Sunday, 30 June 2013

Another Wizard: Nigerian Student Graduates With 5.0 CGPA In Russian University

A Nigerian student Victor Olalusi has emerged the best graduating student with a grade point of 5.0 in the Faculty of Clinical Sciences at the Russian National Research Medical University, Moscow.
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According to his friends, Olalusi previously had the best WAEC result in 2004. JAMB Best Science Student (JAMB score 322) – 2006. Cowbell Prize Award – 2006. Medicine First Merit list (OAU) – 2006, Highest OAU Post UME (score – 325)  - 2006, Federal Government Scholarship (Medicine and Surgery) – 2006,
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Nigeria Won’t Drop Death Penalty –FG


Federal Government has sealed the fate of homosexuals and those clamouring for the abolition of the death penalty in the Criminal Code.
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It has rejected the recommendation by the United Nations Human Rights Council on the protection of same sex marriage and abolition of the death penalty.
This is contained in the draft report to the United Nations Human Rights Council on resolution 16/20 discussed at a Stakeholders’ Consultative Forum on the second cycle of Nigeria’s Universal Periodic Review in Abuja on Friday.
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Olugbenga Ashiru, said same sex marriage was against the tradition and customs of Nigeria, so it could not be imposed on the country by external forces.
Addressing the representatives of Nigeria, Ashiru, who wondered why gay rights had generated interest from the United Nations, queried the negative campaign against polygamy, which, according to him, was allowed in African tradition.
He said, “You should not shy away from defending what you believe is right. Whatever is in our constitution, you must defend it. We must stand by our constitution. We must stand by our customs and tradition.
“If you want to have gay right in your constitution; fine, but we have our own constitution. The same human rights they want to protect for gay people; how about people that want to go into polygamy if they so desire and women are willing to marry them. Polygamy is human rights in our tradition.”
On the abolition of death penalty, the minister said Nigeria should not be blamed because the Criminal Code in use was enacted by the colonial masters, saying, “If anything is wrong about it, why are they blaming us?”
Ashiru also denied allegations of extra-judicial killings by the military against the Boko Haram insurgents in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states, where emergency rule had been proclaimed by President Goodluck Jonathan.
Challenging those with credible evidence to come forward, Ashiru maintained that the record of Nigeria’s military in peace keeping mission was unassailable.
The Executive Secretary of the National Human Rights Commission, Prof. Bem Angwe, said Nigeria had done creditably well in Human Rights.
Although he noted that the country had some obligations to the United Nations, he said no country could dictate to another because as a sovereign nation, Nigeria has the right to protect the interests of its citizens.

I Will Die A Happy Man — Chief Tony Anenih


Chairman Board of Trustees of the Peoples Democratic Party, Chief Tony Anenih, on Saturday urged parents to give proper education to their children, no matter what it costs.
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Speaking at the convocation ceremony of 300 students of the Pace Setters Schools, Abuja, Anenih said he would die a happy man having struggled to give his children good education.
The school is owned by former Edo PDP governorship aspirant, Kenneth Imasuagbon.
Anenih said, “The best thing you can leave for your son and daughter is good education. It doesn’t matter where you are coming from. You may be a cleaner, a wine tapper but please give your children good education.
“If I die tomorrow, I will go happily because I struggled to educate my children.”
Also at the event, the publisher of Ovation Magazine and former Presidential Candidate of the National Conscience Party, Dele Momodu, said the crisis rocking the Nigeria Governors’ Forum was dangerous for the country.
He said, “It is not good to annul elections. We annulled an election in 1993, 20 years after we are annulling an election that took place between 35 people in one small room. It tells us that there are dangers ahead.”
Momodu, who noted that education liberates the mind, said he would continue to struggle for the liberation of the country from the hands of the few milking it.
He said, “Nigeria can do a lot better. We can’t abandon politics in the hands of a few and then complain. I have not been in power yet, but we will continue to do it and encourage others to join hands to liberate the country from all the socio-political problems confronting the country.”

NDLEA Probes Drug Barons For Boko Haram Links

The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency has begun investigating the finances of drug barons for possible links with the Boko Haram sect and other terror groups operating in northern Nigeria.
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NDLEA’s Head of Public Affairs, Mr. Mitchell Ofoyeju, said that the agency was aware of the possibility of terrorist activities in the North being funded through drug deals, hence the ongoing investigation.
He said, “There is usually a link between drug money and terrorism. But for now in Nigeria, we have not had any case of drug money being channelled into terrorism. That is not to say that there is no possibility. There is the possibility and we are trying to track illicit funds that can be diverted into acts of terrorism.
“We are not necessarily investigating the drug trade that the terrorists might be engaged in, we are investigating the illicit movement of finances. When we get a breakthrough, the public will be properly informed. It is definitely one of our areas of interest in the investigation.”
Apart from terrorism being funded with the drug money, indications have also emerged that Boko Haram members, who have killed thousands of Nigerians, act under the influence of illicit drugs.
On Wednesday, while commemorating the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, Borno State Governor, Kashim Shettima, said recent discoveries had shown that members of the Boko Haram sect act under the influence of hard drugs, adding that there was the need to cut off their drug supply.
Corroborating Shettima, the NDLEA spokesman said the possibility of the terrorists acting under the influence could not be ruled out, noting that the major illicit drug in the North-East was cannabis (Indian hemp), which is produced locally.
Ofoyeju said insurgency and the consequent emergency rule in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states had made it even more difficult for the NDLEA to track down drug traffickers in the region.
He however noted that last year, 37.5kg of illicit drugs were seized and 35 people arrested in Borno; 175.7kg drugs seized and 36 people arrested in Yobe while 2529kg drugs were seized in Adamawa and 168 people were arrested.
A report published by the Director, Inter-University Centre for Terrorism Studies, USA, Yonah Alexander, in February, stated that Boko Haram and Ansaru, were being funded by drug cartels in Latin America.
The report entitled, “Terrorism in Northern Africa and the Sahel in 2012: Global Reach and Implications,” said the Al-Qaida in Islamic Maghreb, had aligned with many other groups, including Boko Haram and Ansaru, in order to expand its sources of funding.
It stated that, “Primary sources of financing of their activities include kidnapping (in some cases, kidnapping is outsourced to criminals), piracy and illicit trafficking of drugs, human, vehicles and other contraband goods.
“Intelligence reports and arrests have confirmed that AQIM has established links with Latin cartels for ‘drugs-for-arms’ smuggling into Europe through terrorist-trafficking networks in the Sahel.”

I'm No Longer Exposing My Breasts -Actress, Mercy Johnson



Beautiful and talented actress, mercy Johnson in a recent interview talks about her career, motherhood and her future plans.
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You were at OJB’s house to see him and donate money, now you are here to donate to the Boys Reform Home in Lagos. What’s the idea?
No idea, we are just promoting the ideals of Mercy Johnson Foundation. The idea is to identify the needs, evaluate and help in our own little way. All fingers are not equal; those in position to help should do so without hesitation. You will be hearing a lot about Mercy Johnson Foundation from now on. We have put our house in order and now ready to help those we can.
I strongly believe that as stars we should live beyond the euphoria of stardom and the moment. We will not always be here, what happens if you look back and realise you could do a lot to make the world better when you had the spotlight and you didn’t? I want to live beyond the moment.

Why the reform homes in Lagos?
I know I’m not glamorous to a lot of people, but we must know that if we do charitable things for publicity alone, we defeat the purpose. We need to find ways to reform young boys and girls otherwise they will make life uncomfortable for the children of the privileged. At this point, I must commend the government of Lagos State for making efforts at reforming the kids. We are looking at what we can do with the state to help make the future of these children better.


