Science and Tech Minister, Onu Baggs 2017 Best Performing Minister Award

The Minister of Science and Technology, Chief Ogbonnaya Onu has bagged the Coalition of Civil societies in Nigeria’ 2017 award as the Best Performing Minister in Nigeria.

Announcing the coveted award in a statement signed by the Secretary of the Award and Privileges Committee, Patriot Wilson Attah, on behalf of the Board of Civil Society Coalition in Nigeria, the group noted that, the ogbonnanya On u is the first serving official of government in the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to receive this award.

In its notification letter to the Minister on the meritorious award, the Civil Society Coalition in Nigeria noted that he bagged the award based on his “prudence, accountability, transparency, and patriotism displayed in the cause of discharging his duty as the Honourable Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in the year under review.”

The statement read in part, “it may interest you to note that, Civil Society Organizations mostly criticized government and it’s activities and in rare occasion, appraise its performance which today, you are the first recipient of Civil Society Coalition Award as a serving cabinet member of the Buhari’s administration. That makes this award very symbolic.”

The coalition is made up of civil society organisations drawn from across the six geopolitical zones of the country.

 

The ward shall be presented before end of February 2018, the coalition said.

Source: StreetReporters.ng

 

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Condemnations Trail IBB, Obasanjo’s Anti Buhari Statements

A non-governmental organisation under the aegis of the New Initiative For Credible Leadership (NICReL) has lampooned the former military President, Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida and other nigeria’s former leaders over their plots against the reelection of President Muhammadu Buhari for a second term in office.

Addressing newsmen at a press conference in Abuja, the Executive Director of the group, Rev. Steven Onwu, maintained that the retired General’s statement tagged ‘Towards a National Rebirth’, through his spokesperson, Kassim Afegbua, asking President Muhammadu Buhari not to seek re-election or for Nigerians to vote him out in 2019 if he decides to contest and “the spate of attempts by some former leaders to ingratiate themselves into the polity” were attempts to “truncate our hard-worn democracy.”

According to the group, the hostility with which Nigerians received the statement initially prompted IBB to walk back the statement but he somehow got the bluster to frog march Afegbua to the studios of a national television to stand by the initial claim”.

Rev. Onwu noted that “such double-dealing prevarication from the man dubbed “The Evil Genius” is not new because such maneuvers were his stock in trade in his days as a military dictator.

“We dare say there will be more of such in the days ahead as he thinks he still have it in him to leave up to his moniker of “Maradona”.

“Kindly note that former military head of state and former president, Dr. Olusegun Obasanjo only a few days ago, apparently singing from the same hymnbook issued a statement with which he called on Nigerians to form or join a Coalition for Nigeria Movement (CNM).

“Nigerians should further note that: Babangida was one of those that sponsored the Obasanjo in his failed coup attempt under the Sani Abacha dictatorship, which promptly landed Obasanjo in jail for treason.

“Upon the demise of the dictator and Obasanjo’s release from jail, Babangida was among the cabal that imposed him on Nigeria, albeit under a compromised election that set the tone for dubious elections in the country.

“Babangida’s spokesman, Kassim Afegbua, is on the steering committee of the Obasanjo-founded Coalition of Nigerian Movement”, he said.

He added that “Considering the health condition that has kept the former dictator homebound, Afegbua and a handful of others are his proxies on the new project to jeopardize Nigeria’s democracy.

“Another foot soldier of the supposed coalition has called on a couple of other former military chiefs to issue their own statements, which indicates that this campaign of instability is something that was well hatched for synchronized activation.

“The people coalescing in this manner are connected one way or the other with the grand corruption that has kept Nigeria in the doldrums and they are also the ones that are losing their grips on the illicit revenue from corruption under the ongoing reforms.

“Even in the midst of these ominous conjugations however, we could not but notice the dark humor of the man credited as the father of corruption and the one that institutionalized corruption in Nigeria now grandstanding on the same issue in his desperation for relevance.

“IBB’s era as President saw Nigeria sat comfortably at the highest perch on the Global Corruption Index.

“Without him repenting and publicly apologizing for our commonwealth in addition to making restitution, he has suddenly found the courage to become Nigeria’s latest anticorruption crusader”, the group observed.

The New Initiative for Credible Leadership (NICReL), therefore, called on Nigerians to put the Obasanjo, IBB, and the other members of their “evil alliance (that are yet to come out) on notice that they shall be held responsible for any breach of peace in the run up to the 2019 General Elections.

“Their statements and utterances clearly indicate that they are secretly engaged in other activities destabilize the country even though the specifics of such evil machinations are not yet known.

“We shall lead our own coalition of the affected to attract the full weight of the law upon anyone that causes instability in the polity.

“We urge the Federal Government to immediately place anyone associated with threatening stability of Nigeria in this manner under watch.

“Caution must however be exercised in taking them in for questioning because their objective is to whip up sentiment around such reaction in their bid to find something with which to provoke civil unrest across the country.

“To this end, we advise the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, to cancel his declaration of Afegbua wanted as this will only make him more relevant.

“His activities should rather be monitored and discretely investigated until there is overwhelming evidence to arraign him for any crimes committed in the course of implementing the agenda of the Evil Genius”, the group said.

When Group Discovered Rare Nigerian in Katsina

In an effort to find ways to ameliorate the humanitarian crisis in the North East and parts of North West Nigeria , some executives of the Joint Action Coalition of Civil Society Organisations in Nigeria sojourned in the Katsina State to make an assessment of its findings.

By a twist of events, the unusual developmental and entrepreneurial improvements in the state caught the attention of the organisation, which lead to the discovery of some citizens who has contributed and still contributing to the entrepreneurial revolution. While others are political appointees, others are not. The attention of our crew was caught one man who stands out in the North West of Nigeria, and Katsina in particular.

He is no doubt a political appointee but choose to be honorary, who from our investigation before this honorary appointment has in no small measure contributed to the upliftment of his people especially the youths.

He is currently the Honorary Special Adviser to the Katsina State Governor on international relations and investment Alhaji Ibrahim Zakari Ibrahim.

Findings by our team reveal that one striking quality of Hon. Zakari is his refusal to receive salaries and allowances statutorily due for his office from the Katsina State Government as a Special Adviser to the state Governor.

This made his position honourary. Since his assumption of office, he has transversed the length and the breathe of the international community, using his personal funds and contacts to attract a number of foreign entrepreneurs and investors to the state.

According to some youths we interacted with and our findings the Executive Coordinator of the civil society coalition, Comrade Isaac Ikpa who spoke to our correspondent said, a background check on this rare personality revealed that Hon. Zakari, is seen by the ordinary citizens of the state as a “true son of the soil” due to his humility and service to humanity .

Further findings by the non-governmental coalition, the Executive Coordinator revealed, shows that his appointment did not come as a surprise to the people of the state “due to his track record of love for humanity and readiness to make necessary sacrifices for a better society through job creation and humanitarian services and has since his assumption of office proven that he is in office to serve the people and not for the pecks of office.

“This is an uncommon trait at a time public officers are distinguished by how much loot they have carted away from the public treasury.

“There are few leaders in the country that have exhibited this level of patriotism in Nigeria of our time and someone may ask why we are making an issue out of this?

“It is not difficult to understand why. First, we did not visit Katsina State to look for who to praise.

“This young Nigerian’s story, was not part of our brief but it must be noted that until Nigeria and Nigerians begin to reward and honour people who have sacrificed their comfort for the rest of us, the country will continue to celebrate the corrupt and the looters”, he said.

On the numerous achievements of Hon. Zakari in office, Comrade Ikpa noted that from their findings, Hon. Zakari influenced the siting of Black oil refinery in Mashi Local Government of the state by Lakoi Energy Limited.

This led to the signing of an agreement between between Nigeria and Niger for the construction of the refinery in the border town between Republic of Niger and Katsina State, Nigeria and a crude oil pipeline from Republic of Niger to the new refinary which will be benifitial to both countries.

“Today, moribund industries are being handed over to technically competent firms by the state Governor and his Special Adviser on International Relations and Investment, have spearheaded the handing over of Kankara Kaolin and Neem Processing factory to BILAL GROUP U.A.E.

“This will, in no small measure, boost the state’s Internal Generated Revenue (IGR), create much needed skilled and unskilled employment opportunities for the people of the the state, amongst others secondary employment generation as a result of the activities of businessmen who would do patronize the company and from our findings the Honorary Special Adviser Investment traveled all the way to Dubai and brought Bilal Group to Invest in katsina State.

He also brought into the state Ampri Group, to whom the state government has handed over the Management of the Kankia Metal Works.

“Ampri Group, with the Signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). As we understand, 400 people are expected to get direct employment and also thousands of indirect jobs will be provided to the teaming youth of the state”, the group’s Executive Coordinator observed.

A check by our correspondent shows, that nails production has resumed with expansion of three more lines i.e assembling of motorcycles and tricycles, PVC pipes and tubes in the state as a result of the MoU.

