Attack On Oyo Custodial Centre: We’ll Recapture All Inmates That Escaped – Aregbesola

Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, has vowed to pursue and recapture all inmates who escaped from the Abolongo, Oyo, Oyo State, Custodial Centre of the Nigeria Correctional Service (NCoS) on Friday night, 22 October, 2021 when the facility came under attack of gunmen.

The Minister gave the assurance whilst making an inspection visit to the facility on Sunday morning, 24 October, 2021 in Oyo, Oyo State.

“I’m assuring Nigerians that the Federal Government will pursue not just those who attacked our facility, but those who have escaped lawful custody.

“The attack was unconscionable. I commend officers of the Nigeria Correctional Service and other members of sister security agencies who provided perimeter security for our facility for fighting gallantly and holding the fort before the attackers were able to gain access to the awaiting trial section of the facility. However, those who escaped are already being pursued. Some have been rearrested, many more will still be captured,” the Minister stated.

Giving more details about those who escaped, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola noted that, 446 out of 907 escapees have been recaptured, whilst 69 never left the facility.

“As at the last count, 446 of the escapees have been recaptured, leaving 392 still at large. We want to assure Nigerians that the service have an updated database of the escapees which includes their biometrics. We are sharing the database with all security agencies in the country, including the Interpol, so those who escaped our recapture efforts can be nabbed.

“To those on the run, be assured you have nowhere to hide. You can run, but you can’t hide. We’ll fish you out! We are publishing details of those who escaped in the mass media so the public can assist in that effort,” the Minister reiterated.

On the effort to rebuild the damaged part of the facility, the Minister noted that he has directed the NCoS, to immediately begin remediation work.

“I have instructed the CG of NCoS to immediately begin the reconstruction of the damaged parts of the building. We hope to make the facility better secured and more habitable for the inmates.

Also speaking during the inspection, the Controller General of the Nigeria Correctional Service, NCoS, Haliru Nababa, noted that so far, the service has successfully prevented internal jailbreaks in all her facilities.

“The NCoS have so far prevented internal jailbreaks in the country. What we have reoccurring in recent times are external attacks on our facilities. We have been retraining our officers not just on securing those in lawful custody, but prevent external attacks.

“We are collaborating with other security agencies in the country to make such attacks near impossible and where they do occur, the attackers will not live to regret it,” the CG stated.

On the instruction given by the Minister of Interior to immediately begin remediation work on the facility, CG Nababa noted that work has begun already.

“As you can see, workers are already on site fixing damaged doors, broken windows and mounting walls. Before the end of today, work would have been completed on it,” Nababa stated.

Before leaving Oyo, the Minister’s entourage paid a courtesy visit to the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi III, and commiserated with him over the attack of the FG facility in his town.

“We are here to commiserate with your majesty over the attack in your town less than 72hours ago. Oyo is known as a peaceful town and with the measures we are putting in place, you can be assured nothing of such will take place again,” Ogbeni Aregbesola assured the monarch.

Tiwa Savage: Pushing The Envelope of Deviance and Naughtiness

By Bamidele Ademola-Olateju

E go perch, e go perch, na im butterfly dey take enter bush. Na so Tiwa Savage go take destroy herself? What a mess! What is the meaning of that “de prick wan wound me nonsense gig?”

I had to search for the sex tape to see the prick. Is that prick able to wound a virgin? Please!!! No one should come here and tell me not to judge her. What is that? Has she considered impressionable 12-15 year old girls who want to be like her?

No one should say she did not ask to be a role model either. That is holy nonsense! Are those young people not the one paying to download her songs? Are they not the one who add her songs to their Playlists? We should all stop encouraging less than stellar behavior from those whom the young look up to.

We should stop debasing values in the name of being woke or freedom. I am relieved that Cadbury, Glo et al have withdrawn their endorsements.

For every “negative” behavior that is public knowledge, the question is always; why did you do it? In our interconnected digital world, why would anyone record their most private and intimate moments?