Photos: Toolz' Pre-Birthday Surprise Dinner


On Air Personality, Toolz's birthday is on July 6th but her friends decided to surprise her a week early with a pre-birthday dinner.
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Her boyfriend Captain Tunde Demuren, Banky W, Tiwa Savage and fiance Teebillz, Ebuka Obi-Uchendu and a few other friends were at the surprise dinner.
Toolz said it's her first pre-birthday surprise dinner ever.
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EXCLUSIVE: Jonathan Violates Nigerian Laws, Corners N3Billion

The Federal Government does not build general hospitals but President Goodluck Jonathan has waived two vital rules to establish a princely N2.8 billion new general hospital for his hometown, Otuoke, effectively placing the coastal community as an exclusive beneficiary of a strange largesse not known to federal laws, according to Premium Times.
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It is not clear how and when the federal government first conceived the hospital project, as it was not listed in federal budgets between 2009 and 2011, and even after.
But the Federal Executive Council meeting of August 17, 2011, presided over by Mr. Jonathan, gave approval for the project, and a N2.8billion contract was hurriedly awarded to Messrs Avandale Limited. The job was projected to last only 12 months; and indeed, unlike the usual delay government projects face, it was delivered on time.
As the administration became aware that PREMIUM TIMES  was making extensive enquiry about the hospital, President Jonathan hurried to Otuoke on Saturday to purportedly inaugurate the 40-bed hospital, which has now been named Otuoke Comprehensive Cottage Hospital.
At the ceremony, Mr. Jonathan claimed the project began as an initiative of the Bayelsa state government in 2006 before it was taken over by the presidency.
He did not say why he mandated the MDG office, which he personally supervises, to spearhead the project. Mr. Jonathan also did not tell his audience that an estimated N2.8billion federal money was pumped into the project, although a report say the project was eventually completed at a cost of N3.5billion.
Apart from the fact that it was never budgeted for (a violation of the appropriation law), the project breached a longstanding government policy requiring that the federal government provides only tertiary (teaching hospital, federal medical centers, and specialist hospitals); while the states build secondary facilities (general hospitals). Local governments provide primary facilities (health centers).
An exception to that rule, lately, has been the federal government’s direct intervention in local health care, in a spirited campaign against maternal and infant mortality, ahead of the 2015 target date for the actualisation of the Millennium Development Goals.
Otuoke hospital is a general hospital, strictly a secondary health facility, which should have come under the responsibility of the Bayelsa state government. But in 2011, few months after securing his official first term, President Jonathan sidelined that requirement, authorized through the Federal Executive Council, the construction of the N2.8billion hospital in his hometown, and personally supervised its speedy completion within 12 months.
The hospital stands clearly as the only known general hospital nationwide deliberately constructed with federal money by the president since taking office in 2010, a review of government projects, budgets and implementation records show.
Federal health officials also confirmed, in interviews with PREMIUM TIMES, the anomaly of the Otuoke project.
“The federal government is only concerned about tertiary health institutions, anything more than that, we don’t know,” a top official of the ministry of health headquarters said. Many of the officials who spoke insisted on anonymity, for fear they might be victimized.
“We don’t have any responsibility with general hospitals,” the official said.
Mr. Jonathan approved the erection of the hospital in Otuoke even when a Federal Medical Centre, FMC, had already been established in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital. Federal Medical Centres were established nationwide in states that do not have Federal University Teaching Hospitals present, for the purpose of providing tertiary level health care, which is within the purview of the Federal Government in the concurrent nature of health care delivery system in Nigeria, explains a government policy document seen by this paper.
Covering up illegality through the MDG
Mr. Jonathan himself knows he has broken the law by taking over the responsibility of the Bayelsa State government to establish a general hospital for his community. Perhaps to address that concern, the Otuoke hospital project was approved and executed not as a ministry of health project, but as part of intervention projects by the Millennium Development Goals office.
Even at that, the project breached the MDG plan. Where it appears minimally in line, its scale far outweighs similar allocations in other states, showing the imbalance that often characterize federal projects; and how the beneficiaries of such indiscretions are always the constituencies of powerful public officials. President Jonathan’s action also underlines the nepotism that usually characterise the siting of federal projects across the country.

Photo: Gunmen Break Into Prison, Set Inmates Free

Unidentified gunmen numbering 50 broke into the medium security Olokuta prison along Ondo road in Akure, Ondo state.
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The gunmen set 175 inmates free in a daring attack that took place around 12:00 midnight.
Eyewitnesses said the gunmen freely used Improvised Explosive Devices to carryout out the jailbreak. It has not been confirmed if anyone was killed during the attack.

Prostitutes Beat Up Security Men In Akure


Security personnel attached to the Ondo State Task Force on Environment during the monthly environmental sanitation exercise in Akure, the state capital were beaten up by some prostitutes.
The cause of the beating was as a result of the men enforcing environmental laws where their brothel was located thereby getting their uniforms were torn into shreds while they sustained  injuries due to the beating they received from the prostitutes.
The Commissioner for Environment, Chief Sola Ebiseeni, led the task force across the Akure metropolis to ensure compliance with the  environmental exercise.
During the exercise, which also took the task force to some towns and villages, some people violating  environmental laws were arrested.
However, when the team of the task force  personnel got to the hotel, located  at Oke Padre, off Lao Street,  Akure, they met the prostitutes with their clients drinking alcohol and dancing.
Efforts of the security personnel to make them observe the  environment exercise were rebuffed.
The prostitutes prevented their clients from being arrested.
The prostitutes and clients thereafter descended on the Civil Defence and security officials attached to the task force and beat them mercilessly while they resisted arrest.

Gunmen Kidnap Three NYSC Members


The Rivers Police Command on Saturday in Port Harcourt confirmed the abduction of three members of the NYSC serving with Abua/Odual local government council of the state.
Mrs Angela Agabe, the command’s Public Relations Officer, told reporters that two male and one female youth corps members were abducted.
She said they were seized by armed men in the early hours of Saturday.
Agabe, a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), said the motive behind the kidnapping was however still unknown.
The police PRO said the command’s anti-kidnapping unit, had since commenced a search for the missing corps members.
“Reports received by the command indicate that the corps members went to Ogomokon jetty, near the council headquarters, where three armed men abducted them early today (Saturday).
“So far, no group has claimed responsibility and no ransom has been demanded. The police have commenced investigation into the incident.
“As we speak, our anti-kidnapping unit is on top of the situation. The unit has already commenced work to free the corps members,’’ she said.

Reasons Why Ex- Gov, Gbenga Daniel May Be Expelled From PDP

There are strong indications that the suspended former governor of Ogun State, Gbenga Daniel, may eventually be expelled from the party.
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It was learnt that the Ogun State executive of the PDP is planning to hold a meeting with former President Olusegun Obasanjo, former Minister of Commerce and Industry, Jubril Martins-Kuye and party financier, Buruji Kashamu, to determine the fate of Daniel in the party.
The state PDP Chairman, Adebayo Dayo, in an interview with our correspondent on Friday, said the leaders would meet to determine if Daniel would remain in the party or not.
The Chairman, Ogun-East Senatorial District, PDP, Doyin Fakoya, had on Thursday announced Daniel’s suspension along with 12 others over alleged anti-party activities.
Daniel was suspended for defecting with his loyalists to the Peoples Party of Nigeria prior to the 2011 elections and for his alleged romance with the Labour Party in the state.
Fakoya had said, “As of today, I am the chairman of the PDP in Ogun East Senatorial District. I have a copy of the letter that Daniel has been suspended. He was suspended by Ward 12, Sagamu Constituency 2.”
Dayo, however, chided Fakoya for publicising Daniel’s suspension without the knowledge of the party leadership.
“Before we publicise something of that nature, the leadership of the party must be aware of it,” he stated.
While he said he agreed with the suspension, Dayo said Daniel became the first victim of the party’s disciplinary action because he was a leader of the party.
He added that the punishment became necessary at a time when the party was consolidating its efforts to win back the state from the ruling Action Congress of Nigeria.
“I am not saying that I am aware of what happened, as I’ve been out of Ogun State for four days and I am not aware of the publication (of the suspension). I only saw it in the papers.
“When I get back home, I’m going to call the leaders of the party because we, as the officials of the party, still have some leaders ahead of us. I’m going to call all the leaders, starting from former president Obasanjo, Martins-Kuye, Kashamu and all the prominent leaders.
“I will visit them to schedule a meeting where this issue will be discussed at length. If it is the decision of all elders in Ogun State that Daniel should leave the party, so be it. There’s nothing we can do.
“We cannot involve somebody whose interest is divided in our plan for the coming elections. That is the problem we have. The leadership of the party will sit and decide.”
The party chairman noted that while the PDP wanted more members, particularly from opposition parties, it would not condone acts of indiscipline among its members.
“That does not mean that somebody who had been a very active member and leader of our party can be fraternising with various political parties. He was in PPN and recently we heard that he intended to go LP, and he’s romancing the United Party of Nigeria as well. How can a leader of our party be doing all these? You cannot be in PDP and PPN at the same time.”
He said disciplinary measures would soon be extended to other parts of the state.

Mandela’s Ex-Wife, Winnie Blasts President Zuma Over ‘Insensitive’ Visit


Nelson Mandela’s ex-wife strongly criticised on Sunday a visit paid by South African President Jacob Zuma in April to the ailing anti-apartheid icon, who is again critically ill in hospital.
Zuma and the ruling ANC party had come under fire at home and abroad for the visit in April to the former president, who was recuperating at home following a 10-day hospital stay.
“I honestly cannot put in words how hurt the family was. It was one of the most insensitive things for anyone to have done,” Winnie Madikizela-Mandela told Britain’s ITV News television.
In excerpts published on the ITV website, she added: “It was insensitive, it compromised the family, compromised his dignity and it should have never been done.”
Zuma said at the time Mandela was “up and about”, a description that was clearly at odds with televised footage that showed the revered ex-leader frail and dazed, sitting frozen in an armchair.
Mandela, 94, is said to remain in a critical but stable condition after more than three weeks in a Pretoria hospital suffering from a recurrent lung infection.
- See more at: http://www.vanguardngr.com/2013/06/mandelas-ex-wife-winnie-blasts-zuma-over-insensitive-visit

Well Done ‘Civilian JTF,’ But...

