Tag Archives: Goodluck Jonathan

Jonathan’s performance as President Below Average – Obasanjo

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo answering questions at the Ake Book and Arts Festival in Abeokuta on  Friday... Photo: Courtesy Ake Arts and Books Festiva (via twitter)

Nigeria’s former president, Olusegun Obasanjo, on Friday delivered a damning verdict on the performance of the Goodluck Jonathan administration, describing it as “below average”.

Speaking at the ongoing Ake Arts and Book Festival in Abeokuta, Ogun State, Mr. Obasanjo also said security is the greatest danger Nigeria is currently facing.

“I rate this current administration below average,” Mr. Obasanjo said in response to a question about Mr. Jonathan’s performance.

The former president also said he deserved credit for helping an individual from a minority tribe become Nigeria’s President.

“Rather than take blame for bringing Jonathan to power, I should be taking credit,” he added.

The book chat session of the Festival, which ends on Saturday, was titled ‘Defining a legacy,’ and Mr. Obasanjo used the opportunity to note some of the highlights of his eight-year presidency.

He specifically underlined his refusal to sign death warrants during his tenure.

Mr. Obasanjo also shared some stories about his childhood and about his time in the military.

He then lamented that Nigeria has had a problem of leadership right from Independence in 1960.

“The biggest problem we have in Nigeria is that we have regional leaders, but no national leader.

“I have always believed that our problem as a country is that at independence we did not have a true leader.”

The former President denied speculations that he deliberately foisted a successor he knew was sick on the country.

“Yar’Adua gave me concrete evidence that he was healthy,” Mr. Obasanjo said.

On why he did not field a former Governor of Cross River State, Donald Duke, as Vice President in 2007, the former President said, “You know Donald Duke is my boy. In my own life, I don’t put all my eggs in one basket.

“Donald Duke needs to tone down and have his feet on ground, now he is having his feet on the ground…”

Despite being instrumental to Mr. Jonathan becoming president in 2010, Mr. Obasanjo has continued to be one of his fiercest critics.

Last December, the former President wrote a strongly worded letter to President Jonathan expressing dissatisfaction with the administration and warning him about the “danger that may be lurking in the corner”.

“Move away from culture of denials, cover-ups and proxies and deal honestly, sincerely and transparently with Nigerians to regain their trust and confidence,” Mr. Obasanjo wrote in the 18-page letter.

In the letter, Mr. Obasanjo also frowned at President Jonathan’s “deceit and deception” by stating that he had promised not to run for president in 2015, whereas his body language was showing a different stance.

“Although you have not formally informed me one way or the other, it will be necessary to refresh your memory of what transpired in 2011.

Ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo at the ongoing Ake Arts and Books Festival in Abeokuta on Friday... Photo: Courtesy Victor Ehikhamenor
Ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo at the ongoing Ake Arts and Books Festival in Abeokuta on Friday… Photo: Courtesy Victor Ehikhamenor

“I had gone to Benue State for the marriage of one of my staff, Vitalis Ortese, in the state. Governor Suswam was my hospitable host. He told me that you had accepted a one-term presidency to allow for ease of getting support across the board in the North.

“I decided to cross check with you. You did not hesitate to confirm to me that you are a strong believer in a one term of six years for the President and that by the time you have used the unexpired time of your predecessor and the four years of your first term, you would have almost used up six years and you would not need any more term or time.

“As a leader, two things you must cherish and hold dear among others are trust and honour both of which are important ingredients of character.”

However, on November 11, Mr. Jonathan officially declared his intention to contest for president next year.

“History has shown that the path of honour for any true leader is not to walk away from his people in moments of challenges,” Mr. Jonathan had said before a mammoth crowd in Abuja.

“After seeking the face of God, in quiet reflection with my family and after listening to the calls of our people nationwide to run, I have accepted to present myself to run.”

Mr. Jonathan has repeatedly dismissed criticism by Mr. Obasanjo and other critics, saying he has done his best for Nigeria and delivered on his electoral promises to the electorate.

“We have advanced our regional, continental and global objectives,” Mr. Jonathan said on November 11 while formally declaring his intention to seek reelection.

“I am convinced that I have kept my pact with Nigerians, and it is now time to look to the future. With your tremendous support, we have collectively done so much in the last three and half years, but to take our country to the next level, there is still more to be done.”

But Mr. Obasanjo said in his famous December 2, 2013 letter that it would be “fatally morally flawed” for Mr. Jonathan to contest in 2015, adding, “… I will want to see anyone in the Office of the Presidency of Nigeria as a man or woman who can be trusted, a person of honour in his words and character.”

Amaechi should be in jail but for immunity – Presidency, PDP

Recently, the police warned Amaechi to remain  in his state.

The Presidency on Thursday lambasted the Rivers State Governor, Chibuike Amaechi, over his threat that the All Progressives Congress, APC, would form a parallel government if next year’s general elections are rigged.

At the “Salvation Rally,” organised by the APC in Abuja, Mr. Amaechi, had warned that “if the 2015 elections are rigged, his party will not seek redress in court but would rather carry out what he called civil disobedience as well as form a parallel government.”

The rally was attended by leaders of the opposition party who lampooned the peoples Democratic Party-led Federal Government for alleged under-performance.

They also marched round some parts of the nation’s capital, including the headquarters of the Nigeria Police Force, NPF.

Addressing a press conference in Abuja, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Doyin Okupe, said but for the immunity Mr. Amaechi enjoys ”the governor would have been in jail for his comments”.

He said the governor’s utterances bother on incitement, treason and gross rascality, which were enough to land him behind bars.

Mr. Okupe said there was no basis for Mr. Amaechi to suggest that the elections would be rigged by the PDP. He said it was a shame for the governor to denigrate himself.

The presidential aide noted that the governor’s utterances were a further proof that he was not only lawless but loves anarchy in his unbridled pursuit for power.

“It is curious and unthinkable that a man who was himself a beneficiary of the court process would disdain the very platform through which he acquired the opportunity to make his reckless and provocative statement,” Mr. Okupe said.

“With statements like this it is clear that Amaechi is more of liability to his party than asset and has the potential to bring his party to further opprobrium and disrepute.

“For someone who aspires to become the Vice President of this country, his disdain for law and order is not only unfortunate but also patently dangerous and sends dark signals about the survival of our democracy.”

The presidential aide said discerning Nigerians knew that comments like those made by the governor, do not augur well for any democracy and “also portray Mr. Amaechi as a reckless, power hungry individual who lacks both the democratic temper and respect for constituted authority and institutions.”

He wondered how the APC could be comfortable “with a loose cannon like Governor Amaechi.”

Mr. Okupe said it was clear to any discerning mind that Mr. Amaechi’s indecorous outbursts and his obvious disregard and contempt for the rule of law, had defined him as unfit to hold any serious public office in this country let alone the Vice Presidency of Nigeria to which he aspires.

He said, “If Mr. Amaechi is so much afraid of his party crashing to defeat in the general elections, what he needs to do is to advise the leadership of his party to either give up in good time or repackage itself in order to appeal to the Nigerian voters who must definitely have the final say in the democratic process.

“We also want to sound a note of warning to Mr. Amaechi and other desperate players on our political scene that Nigeria has moved away from the dark days of dictatorship and resort to brigandage and that any attempt for any individual or group of individuals to resort to extra legal means of acquiring power, would be dealt with by the laws of the land.”

Also in a statement by its spokesperson, Olisa Metuh, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, said it was shocked and stunned by Mr. Amaechi’s utterances at the rally, especially because the governor was an elected public officer.

It cautioned the governor against unduly overheating the system and urged him to concentrate on his duties in his state.

Stating that Mr. Amaechi was a democrat when he was in the PDP, the ruling party advised him not to allow the undemocratic attitude of the APC to becloud him.

“He is a different person from who he was when he was in the PDP. When he was in PDP, he was much more guarded in his statements. We urge him to desist from utterances capable of derailing our democracy”, the statement said.

The party however restated that it would continue to resist the provocations from the opposition and remain focused in its commitment in consolidating a peaceful, prosperous and democratic Nigeria.

South East APC tackles Nnamani over Jonathan comment

Ken Nnamani

The South East chapter of the All Progressives Congress, APC, has expressed outrage over the claim by a former Senate President, Ken Nnamani, that the zone would support President Goodluck Jonathan’s second term bid to enable him complete the second Niger Bridge.

Mr. Nnamani, who spoke for the South East members of the People Democratic Party, PDP, at Mr. Jonathan’s declaration on Tuesday, said the region was backing the president in the February presidential election to avoid the abandonment of the bridge.

He also expressed worry that the president had not rehabilitated the Enugu-Onitsha Highway, which is the busiest highway in the region.

The party, in a statement by its spokesperson, Osita Okechukwu, said it was yet to recover from Mr. Nnamani’s double-speak on one hand indicting Mr. Jonathan for neglecting the highway, which is in terrible condition, and on the other hand that it was only the president that could fix it.

It regretted that the former senate president’s hinged the support of the South East zone for the president on the fear that the 2nd Niger Bridge would be abandoned.

“We rate this as grave insult to our collective intelligence, a double-speak and corrupted propaganda; coming from someone we thought we can follow to battle, blind,” the APC said.

“May we ask, is Senator Nnamani and cohorts not aware that President Jonathan followed due process and funded the Oweto bridge over successive federal budgets?

“Why is the 2nd Niger Bridge not in any federal budget? Is the 2nd Niger Bridge not dead on arrival, for Julius Berger is not known for borrowing?”

The party said Mr. Nnamani’s position exposed the underbelly as one of those yet to appreciate that there are two major parties prevailing in the country, the PDP and the APC, and that the 2015 presidential race would be close to call.

It argued that no reasonable and responsible leadership would “put all its eggs of their people in one basket,” as the Ndigbo are trying to do.

“To say that we are highly disappointed with Senator Nnamani is to say the least. For how long will Igbo leaders sell their people for stomach infrastructure?” the APC said.

“It is our considered view that it will be fool hardy for the South East region to vote again for a president who lives under the illusion that if you settle their leaders you have settled them; hence taking our support for granted.”

Child rights groups attack Jonathan for declaring for second term despite Yobe massacre

President-Goodluck-Jonathan-360x225

Two child rights non-governmental organisations have lambasted President Goodluck Jonathan, for going ahead with his public declaration for a second term in office a day after 47 students of Government Science Secondary School, Potiskum, Yobe State were killed by a suspected Boko Haram suicide bomber.

Mr. Jonathan, on Tuesday, formally declared his bid for a second term in office on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, at a rally held at Eagles Square, Abuja and attended by a crowd of supporters and party leaders.

The United Kingdom-based Africans Unite Against Child Abuse, AFRUCA, and the Nigerian-based Centre for Children’s Health Education, Orientation and Protection, CEE-HOPE, faulted what they described as another round of government’s insensitivity in the face of unprecedented and preventable waste of Nigerian lives in recent times.

This was contained in a joint statement on Tuesday by the Chief Executive of AFRUCA, Debbie Ariyo, and the Executive Director of CEE-HOPE, Betty Abah.

The groups noted that the pattern was too often and too unbecoming.

“Last time the president went on to celebrate at a centenary party after the murder of 59 male students at Government Secondary School, Buni Yadi,” the statement said. “He then flew to Kano for another round of celebration following the gruesome attack in Nyanya which claimed about 200 lives, and then on to Ibadan for a birthday bash.

“Unfortunately, the president is also celebrating yet another bash to announce his nomination to contest the Presidency for another four years. We believe this is wholly insensitive, and is absolutely unacceptable.”

They described the cold-blooded murder of students in their school assembly as “one massacre too many of defenceless and hapless Nigerian children.”

The organisations expressed deep shock and unreservedly condemn the cold-blooded murder of innocent children in their school assembly as “one massacre too many of defenceless and hapless Nigerian children.”

The statement stated further, “This is one massacre of defenceless children too many and the Nigerian government must rise to the occasion in performing its constitutional duty of ensuring full protection for its citizens, especially the very vulnerable, including school children, who have a fundamental right to acquiring education without violence, and these constitutional rights must be upheld by all.

“It is the height of insanity for any group waging a war against a state to have, as its sole characteristic, the brutal annihilation of harmless and completely hapless citizens. It beats every human imagination and these wanton destructions should attract global condemnation and action.”

The organisations wondered what became of the highly publicized Safer School Initiative launched at the UK House of Commons by Former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Nigeria’s Finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, on July 2 and why school children would be exposed to harm when the government responsible for their security had no adequate safeguard structure in place.

They said, “It is truly incredible that since the Chibok Secondary School abductions in April 2014, nothing seemed to have been done to ensure better protection for schools in the areas where Boko Haram are known to be operating. There are many well qualified Nigerians in the diaspora who can be called upon to help but this is not happening. Instead, we have to contend with gory details of schools being attacked and children being massacred.

“It is not enough to make an already scripted message perennially ‘condemning’ acts of terrorism against innocent Nigerians and this time, vulnerable children whose only crime is aspiring for an education that would better their lives.

“The government must show that it is capable of not only protecting Nigerians in every corner of the country but is also sensitive to their sufferings and grief, and respects the memory of the needlessly slain.”

The groups further questioned the point of the state of emergency imposed on states in the North East which instead have experienced unabated attacks by terrorist groups.

They called on the United Nations to intervene in order to ensure the protection of lives especially children and vulnerable people.

