Friday, 31 December 2010

News Report: Man Accused Of Fabricating Christmas Message From MEND Responds

Tony Uranta
Mr. Tony Uranta, the man accused by the Movement For The Emancipation Of Niger Delta(MEND) of fabricating christmas message and purported it to have emerged from the group have responded.

Mr. Uranta in an e-mail sent to chidi opara reports and some news media said that someone using the e-mail account of the MEND spokesperson forwarded the said message to him which he inturn forwarded to some of his friends whom he said are media people.

Below is Tony Uranta's e-mail:

"Gentlemen of the 4th Estate of the realm,

Below find the mail forwarded to me ostensibly from Jomo Gbomo. Please note that the email addresses of the two Jomo notes are EXACTLY the same! How does one then distinguish between a "real" or a "faked" Gbomo mail?!

As has been my wont re interesting communications, for over three years, I merely re-forwarded the mail to a some folk on friends-list....some of these friends are media-folk like you. There has been a desire to discredit one via cyberstrife, but truth is so transparently stronger than lies....

Judge for yourselves, please....was the first mail a hoax? If so, by whom? Ask Mr. Gbomo if I have EVER had access to his mailbox passwords...! Who is trying to fool whom in this case?


MEND's spokesperson, Gbomo Jomo however responded thus: 
"This desperate act by Mr Uranta by fabricating MEND's email address only shows that the goverment has absolutely no plans to dialogue but rather to continue to fool the world that Goodluck Joanthan is in control of the Niger Delta issues but only time will tell as we will continue with our plans and continue to issue statements of attacks regardless of Mr Uranta,s stupidity".

Thursday, 30 December 2010

Article:Jonathan’s Hard work, Nigeria’s Good Luck

President Goodluck Jonathan
 By Robinson Sibe 
I started this piece with a different title in mind but changed it after stumbling on a quote by Thomas Jefferson: "I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have". Many might disagree with this, using lottery winners as examples of beneficiaries of sheer luck without hard work. I tend to agree with Thomas Jefferson as even the lottery winner first invests some money in the ticket, he also believes in the process, takes time out to fill the accompanying forms and then tracks his winning number. That is some measure of hard work.  Many might argue that President Jonathan’s meteoric rise from being an ordinary citizen a little over a decade ago to becoming the Number One citizen of the country today
is a feat made possible by sheer luck. They base their arguments on the fact that he never contested any election all by himself to get to the highest office. While I may not rule out the divine angle to his
ascension, however, I tend to believe more in the fact that his luck was made possible by hard work and the right attitude.

It is therefore not a surprise that President Jonathan in all his designations impressed his bosses. The late President Yar’Adua never stopped singing his praises before he passed on, Governor Alameseigha and A.K. Horsefall his other former bosses are still singing his praises even today. He certainly did not impress them with luck; rather he showed he was a hard working man that can be trusted with responsibilities. He not only dispatched his assignments perfectly but did so calmly and quietly. That is why in just about a decade; he rose from being a Deputy Governor, to Acting Governor, to Governor, to Vice President, to Acting President and President calmly and quietly. Even in the corporate world, it is only natural that a hard working staff be given rapid promotion. President Goodluck, being an embodiment of hard work, Patience and Perseverance has earned whatever luck that is attributed to his ascension.

Upon becoming the Acting President and President, many doubted his capacity to perform. However, in less than a year, his achievements, not borne out of spontaneous luck but earned through hard work, are there to speak for him. Some of his achievements in less than one year as President include: -    *Upgrading of Akanu Ibiam Airport to International Status (Phase 1 has already been commissioned). Could this be sheer luck?
*Investments and reforms in the aviation sector have earned us a Category A rating by the American aviation authorities. Also two more airlines have joined in direct US-Nigeria route. Could this be sheer luck?
*Improved economy has resulted in growths of 7.3% (Source: IMF) in the last quarter and the country being rated the third fastest growing economy in the world behind China and India. This has led to improved investor confidence; an example is the choice of Nigeria by the world’s second largest Credit card Operator, MasterCard as its base for West/East Africa and the Indian Ocean. Could this be sheer luck?
*For the first time in our recent history, people are celebrating a major holiday like Christmas without queues at the filling station and at official pump price. Could this be luck?
*Sitting of new federal Universities in the states without any. Could this be sheer luck?
*New minimum wage of N18, 000 for workers. Could this be sheer luck?
*Over 2000 workers have gone back to work as a result of the Textile intervention fund he made available to jump-start the sector. Could this be sheer luck?
*In a bid to conduct free and fair elections, President Jonathan  appointed men of impeccable pedigree (to which even the opposition commended) to conduct the elections. He also approved all that INEC
requested to do a thorough job in record time. Could this be sheer luck?
*In a bid to diversify the economy and tap in to the amazing potentials, President Jonathan made available $200 million life line for the entertainment industry and N500 billion bail-out for the Manufacturing industry. Could this be sheer luck?
*Commencement of design work for the Coastal Road Project. Could this be sheer luck?
*Approval for the design and construction of three new refineries. Could this be sheer luck?
*De-listing of Nigeria from the terror watch list and hard drugs watch list. Could this be sheer luck?
*In a bid to get our youths back to work, President Jonathan made provision 50 billion seed fund set aside in the 2011 Budget Presented to the National Assembly only last week to tackle unemployment through direct job creation and Investor support/collaboration. Could this be sheer luck?

The list could go on and on and it’s interesting that all these were achieved in less than one year. Calling these achievements a product of sheer luck could be like attributing Osain Bolt’s achievements at the last Olympic to sheer luck. Whatever we call good luck was spurred by hard work. So, if President Goodluck can through hard work bring good luck to Nigeria then let’s maximize and utilize this luck effectively by giving him a full term to entrench “good luck” in our system. Going by Thomas Jefferson’s
quote, the more hard work Goodluck puts in, the luckier Nigeria becomes. He’s done just that and is ready to do more. Good Luck Nigeria!

