Wednesday, December 18, 2013
37 PDP Lawmakers Join APC (+Updates) The current crisis rocking the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, took a shocking dimension on Wednesday as 37 members of the House of Representatives who were formerly under the umbrella of PDP have defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC). According to lawmakers, the former PDP members are joining the APC because of “division and factionalisation” within the ruling party. Among the defectors are the Chairman, House Committee on Publicity, Mr. Zakari Mohammed, from Kwara State and Dakuku Peterside from Rivers State. Tambuwal read out the names of the defectors on the floor and stood up to acknowledge their decision to abandon the PDP. They said their action was backed by Section 68(1)(g) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended). There was jubilation on the floor as the APC members hugged the defectors and shook hands with them. For PDP members, most of them looked worried, but some of them shouted “PDP, power!” The defectors soon filed before Tambuwal, shaking hands with him. Also among those who have defected to the APC are leaders of the Kawu Baraje-led faction of the PDP in Bauchi State. Led by Abubakar Doma, the group was received by the party’s chieftain in the state and former Minister of Police Affairs Dr. Ibrahim Yakubu Lame. Speaking to newsmen, Doma explained that the development was aimed at ensuring justice and fairness in the country. He also rubbished the claim by the New PDP former state chairman, Muhammed Lawal Isah, that the faction had reconciled with the National Chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur. Doma disclosed that aside Isah, New PDP members and executives across the 20 local governments in the state had also crossed to the APC. He said: “The Bauchi State chapter of the new PDP has since joined the progressive national leadership of APC and has since been received by the party under the leadership of the former Police Affairs Minister, Dr. Lame. It is noteworthy that our resolution to join the APC was unanimous and had no second thought.’’ The defectors therefore warned that they would not hesitate to institute a legal action against anybody who continues to sponsor advertorials in newspapers, linking them with the old or new PDP and its affairs, saying they were committed to working spiritedly towards the victory of the APC in 2015. Doma said, “By this remarks, we are calling on the leadership of the APC in the state to dismiss any insinuation meant to ridicule our genuine integration into the party with all our subjects. We remain loyal and committed party members who are ready to use our time, abilities and resources, to work hard in ensuring the success of the party.’’
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
In what is turning out to be a season of open letters, daughter of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Iyabo, has ruled out further communication with her father till death, describing him as a liar, manipulator, two-faced hypocrite determined to foist on President Goodluck Jonathan what no one would contemplate with him as president. Senator Iyabo Obasanjo in a letter to her father accused him of having an egoistic craving for power and living a life where only men of low esteem and intellect thrive. In the 11-page letter dated December 16, 2013 exclusively obtained by Vanguard, Iyabo accused her father of orchestrating a third term for himself as president, cruelty to family members, abandonment of children and grandchildren, and also, a legendary reputation of maltreatment of women. Iyabo who forswore further political engagements in Nigeria denied any political motive for her missive, and described Nigeria as a country where her father and his ilk have helped to create a situation where smart, capable people bend down to imbeciles to survive. She particularly noted her experience as chairman of the Senate Committee on Health when she led the committee on a retreat appropriated for in the budget only for her to be prosecuted for it. Iyabo, first child of the former president, started the letter titled, Open Letter to my Father with a 4th century Chinese proverb by Mencius which states: “The great man is he who does not lose his child’s heart.” Her letter: “It brings me no joy to have to write this but since you started this trend of open letters I thought I would follow suit since you don’t listen to anyone anyway. The only way to reach you may be to make the public aware of some things. As a child well brought up by my long-suffering mother in Yoruba tradition, I have been reluctant to tell the truth about you but as it seems you still continue to delude yourself about the kind of person you are and I think for posterity’s sake it is time to set the records straight. “I will return to the issue of my long-suffering mother later in this letter. “Like most Nigerians, I believe there are very enormous issues currently plaguing the country but I was surely