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Posts tagged ‘Abuja’

Looking For Jobs, Finding Death – By Femi Fani-Kayode.


By Femi Fani-Kayode

Whether anyone likes to accept it or not the bitter truth is that 80 per cent of our GRADUATES are unemployed in Nigeria today whilst 51 per cent of our PEOPLE are also unemployed. As a frightful and grave consequence of these shocking statistics, which I happen to believe may well be a world record in terms of unemployment, a terrible tragedy occurred in Abuja and other parts of our country on 16th March 2014.

Approximately 68,000 of our youths gathered at the National Stadium in Abuja for an aptitude test for just 3000 jobs in the Immigration Service. 10 of those children were killed in a stampede whilst looking for those jobs. It did not stop there. Another 20,000 youths gathered in the stadium at Port Harcourt, Rivers state for aptitude tests for the same 3000 jobs and there was another stampede there as well in which 4 of their colleagues were killed and four more were so badly wounded that they remain in a coma up until now.

Similar gatherings for the same Immigration aptitude test took place in cities all over the country all for the same 3000 jobs and three young pregnant girls together with three male youths were killed in a similar stampede at the stadium in Minna, Niger state.

The only crime that all these children that were either killed, maimed or injured in these horrific stampedes in the stadiums of all these cities like Abuja, Port Harcourt, Minna, Lagos, Kano, Kaduna, Benin and elsewhere had committed was to try to get a job, to fight for a better life for themselves and to try to secure their future. What a tragedy.

One day Nigerians will appreciate the importance of facts, figures and statistics and the consequences of tolerating atrocious, lousy, insensitive and unaccountable governments. They will also understand the implications of having a government that has no qualms about taking advantage of the pitiful plight of it’s own youths and citizens and scamming them in the most obvious and shameful manner.

Why should anyone be surprised that hundreds of thousands of youths gathered in stadiums all over the country on the 15th March 2014 just to apply for a tiny handful of jobs that are available in Immigration? This is so SIMPLY because there are NO jobs available for these children in our country.

I repeat 80 per cent of our graduates are unemployed and 51 per cent of our people are unemployed. Why won’t they die and be killed or injured whilst looking for the few jobs that are available? Why won’t they gather in stadiums all over the country in their hundreds of thousands just to do an aptitude test for a job in Immigration for which there are only 3000 vacancies? Why should anyone be surprised by this madness and this turmoil? Why should anyone be moved by this horrific carnage when it is now a regular phenomenon in our country for children to be slaughtered. If they are not butchered whilst at school by islamist fundamentalists they are slaughtered whilst they are looking for jobs from a heartless government which has effectively destroyed their future.

Yet look for jobs they must because these children and these youths are desperate and they are suffering. To make matters worse they are also being taken advantage of and scammed by their own government who are desperate to extort money from them by all means available. If this were not the case why would the Comptroller-General of Immigration and the Minister of Internal Affairs order that each and every one of those youths that flooded the stadiums in their hundreds of thousands and that stood in the sun should be made to pay 1000 naira each for the forms that they were to use to do the aptitude test at the various stadiums all over the country.

Someone was set to make a whole lot of money considering the fact that over one hundred thousand youths were involved in this shameless exercise and the amount of cash that they must have made runs into hundreds of millions of naira. The whole thing was just a massive and monuemental scam to extort hundreds of millions of naira from these poor, young and innocent souls and many of our youths have paid for it with their lives.

This is what President Goodluck Jonathan’s Nigeria has done to them. We now have an army of angry, jobless, frustrated, disillusioned and desperate youths on our hands in this country and consequently we are literally sitting on a keg of gunpowder. May God help us and may He forgive us for failing these children and destroying their futures.

Other than this I will say no more on this matter because the truth is that most Nigerians no longer ”give a damn” when blood is shed and when lives are taken. This is so even when those lives are those of children. Permit me to give an example. On the very same day that our youths were dying in stadiums looking for jobs with Immigration another 100 innocent people were being slaughtered by ”unknown gunmen” in southern Kaduna and no-one seems to care. Again only two days before then, on March 12th 2014, 110 innocent Nigerians were butchered by what were described in the press as a group of ”fulani gunmen who were on motorbikes” in Katsina state whilst the President was on an official visit there. What a tragedy.

