Through hellfire and brimstone, “The Big Red Machine” has emerged victorious not inside the squared circle, but in the race to become the new mayor of Knox County, Tennessee.
Republican Glenn Jacobs, better known to the WWE Universe as Kane, won the election by defeating Democratic nominee Linda Haney and nearly doubling her vote total.
The victory was essentially in the bag for Jacobs from the beginning, as Knox County hasn’t elected a Democratic mayor since the early 1940s.
Jacobs, who also works as an insurance salesman, announced his candidacy in March 2017, eventually edging out Brad Anders by just 23 votes in the GOP race to earn the Republican nomination a year later.
Some of the issues Jacobs pushed in his campaign included keeping taxes low, improving roads and infrastructure, and keeping communities safe.
Jacobs has been a part of the WWE since 1995, making his television debut as Jerry Lawler’s private dentist, Isaac Yankem. In October 1997, he appeared as The Undertaker’s brother Kane for the first time during “Badd Blood: In Your House,” donning his signature mask and attire.
He’s held the WWE Championship, World Heavyweight Championship, ECW Championship, Intercontinental Championship, and numerous versions of the Tag Team Championship over the years with multiple partners.
Kane’s last high-profile match was his return to pay-per-view on July 15, teaming with Daniel Bryan in a losing effort to The Bludgeon Brothers for the SmackDown Tag Team titles. (The Score)
Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, has reacted to media publication credited to his deputy, Eze Madumere, alleging how he stood firmly by him in his trying moments, saying he is not duty bound to make him his successor.
Okorocha rather asked him to face his ordeals in the hands of the state Assembly.
The governor, who reacted through his Chief Press Secretary, Sam Onwuemeodo, said: “ It is left for the deputy governor and the motley group cheering him up against his boss, to state whether the governor or governors are duty-bound or under any obligation to make their deputies their successors. Or whether all the past governors in this country had made their deputies their successors. If the answer is in the negative, then, Madumere should count his teeth with his tongue.
“In responding to the accusation of gross misconduct raised against him, by the House of Assembly, Madumere used that opportunity to continue his aspersions on the man who has shown him avowed charity, Okorocha.
“He told the jaundiced stories of how he saved Governor Okorocha from “public disgrace” and also “carried his cross and bore his shame.”
He also talked about how he ‘stooped’ so that Okorocha may be ‘spared of the humiliation’ of getting incarcerated.”
The governor said in all these, Madumere could only talk about the minor fallouts of the 1999 election and, perhaps, the incident that was also part of the 2011 election when he (Okorocha) ran on the ticket of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and defeated the incumbent, Chief Ikedi Ohakim, of the PDP.
“All the same, it is the height of pettiness for the number two citizen of the state to begin to talk about the imaginary inconveniences he claimed he experienced during the political outings of his benefactor, but, carefully skipped mentioning the avalanche of favours, benefits, patronages and enviable upliftment he has enjoyed all these years,” Okorocha said.
Stressing on his kind gestures towards his deputy Okorocha said: “He had returned from America a long time ago, and was in Nigeria all the while. And he should be Christian enough to admit that he has remained under the mentorship and employment of Governor Okorocha.
“He also refused to state in his publication that he has benefitted from the political successes of Governor Okorocha more than any other person.” (The Sun)
President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday said those who mismanaged Nigeria’s economy in the past, through fraudulent electricity projects and misuse of revenue earnings from oil, had no love for the country.
The president stated this when he received members of the Buhari Support Organisations (BSO) led by the Comptroller-General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ali, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
President Buhari urged Nigerians to remain vigilant and ensure that only ‘‘people of conscience are in-charge of governance at all levels’’, as the nation prepared for general elections in 2019.
He said: ‘‘I challenge anybody to check from Europe, America and Asia; between 1999 and 2014, Nigeria was producing 2.1 million barrels of crude oil per day at an average cost of 100 dollars per barrel and it went up to 143 dollars.
