HAHA .. APC high cost of nomination form

by sabitu oyegoke

The problem with us in Nigeria is that we are not honest people even if we pretend to be religious. How on earth will a presidential nomination form for APC be over N27 million and nobody within the Youth wing of the party is challenging that in a court of law? How are the useless elders that are making useless laws solely for themselves will go free in preventing people from exercising their rights? Politics and democracy is a game that gives opportunity to everyone but when you price out some people you disfranchised them – technically. At party level, this barbaric cost of nomination form should be challenged. If APC is a progressive party not only by name something MUST be done.

I have said it times without number that no human being is a saint and there is nobody that will have opportunity or free access to free money that will not steal or misuse it. That is human – black, white green or yellow. Let us do the arithmetic – If a presidential candidate will obtain nomination form  for 27 million and will also need a billion (minimum) for campaigning where do we think they will get the money from? Some may be able to finance it privately while some will need help from private businessmen. What then is the repercussion for ‘mekunus’? Privately finance will definitely recoup his investment plus profit after the election. And those financed by businessmen will allow cement price to be monopolise by the financier or subsidy on petroleum to go on forever.

Why are we keeping quiet… when we all know the impact of money bags on politics and after effect on us. APC needs to do something about unreasonable price tag on nomination form. Progressive party… or a party that is claiming to be progressive should show it not only by saying it but in its policies. The argument I hate most .. this is Nigeria and N27million is no money for these people but what of others. Presidency is not only for thieves but should be for all capable Nigerians.

Japan volcano: 30 hikers feared dead on Mt Ontake

Thirty hikers have been found lifeless near the peak of Mount Ontake, after Saturday’s sudden volcanic eruption.

The hikers were not breathing and their hearts had stopped, reports said. Final confirmation of death in Japan always comes via a medical examination.

About 250 people were trapped on the slopes of the popular beauty spot, but most have got down safely.

The volcano, about 200km (125 miles) west of Tokyo, erupted without warning on Saturday, spewing ash and rocks.

The eruption forced many of those on the mountain to make emergency descents through clouds of volcanic ash and falling rocks.

Almost 50 people were thought to have stayed on the mountain overnight, reports said.

As the search effort intensified earlier on Sunday, officials said they were searching for 30 people feared missing or buried by ash.

Confirmation soon came that a similar number of people had been found unresponsive on the mountain.

“We have confirmed that more than 30 individuals in cardiac arrest have been found near the summit,” a Nagano police spokesman told the AFP news agency.

Military helicopters plucked seven people off the mountainside earlier on Sunday, according to reports, and workers on foot were also helping others make their way down.

Clouds of ash spew from Mount Ontake, 28 September 2014
The eruption continued under clear blue skies on Sunday
Rescue teams working at a mountain refuge on Mt Ontake, 28 September 2014
Teams have been recovering people from mountainside lodges now covered in thick volcanic ash
Volcanic smoke rises from Mount Ontake, 27 September 2014.
Residents over a large area have been warned of the risk of falling stones

No warning

Japan is one of the world’s most seismically active nations but there have been no fatalities from volcanic eruptions since 1991, when 43 people died at Mount Unzen in the south-west.

The BBC’s Rupert Wingfield-Hayes, in Tokyo, says it’s not clear why there was no warning of Saturday’s eruption.

Japan monitors its volcanoes closely and any that show signs of activity are immediately closed to hikers – but this time that did not happen.

The sudden eruption on Saturday was described as “like thunder” by one woman who runs a lodge near the summit.

Heavy, toxic volcanic ash up to 20cm (8in) thick covered much of the mountain, reports said.

“All of a sudden ash piled up so quickly that we couldn’t even open the door,” Shuichi Mukai, who worked in a mountain lodge just below the peak, told Reuters.

“We were really packed in here, maybe 150 people. There were some children crying, but most people were calm. We waited there in hard hats until they told us it was safe to come down.”

Ordinarily Mount Ontake is a popular place to see autumn foliage.

Its peak is 3,067m (10,120ft) high and the mountain is a popular hiking route, dotted with lodges, cabins and well-marked trails.

Smoke from the eruption rises from Mount Ontake (27 September 2014)
The colours on Mount Ontake are usually a big draw for walkers at this time of year

How real are T.B Joshua’s miracles?

*Some allege Miracles are stage- managed,* it’s a lie, TB Joshua is powerful and a true man of God 

By Our Correspondents

If the adage, ‘good wine needs no bush’ is anything to go by, then the crowd at Synagogue of All Nations may not just be ordinary spectators. They come with a load of problems seeking one form of miracles or the other.

Miracles were parts of the ministries of Moses, Elijah, Elisha, and of course, Jesus and the apostles. Their miracles primarily served the purpose of confirming their message as being from God.

TB Joshua at the SCOAN

Today, many people still seek to experience miracles and some will go any length to have that experience. At Synagogue Church of All Nations, (SCOAN) located at Ikotun- Egbe in Lagos state, an outstanding edifice structured to contain more than 20,000 worshipers with a quarter of that population mostly foreigners, it is a destination for miracles seekers.

People are assured that on seeing the Prophet, TB Joshua, their load of problems would be solved. Little wonder that people especially foreigners besiege the church in search of miracles. Just imagine more than 80 South Africans dying in the collapsed foreign guest house building at the church on September 12.

Thousands throng into the Synagogue Church of All Nations for miracles. But how real are these miracles that are spreading like wildfire world over? Saturday Vanguard deployed reporters out to get the feelings of both past and present members of the church including some foreign worshipers on the issue. They filed in this report:

Mr. Michael French, a 45 years old Cameroonian suffering from acute Diabetes traveled all the way from Cameroun for more than 13 hours by bus, stool ling and urinating frequently on the way. Mr. French was insulted by passengers in the vehicle due to his constant call of nature, but he endured it all hoping that when he gets to Lagos, “it would be a thing of the past.” He arrived Lagos very late and slept at the park because there was no vehicle going to the church.

Mr. French was one of the few that landed at the church the very next morning. He felt that he was already healed because of the adrenaline of hope and excitement in his body. His feet couldn’t hold him; he had read and watched the exploit of this man back home in Cameroun. He knew it was his day to be healed. After all the songs and Sunday School, the Prophet climbed on the podium and started praying for sick people.

“I prayed so hard to be the first to reveive the healing.  I wanted to tell the world what God has done for me through the prophet. But l didn’t get to give my testimony that day. l didn’t receive any sign of healing. So many people came out to give testimonies of their healing and I envied them, but I prayed and hoped that my own healing would come, perhaps on the second day.

“As usual, l was there early alongside my sister the following day. We had carried everything we had saved for this trip. We believed so much that God would settle us that second day. We went there the second day and it was the same thing, a few others received their healing, but l still didn’t get any. By the third day, I became worried because I was running out of money.

I called Cameroun for money to be sent, but l didn’t received any alert. We were still spending money  on accommodation, feeding and by then, our faith which was  aflame when we entered into Nigeria began to die fast just as our pockets were draining fast.

“It got to a point when all we had was our transport fare back to Cameroun; we approached the church, but they couldn’t help to sustain our stay. We were so sad and left Lagos utterly disappointed. I prayed to God for help to survive the long journey back to Cameroun so that I can manage my health just like l was advised by the doctor in the first place. I came to Nigeria because l was told l would be healed; l would say that l spent the worst one week of my life in Nigeria and l didn’t receive what l came for.”

Again, the story of Awele, a 37-year-old mother is more horrifying. Awele, a breast cancer patient based in Lagos told Saturday Vanguard her experience at the Synagogue while searching for miracle. After series of tests, she had been told that her both breasts would go under the knife or she  goes to join her ancestors in less than eight months.

She couldn’t believe that she was going to die so soon. She thought about the possiblity of her only daughter becoming an orphan at 18. Amidst that awful verdict, she exuded faith and decided to seek a miracle at Synagogue.

“On visiting Prophet Joshua’s church I was directed to see any of the four Wise-men. (Saturday Vanguard last week wrote about the ‘four wise-men’ ). After discussing my case with the Wise men, I observed there were three other similar cases involving two men and one other woman. We were all kept in a room. Few days after, we were not attended to and I insisted on seeing the prophet himself.”

“But after three days, instead of the prophet, it was one of the wise-men that visited us and nothing was done.”

TB Joshua

She said further: “About the fourth day of our stay in the church, we noticed that one of us died, we screamed for help!

When the members came, all they did was to take away the lifeless body of the man; we didn’t know what happened to him again. Not even a single word of prayer was said in our presence for the guy. The man didn’t return to the room, but his luggage was still there. Two days later, they visited the room again to check on us as they usually did that period. We asked after the man’s whereabouts and we were told that he had been healed and had left.”

Awele continued: “I sensed a lie because the man’s luggage was still with us and the man was taken away lifeless. So, if he was healed, he would have returned to pick his luggage and would have given testimony of the miracle. But we never saw him again. All this while, we were feeding ourselves while waiting to be touched by the servants of the Lord.

“Again, after a few days, one of us who complained of feeling very bad the previous night died the following morning. We shouted for help, like we had done in the previous case. The church members came to see what the problem was and took the lifeless body of this man away.

They didn’t return to tell us what had happened to the man, just like they did in the last case. But l knew that the man had died, as his body was very cold.”

“I felt that the story would be like the previous one, so, I waited for their next visit. When they visited again, I asked the whereabouts of the man they took away. They said that the man had gone home because he had been healed.

So, l asked the impossible question. “Why didn’t they come back for their belongings when they got healed?” Perhaps they didn’t believe that we would ever remember to ask because they were not prepared hence they were caught off-balance. They claimed the church had made provision for them to go home with new clothes, so, they did not need their old luggage.

There, l made up my mind to leave the Synagogue as soon as possible because there appeared not to be hope. I felt they were only waiting for us to die so that they could do away with our bodies. To me, I was convinced that the so- called miracle thing going on there is a big fraud.”

“I have decided to live my life as though it was the last because surely my end is near as I was told by my doctors. I don’t understand why some pastors claim to heal people when they can’t heal anybody,” Awele said.

