INEC Boss escapes death in Jigawa mob attack

Professor Attahiru Jega, the Chairman of the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) was reported to have escaped death yesterday in Jigawa while at the palace of Alhaji Najib Hussaini Adamu; the Emir of Kazaure.

Youths in the area staged an attack when the INEC boss was spotted coming out of the Emir’s palace while attending the wedding of the Emir’s daughter.

The mob started when a girl threw sand at the vehicle conveying the INEC boss and other youths followed chanting war songs, alleging betrayal on Jega’s path and they descended on the convoy of the INEC Boss massively with stones causing damages to several cars in the convoy.

Security operatives swung into action to quell the mob attack as it was reported that it would have been worse than it was but for the quick intervention of the security operatives on ground.

It was reported that the move by the angry youths was in solidarity with the CPC presidential candidate, retired Major General Muhammadu Buhari as some of the youths in their dialect said Jega declared false results and cheated the Northern region with the results he announced as General Buhari was denied the chance of being the president of Nigeria and they felt it was unjust and they will not forgive the INEC Boss for this.

Meanwhile Muhammadu Buhari who was also billed to attend the wedding, came in moments after the attack and the former Major General’s praise was sang by the youths, saying he is the answer to the socio-economic, political, religious and ethnic problems plaguing the country.

Politicians have put Nigeria on harm’s way – Max Gbanite

Max Gbanite, a security consultant came for our morning programme Sunrise Daily to discuss the state of the nation.

Gbanite said politicians are the ones creating problems for Nigeria and its citizens.

This was in reaction to the spat between Buhari and Jonathan on the issue of Boko Haram within the week.

The security consultant said in his own opinion, with the status of Gen. Buhari in the history of Nigeria, making unguarded statement worries him because he made a statement that is responsible for the insecurity that is being experienced till date in the country during the 2011 presidential election.

Lawyer blames infiltration of politics into Judiciary for controversies on Justice Salami

A lawyer, Ikechukwu Ikeji on Tuesday said that the case between the suspended President of the Court of Appeals, Justice Ayo Salami and the Nigeria Judicial Council was due to the infiltration of politics into the judiciary.

Mr Ikeji said this while speaking as a guest in Channels Television breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily.

He said the reinstatement of the Justice was due to the cry of lawyers and other Nigerians.

Oshiomhole orders renaming of Anenih’s street after his slained aide

The Edo state governor, Adams Oshiomhole has renamed the Delta Crescent, where the house of the former Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Tony Anenih is located in GRA Benin City, after his late Principal Private Secretary, Olaitan Oyerinde.

The late Principal Private Secretary to governor Adams Oshiomhole, Olaitan Oyerinde

The governor who made the pronouncement on Wednesday, during the Service of Songs for the late Oyerinde at Government House Benin City, said the deceased who was killed at his residence last week, fought against god fatherism, the entrenchment of democracy and good governance in Edo state, “therefore it is very proper we rename Delta Crescent where a lot of big men resides, after him”.

Mr. Oshiomhole said his former aide was killed 48 hours after he wrote a petition to the police.

“After we learnt of how the PDP was plotting how to rig the election and destabilize the state, I spoke to Olaitan to write a petition to the INEC Chairman Professor Attahiru Jega, he was actually supposed to go with me to Abuja that day but he said we should go so that he will handle some things in Benin. Those cowards could not fight me during the day so they decided to go at night to kill Olaitan,” he said.

“They have left a young widow and four innocent children behind. I want us to continue to cry but we will not cry any more. If Olaitan was alive he expects us to fight on because he is a fighter. The only way we can immortalize him is to ensure that his dream of good governance and democracy comes to stay in Edo state. I am glad President Jonathan has called for serious investigation to the murder.

“We are hoping and praying that the police should find the killers. Nobody can kill with impunity any more. Those who killed Olaitan, God knows why but we know that God will not forgive them because what they did was wicked and unacceptable” Mr Oshiomhole said.

The late Oyerinde, who hails from Ede, Osun State, was killed in the early hours of last Friday by unknown gunmen in his Benin residence.

Bad leaders are our problem not the constitution – Agbaje

On the planned constitutional review, constitutional lawyer; Fred Agbaje was on as guest to discuss the planned constitutional review.

