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Posts tagged ‘Plateau State’

Revenue crisis cripples states.


Ngozi-Okonjo-Iweala-02

The drop in the monthly revenue allocations by the Federal Government to the 36 states of the federation has affected the finances and smooth-running of various governments.

Investigations by Saturday Punch showed that the shortfall in revenue allocation to states by the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee which started three months ago, had disrupted payment of salaries, pensions and financing of government projects in many states.

A cross-section of states that spoke with Saturday PUNCH on Thursday, lamented that the shortfall in the allocations and non-disbursement of full allocations as at when due, had reduced the financial capacity of their governments, thus making it impossible for them to execute some vital projects.

While blaming the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation for not remitting enough revenue to the coffers of the Federal Government, the states urged government to ensure adequate, transparent and accountable revenue remittance by the NNPC.

But as the states lament the toll of the shortage on their administrative efforts, President Goodluck Jonathan has intervened with a view to finding a quick solution to the problem.

Saturday Punch learnt on Thursday that the President had approved a sum of N75bn to be immediately made available to the FAAC to augment revenue shortfall for July.

This development was confirmed on Thursday by the Chairman, Forum of Commissioners of FAAC, Mr Timothy Odaah, during a telephone interview with one of our correspondents in Abuja.

He said the amount would be added to the N45bn already provided by the Ministry of Finance to make up the N115bn arrears for the Month of July.

About N336bn is being owed the three tiers of government as arrears of revenue shortfall owing to persistent decline in oil production and revenue.

Odaah said though the timely intervention of the President would help cushion the impact of the problem, state governments still believed the President was not well briefed on what was happening.

In Plateau State, the Commissioner for Information and Communication, Mr. Yiljap Abraham, told Saturday PUNCH that the shortage had affected all cash-flow of salaries, wages, contractual obligations, security and the smooth running of government at all levels.

Abraham, who spoke with one of our correspondents, however, assured civil servants that the state government would ensure payment of salaries immediately the shortfalls were released.

He said, “Naturally, the non-disbursement of funds and shortfalls in federal allocations from the Federal Government affects all aspects of cash-flow such as salaries and wages, contractual obligations, handling of security problems and the smooth running of government at all levels.”

He, however, said, “Sad as the situation may be, Governor Jonah Jang has always ensured prudent management of state resources.”

Akwa Ibom

In Akwa Ibom State, the Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Bassey Akpan, said that the state government got a loan of N80bn from the Standard Chartered Bank of London, not for the purpose of financing new projects, but to offset the previously acquired credit facility of N50bn from the United Bank for Africa Plc.

He explained that the state government had already met with the state House of Assembly on the need to write off the UBA loan facility which attracted an interest rate of 18.5 per cent per annum.

He stated that the UBA facility was a bridge to support the state government to fulfil its financial obligations as at the time the loan was taken.

Inquiries by our correspondent, however, showed that the state government was not owing workers’ salaries.

He said, “When we consummated the UBA facility, we were also working with international financial institutions. The essence of this loan is to enable us to bring down the cost of governance for the people. We have to do this based on the interest that has been shown by the international financial community based on the performance of the governor.”

Kwara State

In Kwara State, the governor, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed, said the dwindling revenue from the federal coffers had impacted negatively on the state government as it had prevented the state from embarking on projects that required huge funding.

He attributed the dwindling revenue to a shortfall in the state’s allocation from the federation account which he said arose because of the non-augmentation of shortfalls of revenue by either the FAAC or the Ministry of Finance.

“The state government has been suffering as a result of the unwillingness of the appropriate agencies to augment the shortfalls of the Federal Government revenue.

“The problem has lasted for about three months now, FAAC just explained the reasons for the non-augmentation of shortfalls of revenue to us in September.”

He stated that the state was still pressuring the relevant agency of the Federal Government to augment the revenue shortfall, expressing the hope that the state would soon succeed.

According to him, the shortfalls may not be unconnected with the low remittances from the revenue collecting agencies of the Federal Government.

Ahmed called for more transparency in collecting and accounting for revenue from the Federal Government collecting agencies, especially the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.

The state Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Demola Banu, told Saturday PUNCH that the state was only meeting its monthly financial obligations on payment of salaries, pensions, interests and other recurrent expenditures that could not be differed.

