Honourable Duro Meseko’s first 100 days as APC’s Deputy National Publicity Secretary

By Ralph Agbana – Abuja
Veteran journalist and politician of note, Durosinmi Meseko, alongside five other new members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) National Working Committee (NWC), was sworn in as Deputy National Publicity Secretary (DNPS) of the ruling party on Friday, August 25, 2023.
The events preceding the inauguration ceremony are better forgotten. The initial opposition to Meseko’s choice for the office of DNPS from his home state of Kogi and similar opposition to other nominees from states like Abia and Cross Rivers by the respective APC State caucuses; the powerplay, pandemonium and media hype, which beset the swearing in ceremony further attested the importance attached to membership of the APC NWC.
In his case, owing to his rich background as an influential former Member of the National Assembly and the plethora of roles he had played in the politics of his state and country, Duro Meseko’s image loomed large.
With the level of support he received in the media (his basic constituency), public opinion (based on antecedents), cross country networking and astounding goodwill combined with high level diplomacy on display, all tilted in his favor,
It was no myth that Meseko was able to surmount the opposition to his nomination. The subsequent warm embrace by the most visible opposition to his nomination , Governor Yahaya Bello, speaks volumes of Hon Meseko’s abilities to effectively deploy his goodwill when it matters.
Characteristically, Meseko quickly settled down to the job. He immediately assembled a team of capable aides who were assigned various roles to assist him in the effective performance of his official duty. The appointments which are 90 percent self-funded were equitably spread amongst the component units of Kogi State and beyond.

In the widely reported interview in major Nigerian national dailies on September 26, Meseko expressed concern over the surge of military coups in the West African region. He said the most benevolent military rule is no match to the worst civilian rule. He maintained that while most of the military interventions were as a result of bad leadership and sit-tight in the affected countries, forceful takeover of power is not a solution. Also in the interview, originally anchored by Eternal Reporter, Meseko appealed to Nigerians to trust in President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to turn around the social and economic fortunes of Nigeria, despite all odds.

“When you talk of visionary leadership, give it to him (Tinubu). A little over 100 days in office, see what he has done even his worst critics know that this man means business,” he said.
On October 2, Hon Duro Meseko was in the delegation of APC NWC that visited former President Muhammadu Buhari in his Daura, Katsina State home. The delegation led by the APC National Chairman, Dr Abdullahi Umar Ganduje was in Daura formally to introduce the new leadership of the APC to the former President and to rejoice with him on the occasion of Nigeria’s 63rd Independence anniversary.
On October 6, Meseko appeared on Arise TV live programme. He was called upon to respond to questions regarding the press conference addressed by the presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), former Vice-president Atiku Abubakar. Atiku, at the press conference had questioned the academic credentials of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and the judgment of the Court of Appeal, which dismissed his petition, insisting he would proceed to the Supreme Court.
Meseko told a panel of moderators of Arise TV popular programme “Morning Show” that the tangling over the certificate of the President was mere politics, tantamount to searching for a needle in the haystack.

He said, “Our position in the APC is that all of this is just politics at its peak, because, pray, what will an otherwise very brilliant student in the person of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu be doing with a forged certificate? The South West College that he attended, he did so well there; you did so well in an examination and then you go ahead again to forge a certificate for doing so well! It doesn’t make sense. And he went ahead to the CSU to perform very brilliantly. What are we talking about? It is just commonsensical”.

Indeed, Meseko quoted the authorities at Chicago State University as referring to the diploma certificate as “just a ceremonial document” adding that “what mattered was the transcript issued by the institution to the students, and of course, he (Tinubu) had the transcript”.
If in doubt, he admonished the petitioners (Atiku and PDP), to proceed to supreme court and prove their case. “They have the right to ventilate their anger at the right places and the supreme court is one of them”.

On October 11, Hon Duro Meseko bagged “Philanthropist of the Year” award by the Exposure Newspaper.
The award coincided with the Annual Lecture and Awards Presentation of the newspaper held at Merit House, Abuja. According to the newspaper, the recognition was based on his unwavering commitment to service to the community and uplifting the needy.

