RECORD KEEPER: MAY 2013

 

 

1 May 2013

Today came good news for the opposition. The Presidency said President Goodluck Jonathan was ready to forget his ambition to run for second term in 2015 if the Senate passed its proposal for a single non-renewable six-year tenure into law. Though Jonathan had made half-hearted denial of his ambition for another term in office, the body movements of the President and his loyalists had clearly shown that he was preparing to run in the 2015 general elections. But the President’s Special Adviser on Political Matters, Dr. Ahmed Gulak, said the ambition to stage a return would be shelved if Senators decide in favour of a single term for the president and state governors.

Also, today, former head of state, Maj-Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, said he was ready to step down as presidential candidate of the newly formed All Progressives Congress in the 2015 presidential election, if there was a formidable and better candidate. So who would now run for president? Fellow country-men dey wait o!

This might be bad. The Senate Committee on Petroleum Upstream, headed by Senator Emmanuel Paulker has commenced a probe into allegations that the Minister of Petroleum, Mrs. Diezani Allison Madueke, illegally transferred four oil blocks which amounts to the sum of N58.9trillion to Atlantic Energy Drilling Concept Limited, owned by one Mr. Jide Omokore.The committee had issued summons to all stakeholders in the oil sector who are linked with the oil blocks allocation following a protest in the National Assembly last week Thursday by members of the Delta State oil-producing communities.

2 May 2013

Once a first lady, always a first lady. It happened today. An Abuja high court in Jabi has resolved the dispute between First Lady Patience Jonathan and her predecessor, Hajia Turai Yar’Adua, over a parcel of land in Abuja in the latter’s favour. Justice Peter Affen, in a judgement yesterday, set aside the purported revocation of the right of occupancy of the land measuring about 1.84 hectares earlier allocated to Turai’s non-governmental organization, Women and Youth Empowerment Foundation (WAYEF) –by the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA). The disputed land, plot No. 1347 Cadastral Zone AOO, Central Business District, allocated to Mrs. Yar’Adua’s WAYEF was on November 2, 2011 revoked by FCT Minister, Bala Mohammed for “overriding public interest.” The minister re-allocated the parcel of land to Mrs. Jonathan for the construction of the African First Lady Peace Mission headquarters.

As at today, the governor was still in trouble. Struggling to defend his position in the grounding of the Rivers State government plane, a Bombadier Lobal Express 5000 which carried Governor Rotimi Amaechi and others at the Akure Airport last week, the Ministry of Aviation said the governor contravened the Nigerian civil aviation regulations and other extant criminal laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria by flying without a clearance, and full disclosure of his passengers. Joe Obi, media assistant to the minister of aviation, declared: “The security implication of this requirements is further emphasized where a foreign-registered aircraft (such as the current aircraft) is engaged in domestic flight operations. Failure to fully disclose or attempting to conceal the identities of passengers aboard an aircraft is considered a serious security breach both locally and internationally.”

Setback! The northern socio-political organization, Arewa Consultative Forum, Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), rejected the proposal by the Senate Committee on Constitution Review of a single term for six years for president, vice-president and governors. In their separate reactions on Thursday, the ACF said the proposal, if eventually passed, would be counter-productive while the ACN and CPC said the opposition parties would not support such a move.

Haa, dem say make our brother still remain for prison o! The jailed former governor of Delta State, James Ibori, lost a legal appeal today against a 13-year prison sentence for embezzling £50m in one of Britain’s biggest money-laundering cases. Ibori, a founding member of the Peoples Democratic Party and a behind-the-scene kingmaker, who ran Delta State for eight years, was trying to get his sentence reduced. His lawyers argued that the original judge had indicated the term would be shorter.Judge Anthony Edwards Stuat rejected the argument at the appeal hearing and said money laundering should attract close to the maximum 14-year sentence.

