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Youth Advocate for Change (YAC) Holds #2MillionYouthMarchForChange in Abuja

It is with a heavy heart that we, members of the Youth Advocates for Change (Y4C), embark on a peaceful march to mourn the victims of the Baga massacre and, in light of the incessant attacks on Nigerians in the North-East, among other pertinent issues, state the demands of young Nigerians ahead of the 2015 polls.

This march is a peaceful and voluntary exercise tagged “2MillionYouthMarchForChange”, and is a call to all Nigerians who have been victims of 16 years of democratic nothingness; to come out and lament for the thousands killed in their homes and children who have remained in the custody of their abductors for months; to come out and mourn our troops that died at the battlefield fighting for this great nation; to come out and empathize with families of fallen soldiers that haven’t been compensated adequately; to come out and commiserate with women who have become widows, innocent children whose only crime is being Nigerian; to identify with our unemployed compatriots and mourn our colleagues who died in the National Immigration Service employment exercise; to come out and demand good governance.

The expected turn-out for the march is 5,000-7,000 people, who will serve as representatives of our approximately 2 million members across the country.

This march is scheduled to hold in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, on Saturday, 17th January, 2015 and the schedule is as follows;

Arrival at Eagle Square            –         9 a.m.

March from Eagle Square to the INEC Office       –         10 a.m. – 11 a.m.

March from INEC office to Unity Fountain            –          11:30 – 12:00

Speakers’ address     –          12:00 – 1:00
Open mic                   –          1:00 – 1:30 p.m.

Speakers at the march include Hon. Aliyu Ibrahim Gebi (member of the Federal House of Representatives, chairman of the House Committee on Security and member of the ECOWAS parliament), Aisha Yesufu (of the BringBackOurGirls Abuja Family), Japheth Omojuwa, Jasper Azutalam, and Ayo Oyalowo.

All Nigerians who identify with our cause may be part of this march as our aims are one and the same; to awaken the spirit for progressive change and contribute our quota towards ensuring that our great country, Nigeria, is once more safe and secure and that no Nigerian has to live in fear.

Signed

 Zayyad Abdullahi    
President 
08181131080
                                               
Maryam Hassan
PRO
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Ohanaeze in Secret Talks at Aso Villa: Endorses Jonathan’s Presidency 2015

By Obinna Akukwe
 
Ohanaeze Ndigbo met with Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan in Aso Villa on Wednesday and endorsed his plan for re-election in 2015. The meeting between President Jonathan and the leadership of Ohanaeze Ndigbo was to assure the President that the people of the South East were behind his re-election plans. The meeting was also intended to assure the President that there is only one Ohanaeze leadership under Chief Gari Igariwey and that anybody purporting to be representing Ndigbo is an impostor.
 
Confirming the meeting Wednesday with President Jonathan, the President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Gari Igariwey,  told the Director General of Igbo Mandate Congress (IMC) and Director of Media of General Association of all Igbo Christian Ministers and Organization (GAAICOM), Rev Obinna Akukwe in a chat that there is actually a meeting with the President but that Ohanaeze cannot take any decision on where Ndigbo is headed for in 2015 till after the town hall meeting scheduled in Abakaliki between President Jonathan and Igbo leaders on Friday. Chief Igariwey was the person who as Deputy President General of Ohanaeze Ndibo in 2011 rejected a N20 million naira bribe from agent of a presidential aide aimed at mortgaging Igbo interest. He has been under intense pressure by PDP agents to unilaterally adopt Jonathan as the candidate of Igbos just as his predecessor did but he insisted on a somewhat collective decision.
 
President Jonathan is scheduled for re-election campaign rally in Abakaliki on Friday and will later address a town hall meeting where Ohanaeze leadership expects him to use the opportunity of the town hall meeting to address issues affecting his unfulfilled promises to Ndigbo.  The plot by agents of the presidency using Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu to force Ohanaeze Ndigbo to adopt Jonathan as its sole candidate for presidency 2015 has failed thrice, including during two separate Imeobi meeting and also during the Igbo Day Celebrations held at Awka in 2014. Igbo leaders have continued to insist that Jonathan have not fulfilled any of his promises to Ndigbo, citing especially, the 2nd Niger Bridge, Enugu International Airport , Onitsha Seaport, Enugu-Onitsha and Enugu-Port Harcourt Expressway  as some of the numerous unfulfilled promises to Ndigbo.
 
Those present at the Wednesday meeting with the President include Chief Gari Igariwey (President General), Dr Joe Nwaorgu (Secretary General), Chief OAU Onyema (Deputy President General), Chief Onyia (Vice President General -Delta State), Eze Cletus Ilomuanya (Chairman South East Council of Traditional Rulers), Eze Ambassador Agubuzo( Chairman Enugu State Council of Traditional Rulers),Chief Gibson Nwosu (Ezeuzu of Awka), Chief Ibe Nwosu ( Ezeigbo of Abuja), Prof Chief Uwazulike (Chairman Aka-Ikenga),Prof Anya O Anya (Chairman Ohanaeze Political Committee), Senator Hope Uzodimma( Chairman Ohanaeze Mobilization Committee), Chief Tony Okeke (Chairman Zodiac Hotels), Dr Sam Egwu( Former Governor Ebonyi State),Chief Chukwuemeka Ezeife (former Governor Anambra State), Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu (Former Presidential Aspirant), Prof ABC Nwosu (Former Minister of Health) and Senator Ken Nnamani (Former Senate President).
 
