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Princess Toyin Kolade: Unfit As Iyalaje Oodua!

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By Wale Ojo-Lanre

Yes. That is an exclamatory opinion, which should not elicit a stone-throwing act from you.

Even at that, I don’t care a hoot about your feeling.

One thing I want everyone to know from the onset of reading this article is the fact that I don’t care whose ox will be gored by this harmless article of mine.

The article is about one Toyin Kolade, who has just being installed as the Iyalaje Oodua, the armorer of wealth, which is the mother of fortune, by the Ooni of Ife, His Imperial Majesty, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Babatunde Ogunwusi, at a lavish ceremony, which has been described as the most glamorous installation ceremony of a single person, in the history of Nigeria.

I care not what you think about me. It is you and your fellow friends who Toyin Kolade spoon feeds that will loath the truth to be said about her. And I am not one. She may be your benefactor, she is not mine and I am not a businessman, so you cannot think I am envying her because of her bludgeoning business empire. So, I have no inhibition or any encumbrances expressing my feelings about her with no iota of sentimentalism

I believe as a pure Yoruba man, with no admixture of any blood of other ethnic tribes in the world. I have the right to express my view on any issue, which concerns Yoruba heritage, culture and tourism.

Hence, nobody should look at me with a melancholic eye as what I am crafting here is to air my view on how and why on earth, that the mantle of one of the foremost traditional titles in the women genre was bestowed on Toyin Kolade, out of all women in Yoruba, home and in the Diaspora?

Though, I know that this article will definitely place me before the fury of many people, particularly, my father the paramount ruler of Akola Ijesa, HRM, Oba Festus Adekunle, who may likely disown me as a Prince of Akola Ijesa, on the point that there is no way an adopted son will behave like a real product of the scrotum of the king.

I also know that I am risking been banned from entering the Palace of the Ooni of Ife, His Imperial Majesty, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Babatunde Ogunwusi, Ojaja II, who deemed it necessary, fit and proper to exercise his spiritual, traditional and cultural authority to confer one of the most enviable and traditionally important titles of the Head and Controller of Oodualand markets on Chief Mrs Toyin Kolade, a woman of legendary merchandising feat, who by that title has become one of the mothers of the Earth – stimulator of gains, profits, market fortune and merchandising.

But the truth is that the momentous and grand celebration, the publicity stunts, the hullabaloo, the noise and public awareness, plus the deluge of visitors, who witnessed the epic installation of Chief Mrs. Toyin Kolade as the Iyalaje Oodua, were enough to cultivate envy, suspicion and interrogation of why should she be the fellow who has to be shouldered with the enormous responsibility.

 

Princess Toyin Kolade Iyalaje Oodua

Also, as an Ambassador of Culture, Arts and Tourism, it will be unfair on my part to close my mouth or be passive, whenever some people with foul minds and rabid thoughts are out to desecrate and rubbish the cultural heritage, which our forefathers bequeathed to us and which the Ooni of Ife today is diligently and beautifully showcasing, preserving, protecting, projecting and placing on the front burner of local cultural engagement for this generation and generations unborn.

Ooni Ogunwusi is not just a human being, but an enigmatic divine creature of God, whose head has been spiritually honed by  Olodumare, the Eleda Ohungbogbo, to tend the sacred House of Oduduwa, with precision spirituality and almost infallible decision making traditional process and procedure.

Thus, he is his not expected to install a misfit as the Iyalaje Oodua, the brewer of wealth,  stimulator of commercial bliss, initiator of trade growth and lubricator of business fortune

However, the installation of Toyin Kolade, as the Iyalaje of Oodua has continued to set tongues wagging about the correctness of this particular act by the Ooni of Ife, because that title is not for just for a mere society lady, who indulges in Owambe without a visible means of livelihood, but a title for that woman who prosper where even accomplished business men failed abysmally to thrive.

An Iyalaje of Oodua should be that lady, who must be Yoruba in acts, deeds and thought. A lady of quintessential and impeccable character, who must have not have be found wanting either in private engagement or public dealings and a lady who must have past record of supporting and reinforcing the impressive strides of the Ooni of today, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Babatunde Ogunwusi, Ojaja II, at reinvigorating and resuscitating the cultural heritage of the House of Oodua.

