Sam Ewang, Sarafa Ishola: Where are they now?

These former public officers: Sam Ewang, Saudatau Bagudu, and Sarafa Ishola, left impressive records while in office,  however, their whereabouts afterwards is not known. ELEOJO IDACHABA in this piece asks where are they now?

Sam Ewang

Sam Ewang is one of the former military administrators (MILAD) during the military regime.  He was the military administrator of Ogun state from 1996 to 1998 under the late General Sani Abacha.

After the death of the military head of state, Ewang was appointed by Abacha’s successor Gen Abdusalami Abubakar as administrator of Rivers state until May 1999, when he handed over the reign of power to Dr Peter Odili.

This Akwa Ibom-born former Air Force officer after his retirement ran for the office of governor of his state in 2007 on the platform of the All Nigeria People’s Party (ANPP) unsuccessfully. As a result, he accused the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of colluding to rig that election in favour of Godswill Akpabio.

After this, he remained vocal on matters concerning the state. In a   2009 interview he accused the state government of being responsible for the alarming spate of insecurity in the state. According to him, government agents were complicit, especially against the Ibibio ethnic extraction.

As if security agents heeded his revelation a former commissioner in the state Chris Nyong Ekong was arrested and arraigned in 2010 for kidnap, conspiracy and murder.

He was no doubt, one of the prominent members of the opposition in the days that PDP was in government at the centre. Ekong was one of the leaders of the National Democratic Movement (NDM), a party that was to be involved in the formation of a mega party initiated by Muhammadu Buhari, Anthony Enahoro, Atiku Abubakar, Olu Falae, and Bola Tinubu, in 2013 with the purpose of presenting a common platform to oppose the PDP.

He was appointed into a committee that also included Falae, Pat Utomi, Athur Nwankwo among others to ensure the coalition of all the parties and eminent stakeholders towards that mega party.

However, not much has been heard about him in the present dispensation both in his home state and at the federal level to the surprise of many.

Sarafa Ishola

Sarafa Tunji Ishola is a former minister of mines and steels development under President Umaru Yar Adua in 2007. His appointment was less than three months before he was relieved of his position in the same year. Since then, this prominent Ogun state son has not been in public square again. His journey to political oblivion is not unconnected with a frosty relationship he was said to have had with former governor of his state Gbenga Daniel. He reportedly involved former minister of state for finance Jubril-Martins Kuye,  and Senator Iyabo Obasanjo-Bello, to help resolve the political difference.

As minister, though his tenure was brief he made an impact. For instance, in a bid to make Nigeria a leader in the production of coal and bitumen during a visit to Nigeria by Indian Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, in October 2017, Ishola met with his Indian counterpart, T. Subbarami Reddy, and agreed to encourage Indian entrepreneurs to visit Nigeria to extract coal, gold, iron ore, chrome ore, lead and other minerals.

In following up his resolve to transform the sector, in June 2008, he received a delegation from the Chinese Mining Investment Company which was willing to partner in the development of seven coal fields for electrical power generation in Nigeria for which Ishola said a transparent and competitive process would be followed in selecting companies for that project.

In 2018, owing to irreconcilable difference he had with some party stalwarts while Ahmed Makarfi held sway as PDP caretaker chairman, he dumped the party and joined APC at a ceremony attended by the former governor of the state, Ibikunle Amosun. However, since then, nothing has been heard about him again even though he is now a member of the ruling party.

Saudatau Bagudu

Mrs Saudatau Usman Bagudu was minister of women affairs and social development under President, Musa Yar’Adua between 2007 and 2008.

The Zamfara-born politician and member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) before her appointment was a commissioner for women affairs in her home state.

As minister, she canvassed for the elimination of gender inequality and the promotion of women rights nationwide. She also advocated that 35 per cent of all elective and  government positions be reserved for  Nigerian women, under the aegis of the Gender Electoral and Constitution Memoranda Committee, as part of the constitutional and electoral reforms intended to ensure gender mainstreaming in the constitution as well as the affirmative action plan.

This was part of her presentation at the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), New York in 2008. Just before she was dropped in a cabinet reshuffle, she was involved in moves to bridge the gender gap of inequality between men and women, which has been created and supported by customs, traditions and absence of legislation.

She was also behind the idea to provide a framework for addressing HIV/AIDS in the work place. The policy, she said would provide a frame work for prevention, care and support for those living with the disease. According to her, “It would demonstrate zero tolerance of psychological abuse, stigma and discrimination of HIV positive staff. Mrs Bagudu has, however, not been in the news of late.

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