The Director General of Igbo Mandate Congress (IMC), Rev Obinna Akukwe was also informed by one of the delegates to the Aso Rock meeting that there was disagreement within the team over the exclusion of the 82 year old nationalist and Chairman of Ohanaeze Elders Council, Chief Mbazulike Amechi from the delegation that visited the President. Dr Chukwuemeka Ezeife and  Eze IBe Nwosu were the first that protested over the exclusion of certain persons, and were supported by some other delegates before the contention was resolved. Those tactically excluded from the meeting include Dr Alex Ekwueme (former Vice President), Chief Joe Irukwu (Past President General of Ohanaeze), Dr Dozie Ikedife (Pat President General), Eze Justice Eze Ozobu(Past President General), Prof Ben Nwabueze (Past President General), hief Mbazulike Amechi , Chief Raph Obioha and Chief Mbazulike Amechi among others. Barrister Emejulu Okpalaukwu was said to have excluded self from the delegation by arriving Abuja after the team had left for Aso Villa
 
Sources who attended the meeting told Rev Akukwe that President Jonathan promised to give more attention to the zone during his second tenure and blamed insurgency for some

 
 
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#IamNigeria: When Will The International Criminal Court Charge Nigeria’s President?

How many crimes against humanity will it take for the International Criminal Court to decide that it is time to charge the president of Nigeria, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan in the deaths of thousands of Nigerians, Cameroonians and other nationals?

How many lives will be lost, and what increasing level of threat must West Africa continue to face before the court decides to take action?

For six years Nigeria’s presidency accused opposition politicians and opposition parties as being behind Boko Haram terror. An iota of evidence was never provided to substantiate this deadly distraction. Is this not a reason enough to charge Nigeria’s president in crimes against humanity?

The Nigerian government failed to declare Wanted, a terrorist leadership that had taken responsibility for acts of terror implicated in the deaths of hundreds of citizens for three years of carnage. Is this failure to execute the sworn duty of the government not enough reason to charge Nigeria’s president in crimes against humanity?

The Nigerian leadership declared openly that Boko Haram sponsors were known by the government since 2012, yet none of these terrorist sponsors have ever been brought to book. Is this not enough reason to charge Nigeria’s president in crimes against humanity?

Nigeria’s leadership has been accused by the United States, the United Kingdom, several international bodies and various levels of its administration of the gross embezzlement of billions of dollars money for the state and army. This corruption has resulted in an underequipped army that lacks the capacity to secure life—it’s and of others. Nigerian soldiers are thus sent on suicidal missions to die at the hands of better equipped and motivated terrorists and leave their families without parents and due compensation. Does this not constitute crimes against human conscience and against humanity?

President Goodluck Jonathan objected to the United States listing Boko Haram as a foreign terrorist organization, FTO. This after the terrorist organization had bombed dozens of churches and killed thousands of Nigerians, including having carried out a deadly attack on United Nations building. Is this not ample reason to charge Nigeria’s president in crimes leading to the death of thousands and suffering of millions.

Nigeria’s president in a recorded TV interview absolved a terror group of responsibility in a bombing that they claimed responsibility for, yet had a member of the group arrested for admitting that members of his group actually perpetrated the act. The president failed to provide any evidence for his exoneration of the group. Compounding this, Nigeria’s president five years later revised his position with no consequence. These acts promoting a state of deadly insecurity and fomenting chaos in the nation. Is this not enough reason for this president to be charged in crimes against humanity?

The chairman of the ruling PDP party declared publicly that Boko Haram terrorists who had at the time massacred hundreds of Nigerians and caused pain to thousands, where fighting for justice and were “another name for justice,” this person, Bamanga Tukur was protected by Nigeria’s president in spite of him violating Nigeria’s anti terrorism laws and global laws on terrorism. He remains currently appointed in the Nigeria’s Federal government. Does this not constitute the encouragement of terror, and crimes culpable in the death of thousands? Will Nigeria’s president then not be charged in crimes against humanity?

Nigeria’s president encouraged Boko Haram terror by calling these terrorists who have killed thousands and continued to kill thousands his “siblings” not worthy of firm military response. For this statement he was told to resign by the disappointed Christian Association of Nigeria. Does this association with terror not constitute a crime against humanity by the office in whose charge Nigerian lives are entrusted?

Amnesty international has accused Nigeria’s leadership in the burning down of dozens of homes in Baga and the murder of approximately 185 citizens. Does this not constitute reprimandable crimes against humanity?

Nigeria’s military has been accused by international human rights organizations in the wanton destruction of property and the murder of innocent Nigerians as well as the summarily execution of thousands of suspected terrorists without trial. Is this not a crime against humanity?

Nigeria’s military under the current leadership of president Goodluck Jonathan has been accused by Amnesty international of delaying military response for hours after being warned of the pending Chibok attack, this leading to the successful Boko Haram abduction of over 200 girls from a predominantly Christian community. The Nigerian military under the present leadership has also been accused of not carrying out the recovery mission in attempt to rescue the girls. Does this not merit charges from the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity?

Nigeria’s military leadership is on record for misleading the public and endangering the lives of over 200 abducted girls by claiming falsely that all but eight of these girls have been freed. Does this malicious act for which no military officer was charged not constitute crimes against humanity authorized by Nigeria’s president?

For four years of Boko Haram terror up till the latter half of 2014 Nigeria’s military failed to charge a single officer for reckless endangerment, abandonment of duty resulting in the continuous transfer of Nigerian military arsenal to Boko Haram terrorists. This under the leadership of chief of defence retired General Azubuike Ihejirika; who remains honorably retired. Does this not constitute gross violations against the rights of the citizens of Nigeria to security of life and property and protection from terror? Does this not constitute a crime against humanity?

Nigeria’s president along with the president of Chad announced a treasonous cessation of fire against Boko Haram terrorists. This sham cease-fire assisted the group to regroup and enabled the Boko Haram terrorists, conquer territory across North East Nigeria and kill thousands more citizens while displacing tens of thousands more. Is this not a crime against humanity?

In spite of prevailing evidence from accounts and numbers given by fleeing displaced citizens and satellite evidence showing that over 3700 buildings were burnt and 2500 Nigerians in the muslin predominant Baga town and environs were killed by Boko Haram in the first days of January this year, Nigeria’s president failed to comment on or condemn the attacks against innocent hardworking farmers, traders and fishermen and in a deliberate attempt to jeopardize life, exonerate terror and prevent justice and the proper global response to a crisis out of hand, Nigeria’s president treacherously claimed that “only 150” lives were lost. Does this not constitute crimes of a malicious nature and intent against human conscience and human existence?

