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Obasanjo Formally Launches Autobiography in Lagos Despite Court Order

Former President, Olusegun Obasanjo has just launched his autobiography titled “My Watch” in Lagos. Abusidiqu learnt that the launch earlier scheduled for thursday was shifted back to today.

It was gathered from a reliable source that President Jonathan appealed to Obasanjo to postpone the book launch but the Ex- President replied there was nothing in the book that was not already in public domain.

The launch is proceeding despite a court order obtained by Mr Buruji kashamu to stop the publication of the book which Mr Obasanjo’s lawyers informed didn’t bar him from launching it.

At the launch which is ongoing as at the time of this report at the Lagos Country club are Obasanjo allies like the Ex- Education Minister and Vice President of the World bank, Oby Ezekwesili amongst others.Former Vice- Chancellor of the University of Lagos, Mr Ibidapo-Obe is also in attendance.

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Why Jonathan May not Contest the 2015 Election

President Goodluck Jonathan may not contest for the 2015 presidential election if the Supreme Court finds him ineligible to do so.

The Court, yesterday, fixed December 16 to commence hearing on the suit filed before it by a Chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, from Adamawa State, Dr. Umar Ardo, through his lawyer, Dr. A. Amuda Kannike, seeking to stop President Goodluck Jonathan from vying for re-election next year.

The President’s lawyer Mr. Ade Okeaya-Inneh, SAN, told the court that he has already supplied before it, several legal authorities backing his re-election bid. He argued that Ardo has no strong case against Jonathan, as the 1999 constitution permits him to go for a second tenure in office.

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), through its lawyer Mr. C. I. Paul, yesterday, applied for a short time to file its response to the suit, while the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), told the apex court that it would remain neutral and abide by whatever decision the court will take on the contentious issue.

Justice Tanko Mohammed, while adjourning the case, gave all the parties seven days to file and exchange their written arguments.

Ardo, who wants the court to stop President Jonathan from contesting in 2015, is further challenging the refusal of the Abuja Division of the Appeal Court to join him as a party in the suit filed against Jonathan by another member of the PDP, Mr. Cyriacus Njoku.

He had insisted before the court that he had enough evidence to prove that President Jonathan lacks the legal backing to remain in office beyond 2015.
 
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In March Next Year, I Will Finally Turn 30 – Chude Jideonwo

In March next year, I will finally turn 30. I can’t wait for that day to come

More importantly it will be 15 years since I started my work career, and all of that 15 years has been focused on the youth. At least 10 of it, specifically on youth development.

In many respects things have changed across the country: enterprise is in vogue, young people are able to express themseves and hold government more accountable, the civic and job spaces are slowly expanding.

In other ways however things remain the same: hopelessness, joblessness, faithlessness, despair. Our work has directly targeted these problems as they face young Nigerians and Africans.

We thank from the bottom of our hearts the sponsors and funders who have made today and this year possible. We thank the Tony Elumelu Foundation, the US government, Microsoft, First Bank, Access Bank, Etisalat, the Lagos State government, the Rivers State government, Nigeria Dialogue, and other partners.

Without you, none of our work would even be possible. Without you, we would not have been able to up skill and train thousands of young people, to support the businesses we have and to inspire the millions that we have directly and through the media. Without you, our impact would be limited.

Unfortunately, we have come to ask for more. Because plenty of works needs to be done.

Our work at The Future Project now focuses on two urgent imperatives: jobs and citizenship. With jobs, we are trying to connect career-minded young people directly with work, and we are trying to build businesses for those who want to be entrepreneurs and who want to create jobs.

Our experience working at the grassroots and with these historically disadvantaged blocs aged 16 – 35 have impressed upon us the urgency of the work we have ahead of us.

There are at least 64 million youths in Nigeria (under-35). Over 54 percent of that population is unemployed according to the National Bureau of Statistics. There are at least 10 million entrants to the labor force per year in Sub-Saharan Africa, which causes the jobs market to become even more and more congested. Over 200,000 young people come out of schools each year. Over 90 percent of them are unable to find jobs.

