Tag Archives: Goodluck Jonathan

Jonathan seeks closer partnership between Nigeria, OPEC nations

PRESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan

The president says closer ties will open up more opportunities for investment

President Goodluck Jonathan, on Thursday, called for closer ties between Nigeria and other members of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC.

Mr. Jonathan made the call at a meeting with the new ambassadors of Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, UAE, to Nigeria, after receiving their letters of credence at the presidential villa, Abuja.

The new envoys are Mohammed Al-Mahumud of UAE and Adbdul Aziz Al Muhannadi of Qatar.

Reuben Abati, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, quoted Mr. Jonathan as saying that such partnerships would improve the decision-making process within OPEC.

According to the statement, the president said closer ties would also open up more opportunities for investment and socio-economic collaboration among its members.

“Jonathan told the new ambassadors that the cordial diplomatic relationship between Nigeria and other OPEC member-countries ought to be translated into more beneficial engagements.

“He said that the on-going Transformation Agenda of the Federal Government had thrown up more opportunities for investments in agriculture, real estate development, power generation, manufacturing and other areas in Nigeria.

“Jonathan, therefore, urged the UAE, Qatar and other OPEC countries to take advantage of the immense potential of Nigeria’s large market and the new investment opportunities in the country,” the statement said.

The statement also quoted the president as telling the envoys that many companies from the UAE had invested in telecommunications and real estate, and that they were doing very well.

“We want to see them also in agriculture, manufacturing, oil and gas, and other areas,” Mr. Jonathan said.

Both ambassadors assured the president that they would do their best to improve trade and economic relations between their respective countries and Nigeria during their tenures.

Mr. Jonathan also had a farewell audience with the outgoing ambassador of Finland, Mrs Rita Korpivaara.

The president commended Mrs. Korpivaara’s efforts at enhancing bilateral relations between Nigeria and Finland.

He wished her success in her future endeavours.

(NAN)

After months of bickering, Jonathan, Emir Sanusi meet

Emir Sanusi meets President Goodluck Jonathan

The President invited the former CBN Governor to break Ramadan fast with him.

President Goodluck Jonathan and the Emir of Kano, Mohammed Sanusi II, met for the first time on Wednesday since the monarch was turbanned last month and about five months after the president ordered his suspension as Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN.

Both men met at iftar, the breaking of fast the president holds annually with top government officials who are Muslims and other prominent Islamic leaders in the country, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The one month Ramadan fast ends on Sunday.

PREMIUM TIMES learnt an invitation to attend the breaking of fast was dispatched to Mr. Sanusi, whose suspension as CBN Governor February 20 generated controversy, after the Sultan of Sokoto reached out to both men to reconcile.‎

Mr. Sanusi was appointed emir by the All Progressives Congress, APC, administration of Governor Rabi’u Kwankwaso of Kano State in June following the death of his predecessor, Ado Bayero, but could not gain access to his palace as a result of police siege on it allegedly on the orders of the president.

The police explained that it took the action in other to stop looters and arsonists, who had protested the emergence of the new emir, from vandalising the sprawling palace.

Few weeks ago, the emir however personally and through intermediaries reached out to Mr. Jonathan to forget the past and sheathe his sword.

He was said to have assured the president in a telephone chat that he would not be partisan and he (president) should consider him henceforth as a friend. Mr. Sanusi subsequently moved into the palace on June 13.

The stand-off between both men began in February when Messrs. Jonathan suspended Mr. Sanusi from his position as CBN Governor over alleged “acts of financial recklessness and misconduct.”

The former CBN Governor was on official assignment in Niger Republic when his suspension was announced about four months to the end of his tenure.

A statement by the president’s spokesman, Reuben Abati ordered Mr. Sanusi to hand over to the most senior deputy governor of the CBN, Sarah Alade, who acted until a substantive governor was appointed.

He said the president was concerned about far-reaching irregularities under Mr. Sanusi, which had distracted the Bank from its pursuit and achievement of its mandatory.

Reacting to his suspension, Mr. Sanusi said he had no regret and noted that he was proud of his achievements since he assumed duties as the CBN helmsman in 2009.

“We all know what this is about, this is about consequences for the steps that I have taken, and this is something that was long overdue. I am surprised that it took them so long,” the former Governor had told an international news agency.

He said he would not return to the job, but would challenge his suspension in court.

He made good his threat first in Federal High Court, where he filed a suit against the president and two others – Attorney General of the Federation and Inspector General of Police – though the suit was struck out later.

Justice Gabriel Kolawole upheld the argument by the counsel to the defendants and transferred the matter to the National Industrial Court, NIC, from where Mr. Sanusi subsequently withdrew it on July 3 following his appointment as Emir after the death of his predecessor, Ado Bayero.

With the meeting Wednesday, both men can now be said to be on the road to reconciliation.

Jonathan appoints Osita Chidoka Aviation Minister

Chidoka FRSC

Mr. Chidoka was head of the Federal Road Safety Corps

President Goodluck Jonathan has named Osita Chidoka, the former Corps Marshall of the Federal Road Safety Corps, FRSC, as new Aviation Minister.

Mr. Chidoka was sworn in Wednesday alongside Abubakar Olanrewaju, who was appointed National Planning Minister.

Mr. Olanrewaju, from Kwara State, replaces Shamsudeen Usman, who was removed last September.

Mr. Chidoka replaces Stella Oduah, fired in February amid allegations of mismanagement of public funds.

Until Mr. Olanrewaju’s appointment, the National Planning Commission was supervised by the Minister of State for Finance, Bashir Yuguda.

The two new Ministers were sworn in shortly before the commencement of the weekly meeting of the Federal Executive Council, FEC, Wednesday.

An indigene of Anambra state, Mr. Chidoka clinched the ministerial post after a bitter political wrangling in his home state compelled President Jonathan to replace the immediate past Anambra governor, Peter Obi, who was earlier tipped for the ministerial post.

Powerful financiers of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, had argued that as the leader of the opposition All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, which controls Anambra State, Mr. Obi would leave the state PDP disgruntled were he to also be a minister.

Nasarawa Impeachment: State Assembly directs Chief Judge to set up investigative panel

Tanko Al-Makura, governor of nasarawa state

The lawmakers have moved to impeach the governor, Tanko Al-Makura

The Nasarawa State House of Assembly has directed the state Chief Judge, Suleiman Dikko, to set up a panel to investigate Governor Tanko Al-Makura, accused by lawmakers of committing impeachable offences.

State lawmakers launched impeachment proceedings against the governor last week, accusing him of 16 offences.

A seven-man panel to be named by the chief judge will examine the charges.

The directive to the chief judge was issued by the speaker of the state assembly, Musa Mohammed, (PDP – Nasarawa Central), after a motion moved by the majority leader Godiya Akwashiki (PDP), representing Nasarawa Eggon West constituency.

The motion, which was supported by Mohammed Baba Ibaku (PDP), representing Udege Loko constituency, was unanimously adopted by the 20 PDP lawmakers in the state assembly.

The motion was however rejected by all four All Progressives Congress, APC, lawmakers in the house.

The investigative committee is expected to report to the House within seven days.

For months, Mr. Al-Makura, who is a member of the APC, has been embroiled in controversy with the PDP-led state assembly.

The lawmakers moved against the governor after the impeachment of the governor of Adamawa State, Murtala Nyako, last Tuesday.

The opposition APC accuses the PDP and President Goodluck Jonathan of being behind the gale of impeachments against its governors, allegation the ruling party rejects.

On Wednesday, the Nasarawa lawmakers arrived at the assembly with heavy security around 6.30am, and began sitting at about 10am for about 15 minutes before departing to Abuja.

Jonathan Fires Back at Buhari: You lack moral right to complain about impunity

President Goodluck Jonathan

President Goodluck Jonathan has responded to comments attributed to a former Head of State, Muhammadu Buhari, castigating him for an alleged brutal crackdown on the opposition in the country.

In a statement by his spokesperson, Reuben Abati, Mr. Jonathan described Mr. Buhari’s statement as uncharitable and unwarranted.

The president advised the former head of state not to blame him for his party’s woes.

“We therefore urge General Buhari to tarry a while, ponder over his own antecedents and do a reality check as to whether he has the moral right to be so carelessly sanctimonious,” Mr. Jonathan said.

“It may well be time to pull the brakes, as General Buhari says in his statement, but it is he and others who have resorted to idle scapegoating and blaming President Jonathan for their self-inflected political troubles who need to stop their inexcusable partisanship and show greater regard for the truth, democracy, constitutionalism, the rule of law, peace, security and the well-being of the nation.”

