Jonathan Congratulates Uhuru Kenyatta

President Goodluck Jonathan has congratulated Mr. Uhuru Kenyatta on his victory in Monday’s presidential election in Kenya as declared Saturday in Nairobi by the country’s Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission.

As Mr. Kenyatta prepares to assume office later this month as the first Kenyan President to come into office under the country’s new constitution which was adopted after the crisis that followed its 2007 elections, President Jonathan urge Kenyatta to rededicate himself to carrying forward the process of national healing and reconciliation.

President Jonathan also called on the Kenyan President-Elect to do his utmost best to foster greater peace, unity and progress in the country by forming a truly national administration that will meet the yearnings and aspirations of all Kenyans, including his opponents and their supporters.

President Jonathan applauded the call by Mr. Kenyatta’s closest rival for the Presidency, Prime Minister Raila Odinga for his supporters to remain calm and eschew violent protests while he takes his complaints about the election results to the Kenyan Supreme Court.

The President also welcomed Mr. Odinga’s expression of confidence in the court and his pledge to adhere to the rule of law and accept the court’s verdict on the elections in good faith.

President Jonathan commended the ordinary people of Kenya who showed their undying faith in democratic governance by turning out in their millions to set a new voter turn-out record of 86 per cent in Monday’s elections.

He however assured them of the best wishes of  his administration and that of the people of Nigeria.



Learn From Ghana’s Election, INEC Commissioner Tells Nigerians

The Cross River State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mike Igini on Tuesday said Ghana will remain the pride of Africa as it stands as a model in African democracy which Nigeria must emulate.

Mr Igini, who was a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, said “the history of a people is a reflection of how they decide to conduct themselves.”

The INEC commissioner said Ghana has conducted six successful elections that has met both local and international standards and that the success is not far-fetched because the saying “Ghana First” applies that every Ghanaians should believe in the country.

He said Ghanaians are where they are today because they started a journey of change some years ago, remaining committed to the value of change and in making the country attain a higher level in Africa and West Africa Sub-region and that they also adopt new method which is the introduction of the biometric system in the election process.

“Some of the things I found in Ghana are quite interesting unlike in our own country; and of course we can see why we are where we are,” he said.

Obasanjo Dances Gangnam Style in Ghana

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, who recently led an ECOWAS team of observers to monitor the Ghana’s general election, thrilled voters, electoral officials and fellow observers with the Gangnam style dance step.

AU suspends Guinea-Bissau for coup

The African Union (AU) suspended Guinea-Bissau on Tuesday over last week’s coup, adding to pressure on military chiefs who said they were ready to restore power to civilians after talks with regional mediators.
Guinea Bissau's soldiers leave a news conference at the military headquarters in the capital Bissau, March 19, 2012. Photo: REUTERS
A high-level delegation from the West African regional grouping ECOWAS, which has branded the coup as “unacceptable”, met Guinea-Bissau’s military overnight and ECOWAS Commission head Desire Kadre Ouedraogo told reporters there was an agreement “on the return to constitutional order”.

Foreign governments and international organisations have condemned Guinea-Bissau’s military after soldiers cut short a presidential election in the impoverished West African state, detaining election front-runner and former Prime Minister Carlos Gomes Junior as well as interim President Raimundo Pereira.

“The (AU’s) Peace and Security Council decides to suspend with immediate effect Guinea Bissau from all activities…until restoration of constitutional order,” AU Commissioner for Peace and Security Ramtane Lamamra said after a meeting at the bloc’s headquarters in Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.

Suspension is the African Union’s normal response to any interruption of constitutional rule in one of its members.

Guinea-Bissau’s Catholic bishops added their voice to the condemnation, while Amnesty International accused the army of clamping down on protests, the media and freedom of movement.
With uncertainty gripping the crumbling coastal capital Bissau, which has been tense since the coup, many residents have fled to find safter locations in the interior.

“Increasingly repressive measures are being employed by the military as they try to stifle mounting criticism within the country and internationally,” Marise Castro, Amnesty International’s Guinea Bissau expert, said in a statement.

The London-based rights group called for the release of Gomes Junior and Pereira, saying they were being held at Mansoa Barracks, 60 km (37 miles) northeast of Bissau.

