Saturday, 31 July 2010

News Report: Nigeria's "God's Own State" Governor's Second Term Ambition in jeopardy

                               [Theodore Orji]

The ambition of Mr. Theodore Orji to rule Abia state for a second term may be in jeopardy, chidi opara reports learnt during the week. Mr. Orji who won the Abia state gubernatorial election in 2007 on the platform of Progressive Peoples Alliance(PPA) to become governor of the state also known as "God's own state" recently defected to the All Progressives Grand Alliance(APGA). Shortly after he joined APGA, his predecessor and former political godfather, Mr. Orji Uzor Kalu joined the ruling Peoples' Democratic Party(PDP), taking along with him the entire PPA rank and file. The governor is also presently making desperate efforts to join PDP.

Mr. Theodore Orji's desperation to join PDP, we learnt authoritatively is as a result of a report he received in which moves being made by his erstwhile political godfather to use the PDP national and state structures to abort his second term ambition was revealed.

According to a contact who is privy to the report,  former governor Orji Uzor Kalu have been sending emissaries to PDP chieftains in the state, pleading that he should be allowed to contribute to the development of the state once again through PDP. He is also pledging to support any person these chieftains favour as PDP governorship candidate in the state, "as long as the person is not Theordore Orji".

Mr. Orji Uzor Kalu, who has for now abandoned his earlier plan to run with rtd. general Ibrahim Babangida as Vice-presidential candidate in the 2011 election have also sent emissaries to the President, assuring Mr. President of his loyalty and support if he would contest next year's presidential election.

chidi opara reports' network members in Umuahia and Abuja reported that the kalu moves are beginning to register some impacts as the initial opposition to his joining PDP in Abia state is easing off.

Governor Theodore Orji's move to join PDP is however being resisted by the state party chieftains because it is hinged on his second term ambition which members of his kitchen cabinet think APGA cannot gurrantee. The former national chairman of PDP, Mr. Vincent Ogbulafor is however, favourably disposed to allowing Theodore Orji to run on PDP platform, but almost all the state party stalwarts are vehemently opposed to this idea.

We also learnt that in the meantime, negotiations between the Abia state governor and PDP national leadership have been suspended to allow the party to consult extensively with Abia state party chieftains. Some PDP insiders in Abia state informed us that it would not be possible to hand over the gubernatorial ticket of the party to the governor so easily. "Let him join as an ordinary member if he wishes to be a member", one PDP support in Aba suggested.

Friday, 30 July 2010

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

News Report: Immediate Past Nigerian First Lady Eyes Senate Presidency

                                [Turai Yar'Adua]

The immediate past Nigerian first lady, Mrs. Turai Yar'Adua, first wife of late former President Umaru Ya'Adua is reported to be eyeing the Senate Preidency. Mrs. Yar'Adua is nursing senatorial ambition come 2011 on the platform of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party(PDP).

The former first lady's senatorial bid, chidi opara reports learnt is a strategy by the remainant of the hitherto influential Umaru Yar'Adua political cabal to be part of  the Abuja power loop in 2011 and beyond. This, we also gathered is to ensure that its members involved in corrupt practices during the three-year-period of Umaru Yar'Adua Presidency are safe from prosecution.

A member of the cabal was said to have been dispatched to the Presidency last week to intimate the President of the cabal's readiness to support his presidential ambition if he would use his influence to ensure that the former first lady is nominated as senatorial candidate in either Katsina state or Abuja. A Presidency contact confirmed that the meeting held but with a member of the Goodluck Jonathan Think Tank. chidi opara reports do not know at this point in time, the outcome of the meeting. It would be noted that the President's plan to contest next year's election is receiving stiff opposition from the North. A contact close to a member of the Goodluck Jonathan Think Tank informed us in Abuja that "in as much as they know that the Yar'Adua family is influential, I think they are at the moment planning to first reach out to more influential power blocs in the North."

Checks revealed that the Umaru Yar'Adua political cabal, suspecting that the President would move to recover ill-gotten wealth from its members had persuaded Mrs Yar'Adua to vie for membership of the Senate as prelude to vying for the Senate Presidency, a position that would make her Chairperson of the National Assembly with power of initiating impeachment of the President if he steps out of line. Turai Yar'Adua who is reputed to be very ambitious, reportedly embraced this plan and have since been throwing resources into it.

chidi opara reports however learnt that the Olusegun Obasanjo factor would be a big huddle to cross, as former President Olusegun Obasanjo is reported to be feeling cold towards the former first lady, due to the shabbiness with which late Umaru Yar'Adua whom he installed in power, treated him during the Umaru Yar'Adua administration at the prompting of the former first lady.

We do not yet have information regarding any formal reaction of the Olusegun Obasanjo political family to Mrs. Yar'Adua's senatorial plans.

Monday, 26 July 2010

Speech: A Golden Nugget Buried Abroad

                                   [Chido Onumah]

(Being speech delivered at the Nigeria Diaspora Dinner held at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja on Sunday 25th July, 2010)

By Chido Onumah

Good evening friends and compatriots. I thank you for this kind invitation to someone, if we must properly describe my location today, who is one of you all as a Nigerian in the Diaspora!

Two years ago I left the shores of Nigeria after completing my policy training at the Nigerian Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies in Kuru, Jos. It was not the type of migration many of you made, in pursuit of the higher degrees, years earlier. However my stay in the UK and at the United States, both stays in institutions of global leadership in research and policy development, prepares me to appreciate enormously what great resource we have in our Diaspora.

Today we are all at home, so the pattern of our discourse ought to take a different complexion especially since your interest is keenly around the question of electoral process.

Why the Diaspora Matters:
For far too long we have come to define our Diaspora mostly around the narrow pecuniary issues of the cash cow that makes financial remittances. Nigeria is not alone in this perception of its Diaspora. Such remittances far outpace the inflows from official development assistance. Figures are not readily available but in countries like Bangladesh, for instance, an estimated $2.2 billion was remitted in 2005, a figure that was almost 100% of the $1.4 billion that came in by way of international aid that same year.

