Unions concerned over abuse of racism researchers

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Unions representing employees in the University of Eastern Finland are concerned over external pressures aimed at restricting their research into racism and multiculturalism.

They say the University must have a visible role in combating racism. In a joint statement, the unions state an internationally orientated university should be concerned over increasing racism and a toughening of attitudes in eastern Finland.

Basic values such as academic freedom and justice presuppose that teachers and researchers must be able to actively participate in society.

According to Union representative Antero Puhakka of the Negotiation Organisation for Public Sector Professionals (JUKO), abuse of university researchers had prompted the statement.

"Our researchers into racism and multiculturalism have been subjected to threats," noted Puhakka. "Anonymous threatening letters have been posted to their homes and researchers have faced abuse on Facebook. Complaints regarding the activities of researchers and teachers have been filed with the vice-chancellor or to a higher authority."

Puhakka adds that the action has been co-ordinated and is aimed at restricting the participation of researchers and teachers in society.

"We emphasize that a policy of zero tolerance must be adopted," Puhakka noted.

According to the statement, meetings discussing racism, multiculturalism and Islam have been disrupted. As a result, some researchers are now reluctant to appear in public.   

The unions remind that the aim of the University of Easter Finland is to promote internationalism and to increase the number of international researchers and students. It calls on the university to secure an acceptable climate in society to permits this

About Post Author

Anthony-Claret Ifeanyi Onwutalobi

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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The Church, The vatican and the papacy

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Read Time:22 Minute, 58 Second

The greatest institution in the entire world is the Catholic Church. Her greatness often leads so many people to develop interest in her. Once you talk about the Church, you are invariably talking about the Papacy, that is, the system of government of the Catholic Church with Pope as the head. But who on this earth can, with his finite brain, comprehend exhaustively the phenomena of the Pope and of the church. Many claims are made, many points are raised, many objections are put forward but the question about the papacy remains not adequately answered. This piece wishes to lend its voice to the awe-inspiring institution of the papacy, taking cognisance of its foundation, structure, problems, achievements and shortcomings; and contemporary papacy as embodied in the Popes of 20th/21st centuries. These are the current questions, following the notice of resignation by Pope Benedict XVI. Very soon, the issue of who succeeds the pope will occupy the front burner and many questions will be asked about the papacy.

Foundation of Papacy

Catholics believe that Jesus Christ is the invisible head of their Church, which, according to them, He founded. Christ, the logic goes forth, by the nature of His mission on earth could not stay ad infinitum and, therefore, founded an authority to represent Him on earth. Thus Christ, some believe, established the office of the Pope when He said to Simon, who was also called Peter, or the Rock. “You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it” (Mt. 16:18). Later in the gospel of John (Jn.21:15-17), Christ brought out Peter’s position more vividly. Having called him three times, Christ gave him the jurisdiction of a supreme shepherd and ruler over the whole flock, thus making him the first Pope. Did Peter justify this position?

How far St. Peter carried on the flock of Christ could be seen in his activities. He was always at the head of the apostles and named first whenever the names of the twelve were mentioned. During the Council of Jerusalem (A.D.47), which deliberated on the propriety or otherwise of admitting the Gentiles into the Church, Peter presided. When St. Mathias was chosen to replace Judas as an apostle, Peter was the spokesman. During the Pentecost, it was Peter that addressed the men of Judea and all who dwelt in Jerusalem on behalf of the apostles. During the condemnation of Ananias and Sapphira, Peter was at the forefront.

By all indications, Peter’s leadership was accepted by the early Church. Faithful to Peter as the first Pope, the early Church continued to grow amidst many obstacles that even surpassed what the Church is experiencing today.

The nascent Church, existing first in Palestine, Syria, Asia Minor and Greece, as described in Acts of the Apostles, soon found its focal point in the capital of the Roman Empire, a centre, which has remained to this day. The testimony of Peter’s residence in Rome is so abundant that renowned pagan and protestant historian, Whiston, attest to that. He says the evidence “is so clear to Christians antiquity that it is a shame for any protestant to confess that any protestant ever denied it.”

Prior to his pontificate at Rome from A.D. 42-A.D. 67, Peter was the first Bishop of Antioch in Syria. He was martyred in Rome with St. Paul during the reign of Emperor Nero. According to tradition, Peter was buried under what later became the site of St. Peter’s Church in Vatican City.

It is almost two thousand years since Christ ascended to heaven. Thus the Catholic Church and the Papacy have existed for almost 2000 years. During these times, other institutions that started with the Papacy have all fallen. This, to some, is an indication and indeed the fulfillment of Christ’s word that He would be with the Church till the end of the time. This divine assistance has made the Church and the Papacy to rise above the human weaknesses of her members and to live and bury those organisations and institutions that once threatened her.

