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*Reject subsisting revenue formula
*Say current revenue formula breeds corruption in N-Delta

The coalition of Northern leaders, formed to articulate the region’s interest in the eventuality of a national conference, has  rejected the framework for the present revenue formula and accused the presidency of a  mischievous plot for another term for President Goodluck Jonathan.

 

The coalition involving some northern  governors, politicians, academics and some of the region’s most erudite personalities in the professions alleged that the subsisting revenue formula was illegal even as it deposed that it was harmful to the oil rich Niger Delta. According to the group, too much money going to the oil rich region was fueling corruption in the Niger Delta.

 

The position of the northern leaders was articulated at the end of a meeting of the chairmen of its 10 committees recently convened to define the interest of the region. The group also demanded the identification of all Generals, businessmen and others involved in illegal bunkering activities in the Niger Delta.

 

The Coalition of Concerned Northerners has as members, Governor Babangida Aliyu of Niger State; Governor Sule Lamido of Jigawa State; former President of the Senate, Dr. Iyorcha Ayu and some of the leading lights of the region in different professions.

 

The presidency immediately rebuffed the allegation of scheming for a third term as it accused the Northern leaders of sorcery on the basis that the constitution review committee headed by Justice Alfa Belgore (rtd) was yet to submit its report.

 

The position of the group was articulated in a statement by the group’s convener, Dr. Junaid Mohammed, following yesterday’s meeting  of the chairmen of its 10 standing committees.

 

On the alleged plot for a third term, the group said: “The committee chairmen also noted with concern and regret the goings-on in the constitution amendment committee set up by the Federal Government under a former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Alfa Belgore, where it has become clear that the Villa and the chairman are relentlessly pursuing sinister third term agenda/renewed tenure elongation for the President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan.

 

“The main effort by Belgore and other hirelings of the Villa has been to create a so-called New Constitution that paves the way for Jonathan to again contest the presidential election in 2015 for a single term of seven years, that is, in addition to his current four (4) years to the nearly two (2) years he had served of the Yar’Adua Presidency.

“Belgore has nothing but contempt for issues in which the North feels cheated such as Abuja and revenue allocation and his dangerous antics have divided the committee, leading to acrimonious debates and near fist-fights with Belgore feigning helplessness while surreptitiously helping his own side. The whole country with the North as its head will rise to oppose this mischief.”

 

Presidency reacts

 

Responding to the claim, presidential spokesman, Dr. Reuben Abati told Vanguard yesterday:

“It is not in any evidence in any way that the Belgore Committee which the President set up to look up at the previous outcomes of political conferences, recommendations as to constitution amemndent has submitted any report any where. I am not aware of any report that has been submitted any where making any recommendations.

 

“We would expect that when people who claim to be major stakeholders in the Nigerian project make contributions, such contributions will show commonsense and decency. Because to comment on the report of the Belgore committee that has not been concluded  and a report that has not yet been submitted will amount to witchcraft or if you like sorcery and therefore curious and entirely mischievous. As far as I know Belgore committee has not concluded  its work.

 

“It also appears strange to me that a group of people who would otherwise be described as distinguished Nigerians would claim that President is looking for a third term. Every intelligent man in this country knows that President Jonathan is in his first term in office, so how have they suddenly jumped from first term to third term.

 

From the point of view of arithmetics, even their claim cannot stand. So that claim is weak, it is unacceptable.

“If their concern is about the seven-year term, President Jonathan has made it clear that his proposal is out of patriotic concern about the amount of wastefulness, greed, tension, conflict that  go into the search for second term. It is borne out of patriotic concern that elected officials at all levels should dedicate themselves and concentrate their efforts during a specific period,” noting that the proposal was not original to the President.

 

On the revenue formula

 

On the revenue formula, the group said: “The North rejects the current obnoxious revenue allocation law and call for its immediate review in view of its being lopsided, unfair and detrimental to the interest of all Nigerians, including the real people of the oil-producing states it appears to favour superficially.

 

“Oil producing states are equally victims because the revenue accruing to their states on the basis of the obnoxious derivation over-weighted formula is far beyond their executive capacity to manage. As a consequence, it encourages corruption and hyper-inflation in those states, their neighbours and the country at large. The law, as it exists, is a violation of a subsisting judgment by the Supreme Court of Nigeria, a fact openly admitted to by former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo.

 

International Law of Sea Convention

 

“This revenue allocation law also stands in violation of the international law with particular reference to the International Law of Sea Convention (LOSC). The LOSC treaty, which has since come into force (1982), is the principal governing law for all maritime resource issues. The LOSC is one of the most comprehensive treaties in international law and clearly stipulates in its various parts and annexes that oil and all forms of wealth found on the continental shelf or the international sea bed must belong to the countries and not just to administrative/political units (littoral states) adjoining the physical sea.

 

“The revenue allocation law, as it stands, is a violation of a subsisting Supreme Court judgment viz: A-G of the Federation Versus A.G Abia State and 36 others (2002) reported in 6 NWLR part 765 on pages 542-905.

“The law is an encouragement to the political class to ignore the ecological devastation as a consequence of oil-related activities while financing and encouraging terrorist agitation and criminality in that part of Nigeria for political blackmail, extortion and ransom.

 

Condemn award of oil blocks to Generals, others

 

“The meeting condemned the practice by governments in awarding oil blocks and crude oil liftings to top Generals, cronies of parties or persons in power and fraudsters, who give our country a very bad name overseas.

 

“We strongly recommend the revocations of all those oil blocks and oil lifting contracts and urge a comprehensive review of all manner of refined products import contracts.

“Meanwhile, all Generals and dishonest businessmen, local chiefs and war-lords involved in criminal bunkering must be identified, arrested and effectively prosecuted.

 

FCT land

 

“The Committee Chairmen also discussed the current status of Abuja as the Federal Capital Territory, whereby land belonging to identifiable peoples and communities is forcibly taken away to make way for a so-called federal capital development with virtually no compensation. The communities and peoples alienated from their lands are rendered internally displaced persons (IDPs), but lacking all the rights and privileges accorded them by UN Conventions.

 

“It is worth noting that from colonial era administration after unification in 1914 and the declaration of Lagos as the Nigeria’s capital, to the creation of Ibadan, Kaduna and Enugu as regional capitals, on to the creation of the old Mid-West with Benin City as capital in 1963, nowhere were the original inhabitants/owners comprehensively, pitilessly and insensitively dispossessed as in Abuja.

 

“The fiction of a so-called virgin land sold to the late General Murtala Mohammed was just that; a fictional and shameless invention by an obscure geographer from the South-West, to justify the heist of a peoples’ land. No land can be declared a virgin when it is occupied for several generations by peoples and communities.

 

What is sauce for the goose must be sauce for the gander. What has been the birth-right of Lagosians, their land, as well as Binis, Ibadans and the Wawas of Enugu, must be applicable with full force to the peoples/communities of Abuja forthwith.”

VANGUARD

 

 

 

Senate claims ‘strange’ N1tr in 2012 budget

NIGERIA’S debt profile is set to rise by N1 trillion. President Goodluck Jonathan, who says he is in dire need of funds to execute some critical projects, wants the National Assembly to clear the coast for him to borrow N1.3 trillion from the World Bank, African Development Bank (ADB) and others.

 

The President in a letter he wrote to the Legislature yesterday, urged it to endorse his bid to borrow N1trillion (about $7,905,690,000) for the execution of the projects. There were also concerns in the Upper House yesterday that the 2012 budget was not properly packaged by the Executive arm of government.

 

The country’s external and domestic debts as at September 2011 are put at N6.189 trillion. The domestic debt is N5.3 trillion while the external stock is $5.6 billion. The Federal Government owes $3.316 billion while the 36 states of the federation owe $2.317 billion, bringing the total external debt owed by the two tiers of government to $5.633 billion.

 

If the Legislature approves the N1.3 trillion being sought by the President, Nigeria’s debt stock will rise to N7.489 trillion.

 

The Senate Committee on Appropriation, which is scrutinising the budget, alleged that Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) had smuggled N1trillion into the document.

 

In a statement, the panel’s chairman, Mohammed Maccido, said the MDAs smuggled the funds for various projects and that made the budget presented to the lawmakers different from the one sent by the President to the National Assembly.

 

Curiously, the alleged figure is the amount Jonathan wants clearance from the National Assembly to borrow.

 

Also yesterday, the Senate faulted the calls by some prominent Nigerians for the convocation of a Sovereign National Conference (SNC).

 

In a communication to the Senate and the House of Representatives, the President explained that the fund would be used for Pipeline Projects for the Medium Term (2012-2014) as outlined in the 2012-2014 External Borrowing Plan.

 

Jonathan further said the plan was designed to create jobs for Nigerians and grow the economy.

