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Sunday, 30 March 2014

DICKSON CARPETS JONATHAN’S CRITICS OVER ALLEGED LEADERSHIP FAILURE …..SOLICITS SUPPORT FOR TRANSFORMATION AGENDA

DICKSON CARPETS JONATHAN’S CRITICS OVER ALLEGED LEADERSHIP FAILURE
…..SOLICITS SUPPORT FOR TRANSFORMATION AGENDA
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30/03/2014

Bayelsa State Governor, Hon. Seriake Dickson at the weekend in Yenagoa carpeted critics of President Goodluck Jonathan, especially members of the opposition parties, over an alleged leadership failure arguing that Nigeria’s political woes and security challenges predated the present administration.

He, however, solicited the support of the various professional bodies and political class to enable President Jonathan achieve his lofty ambition of transforming the Country.

Absolving the President of the blame of the alleged leadership failure being harped on by the opposing political parties, the Governor at a one-day summit organized by the Nigerian Young Professionals maintained that the problem started accumulating right from the foundation days of the nation, adding that rather than castigating the person of Mr. President, he should be commended for mustering the needed political will and courage in addressing the myriad of challenges facing the Country.

Speaking through his Principal Executive Secretary, Hon. Douye Diri; the Governor submitted that as a group of professionals, they owed the nation a duty of setting an economic agenda aimed at repositioning the Country in line with the present administration’s Transformation Agenda.

Amalgamation of the Northern and Southern protectorates in 1914, according to the Governor, is not a mistake, rather, people should see it as a platform to promote unity, oneness and equity, as it is the only way to move the nation forward.

He posited further: “Some say the amalgamation of this County in 1914 which is now 100 years is a mistake. Well, everybody is entitled to his or her own opinion. But, even if this marriage is faulty, I don’t think the call for separation is the best option, considering the period that, the relationship has lasted. Instead, we should look for ways to make the marriage work. That is why the steps being taken by President Jonathan must be commended and supported.

“Every objective mind within and outside this Country can see the innovation and positive change Mr. President has brought to bear on the leadership of our nation. As young men and women, you cannot afford to stay aloof or join armchair critics to fan the embers of disunity.

I believe very strongly that the President of this Country, whom I even served as a Commissioner, while he was Governor of Bayelsa State, is one of the most detribalized persons. I believe that if we allow the President to do what he has in mind and do it to conclusion, Nigeria will be a better place for us. We, as young people should give that support and address our own needs.

I said from the beginning that we cannot part ways after 100 years; we are married to each other, whether we like it or not.

Hon. Dickson noted that the ongoing National Conference is one of the ways intended to solve the many challenges facing the country. He urged the young professionals to support and pray for the success of Jonathan.

He said the National conference was an indication that for 100 years, the country has continued to look for its bearing, noting that it was better to talk than engaging in violence.

He, however, disagreed with persons calling for the disintegration of the country, observing that after 100 years Nigerians should be discussing unity and love instead of secession.

Earlier in his welcome address, the Chairman of the NYPF, Mr. Moses Siasia described the organization as a coalition of experts in various fields of human endeavour, who are working together to foster unity and purposeful leadership.

Also speaking, the Managing Director, Niger Delta Development Commission, Mr. Bassey Dan Abia urged the youths to re-evaluate their individual roles towards nation-building.

Represented at the occasion by his aide on youths, women and studentsaffairs, Mr. George Turner, the NDDC boss described the topic of the summit as apt, noting that it was in line with the Commission’s 3-point agenda of capacity building, employment generation and wealth creation.

In their separate presentations, Professor Chris Nwaokobia, Barrister Nneoma, Ebi Bright Fasintei and Dr. Katch Ononuju harped on the unity of the various ethnic groups in the Country and called for declaration of state of emergency in the education sector in the Northern part of the Country.

They also challenged the youths on acquisition of relevant skills and knowledge to enhance their self worth as well as get involved in the political process to be able to effect the desired societal change.

Saturday, 29 March 2014

PDP HOLDS RETREAT FOR PUBLICITY SECRETARIES IN YENAGOA; GOV DICKSON SAYS, IT WILL STRENGTHEN PARTY FOR GREATER PROGRESS

PDP HOLDS RETREAT FOR PUBLICITY SECRETARIES IN YENAGOA; GOV DICKSON SAYS, IT WILL STRENGTHEN PARTY FOR GREATER PROGRESS

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28/03/2014

A 2-day Special Retreat for State and zonal publicity secretaries of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP has been scheduled to hold in Yenagoa between Wednesday and Friday, next week.

Slated for 9 O’clock each morning at the Ijaw House, along Sani Abacha expressway in the State capital, the special retreat will among other things, feature discussions on ways and means of harmonizing the party’s communication system for a more effective dissemination of party activities, policies and programmes.

According to a statement by the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Mr. Olisa Metuh, accreditation of participant drawn from all over the country, will take place at the venue of the retreat.

In his solidarity message, Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State, who is also the Chief host, described the idea of a retreat as a visionary one, noting that, it will strengthen the communication machinery of the party as well as position it for greater progress at all levels.

His words “It is a brilliant idea to have a retreat for this caliber of very key officers of our party and I believe, it will further enhance ongoing efforts at deepening and strengthening the internal workings of the PDP.

It will also enhance the party’s desire and commitment towards delivering the dividends of democracy to the people at the various tiers of government”

The Bayelsa State Governor, welcomed National officers of the party and other participants to Yenagoa, also wished them fruitful deliberations and a memorable stay in the State.

GOV DICKSON TASKS POLITICAL OFFICE HOLDERS TO IMPACT POSITIVELY ON HUMANITY …SAYS SERVICE TO MAN IS SERVICE TO GOD.

GOV DICKSON TASKS POLITICAL OFFICE HOLDERS TO IMPACT POSITIVELY ON HUMANITY   …SAYS SERVICE TO MAN IS SERVICE TO GOD. 

