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VACCUM IN THE OTHER ROOM AT ALAGBAKA: WHERE IS MRS OLUWASEUN AYEDATIWA? By Sola Ajisafe, Esq

” Aponle o si fun Oba ti ko ni Olori” – (Yoruba proverb popularised by Chief Ebenezer Obey).

There have been arguments that the Nigerian Constitution never provided for the place of a First Lady in anyway. It had equally been argued that aside from being a constitutional aberration, it was seen as a way to eat into our commonwealth by the occupiers of our seat of powers.

Honestly, I do not know when it started but I am aware that even under the parliamentary democracy and so soon after, under the jackboots, spouses of our Chief Executives played vital roles in the administration of government and government business in Nigeria. Even if it’s from the “Ooza room”. Victa icta (whichever way), they add value by providing stability to the system.

This does not in anyway presurppose it’s constitutionality or neither did it make it a wrong. It had become a convention. Under our laws, conventions are aptly recognized.

In our system, we have seen Chief Executives who kept their wives out of the political radar. One of such was, Pa Adekumle Ajasin of old Ondo State, Chief Bola Ige of old Oyo State, Chief Bisi Akande of Osun State and of recent Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola of Osun State. There are many others too. It’s a personal decision. For instance, if I become the Governor or President today, my wife will remain in her post as Mrs Ajisafe and her duty as a trained nurse. It’s that simple.

Contrarywise, our Ondo State under Chief Ade Adefarati gave some leverage to his wife. This position was taken to a higher level with the coming of Dr. Olusegun Mimiko whose wife emplaced the Gbebiro ( Keep the Family intact) programme and further up the ante, our own Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu ( Digital Mama).

More than anyone, Betty Akeredolu bested everyone with her many iconic ideas and efforts to assisting her husband and our people one way or the other. Take for instance BEMORE, BRECAN, FOWOSO, and all her legislative activities for the women and the girl child in Ondo State. It had never been that good or loud.

Whatever anyone may wish to say, there were high points for the Akeredolu administration and the people of Ondo State particularly the families that benefitted from it. In this wise, Lucky as Akeredolu’s successor must ensure that some of these important programmes do not die or get extinguished at the exit from government of the Akeredolus. At least, he had made promises to that extent about Aketi’s legacies. He may not be able to carry all those programes but the one like BEMORE and FOWOSO must be sustained. The best perons to do it is Mrs Oluwaseun Ayedatiwa.

Aside from the fact of balancing of the home front and consistent maintanance of the emotional and mental health of our Governor, the presence of his wife would provide a soothing balm to him when he needs it. Our Governor is still very young, smart, able and agile. He needs all the support and encouragement. Everyone needs it.

It is almost two months since our new mint Governor, Hon. Lucky Orimisan Ayedatiwa was sworn in as the Governor of our State, yet no one has set eyes on his wife. Curiously, when he was made the Deputy Governor and on the occasion of the much talked about Aketi prophesy, she was delectable beside her husband and regal in her gait.

Some minders of the Governor had said at various times that she was in Lagos and that she is in ” her husband’s house”. Yet there are others who believed the innocent woman is barred from coming near the seat of power for obvious reasons by her husband. Others are even of the view that the woman is afraid of coming near her husband at Alagbaka due to a history of unbelievable cruelty against her by her husband. This was made known sometime last year. Both parties denied it. However, the extremely beautiful woman with so much promise has not been seen near her hubby for a long time. What is the issue? We need an answer because we deserve one.

This culture of ” old age bachelor” life is not what our Governor needs at this crucial time. Our Governor needs both physical, mental and emotional balance in Alagbaka.

I hate to say this, but it is the truth, if it is a fear of the unknown that is making the beautiful wife of our Governor to stay abroad very far away from his spouse at the seat of power in Alagbaka, women groups and the people need to assuage her fears. That she is safe because she is now the mother of the State. No be by age but na favour she get from Baba God.

Also, if it is a form of punishment by her husband for any act that may have brought him to opprobrium at any point in time, I join every man of good faith to plead for forgiveness for the ” Mother of the State”. To err is human but to forgive is divine.

I strongly feel that for the physical health, safety and emotional balance of our Governor in the few months remaining for him in Alagbaka, it is important that his wife must return to take good care of him and to provide the motherly cover for the rest of us as our First Lady.

This is an iredissible minimum that we demand from our Governor. It’s nothing too hard to achieve.

Simply, where is Mrs Ayedatiwa?