 

The letter read in part: “I wish to inform you that a number of special initiatives were designed to put the economy back on track through growth and employment activities geared towards the implementation of the Transformation Agenda.

 

“The Pipeline Projects are at various stages of completion. Therefore, I present herewith a total external pipeline borrowing in the amount of $7,690,000 or $2.64 billion a year being cumulative facilities offered by the World Bank, African Development Bank (ADB), Islamic Development Bank, Exim Bank of China and Indian Lines of Credit.”

 

The President urged the National Assembly to note that the objectives of the projects conformed with the Transformation Agenda of his administration and cut across various sectors of the economy, adding that the initiatives were meant to put the economy on track through growth and employment.

 

The Senate, which formally reacted to the calls by some Nigerians for a sovereign conference to discuss the state of the nation, declared that the summit was unnecessary.

 

At a press conference, Chairman of Senate Committee on Information, Media and Publicity, Enyinnaya Abaribe, said individuals, who have suggestions on the matter could forward them to the National Assembly, stressing that it is the Legislature that is constitutionally allowed to decide such issues on behalf of Nigerians.

 

“We were elected to represent the people of Nigeria. We don’t think there is any matter under the sun that the Senate will shy away from. I don’t know why they insist on having a Sovereign National Conference. We are not against any group meeting to discuss any issue in Nigeria, that is the essence of democracy but we cannot have democracy without democrats. But if we want to change the constitution, there is the National Assembly. All that is required is for them to bring their suggestions through their representatives and it will receive attention.

 

“Any Nigerian can send any bill or his opinion on anything about the country. If we have anything, we will say is off limit, it is the unity of Nigeria.”

 

On the plan by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) to borrow from foreign financial outfits, Abaribe said it had nothing to do with Nigeria being broke. He said the issue would be debated and the position of the Senate made public.

 

Meanwhile, Senate President David Mark has advised the Upper House standing committees to take the budgets of the ministries under them to the Appropriation Committee for final action, noting that ‘’Thursday (tomorrow) is the deadline and any committee that fails to do so will have itself to blame because such ministries will not have funds for 2012.”

 

But Maccido, who insisted that the MDAs overloaded the budget, said:  “The problem is that we are seeing projects that are not in the original version of the budget presented to us by the President and substantial part of these projects are being smuggled into the budget by the MDAs and ministers. Over 40 per cent of the projects in their budgets are not in the original budget. And we are saying no to the items so smuggled into the budget, which are over N1 trillion. So, we are right now comparing the budget as originally presented by the President and the version presented by the MDAs. Unless these projects are there in the original budget, we are going to scrap them. It’s no longer going to be business as usual. These people are just smuggling in projects that are not in the budgets. And we are going to remove them,‘’ he said.

 

Source: The Guardian

 

 

 

 

 

Monday, 09 January 2012 19:45

THE PRESIDENT IN GOODLUCK JONATHAN

 

THE PRESIDENT IN GOODLUCK JONATHAN

"President Goodluck Jonathan going tough," was how the Sun's newspaper described the president's declaration of state of emergency in 15 local governments of four states namely, Borno, Gombe , Niger and Platue states There were also follow up articles from many Nigeria's newspapers of president Jonathan summoning security chiefs including the police IG. Something I have read for more than 20 times each time boko haram, the well organized, sponsored and supported Islamic terrorists by the north struck.

 

My questions; why is the state of emergency so selective? What sense does it make to declare state of emergency in few towns and call it state of emergency? Why did it take so many deaths of innocent Nigerians who worked hard, lived right and had right to be protected by the national security operators, for the president to partially did what he ought to have done long time ago?

 

Borno , Gombe and Platue states have witnessed too many destruction of lives and properties, the president would only whine and summon his security chiefs. The terrorists reigned havoc at the police head quarters in Abuja nothing happened to them. Instead some police officers were arrested and put on trial for killing a terrorist. The same terrorists extended their deadly destruction at the UN Building in Abuja. Again they were treated with impunity. Then here comes the December 25, 2011 suicide bombing of four churches killing people who went to worship at those churches. A challenge and an affront to God Almighty, the only solution for the president was again summon his security chiefs and introduced partial action in 15 local governments, an action too small and too late. You cannot just raise the carpet and sweep the dirt under the carpet and path your self on the chest that you have swept the floor clean.

 

This man has been a president since May of 2010 at the death of Yar'Dua, there has not been a single thing in the name of national development that could be attributed to him. In April 2011, he stood for an election, the entire south of the country proudly and massively voted for him with great hope of rewriting Obasanjo's wrongs against the south. He was sworn in to office May 29, 2011. His first act was to elongate the president and governors term of office for seven years. The second act was to northernize the police force, the judiciary, the custom service and the financial sector of the national economy.

 

 

The police IG, the minister of justice, the chief justice of the federation, the president of the federal court of appeal, the director general of the Nigerian custom service, the governor of central bank of Nigeria whose aim and aspiration is to introduce Islamic banking in Nigeria are all northerners. I have no problem with the appointment of the northerners as long as their appointment was based on merit , but look at the decay in the Nigerian police, the judiciary, the ministry of justice, the Nigerian custom service, the status of national currency, the naira, the level of the national reserve which I understood to be in 50s at 2006. Well, Mr. President has just confirmed that he is a very weak man incapable of presiding over the national affairs of Nigeria to provide the nation with proper and adequate protection through his recent utterances and his appointments. His recent confirmation was a statement credited to him that he is slow to avoid mistakes. I wonder who are advising him.

 

There has been mixed reaction towards the petroleum subsidy removal. What Nigerians need is the corrupt subsidy removal and corrupt-fraudulent officials removal. He can start by removing the police IG, the corrupt judicial officers, all the security chiefs including the so called SSS, the governor of central bank and retinue of his idle advisers.

Peter Eze is a Space Aviation Consultant

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Australian government pledged $50m and the British, £40m to the global eradication of the scourge

President Goodluck Jonathan, on Saturday in Perth, Australia, announced that the Nigerian Government will commit $60 Million over the next two years to eradicate polio from Nigeria. Speaking at a Global Polio Eradication Initiative event held at the ongoing Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, Jonathan said he will inaugurate a Special Task Force headed by the Minister of State for Health, Dr. Mohammed Pate, to oversee and coordinate a national campaign for the eradication of polio, as he pledged during a recent meeting with Bill Gates. “As a leader, I don’t want to see polio in our children, especially knowing fully well that it is a disease that we can completely eradicate and prevent. We will work with the global community to ensure its eradication,” Jonathan said.

Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan, right, and wife Patience arrive for a banquet dinner during Commonwealth Heads Of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Perth, Australia, Friday, Oct. 28, 2011. Photo: Rob Griffith, Pool / APNigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan, right, and wife Patience arrive for a banquet dinner during Commonwealth Heads Of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Perth, Australia, Friday, Oct. 28, 2011. Photo: Rob Griffith, Pool / AP

Queen Elizabeth II, second left, and Prince Philip, left, greet Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, right, and his wife Patience Jonathan at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) banquet dinner in the Golden Ballroom of Pan Pacific Hotel in Perth Friday, Oct. 28, 2011. Photo: Andrew Meares, Pool / AP

Queen Elizabeth II, second left, and Prince Philip, left, greet Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, right, and his wife Patience Jonathan at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) banquet dinner in the Golden Ballroom of Pan Pacific Hotel in Perth Friday, Oct. 28, 2011. Photo: Andrew Meares, Pool / AP

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, center left, is joined by Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, left, Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard, center right, and Trinidad and Tobago's Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar for group photos at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Perth, Australia, Friday, Oct. 28, 2011. The Queen vowed to bring needed relevancy to the Commonwealth in a time of global uncertainty and insecurity as a major meeting of the nations linked to Britain's former empire opened Friday.

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, center left, is joined by Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, left, Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard, center right, and Trinidad and Tobago's Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar for group photos at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Perth, Australia, Friday, Oct. 28, 2011. The Queen vowed to bring needed relevancy to the Commonwealth in a time of global uncertainty and insecurity as a major meeting of the nations linked to Britain's former empire opened Friday. (AP Photo/Torsten Blackwood, Pool)

(The Canadian Press, Adrian Wyld/Associated Press) - Queen Elizabeth arrives for a dinner at the Commonwealth Heads of Government in Perth, Australia Friday Oct .28, 2011.
FROM LEFT, CANADIAN PRIME MINISTER, RR. HON, STEPHEN HARPER, PRESIDENT GOODLUCK JONATHAN, AUTRALIAN PRIME MINISTER, JULIA GILLARD, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER, DAVID CAMERON AND PAKISTANI PRIME MINISTER, SYED YOUSAF RAZA GILLANI DURING A NEWS CONFERENCE ON POLIO ERADICATION TODAY SATURDAY IN PERTH, AUSTRALIA. pm
FROM LEFT, PRESIDENT GOODLUCK JONATHAN, CANADIAN PRIME MINISTER, HON. STEPHEN HARPER,M A POLIO SURVIVOR AND INTERNATIONAL ERADICATION ADVOCATE, RAMESH FERRIS, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER, DAVID CAMERON, HIS PAKISTANI COUNTERPART, SYED YOUSAF RAZA GILLANI AND PRIME MINISTER OF AUSTRALIA, JULIA GILLARD AT A NEWS CONFERENCE ON POLIO ERADICATION TODAY SATURDAY IN PERTH, AUSTRALIA. pm
pm
Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip are seen cruising on a navy barge on Lake Burley Griffin in Canberra, Australia on Oct. 20, 2011
The Australian Prime Minister and incoming Chairperson of the Commonwealth, Julia Gillard, who presided over the event, pledged that the Australian government will commit a further $50 million to the global polio eradication effort while the British Prime Minister, David Cameron announced that Britain will give an additional £40million pounds sterling.