‘‘When we came it collapsed to between 37 and 38 dollars and later was oscillating between 40 and 50 dollars.
‘‘I went to the CBN Governor, with my cap in my hand, and asked if we had savings. He told me we had only debts, no savings. Some of the roads were not repaired since the Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF) days.
‘‘I don’t care the opinion you have about Abacha but I agreed to work with him and we constructed roads from Abuja to Port Harcourt, Benin to Onitsha and so on. We also touched education and health institutions.
‘‘One of the former Heads of State was bragging that he spent more than 15 billion dollars on power in Nigeria. Where is the power?’’ the President said.
On the mismanagement of the economy by previous administrations, President Buhari noted that the perpetrators lacked imagination and plans for the development of the nation.
‘‘Sometimes, I wonder about those who can afford to send their children abroad for studies and yet continue to sabotage the economy, I wonder what kind of Nigeria they want their children to return to and work. There is a lot of lack of imagination.
‘‘If you are working for the country, then you shouldn’t be misappropriating and misapplying public funds the way people did,’’ he said.
The President noted that under his watch, the 2016 and 2017 budgets recorded the highest appropriation and releases in capital projects, with over N2.8 trillion disbursements in two years.
The President urged Nigerians to reject those bent on dividing the country along religious and ethnic lines, warning that “they do not mean well for the country.
‘‘I have said severally that we do not have any other country than Nigeria and we will remain here and salvage it together.
‘‘We have nothing to regret. Absolutely nothing. God has given Nigeria everything. We are rich in human and material resources. Let us keep on praying to God to put people of conscience in-charge at all levels.’’
On the activities of the support group, President Buhari apologised for not rallying them before announcing his intention to seek re-election in 2019 during a meeting of the National Executive Committee of the All Progressives Congress on April 9, 2018.
He thanked members of the group for their resolute support to him as a Presidential candidate in 2015 and all through his term in office, adding that their voluntary sacrifices were an indication of their trust and belief in the great future of the country.
In his remarks, Ali said the group and majority of Nigerians are passionate about a second-term for President Buhari because of his integrity, honesty, love and patriotism.
He noted that President Buhari had entrenched fiscal discipline and prudent management of resources, improved the nation’s security and delivered on his promise to revamp agriculture, as a major revenue earner for the country.
Layi Olanrewaju, Ilorin
Yusuf Ali is a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), whose sojourn in legal practice spanned decades. He spoke to Journalists in Ilorin on the former President, Olusegun Obasanjo’s frequent criticism of the Federal Government and other sundry issues.
The Federal Government recently released the names of alleged looters of the public treasury, many of which are undergoing trial in the law court. What is your take on this?
Our country is an interesting country; we trivialise serious issues, and it is quite unfortunate that in spite of all the constitutional safeguards and the principles of rule of law, we are still behaving this way in the 21st century.
The law is settled and sacrosanct above board that once parties submit a case to a court of law, parties hold themselves; you don’t resort to self-help. What I have just seen from all these unfortunate scenarios is that we have allowed politics and grandstanding to override a very solemn issue.
Those individuals who are undergoing trials, it is only the court that can pronounce them guilty; it is beyond any of the parties. And you see when I said this thing is being trivialised, the other side too came up with names of others, who belong to the ruling party, who are also in court, being tried for various offences. So, it shouldn’t be encouraged. The government should not do such a thing no matter what propelled you. You can only call anybody a criminal or a looter or an economic saboteur if he has undergone normal trial in a court of law; he has been so pronounced by a court of law. But you see that it is all politics now.
We are trivialising very serious matter. It is unfortunate. That is my view.
Going by the list of alleged looters from both parties, don’t you think Nigerian Judiciary is being put under pressure?
