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CNPD MEDIA BRIEFING

AN ADDRESS DELIVERED BY COMRADE PREYE DRESSMAN, DIRECTOR-GENERAL OF THE CITIZENS NETWORK FOR PEACE AND DEVELOPMENT IN NIGERIA ON THE OCCASSION OF CNPD’s MEDIA BRIEFING

 

DATE: SUNDAY, JANUARY 26, 2014

 

HOLDEN AT ROCKVIEW HOTEL: WUSE II, ABUJA

GENTLEMEN OF THE PRESS,

 

It gives me great pleasure to have you grace this occassion and we would like to express our sincere gratitude for the time you have taken out of your undoubtedly busy schedules to attend.

 

CITIZENS NETWORK FOR PEACE AND DEVELOPMENT or CNPD is a non-governmental organization which was registered a year ago by Nigerians of like minds who were inspired by common love for our country and who share a vision of an era of meaningful and sustained development as we are begining to enjoy in Nigeria today.

 

The formation of CNPD is essentially in response to the overwhelming desire of millions of Nigerian citizens for an effective platform of communication amongst themselves and also with government at all levels. CNPD’s mission is essentially to promote peace, good citizenship and responsible leadership which we believe are the crucial ingredients needed to lubricate our nation’s wheel of progress. With keen commitment to this mission, our vision is to establish a network of citizens who are committed to the shared values of peace, justice, mutual respect, cross-cultural understanding and national coorperation.

 

Since the CNPD was registered, we have been involved in several activities aimed at promoting the need for peace in Nigeria without which our collective desire for change and progress will continue to elude us in the face of global advancements in governance and development in general.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Our resolve to be an active part of a new Nigeria in the making has remained unshaken and we are determined to promote both the interests of the people and that of any administration that recognizes the fact that the interests of the people comes first.

 

In the past year, we have followed keenly the activities of the President Jonathan’s Administration as it assiduously works to realize the Transformation Agenda and we have had cause to contribute to the administration’s efforts by vocally registering our voices on some of its notable programmes and policies. This we have been able to express on the platform of various information media as well as through correspondence with the concerned authorities.

 

Our activities were taken a step further when on May 29, 2013, President Jonathan presented to the nation his administration’s Mid-Term Report which serves as a catalogue of his administration’s achievements between 2011 and 2013 and enjoys the reputation of being the first of its kind in Nigeria. It also provides an insight into the administration’s future plans as well as modalities for achieving desired goals.

 

Though the Mid-Term Report initiative was widely applauded by the generality of Nigerians as being consistent with President Jonathan’s promise to adhere by the sacred tenets of transparency and accountability in governance, some of our countrymen in the name of politics sought to discredit Mr. President’s  claims as embedded in the report.

 

Rather than toe the path of constructive criticism that is in itself a key element of democracy, some critics who in our opinion do not wish Nigeria well, engaged themselves in campaigns of calumny, tribal prejudice and mischief.

 

In light of this unwholesome development, the CNPD decided to embark on a verification excercise of the contents of the Mid-Term Report bearing in mind that President Jonathan himself encouraged Nigerians to assess the performance of his administration within the realms of reallity.

 

After several months of painstaking research and tours to various project sites nationwide, we are happy to report to Nigerians that our findings, which are based on comparative analysis and evidence of what is visibly on ground, reveal the fact that President Jonathan’s claims as contained in the Mid Term Report are consistent with his electoral promises and the activities of his administration.

 

The visible achievements of his administration cut across crucial sectors such as; Roads, Security, Agriculture, Water, Education, Power, Transport, Health, Aviation, Oil and Gas, Women and Social Development just to name a few.

 

The reforms of the Jonathan Administration have ultimately restructured the entire workings of the polity for greater effectiveness and productivity. For want of space and time it would be virtually impossible to begin to itemize and elaborate further on these far reaching developments that have been arrived at in barely two years.

 

Without doubt, President Goodluck Jonathan has raised the bar in the area of good governance and has to his credit the fact that he has been able to exhibit rare political will and courage in his drive to transform Nigeria for the better.

 

The Jonathan Administration has performed far better than any other since the inception of our independence; particularly in view of its sterling achievements in just one thousand days. The administration symbolizes a watershed in the annals of Nigeria’s political history and we pray that future administrations will not only emulate its actions but also strive to build on the foundations it has laid to the glory of the fatherland and the betterment of all Nigerians.

 

January 25th, 2014 marked President Jonathan’s one-thousandth day in office. For us, it is not only a day to celebrate a visionary leader, a patriot at heart and a nationalist whose loyalty to country is without question; it is also a day to reminisce on our journey so far and appreciate the fact that a glimmer of hope beckons to us in the horizon despite daunting challenges.

 

In view of the far reaching achievements recorded under the Jonathan Administration in so short a time, we wish to declare here at this venue, this 26th day of January 2014, our unflinching support for President Goodluck Jonathan and in unequivocal terms call on him to declare his candidacy for a second term come 2015.  

 

Our stand is not based on sentiments; rather it is based on the realities on ground. We strongly believe that the need for continuity is paramount in our quest for sustainable development, especially as we are trying to build a new nation virtually from the scratch. We must urgently consolidate on the gains of the Transformation Agenda as they unfold and this can only be effectively achieved with its architect firmly in control.