This long existence of the Papacy (2, 000 years) should and have produced many remarkable innovations and modifications. Many titles are now used for the Pope; many offices, congregations and tribunals have been created to help the Pope in administering the Church; dogmas are continuously being defined (not invested) to meet the changing world; more dignified way of electing the Pope has been adopted after many centuries of trials and errors; so many advancements that were St. Peter to come back to the world today, he would scarcely recognise the Papacy. If, in a sudden cataclysmic destruction of all institutions in the world, mankind were advised to name one institution for preservation, they would choose the Papacy. When I see it, I imagine I see grandeur in person. As we marvel at this marvelous institution, let us see its structure and operation.

The structure and operation of the papacy

We have to “dismantle” the Papacy before we can comprehend its structure. This cannot be done without the knowledge of the Vatican City. During the struggle for unification of Italy, from 1848 to 1870, all Papal states were forcefully taken from the Church by the state. Having no standing army, the Pope was helpless. As a protest, Pope Pius IX (1792 – 1878) and three of his successors, in the next 60 years, made themselves voluntary prisoners of the Vatican.

In 1929, Pope Pius XI (1857 – 1939) and the Italian government, led by Benito Mussolini, settled the 60-year-old dispute between the Church and the state with two historic documents – The Lateran Treaty and The Concordant. The former gave the Pope full sovereignty over Vatican City while the later dealt with relations between the Vatican and Italy. These documents, having been signed, Pope Pius XI emerged from the Vatican and entered St. Peter’s Square in a huge procession witnessed by about 250,000 persons. His appearance signaled the triumph of the Church.

Justifying its sovereignty, Vatican City has its own Pope’s yellow and white banner as the official state flag, automatic licence plates, postage stamps and coins. It maintains its own public works: mail and telephone systems, water supply and lighting and street-cleaning services. Vatican has its own bank, a large printing plant, and a rarely occupied jail (use for something else now). Vatican does not have an army or navy capable of fighting a war. But it does have its own “Armed Forces”. The most famous are the Swiss Guards, who protect the Pope and serve as sentries. Other armed forces include the Noble Guards (body guards and escorts of the Pope); the Palatine Guard (the Pope’s militia) and the Pontifical Gendarmerie (the Pope’s Police Force).

In addition to L’osservatore Romano, the most influential Vatican daily newspaper; it also publishes Osservatore della Domenica, a weekly publication; and the Acta Apostolican Sedis, which prints official Church documents. The Vatican Radio transmits Papal message in more than 40 languages, including Latin.

Most importantly, the Pope sends and receives diplomats from other countries. Papal Ambassadors and Envoys are called Legates. Legates of high position are called Nuncios and those of lesser positions Internuncios. All Bishops submit to supervision of their affairs by Legates of the Pope. The Pope’s seat of authority is called the Apostolic See or the Holy See.

Pope’s functions are mostly spiritual. Whenever he speaks Ex Cathedra, that is, in his position as the head of the Church on matters, concerning morals and faith, he is said to be infallible. Besides, he is as gullible as the man next door. The Pope has the sole function of beatifying and canonising saints. He appoints and deposes bishops; he creates dioceses and approves new religious orders. Whenever the Pope wishes, he may call an ecumenical council or a general conference of the Church to help him decide on Church affairs.

In carrying out his temporal and spiritual functions, the Pope is aided by numerous Congregations, Tribunals, and Offices in Rome. All these make up the Curia. The Congregations have executive authority; the Tribunals exercise judicial powers; and Offices perform ministerial duties. The heads of most of these units have the rank of Cardinal.

In the Roman Curia, many offices are distinguished; some of them are the Apostolic Chancery – this office sends Papal documents to dioceses throughout the world; The Apostolic Datary – the office examines candidates for Papal benefices; The Apostolic Camera – this office is concerned with temporal goods and rights of the Holy See; The Secretariat of State – this office handles special matters, including the relationship of Holy see and civil governments; and the Secretariat of Briefs and Latin Letters – this office prepares letters to civil rulers and puts Papal documents into its official Latin form.

There are many titles with which the Pope is known. All of these titles point out to his position as the Primus inter pares among other bishops. His full titles are legion: Bishop of Rome, Vicar of Jesus Christ, Successor of the Prince of the Apostles, Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Church, Patriarch of the West, Primate of Italy, Archbishop and Metropolitan of the Roman Province and Sovereign of the State of Vatican City. He is addressed as “Your Holiness” or “The Holy Father” but the Pope speaks of himself in official documents as “Servant of the Servants of God.” (Servus servorum Dei).

The clothes of the Pope are similar to those of his brother bishops in style and colour, mostly white. His shoes are low, open and red in colour with cross on the front of each. His pallium, which is a band of wool embroidered with crosses, shows his rank as an archbishop. Pope’s jewels include a pontifical ring, which is known as the fisherman’s ring.

Very important in the lives of Popes is the Sacred College, also called the College of Cardinals. This body acts as advisers to the Pope. The Pope, in the spirit of apostleship, asks for their advice whenever needed. He meets with them officially in the Consistories. Consistories could be secret, semi-secret or public.

