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No Cause for Alarm on Defection from PDP -Tukur.


…Says Decampee Members’ll Soon Return

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur has allayed fear over the defection of some members of the party into the All Progressives Congress (APC).

PDP national Chairman, Bamanga Tukur

PDP national Chairman, Bamanga Tukur

Tukur said with the measures being put in place in the PDP along with President Goodluck Jonathan, those who defected from the PDP would willingly return into the party at the nick of time.

He said the PDP has, indeed, been welcoming more members into its fold from across the federation compared to the number of those who had defected.

The PDP Chairman said going by the undercurrents within the political circles, PDP would swell with influx of new members next year, as according to him, many members from the opposition camp had already signified resolve to join the PDP.

Tukur made this known in London Wednesday in a chat with a team of Nigerian Professionals based in Europe, led by Dr Edwin Olabamiro who paid him a visit.

The professionals had sought audience with the PDP Chairman on their interest to return to Nigeria with a view to offering their expertise in diverse fields for the growth of the country.

The PDP Chairman said he was pleased with the resolve by Nigerians in the Diaspora to henceforth put Nigeria at the center of their considerations, as he expressed gladness on their desire to start looking homewards.

Tukur told the professionals who are mostly on medical, information technology and Engineering lines that the PDP has always been in pursuit of reforms to make it stronger as the ruling party. He said a stronger PDP would always produce a stronger national leadership, and hence, a more vibrant economy.

He disclosed that PDP, in the most recent time, has been undergoing a process of rejuvenation, which he noted many had interpreted as crises. According to him, the ruling party would emerge stronger, more virile and fully prepared to surpass its attainments at the end of the wrangling among members.

Said he, “The PDP remains a party with the largest spread and tested strength to win elections any day any time. I thank you all for this visit, while I urge our members all in Nigeria not to be brow beaten by images of political delusion that confront them every day from different quarters.

“The PDP is at home to contain all forms of harassment by the opposition, either vaunted or intended. If it is a game of number in any election, you can always count that the PDP would have it greater.

“The good thing is that if 5 people move out of PDP into the other party, even by a dint of propaganda, the Party takes in more than 500 at a time, as replacement. The electorate in Nigeria trust the PDP more than many people are aware.

“As the Chairman of PDP, let me say that we may not be having it smooth in the party at the moment, The Party and Mr President are not relenting on holding consultations with the aggrieved members.

“At the end of it all, PDP would be the better and more prepared to do greater exploits. Our members should, therefore, savour the period of the yuletide and not allow any issue to keep them distracted and depressed”.

Source: African Examiner.

On GEJ’s Rebuttal To OBJ’s Open Letter By M J Balogun.


By M J Balogun

I saw it coming. I had predicted in my last post that ex-President Obasanjo‘s open letter to President Jonathan would not go unanswered. And answered it was. Although the sitting President’s self-appointed media consultants had tried to dismiss the issues raised by OBJ as a non-issue (with some arguing that a weightless letter deserved no response) the current President knew better than to act as if the ex-President said nothing extraordinary. The President and his lieutenants did lose sleep over the open letter. The President’s rebuttal dated 20th December 2013 is the outcome of the marathon meetings held over the unsolicited missive. The President did more than return OBJ’s fire; he pointedly asked those given to washing Nigeria‘s dirty linen in public to look for other pastimes. The exigency of national security, as seen by the President, dictates restraint, possibly, self-censorship, not unguarded and flamboyant letter writing.

And this is my starting point today–the logic underpinning the invocation of the spirit of “national security” at a time we had been led to believe that it was only through open dialogue that we could get out of our predicament. Wasn’t it a little while ago that Mr President set up a National Dialogue Committee, authorized the Committee to disregard signs pointing to no-go areas, and gave the members a free hand to interrogate the National Question from all angles? Apparently, there are no-go areas after all. Besides saying it in so many words that OBJ’s open letter was a less “acceptable and dignified means” of communication, the President termed the letter a clear “threat to national security as it may deliberately or inadvertently set the stage for subversion.” He further alleges that “landmines” had been laid for him–President Jonathan, that is–waiting to explode. “The purpose and direction of your letter”, the President told OBJ, “is distinctively ominous, and before it is too late, my clarifications on the issues need to be placed on record.”

The President found the timing of OBJ’s letter particularly odd. If OBJ was not part of a gang-up against the President, why should his letter come on the heels of other “vicious releases”? The “releases” that the President considered malicious include the comment by the Speaker of the House drawing a correlation between the President’s “body language” and corruption, and the letter written by the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria accusing the NNPC of failing to remit the sum of USD49.8 billion to the federation account within a period of 19 months. Even though the CBN Governor’s letter was addressed to the President, its contents were divulged to third parties, OBJ included. The President said nothing about OBJ’s presumed tag-team partners, but if the likes of IBB, Abdul-Salaami, and Theophilus Danjuma were contemplating following up with their own open letters, the alarm raised by President Jonathan and echoed by former Head of State, Dr. Yakubu Gowon, should stay their hands and leave OBJ alone in the ring to face his new Nemesis.