To a large extent, you are very correct. But I can assure you with the training of Judges, they are ordinarily inbuilt for all these rantings. A judge has been trained in a way to maintain his impartiality and his focus. But my worry is the average Nigerian. That is why some of us are opposed to the media trial because the average Nigerian only hears one side of an issue. They don’t have the patience or the gift to listen to the other side. If those who made allegations cannot sustain them in court, the general belief in the society will be that Judiciary is doing something to free somebody whereas, the person ab initio ought not to have been labelled or branded a criminal.
In view of this, what is the way forward?
The way forward is for all of us to demonstrate seriousness in all issues. Look at what is happening in the US about the alleged Russian Interference in the election that produced (Donald) Trump. In spite of the fact that Trump is the president for more than a year, they would use their system, because they have strong institutions. They appointed Independent Council, who has been doing its own work, indicating people, in fact, some people have been convicted.
If it were to be in this country, most of us would start to query that the man is now the president, what are they still looking for. But in their (US) own system, it is very important because of the integrity of the system. Our system here has no integrity. So, there is nothing to defend. It is everything goes. For me, I believe quite honestly that we should show seriousness and those who are in positions of authority have greater responsibilities to show seriousness.
The Chief Justice of Nigeria recently set up a committee to monitor corruption cases. What is your assessment of the committee in view of the list of alleged looters?
Luckily, the committee is made up of Judges and seasoned Lawyers. My own understanding of their work is to ensure that there is adherence to the rule of law in everything that happens to all these trials. And I’m sure at the end of the day, the positions some of us took earlier will be vindicated that most corruption cases are lost due to two major reasons: lack of proper investigation and weak prosecution.
You just talked about the strong system in the US. And here, the presidency and the National Assembly are at loggerheads over the retention of acting EFCC Chairman, Ibrahim Magu. Where do you think we are missing the point?
Everything boils down to our attitude. I have spoken about the continued stay in office of Magu. I have no problem with him as a person. But if we are talking of building an institution and I have made this analogy several times before. The constitution says these categories of officers must be screened by the Senate and confirmed. If you appoint somebody in an acting capacity, and his name has not gone to the Senate, there is no problem about that. That can be accommodated within the spirit of the constitution.
But immediately you submit the name of the person to the Senate, for whatever reason, either tenable or untenable, the Senate says no, I don’t believe it would be right to say the person must continue. And I give a simple example if the president submits the name of somebody for a ministerial appointment and the Senate rejects the name, can you appoint him as an acting minister? That is the simple logic.
So, in order for us to defend the institution, if only for that, I think the matter should have been handled in a different way. For me, it is as if we are saying there is only one individual in Nigeria, who has the credentials to help us battle the hydra-headed monster of corruption. I don’t think so. I think there are a lot of good men in this country, many of them very silent individuals.
Recently, General Danjuma asked Nigerians to defend themselves against killer herdsmen terrorising parts of the country. What is your take on this?
My first reaction is that we would be unserious as a people if we dismiss what he said. And it would be more worrisome if government dismisses it with a wave of the hand. You have to know Danjuma’s antecedents, right from the day when he was a Lieutenant in the Nigerian Army. Anybody who has followed the history of Nigeria; the first coup, the counter-coup, will know that Danjuma is a veteran, and then he rose to become the Chief of Army Staff in our country; he didn’t stop at that, he became the minister of Defence in 1999.
So, it would be very unserious for anybody to dismiss him because what he said essentially is an indictment against the Nigerian Army, of which at a time he was their Chief and Minister of Defence, superintending all the arms of the Armed Forces. We cannot say he doesn’t know what he is talking about. And the level of information he has, ordinary people don’t have that kind of information. Then the propriety; the issue is that why could you have said such a thing and so on. There are for and against. For me, the truth is sacred. It doesn’t matter, who says what. The substance of what has been said should be the issue. He is saying Nigerian Army has become partisan in the way it is handling these issues. So, we should address the issues, and that is the problem of our country. Usually, we leave the substance and chase the shadow. I think we should not take his words as ‘Ranting of Mr Nobody’. Danjuma is something in this country; rightly or wrongly. We must take his words seriously. Let’s employ self-introspection. This attitude of dismissing everything is unhelpful.
