Nigerian Teachers protest 11 months unpaid salaries in Bauchi

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Read Time:1 Minute, 13 Second

Bauchi—Placard-carrying secondary school teachers yesterday, stormed the Government House in Bauchi State to protest against 11 months of unpaid salaries.

The teachers, who arrived the Government House around 9am refused to leave despite the scorching sun.

Vanguard gathered that most of those being owed arrears of salaries consisted mainly of those newly recruited by the state government.

The protesters carried placards which had various inscriptions which read; “I cannot feed because I have not been paid salary; How can you work without salaries and We cannot feed our families, we are suffering.”

The protesters who lamented over their plight since their recruitment stressed that they could no longer cope with the trend and urged the government to address the situation.

Mr Tijani Abubakar who spoke on behalf of the protesters, lamented that since the state government employed them on April 16, 2014, they had not been paid.

He said: “In the spirit of leadership by example, we want Governor Isa Yuguda to intervene and address this situation because we are suffering.

“The situation is even more pathetic for those of us who were posted to remote areas in the state as they have to transport themselves to and from work.

“For 11 months now, all we have been hearing from the ministry of education and the Accountant General is that we should be patient. But we discovered that the situation has continued to deteriorate.”

 

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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INEC’s reasons for polls shift, untenable —ARG

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Read Time:1 Minute, 23 Second

Lagos—The Afenifere Renewal Group, ARG, has considered as untenable the security reason given for postponement of the February polls by Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.

This came as Senator Gbenga Ashafa described the Federal Government as a monumental failure and advised that it be resisted by all Nigerians through the use of their thumb and Permanent Voters’ Card at the poll on March 28 to vote President Goodluck Jonathan out of office.

It will be recalled that chairman of INEC, Prof. Attahiru Jega, had last Saturday announced the shift in the general elections, earlier slated for February 14 and 28 to March 28 and April 11, 2015.

Reacting to the poll shift, Publicity Secretary of ARG, Kunle Famoriyo siad: “Nigeria’s defence and security institutions have not convinced Nigerians that they have the capability to curb the Boko Haram insurgency and it remains to be seen that they now possess new tactics and intelligence on how to curb it.

“Therefore, it is difficult to see how a six-year menace will disappear in six weeks.

“Indeed, the events of the past few weeks lend credence to a pervasive public opinion that INEC was coerced into its adopted position.

“Nigerians were not particularly surprised at the postponement and many actually saw it coming.

“There is no doubt an executive coercion whose design and intent can only be to subjugate Nigeria’s premier democratic institution, and until the security chiefs are able to advance believable reasons and demonstrate renewed commitment to their constitutional duty, Nigerians will remain suspicious of a premeditated plan to subvert democratic process.”

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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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Election Postponement: Jega’s unending headaches

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Read Time:7 Minute, 47 Second

In claiming insecurity as the direct reason for the shift of the elections, the National Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Prof. Attahiru Jega may have stated the obvious. However, many stakeholders are not ignorant of the internal failures of the commission, principally, the alleged failure of the commission to deliver important materials needed for the election according to schedule.

The most notable of the election materials in this category is the Permanent Voters Cards, PVCs, which INEC has failed to deliver to all voters four years after the commission expended more than N50 billion on the data capture exercise.

This report reviews the situation in some of the states.

By Peter Okutu, Boluwaji Obahopo, John Mkom, Tom Moses, Marie-Therese Nanlong & Abel Daniel

KADUNA

A substantial proportion of voters in Kaduna State are yet to receive their PVCs according to a survey conducted by Vanguard over the weekend.

The worst affected areas are in the Southern parts of the state, where it was estimated that 150 out of the 1,750 polling units in the zone were as of weekend still waiting for the PVCs.

In Soba and Zaria urban, it was gathered that majority of those who got their PVCs were those that registered late.

But officials of the INEC, who asked not be identified, denied ploys to deliberately disenfranchise some voters, said the delay was caused by logistic problems.

TARABA

Over 90 per cent of the PVCs meant for Taraba State have been distributed to their owners across the 16 local government and the development areas.

