Every year the living legend series honours Africa’s finest art works, this time Nobel Laureate, Wole Soyinka’s name is on it especially as he becomes a year older.
About 30 Fine-Art students from the Moshood Abiola Polytechnic in Ogun State are armed with their sketch pads and drawing under the watch of professional instructors, an experience their tutors believe will definitely come in handy, especially for a man who is passionate about impacting the next generation.
The Ogun State Cultural Centre, Kuto saw a beehive of activities as art enthusiasts see different angles of this literary icon.
Wole Soyinka has always been an exciting muse for artists, his grey hair and other features fascinate them, the range of works from paintings to sculptures show artists sticking to their comfort zones while still keeping their gaze on him.
The project is to document, and celebrate distinguished Nigerians that have contributed positively to this country and beyond.
The expanded meeting convened by the Federal Government to look at security situation in Nigeria has kicked off in the Presidential Villa with President Goodluck Jonathan presiding.
The meeting which has a fuller house as against what happened a week before, has many of the governors from the opposition parties present.
The President of the Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs in Nigeria and the Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar, as well as the Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor are also attending the meeting.
Twenty-four governors are in attendance while the governors of Jigawa, Imo, Oyo, Rivers, Kano, Ogun, Plateau, Edo and Yobe are being represented by their deputies.
The security chiefs in attendance are; the Chiefs of Army, Navy and Air Force, as well as the Inspector-General of Police, the Comptrollers-General of Customs and Immigration, Corp Marshal of the Federal Road Safety Corps and the Commandant-General of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corp.
The Interior Minister, Mr. Abba Moro, Minister of Defence, General Aliyu Gusau, the Minister of Police Affairs, Mr. Abduljelil Adesiyan, the Foreign Affairs Minister, Viola Onwuleri, Agriculture Minister, Akinwunmi Adeshina and the Attorney-General of the Federation, Mohammed Adoke, are also present.
The expanded National Security Council meeting was summoned by President Jonathan following the bombing in Nyanya, Abuja and the abduction of over one hundred female students from Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok in Borno.
State governors, under the banner of the All Progressives Congress Governors’ Forum, have met in Lagos to deliberate on strategies to strengthen the party and have also taken a look at the state of the nation.
Reading from a communique issued at the end of their meeting, the Chairman of the APC Governors’ Forum, Rochas Okorocha, said that members of the National Assembly have a right to re-align themselves with parties of their choice without being sanctioned.
Other issues discussed at the meeting included, the alleged police brutality in Rivers State, preparations for the commencement of membership registration and the need for INEC to make adequate preparations for the upcoming elections in Ekiti and Osun states.
The forum maintained that there was need for adequate preparations in order “to forestall a repeat of the electoral sham experienced in Anambra and Delta States and to restore credibility in the electoral process”.
They also reviewed the preparations for the commencement of membership registration into the party, and urged all prospective members, sympathizers and party structures to fully support the process for a comprehensive documentation and registration of members.
On the political and security situation in Rivers State, the forum frowned at the conduct of the Rivers State Commissioner of Police, Joseph Mbu and maintained “that the Nigeria Police Force is not a PDP police and such flagrant violations of the Constitution and laws of Nigeria should henceforth stop”.
They also deliberated on the need for strengthening the All Progressives Congress and its structures as well as discussed political developments in APC States with the aim of building a common development agenda.
Other APC Governors in attendance at the meeting include, Governors of Nassarawa, Osun, Ekiti, Ogun, Oyo and Rivers states; Tanko Almakura, Rauf Aregbesola, Kayode Fayemi, Ibikunle Amosun, Abiola Ajimobi and Rotimi Amaechi, while the Deputy Governor of Kano State, Abdullahi Umaru Ganduje represented his State Governor, Rabiu Kwankwaso.
Ogun State Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, has called on Muslim Ummah to imbibe the virtues and ideals of patience, equity and unconditional obedience as taught and exemplified by the Holy Prophet Mohammed (Peace Be Upon Him).
He urged Muslims to use the occasion of the Eid-Maulud to reflect and continue to pray for the unity and co-existence of the country.
In a statement signed by his Senior Special Assistant on Media, Mrs Funmi Wakama, Amosun said: “As we commemorate the birth of Prophet Mohammed (Peace Be Upon Him), let us use the occasion to collectively reflect on our polity and see how we can make more sacrifices in order to build a virile nation.”
Amosun enjoined Muslim faithful to continue to show love to one another through selfless service, honesty and tolerance at all times.
He also congratulated the entire Muslim Ummah and wished them a happy Eid-Maulud celebration.
The Interim National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Lai Mohammed, has said that the party had foreseen that the coming together of different parties would cause the APC problems.