On October 13, Hon Meseko received representatives of Bunu Students’ Union and Youth groups across Bunu Kingdom on a “Thank You Visit”, for his invaluable contributions to Youth development in Bunuland. The group described the former House of Representatives member as “a Godfather, mentor, reliable and dependable leader of repute, whose passion for youth development is unparalleled”
The visit was also to felicitate him on his appointment as DNPS of the APC.
In his remarks, Hon Meseko acknowledged the group’s gesture with appreciation and promised that the gesture would spur him not to relent on his efforts but to continue giving his best to support the Union, the Youths, and the entire Bunu community.

Hon Meseko’s commitment to the future well-being of Bunu, as expressed in his address, served as a promising outlook for the collaborative efforts between influential figures like him and the vibrant energy of the students’ union. This pledge of support further strengthens the bond between the elders and the younger generation, fostering a sense of unity and shared responsibility for the growth and prosperity of Bunuland.

On October 21, Hon Meseko paid homage to Rt Hon James Abiodun Faleke on his conferment of Doctor of Letters (Honoris Causa) by Federal University, Lokoja.
In a statement he signed, Meseko asserted that the recognition stands as a testament to the exceptional contributions of Faleke to society and his remarkable achievements over time.

Meseko posited that: “Your unwavering commitment to public service, leadership, and dedication to the betterment of your community, state and country has not gone unnoticed. This honor serves as a validation of your hard work, passion, and tireless efforts in making a positive impact on the lives of others. Your exemplary leadership qualities, integrity, and significant contributions to governance and public administration have inspired many. Your ability to bring people together, bridge divides, and address challenges with resilience and determination is commendable”.
On October 23, Hon Meseko received in audience APC National Woman Leader, Dr Mary Alile in her office to welcome Nollywood actress, Tonto Dikeh to the Party.

On October 25, the Okun Young Professionals for Good Governance paid a courtesy visit to Hon Meseko in what the group described as an opportunity for the group to engage in meaningful interactions with him and to discuss matters related to good governance in Kogi State with a focus on Okunland.
The purpose of the courtesy visit, according to the Convener of the group, Mr. Aledare Tobi Daniel was to congratulate the APC Deputy National Publicity Scribe on his assumption of office, establish a positive rapport and foster a constructive relationship.

He alluded to the youth-friendly disposition of Hon Meseko over time as seen in the appointments of his aides. The visit also provided a platform for the group to express their concerns, suggestions, and ideas regarding issues of governance, particularly those that affect the Okun region.
In their addresses, Mr. Opeyemi Ajagun and Ms. Olorunmowaju Folorunsho touched on topics such as mentorship, youth empowerment, educational development, infrastructure, healthcare, job creation, and other essential aspects that contribute to good governance.

In his remarks, Hon Meseko thanked the group for the visit and promised to support them in actualizing their goals. He noted that the Renewed Hope Agenda of President Bola Tinubu is youth-centric, which is evident in the number of young persons who have been appointed as heads of various MDAs by the President.

On October 27, Hon Meseko rose to defend President Bola Ahmed Tinubu over an allegation by the National Chairman of the Labour Party, Philip Abure, suggesting that President Tinubu may come after the Labour Party’s presidential candidate, Peter Obi.

Reacting, Meseko told The Punch that there was no iota of truth in the claim. While describing the alarm as mischievous, Meseko said, “It is not true. Virtually everybody in Nigeria knows President Tinubu is not that kind of person. In fact, some of the people in Tinubu’s government today like the Minister of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy, Bosun Tijani, were among those insulting him and all that. Yet, he still brought them on board. That’s for you to know the kind of heart he has. It is therefore satanic and mischievous for the Labour Party and some other critics to still be nursing such thoughts about the President. As a statesman, the President has done his best over time to bring everybody. That is also reflected in his government of national unity. Even this so-called Labour Party was invited on board. But most of their people were busy criticizing him, saying he wanted to put their people in government so the party won’t pursue their case in court again and all that. I am saying this confidently that there is no iota of truth in what the LP chairman is saying.”
On October 29, following the demise of the Ohinoyi of Ebiraland, HRM Dr Ado Ibrahim, Hon Meseko condoled with the Governor of Kogi State, Alhaji Yahaya Bello and the Ebira people on the passing of the Ohinoyi.

