Thursday, 26 February 2015
Addressing officers and men of the Nigerian Army in both towns, which were recently recaptured from Boko Haram, President Jonathan declared that he and all Nigerians were very proud of the bravery, competence and patriotism with which they were now undertaking operations to expel the insurgents from all parts of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states.
The President said that with their recent successes, which have overwhelmingly turned the tide against Boko Haram, the Nigerian military has proven beyond any doubt that it remains fully capable of defending the territorial integrity of Nigeria. The military’s recent victories against Boko Haram, President Jonathan told the troops, have also proven conclusively that all those, within and outside the country, who cast aspersions on Nigerian soldiers and questioned their ability and willingness to overcome the insurgents were misinformed and wrong.
See the pictures:
Permit me to start by thanking Chatham House for the invitation to talk about this important topic at this crucial time. When speaking about Nigeria overseas, I normally prefer to be my country’s public relations and marketing officer, extolling her virtues and hoping to attract investments and tourists. But as we all know, Nigeria is now battling with many challenges, and if I refer to them, I do so only to impress on our friends in the United Kingdom that we are quite aware of our shortcomings and are doing our best to address them.
The 2015 general election in Nigeria is generating a lot of interests within and outside the country. This is understandable. Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country and largest economy, is at a defining moment, a moment that has great implications beyond the democratic project and beyond the borders of my dear country.
So let me say upfront that the global interest in Nigeria’s landmark election is not misplaced at all and indeed should be commended; for this is an election that has serious import for the world. I urge the international community to continue to focus on Nigeria at this very critical moment. Given increasing global linkages, it is in our collective interests that the postponed elections should hold on the rescheduled dates; that they should be free and fair; that their outcomes should be respected by all parties; and that any form of extension, under whichever guise, is unconstitutional and will not be tolerated.
With the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the dissolution of the USSR in 1991, the collapse of communism and the end of the Cold War, democracy became the dominant and most preferred system of government across the globe. That global transition has been aptly captured as the triumph of democracy and the ‘most pre-eminent political idea of our time.’ On a personal note, the phased end of the USSR was a turning point for me. It convinced me that change can be brought about without firing a single shot.
As you all know, I had been a military head of state in Nigeria for twenty months. We intervened because we were unhappy with the state of affairs in our country. We wanted to arrest the drift. Driven by patriotism, influenced by the prevalence and popularity of such drastic measures all over Africa and elsewhere, we fought our way to power. But the global triumph of democracy has shown that another and a preferable path to change is possible. It is an important lesson I have carried with me since, and a lesson that is not lost on the African continent.
In the last two decades, democracy has grown strong roots in Africa. Elections, once so rare, are now so commonplace. As at the time I was a military head of state between 1983 and 1985, only four African countries held regular multi-party elections. But the number of electoral democracies in Africa, according to Freedom House, jumped to 10 in 1992/1993 then to 18 in 1994/1995 and to 24 in 2005/2006. According to the New York Times, 42 of the 48 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa conducted multi-party elections between 1990 and 2002.
The newspaper also reported that between 2000 and 2002, ruling parties in four African countries (Senegal, Mauritius, Ghana and Mali) peacefully handed over power to victorious opposition parties. In addition, the proportion of African countries categorized as not free by Freedom House declined from 59% in 1983 to 35% in 2003. Without doubt, Africa has been part of the current global wave of democratisation.
But the growth of democracy on the continent has been uneven. According to Freedom House, the number of electoral democracies in Africa slipped from 24 in 2007/2008 to 19 in 2011/2012; while the percentage of countries categorised as ‘not free’ assuming for the sake of argument that we accept their definition of “free” increased from 35% in 2003 to 41% in 2013. Also, there have been some reversals at different times in Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Cote D’Ivoire, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Lesotho, Mali, Madagascar, Mauritania and Togo. We can choose to look at the glass of democracy in Africa as either half full or half empty.
While you can’t have representative democracy without elections, it is equally important to look at the quality of the elections and to remember that mere elections do not democracy make. It is globally agreed that democracy is not an event, but a journey. And that the destination of that journey is democratic consolidation – that state where democracy has become so rooted and so routine and widely accepted by all actors.
With this important destination in mind, it is clear that though many African countries now hold regular elections, very few of them have consolidated the practice of democracy. It is important to also state at this point that just as with elections, a consolidated democracy cannot be an end by itself. I will argue that it is not enough to hold a series of elections or even to peacefully alternate power among parties.
It is much more important that the promise of democracy goes beyond just allowing people to freely choose their leaders. It is much more important that democracy should deliver on the promise of choice, of freedoms, of security of lives and property, of transparency and accountability, of rule of law, of good governance and of shared prosperity. It is very important that the promise embedded in the concept of democracy, the promise of a better life for the generality of the people, is not delivered in the breach.
Now, let me quickly turn to Nigeria. As you all know, Nigeria’s fourth republic is in its 16th year and this general election will be the fifth in a row. This is a major sign of progress for us, given that our first republic lasted five years and three months, the second republic ended after four years and two months and the third republic was a still-birth. However, longevity is not the only reason why everyone is so interested in this election.
The major difference this time around is that for the very first time since transition to civil rule in 1999, the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is facing its stiffest opposition so far from our party the All Progressives Congress (APC). We once had about 50 political parties, but with no real competition. Now Nigeria is transitioning from a dominant party system to a competitive electoral polity, which is a major marker on the road to democratic consolidation. As you know, peaceful alternation of power through competitive elections have happened in Ghana, Senegal, Malawi and Mauritius in recent times. The prospects of democratic consolidation in Africa will be further brightened when that eventually happens in Nigeria.
But there are other reasons why Nigerians and the whole world are intensely focussed on this year’s elections, chief of which is that the elections are holding in the shadow of huge security, economic and social uncertainties in Africa’s most populous country and largest economy. On insecurity, there is a genuine cause for worry, both within and outside Nigeria. Apart from the civil war era, at no other time in our history has Nigeria been this insecure.