Looking closer home in Africa, for the same year, the Kenyan Diaspora remitted about $464 million, a figure that is only slightly lower to the $635 million in flow from international aid. More proximate to us, however, official figures from the United Kingdom tell us that Nigeria, Bangladesh, and Ghana are the three leading countries that receive large volumes of remittance transfers from the Diaspora in the UK.

The intellectual labour of the Nigeria Diaspora is contributing immensely to the development of many countries across the globe, and in the most diverse fields from music, through the arts, sports, to medicine, computer sciences, teaching, engineering and space science. This is amazing.

Social remittances:
Today official figures in Abuja put the demography of Nigeria’s Diaspora to a massive 17 million, making it the fourth significant and potential power bloc in relation to the politics and social life of our country.

From what I hear, work is currently apace to set up a Diaspora Commission that will coordinate the potential gains and value from this massive constituency and highly resourced skill-pool, but some preliminary tips are perhaps appropriate at this point regarding the Diaspora agenda for Nigeria.

Moving a little bit ahead from the preoccupation with financial remittances, what is paramount at this point, to my mind, is how to evolve a mechanism that taps into, and re-inject, the potential social remittances of the Diaspora in terms of skill sets and competences to fire up the frayed nerves of many sectors of our national life.

Such a mechanism, nourished broadly as social and political capital, will help us rebuild many local institutions through the transfer and mediation of ideas, skills, attitudes, technologies and cultures. A lot of what is attributed to modern Asian technological progress has been explained through this process and it only makes sense if we calibrate aspects of our strategy for progress on the eve of our 50th anniversary around this framework.

Diaspora and the electoral process:
The truth is that our Diaspora has always played significant roles in the political and electoral process of our country.

Political parties at home often depend on Diaspora supporters for international outreach and for strategy development. Our Diaspora have also been noted for their roles as access points for parties to global media, international organizations, and powerful host governments.

As we have seen not too far back, our Diaspora have also been leading agents in advocating for electoral reforms, supporting opposition platforms, and generally providing intellectual leadership regarding electoral issues and analysis. The last elections also witnessed international monitoring teams from the Diaspora, and I believe the candidates are already reaching out to them now for resource mobilization.

But we have not treated this Diaspora well enough and with adequate respect. Nigeria, at the eve of its 50th independence anniversary and the largest black nation on the earth still has not fully enfranchised its Diaspora. This is both a shame and a poor score sheet. Why do we want to earn the financial and social remittances of our Diaspora without giving them the power to elect those who govern their homelands? What sense of equity are we promoting?

I join forces with those who ask that the electoral status of our Diaspora be reviewed as soon as possible to give them the vote.

As the basket of some of the best intellectuals that we have today, the future growth and development of this country will not be possible without the active collaboration, engagement, energy, and resourcefulness of our Diaspora.

We must however challenge the Diaspora today on a number of critical issues here: first, there is need to promote a thriving culture of volunteering in the country without which the context for mentoring, for leadership training and experiences for the management of institutions that our youth badly needs will be unavailable in the type of number that we must provide.

Secondly, it is important for the Diaspora to give urgent consideration to the need for direct participation, through physical presence, to return home as candidates, or as campaign managers, or just even as analysts of the process. In these roles you can help give the electoral process more verve, more vision, and certainly more quality. It is no longer enough to out-source your trust and hopes in leaders who almost certainly will quash the trust.

In relation to these two challenges, our Diaspora will need to give leadership as a way of helping to refine our democracy and culture of freedom.

We are at the threshold of a great turning point in our history. This phase calls on us to take our freedom more seriously. The way I see it, the two critical actors that can shepherd this process to success are the youths and Nigerians in the Diaspora.

The connection is obvious and logical. They are the receptacle of energy, drive, learning, and vision of a new Nigeria. In my recent speaking engagements, I have called on our youths to take over the running of all segments of our political, economic and social life.

I want to repeat that call again today by spelling out the immediate challenge for youth engagement in the country. It is a triple process to rally out young Nigerians to register en mass, to rally them to vote en mass, and to organize them to defend their votes.

Youth empowerment however is a big challenge to be mediated with high sense of responsibility, impeccable sense of accountability, and above all a deep sense of social justice. I trust that our Diaspora community will help promote this message and vision and also offer effective leadership.

I thank you for the opportunity. God Bless our country. Thank you all.

Thursday, 22 July 2010

News Release: US Vice-president Explain New Wall Street Reform Law

Good afternoon,

Today, President Obama signed into law the most sweeping reforms of our financial system since the Great Depression and the strongest consumer protections in history.

Here are a few highlights:

• There's now a single agency responsible for looking out for consumers: the Bureau for Consumer Financial Protections. Instead of seven agencies dealing with these issues part-time, one agency will be in charge of establishing clear rules of the road for banks, mortgage companies, payday lenders and credit card lenders.

• Mortgage brokers won't make a higher commission by selling people mortgages that they can't afford. This was a major factor in the recent housing crisis. Now brokers and banks have to take into consideration a borrower's ability to repay before giving a home loan.

• You’ll be able to get a free credit score if you’re denied a loan, an apartment, or a job because of your credit, so you won’t be turned down without knowing why. Right now, you get one free credit report a year, but you can’t see your credit score for free, even if a lender or employer rejects your application because you have bad credit.

• No more bailing out banks with our tax dollars, no more "too big to fail." If a company's in trouble because of risky gambles, it will have to liquidate -- and do so before it can take down the rest of the financial system.

To learn more and watch the video, head over to:

Yesterday, under pressure from the President, the Senate overcame a partisan minority and took an important step toward passing an extension of unemployment insurance. We need to keep the pressure on to ensure that there are no more delays and that this assistance gets to our friends and neighbors who lost their jobs during this crisis as soon as possible.

Their struggles are a staggering reminder of how much damage has been done and how many families have had it so tough for so long now -- in no small part due to reckless greed and irresponsibility hundreds or thousands of miles away on Wall Street.

The problem was that year after year, decade after decade, Wall Street gained more and more power in Washington, and they and their allies in Congress fought with everything they had to derail these reforms -- but this time there was a President who fought back, and this time they lost.

Let me tell you something: This President has been fighting for the middle class since Day 1. He stood strong for the Recovery Act that's created or saved 3 million jobs and cut taxes for 95 percent of working families. He fought tooth and nail against the insurance companies to pass health reform after seven previous presidents failed. And now the middle class has won out over the Wall Street lobbyists.

