Thursday, November 12, 2015

Key figures in Nigeria’s new cabinet

Here are some of the key figures in Nigeria’s new cabinet, which was announced yesterday, Wednesday, more than five months after President Muhammadu Buhari assumed office as The Grand Commander in Chief, Federal Republic of Nigeria:

– Kemi Adeosun (finance) –

The 48-year-old was born and raised in London, where she studied economics and public financial management, going on to become a senior manager at PricewaterhouseCoopers.
A trained accountant, she was until recently finance commissioner in the southwest Nigerian state of Ogun, where she was credited with turning around public finances.
Before that she was managing director at Nigerian investment bank Chapel Hill Denham, according to her LinkedIn profile.
She lacks the high profile of her predecessor, former World Bank executiveNgozi Okonjo-Iweala, but is said to be a reformist and high on integrity — a key quality Buhari is trying to push.

– Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu (petroleum resources) –

Kachikwu, 58, was appointed in August as the group managing director of theNigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and immediately tasked with overhauling the notoriously opaque firm.
The lawyer and former ExxonMobil executive was seen as a shoe-in for the junior oil minister’s post after Buhari announced he would take personal charge of the oil portfolio.
He has already brought dramatic changes to the corruption-ridden NNPC, ordering a forensic audit of its accounts and the publication of oil receipts for the first time.
He has pledged to bring transparency and accountability to the state-run NNPC’soperations and trimmed senior management positions.
“Things have been done wrongly and things need to be done differently,” he said recently.

– Muhammad Mansur Dan-Ali (defence) –

Retired Brigadier-General Muhammad Mansur Dan-Ali, from Zamfara state in northwest Nigeria, is a career soldier who rose through the ranks to hold several posts, including artillery commander.
The 56-year-old also commanded a Nigerian battalion as part of a UN mission inSudan as well as being an instructor at the Nigerian Defence Academy in Abuja.
Dan-Ali, who retired from military service in 2013, takes over the defence portfolio as troops seek to rout Boko Haram by year end.
Six years of Islamist violence has left at least 17,000 dead in Nigeria‘s northeast and made more than 2.5 million people homeless, while under the previous administration military morale was dented.

– Abdulrahman Dambazau (interior) –

Retired Lieutenant-General Abdulrahman Bello Dambazau, 61, was chief of army staff under former president Umaru Yar’Adua from 2008 to 2010 and had been tipped for the defence portfolio.
But the US-trained former soldier, who holds degrees in criminal justice, international relations and criminology can bring a wealth of expertise and experience to the role.
He was a part-time criminology lecturer at the law faculty of Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria, Kaduna, and has authored several books both on the military and criminal law.
Dambazau was on active service when Buhari was military ruler in the 1980s and headed the security committee of the now-defunct Congress for Progressive Change when Buhari was its presidential candidate in 2011.
He was also head of intelligence and security for the All Progressives Congress(APC), which now governs Nigeria at federal level.

– Geoffrey Onyeama (foreign affairs) –

The 59-year-old graduated in political science from Columbia University in New York in 1977, and also has degrees in law from the London School of Economics and from Cambridge.
Between 1986 and 1996, Onyeama, a qualified barrister in Britain and Nigeria, was an intellectual property specialist who has worked extensively with theUnited Nations on development in Africa.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Nigerian News: Why tribunal sacked Taraba governor

It is not the best of times for the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, ‎as the ‎Taraba State Election Petition Tribunal, yesterday, ‎sacked Governor Darius Ishaku, its candidate in the April 11 gubernatorial poll, from office.‎‎

‎The tribunal, ‎which sat at the Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal, in a unanimous judgment by a three-man panel of judges, ‎yesterday, declared Senator Aisha Jumai Alhassan‎ of the ‎All Progressives Congress, APC, ‎as the winner of the poll.
In the meantime, Aisha Alhassan is one of the 37 ministers-designate expected to be sworn-in by President Muhammadu Buhari next week.
The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, had concluded the Taraba State governorship election on ‎April 25, after the initial poll was declared inconclusive.‎
In its judgment, the Justice Musa Danladi Abubakar-led tribunal said it was satisfied that Ishaku was not validly nominated by the PDP to contest the election.