Banu said, “We are facing challenges. But workers’ salaries are being paid. There is never a time that we did not pay salaries. But there could be other expenses that we need to make that could be deferred. But generally it has not affected us drastically.”

Both Ahmed and Banu declined to provide information on the state’s total loan obligations to its creditors.

Osun State

In Osun State, the Commissioner for Finance, Dr. Wale Bolorunduro, could not be reached to say how much the state was being owed by the Federal Government.

Also, calls put across to his telephone indicated that it was out of network coverage area.

However, a top civil servant, who pleaded not to be named, because he was not authorised to speak on the issue, said that the state government had been paying salaries despite the shortfall in federal allocations.

He said that the government had been using the state’s reserve to pay workers’ salaries, adding that the reserve would soon be empty.

He said, “The allocation shortfall is biting harder and I know that all the states are feeling the heat. The Federal Government is owing all the states N261bn. There was N121bn deficit in June and N140bn deficit in July.”

“Look around, you will see that some states have not been paying their workers since the shortfall started in June. Many will join the league of such states if the shortfall continues.”

He said that the other two tiers of government would soon be prostrate if the shortfall continued.

He said that Nigerians should appeal to the Federal Government to pay the money, saying otherwise many states would no longer be able to pay workers’ salaries.

Enugu State

In Enugu State, government kept mum on how the state was coping with the non-payment of arrears of allocations and financial commitments to banks, contractors, among other financial issues affecting the state.

The state Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Godson Nnadi, on Thursday said, “I am not permitted to speak on any of such matters without the approval of my principal.”

Nnadi pleaded with our correspondent to call the Commissioner for Information, Mr. Chucks Ugwoke, “as he is the only one empowered by the State Executive Council to speak to journalists on any matter.”

However, SATURDAY PUNCH could not get the comments of Ugwoke as he did not pick several calls to his mobile phone. He also did not respond to text messages sent to his phone.

At the Enugu State Budget Office, the Permanent Secretary, Mr. Casmir Ugwu, was unavailable to speak to our correspondent.

Rivers State

In Rivers State, the Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Chamberlain Peterside, said the state had yet to receive allocation for September 2013.

Peterside also lamented that the state was short-paid for the month of August.

According to him, while the state was expecting N19bn, the Revenue Mobilisation and Fiscal Commission allocated only N14bn to it last month.

Peterside, however, explained that the state was finding a way out of the problem through its internally generated revenue.

“It (non-payment of monthly allocation) is the reality we are facing. We are even in a better shape than most other states.

“We have been able to fall back on our internally- generated revenue and that is why our situation is different from that of other states,” the commissioner said.

Describing the challenge as a national problem, Peterside pointed out that Rivers State had been able to pay contractors, adding that workers’ salaries had been processed and will soon be paid.

He said, “We have been able to pay contractors and that is why you can see them working at different locations in the state. The September salaries of civil servants have been processed and they will soon be paid.”

He, however, expressed the need to embrace transparency in the developments within the oil and gas sector.

Bayelsa State

In Bayelsa State, the Commissioner for Information, Mr. Markson Fefegha, declined to comment on the inquiries by our correspondent. He said, “Those are questions reserved for those who attend Federal Allocation Committee meeting or officials of the Federal Ministry of Finance.”

Odaah said FAAC was owing states N336bn. This amount, according to him, is made up of N128bn for June; 115bn for July while shortfall for the month of August was put at N93bn.

Going by the payment of the N115bn, the arrears have now dropped to N221bn

Odaah said the inability of the Federal Government to pay the N115bn arrears which was already approved in the committee’s July meeting was the major bone of contention at its September meeting.

This, he explained, led to a walkout of the commissioners at both the committee’s meeting held on September 13 and 23 respectively.

The Federal Government had during the meeting provided the sum of N548.393bn as statutory revenue for the three tiers of government for the month of September. This was rejected by the members of the committee.

Odaah told our correspondent that the major reason for the rejection was that the approved N115bn July shortfall was not provided for.

He said, “In July, we approved that the arrears of N115bn be paid to us. We met in August and nothing was done about it. In September when the meeting was held again, they still haven’t paid.

“So when we met in September, instead of paying us the arrears, they told us that from September, what we will be sharing is actual instead of budgeted revenue. This made us to demand the clearing of all our backlog of N336bn and this was what caused the stalemate.

