Jonathan, Military Chiefs Working Still To Scuttle Elections

By SaharaReporters

President Goodluck Jonathan and his closest cronies are still collaborating with a tight-nit circle of military officers to scuttle Nigeria’s general elections that had been postponed by six weeks from the original date of February 14, 2015, according to revelations by several political and security sources.

After failing to gain traction with the floating a so-called government of national unity, Mr. Jonathan and his associates have placed renewed hope in persuading some top military generals to force another postponement of the elections, once again using insecurity as their ruse.

SaharaReporters had revealed through several reports that President Jonathan was set on invoking the climate of insecurity in Nigeria’s northeast to win a postponement of the elections. However, with members of his party admitting that Mr. Jonathan’s electoral fortunes remain dire, the president has been persuaded by hawks close to him to try a fresh tactic of using the uneasy military situation in the northeast to thwart the elections.

Our sources disclosed that the latest plot is being anchored by the National Security Adviser, retired Colonel Sambo Dasuki, who has virtually assumed the functions of the Minister of Defense, Aliyu Gusau. The minister of defense, Gusau who is the NSA’s in-law has been tipped to head an interim government in case it becomes a necessity. A military source told SaharaReporters that Mr. Sambo was now deploying his tremendous financial power to recruit top army generals into doing his bidding. Apart from the NSA, Petroleum Minister Diezani Alison Madueke and Governor Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo State were identified as the other important players in the latest risky gamble to further postpone elections.

READ: Suspected Fighter Jets Drop Boko Haram Flyers In Adamawa Again Warning Against Voting

Whilst Ms. Alison Madueke has been providing funds to finance the new plot, Governor Mimiko has been offering strategic advice on how to combat politicians within the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) who may be opposed to the scheme.

Our military sources said the evolving machination threatens to polarize the military as several mid-level officers are reported to be furious with their superiors who are warming up to the idea.

One source described President Jonathan as unperturbed by the clamor for elections, telling members of his kitchen cabinet that his decisions are based upon advice from army generals fighting against Boko Haram.

Although Nigeria’s military top brass had claimed that they would wipe out Boko Haram in six weeks, the evidence points to the reality that the Islamist terrorist group may be growing stronger and increasing its ability to strike against new targets. Recently, the Islamist insurgent group has launched a series of attacks on Gombe and Adamawa State, the latest state in the northeast. They have also captured a few more towns in Borno State.

The postponement of the election appears to have given Boko Haram militants a new boost. In a recent video released few days ago by its leader, Abubakar Shekau, the group talked about their disruption of the upcoming elections.

One security source said the latest plan to scuttle the elections would involve a deliberate effort to allow the security climate to worsen across Nigeria. One plank of the plan is to sponsor Niger Delta militants to cause havoc in the oil-rich delta region in the coming weeks. If the situation becomes dire enough, President Jonathan would then have grounds to declare a national emergency that would make elections impossible in March.

Recently, political thugs financed by Mrs. Patience Jonathan began shooting at opposition rallies held in Rivers State. Such politically-motivated attacks have also been planned for several other states of the federation to create an atmosphere that would get more Nigerians to accept the unviability of holding elections, according to several sources. “The goal by Mr. President is to achieve another postponement of the elections, but this time by six months,” a source familiar with the plot disclosed.

A source stated that the plan explained the fact that Nigeria’s security services have yet to schedule an inter-agency briefing with top officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to discuss a comprehensive strategy for guaranteeing security during the elections.

Mr. Jonathan’s military option is meant to proceed in tandem with a parallel plan to offer massive bribes to members of the National Assembly to win their support for a six-month extension of the tenure of his administration. Several lawmakers said they were aware of the plan, but added that there was little hope of a majority of legislators backing the plan.

In what represents a third plank of the plot, several cronies of Mr. Jonathan have filed or plan to file lawsuits aimed at scuttling the elections by seeking the disqualification of the APC’s presidential candidate, Muhammadu Buhari. At the latest count, some 11 lawsuits have been filed by persons or entities tied to Mr. Jonathan, including the government of Plateau State which has filed a case asking INEC to discard it current voters roll in favor of the one used in 2011.