An Iyalaje Oodua must not only be solid in business and blessed in native intellegence but also of importance, must be culturally sound, active and proactive, particularly she must have been seen to have identified and continued to be identified as a defender and promoter of the tradition, culture, arts and tourism of Yorubaland.

She must not be a fraud, a social irritant, a recluse, whose names cannot be vouched for or command respect upon mentioning in any responsible gathering.

 

Princess Toyin Kolade Iyalaje Oodua

Iyalaje Oodua must be that person whose understanding of the cultural heritage of the Yoruba is beyond mere guessing, window dressing and attention-seeking.

The Iyalaje must be a legendary entrepreneur, who has amazing accomplishments in the arts of rural trade, domestic market and intercontinental merchandising.

She must be a woman of unblemished integrity, who is royal in gait, graceful in thought, cultural in perception and vibrant in delivery of an assignment hurled on her by the Ooni of Ife.

She must be a woman who is ever ready and willing to sacrifice her resources, emotion, personality, time and all God-given attributes at resuscitating the wealth, fortune, trade and boost business and commercial activities in Yorubaland.

As Iyalaje signifies the totality of wealth, the fortune of the whole land, which is not localized within the perimeter of the feminist sphere, but of inter-gender, she must be someone who can be an Iyagbogbo – mother of all – both in conduct, interaction, networking and leverage

She must be a lady whose tentacles of friends, width of connection, length of interactive experience and her coast of influence is local, domestic, continental and trans-intercontinental.

Iyalaje Oodua must be that lady whose frame of business must have a relationship with the Sea – the Aje Olokun Asorodayo – and who must act and be seen always in the mold of Olokun Princess.

All these expected behavior, characteristics and prerequisites of an Iyalaje Oodua are testimonies that the title of Iyalaje is an Atari Ajanaku ti ki se eru odomode (a title not just for the lily-livered woman).

It is not a title for the highest bidders or just for the fun of it; but a title for that woman, who is blessed with a supernatural aura of being an enigmatic business soul and who is culturally wired to her tradition, and who can at anytime sacrifice whatever God has blessed her with to spiritually stoke the wealth and fortune spirit for the advancement and development of Yorubaland.

And only a dark idiot, who is blind spiritually and who is a cultural maggot, will disagree with the Ooni of Ife for adhering strictly to the laid down traditional process of appointing and installing Chief Mrs Toyin Kolade as the Iyalaje Oodua.

Having clinically juxtaposed the personality, story, strides, journey, experience and accomplishments of Toyin Kolade with the expectations and characteristics of who should be an Iyalaje Oodua, only a complete daft and congenital moron will say that she is unfit for the title.

And I am sure you are not one of them. I don’t know whether you are?

And if you are not, join me to congratulate a quintessential woman. A spiritual enigma. A wonderful personality, an inter-continental merchant, avid cultural and tourism promoter, and a philanthropist, who is now the Iyalaje Oodua.

My dearest sister,

Gesin nkese ….

Aba re ti gbe ooo

kare re o, Ijesha aponada.

Omo ajogberu, ma jo gbeko

Osohmaloo Ile oodua

Congratulations.

•Ojo-Lanre, the Senior Special Assistant on Tourism Development to Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi, writes from Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State.

Opinion

BAT: THE NEW NIGERIA VISION AND THE GHOST OF JUNE 12

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I have never joined discussions on the older generations handing over to younger generations because the issues are much more than that. Handing over of leadership is not a choice. It’s an established natural law that nothing can change the ageing process. Those nations with enlightened leaders are conscious of the inevitability of death that is why they train younger ones to take over. I am not going to be discussing why a candidate is better than the other. My reasoning is not founded on faults nor fallacies; but on the reality of things that are before us as Nigerians.

