Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Profiteers Of The Current Nigeria Port Congestion

A month long investigation by chidi opara reports have revealed that there will be profiteers in the current port congestion in Nigeria's Apapa port complex. The complex, which is Nigeria's premier port is currently experiencing serious congestion.

Industry insiders who spoke to us on conditions of annonymity posited that the congestion was caused by the reluctance of some importers, at the prompting of some freight forwarding practitioners, usually referred to as "big agents", to go through the normal process in the importation and clearing of their cargoes. "They circumvent due process, with hope that their connections will see them through, but in some rare situations like now, when it fail to see them through, they abandon the cargoes at the port and go home to strategise on the way out," a middle rank Customs officer told us at Customs headquarters in Abuja.

chidi opara reports also gathered that these "big agents" who are usually patronised by unscrupulous importers, because of their ability to remove cargoes without the necesary documentations and due process, were leaders of Association Of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents(ANLCA), who have now moved over to and are holding leadership positions in the newly constituted Council For The Regulation Of Freight Forwarding Practice In Nigeria. "These positions are their compensations for financing PDP", a Customs agent told chidi opara reports in Lagos.

Independent investigation revealed that the leadership of the freight forwarders body are also major financiers of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party(PDP).

"Right now, there is serious pressure on all of us, especially Customs, to release those cargoes, without proper examination and assesment of duties payable," a contact who is an assistant manager in the marketing department of the Nigerian Ports Authority(NPA) informrd chidi opara reports.

We gathered also that the acting Comptroller-general of Customs, Dr. Bernard Nwadialor is resisting the pressure. The acting Comptoller-general have already inaugurated a taskforce for the clearing of the congestion. The taskforce have been mandated to ensure due process in the removal of the cargoes.

This mandate, according to our contacts, may be ignored, as the "big agents". their collaborating principals and some top government officials have mapped out secret strategies to remove the cargoes with little or nothing paid as customs duties.

We are not yet privy to the secret strategies, what we can report now is that these potential profiteers have the political connections to remove any government official, no matter how highly placed, who stand on their way. The Ministers of Transportation and Finance, whom port decongestion fall within the purview of their duties are aware of this.

Sunday, 25 January 2009

Rapprochement Between Immediate Past Nigerian President And Erstwhile Deputy Ruffles Existing Alliance

The political rapprochement between the immediate past Nigerian President, rtd. General Olusegun Obasanjo and his erstwhile Deputy, Mr. Abubakar Atiku is ruffling an existing political alliance between the President's political camp and a rainbow political coalition established by the trio of James Ibori, immediate past governor of Delta State, Bola Tinubu, immediate past governor of Lagos State and Bukola Saraki, incumbent governor of Kwara State.

chidi opara reports' checks revealed that the reaction of the President, Mr. Umaru Yar'Adua to the Obasanjo-Atiku rapprochement, according to a well placed Presidency insider, was to put a call across, which he rarely does, to former President Olusegun Obasanjo, reminding him of the need to help strengthen the present Administration, which according to the President, the immediate past President was instrumental to lts installation. "The discussion was a long one and I think the President was eventually assured of assistance", our Presidency insider volunteered.

"The call was expected, when it came, our leader made the best of it. I hope those small boys running arround the President have now realised who is a better politician", a well placed Obasanjo insider informed chidi opara reports in Lagos.

We also discovered that the Yar'Adua political camp is under strict instruction not to react negetively to this development, but to find ways of using it to the benefit of the Administration.

This scenerio is however, different from what obtains in the Ibori-Tinubu-Saraki political coalition. Although attempts by our network members to infiltrate this group, having lost our contact, have not been successful so far, information however has it that that there is apprehension within the group. "Their fear is that the emerging Obasanjo-Atiku group will deprive them of the influence they have been exacting on Mr. President", a contact who claimed to be following the activities of the group informed us.

It will be noted that the Obasanjo-Atiku rapprochement was strengthened on Saturday, 24TH january, 2009 in Katsina, when the duo appeared together at the wedding ceremony of the President's daughter.