I’ve fulfilled my promises to Nigerians – Jonathan

Jonathan Declaration

President Goodluck Jonathan, on Tuesday, said he has delivered on the promises he made to Nigerians four years ago as he declared to seek a new term.

Speaking at the Eagles Square, Abuja, Mr. Jonathan assured that Nigeria will not go back in its old ways, but move to greater heights, if he was elected.

He also promised not to intimidate any Nigerian, but ensure the rule of law, expand the democratic space, give voice to the voiceless and uphold the weak.

Mr. Jonathan was adopted by all the organs of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in September as the party’s lone candidate in the February 14 presidential contest.

He assumed office as president on May 6, 2010, following the death of late President Umaru Yar’Adua and was elected in 2011 to the position.

The president rounds off his current tenure on May 29, 2015.

At the Eagles Square, Abuja, Mr. Jonathan told his supporters from the 36 states of the federation that he accepted to contest the coming presidential poll after seeking the face of God, held wide consultations and made deep reflection on the matter with his family.

Mr. Jonathan recounted his administration’s achievements since it came to office, saying infrastructure had been its major area of focus.

He listed some major achievements in critical sectors such as the water, agricultural, transport, road, housing, oil and gas, health, education, food production, anti-corruption crusade, youth development, military, entertainment, economy and electoral reforms.

He also praised his administration for the giant strides it made on the international scene.

“We have advanced our regional, continental and global objectives,” he said. “I am convinced that I have kept my pact with Nigerians, and it is now time to look to the future. With your tremendous support, we have collectively done so much in the last three and half years, but to take our country to the next level, there is still more to be done.

“History has shown that the path of honour for any true leader is not to walk away from his people in moments of challenges. We must stand together in adversity and overcome all threats to our development. We must defend our future, for the sake of our children.”

The president, who called for a minute silence in honour of the students of the Government Science Secondary School in Yobe State on Monday, however, lamented the lingering security challenge in the country, which he said had led to the loss of lives and property.

He said, “Clearly, this has cast a dark cloud on our Nation but we will surely win the war against terror. A number of young men and women have been kidnapped by these criminal elements including our daughters from Chibok. We will free our daughters and defeat terrorism.

“We are equipping the armed forces and deploying special forces to engage the terrorist and end this senseless war. We must protect our country. We must save our people. I will do everything humanly possible to end this criminal violence in our nation.”

Mr. Jonathan explained that to ensure the long term stability and development of the affected areas, government had launched three programmes, namely the Presidential Initiative for the North East, the Victim Support Fund and the Safe School Initiative.

He expressed gratitude “to all Nigerians for standing with me.”

The president said in furtherance of a peaceful, participatory and inclusive democracy that he signed the Freedom of Information, FoI, Bill into law, to expand the frontiers of the fundamental rights of Nigerians.

He affirmed that under his presidency, “your views, no matter how freely expressed, will not send you to prison or into exile.”

He said the support by the party would enable him continue the conversation of development he began in the country.

Stating that democracy was a collective action, energized by individual responsibility, Mr. Jonathan said the mandate that would be given to him this time would inspire in him the strength to complete the good work his administration had begun.

He said he would ensure that the poor is lifted out of the depth of want and place their feet on the ladder of prosperity.

While noting that leaders must always show temperance at all times, the president promised “That is a virtue, one which I treasure, and will always uphold.”

On the coming election, Mr. Jonathan, who thanked those who contributed their meagre resources towards his re-election bid, appealed to his supporters not to harm, maim or kill or incite any kind of violence.

He reiterated that his election bid does not worth the blood of any Nigerian.

“We must forget our common bond, one people from the womb of one Nigeria. Again I say: My ambition to serve you is not worth the blood of any Nigeria. I remain committed to this principle of non-violence,” he said.

The president said he would be ready to continue in service to the people if they believed that a country that works for everybody must be built, where the strong lift up the weak, and not trample upon them, where the vote of every citizen determines who governs or represents them, and where democratic space is open to all citizens, irrespective of their aspirations and circumstances of birth.

He said the country would not return to its dark days, but must move forward.

He told the crowd, “Do you want to go back to the old ways? We cannot go back to the old ways where individual freedoms were trampled upon and citizens were locked up for expressing their views or criticising government.

“Do you want to go back to the old ways? We cannot go back to the old ways! We must continue to have free and fair elections. We cannot go back to the era where ballot box snatching and stuffing became the norm, where your votes never counted.

“Certainly, we cannot! We have to move forward! Only forward!!, my dear people, forward!!!

The president said in moving forward, “I see a Nigeria that thirsts for progress with children across the nation, eager for knowledge and safely in schools!

“I see a Nigeria where all who have taken up arms, would again embrace peace! I see a Nigeria where our women can aspire to any heights, without hindrance! I see a Nigeria where the flames in the Eagles will rekindle, and the Falcons soaring higher in victory!

Mr. Jonathan also stated that he sees a Nigeria “where the children of Mustapha, and Christopher, Ade and Ada, Timi and Bunmi, Nnamdi and Namadi, do not go hungry!

“I see a Nigeria where all, no matter their beliefs, live in peace and harmony!

“I see a Nigeria where the green passport is accorded a royal reception the world over!

“I see a Nigeria where one day the next generation will take us to outer space.”

Both the vice president, Namadi Sambo and the Senate President, David Mark, also delivered speeches at the event. Mr. Mark spoke on behalf of the PDP members of the National Assembly, who pledge support for the president for having performed well since he assumed office.

The Senate President lamented the security challenge in the country, but assured that it was not insurmountable.

Governor Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom State, who spoke on behalf of the PDP governors, said the governors were solidly behind the president.

Solidarity messages were also delivered on zonal basis by a former Minister of Environment, Hassan Adamu, North East; former governor of Sokoto State, Attahiru Bafarawa, North West; former Information Minister, Jerry Gana, North Central; former military governor of the old Ondo State, Bode George, South West; former governor of Rivers State, Peter Odili, South South; and former Senate President, Ken Nnamani, South East.

#Nigeria2015: Goodluck Jonathan presidential declaration – Live Update

President Goodluck Jonathan

Nigeria’s president, Goodluck Jonathan, is declaring his intention to contest the February 2015 presidential election today.

Mr. Jonathan, 57, will most likely be the candidate of his party in next year’s election. If reelected, Mr. Jonathan would remain in power till 2019. That would be a record almost 10 years in office as president.

Mr. Jonathan, an immensely lucky man, was sworn-in as late President Umaru Yar’Adua’s deputy on May 27, 2007. But after his boss fell ill, he became Acting President on February 9 2010.

Following the passage of Mr. Yar’Adua on May 6, 2010, Mr. Jonathan was sworn-in as President. He was then elected for a fresh term of four years in 2011, which runs out in May next year.

The president is now seeking a fresh term. After several months of preliminaries, the journey officially begins today with a formal declaration of his intention at the premium event venue in the nation’s capital, Eagles Square.

Follow the event as it unfolds through the eyes of our reporters who are at the Eagle Square, Abuja, venue of the event.

=====================

11.14

The president is yet arrive but the ‎crowd is large and seemingly uncontrollable. The Eagle Square venue of the declaration is already full and people outside the venue are possibly more than the ones inside. Security personnel have now closed the main entrance to the Square, asking people to go and sit in one of the large tents outside the Square and monitor proceedings on the three giant screens provided. People are however adamant they want to go in. A lot of people are pushing to get in. The President could not have wished for more than this mammoth crowd.

11.17

‎Many governors, Ministers, Senator and members of the House of Representatives, as well as top members of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party are in the Square awaiting the arrival of the President while Kannywood super star, Sani Danja, entertains the crowd with a Goodluck Jonathan song.

11.20

‎The crowd has overpowered the police officers at the gate and are forcing themselves into the Eagles Square.

11.37

President Goodluck Jonathan arrives the Eagle Square in a long convoy of cars and buses. The crowd is overpowering and security is tight.

11.39

Abuja has virtually been locked down for the presidential declaration. Motorists coming into Abuja from all entry points are going through hell. Major roads have been blocked .

11.42

President Jonathan alighted from a bus, accompanied by his wife, party chieftains and state governors. Sandwiched between dark-googled security operatives, he is waving to the crowd as he walked towards the VIP stand.

11.43

‎President Goodluck Jonathan has arrived Eagle Square accompanied by PDP Governors and. He was received by his deputy, Namadi Sanbo and wife. Also on the President's entourage is the First Lady, Patience Jonathan.

11.44

‎The president is going round the Eagle Square hailing the thousands of supporters who have thronged the Square to witness the declaration.

11.44

State governors and party chieftains are seen going to First Lady Patience Jonathan, some of them bowing in reverence to her. It is a festival of sorts here. All manners of entertainment on display.

11.47

The president just alighted from his tour vehicle and walking amidst a large crowd. His security aides works hard to move him through the crowd.

11.48

Before today, former Head of State, Muhammadu Buhari [APC], former Vice President Atiku [APC] and Governor Rabiu Kwankwaso [APC] have declared their presidential ambition in Abuja. Residents are wondering why the federal capital was never locked down this way. But security experts say in the face of the insecurity in the land, extra measures need be taken at all times to secure the president and other important government functionaries.

11.54

‎The President has returned to the VIPS stand After his tour. After a brief exchange of pleasantries with dignitaries at the VIP section, the national anthem is sang, paving way for the declaration speeches.

11.59

The PDP issued a statement Monday saying Jonathan is the best presidential candidate for Nigeria in the run-up to the 2015 election. But many of the president's critics disagree. They say he has failed to check the growing insurgency in the country, that electricity supply in the country has worsened under his reign, that kidnapping and abductions have heightened; that unemployment has skyrocketed. Mr. Jonathan is most likely to use this occasion to respond to his critics. He is most likely going to showcase his achievements in the past three years too.

12.00

The National Anthem has been sung and the opening prayers rendered. The declaration ceremony has now started in full swing after hours of preliminaries.

12.00

‎After the National Anthem and recognition of dignitaries, Israel Akanje, the FCT Chairman of Christian Association of Nigeria, and the Deputy Chief Imam of National Mosque Abuja, Kabir Umar, said the opening Christian and Muslim prayers respectively.

12.02

In his opening prayers, Mr. Akanje remembered the numerous Nigerians who are suffering and prayed God to help them.

12.14

Peter Esele, former President of the Trade Union Congress speaks: President Jonathan is humility personified. "During the minimum wage saga, I had gone on AIT to throw punches at the President. Immediately I left the studio, I got a call and it was the president.... He signed the law." He said Jonathan never loses his cool even at the height of provocation.

12.20

‎The Chairman of the Declaration Committee, Haliru Mohammed, in a brief speech, welcomed all to the declaration and also informed the president that the entire crowd came to request him to offer himself for re-election in 2015. He said the crowd is there to get answer to their request for him to run. He said the president is requested to contest not just because he was loved, but because of the love Nigerians have for themselves and their desire for accelerated development. He said Jonathan should come out and "say yes to our demands".

12.22

‎Former TUC President Peter Esele said he led TUC under three Presidents and that of them all, Jonathan is "humility personified". He said during the labour protest minimum wage the president personally called him and pledged that he would sign the minimum wage into law and he fulfilled that promise. He called on Nigerians to always do their best wherever they find themselves.

12.23

‎A father to one of the Almajiri kids enrolled into the almajiri school set up by the President came with his son to the podium. He said his son, who was roaming the street, can now read and write very well. He thanked the president for changing his son's life. He also called on Nigerians to identify with the laudable projects the president has delivered for the country.

12.24

Nigerian farmers as well as Fulani pastoralists at Eagle Square, endorse President Jonathan

12.24

A youth leader, Olawale Ajani, speaking said ‎the youth are in total solidarity with the President. He was on stage with the President of NANS and called on Nigerians to give Jonathan another chance to continue with his good works. He said the President has created spaces for the youth in his government and called on the president to ensure the youth get the 30 percent affirmative action in 2015.

12.25

Hassan Adamu, Wakili Adamawa, speaking on behalf of the North-East, said the President has delivered and that the time has come for him to be rewarded appropriately.

12.29

Peter Odili, former governor of Rivers state, makes a rare public appearance, to speak on behalf of the South-South people. He said his people are full of thanks to the National Assembly for supporting the president in the past four years. He added that there are over 6million individuals demanding that the president runs for the #Nigeria2015 elections from his zone.

12.30

Jerry Gana spoke on b half of the Middle Belt region and pledged more support for Jonathan.

12.33

Bode George, a chieftain of the PDP from the South-West, said the president's declaration is divine, happening on 11th day of 11 month. He said the South-West will openly declare their support for Jonathan at the forthcoming Yoruba Unity Day.

12.35

Hassan Adamu who spoke on behalf of the people of the Boko Haram infested North-East said the region produced about 7 million signatures out of the 17.5 signatures who pledged to support him. He also eulogised the president for setting up two universities in the zone and said it is time for the region to pay him back‎ for his kind gestures.

12.38

Attahiru Bafarawa spoke for the North West. He said the region was full of thanks for appointing so many Nigerians from the region into key positions in the government. He said the region was donating a bus to the campaign.

12.44

Former senate president, Ken Nnamani, spoke for the South East. He said the region was supporting the president because they do not want the Second Niger Bridge abandoned. He also said the region wants the president to continue in office because the region's busiest highway, the Enugu Onitsha highway, was in terrible condition and that only a Jonathan led government beyond 2015 can fix it. "We do not want trial and error," he said. He also added that the region's only international airport in Enugu need to be completed.