The murderous three year old insurgency unleashed on this country by Boko Haram sect has come full circle with the recent rise in the Borno State capital, Maiduguri of a phenomenon known as ‘civilian JTF’.
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In recent weeks, a youth vigilante group was formed spontaneously in all parts of Maiduguri; its youthful members took it upon themselves to help the authorities to uproot the murderous sect from its unofficial capital by going round city wards, identifying run away sect members, apprehending them and handing them over to the military-led Joint Task Force [JTF].
This important turn of events stemmed directly from the state of emergency that was declared in the three states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe by President Goodluck Jonathan two months ago. Unlike the state of emergency that the president declared in 15 local governments in four states in December 2011, this one was well thought out and was backed up with ample firepower and efficient intelligence. Soldiers poured into all three states within hours of the emergency declaration.
Within a fairly short period of time they chased the insurgents out of the Sambisa forest and all their other redoubts in Marte and other parts of northern Borno State. Scores of insurgents died when the Special Forces bombed their camps and then moved in on the ground. Dozens of Boko Haram fighters as well as many of their top commanders were captured. The surviving insurgents then scattered in various directions and some tried to re-enter Maiduguri and hide in their family homes.
Enter the civilian JTF. Young men fed up with the devastating socio-economic and other effects of Boko Haram’s war which has crippled most economic and social life in Borno and neighbouring states rose up in unison and joined the soldiers and policemen in the hunt for fleeing insurgents. With their knowledge of people and the terrain, these youths went from house to house fishing out insurgents, in many cases beating them up and then handing them over to JTF.
So pleased was JTF with the doings of the youths that it soon put them in charge of stop and search operations at check points. President Jonathan too described them as “new national heroes” which indeed they are, putting themselves in the line of fire in order to help end the most murderous phenomenon that ever visited this country since independence.

Kudirat's Murder: Plot To Free Al Mustapha Revealed, Two Prominent Judges Step In


Two critical characters from the hallways and byways of injustice in Nigeria have quietly stepped into the case of convicted Major Hamza Al-Mustapha, the once powerful Chief Security Officer to late dictator General Sanni Abacha.
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Observers say their task is to set Mustapha free and frustrate the course of justice for slain democracy heroine, Kudirat Abiola.
Last May, Justice Ibrahim Saulawa, the lead judge of the Court of Appeal in Lagos withdrew from the appeal instituted by Al Mustapha citing personal reasons, but sources said he was miffed by  a high level of interference in the case.
The judge withdrew before the court registrar could announce that  a former President of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Joseph B Daudu (SAN) was becoming the lead counsel. Sources told Saharareporters that Mr. Daudu had quietly taken over the lucrative deal of representing Mustapha.  Next, Appeal Court judge Amina Augie, stepped in as the lead judge in the case on June 10, she took the briefing of Mr. Daudu and reserved her ruling on the matter indefinitely.
Observers told SaharaReporters the deadly combination of Justice Augie and JB Daudu seems targeted at saving Mustapha's case and possibly freeing him of culpability for the killing of several pro -democracy activists with the aid of killer squads that were assembled and funded through his office during the Abacha years.
Daudu is no stranger to such jobs: he was the prosecutor handpicked by late General Abacha who served his government in the kangaroo trial of Ken Saro-Wiwa and 8 Ogoni activists, leading to the hanging of the activists on November 10, 1995.

SHOCKING: Something Worse Than Boko Haram Is Coming- Prophet Olabayo

Primate Theophilus Olabayo, 67, founder of Evangelical Church of Yahweh with headquarters in Mende, Maryland, Lagos, had remained one of Nigeria’s respected prophets whose prophesies had shaken the high and mighty in the country.
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In this interview, the cleric says there would be a spiritual revolution that will rock the nation to its foundation and at the end of it, a new nation will emerge.
Excerpts:
What really happened that you went off  the radar for several years?
I have been talking. A prophet doesn’t just say things. It’s when God asks me to speak that I speak. Many atimes, I warn our leaders but they don’t have listening ears. I was the only one who said President Umaru Yar’Adua had a terminal disease and when the condition got worse, the wife called some of us to Abuja to ask of the chances of her husband. I said the husband would die and Jonathan would become president.
I warned President Goodluck Jonathan that people would make the country ungovernable for him, but people said I was a prophet of doom. Is it not happening now? Let me quickly say this here that worse than Boko Haram is about to happen.
It’s no secret that you had some health challenges which may have been responsible for your absence for some time. What is the nature of your ailment?
I did not lay off. Elijah was sick and he was still doing God’s work. I had an attack. A spiritual attack but I am still hale and hearty. Spirit cannot die. The spirit of God cannot die in you. The body may be weak, it doesn’t matter. But the spirit cannot die. God will continue to speak through you.
Is it true that you had stroke, Sir?
It’s not a big deal that someone has stroke but I am okay. While on a trip to Kaduna, God had revealed to me that I would have stroke and would be away for some time. So I looked for someone who knew about stroke; one of my pastors.
How did it happen and what was your first reaction?
I was going for a revival in Kaduna and God told me to go with somebody who knows about stroke. The man had to follow me to Kaduna. When I got to Kaduna, they told me one of my townsmen was sick and when I got to his place, God said I should not do anything though he was suffering. I got a room for him, paid his bills and left after praying for him. As I was returning to the church in Kaduna, I had the attack.
And did you have any medical treatment?
Definitely!

Jonathan Not A Weak President —Allison-Madueke

External factors and local impediments tried to scuttle President Goodluck Jonathan’s ambition of repositioning the country in the first two years of his administration, a book edited by the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Allison-Madueke has stated.
In the book titled, “Goodluck Ebele Jonathan: Champion of Women,” the minister also said Jonathan was neither a weak nor indecisive president.
It said the psyche of Nigerians who held that view had been affected by long years of military rule that made them believe that leaders must be aggressive.
It added that with his consuming passion for the progress of the country, there was no doubt that the President was leading Nigeria to a good place.
The book was presented on Wednesday at a mid-term presidential dinner held as part of activities marking the second anniversary of Jonathan’s administration.
Although the book did not identify the “external factors” that compounded the administration’s woes, it listed the activities of members of the violent Islamic sect, Boko Haram, in the North and kidnappers in the South as some of the local impediments.
It added that it was impossible for the Federal Government to separate the external factors from local impediments.
According to the book, technological advancements including the use of mobile phones contributed to the problems.
It stated that the first two years of Jonathan in the saddle of affairs were full of threatening challenges capable of making the President lose focus.
The book said however, the challenges made the President more inspired to steer the ship of the nation to a safe haven.
The book read, “The first two years of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan’s administration were met with tough, even threatening challenges.
“The Boko Haram insurgence in the North and the spate of callous kidnappings in the South could quite easily have shifted all focus away from the President’s clearly outlined transformation agenda.
“Ironically, however, the President seems even more inspired to steer the ship of the state to a safe point where the dignity of every Nigerian is preserved; a point where our right to contribute to productive decision-making is assured, where our balance of payment is no longer in deficit, where we do not consume more than we produce, where every Nigerian can boast a healthy standard of living, where our women take centre stage in the whole process of social and economic transformation.
“While the local impediments to the President’s ambitions are unrelenting, external factors have compounded the matter further, making it impossible to separate one from the other.
“We now live in a world where a click of your mobile phone takes you to the global marketplace. This may seem adventurous and exciting to some, but the impact on the local market is incalculable.”
While reeling out some of the achievements of the administration in two years, the book stated that Jonathan was determined to fulfil all his electoral promises in the lifespan of his administration.
It described the President as an honourable man who had always been reluctant to say in public what he did not plan to put into practice.
According to the book, Jonathan is already on course to deliver in excess of his commitments across all sectors of the economy.

