Naira Rain at President Jonathan’s re-election fundraiser.

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It was a night of Naira rain, Saturday, as President Goodluck Jonathan’s re-election fund raiser recorded over N21billion.Some of the donors include businessmen, multinational organisations, governors and individuals.PDP FUND: From left Senate President Senator David Mark, Vice President Arc. Namadi Sambo President Goodluck Jonathan, National Chairman of Peoples Democratic Party PDP Alh. Adamu Muazu, Chairman PDP Board of Trustee Chief Tony Anineh , Deputy Speaker Chief Emeka Ihedioaha and the Party Deputy National Chairman Prince Uche Secondus at for the Party Fund Raising Dinner at the State House Abuja Saturday 20th 12 2014 STATE HOUSE PHOTOSThe sum raised yesterday was apart from the pledges made by anonymous donors.The Peoples Democratic Party Fund Raising Dinner was held at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa in Abuja.Mr. Tunde Ayeni who chaired the occassion threw the event open with a donation of N2bn on behalf of himself and unnamed friends while the forum of governors under the aegis of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, donated N1.05billion.The Bauchi State Governor, Isa Yuguda, who spoke on behalf of the PDP governors, said 21 governors donated N50m each.Some of the donations are: Oil and Gas sector,N5bn; Transport and Aviation, N1bn; Food and Agriculture, N500m; Power, N500m; Construction, N310m; Road Construction, N250m; those in Real Estate and Building donated N4bn; National Automative Association, N450m; and Shelter Development Limited, N250m.Speaking at the occassion, Chairman of the fundraiser committee, Prof. Jerry Gana who donated N5billion on behalf of himself and his friends, warned that the 2015 general elections would be keenly contested and urged the party not to underestimate their opponents.President Goodluck Jonathan in a brief remark thanked the donors and pledged that the fund raised would be judiciously utilised.The National Chairman of the PDP, Adamu Mu’azu, in his speech reiterated that “Power and glory come from God” adding that ” those who have won should involve everybody in their campaigns in order to make them family campaigns”.

Vanguard Nigeria Newspaper

Fayose distributes rice, fowls, money to Ado-Ekiti residents: Loathe him or not the people need the basics, food!

Ado Ekiti – Ekiti State Governor, Mr Ayo Fayose, Saturday, commenced the implementation of his stomach infrastructure programme, as he distributed no fewer than 80,000 birds, 100,000 bags of rice and cash gifts to the less privileged, widows and aged ones in the state.
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According to a statement, by the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr Idowu Adelusi, in Ado Ekiti the office of the governor was besieged by residents who went home with the governor’s largesse.

“Some of the elderly who could not hide their joy at the opportunity of having to celebrate the season with the gifts were full of prayers for the governor and members of his cabinet.

Some of the beneficiaries had stormed the office  as early as 10 am , as  the Governor alongside  members of staff had started distributing the largesse to the people who kept arriving in their multitudes.

Some of the beneficiaries, including Mr Jewoola from Ado-Ekiti, Mr Ife Akinyeye and Mrs Mary Afolabi noted that the gesture has again reaffirmed the governor as a grassroots man to the core.

They appreciated the governor for putting himself in the shoes of the common man who may find it difficult to prepare sumptuous meal for his family during the festivity.

Ekiti State Governor, Mr Peter Ayodele Fayose distributing chicken, rice and money to the widow and aged in Ado Ekiti yesterday for the Christmas under the stomach infrastructure programme of his administration

The Governor later moved to some markets to distribute the Christmas packages just as he promised that designated centres for collection of the Christmas presents will be created in the 16 Local Governments areas of the state.

In a chat with journalists, the governor said that what takes priority in his heart daily is the welfare of the people of the state who against all odds returned him to office after 8 years in a landslide victory.

According to him, the current financial situation will not deter him from reaching out to the people of the state because he had made a covenant with God to ensure that Ekiti people are liberated from the shackles of poverty.

When asked why he gave them money, the Governor said, ” they need to buy pepper, salt, ‘maggi’, palm oil etc. to cook the chicken.”

Widows, the aged, pensioners, traders and artisans were among the beneficiaries of the exercise.