“Our findings also reveal that Hon. Zakari has been able to attract investors from Canada, China, India, England and USA, while targeting jobs creation in Agriculture and Mining”

“Also, through his initiative and cooperation of Governor Bello Masari, over 25000 women have been empowered for Dry season farming across the 34 local government areas.

“The efficiency of the Organic Fertilizer has shown positive impact in the state such that organic fertilizer re-packaging plant will be built in Funtua by a Canadian firm As I talk to you, Salad Greenhouse of Canada in Partnership with Katsina State Government the group’s Executive Coordinator revealed.

According to the coalition, “Katsina State now targets substantial increase in food production to enhance food and nutrition security by using 100% organic bio-fertilizers, which among other investments by foreign companies, will provide several employment opportunities to youths and farmers through improved production just because a rare Nigerian opted to do things differently and Hon. Ibrahim Zakari recently led a delegation of foreign investors from Holland and Pakistan on a courtesy call to the Executive Governor of Katsina State, Alhaji Aminu Bello Masari in their efforts to establish a textile factory, Vlisco Holland company.

Their visit was to formalise arrangement to establish a textile factory in Malumfashi which will boost cotton production in the state as before the oil boom Katsina State was responsible for 60% of cotton being produced in Nigeria”.

Nigeria indeed needs such men with vision, mordern ideas, wealth of experience, selfless personaity and exposure to also run for elective positions at all levels of government to bring about the desired change and speedy development of our great Nation Nigeria.

Stakeholders Make Presentations as Senate Begins Probe of Queens Collage Deaths

On Monday, the Senate Joint Committee on Basic Education and Health began public inquiry into the living conditions of Queens College students and the death of three secondary school students in the college last year.

As stakeholders in the educational sector, including members of the civil society, presented memorandum during the public hearing at the Senate, emotions rose as the rot in the educational sector, particularly at Federal Government owned unity schools, dominated that the presentations.

Earlier in his remark, the joint Committee chairman, Senator Aliyu Wamakko, noted, like many other stakeholders, that it was obvious that over population in the college and long term infrastructural decay lead to the avoidable deaths of the three school girls.

He noted that the Public Hearing was part of efforts to unravel the truth about the cause of the deaths in order to avert a reoccurrence, emphasising that the exercise was not vindictive.

Declaring the event open, the President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki, represented by the Chief Whip, Senator Olusola Adeyeye urged the Committee to proffer ways to revamp the Nigerian educational sector “for further legislative action”.

Revealing the rot she inherited at the College and efforts made to salvage the situation, the former Principal of the college, Dr. Mrs Lami Amodu observed that on assumption of duty at the college she quickly assessed the situation and drew up a “shopping list” containing urgently needed items and rehabilitation of the decayed infrastructure she inherited.

According to her, the shopping list was shared with relevant stakeholders, including the old girls of the college and the ministry of education.

She also recalled how she formally informed the Federal Ministry of Education on the level of decay of the facilities in the college shortly after her deployment to the school.

However, Mrs Amodu alleged that her efforts to ensure a paradigm shift in the administration of the college resulted in a rift with some old girls.

Following the deaths, which she noted took place while the school was on vacation, she insisted that some persons began a campaign of calumny against her, by sponsoring propaganda with the aim of indicting her in the media.

When asked by a member of the Committee, Senator Theodore Orji, if she suspected a conspiracy against her, Mrs Amodu told the Senate Committee pointedly that the old girls leadership took advantage of her being a civil servant, who could not reply them in the media, to sponsor propaganda against her in what she described as a “a vendetta agenda” by some old girls of the college.

The former Principal lamented that “Rather than come together to fashion out ways of avoiding a reccurrence of this ugly incident that happened in Queen’s College, unfortunately, soon after I left, it is saddening that some people found it very convenient to politicise the unfortunate death of these innocent children by suggesting through various sponsored publications that I am responsible for the deaths of the children.

“This is not only cruel and malicious but it shows the extent of the organised conspiracy and gang-ups”, Mrs Amodu said, insisting that no death was recorded in the school after the vomiting incident that earlier occurred before their Inter-house sports as none of the unfortunate deaths happened while the school was in session.

She insisted that prior to the vomiting incident, some old girls of the school had forced their way into the kitchen area of the school and she suspected a fowl play.

The President of the old girls Prof. Funmi Ajose, who admitted that the old girls were at the college, claimed they were there to inspect facilities in the school.

A former Principal of Kings College, Lagos, Mr. Sylvester Onoja observed that from his personal experience, old boy and girls in the unity schools were known to resist positive change. He recalled how some old boys ganged up against him to frustrate him while in Kings college, urging the government to ensure improvement to check over population in the unity colleges.

“In most cases when directors are posted to schools that is not their place of origin they face challenges of acceptability”, Mr Onoja said, adding that in a lot of cases PTA and Old students association try to control school administrators. He disclosed that there have been a long decay of infrastructure in schools.

The Minority Leader Nigerian Youth Parliament, Hon. Obande Gideon Obande who spoke on behalf of the Parliament and other Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), observed that Infrastructure decay have been inherited by the past principals and more preventive measures should be put in place, urging government to properly fund the schools as routine vaccination of students would have prevented the deaths that occurred.

He also said from investigations there was ego fight and attempt to control school management by some cabals and warn against such interference if the educational system must be safeguarded to guarantee the future of the younger generation.

Speaking with newsmen after the hearing, the Minority leader maintained that if the issue at stake was that an appropriation by the ministry of education was mismanaged by the former principal, the blame on the decayed infrastructure would be hers.

 

How Maina Recovered Fresh $44m, N486b Stolen Funds

Former Chairman of the defunct Pension Reform Task Team, Dr Abdulrasheed Maina may have aided the discovery of missing $44 million belonging to the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), PENSION COMM, HEAD OF SERVICE UNREMMITTED TSA FUNDS etc.

This is even as he also assisted in the discovery of another N486bn belonging to the Nigerian Pension Commission with Pension Custodians.

Nigerian government, in an effort to add impetus to its anti graft war, began a whistleblower policy, which has helped the government recover trillions of stolen federal government funds.

The former presidential task force boss who pledged to assist the President Muhammadu Buhari administration in recovery of over N3 trillion trapped pension funds in 97 outfits in the country is said to have commenced tracking the funds.

Recently, the Attorney General and Minister of Justice of the Federation Mr Abubakar Malami broke the news to the sitting Senate Committee on how Dr Maina gave intelligence which led to the recovery and savings of N1.3 trillion for the federal government in early 2017. Also in the news was the plan by the President to reassign him with a view to recovering trapped funds across different sectors of the economy. Insiders disclosed that Maina is already on track.

It was reported that he is also to assist in recovery of other funds trapped in different agencies like the recently reported unaccounted funds lodged in Banks under the office of the Head of Service of the Federation, which has not been remitted into the Treasury Single Account (TSA) of the Federal Government of Nigeria, the NNPC, PENCOMM and the NIA funds.

The newest development is said to have excited the Presidency, which is not leaving any stone unturned in the efforts to recover all looted funds by public officials.

Sources from the presidency had disclosed that Mr President is interested not only in the recovery of the trapped N3 trillion pension funds which is said to be stashed in different places but the credible intelligence he already provided which has yielded results and is continuing to yield more positive results. These funds will be used by the Government to ensure that Nigerians have a taste of Democracy dividends beginning 2018. Government is said to be highly interested and want the funds urgently recovered.

The source had disclosed that “The new coming of Mr Maina has started rattling Heads of agencies but as indicated by our source that “it will be more interesting in the coming months, as his sole responsibility will be to recover not only the N3tr but other government funds being siphoned by some greedy Nigerians to the detriment of the economy in all MDA’s.”

The source further revealed that, Mr. Maina has compiled list of all those involved and those still keeping some funds and will soon be released especially those involved in the pension scam, NIA, PENCOMM and NNPC hidden funds and would further give more insight into those former Heads of Services and Top Officials both within and outside Government who took so much funds and are hidding them. Maina is said to have compiled with supporting documents on how his led PRTT was able to recover the N282 billion and N1.6 trillion between 2010 and 2013, and how these funds were shared.

Our source further disclosed that the EFCC under Magu may be belittled to realize that what Maina recovered is 100 times more than what they have been chasing since the inception of the Asministration.

He has also given unrefutable evidences on how the 222 Pension properties were shared and those involved.

Government is said to have been working with Maina on these funds without the Anti graft agencies involved so that the facts and full details could be seen from a different angle.

Sources at the presidency indicated that Maina has been operating under the radar to be able to get all the facts without any interfereance. “so much unaccounted and unremitted funds are still being used and siphoned by some Heads of MDAs including Anti graft agencies.

Gov Shettima Hands Over Chibok Girl, Pogu to NSA

Governor Kashim Shettima has handed over the recently rescued Chibok girl, Salomi Pogu, alongside Jamila Adams with her 16 months old daughter to the National Security Adviser (NSA), Babagana Monguno, in his office in Abuja.

