ASUU Strike: Make Evidence Of Claimed Payment Public, Lawyer Tells Government

Mr. Victor Odunaiya, Lawyer and Public Affairs Analyst.The Nigerian government has been asked to make the evidence of the 200 billion Naira it claims to have paid into a Central Bank Account, as agreed with the striking Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), public.

The call came a day after a government spokesman, Dr. Doyin Okupe, said that the Federal Government had deposited the money as agreed with the union into a CBN Account.

But a public affairs analyst, Mr. Victor Odunaiya, described the statement as a strategy by the government to find justification for its actions, insisting that an evidence is needed.

“The government has not complied with the agreement and it is insincerity on their part,” he told Channels Television on Wednesday’s edition of Sunrise Daily.

Mr. Odunaiya, who is also a lawyer, urged the government to justify its claims by sending a copy of the evidence of payment to the leadership of the union.

“The government says it has made payment but ASUU is not notified. If they were notified then they would not be justified for continuing the strike.

‘Political Language’

“What is wrong with Okupe bringing a copy of the payment and handing it over to the union or what is wrong with the CBN Governor, Lamido Sanusi , calling the leadership of the union to confirm payment?” he questioned.

The lawyer described as ‘political language’ Okupe’s statement that the meeting between President Goodluck Jonathan and the leadership of the union was enough for ASUU to have called off the strike, as it showed the government’s commitment to resolving the issue.

He pointed out that since 2009, the Federal Government had not deemed it feat to meet their obligations towards the union.

“How do you expect them to accept oral speech or comments?” he also questioned.

He supported the view that an agreement should be enforceable among the parties that reached the agreement and must carry in it clauses that would ensure its enforcement.

Mr. Odunaiya called on both the government and the union to reconsider their positions as the parents and students were bearing the burden of the effect of the combat.

ASUU Strike: Fresh Demands Do Not Make Sense – Okupe

The Senior Special Assistant to President Goodluck Jonathan on Public Affairs, Dr Doyin Okupe, has stated that there is no reason for the ongoing industrial action by Nigerian university lecturers to continue.

He was guest on Channels Television flagship breakfast programme, ‘Sunrise Daily’ to discuss the issues.

Okupe said that from the Government’s perspective, everything that needs to be done has been done and whether the strike would be called off or not now lies in the hands of the leadership of ASUU.

He said that most of the demands of the Academic Staff Union of Nigerian Universities, ASUU, have been agreed upon at the 13-hour meeting they had with the President in October.

“At the end of that meeting, the Government proposed that everything that has been agreed should be put in a memorandum of agreement and that the two parties should sign, but the leadership of ASUU declined and said instead of that, they would rather have a letter of comfort expressing everything that has been resolved therein, and that will suffice for them.”

According to him, the Government agreed to their request and issued the said letter based on the agreement that the strike would be called off within 7 days. However, this did not happen “in spite of the fact that the ASUU leadership presented the letter of comfort to its chapters nationwide and a clear majority of them endorsed the resolutions reached and actually were more inclined towards calling off the strike.”

Dr Okupe stressed that the attitude of the ASUU leadership showed that the seed of discord and evidence of bad faith already existed.  “It is unfortunate that somebody died but notwithstanding, that cannot be a justification for delaying the implementation of an agreement for 21 or more days.

Reading from the ‘Letter of Comfort’ issued by the Federal Government in agreement with the leadership of ASUU, the government agreed that Nigerian universities must be revitalized for effective service delivery, all the provisions in the agreement and MoU for the revitalization shall be fully implemented as captured in the 2012 Needs Assessment and the Federal Government shall mobilize resource towards this goal.

“Based on this, it was also agreed that a sum of N1.3 trillion shall be made available to ASUU over the next 6 years starting from December 2013 with (the sum of) N200 billion. The FGN therefore request that the ASUU shall within 7 days call off its 4 month strike.”

Contrary to the Federal Government’s expectation that ASUU would call off the strike, ASUU in another document said that they “could not call off the strike because of certain uncertainties or gaps that are evident in the government’s report.”