While speaking on Channels Television’s ‘Politics Today’ , he said that the moment the defunct ACN, ANPP, CPC, section of DPP and APGA, came together they knew it would lead to differences at some point with everyone wanting to protect interests but that they were well prepared for it.
He noted that the defection of the five governors from the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, did not make things easier but the party had set up a Harmonization Committee to ensure a seamless blending.
The APC Chieftain refused to be compared to the ruling PDP in terms of party crisis. He argued that theirs was a different situation and indeed “unique in the history of Africa”, as what they achieved in merging such number of strong parties had never been achieved in the history of democracy in the continent.
He expressed optimism that the minor issues would soon be resolved with everyone coming back together. “What is important is that we will be stronger”. He stood by his past comments about the PDP not being able to handle its problems, insisting that the APC was different.
While referring to comments made by the PDP that the APC was made up of “strange bed fellows” with their make-up of different political parties, persons of different political backgrounds and lately the aggrieved PDP governors, Mr Mohammed said that the APC was simply playing by the rules of politics.
“You cannot effect a change from the outside, except u want to rig. In politics numbers are important.”
He dismissed the fear that the new members would pollute the values of the party, maintaining that the APC was a well structured party and the many people joining or defecting to the party would not pollute its values.
He enthused: “We have a manifesto, they can’t change it” but rather they would adjust from the ways of their former parties to do things in line with the APC’s ideology.
What exactly is the philosophy of APC?
As it has been a common criticism that Nigeria’s political parties lacked ideologies, since the defection of the five PDP governors to the APC, Mr Mohammed was asked to clarify the actual ideologies of the All Progressives Congress.
The APC Publicity Secretary said that the ideology of his party had never been hidden from the public as it had always been available on the party’s website for anyone who wished to know to read up.
He however went further to state that the All Progressives Congress was a “Left of the centre party”, a welfarist party that believed that the wellbeing of the people was the basic responsibility of any government.
The APC places the provision of amenities, security, and education as its priorities.
He said that the ideologies of the APC were obvious from the differences it had made in states where the PDP once ruled. Citing examples of the APC states of Osun, Oyo, and Ogun, he stressed that a proper comparison between the APC’s three years of governance to the eight years spent by the PDP governors would enable people understand the ideologies of the party better.
He also added that the APC was already rubbing off on the PDP defectors rather than the party losing its own values.
The Kano State Governor, Rabiu Kwankwaso, who was among the five PDP governors that joined the APC, has already declared free education in Kano State, while the Kwara State Governor, Abdulfatah Ahmed, has also set up a committee to develop a plan for the employment of over 5,000 youths in the state.
The APC leader also debunked rumours that the party was confused on who to present as its candidate at the 2015 General Election.
Laughing at what he termed “creative rumour mill that emanates from Nigeria”, he stated that the issue of who flies the party’s candidacy at any level has never risen as the party was busy building its structure.
With member registration slated for the end of January 2014, congress in February, to be followed by the National Convention in March, there was no way they could have had time to discuss candidacy.
He insisted that the Party’s constitution was clear on how candidates at different levels should emerge and there was no pressure on whom to put forward at the coming elections.
Ogun APC Crisis
Mr Lai Mohammed also tried to exonerate the national leadership of the APC on allegations that it caused the crisis rocking the Ogun State APC through its imposition of an executive on the members without following laid down rules.
He explained that part of the conditions for merger as required by the National Electoral Commission, INEC, was that names of interim national officers were expected to be provided, and the Interim National Committee set guidelines for selecting the persons who should be in the interim based on their political qualifications.
While providing details of the agreement with all merging parties, the set guidelines and the concessions given, he insisted that the party followed these rules as set during the merger agreements, adding that the people complaining about imposition of candidates in Ogun State APC did not know that agreements were made and rules had been set to ensure that old or new APC members were equally treated.
The President of the Nigerian Football Federation, Aminu Maigari, has revealed 2014 will be a good year for football in the country.
In an interview with Channels Sports, Maigari said that there was already an action plan that would ensure the national teams consolidate on the success story of 2013.
The NFF President was also optimistic the home-based Super Eagles will have a good outing when the African Nations Championship (CHAN) kicks off in South Africa.
He said that he was pleased with the preparation they had, and confident that the players and coaching crew would deliver good results.
On the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, Maigari simply said Nigeria would play a brand of football that will shock the world. He added that the world will confirm the quality of football that exists in Nigeria at the World Cup.
Speaking on women’s football, the NFF President reaffirmed that they are giving full support to the women. He said that the federation would keep supporting the U-17 team, the Flamingoes as they prepare for the FIFA World Cup that kicks off on March 15 in Costa Rica.
