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Who is afraid of Bola Tinubu? By TUNDE Rahman

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Why do many political opponents dread the All Progressives Congress National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, so much so that in their wishful thinking they hope he gives way or simply quit the stage? Why should political contestation get to the point where our so-called political leaders would be wishing their competitors dead if they are actually in politics for the public good? These are some of the questions that have agitated my mind following the repeated unfounded rumours about Asiwaju Tinubu’s health status.

 

In the last few months, the former Lagos governor has died many times over in the reckoning of these nefarious persons.
Each time Asiwaju travels, the next thing these detractors, who abound in PDP as in APC, do is to shamelessly claim he is seriously ill undergoing surgery or that he has died. Yet, each time they have made such blatant claims, the lie has always blown up on their very faces, as they have always been proven wrong.

 

Surprisingly, some of these evil persons would also claim the APC national leader is no longer relevant in the scheme of things in the party he helped form. And you wonder: if he is no longer important within the APC, why dissipating energies about him? Why hoping he dies each time he steps out of the country?
These people have been in this despicable game for quite a while. They have perpetrated so much hatred and told too many lies such that to track them can be a herculean task.Let me attempt a recall of a few of these.

 

In April this year, when we went for Umrah (lesser Hajj) in Saudi Arabia, they brought out a photo-shopped photograph that portrayed Asiwaju in very bad light. The picture was so bad that you would wonder whether it had any feature of him. All that these malicious people wanted to demonstrate is Asiwaju is so badly ill or incapacitated that he cannot even aspire to lead this country, talk less mount the exalted office. Ironically, at the same lesser Hajj, Asiwaju, who the malevolent imagined dead, effortlessly performed tawaf (going round the holy Kabbah) several times and underwent all the rites of Umrah. I was in that entourage to Umrah along with some of his friends and associates including Osun State Governor Adegboyega Oyetola, former EFCC Chairman Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, and former National Welfare Officer of APC, Alhaji Ibrahim Masari, among others.

 

Elucidating on how we arrived in Medina around 4 am, how tired, weary and needing sleep we all proceeded to Mecca, a distance of 4-and-a-half hours, that same morning we landed in the kingdom, and how on eventual arrival in Mecca we immediately headed for the Kabbah, would help put a lie to the claim about Asiwaju’s ill-health.
The journey from Medina to Mecca by road was very strenuous. Virtually all of us slept. Not Asiwaju. He was awake throughout, conversing with the driver, Mustapha, and ensuring he was awake and alert for the duration of the drive. We arrived in Mecca without any hassle, quickly checked into a hotel, and then headed for the Kabbah for tawaf and other rites of Umrah.

 

Leading the charge, Asiwaju Tinubu painlessly performed the seven-round tawaf and shortly after, being a Friday, it was time for Jummah. We left Medina immediately we arrived because way back in that holy city, Asiwaju had insisted he would like to observe Jummah in Mecca.
For the duration of the trip, Asiwaju’s hotel suite in Mecca was turned into a Mecca of sort with governors, ministers, other top dignitaries and Islamic clerics coming to visit him. Overlooking the Kabbah, it was in his living room that we were observing some of the prayers and making supplications to Allah.

 

Many took selfies with him with their cameras and phones unencumbered. He allowed as many as wanted to take photographs with him to do so, an opportunity some abused. An example was someone who either unknowingly deployed a phone with a bad camera or deliberately doctored the photograph, which was now used to achieve nefarious ends, as depicted by that damaging picture of Asiwaju in Saudi.

 

Again, not long after we returned from Umrah and the former Lagos governor undertook a trip abroad, I think to France and UK, there were also unfounded reports that he had been hospitalised in Paris for alleged coronavirus attack and had even purportedly undergone an operation. Some proceeded from there to claim he had died. Now, Asiwaju has never tested positive for COVID-19. Not at that alleged time, not at present. For the life of me, how could someone who had never been positive for coronavirus be hospitalised for it or undergone a surgery for complications arising from the virus he never contracted? I volunteered this much not to disparage many who had contracted the virus or those presently battling the dreaded menace.