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Jonathan Bribed Pastors with N7bn, Not N6bn – Pastor Dikwa Reveals

More facts appear to be emerging on the allegation by Rivers State Governor, Rotimi Amaechi, that President Goodluck Jonathan gave pastors across the country N6bn to vote against the Presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Maj-Gen. Muhammadu Buhari(retd.), in the presidential election.

A Borno-based Pastor, Kallamu Musa-Dikwa, said on Thursday that the money that was given to pastors by the President was actually N7bn and not N6bn as alleged by Amaechi, who doubles as the Director-General of the APC Presidential Campaign Organisation. Read full on Punch

 

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Suspected Fighter Jets Drop Boko Haram Flyers In Adamawa Again Warning Against Voting

Fighter jets which can only be military jets [that can be flying in Nigerian airspace] have been seen dropping Boko Haram propaganda flyers in Gombi, Adamawa state.

There was confusion in Gombi as the jets dropped flyers of a sort of Boko Haram splinter group as it appears, containing apology messages to the people but at the same time warning them once again to not go to the polls in the postponed March 28th general elections.

This is the second time in recent weeks that Boko Haram has distributed flyers warning northerners not to go to the polls. The last episode, Boko Haram surprisingly briefly captured Gombe town, Gombe state and distributed such flyers before leaving.

As the group is finally being defeated this last hour by the Jonathan government that sees the terminating of Boko Haram, critical to attempt to rescue an impending ruling party defeat, the group seems to be sending out last messages against the polls as the last duty in their ‘contract’.

Analysis of the messages showed spellings and pronunciations that appeared Nigerien or Chadian and not Nigerian Hausa.

The flyers were signed by towns, Gamboru, Damask and Alagamo.

In our earlier report, Boko Haram leader, “Abubakar Shekau” once again took the elections very seriously and swore that even if they die in the process, they will try to disrupt the elections.

Boko Haram making a quick run to distribute anti-voting flyers in Gombe town last week

It appears Boko Haram is very interested as with the ruling People’s Democratic Pary, PDP to shelve the elections that favor the anti-corruption opposition candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari.

Nigeria's Chief or Army, Kenneth Minimah

Boko Haram also appears hell-bent on trying to reduce the population who will go out to vote in Nigeria’s north. From recent rallies, the opposition has swept the north and has almost 90% support with about 74% support in the south of the nation, while the ruling party has had very little support in Nigeria and less still in the nation’s north.

Since the defeat of the ruling party became apparent with the February 14th presidential polls having had to be shifted by the ruling party to prevent an early defeat, Boko Haram seems to be aggressively promoting agenda to obstruct the democratic process including with videos and tweets on its new twitter handle and flyers distributed successfully in unusual locations in spite of the full military clampdown.

A rough translation is at bottom.

The latest letters are below:

IMG-20150219-WA0001

IMG-20150219-WA0002
IMG-20150219-WA0004

Translation
We started this jihad of Ahlis sunna lidda awati together as one. We sleep together, we eat and drink together. We studied the Holy Quran and prayed together in the early days of this Jihad. Those of us that are doing the work of God for the past 5yrs today. We have to realize today that we are being used for selfish and corrupt reasons. We have reached a situation whereby our leaders are enjoying and we are suffering in the name of jihad.

The Holy Quran in 8;61 has told us that the religion of islam of peace. Again the Holy Quran has been very clear on the rules of jihad in 2;190. And again in 6;151 that no one should kill and that life is sacred and it belongs to God.

Though we started good(in honor) with preaching and teaching rules of Islam. We have woken up today to burn villages and kill those who have done nothing to us especially Christians without any just cause. We have sent people away from their homes and villages. And we have killed Muslims even though the Quran has forbidden so in 4;-29-30. All the properties we found in those villages and towns were parked and sold on the streets of Ndjamena Chad, Bosso Niger, and Fotokol Cameroon. And the proceed went to their pockets calling themselves our leaders. even though its supposed to be for our jihad. And calling for more in destroying our country for no reason.