Awele went back to the hospital for the breast surgery. She did not live to witness the collapse of Pastor TB Joshua’s hostel building two weeks ago. She died at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital shortly after the surgery.

How I was deceived at the Synagogue mountain”

“I was invited by my sister in-law in the year 2011 to Synagogue church for healing and deliverance when I was having some problems which I would not like to tell you. So, when I got to the church, I was told that mothers whose children were below six years were not allowed to sit in the main church auditorium with their children.

Their reason was that since the program was always a live-broadcast, they would not like children to distract the camera men. They keep mothers and their kids at a separate place. If your kid is above six, they will register him/her to Children Sunday School. So, that very day, I went with my little daughter to the church. When we got to the church after observing all the protocols, we were kept with other mothers. So, suddenly, one of the wise men came to us and said that the man of God wanted to see all the nursing mothers and therefore, he ordered that all of us should be brought into the main church auditorium. When we came in, we were told to kneel at the alter for a prayer session.”

“While the prayer was going on, I fell under the power of anointing. After the prayer session, they came to all of us that fell during the prayer session and said that we would be going to the mountain for deliverance.

We were all booked for the mountain, when I told my sister in-law who invited me for the program, she congratulated me for being lucky saying that as far as I was scheduled to go to the mountain, all my problems had been solved.

“On that day, we assembled at the church premises where the bus came to take us to the mountain located in Agodo, Ikotun, area of Lagos state. The rule while going to the mountain was that, “you do not talk to each other when you get to the mountain.”

“The mountain is a riverside area just like a very long street. There were so many animals in the river. There were huts constructed with planks where people that came for deliverance at the mountain including the man of God stay. I asked them why did they choose this kind of place as the mountain, they said that was the place the man of God first stepped his foot when he was fasting to build the Church. Right there, we were asked to pick a red piece of paper which was passed round to others present.

On the piece of paper, some quotations from the Holy Bible were written on it and you will be asked to pick your choice for prayer. You will also be asked to buy the Holy water which goes for N5,000 and pray with it and it ends there. I did not get any deliverance, neither was there any miraculous changes on the issues that took me there.”

Again, Mrs Ruth revealed that, the deceit in the church was also discovered by her own brother who was based in Norway. According to her, one of the major criteria for seeing the man of God, especially if you are coming from outside the country, is that you will keep sending e-mail until you get a reply.

“My brother who is a Redeemed Pastor, based in Norway with his family, has his two children, his son and daughter, deaf and dumb right from birth. The man being ignorant of the procedures for seeing the man of God, flew into the country with his family with the hope of seeing the man of God for a miracle, but he was told he could not see the man of God since he did not get any reply to his mails. So, they were asked to go back and keep sending mails until they get a reply. The man went back and kept sending mails to see the man of God. When they eventually got the nod to come, they did not go with the kids.

The wife was scheduled to go to the mountain as well, but after going through all these processes of mountain and anointed water, the children still remained the same, nothing changed in any of them,”she explained.

But many worshipers believe miracle as being taunted by Pastor T.B Joshua is a function of individual faith. A worshiper who preferred anonymity, at the church recently told Saturday Vanguard that: “Just like in every other church, it is your faith that heals you. I am not a regular worshiper here, I come here once in a while for prayers and healing, I believe that it is your faith that heals you. No amount of prayer from a man of God can set you free, if you do not have faith,” she said.

There are those who attest to the efficacy of prayers offered by Joshua.

Another eye witness who was met at the premises of the collapsed building said that the building initially was meant for just restaurant but because of the high demand of worshipers, they have to add buildings on top which resulted in the collapse.

“If you watch out, you will see that the ground floor was used as canteen where worshipers both in the church and those that lodged in the hotel come to eat. But because of the influx of people and the demand for accommodation especially, foreigners, they decided to add additional floors. These collapsed building is for people from different countries and it costs between N50,000-N60,000 per night including feeding.

While the other one standing not too far from the collapsed building is for ministers and top government officials and it costs between N100,000 and above. And if you are lodged in the hotel, you are not allowed to have visitors until you leave. Everything you want, all kinds of food will be made available to you in the hotel, so there is no reason to have visitors,” he said.

He added that only members of the church are allowed to work in the hotel. “None members are not allowed in the hotel either as visitor or worker. If you do not worship in the church, forget about working there. From the contractor to the least person, they all worship in the church. The church is doing that as a way of empowering their members,” he disclosed.

Miracles are stage-managed

“A friend told me about prophet T.B Joshua in 2010 when my late son had swollen penis. He suffered for two years before I went to T.B Joshua. I took my son there and after a while, I was given a card to see the prophet. I was among several other people who were having problems.

In the deliverance and miracle section, the ailments were categorised into different parts, so, you were expected to go to your deliverance section.

“It was very tough before we could see the man. And because of the state of my son, we had to rent an apartment in the area so that we could keep close contact.

At about the time, there were about100 people waiting to see the prophet, yet we could not see the prophet after three months.

“I was helpless but I held on and believed that once I saw the man, everything would be fine. Everyday, my son was groaning in pains and we were not financially buoyant. So, we wanted to see the man at all cost so that my son would be healed.

“One the day, my son was asked to come for the deliverance, we came as early as 5am. I was anxiously waiting for the man, but he didn’t show up until 4pm. He was accompanied by his press crew and other people in his ministry. Ï saw the man, he saw my son, but he didn’t lay hands on my son. Ï called on him desperately but he ignored me and my son. Someone close to him said to me: “it seems the prophet wasn’t directed to heal my son. I was perplexed and asked why. But he later told me to come the next month. Perhaps, God will direct him to heal my son. I was disappointed and went back home.

“The next month, I went back to the church but to my surprise, I was asked to start the process of seeing the prophet all over again. I was devastated, I did not know what to do. At that time, my son’s condition had deteriorated. He shrunk and paled. I cried for help but nobody heard me.

A man told me to go and buy the anointing water and give my son. I bought the anointing water and gave it to him but nothing happened. Instead of my son to be healed, he was getting worse by the day. At that time, there was nobody to help me. I tried all I could to get to the man, all to no avail. Then, I went back home and started praying to God to save my son. Unfortunately, the boy died after two weeks.

Since, then, I have decided not to go back to that man’s church because there’s nothing called miracle there. What you see are all stage-managed miracles.”

I got initiated in the dream by drinking green water

One man told us his story this way: “It all started when I came to Lagos in search of financial empowerment. I was advised to go to Synagogue Church and that the man of God there empowers people financially.

One month later, I came in contact with the prophet. I was told to drink the green water and go home.

When I got home, I started experiencing some strange things at home. I didn’t know what they were until I slept off. I saw the man in my dream and in a way, I was initiated and I started seeing strange things. I couldn’t explain everything I saw but I knew I was initiated. Then, I left everything, family and came to the church.

I lived in the church for more than one year but there was nothing like empowerment. I was working as a cleaner.

One year after, I was told to leave the church environment, that my services were no longer needed. I did not know what was wrong. I left and went back to my family. It was when I got home that my father told me how they had been into intercessory prayers for my restoration, that I was initiated and lost my mind.

Why foreigners believe in Prophet T.B Joshua

To several others, T.B Joshua is like a man-of God who is not honoured in his hometown. This perhaps lends credence to the influx of foreign nationals to the Synagogue.

According to investigation, Pastor Joshua has good relations with highly-placed foreigners including presidents both serving and former leaders of some countries in Africa and beyond. They come in droves from all corners of the planet for spiritual healing and solutions to different ailments or problems. Saturday Vanguard encountered an Asian woman from Singapore at the SCOAN recently.

When asked why she chose to travel so far to attend a church service here in Ikotun, Lagos Nigeria, the woman who pleaded anonymity said: “Why will I not believe him when I witnessed many miracles taking place before my very eyes. I witnessed those “wheel-chair bounds’ getting up on their feet and instantaneously walking after his touch and prayers.

I witnessed the cancer-stricken patients getting healed. I witnessed people possessed by the spirit of lizard, possessed by the spirit of snake, possessed by the spirit of monkey receiving deliverance and being delivered from the evil spirit living in them for many years. You are not going to believe this, but you have to. I even witnessed a HIV infected woman getting cured.”

Another European man in his 50s who came to Nigeria three years ago said: “When T.B Joshua comes to the pulpit to preach, his sermons are great. Another thing that fascinates me about this special man of God, instead of posing himself as another miracle worker and asking people to donate large sum of money, this man of God preaches with strong conviction and clear message of holiness.

“Prophet T. B Joshua will always say “Healing without putting the Word of God as our standard will not stand the test of time” and I adore him for that. This humble man of God attributes Jesus as the healer and he preaches about putting the Word of God as the central principle guiding our lives, one on which through the Word, healing, peace, and others are built upon. So, tell me what more I need to believe? He is a true messenger of God,” he queried.

Why many South Africans died in the tragedy

According to reliable sources, South Africans are passionate about the Synagogue Church, always coming there on pilgrimage.

There is a tour package which cost an average of 10,000 Rands each for one week. The collapsed building was meant for Southern African groups like worshipers from Namibia, Lesotho, Mozambique, Botswana and the Republic of South Africa.

. Worshipers from Malaysia, Taiwan, Singapore, Japan also use the collapsed building but investigation revealed that South Africans were more because Pastor Joshua decided to give more opportunities for the South Africans who have remained insistent and shown solidarity to SCOAN. No fewer than 84 South Africans were killed in the tragedy.

Healing of sicknesses and diseases also bring nationals from other countries to Synagogue – all for miracles. Holy water, otherwise called anointing water, is sold to pilgrims between N5000 and N10,000 per bottle.

Even thousands of anointing water bottles are exported to some West African countries. Worshipers from foreign nations are encouraged to stay until after seven days. They are always screened and registered by the church authorities. Those with financial problems believe that use of the anointing oil restore their finances.

Meanwhile, it was gathered that the ruling African National Congress, ANC, Youth Wing had warned Pastor T.B. Joshua not to come to South Africa. He should not enter the country until they know what happened to their compatriots in Nigeria. According to Bandile Masuku of ANC Youth League, “we will make sure that Pastor T.B. Joshua is not issued with a South African visa.”