Vanguard Nigeria News

Muhammadu Buhari’s Last Card – Olusegun Adeniyi

On 7th January 2003, the defunct All Nigerian Peoples Party (ANPP) held a dramatic (some would actually say hilarious) national convention in Abuja to nominate its presidential candidate for the 2003 general election. In the attempt to foist Major General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd) on the party as the presidential flag-bearer without the rigours of a contest, the ANPP Governors came up with the “consensus” option. The idea was for one of the contenders, the late Dr Chuba Okadigbo to be paired with Buhari as running mate while others would withdraw from the race.

Unknown to the governors and party leaders, however, they merely opened themselves up for the onslaught of the aggrieved presidential aspirants led by former Information Minister, Chief John Nnia Nwodo who would end up stealing the show at Eagle Square that night.
Called to make his speech to the delegates after it was apparent Buhari’s candidature was a fait accompli, Nwodo said he could not believe that a party with so much promise would reduce itself to such level of political chicanery. Before announcing his withdrawal from the race, Nwodo said: “My heart bleeds that our great party is about to be destroyed. The process that has characterized this convention is totally without transparency and as I speak to you now, all of you wearing accreditation cards do not have your name on it. It could be dashed to anyone. As I speak to you, none of you has seen a dummy of the ballot paper that you are about to vote with.”
As Nwodo spoke, one could see embarrassment written on the faces of the ANPP Governors and other leaders as bemused Nigerians watched the political tragic-comedy live on television. But Nwodo was not done yet: “As I speak to you now, all presidential aspirants have been denied the opportunity of effective participation in arriving at this so-called consensus. In all humility, my brothers and sisters, I do not lend my name to this charade. I cannot stand on this ballot to disgrace the democratic process…”
Almost in quick ordered manner, the four other presidential aspirants–the late Chief Edwin Ume-Ezeoke, Chief Rochas Okorocha, Chief Pere Ajuwa and Chief Harry Akande–also took turns to castigate their party leaders and the farce that the primaries had become while announcing their withdrawal from the stage-managed exercise. Apparently unprepared for the shocker, the party leaders and the governors didn’t know how to handle the situation. To worsen matters, when it was time to make his speech, the anointed candidate, perhaps still suffering from military hang-over, said whoever wanted to leave the party could leave! It was on that comical note that Buhari’s first aspiration to be president of Nigeria took off.
In the piece titled “ANPP: The Fraud at Eagles Square” published in THISDAY on 8th January 2003, the day after the convention, I said it would be difficult for Buhari to win under the circumstances in which he emerged as the candidate of the main opposition party at that time. As to be expected, the party never recovered from the blow dealt it by the aggrieved presidential aspirants who were forced out of the race for Buhari to emerge. So it was no surprise to me that Buhari lost the 2003 presidential election, even though he would later claim that he was rigged out.
In 2007, the situation was not different because Buhari also did not emerge as the candidate of the ANPP on which platform he contested through any democratic process. Neither did he have any credible political structure to support his aspiration, especially since most of the party’s governors had by then deserted him. While the election was mismanaged by the Prof. Maurice Iwu-led Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), essentially because of the political struggle between President Olusegun Obasanjo and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, Buhari could not have won in 2007 and he did not win; even when we concede the fact that the entire process was flawed, as the eventual winner, the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua himself admitted. So the challenge of the 2007 presidential election was not that Buhari was rigged out, as he would also later claim, but that the process which produced a winner was lacking in legitimacy.

Since I was not in the country during the 2011 election, I cannot speak authoritatively about that contest but it has nevertheless not only been widely acknowledged as credible, the fact that Buhari contested on the platform a political party he formed only a few weeks to the election was indicative that it would have taken a miracle for him to win. In fact, most reports of the election from local and international observers attest to the fact that Buhari was handily defeated by the incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan who then enjoyed a broader national appeal.
The foregoing represents Buhari’s three previous attempts at the presidency but it would appear that the former head of state has learnt sufficient lessons from those unpleasant experiences to prepare him for what appears to be his last stand. Today, so many things have changed such that Buhari has become a very formidable presidential contender in a way he never was in the past. There are therefore good reasons as to why Buhari’s supporters seem hopeful that their man may be fourth time lucky and we may have to look at some of them.
One, Buhari started his preparations for his current bid very early by joining forces with other stakeholders in the South, especially Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, to build a political coalition that became APC as far back as last year. Two, Buhari will, for the first time, be running on the platform of a political party that has at least a governor in each of the six geo-political zones in the country. Three, Buhari has criss-crossed the country in recent months (he even campaigned in Bayelsa!) in a way he never did in the past. Four, Buhari emerged the APC candidate after winning a keenly-contested party primaries that was held, of all places, in Lagos.