Read full statement below:

STATE HOUSE PRESS RELEASE

DON’T BLAME ME FOR YOUR PARTY’S SELF-INFLICTED WOES – PRESIDENT JONATHAN TELLS BUHARI

We have noted with much surprise and regret, the statement issued by General Muhammadu Buhari today in which he made some wild and totally unsustainable allegations against President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan.

Although he tries very hard to deny it in the statement titled “Pull Nigeria Back From the Brink”, there can be no doubt that General Buhari has sadly moved away from the patriotic and statesmanlike position he recently adopted on national security, which President Jonathan publicly commended, and has now reverted to unbridled political partisanship.

There can be no other explanation or justification for the completely unwarranted and very uncharitable assault on the conduct and integrity of President Jonathan which the statement he issued today represents.

General Buhari’s main grouse which clearly motivated his ill-considered statement appears to be what he called “the gale of impeachments or the utilisation of desperate tactics to suffocate the opposition and turn Nigeria into a one-party state”.

It is most unfortunate that instead of working to put their house in order and resolve the leadership crises and internal contradictions that have plunged their party into a downward spiral, General Buhari and his opposition allies have resorted to blaming a blameless President for their woes.

The processes for impeaching an elected Governor are clearly stipulated in the National Constitution which Nigeria has operated since 1999. The President of Nigeria is not assigned any role in that process and President Jonathan has certainly not played any role in the recent impeachment of Governor Murtala Nyako of Adamawa or in the impeachment drama currently being played out in Nasarawa State.

For the record, President remains fully committed to upholding the letters, principles and spirit of the Nigerian Constitution as he has sworn, and defending the rule of law and integrity of the democratic process with all his might.

General Buhari talks about anarchy. He needs to be reminded that President Jonathan from his humble beginnings as a Deputy Governor in Bayelsa state to date, has never in his acts, or utterances, recommended or promoted violence as a tool of political negotiation.

Contrary to whatever General Buhari and his new friends may imagine, President Jonathan fully respects the rights, powers, authority and independence of elected representatives of the people, including the members of the state assemblies who have concluded or initiated impeachment proceedings against their state governors on grounds which they consider justifiable.

The constitution does not give the President any power to intervene in such proceedings and President Jonathan has never  arrogated such powers to himself  or sought to exert any nefarious and unconstitutional influence on state assemblies in Adamawa, Nasarawa or anywhere else in other to secure undue political advantage for his party as General Buhari unjustifiably alleges.

President Jonathan remains true to his declaration that no political ambition of his is worth the life of a single Nigerian. The President has definitely not declared war on his own country or deployed federal institutions in the service of partisan interests as General Buhari falsely claims. Neither has he been using the common wealth to subvert the system and punish the opposition, as the former Head of State inexcusably asserts.

Also, President Jonathan has never at any time ordered that any Nigerian should be kidnapped or that anyone should be crated and forcefully transported in violation of decent norms of governance.

We therefore urge General Buhari to tarry a while, ponder over his own antecedents and do a reality check as to whether he has the moral right to be so carelessly sanctimonious.

It may well be time to pull the brakes, as General Buhari says in his statement, but it is he and others who have resorted to idle scapegoating and blaming President Jonathan for their self-inflected political troubles who need to stop their inexcusable partisanship and show greater regard for the truth, democracy, constitutionalism, the rule of law, peace, security and the well-being of the nation.

Reuben Abati

Special Adviser to the President

(Media & Publicity)

July 21, 2014

 

Buhari spits fire, accuses President Jonathan of declaring war on Nigeria

Buhari, CPC leader

The former head of state says despite being a politician, he has a duty to speak out

Former Military Head of State, Muhammadu Buhari, has urged President Goodluck Jonathan, to promptly halt what he called the government’s “runaway train of impunity” which he said now threatens the nation’s democracy.

In a blunt remark Monday, Mr. Buhari, now a leader of the opposition All Progressives Congress, APC, blamed Mr. Jonathan for the impeachment of the Adamawa State governor, Murtala Nyako, and the recent gale of impeachment threats against other APC governors.

“Whether or not President Goodluck Jonathan is behind the gale of impeachment or the utilization of desperate tactics to suffocate the opposition and turn Nigeria into a one-party state, what cannot be denied is that they are happening under his watch, and he cannot pretend not to know, since that will be akin to hiding behind one finger,” Mr. Buhari said in a statement.

He accused the government of subverting the constitution to impeach a governor, and deploying the institutions of state “just to kick an out-of-favour state governor in the groin”.

“’The dangerous clouds are beginning to gather and the vultures are circling; and these have manifested in Nasarawa where the ordinary people have defied guns and tanks to protest the plan to impeach Gov. Umaru Tanko Al-Makura in a repeat of the bitter medicine forced down the throat of Gov. Murtala Nyako,” Mr. Buhari said.

“’The people’s protest in Nasarawa is a sign of what to come if the federal authorities continue to target opposition state governors for impeachment. In the long run, the impeachment weapon will be blunted. Positions will become more hardened on both sides and Nigeria and Nigerians will become the victims of arrested governance and possible anarchy.”

Mr. Nyako was removed last Tuesday by state lawmakers, accused of misspending government funds.

The opposition APC accuses Mr. Jonathan and the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, of being behind the move, an allegation fuelled by speculations that more APC governors are targeted for impeachment.

After Mr. Nyako’s ouster, lawmakers in Nasarawa State moved against their governor, Tanko Al Makura, threatening impeachment also on allegations of mismanagement.

The presidency and the PDP have denied responsibility for the happenings in Adamawa and Nasarawa States.

But Mr. Buhari said as president, Mr. Jonathan cannot feign ignorance of the unfolding political events, and warned of serious threats against a nation already facing grim security troubles with attacks on defenceless civilians by the extremist Boko Haram sect spiralling out of control.

Mr. Nyako’s impeachment, or similar threats against other APC governors, are aimed at “decapitating” the opposition, he said, warning of dire implications for Nigeria’s “tenderfoot democracy”.

Mr. Buhari, who has thrice vied and failed to become president, said President Jonathan should remember no democracy can thrive without a virile opposition, “hence it will amount to a man cutting his nose to spite his face for anyone to embark on a journey to decapitate the opposition, as the current central government is doing”.

He said a man of power must realize he cannot always do things just because he could do them.

“I, along with many other patriotic Nigerians, fought for the unity and survival of this country. Hundreds of patriotic souls perished in the battle to keep Nigeria one. The blood of many of our compatriots helped to water the birth of the democracy we are all enjoying today.

“Let no one, whether the leader or the led, the high or the low, a member of the ruling or the opposition do anything to torpedo the system. Let no one, whether on the altar of personal ambition or pretension to higher patriotic tendencies, do anything that can detonate the keg of gunpowder on which the nation is sitting. It is time for all concerned to spare a thought for the ordinary citizens who have yet to see their hopes, dreams and aspirations come to reality, within the general context of nationhood,” Mr. Buhari said.

The ex-military ruler said he has a duty to speak out regardless of his status as a politician and an opposition leader, and that he resorted to public comments after unsuccessfully trying to have the president reconsider his tactics after he discussed with him privately.

“In my capacity as an elder statesman, rather than a politician, I have spoken to President Jonathan in private over these issues, but indications are that the strategy has not yielded positive fruits,” he said. “I cannot, just because I am an opposition politician, fail to do what is expected of me as an elder statesman to help rescue our nation in times of great trouble and palpable uncertainty.”

The retired general said history will not be kind to him if he sits back while things turn bad only to avoid being accused of partisanship.

“Yes, I am a politician. Yes, I am in the opposition. Yes, there is the tendency for my statement to be misconstrued as that of a politician rather than a statesman,” he said. “But I owe it as matter of duty and honour, and in the interest of our nation, to speak out on the dangerous trajectory that our nation is heading.”

Mr. Buhari said in his extensive leadership experience since the civil war, he is witnessing the worst violations under the current government.

“I can say, in all sincerity, that I have seen it all, as an ordinary citizen, a military officer, a head of state, a man who has occupied many other sensitive posts and a politician. I have been a close participant and witness to Nigeria’s political history,” he said.

“Our country has gone through several rough patches, but never before have I seen a Nigerian President declare war on his own country as we are seeing now. Never before have I seen a Nigerian President deploy federal institutions in the service of partisanship as we are witnessing now. Never before have I seen a Nigerian President utilize the common wealth to subvert the system and punish the opposition, all in the name of politics,” he said.

He urged the president to “pull the brakes” and tarry “a while, take a deep breath and ponder the impact of recent events in the polity, under his watch, on the survival of the nation and the sustenance of its democracy”.

