Saturday, November 22, 2014

Jonathan happy Boko Haram hasn’t seized new territory in one week

President Goodluck Jonathan on Friday said the Federal Government, the Nigerian Armed Forces and security agencies are working very hard to ensure that the ability of Boko Haram to capture and hold any Nigerian territory is ended very soon.
 Speaking at the opening of the meeting of Nigeria’s Honorary International Investment Council, in London, President Jonathan assured the gathering that the Armed Forces and security agencies were making steady gains in recovering areas recently taken by Boko Haram.
“We are improving on security. For about a week now there have been no reports of Boko Haram seizing more territory. Rather, we are steadily pushing them back. The impression being created by sections of the media that the situation is worsening is not true. I can assure you that it will never get worse,” President Jonathan told the gathering.
The President also called for greater support from the National Assembly for the Federal Government’s efforts to curb terrorism, insurgency and insecurity in the country.
He told members of the council headed by Lynda Chalker that he had offered himself as a candidate in Nigeria’s next presidential elections because he was convinced that with four more years in office, he will be able to further consolidate the positive national reforms initiated by his administration and take them to a point of irreversibility for the good of all Nigerians.
“As you already know, I have indicated my willingness to carry on for another four years if I am given the opportunity so that we can carry forward some of the reforms we have been talking about,” the President said.
He cited the expansion of transportation infrastructure, improvement of local content in Nigeria’s oil industry, more inclusive economic growth, job creation and national security which are on the agenda of the meeting as some of the areas in which his administration still hoped to achieve further improvements.
“We cannot move the economy forward without good infrastructure. We have been working very hard in that area. We have improved our road network significantly. In the next three to four years, we should be able to resurface almost all federal roads in the country and begin new ones.
“We are improving our airport terminals and aviation security. Reforms are also ongoing at our ports to drastically reduce the time required for import clearance formalities.
“In the rail sector, we may require private sector funds to quicken the pace of development. Our goal is to link all state capitals by rail. It may not be an objective that can be achieved by a single administration, but we want to lay a solid foundation that others can build on.
“We are also promoting the increase of local content in our oil industry, because that is the only way in which our people will benefit more from the industry and begin to see themselves as true stakeholders who need to protect and help in the development of our oil and gas resources,” President Jonathan said.
He thanked Ms. Chalker and other members of the council for their valuable advice to the Federal Government over the years.
“To be successful, leaders must take decisions based on adequate information and sound advice. Having had the personal benefit of interacting with you all as Vice President and President since 2007 has helped me a lot,” the President said.
The meeting later went into a closed door session to receive briefings, updates and presentations from relevant ministers and council members. 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Nigerian Lawmakers Scale Fence To Gain Access Into Legislative Chamber–PHOTOS

Ok, the gist is a simple enough one, but the pictures aren’t. It takes some adroit skills to scale a gate or fence especially when you are dressed like a Nigerian legislator; complete with an ‘agbada’ and cap.
Now for the gist: As Pro-Tambuwal legislators marched to the national assembly complex to hold a plenary session, they were met by policemen who bolted the gates and fired teargas at the onrushing lawmakers including the speaker (Aminu Tambuwal). Tambuwal and his friends are obviously paying for the Speaker’s defection to the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) from the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Now the hard part: lawmakers forced themselves into the Assembly complex by scaling the fence and fending off teargas canisters and flares.

Now the hard part: lawmakers forced themselves into the Assembly complex by scaling the fence and fending off teargas canisters and flares.

Nigerian Troops Prevent Speaker Aminu Tambuwal From Entering The National Assembly - SR

Some 1000 soldiers and policemen have sealed the entrance of the National Assembly in Abuja and physically prevented the Speaker of the House from entering.

 The Speaker of the House, Aminu Tambuwal arrived the National Assembly today with a view to preside over the sitting of the House but fierce looking troops posted the stopped him at the gate. A melee has ensued as a result.
 Mr. Tambuwal, President Goodluck Jonathan and the ruling People’s Democratic Party are at loggerheads over the Speaker’s decision to decamp to the All Progressives Congress (APC) a few weeks ago.
Immediately he joined the APC his personal security guards were withdrawn on the orders of the President.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