Under President Goodluck Jonathan we have become a nation of vampires where the death of innocent children and youths means nothing and where we cannot even provide jobs or a decent standard of living for our young ones. Instead we attempt to scam them and to extort money from them. What a government, what a country.

If our government had any sense of decency, justice or accountability the Comptroller-General of Immigration and the Minister of Internal Affairs would have not only been compelled to resign or fired by now but they would also have been arrested and would be facing criminal charges for, at the very best, criminal negligence and manslaughter and, at the very worse, accessories before the fact to murder. Yet we know that that will never happen as long as President Goodluck Jonathan is in power. Far from it.

As a matter of fact instead of bowing his head in shame and showing any sense of contrition or remorse the Minister of Internal Affairs has come out shamelessly and blamed the dead youths themselves by saying that ”they did not exercise enough patience during the exercise”. May God forgive this man. I wonder if he would have expressed such sentiments if any of his own children had been killed in the stampede.

Permit me to end this contribution by quoting from a moving email that I received from a dear Nigerian family friend who herself is a mother and who presently resides in the United Kingdom with her family. She sent it to me the day after the tragic death of the youths in the stadium. I have obtained her permission to share her words in this write-up but for obvious reasons I will not mention her name. She wrote-

”Good morning uncle Femi. I honestly don’t know where to start from. My heart is so heavy. What is it about Nigeria that (or is it we as a nation) nothing  good comes out of the news. I’m beginning to wonder if there is nothing wrong with me when I go through websites expectant of only bad news. Why don’t I ever expect anything good to come out if Nigeria? I don’t even know what to tell my children again. I try to give them a balanced view of the country but something would always come up to make nonsense of that. Why would any sane person want to come and live in that madness called Nigeria where nothing is guaranteed. Life is not guaranteed, jobs are not guaranteed, education is not guaranteed, security is not guaranteed, a decent daily meal is not guaranteed. I could go on and on.

I came to a realization recently which is self-preservation. Abi shebi it’s life/self first. When I saw the early morning pictures of the crowd of youths at the Abuja stadium my heart just sank because I could almost write the script of what would follow. And so I waited (expectantly?)and wasn’t disappointed. Would anything come out of it? No. Would life go on? Yes. Do they care? No. And the moron of a Minister had the gall to say that candidates died because of ”impatience”. Meanwhile the so-called aptitude test was just a ruse. They had handpicked their preferred candidates weeks ago. The crowd alone told me that we have a serious problem of youth unemployment yet Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala would come out and be reeling stupid figures. Please tell her that she’s not fooling anyone. As if the unemployment is not bad enough government is opening more universities like daycare centers and still granting licenses for private universities. Who is going to absorb these teeming unemployed graduates? Where are the industries? Are you creating an enabling environment for investment? In fact I’m just done with agonizing over Nigeria. Self first please!”

Her words and counsel moved me to tears. As far as I am concerned she captured the mood very well and her simple yet succinct submission is reflective of the thinking and deep pain of millions of Nigerians from all over the world that are fast losing hope in their nation. Yet what can we do but just continue to hope and pray. What can we do for the future of our children and to better the fortunes of our nation? This is indeed food for thought. As the bible says, ”may God deliver us from bloodthirsty and evil men” and ”may the balm of Gilead heal our wounds and comfort our mourning souls”.

 

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of SaharaReporters

ICPC Seizes 372 International Passports.


By Folu Olamiti

The Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has in its custody 372 international passports recovered from several persons and agents.

The recovery is part of an ongoing clampdown on corruption-prone processes in the acquisition of visas.

The Commission has directed owners of the recovered passports to appear at its headquarters, located at Plot 802 Constitution Avenue, Zone A9, Central Business District Area, Abuja between 19th and 28th February 2014 from 10am to 3pm each day, excluding weekends.

The  affected persons are  to come along with proof of ownership and the travel documents supporting their visa applications to respective embassies to collect their passports.

It will be recalled that ICPC operatives, had in October 2013, arrested 18 suspects in Abuja and Lagos. Three of them were allegedly involved in the production of fake documents to satisfy visa requirements, while one was in possession of suspicious travel documents. The rest were either arrested with forged public documents or for allegedly colluding  with someone in India to procure a fake invitation letters from an Indian Hospital. Culpable ones have since been arraigned in courts.