“But now the President has approved the release of N75bn to complement the N45bn already released by the Ministry of finance to make up the July shortfall of N115bn. We are grateful to him for his prompt intervention.”

Odaah dismissed reports that the action of the states was political and insisted that the states needed to get their allocation to carry out developmental projects.

“Our position is not political. We are a patriotic forum and we are doing this to help in developing our states. We are representatives of our respective governors.

In recent times, there had been persistent decline in gross federally collected revenue accruing to the federation account.

The Federal Government had projected monthly earnings of N702.54bn in the 2013 budget, but it only surpassed that target once during the first seven months of this year, earning N651.26bn in January; N571.7bn in February; and N595.71bn in March.

Source: Radio Biafra.

Explosions Rocks Saminaka In Kaduna State.


By SaharaReporters, New York

Reports from Saminaka in Lere local government area of Kaduna State indicated that there were a series of bomb explosions and shootings throughout the night and till the early hours of today.

The explosions and shootings were reportedly carried out by suspected gunmen believed to be insurgents while other versions has it that it was an armed robbery attack on two commercial banks in the area.

Saminaka shares boundaries with Bauchi, Plateau and Kano states. It lies in a heavily forest said to be a terrorists den, the area has served as a safe passage for insurgents and violent criminals crossing from Bauchi to Southern Kaduna and other parts of northern Nigeria.

A source told Saharareporters that soldiers have been deployed to the town to fight the attackers.

Slaughter Of Apo Squatters: Call Spokesperson To Order, Muslim Group Tells SSS.


SSS spokesperson, Marilyn Ogar
By SaharaReporters, New York

Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI), an umbrella Muslim organization, has advised Nigeria’s State Security Service (SSS) to caution its spokesperson, Marylyn Ogar, against misleading Nigerians over the killing of seven squatters in the Apo area of Abuja. JNI regretted that Ms. Ogar tried to link the hapless victims of the unprovoked execution to the extremist Islamist sect, Boko Haram.

In a statement issued Monday and signed by its scribe, Khalid Abubakar Aliyu, JNI wrote: “Jama’atu Nasril Islam received with shock and bewilderment the cruel and senseless killings/attacks on innocent people at Apo, in Abuja (FCT), Benisheikh, in Borno State, Wase, in Plateau State, Kafanchan in Kaduna State and also various attacks in Nasarawa and Taraba States. It is quite unfortunate, regrettable and condemnable that, after witnessing relative peace in some of these states in recent time, these unfortunate recurring massacres are coming up within 72 hours concurrently claiming many lives! JNI laments this sorry state of affairs in [the] strongest terms, for the nation seems to be [descending] into nihilism leading to multiple loss of innocent lives, the repercussion of which may not be good for the nation in the nearest future. Hence, the situation calls for Allah’s guidance and intervention. May He guide us alright, Amin.”

The statement rebuked the SSS spokesperson. “A critical overview of these repeated acts of absurdity clearly depict to the discerned, that the manner in which the SSS spokesperson handles reportage of security issues needs serious introspection, because the spokesperson concludes matters before investigation. The case of the Nasarawa State man found with dynamite in Radio House is still fresh in the memory, as Nigerians are appreciably learned and cannot be taken for a ride. Therefore, the spokesperson should be called to order. It is most likely as reported by the media that the Apo victims were not Boko Haram members as claimed by the spokesperson. More amazing also is the news going round that the military were said to be overwhelmed by insurgents and driven away prior to the Benisheikh attacks. Hence, the use of the military regalia by the insurgents. This act calls for sober reflection, if it is confirmed to be true. And it tells Nigerians the sorry state of the security operatives in Nigeria.”

JNI called on all concerned to be moved by the fear of God and to put a stop to the spilling of blood for no just cause. According to the group, “2015 is two years ahead but regrettably on frequent basis innocent souls are being maimed, killed or massacred for no reason. Therefore, the JNI calls on the Muslim Ummah to rise above the tide by engaging in supplications to Allah, the Most High to bring to an end these acts of barbarism.”

The group called on the Federal and concerned state governments to set up panels of inquiry into recent violent events. After sending condolences to all the affected state governments and their people, JNI restated an “earlier call that rules of engagement should be professionally employed by the Nigerian Army, the police, SSS and other security agencies in curbing insurgencies, so as to reduce collateral damages recorded in such types of upheavals.”

I’m not accountable to you– Okonjo-Iweala replies Amaechi’s NGF.