Boko Haram has sadly put Nigeria on the terrorism map, killing more than 13,000 of our nationals, displacing millions internally and externally, and at a time holding on to portions of our territory the size of Belgium. What has been consistently lacking is the required leadership in our battle against insurgency. I, as a retired general and a former head of state, have always known about our soldiers: they are capable, well trained, patriotic, brave and always ready to do their duty in the service of our country.
You all can bear witness to the gallant role of our military in Burma, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Darfur and in many other peacekeeping operations in several parts of the world. But in the matter of this insurgency, our soldiers have neither received the necessary support nor the required incentives to tackle this problem. The government has also failed in any effort towards a multi-dimensional response to this problem leading to a situation in which we have now become dependent on our neighbours to come to our rescue.
Let me assure you that if I am elected president, the world will have no cause to worry about Nigeria as it has had to recently; that Nigeria will return to its stabilising role in West Africa; and that no inch of Nigerian territory will ever be lost to the enemy because we will pay special attention to the welfare of our soldiers in and out of service, we will give them adequate and modern arms and ammunitions to work with, we will improve intelligence gathering and border controls to choke Boko Haram’s financial and equipment channels, we will be tough on terrorism and tough on its root causes by initiating a comprehensive economic development plan promoting infrastructural development, job creation, agriculture and industry in the affected areas. We will always act on time and not allow problems to irresponsibly fester, and I, Muhammadu Buhari, will always lead from the front and return Nigeria to its leadership role in regional and international efforts to combat terrorism.
On the economy, the fall in prices of oil has brought our economic and social stress into full relief. After the rebasing exercise in April 2014, Nigeria overtook South Africa as Africa’s largest economy. Our GDP is now valued at $510 billion and our economy rated 26th in the world. Also on the bright side, inflation has been kept at single digit for a while and our economy has grown at an average of 7% for about a decade.
But it is more of paper growth, a growth that, on account of mismanagement, profligacy and corruption, has not translated to human development or shared prosperity. A development economist once said three questions should be asked about a country’s development: one, what is happening to poverty? Two, what is happening to unemployment? And three, what is happening to inequality?
The answers to these questions in Nigeria show that the current administration has created two economies in one country, a sorry tale of two nations: one economy for a few who have so much in their tiny island of prosperity; and the other economy for the many who have so little in their vast ocean of misery.
Even by official figures, 33.1% of Nigerians live in extreme poverty. That’s at almost 60 million, almost the population of the United Kingdom. There is also the unemployment crisis simmering beneath the surface, ready to explode at the slightest stress, with officially 23.9% of our adult population and almost 60% of our youth unemployed. We also have one of the highest rates of inequalities in the world.
With all these, it is not surprising that our performance on most governance and development indicators (like Mo Ibrahim Index on African Governance and UNDP’s Human Development Index.) are unflattering. With fall in the prices of oil, which accounts for more than 70% of government revenues, and lack of savings from more than a decade of oil boom, the poor will be disproportionately impacted.
In the face of dwindling revenues, a good place to start the repositioning of Nigeria’s economy is to swiftly tackle two ills that have ballooned under the present administration: waste and corruption. And in doing this, I will, if elected, lead the way, with the force of personal example.
On corruption, there will be no confusion as to where I stand. Corruption will have no place and the corrupt will not be appointed into my administration. First and foremost, we will plug the holes in the budgetary process. Revenue producing entities such as NNPC and Customs and Excise will have one set of books only. Their revenues will be publicly disclosed and regularly audited. The institutions of state dedicated to fighting corruption will be given independence and prosecutorial authority without political interference.
But I must emphasise that any war waged on corruption should not be misconstrued as settling old scores or a witch-hunt. I’m running for President to lead Nigeria to prosperity and not adversity.
In reforming the economy, we will use savings that arise from blocking these leakages and the proceeds recovered from corruption to fund our party’s social investments programmes in education, health, and safety nets such as free school meals for children, emergency public works for unemployed youth and pensions for the elderly.
As a progressive party, we must reform our political economy to unleash the pent-up ingenuity and productivity of the Nigerian people thus freeing them from the curse of poverty. We will run a private sector-led economy but maintain an active role for government through strong regulatory oversight and deliberate interventions and incentives to diversify the base of our economy, strengthen productive sectors, improve the productive capacities of our people and create jobs for our teeming youths.
In short, we will run a functional economy driven by a worldview that sees growth not as an end by itself, but as a tool to create a society that works for all, rich and poor alike. On March 28, Nigeria has a decision to make. To vote for the continuity of failure or to elect progressive change. I believe the people will choose wisely.
In sum, I think that given its strategic importance, Nigeria can trigger a wave of democratic consolidation in Africa. But as a starting point we need to get this critical election right by ensuring that they go ahead, and depriving those who want to scuttle it the benefit of derailing our fledgling democracy. That way, we will all see democracy and democratic consolidation as tools for solving pressing problems in a sustainable way, not as ends in themselves.
Prospects for Democratic Consolidation in Africa: Nigeria’s Transition
Permit me to close this discussion on a personal note. I have heard and read references to me as a former dictator in many respected British newspapers including the well regarded Economist. Let me say without sounding defensive that dictatorship goes with military rule, though some might be less dictatorial than others. I take responsibility for whatever happened under my watch.
I cannot change the past. But I can change the present and the future. So before you is a former military ruler and a converted democrat who is ready to operate under democratic norms and is subjecting himself to the rigours of democratic elections for the fourth time.
You may ask: why is he doing this? This is a question I ask myself all the time too. And here is my humble answer: because the work of making Nigeria great is not yet done, because I still believe that change is possible, this time through the ballot, and most importantly, because I still have the capacity and the passion to dream and work for a Nigeria that will be respected again in the comity of nations and that all Nigerians will be proud of.
I thank you for listening.
|Pro-Buhari Protesters (pictured on top of photo) and pro GEJ supporters (pictured on bottom of photo. Pic Courtesy: Michael Tubes|
See More Pictures: Courtesy of Gbedu_London
Mandatory Picture Credit advised!
