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Wikileaks’s Assange Says He’s Releasing More Secret Data.


Image: Wikileaks's Assange Says He's Releasing More Secret Data

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange speaks by video link to an audience at the South by Southwest Interactive conference in Austin, Texas. (AP)

Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks who has disclosed scores of classified data about U.S. military and diplomatic efforts, said the group would be releasing a new batch of secret information.

Assange, speaking through a video feed Saturday to a crowd of more than 3,000 people at the South by Southwest Interactive conference in Austin, Texas, said he wouldn’t share details about the timing or contents of the data because he doesn’t want to give the subjects a chance to prepare a response.

“I don’t think it’s right to give the perpetrator the heads up,” said Assange.

Assange is one of several speakers at the conference who is focused on Internet privacy and online security. After years of being an event for celebrating startups with new social- networking tools for posting personal information, South by Southwest this year is taking a more critical look at the privacy consequences of sharing that data. Edward Snowden, the government contractor who leaked documents disclosing spying by the National Security Agency, speaks on Monday through a video link.

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Assange, 42, said the disclosures about NSA spying are causing people to reassess the role of government in a world where an increasing amount of personal information is stored online. He said the U.S. agency is losing the public-relations battle since the revelations from Snowden about gathering data from companies such as Google Inc., Facebook Inc. and Apple Inc. The disclosures show a “military occupation” in the Internet’s “public space,” he said.

He said the release of classified information is critical to better understanding of the practices the government is doing in secret. He also said the NSA doesn’t face enough oversight from President Barack Obama’s administration.

“Who really wears the pants in the administration?” Assange said.

Wikileaks, which started in 2006, leaks classified documents under a philosophy of increasing government transparency. With help from people who have access to secret information, the nonprofit group has released materials including State Department communications about foreign governments and military efforts during wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. One U.S. soldier, private Bradley Manning, is serving as long as 35 years in prison for leaking classified information to Wikileaks.

Assange lives in the Ecuadorean embassy in London to avoid arrest in relation to a sexual assault investigation. He has denied the charges.

Google Chairman Eric Schmidt said earlier in the conference that there needs to be a balance between transparency and security because the government information being disclosed could put lives at risk. He also said the disclosures have made Assange and Snowden “celebrities” and may spawn copycat efforts, increasing the risk for harm if the disclosures aren’t done carefully.

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© Copyright 2014 Bloomberg News. All rights reserved.

Eric Holder to Lecture Swedish Lawmakers on Gay Rights.


Attorney General Eric Holder is set to give a speech to the Swedish Parliament on Tuesday on gay rights.

According to a Department of Justice press release obtained by Newsmax, Holder will “discuss the global struggle for LGBT equality as well as other civil rights challenges shared by the United States and Sweden.”

The speech is titled, “A More Just and Inclusive World: Confronting the Civil Rights Challenges of Our Time,” according to the Swedish blog, Professorsblogg.

Holder is visiting Sweden as part of a European trip to attend a G6 ministerial conference in Poland. Professorsblogg claims the main reason for his visit to Stockholm is to discuss the case of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, with his Swedish counterpart Beatrice Ask.

Assange, who has been holed up in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London for the past 18 months, is wanted in Sweden on allegations of sexual assault. Assange has claimed that is a front to allow him to be extradited to the United States to face charges for releasing thousands of classified documents.

According to Professorsblogg, Holder may be hoping to receive assurances from Swedish authorities that they will follow any such U.S. extradition request, as the Scandinavian country has always done in the past.

Assange went on TV last month to attack President Barack Obama, after the president had announced plans to reform the U.S. government’s surveillance programs. “It is embarrassing for a head of state to go on like that for 45 minutes and say almost nothing,” he said during an interview with CNN.

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Drew MacKenzie

Lagos : Gleaming New City For The Wealthy Leaves Historic City In Dust.


Jan. 21 (GIN) – As developers rush to complete a dream city of soaring glass and steel high-rise buildings, luxury housing for 250,000 amidst a leafy boulevard with ritzy shops and tony restaurants, hopes for a better future are growing dim for the sister city of Lagos, the largest city in Africa with 21 million residents at last count.

Eko Atlantic, the new project, is rising on Victoria Island – now connected by an artificial land bridge to Lagos which sinks deeper into poverty as its neighbor’s income skyrockets.