surprised that you will be the one to publish such a treatise. I remember clearly as if it was yesterday the day I came over to Abuja from Abeokuta when I was Commissioner of Health in OgunState, specifically to ask you not to continue to pursue the third term issue. “I had tried to bring it up when your sycophantic aides were present and they brushed my comments aside and as usual you listened to their self-serving counsel. For you to accuse someone else of what you so obviously practiced yourself tells of your narcissistic megalomaniac personality. Everyone around for even a few minutes knows that the only thing you respond to is praise and worship of you. People have learnt how to manipulate you by giving you what you crave. The only ones that can’t and will not stroke your ego are family members who you universally treat like shit (sic) apart from the few who have learned to manipulate you like others. “Before I continue, Nigerians are people who see conspiracy and self-service in everything because I think they believe everyone is like them. This letter is not in support of President Jonathan or APC or any other group or person, but an outpouring from my soul to God. I don’t blame you for the many atrocities you have been able to get away with, Nigerians were your enablers every step of the way. People ultimately get leaders that reflect them. “Getting back to the story, I made sure your aides were not around and brought up the issue, trying to deliver the presentation of the issue as I had practiced it in my head. I started with the fact that we copied the US constitution which has term limits of two terms for a President. As is your usual manner, you didn’t allow me to finish my thought process and listen to my point of view. Once I broached the subject you sat up and said that the US had no term limits in the past but that it had been introduced in the 1940s after the death of President Roosevelt, which is true. I wanted to say to you: when you copy something you also copy the modifications based on the learning from the original; only a fool starts from scratch and does not base his decisions on the learning of others. In science, we use the modifications found by others long ago to the most recent, as the basis of new findings; not going back to discover and learn what others have learnt. Human knowledge and development and civilization will not have progressed if each new generation and society did not build on the knowledge of others before them. The American constitution itself is based on several theories and philosophies of governance available in the 18th century. Democracy itself is a governance method started by the ancient Greeks. America’s founding fathers used it with modifications based on what hadn’t worked well for the ancient Greeks and on new theories since then. “As usual in our conversations, I kept quiet because I know you well. You weren’t going to change your mind based on my intervention as you had already made up your mind on the persuasion of the minions working for you who were ripping the country blind. When I spoke to you, your outward attitude to the people of the country was that you were not interested in the third term and that it was others pushing it. Your statement to me that day proved to me that you were the brain behind the third term debacle. It is therefore outrageous that you accuse the current President of a similar two-facedness that you yourself used against the people of the country. “I was on a plane trip between Abuja and Lagos around the time of the third term issue and I sat next to one of your sycophants on the plane. He told me: “Only Obasanjo can rule Nigeria”. I replied: “God has not created a country where only one person can rule. If only one person can rule Nigeria then the whole Nigeria project is not a viable one, as it will be a non-sustainable project” “I don’t know how you came about Yar’Adua as the candidate for your party as it was not my priority or job. Unlike you, I focus on the issues I have been given responsibility over and not on the jobs of others. It was the day of the PDP Presidential Campaign in Abeokuta during the state-by-state tour of 2007 that Yar’Adua got sick and had to be flown abroad. The MKO Abiola Stadium was already filled with people by 9am when I drove by (and) we had told people based on the campaign schedule that the rally would start at noon. At 11 am I headed for the stadium on foot; it was a short walk as there were so many cars already parked in and out. As I walked on with two other people, we saw crowds of people leaving the stadium. I recognized some of them as politicians and I asked them why people were leaving. They said the Presidential candidate had died. I was alarmed and shocked. I walked back home and received a call from a friend in Lagos who said the same and added that he had died in the plane carrying him abroad for treatment and that the plane was on its way to Katsina to bury him. I called you, and told you the information and that the stadium