Wall Street reform is a big deal -- and it's only the latest major step forward for the American people.


Joe Biden
United States of America

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Opinion: US Secretary Of Health On Preventive Healthcare

                         [Secretary Kathleen Sebelius]

By Kathleen Sebelius

Good afternoon,

Many of us know women whose lives have been saved by breast cancer screening. Yet, one in five women over 50 hasn't received a mammogram in the last two years. Nothing is more important to us than the health of our children, but nearly one out of eight children hasn't seen a doctor in the last year.

For too long, our health care system has focused on treating the sick, and not on keeping people healthy. Preventive health care like cancer screenings, cholesterol tests and even flu shots saves lives and reduces health care costs, but too many Americans face a tough choice between paying for preventive care and putting food on the table for their families.

The Affordable Care Act is helping to change that by making it easier to access basic preventive care.

Last week, I joined the First Lady and Dr. Jill Biden -- two of our country's top health leaders -- to announce that starting in the fall, all new health insurance plans will be required to cover recommended preventive services with no deductible, copay or coinsurance.

Nearly half of all Americans suffer from chronic disease, and seven out of 10 deaths in our country are due to chronic illness. Many of these illnesses can be prevented. By spending our resources on stopping chronic illness before it starts, we can keep more people healthy and reduce health care costs.

Starting in September, preventive services like blood pressure tests, many cancer screenings, well-baby and well-child visits will be free for millions of Americans. By giving people the tools they need to lead healthier lives, we’ll be putting our country’s health resources where they can have the most impact.

To learn more about Affordable Health Care Act's new rules on preventive care click here:

Access to preventive care is just one of the ways the Affordable Care Act is making America healthier. To find out more about the benefits of the Affordable Care Act, visit

Monday, 19 July 2010

News Report: Twenty-five Million Naira Ransom Paid To Free Kidnapped Nigerian Journalists

             [Governor Theodore Orji]

Strong indications have emerged that a ransom of twenty-five million naira was paid before the kidnapped Nigerian journalists were freed on Sunday 18th July, 2010, inspite of widespread reports on the contrary. The freed Journalists and their driver were on Sunday, 11th July, 2010 abducted in Abia state on their way back to Lagos from Uyo, Akwa Ibom state after their union congress by unknown gunmen.

chidi opara reports' well placed security contacts strongly believe that the abduction was partly aimed at embarassing the Abia state governor, Mr. Theodore Orji and to provoke the issue of state of emergency in Abia. "How could anyone ask for ransom of 250 million naira or even 30 million naira from Journalists? Whom do they expect to pay the money?, a security contact in Umuahia posited. Governor Orji is presently at loggerheads with his erstwhile politcal godfather, Mr. Orji Uzor Kalu who has gone back to the ruling Peoples' Democratic Party(PDP).

One Abia state government house insider revealed that the governor was aware that the kidnap was partly to embarass him and provoke call for a state of emergency and was determined to put the issue behind him fast. This contact would not know if ransom was paid., "but I know that his excellency co-operated with the law enforcement agents".

A Security Consultant who volunteers for chidi opara reports is of the opinion that it would have been "near impossible" to rescue the victims going by their revelation that they were being moved every four hours. "The capacity of Nigerian law enforcement Agencies cannot handle this rate of mobility in terms of rescue", the Consultant opined.

Another Abia state government house insider revealed to chidi opara reports that at about 10pm on Friday 16th July, 2010, the sum of twenty-five million naira was changed into dollar bills and handed to a shadowy male character well known only to the governor, "who appears only when issues like this come up".

An unconfirmed information at our disposal has it that the decission to pay ransom was taken by the Abia state helmsman when the well planned, almost infallible rescue plan of the Isreali anti- kidnap agents, assisting the Nigerian Police failed following betrayal by elements inside the Abia state Police Command, resulting in the Isreali experts abandoning the resue project "for security reasons". The office of Inspector-general of Police and the Presidency are said to be aware of the payment.

Photospeak: Poorly Constructed Road In Lagos State Nigeria Collapses

Sunday, 18 July 2010

News Report: South-Eastern Nigeria Kidnappers Are Ex-Niger Delta Militants

Kidnappers operating in South-Eastern Nigeria are ex-militants who fought in the Oil wars in the Niger Delta region, chidi opara reports learnt on good authorities. These ex-militants we gathered left without the Amnesty Committee documenting their names. As a result of this, they are not entitled to rehabilitation and monthly allowances as stipulated in the Amnesty granted to the Niger Delta militants by the late Umaru Yar'Adua Administration.

Checks by chidi opara reports in Aba, Onitsha, Warri, Yenagoa and Port Harcourt revealed that these Igbo Boys were recruited in Port Harcourt, Warri and Yenagoa., where they were hitherto engaged in legitimate occupations as traders and artisan before their shops were demolished by the respective state governments. Others, we learnt further were ex-convicts who were ostracized by their families, whose only means of survival after release from prison was militancy.

Initially, when these boys were recruited, they were drafted to motor parks and bus stops where they helped officials of transport workers' unions to collect dues from taxi and bus drivers, for this, their godfathers were reportedly, adequately compensated.

While these boys were working at the motor parks and bus stops in the day, they were undergoing nocturnal training in weapons handling and occultic initiations. On completion of training and initiations, they were moblized to the various camps in the Niger Delta creeks as fighters.

When the Oil wars ended, the mindset in the Amnesty committee which presumed that all the ex-militants are of Niger Delta origin led to the Igbo elements not documented.

Checks in ex-militants circles however revealed that these Igbo elements were mercenary fighters whose godfathers were paid in advance before they were mobilized. "When we are surrender, we only takes our boys, those Igbo boys is not our boys, they are hire fighters", an apparently illitrate ex- camp commander told one of chidi opara reports' network members in Yenagoa.

Some of these ex- fighters who had legitimate means of livelihood prior to joining militancy are presently engaged in trading and other legitimate occupations in Aba and Onitsha, while most of the ex-convicts among them went back to kidnapping which they learnt and practised as Niger Delta militants.