ICPC had initiated several arrests after receiving an ever increasing number of petitions from prospective students seeking educational placement and patients seeking medical attention abroad who were duped by some agents.

It will be recalled that ICPC had issued a “Visa Scam Press Advisory” last year warning intending travelers of the consequences of patronising and using dubious travel agents and touts to obtain visas through corrupt practices.

Travelers were further advised to use verifiable documents and only deal with official and registered travel and appropriate government Agencies.

ICPC is delighted that these investigations and arrests have led to significant changes in visa administration by respective government departments, Travel Agencies, embassies and travelers.

Folu Olamiti
Resident Consultant

Source: SAHARA REPORTERS.

President Jonathan divides Ohanaeze over 2015.


 

President-jonathan-05

The purported 2015 presidential ambition of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan has divided the apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo.

Special Adviser to the President on Inter-party Affairs Senator Ben Ndi Obi, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu and Senator Edwin Onwudiwe said Jonathan had done well and deserved another term.

But Ohanaeze Ndigbo President, Chief Enwo Igariwey, said Igbo had not made any statement on the issue, adding that the body would declare its stand at the appropriate time.

Eleven states formed what they called Oriental Peoples Movement (OPM), founded by Andy Campbell Onyeaqanam.

 

The states are Anambra, Abia, Abuja, Enugu, Ebonyi, Delta, Rivers, Bayelsa, Akwa-Ibom, Cross-River and Imo.

At the official launch of the Anambra State chapter yesterday, Onwudiwe, the chairman of the occasion, said the idea was to protect Ndigbo interest.

He said Jonathan should be given opportunity to translate Nigeria, adding that it was too late for Ndigbo to work against the Southsouth presidency. ”We should support Jonathan next year so that Southsouth will support us when our time comes. We will lose it if we create a vacuum now,” Onwudiwe added.

Obi said the President was being unjustly criticised by the opposition, adding that he was focused and determined to develop the country.

Said he: “Jonathan has done well in the last three years. But there are still grounds to be covered. The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is a huge movement. We are grounded in the ethics of democracy.

“We are waiting for Jonathan, having assured that Nigerians will enjoy more democracy dividends in 2014. Ndigbo were major contributors to his 2011 success story at the polls.

“Ohanaeze met with him last December 9, during which issues concerning Ndigbo were discussed and the people said they were satisfied with his explanations.”

Igariwey said yesterday that individuals were entitled to their opinions, adding that no decision had been made on next year’s presidential election.

Iwuanyanwu, a member of the Board of Trustees of the PDP, said Jonathan’s stay in office was “to allow the labours of our hero’s past not to be in vain”, adding that that was why every ethnic group should support his 2015 project.

He said: “Jonathan represents that unity as preached by our past heroes. The reward for hard work is more work. Therefore, I hail the initiators of this project called, ‘Think presidency, think Jonathan’”.

Source: Radio Biafra.

Aviation Minister Oduah: I won’t allow abandoned projects.


Stella-ODUAH-03

Aviation Minister, Princess Stella Oduah, has assured that the ongoing remodelling of airports will be completed in record time

without any abandoned project under her watch.

Oduah spoke after a two-day tour of eight airports at the weekend.

The minister inspected the remodelling of Yola, Sokoto, Ilorin, Abuja, Calabar, Port Harcourt, Owerri, and Enugu airports.

Oduah, who decried the abandoned project syndrome in Nigeria, said the present administration was committed to timely completion of projects it started in late 2011 under the Airport Remodelling Project Initiative.

She said: “When we came on board in 2011 and drew up our master plan and implementation road map, which had as its core components the Airport Remodelling Project, we were charged by Mr President to ensure that we complete every project we embark on.

“We assured Mr President that we would see every project to its logical conclusion and we are committed to that. We are fortunate to have his full support and the support of the Federal Executive Council (FEC).

“The result of that level of support is what you are seeing today. Not only have we completed, inaugurated and put to use a lot of the remodelled airports, work on the remaining ones is at 95 per cent completion. So, under my watch, no project we have begun will be abandoned.”

The minister said the Yola Airport was critical to the successful implementation of the transformation programme in the Aviation sector.

She said it was among the designated perishable cargo centres, adding that its cargo terminal would be completed in the second quarter of this year.

Source: Radio Biafra.