Lagos, visited by the Portuguese in 1492, was the nation’s capital from 1914 to 1991. Today it struggles with aging infrastructure, unreliable electric power, fierce traffic jams and sprawling slums. Even in posh neighborhoods, sewage bubbles up from open ditches. Companies squeeze their headquarters into moldy midcentury ranch houses and turn off the lights at lunch to rest electric generators.

Two-thirds of the city’s residents live in “informal” neighborhoods, while more than one million of the city’s poor have been forcibly evicted from their homes over the last 15 years.

Eko Atlantic is a prime example of a trend towards walled-off cities for the very rich on a continent that is still home to the world’s poorest.

Writing in The Guardian newspaper, Martin Lukacs warned: “Eko Atlantic is where you can begin to see a possible future – privatized green enclaves for the ultra rich ringed by slums lacking water or electricity, in which a surplus population scramble for depleting resources and shelter to fend off the coming floods and storms.”

He continued: “Protected by guards, guns, and sky-high real estate prices, the rich will shield themselves from the rising tides of poverty and a sea that is literally rising… This is climate apartheid.”

Nigerian environmental activist Nnimmo Bassey added: “Building Eko Atlantic is contrary to anything one would want to do if one took seriously climate change and resource depletion.”

The developers, a pair of politically connected Lebanese brothers who run a financial empire called the Chagoury Group, received a 78 year-seal of ownership of Eko Atlantic to recoup their investment.

The Clinton Global Initiative, meanwhile, calls Eko Atlantic “one of the most inspiring and ambitious civil engineering projects in Africa,” according to the U.S. mission in Nigeria website.  Last year, former President Clinton participated in the ground breaking ceremony as did Ambassador Terence McCulley, and Consul General Jeff Hawkins, among others.

Woman To Lead Embattled Central African Republic As New President

Jan. 21 (GIN) – To the sound of cheers from the National Assembly building, the Transitional National Council of the Central African Republic on Monday tapped Catherine Samba-Panza, mayor of the capital city of Bangui, to be the country’s interim President and first woman to hold the post.

As the new leader of a country gripped by a ferocious sectarian war, Catherine Samba-Panza, 58, issued a call to the fighting groups, asking her “children, especially the anti-Balaka, to put down their arms and stop all the fighting. The same goes for the ex-Seleka. . . I don’t want to hear any more talk of murders and killings.

“Starting today, I am the president of all Central Africans, without exclusion.”

Born in Chad to a Cameroonian father and Central African mother, Ms. Samba-Panza is a former businesswoman, corporate lawyer, and insurance broker.  She also led a reconciliation effort during a previous civil war.

Paul Simon Handy, of the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) in South Africa, called her “a president who can unite both the country and the political elite” but warned: “I am afraid that this process will take longer than her period in office as interim president.”

The Central African Republic has been devastated by brutal fighting since a coup in March 2013 removed the unpopular president Francois Bozize. He was replaced by Michel Djotodia who suspended the constitution. Djotodia resigned this month under intense international pressure as the death toll mounted to over 1000 people and observers feared a genocide was in the works.

According to a New York Times report, “The state no longer exists in the CAR. Civil servants do not go to their offices, taxes are not collected, all the schools are closed. There is no budget, no army, no police force, no Parliament, no judges, no jails.”

Against these odds, Samba-Panza, no political novice, ran a successful campaign and beat seven other candidates for the post. Among them were two women and two sons of former presidents.

Now, her primary task will be to prepare the nation for elections in the coming year.  In addition she will need to temper the extreme animosity between the Christian and Muslim groups in the country.

Central African Republic has to hold a fresh election by February 2015 at the latest. France, however, wants the election to be held this year. Current law excludes the interim president from running.

“Everything we have been through has been the fault of men,” said Marie-Louise Yakemba, in a press interview. Yakemba, who heads a civil-society organization that brings together people of different faiths, added: “We think that with a woman, there is at least a ray of hope.”w/pix of Pres. Samba-Panza

Africa Was A Point Of Pride For Martin Luther King Jr.
By Rush Perez

Jan. 21 (GIN) – At a speaking engagement at Western Michigan University on Dec. 18, 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. recalled his first trip to Africa with his wife Coretta to attend the independence day celebration of the new nation of Ghana. The couple was invited by the new President, Kwame Nkrumah.