Gillard said this was to demonstrate the Commonwealth’s commitment to the global eradication of polio.The event was also attended by the Canadian Prime Minister, Stephen Harper and the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Syed Yousaf Raza Gillani.Daily Times

At its conclusion, Jonathan, Gillard, Cameron, and Harper joined other Commonwealth Heads of Government to continue their deliberations at an exclusive retreat in Kings Park, Perth. The summit is expected to end on Sunday, after a concluding Executive Session of the participating Heads of Government, and Jonathan is due back in Abuja early on Monday.

Daily Times

Published in Archive

President Jonathan optimistic address to the United Nations Assembly can be a powerful message of positive re-branding and assurance to the world community.

This is not the first time that President Jonathan has addressed United Nations General Assembly. But his recent outing at the at the 66th United Nations General Assembly, UN Headquarters, New York was quite important after the Boko Haram’s United Nations building bombing at Abuja. Many keen political observers and analysts have quite for a while have seen terrorism and terrorist acts accelerating in Nigeria, but they were not probably fazed by rising momentum being that it was localized and within the country's border without international implications. But with the recent attacked on the building of United Nations in Nigeria at Abuja has proven that the bombing might be local but its implication is beyond the confines of the country. There are political and economic ramifications that may come with it especially with the attraction of foreign investors and capitals.

This is why it was important that President Jonathan utilized his address at United Nations Assembly to assure the whole world, that Nigeria is stepping up and Nigeria is up to the challenge of restraining, controlling and defeating the embolden Boko Haram with its destructive warfare on the polity, stability and wellbeing of the country. The world economic actors and participators must be updated on the safety of the country and making them to understand that Nigeria is a safe destination for their capitals and investments. And President Jonathan address did accomplish and convey strength, endurance and safety of the country.  That is good news to the world.

The most important responsibility of a government is its ability to protect life and property, and Nigerian president must let the whole world know that prospective investments and present investments in Nigeria are safe and well protected. One thing Nigeria must not do to is to allow anything to disrupt its growing economy and retards its progressive and buoyant economy.  Therefore it is necessary that a confidence building strategy and assurance must go beyond the address at United Nations and rebranding must be continued to make investors and capitalists to see Nigeria as a safe haven for investment, an economic growth landscape with affirmative yields.

President Jonathan in his address at United Nations General Assembly said, "Over the past few months, we in Nigeria have faced an upsurge of terrorist attacks in parts of our country. Only recently, the UN Building in Abuja housing several UN Agencies was the target of an atrocious terrorist attack which left several dead.  On behalf of the Government and people of Nigeria, I like to convey my sincere condolences to the families of the victims and to the entire UN family for this barbaric and heinous attack against those who have dedicated their lives to helping others.”

These are powerful words and that conveyed the country's collective sympathy and condolence to the affected people around the world. The next suitable words to say following that is Nigeria’s readiness to protect lives and investments in the country are unshakeable.

Nigeria must do the public relation of using every opportunity it has to sell herself and rebrand her image as a place for tourism, investments and education. The way a nation perceives herself is probably the way other nations look at her. Moreover, it shows that Nigeria does have the capability to be a secured and a safe nation for capitalism. This may look as something simplistic but it does go a long way in assuring trading partners and nations where a nation priorities lies.

The undeniable implication of terrorism is it does threaten a nation's way of life; subsequently Nigerians are now becoming to paying more attention to themselves and their environments. The easy going way of life and carefree of the country has been altered because of terrorism. The concerns can be felt by seriousness of the country security apparatus to combat this new rising phenomenon. And without doubt it takes time, vigilance and resources to stand up to the new challenge. But while the country is at that, Nigeria must let the world know that business, commercialism, trading are still fertile, safe and profitable in the country

President Jonathan made a powerful impression to the world community with the below utterances when he emphasized the fundamental application of good governance for furthering diplomatic and democratic standings:

“I also believe that in addition to other traditional tools of preventive diplomacy, democracy and good governance can be particularly important in building a just, equitable and inclusive society.  By focusing on mediation as a tool for conflict prevention, we are able to address the real triggers of conflict, without which we cannot achieve sustainable solutions.

However, for the world to move from a culture of response after conflict to that of a culture of prevention, the international community must muster the political will to promote preventive diplomacy, in particular through mediation.  This will necessarily entail re-dedicating greater human and financial resources to institutions and mechanisms that already exist within and outside the UN system for conflict prevention and resolution.

Going forward, I should like to propose the establishment, under the Secretary-General’s Office, a Conflict Mediation Commission, to be charged, among others, with the collation of information on conflict situations across the world, identify the dramatis personae and develop appropriate strategies for initiating resolution of such conflicts.  The Commission will also develop rules of engagement, including sanctions which would apply to those who may obstruct efforts to resolve conflicts peacefully.”

Finally, President Jonathan coming to United Nations headquarter in New York  at this point in the life of the country is crucial, for it becomes an opportunity to reassure the world community especially the country's trading and diplomatic partners on the readiness of Nigeria to do good and to maintain her  standing as an African leader. Nigeria must dispel the false assertion that it is a ‘failed’ nation as some observers chose to characterize the country. To judge the president on his impact and impression  on the global village at United Nations with his address, one can equitably give him  a excellent grade but now again, only  time will tell.

 

Saturday, 24 September 2011 21:09

Pictures of President Jonathan at UN

Pictures of President Jonathan at the 66th session of the United Nations

"President Goodluck Jonathan has urged world leaders to be united in the fight against terrorism, saying the battle against use of extreme violence must be won.President Jonathan disclosed this in a speech at the opening of the 66th Session of the annual United Nations General Assembly debate in New York. He warned that the increasing use of terror worldwide as a form of political action poses serious threat to international peace and security. Meanwhile, President Jonathan has proposed the establishment of a Conflict Mediation Commission under the UN Secretary-General’s Office."  -  CoolFM

Goodluck Jonathan Goodluck Jonathan, President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria  addresses the 65th session of the General Assembly at the United Nations on September 24, 2010 in New York City. Leaders and diplomats from around the world are in New York City for the United Nations yearly General Assembly.President of Nigeria, addresses the 66th session of the United Nations General Assembly, Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2011

Goodluck Jonathan Goodluck Jonathan, President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria waits to address the 65th session of the General Assembly at the United Nations on September 24, 2010 in New York City. Leaders and diplomats from around the world are in New York City for the United Nations yearly General Assembly.

Goodluck Jonathan Goodluck Jonathan, President of Nigeria, and Doris Leuthard, President of Switzerland attend the State luncheon hosted by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to celebrate the first day of the 65th United Nations General Assembly, held at the U.N. headquarters in Manhattan.

 

President of Nigeria, and Doris Leuthard, President of Switzerland attend the State luncheon hosted by U.N.

Goodluck Jonathan Goodluck Jonathan, President of Nigeria, and Doris Leuthard, President of Switzerland attend the State luncheon hosted by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to celebrate the first day of the 65th United Nations General Assembly, held at the U.N. headquarters in Manhattan.

 

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan speaks during a Security Council Meeting about conflict prevention at the 66th session of the General Assembly at United Nations headquarters Thursday, Sept. 22, 2011. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

 

Ban Ki-moon, right, Secretary General of United Nations greets Goodluck Jonathan, President of Nigeria, left, during the 66th U.N. General Assembly at UN Headquarters Thursday, Sept. 22, 20101 (AP Photo/David Karp)

AP Photo/David Karp

Ban Ki-moon, right, Secretary General of United Nations greets Goodluck Jonathan, President of Nigeria

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan speaks during the 66th session of the General Assembly at United Nations headquarters Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2011. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

Goodluck Jonathan Goodluck Jonathan, President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria  addresses the 65th session of the General Assembly at the United Nations on September 24, 2010 in New York City. Leaders and diplomats from around the world are in New York City for the United Nations yearly General Assembly.