(Sibe is Strategy Coordinator of “The Jonathan Project”)

News Report: MEND Says Purported Christmas Message Originated From Nigerian Presidency

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) has denied that a purported Christmas message originated from the group.

In an e-mail sent to chidi opara reports and some other news media, MEND said that “The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) denies that the statement attached below originated from the group.

This fabrication purportedly from me, emanated from a Mr Tony Uranta known to be on the payroll of President Goodluck Jonathan.” The e-mail as usual was signed by the group’s spokesperson, Jomo Gbomo.

It would be noted that a Christmas message purportedly issued by MEND, was recently released. The message which also bore the name of MEND’s spokesperson said “The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (M.E.N.D) hereby wish our many allies, the good people of the Niger Delta and of Nigeria Merry Christmas celebrations.

In the coming year, we will review our mode of operation. We have seen strong indications that the Federal Government of Nigeria headed by Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan is serious with the Niger Delta Question. We support and embrace the President's order to the Military to rebuild Ayakoromor and halt any planned hostilities on civilian Niger Delta communities.

For these reasons, we will embrace a revamped Post-Amnesty initiative and work to make the Niger Delta a better place for all human beings.

I thank all those who have worked to get us to where we are”

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

News Release: Lagos State DPA Blames Fashola’s Policies For ACN’s Loss Of Ikorodu

Democratic Peoples’ Alliance (DPA) have described the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) loss of Ikorodu Constituency 2 as a vote of-no confidence passed by Lagosians on the regime of Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola.

In the by-election held on Thursday 23rd December to replace a deceased ACN Member of the State House of Assembly, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) won.
“PDP’s victory is no fluke. This government has failed to make people the centerpiece of its policies. Those who constitute the silent majority finally decided to speak through their votes in Ikorodu; and the message is loud and clear, Fashola have failed woefully to positively impact on commoners’ lives,” Lagos state DPA submitted in a statement, predicting that ACN would suffer a similar fate should free and fair elections hold in Alimosho, Iju, Badagry, Epe, Lekki and other places.
Lagos state  DPA recalled that this ACN defeat came in the wake of an earlier by-election loss in Ibeju-Lekki, which PDP also won.
The party placed this result on the neglect suffered by the people of Ikorodu, suffering lack of good roads, electricity, drainage, potable water, etc.
The party submitted that Ikorodu town represented the typical rural settlement in Lagos , which had suffered utter neglect and deprivations at the hand of the Fashola government.
“In these past three years, Fashola have concentrated projects and developments on metropolitan Lagos , to the neglect of other places,” DPA said. “Projects have been massed on routes leading to and from Alausa, the seat of government, the Ikeja Airport, and government houses in Ikeja GRA, Ikoyi and Lagos Marina.”
Recalling the last flood that sacked some parts of Ikorodu town , DPA said the Fashola government was yet to account for the N700 million President Goodluck Jonathan provided for victims of the disaster.
“Those in the refugee camp are today suffering utter neglect and deprivations; and many live in subhuman conditions. They don’t even know when they will return home and can as yet see no visible programme being put in place by government to prevent a re-occurrence,” DPA said.
DPA further said: “Moreover, this regime’s capital of friends is fast depleting, because it has spent its lifespan fighting, intimidating and victimizing virtually everyone: Doctors, teachers, drivers, okada riders, traders, business people, market women, street traders, the unemployed.”
According to the party, the result of the Ikorodu polls signified the people’s irritation at the government’s demolition of houses and business places without provisions for compensations and alternatives.
“The Ikorodu-Shagamu expressway remains impassable and a deathtrap; with many goods’ lorries and petroleum tankers ending up belly-up, with attendant loss of lives and possessions, when they try to ply that session,” DPA said.

From Publicity Department

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Report: Capgemini And Merrill Lynch Global Wealth Management Releases World Wealth Report 2010

Capgemini and Merrill Lynch Global Wealth Management are pleased to present the 2010 World Wealth Report. Our two firms have been working together for more than 20 years to study the macroeconomic and other factors that drive wealth creation, and to better understand the key trends that affect high net worth individuals (HNWIs) around the globe.

The last couple of years have been momentous for wealthy investors and their Advisors. At this time last year, we were analyzing the dramatic effects of the financial crisis, which was quickly turning into a global economic downturn. World equity markets had lost a decade of gains, and volatility had reached record levels. HNWIs were re-allocating to safer investments and retreating to familiar markets close to home, and Financial Advisors were rallying to restore client trust and confidence.

A year later, many markets are recovering well and the broader economy, after contracting across much of the world in 2009, is showing distinct signs of recovery. The HNWI population itself has started growing again, and HNWI wealth is also recovering. But it is clear from HNWIs’ asset allocations that they are taking a cautious approach to investing and risk-taking. Moreover, it seems the lessons learned from the crisis have changed the way HNW clients will think about investing for the foreseeable future. Clients are now much more involved in managing their investment choices, asking for more specialized advice, demanding full product disclosure and transparency. They are more educated about investing and about their own
needs. They now understand that when weighing potential returns, they must weigh the risks more thoroughly.
This year’s World Wealth Report (WWR) looks at how wealth-management firms are adapting to behavior-driven investing by clients, and are re-evaluating their advisory processes, risk models and service offerings to cater effectively to HNW clients in this new paradigm.

It is a pleasure to provide you with our findings, and we hope you find continued value in the WWR’s insights.

