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"May was a busy month for Barack Obama with a trip to Afghanistan, the NATO meeting in Chicago and the G-8 Summit at Camp David.But the President of the United States made sure he had time to enjoy a few tender moments with Michelle Obama. The latest behind-the-scenes photographs from the White House capture President Obama locked into an intimate embrace with the First Lady, dancing before a concert honoring songwriters Burt Bacharach and Hal David on May 9." - Daily Mail UK
Obama has lunch with members of the Congressional Leadership in the Oval Office Private Dining Room, May 16, 2012. The President served hoagies from Taylor Gourmet, which he purchased after a small business roundtable earlier in the day. Seated, clockwise from the President, are: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, and House Speaker John Boehner
President Barack Obama jokes with Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett backstage before delivering remarks on the economy at the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering at the State University of New York in Albany, N.Y., May 8, 2012
"Facts speak louder than statistics"
- Mr. Justice Streatfield (1950)
In the war of words, "the first casualty is the truth," for when the numbers are pliable and shaded to accomplish a specific purpose, then observers and stakeholders must not look to the other side.
The recent article written by Nasir Ahmed El Rufai headlined: ANAMBRA'S BUDGET OF MISPLACED PRIORITIES, would have still made its point without conjuring half-baked statistics on Anambra State. But the writer could not hold back the temptation of justifying his point of view without hard numbers to make it credible and acceptable. The point must be clearly made that all Nigerians in our diverse country have the constitutional rights to express their views through articles, press releases and speeches but they are not entitled to misrepresenting facts.
The point here is not to defend Governor Peter obi, for he has the resources, infrastructures and capable hands that can do that for him. But when facts about Anambra State are misconstrued and misplaced, those of us that cherish Anambra State and appreciate the facts will not be left with any other alternative but to speak out.
Nasir El Rufai, in his most recent article on Peter Obi and Anambra State, did not provide us with credible references or scholarly sources that validate the statistics he utilized. However, it was not difficult to find out his source which is National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). The only problem was that he did not completely use all the numbers; some numbers he chose to skip and others he made malleable.
It will be logical to give a brief explanation of the role played by NBS in the country’s economic landscape. It is the country's statistical agency that was set up by Federal government of Nigeria to collect micro/macro-economic data of the country. NBS collects and documents indices on inflation, economic growth, food and commodity prices, with regards to changes in the market place, in the effort of determining the wellbeing of the nation.
Governor Obi (left) Mallam El Rufai (right)
Dr. Yemi Kale is the Statistician General of the Federation and Chief Executive of NBS. “NBS came into being with the merger of the Federal Office of Statistics (FOS) and the National Data Bank (NDB). The creation was part of the implementation of the Statistical Master Plan (SMP), a program document of the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN).” These statistics collected by NBS are used by policy makers and bureaucrats for making economic and financial decisions.
The merger of these entities took place to give the nation an elite “statistical agency for all the three tiers of Government. NBS is expected to coordinate statistical operations of the National Statistical System in the production of official statistics for all Federal Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), State Statistical Agencies (SSAs) and Local Government Councils (LGCs).” NBS may not be perfect but it is progressively getting better.
When Mallam El Rufai wrote: “Unemployment rate in Anambra is among the highest in the South-east zone, at 21.3 percent, it is higher than the national average of 21.1 percent." But According to NBS, Anambra state unemployment value stood at 12.2% and currently, Anambra State has the lowest poverty rate in Nigeria.
The question that is begging for an answer is where did El Rufai find his data? Is it from same National NBS or somewhere else?
His article on Anambra State was quite interesting but misleading, not because of what he wrote but for things he chose to omit and for the numbers he utilized to make his point. One thing he failed to do was to differentiate between the governor and Anambra state, for he interchangeably made Governor Peter Obi and Anambra State appears as one entity. A governor is the chief executive officer of state and a politician; therefore the citizens of the state should be respected.
One could constructively criticize the governor’s administration without the people of the state feeling belittle or insulted. By going out of his way to make Anambra State appear worst than it actuality is, reveals that the article is not being logical and serves an alternative agenda.
The below paragraph reinforces the point and drives home the idea that El Rufai is castigating the people of Anambra state with pliant statistics:
"The incidence of poverty in the state is very high – actually disappointing. The South-east has a food poor incidence of 41.0 percent of which 60.9 percent is absolutely poor, while 66.5 percent is relatively poor and 56.8 percent live under a dollar a day. Anambra has a poverty index of 22.8 per cent, the third highest in the zone, and shares the sixth lowest position in Nigeria with Rivers State which also has 22.8 percent. About 47.6 percent of the state’s population is core poor, 45.0 percent is moderately poor and only 7.4 percent of the state’s population is classified as none poor. Income inequality as measured by changes in Gini co-efficient between 2003 and 2010 increased slightly by 7.6 percent against 18.1 percent for Ebonyi and Enugu States 7.5 per cent increase."
According to NBS, absolutely poverty for the South-east is 58.7 percent not 60.9 per cent as El Rufai suggested in the article.
“Anambra is the eighth most populated state in the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the second most densely populated state in Nigeria after Lagos State” and not ninth as the article claimed.
Anambra State is by no means the poorest state in Nigeria, another indication of a thriving business activity was buttressed by the large percentage of mobile phones access in the state. Technology Times reported in 2011 that "among the states in Nigeria, Anambra has the highest percentage of people with access to mobile phones at 95.1 per cent and nearly 60 per cent of them own the devices" according to the survey report by NBS indicating that “at least 9 in every 10 persons who reside in the state are likely to have access to a mobile phone.”
On Anambra State resources, El Rufai wrote that "Anambra State is not much endowed with mineral resources and the few known to exist are not exploited."