Asiwaju made his own mistake in 2011 by delivering the southwest to PDP rather than CPC with whom they could have at least provided alternative governance for Nigerians and naturally he must receive his due chastisement as divine penalty. He actually allowed himself to be ‘used’ by the old Afenifere/NADECO caucus whose agenda since after June 12 is to move the Yorubas out the Nigerian nationhood. The same folks are his greatest enemies today when he chose to correct the mistakes of the Buhari led government. His merger with Buhari was seen as a game taken too far by some silent gladiators but the eventualities of the APC primaries proved a bigger point than many of us could imagine. Asiwaju truly meant the statement, e lo fo kan baale – you guys should go and relax. His emergence has reawakened the hopes of many Nigerians that good times may be imminent.

The achievements of Asiwaju in our national polity are too significant to be made feeble by anybody not to talk of many of the constituents of my generation – The Nigerian Youths. Asiwaju had not only provided the people of southwest with a performance-based leadership template since 1999 but has successfully engaged his own party by compelling it at all times to prove itself to be virile. A closer study of Asiwaju’s politicking towards the Nigeria agenda is the fact that he had successfully been able to involve a lot of people from various ethnic backgrounds in his refining system of governance. The appointment of individuals’ that were not from Lagos State into key positions in the governance of Lagos State is a good pointer. I boldly say that he was that single man that stretched this path of honour just for effective governance. To him, we all must get the job right whether you are Yoruba or Igbo. Asiwaju remains the most detribalized Nigerian politician on Earth – res ipsa loquitur. Asiwaju is a master strategist and a political titan of no mean measure. He is a product of many factors ranging from his political consistency, training and planting of political associates and in particular social capital programmes and philanthropic gestures over the years. It is no longer news that Asiwaju has really paid his due in the political atmosphere of Nigeria; hence there is no dispute as to the everlasting relevance in the political history of this Nigeria from his NADECO days to this present Fourth Republic where he has navigated through various potholes to stage himself. One reason why he can lay credence to being a true-born democrat is his salutary efforts to redefine the concept of party politics in the effervescent terrain called Nigeria. This is no doubt a man with the Nigeria Agenda. In the game of politics, Asiwaju is a master planner, commanding force and arresting personality who has not only raised men and leaders, he is also a great friendship builder and manager. It is a fine thing to have ability, but the ability to discover ability in others is the true test.

Asiwaju fought for our democracy from the days he was exiled from Nigeria alongside other pro-democracy activists over the June 12, 1993, presidential election crisis. That election which was annulled by General Ibrahim Babangida (rtd) was won by Chief MKO Abiola who died fighting to actualise his mandate freely given to him by Nigerians. This is the journey that Asiwaju is leading at the moment. It is safe to conclude that Nigeria might get to see a replica or a better version of June 12 elections. The spirit of are alive and would be set to work again. No doubt the Muslim-muslim Ticket is coming to play again. In 1993, Chief MKO Abiola chose a Kanuri man as his Vice; and 30 years later Asiwaju also picked a Kanuri man has his Vice. This can never be a mere coincidence but a substantive one. A brief into what Senator Kashim Shettima stands for is his action towards the issue of insurgents in Nigeria, more particularly Boko Haram. Contrary to the propaganda that has filled the media space on the fact that he was the cause of the captivity of the Chibok girls by Boko Haram insurgents. It is notable to point out that Senator Kashim Shettima has been coordinating the rehabilitation and resettlement of victims of the Boko Haram insurgents. This is what over 50,000 children are benefitting across the 27 local governments in his State. It just doesn’t measure up saying he made the Chibok girls case happened. We had a federal government that failed woefully in that aspect. A part of the solution that many feared to take is what Shettima has been doing before now.