Saturday, 24 January 2009

Feuding Prominent Nigerian Politicians Reconcile At Cultural Forum

Prominent Nigerian Politicians who have been at political loggerheads for over two years now, Dr. Chris Ngige, whose governorship tenure was terminated midway by the Anambra State Governorship and House of Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal, on the ground that he was not duely elected, and Mr. Peter Obi, the incumbent Governor of the State, who filed and benefited from the petition that removed Dr. Ngige, reconciled their differences at the 2009 annual Ahiajoku Lecture in Owerri, capital city of Imo State, on the 23rd of January, 2009. Dr. Ngige also contested the April 2007 Governorship election on the platform of the Action Congress Party(AC).

Mr. Obi, who came into the venue at about 12.45pm, according to a chidi opara reports' network member, who was at the lecture, after greeting the cream of personalities present, which included rtd. Major-general Ike Nwachukwu, Professors Pat Utomi, ABC Nwosu, Dora Akunyili and some prominent traditional rulers, went straight to greet Dr. Ngige, who in turn reciprocated the gesture, culminating in both hugging themselves and pledging to forget their political differences for the sake of Anambra State in particular and Nigeria in general, to the applause of the forum.

Anambra State is one of the politically strategic states in Nigeria. Its strategic position derived from the fact that it is the home state of most prominent Nigerian Politicians of Igbo extraction. Observers believe that unresoved political differences in a politically strategic State like Anambra would potend grave consequences on the nascent Nigerian democracy. It is also believed that the recociliation of the two prominent political figures will eventually make way for the reconciliation of the various contending political forces in the State in particular and the Nation in general.

The annual Ahiajoku Lecture, chidi opara reports gathered was instituted in 1979 by the Administration of the late Dr. Sam Mbakwe, then, the Governor of Imo State, "to provide a forum for men and women in all human endervours to gather and showcase the contributions of Igbos to world civilization".

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Nigeria's 2011 Presidential Election; Atiku-Oyinlola Ticket Likely

The immediate past Nigerian Vice-president and Presidential candidate of the Action Congress Party(AC) in the April 2007 Presidential election, Mr. Abubakar Atiku is likely to contest the 2011 Presidential election on the platform of the ruling Peoples' Democratic Party(PDP), with the Governor of Osun State, rtd. Brigadier-general olagunsoye Oyinlola as running mate, chidi opara reports learnt authoritatively.

Abubakar Atiku, a foundation member of PDP, left the Party as a result of serious political misunderstanding between him and the then President, rtd. General Olusegun Obasanjo.

Mr. Atiku's political group, according to one of our contacts within the Obasanjo political group, initiated several secret meetings last year, all aimed at preparing grounds for a reconciliatory meeting between Atiku and Obasanjo, because according to this contact, "they realised that they will need Obasanjo with his national and International clouts in 2011".

chidi opara reports learnt further that the Obasanjo group met and eventually agreed to their principal meeting and reconciling with the former Vice-president on the conditions that Atiku will return to PDP and will use his political experience and wealth to help the group, "retieve the Party from the tight grip of Umaru Yar'Adua". The former Vice-president is reported to be a very wealthy person. Atiku is also to pick the two term Governor of Osun State, an avowed Obasanjo loyalist, as his Vice-presidential candidate come 2011. The immediate past Vice-president, chidi opara reports learnt further, "pleaded for time to sort things out with his Party and larger political network.

It will be noted that Atiku, in company of Oyinlola and others, recently paid Obasanjo a visit at his hilltop Mansion in Abeokuta, capital of Ogun State. The meeting, our investigations revealed is the first in the series of such meetings with the aim of building a new political understanding between the former Vice-president and his erstwhile boss.

Monday, 19 January 2009

Nigerian Presidency Blackmails Opposition

Not making the desired headway in its efforts to stiffle strident opposition voices by clamping down on the news media, especially, the Internet subsector, through arrests and detention of news Publishers and senior Editors, the Nigerian Presidency, chidi opara reports learnt authoritatively, have resorted to blackmailing vocal opposition figures in the country.

This new scheme we learnt, was hatched in the Office of the chairperson of Economic And Financial Crimes commission(EFCC) in the last week of December last year, with major imputs from five top news Editors, three radical lawyers and an aide to the Chairman of Niger Delta Development Commission(NDDC). This scheme we also learnt was at the instance of the Presidency through the office of the President's Chief Publicist.