 

3 May 2013

Today, the security challenge in Borno State assumed a bizarre dimension with the seizure of 92-year-old elder statesman, Shettima Ali Monguno, by four gunmen suspected to be members of the Islamic sect, Boko Haram. Shetima Monguno was the Federal Commissioner for Petroleum, Mines and Power, in the Gowon military government. A massive operation was immediately launched by the state government and the Joint Task Force (JTF) to rescue him. He was allowed to speak on phone with his first son, Abubakar Ali Monguno: “The abductors got in touch and they put my father through on the phone. He spoke to us and said that he was fine. They made a ransom demand,” Abubakar told AFP but declined to give a figure.

What would you call this! The Abia State Police Command arrested two women allegedly involved in the sale of new-born babies at Osisioma and Obingwa local government areas of the state. Nine teenage girls at various stages of pregnancy were also rescued during the raid. Speaking with newsmen in Umuahia, the Abia State Commissioner of Police, Usman Tilli Abubakar, said his men followed a tip off and raided a home operated by one Ebere Nkemdirim on Adaelu Road in Osisioma area of the state where Adaeze, his wife, was arrested, while Nkemdirim is now at large.

Oh, where was this man? A judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Sabiu Yahuza, issued a warrant today directing the Inspector General of Police or his officers and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to arrest ex-governor Saminu Turaki of Jigawa State and bring him before the court. Turaki was on trial for allegedly mismanaging and laundering N36 billion, including N12billion allegedly spent on the botched third term project for ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo who was not aware of such a commitment. But the man don vamoose o!

And the governor smiled. The Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Akure, the Ondo State capital, over last year’s governorship election in the state, today, dismissed the petitions of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and its candidate, Mr. Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, and that of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate, Chief Olusola Oke. In a five-hour judgement delivered by the Chairman of the tribunal, Justice Andovar Kaka‘an, the tribunal dismissed ACN’s petition because the petitioner “failed woefully to prove that the electoral malpractices and the non-compliance they claimed affected the result of the October 20, 2012 election.” And so, case closed!

4 May 2013

Today, the speculations on who would replace the deceased Mrs Funmilayo Olayinka as the deputy governor of Ekiti State was brought to an end with the nomination of the chairman of the state Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), Professor Modupe Adelabu, for the position by Governor Kayode Fayemi. A statement by the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Mr. Olayinka Oyebode, said Governor Fayemi “has forwarded the name of Professor Modupe Adelabu to the state House of Assembly for consideration as the new deputy governor of the state.”

Not again! Wakari, Taraba State, was a ghost town today 24 hours after the eruption of a fierce sectarian violence in which the police confirmed 39 people dead. Residents believed that as many as 130 lives might have been lost.Thirty others were injured and about 70 houses and shops torched. The Acting Governor, Alhaji Garba Umar, in a broadcast, condemned the killings and destructions saying, “This is unacceptable. The killings must stop.”

The fight won’t just stop. Rivers State Governor, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, said contrary to report, the state government’s private jet costs $45m (N7.1bn) and not $75(N9bn). The governor said this through his Commissioner for Information and Communications, Mrs. Ibim Semenitari, in Port Harcourt. Amaechi described the allegation that he inflated the cost of the jet by $10m as unfounded and a figment of the imagination of those spreading such false information. Good talk!

 

 

5 May 2013

Why now! Peoples Democratic Party, Lagos State chapter, called on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to probe the activities of the Babatunde Fashola administration in the state. The party said it was convinced that there was “massive corruption” in the administration of the state under Fashola. The state PDP chairman, Chief Tunji Shelle, made the call today, after a church service to mark his birthday. Shelle alleged that the government was already trying to hide the massive misappropriation of public funds by gagging its officials.

Se na beg beg matter be dis! Borno State Governor Kashim Shettima today begged those who abducted a former Minister of Petroleum, Dr. Shettima Ali Monguno, to release the elder statesman. He was concerned about Monguno’s health, which, according to him, might deteriorate if his abductors, who were suspected to be Boko Haram members, did not free him. The governor also warned the abductors of the spiritual gravity of contributing to the death of a 92-year-old man, who was known for helping orphans, widows and the needy. But no one answered the governor!