12.47

Mr. Nnamani also He also said Jonathan as president will create a level playing field for all to compete favourably.

12.49

A short musical break. Bongos Ikwe delivered a rendition atop blaring noise from different dance groups within the square. "What's gonna be gonna be. What goes up gonna come down," he sings. For those who don't know, that's one of his classics.

12.51

Governor Godswill Akpabio: PDP will win 29 or 30 states in the 2015 elections

12.53

Godswill Akpabio: "Dr. Goodluck Ebelo Jonathan, we PDP Governors are saying "carry go". Is not going to be very smooth but at the end of the tunnel there will be victory

12.56

Godswill Akpabio, governor of Akwa Ibom state led the PDP Governors to the podium. He said "We field commanders (Governors)" will ensure the PDP gets 30 states. He said they were the first to notice Jonathan's transformation efforts in railways, power, agriculture, power, and economy. He said after the recognisance, the PDP Governors decided not to contest against him. He admits the road to the 2015 election will be tough but said they will emerge victorious. "Those who are behind you are more than those who are against you," he said. He said the opposition have no plan for Nigeria and accused them of plotting to destabilise nigeria and encouraging terror. He is flanked by the PDP Governors as he speaks.

12.57

‎"Mr. President do not be intimidated and we are solidly behind you. Those who are behind are more than those against you," Akpabio said. Akpabio ended his speech saying: "We cannot handover Nigeria to the enemies of Progress".

13.00

David Mark, the senate president is next on stage. But before that, Nigeria star rapper, Naeto C sings a stage version of his Ten Over Ten, for the president.

13.07

The senate president said Nigerians want a president who can be trusted, who is reliable and inspiring, and that Jonathan is that president. He said the if he fails to return, the tangible projects he started might not see the light of the day. "We trust and believe you can deliver the dividends of democracy to Nigeria," he said.

13.10

President Jonathan has sat calmly in the VIP section listening to these speeches. At times, he smiles. At times, he is expressionless. But he must be a very happy man today. He could have wished for a larger crowd at his declaration ceremony.

13.14

The senate president apparently led all PDP members of the National Assembly to the event. The speaker of the House of Reps recently decamped to the opposition All Progressives Congress. The senate president asked the president to heed the call by Nigerians and run for a second term. He said all over the world, performing candidates are endorsed to run for second terms. He said everyone in the country must come together and support the president o overcome the challenges of insecurity posed by the Boko Haram sect

13.18

The Vice President, Namadi Sambo, would speak next. He left his position as governor of Kaduna state to join Jonathan shortly after the later took office in 2010 following the death of Umaru Yar'Adua. He is expected to pledge his loyalty and underline the achievements of the Jonathan administration of which he is part. He is likely to remain the Vice President if Jonathan wins.

13.21

President Jonathan is in a deep conversation with his wife and a third party as the Vice President delivers his speech. The president repeatedly slices the air, horizontally, with his right hand,  through the conversation.

13.24

Mr. Sambo pledges his loyalty and calls on the president to come on stage to declare his ambition. Jonathan hugs his wife before departing for the podium.

13.27

At the stage, Jonathan adjusts his glasses, his speech papers, and did some more hand-waving to the crowd as a song by Onyeka Onwenu, Run, Jonathan Run, blares through the speakers.

13.33

Jonathan thanks Nigerians and party members for the support just before calling for a one-minute silence for students killed in a suicide bomb attack on Government Science Secondary School in Potiskum on Monday. One minute over, the president declared, "May their souls rest in peace," and the crowd sat back. The president admits terrorism is a challenge and promises to bring back the Chibok schoolgirls who were taken hostage in April.

13.39

‎President Jonathan said he remains grateful for the trust reposed on him by Nigerians. He also said he is grateful to Nigerians for their understanding over the handling of the difficult insecurity challenges. He pledges to defeat terror and also said the kidnapped Chibok girls would be released. He said through the Safe School Initiative and victim support fund, his government has set aside N60bn to aide the victims of terror.

13.41

‎President Jonathan also thanked all the organs of the party for adopting him as the sole candidate of the party. He said his government has pursued a power sector reform to "an irreversible progress"‎. He also said additional Hydro power stations are being built in Zungeru and Mambila. He said he has released N60bn for the Africa Green project and that tremendous progress had been made, with 37 new dams built‎. He said various intervention in the irrigation sub sector has led to about N45bn revenue. Mr. Jonathan also enumerated the various progress made on the railway sector. "Very soon, people can stay in Kaduna and work in Abuja with the completion of the Abuja-Kaduna standard gauge," he said.

13.44

‎He said his government has completed the dredging of the River Niger from Baro in Niger state to Warri in Delta state. He said he made a commitment to build two new major bridges across the Rivers Niger and Benue and that work is at advance stages on the two bridges.

13.46

‎Mr. Jonathan said he has started a revolution in the Housing sector that will enable millions of Nigerians to become first time House owners. He said 66,000 mortgage requests from young Nigerians are already being processed. He said 10 new districts are being developed in the FCT and that very soon Nigerians will start using the light rail from the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport to the city centre.

13.49

‎He said his government has succeeded in eliminating long queue in filling stations through consistent provision of petroleum products to Nigerians. He said the private sector is investing bn in the petrochemical sector as a result of his government's favourable policy. He said his government has revolutionised the Agric sector by transforming it into a business. "We ended the case of corruption in the fertiliser and seed ‎supply chain," he said. He said 14 million farmers, out of which two millions are women, have accessed fertiliser through the e-wallet system introduced by government.

13.59

‎He said the Dangote group has invested one billion dollars on rice production and that in five years, "Nigeria will become a net exporter of Rice." He said the government is encouraging high school students to begin to see agric as a commercial venture. He said he has eradicated corruption in the agric sector and that that  success would be extended to other sectors. He said going forward, he would double his effort in the fight against corruption and that corrupt government officials would  begin to face justice.

14.02

He said he has established 14 new Universities out of which two are specialised. "Under my watch, every Nigerian state has a Federal University," he sai‎d. He said he has established 150 almajiri schools in the north.

14.04

The president recounted how he, the governors of Lagos and Rivers, and all Nigerians united to fight Ebola. He recalled how he declared a state of emergency and called for national action when Ebola came to Nigeria and that with the cooperation of all Nigerians, the nation was able to successfully contained the disease. "Just as we stopped Ebola, we are on our way to eradicating polio in Nigeria," Mr. Jonathan said as the crowd roared. "I promise that I will not handover polio to anyone."

14.07

Buried deep in the lengthy speech is the key declaration of the day.  "After seeking the face of God and quite reflection with my Family..., I Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan, has accepted to present myself" for the contest for the 2015 general elections, Jonathan announces to a cheering crowd. The crowd just won't stop cheering ... By this words, the President has thrown his hat into the ring. The race begins... This is what the mammoth crowd here came to hear.

14.10

It appears the sound system broken down shortly after the president's declaration.  A lot From where I stand in the crowd, I can't hear the President any longer. With the sound system dysfunctional, many people in here are barely listening to the president. Many are engrossed in other activities.

14.12

The president has rounded off his speech. He is escorted back to the VIP section by his wife and multitude of aides, political associates and supporters. Compared to his past deliveries, his presentation today is a lot smoother and assertive.  It was a long speech but he was able to wade through it slowly, and without losing steam.

14.15

The declaration event is formally brought to an end with the national anthem.

14.16

Thank you for following our live updates. Have a great day. Get the full declaration speech here.

Nigeria police to lock down Abuja for Jonathan

Abuja City Gate

The Nigeria police have issued a warning on the diversion of vehicular traffic around the Eagle Square in Abuja, Nigeria’s Federal capital city.

In a statement, the police spokesperson, Emmanuel Ojukwu, said there will be traffic diversion around the Eagle Square on Tuesday for “a major event”.

Mr. Ojukwu also advised Abuja residents to make use of alternative routes, as vehicular traffic would be diverted from most of the roads leading in and out of Eagle Square Central Business District, Abuja between 5 a.m. and 8p.m. on Tuesday, November 11.

He also said the police regretted any inconvenience the vehicular diversion within the area would cause the public.

Nigeria’s President, Goodluck Jonathan, is scheduled to declare his ambition for re-election on Tuesday at the Eagle Square in Abuja.

Although, three other presidential aspirants: former head of State, Muhammadu Buhari, Kano State Governor, Rabiu Kwankwaso and former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar who declared their ambition were given adequate security by the police in Abuja, precautionary measures as this one were not made available to them.

The city was not locked down even for Mr. Buhari who held his declaration ceremony at the same Eagle Square.

When asked for details of Tuesday’s “major event” and why there would be a lockdown of major routes in the city, the police spokesperson, Emmanuel Ojukwu, told PREMIUM TIMES, he could not say what event was taking place at the Eagle Square for security reasons.

“It is not the duty of the police to tell you who will be declaring or not but we are saying, there will be a major event tomorrow and that is it,” Mr. Ojukwu said.

He also said the police was only doing a public service which it had been assigned to for the citizens.

Jonathan did not concede tickets to 40 Senators, says Senator

President-Goodluck-Jonathan-360x225

A senator, Nurudeen Abatemi-Usman, has described as “untrue” the claim that President Goodluck Jonathan granted automatic tickets to 40 of the 72 Peoples Democratic Party senators to return to the Senate next year.

This is contained in a statement on Sunday by his media aide, Michael Jegede.

Mr. Jonathan, accompanied by the National Chairman of the PDP, Adamu Mu’azu, had met with about 60 of the party’s senators last week over their agitation to seek re-election to the upper house.

The senate had called off sitting midway on two days last week in the bid to protest the refusal of the PDP to give them automatic tickets.

It was later reported (not by PREMIUM TIMES) that the President had requested the party to allow automatic tickets for 40 senators.

But Mr, Abatemi-Usman, who represents Kogi Central Senatorial District, said neither the president nor the national chairman conceded automatic tickets to the senators.

He alleged that the source of the erroneous report was a well-known Senator who has been trying to create the false impression that he is close to the national PDP leadership and the Presidency.

He said the senator even claimed recently that the president had endorsed him as the next Senate President.

“My colleague should be careful as he is becoming known as the purveyor of dubious information. I was at the meeting from the beginning to the end and at no point was any list of Senators drafted,” he said.

“It is unfortunate that a fellow Senator would peddle such rumours and that respected national newspapers would publish the report without checking the facts.”

Explaining what transpired at the meeting, Mr. Abatemi-Usman, said Mr. Mu’azu merely treated the case of each state on their merit.

He said, “What our national chairman did after some Senators had spoken their minds was to look at the situation in each state, and he said where there are issues they will be resolved amicably.

” If there was any such list my name definitely would have been included because the chairman said he is not aware that I am having any problem in Kogi Central while speaking on the situation in Kogi State. He said the problem in Kogi West will be resolved. That was the manner in which the Chairman went through all the States.

“Neither he, nor the President at any time mentioned names of Senators to be granted automatic tickets. It seems my colleague behind the purported report is being mischievous in spreading this story and the public should disregard his claims.”

#Nigeria2015: PDP reviews timetable for primaries

President Goodluck Jonathan

The ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP‎ has reviewed its timetable for the 2015 primary election for all offices.

The party had earlier  fixed October 29 and December 6 for its gubernatorial and presidential primaries respectively, while that of ‎the National Assembly seats was fixed for November 22.

But in a statement by its National Organising Secretary, Abubakar Mustapha, on  Saturday, the PDP has now rescheduled the primaries.

Under the new arrangement, the State House of Assembly primaries has now been slated for November 29, that for the House of Representatives December 6 and that for the Senate December 7.

Primary‎ elections to elect governorship candidates have also now been fixed for December 6, while the national convention to elect a presidential candidate is fixed for December 11, 2014.

President Goodluck Jonathan is widely expected to emerge candidate, although the party has recently thrown the race for the ticket open.

See the full Press statement below.

November, 8, 2014

Press Statement

PDP NWC Reviews Timelines For Primaries

In exercise of its powers under Section 29 (2) (a) and (b) of the

Constitution of our Great Party (2012 as amended), the National Working

Committee (NWC) has approved the review of timelines (Time-table) for

the conduct of Congresses/Primaries preparatory to the 2015 General

Elections.

The new time-table which supercedes the earlier one is as follows:

A. HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY:

a. Return of Forms –             06/11/14 (Completed)

b. Screening –     07-09/11/14 (Completed)

c.  Screening Appeal –     10/11/14

d    House of Assembly primaries-                29/11/14

e.  Appeals             30/11/14

B. NATIONAL ASSEMBLY:

a. Return of Forms –                 14/11/14

b. Screening and Appeals –                 19-21/11/14

c.  House of Representatives Primaries -            06/12/14

d. Senate Primaries           -      07/12/14

e.    NASS Appeals   -      08/12/14

C. Governorship:

  a. Return of Forms –                 14/11/14

b. Screening and Appeals –                 22-25/11/14

c.  Governorship Primaries -                        08/12/14

e.      Appeals                 09/12/14

D. PRESIDENTIAL:

a. Return of Forms –                 15/11/14

b. Screening and Appeals –                 26/11/14

c.  National Convention     10-11/12/14

It is noted that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)

has been notified of the review.

Signed:

Abubakar Mustapha MFR, mni

National Organizing Secretary

2015: Labour Party accuses APC of plotting to destabilise Nigeria

Labour Party

The Labour Party [LP] has accused the All Progressives Congress [APC] of plotting to destabilise Nigeria during the 2015 general elections.