Because of this, we have launched 100,000 Jobs, which interns to connect 100,000 West African youth with jobs and job opportunities through internships over the next two years. Because of this we have launched our pilot programme #SurulereStartups, which will lead to business incubation and bootcamp sessions to support and grow youth-led businesses across 24 communities, first in Nigeria and then Africa in the same period.

Young people continue to feel powerless, and helpless with barriers to entry facing them everyday and hindering their capacity to grow and solve their own problems.

Because of that, the work that The Future Awards Africa is doing, spotlighting and supporting the likes of the Dustbin Estate Foundation, Slum2School, the Ayahay Foundation, the Beni American University, the FACE Africa clean water project, amongst other countless interventions and businesses becomes very crucial in inspiring young people to believe in themselves and to better their lives.

Because of that, we have launched the African Citizenship Schools, through which we will train over 200,000 youth aged 16 – 24 from 2015 – 2016 on how they can solve their own problems in their communities, raise funds, raise people, come together and make change happen.

To do these ambitious projects, which come from our past experiences and successes, we do need your help. We need your help because the problems are so huge and so urgent and the hands working needs to be as huge and urgent. The goals need to be big, and the impact needs to be deep.

Because we don’t build a hut where we need a village, we don’t want to find a lake, when we need an ocean. We need to fast, we need to move now and we need to change lives urgently.

Therefore, today’s call is for you to come and join us on this targeted mission and to help us achieve these clear goals. The Future Project is calling on you to donate to these projects that seek to practically empower young people with jobs and with the tools to solve their problems.

On your tables there is a form. If you want to help us get young people into jobs, if you want to help us build and grow their businesses, if yuou want to help us inspire those who have lost hope or who don’t know how to better their lives, or if you want to help us train youth to solve their problems, please commit now.

Not tomorrow, when you move on with the daily living and this is no longer priority. Not tomorrow, when the urgency of this moment might have lost its bite. But today, now. As a corporate, as a bank, as a telecoms company, as a small business, as a wealthy philanthropist, we want you to put your money where your mouth is – and hold us accountable for the contributions that you make.

As I turn 30 next year, things have gotten a bit brighter for me and it has been a long way from growing up in Ijesha, being unable to pay school fees in primary school or suffering with the multitude in the smell0infested halls of the University of Lagos. But there are so many more young people who haven’t found their way – we find them on the trees sitting doing nothing in the north, we find them on the roads just walking aimlessly when I visit my village in Obomkpa, we find them everyday, if you would just pay attention.

We are paying attention, and we ask you to join this in this journey – which, really, will never end.

We are committed to making a serious dent on this problem, and we hope you are too.

God keep us.

_________________________________

Speech delivered by Chude Jideonwo, Founding Executive Director of The Future Project Africa at The Future Africa Awards 2014 which held on Sunday, December 7, 2014, at the Intercontinental Hotel, V.I, Lagos.
 
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SERAP, Others Petition Coca-Cola CEO Over Alleged Consumer Rights Abuses in Nigeria

Six Nigerian human rights non-governmental and civil society organizations have sent an open letter to Mr. Muhtar Kent, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of The Coca-Cola Company, over alleged consumer rights abuses by Coca-Cola Nigeria Limited.
 
The groups are: Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP); Women Advocates Research and Documentation Centre (WARDC); Women Empowerment and Legal Aid Initiative (WELA); Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA Resource Centre); Partnership for Justice (PJ), and Human Rights Advancement, Development and Advocacy Centre (HURIDAC) 
 
In the letter dated 9 December 2014, and signed on behalf of the groups by Adetokunbo Mumuni SERAP executive director, the groups expressed “serious concerns about the continuing refusal by Coca-Cola Nigeria Limited to comply with the recommendations by the Consumer Protection Council of Nigeria (CPC),” and urged Kent to “use your good offices and leadership to prevail on the Company to respect due process and international standards in its operations and manufacturing process.”
 
