead warrior, conferred on him in Borgu, Niger State. Olusegun Mimiko who at various points was health commissioner; minister and governor of Ondo State, is probably better known as *Iroko,* even as Seyi Makinde the hardworking governor of Oyo State, is *GSM* for short, among his people. This acronym is derived from his present office and names, “Governor Seyi Makinde.”

Olurotimi Odunayo Akeredolu, the recently, painfully demised governor of Ondo State equally came to office with his own customised signatures. Like his former colleague in Osun State, Rauf Aregbesola who adopted *Ogbeni* literally translated as “Mister,” Akeredolu opted for the prefix *Arakunrin,* which is a slightly longer variant of Aregbesola’s. Akeredolu’s was, however, a double-barrelled brand which threw up *Aketi* as his pseudonym. Very glaringly, this was obtained by the ingenious amalgam of parts of his surname and the first. He succeeded *Iroko* January 24, 2017, upon the completion of the latter’s two full terms in office.

I never got a chance to meet *Aketi* but I followed his endeavours quite a bit. He commanded quite some pre-gubernatorial era attention, having served as attorney general and commissioner for justice under the administrations of Anthony Onyearugbulam and Moses Fasanya, both military administrators of Ondo State, between 1997 and 1999. He had equally led the Nigerian Bar Association, (NBA), from 2008 to 2010, succeeding Olisa Agbakoba, and preceding Joseph Bodunrin Daudu, both senior advocates of Nigeria, (SAN), like him. He bolstered the prototype activism of the NBA, typically standing with the people on burning issues. With such glittering resume, a lot was expected from Akeredolu.

Dapo Adelegan a Lagos-based serial entrepreneur and distinguished indigene of Ondo State affirms that Akeredolu continued with the redevelopment of township roads in the state capital begun by Mimiko. He also extended infrastructural development to Owo his ancestral home. He is also credited with the establishment of the *Amotekun* vigilante outfit across the south west, as response to the unrestrained incursion into that section of the country, malevolent nomadic Fulani herders. Against protestations by parts of core north of the country, Akeredolu operationalised the security outfit. The Muhammadu Buhari administration threw up its arms, bereft of answers in the face of potential cross-national conquest by the vaulting herdsmen. Akeredolu led the way and other states in the south west region followed. He also envisioned a seaport project in riverine Ondo State which considered imperative to accelerate socioeconomic development in the state.

Akeredolu was equally unequivocal in supporting the advocacy for the return of the presidency to the south of the country. With Buhari’s below par performance across sectors and indicators and the reverse development which he brought to bear on the socioeconomy, he had encumbered the path for a potential northern successor. Not forgetting the triumphalist accentuation of ethno-religious sentiments by Buhari and his orchestra. Key appointments into public offices and the establishment of projects and infrastructures were unduly skewed in favour of the north, despite the established fact that the north was the lesser contributor to the nation’s gross domestic product, GDP). Figures from the estimated budgets of states and geopolitical zones for 2024, shows the South West, South South and South East, ahead of their equivalents upcountry. For Akeredolu therefore, Nigeria’s leadership post-Buhari demanded fundamental political tinkering beginning from the topmost echelons.

Low points of the Akeredolu years in office included the murder of Funke Olakunri daughter of *Afenifere* a pan-Yoruba sociocultural organisation, Reuben Fasoranti in June 2019, in Ore, Ondo State, by itinerant marauders. As though choreographed, the third anniversary of the murder of Olakunri was commemorated with the satanic shooting and bombing of a Catholic Church in Owo, three years later on June 5, 2022. The incident reportedly claimed between 40 and 80 people. Akeredolu, touched like every human about the carnage, broke down inconsolably tears at the funeral of the victims a few days later. The mass burial was a very sad reminder of the mass internment of 70 victims felled by Fulani herders in Benue shortly after new year’s day in 2018, in Benue State. Samuel Ortom, governor of the state at the time, equally broke down on that occasion. Public officers are human after all and *Aketi* was no different.