Goodluck Jonathan, President of Nigeria, addresses the 66th session of the United Nations General Assembly, Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2011. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon addresses the 66th session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2011. Photo: Jason DeCrow / AP

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon addresses the 66th session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2011. Photo: Jason DeCrow / AP

 

Picture credits: AP, Chris McGrath/Getty Images North America

Published in Archive

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan Address at the 66th United Nations General Assembly, UN Headquarters, New York

Mr. President,

On behalf of the Government and people of Nigeria, I would like to congratulate you on your election as the President of

the 66th Session of the General Assembly.  I have no doubt that, under your able leadership, the work of the 66th Session would progress to a successful conclusion.

I should also like to acknowledge the excellent work done by your predecessor, His Excellency Mr. Joseph Diess, who ably guided the affairs of the 65th Session with consummate skill and commitment.

I must also seize the opportunity to extend my warmest felicitations to Secretary-General, Mr. Ban Ki-Moon, on his well-deserved re-election, a tribute to his leadership and vision.  Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon deserves our appreciation for the good work he is doing on our behalf.

I welcome the newest member of our organization – South Sudan.  I am confident South Sudan will bring unique perspective to the work of the United Nations and enrich our collective experience.

Mr. President, despite our initial optimism, the peace dividend we had hoped would accrue following the end of the Cold War is yet to materialize.  On the contrary, the world of the 21st century in which we live is becoming ever more precarious, unpredictable and certainly more dangerous perhaps more than any other time in history.

The increasing use of terror in various regions of the world as a form of political action poses serious threat to international peace and security.  We must win the war against terrorism because it infringes on the fundamental rights of all peoples to life and to live in safety from fear.

Over the past few months, we in Nigeria have faced an upsurge of terrorist attacks in parts of our country. Only recently, the UN Building in Abuja housing several UN Agencies was the target of an atrocious terrorist attack which left several dead.  On behalf of the Government and people of Nigeria, I like to convey my sincere condolences to the families of the victims and to the entire UN family for this barbaric and heinous attack against those who have dedicated their lives to helping others.

As the United States and the rest of the world commemorate the 10th anniversary of 9/11, we are reminded of the international dimension of terrorism and the imperative of a concerted global response to combat this scourge.

Mr. President, for us in Nigeria, terrorist acts, rather than intimidate, will only help to strengthen our resolve to develop appropriate national strategies and collaborate even more closely with the international community in the fight against this menace.

As part of Nigeria’s efforts to fight terrorism, I signed into law the Terrorism (Prevention) Bill 2011 and the Anti-Money Laundering (Prohibition) Amendment Act on the 3rd of June this year.  The new laws not only outlined measures for the prevention and combating of acts of terrorism, but also prohibit the financing of terrorism and laundering of the proceeds of crime.  Nigeria will continue to work with the UN and other partners in this global fight.

To this end, Nigeria is working closely with the United Nations Counter Terrorism Implementation Task Force (CTITF), the Counter Terrorism Executive Directorate (CTED), as well as relevant international bodies and friendly countries to sharpen our response mechanisms.

In this connection, the UN Counter Terrorism Implementation Task force is launching its first project in Abuja in November 2011, aimed at conflict prevention and countering the appeal of terrorism to youth through education and dialogue.

In addition, Nigeria is a member of the new global body, the Global Counter-Terrorism Forum (GCTF), initiated to galvanize and pull our efforts together to fight the scourge in all its ramifications.  We pledge to continue to work with all stakeholders, as we enlarge and intensify our partnerships.

When I stood before this Assembly last year, I gave a solemn pledge that Nigeria will conduct free and credible elections in the second quarter of this year.  I am glad to report that we, indeed, conducted what have been adjudged credible and transparent general elections in April 2011. Let me take this opportunity to thank the United Nations and all other organisations and nations that assisted us to achieve that feat.

The elections are now behind us and the Government which I head is well on course to implement our programmes of Transformation, a strategic plan for the delivery of the dividends of democracy to citizens, and for preparing our country for the challenges of the future.  Indeed, all across my country, there is a renewed sense of optimism and self-belief in our ability to re-create a new Nigeria on the principles of personal freedoms, democracy, good governance and rule of law.

Mr. President, permit me to identify with the theme of this year’s debate of engaging the role of mediation in the peaceful resolution of conflicts in the world.

You will recall that Nigeria has been in the fore front of the campaign to promote this theme when, as the President of the Security Council in July 2010, my country adopted the use of Preventive Diplomacy to resolve armed conflicts across the world.  This theme is apt and could not have come at a better time when armed conflicts are increasingly taking a greater part of the time and resources of the United Nations.

For too long, the international community has focused too little attention on mediation and preventive diplomacy and far too much effort and resources on military aspects of peace and security.  Yet, measures to address the root cause of conflict, including dialogue and mediation, can be far more effective as means to achieving sustainable peace and stability.

 

I believe that cultivating peace and fulfilling the aims of Chapter V1 of the UN Charter require early identification and appropriate intervention in conflict situations in order to build confidence and trust, and also to preclude the eruption of violence between opposing parties.  As I see it, our goal should always be to present the peaceful alternative as a less costly and effective way of achieving political and social objectives.

 

I also believe that in addition to other traditional tools of preventive diplomacy, democracy and good governance can be particularly important in building a just, equitable and inclusive society.  By focusing on mediation as a tool for conflict prevention, we are able to address the real triggers of conflict, without which we cannot achieve sustainable solutions.

 

However, for the world to move from a culture of response after conflict to that of a culture of prevention, the international community must muster the political will to promote preventive diplomacy, in particular through mediation.  This will necessarily entail re-dedicating greater human and financial resources to institutions and mechanisms that already exist within and outside the UN system for conflict prevention and resolution.

Going forward, I should like to propose the establishment, under the Secretary-General’s Office, a Conflict Mediation Commission, to be charged, among others, with the collation of information on conflict situations across the world, identify the dramatis personae and develop appropriate strategies for initiating resolution of such conflicts.  The Commission will also develop rules of engagement, including sanctions which would apply to those who may obstruct efforts to resolve conflicts peacefully.

Mr. President, this naturally brings me to the issue of trafficking in Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW). Mr. President, if your idea of resolving conflicts through mediation is to succeed, then the problem of trafficking in small arms and light weapons must be frontally tackled.

The proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons is particularly worrisome, due to their easy accessibility and availability to unauthorized persons and groups, who in turn have used these arms to create instability and insecurity in much of the countries in the developing world.  Even worse, the proliferation of these weapons has proved handy in the hands of terrorists.

This explains our commitment to, and preoccupation with, the actualization of an Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) that robustly addresses the illicit trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons which, as we all know, are among the major causes of destabilization and conflict in West Africa.

The danger of proliferation of, and illicit trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons informed Nigeria’s decision to cosponsor Resolution 61/89 of 2006, the principal objective being to provide a legally binding  international instrument for the trade in conventional arms.  We will continue to support all  initiatives towards the realization of an Arms Trade Treaty in 2012.  I call on all Member States of the UN to join in this endeavour.

The increasing rate of piracy and other maritime crimes, with their attendant damaging effects on security, trade and economic activities in the Gulf of Guinea and other locations call for coordinated regional and global approaches.

In this respect, I like to express support for the proposal of the Secretary General to deploy a United Nations Assessment Mission to under-study the situation in the Gulf of Guinea and explore possible options for UN support and action.

Our expectation is that a positive outcome from such a strategy will not only benefit our sub-region but the larger international community as well.  I am already consulting with other Leaders in our sub-region to boost this initiative.

 

Mr. President, gender equality and women empowerment strategy of the UN, especially through the creation of UN Women, deserve commendation and support.  Nigeria’s support for UN Women, to which we have made substantial contributions, reflects our desire to harness the potentials of women in the task of nation building.

Our national action plan on gender equality and women empowerment places strong emphasis on women’s effective participation in politics and adequate representation in public office.  I am, indeed, proud to announce to this august Assembly that more than 30% of my Cabinet is made up of women.

Let me also commend the Executive Board of UN Women on the successful take-off of the entity. UN Women can be assured of Nigeria’s strong support.

Mr. President, this year, prevention of non-communicable diseases is one of the issues slated for discussion at our High Level Meeting (HLM).  Only three months ago, I attended the High Level Meeting on AIDS, where I pledged Nigeria’s commitment to healthcare, as part of our country’s human capital development agenda.

My Government is intensifying efforts to improve on national healthcare delivery by allocating substantial resources to primary healthcare.  We look forward to a productive outcome of the High Level Meeting on non-communicable diseases at the end of this Session.

In the same vein, I welcome discussions at the High Level Meeting on Desertification and Land degradation as they continue to pose challenges to our developmental efforts.  This is why Nigeria strongly supports the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), including strategies and best practices to address this challenge.

 

In order to demonstrate our commitment to human rights, Nigeria recently ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and acceded to four other international human rights instruments, including the optional protocol on the Convention against Torture and Migrant Workers.