According to the groups, “The failure by Coca-Cola Nigeria Limited to effectively comply with Nigerian laws and regulations is illustrated by the Company’s refusal to subject their manufacturing process to inspection by appropriate authorities, in particular the CPC; failure to establish a Shelf Life Policy for their products in the country which clearly would help to facilitate the removal of expired products from the market; and failure to address health and safety implications of its operations and practices.”
 
Other instances listed by the groups are: “failure to put in place appropriate grievance resolution policy that can address compensation for injuries, or compensation in instances where replacement will be inadequate; failure to review the Company’s supply chain management to include retailers in order to minimise the distribution of defective, non-conforming or expired products; and failure to bring the Company’s traceability policy in line with international standards by only relying on information as to the place of purchase to trace their products.”
 
“Impunity persists when Coca-Cola Nigeria Limited despite its many years of operation and profit-making in the country continues to fail to provide strong leadership and embrace best practices in the implementation of international standards, and therefore failing to provide value for money for millions of Nigerian consumers. Yet, investment guarantee and profit considerations should not take precedent over consumer inalienable rights and satisfaction,” the groups also said.
 
The groups also said that, “The lack of due diligence clearly has implications for the enjoyment of consumer and human rights. The lack accountability and impunity by Coca-Cola Nigeria Limited is not only unethical but also inconsistent with international standards such as the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights: Implementing the United Nations Protect, Respect and Remedy Framework.”
 
“The Guiding Principles were endorsed by the UN Human Rights Council in June 2011. The Principles require that Coca-Cola Nigeria Limited show genuine commitment to product safety and quality in Nigeria, and to respect and accept the recommendations of appropriate authorities on the compliance of its plants and operations with international standards, as the parent company does in developed economies,” the groups added.
 
According to the groups, “Coca-Cola Nigeria Limited is also required to ensure that its activities do not directly or indirectly cause consumer rights abuses, and to provide effective remedies to victims in cases of abuses of consumer rights. The Company must seek to prevent or mitigate adverse consumer rights impacts that are directly linked to their operations, products or services by their business relationships, even if they have not contributed to those impacts.”
 
“The responsibility of Coca-Cola Nigeria Limited to respect consumer rights is a global standard of expected conduct for all business enterprises wherever they operate. It exists over and above compliance with national laws and regulations protecting human rights. We contend that addressing adverse consumer rights impacts in its operations and practices requires taking adequate measures for their prevention, mitigation and, where appropriate, remediation,” the groups also argued.
 
“We would consider appropriate legal action if the situation is not urgently and effectively addressed,” the groups said.
 
The groups urged Mr Kent to “direct and instruct Coca-Cola Nigeria Limited to:
 
1.    Urgently and publicly state the steps it will take to fully and effectively comply with the recommendations by the CPC, and to publish widely the Company’s existing environmental, health and safety policies and practices.

2.    Avoid causing or contributing to adverse consumer rights impacts through its activities, and address such impacts when they occur;

3.    Seek to prevent or mitigate adverse consumer rights impacts that are directly linked to its operations, products or services.

4.    Develop and publish its policy commitment to meet its responsibility to respect consumer rights, including a consumer rights due diligence process to identify, prevent, mitigate and account for how the Company is addressing its impacts on consumer rights and processes to enable the remediation of any adverse consumer rights impacts the Company causes or to which it contributes.