Friday, 16 July 2010

Open Letter: Former President Bill Clinton On Haiti Earthquake

                                [Bill Clinton]

Dear Friend,

This past Monday marked six months since a devastating earthquake shook the coast of Haiti. I wanted to give you, a supporter of the Clinton Foundation and our work, a brief update on where things stand.

For the people of Haiti, each day since the earthquake is simply one more in the long process of rebuilding and re-imagining their future. One step at a time, with the cooperation of the international community and through the generosity of individuals like you, they are reconstructing their country, their families, and their lives. Although recovery is not going as quickly as many of us involved in the process would like -- progress is being made.

Despite the challenges, I remain committed to helping the people of Haiti build back better. Through the Clinton Foundation, as the United Nations Special Envoy for Haiti, and now as the co-chair of the Interim Haiti Reconstruction Commission along with Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive, I will continue to strive to help the Haitians build the nation that they desire and deserve.

With your support, the Clinton Foundation has provided the equivalent of $23 million worth of assistance to the people of Haiti since the earthquake in the form of grants to relief organizations, emergency supplies, and supporting the shipment and delivery of more than $16 million worth of goods, including more than 100 trucks, 14 pieces of heavy equipment, 32,680 solar flashlights, 24 tons of medicine and medical supplies, portable classrooms and educational supplies, 390,000 articles of clothing, and much more.

Additionally, the Clinton Global Initiative has facilitated over $100 million worth of commitments to help rebuild Haiti, the Clinton Health Access Initiative continues to work there to help provide access to essential health services, and recently, as a project of the Clinton Guistra Sustainable Development Initiative and Fundacion Carlos Slim, a $20 million fund for small- and medium-sized enterprises was announced to help Haitian entrepreneurs.

However, the scale and the urgency of the needs on the ground continue to be enormous. Millions of people still require shelter, access to basic services like education, water and sanitation, electricity, health care, and the tools to lift themselves from poverty. We still have a long road ahead.

Months and years of work remain to help the people of Haiti realize the future they have imagined for themselves.

I intend to be there every step of the way and I offer my humble thanks to you for being there alongside me.

Bill Clinton

(Bill Clinton is a former President of United States Of America and founder of William J. Clinton Foundation)

Thursday, 15 July 2010

News Report: Governor Of Bayelsa State Behind Abuja Demonstration By Ex-Militants

                                  [Timipre Sylva]

The governor of Bayelsa state, Mr. Timipre Sylva would go to any length to prove to the President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan that he is a loyalist. Mr. Sylva worked with the late Umaru Yar'Adua cabal to initially prevent Jonathan, then Vice-president from becoming acting President when illness rendered Yar'Adua incapable of performing Presidential duties. Jonathan is from Bayelsa state.

When Dr. Jonathan eventually became acting President and subsequently President, the Bayelsa state governor and his aides became targets of political harassments. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC) visited the state, arrested, detained and later released key government officials on allegation of corrupt practices . To the discerning, the target was Sylva. It was even rumoured that his political party, the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP), would deny him ticket for second term.

Sylva, an astute politician knew where the harassments were coming from and wasted no time in making peace with the President. He, inorder to convince him of his unalloyed loyalty, have used every opportunity to campaign for the President to continue in office beyond 2011.

The Bayelsa state helmsman, who is currently fighting a bitter political warfare with his deputy did more last week when he sponsored a group of ex-militants on a journey to Abuja to demonstrate, ostensibly for the non inclusion of their names in the list of ex-militants entitled to monthly allowances.

Investigation by chidi opara reports however revealed that inspite of the stated objective of the "peaceful demonstration", Timipre Sylva also hoped to use it to show all concerned that if the President is by any means prevented from contesting in the 2011 presidential election, the Niger Delta ex-militants would resume hostilities, this time in Abuja.. The second objective was to potray Mr. Timi Alaibe, the Presidential Adviser on Niger Delta Affairs as incompetent. Alaibe, a native of Bayelsa state is nursing gubernatorial ambition. The first objective we learnt had the blessing of an Ijaw elder known to be very close to the President.

Five strategically placed contacts in Yenagoa, capital city of Bayelsa state, have respectively revealed to chidi opara reports that funds for the hiring of buses to convey the ex-militants to and from Abuja and for other expenses were provided by the Bayelsa state government through an Ijaw activist based in Lagos.

The ex-militants who entered the Federal Capital Territory(FCT) on wednesday, 7th July, 2010 mounted barricades between Abaji and Gwagwalada, they later proceeded to the Eagle square where they terminated their demonstration which lasted between 7am and 2pm.

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Citizen Report: Secret Crackdown On Petty Criminals In Aba, Abia State Of Nigeria

                                 [Ogbonnaya Onovo: IG of Police]

Report reaching chidi opara reports from a citizen reporter in Aba, Abia state of Nigeria indicates that there is secret crackdown on petty criminals in their hide-outs in the South-Eastern commercial city, following order from the Inspector-general of Police, Mr. Ogbonnaya Onovo to the Abia state Police command to track down the kidnappers of some executives of the Nigerian Union of Journalists(NUJ). Three executives of NUJ and their driver was on sunday, 11th july 2010, kidnapped by unknown gunmen at Ukpakiri, in Obingwa Local Government Area, a few kilometres from Aba.

This secret crackdown is reported to be mainly  in the Umungasi railway crossing and Ikot Ekpene road waterside areas, with some of  the victims killed and others wounded.

The report further revealed that those arrested, the dead and the injured are being moved to unknown locations.

chidi opara reports could not independently verify this information at the time of publication.

News Report: Nigerian Presidency Influenced Emergence Of New Christain Association President

                                           [Oritsejafor: New CAN President]

The office of Nigerian President influenced the emergence of Mr. Ayo Oritsejafor as new President of the Christian Association Of Nigeria(CAN), for what Presidency insiders described as "strategic reasons", chidi opara reports learnt authoritatively. Mr. Oritsejafor is the first to emerge President of the 34-year-old umbrella body of christains from the penticostal fold.

We gathered that before the election in which the new CAN President garnered 66 votes from the 105 voters who made up the National Executive Council(NEC), to beat his closest rival, Mr. John Onaiyekan, who managed to clinch 4 votes, Presidency officials had already convinced majority of the delegates to vote for Ayo Oritsejafor. It is not known yet if monetary inducement was used, what is however known is that all the delegates approached were willing to go with the Presidency mainly because of fear of political persecution.

