#Insightwithlarigold: “Why I Sued President Jonathan”—Timi Olagunju

Published:1 Dec, 2012

This young and pulsating lawyer, Timi Olagunju who I met for the very first time in July 2012 at The Future Awards online business master class event, has sued the Federal Government of Nigeria over excluding males from participating in the #YOUWIN program. #YOUWIN was launched in 2011. It was structured such that each year, 1,200 Nigerian youths would be given the opportunity to receive between one million and ten million naira to start up business. This implies that #YOUWIN in a space of three years would have successfully raised 3,600 entrepreneurs

I’m actually not kidding, Mr. Timi Olagunju has dragged President Jonathan and six others to the Federal High court on this issue.

Let’s hear Timi’s side of the story.

Lanre: Give us a short background of yourself.

Timi: I am Timi Olagunju, I provide leverage to your voice in two folds; in the Court of Law as a Legal Practitioner, and in the Court of Public Opinion as a public analyst and writer. I graduated from the University of Ibadan in 2009, and the Nigerian Law School, Augustine Nnnamani campus, Enugu.

Lanre: Is it all about gender discrimination or what exactly prompted you to do this?

Timi: As a lawyer who understands that my first duty is to God, to the community and to the law, I noticed the unconstitutional decision to restrict the “You Win” funds of about N50, 000, 000 to females, so my legal conscience and antenna could not go to sleep. I conducted research on the socio-economic and legal implication of such a policy and it dawned on me that it is not in any way favourable, because the road to hell can also be tainted with a public picture of good intentions.

Lanre: Was it that you partook in the first part of the #YOUWIN program without success and you were actually hoping for the next round?

Timi: Personally I didn’t, I only encouraged a couple of persons to take part in the program and two of them, a friend (www.xtramileclean.org) and a sister became awardees in 2011, although, they have been provided with only a marginal sum as I speak now. In a session we had with some young Nigerians, especially in Lagos, it became clear that the high hopes of many young men who had waited since 2011, I mean complete 365 days, for the second edition of the program to be launched on  www.youwin.org.ng in 2012, turned into frustration.

Lanre: Considering that Young Nigerians don’t take their grudges with the government beyond twitter and other social media platforms, Timi, what do you actually intend to achieve?

Timi: The point must be made that we, young Nigerians, are not naive to the manipulation in the name of goodwill for the pockets of few. This case also seeks to make the point that every Nigerian has a right to demand accountability and due process from her government, whether young or old, whether in the courts of law or in the courts of public opinion.

Lanre: Was it that easy for you to file a case against the Federal government, or is it because you are a lawyer?

Timi: It is not in any way easy, because it involves serious research, consultations and particularly funds which I financed from my own pocket, time and brain. For instance serving the seven (7) parties (Attorney-General Of The Federation, Federal Ministry Of Communication Technology, Federal Ministry Of Youth Development, Federal Ministry Of Finance, Federal Ministry Of Information, National Youth Council Of Nigeria and the presidency) in Abuja from Lagos alone cost me a sum. It also carries a lot of psycho-social implications for me and my family being the only child.

Lanre: What do you think the Federal government aims to achieve by restricting the program to females only, and constitutionally how’s that wrong?

Timi: There is nothing positive in such restriction, or Lanre can you see any? Social-economically it is wrong, essentially when you consider the statistics which says that Nigeria has more males than females. Then constitutionally when you look into it it’s contrary to the constitutional. Section 42 of the Nigerian Constitution prohibits the Nigerian Government or any of its agencies or bodies from discrimination on the basis of sex or any of the grounds provided in the constitution.   It’s clear from Section 42 of the1999 Nigerian constitution that any executive or administrative action of the government SHALL observe and follow the following constitutional guidelines: that a citizen of Nigeria of a particular sex SHALL NOT by reason that he is such a sex be subjected to restrictions to which citizens of Nigeria of other sex are NOT subject to.

