Friday, 26 July 2013

News Report: South Sudan's Machar Sets Sights On Presidency After Firing

Former Vice President Riek Machar
Credit: Reuters
South Sudan's former Vice President Riek Machar, dismissed this week by President Salva Kiir, said on Friday he planned to challenge him as chairman of the ruling SPLM party in order to run for head of state in 2015.
Kiir touched off a power struggle in the African oil-producing country by firing Machar and his cabinet and placing under investigation his top Sudan negotiator, Pagan Amum, in the biggest government shakeup since the South gained independence in 2011.
In his first comments since his dismissal, Machar said he planned to head the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM), which led the country to secession from Khartoum after fighting one of Africa's longest civil wars.
"I have told my colleagues in the politburo that come the next elections in 2015, I would contest those elections," Machar told reporters.
His spokesman James Gatdet Dak clarified Machar would run for the SPLM chairmanship before the vote to pave his way to the presidency of the one-party state.
Machar said he accepted his sacking but accused Kiir for creating a political vacuum. "I thought the dissolution should have taken place and then a replacement or formation of the new government be done immediately, so that there is no vacuum in the state," he said.
"We now have a vacuum and this has created apprehension," added Machar, who said he was "telling people to remain calm".

He also attacked Kiir for recently sacking two elected state governors and banning Amum, the SPLM General Secretary, from leaving Juba or giving any public statements.

News Release: FG Should Accede To ASUU’s Demands Now!

The United Action for Democracy (UAD) solidarizes with the Academic Staff of Universities (ASUU) in the struggle to save the Nigerian educational system in our tertiary institutions. ASUU has once again been forced to embark on an indefinite strike action, having explored all means possible to make government live up to the agreement it signed with the Union in 2009.

The reasons given by ASUU for embarking on the strike are cogent and fundamental. That the educational system is in doldrums cannot be over-emphasized, the quality of education from Primary to the Tertiary level falls short of the standard required to achieve any kind of development given the environment and situation under which  the practitioners/stakeholders carry out their functions.

The facilities are in terrible state if they exist or where they exist; with classrooms, hostels that are dilapidated; Libraries without books; Laboratories without chemicals added with lack of electricity and water supply. In our Universities, Kerosene stoves are used in the laboratories instead of Bunsen burners and sachet water nylons are used to store specimens while generators are used as source of power.

Without doubts, environments like these are not enabling for learning and teaching! Hence, the Universities churn out half-baked graduates. Education is the bedrock of development in any society, a society that handles its educational system the way it’s done here in Nigeria jeopardizes the development and future of the society.

Basically, ASUU is demanding that education should be adequately funded in our public Universities, at both Federal and State levels so as to revitalize and save the sector from further deterioration This entails the government living up to the agreement it SIGNED with Union in 2009.

But alas, the government has come up very ridiculous excuses that stands logic on Its head including the claim that government does not have money and that it was the President Umar Yar’ dua led PDP government that signed the 2009 agreement with ASUU!

We assert that government is a continuum, like in a relay race, once there is an exchange of baton, the runner that takes the baton inherits all the faults and merits of the previous runner. It is therefore irresponsible for the President Goodluck Jonathan-led Federal government to say it did not sign the agreement with ASUU and thus cannot abide by it. From the moment the present PDP-led Federal government took charge after Yar’ Adua’s demise, it had inherited all the assets and liabilities of the predecessor!

The claim that government does not money to fund education is not acceptable in the face of the lavishing of the resources of the country on frivolous issues that are vaguely relevant to the development of our country. Nigeria, a country that spent trillions of naira to bail-out failed banks; pumped billions of naira into Nollywood; spent billions in celebrating the First Lady’s resurrection; spent trillions on ‘ex-militants; pays its legislators about the highest salaries globally, but has no money to fund education! What a calamity!!

Government must stop these absurdities now! The role of education in the development of a society is too significant to be toyed with; the government must jettison misplaced priorities by abating its unnecessary waste of the country resources and channel the resources towards revamping the education sector.

For ASUU, the slogan should be ‘No Retreat, No Surrender’! All well-meaning Nigerians should support the struggle to save the educational system by organizing or joining protests, rallies etc. to pressurize the apparently non-listening government to accede to ASUU’s demands Now!

If we fight, we can win, and we will only be ensuring our socio-economic and political development and saving the future of the present generation and the generation yet unborn. If don’t fight, we are doomed!


Olawale Salami,
Publicity Secretary,
United Action for Democracy (UAD)