The tribunal maintained that there was overwhelming evidence that the PDP in Taraba sidelined the provisions of the Electoral Act 2010, and the 1999‎ Constitution, as amended, when it decided to hold the primary election that produced Ishaku as its candidate in Abuja instead of Jalingo, the state capital.
 It held that the purported nomination of the governor for the election, without a valid primary election monitored by INEC, was in breach of Sections 85, 87 and 138(1) of the Electoral Act 2010, as well as Section 177 of the 1999 Constitution, as amended.
The tribunal stressed that the governorship primary election, the PDP held at its National Headquarters in Abuja, on December 11, 2014, was not known to the law and was, therefore, invalid.

Besides, the panel held that the PDP failed to give cogent and verifiable reason why it decided to hold the said primary election in Abuja without the consent of  INEC.
According to the tribunal, it is a fundamental law in Nigeria that a candidate for an elective position must be duly nominated and sponsored by a registered political party before the candidature of such person could be deemed to be legally valid.

Ishaku-AlhassanIt said that the proof of evidence, adduced before it by all the parties, showed that the PDP did not conduct a valid primary election that could have led to the emergence of anybody as its sponsored candidate for the governorship contest.
Besides, the tribunal noted that INEC ‎confirmed that it was not part of the primary election that produced Ishaku as the PDP candidate, saying Section 85 of the Electoral Act made it mandatory that PDP must give the electoral body 21 days notice before it could hold a convention or primary to nominate its governorship candidate.
 Consequently, the tribunal held that, in view of the fact that Ishaku was not sponsored by any known registered political party in Nigeria, he could not lay claim to votes cast for any political party at the April 11 election nor could he claim that he took part in the poll as an independent candidate.
Declaring all the votes Ishaku secured at the election as invalid, the tribunal, ordered that the APC candidate, Alhassan, having scored the second highest votes at the poll, be sworn-in as the winner of the governorship election in Taraba State.‎
It directed INEC to immediately withdraw the certificate of return it issued to Ishaku and issue a fresh one to Alhassan.
The tribunal said it was not unaware of the portion of the law that forbade it from directing the governor to vacate his seat. However, it said that, in the instant case, it had the power ‎to remove the PDP governor on the grounds of his non-qualification to participate in the poll.‎
Earlier, the tribunal dismissed the allegation by the APC and its candidate that the Taraba governorship election was marred by over-voting.
The petitioners had contended that the number of votes recorded during the election far exceeded the number of voters accredited by the card reader machines.
It was the position of the tribunal that mere reliance on data captured by the card readers was not sufficient for the petitioners to prove that there was over voting.

Likewise, the tribunal dismissed four separate preliminary objections that challenged it’s jurisdiction to entertain the petition as well as the locus standi of the petitioners to file same.
The APC and its candidate, Alhassan, had gone before the tribunal to challenge the victory of Ishaku of the PDP at the polls.
The petitioners prayed the tribunal to void the governorship poll for corrupt practices and substantial non-compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act 2010, as amended.
They also urged the tribunal to disqualify the 1st respondent, Ishaku, and hold that all votes credited to him during the election were “wasted and thrown away votes”.
The petitioners through their lead counsel, Mr. Abiodun Owonikoko, SAN, told the tribunal: “Contrary to the provisions of Section 85 of the Electoral Act, which requires the service of at least 21 days to INEC before the holding of congress for the conduct of primary election, the 2nd respondent (PDP) only delivered their notice to INEC on December 11, 2014, at exactly 6:04pm and held the purported primaries on the same day. This was apparently after they has conducted the said primary.
“That in defiance of the requirement of Section 87 of the Electoral Act, the 2nd respondent held the purported primary at Abuja as against Jalingo, Taraba State capital.
“That relying on their earlier notice to INEC for the holding of the primary at the Taraba State capital, INEC (3rd respondent) sent their monitoring team to observe the primary election on December 8, 2014, but the congress did not hold without any explanation from the party.
“That in flagrant disregard to the demand of the Electoral Act 2010, the 1st and 2nd respondents held their primary in Abuja without approval from INEC.
“That by reason of paragraphs i, ii, iii, and iv above, the 1st respondent was not duly sponsored by his political party as required under section 177(c) of the 1999 constitution nor duly sponsored, the 1st respondent is/was not qualified to have contested the gubernatorial election that held in Taraba State on April 11 and 25, 2015”.