Let us, for now, leave conspiratorial gang-ups aside, and take the bones of contention one at a time. OBJ had berated the government for its poor handling of security. Mr President fired back by saying that his government had instituted measures which significantly reduced “the scope and impact of terrorist operations” in the North East region. Among the steps taken by the government to contain the Boko Haram insurgency were the application of the carrot and stick technique, identification of illiteracy as a major terrorism trigger, the release of funds for the construction of Almajir schools, and the establishment of nine universities in the northern states.

The President, by the way, wondered if OBJ was qualified to counsel anyone on the use of the carrot. As the President noted, the stick was all ex-President OBJ relied on to curb militancy in the Niger Delta, in general, and Odi, Bayelsa State, in particular. Ouch!

On security across the whole country, the President maintained that his government accorded high priority to the equipment and training of law enforcement agents. The government had further “increased the surveillance capabilities of the Police and provided its air-wing with thrice the number of helicopters it had before the inception of the present administration.” The Civil Defence and Security Corps had also been armed to make it an effective law enforcement agency.

In the President’s own reckoning, Nigeria of 2013 is more secure than that of 2007. It was in 2007, the President points out, that a petrol tanker was set to ram into the INEC building in Abuja. The elections slated to hold that year would have been derailed but for the fortuitous intervention of an electric pole. It was also in 2007 that an armed gang tried, in vain, to assassinate the current President when he ran as the PDP’s Vice-Presidential candidate. The gang tried again to bomb his country home, but as luck would have it, Vice-Presidential candidate Goodluck Jonathan was elsewhere when the bomb went off. Now the nation’s Number One citizen, President Jonathan laments that the “security people” whose job under the OBJ administration it was to investigate the assassins’ backers and motives, failed to unravel the assassination attempts.

The President is gracious to acknowledge the fact that the general security environment remains dicey. Kidnapping, piracy, and armed robbery are still very much with Nigeria. He might as well include bloody bank heists, civil disturbances, ritual killing, and other violent crimes. The President’s rebuttal acknowledges these ugly realities, but has provided no satisfactory explanation for their persistence over time. Despite the huge allocations to the Police (with its high-flying and invisible “air wing”), the Civil Defence Corps, the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, and the myriad uniformed outfits created at the drop of a hat, the President agrees that Nigeria is still faced with a grave security challenge. He, the President, in fact regards the security issues as those which “all Nigerians, including me (the President) are very concerned about.” How then is this “concern” different from the one expressed in OBJ’s open letter?

Probably to allay OBJ and other concerned Nigerians’ fears, the President’s makes a show of detailing the efforts made by the government to arm and equip the law enforcement agencies. This is where the President should have stopped–that is, the stage at which his government was said to be trying but insecurity appeared to be winning. But then, the President felt the urge to put up a robust defence, and by so doing, to portray OBJ as at best, ill-informed, at worst, spiteful. This is where the President made a fatal error. In explaining why the security situation had NOT improved on his watch, the President passes the buck to his predecessors! He regards the problems that he was elected to solve as antedating his tenure and therefore beyond his capacity! This is how the President (on whose desk the buck stops) sees precisely the challenges that he was elected to tackle:

“While we will continue to do our utmost best to reduce all forms of criminality to the barest minimum in our country, it is just as well to remind you (OBJ) that the first major case of kidnapping for ransom took place around 2006. And the Boko Haram crisis dates back to 2002. Goodluck Jonathan was not the President then (meaning, Baba OBJ was). Also armed robbery started in this country immediately after the civil war and since then, it has been a problem to all succeeding governments….”

The Jonathan administration’s “utmost best” is clearly not delivering the “barest minimum” promised let alone the results actually craved by the long-suffering people of Nigeria. Yet, the same tendency to evade responsibility for the design and implementation of measurable change in the security and law enforcement sector is evident in the President’s response to OBJ’s corruption allegation. Those who were wondering what “weighty issues” OBJ raised in his open letter should again listen carefully to the President:
“That corruption is an issue in Nigeria is indisputable. It has been with us for many years….The seed of corruption in this country was planted a long time ago, but we are doing all that we can to drastically reduce its debilitating effects on national development and progress.”