NR

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Prestigious Journalism Award for the Al Jazeera Three Jailed in Egypt

The UK’s prestigious Royal Television Society has presented its Judges’ Award to Al Jazeera’s Peter Greste, Baher Mohamed and Mohamed Fahmy.

The award is given to recognise their outstanding contribution to the advancement of television journalism.

The trio were put in prison by the Egyptian authorities on 29 December 2013. Greste was only finally released earlier this month, while the ordeal for Mohamed and Fahmy continues – they were bailed last week pending retrial.

In presenting the award, the RTS said: “Tonight the RTS recognises the three ‘brothers,’ as Peter has called them. The released one and two on bail. Peter Greste, Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed. Men who conducted themselves with enormous dignity and courage in the face of continued uncertainty about their fate.  And we also recognise the commitment of the people who have campaigned and continue to campaign for the release of the two on bail.”

Accepting the award on behalf of all three, Greste thanked his fellow news professionals: “I’d be willing to bet this award that journalists have never united around a single common cause in the way that they have ours. I know how important it has been.

“For us in prison, of course we knew a bit about it. We were aware of some of the demonstrations; we’d heard about the zip-the-lips campaign and the letters. We knew the subject was consistently coming up in news conferences and interviews. And most surprisingly, some of our most vocal supporters were our direct rivals like CNN and the BBC, who’d normally rather eat their own babies than acknowledge the opposition!

“At the personal level, it was hugely empowering. It helped put rods of steel into our spines, because we came to understand that this was about something far bigger than the three of us alone. It was about the universal principles of freedom of expression, about the public’s right to know. And we knew you were right there with us.”

 

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Former CBN Deputy Gov, Kinsgley Moghalu Appointed Professor at Tufts University’s Fletcher School

Kingsley Chiedu Moghalu, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Sogato Strategies LLC and former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, has been appointed a professor at Tufts University’s Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy in Boston, Massachusetts.

Dr. Moghalu will be the Professor of Practice in International Business and Public Policy effective July 1, 2015. He will teach a course on Emerging Africa in the World Economy in The Fletcher School’s Master of International Business (MIB) graduate degree program and the Institute for Business in the Global Context, focusing on the interplay between globalization, business and government.

“I am honored by this appointment by The Fletcher School, one of the world’s leading schools of international affairs, of which I also happen to be a proud alumnus” Moghalu said. “It demonstrates a recognition of the growing importance of Africa’s emerging markets in the global economy, and will perfectly compliment my work at Sogato Strategies, a global strategy and risk advisory firm with a focus on emerging markets”.

Sogato Strategies has offices in the United States, Switzerland and Nigeria, and provides bespoke advisory services to business corporations and government entities on investment climate, risk and strategy, corporate governance, institutional strategy and transformation, global partnerships, and strategic communications.

Kingsley Moghalu served as Deputy Governor of Nigeria’s central bank for a five-year term that he completed in November 2014. He led the implementation of far-reaching reforms to Nigeria’s banking sector as Deputy Governor for Financial Stability, and is the author of four books including the acclaimed Emerging Africa: How the Global Economy’s ‘Last Frontier’ Can Prosper and Matter (Penguin Books, 2014) and a forthcoming book on global banking reform.

Dr. Moghalu obtained his Ph.D. at the London School of Economics, an M.A. from The Fletcher School at Tufts University, the LL.B. degree from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, and the International Certificate in Risk Management at the UK Institute of Risk Management in London. Prior to his service at the Central Bank of Nigeria, he worked for the United Nations for 17 years and subsequently founded Sogato Strategies S.A. in Geneva, Switzerland in 2009.

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Kwara Speaker Mourns Colleague

The Speaker of Kwara State House of Assembly, Barrister Razak Atunwa has expressed deep shock over the death of Honorable Sulieman Sinaboro, the Chairman of House on Finance and Appropriation, Kwara State House of Assembly, who passed away after brief illness.

Barr. Atunwa in a statement signed by his Media Office described the passing away of the lawmaker as a shocking and horrific tragedy that leaves a painful memory to the entire Kwara community.