“We were very happy about the fact there were now eight independent countries in Africa,” he said. “But since that night in March, 1957, some twenty-seven new independent nations have come into being in Africa. This reveals to us that the old order of colonialism is passing away, and the new order of freedom and human dignity is coming into being.”

Later, on Dec. 10, 1965 he gave a powerful speech at Hunter College in New York City, where he attacked the Apartheid regime of South Africa, as well as the governments of Rhodesia (today Zimbabwe) and the Portuguese control of Mozambique and Angola.

True to form, Dr King utilized powerful language to make his points, beginning first with a deconstruction of the popular narrative of Africa at the time.

“Africa has been depicted for more than a century as the home of black cannibals and ignorant primitives….Africa does have spectacular savages today, but they are not black. They are the sophisticated white rulers of South Africa… whose conduct and philosophy stamp them unmistakably as modern day barbarians.”

He went on to call for an international boycott of South Africa.

After the independence day ceremonies in Ghana, Dr King said in a radio interview that: “This event, the birth of this new nation, will give impetus to oppressed peoples all over the world. I think it will have worldwide implications and repercussions–not only for Asia and Africa, but also for America….It renews my conviction in the ultimate triumph of justice and that somehow the universe itself is on the side of freedom and justice. So that this gives new hope to me in the struggle for freedom.”

GHANAIAN JOURNALIST WHO INSPIRED YOUNGER WRITERS IS RECALLED  

Jan. 21 (GIN) – An accomplished and much-admired news writer from Ghana was recalled as “the face and voice of Africa – a new young, enterprising, international connected, ambitious Africa, with a can-do attitude.”

Komla Afeke Dumor passed unexpectedly this week at age 41 from cardiac arrest at his London home.

“He was not a praise-singer,” noted BBC Africa editor Solomon Mugera. “He was determined to present a balanced story, warts and all, and to show the human face behind the headlines.”

Dumor was a BBC World News presenter and the host of the Focus on Africa Program. He joined the BBC in 2006 after working for a decade as a journalist in Ghana. He was so popular in his home country that many Ghanaians changed their profiles on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter to show a picture of him.

After moving to TV in 2009, he anchored live coverage of major events including the funeral of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Il,  the wedding of Britain’s Prince William and Kate Middleton, and the death of Nelson Mandela in December.

Born in 1972 in Accra, Komla Dumor received graduate degrees from the University of Ghana and Harvard University.

Even as a number of African countries were being heralded as among the world’s fastest-growing economies, Dumor wanted to dig deeper, recalled Mugera.

“He knew that a select few were wining and dining in five-star hotels and driving the latest luxury cars, while in the same neighborhood there were families struggling to live on $1 a day.”

The Media Foundation for West Africa, a regional independent, non-governmental organisation based in Accra, shared their deep condolences for the loss of “one of Africa’s best journalists.”

“Komla raised the standard of journalism in Africa, and brought a lot of pride to many Ghanaians and Africans when he joined the BBC Africa Service and later, the World Service…  He was an an illustrious journalist and a trailblazer for many young journalists in Ghana and Africa as a whole. .. We have indeed lost a talented gem in journalism, Komla, damirifa due! Rest in peace!” the statement concluded.

In the words of Nigerian author Chimamanda Adichie:  “We have lost a star. Go well my discussant brother.”

Dumor leaves a wife, Kwansema Dumor, and three children. w/pix of K. Dumor

What President Obama Doesn’t Get About Inequality.


Inequality is President Obama’s highest priority, but his solutions are wholly naive.

Disparities between rich and poor are as ancient as civilization, but in modern democracies, this condition is exacerbated by globalization and technologies that drive it.

Successive advances in communication and transportation, for example, permit top opera singers, athletes and other professionals to reach wider audiences and earn incomes many times greater than their peers do.

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Before the radio, phonograph and moving pictures, virtually every city, small and large, had an opera house or music hall that offered live entertainment. The top stars sang in New York, London and Milan and earned considerable wealth, but many local performers and traveling journeymen could earn a decent living too.

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso made more than 260 recordings for RCA Victor from 1904 to 1920, and radio sent his voice around the world. His income soared to levels unheard in past generations, but less renowned performers were displaced as regional opera companies folded.