In secret Consistories, the Pope meets with his Cardinals. It is there that new Cardinals are named. Pope gives the new Cardinals their sapphire rings as a symbol of their offices. If a Cardinal comes from a far country, the Pope assigns him an honorary position as the head of a diocese in Italy. At secret Consistories, the Pope appoints Cardinal Camerlengo, i.e. Chancellor of the Catholic Church. In semi-public Consistories, the Pope, Cardinals and Bishops meet. This Consistory discusses candidates for beatification and canonisation. In public Consistory, church officials and dignitaries could be invited.

The major function of the College of Cardinals is the election of a new Pope. When a Pope dies, a member of the college must verify his death. He touches the forehead of the Pope thrice with a silver mallet and calls him by his baptismal name. He then announces that “the Pope is truly dead”. In the interim, the Sacred College takes over his functions. Though we have had Popes that resigned in the past, it was essentially due to one problem or another, including the era of anti Popes. With the resignation of the present Pope, it is imperative that before the date it will take effect, he would have named what the formula will be.

During the election of a new Pope, the College of Cardinals is known as “The Conclave”. While in the conclave, the Cardinals severe any relationship with the outside world. On the day of the election, mass of the Holy Ghost is celebrated for guidance in decision. The actual voting takes place in the Sistine chapel (erected in the palace of the Vatican by Pope Sixtus IV in 1473).

The Conclave begins between the 15th and 18th day after the death of the Pope. After voting, if a new Pope is not elected, the scrutinies (ballots) are burnt with a mixture of straw) to produce black smoke. When eventually a Pope is elected, the straw is burnt alone to produce white smoke. Then, outsiders will shout “Viva il papa” (“Long live the Pope”). The Cardinals will then pay their first homage to the Pope-elect. The senior Cardinal deacon will then step out on the balcony of St. Peter’s Church and announces to the people in Latin, Habemus Papam (“We have a Pope”). The Pope makes his first appearance and gives his blessing, “Urbi et Orbi” (to the City and to the World).

The Pope-elect chooses a day and a place for his installation – they have often chosen St. Peter’s Church. On that day, the Pope is carried in a portable throne in a procession from the Vatican to Saint Peter. After the mass, a three-tiered crown is placed on the Pope’s head. He then gives his blessing. The cardinals will pay a second homage.

However, in 1978, Pope Paul I eliminated many of this traditional ceremonies. He walked in the procession and chose to have a pallium placed over his shoulders, symbolising his pastoral responsibilities as the head of the Church. Later, Pope John Paul II followed this Pauline example.

The foregoing represents the operation of the papacy, so terribly organised. In fact, if art were the organisation of government, the Papacy is the most imposing masterpiece in history. This does not mean that the papacy is trouble-free. It has its own plenty share of troubles amidst many achievements.

Troubles and achievements

It is said, often with some truth, the beginning of anything is usually difficult, thus the early Church and Popes faced monumental obstacles. In these trials, they were mettlesome enough. Almost all of them faced the opposition against the Church with heroic faith.

Since Roman Emperors were pagans, they tried to exterminate the nascent Christianity at all cost. It was so intense that in A.D. 67, Emperor Nero killed St. Peter and St. Paul. When Rome burnt (A.D. 64 – 65), Nero accused and persecuted Christians. In A.D. 96, Emperor Domitan tried to surpass the records of Nero by his brutal killing of Christians. Emperor Diocletian in A.D. 303, February 23, published a general edict, ordering the destruction of Christian Churches and writings and reduced Christians to slave status. The list of hostility, if one wishes, could go on. ad-infinitum

A turning point was, however, recorded in A.D. 314. With the help of his mother, St. Helena, Pope Sylvester (314-325) converted Constantine to Christianity. As a postscript, he initiated the transformation of pagan Rome into a Christian state. Constantine stopped the crucifixion and breaking of leg in Roman Empire (A.D. 315) and declined to celebrate the Ludi Saeculares at Rome because of their pegan association (A.D. 314). He exempted the clergy of Roman Empire from taxation (A.D. 315) and recognised the jurisdiction of ecclesiastical courts (A.D. 318). Constantine forbade magic (A.D. 320) and heretical gatherings and divorce (A.D. 331).

The culminating act of his conversion was the building of the first St. Peter’s Basilica above the crypt (tomb) of St. Peter in 325. The modern St. Peter’s Basilica was, however, started in 1506 by Pope Julius II and dedicated in 1626 by Pope Urban VIII. Pope Alexander VII (1655 – 1667) was to erect the magnificent colonnade of the plaza at St. Peter.

Another unpleasant task of ecclesiastical organisation under the Popes was to prevent a fragmentation of the Church through the multiplication of heresies, i.e. doctrines contrary to the conciliar definitions of the Church creed. These heresies almost always rose in an East that had inherited the Greek passion for defining the infinite. It has always been resolved through different Councils convoked to examine specific heresies otherwise known as General or Ecumenical Councils. The first council was that of Jerusalem chaired by the first Pope, St. Peter.

