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Letter to Archbishop John Onaiyekan

By Pius Adesanmi

My Lord, the Archbishop of Abuja Diocese,

I am directed to write you this letter on behalf of the administration of his Excellency Dr Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan, President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. I am writing in reaction to a recent interview you granted Daily Sun about the security situation in the country. You were misquoted as saying that “there is definitely something wrong with government” and that “nobody believes anymore the story that we are on top of the situation”.

My Lord, although you did not name names, I am responding all the same because I subscribe to the truth in this Yoruba proverb, “Olowe m’owe ara e”: the target of an uppercut proverb surely knows himself, even if he is not named in the proverb. I recognise President Jonathan as the target of your proverb, especially the little part about not being on top of the situation. I must emphasise again, my Lord, that I believe you were misquoted, given the infinite capacity of our local journalists for mischief. However, I have decided to respond all the same, just in case the journalist who interviewed you got it right this time.

Although you reside here in Abuja, I am surprised that like Professor Chinua Achebe, who has lived abroad for too long, you are displaying a perplexing lack of familiarity with realities on the ground in Nigeria. Only someone who resides on Mars would look at the security situation in Nigeria and declare that President Jonathan is not on top of it. President Jonathan was quick to recognise that terrorism has been a global threat since September 11, 2001 and had the presence of mind and sense of judgment to realise that it is now Nigeria’s turn to be attacked by terrorists.

As soon as he had that epiphany, he took a bold step that no world leader has ever taken in the history of the war on terror; he reassured the Nigerian people that Boko Haram and other manifestations of terror would end in Nigeria in June 2012. No American president boasts this remarkable achievement. No European leader has ever been able to put a definitive expiry date on terrorism. President Jonathan did it. My Lord, if that is not being on top of the situation, I don’t know what is.

My Lord, Boko Haram is not the only case of terrorism that has highlighted President Jonathan’s remarkable acumen as a leader equal to the task of assuring the security of the nation. You will recall that he took the bold step of ending the fuel subsidy regime early this year. He struck a deadly blow against corruption and freed up subsidy money for investment in infrastructure such as roads, power, electricity, and hospitals. Enemies of progress in Nigeria, aided by Nigerian loudmouths abroad, ganged up against Nigeria in the so-called Occupy Nigeria movement. The Occupy virus spread and became a terrorist takeover of Lagos. Our Commander-in-Chief acted swiftly and deployed troops to Lagos to take the city back from the terrorists. My Lord, if this is not being on top of the situation, I don’t know what is.

Despite the challenges we still face from Boko Haram, the President has spared no effort in reassuring the international community of our commitment to the war on terror. More than any other Nigerian President before him, Dr. Jonathan has assured foreign investors to continue to flock to Nigeria and inject much needed foreign direct investment into our economy. He has urged them to ignore the threat of Boko Haram and go about their business peacefully in Nigeria. No American President has been bold enough to encourage people to ignore Al Qaeda. My Lord, if this is not being on top of the situation, I don’t know what is.

It is partly in recognition of the President’s giant strides in securing Nigeria and Africa that he recently made Time Magazine’s list of the one hundred most influential people in the world. Mr. President is humble and has not allowed all the recognition abroad to distract him from the work of the Nigerian people. As I write, seven hundred and seventy-four presidential committees are working hard on various assignments designed by the President. As you probably know, the Oronsaye committee recently submitted its report and the President swiftly promised to constitute a committee to look into the report and write a white paper on it. My Lord, if this is not being on top of the situation, I don’t know what is.

We suggest, my Lord, that you upgrade your knowledge of Nigerian realities before granting another press interview.

Yours sincerely,

Remember Ruben, PhD

Aso Rock Villa, Abuja

Source: Daily Times Nigeria

#Nigeria Fire Diezani now!

Minister of Petroleum, Diezani Alison-Madueke
The Nation‘s Editorial

•The minister and others who presided over the fuel subsidy scam have no moral right to retain their posts

There are two ways to interpret the reluctance of the Federal Government to act decisively by firing officials of the petroleum ministry at the centre of the subsidy scam. The first is that the Jonathan administration has become so impervious to legitimate demands by citizens that government appointees – like Caesar’s wife – be seen to be above board at all times, as to be contemptuous of their opinions. The other is that the affected officials are indispensable to the administration to such an extent that it would risk the odium of Nigerians to keep them on board. Either way, we consider their retention in government as setting a new low in public service.

We refer here to the continuing retention of Diezani Alison-Madueke, the Minister of Petroleum, in the federal cabinet. The same applies to the executives of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, the Petroleum Product Prices Regulatory Authority (PPPRA) as indeed all other high officials of the Jonathan administration that had anything remotely to do with the fuel subsidy scam.