“It was with great distress and sadness that I learned about the tragic event of the death of Hon. Sulieman Sinaboro. He was my friend and colleague, a very humble, committed and disciplined lawmaker who ensured the wellbeing of Kwarans comes first in his services to the state. The weight of his death cannot be quantified, because of the smart touch of professional wisdom he applies in managing the House Committee on Finance and Appropriation” he stated.

Further speaking, he said the demise of the lawmaker isn’t  a loss to Kwara Assembly alone, but a loss to the whole state. “His immense contribution to the progress of Kwara will always be remembered. In his death, the state has lost a lawmaker who was always in touch with the grassroots” he added.

Barr. Razak Atunwa sympathized with the Emir of Ilesha Baruba and the entire people of Ilesha/Gwanara constituency  . In a visitation to the families of the deceased, Atunwa conveyed his expression of deepest sympathy, support and solidarity to the families of Hon. Sulieman Sinaboro and prayed Almighty Allah grant them the strength to bear the loss.

 

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Elections: Any Further Shift From March 28 Is Unconstitutional, But… – Jega

Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Professor Attahiru Jega yesterday declared that any further shift of the general elections from the March 28 rescheduled date is unconstitutional.”I don’t see how anyone would contemplate shifting the elections now because it is unconstitutional.Our hope and prayer is that in the next six weeks, things will improve and there would be elections”, he declared when he appeared before the Senate today. The electoral Commission had shifted the elections from February 14 and 28 to March 28 and April 11 in controversial circumstances.

While asked by Senate minority leaders, George Akume to give a guarantee that the new polls dates of March 28 and April 11 remain sacrosanct, Jega said the answer to that can only be provided by ‘appropriate quarters.’

“There are things that are under the control of the Commission and there are things not under our control. What’s not under our control, it’s futile, fruitless to give guarantee on things not under our control. I think that question should be directed appropriately”, he added, stressing that the Commission had already foreclosed the possibility of using temporary voters cards (TVCs) and remains committed to using only the Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs).

 He also explained that the PVC has a 10-year life span and “can be used for the 2019 general elections,” and also insisted that neither the Electoral Act nor the 1999 Constitution prohibits the Commission from using the card reader. “Nothing says you cannot use electronic devices during the voting process”, he stated.

The INEC chairman, who had an interactive session which spanned three hours and 35 minutes, also disclosed that over four million people who were caught in multiple registrations and electoral offences have been removed from the voters’ register. He told the Senate that although 75.9 percent of voters for the general elections have collected the Permanent Voters Cards (PVC), 800,000 to 1 million cards are yet to be produced.

He also informed lawmakers that the postponement of the election is a blessing in disguise as all PVCs could now be produced and distributed to voters. Shortly after Senate resumed for plenary, Senate Leader Victor Ndoma-Egba (SAN) moved a motion through Order 17 to allow Jega and his entourage enter the chamber.

The motion approved, after introductory remarks from Senate President David Mark, Jega informed Senators that the Commission received a letter from the National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, who wrote on behalf of the nation’s security chiefs and asked for the six weeks extension since they could not provide security for the polls.

On the card readers, Jega disclosed that a test pilot was done in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and 13 states of the federation with some of the INEC Commissioners as coordinators.

In reaction to a question from a Senator, Jega insisted that purchase of PVCs by politicians is a criminal offence even though he reiterated that such cards are useless as they cannot be used for the elections.

The card reader, he said, has provision for verification of thumb-printing of the owner with an embedded chip with details of the voter. “If the PVC cannot be read by the card reader 99.9 percent, then, it’s a cloned card. The PVC is a simple device which operates on battery. When fully charged, it lasts for 12 hours. From our tests, the likelihood of failure of our card reader is minimal”, he stressed.

The electoral boss also said that through the test run of the card reader, the battery does not run down because when it is not in use, “it goes on safe-mode.” He, however, noted that the problem with PVCs is not that of production but that of collection as the voting public has left them uncollected for too late.

“Buying of PVCs by politicians is useless, we are producing and replacing snatched or stolen PVCs because it is useless for whoever has stolen or snatched or purchased one.

