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Deborah: Atiku Abubakar and why votes are thicker than blood



Distressing pieces of bad news are everywhere. From the murder of Miss Deborah Samuel Yakubu by students of Shehu Shagari College of Education in Sokoto last Thursday, to the immediate distancing of Nigerian politicians from her killing, hope that a post-Muhammadu Buhari Nigeria will not be clone of its unjust and inequitable era seems to be fading. Between the Deborah murder, the political mockery on the political arena and the lack of regards for Nigerians by Nigerian rulers, two explainers respond to the distresses: They are the Sekere and the forest.

Sekere, the Yoruba musical instrument, is reputed never to be found wherever tears are being shed. Made of a gourd that is knitted round by beads and which its user twists, shakes or slaps to produce a medley of exciting sounds, Sekere and sorrow are strange bedfellows as this musical instrument can never be found in an assemblage of poets engaged in dirges. Proud of Sekere’s pedigree of being a springboard of joy and conviviality, Yoruba proudly thump their chests that Sekere does not cavort in an assembly of the downcast. Unlike the Sekere however, last week, and as it has been its wont, Nigeria again showed that Sekere’s antithesis excites it. From the political, the social, to the economic, the Sekere became a rare object in sight in Nigeria.

But the ululating sound of the Gbedu was everywhere. Before its virginity was violently taken off it by emerging trends of modernity, the Gbedu was a sacred drum that you found in groves of Ogboni secret cult adherents. Also known as the Ogido, the Gbedu belongs to one of the four major families of Yoruba drums. To set it aside as unique and underscore its sacredness, the Gbedu in ancient time was shawled by carvings of animals, birds and the phallus, which depicted its masculinity. During traditional sacrifice ceremonies, the Gbedu was brought out with blood sprinkled on its outward coverings of carvings and an assortment of sacrificial offerings is festooned round it which ranged from feathers of hens, sprinkles of palm wine and egg yolks.

As the week that just ended was meandering into its twilight, Northern Nigerian drummers went inside their bloodied groove to bring out and beat the Gbedu drum. The drum’s howling beat had hardly subsided when the female student, Deborah, was stoned to death and burnt like a ram in Sokoto. Her sin for deserving the fate of a ram in the abattoir was that she allegedly blasphemed the name of Muhammed, the Islamic prophet who died thousands of years ago.


Thereafter, the country was set on edge. Ordinarily, in a country where politicians strive to outdo one another in hypocritical scramble for the hearts of the people in the public square, Deborah’s murder was an opportunity for the political elite to wax lyrical in righteous indignation and casuistry. Press releases that are far distant from the dark groves of the politicians’ hearts are issued at an auspicious moment like this, written in emotion-laden language that points at their belief and desire for a better country.

As the news of Deborah’s murder filtered in on the social media last Thursday, it occasioned a scramble among, especially, presidential aspirants who are sprinting to Nigeria’s Aso Rock gate. You wouldn’t find any difference between their scramble and the one between 1881 and 1914, nicknamed the Scramble for and Partition of Africa, which resulted in its conquest. As Western European powers invaded Africa for the purpose of its annexation, these politicians also scrambled to share a chunk of the people’s hearts in the art of shedding crocodile tears over this bestial killing.

Serial presidential contender, Atiku Abubakar, would seem to have breasted the tape before anyone else. Couched in a distraught voice that spoke like a father and a nationalist genuinely touched and saddened by the barbarism, Atiku’s statement got to Twitter at exactly 12.20am on Friday morning and empathized admirably thus: “There cannot be a justification for such gruesome murder. Deborah Yakubu was murdered and all those behind her death must be brought to justice. My condolences to her family and friends”.

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In the language of Nigerian power, however, the above was not apropos. For Nigerian politicians, justice has no corresponding alphabet to politicking. So, when, a few minutes after the tweet, vultures that suck the flesh with their talons stained with blood, hopped on Twitter’s comment section threatening that, by that tweet, Atiku had lost their votes, with implicit threats that whenever he came to Sokoto, they would make him feel the pang of his infelicitous comment against Islam, it occurred to Atiku that votes were thicker than blood. One of them, going by the name, Otunba of Sokoto, told Atiku: “You just lost a million votes in Sokoto”.

That threat seemed to jolt the Turakin Adamawa who sprinted to delete the empathetic message.