The administrative secretary INEC Taraba office Ahmed Baba disclosed this to Vanguard, adding that the INEC state office also extended the distribution of the PVCs from local government areas to the wards to fast track the process.

Baba further disclosed that the state office has completed training of Supervising Presiding Officers SPOs who have been deployed to the local government areas to train the presiding officers.

At the Taraba state INEC office it discovered that the list of ad-hoc staff for elections has been pasted and the office was crowded with applicants who were there to verify their names.

AKWA IBOM

The Akwa-Ibom State Resident Electoral Commissioner-REC Mr. Austin Okojie, confirmed the distribution as at last Friday of 1,338,413 PVCs out of the 1,640,780 PVCs sent to the state by the commission representing 95 per cent distribution as of Friday.

He also said that the commission was in possession of 3,600 ballot boxes required for the 3,823 Voting Points in the state. The state INEC office has also received 2,721 Card Readers.

The REC was, however, disappointed with the theft of some PVCs saying that the theft was of no value to the thieves.

KOGI

The INEC office in Lokoja has distributed 800,000 out of the 1,317,095 meant for the state the REC, Hussain Halilu Pai, told Vanguard.

According to him the commission has received 3,029 smart card readers.

“The card readers are being configured by the commission and would be distributed to local government offices for onward distribution to polling units,” he said.

Halilu further disclosed that the commission has so far carried out 445 inter state transfers and 332 intra state transfers, saying that the commission is determined to ensure that all those that register for the election carry out their civic duties.

EBONYI

The INEC office in Ebonyi has distributed a total of 797,112 PVCs out the 1,712,073 received in the state.

And 3,366 PVCs were snatched from INEC staff who were distributing PVCs in Eka Awoke Registration Areas of Ikwo and Igbeagu III in Izzi local government areas of the state.

He pointed out that the Commission had put in place less than 10,000 staff and a number of non-sensitive materials have been received from INEC headquarters, Abuja, which had been distributed to LGAs and it has organized trainings at officers of different levels in preparation for the election.

RIVERS

The Rivers State REC, Mrs Gesila Khan, disclosed that about 80 per cent of registered voters in the state have collected their PVCs, adding that she received 2,990,056 PVCs and distributed 1,869,379.

About 14,000 PVCs, she also said were stolen.

On the stolen PVCs she appealled to.those holding them illegally to return them, stressing that there would be no way they could use them to rig the   elections.

“I’m appealing to Rivers people because we have lost a lot of cards. We have lost more than 14,000 PVC’s and it’s one of the highest figures in the federation”.

PLATEAU

INEC in Plateau State had as of last weekend distributed 78.9 per cent of the PVCs meant for the state according to the Head, Electoral Operations, Mr. Yagba Kumdu.

The Commission has also had series of dialogues with politicians, government officials, security agencies, the media, civil society organizations among others to sensitise them on the elections.

The Commission’s Head of Department, Voter Education/Publicity, Osaretin Imahiyereobo also disclosed the training of over 19,000 personnel including Supervisory Presiding Officers for the 274 Registration Areas in the State on the use of Card Readers.

Presiding Officers and Assistant Presiding Officers were as at weekend undergoing training. The commission has also organized a one-day capacity workshop on gender, persons with disabilities and youths to educate them on the roles they need to play for successful elections.

The State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Dr. Godwin Kwanga, said the effort is an attempt to bridge the gap and create mutual partnership with all stakeholders in the electoral process.

ADAMAWA

INEC officials in Yola claim that a sizeable number of PVCs for the state have been distributed , even as more cards are yet to be collected.

Public Affairs Manager of the Commission, Mrs. Rifkatu Duku, told Vanguard in Yola at the weekend that Yola North and Yola South have the largest number of uncollected PVCs in the state.

She also disclosed that the commission had trained all its Electoral Officers, Supervisors, Presiding Officers and Assistant Presiding Officers for the election.

Mrs. Rifkatu Duku added that non sensitive materials have been distributed to all the 21 local government areas of the state ahead of the election.

ANAMBRA

THE Anambra State REC, Mr. Edwin Nwatarali, claimed that the state has achieved 74 per cent PVC collection as of February 5, 2015, four percentage up from the preceding week.