Did passion cloud their ability to consider the pros, cons, and consequences? In the recesses of your bedroom, it is okay to be deviant and naughty. It is your business.

However, if you make a sex tape, be ready to live with uncertainty and the shaming that goes with it. Accessibility and hyper-connectivity are the vulnerabilities of our social age.

We must also ask ourselves, why are these tapes always about cisgender heterosexuals? I think people do this to give vent to their exhibitionist and kinky sides. For Tiwa, wanting to look like a victim and milking this ugliness for gain, is totally disgusting.

To young girls who might read this, Allowing yourself to be recorded during sex, is not a symbol of the intimacy. Once you are on record, there is no guarantee it will remain a secret between you and your guy.

If you break up, the video could be leaked to shame you. Even if the guy is a decent man who respects you, his phone could be hacked, lost, stolen, misplaced, or taken for repairs and a third party could blackmail you with it.

You never can predict where the video will end up. No matter what a man tells you, no matter how much love or passion you feel, say NO! Prioritize your peace of mind over the heat of the moment.

If a man truly loves you, he will respect your wish and privacy. Never give in, even if he promises to delete. If he deletes the video, what if a version is in the memory card? Do not send nudes either.

As if we don’t have enough problems already! Enough of these gradual erosion of our values in the name of freedom! We are humans!

It’s Official: Femi Otedola Emerges First Bank’s Majority Shareholder

Mr Otedola, who has interest in power, nows owns 5.07 per cent of the company.

The Nigerian billionaire, Femi Otedola, has emerged a major shareholder of First Bank Holdings, owners of First Bank Nigeria, after acquiring a 5.07 per cent equity stake, the company confirmed Saturday.

The holding firm had earlier denied knowledge of the takeover saying it had not received a notification of a significant holding by Mr Otedola.

In a follow-up communication to the Nigerian Exchange Limited Saturday, the firm said it received notification from APT Securities and Funds Limited that its client, “that Mr Otedola Olufemi Peter and his nominee, Calvados Global Services Limited have acquired a total of 1,818, 551,625 units of shares from the Company’s issued share capital of 35,895,292791.”

“Based on the foregoing, the equity stake of Mr Otedola Olufemi Peter and his nominee in the company is now 5.07%,” the notice signed by Seye Kosoko, company secretary, said.

With that communication, Mr Otedola becomes the bank’s single largest shareholder on record.

The bank had in its 2020 annual report and accounts stated that “According to Register of Members as at December 30, 2020, there is no shareholder with 5% of the shares of FBN Holdings Plc.”

This is the first time since that reporting that the bank is informing the Nigerian Exchange of a substantial acquisition of shares that has thrown up an individual with five percent significant slice of the company.

In the 10 days to Friday, FBN Holdings witnessed an unusually massive trading in its shares and the cumulative number of units traded within the period surpassed 2.1 billion. The uptick in trading catapulted its share value by 62.3 per cent from the level it was three weeks ago.

An analyst at Meristem Securities told PREMIUM TIMES the trading boom started with a move by Airtel Africa to acquire a minority stake in Airtel Nigeria. 

“There have been lots of activities on FBN Holdings shares over the past two or three weeks now,” he said on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the subject.

“Initially it was Airtel. Airtel Africa was trying to acquire minority stake in Airtel Nigeria. Airtel Africa is listed but Airtel Nigeria is not listed. So they are trying to acquire the remaining eight per cent minority stake in Airtel Nigeria.”

FBN Holdings holds a substantial proportion of the eight per cent. A share purchase of this nature is often attractive to sellers as a premium will be added to the fair value that has been agreed to by both parties of the transaction.

“So there are expectations that that will boost the earnings of FBN Holdings. That kind of (spurred) activities on FBNH as a ticker. That’s the connection between FBNH and Airtel,” the source said.

Shares in FBN Holdings rose 1.24 per cent to N12.25 per unit on Friday following the news.

