Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Don’t Trade Your Votes For Cash , APC Urge Delegates

Ahead of the All Progressives Congress (APC)’s national convention holding in Lagos on Wednesday, the Publicity Secretary of Edo State chapter of the party, Comrade Godwin Erhahon, has admonished all delegates to the national convention to emulate their Edo state counterparts at the just concluded state and national assemblies primary elections by refraining from selling their votes.
Erhahon’s admonishion is contained in a press statement issued in Benin on Tuesday. He urged delegates to the national convention to nominate a “candidate whom the electorate can trust to rescue the nation from the wicked exploitation and devouring corruption of PDP.”
According to him, APC needs a presidential candidate who will win election, not one whose candidature will be difficult to sell to the electorate, adding that “Nigerians are hoping on all APC national delegates for a redeemer.”
The Edo APC Publicity Secretary? in the press statement, saluted all Edo delegates who voted in the just concluded state and national assemblies primaries for demonstrating true party spirit.
“Your peaceful conduct and free choice of candidates stand you all out as citizens with good conscience and firm patriotic spirit,” he said, adding that the sportsmanship manner by which most losers in the primaries accepted their defeat stand them out as heroes of democracy.
He however assured that all losers at the various primary elections would be “be rewarded in appropriate measures in due time, because by making the exercise rancour-free, you have all become winners of peace and unity for our great party.”

Monday, December 8, 2014

Why I Am Wearing A Bulletproof Vest For Lagos Primaries – PDP Aspirant Babatunde Gbadamosi

Lagos State governorship aspirant, Mr. Babatunde Gbadamosi,  popularly known as BOG, has stated the reason why he his wearing a bulletproof for his party primaries today.
Mr. Gbadamosi has earlier today caused a stir at the Lagos State Peoples Democratic Party governorship primary when he arrived the venue in a bulletproof vest.
Gbadamosi, while addressing journalists at the venue, said he wore the vest in order to protect himself from being hit by a stray bullet following the violence that erupted earlier in the day.
Although the party leadership had said the violence was caused by thugs loyal to the opposition party, Gbadamosi said the real perpetrators of the violence were from within the PDP.
Gbadamosi said the violence was part of a plot to intimidate the almost 1,000 delegates that have converged on the venue.
He said, “I am wearing the bulletproof vest because I am afraid of being shot at but I am urging all my supporters to come and not be intimidated.
“There is fear of intimidation and some people in the party want to intimidate the delegates but we will ensure that everyone will vote fearlessly and as it pleases them.”
He said it was unfortunate that the party leadership was supporting an aspirant.
He, however said the leaders would have their say while the delegates would have their way.
When asked if he was confident of winning, he said, “Would I have paid over N11m to purchase the form if I was not confident?”

Akin Ambode Releases His 'CV' To 'Silence His Political Critics

Before our 'slueths' at the top starts on a stupid fishing expedition and wasting much needed resources, maybe they need to hear and read this from the Governor-to-be by God's Grace.

He is God's Anointed no force nobody can stop him...let's play good and fair politic..Alausa 2015, Ambode ta won yo!!!!
Here are some facts about me: Please read and share.

I was born on the 14th of June,1963 at Epe General Hospital, Epe, Lagos State.
• I had my Primary School at St. Jude’s Primary School, Ebute Meta, and Lagos. Passed the National Common Entrance in Primary 5 and gained admission into Federal Government College, Warri.
• Recorded the second best result in the entire West Africa in the Higher School
Certificate Examinations in the Social Sciences in 1981.
• Graduated with honours in Accounting from the University of Lagos at 21.
• I started my public service career at Lagos State Waste Disposal Board (now LAWMA)as Accountant Grade II in November 1985.
• At 24, qualified as a Chartered Accountant and completed my Masters Degree programme in Accounting from University of Lagos, specializing in Financial Management.
• Worked in the Local Government Service for 10years and was at various times council Treasurer in Alimosho, Shomolu, Mushin and Ajeromi-Ifelodun Local Government Councils.
• In 1998, my commitment to public service earned me the award of the US Fullbright Scholarship for the Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship program, in Boston University, Massachusetts, USA on Public Leadership with emphasis on Finance and Accounting.
• I was appointed acting Auditor-General for Local Government in 2000 and became the youngest ever Auditor-General for Local Government in Lagos State.
• I was appointed Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance in January 2005 and in February, 2006, was given the additional responsibility of Accountant-General of Lagos State.
• I was the youngest Permanent Secretary in service and only the second person to hold both positions of Permanent Secretary and Accountant-General at the same time.
• Under my watch, the State Treasury Office revolutionized the way Lagos State finances were raised, budgeted, managed and planned resulting in the state’s budget performing at an average of 85% annually.
• I ensured payment of civil service staff salaries before the end of the month, payment of running cost by 1st week of each month and introduced end of the year
package and special/specific welfare for staff.
• I launched the e-payment platform for the monthly staff salaries
• I renovated the State Treasury Office, created a conducive working environment, introduced a corporate dress code and provided laptops for all Directors
• I Introduced prompt payment of gratuity and pension arrears of the State Universal
Basic Education Board and Local Government old pensioners. 
• I introduced regular technical meetings with the Directors of Accounts in all MDAs, facilitated the sponsorship, by the State Governor, of over 1000 accountants to the Annual accountants' Conference in Abuja and initiated the annual retreat for Heads of Accountants as well as Local and International training for staff.
• I co-organised the first ever National Tax Retreat in association with the Joint Tax
Board/Federal Inland Revenue Service in 2005.
• I chaired the Technical Committee that produced the Lagos State Economic
Empowerment Development Strategy (SEEDS) document.
• I led the audit teams as the Auditor-General in the office of Auditor-General for Local Government to clear and publish the arrears of statutory audits of 1995 to 2004 within 12months.
• I am a scholar, accountant, administrator, an astute leader with strong emotional intelligence, i am an alumnus of Wharton Business School and also attended courses at Cranfield School of Management, Cranfield, England; the Institute of Management
Development, Lausanne, Switzerland; INSEAD, Singapore and the Harvard Kennedy
School of Government, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.
• I retired voluntarily from public service in August, 2012; the first ever recorded voluntary retirement by a Permanent Secretary in the Lagos State Public Service.
• I established Brandsmiths Consulting Limited in 2012 and the company is today consulting for Federal, State and Local Governments on the transition to the new International Public Service Accounting System and other financial advisory services.
• I am a stickler for high performance and my decisions are never based on race, gender or religion.

