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NDLEA Surrounds Kashamu’s House

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Officers and men of National Drug Law Enforcement Agency(NDLEA) have surrounded the house of alleged drug baron, Kashamu in Ogun State, with a view to extradite him to US to face drug-related charges.

« Previous Article Chidoka Advocates Private Sector-driven National Carrier

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Minister of Aviation, Mr Osita Chidoka

Chidoka Advocates Private Sector-driven National Carrier

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The Minister of Aviation, Mr Osita Chidoka on Friday said a private sector-driven national carrier would be the best way forward for Nigeria.
Chidoka stated this when he spoke with newsmen during the official inauguration of the Pilot and International Protocol Lounge at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.

He said that he would share the idea with the major players in the industry, adding that the country needed flag carriers because of its strong domestic market.
“One of the things we are proposing is that Nigeria does indeed need flag carriers so to say because we are a country that has strong domestic market and have local airlines operating.
“We believe that national carrier that is private sector- driven will be the way to go for Nigeria and we are looking forward to that,’’ he said.
Chidoka said that the Federal Government was determined to end discrimination against Nigerian pilots by making sure that every airline operating in the country had at least a Nigerian pilot.
He said that the measure, which would take effect from June 1, would encourage Nigerian pilots and give them flight experience.
The minister said that the ministry had been working with the Ministry of Interior to ensure that before any airline could bring in foreign pilot, it must have employed a Nigerian pilot.

“Before any quota permission is given for a foreign pilot, the Ministry of Aviation must be contacted by the Ministry of Interior to give a no-objection.
“This is to be sure that such airline has fulfilled the obligation of employing a Nigerian pilot and also has a training plan to keep training Nigerian pilots.
“With that in place, we will then agree for them to bring in foreign pilots,’’ he said.
Chidoka said that all the projects initiated under the current administration were on course, adding that those yet to be completed would be completed by the incoming administration.
He said that the projects in the aviation sector were projects that would enhance the future of the industry, adding that anybody that had the interest of Nigeria would complete them.
“The completion time is still about 18 months away and I believe that the incoming government would put everything in process to complete them,’’ he said. (NAN)

« Previous Article FG raises Alarm Over Dwindling Electricity Supply, Power Plants Shutdown

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The Federal Government on Friday in Abuja raised alarm over dwindling and epileptic electricity supply across the country.

The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Power, Mr Godknows Igali, made this known after a meeting with Vice-President Namadi Sambo to State House correspondents in Abuja.

Igali, and Prof. Chinedu Nebo, Minister of Power, had briefed Sambo on the state of power generation, transmission and distribution in the country.

He said the ongoing strike by Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) and the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas had further worsened the power supply situation.

The workers were protesting the transfer of the operatorship of the Oil Mining Lease (OML) 42 to two indigenous companies, claiming the move would affect the fortunes of NPDC and its staff.

“With the strike which has gone on for one or two days there is dramatic turn as of this afternoon we have gone down for the all time low to 1,327 megawatts.

“So, if you look at it from 4,800 there is dramatic turn, the loss is terrible,’’ Igali said.

He said as at 12 noon May 22, 2015, Utorogu, CHEVRON ORE DO, OB EN gas plants were all shutdown while UGHELI and CNL ESCRAVOS were already isolated.

He said, “on the eastern axis Shell Gas, ALAKIRI has also been shutdown. This has led to the several power plants being stranded and shutdown.

“This includes EGBIN, OLORUNSHOGO I & 11, OMOTOSHO 1& 11, GEREGU I & 11, IHONVOR and SAPELE (NIPP) on the western axis and ALAOJI on the eastern end.’’

According to him, besides, pipeline vandalism which has continued to have very negative impact on the power supply situation in the country, the ongoing strike by the labour unions in the oil and gas sector has added additional toll.

“The overall effect is that power supply which had started picking up steadily since the beginning of the week following repairs of various vandalised portions of the ELP Line and the Trans-Forcados Gas Pipelines, has fallen to all-time-unprecedented low of 1,327m was at 1.00 p.m. May22, 2015.

He, therefore, warned that “situation could get worse if the strike continues’’.

Igali expressed the hope that the ongoing discussion between the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and, the labour unions, would end amicably.

“Indeed, it is hoped the labour unions will help restore supply of gas to the power plants even while negotiation are ongoing.’’(NAN)

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President Goodluck Jonathan on Friday inaugurated the Armed Forces Radio, known as “Defence Radio 107.7 FM’’, with a call on Nigerians to appreciate the commitment and sacrifices of the armed forces.

The president said that the society had not shown much support to security personnel, adding that the trend should stop.

According to him, the radio station will help to enhance the operations of the military.

“Other nations even bring foreign media to cover some of their operations and things are exaggerated as if they even work harder than we do.

“So, today that we are launching your radio station will be a turning point, where some of our operations will be properly covered and Nigerians will know.

“If Nigerians know what you are doing and what you are passing through, Nigerians will remain grateful.

“And I use this opportunity to call on all Nigerians, both our senior citizens and ordinary citizens to appreciate the commitment and the sacrifices of our armed forces.

“We wouldn’t have been sleeping if these people are not working.

“I always feel a bit worried and sometimes angry when I read in the papers negative comments about our armed forces and the police.

“Ours is a society that sometimes doesn’t appreciate the commitment of individuals, the suffering of individuals.

“These people fight and some of them pay the supreme price, leaving widows and young children as orphans.’’

Jonathan said that instead of commending and encouraging members of the Armed Forces, Nigerians criticise them.

According to him, it is normal for the society to criticise, but it should show some level of respect for members of their security team.

Jonathan urged Nigerians to encourage the armed forces to do better.

He expressed gratitude to the military for establishing the radio station, saying it would enhance professionalism of officers and men.

“So today I am quite pleased that we are commissioning the radio station.

“I believe very sincerely, that with this radio station, ‎especially when all the infrastructure is put in place, that the whole country will be covered.

“To help enhance the operations of the armed forces, to help to inform Nigerians about the activities of the armed forces and to make many more Nigerians to appreciate the activities of the armed forces.’’

Jonathan said that the neglect of the military in terms of hardware acquisition and relevant training in the past had compounded the security infrastructure.

This, he said, also affected the precision of military response to challenges.

The president, however, said that recent purchases of military hardware and support to the armed forces had reasonably changed the tide.

“These have indeed reversed the trend allowing for effective governance, peace and security in areas hitherto held by terrorists and other misguided elements.’’

Earler, the Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshall Alex Badeh, said that the station was created to create a balance in the reportage of military activities in the country.

“The motivation for the establishment of the armed forces radio station was borne out of the increasing importance of the role of the media in military operations as well as recent experiences of the Nigerian Military in the war against terrorists in the North Eastern part of Nigeria.

“The media as the watchdog of the society plays a very important role in shaping public opinion for or against any activity of government and its agencies, including the conduct of military operations.

“When employed positively, the media acts as a force multiplier for ongoing military operations.

“Objective media coverage of military operations not only encourages public awareness and support for the military during operations, it has the added benefit of keeping the families and friends of service men abreast of activities of troops no matter where they are deployed.

“This is invaluable in maintaining the morale of troops.’’

Badeh described as unfair and irresponsible some reportage of events in the North East.

According to him, terrorist acts are celebrated more than anything else which undermines the cohesiveness of the military.

He said that at a point, morale was so low that most troops lost the will to fight.

“Acts of cowardice by troops who fled from battle based on fabricated reasons were celebrated as virtue by certain media organisations.

“It got so bad that troops began to question why they would lay down their lives for a country and citizens that don’t appreciate their sacrifices.’’

The CDS solicited for more support from members of the public and thanked those who assisted in the establishment of the radio station.

