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Posts tagged ‘Ibrahim Babangida’

A National Insult Rejected By Okey Ndibe.


 

Okey Ndibe
Columnist:

Okey Ndibe

For those unaware of its source, I might as well state from the outset that the title of this column is not original. It’s adapted from a statement released last week by Wole Soyinka. The statement, which bore the Nobel laureate’s stamp of revulsion at moral impunity, chastised the Goodluck Jonathan administration for its bizarre line-up of 100 personalities worthy of honor at a ceremony marking the centenary of Nigeria’s amalgamation.

The centenary list, typical of such rolls in Nigeria, was a hodgepodge. It bracketed imperial personages, so-called “contributors to the making of Nigeria”—including Queen Elizabeth 11 of England and Lord Frederick Lugard, first British overseer of the forcibly amalgamated territory—with such notable nationalist fighters as Herbert Macaulay, Nnamdi Azikiwe, Obafemi Awolowo, and Anthony Enahoro. It squeezed Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, Michael Imoudu, Aminu Kano, Kenneth Onwuka Dike, Funmilayo Ransome Kuti, John Pepper Clark, Chike Obi, Chinua Achebe, Wole Soyinka, Dagogo Fubara, and Moshood Kashimawo Abiola into the same tent as Sani Abacha. In an even weirder development, Mr. Abacha shows up—along with Yakubu Gowon, Olusegun Obasanjo and Ibrahim Babangida—under the category of “Outstanding Promoters of Unity, Patriotism and National Development”.

How did we quickly forget that Abacha’s looting of public funds from the vaults of the Central Bank of Nigeria was a patriotic act? Or that he gave his cronies licenses to import toxic fuel into Nigeria because he so fiercely loved Nigerians and fervently desired their development? Or that Babangida’s annulment of the June 12 presidential election was a recipe for Nigeria’s unity?

Anybody who only followed the Aso Rock version of the centenary could have run away with the impression that Nigerians are ever grateful to the coalition of British merchants, bureaucrats, adventurers and royals who cobbled their country together—and named it Nigeria. But the deeper truth lies elsewhere. There were two sets of memory at play last week, two attitudes to Nigeria—a so-called nation bereft of a national spirit, a space that is unformed, ill-formed and malformed.

Those who preside today over the looting of billions of dollars of Nigeria’s resources may deceive themselves that the 100th anniversary of the amalgamation of Nigeria is an occasion for celebration. Many—I’d argue, most—Nigerians think otherwise. For several months, the Internet was abuzz with speculations that the legal instruments of amalgamation stipulated one hundred years as the event’s expiry date. With a great sense of expectancy, many looked forward to the formal cessation of the tragic, nightmarish, and blood-soaked experiment called Nigeria. Was the Jonathan administration unaware of this swell of hope that Nigeria should cease?

In the build-up to the centenary, the band of Islamist extremists known as Boko Haram carried out one of their most savage and outrageous attacks yet. They stormed a secondary school in Yobe under the cover of darkness, slaughtered 60 boys, and set their victims’ dorms on fire. In any serious country, one such act would forever scar the collective conscience, provoking a resolve of “Never again!” Not in Nigeria, a place where a human life is worth far less than a chicken. How did Nigeria’s “transformational” leadership respond to this latest callousness by Boko Haram? It responded in its accustomed soft, indifferent manner. It issued the same tiresome, obligatory condemnation of the carnage, nothing more. The Presidency did not consider the shocking abbreviation of so many innocent lives an occasion to devise and announce a bold, effective plan to assure the safety of all citizens, especially school children, in the Boko Haram-plagued, terror-infested areas. It was, as usual, a do-nothing stance.

But then the government did something even worse than habitual abdication. Apparently, Reno Omokri, Mr. Jonathan’s point man on social media, orchestrated a release that sought to link Nigeria’s suspended Central Bank Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, with a spike in Boko Haram’s gruesome activities, including the Yobe slaughter. Apparently Mr. Omokri did not reckon with the fact that many Nigerians are quite adept at cyber intelligence, deft at the kind of detective work that can unmask those who exploit the seeming anonymity of the Internet to slander others. Mr. Sanusi is the Jonathan administration’s Public Enemy Number One. The sacked CBN Governor committed the unpardonable sin of telling the world that a major agency of the Nigerian state had failed to deposit $20 billion earned from crude oil exports. In response, the government accused Mr. Sanusi of squandering the funds of the bank he ran, awarding contracts without following requisite laws, and dispensing Nigeria’s funds as if they were his private treasury.

If Mr. Sanusi committed these crimes, I’d like to see him prosecuted, convicted and punished. I’d also like to see the administration account fully for the funds that Mr. Sanusi alleged to be missing. Here’s what the government doesn’t have a right to do: sending Mr. Omokri, its cyber warrior-in-chief, to concoct and disseminate horrific lies against Mr. Sanusi or any Nigerian. Unless Mr. Omokri can demonstrate that he did not mastermind the craven forgery, he ought to resign immediately. Or be fired.