Agreed, none of the officials have been convicted of any crime(s), yet. They needn’t be. To start with, it is the job of the anti-graft agencies to sift through the probe document by the House of Representatives Ad Hoc Committee on Petroleum Subsidy to determine those to be brought to trial. However, knowing how tardy the judicial system is, and given the half-hearted commitment by the anti-graft bodies to the fight against corruption, we would not even go as far as raising any expectations that the government would go after those indicted by the lower parliament – or even act on the House report at all.

It is however a different call for minister Alison-Madueke and her officials in the petroleum ministry. We must emphasise that one of the burdens necessarily imposed on those privileged to serve in the public service is recognising when to quit. That a high official whose ministry came under intense searchlight would insist on being at the driver’s seat – and well after the earth-shaking revelations of fraud were established – and would still choose to carry on in office as if nothing happened has become a new index in measuring the parting of ways between our officials and shame.

We are saying here that the minister and her top officials ought to have handed in their letters of resignation long ago. Their hyper-activism in the wake of the House probe impresses no one, least of all, Nigerians who have now seen the hollow posturing of the administration for what it is – a mere smokescreen. The scandal brought untold embarrassment on the nation as consequence of their failure of oversight. Added to the moral lapse in failing to exercise the voluntary option of throwing in the towel is their continuing occupation of cosy offices.

The President should take the drastic option of firing Alison-Madueke and co – now.

We say this because nothing makes her and the other officials indispensable. Much as we recognise the prerogative of the President to hire and fire his appointees, the matter goes to the heart of the question whether the President can afford to keep her and the other officials under whose watch the grave economic crimes were committed in office, without courting the odium of Nigerians for himself and his government.

At the risk of sounding too obvious, what is needed now in the petroleum ministry is a thorough cleansing of its Augean stable. We do not see how officials generally seen in the eyes of Nigerians as tainted by scandal could be part of the cleansing process. It does not make sense. For the umpteenth time, we say it is time to let Diezani Alison-Madueke and others go!

Source: The Nation

Anxiety grips ministers as Jonathan plans shake-up

Dr. Jonathan
Dr. Jonathan

 

THE President may drop some ministers in a proposed cabinet shake-up, it was learnt last night.

The reshuffle may take place after the first anniversary of the administration on May 29.

A list of would-be ministers is being compiled and security checks are being carried out on them, according to sources.

President Goodluck Jonathan is said to be unhappy with the performance of about 17 ministers in his 42-man cabinet. But a senior government official, who confirmed the imminent shake-up last night, said: “Yes; it is likely, but it won’t be that massive.”

Besides security reports and random assessment of the ministers, the President has taken “a deep interest in the submissions of ministers” at the ongoing stewardship programme organised by the Federal Ministry of Information.

It was learnt that Jonathan is disappointed that some of his ministers could not give account of their performance so far.

Another source, who spoke in confidence, said: “I think there might be a cabinet reshuffle either a week before May 29 or a week after it.

“As I am talking to you, at least 17 of the ministers may be shown the way out. These ministers have not performed up to the benchmark set by the President. “

The fuel subsidy probe is believed to have shown to the President some of the challenges in some of the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).

At the ongoing stewardship platform of the Federal Ministry of Information, some of the ministers could not list their achievements, The Nation learnt.

The President is said to be unhappy with the pace of development in one of the ministries, considering the huge budgetary allocation to it last year.

A team was sent from the Presidency to conduct an appraisal of developments in the ministry and the verdict was not “encouraging”.

Jonathan, it was said, was shocked that the New Maitama Extension District in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) was named after him. “He has decided to reject it because he does not want any minister to personalise governance,” it was said.

Said the source: “There was also a particular incident abroad when a minister did not live up to expectations of a public officer. There is no rationale for retaining such a minister.”

Responding to a question, the source said: “What the President is after is for ministers to be able to say exactly how many roads have been constructed; significant steps in the provision of housing; access to basic needs, such as water and electricity; and a situation where ministers in strategic ministries would have impacted on the lives of Nigerians.”

Pressed to give more insight into the imminent shake-up, the source identified some of the ministers. Some are said to have got hints of plans to drop them and have started lobbying to be retained.

Many people are making a strong case for the Minister of Education, Prof. Ruqqayyat Rufai, who was able to stave off the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) crisis and initiate reforms.

The source said: “Although going by the assessment report before the President, the Minister of State for Education, Nyisom Wike, is rated higher in performance than Prof. Rufai, some forces are pushing for the retention of Rufai, in view of the synergy between the two ministers.