Ngozi-Okonjo-Iweala

The Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo- Iweala, yesterday called the bluffs of the Governor Rotimi Amaechi-led Nigerian Governors’ Forum, NGF, saying she is not accountable to state governors, but to President Goodluck Jonathan.

It will be recalled that the Amaechi-led NGF on Tuesday called for Okonjo-Iweala’s resignation for what the Forum termed her alleged breach of the provisions of the Appropriation Act, 2013 and non-compliance with the revenue projections in the federal budget.

The governors also called for the immediate disbandment of the National Economic Management Team, NEMT.

But, the minister, who responded briefly to media enquiries on whether or not she was preparing to heed the call of the governors, during a briefing on the

performance of the economy in Abuja, said there was no basis for her to leave office given the impressive fundamentals of the economy.

Although, she was reluctant to comment on the call for her resignation, since the basis of the briefing was to update the public on the state of the economy based on micro and macroeconomic assessment parameters, the minister was however quick to categorically state that she was accountable to the President, who appointed her and the Nigerian public on the economy and not the aggrieved governors.

She said: “I will not involve myself in political issues with the state governors. We are here to manage the economy for the good of the nation and what we are doing here is based on facts on the ground. I am minister for the economy; I am working for President Goodluck Jonathan and I am answerable to him.

“Do I look like someone who is preparing to resign? I am not resigning, I dey kampe! I have a very committed and dedicated team and so I am not going to respond to such issues.”

Specifically, the minister explained that despite some misgivings on the economy in some quarters, the performance indices, in terms of macroeconomic stability, increasing build up of critical infrastructure, Foreign Direct Investment, FDI, inflows, job creation opportunities, foreign reserves profile and growing investors’ confidence, suggested clearly that Nigeria is on the path of sustainable growth.

She spoke elaborately on the various achievements of the current economic reform agenda, particularly in terms of job creation, infrastructure development in rail, road, air and waterways, foreign reserves level, successful privatisation of PHCN successor companies, increasing private investment inflows, inflation rate and capacity of the country to meet payment obligations when due and other areas.

According to her, in addition to ensuring that the economy is prudently managed through a combination of fiscal and monetary measures, indications showed that more and more investors were investing in the country, even as the state governments are also exploring the bond market to raise funds for their longterm infrastructure needs.

“It is very clear that there is a growing investor confidence in the economy and this happens only in prudently managed economy. You only float bonds in a stable, prudently managed economy. Many of the states are doing this.

“Already, we have nine of them that have done this and many more are coming. As we speak now, two new applications are also coming in. So, the environment is supportive of investment and I can say that more and more investors are doing business here,” the minister added.

On the performance of the 2013 capital budget, Okonjo-Iweala said in addition to paying salaries and government’s bills when due, a total of N850bn had been released this year on capital budget, of which substantial portion had been cash-backed.

Governor Jonah Jang of Plateau State, who is also factional chairman of NGF yesterday, condemned the call on the minister to resign.

In a statement released in Abuja, Governor Jang questioned the authority under which the call was made as, according to him, only 13 governors were present at the meeting.

The governor disassociated himself and his other colleagues from the call.

“Show me any of them that has a perfect state. Instead of facing the reason they were elected as governors, they have now become a mouthpiece for opposition politics in search of statements that will make front page news even if it is foolish. Thankfully, Nigerians are smarter and see through this mischief,” Jang stated.

In a related development, Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta State has cautioned his colleagues on the demand for Okonjo- Iweala’s sack.

Speaking with journalists in Lagos yesterday, the governor said the minister should not be held responsible for the bad shape of the economy.

He insisted that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, should be held responsible over its failure to make available the generated revenue.

“There was a call by some of my colleagues yesterday (Tuesday) on the Minister of Finance to resign if she cannot manage the economy. Why I know that this month’s FAAC meeting has been suspended indefinitely as there is not enough money available to share, calling on the Minister to resign is not the way to go.

“We know that this year’s budget is predicated on the sale of 2.3 million barrels of crude oil at the benchmark of $79, but we have been consistently selling the product above $100. While we complain of theft of about 400,000 barrel of crude oil, I know that we have been able to reduce the theft to about 80,000 barrels.

“The question that we should ask ourselves as a nation and direct at the NNPC is where has all the money gone to the extent that we cannot hold FAAC meeting this month,” Uduaghan said.

