OCTOBER 21-31, 2013

October 21, 2013

In what appeared to be an attempt to weaken the new People’s Democratic Party faction, the Federal Government, through the Federal Capital Development Authority, marked the national secretariat of the Baraje-led PDP for demolition. The building at 4, Oyi River Crescent, Maitama District, Abuja was inscribed with red markings on its wall and the gate. Having sealed it off on the ground that the building was being used for political activities, an action which was against the approval for the purpose of what the building was meant, FCDA said. Subsequently, the new PDP faction moved their activities to Adamawa State Lodge along Katsina-Ala Street, Maitama District. While reacting to the assumed conspiratorial plan, the National Publicity Secretary of the Baraje-faction, Chief Chukwuemeka Eze said it was an attempt to thwart the group, he stated that “This will show the level of desperation which the PDP officials and the FCT minister want to use to attack and kill opposition in the country. But it will fail. It can’t weaken us”. Then what will? Perhaps Baba Jonah needs to fortify his plans with formidable machinations. Well, that is why an event centre owned by Sen. Aisha Al-Hassan was marked for demolition while the FCT Administration revoked the Certificate of Occupancy of a building belonging to Alhaji Rabiu Kwankwaso. What was more? The security details of Senator Danjuma Goje and Senator Bukola Saraki were withdrawn by the police authorities. As Chief Eze further averred “But it is expected that a government that has no value for the rule of law can go to any extent to perpetrate any evil. We wait to see what would happen next”. Wao, that’s a big one.

As different dramas trailed the industrial action of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, what could be more hilarious to record that the umbrella body of the Nigerian herbalists in Oyo State threw its weight behind ASUU. In a town hall meeting organised by the University of Ibadan branch of the union, the leader of the group (herbalists), Arunoyemi Asanlaye gave the commitment, “We are in support of ASUU on the ongoing strike”, solidarity to sure, ASUU don get juju.


New PDP secretariat marked for demolition

 

October 22, 2013

Is it true that the NCAA bought you two bulletproof vehicles worth N255m, Princess Oduah? Is the minister entitled to such vehicles? Should President Jonathan retain you? Well, that could be the likely questions that would be put to the Minister of Aviation, Mrs Stella Oduah when she would be probed by the riled lawmakers. To appear with her at the emergency public hearing are top executive of Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Nigerian Customs Service, Bureau of Public Procurement, and Federal Ministry of Finance alongside the Managing Directors of Coscharis Motors and First Bank Nigeria Plc. Chairman, Senate Committee on Aviation, Hope Uzodinma said “With the approval of the votes and proceedings of the last senate meeting session today (Tuesday), containing the summoning of the minister, our committee will now meet within the week to fix the date to invite the minister and other relevant aviation chiefs for questioning on the troubled sector”. Well, we do hope the keister of the hen is exposed for the world to see where it excretes.

MEN(D) at work. There was pandemonium at the Warri Refining and Petrochemical Company (WRPC) on Tuesday morning when one of the plants exploded while crude-oil refining process was on at about 11.00 am. The fire gutted the topping unit of the 35-year old refinery and consequently no fewer than 30 persons suffered varying degrees of burns, some very severe, from the explosion in a section of the complex known as ‘Area 2’. While the incident sent workers of the company and nearby Warri Depot of PPMC as well as inhabitants of neighbouring communities scampering for cover, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) boldly claimed responsibility for the incident. In an online statement signed by its spokesman, Jomo Gbomo said “Hurricane Exodus was intended to burn down the entire refining facility. As long as President Jonathan continues to rely on unsustainable and fraudulent Niger Delta Amnesty Programme, peace would continue to elude his government in the region. Exodus is on course.” Meanwhile, the management of NNPC assured Nigerians that there is no cause for alarm as contained in a statement by the Acting Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division of the Corporation, Tumini Green said “We wish to seize the opportunity to reassure members of the general public that the NNPC continues to hold sufficient stock of Premium Motor Spirit (petrol) and other petroleum products and therefore no cause for panic buying.”