 

Since critics and the self styled opposition have been unrelenting in their criticism of the Jonathan administration’s every move without proffering any meaningful alternatives, it portends that our steady march to progress is in danger as they will if given the opportunity overturn every meaningful programme and policy put in place by President Jonathan.  The issue here is not just that such a move will result into untold waste of funds, it will also set us back to the dark days of stagnancy.

 

The unhealthy political rivalry that has been displayed by these critics and the opposition have largely served no purpose other than to periodically overheat the polity to alarming heights. Every action or inaction of this administration has been misconstrued and misinterpreted to suit the exigencies of the times, but we dare ask if any of those who are quick to criticize can do better than President Goodluck Jonathan?

 

We must not forget that President Jonathan inherited a colossal burden of liabilities which he has borne with humility and is addressing with tact. Corruption existed long before this administration. So did militancy in the South-South and so did the wanton killings in the north. President Jonathan has performed far above average. His life story has shown that victory in battle does not necessarily go to the strong, nor does victory in a race go to the fastest, just as wisdom and age have nothing in common; instead, God in his infinite wisdom decides a man’s fate as he pleases. Without fear of contradiction, we declare yet again that in President Jonathan, we find the very epitome of exemplary leadership.

 

We appeal to all stakeholders in the Nigerian project especially our politicians to stop their incessant and unnecessary battle of wits, which serves no genuine purpose. They must realize that the Nigerian electorate are more enlightened than ever before and are truly fed up with their endless antics of manipulation and deceit which revolve around their selfish ambitions.

 

Some of our leaders, past and present should also heed to our advice and play the role of the elder statesmen they are supposed to be. They had their God given chance to direct the affairs of this country and yet could not heal all Nigeria’s ills in one, even two terms in office. President Jonathan should be given a chance to contribute his bit for in the long run, only history will vindicate.

 

CITIZENS NETWORK will in the days ahead be at the vanguard for calls and activities geared towards ensuring that President Jonathan runs again. Any party or individual who has contrary reasons as to why President Jonathan should not contest for the office of President come 2015 should step forward and engage us in an open debate. As for the CNPD, we will adhere strictly to objectivity and facts in the course of our agitations.

 

While on the subject, we call on members of the Peoples Democratic Party to sheath their swords. Given that the party exists as a big family, we advise that those nursing inordinate ambitions at the expense of the party’s unity to have a rethink and put their weight behind the only candidate worth voting for in these trying times. We commend the smooth transition of leadership in the wake of recent resignation of the former party chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur and advise that the PDP urgently put its act together and rally round in support of the new Chairman, Alhaji Adamu Muazu.

 

There is also need to look the way of the National Assembly where some members of the House of Representatives seem more engulfed in matters of nomenclature and positioning that only serve the purpose of massaging their already over bloated egos.

 

We wish to remind them that there are crucial issues to be dwelt that touch on the lives of the entirety of Nigerians such as the 2014 Budget proposal which is yet to be signed into law.

 

Going by the directives of leaders of a political party that its members in the House of Reps. frustrate the passage into law of the budget proposal as captured by the media recently, we wish to fervently remind our representatives that their first loyalty is to the Nigerian people who voted them in to protect their interests.They must not allow themselves to be used as willing tools in a meaningless political battle will compromise the interests of the people. 

 

To our fellow citizens we appeal for calm and total support for the forthcoming National Dialogue, which will serve as a platform for building consensus, dialogue and reconciliation and ultimately strengthening our unity.

 

In conclusion, we wish to call on all civil society groups and organizations, interest groups and all well meaning Nigerians to join us in appealing to President Goodluck Jonathan to declare his candidacy for the office of president come 2015.

 

Mr. President, a gold fish has no hiding place…the time has come!

 

We thank you all for your time and ask that as you leave here, you do so with a message of peace to all Nigerians.

 

 

Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Long live the Citizens Network for Peace and Development in Nigeria

Long live the Nigerian press.

 

 

 

 

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2015: Declare now, group begs Jonathan

January 27, 2014

2015: Declare now, group begs Jonathan

… You can’t stampede him to declare –Shema

From TAIWO AMODU and ADETUTU FOLASADE-KOYI, Abuja

Less than 24 hours after the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) released the timetable for the 2015 general polls, a non-governmental organisation in Abuja, the Citizens Network for Peace and Development (CNDP) has urged President Goodluck Jonathan to declare his candidacy forthwith.

The group advised others nursing the ambition of contesting the 2015 Presidency on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to drop such ‘inordinate ambition’, describing Jonathan as, “the only candidate worth voting for in these trying times.”

The CNDP further described Jonathan as a patriot at heart and a nationalist whose loyalty to Nigeria was without question.

It stated that its stand was not based on sentiments but on realities on ground, adding that President Jonathan inherited colossal liabilities from past administrations including corruption, militancy and “wanton killings in the North.”

Addressing a press conference in Abuja yesterday, CNDP Director General, Preye Dressman, noted that Jonathan had raised the bar in good governance and had, so far, “been able to exhibit rare political will and courage in his drive to transform Nigeria for the better.

“Citizens Network will, in the days ahead, be at the vanguard for calls and activities geared towards ensuring that President Jonathan runs again. Any party or individual who has contrary reasons as to why President Jonathan should not contest for the office of president in 2015 should step forward and engage us in an open debate.

“While on the subject, we call on members of the PDP to sheathe their swords. Given that the party exists as a big family, we advise those nursing inordinate ambitions at the expense of the party’s unity to have a rethink and put their weight behind the only candidate worth voting for in these trying times.”