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Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State (L), his Deputy, Rear Admiral John Jonah (Rtd) (M), and the Speaker, BYHA, Rt. Hon. Konbowei Benson (R), dancing joyously, during the State's Monthly Praise Night, at the King of Glory Chapel, Government House, Yenagoa.

29/03/2014

Bayelsa State Governor, Hon. Seriake Dickson has urged the people of the state, particularly those in positions of authority to see such positions as platforms to impact positively on humanity.

 Governor Dickson made the remark during the March, 2014 monthly Praise Night at the King of Glory Chapel in Government House, Yenagoa.

 As the people were being ushered into a new month, he enjoined them to reflect on their struggles and achievements in life, noting that power comes only from God and service to God can be achieved through service to mankind.

 Governor Dickson noted that political power should not be regarded as a means to an end but rather as an opportunity to improve the overall wellbeing of the people they were meant to serve in fulfillment of God’s purpose on earth.

 According to him, the monthly praise night is a period to express appreciation to God as a government, for His mercies and blessings upon the State and country as a whole as well as the support being enjoyed by his administration.

 In a sermon delivered by Pastor Tamarakuro-deinyefa Eyidoude said praising God for His goodness was one of the greatest gifts one could offer to the Lord to attract more blessings.

 Making references to the book of Psalms 50, verse 23 and Leviticus 19, verse 23, Pastor Eyidoude said God elevates those who praise and worship Him in truth and spirit.

 He expressed optimism that through the instrumentality of praise and worship, God would continually elevate the Ijaw Nation and urged Governor Dickson to sustain the monthly praise night programme.

 Deputy Governor, retired Rear Admiral Gboribiogha John Jonah, Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. KonboweiBenson, Secretary to the State Government, Professor Edmond Alison-Oguru, former Governor of the State, Chief Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, Former Military Administrator of Delta and Ebonyi states, Chief Walter Feghabo-Amain, Head of Service, members of the state legislature and Executive Council were among other top government officials that were in attendance.image.jpeg

L - R: Bayelsa State Governor, Hon. Seriake Dickson, a former Governor
of Bayelsa State, Chief D.S.P Alamieyeseigha, and the Deputy Governor
of Bayelsa State, Rear Admiral John Jonah (Rtd), singing, during the State Government's Monthly Praise Night (March, 2014 Edition), at the King of
Glory Chapel, Government House, Yenagoa.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

BAYELSA CONSTITUTES VOLUNTEERS TO BOOST SECURITY, OVER 500 YOUTHS TO BE ENGAGED

BAYELSA CONSTITUTES VOLUNTEERS TO BOOST SECURITY, OVER 500 YOUTHS TO BE ENGAGED


27/03/2014


Arising from a meeting earlier in the week, the Bayelsa State Security Council has approved the setting up of the Bayelsa Volunteer, which was established by law.


To this end, His Excellency, Hon. Seriake Dickson, Governor of Bayelsa State has approved the appointment of CSP Idowu Asufi to serve as its Coordinator, while Hon. Enekiyou Boni Ayah will be the Secretary.


His Excellency approved the appointment of a retired senior police officer to take charge of discipline and control in order to be part of the security architecture of the state.


Accordingly, approval has been given for 500 youths and another 50 graduates, who must be between the ages of 18 and 35 for the initial recruitment.


Furthermore, the leadership structure at the State and Local Government levels will be announced later for inauguration.

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

SERIOUSLY. I CAN'T BELIEVE THIS; OUR DELEGATES FROM THE NORTH TO THE NATIONAL CONFERENCE SLEEPS WHILE SERIOUS ISSUES ARE BEING DISCUSSED ; CAN WE CHANGE HIM NOW?

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SERIOUSLY. I CAN'T BELIEVE THIS; OUR DELEGATES FROM THE NORTH TO THE NATIONAL CONFERENCE SLEEPS WHILE SERIOUS ISSUES ARE BEING DISCUSSED ; CAN WE CHANGE HIM NOW?


After been nominated to collect 12million Naira, a delegate taking a nap during the ongoing National Confab! Courtesy of THE NATION NEWSPAPER.

BREAKING NEWS: GOV DICKSON SAKED SEVEN (7) COMMISSIONERS.



GOV DICKSON EFFECTS CABINET SHAKE UP; ATTORNEY-GENERAL, 6 OTHERS DROPPED


26/03/2014


Following, ongoing re-organisation of Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) for a more optimal implementation of the Restoration agenda, the following Commissioners have been relieved of their appointments with immediate effect:


1.    Francis Egele, Esq.                     -   Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice


2.    Hon. Ayakeme Massa               - Trade, Investment and Industry


3.    Dr. Anapurere Michael Awoli  -  Health


4.    Hon. Nelson Belief                     - Tourism Development


5.    Hon. Gesiye Isowo                     - Special Duties (Federal Projects)


6.    Hon. Parkinson Macmanuel        - Science, Technology and    


                                                         Manpower Development


7.    Dr. Sylvanus Abila                       - Environment


The affected former Commissioners are by this announcement, requested to hand over  to the Permanent Secretaries in their various ministries.


His Excellency, Hon. Seriake Dickson, Governor of Bayelsa State, personally expressed his gratitude to them for their commitment to service, diligence, hard work and invaluable contributions to the successes attained by the administration in the last two years.


A Government House statement says, the Governor wished them well in all their future endeavours, noting that, they could be called upon to serve the State in other capacities in future.


The statement further explains that, the reorganization of the machinery of Government for improved service delivery in the execution of Government programmes and policies as well as the redeployment of relevant officers will be a continuous exercise.


 


Daniel Iworiso Markson


Chief Press Secretary to the Governor

BAYELSA GOVT ADVOCATES STRINGENT ENVIRONMENTAL LAWS AGAINST OIL POLLUTION; PLANS SUMMIT TO MITIGATE EFFECTS OF OIL EXPLORATION.