Obasanjo’s Book Out, Declares President Jonathan Incapable Of Governing Well

An attempt by Buruji Kashamu, a close associate of President Goodluck Jonathan, to stop the publication of a three-volume book by former President Obasanjo, appears to have failed as SaharaReporters can confirm that the book has gone into circulation. A source close to Mr. Obasanjo confirmed to SaharaReporters late last night that copies of the former president’s exhaustive autobiography were already available to buyers in print form. The source that the book would soon be available in an electronic version that is beyond the jurisdiction of Nigerian courts.

SaharaReporters has already obtained and read sections of the book scheduled for formal launch in Nigeria in a few days.
The book, whose three volumes chronicle the life of the controversial former president from birth till this year, aroused political interest after SaharaReporters exclusively reported that Mr. Obasanjo devotes significant pages to paint an unflattering portrait of President Jonathan. We reported that the book characterizes Mr. Jonathan as selfish, weak-willed, callous and incapable of rising to the challenges of running a complex country like Nigeria. Mr. Obasanjo also accuses the president of surrounding himself with aides and political associates with corrupt tendencies.
Mr. Obasanjo’s book dedicates several parts in the book to point out some of Mr. Jonathan’s actions and inactions he considers ill-advised or disastrous for Nigeria. He depicts Mr. Jonathan as a man who has not only destroyed the Peoples Democratic Party but also led Nigeria in dire straights.
The book focuses on several instances of policy somersaults by Mr. Jonathan as well as deliberate actions by the incumbent president that have imperiled Nigeria’s progress in the opinion of Mr. Jonathan.
An Abuja-based lawyer and critic of Mr. Obasanjo accused the former president of seeking to use the book to earn cheap popularity, adding that Mr. Obasanjo cannot get away from responsibility for “sponsoring President Jonathan’s rise to political prominence and the Presidency.”
“We have been saying it from day one that President Goodluck Jonathan does not have the qualities to become a true leader, but we cannot forget that Chief Obasanjo single handedly put him and the late President Umaru Yar’Adua in office,” the lawyer said.
Mr. Obasanjo’s book also castigates former President Umaru Yar’Adua, former Vice President Abubakar Atiku, and former Governor James Ibori of Delta State, Bukola Saraki, among other political foes.
In the book, the former president also makes an incredible claim that he was never interested in pursuing a third term while in office.
“That is a clear lie,” said Mr. Obasanjo’s critic. “To even deny what is so obvious to every Nigerian shows that Chief Obasanjo has little regard for the truth.” 

Thursday, December 4, 2014

EXCLUSIVE: Contrary to reports, South Africa still holding Nigeria’s seized $15 million arms money