The June 12 mantra of hope was not based on religion whether was it premised on bias and sentiments. It was founded on the believe that Nigeria must work. It’s just so insensitive that at this critical time of our governance, we are playing the religion cards as a yardstick to good governance. Many have forgotten so quick that Asiwaju being a Muslim sacrificed his Vice President’s slot for a Christian even when it was considered then that a Muslim – muslim ticket was not in a bad place. We also forget so soon that sometimes in 2011, the Action Congress of Nigeria fielded a Muslim-muslim ticket. Nuhu Ribadu and Fola Adeola were both Muslims but I guess hell was not let loosed because many never believed the duo could emerge victorious at the general polls. Is this present outcry indicative that Asiwaju-Shettima is a goal already? If yes, it is a sure bet from antecedent of the duo that they are both leaders who exercises uncommon influence as well as considerable power. As it is, we have the duo that truly understands that challenges that all in Nigeria must face. Beyond flattering, they have proven that they are always set to assist in the setting of goals and priorities, to work with others in finding paths to those goals chosen, maintaining public morale and motivation and nurturing a workable level of public unity. The implication is that both men possess the power or influence of transforming something common into something valuable. To many who do not know, our land that is watered by the Niger and Benue and located between the sandy wastes and Gulf of Guinea, washed by the mighty Atlantic is set to be purified by the renewed June 12 hope again. The way of knowledge is superior to the way of action.

 

 

 

By Amb. Habeeb Whyte Esq.,

[email protected]

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Victoria Bamidele Shin-Aba @60: Untold stories of humble beginnings of an aviation amazon

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By Oluwadamilare Emmanuel

Behind the glorious career fulfilment of some people lie tattered beginnings harsh enough to devour even the strongest of men. While many have shared their grass to grace stories, however, some deliberately left the stories to waste away in memory because of the emotional trauma recalling almost to the present, the forgotten ugly past experiences before success came smiling on them. Truly as they say in this part of the world, ‘Life no balance’. However, it is amazing to know that some people would rather re-arrange the unfavourable condition life throws at them in their favour instead of wallowing in self-pity or blaming others for their misfortune.

The foregoing encapsulates the multidimensional and inspiring story of the immediate past Regional Terminal Manager, (South West), Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Mrs Victoria Bamidele Shin-Aba, the first female to be so honoured with such a position. Her entry and subsequent growth through the ranks in FAAN to the peak is almost one of a divine arrangement and uncommon courage as she explained in her soon to be launched book ‘My Resilience’. The book launch and her retirement party holds today June 2, 2022, in Lagos

Humble beginnings

Born 31st of August, 1962, Shin-Aba who is due for retirement this week and would be clocking 60 in few months’ time, was barely six months old when she lost her father while they sojourn in faraway Ghana. Apparently, she neither knew nor felt what her father was before he passed. Thanks to the magnanimous love and efforts of a ‘never say never’ mother who despite all the odds, kept to her husband’s words of ‘even if it remains a trouser in my wardrobe, my children must get quality education to keep her six children (including Shin-Aba) on track and ensure their access to quality education with no support system.

However, life did not stop dealing her a big blow despite the loss of her father. From the earlier blunt rejection of her husband, Nasiru Kolawole Shin-Aba by her mum and other family members due to religious differences to his subsequent sickness, loss of sight, depression and death after just an eight-year marital journey that lasted from 1985 to 1993, Shin-Aba has experienced it all. To add to the already piled up horrible situation, she lost her last child, Segun whom she had with her husband during his lowest ebb in life at age 10; days after being diagnosed of cerebral malaria. However, in all of these vicissitudes of life, she remained steadfast and focused despite heated entreaties from friends and families to abandon her sick husband. When she was getting overwhelmed by the myriad of challenges thrown at her at just 37 years of age, her loving mother who later welcomed her husband with open arms encouraged her not to heed evil advice, but rather stick with her husband whom she met a complete man.

In the words of his HRM, Oba (Prof) Akintola John Akintola, who doubles as Professor of Entomology, Biology Department, Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH) and the Alapa of Okinapa who wrote the foreword of her book: “The demise of her father at her tender age, which denied her fatherly care, did not deter her from achieving greatness. She was single-handedly trained by her uneducated mother who had a passion for education; and with the help of God, she did not derail on track as many of her peers, who found themselves in such circumstances would have done. There was a repeat of ugly occurrences in her life; she lost her beloved husband along the journey of life. She had to singlehandedly train her children too, due to some challenges in her family. She didn’t allow religion to create a gorge in her immediate family; she managed the challenges with elasticity. When opportunities presented itself in her favour, she was there for everyone, to raise them up within her limited capacity. What a show of love! Mrs. Victoria Shin-Aba is a woman of uncommon love and humility. She extended love to all, immediate and distant relations. Her humble beginning came to play in many histories and stories too numerous to mention. This is what many failed to do and had turned up as regret for them after retirement,” Kabiyesi wrote elatedly of the accomplished woman of substance.