But the Katsina State Governor, Ibrahim Shema has said declaration for the race was at the discretion of President Jonathan, stressing that the latter should not be stampeded into the race.

Speaking with newsmen in Katsina, Governor Shema expressed concern over what he called open campaigns for political offices which he described as distractions to the incumbents.

“When there is time for election, the human temperature goes up. The president has not declared that he would run, but there have been speculations. The time is not ripe for campaigns but Nigerians are already running around, creating distractions. Maybe it is because our democracy is young, but it is good to learn. The president will come out and make declaration at the right time,” he said.

http://sunnewsonline.com/new/national/2015-declare-now-group-begs-jonathan/

Transformation Train moving on

 Nigeria Gets First Standard Gauge Rail Line

THE long awaited Ajaokuta, Kogi State/Aladja, Delta State standard gauge rail line has been completed and ready for passengers use as it becomes the first standard gauge rail line in Nigeria and the West African sub-region.

The Minister of Information, Mr.Labaran Maku, said the rail line, which was originally designed for the steel industry, has now been integrated into the National Railway Integrated Development Plan.

Mr. Maku, who was in Warri at the weekend in continuation of the Good Government Tour of Delta State, led members of his team, state government fuctionaries and journalists on a test run of the world class rail line.

The test run was undertaken at Agbarho, Ughelli North Area axis of the rail line.
“This line is ready for use. It was originally designed for our steel industry. It has now been integrated into the National Railway Integrated Development Plan. So you can see that this work has been completed by this administration.”

“We now have a standard rail gauge, the first in Nigeria and also in West Africa. The only other standard gauge rail that is being developed now is between Abuja and Kaduna,” Maku said.

He said that the Federal Government has also awarded a standard gauge rail line from Lagos to Ibadan which is being handled by a Chinese company, adding that the intention of President Goodluck Jonathan is to inter-link the standard gauge line with the one a consulting firm is designing between Lagos, Ibadan, Oshogbo, up to Abuja.
“It will inter-link with this and also goes with the one heading to Kaduna and eventually Kano. The other standard gauge line is the one that will branch-off from Lagos line to Benin linking up with this one (Ajaokuta/Aladja line) crossing the South-South and going right to Calabar. There is also a tip-off from Benin which will go all the way to Onitsha and South-East,” he said.

The Minister therefore, charged the Nigerian Railway Corporation to quickly utilize the golden opportunity by giving Nigerians a standard gauge couch which will move between the South-South and North Central.

http://thepointernewsonline.com/?p=17922

Photo: REMINDER: Nigeria Gets First Standard Gauge Rail Line

THE long awaited Ajaokuta, Kogi State/Aladja, Delta State standard gauge rail line has been completed and ready for passengers use as it becomes the first standard gauge rail line in Nigeria and the West African sub-region.

The Minister of Information, Mr.Labaran Maku, said the rail line, which was originally designed for the steel industry, has now been integrated into the National Railway Integrated Development Plan.

Mr. Maku, who was in Warri at the weekend in continuation of the Good Government Tour of Delta State, led members of his team, state government fuctionaries and journalists on a test run of the world class rail line.

The test run was undertaken at Agbarho, Ughelli North Area axis of the rail line.
“This line is ready for use. It was originally designed for our steel industry. It has now been integrated into the National Railway Integrated Development Plan. So you can see that this work has been completed by this administration.”

“We now have a standard rail gauge, the first in Nigeria and also in West Africa. The only other standard gauge rail that is being developed now is between Abuja and Kaduna,” Maku said.

He said that the Federal Government has also awarded a standard gauge rail line from Lagos to Ibadan which is being handled by a Chinese company, adding that the intention of President Goodluck Jonathan is to inter-link the standard gauge line with the one a consulting firm is designing between Lagos, Ibadan, Oshogbo, up to Abuja.
“It will inter-link with this and also goes with the one heading to Kaduna and eventually Kano. The other standard gauge line is the one that will branch-off from Lagos line to Benin linking up with this one (Ajaokuta/Aladja line) crossing the South-South and going right to Calabar. There is also a tip-off from Benin which will go all the way to Onitsha and South-East,” he said.

The Minister therefore, charged the Nigerian Railway Corporation to quickly utilize the golden opportunity by giving Nigerians a standard gauge couch which will move between the South-South and North Central.

http://thepointernewsonline.com/?p=17922

UPDATES ON TRANSFORMATION AGENDA

ROADS
•A total of 651km of roads was paved in bituminous layers in 2012.
•A total of 32 Highway projects were completed in 2012.
•Following the recent effects of floods in some parts of the country, the administration intervened by constructing new bridges and re-instating washed out embankments.
•The Ministry of Works on the order of President Jonathan unveiled Operation Safe Passage, a programme aimed at recovering deplorable sections of major roads in the country to ameliorate the sufferings usually experienced by road users during festive seasons. Under this programme, key roads in the six geo-political zones of the country, were rehabilitated.
•80 projects prioritized in 2012 two have been completed, three are over 90 percent completed, five are over 80 percent completed, eighteen are between 50-79 percent complete while the rest are in different stages of completion.
•The radical intervention by the Subsidy Reinvestment Programme SURE-P in the road sector in 2012 resulted in accelerated work on the rehabilitation of the following projects:
Abuja-Abaji-Lokoja;
Benin-Ore-Sagamu dual carriageway;
Onitsha-Enugu-Port Harcourt dual carriageway;
Kaduna-Maiduguri dual carriageway;
East-West Road
The Second Niger Bridge for which a sum of five billion naira has been set aside.
These roads cover a distance of 1,664 kilometres and are at various stages of completion. Most of these projects are due for completion and commissioning in this year..
Collage