As agreed in the Paris summit of May 2014, Nigeria’s a leadership was to commit 700 troops as part of a multi-national force stationed in the border region to protect communities including Baga where the 2500 Nigerians were massacred this month. These troops were to be stationed by the 1st of November 2014. Nigeria under the present leadership failed to fulfill its quota and the government is of Niger and Chad also failed and withdrew their troops citing Nigeria’s failures. This led to the massacre of thousands of innocent Nigerians, the displacement of tens of thousands, the destruction of property worth millions and increased endangerment in the increasingly deadly campaign of successful terror. Does this not constitute crimes against humanity worthy of immediate charge?

The risk posed by Boko Haram is one of the greatest of this point in our history. Boko Haram under the watch of international bodies has killed tens of thousands of innocent people and currently occupies land larger than ISIS does in Iraq and Syria. Boko Haram kills Muslims and Christians, Nigerians and Cameroonians without regard or discrimination and left unchecked promises to be not just a regional threat but a global catastrophe.

A menace that could have been contained with responsible leadership and appropriate and prompt repudiation of the leadership from the international community has now gotten out of hand and left scars that humanity will never forget. What recourse are the people of Nigeria left than to refer to global institutions of justice when subjected to fatal abuse of their rights by their presidency and upper legislative chambers?

We hereby ask, and charge the International Criminal Court to fulfill their obligations and confirm their commitment to humanity by doing the dutiful that there might be justice for the dead, closure for the wounded and bereaved, hope for the displaced and promise for the rest of us.

Thank you.

Dr. Peregrino Brimah; http://ENDS.ng [Every Nigerian Do Something] Email: drbrimah@ends.ng Twitter: @EveryNigerian
 
 
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GEJ: The Burden of Witless Campaign; By Wale Ajetunmobi

For many a Nigerian, the past year was trying period for the country. It was the period the humanity trapped in the space called Nigeria had a face-to-face encounter with horrors of politics, security and economy.

In the current year, 2015, people are faced with momentous options of either prolonging the term of the present order or change the status quo, which would usher in a new order. As this is an election year, Nigerians have another precious opportunity to change destiny of the country.

Already, electioneering has begun and the polity is entering a tempestuous moment when its peace and tranquility will be threatened by issues shaping political debates. Alas, the key political players have also applied heat, sending out notes of threat and accusations. The constitution of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) campaign organisation brought excitement to a polity already in the furnace.

Femi Fani-Kayode, the voluble former Minister of Aviation on whose neck multi-million naira corruption charges still dangle, is the Director of Media and Publicity of PDP presidential campaign team. In his first speech after his appointment, Fani-Kayode left nobody in doubt as to the issues that will shape PDP’s campaign.

He enthused: personality of on the standard bearer of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the presidential election, General Muhammadu Buhari, will be the kernel of political discourse. Whatever the content of the PDP manifesto – that is, if there is one – is less important than the personality of Buhari.

Although APC has hinted that its campaign would be based on issue, but the electioneering, no doubt, will get messier as we approach the February 14 fixed for the election.

This missive is not an entreaty to the political matadors in the epic contest not to point poniards at one another. But, the method of campaign employed by main political party in this crucial plebiscite is nothing but an insult to the sensibilities of the long-suffering masses yearning for positive change.

While APC may have been projecting its programmes at the grassroots, the PDP has failed to understand the key issues and challenges militating against the progress of the nation as its campaigns progressed.

All politics is local, says former Speaker of the United States, Thomas O’Neill, but politics should not be so local to lose its essence and values. Ability to respond to the people’s wishes and service delivery are important aspects of political process in any country. Therefore, no matter how local politics might be, its soul and quintessence should not be lost on the people who occupy or aspire to lead in political entities.

It is rather strange that President Goodluck Jonathan, who has spent about six years in office, still could not get the message of contemporary politics vis-à-vis people’s yearning for change. For about 30 minutes he spoke at the PDP inaugural campaign at Tafawa Balewa Square in Lagos last Thursday, Jonathan’s uninspiring narrative shows has failed to gauge the public opinion to know the spirit of time.

Visibly excited by the crowd of freeloaders and sycophants that graced the event, the president would rather use the occasion to attack the personalities of opposition figures. He could not articulate his much-touted achievements and the ‘bounties’ his re-election would bring to the masses. Jonathan, sadly, bungled the opportunity of time and space to engage in inanities, name-calling and mudslinging.

The president said he is the most vilified leader in history of the country but which leader has had it so good in a participatory democracy? Oppositions will always look for lacunas in the incumbent’s policies and programmes but a dedicated leader focuses on service delivery to the people.

Chief Moshood Abiola of blessed memory said in his famous wisecrack: “You cannot be driving and still be looking back; you will crash with the vehicle.” If only Jonathan (the driver in this case) and his campaign managers could decipher the coded import of this witticism, perhaps they would have engaged in issue-based campaign rather than making their opponents popular with their witless vituperations.

Let them not be in doubt that Nigerians are yearning for change in every stratum of our national life. They are tired of the creeping genocide being perpetrated by a coven of faithless murderers garbed the cloak of religion.

In the 21st Century, Nigerians want to see their homes powered by affordable interrupted electricity; they want their lots improved in the fabled economic growth. They want an end to bare-faced stealing and corruption in public and private offices, and they demand public accountability in the management of country’s resources. They want many more…

However, Jonathan bungled the opportunity to intimate people of his plan to overhaul the current security template proving ineffective by the day. The president boasted his administration, more than any regime before it, has provided equipment to the security agencies to combat terror tearing the fabric of the nation apart. But, just two days before the PDP presidential campaign in Lagos, ragtag Boko Haram insurgents sacked Baga village in Borno State and overran the military formation in the neighbourhood.

How do the beleaguered villagers, who have been displaced after the incident, reconcile the president’s boast of improved security and the reality on ground?