‪Jamila a 14 year old became friends with Salomi during captivity by Boko Haram in a village in Gwoza Local Government Area.‬

The NSA, while receiving the girls, on Thursday, assured the Governor of adequate care and psychotherapy before reintegration into the society. ‬

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Herdsmen/Farmers’ Crisis: Buhari’s Clear Message On Tolerance By Philip Agbese

Something epochal and unique amazed the senses of Nigerians on Monday, January 15, 2018. President Muhammadu Buhari had an exclusive audience with a Benue delegation led by the state Governor, His Excellency, Governor Samuel Ortom to fraternally dialogue and explore ways to resolve the internecine conflict between herders and farmers in our home state.
IGP Idris Ibrahim with Samuel OrtomThe Benue delegation to the Presidential villa in Abuja was by no means, a venerated assemblage of state leaders, which never watered its substance by partisan trappings.
The team which met with Mr. President comprised political leaders, traditional rulers and elders of the state.
The Tiv Paramount Ruler, Tor Tiv V,  HRM Orchivirigh Professor James Ayatse also registered presence personally.
The mutual parley became imperative based on the seed of discord sawn by enemies of the people as reflected in the herders and conflict. The conflict appeared to have exacerbated with the New Year Day bloodbath in Guma and Logo LGAs of Benue State.
 No doubt, the pains and sorrows from the dastardly acts created loopholes and cracks which have been actively exploited by intolerant elements, perpetually committed to the disunity of Nigeria.
There have been bitter conversations, misconceptions, inexplicable theories and trenchant calls for the severance of the essential cord that binds and unites the people as Nigerians and, especially, Northerners in this instance.
However, President Buhari’s utterances; his unexpressed feelings and  intentions all pointed to the mindset of a President not just saddened by the unfortunate incidents, but determined to  invoke the  full wrath of the law on the perpetrators of the evil.
More pungently, Buhari was unambiguously insistent on the necessity of tolerance in all interactions among Nigerians no matter the bitterness and disappointments.
But decoding this flank of the series of  President Buhari’s messages in specific connotations  to the Benue delegation and by implication, Northern Nigerians, it reminded of the timeless message of the revered modern beacon  of the Northern region, the Sardauna of Sokoto, Sir Ahmadu Bello, who once echoed that ;
 “Here in the Northern Nigeria we have people of many different races, tribes and religions who are knit together to common history, common interest and common ideas; the things that unite us are stronger than the things that divide us…”
This message encapsulates twin indispensible ingredients of national cohesion and progress- tolerance and its end-result of unity. It is not just for Northerners in the specific instance alone, but a recipe for peaceful and harmonious co-existence of all Nigerians.
Therefore, the same engrained spirit unconsciously or consciously spurred President Buhari when he met the Benue delegation in the light of the herders/farmers bloody skirmishes by declaring;
“Your Excellency, the governor, and all the leaders here, I am appealing to you to try to restrain your people. I assure you that the Police, the Department of State Security and other security agencies have been directed to ensure that all those behind the mayhem get punished.
“I ask you in the name of God to accommodate your countrymen. You can also be assured that I am just as worried, and concerned with the situation.’’
The President’s drift must not be lost on the altar of any personalized interpretations. The audience before him was Benue leaders; but indubitably, they assumed his ordained status of leaders, representative of Nigeria.
Therefore, he was conveying a message wrapped in a template that is relevant to all segments of Nigeria.
Put differently, Buhari was addressing Nigerians through their leaders on the dire necessity of tolerance and hospitality to fellow countrymen and women as worthy virtues to imbibe.
The President’s endearing message on tolerance was quite inspirational and thought-provoking.
The unuttered feelings were unmistakably that in all human existence, anywhere around the globe, disagreements are bound to exist and, sometimes, expressed with violence.
It is undeniably the consequences of intolerance, which is a solution-provider and problem-solver in most disputes, ultimately harvesting peace and unity.
Enmity, hate and bloodshed could be averted when tolerance of one another’s excessiveness is accorded its prime position in the hearts and lives of people.
But the import of the Presidential message is open for every community, ethnicity, section or region to ruminate and accord it a special place in existence.
Northern Nigeria particularly with its disparate peoples and cultures, must necessarily accept and consummate a resurrection and refinement of this message of tolerance from Mr. President.
More than a few would agree that the North of yesterday or in the days of Sir Ahmadu Bello appears to have lost track of its communal values and soul, which exuded tolerance, peace and unity. It now radiates with destructive flames all too often.
And the unfortunate development is creating avoidable lacunas actively exploited by “emergency friends” of the North.
 In the days of yore, the geographical North was home to all Nigerians irrespective of tribe or religion and what propelled this seamless relationship was tolerance, mutual trust and understanding.
But these virtues and values have regrettably eclipsed among Northerners.
Today, there is a damaging resort to inexplicable inclinations and pursuits of the self-interest, as against the collective. Hate and vengeance have replaced fraternity and unity.
The delight to resolve differences through the sword, rather than dialogue has negatively redefined the social architecture of the people.  These proclivities cannot offer any remedy or solace to the affliction or even developmental challenges of the people.
It is time for self-assessment and a conscious reabsorption of the abandoned old positive values.
Benue state particularly, should refresh its cord of brotherhood with dialogue, which a few years back, had Kaduna as the proud epicenter of Northern dialogue, hub of Northern intellectualism, and unity.
This should replace the apparent tilt to the deceptive voices from the South, hell-bent on exploiting the conflict among brothers to their advantage.
The same elements preaching the artificial friendship would desert the people once they succeed in stoking and consolidating the fire in Benue or anywhere else in the North.
No Nigerian is oblivious of the endowments and blessings of Benue as a beautiful bride, courted by virtually all.
But it must not lose sight of the reality that not all the suitors are genuine, as many are masquerading vampires and disguised torturers or preys waiting to devour the people at the slightest opportunity.
If Benue people consciously expose themselves to their machinations, it would make them very vulnerable and such posturings have serious setbacks on the entire region, as peace not secured at home, would certainly elude you in foreign lands.
There is therefore, there is the need for a rethink, as no problem among brothers would defy solution with dialogue.
And it imposes the necessity to re-embrace the Kaduna tradition with its motely of dialogue vents for peace and unity.  No sacrifice should be considered too much for the peace and unity as canvassed by forefathers.
The most auspicious time, when leaders are expected to deploy wisdom or think with undiluted senses is now, rather than the casual glance at issues, as fired by the tide of “disaster” commentators.
 Benue state Governor Ortom must be alert before he is consciously hoodwinked to throw the proverbial baby together with the bathwater.
It is neither love nor affection, if a man who sights your house on fire, but offers you fuel, instead of water to quench it. The same man would disappear from sight when the fire explodes uncontrollably.
The signs are already manifest, as  can be gleaned  in the incident of  the recent conflagration in parts of  Makurdi, as   none of the war canvassers  risked any  assistance to the people of  Benue.
It was the same Benue leaders and people, who resolved to initiate dialogue and applied their capacity for peace building, in conjunction with Nigerian Security agencies that quenched the conflagration.  These are great and enviable lessons in self-worth.
The recent memories of  IPOB’s Nnamdi Kanu  saga is relevant and suitable here. At his time of tribulation, the great warmongers on social media; the activists and the venomous voices of “emergency friends” scurried away, at the sight of the “Python” when he arrived the doorstep to stage a dance.
Tolerance and dialogue is the panacea to peace and unity. But war is destructive and irrecoverable. Nigerians should adopt it as a national anthem.
*Agbese writes from the UK.

Buratai: What A Time To Be Proud Of Nigeria ‎By Nneka Obi

The last time I visited Nigeria was in 2013. My husband approved my request to visit home to celebrate the Christmas and New Year.

I came with our three children, Chidi, Okey and my lovely little daughter, Amarachi. It was the second time I would make a trip home since we relocated to the United States of America (USA) in 2005 in search of greener pastures and safety.

The heightened insecurity in Nigeria, which also exploded more dangerously in the Southeast, the region of my birth and where we were domiciled, compelled the imperative to relocate to safer havens.

Unbridled acts of criminality and violent agitations from separatists movements in the region caused anxiety and unrests too frequently.

It crazily caused deaths, tears and sorrows all too often for comfort. So, America was our choice destination. We have since lived in America and visit home once after a long time.

A place of birth has its charm, fondness and memories, incomparable to any other place. Sometimes, the feeling of nostalgia would grip us so strong, but shall dissipate, once you read online news, only to be assailed with more daring, reckless and indiscriminate exploits of armed criminals on hapless citizens.

In 2013, when we last visited home, we spent two days in Abuja and eagerly proceeded to the village, at Abakpa , in Enugu state.

We had six weeks to spend at home all through the New Year. But the excitement vanished after the first week.

I enjoyed the company of granny, old friends and neighbours. But we could not endure the horror of attacks and killings.

By the second week, senseless and violent armed robberies, kidnappings for ransom, targeted at foreign- based indigenes who came home for the yuletide, cult clashes and other allied crimes gave us enough phobia and psychological trauma. We had to immediately move out of the Southeast.

I cried out to my husband about our fears and restlessness and he advised us to relocate to Abuja to spend the rest of the vacation. I complied instantly.

When I narrated our ordeal to him, he was shocked beyond words and almost vowed, it was the last time we visited home again.