2015: Northern Governors May Form New Party

Northern governors, and other senior politicians in the region, may form a new political party, SUNDAY PUNCH has learnt.
A source who is part of the move to ensure that the region recaptures power in the 2015 general elections disclosed this to one of our correspondents in Abuja, on Friday.
The source said the formation of a new political party was one of the three options being considered by northern political leaders as politicking for the next general election gathers steam.
The source added that the region would not allow itself to be used and dumped in the manner “Nuhu Ribadu was dumped by the Action Congress of Nigeria during the 2011 elections.”
Ribadu, the former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, was the presidential candidate of the ACN in the 2011 election.
However, he lost the states controlled by the party, except Osun State, and is believed to have been a victim of a deal between his party’s power brokers and those of the Peoples Democratic Party.
The source, who pleaded anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the press, said, “The reality of our current political isolation is not lost on us here in the North.
“I believe also we have learnt a thing or two from the brand of politics which led to the set up of Nuhu Ribadu by the ACN during the 2011 elections.
“If by any chance we allow that kind of thing to happen again, then we are doomed. There are three options before us and we are considering them seriously.
“One: remain in the Peoples Democratic Party where we are almost certain that President Goodluck Jonathan will impose himself on the party; for those who may have forgotten, this was done in the last Nigeria Governors’ Forum election. Don’t forget that some of the northern governors are facing expulsion threats from PDP.
“Two: join the All Progressives Congress to defeat the PDP or three: float a fresh political platform altogether. For those who think the third option is a long shot, I suggest they should think again because the Congress for Progressive Change would have been the party to beat today but for some tactical blunders.
“Politics is a game of numbers; we have the numbers as well as the political sagacity to build bridges across ethnic and religious divides, we have done it before, we can do it again.”
Speaking to one of our correspondents, the Convener of the Coalition of Northern Politicians, Academics and Businessmen, Dr. Junaid Mohammed, in a telephone interview, confirmed the plan, adding that a new party could be the best option for the North.
He said, “I believe that if they are determined to do it, they will get public support.If you have that support and it is seen that you are being victimised by government, it will bounce back on your accusers. We are strategising but it’s not what I would want to go into in details.”
Junaid also spoke about speculations that General T.Y. Danjuma is being considered as a possible consensus presidential candidate by the North.
He said, “I know General Danjuma and we speak a lot. I do not believe General Danjuma takes this seriously.
“If he had wanted to be President he could have been one, especially before the assassination of General Murtala Muhammed. After the assassination, he was the de facto leader of the junta and he was also in effective control of the armed forces but he didn’t want it.”
Meanwhile, northern leaders and groups have been holding meetings towards picking a candidate for the 2015 elections.

‘How Oyedepo, Onaiyekan, Others Tried To Save Yar’Adua’



The late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua may not have died had the family heeded the advice to evacuate him from Aso Rock Presidential Villa, Abuja three weeks before he died.
National Secretary of Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN), Pastor Emmanuel Nuhu Kure, one of the four pastors who visited the Villa to pray for Yar’Adua at the height of his sickness in 2010, disclosed this at the weekend. The three other pastors were Bishop David Oyedepo of the Living Faith World Outreach, aka Winners Chapel; Cardinal John Onaiyekan, the Catholic Bishop of Abuja; and erstwhile Aso Rock Chaplain, Prof. Yusuf Obaje.
The pastors visited the seat of power for the prayer session after Yar’Adua was flown back from Saudi Arabia where he had been taken for treatment for an undisclosed illness.
The PFN National Secretary said he told the Yar’Adua family at the meeting that there was the need to take the president out of Aso Rock within three weeks to keep him alive. According to him, however, they shunned the advice as they were afraid that President Goodluck Jonathan, then vice president, would take over (power) if they took him out of the Villa immediately. “Of course, I was not obeyed and exactly three weeks after that visit, he died”, Kure, based in Kafanchan, Kaduna State, but spoke to Sunday Vanguard in Lagos, last week, said.

27million Lines At Risk As NCC Disconnects Unregistered SIMs Today



If you are reading this and you have not registered your phone line(s), it may just be almost late. In fact, you need not wonder why you may neither receive nor complete any calls from today.
This is because the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, says the collation, harmonisation and authentication of the subscriber’s identification modules, SIMs card registration it embarked upon in conjunction with all the telecom operators in Nigeria, since 2011, ends today, and those whose numbers were not captured will be disconnected.
For the past two years, the industry regulator (NCC) has embarked on a massive campaign, sensitizing telephone subscribers on the need to register their phones to enable a proper record of subscribers in the country, effective monitoring of telecommunications activities and cut down on phone-related crimes.
The regulator also made it clear that after a six-month period which expires on September 2011, those who did not register their lines stood the risk of losing them by deactivation. However, following the panic, tension and anxiety as the exercise came to an end, the Commission allowed a grace period by asking people who had not registered to go to their operators to do so while it was collating, harmonising and authenticating the data already gathered.
The harmonisation and authentication exercise have taken over one year and the NCC, a few months back, declared that on June 30, 2013, all unregistered lines would be deactivated. Tension in the industry is at its height. This also reflects the growing nature of Nigerian telecom industry and the intrigues which heralded the exercise, March 2011 when it was flagged off.
As at Thursday, about 27 million SIMs out of the 164 million connected lines and 119 million active were said to be still unregistered. MTN Nigeria, according to figures from the NCC has 52 million subscribers; Globacom, 24.3 million; Airtel, 24.1 million; and Etisalat, 15.1 million. How it all beganIn the wake of unending security challenges facing the country, it became expedient that measures needed to be taken.
In 2009, the then Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Engr Ernest Ndukwe, opted for SIM registration as one of the measures. SIM registration is a standard practice in almost all economies of the world for its ability to check phone crimes and, in Nigeria, such crimes, including death threats via text messages and kidnappings, were becoming common.
A meeting between the regulator, operators and other stakeholders were held where government mandated the operators to start registering subscribers. However, it was learnt that the operators expressed inability to do a good job in less than three years, prompting the agreement that they should register new entrants while the regulator finds way of registering existing subscribers. The operators later went on registration of both the new and old subscribers.
The action infuriated the regulator. Then the regulator under the current EVC, Dr Eugene Juwah, presented a budget of N6.1 billion for the exercise. The budget caused some stir at the National Assembly and the telecom sector and created different camps that engaged in claims of whether the bill was justified or not. Eventually, on February 14, 2011, the exercise began.
Campaign Subscribers initially were reluctant to adapt to the new directive and it became clear that something needed to lure them into the exercise. The operators introduced different packages.
Globacom for instance offered reward packages including a guaranteed 30 minutes free airtime (10) minutes per month for 3 months, all expense-paid trip to Manchester or Dubai to 60 registered customers (20 per month for 3 months) and N20,000 airtime to 300 lucky winners(100 per month for 3 months). Meanwhile the company has made over 17 millionaires in the N1m category of the promo.
NCC boss, Juwah Etisalat Nigeria introduced 9ja Free Credit Promo, designed to reward new and existing subscribers who register or have registered their SIM cards. The promo gives a 30 per cent bonus credit to call any network. With consistent text messages ardio jingles and TV commercials, Airtel lured subscribers to register their SIM cards and win a gift. Other operators like Visafone opted for the direct marketing strategy including road shows.

2015 Guber Race: Maku, Rufa’i, Shagari, Others Warm Up



Governorship aspirants for the 2015 elections are already mobilising their followers and resources to clinch the tickets of their political parties at the primaries. Their behind-the-scenes activities are expected to peak at the end of the year or the first quarter of next year.
Prominent among politicians alleged to have shown strong interest in the governorship race are the minister of information, Mr Labaran Maku (Nasarawa State), the deputy governor of Sokoto State, Muktari Shehu Shagari, minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Senator Bala Mohammed, (Bauchi), minister of education Professor Ruqayyatu Ahmed Rufa’I (Jigawa), former speaker of the House of Representatives Hon. Aminu Bello Masari, retired Col. Abdulazeez Musa Yar’Adua (Katsina), retired Col.
Aminu Kontagora, Alhaji Abu Bello, Senator Ibrahim Musa (Niger), Senator Magnus Angei Abe, Hon. Dakuku Adolphus Peterside, and Dr Abiye Precious Samuel Sekibo (Rivers).
There are also Sen. Sati Gogwim, Prof. Nenfort Gomwalk (Plateau), senators Ganiyu Olanrewaju Solomon, Oluremi Tinubu, Bareehu Gbenga Ashafa (Lagos), Chief Mike Kaase Aondoakaa (SAN), former director-general of the Suswam/Lawani campaign organisation Chief Terhemba Shija, and managing director of Lower Benue River Basin Development Authority Engr. Mrs Ada Chenge (Benue).
Party leaders, some of the aspirants and their associates, who spoke with our correspondents in 10 states where campaign activities have started on a quiet note confirmed that the would-be-governors are mobilising their supporters for the race. Some of the aspirants are allegedly frequenting the homes and offices of their political godfathers, mostly incumbent governors on their second term, and top party leaders to get their backing.
Among the credentials being flaunted by the aspirants are experience, educational qualification, large followership, loyalty to their parties and godfathers, and ability to provide the chunk of campaign funds. Others are banking on the zoning of political offices’ arrangement in their parties.
One of the governorship aspirants, a serving minister in President Goodluck Jonathan administration, according to one of his associates, has been approached by his people to join the contest because of his “performance in office”.
In Sokoto State, a PDP source hinted that 10 aspirants are strategising to govern the state in 2015. He said four of them come from Sokoto South Senatorial District and included speaker, House of Representatives, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, commissioner for local government and community development, Alhaji Faruku Mallami Yabo, the deputy governor, Muktari Shehu Shagari, and Alhaji Dambaba Dambuwa.
The source said Yabo “seems to be the preferred aspirant for now because Tambuwal is believed to be interested in a higher national office”.
It was also learnt that the private residential house of Muktari Shagari within the metropolis has been turned to a Mecca of sorts by youths, women and the aged who are urging him to go for the office.
In Nasarawa State, minister of information, Mr Labaran Maku, is allegedly favoured by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the presidency and his kinsmen (the Eggons), who form the largest ethnic group in the state. The Eggons, who are allegedly angry with the incumbent governor Tanko Al-Makura of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), who they supported in 2011 over alleged neglect of their area, want to present their son (Maku) for the office in 2015.
A notable Eggon leader told LEADERSHIP Weekend that Senator Solomon Ewuga, who is also interested in the office, will be pressured to remain in the Senate to enable Maku secure the PDP ticket. He further said that Ewuga would be advised to play a fatherly role in 2015 by supporting the candidacy of Maku, adding that because of the senator’s “political prostitution” he might not secure the PDP ticket even if he returns to the party. The Eggon leader further explained that in the event of Governor Tanko Al-Makura seeking re-election, it would be difficult for Ewuga to secure the CPC slot.
He said it was against this backdrop that the Eggons opted for Maku, who is widely seen as President Goodluck Jonathan’s “boy” and also accepted by the PDP at both the state and national levels.
Minister of the FCT Bala Mohammed is listed among those seeking to succeed Governor Isa Yuguda in the next dispensation. PDP leaders in the state said his actions had shown that he is eyeing the office. “He has carried out many projects as part of the preparation for his aspiration which include construction and renovation of multi-million-naira mosques and awards of hajj seats to his constituents.”
Other aspirants are Senator Babayo Gamawa, who was the speaker of the House of Assembly in 2009, deputy governor from 2009 to 2011 and now a senator representing Bauchi North constituency, and Senator Nazif Suleiman Gamawa, who was a member of the House of Representatives and senator from 1999 to 2007. He is in the opposition All Progressive Congress (APC)