The First Bank move marks Mr Otedola’s foray into banking, having sold off his shareholding in Forte Oil Plc  in 2019 to consolidate his investment in Geregu Power Plc.

The acquisition, estimated to have taken its stake in FBN Holdings beyond five per cent, will lift Mr Otedola’s shareholding above that of Oba Otudeko and Oye Hassan Odukale, two of the firm’s biggest owners with 1.5 per cent and 1.03 per cent holdings respectively.

Until now, Nigeria’s second richest man, Mike Adenuga, had been making vigorous plans  to wrest control of the prime spot in FBN Holdings ownership before now.

Mr Otudeko, the immediate past chairman of FBN Holdings board, was ousted from the organisation’s top hierarchy this May after a conflict of interest and violation of procedure in appointing the chief executive of the group’s commercial banking, First Bank, irked the regulator, the Central Bank of Nigeria.

“There is a requirement that he has to sell off his shares because he is no longer chairman. Of course, someone has to take those shares. So I suspect that that’s what resulted in Otedola becoming the new biggest shareholder,” the source said.


FirstBank Partners NIBSS To Drive Digital Payment Convenience With Nigeria Quick Response (NQR)

First Bank of Nigeria Limited, Nigeria’s premier and leading financial inclusion services organisation has announced its partnership with Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System plc (NIBSS) on its recently launched Nigeria Quick Response (NQR) Payment Solution.

The NQR is an innovative payment option implemented for all financial service providers and designed to promote quick and fast transactions by scanning the code on one’s mobile device. Also, the initiative reduces cost(s) for merchants and banks in delivering instant value for person to business (P2B) and person to person (P2P) transactions by simply scanning to pay. Unlike other QR schemes, the NQR is implemented with reduced charges that is cheaper for merchants.

The initiative is accessible on the Bank’s payment infrastructure as the NQR code can be used to make payments through one’s FirstMobile App. And it is also available for the merchant in facilitating their business activities. The touchpoint and use cases of the NQR payment solution include convenience stores, supermarkets, shopping malls, pharmacy, ride-hailing/taxi payments, bus fares, tolling booths payments, vending machines, e-commerce sites, online (Instagram) businesses amongst many others.  

To access the service, launch your FirstMobile App and select QR payment. Afterwards, choose NIBSS as a payment provider, then scan the seller’s NQR barcode. Thereafter, the amount is inputted, followed by PIN validation to generate an instant confirmation of the transaction successfully. On the other hand, merchants are to visit any FirstBank branch closest to them for service enrolment. 

Speaking on the initiative Dr. Adesola Adeduntan, CEO, FirstBank said “we are delighted with the adoption of the Nigeria Quick Response (NQR) payment solution, an initiative by Nigeria Interbank Settlement System plc (NIBSS) which has been instrumental to easing and promoting payment convenience with the use of mobile phones. At FirstBank, we recognize the indelible role technology plays in promoting businesses across diverse frontiers and we remain committed to reinventing our technology infrastructure to meet global standards whilst being committed to  staying true to our mantra in always putting You, our customers First. 

Malami Names Sunday Igboho’s Alleged Financier

Attorney-general of the federation and minister of justice Abubakar Malami on Friday said a security committee constituted by the Federal Government had discovered that the major financier of Yoruba Nation agitator Sunday Adeyemo alias Sunday Igboho is a federal lawmaker.
Mr Malami, however, held back the name of the legislator, stating further that Sunday Igboho allegedly received funding from a firm Abbal Bako and Sons under probe for allegedly financing terrorism.

“It might be recalled that Abbal Bako & Sons and its promoter Abdullahi Umar Usman are suspects in the on-going Joint Terrorist Financing Investigation.
“Abdullahi Umar Usman is, by way of financial transaction, connected to Surajo Abubakar Muhammad (who was sentenced to life imprisonment in UAE on charges of financing terrorism (Boko Haram),” Malami said.