It’s tragic that the Nigerian government, from the president to his aides, continues to fiddle while the country burns. It’s shameful that President Jonathan and Nigerian legislators prioritize a phantom war—going after gays—when the country is besieged by mindless, well-armed zealots who see unarmed Nigerians, including children, as fair game. How does the targeting of gays solve Nigeria’s infrastructural problems? Are gays the reason elections are massively rigged in Nigeria; public funds looted with depraved greed; our educational system a shambles; our healthcare system ghastly?

Nigeria fought a civil war that claimed anything from one to three million lives. It was a war to defend a British-made idea, to uphold the sanctity of a space wrought by British imperial fiat. The mantra was: To keep Nigeria one is a task that must be done. To their credit, the British had an excellent reason for keeping Nigeria one. Nigeria was their largest holding in Africa (and their second largest anywhere, after India). It was a prodigious source of raw materials for British firms as well as a huge dumping ground for British-made goods. It made sound sense, from the British point of view, to keep Nigeria one.

As British rule ended, the Nigerian elite who inherited the spoils of the state adopted as an article of faith the idea that Nigeria must remain one entity. But they shied away from asking the hard questions. What’s so sacred about Nigeria? Why should we remain one? What ends are served by remaining one? What does Nigeria represent? And—if unity was not negotiable—then what must be the irreducible terms of our engagement?

I’ve argued before that a central part of Nigeria’s tragedy arises from the fact that the country fought a costly war, but has never permitted the lessons of that war to inform its conduct, to shape its ethos. It’s as if we went to war to defend the right of a few to continue to plunder, to continue to feed fat at the expense of the rest of us, to perpetually rig themselves into power, and to add their contemptible names to every roll of honor, even though they refrain from doing anything that is remotely honorable.

As Mr. Jonathan feted the so-called giants of Nigeria’s centenary, a different, oppositional narrative played itself out. The collective memory of the vast majority of Nigerians beheld Nigeria, not as a splendid monument, but as a sordid, wretched edifice. They saw what Mr. Jonathan and his ilk refuse to see: that the Nigerian state is a provocation, a moral affront, a failed, misery-dispensing state.

Soyinka captured part of the spirit of that deep split in the way Nigeria is regarded. He acted bravely by excusing himself from the insouciant official ritual that amounted to an insult to the outraged sensibilities of the majority of Nigerians. In a statement of renunciation titled “Canonization of Terror,” Mr. Soyinka called attention to the wasted lives of the students in Yobe. He drew our attention to “the entire ethical landscape into which this nation has been forced by insensate leadership.” He would not succumb to the summons to collective amnesia, the only condition under which an ogre like Sani Abacha would be invited to arise, ghost-like, to accept national veneration as a patriotic champion of Nigerian “unity and national development.” Stated Mr. Soyinka: “Under that ruler, torture and other forms of barbarism were enthroned as the norm of governance. To round up, nine Nigerian citizens, including the writer and environmentalist Ken Saro-Wiwa, were hanged after a trial that was stomach churning even by the most primitive standards of judicial trial, and in defiance of the intervention of world leadership.”

In the end, Soyinka spoke for me—and I suggest, for many other enlightened people—when he stated, “I reject my share of this national insult.”

Please follow me on twitter @ okeyndibe

 

(okeyndibe@gmail.com)

Source: SAHARA REPORTERS.

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Aliyu Gusau: The Real Evil Genius Returns By Rudolf Ogoo Okonkwo.


 

Columnist:

By Rudolph Okonkwo

Sometime in the late 1980s, Okey Ndibe wrote a cover story for the African Guardian magazine where he labeled the then military president, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida, Maradona- after the Argentinian football player. Ndibe did so for the way Babangida dribbled the political class with his transition to nowhere.

The tag soon entered the psyche of the military president. In early 1990s, Babangida had become so cocky that he declared in a newspaper interview that he was an evil genius. The Nigerian political elite and the hordes of commentators bought into it. But as President Goodluck Jonathan would say, “that’s not korrect.”

The real evil genius of Nigeria is Gen. Aliyu Gusau, retired or not.
I came to that realization after a piece on Gusau by Dr. Perry Brimah compelled me go back and re-read the Wikileak cables where Gen. Gusau, as the National Security Adviser under President Olusegun Obasanjo, was blabbing in front of American Ambassador to Nigeria. Gusau’s encounter with the ambassador says a lot about the man and his regard for Nigeria, a country that for the last 30 years he has played a major role in what it is today. His mastery is in using the intelligence he is in possession of to get what he wants from people in power. His only failure is in his inability to translate it into his ultimate goal- being the Oga Kpatakpata at the Top.

For the record, the primary reason for Gusau’s return is President Jonathan’s last ditch effort to placate Babangida and Obasanjo, all friends and allies of Gusau. With Gusau in place, he hopes to also assure the North that their interest will be taken care of while he runs out the clock for another 4 years when power will definitely return to the north. As is always the case, the interest of Gusau is being interchanged with the interest of the North.
As Gusau prepares to return to power as a possible minister of defense, I looked back at something that I wrote about him and others like him over 14 years ago. The piece is called, “Aliyu Gusau and other Untouchables.” It’s telling that in Nigeria, the more things change, the more they remain the same.