The influx of foreign nationals into the church could be explained by the adage that a Prophet is not acknowledged or recognised in his own country. But with this tragedy, many people are becoming scared of the Synagogue church and more knowledgeable about what goes on there.

Strangely, however, several South Africans, we reliably learnt, are still anxious to return to Nigeria to patronize the church because of their believed spiritual prowess of Pastor T.B. Joshua.

He is feared and highly respected by politicians, including prime ministers, presidents and ministers. Even sports men come to the Synagogue not only for healing when injured but also for for success in their outings. Prominent athletes and footballers have gone there to seek one form of help or another.

– See more at: http://www.vanguardngr.com/2014/09/real-t-b-joshuas-miracles/#sthash.K0PU35HB.dpuf

We’ve reduced poverty by 50 per cent – Jonathan

 From left: President Goodluck Jonathan, APC Presidential aspirant and Governor of Edo State, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole and Chief Mike Onolemenmen, Minister of Works on arrival of the President  at the Benin Airport for a party rally, Saturday

Benin – President Goodluck Jonathan on Saturday in Benin said the country had reduced its poverty rate by 50 per cent.

Jonathan said this while speaking at the South South Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) political rally in Benin, tagged ‘Unity Mega Rally.’

He said that the PDP, as a party, believed in stomach infrastructure because the party must ensure that there was food security and job creation in the country.

He noted that any leader who claimed not to believe in stomach infrastructure was not ready to lead, as “ you cannot lead hungry people.’’

He desrcibed the PDP as the only stable party since its formation that had never changed its name, logo or motto, adding that it is the only paty that gives its members the freedom to climb to the highest level.

He said that all the nation needed was unity, and gave the assurance that although all the roads could not be rehabilitated at once, his administration would continue to improve on all infrastracture in the country.

He also gave the reassurance that since the nation was able to conquer the Ebola Virus Disease, it would also conquer the Boko Haram insurgency.

The president however appealed to the party loyalists to be decent in their variuos electioneering competitions in order not to create enermies among themselves.

Earlier, Vice President Namadi Sambo said the presenet administration had completed seven power projects with a total of 2,000 mega watts for the South South under the Transformation Agenda.

Similarly, Senate President David Mark described Jonathan as ‘’ a good sell’’ hence his unianimous adoption by the party as its choice candidate for 2015.

The PDP National Chairman, Alhaji Adamu Mu’azu, described the president as a bridge builder and unifying factor.

He reassured that all defectors to the party would be reintegrated into the party without bias.

The Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the party, Chief Tony Aneneih, said the zone had every reason to be proud of its contribution to national development.

He also said that the zone had made sacrifice to keep the country together as well as contributed to the economic growth.

The president had earlier inaugurated the Benin-Ofusu Dual carriage, where Gov Adams Oshiomhole of Edo described the quallity of work as impressive.

Oshiomhole also congratulated the president on the massive road construction and rehabiliattion across states in the country.

NAN also reports that the rally was attended by who is who in the PDP both in the state and in the country, including serving and past governors, national assembly members, as well as aspirants.

– See more at: http://www.vanguardngr.com/2014/09/weve-reduced-poverty-50-per-cent-jonathan/#sthash.4ALEIbTq.dpuf

The story of the struggle of my life, by Atiku Abubakar

Says his father wanted him to be Islamic scholar or herdsman

JADA
I was born on November 25, 1946 in Jada, Adamawa State, Nigeria. I was named after my paternal grandfather, Atiku Abdulkadir. It was the practice among the Fulani people to name their first sons after their paternal grandfathers.

My grandfather, Atiku, came originally from Wurno in Sokoto State. There, he had met and befriended Ardo Usman, a Fulani nobleman from what is now known as Adamawa State. My grandfather decided to accompany his new friend back to his home- town of Adamawa.

Atiku's declaration for 2015

They settled in Kojoli, a small village in Jada Local Government Council of Adamawa State. My grandfather farmed, kept livestock and raised a family. He married a local girl in Kojoli and gave birth to my father, Garba Atiku Abdulkadir. He was their only child.

My father was an itinerant trader who traveled from one market to another selling imitation jewelry, caps, needles, potash, kola nuts and other nick-knacks which he ferried around on the back of his donkey. He also kept some livestock and cultivated guinea corn, maize and groundnuts.

When it was time for him to marry, my father chose a young girl from nearby Jada town whose parents had migrated from Dutse, now the capital of Jigawa State. My mother, Aisha Kande, was born in Jada.

Both my father and paternal grandfather were learned men. They gave free Islamic classes to adults and young people in Kojoli during their spare time.

As a young boy growing up in Kojoli, my parents doted on me. They tried their best to provide for me and to ensure that I grew up in a wholesome environment of love and spirituality. My father saw me as a rare gift, a child of destiny.

My parents tried unsuccessfully to have more children.

GOING TO SCHOOL
My father, Garba Atiku Abdulkadir, was fond of me. He wanted me to become an Islamic scholar, herdsman, farmer and trader – just like him. He was a deeply religious man who was suspicious of Western education which he believed could corrupt the impressionable minds of young people.

My father did not want me to go to school. He tried to hide me from the prying eyes of Native Authority officials who had embarked on compulsory mass literacy campaign in the region. My father soon discovered that he could not resist the wind of change that was blowing through the area at the time.

My mother’s older brother, Kawu Ali who had received a little education through adult literacy classes, registered me at Jada Primary School in January 1954 as Atiku Kojoli.
For trying to stop me from going to school, my father was arrested, charged to an Alkali court and fined 10 Shillings. He refused to pay the fine. He said he had no money.

He spent a few days in jail until my maternal grandmother, who made local soap for sale in the community, raised the money to pay the fine and father was released to her.
But my father was not a happy man. He was sad and angry that his only child had been taken away from him to be exposed to a strange world. He saw Western education as a threat to their cherished values and way of life.

FATHER’S DEATH
Three years after I started school, tragedy struck in December 1957.  I was then11 years old. I was just about to begin the Senior Primary School in Jada as a boarding pupil. My father drowned while trying to cross a small river known as Mayo Choncha on the outskirts of Toungo, a neighbouring town.

The river was in high tide following a heavy rainfall. Father’s body was recovered the following day and buried in Toungo according to Islamic rites. He was less than 40 years old when he died. I built an Islamic primary school at his burial site years later to immortalize him. He was a simple, hard working, kind, honest and God-fearing man. I miss him a lot.

After my father’s death, the task of raising me fell on my mother, Kande, and her childless sister, Azumi, as well as my father’s extended family members in Kojoli. Although people were generally kind and caring towards me, it was difficult for relatives to fill the vacuum left by my father. As such, I was often sad and lonely. Father’s death pained me greatly.

I resolved to work hard, remain focused and be successful in life to make my father proud. I was sure that he was somewhere watching over me. I did not want to disappoint him. I wish father had lived long enough to see the benefits of Western education in my life.

KADUNA, KANO & ZARIA
After completing my primary school in Jada in 1960, I was admitted into Adamawa Provincial Secondary School in Yola. I joined 59 other young boys from Adamawa and beyond in January 1961 to begin a five-year high school journey. The school’s motto is Tiddo Yo Daddo, a Fulani aphorism for “Endurance is Success”.

It reminded us daily that success in life would only come to those who worked hard and persevered. Adamawa Provincial Secondary School, like others in the region, belonged in the second category of post-primary institutions in Northern Nigeria. The most prestigious schools were the Government Colleges in Zaria and Keffi.

Pupils who excelled in the entrance examination went to the Government Colleges; those who did reasonably well went to the Provincial Secondary Schools; average students were sent to the Craft Schools in the various Divisions; and those who failed the examination were sent to Farm Centres which were established in all the Districts. It was a good system which took care of everyone irrespective of his or her level of intelligence.

When I was 15, I spent my school holiday at home, working as a clerk in Ganye Native Authority. My boss was Adamu Ciroma, the then District Officer. From my holiday job earnings, I bought a house for my mother in Ganye, the headquarters of the local government council. The thatched mud bungalow had two rooms plus a kitchen and bathroom. It cost me about nine Pounds Sterling. My mother was very happy and proud of me. I had saved her from homelessness after her older brother sold the family house in Jada without her knowledge.

SERVING IN THE CUSTOMS
Before completing my Diploma in Law programme in June 1969, a team from the Federal Civil Service Commission came on a recruitment drive to the university. By chance one of the interviewers found in my file a report that I had once been found suitable to join the police force and had in fact received some training in 1966. This in- formation was brought to the attention of the chairman of the interview panel who promptly ruled. “O.k., you go to the Department of Customs and Excise”.

That was how I joined the Department of Customs and Excise in June 1969. The invisible hand that has always shaped my life had once again steered me towards my destiny.
After my training at the Police College in Ikeja, Lagos and at the Customs Training School in Ebute Metta in Lagos, I was posted to Idi Iroko border station. My colleagues and I were tasked with collecting duties on imported and exported goods, stop- ping the entry and exit of banned items, and arresting and prosecuting smugglers.

I was posted in 1972 to Ikeja Airport in Lagos and later to Apapa ports in Lagos.

I saw Customs not as a punitive institution but as a way of making money for government. Instead of seizing goods and extorting money from their owners, I made money for  government. A lot of people tried unsuccessfully to induce me.

I was posted to Ibadan mid 1975 and promoted Superintendent of Customs. This was during the memorable days of General Murtala Muhammed, the nation’s new military leader who had electrified the nation with his campaign for discipline, probity, hard work, patriotism and dedication to duty.

I admired General Muhammed and tried to promote the same values and attitudinal change in our office. I was nick-named “Murtala Muhammed Junior” by my Customs subordinates in Ibadan because they said I was behaving like him. Although I was second-in-command in Ibadan, I used to order late-comers to be locked out of their offices.

I was sad to hear about General Muhammed’s assassination on February 13, 1976 during a failed military coup. Some of those who were later implicated in the coup and killed were well known to me. But I did not know they were involved in a coup plot.  Shortly after that failed coup, I was transferred to Kano in 1976.