#whereismrsayedatiwa
#justiceforoluwaseun
#letseunoccupyozaroom
#whereisourfirstlady
#womenariseforseun

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News

Travails and a legacy of anti-corruption crusade

Chairman, Human and Environmental Development Agenda, (HEDA) Olanrewaju Suraju

He was calm and unruffled. He sat on the high table with the Chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC), Mr Olanipekun Olukoyode. Hon. Justice Latifat Okunnu and Prof Adele Jinadu sat close to him. For many of his old friends, it was difficult to recognise Olanrewaju Suraju. He had grown beards. He wore an unusual dress that would make it difficult to identify him unless at close scrutiny.
Looking different at every occasion might just be one technique Suraju, the Chairman of Nigeria’s most remarkable anti-corruption group has devised to delude corrupt actors who once made attempt to eliminate him.
For instance, in 2022 at midnight, armed men stormed his house. They did not come to steal but took away valuables, perhaps as a decoy. The deal, it appeared, was to kill or at least warn him that corruption has the means and ways to fight back, anywhere, anyhow and anytime.
The storming of his house was with precision: the time, the break-in, the stealth, the gadgets employed and the expertise of the invaders indicated they were professional. There have been several other threats to him, his soulmate, Sulaiman Arigbadu and the staff that are usually on edge at the close of work each day for constant fear of being trailed.
This has not deterred the Human and Environmental Development Agenda, (HEDA Resource Centre) in the vigorous pursuit of Nigerian cruel but powerful sleaze network. The travails of the group, for 20 years now, clearly shows that the fight against corruption in Nigeria is like a fight with a lion right in its den. The consequences are life threatening. Fighting corruption in Nigeria is like walking barefoot on a rope adored with blade edges.
This is why it is remarkable that for 20 years, a Nigerian organisation HEDA Resource Centre has been confronting the lion in its den. At the anniversary held in Lagos this week, which I attended, the EFCC Chairman lamented the vicious hearts of Nigerian cartel of powerful rogues.
He said after he assumed office, he suddenly developed strands of grey hairs in months. He sometimes leaves his office 1am in the morning, yet would go home with unfinished files. He narrated one incidence recently, when on the last day of the previous year, billions of naira were being illicitly transferred by politically exposed persons. He watched the illegal transfers on his security screen forcing him to step aside from the New Year praise and worship night to take decisive action against the complicit bank accounts. They were cronies of Government ministries moving illegal cash not spent during the previous year.
If there is a major problem hunting Nigeria, it is the audacity of corruption in high and low places. In the last half a century, experts think funds stolen from Nigeria are enough to build a new, prosperous country. Corruption has become the monster that rules public and private services. Many politicians in Nigeria see the theft of public funds as habitual. Budgets have become mere yearly rituals.
Professor Jinadu at the event said in many instances, the motivating factor for public service seems to be access to public wealth. Fronts are created to launder public money through exaggerated contracts, over invoicing, outright stealing of funds to budget manipulation and kickbacks.
There is institutionalised corruption. This comes in the form of bogus self awarded salaries, perks, privileges, constituency allowances, and legally protected sleaze. Apart from corrupt practices of highly placed people, artisans, professionals wear the dirty garb of graft making the cancerous plaque the addiction of the rich and poor.
In his remarks, Olukoyode regretted that corruption is defended viciously by its practitioners, local and international capons, powerful people, rulers of darkness who do everything possible to sustain the rot. It is this hegemon that HEDA Resource Centre decided, for the past twenty years to confront with all its strength. The EFCC Chairman, described HEDA Resource Centre as one of the most ‘prolific’ anti-corruption civil society organisations in Nigeria.
Led by a formidable team of men and women, with two icons, Olanrewaju Suraju and Sulaiman Arigbabu at the captain’s seat, the Centre has continued to strike the sky like a comet that awes politically exposed persons.
One of the most remarkable corruption cases exposed by HEDA Resource Centre was the Malabu oil scam. It involved the transfer of about $1.1billion dollars by two Nigerian oil giants through Nigerian government officials to the account of a former Minister of Petroleum. About half of the fund went into the account of another Nigerian individual who owns an oil company.
The crook fronted for many government officials under the Government of Mr Goodluck Jonathan who ruled Nigeria for six years. When HEDA Resource Centre launched this campaign in 2016, every effort including espionage, threat to life, sending armed agents to the office, phone bug, spying and trailing of its workers at the anti-corruption institution was made to hack down, blackmail or intimidate the group. The scam was linked to OPL-245. In the face of poisoned arrows fired at the organisation’s officials at the homefront, international anti-corruption groups, RE:Common, Corner House and Global Witness rose in defence of HEDA Resource Centre and its team as the case took the centre stage in Italy and Holland where for the first time, the governments of those countries saw the rare determination of a Nigerian anti-corruption group that risked everything including their lives for a transparent country where the Federal Government was found wanting and even complicit.
The Malabu case saw at least some $190m paid to the account of the former Nigerian oil Minister frozen by a London Court. Local and international campaigns of the group are deafening. HEDA was at the United Kingdom Parliament to press against aiding of corruption by the international community.
But the tormentors are not giving up. Suraju was wrongly but deliberately accused of forgery. Former Attorney General of the Federation, Mohammed Bello Adoke petitioned the Inspector General of Police claiming the email linked to him with communication with JP Morgan, the bankers in June 2011 over the OPL 245 deal through the address of a company owned by one of the suspects, was forged. The International anti-corruption consortium in its letter to the IG said it was a ‘story of how false allegations about forgery contained in a complaint to the Nigeria police have been used to target a leading Nigerian anti-corruption group’. The case dragged on, but HEDA Resource Centre was eventually vindicated.
The group is perhaps the only organisation in Nigeria that keeps the most up-to -date information about corruption. One of its comprehensive publications detailed unresolved corruption allegation scandals under various governments including that of President Mohammadu Buhari. The group has published seven editions of 100 high profile corruption cases in Nigeria which when put together would amount to the entire 20 year budgets of some major African countries. Anyone reading the publications is bound to shed tears for Nigeria. It puts together a string of unresolved sleaze amounting to trillions of naira of stolen public funds spanning decades under various governments since 1999 many of which many Nigerians have forgotten. How many would recall the theft of N1.1billion at the Nigerian Maritime Agency,(NIMASA), forfeiture of N754.8m of properties belonging to a NIMASA official or the son of a former Bauchi State Governor who was linked to the theft of N1.1b or a former Accountant General of the Federation linked with another N24b fraud or the case of a Professor who scammed an American knowledge-based company to the tune of $922m or a former Registrar of JAMB put in the dock by the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission, (ICPC) over N5b theft? The Registrar was docked along with his children.
HEDA Resource Centre reminds all of us about the positive adventure of the EFCC and the ICPC and also their limitations. It brings into eternal memory that corrupt officials may twist the law to escape justice, but history has already taken note of their bitter footprints and that a black book has been opened for generations born and unborn to behold, so that when the story of Nigeria is told and retold, those hawks who worked tirelessly to see Nigeria become the carcass of a beautiful Zebra, so they can feast, will never be absolved by time and history.