While outrage gripped the land that had been painted with crimson, politicians, especially those seeking electors’ votes, weighed the ounces of their statements in empathy to Deborah. It took Vice President Yemi Osinbajo more than 24 hours before his comment came. As I write this, none has come from Bola Ahmed Tinubu. Even the president’s was steeped in the usual puritanical escapism associated with lame duck government statements. Even if it did, nobody would believe him. Buhari has run a government in the last seven years that is lean on justice against malefactors but lusciously rotund in cavalier grandstanding. “No person has the right to take the law into his or her own hands in this country. Violence has and never will solve any problem,” Buhari said.

Pray, why would a president, held to be an emblem of justice and equity, now be seeking to upstage the ecumenical cadences and spiritual narratives of the Imam or the pulpit sermon of the pastor? The animals of Sokoto go luscious because Nigeria has been a consequence-less country. It is worse under a man like Buhari who sees his first responsibility in Aso Rock as a defender of the Islamic faith. In virtually all continents of the world where human beings inhabit, you cannot rule out the tendency of some of our brothers extending their hands in a handshake to our ape brothers. This they do in an attempt to link up with their pre-historical mammalian ancestry. Wherever this occurs, flaunting the scorching fangs of the law, governments of such countries always come out to violently reset the brains of these apes. But we know that this won’t happen under this president. It has never happened. Buhari himself, as a presidential aspirant, had espoused this religious fundamentalism and crude lawlessness when he made reference to the blood of baboon and dogs.

Many people have been talking tongue-in-cheek since Deborah was murdered. The truth is that, Northern Nigeria is home to one of the most horrendous religious fundamentalism that the hapless people of Nigeria are forced to stomach. The killing of Deborah and reactions to it have proved very graphically that yoking the north and south together was one of the most fundamental errors of Nigeria’s nation-statehood. While a negligible percentage of northern purists shudder at this barbarism, millions others believe that religion and its tenets should take precedence over human life. This is the root of the fundamentalism that killed Deborah. It is sickening that in this 21st century, a people could be this dogmatically wedged to and rigidly affixed to an interpretation of scriptures, at the detriment of humanity. There is no difference between the religious fundamentalism and extremism of the Sokoto animal butchers who killed Deborah and the ones of ISIS and Al-Qaeda. They are both sired by and linked to negative outcomes such as prejudice, hostility or even armed conflict that religious fundamentalism brings.

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In southern Nigeria, the character of religion is more discerned and indeed discernible. What is my business if you blaspheme Jesus Christ? Am I His armour bearer? Or that you tore pages of the Bible and defecate on it? That is your business for which you will have your day with Him in judgment – if indeed there is one. Why should anyone seek martyrdom for foreign religions whose hereafter theologies are basically guesswork?

Christianah Oluwasesin, Grace Ushang, Gideon Akaluka and others after them are products of the useless martyrdom that some adherents of Islamic religion crave. Their claim for those horrendous murders was that the holy writ says they would be beatified if they kill their fellow beings. Oluwasesin got lynched in Gombe in 2007 by secondary school students. They had accused her of rubbishing the Qur’an. What happened was that, while invigilating an exam, she was confronted by cheating students. Irked, Oluwasesin snatched the paper from them. To her chagrin, she discovered that the leaflet was a Qur’an. She met her waterloo. Ushang, in 2009 in Maiduguri, got raped and murdered. Her sin? She had the effrontery of wearing the trousers of the NYSC. I remember that in Yelwa-Yauri in 1992, my female colleague corps members were almost lynched inside the Yauri market for wearing similar trousers. Gideon Akaluka was the precursor of the earlier two. He was beheaded in Kano in 1995. His sin too was disrespecting the Qur’an.


Bible and Quran, written thousands of years ago, must be made to adhere to the quests of today’s world. You cannot ask for an unthinkable adherence to a call to kill “infidels” written in an almost pre-historic era at a modern time like this. Whether in Christianity, Islam or any other faith, the moment you allow your brain to go on sabbatical while you read the writs of the faiths, you have become indistinguishable from an animal. The Bible or Quran cannot be bigger than humanity. Man was not made for religion but religion was made for man. Nothing weighs as hugely as humanity and its essence.

Aside the Deborah murder, there are other parallels to the strange weirdness that has gripped Nigeria in recent time. And the forest seems the most fitting description of where we have found ourselves. In Africa, the forest is not just a mosaic of long stretches of scary landscape, huge trees that seem to offer handshakes to one another; it is not merely the habitat where scary chirps of crickets and birds and animals are heard, neither is it just the abode of flaura and fauna. The forest is the place where the unexplained and the inexplicable live. If you doubt this, read the classics of D.O. Fagunwa. It is why hunters who make the forest their dwelling places, who suddenly get lost inside its strange labyrinth, are highly respected and venerated as superhuman. Hunters are reputed to tango, in a life and death battle, with strange and deadly animals, deploying their physical brawns and supernatural powers inherited from their forebears.

