Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Report: African Youth Report 2011

"The majority of Africa’s population is below the age of 30 years. This poses peculiar challenges, including the nature and level of education provision for young people and their quality employment within an increasingly complex and rapidly changing global environment. As we revitalize and promote regional integration, we need to ensure that young people are equipped with social and market-related skills which will enable them to be well integrated young adults as well as being competitive at the national, sub-regional and global levels". 

Click Here To Read Report

Monday, 30 May 2011

News Release: FIFA General Secretary On Scandal

Jérôme Valck: FIFA General Secretary
On Mr Mohamed bin Hammam’s statement:
"It is fully incorrect – and quite disappointing - to say that I have an influence on the FIFA Ethics Committee and its proceedings. I have never attended any of the meetings of this committee, and the first time I have met Deputy Chairman Petrus Damaseb has been shortly before the press conference yesterday evening at the Home of FIFA. I fully respect and highly appreciate the independence of this committee and have no intention whatsoever of influencing their work. As is clearly written in the FIFA Code of Ethics, I have the duty to report to the FIFA Ethics Committee any evidence of violations of conduct reported to me by officials."
On Mr Jack A. Warner’s statement:
"Mr Warner has published an email which I sent to him. I’d like to clarify that I may use in an email – a “lighter” way of expression by nature - a much less formal tone than in any form of correspondence. Having said that, when I refer to the 2022 FIFA World Cup in that email, what I wanted to say is that the winning bid used their financial strength to lobby for support. They were a candidate with a very important budget and have used it to heavily promote their bid all around the world in a very efficient manner. I have at no time made, or was intending to make, any reference to any purchase of votes or similar unethical behaviour. I would also like to clarify that there is, as I said yesterday, no investigation open at FIFA regarding the 2022 FIFA World Cup host election."
In General:
"In these challenging times for FIFA, my commitment and dedication for the world governing body is as high as ever. This implies looking for ways to improve the governance of FIFA and provide the organisation with tools and procedures which will help it face the challenges which may come. FIFA is a great association, organising the most popular single-sport event on earth – the FIFA World Cup, developing football worldwide and using the power of the Game for positive social change. That is FIFA."
Jérôme Valcke 
FIFA General Secretary

Speech: May 29th, 2011 Inauguration Address By President Goodluck Jonathan

President Jonathan Taking Oath Of Office
My Dear Compatriots, I stand in humble gratitude to you, this day, having just sworn to the oath of office as President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of our great nation.

I thank you all, fellow citizens, for the trust and confidence, which you have demonstrated through the power of your vote. I want to assure you, that I will do my utmost at all times, to continue to deserve your trust.

I would like to specially acknowledge the presence in our midst today, of Brother Heads of State and Government, who have come to share this joyous moment with us. Your Excellencies, I thank you for your solidarity. I also wish to express my gratitude, to the Representatives of Heads of State and Government who are here with us. My appreciation also goes to the chairperson of the African Union and other world leaders, our development partners, and all our distinguished guests.

I want to specially thank all Nigerians for staying the course in our collective commitment to build a democratic nation. To members of the PDP family and members of other political parties, who have demonstrated faith in our democratic enterprise, I salute you.

At this juncture, let me acknowledge and salute my friend and brother, Vice-President Namadi Sambo; and my dear wife, Patience, who has been a strong pillar of support.

I thank her for galvanizing and mobilizing Nigerian women for the cause of democracy. In the same vein, I owe a debt of gratitude to my mother and late father. I cannot thank them enough.

I cannot but paytribute to our late President, Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, with whom we won the Presidential election four years ago, when I contested as his running mate. May God bless his soul.

I also wish to pay tribute to our founding fathers, whose enduring sacrifices and abiding faith in the unity and greatness of our country, laid the foundation for the nation. We take enormous pride in their contributions. The pivotal task of this generation is to lift our fatherland to the summit of greatness.

