Monday, 29 December 2008

Deliberate Blackout

I have tried as much as possible to update my blog since October that i last posted an item...but the harder i try the more i see reason to hold back.
I have been so annoyed with developments in the country that i felt if i should write anything i may commit treasonable felony and am not prepared to go to jail yet.
I have issues with the powers that be trying to muscle the media through arrests and closure of operations.
One other issue am not too happy with is hearing the rhetorics about 'respect for the rule of law' which i have my personal feelings about. What is respect for the rule of law when daily people's rights are being trampled upon?
I may have to continue in the new year when my mind calms down properly before i receive some unexpected visitors.
Compliments!

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Journalist's Albatros

A radio journalist in Niger Republic, Moussa Kaka, who was arrested over alleged contacts with Tuareg rebels in the north of the country has been released on bail.

Moussa Kaka, who is a reporter for Radio France International, had been held for more than a year.

Mr Kaka's lawyer said the appeals court had ordered him provisionally freed ahead of a trial by another court in the capital, Niamey.

Mr Kaka was arrested for speaking with rebels by telephone.

He was accused of undermining state security but last month the charge was downgraded to "actions liable to harm national defence".

Tuareg rebels have been fighting government troops in northern Niger, saying they want more autonomy and a fairer share of wealth.

Journalists have been banned from travelling to the north.

This is really a source of concern for journalists like me who have to keep close tabs on rebel leaders through telephones for breaking news.

Hope this law is not applied in Nigeria...i hope the passage of the FOI bill here will take care of this challenge.

Monday, 6 October 2008

Religious Fatwa on Rivers Television Journalist

I was disturbed over the reported religious fatwa declared on a journalist with Rivers State television for airing a documentary which allegedly potrayed a pentecostal church in bad light.
I wish this can be resolved and the Nigeria Union of Journalist moves in swiftly to protect the journalist from her present emotional trauma.
I have re-produced her petition to the Nigeria police and death threats.


Rivers State Television,
Elelenwo Complex,
Port Harcourt,
2nd October, 2008.




The Director
State Security Service.
Rivers State



Sir,





A Case of death Threat by Pastor David Ibiyeomie of Salvation Ministries and his Congregation

I am compelled to bring to your knowledge the recent death threat made on my person by Pastor David Ibiyeomie of the Salvation Ministries Port Harcourt and his congregation. My name is Mrs Ibiene Rowland Ogundu and I work with the Rivers State Television as a reporter, Producer and presenter of programmes in the Current Affairs Division.


On the 27th of September 2008, at 10pm the Station aired a special report, a documentary of one hour duration which I jointly produced with my crew. The title of the episode was “PROSPERITY: Right Here, Right Now which was broadcast on the RSTV channel at 10pm.Shortly after the programme, I began receiving messages and calls in response to the programme, which was not unexpected.


However, at about 7.30 the following day being Sunday 28th of September I began receiving death threats from those who say they are loyalists and members of salvation ministries. Some of these members informed me through phone calls how their Pastor David Ibiyeomie had stood on the pulpit that morning and issued death threat and also mandated them to join forces with him to put an end to my life in what he describes as the misrepresentation of the church to the public.


To aid his members achieve his death plan for me, members told me he had given them my number and name by scrolling it across the giant screen on the altar for all to see, and copy in other to carry out their threats even when some of the members admit to being in the dark on the issues since they did not watch the said programme. The members also categorically said that Pastor David Ibiyeomie has also assured them that he will ensure that I do not live to see the end of October.


As at the time of writing this letter, the calls have not ceased as I have received over 2000 calls and death threats and countless text messages. The number and manner of these threats have become increasingly sickening. The threats are centred on my life and that of my family.


Sir, I am writing to appeal that you use your good office to protect my life and that of my family as well as look into this assassination threat by Pastor David Ibiyeomie, his allies and members of salvation ministries. I have had countless blackmail, insisting I go and apologize to Pastor David Ibiyeomie or ‘die’. Some others have passed their threats through families and friends claiming that David Ibiyeomie have vowed to kill me on or before October 31st 2008.


I also which to bring to your knowledge that the said programme which has given rise to this undue reactions has been a running programme on RSTV station, giving a deep and investigative insight into societal issues. As a professional of the Journalism profession and to the best of my ability wish to state here in that the said episode was a balanced report.


Nevertheless, while am about this I wish to say that under the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria no one has the right to threaten my life or that of my family. I have only done my job as a journalist and therefore do not deserve to be blackmailed or threatened by those who claim to have absolute power to go against the constitution of the Country.


While I wait for your swift response and action on this death threat to me and my family, I sincerely thank you for your anticipated positive reaction to this petition.


Attached here -in are some of the transcribed text messages and phone numbers used in threatening my life by some members of the Salvation ministries carrying out the dictates of their General Overseer Pastor David Ibiyeomie.


Yours faithfully,
Ibiene Rowland Ogundu (Mrs.)





Text messages


08057880478
It is so sweet 2 see u depart from dis world bcos ur obituary has just been announced. Gud bye. Salvatn Ministry member.


07087669112

Ma Papa Pst David laid causes on u 4 wat u did wit our churchs name so u are a caused person by a man of God if u no wat is gd 4 u go ask God 4giveness bye.

08054865478
U hv tuc d lion tail cuz by David Ibiyeomie.

08053010880
YOU ARE CURSED.

08033454624
What a great expository insight on d state of d church in Port Harcourt. D people are gullible and lazy, data why all dis occultic pple I wnt call dem pastor, takes advantage of them. I think d cure 2 all dis mess is dat we need more teaching churches were d word is taught. Keep d good wrk on Pastor biodun. 07028539526


For insulting Pastor David Ibiyeomie and Salvation Ministry you and ur family are cursed 4 dis day evil will be ur portion. 08067944194

B4 u die go 2 Salvation Ministries n ask 4giveness, u have broken d law.


08056904123
Ibiene why did u allowed c be used by d devil? Do u tnk u can fight God? If God decided 2 fight u will u be able 2 stand? 0803313440

You want to fight God you are finished. 08039109328

Ebiyere: Ur mouth very dirt to talk about Salvation Ministry. Yet the curse of the Lord be upon ur life, ur husband, ur children and those that join on television programme yesterday are curse and u, Ebiyerei u are curse. Pastor David Ibiyeomie has curse u, and those that join u, ur husband children are curse. 08064742102

You who dare attack d church of God and His Servant, death sentence has been passed on u except God is not God, u will never live 2 see d end of 2008. 08032631560

Curse be upon ur marriage, upon ur life, upon ur finance, upon ur generation an upon ur relations 4 speaking evil against Gods Own Church an His servant u shall not have peace of mind in Jesus name amen 4 d Bible touch not my anointed an my prophet no harm. I am a member.


Cursed are u & everything about is 4 daring my Salvation Ministries and my Pastor’s image. Ur death is now. U big fool of RSTV. Great & complete fool. 0803890047.


If u know wat is gud 4 u u better go ask 4 4giveness if not u will not see nxt year dat means u go die oo u are curse my Salvation Ministry. 08038674337.


Ibiere Roland Ogwundy I’m glad 2 tell you that you’ve just signed your death warrant. 08074862520.

Ibene Roland Ogolo u are a dead person. 0806546397

08037447438
If you like answer we the church have put a curse upon you and your family and R.ST.V and the people working with you the food you eat is curse, the water you drink is curse, the bed you sleep with your husband is curse, every thing that has to do with you is curse so no way of escape disaster is on your way now. May you rest in the pit digged for the wicked ones like you, don’t want to know your name anymore bcos you are consumed n to know your name anymore bcos you are consumed in Jesus name. Amen. 08033843230

U hv brot d judgement of God upon ur life. U did dt d day u did dt d day u decided 2 insult d apple of God’s eyws. U hv signed ur death sentences mark my word, I’ll deny myself sleep 2 see dt u ro am around Rivers State naked, u r cursed in Jesus name. Amen. 08066603427

Ibiyere Roland, if u like Pi cur cals or not but just knw tdat live less than 7days on earth, u will knw how powerful d God of David Ibiyeomie. Start countin ur life. 08036831861

Some text missing to be used by the devil 2 challenge the church of Jesus Christ. If u love ur life, go there and confess.

IB what put u into dis disgrace b/c of money. Sorry u are heading to destruction b/c of ur ignorance and at the same time loosing ur life. Nawaa for u bye. 08036663886

U and ur household will never find peace b/c u are curse in name of Jesus. Amen. 08033409620

Mrs Ibiene or whatever ur name is, g’ve u chosen 2 torch God’s Anoited? Who gave u d impetus 2 say dos nasty false things u said about Salvation Ministries Glories Chapel Home of Success? U knows what 4 what u’ve done D wrath of God in upon u & ur family including everyone who assisted u in carrying out dis evil activity of urs. I am so sorry 4 u bcos u will know no peace from today tilled day u will come cowling & begging 4forgiveness. 08073459946

You are very foolish
080377852316.

U are been cursed 2 day I pity u cos grave has been duged am sure u do not know those he know those he has cursed b4. foolish stupid good girl go n beg.
08055363234

When d edge is broken d serpent bite for ever insulting Salvation Ministry every curse placed on u 2 day shall come 2 pass ur such a gisgushing frick IB. 07033532166
Speak no evil against a choosen. D cause datn upon u can only be broken if u wl go 2 d church kneel on d altar and as 4giveness. Be warned! 08070602641.

Are we complaining? I did u do that 2 our church? 08051276478.

Ibiene Rowland Ogundu read this Psalm 94:1 Judgment for going against. Psalm 105:15 as regards Pst Ibiyeomie. From member Salvation Ministries. 08080893632.

Are u Roynald, I have a word to tell u if u thoroughly love urself and u want to live in peace a better go now that is not let and apologize to Salvation Ministries because there are rely agree with u and let me give some small advise.

