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.

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.

Election Tribunals

It's about nine months now since the last elections were held. Winners were declared and losers headed to the tribunals to challenge the outcome. Some have been removed from their seats and others have retained theirs. Some of the tribunals have already concluded sitting and collected their allowances and gone back to their families while some are 'unecessarily' dragging.
Why is is then so difficult for some of these tribunals to conclude cases brought before it in the face of overwhelming evidences?
The alleged rigging in some of the states were so obvious that even market women know that those sworn in at the moment are only holding brief for the 'people's choice'.


The Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria should brush aside sentiments and commercial interests to ensure Nigerians watch the Africa Cup of Nations from the comfort of their homes.
Why did BON wait until a foreign national bought the broadcast rights before making plans for transmission rights?

Tuesday, 8 January 2008

Genuine Politricks

The game of politricks in Nigeria is gradually getting uninteresting if signs emanating from the presidency and the national assembly are to be taken seriously.
How on earth will the president return a whooping 1 billion naira back to the nation's treasury? This is coming on the heels of a similar directive by the house of representatives that 7 billion naira which were unspent be returned to the treasury.
Does it mean these present crop of politicians don't have a 'sharing formula'? why did they not consult fulltime politicians to work out the equation for them?
If this has become the norm then its the turn of the senate, ministries and parastatals to tow same line for a complete cleansing of the system.

Monday, 7 January 2008

Impending Fuel Increase

Why is the federal government hell-bent on handing Nigerians a greek gift this new year? What's our business with increasing oil prices in the international market? What have they done with funds realised from the excess crude sales realised months ago? i suggest they deduct it from source if they have shared it among themselves as usual and use it for subsidy on oil prices rather than causing the average Nigerian untold hardship again by increasing prices of petroleum products.


The threat by the Joint Military Task Force in the Niger Delta to return 'fire-for-fire' if the militants strike again is disturbing. The casualties will definitely be harmless innocent residents of the creeks and impoverished villages of the Niger Delta.
Is it impossible for government to reach a truce with the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND)? Can we get some genuine commitment from government for once in tackling the crises in the region?

Friday, 4 January 2008

Unending Speculations

I am sick and tired on this undending speculations over the future of EFCC chairman, Nuhu Ribadu.
Why has president Umar Yaradua not come out to clear the air? why has Ribadu also refused to grant media interviews or issue signed statements?
I have chosen not to believe any response by their aides/assistants until i hear from the 'main source'.
I like the the 'never-say-die' spirit of civil society groups in the course of this 'rofo-rofo' fight for supremacy with the presidency.

Tuesday, 1 January 2008

Denials Galore

The police heirachy appears to be feeling the heat of the ongoing media campaign against its haste 'clean up' exercise at the EFCC.
The police has come out to deny sending other top officials of Nuhu Ribadu's team on 'forced' study leave.
The media campaign must be sustained to ensure that no further damage is done to our system.
Happy New Year.