Badeh assured that their efforts would not be in vain. (NAN)

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The Senate Minority Leader, Sen. George Akume, on Friday said that he was the most qualified candidate for the position of the Senate presidency.

Akume, who represents the people of Benue North-West under the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) disclosed this in an interview with newsmen in Abuja.

Akume said that going by the presidential system of government which Nigeria practices, the minority leader should automatically takeover the leadership if his party man emerges as president.

“We are practicing the presidential system of government and in that system, the path of succession to leadership in the legislature is clearly established; as minority leader, automatically I should have become the president.

“I got into the senate after eight years as the governor of Benue state.

“During my stay here, I moved from the PDP which I co-formed to the ACN and eventually I became the minority leader of APC after the merger and from that vantage position I became the chairman of the minority caucus.

“I believe that given my track records and the fact that I have been leading the caucus in the senate, I should be considered the most worthy man to preside over the affairs of the 8th Senate.

“For anybody to say that I should withdrew is purely in the imagination of a few, I do not have any skeletons in my cupboard,” he said.

This is exemplified recently, in the U.S. whose democracy we copied, where the minority leader automatically rose to become speaker. That is the way things are done.

On the lingering issue of zoning, Akume said that zoning was a deliberate attempt to ensure inclusion in the politics of Nigeria.

He said that Nigeria was very complex in its structures and diversity and such complexities must be appropriately handled for unity.

“Today, people may want to overlook and override the importance of zoning but strategic positions should be zoned and rotated.

“Zoning is part and parcel of the politics of Nigeria, even if zoning is not expressly stated in our constitution, there must be fairness and balance in the occupation of strategic position.

“This has also given us stability in the last 16 years; we should not throw away zoning, it is acceptable to me.

“I have not heard from the party that they have jettisoned zoning, I am a faithful party man,” he said.

He dismissed the reservation in some quarters about him emerging since his would-be predecessor, Sen. David Mark, was from the same region and state, adding it would not be new to the nation’s legislature.

He cited that the North has produced three presidents so far in the persons of Shehu Shagari, Shehu Musa Ya’Adua and now President-elect Muhammadu Buhari.

“You will want to find out why Hon. Salisu Buhari was speaker from Kano (North-West), after him Ghali Na’abba from Kano (North-West) then Aminu Masari from Katsina (North-West).

“So, you can see that precedence has already been established, Benue (North Central) will not be breaking new grounds.

“The North is not complaining, if you look at the leadership of the north they are not complaining, all they are saying is that it is wonderful for the unity of the North.

“They are saying that we should look beyond 2015 to 2019, they are not opposed to the issue of the Senate Presidency coming to the North-Central,” he said.

Akume clarified that contrary to purported rumours, he does not have any disagreements with Bola Tinubu or any other leader of the APC as being rumoured in the social media. (NAN)

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NIMET

NiMet Predicts Cloudy Weather, Localised Thunderstorm For Saturday

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The Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) has predicted cloudy weather condition in the morning hours over the central states of the country on Saturday.

This is contained in the Weather Outlook issued by NiMet’s Central Forecast Office (CFO) in Abuja on Friday.

It stated that there were chances of localised thunderstorms over the region during the afternoon and evening hours.

NiMet also predicted that the South-West coast areas would experience localised morning showers while thunderstorms would be expected over the South-East coast.

It also predicted that the entire inland areas would experience localised thunderstorms during the afternoon hours.

NiMet predicted that northern states would experience sunny to partly cloudy conditions with prospects of localised thunderstorms over the North-West, especially Gusau – Yelwa axis during the afternoon period. (NAN)

« Previous Article I Will Be An Advocate Of Peace After Leaving Office - Jonathan

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President Goodluck Jonathan on Friday said he would be an advocate of peace in the country after leaving office.

The president said this when The Apostolic Church Nigeria, FCT Field, presented him with the “2015 Epitome of Peace Award’’ at the State House in Abuja.

Jonathan thanked the church for honouring him and said that he would appreciate if more Nigerians would join him in advocating for peace in the country.

. Cue in audio

“And one thing that I have decided to do after leaving office, is to make sure that I will be talking to all faithful of all religions, Christians, Muslims and other religions the need for Nigerians to live in peace.

“Because, when there is crisis in any part of the country, nobody can practice his own belief.

“When there is crisis anywhere, people cannot go to the mosque, you cannot go to the church.

“So we need peace in this country, no matter our religious persuasions, no matter our beliefs.

“And that will be one of my main commitments when I leave office.

“To reduce discrimination in this country based on religious divides or ethnicity.

“And I believe that I will have so many apostles to follow me to do that.’’

. Cue out audio

The president said that so many people had done things to project and keep the nation together which had gone unnoticed.

According to him, his recognition and honour by the church is to encourage him to do more for Nigerians.

He said the church noticed him not because he was the president, but because of a little action he took to save lives.

He thanked the group for the memorabilia it gave to him and said he would keep them in his Presidential museum of library for posterity.

Earlier, the Superintendent of the Church, Apostle John Buzu, said that the church chose the president for the award in recognition of his “outstanding leadership qualities, great strides, impactful contributions and laudable achievements’’.

Buzu said that Jonathan had proved to be an excellent leader and wonderful asset to the country.

“Our beloved president, you have distinguished yourself as a selfless servant leader with a large heart and a great sense of commitment towards the wellbeing, development, unity and progress of this nation.

“Your personal and leadership character have so endeared you to the hearts of well-meaning Nigerians and friends of the international community.

“We have collectively watched and observed you to be a humble leader with a simple and humane disposition to all manner of persons, irrespective of age, background, status, tribe, race or colour.

“You have exhibited a true servant-leader attitude with the willingness and readiness to always serve objectively at any level of responsibility and governance.

”You are a genuine and an icon of peace,’’ the clergyman said.

Buzu thanked Jonathan for expanding the political space in the country and expressed the hope that such legacy would be sustained. (NAN)

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Catholic Bishop of Sokoto, Rev. Mathew Kukah, has commended the military for allowing the nation’s democracy to go grow.

He made the commendation on Friday in Abuja at the presentation and official launching of a book entitled “Destiny Calling My Name’’ the biography of the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh.

The book was written by Prince Dotun Oyelade.

Kukah, who chaired the occasion, described the current transition from one government to another as `a great moment’ for the country.

He said: “This is a great moment for Nigeria’s democracy; we have made progress in our country, the military is truly subordinate to civilian administration at this moment.

“Nigeria is indeed truly in democracy and if you were ever in doubt look no further,

“ I believe that most Nigerians must be very pleased that when it mattered, our military displayed a high sense of responsibility.’’

Kukah commended Badeh for assuring Nigerians of the professionalism and democratic credentials of the military.

He however urged serving and retired military generals to stay away from the politics of the country.

He said that the military had taken away several years of the nation’s democracy and should allow civilians to grow the country’s democracy.

He said: “You know that the military has already taken away most of our years in this democracy, and as you have seen, they are still not yet through with us.

“My people, we must make progress and our democracy will grow.

“Let those soldiers who have retired enjoy the benefit of their retirement and let the soldiers who are serving remain in the military and do very well what they set out to do when they joined the military.

Kukah said the book was a story of what God could do and traced Badeh’s journey from a village school through the secondary school to Defence Academy to his current position.

The Bishop commended President Goodluck Jonathan for the courage to accept defeat in the last elections.

The Guest of Honour, Prof. Jerry Gana, who commended Jonathan for his political maturity, said the president’s acceptance of defeat saved Nigeria from avoidable crisis.

He commended Badeh for the success made so far by the military in the fight against the Boko Haram insurgents.