But that is not the case; “Anambra is rich in natural gas, crude oil, bauxite, ceramic and has an almost 100 percent arable soil.”
“In 2006, a foundation laying ceremony for the first Nigerian private refinery, Orient Petroleum Refinery (OPR) was made in the Nsugbe-Umuleri area. The Orient Petroleum Resource Ltd, (OPRL) owners of OPR, was licensed in June 2002, by the Federal Government to construct a private refinery with a 55,000 bc/d capacity. Furthermore, Anambra state is a state that has many other resources in terms of agro-based activities like fishery and farming, as well as land cultivated for pasturing and animal husbandry.”
The article should have concentrated more on its preamble which was to dissect the respective allocations of resources to different sectors of the economy instead of stretching itself too thin and running a fast one with the numbers.
Nasir Ahmed El Rufai is an intellectual but on writing on Anambra State, his intellectuality was eclipsed with a noticeable and unremarkable omission of vital statistics.
Emeka Chiakwelu, Analyst and Principal Policy Strategist at Afripol Organization.
to strengthen democratic institutions
promote regional peace and security, engage with young African leaders and
promote development, trade, and investment.
President Obama's new Policy Directive for Sub-Saharan Africa comes at a time when the African continent is showing great economic promise. Over the past decade (2001- 2010), six of the world’s 10 fastest-growing economies were in Africa. Trade and investment are also on the rise- in 2010, total foreign direct investment was more than $55 billion—five times what it was a decade earlier, and much more than Africa receives in aid.
President Barack Obama delivers remarks to Parliament at the International Conference Centre in Accra, Ghana, July 11, 2009. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy
This week, June 14-15 , the United States is hosting the 11th annual US-Sub-Saharan Africa Trade and Economic Cooperation Forum. The event is mandated by the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). AGOA became law in October 2000. AGOA is the cornerstone of U.S. economic engagement with the countries of sub-Saharan Africa. By providing duty-free access to the U.S. market, AGOA has succeeded in helping eligible sub-Saharan African nations grow and diversify their exports to the United States.
The theme of the AGOA 2012 Forum is “Enhancing Africa’s Infrastructure for Trade.”
In September 2009, President Obama launched the U.S. government’s global food security initiative, Feed the Future. Its goals are:
to boost food supplies through agricultural development;
to increase access to food through more efficientlyfunctioning markets, job growth, and higher incomes forpoor people;
to improve nutrition, especially among mothersand infants; and to build stronger food and agricultural systems and other institutions that can assure sustainable foodsecurity for years to come.
Sustaining the current progress in Africa requires investing in long-term development partnerships in order to accelerate sustainable - not just economic growth, but also promote food security, support the capacity of countries and communities to respond to diseases and rebuild infrastructure and combat climate change. These smart investments should be aligned with country-owned plans, include civil society and the private sector, while fostering mutual transpsrency, accountability and respect. Long-term progress to reduce poverty will depend on the capacity of each country to build on the gains achieved with donor assistance rather than having donor assistance replace its own efforts.
As the President said during his visit to Ghana, in 2009, the people of Africa are ready to claim their future. This new Presidential Policy Directive should promote partnership and mutual respect that allows the people of Africa and the U.S to work towards a more prosperous world.
U . S . S T R A T E G Y T O WA R D S U B - S A H A R A N A F R I C A U.S. Strategy Toward Sub-Saharan Africa
The story today is not whether Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo can shake his reputation as Europe's Lebron James, a man who wows fans all season only to choke in big games. Nor is the story about whether defending champion Spain can defend the title without two of its biggest stars. It's also not about how Franck Ribery and the French squad can rebound from an embarrassing, soap opera-esque campaign in the 2010 World Cup.
Heck, the media aren't even paying that much attention to German coach Joachim Low's promise to break world soccer protocol by allowing his team to smoke, drink booze and have sex during the tournament. That would normally be prime tabloid fodder.
Nope, the story today is about racism, especially within the stadiums of Poland and Ukraine, which are jointly hosting the Euro 2012 tournament beginning Friday. The day before the competition began, the Dutch national team opted to train on the opposite side of its training ground at Stadion Miejski in Warsaw because of racist chants, Dutch captain Mark van Bommel said Thursday.
And while a recent BBC investigation showed several instances of bigotry and racism at club games there - some of them violent - Polish and Ukrainian officials are insisting their countries have been misrepresented.
"There is a problem with racism and anti-Semitism in Poland, but it is blown out of every possible proportion in this material," Marcin Bosacki, Polish Foreign Ministry spokesman, said of the BBC documentary. "We are hospitable and treat all people who come here as friends."
Ukrainian Ambassador to the UK Volodymyr Khandogiy also defended his country, saying, "Ukraine is very well known for its tolerance and it has a long history of living together with other nationalities. In our national football championship, roughly half of all the players are from Asian, African and Brazilian countries."
Regardless, many players and former players are speaking out, and English police issued a warning to fans after the Ukrainian neo-Nazi group Donetsk Company threatened to attack black and Asian English supporters during the tournament, Sky Sports News reported.
The families of Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, black English internationals who play for London's Arsenal, have said they will not attend the tournament because they fear becoming victims. Former English captain Sol Campbell, in the BBC documentary, warned his countrymen to stay out of the host countries.
"Stay at home. Watch it on TV. Don't even risk it because you could end up coming back in a coffin," he told a reporter.
Italian international Mario Balotelli threatened to walk off the field if he was the target of racism during the game. He had some pointed words for anyone who might hurl a banana at him - an expression of bigotry in Europe that has been all too common at soccer matches in the past.