But almost five years after, and with a new political leadership in Nigeria, with President Muhammedu Buhari, at the helm, we kept reading about the insecurity situation not just in the Southeast, but the whole of Nigeria has improved positively.

And that even Boko Haram insurgents were given lethal blows by the Nigerian soldiers and defeated.

We learnt in the case of the Southeast, like anywhere else, the Nigerian military conducted various operations to flush out armed criminals.

It again, revived the home-like feeling in me like no any other time. My husband protested, but I insisted the security situation has improved tremendously, based on what we read in the news and the confessions of relations and acquaintances we sought confirmation back home.

Eventually, my husband again, reluctantly approved my request to visit home for the 2017 yuletide and New Year celebrations. We arrived in the early days of December and had an almost instant passage to the country home in Abakpa.

The nearly eight hours journey on the road from Abuja to Enugu-Abakpa were quite revealing especially from Ogbadibo in the neighbouring Benue state to Enugu.

We did not encounter the usual intimidating security roadblocks at every turn of a kilometer on the road. Vehicular traffic flowed much freer with less interruption.

Travellers or commuters wore excited and nostalgic faces. No intimidation or harassments from masked criminal gangs. We travelled blissfully until we got to the village.

This was the first hint I got that the haunting insecurity of our people has improved for the better.

In the village, with my family, the usual fun with people was not short-lived by the feeling of fear on what next would happen as was our experience in 2013.

We hardly heard of kidnappings, armed robberies and agitations from restive youths and other criminal elements.

Alas, the Southeast was from from the siege of criminal gangs? I wondered aloud! We exchanged visits and frisked all corners of the villages and the state without any attack from the armed gangs.

It was at this point it dawned on me clearly that the positive reports I read about improved security in Nigeria was true.

I didn’t hear of bomb explosions on Christmas day in any big city in Nigeria, as had been the tradition a few years back.

I felt so relieved. And when I made contacts with my kith and kin in other parts of the Southeast, they confirmed similar stories of violence-free twin celebrations in 2017.

This reality ignited my interest and restored my confidence in the Nigerian Army. I was told the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) was Lt. Gen. Tukur Yusufu Buratai.

I also learnt Mr. President appointed him some years back. I have never met him physically Gen. Buratai before, but was encountering him through his good works in my region of birth. It is unbelievable that through him Nigeria has regained its dignity on security.

Through these inquiries, I was made to understand the clean tap water we were consuming in the village came from the Abakpa military Cantonment under the 82 Division, Nigerian Army.

I was marveled and pleasantly surprised, to discover a Nigerian Army could project itself with such human face by executing Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) projects in any community in Nigeria.

Abakpa is a community that has never had pipe borne water since its evolution and it is the first time it is enjoying the privilege of being a host community to the Nigerian Army.

I got to know, Army Resident engineers at Abakpa Cantonment in Enugu, constructed a gigantic water treatment plant, with a capacity of treating and supplying one million litres of water daily, which has been extended to host communities.

I tried to find out from my people why it appeared too easy and in a jiffy to have such relief, after decades of suffering over water.

They opened up into more goodies the current leadership of the Nigerian Army under Gen. Buratai has extended to the Southeast region.

I was informed the Army launched the “Operation Python Dance I & II” to cleanse communities of armed miscreants, hooligans and criminals at different times.

And each time, the Python, an ancestral reptile, which signifies peace, came to dance, communities in the Southeast benefitted from water, medical assistance and other numerous CSR projects for the people.

They were unanimous that the Nigerian Army has reached new heights in civil/military relations, courting the friendship of communities, but very harsh on armed gangs.

I felt enthralled and had almost resolved within me not to go back to our base in USA anymore. But it was a decision I could not take alone.

I needed to discuss it with my husband and obtain his consent. I reached out to my husband and informed him of the changes at home, especially on insecurity, which marooned us away in foreign lands for years.

I told him the armed criminals who erroneously thought Enugu could be their permanent operational base; those who threatened and frightened everybody at sight have been uprooted from the state, including the notorious billionaire kidnapper.

My husband was quite happy and shocked at the same time. But relocating back home was not an easy option either. We had all established in America and that sort of movement is planned, before execution.

However, I felt my joy incomplete without contributing my small quota in assisting the Nigerian Army sustain the tempo of its humanitarian works and security in the region.

I instantly resolved to reach out to Igbos in the Diaspora to explore the possibility of throwing our support and weight behind Nigerian Army to see that our ancestral places remain conducive homes for all.

It’s a message I have taken back to the USA and I pray God to help me actualize this plan. We look anxiously to when the Python would stage another dance at Enugu again.

And if my mission to mobilise Enugu sons and daughters in Diaspora becomes fruitful, the next time the Army under Buratai stages a comeback, our shadows would be right behind him in support to assist us construct roads, build some schools and electrify communities.

This would provide more relief to communities, since it appears some of our State Governors have abandoned their basic developmental obligations to people for politicking.

So, when the Python comes to dance again, we hope to dance together. This is a time to be proud of Nigeria and the Nigerian Army.

Obi, a Nigerian based in the Diaspora contributed this piece from New Jersey, USA.

Innoson To Manufacture Military Vehicles For Nigerian Army

In line with the resolve of the leadership of the Nigerian Army to domesticate manufacturing of its wares, Nigeria indigenous motor manufacturing company, Innoson Motors has entered into partnership with the Army for modification of some of its equipment, local production of armoured fighting vehicles and other military hardwares.

The partnership follows the satisfactory performance of three Innoson vehicles deployed in the troubled North Eastern region found to be durable.

According to a statement signed by the Director, Army Public Relations, Brig Gen SK Usman and made available to The Nigerian online news portal on Tuesday, the partnership was entered during a meeting between the management of the company let by the Chairman, Dr. Innocent Chukwuma and the leadership of the Nigerian Army led by the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General TY Buratai at the Army Headquarters, Abuja.

Speaking on the essence of the partnership, the Chief of Army Staff said was to formalize the business relationship between the Nigerian Army and Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing Company.

“The Nigerian Army being patriotic and in a bid to encourage local entrepreneurs asked Innoson Motors to supply 3 vehicles early last year which were found to be durable and performing very well as they were employed in combat and proved to be useful, comfortable and convenient in military operations.

“Based on that the Nigerian Army acquired over 70 more variants of the Innoson vehicles which were deployed in the North East for Operation LAFIYA DOLE”, Gen Buratai stated.

He further explained that the Nigerian Army desires to deepens its cooperation by partnering with Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing Company Limited to conceptualize, design, modify and produce military hardwares.

According to the Army Chief, the specific areas of partnership between the Nigerian Army and the company include immediate supply of 100 vehicles, supply of appropriate gears, engines and chassis required for immediate modifications and repairs of armoured fighting vehicles in the North East Theatre of Operations.

Other areas according to the statement include identifying requirements for production of armoured fighting vehicle in Nigerian Army Central Workshop in Kaduna and enhancing capacity of Nigerian Army personnel to actively participate on the successful implementation of the joint ventures.

Responding, Doctor Innocent Chukwuma expressed happiness that the Nigerian Army has found his vehicles working perfectly and commended the Chief of Army Staff for his great sense of patriotism.

He promised to assist the Nigerian Army in its quest for better vehicles for its troops and resuscitation of its Special Vehicle Plant and Workshops.

Dr.Chukwuma further thanked the Chief of Army Staff for the commendation, maintaining that his company would continue to improve and expand its capacity in vehicle manufacturing and commended the Nigerian Army for the critical role it is playing in national development through the fight against insurgency in the North East and Nigeria in general.

Highlight of the occasion was inspection and handing over of 3 of the newly manufactured vehicles by the company for trial by the Nigerian Army. These newly manufactured vehicles are; IVM G80 Bigger Jeep, IVM G40 Smaller Jeep and IVM Granite Pickup.

Nwoko Hails Emergence of Secondus As bNew PDP Chairman

A former member of the Federal House of Representative, Prince Ned Nwoko, has congratulated Prince Ike Uche Secondus, as the New National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party ( PDP). Prince Ned Nwoko who is aspiring to contest for Delta North Senatorial ticket.

Prince Ned Nwoko is the promoter of Stars Private University in Idumuje Igboko, Delta State. He advised the new PDP chairman to use his new office to promote unity and fair play within the party.

He described Chief Secondus as “Total Chairman”, and urged the new PDP helmsman to enthrone internal democracy within the fold.

In s statement issued in his Maitama home, Abuja, Prince Nwoko said: “I want to congratulate the elected National Chairman of our great party; PDP, other elected Officials, the other Leader of the party, the Chairman of the organising Committee; Governor of Delta State, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa and his members, the delegates and every member of our great party on the successful conclusion of the elective convention, held yesterday, the 9th of December, 2017, at Abuja.

“It is therefore, my prayers that, the almighty God, shall direct the steps of the Chairman and the other elected Officials, in their avowed determination to enthrone internal democracy and the repositioning of the party towards achieving the desired overwhelming victory in the 2019 general election.

“God bless the PDP, God bless Nigeria”, he prayed.