In his remark, the CDS said he was fulfilled having served for many years in the military.“ (NAN)

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Youths from Nembe Communities in Bayelsa have shutdown two flow stations within OML 29 to protest the divestment of Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) from the field.

A resident, Michael Dennis, told News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday that the communities were aggrieved over the sale of the asset by Shell without recourse to the community.

Dennis said the youths embark on the protest following several attempts to get the oil firms involved in the deal to factor in the interest of the host communities.

He said youths stormed the oil field in more than 20 speedboats and shut it down without any resistance by the armed security men deployed to the facility.

The resident said that the youths had forced oil workers operating the facility to safely shutdown the facility to avert any accident or damage to the installation.

It will be recalled that Shell in March 2015 sold off its equity stake in OML for 1.7 billion dollars to Aiteo Eastern Exploration and Production.

The security operatives claimed they were not aware of the incident, but ASP Asinim Butwat, told NAN that an official in the oil firm confirmed the development to him.

“Checks at Nembe Division showed that the matter was not yet reported to the Divisional Police Officer, but a source in the facility confirmed the incident and said that it is being sorted out,” Butswat said.

Nembe communities in Bayelsa and Shell held divergent views on outstanding oil spill compensation and environmental damages as the oil firm plans to divest its assets in the area.

Nembe Oil and Gas Committee had in March 2013 urged prospective investors interested in acquiring Shell’s interests in oil fields in the area to investigate outstanding liabilities.

The community stated that Shell had an outstanding liability of about one billion dollars in damages and compensation in the oil firm’s operations for the past 50 years in Nembe.

Chief Nengi James, Chairman of the Nembe Oil and Gas Committee, however, assured that the community would extend its peaceful disposition to the new investors.

Efforts to get reaction from Aiteo Exploration and Production was unsuccessful. (NAN)

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Channels Television
Updated May 23, 2015

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The media and publicity subcommittee, of the Presidential Inauguration Planning Committee has disclosed that over 54 countries and 50 heads of state are expected to grace the inauguration of the president-elect, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari.

The chairman of the committee and minister of Culture and Tourism, Chief Edem Duke, who disclosed this yesterday in a press conference in Abuja as part of activities lined up for the presidential inauguration, said that in the recent past, Nigeria has become a focal point of the global community and the continent of Africa, especially in view of the unique transition programme.

Chief Duke, who further gave a breakdown of the programme for the inauguration, said that the Juma’at service has been held yesterday at the National Mosque in Abuja, and that the second event will be a special church service and thanksgiving on Sunday, May 24, at the National Christian Centre in Abuja at 3pm.

According to the committee chairman, the inauguration dinner will hold on the eve of Thursday, 28 May, at the State House conference hall while the swearing-in will be performed at the Eagle Square on Friday, 29 May, at 9am, which will be immediately followed by a special inauguration luncheon at the State House Bouquet Hall at 12noon. He added that the inauguration ceremony will close Friday, May 29 with a Gala Night slated to hold at the State House conference hall, saying that all the events are strictly by invitation.

Speaking on the expenditure for the inauguration, who did not disclose the amount so far spent, Chief Edem Duke said that all over the world, the focus is on Nigeria and that there is the need for the country to organise an inauguration that would be comparable to other inaugurations in any part of the world.

Chief Duke said, “As we speak, the 54 countries on the continent of Africa have been invited and there has been a huge interest, especially from the heads of countries in Europe to attend this inauguration. At the last count, I think we must have in excess of about 50 heads of state and delegation expected at this inauguration. So, this in itself is a plus for the image of Nigeria-that we have attracted such positive attention to this inauguration.

“No president is less important than another, but I want to assure the Nigerian public that we could not have executed this inauguration with any amount more or less than what is being expended today. But, I can assure Nigerians that we are working on a very stringent budget.

“The important thing is not the cost of the inauguration; but the essence of executing a proper inauguration that will sustain the integrity and position of Nigeria in the committee of nation. Special attention has been paid to security for this inauguration and arrangements are being made to screen all the invitees, long before they access the perimeters of the location.”

The co-chairman of the committee, Chief Pius Akinyelure also explained that preparations have been meticulously concluded and they are confident that they will achieve their over reaching objectives.

 

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Angry youths have set ablaze a Shariah Court over a blasphemous statement attributed to a follower of Tijjaniyya sect, Aminu Abdul Nyass, based in Kano State. Aminu Abdul Nyass, a Tijjaniyya sect member allegedly insulted the sacred Prophet Muhammad at a function organised to commemorate the birthday of the late Sheikh Ibrahim Nyass, the sect’s supreme leader.

An eyewitness told our reporter that the court located at Rijiyar Lemo area of Kano metropolis, was completely razed when angry youth who were impatiently waiting to witness the trial of Nyass stormed the court’s premises.

According to him, the incident occurred at abouKAnot 11am before the magistrate of the court and the accused arrived, recalling that the mobs around the court suddenly turned chaotic and in a moment, the court building was on fire.

He noted that the youths were dispersed by the intervention of police officers before firefighters of the Rijiyar Lemo division arrived and put off the fire.

The mobs in their hundreds then proceeded to the emir’s palace and to Kano Government House to lodge their complaints, demanding for prompt execution of the accused.

The irate youths laid siege at the Kano emir’s palace to express their grievances and urged for timely execution of the culprit who was waiting for trial at a prison in the state.

The demonstrators blocked the roads leading to the emir’s palace, causing traffic gridlock around the area and carrying placards which contain various messages of Prophet Muhammad (SAW).

Some of them tied up red strips of cloth around their heads with green tree leaves in their hands while marching towards the venue chanting “Allahu Akbar”, meaning Allah is great.

Speaking, an irate youth, Halifa Mustapha, said the demonstration was to express their sadness for the alleged insult against Prophet Muhammad, adding that their demand was to draw the attention of the government towards a timely execution of the culprit.

The statement of Nyass sparked outrage among Muslims around the state, leading to his arrest by the state’s Police command and subsequent attack on his residence by irate youths.

However, the two prominent national leaders of the sect, Sheikh Isyaku Rabiu and Sheikh Dahiru Bauchi, distanced themselves from the statement in a simultaneous press conference held in Kano.

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The darkness being experienced by the nation over the inadequate power supply, may persist further, as supply have dropped abysmally to an unprecedented low of 1.327 mega watts.

This is following an alarm raised by the Federal Governpower-gridment over the epileptic power supply which is blamed on the on-going strike by Labour Unions in the oil and gas sector.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Power, Ambassador Godknows Igali, gave the hint after he accompanied the Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo to brief the Vice President, Namadi Sambo, on the current power problem in the country.

Briefing State House correspondents after the meeting with Sambo, Igali noted that it had become necessary to update Nigerians on the current power situation in the country.

He said before government started facing the current challenges, the power sector had generated between 4,800 megawatts at the beginning of the year, “with a potential to get up to 6,000 megawatts based on the available gas and hydros”.

Igali continued: “Besides, pipeline vandalization which has continued to have very negative impact on the power supply situation in the country, the on-going strike by labour unions in the oil and gas sector has added additional toll. The current strike by both senior and junior staff unions of the NNPC, NUPENG and PENGASSIN, has led to further reduction of the amount of gas available to most of our power plants, especially in the western axis.

“As at 12.00 noon Friday, 22nd May, 2015, Utorogu, Chevron Ore Do and Ob En gas plants are shut down while Ugheli and CNL Escravos are isolated already. On the eastern axis, Shell Gas, ALAKIRI has also been shut down. This has led to the several power plants being stranded. This includes EGBIN, OLORUNSHOGO I & 11, OMOTOSHO 1& 11, GEREGU I & 11, IHONVOR and SAPELE (NIPP) on the western axis and ALAOJI on the eastern end”.