Five, Buhari spent considerable time and held several meetings before arriving at the choice of his running mate in a manner almost reminiscent of the trouble the late MKO Abiola went before he could choose his running mate for the 1993 presidential election for similar reasons of religion and geo-politics. In the past, there were no such hassles for Buhari on that score, perhaps because the stakes were not as high and, all factors considered, he could not have made a better choice than Prof. Yemi Osinbajo whom he picked yesterday. Six, there is now a Buhari fever in “strange” places, including in the South-west where the decisive votes may come from in February. Seven, unlike in the last two elections when there were also other bigwig presidential contenders from the North (Atiku Abukakar in 2007; Ibrahim Shekarau and Nuhu Ribadu in 2011), Buhari is the only presidential contender from the region this time around. However, as positive as that may seem, it also comes with its own drawbacks.
I read last week an irresponsible statement credited to some prominent politicians from the North, saying that a vote for President Goodluck Jonathan would be deemed as a vote against the North. Such provocative statement cannot in anyway help Buhari’s cause because nobody has ever won the presidency of Nigeria solely on the strength of support from his geo-political base. In any case, Buhari’s previous futile attempts prove rather conclusively that the North alone cannot make him, or anyone for that matter, the president of Nigeria. Therefore, to project Buhari as a regional candidate would not only be counter-productive, it could even be interpreted as a reaffirmation of the thesis of those who have always seen the former military leader as a parochial person who cannot be trusted by all Nigerians.

The ethnic champions should therefore know that they are not in any way helping Buhari by their reckless rhetoric. While this may go down as perhaps the most competitive election in our history, it could also turn out to be anti-climax, because given the nature of African politics, the odds are usually in favour of the incumbent. So to that extent, Buhari still has his job cut out for him if he intends to send President Jonathan back to Otuoke. To do that, he will need to rein in people like Ango Abdullahi and confederates who would like to play Edwin Clarke and Asari Dokubo without even allowing Buhari to get to Aso Rock first.
As one analyst has succinctly put it, the choice before the Nigerian electorates come February 2015 will be between “a much younger man making the case for staying the course against an older man who wants a radical departure” from the past. The problem, however, as the analyst also contends, is that the next few weeks may be dominated not by issues but rather by geography, faith, fear and lots of money. But since the two parties have the capacity to cancel each other out on those issues, they may therefore not be the deciding factors.
Three critical issues worry Nigerians today and how Buhari successfully project himself as capable of dealing with them could well make a difference between victory and defeat. The first is security, with the Boko Haram insurgency the most pressing. While Buhari’s military background would help, he has to come out clearly to assure Nigerians on how he would handle the situation differently from what obtains today given the nature of the challenge. Ditto for the issue of fighting corruption in a democratic environment where the president has no power to enact decrees, even if we concede the fact that Buhari comes with the power of personal example.
The third and perhaps most important issue is the economy. With the oil price dancing Skelewu and the exchange rate of the Naira defying the law of gravity at a time we are churning out graduates for whom there are no jobs, we need fresh thinking on the way forward. As the challenger in a season of national upheaval, Buhari is ordinarily in a good position but if what his supporters would want to sell to Nigerians is that he is seeking the presidency because it is the turn of the North, then they are setting him up for another disastrous outing at the polls in what appears to be his last stand.

Thisday Nigeria Newspaper

They were neither trained nor armed adequately now they must die for a countries corruption!