5.    Develop a process of meaningful consultation with potentially affected consumers and other relevant stakeholders and appropriate authorities,

6.    Honour the principles of internationally recognized consumer rights when faced with conflicting requirements;

7.    Treat the risk of causing or contributing to gross consumer rights abuses as a legal compliance issue.
 
Signed
Adetokunbo Mumuni
SERAP Executive Director
Lagos, Nigeria
9/12/2014
FOR:
 
Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP)
 
Women Advocates Research and Documentation Centre (WARDC)
 
Women Empowerment and Legal Aid Initiative (WELA)
 
Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA Resource Centre) 
 
Partnership for Justice (PJ)
 
Human Rights Advancement, Development and Advocacy Centre (HURIDAC) 
 
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Botched Governorship Primaries: Kwara APC Mocks PDP, Urges Police to show Competence

The All Progressives Congress (APC), Kwara State chapter has described the crises-ridden, botched and aborted governorship primaries of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Kwara State as unsurprising.  

The APC said the PDP has brought stains and disrepute to the status of Kwara State as the Most Harmonious State in Nigeria.

In a statement signed by its Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Sulyman Buhari, the APC said the PDP is perpetually incapable and incompetent to govern Kwara State

“The crises-ridden, botched and aborted governorship primaries of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is unsurprising.  

“It shows that Kwara PDP is a gang of desperadoes and anarchists who hate democratic values and have consequently raised needless political tension in our dear state.

“It is quite funny that even when security operatives barred notorious thugs of the PDP from gaining access to the venue of election, PDP delegates engaged themselves in free-for-all fight and physical combat which led to many of them sustaining injuries. Violence is truly an hierarchical value in PDP.

“The opposition PDP is unripe and immature, in all ramifications, to form government. It has done poorly as an opposition party and it needs to learn opposition politics till eternity.

“It is shameful that the boastful opposition PDP can not conduct mere primary election. Kwara PDP lacks capable leadership and Mr Iyiola Oyedepo should take responsibility for the needless political tension the PDP has ignited in Kwara State.

“The media report that security officials stationed at the venue of PDP primaries watched PDP politicians fight themselves to a pulp without interfering is highly embarrassing. For how long would Kwara PDP continue to perpetrate violence under the watch of security operatives? 

“The Kwara State Police Command and other security operatives in Kwara State need to urgently address and assure the people of Kwara State that the security situation of Kwara State is under their firm control.  

“The PDP should learn from our great party, the APC, how primaries were conducted in peaceful and funfair atmosphere. In reaction to appeals from some quarters that the APC should tutor and help PDP conduct its gubernatorial election in the interest of peace, If the PDP can show willingness that it will shun violence and its undemocratic practices through a signed undertaken, the APC will not mind to send representatives from the ward level to help PDP conduct its governorship primary election. 

“We reiterate our earlier call on the people of Kwara State to be security concious, watchful and vigilant before, during and after the PDP gubernatorial primaries in Ilorin.”, the statement read.
 
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We’ll Determine Jonathan’s Eligibility Before December 18 – Supreme Court

The Supreme Court Justices yesterday said they will determine President Jonathan’s eligibility or otherwise to contest the 2015 presidential election before the closure of submission of political parties’ nominees to INEC by 18th December.

The apex court took this position at the hearing of an appeal motion filed before it by a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, from Adamawa State, Dr. Umar Ardo, challenging the eligibility of the president to contest another term of office as the president of the federal republic of Nigeria. After calculating the days left before closing of nomination, the Supreme Court’s panel of five Justices led by Justice Tanko Mohammed gave the Respondents five days to file their briefs and two days to Ardo’s lawyers to respond on points of law, and then fixed December 16 for definite hearing on the suit.
.
Meanwhile, the President, through his lawyer Mr. Ade Okeaya-Inneh, SAN, told the court that he has already supplied plethora of legal authorities backing his re-election bid. He argued that Ardo has no strong case against him, insisting that he is permitted by the 1999 constitution to go for a second tenure in office.

Also, whereas the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, through its lawyer Mr. C. I. Paul, applied for a short time to fhich he is praying the apex court to declare President Jonathan ineligible to contest another term of office.