He said that the implication of the financial position of the economy is that some states may not be in a position to pay workers salary at the end of the month.

Source: Radio Biafra.

EU launches N960m peace initiative in Plateau.


EU Flag

The European Union yesterday stepped up peace efforts in Plateau State with the launch of a N960 million programme.

The programme, which will be implemented by three organisations , including Apurimac Onlus, Deutsche Gesellechaft Fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and Search for Common Ground, is to be implemented in the 17 local government Areas of the state.

Speaking at the launch of the programme held yesterday at the Crest Hotel in Jos, the leader of EU delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Mr. Alan Monday, said: “This programme aims at contributing to peace-building and conflict prevention efforts in Plateau State by strengthening the mechanisms of conflict resolution and fighting youth unemployment.

“It will support confidence building mediation and reconciliation initiatives between communities in order to reduce the level of violence and strengthen peaceful coexistence among communities.

“Essentially, the programme aims at addressing both the consequences and the root cause of the conflict in Plateau State while calling on the citizens to support the project in order to achieve the objectives.”

He added: Our expectation in the peace process in Plateau State is very high. We want to make a genuine contribution to a positive change in the lives of the people of the state. We wish to make a difference. We want to contribute to laying the foundation for a long lasting peace and prosperity.”

Source: Radio Biafra.

Gunmen kill four in Plateau.


Boko haram fighter 1

Four persons have been killed during an attack on two villages in Langtang South Local Government Area of Plateau State by gunmen suspected to be Fulani mercenaries.

It was gathered that the attackers, who came through Yemani in Shendam Local Government, razed the two villages, Karkashi and Barrack. The Chairman of Taroh community in Wase Local Government, Jungle Luhdut, confirmed the incident yesterday while speaking with our correspondent in Jos, the state capital.

Luhdut said four people were killed, while all the houses in the two villages were burnt down. He said the attackers later fled through Taraba State, adding that the casualty figure wound have been high if not that the people had deserted the villages when they heard rumour of an impending attack. A resident, who did not want his name in print, said the attackers stormed the villages simultaneously with sophisticated weapons while shooting everything on sight.

When contacted, the spokesman of the Special Task Force, STF, on Jos crisis, Captain Salisu Mustapha, said he would get across to the sector commander in Langtang South before commenting on the incident.

However, at press time, Mustapha was yet to respond to inquiry. Meanwhile, the new STF Commander, Major General David Eneite, yesterday resumed duty in Jos. Eneite took over from Major General Henry Ayoola, who has been transferred to the Army Headquarters, Abuja, as the director of Research and Documentation. Speaking at the handing over ceremony at the STF headquarters in Jos, Ayoola thanked the people of the state for their support.

The former STF commander also called on the people to learn to tolerate one another in order to consolidate on the current peace in the state. Also, the new commander urged citizens of the state to work with him in order to achieve lasting peace in the state.

Source: Radio Biafra

Ondo NSCDC Nabs Three Suspected Vandals With 10,000 Litres Of PMS.


Ondo NSCDC Nabs Three Suspected Vandals With 10,000 Litres Of PMS

The Ondo State Command of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) has reasserted its determination to combat oil theft and pipeline vandalism in the riverine area of the state.

The State commandant, Popoola Waheed Bamidele, expressed this while parading three suspected pipeline vandals arrested at Omotoso in Odigbo local government area.

The suspects are Korede Akilo from Ijebu Ode, Ahmed Danlami from Plateau State and Shuaibu Yisa from Adamawa State.

The three were arrested with a Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation truck, registration number XB 104 JMT Adamawa, loaded with 10,000 liters of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS).

According to the Commandant, men of the anti-vandal unit arrested the suspects at about 6:00 am on Friday following a tip from members of the community.

He said the suspects had already vandalized and successfully siphoned the NNPC pipeline at Omotoso before his command received the alert.

Popoola stressed that the top priority and mandate of the corps is to end pipeline vandalism and illegal siphoning of oil in the Niger Delta region, noting that the command has made many arrests this year and seized many trucks carrying PMS or adulterated diesel.

“We will not sleep and relent in our mandate of combating illegal oil business and theft in Ondo state and the country at large. These criminals are sabotaging our economy through this dastardly act. We also appreciate members of these communities who are cooperating with us and we urge them not to stop because it’s a fight for all.”