It is the same argument: government is trying but corruption is winning. If the seed of corruption was planted a long time ago, what efforts have we made to uproot the seed or to deny it the water and the compost it needs to sprout? The issue is NOT when corruption, or for that matter, insecurity, started. The issue–the critical one that the President failed to address–is how effectively he has so far deployed the intimidating powers of the presidency to combat corruption and checkmate insecurity.  It is not enough for those aspiring to lead us to covet the imperial powers of the state executive. They must have an idea what they want to do with the powers. This is my argument in THE ROUTE TO POWER: THE DYNAMIC ENGAGEMENT OPTION FOR CURRENT AND ASPIRING LEADERS (Palgrave-Macmillan, NY, 2009). Unfortunately, many aspirants to leadership positions in Nigeria don’t have the slightest clue what the country is up against or how the people are hurting under the weight of unsolved problems. Once in office, the leaders care even less whether or not they find solutions to knotty problems.  Otherwise, why would anyone vie for the office of President and Commander-in-Chief, only to get elected into it and then begin to blame the critical challenges’ dates of birth for the failure to make an impact?

Of course, President Jonathan inherited insecurity, corruption, and many other “impregnable” challenges. There would be no need for a president if there are no challenges breaking the people’s backs, tugging at their hearts, and shortening their lives. In President Jonathan’s case, the people of Nigeria (including those who did not vote for him) expected that as soon as he took his oath of office, old and new challenges would beat a retreat as government assembled the best and the brightest brains to wage a relentless war on those vexing challenges. But what do we have instead? We see the energy of the state dissipated on the retention, concentration, and consolidation of power; on self-aggrandisement; on controversial, possibly questionable, transfer of the Nigerian people’s assets to well-connected oligarchs; and on the virtual conversion of public institutions into personal households or fiefdoms. Instead of sharpening their detective, investigative, and crime control capacities to a fine hone, law enforcement agents wait for “instructions from above” to perform their statutory functions or, as is becoming the practice, to serve purely partisan political interests in total disregard of their professional ethos.

If the President wants to make a difference to the governance of this country (and record measurable impact in security and law enforcement, the war on corruption, electric power generation and distribution, etc.) he should start by turning the weak and bendable institutions into resilient, personality-proof, and enduring service delivery agents. This type of institution building/revitalization entails, at the very least, placing the highest premium on the autonomy, professionalism, integrity, productivity and performance of public service delivery agents.

We have focused thus far on the minuses in the President’s rebuttal. This, however, is not to suggest that the President’s rebuttal to OBJ lacks merit in its entirety. Far from it. The President has, in my humble opinion, responded adequately to a number of allegations, notably, the allegations that he placed over one thousand Nigerians on a political watch list and that he had sent snipers for training in readiness for deployment against political opponents. If OBJ knows of a list, he must also know the names on the list. Unless he is ready to produce the political watch list which he mentioned in his open letter (with the names un-redacted), he owes not just the President but every Nigerian an apology for crying wolf where there is none. Ditto for the allegation concerning the training and possible deployment of snipers. One lesson my professors taught me is that assertions are no proof. The President’s accusers have to go beyond trying to smear him. They have to provide the exact details of his wrongdoing. And no details are more exact than names that could be matched with recognizable faces. While still on the rebuttal, the President would appear to have laid to rest the ghost of the un-remitted US$49.8 billion– unless of course the Central Bank of Nigeria not only stands by its earlier finding but is also ready to back the finding up with incontrovertible and verifiable data.

Since the PDP crisis in an internal party affair–one that is only marginally related to the national issues raised in OBJ’s open letter and adverted to in the President’s response–it is better left the way it is, in the hands of the parties concerned.

However, there is one PDP-related matter which this post cannot ignore. It is the matter regarding the tension building up in the run-up to 2015. The President considered it “regrettable that in your (OBJ) letter, you seem to place sole responsibility for the ongoing intrigues and tensions in the PDP at my doorstep….At the heart of all the current troubles in our party and the larger polity is the unbridled jostling and positioning for personal or group advantage ahead of 2015.”

By that statement, the President acknowledges that tension does exist within his party and in the country as a whole. While accepting part of the responsibility for the crisis, he thinks that others also share in the blame. As President and Commander-in-Chief, President Jonathan cannot “share” this type of responsibility with anyone. The position that he currently holds obliges him to account for whatever befalls Nigeria. This is why he has to decide whether he would honour the one-term agreement which he explicitly or implicitly entered into in 2011 or, regardless of the risks and the consequences, he would shred the agreement and throw the bits and pieces in his opponents’ faces. In deciding one way or the other, the President should be mindful of his place in history. He should accordingly listen to his inner soul and voice–not to advisers whose jobs are on the line, not to relatives who see power and its fringe benefits slipping away, and certainly not to war-mongers.

May God guide the President aright, bless our country, Nigeria, and relieve the suffering of our people, no matter their tribe, tongue, or religious belief!

Professor Balogun, former UN Senior Adviser, and former Director-General, The Administrative Staff College of Nigeria, writes from Canada.