A Penticostal Fellowship Of Nigeria(PFN) official  whom chidi opara reports approached, revealed that "we realized that the only way we can break the dominance of the orthodox churches in CAN is to assure the President of our support in 2011 and that did the magic". PFN is affiliated to CAN. Presidency of CAN have before now been rotating between the Roman Catholic, Anglican and Methodist churches.

Our investigation revealed that, even though a member of the orthodox fold, President Goodluck Jonathan wanted a national leadership of  the influential CAN he can easily influence to support his 2011 Presidential bid. Clergies of the orthodox churches are known to be  more difficult to control even in the military era. "Besides Oritsejafor is from Niger Delta like the President", a keen observer posited.

Unconfirmed information also have it that the new CAN helmsman was drafted into the race by some loyalists of the President from the Niger Delta region.

President Goodluck Jonathan is billed to contest the forthcoming presidential election on the ticket of Peoples Democratic Party(PDP).

Photonews: Nigerian Children Who Row To School In Canoe

These Nigerian Children who live in the Lekki penisular area of Lagos state Nigeria, row to school daily in this canoe.

(Courtsey: BBC News Website)

Monday, 12 July 2010

News Release: Conference On Free, Fair And Credible Elections

The Change Nigeria Project (CNP) in conjunction with Save Nigeria Group (SNG) holds a conference on 'The Imperative of Free, Fair and Credible Elections in Nigeria in 2011'.

The one-day conference holding against the background of the inauguration of the new leadership of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) holds as follows:

Date: Wednesday, 14th July, 2010
Venue: Transcrop Hilton Hotel, Abuja

Expected to grace the occasion are the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan and the Governors of Lagos and Gombe States, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN) and Alhaji Danjuma Goje.

Speakers at the event include: Dr. Tunde Bakare (Convener, of SNG), Prof. Isa Odidi (Chairman, CNP), Dr.  Oby Ezekwesili, VP, World Bank, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, former FCT Minister, Almani Cyllah, Africa Director, International Foundation on Electoral Systems, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu(former EFCC Chairman) and Senator Abu Ibrahim(Chairman of CODER).


Prof. Isa Odidi               
 For: CNP
'Yinka Odumakin                                                      
 For: SNG


Photospeak: Paul The Octopus In Action

World Cup 2010 prediction phenomenon, "Octopus Paul" on "his" prediction runs

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Photonews: Security Guards Of Turkish And Nigerian Presidents In Scuffle

The security guards of Turkish and Nigerian Presidents – Abdullah Gul and Goodluck Jonathan clashed on the margins of the D-8 Summit in Abuja.


Saturday, 10 July 2010

News Release From MEND

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) condemns the deliberate misinformation of the government of Ghana and its people by the Nigerian High commissioner to Ghana at the behest of the Nigerian government.

The Nigerian High commission in Ghana has been mandated by the government of Nigeria to spread panic in Ghana with the hope that this will erode the understanding the people of Ghana have for the legitimate fight of the people of the Niger Delta against decades of oppression by the Nigerian state and western oil companies.

Why Ghana? Ghana is recognized as one of the few countries in West Africa where the rule of law is upheld. A democratic nation capable of resisting the bullying of the Nigerian government, very unlike dictatorships such as Angola.

Nigerians escaping persecution from the ever lawless governments in Nigerian have very often sought refuge in Ghana to the chagrin of the Nigerian government. In order to make the Ghanaian government malleable to its future demands for extradition, the government of Nigeria recently decided to spread fear in the Ghanaian oil industry and brand any one who seeks refuge in Ghana in the future, a member of MEND seeking to target the Ghanaian oil industry. This same tactic was employed by the Nigerian government in 2009 when it dubiously alerted Western embassies in Lagos, Nigeria of alleged plans by the militants to attack western embassies. This dubious alert was then dismissed by all western embassies.

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta is fighting against a glaring injustice. The land of the Niger Delta alone has been confiscated by the government from its owners and distributed to western oil companies and a few Nigerians from outside our region. We have been declared landless by the Nigerian government, yet without benefit.

The government of Nigeria have been unable to cover-up this crime against humanity which have been exposed by every individual and organization that have visited the Niger Delta.

The people of the Niger Delta are peace loving people who simply cannot understand why a government which have confined us to slavery having stolen our lands, should expects peace. Dating to times before the independence of Ghana, the people of the Niger delta, especially the Ijaws have co-existed with Ghanaians in Ghana.

Ghana is of no strategic importance in our fight against the Nigerian military. We respect the sovereignty of all nations bordering the Niger Delta and limit our operations to oil related facilities in Nigeria.

The government and People of Ghana should therefore discountenance the un-intelligent and baseless claim of the Nigerian High commissioner, Musiliu Obanikoro intended to whip xenophobic sentiments against the Ijaws and other indigenous tribes of the Niger Delta legitimately visiting or residing in Ghana.

By Jomo Gbomo

Article: General Ibrahim Babangida And “Co-Zonists” Are Wittingly And Unwittingly Committing High Treason

                          [Ibrahim Babangida]

By Kayode Ajulo

General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, Senator Iyorcha Ayu, General I.B.M. Haruna, Alhaji Tanko Yakasai and other pro-zoning cohorts’ battle cries and reasons for the applicability of the Zoning Arrangement to allow selected few from Northern extraction of Nigeria to contest election in office of President of Nigeria to the detriments of other sections of the Country is going beyond basic good reasoning having been limited to contemptible and reprehensible provincial sentiments that will do Nigeria no good than to further fan the conflagration of discourse and disunity.

While one is at pain to appreciate their inauthentic and immoral argument, it is better to call spade a spade as what is evil will continue to be evil and as such, the call for application of zoning arrangement/agreement is nothing by treason; the violation and breach of law, disloyalty to constitution which constitute government and institutions in Nigeria.

The zoning arrangement is “undesirable” and dead from birth, the very reason it is unviable as the likes of the Rimis, Gamades, Okorochas and others were able to buy nomination form and contest the PDP presidential primaries and hence the agitation for change.