If the military is equipped adequately, why has President Jonathan not rescued the 219 schoolgirls kidnapped by terrorists in Chibok, Borno State eight months after the pupils were marshaled into the Sambisa Forest? Yet, the sycophants at the PDP campaign in Lagos roared in praise of Jonathan like a misguided herd of lambs.

On the same rostrum, Jonathan elevated his lack of freshness and witlessness when he said the coming presidential election is about the youth. He urged the youth to reject the APC candidate who, Jonathan said, is coming to jail their fathers for 310 years for corruption and indiscipline. This is ridiculous, nay it is an indictment on a president under whose supervision millions of petro-dollar and the multi-billion naira subsidy vanished into thin air.

Jonathan’s lack of energy to fight corruption is evident in his inability to prosecute top officials of his government embroiled in controversies ranging from financial misdemeanour to money-for-job scam.

There are so many issues left out in Jonathan’s speech at his inaugural campaign, which this writer is doubtful the president would have the courage to mention in his subsequent campaigns.

It would be good to remind President Jonathan that Nigerians fervently want change through a leader that will show courage to tackle challenges they face. Having said that, it is apt to note that, President Jonathan can still be the anticipated change if he can coherently articulate his achievements in key areas of our national life, such as security, power and economy management, and tell us how he seeks to improve on them.

But, if Jonathan and his campaign managers did not desist from their present obsession of blaming opposition for their lack of energy, there is a way the masses would make the change through the personage, who Jonathan and his men are busy making popular through ill-conceived remarks.
 
Wale Ajetunmobi is a media practitioner based in Lagos. Contact him on twitter @Riddwane

 
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2015: Why I Am Supporting President Jonathan By Ohimai Amaize

There is so much to write about why I am supporting President Goodluck Jonathan in 2015. It is said that the only thing permanent about life is its sheer impermanence. Given the foregoing, change is thus a constant of human existence. Nonetheless, I am not one of those who would treat the concept of change as a mere abstraction or a garb of convenience tailored, adorned and dumped at the slightest whim of the adorner. Far from it!

Rewind back to the pre-2011 Presidential Campaign era. I served in the Presidential Campaign of Chief Dele Momodu as his Presidential Campaign Manager. I was selected at the tender age of 26 for this assignment in 2010, making me the world’s youngest Presidential Campaign Manager in modern democratic history. I was not a card-carrying member of Chief Momodu’s National Conscience Party (NCP). I carried out my assignment professionally as a young technocrat. I did my job with passion and conviction. Faced with the facts in 2011, my assignment on the campaign trail required constantly campaigning for my candidate, amplifying his strengths and drawing attention to the weaknesses of the other candidates in the race. There is nothing new about this under sun. This is the standard practice in political campaigns globally.

The campaigns came to a close in April 2011 and in August 2011, I was invited by the then Minister of Youth Development, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi to support his work at the Youth Development Ministry as his Special Assistant on Advocacy. In his words when he called me on the phone: “I have been told that if I will succeed in the Youth Ministry, I need young people like you around me.” I got on his team on the pure recognition of my competence as a young professional. I consulted and received the blessings of my former principal, Chief Dele Momodu before I proceeded on the assignment with Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi. Our one-year stint at the Youth Ministry goes into the history books as one of the most remarkable in the history of Nigeria’s Ministry of Youth Development. It was while we were at the Youth Development Ministry that the YouWIN initiative was midwifed under a Youth Development, Communications Technology and Finance Ministry collaboration with support from the World Bank.

Our next assignment came when President Goodluck Jonathan in his wisdom saddled Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi with the task of transforming the Nigerian Sports Ministry. In the Sports Ministry, we met a football sector in crisis rocked with over 29 court cases. At the time we were done with the Sports Ministry, it is to the credit of President Jonathan and his team that managed the sports sector that all 29 court cases in the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) had been withdrawn, peace had been restored, Nigeria had won the AFCON after 19 years, clinched the U-17 FIFA World Cup, kicked off the Rhythm N’ Play Grassroots Sports Campaign, improved in Athletics with Nigeria becoming the African champions in all categories of Athletics competitions amongst other milestones. The leadership we provided in the sports sector under the dynamic leadership of Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi with the supervision, goodwill and support of President Goodluck Jonathan made it possible!

After my assignment at the Sports Ministry in March 2014, I was appointed Special Assistant on Media Strategy to Nigeria’s then Minister of State for Defence, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro. It is important to note here that before 2014, in 2012, I had joined the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as a card-carrying member when it became clear to me that for competent young Nigerians to make a mark in the public service and governance of this nation, they needed to become more active players in the political process. There was never anything secret about my membership of the PDP since 2012. I joined the PDP because I believed in the vision, the platform and the structure the party provides for those who have something valuable to offer this nation.

Now this is 2015. And the question I have been asked severally is why I am supporting President Goodluck Jonathan to be re-elected President. I didn’t just jump into the bandwagon of Goodluck Jonathan supporters. I have spent three years working within the Jonathan government as a Ministerial Adviser from Youth Development to Sports to the Defence Ministries. My perspectives on governance in Nigeria have been reshaped within these years. As an insider, I have seen a lot of the challenges from the inside and I know that a man who attempts to sweep a house from the outside has embarked on a futile exercise. I also know that the system is not without its flaws and imperfections. Yet, I also know that Rome was not built in a day.

Aside from the compelling consideration that he is the presidential candidate of my political party, the PDP, my reasons for supporting President Goodluck Jonathan’s re-election bid in 2015 are in many ways, instructive. First, allow me speak within the context of my reality and experience as a Nigerian youth. More than any President in the experienced, real, imagined or documented history of Nigeria, this is the first President who has articulated and is executing a transformational blueprint for youth development, youth employment and youth empowerment. Take a critical look at the Youth Enterprise with Innovation in Nigeria (YouWIN) initiative. Before President Jonathan, who cared about young Nigerian entrepreneurs? Before President Jonathan who thought about giving grants to young Nigerian business owners? Before President Goodluck Jonathan, no President took the youth sector seriously. No President opened the door of engagement to the youths, let alone empowerment! None.