Court nullifies appointment of Mustapha as PDP National Auditor

A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has nullified the appointment of Bode Mustapha, as the National Auditor of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Mr. Mustapha was appointed into the office at the last National Congress of the party held in Abuja on the 24th of March.

The presiding judge, Justice Charles Archibong, in his judgment, declared that Mr. Mustapha “is not a valid nominee nor could he have been validly elected for the office of the National Auditor of the PDP which was zoned to Ogun State in accordance with the Constitution of the party because he is not qualified as an accountant or nominated by the state congress of the party conducted by the Soremi-led Harmonised Executive Committee.”

In his place, the court ordered the PDP, its National Chairman, Bamanga Tukur and National Secretary, Olagunsoye Oyinlola to appoint Fatai Adewole Adeyanju, being a qualified chartered accountant, who was properly nominated for the office at the state congress of the party in Ogun State organised by the Soremi Executive.

The court held that based on its judgment of January 27, declaring among others things that the Soremi-led Executive as the authentic management body of the PDP in Ogun State, the party officials that emerged from the congresses conducted by the Soremi Executive were the validly elected officials.

The court’s judgment was sequel to a suit filed by Adebayo Dayo and Semiu Sodipo for themselves and on behalf of the Ogun State Executive Committee of the PDP.

The defendants in the suit are the PDP, Misters Tukur, Oyinlola and Mustapha.

Justice Archibong who granted all the reliefs sought by the plaintiffs ordered the party, misters Tukur and Oyinlola not to deal with the PDP in Ogun State except through the Executive Committee led by the first plaintiff, Adebayo Dayo.

Mr Dayo had, in a supporting affidavit, stated that Mr. Mustapha was presented for the office of the National Auditor by former President Olusegun Obasanjo, who he said influenced his appointment by virtue of his being the Chairman of the party’s Board of Trustees.

State of the Nation: Terrorism is so Elusive – Osuntokun

Akin Osuntokun; the former political adviser to the former President Obasanjo amongst other positions not mentioned here came for a chat on the state of the nation with the Sunrise Daily Crew.

On the issue of Nigerians having the impression that government is not handling the security matters of the country properly, Osuntokun said the most important thing for Nigerians and Nigerian government is not to lose their norms and should not get negatively excited.

Azazi under fire for blaming Boko Haram insurgent on PDP

National Security Adviser, Owoye Azazi, has come under fire for his recent harsh comments blaming the recurrent violent attacks of the Boko Haram sect on the undemocratic practices of the ruling People’s Democratic Party.

Speaking at the South-South Economic Summit in Delta state, Mr. Azazi traced the rise in violent activities by the radical Islamic terrorist sect to Goodluck Jonathan’s presidency, saying “the extent of violence did not increase in Nigeria until when there was a declaration by the current president that he was going to contest”.

The chief security adviser said the PDP “got it wrong from the beginning”, picking and choosing who can and cannot be President of the country and practicing a politics of exclusion.

In a press statement, the ruling party fired back. They called General Azazi’s comments “a poor reflection of the foundation and the internal workings of the Party as well as a wrong deduction on the roots of security challenges in the country”.

The National Publicity Secretary of the Party, Chief Olisa Metuh, declared that the party remains united behind President Goodluck Jonathan and refuted allegations of practicing exclusion in politics.

“We wish to state without any ambiguity that our great Party remains the only political party in Nigeria that is not owned by any ethnic group, person or group of persons. All Nigerians are equal stakeholders.”

President Jonathan on a visit to the bombed premises of This Day Newspaper offices in Abuja condemned the attacks and commiserated with the victims of the coordinated bomb attacks, which also hit newspaper offices in Kaduna.

Addressing the NSA’s comments, Jonathan said: “Sometimes, you have something in your mind you want to communicate but the way you communicate it, different people will give different interpretations.”

He however added that the NSA’s dissection of the ruling party was wrong, saying “the PDP is one of the most democratic parties” in existence.

Metuh, in his statement, said the party was still committed to supporting and assisting NSA Azazi as “he remains focused in this job of securing the lives and property of Nigerians”.

“Our Party will not relent in seeking an end to the scourge of violent attacks in the country and will continue to encourage the security agencies to do their best in the interest of the nation,” Metuh stated.

Fuel Subsidy Report:We are missing the real issues

The fuel subsidy saga has come and gone with the Farouk Lawan committe set up for the fuel subsidy probe has also ended with a promise that the report from the committee will be implemented.

The question is will the report of the Farouk Lawan comittee be implemented?

Ikedi Isiguzo; the Chairman Editorial Borad of the Vanguard Newspapers was on to discuss the fuel subsidy report on Sunrise Daily.

Full Report of the Ad-Hoc Committee on the subsidy regime in Nigeria

Following the removal of subsidy on PMS on the 1st day of January, 2012 by the Federal Government of Nigeria and the attendant spontaneous social and political upheavals that greeted the policy, the House of Representatives in an Emergency Session on the 8th of January, 2012 set up an Ad-hoc Committee to verify and determine the actual subsidy requirements and monitor the implementation of the subsidy regime in Nigeria.

The Federal Government had informed the nation of its inability to continue to pump endless rampant of money into the seemingly bottomless pit that was referred to as petroleum products subsidy. It explained that the annual subsidy payment was huge, endless and unsustainable. Nigerians were led to believe that the colossal payments made were solely on PMS and HHK actually consumed by Nigerians.

Government ascribed the quoted figures to upsurge in international crude price, high exchange rate, smuggling, increase in population and vehicles etc. However, a large section of the population faulted the premise of the Government subsidy figures, maintaining that unbridled corruption and an inefficient and wasteful process accounted for a large part of the payments.

To avert a clear and present danger of descent into lawlessness, the leadership of the House of Representatives took the “bold and decisive action of convening the first ever Emergency Session on a Sunday (8th January, 2012), and set up the,Ad-hoc Committee to verify the actual subsidy requirements of the country.

For a full report of the Ad-Hoc Committee click here to view

And two months after the fuel subsidy saga, Nigerians waited anxiously for the outcome of the report.

On Thursday the April 19 2012, the Chairman of the House of Representative ad-hoc committee that investigated the management of the country’s fuel subsidy scheme, Farouk Lawan on Thursday said that attempts were made to influence the outcome of the committee’s report.

Addressing a press conference at the National assembly, Abuja, Mr Lawan said the pressure came from government officials and oil marketers.

“Yes, there was pressure, pressure from so many quarters,” he said.

Though Mr Lawan refused to disclose the names of the government officials who pressurized him and his colleagues in the committee, he said the officials said they were concern of the effect the report will have on the country.

He said that his committee made it clear to those mounting pressure on them that as far as they are not guilty of short changing Nigerians, there was no need to panic.

Also speaking at the meeting, the spokesman of the Houses of Representative, Zakari Mohammed assured Nigeria that the House of Representatives will ensure that the report, when adopted by the house is fully implemented.

After months of delay, the Lawan-led House of Representatives ad hoc committee on the subsidy regime management, on Wednesday, submitted its report with recommendation that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) indicted oil marketers and companies that refused to appear before the panel to refund the sum of N1.067 trillion to the nation’s treasury.

The House has, however, slated next Tuesday for the consideration of the report.

Executive summary of the report made available to journalists on Wednesday recommended that, “marketers that had short-changed Nigerians were identified and recommended to make refunds within a time-frame of three months.

“Civil servants were to be sanctioned in accordance with the civil service rules as well as under extant laws; management staff and top government officials were based on the gravity of their offences, to be reprimanded, re-deployed, dismissed and in specific cases prosecuted for abuse of office and fraudulent practices.”

The committee also recommended the refund to the treasury, the sum of N1,067,040,456,171.31 from the underlisted for various violations; NNPC (kerosene subsidy) N310,414, 963,613; NNPC (above PPPRA recommendation) N285,098,000,000; NNPC (self-discount), N108,648,000,000; marketers (total violation of petroleum subsidy fund) N8,664,352,554; companies that refused to appear, N41,936,140,005 and PPPRA, excess payment to self, N312,279,000,000.

To this end, the panel recommended that the sum of N806,766 billion be budgeted as subsidy for 2012, adding that “we also proposed a budget amount of N806,766 billion for the 2012 fiscal year for payment of subsidy on PMS and kerosene.”

The committee, also in its report, recommended that “NNPC be unbundled to make its operations more efficient and transparent and this, we believe, can be achieved through the passage of a well-drafted and comprehensive Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB).”

The committee as well recommended that all those on the management board of the NNPC directly involved in the in-fractions identified for 2009 to 2011 be investigated and prosecuted for abuse of office by the relevant anti-corruption agencies.

The panel further indicated that NNPC was found not to be accountable to anybody or authority, saying that “the corporation, in 2011, processed payment of N310.4 billion as 2009 to 2011 arrears of subsidy on kerosene, contrary to a presidential directive which removed subsidy on kerosene in 2009.”

The panel also reprimanded the chairman and entire members of the board of PPPRA from 2009 to 2011 for their decision.

Allegation of doctored report

A group Legislative Integrity Assembly said on Wednesday that the report of the House committee into the probe of fuel subsidy was “apparently doctored” following conflicting details about the report in the media in recent weeks.

The group, in a statement said that it noticed a number of inconsistencies having followed the snippets of information released on the committee’s report in recent weeks.

The group said that it had followed closely the situation in the ad hoc committee since it concluded its public hearing on the matter, adding that lots of inconsistencies have come out of the House in recent times.

The group, which claimed to have seen the original recommendations of the committee, said that the report submitted by Mr Lawan to the House on Wednesday was an “edited, doctored report.”

“The list of indicted companies suddenly got shortened within 24 hours. This country is in trouble if this is allowed to go unchallenged. It just confirmed that probes in this country are not to be taken seriously,” the group alleged.

It said it was not entirely taken by surprise by the doctoring because a major newspaper reported on Wednesday that there might be “eleventh hour” changes in the report following outcries generated by media reports of its recommendations.

The Guardian had reported on Wednesday that allegations of doctoring of the report had stirred a controversy in the House.

The report said there were speculations that the leadership of the House had seized the report of the Lawan committee with a view to effecting some changes. The newspaper, however, quoted House spokesman as saying that the allegations are not true.

Arhiavbere conditionally accepts Oshiomole’s debate challenge

The People’s Democratic Party Candidate in the July 14 election in Edo state, General Charles  says he served the army for 35 years with unblemished record.

General Charles Arhiavbere who reacted to comments by Governor Adams Oshiomhole at Urhokpota Hall in Benin City said he was never court marshaled or brought before any enquiry in his thirty five years of service.

He also said that the newspaper which carried a report that he was detained in 2010 is facing a 2.5 Billion Naira suit in which it has been asked to produce its source of information.

General Charles said he would prefer not to blow his trumpet about his contributions to the welfare of Edo people as he did not do them because he was seeking political office.

The Edo PDP candidate who accepted the invitation of Comrade Oshiomhole to a debate said he will only do that if one of the venues will be in the prison yard before the inmates.

Both parties have however commenced vigorous campaign ahead of the July 14 elections.

Pay PHCN bills or be disconnected – House tells security agencies

The House of Representatives has given the Armed forces and other security agencies one month to settle their electricity bills with the Power Holding Company of Nigeria or risk being disconnected.

This is one of the resolutions reached after a debate on the urgent need to address the failure of some corporate customers of the company to pay their electricity bill, which is estimated at billions of naira.

The issue of funding has been identified as a major hindrance to the power sector reform and this situation is not being helped as billions of naira are said to be owed the PHCN by customers.

A motion staged before the House of Representatives, incident of how the PHCN was being owed 41 billion naira was revealed to the members of the House.

Honourable Patrick Ihkhariale revealed that the Armed Forces comprising the Navy Air force, Nigerian Police, departments and agencies are owing the PHCN billions of naira on regular basis despite budgetary appropriations that these public institutions get to run their annual activities.

It however attracted debate within the lawmakers as some feel it is not in the business of the House of Representatives to drag itself into the issue of debt recovery for some government agencies while some felt the defaulting agencies be handed over to the EFCC or be dealt with accordingly.

Hon. Leo Ogor; argued that the law should empower the anti-corruption agency; the EFCC to go after MDA that has failed to remit what it was charged by the PHCN to it while Hon. Kamil Akinlabi from PDP Oyo state said the House is not supposed to reduce itself to the level of acting as a debt recovery agent.

The house however resolved that a joint committee be mandated to investigate how the funds allocated for electricity in the budget were utilized.