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Interview: Princewill speaks on his health, Amaechi, APC, Buhari and Rivers politics

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 We recently heard you survived 5 mini heart attacks before you were properly diagnosed in a London hospital. What really happened?

 

Six in total if you count the one that happened in the hospital between when I did my ECG and while I was waiting for my chest X-ray results. The truth is I had been having many episodes of chest tightening and I could not explain it. First in Dubai, then in Nigeria. After one very bad experience, I went to a hospital in Abuja and was given medication for indigestion which surprisingly made me feel better. It was not until I got to London that it reoccurred and my wife insisted I should be taken to the hospital, that we found out what it was. Just the ECG and blood tests revealed there was a problem and so without delay I was rushed into the theater and operated on. If I had not come in, the damage would have spelt the end for me. A few quick lessons to be learned. 1. Listen to your wife. 2. Doctors without equipment is trial and error and 3. Many people die for lack of treatment. The whole experience was free. Not one Naira was spent. Because two days later was my wedding anniversary, they let me home the following day to go and enjoy my second lease on life. The final lesson is between your symptoms and an equipped doctor, there are things you can do. Mine was breathing exercises. A simple google search will reveal the different types. I used them to save my life. Now I’m up and about and feeling even better than the weeks leading up to when I went in. It’s God.

With all the stress of politics and your passion for progress, are you not tempted to slow down and take life easy?

 

I’m glad you used the word passion. That means you know it’s not a thing you turn on and off as you see fit. I have seen the world, I have seen Nigerian politics, I know what is needed and I know who can get it done. Why then would I look the other way and mind my business? Because I’m looking for food? No. Food will find me. I’m not that hungry. With this heart attack sef, I need less of it. I strongly believe in the potential of Nigeria and I truly believe in the genuineness of men like Buhari, Amaechi, El Rufai and others. I’ve seen the sincerity of some men in the legislature, the business community, the arts and at the grassroots level in Nigeria. We have enough men and women to build a better Nigeria for all of our children. I choose to help them. Especially when they make mistakes. Nobody is perfect.

 Rivers state is in the news again for all the wrong reasons. Be it internal APC issues or statements from your Governor. Any comments?

 

We have a history of being very outspoken, especially on social media. Even secondary school children are posting political opinions on Facebook. During Odili it was not like that. But they were one family then. Now the family has broken up and they all think that they are equals. Besides there is a benefit for being an equal or a close ally of an equal and that benefit is what politicians from 1999 have lived on. Stopping it now is not easy. That’s one reason. The second reason is outside influences. Rivers state is the donation capital of Nigeria. It’s influential just by virtue of its place in Nigeria. They don’t call it the Treasure base for nothing. Even if Delta, Bayelsa and Akwa Ibom like they should take more allocation, Rivers is still Number 1 in the eyes of everyone. So being a friend of our Governor is a career path for many citizens both inside and outside the APC. I said it once and I’ll repeat it again. People in APC in Abuja conspired with Wike to prevent Amaechi’s candidate from becoming Governor in Rivers state. Why? Because if Amaechi has a Governor in Rivers state, he will be too influential in the Abuja equation for 2023. So unless Amaechi makes peace with his colleagues in Abuja, we cannot have peace in Rivers. In the meantime he is doing his work as Minister of Transport oblivious to them. I admire his focus, but I will be constantly preaching peace. Like I said in response to the Governor’s unfortunate comments, we don’t need to wash our dirty linen in public. While we spend huge cash on media, lawyers and frivolous costs, our people are looking for school fees, food to eat or money to invest in business. Who loses? I thank my father for giving me the wisdom to not respond.

 Are you interested in contesting for Governor come 2023? Word from the grapevine says you are gearing up for it. Can you be open and tell us what you are planning?