The party’s National Secretary, Olukayode Ajulo, made this known in a statement made available to PREMIUM TIMES on Thursday.

Going by what he described as “unguarded utterances and inciting statements,” Mr. Ajulo said it is evident the APC is interested in causing chaos rather than to win the 2015 polls.

Instead of assisting the government to tackle growing insecurity in the country, he said the APC celebrated insurgency and terrorism while also fanning the embers of chaos across the country.

“The APC campaigns rather than being issue-based are characterised by name-calling, fault-finding and dirty diatribes devoid of plans for Nigerians,” the party secretary stated.

Mr. Ajulo, who made reference to a statement issued in Lagos on Sunday by the APC’s National Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed, said the main opposition party has finally revealed its evil intention against Nigeria.

Mr. Mohammed had in the statement said President Goodluck Jonathan-led administration got swindled by an impostor in the botched Boko Haram ceasefire deal.

“President Jonathan owes Nigerians an explanation on what has now turned out to be an unprecedented global faux pas. Engaging in cheap damage control by insisting on the genuineness of the deal,” Mr. Mohammed is quoted to have said.

But Mr. Ajulo insisted the lampooning approach adopted by Mr. Mohammed showed how myopic and selfish the APC could go on an issue bordering on national security.

The LP secretary maintained that while vibrant opposition is necessary for democracy to flourish, the nation’s unity and peace must not be sacrificed on the altar of do-or-die politics.

“Apparently, the APC is not set out to win the 2015 general election as it lacks the vision, capacity and strategy to do so,” Mr. Ajulo said.

“Rather, their mission is to make the country ungovernable going by the utterances credited to one of its major presidential contenders.

“It is instructive that the same bellicose posture and politically infantile proclamations presaged the violence that visited the outcome of the presidential polls in 2011. And what is more, certain parts of the country have remained virtually ungovernable since then.

“Nigerians are not unaware of the antecedents of the APC major contenders. The nation will not be hoodwinked with rhetoric aimed at obfuscating the truth and refocusing attention from the personalities the party intends to present for the presidential polls.”

He argued that Nigerians desired presidential candidates who have direct and tenable answers to their basic yearnings, not politicians who promise to cause bloodbath if they fail to have their way at the polls.

Mr. Ajulo said the APC is playing politics with a serious issue like terrorism, a situation that is despised all over the world.

When the United States of America initiated the war on terror, he said both the Democrats and the Republicans viewed it as a national concern and did not reduce the issue to dirty politicking.

The LP, therefore, advised the APC to refrain from further inciting Nigerians and pay due attention to more palpable issues of their fast dwindling followership.

He said, “If the APC has nothing to sell to Nigerians, it should gallantly withdraw from the presidential race.

“Election is at hand. Nigerian workers obviously have a role to play in it and certainly they will determine who will be elected as power belongs to the people,” he said.

ECOWAS heads of government agree on immediate elections in Burkina Faso

ECOWAS Heads of State

The leaders of the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, on Thursday agreed on the immediate lifting of the suspension of the constitution and holding of presidential and legislative elections within 12 months in Burkina Faso.

The agreement was one of the resolutions reached by the leaders during their meeting on Wednesday to find ways of resolving the lingering political crisis that culminated in the resignation of the country’s former President, Blaise Compaore, and the dissolution of his government.

The chairman of the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government, who is also the President of Ghana, John Mahama, said the lifting of the suspension on the constitution would enable the Constitutional Council to declare a power vacuum and the next steps for the formation of a transitional government.

The leaders, who also included Presidents Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria and Macky Sall of Senegal, called for the “urgent designation by consensus of a suitably eminent civilian to lead the transition.”

A communiqué at the end of the meeting said an agreement was also reached for the formation of a transitional government for a period of one year.

The agreement would pave the ways for a draft time table for the organization of presidential and legislative elections by November 2015 to guarantee the security of all Burkinabe, including political party leaders, members of the defunct government and National Assembly.

The leaders, the communiqué said, also agreed on the need to guarantee the protection of human rights and individual choices; initiation of an all-inclusive consultation among political party leaders, representatives of civil society organizations, religious and traditional leaders as well as the national arms forces to develop the structure and composition of the transition organs.

Recalling the contributions of Burkina Faso to the promotion of global peace and security as well as political stability within the region and Africa at large, particularly its active participation in peace keeping and mediation processes, the leaders urged the stakeholders to embrace dialogue in order to define a coherent and consensual transition arrangement.

While condoling with the bereaved families, the leaders also sympathized with the victims of the uprising of October 30 and commended the country’s armed forces for their professionalism in maintaining security, law and order and for their positive role in the effort to initiate a civilian-led transition process.

During the visit, the ECOWAS leaders met with the leaders of the country’s political parties, representatives of civil society, religious and traditional leaders, members of the armed forces, as well as the chairman and members of the Constitutional Council.

They are expected to report the outcome of the visit to the ongoing two-day Extraordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government scheduled for Accra, Ghana, on Thursday.

#Nigeria2015: Analysts say President Jonathan may get overall majority, but run-off likely

Election

Zainab Usman, a doctoral candidate in International Development at Oxford University and her colleague, Dr. Olly Owen,  British, worked on this scholarly analysis of the coming general elections in Nigeria for months. They have now published their report, making projections on the likely outcomes of the election.

How accurate the predictions would be remains to be seen. But it is an interesting analysis that anyone interested in the election anywhere in the world should read.

Major Highlights

- In order to win the Presidency in 2015, the successful party will have to control the majority of Nigeria’s 36 state Governorships.

- In the 2015 elections half of the State Governors will have completed their maximum two terms, so state-level elections are likely to be extremely competitive across the country.

- Of the 28 governorship elections taking place, 18 states (or two-thirds) will have vacant seats. 10 of these 18 states have 40.9% of all registered voters.

- This numerical analysis indicates both the PDP and APC could each secure 17 states in Governorship elections.

- To win, a Presidential candidate needs an overall majority and at least 25% of the votes in two-thirds of the states (24 states). On current indications, if President Goodluck Jonathan runs as PDP candidate he is likely to get an overall majority. However, he may not automatically get the necessary one-quarter of the vote in two-thirds of states and the FCT.

- Therefore if voting patterns are similar to 2011 a run-off election situation would be likely. This would be a historic first under Nigeria’s present electoral system.
However, this run-off outcome is likely to be determined by the choice of candidates put up by the main APC opposition party and the issue of North-South ‘zoning’.

- It is difficult to predict the outcome of this run-off. If it does not favour an outright win for the PDP, it may further weaken its chances at the subsequent gubernatorial elections given that half of the seats are vacant.
2011’s results are only a useful guide to 2015 if conditions stay the same, including INEC’s conduct in voter registration and election management.

- Therefore, with high incentives for many actors to rig, it will be important for stakeholders in democratic consolidation to focus on issues such as registration and collation, which are likely to be hot in all states.

The Rationale

As the 2015 elections inch nearer, the spaces of Nigerian public discourse are beginning to fill with speculation as to the chances of various contenders, the possible alignments of political forces, and likely outcomes.

Yet most of this discussion is conjectural and instinctive rather than analytical. Here, we attempt instead to make some projections about 2015’s elections by generating conclusions from 2011’s election results, turnouts and voter numbers.

Our central assumption is that since 1999, the parties which have controlled Nigeria’s 36 state Governorships have been able to strongly influence the result of Presidential elections in each state.

In 2011, President Goodluck Jonathan won the election with 22,495,187 total votes across the country, winning not only states where the ruling PDP governed, but also all states in the South-West apart from Osun, thanks to an electoral pact between the PDP and the now-defunct ACN which ran most South-Western states.

Although President Jonathan did not win in 12 Northern states (including nine which returned PDP Governors but where a majority voted for Muhammadu Buhari of the now-defunct CPC for President), he was able to get over the 25% of votes threshold in all but four (all Northern) states; of which only two were PDP. This indicates that local voter appeal can be an important modifier of the power of incumbency.

But in 2015, the landscape appears very different. As control of the 36 states and Federal Capital Territory (Abuja) are key to how national elections are won, we must first examine the state-level elections. In 2011, one of the authors analysed gubernatorial election results (as posted by Nigeria Elections Coalition).

Some interesting findings emerged:

  1. Nigeria’s elections conform to a rule of thumb, (as propounded by political scientists such as Nic Cheeseman) about elections in Africa and more widely: when incumbents run for re-election, they win over 85% of the time and typically with over 60% of the vote – in 2011, 17 of Nigeria’s 20 then-incumbent State Governors were re-elected – exactly 85%, with an average winning vote of 69%.
  2. Although based on a small sample, this margin of victory was similar whether the winning Governor was from the national ruling PDP or another party, suggesting that state-level incumbency might be more important than being part of a national ruling party.
  3. Any candidate contesting for a ‘vacant’ Governorship is more likely to win, and by a larger margin, if they are from the same party as the previous incumbent. (See calculations below).

As well as pointing to the importance of incumbency, and the role of constitutional mechanisms such as term limits in maintaining democracy, these results also offer a way to predicting possible outcomes the 2015 polls. In what follows, we explore what the figures may tell us.

We are aware of two weaknesses in our methodology. One is the small size of the data sample – drawn from just one previous national election under the same conditions.  The other is our assumptions – for 2011’s data to have predictive value, a number of conditions must remain the same; we debate whether or not they are likely to in the section on ‘assumptions’.

The Political Landscape in the run-up to 2015

The first thing to note is that the alignment of political forces today is very different to 2011. Whereas the PDP went into the 2011 elections controlling 27 state governments, currently it controls 20 and can rely on the likely support of two more Governors, from Ondo (Labour) and Anambra (APGA), making 22 in total. The APC opposition meanwhile controls 14 states, as illustrated below. This is a rapidly changing dynamic however, as alliances continue to be built and reconfigured.

NigeriaElectionsMap1Secondly, 20 Governors entered the 2011 elections in the strong position of first-term incumbents looking to come back; but in 2015, only 10 of 28 Gubernatorial incumbents will be re-contesting – 7 for APC and 3 for PDP.  The other 18 races will be ‘open’ with no incumbent, while 8 states where elections are held at different times will not be holding Governorship polls.

This means more elections will be competitive, with fewer places where an incumbent Governor can be sure to ‘deliver’ a state’s vote for their Presidential candidate. This makes results even less predictable, but as 2011 shows – even outgoing parties without an incumbent re-contesting retain a marginal advantage. We can therefore assume that states which have been run by a particular party will still be more likely to support that party’s Presidential candidate.

Assumptions

The usefulness of 2011’s figures in predicting outcomes of 2015 rests on seven assumptions. We note that all of these are open to debate:

  1. There will be elections in 2015: We work on the assumption that any attempt to delay these could lead to a major constitutional crisis and radically alter political alignments. It is possible that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) could choose not to hold elections in states where the security situation prevents it; they are legally entitled to do so. Currently, three states (Borno, Yobe and Adamawa) in the North-East are under State of Emergency, although Yobe’s successful by-elections show that elections are not necessarily impossible under such conditions. Still, if elections were not held, it would not alter the conditions which we note as likely to lead to a Presidential run-off.
  2. INEC’s commitment to running free and fair elections will remain the same, although the electoral commission remains restricted in some aspects of capacity and control, and local-level implementation varies. Recent trends such as decisions not to use electronic voting machines in Ekiti and Osun elections may cast doubt on this. Overall, INEC’s management of state elections has improved since Anambra in December 2013, but it remains to be seen if INEC can scale up the achievement to a national exercise.
  3. Improvements made in 2011 will remain and restrict rigging to the post-collation process: Whereas 2007’s poorly-run election allowed votes to be completely fabricated, registration and accreditation has since been tightened, so that the main avenues for rigging are more restricted to the use of actual voters, or at least their cards. This might mean renewed attempts to register voters fraudulently in order to increase numbers, but the only other avenue for outright rigging would be post-poll collation at local levels, which should therefore be a focus for observer groups.
  4. 2015 will be an overwhelmingly two-party race between the PDP and the APC in the Presidential elections: this currently seems self-evident, and the APGA and Labour parties are likely to support PDP.
  5. Presidential polls will take place before Governorship elections: as on previous occasions, this means that incumbent governors are influential in controlling the presidential vote. If the order were reversed, the rule may not hold true.
  6. The PDP candidate will be President Goodluck Jonathan, whereas the APC would likely select a Northern Muslim candidate: This is a fundamental assumption, and we can question whether voting patterns would still cleave to 2011’s alignments if the APC candidate was for instance from the South-West, or was a Northern Christian. Equally, there is the more remote possibility that the PDP may choose a different Presidential candidate.
  7. Election security management will reflect that of 2011, in which security agencies were widely acknowledged to have improved their practices: Many new security challenges have evolved since 2011 but if the agencies can stick to their record of improvement, the environment may remain predictable. If not, or if attempted disruptions overwhelm them, the outcomes will be much less clear.

Unknown Factors

Turnouts are crucial but hard to predict. If a voter register is realistic, party mobilisation and levels of public interest in the candidates dictate the turnout. Anambra’s 2013 election, with a 25% voter turnout, offers a stark indicator of what happens when they are disinterested. Reports by civil society observers were that large numbers of residents stayed at home, or even sold their voter cards before election.

Such low turnouts can favour riggers, as they allow lots of unused votes to be creatively redistributed, in front of a largely apathetic public which may not enthusiastically defend its mandate. And, as we have seen, incumbents have a greater ability to rig due to their control of resources and the environment.

As PDP are incumbent in more states, this might at first glance seem to favour that party more, but as there are a number of states in which the party may struggle to clear the 25% margin, low turnouts are a big risk for PDP too.

Money is hugely important in politics, but is of limited use without genuine support. Paid-for support is expensive and unreliable, while dedicated support is more consistent (and cheaper). While incumbents may have more to spend, they may not necessarily have more to offer in mobilising voter enthusiasm.

Historically, parties’ appeal to voters has been based on ethno-regional or faith identities, although the 1999 and 2007 elections broke a mould with three major parties (the PDP, ANPP and AD/ACN) all picking Southern Christian and later, Northern Muslim Presidential candidates respectively.

For 2015, parties have so far made little effort to formulate policy messages, and membership structures vary from very weak to strong between parties across the country. While the PDP has struggled to convince the electorate of its ability to deliver on key issues such as poverty reduction, security or combatting corruption, the APC’s positioning as a more progressive party has been watered-down by the large number of floor-crossers the party has incorporated and its tactic of negative campaigning has also alienated some potential supporters.

It will be interesting to see to what extent both parties are willing or able to mobilise voters with policy messages rather than simply appeals to identity politics.

The Numbers

The current political alignment of state government is as follows. Note that APGA and Labour Party states have tended to ally with the ruling PDP party.

  • People’s Democratic Party (PDP) – 20
  • All Progressives Congress (APC) – 14
  • All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) – 1
  • Labour Party (LP) – 1

2011 Results Analysis

In May 2011, gubernatorial polls took place and results were announced in 25 states, excluding the Imo (re-run) and 9 others which were not due for re-election. 20 states had one-term sitting governors running for re-election, and 5 states had vacant seats after Governors had completed two terms. Their average share of the votes looked like this:

Category Number of States Average winning share of vote
1. Sitting Governor gets second term 17 69.01%
2. Non-incumbent candidate wins 8 54.08%
2a> where opponent beats one-term sitting governor who is running for re-election 3 47.3%
2b> where candidate wins ‘empty’ seat where there is no first-term governor running for re-election 5 58.16%
2b.1> of which candidate from immediate previously ruling party wins ‘empty’ seat 3 62.7%
2b.2> of which candidate from party previously in opposition wins ‘empty’ seat 2 51.15%
3. Average winning share of PDP sitting Governors 15 68.22%
4. Average winning share of non-PDP sitting Governors 2 74.95%

Based on this we can see that in 2011 elections being an incumbent governor typically gives an advantage of 15% when seeking re-election (69.01 – 54.08 = 14.93%).

The marginal advantage of being an incumbent party contesting a ‘vacant’ seat – i.e. where a governor has completed two terms and is not coming back – is calculated by subtracting the average vote-share of winning non-incumbents from the average vote share of those who won seats just vacated by the same party: 11.2% (62.7% – 51.5%)

Some other observations:

  • If you’re contesting for an ‘empty’ seat, you’re likely to win by a larger share of the vote (62%) if you’re from the party which was just in power than if you’re from an opposition party (51%).
  • Anyone not in power at the start of the race (whether national opposition or ruling party, whether running against a sitting governor or an empty seat) typically gets a lower margin of victory (47%) than incumbents running for re-election (69%).
  • The advantage of being an incumbent first-term governor running for re-election is not larger for PDP Governors. In fact, non-PDP incumbents won with average 75% share of the votes, whereas PDP incumbents won an average of 68%. It thus seems that being in power locally matters more than being allied with the national ruling party, although more research and larger samples would be needed to prove this.

2015 Election Projections

Using the trends in the 2011 elections, if other conditions remain equal, based on the current landscape, we make the following preliminary projections.

State Governorships

There are 28 gubernatorial seats up for election in 2015:

10 incumbents are contesting for a second term

  • Three are in PDP-controlled states
  • Seven are in APC-controlled states.

18 vacant seats

  • Fourteen are in PDP-controlled states
  • Four are in APC-controlled states
Category Current No. of State Governorships Projections of State Governorships to be won 2015
Incumbents: Based on 85% Rule
APC 7 6 in APC states = 6
PDP 3 3 in PDP states1 in APC states = 4
Seats to be vacant: Based on winning vote share in 2011 gubernatorial elections: 60-40%
APC 4 2 in APC states6 in PDP states = 8
PDP 14 8 in PDP states2 in APC states = 10
Assumed to be incumbent in states with no election in February 2015
APC 3 3
PDP 3 3
APGA 1 1
LABOUR 1 1
TOTAL
APC 14 17
PDP 20 17
APGA 1 1
LABOUR 1 1
TOTAL 36 36

Projections:

  • If the rule that incumbents win 85% of the time with a 60% share of votes holds, for the 10 states with incumbents running for re-election in the governorship elections, a likely outcome is that the APC wins 6 seats while the PDP wins 4.
  • There are 18 vacant seats which will have no incumbent contesting. In 2011, the PDP won 60% of such seats while opposition parties (although before uniting as the APC) collectively won 40%. Working with this admittedly crude assumption (based on just five vacant seats contested in 2011), the PDP is therefore likely to win 10 governorship states while the APC gets 8 states.
  • Therefore in states holding elections in 2015, it is likely that the PDP ends up with 14 states and the APC with 14. If these figures are added to the other states without governorship elections, the tally is:

PDP: 14 states + 3 non-participating states =       17

APC: 14 states + 3 non-participating states =        17

APGA =                                                                                                 1 non-participating state

Labour =                                                                                              1 non-participating state

Total                                                                                                     36 states

 

This could mean that PDP and allied parties will control 19 states, fewer than the 22 it currently does. However, these are broad generalisations and it is difficult to identify the specific states in question.

NigeriaElectionsMap2Presidential election projections

Going by the initial rule we applied, if the PDP candidate is incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan, he might seem to have an 85% chance of winning with about 60% of the votes. However, given Nigeria’s Federal system, the proportion of vacant governorship seats and the rapidly changing alliances in the political landscape, other variables may come into play.

We can assume that states largely support the same party for Presidential elections as they do for Governorship elections (although in 2011 a number of mainly northern states, as well as ACN states in in an electoral pact with PDP in the South-West, bucked the trend).

Going by the 85% assumption, if local incumbency is the prime factor, since 22 of the states are currently PDP or allied parties in the current dispensation, the PDP may win the Presidential vote in 21 states (19 PDP states and 2 APC states), and the APC meanwhile would win Presidential votes in 15 states (12 currently APC and 3 PDP states). This is likely to be enough for a simple majority.[1]

If however, we go by the projected trends in the governorship elections as useful pointers, we end up with a different result, with both parties winning in 17 states each.

The absolute numbers of voters cannot be predicted but it may be significant that the APC goes into the election controlling two states with the largest number of registered voters, Lagos (6.1 million registered voters in 2011) and Kano (5 million).

Also remember that section 134 (1) of Nigeria’s 1999 Constitution lays down two conditions for a victory; one is a majority of votes cast, but the other is a minimum of 25% of registered voters in two-thirds of Nigeria’s states (i.e. 24 states).

Currently, with support of Labour and APGA, the PDP controls enough states to ensure that. However, in 2011 Bauchi state did not reach the needed minimum even when controlled by PDP, delivering only 16.05% of the vote for the party’s candidate, while Katsina, also PDP, only just scraped over the minimum with 26.1%. So it is reasonable to assume that if support or turnout is low in PDP-ruled northern states, not all may deliver the 25% minimum needed to secure a win for the party’s candidate.

In such a circumstance, the Constitution states that candidates would be forced into a second-round run-off election. Such a situation has not previously occurred under Nigeria’s present electoral system.

Therefore, of three possible outcomes – outright PDP win, outright APC win, or a run-off election – the most likely outcome based on our projections from current data is that neither party would manage both factors for an outright victory so there would need to be an additional run-off election.

Neither is it clear which party that situation would favour. On one hand a nationally incumbent party may retain more resources to continue mobilising, but on the other, both the voting public and important political intermediaries may perceive momentum in the opposition which galvanises support for them popularity.

If the presidential election does not favour an outright win for the PDP, it may also further weaken the PDP’s chances at the subsequent gubernatorial level given the proportion of vacant seats (18) to incumbent re-elections (10). The deciding states for the presidential election and the overall fortune of the two parties will be those 18 vacant seats, which also happen to have 54.4% (40.03 million) of 2011’s registered voters, including 10 of the 14 states with the largest number of registered voters, underlining just how open this race really is.

Some Caveats

Incumbency advantages are very dependent on specific local factors, such as candidates, coalitions, party machinery, electorate sophistication, local issues and more; therefore it is hard to make a solid prediction on the outcomes. Importantly, the 2015 elections appear as if they will be a two-party race in all states, although this may also change if heavyweights who lose primaries in the two major parties decide to leave them.

In such a situation, the advantages of incumbency calculated from the 2011 multi-party elections may have less predictive value at the gubernatorial elections because the APC is a merger of three parties with varying strengths; the ACN, CPC and ANPP. This is additionally complex in states (such as Kano, Imo and Kwara) where PDP governors crossed over to the APC.

In that case, the advantage of incumbency would go beyond 11% because we would need to consider what proportion of the 2011 vote for other parties in the merger (i.e. CPC and ANPP) will be scooped up by APC. Additionally, in most of the states where the governor crossed over from the national ruling PDP with some or all of his supporters, the PDP still has a solid state structure.

While we are able to make some plausible projections where incumbents are re-contesting in 2015, it is difficult to do so for the 18 vacant seats because the parameters so far cannot test the strength of the opposition merger. What we can say however is that these seats will be hotly-contested.

Since presidential elections occur before governorship elections, it is possible these projections may have little predictive value on the outcome of the presidential elections because the patterns of voting for the governorship and presidential elections are considerably different.[2]

Moreover, there is no clear pattern – beyond an assumed incumbency advantage – by which states vote for a presidential candidate. Several factors come into play such as the interaction of local and national coalitions, incumbency, popularity of presidential candidates, local actors – governorship candidates and power brokers, relative party strength and structure, type of identity allegiances, and historical political behaviour of states.

The large number of vacant seats (18 of 28 up for election) will test the cohesion and organisation of the parties. One possibility is that the incentive for an outgoing or ‘lame duck’ Governor in a state with strong presence of an opposition party to ‘deliver’ that state to their presidential candidate is highly variable.

Another important qualifier is candidates’ combination and popularity: We cannot fully factor this variable until the APC selects its candidate, but identity considerations are likely to be strong influences.

Zainab Usman is a DPhil Candidate at the University of Oxford. Oliver Owen is Junior Research Fellow in International Development at the Oxford Department of International Development.


[1] However, remember that five of those Jonathan-supporting states in 2011 were ACN states voting according to a cross-party pact, and this may have dampened voter enthusiasm – despite the pact in Lagos, only 1,281,688 of the 6,108,069 registered voters actually contributed to Jonathan’s win, so we must allow the possibility that greater numbers might turn out for an incumbent party’s own candidate.

[2] Five ACN states in the South-West voted PDP in the presidential elections while nine PDP states voted CPC in the presidential elections in 2011.

This report was originally published on African Arguments.  It was sent to us by one of its authors for republishing here. 

Interact with Ms. Usman on twitter via  @MssZeeUsman and Dr. Owen via @MrOllyOwen

Resign Now, Tambuwal tells Jonathan

Screen Shot 2014-11-05 at 9.39.53 PM

The embattled Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, on Wednesday, came down hard on President Goodluck Jonathan, asking him to resign from office for running “a system that does not have the interest of the country at heart”.

Addressing supporters of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Ilorin, Kwara State, during the formal declaration of Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed for a second term, the Speaker warned that should the president failed to do so, Nigerian voters should revolt against him at the February presidential poll.
The Speaker had, at the APC extra-ordinary convention last week, said the party would chase out the “cabal” running the country at the poll next year.

“I call on President Jonathan to resign from office because of all the mis-governance and the untold hardship Nigerians are presently passing through,” he said. If he fails to do that it is therefore incumbent on us as a people to turn out en-masse and vote out Goodluck Ebele Jonathan come 2015. That will bring peace, progress and development of Nigeria.’’

He continued, “I am sure that (Kwara) state will provide such leadership to the extent that we shall deliver this country to the government at the centre to APC,” he said in Ilorin on Wednesday.
‘’By voting APC at the centre you will be voting for prosperity and eradication of poverty. What we are witnessing today in Nigeria is not governance, but mis-governance. We are witnessing a system that does not have the interest of the people of this country at heart.”

The Speaker described Kwara State’s political history as a rich one, saying the foundation of the political struggle and the structure laid by the late Olusola Saraki was being sustained by God.
Stating that the voting pattern known among the people of Kwara State would not be different next year, Mr. Tambuwal noted that with the support of the people, the APC would “form 100 percent of the government in the state from the local council to state Assembly and to the Government House”.

Also speaking at the event, a former governor of Lagos , Bola Tinubu, lambasted Mr. Jonathan for allowing the Boko Haram terrorists to seize parts of the nation’s territory, stating that he ought to have resigned because of the development.

He said, ‘’I saw the sea of refuges and the lies coming from Jonathan’s administration. They have exhibited failure, lack of capacity, vision, creativity; the lie of yesterday is what they repeat today and it is what they will repeat tomorrow. They are lying to you. They are lying about the security, toying about the security of this country. I don’t have time to explain the logic of their lies.’’

