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Buhari’s New Chief of Staff Gambari More Dangerous Than Late Abba Kyari By Ambassador Dapo Fafowora

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By Ambassador Dapo Fafowora

I know him quite well. I was the one who in 1981 brought him to the UN at his request as a member of the Nigerian delegation. He was then a senior lecturer at the ABU. In fact, the late Prof Audu, who was then Foreign Minister actually advised me against inviting him to the UN. But he had strong academic credentials which impressed me.

He had obtained his first degree in political science from the LSE, and a doctorate from Colombia University in New York. We were looking for strong delegates to  the UN General Assembly and I considered him the kind of delegate we were looking for. So I invited him as one of our delegates to the UN General Assembly. He was at the UN in New York with me. I gave him and his wife my city apartment which I was not using free for 3 months plus a car. I liked him and I was not seeking any favours from him.

After 3 months he returned home and sent me a note thanking me for giving him the first opportunity to visit the UN as a delegate and giving him his first experience at multilateral diplomacy.

However,  he sent President Shagari a secret and private note that while he was at the UN he observed that I had not been attending the meeting of Islamic states at the UN.

President  Shagari sent the note to Prof Audu who forwarded it to me in New York. He didn’t even ask me for any comments on Gambari’s secret memo as Prof Audu fully understood that Nigeria had traditionally not been attending meetings if the Islamic states as we were not then a member of the Group. Gambari asked for a private meeting with President Shagari which Prof Audu advised against. I was shocked that someone I had helped so much turned round to betray me so blatantly. I did not tell him I knew about the secret letter he had sent to the UN. When Shagari was overthrown by Buhari Gambari became Foreign Minister.

When career ambassadors were being suddenly retired I was at first not on the list. But Gambari, now FM and Rafindadi, the head of the NSO who had worked under me in London, and was now head of the NSO worked together to secure my retirement.  In fact, when I called him from New York to confirm from him news about my retirement he first denied it.

Thereafter, he no longer took my calls. In fact, I remained at my post in New York for another 3 months during which the MFA tried to reverse the decision to retire me. I had done absolutely nothing wrong in my entire career in the diplomatic service and only got into trouble for helping a young academic who turned against me to  fulfil his own personal ambition. Since then, he and I have only met twice in very difficult circumstances. First at a dinner by a mutual friend in New York several years after my retirement.

He could barely look directly at me. He was clearly embarrassed.  Then when Buhari won the elections in 2015 I headed a team that was set up to prepare a paper for him on our Foreign Policy.  Subsequently,  Alhaji Joda asked him to join the team. Last year, he suddenly called me to ask if I would kindly represent him at a public lecture  he had agreed to chair.

I told him I could not and that he should look for someone younger. He immediately hung up on me. Now,  ha may be the kind if person  Buhari is looking for to succeed Abba Kyari as COS.

They are very much alike but Gambari is more subtle and even more dangerous and will substitute the national interests for his own personal interests. I have no doubt about that.

What I have written in this long piece is just some of my personal experience and encounter with him. Everything I have written here is in my memoirs ‘Lest I Forget ‘which he has seen and read.

It is nothing new. But I think it important that the character of our top govt officials should be revealed and not covered up. We have, as a nation, paid dearly for supporting appointments to high office that are often detrimental to our nation. Enough is enough and this has to stop.

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OONI LAUDS AREGBESOLA @ 63, CALLS HIM AN EPITOME OF LOYALTY

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Arole Oduduwa & Ooni of Ife, Ooni Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, Ojaja II has described the Nigeria’s Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola as a great icon of public service and epitome of loyalty that must always found worthy of celebrations.

Ooni Ogunwusi who doubles as the permanent chairman of Osun state council of Obas and Co-chairman of National Council of Traditional Rulers of Nigeria(NCTRN) spoke in a press statement released by his Director of Media & Public Affairs, Comrade Moses Olafare congratulating Ogbeni Aregbesola on his 63rd birthday.

“Congratulations from The Arole Oodua Olofin Adimula, Ooni Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi to the Minister of Interior, Federal Republic of Nigeria, His Excellency, Ogbeni Adesoji Rauf Aregbesola on his 63rd Birthday Anniversary.

The statement reads; “Ogbeni Aregbesola as a comrade, you started with student’s right activism over four decades ago. As a proponent of democratic rule, you in the 90s participated in the several pro-June 12 struggles which led to the enthronement of civil rule in 1999.

“You have since 1999 lived for the people through your sterling public service performances, first as Commissioner For Works and Infrastructure in Lagos state from 1999 to 2006, followed by your emergence as Governor of the state Osun from 2010 to 2018 and your current position as Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in charge of Interior through which you oversee very sensitive sections of Nigeria’s internal security like Immigration, Civil Defense, Fire service, Correctional service among other responsibilities.