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FIFTY-FOUR soldiers, who were sentenced to death on Wednesday by the General Court-Martial following their conviction on a two-count charge of conspiracy to mutiny and mutiny, have described their sentence as gross miscarriage of justice which cannot stand.Soldiers tasked with fighting Boko Haram militants arrive to face trials for mutiny in Abuja on October 2, 2014.Fifty nine soldiers were put on trial by the court-martial, while five of them were discharged and acquitted.The condemned soldiers, in a statement they issued through their counsel, Mr Femi Falana (SAN) argued that sending them to go and confront heavily armed Boko Haram terrorists without providing them with adequate weapons was asking them to go and commit suicide.They said their refusal to obey orders of the Commanding Officer of the Special Forces Battalion, Lt. Colonel Opurum, was as a result of non availability of arms and ammunition to prosecute the instruction of the commander.According to Falana’s statement, “Yesterday (Wednesday), the General Court-Martial sitting in Abuja which tried another batch of 59 soldiers for conspiracy to mutiny and mutiny convicted 54 of the accused persons and sentenced them to death while five were discharged and acquitted.“The acquittal was designed to give the false impression that the dubious verdict was fair and just. The soldiers were in the Special Forces 111 Battalion which has 174 instead of 750 soldiers. The soldiers in the Battalion were neither equipped nor motivated. They are young men whose ages range between 21 and 25. Most of them joined the army in 2012.“With little or no training whatsoever they were deployed to fight the dreaded Boko Haram sect. The funds allocated for payment of the salaries and allowances of the soldiers and for purchase of arms and ammunition are usually diverted and cornered by corrupt military officers.“Instead of bringing such unpatriotic officers to book, the military authorities have engaged in the diversionary tactics of wasting the lives of innocent soldiers by sentencing them to death without any legal justification.“On July 9, 2014, the Boko Haram sect launched a ferocious attack on the battalion. As the soldiers were ill-equipped and ill-motivated the well armed terrorists killed three officers and 23 soldiers and inflicted serious injuries on 82 others.“While sympathizing with the bereaved soldiers, the army authorities assured them that adequate weapons would be provided to match the sophisticated weapons of the Boko Haram sect.“But without the provision of the said weapons the soldiers were ordered on August 4, 2014 to recapture Delwa, Balubulin and Damboa in Borno State from the Boko Haram terrorists.“The soldiers demanded for weapons so as not to lose more officers and men in the circumstance. A few soldiers who embarked on the suicidal mission together with the Commanding Officer were ambushed by the Boko Haram troops.“When some weapons were made available on August 8, 2014, the soldiers moved to the battlefront, dislodged the satanic Boko Haram sect and liberated their captured colleagues and officers. They were commended for their bravery and sacrifice. But for some inexplicable reasons, the army authorities ordered that the soldiers be charged with mutiny for allegedly exposing the armed forces to embarrassment by asking for weapons.“In the judgment delivered yesterday, the court-martial refused to consider the evidence led in court and convicted 54 of the soldiers for having the temerity to ask for weapons to carry out the task of defending the territorial integrity of the nation.“Since the soldiers were justified in refusing to commit suicide, the verdict which is characterised by gross miscarriage of justice will not stand. Apart from the fact that the prosecution did not lead any scintilla of evidence to prove the two-count charge of conspiracy and mutiny against any of the convicts the court-martial did not consider the defence of the soldiers in any material particular.“Convinced that soldiers who made a legitimate demand for equipment to fight the insurgents cannot, by any stretch of imagination, be properly convicted for mutiny, we shall take all necessary legal measures to prevent the army authorities from giving effect to the genocidal verdict of the court-martial.”

Vanguard Nigeria Newspaper

I get contradictory advice on national issues – Jonathan

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President Goodluck Jonathan has said that he always get contradictory advice from authorities when he wants to take decisions on major national issues.Speaking at a christmas carol at the banquet hall of the presidential Villa, president Jonathan said only God knows why he is the president of the country.According to the president, nobody can be in any position without the consent of God.Show From left President Goodluck Jonathan his Daughter Aruera, Jonathan, his Son Abobo Jonathan ,, the President Mother Mrs Eunice Jonathan and Most Rev, Joseph Efobi at the Presidential Xmas Carol at the State House Abuja Yesterday STATE HOUS He said the God that gave him and others the opportunity to serve the country would see them through.President Jonathan requested Nigerians to pray for God to give him the wisdom to do what is right in His sight.“God knows why we are here. Nobody will place himself in any position without God. So God that gives all of us the opportunity will see us through. For me, your servant today, I will continue to request for your prayers that God should give me the wisdom to do what is right in His sight”, he said.He prayed that God give him the grace to do things with His fear, saying the country would survive if her leaders begin to do what is right in their own little way.Jonathan disclosed that he often received contradictory advice and suggestions most times he wanted to take decisions on national issues.He pledged that he would continue to do his best, especially to ensure that any opportunity given to him, he would use it to serve mankind.“Because it is quite challenging for a leader. For every subject that you want to take a decision, you will have multiple suggestions, some contradictory, some to the left, some to the right, some to the centre. But you must take a decision.“It is only God that can guide you to take the rightful decision that will not bring suffering to your people. We will try our best and we will continue to do our best. We promise that any opportunity given to us, we will use it to serve mankind.”