Enjoy.

Behind every throne, the philosopher says, there is something bigger than the King. The Nigerian presidency is a throne presently occupied by Olusegun Obasanjo. But behind that throne are people who are bigger than the King. None of them has been on the spotlight lately as Lt.-General Aliyu Mohammed Gusau. He belongs to the exclusive club of the Nigerian untouchables. Currently, he is under attack by a section of the Nigerian media and he is fighting back with great fury. And when an untouchable fights back, it is not a pretty sight.

Mohammed Gusau is Nigeria’s National Security Adviser. He was the Chief of Army Staff during Shonekan’s Interim National Government of 1993. Just like many people around Obasanjo, he has been on Nigeria’s political scene for a while. He was a royal friend of Babangida who was retired by Abacha. He is credited to be the man who “sold” Obasanjo to the north. Before Gen. Babangida paid the famous courtesy call to Otah farm, General Gusau was the forerunner.

As the National Security Adviser, General Gusau is one of the most powerful people in Nigeria. He knows what ordinary Nigerians do not know. He is in control of both the military and civilian intelligence network, so he can make things happen. And he does with impunity. He knows who is writing fake checks and who is wearing dirty underwear. He knows who is sleeping with another man’s wife and who is stealing Nigeria’s money. He knows a lot. Obviously, more than the King, Obasanjo, knows. That is why he is something behind the throne that is bigger than the King.

One of his special assignments in this current administration is the recovery of public funds stolen from Nigeria’s treasury by past governments. Whether that assignment includes looking at the activities of his friend Babangida from 1983 – 1993, we may never know. By all indication, Gusau is on the heels of the Abachas. Like everything Nigeria, Gusau’s problems seem to be coming from all the complications that follow anyone who ever dined with the devil. And in his case, he dined with a short spoon.

As Nigeria’s security agencies uncover loots and fingerprints, the Nigerian press uncovers footprints. Sometimes, the footprints of the untouchable are seen in areas where the devil stepped on. Which is not totally unexpected considering the fact that the untouchables have the habit of hanging around the devils. In defense of the Nigerian press, the press like the police does little profiling. It also believes that birds of the same feather flock together. The press thinks there is no smoke without fire. That is the premise from which the press begins to work until stories are confirmed and published or unconfirmed and discarded. So it is not difficult to understand why a sector of the Nigerian press will begin by labeling Gusau as the ring leader of the cabal trying to impose Obasanjo on Nigeria and ended up calling him the principal actor trying to destabilize Obasanjo’s administration.

Nigerians are beginning to discover that the man Babangida embraced is more dangerous than the man Abacha did. I would first have as heroes men Babangida rejected before I would accept those Abacha rejected. Abacha was crude, evil and insane. He surrounded himself with sycophantic fools who displayed their pathetic ignorance. The same could not be said of Babangida. He was tactical, evil and cancerous. He surrounded himself with intelligent idiots who displayed their criminal foolishness. In the long run, it would be proved that friends of Babangida did more damage to Nigeria than friends of Abacha. Abacha’s men took away our cash but Babangida’s men took away our cash and something more expensive- our soul.

So the tragedy of General Gusau goes back to the tragedy of his master, Babangida. Like most men around Obasanjo, he came in with heavy luggage and it is beginning to wear him down. Surrounding himself with a legion of untouchables was Obasanjo’s first mistake. Those Warren Christophers of Nigeria, those Henry Kissingers of Nigeria who ought to have retired into private life are busy parading themselves along Nigeria’s corridors of power with all their luggage as the untouchables. The Asiodus, the Ciromas, the Ogbemudias. Men, whose names I learnt in Social Studies classes in primary school are the same names that my children would be learning. And it wasn’t that they did such a wonderful job in the past to warrant a return journey. When Babangida brought in Philip Asiodu to serve in his Interim Government, the press asked Asiodu how he felt about the enormous task facing him. Asiodu told the press it was just a routine assignment.

To the untouchables, the Nigeria project is just a routine assignment. They have been there, and they have done that. On pieces of papers where Nigeria’s money were signed away, their signatures abound. They know the system very well. They have traveled the road many times. They are well connected. They were there when it all began. There is nothing really that anybody can do to them. They can blackmail. They can open a can of worm nobody wants to open. They can pull the right strings and people will start falling down. Yes, they can. They have all the apparatus of state power in their hand. Each day the untouchables spend around the corridors of power, they are busy covering their footprints.

Mr. Nduka Obaigbena, publisher of ThisDay newspaper now knows what it means to look for and discover the footprint of an untouchable along the unholy path of Nigeria’s public life. The paper has the audacity to pursue stories about possible links between Aliyu Mohammed Gusau’s Paris account and the loots recovered from the Sani Abacha family. They were looking at possible kick-backs in the 12 billion naira paid to Julius Berger before Obasanjo visited Germany and if it is responsible for the current in-fighting between government officials. The paper was also looking at Vice-president Atiku’s claim that retired Generals were behind Sharia crises.