Collage
•As a major turnaround Federal Government also terminated the concessioning agreement with Bi Courtney company on the rehabilitation and reconstruction of the Lagos-Ibadan expressway. The road rehabilitation work is currently been handled by two construction firms and will be completed this year.
•The Jonathan administration has entered into collaboration with multi-lateral agencies under the Road Sector Development Team (RSDT) scheme.
•Under this framework, the RSDT is currently implementing road rehabilitation, upgrading and maintenance, institutional strengthening and policy reform, and road safety improvements with the credit from the World Bank; and additional funding from the Africa Development Bank (AfDB).
•The RSDT in collaboration with multi-lateral agencies rehabilitated/ maintained a total of 257 kilometres of road length in 2012. Two projects under the scheme, the Mokwa-Bida Road and the Akure-Ilesha Road will have their contracts awarded in June.
•Also, the Ministry of Works is currently working out modalities for the execution of the dualisation of the Keffi-Lafia-Makurdi-Enugu (9th Mile) roads in Nasarawa, Benue and Enugu States with funds from the Export-Import Bank of China.
#Transformationwatch

Christie James on PDP Convention

SEPTEMBER 1, 2013.

The ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, last Saturday held a Special Convention at the Eagle Square in Abuja as orderedpdp logo by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to fill up the vacant positions in the National Working Committee of the Party. Though what was supposed to be a mini- Convention itturned out to be a grand occasion which had in attendance the President, Federal Republic of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan, his wife, the Vice President, Namadi Sambo, Senate President- David Mark, the Speaker-Hon. Tambuwal, the National Chairman of the Party, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, Chairman BOT, Chief Tony Anenih and other Party Chieftains from the different states.

As it turned out, top on the agenda was the election, however some of those aggrieved in the Party chose to use the occasion to express their displeasure with the Party leaders and ultimately staged a walk- out. Voting had barely started when the former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar whose name has become synonymous with ” opposition ” led a walk-out with seven governors of Jigawa, Kano, Niger, Adamawa, Rivers, Kwara, Sokoto states. They headed for the  Yaradua Centre where they addressed their supporters on the reasons why they decided to rebel against the Tukur-led PDP. It was the former National Secretary of the Party, Alhaji Kawu Baraje from Kwara State who spoke on why they had chosen to be become renegades. He was later appointed the Chairman of the new faction while the former Deputy to Bamanga Tukur, Dr. Sam Sam Jaja was appointed the Deputy Chairman, while Col. Olagunsoye Oyinlola, the controversial National Secretary was appointed the substantive secretary of the new group.

While, the President has maintained a stance  of not meddling with the affairs of the Party as it affects who emerges as a candidate or wins the general election, the group of ” dissidents” who have not hidden their desperation to occupy the exalted seat of the Presidency, failed to exhaust all avenues for truce and like the masquerade that dances naked decided to embark on yet another suicide mission and an exercise that will amount to futility.
What Atiku and his co travelers are doing is not strange in politics where those who have lost out of power tend to form an opposition within. It is part of the process that will strengthen the internal democracy of the PDP as well as other political parties.

When the news of the newly registered PDM filtered in through the media, Atiku and some of his men were quick to deny their involvement in the registration of the new party, but from the action of the new group, it is evident that he is not ready to change his style of politicking. Though, his intentions are yet not clear, but going by his antecedents, it is clear that he is pursuing his ambition with an accurate velocity like a dysfunctional locomotive. He has just scripted the drama that is playing out and like the game of chess, it is not expected that the President and his handlers will keep mum especially if the President intends to seek re- election.

In whose interest is Atiku playing this time around? When he mobilized against his Principal, Olusegun Obasanjo’s rumored third term ambition, he eventually lost out to a less ambitious Umaru Yaradua. He left to form the Action Congress of Nigeria with the likes of Bola Ahmed Tinubu who later became the greatest beneficiary of the party leaving Atiku agin wounded and badly bruised as he sought his way back to PDP in tears, a move which also led to the exit of Okwy Nwodo, who became the victim. With the abysmal fall of Nwodo, Atiku remained to continue his bloated ambition of becoming President. In spite of the earlier reports that the North would rally behind a candidate of Northern extraction, President Jonathan yet emerged victorious. Atiku failed, but not without his followers losing again.

While the build up to 2015, the former President who is seen as the leader of the new group again has become restive and is playing the same old style of politics. Unfortunately, he is again misleading those who have allowed their desperation to becloud their sense of reasoning to understand that he is only pursuing his own agenda under the guise of entrenching discipline and justice in the Party.

President Jonathan is already on top of the situation as he has decided to meet with the governors including some of those who staged a walk-out. In all, the crisis would be resolved and only those who want to heat up the polity would form the opposition that does not exist in the real sense.

Written by Christie James
A public commentator
Email: christiejames@yahoo.com

 

PDP CONVENTION OF UNITY -THE FUTURE OF NIGERIA ASSURED AS DEFECTORS IDENTIFIED

Three things happened over the weekend that are worthy of note with regards to the Nigerian political terrain.pdp logo

The PDP held its National convention amidst fears of violence and physical attacks from disgruntled elements either in the opposition or within the party structure itself. Politics is a bed of strange fellows as the saying goes , so one should always expect in-house squabbles at any time.