 

I’m not going to be making the same mistake my brother and former Senator friend made by pushing for hundred before I even reach for one. The state of the party in the state is not conducive for any kind of electoral victory, talk less of a Governor. A total root and branch overhaul is needed to address the fresh management that we need. Unless you want to change parties as a protest. Not me. I have done that before. Doesn’t work. Becoming Governor in Rivers state is not a one man show. It requires a team effort and if you are talking APC Rivers state, Amaechi is the undisputed leader of that team. The grassroots believe in him and so without his support, you can’t win. 2023 is miles away, if we take care of the little things, other things will take care of themselves. I have shown that I’m not desperate to be the one on the chair. All I want is for Rivers state to move forward. It must not be me.  But move forward it must. Amaechi is the leader in the state. If you don’t want his leadership, it’s not a cult, you can operate outside him. But let us avoid bringing each other down publicly for the sake of our party faithful, for the sake of our state and for the sake of our region. It’s not worth it. We can agree to disagree agreeably. Weakening APC strengthens PDP. I cannot support that.

What are your thoughts about the statement by Senate President that anything Buhari wants, he will get from the assembly?

 

In politics there are two types of people. The ones who care about the optics of how things look and those who just get on with it. I am increasingly leaning towards the latter. It’s important we put his comments into context. The Senate President is succeeding a predecessor who was a stumbling block to the executive at every turn. Without the benefit of his personal thoughts I think this Senate Preaident is distinguishing himself and the Senate he leads from that toga. Call him a rubber stamp or an extension of the executive if you like but he will not stand in the way of the much needed progress Mr. President wants to bring to this country. Thankfully he has given us a key deliverable already. A budget. In December, 2019. That is what my thoughts are processing.

Can a party with this level of crisis and amidst renewed calls for the national Chairmam to resign make progress and move the country forward?

 

Of course. It’s possible to chew gum and walk at the same time. Friction is a function of interaction. What is taking place is normal when you are viable. People fight over you. But our party is not running the government, the President is. Let’s leave internal party affairs to the party. They will resolve them, without the glare of you in the media.

 The recent victory of APC in Bayelsa state fueled allegations of anti party activities against former President Jonathan. Do you wish to comment?

 

Not really. Except to say that the former President gave us Wike.  I understand why. The enemy of your enemy is your friend. There is very little difference between the parties in Bayelsa. It’s not like they have a peculiar ideology.

 

When a Christian moves from one denomination to another, he or she still serves God, yet a politician can’t work in another party and still serve his or her people? I used to think our problem was leadership. Now I’m not so sure. What goes around will come around.

 

  Allegations of mismanagement within the NDDC. Are you happy about the probe and what would you like to see going forward?

 

Oh yes. I am. For two reasons. The first is I know many heads will roll. Secondly, heads rolling signifies consequences. That is the singular most significant reason why we are where we are today. There are no consequences for our actions. Change that and you change everything. Why be good when being bad has no consequence?

 You were into movie production. Why did you stop?

 

God forbid!! Me stop. Not possible. I am alreadyvworking on my next project. My scriptwriter and I are having lunch in London tomorrow just to review our progress. So the entertainment industry is not a passing phase for me. It’s what I hold dear. Two of my kids are coming for that lunch meeting. One is in Princeton and he wants to become a Producer. My daughter is already making waves in the UK film industry on major HBO productions and wants to be a writer/director. Her CV is intimidating. She just graduated with a first class. So film production is in the family. It’s just that I believe in taking my time. It shows in the productions.

Finally, give us your assessment of 2019 with regards to the Buhari administration and tell us what your predictions for 2020 will be.

 

Well he won the election, so the 2019 story itself was that positive assessment. Looking at 2020, I think he wants to leave a legacy. That is good and bad news. The good news is he will take Nigeria to the next level of prosperity. I expect more jobs, increased investment, improved infrastructure, greater transparency and better fiscal management. The bad news is he will take no prisoners along the way and he will take some very tough short term decisions that have a longer term positive impact. He isn’t contesting for an election and he has the future of the masses in his mind. My only advice will be for him to pay attention to healing the nation. Politicians play on our divisions to get power. Now that they have lost it, patriots should play on our unity to keep Nigeria strong.

APC NWC has set up a national reconciliation committee but some are already kicking against the composition. Will there be genuine reconciliation because there are certain people who believe nothing good can come out of Oshiomhole?