“If you allow TVCs, they will come to the polling area, wave their TVCs and insist on voting. We’ve already made progress, there’s no reason to use TVC. Only people with PVC will be able to vote”, he stated further.

Speaking on the modalities of using the card reader, Jega said each card reader, which was designed by the Commission was built in China and tested in the United States of America.

He also said that the card reader has been programmed in such a way that if any voter comes after the accreditation period, it will not work. He added: “Every card reader is configured to a particular polling unit. During elections, we configure the card reader to that particular polling unit before taking it there.

“That’s why we said we will use this period of extension to do additional tests. We do have a comfort level and we feel comfortable that these card readers can be used and they can  add value to the electoral process. It cannot be perfect, it may not read every finger and that’s why we agreed with the political parties that if it doesn’t read a finger, what do you do?

“We are buying about 182, 000 card readers. Some of them will not work. There’s what they call dead on arrival from the factory and there’s always a percentage that you have to give for that. As I speak with you, of the total number of card readers we ordered and configured, only 503 have failed which is what you can call dead on arrival. So, we have acceptable margins.”

He also disclosed that for the first time since voting started in Nigeria, this year,  national voting demographics, including the number of women, men, rural and urban voters, voters between 18 years to 30 years would now known through the card readers and made public.

He told the lawmakers that inability of electoral officers to use the card reader is a criminal offence for which there are appropriate sanctions. For the accreditation process, only a minimum of 10 seconds and 30 seconds are required per voter, he said in response to a question from Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe.

Jega also affirmed that internally displaced persons (IDPs) as a result of the insurgency in the North east would be allowed to vote. “On the IDPs in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states, there are more people living in host communities than in camps. There are designated polling stations that are placed outside the camps so as to enable people vote. If stakeholders feel there’s more security inside than outside, then, we are prepared to go with them.”

In his closing remarks at the interactive session with Jega, Mark urged the electoral commission to conduct elections that would be universally acceptable. “We hope that INEC would take the best decision on the election and conduct an election that would acceptable. Those of us who are standing for elections in this chamber would also want free, fair and credible elections.

“Nobody seated here, I can tell you that, wants to come back through the back door. As I said at the beginning, it is for us to assist you to conduct a free, fair and credible election and whatever we can do between now and the date you’ve chosen for the election, please, don’t hesitate to come back to us.”

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Fayemi’s Wife Did not Donate Drugs to Buhari’s Campaign…Fayose’s Aides Behind EJG Allegations

The attention of the Wife of the immediate past governor of Ekiti State, Erelu Bisi Fayemi has been drawn to an allegation by a faceless group, operating under the unregisteredname: Ekiti Justice Group (EJG) –  that she donated drugs  worth N57.34m to the campaign of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari.

The so-called EJG claimed among other things that the purported drugs was sourced from a European Donor Agency last year August for Ekiti Free Health Mission, but was diverted for the APC campaign in January, 2015.

Ordinarily, it wouldn’t have been necessary to dignify the spurious allegations of the group with a response coming on the heels of an earlier false claim about the Governor’s so-called donation to the Buhari campaign. However, for the sake of the general public and gullible readers who might have been deceived into believing the malicious publication, it is important to state as follows:

That the allegations are baseless and shamelessly concocted by the propaganda arm of the PDP- led government in the state to tarnish the good image of the former administration in the state.

That on no occasion did any European Donor Agency supply any drugs to the Ekiti Free Health Mission. Neither did any agency donate any drugs to Ekiti Health Mission throughout Dr Fayemi’s tenure in office;

That on no occasion did Mrs Fayemi donate drugs to the APC Campaign. Even while her husband served as the Chief Executive of the state, Mrs Fayemi was not directly involved in the Free Health Mission programme.

That Mrs Fayemi has over the past three decades been involved in gender and youth development programmes locally and globally, and has continued to identify publicly with any positive actions towards this. Hence she has no reason to deny  her contributions to a good cause such as donation of drugs to the needy in the society if she actually did.