Contrary to widespread reports in the Nigeria media (PREMIUM TIMES not included) the South African government has not returned the $15 million seized from arms dealers purportedly buying arms for the Nigerian military.
PREMIUM TIMES can authoritatively report that the money remains frozen in South Africa and has not been returned to the Nigerian government.
In October, several media articles quoting the South African High Commissioner to Nigeria, Lulu Mnguni, reported that the money seized in connection with two dubious arms deal had been released to the Nigerian government.
However, Mr. Mnguni has told PREMIUM TIMES that the reports are false. Apart from the High Commissioner, the spokesperson of the South African National Prosecuting Authority, NPA, Nathi Mncube, and a South African source that is knowledgeable about the matter but requested not to be named, told PREMIUM TIMES in separate correspondences that the money was yet to be released to the Nigeria government.
Rather than return the money, there is possibility that the money may never be returned to the Nigerian government again.
Responding to PREMIUM TIMES enquiry about the extent of the investigation into the seized arms money, Mr. Mncube, who declined to give specific information because the NPA does not respond to matters under investigation, however, said the money may be forfeited to the South African government.
“In terms of our law, proceeds of crime are forfeited to the state,” he said.
On his part, Mr. Mnguni vehemently denied the reports credited to him that the matter has been resolved diplomatically and the money returned to the Nigerian government.
He said it was not procedural for the South African government to return frozen money in the manner suggested in the reports quoting him.
“We don’t refund money that way,” he said during a telephone conversation. “I said the matter would be resolved within the legal and legitimate means. That was what I said. I did not say the money has been refunded. And I did not follow up since then on whether the money has been refunded or not. It has to be done through the legal and legitimate means.”
PREMIUM TIMES investigation also revealed that instead of providing document that validated its claim that the deals were legal, the Nigerian government has been vigorously pursuing a diplomatic resolution of the matter.
Hard as it is trying, it appears the Nigerian government is merely chasing the wind, as the matter is no longer in the hands of diplomats and politicians.
Unfazed by subtle threat of the National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, to come hard of South African business interests such as MTN and DSTV in Nigeria, NPA obtained court orders freezing the money.
Now, Nigeria has to go through the full hog of court processes to secure its release – something the government, which claimed ownership of the money, appears incapable of doing following the backdoor manner the deals were reached.
“The money was frozen by two court orders and the court requires the documentations before the money is released,” Mr. Mncube said. “The money is still here and is not going anywhere. We would not release it if we don’t have a surety where the money is going. It is a court process.”
Shady arms brokers
The inability of the Nigerian government to recover the seized money is hinged on the fact that the two South African companies it was transacting the deal with may have lacked the legal status and the prerequisite authorisation to engage in such deals.
In fact, in addition to not having the legal authorisation to deal with the sale of military grade armaments, one of the companies, Cerberus Risk Solution, was in 2013 indicted for breaching a United Nations Security Council Resolution unlawfully by exporting controlled items to the Ivory Coast and is facing a criminal investigation over the matter.
With the first tranche of $9.3 million, the NPA said, Tier One Service Group, which the government wanted to procure the arms from, does not have the authorisation to sell or rent military equipment.
While casting doubt that the money was meant for the procurement of arms as claimed by the Nigerian government, South African investigators said Tier One was not a registered arms dealer.
“In court papers, the NPA submitted evidence that Tier One is not registered with the National Conventional Arms Control Committee and is thus not authorised to enter into any agreements regarding the sale and/or rental of military equipment,” a statement by NPA read.
An invoice obtained by the NPA showed an order for drones, rocket and attack helicopter.
In the second deal worth $5.7 million, South African investigators discovered that Cerberus Risk Solution neither has a valid Registration Certificate, valid Marketing Permit nor a contracting Permit – statutory documents stipulated by South African law before a company can engage in brokering a deal involving the sale of 50 units of M-75 20mm cannons and 200,000 rounds of 20mm ammunitions Societe D’Equipments Internationaux was seeking to buy on behalf of the Nigerian Military.
The NPA explained that though Cerberus Risk Solution was registered by the South African National Conventional Arms Control Committee and issued a registration certificate MS1-11-0001041 on May 30 2011 with legally empowers it to act as an agent to deal with “specialised military and law enforcement equipment”, its Registration Certificate expired on May 27, 2014 two weeks before it received the $5.7 million paid into its Standard Bank account.
The NPA also explained that though Cerberus was granted a Marketing Permit AMP2-12-0004803 on April 2 2012, the expiration of its Certificate of Registration automatically rendered that permit invalid.
On September 5, $9.3 million cash stashed in two plastic suitcases and two pieces of hand luggage was seized at the Lanseria International Airport, Johannesburg from three men, now identified as Israeli, Eyal Mesika, and two Austrian nationals, R. Wolfgang and M. Michael.
The private the jet that conveyed the money belongs to the president of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Ayo Oritsejafor, although the cleric has said he had leased the aircraft out and was ignorant of what it was being used for.
The NPA said the suspect did not obtain the necessary approval or documentation allowing them to carry more than the $2,300 cash limit allowed by South African law.
While the dust created by the confiscation of the cash was yet to settle, South African authorities seized another $5.7 million transferred by Societe D’Equipments Internationaux of Nigeria to a South African arms company, Cerberus Risk Solutions, for the procurement of another batch of arms.
The National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, who signed off on the first deal, said the arms deal was conducted legally. He reminded the South Africa government that Nigerian has provided favourable environment for South African companies such as MTN and DSTV to thrive unhindered. He said he expected the South African government to “reciprocate the noble gesture” by releasing the money.

