Agric Minister, Ogbeh, in Multimillion Naira Contract Scam

The Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbeh, under the anti-corruption administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, has been caught in the web of a contract scam.

Ogbeh, through his Personal Assistant on Special Duties, Mr Johnson Agada, has been fingered in several cases of fraud involving unsuspecting traders and intending contractors running between three hundred to four million naira respectively.

Agada, whose activities has been confirmed by some victims, is alleged to be in possession of over a hundred million Naira of intending contractors, a act he engages in on daily basis.

The Honourable Minister’s special duty P.A. hailed from same Ogbadibo Local government Area of Benue State with the Minister, he had worked briefly in Lagos and Enugu States where he was alleged to have been on the wanted list before relocating to Abuja.

Though he is a very close personal aid to the Minister, sources close to the Agric Ministry, however, disclosed that the minister may be unaware of Agada’s dealings.

However, three persons of high target has threaten to report to the police if their money is not refunded and the contract or Agric loan do not locate them as Agada promised them, within the next two weeks.

Effort to get the Minister’s response proved abortive before press time.

Source: TheStreetReporters

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Jonathan Has Done Well For Nigeria, Deserves Re-electeion, Says Odebudo, DPP Presidential Candidate

Odebudo Owolabi
Otunba Odebudo Owolabi
Otunba Owolabi Odebudo is a seasoned politician that has paid his dues within his short stay in politics. He has been a two time Governorship candidate of two different political parties between 2011 and now. He has also been the Chairman of Conference of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP) Ogun State Chapter, until the present. He is the Presidential candidate of The Democratic People’s Party (DPP) in the present dispensation until he stepped down for President Goodluck Jonathan whom the DPP had endorsed as their Presidential Candidate in the 2015 presidential election coming up March 28. He speaks in this interview.
EXCERPTS

As the Presidential Candidate of the DPP, why did you agree to step down for President Goodluck Jonathan?

I dropped my ambition in support of President Goodluck Jonathan because of my belief in his sterling qualities as a leader. President Jonathan’s achievements so far in office speaks volume in all ramifications. His record of achievements has surpassed all his predecessors in office. At the present he stands out amongst other Presidential candidates from the various political parties including the APC Presidential candidates Gen. Muhammadu Buhari whose antecedents as a former military ruler were nothing to write home about….read more

Presidential Debate: APC Shields Buhari’s Intellectual Laziness, Says Jonathan *Charges APC ‘Prove You’re a Party of Progressive Intellectuals At Debate’

The Presidential Campaign Organisation of President Goodluck Jonathan has accused the All Progressives Congress (APC) of stopping its presidential candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari from participating in a presidential debate being organised by the Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria (BON) as a means of shielding the intellectual laziness and inability of the former military dictator to constructively engage contemporary national issues in a live television and radio debate from Nigerians and the international audience.

Jonathan who spoke through the Director of Media and Publicity of his Campaign Organisation, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, stated that the APC knows that General Buhari will flunk it if he is subjected to the rigours of debate on national issues relating to governance and development.

Jonathan’s Campaign body said it was aware that the APC had already expressed its concerns, when approached by an international news channel for a debate, about the intellectual acumen of General Buhari, and had assured the news channel that it was only comfortable with its vice presidential candidate, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, who has capacity to feature brilliantly on the programme.

“We have just read a report in the media credited to the APC Presidential Campaign Organisation that the party would not allow its candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari, to participate in the radio and television presidential debate organised by the Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria (BON).

“The APC accused the organisers of the debate of unhidden bias and campaign of calumny by some key organisers of the programme against the corporate political interest of the party and its candidates.

“Whilst we will not bother ourselves with the many reasons adduced by the APC, we wish to state that we see the APC decision as an attempt to shield its presidential candidate from displaying his intellectual laziness and inability to constructively engage contemporary national issues in a live television and radio debate.

“We had envisaged that the APC would be reluctant to expose General Buhari to the rigours of a live television debate because the opposition party knows that its candidate will flunk it.

“If the APC truly believes that it is ‘a party of progressive intellectuals’, as it claims it should allow General Buhari to prove that at the debate.

“Should the APC fail to participate in the debate, it would also show the disdain both the party and its candidate have for the Nigerian people, denying them the opportunity to make informed choices on the basis of what each candidate will articulate as propositions on issues that will be raised.

“We are convinced that General Buhari does not have what it takes to sustain a coherent argument on germane issues of governance and development.

“We challenge General Buhari to a debate on any national and international medium of mass communication and our candidate, President Goodluck Jonathan will be ready to participate.

“On the other hand, President Jonathan’s running mate, Vice President Namadi Sambo, is also ready to participate in the debate and any other debate.

“Our presidential candidate and his running mate will not raise flimsy and escapist excuses such as “unhidden bias” and the like, since we believe that they are well-rounded intellectuals who have been prepared by their experience in office to answer any question under the sun on the governance of our nation.”, Jonathan Campaign group noted.

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#NigeriaDecides: Buhari is Clueless About How To Revive Economy, Can’t Remember His Phone Number, Says Jonathan

So Clueless? Can you imagine?

Pa Buhari can’t remember his phone number –Jonathan

President Goodluck Jonathan on Friday during a rally in Enugu said that the All Progressives Congress candidate, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (retd), cannot remember his own mobile phone number.

Jonathan, whose unscripted address was mostly a response to previous statements made by Buhari, accused the APC presidential candidate of deceiving Nigerians by promising to revive the economy without explaining how he would achieve the feat.

The President wondered how Buhari would develop the country’s economy, a feat he could not achieve while he was in office as head of state between 1983 and 1985.

“Is it now that Buhari cannot even remember his own phone number that he can change the economy of the country.” Jonathan asked.

The Peoples Democratic Party presidential candidate said that although he did not like to “go personal during campaigns,” “sometimes circumstances demand that certain things must be said.”

Jonathan said that Buhari belonged to the medieval age, adding that he (the APC candidate) intended to run the Federal Government as a medieval king.

He said, “We cannot run the government as if we are in the medieval age; we cannot run a government where somebody said he would throw people into jail.

“You are not a medieval king – a medieval king can throw you into jail but we have to follow the rule of law because we cannot go back to the old days.”

Jonathan, however, read the speech made by Gen. Ibrahim Babangida (rtd.) after overthrowing Buhari’s regime through a military coup on August 27, 1985 to justify his claim that the APC candidate does not keep his promises.

Babangida, in the portions of the address read by Jonathan, justified Buhari’s overthrow by pointing out that the latter did not live up to the promises he made to Nigerians when he ousted a democratically elected civilian government headed by Alhaji Shehu Shagari in a military coup.

Noting that Buhari “deceived Nigerians” from 1983 to 1985, Jonathan quoted Babangida as saying, “The initial objectives of Buhari’s intervention were betrayed as there was a general deterioration of standard of living in the country.”

The PDP candidate also pointed out that Babangida accused Buhari of being “too rigid in his attitude to national issues” and “became alienated from the people” in the course of his stay in power.

He, therefore, challenged Buhari to tell Nigerians how he intends to revive the economy.

Jonathan said, “They are telling young Nigerians that they are going to change the economy but they have not told us how they want to manage the economy more than us.

“If they say they want to change agriculture, they should tell us the weak links in the agriculture value chain and what they want to do about it.

