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Your letter is malicious!http://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=17386Thu, 12 Dec 2013 02:26:00 GMTFive Lawmakers To Impeach Amaechihttp://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=17385Thu, 12 Dec 2013 03:46:00 GMTNollywood Veteran Actor Olumide Bakare Down With Heart Problemhttp://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=17384Thu, 12 Dec 2013 04:38:00 GMTProducer Teco Benson Calls Actor Mike Ezuruonye Unprofessionalhttp://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=17383Thu, 12 Dec 2013 04:43:00 GMTSign language interpreter at Nelson Mandela's funeral claims he had a psychotic break down - Videohttp://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=17382Thu, 12 Dec 2013 08:56:00 GMTGolden Globe Nominations: Actor Chiwetel Ejiofor Nominated For Best Actor In "12 Years A Slave" - Videohttp://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=17381Thu, 12 Dec 2013 10:56:00 GMTT B Joshua: My Persecution Has Been A Blessinghttp://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=17380Thu, 12 Dec 2013 15:01:00 GMTRev. Chris Okotie’s Church Is Carrying Out A Beauty Queen Contesthttp://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=17379Thu, 12 Dec 2013 16:07:00 GMT6 cultists gang rape 16-yr-old girlhttp://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=17378Fri, 13 Dec 2013 01:17:00 GMTFamily Refuses To Attend Wedding Of Nollywood Actor Who Wedded Sugar Mummyhttp://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=17377Fri, 13 Dec 2013 04:19:00 GMTLawyer and colleague die in car with engine runninghttp://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=17376Fri, 13 Dec 2013 05:03:00 GMTLetter To Jonathan: Al-Mustapha Wants Proof From Obasanjohttp://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=17375Fri, 13 Dec 2013 05:51:00 GMTThamsanqa Jantjie, fake interpreter at Mandela memorial was facing murder chargeshttp://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=17374Fri, 13 Dec 2013 11:47:00 GMTBode George’s conviction overturned by the Supreme Courthttp://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=17373Fri, 13 Dec 2013 20:18:00 GMTBishop Tom Samson: I’ve no apology for being flamboyanthttp://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=17372Fri, 13 Dec 2013 21:01:00 GMTHow Jonathan and Obasanjo parted wayshttp://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=17371Sat, 14 Dec 2013 01:28:00 GMTRukky Sanda Flaunts Hot Legs In Short Dresshttp://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=17370Sat, 14 Dec 2013 06:33:00 GMTAlao Akala Fires Back At Reporter About Bleaching Claimhttp://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=17369Sat, 14 Dec 2013 06:53:00 GMTFirst Lady Patience Jonathan Now To Be Called “Mama Peace”http://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=17368Sat, 14 Dec 2013 07:06:00 GMTWole Soyinka, Others Pay Tribute To Mandela In Lagoshttp://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=17367Sat, 14 Dec 2013 13:51:00 GMTGovernor Rotimi Amaechi - "We Steal Because You Never Stoned Us For It" - Videohttp://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=17366Sat, 14 Dec 2013 13:58:00 GMTAngry Emirates Airline Passengers Protest After Being Left Behind Due To Overbookinghttp://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=17365Sat, 14 Dec 2013 15:13:00 GMTOlajide Onikoyi, Nigerian Student In UK Hacks Into 238 Students Bank Account Stealing More Than £393,000http://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=17364Sun, 15 Dec 2013 08:13:00 GMTCourt mistakenly releases names and addresses of 20,000 p0rn-watchers on a U.S.-based websitehttp://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=17363Sun, 15 Dec 2013 09:12:00 GMTFinal Goodbye to Tata! as Nelson Mandela is laid to rest - Photoshttp://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=17362Sun, 15 Dec 2013 11:05:00 GMTASUU meets in Minna to end strikehttp://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=17361Mon, 16 Dec 2013 02:14:00 GMTWizkid Gets In A Fight With Wande Coal!http://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=17360Mon, 16 Dec 2013 06:20:00 GMTAccess Bank Sacks 200 Staff And Squanders N200m On Mariah Careyhttp://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=17359Mon, 16 Dec 2013 06:41:00 GMTUS Blasts Mariah Carey For Performing In Nigeriahttp://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=17358Mon, 16 Dec 2013 08:20:00 GMTGhanaian In UK Kills Wife For Flirting With A Nigerianhttp://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=17357Mon, 16 Dec 2013 15:31:00 GMTActor Olumide Bakare is reportedly down with a heart related diseasehttp://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=17356Tue, 17 Dec 2013 01:11:00 GMTFani-Kayode dares Jonathan to charge him for treasonhttp://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=17355Tue, 17 Dec 2013 01:27:00 GMTCommercial Bus Driver Rapes Passenger At Gun Pointhttp://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=17354Tue, 17 Dec 2013 07:40:00 GMTFinally, ASUU suspends strike officially with immediate effecthttp://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=17353Tue, 17 Dec 2013 08:18:00 GMTPastor Beats Woman Accused Of Witchcraft To Death In Lagos Churchhttp://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=17352Tue, 17 Dec 2013 19:11:00 GMTPro-Jonathan groups seek Obasanjo’s arresthttp://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=17351Wed, 18 Dec 2013 02:39:00 GMTGov Amaechi Impregnates Wole Soyinka’s Daughterhttp://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=17350Wed, 18 Dec 2013 04:40:00 GMTMy Father is a liar, manipulator and a big hypocrite - Iyabo Obasanjo slams OBJhttp://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=17349Wed, 18 Dec 2013 04:43:00 GMTSeun Kuti Looks Smart In Suit And Tiehttp://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=17348Wed, 18 Dec 2013 04:49:00 GMTThree Nigerians Arrested In Ghana For Cloning Visa Cardshttp://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=17347Wed, 18 Dec 2013 20:49:00 GMTList Of 8 Celebrities Who Tormented Nigerians In 2013http://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=17346Wed, 18 Dec 2013 21:03:00 GMTSuspected cultists kill OOU lecturerhttp://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=17345Thu, 19 Dec 2013 01:04:00 GMTFormer BBA Winner Karen Igho Had Cancerhttp://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=17344Thu, 19 Dec 2013 01:44:00 GMTIyabo Obasanjo Blasts Mr. President, Says Goodluck Jonathan Is Behind That Stupid Letterhttp://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=17343Thu, 19 Dec 2013 04:36:00 GMTSee What Dbanj Did For Mandela!http://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=17342Thu, 19 Dec 2013 07:11:00 GMTMr Universe Tyrone Tseye Ogedegbe to storm Nigeriahttp://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=17341Thu, 19 Dec 2013 19:46:00 GMTUK deports Isa Muazu, Nigerian asylum seeker on hunger strikehttp://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=17340Thu, 19 Dec 2013 20:26:00 GMTHow former President Obasanjo Slept With His Son's Wifehttp://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=17339Fri, 20 Dec 2013 10:42:00 GMTOnitsha Miracle River Where People Bathe Without Clothes For Healing - Photoshttp://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=17338Fri, 20 Dec 2013 10:47:00 GMTPresident Goodluck Jonathan calls emergency meeting after terrorists attack Borno barrackshttp://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=17337Fri, 20 Dec 2013 19:21:00 GMTGovernor Sullivan Chime’s wife says she suffered depression due to husband's maltreatment - Videohttp://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=17336Fri, 20 Dec 2013 19:24:00 GMTChildren contract syphilis, impregnated by their own fatherhttp://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=17335Fri, 20 Dec 2013 19:27:00 GMTLagos Prophet Says Governor Amaechi May be Killed In 2015http://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=17334Sat, 21 Dec 2013 04:46:00 GMTWhite Woman tweets "Going to Africa. Hope I don't get AIDS. Just kidding. I'm white!"http://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=17333Sat, 21 Dec 2013 07:15:00 GMTPastor Chris Okotie buys N120m Rolls Royce to mark pastoral anniversaryhttp://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=17332Sun, 22 Dec 2013 01:34:00 GMT‘Court Can’t Sack Defecting Govs’L-R: Unit Manager, Ministry of Works, Mr Mohammed Isa, frsc  Corps Marshal, Mr Osita Chidoka, representative of the Minister of Works, Mr Abubakar Mohammed, and the  Deputy Corps Marshal, Mr Boboye Oyeyemi, at the handover of heavy duty trucks and patrol vehicles by the Minister of Works to frsc, in Abuja, recently. Photo: NAN

L-R: Unit Manager, Ministry of Works, Mr Mohammed Isa, frsc Corps Marshal, Mr Osita Chidoka, representative of the Minister of Works, Mr Abubakar Mohammed, and the Deputy Corps Marshal, Mr Boboye Oyeyemi, at the handover of heavy duty trucks and patrol vehicles by the Minister of Works to frsc, in Abuja, recently. Photo: NAN

The suit by the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) asking a Federal High Court in Abuja to sack the G5 Governors for defecting to the All Progressives Congress (APC) has been dismissed as an exercise in futility.

“The suit is laughable and betrays the ignorance of the PDP leadership about the laws of the land. It is also a further demonstration of the impunity associated with PDP in its disdain for democracy and due process,”

Erstwhile National Publicity Secretary of New PDP, Chief Eze Chukwuemeka Eze, stated this in a statement issued in Abuja.

Eze quoted relevant sections of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution to prove that the seats of the affected governors, namely, Alhaji Murtala Nyako (Adamawa), Rotimi Amaechi (Rivers), Alhaji Magatakarda Wamakko (Sokoto), Alhaji Rabiu Kwankwaso (Kano) and Alhaji Abdulfatai Ahmed (Kwara), are safe.

His words: “For the education of the confused PDP leadership and its legal team, there is no danger of any of our Governors losing their seats as made clear by sections 68(1)(g) and 109(1)(g) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) in relation to the status of members of a legislative house (state and national) who defect from the political parties from which they were elected to join another political party.

“The wordings of the aforesaid sections are in agreement with those of sections 64(1)(g) of the 1979 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria given judicial interpretation by the Supreme Court in the case of FEDECO Vs Goni (1983) FNR 203. This case was argued by the best legal minds of that era (Chief FRA Williams SAN and GOK Ajayi SAN). The court held that such a member keeps his seat if his defection is as a result of a division or split in his party.

“G5 Governors must be commended and congratulated for standing against the draconian and undemocratic acts of PDP and should go about their normal business as both PDP and its sponsors lack the power to sack any of them. This as well covers all members of the National Assembly who desire to join the Aso Rock-bound train (APC) come 2015,” he said.

Eze said it was not debatable that PDP is crisis-ridden, thus guaranteeing that none of its members who defects can be punished as a result. He quoted and attached a recent letter by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) voiding the suspension of Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, Alhaji Abubakar Baraje and Dr. Sam Sam Jaja as proof that PDP is in crisis.

The letter signed by INEC’s Secretary, Mrs. Augusta Ogakwu, was dated November 25, with reference number INEC /EPM/PDP/02/024/Vol.T/161 and titled: ‘Re: Suspension of Alhaji Abubakar Baraje, Dr. Sam Sam Jaja, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola and Ambassador Ibrahim Karaure from the PDP”. The letter, addressed to the National Chairman of the PDP, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, reads: “This is to acknowledge the receipt of your letter dated November 12, 2013 informing the commission on the suspension of four members of your party.

“The commission notes that some of the individuals so suspended held positions covered by the provisions of section 85(1) of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) and that no notice of the meeting which approved their suspension was provided to the commission. “Accordingly, the records of the commission does not reflect the process and composition of the meeting that approved the suspension of the individuals, as such, the commission cannot establish an informed position on the matter “Please accept the commission’s highest regard and consideration.”

Eze supported INEC’s position by quoting Section 85 (1) of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended), which states thus: “Every registered political party shall give the commission at least 21 days notice of any convention, congress, conference or meeting convened for the purpose of electing members of its executive committees, other governing bodies or nominating candidates for any of the elective offices specified under this Act.”

The former New PDP Spokesman accused PDP of mischief for instigating the Houses of Assembly in the affected states to start impeachment proceedings against the defected Governors as being witnessed in Rivers State, where six rebel legislators are desperately trying to impeach Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi. He warned PDP to desist from any further act of destabilisation capable of plunging the country into chaos and truncating the country’s hard-won democracy.

In conclusion, Chief Eze asked how come that PDP received Chief TA Orji of Abia State and Chief Ikedi Ohakim former Governor of Imo State that defected from PPA and Alh. Isa Yuguda of Bauchi State who defected from ANPP and joined PDP without declaring their seats vacant. Now that PDP is at the receiving end of the same medicine they administered on others and they are window shopping for ways to have their cakes after devouring them. What a pity as about seven more PDP Governors will be joining APC by the first quarter of 2014 at that time they will be preparing on how to bury PDP formally by 2015.

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http://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=17331Mon, 16 Dec 2013 02:15:59 GMT
Missing $49.8bn; NNPC, CBN Meet, TodayNew Chief Operating Officer, Horwath Dafinone (Chartered Accountants), Dr. Daphne Terri Dafinone and new managing partner, Mr. Igho Dafinone, during a cocktail party to honour Praveen Bhasin and usher-in the new management team in Lagos, recently. Photo: NAN

New Chief Operating Officer, Horwath Dafinone (Chartered Accountants), Dr. Daphne Terri Dafinone and new managing partner, Mr. Igho Dafinone, during a cocktail party to honour Praveen Bhasin and usher-in the new management team in Lagos, recently. Photo: NAN

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Federal Ministry of Finance will today meet over the sum of $49.8bn, which the CBN alleged NNPC failed to remit to the federation account.

The NNPC’s Executive Director, Explorations and Production, Mr. Abiye Membere, and the Director, Department of Petroleum Resources, Gerorge Osahon, disclosed this, Saturday at a media briefing in Abuja.

Osahon said, “The agencies are meeting on Monday to straighten the record.”

Corroborating Osahon, Membere said, “All the agencies will meet on Monday: the CBN, NNPC, FIRS (Federal Inland Revenue Service), the ministry of finance and the budget office. “The Ministry of Finance and the Budget Office has to be there because they give us the target.”

Membere stated that the NNPC was ready to defend what it had done.

The CBN Governor, Mallam Lamido Sanusi, had in a letter to President Goodluck Jonathan, alleged that the NNPC failed to remit $49.8bn to the federation account from January, 2012 to July 2013.

But Membere, at the media briefing, said that the figure could not be justified. He said the NNPC was surprised because the letter, which was written in September 2013 was leaked to the public to heat up the polity.

He said, “The letter was written in September. The NNPC responded immediately through the channel it came. It was really surprising that a confidential letter of this nature will also go out and heat up the polity. “This is actually why we are worried, considering where it is coming from. It is coming from the top. It is taking a political dimension, which is not good for the country at all. It has come to a point where the NNPC and other agencies have no choice but to keep the record straight.”

He said the NNPC remitted $18.48bn to the federation account and not the $15bn claimed by the CBN. Membere stated, “The CBN governor’s letter indicated an amount that was remitted: $15bn. But our record indicated that we remitted $18.48bn within the same period.”

The executive director said the CBN ought to check accounts for royalty and tax before making the claim about the missing $49.8bn.

He stated that the NNPC would not collect revenue on behalf of the Federal Government and not remit it. According to him, expectations on revenue should be lower compared to previous years because of incessant pipeline vandalism.

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http://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=17330Mon, 16 Dec 2013 02:16:23 GMT
Doctors Begin Nationwide Strike, WednesdayL-R: Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr Olusegun Aganga, Minister of State, Dr Samuel Ortom and Deputy President, Nigerian Guild of Editors, Mr Steve Ayorinde, at the close of the 3rd Annual Seminar for Trade and Investment Correspondents and Editors in Abuja last Saturday. Photo: NAN

L-R: Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr Olusegun Aganga, Minister of State, Dr Samuel Ortom and Deputy President, Nigerian Guild of Editors, Mr Steve Ayorinde, at the close of the 3rd Annual Seminar for Trade and Investment Correspondents and Editors in Abuja last Saturday. Photo: NAN

Nigerians are in for another hard time as the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) begins a five-day nationwide warning strike on Wednesday.

The association also threatened to embark on an indefinite and total strike if the federal government fails to use the window of the 5 day warning strike to meet all her demands.

NMA President Dr. Osahion Enabulele who spoke with reporters in Minna yesterday after the National Executive Committee meeting and an Emergency Delegates Congress of the association said the association was constrained to declare the industrial action due to the extremely poor progress in the resolution of their demands after expiration of several ultimatums issued to the federal government.

The NMA President lamented that unions now have to resort to strike because government “seems not to appreciate the need for constructive dialogue but only respond to strike actions.”

Describing the development as a sad reflection of the state of affairs in the country, the NMA President bemoaned that industrial strikes have become the routine in the country today.

Enabulele threatened further that if the warning strike fails, the association would have no other choice than to resort to total strike.

“For now, what we have issued as a test to the commitment of government is a warning strike. We hope the federal government would rise up to its responsibilities and use this opportunity to address the issues presented to it because if this fails, we may have no choice than to declare a total strike action. “We feel the federal government is either taking us for a ride or the strategy being employed by us is not appreciated. Handling our issues with levity is what has led us to declare this warning strike action, ”he said.

He further said members felt they have been pushed to their limits but they considered the delicate period and the interest of Nigerians which they have at hand.

“The reason for the strike being five days is to give allowance to our people. Our  members were agitating for a total action because they felt they have been pushed to their limit but we recognize that this is a delicate period and Nigerians need to be given some allowance during this period. We hope the federal government will utilize the opportunity to resolve the issue on ground,” he said.

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http://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=17329Mon, 16 Dec 2013 02:16:47 GMT
NASS Flays Police Closure Of Rivers AssemblyMembers of the National Assembly from Rivers State have frowned at the  continuous refusal by the Police  to allow members of the Rivers State House of Assembly  access to the legislative complex to carry out their duties after an Abuja High Court  had vacated the powers of the National Assembly over the House.

Federal lawmakers representing Andoni-Opobo-Nkoro Constituency in the House of Representatives, Hon. Dakuku Peterside and that of Ogba/Egbema and Ahoada West, Hon.Honourable Asita said they were delegated by the Rivers caucus of the National Assembly alongside other federal legislators representing Rivers State to confirm the refusal of the lawmakers into the Assembly complex by men of the Nigeria Police in Rivers State.

Hon. Peterside said, “We were informed from Abuja that our Rivers State House of Assembly is on fire.  The Rivers State caucus in the National Assembly, including Senator Magnus Ngei Abe representing Rivers South-East Senatorial district, Senator Wilson Ake of Rivers West senatorial district and ten (10) members of the House of Representatives had sent a delegation to confirm the refusal of the pro-Amaechi lawmakers into the Rivers State House of Assembly after it obtained judgment from a Federal High Court to commence its legislative functions as provided by law.  Every Rivers person and all Nigerians and indeed the world have heard the Abuja Federal High Court Judgment…democracy is still on trial.

Honourable Asita urged the police to uphold its integrity and ensure peace returns to the Assembly.

For the second day on Friday, the police in Rivers State had barred the lawmakers of the Rivers State House of Assembly from entering the Assembly complex in Port Harcourt. Former Police spokesman in Rivers State, Uche Chuwuma who led the police team told the legislators that the Police were yet to receive orders from Abuja.

Following an Abuja High Court judgement, the lawmakers had gone to the Assembly complex last Thursday, but were stopped by a team of policemen from accessing the complex.  The lawmakers and other officials of the House were dispersed with teargas and gunshots when they insisted on carrying out their legislative duties.

Moreover, the State Police authorities told the lawmakers outside the Assembly complex that since there were two factions in the House it would not allow any of the two groups to gain entrance until it gets a directive from the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar.

Divisional Police Officer DPO in  Omoku, Uche  Chukwuma who led the police team told the lawmakers  “we are aware that your matter is a legal issue. We are professionals and will not allow any of the two Assembly factional groups to gain entrance into the Assembly complex, because the two groups have similar interest.  The police is assuring you that the Assembly complex will remain closed until we get further directives from the Inspector-General of Police at Abuja”.

When plastic chairs were brought for the lawmakers to sit outside the Assembly complex, the police refused to allow the lawmakers sit on the chairs. This infuriated the lawmakers who then proceeded to sit on the floor of the road (Moscow road) leading into the Assembly. While siting on the road, the legislators sang solidarity songs and praise and worship songs to God.

Deputy Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly, Leyii Kwanee, who spoke on behalf of the lawmakers said, the Assembly members had on Thursday, December 12th at about 8a.m in the morning attempted to gain access to the Assembly complex following the Federal High Court judgment restraining the National Assembly from carrying out the legislative functions of the Rivers State House of Assembly.

According to him, “we are here again today, Friday, December 13, 2013 to gain access to perform our legislative functions and we were also prevented again by the police.  We hear, the police want to open the Assembly Complex to other five legislators.  But they have assured us that the Assembly complex will remain closed”.

Hon. Leyii Kwanne also said, the legislators are working out modalities to file a legal action against the police for deliberately refusing to obey court orders and vehemently disallowing the lawmakers from exercising their constitutional powers in the current democratic dispensation.

“The interest of Rivers people cannot be jeopardized by the police, because the business of lawmaking is constitutional and lawful. We were democratically elected by our people at the grassroots.  We will not continue to allow police impunity on our peoples rights in Rivers State”, Hon. Leyii Kwane said.

Also speaking, leader of the Rivers State House of Assembly, Hon. Chidi Lloyd said: “the police have told us that the reason why it could not allow the Pro-Amaechi legislators is because it is protecting lives and property.  The police have also told us that, none of the two factional Assembly groups will gain entrance.  We will continue to wait until the police conclude.

However, the world is watching, what is been destroyed is Rivers interest and the voice of our people, but we will ensure dividends of democracy to our people.  Only recently we mourn the death of late Nelson Mandela, and the world honoured him because he fought apartheid in South Africa.  I know all you here and our people have resilience, we urge you to wait patiently, because nothing good comes easy”, Chidi Lloyd explained.

Port Harcourt Grand President, Brig. Gen. George Ikioumoton (left) with Director, Business Development, Rivers State Newspaper Corporation, Mr Valentine Ugboma, during the Thanksgiving Service of newly inducted Knights of St. John International at St. Mary Commandery, Atali, Port Harcourt, yesterday.

Port Harcourt Grand President, Brig. Gen. George Ikioumoton (left) with Director, Business Development, Rivers State Newspaper Corporation, Mr Valentine Ugboma, during the Thanksgiving Service of newly inducted Knights of St. John International at St. Mary Commandery, Atali, Port Harcourt, yesterday.

]]>
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Twenty-Four Days to A State of Emergency

On Tuesday, 26th September, 2006, the 26-man Ekiti State House of Assembly (ESHOA) passed a motion to serve a notice of impeachment on the Ekiti State governor Mr. Peter Ayodele Fayose (of Afao-Ekiti) and his deputy Mrs. Abiodun Christine Olujimi, (nee Ariyo, of Omuo-Ekiti), alleging gross misconduct against them. In all, there were five charges against Fayose and two against Olujimi. 24 out of 26 of the ESHOA were in support of the motion. The House informed the world that it delivered the notice by express mail to the accused duo on Friday, September 29 (giving them 14 days to respond), although the governor indicated that he did not receive his own copy until Tuesday, October 3.

 

On that same day, Governor Fayose filed on an ex-parte motion in an Ado-Ekiti court to stop the impeachment process, a hearing which had a drama of its own: various Ekiti State judges (Wale Kowe, Segun Akintayo in that order) declined to take it. However, on Wednesday, October 4, when Justice Femi Akeju finally agreed to take the case, he promptly dismissed Fayose's objection as being "alien in law ."

Figuring that it had received all the "answer" that it would ever get from the accused duo, the ESHOA went ahead on Thursday, October 5 to instruct the Chief Judge Bamisile to announce a seven-man panel to conduct the formal impeachment investigation of the Governor and his Deputy. Constitutionally, the CJ - who barely 3 months earlier had just been sworn in by Governor Fayose on Friday, July 21, 2006, and leap-frogged over a more senior judge - had seven days to do so.

 

On Monday, October 9, Governor Fayose, in an anticipatory volley, wrote to Chief Judge Bamisile, completely denying all the charges against himself in the impeachment notice.

On Tuesday, October 10, 2006 , the CJ announced his seven-person panel - and more: a group headed by Remi Bamigboye (Chairman) and comprising Alli Apanisile, Sesan Adesuyi, Segun Da-Silva, Olu Alade, Solomon Ajisafe and Mrs. Olufunmilayo Olukogbon came into being. By allegedly packing this panel with family relations and cronies of Fayose, Bamisile initiated a seeming vertical cocktail of illegalities, the consequences of which he himself could not contemplate. He swept aside the objections of the Speaker and his ESHOA - giving the excuse that as a judge with limited contacts with ordinary folk, he was not expected to know everybody's backgrounds - and dismissed them all as "jokers." The Bamisile panel went ahead to be inaugurated by the CJ – even after the Speaker forced his way in to the arena to object to its composition.

For refusing to re-constitute the rigged panel, as well as refusing to appear before the Assembly on Wednesday, October 11, the ESHOA promptly suspended CJ Bamisile on that Wednesday – taking care not to "remove" him and hence not violating Section 292 of the Constitution. It moved to fill the vacuum by appointing an Acting CJ Jide Aladejana, again not violating of constitution Section 271(4) which stated that the most senior judge should step in as Acting CJ [The other senior judge Fasanmi had declined; after all accepting any position is not "by force."]

On Thursday, October 12, the Bamisile panel still went ahead to meet on the impeachment matter - for a total of about thirty minutes. It promptly discharged the Governor and his Deputy from all allegations without taking a single oral evidence for and against the accused persons. Also on this day, Justice Bamisile filed a case before a High Court in Ado-Ekiti, challenging his suspension by the House of Assembly. The case was adjourned to be heard on Thursday, October 19.

Aladejana went ahead to announce, on the Friday October 13, a new panel with people of unquestionable integrity and impeccable credentials, headed by Mr. Emanuel Bamidele Omotosho as Chairman, and comprising Deacon Olajubu Solomon Obaleye, Mr. Ismail Olowolafe Daisi, Mr. Kayode Filani, Dr. [Mrs.] Funmi Adeniyi, Rev. F. F. Ijasan and Major J.O. Odunsina (Rtd.). Later on that same day, a letter from the Chief Justice Belgore in response to Aladejana's own October 12 letter to Belgore of notification of his new elevated status was made available to the Press – but apparently not directly to Aladejana. In fact, there is still a running rumor that it was a forged letter. In any case, the Belgore letter warned that Aladejana's appointment as Acting CJ was in violation of Section 271 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. However it was silent about the constitutionality of the dismissal of the Chief Judge Bamisile himself.

On Friday October 13 and Saturday October 14, the Aladejana panel took evidence from Morakinyo Ogele, the maverick lawyer whose zillion petitions stirred the EFCC; from Goke Olatunji, the multi-embattled Personal Assistant of Fayose; from the EFCC itself represented by one Mr. Madaki; and from a lawyer representing DG Olujimi. There was no representation from Governor Ayo Fayose.

At Ado-Ekiti on Monday, October 16, at exactly 9:17 am , after receiving the Aladejana panel report and calling for a vote, the Speaker of the EHOA's gavel fell in the House, formalizing the impeachment of Fayose and Olujimi. Fayose and Olujimi became ex-Governor (having served May 29, 2005 to October 16, 2006 ) and ex-Deputy Governor ( December 7, 2005 to October 16, 2006 ) respectively. The House also formalized the acting judgeship of Aladejana, who immediately proceeded to swear in the Speaker as Acting Governor.

Later on that same day (October 16), now suddenly finding his voice, the Attorney-General of the Federation, Bayo Ojo, weighed in with an opinion that the State House of Assembly had no power to suspend the Chief Judge of a state, nor (echoing the Chief Justice) to appoint an acting CJ. He warned that "Federal Government will not fold its arms and allow the breakdown of law and order in any part of the country" and that it would "take appropriate steps to fulfil its responsibility of maintaining law and order in Ekiti State and indeed in all parts of the Federation." It turned out to be a promise, not a threat. The new national president of the NBA, Olisa Agbakoba, also stridently weighed in on the side of the AG, brazenly storming into Ado-Ekiti to interfere without the courtesy of waiting for an invitation by Ekiti State's chapter of the NBA, or consulting with the two Ekiti indigenes Femi Falana (president of the West African Bar Association) or past NBA President Wole Olanipekun (SAN).

Also on October 16, the deposed deputy governor Olujimi filed a suit at an Ado-Ekiti High Court challenging her removal from office. On that same day, ex-governor Fayose disappeared from the scene, some kind of fugitive on the run up until this day, leaving his Deputy Olujimi to fight the battle on, still claiming to be Deputy Governor while acting as Governor on behalf on her "departed" Governor. Demonstrating quite some chutzpah - and seemingly from a political script written elsewhere - she even held a "cabinet meeting" at the Old Governor's office.

On Tuesday, October 17, Fayose also spoke to a Lagos TV channel from his rat-hole hide-out, claiming his gubernatorial "throne" back.
The grounds had been prepared.
All of the above actions ended up in a state of emergency being declared by President Olusegun Obasanjo on Thursday, October 19. President Obasanjo announced the imposition of a former ex-military person, Tunji Olurin, as "Sole Administrator" on Ekiti State . His words were destructive of democracy in Ekiti State:
QUOTE
The Governor and his Deputy and those who purported to be Acting Governors or Deputy by this declaration will cease to be in charge of the affairs of Ekiti State. An Administrator to manage the affairs of Ekiti State in the person of Brigadier- General Tunji Olurin (rtd.) is hereby nominated for six months in the first instance. The Ekiti State House of Assembly also goes on suspension as the formal legislative body of the State with immediate effect for six months. Having a State Assembly in position under a State of Emergency is incongruous and may not allow for the expeditious actions that the Administrator will need, to put the State back into a situation of peace, harmony, security for all, and maintenance of law and order throughout the State. Elected officials below the State level are not suspended. The Federal Gazette containing the Declaration has been forwarded to the National Assembly in accordance with the Constitution.
UNQUOTE

And that is where we are now.

An Awful Prelude: And Why Not The Courts?

This State of Emergency step was the crowning one of the vertical cocktail of illegalities, and has been condemned by many segments of Nigerian society, including many Ekiti indigenes at home and abroad. The irony – and dilemma - is that the SOE is opposed for various reasons, even contradictory:

  1. the pro-Fayose group believes that it precludes the (early) return of Fayose to his governorship, and so should be quashed.