How London Metropolitan Ensures Security Beefed Up At Chatham House AS Buhari, APC Leaders Address World Figures
All People’s Congress Presidential candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari(rtd) today will prove wrong claims that he has been hospitalised since arriving the Queen’s land over a week ago as he is billed to address a World political and press figures at the Royal Institute of International Affairs, Chatham House in the heart of the British Parliament in Central London.
Buhari has been billed to participate in an event entitled “Prospects for Democratic Consolidation in Africa: Nigeria’s Transition”.
If he appears, it would be his first public appearance since arriving London over a week ago.
His non-appearance has fuelled speculations that his ailing condition may certify him as unfit to govern Nigeria if he wins the coming election. However, as the heat gathers for the occasion, there has been built-up tension with factions emerging from both sides of support and non-support for the former ddictator who remains emaciating and allegedly has been under care since arriving the United Kingdom.
It would however take his appearance today to douse the fear that he is hale and hearty and suitable for running for the election come next month.
Amid tension and anticipation that both Buhari faithful, PDP supporters and some NGOs are gearing up for confrontation during the Central London address on Thursday, British security authority have scaled up all protocol of venue access as it is claimed a huge crowd of both supporters, NGOs and oppositions are expected. They are putting together strategies to douse tensions and heated atmosphere by detailing more police to man the venue..
A source claimed that Chatham House want an assured tension free political atmosphere by beefing up security as it was gathered that only Chatham House staff members, APC Delegation list and a selected members of the press would be allowed to the event venue to minimise the risk of faction stand-offs.
Loyal media organizations from both sides have tensed up the political atmosphere both at home and in the Diaspora in different propaganda efforts to win hearts with social media groups and personal operators heating the polity through found and unfounded speculations to sell their ideas and candidates. The nations as it stands is in danger of anarchy and the outcome of Chatham appearance may determine further steps to be taken as the election approaches next month. Some NGO are also on queue to register their protests against Buhari’s feature as the APC, presidential candidate, claiming he has blood in his hands as a former military dictator.
In another development, All Progressives Congress has claimed it was the only political party that has the right answer to the numerous problems facing the country. According to the party’s publicity secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, APC remains the only party that can roundly address Nigeria’s plethora of social political and economic tragedies which has befallen the country. He claimed statistics gathered across the nation have created the easiest strategy for handling the solutions with APC coming up with the right manifesto drawn up to approach those problems.
He urged Nigerians to rally round the party’s presidential torch-bearer, former military dictator, Muhammadu Buhari and guarantee his success in the next election.
According to him, three in one Nigerians have identified unemployment as the chore centre of the nation’s problems while 54% of the nation’s population expressed worries about the level of corruption, with another 52% worried about security.
He was speaking at an organised rally for the party’s presidential candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari who had been detailed to address a crowd of supporters in London’s Everlasting Arms Ministries Church, Old Kent Road, in southeast London .
Thousand of Nigerians who had awaited Buhari’s arrival and speech however were disappointed and in consternation of his current state as the former dictator was not in sight for the drawn day’s programe after wide publicity. The let down came amid speculations about Buhari’s state of health and claim in some quarters that he had been ill and was undergoing medical care somewhere in London. The ruling party had consistently claimed he would be unsuitable to govern Nigeria at this point in time
The former General however has failed to put up appearance in many organized functions aimed at boosting his image abroad and aimed to push up his campaign ratings since arriving UK a week ago.
Buhari since his arrival in London almost one week has been secretly kept off the sight of the public while APC other leaders are putting up appearance on his behalf to speak at organised functions.
On Tuesday, the APC Presidential candidate disappointed thousands of his UK supporters as he failed appear a much publicised interactive meeting and campaign session which had been organised in Old Kent Road, Southeast London. For the second time in a week, the former General has failed to appear in organised meetings in London fuelling bitter speculation that his rumoured ailing condition was far from party propaganda.
Several quarters , since his arriving London have speculated that his health has depreciated, as the frail-looking General ‘s main reason for visiting UK was his dwindling health.
At Tuesday’s political gathering, APC top shots John Oyegun, Alhaji Lai Mohammed and Kaduna State gubernatorial candidate Mallam Nasir El-Rufai were on hand to structure out Buhari’s image when thousands of faithfuls who had thronged Everlasting Arms Ministries situated on Old Kent Road were let down by his non-appearance. They stepped in to address the party faithful and raised hopes that Buhari was hale and hearty. The interactive meeting had been put together to offer the opportunity of speaking to Buhari and allowing him to be well familiar with his fans and answer questions about his political strategy if he wins the coming election.
Thousands had thronged to the venue hoping to see General Buhari himself but APC Chair John Oyegun tendered apologies Buharis non appearance claiming he held up by other appointments.
Last Saturday, General Buhari had also failed to attend another interactive session held in central London. His wife Hajiya Aisha Buhari and wife of Vice presidential candidate of the opposition Mrs Dolapo Osibanjo stepped in to address the crowd.
Since arrival in the United Kingdom, General Buhari had neither been sighted nor address any gathering making the opposition party to walk into a straight jacket of bad publicity fwith claims that the party was deceiving his teeming fans across the World on the real situation with Buhari’s health and APC plans.
According to Chief Oyegun, however, General Buhari is well and in good health and will at a breifing at Chatham House in Central London on Thursday.
His claim that the retired general had come to the United Kingdom to relay his political plans for the nation and establish some trust and intimate the international community about his plans for the country however still dangles with doubtful objectivity and unless Buhari appears today at Chatham Houses to deliver his short but sharp speech, uncertainty may becloud the level of honesty and credibility of APC.
Wednesday, 25 February 2015
'As Nigerian senate committee tables 20 pct cut to budget oil price benchmark'
Office of Accountant General has disclosed that Nigeria's gross government revenue fell 15 percent to 416 billion naira ($2.07 billion) in January due to weaker oil prices, just as the nation's upper legislative house proposed cutting the oil benchmark in the 2015 budget.
In the proposal tabled earlier on Wednesday the cut would reflect about 20 percentage giving sharp reduction of selling price at $52 a barrel from its current $65.
A source at Senate Finance Committee told the newsmen that the upper house had debated the change proposed by the committee on Wednesday but had not yet reached a conclusion.