Members of the society are therefore enjoined to disregard the allegations, which areblatant lies issued on a daily basis by the government of Mr Ayodele Fayose, through the office of his Special Assistant on (mis)Information with the intent to divert attention from the government’s ineptitude, corruption and directionlessness.

Investigations have shown that the EJG exists only at the Information Unit of the Governor’s Office and that the aides of the Governor are the officials of the faceless group using different pseudonyms.

These aides of the Governor are the same people that came up with the lies that former Governor Fayemi made a donation of N1.5b to the APC Presidential campaign. They also went ahead to circulate leaflets containing that malicious allegation to civil servants during a meeting called by Governor Fayose with the workers in Ado-Ekiti, last week. They are also the same people behind the scurrilous Al-Hikmah advert campaigns in various national dailies.

Those who unwittingly or deliberately help Mr Fayose spread this falsehood should know that appropriate legal steps are being taken against such libelous publications. Dr Fayemi is always ready to clarify any issue in relation to his time in office should such clarification be necessary.

Only a discredited government like we currently have in Ekiti State would elevate falsehood to a state policy, all in the bid to mislead the people and cover up the misdeeds of the administration.

 

Olayinka Oyebode

Chief Press Secretary to Dr Kayode Fayemi

 

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Nigerian Troops Kill Over 300 Boko Haram Insurgents, Recover Sophisticated Weapons, DHQ Claims

Nigerian forces have killed more than 300 Boko Haram fighters during an operation to recapture 11 towns and villages since the start of the week, the military said on Wednesday, as regional neighbours also pounded the militants.

“Weapons and equipment were also captured and some destroyed,” defence spokesman Major-General Chris Olukolade said in a statement. “However, two soldiers lost their lives while 10 others were wounded,” he added.

It was not possible to independently verify the military’s statement. Nigerian forces have in past been accused of overstating enemy casualties while greatly understating their own and those of civilians caught in the crossfire.

The statement reads:

Mopping up operation of some of the communities where terrorists have been cleared in the course of ongoing air and land operations against terrorists has indicated massive casualty inflicted on them within the last two days of the counter terrorists operations.  Over 300 terrorists were killed while a few were also captured.  Several weapons and equipment were also captured and some destroyed.

It has been confirmed that that 5 different types of armoured fighting vehicles, an anti-aircraft gun, about 50 cases of packed bombs and 8 different types of Machine Guns, 5 Rocket Propelled Grenade, 49 boxes of various types and calibres of ammunition as well as 300 motorcycles destroyed in the fighting.  A total of 6 Hilux vehicles including those mounted with anti-aircraft guns were also destroyed. However, 2 soldiers lost their lives while 10 others were wounded in the course of the operation.

The cordon and search operations is continuing along with aggressive patrols by troops who are now dominating the cleared communities such as Monguno, Gabchari, Abba Jabari, Zuntur, Gajigana, Gajiram, Damakar, Kumaliwa, Bosso Wanti, Jeram and Kabrisungul. The various phases of the highly coordinated air and land operations is also ongoing in the designated theaters being handled by contingents involved in the renewed counter terrorism campaign in and outside Nigeria.

CHRIS OLUKOLADE
Major General
Director Defence Information

 

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Buhari at Lent, Urges Reflections for Peace

Abuja, Nigeria, 18 Feb 2015: The presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), General Muhammadu Buhari has called on Nigerians to use this season of penance to reflect, meditate and pray to God for peace and the rebuilding of our nation.

Buhari made this appeal in a Lenten message to Nigerian Christians, as they joined other Christians worldwide in observing the annual period of repentance, sacrifice, fasting, prayers and almsgiving for the forgiveness of sins and spiritual revival.

“My dear brothers and sisters, as we pray daily for mercy from God, let these 40 days be for us, a greater opportunity to change our ways and our hearts so that God can heal our land; which is in dire need of leaders and citizens who will show love and care for the poor and the rejected in our midst, for whom, Jesus Christ also sacrificed and died for.