“I said in Lagos that I want to work with young people, not to deceive people.

“I am not going to run the government based on my habits, I am going to run the government according to global best practices.”

Jonathan also insisted that he was committed to the campaign against corruption.

“There is no government that has fought corruption more than we do,” he said, noting that some previous administrations pretended to be fighting corruption while oppressing their enemies.

He recalled that Buhari jailed some prominent Igbo politicians while in office as head of state, including former Vice-President Alex Ekwueme and former governor of old Anambra State, Chief Jim Nwobodo.

Stressing that Buhari jailed politicians on trumped up charges, Jonathan said, “You can no longer carry people and put them in prison for 301 years.”

The President equally accused Buhari of having a wrong idea of corruption.

According to him, Buhari believes that every wealthy Nigerian is corrupt.

He said, “If a Nigerian businessman has a private jet, then you are corrupt but if a South African has a private jet then you commend him.

“If you have a good house, then you are corrupt, if you have a good car then you are corrupt – that is his definition of corruption.”

Jonathan accused his opponent of making spurious claims against him.

The President said, “They are saying that government is corrupt but they are not telling us what they are going to do to stop corruption. Let them go back to their consultants to coach them, then I will listen to them.

“They should tell us how they are going to manage the economy better than we do.

“They are saying we stole foreign reserves, nobody can steal foreign reserves – spurious allegations.”

He also reiterated his claim that Buhari did not equip the military while he was the head of state.

Jonathan said that he had done more than his predecessors to shore up the country’s defence.

“For 30 years, we had only one frigate, now we have four additional frigates,” he said.

In the same vein, he pointed out that Buhari did not find any woman worthy enough for appointment when he was the military head of state.

The President asked Nigerians to assess him and Buhari by looking at how they performed during their respective periods in office.

He said, “They have deceived us before and they want to deceive us again.

“Go and find out whether these people are deceiving you or are telling you the truth.

“People are assessing me because I have run this country for some years – they have run this country for two years.

“They came with promises but immediately they came in, what they did was to jail Jim Nwobodo for 201 years.”

PUNCH

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2015: Full Text of President Goodluck Jonathan’s Declaration Speech

PRESIDENT-GOODLUCK-JONATHAN-ADDRESSING-HIS-SUPPORTERS-DURING-THE-DECLARATION
Below is the full text of president Jonathan’s declaration speech today Nov. 11 at the Eagle’s Square

GEJ_Declaration
Dear Compatriots:

1. Four years ago, precisely September 18, 2010; I stood in this Eagle Square, to offer myself for election as the President of our beloved country on the platform of our great party; the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

2. Seven months after that declaration, you elected me to lead this country with overwhelming support from all parts of our Nation. I remain grateful for the trust you reposed in me to lead our Nation through uncommon challenges in our march of progress as a united and democratic country.

3. Over the years, the Almighty God has made it possible for me to develop a bond with you and I am grateful for your support and understanding in the difficult periods we have journeyed through.

4. Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, our stewardship has not been without challenges. We have had to deal with the wave of insurgency that has swept through some parts of our dear country. Only yesterday, Government Science Secondary School in YobeState was bombed by insurgents, killing our promising young children who were seeking education to build the country and support their parents. Many Nigerians have lost their lives and property to these mindless killings. Let me crave the indulgence of all present here to stand up to observe a minutes silence in honour of these young lads wholost their lives. Clearly, this has cast a dark cloud on our Nation but we will surely win the war against terror. A number of young men and women have been kidnapped by these criminal elements including our daughters from Chibok. We will free our daughters and defeat terrorism.

5. We are equipping the armed forces and deploying special forces to engage the terrorist and end this senseless war. We must protect our country. We must save our people. I will do everything humanly possible to end this criminal violence in our Nation.

6. To ensure the long term stability and development of the affected areas, government has launched three programmes: The Presidential Initiative for the North East, the Victim Support Fund and the Safe School Initiative. The Presidential Initiative for the Northeastis focused on improving infrastructure and economic growth in the region. The Safe School Initiative is centred on creating a safe environment to encourage our children in the communities to acquire education. The Victim Support Fund, a partnership with the Private Sector, has raised about 60 billion Naira, which will help to empower and rehabilitate victims of terror. I promise the victims of these dastardly acts that we will continue to stand with you.

7. I am grateful to all Nigerians for standing with me.

8. Let me also thank the leaders and elders of our great party, the Peoples Democratic Party, for the opportunity you have given to me to serve our country, Nigeria.

9. I am overwhelmed by the trust, confidence and support of the various organs of our party, the Board of Trustees, the National Caucus, the National Executive Committee, the National Working Committee, the PDP Governors Forum, members of the PDPCaucuses of the National Assembly, and others.

10. This day affords me the opportunity to continue the conversation of development we started together.

11. Infrastructure has been a major focus area of my administrationand so, we pursued the power sector reform to this point of irreversible progress. Nigeria has undertaken a most transparent and corruption free bidding process, attracting global commendation. The on-going 450MW Azura Power Plant in Edo State is a testimony to the success of this transformation.
12. We have also resumed development of our Hydro-Power potential, with the construction of the 700MW Zungeru Hydro-Power Plant, while construction work on the 3,050MW Mambilla Hydro-Power Plant is about to take off.

13. Our power generation and distribution companies have now been privatized. We are firmly on the road to guaranteed regular power supply in the months ahead. This our bold move, is paying off!

14. We are committed to environmental protection and conservation and reducing vulnerability to climate change. In this regard, we have embarked on a number of projects across the country. Of particular note is the AfricanGreat Green Wall Programmed, where we have released about 16 billionnaira for implementation. The project will create a green belt across 11 states from Kebbi to Borno.

15. In the past three and half years, the water sector has witnessed unprecedented improvement. Access to potable water is now 67%, up from 58% in 2010, while sanitation coverage is 41%, from 32% within the same period.

16. Major developments in water include the completion of 37 Dams and rehabilitation of 10, with several others on-going construction. The flagship Kashimbila Multipurpose Dam which is being built to contain flood from Lake Nyos, is now at 90% completion. We have also completed about 5,000 rural and semi urban water schemes.

17. We are reforming the National Urban Water supply programmes in 12 states, with 385 formal and informal irrigation projects, covering a total land area of 118000 ha, cultivated mostly by small holder farmers. This has yielded over 3 million metric tons of assorted grains and vegetables, with a market value of about 45billion naira.

18. Before the advent of this administration, the Railway system was practically dead. Today, we have revived the rail sector. The narrow gauge line from Lagos to Kano has been rehabilitated with improved coaches providing regular services. The rehabilitation of the Port Harcourt-Maidugurirail line is progressing with the Port Harcourt-Gombe segment as well as the branch line from Kafanchan to Kaduna expected to be completed and fully operational by December 2014.

19. Already, work on the Abuja-Kaduna standard gauge rail line, is progressing. The tracks of the rail line will be completed by December this year 2014. Upon completion of the project in the first quarter of 2015, itwill be possible for Nigerians to live in Kaduna and work in Abuja. The Itape-Ajaokuta-Wari standard gauge line has attained an advanced stage, with the track completely laid. We hope to commence full operation before the end of 2015.