About the way you go about boldly say some stupid things about anointed man of God u better be careful what u say against man of God earlier u realize ur mistake the better for u. thank u. 08057296968

Together with your gang. 08032361119

You and your generation are cursed in Jesus name. Amen. 08032361119

This is just 2 inform u and ur gang dat ur falling has just started. 08035525382


Why do u allow urself 2 be used by devil 2 fight de church. 08063852209

Good morning Mrs. Ibiere. Pls I beg u 2 4get about everything u are doing dis morning and come down 2 d Salvation Ministry and plead Pastor David Ibieyomie for 4 forgiveness bcos the (cursed) u, ur family & any pastor who will pray 4 u under serious annoyance pls don’t ignore dis text. I am Mbakwe or Linus. 08077771784.

You who dare attack d church of God and His servant, a death sentence has been passed on u. Except God is not God u will never live 2 see d end of 2008. 08064742102.
You never know when your life in going down you have been cursed by Jehovah. 08056009667.

Re u aware that u nd ur family nd those who paid u 2 say negative things against the church of God. S.M u are under a curse try God. 08029178729


U want 2 no who us (David Ibieyeomie) n I nad al d world. Heaven and early have cus u and ur family. Thank God 4 cus.
07032210059

Pls for God sake repent of what u presented on d air yesterday about Salvation Ministry before d wrath of God will visit. See d man of God 4 4giveness be4 the end of to day. God will lead u. 08052072806


May God proper u, may u succeed. now u’ve said Amen, then you are doomed cos u hate it. Since u ve open ur mouth 2 condem ur only broad who God is using mightily are condemned already. 08056449408.


Mary I hear is ur name u are a fool 2 step on a man of (God) cus u have been cursed 2dey u and ur family and all ur supporters. If God curses who can judge. 07032210059

Bible said torch not my anointed and do my prophets no harm. All members of Glorious Chapel says bye to hell. 08077774464

It is so sweet 2 see u depart from dis world bcos ur obituary has just been announced. Gud bye. Salvation Ministry member. 08057880478.

4 attacking d church of Jesus Christ, u ve procured 4 urself n generation madness n untimely death bye bye to hell. 08037455089

Thursday, 2 October 2008

More Dependence or Happy Independence?

It's been long since i posted stuff here...forgive me.
I took time off to get married, reposition myself at work and tidy up some loose ends.
I feel good to be back doing what i know how to do best.
My imagination has continued to run wild given recent developments in our polity and i dont know where to start from.

Am most disturbed at the rate which Nigerians are 'crazily' looking for money.
Imagine this report i read in our Vanguard newspaper today...

"A Nigerian man suffered a heart attack after cocaine capsules burst in his stomach, forcing a plane flying from Senegal to Spain to make an emergency landing in Morocco, airport officials and police said yesterday.

The man had taken ill during the flight on Sunday with a “heart condition caused by a drug overdose,” airport authorities said, with police confirming that a subsequent X-ray had revealed 62 cocaine capsules inside his stomach — two of which were found to be empty".

Am as shocked as you too.
Hope to continue from here moro while hoping things improve after 48 years of running around.
Happy Independence or is it 'wish you more dependence?

Monday, 23 June 2008

Adieu Oliver De-Coque

The Nigerian entertainment and showbiz industry have been thrown into a mourning mood as the cold hand of death Friday snatched Chief Sunday Oliver Akanita, popularly known as Oliver de-Coque.

His death is coming barely two weeks after the entertainment world suffered a devastating loss with the death of Evangelist Sunny Okosuns and Elder Steve Rhodes, both of whom were music colossus.

Oliver de-Coque, also described as a musician with a golden voice died 5 p.m. at Jola Hospital, Gbagada, Lagos.

He was hale and hearty until afternoon before his death. The ace highlife exponent who became popular in the mid-70s under his band, The Expo 76 Ogene Super Sounds, was the lead guitarist of his group. The highlife sensationalist hailed from Ezinifite town in Anambra State and was Ikemba of his town.

During his music career, his hit albums which also shot him into limelight included such heat albums as Identity, People’s Club, Nmbiri kambiri, and many others. His last public appearance was at the Tony Okoroji-led Nigerian Music Awards where he was conferred with Life Time Achievement Award.

Friday, 20 June 2008

news bits

EFCC-PEF

THE Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mrs. Farida Waziri, on Thursday, gave a seven-day ultimatum to individuals who received vehicles and money from the Police Equipment Foundation to return them or face prosecution.

The EFCC boss in a statement in Lagos by the agency’s head of media and publicity, Mr. Femi Babafemi issued the ultimatum while being briefed by the agency‘s Director of Operations, Mr. Tunde Ogunsakin on the progress made so far on the controversial PEF funds.

The commission further said that the development was in connection with its ongoing investigation into the activities of the defunct PEF.

The statement also said that beneficiaries who failed to return the vehicles and money they received from PEF would be arrested and prosecuted


CHINESE COMPUTER FACTORY

Chinese firm, Spur Group, has concluded plans to establish a multi-million dollar factory that would produce computing hardwares and softwares in Nigeria.

The investment is expected to lead to the production of cheaper and affordable computers in the country.

Speaking in Abuja recently, General Manager of Spur Group, Mr. Yang Ming assured that the company decided to invest in Nigeria because of the cordial investment climate and similarities of developmental challenges of the two countries.

He said his firm was one of the three top IT firms that is spreading e-government IT enterprises in China. According to him, the firm currently has a foothold in South Africa but would be glad to also build a manufacturing plant of both hardware and software in Nigeria at the end of its business tourism.

MILITANTS ATTACK

Nigeria’s biggest offshore facility, Royal Dutch Shell’s Bonga field, was shut down yesterday following an attack on the oil field by militants.

Offshore facilities are hitherto thought to be safe from militant attacks.

Located 120 kilometres (75 miles) offshore, Bonga oil field has a daily production capacity of 200,000 barrels of oil and 150 million standard cubic feet of gas.

The militants, numbering about 20, who were said to have operated in three speedboats, also kidnapped a United States citizen, Captain Jack Stone, a staff of Tidex, an offshore company.

OMEHIA WEEPS

Former Governor of Rivers State, Barrister Celestine Omehia yesterday insisted that Governor Rotimi Amaechi remains his blood brother and would always wish him well.

He disclosed that the reconciliation between him and the governor has to go beyond the public accusation, saying two of them and their wives must a have a private discussion.

Omehia had hardly finished the statement when he began to cry and for a moment he had to stop to mop tears, lamenting the inhuman treatment meted out to his parents was a way to deal with him.

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Street Analysis of EFCC

One thing that i like so much about foremost radical lawyer cum human rights activist, Gani Fawehinmi (SAN), is his unrepentant posture when it comes to abuse of the rule of law.
Since the announcement of the appointment of the new chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mzamber Waziri, many Nigerians have cried wolf but no one has really taken any 'serious' step to check it.
Gani's letter to President Umar Yar'Adua warning him about the impending breach of the rule of law he preaches speaks volumes of the character of the man of the people (Gani).
A street commentator has continued to bother me with his analysis of the unfolding scenario. I have tried not to listen or believe this street analysis but the harder i try the more it dawns on me that i have to listen more carefully.
My street analyst has continued to warn me about the hijacking of Nigeria by all the 'thieves' who are facing trial courtesy of the EFCC.
He has made me realise that the compulsory course, ex-chairman, Nuhu Ribadu, is attending is at the instance of a former 'powerful' governor from the South-South whose stolen funds were used to fund the president's election campaign last year.
He challenged me to prove him wrong. According to my street analyst, if it's a lie, how come Ibrahim Lamorde and co have been thrown out of the EFCC? At least they should have been left to consolidate the achievements of the agency.
Why is a Benue State and Tiv kinsman or is it kinswoman of the attorney-general and minister of justice, who is believed to be the hatchet man of the former governor, chosen to take over at EFCC?
One other disturbing analysis i don't want to believe is informing filtering from the streets that after all the incoming EFCC ogamadam loves 'Egunje'. I beg to disagree cos that is a very expensive joke.

Tuesday, 27 May 2008

Back to Base

I have been away on annual leave and actually thought i will have opportunities to update my blog but i could not. So sorry ikept you guys in suspense.
I will start off from where i stopped. Hope to share some of my experiences with you.

NEWS BITS

ANOTHER JAILBREAK

Following the collapse of walls of Okigwe Prison in Imo State, about 40 prisoners have escaped, while two others were allegedly shot dead by the warders of the prison.

Reports from Owerri, the state capital, indicated that the wall of the prison collapsed on Saturday.

Reports say the two people who were feared dead were shot by the warders while chasing the flee prisoners and those awaiting trials.

According to the report, the Okigwe prison authorities were now hunting the prisoners who had fled since Saturday.

BIGGEST TELECOM MERGER COLLAPSES

The proposed merger between South African telecommunications company, MTN, and Bharti Aitel, India’s largest telecoms company which would have created one of the world’s biggest telecoms network has collapsed following disagreement on sharing structure.

But hours after Bharti withdrew from the deal, another Indian telecoms company, Reliance Communications, has taken over and is now negotiating with MTN for a possible merger.

Reports say a successful merger would have made the two entities one of the sixth-largest mobile phone operators with more than 130 million subscribers.

Bharti was said to have secured funding of more than $60bn (£30.3bn) towards a deal but walked away amid claims that MTN had changed the terms of the deal.

It said MTN's plans would have seen Bharti Airtel become a subsidiary of MTN, a position it was not willing to accept.

PARTIES MERGER
No fewer than 22 political parties have initiated alliance talks with the Action Congress (AC) to strengthen the opposition against the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

The parties are set to fight what they see as the PDP’s drive towards a one-party state, among others.

But the ruling party is making moves to consolidate its hold on power by starving the other parties of cash. How? One and half years after a Federal High Court in Abuja ordered equal sharing of annual government grants among the 50 political parties, the PDP has approached the court to set aside its judgment.