Adeoye is a CNN African Journalist of the Year Award Winner and Executive Director, Journalists for Democratic Rights, (JODER)

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Opinion

AYEDATIWA, ADELAMI AND THE SYMPHONY FROM ABUJA: THE ACTS OF IMADO ON PARADE By Sola Ajisafe, Esq

” Imado iba se bi elede abaluje, eru iba j’oba, ko ni ku eni kankan”.

According to Prof. Wole Soyinka, the Yoruba language is too deep for any English translation to aptly capture the essence of it’s words, talk less of it’s rich philosophical proverbs. In order to achieve any meaning, you only try as best as you can. As it is usually said on the street ” understanding lo matter”.

In one of my writings some years ago, I sought the help of the thespian Tomogun Olubunmi from Irun Akoko to help translate to English the above proverb. He came up with an explanation rather than a translation. According to him an Imado ( Warthog) is the opposite of the local Elede (Pig). While the Warthog lives in the bush, the Pig lives with human beings in their various communities. The Warthog is a very destructive animal and it’s activities do not conform with societal values. On its part, the Pig has been domesticated and had passed through a level of aculturisation, hence, it conforms to societal practices, at least better than it’s counterpart from the bush.

In an attempt to behave like the Pig, if given the chance to live among the people, the result would be an unmitigated disaster, regressive and regrettable. Also, the other part of the proverb says, if a slave becomes the King by any happenstance or arrangement, the concomitant effect of it will be disaster, disappointment, gnashing of teeth, destruction and death. This is what Ondo State is currently facing with the emergence of Hon. Lucky Orimisan Ayedatiwa as the Governor of Ondo State.

I have painstakingly read all the arrows flying around since the G-5(6), came up with their letter from the Green Chamber. Only a fool will deny that most of what they said in the letter are untrue. On Adelami, every Owo man knew what happened before the primaries. I have spoken to the leaders of the two camps involved in the near death carnage. I also know ( without talking to him) that Hon. Adelegbe, during the period was angling for a return to the House of Representatives. His ambition was not separated from that of Aketi. If Aketi failed to get a second term, his second term ambition is dead before it takes off. So, he definitely had an idea of those who weaponised Owo to unseat his benefactor. If a man of such becomes the Deputy Governor, the story cannot be hidden too much even when it is a fact on the street of Owo and the security agencies cannot deny the fact. But it is what it is.