“The team work in the Ministry of Education between the two ministers has been fairly better than the case in the past.

“A strong case is also being made for the retention of the Minister of Works Mike Onolememen who has succeeded in fixing some roads, which had been written off. Some forces believe that Onolememen has performed better than most of his predecessors. But the President does not like a situation where some vital roads are about 40-52 per cent completed.”

Some of those who may join the cabinet, if there are favourable security checks on them, are a former Executive Secretary of the Petroleum Technology Development Fund(PTDF), Hamisu Mai Rago;  the immediate past acting National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Kawu Baraje;  former Deputy Governor of Imo State Ada Okwuonu; former National Chairman Dr. Okwesilieze Nwodo; ex-Governor Chukwuemeka Ezeife, former PDP National Organising Secretary Uche Secondus; former PDP National Publicity Secretary Prof. Rufai Alkali;  former PDP National Legal Adviser Olusola Oke; Senator Abba Aji and some of the aspirants who withdrew for the National Chairman of the PDP, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, at the last National Convention.

But another source added that some members of the President’s kitchen cabinet are opposed to bringing “deadwoods” to the cabinet. The source said: “There are fears that some of the names being peddled may not add value to the cabinet.

“So, in the next few weeks there will be more amendments to the list of new hands to be injected into the cabinet.”

-The Nation

“Dieziani Allison-Madueke Called Me Over 20 Times In Quest to Become Minister For Petroleum,” Claims Henry Okah in Affidavit

Diezani Allison-Madueke
By SaharaReporters, New York

In an affidavit to be filed in a South African court, detained Mr. Henry Okah claims that in just the first few days of April 2010, after Mr. Goodluck Jonathan became Acting President of Nigeria, one Mrs. Diezani Allison-Madueke called him over 20 times for help to become Petroleum Minister.

 

In her calls, Ms. Madueke explained that she “was competing for the post of the Minister of Petroleum with the now Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr, Odein Ajumogobia,” and asked for assistance “to tip the scale in her favor.”

 

In the 42-page affidavit, Mr. Okah claims Mrs. Madueke specifically asked him to speak to President Jonathan and “put a good word for her,” furnishing him with up to date information on the president’s availability via calls and text messages.  Mr. Okah then spoke to President Jonathan in the early hours of April 5, 2010, he says in the affidavit, following which Mrs. Madueke later called to thank him for his contribution in influencing her appointment as Minister for Petroleum.

 

Okah says in the affidavit that he reluctantly accepted to speak to Ms. Madueke at the prompting of now presidential adviser, Mr. Oronto Douglas, who, he said, called him on April 4, 2010, saying that Ms. Diezani Allison-Madueke was desperate to speak to him.  Mr. Douglas underlined Mrs. Madueke’s need of Okah’s assistance in persuading President Jonathan to appoint her Minister for Petroleum.

 

In March of 2010, Mr. Jonathan had sent Douglas to meet Okah in South Africa, according to the affidavit.  During their meeting, which took place between March 31 and April 1, Mr. Douglas informed Okah that the Northern region of Nigeria was doing everything to prevent Jonathan from being the president.

 

Mr. Okah has been in a South African Prison since October 2, 2010. He is charged under the Terrorist Act’s Protection of Constitutional Democracy against Terrorist and Related Act, Act 33 of 2004. He has been denied bail by various courts in South Africa.

 

Okah was linked with the 2010 Independence Day bombing of the Eagle Square in Abuja.  Okah is facing charges that Chima Orlu, who allegedly supervised the operation, acted under his instructions.  Prosecutors allege that he was in communication via phone and SMS with Mr. Orlu and another co-perpetrator, Ben Jessy Ebere.

 

In Mr. Okah’s new affidavit, he affirms that on the day of the bombing, he received a call from Mr. Moses Jituboh, the Head of Personal Security to President Jonathan, who asked him to continue to cooperate with the President. As Mr. Okah asserted in 2010, following the bombing, Mr. Jituboh also asked him to shift the blame of the bombing to radical elements in the North.

 

Following the emergence of new facts, Mr. Okah is reapplying for bail. In his response to new information in his police docket that contains evidential material that will be used in his trial.  Okah is facing trial at South Gauteng High Court that is estimated to last over 18 months.

 

He is pleading with the court to grant him bail because the case against him is weak and the state cannot provide evidential material to support their case.

 

The case will begin on October 1, 2012 by which time he would have spent 2 years in jail. The State has lined up over 50 witnesses from Nigeria to appear in court in South Africa. Okah also plans to call over 100 witnesses in his defense.

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