The court had on December 15, 2006 granted the prayers of the Citizen Popular Party and 44 others, including the AC, that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) dump its sharing ratio of 10 per cent on the basis of equality and 90 per cent in proportion to seats held in the National Assembly. Now the PDP is asking that the old formula be readopted.

Some 22 parties pushing for alliance with the AC have met thrice in Abuja on the matter, but negotiations are yet ongoing.

SIEMENS BRIBERY SCANDAL
Ex-Siemens AG executive Reinhard Siekaczek yesterday told a court in Munich, Germany, that he built a system of slush funds at a unit of the engineering firm through which officials in several countries, including Nigeria, were bribed with company cash.

The court last October fined Siemens 1 million naira, the maximum fine for bribes paid by the communications unit in 77 cases between 2001 and 2004 to government officials in Nigeria, Libya and Russia.

The Nigerian government, last December, cancelled a N128.4 million (about $1.1 million) contract with Siemens for the supply of circuit breakers and other power generation accessories, and suspended dealings with the German telecoms firm pending an investigation into the bribery allegations.

Four former ministers of communications, a senator, some officials in the Nigerian Telecommunications Limited (NITEL) and the Nigeria Immigrations Service (NIS) were indicted by the Munich court last year for �10 million bribe in the on-going probe of Siemens.

The former ministers are Tajudeen Olanrewaju (a retired General who served in Sani Abacha's regime), Chief Cornelius Adebayo, Dr. Mohammed Bello and Alhaji Haruna Elewi - all part of erstwhile President Olusegun Obasanjo's Administration between 1999 and 2007. Prof. Jibril Aminu is the senator named in the bribery scandal.

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

News Bits

Am sorry i have not been able to update my blog cos am on leave.
My sincere apologies for bringing this information late.

NEWS BITS

MISSING PLANE
A fresh controversy yesterday ensued over the missing Wing Aviation’s Beechcraft 1900D, two months after it went off the radar.
Hours after the government alleged that the flight recording data was tampered with, some top officials of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) denied the claim, saying it was impossible.

But it was learnt that the tampering was possible because of the time lag between when the plane went missing on its way to the Obudu Airstrip and when officials of the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) impounded the tapes.

The plane went missing on March 15, but AIB officials did not impound the tape until four days later, allowing ample time for the alleged act.

FRAUDULENT PUBLIC OFFICERS
The Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Offences Commission (ICPC), Justice Emmanuel Ayoola, yesterday said public officials had devised fraudulent means of assets declaration to evade arrest by anti-corruption agencies.

Presenting a paper in Kaduna at a seminar on "Anti-corruption, Rule of Law and the Administration of Justice in Nigeria," Ayoola also said more than $500 billion had so far been stolen from the nation’s coffers since independence in 1960.

The ICPC boss said public officials now engage in anticipatory declaration of their assets.

RURAL INTERNET FACILITIES
As part of the Federal Government's fresh intervention in the area of affordable Information Communication Technology (ICT) to Nigerian communities, NIGCOMSAT Limited, the company incharge of Nigeria's communication satellite, yesterday said it has embarked on a pilot programme to provide over 400 Community Tele-Centres (CTC) nationwide.
The project is meant to provide Nigerians in remote and un-served urban areas with affordable access to internet, multimedia and voice over internet protocol.
The Managing Director of NIGCOMSAT Limited, Engr. T Ahmed Rufai, said the building of the centres would be completed by month end, adding that the company has already completed and deployed facilities in 79 benefiting communities across the country.

LAGOS STREET PARTY BAN
The Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, on Monday signed into law a bill banning the blocking of roads for any form of social or commercial activities in any part of the state.

The law, titled, “Bill on Commercial Activities and Prohibition of Obstruction of Traffic,” makes it an offence for any person or group to obstruct traffic on any road in the state as a result of social or commercial activities.

By the provision of the law, anybody that obstructs a law enforcement agent of the state in the course of enforcing compliance to this law will be liable to six-month jail term, with an option of fine of N10, 000 or both.


IYABOGATE
THE Senate may have to wield the big stick on Senator Iyabo Obasanjo-Bello with the consequent declaration of her seat vacant if she continues to shun the attendance of proceedings of the upper chamber.

This follows her continuous absence from the Senate sessions since her case with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) which has charged the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Health to court over her alleged involvement in the N300 million fraud at the Ministry of Health.

Senate spokesman, Senator Ayogu Eze, who admitted that Obasanjo-Bello’s case was beyond the jurisdiction of the Senate, the case having already been taken to court for adjudication, said the Senate was, however, worried over the continued absence of the legislator at the proceedings of the House, a development which he said contravened the provisions of the 1999 Constitution.

Monday, 5 May 2008

Bakers Strike

The master bakers and caterers association of nigeria today embarked on strike over rising cost of flour and sugar.
The bakers are demanding a reduction in prices of ingredients.
They have also threatened to increase prices of bread by 25 percent when the 8-day warning strike ends next Monday.
It's really unfortunate that this strike is coming when the common man cannot afford the price of rice.
What next for the common man?

Friday, 2 May 2008

Diplomatic Upper Cut

One hundred and eighty days after their confirmation by the Senate, only about 10 of the 61 ambassadors-designate have left for their countries of posting while about 50 of them are still in Nigeria literarily abandoned.
Some of those who have already left for their place of postings included among others former Senate Leader, Senator Dalhatu Tafida -United Kingdom, Prof. Joy Ogwu-United Nations (UN)’s mission in New York, General Timothy Shephildi-Russia, General Oluwole Rotimi-United States (US) and Senator Musiliu Obanikoro-Ghana.
Reports say most of the ambassadors-designate are still being delayed by “agreemon”, that is the necessary clearance document needed from their countries of destination, a form of approval from the receiving countries after they have done a background check on the ambassadors-designate to determine if he/she is the kind of person they want in their country.
But it was learnt that the former National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Ahmadu Ali, may have rejected his posting to South Africa.
Ali was said to have shown preference for the United States (US) or United Kingdom (UK).
Six weeks ago, at the Presidential dinner held to bid them farewell in Abuja, it was disclosed that letters of acceptance from 20 countries were ready and were simply waiting for President Umaru Musa Yar‘Adua’s signature.
Some of them, especially politicians, are back in their hometowns throwing themselves actively into politics.
In some cases, fresh elections are being ordered by election petition tribunals across the country.
There are speculations already that some of the ambassadors-designate have been rejected by their countries of posting because of unsatisfactory findings in the course of investigation.
This is a huge embarassment to our diplomatic circle. Are we this unorganised?

Thursday, 1 May 2008

Academic Disaster

There was pin drop silence at the Ondo State Election Petitions Tribunal in Akure yesterday when one of the expert witnesses called by Governor Olusegun Agagu to defend his mandate ended up defending his integrity for nearly seven hours.

Labour Party’s candidate, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko is challenging the declaration of Agagu as winner of the April 14,2007 governorship election.

Although he was summoned to fault the report of Mr Adrian Forty,the finger print expert, Prof. Emmanuel Adegbeyeni spent most of the time defending what he claimed in his deposition on oath at the tribunal.

Adegbeyeni, who said he is a professor of Computer Science at the University of Lagos (UNILAG) in his deposition on oath, told the tribunal during cross- examination that he was neither a Reader in the university nor could he remember the Registrar who signed his appointment as a professor.

The man, who claimed to be the first in black Africa to get a doctorate degree in Computer Science, could not operate a computer when he was given one by Mimiko’s counsel, Chief Wole Olanipekun.

Also, he said he did not know the year the computer was invented and could not tell who invented it.

But when Olanipekun told him it was invented in 1963, he did not object to it.

Severally during the cross-examination, Adegbeyeni could not say exactly when he became a professor.He gave conflicting dates of 2001, 2002 and 2003.

He simply told the tribunal that he was an old man and could not remember all he did some years ago.

Academic Disaster

There was pin drop silence at the Ondo State Election Petitions Tribunal in Akure yesterday when one of the expert witnesses called by Governor Olusegun Agagu to defend his mandate ended up defending his integrity for nearly seven hours.
Labour Party’s (LP’s)

Dr. Olusegun Mimiko is challenging the declaration of Agagu as winner of the April 14,2007 governorship election.

Although he was summoned to fault the report of Mr Adrian Forty,the finger print expert, Prof. Emmanuel Adegbeyeni spent most of the time defending what he claimed in his deposition on oath at the tribunal.

Adegbeyeni, who said he is a professor of Computer Science at the University of Lagos (UNILAG) in his deposition on oath, told the tribunal during cross- examination that he was neither a Reader in the university nor could he remember the Registrar who signed his appointment as a professor.

The man, who claimed to be the first in black Africa to get a doctorate degree in Computer Science, could not operate a computer when he was given one by Mimiko’s counsel, Chief Wole Olanipekun.

Also, he said he did not know the year the computer was invented and could not tell who invented it.

But when Olanipekun told him it was invented in 1963, he did not object to it.

Severally during the cross-examination, Adegbeyeni could not say exactly when he became a professor.He gave conflicting dates of 2001, 2002 and 2003.

He simply told the tribunal that he was an old man and could not remember all he did some years ago.

Monday, 28 April 2008

NITEL on the Brink of Collapse?

The Vice Chairman of Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Ernest Ndukwe, has warned that Nigeria Telecommunication company(Nitel) may lose its operational licence next month.

Ndukwe said the fate of the telecom company would be determined by decisions to be taken at next month’s board meeting of the Nigeria’s telecom regulatory agency.

According to the NCC boss, Nitel has failed to live up the expectations of the regulatory body and the Nigerian people; clearly indicating insufficient capacity to live up to its licence obligations, giving way to the likelihood of a seizure of its licence and transfer of same to another operator with capacity to operate the network.