Speaking to Reuters, Jonah Otunla said "There was substantial loss of revenue due to a further drop in the prices of crude oil," and further re-affirmed that decrease in export volumes by one third between November and December 2014 had cost $159.88 million."
Reuters reported that "It is unclear where the cuts will fall, with capital expenditure already slashed to 10 percent of the budget and the government struggling to pay salaries of its bloated civil service."
"Nigeria's public finances have been hit by a sharp drop in world oil prices and irregular supply linked to pipeline vandalism. The government depends on oil for around 80 percent of revenues", the news agency reported.
It can be noted however that Nigerian finance ministry had previously said that the benchmark would not change.
Original reports from Reuters
Tuesday, 24 February 2015
No fewer than ten people have died on Tuesday when a blast ripped through a bus in Potiskum, northeast Nigeria, according to witnesses, in the latest explosion to hit the troubled region.
Exact casualty figure cannot be ascertained as at the time of this report. A local TV, Channels TV said witnesses confirmed that up to 15 bodies of victims have been deposited at a local hospital. About 57 people seriously injured as reports say the number of casualties could rise.
The explosion happened at the Tashar Dan-Borno motor park, on the outskirts of the city but rescuers could not immediately determine the number of casualties.
"The bus had just loaded with passengers on its way to Kano when a huge explosion happened inside the bus at exactly 11:40 am (1000 GMT)," said a driver's union official at the bus station.
"We still don't know how many people were affected. We are waiting for the fire to be put out before we can have a figure of casualty", he added.
Potiskum, the commercial capital of Yobe state, has been hit repeatedly by bombings, including on Sunday, when a young girl with explosives strapped to her body blew up at a crowded market. At least six people reportedly pronounced dead on the spot.
The girl was thought to be as young as seven, according to multiple witnesses.
Boko Haram insurgents have increasingly used young girls and women as human bombs, with so-called "soft targets" such as markets and bus stations a regular target.
Witnesses told AFP reporters that seven people were killed in the blast, which again underlined the severe security challenges facing Nigeria in the run-up to presidential and parliamentary elections on March 28.
© AFP Picture: ( Image discreet ) Shows Volunteers load an injured man into an ambulance after a suicide blast in the northeastern Nigerian city of Potiskum on February 1, 2015
Sunday, 22 February 2015
MESSAGE TO ALL PARTY MEMBERS, SYMPATHISERS AND BUHARI/YEMI OSINBAJO DIASPORA SUPPORT GROUPS IN THE UNITED KINGDOM.
States and UK Regional Chairmen,
The entire membership of the APC UK,
The Chairpersons and members of All General Muhammadu Buhari in the UK,
All Nigerian Sympathisers of APC’s Change 2015
We have been inundated in the last couple of days with requests for information, interview/audience requests regarding, and with our party's Presidential Candidate Gen Muhammad Buhari since the news broke that he was in the UK.
We have also received an invitation to an interactive session with our revered leader and his wife for today, Feb. 21 2015.
PLEASE SUPPORT DEMOCRACY IN NIGERIA.
APC, UK ."
Written by Ayo Akinfe Nigerian Watch
Friday, 20 February 2015
Bowale Wole Arisekola, the publisher of Street Journal magazine has been named the Chairman of the Association of Online Media Practitioners of Nigeria (AOMPAN).
This was contained in the Press Statement released by the Association on Thursday in Abuja. Arisekola, who was the President of Nigeria Union of Journalists Europe Council (NUJEurope) until February last year when he stepped aside, started Streetjournal Magazine many years ago in Dublin in the Republic of Ireland with contents reputed for unbiased reporting and fairness in journalism with day-to-day reportage on Africans and the welfare of Nigerian in Europe.
The Press Statement released in Abuja on Thursday and made available to NUJEurope reads as follows :
‘We are determined to help in putting a lot of sanity into news reportage. We would ensure that members of this association are not only men and women who have a flair for the media, they are actually men and women who have carved a niche for themselves in the world of journalism. Our members are men and women who are committed to bringing out the truth in their reportage. Our members are respected people in the world of media generally, not only online media. We are poised to putting a lot of sanity into online media practice. Issues such as plagiarism and writing without investigating stories would soon become a thing of the past".
The Ibadan born journalist promises to ensure that online media establishes sanity in how news is disseminated.
Very active in his pursuit of a better existence for humanity, Wole Arisekola has a forum through which he pays school fees for indigent children, assists widows with funding and puts youths in vocational training all across the country.
Wole Arisekola’s passion, commitment and determination towards making Nigeria better is quite impressive. He is always guided and inspired by the burning desire that Nigeria can definitely and would still be a better place to live in.
A congratulatory message from the Acting President of NUJ Europe, Prince Lashley Oladigbolu described the new Chairman of Association of Online Media Practitioners of Nigeria (AOMPAN) as a frontliner of investigative journalism who has been upholding and promoting postiveness among patriotic Nigerians.
Thursday, 19 February 2015
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has broken with President Goodluck Jonathan’s Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in favor of the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC). This move, along with numerous other defections from the ruling party, may be a sign that the hitherto badly splintered ruling elites may be coming together again in the face of the Boko Haram insurgency, corruption, incompetency of the federal government, and the Abuja government’s declining economic performance.
Opposition candidate Muhammadu Buhari’s positive polling data and the anecdotal evidence of his growing appeal in all parts of the country and across religious and ethnic lines may reflect this emerging elite consensus. A largely reunited political class in favor of Buhari would make it difficult for Jonathan and the PDP to rig the presidential elections.
Postponed, ostensibly to provide space for the security services to defeat Boko Haram, the presidential election is now scheduled for March 28. After five years of failing to curb the radical Islamist insurgency, it is difficult to imagine that the security situation in the northeast will change much in just six weeks. Even if the government recaptures towns from Boko Haram, the large number of internally displaced persons and refugees, likely Buhari supporters, still would not be able to vote. But, if Buhari sweeps much of the nation, then the possible disenfranchisement of Buhari’s supporters in the northeast would be of minor importance. A Buhari administration elected in a credible election with support from across the country would be well-placed to address Nigeria’s extraordinary challenges and would signal the end of the current political crisis.