Sallie Krawcheck                                                                       
President, Global Wealth
& Investment Management                       
Bank of America

Bertrand Lavayssière
Managing Director
Global Financial Services

Click Here To View Report

News Conference: Lagos Open Parliament

Babatunde Fashola: Lagos State Governor
It is my pleasure standing before you to welcome you all to this media briefing. The Lagos Open Parliament is actually meant for those who have conquered the lure of hypocrisy which has rendered majority of
Nigerians complacent, dogmatic and gullible. Hypocrisy is the reason why our leaders lead us only by the nose today. They only tell us, the people, what suits them and listen to only those they want to hear;
never what we need to hear or say. They tell us what projects they have executed instead of showing us. They read budgets to us just as annual rituals but often under execute the capital side of such while the recurrent side are over executed. Same item of the budget hops up annually in our budgets without us asking questions where the fund voted for such in previous budget went. Projects are executed just to last enough for exhibition to the media at commissioning but most often collapse before they are put into proper use. They tell us
perpetual lies on the import of their governance and executed projects. We tend to believe them even when we groan under the weight of collapse or absence of such issues and projects. They run government of deceit, grandstanding and propaganda in secrecy. For those who are directly or indirectly part of the conspiracy that has led to unanswered questions of probity and accountability in the Centre of Excellence, such forum would be too hot for them to partake in.

For some time now there have been accusations of financial impropriety against the present Lagos State government. Each time we got such information we expected denials from the accused. No response is
usually given to these allegations by the state government or its agents. This smacks of arrogance in governance but it seems our government cares less about what we, the people, think about how well
or otherwise we are governed. When we approached the state legislature that has the power of oversight on the alleged executive, they claimed the judiciary has restrained them from finding out the truth of the
matter. Even when we approached the anti-graft agencies that have enabling legislation to ascertain the true position of the allegations, all we get is promises of diligent work. Those we entrusted with the reins of government seem to believe that they have all the power, influence and think that they don't owe us any
explanation about their stewardship. They seem to have convinced themselves that, even when there are supposed to be equality of all citizens before the law, those in government are more equal than the
people who elect them. We at the Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders (CACOL) in collaboration with People's Action for Democracy (PAD) think they are wrong, dead wrong!

Meanwhile there have been torrents of further allegations where mum have been the answer Lagosians get from their government. If the hands of the governor and his crew that are running the affairs of Lagos
state are clean, wouldn't they have addressed the issues raised by various groups and news media in a State of the State address. However, instead of the learned gentleman at the helm of Lagos State affairs who is also the Chief Accounting Officer to confirm or deny the allegations he got a former civil society activist and a human rights lawyer to challenge in a state court, the propriety of the state's House of Assembly to investigate the allegations. Of course they got a judgment stopping the House from querying neither the governor nor his government over the allegations. Why must the government obtain a judgment to stop the examination of its financial transactions by a statutory arm of the same government if there nothing to hide? We even learnt that all civil servants and political appointees in Lagos State have been forced to take an Oath of Secrecy. What kind of democracy is that that abhors transparency and accountability if not corruption-bearing one?!

Although we believe that there are usually two sides to an argument, we become helpless to continue in dwelling on such belief once a party to the argument refuses to state or defend its own side. And silence,
which sometimes could be golden, could equally mean admittance of guilt if it offers no clue to an allegation. Coincidentally by the example of the judgment stopping the Lagos House of Assembly looking into the effectiveness or otherwise of the implementation of the state's appropriation law which it passed, we believe that there is no longer separation of powers between the three arms of government in the state. We can therefore conclude that we can no longer rely on the principles of checks and balances which should ordinarily allow the legislature to oversight the affairs of the other arms of government and the judiciary interprets the law to moderate their operations and interactions.

We therefore have no option than to throw the issues open to Lagosians who are the sufferers of the jeopardy arising from the strange democratic practice operative in their state. It is against this backdrop that we published the summary of the allegations and a questionnaire on the state and situation of Lagos with a view to
securing responses from members of the Lagos Public to assess, accentuate or debunk them based on their individual or collective experiences. This will help douse the embers of doubts and suspicion beclouding discourse of public expenditure management in Lagos state in recent times.

Meanwhile the outcome we get from the assessment of the state of our state at the LOP sitting confirmed our hypotheses.  For example it was confirmed that since 2007 to date, governance in Lagos State is based
on conjectures rather than reality. There is no empirical evidence on the ground to confirm diligence budgetary implementation neither is there to show that the actual needs of the people are put into consideration when policies are formulated and implemented. Governance has been full of charade with celebration of  non-performing projects that doesn't improve the socio-economic wellbeing in the state and the people in general. The forum accentuated it that 90% of Lagos roads are at various levels of disrepair as they cave-in, flood, ridden with bumps, craters and potholes; schools buildings are leaky, lacking in necessary facilities, equipment and materials; hospitals are without necessary equipments, drugs and well-motivated personnel etc

We have created structures in all Local Government and Local Council Development Areas in the state for the purpose of follow-up activities and actions. They are currently administering questionnaires on budgetary and policy implementation issues. The findings will be synthesized and published in whatever news media that can accept what we offer. We shall also condense it into a pamphlet and distribute as much as we can muster capacity to. But we assure that every one of you in the media would get a copy which you would be free to reproduce for wider circulation. We would therefore solicit everybody for maximum cooperation in this endeavour by donating money, time, materials, equipment, expertise etc to ensure we succeed in this onerous task of making Lagos State the true Centre of Excellence, even a shining example in the practice of  democracy.

Thank you all for your attention.

Debo Adeniran
For: Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders (CACOL)

Saturday, 25 December 2010

Photonews: Victims of Christmas Eve Bomb Attack In Jos Nigeria

Victims Of The Bomb Attack

Friday, 24 December 2010

News Release: “The Jonathan Project Team” Thanks Governors, Senators And North-west Delegates For Endorsement Of Principal

Goodluck Jonathan
The Jonathan Project hereby salute the recent endorsement of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan,(GCFR) by the PDP governors, 75 PDP senators and the North-west delegates as their presidential candidate in the forth coming elections.