Nitel staff recently went on strike to protest the non-payment of salaries, running into months. Last year, the NCC gave warning that it would revoke Nitel’s licence as it has failed to meet its obligations.

The striking workers shut down SAT-3, the undersea marine cable that connects Nigeria to other Africa African countries and the rest of the world.

Striking workers also closed down the private telecom operators (PTOs) Room in Lagos that provides local interconnectivity to telecom operators forcing many networks to seek alternative and costly pipes to re-route their calls.

But many operators were simply confined to making calls only within their own networks as they could not make a re-route outside the PTOs Room.

Nitel is already back to the auction room after several attempt to sell it in the past has failed. It was last sold to Transcorp which currently has a controlling stake in excess of 50 per cent in the telcom company.

But since its handover to Transcorp, a conglomerate owned by persons believed to be business cronies of Nigeria’s immediate ex President Olusegun Obasanjo, Nitel has fallen into worst season, failing to make fresh rollouts and sustain its existing network properly.

Its network has gone from about 450,000 land lines to less than 50,000, though the company is officially putting the figure at about 100,000.

Thursday, 24 April 2008

South Africa attacks on Nigerians

The Senate has urged the Federal Government to issue a travel alert to Nigerians on South Africa.

The senate has also urged Nigerians to be security-conscious in South Africa.

The Senate has directed its Committee on Foreign Affairs to investigate the alleged attacks on Nigerians in South Africa and report back to it within two weeks.

Moving the motion earlier, Mrs. Grace Bent had noted the protracted and unabated intimidation, brutalisation and cases of robbery and sundry attacks on Nigerians in South Africa.

She said hoodlums usually dispossessed Nigerians arriving in South Africa of their valuables after trailing them from the airport to their destinations.

This is coming on the heels of a recent attack on former first lady

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Vision 2020

President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua yesterday inaugurated the National Council and the National Steering Committee on Vision 2020, saying that the event marks the beginning of a new dawn in Nigeria's development aspirations.

The development came as the Speaker of the House of Representatives warned that the on-going battle against corruption must be won for the vision to be achieved.

The Vision 2020 is aimed at making Nigeria one of the top 20 economies by the year 2020.

Lamenting Nigeria's unsuccessful attempts at long-term strategic planning and that long-term visioning process had not yielded substantial benefits over the years.

I hope this will not turn to another 'talk and no action'.

Friday, 18 April 2008

Turaki's Billions

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has accused former Jigawa State Governor Saminu Turaki of spending N36 billion of public fund to acquire oil blocks from the Federal Government.

Turaki, now a senator, is being tried by a Federal High Court in Abuja for alleged abuse of office, corrupt enrichment and money laundering.

The commission, in an affidavit, alleged that Turaki used his companies, INC Natural Resources Ltd, Arkel Construction Nig. Ltd and Wildcat Construction Ltd and his younger brother, Bashir, to siphon the funds.

The commission averred that the bank was deducting the said loan from statutory allocations meant for the state, until billions of Naira had been deducted.

How about the billions he allegedly used in sponsoring the failed third term bid of former president Olusegun Obasanjo?

Thursday, 17 April 2008

Falconets Air Crash Survival

Eighteen members of the national Under-20 female football team and 121 other passengers aboard a Cameroun-bound aircraft escaped death on Wednesday as the pilot made an emergency landing at the Port Harcourt International Airport, Rivers State.

It was learnt that the Boeing 737 aircraft belonging to Virgin Nigeria developed some fault less than an hour after it took off from the Murtala Mohammed Airport in Lagos.

Stampede ensued immedaitely the plane, marked 5N –VND, touched down and started taxiing along the runway.

Some of the passengers who allegedly attempted to jump down from the moving aircraft were said to have sustained various degrees of injuries.

Reports say the pilot of the aircraft which was scheduled to make a stop-over in Port Harcourt before proceeding to Duala, Cameroun, had announced that he was going to make an emergency landing because one of his engines had malfunctioned.

The pilot reportedly made the announcement after contacting the authorities of the Port Harcourt International Airport and asking that the fire department be put on the alert.

Ambulances were deployed to evacuate the passengers on board. But the people were not patient enough for the plane to stop taxiing before they tried to force their ways out. Some of those who got down in a hurry sustained injuries.

I saw the falconets yesterday at the airport which made this news so shocking to me cos barely a few hours before the unfortunate incident i had exchanged pleasantries with them.

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

Yar'Adua's Illness

President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua was yesterday flown out to Wiesbaden, Germany, for medical attention.

According to Special Adviser to the President (Communications), Olusegun Adeniyi, Yar’Adua was billed to see his private physician for a medical review of an ailment believed to be due to an allergic reaction.

AReports say the ill-health of the President accounted for the low key ceremony at the signing of the budget. It was learnt that the event was held at the President’s residence.

Sources also said the President put off a trip to Katsina owing to his ill-health.

Also affected was his planned trip to Dakar, Senegal, yesterday. The President was billed to attend a meeting of Heads of Government and State on the New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD).

Last Wednesday, Adeniyi had said the President would leave for Dakar soon after signing the budget. He was scheduled to be back in the country Tuesday night.

Work at the State House yesterday was slow-paced, as aides to the President looked disturbed.

There were concerns over the President’s health, even before he got into office last year. In March 2007, in the thick of electioneering, he was shuffled abroad for medical attention amidst rumours of his death.

The president just has to get better so we don't go back to the dark days of politricking.

Monday, 14 April 2008

2008 Budget

President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua will today, sign the 2008 Appropriation Bill into law.

The N2.748 trillion Appropriation Bill had suffered three set-backs.

The first delay was caused by the National Assembly when both chambers passed different figures and had to harmonise their figures before forwarding it to the President for his assent.

Yar'Adua however returned the harmonised bill with a letter asking the National Assembly to reconsider eight observations raised by him.

He also refused to sign the bill after the legislature had reviewed the budget in line with his request.

The National Assembly had threatened to override the president's veto but the process was stopped by the Senate President, Senator David Mark.

This is a good news as all those contractors giving excuses of non-passage of budget can get cracking.

Friday, 11 April 2008

FCT House Probe

The general counsel of the Federal Capital Territory Authority (FCTA), Mal-lam Mohammed Alkali yesterday told the Senate Committee probing the sale of Federal Government houses and property in Abuja that the el-Rufai administration in the FCT destroyed over 75,000 houses and other public property.

The Committee also yesterday heard from the Executive Secretary of the Federal Capital Development Authority (FC-DA), Engineer Mohammed Al-Hassan that President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua halted a $10 million concessioning deal of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport to Abuja Gateway Consortium.

The concession process began under the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo.

Alkali described the actions of the FCTA under Malam Nasir el-Rufai, the immediate past minister in charge of FCT as lawless and irresponsible.

The senate is definitely getting close to its target...just a matter of days before they launch their salvo.

Thursday, 10 April 2008

Iyabomania

The first daughter of former president, Olusegun Obasanjo, has become so popular recently. You hardly pick up any local newspaper or magazie, watch the television or listen to the news on radio without the mention of her name.
She has been associated with all forms of allegations bothering on corruption etc.
Iyabo has remained defiant and shown that she is a woman of character cos i expected her to have 'fainted' or cried openly to show her disgust with the media barage.
This brings me to the allegations against her. While not holding brief for her, i want to look at the allegations based on its merit.
Why is she being singled out for prosecution when in real fact the contentious N10 million was used to fund the senate committee on health trip to Ghana? Is it because she chairs the committee?
Are people 'chassing' her about because she is Obasanjo's daughter and must pay for her father's sins?
I hope an opportunity can be created for her to give her own version of the lorry-load of allegations against her.

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Unlimited Corruption

Each day i pick up the Nigerian dailies am conronted with reports bothering on corruption. This has not really bothered me so much cos this is not the first time am reading reports bothering on allegations of corruption.
But the most disturbing aspect is that corruption seems to have come to stay; now a societal norm. Or else how can you explain why people see cheating as a way of life...nobody seems to listen whenever people complain of being cheated.
I was at the Lagos airport to purchase a flight ticket for a friend going to Port Harcourt and armed with my N16,000 i was i will get a seat. I was astonished when the passenger before me was asked to pay extra N1000 and she did without complaining. When it got to my turn, the cashier asked me to pay N20,000 and get a receipt of N16,000 or else i wont get a ticket. I was astonished and attempted to create a scene there but no one cared to listen. While i was still complaining the passenger next to me paid N20,000 and got a receipt of N16,000 cos he wants to 'meet up with his appointment'.
I had no choice than to leave the counter and head for another airline where i eventually got a ticket at the right price but had to pay the price for not 'cooperating' by wasting 2 hours before my friend's flight took off a few minutes ago.
Am writing this piece from the local wing of Murtala Mohammed Airport, Lagos, and i wish i can ask all passnegers on the queue to purchase tickets can log in and read my blog lines.
Am ashamed that this chronic problem (corruption) has continued to defy all forms of solutions.
Where do we go from here?

Monday, 7 April 2008

Judicial Corruption?

Investigations have revealed that some of the election petitions tribunals may have compromised their integrity as a whopping N2.3bn was allegedly paid to them in two states to pervert justice.

About N1.5bn was said to have been paid into certain bank accounts for tribunal members in one of the states in the South-South geo-political zone.

Also, N800m was allegedly paid into another bank account for tribunal members in one of the states in the North-West zone.

The allegation of graft against some tribunals came just as the House of Representatives Committee on Justice had written to the Nigerian Bar Association, soliciting its partnership in maintaining the sanctity of the judicial process.

States and identities of the judges involved in the alleged scandal have not been established.

Sources say that bank statements, showing how the N2.3bn was lodged, were attached as evidence to petitions sent to appropriate institutions.

If these allegations are established those involved should be disgraced out of office for plotting to derail the nation's democracy.

