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Posts tagged ‘Peoples Democratic Party’

Suspended CBN governor Sanusi hits back as FG moves to probe him.


 

STRONG indications emerged yesterday that President Goodluck Jonathan may soon commence a probe into the tenure of immediate past governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Mallam Lamido Sanusi Lamido.

This comes as ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh, yesterday, called for a detailed forensic audit of all the accounts and financial activities of the Central Bank of Nigeria from 2009 till date, stressing that in carrying out the probe, the audit must establish and publish all movement of monies from the CBN accounts, such as contract sums, donations and other extra budgetary spending under the suspended CBN governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi.

The party, reiterated by alleging that a fraudulent N48 billion contract was awarded to a leader of the APC, while N5 billion was further paid to another stalwart of the party as consultancy fee.
But the suspended Central Bank governor weekend reacted to  the 35 allegations levelled against him by the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria, FRCN, saying he saw the FRCN Briefing Note for the first time when it was attached to his suspension letter.

It will be recalled that following the suspension of Sanusi as CBN governor last month, the Presidency  explained that his suspension  was not related to witch hunt, but alleged cases of impunity, incompetence, non-challance , fraud, wastefulness, and gross abuse of and non-compliance with provisions of the Public Procurement Act 2007.

Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Dr Doyin Okupe, had in a statement   explained that  Sanusi’s sack by President Goodluck Jonathan was also not  a deviation from the anti-corruption drive of the present administration.

He added that the issues that culminated in the suspension of the CBN governor dated back to April 2013, following the submission of the CBN audited accounts for the year that ended on December 31, 2012, and which was submitted to the President by the apex bank.

PDP calls for forensic audit
The PDP, while calling for Sanusi’s probe, said:  “Facts available to it, some of which have already been published by the Financial Reporting Council, show that within the period, the apex bank engaged in reckless award of inflated contracts through which over N680 billion CBN money was frittered away.”

“The audit must expose the true beneficiaries of over N150 billion doled out as developmental donations especially as some of the institutions listed as beneficiaries such as the Bayero University Kano, BUK, have denied receiving the sums recorded against their names by the CBN. It noted that BUK was widely reported to have announced that it received only N1billion as against the N4 billion claimed by the apex bank.

Meanwhile, Sanusi further stated that each of the allegations was false, unfounded, malicious and fabricated to mislead the President, adding that if the CBN had received the FRCN Briefing Note prepared in June 2013, all misconceptions, misrepresentations, erroneous inferences would have been cleared.

Sanusi, also called on President Goodluck  Jonathan to revisit and redress his suspension, urging the President to apply same rationale and rigour to other agencies of government with serious allegations and queries against them.

The suspended CBN governor called on the President to ask other agencies that had been queried of financial impropriety to provide responses and explanation with the same level of clarity and transparency as he had done.

In his defense, according to the report made available to Vanguard, Sanisi said:   “ Indeed, it will be impossible for me to review almost five years of revolutionary change made possible by the work of thousands of employees in the CBN, in collaboration with other regulators, banks and other financial institutions and government ministries in this press statement. However, I will mention a few of the key highlights.

“The highlight include : improvement of the institutional framework for policy-making,  local currency and maintenance of stability;  Establishment of Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria , AMCON; monetary policy amongst others.”

On Briefing Note Allegation that there is weak corporate governance at the CBN on account of the fact that the office of the governor is fused with that of the Chairman of CBN’s Board of Directors, Sanusi said the allegation ignored the fact that global best practice was that the governor of the central bank is the chairman of the Board of Directors of the central bank.

On alleged fraudulent activities; that the CBN’s breakdown of “Currency Issue Expenses” for 2011 and 2012 indicated that it paid the Nigerian Security Printing and Minting Plc, NSPMP, N38.233 billion in 2011 for printing of banknotes, whereas the entire turnover of NSPMP was N29.370 million, Sanusi said the expense item of N38.233 billion to NSPMP was made up of N28.738 billion payment to NSPMP in 2011; N6.587 billion accrued liability in 2011 but paid in 2012 when deliveries were received; and  N2.829Billion audit adjustment journal entry into the account at the end of 2011 in respect of prepayments to NSPMP.
He said the difference between the numbers in the financial statements of CBN and NSPMP was a simple reflection of timing differences between recognition of expenses by the CBN and income recognition by the NSPMP, with both entities applying conservative accounting policies.

He said with respect to Associated Air Limited, the CBN did in fact pay a total of N1.025 billion to Associated Airlines Limited but noted that the CBN was not responsible for how the company reported its turnover.

On Akingbola’s petition and the N40bn loan waiver;
Sanusi said Akingbola was a man found by a final judgment of the Courts in England to have been liable for financial improprieties in the management of the affairs of ICB.
He said:  “In his self-serving petition, Mr. Akingbola alleged that the CBN, on my watch, wrote-off a loan in favour of Dr. Bukola Saraki. This is untrue.  The CBN was at no time involved in the decision of ICB (or any other bank for that matter) to write-off its loans.

“The CBN never gave prior approval to the Management and Board of ICB to write-off any particular loan.  It is important to state up-front that all the non-executive directors on the Board of ICB were appointed by its shareholders, while Akingbola was CEO and they were the majority on the Board that approved the write-offs.”