He contended that the outcome of that case will personally affect him since the PDP had already adopted the 1st Respondent, Jonathan, as its sole candidate for the impending Presidential poll. Ardo had at the appellate court, insisted that he has garnered enough evidence with a view to proving that President Jonathan lacks the legal imprimatur to remain in office beyond 2015. 
 
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PDP Governorship Primaries: Be Security Conscious, APC Urges Kwarans

The Kwara state chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC), has urged the people of Kwara State to be vigilant and security conscious ahead of the governorship primaries of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Kwara State.

The PDP governorship primaries is scheduled to hold in Kwara State’s capital, Ilorin on Monday.

In a statement issued by its Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Sulyman Buhari, the party said the call on Kwarans to be security conscious became necessary due to PDP’s history on violence and a disturbing report at its disposal.

“We call on the people of Kwara State to be security concious, watchful and vigilant before, during and after the PDP gubernatorial primaries in Ilorin.

“This call is informed by twin reasons: the rich history of Kwara PDP on violence and thuggery, and a disturbing report that an Abuja-based PDP leader have imported political thugs from neighbouring states to Kwara State to manipulate the primaries in favour of her faction.

“Kwarans do not desire a repeat of the violence that have enveloped PDP congresses and primary elections in Kwara State.

“The PDP in Kwara State has shown beyond doubt that it lacks the capacity and competence to form a government in Kwara State. PDP has nothing but violence and thuggery to offer our dear state. This is an additional reason why the people of Kwara State would massively vote against the PDP in the forthcoming general elections.

“We call on Kwara State Police Command to be proactive in exercising its constitutional duties ahead of PDP gubernatorial primaries to forestall break down of law and order across Kwara State.

“We urge the people of Kwara State to report all suspicious movements of strangers to the appropriate security agencies.”, the statement reads.

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Gbajabiamila Gets House of Reps Ticket Unhindered

Minority leader of the House of Representatives and APC Caucus Leader, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila on Sunday emerged APC House of Representatives Candidate for Surulere 1 federal constituency, Lagos. Gbajabiamila scored 247 votes out of 252 total votes cast, 5 of which were declared invalid and no opposition.

Gbajabiamila while briefing newsmen after his declaration said, “I thank our party members for their trust in my representation. I promise to give you even better representation in 2015”.

Gbajabiamila is a lawyer trained in both Nigeria and United States of America. He is popular for his fearless debate on floor of the house. The APC delegates said they unanimously affirmed Gbajabiamila’s candidacy owing to his track record of true representation in the House of Representatives.

Gbajabiamila through his foundation recently sponsored an abandoned baby at Heart of Gold Hospice, Surulere for heart surgery abroad. In 2012, Gbajabiamila initiated Surulere Job Fair which served as an interface between unemployed youth in Surulere and private/government establishments. At the end of the job fair, 326 unemployed graduates were employed by Daleware, Simba Group, Federal Inland Revenue Service and other firms that participated in the job fair.

In the sixth assembly of House of Representatives, 2003 – 2007, Gbajabiamila presented the highest number of Bills in the House. Femi Gbajabiamila is famous for sponsoring Nigeria Interest-free student Loan Bill, Economic Stimulus Bill, a law to ensure federal government set aside 40% of its annual budget for execution of capital projects for the next 10 years and another law seeking to criminalize late and underpayment of employees in public and private organisations.

Gbajabiamila’s reemergence is not strange to Nigerians who have been following proceedings in the green chamber in the last few years. As the leader of opposition in the House, Gbajabiamila’s leadership has fetched his party a modicum of control over the House of Representatives. He influenced the defection of many PDP members to APC including the Speaker of House of Representatives, Rt Hon. Aminu Tambuwal.
 
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Ex-Borno Governor, Ali Modu Sheriff, in Secret Visit to Arms-Laden Chad-Bound Plane Detained in Nigeria

By Premium Times

A former governor of Borno State, Ali Modu Sheriff, widely accused of sponsoring Boko Haram insurgents in Nigeria, may be lobbying for the release of the Chad-bound cargo aircraft confiscated in Kano for transporting large consignment of military hardware, PREMIUM TIMES can report today.