2015: History Beckons On Buhari To Step Forward

I am writing this article in my capacity as Joe Igbokwe, I am writing this piece as an Author and writer and I am writing this as a public commentator on national issues. I am not writing piece this as the spokesperson of Lagos APC. I speak strictly for myself and I crave your indulgence to give me this liberty to speak at a time like this. Nigeria is in a deep crisis and anybody who wishes this country well must speak out now or hold his peace forever.
I have said it before that when a nation is in crisis, the people must search and fish out a great president. When a nation is at crossroads, a competent and strong hand is needed to restore normalcy. When a nation’s territories are being threatened by external forces, you need a president with military background to put a stop to the insurgency. When corruption, impunity and mediocrity ravage a country, you need a disciplined man with puritanical disposition to be on the driver’s seat.
General Muhammadu Buhari(GMB) has come of age in Nigerian politics since 2003. He contested presidential elections in 2003, 2007 and again in 2011. In 2007, he was mercilessly rigged out of power and he went to court to seek redress. The case went up to the Supreme Court where the three Supreme Court judges agreed that the elections were flawed while three voted against. It took the vote of the Chief Justice of the federation to save the country from national and international embarrassment. GMB accepted the verdict. In 2011, he returned to the ring to box again. This time the electoral thieves got bolder in the South East and South South. They loaded and loaded votes until they became satisfied with the number. A friend of mine who went to vote was told to go home because they had got the required number. Again the great betrayal by members of his party and the inability of members to work together created the room for PDP to retain power again. General Buhari cried. He wept for Nigeria, he wept for the state of nation and the level of impunity and corruption ravaging the landscape and he wept for generations yet unborn. He wept because he reasoned that Nigerians do not want to fight for change. He wept because the few who were choking Nigeria work twenty four hours a day and seven days in a week while the majority and those who should know better go to sleep and pray 20 times in a day asking God to come down to do the talking for them. GMB wept because he considered that he has tried his best to help restore Nigeria. He wept because he saw no hope for this country when the evil ones are getting bolder. The rest is now history.
In the last three and half years the rapacious greedy lots in Nigeria, the corrupt, the meretricious mediocrity and the nitwits became bolder. NNPC, Immigration, Pension funds, NPA, etc became cash cows. It became a big scramble for these characters to pillage anything their hands could touch. NNPC could not remit all the money accruing from crude oil sales to CBN. When the former CBN Governor, now Emir of Kano, HRH Sanusi Lamido Sanusi raised an alarm, he was sacked with ignominy. Federal Ministers became laws unto themselves, attacking the common patrimony with reckless abandon, stealing what they do not need. The great threat to the nation’s corporate existence became the Boko Haram insurgency. Over 5000 Nigerians have been killed in the past three and half years. While the ruling party and the opposition continue to trade blames, the nation continues to go down. Mutinies reared its ugly heads in the Army of Nigeria. Junior officers started disobeying their superiors and our combatant soldiers escaping to Cameroun for fear of the rag-tagged insurgents called Boko Haram. In the midst of this, our infrastructure continues to decay. In 1999, our power generation stood a 3000 plus Mega Watts and after almost sixteen years we are now under 3000 Mega Watts after spending billions of dollars in that critical sector. Never in the history of this country has any leader played up the dangerous issues of Religion and Ethnicity as we have it today under President Jonathan. The Vice President, everybody including this writer fought so hard to make him assume his constitutional responsibility as president when President Yar Adua died in office, has put a knife on things that have held us together as one political entity. The president has systematically divided Nigeria along ethnic and religious lines, something unheard off in the history of Nigeria. Dangerously and tragically he moved from being the president of Nigeria to become the president of Ijaw nation. To make matters worse, some cowards and efulefus(nonentities) from his tribe took on other Nigerians, pouring invectives on them for asking questions.
I guess it was these errors of history that drove General Buhari to throw his hat into the ring once again to see if Nigerians can go back to history and take the right steps to right the wrongs of the past sixteen years. After giving up hope for Nigeria, GMB decided to return to take his last chance to help Nigeria out of trouble. I may not know what informed his decision to stage a comeback but I guess he knows what is wrong with this country and feels he knows what to do to reverse the trend.
I find it difficult to believe why the other equally good candidates in APC cannot step down for GMB given his antecedents, track records, history and character. No other former Head of State in Nigeria can be said to possess the discipline, honesty and integrity of General Buhari, all things considered. As a war time General, a former minister, a former Head of State, former chairman PTF and a fourth time contender in the race since 2003, I think that the man deserves all the support from all Nigerians to make it this time. Despite his dictatorial tendencies when he was the Military head of state, Buhari restored discipline and probity in Nigeria. His War Against Indiscipline (WAI) paid off handsomely and Nigeria is still reaping the fruits today. His intervention at PTF paid off too. His fight against corruption stood him out.
If today, the people at the corridors of power hate GMB, it is not because he is a bad man but the fear that some of them will end up in jail for corruption and impunity. They know that if GMB becomes the President, things may never be the same again and many of them will enter the next available flight to anywhere outside Nigeria. They know that oil subsidy looters will not go scot free. They know that GMB knows all of them. They know money does not mean anything to GMB and therefore he cannot be bribed.
Nigeria needs a tested and trusted Buhari now and this is the reason why I am pleading with all other APC presidential aspirants to step down for GMB. He is the most prepared for this office at a time like this. The little we saw of him in the 80s tells us that his wisdom, courage, discipline, strong character, fearlessness etc is what we need now to drive the new Nigeria of our dream. We must seize the moment. We must grab it with both hands or history will leave us behind.
Make no mistake about it, if we make the mistake of allowing President Jonathan to continue in office beyond 2015 we would have sowed the seed for this great country to go down. With all due respect, and without sounding immodest, President Jonathan has nothing to offer Nigeria. His emergence in 2010 was a big mistake. It was an error of history. It was something that could never have happened if we had known his innermost disposition, his training, his background, his philosophy, his ideology and his character. He cannot fight the insurgents, he cannot fight impunity, he cannot fight corruption, he cannot fight mediocrity, he cannot hold the country together and he simply cannot get it. The age of his ideas worries me to the marrows.
Let us help to get President GEJ out of the China’s shop to forestall further colossal damage. HE has tried his best and has made history for himself and his people but his best is not good enough for the country. This country is far bigger than the ambition of one man and therefore President Jonathan should be prepared to go because he will be roundly and mercilessly defeated in 2015.
Joe Igbokwe
First published on