 

My Government has also passed into law the National Human Right Commission Amendment Act (2011), Legal Aid Council Amendment Act (2011) and Freedom of Information Act (2011).  Nigeria will continue to accord the highest priority to human rights issues as they speak directly to the dignity and inalienable rights of humanity.

Mr. President, we in West Africa are passing through an exciting season of democratic rebirth. Before the end of year 2011, elections would have held in six countries in West Africa. These elections will set these countries along the path of political stability, progress, good governance and sustainable development, some of which benefits we have begun to experience.  The progress we have made could not have been possible without the support of the United Nations.

The resolution of the conflict in Cote d’Ivoire is a case in point.  I consider the inauguration of President Ouatarra not just a success for Cote d’Ivoire but also for the international community, which spoke with one voice and acted in concert in support of the Ivorian people.

The end of this crisis must be seen by all as the beginning of our journey towards the consolidation of the democratic culture and good governance in Africa.  Having put this crisis behind us, the international community must now provide robust assistance to the country as it embarks on the tasks of post conflict reconstruction and national reconciliation.

Mr. President, the struggle for self governance and majority rule in Africa started in the forties and by 1957, Ghana had gained independence.  Today, all African States have achieved self determination and majority rule. These are no small achievements.But we still have much work to do.

A great deal of the work that remains is to build viable and capable states in Africa on the principles of popular participation, rule of law and respect for human rights, as we pledged to do in the Constitutive Act of the African Union.  Nigeria believes that these values must remain at the core of governance in Africa, if we are ever to achieve the goals of stability, security and development.

As Nigeria is approaching the end of its tenure on the Security Council, I will like to express my country’s deep appreciation for the opportunity to serve in this important organ.  In this course of our stewardship, the Council had the courage to reach many difficult decisions that resulted in positive development around the world.  We are proud to be associated with these decisions.

I would like to urge the Council to continue its important work in the maintenance of international peace and security.  In spite of the Council’s many successes, it is our belief that this important organ will benefit from the vigour and fresh perspectives which only a revamped Council that accommodated changing global political realities can provide.

Mr. President, I urge you to set up clear criteria for the reform of the UN Security Council in line with the demand of the majority of the World. A reformed UN Security Council is the only way to demonstrate that all nations have equal stake in the UN. Nigeria looks forward to the prospect of membership in a reformed UN Security Council.

President Jonathan in Washington and in New York in Pictures

"President Obama and President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria met at the White House on Wednesday, June 8 and reaffirmed the strong bilateral partnership between the two countries. The President personally congratulated President Jonathan on the success of Nigeria’s recent elections, which deepened the foundation for future democratic contests. The leaders discussed how the Jonathan administration can build on this momentum by investing in Nigeria’s energy supply, agricultural productivity, democratic institutions, and security sector. The President called on President Jonathan to make fighting corruption a national priority and a critical step in ensuring the necessary conditions for sustained economic growth and lasting prosperity. The President thanked President Jonathan for his leadership both regionally and within the United Nations Security Council on pressing issues such as Sudan, Libya, and Cote d’Ivoire. Both leaders agreed to continue to work together to promote peace and security."

                 - White House's  Readout of the President's Meeting with President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria

 

 

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 credits: vanguard, thewill, Nigeriasquare, WH

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wednesday, 08 June 2011 12:36

President Jonathan goes to White House

Nigeria's President Jonathan goes to Washington

President Barack Obama has invited his Nigerian counterpart President Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan to White House  on official visit scheduled for June 8th, 2011. This is an important invitation and has strategic implications as President Jonathan commenced to assume responsibilities as president of Nigeria. This invitation is beyond drinking of tea and other diplomatic niceties at White House, it is essentially rested on developing and consolidating relationship for mutual interest.

 As an emerging nation and giant of Africa, Nigeria is playing a vital role in the continent supplying the largest peace keeping force for peace making and conflict resolutions in Africa. And with increasing Nigerian prestige, together with the last successful election, Washington is extending a solid hand of continuing friendship recognizing quite well that China is becoming a key business partner in Nigeria and Africa.

 U.S. President Obama shakes hands with Nigerian ...President Jonathan in White House

From any point you look at it, Nigeria is a force for good in Africa. South Africa's economic power notwithstanding, Nigeria is the most important country in Africa. Apart from being the most populous country in Africa, Nigeria with her economic reform and accelerating economic growth is poised to become the richest and largest economy in Africa in the near future.

 Nigeria is the sociological and cultural leader in the African world; defining and setting trends on what it means to be an African in 21st century. Most importantly, Nigeria is making waves in scientific innovations, business, sports and arts with the help of Nigerian Diasporas in US and around world, together with the help of ever growing and influential Nollywood .

 Nigeria needs United States of America and vice versa. This is a meeting of mutual respect that will enable a better understanding of the world largest economy America and a vibrant emerging nation Nigeria.  America needs a partner in Africa to tackle many issues of trade, terrorism, health and climate changes. Nigeria with its ample human and natural resources can able to do it with a well-discipline leadership found in President Jonathan.

 The intrinsic point to make here is that Mr. Jonathan's hand is strengthened as a leader democratically elected by the people, as his mandate came from the consent of the populace. What took place in Nigeria in the last election gave President Jonathan a resounding victory and it was anything short of historic. Both local and international observers accepted the election process and outcome to be relatively free and fair. Some have even called it the freest and fairest election in Nigeria.

 The internal politics and state of affairs of countries are significant because it becomes a barometer to quantify respect that a president is accorded by the outsiders especially in this case of Nigeria's leader invitation to the White House. It is good for President Jonathan because he represents a new face of the emerging democratic Nigeria.

 President Jonathan  won his election by going to the people and asking for their votes and mandate; and America respects a leader who understand the power of the people and who honors the genuine wishes of the people. In other means the president coming to Washington is an invitation based on merit and mutual interest.

Goodluck Jonathan and Barack Obama - Pesident Obama Hosts World Leaders At Nuclear Security Summit

The policy makers and leaders of most dynamic democracy, United States will listen to the words of the Nigerian president for they know quite well that he is speaking for the entire people of Nigeria for he was truly elected by the people of Nigeria. The election of a leader by the ballot papers is very important because it is a mark of advanced civilization and respect of rule of law.

 President Obama knew quite well that President Jonathan is a serious and discipline leader. When Mr. Jonathan uttered the right words and asked thatnobody should rig for him in the past election. President Jonathan lived up to his utterance by rejection election riggings and shenanigans. By so doing he formulated a bright and enriched future for his nation.

At the dawn of 21st century Nigeria needs friends like America who will be willing to offer a true friendship based on mutual respect as they tackled African existential problems in particular and global problems in general. Therefore the second outing of President Jonathan to Washington is a good thing for it will enable both parties to forge and further a partnership that will aid to further peace, co-operation, capitalism and democracy in Nigeria and Africa.

Saturday, 08 January 2011 13:22

Jonathan vs Atiku: Race to the Wire

The Peoples Democratic Party will hold its historic presidential primaries next Thursday in Abuja, during which the two leading contenders for the party's ticket will engage in an unprecedented slugfest as they try to secure the votes of the delegates at the national convention. NDUKA NWOSU and YEMI ADEBOWALE highlight the strengths and weaknesses of the chief antagonists at the contest – President Goodluck Jonathan and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar as they prepare for the battle of their lives

Dr Goodluck Jonathan

President Goodluck Jonathan, 53, was born in Otueke, in Ogbia Local Government Area of Bayelsa State to a family of canoe makers. He holds a B.Sc. degree in Zoology, an M.Sc. degree in Hydrobiology and Fisheries Biology and a Ph.D. degree in Zoology from the University of Port Harcourt. After obtaining his degree, he like Atiku, worked briefly with the Customs as a Preventive Officer and later as an education inspector, lecturer, and environmental-protection officer, With the creation of the Oil minerals Producing Areas Development Commission, OMPADEC, in October 1992, Dr. Jonathan was called to serve as Assistant Director, Ecology, in March 1993 in the Directorate of Environmental Protection Sub-Department of the Commission. He performed creditably in that capacity, until he voluntarily left the services of the Commission in 1998.

Not much was known of him until in 1998 when he joined the People's Democratic Party (PDP), and was picked as a running mate to the party's gubernatorial standard bearer in Balysea State, Chief Diepreye Alamieysegha, who often referred to him as his brother.

He was Bayelsa State's deputy governor between 1999 and 2006. He later served as governor of the state between 2006-2007 after the impeachment of the then governor Diepreye Alameseigha. He emerged vice president in 2007 and later became president in May 2007 after the death of Umaru Yar’Adua. If elected president, Jonathan has promised to, amongst others, consolidate a proactive peace and security programme for the country, as well as a private sector-led and government-supported/regulated electric power development, deepen and coordinate an accelerated, transparent Niger Delta development programme; provide quality education and implement major reforms in agriculture through innovative financing and land ownership.