Gov. Akpabio Fires Domestic Aides As N40 million Cash Disappears From Own Bedroom



Three stewards working at the Akwa Ibom state governor’s lodge in Asokoro, Abuja, were on Friday summarily dismissed by the governor, Godswill Akpabio, over missing bundles of mint-fresh dollars valued at over $250,000 (N40 million) kept in the governor’s bedroom, news website Saharareporters, is reporting.
The governor, who reportedly ordered the sack of the aides (described as political appointees) personally detected on Wednesday, during his visit to Abuja, that bundles of the foreign currency he left in his bedroom had been stolen while he attended a dinner with President Goodluck Jonathan at the Aso Rock Villa.
According to the website, the missing dollars, kept in drawers in the governor’s bedroom, were leftovers from a trough of hard currency stashed away in a private security safe in the apartment. Governor Akpabio, the report says, expressed surprise that despite the near impregnable security in the lodge, coupled with the fact that the locks to that section of the lodge, including the governor’s bedroom, were routinely changed each time such heavy cash is brought in, the money still disappeared in the manner it did.
While it was yet to be ascertained that the dismissed steward actually stole the funds, they are being punished for “apparent negligence in allowing the real culprits to gain access to the otherwise restricted area of the lodge”, the report says. Saharareporters quoted a source close to the governor’s lodge as saying more heads might roll as investigations continue to find the identities of the other culprits involved in the theft of Mr. Akpabio’s cash.
The source reportedly claimed accusing fingers were being pointed at another staff member at the lodge described as one of those in charge of the overall management of the apartment.
Pilfering of huge cash in the lodge has become a recurring event, the report adds. “In one instance, it was learnt that after bundles of cash disappeared under similar circumstances, the burglary proof and window protectors around the governor’s apartment were changed sometime last year after the perpetrators broke through the ceiling to gain access to the room where cash was stacked in ‘Ghana must go’ bags,” the website writes.
It recalls that a few years ago, the governor redeployed all the civil servants at the lodge and replaced them with political appointees and other private consultants he thought could be trusted. The website says Governor Akpabio is scrambling to keep this latest incidence of theft in his bedroom under wraps.
The governor’s spokesperson could not be reached for comments Saturday night. Well known for his profligacy, Mr. Akpabio is reputed for moving around with huge cash, in violation of the Central Bank of Nigeria’s cashless economy policy. In March this year, the governor openly donated N1million “lunch money” to party chairmen from the six states in the South-South geopolitical zone who had converged on Port Harcourt for a party reconciliation session.
In March 2012, three staff of the Nigerian Aviation Handling Company (NAHCo) attached to Arik Airlines were accused of stealing N1.5million from the luggage of the governor’s protocol attachee, Ebakabasi Etuk, at Ibom International Airport. The suspects were said to have stolen the money from the bundles of cash reportedly carried by the Akwa Ibom State government team on their way back from Lagos where Governor Akpabio was awarded the ‘Sun Newspapers Man of the Year’.

JTF Smashes Boko Haram Gang, Recovers Arms



The Joint Task Force (JTF) in Yobe State said yesterday that it had smashed a Boko haram gang in Fune, recovering two vehicles, arms, ammunitions and other materials.
Lt. Lazarus Eli, JTF spokesman said this in Damaturu while displaying the items to newsmen.
He explained that the terrorists attacked a JTF checkpoint in Fune on Friday and took away a police vehicle conveying police items to Borno.
“The JTF pursued and engaged them in a gunfight and they were overpowered, thereby recovering the stolen vehicle as well as a similar one used by the group. Other items recovered include one Ak47 rifle, three Rocket Propelled Gun (RPG) bombs, three RPG chargers, one riot gun and 485 rounds of ammunition.”
Lazarus also said 42 police jackets, 44 police helmets, six AK47 rifle magazines, 80 fragmentation blades and illicit drugs were recovered.
He said some of the suspects fled with gunshots and appealed to the public to report anyone found with gun wounds to security operatives.
Meanwhile, the people of the state have appealed to the federal authorities to lift the suspension of telephone services, to enable them to provide security operatives with useful and timely information.
Damaturu residents claimed that the attack on a college two weeks ago would have been averted, if there was telephone service.
“People noticed suspicious movements on that fateful day just about the commencement of the curfew, but one could not move out.

Breaking: Former Super Eagles star, Thompson Oliha, Is dead



Former Super Eagles midfielder, Thompson Oliha, is dead. Oliha who was born in October 1968 in Benin City, Nigeria, died in the early hours of Sunday.
Until his death, Oliha was one of the coaches at the Kwara State Football Academy in Ilorin. Sam Elijah, former teammate and colleague at Kwara Academy, confirmed Oliha’s death to PREMIUM TIMES in a telephone chat.
A retired Nigerian midfielder, Oliha played for clubs in Africa and Europe during a career marred by injury. He played for Bendel Insurance (1985-1987), Iwuanyanwu Nationale (1988-1991), Africa Sports (1992-1993), Maccabi Ironi Ashdod F.C. (1993-1994) and Antalyaspor (1994-1995).
As a player, he was known for his powerful shots and abilities in the air. Oliha retired at the age of 27, as a result of a serious knee injury.
One of the wishes of Oliha before his death was for the federal government to fulfil the promise of a house General Sani Abacha promised the Super Eagles for winning the Tunisia 1994 Nations Cup.
Sadly, he did not see that come true in his life time. Oliha becomes the third player to die among the much celebrated Nigeria 1994 squad, joining Uche Okafor and Rashidi Yekini in the great beyond.