Besides that, President Jonathan when he launched You WIN on www.youwin.org.ng in 2011, said “In line with renewed commitment to regular performance evaluation and measurement, this administration will monitor the program closely over the next three years of its implementation to ensure that it remains responsive to the NEEDS of young Nigerian MEN and WOMEN”

Lanre: Economically do you think a concept like #YOUWIN can actually solve the issue of unemployment among Nigerian youths?

Timi: You Win is an initiative targeted towards salvaging the current state of massive unemployment. The question here is this; can it provide the necessary leverage for entrepreneurs to build businesses that would provide the much desired employment to Nigerians? My answer is ‘No’, because in starting up a business or building a structure around an innovative idea, there are 8 key ingredients and money is below the ladder. In fact, analysts rank ‘The Environment’ as the third ingredient. In addition to direct funding, the Government needs to create the enabling environment, for example, alternative speed in transportation, regular and affordable power supply, funding of research and education (especially in science and technology) must be in place, to create a sustainable atmosphere for true entrepreneurs to emerge.

Lanre: There were several splashes of criticism that had to do with lack of transparency and favoritism with the first phase of the program what’s your take on that? 

Timi: The first phase showed high level transparency, a friend (www.xtramileclean.org) and a sister became awardees in 2011 and they just applied ‘without any other hidden schemes’. But the problem lies in the disbursement of funds; the funds are to be released in 3 phases but as I speak to you now, only the first phase of the fund has been provided, which is less than one-quarter of what the applicants applied for to start the business. My friend, a Medical Practitioner in the East, who got less than N900, 000 till now for a business of N 6, 500, 000 (which the You Win organizers approved) had to use his own money to proceed on the business because he had rented a place with the N 900, 000 and waited for up to a year for the next phase of the remaining money, and you can imagine that the rent he paid for was already running.

 Lanre: So far with the case, how has it been, are you pleased with the way things are been handled and is there any hope for justice or a reversal from the FG?

Timi: I instituted the case Monday, 17th September, 2012 to the Federal High Court, Ikeja-Lagos, Nigeria, with suit number FHC/ IKJ/ C8/ 205/ 12. Despite the pressure of time, we had its first hearing on Thursday, 22nd November, 2012 by 9a.m. At the first hearing, the case was only adjourned to 22nd January, 2012 because the president just ratified the promotion of the Federal High Court Judge in charge of the case to the Court of Appeal. I pray the justice system considers time as a crucial factor in constitutional matters as this.

#INSIGHTWITHLARIGOLD runs on www.omojuwa.com every Saturday.

Lanre tweets @Lanre_Olagunju on Twitter.

Blogs @ www.larigold.blogspot.com

 

 

Sorry - Comments are closed

Related Posts

Recent Posts

Zayyad I. Muhammad: How To Get Rich From Buhari’s Government

Some people oppose the Buhari government because they think people cannot get rich from his government. Some people love Buhari so much because they think that people cannot make a penny from the government.  They are all wrong, at the same time, they are all right depending on the prisms they are seeing things. Some Nigerians question whether the practice of self enrichment from government coffers that flourished in...

Court Fixes Feb 18 For TB Joshua, Engineers’ Arraignment

A Lagos State High Court in Ikeja on Monday fixed February 18, 2016 for the arraignment of the Registered Trustees of the Synagogue Church of All Nations, founded by Prophet T.B. Joshua.   The defendants were charged before Justice Lateef Lawal-Akapo on one count of building without the approval of the Lagos State Government.   The said building collapsed on September 12, 2014 leading to the death of 116 persons.   Also to be arraigned on 110 counts of involuntary manslaughter are the two engineers...

Kanu Nwankwo, Pele, Ronaldo Da Lima Named As World Football Legends

Kanu Nwankwo is officially a football legend. The International Federation of Football History and Statistics (IFFHS) have named Nigeria’s Nwankwo Kanu in the list of top 48 legends of football worldwide. The body released the first phase of the list which also includes Brazilian greats Pele and Ronaldo da Lima. Other notable Africans who made the list are former World player of the year George Oppong Weah, Roger Milla, Rabah Medjer, Muhammed Aboutrika, Mohmud El-Khatub and...