“Reportedly, both men are being held incommunicado in a mosquito-infested small cell with no water or toilet facilities,” it said, adding that Gomes Junior suffered from diabetes.

The former Portuguese colony has seen several coups and army revolts since independence in 1974 and the latest is a setback for efforts by Western donors to reduce military meddling in politics and counter the influence of Latin American drug-trafficking cartels using the country as a transhipment point.

Lieutenant-Colonel Daha Bana na Walna, spokesman for the Guinea-Bissau army leadership, said ECOWAS would send a technical team to assist in restoring civilian rule.

“It was agreed that ECOWAS would help with the restoration of civilian government,” he told Reuters. Na Walna said the country was calm and there was no disorder.

ECOWAS had also insisted in the talks that Gomes Junior and Pereira be freed.

“As soon as the conditions of security exist for this,” they will be freed,” na Walna said. But he did not specify when or whether Gomes Junior would be allowed to stand again for fresh elections, which the military has said it wants to be held.


It was the second coup in West Africa in less than a month. A March 22 military takeover in Mali saw that Sahel country split in two with Tuareg and Islamist rebels holding the north.
Guinea-Bissau’s military has announced the formation of a “national transition council” tasked with leading the nation to fresh elections. But a refusal to participate by the main political party, PAIGC, has robbed this of any credibility.

Gomes Junior and Pereira are PAIGC members.

The former was the expected winner of a scheduled April 29 presidential election run-off, interrupted by the coup.

Gomes Junior was unpopular with military chiefs because he backed plans to reform the bloated army, which is accused by Western security agencies of involvement in drug-trafficking.

Confusion persists over exactly who masterminded the coup.

A shadowy self-styled “Military Command” said it acted to head off what it alleged was a secret pact between Gomes Junior and Angola to “annihilate Guinea-Bissau’s armed forces”.

Angola had been providing military trainers and advisers to the smaller state in a military cooperation mission. But it announced earlier this month that it was ending the mission.

Guinea-Bissau military spokesmen have declined to confirm rumours that armed forces Chief of Staff General Antonio Indjai also was removed in the coup, saying only that he was “safe”.

Many believe Indjai, the nation’s most influential military figure, was the architect. “The question has been whether Indjai is in detention or behind the coup but the consensus now is that it is the latter,” one Bissau-based diplomat said.


Jonathan condemns coup in Guinea-Bissau

The Nigeria President, Goodluck Jonathan on Friday condemned the on-going attempt by a segment of the military in Guinea- Bissau to subvert the country’s constitutional order and truncate the democratic process which has already been initiated for the election of a legal successor to late President Malam Bacai Sanha.

The Nigeria President, Goodluck Jonathan condemns the on-going attempt by a segment of the military in Guinea- Bissau

In a press statement signed by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Jonathan urged “the Military High Command of Guinea-Bissau to refrain from any further action that threatens the lives of the elected leaders of the Republic of Guinea-Bissau and the established democratic order.”

The Nigerian President also demanded “the immediate release of all those being detained and the restoration of civil democratic rule and constitutional order” in Guinea-Bissau.
He welcomed the Military’s declaration that it is not interested in political power, and urges them to take urgent action in confirmation of that declaration.

Mr Jonathan further said that “Nigeria is ready and prepared to act in concert with other members of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to ensure that the collective effort being made by the people of Guinea-Bissau and friends of the country to entrench democracy, good governance and political stability in the country is not thwarted by an unwelcome military intervention in whatever guise.”

He said that whatever grievances the military may have had that prompted them to take these actions can be redressed through dialogue and noted that some of the grievances were already being addressed by the ECOWAS at its Meeting held in Abidjan, Cote D’Ivoire on Thursday.

Soldiers in Guinea-Bissau have arrested the outgoing Prime Minister, Carlos Gomes Junior, in a suspected coup bid.

A military press attaché and his wife confirmed his detention, after gunfire was heard close to his home in the capital overnight.

The military seized government offices and controlled main roads in the capital on Friday after attacking the former prime minister’s home in an apparent coup to derail his election to the presidency, diplomats and residents said.