Before President Goodluck Jonathan, no President considered our young brothers and sisters, the Almajiris in northern Nigeria as deserving of any care and attention. Nobody thought about taking them off the streets and building schools for them. Realizing that a northern Nigerian problem is a Nigerian problem, President Jonathan is taking steps to build a future northern Nigeria where development is futuristic, real and sustainable through educational advancement. That is significant.

It is to President Jonathan’s credit that an enabling environment has been created for the economic explosion of our creative industry from Nollywood to the music industry to fashion and style! Through the SURE-P project, thousands of Nigerian youths have glowing testimonials on how their lives are being turned around with the Graduate Internship Scheme (GIS) and the Community Service, Women, Youths and Empowerment, (CSWYE). These are facts, not fiction?

I will support a President who has shown in many ways that he is a man who is committed to touching the lives of the common man. I grew up in a Nigeria where I didn’t know what it looked like to travel inside a train in Nigeria. But today, it is to President Jonathan’s credit that not only are our trains back, our roads that were neglected and deformed for decades by previous administrations, military and democratic are now being fixed. So tell me, why won’t I vote for Jonathan?

Is it in the area of Agriculture that President Jonathan has not performed? This is the President that cleaned up the rot in the fertilizer procurement and distribution process. This is the President that is empowering local farmers using ICT. This is the President under which our cassava production is on a consistent increase. This is the President under whose leadership our rice self-sufficiency as a nation has grown from 50% to over 80%. It is no fluke that under President Jonathan, Nigeria overtook Egypt and South Africa and became the largest economy in Africa! One can go on and on. To wish away these achievements is to stand in murderous contempt of one’s conscience and character.

Now let’s talk about the 72-year old man who was kicked out of power as a Military dictator the year I was born. If there is any reason that makes a Jonathan re-election even more imperative, it is the fact that Nigeria’s opposition party, the APC looked at Nigeria and went into the graves of our nation’s painful past to exhume their candidate. There is nothing new that Buhari is bringing to the table in 2015 that Jonathan did not accomplish four years ago. Beyond party affiliation, as a Nigerian youth, there is something awfully backward about the idea of a Buhari presidency. There are some brands that packaging cannot sell, no matter the competence, creativity or innovation of the packager. This is the dilemma of the Buhari campaign.

The law of diminishing returns is a reality promoters of Buhari must come to terms with. More than the problem of Buhari’s old age is the bigger problem of the age of his ideas. What ideas will Buhari run our new Nigeria with? We are being told to make a 72-year-old man President over a future Nigeria he will not be part of. How does that even sound? Promoters of Buhari are telling us to drop a President Jonathan who has a clear record of performance for a Buhari who Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka described as a man in whom we have been offered “no evidence of the sheerest prospect of change.”

We have had our share of challenges. To state otherwise would mean being dishonest. Insecurity, predominantly in northern Nigeria is on the front burner. Still, our war against terrorism is best appreciated when seen within the context of a marathon and not a 100m dash. Sadly, the thing with terrorism globally is that there are no quick fixes. But In 2015, Nigerians are faced with two clear choices; advancement or retrogression. In Jonathan, we have been presented a President who is not perfect but a man who is committed to taking Nigeria to the next level. In Buhari, we have been offered a Nigeria on the threshold of oblivion wrapped inside the toga of a vague mantra colorfully illustrated as ‘change’. We must chose wisely.

Ohimai is the Special Adviser (Media Strategy) to Senator Musiliu Obanikoro

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“I Kept Stepping on Dead Bodies”; Escapee Who Fled Boko Haram Attacks in Baga Recounts Ordeal

Yanaye Grema hid for three days between a wall and his neighbours’ house, as Boko Haram fighters ransacked his hometown of Baga on the shore of Lake Chad in Nigeria’s far northeast.

The 38-year-old fisherman already knew the attack was serious: he joined civilian vigilantes to defend the town but their simple weapons were no match for the Islamists’ superior firepower.

“People fled into the bush while some shut themselves indoors,” he said of last Saturday’s attack.

“The gunmen pursued fleeing residents into the bush, shooting them dead,” he told AFP from the Borno state capital, Maiduguri.

But it was only after breaking cover on Tuesday night that he realised the true scale of the attack, which it is feared may be one of the worst in the six-year insurgency.

“For five kilometres (three miles), I kept stepping on dead bodies until I reached Malam Karanti village, which was also deserted and burnt,” he said.

Local officials this week said the attack forced at least 20,000 people from Baga and other settlements in and around Lake Chad to flee, many of them across the border.

Nearly 600 others had been stranded on an island on the lake without food, water or shelter.

– Looting and burning –
The attack wasn’t the first on Baga. Nearly 200 people were killed in April 2013, when militants stormed the town and set much of it on fire, prompting fierce fighting with the Nigerian military.

This time, the Islamists met less resistance and were able to take over the town and overrun the headquarters of the Multinational Joint Task Force, which is based there.

At least 16 towns and villages in the area were razed.

Security analysts believe the targets of last weekend’s attack were the civilian vigilantes helping the military in the counter-insurgency.

Hiding from view between the wall and the house, behind a roadside stall and the cover of a thick neem tree, Grema said the rampaging Islamists unleashed mayhem.

“All I could hear were ceaseless gunshots, explosions, screams from people and chants of ‘Allahu Akbar’ (God is greatest) from the Boko Haram gunmen,” he added.

“I remained in my hiding place until Tuesday evening.

“Every night when it was dark, I would furtively scale the fence into my house to quickly eat garri (processed cassava granules) and drink water and go back to my hideout.”

His family was not at home.
They were in Kukawa, 40 kilometres (25 miles) away, paying their respects after Boko Haram killed his wife’s cousin about two months ago.

“Some of the Boko Haram gunmen camped outside the Baga main market just 700 metres from my hideout,” he explained.

“At night I could see lights from the power generator they ran.

