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QuickRead: Obaseki and deputy’s feud. Four other stories we tracked and why they matter



The Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, last week accused his deputy, Philip Shaibu, of scheming to succeed him in 2024.

Also, the ministerial ambition of the former Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai suffered a setback with the decision of the Senate to delay his confirmation, alongside that of two other nominees.

These and three other stories were among the highlights of events in the country last week.

1. Obaseki and deputy’s feud

On August 11, Obaseki alleged that his deputy had been fighting to succeed him as governor of Edo State ahead of next year’s election.

Obaseki, who addressed Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) stakeholders over the ongoing conflict between the duo noted that Shaibu was running a parallel government in their administration in his desperate bid to take over as governor of the state next year.

He said: “The constitution made me the governor of Edo State and it does not give room for a co-governor.

“My keen interest has been to unify and consolidate our party that’s why I supervised the local government election.
“He has never come to me to talk about running. He just said he is consulting.”

Why it matters

The governor’s remarks show that politics is an interest-driven game, casting light on how a supposed close friendship can quickly be jettisoned in the pursuit of political goals.

The perceived strained relationship could cause a huge setback to PDP’s chances of retaining power beyond 2024 with forces in the state waiting to capitalize on the current bad blood between the duo to wreck the ambition.

Obaseki’s statement also raises concerns that the 2024 governorship race could become a battle of wits with all interested parties throwing caution to the wind in a bid to achieve their set goal.

2. El-Rufai’s ministerial setback

The Senate on August 7 confirmed 45 out of the 48 ministerial nominees forwarded to the parliament by President Bola Tinubu.
However, the Senate delayed the confirmation of the former Kaduna State governor, Nasir El-Rufai, and two others pending clearance from security agencies.

But the Senate spokesman, Yemi Adaramodu, said in a Channels Television programme, Sunrise Daily, the three nominees may be invited back for a second screening by the Red Chamber.

He said: “The question raised about them is an ongoing issue. So, once the Senate is satisfied, definitely, if we need to invite them to the chamber for the re-confirmation and re-screening, then we’ll do that.”

Why it matters

The discordant tunes on El-Rufai’s ministerial nomination may be the outcome of his eight-year reign in Kaduna that divided the residents along religious and ethnic lines.

In the history of ministerial screening in Nigeria, no single nominee has attracted the number of petitions than El-Rufai, with many yet to forgive him for remarks against Christians during last year’s election and the infamous call for violence against election observers four years earlier as well as the sack of teachers, banditry, kidnapping and demolitions of properties under his watch as the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

3. ECOWAS activation of standby force
Nigeria contributes 70% of products under ECOWAS trade –FG

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on August 10 ordered its standby force to restore constitutional order in the Niger Republic.

ECOWAS President, President, Omar Alieu Touray, stated this while reading out resolution on the Niger coup at the end of its extraordinary meeting in Abuja.

READ ALSO:QuickRead: Obasanjo rues Nigeria’s under-achievement. Four other stories we tracked and why they matter

He urged the African Union (AU), partner countries and institutions to support the resolution taken by ECOWAS.

The resolution read: “Direct the committee of the Chief of Defence Staff to activate the ECOWAS stand-by force with all its elements immediately.
“Order the deployment of the ECOWAS stand-by force to restore constitutional order in the Republic of Niger.
“Underscore its continued commitment to the restoration of constitutional order through peaceful means.”

Why it matters

The activation of the West African bloc’s standby force against the coup plotters in Niger would seem, on the surface, to be a resolve to strengthen democracy as the only instrument to power in member states.

However, considering the danger the hostility in Niger portends to Nigeria and other member states, the ECOWAS leaders might have began an indirect battle to secure their regimes, given the rapid fall of countries in the Sahel region to military rule.

While diplomatic moves are on to deal with the Nigerien debacle, it must be said that the leadership crisis in West Africa, and the rest of the continent, may continue to fester until radical and progressive changes are entrenched.

4. Nigeria tops global unemployment rating

A new report released by the World of Statistics on August 9 revealed that Nigeria is the number one country in the world in terms of unemployment.

In the report, the World of Statistics noted that Nigeria leads the rest of the world in the number of employed people with 33.3 percent, followed by South Africa 32.9 percent, and Iran with 15.55 percent.

“The countries with the lowest unemployment rates for the period under review are Qatar (0.1%), Cambodia (0.36% and Niger Republic (0.5%), the report stated.

Why it matters

The report casts further light on the Nigerian government’s failure to address the twin problem of unemployment and poverty in the country.

This portends a great danger for a country that is still grappling with the problem of insecurity, with large army of unemployed youths across the country likely to become willing tools in the hands of desperate politicians and extremist groups as the challenge persists.

5. Lagos suspends facility managers, others over doctor’s death

The Lagos State government on August 6 suspended the General Manager of the state Infrastructure and Asset Management Agency (LASIMRA) following the death of a medical doctor, Vwaere Diaso, in an elevator accident at the Lagos Island General Hospital, Odan.

Diaso, a house officer in the hospital, died when an elevator carrying her from the facility’s 10th floor crashed on the premises.

The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Information and Strategy, Olumide Sogunle, who confirmed the development in a statement on Sunday, said the state government also sacked facility managers maintaining the hospital.

The statement read: “The Lagos State Government would like to, once again, acknowledge with deep regret the unfortunate elevator accident of Tuesday, 1st August 2023…
“Following the incident, we immediately set up a panel to look into its likely causes, identify persons who might be culpable, and suggest ways of preventing any future occurrence.”

Why it matters

The unfortunate accident reinforces the call for the government at all levels to strictly enforce the regulations guiding the management of public facilities in Nigeria.

Beyond the rhetoric that has trailed the incident, the government and stakeholders must address the rot that pervades virtually every system in the country.

By Hamed Shobiye

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