How dare you ask questions about the untouchables? For that reason, Obaigbena has to explain to the State Security Service (SSS) the circumstances behind an unsettled bill of $23, 407.39 owed to Marriott Wardman Park Hotel, in Washington DC during IMF/World Bank meeting with Nigerian officials in DC. Mr. Obaigbena has since stepped aside as the publisher and Editor-in-Chief of ThisDay while he fights to clear his name. He would be fighting amongst others, the National Council on Privatization (NCP) who he claimed owe his company, Leaders and Company Limited $150,000 for co-ordinating dinner/briefing of the 1999 World bank/IMF annual meeting held at Marriott Wardman Park House.

If there is a non-criminal way of qualifying Abacha’s name with the word credit, it is in relation to the untouchables. Abacha, in his brutal nature, showed no respect for the untouchables. He dethroned Alhaji Ibrahim Dasuki. He put Obasanjo in jail- something Babangida only dreamt of. He also put Yaradua in jail. A move that even shocked Yaradua himself. And he succeeded in replacing the old untouchables with his cronies whom he devoured, as he seemed fit.

The first goal of any Nigerian that hopes to contribute to Nigeria’s development is to get ready for a battle with the untouchables. These symbols of Nigerian entrenched power must be demystified if the new breed will have any chance. Until we sweep them all out of power, into retirement, there would not be any change in attitude. The greatest danger the untouchables pose to the Nigerian nation is that they are contaminating another generation of Nigerians who are struggling to find their way into positions of responsibility. That is the deepest cuts of them all.

Source: SAHARA REPORTERS.

Sunday Musings: On this Matter of the National Conference By Mobolaji E. Aluko.


By Mobolaji E. Aluko, PhD

My People : The Federal Government recently announced the modalities for the much-awaited National Conference, following the submission of the report of the Okunrounmu-led  Presidential Advisory Committee on National Dialogue.

On this issue of a National Conference, despite misgivings from various quarters, I am in general support provided:

– the process is as inclusive as possible; this has implication for length of time allowed for it as well as the character, number and process of choice of the delegates  [I recommend below six months rather than three months now announced by the FGN.]

– the total number of delegates in the Final Conference should not be unnecessarily wieldy. [Well, my recommendation below reduces the total number from 492 to anywhere between 426 and 479 – not much a reduction, but now with significant re-distribution among the various categories of delegates.]

– there is greater clarity in how and who does the selection and/or election of delegates

– while not an Ethnic Nationalities Conference, sufficient weight to their views must be built into the National Conference [I recommend below that the Ethnic Nationalities representation should be one-quarter to one-third of the total delegates.  Their number should therefore be increased from 90 to 107 (for one-quarter representation) or 160 (for one-third representation)]

– government choice of delegates should be as few as possible; this actually builds in more legitimacy, not less. [Instead of 181 (or 37% of total delegates), I recommend below  only 20 (19 Elder statesmen and the Chairman of the Conference) chosen by Government (President or Governors or FGN) – that is about 5%.]

– we increase of Diaspora representation from 8 to 12 (splitting America into USA (2 delegates), Canada (1) and South America (1), and Asia into Near Asia (2 delegates) and Far Asia (2 delegates), with Europe and Africa having 2 delegates each.]

– the cost of the National Conference is minimal [N4.7 million per person per month appears too high.  A breakdown of how this N7 billion total cost estimate was arrived at would be helpful.]  However, what is worth doing is worth doing well, and if it costs high, so be it.

– it ends up in a new Popular Constitution, complete with a Referendum,  not tinkering with the current one;

– the new Constitution forms the basis of the 2015 Presidential elections

Other recommendations will be found in tabular form below.

The recently-announced Modalities for the Conference don’t all expressly allow the above – but one hopes that some or all of my recommendations below will be considered before the National Conference begins.

And there you have it.  Comments are welcome.

 

Bolaji Aluko

-The National Conference

S/N

Item

Decision of FGN

Aluko Commentary

1

Official name

The National Conference

Missing is the adjective “Sovereign”, but I can let that go

2

Venue

Abuja

Final one may be Abuja, but there should be many mini-conferences first, AT least in the capitals of each of the states to ensure greater inclusivity

3

Duration

Three months

Too short: six months are recommended

4

Discussion Topics

Almost all or any subject matter….except….

Should be ANY subject at all

5

No-Go Area

Indivisibility and indissolubility of Nigeria as a nation, therefore the unity of Nigeria is non-negotiable;

This “No Go” area not necessary.  Allow those who want division and dissolution to be shouted down – or hailed – at the NC, then we shall see.  Be assured that Nigeria is not going dissolved anywhere…..so why fret?