“If someone throws a banana at me in the street, I will go to prison because I will kill him," he told Football France. "Racism is unacceptable to me, I cannot bear it. I hope there will not be a problem at the Euros because if it does happen, I would straight away leave the pitch and go home. ... We are in 2012. It can't happen.”
UEFA President Michel Platini responded by saying that any player who walks off the field during a game will get a yellow card (if a player receives two yellow cards in a game, he can be ejected). If a player is subjected to racial abuse, Platini said, he should report it to the referee who will have the authority to stop or even abandon the game.
"We will certainly support the referee if he decided to stop the game, but it's not a player, Mr. Balotelli, who's in charge of refereeing. It's the referee who takes these decisions," Platini said. "So, the referee has been given advice and he can stop the game if there are problems."
Anti-racism advocates say they appreciate UEFA's stance, and Piara Powar, executive director of Football Against Racism in Europe, told Reuters after Platini's news conference, "There is no question we are more worried about racism at this tournament than at any other and it is good to know that Mr. Platini understands what is going on."
The group will have 31 independent monitors - with two at each match - looking for evidence of racism, both obvious and nuanced, and will report any "right-wing banners and insignia, and discriminatory chants" they see or hear in the stands. They will also observe online fan networks prior to matches to determine if incidents are being planned, according to UEFA.
Fans will also be encouraged to help monitor behavior, as UEFA will have a dedicated hotline to report racism as well as an online form, both of which will be publicized outside of stadiums prior to matches, UEFA says.
"The UEFA system is three strikes and you are out," Powar told Reuters. "A fine, then another fine, then forcing teams to play behind closed doors. If the system is in full effect we could have a team kicked out of the competition for far right banners."
After the 2008 Euros, UEFA fined the Croatian national team almost $21,000 for racist banners and chants during their Turkey game.
While Platini has said he can't predict what will happen once you pack tens of thousands of fans into Polish and Ukrainian stadiums, he doesn't think either country presents an exceptional case of racism. It's more a microcosm of the bigotry around the globe, he said.
"I don't think there's any more racism in Poland and Ukraine than in France or anywhere else, or even in England," he said. "It's not a footballing problem. It's a problem for society but we will try our best to regulate the problem in our football."
There have definitely been instances of racism in soccer across Europe for years. John Terry, a defender for the English club, Chelsea, faces a racism trial for allegedly uttering a racist slur at Anton Ferdinand of Queens Park Rangers in October.
Liverpool's Luis Suarez was fined more than $60,000 and suspended eight games after England's governing football body found him guilty of hurling racist epithets at Manchester United and French international defender Patrice Evra, also in October.
England is not alone. In the last six or seven years, black players in France, Russia, Germany, Spain, Slovakia, Sweden and Scotland have reported fans accosting them with monkey chants. Spanish club Real Madrid was fined in 2009 after its fans made fascist gestures and shouted slogans about "the gas chamber." In 2005, then-Spanish coach Luis Aragones was fined a day's wages after reporters heard him during practice refer to French superstar Thierry Henry as a "black s**t."
Several groups outside the governing bodies of FIFA and UEFA have taken up the cause of racism in football, including Henry's Stand Up Speak Up campaign. The result has been greater awareness and a stark drop in racist instances. Despite this season's Terry and Suarez incidents, Europe has come a long way since the days when fans unabashedly lifted banners in the stands taunting black players.
One hung in the stands by fans of the Italian club, Internazionale in Milan, targeted Ivory Coast and Messina defender Marc Zoro. It famously read, "Peanuts and bananas are the pay for your infamy." During an earlier match against Inter Milan, the abuse became so unbearable, Zoro picked up the ball and threatened to walk off the field.
Yet, even with the strides made in recent years, the controversial documentary that has been denounced by Polish and Ukrainian officials suggests that the headway made in western Europe has yet to make its way east.
In the BBC Panorama episode titled "Stadiums of Hate," reporter Chris Rogers attends club games in the host countries for a month. He encounters fans in Lodz, Poland, making monkey noises at black players and chanting, "Death, death to the Jewish whore." In Warsaw, Rogers stepped off the train to see "White Legion" spray-painted on a wall with a white-power symbol, the Celtic cross, planted between the two words.
In Rzeszow, Poland, a fan held aloft a sign saying, "Death to the Hooked Noses," another shot at Jewish people. In Krakow, fans wore anti-Semitic shirts and attacked police when they couldn't get at opposing fans through a Plexiglas barrier that had been erected in the stadium.
Things seemed just as bad, if not worse, in Ukraine. There were more monkey chants in Kiev, and in Kharkiv, Rogers stunningly found hundreds of men, women and children throwing their hands up in an apparent Nazi salute and chanting, "Sieg heil!" A common greeting in Adolf Hitler's Germany, it means, "Hail, Victory!"
Of the gesture, Volodymyr Kovrygin of the Kharkiv police told Rogers there was no racism at the game and that home fans were merely pointing at the opposing team's supporters.
One of the documentary's most disturbing scenes also came at Kharkiv when home team fans surrounded several Indian students sitting in the stadium's family section and brutally attacked them. The Indians were rooting for the same team as their attackers.
Despite these seemingly indisputable images, the documentary is not without its detractors. Bosacki of the Polish Foreign Ministry called the episode "cheap journalism," while Khandogiy, the Ukrainian ambassador, called it "unbalanced and biased reporting."
"Racism and racial ideology is against the law, and if those young fans were shouting anything close to Nazi slogans they would have been prosecuted," Khandogiy said.
Even one of the documentary's sources - the American-born Jonathan Ornstein, who heads the Jewish Community Center of Krakow - has come forward to say the BBC "exploited" him as a source.
