Wednesday, 23 April 2014

News Release: Nigerian Presidency Commends Main Opposition Leader

Buhari: Nigeria's Main Opposition Leader


President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan commends General Muhammadu Buhari for his very statesman-like views on terrorism and insecurity in Nigeria as expressed in his article which was published by the media over the past two days.

President Jonathan believes that the position taken by General Buhari is that of a true patriot, respected former Head of State, revered elder statesman and nationalist.

The President welcomes General Buhari’s call on all Nigerians to remain steadfast and work in unity to overcome terrorists and other merchants of death who currently threaten national security.

President Jonathan fully shares General Buhari’s view that a minority must never be allowed to “bring the nation to its knees through terror”.

He has noted General Buhari’s recommendation that the nation’s counter-terrorism strategies be further fine-tuned and welcomes his kind offer of support and co-operation in dealing with the challenge of terrorism. 

The President assures General Buhari of his Administration’s sincere commitment and dedication to the successful prosecution of the fight against terrorism and all other threats to national security.

He further assures the General of his preparedness to work with him and all other patriotic Nigerians, irrespective of their political affiliations, to strengthen national security and end the scourge of terrorism.

Reuben Abati
Special Adviser to the President
(Media & Publicity)

U-Report: Bishop Says Impeached Imo State Deputy Governor Is Symbol Of Innocence

Agbaso: Impeached Dep. Gov. Of Imo State


Report By Nnawuihe Iwuala

The Bishop of Enugu Anglican Diocese, the Rt. Rev. Emmanuel Chukwuma has described the impeached former Deputy Governor of Imo State, Sir Jude Agbaso, as a symbol of innocence among the political class in Nigeria.

The vibrant cleric made this remark during the funeral service of one of the Anglican faithful, Mrs. Jane Okeke held at the deceased husband’s compound in Otolo Nnewi Anambra State.

During the funeral service, Bishop Chukwuma on noticing the presence of Sir Agbaso at the occasion said that the public was aware that the embattled former Deputy Governor who was impeached in March 2013 on allegations of bribery and official corruption was innocent.

‘You may think we do not know what happened in Imo State last year. We are aware and the whole world knows. We followed the whole drama very well. We know you (Sir Agbaso) were innocent of the allegations that led to your impeachment. Therefore, when the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) later cleared you of allegations, we were not surprised. We all thank God for vindicating you. Today, you carry the symbol of innocence wherever you go…’

It could be recalled that in March last year, Sir Agbaso was impeached as the Deputy Governor of Imo State in what many say was controversial. It is being alleged that the Imo State Government falsely sponsored a Lebanese Contractor Joseph Dina, to accuse Sir Agbaso of collecting a bribe of =N=458 Million for award of road contract in the state. This Sir Agbaso denied and called for proper investigation. However, the Imo State Government hurriedly went ahead to impeach Agbaso.

Recently, events turned around as the EFCC gave a report which says that in the course of investigating the said allegations against Sir Agbaso, that Joseph Dina told the commission that he never gave Sir Agbaso the above sum or any bribe as he (Dina) had earlier stated before the Imo State legislature. Therefore, the Commission later wrote Sir Agbaso absolving him of the said bribery allegations.

Meanwhile, the embattled former Deputy Governor has three suits in court challenging his impeachment. Two of the cases are already at the Court of Appeal. One will be heard on 30th April 2014.

Open Letter: Letter To Niger Delta Delegates To 2014 Nigerian National Conference



By Ben Ikari

Dear Niger delta delegates, this letter serves to respectfully notify you that although the conference isn't sovereign as the Pan Niger delta Conference (PNDC) held on January 28, 2014 demanded like other groups from the region and beyond. Many fronts, including states' representatives from the region or, all of you are present at the talk-shop.  You're there to present the region's position and reason, network to actualize same alongside working out plans for a corruption-free and equitable, just, competent and progressive country. As you and other Nigerians know, Niger delta demand is just and fair and will not deprive any region, individual or ethnic group and state, the federal government or organization in the country their fundamental rights.