6

Conference management

Secretariat to manage, administer and run its affairs

Okay

7

Decision Making

By consensus; but where it is not achievable, it shall be by 75% majority

Okay

8

Purpose of National Conference

To advise the government on the legal framework, legal procedures and options for integrating the decisions and outcomes of the national conference into the Constitution and laws of the country

Just to advise integration? No – it should be to OUTLINE a new Constitution entirely, not tinker with the old one.  NBA (Body of SANs) should be drafted to technocratically DRAFT the Constitution before a Popular Referendum, which should be given to National Assembly/President for formal assent only. The Constitution should be enacted before and be the basis for the 2015 Presidential elections, otherwise it should be POSTPONED until after then, otherwise NC might be a wasted effort

9

Conference Leadership

A Chairperson and a Deputy Chairperson of unimpeachable integrity

Okay

10

Delegate Nomination Period

Begin Thursday January 30 and end Thursday, February 20, 2014

Has already presumably begun, but  the ability of “getting together” of many of the named Stakeholder groups in order to nominate their delegates is very  nebulous

11

Method of Nomination

List of nominees shall be submitted either online to www.osgf.gov.ng or in hard copy to the Office of the Permanent Secretary (Special Duties Office), Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Federal Secretariat Complex, Phase I, 3rd Floor, Central Business District, Abuja.

Okay, but nothing is on www.osgf.gov.ng is available yet to do this nomination there. At least, I visited to nominate one or two persons (don’t ask me who.)

12

Period of NC

March to May 2014

Too short – March to August 2014  minimum

13

Approximate Cost

N7.00 billion

Ehn – N14.2 million per person, N4.7 million per person per month for three months? Let’s see the breakdown in terms of cost of venue, materials, accommodation, food, general conference services,  transportation, honorarium  – and legal “incidentals”.

Modalities for the nomination of the delegates

S/N

Stakeholders

FGN Number

Of Delegates

FGN Specifications

Nominator

(according to FGN)

Aluko Commentary

Recommended number

1

Elder Statesmen

37

One per state and the FCT

President

Too many – 3 per geo-zone + FCT are enough

19

2

Retired Military and Security Personnel

18

One delegate per geopolitical zone each from the Military, Police, State Security and National Intelligence Agency

Stakeholders

Too many – one per geo-zone, mixed such that 2 each from the services

6

3

Traditional Rulers

13

Two per geo-political zone and one from the FCT

Stakeholders

Okay – but just specify (chosen from one of the Chairmen of the Council of Chiefs by them)

13

4

Retired Civil Servants

6

One per geo-zone

Stakeholders

Why?  Some of the delegates will fulfill this anyway.

0

5

Labour

24

Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, and Trade Union Congress, TUC, to reflect Geo-political and gender balance

Stakeholders

Too many

12

6

The Organised Private Sector

8

NECA, MAN, NACCIMA, NESG, two delegates each

Stakeholders

Too many – one each enough

4

7

Nigeria Youth Organisations

12

National Youth Council of Nigeria and National Association of Nigerians Students, NANS, shall each nominate six delegates, one from each geo-political zone,

Stakeholders

Okay

12

8

Outstanding Youths and Role Models

6

One from each geo-political zone for “other”

Federal Government

Why? Government should as much as possible remove any tendency to dilute Stakeholder choice influence

0

9

Women Groups

12

National Council Of Women Society, NCWS, two per geo- political zone

Stakeholders

Okay

12

10

Market Women Association

6

One per geo-political zone.

Stakeholders

Okay

6

11

Women Organizations

6

International Federation of Women Lawyers, FIDA;  Nigerian Association of Women Journalists, NAWOJ; and Women in Management and Business, WINBIZ, shall each nominate two Delegates;

Stakeholders

Okay

6

12

Political Parties in National Assembly

10

Parties that have representation in the National Assembly, including the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, All Progressives Congress, APC,  All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, Accord Party, Labour Party, LP, two delegates each

Stakeholders

Too few…all parties that have ANY representation at all in ANY state legislature. In fact, why not all INEC-registered parties – all 25 of them?

25

13

Religious Leaders

12

Christian and Muslim Leaders

Stakeholders

Okay

12

14

Civil Society Organisations

24

Across board

Stakeholders

Not necessary – are these all other named associations NOT “Civil Society?”

0

15

Nigerians in Diaspora

8

Europe, America, Africa, Asia, and Middle East,  two delegates per location

Stakeholders

Not Enough – America should be broken into three (2 representing USA, 1 representing Canada and 1 representing South America), as well as Asia (2 representing Far Asia and 2 Representing Near Asia)

12

16

People Living with Disabilities

6

One per geo-political zone

Stakeholder

Okay

6

17

Media

8

Newspapers Proprietors Association of Nigeria, Nigeria Guild of Editors, Nigeria Union of Journalists and the Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria shall nominate 2 delegates each;

Stakeholders

Okay

8

18

Socio Political/ Cultural and Ethnic Nationality Groups

90

15 delegates each, per geo-political zone to reflect religious and ethnic diversities;

Stakeholders

Not enough at all….this number should be near to or equal to the quorum of Conference membership (assumed to be one-third)

107 – for one-quarter representation;

 

160 – for one-third representation

 

19

Professional Bodies

13

NBA, NSE, CIB, NMA, NIM, NIA, ICAN, ANAN, NIPR, AAPN, NIESV, Nigerian Environment Society and  Nigeria Economic Society

Stakeholders

Okay

13

20

National Academies

5

The Academy of Science, Academy of Engineering, Academy of Education, Academy of Letters and the Academy of Social Sciences shall each nominate 1 delegate;

Stakeholders

Okay..but no ASUU?