The attorney-general told a press conference that the committee also got information that the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) Nnamdi Kanu received support locally and from foreign governments.
“We have also established that KANU is not alone in his subversive activities. He has accomplices in Nigeria and abroad, individuals and groups as well as state and non-state actors who are aiding and facilitating his campaign against the people and state of Nigeria.

“Some of the state actors aided KANU, even as a fugitive, in his destructive mission, ignoring the terrorist nature of his activities.
“We call on these countries to desist from aiding subversive acts by KANU and IPOB against the state of Nigeria and its people,” Malami said.

APC Chieftain Replaces Saraki as Turaki of Ilorin

A former governorship aspirant in Kwara State and member of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Saliu Mustapha, has been conferred with the honorary title of Turaki of Ilorin.

The title was first held by Second Republic Senate Leader, late Olusola Saraki, followed by his son, former Senate President Bukola Saraki.

The Emir of Ilorin, Ibrahim Sulu-Gambari, turbaned Mustapha as the Turaki of Ilorin on Friday, October 22.
The late Olusola Saraki held the title before he was elevated to the position of a Waziri.
Bukola Saraki stepped into his father’s shoes to bear the title from 2006 until 2018 when he too was turbaned as the Waziri, succeeding his father for the second time.
Mustapha, 48, who is running for the national chair of the APC, becomes the third Turaki of Ilorin emirate.

While announcing new honorary title holders at a grand reception, Emir Sulu-Gambari said only those deserving of a title are given.
“If someone is contributing to the development we have to give him a title. Only someone deserving of a title is conferred one. It is our way of appreciating their efforts.”
Another title announced by the emir is the Mutabali of Ilorin, which was bestowed on the state governor’s elder brother, Alimi AbdulRazaq.

The title was last held by his late father and the first commissioner for finance in the state, AbdulRazaq Ganiyu Folorunsho, who died last year.

Others honoured at the event include Ilorin-born Islamic scholars; Farouq Suleiman, Yakubu Aliagan, Yakubu and AbdulRahman Sholagberu.

FirstBank Holdings Denies Femi Otedola Bought Majority Shares

Following reports that billionaire Femi Otedola bought majority shares of First Bank of Nigeria Holdings (FBNH) Plc, the firm has said the reports are false.
In a statement on the website of the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Ltd, the firm said it was yet to receive any notification of the purported acquisition.

The statement signed by the FBNH company secretary Seyi Kosoko said the company would notify the appropriate authorities whenever it received any notice of significant shareholding by the shareholders and its registrars.
“The attention of FBNH has been drawn to media reports of today, Oct. 22, purporting that a certain individual has acquired significant shareholding interest in FBN Holdings, making him the majority shareholder in the company.

“As a listed company, the shares of FBN Holdings are publicly traded, and sale and acquisition of shares is expected in the normal course of business,” the statement read.
It added that the company operated in a regulated environment, which required notification of significant shareholding by shareholders to the company, where shares were held in different vehicles, further to which the company would notify the regulators and the public as appropriate.

“The company is yet to receive any notification from the individual mentioned in the media report, of such acquisitions.
“FBN Holdings Plc will always notify the appropriate agencies and authorities whenever it receives any notice of significant shareholding by the shareholders and the company’s registrars,” the statement further read.

JKF: Celebrating An Intellectual in The Saddle

By Taiwo Akerele

I was at Ado just about three years ago with a large team of young persons from across South south Nigeria to participate in the electioneering campaign of my friend and senior Comrade in the struggle for democracy in Nigeria Dr Kayode Fayemi. It was a big fight between the ‘stomach infrastructure’ led regime of Fayose and the more enduring legacy of economic transformation led by Dr Kayode Fayemi. It was clear during the rallies that the people of Ekiti were tired of a shallow economic policy that only feeds the stomach but lacks depth on the future of the society. Today I am excited that the people of Ekiti made the right choice with the success that has been recorded by Dr Fayemi despite the lower than average performance of other states in so many sectors of the economy.