Your Excellencies, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, earlier this year, over seventy-three million eligible Nigerians endured all manner of inconvenience just to secure their voters cards,in order to exercise the right to choose those that will govern them.

At the polls, we saw the most dramatic expressions of the hunger for democracy. Stories of courage and patriotism were repeated in many ways, including how fellow citizens helped physically challenged voters into polling stations to enable them exercise their franchise. The inspiring story of the one hundred and three year-old man, and many like him across the country, who struggled against the physical limitations of age to cast their vote, is noteworthy.

Such determination derives from the typical Nigerian spirit of resilience in the face of the greatest of odds. That spirit has, over the years, stirred our hopes, doused our fears, and encouraged us to gather ourselves to build a strong nation even when others doubted our capacity.

Today, our unity is firm, and our purpose is strong. Our determination unshakable. Together, we will unite our nation and improve the living standards of all our peoples whether in the North or in the South; in the East or in the West. Our decade of development has begun. The march is on. The day of transformation begins today.We will not allow anyone exploit differences in creed or tongue, to set us one against another. Let me at this point congratulate the elected Governors, Senators, members of the House of Representatives and those of the States Houses of Assembly for their victories at the polls.

I am mindful that I represent the shared aspiration of all our people to forge a united Nigeria: a land of justice, opportunity and plenty. Confident that a people that are truly committed to a noble ideal, cannot be denied the realization of their vision, I assure you that this dream of Nigeria, that is so deeply felt by millions, will indeed come to reality.

A decade ago, it would have been a mere daydream to think that a citizen from a minority ethnic group could galvanize national support, on an unprecedented scale, to discard ancient prejudices, and win the people’s mandate as President of our beloved country. That result emanated from the toil and sacrifice of innumerable individuals and institutions, many of whom may never get to receive public appreciation for their effort.

Only a couple of days ago, I received an entry on my Facebook page. It was sent by Mr. Babajide Orevba. He wrote to inform me that I had lost
a great fan. That fan was his father, Mr. Emmanuel Bamidele Orevba. The deceased, the son told me, was no politician, but had campaigned enthusiastically for my ticket. Tragically, overwhelmed by the joy of our victory, he collapsed, and passed on three days later. I pray God Almighty to grant his soul eternal rest.

The success of the 2011 elections and the widespread acclaim which the exercise received was due to the uncommon patriotism and diligence exhibited by many Nigerians, including members of the Armed Forces, National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) and others. Unfortunately, despite the free, fair and transparent manner the elections were conducted, a senseless wave of violence in some parts of the country led to the death of ten members of the NYSC and others. These brave men and women paid the supreme sacrifice in the service of our fatherland. They are heroes of our democracy. We offer our heartfelt prayers and condolences in respect of all those who lost their lives.

In the days ahead, those of us that you have elected to serve must show that we are men and women with the patriotism and passion, to match the hopes and aspirations of you, the great people of this country. We must demonstrate the leadership, statesmanship, vision, capacity, and sacrifice, to transform our nation. We must strengthen common grounds, develop new areas of understanding and collaboration, and seek fresh ideas that will enrich our national consensus.

It is the supreme task of this generation to give hope to the hopeless, strength to the weak and protection to the defenceless.

Fellow citizens, the leadership we have pledged is decidedly transformative. The transformation will be achieved in all the critical sectors, by harnessing the creative energies of our people.

We must grow the economy, create jobs, and generate enduring happiness for our people. I have great confidence in the ability of Nigerians to transform this country. The urgent task of my administration is to provide a suitable environment, for productive activities to flourish. I therefore call on the good people of Nigeria, to enlist as agents of this great transformation.

My dear countrymen and women, being a Nigerian is a blessing. It is also a great responsibility. We must make a vow that, together, we will make the Nigerian Enterprise thrive.

The leadership and the followership must strive to convert our vast human and natural resources into the force that leads to a greater Nigeria. The Nigeria of our dreams must be built on hard work and not on short cuts. Let me salute the Nigerian workers who build our communities, cities and country. They deserve fair rewards, and so do the women that raise our children, and the rural dwellers that grow our food.