Sources at the Aminu Kano International Airport, where the plane is currently detained, said Mr. Sheriff visited the Kano airport at about 10 p.m. on Saturday and held discussions with some officials on the possibility of releasing the aircraft.

Our sources said on arriving the airport, officials allowed the former governor a secret tour of the aircraft, during which he inspected its consignments.

“I was there and I saw him and two airport security officials accompanying him to inspect the plane. I saw the black helicopters and two bullet proof SUVs,” one of our sources said. “I also heard him (Mr. Sheriff) say verbal directive had been given from Abuja for the release of the plane but that authorities of the airport were insisting on written directive.”

Mr. Sheriff could not be reached to comment for this story. His known mobile telephone number was switched off for several hours that PREMIUM TIMES called Saturday. He is also yet to reply a text message sent to him.

The Manager of the Kano Airport, a Mr. Adamu, told PREMIUM TIMES he is in Abuja and was therefore unaware of Mr. Sheriff’s tour of the detained aircraft.

The former Borno governor is a close ally of both the Nigerian president, and the government of Chad – the plane’s final destination.

A 2010 Intelligence report by a Nigerian security agency suggested that Mr. Sheriff was personally involved in the recruitment, training and dispatch of Boko Haram fighters, under the full cover of Idris Deby, the Chadian president.

Chad is Nigeria’s neighbour. Laying on Nigeria’s northeast shoulder, and sharing long distances of unregulated borders, it is considered a window to safety for Boko Haram fighters.

An Australian negotiator engaged by the Nigerian government to bring Boko Haram insurgents to the negotiation table, Stephen Davies, also spoke of how the insurgents named Mr. Sheriff as one of their sponsors during his conversations with the terrorists.

Airport officials told PREMIUM TIMES Mr. Sheriff’s verbal pressures to let the plane go was turned down.
He was asked to get written permission from “ogas at the top” – authority high up in Abuja – our sources said.

After inspecting the plane and holding discussions with local officials, Mr. Sheriff reportedly left for Abuja, Nigeria’s capital city, in a private jet at about 11:30 p.m. Saturday.

Security operatives at the Kano Airport had seized the plane when it landed at the facility at about 2a.m. Saturday as a result of technical problems.

Crew members of the airplane were immediately detained while investigations continued, officials said.

“Security has since been beefed up at the airport in order to ensure proper investigation,” the officials added.

The General Manager, Communications, Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, Yakubu Datti, confirmed the seizure of the plane.

He said the pilot sought permission to land at the airport after the plane developed problems.

“The plane had a technical problem and the pilot sought (for) permission to land at the airport’’, he said.
Mr. Datti said security agencies had since commenced investigation into the matter.

Security sources told PREMIUM TIMES the plane was travelling to N’djamena, the capital of Chad.
PR Nigeria, an agency known for distributing press statements on behalf of the Nigerian military, later circulated a statement saying the aircraft contained “a chopper tucked in it”.

“… Intense investigation is ongoing including using diplomatic means to unravel the mission of the aircraft, its origin and destination,” the statement said.

This is the third time since 2009 that planes loaded with arms would be arrested in Kano, our correspondent says.

The detained planes were later released after investigations.

The destination of the latest aircraft has however raised concerns amid increasing worries in Nigeria over Chad’s alleged role in the Boko Haram insurgency plaguing Nigeria’s northeast.

The plane and its consignment was initially thought to originate from Russia but the Russian Embassy in Abuja issued a statement denying ownership of the AH-124-100 heavy military transport aircraft.

Air cargo experts describe it as one of the biggest serial and strategic heavy lifters in the world. It is intended for the transportation of heavy and oversized cargo and various special-purpose vehicles.