STRENGTHS

Incumbency Factor

As the sitting President, Goodluck Jonathan enjoys the advantage of the numerous presidential powers at his disposal. He approves the citing of projects and key appointments in ministries, departments and agencies. He can strike voting deals with these appointees. For example, he could use his power to cite federal projects in different parts of the country giving him a competitive edge. He recently approved the establishment of federal universities in six states across the six geo-political zones. Many saw this as a political master-stroke.

He can easily strike voting deals with state governors and delegates that want such federal projects in their areas. President Jonathan also controls ministries, numerous federal departments and agencies. If he deploys them fully, it would give him considerable advantage over his opponents at the primaries. Heads of such federal departments and agencies would be happy to work for the president’s victory even without being told to do so, in order to retain their positions. Heads of wealthy agencies, could, for example, indirectly mobilise funds for the president’s aspiration through contractors and presidential waivers. A case in point was the recent waiver granted by the Ministry of Finance to a non-rice importer to import 500,000 metric tonnes of rice into the country. The savings generated from the project amounting to about N20 billion is believed to have been diverted to the Jonathan campaign as a slush fund. Security agencies such as the police and State Security Service can also be subtly used to Jonathan’s advantage.

Seemingly Trustworthy

Jonathan has in the last eight months shown that he is a man that could be trusted by Nigerians. He has been going about his job in a simple and humble manner, devoid of scandals. This is expected to work to his advantage at the primary. Numerous examples of his trustworthiness abound. During the days of late President Umaru Yar’Adua’s sickness, Jonathan remained loyal to the end despite pressure to pull the rug from Yar’Adua’s feet. His interaction with former United States envoy, Robin Sanders on the crisis recently leaked by WeakiLeaks, further confirms Jonathan’s honesty and credibility.

 

Katsina State Governor Ibrahim Shema in a recent interview reiterated that Jonathan was an honest and trustworthy person as seen by his loyalty to late Yar’Adua. Again, when he became the substantive president in May, Jonathan promised to overhaul INEC and engage a credible and non-partisan chairman. This, he did with the appointment of Attahiru Jega, seen by many as capable of conducting credible polls in Nigeria. Several government departments and agencies without substantive boards/management staff have been reconstituted as promised by Jonathan. The reform of the power sector is also back on track as promised with the reconstitution of the board of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission.

At Home with Governors

Jonathan is familiar with the current set of PDP governors who are expected to lead state delegates to the presidential primary. No doubt, the governors equally have confidence in him. This must have accounted for his endorsement by 22 of the 27 PDP governors. This is expected to work to his advantage next week.

Considerable War Chest

Money will definitely not be a problem to the Jonathan campaign organisation at the presidential primary. His massive media campaign testifies to this. Jonathan will be attending the primary with a huge war chest. His backing by numerous business moguls such as Mike Adenuga, the Vaswani brothers, Aliko Dangote, Femi Otedola, Jimoh Ibrahim, Noel Ojei, Jide Omokore and Samad Rabiu is a testimony that cash will not be a problem. This does not include several other pro-Jonathan groups that have raised funds for his campaign. Indeed, he now has an excess of it. During a recent fund-raising dinner in Abuja, over one billion naira was raised within minutes. It could have been more, but for the need not to breach the electoral law limiting contributions to candidates. Of course, business moguls are believed to be contributing billions of naira under the radar to the campaign of Jonathan.

Widespread Support

Support for Jonathan from the South-south, South-east, North-central, South-west, and to some extent, the North-west, has been massive and unalloyed. He will be attending the primary with largely united zones behind him. Majority of the governors in the region are solidly behind him and have openly shown this. This is expected to be a plus at the primary.

WEAKNESSES

Perceived as Weak and Indecisive

Jonathan is perceived as a weak and indecisive leader by some Nigerians and this may work against him at the primary. Critics readily point to his inability to deal with the cabal that held the nation to ransom during the Yar'Adua sickness saga. His failure to nip in the bud the strike by the NLC over the minimum wage demand was a serious minus for him; his inability to deal with electricity workers’ intransigence over power reform; and the insecurity in the country as shown by persistent terrorist attacks are also cited by critics as evidence of his weakness.

The Rotation Question

Some PDP members argue that Jonathan is not qualified to contest because of the rotation policy of the party. They say a candidate from the north ought to complete the second four-year term of the north before power shifts to the South. Atiku, Jonathan’s key opponent in the primary, has latched on to this. They portray him as a man without regard for agreements. Perhaps, some delegates may be swayed by this argument.

The Economy

Eight months on, there are still no significant signs of economic recovery in the country. Many hold Jonathan responsible for this and this can work against him at the primary. They think his economic managers, barring the Central Bank governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, are incompetent. Industries are still operating miles below installed capacity; electricity supply is still erratic while roads across the nation are still in shambles. However, some others say nine months is too short a period to judge the president on the economy.

Alhaji Atiku Abubakar

A retired Customs officer, consummate politician, and dogged fighter, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar was one of the followers of the late General Shehu Yar'Adua, founder of the Patriotic Front (PF), and was very actively involved in the formation of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) through the Peoples Democratic Movement led by Yar’Adua. Using the same PDM structures, Atiku with a number of notable individuals, was a critical arrowhead in the formation of the Peoples Democratic Party.

During the Jos Convention in 1993, his mentor Yar'Adua asked him and Babagana Kingibe to step down for Alhaji Moshood Abiola, the eventual flag bearer of the SDP. All this happened while Atiku was learning the ropes which in 1998 positioned him as a leading light of the PDP, providing the PDM structure for the presidential campaign of the PDP flag bearer retired General Olusegun Obasanjo. He was waiting to be sworn in as the governor of Adamawa State when President-elect Obasanjo chose him as his running mate.

He ended his tenure as vice president fighting his boss who had lost confidence in him for allegedly conspiring with the state governors to deny him his second term bid. The protracted fight saw him losing relevance as vice president, being hounded out of the PDP, and spending millions at the courts to contest the 2007 presidential election on the platform of the rival Action Congress party.

STRENGTHS

Deep War Chest

Alhaji Atiku is curently famed as the presidential candidate hopeful to have devoted a deep war chest which no individual in Nigeria's political history can boast of. He had openly declared that the difference between him and President Goodluck Jonathan was his ability to meet the delegates for the national congress of his party, one on one. Only recently some of the candidates from the South-west berated the party leadership for not seeking their opinion before declaring they were going to vote for Jonathan, and this was shortly after meeting Candidate Atiku. Also, the Enugu State House of Assembly was reported to have endorsed Atiku for the on-coming slug fest with Jonathan.

Pro-active Campaign Organisation

Atiku'ss campaign organisation has been adjudged to be so well co-ordinated that even when he was out of the public glare, he kept his vision alive through constant media exposure and visible commentary from that community, a pact he created when as vice president many felt he was being persecuted unjustly by his boss plus his use of the courts to fight back.

Crusader for Constitutionality/Rule of Law

His fight against President Obasanjo and the PDP on core issues of the constitution and the rule of law using the courts, established him as the modern day democrat who has struggled to ensure that the system works in practical terms.

Wide Network of Friends and Associates

He is reputed to have a wide network of friends and associates who are currently rallying round him to make his dream of becoming president come true.

Support from Certain Sections of the North

Atiku carries the emblem of the Northern Leaders Political Forum (NPLF), the old Kaduna Mafia and the grassroots membership of the defunct PDM, all of which suggest he is the candidate of the old Northern establishment.

WEAKNESSES

Desperate/Scare Mongering

The former vice president is adjudged to be too desperate for power to the extent he is ready to spend a princely fortune for an individual to get there. His unguarded utterances have turned a source of criticism against him at a time violence, widespread mayhem, and bombings have become the order of the day. Quoting Franz Fanon, he recently said: “Let me again send another message to the leadership of this nation, particularly the political leadership, that those who make peaceful changes impossible make violent changes inevitable.” His statement incurred the wrath of the public which is growing tired of constant threats from Atiku and the NPLF big wigs.

Untrustworthy/Inconsistent

As vice president in his first term, Alhaji Atiku openly struggled to wrest power from his boss who begged him profusely to allow him contest for a second term, employing the help of Northern traditional rulers. Subsequently, the duo busied themselves using the media to expose their dirty linen in office while Atiku was denied his bid to succeed Obasanjo as president. He left PDP to join the Action Congress as its presidential candidate even as a PDP installed vice president. He has since left the Action Congress back to PDP where he believes the chances are brighter to actualise his dream and may leave the PDP for another party if he fails to clinch the ticket.

