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Why Abba Kyari Fought Me Till Death — Femi Adesina

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Former presidential spokesman, Femi Adesina, has revealed the behind the scene intrigues that set him up against the late Abba Kyari, indicating that they had a strained relationship from the point he was appointed the first Chief of Staff (CoS) to former President Muhammadu Buhari.

Writing in his new book, “Working with Buhari: reflections of a Special Adviser, Media and Publicity (2015-2023),” Adesina disclosed that Kyari objected to his direct relationship with the president even though he was merely obeying Buhari’s advice upon becoming his spokesman.

He wrote in the book that for five years until he died, Kyari, the chief administrative officer of the presidential villa, denied the office of the media the necessary operational funds which had existed under previous administrations.

He also informed that Kyari blocked his effort to employ personnel in the media unit despite the approval from the president.

The former presidential aide wrote: “But somehow, me and him did not quite hit it off. He was a somewhat aloof person, and I tried to give him due respect, and forge an amicable working relationship.

“He was not forthcoming, and I too had a tendency to be aloof, unless there was warmth from the other party, so we just worked at a distance.

“A lot was said about him and his style, and how it affected
governance, but one thing you cannot deny Malam Abba (as he was usually called) was that he was fiercely loyal to the President.

“With me, anyone that loved Buhari, all his sins were forgiven. If they be as scarlet, they would be as white as snow. And if they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool. God rest Malam Kyari’s soul, but there are three things he did, that extended the fissure between us.

“In June 2015, I had done a memo to the President, recommending some people to be taken on as staff in the Media Department. They had gone through the campaign and struggles with us and pedestaled themselves as dyed-in-the-wool Buharists. They were from different parts of the country.

“I explained that much to Mr. President the day I took the memo to him. He thanked me and said he would pass it to the SGF when he appointed one, so it would be on record. Fair enough.

“When a COS and SGF were appointed, the President directed the memo to the COS. Also in order. But Malam Kyari just sat on it for the next one year. He did not say anything on it.

“Eventually, my colleague, Garba Shehu, went to see him. And he confessed to Shehu that he shunned the memo because I had taken it directly to the President. But the June date on it was clear. He had not even been appointed then.

“The second had to do with funding of the Media Department. There was no budget line, and funds were usually provided by the office of the NSA, as needs arose. I had consulted with two of my predecessors, Dr. Reuben
Abati, and Ima Niboro, who had briefed me.

“Media and publicity is not cheap, not anywhere in the world, but it would amaze you that we operated for five years without a dime. After the NSA was appointed, I went to meet and brief him about how publicity was
usually funded from his office. It was a Friday, and he promised that anything that would make me and the man we had come to serve succeed, he would do.

“Exactly a week later, after the Jumat service, the NSA walked into my office, with his two hands in the air. I asked what the matter was. He told me he had received a memo from the President, directing that nothing, absolutely nothing, must be funded from his office, except security. In the light of that, the promise he had made me was no longer tenable.

“I thanked him and said I would meet the President. And I did. That very night, in the house. I remember that it was only myself and General Dambazau that were waiting to see him. He is a senior friend, and I told him the purpose of my visit.

“He was quite surprised that over three months media and publicity was not being funded yet.

“He asked how we were doing it, and I said myself and Shehu were using goodwill.

“When I met the President and told him of my encounter with the NSA, he confirmed that he gave the directive, and explained why.”

The book quotes the former president as saying: “A lot was done through the office of the NSA, and there were no records. I do not want that. We will institute a probe into the activities of the office (it was eventually
done), and you will see what happened there. I don’t want the media funded from there again.

“Meet the Chief of Staff and let him design how we would be funding
media.”

He said he thanked he then thanked Buhari and left.

Adesina further narrates: “The next day, I went to see the COS in the office. I had just started talking, when he impatiently started to say: ‘No, no, no. Media is not funded from here. Media is not funded from here.’ He would not even give me a chance to talk. And lest I appear as someone just after funding, for what I would gain, I left his office and never went back to the President. For the first five years, the media did not receive one naira, till the SGF, Boss Mustapha, heard about it and designed a budget line from his office.

“It was not up to what was required, but it was better than nothing.

“Third encounter. A retired General, someone well respected in the country, had wanted to see the President.