Ademola Slated for Sack Before Resigning, Says NJC

Justice Adeniyi Ademola pulled a fast one on the National Judicial Council, by hurriedly announcing his resignation, a spokesman for the council revealed today.

According to Soji Oye, NJC’s Director of Information, the council recommended on Wednesday the compulsory retirement of Ademola, along with Justice O. O. Tokode, both of the Federal High Court, for misconduct.

The decision was taken at the Council’s 84th meeting on Dec. 6., chaired by the Chief Justice Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghe.

Ademola apparently getting wind of NJC’s decision, hurriedly notified the council of his decision to voluntarily retire from the bench.

Ademola was due for retirement on April 9, 2018, when he would attain the mandatory retirement age of 65 years.

The council said its decision was pursuant to its findings on the allegation in the petition written against Ademola by Committee of Anambra State PDP House of Representatives Members-Elect.

The council said the petitioners alleged gross misconduct in the handling of a matter they filed before Ademola.

The council urged the public to disregard news circulating that Ademola had voluntarily retired.

“The purported voluntary retirement is clearly an afterthought as council had taken action before his decision to forward any voluntary retirement letter.”

The council further said that Justice Tokode was also recommended to the President for compulsory retirement with immediate effect.

It said this followed its findings on the allegation contained in petitions forwarded by Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) and Miss Abimbola Awogboro.

“The petitioners accused the judge of misleading the Federal Judicial Service Commission and the National Judicial Council.

” This was by submitting six judgements he claimed to have personally conducted while practising as a lawyer; a pre-requisite for his application for appointment as a judicial officer, and was so appointed.

“The investigation committee of council, however, found that the judge personally conducted only one of the six cases submitted.

” Therefore, Council decided to recommend his compulsory retirement and the refund of all salaries and allowances he earned since his purported appointment to the position of a Judge to the coffers of the Judiciary.”

The council said in the interim, both judges were suspended from office with immediate effect.

The council similarly issued warning letters to Justices A. N. Ubaka of the National Industrial Court, Justice A. M. Lawal of Lagos High Court and Zainab Sadat of the High Court of Niger and placed them both on a watch list.

However, the council dismissed the petition written by Sen. Ali Modu Sheriff, former interim chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, accusing Justice A. Liman of the Federal High Court of corruption.

Source: The Street Reporters

 

Kidnappers Demand N100m to Free Ex-Minister Damishi Sango, Others

A head of the major opposition party’s national convention in Nigeria’s federal capital, a former Minister of Sports and the Plateau State chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Damishi Sango, has been abducted by unknown gunmen.

Also kidnapped with him are his son, driver, a prominent chieftain of the PDP in Plateau State and another victim that is yet to be identified.

Sango was abducted by gunmen along Jere village in Kaduna State, on Wednesday, at about 7:00p.m., while travelling to Abuja to seek accommodation and make preparation for Plateau State delegates attending the opposition party’s national convention scheduled for Saturday, December 9.

Confirming the incident, the Publicity Secretary of PDP in Plateau State, John Akans, said, “Yes, our chairman, Chief Damishi Sango, and five other persons, including his son, driver and a chieftain of PDP in Plateau State were kidnapped by unknown gunmen on Wednesday evening.

“It was the Police who called his family and intimated them of the incident because his son’s phone was seen inside the vehicle.”

Making their demand for ransom, the kidnappers contacted the family asking for N100 million ransom.

The suspected gunmen who kidnapped the former Minister and his son and four others demand the ransom for their release.

A family source disclosed this in Jos, in a telephone conversation, and said the abductors were in contact with the family.

The source said, Damishi Sango, his son, Chief Emmanuel Mangni, the driver, an orderly and one other occupant of the abandoned Jeep were all alive as at press time.

The family source which pleaded anonymity revealed that Hon. Sango, spoke with the family at about 12noon and said that the kidnappers demanded N100 million for their release.

State Publicity Secretary, Mr. John Akans, who briefed Journalists at the party secretariat, said the abductors spoke with the family and demanded for N100 million ransom.

He said the party which is in opposition does not have such amount to doll out and call on party faithfuls to pray fervently for God’s intervention.

Akans said the kidnapped of the party chairman has demoralised the party delegates from Plateau who are expected to take off today (Friday) ahead of the convention in Abuja.

He said the state will participate in the convention but in low spirit if the Chairman and five others are not released before Saturday.

He called on the Inspector General of Police and other security agencies to take drastic measure and ensure that Hon. Sango, his son and four others are recovered alive.

It was gathered that Plateau State delegates had made up their mind during the last meeting of the State Working Committee of the Party the preceded the abduction of the chairman to give overwhelming vote to Uche Secondus, who they believe can lead the party to victory in 2019.

Source: The Street Reporters

Governor Obiano Does Not Deserve a Second Tenure – Chief Nwobu Alor

Chief Sylvester Nwobu Alor is a second Republic lawmaker and former Director-General of Peter Obi Campaign Organisation. He is a founding chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APGA) and former Special Assistant (SA) to the immediate past Governor of Anambra State, Mr. Peter Obi. He spoke on the November 18, 2017 governorship election in Anambra and why he supports the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) even as APGA chieftain, among other issues. 

Excerpts:

As an Elder statesman and a stakeholder in Anambra State Polity, What is your take on the impending election?

Oh yes! Election is a constitutional and democratic process of changing guards. The integral voting procedure gives the citizenry the supremacy and superiority of electing their chosen representatives and leaders, and on this score I wholly align myself with the process thereof.

Against the backdrop of the election, and the attendant campaign, the incumbent Governor Willie Obiano has been accused of non-performance. Chief, how do you react to this?

Truly, Anambra in the recent time had had it so good in terms of governance. Starting from the regime of Ngige and then to Peter Obi’s administration, Anambra State had posted superlative and sterling results in terms of democratic dividends and performance, and so if the citizenry now complain, that means there is a gap and lull in the expectation.

Truly, given the current outcry and from personal observation, Willie Obiano, though a nice man, his government has not met the yearnings and expectations of Anambrarians.

And that’s why there is the current discontent and dissatisfaction in the land against his style of administration.

But Chief, the government of Obiano has reacted by saying that ‘Willie is working’! The government went further to say it pays salaries and pensions as at and when due. Too, they pointed to the street light projects that dot the nooks and crannies of Anambra, and with all these do you still doubt their performance?

It is preposterous and prevaricating for a properly constituted Government with huge allocations and IGR to point at the payment of salaries and pension as achievement.

By the way, it is legal, moral and natural to pay all workers at the due time. It is unconscionable and despicable really to owe a worker who has completed his task.

Therefore, Obiano’s government should not see the payment thereof, as an achievement. Besides, governments before it (that is, Ngige and Obi’s) paid salaries and pensions and still performed and packaged the infrastructures to the admiration of Ndi Anambra.

Moreso, Obiano’s government has no reason not to pay salaries and improve on the lives of Ndi Anambra because a solid financial foundation was availed by the preceding government of Peter Obi.

The street light project, good as it is, is not enough to showcase given the enormous fund at Obiano’s government disposal.

What of the twenty million Naira (N20,000,000) disbursement to communities in Anambra State by the government of Willie Obiano?

I tell you one thing, Willie is working, but regretfully Willie is indeed working woefully and that’s why his government is illogical, comical and theatrical.

The twenty million development fund or whatever name called comes with too many baggages. Firstly, it is a misdirection and misappropriation.

Nobody knows where he is getting the funds to finance the “Community Projects”, but assuming it is from the joint L. G. account then it is illegal.

The Local Government system as enshrined in the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is the third  tier of administration with a clearly defined and delineated obligations and mandates and which obviously does not include the wanton disbursement of cash to communities.

Therefore, Governor Obiano’s penchant for appropriating fund meant for the Local Government administration for other uses is unlawful and illegal, ab initio.

Secondly, since such disbursements are not lawfully appropriated and deployed, it gives room to all manners of manipulations.

For instance, it’s been shown that the current disbursement bazaar by the current government only gets to his surrogates and lackeys.

Thirdly, the direct cash disbursement to communities being an illegality itself is also a Greek gift whereby it’s given with the ‘right  hand’ and stealthily collected by the  ‘left hand’.

The processes involving the hyped twenty million naira (N20,000,000) gift to the communities in Anambra State are scandalous since the disbursement is an illegality enmeshed in misappropriation.

It might interest you to know that up till this moment, none of the “Infrastructure Project” has been completed nor commissioned.

Fourthly, it’s conduit pipe to siphon funds. Assuming the disbursement is done with a good intent (which is disproved here).

What is the percentage of the N20,000,000 to the entire statutory allocation due to a given local government?

And what becomes of the gigantic reminder and where does it go? Illustratively, Awka North Local Government got a total of four billion, two hundred and twenty six million, six hundred and twenty thousand, five hundred and sixty five naira only (N4,226,620,565) as statutory allocation from March 2014 to July 2017.

And out of this total receipts, a paltry two hundred million naira (N200,000,000) was given by the Obiano administration to the entire communities as an ‘Infrastructure Project’ within the same period, leaving a floating balance of N4,026,620,565. Similar balance is replicated in all the 27 Local Governments in Anambra State.