In his conclusion to the response, Sanusi  stated:  “ It is now clear that each of the allegations made by the FRCN in the briefing note could easily have been resolved upon a simple request to the CBN for clarification or a little more careful review.

“There is no doubt that if the CBN had received the briefing note, which was prepared in June 2013, all the misconceptions, misrepresentations and erroneous inferences contained therein would have been cleared, and the misleading of His Excellency would have been avoided.

“It is now my sincere hope that, having painstakingly provided detailed explanations, backed by verifiable documents, His Excellency, Mr President will find the response satisfactory, and in line with his adherence to fairness and justice, revisit and redress the issue of my suspension.

“Furthermore, it is my wish that His Excellency, Mr President, will apply the same rationale and rigour to other agencies of the Federal Government that have had serious allegations and queries levied against them, and presume upon them to provide responses and explanations with the same level of clarity and transparency.
“In closing, I would like to place on record the dogged professionalism and patriotism of the staff of the CBN. They have, over the years, served this country creditably, loyally and diligently.”

Source: Radio Biafra.
BY HENRY UMORU & PETER EGWUATU

A Government From Boko Haram By Emeka Asinugo.


By Emeka Asinugo

When, some months back, President Jonathan of Nigeria said that Boko Haram had penetrated his government and federal government agencies, he knew exactly what he was saying. He was right. In a way, the prolonged and mindless Boko Haram killings in the eastern parts of Northern Nigeria seem to be playing out that time-tested song by Jimmy Cliff titled ‘the harder they come, the harder they fall.’ The harder Boko Haram attacks come on the villages of Northern Nigeria, the harder Nigerian citizens of northern extract fall. The destructive presence of Boko Haram in Northern Nigeria can only be compared with the merciless mission of the Janjaweed militia of Darfur.

What Nigerians need to know, at this point in time, is whether these attacks still have religious or political undertones or whether they have turned out to become pure brigandage. For, in these Northern villages which Boko Haram attacks with measured frequency, the people’s cattle, their foodstuff and even their beautiful young daughters are catered away by force, by unknown gunmen, to unknown destinations where, no doubt, the young damsels are subjected to sexual abuse. If this is not brigandage, what could possibly be? Come to think of it! What have foodstuff, cattle and pretty girls got to do with people who claim they want to establish a pure Islamic state, even in a country that embraces a secular and not religious constitution?

Some scholars have, as it were, posited that Boko Haram sect believes some members of a contaminated school of Muslim thought, in tandem with a highly corrupt cabal of Northern politicians, have succeeded in high jacking political dispensation in the Northern part of Nigeria. That is why they are determined to wrestle power from them. They want to see the North return to fundamental Islamic teaching and tradition.

It all sounds good and well.

But if that is their desire, why then are they are killing their own people? Why are they are spilling the blood of their own young and innocent children? Why are they are destroying their own innocent women? Why are they mowing down their own innocent men? What have those being killed got to do with the aspirations of Boko Haram? People no longer have homes in the villages Boko Haram has sacked. They are refugees in their own country, driven away from their homesteads by a mindless sect that claims to be working for their interest.

Boko Haram is the vampire that has kept sucking the blood of Northern Nigeria’s future generations. The sect members have continued to cut down on their own Northern population. They have continued to limit their voting power by reducing their own number. So, someone should tell me: what sort of government can possibly emerge from the rubbles of such recklessness?

Just think about it. This is a wake-up call. How can Boko Haram, if ever they succeed in becoming a government of their own people, dry the tears from the eyes of thousands of women they prematurely turned into widows, and the many more children they turned into orphans? How can they say ‘sorry’ to all those families they threw into grief or left in agony after they mowed down their breadwinner? With what face will they meet their subjects after the battle is fought and won?

If all this is part of the alleged plan to make governance difficult for President Jonathan, then honestly, people from that part of the country should have their heads examined. I am sorry: I am not being rude, but I am almost convinced that this group of rascals cannot possibly stand the ground against a united Northern elders’ forum which endorses government as a democratic dispensation and not a cabal of the rich and mighty shoving it down the throats of the weak and vulnerable.

Boko Haram has caused so much pain to so many families across the nation. They have killed the Yoruba. They have killed the Hausa and the Fulani. They have killed Christians. They have killed Muslims. They have killed students. They have killed people in the marketplace. They have killed people during events. They just don’t care who they kill. They go for vulnerable people in strategic places.

Now, assuming that tomorrow a Muslim northerner becomes President of Nigeria, will these mindless killings stop?

Maybe it will be good for Nigerians to know. It is obvious that any government emanating straight from the ashes of Boko Haram’s killings will either be an autocracy or another Taliban type of government which will enforce strict Islamic Laws that tend to deny women of their human rights – a government that will dry the women’s tears with fire, and not with handkerchiefs. Will a Northern President be able to placate the Boko Haram sect and bring their nefarious activities under control? In other words, can a Northern President heal the wounds inflicted by Boko Haram on so many families in the North and in the South?