Follow Baloguun on twitter @balogunjide1
Visit his websites: http://balogunjide.net and http://balogunjide.theblogpress.com

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

Pastor Bakare Gets Cow As “Christmas Gift” From The Presidency, Says He Doesn’t Need Their Cow.


Pastor Tunde Bakare
By David Odey

The presiding overseer of the Latter Rain Church and the convener of Save Nigeria Group, Pastor Tunde Bakare has lambasted the Presidency for giving him a cow as gift this Christmas.

He told his congregation in Lagos, southwest Nigeria, on Sunday that he did not solicit for the cow which he said was dumped at the office of the Save Nigeria Group, SNG, in Lagos by people from the Presidency.

According to Bakare, “I had a cow from the Presidency. I didn’t ask for it. They dropped it at the Save Nigeria Group office… But is it cow that we need? If you check their books, one cow could have been bought for $5,000. The rest of the money is pocketed! We don’t need cow, we need a country that will move forward!”

He added that “they prevailed on me not to return it. Thanks for the cow, but no thanks! That means no cow for me next year (laughs). But we will have good roads, schools etc! We are the cause of our problems. We feel big when Mr President sends us hampers etc… We go to them for contracts etc… Until we change ourselves, we cannot expect change from those who lead us!”

He said the way things are going, very soon people in power will be giving out elephants as gift during festive periods, saying it was wasteful to give such gifts when the money used in purchasing them could be used to provide hospitals, good roads, schools, etc.

He announced that he was giving out the cow, adding that the problem with Nigeria was that the nation has low men in high places.

Source: SAHARA REPORTERS.

Thanks but no thanks, Tunde Bakare rejects President Gooodluck’s bung in the form of X’mas Cow.


Cow

The presiding overseer of the Latter Rain Church and the convener of Save Nigeria Group, Pastor Tunde Bakare has lambasted the Presidency for giving him a cow as gift this Christmas.
He told his congregation in Lagos, southwest Nigeria, on Sunday that he did not solicit for the cow which he said was dumped at the office of the Save Nigeria Group, SNG, in Lagos by people from the Presidency.
According to Bakare, “I had a cow from the Presidency. I didn’t ask for it. They dropped it at the Save Nigeria Group office… But is it cow that we need? If you check their books, one cow could have been bought for $5,000. The rest of the money is pocketed! We don’t need cow, we need a country that will move forward!”
He added that “they prevailed on me not to return it. Thanks for the cow, but no thanks! That means no cow for me next year (laughs). But we will have good roads, schools etc! We are the cause of our problems. We feel big when Mr President sends us hampers etc… We go to them for contracts etc… Until we change ourselves, we cannot expect change from those who lead us!”
He said the way things are going, very soon people in power will be giving out elephants as gift during festive periods, saying it was wasteful to give such gifts when the money used in purchasing them could be used to provide hospitals, good roads, schools, etc.
He announced that he was giving out the cow, adding that the problem with Nigeria was that the nation has low men in high places.

Source: Radio Biafra.
By David Odey

Obasanjo’s letter Security considers probe options.


Olusegun-Obasanjo

Security agencies are weighing the options on whether or not to invite former President Olusegun Obasanjo for interrogation on his December 2 letter to President Goodluck Jonathan.

They are wary of the political implications of subjecting a former President to grilling by security chiefs, who were mostly his juniors in the military.

They appear to be in favour of probing security issues raised by Obasanjo rather than going after the messenger.

The probe may also be for documentation purpose, in case of security breach in future traceable to the letter.

There were also indications that the agencies might collaborate with security organisations in Benin Republic to find out if there was

any snipers’ training ground, in that country being run by Nigerians.

The dust over the exchange of letters between President Jonathan and ex-President Obasanjo has not been settled, leading to a split among Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) governors.

The President has referred Obasanjo’s letter to security agencies, which, it was gathered, might opt for a mutual interaction with Obasanjo in camera rather than subject him to humiliation through summons.

It was also learnt that some of the affected agencies believe that clues in Obasanjo’s letter could be investigated without subjecting the ex-President to grilling rigours.

A top source, who spoke in confidence, said: “We have got the President’s directive, which asked us to investigate some allegations in Obasanjo’s letter but we are weighing whether to invite the former leader or not.

“We want to handle the probe in such a way that our attention will be more on the issues raised rather than the writer. The allegations have to do with the security of the country than anything else.

“We do not want this investigation to heat up the polity and distract the nation from the truth or otherwise in the allegations.

“These agencies need to look into these allegations, even if for documentation purpose, in case of any security breach in future.”

Asked if the security agencies would not invite Obasanjo, the source added: “We can interact with him in camera or as may be convenient for him without causing more political upheaval.

“We may not be swayed by the tempo of the moment but we will do a thorough job in the interest of the nation.