BAYELSA GOVT ADVOCATES STRINGENT ENVIRONMENTAL LAWS AGAINST OIL POLLUTION; PLANS SUMMIT TO MITIGATE EFFECTS OF OIL EXPLORATION. 

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Bayelsa State Governor, Hon. Seriake Dickson (L), presenting a special souvenir to the chairman, National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA), Major Lancelot Anyanya (Rtd) (M), and the Director General, Dr. Peter Idabor (R), during a courtesy call on the Governor by the Board and Management of the Agency at Government House, Yenagoa Today.

25/03/2014

The Bayelsa State Government has advocated stringent environmental laws for the protection and preservation of the environment against crude oil pollution and other activities occasioned by oil exploration and exploitation activities in the Niger Delta.

Governor Seriake Dickson, who made the assertion, when members of the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency, NOSDRA, led by its Chairman, Major Lancelot Anyanya (rtd), paid him a courtesy visit on Tuesday in Government House, Yenagoa, said an environmental summit would be organized soon to discuss ways of mitigating the effects of oil and gas exploration and exploitation in the region.

He expressed his administration’s commitment to collaborate with NOSDRA to facilitate the speedy passage of the amended act of the agency, which has undergone its first and second readings at the National Assembly.

Emphasizing the need for international oil companies operating in the Niger Delta to protect the environment, he decried the way and manner the environment was being abused with what he referred to as ‘reckless abandon,’ describing Bayelsa State as the most fragile and highly compromised area, where environmental pollution has devastated the ecosystem for several decades since the discovery of crude oil in 1956.

Governor Dickson explained that, the health implications arising from such environmental pollution necessitated the establishment of the toxicology institute to better appreciate the magnitude of the problems facing the people.

Granting the request of NOSDRA for a functional office in the state, Governor Dickson called for the siting of the headquarters of the agency in Bayelsa, as the state is host to the bulk of oil and gas operations in the Niger Delta.

 As part of efforts to address environmental problems, the Governor proposed that the Federal Government should build receptacles to evacuate crude oil recovered from illegal refineries as well as design mechanisms for effective and proper remediation of impacted areas.

“I have said it before that what has been going on in Bayelsa State, the Niger Delta and in all oil producing areas concerning the levity with which oil companies treat the issues of the environment and the maintenance of environmental and health standards.

 “When you look at all of these and particularly listening to your chilly statistics, which I believe is only a tip of the iceberg, one is really left with no other conclusion than that, we are actually facing a case of environmental terrorism.

“What has been going on in the Niger Delta since the discovery of oil; a situation where more than one spill takes place in Bayelsa every day, going by what your statistics is telling us and all these sites are treated with reckless abandon and the environment is left to fend for itself, the livelihood and in fact the lives of the people and the ecosystem are not attended to. What then is more of terrorist action than this?

This is an opportunity again for us to remind ourselves that we all have a duty to work together as government to government and it is also an opportunity for us to call on all stakeholders especially the oil companies, regulatory agencies and everybody to be alive to the need to protect our environment.”

In his remarks, Chairman of NOSDRA, Major Lancelot Anyanya (rtd), explained that the visit was aimed at strengthening the existing collaboration between government and the agency on efforts at curbing oil spills and its attendant effects.

He commended the state government for initiating a baseline study on the toxicological impact of oil exploration on the Bayelsa environment and called for support, especially in the area of developing effective institutional framework for enforcement of appropriate legislations.       

Also contributing, the Director -General of NOSDRA, Dr. Peter Idabor, advocated the amendment of relevant laws to alleviate the suffering of oil bearing communities.

According him, research findings indicate that the rate of oil spill in Bayelsa, is more devastating than that of Ogoni in Rivers State, which has been widely reported, adding that the state records about 40 spill cases in a month. 

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

PHOTOS-NEWS: 2014 AMAA SPONSORS' DINNER NIGHT IN LAGOS.

PHOTOS-NEWS: 2014 AMAA SPONSORS' DINNER NIGHT IN LAGOS. 

Bayelsa State Governor, Hon. Seriake Dickson (left) Chief Executive Officer, First City Monument Bank, Mr. Ladi Balogun (centre) and the South African High Commissioner to Nigeria, Amassador Kingsley Mamabolo (right) during the 2014 AMAA Fund Raising Dinner at the Civic Centre in Lagos.

COURTESY VISIT BY THE DIRECTOR OF NOSDRA TO GOV DICKSON

COURTESY VISIT BY THE DIRECTOR OF NOSDRA TO GOV DICKSON 

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Bayelsa State Governor, Hon. Seriake Dickson (L), presenting a special souvenir to the chairman, National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA), Major Lancelot Anyanya (Rtd) (M), and the Director General, Dr. Peter Idabor (R), during a courtesy call on the Governor by the Board and Management of the Agency at Government House, Yenagoa Today.

Monday, 24 March 2014

PHOTOS-NEWS: 2014 AMAA SPONSORS' DINNER NIGHT IN LAGOS.

PHOTOS-NEWS: 2014 AMAA SPONSORS' DINNER NIGHT IN LAGOS. 

Bayelsa State Governor, Hon. Seriake Dickson (left) Chief Executive Officer, First City Monument Bank, Mr. Ladi Balogun (centre) and the South African High Commissioner to Nigeria, Amassador Kingsley Mamabolo (right) during the 2014 AMAA Fund Raising Dinner at the Civic Centre in Lagos.

Sunday, 23 March 2014

PHOTOS-NEWS: 2014 AMAA SPONSORS' DINNER NIGHT IN LAGOS.

PHOTOS-NEWS: 2014 AMAA SPONSORS' DINNER NIGHT IN LAGOS. 