FG To Raise N5bn Via Eurobond, Others To Plug Budget Deficit

The Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, has said that the Federal Government would raise about $4.5 billion from multiple external sources, including the Eurobond market, to plug its budget deficit.   The Minister speaking over the weekend at the KPMG CFO Forum held at Eko Hotel in Lagos said the aim was to overcome the country’s worst economic crisis in years through a record budget.   Nigeria, Africa’s biggest economy and top oil producer is still reeling from the fall in crude...

NLC Laments ‘Artificial’ Fuel Scarcity In Katsina

Katsina State chapter of the Nigerian Labour Congress, NLC, has expressed concern over activities of petroleum marketers who create artificial scarcity of petrol in the state.   The state’s NLC said some of the petroleum marketers were in the habit of selling the product above the officially approved price. It therefore, called on the government to strengthen the state’s Petroleum Task Force Committee to deal with such unscrupulous petroleum marketers.   The state’s NLC chairman, Comrade Tanimu Saulawa, made the call over the weekend...

Electricity Tariff Hike: Workers Begin Nationwide Protest

Workers under the aegis of the Nigeria Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress have started a nationwide protest against the recent increase in electricity tariffs in the country. The NLC had called for the protest after repeatedly calling on the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission to suspend the recent increase in tariffs.   The NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, who described the tariff hike as outrageous, said it was the fifth in a row since 2012 and unacceptable.   In a statement calling for the...

Etisalat Sues MTN Over Visafone Acquisition

Telecommunication company, Etisalat Nigeria has sued MTN Nigeria and Visafone Ltd, challenging MTN’s use of the 800megahertz (MHZ) spectrum following the acquisition of Visafone. MTN closed the deal acquiring Visafone in January this year. A statement released by Etisalat says the suit was filed in order to prevent the use of the spectrum by MTN at this time, as it will entrench the dominance of MTN in the retail data services market. The statement released by Etisalat's...

Ololade Ajekigbe: How To Survive And Enjoy Nigerian Twitter

Mudslinging. Witty comments. Slander. Egotistic Overlords. Muckraking. And downright gutter fighting. Welcome to Nigerian Twitter, the home of drama, melodrama and more drama. This is not to suggest that there are no upsides to this fascinating social media platform. I tell anyone who cares to listen that Twitter is by far my favourite online social networking site. There's just something about it that never fails to entertain or inform at any given time. For one, it projects...

27 Year Old Entrepreneur ‘BAGS’ British Fresh Air For Sale and Sells Them to Chinese Buyers

An idea dreamed up out of thin air appears to be earning one businessman some serious money. British entrepreneur Leo De Watts, 27, has made thousands of dollars selling bottles of British country air to Chinese buyers, but the price alone -- £80 ($115) per bottle-- could knock the wind out of many customers. De Watts says the 580 ml...

‘We’ll Locate Chibok Girls, Others’ – Chief Of Air Staff Says

Few days after former President Obasanjo said that the missing Chibok girls will not be found again, the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Baba Abubakar, has expressed optimism that they will be rescued alongside other Nigerians kidnapped by Boko Haram. The Chief of Air Staff said this when he inspected various on-going projects of the Nigerian Air Force at its Tactical Air Command (TAC) in Makurdi, Benue State over the weekend. “What I can tell...

Employees Set Chinese Boss’ House Ablaze After Stealing His N450k

months ago, Tom Wu, a Chinese businessman based in Benin, Edo State, employed Frank Chukwuneye, 30, and Abdullahi Zakari, 25, to serve respectively as his interpreter and security guard, on a monthly salary of N70,000 and N30,000 respectively But on December 29, greed got the best of them after Wu withdrew N450,000 from the bank and asked Chukwuneye to put it in his bedroom, after which he went out with him. Chukwuneye had conspired with...

Beyonce, Jay Z And Blue Ivy At The Super Bowl Rehearsals

Beyonce shared amazing photos as she rehearsed  ahead of her mind blowing Superbowl performance yesterday as Blue Ivy and Jay Z looked on.