MAKING MONEY
I recognized very early in life that I have a good nose for business. In 1974 I applied for and obtained a Federal Staff Housing Loan. The loan, which amounted to 31,000 Naira, was the equivalent of my salary for five years. I was granted a plot of land by the Gongola State Government at Yola Government Reserved Area (GRA).

I hired a foreman and began building my first house. With close personal supervision, the bungalow was completed on time and to my taste. I rented it out immediately. The rent I collected in advance on the house was substantial enough for me to purchase a second plot.

I built my second house there and rented it out. I continued to plow back the rent into the building of new houses and within a few years I had built eight houses in choice areas of Yola. I also built a new house for my mother and rebuilt the old mud house I bought for her in Ganye when I was a 15-year-old student.

Property investment can be very rewarding. It is safe and the returns are high de- pending on the location. Kaduna, for instance, was a good place to invest in property before the emergence of Abuja. I built my first house in Kaduna with rent from other property. I bought six more plots and built residential houses and rented them out to individuals and institutions.

Of all the businesses into which I would venture, the most successful and the most lucrative would be a small oil services company I established with an Italian business man in the early 1980s. I met Gabriel Volpi when he was working at Apapa Ports in 1982. The Genoa, Italy-born Volpi was a director in MED Africa, a shipping company.

Volpi suggested we go into oil and gas logistics. He knew Nigeria’s future was in oil and gas. We registered the Nigeria Container Services (NICOTES), operating from a container office at Apapa Ports. I was not involved in the running of the company.

NICOTES relocated later to the Federal Lighter Terminal in Port Harcourt when the business began to grow.  The company, now known as INTELS (Integrated and Logistics Services), has grown into a multi-billion Naira business providing over 15,000 jobs in Nigeria and other African countries, and paying hefty dividends to its shareholders.

MOTHER’S DEATH
My mother, Aisha Kande, died suddenly of a heart attack in 1984. I was in Lagos where I had been posted as the Customs Area Administrator in charge of Murtala Muhammed Airport in Ikeja. Lamido Aliyu Musdafa summoned me home and broke the sad news to me in his palace. I wept like a child. She was hale and hearty when we last saw a week earlier.

A MATTER OF PRINCIPLE
A few months before my mother’s death, soldiers had overthrown the civilian administration of Shehu Shagari on December 31, 1983. Major-General Muhammadu Buhari became the new Head of State. As part of its monetary policies, the Buhari government had introduced new Naira notes in April 1984.

The policy was aimed at halting the illegal speculative trading of the Naira outside the shores of Nigeria. A time limit was imposed within which old notes could be turned in for new ones. Government agencies at the nation’s borders, sea and air ports were instructed to screen all bags and containers entering the country to ensure old Naira notes were not being smuggled into the country.

A first class traditional ruler and a returning Nigeria diplomat had arrived from Saudi Arabia with several bags. My officers at the airport in Lagos were not allowed to search the bags. The duty officers reported the incident in writing. I did not know how a newspaper got wind of it. The Guardian, a Lagos-based newspaper, reported on its front page on June 10, 1984 that “Passenger with 53 suitcases leaves airport unchecked”.

The incident became a scandal and  government was forced to set up an administrative panel of inquiry to determine why due process was not followed. The government was clearly embarrassed by the incident and rather than punish those who flouted its directive that all baggage be searched, it began to look for scapegoats. They mounted pressure on me to deny that the incident ever happened. I was threatened and intimidated. I vowed to surrender my uniform and quit the Customs rather than lie.

The Federal Government would later declare that the controversial 53 suitcases contained the personal effects of the traditional ruler, the returning ambassador and members of their families. The government added that those who intimidated and threatened the Customs officers on duty on that day at the airport had been reprimanded.

Some government officials wanted me sacked for not covering up their mess. But Finance Minister Onaolapo Soleye, who supervised the Department of Customs and Excise, said I should be left alone.

Soleye did not know me. He acted on the basis of the facts before him. He said it would be unfair to punish me for doing my job and for standing by my officers. He was also swayed by my impeccable service record. No queries. No sanctions. My file was filled with commendations for meeting and exceeding revenue targets at the different posts I had headed.

A PASSION FOR LEARNING
I have always had a passion for education. In 1988, my second wife, Ladi and I registered a limited liability company called ABTI-ZARHAM (formed from the first letters of the names of our children: Abba and Atiku Jnr  = ABTI and Zainab, Rukaiya, Hauwa and Maryam = ZARHAM). We established ABTI Nursery and Primary School in Yola in 1992.

We later set up ABTI Academy, an elite high school with boarding facilities modeled after the British public school. It was followed by ABTI-American University (now American University of Nigeria, Yola). It provides American-style university education to students. Nothing gives me more joy and fulfillment in life than my modest contributions to the improvement of education in Nigeria.

POLITICAL LIFE
Meeting Yar’Adua
While in my office one day, I was informed that Shehu Musa Yar’Adua, the retired Major-General and former deputy to Obasanjo, was waiting to see me. Yar’Adua wanted a license to import beans from Niger Republic for sale in Nigeria.  I told him that he would have to write an application to President Ibrahim Babangida for the license. Yar’Adua thanked me and left.

Babangida approved his application. Yar’Adua imported the beans from Niger Republic, sold them and made good money. He felt he needed to show appreciation to me for assisting him. I was happy to see him again when he visited me and happier still to know that his business had gone well.

He offered me a token of appreciation, but I declined, saying it was unnecessary.  I was just doing my job.  Yar’Adua was highly impressed. In an organization known for its endemic corruption and unethical deals, he was happy to find one decent officer. From that day, a friendship developed between us.

Going into politics
When I joined the Customs 20 years earlier, I had drawn a graph anticipating my career progression from Cadet to Director of Customs by age 40. I told myself that if by the time I was 40 years old I did not head the organization, I would quit.

I retired at 43 as a Deputy Director on April 30, 1989. I paid the mandatory three months salary in lieu of notice to government.
A year before my retirement, I had started attending political meetings at Shehu Yar’Adua’s house in Ikoyi, Lagos.

“Look, you are good, you relate well with people. I think you will make a good politician. Why don’t you join me in politics”, Shehu Musa Yar’Adua said to me one day.
That was how it all started. The Yar’Adua Group, as we came to be known, wanted to build a bridge across the old fault lines of ethnicity, religion and region.

In May 1989, the Babangida administration finally lifted the ban on party politics. The Yar’Adua group immediately unveiled its political association, the People’s Front of Nigeria (PFN), which had “the pursuit of justice, peace, and service” as its motto and “People First” as its slogan.

At its first national convention in June 1989, Farouk Abdul Azeez, a medical doctor from the then Kwara State, was elected Chairman while a woman, Titi Ajanaku, was elected National Secretary.

Six of us represented the then Gongola State at the convention. I was elected one of the National Vice Chairmen of the party. I was also in charge of setting up party structures in the South-East where I already had a network of friends and business associates. Yar’Adua and I paid the initial expenses of the PFN.

I took PFN to Gongola State. It was the first political association to be launched in the state when the ban on party politics was lifted. I was the party’s sole financier in the state. My contributions to my immediate community had earned me a lot of good- will and support.

Of the 13 political associations formed at the time, the PFN was the most organized and disciplined. Yet, on October 7, 1989, President Babangida announced that his Armed Forces Ruling Council had decided not to register any of the associations be- cause, as he put it, “the associations were set up by the same old discredited politicians who must never be allowed back in power”.

He disbanded the 13 associations and created and funded two new parties – the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and the National Republican Convention (NRC).
The SDP, he said, was a little to the left in terms of its ideological orientation while the NRC was a little to the right. He asked politicians to join either of the two.

Atiku-LagosWe in the Yar’Adua group decided to join the Social Democratic Party (SDP), the party considered closer to the PFN in ideological orientation.
The parties were formally launched in Abuja on October 7, 1989. I was one of the delegates from Gongola State. I was elected to the 1989 Constituent Assembly.

To be Governor
On August 27, 1991, the Babangida administration created nine new states. Gongola State was broken into Adamawa and Taraba States.

The SDP governorship primary in Adamawa State was held in November 1991. Six people contested with me, including Bala Takaya, a former political science lecturer at the University of Jos.

The primary took place amidst allegations that the state party executives were solidly behind Bala Takaya. Voting was relatively peaceful and orderly. The result was however disputed. I was declared winner but Bala Takaya and his supporters protested.

It was amidst this chaos that in December 1991, the Babangida administration announced the cancellation of nine state primary election results, including that of Adamawa. Takaya and I were also disqualified from contesting the upcoming governorship election.

The former state Chairman of the party, Boss Mustapha, emerged the winner of a fresh governorship primary. He had just two weeks to convince the people of Adamawa State to vote for him.

Apart from the short time available for campaign, Mustapha’s chances were also weakened by the unresolved internal bickering in the party. So it was not surprising that the candidate of the rival NRC, Saleh Michika, won the December 14, 1991 governorship election.

To be President
Yar’Adua and 12 other so-called banned politicians were arrested and detained on December 2, 1991 for participating in politics despite having been banned. He was released on December 20, 1991 after 17 days in detention. He was free to participate in politics again, the government said.

We, his associates, persuaded him to join the race for the presidency. He declared his interest on February 25, 1992 at City Hall, Lagos. He was one of the 50 presidential aspirants of the two parties that participated in the six-zone presidential primaries from May 2 to June 20, 1992. I was Yar’Adua’s campaign coordinator.

I had no doubt in my mind that he would have made a good President. He had a vision and he knew how to bring good people together to achieve his goals.

A three-stage party primary was introduced, beginning in September 1992. By the end of the first round, Yar’Adua had emerged the front-runner, beating prominent politicians in their strongholds. The Babangida administration cashed in on the unfounded allegations of rigging, thuggery and bribery and cancelled the primary results on November 17, 1992.

All 23 presidential aspirants were also banned. The executives of the two parties were dissolved. A new system of presidential primary was announced. The handover date from military to civilian rule was extended to August 17, 1993.