Then in A.D. 318, Arius, a Libyan Priest, startled the whole world by his denial of the Holy Trinity. Christians hold Christ to be so identical in being with God (homoousious); Arius considered Him only similar in being (homoiousis). In A.D. 321, Arius was excommunicated. With the help of Constantine, Eusebius of Caesarea and St. Athanasius (later Bishop of Alexandria) and the support of Pope Sylvester I, the Nicene Council was called. The Council re-affirmed the Trinity and gave us the Nicene Creed, which summarises the chief articles of the Christian faith.

At this point, Nestorious, Bishop of Contantinople, entered the heretic scene. According to the church, Christ was God, and Mary was “Theotokos”, God-bearing, the mother of God. Nestorius thought the term too strong. Mary, he said, was the mother only of the human, not of the divine, nature of Christ.

In 429, St Cyril, Archbishop of Alexandria, repudiated Nestorius. Pope Celestine I (422 – 432), stirred by a letter from Cyril, called a Council at Rome (A.D. 430). The Council demanded Nestorius to retract; he refused. Finally the Council of Ephesus (A.D. 431) re-affirmed that Mary was the mother of the incarnate Logos or word of God, containing both the divine and the human nature of Christ. The same Pope Celestine I sent St. Patrick to convert Ireland to Christianity, a task he masterfully accomplished.

Eutyches, head of a Monastery near Constantinople, announced the last great heresy of this turbulent period and the most momentous in result. In Christ, said Eutychus, there were not two natures, human and divine; there was only the divine. The Council of Chalcedom (451), under Pope Leo I, condemned this “monophysite” heresy and reaffirmed the double nature of Christ.

In between the above heresies, many other heresies had at a point threatened the Church. There was the Albigensian heresy. This heresy derived its name from the city of Albi; they rejected the Holy Trinity and believed that Christ was not the son of God but an archangel, who came to earth as an apparition or illusion. Pope Innocent III fought them to a standstill in 1208.

In 787, Pope Adrian I condemned the heresy of Adoptionism, whose exponents held that Christ, as man, was the adopted but not the natural Son of God. The Pope, in 787, presided through his delegates over the second Council of Nicene, which condemned Adoptionism and Inconoclasm.

We cannot point out all the heresies that agitated the Church in her history. In addition to those mentioned, we have the Apollinarians, Saballians, Manichism, Paulinians, Bogomiles, Pelagianism, Massalians, Priscillinists and heresies propagated by current commercial churches. Added to these heresies, there were additional problems created by differences between the Latin Church and the Eastern Church.

The Church, despite its many problems and heretics, attacking her was united until after the first 800 years when a major schism began to separate the Church at Rome and the Church at Constantinpole, now at Istabul. The causes of this schism were many and its result momentous.

First there was communication problem created by differences in language, liturgy and doctrines. Greek Liturgy, ecclesiastical vestments, vessels and ornaments were more complex, ornate and artistically wrought than those of the West; the Greek cross had equal arms; the Greeks prayed standing, the Latin kneeling; the Greek baptised by immersion, the Latin by aspersion and/or immersion; marriage was forbidden to Latin priests but permitted to Greek priests; Latin priests shaved, Greek priests had contemplative beards. These differences and many other disagreements led to the excommunication of Photius in A.D. 863 by Pope Nicholas and Photius excommunicated the Pope in A.D. 867. In Leo’s pontificate, Greek and Latin Churches were finally divorced (1054). The excommunication was removed in 1965, when patriarch Athenagoras visited the Pope in Rome. There was a follow up to their earlier visit (1964) in Jerusalem, the first meeting in 500 years.

In 1300 the papacy suffered two major setbacks: The era of “antipopes” and the “Babylonian Captivity”. In 1305 through influence of king Philip of France, a French Archbishop was elected and crowned at Lyon, as Pope Clement V. Clement moved the papal court from Rome to Avigon in 1309. The papacy remained in France during the reign of seven Popes and this greatly reduced the prestige of the Papacy. This period was known as “Babylonian Captivity”; it ended in 1377 when Pope Gregory XI returned the Papal throne to Rome.

This development made the Papacy to be a subject of intense rivalry among Catholic countries. Unfortunately, it degenerated into the era of rival Popes, in other words, known as “anti-popes.” An anti-pope was he, who has been improperly elected a pope. He sets himself in opposition to the pope, who has been regularly chosen in accordance with canon law. The first anti-pope usually noted was Hippolytus; the last anti-pope was Felix. This schism divided the church for almost 60 years. As if the Church was recovering from it; subsequent popes posed a problem to the Church. Having obtained their election by bribe, they lived shamefully.

This was exemplified in the pontificate of Alexander VI. Alexander involved himself in the political maneuvering, which characterised Italy of 1492-1503. The career of Alexander VI and some other Popes of the era demonstrated that they were typical Renaissance Princes occupied with Italian politics often to the neglect of their spiritual duties, thus bringing disgrace to the Church and the Papacy into disrepute.