Amaechi Threatens To Dump PDP



Hours after embracing President Goodluck Jonathan at Port Harcourt Airport, Rivers State Governor, Rotimi Amaechi yesterday evening raised the stakes in the crisis rocking the state branch of the party by threatening to dump the ruling People’s Democratic Party(PDP).
He vowed to leave for any other party if PDP insists on the reversal of the suspension of Obio/Akpor local council executives as pre-condition for him to remain in the party. Amaechi said this while reacting to questions by the Bishop of the Anglican Communion, Niger Delta Diocese, Rev. Ignatius C. Kattey, at the 60th birthday thanksgiving service of the former president of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), O.C.J. Okocha (SAN) in Port Harcourt.
He said the PDP should not give him conditions over Obio/Akpor, saying that it was only the lawmakers who suspended them, or the court that could lift the suspension. The governor explained to the crowd at the service that the law that empowered the lawmakers to suspend council officials also empowered him to dissolve the executive, but said he has not done that. “If they reverse it tomorrow, there is one more option left to me, I can dissolve the entire executive.
The police can remain there as much as they want, it is Obio/Akpor people’s problem; the money is going nowhere. “But we have saved you too, because the reason they suspended the executives is because they said, ‘let us investigate the place because there was corruption.’ If they investigate and the chairman and the councillors are not corrupt, they will call them back.
But if they go to court to try to stop them, they will do their function. “I want to hear the court say they have no right to do their function. Whatever the court says is what the Rivers State Government will do.
We will obey the court, but outside that, nobody, not PDP, can give me condition. Is there only one party in Nigeria? Why would they give me condition? They will not give me condition. “I lead the people of Rivers State and I will lead you. If they suffocate us in PDP and we need to move, we move! “We will continue to struggle for our rights, and that includes our oil wells. You will hear the truth of this fight in December, January. I will address the state and I will tell you the truth of the fight.
“Not between me and these people here, they are not a problem to me. But when election comes, the Rivers people will be given the chance to choose who they want,” he said The Bishop had at the beginning of his sermon at the church service sought to confirm if Amaechi had been given the re-instatement of the suspended executives of Obio/Akpor council as condition to end the crisis, and what he Ameachi was doing about it.
Kattey also asked the embattled Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) chairman if there was really an election that returned him as the chairman of the forum, and urged him to tell the truth. Responding, Amaechi said: “I don’t lie. If I will go to hell, lie wouldn’t be one of the reasons for my going to hell. Take it from me, those who lie don’t have courage, I have them in quantum; my children have excess of courage. “Your Grace, there was an election, your Grace, they are not denying that there was no election.
They said before the election some people have signed documents for them, and they were 19, but in contesting the election, those 19 changed their minds and voted for me, and when the battle was on it was clear that it was between the ‘Villa’ and me, and I won. “There was an election and they were properly defeated and they saw the consequences of defeat.
It is a Governors’ Forum I have led for two years. Even the 16 told me ‘you were wonderful as the chairman, but you know where the pressure is coming from and we can’t avoid the pressure, I won and won well, tomorrow morning (today), I will win again.” Twenty-seven members of the Rivers State House of Assembly in April suspended the Executive Chairman of Obio/Akpor Local Government Area, Timothy Nsirim and his councillors for alleged financial recklessness.
Efforts by the Felix Obuah-led state PDP to force the lawmakers to re-instate the council executives failed. The national body of PDP then suspended Amaechi shortly after his victory of the NGF election – hinging the action on his refusal to recall the council executive.

Bad Governance to Blame for Boko Haram - Obama (VIDEO). UPDATED



Answering questions from journalists and young Africans in Soweto, President Barak Obama pointed to the importance of education for the prosperity of countries, as well as blamed bad governance for Boko Haram.
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Mr Obama said “in terms of human capital and young people, I think the greatest investment any country can make, not just an African country, is educating it’s youth and providing them with the skill to compete in a highly technological, advanced world economy”.
“Countries that do not do that well will not succeed”, he added.
He noted that countries with limited skill will have “problems” in drawing international businesses. “This is a problem in the United State and not just a problem in Africa.”
President Obama also stated that the U.S. is willing to collaborate with Nigeria to train teachers and incorporate technology in the education system. “Across board we are having a rethink in education and work force training. And one of the things we want to do is to partner with a country like Nigeria and identify ways that we can provide direct value added, whether it is in helping to train teachers or helping to incorporate technology into the education process”
Mr Obama said they have plans to work with all African countries to empower the youths depending on the plan of the countries. “There are some excellent plans that sometimes we are doing country by country depending on the country plan. But this is a scenario where I would like to get input from young people in terms of what they think will work”.
Addressing Global Terrorist Cells,  Barak Obama commended US government for making a considerable effort in tackling insecurity and curbing terror with the death of Osama Bin Laden but was quick to recognize the existence of Boko Haram in Nigeria.
“There is no doubt in the progress we have made in dealing with some extremist groups, for example core Al Qaida and Bin Laden” stressing that “they have been greatly diminished”. "What is also true is that in some ways the problem has also metastasized, we have more regional terrorist organisations like Boko Haram in Nigeria espousing an extremist ideology, showing no regard for human life”, he added.
Mr Obama admitted that in absence of a transnational capacity like the other organisations “they are doing great harm in Africa and in the Middle East and in South Asia”.
He also blamed the upsurge of terrorist groups on the fact that “countries are not delivering for their people and where there sources of conflict and underlining frustrations that have not been adequately dealt with”
President Obama said that to hold back such uprisings, “we have to build institutions a lot of what we talked about in terms of responsiveness, governance and democracy. Those things become defence mechanisms against terrorism, they are the most important defence against terrorism” he said.
He however ruled out military solutions in tackling terrorism but advocated that governments “give people opportunity, education and resolve conflicts through regular democratic processes, the less likely they are to take root”
Barak Obama charged the African Union to send peace keeping missions to countries that are likely to have such terrorist cells come up and nip them in the bud before they cause harm, adding that “we can provide advice, training and in some cases equipment”.
He alsp noted that America will like to stand back and sell iPads and planes than remain as a global police, he however warned that America will not “stand by and watch while our embassies are being attacked our people are in vulnerable situations”.

“June 12 Should Be Democracy Day” – Dele Momodu Blasts Jonathan, Obasanjo, Others

In a recent interview, publisher of Ovation magazine and former presidential aspirant, Dele Momodu, spoke extensively about President Jonathan, MKO Abiola and a lot of political issues.
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Excerpts:
It’s been 20 years since June 12, 1993. For someone who was a player back then, how do you begin to process that?
It has been 20 years of agony, anguish, pain, waste because 20years ago, miraculously, Nigerians came together and decided to vote for change. We had our own Obama before America in Chief MKO Abiola. That election was not an accident, the man prepared for it. Abiola took that spirit of planning and organising to a different level in Africa. It was obvious that it was only a matter of time. Waking up to realise that that beautiful election was killed just by a handful of people and since then, we have not known peace is of the greatest regret.
This year President Jonathan remarked that June 12 1993 marked a watershed moment in Nigeria’s democracy and it would seem that his administration is making some effort to recognise the date and the struggle. Is he doing enough?
We have not done anything. We haven’t even started. You see it is very easy to speak about something and another thing to act on it. What this government has been doing is to stylishly politicize it, stylishly claim to support it but they are yet to take concrete steps towards redressing it.
What are the steps they should be taking?
I don’t like to criticize without saying what I would have done differently so for example if I were the president, I would have changed that May 29 democracy day back to June 12 because May 29 was an Obasanjo concoction. Obasanjo concocted it to suit his own purposes. Everybody knows he was totally against June 12 for whatever reasons. He has not come out to tell us what Abiola did to offend him and really I don’t care any longer. If Abiola was a mad man, Nigerians voted for him and that is the meaning of democracy. In Kenya, the new president has a case on his neck bordering on human rights abuses yet the people voted for him. America dislikes the president of Iran with a passion yet he flies to New York to represent his country at the UN, that is democracy. You cannot stop a man on our behalf even if we were all stupid while voting for him. It is not even by naming streets or buildings after the man, the most important thing for us, for the generations unborn is to ask in the future; ‘’why do we have a public holiday on June 12?’’ That is what is done in America; for people like Martin Luther King, their days are marked. We should stop hiding behind one finger like Abiola himself would have put it. If truly you believe in June 12, don’t play politics with it. Be realistic. Change May 29 because nothing happened on that day except for the fact that Obasanjo was sworn in. How does that become democracy day? And it is unfortunate because he was the greatest beneficiary of June 12. He was brought back because Abiola died in prison. The man spent 8years in office and did nothing so Jonathan should do something serious. He must find the courage. I know he must be afraid because the people around him are those who killed June 12 and he is looking for a second term. Which is sad because it is only God that brought him there and it is only God that can remove him. So he should not be afraid because as long as he acts in the way of God, he will always find fulfilment. I tell people, this man did not fight to get to power, why is he fighting to retain it? This is Jonathan’s chance to be a statesman like Mandela.  If I were president I would bring everybody together; the Abachas, Babangidas and I would tell them to offer public apology, acknowledge that what you did was wrong. We should learn to own up to mistakes.
This year, only a handful of South-west states announced a public holiday  on June 12, do you fear that it has been sectionalised the same way only the Igbos seem to remember Biafra and the Ogonis, Ken Saro Wiwa?
June 12 isn’t about celebration but about imbibing the spirit of transparent elections, true democracy, tolerance, unity where nobody cared about ethnicity, religion or family background. Abiola had his own issues but people looked beyond all that. That is the spirit we must inculcate in the new generations. It is not about declaring holidays or leaving it to a particular tribe but the spirit. PDP that seems to be an offshoot of the oppressive military regime has a lot to learn from the June 12 spirit.

PHOTOS: Breaking News: Jonathan And Amaechi Settle Conflict?

A few days after bodyguards of Mr. Jonathan prevented Rivers State governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi from shaking hands with him at a presidential dinner last week in Abuja.
Amaechi met President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan at the Port Harcourt International airport today and both embraced each other in the presence of a faction of the People's Democratic Party (PDP) led by a junior minister of Education, Nyeson Wike at the airport.
Mr. Jonathan was on his way to Abuja from Bayelsa state where he commissioned a hospital and visited the federal university at his Otueke village.