  1. the anti-Fayose group, happy that Fayose was impeached by hook or by crook by the Legislature, believes that the courts should have been left alone to resolve the impasse, while Speaker Aderemi remains as Acting Governor. [It must be added here that there is an anti-Fayose group that is happy with the SOE, since it assures at the very mimimum six months of Fayose-less administration, and who are prepared to deal with the situation six months hence.]

  1. the anti-Third-Termers, as well as strict constitutionalists, who see a dangerous trend in using dubious constitutional provisions and hasty procedure to remove governors and precipitate crisis throughout the country, with a possible end point being the need for a state of emergency in the entire country – and hence a sneaky extension of the term of this administration by the back door.

The fact of the matter is that I also join in expressing serious objection to President Obasanjo's double-standard in declaring a State of Emergency over my native Ekiti State . The calm situation on the ground did not give sufficient justification for that hasty action, and one is fully aware of other states in Nigeria with worse socio-political situations which did not receive similar treatment.

Moreover, nothing in our 1999 Nigerian Constitution – confusing and confusionistic as it is - translates a declaration of a state of emergency into the destruction of the democratic structures of the State Executive and the House of Assembly, and the appointment of a "Sole Administrator", an-ex military person for that matter. These particular steps are completely alien to the Constitution. The President therefore assumed powers not given to him – the same accusation that has been made against the Ekiti Legislators in suspending Bamisile and appointing a new CJ. One wonders what would happen to the Presidency and the National Assembly if a State of Emergency were to be declared in the entire nation as allowed by the same Constitution. Would it mean suspension of the national democratic structures (National Assembly) and the appointment of an ex-military Sole Administrator from neighboring Togo ? Is the situation of Ekiti State therefore a prelude to such an unfortunate and untenable circumstance?

We would have expected the courts to be allowed to settle the constitutional questions between the now displaced persons at status quo ante of the declaration of state of emergency: that is, between the acting Governor Kayode Aderemi; the ex-Governor Ayo Fayose and his ex-deputy, Olujimi, as well as the status of the ex-CJ Bamisile vis-a-vis the present CJ Aladejana.

That is what the courts are for.
More importantly, the 2007 General elections (hopefully) begin with State House and Gubernatorial elections on Saturday, April 14, 2007, and end with presidential elections on Saturday, April 21, 2007. Six months from October 19 is April 19, 2007. What happens with political activities in Ekiti State for the next six months: same as other states without a state of emergency - or what? General Olurin has promised no squelching of political activities - but we shall see.
The Nebuchadnezzar Non-Option

In the coming days, the State of Emergency will be fully discussed in the National Assembly, whether to give it ratification or to reverse it. The questions the legislators would have to answer in their deliberations include: what status quo (ante) would Ekiti State return to in order to know whether Aderemi, Olujimi or Fayose is to be governor or acting Governor, and whether Fayose's and/or Olujimi's return would not spark a riot in Ekitiland?

Well, in the Old Testament Daniel 4:1-37, the story is told of Nebuchadenezzar, a Babylonian king who ruled from 605 B.C . to 562 B.C. Nebuchadnezzar was strong, powerful, and hard king, and offended God gravely – he destroyed Judah and burned Jerusalem , destroying the temple of God and taking all of the gold goblets and incense burners back to Babylon. After being been warned by the captive Jew Daniel following Nebuchadnezzar's own foreboding dreams, the king was turned into a bush animal and went through seven years of eating grass and living in the wild with other animals before he learned to give God the glory. After this period of being humbled, he returned to rule his kingdom for another period.

We are not told of the reaction of his subjects to such a reversal of misfortune.

It would appear that former Governor Ayo Fayose would want to be the Nebuchadnezzar of Ekiti State in this impeachment/emergency saga, to return after a period on the run from the law. He should perish the thought – not after the death of Omojola, not after Daramola, not after that pregnant woman a la Bamiteko.
Unlike Nebuchadnezzar, Fayose should wait for just seven times seven years.

That is what Ekitiland demands. That is what would be conducive to peace, justice and public order in Ekitiland - that Fayose not return to Ekiti State as governor even for one more day. Ekitiland no longer deserves him.





APPENDIX

Impeachment of Governor and Deputy Governor

Section 188-189

188. (1) The Governor or Deputy Governor of a state may Removal of Governor be removed from office in accordance with the provisions or Deputy Governor of this section. from office.

(2) Whenever a notice of any allegation in writing signed by not less than one-third of the members of the House of Assembly.

(b) stating that the holder of such office is guilty of gross misconduct in the performance of the functions of his office, detailed particulars of which shall be specified.

the speaker of the House of Assembly shall, within seven days of the receipt of the notice, cause a copy of the notice to be served on the holder of the office and on each member of the House of Assembly, and shall also cause any statement made in reply to the allegation by the holder of the office, to be served on each member of the House of Assembly.

(3) Within fourteen days of the presentation of the notice to the speaker of the House of Assembly (whether or not any statement was made by the holder of the office in reply to the allegation contained in the notice-, the House of Assembly shall resolve by motion, without any debate whether or not the allegation shall be investigated.

(4) A motion of the House of Assembly that the allegation be investigated shall not be declared as having been passed unless it is supported by the votes of not less than two-thirds majority of all the members of the House of Assembly.

(5) Within seven days of the passing of a motion under the foregoing provisions of this section, the Chief judge of the State shall at the request of the speaker of the House of Assembly, appoint a Panel of seven persons who in his opinion are of unquestionable integrity, not being members of any public service, legislative house or political party, to investigate the allegation as provided in this section.

(6) The holder of an office whose conduct is being investigated under this section shall have the right to defend himself in person or be represented before the panel by a legal practitioner of his own choice.

(7) A Panel appointed under this section shall -

(a) have such powers and exercise its functions in accordance with such procedure as may be prescribed by the House of Assembly; and

(b) within three months of its appointment, report its findings to the House of Assembly.

(8) Where the Panel reports to the House of Assembly that the allegation has not been proved, no further proceedings shall be taken in respect of the matter.

(9) Where the report of the Panel is that the allegation against the holder of the office has been proved, then within fourteen days of the receipt of the report, the house of Assembly shall consider the report, and if by a resolution of the House of Assembly supported by not less than two-thirds majority of all its members, the report of the Panel is adopted, then the holder of the office shall stand removed form office as from the date of the adoption of the report.

(10) No proceedings or determination of the Panel or of the House of Assembly or any matter relating to such proceedings or determination shall be entertained or questioned in any court.

(11) In this section -

"gross misconduct" means a grave violation or breach of the provisions of this Constitution or a misconduct of such nature as amounts in the opinion in the House of Assembly to gross misconduct.

189. (1) The Governor or Deputy Governor of a State shall cease to hold office if

(a) by a resolution passed by two-thirds majority of all members of the executive council of the State, it is declared that the Governor or Deputy Governor is incapable of discharging the functions of his office; and

(b) the declaration in paragraph (a) of this subsection is verified, after such medical examination as may be necessary, by a medical panel established under subsection (4) of this section in its report to the speaker of the House of Assembly.

(2) Where the medical panel certifies in its report that in its opinion the Governor or Deputy Governor is suffering from such infirmity of body or mind as renders him permanently incapable of discharging the functions of his office, a notice thereof signed by the Speaker of the House of Assembly shall be published in the Official Gazette of the Government of the State.

(3) The Governor or Deputy Governor shall cease to hold office as from the date of publication of the notice of the medical report pursuant to subsection (2) of this section.

(4) The medical panel to which this section relates shall be appointed by the Speaker of the House of Assembly of the State, and shall comprise five medical practitioners in Nigeria -

(a) one of whom shall be the personal physician of the holder of the office concerned; and

(b) four other medical practitioners who have, in the opinion of the Speaker of the House of Assembly, attained a high degree of eminence in the field of medicine relative to the nature of the examination to be conducted in accordance with the foregoing provisions of this section.

(5) In this section, the reference to "executive council of the State" is a reference to the body of Commissioners of the Government of the State, howsoever called, established by the Governor and charged with such responsibilities for the functions of Government as the Governor may direct.

Vacancy in Deputy Governor's Office

Section 191

191. (1) The Deputy Governor of a State shall hold the office of Governor of the State if the office of Governor becomes vacant by reason of death, resignation, impeachment, permanent incapacity or removal of the governor from office for any other reason in accordance with section 188 or 189 of this constitution.

(2) Where any vacancy occurs in the circumstances mentioned in subsection (1) of this section during a period when the office of Deputy Governor of the State is also vacant, the Speaker of the House of Assembly of the State shall hold the office of Governor of the State for a period of not more than three months, during which there shall be an election of a new Governor of the State who shall hold office for the unexpired term of office of the last holder of the office.

(3) Where the office of the Deputy Governor becomes vacant -

(a) by reason of death, resignation, impeachment, permanent incapacity or removal in accordance with section 188 or 189 of this Constitution;

(b) by his assumption of the office of Governor of a State in accordance with subsection (1) of this section; or

(c) for any other reason, the Governor shall nominate and with the approval of the House of Assembly of the State, appoint a new Deputy Governor.

Appointment of Chief Judge

Section 271 of the 1999 Constitution

271. (1) The appointment of a person to the office of Chief Judge of a State shall be made by the Governor of the State on the recommendation of the National Judicial Council subject to confirmation of the appointment by the House of Assembly of the State.

(2) The appointment of a person to the office of a Judge of a High Court of a State shall be made by the Governor of the State acting on the recommendation of the National Judicial Council.

(3) A person shall not be qualified to hold office of a Judge of a High Court of a State unless he is qualified to practice as a legal practitioner in Nigeria and has been so qualified for a period of not less than ten years.

(4) If the office of Chief Judge of a State is vacant or if the person holding the office is for any person unable to perform the functions of the office, then until a person has been appointed to and has assumed the functions of that office, or until the person holding the office has resumed those functions, the Governor of the State shall appoint the most senior Judge of the High Court to perform those functions.

(5) Except on the recommendation of the National Judicial Council an appointment pursuant to subsection (4) of this section shall cease to have effect after expiration of three months from the date of such appointment and the Governor shall not re-appoint a person whose appointment has lapsed.

Dismissal of a Judicial Officer

Section 292

292. (1) A judicial officer shall not be removed from his office or appointment before his age of retirement except in the following circumstances -

(a) in the case of -

(i) Chief Justice of Nigeria, President of the Court of Appeal, Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Chief Judge of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, Grand Kadi of the Sharia Court of Appeal of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja and President, Customary Court of Appeal of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, by the President acting on an address supported by two-thirds majority of the Senate.

(ii) Chief Judge of a State, Grand Kadi of a Sharia Court of Appeal or President of a Customary Court of Appeal of a State, by the Governor acting on an address supported by two-thirds majority of the House of Assembly of the State,

Praying that he be so removed for his inability to discharge the functions of his office or appointment (whether arising from infirmity of mind or of body) or for misconduct or contravention of the Code of Conduct;

(b) in any case, other than those to which paragraph (a) of this subsection applies, by the President or, as the case may be, the Governor acting on the recommendation of the National Judicial Council that the judicial officer be so removed for his inability to discharge the functions of his office or appointment (whether arising from infirmity of mind or of body) or for misconduct or contravention of the Code of Conduct.

(2) Any person who has held office as a judicial officer shall not on ceasing to be a judicial officer for any reason whatsoever thereafter appear or act as a legal practitioner before any court of law or tribunal in Nigeria.

T he procedure for the declaration of a state of emergency

Section (305) of the 1999 Constitution

305. (1) Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, the President may by instrument published in the Official -Gazette} of the Government of the Federation issue a Proclamation of a state of emergency in the Federation or any part thereof.

(2) The President shall immediately after the publication, transmit copies of the Official -Gazette of the Government of the Federation containing the proclamation including the details of the emergency to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, each of whom shall forthwith convene or arrange for a meeting of the House of which he is President or Speaker, as the case may be, to consider the situation and decide whether or not to pass a resolution approving the Proclamation.

(3) The President shall have power to issue a Proclamation of a state of emergency only when -

(a) the Federation is at war;

(b) the Federation is in imminent danger of invasion or involvement in a state of war;

(c) there is actual breakdown of public order and public safety in the Federation or any part thereof to such extent as to require extraordinary measures to restore peace and security;

(d) there is a clear and present danger of an actual breakdown of public order and public safety in the Federation or any part thereof requiring extraordinary measures to avert such danger;

(e) there is an occurrence or imminent danger, or the occurrence of any disaster or natural calamity, affecting the community or a section of the community in the Federation;

(f) there is any other public danger which clearly constitutes a threat to the existence of the Federation; or

(g) the President receives a request to do so in accordance with the provisions of subsection (4) of this section.

(4) The Governor of a State may, with the sanction of a resolution supported by two-thirds majority of the House of Assembly, request the President to issue a Proclamation of a state of emergency in the State when there is in existence within the State any of the situations specified in subsection (3) (c), (d) and (e) of this section and such situation does not extend beyond the boundaries of the State.

(5) The President shall not issue a Proclamation of a state of emergency in any case to which the provisions of subsection (4) of this section apply unless the Governor of the State fails within a reasonable time to make a request to the President to issue such Proclamation.

(6) A Proclamation issued by the President under this section shall cease to have effect -

(a) if it is revoked by the President by instrument published in the Official Gazette of the Government of the Federation;

(b) if it affects the Federation or any part thereof and within two days when the National Assembly is in session, or within ten days when the National Assembly is not in session, after its publication, there is no resolution supported by two-thirds majority of all the members of each House of the National Assembly approving the Proclamation;

(c) after a period of six months has elapsed since it has been in force:

Provided that the National Assembly may, before the expiration of the period of six months aforesaid, extend the period for the Proclamation of the state of emergency to remain in force from time to time for a further period of six months by resolution passed in like manner; or

(d) at any time after the approval referred to in paragraph (b) or the extension referred to in paragraph (c) of this subsection, when each House of the National Assembly revokes the Proclamation by a simple majority of all the members of each House.

The Immunity Clause
Section 308

308. (1) Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in this Constitution, but subject to subsection (2) of this section -

(a) no civil or criminal proceedings shall be instituted or continued against a person to whom this section applies during his period of office;

(b) a person to whom this section applies shall not be arrested or imprisoned during that period either in pursuance of the process of any court or otherwise; and

(c) no process of any court requiring or compelling the appearance of a person to whom this section applies, shall be applied for or issued:

Provided that in ascertaining whether any period of limitation has expired for the purposes of any proceedings against a person to whom this section applies, no account shall be taken of his period of office.

(2) The provisions of subsection (1) of this section shall not apply to civil proceedings against a person to whom this section applies in his official capacity or to civil or criminal proceedings in which such a person is only a nominal party.

(3) This section applies to a person holding the office of President or Vice-President, Governor or Deputy Governor; and the reference in this section to "period of office" is a reference to the period during which the person holding such office is required to perform the functions of the office.

]]>
http://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=9021Thu, 26 Oct 2006 00:00:00 GMT
MID-WEEK ESSAY: Impeaching State Executives - A Closer Look at Sections 188 and 192 of Nigeria's 1999 ConstitutionDear Compatriots:
  
The impeachment proceedings of any Governor and Deputy Governor are subject to Section 188 of Nigeria's 1999 Constitution.  Although the cases of the Ekiti State personalities Fayose and Olujimi are immediately of interest here, the discussion will be cast in a more general light as much as possible.
 
Assuming that an impeachment notice has been served on the accused and properly responded to, it is proper here to continue at the appointment of the Panel of seven persons by the Chief Judge.  Their choice is ENTIRELY at the discretion of the Chief Judge, which persons.."... in his opinion are of unquestionable integrity"..even if we THE PEOPLE question their integrity.
 
But what does "integrity" of a mother mean if perchance the Chief Judge chooses her to be on a panel to judge a case of her son who is the governor?  Or the "integrity" of a close friend of the governor?  Must "integrity" then not be in context?  Does "integrity" here mean that the Chief Judge has convinced himself that the mother has SUCH integrity that it trumps family relationship?
 
I think not, and no reasonable person can assume that the CJ has an infinite lattitude to pack the Panel.
 
Just as a jury takes the place of a judge and should be adjudged to be a mix of reasonably unbiased persons with integrity RELATIVE TO THE CASE AT  HAND, so must this Panel, even where the discretion of the CJ is not questioned.  The CJ cannot "pack" a court with people of integrity! :-)
 
However, all is not lost at this time: the State Assembly (SASS) still has a stalling ace, since Section 188 (7)(a) states that the " Panel appointed under this section shall have such powers and exercise its functions in accordance with such procedure as may be prescribed by the House of Assembly."  Thus without prescription, there are no powers:  the panel is an empty suit, no pun intended.
 
But can the SASS stall for ever?  That would leave the accused in place for ever.  Can it use its powers to request the resumes or curriculum vitae (CV) of the panelists, and the basis of their choice,  and then ask for a variation of the composition if bias is proved?  The CJ may or may not accede.  If bias is proved, should the SASS not, in the interim, invoke Section 292 (a)(ii) and (b) report the Chief Judge to the National Judicial Council for lack of integrity in composing a biased panel and then cause the Governor to dismiss the Chief Judge and appoint another?
 
Yes, the Governor, who through Section 292(a)(ii) can be compelled to so act "on an address supported by two-thirds majority of the House of Assembly of the State,  Praying that [the Chief Judge] be so removed for his inability to discharge the functions of his office or appointment (whether arising from infirmity of mind or of body) or for misconduct or contravention of the Code of Conduct ;"
All of this might take time, and again leave the accused governor  (and deputy) in place, who would be strange judges in their own cases.  
 
My advice is that despite the claim of bias, the State Assembly accusers in the case of Ekiti State, should proceed with the case before the panel, and may surprise the Panel by such overwhelming evidence that it would have no choice but to return a verdict against their own biased interest, or else cause them to return a howler verdict. If the proceedings were to continue, however,  the Panel might want to take all of three months, since Section 188(7)(b) states that : " the Panel, shall,... within three months of its appointment, report its findings to the House of Assembly."  Thus, to prevent such an eventuality, it is crucial that the SASS's prescription MUST include a time limit to the reporting back - say one week or two - which would still be "within three months", which was never meant to mean "at the end of three months." 
 
Finally, suppose, in a worst-case scenario, the Panel DARE to COMPLETELY exonerate the accused governor and/or Deputy Governor?  If that were the case, they would state that following Section 188(8) " the allegation has not been proved, [and hence] no further proceedings shall be taken in respect of the matter. "   Thus a new panel would not be able to be formed on the "matter."    It would appear that in that case the hands of the SASS would be completely tied.
 
That could cause a major problem [say in Ekiti State] if followed through. 
 
But does that determination by the administrative panel really matter?  Is that the end of the story?  Absolutely not, since the State Assembly has the FINAL SAY, and is protected by Section 188(10) which states that " No proceedings or determination of the Panel or of the House of Assembly or any matter relating to such proceedings or determination shall be entertained or questioned in any court. "
 
This is a monster ouster clause reminiscent of military rule.
 
So from all the above, we see that our 1999 Constitution is somewhat a confused amalgam of prescriptions, and that there is a lot of murkiness in the future of these particular proceedings.
 
However, all hope is not lost in Ekiti State:  the fat person has not yet sung, but we must closely watch the parting of the curtains for her arrival on stage.
 
Best wishes all.
 
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
APPENDIX
 
 Sections 188 and 192 of Nigeria's 1999 Constitution

188. (1) The Governor or Deputy Governor of a state may Removal of Governor be removed from office in accordance with the provisions or Deputy Governor of this section. from office.

(2)

Whenever a notice of any allegation in writing signed by not less than one-third of the members of the House of Assembly.

(b)

stating that the holder of such office is guilty of gross misconduct in the performance of the functions of his office, detailed particulars of which shall be specified.

the speaker of the House of Assembly shall, within seven days of the receipt of the notice, cause a copy of the notice to be served on the holder of the office and on each member of the House of Assembly, and shall also cause any statement made in reply to the allegation by the holder of the office, to be served on each member of the House of Assembly.

(3)

Within fourteen days of the presentation of the notice to the speaker of the House of Assembly (whether or not any statement was made by the holder of the office in reply to the allegation contained in the notice-, the House of Assembly shall resolve by motion, without any debate whether or not the allegation shall be investigated.

(4)

A motion of the House of Assembly that the allegation be investigated shall not be declared as having been passed unless it is supported by the votes of not less than two-thirds majority of all the members of the House of Assembly.

(5)

Within seven days of the passing of a motion under the foregoing provisions of this section, the Chief judge of the State shall at the request of the speaker of the House of Assembly, appoint a Panel of seven persons who in his opinion are of unquestionable integrity, not being members of any public service, legislative house or political party, to investigate the allegation as provided in this section.

(6)

The holder of an office whose conduct is being investigated under this section shall have the right to defend himself in person or be represented before the panel by a legal practitioner of his own choice.

(7)

A Panel appointed under this section shall -

(a)

have such powers and exercise its functions in accordance with such procedure as may be prescribed by the House of Assembly; and

(b)

within three months of its appointment, report its findings to the House of Assembly.

(8)

Where the Panel reports to the House of Assembly that the allegation has not been proved, no further proceedings shall be taken in respect of the matter.

(9)

Where the report of the Panel is that the allegation against the holder of the office has been proved, then within fourteen days of the receipt of the report, the house of Assembly shall consider the report, and if by a resolution of the House of Assembly supported by not less than two-thirds majority of all its members, the report of the Panel is adopted, then the holder of the office shall stand removed form office as from the date of the adoption of the report.

(10)

No proceedings or determination of the Panel or of the House of Assembly or any matter relating to such proceedings or determination shall be entertained or questioned in any court.

(11)

In this section -
"gross misconduct" means a grave violation or breach of the provisions of this Constitution or a misconduct of such nature as amounts in the opinion in the House of Assembly to gross misconduct. ......
 
 
292. (1) A judicial officer shall not be removed from his office or appointment before his age of retirement except in the following circumstances -
(a) in the case of -

(i) Chief Justice of Nigeria, President of the Court of Appeal, Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Chief Judge of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, Grand Kadi of the Sharia Court of Appeal of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja and President, Customary Court of Appeal of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, by the President acting on an address supported by two-thirds majority of the Senate.
(ii) Chief Judge of a State, Grand Kadi of a Sharia Court of Appeal or President of a Customary Court of Appeal of a State, by the Governor acting on an address supported by two-thirds majority of the House of Assembly of the State,
Praying that he be so removed for his inability to discharge the functions of his office or appointment (whether arising from infirmity of mind or of body) or for misconduct or contravention of the Code of Conduct;
(b) in any case, other than those to which paragraph (a) of this subsection applies, by the President or, as the case may be, the Governor acting on the recommendation of the National Judicial Council that the judicial officer be so removed for his inability to discharge the functions of his office or appointment (whether arising from infirmity of mind or of body) or for misconduct or contravention of the Code of Conduct.
(2) Any person who has held office as a judicial officer shall not on ceasing to be a judicial officer for any reason whatsoever thereafter appear or act as a legal practitioner before any court of law or tribunal in Nigeria.
]]>
http://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=8909Wed, 11 Oct 2006 00:00:00 GMT
MONDAY QUARTER-BACKING: The 2006 Education Budget for Nigeria - A Forensic Investigation

INTRODUCTION

Currently, a crisis is brewing between the Education Ministry in Nigeria and the Nigerian Labour Congress over moves to "privatize" the 102 federal government colleges, aka Unity Secondary Schools, in the country. The controversy has led to the possibility of all staff of such schools going on indefinite strike [see attached news item] to protest the development. In an announcement by Education Minister Oby Ezekwesili, she disclosed that while only 120,718 students and 27,200 staff are in the 102 federal Unity Schools out of a total national population of 6.4 million secondary school students and about 300 secondary schools - a whopping 78 per cent of Federal Government's budgetary allocation to the ministry goes into the Unity Schools.

 

If that were the case, then in fact, there is a serious disequilibrium in financial resource allocation with respect to these unity schools which must be looked into and corrected immediately. As a result, a new public-private partnership might indeed ameliorate the situation.

But what is the true situation?

I went looking at the 2006 budget to answer that question.

THE 2006 BUDGET AND EDUCATION

For those who have the patience, the full 1190 page-budget will be found in:

http://www.budgetoffice.gov.ng/pub/020.pdf

whose publication on the Internet for any one who cares to read it must be regarded as one of the dividends of transparent democracy, a legacy left behind by former Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.

The summary Appropriation bill approved by the National Assembly in February 2006 will be found in:

http://www.budgetoffice.gov.ng/pub/appbill2006.pdf

However, Table 1 below is a re-formatted version of this NASS document for easier reference.

More specifically, the Education Budget section of the 2006 budget will be found in:

http://www.budgetoffice.gov.ng/pub/education.pdf

which again has been summarized in Table 2 below.

SO WHAT ARE THE TRUE FIGURES ?

Table 1 shows a total 2006 budget of N1.9 trillion, out of which the Education sector is N166.6 billion or 8.77%. This is far below the recommended 26% UNESCO international target, an issue which the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has been plaintively asking to be corrected for years now, and which continues to be a sore point between it and successive Nigerian governments. Thus, in fact, on a macroscopic scale, the Minister of Education should actually be loudly demanding for a doubling to tripling of the education budget.

Next, Table 2 shows that of that N166.6 billion for Education, payroll takes a whopping 69.5%, with capital projects taking only 22.4% and overhead rounding out the rest. The Table however shows that Unity Schools take up only about 11% of the total Education budget., with its own payroll (53.6%) and Overhead (27.9%) both taking up a Recurrent total of 81.5%, with the Capital project being about 18.5%..

It is ONLY this recurrent total of the Education budget that comes ANYWHERE close to the 78% mentioned by the Minister of Education, an observation that needs to be quickly clarified. One hopes that she has not been misinformed in her new position as Education minister.

WHITHER THE UNITY SCHOOLS?

The above disclosures must be looked at separately from the desirability of the federal government to give up all of these Unity Schools onto new administration. Granted that the historical mission of the unity secondary schools has been to provide an early educational forum in country where young minds can interact with those from other parts of the country, as well as to provide models of excellence to other secondary schools, one questions whether it is ONLY the federal government that can ensure those desirable outcomes. After all, secondary education is really a remit of states in our 1999 Constitution rather than the federal government, and states too understand why unity schools are important.

Thus, rather than give the unity schools up to PRIVATE persons to manage or to own outright, one believes that the right of first refusal should be given to STATE GOVERNMENTS, since the 102 schools mean on average about 3 schools per state. This additional number of new schools under state administration will therefore not be an unusual burden to the states, particularly if a significant take-off fund is provided to the states by the federal government.

Finally, while we are discussing a change in management of unity schools, we might as well discuss reversal of management of mission and other private schools that were taken over in the fever of over-centralization of the late 1970s and 80s. As many as possible of those too should be handed back to their former owners by state governments – as has been done by Lagos State and more recently Rivers State - with possibly five-year transition agreements worked out so that staff salaries and pensions as well as the inevitable increase in students' fees will not lead to deleterious effect on the various stakeholders.

NEWS ITEM: FROM "THE NATION" NEWSPAPER

Privatisation: Unity Schools' teachers begin strike today

9/10/2006

By Dupe Olaoye-Osinkolu and Kofoworola Belo-Osagie

Academic activities will from today be paralysed in Federal Government's Unity Schools, This is Labour's reaction to the proposed privatisation of the colleges.

The Minister of Education Dr Obiageli Ezekwesili said the privatisation move is to free the schools from total collapse as "many of them (schools) lack basic infrastructure and have become sorry sight in the landscape of secondary education."

She also disclosed that 78 per cent of Federal Government's budgetary allocation to the ministry goes into the Unity Schools which have a total student population of 120,718.

Not only that, Dr Ezekwesili said: "Our greatest concern, however, is the fact that the ministry spends an inordinate amount of time and resources on these schools that constitute only 30 per cent of the secondary schools in the country. out of 6.4 million scondary school students, only 120,718 are in the 102 Unity Schools."

Labour said many teachers and non-teaching staff would lose their jobs in the process of privatisation.

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) President, Adams Oshiomhole described the planned privatisation as "perhaps the most retrogressive step ever taken in the history of education administration in Nigeria ."

The NLC President believes that the attempt to privatise the schools was targeted at the poor and the middle-class.

"In the past, Unity Schools have enabled many gifted children of the poor to break out of the poverty cycle through quality and affordable public education.

The privatisation of the schools was an escapist, simplistic, anti-poor and reactionary measure in the face of the problem that required bold steps," he said.

Oshiomhole also warned the Minister to drop the idea of privatisation otherwise labour will mobilise Nigerians against the auctioning.

"We wish to warn the Minister and those invisible forces outside driving this policy that we will mobilise progressive and patriotic Nigerians, parents, teachers, the poor, middle-class and indeed all Nigerians, against the auctioning of these schools," he said.

The Minister, in response to Ohsiomhole's act burst had said the Unity Schools have already been privatised by poor management and the inefficiency of some people.

"We are proposing public/private partnership management to restore the efficiency that is lacking in the schools.

"Mounting propaganda against the proposal would not out of 27,200 staff of the Ministry of Education are employed in 102 Unity schools is a disservice to the country," she said

The Secretary-General of the Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN) Comrade Solomon Onaghinan last week appealed to Nigerians to rise against the proposed privatisation.

"We are calling all well meaning Nigerians to rise up and stop their action. From Monday October 9 (today), there will be no more lectures in all the Unity Schools nationwide.

We are giving parents long notice in order for children until the matter is fully resolved.

"A week after (today), there will be no more services in the schools, there will be no service whatsoever. All the schools will be closed, so as to give everybody the opportunity to assess what is on ground. We have not seen any rationale behind what is being done by the minister. She can tell the parents what she means by wanting to privatise the schools."

One of the parents whose children are at the Federal Government College , Ijanikin and who simply introduced himself as Mr Akinola, told The Nation that " this government does not want the children of the poor to be educated. They want our children to serve their (the rich) own children in future."

"Anybody can come to Ijanikin and see the state of the FGC there. The Parents/Teachers Association (PTA) is doing its best in that school, so I don't know what the minister is talking about.

"All I know is they should think about God and stop oppressing the masses," he said .