Nigerian government warns against registration, deportation of citizens from any part of country

President Goodluck Jonathan visiting scene of Nyanya bomb attack

Mr. Ekpenyong likened the fight against terrorism in the country to a football match, where only goals are recognized and not the attempted goals.

The Federal Government on Monday warned security agencies and other groups against registering or deporting Nigerians from wherever they live in the country.

The administration gave the warning after the meeting of the Security Council at the Presidential Villa.

President Goodluck Jonathan chaired the meeting, which was attended by service chiefs, the Inspector General of
Police, Mohammed Abubakar, and the Director General of the State Security Service, Ita Ekpeyong.

A group, the Goodluck Jonathan, had last week asked non-Northerners residing in that part of the country to relocate to their respective states within the next two weeks.

The group said in a statement signed by its national president, Aliyu Usman, and Secretary, Alfred Solomon, after a visit to the Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sunusi II, that the decision was informed by the need to accommodate northerners who would return home as a result of the unwarranted attacks against them in other parts of the country.

Briefing journalists after the meeting, the Director-General of the State Security Service, SSS, Ita Ekpeyong, said the Council’s resolution was to guard against Nigerians discriminating against other Nigerians, which could be worse than the current Boko Haram scourge.

He explained that if it was allowed to go on, it could lead to the disintegration of the country.

Mr. Ekpenyong stated that to underscore the seriousness of the issue, the Council warned that any member of the security agencies found involved in registering or deporting any Nigerian would be strictly penalised.

He said the directive to the security agencies was in line with the ongoing fight against Boko Haram.

“The fight against Boko Haram, the efforts made by government to rescue the Chibok girls and the issue of deportation, registration of Nigerians in states of the federation, we regard this as even more potent than Boko Haram,” Mr. Ekpenyong stated.

“Council discussed in detail the issue of registration of Nigerians in any part of the country, being subjected to registration, being subjected to deportation, being taken away from one part of the country to the other. Council discussed the reaction by some groups in Kano State and other parts of the country.

“Council observe that this threat was more potent than Boko Haram and could disintegrate the country. And we take this very seriously, for people to deport people, for people to ‎take people from one place to the other, for registration of indigenes no matter where they are. No matter where they are they are free to settle anywhere they like.

Council resolved that the issue of registration of Nigerians anywhere in the country and deportation should stop forthwith.”

The SSS boss said as a way of re-emphasising the importance attached to the matter, Mr. Jonathan asked him and Mr.
Abubakar to address the press, and insisted that registration of Nigerians must be stopped.

He continued, “Security operatives ‎should not be involved in anybody trying to register people and anybody trying to deport people. Security operatives must henceforth not be involved. Any policeman or SSS found to be involved in it will be severely dealt with.

“Also Youth groups trying to foment trouble because of this issue are hereby warned to desist from it because government is taking serious notice of it. Government is doing everything possible to stem this from getting out of control. As a matter of fact to show the urgency, the Council of State meeting will be held anytime next week to discuss these issues.

Mr. Ekpenyong likened the fight against terrorism in the country to a football match, where only goals are recognized and not the attempted goals.

He restated that government was aware of where the girls were being kept, but that it was being cautious in other to avoid human casualties.

“We kept saying that the fight against Boko Haram is like the footballer. You know when the Germans played Argentina, it was only that one goal they scored that everyone is remembering, the other goals that were stopped nobody will remember,” Mr. Ekpenyong said.

“There are several things government is doing, there are several attacks government has stopped but nobody will remember those ones because we don’t tell you but several things are going on.

“The issue of Chibok girls, government is making efforts. We know where they are, but we don’t want to endanger their lives. That is the truth. We want to take it ‎gradually and release them at the appropriate time. We know where they are you can go to bed with that.”

Presidency lampoons Tinubu, says electoral victory will continue to elude APC

President Goodluck Jonathan

The Political Adviser to the President, Rufa’i Alkali,  on Sunday said electoral victory would continue to elude the opposition All Progressives Congress, APC, until its leaders learn to accept the principle of popular democracy that the electorates have right to choose who should lead them.

Reacting to the allegation by a national leader of the APC, Bola Tinubu, that President Goodluck Jonathan engineered the impeachment of Murtala Nyako as Governor of Adamawa State despite public pronouncement by Mr. Nyako to the contrary, Mr. Alkali said the APC leaders appeared to have lost their focus since they lost the Ekiti governorship election.

Mr. Tinubu, a former governor of Lagos State had in a statement on Friday accused Mr. Jonathan and the ruling PDP of contriving Mr. Nyako’s impeachment last Tuesday.

He also accused the president of behaving like a dictator.

Mr. Alkali, a former spokesperson of the ruling PDP, said it was absurd for any political party that wants to win the presidency to denigrate the same office it wants to occupy.

He stated that it was particularly pathetic that Mr. Tinubu, who contributed immensely in the struggle for return to democratic governance, had now joined the league of those engaged in acts that are likely to truncate the same institution he fought for.

“It is very strange for Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, someone who has led government before, someone who has been in the forefront of advancing democracy for many years, to descend so low as to cast aspersions on the President of this country on issues he cannot defend,” the presidential aide said.

“It appears to me that since the Ekiti election, which PDP decisively won, Tinubu and APC leaders have lost their focus. This is democracy, it gives everybody the right to speak; but in doing so, you should not undermine institutions of governance, the same institution you are aspiring to take over and manage.

“Recently, the Adamawa State House of Assembly impeached their governor and even as that happened, the APC was up in arms, that it was Mr. President that impeached the governor of Adamawa State.
“Why should he do that and how can he do that? Are you saying the 24 or 25 members of the House of Assembly are not in control of their constituencies, that there are no leaders or stakeholders in Adamawa State who worked for or with former Governor Nyako who could have stopped the impeachment.

Mr. Alkali noted that the PDP had lost a lot to the opposition either in court or through election, yet it stood firm and had continued to build on what it had, while looking forward.

He said just like in Ekiti State where the APC lost in the governorship election last month, the opposition party would still lose to the PDP in next month’s election in Osun State.

He said, “PDP has lost a lot to opposition political parties. I have said this repeatedly either at the court or more recently through defection, yet PDP stood firm and said let us continue to build on what we have and move forward.

“After losing Ekiti, the story has changed. It is time for them to tell one another the home truth. If they are prepared to govern this country, then they must be prepared also to accept the principle of popular democracy that the people of this country would want to choose who should lead them and if they don’t, can’t or fail to convince people, they must also be ready to admit failure.”

“No matter the grandstanding our journey to Osun state continues and surely just as was the case in Ekiti state, the people of Osun state will triumph. We are confident that our candidate Senator Iyiola Omisore is a man of the people.”

 

Jonathan planning to corner $1 bn Boko Haram loan for own ambition- Tinubu

Independence Anniversry Cake

The presidency tackles former Lagos governor for accusing Mr. Jonathan of masterminding the removal of Murtala Nyako as Adamawa State governor.

A former Lagos State Governor, Ahmed Tinubu, has accused President Goodluck Jonathan of lying to Nigerians about a $1 billion loan request he tabled last week before the National Assembly.

Mr. Jonathan said the huge borrowing will help equip and train the Nigerian military to combat the extremist group, Boko Haram.

But the plan, which will further raise Nigeria’s debt profile, has drawn criticisms from many Nigerians.
Mr. Tinubu, who is also a national leader of the All Progressives Congress, APC, described the request as “dubious”, saying it is meant to serve as a cover for Mr. Jonathan to corner public funds for himself and his party, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.

“It’s another pretence to take what belongs to the public and hand over to his party and his ambition,” Mr. Tinubu said Sunday. “Jonathan, by couching it as a loan to fight terrorism, thinks Nigerians will not see through the deceit.”

Mr. Tinubu urged Nigerians to reject the loan request.

Meanwhile, the political adviser to President Jonathan, Rufa’i Alkali, said on Sunday that electoral victory would continue to elude the APC until its leaders learnt to accept the principle of popular democracy that the electorates have right to choose who should lead them.

Reacting to an allegation by a national leader of APC, Bola Tinubu, that President Goodluck Jonathan engineered the impeachment of former Governor of Adamawa State despite public pronouncement by Murtala Nyako to the contrary, Mr. Alkali said the APC leaders appeared to have lost their focus since they lost Ekiti governorship poll.

Mr. Tinubu, a former governor of Lagos State had in a statement on Friday accused Mr. Jonathan and the ruling PDP of contriving Mr. Nyako’s impeachment last Tuesday.

He also accused the president of behaving like a dictator.

Mr. Alkali, a former spokesperson of the ruling PDP, said it was absurd for any political party that wants to win the presidency to denigrate the same office that it wants to occupy.