6 May 2013

Today, there was tension everywhere in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital where two factions of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) were struggling for control. Five lawmakers loyal to the Minister of State for Education, Chief Nyesom Wike, were at the House of Assembly, escorted by Commissioner of Police, Mbu Joseph Mbu. The 27 pro-Governor Rotimi Amaechi lawmakers, including Speaker Otelemaba Dan Amachree, stayed away. Pro-Wike protesters, armed with placards bearing various inscriptions and singing anti-Amaechi songs, thronged the Assembly and the secretariat of Obio/Akpor Local Government in Rumuodomaiya, Port Harcourt. The protesters, from the 23 local government areas, called for the resignation of Amaechi or his impeachment, as well as the removal of the Speaker. Luckily, the governor and his supporters used their legs, it was time to run!

They released the old man today and Borno State Governor, Alhaji Kashim Shettima, said no ransom was paid for the release of elder statesman, Dr, Shettima Monguno. The governor announced the release of the octogenarian to reporters in Maiduguri. But no one believed him when he said no ransom was paid, though they thanked God with him.

Bad news! A Nigerian Air Force Alpha Jet on a non-combatant mission crashed today at Dargol Village at about 1.05 pm. 60 kilometers West of Niamey, Niger Republic. The two pilots on board the fighter jet also died. The Alpha Jet is one of the four based in Niamey, Niger Republic as part of Africa-led support mission in Mali.

 

7 May 2013

Suspected members of Islamic sect, Boko Haram, today, attacked Bama, Borno State, leaving 55 people dead, the Joint Military Task Force said. The gunmen, according to Reuters, killed 22 police officers, 14 prison officials, two soldiers and four civilians, while 13 of the sect’s members died in the clash with the task force. Spokeman for the JTF, Sagir Musa, confirmed this to Reuters. The suspected terrorists were said to have freed 105 prison inmates during the attack which reportedly began at around 5am. Nothing could be more disheartening!

 

8 May 2013

At last, operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) today said they had arrested the immediate past Bayelsa State governor, Timipre Sylva in Abuja while in hiding. A statement  issued in Abuja by the commission’s spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren read: “The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), today, arrested the former governor of Bayelsa State, Timipre Sylva. He was picked up at his No 3, Niger Street, Maitama, Abuja home. On arrival at the facility at about 10.00am, the commission’s operatives were told that the ex-governor was not in town but they insisted on conducting a search on the house having obtained a warrant from the court. During the search, vital documents were obtained. Ironically, the ex-governor who was said to be out of town was later found hiding in a dingy corner in the upper chamber of his expansive mansion. Na wa o!

8 May 2013

What a calamity! Nasarawa State Governor, Tanko Almakura and his counterpart of Benue, Gabriel Suswam, today briefed the Presidency on the precarious security situation in their states. While Al-Makura briefed Vice-President Namadi Sambo on the killing of over 20 policemen by members of a cult group in Alakyo Village, about 10 kilometres from Lafia, the state capital on Wednesday Suswam filed a report on the clash between Fulani cattle rearers and farmers with a casualty figure which he described as “high and including women and children.”

 

9 May 2013

This was unthinkable. More deaths were recorded yesterday in the ambush of policemen and other security agents at Alakyo, a village near Lafia, the Nasarawa state capital. Their bodies, brought into a hospital in 10 ambulances, were burnt beyond recognition. Family members were confronted with the reality of the death of their loved ones as they thronged the Dalhatu Araf Specialist Hospital, Lafia to identity the bodies. The death toll in the Tuesday ambush of policemen and State Security Service (SSS) operatives had risen to 47, and there was a top police officer among the dead. An on-line news publication, quoting top security sources, gave the name of the assistant commissioner of police as Mohammed Momoh.