Zoning is not only illegal but felonious and impracticable under our present dispensation, as it was not even practise in the entire Chief Obasanjo‘s eight years in power gleefully cited by the “zonists“.

Zoning is unconstitutional; the constitutional provision of Federal Character should not be erroneous used to justify the criminal arrangement called zoning as the Federal Character principle is only for appointment into position into administrative offices not for election into political offices as stipulated in our constitution.

Babangida and co-zonists therefore should not be allowed to balkanise Nigeria over their selfish and parochial interest.

Without conceding, even if the zoning arrangement/agreement is previously accepted and used, the present political dispensation in which President Umoru Musa YarAdua died in office before the expiration of his tenure is akin to force majure i.e. “greater force” has cancelled/nullified any previous zoning arrangement/agreement, as the main pilot has died during the flight and the mantle is now rested upon the shoulder of the co-pilot who must steer the plane to the political destination scheduled for 2 term/8years only and only subject to review by the entire votes of all Nigerians but not from a section of the country.

Babangida and fellow travellers need to appreciate that the only thing that is constant in life is change, change is inevitable and change has come to Nigeria polity as there is time for everything, a time to sow and a time to reap, a time to live and a time to die, in Nigeria today its time to set aside regional sentiments and open up Nigeria where merit and expertise will count.

It is pertinent to add that the agitation for doing away with zoning arrangement is beyond President Jonathan, the agitation for equal participation is not about President Jonathan, however, it is about freedom, equality, fairness, natural justice, performance, good governance and having a true Nigeria President not Northern President, Southern President nor Yoruba President but President of Federal Republic of Nigeria, every Nigerian will be proud of.

If zoning exist in US the Americans will not be able to give the world President Hussein Barrack Obama of African extraction, most of English leaders are from minorities region and yet these great Nations’ system allow their leaders to emerge for the good of their nations. Let stand on merit, credibility and ability and Nigeria will be better off.

Agitation for change in Nigeria is about the unqualified, inalienable, basic right of all Nigerian Citizen to economical, social and political aspirations.

It is also therefore apt, to bring to the fore the provision of Section 42 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which regulates such activities in the course of achieving these economic, social and political aspirations especially within our political parties, among other congregations.

Section 42 clearly stipulates that no assemblage, among other platforms, shall establish a convention or arrangement which, in its content, discriminates against any Nigerian based on the ethnic groups, places of origin, sex, religions or political opinions of the members.

The provision of Section 131 of the Constitution is crystal clear on the eligibility of candidate to aspire to the office of the President of Nigeria.

Hence, all Nigeria citizens are at liberty to contest for any positions without impediment save for the provision of the constitution and other related laws.

Any other principles, convention and/or arrangements contrary to this provision, to the extent of their inconsistencies, are null and void.

It is abundantly clear, therefore, that the so-called “presidency zoning” arrangement which has obviously emerged from our political parties is not only repugnant to the foundation of Nigerian unity, but inconsistent with our grund norm. It is unconstitutional, felonious and treasonable in all ramifications.

The reality is that, if not well managed and immediately corrected, can lead to balkanisation of our dear country, ineptitude, continuous breeding of monstrous corruption and nepotism.

Anywhere a constitutional democracy is being practiced, the highest authority of such country is the Constitution which is the “ground norm” the extant Nigeria Constitution of 1999 at its very first provision forcefully proclaims it supremacy thus:

Section 1.
(1) This Constitution is supreme and its provisions shall have binding force on the authorities and persons throughout the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

(2) The Federal Republic of Nigeria shall not be governed, nor shall any persons or group of persons take control of the Government of Nigeria or any part thereof, except in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution.

(3) If any other law is inconsistent with the provisions of this Constitution, this Constitution shall prevail, and that other law shall, to the extent of the inconsistency, be void.

In our law, treason is the crime that covers some of the more serious acts of betrayal and breach of one’s authority, sovereign or nation, any breach or failure to maintain or adhere to our constitutional provisions amount to nothing but treason that is so sanctioned by our law.

Babangida and cohorts must respect every provision of our Constitution, their new found love to promote principle and agreement of disunity and discrimination under the nomenclature of Zoning is contrary to the provisions of our Constitution and as such, their present undertakings and activities is usurpation of our sacred Constitution which amount to high treason.

(Kayode Ajulo is an Abuja based Lawyer)

Thursday, 8 July 2010

News Report: Nigerian Activist Writes From Prison

The activist, Mr. Ikenna Samuelson Iwuoha, chidi opara reports gathered have been in the fore of agitations for the investigation of Imo state governor, Mr. Ikedi Ohakim's alleged corrupt practices. He was as a result allegedly assaulted by the governor and his security details.

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

News Release: M.K.O. Comes Alive

                                [MKO Abiola]

The immortal spirit of the winner of June 12, 1993 presidential election, Bashorun M.K.O. Abiola comes alive in Abeokuta, Ogun State, on July 7, 2010 as the Coalition of Democrats Against Rigging (CODAR) sets the city aglow to commemorate the 12th Anniversary of the controversial death of the symbol of democracy in Nigeria.

The Coalition, which cuts across political parties, civil society groups and the labour movement, is also using the occasion to press for free, fair and credible elections in 2011 for which a fresh digitalized voter register is a pre-condition.

The celebration of M.K.O. Abiola on July 7 will start with a motorcade procession from West African Breweries at Lafenwa from 10am to Ake Palace Ground where the rally for free and fair elections starts at 11am prompt.

Among speakers and guests at the event are: Chief Olusegun Osoba, Dr. Joe Okei-Odumakin, Mr. Olasupo Ojo, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, Alhaji Adegbenga Kaka, Mr. Remi Bakare, Ogbeni Lanre Banjo, Asiwaju Bisi Adegbuyi, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, Alhaji Rauf Aregbesola, Mr. Lekan Abiola, among others.

‘Yinka Odumakin
For; The Organisers.

Sunday, 4 July 2010

Independence Anniversary Message: Supporting Our Military Families

                                 [Michelle Obama]

By Michelle Obama

Independence Day is a wonderful opportunity to come together with family and friends to celebrate our country and the life we all enjoy. But the freedoms and rights that characterize our nation would not be possible without the brave men and women in uniform and the families that support them.