Corruption Toga

Atiku's critics point to the fact that he has many corruption cases, the likes of former EFCC boss Nuhu Ribadu was pursuing, prompted by his boss Obasanjo, and that after the three had left office, he is still being haunted by mention, directly or indirectly, of corrupt practices in far away USA. The PTDF expose between him and Obasanjo was a live issue at the time. His stupendous wealth either as a civil servant or as a politician/vice president carries a question mark.

Clannish Toga

Atiku is seen as the modern breed of clannish politics because of his emergence and principles in the current dispensation. While Jonathan's advertorials call for a consensus Nigerian candidate, the contrast bespeaks of a Northern consensus candidate, to drive the matter to the fore.

Incumbency Factor

In Nigerian politics, it is hardly heard of that an incumbent was defeated at the polls. The power of incumbency is not in Atiku's favour. As vice president, it would have been easier for him to achieve his dreams, had he been in the good books of Obasanjo as it was in his first three to four years in office.

Unknown to Incumbent State Executives (Governors)

During his tenure as vice president, Alhaji Atiku was the darling of state chief executives most of whom worked with him to ensure that Obasanjo was denied a second term bid and stopped from perpetuating himself in office using the Third Term project. He was the most favoured with former Vice President Alex Ekwueme and largely touted as the next possible candidate in 2003. With the present dispensation of governors, 22 of whom have endorsed Jonathan, he is an alien visitor. To them he is an unknown factor and this includes his state’s chief executive Murtala Nyako with whom he has a fractious relationship.

Weak Home Base

Atiku and his state governor as well as the PDP Adamawa State chapter, seem to move at variance among themselves. Even his successor and follower Bori Haruna was rated as a non-achiever while in office.

Likely Voting Pattern by Delegates

As the presidential primary of the Peoples Democratic Party looms, CHUKS OKOCHA reviews the number of delegates that will take part in the convention of the party and how they will most likely vote on that day

THE SOUTH

The south will contribute some 39 percent of the delegates to the party's primary next Thursday

South-east

Abia State: The estimated number of delegates stands at about 89 which include the governor and his deputy, three senators and six members of the House of Representatives, eighteen members of the State House of Assembly, 19 local government chairmen and 19 delegates. The state was formerly under the control of the Peoples Progressive Alliance before the governor’s defection to first the All Peoples Grand Alliance and later the PDP with all members of the state and federal legislature. The governor Theodore Orji appears to have a strong grip on the party structures and delegates in the state. He is an unabashed Jonathan loyalist.

Verdict: Jonathan will get most of the votes of Abia delegates.

Enugu State: Enugu State has 94 delegates inclusive of the governor his deputy, three senators and eight members of the House of Representatives, 24 members of the State House of Assembly, seventeen local government chairmen and 17 national delegates. It is too close to call because the State House of Assembly has separately pledged loyalty to both Atiku and Jonathan. The face off between Governor Sullivan Chime led faction and the Nwodo faction, could affect the voting pattern in the state.

 

Verdict: Too close to call.

Anambra State: This state is governed by an APGA governor. It is expected to have about 81 delegates, but nine members of the House of Representatives have defected to either the Action Congress of Nigeria or APGA. Also one of the three senators has joined the ACN. This has reduced the number of delegates to almost less that 70. The influence of the former governor of Central Bank, Prof. Charles Soludo is considerable in the state, as he is a staunch supporter of Atiku. His other kinsmen, including the former Vice President, Alex Ekwueme are also Atiku backers. The state is still left for grabs by either of the aspirants.

Verdict: Too close to call.

Ebonyi State: The governor is the zonal coordinator of the Jonathan/Sambo Presidential Campaigns. The former governor, Dr. Sam Egwu is however pro-Atiku. The estimated delegates’ number is about 71, comprising three senators, six members of the House of Representatives, 20 members of the State House of Assembly, and 13 local government chairmen. If the governor wields the big stick as he has done to stop Atiku from coming to the state to campaign and meeting the members of the State House of Assembly, then it is a Jonathan state. But the former governor, Sam Egwu still has considerable influence in the state.

Verdict: Jonathan will most likely take the state

Imo State: The governor is a PDP member and a known supporter of Jonathan, following the pledge made so far to deliver the delegates to Jonathan en bloc. Imo has estimated delegate strength of 114 comprising of 26 members of the House of Assembly, 27 local government chairmen, three senators, the governor and deputy, members of the Board of Trustees, and 27 national delegates. If the permutations are anything to go by, this is a Jonathan state.

Verdict: Over 80 percent of the delegates will vote for Jonathan.

South-south

Rivers State: The governor and the deputy are automatic delegates. The total number of estimated delegates is 112 comprising three senators, 13 members of the House of Representatives, 32 members of the State House of Assembly, 22 local government chairmen and 22 national delegates. As part of the “son of the soil” syndrome, the state will vote at least 75 percent for Jonathan. Though, in politics, any thing can still happen. Rivers state like other South-south states will massively vote for Jonathan.

Verdict: Jonathan will secure the votes of the delegates in Rivers State.

Akwa Ibom State: The delegate strength of the state is estimated at some 115, comprising the governor and his deputy, three Senators, eight members of the House of Representatives, 26 members of the State House of Assembly. It has also 31 local government chairmen, one Board of Trustees member, one national vice chairman and 31 national delegates. The governor, Godswill Akpabio is a staunch loyalist of the incumbent president and has the party structures firmly under his control.

Verdict: This is a sure banker for Jonathan.

Cross River State: The governor and his deputy are delegates. The estimated delegate strength is about 94 comprising three senators, eight members of the House of Representatives, 21 members of the State Assembly, nineteen local government chairmen, nineteen national delegates and others. The governor is the zonal coordinator of the Jonathan Campaign Organisation. If the permutations are anything to go by, one can say, this is a Jonathan state.

Verdict: Cross River is a no go area for Atiku; Jonathan will sweep the state’s delegates.

Bayelsa: This is the home state of the president. He is a delegate. The delegate strength is about 57, comprising the governor and his deputy, three senators, five members of the House of Representatives, twenty members of the State House of Assembly. Other delegates are eight local government chairmen and eight national delegates. The governor has been trying hard to convince the president that he is in support of his (Jonathan) candidacy. In this regard, he will do everything possible under the sun to ensure that all the delegates are Jonathan’s, especially now that governors are basking in the automatic ticket euphoria.

Verdict is clear: The home state of the president cannot afford to disappoint and therefore, Jonathan should sleep with his two eyes closed.

Delta State: The euphoria of the visit of President Jonathan campaigning for the re-election of Governor Emmaneul Uduaghan is good enough for pay back time. With a delegate strength of about 113, comprising the governor and his deputy, two senators (one has defected to the ACN), ten members of the House of Representatives, 29 State Assembly members, 25 local government chairmen, and 25 national delegates, it is extremely likely that the delegates of Delta will vote for Jonathan. This will get a boost with early results from the state’s re-run showing that Uduaghan has a comfortable lead over his main rival Great Ogboru.

Verdict: President Jonathan will take the state.

Edo State: Though governed by the ACN, this is the home state of ‘Mr. Fix it’, Chief Anthony Anenih. The state has a delegate strength of 66, comprising three senators, and five members of the House of Representatives (it ought to be seven, but two members have defected). The PDP State Assembly membership has also been depleted due to defection to the ACN. But with 18 local government chairmen and national delegates, Anenih is expected to deliver his state to Jonathan.

Verdict: Jonathan by a narrow margin.

South-west

Ogun State: The governor and his deputy are automatic delegates. The state has approximately 104 delegates. Former President Olusegun Obasanjo is an automatic delegate by virtue of being the chairman of the BoT of the party. The three senators and nine members of the House of Representatives are automatic delegates with the 26 members of the State Assembly. The governor is the zonal chairman of the Jonathan Campaign Organisation in the South-west. All things being equal and following the pledge by the governor to deliver the state during the Jonathan’s declaration and subsequent pledges, it is easy to say that the delegates will vote en masse for the president. This is irrespective of the factional crisis tearing the state apart.

Verdict: At least 75 percent of the delegates will vote for Jonathan.

Oyo State: This is too close to call, though Atiku is expected to make an impact. However, the governor and his deputy are staunch Jonathan men. The governor recently donated more than 64 vehicles to complement the Jonathan campaign. The delegate strength is about 153, comprising two senators. The senate leader Tesilim Folarin may not be able to vote, because he is in prison custody over allegations of murder and conspiracy to commit murder following the death of Lateef Salako (Eleweomo). Other delegates are 20 members of the House of Representatives, 25 members of the State Assembly, and 33 national delegates and local government chairmen. However, any thing can happen due to the factional crisis rocking the state.

 

Verdict: All things being equal, Jonathan will carry the day.

Lagos State: This is an ACN controlled state. The delegate strength is a mere 69. With twenty local government party chairmen, and 20 national delegates, among others, any thing can happen. Here, Atiku has made a strong showing.

Verdict: Too close to call.