And there was still time for politicking as Niger Delta frontline activist and leader of the Niger Delta People’s Volunteer Force (NDPVF), Alhaji Mujahid Dokubo-Asari, dared the House of Representatives and leaders in northern Nigeria to arrest him, saying if they do, Nigeria would become history. Dokubo Asari who addressed a press conference in Abuja, stressed that he stood by his words that there would be no peace if Jonathan was not re-elected in 2015. The House of Representatives had, after a motion moved by Honourable Ali Madaki, called on the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar, to arrest Dokubo Asari for saying that there would be no peace in Nigeria if President Jonathan was not returned for a second term in 2015. Wetin we go com do now?

 

10 May 2013

Yes, this must be it! The Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA), the police and the State Security Service (SSS) were ordered by President Goodluck Jonathan to fish out killers of scores of policemen in Nasarawa State on Tuesday. The president, according to a security source, gave the order today for the major crack-down on the cult members to forestall another Boko Haram problem in that part of the country. The order came amidst a lot of unease in the Nigeria Police following perceived inability of the system to protect the rank and file, against the backdrop of persistent killing of policemen in different parts of the country.

11 May 2013

How could this happen again! The wife, daughter and driver of Justice Bode Rhodes-Vivour of the Supreme Court were  kidnapped on the Lagos-Benin road. Mrs Adedoyin Rhodes-Vivour, a Lagos based lawyer, and the others were on their way to Benin for her daughter’s wedding in the city. Mrs Rhodes-Vivour was a member of the Lagos branch of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) and an arbitrator with a law office in Banana Island, Lagos. She was the latest high profile Nigerian to be abducted in the current season of terrorism in the country.

Waoh, this was below the belt! The National Leader of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), General Muhammadu Buhari, declared today that President Goodluck Jonathan’s handling of the security challenges in the country had shown that his government lacked the capacity to deal with the crisis. The violence, the former military leader said, was pushing the country towards anarchy hence the need for well meaning Nigerians to step in immediately with a view to saving the country from going under.

Jonathan must hear this. Former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar today said he cautioned some Peoples Democratic Party governors against arming the youth for the purpose of winning elections. Atiku while speaking in an interview on the Hausa Service of the British Broadcasting Corporation monitored in Kaduna said his advice was not heeded. He also said he would not leave the ruling PDP despite the unfair treatment meted to him. Atiku said he would rather remain in the party and fight the injustice being perpetrated by the leadership of the party. Too bad, he once left the party!

 

12 May 2013

What a pain! Protesting widows and family members of the policemen killed in Nasarawa State had got their request. Hospital authorities at the weekend released the charred bodies from the morgue. It was a moving sight at the Dalhatu Araf Specialist Hospital (DASH), Lafia where the bodies of the policemen killed in Alakyo Village by Omatse Cult members in an ambush were kept. The stench of decomposing bodies filled the air around the hospital as families picked the remains of their relatives. A Red Cross official said of the state of the bodies: “We tried to pack them but the bodies were breaking into pieces so, we will use shovel to pack them.”

Good that the boss himself knew this. Chairman, Board of Trustees of the Peoples Democratic Party, Chief Tony Anenih, this evening expressed his fear of the opposition parties’ merger before chiefs of the ruling party. Anenih told the governors, federal lawmakers and state chairmen of the PDP from the South-South geo-political zone, in Asaba, Delta State, that the opposition political parties congregating under the All Progressives Congress banner might be a threat to the PDP hegemony.“We must not live under the illusion that our party is invulnerable. Although, the existing opposition parties are still too small, fragile and sectional, we must not ignore the possibility that a merger of these parties may constitute a threat to our current dominance of the political terrain,” Anenih told his party men.

Where would he go now? Two major opposition parties asked President Goodluck Jonathan to resign if the only option available for him to solve the security problem in the North was state of emergency. The Action Congress of Nigeria and the Congress for Progressive Change in separate statements today, alleged that the President was contemplating declaring state of emergency in Borno, Yobe and Nasarawa states.