‘’If you control the armed forces and you are the Commander-in-Chief of the armed of the federal republic, why should any part of this country be under occupation?

“And you give us excuses every day. In any civilised country, Jonathan should have resigned. But if he will not resign he should wait for our broom we will sweep them away.’’

The APC leader, who recently returned from a medical trip abroad, asked the party members to be ready for change because the race had begun.

He said the party had endorsed Mr. Ahmed for second term because he performed well in office like his predecessor, Bukola Saraki.

Mr. Tinubu alleged that the PDP administration not only steals the people’s money on daily basis, but also refused to give them jobs.

According to him, “The thieves that daily steal your money, they have not given you any job; they cannot create jobs and they are starving states of funds to pay workers salaries. The best thing to do is to sweep them away through broom revolution. APC is a party of the masses.’’

He said this was the first time he would be on a podium with Mr. Saraki to campaign for the same party, and asked the APC faithful in the state to commence a house-to-house campaign to signal a new beginning.

He added, ‘’Now it is time to apply commonsense revolution and it is about your lives. It is about your education, your jobs and about the security of this country. We stay together since independence and we will remain together. Any affecting any section of this country affects all of us.’’

‘’I will come back. This is just the endorsement of Governor Ahmed; that he will be re-elected by the grace of God with the support of you people here and those outside there. The unemployment situation will be conquered by this administration of APC. We have the vision for the security of lives of our children.’’

On his part, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar said he was a foundation member of the current political dispensation in Kwara State.

While wishing that the late Saraki were alive, Mr. Abubakar said, “We should make sure we sustain the legacy Oloye left behind by making sure that Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed is returned.”

Justifying his bid for second term, Mr. Ahmed said the state was much better than he met it.

“Today, before all of you, I make bold to say we have essentially fulfilled our covenant and in the process strengthened your faith in governance,’’ he said.

“I humbly and formally declare my intention to run for a second term in office so that I can do more for our state and its people. By the grace of God and with your mandate, we intend to accelerate the development of our state when re-elected for a second term in office.’’

Other APC leaders at the event, held at Metropolitan Square, Ilorin, were presidential hopefuls, Muhammadu Buhari, Governor Rabi’u Kwankwaso of Kano State and Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State.

Governors Aliyu Wamakko of Sokoto State, Chibuike Amaechi of Rivers State, Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State, former Governor Bukola Saraki and former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, were also in attendance.

Presidency replies Atiku, says he contributed to Boko Haram insurgency

President Goodluck Jonathan

The Presidency Tuesday responded to remarks by former Vice President Atiku Abubakar on the security situation in the country, saying some of his past utterances contributed to the escalation of insurgent activities in the North.

But in a swift response, some supporters of Mr. Abubakar, under the aegis of Turaki Vanguard, condemned the Presidency for disparaging the former vice president.

Mr. Abubakar, a presidential aspirant on the platform of the All Progressives Congress, APC, had spoken at a press conference on Monday in Abuja during which he lamented the security situation in the north eastern part of Nigeria.

He said the Federal Government had not done enough to tackle the insecurity in the northern part of the country and called for the support of the international community to bring an end to the situation.

He said President Goodluck Jonathan could not possibly want to go down in history as the only Nigerian Commander-in-Chief to have ever lost territory to terrorists and that the president still had a chance to redeem his legacy.

But the Presidency, through the Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Doyin Okupe, recounted that in the build up to the 2011 general elections, Mr. Abubakar had quoted the famous statement by late US President John Kennedy that “those who make peaceful change inevitable will make violent change inevitable”.

He said that remark contributed to the escalation of insurgency in the country.

The presidential aide spoke in Abuja at the Public Affairs Forum, a programme organised by his office for ministers to give account of their stewardship to members of Civil Society Organisations, Professional groups and artisans.

While lamenting the former vice president’s remarks at the Northern Stakeholders Forum in 2010, Mr. Okupe said it was unfortunate that those who desperately stoked the fire of insurgency now laying the blame on the shoulders of a government already working hard to put out the fire.

He said it was lack of patriotism that made Mr. Abubakar to talk down on the nation’s military which he hopes to lead, if elected President of the Federal Republic.

Mr. Okupe said the former vice president, who is from Adamawa State, one of the states ravaged by insurgent activities, was not known to have taken any hard position on terrorists and terrorism in the past and shouldn’t expect to gain any political mileage from the unfortunate killings and kidnappings in some parts of the North by presenting himself as being on the side of the victims of insurgency.

He advised the presidential aspirant to learn from political leaders in other climes who drop the toga of partisanship in moments of national crisis by supporting their governments to raise the hope of citizens and defeat enemies of civilisation.

The presidential aide said President Goodluck Jonathan would not be distracted by negative comments from Mr. Abubakar and a few others whose only concern is politics rather than nation building.

He said the president would continue to work assiduously with security chiefs and community stakeholders to restore peace to the northern part of the country in the shortest possible time.

In a statement by its National President, Oladimeji Fabiyi, on Tuesday, the Turaki Vanguard said at this critical stage in Nigeria’s history, trading insults was a waste of time “rather we should deploy efforts on how to recover our lost territories unless the people of the Northeast of Nigeria do not matter to the current government.”

“For the avoidance of doubt, Nigeria has so far lost a total of 16 local government areas to Boko Haram: 9 in Bornu, 2 in Yobe and 5 in Adamawa states. The total landmass occupied is the equivalent of three states of the federation.”

The group said at a time like this, when Nigeria was not engaged in any international war, thousands had been internally displaced while thousands more were refugees in neighbouring countries.

It said even many top Federal Government officials could no longer return to their homes.

The group said, “Madagali, hometown of Governors Ngilari and Fintiri of Adamawa has fallen to terrorists. Gulak, the hometown of President Jonathan’s onetime political adviser has also been taken as well as Michika, which is home to the largest number of military generals in Adamawa after Numan.

“Two former Governors of Adamawa also come from this area – Boni Haruna and Saleh Michika. And particularly of interest is Mubi, which is the hometown of Nigeria’s Chief of Defence Staff, Air Marshall Alex Badeh. His palatial mansion in Vimtim village was crushed and reduced to rubble.”

The Turaki Vanguard argued that Nigerians should be concerned about these issues instead of disparaging concerned citizens.

“Once again, we reiterate Atiku Abubakar’s call to the international community for support for the people of Northeast Nigeria. Clearly, we cannot depend on the support of a government which is occupied with personal attacks while a section of the country is burning,” it said.

The group also condemned the withdrawal of the security aides to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal.

It said the action allegedly by the Presidency was a manifestation of gangster politics.

“Such action from the PDP-led federal government at this point of national emergency amounts to a set-back to the country’s democratization process,” it said.

“It is not in doubt that our democracy has grown past the age of arbitrary politics when a sitting president sees the whole country as his fiefdom.

“There is subsisting judicial pronouncement on the matter of defection, but if the Presidency and the security agencies, were in doubt, should have sought judicial interpretation from the court.

“According to the laws of our land, the Speaker of the House of Representatives has committed no infraction for which, he should be denied security protection as the number four citizen of the country.”

Get set to return to Otuoke in 2015, Kwankwaso tells Jonathan

Kwankwaso form

The Kano state Governor, Rabiu Kwankwaso, has said that the tools of sentiments, tribalism and religion, being used by the Goodluck Jonathan government would not work for it in 2015.

Mr. Kwankwaso alleged that Mr. Jonathan thinks he can hold on to power in 2015 by exploiting the religious and tribal differences in Nigeria.

The governor said Nigerians, however, are ready to vote the Jonathan administration out.

Speaking to journalists on Monday, he said nobody apart from “the crooks in Abuja,” who are stealing Nigeria’s oil money are “enjoying” as suffering has become the order of the day.

‘Therefore, it is evidently clear that the days of Jonathan’s government are numbered,” Mr. Kwankaso said. “He should start preparing to pack his belongings back to his village, because Nigerians will no doubt sack them in 2015; no matter what they are using. From South to North people are highly disturbed by the situation in Nigeria.”

Speaking on the attacks on the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, after he defected from the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to the All Progressives Congress, APC, Mr. Kwankwaso said: “These people in Abuja are shameless. Whenever somebody defects to them, they celebrate even if it is on a day of fast. PDP has not seen anything yet, wait till 2015 they will see how they will be kicked out from office.”

Full transcript of Shekau’s latest video on ceasefire deal, Chibok girls

The military insists the real Shekau was killed long ago

Below is the full transcript of the video clip released by “killed” Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau. He spoke in Hausa but his speech was translated to English by our reporter, Ola Audu.

“Without wasting time, we hereby send a message to the tyrants of Nigeria and other infidels as well as their world tyrants as a whole in Hausa language.

“You people should understand that we only obey Allah, we tread the path of the Prophet. We hope to die on this path and get eternal rest in our graves, rise up in bliss before our Lord and enter Paradise (quotes from the Koran). Our goal is the Garden of Eternal Bliss. May Allah protect us.

“Oh you followers of constitution, have you forgotten your laws? Since the time we were preaching in Maiduguri, in your constitution in Section 8, verse (paragraph) 2 to 3, in your accursed book called Constitution, which became law for those who are not fair to themselves on earth.

“You shamelessly declared in your radio and newspapers that you were fighting those determined to establish an Islamic state.

“Because of that constitution that barred us from preaching in Maiduguri, we moved out and migrated as Allah ordained (quoting from the Koran).

“Have you forgotten that? And it is you today claiming we made truce with you? In what way did we make truce? Which kind of negotiation, with whom? That your Danladi, the infidel like you, who we will not spare and will decapitate if he falls into our hands today?

“Where do we know him, not to talk of him representing us? Who is Danladi on this earth?

“Allah knows everything. Allah is witness (quoting from the Koran).

“Therefore I tell you (that) we have not made ceasefire with anyone. Only battle, hitting, striking and killing with gun which we long for like tasty meal. This what we believe in and fight for.

“Our goal is to see only Koran being followed on earth. This is our focus.

“It is said Chadian President, Nigerian ambassador, the people of Cameroon and us met and agreed on a truce. How? Don’t you know we are still holding your German hostage, always crying. If we wish we hack him or slaughter him or shoot him. We fear no one but Allah. This is our job.

“When did we release Chibok schoolgirls that we seized, those that Shekau who is now talking, seized, brought them and kept them in the place he chose for more than six months now.

“Allah has proved too difficult for the infidel, Allah has proved too difficult for the tyrant, Allah has proved too difficult for the United States, Allah has proved too difficult for a plane called drone, bastard. Allah has proved too difficult for everyone. Allah is mightier than everyone.

“Surprisingly, if the women of Chibok, I mean the mothers of the Chibok schoolgirls and their fathers, if you know the condition your daughters are in today it could lead some to convert to Islam and some to die from grief.

“Don’t you know the over 200 Chibok schoolgirls have converted to Islam? They have now memorised two chapters of the Koran. They have seen themselves in the Books of Luke and John that Christians have corrupted the Bible. Girls from Chibok confessing Islam is the true religion! A six-grader, liars.

“We married them off. They are in their marital homes. (Laughter)

“Fury upon fury. Shekau can infuriate. It is said Shekau is leadership position. Which leadership? Do you think we are practising traditional monarchy? (Laughter). It is the same Shekau whose father is Muhammadu, his son is Muhammadu, his name is Abubakar. It is the same Shekau, he is still the one. Shekau, eat the heart of infidels since infidels want to disobey Allah.

“We did not negotiate with anyone. We did not negotiate with anyone. We did not negotiate with Chad. We did not negotiate with Cameroon. We did not negotiate with Nigeria. We did not negotiate with the Chadian ambassador. We did not negotiate with Africa. We did not negotiate with Asia. We did not negotiate with Europe. We did not negotiate with America. We did not negotiate with the United Nations.

“What is negotiation? We did not negotiate with anyone. It is a lie. It is a lie. We will not negotiate. What is our business with negotiation? Allah said we should not (quoting from the Koran).

“We follow the Koran. We will not be teased by any infidel. Now you don’t know what to do, you want to convince your leaders that are tired of you, that have realised your lies, including your Solomon Dalung, your Abdullahi Wase, your Senator Ndume.

“They are tired of you, they have realised you are deceiving them, you are playing with their intelligence, you just want to protect your own interests. It is bad for you.

“I’m only making this speech for those people who want to convert to Islam. I don’t care whatever you say. What is my business with you? Allah is my focus. I left my parents’ home. I left my mother and my father, I left my relations and joined those who want to practise Islam (quoting from the Koran). And you are trying to deceive people with negotiation.

“I thank Allah. I started with knife and today I have seized more than 20 of our armoured vehicles, they are in my possession.

“It is said Shekau is a position. Bravo to you Orator. Well done to you who studied in Israel. Well done to you the expert in Psychology, well done you expert in Biology, well done you believer in ‘I pledge to Nigeria my country’. This is what you said.

“You pledge to Nigeria your country. Right? Me, me Shekau I pledge to Allah my God. If you don’t know, today you will know.

“I pledge to Allah my God, to be faithful. This is Shekau. Idiot like you!

“This is just my speech in brief.

“You should repent and turn to Allah and follow the Koran. You should follow the Koran. You should follow the Koran. You are so unfortunate as to be preventing those who follow the Koran obeying Allah. “It is a lie. It is a lie. Whoever refuses to listen will be dealt with by Allah.”