Pres. Jonathan-Led Federal Govt Directly Involved In Billions Of Dollars Oil Theft, Funding Boko Haram – Keyamo

Nigeria’s fiery activist lawyer, Festus Keyamo in a recent interview on ChannelsTV has directly accused the President Goodluck Jonathan-led Federal Government in the billions of dollars oil theft crises in the Niger Delta.
The national loses from oil theft rose from 10,000 barrels a day to 100,000 in loses during the past five years of the current Jonathan administration, with Nigeria becoming a world high-sea piracy capital and devastating, deadly pollution to the riverine areas of the oil-rich Niger-Delta.
An estimated 4 billion dollars is stolen annually in high sea oil theft loses/sales.
The lawyer stated that it is impossible for such big level theft operations to continue to happen with the Federal government not involved as the coastal waters are manned by the Nigerian navy and other security outfits and also the SSS and other agencies are there to expose these rackets.
A friend and ally of the President and militant leader, Government Tompolo was in 2012 awarded billions of naira contract by Jonathan for 20 navy vessels to ‘secure’ the Niger-Delta waterways.
He explained that the oil is not stolen in jerry-cans but rather in ships and barges which cannot possibly load and escape without the security operatives under the Federal government knowing about them.
Nigeria’s oil theft is at the highest level in years according to recent reports: See: Aljazeera- Nigeria oil theft at highest level in years
Attorney Keyamo accused this corruption in high places and government collaborated oil theft and economic looting to be the reason and means of funding terror plaguing the nation, Boko Haram in the north and other deadly terror devastating the nation.
He accused the government of complicity for claiming to be unable to check terror killing thousands for so long with the government claiming to be helpless in checking the crises.
He said it is impossible and denounced the Presidency for asking Nigerians to stand behind the government that has failed to check these menaces for the past six years. “Stand behind you how,” Festus Keyamo exclaimed; when there is no reciprocal action on the part of the government.
Nigerian army chief, general Azubuike Ihejirika named as sponsor of Boko Haram terrorist organisation
“Stand behind you until they kill me? When this has been happening unchecked consistently for six years and people are dying with no practical effort to stop it. And all the government does is each time repeat photocopy statements promising action, which never happens.”
Judgment of the Federal High Court in the case of Festus Keyamo Vs. President and 4 others declared army chiefs’ appointments null and void
Festus Keyamo is recognized as the attorney that got the government to sack the former army chief, General Azubuike Ihejirika accused of being a Boko Haram sponsor. Festus Keyamo took the government to court and won a judgement on the illegality of Ihejirika’s entire tenure for  his appointment not having been approved by the Nigerian Senate, necessitating the sack of the army chief this January within a court ordered two week ultimatum.
Watch Video:

EXPOSED: Nyesom Wike’s Sleazy Deals as Minster of Education

…N6.7 bribes taken from Unity School Principals
…N50 billion Ministry budget mismanaged
…$17,000 per trip chartered flight
…his N1.3million per bottle favourite wine
TheCapital has exclusively unearthed a document grossly indicting the immediate past Minister of Education and a gubernatorial aspirant in the fast approaching February 2015 general elections, Nyeson Wike, who recently resigned his appointment to pursue his ambition to become Governor of Rivers State after the incumbent, Governor Rotimi Amaechi.
The extremely indicting document details how Wike’s tenure allegedly thrived on sleazy deals that involved quite a number of highly placed but extremely compromised Nigerians and educationists.
Wike was said to have garnered a whooping N6,680,000,000 as “kickback” from principals of Federal Government Colleges (also known as Unity Schools), whom he coerced to be remitting 40% of their allocated funds to a special account operated by him. He was said to have shored up the remittance from the former 15%. He found ready connivance in the school heads whom he threatened to dismiss if they attempted blowing the whistle.
The Ikwerre-descendant from Rivers State was also alleged to have made mismanaged N50 billion allocated for primary education, since his assumption of office in the Ministry of Education till when he resigned in Octobe, 2014. In connivance with Dr. Ahmed Modibbo, he made over N5 billion. According to the document, “Similarly, another N50 billion was alleged to have been shared between erstwhile Executive Secretary/CEO, UBEC, Dr. Ahmed Modibbo ; former Minister of Education, Prof. Ruquayyatu Ahmed Rufai and Nyesom Wike with an understanding that the tenure of Dr. Modibbo will be renewed for another four years. Dr. Modibbo’s greatest undoing was his funding of defunct Congress of Progressive Change (CPC) coupled with his occasional financial largesse to General Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR (Rtd).”
President Goodluck Jonathan has continued to list educating the Almajiris by building schools all northern parts of Nigeria as one the high points of his administration; the exclusive report indicted Wike, stating that he diverted to himself the building contracts of 15 Alamjiris schools, each costing N185 million. This was in addition to textbooks supply contracts he awarded to his front, a move that conflicted with his position as Minister.
Wike’s larger-than-life living was also captured in the document titled ‘Investigation Report on the Looting Spree and Fiscal Recklessness of Billions of Naira by Chief (Barrister) Ezenwo Nyesom Wike’. He was said to have “extravagantly budgeted over N1 billion for his travels and conferences in 2014 budget of Federal Ministry of Education for himself. The name of the chartered Flight he uses is SPG 850 owned by Senator Ali Modu Sherriff costing $17,000 per trip.”
“He drinks a special and exclusive brand of Louis XIII which cost £5,000 approximately, N1.3million per bottle which makes his extravagant lifestyle to be irreconcilable as a public officer to maintain his obscure class and status symbol,” the report says.
The report also mentioned how he “was detained with Senator Magnus Abe over N300 million scam that led to the freezing of one of his personal bank accounts at Zenith Bank Plc.”
Among other indictments, Wike was also fingered in the prolonged crises that bedecked the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) for months.
Source – The Capital

