National Confab: Analysts Express Optimism Despite Prevailing Issues

Prof. Joseph AbuguProfessor of Commercial and industrial law at the University of Lagos, Prof. Joseph Abugu, on Saturday expressed confidence in the outcome of the on-going National Conference despite the myriad of challenges it is faced with, especially the issue of composition.

Appearing on a segment of Channels Television’s Saturday breakfast programme, Sunrise, Abugu said “the National Conference as presently constituted is faulty in a number of respects but that is not to say nothing good can come out of it.

“Indeed, however poor Nazareth was, the messiah came from Nazareth,” he said, maintaining that something good can still come out of the National Conference however faulty the composition may be.

On the 70 percent voting majority rule which was agreed upon by delegates at the Conference, following a major disagreement which threatened the success of the meeting, Abugu stressed that the voice of the minorities of the Niger Delta, South-South and Middle-belt would be drowned by the 3 main ethnic nationalities, Igbo, Yoruba, Hausa.

He noted that “a lot of the discontent in present day Nigeria is with respect to the interest of minorities” hence the inability of the Conference to help the minorities have their say would still not solve the nation’s problems.

On his part, the President, Association of University French Lecturers in Nigeria, Prof. Tunde Fatunde highlighted the importance and significance of the National Conference which is being held during the centenary celebration of the amalgamation treaty.

“It is very significant in the sense that no nation is natural; all nations are products of wars” hence the Conference is in line with what has happened in other nations of the world, as a means of seeking the way forward.

He agreed that “the minority question is extremely very important in the history of Nigeria” as the leaders of the minorities prevented the disintegration of the nation in 1966, in the first and second coups.

“The bulk of the fighting ranks of the Nigerian Military are mostly from the Middle Belt” while “the Niger Delta is the bread winner of Nigeria, in terms of crude oil”. Fatunde credited these factors as two major things that keep the nation going.

He however stressed that there are other fundamental issues to be addressed including fiscal federalism and the role of education in Nigeria’s 21st century, stressing that the nation’s resources must be used in building human capacity via education and training.

Fatunde opined that if these two issues were properly addressed, the issue of minorities would have been solved as the development of the nation as a whole would take the front-burner.

Contributing to the conversation, a social commentator, Sam Emefiele, said the only way to make progress in the Conference and as a nation is through sincerity of purpose. He noted that corruption, which the nation decries, is a product of dishonesty.

He argued that ethnic, religious, political and all forms of sentiments have been exhibited at the Conference, maintaining that the delegates are there to serve selfish interests.

He berated those who complained that the composition of the Conference was skewed in favour of Christians, noting that religion has been one of the major problems of the country.

However, he said he was “cautiously optimistic” about the outcome of the Conference.

FACEOFF: Rivers, Plateau PDP Chairmen Debate Controversial NGF Election

The recent election of the leadership of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) is generating a lot of dust not unlike what has been. Any time the group, calling itself a peer review mechanism, ventured into a situation in the country there is almost always a level of dust rising. Now more than before, the NGF appears ruffled and divided over who is the right leader.

The Rivers State Governor, Chibuike Amaechi was last Friday re-elected as the Chairman of the NGF. Official results of the elections indicated Mr. Amaechi won the election by 19 to 16 votes to defeat his challenger, Jonah Jang of Plateau.

Shortly after the announcement of the result of the elections, the Chairman of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) Governors Forum, Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom addressed reporters rejecting the result, with the allegation that the election was rigged.

He claimed the ballot papers were not serialized and that Mr. Amaechi did not step down prior to the election.

Governor Jang further claimed he won the election in a press conference where he thanked his colleagues for the confidence reposed in him to serve them as the leader of NGF asking that every matter concerning the forum should henceforth be referred to him as the Chairman.

Debating the controversial election on Channels Television’s programme, Faceoff, the Rivers State PDP Chairman, Eric Appiah and his counterpart from Plateau, Haruna Dabin defended the roles their governors played in the NGF crisis.

Lawyer Wants Penal, Criminal Codes Amended To Discourage Fraud

Following the recent trial and sloppy conviction of a former director at the Police Pension office, a legal practitioner, Chris Akiri has condemned corruption in Nigeria insisting that the scourge is rife in the country.

Mr Akiri, who was a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, said the sentence handed to Yakubu Yusuf, who pleaded guilty of embezzling pension monies worth over N23 billion was  a slap on the faces of Nigerians.

He said Mr Yusuf was arraigned before the Abuja High Court under the provisions of section 309 of the penal code of the FCT Abuja 2007 which stated that “whoever commits criminal misappropriation shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years or with fine or with both.’’

Mr Akiri advised that the National Assembly amend both the penal and the criminal codes in order to provide stiff penalties that would discourage corruption among public officials.

See the complete interview with Mr Akiri in the video below:

Expert says FG not serious in equipping Police to fight Boko Haram

A criminologist and member of the Cleen Foundation, Innocent Chukwuma on Tuesday said the Federal government is not serious in equipping the police with the required arsenal to combat crimes and terrorism in Nigeria.

Mr Chukwuma, who was a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, wondered why it is taking the Federal government so much time to produce a white paper on the report of the Presidential Committee on the Reorganisation of the Nigeria Police which was submitted on Tuesday August 14, 2012.

He said: “While the committee is sitting to draw up the white paper, we saw last week Wednesday and Thursday, the Minister of Police Affairs brought in Accenture Management group to come up with some fancy slides about road map in reforming the police.