As an aftermath of this degenerative Papacy, many Church leaders cried out for reforms. These cries continued unheeded until Martin Luther came forth. Though Erasmus was accused of having laid the egg that Luther hatched but he was more civilised as opposed to the rudeness of Luther. Luther was a Catholic Priest and a monk. In his 95 theses, he denounced many things in the Church, especially the indulgence. But let it be said here that even before Luther, Pope Boniface IX in 1392, Martin V in 1420 and Sixtus IV in 1478 had repeatedly condemned the misconception and abuses of indulgence. Luther’s concerns were legitimate. Some believed that his way of going about it was wrong, others believed otherwise. This debate continues.

In response to this protestant reformation, the Church called the Council of Trent, which met from 1545-1563. This Council re-affirmed the Catholic doctrines.

It needs to be said and I do hereby say it that the personal immoralities of priests or popes do not nullify the divine character of the Church, the purity of its doctrines or the graces and spiritual powers it transmits.

The final major offensive against the papacy was the madness of Napoleon Bonaparte. He forcefully annexed the Papal States in 1809. The Congress of Vienna restored this in 1815 under the protection of Austria. During the struggle for unification in Italy, all the papal provinces were confiscated but in 1929 the Vatican City was granted independence: this ushered in the era of the modern papacy.

The contemporary Papacy

In the 1900’s, the papacy enjoyed a high prestige and influence. With the independence of the Vatican, the popes concern themselves with moral and social issues of the day. Pius X, who became Pope in 1903, worked hard to keep peace in Europe. He was shocked by the outbreak of World War II in 1914.

Like Pius X, Pius XII, who succeeded him, worked tirelessly for peace during the World War II; this brought him worldwide acclaim. Pope John XXIII, known as the “rotund” Pope, succeeded him in 1958 and called the Second Vatican Council, which began in 1962. This is the 21st council in the history of Christianity. This Council made changes in the Church and was completed under Pope Paul VI, who succeeded him in 1966.

Paul travelled widely. He was the first Pope to visit the Holy land, the U.S. and South America. In 1978, he died and Pope Paul I succeeded him. After 34 days, he died and Pope John Paul II succeeded him. A year of three Popes!

We must not refuse this Pope the credit of having brought the Church to her greatest height and had never relented in his task of realisation of a moral state. He was one of the ablest Church leaders in Church history. He pursued his aims with vision, devotion, inflexible persistence and unbelievable energy.

The Pope gave himself so unremittingly to the problems of humanity that he looked physically exhausted, weighed down by the suffering of humanity. He waged war against abortion, euthanasia and oppression with unquestionable sincerity and heroic devotion. He was called a mobile Pope because he travelled widely as part of evangelisation with his message of love, reconciliation, charity and peace. These, among other things, made him the most cherished visitor wherever he visited. The Pope had some physical comeliness and spiritual magnetism that attracted millions of people wherever he visited. He remained a spiritual lion even until he died on April 2, 2005, mildly like a ripe pawpaw from its tree.

Contemplating his achievements, we marvel at the prestige he brought to the papacy, Catholic Church and Christianity. He renewed our faith in the future possibilities of the Church as indispensable to the moral health of humanity. We can always call him, without tongue-in-check, the very representative of Christ. It is a challenge to the Catholic Church to keep on producing Popes like him in future, thank God that the present Pope, Pope Benedict XVI, is leading the Church along the parts of holiness.

Watching the actions of Pope Benedict XVI, one noticed that he is not after personal glory. He does his job as the Representative of Christ. In his apostolate, he keeps making reference to the work of his predecessor without any tinge of jealousness.

Presently, there appears to be organised war against the Catholic Church and we are happy the manner the present Pope has handles it. The war is hinged on clerical celibacy, ordination of women, same-sex marriage, abortion and many other contentious issues. If the Church is truth, it would have to maintain the teachings of God and not swing with the changing times. The moment the Church starts saying because majority of the people are clamouring for this or that, let us change the divine truth, it will do more harm to her.

Expectedly form today, till February 28, when the Pope’s resignation will take effect, we shall witness a lot. the See of the Basilica of St. John Lateran, which is the Cathedral Church of the Bishop of Rome (Pope) will be declared vacant (Sede Vacante).

Normally, with the death of the Pope, all heads of Roman Curia resign except Cardinal Camerlengo and Major Penitentiary. Will it apply in this case? Will the Coat of Arms of the Holy See change form from the normal Papal tiara to Umbraculum?

About Post Author

Anthony-Claret Ifeanyi Onwutalobi

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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NIGERIA: You have my full support, Jonathan tells Keshi

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Read Time:1 Minute, 34 Second

What looked like a replay of defining moment of the Westerhof era when some sports administrators in the country were bent in frustrating him, happened yesterday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja when President Goodluck Jonathan assured Keshi of his full support.

Westerhof  was reported to have complained to IBB when he had opportunity to meet with the former head of state that ‘the boys’ at the NFF would not  allow him to work due to their unnecessary interferences.

This, it was gathered made IBB to give the former Eagles handler direct access to the presidency for  every assistance he needed to discharge his duties.