Our children have been at home for months now, no thanks to the ASUU-government imbroglio and no one seems to care. In the states of the north-central, north-east and north-west, there is a greater harvest of human bodies than they do annual crops. Hopelessness has seized the land like a pestilence. Yet, politicians are stone deaf and morbid dumb to this reign of crimson. All they do is muzzling and stampeding for political offices. We now have a canvass of serious contenders for positions and appointment-inspired declarations of intents. Billions of naira of government’s money and already stashed away cash are being floated in space to attain life-long ambitions of politicians while hunger persistently wracks the bellies of the people.

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In situating where we have found ourselves, I will go to the forest still to secure an explainer. Especially, for the cat-and-mouse game between the political and governmental elites and the people. When hunters go to the forest to hunt game, they use this peculiar, centuries-old expedition methodology that is aptly captured by the “we” and “them” bifurcation. The hunting crew encircles a forest which is believed to be the habitation of games – mongoose, impala, antelope and so on. Those with guns and cutlasses, with their weapons on the ready, are ranged at the front while the rest of the crew is saddled with the task of beating the bush with huge woods from the back.

With this, experience tells them that the animals will scramble out of their holes. When the animals thus try to escape, the armed hunting crew shoots them to death. At the close of the day when the whole crew gets home with their spoils and the animals are shared, the armed hunters, who do next to nothing but shoot, get what the Yoruba call the Itafa which consists of the meaty thighs and head. The yokel who beat the bush get the almost meat-less portions of the animal. Espousing the sense in not being a yokel, late Apala musician, Ayinla Omowura, sang that his opponents merely beat the bush in a hunt for games and he was the hunter with the gun who would coast home with the chunkiest meat – “E f’awon were sile…” he upbraided them. Resigning to fate in an unholy alliance as this, Sikiru Ayinde Barrister, another musician of that age, sang that when given the bony back of the animal in this equation, it signified that he would see his enemies’ end, their back.


In the hunting for the goodness of the land of Nigeria, the elites – political, governmental, business etc – secure an unfair advantage over the generality of the people. In saner climes, that ambivalence by Atiku Abubakar should open the door out of the presidential race for him. It will however not, because this unfair dealing with the people is normal in elite-people tango. His scramble to explain this gaffe worsens the gravity of the deletion of the tweet. It is why justice, to the political and governmental elite, has dual colour. It is why murderers deserve empathy and the ones murdered do not. It is why Godwin Emefiele, Nigeria’s No 1 banker, could mock Nigerians that he was not bothered if they had heart attacks in their quest to have the best man to administer them. It is why Goodluck Jonathan could tell that humongous lie that Miyetti Allah bought him his presidential form on the platform of a party that tore the remnants of his credibility to shreds. It is why our votes, rather than our humanity, matter more to Atiku Abubakar, Tinubu and the rest political harlots. It is why Nigeria is not wired to be ruled by brainy but hare-brained politicians. It is why we are where we are.

By Festus Adedayo

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Kitigbe o: Honouring six years of Oba Adeyemi Obalanlege’s reign as Olota of Otta-Awori Kingdom



As the sun sets over the vibrant town of Otta, the air is filled with a sense of celebration and reverence. It marks the six-year anniversary of the coronation of His Majesty, Oba Professor Adeyemi Obalanlege, the esteemed Olota of Otta-Awori Kingdom.

Stepping into his reign, Oba Obalanlege brought with him not only the weight of tradition but also a distinguished background in academia and a fervent dedication to community service.

Born into the esteemed lineage of Prince Taiwo Hassan Obalanlege and Mrs. Mutiat Afolake Obalanlege (Nee Anjorin), Oba Adeyemi entered the world on August 28, 1966, in Mushin, Lagos State.

His educational journey began in AUD Primary School, Iganmode and led him to Ansar-ud-Deen College, Isolo, before culminating at Iganmode Grammar School in Otta. This foundation laid the groundwork for his illustrious academic career.