Lamenting the current state at which power supply has dropped, he said, “The overall effect is that power supply which had started picking up steadily since the beginning of the week, following repairs of various vandalized portions of the ELP Line and the Trans-Forcados Gas Pipelines has fallen to all-time-unprecedented low of 1,327m was at 1.00 p.m. on Friday, 22nd May, 2015. This situation could get worse if the strike action continues.

“The Federal Ministry of Power hopes, that the on-going discussion between the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources, the Nigerian Petroleum Corporation and, the Labour Unions, will end amicably and soonest to save the country from such a major disruption of essential services. Indeed, it is hoped that the Labour Unions would help restore supply of gas to the power plants even while negotiation are on-going”.

 Senate Summons Okonjo-Iweala, Diezani Over Fuel Scarcity

However, sequel to a resolution of the Senate on Thursday mandating its committees on Petroleum Resources (Upstream and Downstream) to investigate the persistent fuel scarcity in the country, the committees yesterday summoned coordinating minister for the Economy and Finance minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and her Petroleum Ministry counterpart, Diezani Alison-Madueke to appear before it.

Also invited by the joint committee are the group managing director of NNPC, managing directo PPMC, director DPR, PPPRA MOMAN (Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria), IPMAN (Independent Marketers Association of Nigeria and NARTO (National Association of Road Transport Owners).

Business and commercial activities in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) have almost been brought to a halt due to the acute scarcity of fuel. Motorists queue for hours at handful of filling stations which still sell the product in the FCT.

Joint chairmen of the committees, Senators Paulker Emmanuel and Magnus Abe, signed the invitation to all the stakeholders in the oil industry.

A part of the invitation reads: “On Thursday, May 21, Senator Abdul Ningi drew the attention of the Senate to the lingering fuel scarcity in the country and the untold hardship on the generality of Nigerians.

“He urged the Senate to look into the matter with a view to finding the causes and lasting solution to the problem.

In view of this, the Senate directed its committees on Downstream Petroleum sector and Petroleum Resources (Upstream) to investigate the matter and report back on Tuesday, May 26.

The committee’s report, it was gathered, is expected to be submitted to the Senate for deliberation at Tuesday’s plenary.

 

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Vice President Namadi Sambo, yesterday, prayed Allah for the guidance of the incoming administration of Muhammadu Buhari to continue with the progress and development of Nigeria.

He prayed at a special session held at the National Mosque, Abuja, to mark the presidential inauguration next week.

Sambo, who spoke after the prayers, urged all Nigerians to support the administration of Buhari to succeed, even as he said “we have just performed the special Juma’at prayer for a successful inauguration of our incoming president-elect, Muhammadu Buhari.”

Also speaking, the representative of the president-elect, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, said they were grateful for the support and cooperation of Nigerians for the president-elect, urging Nigerians to pray for a successful inauguration come May 29.

The deputy Chief Imam of the National Mosque, Dr Mohammed Kabir, who based his sermon on trust, called on leaders at all levels to discharge the responsibility placed on them with the utmost fear of Allah.

He stressed on the need for leaders not to betray the trust reposed in them by the people, as they would be asked to give account of all their actions by Allah on the Day of Judgment.

The Imam said that Prophet Muhammad (SAW) admonished Muslims to always remember that everything entrusted in their care as leaders, be it as family head, community leader, state governors or the president, every individual must account for the responsibility bestowed upon them.

The Special Juma’at prayers was attended by the Zamfara State governor, AbdulAziz Yari; FCT minister, senator Bala Mohammed; minister of state for finance, amb Bashir Yuguda and the minister of state for foreign affairs, senator Musiliu Obanikoro as well as members of the diplomat corps, military officers, royal fathers and other top government officials.

sambo2…Jonathan To Be Peace Ambassador After May 29

Meanwhile, President Goodluck Jonathan on Friday said his major commitment after leaving office on May 29 will be to engage religious and ethnic leaders across the country on the need to allow peace to reign.

He said he took the decision because of his strong belief that Nigerians can only practise their different religions in an atmosphere of peace.

Jonathan disclosed this shortly after he was presented with the 2015 Epitome of Peace Award by the Field Superintendent of The Apostolic Church Nigeria, Federal Capital Territory Field, apostle John Buzu, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The President said the award, which was in recognition of the step he took after the March 28 Presidential election, which had led to peace in the country, had further spurred him into doing more for the country.

He said he would work hard to reduce religious and racial discrimination in the country after leaving office, expressing the hope that people would be ready to join him in the crusade.

Jonathan said, “To whom much is given, much is expected. For you to honour me today, you have given me another mandate to work harder to ensure that we as Nigerians continue to live in peace.

“One thing I have decided I will do after leaving office, is to be talking to the faithfuls of all religions: Christians, Muslims and other religions, on the need for Nigerians to live in peace.

“This is because when there is crisis in any part of the country, nobody can practise his own religion. If there is crisis anywhere, people cannot go to the mosque, they cannot go to the church.

“We need peace in this country, no matter our religious persuasion or belief. That will be one of my main commitments when I leave office: to reduce discrimination in this country based on religious divides or ethnicity. I believe I will have so many apostles that will follow me to do that.”

While thanking the church for considering him fit for the award, the President observed that a number of Nigerians make extraordinary contributions to national development daily, but they go unnoticed.

He added that a few of them, including himself, are luckier because their contributions are noticed.

“I sincerely thank you for considering me fit for this honour that you have just bestowed on me.

“All of us do a number of things everyday. People have saved this country, we don’t even know some of them or what they did but some people are luckier that their actions are noticed and sometimes rewarded.

“You have also noticed me with my little contribution, not just because I am the President of the country, but because of an action I took that you believe saved lives and you are honouring me,” he added.

Jonathan, who was presented with a white shirt and suit, which the church said connotes peace, a medal as well as a plaque, said the items would be displayed conspicuously in a Presidential museum or library which he would put in place after leaving office.

“I am grateful for the insignia given to me: the plaque, the medal and the dress are quite unique. They will be very conspicuous in my Presidential museum or library so that even after 50 years, people will still see and appreciate what you have done today even if I have left this world and have gone beyond, what you have done will still be displayed in my library for people to see,” he said.

Shortly before presenting the award, Buzu said it was in recognition of Jonathan’s outstanding leadership qualities, strides, contributions and laudable achievements as the President of the country.

He said Jonathan had proven to be an excellent leader and a wonderful asset to the country.

He added that one excellent quality that distinguished the President for the award was the legacy of peace which he had bequeathed to Nigeria and Nigerians.

The clergyman added that for conceding defeat and calling Muhammadu Buhari to congratulate him after the Presidential elections, Jonathan saved lives of those who would have been consumed by violence.

He said the President’s decision was unprecedented in the country and in Africa.

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The violence that trailed the 2015 elections in Rivers State has left sad tales in the lives of many people in Rivers State. While some family members lost their breadwinners, others are left with various degrees of injuries. anayo onukwugha reports on some of the sour-taste incidences.

Although, the 2015 general elections have come and gone, the politically motivated violence which trailed the elections leading to the loss of several precious lives, has continued to reecho in the minds of those who lost loved ones.

In Rivers State alone, no fewer than 40 persons were reportedly killed or maimed before, during and after the presidential, National Assembly, governorship and state assembly elections, held on March 28, and April 11, 2015, respectively.

Visits to several communities in at least eight, out of the 23 local government areas in the state, showed that relatives of victims of politically motivated violence were scared to speak out for fear of being witch-hunted.

However, a member of the Adube family in Obrikom community in Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni local government area of the state, Bestman, who lost five of his family members and a driver during an attack on their residence by unknown gunmen on April 6, 2015, agreed to speak with LEADERSHIP Weekend.