We are grateful for their courage and astuteness even amidst political intimidations and unguarded threats from certain quarters. This is indeed a show of patriotism and unalloyed loyalty to a true Nigerian consensus candidate!

While we commend your courage and continuous confidence in Dr Goodluck Jonathan, we want to urge you as the patriotic citizens to continue to encourage and support the President to do more for the People of Nigeria who have been so badly short changed in the past.

The challenge ahead may be enormous but we can surmount these challenges with our collective support and encouragement. We must continue to support him until we wipe away the abject poverty in the North amidst the great potentials, quicken development across the nooks and crannies of the Niger Delta, harness the enterprising skills of the East effectively utilize the resourcefulness and creativity of the West.

Together, we can restore the pride of our nation and get this country working again.

President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has shown without any doubt that he has what it takes in terms of leadership and dedication to free Nigerians from the shackles of the wastages and bad leadership that have bedeviled this country for the past three decades.

Let’s join the true Nigerian candidate in unifying the country and building the Nigeria of our dreams. Let’s join Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan on this epic journey towards greatness!!

Thank you.

Mohammed Danjuma
Leader, Northern Zone
For: The Jonathan Project Team

Thursday, 23 December 2010

Opinion: Atiku’s Decision to run, “A Rude Shock”

Atiku Abubakar
By George Kerley
When some of us heard about the return of Atiku Abubakar to the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), we were happy that he can come to help rebuild the house he once threatened to sweep away from the political space of Nigeria having armed himself and his followers with tonnes of brooms with which they planned to use for the sweeping of Nigeria.
Clearly not used to menial jobs such as sweeping and having being accustomed to the good life provided by the billions he has made from his ‘fortunate investments’ and handsome gifts provided by top international companies, Atiku Abubakar has let go of the broom and returned to the shelter provided by the PDP umbrella.
The question is. what is it about the broom that made Atiku uncomfortable? Are the volatile contents of his statements now part of a larger scheme to see to the implosion of the PDP – destroy it from the inside and then go back for the broom?
What is it about the PDP that Atiku is not telling us? Is he saying that it is not possible to be President without being a member of the PDP? If so, then why did he fight so hard to destroy the party in 2003?
When he quoted Franz Fanon last week, was he referring to the fact that those who make peaceful sweeping impossible could be inviting violent sweeping?
The shock wave that ran through most of us was intense. Some of us felt that Atiku Abubakar would come face to face to Nigerians and explain the various accusations that his former boss Obasanjo and the EFCC hurled at him.
We thought he would come back to Nigerians and explain how all those millions of US dollars got into the account of his wife Jennifer Atiku while she was in the United States of America.
We thought he would explain to us the kind of dealings that his wife had with Siemens AG that warranted the deposition of more than two million dollars ($2m) in her American Bank account.
Yesterday he was with the broom. Today he is seeking shelter under the umbrella. What could he be doing tomorrow? Maybe he will be with a shovel trying to dig a grave for Nigeria and Nigerians.
Desperate leaders cannot be trusted.
For a man who has turned out to be the most disloyal Vice President of the Nigerian State, Nigerians must beware. The increasing tone of desperation in his recent comments show the state of a man who can resort to just anything just to get a shot at the presidency.
Recently, while responding to questions from media executives at the Golden Gate Restaurant in Ikoyi on why he was so desperate to be president, he responded that he was not desperate for anything whether it be 2011 or any other.
He went on to say that he had never been desperate for anything. He then added “If I had been desperate, I would not have stepped down for Abiola in 1992 OR allowed Obasanjo to be President”.
Such reckless arrogance coming after a session of reckless rhetoric, makes me wonder what on earth could be wrong with this Atiku fellow.
There are those who believe that Atiku’s increasing arrogance and reckless rhetoric could be the result of the failure of the Nigerian State and its anti-corruption machinery to rope-in corrupt leaders hence a tendency of these so-called untouchables’ leaders to arrogate to themselves, the right to rule Nigeria by any means necessary.
One wonders why in spite of the reports of the millions of dollars that were reportedly siphoned into the accounts of his then US-based wife Jennifer Atiku most of which were wired from Nigeria and others from US-based companies like Siemen AG etc, no government or international agency has bothered to ask questions on why so much money was wired of out Nigeria in such a short space of time.
Do such allegations fall outside the mandate of the EFCC or Interpol? Or was Atiku Abubakar just too smart to be caught?
What is most intriguing is the fact that even Siemens AG has acknowledged that they paid in millions of US dollars into Mrs Jennifer Atiku’s account in the United States. So what is no one investigating this matter?
Why is Siemens AG not being called up to explain why they paid so much money into Atiku’s wife’s account? Was it bribe money? Was it money for influence peddling?
Any wonder then when Atiku Abubakar suddenly wakes up to say that “Nigeria is broke”?
There are too many question marks on Atiku’s head. I wonder who can provide the answers.
(Kerley is of "The Jonathan Project")

Article: ACN Ticket Is Between Ribadu, Bafarawa And Others

By Bashir Bello Akko

As the year 2010 draws to a close, ushering the highly anticipated year 2011, when general elections are expected to be conducted, the political tempo too is significantly rising. It is not just because elections will be held, but also because the expectations of the nation for free, fair, and credible elections has probably never been higher, especially with a presidential promise from Goodluck Jonathan himself, and his appointment of an umpire that many Nigerians seem to have so much trust and confidence in his capability and impartiality.

Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, now an amalgam of fusing political parties, is gradually becoming Nigeria’s centre of political attraction, not just because it has been the biggest gainer of legal victory in governorship election matters so far in this dispensation, (it has won three states now in the courtrooms, making its control of states now four) but again because it believes it has now assumed the position of Nigeria’s leading opposition party ready to wrestle power from the hands of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party(PDP).

Having already conducted a national convention that produced only its national officers, ACN’s focus seems to shift to its selection process of a presidential ticket bearer in a party primary that will not be long in coming. In its convention of Tuesday December 21, 2010, the Party showed a remarkable trace of cohesion, compromise and consensus when all the officers emerged unopposed, and without a single dissent or protest. This is unusual in pre-elections conventions where emerging officers are believed to be those with the mandate, or even power to make electoral difference especially during the primaries from which bona fide candidates of the Party emerge.

It seems therefore the attention of the party will now shift to settling on who its presidential candidate will be. Mallam Nuhu Ribadu so far seems the only aspirant that has not only made his ambition known, but has gone further to do the formal declaration ceremony on Wednesday December 15, 2010. Another name making the rounds in the ACN is also Alhaji Attahiru Bafarawa who was a two-term governor of Sokoto State and one time presidential candidate of the now defunct Democratic Peoples Party, DPP. The party, DPP, was a splinter of the All Nigeria Peoples Party, ANPP, which later got INEC’S registration and contested the 2007 elections. Another name being speculated is of Dr. Usman Bugaje, who until the last convention was the party’s National Secretary. Bugaje was a governorship aspirant in his native Katsina State under the PDP, but decamped to the ACN when the late Umaru Musa Yar’Adua pitched tent with Ibrahim Shehu Shema that eventually won the state governorship seat.

Who then, among them, is the key contender? Bugaje is yet to formally declare, and seems to be prudent in letting out much information on his political ambition. His resignation as national secretary of the party may suggest a plan to contest either governorship or presidential seat in the ACN, but if the proposed merger between ACN and General Muhammadu Buhari’s Congress for Progressive Change, CPC, scales through, even the Katsina governorship seat could be relinquished to former House of Representatives Speaker, Aminu Bello Masari, a CPC decampee from PDP that is leading negotiations on behalf of Buhari for the merger.

This then leaves Ribadu and Bafarawa for the hot race. On paper, Bafarawa seems to have an edge over Ribadu in terms of financial might. But in modern politics, it is having people, and not money alone that wins elections, even at primary level. This is why Buhari twice picked ANPP’S ticket when the likes of Rochas Okorachas were in the party’s race. Ribadu himself explained in an interview with international correspondents that his idols like late Sardauna of Sokoto Sir Ahmadu Bello, Tafawa Balewa and even Shehu Shagari did not have massive money when they contested and won elections.

Similarly, Bafarawa seems to have an edge in terms of political experience having been in politics for some time now, especially that he won governorship seat twice, and was a presidential candidate at least once. This is unlike Ribadu who has never contested for election or ever been an active player in any party politics. However, the Ribadu team sees things differently, insisting that Ribadu’s experience comes from his almost thirty years of meritorious public service.

They insist that Ribadu’s 18 years as public prosecutor earned him the record of successful convictions unmatched by any individual in the almost 150 years of police history in Nigeria. They further showed that Ribadu is not only an exemplary police officer of many years, but a lawyer that has read even beyond a Masters level and now a registered Ph.D student. One could also point to Ribadu’s impeccable personal integrity which built an anti-graft agency, the EFCC, from the scratch to one of the most visible and most effective financial crimes fighting agencies in the world. Bafarawa is perhaps only best known as a successful businessman.
Arguments continue to float front and back, but Ribadu apologists believe that while Bafarawa’s exposure is more limited to state level with no significant record of national or international participation, Ribadu’s spans across the nation and even at international spheres. You can at least point to the EFCC as a major national and even international achievement Ribadu earned.
In a forum recently organized at Mambayya House, Kano, to commemorate late Mallam Aminu Kano’s legacies, speakers alluded to Ribadu’s legal background which they believe will position him better to enhance the rule of law and democratic practices badly needed in Nigerian politics. Similarly, they said his intelligence training and orientation as a police officer and as EFCC boss will provide more realistic instruments for giving the nation better security and safety. They also said that his experience in the EFCC will provide the solid foundation needed to fight corruption which is characterized as the No. one administrative problem of the nation. Also with the international exposure and contacts Ribadu has, it will attract better and more foreign friends to help and invest in the country. All these are not advantages Bafarawa seems to have, they argued.
During a visit by Team Ribadu to the ACN presidential hopeful, these volunteers supporting his campaign insisted that since Ribadu came into the party before Bafarawa, and that since Bafarawa is only a decampee that came after the party was firmly grounded, justice and fairness should rightly give the presidential ticket to Mallam Nuhu Ribadu.
More importantly, however, they opined that since Ribadu has better organization and structures to meaningfully prosecute the campaign, and that since he has put in so much hard thinking and clear policy solutions backed by untainted public service credentials, coupled with his personal towering integrity record, ACN does not need a second option or even primaries to settle on its ideal and deserving flag-bearer.
One of Ribadu’s campaign co-coordinators also argued during a press interview that since Bafarawa is still enmeshed in legal battles with Sokoto state government, a state he once ruled, on his past deeds during his tenure, he should suspend any bid for elective office and clear his name before re-joining mainstream politics. After all, if the state government implements recommended actions of its white paper and seeks legal indictment in a court of law, Bafarawa may be disqualified and ruin the electoral fortunes of the party. ACN will therefore do well to first look very well before it leaps into the horizon of selecting a flag-bearer. Doing this is imperative because as things are now, it is either ACN or CPC of all the opposition parties that can give the PDP a meaningful democratic fight at next year’s polls. The ACN has set a worthy precedent of peaceful, rancour-free and consensus filled national convention which produced credible and acceptable leaders. Let choosing its flag-bearer go in the same spirit so that the best could emerge to give Nigeria a deserving change.  
(Akko is an Abuja-based practicing journalist)

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Photonews: Bini Artifact For Sale In London

Bini Artifact offered For Sale In London For Five Million Pounds

News Release: MEND Says Commander Obese’s alleged escape Is A Ruse

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (M.E.N.D) hereby refers to publications in Nigerian newspapers alleging the escape from prison custody of Tamunotonye Kuna aka Commander Obese and four (4) others.