The exercise has been decentralized in the state and following frequent announcements in the churches and market places, the rate of collection has increased.

Nwatarali said the commission was ready for the election and warned those who do not have, PVCs, not to come to the polling stations on the day of the election to avoid being manhandled by security operatives.

NIGER

The two day public holiday (Thursday and Friday) declared by the Niger state government to enable eligible voters collect their PVCs from designated centres has yielded positive result as those concerned turned out en mass to collect the cards.

Appropriate centres

At so many centres visited, people were seen collecting their cards spending less than 10 minutes while those who could not access theirs were directed to the appropriate centres.

At the INEC Office in Chanchaga local government area collection centre in Minna, an INEC official who was simply identified as Hauwa said that the turn out has been very impressive but that they are still expecting more cards.

She said “as you can see, the crowd has reduced, people are willing to exercise their franchise. Although, most people have travelled but we have given out over half of the cards”.

NASARAWA

The head of voters’ education and publicity, at the INEC office in Nasarawa State, Mr. Ibrahim Abdullahi disclosed that the state office had received all the non sensitive materials and a substantive number of card readers.

EKITI

498598  out of the 732,598 PVCs earmarked for voters in Ekiti State had been distributed as at last weekend.

INEC in the state has equally  taken delivery of all 2,653 card readers it would use for the conduct of the coming general election in the state in the entire 2,311 voting points in the state.

The Ekiti REC, Mr. Sam Olumekun, who disclosed this said the 9,244 polling officials to be used for the election had also been prepared.

The Public Relations Officer of the commission, Mr Taiwo Gbadegesin said INEC is more than prepared to conduct a free and fair election asserting that the June 21, 2014 governorship election conducted in the state has given the state  INEC an edge over others

“We don’t have serious challenges, the last year governorship election conducted in the state has given us an edge over others

JIGAWA

The REC Halliru Tsmbuwal disclosed that 86.9 per cent of the 1,801,158 PVCs earmarked for the state have been received and distributed to the various local government areas for distribution.

He maintained that the commission has equally recruited 16,701 ad hoc-staff to complement the existing INEC staff to work for the 2015 general elections.

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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Crisis rocks Nigeria Labour Congress confab

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Read Time:4 Minute, 27 Second

ABUJA—The ongoing 11th National Delegates Conference of the Nigeria Labour Congress was thrown into turmoil yesterday following the reopening of nomination for candidates to contest for offices after their disqualification by the Credentials Committee of the NLC saddled with the screening of candidates.

This development confirmed Vanguard’s exclusive report on Monday of plots to alter or reopen the nomination of candidates after the list of dully cleared candidates was published since January 6, 2015.

It was the first time in the 37- year history of the NLC that the Delegates Conference in Session would decide who contests for an office after the credentials committee had concluded its assignment.

The intervention of pioneer officers of the Congress failed to provide an amicable settlement.

Consequently, NLC president, Comrade Abdulwaheed Omar adjourned further discussion on “all unfinished matters “ till today even as he reminded delegates that today is “the D day.”

This development could create a constitutional crisis which according to informed sources was blamed on the leadership failure of the NLC.

As at yesterday evening, it was not clear if the NUTGTWN, deemed to have been elected unopposed but might now face an election would pull out of the conference or the NLC.

It was also not clear if aggrieved parties would go to court for the interpretation of the NLC Constitution before today’s election.

With this new position of the conference in session, it means the NLC secretariat would have to produce new ballot papers to accommodate the two new candidates from NURW and MWUN before today’s election.

A total of 3,019 delegates is expected to vote during the election.

The issue raised on the floor of the house was whether or not the Conference in Session should accept fully the report of the credentials committee which disqualified the nomination of the representative of the National Union of Road Transport Workers, on the basis of failure to fill the nomination form appropriately.

Also disqualified by the credential committee was the nomination of the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria which failed to attach to the nomination form the passport and CV of its nominee despite the nominee being a current member of the National Administrative Council NAC. As current member of NAC, the secretariat is in possession of his credentials.

