Tuesday, 14 February 2012

U-Report: Opposition Political Parties Commend Imo State Assembly Speaker

Uwajimogu: Imo State Assembly Speaker
Reported By Ikenna Samuelson Iwuoha
The Speaker of Imo State House of Assembly, the Rt. Hon. Chief Benjamin Uwajumogu has been commended for the able way he has been piloting the affairs of the state Assembly. The commendation came when members of opposition political parties paid him a courtesy visit at the Assembly complex on Monday 13th of February 2012.
The leader of Imo State Association of Registered Political Parties (ISARPP) Hon. Chief Charles C. Ubah led other members who are Chairmen of Political Parties on the visit. Chief Ubah who is the State Chairman of Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) commended the State government on the massive infrastructural development going on in the state.
He specifically thanked Mr. Speaker and other Honourable members for providing the enabling environment which the state government is using to develop the state. Chief C. C. Ubah said “Mr. Speaker, this association has followed the performance of this house since its inauguration and we commend you for the ebullient manner you have been handling its affairs. We also commend you and your colleagues for some people oriented bills and motions you have passed which have impacted positively on the people. The association Equally notes with great delight the atmosphere of conviviality that pervades the hallowed chambers each time the House is in session. Keep it up”.
Chief Ubah popularly called “Akusinachi” however noted with concern the “Proposed commercialization” of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs). He advised, “Since Imo State is a civil service state and there are no so much industries like Lagos and Rivers States, the Governments commercialization programme may deepen the suffering of poverty stricken masses. We therefore urge the Government to revisit the policy”.
In response, Speaker  Benjamin Uwajumogu thanked members of ISARPP for the visit and urged them to continue to support the state government for the overall benefit of the people, pointing out that the interest of the people is the major concern of the present government.  Speaker Uwajumogu, said that “In this House of Assembly, we have representatives of various political parties. But we operate and communicate as members of one united family and this have positively impacted on the good people of Imo State. We will make sure that all we do here benefit the people of the state”.The  Speaker enumerated some of the achievements of the Assembly and that of the state government, pointing out that the achievements were possible because of the synergy between the state government and the House of Assembly. “For the first time, a government was installed by the people without the interference of a god father. That is why this administration is performing to the admiration of Imo people. The governor is running the state from divine perspective. He is not the governor of APGA but the governor of all Imo citizens. Here in the Assembly, we are reviewing old laws of the state and digitalizing them together with harmonizing several amended laws. We have passed 12 bills and forty-seven motions that are people oriented. We are today the most productive House of Assembly in the history of Nigeria. We have also
passed a 4 year rolling budget, out of which 73% are for capital projects. No wonder investors are now trooping into the state to invest in their areas of interest”, the Speaker revealed.
“We have given subvention to Adapalm plantation and today, the company is functional with employment opportunities given to over 1800 Imo sons and daughters. Imo Modern Poultry is about to take off. Concorde Hotel has been turned around. Massive road construction is going on in the state. All these achievements have been possible because we slashed our security votes in order to serve the people of the state”, the Speaker further revealed.
On the issue of Commercialization of Ministries, Departments and Agencies, the Speaker stated that it was in the best interest of the people of the state.“Ministries and Agencies who are performing below expectation would be merged with agencies performing optimally. This strategy is to ensure efficiency and effectiveness. With the commercialization going on in the state, we would be able to pay up to N40, 000 minimum wages when the time comes. Development is a gradual process”.
“We are proactive in thinking; we are changing the peoples attitude about governance. That is why we want to leave a legacy so that our children will be happy with us”, Rt.Hon Uwajimogu  concluded. Members of the ISARPP who accompanied Chief C. C. Ubah to Imo
Assembly are:
 (1) Chairman of Peoples Mandate party (PMP). 
(2) Chairman of Peoples Liberation Party (PLP)
(3) Chairman of Labour Party (LP)
(4) Chairman of Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA)
(5) Chairman of Congress for Programme change (CPC)
 (6) Chairman of Better Nigeria Peoples Party (BNPP)
 (7) Chairman of Congress for Democratic change (CDC)
(8) Chairman of Fresh Party 
 (9) Chairman of African Liberation Party (ALP).
(Iwuoha is Special Adviser On Media to the Imo State Assembly Speaker)