“Many times, he applied through the office of COS, which is the proper channel. He never got feedback. So he phoned and asked me to intervene since the issue he wanted to discuss was quite serious. I went
the President, and mentioned the General, and why he needed to come see him.

“The President just said: ‘Tell SCOP to schedule him for 8:00 pm tomorrow in the house.’ I passed on the word and left for my office. I had not been seated for five minutes when my intercom rang. It was the COS who
wanted me to come to his office.

“He started screaming as I entered: ‘Why did you get an appointment for Gen..? Why did you? You always go behind me to relate with the President. You have to stop it.’

“Remember the President’s instructions to me the day I resumed work: ‘Do not let anybody stop you from seeing me. Anytime you need to see me, just come.’ I never abused that rain check but went to see the President only when it was totally necessary, throughout the eight years. And he was always gracious to me.

“But apparently, it became an issue with Malam Abba, so we were not quite chummy, but we were also not enemies.

“Sadly, when the dreaded Coronavirus came in 2019 and raged for most parts of the next two years, it claimed many worthy souls, Malam Abba was one of them. It touched me deeply.”

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Lagos Agog As Olusegun Aderiye Marks 70th Birthday Anniversary In Style

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The mega city of Lagos was thrown into celebration mood as an Erudite Scholar and a quintessential broadcast journalist Rev. Dr. Olusegun Aderiye celebrated his 70th PLATINUM jubilee anniversary and book launch in style.

The event which took place on Wednesday February 14th 2024 at Airport Ikeja Lagos stated with a Public Lecture titled, “The Imperative of Peace in a Troubled World” taken by Amb. (Dr) Martins Uhomoibhi (Fmr PS, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Nigeria) and the formal unveiling of: “Journey to Stardom” An Autobiography of the celebrant.

Rev Dr. Olusegun Solomon Aderiye was born on 14 February in Ekiti State, then Western Region, Nigeria.

He attended Methodist Primary School, Apaara, Oyo, 1958, Ifaki Grammar School, 1968-72, University of Lagos, 1977 and University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University) 1981.

Olusegun was the Chief State House Correspondent, Nigerian Television Authority, 1985-89; Head, Current Affairs Department, African Independent Television, since 1998; Secretary, Nigerian Television Authority Ibadan Chapel.

He was a co-author of ECOMOG, Gabumo Publishing, Lagos in 1992.

Dr. Aderiye Creative Works includes Kilo Ndan Bi Wura, 1978, Awamaridi, 1979, Maje Nse 1981, My Lord is Good, 1983, What only God can do, 2023.

His National Awards are Nigeria Television Authority’s Reporter of the Year, 1983 and Nigeria Union of Journalists, since 1978.

 

The special guest of honour of the event was General Ibrahim Babangida GCFR (Former President of Nigeria) and Chief Bode George (Former Military Governor of Ondo State).

Dignitaries present at the event were Lagos state Governor ably represented by his commissioner of information and strategy Gbenga Omotoso, Speaker, Lagos State House of representative represented by one of the honourable members of the house, Steve Ogundipe.

Others were (Dr) Martin Uhomoibhi. Amb (Dr) Yemi Farounbi, Nigeria’s former Ambassador to the Philippines. The event was indeed an array of who is who in Nigeria.

 

The chairman in his remark describes the celebrant as a fine gentleman and a highly efficient, courageous and diligent media practitioner with a high sense of national patriotism and an unrepentant nationalist in broadcast journalism.

He prayed that God Almighty should continue to shower Dr. Aderiye with divine wisdom, guidance, good health, protection, prosperity and longevity, so he could continue to contribute his quota to national development in the years ahead.

Dr. Aderiye in his speech appreciates his lovely wife who shared the same birthday with him Deaconess Mary Kehinde Oluwakemi and family, friends, colleagues, acquaintances both in the physical and spiritual realms for their love, friendship and kind support all through these years.

He also thanks the VIPs, relations, friends and acquaintances who have come to honour his invitation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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London Operation: Air Peace, Norse Atlantic Sign ACMI Agreement On Charter

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Norse Atlantic Airways, yesterday, announced that it entered into an agreement with Air Peace for an ACMI (Aircraft, Crew, Maintenance, and Insurance) charter service.