With this sharp disagreement; to fully uphold the report of the credential committee which disqualified the two candidates or call for fresh nomination for them, NLC president, Abdulwaheed Omar put it to vote and those who supported acceptance of nomination of NURTW were in the majority.

If nomination was accepted, Comrade Issa Aremu of the National Union Textile, Garment and Tailoring Workers of Nigeria, NUTGTWN, who was deemed to have been elected unopposed would have this reversed and would stand for election.

But the President of NUTGTWN, Comrade Oladele Hunsu, told the house that the union would not be part of the charade where the NLC constitution would trampled upon.

Several speakers including members of NUTGTWN had quoted sections of the constitution they argued went against the position being canvassed that the issue of the nomination after being addressed by the credential committee should be reopened.

Consequently, the union walked out of the conference.

Omar asked if the union’s walk out was a protest against the motion or a walk out of the conference.

He got no answer.

Recall that In 2011, Non Academic Staff Union of Education and Associated Institutions, NASU, walked out of the NLC delegates conference and withdrew from the Labour Centre as a result of political disagreement.

As the debate got heated, pioneer president of NLC and former Secretary General of the Organization of African Trade Union Unity, OATUU, Comrade Hassan Sunmonu, in his intervention, warned members against taking steps that could cause a division in the NLC.

He said, “Is this the time to create crisis within your ranks and weaken your institution.   I warn you!”

Comrade Sunmonu said in view of the political situation in the country, “this is the time you need your unity most. I will appeal to you to please don’t bend the rules, solidify the unity of Nigerian workers. This is not the time to create crisis. Respect the constitution and accept the report of the Committee. Don’t say we have not warned you.”

Also speaking, NLC’s first General Secretary, Mallam Aliyu Dangiwa, also warned members not to break the Congress because of personal interest, saying do not put personal interest above the conference .

However, the immediate past general secretary of the NLC, Comrade John Odah differed saying that the fresh nomination should be opened as demanded by delegates.

Odah said that is democracy. He said the Textile union had no reason to walk out because the union’s has had 16 years of service at the hierarchy of the NLC .

He recalled that Comrade Oshiomhole of the Textile union served for eight years as President, while Comrade Issa Aremu also served as Vice- president for another eight years.

With the seeming stalemate, NLC president Omar suspended the discussion to allow veterans discuss with the two aggrieved unions; the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria and the National Union of Road Transport Workers.

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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Nigerian Police nab 27-yr-old serial rapist in Calabar

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Read Time:1 Minute, 45 Second

CALABAR—Nemesis, yesterday, caught up with a 27-year-old serial rapist, Stephen Nyong, a native of Ikono Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State, who resides at 18b, Inyang Edem Street, Mount Zion, Calabar, as he was arrested by youths of the community.

Vanguard gathered that Stephen and his gang, who have been on rampage terrorizing women in the neighbourhood for about a decade, intensified their nefarious activities by visiting almost every compound each night since the beginning of this year, where they rape women and girls.

According to the village head of Ndom Ndang, Muri Okon Effiong, who spoke with Vanguard, the gang has been operating in his domain for a very long time. He said: “As the custodian of this place, the chief and I took a decision to deal with them and we have arrested one today (yesterday).

“He and other gang members have raped over 60 girls. He alone had defiled over 20 girls this 2015. He has been chased in more than three compounds but was not caught. His sins have caught up with him today.”

Chief Effiong revealed that Edem doesn’t only rape the girls but also makes sure he stabs and injures them as well as cart away any valuable within reach.

“It was last Sunday night’s attack that got the youths in the area enraged and they decided to lay siege for him and their kingpin on our instruction. Unfortunately, the leader of the gang, who is now at large, is responsible for grooming them over the years,” the monarch said.

According to a resident, Mrs Agnes Ubong, who also spoke with Vanguard, the suspect was a brutal rapist who showed no mercy to any of his victims as he stabbed them with his dagger after defiling them.

“After defiling my neighbour, Mary and her roommate, he stabbed both of them on the head and he also took their phones and N8,000 from them. They were both taken to the hospital this morning (yesterday),” she said.