However, there are potential flies in the ointment of this optimistic scenario. The first is the extent to which Nigerians will vote along ethnic and religious lines. The country is about half Christian, and the recent presidential campaigning appealed heavily to religious and ethnic identities. The second issue that could mire the electoral process is the role of money. Due to his access to government oil revenue Jonathan has far more funds than Buhari does. He may be able to “buy” an electoral victory as most Nigerians remain desperately poor and the country’s elites increasingly need money as oil revenue and the value of the Naira continue to fall. (However, in the past, Nigerian political figures have accepted payoffs without fulfilling their side of the bargain.) Finally, Buhari represents a real threat to those deeply mired in corruption. With an annual security budget of five to six billion dollars and an unimpressive track record against Boko Haram, the military would appear especially vulnerable to anti-corruption measures.
Under these circumstances, would the military in conjunction with parts of the current ruling party allow Buhari to become president? It was the military that ended Buhari’s twenty month tenure as military chief of state in 1985 largely because of his campaign against corruption. It may be worth remembering that in 1993, the military refused to allow Moshood Abiola to become president, despite his victory in Nigeria’s freest and most credible election (no official election results were ever released).
The Nigerian security services are much weaker now than they were in Abiola’s time. Still, they retain more coercive power than any other group of Nigeria, but only if they are united. That is a big ‘if.’
By John Campbell
Centre for Foreign Relations
**Jim Sanders wrote:
"But what if the political class no longer matters? Falling oil prices, rampant corruption, ineffective governance, and civil war in the northeast have joined forces to undermine “electoral process” as the framework through which popular will is expressed in Nigeria. Large rallies for Buhari suggest that a mass movement may be developing. Years of so-called democracy have failed ordinary Nigerians, and many of them may now see Buhari as a charismatic leader. His charisma derives from his asceticism. Possessing no Rolex, no expensive house or car, and no overseas property, he is everything that many members of the political class are not. He is its very antithesis. There is no reason to believe Buhari sees himself as a charismatic leader, but such figures often emerge in difficult times. Followers have a tendency to view such leaders as heroic, according to one scholar, and they engender commitment that is much more intense than that afforded other leaders. Historically, the dynamics of movements led by such leaders become extra-institutional. If Nigeria is headed in this direction, neither unity within the political class, nor electoral process will drive events."
**Avid Africa Watcher wrote:
"John, I’m skeptical of your assertion of an emerging elite political consensus in Nigeria — the so-called optimistic scenario. If anything, I think that the apparent rise of Buhari is more a manifestation of the PDP’s growing inability to bridge the country’s manifold divides, especially at the elite level. While this has opened the door to the opposition, it has also divided the country even further. Consequently, the elections are likely to produce a less uniform political landscape together with disputed results and controversy. Also, as you point out, the prospect of the PDP losing ground to the opposition, and potentially even ceding the all-important presidency, likely means it will have to fight even harder to win – whether by “buying” victory or other means. To my mind, the net effect of these factors will be less harmony, not more. But I hope that I am proved wrong.
"I will reserve comment on the ability of Buhari to enact real change until after the elections.
"Jim raises an interesting point about the rise of the Nigerian public. We’ve seen inklings of this at the beginning of 2012 and in response to the Boko Haram school girl kidnappings last year, and I think a strong case can be made that the public / civil society has gained political power since democracy was restored in 1999. It’ll be interesting to see how the public reacts to the elections and if and how this reaction influences politics going forward."
Wednesday, 18 February 2015
The attacking midfielder has represented the youth teams of England at Under 16 to Under 18 level, and he has raised fears that he may be ineligible to represent Nigeria, as he is unsure if the caps came in competitive matches.
But if that is the case, Fifa MUST approve the Arsenal starlet's one time international allegiance switch before he can turn out for any of Nigeria's national teams.
''I have not sent any application to Fifa to switch nationalities. I am not 100 percent sure if the games I played for England were competitive matches,'' Alex Iwobi hinted.
''I don't think I played in the Euro qualifiers. I have played in tournaments, I don't know if they count. I am not sure if I am eligible to play against Gabon.
''But I am looking forward to the game. We can do well and get a good victory. I have been well treated since I came here and everyone welcomed me.''
It is confirmed that Alex Iwobi's caps for the England Under 17s and Under 18s came in friendlies, but the status of his seven international appearances for their Under 16 side remain unclear at the moment.
The England FA should have all the right answers but they decided to play a cat and mouse game when contacted by the team of SL10 with Customer Relations Officer Simon Bower saying the association is still investigating the matter after five working days.
|five minutes away from stoppage time, the rough Guineans were punished for a foul in the box and Nwakali picked his angle; and fired the ball into the net|
Tuesday, 17 February 2015
“I will only be a Nigerian, I am ready to work with anybody regardless of political affiliation. Why would some people say they want to send me away, they don’t need to bother themselves, here’s your membership card, take it”. -Obasanjo
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo gave reasons Monday night why he publicly tore his Peoples Democratic Party membership card.
Obasanjo, whose action elicited spontaneous reactions across the globe, said he took the action maintain his image locally and internationally.
The former president said in a three tweets he posted at intervals yesterday, that he could not remain in the same party with a president who uses his party and corruption to tear down the country.
He also explained that it was better for him to quit the PDP than remain in it with a drug baron.
Obasanjo said: “I’d rather sacrifice my political party for the interest of Nigeria than sacrifice my country for a political party led by a drug baron.
“I’d rather tear the PDP membership card than sit down and let Jonathan use PDP and corruption to tear my beloved country apart.
“I have national and international standard to maintain. For this reason I’d rather stand alone than be in the same political party with Kashamu.”
“From today on, in the presence of all us and with your support, I am not going to be in any political party in Nigeria. I am no more a politician but a statesman both internally and externally. The issued that they want to expel me from the party for, once you people are with me what other people am I looking for”.