Journey to FAAN

While many would have accepted fate and end it all career-wise, Shin-Aba was rather focused all through the challenges. She did not hang her boots or drift to the classroom as many would have expected of her upon completion of her College of Education studies and receipt of her certificate in 1984. She proceeded to obtain her first degrees, and local and international training/certifications while also combining a number of sides hustles especially during the early days of her career in the Agency.

Her journey into FAAN (formerly, Nigeria Airports Authority, NAA) dated back to 1987 as Assistant House Manageress. She joined her husband who was then the Head of Civil Engineering at the Ibadan Airport.

Steady growth through the ranks at FAAN

As typical of any hardworking person, Shin-Aba soon became the cynosure of all eyes in FAAN. She held several positions in the operations department of Authority including; Airfield Operations Officer Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA); Apron Control Officer MMA; Airport Duty Officer ITZ MMA; and Terminal Operations Officer; General Aviation Terminal (GAT); Hajj and Cargo Terminal (HCT) and International Terminal MMA.

She was promoted Manager of the Akure Airport in 2011, a post she held till 2014 when she was redeployed to MMA as Head of Operations.

In September, Shin-Aba scored another first. The FAAN management appointed her as first female Regional General Manager (South West)/Airport Manager, Murtala Muhammed International Airport and subsequently attaining the rank of a General Manager, Airfield Operations.

As HOD operations, she led the team that prepared MMA for pioneer certification in Nigeria and organised the review and unbundling of MMA technical manuals and related Standard Operating Procedures (SOP)in collaboration with the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA). The much-coveted Aerodrome Certification to MMA, issued by NCAA on 15th September 2017 is to the credit of her team. Her experience also came to play during the coronavirus pandemic that grounded flight activities worldwide for months.

Multiple Awards and Recognitions

In recognition of her hard work and selflessness to her fatherland despite the initial setbacks, the Nigerian Aviation Award (NIGAV) in 2018 honoured her with ‘The Airport Personality of the Year 2018’; in same year she also went on to win the National Black Coalition of Federal Aviation Employees (NBCFAE) Award 2018. Most recently she won the ‘Airport Operations of the Year 2021 and Operational Resilience Airport of the Year 2021 Award.

Solving generational problems

Having giving a better part of her life to standing up to challenges against her and others around her, one would have expected her to roll down the sleeves and possibly go on vacation to enjoy her retirement. But Shin-Aba has other plans. As retirement beckons, Shin-Aba hopes to use her time and resources for solving generational problems/challenges. .

“This is the more reason why I have a growing interest in attempting to solve the generational problem through a yet-to-be-unveiled scheme which aims to address human capital empowerment and entrepreneurship development in the community upon my retirement,’ she said in her book.

It is, therefore, the right thing to, in the bobbling spirit of oneness, to roll out the drums and celebrate with a rare woman of courage and virtues, Mrs Victoria Bamidele Shin-Aba as she mark her retirement from service, launch her book today and also mark her 60th birthday in advance.

 

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‘Why I’m Supporting Bola Tinubu’- Mogaji Wole Arisekola

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Ibadan-born businessman and pub­lisher of Ireland-based journal, The Street Journal Magazine, Mogaji Bowale Oluwole Arisekola has stated reasons he is supporting the ambition of the National leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), and frontline presidential aspirant, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu to become Nigeria’s next President.

He told some selected senior journalists at his Abuja office on Friday that Asiwaju Tinubu had got what it takes to provide the quality and desirous leadership Nigeria needs at a time like this.

“Those who know me will attest to the fact that I am ever loyal to my friends, loyal to a political cause I believe in and on no account will I comprise my moral rectitude, that is me and nothing can change that. I am making a bold statement today that my unalloyed support for Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s Presidential ambition is 100% and I can assure you that he is going to emerge as President Buhari’s successor in 2023 through the merit and strength of the ballot.