Bayelsa State Governor, Hon. Seriake Dickson (left) Chief Executive Officer, First City Monument Bank, Mr. Ladi Balogun (centre) and the South African High Commissioner to Nigeria, Amassador Kingsley Mamabolo (right) during the 2014 AMAA Fund Raising Dinner at the Civic Centre in Lagos.

BAYELSA FILM VILLAGE TO GULP N20B, AS GOVT CALLS FOR PRIVATE SECTOR PARTNERSHIP FOR PROJECT AND 2014 AMAA

BAYELSA FILM VILLAGE TO GULP N20B, AS GOVT CALLS FOR PRIVATE SECTOR PARTNERSHIP FOR PROJECT AND 2014 AMAA

23/03/2014

 Bayelsa State Governor, Hon. Seriake Dickson disclosed at the weekend in Lagos that the proposed Film village would gulp N20 billion and called for Organized Private Sector partnership in the promotion of local talents in the creative industry and sponsorship of the Africa Movie Academy Awards, (AMAA).

 Governor Seriake Dickson made the appeal at a Sponsors Night and dinner, which took place at the Civic Centre, in Lagos.

 According him, “government hopes to realize its vision of nurturing local talents through the establishment of the film village by working with the private sector and create a suitable environment where actors and actresses from all over the world assemble in the great state of Bayelsa to act their films.”

 Governor Dickson, who noted that government has been funding AMAA for the past decade, stressed the inability of government to continue with the funding in view of ongoing reforms in government in the light of present economic realities.

 Governor Dickson stressed the need for government to formulate appropriate policies and seek the right collaborations towards making the sponsorship of AMAA sustainable in the future.

 In his words: “AMAA is only going to be sustainable if the private sector buys into it; drives the process and guarantees its continuity. Government will not be in the business of directly taking responsibility of funding AMAA that, is not sustainable particularly in the light of present economic challenges.”

Urging corporate organizations and well meaning Nigerians to donate generously to the sponsorship of the academy, the Governor assured donors of the effective management of their funds under a special account and the Bayelsa State Accountant General, the Chief Executive Officer of AMAA and the Director of the Tourism Bureau would be signatories to it.

Chairman of the occasion and Managing Director of First City Monument Bank, Mr. Ladi Balogun, noted that, the event was about the celebration of the arts, creating employment and promoting unity of the country and enjoined all to contribute to the development of creative arts.

In her remarks, the Chief Executive Officer of AMAA, Miss Peace Anyiam Osigwe, said over the years, Bayelsa has invested in the future of Nigeria through the creative arts by encouraging and nurturing budding talents, thus contributing to the capacity building of the human resource.

Also speaking, the Director General of the Bayelsa Tourism Development Agency, Mrs Ebizi Brown, highlighted the benefits of the academy, which include training of 500 youths annually in various aspects of the entertainment industry.

She pointed out that AMAA over the years has gained international recognition and has helped to project the tourism potentials of the state.

Chairman of National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency, retired Major Lancelot Anyanya called for the support of tourism development in Bayelsa and across the country, adding that oil bearing communities make huge sacrifices for the prosperity being enjoyed by all.       image.jpeg

Bayelsa State Governor, Hon. Seriake Dickson (left) Chief Executive Officer, First City Monument Bank, Mr. Ladi Balogun (centre) and the South African High Commissioner to Nigeria, Amassador Kingsley Mamabolo (right) during the 2014 AMAA Fund Raising Dinner at the Civic Centre in Lagos. 

DICKSON CALLS FOR UNITY AMONG ETHNIC NATIONALITIES, TRACES HIS BIOLOGICAL ROOT TO IJEBU ODE


23/03/2014

 Ijebu Ode, Ogun State at the weekend went agog as the Bayelsa State Governor; Hon. Seriake Dickson re-connected with his kith and kin in Fidipote ruling house and expressed his readiness to strengthening the bond of relationship between the two states.

 Accompanied by members of immediate family and top government functionaries, the Governor during his historic visit to the Awujale and Paramount ruler of Ijebu land, Oba (Dr.) Sikiru Kayode Adetona assured the people that, his administration would work with them to promote unity, peace and harmony, not only in the Niger Delta area, but also the country as a whole.

 The Governor stated that the people of Ijebu land and Bayelsa state have many things in common, especially in the areas of commerce and hospitality, adding that these two areas would be explored to strengthen this bond of relationship.

 In his words: “it is our desire to continue to associate with you and with this land. It is our desire to connect properly in every way possible with our kith and kin here in Ijebu Ode and contribute our bit to the development of this great and blessed land and also to work with you to promote and deepen the bond of fraternity in this country and build upon the unity of our people.

 “As our case and several other cases clearly illustrates, we are indeed one people united by history, culture and by blood as my case demonstrates.

 “We have come all the way from the creeks of the Niger Delta to the heartland of the Yoruba nation in Ijebu land here; we are indeed one people. It is our intention to continue to work and partner with you and others to see how we can work to make not only the Niger Delta, but Nigeria as a whole to be one place where people live in unity, peace and harmony”

 Describing the visit as a historic one for him and his family members, the Governor expressed his desire to re-connect with his kith and kin with a view to retracing his lineage and strengthen family ties in Ijebu land.

 The Governor, who expressed appreciation to Oba Adetona and the people of Ijebu land for the warm reception accorded him and his entourage, congratulated the Oba on his 80th birthday   

  Governor Dickson also acknowledged the significant contributions of Oba Adetona to Ijebu land and the Country at large, noting that the monarch has conducted himself as a man of honour and promoted the customs and traditions of the kingdom.

 In his remarks, the Awujale and Paramount ruler of Ijebu land, Oba Sikiru Adetona expressed delight over the visit of Governor Dickson describing it as a homecoming.

 According to Oba Adetona, the maternity of a child is nevercontestable, which demonstrates Governor Dickson’s visit toIjebu land to fraternize with his kith and kin.

