Nigerian News from Leadership News Thu, 05 Mar 2015 06:46:36 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Heavens Won’t Fall If Jonathan Sack Jega – Fayose Thu, 05 Mar 2015 06:42:40 +0000 Ekiti State governor, Ayodele Fayose, has described the outbursts of the All Progressives Congress (APC) over the possible removal of the chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Prof Attahiru Jega as “mere comedy,” saying; “President Goodluck Jonathan can sack Jega if he wishes and if he does, heavens will not fall.”

The governor, who said the APC should stop acting as if Nigeria belongs to the party, added that, “by turning themselves to advocates and defenders of the INEC chairman, the APC and its agents have shown that they have a deal with Jega to manipulate the elections and that the deal will be frustrated if he is asked to leave office.”

Fayose stated this in a statement made available yesterday by his special assistant on Public Communications and New Media, Lere Olayinka.

The governor said, “Removal of Jega and any other appointees of the federal government is a prerogative of the president, which no one can question, provided laid down rules are followed.”

He said the position expressed by the House of Representatives was that of the APC members in the House, urging that “the APC lawmakers should rather pay attention to the ill-health of their party’s presidential candidate, General Mohammadu Buhari, whose whereabouts is now a mystery.”

The governor described Jega as partisan, saying; “By his actions and utterances, Jega had already demonstrated his bias in support of the APC. For instance, how can Jega explain the 80 percent distribution of Permanent Voters Card (PVC) in Boko Haram ravaged Borno and Yobe States while less than 40 percent distributed in Lagos as at February 7 that the election was postponed?”


MASSOB Demands INEC Boss Resignation

Meanwhile, the leader of the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) Chief Ralph Uwazuruike has demanded the resignation of Jega.

He also claimed that the country would be engulfed in crisis if Jega insisted on conducting the Presidential/National Assembly as well as the Governorship/House of Assembly elections rescheduled for March 28 and April 11 respectively.

Addressing a world press conference in Owerri, the Imo State capital yesterday, the MASSOB alleged that Jega was bent on conducting a kangaroo election where he intends to pronounce his preferred candidate the winner of the poll.

He said that the allegation that Jega met with governors of an unnamed political party in Dubai, was enough reason for him to resign as INEC chairman.

Uwazuruike warned that the South-East and South-South would boycott the elections if Jega insisted on remaining in office, adding that the Igbo residents in the northern part of the country would largely be affected in the event of eruption of crisis before, during and after the elections.

“It has become increasingly worrisome that despite strong allegations of bias against the INEC boss, Attahiru Jega, he (Jega) is still preparing to conduct the forthcoming general elections.

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APC Protests Brain Dead Allegation Against Buhari Thu, 05 Mar 2015 06:41:30 +0000 The All Progressives Congress Presidential Campaign Organisation (APCPCO) has described the wife of the president, Dame Patience Jonathan as “an incredibly crude woman” but thanked Nigerians for putting up with her.

The party also urged the president to call her wife to order over her recent comment on the presidential candidate, Gen Muhammadu Buhari..

The APCPCO said in a statement yesterday in Abuja that it is not only insulting for Mrs Jonathan to describe Buhari as “brain-dead” it is also demeaning of her status as the First Lady.

Spokesman of APCPCO, Mr Garuba Shehu also observed that it was discourteous and inexcusable for a wife of any president with a modicum of decency to make such a false and infantile pronouncement about the health status of another man on account of politics.

The APCPCO recalls that in recent time, Mrs Jonathan had made statements invoking violence like she did in Calabar over the weekend when she urged PDP supporters to “stone” all those canvassing for change.

Shehu said that it was below the standard of a wife of a president to stoop so low to call for violent attacks against members of the opposition.

The statement noted that while a good number of Nigerians are not taken by surprise by Mrs. Jonathan’s recent incredulous pronouncements, it is important for her husband to put her in bridles in the spirit of the Abuja Peace Accord.

The APCPCO similarly observed that much as indecent the outbursts of Mrs. Jonathan was in attempting to pull the wool over the eyes of Nigerians about her husband’s incompetence to lead the country, it is typical of the PDP’s modus operandi to confuse Nigerians with mundane issues instead of the issues of corruption, for which her husband has achieved an unbeaten record; his appalling lack capacity to secure life and property of citizens and a glaring incompetence in dealing with the challenges facing the economy.