20. Other segments of the new standard gauge speed train network are planned with contract already awarded for the Lagos –Ibadan Segment. There will be more of such modern and faster rail connections in the coming years. Already, discussions are now at advanced stage, for the Coastal rail line that will traverse through 10 states, from Lagos through the South-Southand South-East, all the way to Calabar.

21. My administration has successfully completed the dredging of the lower River Niger from Baro in Niger State to Warriin in Delta State. The cheering news is that over 6.7 million passengers and over 1.6 million tonnes of cargo have been moved through this channel in less than three years.

22. I am happy to also report that our ports now operate 24 hour service, which has led to the reduction of clearing time and improved efficiency.

23. When I assumed office in 2010, out of the 35,000km of federal roads nationwide, only about 5,000km were motorable. Today, that number has increased to about 25,000km. We expect to complete the remaining 10,000kmin three years while initiating new ones.

24. I made a commitment to build two new major bridges across the River Niger and River Benue. Today, the new bridge over the River Benue, connecting Loko in Nassarawa State to Oweto in Benue State has reached an advance stage of completion, while work has commenced on the Second Niger Bridge.

25. Beyond these, my administration has concluded plans to re-commence the construction of Bodo-Bonny Road with three major bridges on the alignment that will link the Island of Bonny with Rivers mainland.

26. Preliminary works have started on my administration’s planned re-construction and expansion of the MurtalaMuhammed International Airport Road in Lagos to a world class entry point into our country. Only a few months ago, work started on the dualization of Kano-Katsina Road. While many Nigerians are celebrating the marked improvements on our roads, I want to assure that it will get even better as we move forward.

27. In the pursuit of an integrated transportation system, we embarked on the construction of five new Airport Terminal Buildings and Air-field facilities. We are alsore-constructing existing ones.The re-construction upon completion, will lead to improved passenger processing, increased cargo handling capacity and enhancedAir-field facilities that meet international standard and improves safety. These efforts have been met with global acknowledgement including the attainment and retention of the FAA Category One status.

28. In housing, we signed the National Housing Policy to kick-start the framework for providing more affordable homes for our people. We have also expanded the National Housing Fund to accommodate more Nigerians. We have started a revolution in the housing sector with the start of theNigerianMortgage and Refinanced Company(NMRC) a new initiative of my administration, that will enable more citizens in the lower income bracket to become first time home owners.

29. Our partners such as the World Bank group are supporting this with US300million dollars interest free credit, while my administration will back it with over 100billion naira in bonds. We are already processing 66,000 mortgage applications for our young people. We have amended the PENCOM Act to enable thepension funds invest inhousing sector bonds. This will create a boom in the housing sector.

30. In the Federal Capital Territory, we are rapidly building a befitting National Capital by expanding and providing new infrastructure, developing ten new districts and Satellite Towns to cater for the ever increasing population. In no distant future, you will be able to arrive at the NnamdiAzikiwe International Airport and proceed to the city using the Abuja Light Rail. In addition to providing durable health, educational and transportation services, we are also collaborating with Organized Labour to build functional, affordable and social housing in Abuja.

31. Other critical capital developments that are being packaged by this Administration include the development of the Ultra-Modern World Trade Centre, the Abuja Town Centre, the Jabi Lake Comprehensive Centre, the Centenary City and the Land Swap Districts. This private sector driven infrastructural development will positively change the skyline of the city and provide the required office and residential accommodation, shopping and recreation as well as tourism and entertainment facilities of the FCT.

32. In our determination to encourage much greater participation of Nigerians in the oil and gas industry, one of the first actions I took, was the enactmentof the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development Act. As a result of this law, indigenous Nigerian participation levels, in upstream and downstream activities of the oil and gas industry have increased by over 45%, thereby increasing employment opportunities for our youth.

33. We have also succeeded in eliminating the long queues that previously characterisedour filling stations, through regular and sustained product supply.

34. Gas infrastructure to ensure adequate Gas to Power and Gas to Industry, is being aggressively put in place.Over 450km of gas pipelines have been installed over the last 3years. Another 2,000km is planned over the next 4years. Critical petrochemical andfertilizerfacilities have commenced including thegas industrial park in Delta State, for which I am scheduled to perform the ground-breaking this Friday. This will create millionsof jobs and make Nigeria a regional hub.

35. In addition, as a result of government favourable policies the private sector is investing over 12 billion dollars in the petrochemical sector, over the next 4years. This will surely create millions of jobs for our people.

36. In terms of gas supply, we have grown from less than500million cubic feet per day, 4years ago, to about1.5 billion cubic feet per day currently. Our goal is to attain 4 billion cubic feet per day, over the next 4years.

37. We have changed the face of agriculture. We moved agriculture away from a development Programme to agriculture as a business. My vision is to create wealth for our people through agriculture.

38. We have focused on encouraging the private sector to boost investments in the agricultural sector. As a result, the number of seed companies rose from five to eighty in the past three years. Private sector investment in the agricultural sector expanded by $ US 5.6 billion across the Agricultural value chain.

39. We ended decades of corruption in the fertilizer and seed sectors. We developed a transparent and efficient system of reaching farmers directly with subsidized farm inputs. Before our reforms, fertilizer procurement and distribution took from the needy and gave to the greedy. We restored dignity back to farmers. Today, 14 million farmers, of which 2 million are women, access fertilizers with their mobile phones, through an e-wallet system. Nigeria is the first country in the world to develop an e-wallet system to reach farmers with subsidized farm inputs on their mobile phones. Several African countries are now borrowing this transparent and efficient e-wallet system for their own countries.

40. Our national food production expanded by an additional 21 million metric tons between 2011 and 2014, a record, exceeding our set target of 20 million metric tons set for 2015.The Dangote Group, has committed to invest $US 1 billion in commercial rice production and processing. With all these developments, we are expected to be an exporter of rice in the next five years. This will be a new dawn!

41. The benefits are showing on our food imports. Our food import bill has declined from 1.1 trillion Naira in 2009 to 684 billion Naira by December 2013, even with our increasing population, a reduction of 40%.

42. Nigeria met its Millennium Development Goal One on reducing hunger and extreme poverty, two years ahead of 2015 target set by the United Nations, and was given an award by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

43. To sustain this trend, we are encouraging young graduates through the Nagropreneurs Programme to go into commercial Agriculture. We are also encouraging our students in Post Primary Schools to embrace commercial Agriculture through the National School Agriculture Programme.

44. My dear people, corruption remains a big challenge in our national life. It corrodes our efforts at development and at motivating competence in critical sectors of our national growth. We have eradicated it in the agricultural sector and we will surely eradicate it in other sectors of our economy.

45. Going forward, my focus is to continue to reinforce institutions, systems, and processes to tackle corruption, and also to bring to justice those that perpetrate corruption. Through the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System(IPPIS), we have weeded out 56,000 ghost workers from the Federal Civil Service, saving 162 billion naira.

46. I have directed ICPC to bring the perpetrators of this criminal act to book. Let this be very clear, public officers must live by example, fully accounting for the national trust and resources in their care.

47. In our journey to progress, knowledge is indispensable. Knowledge is power! This is why my administration established 14 new Universities out of which 12 are conventional and two are specializedPolice and Maritime Universities. Under my watch, every state in Nigeria, now has a Federal University.

48. In addition, over 500billion naira have been spent, through the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) and the special NEEDS assessment fund on various projects to increase access and improve the quality of infrastructure at the tertiary level of our education system.