Nigerians should learn from the history of their country – both ancient and contemporary history. When two-time Head of State, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, was in power, Niger Delta people were agitating so much about being marginalized in the scheme of things in the country. The bulk of the oil which sustained the economy of the nation was coming from their land. And they were being neglected. Basic infrastructure was obsolete and in some cases, non-existent. No good roads. No clean drinking water. No affordable medical care. No standard schools. Electricity supply was epileptic. There was general poverty in the land. The oil companies which were exploring oil from the Delta Region were said to have turned a blind eye to all the suffering the people of the region were passing through. They were not doing much to alleviate the level of poverty that was eating deep into the communities that made up the Delta Region. In the midst of the excruciating poverty that was ravaging the region, their top officers and chief executives preferred to live in palatial mansions in the big cities wining and dining with Governors, walking tall on the corridors of power.

Overwhelmed by their circumstances, the people of the Delta Region began to make trouble. They kidnapped oil workers. They kidnapped indigenes. They kidnapped foreigners. They kidnapped members of the families of public office holders. They vandalized oil pipelines and oil installations. They stole crude oil and refined them in makeshift refineries within the creeks, far away from government’s scrutiny.

It was all telling on Chief Obasanjo as Head of State because he is a man who loves his country but who, from experience, knew how difficult it was to please every Nigerian at the same time from the Presidential Villa. Obasanjo thought out a plan.

He was convinced that a President coming from the Delta Region would be in a better position to sort out Delta people and bring relief to the country. So, he sponsored the late Musa Yar ‘Adua as President and Jonathan as Vice President under the auspices of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, which at the time was largest and the ruling party.

Jonathan had become Governor of Bayelsa State after his predecessor, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, had been indicted for money laundering by a London court and was impeached by Bayelsa House of Assembly on that account. The elder brother of Governor Musa Yar ‘Adua, Major General Shehu Yar’ Adua, had been a successful businessman, soldier, and politician. His father was a former Minister for Lagos during the First Republic. Shehu trained at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, England and participated in the Nigerian Civil War. He was Vice President of Nigeria when Olusegun Obasanjo was military Head of State from 1976 until 1979.

In 1995, the older Yar ‘Adua was sentenced to life in prison by a military tribunal after he called on the military government of General Sani Abacha and his Provisional Ruling Council to re-establish civilian rule. Obasanjo was also imprisoned at the same time. Unfortunately, Shehu Yar ‘Adua died in prison two years later, on 8 December 1997. When eventually Obasanjo was released from prison, he wanted to see justice done to the family of the Yar’Aduas. So, he sponsored Umaru Musa Yar ‘Adua, the younger brother of his late prison mate, Shehu, to be elected as President of Nigeria in 2007 while Goodluck Jonathan was Vice President.

Everybody knew that Musa Yar ‘Adua was a sick man. Twice, during his tenure as governor, he had gone for medical treatment abroad, which kept him away from work for several months at a time. But because he was loved, not only by his people from Northern Nigeria, but by almost every other Nigerian both from the East and the West, he didn’t have any problem getting back into his office on return.

Whether by accident or by design, the pressure of work killed Musa Yar ‘Adua after three and half years as President. Jonathan succeeded him in office.

But since Jonathan, a son of Delta Region, became President, the troubles in Delta State have not ended. No. Rather, they have escalated. The level of impunity has gone up. Members of the families of government officials are no longer safe. Even members of the family of the President himself are not safe. Recently, the step-father of President Jonathan was kidnapped right from his village home, and the kidnappers are asking for a ransom amount of N500 million (£2 million).

That level of impunity!

So, assuming that by tomorrow, Boko Haram succeeds in “wrestling power from the democratically elected government that is in control in the North”, what sort of government will they be able to form? Will the fact that a Northerner has become President stop the agitation of Boko Haram? Just as having a Delta President could not stop the Delta rebellion, so a Northern President may not be able to twist the arms of Boko Haram insurgency.

In that case, will it not be an indication to Eastern and Western Nigerians that it is time for them to decide for themselves if they still want this do-or-die leadership style of their militant northern brothers or to go their separate ways because things have fallen apart and the centre can no longer hold? If that is what Nigerians need to know – and react to – this is the time to speak up, the National Conference, the opportunity.

 

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

Dear Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala II By Sonala Olumhense.


Columnist:

Sonala Olumhense

I thank you for acknowledging my article published last week.  I trouble you with this follow-up only because of the dangerous debris left behind by your Special Adviser, Mr. Paul Nwabuikwu.

First, on the “Abacha loot” recovery, let it be clear that my advocacy concerning Nigeria’s “recovered” funds is neither new, nor limited to your story.

In “Whatever Happened to the Abacha Loot?” (June 22, 2008), I wrote, “The national interest would be well served by a transparent picture of what has actually happened…The indications are that some of the funds recovered from the man and his family may have been re-stolen, or misused.”

In terms of numbers, my case is that Nigeria seems to have recovered between $2 and $3b from Abacha.  You say $500 million.

I know that the realistic number is mine because that is what the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), under Mr. Nuhu Ribadu, reported in 2006.

