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Wednesday, 9 October 2013

WE ARE CHRISTIAN, MUSLIM PRAYER WARRIORS, OMBASTE CLAIMS


They said only a prayer group, consisting of Christians, Muslims and heathens just as they claimed Baba Alakyo widely referred to as the chief priest of the group, is only a prayer leader.

“There is no shrine; I am emphatic that there is no shrine. Babalakyo is a leader of the prayer group. Babalakyo is an herbalist. That is what he is,” legal adviser of the Ombaste group Barrister Zamani Zachary Allumaga said at the ongoing commission of inquiry on the May 7 killing of security operatives in Alakyo.
The group has been widely blamed for the killing of the security operatives.

Barrister Allumaga, who faced cross-examinations from counsels representing various groups and communities, as well as Mrs. Funso Lawal representing the panel consistently denied that the group was responsible for the Alakyo killing of policemen and Secret Security Service (SSS) operatives.

“We in Ombatse group are only there to pray. We do not carry weapons. We have no business with humans,” he said.
He also said the name Ombatse, Eggon means “time has come for prayers.”
The group announced on Monday it has suspended activities; albeit temporarily,  pending the out-come of the ongoing investigation.

The group also criticized Gove-rnor Umaru Tanko Al-Makura of Nasarawa State for failure to go after the perpetrators of the ambush and by extension, the murder of about 74 officers and men of the police and SSS.
The Ombatse legal adviser who is a former legal adviser of the state owned broadcast station said: “Baba(alakyo) asked why they were in his house and immediately, they became drunk and started killing themselves.” Allumaga said.    culled from Dally  Trust

FLOOD CLAIMS STUDENT IN ENUGU

A witness who preferred anonymity said the girl fell into the gutter while dodging a speeding commercial bus which splashed water as it moved.
Mr Ejike Okpara, who was also at the scene on Nike Road, told newsmen that a pupil was earlier saved by bystanders after she also fell into the gutter.
Okpara said the little girl from St Theresa Primary School, Abakpa  fell into the gutter near her school around 7.30 a.m. but was saved by passersby.
The witness, however, said the second girl, a JS II student of Modern Ideal College (MIC), was unlucky as she drowned in the flood.
He said efforts by youths in the area to rescue her failed as the flood overpowered them and moved her into the nearby Ekulu River.
Members of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) who waded through the river to search for the girl could not recover her body.
One of them, Mr Ikechukwu Ani, said they searched through a distance of about five kilometres on the river bank but could not find her body.
Owner of the school, Mrs Florence Ani, expressed shock at the incident which she said was the first of its kind.
Ani said the school was doing everything possible to recover the student who was identified as Onyinye Akabuko.
She said the parents of the girl were also making efforts to find their daughter.
The incident is the second in the state capital within one month, it was gathered. Coordinator of the Enugu State Emergency Management Agency, Mr Joe Offor, declined to pick his calls when newsmen attempted to get his reaction.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Guild of Tourism Journalists lament Deji Falae’s death



THE Guild of Tourism Journalists in Nigeria( GTJN ) has described the death of the Ondo State  Commissioner for Tourism and Orientation, Mr Deji Falae,  as a “a sudden drop of a bright star  from the tourism  firmament of the nation.”
 The group, in a  press release signed by its President, Mr. Wale Ojo – Lanre,  lamented: “We are shocked beyond the marrows that death has no regard  for brilliance, intelligence, good conduct,  humbleness, youthfulness, erudition,  candour, reasonability and responsiveness, which Deji Falae epitomised when alive.
GTJN pointed out that “His death is a wicked pain and irreparable blow to the tourism sector in Ondo State, where he has, in his usual quiet and smooth  manner, started to show the stuff he was made of.”
The group remarked that “Deji was one of the pillars of the  tourism strides of Governor Olusegun Mimiko  in Ondo State.
Though, a Barrister-at-Law with no experience in tourism administration, the late Deji stooped low to learn, read and consult widely on tourism and took time to understand the import of the sector, hence his ability to key into the tourism vision of Governor Mimiko perfectly. GTJN pointed out that “at every tourism and cultural event hosted by the Ondo State government, especially Mare Festival, you would see the diligence of purpose and passion with which he handled his brief.”
The group recalled the last time  the late Deji  had  some members of the association at the Civic Centre, Ozumba Mbadiwe, Victoria Island, Lagos: “We  never knew that  you were signing off here  on earth when you left your seat at the Civic Centre, Ozumba  Mbadiwe, during the Tourism Stakeholders’ Forum called by the Director – General, Nigerian Tourism Development  Corporation ( NTDC),   to exchange pleasantries and rubbed minds on tourism issues with our members.”
The late Deji, according to the release, gave an insight into what should be expected at the Mare Mountain Climbing Festival 2013: “I am assuring you that the next Mare, which your association has been penciled down as one of the facilitators and collaborators, will be bigger, better and of immense economic benefit to Ondo State people. You will be happy; Governor Mimiko is going higher with Mare this year. We shall all make Ondo-State proud with the festival this year.”
The group, however, condoled with the governor of Ondo State, Dr Olusegun Mimiko, on losing such a dynamic and purposeful aide who has been a keen loyalist and a dutiful executor of the vision of his boss.
“We urge Governor Mimiko  to take heart and solace in the fact that we all know how much he  loves Deji but that God  loves him more,” GTJN concluded.