In a statement to The Economist, he wrote, "The organization used me and others to manipulate the serious subject of anti-Semitism for its own sensationalist agenda; in doing so, the BBC has insulted all Polish people and done a disservice to the growing, thriving Jewish community of Poland."
Powar, who heads Football Against Racism in Europe, had a different take: "I think we know the situation in domestic football in both Poland and Ukraine, and I'm afraid the documentary hit the nail on the head - it's a very bad situation,"
He went on to praise the efforts of those working to tamp down bigotry ahead of one of the world's most anticipated sporting events.
"There is some good work going at grass roots level to make sure that Euro 2012 inside stadiums does not resemble the sort of scenes we saw in the documentary," Powar said.
Emmanuel Olisadebe was speaking to CNN following the alleged racist abuse directed at members of the Dutch squad during a training session on Wednesday in Krakow, which the Dutch Football Association have decided not to officially complain to UEFA about.
"I think it's barbaric, it's not right.," said Olisadebe. "Some people feel that European teams should have only white players playing for them, and this is a European competition and it should be only for white people.
"This is 2012, we don't live in that kind of world anymore. We have to face this problem. It's a problem so we have to face it now or later and UEFA has decided to face it now and we will face it now."
The buildup to Euro 2012 - co-hosted by Poland and Ukraine - has been marred by a host of reports highlighting incidents of racial violence in the Eastern European nations.
The families of two of England's black players, Arsenal's Alex-Oxlade Chamberlain and Theo Walcott, will not be traveling to Ukraine and Poland, while Italy and Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli says he will walk off the pitch if he is targeted by racists.
The Nigeria-born striker was subjected to abuse when he first arrived at Polish club Polonia Warsaw in 1997, before becoming an icon by helping the team to their first league title in 50 years and spearheading his adopted country's qualification for the 2002 World Cup.
"It was really heavy on me," the 33-year-old Olisadebe. "I'd never experienced something like that in the games where they made these monkey noises and throw bananas at you. "I also heard this from other black players in other teams, they experienced the same thing. And in Poland it's there, the racism in football, but I think it's everywhere. The same in Poland, the same everywhere else."
Ruud Gullit: Euros will confront racism Euro racists face criminal sanctions Schmeichel on Denmark's Euro glory
Olisadebe, who scored 11 goals in 25 games for Poland, struggled to deal with the abuse, which included people throwing bananas onto the field of play.
"It's really difficult to explain the feeling but it was depressing," said Olisadebe, who now plays in the Greek top flight for Veria FC.
"The first moment was really depressing. I just had to live with it and I'm still here today. I played for Poland and I don't regret anything. I look at it as part of life."
In 2000, Olisadebe became the first player of African heritage to represent Poland. He revealed how his teammates rallied behind him when he was the focus of racist taunts.
"I had a few bananas thrown at me in one or two games," he explained. "But afterwards my fellow teammates stood behind me and they voiced out that if you throw bananas on Emmanuel you do it everybody and you have to respect. "They were behind me and after then it never happened again."
It is beginning to look like a child's game but this is a serious business. President Obama and his reelection team have a formidable fight in their hands as they put together the strategies to defeat presumed Republican Party candidate Mitt Romney. Obama campaign strategy is to first and foremost define who is Romney and then let American voters make the decision not to vote for Romney. But the efforts Obama’s people are making are being undercut continuously by unexpected utterances coming from Democratic Party leaders. The most visible of them all is the former President Clinton who is working with President Obama for his reelection.
Former President Bill Clinton is a gifted politician, the best you can get in the business of retail politics. By pressing the skin and with his charisma he knows how to make a lasting impression on the average working class voters, those people that are the base of Democratic Party.
President Clinton was on Piers Morgan show on CNN and was commenting on the business record of Mitt Romney, his words: “I don’t think we ought to get in a position where we say this is bad work. This is good work. There’s no question that in terms of getting up and going to the office and, you know, basically performing the essential functions of the office, a man who’s been governor and had a sterling business career crosses the qualification threshold.”
After that many people were so much surprised not for praising Mitt Romney’s business achievement, which he may deserve but for the sterling endorsement he gave to Romney.
The word, that word "sterling" is powerful; it sends the message that Romney is the "man" that can get the economy accelerating because of his private sector experience. That might be the case, but nobody knows for sure. Moreover, the Republicans should be the ones making the case for Mitt Romney not Bill Clinton and Democratic Party doing it for them.
The Republican’s Mitt Romney presumed strength is on his record as the founder and operator of Bain Capital. The equity investment entity made so many deals by financing and propping up failing companies; then turn around and sale them for huge profits. Obama argument was that in most cases, Bain Capital made deals at the expense of the workers to the advantage of investors. When you take away this point of view from the table, Obama has less to run on.
Many people are becoming concerned and are probing on what is going on between Obama and Clinton including popular Slate magazine: "Recently he has been on the wrong end of at least three different statements he has had to clarify--defending Bain Capital, testifying to Mitt Romney's "sterling" business career, suggesting the country was still in a recession, and suggesting he favored, extending the Bush-era tax cuts. Clinton is doing such good work for Mitt Romney that he now appears in the Republican nominee's press releases. Even Sarah Palin praised Clinton last night, in an effort to make President Obama look way out of the mainstream."
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), chairwoman of the DNC, did not agree with "sterling" attribute to Mitt Romney business record. Speaking in an interview with Piers Morgan on CNN she said, "Certainly, everyone is titled to their opinion, including President Clinton,” but on "sterling" description, she continued "No, I don't agree with President Clinton on that point," Wasserman Schultz said. "In fact, Mitt Romney is basing his entire candidacy on his experience in the private sector and the application we have in government to Mitt Romney's 'sterling' private sector experience is when he was Governor of Massachusetts."