With Yar’Adua banned, the group needed someone that its members could rally round. My influence, hard work and selfless contributions to the Yar’Adua group as well as my loyalty to Yar’Adua and my youthfulness (I was then 46 years old) counted in my favour.

My closeness to Tafida (as I used to call him) also meant that I would inherit both his goodwill and his ill-will. I knew that those who did not want Yar’Adua to become President could also stop me. But I was not deterred.  I decided to run on the same ideas and vision that Yar’Adua had espoused during his candidacy – a strong, united, democratic and prosperous Nigeria.

Babagana Kingibe, a former member of the Yar’Adua group who became SDP Chairman because of the group’s support, was also vying for the party’s presidential ticket. So was newcomer Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola, a wealthy businessman and newspaper publisher.

I contested and won the SDP presidential primary in Adamawa State in March 1993. Moshood Abiola, 55 years old, and Babagana Kingibe, 48, had also won in their respective states. Altogether, 27 of us from various states converged in Jos in March 1993 to contest the SDP presidential ticket at the national convention of the party.

To stop Kingibe, whom we all believed had betrayed our group, the Yar’Adua group resolved to negotiate with Abiola. We would support Abiola’s candidacy for the presidency in return for making me his running mate.  We met Abiola and his key advisers and agreed to go to the Jos convention to push for an Abiola-Atiku ticket.

Thereafter, we would harmonize our campaign structures and finances.  At the end of the first ballot, Abiola came first with 3,617 votes. Kingibe came a close second with 3,225 votes. I came third with 2,066 votes.

We met again with Abiola. We agreed that I should step down for Abiola in the final round of voting.  I agreed to subordinate my personal ambition for the sake of democracy. I was ready for any personal sacrifice that could end military rule in Nigeria.

In the two-way race between Abiola and Kingibe, Abiola triumphed with 2,683 votes to Kingibe’s 2,456 votes.
However, Abiola refused to honour the agreement to make me his running mate. He picked Babagana Kingibe.

Yar’Adua was angry over Abiola’s betrayal. I knew it would be difficult to persuade him to support Abiola again. I was concerned about our party. Without the support of the Yar’Adua group, the SDP could lose the presidential election to the NRC whose Bashir Tofa, then 46, was generally thought to be inexperienced.

Knowing that Shehu Yar’Adua’s father and former military ruler Olusegun Obasanjo were the two people in the world that Yar’Adua could not refuse, I went to see Obasanjo at his Ota farm to ask him to convince Yar’Adua not to withdraw his support for Abiola. I said the Yar’Adua group needed to work closely with Abiola to defeat the reactionary forces in the upcoming election and to get Babangida out of office.

Obasanjo promised to talk to his former deputy. He did. And the Yar’Adua group went on to support Abiola who won the June 12 election. But the Babangida administration annulled the election midway into the vote count.

We were all sad and angry about the annulment. We were tired of the endless transition. But we could not leave the ship of state adrift. We began consulting other political groups. In the end, a compromise was reached to form an Interim National Government (ING) with corporate chieftain Ernest Shonekan as Head. The ING was sacked three months later by General Sani Abacha, the Defence Minister. Nigeria once again returned to full military rule.

POLITICAL CRISIS
A little over six months into his administration, Abacha gathered politicians in Abuja to fashion yet another Constitution. I was elected by my people to represent them at the Constituent Assembly. Shehu Yar’Adua was also an elected delegate from Katsina State.

The conference began in June 1994 with 273 delegates, including 96 appointees of  government. In the middle of its proceedings, I was informed that Abacha wanted to see me. When I met him, Abacha told me he would like to work with me. He said I should support his political programme and advised me to dump Yar’Adua.

I said Yar’Adua was my friend and that he should not try to tear us apart.  I said I was my own man and that I could take decisions of my own.  Abacha was not impressed. He asked me to go and think about it.

By March 1995 Abacha began to move against opponents of his government. Yar’Adua was the first on his list. He was arrested and detained on March 9, 1995 for daring to recommend a terminal date for the Abacha government. General Obasanjo was also arrested.

Days after their arrest, Abdulsalami Abubakar, Chief of the Defence Staff, addressed a  press conference in Lagos during which he disclosed that 29 officers and civilians had been arrested in connection with a coup plot.

Suspects were tortured and forced to confess their role in the coup and to implicate innocent men such as Obasanjo and Yar’Adua. A sham trial was staged. Yar’Adua was sentenced to death and Obasanjo to life imprisonment.

In an Independence Day broadcast on October 1, 1995, Abacha announced the commutal of 13 of the death sentences to various terms of imprisonment. Obasanjo’s life sentence was reduced to 15 years while Yar’Adua’s death sentence was reduced to 25 years. This was in response to pressure from to a coalition of journalists, human rights activists, pro-democracy campaigners and the international community, including the Pope.

I visited Kirikiri as often as I could to see Yar’Adua with Inua Baba, the Plateau State-born personal assistant to Yar’Adua. In detention, Yar’Adua was more concerned about the future of the country than about his own life.  He feared that Abacha would throw the country into chaos. He was later transferred to Port Harcourt and Abakaliki Prisons.

Abacha was not satisfied keeping Yar’Adua in jail and intimidating me. He was determined to cripple our businesses as well. He seized our most lucrative business, NICOTES, and renamed it INTELS (Integrated and Logistics Services). Yar’Adua and I were removed from the company as shareholders.

My residence in Kaduna was attacked by unknown gunmen in May 1995. Six policemen and one guard died in that attack. It is still a miracle to me how my wife, Titi, our son, Adamu, and I escaped unhurt.

Going into exile
Following the bloody attack in Kaduna, family and friends persuaded me to leave the country for a while. Abacha’s security agents trailed me everywhere in their unmarked cars and trademark dark sunglasses. My telephone lines were bugged. I had to sneak out at night to meet people. My life under Abacha was horrible.

The State Security Service (SSS) seized my international passport just as I was making plans to travel outside the country to cool off and to seek the support of some political and business leaders in Europe and the United States for the democratic struggle in Nigeria.

atikuI obtained another passport in the name of Atiku Kojoli. With the assistance of friends within the security forces at the airport, I was smuggled into a London-bound flight directly from the tarmac.

I arrived London late 1995. I made several unsuccessful efforts to reach the British Foreign Office. The government of Prime Minister John Major was, as usual with the British, a bit too cautious in its dealings with the Nigerian opposition.

From London, I linked up with Jackie Farris who had worked as a consultant on polling and political strategy with the Shehu Musa Yar’Adua presidential campaign in 1992. Through her I was able to re-establish contacts with former Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young. He promised to talk to his contacts at the State Department in Washing- ton, DC to get me an appointment.

While in the United States, I also re-established contact with Jennifer Iwenjiora, the television journalist I had known as a friend in Lagos since 1982. She was then liv- ing in Maryland. Jennifer and I later married and had Abdulmalik, Zahra and Faisal.

Jennifer took me to some of the contacts Young and Farris had arranged for me in Washington, D.C. USA.

Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Susan Rice, received me warmly in her office. I briefed her on the political situation in Nigeria and commended the Clinton Administration for supporting the democratic struggle in Nigeria.

I pleaded with the Administration to press Abacha to free political prisoners, such as Yar’Adua and Obasanjo, and restore democratic rule. Rice expressed delight in seeing me and promised the Clinton Administration’s commitment to the restoration of democracy in Nigeria.

Yar’Adua’s death
I wept like a baby on December 8, 1997 when I was informed that Shehu Musa Yar’Adua had died in Abakaliki prison. He was just 54 years old.
Yar’Adua had transformed Nigerian politics with his organizational skill, analytical mind and his uncommon gift as a strategist. I lost a brother, a mentor, a confidant and a friend in Yar’Adua.

Death of Abacha & Abiola
Then, on June 8, 1998 Abacha died suddenly of a heart attack in Abuja at the age of 54. Chief of the Defence Staff, Abdulsalami Abubakar, became the new Head of State.  One month after Abach’s death, Moshood Abiola also died suddenly in detention.

General Abdulsalami Abubakar read the national mood well. He released political detainees and announced a short transition to civil rule programme. He also began to look into previous rights violations. I petitioned him about the seizure of INTELS from Yar’Adua and I. He set up a committee to look into it and the committee promptly recommended that the company be returned to us as the rightful owners.

From Governor to Vice Presidency
As soon as the military government announced its transition programme, the Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM), as the Yar’Adua group came to be known, immediately reconvened in Lagos.

We resolved to liaise with other political associations with the hope of setting up a strong national party that would promote unity and stability and serve as a bulwark against military incursion into politics.

On August 19, 1998, the PDM and other groups came together to form the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) as “a credible, nationwide, people-oriented and principled political party, enjoying the widest support throughout the Federal Republic of Nigeria”.

I led a small group to identify a presidential candidate from the South-west that we could support. The Abubakar government sent an emissary to inform us that they wanted Olusegun Obasanjo.

In the end, our group agreed to support Obasanjo’s candidacy. A contact team was set up with Lawal Kaita, Sunday Afolabi, Ango Abdullahi, Titi Ajanaku and I as members.
We were convinced that Obasanjo would make a good President.

After Obasanjo agreed to contest the PDP presidential primary, I went back to Adamawa to realize my long-time dream of governing my state. I was unanimously picked as the PDP governorship candidate for Adamawa State. Boni Haruna was my running mate.

I won the January 9, 1999 governorship election, defeating my perennial rival, Bala Takaya of the All Nigeria People’s Party.

The PDP held its national convention in Jos in January 1999 and Obasanjo defeated former Vice President Alex Ekwueme to become the party’s candidate. He chose me as his Vice Presidential candidate. I was quite surprised as I had not shown any interest in the position. I wanted to govern my state but that was not God’s will.

Our ticket was sold to the electorate as a team of two great personalities, the convergence of two  generations and the bridging of the South/Christian and North/ Muslim gulf.
Obasanjo went on to win the February 27, 1999 presidential election, defeating former Secretary to the Government, Olu Falae, who ran on the AD/ANPP joint ticket.
Obasanjo and I were sworn into office as President and Vice President, respectively at a colourful ceremony in Abuja on May 29, 1999.