The question therefore is where does this balance go to? And your guess is as good as that of a reasonable personChief, with your foregoing comments therefore, can we say you are posting a vote of no-confidence on the government of Obiano.

A little while ago you talked about accusation of non performance on his government and I answered that there is discontent and dissatisfaction as far as his government is concerned and that simply means a vote of no-confidence.

A government that cannot point to a single signature project to its credit has failed the electorates and does not deserve a re-election.

The media is awash of how previous governments’ projects are claimed as Obiano’s achievement.

For instance, just recently a former House of Representatives member from Ihiala reacted to the claim that it was Obiano’s government that attracted the Awada- Ihiala Transmission line, wherein he debunked the claim and gave detailed process of how the feat was achieved under his legislative representation.

And such superious claims are now common place and these points to one fact non-performance.

If the government has performed why claiming other people’s projects, for instance of road networks done by Ngige and Obi’s regime. For example, it’s on record that Peter Obi’s administration did a total of 265 roads during his tenure and one cannot point to a single road done by this Willie administration and that is scandalous and suffocating.

And let me say it at this juncture, the huge resources that have been deployed to this crave for re-election would have been enough to do many roads in the state.

Now cars and tricycles are given out to all manner of people just to project the second term agenda.

My attention has just been drawn to the frenzied media advertisement, where the Obiano’s government has for the past two months utilized pages in a National Newspaper to advertise the “Willie is working” mantra.

Just a few days ago, same Newspaper carried a 20-page full coloured advertorial on Obiano’s government.

The costs of all these are shocking and shattering, and this is Ndi Anambra’s resources that would have put to a better use.

Truly, if Willie has worked like his predecessor, there would have been no need for these desperate expenditures and people like us would not have condemned his government and his re-election would have been a matter of right.

Chief, away from Obiano and his government, your party APGA has been factionalized and fumbling, what is your take on this?

It is painful seeing a project one heavily invested in suddenly sinking and skidding. As one of the founding fathers of APGA, I know the plan was to make APGA a National Party with an Igbo base.

Unfortunately, time came when one person cornered all the offices to himself, he became the National Chairman, Treasurer, financial Secretary etc. some stakeholders like me cried out and I was called names.

I didn’t let go, I insisted the party must be restructured and repositioned to meet up with dynamics of the contemporary times.

I even went to court to challenge the internal autocracy then. I won some cases and lost some too.

I predicated finally that if the path of restructuring was not towed, APGA would one day disappear into the thin air and today that prediction is coming true.

Otherwise, how else can one describe a party of over 16 years existence still managing to grapple with one state in Nigeria?

Too, the giants and legends of APGA are no more in the party, given the internal intrigues and external machinations. And I tell you APGA would continue this descent to extinction and coupled with Willie’s bad government, the road to that infamy becomes wider  and certain.

Do you think that as a stakeholder you have done enough to stem this tide in the party.

My brother, if I tell you the steps I have taken even at very personal risks to sustain the APGA brand, but all to no avail.

I have talked about my legal contests, I have also written series of papers and articles on the way forward but like it is said in Igbo “Onwu n’egbu nwa nkita, anaghi ekwe ya nuru isi nsi” (The death that is destined for the dog, would not allow it perceive it’s prized aroma-the faeces.

There have been allegations and counter allegations on the N75 Billion saga and the N7 Billion scandal. Can you give your opinion on these, sir?

There is this latin maxim “Res Ipsa loquitor” which means; the fact speaks for itself.

Therefore, the Ex-governor Peter Obi has extensively and convincingly availed the facts and figures on the “contentions” N75 Billion Naira bequest, and which are already in the public domain and I need not dwell on it.

But suffice it to say that as an insider, N75 Billion was handed over to Willie’s government. Those figures supplied by Obi remain evident and empirical and denial is simply a deception!

Again, as a famed accountant why did it take Governor Obiano so long a time to debunk such a weighty financial declaration that was made public.

Coming barely six weeks to election period to post a denial is cosmetic, petty and prevaricating.

On the N7 billion “scandal”, same opinion above applies. But I see it as a ploy to further fly the N75 Billion naira denial saga.

Otherwise, withholding such a revelation for 3 year plus, only to broadcast at this period is simply a propaganda and politicking.

Again the details supplied by obi to corroborate his fact on the N75 Billion lack on the side of Obiano on the N7 billion pay-back issue. Certain things are done timeously, otherwise they lose their shine and sparks.

You have described Obiano as a nice man running a bad government; as an elder statesman and stakeholder, one expects you have the access to advice the governor on his programmes and policies.

You are 100% right. With all modesty, I have the access to advice the governor, but advice is not forced down.

Agreeably, at Governor Obiano’s inception, I availed my candid advice and he seemed to flow along but along the line, he stopped asking for my opinion on some matters and I knew immediately sycophants and propagandist have displaced.

However, I had the intuition that sooner than no time the state would drift and descend into liquidation and that is exactly what is happening now.

Obiano may have a large heart but he is surrounded by bad advisers who have selfish motives thereby displacing selfless and sincere advisers in the party.

At my station in life, I truly may not need anything from Obiano, my interest is to see a continuously progressive Anambra and nothing more.

Ex-Governor Peter Obi to a large extent, relied on sincere advice availed by people like me and thus, compare Obi’s performance and Obiano’s propaganda. The difference as they say is clear.

But why must it Obaze this time sir? I believe in objectively and not swayed by parochialism and sentiments. Honestly, the government of Obiano has not done anything positive to warrant a second tenure.

I say it again, giving Obiano a second chance means total liquidation of Anambra state. Let me break it down-Governor Willie Obiano’s government has received a total of N63,654,309,711.92 (almost 64 Billion naira) from May 2015 to June 2016 from Federal allocations and this excludes Internally Generated Revenue (IGR); this excludes the squandered N4 Billion naira set aside by Obi’s administration for secondary school education and Health facilities; this excludes the N3.7 billion naira in UBEC Accounts 1 & 2 he inherited and now misappropriated; this excludes the N75 billion naira handed over to him by his predecessor, Peter Obi; this excludes total revenue from dollars investment by Obi’s government; this excludes the 50.4 billion naira already collected by Government Obiano as security vote since 2014; and this excludes a total of N533,179,178,592.00 (over N533 billion naira) of Local Government fund controlled and managed by Governor Willie Obiano since 2014.

Truly, the above quoted figures are gargantuan and gigantic in all ramifications and if what the incumbent government in Anambra state can point at as its achievements with the enumerated enormous sum are the payments of salaries/pensions and street light projects, then Ndi Anambra have really boarded a ‘’one chance” bus.

Even the advertised flyover projects in Awka are Peter Obi’s initiatives and constructed by Obiano’s government at an outrageously inflated cost of N15 billion naira from the budgeted N5 billion naira and even at having banners against heavy trucks.

Any attempt therefore, to enthrone and perpetuate Willie’s woeful works in Anambra would spell doom and push the state into extinction and liquidation.

To this end therefore, I urge Anambrarians to give Oseloka Henry Obaze their mandate come November 18,2017.

He is already tested and trusted having brought his Midas touch to bear on both Obi’s and Obiano’s incipient administration.

The now famous and glorious MDG’s Miracle in Anambra so far is the handwork of Oseloka Obaze.

Truly, as an elder statesman and a stakeholder in Anambra polity Obaze’s international Diplomatic exposure and human management acumen, including the expertise of Chidi Onyemelukwe are sure the right steps to progress and prosperity in Anambra State.

Our woeful Willie’s works are even more insulting as almost 90% of them are still promises as the 20-page all coloured advert he took up recently in one of the National Dailies suggested. We frankly need performances and not promises again.

 

Maina: Family Members Warn Political Gladiators to Tread Cautiously

The Maina Royal family of Borno State have warned political gladiators to keep off their son, Alhaji AbdulRasheed Maina who was recently reinstated by the Federal Government back to the Civil Service in order to carryout his duties without distractions.

It may be recalled that AbdulRasheed Maina was suspended by the Jonathan administration after his special task force on recovery of pension fund uncovered monumental fraud perpetuated by a certain cabal in the sector backed by people at the top.

The family in a reaction to Maina’s reinstatement by the Federal Government, specially thanked the Almighty God that their son, Maina has lived to eventually be reinstated after several officially documented assassination attempts on his life, and series of investigations by the Federal Government that eventually cleared him of any complicity at the course of his duties.

In a statement signed by Hauwa Maina, an Actress of International repute, and Aliyu Maina, an Investment Banker, Political Strategist and writer, who are members of the family they said, “We owe our gratitude to God the Almighty.

“We want to send our special appreciation to our amiable President and Father, Gen Muhammadu Buhari for following due process in the reinstatement of our son.

“AbdulRasheed Maina is well known to all Nigerians for being patriotic, and fearless in the recovery of funds stolen by thieves in the pension industry, working always hard to ensure that he gives maximum service to the country in all his dealings as a civil servant.