But Clinton is not alone in this act; other few influential Democratic Party members are joining the trail and are beginning to sound like they are closet supporters for Republican Party Mitt Romney. A rising African American star in Democratic party, Mr. Cory Booker, Mayor of Newark New Jersey speaking recently on NBC Meet the Press said that Obama's campaign running a commercial critical of Bain Capital is "nauseating."
"Nauseating?" What a wrong choice of word? Cory Booker was supposedly a surrogate for President Obama campaign team and should have known better. If he feels that way, then the house of Democratic Party is in trouble. Even the former elected Tennessee politician Harold Forda, also an African American supported Cory Booker on his pronouncement on Bain Capital.
A former Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell, who supported the wife of President Clinton, Hillary Clinton for presidency in 2008 did underline President Obama with his latest comment: “I think the president was hurt by being a legislator only" and this he will probably enhanced the message of Miitt Romney election team that Obama lacks the business experience to handle the economy.
Are Democrats ready for prime time or do they want to lose the election even before the Election Day? Or maybe we are all reading too much meaning to a strategic formulation in making. Whatever the case maybe, there must be a perceived resemblance of unity among Democratic Party stalwarts to enable them to win the coming presidential election. Obama re-election team should realize that a much penetrating effort is needed to rally around their constituency, even before making the pitch for the independent voters.
Emeka Chiakwelu, Analyst and Principal Policy strategist at Afripol.
"I want to appeal to the federal government of
Nigeria to please not to allow this evil racial
sentence against Pastor Joshua Esosa to stand
because he is really innocent."
The much awaited appeal hearing of Pastor Joshua Esosa’s case today (06.06.2012) in Vienna , Austria came and went but our expectations are still hanging. The absence of one of the witnesses stalled the court proceedings that forced the case to be adjourned to August 1st, 2012 in the same court room by 9:15 am.
Even though the sound of bitter cola is different from its taste, however, if testimonies of people both Africans and Austrians in Vienna regarding the current presiding Chief Judge are anything to go by, Pastor Joshua Esosa will get a fair hearing under his lordship.
"The name of Nigeria can never be re-branded
when her citizens are seen as criminals in the
eyes of the world."
According to Pastor Joshua Esosa’s lawyer whom I spoke to after the court, Dr. Georg Uitz, Pastor Joshua Esosa would get justice because the judge was a no nonsense judge with integrity that could not be influenced by the police or anything against his conscience. He said that holes had been picked in the first trial that made the case to be transferred from higher court to the lower court. In his words, “I am optimistic that the truth will come out that Esosa is not guilty. We have been fighting since more than a year he was arrested. In the first trial he was sentenced but the decision was reviewed by the upper court and now the whole trial has to be repeated. […] I cannot predict the future because only God knows the future but I hope very much, that he will be set free because this is a very, very honourable judge, he will not let himself to be influenced by the police or by demonstrations. Whatever he believes he will decide. I believe, I hope and I am sure that he has the right feeling for the case […] that Esosa is not guilty. If he has the opinion that he is not guilty he will set him free. As I know and I’m convinced that Esosa is not guilty, I am very optimistic, very optimistic that the judge will say so.”
I want to appeal to the federal government of Nigeria to please not to allow this evil racial sentence against Pastor Joshua Esosa to stand because he is really innocent. If this iniquity is allowed to stand, it will be a conviction on all Nigerian clergymen, it will be a conviction on all black men in Austria especially Nigerians and it will be a conviction of Nigeria as an entity. Of what relevance will it be to the Nigerian citizens if their government that has been campaigning hugely about re-branding the name, Nigeria , allows them to be disgraced, insulted and humiliated into prisons in foreign lands for offences they have not committed without their government asking questions. The name of Nigeria can never be re-branded when her citizens are seen as criminals in the eyes of the world. The best way to re-brand Nigeria for international recognition and respect is to fight this stereotype that Nigerians are criminals, and the case of Pastor Joshua Esosa is one of the few cases for which we need to launch the awareness in Austria . What is happening to Pastor Joshua Esosa can never happen to any European or American citizen.
"I equally appeal to everybody to stand up and
help to break the yoke of this Armageddon network
built by Babylonians because this is the 21th century."
I want the world to know especially the Nigerian audience that I have gone deeply in this issue and that the truth I saw was naked, Pastor Joshua Esosa is not guilty. I equally appeal to everybody to stand up and help to break the yoke of this Armageddon network built by Babylonians because this is the 21th century.
Uzoma Ahamefule, a concerned patriotic citizen writes from Vienna , Austria
Phone: +436604659620 (sms only)
But I wish to dedicate this write up to what the common Nigerians say about him, because there can hardly be a highly placed Nigerian who has a sincere assessment of the President. Those who are close to him give him ninety-nine or a one hundred percent performance which is A+ in any examination. Those who are far from his government score him otherwise due to their feelings that they are not part of the ruling class, or that their expectations from the government are not met.
So after following events from one year ago, I have come across hundreds of Nigerians who have diverse and similar opinions on the government of the day. This article samples, thereupon, the sincere expressions of dozens of the common Nigerians most of who are not political in the viewpoints.
Nay, for a common man who may not have seen the President physically except probably on the screens of television or through the wave of the radio, any assessment would be from a sincere mind because he feels the government in his house, on the streets, in the markets, in the schools, in the offices and in their entire non-political lives. Not hoping to satisfy anybody but the Nigerian patriots, most of Nigerians are happy that the government has effectively, though with difficulties and challenges, preserved the democracy, unity and indivisibility of Nigeria. This is the greatest joy any patriot has to celebrate.