I could also hear their cheering and laughter.

“Luckily on Monday some of the gunmen withdrew while others stayed in the town.

This reduced their number, which made it difficult for them to patrol the whole town.

It worked to my advantage.
“On Tuesday they began looting the market and every home in the town… Around 6:00 pm (1700 GMT) they set fire to the market and began burning homes.

I decided it was time I leave before they turn in my direction.

“Around 7:30 pm I ventured out of my hiding and started to walk away from the noise coming from the gunmen.

It was dark, so no-one could see me.”

– Nomad herdsman –
In the bush, Grema chanced upon an old man at a nomadic Fulani herdsmen’s settlement, who advised him to move west to avoid running into the militants.

“His warning frightened me but made me more determined to get away.

I thanked him and moved on,” he said.

“I quickened my pace.

I soon caught up with… four women.

One of them was carrying a baby on her back.
“They told me they were among hundreds of women that were arrested by Boko Haram and detained in the home of the district head which Boko Haram had converted into a women’s detention centre.”

Three of the women had been separated from their children, he added.

Grema said he pushed out on his own, as the women were “too slow”, running and walking throughout the night, before arriving at Kekeno village near Monguno, 65km away, the following morning.

On Thursday, he took a bus from Monguno to Maiduguri.

“I will never forget this experience and I will forever be grateful to the old Fulani nomad for his life-saving advice,” he added.

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APC To Jonathan: Stop Running Commentaries, Tell Nigerians What You Have Done For Them In Six Years

President Goodluck Jonathan
All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential Campaign team has expressed disappointment at the inability of President Goodluck Jonathan, the presidential candidate of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), to seize the opportunity of his campaign to tell Nigerians what he has done for them in the last six years.
 
The APC Presidential Campaign observed that at the PDP Lagos campaign flag-off and at Enugu, rather than the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria telling the people of Nigeria watching on television and those at the campaign venue what he has achieved and what he intends to do differently, the second-term seeking
 
President Jonathan spent valuable time reading
copiously excerpts from the maiden speech of General Ibrahim Babangida who overthrew Buhari in 1985.
 
“Nigerians do not expect a political commentary from President Jonathan of a nearly 30 year old speech delivered to the nation by IBB,” a statement by the APC Campaign in Abuja, signed by Mallam Garba Shehu, Director, Media and Publicity, yesterday said.
 
The group noted that President Jonathan had earlier urged that parties and candidates to engage in issues- based campaign, but was surprised that in his campaign outings so far, including those of Enugu and Lagos, the President has been unable to do this.
 
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Dozens Feared Killed As Bomb Blast Rips Through Maiduguri Market

Another bomb explosion has been reported at Maiduguri Market in North East Nigeria.

Though details were sketchy at the time of writing this report,it was learnt the explosion occurred almost at the same place where two female suicide bombers detonated bombs recently.

Borno ,Adamawa and Yobe States have been under Boko Haram insurgency.Insurgents attacked Damaturu last night for the second time in recent time.

Maiduguri  has been receiving heavy traffic of refugees from different parts of the state.After a second attack by Boko Haram on Baga  on Wednesday, many more refugees fled to the capital. 
 
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Four Years After Exonerating MEND of Oct 1 Bombing, Jonathan Eat Back His Words, Says They Are Responsible

More than four years after President Goodluck Jonathan exonerated militant group, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), of the October 1 bomb blast at the Eagles Square in Abuja, the president on Thursday tactically eat back his word and blamed the bombing on the group.

MEND had in 2010, few hours after the blast which claimed 16 lives and damaged properties worth millions of naira accepted responsibility for the blast and blamed security agencies for not heeding to the warning of evacuating the citizens affected in the blast from the area.

But responding to MEND’s claim, which was widely reportedly, President Jonathan, less than 24 hours after the blast exonerated the group and blamed it on politicians from the north.

“We know the persons behind the terrorist attacks on the nation. We know they used an organisation that operates in the Niger Delta called MEND as a front, but we are aware that MEND is not a terrorist organisation.”

“What happened yesterday was a terrorist act and MEND was just used as a straw; MEND is not a terrorist group,” Jonathan said.

“The Niger Delta people are aware of the government’s noble efforts to assuage the suffering and deprivation in that region.

“I am from the Niger Delta. My father’s house is a few metres from an oil-well, so nobody can claim to be a Niger Delta than myself.

“It is erroneous to think that my people who have been agitating for good living will deliberately blow up the opportunity they have now,” Jonathan added.

But speaking four year after the blast during the flag-off of his presidential campaign at the Tafawa Balewa square in Lagos, Thursday, President Jonathan said the group is responsible for the blast.

The President while trying to dismiss the endorsement of the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), General Muhammadu Buhari by MEND, said the leader of the group was sent to kill him in the October bomb blast.

MEND has few days ago endorsed Buhari for the 2015 presidency, while describing Jonathan as a failure to the Nigerian people.

READ: 2015: MEND Endorses Buhari for President, Says Jonathan Has Failed Nigeria

READ: MEND Blasts PDP Again, Denies Link with APC…Says Olisa Metuh is ‘Petty’

“I read a headline in one paper yesterday: MEND DUMPS JONATHAN… did you read it?”

“I am from the Niger Delta. The leader of MEND is one Okah. He is in South African prison. Why is he there? South Africa is not Nigeria where people will say Oh, President (Jonathan) manipulated it. Okah is in the prison because 1st October 2010 when we were to celebrate our independence, our golden year of independence, Okah was procured by some Nigerians to assassinate me. Okah bombed Abuja, but the attempt was to assassinate me and South Africa intelligence system caught him in the plan to assassinate me. He is now in jail in South Africa and they say MEND dumps Jonathan.”

“Okah that wanted to assassinate Jonathan, will he support Jonathan? I am told that Okah is supporting some people… I am told that Okah who is in a South African prison for killing Nigerians is endorsing some people. Is that the country you want to live in? Count me out.”