Meanwhile, parents are set to withdraw their children from the schools because of the strike that begins today.

Meanwhile, the Secretary General of the Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria, Mr Solomon Olaghinon, told The Nation on phone that the strike would likely continue until the issue is resolved.

He faulted claims by the Federal Government that allocations given to the schools are misappropriated, adding that for the past 15 years funds have not been given to the colleges for development projects.

"All the things the government is saying they are wrong. For the past 15 years has the government given out money for contracts? They would allocate money but it would not get to the schools. Where do they want us to get money to develop the schools? Is it from our salaries? Let the government tell us which principal, director or minister carried away the money they allocated to unity schools," he said.

For the next one week, Mr Olaghinon says teachers would keep away from the classrooms. He also confirmed that the association would likely organise rallies along the line.

Dr Ezekwesili had in a parley with the media held in Lagos recently, debunked claims of the privatisation of unity colleges.

Rather, she explained that the Federal Government was only going to franchise the brand to capable private managers but would still monitor everything that goes on in the colleges.

_____________________________________________________________________________

TABLE 1: NIGERIA 'S APPROPRIATION BILL 2006
(All Amounts Are in Naira Currency)

For an earlier version of this Bill, see also:


http://www.nigerianmuse.net/important_documents/Nigeria_Appropriation_bill_2006.htm

SUMMARY

Schedule

Amount (in Naira currency)

Schedule Part A - Statutory Transfers

91,610,000,000

Schedule Part B - Debt Service

289,500,000,000

Schedule Part C - Recurrent (Non-Debt Expenditure

961,108,775,596

Schedule Part D - Capital Expenditure

539,233,587,755

Grand Total

1,881,452,363,351

SCHEDULE

PART A - STATUTORY TRANSFERS

TRANSFEREE

2006 APPROPRIATION

National Judicial Council

35,000,000,000

Niger Delta Development Commission

26,130,000,000

Universal Basic Education Commission

30,480,000,000

Total - Statutory Transfers

91,610,000,000

SCHEDULE

PART B - DEBT SERVICE

NATURE OF DEBT

2006 APPROPRIATION

Domestic Debts

220,000,000,000

Foreign Debts

69,500,000,000

Total Debt Service

289,500,000,000

SCHEDULE

PART C - RECURRENT (NON-DEBT) EXPENDITURE

MINISTRY/DEPARTMENT/AGENCY

2006 APPROPRIATION

The Executive

-

Presidency

36,872,832,040

Intergovernmental Affairs , Special Duties and Youth Development

17,019,000,000

Police Affairs

1,552,000,000

Police Formation & Command

80,648,000,000

Women Affairs

1,231,143,160

Agriculture & Rural Development

15,415,828,655

Office of the Auditor-General of the Federation

1,897,594,082

Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Comm.

784,739,498

Water Resources

4,484,529,763

Defence/MOD/Army/Air Force/Navy

85,752,943,575

Education

129,232,212,676

Federal Capital Territory

0

Foreign Affairs

25,373,344,499

Finance

5,000,076,329

Health

67,777,199,998

Industry

2,596,613,054

Information and National Orientation

12,805,674,999

Internal Affairs

33,262,579,038

Office of the Head of Service of the Federation

2,987,678,379

Justice

5,023,610,691

Labour and Productivity

4,391,828,889

Power and Steel

3,382,764,019

Science and Technology

6,262,921,919

Sports and Social Development

3,573,325,483

Public Complaints Commission

922,150,000

Commerce

2,345,070,697

Ministry of Transport

3,549,948,963

Petroleum Resources

14,922,000,001

Works

18,281,685,246

Communication

4,584,013,432

Housing & Urban Development

5,163,500,001

Solid Minerals Development

2,765,701,297

Aviation

1,608,500,000

National Salaries and Wages Commission

161,686,183

Environment

3,313,286,129

Co-operation and Integration in Africa

618,500,000

Culture and Tourism

4,450,000,000

Office of the National Security Adviser

12,316,686,404

TOTAL - EXECUTIVE

622,331,169,099

FEDERAL EXECUTIVE BODIES

-

Police Service Commission

317,000,000

National Population Commission

3,211,555,260

Federal Civil Service Commission

644,750,000

Independent National Electoral Commission

12,170,509,272

Federal Character Commission

824,896,250

Revenue Mobilisation Fiscal & Allocation Commission

750,000,000

Code of Conduct Bureau

617,421,344

TOTAL - FEDERAL EXECUTIVE BODIES

18,536,132,126

THE LEGISLATURE (NATIONAL ASSEMBLY)

-

National Assembly Office

4,805,817,937

Senate

14,719,767,267

House of Representatives

21,692,062,193

National Assembly Service Commission

404,517,612

Senate Public Accounts Committee Secretariat

75,000,000

House Public Accounts Committee Secretariat

75,000,000

General Services

4,268,685,988

Legislative Aides

3,489,892,586

TOTAL - NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

49,530,743,583

CONSOLIDATED REVENUE FUND CHARGES-GENERAL

-

Pension - Pay As You Go

82,900,000,000

Life insurance for public servants

3,100,000,000

Transfer to the Redemption Fund

15,000,000,000

Arrears of 2005 Pension - Pay As You Go

16,900,000,000

0

SERVICE - WIDE VOTES

0

Petroleum Support Fund

75,000,000,000

Public Service Reform

43,123,000,000

Public Service Wage Adjustment (including 2006 Promotions)

10,000,000,000

Margin for Increased Costs

2,000,000,000

Contributions to International Organisations

6,000,000,000

2003 Arrears of Monetisation - Balance

1,400,000,000

Contingency

4,500,000,000

TOTAL OTHER RECURRENT (NON DEBT)

259,923,000,000

TOTAL RECURRENT (NON DEBT)

950,321,044,808

SCHEDULE

PART D - CAPITAL EXPENDITURE

MINISTRY/DEPARTMENT/AGENCY

2006 APPROPRIATION

The Executive

-

Presidency

18,057,233,523

Intergovernmental Affairs , Special Duties and Youth Development

1,221,000,000

Police Affairs

0

Police Formation & Command

5,335,000,000

Women Affairs

1,268,856,840

Agriculture & Rural Development

15,397,562,345

Office of the Auditor-General of the Federation

402,405,918

Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commissions

315,260,502

Water Resources

75,761,000,940

Defence/MOD/Army/Air Force/Navy

15,699,001,188

Education

37,389,441,082

Federal Capital Territory

53,400,000,000

Foreign Affairs

6,126,873,766

Finance

3,018,676,534

Health

39,162,800,002

Industry

407,300,000

Information and National Orientation

2,144,325,001

Internal Affairs

8,487,420,962

Office of the Head of Service of the Federation

3,020,966,261

Justice

808,107,122

Labour and Productivity

796,114,135

Power and Steel

74,710,240,083

Science and Technology

7,187,078,084

Sports and Social Development

1,726,674,517

Public Complaints Commission

77,850,000

Commerce

1,929,929,303

Ministry of Transport

2,177,096,941

Petroleum Resources

1,078,000,000

Works

72,793,314,755

Communication

2,415,986,568

Housing & Urban Development

2,831,499,999

Solid Minerals Development

4,544,358,091

Aviation

3,641,500,000

National Salaries and Wages Commission

38,313,817

Environment

2,742,061,049

Co-operation and Integration in Africa

481,500,000

Culture and Tourism

4,050,000,000

Office of the National Security Adviser

3,183,313,596

TOTAL - EXECUTIVE

473,828,062,924

FEDERAL EXECUTIVE BODIES

-

Police Service Commission

18,000,000

National Population Commission

6,788,444,740

Federal Civil Service Commission

55,250,000

Independent National Electoral Commission

42,329,490,728

Federal Character Commission

175,103,750

Revenue Mobilisation Fiscal & Allocation Commission

350,000,000

Code of Conduct Bureau

257,578,656

TOTAL - FEDERAL EXECUTIVE BODIES

49,973,867,874

THE LEGISLATURE (NATIONAL ASSEMBLY)

-

National Assembly Office

1,776,520,353

Senate

1,288,375,509

House of Representatives

2,110,051,000

National Assembly Service Commission

80,000,000

TOTAL - NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

5,254,946,862

CAPITAL SUPPLEMENTATION

-

Payment to Local Contractors

25,000,000,000

Counterpart Funding

2,000,000,000

Adjustments to Capital Costs

1,000,000,000

Recapitalisation of Development Banks

Nigerian Agricultural & Cooperative Bank Limited

3,500,000,000

Bank of Industry Limited

3,500,000,000

Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria Limited

3,500,000,000

Millennium Development Goals - Monitoring and Evaluation

1,000,000,000

TOTAL - CAPITAL SUPPLEMENTATION

39,500,000,000

TOTAL - CAPITAL EXPENDITURE

568,556,877,659

GRAND TOTAL

1,899,987,922,467

Signed by the Senate and House February 16, 2006

Assented to by the President February 21, 2006

Re-compiled from the PDF version by NigerianMuse.com

TABLE 2: Education Budget 2006 (In Naira)

Source: http://www.budgetoffice.gov.ng/pub/education.pdf

Payroll

Overhead

Capital

Total

Percentage

MAIN MINISTRY

2,200,171,738

495,142,011.9

4,910,666,084

7,605,979,833.9

4.56%

OTHER PARASTATALS

6,021,121,007

2,270,546,162

8,139,985,900

16,431,653,069

9.86%

UNIVERSITIES

68,955,116,361

2,735,237,916

7,080,757,723

78,771,112,000

47.28%

COLLEGES OF EDUCATION

10,278,966,116

1,117,728,354

4,974,433,523

16,371,127,993

9.83%

POLYTECHNICS

18,375,638,799

1,454,423,067

2,121,000,019

21,951,061,885

13.17%

UNITY SCHOOLS

9,749,658,463

5,071,225,757

3,367,771,783

18,188,656,003

10.92%

UNESCO

159,827,511.9

282,409,413

45,411,300

487,648,224.9

0.29%

UBE PROGRAMS

0

0

6,749,414,750

6,749,414,750

4.05%

CPRCN

36,999,999.9

28,000,000

0

64,999,999.9

0.04%

Total

115,777,499,995.8

13,454,712,680.9

37,389,441,082

166,621,653,758.7

100.00%

Percentage

69.49%

8.08%

22.43%

100.00%

]]>
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The Futurehttp://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=8828Sun, 08 Oct 2006 01:04:34 GMTMilitary Option For Kim Jong ilhttp://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=8827Sun, 08 Oct 2006 01:11:03 GMTIndonesian Rain Forresthttp://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=8826Sun, 08 Oct 2006 01:01:42 GMTEKITI-PAG PRESS RELEASE: Ekiti People Must Take Our Destiny in Our Own Hands

October 6, 2006

Over the past three years, we undersigned members of  EKITI-PAG (Ekiti Political Action Group, a Diaspora-based group), in a number of prior publications, have joined other groups and individuals inside and outside Ekiti State to warn the nation that the administration of Governor Peter Ayodele Fayose will and has proved to be a blight to the sensibilities and reputation of all Ekiti people both at home and abroad.  It has been an all-round embarrassment and worse since the administration came on board on May 29, 2003.   The recent dastardly assassination on August 14, 2006, of Dr. Ayo Daramola - a man in his prime whose murder is yet unsolved - unfortunately provided a deadly re-inforcement to those warnings.

It was therefore welcome news that on Friday September 29 or thereabout,  impeachment notices involving a total of nine serious charges were served on both Governor Fayose and his Deputy Abiodun Olujinmi.  It was about time.   

The thoroughness with which the EFCC under Mallam Nuhu Ribadu has for some time now been investigating the cases against the duo is very commendable.  The courage of the 24 Ekiti legislators under the leadership of Speaker Hon. Friday Aderemi who served the notice is to be praised.  The unrelenting watch-dog role that various individuals such as Chief Afe Babalola and Mr. Femi Falana,  activist groups such as ours (Ekiti-Pag),  E-11 (under the leadership of Mr. Femi Ojudu), Ekiti Justice and Equity Movement (led by Mr. Morakinyo Ogele), Ekiti Agenda (under the leadership of Chief Odeyemi), Ekiti Rescue Mission ERM (led by Dr. Kayode Fayemi), political groups such as the Alliance for Democracy (AD), the National Conscience Party (NCP) and Egbe Majeobaje (a progressive faction of the PDP),  and others that have been on the case of this administration since its inception has been vindicated.

Following these impeachment notices, which have now been acknowledged to be received and impeachment proceedings going on smoothly, we expect constitutional due process to be scrupulously followed. The dual cases of the Governor and his Deputy should be dealt with with wisdom consistent with the need for order and stability in our state. With courage of the Legislature, cooperation by the Judiciary (under the leadership of Chief Judge Kayode Bamisile) and commitment of all Ekiti citizens and friends,  we are confident that all necessary actions will be wrapped up within the few weeks, and that a new and inclusive set of leadership will be installed at the helm of affairs in Ekiti State. 

We warn all political merchants and jobbers, particularly those from outside of Ekiti State, to steer clear of our state, because we are DETERMINED to choose our own leaders ourselves henceforth and ensure that they are accountable to us and to no one else.  In particular, we demand that certain well-known individuals who are reported to be trying to intervene to help Fayose in his self-inflicted ordeal to understand that their interference will not be tolerated, and that they should mind their own domains.   "Oko o le je ti baba ati ti omo  ki o ma ni ala" is a deep proverb of our great Yoruba people, implying that there are limits to interference even among close family members.   Any untoward outcome of their continued insistence of interfering will not be quickly forgotten by the long-suffering people of Ekiti State.

At this time when we should be truly celebrating ten years of the creation of our state, unfortunately we are saddened by the kind of leadership that we do not deserve.  However,  we now have a golden opportunity to start afresh in a transition period that is bound to begin soon, and we must seize it with both hands and minds.  That transition period must see to the installation of an inclusive Government with integrity, accountability and transparency at its watchwords, whose two main tasks should be to clean up the finanncial and moral mess created by the Fayose regime, and to create a level playing field in preparation for elections in 2007.

We call for vigilance in Ekiti State. All hands must be on deck.  Opportunists must be avoided, and only those committed to rescuing Ekitiland from its recent past and creating a new and proud Ekiti State must be engaged.

Ekiti a gbe a o !

Released by EKITI-PAG

Akin Michael Adebayo

Gbenga Adesokan, MD

Mobolaji E. Aluko, PhD

Adebayo Arowolaju Sr., PhD

Anthony Ayodele

Samuel Ayodele

Emmanuel Abiodun Dada, PhD

Titus Bodunde Folayan

Paul Olatoye

Samuel Oladimeji Rotimi

]]>
http://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=8818Sat, 07 Oct 2006 00:00:00 GMT
Our Country at 46: Industrializing NigeriaOctober 1, 2006

 

 

 

INTRODUCTION

 

Nigeria's 46th  year-celebration this October 1, 2006 would not have   been a particularly remarkable one, except that it is the fortieth year after the military imposed itself on us since 1966, and changed the course of a country that might have solved its teething post-independence problems without military intrusion.   With significant earnings from oil, vast tracts of arable land, a friendly physical environment and a vibrant and large population, we should have been an industrial giant rivaling many countries in the world by now.

 

Alas, we are not, and we need to begin again to work towards it.  Here is how.

 

 

"STEM" EDUCATION

 

The first step is a serious revitalization of our Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics education.  When we look around, we are surrounded by a world transformed by those who have been inquisitive as scientists; who have provided technological solutions to human needs; who have a fundamental engineering understanding of those technological solutions; all within the context of using mathematics as the lingua franca.   Unless we stimulate STEM education in Nigeria beginning at the primary school level; and build an army of qualifiable and qualified STEM graduates at various levels of our educational pyramid, we will continue to be raw materials providers – essentially crude oil – to the world, and   consumers of other nations' expensive technological output.  The economic equation will be continue to be loaded against us, and economic prosperity will elude us.

 

Focus therefore must be on ensuring quality ready-to-learn student entrants, faculty and staff, STEM curriculum relevant to a developing country in a hurry to catch up with the world, world-class physical learning environment (classrooms, laboratories, libraries) and tools (books, computers, etc.) that show that education matters.

 

 

RELIABLE & STEADY ENERGY

 

The quality and quantity of food to a human being determines his productivity, all other things being equal.  Ditto for a nation – its economic productivity is a direct function of the quality and quantity of its energy output, particularly electricity.   With our current maximum electricity output at 6,000 MW, our production epileptically hovering between 3000-4000 MW, and hopes expressed of getting that to 10,000 MW by 2010, our energy production and availability profile is anemic, and our industrial output will remain stunted. A comprehensive energy policy that includes a national energy audit;  that takes into consideration energy conservation as well the exploitation of renewable energy resources (solar, wind) is essential.  Geographically spreading the energy sources and limiting the size of each (eg to 300 – 1000 MW) must be considered.   There is also need to deliberately build a few zonally-dispersed industrial parks with near 100% electricity availability, accessibility, affordability and reliability – and to explore the use of nuclear energy wherever possible.

 

 

IRON & STEEL

 

Iron and steel are the raw materials needed for building basic physical infrastructure in industry:  they are the catalyst for industrialization.     Nigeria is blessed with most of the raw materials necessary to make steel – iron ore, coal, limestone - and yet until recently, despite billions of dollars spent over the years in Ajaokuta, local iron and steel manufacture has been virtually non-existent.   No stone should therefore be left unturned in ensuring that we supply most if not all of our internal needs for iron and steel.  More importantly, the ability to make small tools – via the tool-and-die intermediate industry, with its intermediate technologists' needs – most be considered essential.

 

 

INFORMATION & COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY (ICT)

 

The use of computer-based decision making and data processing for speed, accuracy and efficiency cannot be gainsaid.   Familiarity with hardware and software is critical, as well as with digital transmission of all kinds of data (text, audio, voice, video).   Familiarity with the Internet and the World Wide Web is a sine qua non.  The distinction between computer science (algorithms and software); computer engineering (components and hardware) and information systems (end-use of computer technology for specific purpose) – and the necessity for local involvement in all of these aspects of ICT – need to be emphasized.

 

 

ROAD & RAILWAY NETWORK

 

The importance of being able to move Man and material from Point A to Point B in a safe, timely and efficient manner cannot be over-emphasized.  Inspection of a map of our current national road network - un-nomenclatured as the highways and interstate roads are - does not exhibit any significant national planning or coordination.   Our rail network has not progressed  beyond what obtained at Independence in 1960.  Yet no nation has developed its industrial base without a rail network that virtually rivals its road network;  India is a case in point. Nigeria must get on with both, and justify the billions of naira that have been spent on both particularly in the past seven years.

 

EPILOGUE

 

Meshing all the above recommendations together to lead to an industrialized Nigeria can only be achieved within a stable political environment, guided by a visionary, competent and accountable leadership.   It is that kind of leadership that our citizenry must demand as we enter into the 46th year of our country  - and arrive at the critical year 2007 when in May a new administration will be ushered in.

 

Happy 46th Birthday, Nigeria !

]]>
http://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=8817Sat, 07 Oct 2006 00:00:00 GMT
MID-WEEK ESSAY: Why Both Obasanjo and Atiku Should Not Be ImpeachedBy

 

Mobolaji E. Aluko, PhD

alukome@gmail.com

Burtonsville , MD, USA

 

September 20, 2006

 

 

 

 

INTRODUCTION – AN EMBARRASSING FIASCO

 

Quite frankly, with the unfolding embarrassing (inter-)national fiasco between President Olusegun Obasanjo and Vice-President Atiku Abubakar – complete with each asking the other to resign, all enveloped in accusations and counter-accusations over PTDF funds and TIB/ETB banks;  Jefferson/iGate and Fasawe/NDTV;  Pariya and Adeyanju; Mofas and Marine Float Accounts;  PDP and mistresses; Transcorp and Blind Trusts; with Remi Oyo/Garba Shehu carrying their bosses' water publicly and EFCC/National Assembly in the thick of affairs – the average Nigerian will be forgiven if he proclaims "Pox on all their houses!"   She will be forgiven if she demands that they both be impeached and lose their privileged status as the heads of the Blackest nation in the world.
 
No one of them looks good either from behind or from the front: they both shame the Presidency, and at the minimum they deserve official censure.   One should not be impeached without the other though, yet impeaching both of them would not be wise. 

 

Here is why.

 

 

THE IMPEACHMENT OPTION

 

According to Section 146(2) of the 1999 Constitution, in the absence of both the President and Vice-President,  the Senate President (in this case Senator Ken Nnamani) will become president and must arrange for elections within 3 months, after which the winner will hold office for the rest of the  un-expired time of the last holder:

 QUOTE

146. (1) The Vice-President shall hold the office of President if the office of President becomes vacant by reason of death or resignation impeachment, permanent incapacity or the removal of the President from office for any other reason in accordance with section 143 of this Constitution.

(2) Where any vacancy occurs in the circumstances mentioned in subsection (1) of this section during a period when the office of Vice-President is also vacant, the President of the Senate shall hold the office of President for a period of not more than three months, during which there shall be an election of a new President, who shall hold office  for the unexpired term of office of the last holder of the office.


UNQUOTE

 

Here is what that means: as of today, only President Obasanjo has sent some documents to the Senate and House merely "informing" them about Vice-President Atiku's numerous infractions, but hinting that impeachment proceedings against him might be a wise decision.   One can expect that any day now, Vice-President Atiku, armed with all the documents that he has been revealing publicly, also has the capacity (and presence of mind) to retaliate and place similar "information" before the National Assembly.  

 

Now, if next week Tuesday (say September 26, the first day of next week's National Assembly meetings), an impeachment notice is given, and proceedings are started against both Obasanjo and Atiku, then it is likely that it will take at least one month to successfully impeach them. That takes us to October 31.   Then starting November 1, 2006 as the new President, Senator Nnamani (after probably choosing House Speaker Bello Masari as new Vice-President) must arrange for elections before February 1, 2007.

 

Nnamani may want to complicate matters by firing INEC's chairman Prof. Maurice Iwu instantly, and choose a new person entirely who will have to learn the ropes.   If President Nnamani means well – that is, if he does not have a secret agenda, or does not become tempted or "earnestly urged," to extend himself BEYOND May 29, 2007 – he would do well to retain Prof. Iwu. Iwu might then (as usual) confidently declare that yes, he can hold the elections on Saturday, January 20, 2007 .  Hopefully, that will be just enough time to count and announce election results before February 1, assuming there are no major issues.

 

Now if the newly-elected president begins February 1, 2007 ,  the current holder (Obasanjo)'s term ending May 31, 2007 means that the elected president will be in power for only 4 months !   

 

Luckily, before those four months are past, we still have the already scheduled state and federal elections April 14 and April 21 – to elect those who will go from 2007 to 2011.   Yet we are not sure that INEC is even quite ready for the presently scheduled presidential election for April 21, 2007 or the run-offs anticipated. How will it then be able run presidential elections in January 2007, and another one in April 2007?

So, dear compatriots, do you see the dilemma that we are in?  Much as we would like to, we cannot afford to impeach both of these gentlemen:  We are most probably stuck with them till 2007!   A strong National Assembly censure of them is in order though, while we just "beg" or frighten them to leave us alone come May 29, 2007 – after also "forcing" them to organize free and fair elections.

 

 

THE MILITARY OPTION

 

Before discussing this anathema, it is appropriate to condole the Military, the nation and family members, friends and associates of the deceased over the tragic air accident over the hills of Benue State which took the lives of ten generals and three others on Sunday, September 17, 2006.  Out of Nigeria's five military divisions (1, 2, 3, 81st and 82 nd) , the lives of two of their General Officers Commanding – Major-General A. Nuhu Bamali of the 2 nd Div. and Major-General J.O. Adesunloye of the 81st Division (both appointed just in March 2006) – were taken so suddenly.   Others who died include Major-General. J.O. Agbola, Major-General.S . O. Otubu, Major-General S. M. Lemu, Major-General. J. T. U. Ahmedu,Major-General P. M. Haruna, Major-General. D. Duniya, Brigadier-General Y. J. Braimah, Brigadier-General M. B. Bawa and Lieutenant-Colonel N. A. Mohammed and the pilot.

 

One hopes that a full probe will be conducted, and the results released, so that all suspicions of foul play are squelched.

 

Whatever be the case, the present fiasco at the Presidency should not be an invitation, witting or unwitting, for the Military to return.   Many of us submit that most of our current problems are a result of past military and paramilitary incursions and abysmal misrule, and that it would be a retrograde step to go back to military rule, despite frustrations about the "quasi-military" civilian administration that we now have.   Supporting empirical evidence is that while the military has interrupted civilian rule only twice (in 1966 and in 1979), the military have interrupted THEIR OWN GOVERNMENTS successfully or unsuccessfully at least eight times over the years.   Consequently, their own verdict is fully against their own rule.

 

 

2007 ELECTIONS

 

Our current frustrations at our leaders particularly at the national level should move us to insist on fresh rulers in 2007 DEVOID of military baggage – that is with full civilian credentials.   We must insist on leaders who are freely and fairly elected, with vision and team leadership skills, and fully prepared to be always accountable, transparent and to act with integrity.

 

The road to such a desirable outcome should FULLY begin on October 7, when registration for the elections has been announced to begin.   INEC should not be allowed to cut any corners with the exercise and others, and must be required to be accountable and transparent in displaying who is registered in what ward.  
 
In another essay, I have also in the past called for a move UP of the April 14/21 dates to the end of February 2007, because the constricting Section 132(2) of the Constitution often cited for choosing such a cramped schedule before May 29 is badly written and cannot stand legal test if violated.   That section states that:

 

QUOTE

132(2) An election to the said office shall be held on a date not earlier than sixty days and not later than thirty days before the expiration of the term of office of the LAST holder of that office.

UNQUOTE 

It is significant to note that it reads "last holder" rather than the CURRENT holder.  The last holder of the title "president" in Nigeria is General Babangida (an unelected military ruler) or better yet, President Shehu Shagari, who was elected in 1979, re-elected in 1983 but couped within three months in December 1983! 

What that means is that if the political and judicial classes in Nigeria can insist and agree that nothing is being violated by ignoring this Section 132(2), then the nation through INEC can buy one to two more months to give our electoral process next year more breathing space. 

I rest my case for now.

]]>
http://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=8816Sat, 07 Oct 2006 00:00:00 GMT
MID-WEEK ESSAY: Consequences of INEC's Announcement of 2007 Election Time-Table Mobolaji E. Aluko, PhD

alukome@gmail.com

Burtonsville , MD, USA

 

August 30, 2006

 

 

 

On August 29, 2006 INEC finally announced the key dates towards Nigeria's crucial 2007 elections as follows:

 

      - October 7, 2006 for beginning of voter (re-)registration;

      - April 14, 2007 for Gubernatorial and State Assemblies Elections;

      - April 21, 2007 for Presidential and National Assembly Elections

 

The order (presidential last) and grouping (state, national) are commendable and are as recommended earlier by this writer, particularly in respect to avoiding any band-wagon effects an early presidential election might engender.   However,  bearing in mind the window of dates March 30  to April 29 that INEC had to work with,  the announced dates were the second worst (after April 28/29) that INEC could have chosen.

 

Why does one write so?

 

First, INEC still exhibited a wedding to use of Saturdays as election days, rather than week-days, which could have made it possible to run the elections much earlier.  

 

Secondly, by making the presidential election as late as April 21, even if the results of any election are announced as fast as within a week (say by April 28), then the Electoral law legally allows petitioners 30 days after such an announcement to file a petition – which would be a day before the hand-over date of May 29 !  

 

In fact, the issue becomes more complicated in the events of run-offs, which theoretically can be as many as two, each to be conducted within 7 days AFTER the announcement of the earlier one.   If the April 21 presidential election is announced (fast) on April 28, and a run-off is necessary, it must be done by May 5.  If that first run-off is run on May 5 and the result is reported by May 12, and if another run-off is necessary, then that must be conducted by May 19.   Results would then have to be announced on May 26 – three days to hand-over date of May 29!

 

Furthermore, the Constitution allows the results of EACH of these elections to be petitioned against within 30 days – which means that under the best of circumstances, the petition for the May 26 election (if there is to be a second run-off) can be held-off until June 26 – AFTER the president might have been installed on May 29.   [See Table 1]

 

The upshot of these criticisms is that one would have preferred the Gubernatorial and Presidential Elections to be held on April 3 and Wednesday April 4, 2007 respectively as recommended earlier, which, working back on the dates, would have given at least 10 days for Tribunals to hear all the petitions, including at least for Run-Off #1, which is more probable than Run-Off #2. [See Table 2.]

 

Consequently, unless the principle of "Sleeping on your Rights" is invoked – which would make the filing of petitions AFTER a remedy has been worked out moot – we may have a crisis on our hands come next year.  

 

In any case, if these dates are not changed, we are now left to watch VERY CLOSELY each of the deadlines AUTOMATICALLY created by the announcements put forward by INEC.  These deadlines are set forth in Table 3, where a clear distinction should be made (as implied in the Electoral Act 2006)  between "General Election" date (which is April 21, the first date of two elections), and each of the election dates (April 14 for Gubernatorial/State Assembly) and April 21 for Presidential/National Assembly, each of which triggers a different set of deadlines.

 
Finally, at some point soon in our nation, we must make some bold decisions about staggering our elections and taking guess-work out of election dates so that we don't have a four-year-cycle of electoral carnivals and citizens' nail-biting.
 

But we shall see, and in the time being,  let us pray.