“It is unfortunate that former President Goodluck Jonathan who found Maina worthy of the assignment after perusing his antecedents and credentials, to lead the Presidential TaskForce on Pension Fund, couldn’t protect him after the Pension fraud cabal went for Maina’s jugular, just to punish him for exposing their dubuous and reckless stealing and for saving the country of large sums of money that were hitherto stolen by a few.

“We are however grateful to God that despite all the trials and tribulations that our son went through in this dark period, God still kept him strong and healthy to the point that he is able to resume work.

“The President who in his fair and transparent nature, saw the need to ensure that justice is a actually seen to be done at the end of the day”, the family stated.

Whilst thanking Nigerians and all those who stood by Maina and his family throughout the period, the family equally urged civil Servants, alike, to remain committed to the service of humanity and continue to support President Muhammadu Buhari for being a just leader, who would ensure that every single Nigerian who has found him/herself in a similar situation gets justice and fair hearing irrespective of their religion, tribe or political affiliations.

According to the statement, “it has become imperative to also warn politicians and their cronies who may want to use the opportunity to distract Maina to desist from doing so as the family would seek redress where applicable.

“We have taken his odeal as an act of God and any attempt to drag his name in the mud for personal reasons, or to settle political scores with people will totally be rejected and confronted.

“This is not the right time for political engagement, we urge all the good citizens of Borno State pressurizing him to contest the Governorship of the state to exercise some patience and allow him to heal from the wounds inflicted on him by the last administration, it is on record that the government abandoned him when the political interests of their friends eventually clashed with the duties which he was commissioned to deliver.

“We are Muslims and believe that the Almighty God in his wisdom has taken Maina through this phase of life as part of the journey to greater assignments and service to the nation.

“To that end, We as a Family have forgiven his traducers and urge everyone to join hands with him as he resumes work to contiinue with high level Fund RECOVERY and blocking leakages in the system, this he knows best.

“He should at least be allowed to further contribute his quota to the Buhari Administrations corruption fight as he demonstrated during the Last Administration.

“We are therefore unequivocal in our demand that Maina should be left alone, excused from every political imagination of any member of the public so as to be able to concentrate more on his duties as his inputs to the system have greatly been missed,” the statement also added.

 

Anambra 2017: Ojiba, ACPN Unsettle Nwoye’s Home Town

Elders and youths at Nsugbe at the weekend pledged support for the governorship ambition of the candidate of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN), Comrade Akunwata Ejoh Ojiba.

The elders and youths who came out in their numbers to welcome his campaign team on a consultative visit to the area, chanted “O jebego, o jebego”, meaning he has won.

Some of Nsugbe Youths set to mobilise locals for OjibaNsugbe is the home town of the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Tony Nwoye.

The elders and youths, some of whom are other political party leaders, shunned the flag off of the APC candidate to welcome Comrade Ojiba, who they described as their own.

Nsugbe is the home town of the ACPN candidate’s grandmother.

Speaking on behalf of the other elders, Obi Nwoye Ogbuagu said, “Ojiba is our own and for remembering us, his mother’s people, we are happy and we pledge all our undivided support him.”

The elders in turn prayed for Akunwata Ejoh Ojiba and and his campaign team, asking God to see them through to the government house Awka this year.

On their part, the Chairman of Enugwu Youths Organization, Nsugbe, Mr. Francis Bosah and the Chief Task of the youths group, Mr. Onyebuchi Udeze, reiterated that Ejoh Ojiba is their own and has the support of the youths.

“We are giving him full support, he is the one that will go for us”, Udeze added.

Earlier, the Director General of the Akunwata Ejoh Ojiba Campaign Train, Chief David Okagbue urged the people of Enugwu Nsugbe to support the party.

Leaders at the meeting were the South East Coordinator of the party, Engr. Ikechukwu Okagbue, the State Chairman of the party, Comrade Sam Anumba, the Onitsha North Woman leader of the party, Hon. Ndidi Olieh, among others.

Comrade Ojiba is a retired Customs Officer and says he has a divine transformation agenda for Anambra State.

Anti-corruption War: Nigerians React to Maina’s Re-instatement

Some Nigerians have reacted to the recent reinstatement of the former Chairman of Presidential Committee on Pension Reform Taskforce Team (PRTT), Abdulrasheed Maina, into the federal civil service, saying the development is a victory over corruption and age-long pervasion of the civil service rules and labour laws.

It could recall that Maina while fighting corruption in the pension sector through the PRTT in 2010 recovered over 200 billion Naira in cash but, as some Nigerians put it, “in the process, the hunter became the hunted as corruption forth back and was sacked illegally.”

It could also be recall that Maina led PRTT recovered 1.6 trillion Naira both in cash and assets within a period of one year.

However, as the Coordinator of the North Central Youth Leaders Forum, Hon Alfa Nma said in his reaction to Maina’s reinstatement, “some corrupt pension looters ganged up against Maina and he was framed to be corrupt.

“Maina’ car was shot on his way from the Presidential Villa since then, Maina went into hiding.

“So, who will not run away when it has become obvious that people are after your life?”‘ Hon. Nma said.

He recalled that Senator Kabir Gaya who earlier accused Maina of stealing 195 billion Naira soon renounced his accusation when he declared that the said money was found to be lodged in the federal government’s account, which is part of the (Treasury Single Account (TSA) of the Buhari’s administration.

The group, the North Central Youth Leaders Forum, had earlier called on President Buhari to sustain the anti corruption war, urging him that while fighting corruption, he should look into the files of those fighting corruption in the previous administration and were framed up.

According to the group, the advice was with a view to determining the merit or otherwise of some cases to not only clear them but also to make them part of the anti corruption war as in the case of Maina.

Mr. Ibrahim Kuru who spoke from Kaduna noted that the reinstatement of Maina is a victory over corruption, saying that “it would be a victory for the corrupt people in the system if obvious cases of people who were framed up for doing the right thing were not looked into.

On his part, Comrade Okpokwu Ogenyi who spoke from Abuja hailed Maina’s reinstatement, saying it is a plus for the anti corruption war of the President Buhari administration.

According to Mr. Torkuma Aso who is a Makurdi-based business man, “any reasonable person would commend President Buhari for righting the wrongs of the past by reiterating Maina”.

Also, in his reaction, the Chairman Federal Concerned Pensioners, Mr David Adodo who spoke from Lagos said that President Buhari has rekindled the hope of Nigerians injustice of the past can be corrected by Maina’s reinstatement.

He said, ” a bunch of clueless people will sit at your homes and operate on hearsay, even when they do not have a copy of the civil service rules.

“You don’t jump into conclusions and engage in a smear campaign on a man who has done nothing to offend you.

“People are not just sacked or dismissed if they are not political appointees.

“If you are a career civil servant, there are rules and processes to follow and it was obvious that the process that led to the sack of Maina was flawed and the President should be commended”, Mr Adodo said.

25 Political Parties to Adopt Ojiba as Consensus Candidate in Anambra

No fewer than 25 political parties and their candidates out of the 37 in total who fielded candidates for the November 18 governorship election have opted to adopt a sole candidate ahead of the poll.

Their move to support one candidate for the election became necessary, according to them, in order to defeat the so called big parties.

The development arose out of what some Interparty Advisory Council (IPAC) members and their candidates in the election, described as intimidation from the self-acclaimed big parties and their candidates, have continued to shun their programmes.

The self-acclaimed big parties that boycotted the IPAC activities were listed as the ruling All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), All Progressives Congress (APC), and United Peoples Party (UPP).

IPAC member parties and their candidates accused them of shunning the recent debate organised by the Interparty Advisory Council, while it was alleged that they never cared to communicate with the organisers on the reason for their absence.

A source spoke on condition of anonymity, because he he was not authorized to speak to the media on the development, disclosed that the over 25 parties who participated in the debate entered into series of meetings after the governorship debate session where idea came on the dare need for them to seek ways to work together by pulling their human and fiscal resources into backing one candidate who has the capacity to give the self-proclaimed mega parties a good fight and eventually defeat them at the forthcoming election.

“This will be likened to the case of Goliath and David in the Bible where the so-called mighty fell to the neglected. The five mega parties, most especially the APGA, PDP and APC, look at us as if we are pretenders in the race.

“But they failed to realise that politics is still a game of numbers. If we play our cards well and drop selfish considerations aside, our coalition will defeat all those parties some people erroneously think are the real contenders. It will surprise them when we do it” the source said.

Asked if it was not an obvious gang up for the sake of wrestling political power, the source said, “No, it’s a determination to rescue Anambra and make the lives of our people better.

“There is so much suffering in the land because of bad governance and we have candidates with track record of touching lives of people around them”, the source added.

Another source revealed that On the possible candidate that will emerge out of the coalition, it was gathered that the permutations are between Obiora Stephen Mbah of the PRP and Akunwata Ojiba Ejoh of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria, ACPN.

However the odds seems to favour Akunwata Ojiba since he comes from Onitsha zone, the Anambra North.

Mbah of PRP is from Anambra Central whose zone just relinquished power after straight eleven years between Obi and Ngige as governors.