This collaboration, according to the statement made available to LEADERSHIP, marks the beginning of a strategic partnership aimed at providing seamless air travel solutions between London and Lagos, Nigeria.

Commencing in April 2024, the ACMI charter will operate four times a week, offering travellers convenient and reliable transportation options between these key destinations.

Norse Atlantic Airways will be using slots at London Gatwick allocated to Air Peace to facilitate this new route.

“We are thrilled to be working with Air Peace to launch this ACMI charter service between London Gatwick and Lagos. This collaboration represents an exciting opportunity to leverage our expertise in charter operations to deliver a reliable and high-quality service to Air Peace and their customers,” said Bjørn Tore Larsen, CEO and Founder of Norse Atlantic Airways.

“Air Peace is delighted to have signed this partnership deal with Norse Atlantic Airways for the commencement of our London service. As we make a foray into the European market, we are confident that this strategic partnership will further position us to surpass the expectations of our customers, offering them superior air travel experience while we continue to optimise our operations for more innovative service delivery”, stated Allen Onyema, Chairman/CEO, Air Peace.

Norse Atlantic and Air Peace will continue to discuss potential longer-term partnerships between the two airlines to explore avenues for further collaboration and expansion in the future.

 

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N30bn To Govs: ‘My Statement Unverified’, Akpabio Recants

“The President of the Senate recognizes and appreciates the current efforts of the governors at ameliorating the adverse effects of the current inclement socio-economic environment and therefore invites more hands on the plow to complement the renewed hope agenda.”

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President of the Senate, Senator Godswill Akpabio, has recanted his claim that state governors received an additional N30 billion from the Federal Government to address the biting economic hardship in the country by the distribution of palliatives to Nigerians.

Recall that Akpabio made the claim on Wednesday, February 22 while the Senate considered the report of its joint Committees on Finance, Agriculture/Food Sufficiency, Banking and Insurance.

The committee had interfaced with the economic management team of the government, led by the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Mr Wale Edun, to find out what the government had done to tackle hunger, food inflation, a free-falling naira exchange rate to the US dollar, among others.

In the course of deliberations on the matter by senators, Akpabio had repeatedly stated without mincing word that each state governor received an additional N30bn from the centre to address the challenges, besides the regular allocations the states draw from the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC).

“Each of the 36 states received N30bn; they received N30bn”, he kept saying.

However, 24 hours later, governors began refuting the claim.

Prominent among them was the Governor of Akpabio’s own state, Akwa Ibom, Pastor Umo Eno, who not only said such an amount was not received by the state but also added that it was possible the Senate President was speaking with prophetic expectations.

Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State also said much, dismissing Akpabio’s claim.

On Monday night, Akpabio’s office finally summoned the courage to recant his statement, saying that he acted on unverified information.

His Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Hon. Eseme Eyiboh, in a statement on Monday night, appealed for calm, saying that Akpabio held the governors in high esteem.

Eyiboh’s full statement is reproduced below: “The office of the President of the Senate has been drawn to various misconceptions in the public domain on the statement credited to the President of the Senate in plenary of Wednesday, February 21, 2024, during the presentation of a report of the joint Committees on Finance, Agriculture/Food Sufficiency, Banking and Insurance. During the session the President of the Senate commented on the payment of an unverified cumulative sum of about N30b to the sub-national governments by the Federal Government for various interventions to ameliorate the food situation of our citizens at the sub-national governments.

“The unfortunate conjectures to take away the kernel in the material facts of FAAC payment are rather regretted. In considering the well-intended motive of urging state governments to collaborate with the Federal government of President Bola Tinubu to facilitate strategic interventions to mitigate the prevailing economic situation in the country remains the underpinning motivation in the comment.

“The President of the Senate is not oblivious to the fact that State governments are functional partners in all the efforts of the current administration of President Bola Tinubu and are also valuable Stakeholders’ in the various legislative engagements of the legislature in creating the nexus between the legislature and the people.

“The President of the Senate has always demonstrated commitment to team building and shall not do less in the circumstance. He therefore urges the sub-national governments not to be distracted by any misunderstanding of the context and true meaning of the statement.

“The President of the Senate recognizes and appreciates the current efforts of the governors at ameliorating the adverse effects of the current inclement socio-economic environment and therefore invites more hands on the plow to complement the renewed hope agenda.”

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