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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Pinnick: AFCON 2015 would have been better with Nigeria

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Read Time:1 Minute, 5 Second

The just concluded 2015 Africa Cup of Nations would have been a bigger commercial success if Nigeria had participated, according to the Nigeria Football Federation President, Amaju Pinnck.

The 44-year old was in Equatorial Guinea as a CAF official and reckoned that even though the tournament didn’t have powerhouses like Morocco and Egypt, it was a success, but added that it would have been a bigger commercial success had Nigeria qualified.

“In football anything can happen and you never can say. Angola was not there, nor were Morocco and Egypt, so it wasn’t just Nigeria and I would say it went well all the same.

“But they (CAF) would have made more money if Nigeria had been present, and the Nigeria Football Federation would also have made a lot of money if we had qualified,” Pinnick claimed.

Pinnick also added, however, that Nigeria must qualify for subsequent Africa Cup of Nations starting from the 2017 edition.

“We now have to sit tight and make sure that we qualify for every Africa Cup of Nations starting from the next one, and as far as I am concerned, it’s going to be a priority for this football house and it’s starting today,” he stressed.

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, a comedy of errors

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Read Time:5 Minute, 15 Second

It never ceases to amaze me how we continue to play games with our future as a country. Our politics, like a soap opera or a badly written pantomime, is filled with awe- inspiring episodes which leave one both amazed and confused as we await the next instalment.

I was surprised when at a forum organised by Chatham House in London, Sambo Dasuki, the National Security Adviser, made a pronouncement about the possibility of elections being postponed to allow more Nigerians collect their Permanent Voters Cards, PVCs. That statement was not his to make.

After all, with the return of democracy, Nigeria was meant to have done away with the meddling of security agencies in affairs that, quite frankly, do not concern them. Government is a complex machine where each agency has a role to play and the independence and separateness of each arm of government is sacrosanct. INEC is “independent”, is it not?

So, why should security agencies, under the executives’ responsibility be allowed to comment on its operations? The path our Constitution clearly outlines, in terms of delivery of governments’ responsibilities, does not allow the executive to put pressure on any body whose independence is written into law to guaranty impartiality, in the interest of all Nigerians.

Why compromise this, if not because there is something sinister at play? This does not speak well of our interpretation of our Constitution or of our understanding of the workings of government. I’m afraid for Nigeria. Foreigners wonder how, yet again, our civil society has allowed its rights and wishes to be flouted with such daring. Can one imagine this whole scenario happening in the United States or the United Kingdom? So why are these things still possible in Nigeria?

Agency’s performance

INEC had always assured Nigerians of its readiness and we chose to trust its chairman, Attahiru Jega’s statements as he (and no one else) would be best able to judge his agency’s performance. But in Nigeria, the “jack of all trades” syndrome has infiltrated even the highest levels of government, so one finds, very curiously, that one can be the head of one agency but freely speak for another; therefore, rumour, mystery and contradicting statements abound, turning our politics into entertainment for social media commentators and leaving our leaders to become figures of fun internationally.

Then we heard that the military chiefs had written to Jega to inform him of their inability to secure polling booths across the country, while simultaneously fighting Boko Haram. There is another issue here: Should security chiefs be writing to the Chairman of INEC at all?

In a democracy, there are protocols to be respected; that is a way of doing things which guarantees that no institution puts undue pressure on another and to ensure institutions are not politicised. Reports say the service chiefs “demanded” elections be postponed. Service chiefs cannot “demand” anything of INEC, a would be independent body. In fact, it is the duty of the police and not the army to provide security for civilians during an election. One would hardly see soldiers swarm the streets and polling booths during elections in the UK or the US. In fact, it is a rarity in most democratic countries to see the army out on the streets at all, as the police are sufficiently empowered to ensure citizens’ safety. So what has indeed happened to the Nigeria police? Are they not capable of ensuring our safety during these elections? Or is security just an excuse to shift the polls? Something doesn’t sound right here.

Nigeria is being noticed in the world but for all the wrong reasons: our credibility as a nation has, yet again, been dealt a serious blow. Why must Nigeria always be an exception to every rule known to man? Afghanistan was at war and still managed to conduct elections. Are we lesser men? Of course not. Simply put, we continue to lack the will to do what is right or to live up to our promises and Nigerians are left with the bitter impression that things are done without their consent or approval.