*Aketi* was expected to spearhead the industrialisation of the state as an imperative for socioeconomic growth. Akeredolu was fervently looked upon to help unlock and energise the natural endowments of Ondo State in agriculture, oil and gas, solid minerals and tourism. This would have taken many idle youths off the streets by putting resources into the pockets of the people. It would also have impacted the mass production of miscreants, touts and deviants which has become something of a constant in the politics of several states. Key projects like the half a dozen industrial initiatives of the Adekunle Ajasin government between 1979 and 1983, remained moribund under Akeredolu. They include the palm kernel plant and the glass industry, among others.

There were loud murmurs across Ondo State during *Aketi’s* reign, that he reportedly condoned interference by members of his family in the day-to-day running of the state. His wife, Betty, and one of his children, Jide, were perceived to be the real powers behind the throne. State officials were alleged to have spontaneously deferred to them and their demands behind Akeredolu’s back, oftentimes against public service rules. Public servants are forever apprehensive of rebounds and boomerangs if they are caught on the wrong side in any situation. The last months of Akeredolu were particularly testy for the state bureaucracy. They had to deal with “orders from above” as Akeredolu’s relatives reportedly exercised proxy authority on behalf of the ailing chief executive. It re-echoed the national political stasis into which Nigeria was plunged following the long illness which incapacitated Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, successor to Obasanjo between 2007 and 2010.

The year 2023 was most traumatic for Akeredolu who was in and out of hospital contending with leukaemia and prostate cancer, both terminal afflictions. He shuttled between his home in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital where he lived for the most part of his professional life and Hanover, Lower Saxony, Germany, for most of his final weeks and months. There were issues surrounding the fact that he should have pronounced his deputy, Lucky Aiyedatiwa or not, even as certain non-state actors tried to function at the instance of the indisposed former Ondo State helmsman. Akeredolu as NBA President during the Yar’Adua health saga preceding his passage, canvassed that Yar’Adua ought to have ceded power albeit in acting capacity to Goodluck Jonathan, his deputy. Akeredolu, sadly, transited in a German hospital on December 27, 2023. His remains arrived Nigeria January 5, 2024.

A number of video clips which have become popular in the social media post-Aketi’s departure, feature him as a regular guy, a jolly good fellow. Whether it was at the “gyration” event of the *Palmwine Drinkers Club* or the *New Afrika Shrine* owned and operated by Femi Kuti, the bohemian Akeredolu was never far from the microphone. He also shared the stage with the renowned Jimi Solanke, the octogenarian poet, folk singer, film actor and dramatist, on occasion. He was a jolly good fellow. An eight-day programme has been drawn up for his rites of passage. This will hold across three cities and towns, Akure, Ibadan and Owo, which all bear correlation to his life and career.

Rotimi Akeredolu was born July 21, 1956 in Owo. His formative years were spent in schools in Owo, Akure, Ibadan and Aiyetoro. He studied law at the Obafemi Awolowo University, (OAU), formerly known as the University of Ife, (Unife), graduating in 1977 before attending the Nigerian Law School, Lagos in 1978. His wife, Betty informs us that they both met when Aketi participated in the National Youth Service Corps, (NYSC) in Enugu and they got married in 1981. The union produced four children. The NBA in 2012, honoured Akeredolu by rechristening its Abuja secretariat after him. It was an intentional decision by the NBA “for his immense contributions to the development of the association, and for his courage and rigour in leading the NBA.” That this honour was bestowed upon Akeredolu years before his gubernatorial ascent attests to the fact that it was merited. He was in October 2022, draped with the respected national honour of “Commander of the Order of the Niger,” (CON), by Buhari.

Tunde Olusunle, PhD, FANA, poet, journalist, scholar and author is a Fellow of the Association of Nigerian Authors, (FANA)

Continue Reading