Also speaking to newsmen, two of the suspects, Korede and Ahmed, said they had just joined the business, adding that they were introduced to it by a friend in Delta State who specializes in oil bunkering.  They however refused to reveal their sponsors, pleading that they were lured into the business.

Reiterating the commitment of the NSCDC to end bunkering and vandalism, Popoola vowed to charge the suspects to court immediately.

Source: SAHARA REPORTERS.

Spineless GEJ Learned Nothing from Brutish OBJ: What a Shame!.


By Abiodun Ladepo

It has been sad to watch the past few months as the PDP disintegrated month-by-month under the leadership (or lack thereof) of Goodluck Ebele Jonathan. The other day, GEJ was at the Eagle Square, Abuja, for a mini-convention of the party which was aimed at reconciling warring factions. While he was still seated, adorned with all the paraphernalia and appurtenances of President and Commander-in-Chief, Federal Republic of Nigeria, Atiku Abubakar, the celebrated fugitive from American judicial system, led a group of “dissident” governors on a walk-out. The most that GEJ could do, reportedly, was to wear a morose look and shake his bowed head like a defeated man.

The level of disrespect of this man was so palpable that many who did not care about his political fortunes or misfortunes had to, at least, rise in defense of the exalted Office of the President.

No matter what you thought of Olusegun Obasanjo’s leadership of the country and the PDP, you almost wished that OBJ was back in charge; for he had a strong spine. I cannot imagine ANY governor walking out on OBJ. That governor was not yet born when OBJ ruled. That governor would have eaten his pounded yam as ordinary yams. That governor, for good or ill, would have found himself in so much trouble he would curse the day he was elected. And this was the case largely because OBJ knew his onions. He paid attention to the minutiae of government; not just at the Federal level, but to some degree, even at the State level. So, when OBJ barked, governors and ministers trembled because they knew he could also bite hard. Those with skeletons in their cupboards accused him of being too dictatorial, and that he forgot he was no longer in the military. It was cheap blackmail and OBJ saw it as such. He was not having any of that nonsense. He believed that Nigeria, at the time, needed a leader who was “feared rather than loved”; for Nigerians only loved if they had something to gain personally. Those who doubted the potency of OBJ’s teeth did not live (politically) to tell the story. Those who underrated his political acumen did so at their own peril. Ask Tafa Balogun, Abubakar Atiku et al.

Almost as broke as a church rat in 1999, OBJ broke out of jail and rode on the backs of the naïve PDP founders straight into Aso Rock. All the bigwigs who founded the party thought OBJ would show his gratitude by laying low and accepting the presidency as Yoruba’s (June 12 mandate) placation gift. But no sooner had he settled in office than he rolled up IGP Tafa Balogun and carted him off to jail, making him regurgitate most of his loot on the way out.

When Balogun did not move fast enough on his way out of the courtroom on one occasion, his police escorts beat him to near-pulpiness. Remember, it was the same Balogun’s police force that oversaw the massive election rigging that brought OBJ to power. But OBJ was smart enough to keep his hands clean during the exercise, letting the so-called PDP founders do the dirty work. OBJ then set up the ICPC and EFCC. For most of his first term, OBJ hardly employed either of the two organizations. He allowed them as free a reign as possible until the start of his second term. And by then, many of the would-be thorns in OBJ’s flesh had so soiled their hands with corruption that none could withstand his withering assaults when they came.

If the senators planned to curb OBJ by impeaching him, the man was several steps ahead of them. He started by making an example of their leader, Adulphus Wabara. Nuhu Ribadu’s EFCC accused then Senate Leader Wabara (and four others) of demanding and receiving N55 million bribe from Fabian Osuji, then Minister of Education. Wabara ostensibly shared (or planned to share) the money with other senators as condition for passing the 2005 education ministry’s budget. After Wabara got his hands full of EFCC arrests and invitations and eventually lost his job in the Senate, all of the remaining senators became born-again, and all accepted OBJ as their Jesus.

To the best of my knowledge, GEJ has not gotten (and cannot get) nasty with any of the politicians questioning his authority. Even with governor Rotimi Amaechi (Rivers), GEJ had to hire surrogates (including his wife) to fight his proxy battle. He has forgotten that if he wins the proxy battle, he would be unable to claim the victory directly. And, therefore, he would still be viewed as a weakling. GEJ operates as if he is forever unable to assert his legitimacy because of his indebtedness to all those PDP governors that helped him overcome Turai Yar’Adua’s cabal. That cabal almost successfully denied him the presidency when President Yar’Adua died. That cabal is well and alive. And because of GEJ’s lack of confidence, the cabal has grown exponentially with the infusion of the Atiku machine.