Satellite communications, the Internet and jet travel permit star journalists to reach millions across the globe, while summonsing the demise of newspapers and opportunities for local reporters and columnists. The same goes for Wall Street bankers, big-firm lawyers and multinational executives, at the expense of their brethren in smaller enterprises.

For ordinary workers, cheaper oceanic and rail transportation for goods and the Internet for services have magnified global competition. More workers in the United States must now compete with those in China, and those in northern Europe must compete with those in southern Europe and in large Chinese cities with those elsewhere in Asia.

Governments have made extremes of income worse. Big cities, often with federal support, subsidize concert halls and sports stadiums, and further raise the salaries paid top performers and big league ball players.

The United States and European Union have gone along with trade and environmental agreements that permit China to charge high tariffs on imports and avoid pollution abatement, making “Made in China” even cheaper. That pushes down wages for American and European workers and wreaks havoc on the global environment.

In China, migration laws permit rural workers to move to factories in big cities, but most may not bring their children. One in five Chinese children lives without their parents, and often those drop out of school and become unemployable, which will create enormous social problems.

Income disparities are making education more unattainable for the children of poor and working classes. This is a social time bomb, but government policies to address the problem often make things worse.

In the United States, government-subsidized loans drive up tuition costs. Community and less-prestigious four-year colleges have lots of children from low and middle-income families, and many graduates are saddled with huge debt and have not found jobs that pay much better than high school graduates.

Enrollment at top business and professional schools are still dominated by students whose parents are well off. They get most of the top-paying jobs on Wall Street, in high-end law firms and among multinational corporations.

Obamacare is making health insurance more expensive for many middle-class families and driving up the cost of healthcare. That makes income disparities worse not better.

Research at the nonpartisan National Bureau of Economic Research has shown putting otherwise able people on public assistance encourages the same in their children, and extended unemployment benefits actually increase unemployment by raising employer costs and reducing the demand for labor.

All these burdens slow growth and lessen job opportunities for the struggling middle class and disadvantaged.

High talk about social justice, widening economic opportunities and income redistribution makes liberal politicians media darlings and wins elections, but such demagoguery does little to fill the belly of the poor.

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© 2014 Moneynews. All rights reserved.

 

Nigeria’s New “MINTed” Hope By Okey Ndibe.


 

Columnist:

Okey Ndibe

During a brief trip to London last week, I was intrigued to realize that part of the news buzz pertained to Nigeria’s inclusion in a list of countries with prospects of becoming four of the world’s biggest emergent economies. The so-called MINT countries are Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria and Turkey. Jim O’Neill, an economist at the international investment firm, Goldman Sachs, popularized the acronym. He earlier coined the term BRICS countries, denoting Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, which he rated a few years ago as some of the globe’s emerging economic giants.
On Thursday, Peter Okwoche of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) ended a short interview on my new novel, Foreign Gods, Inc., by asking what I thought about Mr. O’Neill’s rosy prediction for Nigeria.

Lacking the time to offer a detailed and nuanced response, I stated that Nigeria is endowed with extremely bright people, that the country is full of energetic and industrious men and women. By contrast, I added, the country has never been lucky in the department of leadership. To sum up, I invoked Chinua Achebe’s dire—but hardly contestable—conclusion that Nigeria has an amazing facility for snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

Nigeria’s economic policy makers are understandably giddy about Mr. O’Neill’s flattering prognosis. I’d caution the infusion of a high dose of chastening realism into the premature celebration. A sense of history demands nothing less than a sober—and sobering—confrontation of the facts. Achebe was no economist, but the central fact of Nigeria’s journey, as far as economic development is concerned, bears out the late writer’s dim take on his country. In a sense, we could say that Achebe was the sounder economist and Mr. O’Neill, in inflating Nigeria’s odds, the fiction-maker.

This is not the first time Nigeria has been mentioned enthusiastically in prognoses of dramatic economic growth. Again and again, experts, foreign and homebred, had foretold that Nigeria was on the cusp of becoming a stupendous economic miracle. Each new prediction or declaration would trigger its own surge of elation. Nigeria’s policy makers and their sometimes over-pampered partners in the private sector would go into a spree of premature celebration, as if the word potential was interchangeable with reality, as if promise were the equal of performance. Each time, in the end, the outcome was embarrassing. Rather than rise to its potential, Nigeria always somehow found a way to stay stuck in the mud of failure and mediocrity, continuing to romance its worst nightmares.