I ask humbly therefore, that you please insist on revenue generation, and not allow further option to resource ownership and control nor let another change pass against workable federation, which fairly devolves power to grant greater autonomy to the units. The conference achieving these through your efforts and those of others who believe in the above ideology will not divide or break the country. It will rather change the current armed robbery, corruption-ridden and blood infested status quo, hence strengthen the country and make its states or regions competitively functional and efficient. Advocating, pushing for, and achieving this demand is inductive and deductively fair. It's thus expedient demand and the most holistically sound gift and legacy you can give the oppressed Niger deltans you represent and Nigerians in general for a better country. You shall owe no one apologies having written  your names in GOLD for posterity beyond the region when you present the region's demand without chickening out and stomach the present status quo hoping that angels will come down to deliver in another fifty or hundred years. Fifty-seven years (1965 to 2014) of exploitation and cheating, terrorizing and killing cum environmental ruins is enough for Nigerians and the world to see that the Niger delta has endured. 

This duration is longer than the period critics will claim groundnut pyramid, cocoa and palm produce, etc., which the North, West and East got fifty percent derivation without sweat because they're affected, were used to care for the country. The number of states and development the period before oil boom created for Niger delta compared to what oil has done to the country can't be matched. Obviously many Niger deltans have been killed for the region's demand for equity, fairplay and justice. No one from the North, West and East was killed for asking and getting fifty percent fund as derivation of the proceeds from their land. Their environment wasn't polluted and degraded in the process of growing and harvesting the aforementioned crops or produce. The experiences before oil is against the measures the cabal imposed on Niger deltans for oil proceeds from their land. What has and still happening to the region and people is injustice, oppression and victimization of the highest order. The fundamental rights of the children, women, men and youths of Niger delta have been grossly violated. 

So the choice is yours to end this unjust and dehumanizing treatment once and for all at the conference. That is, whether the conference is another waste of time or attempt that will benefit political interest and deceitfully ease nerves or an opportunity to discuss and solve the country's problems in an honest and just fashion. It remains your choice, as Niger delta delegates to stand up and reject the status quo. What if things don't work out as planned or the region and its delegates are hoping, is the question many will ask. The Niger delta delegates still have the most natural and righteous responsibility, even legal duty to insist on the region's demand and should be ready to tell the conference and peoples of Nigeria that Niger delta wishes to take a leave of absence from the country since the cabal or government and people aren't ready to do what's right by allowing freedom, justice and peace to prevail. This leave of absence, which translates into breaking away from the country implies becoming independent for the rest of existence. Although Nigeria may not escape the fate of former Soviet Union, Crimea in Ukraine and many groups, regions, which break away from their original countries may not be bigger or more oppressed than Niger delta. 

What mattered to them is a recognition for human dignity, thus the will, determination to be free when oppression reached unbearable height. The oppression, cheating, killings and other ills forced on Niger deltans have no space to contain them. If Niger deltans, particularly the politicians and leaders, some of whom are at the conference aren't part of the conspiracy, the need and time to act is now else the pain will continue unabated. The region's just and fair demands for resource ownership and control, environmental justice aren't negotiable. Niger deltans may not appreciate the leverage or power they have, if fear becomes the recipe for a continual suffering. Once Niger delta take the first active step to make real its desire to say "Bye to Nigeria," an artificial country forced on the peoples against their wish, other groups, preferably Igbos will join to embolden many more. That is, assuming what we've been reading and seeing lately is to be laid hands on as reliable and dependable positions.

Consequently, true fiscal federalism or confederation, that comes with self-government or greater autonomy, resource generation and control should be the basis on which Nigeria will continue or disintegrate. Talking, writing, protesting and other measures the region has adopted peacefully and violently must be incorporated into on-demand action before stakeholders' representatives at the conference. Meanwhile, let me remind you of the resolutions and recommendations Pan Niger delta Conference made at the January pre-conference mentioned above. It’s that Goodluck Jonathan, who is the Nigerian president, and a Niger deltan, should mandate conference representation based on ethnic configuration or nationality instead of following the advice of the presidential advisory committee that was led by Dr. Femi Okurounmu. 

Because Jonathan, his advisers and cabal aren't open to the Sovereign National Conference ideology many Nigerians have demanded, rather looking forward to maintaining the status quo ante. Jonathan opted for representation based on federal government and states, civil society organizations, private and government sector institutions and other groups' representation. 

Thus, as expected, one of Niger delta's pre-conference recommendations (ethnic representation) was ignored. The second important resolution and recommendation is that Nigeria should operate a true federal system of government, which will allow or create component units and guarantee them political autonomy, hence devolve power. The third resolution and recommendation that is passionate to Niger deltans and core to the political, economic, social and otherwise development of the region and Nigeria in general and already pointed to, is resource generation, ownership and control without which the conference will be a ruse as usual. Of course, whether these units will be states which should be evenly created, based on viability and demand, or regions, which should also be even with the opportunity for ethnic groups to not be compelled into any region nor barred from joining forces to form new ones. They'd be able to imagine, think and create or generate their own revenue/sources of income. This will be best for the country. The central government should be able to work hard, create revenues through taxes, national corporations and establishments which will be innovate to generate money. The government should also make investments in national and international fronts.