Bestman told LEADERSHIP Weekend that Chief Christopher Nwaliso Adube, who until his death was chairman of Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni local government area of the state, and a chieftain of the APC was felled by assassins’ bullets as were his two sons – John and Lucky Adube and daughter, Joy Adube. The chief’s brother, Ikechukwu Ogarabe and their driver, Samuel Chukwunonye, were also killed on the same night.

Until his death, John was a 300 level student of Mechanical Engineering, Abia State University, Uturu, while Lucky was about to enroll for his Higher National Diploma (HND) in Civil Engineering at the Federal Polytechnic, Nekede, Owerri.

Joy Adube, who was the first daughter of the family, was waiting for a call-up letter for her National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), having freshly graduated with a first degree in Mass Communication from the Imo State University, Owerri (IMSU).

Two other children of Chief Adube were also hit by the assassins’ bullets but survived the attack. The children, Paul and Ruth Adube, are still in the intensive care unit of the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital (UPTH).

Efforts by LEADERSHIP Weekend to get reactions from other families of those who lost their lives as a result of the violence proved abortive as several of them feel that they will be targeted if they speak, believing that those who led the onslaught against their loved ones are still walking free on the streets.

A brother to one of the victims of the election violence who pleaded anonymity, jokingly said, “Speaking about my late brother is like opening an already healed wound since we are beginning to adjust to life without him.

“But, again, I am scared to speak about my dead brother, just like several other people who lost loved ones as a result of election violence in this community in particular and the local government in general. We strongly believe that those who were responsible for their deaths are still walking free on the streets and we could become their next target if we speak out.”

Bestman Adube said life has not been easy without their father as they find it difficult to even feed themselves considering the fact that he was the family’s breadwinner.

He said, “Actually, it has not been easy ever since I lost my dad, my younger ones and my uncle. My dad was the pillar of our family; he knew how to organise and manage his family and home and we looked up to him. But now that he is no more, even feeding has become a problem. Apart from my uncle, Hon Vincent Ogbuagu, who has been helping the family, there is no other source of assistance.”

Bestman, who is also an undergraduate, appealed to the incoming administration of General Muhammadu Buhari, to come to the aid of the family as his father and others died because of his father’s firm belief in the APC.

He said, “We need the government’s support as my dad died because of his ambition to protect his party, the APC. They killed him because he was supporting his party.

“My uncle, Vincent Ogbuagu and the chairman of One local government area, Austin Ahiamadu, have been assisting with the hospital bills of my younger ones. I want the incoming administration of General Buhari to help the family because I still have younger ones who need to go to school; we need financial assistance from the government.”

The young Adube said his late father never had any ambition for elective political office but was the pillar behind Ogbuagu’s ambition to represent Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Constituency 1 in the Rivers State House of Assembly.

He said, “My father was one of those that made things happen in One LGA in terms of politics, because there is nothing that we will do in ONELGA that would not involve my dad because he was an important personality in the LGA and I believe that was the reason why they came after him, because they thought that removing him from the way will make his supporters not vote for APC and that is what happened; they succeeded.

“He never had any ambition. He always said he would never contest for any position, except where he is appointed to serve. He was only supporting my uncle, Vincent Ogbuagu, to the Rivers State House of Assembly.”

Apparently worried by the volume of blood spilled before, during and after the general elections, Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, set up a commission of inquiry, headed by the chairman of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Prof Chidi Anselem Odinkalu, to investigate the circumstances surrounding the violence, so as to bring the culprits to book.

According to the governorship candidate of the Labour Party (LP) in the state, Prince Taonye Princewill, the two major political parties in the state, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) were all involved in the politically motivated violence, which resulted in the deaths of several supporters of both political parties in the state.

 

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Sen. Grace Folashade Bent represented Adamawa south senatorial district of Adamawa state in the 6th senate. In this interview, the former chairman, committee on environment and ecology who has been married for over 30 years speaks to RUTH CHOJI on how to run a home successfully as a female politician. She also shares her views on the aftermath of the elections and how some politicians have betrayed the electorates who put them in power.

There is a general belief that female politicians do not keep a good home. You have been married for quite a while now. Can you share your staying power that has made your marriage successful as a politician?

From our courtship to marriage, it has been 33years. We have been blessed with children and grandchildren. Whatever you see me become today, cannot be explained outside God, my husband and parents. I always tell female politicians that if you want to be a successful politician, then you need your husband because the Nigerian political terrain remains murky for the woman. If a woman does not have a good partner, a succor, a shoulder to cry on, then you will break down. You must be able to strike a balance to understand that. Your marriage must come first. Show me a successful woman and I will show you a woman that has run her home successfully and her husband is proud of her.

I believe that every home is built by the wisdom of God and all homes are established through understanding. You must tolerate each other, no matter how you think you know each other. There must be a conscious effort to make the marriage work. Love covers a multitude of sin. When there is love, it will make you overlook some things. My husband and I have that kind of understanding.

 What have you been doing with yourself since you have been out of politics limelight?

I have an NGO that I started when I was in the senate which I still continue to run with my husband as the main supporter. We touch the lives of women and youth through empowerment, skills acquisition, take care of their health and source for drugs and other medical needs. It is a platform we have been using to reach out to our people.

What has been your main challenge?

Our main challenge is finance because right now, it is just my husband that sponsors most of our activities. I have not reached out to international donors but I am thinking of doing that because the burden is beginning to weigh us down. What we are doing has a political undertone because we don’t see power as a means of trampling on people but as a divine opportunity to impact our world.

 Are you still involved in active politics?

Of course, and I will remain in politics because it is a service to humanity. It is the rascal political elites that have turned it to something else. They have betrayed the same people that have brought them to power. That is why they find it difficult to relate with people like us who believe in service to the people. I am an extremely principled person.

 Would you say that the outcome of the last elections was an act of God?

I think Nigerian politics is beginning to evolve; it is beginning to find its footing and take a definite track. What happened was a major plus for us and another master stroke is the fact that, the loser has with all sense of decorum accepted the result of this elections. That is a definite statement that will position the Nigerian democratic experiment. We need to give kudos to President Jonathan who could have said no, ‘I won’t accept this result’ but he accepted it in good faith. Remember he once said that he is the most criticized Nigerian president but that when he is leaving, he will be the most celebrated.

Why has the number of women seeking elective post reduced in spite of their cry for 35% affirmative action?

That is the greatest tragedy that has bedeviled the Nigerian democracy. President Jonathan has done so much in the area of appointive position. But that is not the end of it, in a political setting, the legislature remains the bedrock of all political activities, and yet you cannot boast of 10% women in both chambers, then it is a disaster. Political parties must stop playing lip service to the issue of 35% Affirmative Action which has become so bastardised. Look at what happen in my party, the PDP where I have been a loyal member for about 14years. With all the humiliation, grand standing and ill treatment one has gone through in the hands of the PDP, I have remainedd there because we must identify our political linings as politicians.

 

And you are still willing to remain in the PDP after knowing and seeing what you just mentioned?

Well, we are still watching events. The cross-carpeting doesn’t portray you as a politician of worth and integrity. The candidates that were responsible for the defeat of PDP in Adamawa, immediately after the national assembly elections, moved to the APC. I see that as a disaster. That is what we call a morally and politically bankrupt politician. I still decided to remain in the party because I believe the ideology of the PDP. Most of my political associates are in the APC. People must not sell their conscious for personal gains. As far as I am concerned, those who defected after they have run down the party are like Ebola. The same way they destroy the PDP is how they will destroy the APC. There are some good people amongst the APC but they must watch their backs.