Jonathan, Igbos, And The Second Niger Bridge By Frank Onia.


 

By Frank Onia, PhD

The standard criteria for decisions on infrastructural deployment include need, available resources, competing demands for finite resources, alignment with related infrastructure, incubatory foundation for progressive deployment, social benefits, political patronage, economic benefits, minimization of stress and hardship for the citizens, potentials for stimulating overall economic development, balancing considerations, replacement of obsolete infrastructure, need to embrace emerging and efficient technology, etc, etc. When viewed from an objective prism and against the backdrop of the itemized criteria above, it is long overdue to replace the Niger Bridge at Onitsha, which has verifiably and universally been identified as a deathtrap. This bridge was constructed in 1963, and is the ONLY link between the South-East of Nigeria and the rest of the country (towards the West). This bridge serves as the ONLY access point to Anambra, Imo, Abia, Ebonyi, Enugu, Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Benue, and Plateau States, when you approach from Lagos, and, indeed, all the states that formerly constituted the Western and mid-Western Regions, as well as from Abuja and segments of the North.

It is trite to mention that this bridge handles the highest concentration of vehicular traffic in the country, and has served this purpose progressively and exhaustively for fifty years! The exponential growth in population and number of vehicles in the country in the past five decades have added to the pressure on the bridge, with the result that it is nearly collapsing, with the attendant risks for human lives, economic activities, mass psychology, and national development. Citizens from the Eastern parts of the country are the most itinerant in the country, with the evident implication that tens of millions of individuals make frequent trips to their homeland, relying on a safe passage through this same bridge. This assumption of basic safety has been denied them perennially for several years, and is currently being toyed with even further. The significance of this bridge is emphasized during the festive period at the end of each year, when millions of people are trapped and delayed at the bridge for several hours in what should, otherwise, be pleasurable commutes back home. As a country, we have witnessed this for several decades and have failed to do anything about it. When any attention has been paid to the need to replace and expand this bridge, it has been suffused with empty promises, vacuous platitudes, cheap politics, and exploration of the underlying potentials for corruption. The Obasanjo civilian administration played games with the need to replace this bridge for eight years, ensuring that new promises were recycled as elections approached. And, yet, nothing was done.

While the South East, as a Region, contributes very significantly to the development of Nigeria, especially outside Igboland, there is NO single Federal Government institution or semblance of infrastructure in the entire Region. Even though Igbos and their brothers from the South-South are among the most widely-traveled people in the world, there is NO worthy international airport in the larger Region, thereby forcing residents of the Region/s to travel to Lagos or Abuja, before they can travel overseas. Professor Chinua Achebe was involved in a ghastly motor accident near Awka, Anambra State, because he had to travel overseas from Lagos, even though he then resided at Nsukka in Enugu State. This accident cost him his limbs, paralyzed him for life, and hastened his relocation to the United States, where he died many years later.

There are thousands of others who have lost their lives in a similar manner; the additional cost and inconvenience involved in these unnecessary local travels are best imagined, as such travelers must stay in hotels, eat, utilize local transportation, and incur sundry expenses in (mostly) Lagos and Abuja, purely on account of a deliberate State policy to punish Igbo people for whatever reason, While Igbos easily dominate the trading and commercial sectors of Nigeria and West Africa, there is no discernible effort to dredge the River Niger at Onitsha, to enable port activities. The only federal “investment” on River Niger has been the deliberate channeling of the water to the Northern parts of the country, for irrigation activities, while the Onitsha end of the River has been drying up in the  past 20 years, thereby impeding fishing, subsistence farming, and overall economic growth. While Abuja, the North, and other Regions of the country, continue to attract comparatively-significant infrastructural investments and upgrades (for example, the hundreds of billions of Naira being spent to expand the access road from the Abuja airport into the City, as well as the scandalous budget of over N55 billion for the erection of a mere City Gate in Abuja), it is clear that holding the South East down is a Directive Principle of State Policy in Nigeria. No other conclusion is possible from the continued neglect of the Niger Bridge, and the criminal disrespect with which the belated redemptive measures are being packaged. It is noteworthy that the Federal Government funds projects in Abuja and elsewhere directly and does not charge tolls on those roads.