5

21

Former Judiciary Personnel

6

From the Judiciary not currently serving on the bench

President

Okay…but why does the President have to be the one to choose them?  NJC nko?

6

22

Former Political Office Holders

24

Former governors, Senators Forum, House of Reps Forum and the Association of Former Speakers shall each nominate one delegate per geo-political zone

Stakeholders

Okay….but how will they choose themselves?

24

23

FG

Delegates

20

At least six will be women

Federal Government

Why? A nebulous group

0

24

State Governments

Delegates

109

3 delegates each based on Senatorial District at least, while the FCT shall nominate 1 delegate, one of whom shall be a woman. The nomination shall be done by the state governors and where the state fails to nominate, the President shall nominate the required number from the state

State Governor and/or President

The number is okay, but choice by state governors defeats popular representation.  This is where LIMITED election or selection by the populace should be instituted

109

25

Former LG Chairmen

6

One from each from the six geo- political zones;

ALGON

Okay

6

26

Conference Leaders

3

Chairman, Deputy Chairman and Secretary, observing geo-political spread

President

Number okay, but President should just choose Chairman, and let the Conference choose the other two

3

 

TOTAL

492

 

 

 

426 or 479

 

The National Conference: How we got here

 

S/N

Date

Event

1

Independence Day broadcast October 1, 2013

President Goodluck Jonathan announces set up a Presidential Advisory Committee on National Dialogue (PACND)

Composition: Senator Dr. Femi Okurounmu-Chairman; Dr. Akilu Sani Indabawa -Secretary, Senator Khairat Abdulrazaq-Gwadabe, Senator Timothy Adudu; Professor Olufunke Adeboye; Professor George A. Obiozor, Professor Ben Nwabueze, SAN, NNOM (declined, later replaced by Prof. Anya Anya),  Dr. Abubakar Siddique Mohammed; Malam Bukhari Bello, MFR, mni; Mr. Tony I. Uranta,  Col. Tony Nyiam (Rtd) (later replaced by Mr. Solomon Asemota (SAN)); Alhaji Dauda Birmah, OFR and Dr. Mrs. Mairo Ahmed Amshi, MFR.

2

October 7, 2013

Date of Inauguration of PACND

3

December 18, 2013

Submission of Report of PACND

 

http://www.osgf.gov.ng/content?id=135

STATEMENT BY ANYIM PIUS ANYIM, GCON, SECRETARY TO THE GOVERNMENT OF THE FEDERATION, ON THE OCASSION OF THE RELEASE OF THE MODALITIES FOR THE NATIONAL CONFERENCE TO THE MEDIA ON 3OTH JANUARY, 2014; ABUJA

Gentlemen of the Press,

It is my pleasure to welcome you all to this Press Conference. The purpose is to share with you, the highlights of the decisions of the Federal Government on the Report of the Presidential Advisory Committee on National Dialogue. I am indeed pleased and grateful that I am joined here today by the Chairman of the Advisory Committee, Senator Femi Okunronmu and the Secretary, Dr. Akilu Indabawa. I will make a brief statement and thereafter, all of us will be available to respond to your questions.

2.      You will recall that the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan,GCFR, during his Independence Day National Broadcast, on 1st October, 2013 set up a 13-Member Presidential Advisory Committee on National Dialogue under Senator Femi Okurounmu. The Committee which was inaugurated on 7th October 2013 was mandated to advise Government on the framework for a national dialogue by consulting widely with Nigerians. The Committee was given seven (7) terms of reference and was asked to submit its report in six (6) weeks.   The Committee met that target and in many respects, it exceeded all expectations.  At this juncture, let me once again, on behalf of the President, thank the Chairman and members of the Committee for their dedication, tenacity and courage in handling the assignment.

3.      The Federal Government is satisfied that the Committee has diligently discharged its task to the nation and posterity.  This is moreso, especially as one recalls the foundational principles of their assignment as espoused by President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan at the inauguration of the Committee. On that occasion, Mr. President emphasized that, “this is a National Project, a sincere and fundamental undertaking, aimed at realistically examining and genuinely resolving, long-standing impediments to our cohesion and harmonious development as a truly United Nation”.

4.      You will also recall that the President further stressed that, “sitting down to talk is one right step in calming down tensions and channeling our grievances, misgivings and suggestions into more positive use for the good of our country”. The President stated as well that in any case, Nigerians are already talking about their national challenges through the print and electronic media. He observed that, “the only gap is that while these talks are sometimes weighty, they often lack direction”. Therefore, one of the objectives for setting up the Committee was to lend weight and direction to the National Dialogue. You may also recall that Mr. President has also allayed “the fears of those who think the National Dialogue will call the integrity of Nigeria into question”, and added that, “this National Dialogue will strengthen our union and address issues that are often on the front burner, but too frequently ignored”.