 

 

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY

 

http://www.nigerianmuse.com/important_documents/Electoral_Act_2006_Harmonized.doc

Nigeria's Electoral Act 2006

 

http://www.nigerianmuse.com/essays/?u=MWE_Interrogating_Harmonized_Electoral_Act_2006.htm

MID-WEEK ESSAY:  Interrogating the New Harmonized Electoral Act 2006 - and Some Recommendations

[Mobolaji E. Aluko, June 14, 2006 ]

 

http://www.nigerianmuse.com/essays/?u=SM_Update_on_Recommended_dates_2007_Elections.htm

SUNDAY MUSINGS:  Update on Recommended Dates for 2007 Elections   

[Mobolaji E. Aluko; June 11, 2006 ]

 

http://www.nigerianmuse.com/essays/?u=MWE_Recommending_Dates_ballot_system_for_2007_elections.htm

MID-WEEK ESSAY: Recommending Dates and Ballot System for the 2007 Nigerian Elections [Mobolaji E. Aluko, May 31, 2006]

 

 

 

TABLE 1: CONSEQUENCE OF PRESENT INEC ANNOUNCEMENT

 

April 14 – Gubernatorial Elections

April 21 – Presidential Election

{April 28 – "Fast Track" Announcement of Results of Presidential & Gubernatorial Elections

May 5– Run-Off Elections #1

May 12 – "Fast Track" Announcement of results of Run-Off Elections #1

May 19 – Run-Off Elections #2

May 26 – "Fast Track" Announcement of results of Run-Off Elections  #2

May 28 Last day to file Petition Against Presidential Election Results}

May 29 – Hand-Over Date

{June 12 -  Last day to file Petition Against Run-Off # 1

June 26 – Last day to file Petition Against Run-Off # 2

 

 

TABLE 2:  PREFERRED INEC ANNOUCEMENTS

 

April 3 – Gubernatorial Elections (Monday)

April 4 – Presidential Elections (Tuesday)

April 7 – Announcement of results of Presidential/Gubernatorial Elections (Saturday)

April 14 – Run-Off #1 (May not be necessary, but quite possible)

April 21 – Announcement of results of Run-Off # 1

April 28 – Run Off # 2 (May not be necessary; quite improbable)

May 5 – Announcement of results of Run-off # 2

May 7 - Last day to file Petition Against Presidential/Gubernatorial Elections

May 14 – Last day to file Petition Against Run-Off # 1

May 15-25 – Tribunals hear all Petitions

May 29 – Hand-Over Date

June 5 – Last day to file Petition Against Run-Off # 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Table 3:  Full Chronological Implications of Announced Electoral Time-Table

 

 

Date 

 Event

 

 

2006

 

 

 

Wednesday

May 31

Electoral Law 2006 [Harmonized]

passed by National Assembly

 

 

Tuesday

June 6

Assent by President Obasanjo

 

 

Tuesday,

August 29 

 INEC announces Voter Registration & Election Dates

{ie  October 7, 2006 for begin of voter registration;

      April 14, 2007 for Guber/SASS Elections;

      April 21, 2007 for Prez/NASS Elections}

 

 

Thursday

August 31

Deadline for INEC to submit

Budget for activities for following

Year 2007 [Section 6(1) of Electoral Act 2006 (EA2006)]

 

 

Thursday, October 7

 Voter (Re-)Registration to Begin

 

 

Saturday, October 14

6 months days before GENERAL ELECTION GE (ie April 14, 2007):

1.  Political parties intending to be registered must submit their applications not later than six months before GE [Section 78(1)]

1.  Political parties intending to merge must give six months notice  to INEC before GE  [Section 84(2)]

 

 

Thursday, November 16

150 days before Guber/SASS Elections Day:

1.  Not later than 150 days before this election day,

INEC must publish date of election and  where nomination papers are to be delivered [Section 31(1)]

Thursday, November 23

150 days before Prez/NASS Elections Day:

1.  Not later than 150 days before this election day,

INEC must publish date of election and  where nomination papers are to be delivered [Section 31(1)]

 

 

Friday, December 15

120 days before Guber/SASS Election Day

1.  Registration of voters that will vote  not  later than 120 days before this election day [Section 10(5)]…..but

registration must continue [since it is continuous; Section 10(1)]

2. Party must submit list of candidates to  INEC not later than 120 days before Guber/SASS Election Day [Section 32(1)]

3. INEC must publish particulars within 7 days after receipt . [Section 32(3)]

Friday, December 22

120 days before Prez/SASS Election Day

1.  Registration of voters that will vote  not  later than 120 days before this election day [Section 10(5)]…..but  registration must continue [since it is continuous; Section 10(1)]

2. Party must submit list of candidates to  INEC not later than 120 days before this election day [Section 32(1)]

3. INEC must publish particulars within 7 days after receipt .

[Section 32(3)]

 

 

2007

 

 

 

Sunday, January 14

90 days before Guber/SASS Elections Day:

1.  Parties to submit audited account [Section 89(1)]

2.  Public campaign by parties can begin;  to last only 90 days and end 24 hours to poll opening  [Section 101(a)]

Sunday, January 21

90 days before Prez/NASS Elections Day:

1.  Parties to submit audited account [Section 89(1)]

2.  Public campaign by parties can begin;  to last only 90 days and end 24 hours to poll opening  [Section 101(a)]

 

 

Sunday, February 4

70 days before Guber/SASS Elections Day:

1.  Candidate can withdraw his candidature [Section 36(1)]

Sunday, February 11

70 days before Prez/NASS Elections Day:

1.  Candidate can withdraw his candidature [Section 36(1)]

 

 

Wednesday, February 21

60 days before GENERAL ELECTION:

1.  Not later than 60 days before GENERAL ELECTION,

supplementary voters' list shall be integrated

with the voters' register and published [Section 21]

 

 

 

Wednesday, February 21

1. Parties can signify intent to change its  candidate not later than 60 days before Guber/SASS [Section 34(1)]

2. Party can change a withdrawn candidate not

later than 60 days before Guber/SASS [Section 36(2)]

Wednesday, February 28

1. Parties can signify intent to change its  candidate not later than 60 days before Prez/NASS [Section 34(1)]

2. Party can change a withdrawn candidate not

later than 60 days before Prez/NASS [Section 36(2)]

 

 

Thursday, March 1

Within 60 days after each year:

 

1.  INEC must make names, addresses of all  registered persons during 2006 available   to every political party [Section 11(1)(b)]

 

 

Thursday March 15

30 days before Guber/SASS Elections Day

 

1.  INEC to publish by display full names of  all candidates standing nominated  [Section 35]

2. No duplicate voter's card issued on polling day or within 30 days of Guber/SASS Elections Day [Section 19(3)]

Thursday March 22

30 days before Prez/NASS Elections Day

 

1.  INEC to publish by display full names of  all candidates standing nominated  [Section 35]

2. No duplicate voter's card issued on polling day or within 30 days of Prez/NASS Elections Day [Section 19(3)]

 

 

Saturday, March 31

14 days before Guber/SASS Elections Day

 

1. INEC shall publish (a) day/hours fixed for poll (b) people entitled to vote; and (c) location of polling stations.  [See Section 47]

2.  Election tribunals shall be set up  not later than 14 days before Guber/SASS Elections Day [Section 140(3)]

Saturday,

April 7

14 days before Prez/NASS Elections Day

 

1. INEC shall publish (a) day/hours fixed for poll  (b) people entitled to vote; and (c) location of polling stations.  [See Section 47]

2.  Election tribunals shall be set up  not later than 14 days before Prez/NASS Elections Day [Section 140(3)]

 

 

Tuesday March 27

7 days before PED:

 

1.  Each political party to submit names and  addresses of its polling agents [Section 46(1)]

 

 

Friday,

March 30

60 days before H-OD

 

1.  Presidential elections cannot be held  earlier than this date (by 1999 Constitution)

Friday,

April 13

Guber/SASS Public campaign ends on this day

Saturday,

April 14

Gubernatorial/State Assembly Election Day

 ????????????

Gubernatorial/State Assembly Results Announced when? Date of announcement uncertain

 

 

 

 

Friday,

April 20

Prez/NASS Public campaign ends on this day

Saturday,

April 21

Prez/NASS Election Day

????????????

Prez/NASS Results Announced when?

Date of announcement uncertain

 

 

 ????????????

Guber/SASS Election petitions to be filed by this date {within  30 days of results declaration [Section 141]}

 ????????????

Prez/NASS Election petition to be filed by this date {within

30 days of results declaration [Section 141]}

 

 

????????????

Run-off # 1: 7 days after Prez/Guber Results are announced

Date of announcement uncertain

 

Election petition against Run-off #1  can be filed within 30

days for results declaration  [Section 141]

 

 

????????????

Run-off # 2: within 14 days after Prez/Guber Run-off # 1 announced

Date of announcement uncertain

 

Election petition can be filed within 30 days

for results declaration of Run-off # 2  [Section 141]

 

 

Sunday,

April 29

30 days before Handover-Date

 

1.  Presidential elections cannot be held later

than this date (by 1999 Constitution)

 

 

Tuesday,

May 29

Hand-Over Date (HOD) to New Administration

 

 

 

 

GUARDIAN

August 30, 2006
 

Elections for president, govs hold April 21, 2007

 
·   Obasanjo pledges to hand over on May 29
From Akpo Esajere, Madu Onuorah and Mohammed Abubakar, Abuja
 
A SHIFT has been adopted for the conduct of next year's general elections, grouping voting for the office of president and the federal legislature together.
 
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) announced this at the opening of a three-day national forum on Nigeria's 2007 elections, held in Abuja yesterday.
 
According to a sketch of the time-table, INEC said that the presidential election and that of the National Assembly would hold the same day, April 21, 2007.
 
Also, Nigerians will vote for their governorship candidates and those of the State Houses of Assembly on April 14, 2007, seven days earlier than the president and federal legislature elections.
 
It was an occasion where President Obasanjo also again formally pledged to Nigerians: "When the time comes on May 29, 2007 that I will hand over the baton, I want Nigerians and friends of Nigeria to have the confidence that the race will neither be slowed down nor be lost. I will want to give glory to God and thank Nigerians. As I return to my farm, I will have the feeling that I have had the opportunity to serve and I have done my best even as I leave the rest for those following or coming behind to resolve to have no rest until the ultimate best is achieved for the country."
 
The time-table contrasts with that for the 2003 polls, in which the presidential and governorship elections were both held on April 19.
 
It also contrasts with the even more staggered elections that ushered in democracy on May 29, 1999, when council elections were held on December 5, 1998.
 
Those of state governors and their assemblies were held on January 9, 1999 ; the National Assembly, February 20, 1999, and Presidency, February 27.
 
INEC also yesterday disclosed that a fresh voters' registration would be conducted, beginning on October 7, 2006.
 
And, once again, President Olusegun Obasanjo yesterday pledged to "hand over the baton" of leadership of Nigeria and return to his farm on May 29, 2007.
 
But the President also upbraided those alleging a plot for an Interim National Government (ING), saying that they "are either ignorant of the Constitution, evil-minded or are mischief-makers because there is no room anywhere for such a contraption except during a state of war against other countries."
 
He said: "ING is only reminiscent of military regime and military mentality", adding that unless the promoters of the unconstitutional tale "have plans to go to war against other countries, it is difficult to see how the issue of ING comes into our country's political discourse and commitment to political stability and economic progress."
 
He declared: "It is undemocratic and has no redeeming political or other value."
 
Promising to ensure that INEC performs its duties without hitches, the President gave a hint on those who might not succeed him next year. He restated his government's plan to "wage war on political violence and politicians or their agents who instigate, encourage, preach, support and promote violence."
 
The President added: "Elections cannot be a matter of life and death. Those who view politics and elections in that light do not have the interest of the nation and the people at heart. They do not mean well for our society and we must ensure that they do not succeed and we should do everything within the law and the Constitution to check their dangerous activities."
 
He declared further: "In the same vein, those criminals and crooks, persons of dubious character, the corrupt and the corrupters, and those whose track record are so blemished that no amount of whitewashing, propaganda or reinvention of personal profiles can cover up their dirty pasts must be prevented by all lawful means from further corrupting, contaminating and compromising our democratic process. Nigerians should all resolve that in no way should such people take over the reins of government in this country."
 

Noting that the future beckons on the citizens, Obasanjo said "The new Nigerian train of peace, unity, progress, love, harmony and development is moving on steadily. We call on those that still believe in bad-belle politics, and in the politics of manipulation, election rigging, violence, intimidation, ethnic and religious diversions, and political opportunism to abandon their old ways and join us in our new train of peace, partnership, progress and prosperity."

 
He frowned at organisations with political programmes that are outside political parties, accusing them of displaying "immaturity, opportunism and moral indiscipline."
 
The process of democracy, President Obasanjo maintained, must be held "inviolate and sacrosanct", positing that his administration "will under no circumstance encourage or allow any unconstitutional or illegal act or practice in our democratic process."
 
He declared: "Any such attempt will be fiercely opposed and sternly dealt with."
 
Asking all Nigerians, especially the political class to play politics within the defined limits, Obasanjo pledged: "We shall do everything necessary to ensure that the enemies of democracy do not divert, distract, dilute, distort or discredit our institutions, processes and desires for peace, unity democracy and progress."
 
He urged INEC to deliver faithfully on its mandate to all Nigerians and to ensure that the 2007 elections are conducted in a "free and fair manner."
 
INEC chairman, Prof. Maurice Iwu, pledged to conduct "successful, free, credible elections in 2007", adding that his critics would be shamed at the end of the elections.
 
He said the decision to embark on the fresh exercise was based on serious flaws detected in the existing voters' cards, stressing that if they were used, the desire of the country to have free, fair and credible elections would not be achieved.
 
Second Republic President, Alhaji Shehu Usman Aliyu Shagari, the British High Commissioner to Nigeria , Mr. Richard Gozney and his Canadian counterpart, Mr. David Angel, were unanimous that the successful conduct of the 2007 election would be the only yardstick for measuring Nigeria 's democratic growth.
 
According to Iwu, the challenge of the 2007 general elections is to uproot the flaws in the country's electoral process and in their place raise values that would in the end leave no doubt about the actual will of the people.
 
Shagari, who chaired the opening ceremony, commended the commission for breathing a new life into the workings of the electoral body through its various reforms, such as the automation of its preparations for elections.
 
The former president said that he did not see anything wrong with the electronic voters register (EVR), which INEC intends to use in the conduct of the 2007 elections, as it would capture on the spot, the correct information about the voter.
 
He said: "These and thumbprints as well as photographs will subsequently be embossed on the voters' cards to be used in the 2007 elections.
 
These, in my views are salutary and in the best interest of the political class, which wants to foster and deepen democracy, so they must give their unalloyed support."
 
Shagari urged the commission to educate the people about the method. "This is because, despite our advances in technology worldwide, our people, especially, the rural folks are likely to be overawed by what appears to be, on the surface, a simple automation".
 
Grozney said the successful conduct of the 2007 polls would usher Nigeria into the comity of democratic nations, pledging that Britain would ever remain prepared to assist the country to achieve that objective.
 
The envoy, however, made it clear that his country had no intention of imposing its idea of how the elections should be conducted on Nigeria, or on who would become Nigeria's next President, governors or even council chairmen.
]]>
http://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=8815Sat, 07 Oct 2006 00:00:00 GMT
COMMUNIQUE ON THE MEETING OF EKITI SONS AND DAUGHTERS
HELD IN LAGOS ON TUESDAY, August 22, 2006.

 

 

Murder of Dr. Ayodeji Daramola and the Rule of Terror In Ekiti State

 

 

i)                      The meeting of "All Sons and Daughters" of Ekiti State was convened by E-eleven, A Forum of Ekiti Stakeholders.  The meeting which was attended by a large number of Ekiti indigenes within and outside Lagos, deliberated on the situation in Ekiti State which culminated in the recent cold-blooded, gruesome murder of Dr. Ayodeji Daramola in his hometown, Ijan Ekiti on August 14;

 

ii)                     The meeting unanimously condemned in very strong term the assassination of this illustrious son of Ekiti who vigorously committed himself to the development of the state and the well being of its citizens even outside the contest of traditional politics.   The meeting reviewed the history of serial killings, attempted assassinations, thuggery and the general level of violence in the state, all of which have become extremely embarrassing to the good people of Ekiti State;

 

iii)                   The meeting took very strong note and expressed deep appreciation of the worthy and immense contributions of Dr. Ayo Daramola which positively impacted on the social and economic well being of all the Local Government areas of the state in spite of all the obstacles put along his path by the present administration, obstacles he successfully overcame through sheer commitment to the singular goal of positively enhancing the standard of living of the people of the state on a sustainable basis;

 

iv)                   The meeting however expressed grave concern over the continuing systematic erosion of the values of accommodation, tolerance, integrity, dedication, industry and family bonding that have distinguished the Ekiti people through the ages;

 

v)                    Furthermore, the meeting expressed dismay over the emerging culture of gangsters, disrespect, arrogance, rascality, falsehood and brigandage that has characterized the social and political life of the state since the advent of the administration of Mr. Ayo Fayose;

 

vi)                   The meeting also reviewed the roles played by various individuals, state and federal organs in the creation of the siege environment under which Ekiti people now find themselves; expressed deep concern on the general level of insecurity and fear under which the people now live.  The meeting also took particular note of the role of busybodies, irresponsible journalists and influence peddlers that have sought to profit from the tragedy that Ekiti State has become under Mr. Ayo Fayose;

 

vii)                  The role played by some traditional rulers in the state was reviewed and the meeting condemned the activities of those of them who connived with Mr. Fayose and sold out their conscience, honour and royal integrity.   They betrayed their subjects and brought their institutions to disrepute in a moment of drunken stupor when they shamelessly proclaimed "Fayose for ever" in Ekiti State.   The meeting however praised the noble roles played by two Obas in particular – the Ewi of Ado Ekiti and the Onijan of Ijan.   The meeting commiserated with the Onijan and his people for the loss of Dr. Ayo Daramola to assassins.   The Obas were enjoined not to relent in their efforts to ensure that peace and harmony return to Ekiti land and evil is stamped out forever;

 

viii)                The meeting also took note of the very worthy and consistent efforts of some of our elders, particularly Chief Afe Babalola who in spite of continuous harassment, intimidation, insults and threat to his life has remained steadfast in his determination to ensure that evil does not triumph in Ekiti.   The meeting praised him for his effort whilst wishing him many more years of service to Ekiti and indeed to Nigeria.  In the same vein, the meeting also took note of the embarrassing conduct of some hitherto respected elders who, motivated by political and/or economic opportunism, with little tokens offered, soiled their hard-earned integrity in their misguided adventure of eulogizing the evil that is rampaging Ekiti land.  

 
ix)                     Finally, the meeting reviewed in general the history of politically motivated assassinations in the country and the inconclusive nature of all the investigations so far carried out by the Nigerian Police, including that of the late Attorney General of the Federation, Chief Bola Ige, thus depriving the victims of such atrocities justice even in their graves.   In the particular case of Ekiti, the meeting observed with great disappointment the lukewarm attitude of the Nigeria Police to all the violence that the administration of Mr. Ayo Fayose has been perpetrating in the state since 2003;

 

x)                   We condemn Nigeria Police' inefficiency in not resolving any of the murders, attempted murders, violence, threat of violence and wanton destruction of property that has characterized governance in Ekiti State and some other parts of the country.

 

xi)                 The meeting however noted and commended  the efforts of the State Security Services (SSS) in Ekiti State for their more impartial attitude towards political violence and Executive lawlessness in the State, which has resulted in large turnover of its state leadership.   Without the objectivity displayed by the state's SSS which attempted to checkmate Mr. Fayose and his hired goons, it is frightening contemplating what the situation would have been;

 

xii)                Much praise was given to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for its current effort to expose the monumental fraud perpetrated by Mr. Fayose and his administration.   The meeting expressed strong hope that the EFCC would carry its effort to a logical conclusion when the charade that goes on in Ekiti State as "grass-root" governance would be finally exposed;

 

In consideration of all the above and the need to address the legitimate security concerns of the honest, hardworking and peace-loving people of Ekiti State the meeting unanimously adopted the following resolutions:

 

1.              All Ekiti indigenes, indeed all the good people of Nigeria, are hereby enjoined to rally round and ensure that the death of Dr. Ayodeji Daramola shall not be in vain and indeed, must be the last of such in Ekiti in particular, and the entire nation in general.

 

2.              A fund, to be called the Dr. Ayodeji Daramola Children Education Endowment Fund is to be established and managed by select men and women of proven integrity to ensure that Dr. Daramola's children benefit from the enviable goodwill and dedication of their slain father thus rekindling and sustaining their now shattered hope of a Nigeria where "peace and justice reign".   In this regard, all patriots of Ekiti State and indeed all men and women across the entire nation who cherish service and dedication are hereby invited to make contribution to this fund, no matter how little.

 

3.              The state government under the leadership of Mr. Ayodele Fayose should be held accountable for creating, promoting and sustaining a climate of fear, intimidation and brigandage and condemned for this gruesome murder and similar ones in the past in the State. The security forces and investigating authorities are called upon to deal squarely and decisively with this case and ensure that justice is done while culprits are brought to book.   This must not be another case of unsolved murder as the people of Ekiti State are resolutely determined to ensure justice is done.

 

4.              The Nigerian Police in particular and indeed the Federal Administration are culpable for their criminal complicity in the enthronement of violence in Ekiti State as they ignored all tips and signals on Mr. Fayose's penchant for violence hitherto provided, thus encouraging him and his administration to continue with impunity in its recklessness and instinctive disposition towards deceit, empty propaganda, anarchy and political brigandage, behaviours that ordinarily would be associated with drug addicts and people of loose, criminal background.   It was emphasized that the violence and arson that followed the murder of Dr. Daramola was a direct measure of the extent to which the people of the State have lost confidence in the integrity of the police force following their track record of failure to discharge their duties and their complicity in the upsurge of violence in Ekiti State.

 

5.              To redeem its image, but more importantly, to satisfy the peoples' demand for justice, the Nigerian Police is hereby given 21 days ultimatum to use all means at its disposal to fish out the killers and those who sponsored the killing of Dr. Daramola failing which a coalition of civil society organizations in collaboration with international organizations and body of experts would embark on its own independent forensic investigation of the murder and make their findings public.

 

6.               For the record, it was noted that whereas in the case of the murder of Engr. Funso Williams in Lagos, the Nigeria Police wasted no time in soliciting the services of foreign forensic experts. In the case of Dr. Daramola, no such step has been taken. We may want to ask why this double standard. We therefore advocate that the police should immediately call for independent foreign forensic experts' assistance in this case since they have shown they lack expertise to unravel murders of this nature.

 

7.              The Nigerian Police is hereby called upon to reopen the case files on the murder of Mr. Tunde Omojola in Ifaki Ekiti, the murder of students of the College of Education in Ikere Ekiti, the near assassination of the erstwhile Chairman of Ado Local Government Council, Mr. Taiye Fasuba and all other cases of murder, attempted murder and arson committed in Ekiti since Fayose got to power.   In all these cases, the Nigerian Police had enough information to bring the culprits to book; instead they were all treated with levity that bordered on criminal complicity and professional ineptitude.   This must now be redressed.

 

8.              While thanking President Olusegun Obasanjo for setting up a security panel to investigate the case of attempted assassination of Chief Afe Babalola, we are calling on Mr. President to immediately call for the report of that investigation and arrest and bring to book all members of Fayose's death squad who are mentioned in the report.

 

9.              In relation to this, the current Commissioner of Police in Ekiti State should be redeployed with immediate effect as she has shown beyond doubt her incompetence to handle the situation in Ekiti State.   Pervasive rumour of her unholy relationship with Mr. Fayose are such that have impugned her professional and moral integrity as a security officer, hence her competence to handle the security needs and concerns of a state.

 

10.          The Police command in Ado Ekiti should be held responsible for this murder and for all the murder, attempted murder and willful arson conducted by members of the Fayose regime in Ekiti State for its failure to act in the face of all evidence available to it and for its refusal to provide Dr. Daramola with police protection despite the approval of the Inspector General of Police

 

11.          Mr. Ayo Fayose is hereby advised to save himself, the people of Ekiti State, the Peoples' Democratic Party, and indeed the nation any further embarrassment by resigning immediately as the Governor of Ekiti State failing which the State House of Assembly is hereby called upon to impeach him for gross executive misconduct and incompetence as Chief State Security officer without any further delay.

 

12.          The people of Ekiti State are hereby called upon to come out boldly and in unison to say, NEVER AGAIN to the reign of terror in the state.   Indigenes of Ekiti State must know by now that their salvation lies in their hand and must rise up to get rid of this raging bull in their china shop.  From Ikere to Ifaki to Ikole, Iyin, Omuo and now Ijan!   If nothing is done now, who knows where it will be next!!

 

13.          Regardless of what Mr. Fayose does, notice is hereby served him that an international coalition of legal experts is being assembled and would soon present a case of crime against humanity against him before the International Criminal Court.  Let him know now that he has no place to hide anymore.

 

14.          Notice is hereby served to all busybodies from within and outside of Ekiti State and particularly the Peoples Democratic Party leaders from outside who parade themselves as "godfathers" whilst seeking to extend the territorial range of their "garrison command"; political merchants who are shamelessly fabricating all sorts of falsehood to convince Mr. President that "without Fayose, there will be no more PDP in Ekiti State" when it is so obvious that it is Fayose that is killing PDP in the state and will ultimately bury it if he remains at the helm; corrupt journalists who specialize in peddling rumours and selling false stories for a mess of porridge thereby compromising the ethics of their profession; all these people are warned to steer clear of Ekiti and avoid compounding our problem.   To these people we say ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!!

 

15.          Meanwhile, notice is hereby given to all Ekitis and to all lovers of peace that we will soon launch an endowment fund for Dr. Daramola children and all others who have lost relations and property since the Fayose government came into being in 2003. The name of Dr Ayo Daramola and others will be officially memorialized and immortalized in Ekiti State, if not now, then immediately upon the exit of Mr. Fayose as governor.

 

16.          We will open a black book that will be archived both at home and abroad and that will exist in perpetuity to remind the Ekitis of the darkness that enveloped our land since Fayose became governor.

 

In conclusion, the meeting decided to do all within its power to ensure that peace returns to Ekiti land, a state we are all proud of and enjoin all to rise up in unison and proclaim NEVER AGAIN would there be a reign of terror and divisive politics in our state well known and envied for its homogeneity, and the accompanying values of integrity, hard work, respect for elders and excellence.

 

 

SIGNED

 

NAME

TOWN OF ORIGIN

 

 

 

 

Aare Femi Adebayo

Iyin-Ekiti

Abiodun Aluko

Ikere Ekiti

Abiodun Taiwo

Ado-Ekti

Ade Alofe

Ayetoro Ekiti

Adebayo Odeyemi

Ipao-Ekiti

Adebayo Olutobi

Iropora Ekiti

Adedipe Jamiu

Ado-Ekiti

Adedipe Olawale

Ado-Ekiti

Adekunle Adeyemo

Ado-Ekiti

Ademiluyi Adetope

Aramoko Ekiti

Ademola Salau

Igbemo Ekiti

Adeniyi Ajakaiye

Iyin-Ekiti

Agidigbi Odunayo

Ijesha Isu Ekiti

Ajakaiye Adewole .O.

Iyin-Ekiti

Ajakaiye Olutoyin (Mrs)

Ajepe Femi

Iyin-Ekiti

Ido - Ekiti

Ajiniran Femi

Ijesha-Isu-Ekiti

Akinola Oladimeji

Ikere-Ekiti

Akinyele Odunayo

Ikole Ekiti

Akosile Kolawole

Igbara –Odo

Ani Gbenga

Ado-Ekiti

Atolayan Thomas T.

Igogo Ekiti

Babafemi Ojudu

Babatunde B. Joseph

Ado Ekiti

Iyin Ekiti

Ben Oguntuase

Ikole-Ekiti

Biodun Adelabu

Ado-Ekiti

Bolanle Richard Bruce

Igede Ekiti

Bunmi Oriniowo

Ifishin-Ekiti

Chief Dipo Anisulowo

Are-Ekiti

Dada A. Babatunde

Efon Alaye

Dada Adekunle

Itaji Ekiti

Dada Ayodele Olu

Ipoti-Ekiti

 Dara Oseni

Ikole

Dare Daramola

Ijan-Ekiti

Dare Oguntuase

Ikole Ekiti

Dayo Kayode

Usi Ekiti

Deaconess Tunde Fajuyi

Ado-Ekiti

Dele Adesina

Fasuba Charles Abiodun

Ilawe Ekiti

Ado Ekiti

Femi Ayeni

Ijesha Isu Ekiti

Femi Falana

Ilawe-Ekiti

Femi Thomas

Ikoro-Ekiti

Gbenga Agbona

Ilawe Ekiti

J. O. Owoseni

Ipoti

Jide Ajayi

Iyin-Ekiti

Kayode Afolabi

Ado-Ekiti

Kayode Fayemi

Kayode Fayeun

Isan Ekiti

Ilawe-Ekiti

Kayode Steve Adaramoye

Ilumoba

Kola Adeniyi

Ilawe Ekiti

Kola Akosile

Usi Ekiti

Mike Awopetu

Ogotun Ekiti

Obembe Funmilayo

Ijesha –Isu-Ekiti

Ola Ogundolapo

Ikere-Ekiti

Olajide Odunayo

Ikoro Ekiti

Olanrewaju Alonge 

Ilupeju Ekiti

Olukayode Faluyi

Igogo-Ekiti

Omoshuli Oluwaseyi

Igbara-Odo Ekiti

Oso Olalekan

Ijesa-Isu Ekiti

Otunba Dayo Olarewaju

Ifaki-Ekiti

Oyebanji Abiodun

Ikogosi Ekiti

Popoola Ademola

Oyo-Ekiti

Sanmi Awosusi

Aramoko

Sanmi Omiata

Ado-Ekiti

Segun Ajibulu

Ipao Ekiti

Sola Alabi

Ado-Ekiti

Taiwo Ajayi

Ikole-Ekiti

Taiwo Faleye E

Igogo Ekiti

Tokie Adebayo

Usi-Ekiti

Tope Akinwumi

Ilawe-Ekiti

Tope Olowoyo

Iyin-Ekiti

Tunde Olofin

Iyin-Ekiti

Wole Ogunleye

Ado-Ekiti

Yemi Olayinka

Ado-Ekiti

 

 

 

 

 

]]>
http://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=8814Sat, 07 Oct 2006 00:00:00 GMT
Week-End Essay: The Ethical Burden of Obasanjo's "Blind Trust" and Transcorp - "Please Speak to the Nation, Ejoo Sir!"Week-End Essay: The Ethical Burden of Obasanjo's "Blind Trust" and Transcorp - "Please Speak to the Nation, Ejoo Sir!"

by

Mobolaji E. Aluko, PhD

alukome@gmail.com

Burtonsville, MD, USA

August 19, 2006

QUOTE from Wikipedia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blind_trust

A blind trust is a trust in which the executors or those who have been given power of attorney have full discretion over the assets, and the trust beneficiaries have no knowledge of the holdings of the trust. Blind trusts are generally used when a trustor wishes to keep the beneficiary unaware of the specific assets in the trust, such as to avoid conflict of interest between the beneficiary and the investments. Politicians often place their assets in blind trusts so they cannot be accused of conflict of interest when they direct government funds to the private sector.