49. To provide equal access and opportunities in education and ensure that no Nigerian child is left behind, we have established and equipped 150 Almajiri Schools across the Northern states and the Out-of-School-Children Programme including Specialized Boys and Girls Schools across the country.

50. Fellow Nigerians, our country was faced with a major National security, humanitarian, and economic threat in the form of the Ebola Virus Disease, which arrived in the country on July 20, 2014, by way of a foreign national, Mr Patrick Sawyer.

51. Realizing the imminent threat, I declared a national emergency, pulling states, local and federal government into action as well as individual Nigerians to combat this disease. Without the quick action of patriotic Nigerians in the First Consultant Hospital, as well as the co-operation of Lagos and Rivers State, where the disease occurred, working with the Federal Ministry of Health and the co-operation of all Nigerians we could not have succeeded in overcoming this deadly disease. Fellow Nigerians we stopped Ebola together.

52. Just as we stopped Ebola, we are on our way to eradicating the Polio Virus in our country. We have reduced the incident of new Polio Virus from 300 in 2010, to 6 today.

53. My brothers and sisters, to encourage entrepreneurship and self-reliance among our teeming graduates, we have developed creative opportunities for enterprise for our young people.

54. Programmes such as YouWIN, the Graduate Internship Scheme, the Nagropreneurs Initiative, the 220 Billion Naira Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Fundand the 3 Billion Naira Grant to Nollywoodare empowering our graduates, the creative industry and other young people to start up their own businesses and employ others.

55. We have supported the growth of industry through policy and action. We launched The National industrial Revolution Plan (NIRP), and the National Enterprise Development Programme as key drivers to bring about our desires in the industrial sectors and to diversify our economy. Our new National Automobile Policy is transforming Nigeria into a vibrant hub for the automobile industry. Our own Innoson Motors is producing world standard vehicles, and Nissan, Hyundai, and Kia, have set up factories in Nigeria and are employing thousands of our people.

56. Our support for cement production is unprecedented. We have increased our installed capacity from 16.5 million metric tons per annum in 2011 to 39.5 million metric tons per annum in 2014. Nigeria is now exporting cement. We are moving forward!We must produce what we consume and consume what we produce.

57. Our efforts to create an enabling environment for job creation in different sectors of the economy including the MSME sector, agriculture, housing and manufacturing have yielded results. Between the third quarter of 2012, when we started tracking jobs created and the end of 2013, 1.9 million jobs were created. To deepen our success in this area, I have created a Presidential Jobs Creation Board headed by the Vice President with the mandate to create at least two million jobs a year.

58. My brothers and sisters, our economy is heading in the right direction and our efforts are yielding positive results. Our economy continues to grow at the rate of 6 to 7 percent annually, one of the highest in the world. Our country is now the top investment destination and the largest economy in Africa, with a GDP of 80trillion naira (510billion dollars) as well as the 26th largest economy in the world.

59. As part of its efforts to support inclusive growth and economic development in Nigeriathrough the CBN, my administration has created and disbursed the sum of 200billion naira via the Commercial Agric and Credit scheme, 300billion naira Power and Aviation fund, 220billion naira Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise Fund, as well as 300 billion naira rail sector refinancing facilities at single digit interest rate. We will continue to deepen the reforms in the financial sector,in order to sustain thegrowth of our economy and uplift our people from poverty to prosperity.

60. Dear Compatriots, I promised as President,that we wouldsanitizeand restoreintegrity in our electoral process, by ensuring that our votes are not only counted, but truly count. We have gone to great length to ensure transparent, free, fair, and credible elections. Elections have been conducted across the country with local and international election observers testifying to their transparency.

61. On the international scene, we have advanced our regional, continental and global objectives. We have strengthened our relationships with our neighbours and in many instances supported them to protect their democracy, security and stability.We are serving for a second time within a period of 4years at the United Nations Security Council.This is unprecedented in our Nation’s history. My brothers and sister, this is a growing attestation of our country’s growing influence.

62. In the first quarter of this year, our country celebrated its centenary. To prepare the nation for the challenges of the next one hundred years, I convened a National Conference where recommendations and resolutions were reached towards a more perfect union. We shall implement the report.

63. Four years ago, I made a commitment to advance the rise and rise of womanhood. Today, I am glad that we have made remarkable progress in this regard, trusting in the potential of our women and reaping from their dedication and ingenuity. I believe that any nation that ignores womanhood cannot achieve its full potential. It is in this regard that I ensured that women were given more opportunities in government, and I have notbeen disappointed.

64. Specifically, I doubled the percentage of women in the cabinet and gave them more challenging assignments.

65. The Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA), is now admitting female cadets as regular combatants and it is now possible for a woman to rise through the ranks to the peak in military service,and become a full general.

66. We must continue to sustain the banner of freedom and justice that we have held high in our country. I am proud to say that there are no political prisoners in Nigeria today.No Nigerian has been driven to exile and no one will be, under my watch.

67. It is in furtherance of a peaceful, participatory and inclusive democracy that I signed the Freedom of Information (FOI)Bill into law, to expand the frontiers of our fundamental freedom.

68. Let me re-affirm that under a Jonathan Presidency, your views, no matter how freely expressed, will not send you to prison or into exile.

69. I am convinced that I have kept my pact with Nigerians, and it is now time to look to the future. With your tremendous support, we have collectively done so much in the last three and half years, but to take our country to the next level, there is still more to be done.

70. History has shown that the path of honour for any true leader is not to walk away from his people in moments of challenges. We must stand together in adversity and overcome all threats to our development. We must defend our future, for the sake of our children.

71. So many things have inspired me in the journey to this moment. I want to appreciate ordinary Nigerians, especially young people, for the solidarity shown to me by contributing their meagre resources to enable me arrive at this point.

72. I appreciate the kind gesture of the Cattle Breeders Union, Miyetti Allah, and the Market Women Association, who encouraged me by coming together to contribute to the purchase of my Nomination form.

73. In the same vein, I am touched by the National Association of Widows who also encouraged me with their widow’s mite.

74. This labour of love, from ordinary Nigerians, has increased my appreciation of your solidarity, my trust in our joint destiny, and all we have achieved together these past three and half years.

75. Therefore, after seeking the face of God, in quiet reflection with my family and having listened to the call of our people nationwide to run, I, GoodluckEbeleAzikiweJonathan, have acceptedto re-present myself, on the platform of The Peoples’ Democratic Party, for re-election as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, in the 2015 general elections.

76. Democracy is a collective action, energized by individual responsibility. Your mandate at this time will inspire in me the strength to complete the good work we have started together.

77. My dear people of Nigeria, we must complete the task of ensuring that we lift the poor out of the depth of want, and place their feet firmly on the ladder of prosperity.

78. In this election season, I appeal to all of you, not to harm, maim or kill; and not to incite violence of any kind. We must never forget our common bond, one people from the womb of one Nigeria. Again I say: My ambition to serve you is not worth the blood of any Nigerian. I remain committed to this principle of non-violence.

79. If you believe that we must build a country that works for all, where the strong lift up the weak, and not trample upon them, where the vote of every citizen determines who governs or represents you, where the democratic space is open to all citizens to fulfil their aspirations, irrespective of the circumstance of birth, your brother, GoodluckEbeleAzikiweJonathan stands ready to continue in service to you.