The moment is right. The signs are heart-warming. We are ready to take off on the path of sustained growth and economic development. In our economic strategy, there will be appropriate policy support to the real sector of the economy, so that Small and Medium Enterprises may thrive. Nigeria is blessed with enormous natural wealth, and my Administration will continue to encourage locally owned enterprises to take advantage of our resources in growing the domestic economy. A robust private sector is vital to providing jobs for our rapidly expanding population. But this must be a collaborative effort.

We must form technical and financial partnerships with global businesses and organizations. We live in an age where no country can survive on its own; countries depend on each other for economic well-being. Nigeria is no different. Returns on investment in Nigeria remain among the highest in the world. We will continue to welcome sustainable investment in our economy.

We will push programs and policies that will benefit both local and foreign businesses, but we must emphasize mutual benefits and win-win relationships. The overall ongoing reforms in the banking and financial sectors are therefore designed to support the real sector of the economy.

To drive our overall economic vision, the power sector reform is at the heart of our industrialization strategy. I call on all stakeholders, to cooperate with my administration, to ensure the success of the reforms.

Over the next four years, attention will be focused on rebuilding our infrastructure. We will create greater access to quality education and improved health care delivery. We will pay special attention to the agricultural sector, to enable it play its role of ensuring food security and massive job creation for our people.

The creation of the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority will immensely contribute to strengthening our fiscal framework, by institutionalizing savings of our commodity-related revenues. With this mechanism in place, we will avoid the boom and bust cycles,and mitigate our exposure to oil price volatility.

The lesson we have learnt is that the resolution of  the Niger Delta issue is crucial for the health of the nation’s economy. In the interest of justice, equity and national unity, we shall actively promote the development of the region. I believe that peace is a necessary condition for development.

Fellow citizens, in every decision, I shall always place the common good before all else. The bane of corruption shall be met by the overwhelming force of our collective determination, to rid our nation of this scourge. The fight against corruption is a war in which we must all enlist, so that the limited resources of this nation will be used for the growth of our commonwealth.

I am confident that we have every reason to lookto the future with hope. We owe ourselves and posterity the duty of making this country respectable in the comity of nations. Nigeria, as a responsible member of the international community, will remain committed to the maintenance of global peace and security. We will continue to play an active role in the United Nations. Our role in the African Union, ECOWAS, and the Gulf of Guinea will be enhanced to ensure greater human and energy security.

Your Excellencies, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, this is a new dawn for Africa. We fought for decolonization.We will now fight for democratization. Nigeria, in partnership with the African Union, will lead the process for democracy and development in Africa. In particular, we will support the consolidation of democracy, good governance and human rights in the continent. Africa must develop its vast resources to tackle poverty and under-development.

Conscious of the negative effect of insecurity on growth and development, my Administration will seek collaboration at bilateral and multilateral levels, to improve our capability in combating trans-border crimes. In this regard, we will intensify our advocacy against the illicit trades in small arms and light weapons, which have become the catalyst for conflicts on the African continent. All Nigerian diplomatic missions abroad are to accord this vision of defending the dignity of humanity the highest priority.

My fellow countrymen and women, Nigeria is not just a land of promise; it shall be a nation where positive change will continue to take place, for the good of our people. The time for lamentation is over. This is the era of transformation. This is the time for action. But Nigeria can only be transformed if we all play our parts with commitment and sincerity. Cynicism and skepticism will not help our journey to greatness. Let us all believe in a new Nigeria. Let us work together to build a great country that we will all be proud of. This is our hour.

Fellow Compatriots, lift your gaze towards the horizon. Look ahead and you will see a great future that we can secure with unity, hard work and collective sacrifice.

Join me now as we begin the journey of transforming Nigeria. I will continue to fight, for your future, because I am one of you. I will continue to fight, for improved medical care for all our citizens. I will continue to fight for all citizens to have access to first class education.  I will continue to fight for electricity to be available to all our citizens. I will continue to fight for an efficient and affordable public transport system for all our people.
I will continue to fight for jobs to be created through productive partnerships.

You have trusted me with your mandate, and I will never, never let you down.

I know your pain, because I have been there. Look beyond the hardship you have endured. See a new beginning;a new direction;a new spirit.

Nigerians, I want you to start to dream again. What you see in your dreams, we can achieve together. I call upon all the Presidential candidates who contested with me to join hands with us as we begin the transformation of our country.

Let us work together; let us build together; let us bequeath a greater Nigeria to the generations to come.

I thank you! God bless you all! And God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Open Letter: Mr. President; Professor Mvendaga Jibo Cannot Be Minister

President Jonathan

Dear Mr President,

Congratulations on your election to the highest office in the land. It is an honor very well deserved.

Forwarded herewith Mr. President, is the resolution from all the members of the Governing Council of the University of Benin in September 2009, to your predecessor through Dr. Sam Egwu, the then Minister of Education, demanding the removal of Prof. M. Jibo, as Pro-chancellor and Chairman for serious acts of misconduct. He was accordingly removed. Click Here To View Resolution

There are very strong rumors that this man is high in your ministerial list and may even be assigned to the Ministry of Education:- the Nation newspaper of 20th May 2011.The allegations against Prof. Jibo are so grievous and mark him out as a most unruly, dishonest and fraudulent person, whose character will seriously dent the image and integrity of your administration if selected.

I love you too much Mr. President and would not want you or your administration to be embarrassed. I am also well informed of his nefarious conduct in his past stations, such as New Nigerian newspapers, University of Jos, Benue State University, but to name a few. I also know that he has in the past been involved in political thuggery.

For and behalf of the staff of the Federal Ministry of Education, and the Federal Civil Service, and for the greater good of Nigeria, please take a closer look at this character.

Thank you.
From: Ada Okpala (adabuisi@yahoo.com)

Friday, 27 May 2011

Article: Is Bribery Our Way Of Life? And How Not To Give A Bribe

By Rufus Kayode Oteniya(oteniyark@hotmail.com)