“We are asking on what basis is this map since the white paper has not come out. Could it be that because the Ministry was recommended for scrapping in the Perry Osayende report that he wanted to come up with a parallel thing?”

The criminologist said this move by the Ministry of Police Affairs gives a hint that there is no coordination and seriousness by the government in fighting crime and terrorism in Nigeria.

Former Commissioner accuses Ribadu of politicizing his assignments

A former commissioner of the Ekiti State Civil Service Commission and a public affairs analyst, Sanya Adesua on Tuesday said Nigeria boggled another opportunity to re-focus positively on the oil and gas industry which is the mainstay of the economy.

The ex-commissioner, who was a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, said he wondered why despite many reports from sundry committees, the Nuhu Ribadu report should be enmeshed in controversy.

Mr Adesua further said he wondered why the report was leaked before it was handed over to the Federal Government, insisting that it could be because the panel intended to hide some information from the public.

Watch complete interview for more details.

Increased exclusive list weakens federalism – INEC REC

The Cross River State Resident Electoral Commission (REC), Mike Igini on Thursday said that increasing the number of items on the exclusive list have weaken the federating units in Nigeria.

Mr Igini, who was a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, said federalism is the key to development in Nigeria.
He said: “the world has not lacked leaders but what we are grabbling with worldwide is development. The forefathers of Nigeria made painstaking efforts and came up with the idea of federalism.

“You find out that in the first republic, that was the golden era of development in Nigeria. Why?

“It was because as at that time, if you look at the constitution, we had only 44 items on the exclusive list. In 1963 we had 45 now in 1979 the exclusive list for the federal tiers was now increased to 66 and under the current constitution we have 68 items.

“With the increase of the exclusive list, you weaken the federating units in terms of development.”

Mr Igini was speaking against the background of the speech delivered on Tuesday by the former Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, Emeka Anyaoku at the launch of a book entitled: “Reforming the Unreformable,” written by the Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.

In his speech, Mr Anyaoku advocated a major restructuring of nation’s current political arrangement, pointing out that the desired rapid development and stability would not be achieved without true federalism or regional autonomy.

He described the current structure of 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory as administratively too expensive, with huge recurrent expenditure and leaving only a meagre percentage for the needed capital development and that the current constitution review should form a basis for returning Nigeria to true federalism.

Flood update: Environmentalist calls for post impact assessment

An Environmentalist, Idowu Salawu on Thursday said the states that received monies from the Federal Government to ameliorate their flooding problems should spend part of that fund in conducting post impact assessment studies.

Speaking as a guest on Channels Television’s programme, Sunrise Daily, Mr Salawu cautioned the State governors that the monies should not be spent on frivolous jamborees but must be targeted at helping those displaced by the floods.

“The money is not for jamboree,” he said.

“If I am one of the lawmaker or policy maker saddled with the responsibility of managing this fund, I will take 10 percent of that money to carry out post impact assessment study of the flood impacted areas,” he added.

Impeachments outside constitution is illegal – Lawyer

A legal practitioner, Wahab Shittu on Thursday said all parliaments have the right to impeach elected officials but that any impeachment done outside the constitution is illegal.

Speaking as a guest on Channels Television’s programme, Sunrise Daily, Mr Shittu said impeachment is both a political and a legal decision.
The lawyer was answering questions on the controversial impeachment of the Speaker and principal officers of the Kogi State house of assembly on Tuesday.

Mr Shittu said: “Yes there are provisions for impeachment of certain categories of public officials in the constitution, but such impeachment must follow constitutional provision.

“In other words, for any impeachment to be valid, it must follow the prescription of constitutionality, must follow the rule of law, must follow due process, and above all must be in line with fair hearing provisions as prescribed under section 36.”

Analyst says vacuum in leadership caused unrest in Borno

A policy analyst, Galtima Liman on Monday said vacuums in political as well as spiritual leadership is greatly responsible for the growing unrest in Borno state, North East Nigeria.

Speaking as a guest on Channels Television’s programme, Sunrise Daily, Mr Liman said the security challenges in Borno state have been building up in the past 30 years.

“Following the local government reforms that have taken away a lot of power of the traditional, spiritual and political leaders, you don’t really have a rallying point for the elders. There’s a big vacuum there, so who is now speaking on behalf of the elders in Borno State? It’s quite a very big challenge,” he said.

Mr Liman spoke on the roles of the All Nigeria Progressive Party, the former Borno State governor, Ali Modu Sheriff and former Head of State, Muhammadu Buhari in the growing security challenges in Borno state and other parts on Northern Nigeria.

Watch the video below for the full interview.

Nigerian league needs to grow for national teams to progress – Analyst

A sport journalist, Kayode Tijani on Monday said that the Nigerian league would need to grow before the national teams will begin to make significant progress.

Mr Tijani, who speaking as a guest on Channels Television’s programme, Sunrise Daily against the backdrop of Super Eagle’s trashing of the lone stars of Liberia 6-1 on Saturday, said presently the Nigerian league is nothing to write about.

“Without the leagues in Nigeria growing, we are just wasting our time,” he said.

“The league in Nigeria is nothing. The players are owed, no single player is on contract, no single coach is on contract; signing on fees, they don’t get it until the end of the season, the players are on ridiculous salaries, no insurance, nothing,” Mr Tijani said.