He stated that it was particularly pathetic that Mr. Tinubu, who contributed immensely in the struggle for return to democratic governance, had now joined the league of those engaged in acts that are likely truncate the same institution he fought for.

“It is very strange for Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, someone who has led government before, someone who has been in the forefront of advancing democracy for many years, to descend so low as to cast aspersions on the President of this country on issues he cannot defend,” the presidential aide said.

“It appears to me that since the Ekiti election, which PDP decisively won, Tinubu and APC leaders have lost their focus. This is democracy, it gives everybody the right to speak; but in doing so, you should not undermine institutions of governance, the same institution you are aspiring to take over and manage.

“Recently, the Adamawa State House of Assembly impeached their governor and even as that happened, the APC was up in arms, that it was Mr. President that impeached the governor of Adamawa State.

“Why should he do that and how can he do that? Are you saying the 24 or 25 members of the House of Assembly are not in control of their constituencies, that there are no leaders or stakeholders in Adamawa State who worked for or with former Governor Nyako who could have stopped the impeachment.

Mr. Alkali noted that the PDP had lost a lot to the opposition either in court or through election, yet it stood firm and decided to continue to build on what it had and moved forward.

He said just like in Ekiti State where the APC lost in the governorship election last month, the opposition party would still lose to the PDP in next month’s election in Osun State.

He said, “PDP has lost a lot to opposition political parties. I have said this repeatedly either at the court or more recently through defection, yet PDP stood firm and said let us continue to build on what we have and move forward.

“After losing Ekiti, the story has changed. It is time for them to tell one another the home truth. If they are prepared to govern this country, then they must be prepared also to accept the principle of popular democracy that the people of this country would want to choose who should lead them and if they don’t, can’t or fail to convince people, they must also be ready to admit failure.”

“No matter the grandstanding our journey to Osun state continues and surely just as was the case in Ekiti state, the people of Osun state will triumph. We are confident that our candidate Senator Iyiola Omisore is a man of the people.”

FG begins reactivation of NNPC depot in Enugu – Official

NNPC officials working on vandalised pipeline

The depot was closed down due to pipeline vandalism.

The Federal Government has commenced the rehabilitation of pipelines from the NNPC refinery in Port Harcourt to its depot in Enugu, an official has said.

The Special Adviser to President Goodluck Jonathan on Pipeline Matters (South East), Linus Mgbakogu, disclosed this in an interview in Enugu on Friday.

Mr. Mgbakogu said that the move to rehabilitate the depot followed government’s avowed commitment to make petroleum products available to Nigerians at the official price.

He said that work was in progress at the pipeline locations in host communities, adding that measures were in place to check incessant vandalism.

“That is why we have involved the state government in the onslaught against vandals. We have also made it clear that traditional rulers in host communities have a major role to play in containing their subjects,” he said.

Mr. Mgbakogu, who was the former chairman of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, IPMAN, Enugu branch, decried the continued closure of the depot due to pipeline vandalism.

He said that the independent marketers bore extra cost in lifting petroleum products to the state.

“The continued closure of the depot is affecting our business as we go the extra mile to bring these products, yet sell at the official price. This has always been at a great loss to our members as we most often lift products at higher rates from other depots,” he said.

The presidential aide said that the condition of marketers in the state was made worse as most of the products they bought were meant for other states.

“Most of the products are meant for other states, but diverted to Enugu State and this comes at higher prices. The reason we still sell at the official price is because there are products everywhere at the moment,” he said.

Mr. Mgbakogu commended the commitment of NNPC/PPMC in ensuring that the depot was reactivated to serve residents of the state.

(NAN)

Download: Nigerian government’s contract with LEVICK on missing Chibok Schoolgirls

Mothers of the missing Chibok school girls are still grieving

Some weeks ago, the Nigerian government hired a Washington-based Public Relation firms, LEVICK Communications Trust, to execute three key image laundering activities.

Primarily, LEVICK would provide the Goodluck Jonathan led administration with counsel on how to change local and international media narrative about Nigerian government’s failure to find and rescue the missing Chibok Schoolgirls, kidnapped by Boko Haram from their hostels in Government Secondary School, Chibok, in April.

LEVICK is also expected to help attract global support for the Nigerian government’s war on Boko Haram while branding it as part of a global war on terror.

The Nigerian government pays LEVICK N16.2 million monthly for the length of the the contract, originally conceived for one year. This is in addition to other fees charged at cost, without an upper limit.

The contract was signed by President Jonathan’s former spokesperson, Ima Niboro, on behalf of Nigeria. Mr. Niboro is the current director general of the News Agency of Nigeria.

PREMIUM TIMES obtained a copy of the contract between LEVICK and the Nigerian government, filed with America’s National Security Division and Foreign Agents Registration Unit.

Download the contract here.

Document courtesy ThinkProgress.org

Boko Haram: Jonathan approves ‘huge acquisitions’ for Nigerian military – Obanikoro

musiliu-obanikoro

Minister urged Nigerians to be involved in the fight against terrorism.

President Goodluck Jonathan has approved the release of additional funds for the purchase of military hardware.

This was disclosed by the Minister of State for Defence, Musiliu Obanikoro, on Thursday.

Mr. Obanikoro, who was on an inspection tour of Navy formations and facilities in Rivers, said that the purchase of the hardware would boost the capacity of the Nigerian Armed Forces in the fight against terror.

“President Goodluck Jonathan is committed to enhancing our military efficiency and capacity to deliver in the fight against insurgency. In the fight against terrorism; the President has approved huge acquisitions to build up the capacity of our military and this has not been done in the last 25 years. These are efforts that are highly commendable and we should continue to encourage and support government to do more in the fight against insurgency.

“The fight against terrorism is not all about the President – it is not about you and me – it is about all of us (Nigerians); and it is a war that we can only win if we stand together. Without sounding immodest, I commend the commitment, dedication and the sacrifices they (military personnel) have been making and made in the past,” he said.

Mr. Obanikoro said that the military had shown resilience in spite of operational challenges, adding that the President was determined to provide more support.

He called on Nigerians to support and corporate with the military in its bid to end the security challenges confronting the nation.

The Nigerian military has been described as ill-equipped to tame the spread of the Boko Haram whose insurgency has led to the death of over 13,000 people since 2009.

President Jonathan in a letter addressed to the National Assembly, sought approval of a loan of $1billion to fund military operations in the country.

(NAN)

Boko Haram: Why we want to borrow $1 billion – Nigerian Government

President-Goodluck-Jonathan-360x225

Government says war on terror has not depleted resources.

The Federal Government on Thursday defended its decision to borrow $1 billion (N160 billion) to enhance security forces in the battle against the insurgent Boko Haram group.

The proposed loan was revealed on Wednesday when the Senate President, David Mark, read a letter by President Goodluck Jonathan seeking permission from the Senate to borrow the money.

“You are no doubt cognisant of the on-going and serious security challenges which the nation is facing, as typified by the Boko Haram terrorist threat. This is an issue that we have discussed at various times,” Mr. Jonathan wrote in the letter.

“I would like to bring to your attention, the urgent need to upgrade the equipment, training and logistics of our Armed Forces and Security services to enable them more forcefully confront this serious threat.

“For this reason, I seek the concurrence o the National Assembly for external borrowing of not more than $1 billion dollars including government to government arrangements for this upgrade,” he added.

There have been nationwide criticisms since the proposal was made public as Nigerians questioned the trillions of naira already budgeted and spent on the military to defeat Boko Haram in the past few years.

But on Thursday, the federal government defended its decision take the loan, saying it would not only be used to prosecute the war against insurgency but to adequately equip the armed forces.

The Coordinator, National Information Centre, Mike Omeri, stated the government’s stance while interacting with journalists at the Centre on Thursday.

Mr. Omeri, who is also the Director General of the National Orientation Agency, also said that the war had not depleted Nigeria’s resources.

“It is not out of place for a country to re-enforce its military capability and it (loan) should not be mistaken that the resources of Nigeria has finished. The loan being sought is not just to prosecute Boko Haram war, it is to re-enforce the armed forces,” he said.

The military and the federal government has been criticised locally and internationally for its handling of the Boko Haram crisis.

Over 13,000 people have been killed since the insurgency began in 2009 with the Human Rights Watch documenting about 2,500 deaths in 2014.

Mr. Omeri also shed more light on efforts to apprehend Abubakar Tsiga, the major suspected mastermind of the April 14 Nyanya bomb explosion that killed over 75 people.

One of the alleged mastermind, Aminu Ogwuche, was on Wednesday repatriated to Nigeria from Sudan where he allegedly fled after the explosion.

Mr. Omeri said Mr. Tsiga remained wanted, adding that security forces were trailing him.