 What lessons should politicians learn from the fall out of the elections?

As a politician, the major lesson I have learn is that, the wish and will of the people is the ultimate because if you look at the pattern of the result, especially in the north, it was a bulk thing. It is not to say that a particular candidate was better or one was bad. It is to tell you that we are now sophisticated politically. President Jonathan would have won his elections if he was not in the PDP. It was a PDP problem, not an individual thing. You can be a good candidate but be in the wrong party. Political parties must go back to the drawing board and bring back sound, ideological programs that are people friendly. Knowing Nigerians, one year after the inauguration of the new president, people are going to be critical, that is why we cannot afford to bring any kind of people to rule us. There is no reason why President Jonathan should have lost that elections, but because he was surrounded by the wrong people, PDP at a point started derailing and this disappointed people.

 Some have called on the president-elect to run an inclusive government, what is your take on this?

I think that will be a major plus and hallmark to his administration if Buhari does that. He is a man that wants to work for Nigeria. Come to think of it, who are the people in APC? If he understands that a large chunk of the people in the APC are from the PDP, then he will be careful when choosing people. He has to choose wisely so that the government will be bereaved of criminally minded people. I think he must have a think tank that must work on that.

 As one of the states that was heavily hit by insurgency, what is the state of Adamawa now?

I think it is beginning to return back to its former glory especially the northern part of Adamawa which is the worst hit. There are still a lot of IDPs all over because they are still afraid that their security is not guaranteed. Some people are still in the mountains, afraid to go back to their homes. But by and large, there is relative peace. It is just that those areas affected are close to the border and the insurgency come in, attack and run away.

  Do you have any regrets in life?

Everybody experiences one form of regret or the other but I see every mistake as a lesson that will make me better. It is my pathway to get to my destiny. Even if you rewind your life, you will still go through those mistakes again because they make you better.

 

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In this piece, CHIBUZO UKAIBE, looks at the peace meeting of the governors forum, tracing the intrigues that caused its split.

The cautious reunion of the Nigerian governors, under the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF), earlier this week, testifies to the sore way they split in May, 2013.

Indeed, their split was the first real indication of how feisty the 2015 general elections would turn out to be, as the governors had picked and formed political allegiances that helped in shaping the political trajectory of the country today.

The meeting was the first time the governors sat as a united body after the forum was plunged into crisis in 2013 after a feisty election factionalised the body.

The Rivers State governor, Rotimi Amaechi and his Plateau State counterpart, Jonah Jang, both laid claim to the chairmanship of the forum.

Earlier on Monday, chairman of the Northern States Governors’ Forum (NSGF), Babangida Aliyu, had hinted about what was likely to transpire during the meeting.

Aliyu, who spoke after the NSGF meeting, barely hours before the commencement of the larger NGF meeting, revealed that northern governors are determined to broker a truce between the feuding factions in order to unite them for Nigeria’s progress.

However, at the meeting early signs of a common front emerged when they all resolved to adopt the Rivers State governor, Rotimi Amaechi, as the chairman of the forum.

Significantly also, the governor of Zamfara State, Abdulaziz Yari, emerged chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), symbolising the end of the divided forum.

Although Jang, the factional chairman, did not attend the meeting he was said to have sent an apology over his inability to attend the meeting, indicating that the meeting had his blessings.

However, as indication emerged last Sunday that the forum would meet and elect a new leader, the Bayelsa State governor, Seriake Dickson, in a statement demanded the postponement of the election.

In a bid to rally new governors, Dickson questioned why the outgoing governors would, after plunging the forum into crisis because of their egos, now want to decide the fate of the new comers.

However, Aliyu, outgoing chairman of the NSGF, brushed aside the issue raised by Dickson. He said all governors had agreed to bury their differences, come together as a united body and move on.

At the meeting, Amaechi, who is the leader of the NGF faction with 19 governors, attended the event in company of Edo State governor, Adams Oshiomole; the Zamfara State governor, Abdulaziz Yari and the governor of Osun State, Ra’uf Aregbesola. Other members of his faction in attendance were the Borno State governor, Kashim Shettima; Oyo State governor, Abiola Ajumobi; the deputy governor of Kano State, now governor-elect, Umar Ganduje, while the governor of Nasarawa State, Umaru Al-Makura was represented by his deputy.

In the absence of Jang, the Akwa Ibom State governor, Godswill Akpabio, who is also the chairman of the PDP Governors Forum (PDPGF), led other members of the Jang faction to the meeting. They included Bauchi State governor, Isa Yuguda; his Delta State counterpart, Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan; the Niger State governor, Babangida Aliyu; the governor of Kaduna State, Ramalan Yero; Kebbi State governor, Usman Dakingari; Benue State Governor, Gabriel Suswam and the deputy governor of Kogi State, Yomi Awoniyi.

Those who were absent from the meeting include the governors of Ogun, Ondo, Taraba, Plateau, Adamawa, Lagos, Gombe, Yobe, Bayelsa, Abia, Enugu, Ebonyi, Jigawa, Katsina, Cross, River, Imo and Sokoto.

Evidently, the governors were battle-weary from the long fight and hurriedly cashed in on the season of forgiveness. More so, for the key actors of the split, their tenures would end in a matter of days, hence their decision to bond again.

But what better way to bond than to revert to a once common foe; the federal government – and their accusations on its use of the excess crude account.

Amaechi, who read the communiqué of the governors, said they have “reconciled and are united as a single umbrella association of the 36 state governors.”

Amaechi stated that in the light of the fact that funds in the excess crude account were last disbursed in May 2013, “there is the need for the minister of finance and coordinating minister for the economy, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala to provide explanation for accruals to this account from June 2013 to April 2015 which is estimated at over N20billion”.

 

The split: The Amaechi factor, excess crude account palaver and 2015

With a fragmented and weak opposition at the time, the only viable opposition to the PDP-led government were elements within the PDP.

Inevitably, the NGF under the leadership of Amaechi, a PDP stalwart, became a thorn in the flesh of the Jonathan-led administration.

The constant sore point was the use of excess crude account and the establishment of the sovereign wealth fund. The Amaechi-led governors consistently questioned the management of the joint account accusing the federal government of making what they called illegal deductions.

Not pleased with the explanations of the federal government, the governors went to the Supreme Court, forcing the Jonathan-led administration to seek out-of-court settlements, which hardly sailed through.

However, with 2015 on their minds, the PDP was uncomfortable with the hard stance adopted by the NGF under Amaechi. Besides the embarrassment it was causing the party, the alleged illegal deductions or withdrawals posed a threat to the second term ambition of Mr President; a scheme to tame the NGF was inevitable.

Amaechi, who had indicated interest to seek reelection for the chairmanship of the forum, was already in the bad books of his former party (the PDP), under the chairmanship of Alh Bamanga Tukur.

This paved way for the emergence of the PDP Governors Forum (PDPGF), headed by the new power broker in the party, Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom State.

The emergence of the PDP Governors Forum was strange as the tradition in the forum had been that since the PDP had the majority governors, it naturally produced the chairman of the NGF and as such, there was no need for a PDP Governors Forum.

But, for the pro-Jonathan forces, the emergence of the PDPGF was long overdue as the opposition parties then had a governors forum of their own.

However the PDPGF was a deft move at whittling the influence of Amaechi, who had since fallen irredeemably out of favour with the PDP and the presidency.

With Amaechi ostracised by the PDP and the presidency, there was a campaign to stop him from contesting a second term as NGF chairman by May 2013.

Moves to stop his ambition to remain chairman of NGF for a second term intensified with postulations and arguments that traditionally, the emergence of NGF chairmen had never been by election, but by selection based on consensus; an argument the pro-Ameachi governors resisted, insisting rather on election.