 

October 23, 2013

Subsequent to the information of Aviation Minister, Stella Oduah’s N255m bulletproof vehicles, two groups clashed over the furore. One of the groups was pro-Oduah in their composition averting the protest staged by the anti-corruption network led by a former lawmaker, Hon. Dino Melaye who were picketing the Ministry of Aviation and demanding that Princess Stella Oduah be sacked. With placards inscribed with messages such as “EFCC – Investigate, ICPC – Prosecute, SSS – Arrest Stella Oduah, Nigerians demand”; “Jonathan Sack Oduah! Stop Corruption for Once”, the Anti-Oduah group were bent that the President should act on the issue as soon as possible. For the pro-Oduah group, it was a matter of service and income as one of them was quoted as saying “We are here because of hunger”.  To show how desperate they were and acting according to dictates of money, they attacked Melaye’s group with dangerous weapons including matchetes, long knives and sticks. In a shortwhile, Dino Melaye and his group were held hostage and afterwards arrested by a team of about 200 riot policemen led by an Assistant Commissioner of Police, Sunday Odukoya. The protesters’ offence, Odukoya said; included traffic obstruction and disturbance of public peace. Oga police, police well well o.

Job, job everywhere yet the unemployed ones still roam the street. What could partly be responsible for this? It was a shocking revelation on Wednesday at the House of Representatives on alleged racketeering in recruitment into federal ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs). Most affected MDAs were discovered to have jettisoned public service rules on recruitment for selection of applicants through the back door. The revelations came at the instance of outcry on money for job in the public service. The House, through its resolution set up joint Committees on Public Service Matters, Employment, Labour productivity and Anti-Corruption, National Ethics and Values to investigate the repulsive issue. Chaired by Hon. Andrew Uchendu, the committee disclosed that MDAs don’t follow due process in staff recruitment. While recruitment to the Nigerian Immigration Service cost an application fee of N1000, the Nigerian Customs Service has no nominal roll since 2011, which ought to comprise officers enlisted into the service, their level grade and qualifications. In the case of Corporate Affairs Commission, it was discovered that the commission had been recruiting its staff over four years ago based on some sort of backdoor policy – selective and conversion process without advertising such vacancies in line with civil service rules and regulations. While promising to put an end to the horrible development, Hon. Aminu Tambuwal, Speaker of the House of Representatives averred that “There is no doubt that the rise in violent crime today is related to the fact that millions of our people are jobless and therefore, more vulnerable and easier to lure into a life of crime”.

 

October 24, 2013

As the season of air-mishaps beckon, defaulting airlines have been grounded as they await Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) audit. This in turn has stranded hundreds of air passengers at the Lagos airport. With the earlier suspension of Dana Air and Associated Airlines, Chanchangi and IRS airlines have joined the committee of suspended air carriers. This development has made air travels within the country increasingly difficult, thereby leaving potential passengers at the mercy of few available operators, who capitalised on the situation to hike fares. For Chanchangi and IRS, they had only one functional aircraft while IRS additional was grounded after its plane with about 92 passengers on board made an emergency landing at Kaduna Airport as a result of hydraulic failure. Asked on the implications of grounded airlines, the Assistant General Secretary, Airline Operators of Nigeria, Alhaji Muhammad Tukur said “I don’t think the NCAA is going the right way in this; what it should do is to ensure that the schedule of the functional aircraft is made in such a way as to ensure that it is not overburdened, because it is not good for the system for only very few airlines to be in operation.” What do you expect of when the Minister of the troubled Aviation sector proclaimed that “accidents are inevitable and an act of God”? Tukur is only emboldened by such imbecilic statement. Maybe you should ask him which is more precious “human lives or the aviation industry”.

Following the broadcast of a national dialogue to be held as announced by President Jonathan, the All Progressives Congress (APC) has opted not to be involved in the proceedings of the dialogue. The reason for the boycott was given that the dialogue was nothing but a mere constitutional amendment process, which it said was already ongoing. In a statement released by the interim National Publicity Secretary of the party, Alhaji Lai Muhammed said “what we see today is that this government has lost focus; it has lost credibility, it has lost control of the economy. In any event, we see this thing as nothing but a diversion and what are we talking about for when even the President himself has said that the outcome of that conference would be subjected to the approval of the National Assembly”. Meanwhile, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) replied the APC that they were free to boycott the national dialogue since attendance at the conference would not be determined on political party basis. More than just a reply, the PDP slammed the APC affirming that the opposition have nothing to contribute for the progress of the nation. Describing the position of the APC as unpatriotic, the National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Chief Olisa Metuh, said “the APC thrives in sowing seeds of discord and division. They promote ethnic interest above national interest and they value the interest of their financial overloads. Nigerians have welcomed the conference. We believe we can be better than what we are today. We believe the goal is to bring up ideas to build greater nation.” Who wins the contest? You and I be the judge. Only time will tell.