The security for the convention was however  water tight. Kudos must be given to the Nigeria Police Force for their professional conduct before and during the event. As it turned out, all security fears were allayed and checked , including the arrest of suspected trouble makers with inciting posters and planned demonstrations to create chaos at the venue.

With regards to the convention proper which was broadcast live to the nation, somethings stuck out showing citizens exactly why the PDP wins general elections in the long run. The party is truly the most democratic of all paraded before us. Take the case of the office of the National Secretary which has a pending court case. The party did not present the office for contest showing respect to the laws courts, despite the fact the a characters involved in the court case petition (Oyinlola) have now been officially identified with a parallel faction of the PDP which has formed a new party. Secondly, Governor Amaechi was again announced as suspended by the party thereby bringing closure to insinuations and suggestions that he was a force to reckon with in the general party structure. His suspension and therefore non participation at the convention further show the insignificance of recalcitrance in a properly organized political structure.

The second interesting observation was the planned walk out by some state Governors. Led by Atiku Abubakar, the G5 Governors including others,
Jigawa, Niger, Sokoto, Rivers, Niger, Adamawa, and Kwara displayed what can only be described as exposing the problem with the PDP. Atiku Abubakar once defected to the ACN, then back to the PDP and now by all indications , he is heading off to the  PDM. The questions that begs answer is this. Would it not be appropriate for Atiku Abubakar to leave the party and found his own party rather than create confusion among Nigerians? What is his plan? He obviously still nurses a Presidential ambition and it is best that he exits the PDP and allow it  focus on the business of managing Nigeria`s affairs. It is clearly obvious now that the challenges of the Government of President Jonathan are not only external, but more so, internal wrangling and hustle for power.

The third and most interesting observation at the convention is the powerful speech by President Jonathan. In a rare moment of display of leadership as expected from the leader of the most populous black nation, he threw the gauntlet down and challenged his critics with bold assertions of his administrations successes and focus since inception.  He stated his administrations achievements  to include improvement in telecoms, agriculture, aviation, transportation, roads, water resources, and education. Furthermore, taking a swipe at what turned out to be defectors and destabilizing elements in the Party and indeed the opposition, he stated,

”We must insist on defending Nigeria from those who threaten her in words and deeds. We are a nation in God’s hands and we must keep it so. Before I leave, let me ask our party men and women one fundamental question and I need the answer yes or no. As a party, have we changed our name? No. As a party, have we changed our logo? No. As a party, have we changed our slogan? No. As a party, have we changed our motto? No. As a party, have we changed our vision? No. No shaking.”

It will be recalled that President Jonathan`s administration drew a new and higher bench mark for stewardship in Nigeria by presenting a Mid Term Report in May 2013. Till this day, the opposition, critics and citizens in general have no been able to fault the facts presented in the report. This is even as The President asked that everyone set up their scores sheets using their own standards. This quite simply shows Nigeria has moved forward with the Transformation Agenda Train. What is hampering some progress is the blatant abuse of freedoms as enshrined in the constitution. Freedom of speech has been abused steadily especially by elders in the polity who have shown a lot of immaturity with their unguarded utterances in the recent past. Their deliberate attempts to undermine the office of the President is indeed reprehensible and belittles the status of ”elder” bestowed on them by the public.

As the convention continues today, we all watch with interest as we witness the official torch bearers of our Democracy, the PDP, display maturity , openness and decorum at their convention. One can only hope that the opposition and other same minor parties will take a cue from this convention which reminds one of the excellent convention of the Democratic party in America that ushered in President Obama.

At the end of the day it is ”we” the good citizens of Nigeria who will be affected by political maneuvering and administration by Government. It is therefore expedient that we keep a close eye on all political parties, identifying those who present candidates who have shown proven loyalty to their peers and party. These are the most likely people Nigerian`s will entrust with higher office come any elections.

Ejiro Eghagha,  Author, Social commentator

 

Ejiro Eghagha on Developmental strides in Nigeria-Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu

English: Enugu Airport Terminal (Airside) Deut...

English: Enugu Airport Terminal (Airside) Deutsch: Enugu Airport Terminal (Airside) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Nigeria has never witnessed such pace  infrastructural development since 1960. Neither can we now deny the level of strategic development initiatives being embarked on by the Jonathan administration.

After the civil war, the Igbo nation was sidelined in developmental pace of the country. This is now an obvious fact, with positive reactions greeting the opening of an International Airport in Enugu State. All flights are fully booked till October 2013, even with four weekly flights by Ethiopian Airlines.

What are the social implications?

Igbo Nigerian`s will certainly feel the immediate and long-term impact of proximity to an international gateway. More students will be encouraged to seek education abroad, for one and also generally travel and the exposure it brings along with it will be experienced more readily. This is because access to travel will now be a physical reality rather than a vision available only in far away Lagos. Something that will spark that desire to travel has finally become a reality in the East. More parents will see the inherent benefits of exposure and take advantage of it.

Secondly, the ease of travelling to Eastern Nigeria will certainly encourage more Igbo Nigerian`s and those living closer to Enugu than Lagos, to travel home from outside the country, triggering more inflow of foreign exchange especially during festive periods. The fear of bad roads, which in any case is now being eliminated with upgrades in road infrastructure around the country, and the unfounded and  unnecessary fear of local flights not being trust worthy, (even with recent international safety certifications of Nigeria Airspace) will be discountenanced with international flights landing directly in the East and cutting off further need for local travel to get to the region.