13 May 2013

No two ways to it, bad egg must be removed. At the next meeting of the National Judicial Council (NJC) in June, 21 petitions against judges would be considered, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Aloma Mariam Muhktar, disclosed today in Lagos. Speaking at a function organized by the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) “Rule of Law Action Group” entitled: “Rule of law –The bedrock for sustainable democracy” she made it known that her leadership of the council received 198 petitions against judges in her 10 months of being in office. 15 other judges had also been queried for alleged un-ethical conducts and their responses are being awaited. And they were the ones dispensing justice in the land!

And in retaliation for the arrest of members’ wives and relatives, the violent Islamic sect, Boko Haram, announced today that it had kidnapped some women, young girls and children. The leader of the sect, Sheikh Abubakar Shekau, said in a video just released that the sect was holding the hostages until relatives of members in custody were released. “If they do not leave our wives and children, we will not leave them,” Shekau was quoted as saying.

 

14 May 2013

And our man was pushed to the wall, then, he acted: Angered by the upsurge in insurgent activities in parts of the North, President Goodluck Jonathan today declared a state of emergency in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states with a directive to the military hierarchy to carry out more personnel deployment in the affected states. In a nationwide radio and television broadcast the president however said that governors of the affected states would retain their posts and continue with their normal duties.

Today, Lagos State government said pupils in its public schools were only allowed to wear conventional uniforms to the school. It added that usage of other appendages, including Hijab, a head scarf for Muslim women, would not be allowed. The Commissioner for Education, Mrs. Olayinka Oladunjoye, said this at a press briefing in Ikeja, adding that usage of Hijab and other religious materials in public schools was against government’s policy.

This was serious. The Rivers State Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) crisis hit a frightening bend today, with House of Assembly Speaker, Otelemaba Dan Amachree alleging a plot to assassinate Governor Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi and other officials. He did not name those behind the plot. In an open letter to President Goodluck Jonathan, the Speaker said there was a plan to withdraw security personnel attached to the governor, the house, ministries and local government councils. This, he said was an indication that the governor, legislators and prominent government officials had been marked for elimination.

15 May 2013

At least, the President got his own supporters. Yoruba pan socio-political organization, Afenifere, the South-South governors and the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, expressed their support for the declaration of a state of emergency in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states by President Goodluck Jonathan on Tuesday. Also, the Peoples Democratic Party in Ondo State, in a statement by its Director of Organisation, Mr. Ayo Fadaka, described Jonathan’s action as timely. But while the PDP supported Jonathan for retaining political office holders in the system, the Afenifere expressed reservation on the combination of military and civil rules in the states. Men and machines ready for the battle against insurgents are already heading to key areas being controlled by insurgents in Borno State, particularly areas such as Marte, Bama, Kukawa, Ngala, Kalabalge and Bama local governments. It was time for action.

 

16 May 2013

There was no dull moment as a communication lock-down was slammed on the violence-racked states of Borno, Yobe and parts of Adamawa today. Professionals and expatriates in those states noted an unusual blackout from telecoms operators late afternoon, fuelling speculations that the lock-down was a backup to the border siege which followed the declaration of a state of emergency on Tuesday. A source in Damaturu, Yobe State capital, said it was shocking to learn that services of telecoms operators had been severely affected by the massive military build-up against the Boko Haram sect. Early reports of military operations, however, indicated that Nigerian soldiers had recaptured three of the local government areas where insurgents had been in control in northern Borno.

 

17 May 2013

Beware, they were still lurking around! As military forces marched on the three northern states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe, in a determined move to shut down activities of the militant Islamic sect, Boko Haram, in those places, the insurgents appeared to have made a detour to the North-West to continue wreaking havoc.At least, three soldiers were confirmed dead in a fierce gun battle as suspected members of the sect invaded Daura, Katsina State, home of former head of state, Major-General Muhammadu Buhari, where they attacked two police stations and four commercial banks. The Nigerian Army, today, confirmed the death of three soldiers in the attack, but said that several of the attackers were also killed. Tit for tat!