 He also likened the Governor’s visit to the prodigal son in the scriptures, assuring that they would continue to pray for him to succeed in al his endeavours.

 “I can assure you of the very best of our cooperation. It is our pleasure to have you in our midst here. It is an occasion that we have been looking forward to, to receive back home as one of our illustrious sons.”

Oba Adetona, who lauded the Governor as an illustrious son, remarked that success was one of the attributes of the Ijebu people, stating that Governor Dickson has demonstrated that trait as a true Ijebu man and they would support him in prayers to attain higher positions.       

 Highpoint of the occasion was Governor Dickson’s visit to his homestead in Ijebu Ode, where special prayers were offered for him and his family members.

 Also Oba Adetona donated a piece of land to Governor Dickson to develop to further establish his relationship with his roots.

 The Governor on his part promised to name the building after his great grand mother, Princess Adebukola Fidipote, whom he described as a selfless and hardworking woman.

REVEALED: Making Nigeria ungovernable for President Jonathan (DAILY TRUST NEWSPAPER)



Victor Anya, a Public Affairs Analyst, traces the genesis of the Boko Haram insurgency to the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) insistence of abandoning the Zoning arrangement during the last elections which brought in President Goodluck. He is of the view that this has been responsible for the security concerns especially in the north…
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Immediately Acting President Goodluck Jonathan took the oath of office as President and made his intention known to contest the 2011 presidential election, all hell was let loose in the Northern part of the country. Some Northerners said that there was zoning policy in the PDP Constitution and that the North had not completed its eight years tenure and should be allowed to produce the next president in 2011 to complete the time allocated to the North. President Umaru Yar’ Adua left the country in November, 2009 without formally handing over to Vice President Goodluck Jonathan as prescribed by section 145 of the 199 Constitution. Vice President Goodluck Jonathan became Acting President in February, 2010 and subsequently became President on May 6, 2010 after the death of President Umaru Yar’Adua on May 5, 2010.

When the debate was on whether President Goodluck Jonathan should contest the 2011 presidential election or not, former President Olusegun Obasanjo on the Voice of America said, “There is no arrangement that precludes any Nigerian from contesting or becoming the president of Nigeria”. Adamu Ciroma, a member of Northerner Political Leaders’ Forum (NPLF) said, “The time allocated to the North is eight years, which is equivalent to the time allocated to the South for which Obasanjo served. Umaru Musa Yar’Adua died unfortunately. His death has not killed the policy of zoning and rotation”.

On July 27, 2010, 17 out of the 19 governors of the North met in Kaduna to decide on the zoning principle. Governors Modu Sherrif (Borno), Ibrahim Shekarau (Kano) joined the PDP Governors, Ibrahim Shema (Katsina), Mahmud Shinkafi (Zafara), Aliyu Wamako (Sokoto), Usman Dakingari (Kebbi), Mohammed Goje (Gobe), Sule Lamido (Jigawa), Babangida Aliyu (Niger) and Bukola Saraki (Kwara) voted in support of zoning. Governors Gabriel Suswan (Benue), Ibrahim Idris (Kogi), Jonah Jang (Plateau), Murtala Nyako (Adamawa), Danbaba Suntai (Taraba), Aliyu Doma ( Nasarawa) and Patrick Yakowa (Kaduna), voted against zoning. PDP’ Article 7.2 ( 2 ) in the party’s constitution which reads: “In pursuit of the principles of equity, justice and fairness, the party shall adhere to the policy of rotation and zoning of party and public elective offices and it shall be enforced by the appropriate executive committee at all levels”.

There are many questions to regarding the policy which the North wanted President Goodluck Jonathan to respect. First, if the PDP zoned the presidency to the South for eight years, 1999-2007, why did PDP members from the North contest against President Olusegun Obasanjo in the PDP presidential primaries in 2003? In the 2003 PDP presidential primaries, President Olusegun Obasanjo became the PDP flag bearer having scored 2,642 votes. Late Alhaji Abubakar Rimi came second by scoring 159 votes while Chief Barnabas Gemade came third by scoring 17 votes. Now, assuming late Alhaji Abubakar Rimi scored the highest votes say 3000 against the 2,642 votes which President Olusegun Obasanjo scored, would the North have allowed President Olusegun Obasanjo to get the PDP presidential ticket to contest 2003 presidential election when their own son won the PDP primaries? If the presidency was zoned to the South for eight years, no Northerner supposed to have contested against President Olusegun Obasanjo in PDP primaries.

The 1999 Constitution is supreme over political party constitutions. Section one of the 1999 Constitution states its supremacy and section 131 states the qualification for election into the office of the president for which President Goodluck Jonathan is qualified. There is another question the North should answer, assuming we have a strong opposition political party that was able to produce another president from the South in 2007, what would the North have done? If there was a virile opposition political party that produced the president from the North in 2003, would North have rejected their son under the guise of zoning in the PDP and allowed President Olusegun Obasanjo to continue in office? I think we are only talking of zoning because there is no strong opposition political party.

Nevertheless, about 100 politicians representing the 19 Northern states and the FCT visited President Goodluck Jonathan in Aso Rock in August, 2010 to persuade him to contest. The group was led by Alhaji Hassan Adamu, Wakilin Adamawa. Others were the Deputy Governor of Sokoto State, Alhaji Murtar Shagari, Professor Jerry Gana, former governor of Kano State, Alhaji Rabiu Musa Kwakwanso, former PDP National Chairman, and Chief Solomon Lar. During that visit, Prof. Gana said, the people of the North were “solidly behind” the president based on his “ability” to deliver on the programmes contained in the manifesto of the PDP and the age-long political relationship between the North and the South-South regions”.