Thirdly, what this implies is an international airport bustling with Igbo Nigerian`s. Traders, travelers and users of the airport will by its situation be majorly Igbo. If that does not further  give a sense of belonging to Nigeria in the East, I wonder what else may.

What are the commercial implications?

According to MTN, the Tele communications giant, they knew they had made an error of judgement in Nigeria after reeling off their products and services in Lagos only to get to the East and be swallowed up by the huge market available. They had initially underestimated the strength and depth of the Nigerian market. With this in mind, it is obvious that an international airport in the East is a major blessing to Nigeria.

I have always believed that everyone should develop at their own pace in Nigeria. To “coerce” Easterners to travel to Lagos as an alternative to any other International airport outside the East will only and has only slowed down the economic growth of the region and indeed Nigeria. To ask Igbo Nigerian`s to spend money and time going through other Airport`s has simply denied development in Igbo Land. Think about all the Hotel`s and Car Hire businesses servicing  the Lagos Airport for instance and patronized by Easterners who travel to Lagos en-route Europe America and Asia. Now Lagos will see a likely congestion problem in international air traffic eased up, but certainly being Lagos, a non significant fall in travelers will be the result in the long run. Lagos will still be Lagos, with enough air travelers to handle. However, now, the East will also benefit with a new directed flow of travelers coming with their spending and needs that will allow for employment and commercial developments too in the region.

One cannot deny or turn a blind eye to the innate commerce skills of the Igbo`s as a people. It is safe to say therefore that a “Nigerian Hong Kong” is in the making, with this new airport commissioning. Add the sea port recently opened in Onitsha  and the Railway system that is being programmed and running in some ares already and you will agree that we are experiencing a Government that delivers of visions and promises for a better Nigeria, despite distractions from an abuse of democratic principles of freedom of speech by most opposition elements and nay sayers in general, who rightfully though have been exposed to brutal military dictatorships and failed democratic promises for too long, in the past. These group of people  may now be unknowingly blinded to see a growing Nigeria, and indeed a growing Eastern nation in Nigeria.

Why should Nigerian`s be happy with the Enugu airport?

Freedom has come to the East, and by implication to the Nigerian psyche. Igbo`s do not have to go through a third-party any longer. Now you may buy your ticket drive down to the Airport and fly (If you have a valid travel documents). No more extended plans for stop overs in Lagos or other Airports.

A booming Eastern economy through increased commercial trading activities, projected Investments in Tourism to attract international travelers and an this encouraging platform to build trust of Nigerian`s in The Diaspora  will only add to our national purse and ease off dependence on Oil and Gas.

The caveat here though is on the need to put in adequate security and emergency response units in place to always maintain internationally accepted standards for developments of this nature. Furthermore, an international Airport not properly checked and managed will only end up being a conduit for the importation of banned and dangerous  items into the country and the consequences are not hard to imagine. Going by recent security situations in Nigeria though, one can rest assured that proper planning and management have been considered for the new Airport.

Definitely, credit must be given to President Jonathan`s cabinet that has carried out his predecessor`s dream of an international Airport in Enugu. An uncommon occurrence in Nigerian politics is for a new “oga” to complete his former “oga`s” works. Commendable achievement and much-needed visionary leadership in the Transport and Aviation sectors, I say.

Ejiro Eghagha, Author and social commentator writes from Abuja.

 

 

B-R-E-A-K-I-N-G!! PRESS RELEASE BY ACN

Action Congress Of Nigeria(ACN),acn
Rivers State Secretariat,
No 1, Isaac Boro Street Old GRA, Portharcourt, Rivers State
Tel: 08055061296

Press Release

It has come to the notice of the Action Congress of Nigeria, Rivers state Chapter that Mr. Lai Mohammed, National Publicity Secretary of the party, has been issuing statements on the unfortunate events unfolding in Rivers state. We the ACN in Rivers Chapter know the true picture of events that are unfolding in Rivers State.

And we know that in this incidence the main culprit is Governor Rotimi Chuibike Amaechi, who during the last electioneering campaign and election, sealed up the Campaign Secretariat of Dr. Abiye Precious Sekibo, used the Nigerian security agencies to arrest and intimidate our members.

When all this was going on, Mr. Lai Mohammed did not send us word of encouragement or support, as a party in Rivers state.

Political parties have structures; starting from the Ward level to the National Headquarters. It is against the party’s constitution for the National Publicity Secretary to usurp the functions of the party at the State, Local and Ward levels.

We as members of the ACN in Rivers state, have never met and passed a resolution or informed the National Headquarters of the ACN that we want President Goodluck Jonathan, the Commander-in-Chief of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, to be impeached. Mr. Lai Mohammed should respect the high office he holds as Publicity Secretary of our great party

Consequently, we the Executive and members of the Rivers State Chapter of the ACN totally disown the call for the impeachment of President Goodluck Jonathan, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. We unanimously condemn the hasty action and resolution passed by one arm of the National Assembly – the House of Representatives, to take over the business of the Rivers State House of Assembly.

We however commend the Nigerian Senate for the unbiased and balanced position it has taken to send a fact-finding mission to Rivers State, and find out the true position of things. We also call on the Inspector General of Police not to heed the one-sided call for the deployment of Mr. Joseph Mbu the Rivers State Commissioner of Police, as Governor Rotimi Chuibike Amaechi had used the police to hunt down, harassed and intimidated members of the ACN party of Nigeria and other opposition parties in Rivers State.