In a statement in London in November of that year, Mr. Ribadu stated that “Abacha “took over $6 billion from Nigeria,” and that $2 billion had been recovered during his term of office.  He repeated that figure that same month during the 12th International Anti-Corruption Conference in Guatemala.  In Dakar at the 2nd Annual High Level Dialogue on Governance and Democracy in Africa, just three months ago, Mr. Ribadu repeated the claim that Nigeria recovered $2 billion.  Nobody has ever challenged him.

It is also significant, Madam, that one year before Ribadu went on record about the $2 billion recovery for the first time, you said the same thing.  The event was a press conference in September 2005 in Switzerland.  Up till that point, Nigeria had recovered “about $2 billion total of assets,” you said.

Nonetheless, the $2 billion recovered in the Abacha hunt that was referred to by Mr. Ribadu and your good self in 2005 and 2006 is without prejudice to the $700 million that former Finance Minister Michael Ani said in November 1998 had been recovered from Abacha.  Ani described $1.3bn in illegal withdrawals discovered to have been made by Ismaila Gwarzo, the National Security Adviser for Abacha.

To Gwarzo belongs one of the sadder chapters of the loot recovery story. At the end of 1998, Abdussalam Abubakar said the government had recovered $1 billion from the Abacha family and another $250 million from Gwarzo.  When Obasanjo became president, at least $500 million more was recovered from Gwarzo in 2000.

The foregoing might explain why you said in a speech after you left the Obasanjo government, “General Abacha looted about $3-5 billion from the Nigerian treasury in truckloads of cash in foreign currencies, in traveler’s checks and other means.”

My point is: much more than $500 million was recovered from Abacha, some of them before, and some of them in-between your tenures as Minister of Finance.

Perhaps you refer only to $500m because the specific subject of your September 2005 Switzerland press conference was $458 million, which you said Nigeria had recovered.

That $500m is supported somewhat by an account of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, and the World Bank, which said at the launch of the Stolen Asset Recovery in September 2007 that Nigeria had recovered a total of $505.5 million from the Swiss government.   On that occasion, at which you were present, it was also stated that up to $800m had been recovered from Abacha domestically.

Before all that, in November 2003, you personally announced that Nigeria had recovered $149 million from the Island of Jersey.  In case you may have forgotten, you clarified that the $149 million was not part of a $618 million trip you had just made to Switzerland at that time.

Nonetheless, in December 2006, La Declaration de Berne, a Swiss humanitarian body, alleged that Switzerland had repatriated $700 million to Nigeria, but alleged irregularities in Nigeria’s use of the money, claiming $200 million was unaccounted for.

That $700m figure seems to be in harmony with the statement made by Dr. Hans-Rudolf Hodel, the Swiss Ambassador to Nigeria at a press conference three months ago, during which he gave that figure as what his country returned to Nigeria.

Similarly, on 10 March 2008, the EFCC and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) announced at a joint press conference they had recovered “over N600 billion” in five years.

That sum seems somewhat conservative, but a lot more than $500 million of it came from Abacha.  Here are a few thoughts:

  • In May 2000, Luxembourg confirmed it had found and frozen $630 million in eight bank accounts in a private bank, in the names of the Abachas, awaiting Nigeria’s claim.
  • In August 2000, Nigeria asked Liechtenstein to help recover 100m British pounds.
  • In October 2001, a British High Court asked the government ahead to help Nigeria trace over $1bn in Abacha loot.
  • In May 2002, President Obasanjo struck a deal with the Abachas under which the government was to recover about $1.2 billion.
  • In February 2010, the British Government announced in Abuja it would repatriate 43 million pounds recovered from the offshore accounts of various Nigerian officials.

Some of these happened when you were not in the government, I know, but we are not talking about your personal life.  The point is that as a people, we cannot move forward unless there is true and full transparency.  Where is all the money?  Can you tell us?

Your over-reaching spokesman illustrates my point.  “On the NNPC oil accounts issue…Dr Okonjo-Iweala has called for an independent forensic audit to establish the facts of any unaccounted for money and ensure that all every Naira that is owed the treasury is returned to the Federation Account…the fundamental problem of determining the facts as a basis for action must still be tackled. Is there room for more action on corruption? Of course the answer can only be yes. But action is needed to achieve change. Talk is cheap, action is crucial.”

Exactly, Madame Minister, let us have a forensic independent audit.  But may I propose three productive caveats to your government?  The audit must be international; cover the NNPC and the recovered funds; and date from 1999.   This is the only scenario that can guarantee that the full story will be told.

Let me illustrate the depth of our depravity with a graphic example made by Ribadu in 2009 to the US House of Representatives Committee on Financial Services.  “Mr. D.S.P. Alamieyeseigha, governor of oil rich Bayelsa State. He had four properties in London valued at about £10 million, plus another property in Cape Town valued at $1.2 million. £1 million cash was found in his bedroom at his apartment in London. £2 million was restrained at the Royal Bank of Scotland in London and over $240 million in Nigeria. This is in addition to bank accounts traced to Cyprus, Denmark, USA and the Bahamas.”

This is the kleptocracy in which Nigerian leaders have stolen over $380bn since independence, as the same Ribadu told the BBC in 2006.  Yet, that Alamieyeseigha, like others, has been pardoned by your government.  This is why we will never get real answers by putting your “independent” audit in the hands of a pre-programmed Abuja panel.