Okupe asked fiercely, “what are these uncertainties? He accused ASUU of turning around to again state four new conditions for the strike to be called off. They demanded that the agreed N200 billion should be deposited in an account at the Central Bank within 2 weeks, while the negotiation of the 2009 agreement should be included in the final document.

The ASUU, according to Okupe also demanded that a non-victimization clause should be included as well as a new MoU signed by the Attorney-General.

Dismissing their requests, he said a demand for a memorandum is a waste of people’s time because this is ideally what should follow any agreement made between two parties in the first place, and that by International Labour Laws which Nigeria is guided by, no one is expected to be victimized for going on strike.

He also said that ASUU, asking that the MoU with Federal Government should be signed by the Attorney-General “does not make sense” because anyone of high standing in Government can sign for it. He added that an account has already been opened for the N200 billion they are requesting for in the Central Bank.

Okupe added that the government has shown commitment by meeting with the leadership of ASUU, and agreeing to its demands, considering that previous governments did not give them such an opportunity to sit down and discuss. He called on ASUU to do the right thing for the benefit of the nation.

“The Government cannot be seen to be contesting with any sector of the economy or the country. This President is interested in moving Nigeria forward through a very well-articulated transformation agenda.”

APC Is Made Up Of PDP Renegades – Okupe

The President’s senior special adviser on public affairs; Dr Doyin Okupe on Sunday at a press briefing claimed  the merger plan by some opposition parties lacks the quality it professes, calling them names.

He also claimed that merger party is made up of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) renegades.

Dr Okupe described the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) as a party of an individual and one that’s bereft of any form of democratic quality and liberalism and lacks internal democracy.

 He further described the proposed merger as “incongruous alliance of political weaklings, dysfunctional Lilliputians and repeatedly frustrated political power mongers.”

But the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN’s) national publicity secretary, Mr Lai Muhammed dismisses the claim, saying that the PDP is getting jittery and scared of the opposition.

The National leader of ACN, Mr Bola Tinubu had at the ACN convention stated that “the current government’s trademark is to throw empty words and hollow actions at our problems,” while the leader of the Congress of Progressive Change (CPC) Muhammadu Buhari vowed that APC would resist any move by the PDP to rig elections in 2015.

But Okupe said the arrowheads of the opposition merger lacked “the antecedent that support their claim of possessing what it takes to move Nigeria forward.”

“It is evident that the proposed merger revolves around two personalities only, Senator Tinubu and Gen.  Buhari. Unfortunately, both are heavily burdened political liabilities” he said.

He also claimed that promoters of the APC were desperate to “supplant the Jonathan administration, forgetting that one million giant ants can never muster the required strength to lift a concrete pole much less of a nationally entrenched pillar and structurally established institution like the PDP.”

Dr Okupe did not mince words against the national leader of ACN, inferring the the former governor of Lagos state; Bola Tinubu, who has insistently made disparaging comments against the federal government, left a bad record in office when he held sway as the governor of the one of the richest state in Nigeria.


Outsourcing Presidential Candidates

The Presidential aide in his criticism of the major parties in the APC merger, called the ACN a “motley assembly”   that lacks internal democracy and “notorious for outsourcing its presidential candidates from the PDP.”

“It is noteworthy that the major plank of this motley assembly, the ACN, is notorious for outsourcing its presidential candidate from the ranks of the same PDP they gleefully villify.

 “In 2003, their choice was Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, who now knows them better. In 2011, it was a protégé of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, who filled the slot although he was later betrayed and sacrificed on the altar of self-interest.”

“Presently, the debates within the factionalised alliance suggest that they will not mind fielding another PDP stalwart as their presidential candidate.”

He also claimed that the All Nigerian Peoples Party (ANPP) “had existed for 13 years without any meaningful impact on the polity,”

Okupe said that the administration of Tinubu in Lagos State was characterised by labour crisis and that it did not at any time attain 60 per cent budget implementation.