Some close watchers of the unfolding event during and after the Afcon 2013 were of the opinion that this was what Coach Keshi had planned to achieve with his purported resignation – to have direct access to the presidency.

According to them, it would not be surprising if Keshi, who captained the Eagles  during that period has taken a clue from his former boss to achieve the same purpose.

President Jonathan told Keshi and his team during a well attended reception organised for the victorious Eagles at the banquet hall of the Presidential Villa, that they would have his full support.

Based on the promises and assurances of President Jonathan, Coach Stephen Keshi now, not only have direct access to the presidency but also to that of leadership of the National Assembly.

As it is today, Keshi can go direct to the president for whatever assistance he may need without necessarily going to the football federation begging for everything.

What do you make out from all this? If you were Keshi, would you have resigned in view of humiliation and lack of respect from NFF and other stakeholders? Will having direct access to the president in any way assist him in discharging his duties?

About Post Author

Anthony-Claret Ifeanyi Onwutalobi

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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NIGERIA: Jonathan Will Not Sign 2013 Budget This Week – Okonjo-Iweala.

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Read Time:2 Minute, 49 Second

30 days deadline for President's assent expires today, the President was angered by National assembly men padding the budget with additional N63 billion. National assembly claimed that they will use the Nbillions for Projects in their respective constituencies while majority of Law makers are claiming that their leaders did not inform them before padding the budget.

The Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has said that President Goodluck Jonathan will not sign the 2013 budget this week.

This is because discussion over the budget is still ongoing between the Executive and the National Assembly as much works remained to be done on the budget.

"The talk of the President signing the budget this week is premature. Whereas discussions between the Executive and the National Assembly are ongoing in a cordial atmosphere, it is not yet clear when they will be concluded as much work remains to be done. Against this background, reports stating that the President will sign the budget this week are therefore not realistic.”

Today marks the end of 30 days after the National Assembly submitted the 2013 budget to President Goodluck Jonathan for assent as provided for in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Not surprisingly, Jonathan has withheld his assent to the budget document, complaining loudly that the estimates he submitted to the lawmakers have been significantly tampered with by the National Assembly.

The bone of contention is that the president sent in a proposal of N4.25 trillion to the lawmakers to rubber stamp but they decided to exercise their statutory function by padding it with additional N63 billion, thereby incurring the wrath of the President, who in anger returned the document to the leadership of the NASS.

Now, the mandatory 30 days provided for by the constitution has expired and Nigeria still doesn’t know how the fragile economy that has failed in virtually all indices of growth would fair given the additional blow inflicted on it by the undue delay by the gladiators.

With the refusal of President Jonathan to sign the appropriation bill, the only route open to the NASS would be to veto the president by passing it as an Act of the Parliament with two thirds majority vote by the two chambers of the federal legislature.

However, competent sources in the NASS confirmed, yesterday, that the issue of the legislature vetoing President Jonathan was not being contemplated because the leadership had shown undue interest in padding the budget with projects worth billions of Naira for their respective constituencies. Many sources there said that none of the leaders of the NASS could sum up courage to challenge President Jonathan because of what they did to the budget after Jonathan had passed it on to the NASS for approval.

The anger of many members of the NASS is that the leadership did not carry them along in the project bonanza inserted by them in the padded budget but went ahead to allocate minor projects not above N50 million per member just to give the impression that all the members were involved in the padding.

But last night, indications emerged that the leadership had pleaded with the President to allow peace to reign and sign the budget as passed by the NASS so as not to expose them to public anger and ridicule.

About Post Author

Anthony-Claret Ifeanyi Onwutalobi

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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NIGERIA: Gunmen kill 6 persons in Plateau

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Read Time:1 Minute, 36 Second

Three farmers were gunned down at Kassa village in Barkin Ladi Local Government Area of Plateau State  when attackers opened fire on them as they worked on their farm.

About 23 cows were also killed during the attack, while nine were injured and five declared missing.

However, two of the attackers were also killed by members of the Special Task Force, STF, who moved promptly to the scene and engaged them in a shoot out.

Media Officer of the STF, Captain Salisu Mustapha, who confirmed the attack in a statement, said four of the attackers were arrested with arms and ammunition seized from them.

He said three AK-47 rifles, one locally made rifle, 45 rounds of 7 .62mm special and 31 cartridges were recovered from the assailants.

He urged the people of the state to remain vigilant and warned that those bent on threatening the peace of the state would be treated as enemies of the state.

Meantime, three people were again shot dead in Plateau State as gunmen attacked the premises of the West African Milk Company Limited, WAMCO, Monday night, killing the three securitymen on duty.

The assailants, according to eyewitnesses, struck at about 10 p.m. at the company’s premises at Kaduna-Vom in Jos South LGA. It was not clear whether they were robbers or had another mission.

Men of the Special Task Force, STF, responded swiftly and succeeded in killing two of the attackers while others escaped.