This could be yet another strategic, public relations faux pas for the Jonathan administration whose image has been severely tainted. Generally, our public officials are poor communicators. Perhaps this is a testimony to either a lack of regard for Nigerians or remnants of the military era ways where decrees rather than consultations were the order of the day. I, for one, would just like someone to bring back Nigeria, a country full of patriots, devoid of ethnic sentimentalism, a country that rewards discipline and hard work, where leaders inspire confidence, positive thoughts and actions. Nigeria must be rescued, her shackles removed.

Do we not see the danger of politicising our institutions? The lack of neutrality in most government quarters today is astonishing, the levels of sycophancy bewildering, the rumours flying about are disturbing. Nigeria and Nigerians deserve better. It has become obvious that a divided, unsafe Nigeria benefits some people in this country and there is almost no doubting that. \

Attahiru Jega remains a hero; not many in his shoes would have had his steadfastness and courage. It is simply sad to see that, yet again, the people’s will has been thwarted. However, Nigerians remain soldiers fighting for our nation and we will not just conquer the forces working against our unity and prosperity but prevail most gloriously.

We have not come this far to give up on our democracy: the patriots who have gone to rest look down on us and instil in us their courage, they feed us with their resolve and remind us of our values. What does it mean to be a Nigerian? Today, it might mean temporary embarrassment and disappointment at the sad state of affairs. Tomorrow, it will mean triumph.

I continue to believe in goodness and goodwill. All it ever takes for change is for a few good men to decide they have had enough. We are close, so very close and it is apparent even to those sowing the seeds of disunity and discord. To keep Nigeria one is a task that must be won.

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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A ‘FeBuhari’ wind of change in March!

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Read Time:4 Minute, 38 Second

THE full title of my last column (27 January 2015) is “How Col. Dasuki Confirmed Nigeria as the Never-ready Country (and Why the Elections Must Not Be Postponed).” It was published without the second part in parenthesis. But I had been expressing a vain hope.

The moment the National Security Adviser “announced” in London the “decision” of President Jonathan and his Peoples Democratic Party to postpone the elections, you knew that God would have had to incarnate himself again and come down a second time, thundering through the sky down to Aso Rock, “Jonathan, Jonathan, let the elections hold! Jonathan, Jonathan, let the elections hold!!” for the President to have given a damn about the “independent” in Independent Electoral Commission.

President Jonathan has now set a frightful precedent: the final decision on when elections hold does not lie with the chairman of INEC but the Chief of Defence Staff, acting on behalf of the Commander-in-Chief. And all that the soldier has to do is write a letter saying that he cannot provide security in any part of the country during an election.

In other words, a soldier, speaking through the barrel of his gun, becomes the effective arbiter of our democracy. And this under a president who, we are told, is such a thoroughbred democrat that he would rather be perceived as weak and inept that act in any way to portray him as yet another African strongman. This, too, under a ruling party whose slogan is power to the people, never mind all the earth-shaking revelations coming out of Ekiti State where the army deployed a brigadier to rig the 21 June 2014 election, working in collaboration with the Minister of State for Defence and the Minister of Police Affairs, among other curious and interested parties.

I may have argued against postponing the election, if for nothing else then to prove to the world that our word, for once, can be our bond; that we do not relish the reputation of the never-ready country. I must now bow to the greater national interest purported by Chief of Defence Staff Alexander Badeh: national security.

At first, that greater national interest was that no single citizen be disenfranchised due to INEC’s failure to distribute over 30 million voters’ cards. But INEC chairman, Professor Attahiru Jega, promised every registered voter his or her card before 14 February. He was well on course to fulfilling his promise, with over 70% delivery and a couple more days to go where the original window for card collection was three days when, realising that the game was up, the army was called in for a coup against democracy.

But with a heavy heart, I dance in the street as some of our impoverished and frustrated citizens were wont to do many a by-gone coup. By this very act, Jonathan has given an undertaking to rid Nigeria of Boko Haram. He will do in six weeks what he failed to accomplish in two years of the state of emergency he declared in North-east Nigeria.