This Independence Day, I have a special message for all Americans about supporting our military families:

Our military families are tested each day. Multiple and extended deployments mean that children often don’t see their moms or dads for long periods of time. Civilian spouses juggle the demands of work and family without their partners for long stretches of time. Family members serve as primary care givers for our wounded warriors, and too many families bear the heartbreaking reality of moving forward with their lives while keeping the memory of our fallen heroes alive. Through it all, military families contribute countless hours to supporting other military families, being role models to our children, and making communities stronger.

A small percentage of Americans fight our wars, but we need 100 percent of Americans to support these brave men and women and their families back home. Here are some things you can do in your community to get started:

• Stay informed about the activities and concerns of military families in your community and across the nation;

• Take time out to get to know and express appreciation to military families;

• Help ensure military families have the opportunity to share their stories and voice their concerns in your community;

• Help ensure the places where you work, worship and participate in community life connect their activities to addressing military families' unique challenges; and

• Identify opportunities in your communities to tap into the unique skills, experience and commitment to service our military families display each day.

To all of our military families serving this Nation around the world, I offer my sincerest thank you. Your courage, service, and sacrifice are an inspiration to us all.

Happy Independence Day, everyone!

P.S. Today, the President and I will welcome more than 1,200 troops and their family members from all over the country to the White House to celebrate with us. We're hosting a special USO concert, featuring Brandi Carlile, Cedric "The Entertainer," The Killers and "The President's Own" U.S. Marine Band, and wrapping up the evening with a view of the fireworks on the National Mall. You can watch the whole thing live on starting at 7 p.m. EDT.

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Photonews: New Task For Nigeria's Electoral Commission

News Report: Governor Of Nigeria’s “God’s Own State”, Now Most Beautiful Political Bride In The South-East

                                    [Theodore Orji]

The governor of Abia State of Nigeria, also known as “God’s Own State”, Mr. Theodore Orji is now the most beautiful political bride in the South-Eastern region.

This situation, chidi opara reports learnt arose from the recent disagreement between the governor and his predecessor, Mr. Orji Uzor Kalu, who is also Chairman, Board of Trustees of the Progressive Peoples’ Alliance(PPA), on whose platform the Abia state helmsman became governor in 2007. The governor was recently summoned by his party’s national leadership in connection with this disagreement.

The disagreement, we learnt from PPA insiders would surely be resolved in favour of Mr. Kalu. One PPA state official hinted that "Orji will not be nominated for second term, he may even be expelled from our party".

The import of this development is not lost on the governor, whose body language according to one Abia state government House insider, indicates that he is ready to seek nomination from any other political party.

This opening is what is being exploited by astute political party leaders. At the last count, atleast five delegations from different political parties held secret meetings with representatives of the governor at the residence of an Okigwe based transporter last week. The transporter, who is not known to belong to any political party is reported to be an intimate friend of the governor's since his days as a civil servant.

These parties include a political party which parades itself as a grand alliance of progressives. It is not likely that the Peoples' Democratic Party(PDP) had approached orji, a contact close to the governor however, informed a chidi opara reports network member in Umuahia that the governor would accept if approached. It is suspected that Orji's initial reluctance in making commitment to any of the parties is borne out of the desire to fly PDP's flag in next year's gubernatorial election. We however learnt that the governor would have the Ojo Maduekwe factor to contend with if he eventually pitch tent with PDP. Ojo Maduekwe is the immediate past Minister of Foreign Affairs.

From the reported current frenzy by political parties to hand Theodore Orji their gubernatorial flags in the 2011 election, one thing is certain, the Abia state governor is currently the most beautiful political bride in South-Eastern Nigeria.

Article: Nigeria; Rising Beyond the Golden Jubilee Business Summit

By Christian C Udechukwu

Testimonials from corporate participants came in strong and fast as follows: Nigeria’s first High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, first Minister of the Navy and former Foreign Secretary for Nigeria, Ambassador M T Mbu (CFR) who fully participated in the Nigeria Golden Jubilee Business Summit stated in our feedback form: “What a wonderful initiative. The organisers deserve our million million thanks. It gives me hope for the future”. And Nigeria’s former Vice President Dr Alex Ekwueme wrote that “the event was excellent”; and HRH Oba Ajede also certified that “this is a good effort. I’m impressed by funding this event through sponsorship. Well done!!” Delegates registered for FREE, but strictly on invitation. UBS in its statement declared that the Nigeria Golden Jubilee Business Summit was “certainly a beneficial event for us”. And British Airways in its statement simply said “we are delighted to be part of this Golden Jubilee Summit and Gala Dinner”. Keith Gubbin, Director of Africa Asset Management and Director of Africa Regional Board of the London Business School wrote that “You (BIAE) certainly had an impressive array of speakers and guests despite the President being unable to join us”. Indeed the editorial team from the Commonwealth Secretariat wrote that “Nigeria's Golden Jubilee Business Summit & Cultural Gala Dinner 2010 was a very informative, inspiring and well organised event”. Ali Khalpey, Managing Director of Renaissance Capital, also commended the organizers of the Golden Jubilee Business Summit “for putting on a great conference over the last 2 days. I found it most useful and informative”. On our part, at BIAE, we are always proud to serve Nigeria.

Over the past 15 years, BusinessinAfrica Events (BIAE) has always promoted trade and investment into Africa by providing live events platforms such as sector specific conferences, government and business roundtables; and other interactive forums for business leaders and policy makers to attain better understanding of the competing interests. So it was not unusual that when Nigeria’s Golden Jubilee came up, the management of BIAE considered it very necessary to invite core investors in Nigeria who have been doing business in the local environment for the past 50 years; prospective investors who are seeking new opportunities for business, Nigerians living abroad who now occupy decision making positions in global investment banking and related businesses, project finance and private equity fund management industry to come meet with legislators and government officials to focus their minds on where Nigeria has been as a nation; and what it should strategically position itself to become over the next 50 years.