In a society like ours, ethnic agitation for legitimate attention is entirely understandable, hence the tone and tenor of this submission. When our statecraft develops to the stage of objectivity, justice, and fairness, then, possibly our micro-national identities may become muted. The Jonathan Administration has failed both the South-South and South-East by its singular failure to provide basic infrastructure in the two pivotal Regions. The fact that the so-called East-West Road remains uncompleted after all these years, while humongous budgetary allocations have officially been designated to its conclusion, should remain a source of embarrassment for Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, well after his stay in office. Pray, how did a treasonous impostor like Mr. Ibrahim Babangida manage to utilize both federal funds (from oil sales!) and oil futures to build a new federal capital city in Abuja, when the man who literally owns the oil cannot construct the road leading to his hometown, even with a democratic mandate? Shame has only one definition.

As it pertains to the need to construct the second Niger Bridge, a categorical imperative, the same Jonathan Administration is being clever by half, by concessioning the bridge to that veritable purveyor impunity and corruption in Nigeria, Julius Berger Construction. This initiator and exemplar of corruption in Nigeria has since announced that the 1.8 kilometer bridge will cost them N100 billion to construct, as a justification for the sweetheart deal extended to them by Jonathan and his Administration, whereby Julius Berger will install three toll gates on that bridge in perpetuity, ostensibly to recover their “investment”. Knowing Julius Berger and Nigeria, this project will eventually cost N200 billion on paper, when completed. Julius Berger did not bring any foreign investment whatsoever when it left its decrepit office in Wiesbaden, Germany, to emerge on Nigeria’s shores 40 years ago, on the private invitation of the late Major General Shehu Musa Yar Adua, number two man in the erstwhile dictatorship of the perennial fumbler and dissembler, Mr. Olusegun Obasanjo, which lapsed in 1979.

Let it be made clear that a bridge is a road with its foundation in water. Nigerians need to be aware that the same Julius Berger has just paid penalties to the United States Government totaling tens of millions of dollars for specific cases of corruption it perpetrated in Nigeria. The United States Government, which was not victimized, benefited by way of this penalty payment by Julius Berger, while this construction company that has been at the forefront of corrupting public officials in Nigeria for the past 40 years, neither paid any penalty or compensation to the real victim, Nigeria, nor is it being blacklisted or censured in any way.

Rather, successive Nigerian Governments continue to reward Julius Berger with heavily-inflated contracts, responsibility for maintaining strategic locations like the Aso Rock Presidential Complex and the National Assembly. The same company is constructing the new residences for the Vice-President, Senate President, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, projects that have already gulped close to N60 billion on paper even before completion. To deepen the culture of impunity and complete the psychological humiliation of the illustrious Igbos of Nigeria, the Jonathan Administration, which owes the South-East a second Niger Bridge as well as tangible federal presence, has mortgaged the entire East to Julius Berger by criminally acquiescing in the perpetual exploitation of the teeming people under a most suspicious and fraudulent Concession Arrangement. Where else in the country is a whole Region held prostate and captive in this manner? Where else is the ONLY bridge leading into a Region casually assigned to a criminal enterprise for the exploitation of citizens who have no alternatives?

In this, it must be stated that Jonathan and his Administration are playing a script already tested and fine-tuned by Mr. Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Governor Fashola of Lagos State, wherein residents of the Lekki axis have effectively been hemmed in and subjected to unnecessary and usurious toll charges each time they either access or exit their homes, despite the very significant contribution these residents make to the much-vaunted Internally-Generated Revenue of Lagos State. It is significant that the same Julius Berger is the partner to Messrs Tinubu and Fashola on the bridge toll exploitation project linking Ikoyi and Lekki Phase One. Yet another toll gate ensures that you also cannot get to Lekki from Victoria Island without feeding Bola Ahmed Tinubu and his crony, Fashola’s, insatiable greed and appetite.

It is very clear from this single example that both the PDP and the APC (seeking leprous and blind navigators) are the same in philosophy, orientation, and content; both are fraudulent and self-serving devices.

If our dealers must feel entitled to collecting both public revenue and IGR, and yet charge the citizens for token infrastructure provided in their areas of jurisdiction, all in an environment of opaqueness, arrogance, impunity, and absence of citizen input, it might well be better to sack all governments and share the revenue of the country among the citizens, who are perpetually burdened with the direct provision of basic services, for which Governments exist in the first place. In all of this, these dealers feel perfectly justified in magisterially cornering significant chunks of State resources under various guises, notably the poorly-christened Security Votes.