Some governors, days to the NGF election, were invited to the villa to sign undertakings, pledging to stop Amaechi from seeking reelection. It was alleged that they were ‘appreciated’ for their loyalty.

However, the friction between Amaechi and the party came at a time the PDP governors were not happy with the leadership style of Bamanga Tukur.

As such, new alignments and alliances were formed. For the opposition governors, they were naturally drawn to Amaechi’s leadership. But the Rivers State governor also had the backing of some PDP governors, including those of Kano, Jigawa, Sokoto, Kwara, Adamawa, Niger, which later metamorphosed into the G7 governors.

On the other side, the Akpabio-led group was able to rally the other PDP governors and governors of Ondo (Labour Party) and Anambra (APGA) which were very cozy with the PDP.

On the day of the election and at separate meetings, last minute moves were made to halt the election. While the anti-voting governors stuck to their guns, the pro-election governors insisted on having a vote.

However, the PDPGF was forced to adopt a reluctant Jonah Jang of Plateau State as their candidate because, it was alleged, governors of Bauchi and Katsina states, Isa Yuguda and Ibrahim Shema, who had indicated interest for the post didn’t want to back down.

Jang was also presented at the Northern Governors Forum as their candidate upon the argument that it was the turn of the north to produce the chairman of NGF.

But on arrival at the Rivers State governors lodge for the NGF meeting and feeling confident of victory by a higher number, the anti-voting governors yielded to arguments to go for election.

To their shock, Amaechi defeated his Plateau state’s counterpart, Jonah Jang, by 19 votes to 16.

Humiliated by the defeat, governors loyal to the presidency and the PDP fumed out of the meeting and declared Jang winner of the election.

Few days later, the PDP suspended Amaechi, citing a petition written by the Rivers State chapter of the party against the governor, alleging he violated some sections of the party’s constitution.

With 2015 in sight at the time, attempts to unite the forum, including moves by former president and chieftain of PDP, Olusegun Obasanjo, failed.

Ever since, both factions had held separate meetings at cross purposes, particularly on the excess crude account and other national issues.

Governors’ over bearing postures in the polity

For an unconstitutional body, the overbearing tendencies of governors, as NGF, in the polity had a direct correlation to how powerful they were within their party, especially the ruling party.

The NGF became much more influential in the polity at the twilight of Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration.

Before then, an attempt by the governors to rear their head, rallying behind the then vice president, Atiku Abubakar, was met with firm resistance by Obasanjo.

The former president bared his political fangs against the governors after his tortuous and humiliating experience at getting PDP’s presidential ticket for a second term in 2003.

He, after getting reelected, unleashed his fury against all those governors that were supposedly opposed to him.

Reportedly, impeachments and more potently, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), were deployed to check the governors. The politics of reallocation of oil wells among states was also deployed, allegedly. The then NGF under Lucky Igbinedion and later Victor Attah, had to deal with a strong character of Obasanjo, a former general and head of state, who was older than them and perhaps more experienced at power play.

However, with the emergence of the late Umaru Musa Yar’Adua as president in 2007 and with the role they played in his campaign, governors under the leadership of Bukola Saraki, loomed large in the polity.

Their influence was again brought to bear during the health crisis of the late Yar’Adua and the transition of then vice/acting president, Goodluck Jonathan, to substantive president.

It was gathered that the famous doctrine of necessity which elevated Jonathan to that status enjoyed the huge buy-in of the governors who rallied their senators to endorse the move.

By 2011, Amaechi emerged the NGF chairman and since most of the governors were gunning for a second term, they all rallied behind Jonathan to secure their tickets as well as deliver him the presidential victory.

However, with the controversy over the one-term agreement purportedly signed by Jonathan brewing and political ambitions at stake ahead of 2015, the party and by implication, the polity, took a different shape. As such, the presidency moved to curtail the influence of the governors within the party.

Hence, in 2012 when a new chairman of the party was to emerge, the presidency threw its weight behind Bamanga Tukur, a much older politician and former governor in the second republic.

The governors had perceptibly wanted a malleable person, just like they did with the emergence of Vincent Ogbulafor. And so, they allegedly opted for Musa Babayo, a politician of their generation and a former party executive. They had then just kicked out the then chairman and former governor of Enugu State, Okwesilieze Nwodo, for bringing reforms they were not comfortable with in the party and for challenging his state governor, Sullivan Chime, with regards to party affairs in the state.

However, Tukur as chairman of the party, attempted to ensure party supremacy as against the status quo where governors ruled supreme. By his reckoning, his age and pedigree was enough to make the governors obey him and do the party’s bidding.

It was not surprising that before long, he started having issues with the governors, starting with his then state governor, Murtala Nyako of Adamawa State. More so, his style of leadership was branded too autocratic by the governors and even by his National Working Committee (NWC).

Nevertheless, while the NGF split and lost its potency under Tukur’s watch, the PDP became the bigger casualty as the party bled away formidable members, including influential governors, legislators, former president and vice presidents, which gave APC its victory at the last polls.

What next for NGF?

It is doubtful whether the governors forum can be the same again. If anything, it might not be as powerful as it once was.

The next set of governors might not be able to wield so much influence on national polity as they will be up against a much older and experienced administrator in the mold of Gen Muhammadu Buhari; much like Obasanjo.

Already, if reports are anything to go by, the president-elect, was said to have refused attempts by the APC governors to have major inputs in the setup of his cabinet.

More so, with the APC leadership insisting on party supremacy, it will be test of wills on how events will pan out with this set of governors.

That said, it will also be hard to ignore the governors, who in the absence of a viable local government structure, remains the field marshals in the states.

Also, with the state assemblies tending to be appendages of the governors, on account of the resources being controlled by the executive arm of government, it would be hard to ignore governors.

Moreover, the governors forum which was modeled after the United States, will perhaps continue to function as an institution.

This much was declared by Amaechi, who at the last meeting said an “induction programme for new and returning governors would be held in June 2015.”

He said the induction is aimed at equipping new and returning governors with knowledge of global best practices of establishing and running their offices.NGF_meeting

In addition, Mr Amaechi said the forum resolved at the meeting to set up a Governors’ Forum Academy to be called “The NGF Leadership Academy” which would be responsible for capacity building of governors and other officials holding public offices. He said the academy would be overseen by the NGF secretariat.

But it just might not be uhuru yet considering the grievances expressed by the Bayelsa State governor, Seriake Dickson, accusing the outgoing governors of trying to determine the fate of new governors.

While questions as to what use the forum has been to the polity rages, a united forum could either spell doom for the polity or serve as catalyst for the much needed development.

 

 

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The world is enmity with God. The sinful activities of the world set it against God. The evil thoughts, immorality, wickedness, drinking, smoking, murder, deceptions and all unrighteousness in the world have polluted it. The hearts of men are set in them to do evil continually at the expense of their souls. The devil is the prince of this world. In everything, he works against the will of God. Right from the beginning, the devil deceived man and set him against God. The devil knows what man stands to gain by walking with God. He knew what he was benefiting from heaven before he was cast down because of his disobedience. There is nothing good he has for man. Through his deception, he keeps man perpetually under the bondage of sin so that he can afflict him at his will. The devil is very desperate to take all men with him to hell. He knows that his eternal destiny is hell. The only way out for the sinful man is to renounce the devil and his works, repent and believe the gospel; accept Jesus Christ as his Lord and Saviour by faith and maintain a daily walk with God.

We shall consider three sub-topics: Deception of the devil, deliverance from the world and daily walk with God.