“Stubborn” Akwa Ibom lawmaker apologises to Akpabio under duress as governor withholds assembly ticket he won

An estranged political godson to Governor Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom State, Onofiok Luke, has begged the governor for forgiveness.
Mr. Luke, a serving member of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly representing Nsit Ubium state constituency, had in the past attacked Mr. Akpabio for maligning Ibibio people in the state.
In an open letter titled, “At a Time like This,” the lawmaker had lambasted the governor over some of his (Mr. Akpabio) policies he said were detrimental to Ibibios, the majority ethnic group in the state.
Ostensibly embarrassed by the lawmaker’s audacity to challenge him, Mr. Akpabio and his wife, Unoma, those familiar with the matter said, vowed never to allow Mr. Luke get a second term.
Associates of Governor Akpabio told PREMIUM TIMES that in the bid to block him from securing a second term ticket, the Akpabios allegedly sponsored another aspirant, Solomon Ekokoi, to challenge Mr. Luke at the PDP primary.
However, in a rare stroke of luck, Mr. Luke, who is a former President of the National Association of Nigerian Students, NANS, defeated the first family’s anointed candidate and clinched a ticket to return to the House.
Mr. Luke’s success at the primary, our sources said, dealt a devastating blow on Mr. Akpabio and his wife, who immediately launched a fresh plot to retrieve the ticket from the “stubborn lawmaker”.
The Akpabios, we learnt, subsequently insisted on having Mr. Luke tender an unreserved apology to them while also recanting some of the accusations he levelled against them in the past.
Unwilling to forfeit the ticket, Mr. Luke, on Thursday, published an apology in one of the local tabloids in the state, begging the governor to forgive his many transgressions.
“It is common knowledge that since 2002 I have enjoyed a very deep and beneficial father-son relationship with Your Excellency.,” Mr. Luke said in his apology letter.
“However, in the last one year, that relationship of 12 years has suffered seriously due to actions and inactions attributed to me.”
“As a political son, I hereby take responsibility for the comments, unfavourable words, positions, ideas and ideology espoused by me which may have contradicted Your Excellency’s disposition.”
Mr. Luke continued, “I apologise for the harmful toll which these may have caused Your Excellency. Specifically, I apologise for the use of the phrase, ‘admonish the Governor’, in my open letter to Akwa Ibom people, entitled, ‘At a time like This’. As a younger person, I can’t admonish an elder in our culture. All these are sincerely regretted.”
PREMIUM TIMES however learnt that even after apologising, the Akpabios are reluctant to forgive the Nsit Ubium lawmaker, a development that has prompted prominent politicians in the state to intervene.
It took the intervention of party elders and stalwarts from the area to halt the planned cancellation and subsequent re-run of the House of Assembly primary in Nsit Ubium state constituency of the state.
Mr. Luke could not be reached to comment for this story. Calls to his known mobile telephone line failed to connect. So also is the governor’s spokesperson, Aniekan Umanah, who also is the state commissioner for information.

Source: PremiumTimesNg

BREAKING: Gombe town, Bajoga, under Boko Haram attack - PT

The extremist Boko Haram sect is currently attacking Bajoga town of Gombe state, residents have told PREMIUM TIMES.
A PREMIUM TIMES reporter could hear sounds of gunshots and explosion as he interviewed a resident of the town, who telephoned to inform this newspaper of the development
“Sound of explosion and gunshots woke us up from sleep and we had to hurriedly leave to the outskirts of town where I am calling you from,” said our source, who gave his name as Mr. Sunday.
Bajoga hosts the Ashaka cement plant, and the Boko Haram sect carried out a similar raid on the plant last month during which they reportedly carted away four Toyota Hilux vans packed with explosives.
The spokesperson of the Gombe State Command of the Nigerian Police could not be reached for comments at this time
Details later…