…Counsels Jonathan on religious institutions

Meanwhile, the APC Presidential Campaign Organisation (APCPCO) has condemned the desperate tactics of President Goodluck Jonathan of using religion to gain sympathy and remain in office at all costs.

The party in a statement from the Directorate of Media and Publicity of the campaign and signed by Malam Garba Shehu, said it is surprising why the president has turned worship centres into platforms for making official statements or announcing government policies.

According to Shehu, using worship centres as platforms for making major official statements could create precedents that the country could not handle in the future.

He said “If predecessor Presidents did not use the Mosques or Churches to make official statements of public importance, it is wrong for President Jonathan to start something that is already sending the wrong message.”

The statement said with the exploitation of religion for political gains, President Jonathan and his PDP-led government have lost any basis to accuse its presidential candidate, General MuhammaduBuhari of being a religious “bigot” or “fanatic”.

Meanwhile, the APC presidential campaign said it was scandalized by reports of money being allegedly shared to religious leaders by President Jonathan in order to buy their conscience.

The APCPCO said it was incredibly embarrassed as to why a government would allegedly seek to bribe religious leaders in order to cover up its misdeeds and win re-election, despite its incompetence and non-performance.

It regretted that bribing religious leaders would not only bring them into disrepute but also make nonsense of President Jonathan’s claim to fight corruption.


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Elections: INEC Holds Sensitisation Workshop For PLWDs Thu, 05 Mar 2015 05:07:16 +0000 The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Kaduna State yesterday held a sensitisation workshop for People Living With Disabilities (PLWDs) in the state ahead of the March and April general election.

The sensitisation workshop according to the Kaduna State resident electoral commissioner (REC) Alhaji Hussaini Ahmed Mahuta was part of efforts to enlighten the electorate on the various electoral processes so as to avoid past mistakes related to voter apathy, violence, election rigging, wrong voting pattern and misinformation.

Alhaji Mahuta who was represented by the head of department, Voters Education, Gender and Civil Organisation of the commission in the state, Alhaji Abdullahi Adamu Gujungu, said, the commission has realised the importance of interacting nationally and internationally with all relevant stakeholders to ensure effective communication of the commission’s functions.

He said the commission is determined to mobilise the voting population towards effective participation through series of sensitisation forum such as workshops and seminars with various stakeholders and through the use of both print and electronic media for voter education programmes such as television and radio jingles, interviews, call in programmes and press releases.

The REC further stated in his key note address to the workshop that, “in an effort to eradicate past problems such as rigging and multiple voting and also simplify voting process, INEC introduced the use of smart card reader for accreditation, verification and authentication of voters.

at all polling units for the general elections.

To the PLWD, he said, “I want to assure you that the Commission regards your association as a valuable stakeholders, appreciates the challenges that you encounter during elections but nevertheless remain committed to the process and are willing to assist in anyway legally possible to eliminate or at least reduce your hardships, which is one of the reasons for the workshop.

“The task ahead of us is enormous, therefore, all hands are required to be on deck to make it a success. We therefore count on you to serve as voter education officers in your respective neighbourhoods and be a good ambassadors of the commission by obtaining your Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) as no prospective voter will be allowed to exercise his franchise without the PVC” he stressed.

Earlier, in his address one of the disabled person Micah Shabi who presented a paper at the workshop assured the full participation of the PLWD in the entire election process as long as an enabling environment is provided by all relevant authorities.

He disclosed that there are over 23 million persons with various disabilities in Nigeria, while in Kaduna State, there are over 700 PLWD, a proportion he said should not be ignored.

“we are prepared to contribute our quota and will pray for the peaceful general election in Nigeria, once moren we want to register our deep appreciation for considering us worthy for the sensitization” he said.

Also speaking at the workshop, Assistant Director programs of the National Orientation Agency (NOA) Mrs Gupada Rhoda further tasked the PLWD on the need to collect their PVCS and actively in the election processes.

He urged them not to see their situation as a challenge, stressing that there is ability in disability.


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Card Readers ’ll Disenfranchise Eligible Voters, Says 7 Parties Thu, 05 Mar 2015 05:03:26 +0000 Concerned leaders of seven political parties and five presidential candidates have called on the chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof Attahiru Jega, not to use the proposed Card Readers during the forthcoming elections, saying it would disenfranchise millions of eligible voters.