“RAUF, you are indeed a great descendant of Oduduwa and a Nigerian patriot with incorruptible Pan Africanism for which you are always worthy to be celebrated. You are an Omoluwabi per excellence, a down-to-earth grassroot politician with incredibly huge followership, a great promoter of our cultural values and heritage, an icon of people oriented public service and an epitome of loyalty.”

Ooni, the foremost African monarch and Yoruba’s Natural leader prayed for good heath and longevity for Aregbesola who is the immediate past of the state of Osun.

“My dear Ogbeni, may the Almighty Olodumare keep upholding your entire household as you gloriously clock 63 today.

“We also pray the rest of your journey on this earth shall be characterized by sound health, meaningful long life and immeasurable prosperity.

Igba odun odun kan

Afon a gbo ko to wo

Happy 63rd Birthday!!!” Ooni prayed.

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EID-EL FITRI: OONI CONGRATULATES MUSLIMS, SAYS THERE IS ALWAYS A REASON TO CELEBRATE

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The Arole Oduduwa & Ooni of Ife, Ooni Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi Ojaja II has congratulated Muslims in Nigeria and across the world especially those of Yoruba origin as the holy month of Ramadan comes to an end with the annual Eid-el Fitri celebration.

In a statement by his Director of Media and Public Affairs, Comrade Moses Olafare, the Ooni who is the Co-Chairman, National Council of Traditional Rulers explained that there are reasons to celebrate and thank the Almighty Allah for His goodness and mercies in every situations.

“Celebration here is not the conventional merriment of social gathering as we all know that there is an order against that especially in this situation we are all face with globally. The Ooni says we should celebrate in our various homes with our families by remembering Allah and why we should not give up in our hope of a better tomorrow.

“God in His infinite mercy shall accept our fasting and prayers including those we said against the rampaging coronavirus and other enemies of humanity. We’ve been through a lot together and we can’t but be grateful to God for keeping us.

“Although it is regrettable to realize that we cannot gather like before especially for the annual congregational prayers but we must make the best out of what we have while we hope and pray to be part of the brighter future.” The Ooni said.

In the same vein, the Natural leader of the Oduduwa race worldwide urged Nigerians to keep supporting the government in the fight against COVID-19 pandemic by observing the laid down precautionary measures including maintenance of social distancing, personal hygiene, regular hand washing and others.

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African Guarantee Fund Announces Response to Economic Impact of COVID-19

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African Guarantee Fund  for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (AGF), has today announced its COVID-19 response aimed at reducing the uncertainties facing financial institutions in Africa as a result of the global coronavirus pandemic. AGF’s COVID-19 response is built on the imperative need for commercial solutions over and above the regulatory efforts already provided by the various central banks and governments in the continent.

African Guarantee Fund’s response sets the platform for economic stabilization, followed by an economic revival through AGF’s newly developed COVID-19 Guarantee Facility that will, firstly, provide more comfort to financial institutions to restructure facilities that become non-performing because of COVID-19 and, secondly, provide commercial stimulus to the financial sector with the aim of mitigating the deterioration of SMEs’ perceived risk.

Commenting on the announcement, AGF CEO, Mr. Felix Bikpo said, “The consequences of COVID-19 pandemic will continue to have escalating negative effects on SMEs in Africa both on the supply and demand sides. Consequently, we must assume that there follows a deterioration of these SMEs’ creditworthiness. This is likely to increase the cost of credit for the financial sector which will surely increase their reluctance to finance the SME sector if there is no external stimulus. It is because of this that we must develop a commercial response in addition to the regulatory responses given by the different central banks and governments in the continent. Therefore, in line with our mandate we have launched the COVID-19 Guarantee Facility.”

AGF will also continue to use its technical assistance support to increase the capacity of financial institutions in their risk assessment of SMEs during the crisis period. This will allow analyzing the impact of the pandemic on the financial institutions, so as to forge the best possible responses to adapt effectively.

The African Guarantee Fund recently received a third time AA- Rating by Fitch, which was first assigned in November 2017, a first for a guarantee fund in Africa.

“This exceptional rating is a sign of confidence and trust in AGF’s operational excellence, particularly now that financial institutions are in need of cushioning to continue lending to SMEs, who hold the key to the economic recovery of their respective countries,” concluded AGF CEO, Mr. Felix Bikpo.

Since inception, AGF has boosted SME lending in Africa by issuing guarantees to financial institutions thereby unlocking loans worth USD 2.5 Billion.

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