The fourth resolution and recommendation is referendum. That is, the conference should work out modalities that will subject its final recommendations to a national referendum. This way, the National Assembly's drama which shall be due to political differences and the predominance of the North, West and Eastern politicians will not stymied the efforts of the conference, which could come from critical thinking, hard decisions, dialogue, understanding and compromise based on honesty and fairness. A referendum will also not toe the Dr. Okurounmu-led advisory committee’s recommendation or thereabout, which referred conference resolutions to the National Assembly for review. This is with the expectation that it shall scuttle the effort, where certain region (s) or groups, (especially the North) couldn't get all they want. Now, considering how the conference is going, particularly the fear that the status quo may be protected by government and cabal's delegates since committee membership is imposed by the leadership, which takes orders from the powers that be. I request humbly and respectfully that you and other delegates who believe in and advocate true fiscal federalism that bears the four legs and head of resource generation, ownership and control to persuasively make it upon the conference/country as a demand and as of right. Now is the time to not concede further resource sharing or allocation formula, rather preach and demand, get a deal that allows all the states or regions of Nigeria, including the federal government to generate their own resources or revenue so as to contributing to the center for the country to administer smoothly. 

The task is a tough one when taking into account, the different interest and particularly the greedy cabal/federal government using their anointed delegates to playing hardball and twisting hands. 

Notwithstanding, this is task that is possible, because nothing is impossible except where fear, lack of knowledge, doubt for possibilities and will becloud the thinking faculty of humans. It needs preparation and boldness that depicts one as a lion wounded for decades, yet willing to talk and resolve issues fairly and amicably. It demands energy, focus, delivery strategies, which include non-negotiable pitch at some point. 

Clearly, there may be no other opportunity to sit at another conference since the country can't pretend, lie to itself by doing all the wrong things, including conferences which agenda and end-result is dictated by a few who calls themselves leaders (as this could end).  These heartless brutes, cannibals have repeatedly ignored the will of the people and expect everyone, group to clap and say, “thank you, for making our lives miserable."  The bunch are power drunk, power and human abusers and criminally minded rulers/politicians who never stops at lying that sovereignty is of the people in the face of the deceit, corruption, other crimes against citizens, including killing them for demanding the best from their so-called leaders who are exposing them to untold hardship and danger, while they parade with bags of oil money smiling with their family and friends, associates in crimes, and in convoy of armed security operatives. 

Lastly, although to signal expected failure, the National Assembly seems not willing to amend current military imposed constitution to including referendum, so makes Jonathan not sure about the power of the conference to recommend and possibly conduct a referendum alongside the National Assembly, Electoral Commission and other groups, thus the likelihood for him to leave outcome to the partisan lawmakers, which would probably rubbish the work of the conference as originally design. Jonathan knew as part of the suspected strategies that there is need for referendum, without which decisions at the conference shall be null and void, but proceeded. He also knew consensus or seventy-five percent vote on all matters at the conference may not be possible when taking into account the issues, divide and animosity, but he went ahead to accept the idea from the cabal bent on maintaining the status quo.  It's also clear that suspected handpicked  loyalists (so-called 50 wise men) to the cabal/government finally imposed a 70 percent vote on the conference as a middle ground between seventy-five and sixty-six percent, which is a universally used measure. This group and the conference leadership also imposed committee members on delegates hence ignore most delegates who earlier indicated interest to serve on committees they've expertise and others.  

Irrespective of the scheming and hidden agenda, signs of wasteful exercise and failure. These issues or resolutions and recommendations should, and must be placed by all Niger delta or South-South delegates as demand without which nothing else shall be accepted from the conference. The Niger delta child must not continue to suffer in abject poverty while some from the North claims the oil at their backyard and under the graves of their forebears is theirs, so the only thing the people sitting on it deserve is environmental pollution, death and fights by few over the crumbs they throw to the presumed dogs. The right time is now to act decisively for the respect, protection and justice for the Niger delta people. So you owe it to yourselves, the people of the region and Nigerians in general, to take this demand to every corner and committees of the conference, and insist it become the foundation for a new Nigeria or Niger delta will bid the country bye!