 

I don’t share that view. Anyone who wants to make progress should have no problem embracing peace. I’m an optimist with an umbrella like I said before. Let’s give peace a fair chance. The proof in the pudding is in the eating. Let them start work.

The emergence of Ovie Omo Agege as leader of the party in south south. Some people boycotted the meeting that produced him: Godswill Akpabio, Rotimi Amaechi, Godwin Obaseki. Can we say their absence showed a crack within?

 

You can say it but it won’t be true. I believe the Deputy Senate President is now the highest political officer from the South South, so he is not really contesting political leadership with anybody. The media often like to read meaning into innocent issues. Maybe because controversy sells. Amaechi, Akpabio, Sylva and even Oshiomole have large profiles and could easily provide leadership for the region, but the respect for the office of the DSP and their preference to focus on their jobs means, this isn’t a matter for debate.

Buhari has said he won’t contest in 2023. So many tendencies smarting for the ticket. Which of these will pick the ticket and do you forsee the cabal producing a candidate by proxy, despite Buhari warning that no one should drop his name?

 

I won’t be tempted to speculate. If as has been established , a week is a long time in politics, how much more time is 3 years? There are too many actions the President can take that will affect the outcome. The worst mistake anyone should make is to underestimate the role of the President. Even his silence will speak volumes.

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PhotoNews: GOV. SANWO-OLU COMMISSIONS NEW IGBOGBO-BAYEKU LCDA SECRETARIAT IN IKORODU

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Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu cutting the tape, flanked by his Deputy, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat (right); Chairman, Igbogbo-Bayeku LCDA, Hon. Olusesan Daini (second right); APC Chieftain, Chief Olorunfunmi Bashorun (left); Ayangburen of Ikorodu, Oba Kabiru Shotobi (second left) and others during the commissioning of new Igbogbo-Bayeku LCDA secretariat in Ikorodu, on Wednesday, March 24, 2021.

Newly built Igbogbo-Bayeku LCDA secretariat in Ikorodu, commissioned by Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Wednesday, March 24, 2021.

L-R: Ayangburen of Ikorodu, Oba Kabiru Shotobi; APC Chieftain, Chief Olorunfunmi Bashorun; Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu; his Deputy, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat; Chairman, Igbogbo-Bayeku LCDA, Hon. Olusesan Daini; member, Federal House of Representatives, Hon. Olujimi Benson and Adeboruwa of Igbogbo Kingdom, Oba Semiu Kasali, during the commissioning of new Igbogbo-Bayeku LCDA secretariat in Ikorodu, on Wednesday, March 24, 2021.

L-R: Lagos State Deputy Governor, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, Chairman, Igbogbo-Bayeku LCDA, Hon. Olusesan Daini and Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu during the commissioning of new Igbogbo-Bayeku LCDA secretariat in Ikorodu, on Wednesday, March 24, 2021.

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IJEDE/ITAMAGA ROAD READY IN MAY, SAYS SANWO-OLU

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Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Wednesday assured Lagosians, especially the people of Ikorodu division of the State that the Ijede/Itamagun Road in Igbogbo/Baiyeku Local Council Development Area (LCDA) will be commissioned in May.

Governor Sanwo-Olu who also disclosed that the Imota Rice Mill will be commissioned before middle of the year, said his administration is committed to completing all the ongoing projects and infrastructure in the Ikorodu axis before end of the year.

Speaking at commissioning of the Igbogbo/Baiyeku LCDA new ultra-modern council secretariat on Wednesday, Governor Sanwo-Olu, who was received by mammoth crowd, promised to pay the compensation that is due for those affected by construction of the Igbogbo/Baiyeku Road. He said the compensation will be paid within the next 30 to 60 days.

Governor Sanwo-Olu while expressing his administration’s commitment to meeting the needs of the people said the construction of the Igbogbo Mini Stadium will be awarded to a contractor before end of the year while the jetties around Ikorodu and Ibeshe Housing Estate will be delivered this year.

He said: “I must use this opportunity to charge and tell our citizens in Igbogbo division some of our modest ongoing projects and attempts to bring about quality good governance to your door step.