“The leader of the opposition, Chief Bola Tinubu, who spoke disparagingly about the Federal Government on a number of issues   was once a governor of Nigeria’s richest state  for eight years and we all have a record of what he made of that position” he said.

On the National Chairman of the ACN, Chief Bisi Akande, he noted that when he (Akande) was the governor of Osun State, workers were denied N5,500 minimum wage.

He added that the Akande regime laid off over 9,000 workers during its   four years in office

Stop Blaming Jonathan For Police Commissioner’s Murder – Okupe

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Doyin Okupe has criticised the comments by the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) that the inability of the Federal Government to guarantee the security of the country is an indication of a failing state.

Addressing a news conference in Abuja on Tuesday, Mr. Okupe stated that criminality exists everywhere in the world but he admitted that the Federal Government has an over-riding duty to ensure the safety of lives and properties.

Disagreeing with the stance by the ACN’s spokesperson that the killing of the Kwara State Commissioner of Police is an indication that Nigeria is fast becoming a failed state, Mr. Okupe stated that the killing of the Police boss cannot be taking as an index of a failed state because in advanced countries, such killings do occur and nobody lays such deaths on their Presidents or denigrate their countries.

He, however, gave the assurance that the Federal Government is doing everything to ensure that the perpetrators of the crime are made to face the full weight of the law.

The Kwara State Commissioner of Police, Mr Chinwe Asadu, was murdered over the weekend by unknown gunmen in Enugu State.

Cheap Political Points

Mr. Okupe also took a swipe at the recent visit to Borno State by some governors under the aegis of the All Progressives Congress (APC) saying the visit was borne out of the governors’ ambition to score cheap political points.

Meanwhile, President Jonathan is also expected to visit Borno State later this week.

PDP Is Headache For Nigeria’s Opposition Parties – Bamanga Tukur

The National Chairman of the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Bamangar Tukur has described the All Progressives Congress (APC) merger as a tablet for those seeking for cure from the PDP’s headache which according to him, is plaguing Nigeria’s opposition parties.

Alhaji Tukur gave this description while addressing warring factions of the PDP in the six states of the south-west in Abuja, urging the leaders to resolve internal differences through dialogue.

Saying the ruling party remains the headache of the opposition in the country and that is why members of the opposition were looking for drugs to cure their sickness.

“PDP is the headache of the opposition in the country. That is why they are looking for APC drug to cure their sickness.

Tukur’s side-splitting reference to the APC as a drug was meant to deride the name of the opposition party, born from the merging of four major opposition political parties.

Tukur, who came to the meeting with members of the party’s National Working Committee, appealed to PDP members in the zone to remain united.

“You people in the South-West must remain united to be relevant. Use your energy in coming together and stop fighting. That is the only way to get power.”

Other members of the Board of Trustees including Zonal chairman, Chief Segun Oni noted that the way forward to end years of acrimony in the South West is through the spirit of inclusiveness and reformation without revenge.

Meanwhile, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on public affairs, Dr Doyin Okupe alleged that the leadership of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) is responsible for the marginalization of the Yoruba’s and not President Jonathan.

According to him, “the issue of marginalisation of the South-West was a political misadventure and political accident, brought about by the Yoruba themselves. If you would recollect, the Yoruba were supposed to produce the Speaker of the House of Representatives, which is the number four position in Nigeria.”

“But due to the political mishandling of the leadership of the Yoruba and also the sabotage of the Yoruba people by the Yoruba leadership. I am talking about the people in the ACN now. The Yoruba people in the ACN conspired against the Yoruba people and allowed the position to be taken away. That is the beginning of marginalisation.”

“You see, when people sit down to share what is not enough and you don’t have anybody to speak for you, there is a problem” he explained.

ACN Accuses PDP Led FG Of Deceit And False Statistics

The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has accused the Jonathan Administration of engaging in governance by deceit, saying the administration has been overstating its achievements and making fake promises to Nigerians.

In a statement issued in Lagos on Sunday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the “party also slammed the President’s Special Adviser on Public Affairs, Dr. Doyin Okupe, for making himself a purveyor of blatant lies and for having the temerity to denigrate the country’s opposition for daring to criticize a non-performing government.