The political parties are Advanced Congress of Democrats (ACD), MEGA Progressive Peoples Party (MPPP), Peoples Party of Nigeria, (PPN), Alliance for Democracy (AD), African Democratic Party (ADP), Citizens Popular Party (CPP) and Social Democratic Party of Nigeria (SDPN).

They said the concept of using card readers for this coming elections as being planned by INEC, has a lot of implications which may negatively impact on the conduct of a credible, free and fair elections on March 28 and April 11.

The Chairman of Advanced Congress of Democrats (ACD), Dr Onwubuya Breakforth who spoke on behalf of the political parties at a world press conference in Abuja yesterday, themed ‘Controversial INEC Card Reader for the 2015 election’, said that the first drawback, is that the device is relatively a new technology that has not been tested or tried in a kind of mock election or previous formal elections prio to this time.

According to him, it would have enabled the nation and the electoral umpire itself, to properly ascertain its workability and efficiency in the conduct of the real general elections, that the decision by INEC to commence the test-run of the use of Card Readers in some of select states across the country on Saturday March 7, 2015, just less than three weeks to the commencement of the re-scheduled election, would not provide the Commission enough time to rectify whatever anomaly that would likely arise from that exercise.

He said, “Moreover, if the card reader should develop some technical problems, there is a possibility that the consequences of such development would affect about 40 or 50 percent of the polling booths nationwide.

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I’m Not Against Card Readers But… – Uduaghan Thu, 05 Mar 2015 05:02:02 +0000 Delta State Governor, Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan, has expressed concern over the decision to use card readers for the 2015 general elections by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Uduaghan said that should the card readers fail or many people are unable to vote because of inability to collect their permanent voter cards (PVCs), there would be confusion and a serious challenge for the country.

Speaking when the European Union (EU) Ambassador to Nigeria and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Mr. Michel Arrion, paid him a courtesy visit in Asaba yesterday, he said that he had nothing against the use of the card readers but that it must be well tested to ensure that nothing goes wrong on Election Day.

“Delta state has 40% of what we call difficult areas to reach areas, meaning water and swamp and right now we know that INEC is in the process of using card readers and PVCs. We are not against the card readers but we also do not want it to be used in such a way that our people will not be happy at the end of the day. We think that enough underground work has not been done yet on the use of the card readers”, he stated.

He argued that the electorate need to be properly sensitized and mobilized to ensure that they are carried along and that there were no hitches with the elections.

“Our people need to be better educated on the use of the card readers if not it will turn out to be a mess. I can comfortably say that if that election on February 14th was held, Nigeria would have been in confusion. It is obvious from what we can see because we still have the challenge of people going to collect their permanent voters’ card.

“We still have a gap but again technically it is the card readers which I think the EU has a responsibility of assisting INEC in perfecting the use. I know INEC is insisting on the use of them and we are not against their use but what we are saying is that if by the 28th of March people are not sufficiently educated enough to understand the use of the card readers then we must think twice before using it if not the election will be a big mess,” he said.

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We Won’t Be Distracted By Rumours Of Jega’s Removal – INEC Thu, 05 Mar 2015 04:31:33 +0000 The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)? yesterday shrugged off rumours of the planned removal of its Chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega, saying it is focused on preparations to conduct the general elections, billed for March 28 and April 11.

This comes as commission disclosed that a total of 55, 232, 875 Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) or 80.24 per cent have been distributed just as the outstanding one million PVCs have been received by INEC.

Chairman of the INEC Information and Voter Education Committee, Dr. Chris Iyimoga, who spoke at a press conference said “?we are not distracted, we are very focused. ?The country should expect nothing than the best from INEC in this year’s general elections”.

Dr. Iyimoga who is also an INEC National Commissioner?, stated that only President Goodluck Jonathan and the National Assembly can determine the time Jega will leave office.

Despite explanations by President Goodluck Jonathan, that he has no plans to remove Jega, speculations were rife that moves were on to make Jega proceed on terminal leave this month, because his tenure in office end in June this year.


He said “this is not an area I should dabble into. The appointment of the Chairman of the commission is the responsibility of Mr. president and it has an endorsement of the National Assembly and whatever position that is to be taken has to come from that end”, he said.