Friday, 4 April 2008

Ribadu's Award

The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (World Bank) has selected the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mallam Nuhu Ribadu for the Jit Memorial Award for Outstanding Public Service.

The award is in recognition of Ribadu's contributions to the campaign against financial crimes in Nigeria.

Ribadu is expected to attend a reception and dinner organised by the World Bank at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington.

Ribadu successfully waged a comprehensive war against official sleaze leading to the arrest, prosecution and imprisonment of top government officials including governors, ministers, former leaders of the National Assembly and former Inspector General of Police.

This is indeed a good reward for all the 'stress' he has gone through in months past.

Thursday, 3 April 2008

Airports Privatisation

Workers in the aviation industry have issued a 21-day strike notice to the Federal Government to shelve plans to privatise the country’s airports and engage the workers in dialogue or face shut down of the aviation sector.

The workers under the aegis of National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) gave the notice yesterday during a three-hour protest at the premises of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.

The Minister of State for Air Transportation, Felix Hyat, had while receiving the report of the Presidential Committee on Airport Rehabilitation and Privatisation on Tuesday said the Federal Government would consult stakeholders including the workers before taking a final decision on the issue.

Is this the solution to the problems in the aviation sector?

Any news on the missing aircraft or the non-radar coverage of our airports?

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

Disturbing News Bits

EDO STATE

Barely 24 hours after he was declared missing, Edo State Commissioner for Information and Orientation Mr Calus Enoma was found yesterday – stone dead.

The commissioner’s body was found in a chalet at Precious Palm Royal Hotel at Ugbowo, on the outskirts of Benin-City. He was reportedly last seen alive on Friday. The state government declared him missing on Sunday.

Enoma’s body was said to have been found naked in his hotel suite with a deep mark on his forehead, and blood stains on the bed. The body has been deposited in a mortuary. The police say they have begun investigation into the death.


AVIATION

OF the 21 airports in the country, only two have limited radar coverage, raising the possibility of air crashes and missing planes.

They are the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos and Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja.

A Beechcraft 1900D which disappeared over two weeks ago in the mountainous region of Obudu Ranch is yet to be found due to lack of equipment.

Reports say the limited radar coverage accounted for the difficulty in locating the sites of air crashes in the country.

It was gathered that the aviation industry had been using the radar facility installed in nine locations since 1979.


FOOD SECURITY

Agriculture and Water Resources Minister, Dr Sayadi Ruma, lamented the country’s inability to produce sufficient food for its teeming populace.

He arguing that Nigeria was yet to guarantee food security, he said national food security is of paramount importance to his ministry.

The minister pointed out that Rice among other stable foods could not be produced at a larger quantity.


ALLEGED FRAUD

Twenty nine persons, including Senator Bala Adamu Kariya, the former Special Adviser on local governments to former Bauchi State Governor Adamu Muazu, have been arrested by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

They were arrested over an unaccounted for N8 billion belonging to the Department of Local Government (DLG).

The money was said to have been unaccounted for between 1999 and 2002.

Monday, 31 March 2008

Edo Politricks

The Edo State Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Calus Enoma, has been declared missing by the state government.

There are, however, controversy over the circumstances of his disappearance as some are linking it to the crisis within the state chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) .

The Special Assistant to the state Governor on Communication and Public Relations, Tony Ikpasaja, says the government was shocked by the sudden disappearance of Enoma.

The Police Public Relations Officer, Peter Ogboi, has however, dismissed the report saying the government had not reported the incident to the police.

Ikpasaja who accused the Action Congress (AC) of being behind the disappearance of the commissioner, gave the party 48 hours to produce Enoma or face the consequence.

AC’s gubernatorial candidate who the tribunal declared winner of the April 14, 2007 governorship election, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, said the PDP and the Edo State Government should look inward as the allegation is a mere ploy to distract the people of the state and Nigerians into believing that the party and its candidate are violent and lawless.

Friday, 28 March 2008

Food VAT

I was at a popular eatry in Lagos a few days back for lunch and was suprised to see a new notice informing customers of their decision to charge Value Added Tax (VAT).

The management stated that the decision to charge VAT on food served customers was 'forced down their throat' by government authorities.

I merely laughed over it but on a second thought it dawned on me that for once we are waking up to stark realities of development.

Over the years we have run away from paying taxes; maybe cos our leaders have never justified payments made.

But going tough on food tax is what i can't come to terms with at the moment. Are there no other areas we can start with before food?

But if this food tax will end our misery borne out of bad road, lack of food, power,water and shelter then we have a deal.

Thursday, 27 March 2008

Breeding Cultism

Ogun State Command of Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), has arrested 15 secondary school students for cultism.

Reports say the students, who were arrested last week, were members of rival cult groups.

The student cultists were apprehended when the Corps received a distress call that rival cult groups that were fighting over ``name calling''.

Fracas reportedly broke out when members of a cult group challenged the other group for bearing ''Iroko'' as its appellation.

This is a disturbing news which should be properly investigated and those involved made to face the full wrath of the law.

Government has to quickly step in before cult activities spreads among secondary school students.

Wednesday, 26 March 2008

Ministerial Casualty

Health Minister Mrs Adenike Grange yesterday resigned her appointment.

Also forced to resign is Minister of State Mr Gabriel Adukwu.

They quit over the N300 million budget leftover which an investigation said was tampered with.

But Grange insisted on her innocence, saying she did no wrong.

Reports say top government officials in the ministry shared the over N300 million unspent budget.

A civil servant in the ministry, who was unhappy with his share of the money, allegedly reported the matter to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The commission, in its final report which was submitted to the Presidency last week, indicted some top officials of the ministry as the brains behind the award of fake contracts worth over N106 million and the sharing of the balance.

The EFCC report indicted the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Prof. Simon Ogamdi, for allegedly collecting N5 million as his share of the unspent budget, thereby flouting President Umaru Yar’Adua’s directive that the money should be returned to the treasury.

Tuesday, 25 March 2008

NITEL for Sale

Another round of bidding will soon begin for the Nigerian Telecommunications Limited (NITEL) following the Federal Government's decision to resell the public utility.

The sale of NITEL to the behemoth Transnational Corporation (Transcorp) was revoked last month, generating ripples in the telecom industry. Transcorp had acquired 51 per cent of NITEL in 2006 for $500million.

A statement issued in Abuja said the National Council on Privatisation (NCP) has directed the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) to resell NITEL.

The new core investor would acquire 51 per cent equity in NITEL.

Twenty-two per cent of the equity would be contributed by the government and Transcorp, 29 per cent.

This would leave the government with 27 per cent and Transcorp, 22 per cent.

I hope they get it right this time.

BPE should open its eyes wide and verify all claims by prospective investors to avoid mistakes of the past when NITEL was sold to a non-exisiting foreign firm.

Monday, 24 March 2008

Dangerous Airspace

Air traffic controllers in Nigeria have said that if not for their ingenuity, no plane would be flying in the country’s airspace.

The controllers, who spoke strictly on the condition of anonymity said that the CNS-ATM (Communication, Navigation, Surveillance/Air Traffic Management) in Nigeria is ineffective.

The main function of the CNS-ATM, they said, is to enable the controllers maintain communication with any aircraft that is flying in the country’s airspace.

According to them, there are breaks in communication in many flight routes in the country.

The air management officials, however, recommended that the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) should take over the management of airstrips in the country.

NAMA officials, they said, are in a better position to effectively interpret changes and differences in the weather.

The controllers revealed that there are some airstrips in the country where pilots land on their own judgment aided by instruments on board the aircraft because they are not covered by the nation’s airspace communication system.

They also explained that it is not the duty of NAMA, the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) or Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) to find any missing aircraft; it is the duty of National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).

Commenting on the missing Beechcraft 1900D owned by Wings Aviation, which disappeared on a 51-minute flight from Lagos to Obudu Cattle Ranch on March 15, they said that if the country had effective and full radar coverage, the position of the aircraft would have been picked before it disappeared.

They said the radar would have picked the aircraft the last time it was in the air before it disappeared.

This, they said, would have helped to look for it because recorded images from the radar would have revealed the point it disappeared, a piece of information that would have been pivotal in the search.

According to the controllers, NAMA is yet to complete the Total Radar Coverage of Nigeria (TRACON), which is aimed at picking any aircraft in the nation’s sky.

Substantial aspects of the project have been completed in Lagos and Abuja, but the primary radar, which is a significant component of the complete radar, is yet to be installed and experts say that when that component is installed any aircraft entering the nation’s airspace would be picked immediately and its location revealed.

Meanwhile, NEMA has said that the agency would solicit the assistance of advanced nations like the United States to ensure that the Beechcraft 1900D aircraft was found.

Reports say NEMA technical officers manning the Nigerian Mission Control Centre claim that the missing aircraft had not shown up in their system ever since it was declared missing.

After reading this report in the local press am compelled to risk my life on our pothole-riddled roads than patronise operators of these 'flying coffins'.

What are the estacode-conscious 'ogas' doing in the office when they ought to fix these problems promptly?

Friday, 21 March 2008

GSM Wahala

Two GSM operators, MTN and Celtel, have lost their bid to evade payment of compensation to subscribers for poor services.


A Lagos Federal High Court directed them to comply forthwith, with the order of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCJ) on the payment of the compensation.

The court held that MTN’s and Celtel’s application challenging the NCC directive lacked merit.

MTN and Celtel had gone to the court, requesting for an interlocutory injunction to restrain the NCC from implementing its directive that they should pay N175 per subscriber for January, for not meeting key performance indicators on quality of service.

The NCC had on January 9, won the case instituted against it by the operators which are protesting the notices on payment of compensation to subscribers issued to them on September 19 and 20, last year.

I don't think this is a bad step towards restoring sanity in the system.

Service delivery should now be paramount for the GSM firms rather focusing on declaring huge benefits.

Thursday, 20 March 2008

Breaking News!!!