Oh, the beauty of elections! Our military, which has used the cry of lack of weapons to excuse its shameful inability to dislodge a band of criminals camped in Sambisa forest, now has all it needs, it seems, for battle. And joining forces with Cameroun and Chad, might quite possibly free the Chibok girls at last, as well as the many other captives of the enemy Boko Haram — as many as have not been forced into suicide bombing missions, been ruined for life as sex slaves, or sold as child brides. Six weeks only to solve a six-year-old problem. So help them, God!

But then, the newly established Jonathan-Sambo-Badeh triumvirate of INEC chairmen (poor Professor Jega!) must know that they have just played their only hand. For what next? A hundred percent voter card collection before the elections can hold? That every Boko Haram terrorist be killed and buried beforehand? That the United Nations first declare Chibok the safest place on earth for the girl-child? Or perhaps that the National Conference (since its alumnae have become very powerful friends of the president and his party) reconvene to insert in its final recommendations a clause on the true test of federalism on which delegates could not agree — a fair and equitable derivation formula (defined as a minimum of 50% to the states from which resources are derived) —so that all issues plaguing the country can be declared resolved before we vote?

The wind of change set to sweep out of power a weak, inept and visionless government that finds it possible to distinguish corruption from stealing in a country being swallowed alive by graft was to arrive in February. I call it the FeBuhari wind of change. Like a hurricane gathering strength at sea, it may not arrive at the precise hour or on the expected day, though arrive it surely will. This wind of change, I hazard, has merely been given time to increase its strength. For the sake of our long-suffered country, I hope President Jonathan does not allow his inordinate will-to-power so thoroughly overwhelm him (the nation is waiting for him to deny his implication in the Ekiti tapes and order a judicial inquiry) as to turn this benign wind into a destructive storm. Our fragile, tottering country, it should be obvious, might not survive it.

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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I will restore illegally acquired land to owners —Agbaje

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Read Time:2 Minute, 44 Second

PEOPLE’S Democratic Party, PDP, governorship candidate in Lagos State, Mr. Olujimi Agbaje, has urged the people of the state to vote for him to enable him to address areas bothering on their social and economic welfare, which had suffered for close to 16 years under the watch of the All Progressives Congress.

Agbaje made the appeal, Sunday, at a rally in Ajah, hosted by the Eti-Osa Local Government branch of the PDP. He promised the Eti-Osa people that he would return to their original owners all the parcels of land illegally acquired in the area under the guise of the APC-led administrations, if elected.

Agbaje also promised to pay adequate compensation to those whose lands were acquired for government projects but were not adequately compensated. He said, “Some of the lands acquired were turned into private property of some officials including the ones designated as cemetery. I will not only take the land and give them back to you but also I will ensure that a Muslim cemetery is created along this road (Ajah-Epe express road).

Translation of ocean economy

“Some of these lands were also acquired in the guise of industrialisation but ended up as private estates,” he said, adding that he would take advantage of the aquatic nature of the area to turn their economy around. That way, the PDP candidate said, the turn-around would translate to an ocean economy capable of transforming the lives of the indigenes. Agbaje said the toll-gates that have been the albatross of people of the area would be abolished if they vote for him.

Also speaking at the rally, national leader of the party, Chief Bode George, said a vote for Agbaje would mean a great deal of better lives for the Lagos people and, therefore, urged that they should collect their Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs) being their keys to being able to exercise their rights of participating in the elections.

In his speech, leader of the party and former Minister of Communications, Major General Tajudeen Olanrewaju (rtd), described Agbaje as “come-on leader” that has the interest of the people at hearts all the time.

In an interview with Vanguard at the rally, Olanrewaju said, “Agbaje has got a winner mentality and he has the ability to connect with the electorate. He is competitive and his commitment to duty is excellent. He has a social synergy that can magnetize people to vote for him apart from the fact that he is educated.