UNQUOTE

The ethical blindness - or sight-challengedness - with which our Nigerian leadership often approaches various issues can be amazing. One reads of heads of regulating agencies accepting car gifts from those they regulate and harrumphing that such gestures will not affect their objectivity; ministries donating public money for birthdays and book launches of their ministers and other high officials; adult brothers and mothers' and concubines' health, hotel and/or other accommodation bills paid for from the public purse, etc. More befuddling is that when confronted with the clear moral burden at hand, there is amazement exhibited by some protagonists that the issue is raised at all, and you find certain actors, both paid and unpaid, coming out of the woodworks asserting that nothing is wrong, and that the accusations are being made out of envy and/or political pettiness.

With regard to the matter at hand, the president's personal involvement in the running of his Ota Farm [ http://www.obasanjofarms.com/ ], and in Obasanjo Holdings [ http://obasanjoholdings.com/ ] well into his presidency is a well-known fact. For example, back in December 2004, and again in September 2005, Governor Orji Uzo Kalu of Abia State, in one of his many verbal and written combats with the president over his impounded Slok Airlines and other matters, indicated that he once sat with the president while he (president Obasanjo) was signing Obasanjo Farm checks of First Bank, among several accusations. [See http://odili.net/news/source/2004/dec/2/303.html ; and http://www.nigerianmuse.com/nigeriawatch/officialfraud/Orji_Uzo_Kalu_accuses_Obasanjo_before_EFCC.htm ] That statement has not been controverted. More importantly, the nation was once told earlier in November 2004 by then presidential aide Remi Fani-Kayode (now Minister of Culture and Tourism) that since Obasanjo's farm and other business concerns earn approximately N30 million per month, the president was not inclined to steal government money, meaning that the president was benefitting well, thank you, from such proceeds [ http://www.nigerianmuse.com/important_documents/Obasanjo_farm_wealth.htm ].

And now August 2006, and disclosure of a Blind Trust investment in Transcorp , Nigeria 's answer to South Korean "Chaebols". When did the Obasanjo Holdings become "blind"? Can a "blind trust" have a "sighted" name? Who are its executors? Was it registered with Corporate Affairs Commission so as to be able to trade? And now that the blinded trust is with sight, has the basic legal requirement of its blindness not been violated, in which case it should disgorge itself immediately of the 1, 20, 100 or even 200-600 million shares in Transcorp?

These are germane questions which many Nigerians, including yours truly, are raising. These are questions that demand answers.

The ethical dilemma which the President has entangled himself with - the multi-billion-naira donations by Corporate Nigeria both to his 2003 Campaign and to the Presidential Library Fund; the establishment of a private University at Bells Technological University in the midst of the declining fortunes of our public universities; and now the allegations of "blind trust" holdings in a highly-favored Transcorp - constitute a really troubling pattern. One gets the feeling that he is not properly advised by lawyers around him, and/or by his public relations handlers that a person in such a high position can be easily accused - and rightly so - of unrighteous influence peddling. There is a certain base level in which these activities can be described as strictly "legal", but at another level of public decency and perception, they leave a uncomfortable stink when every spirit of the law has been violated.

The president can do better. He should indeed speak to the nation on Transcorp and his involvement, and make amends if necessary.

NigerianMuse.com

Bolaji Aluko

August 19, 2006

DAILY TRUST EDITORIAL:

August 18, 2006

Obasanjo, speak on Transcorp

Recently, newspaper reports alleged that President Olusegun Obasanjo holds 200 million paid-up shares in Transnational Corporation Plc (Transcorp). Transcorp, a mega-company that President Olusegun Obasanjo has actively promoted as Nigeria 's answer to South Korea 's Chaebols, has somehow emerged as the preferred bidders in the controversial sales of strategic national assets such as the Hilton Hotel, Abuja and the National Telecommunications Plc (NITEL).

As we write this, the Presidency has not made a formal response to the allegation. Nor has it responded to another newspaper story alleging that the President's holding in Transcorp is 600 million shares, and not 200 million as earlier stated. The President's shares in Transcorp are said to be held in a blind trust "in line with international best practices," and are being run by some prominent Nigerians and a foreign national. The same story has it "that Obasanjo Holdings Blind Trust subscribed to 200 million shares in Transcorp when it was incorporated in November" and that the "shares were fully paid" for.

The President ought to know that even before the newspaper publications made the issue of the ownership of Transcorp a matter for national discourse, most Nigerians, in the safety of their homes and places of work, have marveled at Transcorp's extra-ordinarily good fortune. Nigerians have asked whether it is proper that Dr. Ndidi Okereke-Onyiuke, who is the Director-General of the Nigerian Stock Exchange, umpire and regulator of publicly quoted companies, should also be Transcorp chairman. Not a few eye-brows were raised at the absence of transparency in the sale of NICON-HILTON Hotel, a cultural heritage that sits on one of the world's choicest estate, to Transcorp, a company which, because it has zero experience in the hospitality industry, should not in the first place have bidded for it.

And now NITEL, where the BPE, in a desperate bid to hand over the telecommunication giant to Transcorp, over-reached its own record of dubiety and disingeniousness. Initially, BPE said 51% of NITEL was for sale. After the investors' bids were rejected, BPE decided to have a negotiated sale, only to come out with an announcement that Transcorp has emerged winner of the 71% of NITEL, a substantial remove from the 51% that has been on offer.

The events of the past two weeks justifies the position that Nigerians deserve meaningful clarification on Transcorp and its ownership structure from relevant agencies and persons like the Corporate Affairs Commission, the BPE, the National Council on Privatisation, General Olusegun Obasanjo and the relevant committees of both Houses of the National Assembly. It is noteworthy and commendable that Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, the Vice-President around whose neck the yet-to-be proved allegations of corruption were strung by this administration, had the presence of mind to reject the Transcorp shares when 100 million of them were offered to him. If Transcorp is really in the habit of offering shares to highly placed Nigerians in public service, notwithstanding the clear strictures of the fifth schedule of the 1999 Constitution, could it have made such offers to number two without doing same to number one" Was an offer made to the President, was it accepted or was it refused? In relation to Transcorp, was it the case that at a point, the President was a judge in his own case? If the President really owns shares in Transcorp, how much of a conflict of interest does that pose? And how does this untidy bit fit into the other stories concerning the donations for a Presidential Library?

So the President needs to speak, directly to Nigerians, on the Transcorp matter. It is clear that the direct route of talking through a sympathetic newspaper publication that attempts to make the transactions look good has failed. For one, the laws of Nigeria and the 1999 Constitution do not know what a "blind trust" is. If blind trust is unknown to our laws, then there can't be "an applicable international best practice of a concept," Obasanjo Holdings Blind Trust "which is unknown to the laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. And if a TRUST was really created, for whose benefit was it created, and if a trust was registered, where was it registered?

INDEPENDENT

Obasanjo Holdings and Transcorp Plc:

http://www.independentngonline.com/news/102/ARTICLE/9005/2006-08-16.html

16th August

The tepid denial of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media Matters, Mrs Remi Oyo, notwithstanding, there is the need for a comprehensive statement directly from the President of the Federal Republic on the nature of his involvement or lack of it with the Transnational Corporation of Nigeria Plc (Transcorp).

In a recent newspaper report, it was alleged that Obasanjo Holdings, a firm purportedly managing many hitherto unknown companies owned by President Oluseggun Obasanjo, subscribed to 200 million shares when Transcorp was incorporated in November 2004. According to the report, full payment was duly made in respect of the said shares. If the allegation is true, then there is a clear conflict of interest.

A 'blind trust,' in its conventional application, is a special purpose vehicle, which is brought into play when an individual with private stock holdings goes into public office, elective or appointive. By as it were erecting a wall between the owner of the shares and its operations and immediate direct benefit, a 'blind trust' seeks to limit, if not entirely eliminate, potential conflict of interest.

However, a grey area exists on the moral front about this particular transaction. Can a 'blind trust' be justified when a person has already assumed office? For the presumption in a democracy is that all personal additional business interaction ceases the moment the person assumes high office. Given the nomenclature as well as the raison d'etre for its foundation, a 'blind trust' involving Transcorp Plc is fraught with grave danger.

The company was set up specifically as a "national champion" with the clearly stated intention of capturing the commanding heights of the economy. In this guise, there is clearly no way in which anyone in a position of authority will not be in an invidious position in his dealings with Transcorp, if he also has indirect holdings in the company. There have always been problems of conflict of interest in the promotion of "national champions" and this newspaper has consistently pointed out the landmines.

This becomes even more poignant in a case where openness is not enshrined through a "Freedom of Information" process. In the case of Transcorp there have been grave allegations of favouritism, granting of special favours and privileges as well as rigging of privatisation deals. All these issues came to the fore during the recent sale of the country's first telecommunication national carrier – NITEL.

The absence of anti-monopoly, pro-competition and fair trading frameworks within the country clearly breeds a situation of distrust. Such frameworks ought to have preceded the privatisation programme. In the absence of these, there will always be allegations of unfairness. The issue here brings up a wonderful opportunity to set the parameters in which a democratic structure and culture can evolve.

Office, as Lord Acton has famously observed, "does not sanctify the man." In a democracy office-holders are in a position of trust and there must be clear rules and regulations to minimise conflicts of interest and distortions. These rules must apply across the board at every level of public office holding.

We should initiate a Parliamentary Standards Commission headed preferably by a respected retired judicial officer to oversee the entire gamut of behaviour and decide on issues of propriety. There must be a register in which public office-holders have to declare direct and indirect interests in private and public companies including those of their immediate family members. The register must be made public, sworn to on oath and regularly updated. We must have a clear National Democratic Agreement on the issue of acceptable gifts and gratification for public office-holders.

Finally, since apart from NITEL, Transcorp Plc is known to have made bids for other public companies as well as oil blocks, it is absolutely vital, in the interest of fair play, open competition and probity, that the matter is speedily clarified and the shareholding structure of the company opened up for public scrutiny.

]]>
http://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=8813Sat, 07 Oct 2006 00:00:00 GMT
MID-WEEK ESSAY: That "Tokunboh" Plane – and Sedition in Nigeria

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

 

INTRODUCTION

Boeing Inc, with headquarters in Chicago, Illinois, is the largest aircraft manufacturer in the world, followed closely by Airbus of France. It typically takes 2 years to complete one of its aircrafts in the 737 New Generation (NG) series, from order to delivery.

One of such aircrafts being contemplated to be built was given the Construction Number 34260 in 2002 or 2003 by Boeing following an order by some "mysterious customer" – even though that did not mean that it would be built. However this particular one – a Boeing Business Jet (BBJ) was built – the 1746th 737-NG plane ever actually built. [A total of 5097 737s have ever been built, as of June 17, 2006.]

According to a Boeing press release, the BBJ is a high-performance derivative of the commercially popular Next-Generation 737-700 and provides unsurpassed levels of space, comfort and utility, with a cabin offering 807 square feet (75 square meters) of space, nearly three times the interior space of competing models with similar range capability. There are currently 84 of such planes in service around the world - these include 10 BBJ2s which are based on 737-800 and which offer 25 percent more cabin space and twice as much cargo capacity as the standard BBJ. All BBJs are manufactured at the Boeing Commercial Airplane Group manufacturing facilities at Renton in Washington State, USA.

In any case, this particular BBJ 737-700 plane that we are interested in took its first flight ever on June 29, 2005, with a Boeing manufacturer "dealer plate" Registration number N1786B. Having passed that test flight in flying colors, it was given a substantive Registration number N1781B. It was then entered in the log books as signed, sealed and delivered by Boeing on July 5, 2005. At this time, the designation of the plane as a Boeing "type 7N6" was a code-word that it was a Boeing 727-700 meant for the Government of Nigeria ("7N6" is used for Nigerian government as operator.)

On July 14, 2005, it actually became the joint property of BBJ and the Government of Nigeria, and it was "re-registered" with the new registration number 5N-FGT. The following day, it was freight-forwarded to Newcastle County Airport (ICAO code KILG) in Wilmington, Delaware, USA. Still not completely satisfied with the thrust and fuel range of the standard BBJ, the Nigerian government asked for and got at least three and possibly seven auxiliary fuel tanks installed on this its spankingly new 737-7N6 plane, registration number 5N-FGT. This was achieved at the PATS Aircraft, LLC facility in Georgetown, Delaware. This enhancement was completed on August 31, 2005.

How did I get all the information that I gave above about this plane? Simply by using Google search on the Internet ! The reader is invited to try it himself or herself. I did not speak to a single soul!

And I stand to be corrected.

"TOKUNBOH PLANE" ALLEGATION - AND SEDITION KE ?

We were not to read about this plane again until

- it was allegedly physically delivered in Nigeria on or around May 7, 2006 – almost a year after last re-fitting by PATS;

- it developed an engine problem on May 16, 2006, and had a make an emergency landing at the namdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja a few minutes after take-off with President Olusegun Obasanjo and some of his aides and top government officials on board, all enroute to Paris, France. The new plane had only the week before returned from a trip to Indonesia and Kampala where President Obasanjo had gone to attend the D-8 meeting and the swearing-in of President Yoweri Museveni for a third term.

- A newspaper reporter (Rotimi Durojaiye, Daily Independent) reported on June 12 in an article titled ""Controversy over age, cost of presidential jet" (see below) a speculation that the plane was a five-year-old retrofit bought from abroad and previously owned by Lufthansa – a "Tokunboh" in Nigerian parlance, which in Yoruba literally means "arrival via overseas route.". This report was then the subject of a TV program (Focus Nigeria; anchored by Mr. Gbenga Aruleba) on African Independent Television AIT on June 13.

- June 14, Aruleba were arrested by Nigeria's SSS, and held in detention before being released the following day. He was asked to report back on a daily basis.

- June 26, Aruleba was re-arrested – this time with Durojaiye also arrested;

- on June 27, they, along with their publishers and employers [the Africa Independent Television and the Daily Independent Newspapers Limited] were arraigned for sedition. The six-count charge sheet said their showed "intent to bring into hatred or contempt or excite disaffection against the person of the President or the Government of the Federation".

And that is where we are now.

These arrests on such a speculation is an atrocious attack on the Press and Media in Nigeria in a manner reminiscent of the dictatorial Abacha days, and an affront to the people of Nigeria to who the press owes an obligation to play a watch-dog role without caring whose ox is gored.

Let us come to the issue of malice and sedition.

Could Durojaiye have missed the correct information? Certainly, since he is human – but he could have missed it without malice against the Nigerian government. In fact, he might have been looking for information about a standard 737-800 plane – maybe due to wrong information by the Nigerian government itself – but saw no Nigerian government plane listed in the relevant database, while in fact the plane that was purchased was a 737-700 BBJ.

Is there a Lufthansa connection ANYWHERE? Yes, a BBJ plane with Construction number 30752 – the 451 st 737 plane ever built , an 737-7CN/W with test number N1786B (first flown December 8, 1999), registration number N1026G, later re-registered as HB-IIQ – is shown in the accessed database as being operated (as of June 2002) by BBJ/Privatair/Lufthansa. The close association of Nigerian government with Lufthansa (Germany) in the past might have led to the present speculation that that was the same plane.

The point here is that the Lufthansa connection was not a WILD claim, even if it was an incorrect one.

A THIN-SKINNED GOVERNMENT WITH "BAD BELLE"

So, instead of the government charging the newspaper author Durojaiye for publishing the speculation, and Aruleba for discussing it on TV, why did it not just tender all the Boeing information to assert that the plane is indeed new? Should incomplete or speculative information about a plane be equated to sedition?

Absolutely not!

The arrest of Aruleba – for discussing a newspaper report on TV - is even more ridiculous, and both of the arrests must stem from "bad belle" (malice) over AIT and the general Nigerian media's very laudable and leading role in the demise of the Third-Term agenda (TTA).

EPILOGUE

Some legal eagles of Nigeria – for example Gani Fawehinmi, Femi Falana and others - have stated that the law about sedition in Nigeria is a dead law, and was brought over in the first instance by the colonial masters. This writer believes that it should stay dead. Hence Aruleba and Durojaiye should be released to their families and their employers without further delay.

Finally, for the rest of the one year left for the Obasanjo regime, it should not do anything further to heat up our polity unnecessarily: The First Estate of the Realm should leave the Fourth Estate alone.

I rest my case.

 

THE "SEDITIOUS" (?) ARTICLE

Daily Independent

Controversy Over Age, Cost Of Presidential Jet

12th June 2006

• Five Years Old, Acquired From Lufthansa • Bought With Funds From External Reserves • NAF, Civil Pilots Fight For Control

How was the new Presidential Jet, a Boeing 737-800, bought? Did it follow due process? What is the cost? Is the air plane new or a refurbished one?

These are the questions tax payers are asking on the aircraft delivered on May 6.

Barely three weeks after the purchase, it developed technical faults midair. What is its airworthiness status?

It was on a flight to France on the day, with President Olusegun Obasanjo on board, when it lost cabin pressure 15 minutes after take off, forcing it to return to base.

On landing, it lost all electrical appliances. Efforts to restore its ventilation failed, and oxygen masks were released. The President had to make the journey in a smaller aircraft.

Although the government is yet to state its official price and age, media speculation is that it cost $72 million (N9.3 billion) and that it is as a new one.

However, Boeing website showed that Nigeria has never placed an order for a Boeing 737-800 since it was launched on September 5, 1994 at the Farnborough Air Show.

As of last December, the manufacturers had orders for 1,258 from 54 customers. They have delivered only 869.

Investigation revealed that the aircraft is five years old and was acquired from Lufthansa Airlines.

After the purchase, sources said, it was taken to the Boeing factory in America for re-configuration.

Two officials of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) were detailed last year, as required by the civil aviation laws, to travel abroad and re-certify the aircraft.

They are Olusiji Oluwole, former General Manager, Airworthiness Standards and Tosin Adedoyin, Deputy General Manager, Airworthiness Standards.

Oluwole was disengaged from the NCAA in December last year and is now the Quality Assurance Manager of Chanchangi Airlines.

He and Adedoyin were trained for two weeks at the Boeing factory on how to operate the jet.

Presidential Assistant on Aviation, Sheu Iyal and her Media counterpart, Oluremi Oyo, avoided answering questions on the price and age of the aircraft last week.

Iyal said he was not involved in the transaction, Oyo's alibi is that she is not an expert.

"I am not the Presidential spokesperson and I was not involved in the transactions. But I can tell you that everything about the aircraft is new", Iyal stated in Lagos.

Asked if it was purchased directly from Boeing, he replied in the affirmative.

Oyo said in a telephone interview from Abuja: "You have just referred to the plane as a new one. I may not be able to answer your questions because I am not an expert on aviation matters".

The technical faults in the aircraft may not be caused by age, but could be the result of the inexperience of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) pilots.

Sources said there was misunderstanding among members of the Presidential Air Fleet (PAF) made up of the NAF and civil pilots.

The civil pilots, former workers of liquidated Nigeria Airways Limited (NAL), are sidelined by the NAF pilots over control of the aircraft.

One of the sources insisted that "the civil pilots are trained on Boeing aircraft but the NAF pilots are inexperienced in that area. They are trained on fighter jets and other aircraft models. The NAF pilots have sidelined the civil pilots on the operations of the aircraft. That was what was responsible for the technical hitches experienced recently".

He stressed that in order to update the knowledge of the NAF pilots on Boeing operations, they have embarked on simulation training at the NAF base in Makurdi.

A Boeing 737-800 costs between $63.5 million and $72 million from the factory.

Aviation experts believe that the price of the Presidential jet would have been inflated since there is no evidence that it is new.

Buying a new plane for the President had been thrown out in several budgets in the past at the National Assembly.

Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Appropriation, Farouk Lawan, said money was appropriated in the 2004 budget for a new jet, but he could not remember how much.

He confirmed, however, that after the controversy that greeted the request in the 2001 and 2002 budgets, "it came up again in 2003 and 2004 and money was appropriated by the House in 2004".

An aviation expert, who does not want his name in print, said the government may have used agents to buy the aircraft ahead of a constitutional approval.

"Since it would be unconstitutional to make the purchase without a budgetary approval, they must have used agents to make the purchase".

Asked how long it would take to place order for a new aircraft, he said it depends on the type of the plane, the time of year, the number of purchase and the configuration of the aircraft.

It could take between two and six years to get one from the factory, he explained.

Another source said the plane must have been purchased from the illegal withdrawals from the excess crude oil accounts.

The jet is designed for maximum comfort for the President who can function from it as though in the Villa. It is equipped with office and accommodation facilities.

It is the type that takes care of the need of global leaders who need to fly farther in comfort, be productive en route and reach business destinations in tip top condition.

It has three times the interior space of the competition at a comparable price and a range of more than 6,000 nautical miles, setting new standards in space, comfort, utility and support.

The plane can fly 14 hours non-stop; meaning that Obasanjo can travel straight from Abuja to Washington.

It has capacity for about 30 passengers.

"The plane ensures that you can maintain personal productivity even when flying 14 hours non-stop", said the manufacturers. "Comfort such as a spacious executive suite with queen size bed that allows you to get a goodnight's sleep.

"A dinning area is perfect for conferences or gracious meals, private offices ideal for serious work or quiet reflection. With all the amenities of home and office, you can meet, eat, sleep and dine in comfort and are sure to arrive at your destination refreshed and ready for the business day".

The Boeing 737 series, first produced in 1965, is the highest selling commercial aircraft in aviation history with more than 5,900 orders from 225 customers.

About 1,250 of it are in the air at any time. One takes off somewhere in the world every five seconds.

The model has flown about 296 million hours in revenue service, travelling 75 billion nautical million miles.

It has carried about 12 billion passengers.

Vanguard

May 17, 2006

Obasanjo, aides escape death in new presidential plane

ABUJA — THE newly acquired N9 billion Presidential jet yesterday made an emergency landing at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja a few minutes after take-off with President Olusegun Obasanjo and some of his aides and top government officials on board. The Boeing Business Jet 737-800 was taking the President to Paris, France.

By Charles Ozoemana

Posted to the Web: Wednesday, May 17, 2006

The new plane had only last week returned from a trip to Indonesia and Kampala where President Obasanjo had gone to attend the D-8 meeting and the swearing-in of President Yoweri Museveni for a third term.

The jet had loss of Cabin Pressure after only 15 minutes of take-off at about 2 a.m. Although the pilot was said to have attempted to manage the situation by releasing oxygen masks for the president and all those on board, the heat inside the aircraft was said to have become unbearable, forcing the pilot to return quickly to base for an emergency landing at the Presidential wing of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport.

The aircraft was making its second international sortie after its delivery to the presidential air fleet a week ago. Senior Special Assistant to President Obasanjo on Media, Mrs Oluremi Oyo, confirmed the problem developed by the aircraft. Determined for the journey, President Obasanjo dropped majority of his delegation and used a smaller aircraft to embark on his journey to Paris.

The Presidential spokesperson clarified that President Obasanjo was in Paris, France to attend the UNESCO presentation ceremony of the Houphouet Boigny Prize for the Search of Peace.

The ceremony was attended by other Presidents, including those of Senegal, Tanzania, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Comoros, Madagascar, Niger, Equatorial Guinea and France.

"President Obasanjo's journey from Abuja was delayed early yesterday because of a technical problem in the aircraft. This caused a change of aircraft which later conveyed the President and his entourage to the French capital," the statement explained.

On the emergency landing, a source at the Airport confirmed that the aircraft developed yet another problem with the electrical system collapsing. The condition of the aircraft was said to have generated a lot of panic and anxiety among the passengers who were mainly Presidential aides, security operatives and journalists. No minister was aboard the flight.

The aircraft was later towed back to the Presidential hanger.

Obasanjo restates commitment to democracy

Meanwhile, President Obasanjo, yesterday in Paris, France assured the international community of the determination of the present generation of African leaders to entrench democracy and good governance on the continent.

"On our side, we can assure you of our unmediated commitment to moving Africa away from the past towards a new dawn of unity, harmony, love, tolerance, dialogue and democratic politics," President Obasanjo said in his statement at the presentation of the 2005 Felix Houphouet-Boigny Peace Prize to President Abdoulaye Wade of Senegal.

May 08, 2006

Obasanjo arrives Lagos with new controversial aircraft

A brand new jet costing billions of Naira took president Obasanjo to Lagos yesterday.

From Shakirat Abdulmajeed

The aircraft, a Boeing 737-800 is painted in the country's colour, green and white with a seal of the Federal Government on the side. The plane, one of the most popular commercial jets cost N 9 Billion. In commercial use it can carry as many as 200 passengers.

The aircraft can fly to European cities or the American Capital without stopping for fuel. It can fly Nigeria to London, or from Daka, Senegal, to New York without re-fuelling, according to the former Commander of the presidential fleet of aircraft, Captain Dele Ore.

The eight hour flight time might not however make it to China without a break.

Shortly after the aircraft touched down at the Presidential wing of the airport, a Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) inspector wearing a reflective jacket came in to do some inspection on the aircraft.

The new aircraft was a subject of controversy when the idea to buy a new jet was first mooted in year 2001.

The then President of the senate , late Doctor Chuba Okadigbo and members had turned down the request to buy a new Presidential jet arguing that there were other pressing needs that the Country should pre occupied than buying a jet.

Aviation Analysts also argued then that the B727 used by the President has been hush -kitted in 2001 to meet Europe noise level system.

-BOTTOM: medium none">The jet is the same model involved in the Bellview air crash in October 2005 which killed all 117 passengers on board when the plane went down just after takeoff in Lagos.

]]>
http://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=8812Sat, 07 Oct 2006 00:00:00 GMT
SUNDAY MUSINGS: Update on Recommended Dates for 2007 Elections

Sunday, June 11, 2006

A consensus is building within Nigeria that in order to provide enough or greatest amount of time to resolve the problems that might arise from the 2007 elections before inauguration on May 29, 2007, all the primary general elections should be held within the time frame of one week, including using week-days.  Even INEC seems to be getting the message.  Consequently, as discussed more extensively in my earlier essay "Recommending Dates and Ballot System for the 2007 Nigerian Elections",  [see see http://www.gamji.com/aluko/aluko169.htm  or http://www.dawodu.com/aluko134.htm], in order to:

(i) avoid the bandwagon effect of holding the presidential elections before other elections;

(ii) avoid holding all the elections on one day, which at this time might be administratively complex both for INEC and voters;

(iii) avoid running into Christian Easter festivities that will occur from Thursday- Monday of April 5-9, 2007;

(iv) avoid Mondays in general (first day of work, return from week-end trips, etc.); 

(v) allow for two presidential and gubernatorial run-off elections within a constitutionally-mandated period of seven days of inconclusive elections;

(vi) enable the greatest length of time between the conclusion of all elections (including two run-offs for executive positions country-wide),

 

it is clear that INEC almost has no choice but to hold the 2007 Elections as follows:

 

  - gubernatorial, state assemblies and FCT area councils: Tuesday April 3, 2007; 

  - presidential, Senate and House:  Wednesday, April 4, 2007;

  - Run-off # 1 (Presidential and Gubernatorial): Tuesday April 10, 2007;

  - Run-off # 2 (Presidential and Gubernatorial):  Tuesday, April 17, 2007 (less preferably: Saturday April 14).

 

To this effect, the federal government will be obliged to:

1.   Declare Tuesday April 3 and Wednesday April 4, 2007, as National Public Election Holiday(s).

2.   Declare Tuesday April 10 (or later Tuesday April 17) to be national public holiday(s) ONLY if  presidential run-offs are held on those days due to an inconclusive earlier presidential election.

3.  Whenever there is no need for a presidential run-off, declare Tuesday April 10 (or later Tuesday April 17) to be state public holiday(s) ONLY in those states that Gubernatorial run-offs have been found to be necessary due to an inconclusive earlier gubernatorial election. 

 Finally,  

1.  presidential assent to the Electoral Law 2006 should be delayed no further; 

see

http://www.nigerianmuse.com/important_documents/Electoral_Act_2006_Harmonized.doc

2.  the quicker thereafter that these election dates are firmly set by INEC, the better so that political parties and civil society can start to monitor the Electoral Law-mandated deadlines for various INEC activities like voter registration, polling station delineations, voter register publication, announcement, publication and replacement of candidates, etc.

3.  INEC should fully clarify its own understanding of the open-secret ballot system specified by Electoral Law 2006, to be sure that it is the same as the secret modified open ballot system of June 12, 1993 that is meant by all, and not some caricature of it.

4.  on a long-term basis, if May 29 remains the traditional hand-over date, and if sixty days before that date remains the outer deadline for holding elections, then henceforth the last week in March through first week in April each year should be considered election week in Nigeria and so fixed for future predictability of elections.  Alternatively, we should seek, by constitutional amendment, to:

(i)  change the deadline to ninety days, in which case the last week in February/first week in April each year will be election week;

(ii) reduce the number of executive election run-offs from two to one - two run-offs increase the election period unnecessarily and could lead to election fatigue.

  

Onward to free and fair elections in 2007 !

]]>
http://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=8811Sat, 07 Oct 2006 00:00:00 GMT
PRESS RELEASE: On the Rigging in Ekiti South Federal Constituency Elections to House of Rep. on Saturday April 22, 2006April 25, 2006

So that the World May Know:  On the Rigging in Ekiti South Federal Constituency Elections to House of Rep.

By now, you must have read or at least heard what transpired in the bye-election held in the Ekiti South Federal Constituency II on Saturday, 22 April 2006. It was not that we did not envisage the attempt to foist a blatant rigging process on the general citizenry. Indeed, we warned that this was in the offing. We, in the Alliance for Democracy and our colleagues in the Ekiti Agenda gave evidence of these planned illegalities to both the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Police authorities. We had hoped that unlike in 2003, the two national institutions responsible for ensuring the sanctity of the elections and the security of all citizens were themselves not going to be at the centre of the brigandage foisted on Ekiti people. We can confirm without any hesitation that the Police and INEC authorities were not only complicit but also very active in the perpetration of this electoral fraud. To assist the two key perpetrators of this electoral fraud in this act were political thugs from the National Road Transport Workers Union (NURTW) in Ekiti State led by one Omolafe Aderiye, their Chairman.