RE-INVENTING NIGERIA
For eight years, our administration worked assiduously to deepen our young democracy, unite our diverse people, professionalize the armed forces, re-establish our country as a great and respected member of the international community, and reform our economy to become more productive, diverse and globally competitive.

Our reform package included fuel price deregulation, low and stable interest and inflation rates, privatization of inefficient government-owned enterprises, enthroning a culture of transparency and accountability, monetization of the benefits and entitlements of public sector workers, setting up a new pension scheme and growing the revenue base of the government through a fair and equitable, more efficient and easier-to- comply tax system.

In 2001, our administration successfully auctioned mobile phone licenses and by the time we left office in 2007, more than 70 million Nigerians had phones compared to the 400,000 landlines that the state-owned Nigerian Telecommunication Company Limited (NITEL) paraded throughout its existence.

In one of the most courageous and ambitious privatization programmes ever embarked upon in recent times, we sold off scores of unprofitable and inefficient public enterprises, such as banks, insurance companies, hotels, newspapers, cement, oil and petrol chemical and fertilizer companies. Thus, we relieved the federal government of the unnecessary burden of running businesses. We then refocused government’s attention on making laws and good policies and creating a conducive atmosphere for businesses to flourish.

Most of the privatized firms are today being run profitably and efficiently by their new owners, creating more jobs and delivering quality products and services.
One important achievement of our administration was the banking sector re-form. In 2005, we raised the minimum capital base of banks from N2 billion to N25 billion in order to make the Nigerian banks stronger, healthier and globally competitive. The policy saw the number of banks operating in the country drop from 89 to 25.

Also, our administration cleaned up Abuja, restored its Master Plan, computerized the land registry and halted uncontrolled developments in the federal capital territory. By the time we left office in 2007, Abuja had become the pride of the nation as a beautiful, clean, safe and efficient world class city.

To ensure that the increased revenue accruing to the government benefitted the greatest number of people, the Obasanjo administration set up the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) the Economic and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). Both the ICPC and EFCC waged a vigorous and sustained war against corruption, money laundering, advanced fee fraud and other economic and financial crimes.

In a related development, our administration also introduced new procurement system with emphasis on due process, open and transparent conduct of government business as well as adherence to public service rules and financial regulations.

In October 2005, our administration successfully negotiated a deal with our external creditors that saw Nigeria pay off a total of $14.48 billion in return for the cancellation of our remaining $18 billion debt. Also, we set up the Debt Management Office (DMO) to review and restructure Nigeria’s debt.

Our economic reforms led to massive growth in both the formal and informal economy. By the time we left office in 2007, our economy was ranked 31st in the world in terms of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) which was estimated to be about $500 billion (estimate included both formal and informal economy). It became the second biggest economy in Africa.

– See more at: http://www.vanguardngr.com/2014/09/story-struggle-life-atiku-abubakar/#sthash.KkALbqpb.dpuf

$9.3m arms deal: Catholic Bishops exonerate Oritsejafor

ABUJA – CATHOLIC Church, weekend, described as malicious and misleading, a media report that the Church chided the President of Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor over the 9.3million arms deal in South Africa.

Some Nigerian Newspapers had on Thursday 25th September 2014, and suggesting that Most Rev. Ignatius Ayau Kaigama, the President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) accused Pastor Ayo Ortistejafor of denting the image of the Christian Association of Nigeria over the case of the jet that was found with $9.3milion allegedly owned by the CAN President.

Oritsejafor and wife

Reacting to this in a statement in Abuja, the Director (Social Communications Directorate), Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria Rev. Fr. Chris Anyanwu said “the report is not only false and malicious but a calculated attempt to further sow the seed of disharmony between Catholics and the leadership of CAN.

“While we disassociate ourselves from the newspaper reports, it is important to put the records in the right perspective.

The statement explained that Most Rev. Ignatius Kaigama granted an interview with the Hausa BBC Service in Kaduna in which he condemned money laundering.

It added that Kaigama never, in the said interview, cast any aspersion on the person of Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), but called for dispassionate investigation into the matter.

According to Anyanwu, “Reporters who monitored the said interview in Hausa BBC Service totally misrepresented the Archbishop by misquoting him.

” Knowing the person of Archbishop Kaigama as a man who is committed to ecumenism and inter-religious dialogue, there is no way he can make such an inflammatory statement against the leadership of CAN which is capable of causing dissections among the CAN family.

“It was amazing to read such sensational headlines as ‘Ayo Oritsejafor is disgracing CAN’ – Catholic Bishops of Nigeria’, ‘Oritsejafor has dragged Christianity to the mud – Bishop Kaigama’, ‘Bishop blasts Oritsejafor for playing politics with CAN’.

The statement explained that “This is unfortunate, inciteful, unpatriotic and uncharitable. It looks like some people have problems with the person of Pastor Oritsejafor and wanted as the saying goes ‘to borrow the mouth of Archbishop Kaigama to chop their onions’.

“It appears that some people are hell-bent on setting the Catholic Church against the rest of CAN. Some want to use unfortunate situations to promote their fortunes.

“Yes the Catholic Bishops did in the past make their observations about how CAN could be run better not with the intention to discredit the body but so that things could be corrected fraternally, but there were screaming headlines which tended to put the Catholic Church in negative light. This is happening again.

“We are indeed embarrassed at the monumental scale of misrepresentations in the said newspaper reports. What we expect from Journalists is genuine reports based on truth and facts, which ought to promote public trust and confidence.

“A hall mark of responsible journalism is that reporters ought to cross-check their facts before publishing them whereas reports based on falsehood, rumours and preconceived ideas such as this, are not only malicious but a calculated attempt to strain the good relationship between the Catholic Church and the leadership of CAN.

“There is a poison of deliberate misinformation in the air, more deadly than the Ebola virus disease. This may be a symptom of how forthcoming political events may be handled in the media. Some persons want to at all cost see the North and the South, Christians and Muslims fight.

“In God’s name it shall not come to be. Our prayer is that our nation shall remain one and indivisible. No matter how hard our detractors may try, they will not succeed.

“As leaders of the Catholic Church we shall continue to be objective in our assessment of the situation in the country and endeavour to edify by our comments and actions and not to destroy. This is because we believe that we are one people and one nation. God bless our beloved country Nigeria.”

– See more at: http://www.vanguardngr.com/2014/09/9-3m-arms-deal-catholic-bishops-exonerate-oritsejafor/#sthash.DdCGElSF.dpuf

Mark Reckless defects to UKIP from Tories

The Rochester and Strood MP told the UKIP conference he had resigned as an MP, triggering a by-election.

He said that, as a Tory, he could not keep a promise to “cut immigration while treating people fairly”.

He is the second Tory MP to defect to UKIP after Clacton MP Douglas Carswell did the same in August.

Mr Reckless will seek re-election in his constituency for UKIP.

Mr Reckless won his seat as a Conservative in 2010 with a majority of 9,953 votes over Labour’s Teresa Murray.

‘Best and brightest’

Appearing on stage at the UKIP conference in Doncaster, Mr Reckless said: “Today I am leaving the Conservative party and joining UKIP.”

He said he had not taken the decision lightly.

Mr Reckless said the Conservative leadership was “part of the problem that is holding our country back”.

Criticising the three main parties, he said: “People feel ignored, taken for granted, over-taxed, over-regulated, ripped off and lied to.”

Mark RecklessMr Reckless was heavily critical of UK immigration policy in his speech to UKIP activists

On immigration, Mr Reckless said constituents needed to believe that the UK had control over who comes into the country, adding: “At the moment we do not have any sense of that.”

He said: “Does anyone left or right genuinely support an immigration system where we turn away the best and brightest from our Commonwealth, people with links and family here in order to make room for unskilled immigration from southern and eastern Europe.

“I promise to cut immigration while treating people fairly and humanely.

“I cannot keep that promise as a Conservative. I can keep it as UKIP.”

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UKIP conference

Analysis

By Chris Mason, political correspondent

So lightning really has struck twice for the Conservatives.

Another month, another defection and one timed to inflict a morale-sapping blow on Tory activists gathering in Birmingham for their conference.

Keeping a secret at Westminster is no easy task and yet Nigel Farage has managed it twice – engineering defections without anyone finding out until the big moment of their announcement.

That skilled choreography will unnerve Conservatives further because it’ll leave them asking one big question: Who’s next?

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‘Huge courage’

UKIP’s prospective parliamentary candidate for Rochester and Strood Mark Hanson, meanwhile, said he had been unaware of the plans to install Mr Reckless in the seat, adding he would now “stand aside”.

UKIP leader Nigel Farage said his new party member had “shown huge courage”, adding: “He has thrown his lot in with us and we will do everything we can to get him elected.”

Asked about further possible defections, he said: “Of course there are Conservatives I am talking to but there are Labour people too.

“There are Labour people who are deeply frustrated with Ed Miliband’s leadership.”

BBC South East political editor Louise Stewart said Mr Reckless had told her recently he was unlikely to stand for UKIP – unless the party put up a candidate to stand against him.

Andrew Mackness, chairman of Rochester and Strood Conservatives, said he was “astonished and disgusted” by Mr Reckless’s decision.

“He has misled the hardworking people of Rochester and Strood who voted for him,” he said.

And Conservative Party chairman Grant Shapps said: “I think the surprising thing is Mark says he wants lower taxes, immigration control, he says he wants a referendum on in/out, on Europe.

“Well that’s exactly what we are planning to deliver and so I think this decision of his is completely illogical.

“It makes it slightly harder to deliver that decision, rather than easier.”

Confidence ‘plummeting’

Labour’s shadow minister for the cabinet office, Michael Dugher, meanwhile, said: “This is a hammer blow to David Cameron’s already weakened authority.

“On the eve of his conference we again see that Conservatives’ confidence in Cameron is plummeting. David Cameron has always pandered to his right, and even they are now deserting him.”

Mr Carswell, who defected from the Tories to UKIP in August, said he was delighted Mr Reckless had joined UKIP, saying he had “done the honourable thing” in letting his electorate decide.

Mr Carswell will himself stand against seven other candidates for the Clacton seat in a by-election on 9 October.

