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Allegations of bribery, imposition trail LG elections in Ogun State.

Owolola Adebola
Nine chairmanship aspirants for  Abeokuta South Local Government, Ogun state, have said that a  chairmanship candidate, Hon. Omolaja Majekodunmi  should be questioned for alleged huge amount of money he reportedly  paid to the party leaders in order to get the chairmanship ticket.

Speaking on behalf of the nine aspirants was Hon. Enilolobo who disclosed  this on Monday during a press conference held at Local Government Secretariat, Ake, Abeokuta South, Ogun state.

The statement reads ” We, the undersigned, wish to express our profound gratitude to His Excellency, Prince Dapo Abiodun, MFR for his unflinching support towards the progress of Abeokuta South local government for appointing the man of the soil and a cerebral administrator to pilot the affairs of the Premier local government in Nigeria, Abeokuta South, Hon. Ayodeji Michael Shomide.

“We are unperturbed by the claim of some disgruntled elements within the fold of the party to resort to character assassination by declaring the Transition Committee Chairman of Abeokuta South local government, Hon. Ayodeji Shomide as a person whose source of income is questionable.

“While they failed to question the flamboyant, lavish life style of a staff of the Ogun State Local Government Service Commission who paid the party leaders huge sum of money to fraudulently and unlawfully attempt to buy the party chairmanship ticket, a level 13 officer whose salary is 142,330.90k per month should be questioned of his source of multi million naira wasteful bribe offer to the party leaders in other to buy the party chairmanship ticket.
” It is so obvious that his income doesn’t commensurate with the multi million naira bribe offered the party leaders, therefore, his income and lifestyle is highly questionable.
“To set the record straight, Hon. Ayodeji Michael Shomide, popularly known as AY SHO, was born into the family of Ezekiel and Elizabeth Shomide of Abeokuta South local govt, Ogun State, Nigeria.
“He attended Springfield Nursery and Primary School and had his secondary school education at Baptist Boys High School (BBHS), Abeokuta, where he got his Secondary school leaving certificate.
” He continued his higher education at Plateau State Polytechnic, where he studied Diploma in Accounting and later furthered his studies at West London College, London, United Kingdom, where he studied Business Management.
“He is extremely motivated to constantly developing in skills and grow professionally.
” He is passionately confident in ability to engage challenges and come up with interesting ideas for unforgettable project development in housing, real estate and infrastructural development.
“Hon. Ayo Shomide, was appointed by His Excellency, the Executive Governor of Ogun State as the transition committee chairman of Abeokuta South local govt, where he is presently running the affairs of the local government as the number one citizen of the only Premier local govt in Nigeria.
“He established Builders Concept and Home Making Ltd. Hon Ayo Shomide is a seasoned Entrepreneur, a Builder and Property director by practice.
“Hon Ayo Shomide has demonstrated himself as good team leader, by bringing people together from beginning to the end of different projects.
“He chooses  to specialize in the construction and property industry as a result his confidence in collaborative efforts towards achieving same goal, in which he is demonstrating as the Chairman of Abeokuta South local government.
“He has since grown his company into a multi-million Naira organization.
“Hon. Ayo Shomide has much interest in service, representation and giving back to the society at large. He is happily married and blessed with children.
“However, it has become pertinent as stakeholders in the local government to lend our voice to the political imbroglio rocking the party, All Progressives Congress (APC) in Abeokuta South as some moneybag politicians have hijacked the peaceful co-existence of party members in the local government.
“Following series of attack and political assassination on the personality of Hon. Ayodeji Shomide by these moneybags, we have deemed  it fit to declare our support for the Transition Committee Chairman to continue his good work as the Chairman of Abeokuta South local government, regardless of any dirty political tactics engineered by a member of the Ogun State Cabinet from Abeokuta South Local Government, whose main target is the 2023 National Assembly election.
“We can never had it this good in Abeokuta South with the performance of Hon. Shomide in the council area.
“Despite, the paucity of fund couple with the global Covid-19 pandemic which disrupted economy of the state, Hon. Shomide had in the last couple of years tremendously improved on the wellbeing of the citizens of the local government.
“With Hon. Shomide at the helms, every household in Abeokuta South can feel the impact of the state government through our dynamic and visionary Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun.
“Hon. Shomide has facilitated among other developmental projects to include;
1- New Health care center @ Oke Egunya, Ago-Oba.
2- Almost completed Shopping Complex @ Kemta side of Itoku market.
3-  The New Itoku Market stalls(under construction)
4- Business support scheme for Adire textile producers within the LG, with an off taker arrangement.
5-  Establishment of Traffic Mayor under the enabling law of Trace.
6- Proposed Skill aquisition center @ Blairs Memorial Panseke.
7- Proposed construction of a new computer village in Panseke.
8. Construction of Ijaiye Gbangba dilapidated bridge, among other numerous human development projects.
“We, however, call on His Excellency, Prince Dapo Abiodun to discountenance the rabble rousers trying to pull down the people’s choice just to score cheap political goal and to misdirect our people for his own selfish political greed.
“It is imperative to inform the public that, the party is yet to adopt any consensus candidate, despite the multi million naira bribe offered the party leaders, as those imposing a particular candidate against the advice of the Governor are doing so to cause confusion among party members and simply to justify their shameful act of bribe taking.
“While we caution sponsors of the FAKE adoption of other candidate in the local government, we want to appeal to His Excellency to allow Hon. Shomide who has be adopted and endorsed by 9 out 14 lawful aspirants to continue his good work to maintain the already peaceful political atmosphere in the local government.
“We are committed with the decision of the party Apex leaders and the Governor as the leader of the party in the state.
“We don’t want another betrayer that will scuttle the continuation of Governor Abiodun beyond first term, by anyone for their selfish agenda of 2023.
“Shomide is loyal, committed party man, well accepted and very dedicated grassroots politician that will protect the interest of His Excellency in the local government.
“He remains the candidate to beat at the coming local government election. He is the only Candidate that can challenge the oppositions in the local government with his track record and achievements in office in the last year and a half years.”the statement concluded