My own boundless joy sprout from what President Jonathan averred on the last democracy day. He said, “We have remained a stable democracy. We have together demonstrated that the government of the people is an ideal that the people of Nigeria cherish. We have our differences as individuals and as politicians, but we have shown great faith in democracy and its institutions. We have refused to be limited by our differences. Despite reservations about some of our institutions, we have refused to submit to despair. This achievement is a testament to the courage and optimism of the Nigerian people”.
He continued, “When General Abdusalami Abubakar handed over the baton of authority to President Olusegun Obasanjo in 1999, it was a turning point for Nigeria. We did not arrive at that turning point by accident. Many Nigerians laid down their lives for the transition to democracy to occur. Some were jailed. Media houses were attacked and shut down. But the people’s resolve was firm and unshakeable”.
There are challenges all over the sectors of the economy. The educational system, power generation, road construction and maintenance, healthcare delivery, transportation diversification, agriculture, arts and culture, as well as governance itself are seeking attention. But four from five things that have, even if gradually, been tackled by the Jonathan administration are:
Religion: Owing to the fact that some religious activities in Nigeria have been to an extent intertwined with criminal beliefs, political thuggery and economic penchant, it has become difficult to decipher between genuineness and quackery in religious bearings. In such difficult and complex situation, the government has fearlessly remained absolute in fostering understanding between the religious yearnings of Nigerians. Some faithless religious adherents had thought that the coming on board of President Jonathan would polarize religious affinity in the country, to the extent that many even thought that he would be a Niger Delta President. Today, it is on record that the Niger Delta people seem to be disappointed by that thought. And this has led some of the youths to revert to the former hostilities they engaged the previous governments in. The constitutional provision that every Nigerian citizen is entitled to his or her religion has been doggedly upheld and maintained.
Corruption: That those in authority are seen as the cause of every bad thing that happens in the country because of the heavy corruption, mismanagement of the public money and impoverishment of the people is not novel in the critical assessment of Nigerian governance and social responsibilities. These have been the primary causes of all the social evils pervading our nation. Poverty strikes harder, corruption eats up our fabrics and misappropriation of public funds is quotidian.
For all the years before 2011, the oil industry was under siege. The so-called cabal or mafias controlled the main stay of the country’s economy. Oil, and by extension gas, runs our economy. Before 2011, no government had had the courage to look into the eyes of these ‘untouchable’ oil barons. We know that the prices of oil control the prices of local commodities and foreign imports. Majority of the people are not finding life easy. Yet, some states have not implemented the minimum wage of N18,000, (about 114 US dollars per month).
However, a theoretical analysis of the multi-faceted problems facing the nation tends to show that the incompetence and corruption that pervades our society today are extensively responsible for the rise in the level of civil disturbances. But the government of today in its efforts to curb the excesses of these business people has started somewhere. The President has also ordered a cut in the squander mania tendencies of public officers. Though gradually, it is a step forward in the fight against corruption. And many citizens believe the sincerity of this move.
Boko Haram: This is a challenge that has belittled the federal government’s efforts in repositioning the country. President Jonathan himself admitted sometime ago that this challenge is also from within the government circles, probably interpreted that the Boko Haram has links with state and federal, the security services, the legislature and judiciary apparatuses. Much has been said, and should have been known of this group. But as a respondent concluded, sponsors of such inhuman endeavours must be rich and cannot be doing so on money earned from their human sweat.
The untold truth is that this kind of civil disturbances had challenged past civilian governments. Some of the past leaders employed different approaches to quench it. Some even applied military approach. But this government has kept faith in the democratic procedures and employed force to the barest.
Price control: Reference to my article titled, Can the FG control prices?, I recalled my experiences in price control in Egypt, and now Saudi Arabia and England. The first time I visited Saudi Arabia was in 1993 i.e. about 20 years ago. I was there just last year and surprisingly, the things I bought for instance for 10 Saudi Riyals have remained so or have rather come down in prices. The price of a litre of fuel was as less as N19 and it has remained so for over 20 years.
In Egypt whose economy is not as much stronger than Nigeria’s, I recalled, government control prices of local commodities and Egyptians are trained from cradle to love their country and make no comparison to it especially with African countries. That is why every Egyptian child or any average Egyptian is made to believe that Egypt is the best country in Africa. They sincerely believe that Egypt is the mother of civilization, not even referring to the land as the origin of civilization. An Egyptian prefers made-in-Egypt products over any other. The federal government, therefore, should do more in this regard.
This systematic upbringing of an Egyptian child and to a large extent many children of developing countries is a long term plan that is continually inculcated through schools and local dramas. And in such countries, their orientation agencies are as strong as their governments because the agencies are regarded as the fulcrum for the training of the society and their future leaders.
National orientation: In Nigeria, due to the somewhat visionless plans or instability or underfunding of the National Orientation Agency, this government organ is incapacitated to carry out its constitutional functions. I often wonder, as many Nigerians do too, if this agency is functional at all. This is because many efforts aimed at assisting practically the best upbringing of the Nigerian child meet the wall at the agency.
Either due to the bureaucratic bottlenecks in the nation’s civil service system, or corruption that is pervading all nooks and crannies of the society or mere negligence, the NOA needs to be made functional especially now that the leadership has been reinforced with a new director-general, Mr. Mike Omeri. NOA should swoop into action and work with Nigerians who have genuine plans that can assist in changing the image of our beloved motherland.
The NOA has the responsibility to target the Nigerian child in its orientation programmes. And I suggest that with a long term planning, the agency should move for a legislation that will empower it to establish its units in every public and private schools across the country. There should be no reason why a Nigerian child should begin to develop hatred for its motherland, antagonism for its fellow citizens and unnecessary skepticism and even uncertainty for its future.