“They said they want to expel me from PDP, although I have not been told but I have my ears on ground. We’ve been trying to run away from a man but he pleads we wait for him at the other side of the river. I have told you before that I became president on the platform of PDP, once I leave PDP I will not join any party”.
Obasanjo said that the party card he tore was one of the least things preoccupation to what is good for Nigeria, pointing out that there was nothing he could not sacrifice for the interest of the nation.
He boasted that despite the destruction of his party care, he would not be cowed by anyone, as he was still ready to comment on any matter that required his comment or view.
He said, “If there is anything that requires my own comment, position or views. I will say it. It is only when you kill me that I will stop doing so.
The former leader, who is known to have spearheaded the emergence of the Jonathan Presidency, explained that being patriotic demanded the will to sacrifice anything, including his life for the interest of Nigeria but not his life for a political party.
“My first preoccupation is what is best for Nigeria: Nigeria first, party second and anything third,” Obsanjo said.
It was gathered that Obasanjo might have taken his decision to tear his membership card and quit voluntarily quit his party before the leadership, apparently upset by his tantrums against Jonathan moves against him.
It was reliably gathered that the party had mooted the idea of formally suspending him from its fold but was restrained by the leadership which had hoped he would soft-pedal over time, only for Obasanjo to unleash a more debilitating assault on Jonathan, accusing him of shifting scheduled polls in a bid to circumvent the wheels in order to win by hook or crook.
Friday, 13 February 2015
"Why We Toppled Murtala Moohammed" - Dimka's 1976 Coup Speech
The history of Nigeria as a nation is incomplete without a mention of Friday, February 13, 1976. On that Black Friday, Nigerians were jolted by the news of the death of General Murtala Ramat Mohammed, the then Head of State and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. Murtala, a Civil War hero, who commanded a Division, was killed along with his Aide de Camp, Lt Akintunde Akinshehinwa and his driver on his way to work. Col. Ibrahim Taiwo, the Ogbomoso-born military Governor of Kwara State and a number of other officers were also killed in the botched coup.
As Nigeria marks the 39th anniversary of the death of General Murtala Mohammed, The Anchor Online presents the speech read on that Friday morning by Colonel Buka Suka Dimka who led the failed coup. Excerpts:
“Good morning fellow Nigerians, This is Lt. Col. B. Dimka of the Nigerian Army calling.
I bring you good tidings. Murtala Muhammed’s deficiency has been detected. His government is now overthrown by the young revolutionaries. All the 19 military governors have no powers over the states they now govern. The states affairs will be run by military brigade commanders until further notice.
All commissioners are sacked, except for the armed forces and police commissioners who will be redeployed.
All senior military officers should remain calm in their respective spots. No divisional commanders will issue orders or instructions until further notice.
Any attempt to foil these plans from any quarters will be met with death.
You are warned, it is all over the 19 states.
Any acts of looting or raids will be death.
Everyone should be calm.
Please stay by your radio for further announcements.
All borders, air and sea ports are closed until further notice.
Curfew is imposed from 6am to 6pm.
Thank you. We are all together”.
A few hours after the broadcast however, the coup was foiled and the plotters were dislodged from the radio station where Dimka was to make a second broadcast. On the orders of General Theophilus Danjuma, Colonel Ibrahim Babangida led a detachment of soldiers that stormed the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria to dislodge Dimka and his men after a short but fierce gun battle. Dimka managed to escape but was arrested weeks after.
Below is a text of the second speech which Colonel Dimka never got to read on the air waves:
This is Lt. Col. BS Dimka. I now explain why we the Young Revolutionaries of the Armed Forces have found it necessary to overthrow the six month old government of Murtala. On the 29th July 1975 the Government of General Gowon was overthrown. Some of the reasons given for the change were:
c. Arrest and detention without trial
d. Weakness on the part of the Head of State
e. Maladministration in general and a host of other malpractice.
Every honest Nigerian will agree with me that since the change over of government there has not been any physical development in the whole country generally.
All we have is arbitrary dismissal of innocent Nigerians who have contributed in no less amount to the building of this great nation. A Professor was arrested, detained, dismissed and later taken to court on an article which every honest Nigerian will agree that all the points contained in that article were 100% truth. The sad point about it all is that those who initiated the retirement or dismissal exercise are the worst offenders. You will be informed about the ill-gotten wealth in my next announcement.
The acting General Manager of the Nigerian Airways was invited to the Dodan Barracks and detained without trial. The people of this country have been living in a state of fear. The Armed Forces promotion exercise is still fresh in your minds. Whatever reasons they have for the promotion one can only say that they are ambitious. They in fact took over power to enrich themselves.
We are convinced that some of the programmes announced for a return to civilian rule are made to favor a particular group. To mention only one. Maitama Sule is a politician. But has been appointed Chief of Commissioners for Complaints. This is to prepare him for the next political head at all cost. How many of you know that Maitama Sule is on a salary of N17,000 per annum?
In view of what I have just said and a lot more which time will not permit me to mention, we the Young Revolutionaries have once again taken over the Government to save Murtala from total disgrace and prevent him from committing further blunders and totally collapsing the country before he runs away in the name of retirement to enjoy the huge fortune he got through bribe which he has now stored outside this country. I believe that charity should begin at home.
Please stay by your radio for further announcements.
We are all together.”
Culled from The AnchorOnline
Thursday, 12 February 2015
As part of efforts to contain acts of insurgency in the North East and secure the entire area for the forthcoming general elections, the National Information Centre (NIC) says it has intelligence reports which indicate a considerable movement of Boko Haram recruits from locations such as Geidam, Mairi and Dupcha (all in Borno State) to training camps within the general area.
Addressing a news conference in Abuja, Coordinator of the Centre, Mr Mike Omeri said previous major attacks by insurgents, including the siege on Bama and Monguno military bases, were preceded by such massing up of fighters in training camps within the proposed targets.
Mr Omeri however added that the Nigerian military forces have been fully mobilised and deployed against the insurgents, who are being chased and roundly subdued.
He advised members of the public to exercise a high level of vigilance and also support the effort of the military to ensure hitch-free elections and a return to normalcy in the North East.