Moreover, when President Goodluck Jonathan confirmed that he would contest the 2011 presidential election, great opposition rose against him in the North. The first bombshell came from Shehu Sani, a Kaduna based civil rights activist who said, “President Goodluck Jonathan should not contemplate contesting the 2011 presidential election. Any attempt by him to contest amounts to incitement and a recipe for political instability. Even though rotational presidency is unconstitutional, it has been able to address problems of regional, ethnic, sectional domination and marginalization”. The warning precluding President Jonathan from contesting the 2011 presidential election did not stop with Shehu Sani as Alhaji Lawal Kaita, a close associate of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar added his voice to the agitation when he said,            

 “The North is determined, if it happens, to make the country ungovernable for President Jonathan or any other Southerner who finds his way to the seat of power on the platform of the PDP against the principle of the party’s zoning policy. Anything short of a Northerner president is tantamount to stealing our presidency. Jonathan has to go and he will go. Even if he uses incumbency power to get his nomination on the platform of the PDP, he would be frustrated out”.              With these words, the battle line between President Jonathan and his opponents was drawn.

General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd) did not hide his feelings toward President Jonathan’s presidential ambition as he said,           “There may be no Nigeria. I draw parallel with Somalia so many times (Somalisation of Nigeria). I am scared about that. Somalia, they are one ethnic group, one religion, Islam, but for 18 years, Somalia became so selfish, so corrupt, so undisciplined and they have wrecked the country”.                             

The tension in the country became very high as some politicians from the North were making inciting statements. Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar was not spared from this bandwagon when he said, “Those who make peaceful change impossible will make violent change inevitable”. The various inciting statements were not made in vain as they were matched with actions. The threat by the Northern politicians to make the country ungovernable for President Goodluck Jonathan was fulfilled with the post election violence that erupted in some parts of the North which led to the death of some members of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) in Bauchi State. Zonkwa area of Kaduna State was worst hit as more than 300 people were killed during the riot. Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), claimed that the presidential election was rigged. If the CPC claim that the presidential election was rigged simply because it did not win that election, did the CPC rig itself into the various offices which its members are occupying?

At present, the country is in turmoil because unsubstantiated claim of election rigging. The Boko Haram sect is terrorizing the northern part of the country. They bombed the Police Force Headquarters, Abuja, thereafter they bombed the United Nations building also in Abuja, killing about 22 persons. The bombing of Saint Theresa Catholic Church, Madala on Christmas day was the most pathetic of all the attacks so far as it was carried out in a place of worship. Almost 44 people lost their lives in that attack.

Nonetheless, the violence that occasioned the April 2011, presidential election, sent countless innocent Nigerians to their early graves. Property worth billions of naira has been destroyed in the attacks that have been carried out. At present, there is insecurity in the north and people can no longer move freely to transact their normal businesses. Those who vowed to make the country ungovernable for President Goodluck Jonathan, are they immune to violence? Are they not being affected directly or indirectly? Problem is like fire which spreads far and can consume even the person that started it in the first place. Problem is like fire which does not have respect for its owner. Those who promised hell and brimstone for President Goodluck Jonathan have abandoned their palatial houses and their once flourishing businesses in the north for fear of being attacked by the Boko Haram sect. The question now is, are those who vowed to make the country ungovernable for President Jonathan really making the country ungovernable for the President or for themselves and other innocent Nigerians?

President Goodluck Jonathan should be allowed to do his job. If he does not perform, he should be voted out in 2015! Four years is such a short time and he has spent two year and some months in office already. Before we know it the four years would have elapsed and there will be fresh elections come 2015!

Saturday, 22 March 2014

PRESIDENT JONATHAN CONFERS WITH POPE FRANCIS ON INTER FAITH DIALOGUE AND POVERTY ALLEVIATION, POPE TO VISIT NIGERIA.

PRESIDENT JONATHAN CONFERS WITH POPE FRANCIS ON INTER FAITH DIALOGUE AND POVERTY ALLEVIATION, POPE TO VISIT NIGERIA. 
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President Goodluck Jonathan Saturday at the Vatican conferred with Pope Francis on the promotion of inter-faith dialogue in Nigeria and other parts of the world to foster greater global peace and security.

Speaking to journalists after  his private meeting with Pope Francis, President Jonathan noted that the promotion of inter-faith dialogue was a cause to which the Pontiff was very committed.

The President who said that his administration was already working in close collaboration with Cardinal John Onaiyekan who was "the team leader" for the effort to strengthen inter-faith dialogue in Nigeria,  assured the Pope of his administration's continued commitment to the promotion of religious harmony and the peaceful co-existence of people of all faiths.

He also assured the Pope that his administration will continue to work diligently to alleviate poverty in Nigeria through more  inclusive economic growth and development.

President Jonathan who noted that Pope Francis has always taken a keen interest in Nigeria, said that the Pope promised to visit the country.

The Pope, President Jonathan said, also assured him that he would continue to pray for God Almighty to bless the country and its people.

"My coming to see the Pope was to discuss issues, especially that of inter-faith dialogue which the Vatican has been promoting.

"Also the Pope has been advocating that the world should do more to eradicate poverty and make sure that the ordinary people of this world are in a position to live more decent lives. The Pope is very dedicated to poverty alleviation and I also interfaced with him on how we can collaborate more with the Vatican on what we are already doing in this regard back home," the President said.

After his private meeting with President Jonathan, Pope Francis received the First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan, the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Prof Viola Onwuliri, Governor Godswill Akpabio and his spouse, Governor Gabriel Suswam, former Governor Peter Obi and his spouse, the wife of the Senate President, Mrs. Helen Mark and other members of the President's entourage.

Others present at the enlarged audience with the Pope included Nigeria's Ambassador to the Vatican, Dr. Francis C. Okeke, the Chaplain of the Presidential Villa, Venerable Obioma Onwuzurumba and Chief Mike Oghiadomhe.

Before leaving the Vatican, President Jonathan also conferred with the Secretary of State, Monsignor Pietro Parolin.