“The former Lagos Governor brought innovations into governance of the State during his eight years in power, I can assure anyone who cares to listen that he will replicate similar feats when he eventually becomes Nigeria’s President. I have not denied him of my support and I have not pretended about my open support for him either.

“My father-son’s relationship with Tinubu is not in contention and is something I never pretended about and even several of those who are contesting from the South-West also have their own relationships with him as well.

“This is because he had been there for a lot of us in the past and he is still there. He has the clouth, mien, the charisma, velvety and suave dispositions that the number one office deserve. Asiwaju is simply the best man for the job.

“ I believe both on moral ground as well as out of the conviction that he has got what it takes to provide the kind of quality leadership this country needs at a precarious moment like this.”

He continued, “You will recall that Tinubu declared his intention to run for president on the APC ticket in January 2022. Subsequently other aspirants in the party including Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Yahaya Bello, the Kogi State Governor; Rochas Okorocha, a Senator and former Imo State Governor; Rotimi Amaechi former Rivers Governor; Dave Umahi, Governor of Ebonyi State, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, and Governor Kayode Fayemi, among others are no match with Asiwaju at all, and I didn’t mean to disparage or treat them with disdain and don’t quote me out of context please.”

Arisekola added, “In supporting Asiwaju Tinubu, of course we cannot use that as a parameter not to respect the rights of others who want to aspire, and in fairness to them its good to be ambitious as a politician. But one thing is certain that office is for competent hands with requisite experience and qualifications, it is not meant for a neophyte. But I believe that part of the essence of democracy is that there will be constructive engagement.

“I’m sure everybody is talking to somebody and before the date of this election, there will be some realignment of forces. But the right of everyone to contest is inalienable, and it has to be respected.”

While referencing one of Asiwaju’s gestures of kindness he said:

“Gentlemen of the press, without sounding immodest and I wouldn’t also want to embarrass anyone, but for the prize we owe posterity permit me to add that, one of my former editors who is now a serving Governor in South West once had a challenge to cater to his child’s naming ceremonies, he had no money to foot the bills, Asiwaju stood for him and sent N6 million through Kemi Nelson to support him, the rest is now history. Asiwaju’s benevolence knows no bounds. There is no region in Nigeria that his gesture of kindness and benevolence have not reached. He is a pan Nigerian, a patriot with class, humility and forgiving spirit, this is rare in our political clime” Arisekola disclosed.

Speaking on how CPC and ACN alignment became fruitful and successful Mogaji said;

“The first meeting between President Muhammadu Buhari and Asiwaju Tinubu in Kaduna was facilitated by me. Saliu Mustapha, then National Chairman of defunct CPC called me that the General want to meet with Asiwaju and some CPC officials, that I should please talk to Asiwaju. I asked him to come to Lagos, I lodged him at Marple hotel, Lekki phase 1 and drove him to Asiwaju the following day. That’s how they started CPC/ACN alignment. You can ask Alhaji Buba Galadima and Mustapha, they are all alive. I don’t book appointments to see Asiwaju, I have unfettered access to him. If I go to his house and he is free, he definitely will see me and that is Asiwaju for you.”

Arisekola added that Tinubu is not a greenhorn in politics and that he is a committed and patriotic party man, a consummate professional, a respected nationalist, a trailblazer, a committed philanthropist and a true family man who can proactively restore the fortunes of Nigeria socio-economically without bias or lapses.

When asked about his political ambition Wole Arisekola quickly cut in and said:

“My Parents were never political officeholders. They died as businessman and businesswoman. Meanwhile, they warned me never to play active politics or accept any political office, but that I could support my friends who are aspiring to get to the pinnacle of their career as long as it is lawful.

“To my people asking me to contest elections in this country, I’m so sorry, I will never hold any political office in my life. The former Czech President and public intellectual, Dr Vaclav Havel said people are driven into politics and I quote, “by ideas about a better way to organize society, by faith in certain values or ideals, be they impeccable or dubious, and the irresistible desire to fight for those ideas and turn them into reality” end of quote. From what we are witnessing, that may not be true of our country. I can humbly say that is my feedback to those asking me, Mogaji Wole Arisekola to contest election in 2027.”

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