5.      I wish to thank all Nigerians for their enthusiastic response to the opportunity to structure a national dialogue in the manner offered by the President. We are grateful for the massive support and encouragement that the broad strata and all sections of our nation gave to the Advisory Committee in all parts of the country they visited.  Also, let me in particular, extend our deep appreciation to members of the press. All of you contributed in no small way to sustain free and robust debate on every platform, to promote the ideals of the national dialogue.

6.      I am pleased to inform you that Government gave the most expeditious consideration to the Report of the Advisory Committee. In doing so, we sought explanations and guidance from the members of the Committee as at when necessary. We were also deeply encouraged by the calls by Nigerians from all works of life for us to proceed with the Report of the Committee with uttermost urgency, so that the nation can be through with the Dialogue well ahead of the approaching political season.

7.      I now have the privilege to announce that the Government, after long and mature deliberations on the Committees’ Report, accepts the following recommendations for immediate implementation:

(a)          The official name of the conversation/conference shall be “The National Conference”;

(b)                   The National Conference shall hold in the Federal                              Capital Territory, Abuja;

(c)          The National Conference shall tentatively last for 3 months and shall discuss any subject matter, except the indivisibility and indissolubility of Nigeria as a nation, therefore the unity of Nigeria is non-negotiable;

(d)          A Conference Management Secretariat shall be established to manage, administer and run the affairs of the Conference;

(e)          Decisions at the National Conference shall be by consensus; but where it is not achievable; it shall be by 75% majority;

(f)           The National Conference shall advise the Government on the legal framework, legal procedures and options for integrating the decisions and outcomes of the national conference into the Constitution and laws of the country; and

(g)          The National Conference shall have a Chairperson and a Deputy Chairperson of unimpeachable integrity.

8.      Furthermore, the Federal Government has since approved the next steps necessary towards actualizing the National Conference as follows:

(i)      30th January,   2014     –        Formal release of the modalities for the National Conference;

(ii)      30th January, 2014       –        20th February, 2014                                  Nomination of Delegates;

(iii)     Inauguration of the Conference will follow soon after the delegate list is concluded.

 

9.      Pursuant to the foregoing, the modalities for the nomination of delegates to the Conference are as provided in the attached table.

 

10.    The list of nominees shall be submitted either online to www.osgf.gov.ng or in hard copy to the Office of the Permanent Secretary (Special Duties Office), Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Federal Secretariat Complex, Phase I, 3rd Floor, Central Business District, Abuja.  Formal inauguration of the Conference shall follow as soon as the nominations are received and collated.

 

11.    Thank you.

 

ANYIM PIUS ANYIM, GCON

Secretary to the Government of the Federation

National Confab Or Gathering Of Vultures? By Soyombo Ayomikun.


By Soyombo Ayomikun

A solemn gathering
Of minds burning for change
Both young and old
Seeking to light the path into tomorrow
That was my picture of the National Confab

Then I heard
That 492 souls will be gathered
Invited to come with empty pouches
As ripe gold awaits to be carted away
At the National Confab

Allegedly 9 million naira goes
To each man that gets the slot
As if it were some ‘ghost contracts’
In a land where diseases and poverty daily strikes
The weak ones labelled ‘masses’

A storm of pains
Whirled within my heart’s chambers
As I sensed that a gathering of ‘Judases’
Is about to be baptized
At the National Confab

I’m now seeing pictures
Of men gathering to drink our good roads
Of souls converging to eat our education
A buffet of deceit and lies
At the National Confab

We have journeyed
A long long way
Than to now be making a joke
Of what should be a glorious venture
A conference of Nigeria’s brightest minds

We don’t want a gathering of vultures
Devoid of passions or dreams
We don’t want an assembly
Of souls infested by greed
At our National Confab

The Confab we want is that of sacrificial hearts
With no gains of coins or gold attached
With no remuneration that will lure in ‘Judases’
A confab of the weak,the strong, & the mighty
With beautiful dream-filled hearts…for Nigeria!!!

Soyombo tweets from @alabaster85

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

US: Nigeria Won’t Break up in 2015.