Regarding the second Niger Bridge, there is NO WAY that a 1.8 km bridge of the best quality, together with immediate access roads, will cost up to N10 billion, yet, we are told that the initial assessment for the bridge is N100 billion. Why must Julius Berger be the only company handling all these projects? What process leads to these awards and appointments? Why are competent and established construction companies all over the world being frustrated from accessing the Nigerian market by Government Officials protecting this small German company, with a small office in their home country? Are they not aware that the unrivaled access given Julius Berger’s engineers and staff is a grave national security risk? What is the role of the National Security Adviser and the DG-SSS, in guiding the government appropriately? Are people now so incompetent or corrupt that they neither know nor care that sophisticated Intelligence Collection devices are installed in all these sensitive locations, with the downloading and processing taking place at the Julius Berger Operational Headquarters at Life Camp, Abuja, under the able supervision of German Intelligence Officials – all of this intrusive and aggressive collection against Nigeria paid for Nigeria. What a country!

Given the identified urgency of the need to construct the second Niger Bridge, you would think that, in the absence of common sense in high places, senior government officials of Igbo origin would be easy and strident advocates of the Federal Government swiftly constructing the bridge as its duty to the people, with an apology to the citizens for the delayed implementation. Some of the referenced officials are the Coordinating, Supervising, and Overseeing Secretary to the Federal Government, His Massive Excellency Mr. Anyim Pius Anyim; the so-called Coordinating Minister of the Economy (in hubris-free English, the Minister of Finance), Mrs. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala; the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mrs. Viola Onwuliri; the Deputy Senate President, Mr. Ike Ekweremadu; the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Emeka Ihedioha; the Chairmen of the Works Committees in both the Senate and the House of Representatives; the crisis-ridden and inflated Supervising and Coordinating Minister of Aviation and its Parastatals, Ms Stella Oduah; the immediate past Army Chief, Lt. General Azubuike Ihejirika; the recently-relieved Chief of Naval Staff; Vice-Admiral Dele Ezeoba; the Director-General of the so-called Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP), Mr. Emeka Eze – whose village roads have all been tarred by contractors executing Federal Government contracts; 15 undistinguished Senators from the South East; several dishonorable Members of the House of Representatives; the five state governors of the South-East; ex-this and ex-that, etc, etc.

Even if the objective case fails to penetrate thick skulls, surely the selfish and symbolic motive of garnering solid Igbo votes should impel the urgent construction of that overdue bridge. I say this because expectations have been grossly lowered in Nigeria, to the extent that a 1.8 km bridge could guarantee you bloc Regional votes. Mr. Jonathan could even extend the tokenism by naming the new bridge after Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu, in a symbolic gesture of connecting the erstwhile Biafran heartland with the rest of the country. The identified officials are rather satisfied with having Julius Berger construct private homes for them in Abuja and their remote villages, in a well-oiled program of corruption, collusion, and compromise. The definition of shame has still not changed.

If all of this fails, what stops the Governors of the South-East from reducing their greed quotient by utilizing their so-called Security Votes (since kidnappers have taken over the Region anyway!) to construct this vital bridge for their people, and then heap the necessary propaganda guilt on the Federal Government that has been permanently negligent and wicked towards Igbos? The failure to do the right thing, and at the right time, is the bane of the Nigerian society. The complacency of the Nigerian society is yet a latent contributing factor to the charade that is called governance in Nigeria.

Let it be clear, though, that Julius Berger, or any other company so-called, should not be allowed to exploit the people under whatever Concession Arrangement involving a critical piece of infrastructure like the second Niger Bridge. Their so-called investment should and will come to nothing. A bridge built on a fraudulent foundation MUST fall. Citizens must begin to demand their due dessert from pretenders to the throne. A life of surrender, conditioned by endless prayers and exploitation by clerical purveyors of hope, will not suffice in this case.