Three farmers had earlier on Monday been gunned down at Kassa village in Barkin Ladi Local Government Area while working on their  farm.

The prompt intervention of security men resulted in the killing of two of the attackers and the recovery of arms and ammunition from those arrested.

Official confirmation of the attack on WAMCO from the STF or the army was still being awaited at the time of this report.

About Post Author

Anthony-Claret Ifeanyi Onwutalobi

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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NIGERIA: Imo ALGON blasts Okorocha, dares him on fresh LG polls

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The embattled Imo State Chapter of Association of Local Governments of Nigeria, ALGON, said the Imo state governor, Rochas Okorocha has committed over 100 impeachable offences in less than two years he has held sway as chief executive officer of the state.

The secretary of the association, Barrister Enyinnaya Onuegbu also berated the state House of Assembly for failing to check the excesses of the governor, stressing that the state legislative arm has become a mere rubber stamp in the hands of the executive arm.

“By the last count, the governor of Imo state has committed over 100 impeachable offences. One of the offences is the illegal dissolution of elected local government administrations. Unfortunately, the Imo State House has failed to call the governor to order.

“Remember that some of the house members left the platform by which they were elected and joined another platform. So it could be part of their agreement. But the truth is that the House of Assembly we know as at today is part of the executive arm. A committee of the house is the one awarding contracts for roads. So the Imo House performs executive functions.

On the planned conduct of fresh local governments election by the state government, Barr. Onuegbu maintained that no fresh elections will held in Imo state until their tenure expired.

“There can’t be local government elections in Imo state. Once they issue a notice of election, the court will stop them because there are impending cases in court. It’s impossible in view of all these crises, and my cases are still in court”, the ALGON secretary insisted.

About Post Author

Anthony-Claret Ifeanyi Onwutalobi

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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NIGERIA: Ezu River, corpses to be exhumed again

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The 25 unidentified corpse which were found floating on Ezu river in Awka, Anambra State, may again be exhumed for the second time, following revelations that the police did not give approval for their burial.

Apart from the non-approval by the police, the corpses were hurriedly buried at the bank of the river which is the only source of water for the community.

These were the feelers from the Senate Committee on Police Affairs and Security and Intelligence which visited Ezu river in Amansea, Awka north local government area of the state yesterday.

Vanguard investigation team was already at Ama-Owerri, in Amansea at the time of their arrival.

The committees discovered that the corpses were not properly buried and that they could be washed back into the river any time it overflows its bank.

The committees, led by Senator Muhammed Magoro, had asked Anambra State Commissioner of Police, Bala Nasarawa, whether he gave approval for the burial which he denied. The committee expressed disgust over the burial, without the approval of the police who ougtht to be investigating the matter remarked that it was wrong to bury them close to the river bank.

“The corpses were buried close to the river which is the only source of water and if the river overflows its bank, the corpses will be washed back to the river, he said.”

The State Commissioner of Health, Dr Lawrence Ikeakor said the bodies would be exhumed.

This will be the second time the bodies will be exhumed. The bodies were first exhumed for autopsy after examination on three of the bodies were carried out.

The committees were not happy that other neighbouring communities as Ugwuoba were not represented.

There were contradictory reports on how the bodies were found. While some said the bodies were already decomposed and floating, others said there were blood stains on the bridge which is approximately 200 meters from a police post, indicating that the bodies were fresh but the police commissioner while responding to question by members of the committee, said there were no blood stains found in the area.

Vanguard investigation revealed that a woman living in the area said she noticed a vehicle parked on the bridge and some people were throwing some objects into the river. “Around 3am while I was preparing my Kunnu for sale, I noticed some people were at the bridge throwing objects into the river.”

Igwe Kenneth Okonkwo of Amansea, who disclosed that no member of the community was missing, after being prompted by the senate committee, said the community is employing the traditional means of fact finding which he said would soon be concluded.

About Post Author

Anthony-Claret Ifeanyi Onwutalobi

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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NIGERIA: Okowa hails Keshi

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Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, PDP, Delta North has hailed the Nigerian Super Eagles on their victory in the African Cup of Nations tournament saying they point to the renaissance of the Nigerian spirit.

Senator Okowa especially brought out for praise the significance of the victory on the team coach and former captain of the team, Stephen Keshi who he said has becoming a darling to all elements in his Delta North constituency.

“The Super Eagles have lifted the morale and hearts of all Nigerians involved in productive engagements whether business, politics, entertainment or sports. The can-do spirit that was demonstrated by the players and coach despite the reported constraints will no doubt encourage many others towards excellence in their own endeavours.”

“I am particularly moved by the record attained by our own brother, Stephen Keshi who has entered the record books as the first indigenous coach to lift the trophy and the second person in Africa to win the cup as player and coach.”

“Keshi has taught us that many better things indeed will also flow from our Delta State .”

About Post Author

Anthony-Claret Ifeanyi Onwutalobi

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Cardinal Arinze reacts to the pope’s decision to resign.