With a Higher National Diploma in Mass Communication from Ogun State Polytechnic and a Bachelor of Arts (Hons.) in Journalism from independent Colleges, UK, Oba Adeyemi’s thirst for knowledge propelled him further. He pursued postgraduate studies in Food Safety and Quality Management at Greenwich University, London, and attained a Master’s degree in Mass Communication from the University of Leicester. His quest for scholarly excellence reached its pinnacle with a Ph.D. in Communication Studies from the University of Antwerp in Belgium.

Oba Adeyemi’s academic prowess extended beyond the confines of the classroom, earning him recognition as a world-class scholar. His contributions to the field of Mass Communication, including publications in esteemed academic journals and presentations at conferences across Africa, Europe, and North America, solidified his reputation as a cerebral intellectual.

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However, his journey was not confined to academia alone.

Oba Adeyemi’s foray into journalism began humbly as a reporter for The Mail newspaper, where he honed his skills under the mentorship of Prof Idowu Sobowale. His career trajectory led him to prominent roles, including Public Relations Officer at the Lagos State Polytechnic and positions at Thisday Newspaper, where he earned acclaim for his coverage of tourism and hospitality.

Even as his academic and professional pursuits flourished, Oba Adeyemi remained deeply rooted in community service.


His commitment to uplifting others led to his election as the Chairman of the Awori Obas Forum, Ogun State, and his involvement in Rotary Clubs, where he earned recognition as a Paul Harris Fellow.

In 2018, Oba Professor Adeyemi Abdulkabir Obalanlege was crowned the Olota of Otta, emerging as the preferred candidate after rigorous selection by the Ijemo Isoloshi Ruling House. Since then, he has led with wisdom and compassion, fostering unity and progress within the Awori Kingdom.

As the Royal Symbol of Awori Nation celebrates six years on the throne alongside his beloved wife, Olori Oloruntoyin Obalanlege, and their two accomplished sons, Mustapha and Tobi, the good people of Otta-Awori are satisfied about his legacy of scholarship, leadership, and service.

This is a testament to his unwavering commitment to the betterment of the kingdom and the preservation of Yoruba heritage.

May the reign of Lanlege Ekun II, Arole Iganmode Olofin continue to bring peace and tranquility to the entire Otta-Awori kingdom.

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Kitigbe o! Omo Iganmode a f’ele ja, a f’ikoti y’oju egba, a fi ponpondo y’oju Ketu.

Happy 6th coronation anniversary, baba mi!

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Govt served Lagos estate demolition notices since 2021, says commissioner



The Lagos State Commissioner for Environment, Tokunbo Wahab, has disclosed that the government issued the residents of Mende Villa Estate two demolition notices in 2021 and 2023.

The commissioner’s clarification came on the heels of allegations made by a property developer in Mende Villa, who claimed the proper notice was not given before the commencement of the demolition exercise.

Speaking on Arise TV’s Morning Show on Sunday, he insisted that the government authorities had issued contravention notices and marked the properties slated for demolition before the exercise was carried out on Saturday.

According to Wahab, his predecessor, Tunji Bello, served contravention notices in 2021 to property encroaching on the setback of the System One drainage channel in Mende Villa, Maryland, and upon assuming his role in Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s second term.


He added that the latest notices were issued to the developers in November 2023.

“If there were no notices, how come the Developer has been engaging us with documents and correspondences for the past month?” the commissioner queried.

Wahab further stated that the Lagos Civil Service consisted of the most efficient personnel who would never engage in practices capable of jeopardising their career and future.

He said, “I can say it boldly, we have the best of brains in the Lagos Civil Service and they will not joke with a process that can hurt them and their careers.

“We sat down for over a week and said, run through this process again; let us work back through this process. We’ve given them enough notice for this. Since the past two and a half years, he didn’t dispute the fact that we had to dredge the particular alignment.

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“Let us leave out emotions and sentiments. We have a choice to make if we want this country to be good, if we want a better society, we need to take ownership of the truth. The truth is, they were served notices. They were engaging the government but they wanted to eat their cake and have it.”

He also explained that owing to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s magnanimity, the right-of-way was reduced to 100 meters from 140 and spread on a 60/40 basis (60 Mende/40 Ogudu) instead of the initial 140 sitting on the Mende side alone.

He added, “I went there myself, if I was mischievous, I wouldn’t be there with them. I would have given the order from the office but I said no, I owe them a duty to explain to them that even the governor had approved that we reduced the width from 140 to 100.”

The commissioner emphasised that the executive did what it believed was for the overriding public interest, reiterating the residents were served demolition notices twice.

He also urged those who feel their rights have been violated to seek redress through the court.