“You will recall that when there were similar allegations against a former Head of State, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari after the 2011 poll, we were cautious in our approach.

“The investigation of allegation of subversion against a former military/ civilian leader is not what you dramatise.”

Responding to a question, the source added: “We might extend our probe to Benin Republic or any neighbouring country with evidence of training of Nigerian snipers to ‘deal’ with those on the supposed watch-list

Investigation showed that some of the PDP governors agreed with the contents of Obasanjo’s letter to Jonathan, but those who support the President, however, thought otherwise.

It was gathered that the governors in support of Obasanjo’s letter felt they had been vindicated by some of the observations.

It was learnt that the affected governors claimed that some of the issues had caused the ongoing crisis in the ruling Peoples Democratic Party(PDP).

A governor said: “Some of us in the PDP believe that the issues raised by Obasanjo were really not new except that of snipers. The truth is that we had discussed some of these allegations in the closet with the President during our meetings.

“While some of us believed that Jonathan might not have the capacity for training snipers, some said we should not ignore the allegation because of the desperation of some politicians ahead of the 2015 polls.

“Maybe the training of snipers is a plot already aborted by Obasanjo’s alarm. We are all looking forward to security agencies to assist the nation with their findings.

“We are no doubt divided because some governors believe in Obasanjo’s letter and we have been interacting on it.”

In its December 3 letter to the President, Obasanjo wrote:

“Allegation of keeping over 1000 people on political watch list rather than criminal or security watch list and training snipers and other armed personnel secretly and clandestinely acquiring weapons to match for political purposes like Abacha and training them where Abacha trained his own killers, if it is true, it cannot augur well for the initiator, the government and the people of Nigeria.

“Here again, there is the lesson of history to learn from anybody who cares to learn from history.

Mr President would always remember that he was elected to maintain security for all Nigerians and protect them. And no one should prepare to kill or maim Nigerians for personal or political ambition or interest of anyone.

“The Yoruba adage says: ‘The man with whose head coconut is broken may not live to savour the taste of the succulent fruit.’

“Those who advise you to go hard on those who oppose you are your worst enemies. Democratic politics admits and is permissive of supporters and opponents.”

In his reponse on December 22, Dr. Jonathan wrote:

“The most invidious accusation in your letter is the allegation that I have placed over 1,000 Nigerians on a political watch list, and that I am training snipers and other militia to assassinate people. Baba, I don’t know where you got that from but you do me grave injustice in not only lending credence to such baseless rumours, but also publicising it. You mentioned God 17 times in your letter. Can you as a Christian hold the Bible and say that you truly believe this allegation?

“The allegation of training snipers to assassinate political opponents is particularly incomprehensible to me.

“Regarding the over 1,000 people you say are on a political watch list, I urge you to kindly tell Nigerians who they are and what agencies of government are “watching” them. Your allegation that I am using security operatives to harass people is also baseless. Nigerians are waiting for your evidence of proof. That was an accusation made against previous administrations, including yours, but it is certainly not my style and will never be. Again, if you insist on the spurious claim that some of your relatives and friends are being harassed, I urge you to name them and tell Nigerians what agencies of my administration are harassing them.”

Source: Radio Biafra.

2015: Ex-militants rally support for Jonathan, urged on Nigerians to support his second term bid.


Jonathan millitants

The last may not have been heard of the controversial exchange of letters between President Goodluck Jonathan and his estranged political god-father, former President Olusegun Obasanjo, especially concerning the 2015 presidential election.Since Obasanjo fired the first salvo in his December 2, 2013 letter, followed by the President’s December 22 response, there have been series of comments, for and against both leaders.While politicians, concerned stakeholders and several other Nigerians, as expected, have added their voices to the seeming political crisis, another stream of support yesterday came in favour of the President from a group of erstwhile militants and ‘warlords’.The group, ‘Transformed Niger Delta Ex-militants Forum’, did not only give an open support to the purported 2015 re-election ambition of the President, but also appealed to Nigerians to rally round Jonathan to “enable the first Nigerian President of Niger Delta origin complete his transformation agenda.”The group, in a statement issued in Warri, the Delta State capital, said the appeal became necessary to douse the rising opposition against the Jonathan administration by supposed power blocs.According to the statement made available to Sunday Newswatch by its National President, Comrade Meshack Bebenimibo, and National Secretary, Comrade Peter Goodday, the group of ex-militants said there was need for all Nigerians, irrespective of ethnic affiliation to support the second term ambition of Jonathan.The erstwhile rebels went ahead to list some of the achievements of the present administration, while showcasing potentials of the government.“President Jonathan deserves our support in view of the tremendous achievements recorded in the infrastructural development of the country. The present administration has increased power generation to 4,000 megawatts. The Benin-Ore, Enugu-Port Harcourt and many roads in the northern part of the country have witnessed massive improvement in the past three years.“This administration has also recorded successes in the rail sector; the near comatose rail system has been resuscitated, while there has been a tremendous facelift in the aviation sector. The security challenges are being tackled to the best of President Jonathan’s ability,” it added.The ex-militants also commended the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Elder Godsday Orubebe, for “the 60 percent completion of the East-West Road, which has opened up the link between the South South and other parts of the country, as well as infrastructural development of the Niger Delta region.“We also express our appreciation for the Minister’s empowerment programme in the region, which has brought smiles on the faces of thousands of our people,” they added.Obasanjo had in the December 2 letter, covertly chided Jonathan for allegedly working towards getting a second term in office, as against the promise he allegedly made to the former President.