Nigerians are all-too aware of their country’s missed opportunities. Many years have been lost to wasteful, visionless squander mania. Rampant, unchecked corruption has smothered many a promising grand idea. For many discerning people, Nigeria has become a huge graveyard: a cemetery littered with betrayed dreams, dashed hopes, and asphyxiated aspirations. We’re all too familiar with many dud promissory notes that came with such flamboyant names or phrases as “Green Revolution,” “Consolidating the Gains of SAP,” “Vision 2020-10,” “NEEDS,” “Dividends of Democracy,” and “Transformational Leadership.”

Read Nigerian newspapers or watch any Nigerian television station and you’re bound to realize that there’s zero discussion of the things that matter. It’s all about one empty-headed politician decamping from one political party to another; one squabble or another between two politicians or two political parties; one hireling or another warning that presidential power must stay where it is, or must be transferred to a person from a different geo-ethnic sector, or it’s hell-in-Nigeria; some pastor or imam declaiming that God whispered into his/her ears that Nigerians must fast and pray more (even though most of the populace is already on poverty-enforced fasting). Much of Nigeria’s public discourse is taken up by a tizzy of political rants and faux piety.

Greatness never comes by accident, nor is it imposed by divinity on an unwilling people. A country, like a person, must prepare—be prepared—for greatness. It starts with dreaming greatness, imagining it, contemplating what it must take, and deciding that the venture is worth the risk, that we’re willing to invest the time, intellect and material resources to translate the dreamed into reality.

Do Nigerians dream big? In words, they do, but not in deed. In the 1960s through the 1980s, Nigerian “leaders” used to speak of “this great nation of ours.” But even they have abandoned that species of bad joke! Now, they speak of “moving the nation forward” or “delivering the dividends of democracy.” But the rickety molue they claim to be moving forward is in reverse gear, headed, any moment, for a jagged gorge. Ask any Nigerian official what “dividends” they have delivered and you’re bound to hear such fatuous lines as, “I purchased 100 tractors to mechanize agriculture,” “I don’t owe civil servants any arrears of salaries,” “I bought chalks for all elementary schools in my state,” “I have commissioned 500 water boreholes,” etc, etc.

It’s the 21st century, but very little of the language of those who run (that is, ruin) Nigeria suggests that they are aware of what time it is. They’re conscious of the world, of course, but only in a slavish, opportunistic way. They, their relatives and cronies are at their best when they travel in style to the world’s most dazzling cities: New York, Paris, Dubai, Tokyo, Hong Kong, London, Amsterdam, Brussels, Beijing, etc. Once in these cities, they unleash their rank consumerist impulse, eager to bask in the most garish of each city’s sensual offerings. But it never occurs to them that the goods that make them swoon, the services they lust after are products of other thinking people’s imagination and work.

Meanwhile, back home, the masses are steeped in grim lives, trapped by ignorance and disease. Last week in London, a friend showed me a Youtube video of a brackish lake in Nigeria swarmed by thousands of sick, desperate Nigerians who believe that the stagnant body of water has healing powers. I was incensed by the spectacle, the hysteria of ignorance. Then it dawned on me: this is what can happen—what happens—in a country bereft of any healthcare system.

I’d like to hear Mr. O’Neill stipulate a recipe for Nigeria’s emergence into economic greatness. Nigeria has a high supply of thinkers, of experts in every field, including economic policy. But the hordes of unthinking, grub-obsessed politicians who dominate the political sphere are consistently threatened by expertise.

I don’t know of any country that rose to economic powers via fasting and prayers. And yet that’s the formula most treasured by Nigerian politicians who exhort their victims to fast and pray. Luck can only carry a person or a nation so far. And Nigeria has long exhausted its stock of luck, even if it somehow keeps borrowing some more.

The “N” in Mr. O’Neill’s MINT will become yet another mirage unless Nigerians find a way to reverse the toxic culture that validates corruption and venerates mediocrity.

Please follow me on twitter @ okeyndibe

(okeyndibe@gmail.com)

Source: SAHARA REPORTERS.

Rivers State Senator Attacked By Police Moved To London For Treatment As Police Deny Shooting Him.