Ishaku has a maximum of 21 days to appeal the ‎judgment of the tribunal.

PDP blames Buhari
Reacting to the verdict, last night, the PDP leadership described it as a plot by Buhari to use all means, especially the tribunals, to decimate the opposition.
According to the party, the judgment was an evidence of executive interference in the judiciary.

The PDP was, however, optimistic that the Court of Appeal would restore its “mandate”.
In a statement by the PDP National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh, the party noted that the reason given by the tribunal for arriving at what it described as the bizarre decision was intriguing and further exposes the contradictions and double standards inherent in most tribunal rulings against PDP interests recently.

APC hails verdict
But the National Women Leader of the APC, Hajia Ramatu Aliyu, asked Nigerian women to support the judgment, describing it as a watershed.
Aliyu, in a statement, said the judiciary displayed  boldness and unfettered commitment to the sacred principles of honour, good conscience and truth.
She said: ”It is a clear affirmation that no matter how long it takes, never will the verdict of the people during elections be manipulated against their popular choice as expressed through the ballot box. Indeed, by the ruling, it has been proven that  true democracy, sovereignty ultimately resides with the inviolable will of the people.
”I call on Nigerian women to rally support for the Tribunal’s ruling, especially in the circumstances that it remains a priceless watershed in our political history for our great Party to produce the first elected female Governor in Nigeria as desired and manifestly by the electorate in Taraba State.
”I exhort the Judiciary to remain alive to its avowed commitment to dispensing justice to all, man or woman, rich or poor, without fear or favour especially, in our collective effort to enthrone and sustain an enduring constitutional democracy rooted in free and fair elections.,respect for the rule of law and the wishes of the people.”


Riches of HIS Grace

Ephisians 1 : 6 – 9

The important thing that sustains Christians is GRACE.
When Grace comes, many other things, like riches accompany it.
There is nothing that helps like grace. Why did other people try out something but failed? It’s because of grace that you succeeded where others failed.
God says that HIS grace is here. HE said that HIS grace is sufficient. A man with grace doesn’t suffer or struggle alone. Anything he does, grace steps in. Grace is accompanied by salvation. Know that if one misses salvation, which is totally free, the person will be speechless in the presence of GOD.
Titus 2 : 11
“For the grace of GOD has brought salvation to all”. But is salvation found with everyone?
Are you saved?
No matter how bad it is, when heaven come, salvation gets ushered in. Paul testified that he used to be a killer, but salvation came to him and he was saved.
-        Grace gives way to favour.
Look at Mary the mother of Jesus. The Angel confirmed that she was favoured. Nothing profits men as the grace of GOD, for it gives way to favour.
Look at Esther. Even in strange land with over 120 villages in the province, she got favoured to become the queen. The former queen was filled with pride. Are you aware of the fact that “He resists the proud but gives grace to the humble”?  From now on, humble yourself that you may be uplifted. Through humility, the day of upliftment came to Esther. The grace was before Esther. Have you asked, who would have recommended Esther for that position, as poor as she was?
Look at the Jews, GOD used the same Esther to liberate them.

Your status or beauty is not important here, all we need is Jesus in your life. Esther remembered grace that lifted her from dust to throne. She fasted. Then, prayers broke protocols.

Where your strength ends, grace will take over.
-        Gift of the Holy Ghost.
Spiritual gifts.  In Acts, it was recorded that the same Peter that denied Jesus Christ preached with boldness, after the reception of Holy Spirit.