“At the appropriate time, we will let you know because sometime there is information that you give out that will facilitate the disappearance of suspect,” he added.

(NAN)

Chibok Schoolgirls: Ezekwesili blasts Jonathan on #BringBackOurGirls

President Goodluck Jonathan only agreed to meet parents of the missing Chibok schoolgirls  after meeting Pakistani Malala

“It’s to SUCH HATE? That our Presidency deployed our public resources to hire US firm…”

A former Minister of Education, Obiageli Ezekwesili, on Thursday, condemned the Goodluck Jonathan administration’s attempt to smear the image of the #BringBackOurGirls campaign through a foreign Public Relations firm, Levick.

Ms. Ezekwesili in a tweet through her Twitter handle, @obyezeks, said it was hateful for the presidency to hire the PR firm to help government tag Nigerian citizens as terrorists.

“It’s to SUCH HATE? That our Presidency deployed our public resources to hire US firm @LEVICK to label INNOCENT CITIZENS “terrorists”??” she tweeted.

The former minister said she doubted it when she first learnt that the PR firm was helping the Federal Government spread lies that the #BringBackOurGirls group was a franchise until the spokesperson for the State Security Services, Marilyn Ogar, said so.

The federal government paid the PR firm owned by Richard Levick $1.2 million (N195 million) to help manage what many consider government’s inept handling of the abduction of over 200 schoolgirls by the Boko Haram terrorist group.

According to The Hill, an American newspaper specialised in covering the American congress, the contract was awarded to help change “international and local media narrative” surrounding government’s efforts to rescue the girls.

Details contained in the contract document obtained by The Hill showed that the firm would also be “assisting the government’s efforts to mobilise international support in fighting Boko Haram as part of the greater war on terror”.

The firm also promised to assist the government in effecting “real change” in Nigeria.

Mr. Levick was expected to work with Jared Genser, a human rights attorney, who has also worked for notable personalities such as South African Nobel Peace Prize winner, Desmond Tutu; and Burmese pro-democracy advocate, Aung Suu Kyi.

The team would publicise the “President Goodluck Jonathan Administration’s past, present and future priority to foster transparency, democracy and the rule of law throughout Nigeria.”

According to the contract, Levick would be paid $75,000 (about N11.6 million) per month for its effort plus extra cost for advertisements, video production and website development. This would be done through an unnamed state-owned media agency.

The company would get an additional fee of $22,500 (N3.48million) if an associate of the company travelled to Nigeria.

An associate of Mr. Genser’s company, Perseus Strategies, would get $25,000 (N3.87million) per month as retainer.

Ms. Ezekwesili, however, advised Mr. Jonathan to take actions that would rebuild citizen’s trust rather than engage in such frivolous spending.

“My FREE image laundering advice to our Presidency is to take actions that would rebuild citizens TRUST. ACT to #BringBackOurGirls CONCRETELY,” she tweeted.

Why Amaechi can’t be impeached — Aide

Rotimi Amaechi

Rivers APC urged Nigerian to resist plot to derail nation’s democracy.

Rivers State Governor Chibuike Amaechi’s Chief of Staff, Tony Okocha, has guaranteed that the governor would complete his tenure despite alleged plot by six members of the State House of Assembly to unseat him.

Mr. Okocha said for as long as Rivers people remained behind the governor, resolute in defending the mandate they gave him, it would be impossible to oust him.

He also said the All Progressives Congress, APC, would win the 2015 governorship election.

Mr. Okocha stated this when he played host to the APC Youth League, Rivers State Chapter and Igbo Professionals in Rivers State who paid him a solidarity visit in his office in Port Harcourt, the state capital on Wednesday.

There are alleged moves by some politicians in Abuja to instigate six lawmakers led by Evans Bipi to impeach Mr. Amaechi following the successful removal of his Adamawa State counterpart, Murtala Nyako from office on Tuesday.

Mr. Amaechi, just like Mr. Nyako, is a member of the APC.

Mr. Okocha vowed that what happened in the north-eastern state would not be repeated in Rivers State as the majority of lawmakers who are loyal to both the APC and Mr. Amaechi would not give in to the pressure like their Adamawa counterparts.

He said the efforts by the Abuja-based politicians and the six lawmakers would come to nothing since the majority of the members of the Assembly had resolved to swim and sink with the mandate of the Rivers State people embodied in the governor.

“I wish to assure all APC faithful and the entire good people of Rivers State that they should continue with their normal business activities as no effort by some unscrupulous undemocratic elements will succeed in thwarting or tampering with the mandate they freely gave to Governor Amaechi as I am very convinced that we are capable and ready to defend the mandate no matter the odds,” Mr. Okocha said.

Mr. Okocha told the two groups that with the feats recorded by Mr. Amaechi in the areas of education, health, agriculture, infrastructure and good governance, the APC was a sure bet to retain the governorship seat of the state, not minding the resolve of the PDP bigwigs to
resort to rigging and intimidation.

He stated that the people of the state would vote against the opposition party in the state.

Earlier, the leader of the APC Youth League, Hart Lawson, told the Chief of State that his group paid the visit to assure Mr. Amaechi that it was behind him,

“We are here on behalf of the good people of Rivers State to assure our performing Governor of our unflinching support and readiness at any time to defend and protect the mandate we freely gave to Governor Amaechi,” he said.

Meanwhile, the state chapter of the APC has described as “shocking and retrogressive,” the impeachment of the governor of Adamawa State.

“We never thought that Adamawa State lawmakers would allow external forces to cause them to impeach a Governor that was not only duly elected but also enjoyed the overwhelming support of the people of Adamawa State just to satisfy the selfish and evil plots of undemocratic elements operating from Abuja,” the chairman of the chapter, Davies Ikanya, said in a statement on Wednesday.

“To us, this is a retrogressive development aimed at rubbishing a man who has sacrificed so much for the unity and progress of Nigeria as a nation.”

The party said it was a pity that Mr. Nyako paid for the sin of spearheading the election of President Goodluck Jonathan both at the 2011 PDP presidential primary election and the general election.

The APC said, “This is one of the reasons why also Rivers State is under siege for given Mr. President the highest number of votes during the 2011 Presidential election.

“We are not used to crying over spilled milk but we will like to assure Adamawa people that we are solidly behind them, not minding the efforts of some undemocratic forces to put our democracy in danger.

“Impeachment is a normal exercise in any democracy but any induced impeachment like that of Adamawa State is condemnable. It beats my imagination why the PDP-led Federal Government should be putting our democracy in danger by luring and forcing some disgruntled and
misguided lawmakers to be making efforts to impeach Governors of only APC-controlled states.

“The cases of Edo and Nasarawa states readily come to mind. The world is watching and let us sees where all these rascality acts will lead us to as a nation.”

The APC asked Nigerians to be on guard so as to resist plots by some elements to collapse the nation’s democracy “just because of their desperation to install President Jonathan for a third time as the President of Nigeria against the letters of our Constitution that says
that nobody should act as a President for more than eight years.”

It further warned, “Should these elements succeed in their evil plot, they will be making President Jonathan to preside over this nation for over ten years and maybe thereafter make him a life president.”

Jonathan, Nigeria’s number one enemy – APC

Lai Mohammed

“We are now alerting the good people of Nigeria that President Jonathan’s re-election at all costs is a clear and present danger to Nigeria.”

The All Progressives Congress, APC, has described President Goodluck Jonathan as Nigeria’s number one enemy because of his propensity to perpetrate impunity, abuse federal institutions and tolerate corruption, all in a dangerous clamour to win re-election at all costs.

In a statement issued in Osogbo on Wednesday by its National Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed, the party said under President Jonathan’s watch, Nigeria has been thrown into unprecedented crisis that is manifesting in the opposition strongholds of Rivers, Edo, Adamawa and Nasarawa States and elsewhere across the country.

The President has also abused national institutions perhaps more than any other President in Nigeria’s history, deploying the police and the army to intimidate and harass ordinary citizens in general and opposition supporters in particular, as he did recently in Ekiti, and he is allegedly planning to do in Osun state; shutting airports at
will just to punish the opposition and muscling the electoral commission, INEC, to prevent incorruptible RECs from conducting elections, it said.

”As we write, there are contrived crises in Rivers and Edo, where a handful of lawmakers with the backing of higher authorities have been terrorizing the Houses of Assembly in their States and defying court orders at will, with the ultimate prize for the renegades being the states’ chief executives; and there is crisis in Adamawa, where an impeachment plot has been undoubtedly instigated and hatched by higher authorities, despite tepid denials, and soldiers have been deployed to cage in very high state officials

”In Ekiti, several billions of Naira was allegedly scooped from a massive political war chest to subvert democracy, induce voters and upturn all known political theories to such an extent that all that anyone seeking to be elected now has to do is to dole out stolen public funds to a people already rendered comatose and impoverished by runaway corruption, glaring incompetence and sheer cluelessness that are the hall marks of the Jonathan Administration.