Transparency International has said that we have gone lower in Corruption Index, we dismissed it. Amnesty International made an allegation against Armed Forces, we dismissed it. Anything that does not cheer with our perception, we feel there is no substance. I think that is not the correct way of moving forward in a country.
Former President, Olusegun Obasanjo has followed up his damning letter on the performance of the APC- led government with some commentary. What is your perspective on his latest action?
I’m not an Obasanjo’s fan but I think all patriots must commend him. He could have just sat in his comfort zone as a former president, enjoy all the things of being a former president and he would be in the good book of everybody. Don’t compare our own with America. People would say we have not seen former American Presidents making comments. That is not even true. (Barrack) Obama and (Bill) Clinton have been speaking about Trump.
When you have an abnormal situation, there must be some reactions. For me, I’m not saying Obasanjo is right or wrong, but for having the conviction. Because we need people who can call attention to things that are not going right. Wole Soyinka says ‘The Man died who keeps silent in the face of Tyranny’. So, for me, you may agree with him (Obasanjo), you may disagree with him. We need at least people who have been there before to call attention to it. I don’t care about his motive, and like I said before, the things he said, are they true at all or no true. And I can bet you, if it had not been Obasanjo who said those things, it would take one million of Yusuf Ali to say those things to be noticed at all.
We need such interventions, and of course, the other side would also say their own. The man said certain things that were of common knowledge to the people; there were others he said that were from his vantage position as a former president. It is like when people talk to me about the economy. They say Nigeria is out of recession. Nigeria is out of recession in the books of Central Bank (of Nigeria). But to an average Nigerian like me and you, the recession is still living with us. Every Nigerian who lives by his sweat knows there are hard times up till now economically and financially.
You may disagree with Obasanjo’s style but all the things he said, are there truths in any of it? Is it not good for someone who is so highly placed to draw our attention to issues? We should also remember that he was one of the people who supported this administration to come into place against all odds. Like I said, if we dismiss what he said with a wave of the hand, Nigeria will be undoing itself. (The Sun)
The apex northern socio-cultural organisation, the Arewa Consultative Forum, (ACF) yesterday disclosed that as the umbrella body of all nongovernmental groups in the region, only it can decide the fate of President Mohammadu Buhari in next year’s presidential elections. The group also said all those speaking on the performance of the president and his chances were on their own.
The ACF National Chairman, Ibrahim Coomasie, a retired Inspector General of Police, told New Telegraph in an exclusive interview from his base in Katsina that Nigerians should wait for the voice of the ACF, insisting that all those speaking “are on their own.” According to him: “In 2015, I was the champion of the whole process.
We said that leadership must come back to the north and we said that any party that nominated a northerner, we would support the person and the party. Then APC nominated President Buhari and then I came out to say that we would support him and we did support him”. The former Inspector General of Police noted that they are waiting for the political parties to nominate their candidates before ACF will speak and give direction to the north on which way to go. “So, it is now left to him and his political party. So, let us wait and see. Because until his political party decides to give him the ticket or not, it is too early to say what will happen or not. If his party decides to renominate him, then we can talk”.
On the vote of no confidence passed on the President by some northern groups, the ACF chairman said: “Those groups are on their own, and that is why ACF issued a rejoinder to that effect. So, ACF is standing by that rejoinder.” He also questioned why they should rate the president low and question his chances, saying “for what are they, the Alpha and Omega? ACF is the Umbrella organisation for all northern groups and organisations. So, you have to wait until ACF talks”. Coomassie added: “Even though it is too early for me to comment on President Buhari’s re-election bid, let me say that it is his constitutional right to contest for the presidency of this country just like he did in 2015.