 

October 25, 2013

At first, it was neglected but the clock will always catch up with both the horrible and remarkable event. And that’s exactly what happened in the furore that trailed the N225m bulletproof cars purchased by Ms. Stella Oduah. As events unfold to reveal the colossal squander of public funds, a probe panel was instituted and anti-graft agencies investigated the serious matter. What could be more in the whole saga is that the agency workers in the aviation parastatals were reported to have said that they’ve been warned not to talk. Perhaps, they received such instruction from their Oga at the top who, unfortunately was in Israel to sign the BASA agreement that was not actualised. Though she was on the President’s entourage to Israel on the latter’s performance of pilgrimage, she got the snub of her political career, no thanks to the President’s reply that reportedly turned down her request on a one-on-one discussion with him. The purpose of the intended meeting was to explain her role in the infamous grand scandal. Back home, variety of dramas ensued. As the NCAA boss, Joyce Nkemakolon orchestrated witty moves to outsmart the House of Representatives probe panel in uncovering the car scandal, members of the probe panel flared up at officials of the agency for allegedly evading some questions. The panel also turned down some attempts by the NCAA to bring in a financial expert to answer questions on the deal. Definitely, it was not only the NCAA that was probed by the panel. The boss of the respective agencies that included Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and Nigeria Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) were also summoned for apprehension in the scandal. Tension built up in the aviation agencies as to who says and knows what on the leakage of the information of the car purchase to the public. Meanwhile, workers at the Ministry of Aviation have expressed worry that the unfortunate development had increased suspicion in the agencies affected.

Inasmuch as an average Nigerian is creative in solving problems of his environment; the intent of making it a business is ultimately involved. This was the case of an investigation carried out on wooden bridges that are springing up in certain parts of Lagos state. With private individuals feeding fat on government’s ineptitude to provide link bridges and good road for its people, such fortunate opportunity has waxed stronger by the day. In places where such toll bridges exist, pedestrians are tolled N30 each while motorists pay N200 per vehicle. Commonly known as ‘pako’ bridges, these toll bridges can be found in Alimosho Area, linking Ashipa, Ayobo-Ipaja to Igando; Lanre through Sanni Street to Igando New town; Igesu and Egan; Baruwa inside and Diamond Estate; Obadore and Ijagemo; Abegunrin and Idowu-Egba; and Pako to Ketu community. Most of these bridges were constructed over the swamps and their maintenance gulps funds. That explains the toll revenue that accrues from the bridges ranging from N250,000 to N400,000 daily. As residents have mixed reaction over the construction of these bridges and the toll involved, cases of disputes control are also evident. Dangers such as collapse and insecurity also dot the existence of these bridges. Asked on his view of this development, the State Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, said “Private initiatives are always necessary in all human endeavours in all societies. That is why there are private hospitals, schools and all others. As long as there are options, private initiatives will always be available.” And that’s why the wooden bridges are to the rescue, right? He added that “Remember, the state is adding to her infrastructure portfolio regularly. Can the deficit be eliminated in a year? No. So we have to keep attacking, which is exactly what the state is doing.”


A wooden bridge in Lagos

 

October 26, 2013

Following a political analysis, there has come up a group of fives (G5s) amazons who are more powerful than Jonathan. These G5 have orchestrated ample instances of impunity and ostentatious squandering that have only received a pat on the back gesture from President Jonathan. What’s more interesting is the fact that Nigerians have called for resignation or impeachment of the four of the five concerned individuals. All only fell on deaf ears as Mr. President did not budget to this request. The names of these five women include, Patience Jonathan, the first lady whose presence is felt not only in Aso Rock but across Nigeria and beyond. Her impunity is registered with the traditional practice of crippling the traffic of Nigerian towns and cities whenever she goes visiting a state; Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala ranks the second on the list as a new position was created for (Co-ordinating minister for the economy). The name, Okonjo-Iweala would be disheartening to Mr. Shuaib Yushau and Mr. Lawrence Ani, both of whom had their job terminated, no thanks to a critique written by them on the research into the state of Nigerian economy. Her opinion matters a lot as she insisted on the removal of oil subsidy which resulted to the Occupy Nigeria protest; The Petroleum Resources Minister, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, also ranks a strong woman ally the President pays attention to. The revelation of massive fraud in the fuel subsidy administration to the tune of N1.7trn might have given Nigerians the clue that she must be removed. Behold, she is still basking in the title of the first woman to be the Minister of Petroleum Resources in Nigeria. The embattled Minister of Aviation needs no introduction. Ms. Stella Oduah was rewarded with the political office, thanks to her active role in Jonathan’s 2011 campaign. Whether probed or not, she might still remain in office. No wonder there was the search for who leaked the car purchase at the first place. Does Arunma Oteh sound familiar? The Iron Lady, as nicknamed, was able to fight her battles to retain the office of the Director-General of Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Because of her, there was an intense battle between President Jonathan and the House of Representatives as the latter demanded the sacking of Oteh. Consequently, the passage of the 2013 budget was delayed because of this fight. What is more is that they all hail from South-East or South-South geopolitical zone. In all, indeed, they all occupy some of the most strategic and ‘money-spinning’ positions in the Federal Government.