Confederations Cup 2013: Brazil win will bring World Cup belief

Fifa Confederations Cup final

  • Venue & date: Estadio Maracana, Rio; Sunday, 30 June
Coverage: Live coverage on BBC One and BBC Sport website from 22:25 BST
Luiz Felipe Scolari believes victory over world champions Spain in the Confederations Cup final in Rio de Janiero on Sunday will show the world that Brazil are ready to win the 2014 Fifa World Cup.
Brazil have not lost a competitive match on home soil since a defeat to Peru in 1975. Brazil coach Scolari said that record and the belief and support of the fans meant Spain are not automatic favourites at the Estadio Maracana.
"Victory will send a message that Brazil are on the right road to win the World Cup," he said. "Even if we don't win but play well and show we are in good shape, it will also send a message.
"I do not consider Spain strong favourites. In the past six years, they have won two European Championships and a World Cup.

Brazil's record against Spain

  • 1934 World Cup first round: Lost 3-1
  • 1950 World Cup final round: Won 6-1
  • 1962 World Cup group stage: Won 2-1
  • 1978 World Cup: Drew 0-0
  • Friendly, 1981: Won 1-0
  • 1986 World Cup: Won 1-0
  • Friendly, 1990: Lost 3-0
  • Friendly, 1999: Drew 0-0
"Spain are spectacular - but like any team they have their faults.
"They have played with a settled team and that is an advantage. But with strength and spirit we can match them and even go beyond them."
Scolari spoke of the need for his team to win over any remaining doubters in Brazil, having been at the centre of so much criticism in the weeks before the Confederations Cup.
"Victory will challenge those in Brazil that doubt us," he said. "My players are very motivated, we want to make ourselves respected at home.
"The fans have been fantastic from the (2-2) match against England at the Maracana. They have given us a huge confidence boost."
Much has been made of Brazil's move away from flair and fluency towards a more functional approach, but Scolari said history only remembered results, not how you got them.
"Brazil played pretty [at] a World Cup (1982) and did not win," added Scolari. "We sacrificed the result by the spectacle. The Spain team has been playing well and winning. Everybody wants that, but sometimes it is not possible. The result is the story, not the beautiful game."
Scolari said he would not restructure his side to cope with the threat of Spain, after Italy frustrated them by playing three central defenders. Instead, Brazil are expected to name the same side that overcame Uruguay 2-1 in Belo Horizonte on Wednesday.
Spain counterpart Vicente del Bosque is relishing the prospect of Sunday's final.
"I am highly satisfied, and for all of us this is something very beautiful. We are playing Brazil, the kings of football who have lived through marvellous moments in their football history, and to play in Maracana is something very special.
"I am delighted we are playing the final here and perhaps we can come back and play the World Cup final here as well in 2014."

Obama 'humbled' to visit Mandela's Robben Island jail

US President Back Obama walks inside the cell formerly occupied by Nelson Mandela on Robben Island, South Africa, on Sunday 
 Mr Obama and his family visited Mr Mandela's jail cell and the quarry where Mr Mandela was forced to labour
US President Barack Obama has toured Robben Island - the jail in which Nelson Mandela was kept for 18 years.
He said he and his family were "deeply humbled" to visit the prison once inhabited by Mr Mandela - who remains critically ill in hospital.
Mr Obama will go on to give a speech at the University of Cape Town and launch a multi-billion-dollar electricity initiative.
The US leader did not visit Mr Mandela, but met the Mandela family in private.
Security is likely to have been strengthened during this final Cape Town leg of his time in South Africa, says the BBC's Karen Allen who is there, following clashes on Saturday between riot police and anti-Obama protesters in Soweto.

At the scene

Schoolchildren arrive with balloons in tribute for former South African President Nelson Mandela outside the Mediclinic Heart Hospital where he is being treated for a recurring lung infection.
More than three weeks after Nelson Mandela was taken to Medi-Clinic Heart Hospital in Pretoria, there is still a steady stream of well-wishers, leaving flowers and tributes to add to the huge collection outside the gates.
On Sunday morning, two church groups were singing hymns, while veterans from Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK), the ANC's armed wing set up by Mr Mandela, arrived with a portrait of their founder wearing a military uniform.
The tributes come from around the world - Pakistan, Mexico and France - as well as several African countries. And in a testimony to Mr Mandela's dream of creating a rainbow nation, all of South Africa's racial groups were represented.
As she left a bunch of white chrysanthemums, Raksha Daya said that like many South Africans, she connects with the former president on a deeply personal level, like a grandfather. "It's a sense of love."
'Heroes'
Mr Obama and the first family visited Mr Mandela's bleak cell as well as the lime quarry - overlooked by a concrete watchtower - where anti-apartheid fighters including Mr Mandela were forced to undertake hours of back-breaking labour.
Mr Mandela was at the prison for 18 years and his long history of lung problems can be traced to the tuberculosis he contracted there - which he attributed to the dampness of his cell.
Later, Mr Obama wrote in the guest book in the prison courtyard: "On behalf of our family, we're deeply humbled to stand where men of such courage faced down injustice and refused to yield.
"The world is grateful for the heroes of Robben Island, who remind us that no shackles or cells can match the strength of the human spirit."
Mr Obama will also visit a community project before delivering a keynote address at the University of Cape Town.
It is the same venue where 47 years ago, US Senator Robert Kennedy gave his famed "ripple of hope" speech, which gave inspiration to those fighting the racially divisive policies of apartheid rule and linked their struggle with that of the US civil rights movement.
Mr Obama is expected to pay tribute to South Africa's achievements over the past two decades but is expected to stress that more needs to be done to tackle poverty and disease, and strengthen democracy across the continent.
Nelson Mandela: Key dates
Nelson Mandela in June 2010
  • 1918 Born in the Eastern Cape
  • 1944 Joins African National Congress
  • 1956 Charged with high treason, but charges dropped
  • 1962 Arrested, convicted of sabotage, sentenced to five years in prison
  • 1964 Charged again, sentenced to life
  • 1990 Freed from prison
  • 1993 Wins Nobel Peace Prize
  • 1994 Elected first black president
  • 1999 Steps down as leader
He is also due to announce a $7bn (£4.6bn) five-year initiative to double access to electricity in sub-Saharan Africa, in partnership with African countries and the private sector.
Beacon Mr Obama has been faulted for lacking a grand programme and many Africans have been disappointed at what they see as his lack of engagement with the continent, despite his African ancestry.
In Pretoria on Saturday, Mr Obama said Mr Mandela's example of "the power of principle, of people standing up for what's right continues to shine as a beacon".
Later, riot police fired rubber bullets and stun grenades at scores of protesters in Soweto, once a flashpoint in the anti-apartheid struggle.
At least one person was injured and one arrested.
"People died in Libya, people are still dying in Syria... in Afghanistan, in Pakistan, drones are still killing people. So that's why we are calling him a Hitler. He's a killer,'' Ramasimong Tsokolibane, 54, was quoted as saying by the Associated Press news agency.
Mr Obama arrived in South Africa from Senegal on Friday evening. On Monday, he will continue his African tour in Tanzania.
Family row Mr Mandela's family heir, Mandla, has said he will oppose a court action brought by the rest of the family, seeking to exhume the bodies of his father, Makgatho, two of Nelson Mandela's daughters and two other relatives.
The rest of the family want the remains to be reburied in Qunu, where the former South African president wants to be laid to rest, while Mandla, an ANC MP, wants them to stay in the nearby village of Mvezo, Nelson Mandela's birthplace, where he is building a museum dedicated to his grandfather.
This is an extremely important matter for the Mandela family, especially while he remains critically ill in hospital - it is one of the reasons why they held a family meeting last week.
South Africa's Sunday Times newspaper quotes local chiefs in the area as saying that Madiba, as Nelson Mandela is known in the country, will not be at peace until this issue is resolved.
On Friday, a court granted an interim action saying the bodies could be exhumed and reburied but Mandla Mandela says he was not aware of the case until it was reported in the media and he is now opposing it.