The Decision Nigerians Must Make In 2015 - Japhet Omojuwa

We’ve got 88 days to the 2015 Presidential elections. The politicians may be confused about who they finally decide to field against the incumbent, Nigerians cannot afford to be confused about what they want from their leadership going forward. Even though this writer believes that fixing Nigeria has a lot more to do with how we the citizens demand for leadership from our leaders everyday, we cannot rule out the value of the right leader for our country. You just need to look at Georgia, Malaysia and Brazil at certain times in their history to understand that the leader of a country could be the difference that makes that country one to be proud of in the comity of nations.

President Jonathan’s candidacy and what he brings to the table are both settled issues. By the time Nigerians troop out to vote on the 14th of February 2015, President Jonathan would have been president for 5 years and 5 days. A lot has been said about the possible quality of the opposition he’d be up against but what cannot be said is that whoever ends up contesting against the incumbent will be up against what the incumbent represents. We have had almost half a decade of Goodluck Jonathan, what has that period brought? Let us take a cursory look as much as the limited space here will permit.

Nigeria is today Africa’s biggest economy, thanks to a rebasing that simply aggregated the growth of the Nigerian economy since the 1990s. Credit to the Jonathan administration though, as someone had to compute the numbers and his government did. You won’t blame his team for taking credit. Most people only need to know our economy became the biggest under this government. That the governments of Gen. Babangida (rtd.), Ernest Shonekan’s cameo, Gen. Sani Abacha, Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo (rtd.) and the government of Musa Yar’Adua contributed to this size will not matter to the populace. Who cares about the details beneath the headline?

Nigeria’s economy continues to grow at a respectable rate, mostly fueled by increasing oil prices over the period. The growth of the economy has of course not taken the Nigerian masses with it. Poverty remains the common identity for most Nigerians. Again, the government will tout economic growth, what it dares not try to sell too much is how it has lifted Nigerians out of poverty. Efforts to do that have refused to pick up simply because Nigerians are not better off than they were in 2010.

Rising debt: N10.4 trillion as at June 2014. That’s about our total budget for two years. The Coordinating Minister of the Economy and the Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala will secretly testify to this one. This has been a disaster. It would have been great to see the Dr. Okonjo-Iweala that worked with others to clear Nigeria’s debt argue with today’s Dr. Okonjo-Iweala. They’d certainly not see eye-to-eye on the issue of our national debt. If the rising debt had seen a revolution in national infrastructure in say a train ride between Abuja and Lagos that takes 3 hours, one would have been forced to look away from the debt and focus on the magnificent train network or some other project capable of inducing economic activity. That is not the case. We practically have little or nothing to show for the debt save for stolen/not stolen $20 billion amongst other corrupt/not stealing activities that have since positioned this government as one of the most corrupt/not stealing government in our Independent history.

What has Jonathan’s government absolutely done better?  The elections are better. The current challenges facing the voters’ registration process in Kano and Lagos show that that is not to be guaranteed for the 2015 elections. The budgeting system can be more open but it is relatively much more open than that of any government since 1999 at least and more open than all the states of the federation, including that of Lagos. The agricultural sector is in a much more better place, the cassava bread circus notwithstanding.

Where has Jonathan’s government absolutely failed? Our international perception has suffered a massive blow. Any country that has the uncultured Lilliputian Doyin Okupe - of his mind, not size obviously - defending it on the global TV network, cannot possibly expect to be perceived above the shallowness offered by his arguments. President Obasanjo fixed our image; it has since taken a lot of battering.