Finally, you bristle at my reference to the issue of the recurrent budget.  You say I have no moral authority to comment on the matter.

So let us talk about moral authority.

Following your negotiations of Nigeria’s foreign with the Paris Club in 2006, Audu Ogbeh, a former Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chairman, publicly said that one “top member” of your government had walked away with a personal fee of N60 billion.  I had expected that President Obasanjo or you would be outraged, and challenge the allegation, but nobody ever has.  I would have defended my father’s name.

I repeat my support of your campaign finance proposal, in principle.  But a cafeteria approach to reform never works, and your forensic audit is bound to be eaten alive in the all-purpose impunity and kleptocracy that currently masquerades as governance.  The answer is banging on the front door.

Source: SAHARA REPORTERS.

Pot Calling The Kettle Black By Hannatu Musawa.


 

Columnist:

Hannatu Musawa

Some days back I had the bizarre experience of reading a statement made by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) spokesman, Olisa Metuh, on the just concluded nationwide membership registration exercise by the All Progressives Congress (APC). Bizarre, because, not only did Mr. Metuh accuse the APC of a plot to disrupt the 2015 general elections using its membership registration as the platform, the premise of his allegation lay on the notion that the APC would collude with INEC in order to manipulate the electoral process.

PDP, through Mr. Metuh, alleged that the opposition party was planning to register 28 million phantom members, which it maintained the APC was planning to use as a plot, in conjunction with INEC, to claim victory in the 2015 general election and to “truncate the current democratic process”. Mr. Metuh further stated that part of the plot by the APC was to use the “fraudulent membership” registration to hype up a phantom public support, after which it would declare a particular bogus figure and create a false impression of massive public followership ahead of the 2015 general elections.

Hopefully Mr. Metuh, understanding the sheer hypocrisy of his claim will appreciate the irony of the black pot trying to call the teakettle black in this instance.

At first glance, I suspected that the statement was a cleverly disguised satirical piece; Mr. Metuh was not trying to be serious, he was trying to prove that in addition to being an eloquent and skilled orator, he is also a master of the ever-subtle art of ironic humor. For if not that, why would he speak and make suggestions to the Nigerian populace in a manner that one would address kindergarten students on their very first day in school?

The allegation he made that INEC is in collusion with the APC to rig the 2015 election is indeed so absurd and incongruous that one can’t imagine how he kept a straight face when making it. While we can come up with all sorts of punch lines for such a joke, it must be said that, on the contrary, it is believed by a large number of Nigerians that it is the PDP that has, since our nascent democratic dispensation, been in connivance with the electoral body to rig elections.

As proof for the purported connivance between INEC and APC, Mr. Metuh went ahead to present the fact that the APC registration-exercise was being conducted in INEC election centers and buildings. In reality, the INEC buildings in question are public infrastructures and public buildings, such as schools and people have the right to use these buildings legally. In fact, in various localities where the registration took place, the indigenous people recognized the right of the party to utilize these structures and, in all cases, lent their full and unwavering support to the party. Accordingly, and in a swift reaction to the allegation and claims of the PDP, INEC debunked the claims that it was aiding APC, adding that the commission has no monopoly, right or control over public structures.

To accuse the APC of planning to rig the 2015 elections is one thing, but to further allege that the APC is carrying out some covert and Machiavellian scheme, together with INEC, in order to rig the 2015 elections sounds ridiculous to the average human brain. The thought of INEC working with an opposition party in order to topple a government that it has allegedly been unfairly assisting in the past three elections is an interesting and laughable notion. But it would be very difficult for anyone to be convinced that Mr. Metuh does himself believe that INEC is unfairly working with an opposition party, against the ruling party in this day, in Nigeria. Or perhaps he believes that come the 2015 elections, Martians will descend from Uranus down into Nigeria (INEC specifically), and blow green fairy dust into the eyes of the electoral umpires which will equip them with the super power of creating a level playing ground, of which PDP will not be given an undue advantage over every other party.

Although the entirety of Mr. Metuh’s statement was laced with the usual bravado expressed by the PDP, a more intense scrutiny exposes nervousness on the part of the ruling party, which most likely was triggered by the acceptance and overwhelming support the APC has been getting and generating.

A great deal of what Mr. Metuh described takes the form of a cleverly scripted, tried and tested strategy. Almost as if he was describing the kind of strategy that the PDP has been allegedly accused of applying in past elections. Call me sneering, but there just maybe some truth to the adage; “it takes one to know one!”

If, as the ruling party described, pupils and students were being lured by the APC to get the passport photographs of their parents in order to have them secretly affixed to the APC membership forms without the knowledge of the parents, then the PDP has a responsibility to expose this or any other fraud or face the accusation themselves that they know about this strategy solely because it is one that they may have used in the past.