The party “said only a government that swims in corruption and lacks self-respect and decency can pick as its spokesperson a man who has been shown to be an epitome of corruption by collecting funds for contracts that were not executed”.

ACN said the government’s claim, through Dr. Okupe, that it will generate 780,000 jobs in 2013 through the ‘Young Graduate Employment Scheme’ and 5,000 jobs in each of the 36 states through SURE-P is the latest example of the Administration’s lies.

”Our advice to the teeming young graduates who have no jobs is that they should not allow themselves to be hoodwinked by this promise. They should remember that this same Administration promised to create 10,000 jobs in each of the 36 states through SURE-P in 2012. The year is over, and all we have now are phantom jobs and more fake promises,” the party said.

It also urged Nigerians to ensure that their generators are in good working condition, as the government’s promise of stable electricity in 2013 is as unrealistic as it is deceitful.

”The Administration said it has generated an all-time high 4,500 megawatts and will increase the number to 7,000MW in 2013. What a celebration of tokenism! In the first instance, the government should be ashamed to tell Nigerians it has been able to generate only 4,500MW from a huge expenditure of 16 billion dollars!

”Also, no one needs a rocket scientist to know that 4,500MW cannot ensure stable electricity supply in a country of 160 million people, when South Africa, with less than a third of Nigeria’s population, generates over 40,000MW.

The ACN advised Nigerians not to throw away their generators yet just because of an imaginary power stability promised by a government spokesman who has nothing but disdain for the truth,” ACN said.

The party also faulted the Administration’s claim that the bombings and killings in the north have decreased from January to December, calling it fabricated cold comfort and a disservice to millions of our citizens who are daily being subjected to terror attacks, “while President Jonathan, now a professional mourner, resorts to endless lamentation instead of decisive action”.

”Well, we are not surprised at the claim of reduced terror attacks by the Jonathan Administration. After all, the same Administration claimed that global anti-corruption body Transparency International acknowledged Nigeria’s progress in fighting corruption, when nothing like that ever happened.

”To set the record straight, 750 people have been killed in terror attacks in the north this year, a figure higher than about 570 who were killed in 2011, and not counting the latest killings in Borno and Adamawa states,” it said.

ACN advised the Jonathan Administration to level up with Nigerians by admitting its failings and rolling up its sleeves, so to say, to reverse the ‘transmogrification’ which the President’s Transformation Agenda has become, instead of relying on a hypocritical spokesman to peddle lies to citizens who are already reeling under the failure of an impotent government.


Doyin Okupe rejects Nigeria’s ranking by Transparency Int’l

Following the Transparency International’s recent report ranking Nigeria as the 35th most corrupt country, President Goodluck Jonathan’s Senior Special Adviser on public affairs Dr Doyin Okupe, has rejected the report.

The president aide at a media parley on Thursday argued that a wide range of institutional reforms  undertaken from the power sector, judiciary, electoral reforms and most recently the oil sector are clear demonstration of the administration’s fight against corruption.

He noted that the President’s will not to go on the streets to broadcast his effort, should not be interpreted to mean lack of political will, adding that the President is doing a great deal to fight the endemic corruption that his administration did not build.



Ribadu’s committee bungled an opportunity to reform the oil sector – Analysts

The Nuhu Ribadu led committee on the Petroleum Revenue Taskforce has been blamed for rushing to submit its report on the investigation of the nation’s oil sector, thereby bungling an opportunity to reform the oil sector.

This was acknowledged by the two guests on our weekend show, Sunrise, who both enjoined the federal government not to dump the report.

They called for another committee to be set-up to further investigate the report and reconcile the controversial figures.

According to Mr Oladeinde Ariyo, a security expert, “the committee was in no doubt self-destruct with some intrusion in the committee” he stated while speaking on the members that made up the committee.

But the committee shot itself in the foot by admitting that figures in the report were not verified, he added.

“Stating that the figures are not verified threw the spanner in the wheel of the report” he said, adding that the committee should have requested for more time to conduct a thorough job.