Vanguard Nigeria Newspaper

Public Servants Threaten Strike over FG’s Inability to Pay Salaries

Workers in the nation’s public service have threatened a showdown with the federal government over its inability to pay salaries for three months.

Already, the Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN) has concluded plans to call out its members for an industrial action to compel government agencies to pay workers’ outstanding salaries from October to December.

Raising the red alert in Abuja on Thursday, the ASCSN Secretary-General, Alade Bashir Lawal, expressed sadness over government’s attitude towards workers in the civil service.

He alleged that the Federal Ministries of Agriculture, Education, Works, Labour and Productivity as well as a host of other ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) have not paid salaries to their workers since October this year.

“As we write, information reaching the union from informed quarters indicate that about 30 ministries, departments and agencies will not pay December 2014 salaries to their employees.

“It is very unfortunate that since October 2014, the Federal Ministries of Agriculture, Education, Works, Labour and Productivity as well as a host of other MDAs have not paid salaries to their workers,” the unionist said.

The implication, he added, is that thousands of civil servants and their families would celebrate Christmas and New Year without salaries.

The union called on President Goodluck Jonathan to intervene and ensure that workers in the civil service are paid their salaries before the festive period.

It equally urged government to use the N9.2 billion earmarked to buy stoves for “rural women” to offset the three months salary arrears.

“We cannot understand how N9.2 billion would be spent on stoves while workers who toil daily to keep the wheels of government functioning cannot be paid their meagre salaries,” the union stated.

It recalled that last year more than 40 MDAs could not pay December 2013 salaries to their workers, adding that when the union raised the alarm, government officials were quick to deny the development prompting the association to publish the names of the MDAs that were involved in the unpaid salaries saga.

“Based on this sad experience of last year, one would have expected that serious steps would have been taken to ensure that the ugly scenario does not repeat itself.

“Unfortunately, we are now back to square one.  Workers, to say the least, are very sad as they can no longer meet their immediate needs as a result of refusal of government to pay them their salaries,” the union added.

Nigerian Guardian

Court summons PDP, INEC over Obanikoro’s suit

ABUJA—Justice Ahmed Mohammed of the Federal High Court in Abuja, yesterday, directed the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to appear before him on December 23 to show cause why he should not issue an injunction stopping the party from presenting anyone as its governorship candidate in Lagos State.
PDP is further expected to on that date, adduce reasons why the INEC should not be restrained by the court from accepting any name as its gubernatorial flag-bearer in the state pending the determination of the suit that was filed by  the former Minster of State for Defence, Mr. Musiliu Obanikoro.
The court gave the directive after it heard an ex-parte application that was moved by Obanikoro’s lawyer, Chief Chris Uche, SAN, who requested that an interim order of injunction be slammed against the PDP to prevent it from acting on the outcome of the governorship primary  election it held in Lagos State on December 8.

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Though the court declined to grant the ex-parte application, it ordered the service of the court processes on the defendants to enable them to appear to show cause why the reliefs sought by the plaintiff should not be granted.
Meantime, Obanikoro has alleged before the court that a chieftain of the PDP in Lagos State, Chief Olabode George, and the governorship candidate of the party in the state, Mr. Jimi Agbaje, recruited armed thugs who he said helped them to rig the primary election.
The plaintiff, through an affidavit he deposed to in support of the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/994/2014, challenged the authenticity of the outcome of the election in which Agbaje was declared as the winner.
It will be recalled that whereas Agbaje polled 432 votes to secure the party’s gubernatorial ticket, Obanikoro who resigned his ministerial position to join the contest  was adjudged second having polled 343 votes.
 However, in his affidavit, Obanikoro averred that he saw the police recover five guns and rounds of ammunition and live cartridges from the thugs he said were engage by Chief Olabode George and Agbaje.
“That the thugs earlier brought by Chief Olabode George and Mr. Jimi Agbaje, a co-aspirant, at this point began to disrupt the venue by throwing  bottles, stones and firing gunshots in the direction of the delegates loyal to me and preventing other delegates loyal to me from entering the venue.
“That the gunshots attracted another detachme

detachment of policemen, who engaged the thugs in a gun and tear-gas battle during which many of the delegates loyal to me ran for their dear lives to avoid being caught in the crossfire between the police and the armed thugs.
“That I know as a fact that many of my delegates who ran for their dear lives in the ensuing  violence  and gun battle never returned  and were consequently disenfranchised as it took the police several hours to restore some semblance of normalcy”, he added.

Vanguard  Nigeria News