Iyimoga expressed confidence that with the improvement in the security ?situation in the North East, INEC is “prepared to hold elections in some areas where there is IDPs (internally displaced persons)”.

On the level of PVC distribution, the INEC national commissioner disclosed that a total of 55, 232, 875 permanent voter’s cards (PVCs) or 80.24 per cent have so far been distributed while the outstanding one million PVCs have been received.

The commission is also going to be in position to make a categorical statement about when this PVCs are to be distributed finally because we have told this nation that we still have about a million which we expect this week and in fact, I spoke with the director ICT and he said he has gotten it and we will see what time we will give for those who are yet to collect theirs.

“Let me make this very clear and I want you to take me by my words, the commission has made the commitment that by the 8th of this month which is Sunday we are likely to say collections of PVC should stop. ?There is likelihood of extension”, he added.

He added that the commission had received ballot papers meant for all the elections since February 12 which have been deployed to the states accordingly.

“They are securely locked at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) vaults across the states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), awaiting further distribution at the eve of each of the elections. We have also received and distributed all ballot boxes meant for the elections.

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N300bn RSSF: SMEs To Access Up To N10bn Facility Thu, 05 Mar 2015 04:28:00 +0000 The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has released guidelines for the disbursement of the N300 billion Real Sector Support Facility (RSSF), wherein small and medium enterprises (SMEs) will have access to financing up to N10 billion.

According to the guidelines released by the apex bank yesterday, the facility with a nine per cent interest rate, would be used to support large enterprises for startups and expansion financing needs of N500 million to a maximum of N10 billion.

“The facility shall be administered at an all-in Interest rate/charge of nine percent per annum payable on quarterly basis. Specifically, the Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN) shall be entitled to earn three per cent as interest and the banks, a six percent spread,” the guideline stated.

The apex bank noted that the facility would only be made available to SMEs in the services, manufacturing and agricultural value chain (non-primary production) sectors and would have a maximum loan tenure of 15 years ending on December 31, 2030.

The N300 billion RSSF would also only be available to companies for long term loan acquisition of plant and machinery and for working capital.To assess the facility, the guideline stipulated that the company applying must be a member of the relevant organised private sector associations such as the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Nigerian Association of Small and Medium enterprises (NASME), Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), Nigerian Association of Small Scale Industrialists (NASSI) amongst others.

The facility is to be assessed by the SMEs through deposit money banks and development finance institutions which would send the application to the development finance department of the CBN which is responsible for the day-to-day administration of the facility.

According to the CBN, the RSSF is part of its measures to unlock the potential of the real sector to engender output growth, value-added productivity and job creation.


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We Know Shekau’s Hideout – Chadian President Thu, 05 Mar 2015 04:26:56 +0000 Chadian president, Idriss Deby, has said that he knew where the outlawed Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau, was hiding and vowed to hunt him out, Hausa Service of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) monitored in Abuja, yesterday, reports.

Deby, while receiving his Nigerien counterpart, Mahamadou Issoufou, said that his country is committed to wiping out Boko Haram and called on the group leader, Shekau to give himself up.

“It is in Abubakar Shekau’s interest to surrender, we know where he is. If he refuses to give himself up, he will suffer the same fate as his comrades,” Deby said.

Deby said Shekau had fled the strategic northeast Nigerian town of Dikwa after Boko Haram fighters were chased out of the town by Chadian troops in fierce clashes last month.

The Chadian army at the time said two of its soldiers and 117 Boko Haram militants were killed in the fighting around Dikwa in Borno State on February 17.

Little is known of Shekau, who has been declared a global terrorist by the United States and sanctioned by the United Nations.

“We are going to win the war and we are going to wipe out Boko Haram, contrary to what certain media think. The Chadian and Niger forces will continue their mission to finally put an end to this shadowy group,” Deby said.

Nigeria and its neighbours Chad, Niger and Cameroon last month launched an unprecedented joint campaign against the Nigeria-based Boko Haram group, after the militants widened their offensive with attacks in the neighbouring countries.



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Group Uncovers Plot To Discredit FCT Minister Thu, 05 Mar 2015 04:24:36 +0000 The group, Nigerians United for Transparent Transformation, has blown the lid over secret plot orchestrated by the former Executive Secretary of Federal Capital Territory Development Authority, Engr. Mohammed Alhassan to smear the image of the FCT Minister, Bala Mohammed and discredit his administration over claims of illegal land acquisition.