In 2010, there are 16 African countries, 14 French speaking countries and 2 English speaking countries namely Nigeria and Somalia marking their golden jubilee. Now in order to raise the global profile of Nigeria, at a time when Africa is hosting the world cup in South Africa, the UK is hosting its annual Wimbledon, Canada was hosting G20 meetings; it was important to do something unique to highlight Nigeria and to create value for it as well. Some of the world’s leading companies bought into the idea of brainstorming in expert panel sessions in a business summit to mark Nigeria’s 50 years independence. And so whilst BIAE would have been happy to receive government funding, the Nigerian Golden Jubilee Business Summit which had just ended in London was actually completely funded by some of the finest organisations at the forefront of promoting Nigeria’s economic growth and development namely Access Bank, First Bank, Travelex, Central Bank of Nigeria, Shell, Afrinvest, Laurent Perrier, Shebah Petroleum, A-Z Petroleum, Capital Oil, Anabel Group, Zenith Bank, UBS (Union Bank of Switzerland), British Airways, Africa Finance Corporation, GT Bank, Anabel Mobile, Eko Atlantique City, Societe Generale Bank and many more with Thomson Reuters, BusinessDay, Daily Independent, BusinessWorld, New African, African Business, BEN TV and African Banker as the leading global media partners with other media such as BBC, Aljazeera, Bloomberg and many more in attendance.

It is traditional for countries to use special commemorative anniversary events to strength their bilateral relations and it is therefore in keeping with these convention that BIAE planned its Business Summit to coincide with the proposed official visit of Mr President Goodluck Jonathan (GCFR) to the United Kingdom. The Business Summit designed a meeting of business leaders which was also have allowed Mr President to share his vision for business in Nigeria and to seek their support in achieving the vital goals he has set for his administration. We cannot expect Mr President to perform and to deliver on his commitments to improve our power infrastructure et al; and at the same time begrudge him the global opportunity to promote trade and investment into Nigeria. But even as efforts were made to derail our business summit program and the local misinformed media opinion tried to characterise things differently, the Nigerian Golden Jubilee Business Summit which was well over subscribed for the capacity of the event venue which received over 500 leading business delegates to the conference.

Some results were immediately evident for government as Prof Barth Nnaji, Presidential Adviser on Power received feedback after his presentation. Investors argued that the government needed to move its financial guarantees beyond the present commitment to 3,000 megawatts only in order to spur additional investment in the sector. Prof Nnaji’s panel presentation was supported by Africa Finance Corporation, Frontier Market Fund Managers, European Investment Bank and Standard Bank. On Banking, Afrinvest unveiled its latest 2010 report on Nigerian Banks and the on-going banking reform which generated a lot of passionate discussion with the audience.

Shell Petroleum Country Chair, Mutiu Sunmonu reviewed Shell operational experiences over the past 50 years and gave insights into its future strategic thinking. Even as the very the exciting panel on Niger Delta received the erudite presentation treatment by Prof Pat Utomi, co-founder of Lagos Business School and Chairman of Social Democratic Mega Party (SDMP). General Owoye Azazi who chaired the panel supported by Emeka Ihedioha, Chief Whip, Nigeria House of Representatives and Chairman of the South-South and South-East Professionals, Emeka Ugwu-oju reassured investors on the security situation in Niger Delta, but also urged for a strong focus on a sustainable development agenda for the region. UBS’s Managing Director for Africa, Sarah-Jane Wagg spoke on the global financial markets and the outlook for Nigeria, she concluded that the future was bright for Nigeria and that UBS, which had invited 24 different fund management clients to attend the summit, would increase its investment commitments into Nigeria capital markets. UBS was joined by Societe Generale, Fitch Ratings, Nex Rubica Investments, Standard Chartered Bank, Stanbic IBTC, and one of the world’s largest law firm, Clifford Chance. Access Bank GMD, Aig Imoukhuede made a strong case for Project finance and Infrastructure Investments supported by the Director General of Infrastructure Concession and Regulatory Commission, Ahmed Mansur whose direct and honest responses to questions from investors inspired an appreciative applause. The case for infrastructure investments was strengthened by views from Citibank, Standard Chartered Bank, Dunn Loren Merrifield and HSBC. Travelex and the global remittance association, International Money Transfer (MTI) made a case for the modernisation of payment systems in Nigeria to integrate its economy to the global digital economy; contributors in this session included the Managing Directors of Standard and Poor’s and Goldman Sachs International.

Dr. Joe O’ Neil, Director of Global Health Initiatives from the University of Maryland, Baltimore, USA led the discussion the eradication of malaria, aids and hypertension in Nigeria whilst NAFDAC Director General, Dr. Paul Orhii made a first class presentation on the new strategies and challenges that NAFDAC was overcoming in its effort to Combat Drug Counterfeiting. In respect of Transportation, Adeseyi Sijuwade, Managing Director of the Nigeria Railway Corporation made an integrated presentation on behalf of the Transport Minister showing the future of transportation in Nigeria as proposed by the various agencies of the ministry from the NPA, NIMASA, Inland Waterways, and more. Whilst FERMA demonstrated new opportunities that abound for the transformation of Nigeria by variable forms of Public and Private Partnership deals.

The Nigerian Golden Jubilee Business Summit climaxed with a panel session on the next 50 years and it featured some of the most exciting minds including the Hon Minister for Lands, Hon. Nduese Essien; Chairman of Nigeria Economic Summit Group, Sam Ohuabunwa and Prof Chukwuma Soludo (CFR). Soludo whose presentation received a standing ovation, called for a return to a more competitive regional governance structure for Nigeria to replace the current oil rent sharing arrangement for non-viable states. He argued that agitations for new states should be conditional upon receipt of legal assurances that there would be non payment of money from the federation accounts so that each State will be compelled to develop its local competitive advantages. The most remarkable statement of change came from the PDP National Chairman, Dr Okwesilieze Nwodo who declared that he would work relentlessly to “break the chains” that hold Nigerians down whether it be done by changing, repealing or modifying legislations in the ruling party and that within the PDP he would ensure that only the “best and brightest” amongst Nigerians are encouraged to aspire to legislative, executive, and other political offices. This, he said, should help Nigeria to rise beyond mediocrity in the next 50 years.

(Christian C Udechukwu is the Founder & Chief Executive Officer, BusinessinAfrica Events (BIAE) UK. )