I also, agree that better sense prevailed and Adelani handed over his campaign office and ” structure” to Aketi. The day it happened, I was the compere as usual. To also say that Adelani went to the 18 local governments with Aketi or did a rally for him as some people are suggesting through a viral video is a lie from hell. I was the Master of Ceremony for all the campaigns and by virtue of my political engagement, I know the who is who in APC in Ondo State. I have a way of recognizing people or bringing them to the podium to speak or “show” themselves even when local political situations or calculations demand the opposite. I always insisted and usually have my way. If not for anyone, Apata and Hon. Bola Ilori are very good examples.

It is another fool that will say, the Abuja “activists” were wrong when they said Ayedatiwa is married to anything and anyone that is against Aketi and his interests. For instance, of the Commissioner nominees, only two of them Olamide Falana and Niyi Oyeniyi appointed by Aketi did not openly oppose him while he was sick. But they have strong relationship with those against Aketi. One, as a beneficiary and the other as a sponsor. Out of the Special Advisers, which of them is not openly opposed to Aketi in his lifetime? Everyone knew that they have an axe to grind with Aketi. They fought his known supporters, his family and government to a stand still. They blackmailed his appointees and his government heavily.

Currently, there are more “aliens” and anti- APC ( Aketi) elements working and advising Ayedatiwa than Aketi had in his almost seven (7) years leadership of the party and the government. Is it not a fact that a man who had spent less than four years in APC asked the Chairman of the party to resign in the presence of the Governor? What level of irresponsibility or insult could be more than that? Aside from Gbenga Omole, is it not a fact that core APC or Team Aketi had lost out completely in the configuration of Ayedatiwa government as it presently stands? What better way to spite Aketi and APC members that the presence of John Paul Akinduro as the Chief Press Secretary to Ayedatiwa attached to the office of the Deputy Governor. Where is that coming from or in compensation for what and for who? Haba! Those who do not know the guy should read the story of Akinjo becoming the NDDC Commissioner for Ondo State. How on earth can Ayedatiwa and his minders defend the nomination and screening of Kayode Ajulo as Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice in an APC government in Ondo State? Anyway few people saw this coming and said it long time ago. We said these people were not fighting Aketi and his government for the benefit of Ondo State people, but as a back-end route into the government of Ondo State. Here we are now.

Going forward, reading the letter from Hon Makinde, MHR in opposition to that of the G-5(6), one can see the truth and the lies by the writer. It was a fact that the Cacus was silent and lost their voice when things were hot in Ondo State and the current Governor was in a hurry to see the end of his Oga which eventually happened. It was also true that they never visited the family after his demise as a group. It was also true that many of the Abuja later day activists were deaf and dumb during the Aketi travails. A man like Adelegbe who could not have gotten to Abuja in the first place or have a second term was the first to betray Aketi and his family.

It was also true that Makinde himself, a beneficiary of Aketi’s benevolence of a second term kept quiet during this period and supported Ayedatiwa at the back against Aketi. It was true that he had led a delegation of “Ekimogun Endorsers” to Ayedatiwa where they were promised mouth watering assistance for Ondo Egin. A one billion Naira rainfall had been dropped at UNIMED , Ondo for infrastructure improvement. It would seem everything that Aketi did in the University had paled into insignificance.

Is it not a fact that, the war song among these later day Ayedatiwa lovers is to bring down the political seuzerainity of a Deaconess and a Jagaban of Ondo State in Ondo West APC for the advantage of the opposing group been spearheaded by Jibayo Adeyeye? Is it not a fact that Hon. Makinde himself is a Director General of Ayedatiwa in Ondo? If this is true, why is he blowing those of others out of proportion even when some of the assertions a blatantly untrue and off the mark?

Makinde played a fast one on himself when he spoke about the 35% palliative payment. Ayedatiwa cannot swear that he was not aware this monies had been signed by Aketi and scheduled for payment at the time it was paid. It was part of the financial engineering put on ground by the Ministry of Finance which had worked so far bringing Ondo State to a State of relative financial stability. Payment of this money started in November, 2023. At this period Aketi was defacto and dejure ( in law and in fact) the Governor of Ondo State.

As if Aketi knew he would not make it, he had painstakingly under excruciating pain signed many financial commitments for the benefit of his people in Ondo State particularly the workers and the pensioners. But what did he get? Rasak Obe another ” alien” to APC falsely alleged that the Governor’s signatures was forged. Despite the denial by the Governor and the government, these hysterics and the Deputy Governor continued to pillory, harass and embarrass the Governor, his family, his appointees, his government and the people of Ondo State with their false narratives until Aketi breath his last. Even after his death, the ” game is still on”.