The former President added that Jonathan had sent some African leaders to him over his second term ambition, a statement Jonathan later denied in his response to Obasanjo.Obasanjo had, in the said letter, also written: “Up till two months ago, Mr. President, you told me that you had not told anybody that you would contest in 2015. I quickly pointed out to you that the signs and the measures on the ground do not tally with your statement. You said the same to one other person who shared his observation with me. And only a fool would believe that statement you made to me judging by what is going on. I must say that it is not ingenious. You may wish to pursue a more credible and more honourable path.”But in his response to Obasanjo’s letter on December 22, Jonathan replied:“You quoted me as saying that I have not told anybody that I will seek another term in office in 2015. You and your ambitious acolytes within the party have clearly decided to act on your conclusion that “only a fool will believe that statement” and embark on a virulent campaign to harass me out of an undeclared candidature for the 2015 presidential election so as to pave the way for a successor anointed by you.”He continued: “You will recall that you serially advised me that we should refrain from discussing the 2015 general elections for now so as not to distract elected public officials from the urgent task of governance. While you have apparently moved away from that position, I am still of the considered opinion that it would have been best for us to do all that is necessary to refrain from heating up the polity at this time.“Accordingly, I have already informed Nigerians that I will only speak on whether or not I will seek a second term when it is time for such declarations. Your claims about discussions I had with you, Governor Gabriel Suswam and others are wrong, but in keeping with my declared stance, I will reserve further comments until the appropriate time.“Your allegation that I asked half a dozen African Presidents to speak to you about my alleged ambition for 2015, is also untrue. I have never requested any African President to discuss with you on my behalf. In our discussion, I mentioned to you that four Presidents told me that they were concerned about the political situation in Nigeria and intended to talk to you about it. So far, only three of them have confirmed to me that they have had any discussion with you. If I made such a request, why would I deny it?”In a related development, a former chairman of the old Onitsha Local Government Area in old Anambra State, Chief Michael Okoye, has advised Jonathan not to be distracted by Obasanjo’s letter and his other critics, in his attempt at providing democracy dividends to the citizenry.Okoye, who holds the title of Onowu Igbo (the traditional Prime Minister of Indigbo), said that at the centre of the letter and the avalanche of criticisms against Jonathan was the 2015 presidential election, but insisted that there was  no going back in Jonathan contesting and winning the election.“Jonathan must go for a second term in 2015. He is entitled to it in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. No grand alliance formed against him will prosper. They will all collapse like the wall of Jericho,” asserted Okoye.The Onowu, who spoke in an interview with Sunday Newswatch over the weekend, said it was unfortunate that it was what Obasanjo did when he was both a military and civilian President that he was accusing President Jonathan, “who in all ramifications has demonstrated a high degree of restraint and decorum  against his political opponents,” of.“The problem with Obasanjo is that he wants to be in control of every government and if he is not allowed, the sitting President becomes a bad leader. Is it not ironical that Obasanjo, who wanted a third term, is asking Jonathan not to go for his constitutionally-guaranteed second term?” asked Chief Okoye.He requested that the former President should desist from “meddling in the government of President Jonathan and allow him to carry out the onerous responsibilities of administering Nigeria,” while warning that “nothing should happen to Jonathan or his government.”

Source: Radio Biafra.
By Sylvester Idowu, Warri &  Alphonsus Eze, Awka

Snipers: Jonathan reports Obasanjo to Rights Panel, seeks probe of raised allegations.