Jonathan plotting to reconvene House after withdrawing Tambuwal’s security detail – APC

president_goodluck_jonathan_1__283791306

The All Progressives Congress has called on President Goodluck Jonathan to show better understanding of democracy by immediately restoring the police security details the Inspector General of Police unlawfully withdrew from the Speaker of the Federal House of Representatives, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal.

In a statement issued in Abuja on Thursday by its National Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed, the party described the announcement of the withdrawal of the Speaker’s security details by the Inspector General of Police as a usurpation of the role of the judiciary by the Inspector General of Police especially bearing in mind that the question of the interpretation of Section 68(1)(g) of the Constitution on which the Inspector General of Police anchored his illegal act is currently before the courts for resolution.

The party said for the avoidance of doubt, the position, including the manner a person becomes the Speaker of the House of Representatives is to be found in the Constitution, and no constitutional provision or legislation says membership of the ruling or dominant party in the House is a pre-requisite.

“Furthermore, as the number four citizen of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the security detail and apparatus attached to the person of the Speaker is not based on his lineage, person and or political leaning. It is on account of the position and the protection required for that position and in Nigeria’s best interest.

“This unfortunate use and deployment of Nigeria’s security forces in a partisan and political way portends danger and further weakens important institutions of governance and jeopardizes national security. Under President Jonathan, we now have a Police Force that is monitoring and making conclusions with respect to party membership, qualification, of an otherwise elected official. This is unheard of in any decent democracy.

“It is unfortunate that President Jonathan who had been a successive long term and unique beneficiary of our democracy and Constitution is now demonstrating the greatest disregard for the laws that govern and guide us as a people.

President Jonathan who is the only individual who benefited from the same Constitution to become a Governor from a Deputy Governor without an election and from a Vice President to President in similar legal circumstances now desecrates the same Constitution.

“The All Progressives Congress rejects this challenge to democracy and modern society. We reject President Jonathan’s illegality and call for respect and compliance with the law. We reject this meddling in the affairs of the Legislature especially given the resolution of President Jonathan and his close advisers yesterday at their meeting to ask the Deputy Speaker Emeka Ihedioha to unlawfully reconvene the House before the adjourned date.

May we remind President Goodluck Jonathan that under the House Rules, only a resolution by all principal officers of the House and not even the Speaker of the House can reconvene the House before the adjourned date not to talk of the Deputy Speaker.

Regrettably, the priority of President Goodluck Jonathan on the night that Mubi, a town with a population of about two million people in Adamawa state, fell to the Boko Haram insurgents was how to illegally remove the Aminu Tambuwal as the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

Lai Mohammed
National Publicity Secretary, APC

Jonathan, Buhari tackle Sheik Gumi over 2015 election

Goodluck Jonathan and Muhammad Buhari during the recent Centenary celebration

President Goodluck Jonathan and a former Head of State, Muhammadu Buhari, have rejected the call by a renowned Islamic Cleric, Sheik Ahmed Gumi, that the duo should not contest the 2015 presidential election.

Speaking through their campaign teams, the two leaders said they will go ahead with the elections as Mr. Gumi was not in a position to decide who should run for president. That responsibility should be left for Nigerians, they advised.

While Mr. Jonathan is running for president on the platform of the People Democratic Party, PDP, Mr. Buhari plans to contest on that of the All Progressives Congress, APC.

In an open letter to Mr. Buhari, a former head of state, last week, the cleric, said a Buhari presidency would further polarised Nigeria and worsen the security challenges the country had been grappling with.

According to him, the current violence unleashed by the Boko Haram sect, would be worse and extend beyond the North if Mr. Buhari should contest the election and emerge the president and that he should allow a younger person to run for the position.

“Your supporters have the biggest proportion of the underprivileged of the society which is the petrol that can be easily ignited by the slightest spark. The spark will be when you are declared the loser.
And you know you can very well lose if the Christians follow their church and why not in this era of mediocrity,” Mr. Gumi told the former head of state in the letter posted on Facebook.

Three days later, the cleric also asked President Goodluck Jonathan to give up on his re-election bid, saying he had not only failed as a leader but also stands out as a divisive figure in the country.

The Director General of the Buhari Support Group, Umaru Dembo, told PREMIUM TIMES in a telephone interview on Monday that the call by Mr. Gumi was unnecessary because it was Nigerians who should choose who leads them and not the cleric.

“Why should he not contest?” Mr. Dembo asked. He (Gumi) is one person out of 160 million Nigerians who should choose who to lead them. It is an individual opinion.”

The DG said since the cleric gave the advice, over 100 other Nigerians had spoken against it. He said though Mr. Gumi was not a politicians, the call on the APC presidential aspirant might have political
undertone. He, however, said he was free to air his opinion.

Mr. Dembo described Mr, Buhari as a credible and experienced Nigeria, who “we have confidence in.” According to him, the former head of state was the one who could right the wrongs currently witnessed in the country.

He assured that, if elected, Mr. Buhari would only serve for one term of four years like the late South African leader, Nelso Mandela.

The Goodluck Support Group also told this newspaper in a telephone interview on Monday that the only thing Mr. Gumi could do was to vote against Mr. Jonathan, but not to ask him to seek re-election.

“If Sheik calls on Jonathan not to run, it is news and if the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, calls on him to contest, it is also news, so, it depends on who is making the call,” Nick Ezeh, the
deputy national coordinator of GSG said.

Mr. Ezeh, a professor, said about 100 million Nigerians are asking the president to run and that though the vote of Mr. Gumi was important and valuable, he could not decide on who should lead Nigerians.

He said, “It is not for somebody to decide for others. Some states have three or five candidates and they have to choose. It is not the responsibility of one person to say somebody should not contest. What you will only do is not to vote for the person but it is not to ask him not to contest.”

Nigeria 2015: Jonathan ‘considering’ venues for declaration; unsure of Eagles Square

President Goodluck Jonathan

President Goodluck Jonathan has not decided yet on where he will formally announce his reelection bid, the chairman of the team overseeing preparations for the declaration, Haliru Mohammed, has said.

Mr. Jonathan is to formally declare his presidential ambition between November 7 and 15.

Former minister, Mr. Mohammed, heads the declaration committee, and is supported by Ken Namani (Deputy Chairman), Anyim Pius Anyim (Secretary), Rufa’i Ahmed Alkali (member), Julius Imagwe (member), Edo, and Baraka Sani(member).

State governors on the team are Liyel Imoke, Cross River State; Theodore Orji, Abia; Olusegun Mimiko, Ondo; Babangida Aliyu, Niger; Ibrahim Shema, Katsina; and Ibrahim Dankwambo of Gombe State.

The representatives of the National Assembly are Hosea Agbola, (Oyo State), Ahmed Makarfi (Kaduna), Bitrus Kaze (Plateau) and Salmas Badru (Ogun).

The chairman of the committee, Mr. Mohammed, said the committee has been divided into subcommittees to facilitate a smooth event.

“The subcommittees will now make their programmes based on their terms of reference. They will get the budget and then we will start rolling,’’ Mr. Mohammed said Monday.

The announcement followed a meeting by the committee at the State House, Abuja, Monday.

He said the committee had not decided on the venue for the presidential declaration.

‘‘We are considering a number of venues,” he said.

‘‘The nature of the organisation will determine the venue because there are events that are solemn that could be done in a room like a meeting, there are events that require razzmatazz that only could be done in an arena.

‘‘We haven’t decided the format yet. It is one of the jobs of the subcommittees to decide the format and the procedure.

‘‘When that is done, we will decide the appropriate venue for that kind of arrangement,’’ he said.

According to him, each event will determine its own venue.

Most presidential bids in the past were announced at the Eagles Square.

Mr. Jonathan declared for the 2011 election at the square, which is a short distance from the presidential office.

Meanwhile, Abia State governor, Theodore Orji, has advised Mr. Jonathan to heed the call by his supporters to contest the 2015 Presidential Election and ignore any contrary advice.

Mr. Orji urged the president to ignore the advice of an Islamic cleric, Sheikh Abubakar Gumi, that he and APC Chieftain Muhammadu Buhari, should not run.

Mr. Gumi said the two should not run because they were seen as religious leaders.

‘‘Well, every person can say anything. You can advise somebody, it is left for that person to take your advice or not.

‘‘That is a personal advice, but the general advice is for the president to contest,’’ Mr. Orji said.

(NAN)

Constitutional Amendment: NLC, TUC vow crippling strike over minimum wage

NLC President, Abdulwaheed Omar

The Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, and Trade Union Congress, TUC, two umbrella groups for the Nigeria workers, on Thursday took the National Assembly to the cleaners, describing their decision to remove workers’ wages from the exclusive list as “wicked, ridiculous, condemnable and treacherous.”

The two unions vowed a devastating nationwide strike that may stall next year’s election if the decision is not reversed.

The two workers’ groups in separate statements signed by NLC’s General Secretary, Peter Ozo-Eson, and TUC General Secretary, Musa Lawal, said the decision to remove wage from the exclusive list was masterminded by conservative governors and their cohorts in the National Assembly to destabilize the country’s peaceful economic conditions.

They condemned the lawmakers of voting to move the National Minimum Wage Law from the exclusive list to the concurrent legislative list in the on-going 1999 constitution amendment.

The removal of workers’ wages from the exclusive list would empower the states of the federation to fix their respective minimum wages for their workers outside the national structure.

“We at the Congress see the removal of wages from the Exclusive List as an act of treachery masterminded by conservative governors and their cohorts in the Assembly as a decision that would do the polity no good,” Mr. Ozo-Eson.

The NLC threatened to mobilise its members to resist the move to scrap the national minimum wage, adding that Congress believed the removal was a deliberate and calculated attempt to move the workers from the “working poor to the slave-poor.”

Mr. Ozo-Eson said the labour unions were convinced it was a conscious ploy by some people to truncate the on-going electioneering process, urging the lawmakers to hearken to the voice of reason and the voice of the people by urgently retracing their steps as the consequences of their decision would be dire for the nation.

An emergency National Executive Council, NEC, of the NLC has been convened for October 27 to mobilise workers for action to resist the decision, the union said.

The TUC, in its statement, said that the step by the lawmakers would create more hardship and pave the way for all forms of violent reactions by the workers and Nigerians.

“We have monitored with keen interest the ridiculous attempts by some elements within the Upper House of the National Assembly to truncate the economic stability of the nation and create more hardship in the land,” the TUC said.

According to the congress, it was clear the lawmakers and their collaborators have had their say, but the workers are determined to ensure that they do not have their way.

The Nigerian Senate, it said, was feigning ignorance of the principle and concept of the minimum wage as practised in decent societies all over the world, pointing out that the timing of the decision, so close to the preparation for general elections in 2015, might actually be an attempt by the unscrupulous characters to provoke a national industrial crisis.

The TUC warned that unless the Senate reversed its decision immediately, it would not hesitate to mobilise the Nigerian workers to resort to the option of a national industrial action.

The Senate position, the Congress, said would encourage state governments to start paying “starvation wages” to their workers, adding that the current minimum wage of N18, 000 could not meet the immediate needs of the poor masses.

The Senate’s decision, the workers’ body noted, was in complete contrast with the transformation agenda of President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration.

According to the congress, the basic rationale for fixing a minimum wage was to ensure that employees, particularly members of the unorganised and unskilled labour centres, were not exploited. (NAN)

Nigeria 2015: Finally, Jonathan announces plans for re-election, names declaration committee

Jonathan_PDP_rally_Lafia

President Goodluck Jonathan has said he will pick his nomination form on or before the expiration of the deadline given to all aspirants, by the People’s Democratic Party, PDP.

He stated his decision at a private meeting with governors held at the House 7 wing of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

An official source, who was privy to the meeting said the president thanked the governors for endorsing him and said he has finally made up his mind to take the baton of expression.

The source who spoke on condition of anonymity said the president has already set up his Presidential Declaration Committee and will pick his form on his return from Israel.

The leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, had on Wednesday directed the president and other aspirants to pick their forms for nomination and expression of interest on or before October 30 or risk not participating in the 2015 general elections.

Mr. Jonathan is to formally declare his presidential ambition between November 7 and 15, a decision which will be taken by his re-election committee, his associates said.

Members of the Presidential Declaration Committee include Bello Halliru Mohammed ‎(Chairman) from Kebbi, Ken Namani (Deputy Chairman), Enugu, Anyim Pius Anyim (Secretary), Ebonyi, Rufa’i Ahmed Alkali (member), Gombe, Julius Imagwe – SSA – Youth – (member), Edo, Baraka Sani (SSA -NSAP) – Kano,(member).

Governors were also selected to represent zones; they include Liyel Imoke, Cross River (South South), Theodore Orji, Abia (South East), Olusegun Mimiko, Ondo (South West), Mua’zu Babangida Aliyu Niger (North Central), Ibrahim Shema, Katsina (North West) and Ibrahim Dankwambo, Gombe (North East).

The representatives at the National Assembly include Hosea Agbola, (Oyo), Ahmed Makarfi (Kaduna), Bitrus Kaze (Plateau) and Salmas Badru (Ogun).

Representatives of the Federal Executive Council include; Minister of Petroleum Resources, Dieziani Allison-Madueke ‎(Bayelsa), Minister of Police Affairs, Abduljelili Adesiyan (Osun), Minister of Women Affairs, Hajiya Zainab Maina (Adamawa), Minister of Federal Capital Territory, Bala Mohammed (Bauchi).