 

By Saharareporters, New York

A Rivers State senator who was reportedly shot with a rubber bullet and teargas cannisters earlier today  by the Nigerian police in the state is on his way to London for further treatment according to sources in the state.

Senator Magnus Abe was hospitalized earlier today when policemen disrupting a peaceful rally organized by the opposition members in state shot at him with teargas and rubber bullets.

His doctor claimed that the senator’s chest was hit with an object that might have caused internal bleeding therefore necessitating his transfer to the UK for better medical care.

The police in the state however deny that its members hot the Senator, they instead that minimum force was applied in dispersing rally goers at the state’s College of Arts and Sciences because they did not obtain police permit before the gathering.

Defection Of PDP Members: An Old Wine In A New Wine Skin By Frank O. Ijege.


Since the return to democracy in 1999, a single party has dominated the political scene and has remained relevant till date. One must state here that the PDP, like other parties at that time, was not established with any clear cut ideology. They were merely created as a platform to transform Nigeria from military to civilian rule. Thus, these political parties were hurriedly put together, because of the peculiar circumstances at that time. This lack of ideological structures, has seen parties like the Alliance for Democracy (AD), All People Party (APP), disappear into thin air. Although some of them metamorphosed into other parties through change names, their existence was short lived because the ideological frame work required to form a party remains lacking.

In fairness to Nigerians, one cannot accuse them of being ignorant of the fact that these parties were ideologically depraved. The parties came at a time when the Military held sway and Nigerians were more than willing to accept anything, to save themselves from the pain and agony of Military rule. So, the people were left with no choice than to accept things as they were. If Nigerians think a change from Military to civilian rule will mean a change in their standard of living and circumstances generally, they were gravely mistaken. We elected a President who did not give a hoot about the people’s welfare and his tenure was characterized by subversion of the constitution, widespread corruption, abuse of office, clamp down of perceived political opponents and enemies. In fact Nigerians witnessed massive political killings, that remain a mystery as our security outfits are yet to unravel or arrest the killers. To make things worse, he sought to perpetuate himself in power, when this failed, he imposed a sick president on us. His party, the Peoples Democratic Party, gave him the nudge to go ahead.

In the midst of all these, the opposition parties merely looked on. Well the truth is, the opposition parties didn’t just look on, they were powerless! Most of these parties simply existed because of what they were getting as grants from INEC. Another reason is because most opposition parties were an extension of the PDP, that is why a man like Chief Don Etiebet, a strong member of the PDP, will be the National Chairman of All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP). Immediately after his tenure as ANPP Chairman, what did he do? He returned to base!  There was also the problem of proliferation of opposition political parties, which made it difficult for them to pose a serious challenge to the PDP, a party which has become an albatross, and is leading Nigeria into the Lagoon.

This situation made well meaning Nigerians including yours sincerely, to call for a two party system, and an opportunity for Independent Candidacy. The reason for this call is not far fetched, we need a robust opposition party that can stand up to the PDP. We believe that the PDP cannot withstand a party that is ideologically driven and grass roots oriented. We do not seek a party that would merely wrestle political power from the PDP. No, we want a party that is rooted on ideology and is pro people. Unfortunately the door for an independent candidate was shut during the last amendment of the 1999 constitution, and the quest for an ideologically driven opposition party, remains a mirage.

We are indeed not comfortable when people say that the All Progressive Congress (APC), is that party we seek. The APC is a political party made up of people whose primary objective is to wrestle power from the PDP, and not about delivering good governance to the people. It manifests a clear disconnect between the party and the people. What the people want is not just another party, but a party that will uphold the tenets of democracy where the people will enjoy the dividends of democracy. A party can only achieve this if it is founded on clear cut ideology. Sadly, this is grossly lacking in the APC. The leaders of the APC as it stands, are those who have had an opportunity of leading before, and their performance remains poor, just like the PDP leaders. And in States where the APC holds sway, the people have not fared any better.