We ask that the status-quo in Rivers State should be maintained until the fact-finding mission dispatched by the Senate, arrives to ascertain the true picture of events. We urge Rivers State people to be law-abiding, as whatever we do shall affect our people and not the likes of Mr. Lai Mohammed, the uninformed members of the House of Representatives and their acolytes, whose inciting statements would only ignite more fire for us to burn.

LONG LIVE ACN,
LONG LIVE RIVERS STATE,
LONG LIVE THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OPF NIGERIA!
Signed: Amonibia Akoko,
Secretary,
Action Congress Of Nigeria,(ACN)
Rivers State.

ACN REJECT EMERGENCY RULE, CALL IT LARGELY COSMETIC (MAY 16 2013)

Between Boko Haram and a leader once termed “weak and clueless”

May 18, 2013
By John Okiyi Kalu
Jonathan in handshake with Army Chief, Gen. Ihejirika ”President Jonathan should be blamed for the insecurity in the north after all he is the commander in chief and nobody stopped him from using our military resources to fight Boko Haram. He should …spare us of excuses and do his job or resign. Did they force him to be President. He is simply weak and clueless”
Are you familiar with that line of argument on facebook and the media in the not so distant past?
The argument has changed now.
“The President has declared war on northern Nigeria”-Prof Ango Abdullahi of NEF.
“There is no evidence that the youth are revolting against the Nigerian state. The youth rather have been misused.” – Balarabe Musa.
“The insecurity in the northern states does not validate a state of emergency declaration.” – Balarabe Musa
“We hereby reject the declaration of emergency rule in the three states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe, and we call on the National Assembly to also reject it and not allow itself to be used to rubber-stamp a declaration that is largely cosmetic,” – ACN.
Please can someone tell me what these guys really want? Or are they just ozu nwa bekee (white man’s corpse) that if you carry up it will shout no no no, if you bring down, no no no?
I have a simple answer for Ango Abdullahi and co.
If you call the current war on terror a “war on northern Nigeria” then we should interpret it to mean there is no difference between northern Nigeria and Boko Haram. Strange enough, Shagari declared all out war against Maitatsine and it wasn’t war against northern Nigeria. Buhari pushed back Chadian rebels and it wasn’t war against northern Nigeria. Yaradua fought Boko Haram in Maiduguri and it wasn’t war against northern Nigeria. If this is war against northern Nigeria then northern Nigeria mean same thing with Boko Haram.
I am gratified by the fact that many northerners I know on facebook see things differently and are supporting the President and our security forces. Those guys to me represent the real North and I can’t wait for a handshake with them. We will hopefully build a better country together without our divisive elders who mask personal interests as ethnic interests.
As for the leadership of ACN, all I can say is that they are acting true to type. Anyone who is versed in Nigerian affairs will tell you that those guys are good at “knocking heads together”. I will find time to do a note and chronicle their past activities and show that even the betrayal of Buhari in 2011 fits a pattern. Suffice it to simply advice Buharists to be prepared for another betrayal on or before 2015. ACN politics is simply captured as “oppose all opposeables, good or bad”. They thrive on maximum anarchy and controversy. As soon as two sides start fighting they will calmly undergo metamorphosis and become peace makers and preachers, while waiting to feast on the carcass of the combatants. Political vultures. They have a strong media force that ensures they accomplish their nefarious objectives.
Sad enough, Buhari and his supporters do not know ACN, and refused to ask Sanusi Lamido Sanusi what he knows. Out of ignorance, Buhari has signed the death warrant of his beloved CPC by merging with ACN. Going into 2015, the only credible opposition to PDP will come from PDP members because APC would have destroyed itself and the individual merging parties. Quote me on that.
For those harboring fears on break up of Nigeria, be assured that nothing of that sort will happen as long as we ignore America’s ambivalent dealings with us. In one breathe the Obama regime expects our government and other governments to fight terror. In another breathe they are condemning Nigerian military actions against terrorists. No wonder it was so difficult for America to even designate Boko Haram a terrorist group but cynically designated 3 members of the group as terrorists. Yeye X 10. Is it not the same America that “shocked and awed” Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya in the name of fighting terror? What exactly is their objective in Nigeria? Could it be related to their doomsday prediction that Nigeria will unravel in 2015?
I wonder if the current American leaders are aware of the consequences of Nigeria unraveling in a disorderly manner. Have they made arrangements for at least 20m refugees in Niger and Chad, 30m in Benin Republic, Togo and Ghana and 40m refugees in Cameroun, UK and Europe? If they are tired of having a united Nigeria as ally why not superintend an orderly and peaceful dissolution?
The President of Nigeria and the military hierarchy must do the necessary to save and protect innocent people in the war theatre. Only terrorists and their supporters should be in the line of fire. It is the hallmark of a good modern military machine to engage adversaries at zero cost to innocent lives. The government should also mobilize the red cross and NEMA to help send food, drugs and other relief materials to innocent non-combatants within the war zone. Those who wish to leave should be offered safe passage out of those places and the protection of women and children MUST be a key task of the engagement.
War is not good. It involves loss of life, including innocent men and women.
The people who brought this war on us are those politicians, elders and facebook tigers who refused, neglected and failed to condemn the terrorists from the very first day they bombed Abuja Police Headquarters and UN building. At that time they thought they were playing politics of making the “country ungovernable”. They allowed political considerations to blind them to the evils of terrorism. Like every evil, terror festered up to the point where youths came out in Kano to celebrate the mass killing of policemen by Boko Haram. Rather than condemn the evil, they blamed the “weak and clueless” president.
Haven’t  chicks come home to roost?
Now the President is strong and clued in. Nobody should complain because even as early as last year I warned that, from my personal observations, Jonathan is the strongest-willed President ever in Nigeria. The difference is that he takes measured steps and only responds when you think he is weakened or weakest. Otherwise, nothing really perturbs him. He appears to be the typical “made for leadership in Nigeria” character who can maneuver through the noise and do what must be done when it must be done.
Let us go to our churches this sunday and pray for our President and Security men. The Almighty God should guide and protect them as they make sacrifices to keep us safe.
Let this war on terror be carried to a good and logical conclusion without retreat or surrender. We asked for a clued and strong leader and God has “transformed” our President to fit the bill. He should get our unqualified support now.