The statement he signed read: “Please accept my heartfelt condolences on this great loss to the people of Ebiraland and Kogi State. It is never easy to bid farewell to someone who held such an influential position and played a vital role in the lives of the people. Ohinoyi was a respected traditional ruler who dedicated his life to the betterment of Ebiraland and the welfare of his subjects. His wise guidance and leadership would surely be missed by all those who had the honor of knowing him. During this period of mourning and reflection, I want to extend my sympathies to Your Excellency and to the entire Anebira. May you find solace in the memories of the Ohinoyi and may his legacy continue to inspire and guide the people of Ebiraland. Please know that you and the people of Ebiraland are in my thoughts and prayers during this difficult time. I pray to the Almighty Allah to forgive the late Ohinoyi’s shortcomings and grant him Aljana firdaus. My deepest condolences once again”.

On October 31, Hon Meseko received Tinubu for Good Governance Movement. On November 16, Miss Indigenous Beauty Pageant was the Guest of Hon Meseko. He was presented with “Award of Recognition” during the visit. On November 17, the DNPS was in the entourage of the APC National Chairman, Dr Abdullahi Ganduje when the latter visited the governorship candidate of the APC in Kano State, Dr Nasir Yusuf Gawuna to celebrate his victory at the Appeal Court.
Three days later, November 20, Meseko announced two more appointments in Mrs. Olusanmi Temitope Elizabeth, Senior Special Assistant on Political Affairs and Mrs Safiyat Tanko Haruna, SSA on Women Affairs (Kogi East).

On November 21, Hon Meseko received the Youth Wing of Arewa Consultative Forum. Next day, 22nd, Kabba Students Union delivered its message of appreciation to the DPNS.
The message contained in the letter signed by KSU President, Samuel Oluwabusayomi Felix, stated in parts: “I am writing to express our deepest gratitude for your generous and invaluable support in allocating 20 slots of the Federal Government Social Empowerment Programme to the students of Kabba Students’ Union. Your commitment to empowering our youth through such initiatives is truly commendable, and it reflects your unwavering dedication to the betterment of our community. By providing these opportunities, you are not only investing in the future of our students but also fostering a sense of hope and possibility.

Your leadership and advocacy for the welfare of our youth have not gone unnoticed, and we are fortunate to have a representative who prioritizes the well-being and development of our community.”
Same day, the APC NWC dissolved all the party’s Exco in Rivers State and appointed a Caretaker Committee headed by Chief Tony Okocha to take over the affairs of the party in the state. The APC National Publicity Secretary, Mr Felix Morka and Deputy, Hon Duro Meseko made this known at a press briefing in the Party’s Secretariat.

On December 7, Hon Meseko via a viral video message, endorsed the 2023 edition of the famous Obangogo Quest in Kabba, Kogi State, billed for December 27. He encouraged all and sundry, especially Okuns all over the world, in Nigeria and in Kogi State, to be part of the very unique annual mountaineering expedition. “Let me use this privileged opportunity to encourage all Okun people to take very seriously this precious gift that God has given to us in Okunland, the Obangogo Hills. Years in, years out, Obangogo Quest has come to become one of the best mountaineering expedition centres in the world. Obangogo is a natural wonder that you can’t afford to miss. It is the destination of the moment”, he said.

The endorsement of the upcoming Kabba expedition coincided with the visit by the leadership of National Association Of Okun Students (NAOS) who showered encomiums on Hon Meseko for his philanthropic activities in Okunland and Kogi State at large.

The NAOS President, Comrade Olamilekan Ajibade while congratulating Meseko on his appointment said the Union has also resolved to confer an award of ‘Patriotic Politician of Okunland” on the APC Deputy Spokesman during its annual December event slated to hold at Ogidi community in Ijumu LGA of Kogi State.

On Friday, December 15, Hon Meseko received the “Youth Development Impact Award” from the Tiv Youth Integrity Club.
He was eulogized by the group for not limiting his activities of impact to his own Constituency alone but to other States as well.
In the run up to the 2023 elections, Hon Meseko also served in the primary election committees that midwifed the conduct of governorship primaries of the APC in Lagos, Kaduna, Ogun, Kwara, Nasarawa, Kano, Kebbi, Zamfara, Delta and Cross River States.

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