“He has the right to contest and nobody can stop him. If you remember, former President Olusegun Obasanjo tried to stop him and we said it was wrong for Obasanjo to stop him and he should not. Let us leave the man to decide for himself and he has now decided that he wants to contest. “In 2015, it was after the APC gave him the ticket that we came out to talk. And we decided to support him. But for now, the time is too early”. On the president’s performance, he said: “President Buhari has done very well in office. He has fulfilled the promises he made to the people.
On the insurgency front, he has controlled it. He talked about corruption and he is fighting it. Nobody else has fought corruption the way he has done. On the economy, his performance is not bad. So, I can say he is a good president, just that he inherited a bad situation.” “Those that are saying that the president has not performed are on their own”, he said. (New Telegraph)
- Yaba Tech, others get new rectors
Olalekan Adetayo, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday approved the appointments of seven Resident Electoral Commissioners for the Independent National Electoral Commission among other appointments into some agencies in the Ministries of Health, Information and Culture, Education as well as Power, Works, and Housing.
The appointments were contained in a statement by the Director of Information, Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Lawrence Ojabo.
According to the statement, the new RECs are Dr Emmanuel Hart, Mohammed Ibrahim, Dr Cyril Omorogbe, Dr Uthman Ajidaba, Mr Segun Agbaje, Baba Yusuf and Yahaya Bello.
Ojabo said the appointments of the RECs were for an initial term of five years and they will take effect from April 17.
He added that the new RECs would be inaugurated on Tuesday by the INEC chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, at the commission’s headquarters.
In the Ministry of Health, Buhari appointed Dr Abdulkareem Yusuf as the Medical Director of the Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital, Kaduna, for an initial term of four years with effect from April 8.
He also renewed the appointment of Dr Abubakar Musa as the Medical Director of the Federal Medical Centre, Nguru, Yobe State, for another term of four years with effect from July 3, 2017.
The appointment of Dr Abdullahi Ibrahim as Medical Director of Federal Medical Centre, Azare, Bauchi State was also renewed for another four years with effect from April 2.
Also, the appointment of Dr Nasir Umar as Medical Director of National Obstetric Fistula Centre, Bauchi was renewed for four years with effect from April 8; while Dr Iliasu Ahmed was appointed Medical Director of Federal Medical Centre, Owo, Ondo State for initial four years term with effect from April 8.
The appointment of Dr Aliyu El-Ladan as Medical Director of National Obstetric Fistula Centre, Katsina, was also renewed for four years with effect from April 8.
In the Ministry of Information and Culture, the President appointed Dr Stella Oyedepo as the General Manager of National Theatre, Lagos, for an interim four years with effect from April 8.
Ojabo said with this appointment, Buhari has separated the leadership of the National Theatre from that of the National Troupe of Nigeria.
In the Ministry of Education, Dr. Baba Danjuma was appointed Rector of Federal Polytechnic, Idah, Kogi State for initial term of four years with effect from December 27, 2017; Dr. Usman Kallamu as Rector of Federal Polytechnic, Damaturu, Yobe State for initial four years with effect from April 8; and Dr. Jimah Sanusi as Rector, Federal Polytechnic, Auchi, Edo State for four years with effect from February 23.
Dr Dayo Oladebeye was also appointed as Rector of Federal Polytechnic, Ado Ekiti for an initial term of four years with effect from February 23; Sanusi Gumau was appointed Rector of Federal Polytechnic, Bauchi for initial four years from February 23; and Prof. Tomunomi Abbey was appointed Rector of Federal Polytechnic, Oil and Gas Bonny, Rivers State.
Omokungbe Omoseni was appointed Rector, Yaba College of Technology, Lagos State; and Prof. Faruk Haruna was appointed Provost of the Federal College or Education Kotangora, Niger State for initial four years with effect from March 27.
In the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, Buhari approved the appointment of Usman Mohammed as Managing Director of the Transmission Company of Nigeria for an initial term of four years with effect from February 1.
“The President charged all appointees to reinvigorate the Agencies in the delivery of their mandates through a renewed commitment to transparency, accountability, and service delivery with integrity,” the statement added. (Punch)