 

Each time we felt we had over-exposed ourselves or someone had contracted the virus in the team, we would call for coronavirus tests and no one is exempted. Asiwaju and some of us must have undergone close to 15 COVID-19 tests each. Some of us, including this writer, had even tested positive for the virus at one point or another. Asiwaju has never experienced it once.

 

The fake news about Asiwaju’s alleged ill health or death is something we have become accustomed to each time he travels out of the country such that it has become a joke of sorts. Indeed, we had a hilarious encounter when he embarked on the extant travel some two weeks ago. As I made to leave him at the Lagos airport, I said: “Sir, now that you are traveling again, when these mischievous guys begin to say you are either dying or dead, what do I say to them?” We had a good laugh. He then said: “Just say I have travelled and don’t mind whatever they say.”

 

So the speculation trailing the extant trip is what it is: fake, unfounded news. It bears repeating, however, to state that Asiwaju is hale and hearty. He is not in any hospital. He does not have any medical situation that would require hospitalisation either in Nigeria or abroad. It is sad that perpetrators of this mischief are not deterred by the fact that each time this fake news has been propagated they have been proven wrong.

 

However, there are a few points to make at this juncture. Firstly, some speak magisterially on the state of health of Asiwaju Tinubu. They say he doesn’t enjoy good health. Are they his doctors? Are they saying they are privy to his medical records? Pray, how could an unhealthy man muster the strength and energy to go through the rigors of tawaf and all rites associated with Umrah immediately after a six-hour flight and over four-hour road trip? Those perpetrating this evil think they are unknown. They hide their identities behind the anonymity of the social media. But we have a fair idea who they are. Their luck will run out soon as they would be exposed sooner than later!

 

Again, these people who try to rubbish Asiwaju’s health, peddling rumours that he is dead forget that the matter of life and death is within the realm of God. Not of any individual. They should not attempt to play God. They conveniently forgot what many dubbed the Zik’s curse. Recall that Nigeria’s first president and one of our foremost leaders, late Dr. NnamdiAzikiwe, was rumoured dead I think around November 1989. Some prominent print media organisations and television stations published the story without conducting due diligence and checks. With banner headlines cast in impressive adjectives befitting the Great Zik, they proudly proclaimed the nationalist dead. Some of Zik’s associates, some of whom had not seen him in years, particularly the late Chief RBK Okafor, also fell for it, ranting about their close relationship with the late nationalist and how they were with him in his last moments.

 

Reminiscing on this episode in an article titled “The Day Zik Didn’t Die” published by THE NATION newspaper on November 8, 2016, celebrated columnist, Professor Olatunji Dare, had this to say: “Out-of-work politicians saw an opening and moved in swiftly. A First Republic legislator and former stalwart of the Zikist Movement, Chief RBK Okafor, panting as if he had sprinted all the way from Nsukka to Rutam House in Lagos, narrated breathlessly how he had cradled his “beloved Zik” in his arms and how, even as his life ebbed, the great nationalist had said to him: “Chief RBK Okafor, my political son, remember that I am a Pan-Africanist and should be given a Pan-African burial.”
As it turned out, Zik’s rumoured death was false. It was fake news. Zik did not die. At least he did not die at that time. He read that obituary in the newspapers. He also reportedly cursed those people grandstanding over his purported death. And one by one, they died before him. Zik went on to live for another seven years. The long and short of all of this is those wishing Asiwaju dead, hoping to profit from it should be very careful. They should be wary of the wrath of God.

 

Having stated all of that, my final point is media stakeholders must meet minds together and devise a way to halt the excesses of the social media. We must help to stem this menace of fake news, hate speech and abusive language. There must be a form of regulation for this nonsense going on, on social media. I’m totally in support of peer regulation, regulation within the media industry itself, but we must scale up enforcement of this regulation. Why don’t we draft the regulations ourselves and approach the National Assembly for legislation to back them up to make these regulations institutional as some professionals have also suggested?
Rahman is media adviser to Tinubu. He was formerly Editor, THISDAY on Saturday and Sunday newspapers.

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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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