80. My brothers and sisters, we cannot go back to the old ways! Our railways were allowed to rot in neglect, we have revived and are modernising them.

81. We cannot go back to the old ways! Our road infrastructure collapsed. We are reconstructing, and expandingfederal roads across the country.

82. We cannot go back to the old ways! Our airport terminal buildings were dilapidated and our airspace unsafe. We are fixing this.

83. We cannot go back to the old ways! Our agricultural practices did not benefit our farmers and our people. Fertilizer distribution was a major source of fraud and we were importing food more than our budget can carry. Now we are on our way to self-sufficiency in food production.

84. Do you want to go back to the old ways?

85. We cannot go back to the old ways, where there were long queues at our filling stations due to irregular supply of products and our people were exploited.

86. We cannot go back to the old ways, when women and youths were denied opportunities in government and in responsible positions.

87. Do you want to go back to the old ways?

88. We cannot go back to the old ways!We had skewed distribution of tertiary institutions.Whereas some states had more than onedegree awarding institution, some had none. We have nowmade sure all states have at least one Federal University.

89. We cannot go back to the old ways! Our economy is now the largest in Africa. Once, we were virtuallyimporting everything, now we are exporting several products,including cement.

90. We cannot go back to the old ways!In 2009, average life expectancy was 47 years, by the end of 2013, it was 52 years. Some of our hospitals now perform open heart surgeries, kidney transplants and other challenging operations as we reposition our health service to end decades of medical tourism that drains our scarce resources.

91. We cannot go back to the old ways!Together, in unity, we overcame Ebola, and in the process demonstrated the strength of the Nigerian spirit. And together, united, we must maintain our vigilance.

92. Do you want to go back to the old ways?

93. We cannot go back to the old ways where individual freedoms were trampled upon and citizens were locked up for expressing their views or criticising government.

94. Do you want to go back to the old ways?

95. We cannot go back to the old ways! We must continue to have free and fair elections. We cannot go back to the era where ballot box snatching and stuffing became the norm.Where your votes never counted.

96. Certainly, we cannot!

97. We have to move forward! Only forward!!, my dear people, Forward!!!

98. In moving forward, I see a Nigeria that thirsts for progress with children across the nation, eager for knowledge and safely in schools!

99. I see a Nigeria where all who have taken up arms, would again embrace peace!

100. I see a Nigeria where our women can aspire to any heights, without hindrance!

101. I see a Nigeria where the flames in the Eagles will rekindle, and the Falcons soaring higher in victory!

102. I see a Nigeria where the children of Mustapha, and Christopher, Ade and Ada,Timi and Bunmi, Nnamdi and Namadi, do not go hungry!

103. I see a Nigeria where all, no matter their beliefs, live in peace and harmony!

104. I see a Nigeria where the green passport is accorded a royal reception the world over!

105. I see a Nigeria where one day the next generation will take us to outer space.

106. Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, leadership is about staying focused to achieve goals despite challenges. I have been faced with many challenges since coming to office as President. With your support and encouragement, we have stayed the course.

107. We are succeeding, against all odds. For the young Nigerian child, who grew up in the rural area, just like me, we are expanding opportunities and giving them hope. For the market woman, we are expanding opportunities. For our young entrepreneurs, we are expanding opportunities. For the right of our people to vote and for their voices to be heard, we are expanding opportunities. For Nigerians to have the right to free speech, we are expanding opportunities. For the job seekers, against all odds, we are expanding opportunities.

108. While serving our people, I will always ensure the rule of law. I do not intimidate, I expand the democratic space. I give voice to the voiceless and uphold the weak, for the nation belongs to us all. Fellow Nigerians, as we build our democracy, leaders must show temperance at all times. That is a virtue, one which I treasure, and will always uphold.

109. My people, Nigeria is destined for greatness. Today, here at Eagle Square, I say to Nigeria, that working together in love, in strength and in faith, we will build a nation of one people, united in purpose and in action.

110. Fellow Nigerians, it is forward ever! We must put our hopes to work! Together, we will realize our collective destiny.

111. Thank you!!

112. God bless Nigeria!!

Jonathan Pledges to Implement National Conference Report

President Goodluck Jonathan on Thursday thumped his chest for organising a successful national dialogue, saying he meant well for the country and promised to implement the recommendations of the 2014 National Conference, which officially closed Thursday.
Confab-report
The president made the pledge Thursday at the National Judicial Institute, NJI, ‎during the closing ceremony of the conference, where he also received the 21-volume report from the conference chairman, Idris Kutigi.

Mr. Jonathan also said the successful conclusion of the conference have proved cynics, who never gave the conference a chance, wrong.

He said some of the recommendations of the conference will be considered by the National Council of State, while the remaining ones will be sent to the National Assembly, the President said while formally receiving the 10,000 pages, conference report, with 600 resolutions.

Jonathan, however, took a swipe on the conference detractors, whom he described as prophet of doom who have been put to shame.

He also pledged that the report would be considered by the council of State before it’s passed to the National Assembly.

BOI Seeks $5bn to Drive FG’s Industrial Revolution

Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, BOI, Mr. Rasheed Olaoluwa

Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, BOI, Mr. Rasheed Olaoluwa

The management of the Bank of Industry (BOI) has said it would require about $5 billion over the next two years to make an impact in the implementation of the federal government’s National Industrial Revolution Plan (NIRP).

The Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, BOI, Mr. Rasheed Olaoluwa, explained that the bank has become a national strategic imperative, especially in view of the NIRP and the National Enterprise Development Programme (NEDEP) recently launched by President Goodluck Jonathan.

Olaoluwa in his maiden press briefing added that the bank is confident about its shareholders, the Ministry of Finance Incorporated (MOFI) and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN’s) support for equity injection, taking cognisance of the huge demands on government resources.

According to him, BOI would be exploring alternative modes of funding such as continuation of sector specific intervention funds by the CBN, ministries of agriculture, solid minerals, managed funds from various state governments and High Networth Individuals (HNIs) and foundations.

Others are long term loans at very low interest rates from multilateral and international development institutions; ‎domestic and international bond issuance and other sustainable annuity sources that may become statutorily imperative in the medium-long term.

He said, going forward to execute the foregoing funding programme, BOI must adopt global best practices maintaining that it would also be greatly engaged in good corporate governance, sharp ‎focus on its core mandate, sound risk management and compliance and venture capital investments.

The BOI boss also added that it would engage in partnerships and collaborations, customer service and responsiveness and create linkage between innovation and industry.

He pointed out that financing the nation’s development agenda is a huge task and therefore called on Nigerians with creative ideas to partner BOI to brainstorm way forward in providing creative ideas that BOI can explore.

“To this end, we have created a contact email address: ideas@boinigeria.com. We welcome submissions not more than two pages.

“We undertake to consider all the ideas and act on those considered feasible,” he said.

He said BOI has so far granted a total of N692 billion both directly and through intervention funds,creating close to a million jobs in the process.

“Although BOI has become more active in recent past, there is still a long way to go when compared to similar development finance institutions in the developing and emerging world,” he said.

He stated that the recent Gross Domestic Product (GDP) rebasing exercise, further underscores the need for BOI to continue to take the lead especially when compared to similar institutions in South Africa, Egypt, Brazil, Malaysia, Indonesia and the likes.