But out of the whole statement that Mr. Metuh made, the most shocking was the claim that the APC is “currently using every foul means at its disposal to build a particular membership figure, running into tens of millions, which it intends to use as a justification to fault, dispute, reject and subsequently take to violence when it loses the 2015 general elections.” Forget the fact that Mr. Metuh used the mandatory term ‘when’ as opposed to ‘if’, giving the impression that he’s some sort of clairvoyant with the power to see that PDP has already won the 2015 election, one would hope that accompanying such a serious claim of violence would be some evidence. Or are we supposed to accept this solely on the fluffy words of Mr. Metuh? Curious however, is that despite the harsh tone and dire warning of Armageddon woven throughout his statement, Mr. Metuh ignores the fact that he has raised a very serious and dire security alarm, of which he has a duty, as a Nigerian, to report to the appropriate security department and furnish them with the evidence to support such a strong claim, especially in the present volatile atmosphere in Nigeria. If Mr. Metuh genuinely believes that the APC is already planning for violence should it lose the 2015 elections and he knows for a fact that APC will lose the election, then he really has a duty to step up and offer any information he knows to the state security so that they can investigate, first the threat of violence and second, the conspiracy to rig the 2015 election. Even if the party of which he speaks for is part of such a conspiracy and desperately wants to maintain this diversion tactic ruse, he has a patriotic duty to step up and do right by Nigeria.

Forging ahead in his bid to discredit the gains the APC has achieved within a year of its formation using the words and method that he did, what Mr. Metuh really did was expose real fear on behalf of the PDP. If anybody thought otherwise, Mr. Metuh’s statement has made it very clear that the PDP is troubled by the popularity, acceptance, and alternative Nigerians have accorded the APC. After all, in just over a year of its existence as a political party in Nigeria, it currently occupies about 58 seats in the 109 seats in the Senate, 172 seats out of the 360 seats in the House of Representatives, and 16 governors out of the 36 states in the country. These commendable figures are expected to increase tremendously after next year’s elections, as the APC is poised to upstage and unseat the ruling party in many constituencies. Maybe that would explain the real reason why Mr. Metuh is already fidgeting and representing PDP in the light of the party that cried wolf.
Despite Mr. Metuh’s accusation of an attempted declaration of a particular bogus membership figure running into tens of millions, creating a false impression of massive public followership by the APC, there is little doubt that he himself, surreptitiously also believes what most the rest of the world knows to be true: that the majority of PDP members are unceasingly abandoning the party and joining an alternative platform. For now, APC seems to be the biggest beneficiary. And as a result of that and the fact that the APC is a merger of different opposition parties — Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) and part of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), APC is bound to be larger than any of the legacy parties were before. This would indeed automatically explain the increase of its membership figures, boosted by new and formerly undecided and disillusioned Nigerians who are merely looking for a way out of the confused quagmire the nation finds itself.

Instead of praising the party for its contribution so far to the democratic process by creating an atmosphere where Nigerians are interested in participating in the political development of this nation, Mr. Metuh choose to view the cup from a position where it appears to be half empty. Instead of commending the APC on its fulfillment of the requisite political plurality obtainable in other democratic climes and opening up democratic liberty so as to enable Nigerians choose whichever political party platform they so wished, PDP has resorted to cheap quibbling, crying wolf and attempting to deter optimistic Nigerians who are so desperate for change, desperate for something new.

In fact, one could say that Mr. Metuh’s rhetoric is a deliberate attempt by the ruling party to dissuade the enthusiastic teeming populace from coming out en masse in partaking and becoming members of an alternative and formidable party, the first of its kind since 1999, capable of wresting power from the ruling party.

The intended audience of Mr. Metuh’s speech was meant to be the average Nigerian but, of that audience, only those who are willing to gullibly be led down the dark alley yet again would have fully absorbed the marrow of his words. Nigerians have for too long been the naïve cheerleaders of the power brokers who have done us so wrong. But the scars from 15 years of PDP corruption and lies have left profound grooves in the minds of Nigerians who dared to hope and believe while they were so compellingly made.

Nigerians have evidently had enough. When the PDP puts out a statement saying: “We wish to remind the APC that no political party has the monopoly of mischief,” one can only laugh out loud. Because, despite the fact that PDP is the party that has allegedly thrived on mischief, guile and deceitfulness over the past 15 years, they are the ones who are unashamedly crying foul loudest in the face of a formidable adversary.

Thus, as the PDP and Mr. Metuh continues to cry foul about election malpractices, one hopes that they fully understand the sheer hypocrisy and irony of their claim. And if one was ever to look for a case of the pot calling the kettle black, then they need not look any further than this PDP’s cry wolf.

Article Written by Hannatu Musawa

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Source: SAHARA REPORTERS.

We’ll not support autonomy for ethnic nationalities at confab — ACF.


The Arewa Consultative Forum, ACF, has said that the North would not  support autonomy for ethnic nationalities during the proposed National  Conference in the country.

ACF, however, expressed support for devolution of power from the centre  to the states in such a way that ”the centre is strong enough to keep  the country one, but, not too strong as to push the country towards a  unitary system.”

The National Publicity Secretary of ACF, Mr. Anthony Sani made this known in a statement in Kaduna, yesterday.
Sani was reacting to reports that the Yoruba would push for ”ethnic autonomy” during the conference.

The statement read: ”We have read the reports that the Yoruba will push  for some form of ethnic autonomy during the coming National Conference  that is reminiscent of con-federal arrangement.
“As we have repeatedly made clear, ACF did not canvass for the Conference.