South-East Youths Endorse President Jonathan for 2015

PRESS STATEMENT

South-East Youths Endorse President Jonathan for 2015

Pix 1. (l-r) Hilda Dokubo, Comrade Timi K. Ogoriba and Marshal Kunoun at the reception.

Pix 1. (l-r) Hilda Dokubo, Comrade Timi K. Ogoriba and Marshal Kunoun at the reception.

Youths from states across the South East zone have called on President Goodluck Jonathan to contest the elections in 2015 assuring of their full support.

The youths under the banner of the Southern Nigeria Youth Leadership Initiative (South East zone Chapter), made the endorsement In Enugu Saturday July 6, 2013 during a meeting between the group and delegates from Oporoza House (Attorney and Media Committee), a Think -Tank of activists and intellectuals from the South-South.

Speaking during the parley, which was held at Villa-Toscana Hotel Enugu, National President of the Southern Nigeria Youths Leadership Initiative (South East Zone Chapter) which is a non-governmental organization that seeks the promotion of social justice and fairness, equity, public safety, sustained socio-economic and political growth and development as well as good governance in Nigeria, Dr. Godswill Nwanoruo averred that the support of the group for President Jonathan is based on the “obvious and laudable achievements Mr. President has made at both micro and macro levels of the nation’s economy. His efforts at stemming the ugly tide of violence in some parts of the country, especially the North, are also noteworthy”.

Dr. Ifeanyi Odoziobodo, National Publicity Secretary of the Initiative, noted that, “What the country requires is a good leader, “President Jonathan is really working, despite the daunting challenges facing the country. With goodwill and a good heart, we will get there. He has demonstrated that he is democratic, not draconian”, In his remarks, leader of the Oporoza House delegation Elder Timi K. Ogoriba expressed surprise and appreciation at the huge turnout that welcomed the group on arrival at the Akanu Ibiam International Airport and pledged to work effectively with the Initiative, in view of their common objectives.

The groups also paid a courtesy visit to the Igwe (Dr.) Julius U. Nnaji, Odenigbo 111, Nike, Igwe of Enugu Ukwu, where they were received by the Palace Secretary, Chief Cyril Mba Nnaji and Loolo Maria Nnaji. The groups also called at the South East Ronal Secretariat of the Peoples Democratic Party -PDP, where they were welcomed by Hon, Casmir O Ugwu, Zonal Secretary, PDP South East who made the point that,” President Jonathan is on course in his developmental effort in the areas of energy and infrastructure.

The meeting in Enugu was attended by hundreds of members of the Initiative from across the Eastern states led by members of the executives including. Dr. Odozie Obodo, Chief Okey Ehibe (Co-ordinator, Abia State), Hon Robinson Ndukwu, among others. A delegation of the Southern Nigeria Youth Leadership Initiative from the South West was present while a delegation of Hausa Youth, led by its President, Babangida Mohammed Lawal was part of the enthusiastic presence at the meeting.

The OPOROZA HOUSE (Attorney and Media Committee) members who were in the visitation to Enugu that was led by Comrade Timi K Ogoriba, includes Kime Engozu, Marshal Kunoun, Chief Dan Ekpebide, Hilda Dokubo, Welman Warri others in the entourage were Binaebi Amabah, Paul Bebenimibo, Chief Opaks Harry, Elfreda Olungwe, Bar OTDK Amachree, Bar Ebinimi Kokum, Ghomorai Presidor, Kalada Wilson and Ibiba Don Pedro

Pix 2, Cross section of Youth leaders at the occasion

Pix 2, Cross section of Youth leaders at the occasion

Pix 3. (L-r) Elfreda Olungwe and Ibiba Don Pedro

Pix 3. (L-r) Elfreda Olungwe and Ibiba Don Pedro

Pix 4.(l-r) Paul Bebenimibo, Welman Warri and Ghomorai Presidor

Pix 4.(l-r) Paul Bebenimibo, Welman Warri and Ghomorai Presidor

Pix 5. Dr. Godswill Nwanoruo the leader of the South East zonal President of the Southern Nigeria Youth Leadership Initiative here presenting his welcome address (seated next to him is Chief Opaks Harry and Bar OTDK Amachree members of the OPOROZA HOUSE delegates.

Pix 5. Dr. Godswill Nwanoruo the leader of the South East zonal President of the Southern Nigeria Youth Leadership Initiative here presenting his welcome address (seated next to him is Chief Opaks Harry and Bar OTDK Amachree members of the OPOROZA HOUSE delegates.


6
Pix 7. The delegation of Hausa Youth (l) Babangida Mohammed Lawal at the occasion.

Pix 7. The delegation of Hausa Youth (l) Babangida Mohammed Lawal at the occasion.

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