was already half-empty. You told me to go to the stadium and tell the people on the podium to announce that the Presidential candidate had taken ill that morning but the rest of the team, including you and the Vice-Presidential candidate would arrive shortly. I did as I was told, but even the people on the podium at first didn’t make the announcement because they thought it was true that Yar’Adua had died. I had to take the microphone and make the announcement myself. It did little good. People kept trooping out of the stadium. Your team didn’t arrive until 4pm and by this time we had just a sprinkling of people left. That evening after the disaster of a rally, you said you had insisted that the Presidential candidate fly to Germany for a check-up although you said he only had a cold. I asked why would anyone fly to Germany to treat a cold? And you said “I would rather die than have the man die at this time.” I thought of this profound statement as things later unfolded against me. Then I thought it a stupid statement but as usual I kept quiet, little did I know how your machinations for a person would be used against me. When Yar’Adua eventually died, you stayed alive, I would have expected you to jump into his grave. I left Nigeria in 1989 right after youth service to study in the US and I visited in 1994 for a week and didn’t visit again until your inauguration in 1999. In between, you had been arrested by Abacha and jailed. We, your children, had no one who stood with us. Stella famously went around collecting money on your behalf but we had no one. We survived. I was the only one of the children working then as a post-doctoral fellow when I got the call from a friend informing me of your arrest. A week before your arrest, you had called me from Denmark and I had told you that you should be careful that the government was very offended by some of your statements and actions and may be planning to arrest or kill you as was occurring to many at the time. The source of my information was my mother who, agitated, had called me, saying I should warn you as this was the rumour in the country. As usual you brushed aside my comments, shouting on the phone that they cannot try anything and you will do and say as you please. The consequence of your bravado is history. We, your family, have borne the brunt of your direct cruelty and also suffered the consequences of your stupidity but got none of the benefits of your successes. Of course, anyone around you knows how little respect you have for your children. You think our existence on earth is about you. By the way, how many are we? 19, 20, 21? Do you even know? In the last five years, how many of these children have you spoken to? How many grandchildren do you have and when did you last see each of them? As President you would listen to advice of people that never finished high school who would say anything to keep having access to you so as to make money over your children who loved you and genuinely wished you well. “At your first inauguration in 1999, I and my brothers and sisters told you we were coming from the US. As is usual with you, you made no arrangements for our trip, instead our mom organized to meet each of us and provided accommodation. At the actual swearing-in at Eagle Square, the others decided to watch it on TV. Instead I went to the square and I was pushed and tossed by the crowd. I managed to get in front of the crowd where I waved and shouted at you as you and General Abdulsalam Abubakar walked past to go back to the VIP seating area. I saw you mouth ‘my daughter’ to General Abdullahi who was the one who pulled me out of the crowd and gave me a seat. As I looked around I saw Stella and Stella’s family prominently seated but none of your children. I am sure General Abdullahi would remember this incident and I am eternally grateful to him. Getting back to my mother, I still remember your beating her up continually when we were kids. What kids can forget that kind of violence against their mother? Your maltreatment of women is legendary. Many of your women have come out to denounce you in public but since your madness is also part of the madness of the society, it is the women that are usually ignored and mistreated. Of course, you are the great pretender, making people believe you have a good family life and a good relationship with your children but once in a while your pretence gets cracked. When Gbenga gave a ride to help someone he didn’t know but saw was in need and the person betrayed his trust by tapping his candid response on the issues going on between you and your then vice-president, Atiku Abubakar, you had your aides go on air and denounce the boy before you even spoke to him to find out what happened. What kind of father does that? Your atrocities to some of my other siblings I will let them tell in their own due time or never if they choose. Some of the details of our life are public but the people choose to ignore it and pretended we enjoyed some largesse when you were President.