What tree was this? Tragedy struck in a community in Umudagu Mbieri, Mbaitoli Local Government Area of Imo State, when a big tree in the community market square fell killing not less than 30 persons on the spot. The incident, it was gathered, occurred at about 7.30pm when the market popularly called night market was in full swing. A downpour which was accompanied by thunder storm uprooted the tree which fell in the direction of the victims.

18 May, 2013

So they could run this fast! As the armed forces intensified operations against insurgents in the North-East, there were strong indications that the jihadists were already fleeing to North-West, mixing with civilians and using peaceful Jigawa State as a route to Kano, Katsina, Kaduna and the Sokoto axis. The streaming into North-West and likelihood of terror uprising in the same zone warranted a surveillance lockdown on the entire North- Western region with security sources confirming that Kano, Kaduna, Kastina, Jigawa, Kebbi, Zamfara and Sokoto states were under close watch as operations progressed in the North-East.

Also residents of Maiduguri and Marte, Borno State, which were hotspots in the battle to dislodge terrorists from the Northeast, were fleeing the areas in their hundreds. There was panic every-where, fuelled by alleged blockade of all entry points to Maiduguri by troops as part of measures to arrest fleeing terrorists.

 

19 May 2013

And the war was on. The battle to flush out Boko Haram insurgents in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states continued today, with the Presidency vowing to prosecute it “with all powers and might” at its disposal. The Army also said that its offensive would continue “as long as it takes.” Defence Headquarters spokesman Brig-Gen. Chris Olukolade said 14 insurgents were killed and 20 more arrested today. The Army lost three soldiers. One soldier is missing. Seven are injured. Forty five members of the sect had so far been killed by the Special Forces. On Friday, the Army said 21 were killed. Ten of the sect’s camps were recovered. On Saturday, 10 more sect members were killed; 65 were arrested. And the counting continued!

 

20 May 2013

They were still running. Hundreds of members of the militant Islamic sect, Boko Haram, who were fleeing military attacks in the border communities of Borno State, were regrouping in the mountainous forests of Adamawa State. A source said that militants, who were dislodged from Sambisa Games Reserve and other camps in Borno, had sought refuge in the Adamawa forests, especially in the Zumo area of Song Local Government Area. He also said that the sect members had been sighted in the forests of Maiha and Fufore local government areas of the state.

21 May 2013

But this was fearful. Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mallam Lamido Sanusi,said the state of emergency declared by President Goodluck Jonathan in the North-East had the potential to adversely affect economic activities. The CBN governor, while briefing the media in Abuja, today, after the 89th edition of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting, noted that the accompanied military operations in that axis would also adversely affect agricultural production and food prices, as well as consumer demand.

While he was saying this, the Boko Haram insurgents were fighting the army with sophisticated weapons from Libya, it was learnt today. “They have been putting up fierce resistance and they are very, very well-armed with weapons from Libya,” a senior military official told The Guardian of London, adding that most of the militants who had waged a bloody four-year battle to create an Islamic state had scattered across the borders.

 

22 May 2013

Then, who and who was responsible? The Spiritual Head of Lakyo community in Nasarawa State. Ala Agu, today denied having a hand in the killing of security men in the community. Governor Umaru Tanko Al-Makura should be blamed for the killings he asserted. Agu also said contrary to reports that he was on the run, he was yet to receive any police invitation for questioning over the unfortunate incident. No fewer than 56 security men, including 46 policemen and 10 State Security Service operatives, were on May 7 killed in an ambush. Many others were declared missing, but a recent report said 25 bodies of the missing policemen were discovered in a mass grave in the area.

Too bad. The Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika, today said some soldiers and officers of the Nigerian Army had been arrested for conspiring with insurgents in the ongoing face-off between the military and militants. Ihejirika said that the affected troops were caught while posting comments he described as “negative” and conversing with terror suspects on the Internet.

 

23 May 2013

So that peace might reign, no fewer than 90 women and children being held in connection with activities of the Boko Haram sect benefitted from the first phase of the presidential directive on release. A top Defence source, who disclosed this, said that the military had compiled names of those that would regain freedom. He said, “I can say that between 90 and 100 women and children would benefit from the first phase of the exercise.”