“He is knowledgeable and has a come-on and not a go-on style of leadership. His is a ‘come-on-with-me and let’s do it together’ and not a ‘go-on doing it while I watch you’ style of leadership. He is engaged with the people. He knows their language and speaks their language I have said it before that if he can get the ‘undecided voters’ to himself, that is it, where election is free and fair. And so, to me, Agbaje is somebody who can change the face of Lagos State, not only for good of the state but also for the good of the people.”

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 election: We can’t stop riots if INEC shift dates again—Wale Oke

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Read Time:4 Minute, 26 Second

PRESIDENT and founder of Christ Life Churches under the umbrella of “Sword of the Spirit Ministries,” Bishop Francis Wale Oke, was raised and anointed to empower believers for the end time move of God. He accepted the call into full time ministry on May 17, 1982 and started the Sword of the Spirit Ministries in 1983 by the leading of the Holy Spirit.

In this interview with SAM EYOBOKA after preaching a sermon at the 50th birthday anniversary of Bishop Isaac Idahosa at the God First Ministry, popularly known as Illumination Assembly, Bishop Oke prophesied that the best is yet to come for the celebrant. “God has used him tremendously in the past 25 years all across the nation and the world. But he’s just starting because expansion is coming now. God is going to enlarge him on every side. So he should renew his commitment and his dedication because the work is just starting.”

INEC has just shifted the 2015 general elections, what is your reaction?

INEC is the body that is constitutionally empowered to fix and change the date of elections. And they have considered all things before they took that decision. My appeal is for every Nigerian to remain calm; no crisis, no violence, and no trouble. The new date will soon be here. Everyone should go and collect their permanent voter’s card because that is your power.

Don’t fight, don’t create trouble or cause riot, just remain calm and be determined to exercise your voting rights on the new dates of March 28, and April 11. Go and vote for who you think will best govern you at the state and the federal levels. There should be no violence before, during and after the elections. Let’s behave like responsible citizens of Nigeria who love this nation. INEC has its reasons to shift the dates so let’s co-operate with them. Let’s not doubt their motive. Let’s not ascribe it to one political party or the other. Just collect your voter’s card, keep cool and calm and when the time comes; vote for the person you think is best.

What is your advice to politicians?

The politicians should please not create crisis or tension. We all met in Nigeria and we should leave a strong-er Nigeria to our children and children’s children. Politic-ians should please appeal to their supporters not to create crisis, not to read any wrong meaning to what INEC has done but accept it in good faith and then mobilize their people to collect their PVCs because one of the reasons that INEC advanced was because people didn’t collect all the PVCs. Politicians, please don’t use other people’s children to cause riot. If you cannot send your own children to the streets to cause riot, don’t send anybody to the street. Don’t send any Almajhiris to the street, and don’t send any area boys to the street.

INEC harped on security issues….

I think what INEC said was that the security agencies said because of the operation they want to do in the North East, they will focus on that and they may not be able to provide adequate back-up for the INEC officials. They are Nigerians, they are like us and they know what they saw. So let all of us pray that the security challenge that we face in the country will be resolved very quickly and a conducive atmosphere will be created for everybody to exercise his franchise; rather than throw-ing stones or mud or doubting people’s motives. Let’s just wait patiently for those six weeks and let’s pray that the security challenges will be over and God will help us and we will vote.

Sir, do you believe that between now and that time, the security challenge will be over?

It is my prayer. I am a man of God. I believe in God. I believe there’s nothing God cannot do. I believe that if it is not completely over, it will be at such a level that it won’t be a threat to the election. I’m appealing to INEC, the secur-ity agencies and everybody involved; they should do everything that is in their power to make sure that by the expiration of the six weeks, Nigerians are able to exercise their franchise.

Because if they have to shift it again, then we cannot stop Nigerians from doubting their intention and motive, and it will be very difficult from holding them back from rioting or venting their anger. For now, we don’t doubt their intentions. But they should do everything possible. They are the ones that chose the six weeks, so let them use that period to create such atmosphere that will enable us to vote. And God bless all our security operatives. God bless our gallant soldiers that are defending the territorial integrity of Nigeria at the expense of their lives. God bless their commanders. God bless the INEC. God bless the Federal Government. It shall be well with Nigeria.

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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