Yes, its three years after and when one looks back, I am able to congratulate JKF with pride and sense of satisfaction. On his 56th birthday this year at Ado, I was one of the privilege ‘outsiders’ so to speak to address the humble crowd gathered at the hilltop mansion of the governors lodge and I didn’t mince words in describing him as a rare gem who is doing things quietly and impactfully using his intellectual depth to touch the lives of the people of Ekiti state.

Ekiti is already well blessed in the area of education, yet Fayemi continues to expand the education base and expanding the existing infrastructure in the school system, same thing goes in the agricultural space and youth investment sectors.

One is able to eave a sigh of relief that as Nigeria gets nearer to 2023 all things been equal, we have in our political basket of choices quality men and women that we can always choose from and JKF is one of such choices owing to his experience, intellectual depth, training and exposure in both local and international issues. FAYEMI has also fought alot of battles both political and social in the Journey for a better Nigeria. In his capacity as chairman of Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) the voice of that organization has never been so loud and relevant on key national issues especially in economic management, COVID-19 response, debt management and security of lives and property. NGF has been very progressive in its partnership with relevant organs of government across all strata under the progressive leadership and direction of JKF, that is what a well grounded training and education gives to a society.

When I resigned as chief of staff in April 2020 on the basis of principles he was one of the few governors that reached out to me during the turbulent times encouraging me to stay safe and remain focused I am forever grateful to a legend and man of the youths with values.

As Ekiti people celebrate their leader, the only way we can tap from his bounty of knowledge and experience is for them to release him to the wider population of this west African giant to chat a better course for us, indeed Nigeria is blessed with an avalanche of quality men and women and Fayemi fortunately belongs to that few class of visionary class of leaders.

Thank you

*Taiwo Akerele, former chief of staff, Edo state (2016-2020) is the Executive Director, Policy House International, Abuja and founder APC Policy Think Tank Forum (APC-PTTF)

Colin Powell, First Black US Secretary of State, Dies of Covid-19 Complications Amid Cancer Battle

Colin Powell, the first Black US secretary of state whose leadership in several Republican administrations helped shape American foreign policy in the last years of the 20th century and the early years of the 21st, has died from complications from Covid-19, his family said on Facebook. He was 84.

“General Colin L. Powell, former U.S. Secretary of State and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, passed away this morning due to complications from Covid 19,” the Powell family wrote on Facebook, noting he was fully vaccinated.

Powell had multiple myeloma, a cancer of plasma cells that suppresses the body’s immune response, as well as Parkinson’s, Peggy Cifrino, Powell’s longtime chief of staff, confirmed to CNN. Even if fully vaccinated against Covid-19, those who are immunocompromised are at greater risk from the virus.

“We have lost a remarkable and loving husband, father, grandfather and a great American,” the family said.

Powell was a distinguished and trailblazing professional soldier whose career took him from combat duty in Vietnam to becoming the first Black national security adviser during the end of Ronald Reagan’s presidency and the youngest and first African American chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under President George H.W. Bush. His national popularity soared in the aftermath of the US-led coalition victory during the Gulf War, and for a time in the mid-90s, he was considered a leading contender to become the first Black President of the United States. But his reputation would be forever stained when, as George W. Bush’s first secretary of state, he pushed faulty intelligence before the United Nations to advocate for the Iraq War, which he would later call a “blot” on his record.

Bush said in a statement Monday that Powell was “a great public servant” who was “such a favorite of Presidents that he earned the Presidential Medal of Freedom — twice. He was highly respected at home and abroad. And most important, Colin was a family man and a friend.”

Though Powell never mounted a White House bid, when he was sworn in as Bush’s secretary of state in 2001, he became the highest-ranking Black public official to date in the country, standing fourth in the presidential line of succession.

“I think it shows to the world what is possible in this country,” Powell said of his history-making nomination during his Senate confirmation hearing. “It shows to the world that: Follow our model, and over a period of time from our beginning, if you believe in the values that espouse, you can see things as miraculous as me sitting before you to receive your approval.”