Information reaching us indicates that these individuals were secretly removed from the prison facility under the orders of President Goodluck Jonathan for possible execution.

In due cause, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) will avenge the summary executions of countless indigenes of the Niger Delta and the genocidal actions of the Nigerian military in Ayakoroma and other communities across the Niger Delta.

Jomo Gbomo

Monday, 20 December 2010

Citizen Report: Critically Sick Ex-Biafran Leader May Be Moved To A London Hospital

Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu
Family of the critically ill ex-Biafran leader, rtd. Lt. Col. Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu may be considering moving him to a hospital in London for proper medical attention, a citizen report from Onitsha in Anambra state of Nigeria just reaching chidi opara reports hinted.

According to the report, lack of improvement in the health condition of the ex rebel leader since he collapsed at the weekend and was rushed to a hospital in Onitsha is becoming a source of serious concern to close members of his family who are seriously considering moving him to London for better medical attention.

"But the problem is that Ojukwu may not be able to make the journey in his present condition", the report further revealed.

chidi opara reports is yet to independently confirm this report.

News Report: Omoyele Sowore Of Saharareporters Is Our 2010 Person Of The Year

Omoyele Sowore
Mr. Omoyele Sowore, Publisher of Saharareporters is chidi opara reports' person of the year for 2010.

In a month long investigation conducted by our network members in major cities in Nigeria, Mr. Sowore got the highest number of votes for his work at Saharareporters to emerge, ahead of two other persons on the shortlist, Mr. Nuhu Ribadu, former Chief of Nigeria's anti-corruption agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC), presently, a politician and Ms. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, a Nigerian born novelist based abroad.

Mr. Sowore, a Nigerian, former student unionist at the University of Lagos and civil liberties campaigner was prominent in the agitations against the iron-fist regime of late General Sani Abacha.

He subsequently relocated to the United States of America(USA) on self exile from where he founded Saharareporters in 2006 after a stint at Elendureports.

Sunday, 19 December 2010

News Report: Rivers State Of Nigeria's Cultural Carnival Comes To Successful End

A Typical "Carniriv" Scene
This year's Rivers state of Nigeria's cultural carnival tagged "Carniriv 2010" came to a successful end in Port Harcourt, the state's capital city yesterday, Saturday 18th December, 2010.

The event which kicked off on Monday 13th December, came to a climax on Friday the 17th with most of the state's twenty-three local government areas in parades along major streets of the city with their colourful troupes.

A chidi opara reports network member who witnessed the carnival reported that the troupes gathered again at the College of Arts and Science compound in the Rumuola area as early as 9.00an on Saturday the 18th from where they proceeded to Aggrey Road in the hearth of the city,

At Aggrey Road, the cultural displays which depicted the various aspects of Rivers state culture was reportedly so impressive that it can only be compared with the Brazilian street carnivals.

After the displays at Aggrey Road, the troupes reportedly proceeded to the Liberation Stadium in the Elekahia area for more displays and closing ceremony.

The governor of the state, Mr. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi used the occasion to preach what he called "Change For The Better". The governor reiterated that "from this day going forward, a new energy is sweeping across Rivers state. It carries with it the consciousness of change, renewal and brighter tomorrow".

The carnival was also witnessed by some foreigners whom chidi opara reports learnt came from their countries specifically for the event.

Rivers state secretary of government. Mr. Magnus Abe declared at the event that this year's carnival was the most successful, Mr. Johnson Nte from Andoni west local government area in a chat with us agreed with Mr. Abe.

Friday, 17 December 2010

News Report: Immediate Past Information Minister Is Nigerian President's "Eyes" In Ojukwu's Party

Professor Akunyili
The immediate past Nigerian Minister of Information and Communications, Professor Dora Akunyili is the "eyes" of the Nigerian President in the All Progressives Grand Alliance(APGA), led by erstwhile rebel leader, rtd. Lt. Col. Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu, chidi opara reports have learnt from insiders in the Goodluck Jonathan Campaign Organization. Professor Akunyili recently resigned her ministerial position to contest for one of the senatorial seats in her home state, Anambra, South-eastern Nigeria, on the platform of APGA.

Inspite of extracting a "gentleman's agreement" from the APGA leader to the effect that the party would not present a presidential candidate in the forthcoming 2011 elections and that the party would support the President's re-election aspiration, influential members of the Goodluck Jonathan campaign organization, we learnt, insisted and convinced the President that there would be need for a trusted person inside APGA "to monitor things closely". They, chidi opara reports learnt further insisted that the person should be a South-easterner, since APGA is known to be essentially a party of the South-easterners.

When, according to our information, the former Minister, who initially wanted to contest on the platform of the President's party, the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP), was approached by the President, she demanded that she would be re-appointed a Minister in 2011 if she fail in her senatorial bid. It is not yet known if she got a commitment to this effect from the President.

chidi opara reports have also learnt that to be able to monitor things effectively in the party, the former Minister would be empowered to take over the leadership of the party at all levels in her senatorial zone.

This, however, may not be easy for the Professor of Pharmacology, as opposition against her scheme is reported to be mounting from existing party leaders in the senatorial zone.