2015: Jega says elections in N’East depend on security

The Independent National Electoral Commission on Wednesday in Abuja stated that the conduct of the 2015 general elections in the North-East would depend on advice from security agencies.
According to the commission, only assurances from security agencies on the safety of its personnel, materials as well as free atmosphere will determine whether election will hold in the crisis-prone states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa in 2015.
The Chairman of INEC, Prof. Attahiru Jega, stated this in an interview with journalists during the opening ceremony of a two-day strategic stakeholder’s policy dialogue on promoting peaceful elections in 2015 in Abuja on Wednesday.
The United Nations also used the occasion to warn politicians against the ‘do or die’ politics and likely factors that could propel crisis in the coming elections.
Jega, however, expressed the hope that before February 2015, the various security challenges facing the country would have been addressed to give way for the conduct of free and safe polls.
The event was organised by the United Nations Development Programme, Democratic Governance for Development Programme and supported by the Institute of Peace Conflict and Resolution and the Transition Monitoring Group.
Jega said the commission was putting arrangement in place towards ensuring that the Internally Displaced Persons were registered and participated fully in the forthcoming polls.
He said, “As an election management body, INEC is prepared to conduct elections everywhere in this country. As for the security challenges, INEC is not a security agency; we rely on the advice, cooperation and support of security agencies to be able to secure our materials, to secure our personnel and to enable us to have a free atmosphere within which to conduct elections.
“We are hopeful that before February 2015, a lot of security challenges will be addressed so that there would be sufficient normalcy to conduct elections at that time. So, at this point, I can tell you that we are doing our best to ensure that elections are conducted everywhere in this country in February of 2015.”
The INEC chairman, however, expressed concern over the Boko Haram incessant terror attacks in the North-East.
He said, “We have to remain hopeful; we all know that our security agencies are doing their best. You can’t give up hope, you can’t just assume that things will still be getting from bad to worse; you have to assume and hope that things will get better and our hope is that things will get better before February, 2015.”

Jonathan to senators: Focus on national issues not impeachment

PRESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan on Wednesday told senators behind the Jonathan-Must-Go impeachment project that there were issues of national importance that needed their attention rather than the plot against him.
Jonathan’s advice was contained in a reaction by his Senior Special Assistant on Public Affairs, Dr. Doyin Okupe, who fired back at the senators said to be compiling signatures and impeachable offences against the President.
“It is our view that there are at present, serious fundamental issues of national importance such as winning the war against terrorism and stabilising the economy in the face of dwindling oil revenue which require the full attention, commitment and swift action of distinguished members of the Senate,” Okupe said.
Arrowheads of the impeachment plot against Jonathan in the Senate on Tuesday told journalists in Abuja that 65 senators had already signed to remove the President and that they would formally present a request to commence the impeachment proceedings on December 16.
The senators said they would have tabled their request this week but for the adjournment in the Senate. The upper federal legislative chamber had suspended plenary till December 16 for members to participate in the ongoing primaries of the parties.
Okupe’s full statement read, “The Senate in the last four years has conducted its legislative functions and responded to issues that are of great national importance with commendable political sagacity.
“In this same period, the Senate has functioned as a stabilising force within the polity employing much political maturity that is required to guide and protect our nascent democracy.
“However, confrontation and strong disagreements are not uncommon phenomenon in Executive-Legislative relationship world-wide.
“The recent purported attempt by some senators to prepare impeachable offences against the President, as reported in some section of the media, is seen by us in this light.
“We strongly trust and believe in the leadership of the present Senate and the unwavering patriotism and commitment that have been shown by the distinguished members and we trust that ultimately it is this tendency towards true nationalism that will prevail in the Senate.
“It is our view that there are at present, serious fundamental issues of national importance such as winning the war against terrorism and stabilising the economy in the face of dwindling oil revenue which require the full attention, commitment and swift action of distinguished members of the Senate.
“We are of the opinion that all matters political can and will be resolved politically in the overall interest of our democracy and the wellbeing of our people.”
One of the arrowheads of the impeachment move in the Senate, Senator Alkali Jajere, had told journalists on Tuesday that there was no going back on the project.
He had said, “As of today, the required signatures to initiate the impeachment process had been obtained. The Senate has adjourned to December 16, so by that date the impeachment motion will be presented on the floor of the Senate.
“As of last week, 63 of us had signed up for the impeachment; my signature was the fourth but I can confirm to you that we have 63 signatures but after the session today two people had called and told me that they want to sign.
“One of them is an All Progressives Congress senator who was away doing campaign because he is contesting the governorship election of his state. The other person is a Peoples Democratic Party senator.
“Before the end of today I can assure you that the list will swell up to 70. It is on the impeachment day that we need two-thirds of the members to carry out the exercise but we need only one-third, which we already have, to initiate the process. It is just a matter of one day sitting. We will just push it before the two chambers.”
Jajere said he signed the impeachment motion because of his conviction that there were impeachable offences against Jonathan and that the process had been started early in the year but was truncated.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Report on how it went down at the Japhet Omojuwa moderated conversation with Jimi Agbaje