Man Who Was Beaten By Military Cadet In Abuja, Speaks On Channels TV

Amari Sunday, the young man that was tortured by a group of army cadets in Abuja in 2014, was a guest on Channels TV this morning, where he narrated what happened. Amari was a staff of Abuja Park "N" Pay. He was working under SureP and was assigned to Jabi Lake where the incident happened. He said his initial offence was his inability to get to an army officer who called him from a distance within 5...

Texas Teenager Kills Mom, 2 Neighbors And Commits Suicide

A 19-year-old killed his mother and two neighbors before turning his gun on himself in a shooting that brought SWAT and various emergency vehicles to a rural area in Texas, authorities said Sunday. Uvalde County Sheriff Charlie Mendeke said Dylan Westerburg gunned down his mother Friday afternoon in their home near Uvalde, about 85 miles west of San Antonio. He then went next door and killed two brothers, Arthur and Phinny Norton, Mendeke...

Chinese Man Cuts Nigerian Worker’s Finger

A Chinese worker, identified as Njaga Chang, has cut off one of the right fingers of his Nigerian colleague at the Xin Xin Quarry in Akamkpa Local Government Area of Cross River State. The 23-year-old Nigerian victim, Nsikak Tommy, was said to have incurred the wrath of the Chinese for failing to quickly turn on the generator at the quarry site. Chang was said to have initially attacked Tommy with a water hose but later resorted to the use...

There are more people living happily on Mars than there is sense in your head – Ben Bruce Suffers Another Twitter Blow

You probably missed this tweet. Senator Ben Murray Bruce had apparently tweeted another of his now renowned vacuous tweets and this was the punch renowned Twitter user, Feyi Fawehinhi landed on him. We wish the Senator quickest recovery.

Rotimi Amaechi Slams “Coward” Twitter Fingers, Ben Murray Bruce On Twitter

Nigeria's Minister of Transportation Mr. Rotimi Amaechi is not a regular user of Twitter but he was in his elements yesterday when he posted tweets in response to an earlier tweet posted by Senator Ben Murray who has since become a regular object of ridicule on Social Media. Mr. Murray Bruce had posted, "Your own minister spent ?80 million on a one day dinner, yet it is your citizens you accuse of being criminals" in apparent reference...

What Virus? Brazil Carnival Revellers Ignore Calls To Cover Up To Lower Zika Virus Risk To Enjoy Themselves

Despite warnings that the traditional Carnival clothes - or lack thereof - would accelerate the spread of the Zika virus, performers and revelers taking part in Brazil's nationwide street fest still went down the classic route.  In Sao Paulo, Brazil's most populous city and its economic capital, the second day of carnival celebrations saw a number of samba schools parade through the streets in jaw-dropping costumes covered...

Ndume Commends Military On Anti-Terrorism War

Senate Leader, Alhaji Muhammad Ndume, on Sunday commended the military for its gallantry in striving to end the terrorism in the North-East.   Ndume, who represents Borno South Senatorial District, gave the commendation while speaking with newsmen in Maiduguri. "I still have confidence in our military. I want to believe that the military is on top of the situation,’’ he said.   On last week's attack on Dalori, Mairi and Malari communities in Konduga area of the state, he said ``what we are witnessing...

Mata Angry With Chelsea Draw

Diego Costa's injury-time equaliser denied Manchester United a win on Sunday,leaving the midfielder annoyed at their inability to see the game out Manchester United midfielder Juan Mata revealed his frustration after his side's 1-1 draw with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Sunday. Jesse Lingard gave United the lead on 61 minutes but Diego Costa's injury-time equaliser meant Louis van Gaal's side had to...

Britain To Support Cross River On Arts

British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr Paul Arkwright, on Sunday said his home government would partner Cross River University of Technology (CRUTECH) to develop creative art.   Arkwright, who stated this in Calabar after a facility visit to CRUTECH’s Craft Department, said thast the high embassy would get some British universities experienced in arts and crafts to partner the university.   He said, "I met two persons that are in CRUTECH that have won scholarship and have studied in the UK; so, that...