Monday, October 7, 2013
Remarks by His Excellency, President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, GCFR On the Occasion of the Inauguration of the National Advisory Committee On our Country’s Conversation towards a Greater Nigeria. State House, Presidential Villa, Abuja Monday October 7th 2013 PROTOCOLS 1. Today, we are taking historic and concrete steps that will further strengthen our understanding, expand the frontiers of our inclusiveness and deepen our bond as one people under God. 2. In my address to the Nation on the occasion of our 53rd Independence and Golden Anniversary as a Republic, I announced that in response to the yearnings of our people, we had decided to take on the responsibility of decisively and genuinely exploring the option of a National Conversation. 3. In furtherance of this objective, Government announced the names of some Nigerians, with wide experience from various disciplines, to form membership of an Advisory Committee to facilitate a most acceptable process that will bring our aspirations to fruition. Our gathering here today is to formally inaugurate this child of necessity, the Advisory Committee to midwife this Conversation. 4. Permit me to very quickly review the foundational principles that drive our action, and also address a few matters arising. Firstly, let me emphasize that this is a National Project, a sincere and fundamental undertaking, aimed at realistically examining and genuinely resolving, longstanding impediments to our cohesion and harmonious development as a truly united Nation. 5. There is a view by some of our people that we do not need to sit together to dialogue over the socio-political challenges facing our country. Some believe that because we have held several Conferences in the past, we do not need to hold another one. I was one of those who exhibited scepticism on the need for another Conference or Dialogue. My scepticism was borne out of the nomenclature of such a Conference, taking into cognizance existing democratic structures that were products of the will of the people. 6. However, we are in a democracy, and in a democracy; elected leaders govern at the behest of the citizenry. As challenges emerge, season after season, leaders must respond with best available strategies to ensure that the ship of state remains undeterred in its voyage. 7. Nations rise to the challenges that each epoch presents. It is imperative therefore, that in our march to nationhood, we have to be dynamic in our approach and response to the problems, even as we seek solutions to them. We cannot proffer yesterday's solutions to today's problems. 8. Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, let us remind ourselves of the gains from previous Conferences and Dialogues. The Conferences that were held before 1960 were designed to produce a political system and a roadmap to Nigeria's independence. 9. The Constitutional Conference of 1957 in London, for example, effectively prepared Nigeria for Independence. The Eastern and Western regions were granted self-government in 1957, while the Northern region got its own in 1959. The Office of the Prime Minister was created and it was also decided that the Federal Legislature would be Bi-cameral. 10. Furthermore, the Constituent Assembly of 1978 gave us the 1979 Constitution and also created the current Presidential System with its attendant checks and balances and Fundamental Human Rights provisions. The 1999 Constitution we operate today, is a successor to the 1979 Constitution and records show that the 1999 Constitution also benefited from reports and recommendations arising from the 1994/1995 Constitutional Conference. 11. Although not enshrined in the 1999 Constitution, the idea of the current Six Geo-Political Zones that have become one of the avenues for equitable distribution of projects and public offices in Nigeria was also a product of Dialogue that emerged from the 1994/1995 Constitutional Conference. 12. The 2005 National Political Reform Conference produced a number of key recommendations that were sent to the 5th Assembly, which were however not perfected. In 2010, I reasoned that the outstanding recommendations from the 2005 Conference be revisited. 13. It was my view that Government is a continuum and that we must find ways to strengthen the foundation of our Union. I proceeded to set up the Justice Alpha Belgore Committee with a mandate to review the report for possible implementation, especially the areas were there was a common agreement. The committee worked hard and came out with its report that included a number of Bills, which were forwarded to the National Assembly. 14. We believe that these Bills will form key components of the on-going Constitutional Review by the National Assembly. 15. Clearly, every dialogue adds something valuable to our evolving Nation. The urgency of a National Conversation in the present therefore, need not be over emphasized. 16. Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, as we continue to strive to build a strong and virile Nation, especially in the midst of agitations and tensions, we cannot deny the fact that sitting down to talk is one right step in calming down tensions and channelling our grievances, misgivings and suggestions into more positive use for the good of our Country. 17. Let me use this opportunity to thank the Senate President, and the leadership and members of the National Assembly for the support they have given to this important National Project. 18. The concept of participatory democracy is such that even after the people have given their representatives the mandate to make laws and act on their behalf, there is also a space for the governed to make further input into the political processes, without undermining the authority of the statutory bodies. Sovereignty continues to be with the people even as the people evolve strategies and tactics to strengthen its foundation for the benefit of successor generations. 19. It is this sort of collaboration between the people and established institutions of government, that will allow for a robust outcome that leads to greater understanding and a more cohesive and inclusive Union. For me, there is no alternative to inclusivity, equity and justice in a modern democratic state. 20. I will therefore like to allay the fears of those who think the Conference will call the integrity of Nigeria into question. This National Discourse will strengthen our union and address issues that are often on the front burner, and are too frequently ignored. 21. Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear Committee Members, this is a serious task, and history beckons on you not to disappoint our people. I want to charge you to consult widely before sitting down to develop the framework that will guide and guard the proceedings of the discussions. 22. In the task before you, no voice is too small and no opinion is irrelevant. Thus, the views of the sceptics and those of the enthusiasts must be accommodated as you formulate this all important framework. This Conversation is a People’s Conversation and I urge you to formulate an all-inclusive process that protects the people’s interest. 23. Let me also urge the Advisory Committee not only to be alive to the expectations of our people, but to bear in mind, that what we desire is what can work for the good of our people and country. The goal is to bequeath a better and a greater Nigeria to the present and the generation that is to come. 24. Ladies and Gentlemen, We have wasted too much time and resources, bickering over sectional versions of what define reality. This is an open-ended luxury we can no longer afford. Let us move forward, with honest conviction and patriotic courage, to strengthen this Republic, and get it to work better and brighter, for all of us, to the glory of God. 25. On this note, I hereby inaugurate the National Advisory Committee on this significant National Assignment and give the Committee six weeks to submit its report. I thank you for accepting to serve and I wish you the very best of wisdom in this very important call to duty. 26. Congratulations! I thank you.