He had received Nigeria's Vatican-based Cardinal Francis Arinze earlier in the day at the St. Regis Hotel in Rome. image.jpeg
POPE TO VISIT NIGERIA. 
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POPE TO VISIT NIGERIA. 
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POPE TO VISIT NIGERIA. 
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POPE TO VISIT NIGERIA. 
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Monday, 17 March 2014

Full Text Of President Jonathan’s Address At Inauguration Of National Conference.



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1.          I am delighted to welcome you all to the inauguration of this historic National Conference which promises to be another significant landmark in our efforts to strengthen national unity and consolidate democratic governance in our beloved country.

2.          I also believe that this National Conference is coming at a very appropriate time. Having just celebrated the first centenary of our country, the most compelling task before us, as we move ahead and contemplate what our nation will be at the end of its second century, is to lay a much stronger foundation for faster development.

3.          This we can achieve by building a more inclusive national consensus on the structure and guiding principles of state that will guarantee our emergence as a more united, progressive and prosperous nation.

4.          In our history as a political entity, we have experienced highs and lows but have always forged ahead. To my mind, the fact that we have weathered   all storms and continued with the mission of evolving a truly national identity signifies that we are going in the right direction.

5.          The strongest nations in the world today also went through their own formative stages; some for decades and others for centuries. We must learn from them that nationhood will not happen overnight, especially given the circumstances of our birth as a nation.

6.          History also teaches that nation-building is a journey of dedication, commitment, diligence, perseverance and patriotic vision. To be successful, nation-builders must continually strive to evolve better and more inclusive societies in which every citizen is a proud and committed stakeholder.

7.          It was with this objective in mind that we set up the Presidential Advisory Committee (PAC) on the National Conference in October last year and charged its members with the responsibility of designing the framework and modalities for a productive National Conference.

8.          The Committee which submitted its Report in December, 2013, was able to reach out to all Nigerians and various interest groups, socio-political groupings, regional and religious elements, professionals, civil society, the organised private sector, labour, youth, women and others to ascertain their views on the initiative.

9.          The Presidential Advisory Committee established that there was indeed, a national consensus for this Conference to be convened immediately, to meet the yearnings and aspirations of our people.

10.      The National Conference is therefore being convened to engage in intense introspection about the political and socio-economic challenges confronting our nation and to chart the best and most acceptable way for the resolution of such challenges in the collective interest of all the constituent parts of our fatherland.

11.      This coming together under one roof to confer and build a fresh national consensus for the amicable resolution of issues that still cause friction amongst our people must be seen as an essential part of the process of building a more united, stronger and progressive nation.

12.      We cannot continue to fold our arms and assume that things will straighten themselves out in due course, instead of taking practical steps to overcome impediments on our path to true nationhood, rapid development and national prosperity.

13.      For many years we have discussed and argued over various issues concerning our national existence and well-being. Much of this national discourse has been conducted through the mass media, both print and electronic. More recently, the advent of the age of ICT and social media has greatly enlarged the space for the discussion of our country’s future.

14.      Many more young and articulate  Nigerians who previously had little access to the traditional mass media have now joined the conversation, motivated by patriotic concern for good governance, peace, stability, justice, equity, fairness and the harmonious co-existence of the diverse groups that make up our great nation.

15.      Dear Compatriots, my administration is convening this National Conference today because we believe that we must assume responsibility for ensuring that the long-running national debate on the best way forward for our country is not in vain.

16.      It is our expectation that participants in this conference will patriotically articulate and synthesize our peoples’ thoughts, views and recommendations for a stronger, more united, peaceful and politically stable Nigeria, forge the broadest possible national consensus in support of those recommendations, and strive to ensure that they are given the legal and constitutional backing to shape the present and the future of our beloved fatherland.

17.      In inaugurating this national conference today, we are not unmindful of the argument of those who say that we do not need such a conference since we already have an elected Parliament and an elected Government in place.

18.      As cogent as that argument may sound, I have chosen to act on the sincere conviction that in the truly democratic nation we are striving to build, we must never ignore the loudly expressed views of the majority of ordinary Nigerians.

19.      I have heard that majority say, that we need to rebuild trust by involving them in the process of developing a guiding document of our national political relationships which is more acceptable to all sections of the country. I have heard our people say that we need to openly and frankly discuss our problems and seek acceptable solutions instead of allowing them to fester and remain sources of perennial conflict.

20.      I have also heard them say that, as the elected representatives of our people, we must never arrogate to ourselves all knowledge and wisdom regarding the development of our country.

21.      And I am in full agreement with our people. The power we hold is, without question, in trust for the people. Sovereignty belongs to the people. Their voices must be heard and factored into every decision we take on their behalf.

22.      This National Conference is a very important avenue for the voices of our people to be heard. Our people have yearnings and desires that need to be discussed. Their representatives at this conference are neither usurping the role of the National Assembly nor the Executive. They are complementing us in our march towards a greater and stronger union.

23.      Over the years, well-meaning Nigerians have drawn attention to inadequacies in our current constitution. Some have described it as a military-inspired document which does not take into full consideration the genuine desires and wishes of the people.

24.      The phrase in the preamble that says “we, the people,” has been variously criticised as being misleading because, according to the critics, the constitution was not written by the people.  There are also those who believe that the constitution is not our problem but the political will to faithfully implement it for the peace and progress of Nigeria.

25.      While opinions on the matter can be as diverse as rain showers, I believe that irrespective of our personal views on the issue, no one can deny the fact that every constitution is a living document that needs to be revised and improved upon from time to time. The United States, which is the model democracy in the eyes of many, has amended its constitution 27 times since it was first adopted in 1787.

26.      Some of our compatriots also believe that because we have held several conferences in the past, we do not need to hold another one. I do not share that view at all.