Mr. Jonathan, his handlers, and cronies from the South-East and South-South still have very limited time to reverse themselves, as well as their deeply-offensive and odious ineptitude and policies, by directly and quickly completing the East-West Road and the second Niger Bridge, without further ado and delay. They could, as always, collect multiples of the real contract value as bribe; someday, the United States Government will extract penalties from the complicit Construction Company. In other countries where non-strategic infrastructure have been concessioned out, the Government acts as the protector of the citizens, setting standards, aggregating public interest, achieving optimal costs, minimizing waste, setting the tariff, and defining the time-frame for toll collection. In Nigeria’s case, both the Government and the so-called Concessionaires are a united usurious entity, exposing the citizens unduly to endemic exploitation. In any case, competing and several alternatives are provided before roads are tolled. Not in Nigeria. Our dealers will do well to study the Latin American model, to understand how this program works.

I have discussed with a wide range of Igbo professionals in Nigeria and overseas, and they are in unison regarding the egregious insult involved in the structure being proposed by Mr. Jonathan, his Minister of Works, and their Administration. They affirm that, rather than accept the so-called concessioning of the Niger Bridge, Igbos should be allowed to float a Municipal Bond or contribute among themselves, to construct the bridge. The implication of this would be a final severance of whatever psychological link Igbos have with Nigeria. It is common knowledge that Igbo people have typically taxed themselves to provide electricity, water, roads, schools, etc., in their communities, through a well-honed self-effort system. They can also construct this short bridge that will save their lives, without the involvement of their politicians and their mentors in Abuja. In the case of the second Niger Bridge, let it be made very clear that the Igbos will not forget or forgive the perpetuation of marginalization, exploitation, and insult under any arrangement that involves the erection of toll gates on that bridge. Indeed, that bridge shall not stand, under the Jonathan paradigm, and Mr. Jonathan will do well not to delude himself that he is guaranteed of Igbo votes in 2015.

 

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of SaharaReporters

PHOTONEWS : President Jonathan Launches Operation Light-Up Rural Nigeria Project In Abuja Suburb.


 

President Goodluck Jonathan cutting the tape to launch the operation light-up rural Nigeria (OLM) project at Durumi community in Abuja on Monday. With him are   ministers of power, Prof Chinedu Nebo; Country President, Schneider Electric Nigeria, Mr. Marcel Hochet, FCT Minister, Sen Bala Mohammed.

 

Photo Credit:  State House Photo

Source: SAHARA REPORTERS.

Keep Hope Alive, Ihedioha Urges Nigerians in New Year Message.


Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha has enjoined Nigerians to remain hopeful and optimistic for better days ahead in the country.

Nigeria's House of Reps Deputy Speaker,  Emeka Ihedioha

Nigeria’s House of Reps Deputy Speaker, Emeka Ihedioha

In a message to mark the start of the new year, the deputy speaker said the challenges of security, growth and development besetting the country only calls for greater resilience and optimism from Nigerians, noting that a defeatist mentality can only aggravate problems.

Rather, he said Nigerians should invest energies into positive thinking and gainful but lawful engagements for personal and collective benefits so that the country can rise above current challenges and march onward in the path of growth, progress and development.

He noted that developed countries of the world had passed through similar if not tougher challenges and that the situation with Nigeria should not be seen as unprecedented and insurmountable.

“We will overcome current challenges if we faint not,” Ihedioha said while calling on all those in leadership and positions of authority to renew their commitment towards nation-building and place national interest above personal pursuits in discharging the burdens of public office.

 Oke Epia
Chief Press Secretary, Deputy Speaker
 
Source: African Examiner.

Jonathan Urges Politicians To Put National Interest First.


Ruth Bamidele

President Goodluck Jonathan on Wednesday en joined politicians in the country to place national interest above every other motives in the new year  2014, adding that they should make Nigeria great and leave a better country to the next generations.

Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan

Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan

The President made the call while speaking at the Catholic Church in Area 3, Abuja, where he observed his New Year Church service.

In his words, the president said, “All what we need to do is to make sure that we continue to do things right. That is why I always plead with my fellow politicians that yes we must play the politics but let us take the interest of the country more than our own individual interest. And as we continue to play the politics in that direction, leaders will come and go but the country will stay.”

He further added that, politicians should begin to plan for the next generation instead of wasting all energies on their own personal interests.

He also said that Nigeria has all it takes to be great and to provide leadership for the African continent.

“Luckily, we have a Constitution that says that nobody will be a governor or president forever. It is only in the parliament that you can be there till you die. As long as we consider the interest of our country, children, grand children and we begin to plan for the next generation instead of wasting all our energies to think about ourselves. Before we get to the next 100 years, the country will be better. Nigeria can even change in the next few years and things will be better for everybody.” he said.