”This is because of the forum’s belief that the problems of Nigeria lie  on the collapse of national ideals, fall in moral values, collapse in  social contract and fall in sense of what is right and what is wrong.
There is no problem in the structure of the country in the constitution  and in the form of government or in the type in ethnic nationalism that  promotes cleavages of the country.

”But since some sections of the country believe that coming together in  the conference is capable of furthering the cause of a united Nigeria  when issues of national importance or  real issues of real concern to  Nigerians are discussed; we have said, so be it.

”Surely, if such issues are raised in the conference, delegates from the  North will not lack what to say. It must be noted that there is no  system of true federalism that is accepted universally. And that is why  no two federal systems are clones of each other.

”This is because, a federal system has a lot to do with the  circumstances of its emergence. For examples, the 13 American Colonies  came together to form USA while in Nigeria, the national government  formed the federating units.

Source: Radio Biafra.

Stop Sleeping In Public, PDP Chairman Mu’azu Scolds SGF Pius Anyim.


 

Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Senator Pius Anyim
By Saharareporters, New York

Guests and leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party were stunned on Thursday when the new National Chairman of the party, Alhaji Adamu Mu’azu, specifically urged the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Sen. Pius Anyim, to learn not to sleep during public events.

Mu’azu was speaking when leaders of the party from Ebonyi State visited him and the leadership of the party to pay homage and wish him well following his election.

The group was led by the governor, Martin Elechi, who spoke on behalf of the delegation from his state, which included Anyim, Minister of Health Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, and some other political office holders from the state.

But while Mu’azu was replying, he looked over at Anyim, who had already dozed off, and immediately confronted the burly SGF.

“Mr. Anyim, I hope you have not started doing what you like doing best,” Mu’azu said, making the motions of a dozing person.  The laughter that followed from the audience woke up the sleeping SGF.

It was gathered that even as Senator, Anyim often fell asleep on the floor of the House, an action that made the late Chuba Okadigbo, at that time the Senate President, to scold him on one occasion.

Witnesses recall that the scolding followed an instance when Anyim, suddenly woke up from his usual sleep and without knowing the topic being discussed, shouted that he wanted to make contribution.

An angry Okadigbo then asked Anyim whether he knew what was being discussed, to which Anyim just smiled, provoking general laughter among the Senators.

On The Practice Of Nigerian Democracy By Felix Di Netimah.


By Felix Di Netimah

When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of people in a society, over the course of time they create for themselves a legal system that authorises it and a moral code that glorifies it. – Frederic Bastiat

The President has convened a national conference. From all corners of the country chosen delegates will pour forth upon the nation’s capital. The principals will meet in private. There will be initial discussions (horse-trading), negotiation (you scratch my back and I yours) and finally agreement (a nod and a wink). Thereafter, their factors will pronounce our fate in public. They will say the ‘people’ have decided. They will say this is democracy.

Is it?

My friends, it is not. It is a kleptocracy. Our leaders practice a form of government designed to increase the personal wealth and political power of its officials and the ruling class at the expense of the wider population and with the pretence of honest service . This national conference will do nothing other than to further the interests of the elite.

On the one hand, we should be honest enough to acknowledge corruption is the normal condition of human society. From the dawn of human societies whether Nebuchadnezzar’s Babylon or Republican Rome, whether Victoria’s England or Boer South Africa, social organisation has been based on the use of force to seize assets and gain power. Once seized, the elite then create and cement rules that legitimise and sustain their hold on power.

So modern Nigeria is not unique in the history of human social organisation. Our corruption is endemic not because we are different from the rest of the world but possibly because corruption itself is part of human nature.

But on the other hand, we decry the greed of the elite, we decry their avarice, we decry their materialism. And why? Because this national conference, if properly done, represents a golden opportunity for change in the country.

It presents an opportunity to change the ethos of the elite. Major Nzeogwu condemned the ethos of ‘ten percent’ in explaining why he felt compelled to seize power in the coup of 15 January 1966. Then the elite creamed ten percent off official contracts in bribes and such like. But in the decades since, our elites have arguably taken corruption to deeper, more pervasive levels. Where once ten percent would do, the new elites take it all instead. Where once those in power showed self restraint in asking for 10 percent, our modern leaders will take it all, award a new contract for the same work and then help themselves to more again.

The national conference offers a real opportunity for the leaders to get together and impose self restraint on themselves. Let’s not talk about the aspirations of Nigerians, the type of democracy we should have, the composition of the National Assembly or Jonathan’s bid for a second term. No. The people do not want to know whether Jonathan had an agreement with the ‘North’ (more on that later!) They want to know when they will have uninterrupted power, food in their bellies and education for their children.

The starting point for ensuring we achieve the aspirations of the people lies in ensuring we spend more of the national wealth on the people. We cannot eliminate corruption overnight. But restricting our elites to 10 percent for starters would go a long way to ensuring our evolution to a modern socially progressive nation.

The other change I would propose for the national conference? An end to federation. The conference should dissolve this union as we know it and set the terms for a confederation of Nigerian States. The terms should then be put to the vote of the people in a referendum.

Felix Di Netimah
London January 2013

 

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

Ex-Kano Governor, Shekarau, Dumps APC For PDP- PREMIUM TIMES.