Osun State: Though the governor and deputy have been removed and an ACN governor is in charge, the delegate strength was only reduced by two from 92. It ought to have been 122, but the court nullified the election of 31 local government chairmen. This is a big minus for the state in terms of the number of delegates that can participate in the primary. However, there are still three senators, 16 members of the House of Representatives, and 31 national delegates. The state’s PDP members, nonetheless, have pledged to support Jonathan.

Verdict: Jonathan will still have an upper hand.

Ekiti and Ondo States are in the hands of the opposition political parties, Labour Party and ACN, but are dominated in the House of Representatives and state houses of assembly by PDP members. Both states have a delegate strength of more than 150. It is uncertain where the delegates from both states would cast their votes, because in spite of the pledge by the zone to support Atiku, some delegates recently assured Atiku of their support, making it any body’s game. Without a leader in the form of a governor, both states are like sheep without a shepherd. Any thing could happen.

Verdict: For Ekiti and Ondo, it is too close to call.

THE NORTH

In the north, statistics show that the 19 northern states will contribute about 61 percent of the PDP delegates in the presidential primary election

North-central

Kwara State: The state is a PDP state with an estimated delegate strength of 86, which comprises the governor, the deputy, three senators, six members of the House of Representatives, 24 State House of Assembly members, 15 elected state chairmen, 15 national delegates, BoT members, and the National Secretary, among others. However, with the recent decamping of the strong man of Kwara politics, Dr. Olusola Saraki, it is doubtful that all the statutory delegates will remain the same. It is not known the number of State House of Assembly and elected council chairmen that decamped with the elder Saraki. Even at that, it is still difficult to predict where Jonathan will get a substantial number of delegates. This is because the governor, who controls the party structures, is a proponent of a northern presidency.

Verdict: Atiku will most like secure most of the delegates’ votes from Kwara

Kogi State: The governor and his deputy are delegates. Besides, Governor Ibrahim Idris is one governor that has continuously pledged his support for Jonathan. The delegate strength of the state is 96 with three senators, seven members of the House of Representatives, 24 State Assembly members, 21 elected council chairmen and 21 national delegates. If we are to go by the pledge of the governor, this should be a Jonathan state. Other party stalwarts led by former national chairman of the PDP, Dr. Ahmadu Ali are also Jonathan backers.

Verdict: Jonathan will comfortably win the state.

Benue State: The governor of the state is the zonal coordinator of the Jonathan/Sambo Presidential Campaign Organisation. He recently was among the governors that boosted the campaign war chest with N500 million. Benue has a delegate strength of 117, comprising the governor and his deputy, ten House of Representatives members, 27 state legislators, 23 elected local government chairmen, and 23 national delegates.

Verdict: Jonathan will get the votes of Benue delegates.

Nasarawa State: The governor is an ardent supporter of President Jonathan, but it is not certain if he controls the political structures like other governors. The delegate strength is 68 with three senators, four members of the House of Representatives, 20 state legislators, 20 elected council chairmen, and 20 national delegates.

Verdict: Jonathan will get the votes of a majority of delegates from Nasarawa.

Plateau State: Though Governor Jonah Jang has pledged his support for Jonathan, due to internal political wrangling, it is not clear if all the delegates will be available for the presidential primary of the party in Abuja, as some of them who were not favoured in the party’s sharing formula are planning a defection to another party. The state has an estimated delegate strength of 82 with three senators (some plan to leave the party), and six House of Representatives members. The likes of Yahaya Kwande and Saleh Hassan are still in support of a northern president, but Solomon Lar and his allies are rooting for Jonathan. The state is seen as a strong base for Atiku, but it would be politically naive to give the state to the former vice president. Jonathan will certainly make a strong showing in the state because of the support of the governor.

Verdict: Jonathan will secure victory with a slim margin.

Niger State: The governor who is a close supporter of General Ibrahim Babangida and is the chairman of the Northern Governors Forum, recently made a u-turn to pledge support for Jonathan. However, General Babangida is the lord of the manor in the state. Niger State has an estimated delegate strength of 106, comprising the governor and his deputy, three senators, seven members of the House of Representatives, 25 state legislators, 25 national delegates, and 25 elected council chairmen. Despite the volte face by the governor, it is still too early in the day to give Jonathan a clear victory in the state. Atiku with the support of General Babangida will most likely make an impact in the state.

Verdict: Too close to call.

The Federal Capital Territory: The territory has the least number of delegates. Estimated delegate strength is 22, made up of one senator, two House of Representatives members, and four council chairmen. With the influence of the FCT minister, delegates are certain to vote for Jonathan.

Verdict: Jonathan will take the FCT.

North-west

Sokoto State: The governor because of political calculations moved his support to Jonathan recently, but it is not certain if he should be taken seriously, because the state is the seat of the caliphate and champion of the northern presidency. It has an estimated delegate strength of 93, but there is a lot of political undercurrent that could determine where the votes would go.

Verdict: Jonathan may eke out a slim win.

Zamfara State: A latter day convert to PDP and an in-law to General Babangida, the apostle for northern presidency, Governor Mahmud Shinkafi was among the northern governors that pledged support for Jonathan. The state’s delegate strength is estimated at 70 with the governor and deputy, two senators, five members of the House of Representatives, 16 state legislators, and 16 delegates. All the political heavy weights in the state are rooting for a northern presidency. However, it is uncertain if they will support an Atiku presidency.

Verdict: Zamfara is too close to call.

Kaduna State: Owing to the influence of the vice president and the governor, this is a Jonathan state. It has an estimated delegate strength of 116.

Verdict: Irrespective of the clamour for a northern president, Kaduna will vote for Jonathan.

Katsina State: The governor is the zonal coordinator of the Jonathan/Sambo campaign. He was among the governors that donated N500 million for the support of the president. But most of the state’s political heavy weights are not with him. He has not been able to summon a meeting of the states under his zone to muster support for Jonathan. But he has severally pledged his support for Jonathan. With an estimated delegate strength of 159, comprising three senators, 15 House of Representatives members, 34 state legislators, 34 national delegates, and elected council chairmen, it is not certain that Atiku will be able to secure a majority win in Katsina.

Verdict: Jonathan will win narrowly.

Jigawa State: The governor and his deputy are playing political games with the northern presidency. The state has an estimated 124 delegate strength. Both Atiku and Jonathan have their supporters in the state. It is still any one’s game.

Verdict: Too close to call.

Kano State: This is an ANPP-led state. It has a delegate strength of 110. It is a fishing ground for both Jonathan and Atiku, but the former vice president may have the upper hand because of the clamour for a northern president.

Verdict: Too close to call.

Kebbi State: The state is a PDP state, but the governor appears to be losing his political grip on the state, as many politicians of the PDP have left the party to other parties. The delegate strength in Kebbi is put at 118.

Verdict: Too close to call.

North-east

Bauchi State: With the influence of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, the FCT Minister and the governor who is the zonal coordinator of the Goodluck/Sambo Campaign Organisation, one can say clearly that Bauchi State is a Jonathan state. But Atiku wields some influence in the state. The delegate strength is 105, though one of the senators of the PDP has moved back to the ACN and others are threatening to defect.

Verdict: Jonathan will get a majority of the votes from Bauchi delegates.

Yobe State: This is an ANPP state, but will most likely be captured by the PDP. The former Minister of Police Affairs, Adamu Maina Waziri is firmly in control in Yobe. It is a state that is guaranteed to vote for Jonathan. It boasts a delegate strength of 49.

Verdict: Jonathan will win Yobe comfortably.

Borno State: This is also an ANPP state, but the governor is in body and soul a supporter of Jonathan. The likes of the Minister of Works, Sanusi Dagash and Kashim Imam are also staunch Jonathan followers. It has estimated delegate strength of 63. But Atiku may have a marginal impact on the delegates from the state.

Verdict: Most Yobe delegates will vote for Jonathan.

Gombe State: The governor has nothing at stake politically as he has completed his eight year tenure. He pledged his support for President Jonathan. The delegate strength in Gombe is 73.

Verdict: Jonathan may win the state by a narrow margin.

Adamawa State: This is the home state of the former vice president. However, Atiku has no control over the party structures in the state. The governor and other political heavy weights like Senator Jubril Aminu, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, and the members of the House of Representatives are pro-Jonathan. The plot is to disgrace the former vice president in his home state. The delegate strength in Adamawa is 93.

 

Verdict: If care is not taken, Atiku could lose his home state to Jonathan. Too close to call.

Taraba State: The governor and the deputy are ardent supporters of Jonathan. The state has a delegate strength of 86 with three senators, 24 state legislators, 16 local government chairmen, 16 national delegates, and other statutory delegates. With the governor’s support for Jonathan, the president will win at least 75 percent delegates.

Verdict: Jonathan will win comfortably.

 

Source: THISDAY

 

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