They have been stealing the nation’s ‘black gold’ and they will continue to do that. However, it might mean bad market for oil thieves as the Federal Government has devised the use of electronic pipeline surveillance to track oil theft in the country. This was disclosed by the President in his closing remarks at a two-day oil and gas investment forum in Onne, P’Harcourt. Ably represented by the Senate President, David Mark, Jonathan described the menace of oil theft as worrisome, stressing; however, that government was ready to tackle it headlong. He said “Relevant regulatory agencies are working round the clock to combat the challenge, considering the strategic position of oil and gas in the country”. How sure are they that this would work effectively to clip the pilfering wings of oil saboteurs? Well, the people need more than electronic pipeline surveillance at Aso Rock.

 

October 27, 2013

This is seriously getting out of hands as the “I no go gree” governors meeting was aborted by the police; acting on the orders of God knows who but someone said “We already know”. The meeting of the governors: Rabiu Kwakwanso, Aliyu Wamakko, Babangida Aliyu, Sule Lamido, Murtala Nyako, Abdulfatah Ahmed and Rotimi Amaechi with the leadership of the Abubakar Baraje-led breakaway faction of the People’s Democratic Party scheduled to hold at the Sokoto State Governor’s Lodge, Asokoro, Abuja was stopped by truck loads of riot policemen. While they sought for reasons why they couldn’t hold a meeting in their private capacity, the head of the police team only said the order came from above, what an obedient servant. Annoyingly, one of the governors (name withheld) almost attacked the officer physically as he was asked to go away repeatedly, but for the quick intervention of other governors, they were able to hold their colleague back, if not, who knows what could have happened. Though, the governors later regrouped at an undisclosed location for a brief discussion but under a tense condition and quickly dispersed. Which way Nigerian political animals?

We need not be told because it is already conspicuous… So, someone should tell the leadership of the All Progressive Congress to stop telling us what we already know. In the APC first official reaction to the N255m bulletproof scandal involving the Minister of Aviation, Ms. Stella Oduah, the party said it was appalled at the manner President Goodluck Jonathan was handling the matter. The opposition party said it reached its conclusion after juxtaposing the evidence that came out of the cars scandal with the actions so far taken by the President. Should the fly not stick with the man with the sour? APC further stated that the handling of the scandal was a test case for the government’s anti-corruption war, dey don hear you, the war is against you not for loyal cabinet members.

 

October 28, 2013

As part of the handing over of power installations to new investors, the Minister of Power, Professor Chinedu Nebo claimed that about 40,093 workers of the erstwhile Power Holding Company of Nigeria have been paid their severance package by the Federal Government, while additional N5,000 cases needed verification. Nebo said that the Federal Government was bent on ensuring that there was no impediment in the planned physical handover of power assets to the private owners, adding that the government had achieved 90 per cent success in the payment of the workers’ severance packages. The minister described as critical the advice and support provided to all the arms of the power sector regulatory, policy, executive, and technical among others, to ensure a seamless privatization. We hope they get it right this time…

Not everything that seemed to have started well may end well o, this was the case at the South-South zone of a meeting of the Presidential Advisory Committee on National Dialogue which ended in a fiasco at the Imaguero Hall. The Edo State Comrade Governor, Adams Oshiomhole was shouted down while expressing his view as regards the planned confab. In his words, “I have listened to some of the comments made by the people, anyone convening a meeting must first be clear why he is convening the meeting. I have had the opportunity to travel far and wide and I want to say that you don’t assemble people and ask them what to talk about. Whoever wishes to convene a meeting must first have an idea before asking the people”, na lie? “It’s a valid point to make that we failed before and we can pass next time. I have told the committee and I want to repeat it here, not for you to clap. I will be surprised if anything changes. As a leader, I have no business to deceive or mislead anyone. I believe this conference will not be different from any previous conference we had in the past…” he said, at that juncture, yes, they adhered, they did not clap but they got infuriated and alas dissenting voices interrupted the governor in a more forceful way with the “no, no, no” chorus, some even wanted to treat the fuck up of the loquacious governor, na wa o, thought we are entitled to our persona l opinion.