News Release: Nigerians In United Kingdom To Hold Peace Rally In London

Nigerians living in the United Kingdom will be holding A Peace Rally outside Downing Street, London on the 18th of February, 2012 in solidarity with families who lost their innocent loved ones in terrorist attacks and to send a clear message to the terrorist group Boko Haram that they will never win.
According to the Organizers, Nigeria Associations & Communities in the United Kingdom, the Peace Rally is one in a series of ‘Diaspora Actions’ against terrorism in Nigeria.
The massacre of innocent Nigerians, especially, in places of worship is evil and it is hardly incomprehensible when it is claimed to be executed in God’s name or in the name of a Religion. 
‘We attest our support for the secular status of Nigeria where religion and freedom can co-exist. We believe that religion ought to promote peace, love, fairness and freedom. Any religion which fails to promote these universal human and divine values can be considered a grave danger to society and is anti God. We, therefore, call on the leaders of Islam, Christianity and Natural Religion to endeavour to inculcate these civilised values in their followers’.  
‘We urge the religious and political leaders, especially those in Northern Nigeria, the Federal Government of Nigeria and all peace and truth loving Nigerians, men and women of goodwill everywhere to help in bringing these despicable acts of terrorism to an immediate end and to bring the perpetrators of these heinous crimes and their sponsors to book, no matter their standing in society’ the group said.   
If we have any decency or humanity in us which I believe we have, we should and must mobilize for the streets of London to be overflowing with Nigerians and friends of Nigeria on the 18 February, 2012. Let everybody you come into contact with be made aware of the fact that their attendance is paramount if they want to see a stop to the violence. The option of sitting at home and screaming at the television or radio is not good enough. Let what we do speak louder than our words’.
We must mobilize for change in our attitude as Nigerians against unspeakable evil, we must mobilize against violence. We must restore hope to the distressed, the bereaved, the injured, and the dispossessed. To sit back now and do nothing may spell disaster for us in the future. And inaction, witting or unwitting encourages the violent disintegration of Nigeria.
 We should not wait for other people to take up this campaign before we realise that this is a cause for which every Nigerian should be associated with.  
To support the Peace Rally of the 18 February, 2012 in London, is the least we can do for now to draw the attention of the International Community to the evils of terrorism before it is too late. 
Finally, we urge the Federal Government of Nigeria to be seen to be proactive and serious in addressing the current barbaric situation in Nigeria and reassure Nigerians and Foreigners of their safety in any part of the country, and also pay meaningful compensation to all the victims of Boko Haram atrocities and the victims of any reprisal attack
Sam Asoluka

News Report: "Monsignors' Mutiny" Revealed By Vatican Leaks

By Reuters
Call it Conspiracy City. Call it Scandal City. Call it Leak City. These days the holy city has been in the news for anything but holy reasons.
"It is a total mess," said one high-ranking Vatican official who spoke, like all others, on the condition of anonymity.
The Machiavellian maneuvering and machinations that have come to light in the Vatican recently are worthy of a novel about a sinister power struggle at a medieval court.
Senior church officials interviewed this month said almost daily embarrassments that have put the Vatican on the defensive could force Pope Benedict to act to clean up the image of its administration - at a time when the church faces a deeper crisis of authority and relevance in the wider world.
Some of those sources said the outcome of a power struggle inside the Holy See may even have a longer-term effect, on the choice of the man to succeed Benedict when he dies.
From leaked letters by an archbishop who was transferred after he blew the whistle on what he saw as a web of corruption and cronyism, to a leaked poison pen memo which puts a number of cardinals in a bad light, to new suspicions about its bank, Vatican spokesmen have had their work cut out responding.
The flurry of leaks has come at an embarrassing time - just before a usually joyful ceremony this week known as a consistory, when Benedict will admit more prelates into the College of Cardinals, the exclusive men's club that will one day pick the next Roman Catholic leader from among their own ranks.
"This consistory will be taking place in an atmosphere that is certainly not very glorious or exalting," said one bishop with direct knowledge of Vatican affairs.
The sources agreed that the leaks were part of an internal campaign - a sort of "mutiny of the monsignors" - against the pope's right-hand man, Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone.
Bertone, 77, has a reputation as a heavy-handed administrator and power-broker whose style has alienated many in the Curia, the bureaucracy that runs the central administration of the 1.3 billion-strong Roman Catholic Church.
He came to the job, traditionally occupied by a career diplomat, in 2006 with no experience of working in the church's diplomatic corps, which manages its international relations. Benedict chose him, rather, because he had worked under the future pontiff, then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, in the Vatican's powerful doctrinal office.
"It's all aimed at Bertone," said a monsignor in a key Vatican department who sympathizes with the secretary of state and who sees the leakers as determined to oust him. "It's very clear that they want to get rid of Bertone."
Vatican sources say the rebels have the tacit backing of a former secretary of state, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, an influential power-broker in his own right and a veteran diplomat who served under the late Pope John Paul II for 15 years.
"The diplomatic wing feels that they are the rightful owners of the Vatican," the monsignor who favors Bertone said.
Sodano and Bertone are not mutual admirers, to put it mildly. Neither has commented publicly on the reports.
Whistle-Blowing Archbishop:
The Vatican has been no stranger to controversy in recent years, when uproar over its handling of child sex abuse charges has hampered the church's efforts to stem the erosion of congregations and priestly recruitment in the developed world.
But the latest image crisis could not be closer to home.
It began last month when an Italian television investigative show broadcast private letters to Bertone and the pope from Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, the former deputy governor of the Vatican City and currently the Vatican ambassador in Washington.
The letters, which the Vatican has confirmed are authentic, showed that Vigano was transferred after he exposed what he argued was a web of corruption, nepotism and cronyism linked to the awarding of contracts to contractors at inflated prices.
As deputy governor of the Vatican City for two years from 2009 to 2011, Vigano was the number two official in a department responsible for maintaining the tiny city-state's gardens, buildings, streets, museums and other infrastructure, which are managed separately from the Italian capital which surrounds it.
In one letter, Vigano writes of a smear campaign against him by other Vatican officials who were upset that he had taken drastic steps to clean up the purchasing procedures and begged to stay in the job to finish what he had started.
Bertone responded by removing Vigano from his position three years before the end of his tenure and sending him to the United States, despite his strong resistance.
Other leaks center on the Vatican bank, just as it is trying to put behind it past scandals - including the collapse 30 years ago of Banco Ambrosiano, which entangled it in lurid allegations about money-laundering, freemasons, mafiosi and the mysterious death of Ambrosiano chairman Roberto Calvi - "God's banker."
Today, the Vatican bank, formally known at the Institute for Works of Religion (IOR), is aiming to comply fully with international norms and has applied for the Vatican's inclusion on the European Commission's approved "white list" of states that meet EU standards for total financial transparency.
Bertone was instrumental in putting the bank's current executives in place and any lingering suspicion about it reflects badly on him. The Commission will decide in June and failure to make the list would be an embarrassment for Bertone.
Italian Pope?:
Last week, an Italian newspaper that has published some of the leaks ran a bizarre internal Vatican memo that involved one cardinal complaining about another cardinal who spoke about a possible assassination attempt against the pope within 12 months and openly speculated on who the next pope should be.
Bertone's detractors say he has packed the Curia with Italian friends. Some see an attempt to influence the election of the next pope and increase the chances that the papacy returns to Italy after two successive non-Italian popes who have broken what had been an Italian monopoly for over 450 years.
Seven of the 18 new "cardinal electors" -- those aged under 80 eligible to elect a pope -- at this Saturday's consistory are Italian. Six of those work for Bertone in the Curia.
Bertone, as chief administrator, had a key role in advising the pope on the appointments, which raised eyebrows because of the high number of Italian bureaucrats among them.
"There is widespread malaise and delusion about Bertone inside the Curia. It is full of complaints," said the bishop who has close knowledge of Vatican affairs.
"Bertone has had a very brash method of running the Vatican and putting his friends in high places. People could not take it any more and said 'enough' and that is why I think these leaks are coming out now to make him look bad," he said.
Pope "Isolated":
Leaked confidential cables sent to the State Department by the U.S. embassy to the Vatican depicted him as a "yes man" with no diplomatic experience or linguistic skills and the 2009 cable suggests that the pope is protected from bad news.
"There is also the question of who, if anyone, brings dissenting views to the pope's attention," read the cable, published by WikiLeaks.
The Vatican sources said some cardinals asked the pope to replace Bertone because of administrative lapses, including the failure to warn the pope that a renegade bishop re-admitted to the Church in 2009 was a well-known Holocaust denier.
But they said the pope, at 84 and increasingly showing the signs of his age, is not eager to break in a new right-hand man.
"It's so complicated and the pope is so helpless," said the monsignor.
The bishop said: "The pope is very isolated. He lives in his own world and some say the information he receives is filtered. He is interested in his books and his sermons but he is not very interested in government."

Report: Nigeria's National Bureau Of Statistics Releases "Nigeria Poverty Profile Report 2010"

“It is with great pleasure that I present to you today, highlights of the “Nigeria Poverty Profile Report 2010”, a report which emerged from the recently concluded Harmonised Nigeria Living Standard Survey (HNLSS) conducted by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) with support from the World Bank, DFID (UK) and UNICEF”.