Last weekend during a chat with Joe, my 19 year-old nephew who was born in Lagos but mostly raised in Europe, the word bribery quickly slipped into our conversation when we started discussing his trip to Nigeria last April, his first since migrating with his parents about 15 years ago.
He confessed that he scarcely knew the real meaning of bribery and that he had never seen anyone give or take bribe in his entire life until he visited Nigeria with his dad. He couldn’t believe what he saw in Lagos. Absurdity is saying the least.
If it was illegal (as I’d insisted), why was it done everywhere without any decorum? “They must have adopted it as a way of life or at best a passive illegality” he said. 
For a young man who didn’t grow up in the system, nothing could be stranger than seeing a police officer collecting bribe openly from a commercial driver or an immigration officer plainly asking you at the airport what you brought for him; for a typical homebred, it was a normal thing. 
Is bribery our way of life? Was it always like this? And how can we end it? These are some of the questions I hope to answer here. What you are about to read are just my thoughts and suggestions and I’m sure you have yours, so let’s share! 
What is bribery?   
According to Encyclopedia Britannica, “bribery is the act of promising, giving, receiving, or agreeing to receive money or some other items of value with the corrupt aim of influencing a public official in the discharge of his official duties.”
This definition can be expanded to include actions by all sorts of government and private officials, from the local to the national level, and to cover all public and private employees. 
Bribery also includes (but not limited to) paying to get government contracts (e.g paying or agreeing to a secret percentage of the profit), giving a bottle of liquor to an officer in order to ignore a violation or grant a permit; giving discount to an official in order to seek a favour, or sleeping with an executive in order to get an employment. 
In most cases, bribery constitutes a crime at every level whether offering, giving, receiving, or soliciting. 
The Fifth Schedule of Nigeria’s Code of Conduct for Public Officers part I, section 8 (Bribery of public officers) states that “no person shall offer a public officer any property, gift or benefit of any kind as an inducement or bribe for the granting of any favour or the discharge in his favour of the public officer's duties.” 
Regardless of the laws against it, bribery is widespread in the dealings with politicians and officials of government agencies, departments and institutions like the Nigerian Police, Custom, Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), Local government authority, Immigration office, Military and paramilitary, embassies, consulates and missions, ministries and schools. 
I was more than shocked about 2 years ago when I discovered that a professional driver did not renew his driver’s licence for at least three (3) years. His reason was that the policemen were more interested in the bribe he would offer than the genuineness of his documents. According to him, “Once you give a bribe, you’ll have your way.”
Also, the private sector has equally embraced this. Some recent revelations have shown clearly  that the private sector is as prone to giving and receiving bribes as much as the public sector. 
Events have shown that the situation is far worse than many of us had thought. Bribery has eaten deep into the fabric of the society. It has infiltrated into all the echelons of the government such that no level or any department is excluded. It so sad that we have all accepted this and no one seem to be raising an eyebrow anymore. 
In the last PDP presidential primaries at Eagles square, Abuja, there were some strong allegations of bribery against the presidential campaign teams of both President Goodluck Jonathan and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, the consensus candidate for the North in which the two sides were making frantic efforts to out-bribe each other. It was alleged the team with the deeper pocket carried the day and the party delegates all went home with ‘Ghana-must-go’ bag full of US dollars. Both teams trivialized this claim and none considered that bribery was an accusation weighty enough to demand their clarifying or refutation. Both campaign teams have kept mum to date. 
Save for the very few who have chosen to be different, bribery now seems an acceptable way of life. From the lowest office to highest office, only a few frown at it. The level of the decadence is such that parents now go the extent of giving bribes on behalf of their children to them gain admission to the tertiary institutions. 
While I’m sure no one doubts that the likes Nigeria police, Custom, PHCN and tax offices are enmeshed in bribery, some might still be more doubtful than Thomas in believing that those in high offices are equally drawn into it. 
Just when we were almost vouching that the overpaid National Assembly members would be immune to bribery, the scandal of N55m involving Prof. Fabian Osuji, the former Education Minister sacked by former President Olusegun Obasanjo and Sen. Adolphus Wabara led senate broke out and later the scandal  of Hon. Ndudi Elumelu, the ‘no-nonsense’ chairman of the House of Representatives’ Committee on Power and Steel and  then the N10m scandal of Sen. Iyabo Obasanjo led Senate Committee on health. 
Just when we were almost agreeing that the judiciary was the last hope of the common man, the news broke out of corruption in the high places in the judiciary involving two most important judicial officers in the country. There were allegations and counter allegations by Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Aloysius Katsina-Alu, and the President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Ayo Isa Salami. Through them, we have known that justice goes to the highest bidders.
