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Nigeria: I Wish to Live Beyond 100 Years – Obasanjo

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Former President Olusegun Obasanjo yesterday expressed his desire to live beyond 2040 to enable him celebrate the 20th year coronation of one of his favourite traditional rulers in Ogun State, the Agura of Gbagura, Oba Sabur Bakare, Jamolu II.

The former president, who spoke yesterday in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital during the interdenominational service held to mark the one year coronation anniversary of the monarch, emphatically declared that by then, he would have lived beyond a 100 years and have more opportunities to celebrate with Oba Bakare.

The former president, who was part of the dignitaries that converged to celebrate the monarch at the first year anniversary, was 83 years old last March, 2020.

LEADERSHIP recalls that Oba Bakare received the staff of office from the former Ogun State governor, Ibikunle Amosun on May 21, 2019 as the 9th Agura of Gbagura in Egbaland.

Speaking at the event Obasanjo said he wished to be at the 20 years anniversary of the monarch,

saying that he also wished God takes his life after fulfilling the dream.

“I will be here to celebrate your 20 years anniversary with you whether I am invited or not. By the time I also partake in celebrating your 20th anniversary with you, if God wishes he can call me to come and meet him in heaven because I know by that time, I will be above 100 or more”, he added.

The former president however advised the monarch to always ensure that he propagates unity among traditional rulers in Yorubaland.

“There are times that kabiyesi don’t listen to words and there are times he does listen to words. If we are united there is nothing we can’t do in Yoruba land and Nigeria as a whole,”he said.

In his remarks, the Alake of Egbaland, Oba Adedotun Aremu Gbadebo, noted that the past one year of the reign of Oba Bakare had been characterised by direct engagement of Egba monarchs, leaders and indeed all stakeholders in Egbaland for its cohesion and unity of purpose.

Alake expressed that the entire Egba Traditional Council was satisfied with the all -inclusive leadership of the Agura Monarch and congratulated him for a successful anniversary.

The Agura while commissioning a borehole project for the community in Gbagura area, lauded the sponsors of the project. He promised to sustain the project which he ordered to be free for the people of the community.

He expressed gratitude to Obasanjo, all the monarchs and well- wishers that rejoiced with him on his first anniversary on the throne. The monarch pledged that the unity and love among the Egbas would continue to be strong.

Editorial: Need To Reinvigorate NOA

The National Orientation Agency (NOA) is the body charged with communication of government policies, staying abreast with public opinion, promoting patriotism, national unity and development of the Nigerian society.

The Agency was created with the special and unique mandate to create and increase knowledgeability; provide credible and timely feedback and response; change attitudes, values and behaviours positively; accurately inform and adequately motivate the citizens of the country to act and behave in a way that will promote peace, tran- quility, harmony and national development in order to create a Nigeria that is orderly, disciplined and responsible.

To effectively perform these tasks, the agency has offices in all the 774 local government areas of the federation, directorates in all the 36 states of the federation and the FCT as well as thousands of vo- lunteers, all coordinated from the Headquarters.

The National Orientation Agen- cy was set up in 1993 to replace the highly successful Mass Mobi- lization for Self-Reliance, Social Justice and Economic Recovery (MAMSER) of the Babangida ad- ministration and the War against Indiscipline of the Buhari/Idiagbon administration.

The NOA at inception and until not too long ago, lived up to its res- ponsibility. But in recent times, the agency has become a shadow of itself even at a time the nation is in dare need of citizens’ mobilization to combat the near total collapse of values in the society, loss of faith in the nation and the rising crime and insecurity.

People are now resorting to self- help either for economic suste- nance or for security. Little wonder why there is so much moral decadence in the society with corruption, prostitution, rape, human trafficking, cyber-crime, kidnapping and even banditry on the increase.

It is obvious that that crusade is not sufficiently effec- tive because grassroots mobiliza- tion that would have drove home the message was missing.

That is where the NOA would have deployed its reach to change the orientation of the people against corruption. The reason is basically that the agency is under- funded, neglected by the authori- ties and left to exist only in name.

The outbreak of coronavirus and the need to mobilize the citizens to ensure the virus does not spread provided a unique opportunity for the reinvigoration of NOA but we missed that opportunity and the consequences is the spread of the virus into communities with the attendant economic, health, and social consequences.

This is unacceptable if the nation hopes to make any headway in the area of mobilizing the citizens to buy into national policies and programmes.

Even more disheartening is the knowledge that ministries, depart- ments and agencies (MDAs) of government, initiate and go ahead to implement programmes without the involvement of the NOA to ensure the proper buy-in of the people before implementation.

With presence in all the 774 local government areas of the federation, with thousands of volunteers working for it, the NOA has the capacity to perform its role as a change agent. What is just needed is the right support and encouragement.

A situation where the budget for the running of local govern- ment offices of the agency is N2,000 monthly, is completely unacceptable and a waste of na- tional resources.

There are many government initiatives aimed at addressing the nation’s rising youth unem- ployment, such as the Young Farmers Network and Back to land programmes of the National Agricultural Land Development Authority (NALDA).

These programmes needs serious youth mobilisation and the buy-ins of local communities to make available community land for the programmes. Without proper campaign right at the grassroots, these programmes may just be another effort in futility.

The federal government should compel all MDAs to involve NOA at the conception and implementation of all their programmes.

The federal government should also begin to properly look at the persons vested with the res- ponsibility of heading the agency to ensure that such persons have the requisite experience in mass mobilization capability and are personally committed to the Nigerian project.

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