 

Former Governor of Kano, Ibrahim Shekarau
By Premium Times/ News Agency Of Nigeria

Ibrahim Shekarau, one of the founding members of APC, has moved to the PDP.

The immediate past governor of Kano State, Ibrahim Shekarau, has dumped the All Progressives Congress, APC, for the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.

Mr. Shekarau, backed by his supporters from the 44 local government areas of Kano, made the declaration at his Bompai GRA residence in Kano on Wednesday.

He said the decision is to satisfy the aspirations of the people of the state who felt left out from the APC.

“We intended with the merger to form a solid foundation for entrenchment of democracy,” Mr, Shekarau, the presidential candidate of the defunct All Nigeria Peoples Party, ANPP, in 2011, said.

“The Legacy Group sacrificed all interests for the merger, but for the past six months all agreements reached by the merged parties had not being met.
“No clear leaders, no registration of APC members at any levels. This shows a clear lack of commitment, transparency and accountability to all concerned,” he said.

The supporters participated in the declaration and affirmed the decision to defect to PDP.

Mr. Shekarau had last week met with a former Sokoto Governor and founding members of the APC, Attahiru Bafarawa, last week. Mr. Bafarawa has since decamped to the PDP. Both men accuse the APC of giving the party’s structures in their states to their current state governors who last year decamped to the APC from the PDP.
(NAN)

Will Nigeria’s Strategy Toward Boko Haram Shift?.


 

Boko haram fighter 3

After four years of military action against Boko Haram and Abuja’s declaration of a state of emergency in three states eight months ago, Boko Haram’s depredations continue. Just last week, Boko Haram claimed responsibility for killing nineteen in a Borno village.
Until now the Nigerian government’s  approach to Boko Haram has been to mount an anti-terrorism campaign  against it. Rather than use political methods to “win the hearts and  minds” of the northern population, it has relied on military force to  counter Boko Haram’s violence with violence. This “counter terrorism”  has not worked. Boko Haram’s human rights violations have been documented by credible human rights groups. More disturbing has been the extensive  documentation of human rights abuses committed by the Nigerian military  and other state agencies while engaging in their “counter terrorism”  policy. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and President Obama have raised the issue of human rights abuses with Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan.
There may be signs that the  government in Abuja is rethinking this strategy. Last week, President  Jonathan replaced all of his military service chiefs save one that he  shuffled to another post. The Nigerian media credibly speculates they  all had to go because of their failures against Boko Haram. After months  of internal struggle within the ruling People’s Democratic Party, there  is a new party chairman, Ahmadu Adamu Mu’Azu. Furthermore, President Jonathan sent twelve names for cabinet positions to the Senate for confirmation.
One of those names is Aliyu Mohammed  Gusau. A retired general and the long-time national security advisor  under President Olusegun Obasanjo, he is a northern Muslim with a power  base of his own. He is known to have first-class political and  administrative skills but he has been considered outside of Jonathan’s  inner circle.
The press speculates that if  confirmed Gusua will be named minister of defense. However, names sent  to the Senate for confirmation are not tied to specific cabinet posts.  Hence, Gusau could be appointed to any of the current cabinet vacancies.  According to the Nigerian media, some weeks ago, Gusau laid down conditions for his service as minister of defense that would seem to reduce the  president’s control over the military and security services. There are  therefore many unanswered questions. Has the president accepted Gusua’s  conditions? If not, will Gusua accept the position of minister of  defense? Will he even be offered it?
Nevertheless, these extensive  personnel changes may open the space for Abuja to pursue a more  effective policy toward Boko Haram.

Jerry Gana- North’s opposition to Jonathan’s 2nd term 2015 unfair.


President-Jonathan-cartoon-second

A member of the Peoples Democratic Party’s Board of Trustees, Professor Jerry Gana, yesterday, described as unfair the mounting opposition from the north against President Goodluck Jonathan’s second term bid in 2015.

Prof. Gana, who made the claim in an exclusive interview with Vanguard in Abuja, pointed out that Jonathan had an inalienable right to run again in 2015, as there was no law barring him from the contest.

Gana pleaded with those in the north still opposed to Jonathan’s presidential bid in 2015 to give him a chance to complete his tenure as provided for by the Nigerian Constitution.

According to the BoT member, it is wrong for uninformed persons to claim that Jonathan had hit the limit of his tenure after serving out the late President

Yar’Ádua’s tenure and contesting for the first time as president in 2011.

The former Information minister, who noted with dismay the claim by some northerners that Jonathan signed an agreement with them to run for a single term of four years, disputed the existence of such a deal and challenged those making the allegation to produce the document or keep quiet.

Gana said it was in the interest of the north to support Jonathan for a second term since the President had done so well for the region and Nigeria within two years than any sitting President in Nigeria.

He said the achievements of Jonathan in the areas of improved power supply; roads, agriculture, aviation and job creation were unprecedented in recent years.
The BoT member noted that even if Jonathan did not want to run in 2015, the South-South, which has always supported the North to produce the President of Nigeria, should be assisted by the North to contest and win.

BY Soni Daniel, Regional Editor, North

Source: Radio Biafra.

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