‎He noted that since his resumption of duties as the Managing Director of BOI, he has engaged with several other stakeholders in its development finance journey.

In his words, “I have also engaged with relevant agencies of government such as the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), the Industrial Training Fund (ITF), the National Automotive Council (NAC), the Small and Medium Enterprise Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN).”

(This Day)

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Alcohol May Lead to High Blood Pressure

As much as blood pressure is affected by various states of the body throughout the day, as well as various diseases that are seen in many people, it can also be affected by outside influences such as food and drinks. Specifically, alcoholic drinks are a major factor that influences blood pressure in a person.

It is important that more people pay attention to the relationship between alcohol and blood pressure because it is such an important relationship that could very well determine whether or not you are a healthy or unhealthy individual. Drinking alcohol could also increase the chance of other medical issues which may then indirectly lead to an increase in blood pressure.

 Regular drinkers are exceptionally prone to having high blood pressure, because they harm their kidneys in such a way that more pressure is exerted on arteries and such, since the kidneys are closely connected with blood pressure.

Drinkers should limit the amount they drink to one or two drinks every day or so. Women should be expecially careful as to how much they drink because their tolerance is normally lower than a man’s. If blood pressure becomes a strong problem due to drinking, doctors are very likely to administer some strong medicine to a person.

 Alcohol also causes some people to become overweight. At the very least, it is a contributing factor to being overweight, due the number of calories alcohol contains.

That beer gut people get after downing a six pack a day is not only making you look bad, chances are it’s also raising your blood pressure to dangerously high levels.

After all, the more fat a person has on them, the more pressure that fat is going to put on arteries, which will, in turn, raise the pressure of the blood pressing against those arteries.

 Because of the strong correlation between alcohol and high blood pressure, it is plain to see that drinking less is going to drastically help keep a person’s blood pressure down.

Besides the other obvious health risks that could be avoided by drinking less, not having to worry about a high blood pressure could be one of the best to consider.

Physicians with patients who have a high blood pressure should give out regulations and limits in regards to drinking in order to better prepare people for the consequences they could encounter. 

Farmers to Access N1billion Agric Loan in Enugu

No fewer than 9,000 farmers in Enugu State have applied for the state government’s one billion naira agricultural loan facility.

The Chairman, All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) in Enugu, Chief Alfred Eneh, made the disclosure in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Enugu on Thursday.

Eneh said the farmers had been registered by AFAN for the exercise, stressing that farmers were waiting for the loan, which they had long expected.

“The information is that the money is now in the state and we are instructed to fill our forms for the disbursement.

“During the last registration of farmers in the state, we registered 9,939 and that is not to say this is the overall number we have in the state.

“There are farmers that have not shown interest to identify with us and we are encouraging them to make themselves available in order to benefit from this government largesse,” he said.

Eneh appealed to the state government to ensure that the loan was disbursed to genuine farmers in the state.

The chairman said that their experiences in the past were enough to make them express reservations on the modalities for the disbursement.

“Already, we have started noticing signals of a possible hijack of the loan scheme by politicians for their selfish interest.

“We are already seeing strange faces coming for this facility in the banks where the money is domiciled and we appeal to government to check this fraud,” he said.

Eneh said that AFAN needed to be carried along to identify the genuine farmers for whom the loan was meant for.

“Most of the people coming for this loan have no farms, no agricultural projects to show and we are worried that at the end they will be the ones that will benefit.

“This issue of attempting to hijack facilities and schemes meant for farmers is a recurring one.

“The last time the governor gave us 60,000 bags of fertilisers, some politicians and traditional rulers wanted to hijack it, saying that the governor used it to compensate them.

“It only took resistance from the farmers to ensure that the fertilisers got to our members.

“We want the government to carry us along so that when the loan would have been given out to our members, the process of repayment will be guaranteed by AFAN,” Eneh said.

(NAN)

Nigerian Senate Passes N4.6 trillion 2014 Budget

The Nigerian Senate on Wednesday approved the budget of N4.6 trillion as the government budget in 2014.
The budget proposal figure was increased by the legislators by relatively minimal 53 billion naira.

The sum of N4.642 trillion had been the budget estimate presented to the National Assembly by the Co-ordinating minister of the Economy, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala in December 2013on behalf of President Jonathan.

Out of that sum, 3.54 trillion was slated for the recurrent expenditure while the remaining N1.1 trillion-the equivalent of 23.7 percent, was billed for capital projects.

The budget which is the lowest in three years, passed the second reading on February 4, 2014.

A third reading passage is expected by the House of Representatives before a harmonization of the bill, ahead of the president’s assent.

The opposition All Progressive Congress (APC) had insisted on frustrating the passage of the 2014 Appropriation Bill before the National Assembly.

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Being the Text of Speech by the Governor-General (Sir F. Lugard) on the Occasion of the Declaration of the Constitution of the Colony and Protectorate of Nigeria, January 1, 1914

You are all aware that His Majesty’s Government, after long and mature consideration, arrived some time ago at the conclusion that it would be to the great advantage of the countries known as Southern and Northern Nigeria that they should be amalgamated into the one Government, conforming to one policy and mutually co-operating for the moral and material advancement of Nigeria as a whole.‬

‪This policy had been strongly advocated by Sir William Macgregor as Governor of Lagos, by Sir Ralph Moor as High Commissioner of Southern Nigeria, and by myself as High Commissioner of Northern Nigeria about ten years ago. It has continued to be advocated by Sir Walter Egerton and my successors in Northern Nigeria.‬

‪The construction of rival railways in Northern and Southern Nigeria accentuated the necessity having a single railway policy, with a single administration, and over a year ago the Secretary of State decided that the time had come to give effect to the scheme of constituting a single Government for Nigeria.‬

‪Mr. Harcourt was pleased to select me to carry out this difficult task, and he appointed me in the first instance as Governor separately of the two distinct Governments of Northern and Southern Nigeria, with a view to informing myself of Local conditions and submitting to him my proposals for Amalgamation.‬

‪I had the honour to submit those proposals for his consideration on May 9th last. They were accepted in all essentials, and today they are to take effect. I desire therefore as briefly as possible to describe to you, and through you to the official and unofficial community of Nigeria the basis on which this Amalgamation is to be carried out, and the principal changes which will result.‬

‪The Colony and Protectorate of Nigeria will be placed under the control of a single officer upon will control of a single officer upon whom His Majesty has been pleased to confer the title of Governor-General, thus indicating the importance of this country among the Crown Colonies and Protectorates of the Empire.

That portion which has hitherto been Northern Nigeria will be known in future as the Northern Provinces, while the Protectorate of Southern Nigeria will be known as the Southern Provinces of Nigeria; each will be under the immediate control of a Lieutenant-General responsible to the Governor-General.

The Colony in view of its separate status and traditions will preserve a separate identity, under an Administrator of its own dealing direct with the Governor-General.

For the present, the Central Headquarters will remain at Lagos, and the Governor-General will divide his time between the Headquarter Stations of the Northern and the Southern Provinces. ‬

‪His Majesty, through the Secretary of State, has been pleased to confer on me the high honour of appointment as Governor-General, and I humbly hope that I may be enabled to discharge the functions of this office, the great responsibilities of which I deeply appreciate, in such a manner as to deserve His Majesty’s approval, and to the satisfaction and contentment of His Majesty’s loyal subjects and of all the people of Nigeria.