The deception of the devil

Satan, the arc deceiver does all he can do to enslave man in sin through deception and lying promises. He instigates man to sin (John 13:2). He captures by wresting the scriptures (Matthew4:6) and cunning plans (2Corithians 11:4). He blinds the minds of unbelievers (2 Corinthians 4:3) and inspires lying wonders (2 Thessalonians 2:9). Without deliverance from the devil, no man can overpower his deception. Man under his captivity is ignorant of the plan of God for him. He successfully makes man to love evil more than good because of the way he presents it. He is the father of lies.

Deliverance from the world

The sinner is helpless, hopeless and powerless. The more he labours for freedom, the weaker he is. He is totally separated from God and exposed to afflictions from the devil.

God knew that man cannot get freedom for himself. He made the provision for his freedom through our Lord Jesus Christ. There is no reason for man to remain in the bondage of sin and Satan. Jesus Christ died for our sin as an expression of the love of God.

Nothing should have qualified man to benefit from the sacrifice made through Christ, but by the mercy of God, a sinner is delivered. Jesus paid the price for our suffering.

Steps to deliverance:

Acknowledge that you are a sinner.

Confess your sin and repent of them.

Forsake your sins and ask for forgiveness.

Accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour by faith.

The just shall live by faith. You are saved by grace.

Daily walk with God

A sinner is delivered by the atoning blood of Jesus and receives power to live the life of righteousness. He is kept by the power of God and sinning becomes a thing of past. He daily lives to please God and prepares for the coming of the Lord.

In order to remain in close walk with God as a child of God, the believer consistently does the following:

Denies himself daily and follows the Lord. (Luke 9:23-25). Total consecration unto the Lord. (Romans 12:1,2).

iii.       Presses forward for sanctification experience and Holy Ghost baptism. (2 Peter 3:18).

Occupies with soul winning. (Luke 19:12-27). Consistent prayerful life. (Luke 18:1). vi.       Saturation with the word of God. (11 Timothy 2:15).

vii.       Total obedience to the word of God. (Joshua 1:8).

viii.       Watchfulness and sobriety. (Luke 21:36).

Perseverance and endurance. (2 Timothy 2:3). Daily dependence on the Holy Spirit. (Romans 8:14). Total separation from the world. (1 John 2: 15-17).

xii.   Daily life of faith. (Romans 1: 17).

 

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In previous editions, I talked about the different ways God gave people direction in the Bible. I have talked about Moses, Elijah and Philip. I’ll continue from where I stopped.

God led Ananias

In Acts 9:10-19, the Lord gave direction to a certain disciple, Ananias, in a vision to go where He would use him to open Saul’s eyes. “So the Lord said to him, ‘Arise and go to the street called Straight, and inquire at the house of Judas for one called Saul of Tarsus, for behold, he is praying. And in a vision he has seen a man named Ananias coming in and putting his hand on him, so that he might receive his sight.’” (Acts 9:11-12 NKJV) He objected initially because of the evil reports he had heard about Saul. But he went after God had told him Saul was his chosen vessel. Saul received his sight back and was baptised. Don’t let fear stop you from following God’s direction.

Joseph

God led Joseph, the husband of Mary, in a dream, not once, not twice. A dream is “a state of mind in which images, thoughts, and impressions pass through the mind of a person who is sleeping.” (Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary, 1986, Thomas Nelson Publishers). After he had taken a decision to divorce her secretly because of her pregnancy, the Bible says, “But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.’” (Matt 1:20-21 NKJV) Joseph did as he was told in the dream.

Just about the time that Herod wanted to start killing children in his bid to kill Jesus whom he saw as a threat to his throne, an angel, in a dream, gave direction to Joseph to flee with the child and mother to Egypt. Matt 2:13 says, “An angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, ‘Arise, take the young Child and His mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I bring you word; for Herod will seek the young Child to destroy Him.’” (NKJV) Joseph obeyed and the life of Jesus was preserved.

After the death of Herod, and Joseph was to leave Egypt with Jesus and Mary, he received direction again from an angel in a dream. “Now when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, saying, ‘Arise, take the young Child and His mother, and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the young Child’s life are dead.’ Then he arose, took the young Child and His mother, and came into the land of Israel. But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning over Judea instead of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. And being warned by God in a dream, he turned aside into the region of Galilee. And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, ‘He shall be called a Nazarene.’” (Matt 2:19-23 NKJV) As that Scripture showed, quiet characteristic of Joseph, he followed the direction he was given. Joseph was a dreamer like the Joseph of the Old Testament. Does God talk to you in dream regularly? Don’t despise your dreams. If it’s a dream you need to pray over, please, don’t be careless about it.

Permit me to stop here again today. I believe God has spoken to you. Be sensitive to God’s direction in your life.

TAKE ACTION!

If you’re not born again, kindly say this prayer now: “0 Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess and forsake them today. I confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour and surrender my life to him today. I invite Jesus into my heart today. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you Jesus for saving me and making me a child of God.

 

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The number plates shall in respect of a motor vehicle be fixed, one on the front of the vehicle and the other at the centre or on the off side of the rear of the vehicle or as may be provided by the manufacturer. In respect of a trailer, be fixed on the front of the vehicle and at the rear of the trailer in an upright position.

For motorcycles, one plate shall be fixed in front and one at the rear with the plate having white background but blue lettering for private, green lettering for the federal, state or local government, black lettering for the armed forces, paramilitary service and red lettering for commercial, so that every letter or figure on the plate is up-right and easily distinguishable in the case of the front plate from behind.

In the case of a semi-trailer, the operator of the prime mover shall be required to ensure that the entire articulated vehicle carries the same identification number in respect of the prime mover and the semi-trailer. Each identification number plate must be reflective and so made that any letter, numeral or other identifying mark displayed on it are legible at day time and at night in clear weather and must be visible and recognisable at a distance of not less than 60 metres by the driver of the immediate following vehicle and in the case of motorcycle, at a distance of 30 metres.

Section 38(1) of the National Road Traffic Regulations, 2012, states that a vehicle shall carry a vehicle tag as specified in form MVA 25 of schedule 5 of these regulations, which shall be issued along with the vehicle number plate and shall carry the same number with the plate and be affixed to the rear windscreen.

Except as otherwise provided under these regulations, number plates shall be transferred from one vehicle or trailer to another; number plates shall be attached to a person and not to a vehicle and that number plates shall be returned to the Motor Licensing Authority on sale of a car and the new owner shall obtain a new set of number plate; while proof of ownership certificate is mandatory for issuance of new number plates. The same regulations make it mandatory for such drivers to possess valid driver’s license and obey traffic rules and regulations.

The fact that that bullion vans transport cash from one point to another does not confer on the vehicle or the driver any special privileges. In fact, no mention is made of bullion vans in the regulations.

The Abeokuta incident will remain my reference point because the probable cause of the crash – speed violation and dangerous driving, including recklessness – is common with bullion vans. This is in addition to the fact that bullion van drivers and their operators are grossly rude and arrogant. My only explanation for this tendency is that they think that transporting cash (which does not even belong to them), from point to point, confers special status or privilege on them. They also probably think that having escorts provides some sort of immunity for them to exhibit their insanity on the road. But Like I said, the law does not exempt bullion vans from responsible driving; neither do its provisions provide immunity for its drivers. Since speed violation or better put, excessive speeding is the number one offence associated with bullion vans, I would like to cite the provisions of the same 2012 regulations, which in discussing speed limits in Section 152 (1), states that: “A person shall not drive a vehicle on any public road in excess of the prescribed speed limit provided in schedule 8 of these regulations or as may be published from time to time by the commission.”

It further states in sub-section 2, that notwithstanding sub-regulation (1) of this regulation, no person shall drive a vehicle on any public road in excess of the speed limit indicated by an appropriate road traffic sign in respect of that road.

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