Later in his public life, Powell would grow disillusioned with the Republican Party’s rightward lurch and would use his political capital to help elect Democrats to the White House, most notably Barack Obama, the first Black president whom Powell endorsed in the final weeks of the 2008 campaign.

The announcement was seen as a significant boost for Obama’s candidacy due to Powell’s widespread popular appeal and stature as one of the most prominent and successful Black Americans in public life.

Powell is survived by his wife, Alma Vivian (Johnson) Powell, whom he married in 1962, as well as three children.

Alma Powell, who is fully vaccinated against the virus, also tested positive for Covid-19 this month, but only exhibited mild symptoms, a source close to the family told CNN. She was sent home after treatment at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

Cifrino told CNN Powell was vaccinated early on and received his second shot in February. He was scheduled to get his booster shot this past week but that was when he fell ill so he wasn’t able to receive it. Covid-19 vaccines are a highly effective tool in preventing severe disease and death, but no vaccine is 100% effective.

More than 7,000 breakthrough cases of Covid-19 that have resulted in death have been reported to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention through October 12. By that time, more than 187 million people in the US were fully vaccinated. That’s one out of every 26,000 fully vaccinated people who has died of Covid-19, or 0.004%.

Of those breakthrough cases resulting in death, 85% were among people age 65 and older and 57% were among men, according to the CDC.

CDC data also show that the risk of dying from Covid-19 is more than 11 times higher for unvaccinated adults than it is for vaccinated adults throughout August. Among seniors, who are more susceptible to severe Covid-19, that gap is smaller. Among those 80 and older, the risk of dying from Covid-19 in August was about five times higher among unvaccinated people than among fully vaccinated people.

Powell’s death was met with an outpouring of grief from former and current leaders, including President Joe Biden who described Powell a “dear friend” and a dedicated public servant who broke barriers.

“Colin embodied the highest ideals of both warrior and diplomat. He was committed to our nation’s strength and security above all. Having fought in wars, he understood better than anyone that military might alone was not enough to maintain our peace and prosperity. From his front-seat view of history, advising presidents and shaping our nation’s policies, Colin led with his personal commitment to the democratic values that make our country strong. Time and again, he put country before self, before party, before all else — in uniform and out — and it earned him the universal respect of the American people,” Biden said.

Former Vice President Dick Cheney, who served alongside Powell under Bush said he was “deeply saddened to learn that America has lost a leader and statesman. General Powell had a remarkably distinguished career, and I was fortunate to work with him,” Cheney said in a statement, adding that Powell was a “trailblazer and role model.”

Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Powell’s predecessor at the department, remembered him on Monday as “a wise and principled man, a loyal friend, and one of the kindest people I have ever met.”

“Although we grew up in different contexts, we bonded over our family’s immigrant stories, our deep love of America, and our belief in the importance of public service,” she said in a statement.

Condoleezza Rice, who succeeded Powell at State following his retirement in 2005, said on Monday that he “was a trusted colleague and a dear friend through some very challenging times,” adding in her own statement that “much of his legacy will live on in the countless number of young lives he touched.”

Colin Luther Powell was born April 5, 1937, in Harlem, New York, to Jamaican immigrants. After growing up in the South Bronx, Powell attended school at the City College of New York, where he participated in ROTC, leading the precision drill team and attaining the top rank offered by the corps, cadet colonel.

“I liked the structure and the discipline of the military,” Powell said, according to a CNN profile of him in the early 2000s. “I felt somewhat distinctive wearing a uniform. I hadn’t been distinctive in much else.”