Although in commercial use too, the Russian military is beloved to own 14 of the AN-124-100 version of the jumbo cargo jet, manufactured by the Russian Antonov.

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Insurgency: ‘Christopher Kolade Has His Facts Mixed Up’ – PDP

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has reviewed the comment attributed to our respected elder statesman and former High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Dr. Christopher Kolade, on the leadership of the nation, specifically as it relates to the fight against the insurgency facing our country.

We regret that Dr. Kolade, an eminent Nigerian with very senior diplomatic credentials, who also served as the Chairman of SURE-P, a special development and empowerment programme of the Jonathan administration, apparently got his facts mixed up about the character and person of the President and the nature of the overall security challenges in our country.

We in the PDP in our usual high moral ground of decency decided to exercise restraint expecting Dr. Kolade to retract his statement, but such never came, hence this reaction.

While we recognize the inalienable right of citizens to hold opinions and fully express themselves, especially given the institutionalized freedom Nigerians now enjoy under the present administration, it is only fair that comments, particularly those from prominent persons in the mold of Dr. Kolade must be based only on the truth.

We found it curious that Dr. Kolade, a supposedly apolitical elder statesman, who has an unfettered access to the President, could resort to public mudslinging, relying on oft-repeated lies of the All Progressives Congress (APC) apparently aimed to disparage and discredit the President ahead of the 2015 general elections.

Indeed, the timing and the tenor of Dr. Kolade’s outburst, given the security and political situation in the land, is also very worrisome especially when a nerve-soothing statement from a person of his age and status could have encouraged our citizens and help douse the tension in the polity.

It is mind-boggling and embarrassing that this eminent technocrat could attempt to stand history on its head by stating that President Goodluck Jonathan went to a rally in Kano state “the next day” after 59 students Were killed in Yobe state. It is common knowledge and verifiable fact
that the said PDP Kano rally held on April 15, 2014, about two months after the unfortunate killing of 59 students in Yobe in February, 2014.

Whilst we do not expect everybody to agree with President Jonathan’s leadership style, we are nevertheless encouraged that Nigerians from all walks of life appreciate the President as a committed and sincere leader with very strong bond with his people and their well-being irrespective of religious, ethnic and political affiliations.

In the last four years, under President Jonathan, our country has witnessed unprecedented growth and verifiable achievements in all sectors with our economy ranking as the largest in Africa in spite of the daunting security challenges and the global economic recession, a fact which Dr. Kolade as a technocrat is fully aware of. We therefore totally disagree with Dr. Kolade when he said that ‘Nigeria has had it much better than now’.

It is incontrovertible that the Federal Government has sustained the fight against insurgency, deploying huge budgetary allocations to re-equip our security forces as well as intensified collaborations with national and international stakeholders to bring lasting peace to our country.

We wish to restate that the PDP and all well-meaning Nigerians are solidly behind President Goodluck Jonathan in this fight against terrorism. Those who expect the President to get distracted, demoralized or cowed through their utterances must know that they are fighting a lost battle.

Let it be clear that the PDP-led administration shall never allow terrorists and their supporters to dictate the tempo of government, which has been their direct objective. We wish to restate that it is a globally settled principle that no government allows terrorist to influence the course of its action otherwise they have achieved their purpose against the people.

We therefore urge all Nigerians to unite and join hands with the Federal Government and our security agencies in this fight.

In conclusion, we call on eminent Nigerians such as Dr. Christopher Kolade to rise up to their patriotic duty in condemning the heinous acts
of terrorists and urging their international contacts to support the Federal Government in the efforts to end insurgency in our dear country.

Signed:

Olisa Metuh
National Publicity Secretary

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My Relationship with Fashola is Intact – Bola Tinubu

Former Lagos State Governor and national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu has described his relationship with the governor of Lagos State, Babatunde Fashola as intact.

Tinubu is speaking against the backdrop of media reports that he is angry with Fashola for supporting an aspirant for the just concluded governorship primary election in Lagos State, even when he said he is not supporting anyone.