EU concern over Der Spiegel claim of US spying


BBC's Stephen Evans said reaction in Europe is "shock and dismay"
The head of the European Parliament has demanded "full clarification" from the US over a report that key EU premises in America have been bugged.
Martin Schulz said that if this was true, it would have a "severe impact" on ties between the EU and the US.
The report, carried by Germany's Der Spiegel magazine, cites a secret 2010 document alleging that the US spied on EU offices in New York and Washington.
Fugitive ex-CIA analyst Edward Snowden leaked the paper, Der Spiegel says.
Mr Snowden - a former contractor for the CIA and also the National Security Agency (NSA) - has since requested asylum in Ecuador.
According to the document - which Der Spiegel says comes from the NSA - the agency spied on EU internal computer networks in Washington and at the 27-member bloc's UN office in New York.
The document also allegedly referring to the EU as a "target".
It is not known what information US spies might have got, but details of European positions on trade and military matters would have been useful to those involved in negotiations between Washington and European governments, the BBC's Stephen Evans says.
'Polite request' In a statement on Saturday, Mr Schulz said: "On behalf of the European Parliament, I demand full clarification and require further information speedily from the US authorities with regard to these allegations."
Der Spiegel also quotes Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn as saying: "If these reports are true, it's disgusting. The United States would be better off monitoring its secret services rather than its allies."
The US government has so far made no public comments on Der Spiegel's report.
Mr Snowden is believed to be currently staying at Moscow's airport. He arrived there last weekend from Hong Kong, where he had been staying since he revealed details of top secret US surveillance programmes.
The US has charged him with theft of government property, unauthorised communication of national defence information and wilful communication of classified communications intelligence.
Each charge carries a maximum 10-year prison sentence.
On Saturday, US Vice-President Joe Biden and Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa held a telephone conversation about Mr Snowden's asylum request.
According to Mr Correa, Mr Biden had "passed on a polite request from the United States to reject the request".
The left-wing Ecuadorian leader said his answer was: "Mr vice-president, thanks for calling. We hold the United States in high regard. We did not seek to be in this situation."
If Mr Snowden ever came to "Ecuadoran soil" with his request, he added, "the first people whose opinion we will seek is that of the United States".
Quito earlier said it was willing to consider Mr Snowden's request but only when he was physically in the Latin American country.
Meanwhile, White House spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan said only that Mr Biden and Mr Correa had held a wide-ranging conversation.

Mid-East talks 'within reach' - US secretary of state

US Secretary of State John Kerry, right, and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas brief the media after their meeting in the West Bank city of Ramallah on Sunday 
 This is US Secretary of State John Kerry's fifth trip to the region since he took office in February
The US secretary of state has said final-status Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations could be "within reach... with a little more work".
John Kerry extended his peace mission on Saturday, cancelling a scheduled trip to Abu Dhabi.
For three days he has shuttled between Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
But Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said there had been no breakthrough.
He said the latest meeting had been "positive and profound", but "there is still a gap between the Palestinian and Israeli positions".
'No impediments' "I'm pleased to tell you that we have made real progress on this trip," Mr Kerry told reporters in Tel Aviv, before leaving the region.
"And I believe that with a little more work, the start of final-status negotiations could be within reach. We started out with very wide gaps, and we have narrowed those considerably."
"We made progress in every sector," he went on to say.
He said he was reluctant to leave and was "leaving people behind" to continue to try to secure the basis for discussions, and that both sides had asked him to return to the region soon.
The main stumbling block to talks has been Israel's refusal to cease settlement-building as a precondition, but speaking at the start of Sunday's weekly cabinet meeting, Mr Netanyahu insisted that Israel was not blocking a return to negotiations.
"We are not putting up any impediments on the resumption of the permanent talks for a peace agreement between us and the Palestinians," he said in remarks quoted by AFP news agency.
"There are things that we will strongly insist on in the talks themselves, especially security... there will be no agreement that will endanger Israelis' security."
Among other issues, Mr Abbas is said to be pushing Israel to release the longest-serving Palestinian prisoners.
Two decades of on-off negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) have failed to produce a permanent settlement, with the latest round of direct negotiations breaking down in 2010.
Mr Kerry is on his fifth visit to the region since taking office in February.
He is offering the Palestinians the incentive of a major investment plan, but it is dependent on progress towards a peace deal.

Uganda tanker fire kills 29 people


A man who survived a fatal road accident undergoes treatment for severe burns at a hospital in Uganda's capital Kampala. Some of those injured are critically ill
At least 29 people have been killed in the Ugandan capital after a car crashed into a fuel tanker, police say.
Many of those who died had rushed to the scene on a main road in Kampala to siphon off the fuel, they say.
Around 20 motorbikes were burnt - eyewitnesses say they were used to take people to collect the petrol.
Kampala is a key transit point for tankers taking fuel to landlocked Rwanda, Burundi and eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.
More than 20 people are said to be critically ill in hospital.
Many of the victims ran to a nearby papyrus swamp to try and douse the flames, reports say.
Several bodies were found in the water.

Egypt protest: Thousands stage anti-Morsi rallies

The BBC's Aleem Maqbool reports from inside Tahrir Square
Protests calling for the resignation of Egypt's President Mohammed Morsi and early presidential elections have begun in the capital, Cairo, and around the country.
His opponents say he has failed to tackle economic and security problems.
Thousands spent the night in Cairo's Tahrir Square, focus of protests which brought down ex-leader Hosni Mubarak.
Supporters of Mr Morsi, who became the country's first Islamist president a year ago, are also rallying.
Morsi critics also say he has put the Islamist agenda of the Muslim Brotherhood party ahead of the country's wider interests.

Analysis

Many of those on the streets feel betrayed by a president who has been uninterested in uniting Egyptians despite once promising to be inclusive. They feel that he has instead governed purely in the interests of his own party.
For his part, the president insists he has invited opposition groups to enter into dialogue but that they have not co-operated. His supporters say that whatever the considerable problems Egypt is facing, Mohammed Morsi must see out his full term in office for the sake of stability.
Some pro-Morsi demonstrators have decided to stage their own sit-ins, an there are fears of clashes between opposing groups.
The coming hours, and the way the situation is handled by the authorities, are likely to give us clear indications about whether or not Egypt's president can survive in office as he insists he will.
In Cairo, the anti-Morsi supporters are chanting: "Irhal! Irhal!" ("Leave! Leave!"), reports the BBC's Aleem Maqbool.
Demonstrations are being reported across the country
  • In Alexandria, the second-biggest city, hundreds of protesters have gathered in one of the main squares ahead of an expected march to the central Sidi Gaber area, BBC Arabic's Rami Gabr reports
  • A big stage is being erected in the main square of the Suez Canal city of Port Said, and protesters are checking the identities of those going in and out of the square, BBC Arabic's Attia Nabil reports
  • Rallies are also expected in Suez, Monofia and Sharqiya - the birthplace of President Morsi.
Windows in the Muslim Brotherhood headquarters in Cairo were reinforced with sandbags ahead of the protests, the BBC's Mohamed Assad reports.
A huge rally of presidential supporters is also under way in the Cairo suburb of Nasr City.
People there are carrying banners denouncing the opposition, and warning that "legitimacy is a red line".
Some are wearing banners saying that they are willing to be martyrs for the cause of keeping the president in power.
Society split When four Egyptian army Apache helicopters flew over the crowds in Tahrir, anti-Morsi demonstrators cheered.
The chants in the square alternate between humorous songs and angry protestations, all calling for the president to step down.
Egyptians have been talking about this day for many weeks - with the opposition vowing not to leave until Mr Morsi steps down and calls early presidential elections, our correspondent says.

Crowds in Tahrir Square, Cairo, 30 June Cairo's Tahrir Square swarmed with protesters on Sunday
But supporters of Mr Morsi point out that he was elected and say he should see out his full term in office, so there is a real split in Egyptian society at the moment, he adds.
Opposition activists say more than 22 million people have signed a petition seeking a snap election. They have urged the signatories to turn up in Tahrir Square.
The grassroots movement Tamarod (Rebellion) is behind the petition, which has united liberal and secular opposition groups, including the National Salvation Front.
However, many ordinary Egyptians - angered by Mr Morsi's political and economic policies - are also taking part in the rally in Tahrir, where there are plans to march on the presidential palace.

Mohammed Morsi's first year

Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi addresses a rally in Cairo on 15 June  2013
  • June 2012 - Narrowly wins presidential election. Orders parliament to meet in defiance of a military decree dissolving it
  • July 2012 - Submits to a Supreme Court ruling that the parliamentary elections were invalid
  • August 2012 - Dismisses Defence Minister Hussein Tantawi and Chief of Staff Sami Annan, and strips military of say in legislation and drafting the new constitution
  • November 2012 - Rescinds a decree stripping the judiciary of the right to challenge his decisions, after popular protests
  • December 2012 - Public vote approves draft constitution boosting the role of Islam and restricting freedom of speech and assembly
  • March 2013 - Court halts his plans to bring parliamentary elections forward to April, citing failure to refer the electoral law to the Constitutional Court
  • June 2013 - Puts Islamists in charge of 13 of Egypt's 27 governorships - controversially he appoints a member of the former armed group Gamaa Islamiya to be governor of Luxor
Hanan Bakr, who travelled specially from Dubai where she lives, to join the "second Egyptian revolution", told the BBC: "I'm hoping to stay on the streets until the whole regime of the Brotherhood is brought down."
"If Egypt falls under Islamist extremism, this will affect the whole region," the demonstrator said.
Speaking in South Africa, US President Barack Obama urged "all parties to make sure they are not engaging in violence and that police and military are showing appropriate restraint".
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