Incidentally, Orkah, who is currently servingjail terms in a South African prison in connection with the blast hdad himself accused President Jonathan of sponsoring the October 1 bomb blast in Abuja, as well as the March 14, 2010 bomb blast in Warri.

He made the allegation in a 194-paragraph affidavit deposed to in the South Gauteng High court in Johannesburg, South Africa in Case No: A570/10.

Orkah said the March 2010 car bomb blast (which he said occurred on March 14, 2010) at the Government House Annex, Warri, where South-South governors were attending an amnesty meeting, was intended to pave the way for the removal of Delta State Governor, Emmanuel Uduaghan, and his replacement by the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godsday Orubebe.

“It is my belief that President Goodluck Jonathan’s government working with a faction of MEND planned and executed the bombings of 14 March 2010 and 1 October 2010.

“The purpose of the 14 March 2010 bombing in my opinion was to create an atmosphere of insecurity in Niger Delta where President Goodluck Jonathan at that time, was fighting to oust the governor Mr. Emmanuel Uduaghan whom President Goodluck Jonathan intended to replace with his Minister for Niger Delta, Mr Godsday Orubebe,” Okah said in the affidavit.

On the Independence Day bombing, Okah said it was meant to sway public opinion against the North and some of its leaders who were planning to run against Jonathan in the April 2011 presidential election.

He alleged that Jonathan was upset when MEND claimed responsibility for the October 1 attack, against a plan to blame it on Northern elements.

He stated, “The bombings of 1 October 2010 were also intended by President Goodluck Jonathan government to create anti-North sentiments nationwide in order to galvanize support from other sections of Nigeria against other Northern candidates in the Presidential election.

“Under the arrangement, MEND, I believe, was not to claim responsibility for the bombings which the Nigerian government hoped to pin on General Babangida and other Northern elements. The claim of responsibility by the central group for a bombing, possibly carried out by a faction of MEND, punctured the plans of President Goodluck Jonathan to round up his opposition and hold them in custody until after the elections.”

He claimed to have come under pressure from some of Jonathan’s aides to get MEND to retract its claim of responsibility for the bombing, recalling that his “refusal to cooperate in this scheme resulted in President Goodluck Jonathan placing a call to President Jacob Zuma during the evening of 1 October 2010, requesting President Zuma’s personal assistance in securing my arrest. My noncooperation was interpreted by President Goodluck Jonathan as support for the Northern politicians.

“The South African Government’s direct interference was responsible for securing search and arrest warrants against me.”

Watch video of Henry Okah’s interview with ALjazeera implicating Jonathan.

 

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2015: Our Performance Speaks For Us’ – PDP …Says It’ll Win Back All Its Original States And More

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has said with its array of popular candidates, a verifiable record of performance as well as the support of a majority of the voting population, it will win overwhelmingly in the February general elections.

PDP National Publicity Secretary, Olisa Metuh in a statement on Wednesday said “the PDP stands out as the only party that commands genuine followership among Nigerians irrespective of religious and ethnic affiliations” adding that this “will drive the voting pattern and reflect accordingly in the results of the Presidential, governorship, National and States Assembly elections across the federation”.

“This election is beyond propaganda and empty popularity claims in the social media. Nigerians will vote; their votes will count and this will give us victory. This is because we are running on a record of verifiable achievements of our elected and appointed officers at the Federal and state levels.

“Our Presidential candidate, President Goodluck Jonathan and our great party have suffered undue criticisms from misguided quarters. The opposition has tried so hard to taint our image. They have made efforts to portray us in bad light. They have insulted, abused and maligned us, But we have refused to be defined by their propaganda and deceit. We, and many more innocent Nigerians became victims of bad politics by desperate individuals who promote divisions and violence in their Selfish quest for power.

“Nevertheless, our satisfaction is that a majority of Nigerians appreciate our sincerity, our achievements and above all, our commitment in sustaining our democracy and the unity of our dear nation in the face of daunting challenges.

“Nigerians appreciate that it is not by chance but through hard work and careful planning that our economy grew to become one of the fastest growing economies in the world and the largest in Africa.

“It is also to the credit of the PDP-led administration that freedom and personal liberty, essential components of democracy, have been enhanced.

Today, Nigerians relish all forms of freedom, social justice, and fairness in line with the ideology and manifesto of the PDP.

“Our President has proven to be a meticulous leader whose policies and actions are a product of deep reflection and consultations. He has been
able to withstand all kinds of pressures, even in the most challenging circumstances. At the state level, the sterling performance of our governors in transforming their states and delivering democracy dividends to their citizens speaks volume of our party’s covenant with the people and commitment to good governance.

“Indeed the PDP remains the most popular political party in Nigeria commanding the respect and support of the majority of the voting population in all the nooks and crannies of our country.

“In the north, apart from the fact that the PDP is in control of the administration of 12 out of the 19 states in the region, our party commands grass root support and will win majority of the votes in our original states of Sokoto, Kano, Nasarawa and Kwara. Also with our very strong support base, we are certain of impressive performance in Borno, Yobe and Zamfara states where the policies and programmes of the PDP-led Federal Government have directly touched the lives of the ordinary Nigerians.

“In the south, the PDP is in good stead not only to win overwhelmingly in states under our control, but also majority of the votes in our original states of Imo and Rivers where the APC has not been able to match our achievements. This is in addition to Lagos and other southwest states where our popular candidates and as well as positive impact of our policies and programmes on the people speak for us”.

Stating that it remains committed to peaceful and credible elections, the PDP however urged Nigerians to “continue to be alert and resist the antics of the opposition, who plot to instigate violence and truncate the democratic process in the face of crushing defeat.”

The PDP insisted that despite its alleged imperfections, “the alternative does not represent a viable option for the growth and sustenance of democracy as they lack substance in policies and programmes.” 
 
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Nine PDP Governors Shun Jonathan’s Inauguration of Presidential Campaign Organisation

No less than 9 governors under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), shunned Tuesday’s inauguration of the Presidential Campaign Organisation of President Goodluck Jonathan.