GOD Bless you.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Abuja to Host Next CAF Gala Awards

ABUJA, Nigeria's Capital will host the next Confederation of African Football (CAF) awards gala dinner.

The event, the biggest of such gathering in the African football calendar, is scheduled for January 7.

It will be returning a year after it was held in Lagos.

During the event, footballers, coaches, teams and officials who distinguished themselves during the ongoing year will be honoured.

The biggest accolade will be the African Player of the Year and African Player of the Year (Based in Africa).
The winner will be decided by votes of the Coaches or Technical Directors of the National Associations affiliated to CAF.

The nominees for the African Player of the Year are André Ayew (Ghana & Swansea), Aymen Abdennour (Tunisia, Valencia), Mudather Eltaib Ibrahim 'Karika' (Sudan, El Hilal) and Mohamed Salah (Egypt, Roma).

Others nominated are Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Gabon, Borussia Dortmund), Sadio Mané (Senegal, Southampton), Serge Aurier (Cote d'Ivoire, Paris Saint Germain), Sofiane Feghouli (Algeria, Valencia), Yacine Brahimi ( Algeria, Porto) and Yaya Touré (Cote d'Ivoire,Manchester City (reigning).

nominated for the African Player of the - Year Based in Africa are Abdeladim Khadrouf (Morocco, Moghreb Tetouan), Baghdad Bounedjah ( Algeria, Etoile du Sahel), Felipe Ovono (Equatorial Guinea, Orlando Pirates) and Kermit Erasmus (South Africa, Orlando Pirates).

Mbwana Aly Samatta (Tanzania, TP Mazembe), Mohamed Meftah ( Algeria, USM Alger), Mudather Eltaib Ibrahim 'Karika' (Sudan, El Hilal), Robert Kidiaba Muteba ( DR Congo, TP Mazembe), Roger Assalé (Cote d'Ivoire, TP Mazembe) and Zineddine Ferhat (Algeria, USM Alger) are also nominated.

All Africa

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Diezani: EFCC seizes associates’ bullet-proof cars

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has seized bullet-proof vehicles, huge cash and jewellery from five prominent Nigerians fingered in the money laundering allegation against former Petroleum Resources Minister Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke.

EFCC and its British counterpart, National Crime Agency (NCA), are probing the suspects for allegedly conniving with Alison-Madueke to commit the crime, it was learnt yesterday.

The former minister was arrested in London on October 2 for alleged money laundering, bribery and corruption.

EFCC has restricted the movement of the ”high-profile” suspects to Nigeria, pending the conclusion of investigation.

Some of them may be extradited to the United Kingdom (UK), if the former minister is going to face trial.According to investigation, EFCC is still searching the companies and homes of more suspects linked with the former minister, following fresh clues.

Most of the areas under surveillance are in Abuja and Lagos.

A top source said: ‘’It is too early to declare whether they are guilty or not. But in line with international best practices, the EFCC has invoked the assets forfeiture clause in its Act to seize some choice bullet-proof vehicles, huge cash and jewellery from these suspects.

‘’The movement of the affected suspects has also been restricted to Nigeria pending the conclusion of investigation.

‘’The case at hand involves a high-net worth syndicate with tentacles across the strata of the society. But we are already cracking the investigation.’’

Asked if the suspects will be tried in Nigeria, the source added: ‘’It is uncertain or remote because the NCA has initiated a process in the UK, we will not want to duplicate the process.

‘’ If necessary, some of the suspects might be extradited to the UK for trial. This depends on NCA because EFCC is only collaborating with the agency.’’

It was learnt that some NCA officials are in the country to work with EFCC on the case.
A source said: ‘’Some officials of the NCA are in the country for collaboration with the EFCC on this investigation of the allegations against the ex-minister.

‘’The EFCC has more knowledge of the terrain than the NCA in tracking down some of these suspects.’’
Neither the EFCC nor the NCA was willing to speak on record last night.

Alison-Madueke and four others have been under investigation. On October 2, they appeared before the NCA team in the UK.