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MARAN convokes national discourse on resurgence of maritime crimes in Gulf of Guinea

The Eyewitness Reporter
Worried by the recent resurgence of piracy incidents and security threats in the Gulf of Guinea (GoG) in the first half of 2023, the Maritime Reporters’ Association of Nigeria (MARAN) is dedicating the maiden edition of the MARAN Annual Lecture (MAMAL) 2023 to Maritime Security.
Mr Godfrey Bivbere, President MARAN, said this in a statement in Lagos.
According to Bivbere, the inaugural edition of MAMAL 2023 is themed: “Maritime Security: Emerging Threats and Actionable Steps” .
“The theme is targeted at proffering long-term, sustainable solutions that will effectively address maritime crimes in the GoG region and protect seafaring and fishing communities in the affected countries,” he said.
Recall that the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) report of July 2023 confirmed that the GoG witnessed a surge in maritime incidents in 2023, with five incidents in the first quarter and nine in the second quarter.
Out of these, 12 were classified as armed robberies and two as piracy, predominantly targeting anchored vessels in the region.
According to the IMB report, in these incidences, 14 crew were kidnapped, of which 8 crew members were taken from vessels anchored within the GoG territorial waters.
Additionally, in two separate hijackings, 31 crew members were held hostage, communication and navigation equipment were destroyed, and partial cargoes were stolen. One of these incidents also involved the abduction of 6 crew members.
He pointed out that MARAN, as the foremost umbrella body of journalists covering the Nigerian maritime sector, had identified and commended the collaborative initiatives and efforts of the Nigerian Navy.
The MARAN president noted that the initiative which was in partnership with other security agencies, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), other regional navies and maritime administrations led to a significant reduction in piracy incidents on Nigerian waters and the GoG throughout 2022.
He said that to a large extent, the establishment of the Gulf of Guinea Maritime Collaboration Forum for the Shared Awareness and Deconfliction (GOG-MCF/SHADE) had enabled stakeholders within and outside the region to connect and discuss frequently how best to tackle piracy in the area and this yielded verifiable results.
Bivbere pointed out that the effective deployment of Naval assets, warships, Falcon Eye, the Deep Blue Project assets, establishment of the Suppression of Piracy and Other Maritime-related Offences Act 2019, among others are worthwhile accomplishments attributable to the Nigerian Navy in recent years.
He, however, said there was a need for consolidated efforts that would be explored at the summit.
“With the recent decision of China to join in the international anti-piracy effort in the Gulf of Guinea, MAMAL 2023 will also dissect the continuous presence of foreign navy frigates in the region for an evaluation of the positive impact and perceived threats.
“Following the recent extension of the Nigerian Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) from 200 Nautical Miles to 350 Nautical Miles, MAMAL 2023 will be highlighting the capability of the Nigerian Navy and other agencies in providing adequate security for the zone,” he said.
The MARAN president said that the MAMAL 2023 had been scheduled to hold on the 24th of October 2023.
The Nigerian Navy, regional navies and other stakeholders in the maritime sector including Shipowners, NIMASA, Shipping Lines, Terminal Operators, Nigerian Shippers Council, and major seafarers organisations are all expected to attend this epoch-making event.
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Adeniyi, CGC, makes refresher course mandatory for officers ,matches them out on 5- kilometer fitness exercise in Abuja