The APC in its quest to wrestle power from the PDP, has been romancing with all kinds of people, including those who have brought Nigeria to its knees. This is why I am amused when people openly celebrate the defection of certain individuals to the APC. One is inclined to ask, are these not the people who destroyed Nigeria under the PDP? How can someone we all tagged a criminal under the PDP become a saint under the APC? Is this what the APC is created for, to celebrate criminals and wear them the garb of sainthood?  I laughed when Asiwaju Bola Tinubu praised the 37 members of the House of Representatives and the G5 governors, who defected from the PDP to the APC, as patriotic. Is that the level patriotism has degenerated to? I know the APC will roll out its drums to celebrate the ‘triumphant’ entry of men like Alamasiegha and James Ibori, and Tinubu will be there to wear them the cloak of saints and sing their praise to high heavens. I won’t be surprised therefore, if the APC is already planning to visit a Prison in London.

The defection of these people to the APC therefore is just like an old wine in a new wine skin. Nothing has changed and nothing will change. They will not stop stealing and embezzling our resources, they will not build good roads, nor good schools nor hospitals. They will not stop sending their children to schools abroad. The only thing that will change is that they will share our resources with a different political party. Nigerians must be alive with their the responsibility and must not repeat the mistakes of 1999. If we voted for a party because we wanted a change to civilian rule, we must not vote a party because we want to merely change the party in power. We must elect a leader in the true sense of the word, no matter where he comes from or who he is, not minding his party. The APC should also know that the people are no longer gullible. What we need is not a change of party, but an installation of democratic tenets, where the will of the people reigns supreme. If it is not ready to provide this, then let it dissolve itself and become relegated to the zone of pretenders and not contenders. God bless Nigeria.

Frank O. Ijege
frankijege@yahoo.com
@foijege on twitter

 

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

SaharaReporters Media Warned Of Planned ‘Major’ Assault By Abuja On Its Operators and Operations.


By SaharaReporters, New York

SaharaReporters Media would like to alert its readers, fans, supporters, commentators, columnists and whistle blowers it has learned authoritatively of a plan by the Nigerian government and several of its affiliates and cronies to inflict a major assault on its producers and reporters, and blackmail the website.

Our source says the plan follows the Abuja regime’s worry about the relentless groundbreaking reporting and unflinching by SaharaReporters to compromize, going into the 2015 election year, of the corrupt and incompetent governance in Nigeria.  Part of the plot involves blocking SaharaReporters and SaharaTV reception in Nigeria.

SaharaReporters has in the last five years had incidents of attempted hacking of its website, as well as spurious lawsuits funded by successive Nigerian governments and its agents that we have successfully navigated.   In some cases, we do not know who attempted or implemented those attacks.

While we lack the limitless resources of those who would like to shut down or compromise our operations, we stubbornly intend to continue to expose, with every tool available to us, the elements and practices that hold Nigeria and Africa down.

This pledge is sacrosanct, as we have demonstrated in the past, no matter who or what is in power.  We appeal to all those who seek the best of and for Africa to be resolute and to remain unbowed and unshaken with us, no matter the outcome of this latest plot.

We will provide developments or details as they become available.

Nigerian Diplomat, Dozie Nwanna, Wins Case Challenging His Premature Retirement.


By SaharaReporters, New York

Justice Benedict Kanyip of the National Industrial Court (NIC) has ruled against the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) and two others for prematurely retiring Dozie Nwanna, a former senior diplomat at the Nigerian High Commission in London.

In a 31-page judgment issued on December 16, 2013, Justice Kanyip ruled that Mr. Nwanna’s tenure of service was yet to expire, adding that the agency’s highly controversial decision to retire the ambassador was invalid.

The judge ruled that the agency had improperly made Mr. Nwanna’s promotion to count against him, pointing out that a public officer cannot be promoted to his disadvantage. Justice Kanyip stated that the agency’s 8-year tenure policy applies only to directors of Nigeria’s public service who have actually spent eight years on the post, “not notionally.”
Mr. Nwanna had taken the agency to court for backdating his promotion in order to serve the goal of forcing him to retire before his tenure’s expiration. The trial judge ruled that the tenure policy could not override rule 0281(iv) (a) of the Public Service rules which states that a public officer cannot be promoted to his disadvantage.

The court held that Ambassador Nwanna’s tenure as a director with the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) is for a fixed period of eight years with effect from March 1, 2006 when he started serving on post as a director. The tenure will end on February 28, 2014, the judge ruled. The court declared null and void the NIA’s purported notice ordering Mr. Nwanna to retire in January, 2012.