Investigations revealed that heads of some strategic government agencies like Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC), National Orientation Agency(NOA) and others, "have been briefed to target vocal opposition figures and promptly reply any damaging remark they may utter against the government with a good dose of blackmail" a well placed contact in the office of the President's Chief Publicist, whispered to chidi opara reports.

"Whenever these bombshells are released, our friends in the press will give them wide publicity. Money is not the problem, NDDC takes care of the bills", our contact revealed further.

Further checks has also revealed that the management of NDDC already have a "special fund" in the office of the Chairman to handle schemes like this.

It was also discovered that the recent remark by the INEC Chairman to the effect that the immediate past Senate President, plotted to succeed the last Administration in an interim capacity was part of the scheme.

Although chidi opara reports cannot at this time vouch for the veracity or otherwise of the INEC Chairman's claim, the motive behind the "revelation", we can report, was to blackmail the vocal former Senate President into silence.

Monday, 12 January 2009

Nigeria In Red Security Alert!

A very authoritative information reaching chidi opara reports indicates a red security alert in some geo-political zones in Nigeria. Red security alerts, we have been informed by senior security contacts, usually indicate the highest level of security alertness in Nigerian security circles.

A top level security contact at the Defence headquarters in Abuja informed us of an Intelligence report released in the first week of January, 2009, which revealed a plan to continue the Jos mayhem by some elements, who believe that the casualty figures during the last crisis weighed heavily against them.

Another area of grave concern, according to our contact, is that some Islamic fundamentalist cells, with links to the Al-queda network, led by the radical Islamic jihadist, Osama Bin Laden, have gained strong footholds in the Kaduna-Kano-Zaria axis of the country. These groups, according to our contact, are respectively perfecting plans to cause serious troubles in that part of Nigeria, using the recent Isreali-Hamas military stand off as an excuse. These fundamentalist cells are known to be pro-Hamas.

The restiveness in the Niger Delta region, which subsided considerably in the last quarter of 2008, has, according to our contact, resumed, with hitherto liberal elements in the region secretly supporting militant actions against the Joint Taskforce On Security(JTF), for arresting a militant leader, Mr. Sobamabo Jackrich, alias Eberi Papa, inside the palace of the Amanyanabo(King) of Kalabari, Professor J.T Princewill. The Kalabaris are mainstream Ijaws. This action of the JTF is considered by most Ijaws as a desecration of their tradition.

Reports of the worsening health condition of Mr. Henry Okah, leader of the Movement For The Emmancipation Of Niger Delta(MEND), who is currently undergoing trial for treason, our contact also revealed, has provided an excuse for hawks inside MEND to continue to push for an all out oil war.

"Right now, military and security forces have been directed to deploy personnels and equipments to the flashpoints, to contain these serious national security threats", our contact concluded.

Network members of chidi opara reports in Abuja, Ibadan, Enugu and Kaduna, filed in reports, detailing preparations inside Military, Police and State Security Service(SSS) facilities in these cities, that appear to give the impression of a red security alert situation.

Saturday, 10 January 2009

Nigerian Activists Raise The Stake In Intra-Community Warfare

Two Nigerian human rights and anti-corruption activists, Mr. Omoyele Sowore, who publishes a United State Of America(USA) based leftwing news blog, and Mr. Festus Keyamo, a leftwing lawyer, recently raised the stake in the ongoing intra-community warfare within the human rights and anti-corruption community in Nigeria.

The war blew open when Mr. Sowore made open a letter he wrote to Mr. Keyamo, demanding that the radical lawyer speak up on the Nuhu Ribadu saga. Sowore in his letter made a veiled reference to the radical lawyer compromising his anti-corruption credential because of legal retainerships by some government agencies. Mr. Keyamo in his response, denied Mr. Sowore's accusation and made allusions to Mr. Sowore falsifying his medical records to enable him travel out of Nigeria some years ago, amongst other accusations.

It is not known at the time of posting this report, what Mr. Sowore's response to these accusations will be, but a contact close to the online news publisher, informed chidi opara reports that "the Omoyele I know will not let these serious accusations lying low, he will surely respond". Another contact close to Mr. Keyamo told us in Lagos that "before Festus makes such accusations, he has substantial evidences to back them up".