To succeed in such a task would be impossible unless I have the goodwill and co-operation of all classes, Official and Unofficial, irrespective of race or creed, and I take this opportunity of earnestly asking for that co-operation and loyal assistance, assuring you at the same time that, so far as in me lies, I shall not spare myself nor find any work too hard or arduous, if I can thereby advance the true interests of this country and of each individual person in it, whatever his race or creed, or however humble his rank.‬

‪For the high and responsible posts of Lieutenant-Governors of the Southern and Northern Provinces His Majesty has selected Mr. A. G. Boyle, C.M.G. and Mr. C. L. Temple, C.M.G. officers in whose loyalty and ability he has the highest confidence, and in whose hand the welfare of the Protectorate is assure.

As Administrator of the Colony the Secretary of State has selected Mr. F. S. James, C.M.G. whose long experience in the South marks him out as the most fitting officer for the post. I may be permitted to offer to these officers my congratulations, and to express my deep satisfaction that I am privileged to work with them as my colleagues.‬


‪Various schemes for the dividing of Nigeria into many administrations have been put forward in the Press and elsewhere, but it has been considered advisable to retain the old and well-known boundaries, at any rate for the present and until circumstances demand a change, more especially because the Northern and Southern Provinces are at present under two different sets of laws, the unification of which must necessarily be a task of magnitude which will take time to effect.‬

‪I had hoped to be able to recommend to the Secretary of State some scheme for a Legislative Council of Nigeria, but at present and until communications by railway are greatly extended the proposition is physically impossible.

The Legislative Council of Nigeria, if it is to represent the public opinion of Nigeria, must draw its Unofficial Members alike from Calabar and Lagos in the South, and from the Minefields and Kano in the North. To no place, however central, could the busy merchants and others find time to come in order to attend the Councils meetings.

It would be manifestly unjust to place the Mohammedan Emirates of the North and the Mining interests on the Bauchi Plateau under a Council sitting on the Coast, in which they could have no representation. The only alternative is that the Legislative Council of the Colony shall in the future limit its sphere to the guidance and control of the Legislature of the Colony.‬

‪And let me here remind you of the enormous extent of Nigeria, Its area comprises over 330,000 square miles – more than 5 times the size of England and Scotland, or one-third the size of British India.

The European population is scattered over this area. The largest community is probably at the Minefields in the Bauchi Province, the next largest at Lagos nearly 1,000 miles distant.

There are other centres widely separated from each other at Calabar and other Coast towns, at Zungeru and at Kano, while the Niger Company which has the largest capital of any single firm, has its headquarters at Burutu.‬

‪Other means than a single Legislative Council must therefore be right by which, on the one hand, not only local public opinion of the Principals of the Commercial and Mining.

Firms, and of other Institutions which have interests in the country, may be given an opportunity of expressing itself, and on the other hand, that the officers of the ripest experience and the most proved ability may be consulted regarding proposed Legislation and on affairs of moment.

To effect these objects the Secretary of State has approved firstly of an Executive Council for Nigeria which shall consist of the senior officers of the whole Administration, secondly, of a deliberative and advisory Council, to be called the Nigerian Council, which shall meet not less often than once a year, and thirdly, that all proposed Ordinances with a few necessary exceptions shall be published in the Gazette for two months prior to enactment, so that opinion may be freely expressed before a law is enacted. ‬

‪The Members of the Executive Council named in the Royal Instructions are:-‬

‪The Lieutenant-Governors of the Southern and Northern Provinces, the Administrator of the Colony, the Attorney-General,  the Director of Railways and Works, the Commandant of the Troops, the Director of Medical Services, the Treasurer, the Director of Marine and the Comptroller of Customs.‬

‪The official Members of the Nigerian Council will include the Members of the Executive Council and all 1st Class Residents or Commissioners, the Central Secretary, the Secretaries in the Northern and Southern Provinces and the Political Secretary.

The Unofficial Members will include a member of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and of any Chamber of Commerce which may be established in Calabar, and a Member of the Local Chamber of Mines, – all resident in Nigeria and to be nominated by those bodies together with four additional European and six Native gentlemen nominated by the Governor-General.

The former to be representative of Commerce, Shipping, Mining and Banking, the latter to be representative of the Native population both of the Coast and of the Interior.‬

‪The Official Membership of the Legislative Council of the Colony has been somewhat altered by the new Royal Instructions, in order that those officers whose work is especially concerned with the Colony may take part in the its deliberations.

The they will for the present by the Administrator, the Legal Adviser, the Municipal Engineer, the Senior Municipal Sanitary Officer, the Assistant Treasurer, the Harbour Master, the Commissioner of Lands and the Commercial Intelligence Officer,‬

‪The Official Members of the old Council have been re-appointed by His Majesty to the new Council with the exception of Mr. Millar and Dr. Johnson who have resigned and whose places have not yet be filled.‬

All three Councils will be presided over by the Governor-General.‬

‪Southern Nigeria was, as you know, divided into three provinces, the Eastern, Central and Western, each under a Provincial Commissioner. In future the Southern Provinces will be nine in number, each of the old Provinces being divided into three. Each Province will be under a Commissioner or Resident assisted by an adequate staff. Departmental officers will be directly under the Head of their own Department.‬

‪I come now to the Judiciary, concerning which there has I think, been some misapprehension. It was recognised alike by my …… and by the Chief Justice that the extension of Supreme Court jurisdiction into the Interior was inadvisable and, before I came to Nigeria, steps had already been taken to curtail its jurisdiction. Schemes were already under consideration for the creation of separate Courts in the Interior district. These schemes have now matured.‬

‪It is obvious that there can only be one Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, and for this high office the Secretary of State has selected Sir Edwin Speed, who has experience in both Northern and Southern Nigeria and has much longer in Nigeria than his colleague Mr. Willoughby Osborne, It gives me great regret that by force of circumstances, the country will lose the valuable services and ripe experience of Mr. Willoughby Osborne, and I am aware of the high estimation in which his services are held both here and at home.

In saying good-bye to Nigeria he will have the satisfaction of feeling that he has discharged the functions of his high office with distinguished success.

To His Honour Chief Justice Sir Edwin Speed I tender my congratulations on his appointment and I am confident that while he holds his high office, the proud traditions of British Justice will ever be worthily maintained.‬

‪The curtailment of the territorial jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, and the creation of Provincial Courts necessitates some changes in the existing law, and I am indebted to Sir Edwin Speed for the drafts of the new Ordinances which, with slight and unimportant alterations, will be enacted to give effect to his proposals.
They will involve for the present some diminution in the powers of the Native Courts, but it is my earnest desire to see those Courts advance in ability and to maintain their prestige under purely Native Judges guided and supervised by the Commissioners of Provinces.‬

‪The Scheme of Assizes and the method of conducting the business of the Supreme Court are in accordance with the proposals of the new Chief Justice.

In future there will be a Court vacation for four months during the rains, and for the remainder of the year the Court will be in Session with its full complement of one Chief Justice and three or more Puisne Judges.