Things went awry as British-born Michael Adebolajo, former Greenwich University student named as one of the prime suspects in the hacking of a British soldier to death at Woolwish, London, today. Adebolajo, after killing the soldier on the London crowded street, was chanting “Allah Akbar,” while he was also quoted to have declared in a video foot age that: “You and your kids will be next”

 

24 May 2013

Today, freedom came for six children and three women held as ransom by the Boko Haram Islamic sect in Bama, Borno State. The captives were rescued by Federal troops who overran three camps of the sect in Sambisa forest, a stretch of 16-kilometres uncultivated mass of trees and shrubs in central Borno, the Defence Headquarters announced. Three other captives – a woman and her two children – were, however, missing. The authorities said a search was on to locate them. The captives were all seized at the Bama Police Station by the insurgents when they invaded the town on May 7. No fewer than 50 people were killed during the invasion. Several houses were also set ablaze by the sect’s members who also attacked the prison in the town and set about 100 inmates free.

Also today, months of intrigues and political permutations among the 36 state governors ended with the election of Governor Rotimi Amaechi as the chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum for a second term. The election, which was held at the Rivers State Governor’s Lodge, in Abuja was witnessed by 35 out of the 36 state governors. Only the governor of Yobe, Ibrahim Geldam, was not at the venue of the election and was not represented. Amaechi defeated his only rival, Mr. Jonah Jang, the governor of Plateau State. While Amaechi got 19 votes, Jang had 16.

 

25 May 2013

Not over until it is over. Almost 48 hours after governors under the aegis of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum elected a new chairman, the battle over the control of the 36-member body still raged. On Saturday, the incumbent Chairman of the forum, who is the Governor of Rivers State, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi and his challenger, Plateau State Governor, Mr. Jonah Jang, both claimed to have won the poll. The Director-General of the NGF, Mr. Asishana Okauru, had on Friday announced Amaechi as winner of Friday’s election after polling 19 votes to Jang’s 16. Minutes after the announcement, the Akwa Ibom State Governor and Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party Governors’Forum, Godswill Akpabio, addressed the press announcing Jang’s victory. A new twist was added to the drama on Saturday, when Jang and members of the NGF who pledged allegiance to his leadership held their inaugural meeting in Abuja. After the meeting, Ondo State Governor, Olusegun Mimiko, who was introduced as vice-chairman, read a communiqué to the media. Mimiko while reading the document said the meeting was attended by 18 governors.

26 May 2013

We no go gree o, we no go gree! Details of how the election of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) was won and lost emerged today. Delta State Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan was the Returning Officer, Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi said. Uduaghan was one of the governors who met 24 hours after the election to insist that Plateau State Governor Jonah Jang was chairman. He denied being the Returning Officer. Dr. Fayemi described Jang’s “so-called” endorsement by some governors as “not only childish but petty.” The Ekiti governor, in a statement, said: “The attention of the leadership of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) has been drawn to the distortion of the events leading to the election of Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State as Chairman of the Forum at its election held in Abuja on Friday. We are particularly worried about the deliberate misrepresentation of events at the election in the media by some members of the Forum in the bid to justify the setting up of a parallel group, following the defeat of Governor Jonah Jang in the keenly contested chairmanship election. While we are not interested in joining issues with the pro-Jang group in their smear campaign in the media, we feel compelled to correct some of the negative impressions being created in the minds of unsuspecting members of the public through a pot pourri of fabricated stories and outright lies. It is on record that all the 35 governors present voted and there is an electronic evidence of this, and Delta State Governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, served as the Returning Officer in the Friday election that produced Governor Amaechi as chairman of NGF.” Who would now separate our governors, dis na roforofo fight!