An Edo icon today kicked the bucket, a former Chief of General Staff, Vice Admiral Mike Akhigbe. He died of cancer related ailment in a New York hospital, he was age 68. Akhigbe was the second in command to the former military ruler, Gen. Abdulsalam Abubakar. The Senate President, David Mark, who was the deceased’s course mate at the Nigerian Defence Academy described Mike as a fearless and very diligent person, “We are however consoled that while Mike was with us, he lived his life in the service of God and mankind. May the Lord grant all of us the fortitude to bear this painful departure”, he said. Lo Akhigbes and Edo people.


Sympathiser signing condolence register at the Lagos residence of late Vice Admiral Akhigbe

 

October 29, 2013

Three men, believed to be involved in the kidnap of Delta State Commissioner for Higher Education, Prof. Hope Eghagha, human rights activist, Mike Ozekhome (SAN), former Anambra State deputy governor, Dr. Chudi Nwike and many others were arraigned in Abuja before a magistrate court in Wuse Zone Two. The men, Kelvin Eziegbe, Frank Azuekoh and Haruna Momoh, were accused of being behind some highly coordinated kidnappings in the South-South, extending to the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja. They were also accused of ambushing and attacking a prison vehicle conveying arrested members of the group. They were brought to court by stern-looking armed personnel. One day for the thief another for the owner.

Story story, dey say Nigeria is not broke but cash strapped…grammar. Can somebody tell the Director-General of Budget Office of the Federation, Dr. Bright Okogwu and the Accountant General of the Federation, Mr Jonah Ogunniyi Otunla, to get a dictionary and find a meaning to strapped, as they acknowledged that Nigeria is not broke but cash strapped, nonsense. The duo made the declaration while speaking at a meeting with the federal revenue generating agencies, organized by the National Assembly Joint Committee on Finance and Appropriation. According to them, “Nigeria is not broke but currently having some cash flow problems. We may have cash flow problem, but we are not broke”, tell that to the deaf, we no be your maga…

 

October 30, 2013

Just another case of unaccountability and impropriety as the Minister of Works, Mr. Mike Onolememen was ‘unable’ to account for N30 billion appropriated for his ministry on Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P) projects. Chairman, Committee on SURE-P, Sen. Abdul Ningi made the allegation against the Minister and threatened that the Senate might be forced to give zero-allocation to SURE-P in the 2015 budget. Accordingly, the committee invited the Minister to render an account of the activities of his ministry under the SURE-P from 2012 to 2013. Keeping the members of the committee waiting for more than an hour, the concerned minister did not show up nor did he send a representative. Though the minister it was reported to have acknowledged the receipt of the invitation, he took for granted the members of the senate. Describing the action of the minister as crass lawlessness and wrong people in the position of authority, Sen. Abdul Ningi warned that “This is the last time this committee will condone such an act from any minister who fails to honour our invitation without any genuine reason”. He said the committee was interested in knowing the beneficiaries of N3,000 said to have been paid to 10,000 youths in each state under SURE-P youth scheme. However, Abdul Ningi sent another invitation to the minister, in accordance with the scheduled programme of the Senate Ad Hoc Committee on SURE-P.

 

October 31, 2013

In what seems to be the season of cross-carpeting and preparations for the 2015 elections in top gear, the All Progressives Congress is capitalising on the rift in the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). In a move to woo the G-7 governors, APC had a meeting with Alhaji Aliyu Wamakko (Sokoto); Rabiu Kwakwanso (Kano); Rotimi Amaechi (Rivers); and Sule Lamido (Jigawa) while Aliyu Babangida (Niger); Murtala Nyako (Adamawa); and AbdulFatah Ahmed (Kwara) were however absent. The national leader of the APC, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari regarded the series of visitations to the PDP aggrieved governors as a tough and ruthless drive across the country. In a way to convince other aggrieved governors, the top leaders of the party also expressed optimism and positive prospects of the concerned governors to defect to the party. Meanwhile, the PDP blasted the APC over romance with the G7 governors. In a chided move, the national publicity secretary of PDP, Chief Olisa Metuh, in an issued statement described the action of APC as that of “Hypocritical party lacking in genuine ideology and principles. By wooing PDP governors, the APC has also confirmed that it lacks true followership and electable materials at all levels”.

Oshiomhole being shielded by security aides at the South-south zonal meeting of the presidential dialogue

Leave a Comment

%d bloggers like this: