Ajimobi Lauds Obasanjo As Quintessential Leader, Passionate Lover Of Nigeria

Ajimobi Lauds Obasanjo As Quintessential Leader, Passionate Lover Of NigeriaThe Oyo State Governor, Abiola Ajimobi has felicitated with a former President of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo, on the occasion of his 80th birthday, describing him as a quintessential leader and a passionate lover of his fatherland.

The governor’s remark was contained in a statement issued in Ibadan by his Special Adviser on Communication and Strategy, Mr Yomi Layinka.

According to Ajimobi, attaining the enviable age of 80 is a special grace and remarkable feat which indeed calls for celebration.

“Chief Obasanjo deserves all the celebrations. He is not only a rare breed but also, a symbol of divine grace whose life is worthy of emulation by every Nigerian,” he said.

The governor further commended Obasanjo for his strong belief in the indivisibility of Nigeria, saying this had informed his active participation in the 30-month civil war to ensure that the country remained together, under whatever circumstance.

Ajimobi also noted that since leaving office in 2007 as President and Commander-in-Chief, Obasanjo had never wavered in participating in activities capable of promoting the socio-political and economic well-being of the country.

“Besides, as a father of the nation, he has been engaging in constructive criticism of successive administrations, all in an attempt to ensure good governance and better life for all Nigerians,” he said.

The governor prayed God to grant the former president long life and sound health so that he would continue to serve Nigeria, his fatherland.

FG Unveils 2016-2019 Strategic Plan For Education

Nigeria, Education, Adamu Adamu,The Federal Government has released a new road map to guide the Ministry of Education to address the myriads of challenges confronting Nigeria’s education sector.

The strategic plan comes as part of efforts to reposition Nigeria’s education sector to play a central role in the Federal Government’s philosophy of change.

The Minister of Education, Mr Adamu Adamu, unveiled a draft of the 2016-2019 Ministerial Strategic Plan on Monday in Abuja, the Federal Capital territory.

Mr Adamu reaffirmed government’s commitment to strengthening institutional structures and creating innovative strategies aimed at revamping the education sector.

He asked Nigerians to team up with the Federal Government to salvage the sector and return it to the path of excellence.

The 2006 to 2015 Education Master Plan launched under the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo was meant to fashion out new policies that would enable the sector emerge from its declining status, especially on issues pertaining to Nigeria’s ‘Education For All’ policy and infrastructural decay occasioned by institutional and legislative constraints.

The expiration of the policy in 2015 gave the need for a new strategic plan.

On his part, the Minister for Niger Delta Affairs, Pastor Usani Uguru, attributed the fallen standard of education to the failure of past governments to regulate the teaching profession.

The Director, Department of Educational Planning, Research and Development, Magdalene Anene-Maidoh, also highlighted the focus of the strategic plan.

She expressed hope that the new plan, when adopted and implemented by the experts, would arm Nigerian youths with the skills they require to face the challenges of the 21st century.

Educationists Underate UBE In Bayelsa State

UBE, Bayelsa StateEducationists in Bayelsa State say the Universal Basic Education (UBE) has not done as much as was expected in the state.

Although they lauded the programme, the academics believe the pitiable condition of the government-owned public schools had led to an increase in the number and patronage of private- own schools in Bayelsa State, south-south Nigeria.

They alleged that the involvement of politicians in the implementation process had brought the education sector to a state of decay.

The educationists further requested for an immediate intervention, with special reference to the primary and secondary schools in the oil-rich state.

A former State Chairman, Nigerian Union of Teachers, Mr Alabo Erewari, lamented that the UBE in Bayelsa State was not effective.

He noted that the state had been selective in its interpretation of the programme, stressing that it has not comprehensively implemented the programme.

The Principal of Agudama Comprehensive High School in Agudama-Ekpetiama, Mrs Akanyo Dorcas, also said that schools in Bayelsa State were now in a worse situation.

Channels Television crew which visited some of the primary and secondary schools in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital, said that the structures were in dire need of renovation.

The UBE programme, which was launched by former President Olusegun Obasanjo on September 30, 1999, was intended to be universal, free, and compulsory.

The goal of the programme is to provide functional, universal, and quality education for all Nigerians irrespective of age, sex, race, religion, occupation, or location.

The UBE programme was implemented in Bayelsa State to significantly improve the education deficit in the state.

Buhari Will Probe Jonathan’s Government Only – Presidency

TherBuharie is now a confirmation that the Presidency is ready to commence probe of ministers and other government officials who served under the President Jonathan’s administration.

The Special Adviser on Media and Public Affairs to the President, Mr Femi Adesina, told Channels Television on Thursday that it would only make sense to look into the activities of the immediate past government rather than delving into all other administration.

According to Mr Adesina, “it would be a distraction for the President to begin digging into all former administrations but for a proper take-off of President Muhammadu Buhari’s government, there is the need to look into the immediate past government.”

He, however, made it clear that it is not a witch hunt, as only persons who looted the country’s funds would be made to return such loots.

He explained further that President Buhari would not waste time in probing the administrations of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Abdulsalam Abubakar, Sani Abacha and Ibrahim Babangida.

Mr Adesina described the outcome of the President’s official visit to the U.S. as “a roaring success on every side”.

Court Set To Deliver Judgment On Fani-Kayode’s Alleged Money Laundering Case

Court To Rule On Fani-Kayode's Alleged Money Laundering CaseThe Federal High Court sitting in Lagos State, south-west Nigeria, will deliver judgement on Thursday, in the alleged money laundering case against Mr Femi Fani-Kayode.

The trial judge, Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia, had fixed the date last month after lawyers representing the Director of Media of Goodluck Jonathan’s 2015 Presidential Campaign Organization and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) adopted their final written addresses.

Fani-Kayode was arraigned before the court by the EFCC on a two count charge of laundering the sum of 2.1 million Naira, while he was serving in former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration, first as Minister of Aviation and later as Minister of Culture and tourism.

He was specifically accused by the EFCC of conducting financial transactions exceeding 500,000 Naira without going through a financial institution.

However, Fani-Kayode pleaded not guilty to the charges against him.

It would be recalled that the former Minister was first arraigned in December 2008, before Justice Ramat Mohammed on a 47-count charge.

He had pleaded not guilty to the charge and was admitted to bail in the sum of 200 Million Naira with two sureties in like sum.

Fani-Kayode, however, was re-arraigned before Justice Binta Murtala-Nyako, following the transfer of Justice Mohammed from the Lagos Division of the court.

He was also re-arraigned before Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia on February 11, 2013 after the transfer of Justice Murtala-Nyako to the Jos Division of the court.

Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia had in November last year dismissed 38 out of the amended 40-count charge against him.

The judge, however, said Mr Fani-Kayode would need to prove his innocence in respect of two counts for which judgment would be given on Thursday.

Atiku Advocates Change In Government Machinery To Improve Welfare

atiku abubakarFormer Vice President of Nigeria, Mr Atiku Abubakar has advocated the need for a change in the machinery of government at all levels in order to improve the welfare of all Nigerians.

Addressing a news conference in Abuja, Mr Abubakar says if given the opportunity to be the flag bearer of the All Progressives Congress, the creation of massive employment and tackling the nation’s security challenges will be the main focus of his administration.

Mr Abubakar, who announced the convocation of a Policy Review Summit later this month, added that there is a need for the Federal Government to address habits that compromise good governance in Nigeria.

“The purpose of this Press Conference is to announce that we will be hosting a Policy Review Summit on the 27th of October, 2014 at the Obasanjo Presidential Library, Abeokuta. The Summit will host a panellist of experts who will fine-tune the Elemental Details of the Atiku 2015 Policy Document.

“The Draft Policy to be reviewed was drawn up within the context of the Manifesto of our Party, the APC.

“This document provides an overview of our Policy Position”, he said.

Mr Abubakar has declared his intention to run for President, under the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), come 2015.

Mr Abubakar, who made his intentions known during a press conference in Abuja, espoused his passion for education and youth development. He further highlighted several issues bedeviling the nation, noting that the current government “is not really doing the fixing”.

“I have what it takes to bring people together and turn things around for better”, he said.

Atiku, who was Vice President under President Olusegun Obasanjo’s two tenures (1999-2007), said his decision to run for Presidency was born out of the need for good governance.

Atiku Declares Presidential Ambition, Says He Wants To Fix Nigeria

Atiku AbubakarFormer Vice President, Atiku Abubakar on Wednesday declared his intention to run for President, under the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), come 2015.

Atiku, who made his intentions known during a press conference in Abuja, espoused his passion for education and youth development. He further highlighted several issues bedeviling the nation, noting that the current government “is not really doing the fixing”.

“I have what it takes to bring people together and turn things around for better”, he said.

Atiku, who was Vice President under President Olusegun Obasanjo’s two tenures (1999-2007), said his decision to run for Presidency was born out of the need for good governance.

“I want to play a leading role in the trans-generational efforts to save this country and improve the lives of our people.

He noted that “with the support of the millions of Nigerians desirous of change and the hard work by all of us, the APC shall form the next government of this great nation”.

Addressing party loyalists at the conference, the Adamawa-born politician said “I have therefore decided that I will, by the grace of God, along with other respected members of our party, seek nomination as a candidate of the APC to contest the presidential election of 2015.”

“I want to lead a government that will invest in its people because people constitute the wealth of any nation. I want to lead a government that will create a Nigeria for all.

“A Nigeria that is not about North or South, Christian or Muslim but about a better tomorrow, where every citizen will feel secure, with patriotism and having assurances of the fulfillment of his or her aspirations.

“I want to lead a government that will rebuild the institution of governance with zero tolerance for corruption and nepotism; where hard work and dedication are adequately rewarded.

“I want to assemble the best brains in the land and provide the political will and commitment, so that jointly, and with the cooperation of all of you, build a Nigeria of our dreams.”.

“Nigeria must rise to take its place in the world. It is a call to serve that I have come to answer. With the support and prayers of Nigerians we will build a great new Nigeria for Nigerians. “I have listened to the concerns of Nigerians, yet I still see hope in the face of the challenges. Our people have refused to succumb to despair. This never-say-die attitude of Nigerians is the reason I can never give up on Nigeria. “The youth, the future of Nigeria is represented here today. You the youth are endowed with enormous potential. In you are the hope of this nation. The 2015 election is about you.

This will be the fourth time in 22 years that Atiku is contesting a presidential primary since his first shot at the exalted office in 1992.

He contested under the platform of the defunct Social Democratic Party (SDP) against late Chief MKO Abiola and Alh. Babagana Kingibe. He also contested under the platform of the defunct Action Congress in 2007.

Following the 2007 elections, Atiku returned to the People’s Democratic Party. In October 2010 he announced his intention to contest for the Presidency. On 22 November, a Committee of Northern Elders selected him as the Northern Consensus Candidate, over former Military President Ibrahim Babangida, former National Security Adviser, Aliyu Gusau and Governor Bukola Saraki of Kwara State.

In January 2011, Atiku contested for the Presidential ticket of his party alongside President Jonathan and Sarah Jubril, and lost the primary, garnering 805 votes to President Jonathan’s 2736.

Boko Haram Menace Worse Than Biafran War – Soyinka

Wole Soyinka.Nobel Laureate, Wole Soyinka, has condemned the Boko Haram sect, describing it as a worse menace than the Biafran war, which led to the death of many Nigerians.

“There were atrocities which were committed,” he said, adding that “but you never had such a regular, getting to a near predictable level of carnage. I think this is what is terrifying.

“There’s no war zone. There’s no battle line. It’s everywhere. Not just in the North East for instance, it’s here, right here where we are sitting. It’s right down in Lagos, even though it has not manifested itself.”

In an interview with Reuters, Soyinka, who turns 80 in two weeks, said the terrorists are enemies of unity but are not likely to disintegrate the country.

Soyinka blamed successive governments for allowing religious fanaticism to undermine Nigeria’s broadly secular constitution, starting with former President Olusegun Obasanjo allowing some states to declare Sharia law in the early 2000s.

“When the spectre of Sharia first came up, for political reasons, this was allowed to hold, instead of the president defending the constitution,” he said.

Soyinka sees both Christianity and Islam as foreign impositions and argued that modern Africa has lost its shape.

“We cannot ignore the negative impact which both have had on African society,” he told Reuters adding that “they are imperialist forces: intervening, arrogant. Modern Africa has been distorted.”

He added that while the leadership of Boko Haram needed to be “decapitated completely”, little had been done to present an alternative ideological vision to their “deluded” followers, driven largely by economic destitution and despair.

 

Nigeria Would Break Up Without Corruption – Oscar Onwudiwe

Oscar OnwudiweA Social commentator, Oscar Onwudiwe, on Saturday opined that corruption is what binds Nigeria together, and without it, the country would disintegrate.

He made the controversial statement while speaking on ‘15 Years of Interrupted Democracy’ In Nigeria, on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise.

Onwudiwe said that Nigerians should be grateful as the country was evolving through democracy, noting that some individuals, including former President Olusegun Obasanjo, should be thanked for the transition to democratic rule.

“Things have changed whether we want to accept it or not,” he said.

On holding Government accountable, Onwudiwe blamed Nigerians for not rising up to demand change and ensuring that leaders do what they were elected to do.

He also argued that the value system obtainable in the country was encouraging corruption.

The concern for many Nigerians at the moment is that there is little to celebrate about the Nigerian democracy, especially with the insurgency rocking some parts of the county.

The S.A to the Borno State Governor on Media; Isa Gusau, was also on the programme along with Onwudiwe, and he shared the view that democracy has been great in the country even though there had been challenges. He expects the nation to rise out of its current problems.

Speaking on the forthcoming 2015 elections, Gusau also said that the Government would be bowing to the pressure from the Boko Haram sect if it refused to hold elections in crisis prone-areas, as one of the missions of the terrorist group was to suspend liberal rule.

Gusau, whose state is at the centre of the crisis, stated that the Government must ensure that elections are conducted in all parts of the country, if for nothing else than to prove to the terrorists that they cannot succeed.

He also revealed that that there was a mass movement against the terrorist group in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, giving assurances that there was no resident member of the sect in the State capital.

Making his contribution to the discussion, political analyst, Babatunde Gbadamosi, spoke about the National Conference, amidst concerns about insecurity, and the fact that the growth rates usually published as evidence of performance remain mere statistics that have failed to reflect in the general quality of living.

Gbadamosi was of the view that there is need for the Government to re-negotiate the basis of the nation’s existence, as this would be the best way to achieve peace and true development.

Activist Confirms Obasanjo’s Meeting With Families Of Suspected Boko Haram Members

Civil Rights activist, Mandela ObasanjoShehu Sani, on Wednesday said that he led a delegation of some families of suspected Boko Haram members to a meeting with former President Olusegun Obasanjo to find ways of securing the release of the abducted schoolgirls.

Sani, who  was speaking in response to the reports on the Abeokuta meeting with the former president and some family members of the Boko Haram group, confirmed that the meeting “actually took place and I was part of it”.

Sani said, in a statement made available to journalists, that the meeting which took place at the Abeokuta residence of the former President was aimed at opening a new channel of dialogue with leaders of the sect and secure the release of the missing girls.

He expressed the hope that the meeting will lead to a genuine dialogue between the abductors and the federal government on how to secure the girls’ release.

He said, “My statement is in response to the reports and the enquiries on the Abeokuta meeting with the former President Olusegun Obasanjo and some family members of the Boko Haram group. The renewed effort to dialogue with the leaders of Boko Haram is being pursued with vigour.

“This is to confirm that the meeting actually took place and I was part of it. The meeting was solely aimed at exploring the possibility of opening a new channel for dialogue or negotiation with the sect members towards securing the release of the abducted Chibok girls held in captivity for over a month.”

He noted that the meeting between the former President and families of Boko Haram members appraised the reportedly collapsed back door deal that was later cancelled by the Government.

“I wish to also confirm that the report of the intervention of Mr. Salkida in negotiating the release of the Chibok girls is credible.

“I personally introduced Salkida to the government and spoke about him in many of my previous interviews. He has tried his best in the past and of recent to help in resolving the insurgency through dialogue but was on all occasions frustrated by the government.

“Mr. Salkida should not be vilified but should be appreciated. Mr. Salkida’s attempt could have actually see to the release of the abducted girls. The meeting in Abeokuta was aimed at repackaging and salvaging the dialogue option. It was generally agreed that the initiative cannot take off without the consent of the Federal Government. It’s significant for Nigerians to note that negotiation is the only safer option to get the girls back home,” Sani stated.

Analyst Urges Nigerians To Give Military Time As Nigeria’s Problem Is Not A Quick Fix

vlcsnap-2014-05-20-09h26m06s58A public affairs analyst, Emmanuel Ado today (Tuesday) described Nigeria’s security challenge “as not a quick fix situation”, insisting that the challenges has two perspectives and will take time to be fixed.

He however commended the Nigerian Army and maintained that the army has been stretched because of the “certain situations we have brought upon ourselves”.

“We have piracy in the Niger Delta, kidnapping in the South East and Boko Haram in the North East” he said, noting that the entire officers of the Nigerian military, which he tagged generously at 120,000, cannot be deployed to quell the insurgency in the north east.

Mr Ado alleged that the last time a major procurement of arms and ammunition was carried out by the Nigerian Army was 31 years ago under the regime of President Shehu Shagari. Though he was quick to add that the Obasanjo and Jonathan administrations have also ‘done something’.

He noted that insurgencies all over the world are known to have lingered a bit and urged Nigerians not to, ‘’in their characteristic nature’’, think “it is a quick fix situation where they will wake up tomorrow and hear that we don’t have insurgents again”.

He also called for a total overhaul of the funding system of the security forces despite noting that, with the present arrangement, Nigerian Army is the sixth most funded in Africa.

“We are sixth in Africa in terms of expenditure on the military and we have ambitions to be a regional power” adding that the “United States spends $700 billion on their military” while “Nigeria spends only about 0.9 per cent of our Gross Domestic Product (GDP)” which “is far below the world average”.

“How much of that goes into procurement? That is why we are where we are” insisting that “we have serious work” he said.

He maintained that the entire police force in the north eastern part of the country is “non-existent” adding that “it is the military” that are maintaining law and order.

Apart from fighting the insurgency, Mr Ado noted that the government also deals with certain issues alongside the insurgency.

“Insurgency wars are very difficult; we have contending issues like the state of emergency and allegations of sabotaging soldiers of a particular religion” insisting that “these are issues that you have to be very careful in finishing off” he said.

He accused Amnesty International of making reports that are “untrue and unfounded” against the Nigerian Army after “they (military) have done well” adding that “there are conventions of war and the Nigerian military is well aware of them”.

While calling on President Jonathan to grant amnesty to Amnesty International on “that report that was far-fetched”, he urged Nigerians to exercise patience with the Nigerian Army in their fight against terror.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Former Works Minister, Isaiah Balat Dies At 62

The Senior Special Adviser on Special Duties to Vice President Namadi Sambo and a former People’s Democratic Party (PDP) governorship aspirant in Kaduna state in 2007, Senator Isaiah Balat is dead.

He died today at the National Hospital, Abuja, after suffering from an undisclosed ailment.

President-General of Southern Kaduna Progressive Union (SOKAPU), Dr Ephraim Goje who confirmed the death of Balat to our correspondent in Kaduna, said the people of the state have lost a rare gem and bridge builder in the politics of Kaduna state.

The late Balat was a former minister of state for works during President Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration and a senator of the federal republic of Nigeria from 2003-2007.