Akunwata Ojiba, a retired Customs Officer, sources say has shown visible presence and above the average seriousness with his party (ACPN) in a very aggressive campaign and endorsements across the three senatorial zones of the state.

It was reliably gathered that the coalition has as its chairman, Barrister Basil Onuora of the Green Party of Nigeria and Mr. Chris Nweke of AAPP as Secretary.

However, the executive members of the coalition have maintained sealed lips on the development, urging newsmen to wait for an official date for the unveiling of the coalition’s agenda.

But some other parties who are also actively committed to the actualisation of the coalition’s objective include ACD, BNPP, PDC, DPC, among others.
Akunwata Ojiba has been on a noiseless campaign and grassroots mobilisation ahead of the election.

 

Coalition Blames Sabotage, Not Lami Amodu Over Queens College Deaths

A group of six non-governmental and civil society organisations, The Coalition of Civil Societies on Human Rights and Anti-Corruption in Nigeria has blamed sabotage as possible cause of death of some students at the Queens College Lagos.

The Coalition in a letter to the Senate Committee on Basic and Secondary Education probing the cause of deaths at the Federal Government’s Unity School, insisted that from their findings after an investigation, “we are convinced that what may have happened resulted from acts of sabotage by some desperate persons”.

The former Director/Principal of the College, Dr (Mrs) Lami Amodu, has been accused of culpability in the death of some of the students.

The Coalition, in the letter address to the chairman of the committee and jointly signed by its Chief Convener, Alhaji Sabo Ode and the Director of Public Affairs, Comrade James Ezema, urged the Senate “to ensure that justice is done and that the innocent is not punished for doing that which is right and insisting that the right thing be done in the right way.

 

“As part of our efforts to ensure justice for all, irrespective of class, tribe or social status, when the news of the regrettable incident that led to the death of some students at the college broke, we moved to make our findings on what may have happened”.

 

The groups that constitute the coalition include Professional Women League, Africa Women Network, Centre for Social Justice Equity and Transparency, Save Humanity Advocacy Centre, Stand Up Nigeria, and Conference of Minority Tribes in Nigeria.

 

According to the Coalition, “over time, as we found out, a cartel has been operating within the Queens College Old Girls Association of the school, who always dictated to the management and found for the first time a woman who stood against them.”

 

Spelling out it findings, after an independent investigation carried out by the Coalition, the group said: “Mr Chairman and members, we found out that within her 18 months stay on the saddle in the college, Dr Lami Amodu did all things within her power and within the ambit of bureaucracy to effect long lasting changes that were geared towards improving facilities on ground.

 

“The shocker, for us, was that the incident of stooling and subsequent casualties did not occur in the college until after a meeting held on January 22, 2017, by the Queens College Old Girls Association.

 

“Our findings showed that while the meeting held in the college hall, some old girls found their way into the hostels and the kitchen areas without authorisation of proper permission.

 

“A week later, specifically on January 31, 2017, some students were reported to have started stooling and vomiting but luckily the college and health officials promptly managed and contained the menace.

 

“All of these points to the fact that Dr Lami Amodu understood both the challenges at hand when she assumed office and made efforts to ensure they were addressed”, the group observed.

 

According to them, “One other striking finding was that fact that Dr Amodu was seen as “very strict”, “very hash” and “rude” by certain persons.

 

“On attempt to find out why, we discovered that it was her uncompromising recourse to due process and her resolve that the right thing must be done the right way were the virtues that earned her those tags.

 

“We believe that the old girls and other collaborators, who have resorted to frivolous petition writing, may have played a role, resulting to the stooling and vomiting incident in the college and the subsequent deaths.

 

“More so, some of the deaths occurred after the former Principal had been transferred.

 

“For instance, the death of Sodipo Praise, an Orphan who died on March 30, 2017 occurred nearly two months after Dr Amodu had been transferred.

 

“Our findings equally showed that the young Praise reported to the clinic on 20th February 20, after Dr Amodu had left the school, with feverish condition and was placed on anti-malaria drugs, with follow up treatment until the college went on midterm break.

 

“From home, Miss Praise was referred to the Lagos State University Hospital after her ailment continued at home”, the group revealed.

 

“We gathered that she was diagnosed of liver enlargement and perforation of intestine and later died after surgery, even when she was never treated for stooling and vomiting previously at the college.

 

“Mr Chairman and members, there is more to the issues being raised and allegations being levelled against Dr Amodu. For instance, she was recently accused in a petition of buying an SUV for 17 million, an allegation we have also investigated and found to be false.

“The SUV, which was not for personal use was left in the school after her redeployment. Its purchase, we also found, went through due process and had board approval after the board decided it was very necessary because of the state of the old bus the school had, which was in a very bad condition.

 

“From our investigations we also found out facts on  the allegation of 17 million naira on SUV, which is  also not  true as the findings of the investigation have proved contrary in which the purchase of the SUV went through due process and had board approval after the board decided it was very necessary because of the state of the old bus the school had which was in a bad condition and the Sport Utility Vehicle is still used at Queens College Lagos  by the principal till date and not a private property of Dr. Mrs Lami Amodu”, the group noted.

 

 

Hon. Idota Emerges Winner Of Joint Action Coalition Of Civil Societies For Good Governance Award

The Joint Action Coalition of Civil Society for Good Governance held its mid year round table Conference recently at Links Hotel Conference Hall Utako Abuja, where it announced the winner of the HERO OF DEMOCRACY award.

The Joint Action Coalition of Civil Society for good governance formed in the late 70s, is the largest pan African movement, it has been believed that they can be no ideological revolution without a conscious society.

The Coalition of Civil Society for good governance is a coalition of 14 Civil society organizations aimed at drawing a uniform and collective consciousness cutting across all blogs of societal formations, with the sole purpose of revamping these sectors towards achieving good governance, protecting the right of the common man and a robust economy free of corruption.

After passing a vote of confidence on the fight against corruption, and the improvement of security which has created a conductive environment for development even at the local government level by the Mid term of President Buhari led government but frowned at the poor performance of a lot of Governors in the country, which has made the desired change for the people unachievable.

Hon Odumu Idota emerged as the winner of the HERO OF DEMOCRACY award in consideration of his esteemed role in the development of Ohimini Local Government of Benue State, Benue State and Nigeria as a whole, most especially in his chosen career, political, youth, social , peace and economic development and being one of the true hero that formed the foundation that brought about the desired Change in Nigeria.

He emerged the winner out of 5 nominees from the North Central Geopolitical Zone at round table meeting of the coalition in Abuja with 86 votes.

In a statement by the chairman communique drafting committee Hon. Dr. Kabir Dallah said “This award is our totem to encourage the recipient to work harder and thank him for his good works most especially in fighting for the change to purposeful leadership in Nigeria.

“Our country as a whole is in dear need of models like him to help actualize the desired change we need to push our country to greater heights as he is one of the unsung hero of our time.

The decoration of Hon. Idota as our HERO OF DEMOCRACY will be held in Abuja.

 

Human Rights Abuses: Global Amnesty Watch Calls for Speedy Implementation of SBOI Reports

The Global Amnesty Watch, an international humanitarian organization has endorsed the report of the Special Board of Inquiry (SBOI), which investigated the alleged war crimes man by the Nigerian Army personnel in the fight against insurgency in the North East and Internal Security Operations in the South Eastern part of the country.

Recall that the Nigerian Army had said on Thursday that it was studying the report of a special panel that investigated allegations of human rights abuses against the army.

The panel headed by a retired major general, A.T. Jibrin, submitted its report to the Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai last week at the army headquarters in Abuja.

Mrs Helen Adesola, Nigerian Representative of GAW, said it was clearly established that all the allegations of rights abuses, extra-judicial killings, forced disappearances were mere concoctions from the imaginations of those of those that have been issuing inaccurate reports.

According to her, “Other instances of documented abuses were transposed from a previous era to give the impression that the cases in question were recently committed.

She added, “The report, which should be given the widest publicity possible, should now put to rest the controversies that had raged around the efforts by Nigerian military authorities to secure the country and keep citizens safe from terrorists and other life threatening criminals.

“The revelations that certain unauthorized organizations were able to obtain classified military documents and signals through leaks is one that should keep the world worried as it implies staffers of such organizations could have been engaged in passing vital Army strategies and troop movement to terrorists, making it difficult to protect civilians.

“We have noted calls for independent investigation and further probes suggested by certain organizations.

“The Global Amnesty Watch however wishes to caution the Nigerian Army and the Federal Government of Nigeria to resist the temptation of being drawn into a popularity contest of pleasing smaller groups to the detriment of the larger population,” her statement added.

The GAW urged the military authority not compromise the interest of the people in the areas affected by terrorism, insurgency and other crimes because they want to be compliant with the request of a narrow spectrum of activists.

She added, “The response for an independent investigation or commission of inquiry must be realistically balanced with the safety and security of citizens since such exercise can compromise national security.

“Nigeria must never lose sight of the fact that the Army is its institution as a sovereign nation and no amount of blackmail should force it to surrender state institutions to fifth columnists especially in this era that terrorists have infiltrated the ranks and file of various military which the Nigerian Army has successfully insulated itself against.”