This also refers us to the need to enhance the proper utilization of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) programme. It has been discovered that a large chunk of the participants in this programme lobby even by bribing their ways through their school authorities and the NYSC for juicy posting i.e. places where they are not effectively utilized for the nation building but collect fat allowances. Others do lobby to be posted within their states or neighborhoods. I think it is against the primary aims and objectives of setting up the programme. And the new NYSC boss, Brig. Gen. Nnamdi Okorie-Affia should take note.
Mr. President should be commended and encouraged, even while we demand for more selfless sacrifices from him for the mandate we all gave him. As he seeks loftiness in governance, let this second year of his tenure be better, so that Nigerian patriots would continue to stand by him.
Thank you, Mr. Permanent Secretary, for sharing your reflections on the BNC.
I would also like to recognize the hard work of the USIP staff, especially Ambassador George Moose and David Smock, and of my State Department colleagues, and of all our very talented Nigerian colleagues, in making this historic meeting of the Binational Commission such a success.
The robust engagement of local and federal government from both our countries over the past two days demonstrates the importance and depth of our partnership. I see enormous promise for Nigeria and for our relationship in the years to come.
But I have been at this for a long time, and so have many of you. We know that relationships like these do not grow themselves. They don’t maintain themselves, either. They demand commitment, patience and sustained effort. Managing big and important relationships like ours is a little like riding a bike; if you don’t keep pedaling forward, you’re likely to fall over.
Over the past two days, we’ve clearly been pedaling forward. Our delegations took the opportunity to review progress made in each of the working groups since the establishment of the Binational Commission in 2010 and to address a range of shared concerns. In particular:
The Governance, Transparency and Integrity Working Group looked toward the 2015 national elections – which mark another milestone in building on the most credible elections in Nigeria’s history last April. Together we identified electoral reforms and opportunities to improve the electoral process. We discussed the importance of interagency coordination and strategies to build capacity and public confidence in Nigeria’s anti-corruption efforts.
The Energy and Investment Working Group sought to expand on Nigeria’s progress to date in reforming its power sector. We held constructive conversations on how Nigeria can attract international private investment, including ways to boost output and address energy deficits. We are committed to continuing to support Nigeria’s efforts to create a more effective regulatory environment. And given Nigeria’s important place in the global oil market, we discussed ways to ensure that the natural riches of Nigeria improve the lives of all of its people for many years to come.
The Agriculture and Food Security Working Group discussed Nigeria’s important role in regional food security, and examined areas for growth in Nigeria’s private agriculture sector. We will continue our support for reforms aimed at strengthening Nigeria’s role in regional food security, and we are looking to bolster agricultural lending in Nigeria. As I said, we want to help Nigeria become not just food secure but a breadbasket for the surrounding region.
The Regional Security Working Group discussed strategies to help educate the Nigerian public about the government’s efforts to secure its citizens and prevent the spread of violent extremism. We also had frank discussions about reports of extra-legal activity among Nigerian security forces and the importance of protecting human rights. We will continue to work with our Nigerian partners to improve the capacity of its military and police units, as a part of the government’s overall effort to respond to the needs of communities vulnerable to violent extremism.
We discussed all these issues and many more. But we also committed ourselves to keep turning talk into action. And I am proud to announce, together with the Permanent Secretary, that the United States and Nigeria have agreed to a joint communiqué outlining the next steps for each of these working groups. This communiqué affirms our shared understanding that accountable governance, economic growth, agricultural investment, and security sector professionalization are all important elements in an effective strategy to address the myriad of challenges facing Nigeria. We also committed to hold the working group on the Niger Delta this year, which time and space did not allow during this robust, two-day session.
As we opened this dialogue, I shared my belief that the stakes of our effort extend far beyond the progress of any one of its working groups. Nigeria’s challenges are Africa’s challenges. By the same token, its success will position it to continue to take a vital leadership role as the most populous African nation in a region full of “emerging-emerging powers.”
Six of the 10 fastest growing economies in the world are in sub-Saharan Africa – Nigeria among them. In five years, the IMF predicts it will be seven of the top ten. The need to deliver on the hopes and aspirations of our people has never been greater. Neither has the depth of our dialogue or the momentum behind it.
Nigeria’s future, full of promise and risk, has no shortage of unknowns. But let me close with one certainty: that future will be brighter if we approach it together. Thank you for a successful dialogue and for your friendship with the United States.
What is the problem with Nigeria’s democratic rule that worries General Muhammadu Buhari so much? Is justice denied in Nigeria? Is poverty tactically or openly enforced upon the masses? Is ignorance prevailing the society especially in the north from where the General hails? Is there an organized conspiracy to torment the underprivileged, oppress the will of the populace, suppress perceived opposition and massively loot the money of the people?
For some Nigerians, Buhari is overdue for retirement from the political scene of Nigeria. His efforts, according to this group, have grown from unpopularity to unpopularity that all he needs now is to be a political oracle for consultation and not being an errand play boy in the swampy wave of Nigerian politics. Just similar to former heads of state, he would maintain relevance when the need arises.
But others believe that Buhari is a unique type of humans who prefer to die for the cause they believe in than the cause to die before them. Buhari saw or at least heard all that happened in 1999 when Nigeria returned to democratic governance – how former President Obasanjo was imposed on the people. Buhari saw all that happened in 2003 reselection processes. He saw all the political eyesores of 2007 and another electioneering lopsidedness in Nigerian politics in 2011, having participated actively in the last three political dispensations. What of Nigeria’s democracy does Buhari detest?