Ex-NLC president, Adams Oshiomole has been declared the governor of Edo State by the election petition tribunal sitting in benin-city.

Congrats comrade after a hard fight.

Oshiomole's Day of Glory?

The Edo State Governorship and Legislative Election Tribunal delivers judgment today in the petition by former President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and governorship candidate of the Action Congress party (AC), Comrade Adams Oshiomhole contesting the election of Governor Oserheimen Osunbor.

Oshiomhole is challenging the INEC election result, which declared Senator Oserheimen of the Peoples Democratic Party as winner and duly elected Governor.

However, in an apparent bid to avoid any threat to civil peace and security in the state, as a likely consequence of the verdict that would be returned by the election tribunal sitting in Benin-City, the police has deployed at least 20 armoured personnel carriers in strategic locations, particularly in areas considered flashpoints in the state capital.

Reports say at least 3, 000 policemen are being mobilized to maintain peace and order in the state, before and after the pronouncement of the tribunal’s judgment today.

This judgement is long overdue.

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Executive Gaffe

The nation suffered a monumental embarrassment yesterday when the Minister of Air Transport, Felix Hassan Hyat and the Director General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Dr Harold Demuren, said earlier reports that wreckage of the missing 19-seater Beechcraft 1900D airplane had been found was false.

The minister had said, on Sunday evening, that the wreckage of the plane had been found in Iyalla Local Government Area of Cross River State.

Speaking to the press in Abuja on Monday, through the Chief Press Secretary of the Ministry of Air Transportation, Rhoda Iliya, the minister said that the information he earlier received from the NCAA and released to the press was false.

While regretting the misinformation, he advised that it be discarded as the search mission was still on.

The new position of the minister corroborates the statement made on Sunday by the Managing Director of Wings Aviation Limited, the owners of the plane, Capt. Nogie Meggison, that there was no expert identification of the crash site, as the AIB was yet to confirm the exact location.

He had said: “The AIB has communicated with the airline (Wings Aviation Limited) that the wreckage of the aircraft is speculated to be in Iyalla or Abakaliki area of Ebonyi State.

“The search and rescue operations, in respect of our missing aircraft, has been intensified with additional hands deployed around parts of Cross River State.”

Reports say some overzealous officials from the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and some villagers, who were reportedly on the search train, located pieces of metals and hastily concluded that the rubble were scraps of the ill-fated airplane.

A call was put across to the minister and the NCAA boss, who just arrived from London. Later on, the news filtered out to the media that the wreckage had been found, which eventually turned out to be a hoax.

Monday, 17 March 2008

Another Ugly Chapter

The missing Beechcraft 1900D light aircraft has been found almost 48 hours after its disappearance.

The wreckage of the plane was located in Dabu Village in Yalla Local Council of Cross River State where it crashed.

All the three crew members were confirmed dead in the mishap.

The report of the discovery of the plane ended the confusion, anxiety and fear that pervaded the aviation sector since Saturday when the aviation authorities reported the disappearance of the plane belonging to Wings Aviation Ltd.

The aircraft, which departed Lagos at 07.35 a.m. for Obudu Cattle Ranch in Cross River State, made contact with the Enugu Control Tower at about 7. 54 a.m. and lost touch with it at 08.04 a.m.

Prior to the discovery of the scene of the crash, Nigeria had reached out to neighbouring Cameroun to help it trace the chartered aircraft.

The Minister of State for Air Transport, Hassan Felix Hyat, told journalists yesterday that the aircraft was found in the hilly village very close to Obudu Cattle Ranch Resort.

Earlier yesterday, Hyat disclosed that the government had contacted the Camerounian authorities to assist it trace the plane in its shore.

It's reaaly a shame that we don't have equipment to trace a missing aircraft and it had to take several hours to find the crash site.

Who knows if the system was effective the lives of the victims could have been saved with timely medical attention.

Friday, 14 March 2008

Power Contracts Probe

The House of Represen-tatives may issue a warrant of arrest on the former Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, if she fails to honour the invitation to testify before the committee probing the release of funds to the power sector between 1999 and 2007.

Okonjo-Iweala, who is now a Managing Director of World Bank, had been invited by the House Committee on Power and Steel, but she is yet to honour the invitation.

The Chairman of the committee, Hon. Ndudi Elumelu, said if she fails to turn up again, the House would move against her.

This is indeed a great step towards sanitising the power sector which has been a conduit for corrupt practices over the years.

I am keenly watching procedings at the public hearing sessions and am not disappointed at the revealations so far made.

Thursday, 13 March 2008

Black is Beautiful


New York Governor Eliot Spitzer has resigned, after being linked to a prostitution ring.
He told a news conference he could not allow "private failings" to disrupt public work. He is to hand over power on Monday.

Mr Spitzer again apologised for not living up to the standards he demanded of others - but he gave no details.

Mr Spitzer had allegedly been identified arranging to meet a prostitute in a Washington hotel.

Mr Spitzer made his name as an investigator of organised crime, financial crime and prostitution, and his fall from political grace is being seen as one of the biggest New York has known.

Mr Spitzer said he would hand over power on 17 March to his deputy, Lieutenant-Governor David Paterson, who will become New York's first black governor, as well as its first blind governor.

Mr Paterson issued a statement saying it was time to get back to work.

BARACK OBAMA FACTOR

I have watched the US Democratic Party primaries with keen interest given the power display/performance of Barack Obama and this has further spurred me on.
Barack Obama's performance is enough pointer that colour/race discrimination will soon be a thing of the past.

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

Kidnappings PLC

A six-year old girl was abducted yesterday in Port Harcourt, capital of Rivers State.

Prite Anthony, a pupil of IBCF School, Woji, Port Harcourt, was on her way to school when the abductors struck.

Eyewitnesses said some unknown men riding in a Mercedez Benz 190 car stopped the car in which the girl was being taken to school. The incident happened at D Line. They dragged her out, put her in their car and sped off.

This is really a sad commentary on the agitations of people of the South-South region.

Increasing cases of kidnap of toddlers and relatives of wealthy people in the zone is not the way foward to realise their objectives.

This trend has to stop and leaders of the region have to support security agencies to stop criminals from hijacking their struggle for a better south-south region.

Thursday, 6 March 2008

Repentant Ali

The Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Ahmadu Ali has warned politicians against acts and pronouncements that could lead to electoral violence, warning that politicians who sponsor violence might just be playing into the hands of the military who often seize such opportunities to sack civilian governments in Nigeria.

The warning is coming as political parties in the country traded blames as to the party that is responsible for much of the violence witnessed during elections and blamed the police for inaction especially in electoral violence and poll rigging involving the ruling party.

Ali said that the consequences of allowing political squabbles to degenerate to widespread violence as in the first and second republics were too grave to contemplate and urged leaders of the various political parties to put their houses in order to avoid sending the wrong signals to the barracks.

This is one of the most sensible things i have heard from Ahmadu Ali. It definitely means he has called himself to order too because he's been the chief architect of making violence-related pronouncements capable of truncating the nation's democracy.

It definitely means he is taking his diplomatic lessons seriously.

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Power Embarassment

President Umaru Yar’Adua and the five governors of the North-West zone were yesterday thrown into darkness at the zonal congress of the Peopless Democratic Party (PDP) in Kaduna, following a series of power outage.
The outage occurred three times, lasting for nine minutes.
President Yar'Adua felt embarassed by the power outages and vowed that it would make him confront the power monster head-on.
Mr President, frequent power outages has become a way of life for us and does not constitute any form of embarassment.
If these embarassments can continue at the top i am confident things will improve.

Tuesday, 4 March 2008

Days of Darkness

Nigerians may have to endure the erratic power supply situation, which took a worse turn recently when cables, which transmit about 330kv electricity from the national grid to Lagos and some other parts of the South West, were vandalised by unknown persons.

The affected areas are considered the nation's core commercial hub.

The vandalism took place at Okobaba and Tempest Farm at Ota, Ogun State, taking its toll on electricity consumers around the country, as the backlash has affected the national distribution system.

I understand the repair work on the vandalised cables will take about two months.

What will happen to us if thrown into total blackout for two months?
How will artisans who dont have generators cope? How about those who dont have generators at home?
The weather is already very hot forcing many to rely on their generators before they can have a sound sleep.
My generator is already giving me problems after falling victim of the 'bad' fuel allegedly imported into the country by a major oil company.
The PHCN has to announce the duration of the 'dark days' so that some of us can purchase our candles in cartons.

Monday, 3 March 2008

Airport Rehabilitation

I travelled to the eastern part of Nigeria at the weekend and i was really concerned at the extent of decay of our airports.
I used the Sam Mbakwe airport Owerri on my way to Umuahia and came back through Port Harcourt international airport.
Am shocked that the werri airport is still being patronised by passengers given the state of facilities there.
There is absolutely nothing to show that it is an airport aside the tarmac and abandoned aircraft belonging to the defunct Oriental Airlines. No waiting area for passengers travelling and the security is so porous. The airline booking spots looked more like roadside kiosks.
It's same story in Port Harcourt. The airport is still as it was months before it was shut down for renovation work. The departure hall which was overcrowded was so stuffy and the only difference i noticed was the tarmac which had been expanded.
Must we shout before things are done right? How about all the huge allocations to the aviation sector and the income generated by various agencies operating at the airports?

Friday, 29 February 2008

Expired Politicians

There is a reported fresh plot by some aggrieved members of the House of Representatives to make the lower house ungovernable for the speaker, Dimeji Bankole, in order to unseat him.
The plot is allegedly being hatched by some 'old school' politicians loyal to a former president.
The plot is to ensure that the House of Representatives is disorganised so they don't unanimously vote for progressive candidates during the forthcoming national convention of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The points raised against Bankole and the leadership of the House are:
•non-confrontational policy with the Executive;
•tight fiscal policy;
•insistence on probity on matters that could be ignored;
•disparity in allowances of members and senators; and
•cut in cost of transportation.
The others are medical, oversight and overseas travelling allowances; and the alleged "smuggling" of N60 billion for the Federal Road Maintenance Agency into the 2008 budget, among others.
It's disheartening that some of these 'expired' politicians have not come to terms with the current trend in the country.
Someone should please inform them that it's not business as usual and their alleged blackmail tactics will fail woefully.
If the speaker is involved in any scandal he should be removed but if he is strict to ensure probity then he has the support of all Nigerians.