The Scoop’s Femi Owolabi was at the conversation with Lagos PDP governorship aspirant, Jimi Agbaje, and he sent in this report.
Dumi Hall, Westown Hotel, Lagos.
Forty-nine minutes after the event ought to have kicked off, an announcer comes to inform the waiting guests that he just got over the phone with the man we all have been waiting for, Jimi Agbaje. ‘He’s on his way from the Island. He just finished a meeting there,’ the announcer solicits more patience from the guests.
It is rather an impromptu gathering as most guests got their invitation just some twenty hours to the event – No Holds Barred Conversation with Jimi Agbaje – and assigned to moderate the conversation, is the controversial social-media personality, Japheth Omojuwa.
Agbaje, a trained Nigerian pharmacist, ventured into active politics in 2007 when he, under the platform of the not widely known DPA, contested for the governorship seat of the most populous state in Nigeria, Lagos. Widely believed to have conducted the best campaign in 2007, Agbaje eventually, amongst other major contenders; Musiliu Obanikoro of PDP, Femi Pedro of LP, lost to Babatunde Raji Fashola of the ACN. Jimi Agbaje, or JK– as popularly called– had since echoed as an household name that his re-emergence for the coming 2015 elections does not come to any Lagosian as a surprise.
‘Why do you want to be the governor of Lagos State?’ Omojuwa asks, as Agbaje assumes his seat at about 11:33am.
‘To make Lagos what it should be,’ Agbaje says, adjusting well into his seat. ‘We want to make Lagos to be like those cities we love to go to. And, it’s time for some of us to look at this and try to do something.’
Aware that, Agbaje’s major contender at the party level, Musiliu Obanikoro is officially declaring his ambition to run the same time a conversation is on-going with Agbaje, Omojuwa further asks, ‘why Jimi and not Musiliu?’
‘What matters is how to make change,’ Agbaje says. ‘Like in our public schools, the quality of education should be the same. So, if people believe Jimi is the right guy, fine. And if otherwise, fine. Jimi believes Lagos can be better. It’s about ideas, and first and foremost, knowing what to do.’
‘We should play on our strengths,’ he continues. ‘I am playing on the strength that I am known. And JK has ideas to transform Lagos. The generality of Lagos would prefer a JK, and that is why we are playing on that strength.’
When asked about his relationship with a chieftain of the PDP, Bode George– who was once jailed for corruption, Agbaje says his journey to the PDP has nothing to do with him.
‘He didn’t even know when I joined the party,’ Agbaje affirms.  ‘Sixteen years, and PDP has never governed Lagos. Probably people like Chief Bode George feels I could be the best candidate.
‘I want to state categorically that there’s no issue of godfatherism. I decided to run for this office and not that I was called by one godfather. And I’ve never received a kobo from anybody.’
Responding to the question thrown at him about cross-carpeting from one political party to the other, Agbaje laughs, recollecting the day he saw a cartoon on the internet—caricaturing him as a political harlot wearing multiple badges of different political parties.
‘My first party I ever joined was the AC,’ Agbaje explains. ‘I wanted to run for governor, but the circumstances I left the party were that I didn’t see a level playing ground. A number of us took a decision to leave for DPA—and I ran on this platform in 2007. I stayed on till 2010 when the party said they wanted to merge and form a mega party. At the stage, I couldn’t go further with the experiment of the mega party. But people should know that after my election, I stayed on, for the LG elections. So, it’s not that I’m desperate. In fact, there were many offers from across, but I said it’s not about that. I left around 2011. So for the records, I had only joined the AC, DPA, and now, PDP. And, I left DPA because it wasn’t in existence anymore.’
When further engaged on policies, Agbaje explains that what Lagos needs now is more of human development capital. He claims this is the key thing missing. ‘And for me, education is key,’ he adds. ‘Whatever we are going to build on should be on this tripod; education, health and security.’
Asked on how he intends to build on the incumbent Governor Fashola’s achievements, Agbaje acknowledges the achievements of the present government, saying reacting otherwise would be too much politics.
‘But, there are more to be done,’ he continues. ‘BRT is an achievement. But will you say BRT is what it’s supposed to be now? I see no difference between those BRT buses now and those Molues we pushed away.
‘Also, the government in power has been very poor with housing schemes. Lagos needs 170,000 housing units every year. So when you talk about 1,000, is it anywhere near where we should be?
‘Then our slums; is there any of them that has been reversed? Which of the slums have you been to and seen a reversal?
‘The light rail is a good project but it is taking forever. We need to beautify our waters and improve on water transportation. And that we’ve been able to grow our IGR from N10b in 1999 to N400b now is a good thing, but what are the effects on the people, the issue of multiple taxations?’
For some, they are worried about Agbaje’s choice of political party, PDP—a party that has been running the affairs of the country since the return of democracy in 1999, and sadly hasn’t achieved much in governance.
‘From a citizen’s point of view, no party ever does enough,’ Agbaje claims, responding to the question; what has PDP done for Nigeria? ‘But for PDP, governors are in charge of their states. No interference from the center,’ he asserts. ‘We are running democracy for the first time, for sixteen years. I think we should give credit to those managing the country.’
He is quickly interrupted by the audience; a reminder of how President Jonathan meddled with the affairs of the NGF by taking sides with the candidate who lost the NGF chairmanship election but was a member of his party. Agbaje, however, insists that the president doesn’t interfere in the politics of you win or you don’t win, dismissing all cases cited as mere speculations.
Addressing issues on leadership, Agbaje says leadership should be experienced at every level of governance. ‘Take for instance, the guidelines say no campaign until ninety days to the election,’ he explains. ‘But other people don’t go with the guideline. People have also been disturbing me that they’ve not been seeing me. But for me, I had to adhere to the guidelines, and that’s leadership.
‘Some years ago, we agreed that that we shouldn’t deface Lagos with political posters. But look at everywhere now, and I’m like didn’t we have a general understanding on this matter?
‘I am not going to do any posters,’ he assures. He then says if his posters are seen anywhere, it is the handiwork of people and not from him.
Speaking further on leadership, Agbaje, pointing to the moderator, says ‘I don’t even know Omojuwa. I am meeting him for the first time. But when people ask, why is the conversation being moderated by an anti-GEJ? I was like no, is it people that would be praising you always that should be around you? If APC people come here, we will all talk. And that’s leadership.’
Responding to a question on transportation, Agbaje hammered on the need for the completion of the light rails. ‘If you stay in Ikorodu, you will spend four hours to reach you place of work in Lagos. But if we have the light rail system, it won’t take more than fifteen minutes.’
On the tolling at the Lekki gate, Agbaje says, ‘the Lekki link bridge, in principle, is an alternative route. I won’t object once you get the technicality right.
‘Our focus, however, would be on education, primary healthcare and security. When we have all these in place, we can now partner with the private sectors on other things.
‘Look at when they wanted to build the forth mainland bridge. I think we had a debate then and I raised my doubt. Where is the bridge today? Lagos government don’t have the money to build such. Projects like this we can partner with others.’
On why some of his supporters are not members of his party, PDP, Agbaje says his strength is in the Lagosians and not the politicians. ‘So, the supporters ain’t necessarily politicians.’
‘We are going to be accountable,’ Agbaje assures when asked about when he would declare his assets and how transparent his government would be. ‘There are things people want to know but they don’t have the access. We are going to run an inclusive government.
‘And on my assets, people think JK is rich. You will be surprised if I declare my assets.’
The moderator put it to Agbaje that no Lagos government has been able to address the issue of Agberos. And Agbaje, recognizing the Agbero as a political structure on its own, promises to redefine the structure. ‘We will employ their services so they begin to have some self-esteem. You can use them for political campaign, but differently.’
Agbaje who appears as a policy-oriented politician, when asked how he would manage the electorates whose ideology revolves round the money for hand back for ground policy, says, ‘what we tell them is that, when they bring the money, collect it but shine your eyes.
‘…Together we can take Lagos to the next level,’ the event rounds off as Agbaje is made to recite his 2007 popular campaign lines.
- Follow this writer on Twitter: @fEMIoWOLABI