The president promised that 2014, will be better than 2013 as he his administration will ensure that sustainable power supply is attained in the country from the middle of this year.

Source: African Examiner.

Zoological republic of Nigeria at 100, Break-up won’t guarantee freedom –Atiku.


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Former vice- president, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar has admonished Nigerians to guard the unity of the amalgam,

jealously. In his message on the centenary celebration of the amalgamation of Northern and Southern Protectorates which formed Nigeria, the former vice-president cautioned that agitation for balkanisation of a united federation would not automatically transform to freedom and economic prosperity, citing the experience of Southern Sudan.
“My message to fellow countrymen and women as we mark this landmark occasion is that we should not take our unity for granted or push our luck too far. We should learn from the recent experiences of other African countries. The current situation in South Sudan is a reminder to all African champions of division and pursuit of ethnic superiority that the secession of a group of people from a nation based on ethnic, racial or religious identities does not guarantee freedom from the struggle for life and only deepens the trivial divides which distract us from our common humanity. The gains of independence in South Sudan are now going up in smoke because of inter-ethnic rivalries and hostilities at the expense of unity. Nigeria and its people can no longer afford to weave a tangled web of fractious identities wrongfully defined by their opposition to one another.
Atiku further noted that Nigeria’s diversity was her strength and urged Nigerians to guard it jealously.
” As we mark the centenary celebration of the amalgamation of the Lagos colony with the Northern and Southern Protectorates by the British Colonial occupier forming one country, Nigerians need to pat each other on the back for we have truly come a long way. However, we must redouble our efforts towards building a stronger and more united Nigeria rather than concentrating energies on division or breakup.
The recent clamour by some of Nigeria’s leaders for a renegotiation of the continued being of Nigeria are dishonest and an unnecessary distraction from the future that we can build. Such leaders need to be concentrating their efforts on tackling the challenges ranging from lack of security to addressing poverty and unemployment through infrastructural investments. The victims of structural ineptitude are not distinguished on the basis of their ethnicity, tribe, religion or region. It is also a truism that both the perpetrators and their victims are Nigerians and secession will not fix these woes. Rather, if our leaders devoted more energy on dealing with these basic challenges facing ordinary Nigerians, ethnic and religious differences would have sunk to the background as people will be able to focus on the economic and social opportunities available to them. Once the citizens are contented through the availability of opportunities granted by good governance, these dividing lines will gradually become symbols of Nigeria’s unique composition, driving progress through a collaboration of perspectives and ideas.To me, it is regretful that more than 40 years after the unfortunate and devastating civil war the country went through, leaders could still be busy playing the ethnic and religious cards to gain power while poverty, unemployment, hunger and disease continue to ravage our people, leading many to venture into illicit and sometimes violent activities in order to provide for their families. True leaders must at all times shun the temptation of taking Nigerian’s perceived resilience for granted. Rather than being a source of weakness, diversity remains a major challenge to which all Nigerians must be sincerely committed.”

FROM TAIWO AMODU, ABUJA

Source: Radio Biafra.

Tackle poverty, insecurity; take not Nigerians for granted – Atiku warns.


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Former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, has raised the alarm over poverty rate in the country, calling on the Federal Government to rise up to the task of governance.According to him, elected and appointed officials must be proactive in tackling issues affecting the people, as they have exercised enough patience with successive administrations.In a New Year message by his Media Office in Abuja on Monday, Atiku, while congratulating Nigerians, thanked God for keeping the nation together despite its myriad of security, political and socio-economic challenges.“Despite our challenges in the area of security, infrastructure, politics and economy, I am grateful to God for keeping us together as one,” he said.“It is my hope that we all will face the future of our country with confidence and fervent hope that God will grant us the better tomorrow we are working for.”The Turaki Admawa, urged leaders at different levels to brace up to the challenges of nation-building and economic prosperity for the nation and its people.Continuing, Atiku noted that “With hard work and dedication, elected leaders and public servants can rise to the expected challenges of national development and economic prosperity to redress the deepening poverty of ordinary Nigerians in 2014.“Public office holders should not take the magnanimity of the Nigerian people for granted,” he added.

Source: Radio Biafra.

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