Thursday, 28 February 2008

Kogi Killings

Several people were feared killed yesterday when policemen drafted to maintain peace at Okene in Kogi Central went on a killing spree.
Several others were also maimed in a reprisal attack to avenge the killing of a riot policemen by unidentified youths in the area on Monday.
Unconfirmed reports about 20 persons were killed durring the attack.
About 5,000 people are also said to have been rendered homeless while 65 residential houses and 150 stalls were set ablaze by the policemen who were allegedly avenging the killing of their colleague.
How Long will these senseless killings continue? Is this the best approach to tackle indiscipline?
Our police should be more civilised.


HAPPY BIRTHDAY

Hurray!!! Am a year older today. Thank God for his grace.

Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Yaradua: Which Way Foward?

It was celebrations galore at the presidential villa yesterday after the tribunal upheld the election of president Yaradua.
Though the opposition is heading for the Supreme Court, it appears the coast is clear for Yaradua to unleash his magic stick and become his real person.
There is abslutely nothing to panic about now and one expects that he wields the big stick to sanitise the system.

Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Yaradua's Victory

The presidential election tribunal today upheld the election of president Umar Yaradua.
The tribunal has dismissed petitions by opposition candidates, Muhammadu Buhari and Atiku Abubakar for lack of merit.
Today's judgement has elicited mixed reactions as some feel its fair while others are of the opinion that it was manipulated to favour the 'powers that be'.
Whatever opinions people hold, i feel the important thing is that we have to right the wrongs of the past despite all odds...even if removing the president will correct the injustice in the system.

Friday, 22 February 2008

Electricity Tariff Increase

The Federal Government has dismissed plans to increase electricity tariff.
President Umaru Musa Yaradua is reportedly worried about the perception that the Federal Government is not respecting agreements reached over the privatisation processes.
On would have wondered at government's justification for increasing electricity tariffs when there is still apparent inadequate power supply despite the billions of dollars pumped into the sector.

Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Apology Galore

The presidency is reported to have sent three top ministers to plead with the speaker of the House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole, and his members over ill-treatment metted out to him during th national awards.
The speaker was given a lower award to spite his office.
What i dont understand is if the presidency will withdraw the national award and give him what he truely derserves; a GCON.
It's time we speak up to correct the injustice in order to move this country foward.

MEND LEADER DEAD?

MEND claims its leader, Henry Okah, who was recently extradicted from Angola over gun running allegations has been killed by security operatives.
MEND claims in an email that Henry Okah was shot dead in Kaduna during an interogation.
The presidency has denied the allegations.

Tuesday, 19 February 2008

Too Many Deaths

The Director of Army Public Relations, Solomon Giwa-Amu, has died in an accident on the Abuja-Kaduna road.
Brig.-Gen. Giwa-Amu reportedly died as a result of injuries he sustained following a road accident along Abuja-Kaduna road.
This is coming barely weeks after the death of ACF chairman, Sunday Awoniyi, on same road.
Maybe more serving government officials will have to die on the road before government sees the urgency in fixing this 'important' road and others acros the country.

Monday, 18 February 2008

ASUU Strike

University teachers will today begin a one-week warning strike over their demand for the reinstatement of their 49 sacked University of Ilorin (UNILORIN) colleagues.
ASUU is bothered that in spite of all its efforts, the government has not shown any commitment to its promise to resolve the crisis.
ASUU is also worried that despite the reports of the various committees set up by successive governments that the sacked lecturers be reinstated, the problem remains unresolved, for strange reasons.
This case has dragged for too long and a responsible government should have resolved it years ago.
Can we sort this once and for all so we don't get distracted again?

Friday, 15 February 2008

Generational Humiliation

The speaker of the House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole, was yesterday humiliated again by the powerful forces controlling Aso Rock.
The speaker was conferred with the honour of CON rather than his deserved GCON.
This is the second time running that the number four citizn will be so humiliated.
First, he was barred from attending a PDP caucus meeting in Aso Rock even though it was his right as a member and one of the highest ranked public office holder of the party. The party later apologised but the deed had been done.
To have degraded his office again during the national awards ceremony gives me great concern.
Is it because he is young? Did he choose himself as the speaker? Is it a bad omen to fight injustice?
This is indeed an insult to my generation and i feel this should be the last episode by the carbal that does not mean well for this country.

Thursday, 14 February 2008

Media Clampdown

I was a victim of recent clampdown on the media when i was arrested last month in Ibadan, Oyo State, for daring to go near a disputed statue to do my report.
I have also read how many of my colleagues are brutalised by either political thugs or the men in black.
Some state governments have also gone a step further by threatening to jail journalists who report their findings...Akwa Ibom State is a reference point.
Lately, the attack on journalists and EFCC officials attending a workshop in Ibadan shows the tide of political harassments and intimidation.
It's time the federal government steps in to check these excesses.

Wednesday, 13 February 2008

Political Rascality

A coalition of human rights organisations in Lagos State yesterday took to the streets, protesting against violence against women in the country.

The protesters demanded that a member of the state House of Assembly, Korede Osunsanya, representing Eti-Osa Local Government, be removed for allegedly assaulting a female staff of Sterling Bank.

The pregnant victim was said to have fainted under the barrage of blows from the furious lawmaker.

The protesters marched from the secretariat of the Civil Liberties Organisation, along Allen Avenue, to the state House of Assembly to submit a petition against the lawmaker.

What manner of rascality is this? Is this what they mean by servant-leader politics?
It's time these forms of abuse are checked.

Tuesday, 12 February 2008

Niger Delta Promises

The federal government has again made 'wonderful' promises to develop the Niger Delta region for fear of being blacklisted by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and other Western nations.
Is it now that the federal government has suddenly realised its responsibilities?
I want to find out if they are going to shelve their budgeted 444 billion naira meant for security in the Niger Delta or convert it for development purposes.

Monday, 11 February 2008

Police Raids

One of my friends (journalist) was arrested last Friday by the police on his way back from work in Lagos. His offence was that he boarded a commercial motorcycle after 10pm. He was not only arrested, he was assaulted and had his ID card seized by the policemen.
Fortunately, he was able to send me a text before they seized his phones. I got to the stattion and was informed i cant see him until after some hours. I called some top cops and they promised to intervene so i had to wait patiently for over 5 hours with another friend/colleague (Ugochukwu Emezue of Silverbird television)who had come to lend me support to seek bail for our detained colleague.
Help finally came when the super cop arrived to order his bail. I sought to know my colleague's offence and i was told he was arrested during a raid on a blackspot. I was confused and asked my colleague why he had to visit a criminals den at night but he denied all the police said and narrated how they were indiscriminately arresting people on the streets and laying false claims.
I confronted the policemen with my colleague's version of the story and all they could say was that they were doing their job and one of them asked 'wetin him dey do outside for past 10pm?
Is it now an offence to get home late from work? What if my coleague did not send me a text? What is the fate of others arrested with him who have no one to make a case for their bail?
I was also greatly disappointed at the rate which policemen at Ojodu police station, Lagos, were openly collecting bribe money from relatives of suspects.

Friday, 8 February 2008

Fresh Elections

The recent pronouncement by the Appeal Court which finally put a ceiling on Ibrahim Idris claim to the governorship seat of Kogi State has to some extent brought hope to the opposition.
It's not about cancellation of the election and ordering for fresh polls. Can we get it right now? What has happened to the electoral system? Are we not going to use same electoral officers again?
I feel this is the time to right the wrongs and ensure transparency to serve as a test case for forthcoming polls.

Wednesday, 6 February 2008

Budget Passage

I read reports in the media last week that the national assembly had concluded plans to pass this year's budget yesterday. I waited endlessly and nothing of such happened.
Are we back to the years when budgets were delyaed untli past the first quater before they were passed?
I feel it's right to ensure transparency, accountability and all that but if at the end the budget fails to achieve its set objectives then what can we say we have achieved?

Tuesday, 5 February 2008

Endless Strikes

The law courts were under lock an key yesterday following a strike action by judicial workers over government's failure to implement agreements reached with them.
The strike paralysed judicial activities across the country and denied some suspects awaiting trial an opportunity to be heard or granted bail.
It's baffling that government will always wait for strike actions to take its toll on activities before they fix problems.

Monday, 4 February 2008

Sweet End to Football Fever

What a relief for all the hypertensive Nigerian football fans who have had their BPs checked severally since the Africa Cup of Nations kicked off. I hope the seven supporters of the super eagles who were hospitalised after our match against Mali have not been rushed back to the hospital.
We have finally been kicked out of the competition so we can be spared the nervous moments for once.
I keep asking myself why i should develop high blood pressure for people who are making their money and not attaching any form of patrotism to their trade.
Something is generally wrong with the entire system and until we begin to profer solutions we may still fall like pack of cards in all sectors when it matters most like our wing-less pigeon eagles did against Ghana.

Friday, 1 February 2008

419 Lawmakers

The chairman of the senate committee on national security and intelligence, Nuhu Aliyu, has backed out of plans to name his colleagues who are fraudsters.
He had threatened to name all those he investigated for fraudulent acts while he served as the assistant inspector general of police.
He has now made a volte face and apologised to his colleagues saying he does not want to lose his friends in the senate.
Does this imply that his friends are fraudsters? How come a top cop is chickening out after shouting at the rooftop?
This is a great sign that corruption may take a longer time to wipe out from our system.