Wale Adeniyi, Ag, CGC
The Eyewitness Reporter
The Acting Comptroller General of Customs, Adewale Adeniyi, has continued to motivate the men and officers of the service with his innovative programmes that are meant to enhance their efficiency and professionalism.
The latest initiative of the CGC, whose ascendancy to the top cadre of the Customs has continued to energize the service, was the introduction of programmes aimed at enhancing the mental and physical alertness of officers.
Consequently, Adeniyi has made refresher course for officers from the Superintendent cadre mandatory every five years.
He made this known during the passing out parade of Course 1/2023 at the Nigeria Customs Service Training College in Ikeja, Lagos on Friday, September 22nd, 2023.
Speaking to the 81 Cadets who have successfully completed their training and passed out of the Training College after six months of rigorous preparation, Adeniyi charged them to uphold the highest level of integrity and professionalism while discharging their lawful duties.
He congratulated the cadets on their successful completion of training and welcomed them into the service.
He expressed hope for a better service, equipped them with knowledge and skills, and urged them to make a meaningful difference in the nation.
He emphasized the importance of discipline, good conduct, and the highest level of integrity in their actions, reminding them that they represent excellence and the Nigeria Customs Service.
While the CGC, on Friday, September 22nd, 2023, in Lagos announced the mandatory refresher course for officers to enhance their mental alertness, he however led the officers on a fitness exercise the following day, Saturday, September 23rd, 2023, in Abuja to enhance their physical alertness.
At the 5- 5-kilometre marathon walk tagged “Work-Life Balance” the CGC posited that the exercise was aimed at keeping officers physically and mentally fit to enable them to face their constitutional duties effectively.
The fitness exercise commenced in the early hours of Saturday, 23 September 2023, from Customs Headquarters Wuse Zone 3 to the newly built Customs House in Maitama Area, all in Abuja — the Federal Capital Territory.
The exercise was seen as one of the Ag. CGC’s strategic approach to enhance the agility of the officers and men of the Nigeria Customs Service.
It involved officers and men of the Service, including members of the Management Team, and Representatives of Military and Paramilitary Institutions.
Adeniyi said that the physical exercise attests to the Customs’ commitment to consolidate on critical areas of national development, knotting ties with stakeholders and embracing technological innovations.
“As officers and men, we come under lots of pressure to fulfill various obligations, and most of the time, these pressures come from our workplaces — emanating from the nature of our tasks, which are usually physically and mentally demanding; thus, the exercise will help reduce such pressure for us and enhance our productivity at work,” he said.
According to him, the Nigeria Customs Service had, over the past 15 years, established 32 clinics and medical centres all over the country to take care of the officers’ health, adding that “as we embark on this journey, it is vital to understand the essence of this initiative and why we need to flag it off.”
He motivated them to continue to engage themselves in extra exercises such as jogging, mountain hiking, dancing and all other curricular activities while also urging them to embrace the work-life balance as it will continue to improve their health and also contribute to enhancing the efficiency of the Service.
The Customs Chief also mentioned that the exercise will facilitate the unity and love between Customs officers across the federation, saying that “participating in this brisk walking exercise fosters friendship and unity and sense of shared purpose amongst us.”
The brisk walking exercise was attended by Deputy Comptroller-Generals of Customs in charge of different Units, Assistant Comptroller-Generals, and all Comptrollers down to Assistant of Customs III. Other participants who graced the ‘Walk-Life Balance’ exercise were from the Ministry of Investment, Trade and Industry, Nigerian Correctional Center, Immigration Service, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, and Nigeria Army.
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NIMASA set to open Lokoja office to harness waterways resources

The Eyewitness Reporter

The Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Bashir Jamoh, has disclosed that the Agency is set to reopen the Lokoja office, as part of efforts towards harnessing the Blue Economy, enhancing collaboration, while also promoting Research and Development.

The DG, who made this known when he played host to the Executive Secretary of the Kaduna State Emergency Management Agency (KADSEMA), Mal. Usman Hayatu Mazadu at the head office of the Agency in Lagos, noted that investment in research would play a major role in ensuring the harnessing of Nigeria’s maritime potentials.

“The key cardinal principle of opening the NIMASA Lokoja office is to improve on Research and Development.

“Our goal is to establish the nexus in maximizing the use of available resources in the nation’s inland waterways and the deep blue waters within 28 states, spanning over 4000 kilometers of inland waters and over 200 nautical miles of ocean resources; with the coming of the Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy.

He said, “Now, the Blue Economy has come to stay and very soon you will see the impact of what we have; in terms of the gains and benefits to grow our Gross Domestic Product while improving the well-being of our own Economy”.

Earlier in his remarks, Mallam Usman of KADSEMA lauded the Agency for the feat achieved so far, which cuts across the entire Nigeria.

While seeking cooperation with the Agency in possible areas, he expressed the readiness of KADSEMA to support the Agency in areas that may be deemed possible.

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