He entered the US Army after graduating in 1958, and later served two tours in South Vietnam during the 1960s, where he was wounded twice, including during a helicopter crash in which he rescued two soldiers. He stayed in the Army after returning home, attending the National War College and rising in leadership. He was promoted to brigadier general in 1979, appointed as Reagan’s final national security adviser in 1987 and was tapped by the elder Bush in 1989 to head the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Powell’s tenure in the elder Bush’s administration was marked by his involvement in some of the most notable American military actions of the late 20th century, including the 1989 Panama operation, the 1991 Gulf War and the US humanitarian intervention in Somalia, though he retired from the Army days before the disastrous Battle of Mogadishu.

Although Powell was initially reluctant to commit US troops when Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990, he became one of the administration’s most trusted spokesmen when the assault on Saddam Hussein’s army finally came.

“First we’re going to cut it off. Then we’re going to kill it,” Powell famously said at a news conference at the time, referring to the Iraqi army.

Following the assault, Powell became something of a national hero, enjoying a 71% favorability rating in the first few years after the war. His efforts during the war also earned him two prominent awards: a Congressional Gold Medal in March 1991 “in recognition of his exemplary performance in planning and coordinating” the US response to Iraq’s invasion, and a Presidential Medal of Freedom.

As the elder Bush presented Powell with the award at a White House ceremony in 1991, he said the general’s “deep compassion for every one of the thousands of men and women under (his) command will always be remembered.”

During Powell’s time in the military, which lasted until 1993, he also received a number of other notable awards, including the Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts. He received his fourth star in 1989, becoming the second African American to rise to that rank.

In addition to the military awards, Powell also received the President’s Citizens Medal, the Secretary of State Distinguished Service Medal, and the Secretary of Energy Distinguished Service Medal, as well as a second Presidential Medal of Freedom, awarded with distinction, from President Bill Clinton.

Top diplomat during turbulent time

With a prominent national profile, Powell was floated as a potential presidential candidate in the 1996 election. But in a highly anticipated decision, he declined to participate in the race, citing a lack of “passion” for electoral politics.

“Such a life requires a calling that I do not yet hear,” he told reporters in 1995. “And for me to pretend otherwise would not be honest to myself, it would not be honest to the American people.”

Powell was again encouraged to run in the 2000 presidential election, but rebuffed calls for him to mount a bid. He instead endorsed George W. Bush, delivering a speech at the Republican National Convention in which he argued that the then-governor of Texas would “help bridge our racial divides.”

He was Bush’s first Cabinet selection when he was announced as the 43rd President’s nomination for secretary of state, and with his expertise in foreign policy and widespread popularity, he was unanimously confirmed by the Senate.

He shared Bush’s reluctance to project military strength across the globe, a view that was quickly displaced by the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. As Bush’s top diplomat, he was tasked with building international support for the War on Terror, including the Afghanistan War, but it was his involvement in the administration’s push for intervention in Iraq, over the concerns of many of America’s longtime allies, for which his tenure at State would become best known.

In February 2003, Powell delivered a speech before the United Nations in which he presented evidence that the US intelligence community said proved Iraq had misled inspectors and hid weapons of mass destruction.

“There can be no doubt,” Powell warned, “that Saddam Hussein has biological weapons and the capability to rapidly produce more, many more.”

Inspectors, however, later found no such weaponry in Iraq, and two years after Powell’s UN speech, a government report said the intelligence community was “dead wrong” in its assessments of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction capabilities before the US invasion.

But the damage was already done — to both Iraq, which the US went to war with just six weeks after Powell’s speech, and to the reputation of the once highly popular statesman, who was reportedly told by Cheney before the UN speech: “You’ve got high poll ratings; you can afford to lose a few points.”

Powell, who left the State Department in early 2005 after submitting his resignation to Bush the previous year, later called his UN speech a “blot” that will forever be on his record.

“I regret it now because the information was wrong — of course I do,” he told CNN’s Larry King in 2010. “But I will always be seen as the one who made the case before the international community.”

“I swayed public opinion, there’s no question about it,” he added, referring to how influential his speech was on public support for the invasion.

In his 2012 memoir, “It Worked for Me,” Powell again acknowledged the speech, writing that his account of it in the book would likely be the last he publicly made.