obasanjo-and-jonathan

The Presidency has taken its case against ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).
It asked the commission to investigate the allegation of keeping over 1,000 people on a political watch list and training snipers.
Jonathan made the demand in a letter to the Executive Secretary of the NHRC, Prof Bem Angwe.
A source in the commission, who confirmed the receipt of the December 23, 2013 letter, said Obasanjo may be invited for interaction on his allegation.
The Presidency asked the NHRC to “investigate the allegations bothering on the human rights violations contained on pages 9-10 of the letter dated 2nd December 2013, written by former President Olusegun Obasanjo (GCFR) to President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan (GCFR) attached to the memorandum under reference.
“In order to properly delineate the issues within your sphere of competence, particularly as other issues raised in the letter are being investigated by appropriate agencies of government.”
The letter cited two offensive paragraphs in Obasanjo’s letter for investigation by the NHRC.
The paragraphs are:
Allegation of keeping over 1,000 people on political watch list rather than criminal or security watch list and training snipers and other armed personnel secretly and clandestinely acquiring weapons to match for political purposes like Abacha, and training them where Abacha trained his own killers, if it is true, cannot augur well for the initiator, the government and the people of Nigeria. Here again, there is the lesson of history to learn from for anybody who cares to learn from history. Mr. President would always remember that he was elected to maintain security for all Nigerians and protect them. And no one should prepare to kill or maim Nigerians for personal or political ambition or interest of anyone. The Yoruba adage says, ‘The man with whose head the coconut is broken may not live to savour the taste of the succulent fruit’. Those who advise you to go hard on those who oppose you are your worst enemies. Democratic politics admits and is permissive of supporters and opponents. When the consequences come, those who have wrongly advised you will not be there to help carry the can. Egypt must teach some lesson.
“Presidential assistance for a murderer to evade justice and presidential delegation to welcome him home can only be in bad taste generally, but particularly to the family of his victim. Assisting criminals to evade justice cannot be part of the job of the Presidency. Or, as it is viewed in some quarters, is he being recruited to do for you what he had done for Abacha in the past? Hopefully, he should have learned his lesson. Let us continue to watch.”
The Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Adoke (SAN) in a memo to the Executive Secretary, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Professor Bem Angwe, dated, December 23 to which he attached a copy of Obasanjo’s letter, directed Angwe to investigate allegations relating to human rights violations.
Specifically, Adoke requested Angwe to investigate allegations bothering on the human rights violations contained in pages 9 and 10 of the letter by ex-President Obasanjo.
The memo marked: HAGF/NHRC2013/Vol2/5, titled: “Re: Before it is to late,” a copy of which The Nation sighted yesterday, reads: “May I draw your attention to the above and the attached State House Memorandum dated December 23rd 2013 in respect of the above subject matter.
“I am to request you to investigate the allegations bothering on the human rights violations contained on pages 9-10 of the latter dated December 2, 2013, written by former President Olusegun Obasanjo, GCFR to President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, GCFR attached to the memorandum under reference.
“In order to properly delineate the issues within your sphere of competence particularly as other issues raised in the letter are being investigated by appropriate agencies of government, I have decided to reproduce the relevant paragraphs below,” Adoke said.
A source in the NHRC said: “We have received the letter and a memorandum attached to it. With the issues raised in the letter, we may invite ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo for interaction.
“The question of being on political watch list raises some human rights issues. What I can assure you of is that we will be fair to all sides.”
Responding to a question, the source said the demand of the Presidency was within the mandate of the NHRC.
He cited Section 5(b) of the 2010 (Amendment Act) of the commission.
The section reads in part: The Commission shall- (a) deal with all matters relating to the protection of human rights as guaranteed by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, the United Nations Charter and the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and other International Treaties on human rights to which Nigeria is a signatory;
“(b) monitor and investigate all alleged cases of human rights violation in Nigeria and make appropriate recommendation to the President for the prosecution and such other actions as it may deem expedient in each circumstance;
“(c) assist victims of human rights violation and seek appropriate redress and remedies on their behalf…”

Source: Radio Biafra.

Northern Elders Forum (Owners Of Nigeria), We Are Deeply disappointed With Jonathan’s response To Obasanjo’s Letter.


nef

Barely 24 hours after President Goodluck Jonathan replied his predecessor, the Northern Elders Forum, NEF, has expressed disappointment with Jonathan’s response to the issues raised by the former President.The NEF said Jonathan adopted what it called ‘pedestrian approach’ to addressing the core issues raised by Obasanjo and ended up creating more tension in Nigeria than what his predecessor’s letter had generated.“We feel highly disappointed by the tone and contents of Mr. President’s response to Obasanjo’s letter,’’ Secretary General of the NEF, Prof Ango Abdullahi, told Vanguard in an interview.According to the former ABU Vice Chancellor, Jonathan missed the point by not taking time to explain to Nigerians whether he had fulfilled the electoral promises he made to the nation and whether in his view, he had made the country better than he met it on assumption of duty.Abdullahi noted that despite the shortcomings of Obasanjo as a former president Nigeria, Jonathan should sum up courage as the current leader to address the germane issues raised in the letter so that the country could move forward.He noted that since the nation was passing through a turbulent period in its political history, it was incumbent on Jonathan to take appropriate steps to arrest the drift rather than pretend that all was well with the polity and the citizenry.The NEF bigwig said that it would have been better for Jonathan to keep quiet over the Obasanjo letter than offer a lame reply, which in the main, shies away from the bone of contention.He said, “By the response of Jonathan to Obasanjo’s letter, it seems clear to us that the President does not agree that his administration has failed to provide answers to the myriad of challenges facing the nation and its people.“By the response given by Jonathan to the Obasanjo’s letter, the impression seems to be that Jonathan lacks a clear understanding of the major problems facing the country and does not seem to appreciate the innocuous admonition given him by Obasanjo in his letter.“Our simply and innocuous advice to Mr. President is to use the remaining part of his tenure to find answers to the raging problems facing Nigeria and desist from acting as if all is well