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Photonews: Nigerian President Presents 2011 Budget To Parliament

President Jonathan Presenting 2011 Budget Yesterday At Joint Session Of Nigerian Parliament

Click Here To Read Budget Speech

Article: A New Nigeria is Possible

 By Nuhu Ribadu
50 years ago, the founding fathers of our great nation secured independence for us and laid the foundations for a united Nigeria. They had unwavering faith in the people of this country; that when the fetters of colonization were removed they would be able to transform their lives for the better. They firmly believed that Nigerians would create the systems and enduring processes that would deliver economic growth and stability, egalitarian development, improved living conditions and quality of life for the people.  They built schools and universities; they established banks and other financial institutions, farm settlements, and various industries as precursors of a vibrant economy with a small, but enterprising private sector.
They tried to nurture a fledgling democracy. Their aspirations were abruptly terminated by a military coup in January 1966. After the long years of military rule and several half-hearted attempts to return the country to democratic governance, the people’s right to freely elect their leaders and representatives was restored in May 1999. The restoration brought high expectations, the hopes and promises encapsulated in freedom. Those expectations have not been met; the promises remain unfulfilled.
Today we are on the threshold of another general election, the fourth since the restoration of democracy. I believe this is an opportunity for change, to orientate our shared values into restoring the foundations of our nation. I believe it is possible to build a united Nigeria devoid of ethnic or religious conflicts; a Nigeria 
where the well-being of the people is of paramount importance; a Nigeria that inspires the highest level of patriotism in her citizens. I believe that it is possible to ensure justice for the people, to ensure the security of lives and property, and the peace and stability that would engender growth and development.
I know that you also believe that it is possible. And that is why, standing with you on this faith in our nation’s capacity to transform into a NEW NIGERIA, I declare my intention to run for the office of President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
I learnt the true meaning of public service from my late father, Mallam Ahmadu Ribadu, who was a minister in the First Republic. Growing up in Yola, I watched and listened as my father and his colleagues, drawn from all parts of the country, selflessly grappled with the challenges of their time. I understood that public service meant putting the interest of the people first. It meant working with them, and consistently doing those things that would ultimately improve their lives and empower them to contribute to the development of the country.
I chose to study law at university because it had become clear to me from events in the nascent Nigeria that the rule of law was vital to national stability and progress. I started my working life in Lagos, one of our great cities, where all of our people, Muslims and Christians, poor and privileged come together in their daily struggle to earn a living. I chose Lagos because I learnt as a child, from the example of my father’s compound, that a good way to understand a nation with such diversity as ours is to leave your own comfort zone and dwell among its people where their various energies complement each other.
I chose to join the Nigeria Police Force because to be a policeman is to serve your nation, putting your very life on the line. My career as a police officer culminated in my being chosen to head the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC. If you spend your entire life preparing for public service, you cannot but achieve results when you are given the opportunity to serve with the right team. The efforts of my colleagues and I, in turning this government institution into one of the most reputable crime-fighting agencies in the world, in the short space of four years, was not a fluke. Our modest achievement at the EFCC was not a miracle.
But when you fight corruption, corruption fights back. Our lives and the lives of our families were threatened. Twice I escaped the assassin’s bullets and was forced to leave this country I love so dearly; to leave my wife and young children and go into exile in 2008. My public service career was abruptly terminated. In spite of these ordeals, it never crossed my mind to give up the hope of a better Nigeria.
The time has come to turn a new page.  If you, fellow Nigerians, elect me as your next president, competence will be the hallmark of policy formulation and execution. I shall bring into public service very capable individuals to ensure the Nigerian taxpayers get value for their investment in government.
Nigerians now have an opportunity to lead the quest for change in terms of political and socio-economic development. Together, we will set the stage for a NEW NIGERIA, a dynamic society that will be the vanguard of the efficient and effective utilization of the huge endowment of natural and human resources of the African continent for rapid economic growth and development.
The first port of call in this vision of restructuring our economy for growth and development is the simple challenge of returning humility to government. Last year alone, while our country earned about N86 Billion in revenue, at least half went on imports that includes some of the most exotic vanities a developing country should encourage. This is not the path to progress. Already we are running a scandalously shameful budget ratio where overheads and recurrent expenditure is a staggering 75% of annual spending; and where the 25% balance is sure to disappear through the notorious corruption chute.
The pervasive poverty in Nigeria can be attributed to the inefficient utilization of our abundant resources characterised by poor leadership, gross mismanagement, nepotism, and most insidiously, corruption.  Poverty reduction, therefore, will be an underlying factor in addressing the challenges of development in the 21st century. The structures and institutions that underpin economic prosperity will be thoroughly overhauled starting with the development of human capital. Knowledgeable, healthy, creative, and hardworking people will be the pivot for the new Nigeria.
The health sector is critical to the welfare of the entire citizenry, especially our women and children who are exposed to the greatest risks. Nigeria has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world. The mortality rates for infants and children under the age of five years are also among the highest in the world, a clear reflection of the failure of the primary health care system. It is totally unacceptable that large numbers of Nigerian children are dying of measles and other vaccine-preventable diseases in the face of tremendous advances in this area of health care.
We will work assiduously to establish an effective primary health care system. We will also develop facilities that will ensure that the widest range of advanced medical care is available to all our people locally. To this end, six super specialist hospitals namely, National Heart Hospital, National Kidney Hospital, National Cancer Hospital, National Children Hospital, National Women Hospital and National Neurosurgical Hospital, will be built across the six geopolitical zones of the country.
Another issue that requires serious attention in the health sector is the dearth of skilled/qualified personnel especially in the rural areas, and this is a major contributor to high maternal and infant mortality rates. Concerted effort will be made to remedy this situation, and to also encourage greater specialisation in various fields of medicine for which personnel is highly lacking. The pharmaceutical industry will be supported to provide essential drugs; and the issue of fake and sub-standard drugs will be treated with the urgency and national attention it requires.