Whilst we are still gathering evidence of all that transpired, we can confirm the following police officers of the 33 Police Mobile Force Unit/Ekiti State Government House contingent were involved in this rape of democracy. They were present and were identified stealing ballot boxes, thumb-printing ballot papers, disenfranchising legitimate voters and harassing our party officials. By the morning of the polls, Police had in their custody no fewer than forty-nine of our party faithfuls, including our candidate, Chief Samuel Idiowo and the Chair of our Election monitoring Committee, Navy Captain (Rtd) Caleb Olubolade, former Military Administrator in Bayelsa State and Gubernatorial aspirant in the Alliance for Democracy and not a single PDP member in detention. A clear case of punishing the victims!

In a series of meetings that party leaders held with the Police Commissioner, Mrs Ivy Okoronkwo and her officers on Saturday, 22 April 2006 – they all denied complicity and rejected any notion of bias on the part of the police authorities. Yet, there is an allegation that N5million had changed hands between Governor Ayo Fayose and the Police Commissioner with the Chief Security Officer, Gbenga James as the intermediary in the transaction. Although we are not in a position to confirm if this is true or not, we can inform the general public at least that the following underlisted police men were involved in what happened on Saturday. Our investigating team saw all of them in various places in the federal constituency and we challenge the police authorities to deny our claim. We have taken pain to name names, rank and staff number of these men and also the vehicles used by the NURTW drivers in the perpetration of these heinous acts.

It is now clear to us that the PDP government in Nigeria remains determined to repeat the electoral fraud that was largely undertaken by them across the country in 2003. Whilst the new leadership of INEC, Professor Maurice Iwu had finally admitted that the 2003 elections were not "credible", what happened in Ekiti State on Saturday, 22 April 2006 has brought into clear relief that a leopard hardly changes its spots easily. INEC is still the handmaiden of the executive branch of government in every sense and there is no way we as democrats will be involved in any further elections at the behest of INEC unless there is incontrovertible evidence of a level playing field. The non-election in Ekiti has shown that INEC is not in the least interested in its own independence nor the credibility of the elections. Even when leaders of the AD visited INEC and expressed dissatisfaction with the conduct of the elections and with the fact that its' staff was complicit, the supervising National Commissioner – Mrs Odebiyi displayed almost utter disdain for the representatives of the coalition of parties present in the INEC office. Even if it was true that the Resident Electoral Commissioner had been compromised as we already learned, we had expected that an external party like the Supervising Commissioner would be better placed to be an impartial arbiter, particularly after we received credible information that her own Director of Operations, Alhaji A.A.Kagara from INEC Headquarters in Abuja was beaten up for challenging the electoral fraud being perpetrated in the home of the State's Deputy Governor, Mrs Olujimi in Omuo Ekiti.

What is clear to us is that the situation in Ekiti State, and indeed Nigeria calls for a return to the barricades in order to secure the liberty of our people. If the people's true votes will not count, there is no point even legitimising this brazen electoral fraud. The people will fight for their freedom and defend their inalienable right to determine who shall be their leaders. This is why we would ensure that the Ekiti South Federal Constituency fraud cannot and will not STAND. We are determined to do everything to defend our people.

 

DETAILS OF SOME POLICE MEN USED BY GOVERNOR FAYOSE IN THE EKITI ELECTION FRAUD

Name

Staff Number

Rank

Ekpen Joe

1152

Sgt

Tajudeen Olagbaju

79366

Sgt/Inspector

Usman Sheba

161470

Sgt

Funso Dare

171587

Cpl/Orderly to D.Gov

McFrancis Amoyode

188866

Sgt

Cletus Ihe

177252

Cpl

Sunday Obekpa

188290

Cpl

Anthony Ndubuzor

182194

Cpl

Daniel Musa

207728

Cpl

Ogumbi Ojo

173143

Cpl

Idowu Adewunmi

203921

Cpl

Anawa Abel

187819

Cpl

Robinson Audu

216326

PC

Shehu Akeem

359111

PC

Dabil Damong

179644

Sgt/Governor's Orderly

Gambo Abamu

208252

PC

George Olusola

359970

PC

Isah Bawa

207728

Cpl

Nathaniel E

163460

Sgt

Kayode Fasare

176414

Cpl

     

 

SOME OF THE VEHICLES USED IN STEALING BALLOT BOXES ACROSS THE CONSTITUENCY.

AG766ADK

BM969LSD

XC347DEA

DK153LSD (Blue Jeep belonging to a Mr Femi Bamisile – former NCP candidate against Mrs Olujimi in the last House of Representatives' election)

KA01ADK

XC346DEA (White Mazda)

AH107PHC (White Mazda)

XA721EFY (Blue Mazda)

AX483SSE (White Mazda)

 

 

As major stakeholders in freeing our people from the shackles of oppression and restoring the sanctity of this fragile democracy, we urge you all to take the following steps in helping to ensure that this monumental fraud does not stand:

Circulate this information as widely as possible to all Ekiti in the diaspora and friends of Ekiti.

Write to the President of the Federal Republic, the Vice President and other senior state officials expressing disgust at what happened in Ekiti and admonishing them to take all necessary measures to correct the anomaly by annulling the election.

Petition the Chairman of INEC on the conduct of INEC officials and request the thorough investigation of the election, calling for the withholding of the certificate of returns until all issues relating to the election are satisfactorily cleared;

Petition the Inspector General of Police and the Police Service Commission on the conduct of the above mentioned policemen, requesting thorough investigation of the allegations against them;

Support morally and financially the legal process to be undertaken by the coalition of parties against the election fraud in Ekiti State;

Re-dedicate yourself to rescuing Ekiti State in particular, and Nigeria in general from the elected dictatorship that is gaining grounds here by the minute;

Commend other agencies of state that maintained their integrity by avoiding partisanship in the conduct of the elections, particularly the State Security Services (SSS);

Make every effort to deepen Nigeria's democratic project by rejecting the "third term agenda" which has become a vehicle for the perpetration of every unlawful act by Governors and their agents in the States.

Released by the Alliance for Democracy (AD) and The Ekiti Agenda

]]>
http://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=8810Sat, 07 Oct 2006 00:00:00 GMT
COMMENT FROM THE NIGERIAN DEMOCRATIC MOVEMENT (NDM) ON THE HOUSE OF LORDS DEBATE 
Lord Chidgey speaking, inter alia, in the House of Lords debate on Nigeria on Tuesday, April 18, had this to say:

QUOTE

Finally, I turn to the issue of the forthcoming presidential elections and moves to amend the constitution to remove the bar on the president standing for a third term. It is right to say that we should approach this issue somewhat delicately. After all, who are we to tell other democratic countries how to run their affairs? Nevertheless, some of your Lordships will be aware of the heat that this has generated in many quarters and will no doubt have received only today a communication from a group calling itself the Nigerian Democratic Movement, based in Maryland, USA. 

For the record, the NDM is expressing fears that the ruling party is in fact seeking not one additional four-year term for Mr Obasanjo, but an additional 12 years—presidency for life in all but name. As would be expected, the NDM has supplied a raft of excerpts from across the range of Nigerian professional and civil society vehemently opposing these moves. It is not possible to corroborate these excerpts, but it is interesting that a study of reports by the BBC monitoring service for west Africa—in which I have great faith for accuracy—over the past few months confirms strong opposition against changes to the constitution from throughout society in Nigeria. The opposition ranges from Christian leaders in the north urging the president not to seek a third term, to militants in the Niger delta in the south threatening to engage the federal government in guerrilla warfare if he does not desist.

In the light of the UK Government's previous support for President Obasanjo and his professed belief in good governance, the rule of law and democratic accountability, I would hope that we could have from the Minister a detailed account of the Government's reaction to what many will see as a series of unsettling and, to say the least, challenging developments.

UNQUOTE

NDM, on behalf of the Nigerian people, rises to thank Lord Chigey:  Bravo !  That is all that was asked for at this time - bringing up this "immoral, unethical, ungodly and illegal" Third-Term Agenda (TTA) issue on the world stage once again and alerting the world of internal opposition to it and its dire consequences if allowed to succeed.

However, our work is still cut out for us both nationally (inside Nigeria) and internationally in the coming weeks and months.

We shall overcome.

 

'Bolaji Aluko, PhD

President, NDM

___________________________________________________________________________________


________________________________________________________________________________________
 
Hansard of the British House of Lords
Tuesday, April 18, 2006
 
Transcript of
Debate on
Nigeria
 
 
____________________________________________________________________________________
Speaking, in order:

1.  Viscount Waverley - 3rd Viscount, UK [Crossbench]
     http://www.dodonline.co.uk/engine.asp?lev1=4&lev2=38&menu=81&biog=y&id=26527

2.  Lord Lea of Crandall - Life Baron [Labour]
     http://www.dodonline.co.uk/engine.asp?lev1=4&lev2=38&menu=81&biog=y&id=26914

3.  The Lord Bishop of Coventry  [Bishops]
     http://www.dodonline.co.uk/engine.asp?lev1=4&lev2=38&menu=81&biog=y&id=26824

4.  Lord Chidgey - Life Baron [Liberal Democrat; Liberal Spokesperson for Defence]
      http://www.dodonline.co.uk/engine.asp?lev1=4&lev2=38&menu=81&biog=y&id=25798

5.  Lord Howell of Guildford - Life Baron [Conservative; Deputy Leader of the Opposition; Opposition Spokesperson for Foreign and Commonwealth Office ]
     http://www.dodonline.co.uk/engine.asp?lev1=4&lev2=38&menu=81&biog=y&id=27071

6.  Lord Triesman -  Life Baron [Labour, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office; Government Spokesperson for Foreign and Commonwealth Office]
     http://www.dodonline.co.uk/engine.asp?lev1=4&lev2=38&menu=81&biog=y&id=26868

 

6.23 pm

Viscount Waverley rose to ask Her Majesty's Government what is their response to recent developments in Nigeria.

The noble Viscount said: My Lords, I am saddened that the noble Lord, Lord Avebury, cannot join us this evening and would like, through the Minister, to wish him well.

It requires Nigerian resilience to lead Nigeria with its many challenges, its religious, ethnic and regional complexities. Mature democratic institutions have successfully replaced long years of military regimes, a free and critical press thrives, enforceable strategies to curb notorious corruption are emerging and forgiveness from the shackles of crippling debt have been negotiated. I wish to pay tribute to all the people of Nigeria for their tenacity in pursuit of those welcome developments.
 
18 Apr 2006 : Column 1029
 

I should also like to register the deep respect for the traditional rulers. I have had the privilege to consult the Ooni of Ife, the Emir of Kano and the Igwe of Achalla over the years and know of their tireless efforts to foster tolerance and encourage change, recognising that Nigeria's strength lies in its diversity. They continue to make an important contribution to a democratic Nigeria. In support of this, the Commonwealth observer group determined that, generally, the will of the people was expressed in the 2003 presidential election, including that of governorships and the National Assembly.

The Nigerian Minister of Finance, a past senior member of the World Bank, recently identified important economic successes: macroeconomic stability; structural reforms, including the deregulation and liberalisation of a number of sectors; identifiable positive results of the transparency and anti-corruption drive; and the mounting of additional programmes through the Niger Delta Development Commission. Indeed, the improved World Bank standing to BB, ranking the economy's growth alongside that of Brazil and India, is evidence that governance appears to be on the right path and has generated much-needed confidence.

It is also recognized that sustained and appropriate engagement with the international community is fundamental. John Shears of Centrica, the UK's largest utility, who took part in the 2005 licensing round in Nigeria, extols,

    "the increasing transparency demonstrated by the Nigerian authorities and their desire to work closely with the wider international community. Nigeria recognizes the need to continue its process of economic, social and political change and is making progress in doing so".

Perhaps the Minister would identify practical measures that the Government are entertaining to strengthen the relationship with this strategic partner, including how Nigeria will benefit from the Chancellor's African "Education For All" initiative.

Of course, many challenges remain, including poverty eradication, in particular the regional political balancing act; the impact of HIV/AIDS; terrorism and the often politically expedient exacerbation of Christian/Muslim tensions; the challenge of attracting foreign investment for infrastructure rehabilitation in an ever-increasing competitive environment; the new phenomenon of China's strategic engagement with Africa at large; and, finally, an unhealthy security situation in the delta oil-producing area.

Prolonged engagement in the Niger delta is initially being addressed by economic development measures. However, in recognition that the supply of illegal arms and ammunition continues to fuel the conflict, would Her Majesty's Government offer assistance in, for example, identifying supply sources?

West African peacekeeping owes much to the Nigerian commitment to regional stability and the responsibilities accruing to regional leadership. It should also be acknowledged that Charles Taylor was held, and returned, by Nigeria after consultation with the US, EU, UN and AU in order to create a
 
18 Apr 2006 : Column 1030
 
favourable environment for peace in Liberia. Credit and thanks should be accorded to President Obasanjo for both.

Two matters are worthy of note. First, there is considerable criticism of the unbalanced reporting on the Hausa service of the BBC. Because the BBC is considered a mouthpiece of the British Government, such perceptions, fuelled by unbalanced reporting, can generate considerable ill-will, especially given the north/south divide in Nigeria.

Secondly, the Nigerians have severed the relationship allowing foreign news services to broadcast on FM. I have discussed this matter with the Minister of Information and the High Commissioner, Christopher Kolade, but I am sure that a word from the Minister, Lord Triesman, would be helpful on both counts.

Pending constitutional amendments to create a constitution relevant to a modem-day Nigeria are exercising the minds of most Nigerians these days. The National Assembly in Abuja has postponed its debate of these proposals and is expected to vote in two weeks or so. The effect of the 100-plus amendments would consolidate advances already made, as well as lay down a federal framework for equitable governance through six geopolitical zones on a rotational presidency; provide for increased and equitable distribution of wealth; professionalise the armed forces; strengthen the independence of the judiciary; and, importantly, remove immunity.

Those are advances on the 1999 military constitution, designed to encourage inclusion and full participation. Also pertinent is the suggestion that no attempt should be made to divide Nigeria or to undermine the north, that the quota system should be upheld, that the allocation to oil-producing states should be increased to 18 per cent, and that Obasanjo should not stay beyond 2011 if he is allowed to run again. The proposition of a possible extension of the presidential tenure has overshadowed all this. It is unclear whether President Obasanjo would contest the 2007 presidential election if offered the opportunity. Hard work would lie ahead, and he would need the renewed endorsement of his party, the PDP, and of the electorate in the upcoming presidential election.

The intricacies of Nigeria's internal affairs require a more resolute appreciation by external decision-makers. Stability is paramount and the promotion of accountability is essential, but respecting parliamentary due process is in the best interests of Nigeria, the region and beyond. International pronouncements about constitutional change unleashing turmoil and conflict are somewhat premature. While international friends have a duty to ensure fair play, intervention would be neither useful nor welcome. It is exactly such interference, which derives from a dearth of nuanced cultural and political understanding, which encourages upheavals. The State Department and the White House in particular have recently signalled their acceptance of the proposed amendments, and it would be helpful if the
 
18 Apr 2006 : Column 1031
 
Minister clarified the Government's position tonight. I can tell the House that senior representatives of the north and east, whom I called on two weeks ago, were far from critical of these amendments and now believe them to be in the best interests of Nigeria and the international community.

In conclusion, safeguarding a democratic outcome to the constitutional amendments and recognising that Nigeria has come of age and is now master of its own destiny is the only sustainable policy. I wish Nigeria well.
 
Lord Lea of Crondall: My Lords, I very much welcome this debate, and I, too, extend my good wishes to the noble Lord, Lord Avebury, who cannot be here this evening.

From 1 to 8 April, I was privileged to be a member of the UK branch of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association delegation, who were guests of the Nigerian branch of the CPA. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the leader of the delegation, Roger Berry MP, and the secretary, Andrew Tuggey, for ensuring that the visit ran smoothly. I also thank Martin Shearman, our acting High Commissioner in Nigeria, and the political secretary, Alisdair Walker, for their indispensable assistance. They and their Nigerian colleagues put together a very impressive programme.

Meetings in Abuja were held with parliamentary and government leaders, trade unions and other civil society organisations, and with the independent Electoral Commission chairman as a counterpoint. In Lagos, meetings were held with the very lively editorial department of a newspaper and with the west Africa vice-president of Shell. Shell, incidentally, provides about half the revenue of the federal government. Last but not least, meetings were held with the staff of DfID and the British Council, who in some ways are the unsung heroes of the UK effort. They arranged an encounter with Debbie, an extraordinarily dedicated teacher from Peckham, who put a group of boys and girls of all ages through their paces on a football pitch beside a derelict school.

In Kaduna, we had a very interesting meeting with an inter-faith group, the Anglican Archbishop and a group of Muslim representatives, one of whom was a public health professional. Our discussions were very wide-ranging, and it was clear that the 2002 Kaduna declaration had been a very useful document after the riots that year. A couple of years ago, I had the privilege of chairing a meeting in the Moses Room after an address given by the noble and right reverend Lord, Lord Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, who emphasised the importance of the Kaduna and Alexandria declarations. After the Danish cartoon affair earlier this year, there was no doubt in Kaduna that the procedures put in place for the fire brigade helped to nip the situation in the bud and that it could have been much more difficult without them. So we thought that that was a very important meeting.
 
18 Apr 2006 : Column 1032
 

Some of the social, political and economic difficulties require a slightly longer view to be taken. I worked in west Africa briefly 40 years ago. I was therefore struck by the following sentence on the World Bank website about Nigeria:

    "GNP per capita, at about US$390, is below the level at independence forty years ago".

That is $390 per head per annum. It continues,

    "About 57 per cent of the population now falls below the poverty line of roughly one dollar a day. Economic mismanagement, corruption and excessive dependence on oil have been the main causes of poor economic performance and rising poverty".

On corruption, I will give noble Lords just one figure: President Abacha embezzled $5 billion. He is up there in the first division league. Also with $5 billion to his credit, or discredit, is President Mobutu of Zaire. Of course, Abacha was not the only one. It goes on. In the words of the DfID briefing note,

    "years of military rule, corruption and weak accountability have prevented the development of a social contract between Nigerians and their government".

It goes on to say:

    "By 1998 approximately 70 per cent of private wealth had been taken out of Nigeria".

The fundamental problems of Nigeria include one of the fastest rates of urbanisation, at 5 per cent per annum, accompanied by economic stagnation rather than growth. Lagos has been growing at 10 to 15 per cent per annum and if this growth continues it will be the third largest city in the world by 2020. It is already a city throttled by infrastructure deficiencies and decades of neglect. Life expectancy of 49 years in 1991 fell to 45 years in 2002 and it is falling still.

I have to conclude from that that the Foreign Office and DfID need to give far greater emphasis than they currently give to the questions of excessive population growth and lack of jobs growth. There are approximately 140 million people in Nigeria today; the census is trying to find out exactly how many. Growth of 2.5 per cent to 3 per cent means that there will be 180 million Nigerians by 2015 and 275 million by 2030. That is a rise in share above a quarter of Africa's population. So my speech could be entitled, "Too Much Population Growth, Too Little Jobs Growth". In the old days in Africa it was not a question of unemployment in the subsistence field, but with urbanisation we have to think in terms of normal industrial country concepts of unemployment rates. That is one of the keys to the crisis of Lagos, I would think.

At the moment on EU Sub-Committee C we are looking at European Union strategy on Africa. It is obvious that there is a cluster of three key issues: security, governance and development. They are all interconnected. If private wealth through corruption leaves the country, that has an impact. I will come back to the delta question in a minute. But when one of the state governors said to us that we need a new Marshall Plan for Nigeria, we said, "Well look, there is already a $35 billion write-off of debt with the Paris Club a couple of weeks ago. There is already Gleneagles and the African Union strategy agreed in London". My
 
18 Apr 2006 : Column 1033
 
noble friend Lord Triesman will know all that backwards, forwards and sideways, But the fact is that we cannot just turn on a tap. Our taxpayers would expect a degree of accountability that has n ot been provided, and the fact is that the issue of "value added" lay at the heart of the Marshall Plan. It has to be recognised that in 1948 the plan did set benchmarks for political, social and economic standards in Europe through the OEEC. If there is an analogy to be made with the Marshall Plan, that is it.

I strongly support the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, but it has to be taken a stage further in its implementation with transparency of auditing on the part of both the oil companies, which provide 90 per cent of state revenues, and the finance ministry. Only last week the Financial Times published an authoritative report describing a discrepancy worth several hundred million dollars between what the oil companies say they are giving the Nigerians through the state oil company and finance ministry and what is being published by the ministry itself.

I want to say only a few words about the Niger delta. Shell and the other companies are committed to making further investments, but I want to make the point that President Obasanjo has to become much more involved in the political economy of the delta region than he has been hitherto. The share made by the delta states, the pollution states, to national revenues is due to rise from 13 per cent to 18 per cent. It is important that we do not get into a situation where the Americans, who take half the oil, declare the Niger delta to be part of the war on terror. We do not want some crazy assistant in the White House defining it as being part of that war. However, that could be the direction in which things go.

We had a good meeting with representatives from the trade unions. Our talks ranged from the difficulties of migration to the monitoring of the 2003 elections. The president of the Nigeria Labour Congress is a fine man who studied at Ruskin College, which is another example of the British connection. He is very highly regarded and could one day be a presidential candidate. He is also a good example of the dedicated people now to be found in Nigeria's political and socio-economic spheres. However, President Obasanjo has to be congratulated on his status as an international statesman. All I can say on the constitutional question in the time available is that we ought to be careful when we comment on it. It is obvious that it is possible to comment at the level of the African Union and NePAD on certain constitutional principles of governance. That is very important. But we are hardly in a position to discuss the details of a consti tution as long as the process of change is carried out transparently and any ensuing elections are perceived by the people to be conducted fairly.

In conclusion, Nigeria has played a prominent role in the African Union. Although my comments have been rather downbeat, everyone in the business community and in government says that the developing role and aspirations of the African Union are making a difference. In the words, I think, of the president of the senate, it is now inconceivable that
 
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there could be a military government again in Nigeria. So we have to say that there are some green shoots which should be strong enough to promote democratic development—not just handing the whole country over to the Chinese, as it were—and ensure that the principles of parliamentary democracy flower, bringing economic and social success with them.

6.44 pm
The Lord Bishop of Coventry : My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Viscount, Lord Waverley, for introducing this debate and I too send my best wishes to the noble Lord, Lord Avebury. I wish to make it clear at the outset that I do not speak as an expert on this subject. Over the past 10 years I have developed an affection and respect for the people of Nigeria, and it is out of that affection and respect that I dare to make a contribution.

Eight years ago the diocese of Coventry set up a formal link with the diocese of Kaduna. Noble Lords will be aware that Kaduna is almost unique among Nigerian states in being a 50:50 split between Christians and Muslims. I first visited the city of Kaduna in 1999, just two days after a vicious attack on a Christian procession which left 600 Christians dead on the streets. Any sense of self-righteous anger on my part was very soon put into perspective when, a few weeks later, the Christians retaliated, leaving many more dead Muslims.

The presenting cause was, of course, the introduction of Sharia law, but it is rarely quite as simple as that. It has been well said that there is almost nothing one can say about a country as rich and diverse as Nigeria which does not end with the words, "But, of course, it is more complicated than that". Our history as a nation in bringing together the north and the south under Lord Lugard and our record of colonial rule—which, of course, included some exploitation of natural resources—suggest a need for us to have a certain care and humility in saying what ought to happen in Nigeria.

Much is made of the religious conflict in Nigeria. We in Coventry are well served in our International Centre for Reconciliation by a number of people who have committed themselves wholeheartedly, not only to working in the country but to researching it as well. Canon Justin Welby, Dr Stephen Davies and, presently, Dr Beatrice Mwaka have investigated very thoroughly some of the issues which seem to be religious in origin. They have concluded—and I think I share their conclusions—that religion is often used as a pretext to provide a simplistic hook on which to hang complex ethnic, social and economic problems. The difficulty, of course, is that if the hook is used frequently enough, it becomes the problem.

Religion has been the pretext for the most recent disturbances—the riots in Maiduguri in the north and retaliation in Oniche at the apex of the delta. We have seen as a result the shutdown of virtually 25 per cent of Nigeria's oil production. Within five years, Nigeria will be the single largest exporter of liquefied natural gas, with this country as a major customer. Events in
 
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the last few months show the importance of a secure supply of energy and thus the importance of Nigeria to this country as an economic partner to be treated with respect.

In humanitarian terms, civil disorder in Nigeria has already cost several tens of thousands of lives since 2000 and resulted in the internal displacement of hundreds of thousands of people. The approaching 2007 elections put yet more strain on the stability of the country. External organisations such as the International Centre for Reconciliation in Coventry, Christian Aid and many other NGOs undoubtedly have a part to play, but, in the end, it is only the natural gifts of Nigeria's leaders—among the most dynamic in Africa—that can enable this regional giant to realise its full potential.

That being said, the British Government can make a significant difference in a number of areas. They have already done much through the talents and imagination of the Abuja missions of DfID and the FCO, to whom we must pay tribute, and I should also acknowledge gratefully the financial support that the FCO has given to the ICR as well as to other agencies.

What might the British Government do? First, they have the power and the position to continue to support a vigorous fight against corruption in conjunction with the courageous steps already taken by President Obasanjo and with those who lead the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, especially, I would suggest, Dr Alhaji Al Rubai. The City of London, as the largest centre for international finance in the world, enables Britain to be more effective than any other country in tackling money laundering. In addition to laundered money, cash may not always be traceable in bank accounts. Certainly other money has been invested in real property and other non-financial assets, both in the UK and in our overseas territories.

Secondly, we need to support capacity building in the conduct of elections and of government, both directly working through the security forces and the Electoral Commission, and by offering media training and the development of monitoring skills within civil society. Thirdly, there should be continued support for those assisting in the fight against long-term destabilisation. Christian Aid is crucial in its struggle against AIDS and HIV. Educational partnerships at an institutional and individual school level can be of great value, both in Nigeria and in the transformative experience that they offer to schools in this country. These are the building blocks for a new society, tapping into the genius of this enormous and remarkable nation.

To conclude with a further comment on religion, reference has already been made to the Archbishop of Kaduna, Josiah Idowu-Fearon, and to the Kaduna declaration, which was one of the fruits of the ICR in Coventry. The Archbishop's nickname locally is "Mr Dialogue". To our ears, that may sound like a compliment, but his insistence on regular, open discussions with Muslims does not always endear him to his own people. Simply by talking with the enemy—that is, with Muslims—many Church members feel
 
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that he is betraying them. To many Muslims, he is simply not to be trusted because he is a Christian leader. Mr Dialogue—Archbishop Josiah—frequently finds himself in a lonely place, yet there are many indications that the approach of open dialogue can work and can lead to greater understanding, trust and mutual respect.

Only the religious leaders can achieve this breakthrough. Religion, while not the sole cause of conflict, is inextricable from other aspects of life in Nigeria, as it is in most of Africa. For that reason if for no other, people like Archbishop Josiah demand and deserve the strongest possible support from our Church and from our Government.

6.52 pm

Lord Chidgey: My Lords, I begin by thanking you for your good wishes for the speedy recovery of my noble friend Lord Avebury. I will ensure that those thoughts are passed on to him, and am equally sure he will be fortified by your concerns.

My contribution will raise three issues, as briefly as I can. In particular, we need to look in more detail at the problems of corruption, which has been endemic in Nigeria for some decades. I will comment on the economic developments in the Niger delta, and finally on the implications for good governance of moves to amend the constitution to allow an incumbent president to continue his term of office.

To put tackling corruption in context, it would help to refer your Lordships to the recently published report of the All-Party Group on Africa, The Other Side of the Coin—the UK and Corruption in Africa . Corruption is a two-way issue. This group, of which I have the privilege of being vice-chairman, found that in evidence gathered for its report Nigeria sadly featured prominently. As the noble Lord, Lord Lea of Crondall, mentioned, Nigeria's past leaders have scaled new heights in unprecedented levels of embezzlement from the state. The national Economic and Financial Crimes Commission believes that in Nigeria some £220 billion was stolen or misused by the country's rulers between 1960 and 1999.

As the All-Party Group on Africa point out, prior to becoming president, Olusegun Obasanjo said in a letter to the Financial Times back in 1994:

    "I shudder at how an integral part of my continent's culture can be taken as a basis for rationalising otherwise despicable behaviour . . . In no society is it acceptable to the people for their leaders to feather their own nests at public expense".

That was a very brave statement to be made by him at that time. He should be commended for trying his best to live by those thoughts.

President Obasanjo has been making strenuous efforts at federal level within the constraints of the Nigerian constitution to tackle corruption and introduce greater transparency—aided, it must be said, by action by our Government through the extractive industries transparency initiative.

Nigerians have welcomed the president's moves but, not surprisingly, many have yet to be convinced that they are seeing the end of the all-pervasive corruption
 
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system that has held Nigeria back for so long. Human-rights lawyers in Nigeria claim that the society is permeated with corruption and that it will take more than a few high-profile sackings to make a difference, particularly when the sackings come against a backdrop of political infighting over who will be the ruling party's presidential candidate in the 2007 elections.

There was a hope that with the current president nearing the end of his second term and excluded from standing again, and free from concerns over pleasing his political allies, he would finally grasp the vicious nettle and seriously address institutional corruption. That would probably be the best possible legacy he could leave his country. Moves to change the constitution to allow him to stand for a third term have, I fear, rather diminished those hopes.

Tackling corruption also requires positive action from governments and institutions in the developed world. In this regard, I stress that the United Kingdom is a signatory to several binding international anti-corruption conventions. The Government have endorsed the report of the Commission for Africa, declaring it to be part of UK policy. Through that report's recommendations, the Government are committed to a range of measures to increase transparency in a wide range of transactions in commerce, industry and services.

President Obasanjo has played a leading role in establishing NePAD, with its emphasis on good governance, the rule of law, transparency and peer review, throughout the African continent. Given, therefore, that both the United Kingdom and the Nigerian Governments are so strongly committed to the same ends, I hope that the Minister will be able to tell your Lordships what steps have been taken recently by the Government, in consultation with Nigeria, towards achieving these aims.

On economic development in the delta region, the Nigerian economy is almost entirely driven by oil production. However, the lack of transparency means it is impossible to determine how much the Nigerian Government actually receive from this production and where that money is spent. The Niger delta region is, of course, the heart of oil production, accounting for more than 50 per cent of gross government revenues.