Thursday, October 3, 2013
By Chinedu Felix Opara THE INTERNATIONAL DAY OF NON-VIOLENCE “There are many causes that I am prepared to die for, but no causes that I am prepared to kill for” /Mahatma Gandhi/ Often described as “the politics of ordinary people”, the principle of non-violence rejects the use of physical violence in order to achieve social or political change. The current situation only perpetuates and points to the relevance and importance of striving for the widespread recognition of this principle. Across the globe hundreds of thousands of lives are being lost more frequently, as people resort to violence and armed conflict as the ultimate means of putting their views across. The International Day of Non-Violence is marked on 2nd October in tandem with the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi, leader of the Indian independence movement and renowned pioneer of the philosophy and strategy of non-violence. This day is recognized and commemorated by the United Nations as a means of reaffirming the universal relevance of the principle of non-violence and the desire to secure a culture of peace, tolerance, and understanding. I strongly stands by the principle of non-violence, and will continue to thrive for its recognition and implementation across societies in my own little way just as I want you to be doing too. I am urging the youths to utilize their minds as their best weapon against all the injustices they are faced with, and promote non-violence within their communities and to their governments especially our country Nigeria in time like this. The repercussions of violent conduct are extensive and only breed more violence and destruction, once again quoting from Mahatma Gandhi “an eye for an eye, makes the whole world blind”. Let us join hands in celebrating the lifelong work of this great visionary and ensure that his words echo through time and history, in favor of worldwide peace and harmony. Hope you celebrated by preaching peace? I preach peace. Happy International Day of Non-Violence! Yours, Chinedu Felix Opara Heartland Blaze.
Tuesday, October 1, 2013
By Chinedu Felix Opara Nothing Shocks Again **government has the responsibility and obligation to not only protect us, also to make us feel safe. **we have moved on with obviously what we think is more important matters like who becomes whatever in 2015. **We forget the killings quickly in order to sustain the pretence that the union is in sane state. **Nigeria has failed to tell terrorists in succinct terms, that their actions would be punished. THE body counts from the war against terrorism are getting abnormal. Whether the losses are on the part of the security agencies or mere standbys, like school children, it is becoming clearer that government needs to do more. Terrorists may do all they can to make the country unsafe, but government has the responsibility and obligation to not only protect us, also to make us feel safe. What we find more absurd is that the seasonal killing of school children which terrorists in Yobe State have made their specialty, no longer shocks. The condemnations have thinned. We have moved on with what we think is obviously more important matters like who becomes whatever in 2015. We forget the killings quickly in order to sustain the pretence that the union is in sane state. Nigeria has lost thousands of lives to terrorists. Neither the numbers, no those killed, appears to be important. Lives, no longer seem to count, they have become numbers, ordinary statistics, kept for the records. Which society watches its members decimated in this manner without being shocked into action? How can a society be so unfeeling when it cannot protect its young, its future? Nigeria has failed to tell terrorists in succinct terms, that their actions would be punished. There are no examples to deter them. The choice of soft targets like schools, markets, entertainment centres and churches has become a trademark of these attacks. The terrorists want attention, and bigger headlines. Our security agencies need to do more. Failure of intelligence and armed actions against terrorists is not as bad as the unwillingness of many top Nigerians who can exert pressure to do so. We cannot bring terrorists to account when we place personal and political considerations above millions of lives terrorists place at risk. The lives at risk could be anyone’s as the indiscriminate attacks have proved. The war against terrorists cannot be won when we are pulling in different directions. Any group that can murder children so mindlessly is a risk to everyone, even its avowed supporters.