As if these were not enough, the press that is often seen as the fourth branch of government has not fared any better. Just before we could say Jack Robinson,   Steve Ayorinde, the former daily editor of  Punch newspaper came out with a bombshell or petition detailing the bribery activities of his former boss, Azubuike Ishiekwene, the former executive director, publications of Punch Newspapers. Bribery in the press has been an open secret to the public and has been widely reported. In a recent video release by Aljazeera, cheque journalism in Nigeria was well reported. 
 And just when were about thanking God that that bribery is not one of the vices we were known for internationally, the wind blew and the anus of the chicken was exposed. Amos Adamu, the Nigerian representative to FIFA was disgraced and ban because of bribery. 
Is the presidency immune to this? NO! Pastor Tunder Bakare and his team told us of the attempt to ‘buy’ them with $50,000 at Aso Rock Villa while Halliburton has a number of our Commanders–In- Chief on its ‘settlementroll’ or payroll.
Was it always like this? 
No nation is totally free from bribery and other forms of corruption. There are criminals in every human society. In all great nations, bribery is not visible and acceptable. It goes on underground and it is perpetrated by only a small group that are often regarded as non conformist in the society. These people are brought to book whenever they are caught. Our Nigeria used to be like this. 
We were not known for bribery until the last few decades. Before the mid 80s, it was disgraceful to be involved in bribery. While it could not be said that we were free from bribery before then, it was not endemic. It was a rare occurrence that was not acceptable by any standard. Even when the policemen started the ‘wetin you carry’ and bribery in the 80’s, they were often very careful about it. They feared being caught and they used to collect bribes through a third party. 
It was only during the Shagari era that bribery started raising its ugly head in infiltrating our system. The regime of Generals Muhammadu Buhari (Rtd) and Tunde Idi-agbon (late) tried and successfully reversed the situation but since the epoch of Babangida, the situation has progressively worsened. 
It’s unfortunate that most citizens under the age of 30 hardly knew the good old days. The only Nigeria they know is the bribery infested country where everything has a price tag and more often than not, they know the prices themselves.
They know the price of a police officer; they know the price of a custom officer; PHCN official has his own tag; immigration officer, licensing officer, local government staff, taxman, bailiff, judge, school principal, class teacher, politician, and others have their price tags. 
Why do people give bribe? 
There are many reasons why people give bribe but I would like to address the two main reasons. The first is that the people are compelled to give bribe to facilitate legally necessary actions and processes which would have been otherwise deliberately delayed by the officials in charge unless such bribes are given.  And the other major reason for bribing is to carry out illegal actions and processes or to receive unwarranted favour. 
The cost of bribery
The cost of bribery is enormous on the psyche and the finance of our nation.
Bribery leads to inflation of prices of public works and projects. The extra cost applied to bribing is always factored to the cost. 
When bribe is given and received, integrity is compromised and often times, the bribed project supervisors cannot genuinely supervise project. This can lead to either substandard or incomplete project execution. The cost of such is enormous on our government. 
In addition to violating legal and moral codes, bribery poses serious problems for economic development and international trade. The price of bribes must be factored into some international transactions, and corporations often find themselves in the difficult position of having to violate anticorruption laws in their own countries. The extra cost also reduces the country’s competiveness. 
How Not To give bribe
To end this bribery culture, efforts are required from both the government and the citizens. 
On the part of the government
There should be a legislation that will stipulate time frame for the processing of all government documents and a provision of law that will make a government official to be liable if he/she deliberately fails to perform without any genuine reason within this stipulated time. This will dissuade people from being pressurized to give bribe in order to facilitate speedy actions. 
The government should create an organ that will specialize in cases of bribery. This will make it easy for citizens to report officials who solicit for bribes. 
On the part of the citizens
As a citizen who does not want to bribe, you must ensure the following: 
You have to seek only legal documents, positions and services such that will not require you to solicit for favour. Anything extralegal will cause you to either beg or bribe. 
You have to be firm and assertive in letting the official know that you do not plan and you will not give any bribe under any circumstances and you are only ready to follow the legal route. 
You have to demand services accordingly.  Read rules, regulations and ensure that that your documents are correct and complete. 
Avoid the services of touts, illegal agents and unnecessary middle men in things that you can do by yourself. 
You have to ensure and insist that you are given correct receipts for all payments. 
Also ensure to demand for written acknowledgement for documents/forms submitted. 
Do not enter into any unnecessary or familiar conversation with an official outside the performance of his/her duties; familiarity breeds contempt! 
Always ask in writing for justifiable reasons why your request, form, document or application is being rejected and do not accept verbal explanation when not convincing. 
Report demands for bribes, unnecessary delays or rudeness to authority or superior officers. 
Where possible, record conversations on your mobile or digital recorder, take photographs and attach to your complaints. 
Address an official by his/her name if there is a name tag as this naturally brings caution since you have shown you know his/her identity. 
Give enough time in whatever you need to do so that you will not need to seek ‘express’ service.
This is just my thought and what do you think?