The oil companies face significant problems in transporting the oil to market. Major losses occur from the delta's massive pipeline system through the practice of "bunkering". This organised theft accounts for losses of between 100,000 and 200,000 barrels of oil a day, costing Nigeria up to £2.5 billion per year in lost revenues.

The all-party group on the Niger delta reports that, according to Shell, government action has resulted in the capture of 32 barges and six ships involved in the illegal trade of bunkering oil. Given the scale of these crimes, however, clearly much more needs to be done. International co-operation, along the lines to which the United Kingdom Government are strongly and publicly committed, is essential.
 
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Efforts are being made at federal level, and the United Kingdom is promoting transparency of oil revenues through the extractive industries transparency initiative. However, there are institutional difficulties, particularly constitutional limits on federal action. Perhaps inevitably, destructive tensions have developed between the oil companies and local communities, and it is not helped by the extent of the criminal bunkering activities.

There are many individuals and groups seeking power by posing as champions of the people, demanding a greater share of oil wealth for their homelands. There are plenty of disgruntled youths whose anger can be exploited by these people. These self-professed people's champions, crucially, are able to maintain their sway through access to arms. The illegal trade in small arms seems endemic throughout west Africa, and its proliferation in the Niger delta must be a major concern to the federal and United Kingdom authorities.

I see the noble Lord, Lord Triesman, is here tonight. In his response to the Niger delta group in early January, he said that the Government were considering what support they could give. Could he provide an update on progress in the past three months? In particular, what progress has been made on identifying weapons types and their origin? Can he advise whether any UK companies have had applications for strategic export licences refused because of concerns that their eventual end use would be unregulated, and in fact they would be used in Nigeria?

The people of the delta are well aware of the huge wealth generated by oil, of which they see virtually nothing. Profits are siphoned off at various levels of federal and state government and by a criminal fraternity, in a perpetual cycle of corruption. The process demonstrates emphatically and dangerously that politics can be a route to enormous wealth, not just to power. The destabilising impact on government and the resentment generated against the oil companies and community leaders seen to be in league with the oil companies is self-evident. In consequence, this breeding ground for resentment and despair plays into the hands of the unscrupulous, ready to exploit those tensions in ways that can only damage the source of wealth itself. As the all-party group on the Niger delta emphasises, the ones who suffer are the people of the Niger delta and ultimately Nigeria as a whole.

Finally, I turn to the issue of the forthcoming presidential elections and moves to amend the constitution to remove the bar on the president standing for a third term. It is right to say that we should approach this issue somewhat delicately. After all, who are we to tell other democratic countries how to run their affairs? Nevertheless, some of your Lordships will be aware of the heat that this has generated in many quarters and will no doubt have received only today a communication from a group calling itself the Nigerian Democratic Movement, based in Maryland, USA.
 
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For the record, the NDM is expressing fears that the ruling party is in fact seeking not one additional four-year term for Mr Obasanjo, but an additional 12 years—presidency for life in all but name. As would be expected, the NDM has supplied a raft of excerpts from across the range of Nigerian professional and civil society vehemently opposing these moves. It is not possible to corroborate these excerpts, but it is interesting that a study of reports by the BBC monitoring service for west Africa—in which I have great faith for accuracy—over the past few months confirms strong opposition against changes to the constitution from throughout society in Nigeria. The opposition ranges from Christian leaders in the north urging the president not to seek a third term, to militants in the Niger delta in the south threatening to engage the federal government in guerrilla warfare if he does not desist.

In the light of the UK Government's previous support for President Obasanjo and his professed belief in good governance, the rule of law and democratic accountability, I would hope that we could have from the Minister a detailed account of the Government's reaction to what many will see as a series of unsettling and, to say the least, challenging developments.

7.03 pm
Lord Howell of Guildford: My Lords, I share the gratitude expressed by other noble Lords to the noble Viscount, Lord Waverley, for initiating this debate at a very good time. I also join with others in sending my best wishes to the noble Lord, Lord Avebury, for his early recovery. We miss him in precisely this type of debate where he always speaks with great expertise.

The timeliness of this debate is reinforced by events that took place over the Easter weekend. On the one hand, the IMF executive board met yesterday to finalise the ratification of the policy support instrument approved for Nigeria in October last year. That was one story. On the other hand there were over the weekend, and continue to be even today, reports of renewed and, I am afraid, bloody unrest, between the various groups, which all add to the miserable total of more than 20,000 deaths that are said to have occurred in the country since President Obasanjo's election in 1999. These two differing messages—the one positive and the other, sadly, negative—provide a backdrop to what has been undoubtedly a very interesting and useful debate, with knowledgeable contributions that one would expect from all sides of the House. That leads me to my first question for the Minister—and I know that he will seek to answer these questions . What assessment have we made of this renewed violence over the weekend, and the peace demands made by the Ijaws, which are the largest ethnic group in the delta region?

Against that background, we have to look at Nigeria in the world scene. This morning in New York, crude oil prices rose again, well above the $70 a barrel level, and the markets in contango—that is to say the
 
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futures prices—are even higher. We have not yet reached the levels in real terms of 1983 and 1984, during the great oil shock of that period following the fall of the Shah in Iran, but we are getting quite near. These prices are being pushed higher and higher by concerns about supply disruptions in Nigeria among many other things. The tension over the Iranian nuclear programme is contributing, as are the disruption in Venezuela, the problems in Sudan, the political problems in Russia and the continuing incidents of sabotage in Iraq, where oil production is running at anything between 1 million and 2 million ba rrels fewer than many people had hoped that it would be by now.

Nigeria is the world's eighth largest oil producer, the largest in Africa—and it will be, as the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Coventry reminded us, one of the major exporters of liquid natural gas—that is, frozen gas—and, presumably, even of gas-to-liquid products, or GTL, in future. That will be the chief fuel of northern Europe for many years to come, so there is an important practical reason, quite aside from all the other reasons, why we should be very concerned with what is happening. Sadly, what has been happening in Nigeria is that exports of oil have been cut back by sabotage and other attacks. The right reverend Prelate referred to one-fifth or almost one-quarter of oil exports being cut; the figure that I have is about 0.5 million barrels a day, which would be between one-fifth and one-quarter. But at any rate a big chunk of oil is being shut in and not exported as it should.

Tragically, despite these enormous oil and other mineral resources, Nigeria is currently ranked down at 151 out of 177 countries in the human development index of suffering from extreme poverty. I find that very hard to get into my mind. Incredibly, despite being oil-rich, it is among the 20 poorest countries in the world in terms of per capita income, with 75 million out of 140 million people living in absolute poverty. Of course those who suffer most are the small children, as usual, one in five of whom dies before reaching the age of five, while 12 million of them are not in school—and there are nearly 2 million AIDS orphans.

So there is a good story for the future—and, let us hope, the basis for development; but there is also the sad story of yesterday, which is that one of the potentially richest countries in Africa is not as stable as it should be, still suffers, as your Lordships have rightly observed, from intense corruption, and still has to live with criminal networks that are currently stealing an estimated 300,000 barrels of oil a day, leaving oil income per capita at a miserable 30p per person. So here is the greatest country in Africa, full of rich potential and ready to act as a stabilising anchor for the rest of the region, but not yet in the position to do so. This is an example of the syndrome of the curse of oil, a dreadful reminder that huge flows of revenue from oil, rather like huge flows of unsuitably focused development aid, do not lead to development; they lead to the opposite. They entrench governments and corruption, and actu ally paralyse development.
 
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What are the keys we should be trying to find to turn the situation around and reinforce the points made by the noble Viscount, Lord Waverley, about a more positive era now developing? Obviously good governance and transparency are the key. Endemic corruption and decades of military misrule resulted in steadily increasing debt and worsening socio-economic indicators. We all recognise the significant steps President Obasanjo has taken towards reforming the country since 1999—it has undoubtedly come a long way—including the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the fight against corruption, but it is a puzzle that that same president now wants to amend the constitution to give himself the third term he said he would not take. Clearly that is adding to the lack of confidence, and one wonders what word we, as friends of Nigeria, have passed to the president about how he should handle this delicate situation. It is not for us to interfere from outside, that is fair, but we are all members of the Commonwealth and have common standards, and we are entitled to a view.

The noble Lords, Lord Lea and Lord Chidgey, mentioned the story over the weekend about the gap between the money the oil companies say they are handing over to the Government and the amount the Government's central bank says it actually receives. These are unhealthy figures, and the whole story needs to be brought out and made more transparent if confidence is to be restored.

I am sure we are all increasingly aware that new players are on the scene in Africa. The biggest new player is of course China, which has an increasing involvement everywhere. There was a report only today that China and Russia are playing a different hand as far as Sudan is concerned, where China has huge oil interests, and are blocking sanctions against Sudanese officials accused of involvement in Darfur violence. The Chinese Foreign Minister was saying only the other day that he regarded his country's involvement in Nigeria as operating on the principle that,

    "We try to separate politics from business".

One wonders what links, exchanges and dialogue we are developing with these great new powers in the world—namely, China and the other Asian powers—as they pursue their agenda. Are they on board, as it were, in terms of a joint approach to the work of the UN regarding human rights? Are they acting as positive, responsible nations that want peace, as they keep saying they are? If they are, should we not co-ordinate more closely with them, and not think of ourselves just as part of a western world that has separate interests from the Asian world? After all, we do not; we all have the same interests, increasingly, in Africa.

In my allotted time I can touch on only some of the issues affecting this enormous country, which could be the keystone to stability in the whole region; indeed, almost in the whole continent. I appreciate what the noble Viscount has reminded us of, that all is not doom and gloom in this part of Africa. But with the renewed violence, sabotage and the loss of oil, there is a feeling
 
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that one step forward often leads to one step back and that no progress is made—in fact, living standards continue to fall in some areas.

We have one overriding and binding link with this great country. We and Nigeria are both members of the Commonwealth network, which is proving to be the kind of organisation and pattern far more suitable to the 21st century than the traditional blocs and institutions that were created in the last century. It is in our direct interest to see Nigeria stabilised and fulfilling its massive potential for Africa and the world, and that is what we must all work for, in the right way. I hope we will do so.

7.15 pm

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Triesman): My Lords, I join other noble Lords in thanking the noble Viscount, Lord Waverley, for introducing this important debate. I applaud the balanced and sound reasoning in everything that he said. He invited me—I take up his offer of course—to send the good wishes of the House and of the Government to the noble Lord, Lord Avebury, who I believe is recovering from his operation. He is in our thoughts. I thank also the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Coventry, who covered almost all the key questions. I hope that I will be able to do justice to some of those questions this evening.

The United Kingdom's relationship with Nigeria is very close. It is bilateral and, as the noble Lord, Lord Howell, reminded us, it is through the Commonwealth. We are the biggest bilateral donor to Nigeria—DfID's budget will rise to £100 million for 2006–07—and the largest investor. Increasing numbers of Nigerians are living and working in the United Kingdom. Ours is a deep and historic friendship, and we are proud of it. What happens in Nigeria matters to us. The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs stressed this during his visit to Abuja and the Niger delta just last February.

Presidential, state and local elections are due to be held in 2007. Since Nigeria's independence in 1960, there has been only one successful civilian-to-civilian transfer of power. That was in 2003, when President Obasanjo was elected for his current, second term. 2007 will be an important milestone. DfID, as well as the other international donors, is already supporting the Independent National Electoral Commission in a programme to ensure that elections are free and fair, and are seen to be so. We will work also with the EU and the Commonwealth to this end.

Speculation is rife in Nigeria about whether the president intends to change the constitution to enable him to stand for a third term. I accept that tensions are running high. The noble Lord, Lord Chidgey, described the issues as generating heat. The noble Lord, Lord Howell, reflected on these electoral issues as well. The national assembly is expected to vote later in April on a raft of proposed constitutional amendments. These include a proposal to allow a
 
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further four-year term for the president and state governors, but also, importantly, withdrawing of the current immunity from prosecution for serving governors and increasing the percentage of oil revenues that go to the producing states from 13 to 18 per cent. Debate about such issues is an important part of strengthening the democratic process. The noble Visc ount, Lord Waverley, raised all these key issues. As he requested, I shall clarify the Government's position.

The decisions on constitutional amendments are for Nigeria alone. The United Kingdom, the United States or other interested bystanders would have no standing to intervene. President Obasanjo has said publicly on a number of occasions that he will not act unconstitutionally. We—together with the rest of the international community, including the United States—have welcomed that assurance. We know that he fully understands the importance of maintaining peace, stability and reform for the future of Nigeria, as well as the importance of sustaining reform and his own legacy. We are confident that his decisions will reflect this understanding.

Having had the privilege of meeting him on a number of occasions, I would say by way of a general description of him that he was elected on a mandate of reforms for Nigeria and that he has kept to his agenda. He has pushed forward economic reform. He has agreed a major debt relief package and has acted decisively to tackle corruption and financial crime, arresting key figures such as the governor of Bayelsa state and sacking corrupt Ministers. He is an international leader in promoting the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative. Politically and economically, Nigeria plays a leading and positive role throughout Africa, and the president has helped reduce tension and conflict. During his presidency, Nigeria has become a leading contributor to peace-keeping operations through the United Nations and ECOWAS, and it provides peace-keepers to Darfur. In 2005, as president of the AU, he intervened in Togo following a coup d'é tat and successfully negotiated a return to democracy. Also through the AU, he has been trying to engage with Zimbabwe over the growing crisis there.

But there are problems. Recent events in the Niger delta, including an upsurge of violence, attacks on oil installations and kidnappings of foreign oil workers, have serious implications for Nigeria and for the international energy supply and global oil markets. The noble Lord, Lord Howell, identified the global pressures on oil supplies which are made much more significant by these developments in the delta. Recent events have cut production by about 25 per cent, we believe. The loss of revenue in the longer term could impact on Nigeria's ability to deliver its own budget and, hence, its development goals.

There are three main challenges to address—security, governance and development. There is no single solution to the problems; they have to be approached together and in a co-ordinated manner, as the noble Viscount, Lord Waverley, said. The United
 
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Kingdom, through the FCO, DfID and the MOD, is working with the Nigerians on two main initiatives to address these issues. The first is the Gulf of Guinea energy security strategy, which aims to professionalise the Nigerian military through training and capacity building and to increase co-ordination between the security forces, specifically on small arms proliferation and money laundering, to which I shall return. We currently support work to assess the nature and scale of the small arms problem.

The second initiative is the Rivers State development initiative, which focuses on community-led development through large-scale infrastructure to create employment as well as sustainable development programmes. We have to reduce tensions and poverty in the delta if we are to improve living standards for the people of that region. In all this, we are working closely with the Nigerians and the United States. The next meetings take place in Washington later this month. We must reach concrete decisions that will make a difference on the ground.

Of course we are concerned for our own citizens and for the foreign companies that operate in the vital oil-producing region. There have already been two kidnappings of expatriates in 2006; both included British nationals and involved officials and Ministers. Oil companies and their employees must be able to go about their work in a secure environment. We have been talking to Shell, with which of course we work closely on this, and to the Nigerian authorities about what they can do and what more we can do to assist. But there needs to be greater commitment on the part of the Nigerian authorities to tackle the problems, as well as better co-ordination between the interested parties.

On reform and development, President Obasanjo was elected in 2003 on a radical and clear programme of reform. He is delivering it and we fully support his efforts and those of his impressive economic team under the leadership of Mrs Ngozi. The noble Viscount, Lord Waverley, emphasised the need for effectiveness in economic and social change and greater transparency in those areas. I wholeheartedly agree. Economic policy making is moving to a more rational footing for the first time since independence and Nigeria has made a real start in tackling corruption.

Reform in Nigeria is also essential if it is to meet the millennium development goals. DfID is playing a leading role in helping. Nigeria is at the heart of the education initiative recently announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer—it is a remarkable initiative. The noble Viscount, Lord Waverley, asked about our plans in that respect. Through DfID, the UK will help Nigeria to create a 10-year education plan, which will aim to provide free education for every child in Nigeria.

The investment in people is important in every respect. The noble Lord, Lord Lea, raised the questions of population growth and the need for jobs. One of the most fundamental issues has to be education as a key to achieving good jobs and stability
 
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in employment. So, investment in people is increasing. Nigeria's 2006 budget will see increases of over 30 per cent in recurrent expenditure on education and health and of over 60 per cent on water. Savings on debt relief will free at least an additional $1 billion a year for Nigeria to spend on poverty reduction, helping to employ an extra 120,000 teachers and to put 3.5 million people into school. Those are the figures that the noble Viscount, Lord Waverley, was asking for.

It was progress on reform that persuaded the United Kingdom to take a leading role in championing the debt deal for Nigeria in the Paris Club in 2005. It is a main part of our agenda for the Commission for Africa. Under the deal, Nigeria used part of its oil windfall to pay US $12.4 billion of its external debt with creditors cancelling the remaining $18 billion. Money saved on servicing debt will make a difference to the development agenda. There is of course more to do.

The economic reform team is determined to embed its work as much as possible ahead of the elections next year and the legislative agenda is ambitious. We are keen to see the Nigerian Government pass the Fiscal Responsibility Bill soon. It is a key piece of legislation that will develop transparent frameworks for prudent management of Nigeria's resources. It will help Nigeria achieve long-term macro-economic stability, placing conditions, importantly, on all three tiers of government: federal, state and local; and bringing consistency to decision-making.

The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) Bill, which will enshrine the EITI process into law swiftly, and the Public Procurement Bill, which will improve transparency and competitiveness of public procurement at all levels of government, are also important elements of the legislative programme. It is true to say that transparency demands the highest auditing standards and accuracy.

Corruption has understandably been raised in the debate. The noble Lord, Lord Chidgey, focused on it in the first of his three main points. It is a serious hindrance to Nigeria's development and we welcome the president's efforts to strengthen the operation of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and support investigations and high level prosecutions. It is a major change from earlier periods such as those described by my noble friend Lord Lea. Crime, especially serious financial and organised crime, also has a significant impact on governance and poverty levels throughout Nigeria. It impacts on the UK directly too through advance-fee and other frauds, trafficking and money-laundering, and a high level of illegal immigrants. However, I wholly accept the proposition that corruption is a two-way street and our own house must also be in order. We have a clear obligation and we have an obligation in our legislation to track and return stolen assets, and to prosecute where we can.

We have been asked this evening to say what the Government are doing to assist those processes. We are cutting down the avenues for corruption. DfID is
 
18 Apr 2006 : Column 1046
 
providing support for Nigerian participation in the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative; we are strengthening the anti-corruption agencies; the UK is providing equipment and expertise to strengthen the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission; we are working to strengthen co-operation on specific cases; and the Metropolitan Police are working with Nigerian law enforcement and security agencies to bring specific cases to prosecution. We have ratified the UN Convention against Corruption. Bringing cases to trial under the standards of proof required in the United Kingdom courts is no easy matter. It is not an undertaking that can be embarked on lightly, but our obligation is to do so and to make sure that we achieve those standards of proof. We are currently investing heavily in the training and research institute of the EFCC as well.

Co-operation to tackle all those issues is already strong. We have signed the MoUs on human trafficking, police co-operation and an immigration returns agreement in the past 18 months. We are stepping up co-operation even further: my right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary announced during his recent visit a project worth £250,000 to train the Nigerian police.

I turn to the questions that have been raised about human rights and the Muslim/Christian relationship. Nigeria has more Muslims than any other sub-Saharan African country—around 60 million. Ongoing and historical tensions between the communities in Nigeria can lead to violence across the country—unfortunately, sometimes with significant loss of life—although I accept that these things can also be an excuse for other reasons for violence. Most often this violence is driven by political events, such as speculation about the elections in 2007 and recent public hearings on the constitution. Whether the last weekend was more violent than others, our information does not show. It may have been very little different.

Violence can also be triggered by other events, such as the publication of the Danish cartoons—a matter raised by my noble friend Lord Lea. Attacks on one group often lead to violent retaliatory attacks, and we condemn all such violence. The British High Commission in Abuja raises, when verified, individual cases of religious persecution that come to our attention and it makes representations to the authorities when riots occur. But we do not believe that reports of large-scale subjugation of Christians are well founded. It is important to promote better understanding between religious communities.

At this point, I turn to the remarks of the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Coventry, who knows these areas of concern so well. In Plateau State, Coventry Cathedral's International Centre for Reconciliation is doing outstanding work, as I have been able to acknowledge in the House on a past occasion. It is work on reconciliation and promoting better relations between Christians and Muslims. The ICR also has responsibility for a small arms project worth £50,000. It was started in January, so I suspect that it is rather too early to draw conclusions from it.
 
18 Apr 2006 : Column 1047
 
However, its aim is to identify the sources of small arms, and I can say that at present we believe that there is no evidence of small weapons being sourced in the United Kingdom.

We are also engaging more with Nigeria's Muslim north. The High Commission is undertaking a programme of visits to the north by prominent British Muslims to discuss women's education and voters' rights, as well as to demonstrate the British view of multiculturalism. DfID is opening an office in Kano. I suspect that the lessons learnt from Archbishop Josiah—"Mr Dialogue"—could well serve all of us.

On human rights, there are concerns about heavy-handed interventions by the police and the security forces, but there has been an overall improvement in Nigeria's human rights record since 1999. The state does not systematically or deliberately oppress the rights of individuals or particular groups, and the constitution provides for freedom of speech, assembly and religion and for an independent judiciary. The media and political discourse are free.

Here, I have to comment on the BBC World Service—an important question that has been raised. I am Minister for public diplomacy and am therefore responsible for the BBC World Service. I understand that the World Service has an arrangement with Raypower FM to relay live news programmes made by the World Service. In the past, this worked well and benefited both partners, but problems have arisen over the re-broadcasting of World Service programmes by Raypower, particularly in news areas. The Nigerian National Broadcasting Commission enforced a directive banning all Nigerian stations from relaying live news from foreign broadcasters and that has had an impact.

I say to the House—I am sure that it is known without my having to say it—that the World Service has total editorial and managerial independence from government, and it has a reputation for delivering authoritative, accurate and impartial news. To deliver the service effectively, it established the partnership with Radio Raypower, and the current banning of news programmes means that the service is broadcasting for only about seven hours each week. I should like to see the service fully restored, not least because I believe that it is one of the best and most
 
18 Apr 2006 : Column 1048
 
independent relayers of impartial news anywhere in the world, and we are entitled to feel proud of that in this country.

A number of other issues have been raised in the debate. A dialogue is taking place with China. It is not easy, but it is taking place. As the noble Lord, Lord Howell, said, it would be foolish beyond belief not to try to engage with a country and a power so systematically involved throughout Africa, Latin America and other parts of the world. We raise human rights issues and peace issues. We are trying to find common ground. I suspect that it will not be a rapid dialogue, but it is essential to have a dialogue.

As I said, it is in the interests of us all and also in Nigeria's interests that we discuss all those kinds of issues, precisely because Nigeria will remain central and important to this country. One in four people in sub-Saharan Africa is a Nigerian. If Nigeria fails to meet the millennium development goals, it is unlikely that Africa will meet those goals. What happens in Nigeria impacts on the wider region and on Africa generally. As chairman of the AU, President Obasanjo played such an active role across Africa and he has continued to do so. He has taken a constructive part in the Darfur peace process and he has demonstrated his courage most recently by helping to deliver Charles Taylor to stand trial before the special court in Sierra Leone. That was a personal commitment for the president and it was not easy for him to deliver. I acknowledge it fully in the House tonight. I welcome what has finally happened.

I do not believe that we shall ever make the mistake of ignoring how things develop in Nigeria. We shall continue to work hard to support the country, its president and his impressive team, to build on the successes of the past few years and where we can to address the issues that are important for Nigeria's continued stability and development. Let me emphasise how we see the situation. This is a long-term relationship and a long-term friendship. It can never be anything else. As my right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary said in Abuja on 14 February:

    "We will remain committed to this country and to the closest possible relationship with it".

That is a simple obligation, best said simply and I repeat it tonight.

END
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http://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=8809Sat, 07 Oct 2006 00:00:00 GMT
Letter to Presidents Obasanjo on Third Term Agenda - On Obj's vist to the White HouseConcerned Nigerians in the Diaspora

Washington, DC,  USA

 

 

March 29, 2006

 

 

Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, GCFR

President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces

The Federal Republic of Nigeria

c/o Prof. George Obiozor

Ambassador of Nigeria to the United States

Washington, DC, USA

 

Your Excellency:

 

We welcome you to the United States and hope that your visit today with President George W. Bush for all the stated official reasons, including  discussions about "strengthening democratic institutions", is a fruitful one. 

 

We,  the undersigned Nigerian citizens in North America, write to express our outright and implacable opposition to on-going legislative moves in our country Nigeria to amend the constitution to allow, inter alia,  the executives in Nigeria (president and governors) three four-year terms.  This is being widely interpreted as intended to immediately benefit the affected incumbents, including yourself.   

 

Prior official denials of the amendment move are no longer tenable, now that the Nigerian National Assembly's Joint Committee on Constitutional Review (JCRC) has recently approved it, despite widespread opposition at various zonal public hearings.   We are fully aware that the amendment still requires approval by two-thirds of members of the National Assembly and two-thirds of our thirty-six state assemblies.   However, the tension arising from the very possibility of the extension of terms is causing political ripples, heating up of the Nigerian polity, and holding up the political processes that should by now be leading up to an orderly transfer of power in May 2007.

 

All the governors and yourself who have sworn twice (in 1999 and 2003) to uphold the two-term limit of the 1999 Constitution must respect and obey it.   The question of leadership of any country is a continuous process.  No one leader or set of leaders can see a country's development to its logical end.   In a democracy, each leader makes his or her contributions and leaves the stage to others according to the constitution

 

Consequently you must resist any temptations of "sit-tightism"  of which too many of our African leaders have been accused. Such schemes to remain in power willy-nilly have tarnished the reputations of some of your predecessors in Nigeria. Your hard-earned reputation, your current international standing and your prospective legacy are all at stake at this time.   Nigeria must act as an example to the rest of the West African sub-region, to Africa, and to the World.  We do not want " things to fall apart" in our country on your insistence to remain in power beyond 2007.   The consequences will be too dire.

 

Your  occasional denials about your lack of interest in extending your term by any means are noted by us.   However, they have been few and far between and not sufficiently categorical.  In any case,  your spokespersons and top party officials have either been evasive or even pugnacious about the desirability of your third- or higher-term prospects.

 

Your current visit to the United States therefore presents another golden opportunity in the glare of the whole world to right matters.   Nothing will aid the strengthening of democratic institutions in our country more than your eschewing of an unconstitutional move that lacks integrity.

 

President Obasanjo, please seize the opportunity; redeem the moment; do the right thing.   During this visit, we urge you to publicly denounce these campaigns and unequivocally dissociate yourself from any scheme that will enable you and some others to contest for a return to power in 2007.

 

Once again, we welcome you to the United States, and we wish you a safe journey back home.