“We urge the public to exercise a high level of vigilance and support the military to ensure hitch-free elections and a return to normalcy in the general area, soonest.
“We also seize this opportunity to restate government’s commitment to keeping the country and its citizens safe from those who seek to destroy the nation,’’ he said.
Mr Omeri also called on the civil society organisations and politicians to refrain from “disruptive and inciting statements’’.
President Goodluck Jonathan on Wednesday evening held his 8th Presidential Media Chat since assuming office, he took time out to speaks on issues surrounding the economy, insecurity, corruption, election postponement and more.
On postponed elections:
The president sought the understanding of the international community over the postponed elections. He said the kind of scenarios where elections are postponed for the sake of perpetuating power is not the case in Nigeria.
“I was not consulted and I don’t want to be consulted,” he said in response to a question by one of the journalists.
The President said it was within the powers of INEC to postpone the polls, even as he argued that beyond the security concerns raised by the relevant security organs, the electoral umpire themselves were unable to distribute enough permanent voters cards to eligible Nigerian voters.
“In Lagos for example only 38 per cent of voters have their PVCs, so if you hold elections there 62 per cent will not be able to vote,” he said.
The president was asked why he thinks the war against Boko Haram can be won in six weeks even though the war had raged for six years. The president said he has just acquired new weapons, and gotten support of neigbhouring countries to fight Boko Haram. He mentioned that Chad waited for African Union approval, which they recently got too. He also mentioned that the issue of security is beyond Boko Haram. The president said it runs into dangerous signals of youth restiveness. In the next four weeks Nigerians will see the difference in the security intervention in the North, he said.
The president is asked where he bought arms for the coming onslaught on Boko Haram. He said they managed to get from other sources other than America.
Do you have confidence in Jega to conduct the 2015 elections?
The president said he wished Jega was seated by his side to answer the question.
I wish Jega were here, I could have asked him to answer whether I have confidence in him Yes those who called for his sack may be close to me, but they express their own opinion. More than 80 per cent of those who sponsor messages on our behalf we don’t even know them. People use the reschedule of election to misinform Nigerians.
I have never thought about removing INEC Chairman, though I have the constitutional power to do so.”
GEJ blamed his supporters for rumours about Jega’s resignation. “I have not told anybody that I will remove Jega,” he said. He explained that if there are obvious reasons to remove Jega, he would rely on “constitutional” provisions that gives him powers to sack whoever he appoints.
”The level of misinformation, especially from young people is high. Attempting to attack the president is treasonable offence.The president is protected by soldiers, not just the police. People get carried away and make some provocative statements.
Those who pelted my convoy during my campaigns in the Northern part of the country were ignorant. If INEC conducts the election poorly, it will be on my head.”
On Hate speeches and political violence by both opposition and ruling party members.
The president explained that “some people” get carried away by the political play and exude these violence. He blamed aides and associates of key political actors for the hate speeches and political violence. He did not categorically condemn the hate speeches or war threats or politically-motivated violence.
“We will make sure things are done so that nobody goes to war,” the president said when he pressed for categorical stance on the war threats by ex-militants should he lose the elections. He argues journalists have responsibility to ensure the unity of the country.
On why he frequents churches for campaign but never visited mosques:
GEJ responded by saying he does not receive invitations from Muslims like from the churches.
If election would hold should the military fails to eliminate Boko Haram in six weeks:
The presidents said the new dates are sacrosanct and a new president would be sworn in by May 29. He argued that the goal is not to totally eliminate Boko Haram but to make adequate security arrangement for the election.
Missing Chibok girls:
Questioning moves to the issue of the president’s perceived weak support especially as it relates to the missing Chibok girls. “Just give us some times,” he said, responding to questions seeking the state of the girls at the moment. The president is optimistic the girls would be rescued with the new military collaboration with neighbouring countries. “I believe the story would be different in a few weeks,” the president said. “We would recover them alive.”
I believe the story of Chibok Girls will get better in the next few weeks, but don’t quote me. We are working with our neighbours, we will comb the whole of that place Partying after abduction? It’s unfortunate that people play politics with the issue of Chibok girls. It’s not like that elsewhere. In other countries, political boundaries collapse in the face of terror attacks, not so in Nigeria.
With regards to his weakened political base, the president said “in politics, there are only permanent interests.”
The president was asked to clarify his previous comments that “stealing is not corruption”:
He said he made that statement quoting the former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Dahiru Mustafa, who explained to him that his analysis of corruption cases in Nigeria showed that most of such cases were theft. He argued that referring to stealing as corruption minimizes the crime. “Ole (thief in Yoruba) should be called Ole and given that treatment,” the president said.
“Let us communicate properly. The word corruption, we have abused it.”
“It is not actually my quotation. I quoted the former Chief Justice,” as he continues to defend his previous comments on corruption and stealing.
We have convicted more corrupt people than ever. It is just that Nigerians are confused on what the difference is between stealing and corruption.
The state of the N1 billion security loan and funds confiscated in South Africa?
He said the government have not started disbursing the N1 billion loan. With regards to the .3 million arms money seized in South Africa, he said the money does not belong to Nigeria, technically. He added that the matter was in court.
Would You hand over if you lose the next election?
“If the elections are conducted and I lose, of course, another president would be sworn in,” the president said. He argued that Nigeria is more important than any individual.
The president was asked what he will do differently if he wins.
He said most of the problem he had in the past is related to perception and not concrete. He did not really say what he would do differently.
The president was asked to comment on his opponent for the 2015 general election, Buhari.
The president responded it was an unfair question. He however mentioned that he has recieved more criticism that Muhammadu Buhari on social media.
GMB contested against Obasanjo in 2003, against Yar’Adua in 2007, against me in 2011. But the environment was different. The people around us are different -GEJ
Q: Are you bothered by the amount of money spent on campaigns?
A: The N21bn raised by PDP was a pledge, not in cash -GEJ
Q: What have you learnt in your first term and what will you do differently in your second term?