Speaking from the mind of a frustrated patriot who, however, wishes that things should not continue the same way in Nigeria, he made a parable of the dog and baboon. Journalists, probably those who prefer the sensational aspects of speakers’ speeches picked on this, thus generating another heat in the already overheated politics.
Buhari wants a democracy where justice is enforced, where poverty is suppressed, where ignorance dwindles and where society becomes an organized one for unity, peace and development, so that citizens and their properties will be safe – a government of the people, by the people and for the people, not a government against the people, upon the people and cruel to the people, at least according to his perception.
However, in defence of Buhari’s democracy, many prominent Nigerians have made certain points that are relevant in resolving the political dust raised by this. It is left for posterity to judge and for the witnesses of today’s politics in Nigeria to decide which way is better for the country to tow.
General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida alias IBB recently in Minna, the Niger State capital challenged journalists to go for translation training to guard against misinterpretation of viewpoints of speakers. This was at a function where seasoned journalists were present. This was surely in reference to General Buhari who spoke in Hausa language and was believed to be misquoted in the journalist’s attempt to translate Buhari’s statement. IBB clearly said, “I wanted to speak in Hausa but now that I see journalists here, I will speak in English because I do not want to be misinterpreted”.
Translation is a very difficult exercise and journalists should not even attempt translating people’s opinions from one language to the other. That is why some well-established news outfits employ the services of specialists in different local and international languages. That is why some of the media have the local versions of their newspapers once a week at least to summarize the happenings of the week in the local dialects of their common readers.
That is why some books which have undergone series of translation from one language to the other have lost their original meanings. In every language, there are loan words which cannot be rendered into an equal meaning with a single word in another language. This is a difficult task for the translators some of who would prefer to use the words as they are, but would give an interpretation in brackets.
Former FCT Minister, Nasir el-Rufai was even harder and blunter in defence of General Buhari. el-Rufai believed that if things are allowed to continue the way they are in Nigeria today, then 2015 may never be witnessed by an entity called Nigeria. He hinged his defence for Buhari on the fact that the nation has witnessed bad elections since 1964 through 1983 and 1993, leading to the overthrow of the authorities whether at the state or federal levels.
“There is a pattern to this that people do not want to look at. That is why I was surprised when the government was trying to attack General Buhari because he said if elections in 2015 are rigged there will be violence. History has said that. So Buhari did not need to say it and it is the truth and the PDP should understand that if they rig the 2015, they will not survive the aftermath,” said el-Rufai.
Continuing, “They will not live to enjoy the fruits of their rigging. They should understand that everybody is up to his necks in anger and frustration. Take it anywhere. They need to understand that is not Buhari talking; ask any man in the street, they will tell you the same thing. All this talk about 2015, in my opinion is a distraction,” the former Abuja boss insisted.
Deputy Minority Whip and CPC House Caucus Leader, Hon. Garba Datti Muhammad took a swipe on those who seem afraid of doing the right thing in Nigerian polity. Muhammad was of the opinion that the current dangerous wave of crisis and insecurity in the North was a game plan by the Presidency to give the impression that the North is making good governance difficult for the President and discredit its leaders in order to attract sympathy from within and outside the country. He, therefore, called on the Federal Government to demilitarize the North and evolve a more civilized and technology driven strategy for security surveillance and operations.
“No matter how Buhari is despised or whatever any thinks about his views, he would remain unruffled, resolute, blunt, bold and daring to call a spade a spade anywhere, anytime. Whenever Buhari sneezes, the PDP catches cold and the Presidency get feverish. Therefore, if they are frightened by the dog and baboon theory, they must conduct a credible election in 2015 and we cannot be fooled again,” the CPC House Caucus Leader averred.
In a related development to journalism, the director general of the National Orientation Agency (NOA) Mike Omeri recently while receiving the leadership of Nigerian Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ), Zone D urged journalists to be thorough in their investigation of event before relaying them to the public, as according to him, “the more responsible the media is, the more credible it would be because foreign media rely considerably on the local ones.”
Chief Moses Oyinlayefa and Comrade Peter Izonkeme, president and secretary respectively of Izondeinyefa Renaissance Movement, in defence of General Buhari, acknowledged that Buhari spoke in Hausa language, such statements from which a translation was made into English. The translation read, “God willing, by 2015 something will happen. They either conduct a free and fair election or they go a very disgraceful way. If what happened in 2011 should again happen in 2015, by the grace of God, the dog and the baboon would be soaked in blood”.
The group condemned the rigging of elections in any form but warned that those who desire to rule Nigeria with a view to plunder resources of the Niger Delta should be reminded that such action would be resisted in any form. Oyinlayefa and Izonkeme appealed to General Buhari to desist from making inciting statements and allow the President to concentrate on the job of governance. They said, “If President Jonathan fails to deliver on his promises in an atmosphere devoid of threats of war in the next three years, then the electorates will decide his fate in 2015.”
They threatened to deploy any necessary means to defend their OWN from any threat, in accordance with the fact that no individual, section or group(s) of Nigeria has the monopoly of violence.
In his article Nigeria: the systemic reduction which appeared on the weekend edition of Peoples Daily on May 26, 2012, Ibrahim Sulaiman was of the opinion that the Nigerian people were losing control over their political destiny to foreigners. According to him, the nation’s Democracy Thieves (DT) – the supreme cabal – have stolen the lion share of Nigeria’s democracy. All the cabals and all the thieves in the oil industry, in the telecom industry, in the banking industry, in governance industry and in all other sectors are very active in the political sphere and have almost wrested democracy from the Nigerian people. They handle democracy in exactly the same manner as they handle oil. Oil flows in their direction and in their interest, so must democracy.
Which democracy will save Nigeria: PDPsm, Buharism, Tinubuism or Nigerianism?