Thursday, 31 January 2008

FOI Bill

I am still trying to come to terms why the national assembly has been foot-dragging in the passage of the Freedom of Information Bill.
Former president Olusegun Obasanjo had refused to sign the Bil into law when it was passed by the former national assembly last year before he left office.
I understand the Bill has been adjusted to protect certain interests but then why the prolonged debate?
Why do other Bills get accelerated debates and passage and the snail speed in the passage of the FOI Bill?

Tuesday, 29 January 2008

Football Fever

The super eagles of Nigeria are billed to play what may turn out to be their last match today at the ongoing Africa cup of nations in Ghana.
Why on earth they decided to put themselves in this tight corner is what am yet to come to terms with.
Why would the NFA enter into such an agreement to pay them $3000 each for disgracing Nigeria against Cote d'Ivoire?
Definitely i see a house cleaning exercise if they do survive today and progress to the quater finals or eventually crash out if Francophone politricks plays out between Cote d'Ivoire and Mali.

Friday, 25 January 2008

Immunity Clause

President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua has predicted that the immunity clause in the 1999 Constitution will be removed in the imminent amendment by the National Assembly.
Section 308 of the constitution shields the president, vice-president, governors and their deputies from criminal prosecution – a provision that many see as a licence for looting by the protected public officers.
President Yar’Adua has expressed confidence that these public officers would soon be stripped of their current immunity from prosecution.
Yar’Adua said he expected the removal of the immunity clause from the constitution to greatly facilitate the work of anti-corruption agencies in the country.
I no longer believe political predictions. i would rather keep my fingers crossed and wait for the constitutional amendment.

Thursday, 24 January 2008

Ribadu/Akunyili Presidential ticket

I stumbled on this idea of the presidential ticket of Nuhu Ribadu/ Dora Akunyili while reading contributions of members of the FOI coalition.
Some members believe the antidote to the nation's corruption 'wahala' is creating an enabling environment for free and fair elections for these duo to emerge in the event that president Yaradua loses out at the presidential election tribunal.
Which party platform will grant this ticket?

Honourable Gangsters

The chairman of the Senate committee on Security and Intelligence, Senator Nuhu Aliyu, yesterday threatened to name members of the National Assembly whom he investigated for Advance Fee Fraud (419) when he was Deputy Inspector General of Police in charge of Criminal Investigations Department.
He issued the threat while contributing to a debate on a motion on the direction and tempo of the war on corruption by the Federal Government and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The Senate President, Senator David Mark, however, stopped him from going further, saying the matter had been referred to the Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions.
That was a clever move by the senate president to save his colleagues the embarassment of their lives.
How long are we going to allow alleged 'gangsters' govern us?
Someone should please advise Senator Aliyu to document the allegations for the media so we can publicly spill the beans in the interest of our nation.

Wednesday, 23 January 2008

Share Certificate imbroglio

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) last August reached an agreement that made CBN to discontinue its pre-allotment verification of bank offers. SEC also gave all companies six weeks to submit allotment proposals after the closure of an issue. The commission thereafter directed that share certificates should be dispatched to investors not later than 15 working days from the date of clearance of allotment but this appears to be a mere paper directive.
It's been complaints galore as many investors are yet to receive their share certificates in respect of bank and other offers months after the clearance of allotment.
Are the banks and companies making public offers too powerful and above the law?
Why have the regulatory bodies not wielded the big stick to serve as a deterrent?

Tuesday, 22 January 2008

Another Idol in the Dock

Former Governor of Edo State, Lucky Igbinedion, yesterday surrendered himself to officials of the economic and financial crimes commission in Lagos.
The former chairman of governors forum has allegedly been on the run since the EFCC commenced investigations into allegations of corruption evelled against him and some of his family members.
He is billed to face 142-count charges of corruption.
This is definitely another plus to the outgoing EFCC boss, Nuhu Ribadu, who wants to tidy up his table before heading to Kuru.
Still waiting for more 'idols' in the dock?

Monday, 21 January 2008

Long Wait for 2008 Budget

I expected the national assembly to have made good its promise to pass the 2008 budget in record time. The lawmakers had promised Nigerians that the budget will be passed before the end of 2007. The month of January,2008 is gradually mindoing up and they are still giving reasons why the passage of the budget is delayed.
The presidency had submitted its budget proposal on time, the ministries and parastatals turned up for their defence on time and what am worried about is the snail speed of the various committees of both chambers.
We've got no choice than to continue to play the waiting game.

Friday, 18 January 2008

One More Down...Still Counting

The Enugu State Election Petitions Tribunal has declared the election of Governor Sullivan Chime null and void.
The tribunal saying voting did not take place in most parts of the state.
Chime’s election was nullified following petitions filed by three political parties—DPP, AC, Accord Party and the Labour Party, asking the tribunal to nullify the 14 April, 2007 governorship election in the state.
Another victory for the common masses or political vendetta?
More of these scenarios will be painted in the next few days.

Wednesday, 16 January 2008

Political Parties PLC

Twenty six political groups have applied to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for registration as parties.
If registered, they will join the existing 50 to bring the number of parties in the country to 76.

INEC in 2003 registered 30 political parties that took part in the general elections at all levels.
But in the 2007 general elections, 50 political parties took part in the exercise at all levels.

Is it all about forming a credible opposition or lining up our pockets?

How many of these registered political parties fielded candidates during the last elections to warrant registering more? Politicians are just making a mockery of our constitutional provisions to enrich themselves-all they are fighting for is to establish a structure that can guarantee them INEC grants.

Am still waiting for INEC's planned probe of all political parties that took part in recent elections.

Tuesday, 15 January 2008

Tobacco Taxes

The Federal Government has sought 130 billion naira damages from a tabacco firm, Philip Morris International for selling tobacco related products to underaged persons. Other defendants in the suit are British American Tobacco Limited, British American Tobacco Company PLC and British American Tobacco Investment Limited.
The case has however been adjourned to the 17th of March.
The Federal Government is praying the court for an order compelling the defendants in the suit to cease the marketing, promotion, distribution, and sale of tobacco related products to minors and underaged persons.
They also asked for an order of mandatory injunction restraning the defendants from representing or portraying to minors or persons under the age of 18, any alluring or misleading image regarding tobacco-related product whether by direct depictions, pictorial, advertorials, images, words messages, sponsorship, branding and or through overt or covertand or subliminal means.
This is definitely a brilliant step by this administration to protect the nation's future given the adverse effects of tobacco on youths.
The aspect am worried about is why it's impossible for government to discontinue collecting taxes from these firms.

Monday, 14 January 2008

New EFCC Boss

The appointment of EFCC former director of operations, Ibrahim Lamorde, as the acting chairman of the commission has continued to generate a lot of debate.
Some have applauded the appointment saying it's a continuation of the 'good works' of Nuhu Ribadu's men.
Others have picked holes in the appointment saying it did not folow due process.
I feel that what should concern Nigerians and the international community is the ability of the new EFCC boss to continue from where Ribadu stopped.
Ibrahim Lamorde, as the EFCC director of operations, was the unseen hand behind Ribadu's success so why not give him a benefit of doubt atleast for 3 months before we conclude if he is indeed a new 'stooge'.

Friday, 11 January 2008

Militarised Democracy

I was yesterday arrested and detained by some overzealous security officers attached to the official residence of Governor Adebayo Alao-Akala of Oyo State. I was picked up along with the Ibadan correspondent of Silverbird/Rhythm FM, Tade Oludayo, for daring to go close to the controversial statue of the unknown soldier. The unknown soldiers statute was erected after that of late sage, Obafemi Awolowo was demolished.
I had no business with their intra-state politics over the disputed statue as i was merely out there to do a balanced report for my organisation but i was suprised when security officials accosted me and my colleague, arrested us, got us detained and interogated us harshly.
Most suprising was comments by the guard commander of the security officials who wondered why his colleagues did not 'open fire' (shoot) when they saw us walk close to the cenotaph. The guard commander also threatened to order us to be thoroughly beaten. The cenotaph is metres away from the government house.
I had to exploit all my 'powerful' contacts before the ADC to the governor (Salami) came to our rescue.
It's suprising that confirmation of reports has become a criminal offence. My explanation to the security officials that i had secured permission from the governor's ofice fell on deaf ears and they were hell-bent on making me and my colleague, whom i had engaged as my guide, to pay for our 'sins'.
Below are links to some newspaper reports about the incident in today's newspapers.

http://www.thisdayonline.com/nview.php?id=100117

http://www.punchng.com/Articl.aspx?theartic=Art200801111424129

http://www.independentngonline.com/?c=117&a=8863

http://www.tribune.com.ng/11012008/news/news12.html

Thursday, 10 January 2008

Unequality Before the Law


Former governor of Delta State, James Ibroi, was yesterday admitted at the national hospital, Abuja, for an undisclosed illness. He was driven down to Abuja from the Kaduna prisons accompanied by a heavy detachment of anti-riot policemen. The prison authorities had initially planned to fly James Ibori to Abuja with a police helicopter.
Ibori was reportedly reffered to the national hospital by prison doctors and private medical consultants attached to him.
How many prison inmates have access to medical doctors? How many inmates even have the rare priviledge of being attended to by private medical consultants while awaiting trial?
Does it imply that though we are all bonafide citizens of Nigeria yet we are not equal before the law?

Wednesday, 9 January 2008

Hunting News Hunters

Feelers from Rivers State indicate that security agencies are hounding some journalists whom they perceive are 'aiding' or rather 'encouraging' militancy through their reports.
The security agents are on the prowl trying to gag the pen pushers for daring to balance their reports by constantly interviewing the militant group leaders and airing/publishing their reactions.
Some of the journalists have already been summoned to appear before security chiefs in the state for interogation.
When did news hunting become a crime? Should journalists now desist from seeking opposing views other than that of government agencies?
Oh! I just remembered they say the pen is migtier than the gun.