“Let us abhor discriminations in our country on the grounds of ethnicity, religion, gender and political orientation and work for a united, peaceful and progressive Nigeria where few men and women will no longer have the pleasure and privilege to deprive the majority of our common wealth.

“As you observe this very important spiritual exercise, I will also join you in prayers to God for the strength you need to go through this season and for the forgiveness of the sins we all have committed against God and humanity.”

Signed:

General Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR

 

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Nigerian Govt Accuses New York Times of Working for the Opposition

Nigeria’s Ambassador to the United States, Ade Adefuye, on Tuesday faulted an editorial published by the New York Times on the postponement of the general elections in Nigeria.

“I was shocked and disappointed to read your editorial of Feb.16 titled ‘Nigeria Miserable Choices’ because it distorted and omitted important facts,” he said in a statement on Tuesday.

The publication had in its editorial said the main reason Nigeria’s elections were postponed was to frustrate Muhammadu Buhari, the presidential candidate of the opposition All Progressives Congress.

See: “Nigeria’s Miserable Choices”: New York Times Slams President Jonathan Over “Extra Time” to Fight Boko Haram

Mr. Adefuye explained that the decision to postpone the election was made by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, and not by President Goodluck Jonathan.

“The election management body has always been allowed a freehand in conduct of its activities including the time table for the elections. In arriving at the decision to postpone the elections, INEC chief, Prof. Jega, said ‘no one pressurised INEC to take the decision,” the ambassador said.

He said in arriving at the decision, the commission took into consideration the prevailing situation in the country in the build up to the Feb. 14 earlier scheduled for the commencement of the elections.

According to him, the issues involved included distribution of the permanent voter cards, card readers and security.

He said the issues were acknowledged in a research conducted by the U.S.-based National Democratic Institute and the International Republic Institute after a four-week stay in Nigeria.

“The research was sponsored by the U.S. State Department and has been published; it is surprising that The New York Times is not aware or chose to ignore this report,” he said.

Mr. Adefuye argued that Boko Haram constituted a serious threat to the country and that government had in the recent past made appreciable progress in tackling the problem.

“Boko Haram will soon be a thing of the past. It is simply not practicable to be fighting Boko Haram and be providing the security necessary for the elections. It is very clear that this editorial of yours was motivated by bias and ignorance both of which are inexcusable,” he said.

 

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We Will Not Retrench Workers; Governor Ahmed Assures Labour Congress

Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed has described workers as the engine room for service delivery by any government. This assertion was made at the governorship interactive session organized by the Joint Kwara Labour Congress of the NLC and the TUC yesterday where the governor enthusiastically entertained series of questions and rubbed mind with the workers of the state.

It was never a surprise as the workers prioritized matters concerning them during the course of the debate. The very first question put to the governor thus was about the retrenchment of workers in the State.

The governor in his response spoke convincingly on the significance of workers in the development of any nation. He reiterated that in recognition of their service and commitment to nation building, every government must intensify efforts to keep them happy un-interruptedly.

In his bid of justification, he explained that every single worker is symbolically a stem with numbers of branches depending on him. Retrenching him in an undue course therefore will not bring havoc to him alone, but also cause a great dismay to his dependants.

Ahmed maintained that retrenchment is a tyrannical approach inherited from the military. He seriously condemned and described it non-democratic. He however, related reasons that are capable of causing such catastrophe to poor financial capacity of the state, expatiating on how downfall has over the years struck the state allocation from, and other responsibilities of the federal government.

In his way forward analysis, the governor elaborated how his administration has been taking care of the situation by sourcing funds from its internal revenue to cater for the cumbersome responsibilities of the administration. He emphasized that areas been affected by the horrid behaviour of the federal government towards the state and other tiers are so much devastating that only a proficient government can survive, and device alternative means to it.

“In the face of all challenges, our government will never fail the people or show any ineptitude concerning every matter that affects them. Rather, we will continue to strive to meet up with their needs and ensure our targets are met as a government” Ahmed re-assures.

He finally urged the workers to re-exhibit their progressive character in the forthcoming election and never play a partisan politics, as he enjoined the entire public to make sure their votes count for the right person of their choice in a non-violence manner.

 

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