“I am mad mostly at myself for not having smelled the problem. My instincts failed me,” he wrote, referring to the report he used that contained faulty evidence of supposed Iraqi WMDs. “It was by no means my first, but it was one of my most momentous failures, the one with the widest-ranging impact.”

“The event will earn a prominent paragraph in my obituary,” Powell wrote.

Shifting politics

After leaving the Bush administration, Powell returned to private life. He joined the renowned venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins in 2005, where he worked as a strategic adviser until his death. For a time, he gave speeches at “Get Motivated!” business seminars, and he authored the 2012 memoir.

Though the large majority of Powell’s time as a public servant was spent in Republican administrations, the later years of his life saw him supporting Democratic presidential candidates and harshly criticizing top Republican leaders.

By 2008, the longtime Republican’s coveted presidential endorsement went to another party when he announced his support for Obama’s White House bid. At the time, he touted Obama’s “ability to inspire” and the “inclusive nature of his campaign,” while criticizing attacks on the Illinois senator by Republican presidential nominee John McCain’s campaign as “inappropriate.” He was later named an honorary co-chair of Obama’s inauguration and endorsed him again in 2012.

Powell went on to vote for Hillary Clinton in 2016 over Donald Trump, whom he had strongly condemned as a “national disgrace and an international pariah.”

In an extraordinary move that year, three presidential electors in Washington state cast votes for Powell rather than Clinton, resulting in state fines that were later upheld by the Supreme Court.

He again snubbed Trump in 2020 during the President’s second campaign, announcing his support for Joe Biden in June of that year while blasting Trump’s presidency.

“We have a Constitution. And we have to follow that Constitution. And the President has drifted away from it,” he told CNN, adding that he “certainly cannot in any way support President Trump this year.” The retired general later delivered an address in support of Biden during the Democratic National Convention.

And after Trump incited a deadly insurrection at the US Capitol in early January 2021, Powell told CNN that he no longer considered himself a Republican, with the longtime grandee of the GOP saying he was now simply watching events unfold in a country he long served.

“I can no longer call myself a fellow Republican. I’m not a fellow of anything right now,” he told CNN’s Fareed Zakaria on “GPS.” “I’m just a citizen who has voted Republican, voted Democrat throughout my entire career. And right now, I’m just watching my country and not concerned with parties.”


Afikuyomi Felicitates Mustapha On His Turbaning As Turaki of Ilorin

A former senator representing Lagos West Senatorial District, Senator Tokunbo Afikuyomi, has congratulated Alhaji Saliu Mustapha for His Royal Turbaning as the Turaki of Ilorin by His Royal Highness, Alhaji (Dr) Ibrahim Sulu-Gambari, CFR.

Afikuyomi In a statement issued by his media office on Friday said this is a worthy recognition of Alhaji Mustapha’s contribution to nation-building.
According to Afikuyomi, a long-term associate of the new Turaki,
stressed that Alhaji Saliu Mustapha has been conscientious in politics, and painstaking in humanitarian services, not just around the people of Ilorin Emirate alone, but in the entire Kwara State and in Nigeria as a whole.

According to the Senator, who represented both Lagos Central and West Senatorial Districts between 1999 and 2007, said Mustapha’s decent politics, maturity and candor have combined to portray him as a rare breed amongst the pack, which is why he is often welcomed in any circle he has pitched tent with. 
“He has a great sense of fairness, comportment and is also result oriented. A loyal friend, with a God-fearing disposition, he passes as one of the most respectable public figures from Kwara State,” Afikuyomi added.
Afikuyomi, however said that with his turbaning as the Turaki of Ilorin, he was confident that he will impact on the people of the peace-loving emirate, in line with the vision of His Royal Highness, and the expectations of citizens. 
“May God almighty give him the wisdom, good health and longevity to deliver the much-needed goods for his people, his fans and for humanity at large. “Congratulations to a good friend,” Afikuyomi said.