Soyinka condemns Jonathan’s ‘Impunity’, Likens President To ‘Nebuchadnezzar’

Soyinka condemns Jonathan’s ‘Impunity’, Likens President To ‘Nebuchadnezzar’ 

Nobel laureate, Wole Soyinka, has lambasted President Goodluck Jonathan for allowing what he called a reign of impunity, the latest being police siege on the National Assembly.

Mr. Soyinka said the latest action of Suleiman Abba, the Inspector General of Police, against members of the House of Representatives was an “unambiguous” declaration of war against the people. 

At a press conference in Lagos he titled King Nebuchadnezzar – The Reign of Impunity, Mr. Soyinka said that the battle line had been drawn and Nigerians must decide whether to submit or resist to the current democratic dispensation.

“I shall not insist that the biblical figure of Nebuchadnezzar is uniquely apt for the pivotal figure of the ‘democratic’ history in the making at this moment,” said Mr. Soyinka. “For one thing, Nebu was a nation builder and a warrior. One could argue even more convincingly for the figure of Balthazar, his successor, or indeed Emperor Nero as reference point – you all remember him – the emperor who took to fiddling while Rome was burning.

“However you should easily recall why I opted for King Nebu – the figure that currently sits on the top of our political pile himself evoked it, albeit in a context that virtuously disclaimed any similarities, even tendencies. Perhaps he meant it at the time when he claimed: ‘I am no Nebuchadnezzar.’ Perhaps not. One judges leaders on acts however, not pronouncements, which are often as reliable as electoral promises.”

Mr. Soyinka said that it was left for Nigerians to decide to revert to the ‘Abacharian status of glorified slaves.”

“The praetorian guards have been let loose – to teach the rabble their place,” he said.

“The recent choice of a new leader for the guard was clearly no accident, and this hitherto unknown enforcer, one Suleiman Abba, has wasted no time in inaugurating a season of brutish power. When a people’s elected emissaries are disenfranchised, cast out like vagrants and resort to scaling fences to engage in their designated functions, the people get the message.

“However, the choice is always there, and each choice comes at a cost. It is either we pay now, or pay later.”

Mr. Soyinka also said that President Goodluck Jonathan had continued to surprise Nigerians in ways “few could have conjectured.”

“Peaking at his own personalised example where he set the law of arithmetic on its head – I refer to the split in the Governors’ Forum, and his ‘formal’ recognition of the minority will in a straightforward, peer election – democracy has been rendered meaningless where it should be most fervently exemplified.

“Nothing is more unworthy of leadership than to degrade a system by which one attains fulfilment, and this is what the nation has witnessed time and time again in various parts of the nation, the recent affront against the legislative chamber being only the most blatant and unconscionable…

“It is a warning. His choices for the occupancy of crucial public positions – such as the protective arm of the nation – constitutes an even more immediate and constant public alert. The signals are ominous – for and beyond 2015.”