OBJ was different. OBJ embarked on the systematic annihilation of his enemies so that he could govern in peace. When former Plateau State governor, Joshua Chibi Dariye, who worked assiduously for OBJ’s election in 1999 and his re-election in 2007, started to flex his muscles, he did not know what hit him when OBJ’s train came through. Dariye had helped himself to, at least, $9 million of his State’s money. For that, OBJ set the London Metropolitan Police after Dariye. They arrested him in London in 2004. The former governor jumped bail and escaped to Nigeria where, as a serving governor, he had immunity from prosecution. OBJ did not relent though. He knew that Dariye did not steal all that money by himself. He had to have had some members of his state’s Legislature in cahoots with him. OBJ then applied the “Alamieyeseigha’s Tactic”: blackmail the corrupt state legislators with the threat of prosecution for corruption and promise them leniency if they would impeach the governor. Of course, by November 2006, Dariye was impeached and the odious stench oozing out of Plateau State was cleaned out. In the same State, former Second Republic NPP governor, Solomon Daushep Lar, who was also Chairman of the PDP Board of Trustees (BoT) when OBJ was president, found himself on the receiving end of OBJ’s koboko (or bulala, if you are Hausa). Lar supported then Vice-President Atiku’s quest for the Presidency, and that was reason enough for OBJ to get him removed as Chaiman of BoT.

Lar has since gone into political oblivion. Even his Vice-President, because he was so steeped in many vices, was unable to extricate himself from OBJ’s trap. Atiku spent most of his second term under OBJ fighting off the EFCC, the Interpol, the FBI, or the Washington DC, Virginia and Maryland police departments. Atiku had led an insurrection (much as he is doing right now) to deny OBJ a second term, therefore, OBJ set out to teach him a lesson about insubordination and disloyalty. That Atiku is not currently languishing in jail is a testament to his supreme survival skills.

For much of OBJ’s second term, he kept the proverbial Sword of Damocles hanging on the heads of governors Bola Tinubu (Lagos), Diepreye Alamieyeseigha (Bayelsa), Ayodele Fayose (Ekiti), Orji Kalu (Abia), Chimaraoke Nnamani (Enugu), Peter Odili (Rivers), Lucky Igbinedion (Edo), Ahmed Sanni Yerima (Zamfara), Jolly Nyame (Taraba), Boni Haruna (Adamawa), George Akume (Benue), Attahiru Bafarawa (Sokoto), Adamu Muazu (Bauchi), Victor Attah (Akwa Ibom), Bukola Saraki (Kwara), and Rasidi Ladoja (Oyo). They all had to switch their bedding spots every night and slept with one eye open in case OBJ’s EFCC showed up. Only Donald Duke (Cross River) was openly absolved by the EFCC at that time.

Also, at some point, IBB’s supporters egged him on to challenge OBJ’s stranglehold on the party. And for a while, it appeared IBB was going to bite. But once the EFCC arrested his son, Muhammed, and asked him to explain how he came about the multi-billion naira shares he held in Globacom when he never worked a day in his life, IBB simmered and became an apostle of OBJ’s political catechism.

OBJ had one thing or the other on most of the governors. They dared not look him cross-eyed or challenge his authority in any way, let alone walk out on him. That respect…that gravitas that the office of president carries (whether you are president of the Republic of Sao Tome and Principe, or you are the president of the United States of America), is what GEJ lacks. It does not require clairvoyance to know that GEJ, in spite of his adroitness as a politician (he did not become deputy-governor, governor, vice-president, and president in succession all on sheer luck) is a much maligned and compromised character. You can tell that most of the governors know GEJ lacks any moral authority to threaten them with the EFCC, or even an ordinary definitive suspension/expulsion from the party. Only under GEJ could a person like Atiku retain the right to call a press conference in broad daylight, at a public arena, and make demands. Under OBJ, Atiku was humiliated and so marginalized to the point that OBJ withdrew his official aides! Atiku had to hire media aides from his personal purse!! Now this same man has grown a pair of cajones (testicles) big enough to challenge GEJ so brazenly. Only under such an enfeebled and cowered ruler could the Atikus of PDP still thrive.