Imado (Warthog) is not deaf neither is an Eru ( Slave) blind. Also, an Imado is not destructive because it wanted to be but because it was born with it. It is in it’s gene and alcultured to it. Also, an Eru (Slave) is not just an ingrate, a betrayer or a killer because it is an Eru. He is like that because he chooses to be like that. He is power drunk and power hungry. An Eru has the capacity and propensity to pay good with evil. To destroy something that it met in a near perfect position. An Eru is in the habit of coveting the position or status of his master. Such an Eru will blackmail and destroy anything on its way to get to power.

On this matter, my advise to our Governor is to look carefully and study the situation as it unfolds. The symphony the Orchestra from the National Assembly is playing is not without the understanding of the eminent trio from the Red Chamber. It would be naive for Mr. Governor to think both the national headquarters of the party and the Villa are immuned or deaf to these rumblings. It is a statement that is clear and straightforward.

Unknown to Mr Governor, he was given the chance to make his political dance steps for them to see if he has all it takes to lead a complex and strategic State like Ondo State. But he showed his hand that he does not posses what it takes. His weakness is exercerbated by The quality and character of persons he had packed around himself. The quality and credibility of his appointments have shown that …Aye-o-da-ti- won, simply because (nitori), ko derun rara o.

* Sola Ajisafe is a strong member of APC.

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Environment

Financial Metrics Analysis in Agribusiness: Unveiling Overlooked Indicators

Abstract:
This research article explores the strategic evaluation of financial metrics in the agribusiness sector, shedding light on often-overlooked indicators crucial for a comprehensive assessment of the industry’s financial health. By examining overlooked ratios, such as gearing ratio, interest cover, acid test ratio, cash conversion cycle, return on equity (ROE), and return on capital employed (ROCE), the study aims to provide a nuanced toolkit for investors and agribusiness owners. The article concludes by illustrating the practical implications of these ratios through a hypothetical scenario, emphasizing their role in guiding strategic financial decisions for sustainable growth.

1. Introduction:
The agribusiness sector, often evaluated through conventional metrics like net profit and gross profit margin, requires a more comprehensive approach for an accurate financial assessment. This article aims to redirect attention to lesser-known but impactful financial indicators, offering investors and agribusiness owners an informed toolkit.

2. Gearing Ratio and Interest Cover:
2.1 Gearing Ratio:
The gearing ratio provides insights into a company’s financial leverage. By analyzing total debt in relation to shareholders’ equity, this ratio helps businesses strike a balance between debt and equity, ensuring a stable capital structure.

2.2 Interest Cover:
The interest cover, or times interest earned (TIE) ratio, measures a company’s ability to meet interest payments using operating profit. This ratio, alongside the gearing ratio, aids in managing debt levels and ensures financial stability.

3. Acid Test Ratio and Cash Conversion Cycle:

3.1 Acid Test Ratio:
Examining a company’s liquidity, the acid test ratio excludes inventory from current assets. Particularly vital in agribusiness, where inventory may not quickly convert to cash, this ratio offers insights into a company’s short-term obligation coverage.

3.2 Cash Conversion Cycle:
This financial metric measures the efficiency of converting investments into cash flow. By assessing inventory days, receivables days, and payable days, businesses can identify areas for improvement, leading to enhanced cash flow and operational efficiency.

4. Return on Equity and Return on Capital Employed:
4.1 Return on Equity (ROE):
ROE gauges a company’s profitability in utilizing shareholders’ equity. This metric, when compared across industries, provides a benchmark for investors and analysts, showcasing the company’s efficient use of equity capital.

4.2 Return on Capital Employed (ROCE):
ROCE offers a holistic performance indicator by assessing a company’s efficiency in using both equity and debt for profit generation. Analyzing ROE and ROCE provides valuable insights into financial performance and aids in strategic decision-making.

5. Conclusion:
Business leaders must grasp the significance of understanding and connecting various financial ratios, as they serve as indispensable tools for formulating effective financial improvement plans. A hypothetical scenario illustrates the practical impact of judicious ratio analysis management, guiding strategic financial decisions for sustained growth and success.

Author: Agosile Akinjide

References:
Altman, E.I., 1968. Financial ratios, discriminant analysis and the prediction of corporate bankruptcy. The journal of finance, 23(4), pp.589-609.
Beaver, W.H., 1966. Financial ratios as predictors of failure. Journal of accounting research, pp.71-111.
Barnes, P., 1987. The analysis and use of financial ratios. Journal of Business Finance dan Accounting, 14(4), p.449.

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