”Under President Jonathan, there is no longer the need to make any electoral promises or carry out people-oriented and quality of life projects. Just distribute bags of rice, expired or not, to a people already famished by a clueless federal government, and tuck in a few naira notes into the pockets of electorates who have been deliberately impoverished. This is a clear subversion of democracy.

”With such huge funds now being allegedly channelled to Osun to thwart the will of the people ahead of the August 9 governorship election, in an attempt to repeat the Ekiti ‘experiment’ which the PDP-led federal government deemed to have been a ‘success’, it is now clear the Jonathan Administration will not pull any punches in subverting
democracy ahead of the 2015 general elections.

”It is also clear now what happened to the 20-billion-dollar oil money that went missing, as well as the reason behind the massive oil subsidy fraud, the Malabo multi-billion dollar fraud, the pension scam, and finally why the President, whose body language does not abhor corruption, has redefined stealing as anything but corruption,”
APC said.

The party said as far as President Jonathan is concerned, all that matters is his re-election. While he pursues that goal with vigour, the over 200 missing girls in Borno can stay where they are being kept by their abductors for over three months now; and the daily carnage in the North-east as well as Kaduna, Nasarawa and Benue can continue, even though over 12,000 people have been killed and 8,000 maimed. Once
the President continues to play his dangerous politics of re-election, which involves using state resources and national institutions to muscle and muzzle the opposition; the press and ordinary citizens, all
is well in the eyes of his purposeless party.

‘Unfortunately, in the midst of all the shenanigans, Nigerians are more divided than ever along ethnic and religious lines, no thanks to a President who is so obsessed with power that he will not hesitate to cash in on the nation’s fault lines, abuse federal institutions, compromise once-credible public commentators to shamelessly mortgage their integrity on the altar of greed, and disregard even the Electoral Act by kick-starting electioneering campaign before the starting gun is fired.

”In view of this, we are now alerting the good people of Nigeria that President Jonathan’s re-election at all costs is a clear and present danger to Nigeria, her people and indeed her democracy.

”Unless Nigerians speak out and unless the instigated harassment of the media by security agencies is halted, so the Fourth Estate of the Realm can continue to perform its constitutional duties unhindered, Nigerians should gear up for more dangerous days ahead, which will include the stripping of the citizenry of their constitutionally-guaranteed basic rights, more egregious abuse of national institutions, perpetration of more acts of corruption as well as the muscling and muzzling of the opposition, even as the people will continue to be impoverished.

”On our part, as the country’s main opposition party, we pledge to be unrelenting in speaking the truth to power, irrespective of whether or not it makes the federal government uncomfortable, in the overall interest of our nation,” APC said.

Alhaji Lai Mohammed
National Publicity Secretary
All Progressives Congress (APC)
Osogbo, July 9th 2014

Emir of Kano, Lamido Sanusi, drops court case against Jonathan

The new Emir of Kano, His Highness Sanusi Lamido Sanusi

Mr. Sanusi had dragged the federal government before a Federal High Court in Abuja to challenge his suspension as the governor of CBN

 

The Emir of Kano and former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Lamido Sanusi, has dropped the suit against the federal government challenging his suspension from office.
This development confirms this newspaper’s June 13 report which indicated the Emir was planning to discontinue his legal battle with the President after both men had reconciliatory telephone conversation.

President Goodluck Jonathan had on February 20 suspended Mr. Sanusi from his position as governor of the CBN over allegations of financial recklessness.

In the Notice of Discontinuance dated July 1, 2014, and filed same day, Mr. Sanusi’s lawyers informed the court of his intention to discontinue the matter.

Mr. Sanusi had sued the federal government at a Federal High Court in Abuja challenging his suspension.

Joined in the suit as defendants were President Goodluck Jonathan, the Attorney
General of the Federation, and the Inspector General of Police.

In their counter affidavit, the defendants had argued that the Federal High Court lacked jurisdiction in the matter since it was a labour-related suit that fell under the purview of the National Industrial Court.

In his ruling, Justice Gabriel Kolawole upheld the submissions of the counsel to the President, Fabian Ajogwu, and that of the Counsel to the Attorney General of the Federation, Mike Ozekhome.

Rather than dismiss the case outright, the court instead invoked section 24 of the National Industrial Court Act 2012 and ordered that the case be transferred to the National Industrial Court since the issues raised bothered on labour matters.

In transferring the case, Justice Kolawole said that in line with sections 251 and 254 of the 1999 constitution, the CBN was a creation of the National Assembly, and Mr. Sanusi was a public officer.

The Judge further held that since Mr. Sanusi was an employee of the CBN by virtue of the CBN Act No 7 of 2007, he was a public servant whose appointment was a labour related matter that could be properly adjudicated upon by the industrial court.

Mr. Sanusi’s decision to withdraw the case comes after months of deep animosity between him and President Goodluck Jonathan.

After he emerged the Emir of Kano, he asked the President for forgiveness so he could gain access to his palace which was blocked by police.

Even though the police denied that the president ordered the blockade, sources told PREMIUM TIMES that the siege was authorised by the president.

Mr. Sanusi, multiple sources told PREMIUM TIMES, apologised to President Jonathan, personally and through intermediaries, to forgive him for his public defiance.

Jonathan condemns attacks in southern Kaduna, Bauchi

Jonathan Goodluck, President of Nigeria

The president directs that aid be sent to survivors.

President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan condemns Friday night’s bombing in the Bayan Gari area of Bauchi State and the recent mass killings in Southern Kaduna.

The President commiserates with all the families who lost loved ones in the heinous attacks and extends his heartfelt sympathies to all those who suffered injuries or lost their properties during the wanton assaults on Bauchi and Kaduna States.

President Jonathan reassures the people of Bauchi and Kaduna States that the Federal Government will continue to take all necessary action to apprehend the perpetrators of the dastardly attacks and restore the fullest possible security to all parts of the country.

The President directs all relevant federal government agencies to continue to speedily make emergency medical and relief assistance available to all those who were either injured or displaced by recent bombings and attacks.

He urges all Nigerians to give maximum support and cooperation to the Armed Forces and security agencies who continue to work incessantly to end the menace of insecurity in the country within the shortest possible time.

Reuben Abati
Special Adviser to President
(Media & Publicity)
June 29, 2014

Kicking off image laundering contract, Jonathan’s first Op-Ed appears in Washington Post

President Goodluck Jonathan

President Goodluck Jonathan’s first ever known opinion article has surfaced in the Washington Post, after it became clear the president is splashing N195 million of public funds on a U.S. firm to whitewash his struggling image made worse by the Chibok schoolgirls abductions.

In an Op-Ed by the president and published by the United States-based newspaper Thursday, Mr. Jonathan delivered a poignant assurance to the international community that has scathingly criticised his effort at rescuing the kidnapped girls.

“My heart aches for the missing children and their families. I am a parent myself, and I know how awfully this must hurt. Nothing is more important to me than finding and rescuing our girls,” the president wrote in the 504-word article.

The president said he remained quiet about “continuing efforts” by Nigeria’s military, police and investigators to rescue the girls, to avoid “compromising the details of our investigation”.

He said his silence has been misused by partisan critics to suggest inaction or even weakness.

“But let me state this unequivocally: My government and our security and intelligence services have spared no resources, have not stopped and will not stop until the girls are returned home and the thugs who took them are brought to justice,” the president said.

For months, Mr. Jonathan has faced crushing criticisms at home and abroad for his lukewarm response to a bloody insurgency by the extremist Boko Haram sect that has killed at least 12,000 Nigerians since 2009.

International outrage at the Jonathan administration’s effort at rooting Boko Haram- including a largely ineffective emergency rule in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe States- reached unprecedented levels after the abduction of nearly 300 girls from a secondary school in Chibok, Borno State April 14.

While the girls remain in captivity two months later, news reports have shown this week how the president launched a blistering image rework, splashing $1.2 million on a U.S. Public Relations and lobby firm, Levick, to help change “international and local media narrative”.

Washington DC based newspaper, The Hill, which reports the U.S. Congress, quoted details of the contract including Levick’s promise to assist the Nigerian government in effecting “real change”.

“A more comprehensive approach using vehicles such as public diplomacy and engaging outside experts to enact real changes is how the advocacy industry is evolving,” Phil Elwood, a Vice President at Levick, told The Hill.