The names of the four remaining suspects are being kept under wraps in ‘’order not to jeopardise investigation.’’
The Nation

NNPC sells 35% crude for its use – NEITI

Out of the 445,000 barrels of crude oil allocated daily to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, the firm sells about 35 per cent (155,750bpd) to meet its own needs, the Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative has said.

According to NEITI, crude oil allocation to the NNPC should be reduced since the country’s refineries are performing far below expectation.
The agency’s out-going Executive Secretary, who is a minister-designate of the Federal Government, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, disclosed this during the handing-over event at the organisation’s headquarters in Abuja as yesterday.

Crude oil price on Tuesday, according to the Central Bank of Nigeria, was $48.61 per barrel. If the NNPC exports about 155,750bpd (35 per cent) of its crude allocation for its own account, it means that the corporation may be spending about $7.56m or N1.5bn daily to meet its private needs.

Ahmed said, “We need to address the issue of domestic crude allocation. The domestic crude allocated to the NNPC is supposed to be used for local refining in our four refineries. But the refineries, over time, have been operating far below their refining capacities. May be there is a little improvement now, but it is very far below their total capacities; it is not yet up to 20 per cent.

“And the national oil company ends up going into swap agreements, oil processing agreements, using our crude oil and sending it to refineries outside our country so that the refined products come to Nigeria. My advice is that we should reduce the amount of crude oil that we allocate to the NNPC. Because when the crude oil is allocated, 20, 28 or even 30 per cent is refined and about 30 to 35 per cent of it is exported for NNPC’s own account.

“So, if we reduce what we allocate to the NNPC based on its refining capacity, you will encourage more capacity development for the refineries themselves. In the past, the revenue from the sale of domestic crude oil served as the major means of financing the NNPC’s operations. So, if we reduce that, the NNPC will have to look for some other ways to finance its operations and therefore it will be forced to become more efficient.”

Ahmed stated that Nigeria also needed to vigorously review and examine the management of fuel subsidy, stressing that it was open knowledge that the scheme had been fraught with corruption and was simply a drain on the economy.

Although she admitted that subsidy on petrol was a kind of service, which the country should provide tothe citizens, Ahmed was quick to state that the scheme had not served the interest of the majority of Nigerians.


Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Why EFCC Declared Ex-Pension Chief Maina Wanted

THE Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) yesterday declared the former Pension Reform Task Team’s Chairman, Mr. Abdulrsheed Maina, wanted.

A statement by the Head of Media and Publicity of EFCC, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, said Maina is wanted for his alleged role in the fraudulent biometric contracts through which he and former Head of Service Steve Oronsaye and two others allegedly mismanaged over N2 billion of pension funds.

The statement said: “Maina was on July 21, 2015 charged alongside Oronsaye , Osarenkhoe Afe and Fredrick HamiltonbGlobal Services Limited before a Federal High Court on a 24-count charge bordering on procurement fraud and obtaining by false pretence.
“While Oronsaye and two others were in court and pleaded not guilty to the charge, Maina had been at large.

“However on July 21 when the court heard the bail applications of the accused persons, Maina through his counsel, Esther Uzoma, told the court that he was not at large, claiming that the EFCC had never invited him.
“Consequently, EFCC counsel, Rotimi Jacobs, SAN, pleaded with the court to prevail on the accused’s counsel to produce Maina in court as the commission had no clues as to his whereabouts.

“The court granted Rotimi’s prayers. Yet Maina continued to shun court proceedings, leaving the commission with no option than to declare him wanted.

“Indeed, since the commission filed charges against Maina, more damning evidence have emerged on how the ebullient former Pension Task Team boss siphoned pension funds using secret accounts in a new generation bank in Abuja.

“Two officers of the bank were quizzed two weeks ago. Commission’s sources said they made damning revelations of several opaque transactions through which Maina allegedly lined his pockets at the expense of thousands of hapless pensioners.”

The commission implored anyone with information on Maina’s whereabouts to contact any of its offices in Lagos, Abuja, Gombe, Kano, Port Harcourt and Enugu or report at the nearest police station.