Representatives of the PDP include; Deputy National Chairman, Uche Secondus‎ (Rivers), Benue State Chapter Chairman, Emmanuel Egbo, (Benue) National Women Leader, Kema Chikwe (Imo) and North West Zonal Chairman, Ibrahim Kazaure (Jigawa).

Other party members include: Stella Omu (Delta), Walid Jibirn (BOT Secretary, (Nasarawa), Ibrahim Bunu (Borno), Jolly Nyame (Taraba), Aneitie Okon (Akwa Ibom), Peter Obi (Anambra), Remi Adiuku Bakare (Lagos), and A. B. Mamman (PDP National Youth Leader) – FCT.

Others appointed at Presidential discretion include: Halima Alfa (Kogi), Nigeria Ambassador to Netherland, Nimota Nihinlola Akanbi (Kwara), FCT ALGON Chairman, Micah Yohanna Jiba ‎(FCT) and Sam Ikon (Akwa Ibom).

A Summary of members representing the zones include, south south (6), south east (5), south west (5), FCT (1), North West (5), North East (6) and North Central (6).

Four months to presidential election, Jonathan heads to Israel for prayers

PRESIDENT-GOODLUCK-JONATHAN-IN-ISRAEL10

President Goodluck Jonathan will on Friday depart Lagos on a brief pilgrimage to Israel, his office said in a statement on Thursday.

The statement issued in Abuja by Reuben Abati, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, said Mr. Jonathan would visit Christian Holy sites during the pilgrimage.

According to the statement, he will join other Nigerian pilgrims in a prayer session for the well-being and progress of the country at an Inter-Denominational Service in Jerusalem on Sunday.

The president, who will be accompanied by the Chaplain of the Presidential Villa, Obioma Onwuzurumba, and his principal aides, is expected back in Abuja on Monday.

Mr. Jonathan’s office did not specifically identify the aides accompanying him on the trip but the President is known for travelling with outsized delegations on foreign trips.

Mr. Jonathan’s trip to Israel, which is his second in 12 months, is coming about four months to the 2015 presidential election in which he is most likely to run as the candidate of the governing Peoples Democratic Party [PDP]. The Independent National Electoral Commission [INEC] has fixed February 14, 2015 for the next presidential election.

During his last visit, Mr. Jonathan met with President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as well as with members of the Israeli Parliament, the Knesset.The president had on October 23, 2013, embarked on a similar trip which he combined with an official visit to Israel.

The talks between the President’s delegation and Israeli government focused on the enhancement of bilateral relations between Nigeria and Israel.

Mr. Jonathan later undertook a tour of some locations in Israel revered by Christians because of their association with the earthly mission of Jesus Christ.

This time, his close aides told PREMIUM TIMES, his mission to Israel is entirely spiritual.

“As you know, the election is approaching and the president needs all the prayers and spiritual blessings he can get,” one of his aides, who asked not to be named because he was not authorised to speak on the matter, told PREMIUM TIMES. “He is going to fervently pray for success in the coming election and for peace to reign in this country.”

The aide said the President has become especially spiritual of late and that it was not a surprise that he was going to commit himself to God as he stands for reelection.

During his last pilgrimage, Mr. Jonathan visited Jerusalem where he led other Nigerian pilgrims in a special prayer for the numerous challenges facing Nigeria.

Leading the intercessory prayer session at the Chapel of Dominous Flevit (where Jesus wept), the President particularly prayed for God’s intervention in the current political and security challenges in Nigeria.

Other pilgrims at the time, who led in different prayer points, included Governor Jonah Gang of Plateau; Minister of Agriculture, Akinwunmi Adesina; Abuja Christian leader, Israel Akanji; and a lawmaker, Ndudi Elumelu.

The president also visited Mount Olives, Garden of Gethsemane, Bascillica of Agony and Mount Zion where he also prayed alongside other pilgrims at the Upper Room (where Jesus had the last supper with His disciples).

Other places he visited included David City, The Church of St. Peter in Gallicantu, the last place where Jesus was kept a night before he was crucified.

The president and other Nigerian pilgrims also walked down the Palm Sunday Road to the Chapel of Dominous Flevit.
He also visited the Jerusalem Old City, The Wailing Wall, Golgotha, Pool of Bethesda and other holy sites.
It is not clear whether he plans to revisit these holy sites this time.

Eight governors, seven ministers and three members of the National Assembly accompanied the President to Israel for that pilgrimage.

The governors were Theodore Orji of Abia; Peter Obi of Anambra; Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom; Martin Elechi of Ebonyi; and Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta; Gabriel Suswam of Benue; Jonah Jang of Plateau, and Liyel Imoke of Cross River.

The ministers included the supervising Minister of Foreign Affairs, Viola Onwuliri; FCT Minister of State, Olajumoke Akinjide; the then Minister of Information, Labsran Maku; and the then Minister of Aviation, Stella Oduah.

Members of the National Assembly in the presidential pilgrimage at the time were the Senate Committee Chairman on Power, Philip Aduda, and Paul Paulka.

The president’s office is yet to release the names of officials accompanying the President on this year’s pilgrimage but PREMIUM TIMES sources say no fewer than 70 travel documents were processed for the trip.

How Sule Lamido helped me in 2011 — Jonathan

Sule Lamido

President Goodluck Jonathan said on Tuesday that there is no feud between him and the Jigawa State Governor, Sule Lamido, contrary to insinuations in some quarters.

The president also said the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to which both of them belong was proud of Mr. Lamido’s achievements, especially in the development of the infrastructure in the state.

There were speculations that Mr. Lamido was planning to run for president and would therefore oppose Mr. Jonathan’s bid for second term in office.

But speaking at an interactive forum in Dutse, the Jigawa state capital after commissioning the Dutse International Airport, the president praised the governor denied any friction with him and that there would never be one in the future.

“Sule Lamido is a man of his word,” Mr. Jonathan said. “In terms of what people say about frosty relationship, sometimes it is issues of interpretation.

“I remember reading one book sometimes ago where one philosopher said the disagreement between people is caused by when people use different words to describe different scenario or use different words to describe different thing.

“That will cause primary disagreement which will begin to expand. In some cases where people have problems if you go deeply you discover that it is not really a problem but it becomes a storm when people begin to hear.”

The president said Mr. Lamido played an important role in his election in the 2011 elections, noting “I assessed my governors then on how many scores I got during the primaries because if a governor means well for you, even if he is unable to control the total number of votes during the general elections, in the primaries which are party issues, which the governors have a control of about 70%, the governor controls what happens.”

Mr. Jonathan said until the delegate pattern was changed, the governors would continue to dictate what would happen.

According to him, going by the current delegate pattern for national elections, a state governor had control of about 70 percent.

He said, “I always tell our party that until we change our delegate pattern, the governors must dictate what happens. The present delegate we have for all national elections, any governor that is fit to be a governor have control of about 70% whether we like it or not.

“So if you don’t get up to 70% or 60% from a state, you know that that governor no matter what he says is not for you. In the general elections, the governor cannot control all the state. In the two options, Sule Lamido was totally committed. He is not somebody that talks from the two sides of his mouth. That is the good thing about Sule Lamido. He does not deceive himself or deceive you. I used to tell people I don’t have a problem with Sule Lamido.

“Even if there is a problem today, Sule Lamido is somebody I trust. He does not deceive. Let me reassure you that we have no problems; myself and Sule Lamido and definitely I will not have problems with the people of Jigawa state. All we have to do is to strengthen our relation more and more and work together.”

On the federal government projects in the state, the president said the government would continue to collaborate with the state government to improve on the development of infrastructure and other projects such as the Almajiri schools, the agricultural development and other sectors.

While commissioning the Dutse International Airport earlier, President Jonathan praised Gov. Lamido for building the facility and that it had added value to the state and Nigeria.

Describing an airport as an indispensable facility for business transaction, Mr. Jonathan said it would attract investments to Nigeria and generate jobs for the citizens.

Mr. Lamido, in his speech, said he was proud of the president’s transformation agenda, which he noted had made it possible for the governors in his party to render quality services to Nigerians.

He said he decided to work quietly for the transformation of the state rather than making noise.

“We are working silently for the interest of our people because we know what they need while those opposed to us are making noise. We will continue to stand by the people and try to meet their yearlings and aspirations,” he said.

The National Chairman of the PDP, Adamu Muazu, noted that it was only the governors of the party that had been providing dividends of democracy to their people by building seven airports since the advent of democracy in 1999.

He listed the states as Kebbi, Bauchi, Jigawa, Taraba, Akwa Ibom, Delta and Bayelsa.

Mr. Muazu said it was not a coincidence that only PDP states had built airports in Nigeria, but that it was a sign that they knew what was good for the people and Nigeria.

The Minister of Aviation, Chidoka Osita, said the federal government was committed to making all airports in Nigeria safe and beneficial to the users.

Presidential aide abruptly closes poll as Jonathan marginally overtakes Buhari

Goodluck Jonathan and Muhammad Buhari during the recent Centenary celebration

The Special Assistant to the President on New Media, Reno Omokri, on Sunday night suddenly closed an online poll he organised almost immediately President Goodluck Jonathan overtook former Head of State, Muhammadu Buhari, in the survey.

At the end of the poll, the president got 13,111 votes representing 49.3 percent, while Mr. Buhari got 12,875 votes, representing 48.41 percent. The president had less than one percent lead over Mr. Buhari.

Six hundred and nine voters, representing 2.29 percent of the total votes, were undecided.

Sources close to Mr. Omokri said he decided to hurriedly close the poll in apprehension that Mr. Buhari’s supporters might charge back online to vote the former head of state to an unassailable victory.

Mr. Omokri did not indicate the duration of the poll in the beginning and rushing to close it after the president got a slim lead is like changing the rules in the middle of the game, said Femi Falade, a development expert and school owner in Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State.

“That’s  clear rigging,” Mr. Falade said.

PREMIUM TIMES had reported how Mr. Buhari led in the polls for three days in what is seen as an embarrassing and unforeseen outcome for the president’s camp.

Several aides and loyalists of the president were mobilised extensively to reverse the trend in the last 24 hours.

Insiders in the president’s camp said presidency and administration officials as well as the top hierarchy of the governing Peoples Democratic Party felt “deeply embarrassed” by the direction of the poll and mobilised supporters of the president in and outside Nigeria to quickly get online and vote in his favour.

“Phone calls were made to supporters of the president in the Transformation Ambassador of Nigeria (TAN), Goodluck Support Groups (GSG), Gejites and other groups sympathetic to the president,” one of our sources said.

“They were being pressured to get online and reverse the results in favour of the president, even if means voting multiple times with multiple devices,” said the source who preferred not to be named for security reasons.

A source close to the creator of the poll, Mr. Omokri, also told PREMIUM TIMES that the presidential aide has a mandate to ensure the poll did not close until Mr. Buhari is “roundly defeated”.

Most online polls have time frames within which they are conducted. The poll by news website, Sahara Reporters, ran for 24 hours. But Mr. Omokri’s ran for four days and closed abruptly.

Buhari still in the lead

Despite the efforts to garner support for the president, which has seen his fortune leaping from 2,455 votes, representing 26.75 percent as at last night, to 12,016 votes, representing, 48.46 percent as at 4:27 p.m. on Sunday, Mr. Buhari remains in the lead.

The former head of state, who led the president with 6,411 votes, representing 69.87 percent on Saturday night, was seen leading with 12,198 votes, representing 49.2 percent at 4:27 p.m. on Sunday.

Also, while 310 persons, representing 3.38 percent were undecided last night; the number of undecided voters increased to 580 votes, representing 2.34 percent.

Background

On October 15, the day former Head of State, Muhammadu Buhari, declared his intention to run for president in the 2015 election, news website, Sahara Reporters, activated an opinion poll asking Nigerians to indicate who they would vote for if the election were to hold that day between Mr. Buhari (as candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC) and President Goodluck Jonathan ( as candidate of the Peoples Democratic, PDP).

The poll lasted for only 24 hours, and out of a total of 15,435 persons that voted, Mr. Buhari got 12,246 votes, representing 79 percent of the total votes cast, while President Jonathan got 3189 votes, representing 21 percent of the total votes.

However, ostensibly to counter the survey conducted by Sahara Reporters, Mr. Jonathan’s aide, Mr. Omokri, set up a similar poll asking almost the same question posed by the news website.

His poll, which is still running on his blog, “Build Up Nigeria” posed the question: “If the Nigerian Presidential election were held today, who would you vote for between President Goodluck Jonathan and General Muhammadu Buhari?”.

Mr. Omokri’s poll began a day after Mr. Buhari declared to run, but unlike the one ran by Sahara Reporters, which has since closed, the one by Build Up Nigeria only closed suddenly after Mr. Jonathan leapt to a marginal lead.

Online Poll not scientific

Online polls, such as the ones by Sahara Reporters and Mr. Reno are not representative and do not necessarily represent public opinion.

“It categorically does not represent public opinion – at best, it may coincide with it,” the BBC says in itsGuideline on Opinion Polls, Surveys, Questionnaires, Votes and Straw Polls.

“Online votes are particularly vulnerable to campaigns, lobby groups and individuals who seek to organise mass or multi voting. For that reason, some highly controversial issues are not, normally, suitable for online voting as the risk of being hijacked is too great,” the guideline adds.

Below is the result of the poll after it closed.

Result of Reno Omokri's poll after it closed Sunday night
Result of Reno Omokri’s poll after it closed Sunday night