Levick will also be working with Jared Genser, a human rights attorney, who has worked for notable personalities such as South African Nobel Peace Prize winner, Desmond Tutut and Burmese pro-democracy advocate Aung San Suu Kyi in the past to publicise “President Goodluck Jonathan Administration’s past, present and future priority to foster transparency, democracy and the rule of law throughout Nigeria.”

The effort will cover opinion articles published by foreign media outlets, advertisements, video production and internet campaign.

The piece published by the Washington Post is said to be part of that effort. The article is Mr. Jonathan’s first ever known, and evidently, its appearance in a foreign outlet is not a coincidence.

Since taking office as president in 2010, the Nigerian president has not granted interview to any Nigerian news outlet beyond speaking to reporters at events, and holding a periodic interview with a panel of journalists drawn from varied outlets and beamed live on state-owned Nigerian Television Authority, NTA.

Some of his key decisions and pronouncements have been made public through foreign outlets, mainly the CNN.

Mr. Jonathan delivered his first public comments on late President Umaru Yar’ Adua’s health, in an interview with Ms. Amanpour in 2010, where he spoke of how the ailing president’s family blocked him from seeing Mr. Yar’adua.

The president has also yet to respond to a request for interview with PREMIUM TIMES. The president did not even acknowledge receipt of the letter requesting the interview which was couriered to his office more than a month ago.

But long before the Boko Haram insurrection spiralled out of control, Mr. Jonathan maintained a fair appearance on foreign outlets, even paying to appear for interviews on foreign channels.

In 2013, PREMIUM TIMES obtained documents showing how the president paid another American lobbying firm, Fleshman-Hillard Inc, $60,000 to help arrange these interviews with foreign channels including the CNN.

Fleishman-Hillard Inc. later informed PREMIUM TIMES that out of the stated sum, it received only $40,000 for fixing the president’s appearances on the foreign channels.

The company said the service was in support of the president’s trip to New York for the 2010 United Nations General Assembly.

This time though, the president manifestly has more to deal with, as he faces unrelenting criticisms over Boko Haram. He appears determined to deliver a heartfelt message to U.S. policy makers who have labelled his government corrupt and inept.

The president also seeks to shed light on Nigeria’s peculiarities, and make the international community understand the local challenges  allowing Boko Haram to fester.

“In Nigeria, there are political, religious and ethnic cleavages to overcome if we are to defeat Boko Haram,” he wrote in the Washington Post article.

“We need greater understanding and outreach between Muslims and Christians. We also know that, as it seeks to recruit the gullible, Boko Haram exploits the economic disparities that remain a problem in our country.

“We are addressing these challenges through such steps as bringing stakeholders together and creating a safe schools initiative, a victims’ support fund and a presidential economic recovery program for northeastern Nigeria. We are also committed to ridding our country of corruption and safeguarding human and civil rights and the rule of law.”

 

Jonathan asks Nigerian lawmakers to approve statutory deduction for police funding

PRESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan

The fund was approved in 2008 for the reform of the Nigeria Police Force.

President Goodluck Jonathan is seeking the consent of the Senate to commence deduction of one per cent from Federal Government’s allocations to implement the proposed N1.5 trillion police fund.

This was in a letter the president wrote to the senate which was read at Thursday’s plenary by the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, who presided over the plenary.

Mr. Jonathan lamented in the letter that although the fund was approved in 2008 for the reform of the Nigeria Police Force, the implementation had been slow.

“You may wish to note that the Federal Government had since April 2008 approved the MD Yusuf report for the reform of the Nigeria Police Force. It consequently inaugurated the interim implementation Committee for Police Reform Programme, IICPRP, and the programme was to be implemented for a period of six years at the estimated cost of N1.5 trillion,” Mr. Jonathan said.

According to the president, in view of the escalating security challenges, the commencement of the deductions has become imperative.

“In view of the foregoing and the current escalating security challenges, more than ever before, the strengthening of the police force, I have given the recommendation of the National Economic Council (NEC) favourable consideration. I hereby seek the consent of the National Assembly for the deduction of one per cent from the statutory allocation of the Federal Government as federal contribution for the implementation of the Police Reform programme,” the president said.

He noted that 60 per cent funding of the programme was to be sourced from the three tiers of government and the organised private and international development partners.

“The combined annual contributions from the public sector comprising federal, state and local governments is estimated to be N150 billion of which N79.02 billion is to be from the Federal Government. Notwithstanding this commitment, the realistic flow of funds has met with setbacks to the effect that the reform implementation has been tardy, even as security challenges keep increasing.

“In a decisive move to address the situation, the IICPRP set up a funding technical subcommittee to advise on the most effective way to fund the Nigeria Police Force Reform Programme. The committee, among other things, recommended special funding by the three tiers of government to be sourced from allocations for the next six years,” he said.

He said that the report was subsequently presented to NEC for consideration.

The NEC, he said, subsequently agreed to and recommended a deduction of one per cent from the monthly allocations of the federal, state and local governments.

This was to be sourced as a first line charge, subject to legislative endorsement at both federal and state levels for interested participating states.

The president expressed the hope that the senate would give the request expeditious consideration. (NAN)

Abuja Explosion: Jonathan leaves Equatorial Guinea, to arrive Nigeria soon

President Goodluck Jonathan

After attending the opening ceremony and one session of the ongoing African Union, A.U., summit in Equatorial Guinea, President Goodluck Jonathan has begun his return journey home following a car bomb that killed at least 21 people in Abuja Wednesday, a reliable presidency source has told PREMIUM TIMES.

The president left his hotel at about 6 p.m. Nigerian time and arrived the Malabo airport at about 6:40. Boarding formalities commenced immediately, with the delegation flying out of the airport at about 7 p.m for the about one hour flight to Abuja.

Mr. Jonathan’s plane is expected to touch down in the Nigerian capital at about 8 p.m.

The president travelled to the Central African nation Wednesday for the A.U. meeting shortly a blast hit Emba plaza, a busy shopping complex in Wuse 2, Abuja.

Police said 21 persons died and 17 injured in the . Force spokesperson, Frank Mba, said one suspect was arrested.

Presidential spokesperson, Reuben Abati, had told PREMIUM TIMES the president and his entourage were arriving at their hotel in Malabo, the Equatorial Guinean capital, when they received news of the attack.

The president took an immediate decision to return to Nigeria early Thursday, Mr. Abati said.

Mr. Jonathan travelled left to participate in the 23rd Ordinary Session of the African Union’s Summit of Heads of State and Government, Mr. Abati said in a statement.

He was accompanied by his wife, Patience, and the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Agriculture, Water Resources, Health and Industry Trade and Investment.

The president initially planned to return on Friday when the summit ends

In an earlier statement, Mr. Abati said the discussion at the summit would focus on the evolution and implementation of fresh strategies and measures to improve agricultural production and food security in the continent, among others.

He said this is keeping with the AU’s declaration of 2014 as the Year of Agriculture and Food Security.

The president and other African leaders, participating in the summit, will also deliberate on the appointment of judges of the African Court of Justice, the statement said, according to the News Agency of Nigeria.

“They will deliberate on the appointment of judges of the African Human Rights Court of Justice and the appointment of the President and Vice-President of the Pan-African University,” the statement had said.

“The African heads of state and government will also consider and adopt the decisions and recommendations of the 25th Regular Session of the African Union’s Executive Board.

“They will also consider the Declarations of the 23rd Ordinary Session of the Conference of the union.’’

Jonathan cuts short Equatorial Guinea trip, to return Thursday over Abuja blast

Goodluck Jonathan

President Goodluck Jonathan has immediately suspended his plan to attend an African Union, A.U., summit in Equatorial Guinea, and will return to Nigeria Thursday after a car bomb killed at least 21 people in Abuja Wednesday.

The president travelled to the Central African nation Wednesday for the A.U. meeting just as a blast hit Emba plaza, a busy shopping complex in Wuse 2, Abuja.

Police said 21 persons had been confirmed dead and 17 injured. Force spokesperson, Frank Mba, said one suspect was arrested.

Presidential spokesperson, Reuben Abati, contacted PREMIUM TIMES late Wednesday to react to an earlier story about the president’s decision to continue the trip amid the explosion.

Mr. Abati denied that the president travelled while Abuja was attacked.

He said the president departed Abuja 3.30 pm Wednesday, which would mean about 30 minutes before the blast. Witnesses had said the bomb occurred at about 4p.m.

He said the president and his entourage were arriving at their hotel in Malabo, the Equatorial Guinean capital, when they received news of the attack.

The president took an immediate decision to return to Nigeria early Thursday, Mr. Abati said.