Thursday, September 26, 2013
Once upon a time there was a rich King who had four wives. He loved the 4th wife the most and adorned her with rich robes and treated her to the finest of delicacies. He gave her nothing but the best. He also loved the 3rd wife very much and was always showing her off to neighboring kingdoms. However, he feared that one day she would leave him for another. He also loved his 2nd wife. She was his confidant and was always kind, considerate and patient with him. Whenever the King faced a problem, he could confide in her, and she would help him get through the difficult times. The King’s 1st wife was a very loyal partner and had made great contributions in maintaining his wealth and kingdom. However, he did not love the first wife. Although she loved him deeply, he hardly took notice of her! One day, the King fell ill and he knew his time was short. He thought of his luxurious life and wondered, “I now have four wives with me, but when I die, I’ll be all alone.” Thus, he asked the 4th wife, “I have loved you the most, endowed you with the finest clothing and showered great care over you. Now that I’m dying, will you follow me and keep me company?” “No way!”, replied the 4th wife, and she walked away without another word. Her answer cut like a sharp knife right into his heart. The sad King then asked the 3rd wife, “I have loved you all my life. Now that I’m dying, will you follow me and keep me company?” “No!”, replied the 3rd wife. “Life is too good! When you die, I’m going to remarry!” His heart sank and turned cold. He then asked the 2nd wife, “I have always turned to you for help and you’ve always been there for me. When I die, will you follow me and keep me company?” “I’m sorry, I can’t help you out this time!”, replied the 2nd wife. “At the very most, I can only accompany you to your grave.” Her answer came like a bolt of lightning, and the King was devastated. Then a voice called out: “I’ll leave with you and follow you no matter where you go.” The King looked up, and there was his first wife. She was so skinny as she suffered from malnutrition and neglect. Greatlygrieved, the King said, “I should have taken much better care of you when I had the chance!” In truth, we all have 4 wives in our lives: Our 4th wife is our body. No matter how much time and effort we lavish in making it look good or feel good, it will leave us when we die. Our 3rd wife is our possessions, status and wealth. When we die, it will all go to others. Our 2nd wife is our family and friends. No matter how much they have been there for us, the furthest they can stay by us is up to the grave. And our 1st wife is our Soul. Often neglected in pursuit of wealth, power and pleasures of the world. However, our Soul is the only thing that will follow us wherever we go. Cultivate, strengthen and cherish it now, for it is the only part of us that will follow us to the throne of God and continue with us throughout Eternity. ''DONT SELL YOUR SOUL'' Are you always inspired by my inspirational/motivational stories? If yes Always follow this blog. @Nedumblaze
Over 8,000 women on Thursday matched to the Zamfara Hisbah Commission seeking the state government’s assistance to enable them get married. Led by the Chairperson of the Zamfara Widows Association, Hajiya Suwaiba Isa and their patron Alhaji Sa’idu Goshe, the women said they were not living a normal life and needed husbands to become whole. “Many of us cannot afford two meals in a day because there are no men to support us,” they said. The patron, said the association has over 8,000 women, comprising 5,380 divorcees, 2,200 widows, 1,200 orphans and 80 others, whom he said, were looking for men to marry. He said the women also needed assistance to purchase household items such as beds, mattresses and other basic necessities needed to move to their husband houses. Goshe appealed to the commission to assist the association in screening suitors for the women. He said the screening would determine the suitors health status, source of livelihood and ability to maintain a family. Responding, the Chairman of the commission, Dr Atiku Zawuyya, commended the association for the initiative, saying it would assist in ridding the society of women of easy virtues. Zawuyya promised to present the matter to the state government for necessary action, but urged the patron to also set up a similar body for men to make the pairing exercise easier. (Heartland Blaze)