A: I will watch some actions and inactions of people around me in my second term – GEJ
GMB said the APC had not done rallies in Yobe, Borno & and some other places -GEJ
The way I went to some militants in Warri, as VP, without carrying weapons, you can’t do that with Boko Haram -GEJ
The president was asked if he has confidence in INEC as presidently constituted.
He answered saying he appointed everyone at the management level of INEC.
In his closing remarks, president Jonathan assured Nigerians that elections would be conducted and a new president sworn in on May 29. He argued that it is better for INEC to conduct an election everyone would be happy with.
Former president of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo has again cleared the air on his stand concerning the forthcoming presidential elections, as well as the candidate he will support.
At the launch of his new book ‘My Watch’ in the United Kingdom, Obasanjo responded to questions on reports that he had endorsed the presidential candidate of the APC, General Muhammadu Buhari, maintaining that his wish is to see Nigeria headed by a strong president.
“Well, whatever you get in the paper and in the press, please yourself, he said, referring to guests at the event who wanted to confirm the reported endorsement.
He added that “”What I said and I maintain that and I will say it again and I will do it. When the time comes for me to vote, I will consider the track record of all the candidates that are contesting and I will assess and based on my assessment for who I believe have the best track record to perform the job of the Nigerian president, then he will have my vote and if anybody should know what the job of the Nigerian president requires, I should know.”
He further noted that “Nigeria has a population of 180 million and you wouldn’t have anybody other than one person or two persons that can run the affairs of Nigeria? What the hell are we talking about?
“For me there are millions who can run the affairs of Nigeria who are not even coming out. So why should you die on behalf of one who is probably performing as a mediocre. With all due respect.
“Nigeria, if you love it, you would look for the best for Nigeria and I don’t believe that at this point in time we have the best for Nigeria,” he said.
Wednesday, 11 February 2015
Since the global financial meltdown of 2008, governments around the world have been grappling with the challenges of sustaining economic growth through industrialisation and job creation initiatives for their citizens and economies.
The launch of the National Industrial Revolution Plan by President Goodluck Jonathan in 2014, set the stage for the reform of the country’s industrial sector, with emphasis on areas of comparative and competitive advantages as well as the provision of jobs for the teeming population of unemployed youths.
However, employers of labour especially in the manufacturing sector, have often complained of the availability of jobs, but the dearth of employable skilled persons. This situation has led to the reliance on expatriates most times to fill the gap, until Nigerians are trained over a period of years to take over from them.
Indeed it is often bemoaned that potential job-seekers especially in the graduate cadre lack the requisite qualification to clinch the myriad of job opportunities industries have to offer. However, in order to correct the situation, President Goodluck Jonathan has utilised interventionist agencies like the Industrial Training Fund, (ITF) and the National Directorate of Employment (NDE), by constantly creating new, exciting and sustainable jobs and developing the nation’s human capital to admirable heights.
An agency like the ITF has made some notable strides and impact which industry stakeholders have recognised as milestones that could turn the odds in the favor of Nigerian youths, if sustained and expanded to cover every state in the country and all sectors of the economy.
Under the present administration, ITF has successfully trained and equipped youths with advanced employable skills in the numerous occupational areas, such as facility maintenance technology (FCT) mechanical & electrical services, information and communication technology (ICT) and culinary skills western and African dishes.
Other areas where the ITF has made highly appreciable impact, according to observers, are in mechatronics (Automation and Autotronics), Electronics, ie Computer and Networking) (ECN),with many of them insisting the training programmes has not only equipped trainees for a successful and rewarding career but also paved the way to long life education and training.
For the ITF however, those in the know said it was obvious the Fund was living up to its mandate. This notion, according to Author and Human Resource Management Expert, Mr Kunle Rotimi, is even more evident, when consideration is given to initiatives the ITF has spearheaded in recent times, particularly since a new leadership headed by Dr Mrs Juliet Chukkas - Onaeko, came on board as Director General and Chief Executive Officer in the latter part of 2014.
Rotimi noted that the ITF through its high quality world class training has to a large and reasonable extent, curtailed social unrest and tension within the country.
He said beneficiaries of the Fund’s training programmes, including ex militants from the nation’s Niger Delta region, has consistently proved themselves worthy wherever they are engaged, saying the unemployment situation in the country would have assumed a more critical dimension, were it not for the efforts and intervention of the ITF and support from President Jonathan.
“Kudos must also be given to the President for having the foresight to review the laws setting up the Fund.The review of the ITF’s law in 2011 has positively changed the face of manpower training and development in the country, as stakeholders and partners now feel more concerned and responsive to their manpower, training and development responsibilities.” Rotimi explained.
Assessing the manpower development initiatives of the ITF, Training Expert and Managing Director of Prot Consulting International, Mr. Sunny Agboju, said Nigerian and the West Africansub-regional economies are better for it.
ITF’s trainees and graduates, according to Agboju, have remained “hot cakes”. He said the level and quality of vocational training, coupled with the limitless opportunities it presents to Nigerian youths cannot be over emphasised.
Speaking on these positives strides, Human Resource Management Expert and Registrar, Chartered Institute of Personnel Management of Nigeria, (CIPM), Mr Sunday Adeyemi, said the recent graduation of many youths in various fields of vocational studies from the Industrial Skills Training Center (ISTC) of the Industrial Training Fund, ITF has brought to the fore the role the scheme is playing to eliminate unemployment.
Describing these positives development by the Fund and speaking of it as a direct manifestation of President Goodluck Jonathan transformation, Director General, ITF, Dr. Mrs Juliet-Chukkas-Onaeko, said the ITF is determined to give the requisite skills to the teeming Nigerian youths, make them independent of government jobs, in order to turn them to entrepreneurs and employers of labour.
The ITF, Onaeko said, is also poised to establish additional 44 skill acquisition centers across the country under its National Industrial Skills Development Programme, (NISDP).
Graduates who had completed the required courses in electronics and computer networking and information and communication, welding and fabrication, auto mechanics, cooling technology amongst others have been produced by the ITF,the DG said.
She noted further that 38 of the centres would be for industrial skill training, while another six would be used for advanced skills training to provide direct employment and empower youths with employable skills.
Source -Daily Times Nigeria