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Read Time:3 Minute, 31 Second

 VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Benedict XVI's decision to resign the papacy was a "surprise, like thunder that gives no notice that it's coming," said one of the cardinals who was in the room when the pope announced his decision Feb. 11.

"We were about to get the blessing and he said, 'Please sit down. I have something to say important for the church,'" said Cardinal Francis Arinze, prefect emeritus of the Congregation for Divine Worship.

From the very first words of Pope Benedict's statement, which he delivered in Latin, Cardinal Arinze said he began to fear that it would mean the pope's resignation, he told Catholic News Service.

As the pope's meaning became unambiguous, the cardinals looked at one another "in silence, in surprise," Cardinal Arinze said. "At the end there was silence."

After the pope left the room, "we did not go away," the cardinal said. "We got together in little groups, as it were, each one asking, 'What has happened?' But there was no doubt about esteem for the Holy Father, for his courage and his love for the church.

"It may well be that his health is not as strong as I thought," Cardinal Arinze said. "He loves the church so much that he thinks it's better for the church that he leave and another person take over this heavy burden.

"I haven't any doubt about his wisdom," the cardinal said. "He doesn't rush. He is not rash. He is gentle. But he's also clear-headed and firm."

Cardinal Arinze said he hoped that Pope Benedict's decision to resign would "help many to get more mature in our faith … help all of us to be deeper in our faith, to be also, let us say, less sentimental."

"Our faith is not on the pope, it is on Christ who is the foundation of the church," the cardinal said. "The pope is a servant. Indeed, one of his titles is 'servant of the servants of God.' … So his act yesterday was like saying, 'I am a servant. I think another servant should come on.'"

The pope's resignation "can also be a very good example for all of us," Cardinal Arinze said. "Not only bishops. There are politicians, there are heads of state, there are heads of government" who refuse to yield office even when doing so would serve the common good.

"So the pope's action yesterday could, we'll hope, deliver a lesson to such, whether in the church or the state or a university or a corporation," the cardinal said. "Anyone in authority is there to serve."

Many of the other cardinals who were present in the same room as the pope during his announcement expressed both shock and admiration for what the pope did.

Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Vatican secretary of state, said the pope's decision was "unexpected, shocking, emotional and moving."

He told an Italian television program that he saw the pope later that day, as he does every Monday, and found him to be "very much at peace." The cardinal, who worked with the pope at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, said he has many "extraordinarily beautiful memories: his gentle ways and a trust that always bolstered me even during difficulties."

Cardinal Raffaele Farina, retired head of the Vatican Secret Archives and the Vatican Library, said the cardinals in the room "were all surprised, at a loss, frozen, no one had expected it."

"Many faces were stained with tears," he told the Italian daily La Repubblica. The pope made "a gesture of great responsibility. He did it with style, aware that the church needed a new guide who is stronger, more stable and more energetic," he said.

Watch the interview below:

{youtube}06UP2qHCxWg{/youtube}

About Post Author

Anthony-Claret Ifeanyi Onwutalobi

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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NIGERIA: Anxiety as Senators, Reps refuse Jonathan’s request to alter budget

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Read Time:2 Minute, 12 Second

Anxiety gripped presidency officials and caucus leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the National Assembly, yesterday, following the rejection of the alterations sought by the presidency into the N4.798 trillion 2013 budget.

The legislators at an interactive meeting with officials of the Federal Ministry of Finance and other Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government had bluntly refused the entreaties to alter the allocations to some of the MDAs as requested by the president before his assent.

The refusal of the legislators was despite proof of mistakes made by the National Assembly in the compilation of the details. In some instances, allocations made for personnel of some MDAs were lumped with capital leaving little or no provisions for personnel.

President Jonathan had withheld assent on the budget which was forwarded to him on January 14 on the strength of objection raised by a senior minister of the administration who insisted that the corrections be made in details before the assent.

President Jonathan was said to have, based on the promptings of the senior minister, insisted that corrections be made in details before his assent.

Besides, the president had at a meeting with the National Assembly leadership prior to last week’s meetings with the MDAs also raised the issue of the benchmark and the non- provision of funds for the Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC, on account of the retention of Ms Aruma Oteh as director-general. The National Assembly leadership had politely declined the request on Oteh and the benchmark, saying that the two issues were non-negotiable but agreed to look again at the mistakes in the details of the budget.

However, at the interactive meeting with the legislators which took place in the Senate building last week, the legislators were said to have bluntly refused to effect the alterations as they insisted that whatever observations the president has should come in the form of an amendment bill.

A source familiar with the discussions revealed that the legislators are insisting on the adoption of due process in effecting the corrections, affirming that once the budget is passed the only way it can be altered was through the process of amendment.

Presidency officials and party leaders in the National Assembly were said to be anxious over the next line of action on the budget which would now depend on the president’s decision.

Legislators from the opposition parties had given their intention to initiate moves to override a veto should the president refuse to give his assent to the budget by February 13 which would be 30 days after the budget was forwarded to him.

About Post Author

Anthony-Claret Ifeanyi Onwutalobi

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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