27.      A deeper look will reveal that the challenges we faced before each of the preceding national conferences were different. The challenges of 1956 are certainly not the challenges of 2014, and definitely not the challenges that the nation will face in years to come. It makes sense, therefore, that as the challenges before us evolve, we must be constant and proactive in our search for fresh solutions. We cannot continue to proffer yesterday’s solutions for today’s problems.

 28.      This conference is open for us to table our thoughts and positions on issues, and make recommendations that will advance our togetherness. The issues range from form of government, structures of government, devolution of powers, revenue sharing, resource control, state and local government creation, boundary adjustment, state police and fiscal federalism, to local government elections, indigeneship, gender equality and children’s rights, amongst others.

29.      We must not approach these issues with suspicion and antagonism. Rather, we should be open-minded and work to achieve what is best for Nigeria. Even though you come to the Conference as nominees and representatives of different interest groups, I urge you all to make a more united, stronger, indivisible and prosperous Nigeria your preoccupation and reference point at this national gathering.  Whatever the pressures on you may be, I call upon you to put the best interest of Nigeria before all other sectional or group interests.

30.      Indeed, I am quite worried when I hear people say that some participants in this National Conversation are coming here to defend and promote ethnic or clannish agenda. It is very regrettable that there are persons who believe that we cannot undertake any collective task in our country without the hindrance of ethnic rivalry even after 100 years of nationhood.

31.      This conference gives us an opportunity to prove such persons wrong and I believe it will. As we start a new century of nationhood, we have an obligation to reshape and redirect our country for the benefit of our children. There should be no room for divisive cleavages and ethnic jingoism. There should be no room for selfish considerations that defeat the purpose of national progress. There should be room only for the national interest.

32.      In the 60s, our country was ranked along with some developing countries including India, Malaysia and South Korea. Today, those countries have moved far ahead of us in several areas. My expectation is that the outcome of this Conference will be a positive turning point for our country’s development. We must seize this opportunity to cement the cleavages and fault lines that tend to separate us.   We must re-launch our country.

33.      I know the task before you is onerous; but there must be only one winner, and there can only be one winner if we do everything right, and that winner must be Nigeria. I urge you therefore to focus strictly on the Nigerian Agenda.

34.      I expect that, as persons of integrity and honour, you will do nothing in this Conference that will undermine our efforts and desire to build a truly great nation.  I also expect that your discussions will be informed only by the noblest of instincts and persuasions.

35.      Our sole motivation for convening this conference is the patriotic desire for a better and greater nation. We are determined that things must be done in a way and manner that will positively advance that objective.

36.      While we recognise that groups and communities are the building blocks of our nation, we must also emphasise that we need one another to build the solid and prosperous country of our dreams.

37.      We cannot join hands together to build with a collective vision if we continue to harbour negative biases and prejudices against ourselves.

38.      Yesterday’s prejudices should die with yesterday. Today is a new day. This is the dawn of a new era. This is an opportunity to think anew. We must jettison the poisonous mind-sets of the past, which were built on unhealthy competition among our diverse groups and peoples.

39.      We need a new mind and a new spirit of oneness and national unity. The time has come to stop seeing Nigeria as a country of many groups and regions. We have been divinely brought together under one roof. We must begin to see ourselves as one community. We are joined together by similar hopes and dreams as well as similar problems and challenges. What affects one part of the community affects the other.

40.      An average Nigerian sees every part of the country as home. Let us seize the opportunity of this Conference to do more to further turn our diversity and plurality into unique national resources for strength and greatness.

41.      I have always affirmed that our ability to stay together despite our acknowledged differences, when other countries are finding it difficult to meet that challenge, is a powerful statement by Nigeria to the world on the virtues of tolerance and unity.

42.      It is a strong and compelling statement in a world much afflicted by strife and violence.  We must sustain it. We must not allow the antagonists of unity and togetherness to prevail. We must work ceaselessly to remain one nation bound in freedom, peace and unity, as our National Anthem says.

43.      Honourable Chairman and distinguished delegates, I urge you not to be under any illusions as you begin your assignment. The task that lies ahead of you is formidable. Over the coming weeks, you will be confronted with complex and emotive issues; strong views will be expressed by opposing sides and some disagreements will, in all likelihood, be intense.

44.      I sincerely believe, however, that we can overcome all obstacles to true national unity if we dig deep into the recesses of our national character and look up to God Almighty for wisdom, guidance and the generosity of spirit we need to ensure the success of this conference.

45.      Once again, I wish to express my appreciation to the Nigerian people who have, without hesitation, accepted dialogue as a means of resolving all differences and tensions that may exist in the country, and therefore, given their unequivocal support for this National Conference.

46.      Let me at this point thank the National Assembly for introducing the provision for a referendum in the proposed amendment of the Constitution. This should be relevant for this Conference if at the end of the deliberations, the need for a referendum arises. I therefore urge the National Assembly and the State Houses of Assembly to speed up the Constitutional amendment process especially with regard to the subject of referendum.

47.      I thank the Chairman, Senator Femi Okurounmu and members of the Presidential Advisory Committee for the arduous work they undertook to prepare for the Conference.  I also thank the Chairman of this National Conference, Justice Idris Legbo Kutigi, the principal officers and all the distinguished patriots and representatives of our people who have taken time off their busy personal schedules to serve the cause of national unity and progress at this conference.

48.      I am confident that we are embarking on a landmark journey that will make us stronger as a nation if we undertake it with all sense of purpose and sincerity. Let us do that which is selfless, purposeful and patriotic so that history will remember us for having served our nation well.

49.      In conclusion, I urge all officials and participants in the national conference to work extra hard to ensure that their deliberations are completed on schedule, well ahead of the schedule of events for the next general elections already announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

50.      Let me again repeat what I have been saying that Goodluck Jonathan has no personal agenda in convening this national conference.

51.      Ladies and Gentlemen, I now have the honour and privilege of declaring the National Conference open, for the good of our Nation and to the glory of God Almighty who has brought us together.

52.      I thank you all.
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