The powers of the Provincial Courts are strictly limited and no sentence of over six months’ imprisonment is operative until it has been confirmed. A Magistracy, whose officers are Commissioners of the Supreme Court is set up for the Northern and Southern Provinces.‬

‪In the sphere of Departmental Administration there are some changes of interest. The Railway, Marine and Customs Departments have already, as you are aware, been centralised as common to both South and Northern Nigeria.

They remain outside the local administration of the Northern and Southern Provinces.

In addition to these three departments the Judicial, the Military, the Treasury and the Posts and Telegraphs” become Central Departments.

The Military Forces are organised into one Regiment with five Battallions and two Batteries under Colonel Carter, C.B, CMG as Commandant, with Lieutenant-Colonel,Cunliffe as Assistant Commandant. Mr. Dale takes charges of the Treasury, and Mr. Somerville of the Posts and Telgraphs.

A Director of the Medical Service and an Attorney General will act as Advisers to the Governor-General in their respective Departments.

In the former case the Medical Departments of the Northern and Southern Provinces will remain distinct, while two legal Advisers will assist the Lieutenant-Governors who with the Administrator of the Colony, will have separate……… of local business.

Mr. Cameron becomes the Secretary for the Central Administration, Major Moorhouse for the Southern and Mr. Matthews for the Northern Provinces.‬

‪His Majesty the King has been pleased to approve of a new Badge for the flag of United Nigeria and  of a new Seal. In future there will be only one Official Gazette.‬

‪This, in brief outline, is the scheme of Amalgamation which takes effect to day. The Gazette Extraordinary published this afternoon will to a large extent fill in the details.

It is impossible that any scheme which could have been devised should satisfy all the conflicting theories which have been propounded. The proposals I have made have the merit of simplicity.

They cause no great dislocation, which would have been most disadvantageous at a moment of transition when divergent policies and methods have to be reconciled.‬

‪I take this opportunity of publicly informing you that the Secretary of State has approved the construction of a new railway, which starting from the head of the Bonny estuary, will run northwards across the Benue river and join the Lagos Kano Railway where it crosses the Kaduna river some 50 miles South of Zaria. This important work will, I am convinced, enormously add to the wealth and prosperity of Nigeria.‬

‪Already the benefits of the partial Amalgamation, which has been in operation for the past year, have resulted in increased prosperity. The estimated Revenue of 1914 is almost exactly a million sterling greater than the estimated Revenue for 1912.

When my predecessor from this chair in 1906 announced the Amalgamation of Southern Nigeria and Lagos he stated that the Revenue of Southern Nigeria was just over a millions. The estimated revenue of Nigeria this year stands at 31 millions, and Trade has increased from 5 millions to nearly 15 millions in this period of under 8 years.‬

‪If we remember that it is only fourteen years to-day since the King’s Government assumed control of the greater part of the Interior from the Royal Niger Company, the progress which has been made is astonishing.‬

‪In maintaining and increasing that progress I look to the co-operation of the European and Native races, who must work together for the good of the country. It is and always has been my policy to support the Native Chiefs, and to work through them.

I have not invited any of them from the Interior to be present here because the announcement f the new changes which take place to-day is being made in the capitals of the various Provinces throughout Nigeria.‬

‪Today Nigeria enters on a new stage of its progress and we all join in the earnest hope that the era now inaugurated will prove, not only a new departure in material prosperity, but also that the coming years will increase the individual happiness and freedom from oppression and raise the standard of civilisation and of comfort of the many millions who inhabit this large country.

To these sole ends the effort of my colleagues and myself, with God’s help, will be devoted.‬

‪- F. D. LUGARD‬

*This document is culled from The Constitution, journal of constitutional development, a publication of the Centre for Constitutionalism and Demilitarisation, Vol. 13, No. 4, 2013, pp. 106-114.‬

‪‬

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China Ready To Boost Nigeria’s Agric Sector

President Goodluck Jonathan, on in Abuja said that Nigeria would welcome the deployment of China’s renowned agricultural expertise in support of efforts to positively transform Nigeria’s agricultural sector, a presidency press statement indicated here.

Signed by presidential spokesman, Reuben Abati, the statement said President Jonathan made the call at an audience with the visiting Chairman of the National Peoples Congress of China, Mr. Zhang Dejiang.

It said that the president also reiterated his administration’s belief that the development of the full potentials of the country’s agricultural sector would help greatly in addressing Nigeria’s problem of youth unemployment.

According to the statement, President Jonathan welcomed the decision taken during his recent state visit to China to establish a Nigeria-China Bi-National Commission, saying that the Commission would facilitate greater bilateral cooperation between both countries in areas of mutual interest.

President Jonathan seized the opportunity of Mr. Dejiang’s visit to reiterate the Federal Government’s appreciation of the financial support being given by China for the development of public infrastructure in Nigeria.

The President expressed delight at the opening of a Chinese Cultural Centre in Abuja which, he said, would further enhance bilateral relations between the two countries and promote better understanding of Chinese culture by Nigerians.

President Jonathan also thanked China for supporting Nigeria’s bid for the non-permanent UN Security Council seat for 2014/2015.

Mr. Dejiang’s visit to Nigeria is his first trip abroad as chairman of the National Peoples Congress of China.

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President Goodluck Jonathan Releases Administration Progress Report

President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has released a special 155-page document detailing his administration’s progress since he assumed office.

ImageThe report titled “Sure and Steady Transformation” shows the achievement of all the 29 Ministries including that of the Federal Capital Territory and the Federal Executive Council. It highlights the projects undertaken by the Ministries.

In the preface to the document, the Special Adviser on Research and Documentation, Oronto Douglas, said President Jonathan took over the leadership of the country “at a time of considerable political tension in the land”.

He noted that the President had a “purpose of transformation” and was “determined to leave Nigeria a far better place than he met it”.

Here are some pictures and highlights of the progress report as published in the document:

Ministry of Agriculture

“Mr President directed on November 30, 2011 that the cassava flour bread be commercialized. Within 90 days, the commercialization was successfully achieved in February 2012 when UTC, the largest corporate baker of bread introduced the cassava flour bread with 20% cassava flour substitution for wheat flour.”

Ministry of Health

“Rehabilitation and equipping of Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital, Ile-Ife and the University of Benin Teaching Hospital are completed.”

Ministry of Communication Technology: “Locally produced tablet developed, equivalent to the iPad”

Ministry of Labour & Productivity: “Deft Handling of the Fuel Subsidy Removal Crisis; Negotiation of the National Minimum Wage”

Ministry of Interior: “New investor/tourist friendly visa policy: Nigerian missions to start issuing 1-Year multiple entry visas to deserving visitors/issuance of visa at ports of Entry especially at International airports.”

Ministry of Education: “Development of 4-Year Strategic plan for the development of the education sector.”

Ministry of Power: “Ongoing privatisation of all FGN owned Thermal Generation Stations and all Power Distribution Companies. This process will be completed by October 2012 and will allow for the creation of an electricity market that will lead to a more efficient electrical supply industry and a more vibrant power sector.”

The progress report is already creating a buzz online with many commenting that it does not translate to improved quality of living for the citizens.

For instance, despite the achievements noted in the health sector, Nigerians still fly abroad in large numbers for medical care abroad. The First Lady, Patience Jonathan is currently reported to be receiving medical treatment in Germany.

Brain drain is also still persistent in our society as many people leave the country for education and work, settle down abroad and contribute to the development of other nations rather than Nigeria.