Functional and qualitative education is important for positive social transformation, personal empowerment and national development. Our education sector faces huge challenges in terms of funding, access, and quality assurance, among others.  We shall significantly increase funding as a step towards attaining the UNESCO recommendation of 26% budgetary allocation to the education sector. To improve access at all levels namely, primary, secondary and tertiary education, the Federal, State and Local Governments will be encouraged to work together to expand facilities and train additional personnel; quality assurance at all levels will also receive appropriate attention. Adult literacy and non-formal education programmes will be put in place to enable all citizens to contribute effectively to national development.
We will invest time, effort, and resources in the economic empowerment of women and improve their participation in politics and decision-making. We will create a caring and inclusive society where vulnerable Nigerians, particularly the elderly, orphans and vulnerable children, and the physically challenged, will be covered by a social security programme. We will develop a secure and efficient identity management system as a first step towards establishing such a programme.
The key thrust of our economic policy will be to create jobs and provide employment for our people, especially the youth. We shall budget within our means, reduce over-spending, and plan for a steady and attainable economic growth rate of 7-8% per year for the next five years and 8-10% per year for the years following that.
We will invest in infrastructure, in health and education, and in creating the enabling environment for thriving investment in all key sources of growth and development, namely agriculture, the extractive industry, manufacturing, financial services, information and communication technology (ICT), arts and culture, as well as housing and construction.  These sectors hold the true key towards genuine economic recovery. To give just an instance, while the current housing crisis requires investment in 16 million houses to resolve it, a smart annual investment in one million houses could yield 30 million jobs.
These measures are impossible without adequate supply of electricity. Therefore, I emphasise that the perennial problem of insufficient power will be quickly brought to an end. Various sources of producing electricity, namely water, gas, coal, wind, and nuclear will be explored.  Indeed a nation with eleven idle coal sites alone cannot advance a convincing argument against investment in clean coal technology to power its economy.
Many of our roads are in deplorable conditions mainly because of the high volume of heavy traffic on them and lack of maintenance. We will partner with the private sector in building and operating a modern railway system in order to reduce the burden on the roads and make them to last longer. The crucial role of the private sector in growing our economy and creating employment cannot be over-emphasized.
We have a private sector that is capable of great enterprise and we will encourage this by streamlining the processes that tend to escalate the cost of doing business in Nigeria. We will also minimize the time required to start a small business. Our greatest asset is our large population of young people, full of energy and ideas; and it is the responsibility of both the government and the private sector to provide the opportunities that will enable our youth unleash their creative energy in the productive ways that will help to propel us into the echelons of the largest global economies.
In doing all these, we must be mindful of the fact that governance is about the people; it is about their well being. Our conduct as both public officers and captains of industry must be such as would support the well being of our people, our nation. To this end, we must fight every form of corruption and ensure that our people enjoy the full benefits of our national resources. Our processes and transactions must be transparent in order to inspire confidence and we will empower the anti-corruption agencies to effectively discharge their mandates.
In setting an effective development agenda for Nigeria, discipline, crime prevention and law enforcement as well as overall national security will be accorded the highest priority. The appropriate penalties must apply to infringements of rules and regulations; and the penalties must constitute enough deterrent to prevent future misdemeanours. Non-enforcement or partial enforcement of laws causes chaos and encourages all manner of anti-social behaviour and excesses bordering on impunity.
The importance of discipline in the development of any society cannot be over-emphasized because the effects permeate both individual and communal life and contribute towards the proper organisation and smooth running of any system. Discipline, hard work, courage, and perseverance were fundamental to the philosophy or values of our founding fathers. We also need to embrace these values in order to build a safe, peaceful, and stable Nigeria; a strong Nigeria that will lead by example in the Gulf of Guinea and the rest of Africa; and be a worthy partner on the global scene.
To complement this, we shall give premium to the welfare and competence of our security forces, and the military, and attend to decades of neglect in the military where efforts to keep the world safe through peace mission operations have created in our army perhaps the largest global community of neglected widows.
The issues I have raised are fundamental to setting Nigeria on the path to greatness. The outcome of any sound economic policy depends wholly on the ability of the people who run the system to faithfully implement it and, basically, that implies an educated, healthy, competent, and disciplined workforce. The catalyst, however, is leadership; a leadership with the commitment and political will to follow through on difficult, sometimes painful and tough decisions. A leadership that is mature enough not to jettison an idea or abandon an on-going project that would be of tremendous benefit to the nation simply because it was initiated by someone else, or another administration. I pledge, before you all today, that I will provide the required leadership. And in the spirit of transparency and accountability, I promise that our plans will be published so that Nigerians can track our progress.
Much as I would like to talk about the issues and challenges in every sector, I will conclude with the Niger Delta. Nowhere is the shame of our nation more visible than in the Niger Delta. To say this is not to claim that the other regions have been symbol of excellence, but the burden we face as a nation is the lack of gratitude to the region that produces the bulk of our wealth. There is no gainsaying that there are critical issues that must be resolved in this part of our beloved country - youth militancy, oil spills and environmental degradation, unemployment, and so on. These are challenges that we will address with empathy and resourcefulness.
I wish to reiterate that it is possible to build a united Nigeria, devoid of ethnic and religious conflicts; a peaceful and stable Nigeria where lives and property are secure; a place where law and order reign; a beautiful, happy place that we will all be proud to bequeath to our children, and to generations yet unborn.
It is important for us to set the stage for growth, peace and prosperity in these early years of the 21st century. The next few years are critical and there is much work to be done. We have always had the means but not the capacity to fulfil our God-given potential as a nation. God willing, we shall remedy this and enable Nigeria to rise as a true Giant of Africa. We, Nigerians, are a people of faith; may the Almighty, Faithful God reward our faith.