The Special Adviser to the President on Public Affairs, Dr Doyin Okupe had on Thursday revealed that a paragraph which he described as a ‘Disclaimer’ made the report “perfidious and incomplete. “

The paragraph in the submitted report stated that “due to the time frame of the assignment, some of the data used could not be independently verified and the task force recommends that the government should conduct such necessary verifications and reconciliations.”

Also discrediting the report, a former Commissioner with Ekiti State Civil Service, Chief Sanya Adesua, stated that “there is no way the report can be enforced because the committee self-confessed that they have failed by not verifying numerous data quoted in the report.”

He also decried the failure of the committee to invite and interview critical stakeholders in the nation’s oil and gas sector such as the NLNG.

He commended Mr Steve Oronsanye, who was involved in a brawl with the committee’s chairman during the presentation of the report that it was not ready.

“God bless Steve Oronsanye” he stated as he admitted that the two men that kicked against the report are now vindicated.

The two analysts also demanded that the committee members must come out and explain to Nigerians why they bungled this profound opportunity.



Presidency rubbishes Ribadu report

The presidency has commented on the report on Petroleum Revenue Task Force submitted by former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, describing the report as incomplete and incapable of indicting anyone.

At a press conference in Abuja, the President’s Special Assistant on Public Affairs, Dr Doyin Okupe, blamed Mallam Ribadu for the “politicisation of the report.”

The President’s aide alleged that there was a major public disinformation campaign which according to him, was calculated to overheat the polity, and incite Nigerians against the President because of the report.

Dr Okupe also described Ribadu’s claim of an overture to him to compromise on the report as false.

He added that the committee did not achieve the task assigned to it as it failed to adhere to the terms of reference laid for it.

Okupe replies Buhari, denies FG’s involvement with Boko Haram

The Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Doyin Okupe, has described as unfounded, the statement by the former Head of State, General Buhari Muhammadu, that the federal government is behind the creation of Boko Haram.

Addressing journalists in Abuja, Mr Okupe maintained that it would be out of place for General Buhari to accuse the federal government of being behind Boko Haram, when he had once advocated for violence in the past.

The president’s aide referred to General Buhari’s claim that Boko Haram is a creation of the federal government as ‘ridiculous’.

Referring to Buhari’s claim that he doesn’t know the agenda of Boko Haram and any religion that condones violence, Mr Okupe recalled that “during the election, during the campaign, General Buhari himself campaigned for violence … so it is too late in the day to try to back track.”

“Those who sow wind should not try and start and begin to look good.”

The former Head of State, on Wednesday declared that the federal government has lost control of the country despite all the security apparatus the nation possess.

Senate warns Jonathan aides on inflammatory statements against national assembly

The Senate at the plenary session on Wednesday, asked President Jonathan to caution his ministers and aides against making inflammatory statements against Federal lawmakers to avoid straining the cordial relationship between the legislature and executive.

Two special advisers to the president, Alhaji Ahmed Gulak and Dr Doyin Okupe came under fire from the Senate over inflammatory remarks on the national assembly.

The lawmakers noted with dismay the regular attacks on the legislature by Ministers and aides of President Goodluck Jonathan, describing the presidential aides as fifth columnists.

It will be recalled that last month, the Minister of Information, Mr Labaran Maku apologized to the Senate over remarks he made that the resolutions by the national assembly are only advisory.

When it appeared that the relationship between the executive and the legislature is being smoothen, Presidential aides Alhaji Gulak and Dr Okupe attacked the national assembly.

Deputy senate president Ike Ekweremadu asked the Senate to take on the challenge thrown by presidential adviser Alhaji Gulak.

However the Special Adviser to the President on National Assembly matters, Senator Joy Emodi in a statement said the alleged remarks by the presidential aides do not reflect the views of President Jonathan.

She stated that the presidential aides are on their own, adding that they never spoke the mind of the president.

It however remains to be seen if the intervention of Senator Emordi will soothe the tempers of lawmakers, and mend the frayed relationship between the executive and the senate.