In a statement made available to journalists, signed by the Executive Secretary of the group,  Mr. Omonya Michael in Abuja, it alleged that Engr. Mohammed Alhassan motives is bent on soiling Sen. Bala ‘ s image as part of his vendetta against the minister.

According to him, the former FCDA secretary who is an All Progressives Congress (APC) stalwart, holds a vendetta against the minister who dismissed him in 2013 after an indictment by a panel set by the minister to investigate allegations of financial misappropriation and over pricing of contracts as well as award of contracts to personal phony companies leveled against Engr. Alhassan.

Speaking further the activist added that the former FCT employee was further influenced by political motives. He said that Engr. Alhassan was also sponsoring smear campaigns against Bala Mohammed and President Goodluck Jonathan in a bid to discredit the Peoples Democratic Party ( PDP ),  since his wife, Hajiya Jummai Alhassan is also a gubernatorial flag-bearer of the APC in Taraba State.

“Based on information available to NUTTS,  Alhassan who is now using stolen wealth to get back at Bala while sponsoring his wife to clinch the Taraba governorship under the APC ticket, is still one of the richest persons in and outside the FCT and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), should promptly intervene to stop a desperate  man like Alhassan, who has sworn to destroy institutions of state as long as Bala Mohammed remains FCT minister”. It read in part

He also added that the grouse extended to the reason that the dismissed Secretary had confiscated land illegally acquired for his wife, where she built a shopping mall, which was also demolished by the Bala administration in its strive to ensure compliance to master plan and due process.

“Many staffs of the Commission strongly believe that Bala Mohammed is the messiah that has come to rescue them from Alhassan and his co-travelers. But however, it remains a mystery to be unraveled by NUTT on how an ordinary citizen was able to assume the position of a demi-god without anybody curbing his excesses until it has degenerated to this ugly level.”

Mr. Omonya who described his group as a whistle-blower, claimed they felt it necessary to expose their findings in order to clear public misconceptions and also set the record straight by exposing the real issues behind the widely publicised falsehood against the president and the minister’s administration which has performed creditably well.

He also maintained that Engr. Alhassan had made himself stupendously rich while serving as Executive Secretary of the FCDA through illegal means and should be cooling his heels in Kirikiri maximum prison save for the intervention of the Minister who saw no reason to put a fellow Arewa brether behind bars but unfortunately his kind deed has been repaid with ungratefulness as seen in these smear campaigns.

The group wonders how an ordinary citizen was able to assume the position of a demigod, without anyone caring to curb his excesses till it got to such level. They claim his ouster has further deepened the Authority’s staff belief in the leadership of Bala Mohammed. “Claim of land grabbing labeled against the president and the Minister was baseless as the constitution had provided rights for the acquisition of land for agricultural use by public and civil servants and thus the duo had done no wrong,” the statement added.


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Group Wants FG To Compensate Victims Of Zaki Biam Thu, 05 Mar 2015 03:52:20 +0000 Apparently worried by the delay in compensating victims of the Zaki Biam massacre, a pro-democracy group, National Democratic Front has urged the federal government to consider the plight of victims of the unfortunate incident by responding to their calls for compensation.

The group, who met with journalists in Abuja yesterday, urged the federal government to shun all distractions and pay the agreed compensation fee to the State as the official arbiter on behalf of the victims.

Speaking through its national Coordinator, Comrade Philip Agbese, the group said it was unfortunate that certain elements in the State were trying to sabotage the noble efforts of the federal government to bring succor to those affected and their families.

Agbese added that those who were against the State government’s receipt of the money were only being selfish and insensitive to the plight of victims.

Supporting their claim, the group said they were in support of the government because “there is no other person or group of persons with the statistics and data of affected persons like the State government, who at the heat of the crisis catered for victims”.

The coordinator commended the State government for pursuing the money on the victim’s behalf, and encouraged the State governor to push on until the victims get their demanded compensation as according to him “it is the ordained responsibility of the state”.

The group further called on the federal government to ensure justice is done by paying the approved sum rather than play politics with the matter, noting that “justice delayed is justice denied.”


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