BBC political correspondent Robin Brant said it was a “nightmare scenario for the Conservative party”, a scene that the Conservative leadership “hoped they would never see”.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-29394697

Jonathan Does Not Deserve A Second Term – Okogie

Anthony Cardinal Olubunmi Okogie, former Archbishop of Lagos and first president of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), in this interview with MICHAEL UCHEBUAKU speaks about the politicisation of CAN, involvement of Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor in the $9.3 million cash-for-arm deal, among other issues.


Cathloic Archbishop Olubunmi Okogie How is life in retirement and what is a typical day like for you now that you are retired?

Well, it is still the same life, except that we do not engage ourselves in too much pastoral work as we used to do when on active duty. On a typical day, I wake up in the morning like any other person. I say my prayers, go for my Mass, then do some exercises and go for a walk because of my leg. Then I take my breakfast and after that I sit down and people start coming to see me. And I will be there sitting in my office until 2 or 3pm listening and answering people’s questions. That is what a typical day looks like.

What are your most memorable moments as Archbishop of Lagos?

Doing my duties gave me the greatest joy. Anytime I am with people, each time I am officiating I know I’m doing what God wants me to do, I derive the greatest joy. But now, it’s not that I’m not doing what God wants me to do, but the concentration is more now on my spiritual life. That time was different from now. That time, even sometimes when I would be saying my prayers, I would feel so tired, then I would say, God I know you understand, I would be trying to justify being tired while saying my prayers. I don’t know how I can justify such a thing before God.

But now, I can fully concentrate on my spiritual life without distractions. I became an Archbishop on the 17th of June 1973. I spent 39 years as Archbishop of Lagos. Looking back, I never even imagined that I would become a bishop, not to talk of an archbishop. My entire mind when I was in the seminary was to become a priest. Pure and simple! But when that work comes, what can you do? Since it was the will of God that I become a bishop, no way, I can’t run away. So that’s how it is.

What were your saddest moments as Archbishop of Lagos?

Well, there are a few things that really demoralised me. For example, when you talk to people and you advise them, they don’t take your advice. Then in later years they regret and say, ah, ‘this man said it and I should have done it.’ But it pains me. It pains me in the sense that they think you are a liar. I tried to make them understand this is the way I feel.

I haven’t got the monopoly of wisdom, no, I am only telling you I try to address issues the way I see it, the way the good Lord wants me to say it. And I believe that when I open my mouth to talk, it is God that gives me the inspiration. For example, look at what is happening in the country today. When the Head of State (Goodluck Jonathan) was still the deputy, I have said it several times.

Before he became the Head of State I had an audience with him. We were four in the room. I don’t want to give you the names of the other two people who were there besides me and Jonathan. So after the audience, Jonathan said to me, “Bishop, can you pray for me?” And I said, “Sorry, Your Excellency, what do you want, what do you want me to pray for?” He was shocked and said to me, “What? You’re the first pastor that has asked me this kind of question. All the other pastors, when I ask them for prayer they tell me to bow my head and bow my head and they pray.

How can you ask me what do I want from God?” So I said, “Sorry o, your Excellency, don’t be annoyed, but this is the right way to pray. I want to be able to concentrate on what you are asking for; to let God open his hand and give this man this particular thing that he is asking for. I can say any kind of prayer for you, but to me, that is not enough.” So he said, “That is okay. Don’t you know I will be going in for the election?” And I said to him, “You have won, that is no problem, but you will not rule.” He said, “What? What do you mean that I will not rule?” And I said, “Yes sir, others will rule. Those around you will rule. They are the ones that will rule in your place.” What is happening now? This is the kind of thing that pains me.

If you consider the example I have given you now, that is how my life is. I don’t want to tell anybody lies. I don’t want to fool anybody. Shakespeare said “flattery is the food of fools”. That is what is going on now with many of our religious leaders. They flatter people because they want money. They want to be in the Head of State’s good book. That is what is happening today. One with God is always a majority even if they are going to kill me tomorrow.

When I was in the war front, I didn’t die, not a scratch on my body. It’s a pity Benjamin Adekunle is dead now. God bless his soul. He was my boss. The other one was Godwin Ali. We were all under him. They were real soldiers. I wasn’t a combatant officer, I was only a chaplain, and I did the little that God wanted me to do and came out without problem.

As a former and founding president of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), you fought against several perceived attempts to Islamise Nigeria, especially through membership of the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC); how do you view Boko Haram and the threat it poses to the country?

We sensed these things coming, especially during the OIC period. Those of us on the Christian side, that was one of the reasons we opposed it. Even though Babangida and all the others, and even some Catholics on the panel saw nothing wrong with it. I still remember telling (Jubril) Aminu and others to be careful, that this will not augur well for the nation.

They said to me, “What do you mean?” Now, look at what we are having. It is not just a question of the Islamisation of Nigeria we are talking of? We are talking of the future of Nigeria. With these things we are bringing up, what will it lead us to in future? Politicians and so-called intellectuals get up and make statements that can destroy the nation. And what does the government do? Nothing.

The government do nothing to them. They allow them to go scot-free. In a civilised nation, they will be called to answer for it. Once you make any careless statement, you must pay for it. You will be called to question. What must a Head of State, the father of the nation be afraid of? If he cannot die for the nation, why is he a Head of State? For example, if I cannot die for my faith, why am I an Archbishop? Why am I a Cardinal? These soldiers calling themselves Boko Haram are doing what they are doing because they believe in it. But it is there in the Quran and in the Bible that you shouldn’t shed blood.

I read it in the paper that somebody said if I don’t win this election, it will be too hot for somebody. And those who are of that opinion are still around, and they are there laughing. So who is at fault? Who is the fool? And we are calling on God, when God gave us a peaceful nation. We want to destroy it. I just pray that sooner or later things will be settled. 2015 is coming. That is another one. So when you are talking of Boko Haram, and the threat it poses to this nation, we caused We caused it. Some years back, during the time of Maitatsine, it took us time before we stopped it.

This is how it is. You don’t play with your armed forces anyhow. You don’t swing your sword anyhow, because it can cut you and cut your enemies. This is what is happening. Look at the number of people that are being killed. Now, if these Boko Haram people even succeeded, what would be the condition of the people in those areas in the north? Will Boko Haram be able to feed them or educate them? Now, look at the education.

Everything is going down daily in the north. Tomorrow now, they would say the south is cheating the north. Can’t they open their eyes to see the future? Can’t they see? So this is the problem. This is what we were fighting for then, when I was president of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN). While I was president of CAN, I was the leader of the Christian team to the so-called conference.

(Babagana) Kingibe was the intermediary then, begging the Christians and telling us that the Head of State (IBB) is worried. Then when he was knocking on our doors begging and saying the Head of State (IBB) is worried, I asked him, “Who caused it?” Remember that all of us have consciences. We all have a conscience and we are going to answer for it before God.

Do you think the government should consider negotiating with Boko Haram?

My own opinion is this: When you talk of Boko Haram, who are they? How can you say you are going to negotiate with a nebulous group? They have not declared their identity. Are you going to be talking to the air? The people you want to negotiate with, who are they? Have they even given you their own terms? You can’t know or see them because they are nebulous people.

And if you’re bold enough they will come and kill you. And you yourself, you need to know what you are negotiating for? Did you offend them? You are just sitting down and somebody tells you to quit. Look at all the innocent people they have killed, and taken innocent people (Chibok girls) hostage, and there is supposed to be a governor in that place. What was the governor doing, if he has no hand in it? If I were the Head of State, he would be the first person I would arrest.

Where do they (Boko Haram) get their arms from? How did they enter? There are many questions to be answered. And then you are now talking of negotiation. For what? What if they say for negotiation the Head of State should quit? Will he be ready to quit? Or what if they say government should give them so and so people in exchange for the Chibok girls, what kind of negotiation is that? To me, I don’t buy it at all.

Do you think the current leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) is actually acting like an arm of the federal government or an appendage of the PDP as some critics say?

My brother, I must tell you this; CAN leadership today is zero. CAN has no leader. Thank God you are talking to one of the founders of CAN, and I was there as their leader for eight years. Then, the whole country knew that CAN had a leader, not by my own might, but by God. Because what we were doing then, we had only one voice. But the problem we have now is that people are struggling for power in unrighteous way.

And because he is struggling for power, he can do little or nothing. Power doesn’t come like that. Look at David in the Scriptures. Look at Solomon. Even look at Herbert Macaulay and other early nationalists. You don’t force yourself to power. This is what is happening. Somebody is telling you that if you don’t allow him to rule, you will not rule well. So the person struggling for power is not going to do better. Now, election is coming in 2015 and some people are already saying they must be there. They will not allow the electorate to decide.

They are ready with their moneybags. Where did they get the money from? Where did they get the $9.3m that has been seized by South Africa from? They said it was to buy arms. We have to be very careful in this nation. What is the man (Oritsejafor) looking for? If you call yourself a man of God, then you should rely on God. Why should he be jumping up and down? But because he was not elected, not chosen by God, that is what is happening. Today, he wants to build a university, tomorrow he wants to be something else, next tomorrow he wants to be like other people.

Then why is he there as CAN president? In our day and time, election was done by the groups and we know how we go about it. I think I ruled for two terms, eight years. If there was any trouble anywhere in the country, they would come to the centre. And it wouldn’t take time. We would just come to the centre and solve it and I will speak out and the whole nation would listen. Sometimes, you would hear people say, “Has Okogie spoken?” “What did Okogie say?” There was unity, because that’s what we are looking for.

And we didn’t buy the position. But this time around, because they are rushing to be in power, nobody obeys them. And look at how they are making mockery of themselves and making mockery of “religion”. Is that religion? Today, they are with the federal government. We saw the writing on the wall when we left. The very first person that took over started romancing with Obasanjo. Then one or two CAN presidents tried their best before it got to this present CAN president, Oritsejafor. This is not right. Look at how Oritsejafor has fallen, from grace to grass.