It was even reported that the so-called G-7 governors who staged the walk-out and later formed their own “New PDP” had the temerity to demand, as one of their conditions for making peace with GEJ, that he orders the EFCC to desist from probing them! What!! I will not be surprised if the G-7 announces tomorrow the expulsion of GEJ himself from PDP!!!

After begging OBJ to intercede in the PDP internecine squabbles, GEJ, out of frustration (and again through surrogates), now reportedly blames OBJ for being the fomenter of the many fratricidal feuds in the party. Who is to blame if, as the de facto leader of the nation and the ruling party, GEJ had to rely on OBJ to periodically help mediate his many fights? A couple of Yoruba proverbs here: “I’d rather not be king if I wield no authority over the people”; “If you are a hawk and you can’t scoop up a chick, you are worthless”. Next time we have a president, he better be somebody imbued with limitless courage, boundless wisdom and a spotless character so that no one is able to take him hostage.

By Abiodun Ladepo Los Angeles, California, USA, Oluyole2@yahoo.com

Source: SAHARA REPORTERS.

Gov. Okorocha Apologizes To Imolites Over Abortion Law.


Governor-Rochas-Okorocha-03

The governor of Imo State, Owelle Rochas Okorocha has apologised to the people of the state over the controversy generated by the law legalising abortion in the state.

This followed the pressure from churches, especially, the Catholic Church, in the state calling on the governor and the state legislature to repeal the law.

Addressing church leaders at the temporary chambers of the state House of Assembly in Owerri, Governor Okorocha appealed to the members of the House to repeal the contentious section(s) of the law in the interest of the state.

The said law which is cited as Violence Against Persons(Prohibition) Law No 12 of 2012 permits women both married and unmarried to carry out abortion at will.

The contentious section of the law also states that every woman should obtain the rights to enjoy reproductive rights which includes right to medical abortion in cases of intimate assaults, molestation, incest and possible health danger associated with pregnancy to the woman.

But, according to the governor, even though the law was protecting the vulnerable members of the society, especially the women, it should be amended in the interest of the state.

He said his interest in giving assent to the law was an example he saw in Plateau State years back where a woman was raped by a mad man in the market resulting to the woman getting pregnant, saying he was not blackmailed into signing the law.

The governor said out of the 52 sections of the law, it was only one that was so contentious and therefore submitted an executive bill to the Majority Leader of the House in the chambers to enable the legislature amend the section.

Governor Okorocha acknowledged the fact the law was both good and repugnant in the sense that that particular position of pregnancy resulting from rape and incest was good for the victim while it was repugnant to the people’s faith.

The governor noted that he had to bow to pressure because he realized that some people might hide under such law to commit abortion.

“A woman might get pregnant normally and say that it’s incest while it’s not”, he told journalists after addressing the House.

He said he is a lover of children and cannot do anything to any child, saying it was a known fact he is the only man on earth that has the highest number of children with his Rochas Foundation.

Governor Okorocha added that what was paramount to him was the generality of the people of Imo because “a good government is one that listens to people”.

Meanwhile, the state House of Assembly has commenced the process of repealing the law.

A bill which was sponsored by the Majority Leader of the House, just passed first reading Tuesday evening.

It was adjourned for a second reading till September 10, 2013.

Source: Radio Biafra.

Herdsmen Kill 8 In Southern Kaduna.


By SaharaReporters, New York

A Nigerian security operative stationed in the troubled southern Kaduna area of Kaduna State has just confirmed to SaharaReporters that armed herdsmen have killed eight persons in the area. The source said the gunmen stormed Addu village in Kaura local government in the early hours of today and carried out a surprise and gruesome attack.

The source said the location of the attack was near the new Jos-Manchok expressway, adding that news of the attack had created panic and heavy traffic in the area.

According to the source, security agents “are now in the village and the eight corpses have been assembled before us. Those injured have been rushed to hospital by officials of the local government.” He directed our correspondent to talk to the police for any further details.

SaharaReporters gathered that Addu village is mostly inhabited by members of the Attakar ethnic group who are found in Kaura local government of Kaduna State as well as Riyom in neighboring Plateau State. There have been sporadic waves of violence between members of the community and herdsmen.

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