Mr. Jonathan travelled left to participate in the 23rd Ordinary Session of the African Union’s Summit of Heads of State and Government, Mr. Abati said in a statement.

He was accompanied by his wife, Patience, and the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Agriculture, Water Resources, Health and Industry Trade and Investment.

The president planned to return on Friday.

In an earlier statement, Mr. Abati said the discussion at the summit would focus on the evolution and implementation of fresh strategies and measures to improve agricultural production and food security in the continent, among others.

He said this is keeping with the AU’s declaration of 2014 as the Year of Agriculture and Food Security.

The president and other African leaders, participating in the summit, will also deliberate on the appointment of judges of the African Court of Justice, the statement said, according to the News Agency of Nigeria.

“They will deliberate on the appointment of judges of the African Human Rights Court of Justice and the appointment of the President and Vice-President of the Pan-African University,” the statement had said.

“The African heads of state and government will also consider and adopt the decisions and recommendations of the 25th Regular Session of the African Union’s Executive Board.

“They will also consider the Declarations of the 23rd Ordinary Session of the Conference of the union.’’

The presidential delegation is expected back in Abuja at the end of the summit on Friday.

Jonathan congratulates Fayose, offers support to Ekiti Governor-elect

PDP rally in Ekiti fayose

The president says the new governor should see his second coming a divine mandate.

President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan heartily congratulates the Governor-Elect of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, on his overwhelming victory in Saturday’s governorship election in the state.

President Jonathan also commends the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, the Security Services and the good people of Ekiti State for the successful and peaceful conduct of the elections in keeping with the present administration’s avowed commitment to ensuring that elections in all parts of Nigeria are progressively freer, fairer and more credible.

As Mr. Fayose readies himself to assume office in fulfilment of the clearly expressed wish of his people, President Jonathan urges him to be humble and magnanimous in victory and commit himself to forming an administration that will work for the advancement of the interests of all Ekiti people irrespective of their political affiliations or loyalties.

President Jonathan calls on Mr. Fayose to regard his second chance to serve as Governor of Ekiti State as a sacred mandate from God Almighty and his people which he must discharge with immense dedication, wisdom and vigour to achieve a much more rapid pace of socio-economic development in Ekiti State for the benefit of its people who resoundingly reaffirmed their trust in his leadership by voting overwhelmingly for his election yesterday.

The President assures Mr. Fayose that the Federal Government will give all necessary support and assistance to his incoming administration and cooperate fully with him in furtherance of the present administration’s objective of significantly improving the living conditions of Nigerians in all parts of the country.

He wishes Mr. Fayose continued good health and a very successful second tenure as governor of Ekiti State.

Reuben Abati
Special Adviser to the President
(Media & Publicity)
June 22, 2014

BREAKING: Jonathan appoints Bode George’s wife, Roli, as new NDLEA boss

Roli Bode George and wife Roli

The appointee is the wife of a former Deputy National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Bode George.

President Goodluck Jonathan has appointed Roli Bode-George as the new Director General of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA.

The appointee is the wife of a former Deputy National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Bode George.

Mr. George, a leader of the PDP in Lagos, is currently a delegate, appointed by the president, at the National Conference.

His conviction for fraud, when he served as head of the Nigeria Ports Authority, by a High Court was upturned by the Supreme Court.

Mr. Jonathan’s spokesperson, Reuben Abati, announced the appointment on his twitter handle on Thursday evening.

He said the appointment is with immediate effect.

Mrs. Bode-George takes over from Olufemi Ajayi, who was on Wednesday appointed the Executive Secretary of the Petroleum Technology Development Fund, PTDF.

President Jonathan had in 2011 also appointed Mrs. Bode-George as a federal commissioner in the National Population Commission, NPC.

Emir Sanusi’s Curious Deal, And Perils He Must Avoid, By Garba Shehu

Garba Shehu

It is welcome that the new Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi 11, as he prefers to be called ( he was known as Sanusi Lamido Sanusi until his coronation), landed on the throne of his forefathers in the vast entity called the Emir’s Palace. This followed the dramatic end to the siege on the palace, which made it impossible for the newly-appointed ruler to take his rightful residence.

For those unfamiliar with Kano, this massive compound is by every estimate, a standalone town, complete with thousands of homes, schools, a clinic and a social centre. That Sanusi rode around the city on horse back to various  parts of the city unmolested,  receiving praises and cheers, without being heckled or abused is an indication that indeed the initial crisis that followed his choice in now over. As he huffs his way through armour and mythic roles, including a reported three-day seclusion in a mystical room, senior members of the community have been warning the new ruler to tread softly and to not allow himself to be provoked. He will face provocation. When a man has a reputation for short fuse, you will expect this to be a severe test.  As Commander-In-Chief, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan had hoped that his word would be scripture on this and other matters  all over the country. It must have been a bitter blow when Governor Rabi’u Kwankwaso surprised him with the choice of a bitter enemy.

As it is, it cannot be said if the withdrawal of the policemen from the palace was out of love for peace in Kano or a tactical withdrawal. If this was a tactical retreat – to bid their time and strike again – then the Emir must be careful and avoid making wrong moves if he is not to invite the fury of Abuja, or reopening  old wounds in his community. Although the Governor has made his move, giving a clear indication that he means business, Kwankwaso is bound to leave office in less than a year. It does not matter whether he is succeeded by a man or woman from his own party or the opposition. New challenges will arise from the Emir’s tormentors especially in a situation where he fails to rise above the fray of politics.

As for the government in Abuja, you can be sure that they will chose their moment, and strike if they will. These are rulers well-schooled in the methodology of former President Olusegun Obasanjo. Obasanjo will do you a favour that you can’t refuse. But be sure that one day, he will come back to demand a return that you cannot say no to. If you say no, the President who did not forget will remember that you had a blemish under the shirt, perhaps an Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) matter that had been kept in the oven. From that point, it is given a new life all over again. Recall that a former Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Chairman, Vincent Ogbulafor, had a corruption issue junked for 10 years in an EFCC warehouse. When he disagreed with the tenure elongation bid of Dr. Jonathan, the case was called back, leading to his loss of office and his ongoing trial.

If rumours are to be believed, both Emir Sanusi and the government that appointed him are in a different kind of bind. In this case, it had been said that they were all over former President Babangida, General Gusau and the National Security Adviser, Colonel Sambo Dasuki (rtd), making all sorts of commitments and pledges, the bottom-line of which was that they would henceforth be good boys as far as dealing with President Jonathan is concerned.

There are also suggestions that the Security Services in Abuja may have stumbled on deals between a certain candidate for the throne and kingmakers and some persons in authority in the state, leading to the outcome we are dealing with. These sordid details, if true, would have the long term effect of diminishing not only the person involved but the revered institution of Kano Emirate. Kano Emirate is a different kind of emirate. This Emirate is pre-eminent, almost the last one standing. While tales abound of sold kingships all over Nigeria, somehow, and miraculously too, the impeccable persona of the kingship in Kano has remained, until now, without any blemish.

Happily though, as I said from the beginning, it is important that the storm has settled and the Chief has a free hand to rule as he wishes, subject of course only to the law of the land.

He gave a good account of himself last Friday when he led the prayers and gave a sermon without a written script. The whole city has been impressed by this dazzling show of brain power. His supporters must however tread softly on other Imams who are being cast as being brainless and unworthy. In the long run, these Imams are the Emir’s pillars of support. He therefore needs them.

While it will take time for the Emir to deal with these and such other issues, it is important to warn that he must avoid three of the minefields that visibly lie in front of him.

One, as is well known, Emir Muhammadu Sanusi has a very strong sense of himself. This makes him to face issues frontally without strategy or tact. You don’t throw volleys just anyhow and for this, let’s hope that the kingship as an institution will help to mollify him.

Two, as many have said, he talks too much. I wrote about this too. In that column, I cited the famous aphorism that says that no one gets into trouble for saying nothing. Malam Adamu Adamu, that famous Daily Trust writer, put it better to the new Emir where he said that the tail of the turban drawn over the chiefs mouth was intended to impose a restraint on their speeches. They are not known to talk just anyhow.

Three, it is equally evident that the Emir has an appetite for grandeur. Recall the dramatic outfits he wore to work as Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria. The trouble is if you covet grandeur, it becomes wily and wild. But if we learn from history, the best thing is to ignore any such feeling. If you ignore grandeur, it has a way of coming across in a way that is inoffensive  and acceptable .

As the whole country congratulates Kano for having an enlightened ruler who ran the Central Bank with a keen eye on accountability and due governance, his own job is clearly cut as one of  reviving the cherished values of the people. A good government at the state and the centre is important but it is hard to have progress in a society without good people as well as good values.