A source at the NIA disclosed that Ambassador Ezekiel Oladeji, the former Director General of the agency, ordered that Mr. Nwanna be locked out of his Abuja office and his salary stopped from April 2012 after Mr. Nwanna’s return from London where he served as Nigeria’s Deputy High Commissioner to the United Kingdom. “He was humiliated by being locked out even after a court ordered the NIA to maintain status quo antebellum,” said the source.

A London-based friend of Mr. Nwanna’s told SaharaReporters that the former deputy ambassador and his family suffered severe hardship and irreparable material and psychological injury due to the personal vendetta of Mr. Oladeji, the NIA’s former director-general.

A source at the NIA told our correspondent that Mr. Nwanna’s hasty retirement was part of a ploy by the former DG of the NIA to deny Mr. Nwanna the right to be considered for appointment to the highest position at the agency.

The UK-based friend of Mr. Nwanna’s expressed gratitude to God for the vindication of the former deputy High Commissioner’s stance that he was a victim of injustice. “The judgment is a clear testimony of the commitment of Chief Justice Aloma Muktar to ensure that the Judiciary is not only truly independent but remains the last hope of the powerless. The judgment has also proved that impunity, executive lawlessness and the whims and caprices of powerful people like the former Director General of NIA, Ezekiel Oladeji, cannot override the express provisions of the law,” said the source.

A political source in Abuja said that President Goodluck Jonathan deserved commendation for resisting pressure from very powerful but compromised officials to dismiss Ambassador Nwanna from service during the pendency of the case. “Some people were asking Mr. President to sack the man [Mr. Nwanna] for daring to challenge the malicious attempt by the former DG, NIA to wangle him out of employment by manipulation of the Federal Government’s tenure policy,” said the source.

The case generated national attention when Justice Maureen Esowe of the Abuja division of the NIC wept in open court as she announced her removal from the case. SaharaReporters learned that hirelings of Mr. Oladeji, the then Director General of the NIA, had sent a deceptive petition to the President of the Court accusing Justice Esowe of manifest bias against the NIA. The petitioner had stated that Justice Esowe sympathized with the former Deputy High Commissioner being a fellow Igbo. In addition, the petition had falsely claimed that Esowe, who is from Abia state and a cousin of Ojo Maduekwe, is also a cousin of Ambassador Nwanna’s lawyer, Chike Francis Maduekwe, who happens to be from Anambra State. Based on the spurious claims of cousinly relationship between Esowe and Ambassador Nwanna’s lawyer, the petition alleged that Justice Esowe should be disqualified from hearing the matter.

A judicial source told SaharaReporters that the false petition was sponsored by the NIA’s former DG and written by some highly placed Nigerians, including a former Chief Justice of Nigeria.

After the file was taken away from Justice Esowe in October 2012, Mr. Nwanna’s lawyer reportedly wrote a petition to Chief Justice Mariam Aloma Muktar who then reassigned the lawsuit to Justice Benedict Kanyip of the Lagos Division of the NIC in March 2013. SaharaReporters learned that Justice Kanyip had to commute between Lagos and Abuja to hear the suit until he delivered judgment last Monday.

Clark Refers To The Zoo As A Nation, Beckons Jonathan To Reply OBJ’s Letter In The Zoo’s Interest.


OBJ Clark

Clark-OBJ-300x300Former Federal Commissioner of Information and elder statesman, Chief Edwin Clark has urged President Goodluck Jonathan to reply and address the allegations contained in a letter former President Olusegun Obasanjo wrote to him in the national interest.Clark, who was speaking with journalists at the Nigeria Centenary Lecture in London on Tuesday, said that the allegations, “though false”, were too weighty for the president to ignore.“Jonathan should reply the letter not because of Obasanjo, but for the sake of Nigerians”, the Ijaw national leader said.The 18-page letter written to President Jonathan by the former president has continued to generate reactions from cross-section of Nigerians with opinions divided over whether the incumbent should reply Mr. Obasanjo or ignore the contents of the letter altogether.Clark, who prides himself as Mr. Jonathan’s political god-father, said Mr. Obasanjo’s letter showed disrespect to the person and office of the President.“My advice is for Jonathan to remain firm and strong as the President of Nigeria, and continue with his transformation agenda”, he added.

by: daniel

Source: Radio Biafra.

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