Corruption thrives. Agencies like the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) that offered some hope just years ago have become like old pictures in a museum, only useful for what they used to be. Boko Haram will not hear the news of the return of the Jonathan administration and not feel elated. Under him, they have grown from strength to strength, they will be confident of continued growth if the status quo remains.

The question Nigerians must answer is not APC or PDP, it is like a poor man deciding between Ikoyi Club and Island Club. Nah, we are a small fry in the party game. The question we must answer is whether we want the status quo or we want to place a bet on something different. No matter the argument about “they are all the same,” it’d amount to intentional foolishness to say Mr. Jonathan and whoever his main opponent is are the same. For starters, will the opponent have a wife called Patience? Will the opponent dance just hours after the death of 46 school children? Will the opponent give us cassava bread 2.0? Simple questions.]


Sanusi Backs Vigilantes, Doubts Military in Boko Haram Fight

Emir of Kano, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi,  has voiced support for vigilantes fighting Boko Haram, urging others to form civilian militias and questioning the competence of the military.

He said, “people should be sensitised on the importance of being on the alert. And they should prepare, they should acquire what they will defend themselves with,” Sanusi said during Friday prayers at the central mosque in Kano, the largest city in Nigeria’s mainly Muslim north”, adding that, “those that are endowed as hunters and vigilantes should apply this endowment given to them by Allah as an avenue of earning divine reward in defending their nation.”
He further said, “We should not wait for soldiers to come, before they come the carnage will have been done…,”Some of them drop their guns and flee.”
While Sanusi’s comments were similar to those made by President Goodluck Jonathan’s critics, they may feed added resentment towards the government because the emir of Kano is expected to stay above the political fray.
Credit: Yahoo News/ AFP

Why Ambode Will Be Better For Lagos By Onyeka ‘Kerous’ Ibeanusi

As the general elections draw closer, the Nigerian political terrain is heated up as the battle for the political soul of the nation becomes more intense. Although INEC’ s election calendar takes the steam out of any Gubernatorial tension viz-a-viz the Presidential, Lagos candidates promise Book markers another date with history in Lagos 2015 Guber race.

We cannot quantify how Lagosians have been bombarded through every available means by these numerous aspirants especially from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC). It is almost impossible to walk through any street in Lagos without noticing a political banner, flyer or ad of some sort. They seem to share a similar message —- the promise of a better Lagos.
The jungle though crowded with several creatures always pride some indisputable heavyweights. Needless to point out that despite the numbers, some names have become as important as the election itself. ln APC specifically whose Primary election would likely pump more adrenaline, the personality of  Akinwunmi Ambode and Senator Ganiyu Olarenwaju Solomon overshadow the others.
The Lagos that I know would look forward to a leader who will not only provide basic infrastructures, but also lead in a manner that will transform the life of the common man. And that’s where the name Akinwunmi Ambode takes first.
Sustainable development is extremely important and an Ambode governorship would pivot more developmental success for Lagos state. Having spent over 10 years in the state civil service working in different local government areas and rising to the position of Accountant General where the state’s financial performance under his watch improved feasibly with the State budget performing at a remarkable average of 85% annually; It is therefore safe to conclude that Ambode is the real Mr Insider in Lagos state’s  financial and political terrain.
It is obvious that the advantage of this strategic position and in depth knowledge of the system will result in a seamless transition from Governor Fashola’s administration which is adjudged as one of the best in the country’s democracy to Ambode’s should he win next years election.
Akinwumi Ambode, a hardworking retiree who built a thriving consulting firm within a very short time, is a widely travelled man. This nature has its antecedents, starting out  early in life to explore different cultures; having spent ‘learning’ years in Warri, Delta state and served in Sokoto state. He is more at ease with Lagos’ rainbow clime. An experience that would  further improve the relationship of the Government with non indigenes. We cannot be blind to the fact that there are more non-indigenes in the state, hence improving the state’s GDP.
As a financial expert, his financial knowledge will help in the proper and timely execution of state projects, reduce mismanagement of funds and seek new avenues from which the state could generate more revenues.
His charisma depicts youthfulness and energy and would endear him more to the younger generation who account for more than 45% of the state population. A good rapport would induce empathy and bring empowerment to the fore, culminating in better opportunities and job creation in the state.
From his declaration speech, Akinwunmi Ambode made it obvious that he plans to build on the foundations laid down by Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and Babatunde Fashola’s administrations; By this commitment, he is ready to leverage on their successes while deepening further on their Infrastructural and sustainable developmental policies.
I’m no prophet but I see this glaring enough and Lagosians are just about to have one of the most promising governor one more time. It’s in Ambode!
Onyeka ‘Kerous’ Ibeanusi
Musician/Engineer/writer/social commentator and founder of
Twitter @onyeckerous