A former Accountant General of Lagos state, Akinwumi Ambode, believed to be the anointed candidate of Tinubu defeated 13 other aspirants including Supo Shasore believed to be supported by Fashola, but Tinubu is reported to have said the bad blood generated before and during the primary would have been avoided if Fashola had opened up to him about who he was supporting.

However, Tinubu has come out to deny having any problem with Fashola, describing the report as work of charlatans and enemies spreading unnecessary rumours.

The statement by Tinubu reads.

For a while now, I have noticed and read many published political stories on Lagos politics in particular and the personalities involved that are either concerted, unsubstantiated, pure conjectures or outright falsehood. In this instance, I reference a recent story ran by a major newspaper concerning my successor and me. There is no doubt political charlatans and enemies are at work fueling unnecessary rumour and insinuations and seeking to drive a wedge in an otherwise cordial and respectful political relationship. My relationship with Governor Fashola remains cordial both at the personal level and at the level of commitment to ensuring Lagos State remains on the path of political stability, growth and development.

Whether Governor Fashola had a specific candidate or not isn’t the issue here. What is important is to have a transparent process in the spirit of democracy to which we both subscribe.  We often debate, agree or  disagree. But when it comes to concluding on the interest of Lagos State, we are on the same page. The current situation and issues around the Lagos Gubernatorial primary are being overblown. What we have done is ensure that no one is denied his or her rights to participate and compete for any elective position. Such a disposition should not translate into anger and divisiveness of the party as it is being peddled. Conflicts and disagreements is part of every political process. The capacity to solve these conflicts in-house and not on the pages of newspaper is a tradition in Lagos.

We warn the people of Lagos state against speculative, self-serving stories aimed at destabilizing the party and its leadership. The media must be weary of accepting or publishing stories that seek to pursue a narrow political agenda. Rather, they should make their paper a platform for proper news dissemination and constructive analysis such that can help our country tackle the current security problem, create jobs.
While we appreciate, recognize and respect the right of every media house to publish any story, it is important not to be part of the feeding frenzy and not to mislead the unsuspecting public.

At my age and with my level of political experience, I am expected to seek for solutions, work for reconciliations and find a common ground where disagreements exist. That is what I have dedicated myself to in the larger interest of Lagos State and Nigeria at large. That is what Governor Babatunde Fashola and myself are about. That is what Lagos state deserves as Nigeria’s pacesetter in terms of democracy and development.
Asiwaju Bola Tinubu

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Buhari’s Aircraft Barred from Landing at Makurdi Airport

MAKURDI — A chartered aircraft conveying former Head of State and All Progressive Congress, APC, presidential aspirant, Gen. Mohammadu Buhari (rtd) and his entourage, was Wednesday allegedly denied landing rights by the authoriities of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, in Makurdi,  Benue State.

It was gathered from a reliable source that Gen. Buhari, alongside his entourage, was travelling from Bayelsa State to Makurdi to woo delegates of his party ahead of the APC delegates congress scheduled for December but had their flight denied permission to touch down in Makurdi.

According to him, “the flight was earlier granted landing permission but we were all surprised when half an hour to his arrival a counter directive was issued mid-flight thereby forcing the aircraft to head to Abuja.

“What they did was evil and dangerous, what if the plane was low on fuel, what do you think would have happened? Desperation has set into our politics, and it is posing grave danger to our democracy.”

When contacted on phone, the Benue State Chairman of the APC, Comrade Abba Yaro confirmed the development describing it as unfortunate.

He explained that loyalists of the party who had laid siege at the airport Wednesday morning were disappointed and had to disperse when they learnt of the unfortunate development.

“We will certainly react to this ugly incident because what they have done was not only callous and wicked but also unacceptable in modern day Nigeria.”
All attempts to speak with officials of FAAN in Makurdi on the matter failed as they all declined to comment on the issue.

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