The organisation, headed by a former National Chairman of the party, Sen. Amadu Ali, is saddled with the responsibility of selling the candidacy of President Goodluck Jonathan and his deputy, Alhaji Namadi Sambo, to Nigerians for the February 14 presidential election.

The inauguration which was performed by President Jonathan at the Legacy House in Abuja, only had a handful of the governors in attendance, thus leading to apprehension among the leaders of the party.

The governors absent at the ianuguration include Governors Theodore Orji (Abia), Dr. Olusegun Mimiko (Ondo), Sullivan Chime (Enugu), Seriake Dickson (Bayelsa), Martin Elechi (Enugu) were absent from the inauguration.

Also not part of the inauguration were Idris Wada (Kogi), Ibrahim Shema (Katsina), Sule Lamido (Jigawa) and Jonah Jang (Plateau).

No reason was given for the absence of the governors.

The development is quite shocking to many of the party faithfuls especially when some of the absentee governors were put in charge of the campaign in their zones.

Lamido for example is saddled with the responsibility of coordinating the presidential campaign in the North-West, while Mimiko is in charge of South-West and Orji, South-East.

The absence of the governors notwithstanding, the President later met behind closed doors with the PDP governors at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The meeting, which was also attended by ministers from states where there are no PDP governors, was meant to strategise ahead of the commencement of the presidential campaign.

 
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‘I Don’t Care If Buhari Is A Muslim or Northerner, Nigerians Should Vote Him and Vote Out Jonathan’ – Rev. Fr. Mbaka

It was a night of memory and surprises for many Igbo people last night and early morning today at the popular Catholic Adoration Centre, Emene Enugu, as the controversial Enugu Diocesan priest, Rev. Fr. Ejike Mbaka, urged Ndigbo and every good Nigerians to vote out the current Nigerian president, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, for his political opponent, General Muhammad Buhari.

Reverend Mbaka, who in November anointed First Lady Patience Jonathan, assuring her of the president’s second term, sis not only asked that the president be voted out, he predicted that he (Jonathan) would lose February’s election.

He said the ”revelation from God” came in the form of one of the birds – which ”symbolized the President” – that he released  during Mrs. Jonathan’s visit to his Adoration Ground refusing to fly.

Jonathan was going nowhere as far as this year’s election was concerned, recalling that one of the birds – which symbolized the President –  he released  during Mrs. Jonathan’s visit to the Adoration Ground had refused to fly.

“All the other birds I released flew away but the healthiest of them, which is Jonathan’s bird, could not fly. I tried to make it fly but it could not fly,” he told the huge excited congregation that cheered him on.

According to the man of God who delivered a sermon tagged, “From Good luck to Bad luck” during the end-of-year Adoration mass to usher in the new year Wednesday night, he and millions of other compatriots were disappointed by the Jonathan administration which has failed to ensure the release of the Chibok girls kidnapped by the Boko Haram terrorists over 200 days ago.

WATCH: VIDEO: Jonathan Must Go! Change Is Here in Nigeria [Part 1] – Reverend Father Ejike Mbaka

He went further to lament on the issue of insecurity and corruption in the country, asking the federal government to account for the missing $20 billion and stop insurgency in the country.

NEPA is not working because of corruption. The privatization of public companies has not yielded any fruit because of corruption.

“Jonathan surrounded himself with very corrupt officers who advise him. Nigerians are sick and tired of wasting innocent lives without government doing enough to stop the destruction.”

“President Goodluck Jonanthan has disappointed Nigerians and means no good anymore for the country.”

Full of passion and pity for Nigeria, Fr. Mbaka knelt down in front of the altar of God during his homily, cried and asked God to give Nigeria a good leader and never President Goodluck Jonathan.

He used the opportunity to beg Nigerians to vote wisely in the forthcoming election.

When Jonathan was aspiring to become Nigeria’s President, Mbaka said he was happy like other Nigerians but that the bad luck which millions of the citizens had faced since he came into office was quite disturbing; hence the masses want a change.

“I love President Goodluck Jonathan and I used to be his ardent fan, but I want good for my people and that’s why I want Nigerians to vote out Goodluck Jonathan and vote General Muhammad Buhari. I don’t care if Buhari is a Muslim and from the North; all I care about it’s that Buhari can save Nigeria,” Fr. Mbaka said.

“Nigerians are calling for change. We need a change,” he repeated. “We don’t want to move from bad luck to bad luck; Nigerians want to move from bad luck to good luck,” he said.

Fr. Mbaka criticised other priests who, he alleged, visited the Presidential Villa and other Government Houses in the country to hold “Breakfast Prayer” with the politicians only to collect fat envelopes of money rather than “tell the politicians the level of hardship the poor masses are suffering.”

He added: “The men of God only go there to dine and wine with the leaders for their own welfare without telling them the truth. But I’m happy that I, Fr. Mbaka, I’m not that type of priest. If you want money, I dash you money because the God I serve has blessed me abundantly.”

Commenting on the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and former Head of State General Muhammadu Buhari, Fr. Mbaka, said Buhari cannot Islamise Nigeria as being rumoured in some circles.
He said he had never met the General but recalled that he fought corruption seriously as Head of State.

“I don’t know Buhari. I have never sat with him before. I am not being partisan, but I want total change in Nigeria.

“Buhari cannot make Nigeria an Islamic country because we are in democracy. It was IBB government that dragged Nigeria into OIC. When Buhari fought corruption, people became careful about their actions. Anyone who says Buhari will Islamise Nigeria is not being fair,” said Mbaka.

He added that he was not bothered whether the next President would be a Northerner or Yoruba or Igbo so long as the person fights corruption and means well for the citizens.

“If a northerner will rule the country and insecurity will stop, so be it. If a Yoruba man will rule Nigeria in 2015 and we have peace and stop the shedding of innocent blood, so be it. Nigerians are tired of wasting innocent lives,” he said.

The end-of-year Adoration mass was attended by some notable politicians from Enugu, Ebonyi and Anambra States.

 

 

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