The Federation is hoping to consolidate on the successes of 2013 where the country won the African Cup of Nations, the FIFA U-17 World Cup and qualified for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.
The national finals of the 2013 NFF U-13 Football Championship will start in Abuja on Friday, January 3, 2014.
Organised on zonal basis, the U-13 National Championship is one of the cardinal developmental programmes of the Aminu Maigari administration, and has yielded ample dividends with a number of players in the U-17 squad that won a record fourth FIFA U-17 World Cup for Nigeria in 2013 coming through the ranks.
Speaking in Abuja, NFF’s Director of Competitions, Mohammed Sanusi, said that all arrangements have been made for the 13 teams from different geo-political zones that have made the final championship to have a good experience in Abuja.
“We have finalised all arrangements to ensure that the organisation is hitch-free, and that all the teams have nothing to complain about.
“This is a very serious programme that has been fruitful and we are determined to take it to the next level,” Sanusi said.
The states that qualified for the final championship are Niger, Plateau, Katsina, Kaduna, Lagos, Ogun, Anambra, Enugu, Akwa Ibom, Edo, Bauchi, Gombe and the Federal Capital Territory.
All the delegations have been directed to report at the FIFA Technical Centre, Package B of National Stadium, Abuja, where the matches will also take place.
The Amaechi-led Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) has called on the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, to resign her appointment or manage the economy well.
They said the non-compliance with the revenue projections of the Federal Government 2013 Budget, was a direct breach of the provisions of the Appropriation Act, 2013.
These decisions were part of the resolutions of the Governor Rotimi Amaechi-led NGF, which met on Tuesday evening.
Amaechi, who read the communique of the meeting, said “Members expressed concern in the management of the economy by the Minister of Finance and Co-ordinating Minister of the Economy and called for a strict adherence to the Appropriation Act, 2013.
They also pointed out that the National Economic Council (NEC) is the right body to manage the economy and not the Economic Management Team (EMT).
“Forum observed that the National Economic Council is constitutionally responsible for the management of the economy and should be used for that purpose as opposed to the Economic Management Team constituted by the Presidency.”
The governors also called on the National Assembly to separate the office of the Accountant-General of the Federation from that of the Accountant-General of the Federal Government for the purpose of accountability and better management of the economy.
States which were represented by their governors at the meeting were those of Rivers, Niger, Kwara, Osun, Ekiti, Ogun, Adamawa, Oyo, Lagos, Sokoto, Jigawa, Kano and Zamfara while deputy governors of Edo, Borno and Nasarawa states represented their governors.
A security analyst, Mr Ona Ekhomu has called on the Joint Task Force to increase its operations in Edo state, where members of the terrorist group, Boko Haram, are hiding.
Speaking on Sunrise, Mr Ekhomu said that the insurgency has moved to the southern region of the country, into states like Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Ondo and Edo. He added that Edo state is where the Ansaru factionof the insurgency, which was operating in Kogi, is now running into to escape law enforcement and JTF, he said.
That means “Edo ought to have a good JTF operation in place”.
A human rights activist, Razaq Oladosu, while speaking on the programme debunked claims that the insurgency declared a cease fire in honour of the Muslim fasting season.
Voicing his suspicions of certain people in government, who are using the situation against the Goodluck led administration, he said that it is just an effort to misinform and distract plans and strategy on ground because they know their days are numbered.
Mr Ekhomu also said that the government needs to control the violence until Boko Haram’s will to fight is down, afterwhich dialogue will be more effective.
The Governor of Ogun state, Ibikunle Amosun has challenged governments of the south west states of Ogun, Ondo, Oyo, Lagos, Ekiti and Osun to ensure more economic integration among the states to improve the socio economic development of the region.
He made the call at the opening session of the 4th summit of Heads of Service, south west geo-political zone held in Abeokuta, the Ogun state capital with the theme “Re-engineering the Public Sector for Regional Integration”
While commending the foresight of the region’s founding fathers, the governor called on the summit to come up with measures that would promote unity and a new lease of life to the people of the region in particular and the country at large.
The summit brought participants and heads of service from the south west states for cross fertilization of ideas, especially integration among the states for effective service delivery and to re awaken the sense of history and achievements of the old western region.
Governor Amosun said the meeting became imperative in view of the challenges facing Nigeria as a nation. He also bemoaned the creation of states which he said stands as an artificial barrier that gives rise to the state’s citizenship
The governor also challenged governors of the south west states to create a more united front for the development of the region and its people
The summit is expected to come out with resolutions that would further strengthen the socio-economic integration of the region, especially at a time when synergy among states has proved to be a formidable avenue for development.