 

 

Sincerely:

 

 

Mobolaji E. Aluko, PhD

President, NDM

 

Signed on behalf of:

 

Okop Usem Leadership Council OULC [Mr. N.H. Ibanga, President]

World Igbo Congress WIC [Ichie Chibuzo E. Onwuchekwe,  Chairman]

Forum for the Advancement of Nigeria FAN [Dr. Emmanuel Dada, President]

South-South Peoples Assembly – North America  SSPA-NA [O. Igho Natufe, President]

Zumunta USA Inc. [Dr. Mohammed Ladan,  President]

Egbe Omo Yoruba - North America [Mr. Adeola Odusanya, President]

Pronaco-USA [Dr. Baba Adam, Chairman]

Nigerian Democratic Movement NDM [Mobolaji E. Aluko, President]

Nigerian Policy Council USA NIPOC

 

On their own personal recognizance/In association with above organizations:

Tony Nammor, Oloye Awojoodu, Samuel Ayodele, Muminu Badmus, Clement Ikpatt, Omoyele Sowore, Godson Nnaka, Titus Folayan, Ezekiel Macham, Olu Oreofe, Titus Folayan, Okey Ndibe

 

Copies to: 

President George Bush, The White House, Washington DC

Congressmen [Senate Foreign Relations, House International Relations Committees on Africa]

Various members of the African Constituency in the United States

Senator Ken Nnamani, President, Nigeria's Senate 

Alhaji Bello Aminu Masari, Speaker, Nigeria's House of Representatives

 

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http://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=8808Sat, 07 Oct 2006 00:00:00 GMT
MONDAY QUARTER-BACKING: BEKO IS GONE - BUT HIS SPIRIT LIVES ON! (A Personal Retrospection)http://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=8807Sat, 07 Oct 2006 00:00:00 GMTMONDAY QUARTERBACKING: The Rifeness and Arithmetics of Fraud and Corruption in Nigeria= Y/2 +1) – or sometimes just a quorum, often Y/3 - then the nefarious camp can simply suspend AT LEAST (Y - 3/2X) of their members, and then X would just be EXACTLY 2/3rd of the remaining un-suspended people ! Voila ! The constitution would have been "obeyed." If the ACTUAL number of people suspended is S, then the excess [S-(Y-3/2x)] is a mathematical measure of the scale of legislative rascality. Thus in Bayelsa where there were 24 assembly men, with 15 solid assembly men in support of impeachment of Governor Alamieyeseigha, they needed just to suspend 2 people to be sure – but they ended up suspending four legislators to make assurance doubly sure, even though they did eventually get 16 legislators to make that suspension unnecessary. In Oyo State, with 18 people out of the 32 in the anti-Ladoja/pro-Adedibu camp, they needed to suspend exactly 5 of the remaining 14 members of the state assembly to get their two-thirds –and they did just that to impeach Governor Ladoja. In Ekiti State, to impeach the Ado Local Government chairman Taye Fasubaa, 8 out of 13 councilors were solidly in support of impeachment, so they needed to suspend only 1 councilor to do their deed – but ended up suspending 5 councilors, so that the impeachment of Fasubaa was "unanimous." You be the judge which was the most egregious – Bayelsa, Oyo or Ekiti States - which include two South-Western states which have surely been dragged screaming and kicking into the "mainstream" of PDP's Nigerian politics! To help the mathematically challenged, it is Oyo (0), Bayelsa (2) and Ekiti (4) in that order of excess suspensions. On the order hand, one could argue that the order is Ekiti, Bayelsa and Oyo in order of egregiousness, because Oyo needed exactly those suspensions THE MOST to carry out its dastardly deed ! One more thing: Had Chief Richard Akinjide known of this "trick" in 1979, instead of all the "12 .1/3 is 2/3 rd of 19" palaver that we had in that year's presidential elections that ushered Shagari into power over Awolowo, Zik, Aminu Kano and Waziri Ibrahim, all he needed to do was advise General Obasanjo to "suspend" one state – excise it from Nigeria temporarily – and then 12 would have been exactly 2/3 of 18, and there would have been no problem. [By the way, without much surprise and to show consistency, Chief Akinjide is reported to support the Adedibu arithmetic.] Only in Nigeria can such brigandage pass muster. The Tafa Balogun Arithmetic of Fraud Punishment After 6 months of hospital imprisonment for being found with N17 billion of public funds in various private and dud-company bank accounts, former Inspector-General of Police Tafa Balogun - IG of Police o ! - is out of prison. He will soon "bounce back" as he promised. To what heights, inquiring minds want to know. But six months for N17 billion ? That means that if fair is fair, for stealing N17 million, you should be imprisoned for four-and-a-half hours; for stealing N17,000 you should be jailed for only sixteen seconds - and so on. I shake my head. Accessory after the fact of electoral rigging – or Father Confessor ? Twice now, president Obasanjo has acted as Father Confessor to two sets of people: to Uba/Ngige (both of the PDP) when Uba confessed that he helped rig Ngige into the governorship of Anambra State in 2003; and again (allegedly) Rafiu Tinubu (former Head of Service of Lagos State; AD member) that he did the same for AD Governor Bola Ahmed Tinubu's re-election effort in Lagos State. One befuddling issue is that President Obasanjo seems oblivious to the perception arising from disclosing these news items to the public, and one is frightened about his sense of judgement of propriety in general. Furthermore, Obasanjo is a Baptist; Uba is Anglican; Ngige is Catholic; and Rafiu Tinubu is a Muslim. Clearly, corrupt tendencies cut across all religions. Secondly, confession also cuts across all religions, but it is only the Catholics that one knows has confession to a priest as an acceptable ritual without immediate earthly legal consequences. So this is the first time I have heard of cross-religious confession. Definitely, therefore, the non-Catholic President Obasanjo could NOT have been acting merely as a Father Confessor to these people – and we are left with no option but to consider him an accessory after an illegal fact, for he did not report to INEC after hearing what he told the world that he heard from Uba and Rafiu Tinubu. One more thing: since the gubernatorial election in Lagos occurred on the same day as the presidential election – as it occurred throughout the nation – how could the rigging have occurred ONLY for Governor Tinubu and NOT for President Obasanjo ? Again inquiring minds want to know. Dariye's Own Confession Love him or hate him, Governor Joshua Dariye is a fighter from that self-confessed dog-eating ethnic group of Mushere in Plateau State – with close meat connoisseur-neighbors among the Angas and the Beroms. Having jumped bail in London, and survived six months of suspension as governor due to allegations of financial fraud, he has made sure that no arithmetic rascality can be perpetrated in his state assembly, where he ensures that the majority ROUTINELY adjourns SINE DIE – which is "French" for indefinitely – and leaves town pronto when he sees that his State Assembly is under too much intense pressure to impeach him. After patiently hoping that the EFCC at the prodding of the Obasanjo PDP administration would leave him alone – or at least make a deal with him – he took the Samson option a few days ago to announce that the "Devil made me do it – and he may bring us all down together". This time the "Devil" was the PDP party who asked him, in aid of the 2003 elections, probably the most expensive elections in Nigeria's history, to disburse N100 million to South-West PDP, N100 million to the North-East PDP, N66 million to the Obasanjo Campaign Organization, N10 million to Plateau Senator Ibrahim Mantu – and N80 million to the Ministry of Finance (as "bribe" ?) before being finally given N800 million for Plateau State, being the REST of the N1.16 billion due to the state from the Ecological Fund. He has threatened to eat up the "EFCC dogs" if they come to his state again to bark at him. Yes, Dariye is therefore guilty as charged for misappropriating and/or assisting in the misappropriation of his state funds. If he had RESISTED and CRIED out, then at least the world would have known. Under normal circumstances, the "Devil" cannot be arrested by mortals, so the defence of 'the Devil made me do it" is not tenable. But when individuals and corporate entities like the PDP can be apprehended, they should be. One question: why Plateau State, probably the state, after my Ekiti State, with the least revenue allocation from the federal government ? One has this feeling that ALL PDP states were asked to do what Dariye did – and maybe ANPP states too (to ANPP presidential coffers) – but no AD states, since it had no presidential candidate in 2003? Looters all ? One is torn between commending the EFCC for the good work it has done so far, and the feeling one gets that it either turns a blind eye to some corruption in the country, or else actually behaves like a party apparatus – as it did with this Dariye disclosure when it stated so boldly that it could only trace the N100 million given to the South-West PDP (despite Bode George's disavowal, that only one Yomi Edu "claimed" it for himself), and that that has since been returned anyway, just as that of the Obasanjo Campaign Organization has been returned – through Atiku. His political camp, always fighting for its life, has vigorously denied being intimately involved. So is that it ? Returned – and all the matter is now laid to rest ? A family affair again ? You can do better than that, EFCC, or is our trust in you really misplaced ? Epilogue In the week when a straight-arrow like Dr. Bekololari Ransome-Kuti leaves us Nigerians behind on this side of the veil to join immortality, to talk about the level of corruption and fraud in public service in our country is truly disheartening. Again, one is torn between hailing the fact that these news items are known at all and wondering the level of impunity with which they occur. But we must not lose hope: there may yet be light at the end of the tunnel. One just hopes that that light is not that of a lantern being carried at the end of a bayonet. ]]>http://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=8806Sat, 07 Oct 2006 00:00:00 GMTMONDAY QUARTER-BACKING: Demands for Presidential Power Rotation in Nigeria and Present Dangershttp://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=8805Sat, 07 Oct 2006 00:00:00 GMTEmeka OkoroEmeka Okoro is a versatile actor. The artiste, who spoke on his acting career and how the industry is growing also told Daily Sun recently that he has always dreamt of becoming a star.

The actor, who hails from Umuahia in Ukwuano Local Government area of Abia State, said Nollywood which is now a fast growing phenomenon will attain higher heights in a few years to come.

Motivation
I have always dreamt of becoming an actor right from my childhood days. Whenever I watched American movies, I would say to myself that when I grow up, I will like to be an actor. I met a friend Emeka Kurimo, who told me that an audition was going on somewhere. I attended and luckily, I was chosen. That enabled me to feature in my first movie entitled: Dirty Deal.

Success
It is all about determination, knowing fully well what I wanted. Despite the obstacles, I just have to continue, at least, compared to when I started.

Roles
I have played several roles in movies which I can’t even remember any longer.But I can still remember a few like The Senator, Occultic Battle, First Love, One Love, among many others.

Embarrassing moment
I don’t have any, because I detest living a fake life. I like to be what I am .

Most challenging role
It is the movie entitled: First Love. I played the role of a good and a bad guy. Switching from one character to another was actually challenging. At the same time, I was also on location for another movie entitled: One Love.

Kissing in Nollywood
It is not true.We call it make-believe, because there is a camera before you and there are members of crew all around you. So, there is no way you would go contrary to what the director is saying. We are only trying to be natural in order to convey a message. It may look real, but it is all fake.

Nollywood
The Nigeria movie industry is like a woman who gives birth to a child. You do not expect the child to attain maturity at once, it has to be gradual.The industry is actually growing considering Nigeria’s poor economy. People are making their living out of it.

Mentor
Jesus Christ is my mentor. I respect people, the only person I recognize is Jesus. I read the Bible and follow Christ’s footsteps.

Advice
It is wonderful to be an actor, but before anything, one needs to be well prepared. Moreover, a potential actor should undergo a training programme and build his or her talent. First, if you have a talent, develop it, don’t wait until the opportunity slips. I will also advise people who want to make ends meet at once. It is not a good way of life, one needs to exercise some patience.

Marriage
I’m yet to get married.

 

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http://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=8611Tue, 29 Aug 2006 00:00:00 GMT
For peace in the home
It is ...]]>
http://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=8523Wed, 09 Aug 2006 11:53:56 GMT
Do clothes make a woman?http://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=8520Wed, 09 Aug 2006 11:50:33 GMTMONDAY QUARTERBACKING: On The Resignation of Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala from the Obasanjo Administration

The August 3, 2006 resignation of the Nigeria 's erstwhile Minister for Finance - and more lately Foreign Minister - Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, is intriguing to say the least (see attached letters below). The initial official and un-official attempts to put a "prestigious promotion" gloss over her surprising enforced movement (on June 21) from Finance (where she demonstrated focus, dedication and competence, even if one did not always agree with her initial dollar salary or her economic policies) to Foreign Affairs (where she self-admittedly had little or no experience or preparation) have now been shown to be disingenuous.

 

Something definitely appeared to have gone amiss between herself and her former boss, President Obasanjo. One does not know for sure what happened earlier, but right from the moment when Okonjo-Iweala inscrutably wrote a letter (dated June 6, 2006) to the Senate stating that " (President Olusegun Obasanjo) has conveyed to me a document containing information on withdrawals from the excess crude and Petroleum Profit Tax (PPT) between October 2005 and April 2006…." - clearly shifting responsibility away from herself - to her hasty and ill-advised declaration of an administrative rut in the Foreign Ministry of her immediate predecessor Olu Adeniji, followed by a declaration on July 4 before another Senate committee of an officially disputed discovery of fraud - she ran into uncharacteristically stormy and public political weather with the Obasanjo administration.

 

Okonjo-Iweala should have resigned earlier immediately she was re-assigned from Finance to Foreign Affairs, but most probably a combination of "patriotic" blackmail and the lure of the devious "military" tactic of being temporarily retained as head of the Economic Team delayed her now courageous resignation move. The Iweala-as-economic-team-head arrangement was bound to be un-workable given the fact that a substantive Finance Minister (Mrs. Nenadi Usman, formerly Minister of State for Finance and hence Ngozi's equally-dedicated and loyal deputy), no political pushover herself, was in place. Nenadi had privately complained and indicated an unwillingness to sign onto any document negotiated by the Minister of another ministry.

 

The fact of the matter was that Dr. Okonjo-Iweala had completed in Obasanjo's government what she was originally "employed" or "assigned" to do in the first instance - pay up Nigeria 's Paris-Club debts as some kind of "bailiff" to the West. She was thus now expendable. Her dismissal as head of the economic team while negotiating abroad (this time with London Club creditors) on behalf of the team, followed by her announced confinement in Foreign Affairs to the Non-Aligned Movement, was heavy-handed, uncouth and un-classy, but not unusual for President Obasanjo, who has often displayed the penchant for throwing his closest advisers and collaborators off-balance and out in the cold when they least expect it.

 

A couple of things are certain: on paper the former duo of Minister Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and Minister of State Mrs. Nenadi Usman in the Ministry of Finance was far more qualified and internationally exposed, and far less politically malleable than the new team of Minister Mrs. Usman and Minister of State Engineer Elias Nwalen Mbam. Whether this political malleability scenario figured into the scheme of things in this pre-2007 political season remains a question mark. Secondly, life will go on for my former primary school mate Ngozi as she most probably returns to re-join us Diaspora Nigerians. Nigeria will remember her as its first female Finance Minister ; as its first female and shortest-serving Foreign Minister (44 days); for leading the debt relief effort and bringing Nigeria's external debt down from $35 billion to $5 billion (while controversially paying off $12 billion at-a-go to the Paris Club of creditors); for ensuring the transparent publication of federal, state and local government federal allocation figures - and for her very recognizable small but full-figure frame; her trade-mark glasses; brightly-colored Ankara wear and "osuka" head gear. She will be re-embraced, re-celebrated and re-warded by the West - while Nigerians will still have to wait for the "trickle-down" effects of many of the controversial reform policies which she, her former team-mates and former boss championed.

 

Will she run for president or vice-president – or even for Governor of her own Delta State (not her husband's Abia State ) – as rumors to those effects swirl? My own political tea-leaves reading indicates that those are highly unlikely events, given her significant lack of independent political roots.

 

The last time I saw Ngozi was just on July 25, when as the new Foreign Minister, her ministry was listed as host of a banquet for visiting Diaspora Nigerians (during Diaspora Week July 25-28) at the Transcorp Hilton. I stood in line to re-introduce myself and greet her, whereupon she asked pointedly "Any more controversial issues to write on?" – in oblique reference to my criticisms (among others) of her dollar salary, debt relief policies and ..umm..umm.. Potomac Maryland/Nigerian neighborhood. We cracked up laughing. If I had an inkling into the future, I should have retorted – "Wait until next week!"


In any case, Dr. Okonjo-Iweala's plight should not be interpreted negatively by members of the Diaspora who wish to join one government or the other in Nigeria. Without being immodest, I vouch to state that our services are sorely needed in Nigeria provided we offer our skills respectfully. Rather, the former minister of Finance & Foreign Affairs' situation should be seen as a convergence of an unusual set of political actors and economic circumstances.

 

MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS

NIGERIA

August 3, 2006

Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, GCFR

President, Commander-in-Chief,

Federal Republic of Nigeria,

Presidential Villa

Abuja

Mr. President:

RESIGNATION FROM POSITION OF

FOREIGN AFFAIRS MINISTER

This is to tender my resignation as Foreign Affairs Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

I want to thank Your Excellency for granting me the honour of serving our beloved country Nigeria first as Minister of Finance and Leader of the Economic Team under your Chairmanship for a period of three years and then as Minister of Foreign Affairs and Leader of the Economic Team for a period of one and a half months.

Mr. President, I am compelled to tender my resignation at this time because of a) the need to take care of pressing family issues that demand my immediate attention and b) because I believe that I have faithfully delivered on all of the tasks Your Excellency charged me with when you invited me to resign from the World Bank to become Finance Minister three years ago.

Your Excellency outlined a terms of reference that included formulation and spearheading of the implementation of a reform program that would turn the Nigerian Economy around. Specifically, Your Excellency also asked that I deliver debt relief for Nigeria – a quest that had eluded the country for some time.

Mr. President, working with your Presidential Economic Team under your leadership and guidance, I believe we were able to create a strong reform program and implement this to worldwide acclaim and to the benefit of Nigerians. The results speak for themselves and need not be repeated here.

I am particularly proud of the fiscal aspects of this program which brought sanity and prudent management to our fiscal regime and above all greater transparency so that all Nigerians can hold government more accountable whether for revenues collected in the Federation Account or for the costs of running government or other financial responsibilities.


I am especially grateful to God for shepherding us through a very difficult Paris Club debt relief process spearheaded by your Excellency and resulting in success beyond most people's expectations with an unprecedented $18 billion write-off. This success has also allowed us to initiate the restructuring of our London Club debt. I am also grateful for other work done in Finance that saved the country more than $500 million through the analytical work of the new oil and gas unit, and through the analysis and renegotiations of various contracts in the Ministry of Finance.

Mr. President, you provided the opportunity to do so much more by appointing me chairman of several of the important committees you created to solve the topical problems our government faced.

In the short time I have been in Foreign Affairs, important changes have also been initiated to help strengthen and refocus the ministry and sharpen certain aspects of our foreign policy as you instructed. In fact, a roadmap has been developed to illustrate necessary changes to improve the ministry.


Your Excellency, I have delivered on your targets and benchmarks and I believe it is time for me to look after my family whilst at the same time contributing to
Nigeria in another fashion. I am particularly grateful to my colleagues in the Federal Executive Council and on the Economic Team, to the staff of the ministries in which I served, and to fellow Nigerians who have shown me unremitting and wonderful support. I am also grateful to the National Assembly, especially its leadership, for the partnership and support they provided me throughout my tenure. I must not forget to thank my fellow Abians for trusting me to represent them in the cabinet for these past three years. Above all, I am grateful to Your Excellency for this opportunity to serve our country.

God Bless Mr. President! God Bless Nigeria !

Signed:

Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY TO THE GOVERNMENT OF THE FEDERATION

THE PRESIDENCY, FEDERAL SECRETARIAT, SHEHU SHAGARI WAY,

ABUJA – NIGERIA

Website: www.osgf.gov.ng Email: info@osgf.gov.ng

Tel: 09-5233540

Reference: SGF.12/S.6/VII/798 3rd August, 2006

Dr. (Mrs.) Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala,

Honourable Minister,

Ministry of Foreign Affairs,

Wuse,

Abuja

RE: RESIGNATION FROM POSITION OF

FOREIGN AFFAIRS MINISTER

I write to convey the regretful acceptance of your resignation by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, GCFR, based on your compelling need to take care of pressing family issues that demand your immediate attention. Mr. President wishes to acknowledge the unparalleled patriotism, dedication and loyalty that you displayed throughout your tenure, first as Minister of Finance and lately as Minister of Foreign Affairs.

2. Mr. President notes in particular the monumental achievements recorded by Nigeria during your tenure as Minister of Finance, and Chairperson Economic Management Team, as well as the successes of our reform programme in the Finance Sector with clearly visible results being applauded worldwide and by all Nigerians. You were able to utilize the vast network and experience of over 20 years at the World Bank to contribute to getting our nation the debt relief that had eluded us for so long. You delivered on all the tasks and targets set for you in that sector by Mr. President. At the Ministry of Foreign Affairs you have within this short time set the tone for a transformation of the ministry. This administration will certainly miss you.

3. Mr. President therefore regrets that you had to resign at this stage of our reform programme when various measures adopted by government were beginning to yield positive results. Mr. President, however, respects your reasons for tendering your resignation which he has regretfully accepted.

4. Mr President believes that although you have left the cabinet, you will as a patriotic Nigerian continue to make positive contributions to the development of your beloved country and wishes you every success in your future endeavours.

Signed

Chief U.J. Ekaette, CFR, mni

Secretary to the Government of the Federation

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http://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=8485Tue, 08 Aug 2006 00:00:00 GMT
The final flinghttp://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=8361Tue, 01 Aug 2006 13:56:23 GMT Neighbourly affairhttp://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=8360Tue, 01 Aug 2006 13:58:34 GMT Never say no babeshttp://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=8359Tue, 01 Aug 2006 13:53:41 GMT Never say no babeshttp://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=8358Tue, 01 Aug 2006 13:53:41 GMTMe, wear lace fabric? God forbid!http://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=8211Tue, 25 Jul 2006 07:17:23 GMT I?m in love with two blood brothershttp://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=8208Tue, 25 Jul 2006 07:13:36 GMT Stormy vigils or ?banging? sessions?http://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=7866Wed, 12 Jul 2006 06:03:15 GMTdear friend (2)http://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=7782Mon, 03 Jul 2006 19:10:55 GMTdear friend (2)...don't worry; you don't have to look into my eyes, cos I'm focussed on other life's perspectives now.
But you don't ...]]>
http://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=7781Mon, 03 Jul 2006 19:04:21 GMT
sparks and fireworkshttp://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=7750Sun, 02 Jul 2006 21:17:58 GMTwhen and where we least expecthttp://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=7749Sun, 02 Jul 2006 20:49:34 GMT Losing your spousehttp://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=7706Wed, 28 Jun 2006 16:23:29 GMTHow desperate can a woman get?http://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=7697Wed, 28 Jun 2006 14:43:14 GMT?I didn?t know she was married?http://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=7696Wed, 28 Jun 2006 14:37:47 GMT Beware of cradle snatchershttp://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=7695Wed, 28 Jun 2006 14:31:24 GMTHOW DO I CALL HIM DADDY?http://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=7637Sat, 24 Jun 2006 20:58:10 GMTthis osu death sentence....I watched a programme on AIT through BEN TV sometime ago, and I felt rather uneasy the way some ancient traditions ...]]>http://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=7614Sat, 24 Jun 2006 09:40:12 GMTwhere and when we least expect....http://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=7613Sat, 24 Jun 2006 08:46:38 GMTAgony of a jobless husbandhttp://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=7604Wed, 21 Jun 2006 22:53:12 GMT Sex as duty or fun?http://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=7602Wed, 21 Jun 2006 22:41:13 GMTWash your wife's undies?http://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=7601Wed, 21 Jun 2006 22:29:37 GMTNeed help w/college assignmenthttp://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=7539Sun, 18 Jun 2006 02:44:48 GMTcan you believe this?!I got this excerpt after the third term furore, but every attempt not to post it has been resisted. Reason being ...]]>http://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=7532Sat, 17 Jun 2006 14:37:15 GMTwhen followers 'siddon look'
Let?s talk about ?us? today and give the leaders/rulers some respite. Let?s talk about ?FOLLOWERSHIP?. Have you sincerely asked ...]]>
http://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=7531Fri, 16 Jun 2006 21:41:27 GMT
when followers 'siddon look'
Let?s talk about ?us? today and give the leaders/rulers some respite. Let?s talk about ?followership?. Have you sincerely asked ...]]>
http://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=7530Fri, 16 Jun 2006 21:26:48 GMT
a letter from bakassi

"We the people of Bakassi come to you today with heavy hearts. Most importantly, hearts filled with determination and the Nigerian ...]]>
http://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=7529Thu, 15 Jun 2006 22:53:05 GMT
june 12: lights out?

I thought for several hours yesterday as I was carrying out other chores, with one main issue on my ...]]>
http://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=7504Sun, 11 Jun 2006 21:09:24 GMT
june 12: lights out?http://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=7503Sun, 11 Jun 2006 21:13:36 GMTCITIZENS OF NIGERIA: SPEAK UP AND BE COUNTEDhttp://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=7456Tue, 30 May 2006 15:07:12 GMTa slap on your face.http://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=7448Mon, 29 May 2006 00:04:55 GMTTRANSITION:Powershift or quality leadership?http://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=7447Fri, 26 May 2006 14:44:30 GMTCaroline Uduak Abasi Ekanemhttp://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=7432Wed, 24 May 2006 00:00:00 GMTKalu Ikeagwuhttp://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=7431Wed, 24 May 2006 00:00:00 GMTUche Jombohttp://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=7430Wed, 24 May 2006 00:00:00 GMTOby Edoziehttp://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=7429Wed, 24 May 2006 00:00:00 GMTCo-habiting or sex partnershttp://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=7428Wed, 24 May 2006 07:18:33 GMTMoaning: Is it criminal?http://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=7427Wed, 24 May 2006 07:20:46 GMTMarrying a younger manBy Juliana Francis [juliesunnews@yahoo.com ]
Sunday, June 12, 2005

Isnap easily and become aggressive if I am tired or hungry. In my case, ...]]>
http://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=7426Wed, 24 May 2006 07:22:22 GMT
i love you: how do you express it?http://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=7414Tue, 23 May 2006 22:10:20 GMTWhen is it ever enough?http://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=7385Thu, 18 May 2006 20:02:49 GMTAphrodisiacshttp://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=7384Thu, 18 May 2006 20:06:30 GMTAgony of a jobless husbandhttp://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=7383Thu, 18 May 2006 19:42:13 GMTblissful relationshipshttp://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=7356Tue, 09 May 2006 20:36:10 GMTblissful relationshipshttp://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=7332Sun, 07 May 2006 21:22:01 GMTMarrage

I am a black American and I well be travaling to ...]]>
http://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=7323Mon, 01 May 2006 23:11:25 GMT
Zack Orjihttp://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=7290Fri, 21 Apr 2006 00:00:00 GMTShan Georgehttp://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=7289Fri, 21 Apr 2006 00:00:00 GMTIbinabo Fiberesimahttp://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=7288Fri, 21 Apr 2006 00:00:00 GMTDesmond ElliotDesmond Elliot is easily one of the fastest rising stars in the Nigerian home video sector. He shot into limelight through television soap operas and was soon to become a regular face in Nollywood movies such that tracking him down for an interview became almost impossible.

Elliot has also been to many parts of the globe, as his acting skills have made him a well sought after artiste. Besides, he has become a role model in Nollywood such that he often becomes first choice for every producer in search of artistes for romantic roles.

In a recent chat with Daily Sun, Elliot recalled how a friend lured him into acting. He also spoke about his ambition to become the executive governor of Lagos State in the nearest future and why he married an Akwa–Ibom woman:

Background

I was born to a Yoruba father and an Ibo mother. I grew up in the Northern part of the country and I am married to an Akwa-Ibom woman. I had my primary education at Air Force Primary school in Jos from where I went to St John’s College also in Jos. I studied Economics at the Lagos State University, Ojo, Lagos and graduated in 2003.

It was a friend who influenced me to become an actor. My friend wasn’t an actor but he always felt that I was cut out for the entertainment industry. As a Christian, I felt that the best thing for me to do was to pray about it. I prayed and asked God to help me make a choice. It wasn’t easy but I thank God that He intervened and revealed to me that I should join the industry. I first started with soap operas such as Everyday People, One Too Much, Wale Adenuga’s Super Stories and Saints and Sinners. I still feature in Everday People but I moved into the movie industry gradually and today the rest is history.

Between Soaps and Video

Anywhere in the world, film and video have always been quite challenging and rewarding to practitioners. Even in more developed countries most great movie stars move from television to movies. For example, Bruce Willies moved from Moonlighting to movies and Will Smith went from Fresh Prince Of Barley to Men in Black. For me, movies are more demanding and rewarding than soap operas.

Becoming governor of Lagos

I am looking forward to becoming the elected governor of Lagos State in not too distant future, but definitely not in 2007. I want to serve the people of Lagos and I know I can do it. People say that politics is a dirty game, I don’t know exactly how dirty it can get but my intention basically is to serve humanity.

Why I run from women

Women chase me because I am an actor and if they don’t do that it simply means that I am not yet an actor. In fact, being chased is not the issue, what matters is that whenever I perceive that I am about to be chased, I run. I run because I have an ambition, which I don’t want women to ruin for me. I run from them if they want to go beyond the level of being my fans to another level.

Realising a character

When I receive a new script, I usually take my time to study it. Thereafter, I hold a discussion with the director on what is expected of me in the movie. Then I move on to develop a suitable character that will go well with what the entire production is all about.

Turn off

I don’t like people flashing me. I mean if you want to give a call, go ahead and do so, it is of no use flashing me.
I also feel bad when the up-coming artistes are not given the necessary opportunity to come into the industry and fully realise their potentials. Another thing that really puts me off is when some directors want to turn actors to zombies by casting them stereotypically into such roles as lover boy, gentleman, tough guy and all that. Personally, I like to see an actor take up different roles and interpreting them well.

Nollywood

The fact that the Nigerian movie industry is growing is what particularly turns me on, thanks to all those that are making it happen such as the marketers, directors, producers and others
Nollywood contributes to the nation’s economy because quite a number of people are involved and are earning their livelihood from it. The only problem is that our government is yet to fully realise the great economic advantage that lies in tapping into the industry. America and India have tapped into Hollywood and Bollywood respectively and the result is quite rewarding.
Government should come and invest in the industry, the marketers have done great jobs by investing their money to prove that the sector is lucrative.

Popularity

First, I did not pay for this talent, it is a gift from God and whatever comes from God is mine. At the same time, God gave it to me and reserves the right to take it back if you fail to use the gift to make people happy and contribute to the good of humanity. So, there is nothing star in my dictionary. I don’t see myself as a star, rather I see myself as someone who wants to manifest God’s gift to bless people, to bless myself and everything around me. I want people to be happy around me, not just to call me a star.

Relaxation

I basically relax with my wife whenever the opportunity comes, especially if I am in town and not involved in a tedious job. I have a special form of relaxation, I just choose a suitable time and free myself from every form of stress.

On AIDS

My advice is that people should abstain from sex or be faithful to their partners. There is no alternative to it This may be difficult but it is the only way a young person can save his or her life in this era of HIV. The rule is not merely playing the so-called safe but to abstain.


Piracy

Piracy is a crime that government and the people have to fight. It is unfortunate that the pirates make all the money from products they had no input in manufacturing. I also feel very bad when I hear or see a movie that I feature in being pirated.
Foundation for the less privileged
This is one of my strategies as a politician. I don’t want to be accused of corruption. I am looking at the vision of a Ronald Reagan and Arnold Schwaznneger who both saw the need to put something back to society by leaving their glamour world for elective offices to serve the people.

Marriage

Although people say I got married late but the truth is that I dated my wife for about eight years before we finally got married. My kind of job may have exposed me to the opposite sex but the truth is that my wife means the whole world to me. I appreciate my wife and I married her basically for love and nothing else. She is so understanding and caring. These are the two vital attributes I find lacking in most women of today.

Upcoming actors

The Bible teaches that anything that happens to a man comes by time and chance. So, I urge the younger artistes to aspire to be great. They shouldn’t lose hope or get frustrated. They should face their career no matter the obstacle they may encounter and keep working hard.
For example, many people frustrated me before I could get to the level that I am now. But any serious young artiste can also overcome the odds. Above all, what every youth should do is to keep a low head and when the opportunity to shoot into limelight comes, grab it.

A true Nigerian

I understand the three major Nigerian languages but I speak more of Hausa because that is the language I grew up with.

Movies

They include:Magic Moment by Infinity Films Production; Last Oath: An Okoro Ugwu film, which equally starred Stella Damascus Aboderin and Ngozi Ezeonu. Others include: True Romance 1 and 2, directed by Chico Ejiro but produced by Arinze Ephrian; With Love, a movie directed by Osita Okoli but produced by Vitus Nnebue. The movie featured other artistes like Rita Dominic, Hanks Anuku, Ashley Nwosu, Abubakar Yakubu and Mike Nliams. Another movie I featured in is Wild Rose, which equally featured Omotola Jolade, Shan George and Fred Amata.

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http://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=7287Fri, 21 Apr 2006 00:00:00 GMT
Saint Obihttp://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=7286Fri, 21 Apr 2006 00:00:00 GMTJoke Silvahttp://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=7285Fri, 21 Apr 2006 00:00:00 GMTEnebeli Elebuwahttp://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=7253Sat, 15 Apr 2006 00:00:00 GMTClarion Chukwurahttp://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=7252Sat, 15 Apr 2006 00:00:00 GMTChioma Chukwukahttp://nm.onlinenigeria.com/templates/?z=0&a=7251Sat, 15 Apr 2006 00:00:00 GMTChidi Mokeme