Mr. James Entwistle

Worries about Nigeria breaking up may not be unfounded after all.  The  United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. James Entwistle, during an  interactive session with some journalists in Lagos, said his country,  contrary to misconception, was not preparing  for Nigeria’s breakup.
He said: “I don’t see any sign of a breakup. There is no sign that  Nigeria will breakup. If this country is going to breakup in 2015, to  me, I don’t see any sign of it. You have challenges in this country, but  you are moving forward towards a bright future. There is no issue that  the country might break up.“Yes, your country had a devastating civil war just like my own  country. It almost tore us into two. I think both of our countries have  learnt how difficult it is to hold a country together and that has  certainly been a big factor in my country. The idea that Nigeria is  going to fall apart in the coming months is news to me; I am not sure  where that idea is coming from.”
Entwistle, who assumed duty in Nigeria last November, said Nigeria  parades array of talents and extraordinary creativity that will continue  to make the country an important place in Africa.
“In three months that I have been here, my overwhelming impression is  how smart and intelligent that Nigerians are. After three months, I am  very impressed by the creative spirit of Nigerians as they face  challenges. It is clear there are huge challenges ahead, but we are  committed to help Nigeria.“Every conversation I have on any subject, (I am just coming from a    roundtable discussion on the power sector here), I have really been  impressed by the energy and the drive and I get this sense that Nigerian  people are saying: ‘yes, we have challenges; things we have to deal  with but we can do this. This is our country. We will get this done.’  They appreciate help from outsiders and they just have this very strong  sense of pride that this is our country. We are going to get this  right,” he added.
He urged the federal government to strengthen its coordination efforts  with international organisations and neighbouring countries to stop Boko  Haram insurgency.“Whether it is fighting terror or the war on drugs or any of these  international problems that cut across borders, no one nation can do it  by itself. To really get at Boko Haram, your government needs to  continue working with Cameroun and Chad because these guys cross the  borders. These are guys for whom international borders are largely  meaningless. The only way to deal with these guys is to collaborate with  your neigbours and relevant international organisations.“I think in my conversation with your government and military, I think  there is a growing concern over finding an enemy who mixes with the  civilian population. So, that needs to be a focus,” he said.
He reiterated his country’s commitment to a review of African Growth  and Opportunity Act (AGOA) for inclusion of Nigeria’s value-added  products for export into American market against the current Generalised  System of Preference (GSP) provisions that allow  just oil as export  commodity from Nigeria into America.“We will continue to review AGOA. We will like to see other sectors of  your economy to begin to take advantage of AGOA,” he said.
On the recent law which bans same-sex unions in the country, Entwistle  said gay issue was a controversial one all over the world and that it  was up to Nigeria to define  marriage is.
He, however, expressed worry about certain clause in the law that places restrictions on freedom of assembly.
“As a friend of Nigeria, we are worried that the new law puts  restrictions on freedom of assembly or association. When you start  limiting freedom, it is worrisome,” he said.
Adeola Akinremi

Source: Radio Biafra.

2015: Nigerian youths give Jonathan ultimatum.


President-Goodluck-Jonathan-11

Nigerian youths under the aegis of the youth wing of the National Coalition for Jonathan/Sambo Presidency, NACOJP, have handed down a 45-day ultimatum to President Goodluck Jonathan to indicate interest in the 2015 presidential election or face their wrath.
The youths said Jonathan must contest the 2015 presidential election and asked him to indicate his interest without further delay, even as they vowed to resist any attempt to intimidate him out of the race, threatening to make the country ungovernable in any event that Jonathan refused to run.
NACOJP’s President, Comrade Godspower Denema, handed down the warning in an address presented after the inauguration of the leadership of the group, in Abuja.
High point of the ceremony was the launching of a pamphlet, entitled, “100 Reasons Why Nigerian Youths Should Support President Jonathan.”
In the statement made available to National Mirror, the group said Jonathan must be compelled to continue his transformation agenda, which it said had impacted positively on the lives of the citizens.
Denema, whose executive was inaugurated along with the investiture of a renowned environmentalist and security and safety expert, Dr. Benjamin Onoriode Irikefe, as the national patron of the group by a former governor of Zamfara State and chairman of the Board of Trustees, BoT, Alhaji Mahmud Aliyu Shinkafi, said: “We call on President Jonathan to, within 45 days, make his intention to contest the 2015 presidency known to Nigerians.”
Denema, while speaking at the ceremony attended by youths from the six geopolitical zones of the country as well as the Political Adviser to the Vice-President, Mallam Abba Dabbo and National Woman Leader of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Dr. Kema Chikwe, among others, warned that his members would take some drastic actions which might threaten the corporate existence of the country in the event that Jonathan failed to accede to their demand.
He added: “On behalf of the entire youths of Nigeria, I want to sincerely warn that if Mr. President refuses to contest the 2015 presidential election, the youths of Nigeria from the six geopolitical zones of the country will be forced to take some drastic actions.
“Some of the action may include but not limited to the shutdown of the entire country. More than 40 million Nigerian youths will storm Abuja in early February. We shall conscript Mr. President. We shall make sure that no Jonathan, no election in 2015 and most Nigerian youths shall change their national tags.”
Also, in his remarks, Irikefe asked Jonathan not to succumb to intimidation over the 2015 presidential election, adding that those opposed to his re-election were “enemies of the country.”
He said Jonathan deserved re-election in view of his “

sterling performance in the ongoing first term.
“Four years is not eternity. It is a short duration of only 48 months. Those fanning the embers of disunity and beating the drums of war should not flee the country when trouble starts. They should not attempt to ferry their own children out of the country when the trouble they are trying to promote starts.
“In fact, they should be advised to bring their own children who they are keeping abroad to come home to fight. Nigeria at centenary is at a cross-road. The pendulum of activity is oscillating between peace and impending war. President Jonathan represents peace and his distractors, who are crisis promoting agents, represent war. So the choice is now left for Nigerians. I am very convinced that they will make the right choice, that is the path of peace.”

Source: Radio Biafra.

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