Checks by chidi opara reports revealed that for some time now, there has been silent warfare in the human rights and anti-corruption community in Nigeria, due to what a contact within the community termed "largess from the Presidency".

The Nigerian Presidency, chidi opara reports learnt authoritatively, at the height of severe criticisms from the human rights and anti-corruption community, decided to apply "the carrot formula", in this formula, according to our contact, some vocal activists were bribed with governmental patronages like appointments into government agencies, land allocations in the Nation's capital territory and other patronages like legal retainerships for Lawyer activists and adverts patronages for Journalist activists. "These patronages were designed not to go round, so that those who are not favoured will expose the favoured ones", a well placed presidency contact told us.

chidi opara reports further discovered that this situation is pleasing to the Presidency because of the respite from attacks on its policies from the community, which the current intra-community warfare has given it.

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Nigerian Literary Icon, Elechi Amadi Feared Kidnapped

Information reaching chidi opara reports indicated that a Nigerian literary Icon, rtd. Captain Elechi Amadi may have been kidnapped by yet unknown gun men. Details of the situation is still hazy, but chidi opara reports can reveal that activities inside the Rivers State government house and inside security circles in the State capital seem to give credence to this information.

The Association of Nigerian Authors(ANA), Rivers state chapter, chidi opara reports learnt is meeting this afternoon in an emergency meeting, whose Agendum is likely to be the group's response to the kidnapp.

Rtd. Captain Elechi Amadi, who is better known as a novelist and a former President of the Ogbakor Ikwerre convention, the umbrella cultural organization of the Ikwerre ethnic nationality, is a founding member of ANA and currently the chairman of the Rivers State scholarship board.

A contact close to the literary icon told chidi opara reports in Portharcourt that the renowned novelist lives an apolitical and simple live, "one wonders why anybody will want to kidnap such a man if it is true?", our contact querried.

Sunday, 4 January 2009

Re-Alignment Of Political Forces In Nigeria Ahead Of 2011 Presidential Election

The recent gathering in Igbere, Abia State, the country home of Mr. Orji Uzor Kalu, the immediate past governor of Abia State and the Presidential candidate of the Progressive Peoples' Alliance(PPA) in the 2007 Presidential election, ostensibly in honour of Kalu's mother, Mrs. Eunice Uzor Kalu, was actually a platform for the re-alignment of political forces ahead of the 2011 Presidential election.

A network member of chidi opara reports who was at the event, reported that while the ceremony was on, there was a marathon closed door meeting between Mr. Kalu and some chieftains of the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP), who came to explore ways of bringing the former Abia State governor, who was a founding member of PDP back to the party. A sizeable percentage of these PDP chieftains, according to this network member, are members of the Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida(IBB) caucus within PDP.

chidi opara reports also learnt from a knowledgeable contact within the IBB caucus that for sometime now, bringing Orji Uzor Kalu back to PDP has been on the card within the IBB political machine, "because it has been discovered that an Orji Kalu as a vice-presidential candidate will be more politically formidable than a Peter Odili", the IBB insider revealed to us.

The IBB-Odili ticket has been on the burner for sometime now. A chidi opara reports independent investigation however revealed that a greater percentage of members of the IBB political think tank believe that IBB should pair with Kalu, an Igbo from south-east in the 2011 Presidential election, if he(IBB)hopes to make meaningful impact, moreso, according to the IBB think tank, now that it has been discovered that there will most likely emerge another Yar'Adua-Jonathan ticket. The IBB think tank we learnt further are of the opinion that Peter Odili from a minority sub-ethnic group in the south-south will not be able to counter the influence of Goodluck Jonathan, a siting Vice-president from the Ijaw stock, a majority ethnic nationality in the south-south. The Igbos are believed to be the third largest ethnic nationality in Nigeria.

The only problem so far in the bid to get Kalu back to PDP, we learnt from an Orji Uzor Kalu insider is that the Abia State political chieftain is "somehow apprehensive that the President may use EFCC against him, if he accept the IBB carrot and return to PDP". Mr. Kalu whose Party is participating in Yar'Adua's "government of national unity", is currently being prosecuted for corruption while in government by the EFCC.