with the nation. “If Mr. President does not know or the people around him have shielded him from knowing, the truth remains that Nigeria is drifting and its citizens in dire need of a leadership that can take them to the next level,” Abdullahi said.

By Soni Daniel.

Source: Radio Biafra.

Snowden:’Mission’s Already Accomplished’.


National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden says his “mission’s already accomplished” after leaking NSA secrets that have caused a reassessment of U.S. surveillance policies. Snowden told The Washington Post in a story published online Monday night he has “already won” because journalists have been able to tell the story of the government’s collection of bulk Internet and phone records.

Snowden says he didn’t want to change society but he wanted people “to have a say in how they are governed.”

President Barack Obama hinted Friday that he would consider some changes to NSA’s bulk collection of Americans‘ phone records to address the public’s concern about privacy. His comments came in a week in which a federal judge declared the NSA’s collection program probably was unconstitutional.

Snowden was interviewed in Moscow.

© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Source: Newsmax.com

APC’s calls for Jonathan’s impeachment constitutional – Kaka.


Kaka

Senator Adegbenga Sefiu Kaka, a member of the All Progressive Congress (APC) representing Ogun East in the upper legislative chamber, has defended the appeal by his party to the National Assembly to impeach President Goodluck Jonathan. Kaka, a former deputy governor of Ogun State from 1999 to 2003 during the governorship of Chief Olusegun Osoba, also condemned reactions by the Presidency and the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) describing APC’s call as treasonable.APC, through its interim National Publicity Secretary Alhaji Lai Mohammed, had on December 15 requested the National Assembly to commence impeachment proceedings against the president, arguing that the ship of state was drifting dangerously, adding that the trend had to be arrested.Mohammed’s call came in the wake of former president Olusegun Obasanjo’s open letter to Jonathan, in which he accused the president and his administration of grievous constitutional infractions. The Presidency and PDP, in separate reactions to APC’s call, threatened that treasonable charges may be brought against leaders of the party for conceiving such an idea.But Kaka, Vice Chairman, Senate Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development, insisted in an exclusive interview with Saturday Newswatch, that his party did no wrong. He said there was nothing treasonable in the impeachment of a president. Said he: “If my own party is talking about impeachment, I believe that there is nothing treasonable in the call. Impeachment is entrenched in the constitution and the conditionalities for impeachment are also stated in black and white, which I think my party must have studied very well before making the impeachment call. If we have reached that level and my party is calling for it, I don’t think any law has been breached to the point of classifying it as treasonable charges. “To the Presidency and PDP, Kaka said: “If we haven’t reached that level constitutionally, democratically, it is left for those alleging treason to prove to the world the aspect of the law that has been broken or backing their allegation. So the issue of treasonable felony is a defeatist approach.”

The Senator contended that if some forces allegedly having the backing of the Presidency could threaten governors not in their good books with impeachment, there was nothing wrong in the call by APC for the impeachment of the president. Asked Kaka: “What is the difference between impeachment of a governor and a president? Not only that, if you go to Rivers, they are threatening to impeach the governor with five out of a parliament of 31 lawmakers; which one is more treasonable of the attempted action cited? I believe whatever threat they have against APC, is a misplaced aggression, and it shows the level of delusion the PDP-led government in the country has sunk into over the years.”Commending Obasanjo for his letter to the President, Kaka said the former president had through it spoken the minds of many Nigerians. He added that “for those looking at the messenger and not the message, as far as the said letter is concerned, they need not mind where Obasanjo is coming from or whatever role he had played in the past as regards the current democratic dispensation. The fact of the matter is that through that letter, Obasanjo has spoken out the minds of Nigerians to this government and nothing more.”While calling on government to treat issues raised in the letter and criticisms by other Nigerians in good faith, Kaka said: “Mr. President might have tried his best, but what the generality of people are saying is that his best is not good enough and that is what Chief Obasanjo re-echoed in the said letter.”Kaka advised Nigerian leaders to imbibe the lessons of the life and times of Dr. Nelson Mandela by being responsive to the yearnings of the people.

Source: Radio Biafra.

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