And he is not going down alone, he is also staining the name of the Head of State. Of course, why not? If you eat with those with dirty hands, then you must be dirty. And this is the man that they are saying should come and rule the nation for a second term. They think people are stupid. They have not even answered about this $9.3m, and when the matter got to the House of Reps, they said they should throw it out. Can you imagine? Are they not the ones making laws on money laundering? And this is a case of real money laundering. These are lawmakers.

And they say throw it out, we will not entertain any discussion on this $9.3m matter. Can you imagine! You can imagine that these are the kind of people we have in the National Assembly. And then of course, the relationship between Nigeria and South Africa is strained. Look at the T.B. Joshua building collapse affair, and they think all South Africans are stupid. Just watch and see what comes out of these two affairs. These are bad signs. Tomorrow now, they will say Nigeria is the giant of Africa and the economy of Nigeria is booming, with mouth. The Head of State is a PDP man and he (Oritsejafor) is linked with this rubbish. So what other proof do you want that CAN has now become an appendage of the PDP?

So do you feel now that President Jonathan and Oritsejafor have a case of money laundering to answer?

Of course, they have. In fact, if I have a lawyer, I would sue them. And I am telling you that I will win. If you can tell me that if I carry huge sums of money without declaring it, that you will arrest me for money laundering, then what is this one. They were carrying all that money and it was not declared. It is a clear case of money laundering. Yet, they are the ones making laws against money laundering.

The report that the aircraft which flew some Nigerians and an Israeli to South Africa allegedly to purchase arms belongs to Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor has once again revived the debate about the propriety of ministers of God owning private jets. What is your view about this episode?

As far as I am concerned, why are they men of God? I asked one so-called religious leader, and you know what he told me? He said, “My God is a rich God. So if yours is a poor God, that’s your business.” Imagine! So you can even see that this one can’t be called a man of God. And these are the people that tell you they can work miracles, that they have a direct telephone line to God.

They say they can do this, they can do that, and God is watching all of us. If it were to be in the Old Testament, they would all have been struck down by God. But God is a patient God. We have to be praying for this kind of people, for them to have a change of heart. What are they looking for with jet? Another one said, “Jesus said go into the whole world and evangelise, so how can I go into the whole world, with what? I need a plane to be able to go to the whole world.”

Even the devil can quote scripture. But did Jesus Christ say you should go and steal to go and buy plane? But now they are claiming that they were given the jets as gifts. But why can’t they spend that money on the poor? There are many Nigerians who are begging that they have nothing to eat, and yet you say you’re preaching. Preaching for what? Are there no pastors where they are going? May God not punish us according to our sins.

Do you see indications that there is now a sufficient will to tackle corruption, or that corruption is no longer as pervasive as it was?

Corruption is in every nation but Nigeria’s own is number one. I am telling you. And if we are not careful, this nation will go down the drain. Now, people can’t help you to bring something from that corner without asking for remuneration. Look at so many children and youths who have no school to go to, or no money to pay school fees, and there are rich men who parade themselves up and down the place as rich people. For what? They seem to have forgotten that this life is not the end. Nobody chose his parents, and nobody came into the world with a gold or silver spoon.

So even if you have a gold or silver spoon, you are going to go empty handed. A wise man lives life in a simple way. That is how I am. Even Fela told them the truth, even though they said he was mad and called him all sorts of names. Naked you came into this world, and naked you will go back. These are people that are supposed to rule and govern this nation. What is happening? Money is exchanging hands.

Now, they are asking the nation and the national assembly to approve so and so huge sum of money for them to borrow. They think people are stupid. Whatever you do as the Head of State without the permission of the people, you will pay for it. Those who were ministers and Heads of State before, some of them are in Abuja today begging for job, because if you get ill-gotten wealth, you will spend it anyhow. It is an ill wind that blows no one any good.

With the next election just a few months away, what would you say of the president’s ambition to seek re-election?

You can deduce that from what I have said before. You can even see from all that is going on, that some people have been saying that he even signed for one term. You see, if I were in his shoes, I would hide my head. I am not a prophet, just like I told him that day, but that is what my mind is telling me. And nobody knows what is going to happen. Even, nobody knows who is going to be alive to see 2015. So, one has to be very careful.

Talking about election, what kind of election are we even going to have in Nigeria? Is it going to be free and fair and just? Tell me what election we have had in Nigeria that is free and fair? Is it not mouth that they use in saying it is free and fair?

http://saharareporters.com/2014/09/27/jonathan-does-not-deserve-second-term-%E2%80%93-okogie

Ogun Dep Gov Set To Dump APC

STRONG indications emerged Friday that Ogun State Deputy Governor, Prince Segun Adesegun, is set to dump the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in the State.

A source, who prefers anonymity, told The Guardian that Adesegun, a loyalist of former state Governor, Chief Segun Osoba had joined the Action Group of Nigeria (AGN), a new party believed to have been floated by Osoba.

The relationship between Adesegun and Governor Ibikunle Amosun has for long been said not to be cordial for political reasons.

The source disclosed that the Deputy Governor and nine National Assembly members in the State attended Senatorial meetings of the AGN in Ijebu and Abeokuta on Wednesday and Thursday respectively. The meetings were said to have been organised by the AGN Executives in Ogun East and Ogun Central Senatorial Districts.

Adesegun has not been part of APC members following Amosun on his current statewide tour to inspect on-going projects.

The source disclosed: “The day the Governor toured Ikenne local government, his Deputy and other APC faithful loyal to Osoba, under the platform of “Matagbamole” were attending meetings in different locations in the state.”

The APC has been crippled by unresolved power tussle between Amosun and Osoba, resulting in conducting parallel primaries. At the Ogun East Senatorial meeting, Adesegun was alleged to have urged the AGN members to be loyal and committed to the ideals of the party.

The inauguration of AGN is said to have been scheduled to hold few days after the celebration of the Eid-el-Kabir festival, which comes up on Saturday, October.

Commenting on the development, Senator Gbenga Kaka, representing Ogun East Senatorial District stated that members of the Matagbamole Group are members of a political association and urged its members to continue to exercise patience “for further directive.”

Kaka explained that the directive on which political party the members should join would be communicated to them soonest.

http://ngrguardiannews.com/news/national-news/180747-ogun-dep-gov-set-to-dump-apc

The most undemocratic people in Nigeria are in APC – Dr. Pearse

DR GABRIEL Adetokunbo Pearse is aspiring to become the next governor of Lagos State if allowed to fly the flag of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Lagos State. Dr Pearse, who teaches philosophy at the University of Lagos, visited Vanguard Corporate office in Lagos and explained why he is in the race. Excerpts:

By Dapo Akinrefon

What is the inspiration behind your governorship aspiration?

My interest in politics is simply an opportunity for me to use the educational training and professional experience to do all I can to help the under-privileged and to help the development of my state and to develop human capacity in my state to the best. That is my interest in politics and that is why I joined the race.

If I may ask, your background, you have crisscrossed party and partisan lines in Lagos and the United States. Are you a man of no fixed political orientation?

DR GABRIEL Adetokunbo Pearse

I am a man of no fixed political ideology, because political ideologies are just words, they don’t mean anything if you do not intend to help the development of the people. For me, whether you are democrat or a republican in the United States, what is the bottom line, what are you in this for, and that is why I have not taken a position that I will live and die a democrat or a republican.

In Nigeria for instance, the Action Congress of Nigeria, now the APC will tell you that they are the liberal party, that they are the progressives, and yet we all know that the most undemocratic people in this country are the people in this so-called progressive party.

So, that is why it is not in the interest of anybody to hold anyone down with one ideology because the fact of the matter is it is what you do with the position you have, wherever you find yourself that is most important. Are we going to say that people in the APC have more integrity than those in the PDP? No, you have to take people for who they are as individuals, and see what they stand for, that is the way I look at politics.

How strong is your political base, and have you been tested in the Nigerian politics, have you held any elective position before now?

As for the political base, I am a member of the PDP. I have been an official member of the party since 2006. The reason why I have been in several parties is because I have tested them and now I tell you something, what is going on now in the PDP is impressive. Now, we have a president, the leader of the party who does not impose, who believes in elections.

The problem we had in the past, why we were unhappy with the PDP was because we had a leader at the national level who was hardly anything different from what we have now in the APC leadership. Where they impose, when you win an election, they bring another person and impose them.

You mean Obasanjo?

Well, if you say so, you have said it. That is the person that discouraged us from working within the party because of what we experienced with imposition. We don’t have that now, and we are very happy working as members of the PDP.

What about your structure?

Well, let me tell you my experience, then you will understand that there is no way I won’t have a structure. I was invited in 2006 after the death of the late Funsho Williams to be the campaign manager for his wife, whom Obasanjo, our President at that time said was his candidate.

I did my job very well and with what we had, we were able to win the primaries. So, you can see where I am coming from in terms of my political experience. We won the primaries and we had to go for re-run and you know we won the re-run also.

That is my experience as a politician. I am basically a political strategist and a campaign organiser. I don’t lose elections. I did it for many years in the United States and I have done it here also. In 1992, I was the Director of Operations for Lagos State Campaign for Adamu Ciroma for President of Nigeria.

So, that is the kind of background that I bring into politics. I have never run for office here, but I have been involved in so many campaigns. Also, when we left the PDP in 2007, after we had been robbed and we came into the APC, I also worked as a consultant for Babatunde Raji Fashola. So, when you see the campaigns going in such a way and we demolish all the opposition, it is because people like me are doing the work. So, if I am going to do this for myself, you can imagine that I am going to do a good job.

You also need a deep pocket, are you sure you are ready?

I am ready. I know what it takes, I know how to get the money, and I know that I have everything that I need to win this election. First, I am sure you appreciate that for me to have gone this far, whereby I have been consulting for the last one year, meetings upon meetings, events upon events, it involves money. I have been able to carry myself to this point and I know what it takes to go forward, we are ready. I tell you something, another advantage, if you look at the way it should be, could be said to be a great advantage.

One of the issues raised about Lagos PDP is that their house is not in order, how do you react to this?

It’ s not true at all. A lot of it is uninformed.

– See more at: http://www.vanguardngr.com/2014/09/undemocratic-people-nigeria-apc-dr-pearse/#sthash.rM3ws1BL.dpuf