 

27 May 2013

Going! Going! Going! The Multinational Joint Task Force captured three key assembly Points of Boko Haram insurgents and killed three, including a high profile terrorist identified as Abba, today. The Force also arrested 25 suspected insurgents during a foiled bid to invade Maiduguri, the Borno State capital. But the insurgents killed a security operative. These disclosures were contained in a statement by the Defence Headquarters, signed by its spokesman, Brig.-Gen. Chris Olukolade, on the update on the ongoing special operations in Borno State and two others – Adamawa and Yobe,  where a state of emergency was on.

 

28 May 2013

This should help; he could just be left alone. Amid a grand plot to impeach him, Rivers state Governor Rotimi Amaechi spoke today on his travails, saying he would have no regret if he left office. Amaechi said: “Indeed, it is only the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) that has the guts to suspend a governor without a reason. I leave them to God and to you (the people)…We must come together to defend Rivers State. It’s not about me; I have served eight years as Speaker, nearly six years as governor. Even if I am removed tomorrow, I am satisfied that this state, this country and history will recognise and remember me.”

As the Amaechi drama was on, the Defence Headquarters today confirmed the death of a terrorist believed to be a close associate of the Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau, just as two other terrorists connected to the sect leader were being held by the military. The deceased terrorist died while running an errand for his leader, Shekau.

 

29 May 2013

If you no praise me, I go praise myself! President Goodluck Jonathan described the midterm performance of his administration as creditable. Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) Anyim Pius Anyim, Minister of Finance Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and Minister of National Planning Shamsudeen Usman gave the government a pass mark. And, sincerely speaking, this called for a global celebration.

This was why dem go soon probe Baba o: Former president Olusegun Obasanjo has described Governor Sule Lamido of Jigawa State as a good ‘repairer,” saying that any society desirous of change needed Lamido’s type to bring about such change. This was even as he said while it was easy to help someone find a job, it was impossible to help the same person to do the job, insisting that it was utter rubbish for anyone to say that one man could not bring about change. So, Baba no dey for Oga Jona back again, na Lamido for real!

 

30 May 2013

The video show still continued as 19 out of the nation’s 36 governors were absent when Plateau State Governor, Jonah Jang led faction of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum opened its secretariat in Abuja today. The secretariat was located at Nana Close, Maitama. Aside Jang, governors that were at the event, were those of Kogi, Taraba, Kaduna, Cross River, Katsina, Abia, Anambra, Delta and Ebonyi. Others included Ondo, Benue (deputy), Bauchi, Akwa Ibom, Gombe (deputy) and Bayelsa. Others stayed away from the event. Bad sign from the beginning.

And the people had been living with this killer! Security agents held an Abuja businessman in whose home a catche of arms was found hidden in a bunker. Mustapha Fawaz was the co-owner of the popular Amigo Supermarket and Wonderland Amusement Park – both in Abuja. Security operatives named the three Lebanese suspects today. The assorted firearms were neatly concealed inside coolers and packed inside a bunker in a bungalow on Gaya Road, Bompai, Kano. The cache of arms was linked to the terrorist group, Hezbollah.

 

31 May 2013

No more argument! The Supreme Court, in a unanimous decision today, declined jurisdiction to entertain the appeal filed by the former governor of Ekiti State, Mr. Segun Oni, challenging his removal from office. By implication, the ruling of the apex court retained Dr. Kayode Fayemi of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) as the governor of the state. So everybody should now go back to work.

And it had now been fixed. Chairman, Board of Trustees of the Peoples Democratic Party, Chief Tony Anenih, proposed to the ruling party to grant automatic ticket to President Goodluck Jonathan for the 2015 presidential election. He also asked that governors serving their first term on the platform of the party be exempted from the party’s primaries ahead of the next election. Anenih made the call at a family dinner organized for PDP chiefs at the Presidential Villa, Abuja. The event was attended by President Jonathan; President of the Senate, David Mark; Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal;  national chairman of the party, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, state governors, members of the National Assembly and other party chiefs. And people com dey ask say, at the meeting, na wetin Oga Tambuwal talk o!

And on that note from Mr. “Fix It,” the month of May 2013 was declared missing!

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