“Are one or two persons hurt? I’ll tell you maybe yes, maybe no. But I can tell you we served them notices since 2021 and the honourable member representing them is aware of it. We’ve had meetings upon meetings but the rains have started and the government needs to do what they have to do,” he posited.

On Saturday, the Lagos State Government reclaimed the Right of Way of the Odo-Iya Alaro channel by demolishing a part of the Arowojobe and Mende Estate villa.

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The Minister of Environment and Water Resources, Mr Tokunbo Wahab, disclosed it on his X account.

He wrote, “Earlier today, I, the SA on Environment, Hon. Olakunle Rotimi-Akodu, the PS OES, Dr Omobolaji Gaji, PS ODS, Engr. Mahamood Adegbite and other Directors again visited the ongoing reclamation of the drainage setback on System 1 (Odo Iyalaro Ogudu reach).”

The exercise faced a public outcry from different quarters of society, who criticised the government for taking down investments worth millions without proper notice.


Popular Nigerian singer, Yemi Alade, said the action would discourage those interested in investing in real estate in the state.

The Johnny crooner, in a video that surfaced on X Sunday, lamented that many residents slept in their houses and woke up homeless.

She said, “Lagos State, what is going on? Does it make sense that people will invest millions of naira, millions of dollars into real estate? They would buy land and Lagos State would break them; making people homeless overnight. This is done serially. Right now Maryland area is on fire.

“People are sleeping in their houses and waking homeless. You are ruining the real estate value of the state, the country; making people lose trust in the idea of the country.”

In October and November 2023, several buildings were demolished in Lekki, Ikota, the International Trade Fair, Agungi, and some parts of the state.


The state government attributed the demolitions to the illegal sitting of the buildings.

The Director, Ministry of Environment, Director of Public Affairs, Kunle Adeshina, advising property owners whose buildings were yet to be demolished, stressed that the demolition would address “the issue of perennial flooding, which has led to avoidable damage to property and caused fatalities in some instances.”

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An Icon of Service: NATCOM boss, Otunba Adejare Adegbenro’s Leadership Legacy



In the intricate mosaic of Nigeria’s societal fabric, Otunba Adejare Adegbenro stands as a beacon of commitment, resilience, and service.

Born on March 6th, 1973, in Lagos, he draws from a lineage steeped in political legacy, being the grandson of the late Premier of Western Region, Alhaji Daudu Sooroye Adegbenro. Raised in a family that values service to the community, Otunba Adegbenro has carved his path as a distinguished figure in Nigerian society.

The culmination of his familial heritage and dedication to community service was marked by his installation as the first Otunba Laje of Owu Kingdom in Ogun State, Southwest Nigeria.

This historic event, which took place on January 20th, 2018, under the auspices of His Royal Majesty Oba Olusanya Dosunmu II, traditional ruler of Owu kingdom, reinforced Otunba Adegbenro’s deep-rooted ties to his cultural heritage and commitment to uplifting his people.


Beyond his traditional titles, his influence extends globally, with his appointment as High Commissioner by the International Human Rights Commission (IHRC), where he spearheads foreign special missions aimed at preventing illegal migration and human trafficking. This appointment is a testament of his reputation as a renowned security expert and industrialist, whose expertise transcends national borders.

In his role as the acting Director-General of the National Commission against the Proliferation of Arms, Light Weapons, and Pipeline Vandalism (NATCOM), Otunba Adegbenro has demonstrated a steadfast commitment to combating threats to national security. His vast experience in security consultancy and supply of security gadgets has positioned him as a pivotal figure in Nigeria’s security landscape.

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However, Otunba Laje of Owu Kingdom’s contributions extend beyond the realm of security.

Through his foundation, the Otunba Adejare Adegbenro Foundation (OAAF), he channels his resources towards uplifting the less privileged in society. With initiatives ranging from the provision of boreholes to communities lacking access to clean water, to scholarships for deserving students, he exemplifies the spirit of philanthropy and communal solidarity.

Reflecting on his journey, Otunba Adegbenro once acknowledged the challenges he has faced, from navigating the complexities of entrepreneurship to confronting societal stereotypes.


Yet, through it all, he remains resolute in his commitment to service and upliftment. His philosophy, rooted in faith and compassion, drives him to make a tangible difference in the lives of others, regardless of obstacles encountered along the way.

Otunba Adejare Adegbenro stands as a testament to the power of leadership, resilience, and unwavering dedication to the common good. In him, Nigerians find not only a visionary leader but a compassionate steward of progress, whose impact reverberates far beyond the shores of his homeland.

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