“We are working on the Ipakodo/Oba Sekumade Road being done by Arab Contractors and they have assured me that we will see tremendous improvements within the next two to four weeks on the project.

“We will be handing over the Ijede/Itamaga Phase 1 Road to you in the month of May; the six kilometers road is almost completed. But we are not leaving you to that; we will ensure that we start the Phase ll.

“I have driven and seen the state of roads in Obafemi Awolowo/Baiyeku Road. I will arrange to see how we will award these roads as soon as possible. The Igbogbo/Baiyeku Road, which is a tough one, is being run by Hitech. We have called Hitech to speed up that road so that we can give our citizens the desired relief.

“But it is not only that, I am standing before you and giving you a commitment that the compensation that is due on that road will be paid within the next 30 to 60 days. We are working on the Agric-Isawo Road. We are pushing the contractor to take it to a logical conclusion.”

Stressing his administration’s commitment to the first pillar of the THEMES Agenda; Traffic Management and Transportation, Governor Sanwo-Olu said his administration will soon address the gridlock in Ikorodu Garage Roundabout.

He said: “We are about to have a massive transformation at the Garage Roundabout in Ikorodu, which is a major source of gridlock. We have been reviewing what the best model of solving the traffic on that corridor is. The Ayangburen of Ikorodu will attest to it that we have taken representation to his palace on how best to do that road; whether there is going to be flyover or junction improvement, in the next two months, work will start on that roundabout.

“The Fourth Mainland Bridge will take effect from Badore on the Ajah axis and it would be landing at Bayeku/Aiyetoro and will move from Aiyetoro to Igbogbo before getting to Lagos/Ibadan Expressway. We are working assiduously to ensure that our PPP Model works well and we are expecting to flag it off before end of this year.”

Governor Sanwo-Olu while commissioning the ultra-modern council secretariat commended the Chairman of Igbogbo-Baiyeku LCDA, Comrade Olusesan Daini, for the courage to initiate and implement this laudable project.

He said: “The completion of this project is proof that with the right attitude to governance and a sense of purpose, we can touch the lives of our people at the grassroots level and give them a sense of belonging.

“I am confident that this elegant edifice will boost the productivity of staff and make them more dedicated to their duties, which will in turn lead to improved service delivery; a key goal of this administration.”

Speaking earlier, Comrade Daini commended Governor Sanwo-Olu and his team for the hard work and efforts directed at changing the trajectory of development in Ikorodu division and across Lagos State.

Daini said the first structures on the site where the Ultra-modern council Secretariat was built was an office and a dispensary of the then Igbogbo/Baiyeku Local Council which was created in 1955 by the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo as the Premier of Western Region.

“The completion of this edifice, in record time, marks a significant milestone in the life of our administration and alluded to the well-established fact that Local Council Development Areas in Lagos State are well-prepared to take off as full-fledged and statutory Local Government Areas as soon as the necessary constitutional amendments/provisions are effected

“We will continue to intensify our efforts towards the realization of our administration’s cardinal goals anchored on infrastructure development, improved healthcare system, youth/women empowerment and human capacity development.”

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Hijab Controversy: Bishop Oyedepo fumes, vows to show Muslim the consuming fire of God

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There has been a conflict amongst Muslims and Christians for some days now over hijab wearing for female students in 10 government grant-aided missionary schools in Oyo State.

Reacting, Oyedepo who said the controversy was a nasty development urged the Kwara State Government to return the schools to the missionary.

He said, ”It is such a nasty development in Kwara State where Muslims are asking their students in our schools to wear Hijab, and the church said “no”

”You know the reason why, we have never showed the world the other side of God. God is not a toy, let us show them the consuming fire part of God. They need to know.

”Leave the schools for the owner, go to your schools. Is there any fight? Stop putting fingers in the eyes of others, the world should be warned against the church. The church is a time bomb.

”When God turns his back on anyone or any system, that system is cursed. My advice is leave the schools for the owners, find your schools. Men and women can wear hijab there. Stop putting your fingers in the eyes of others when they are not blind.

“The music We have never showed the world the other side of God. God is not a toy, let us show them the consuming fire of God” He said.

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