Agagu Crash: Ondo Govt Reacts To Aircraft Hire Claim


Ondo State Governor, Dr Olusegun Mimiko (middle), with the Leaders of
Afenifere, Pa Ayo Adebanjo (left), Pa Olanihun Ajayi (right), during
their condolence visit to the Governor, at the Government House,
Akure

The Ondo state Government, has reacted to the  claim that it hired the aircraft of Associated Airline, which crash-landed last Thursday in Lagos, while  conveying  the body of former Governor of the state, Dr Olusegun Agagu, to Akure for the commencement of  the burial rites.

In a statement issued by the Commissioner for Information, Mr Kayode Akinmade in Akure, the government  said  the reaction would not have been necessary at the time the state and families are still mourning those who lost their lives in the crash, but for inaccurate media reports.

It explained that its determination to give the former Governor a befitting state burial made it set up a burial committee, which met regularly with the family of the deceased to arrive at a burial programme agreeable to the family.

At one of the meetings, the statement said,  the issue of the transportation of the body from Lagos to Akure was discussed. "The committee deferred to the family's insistence that the body be moved to Akure by air. The family thereafter introduced Mr. Tunji Okusanya (now deceased) of MIC Funeral as the official undertaker, who would
make necessary arrangements regarding the movement of the body and the funeral."

"Thereafter", the statement further explained, “the MIC boss forwarded the names of various airlines through an e-mail message to the Committee, namely, Aero Contractor; OAS Helicopters; Chachangi; Arik; Dana; and IRS as the Airline operators that have been contacted".

“It was indicated in his message that IRS was not available for conveying human remains; Dana aircraft had gone for maintenance; and Arik does not fly the Akure route". He, therefore, suggested Chachangi
as "the best offer".

The government further indicated that it was neither the wish nor the prerogative of government to indicate any preference for a particular airline stressing that the interface with MIC at the instance of the family, was necessary for facilitation of payment ,insisting that "at no time was Associated Airline mentioned.

Stating that the government made these clarifications against its wish, the statement emphasized that "this is definitely not the time for this as we are still mourning.” adding that “It is pathetic losing any soul in the course of paying homage to our former Governor, particularly government officials and other bread winners of their
families, including the Managing Director of MIC, his son, and other workers of his company".

The government thanked the Federal Government for ordering a thorough investigation into the crash in order to prevent the occurrence of such tragedies in the future, imploring  the team of investigators to leave no stone unturned in the course of their investigation.

Futher, the government said it "wishes to place on record it's appreciation of the active and timely involvement of the Lagos State Government through its Emergency Agency as well as Federal Emergency agencies. We thank the management and staff of the Lagos State Teaching Hospital LASUTH, and other medical facilities who came to the rescue of the survivors," .


Thanking those "who have identified with the government during these trying times". It also "sincerely thanked those who have shared in our pain by identifying with us at this time. We implore you to pray for the repose of those who lost their lives in the ill-fated crash and also continue to pray for all the bereaved families", the government appealed

Funmi Olayinka Diagnostic and Wellness Centre for Inauguration

   


Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi, will on Wednesday commission the Funmi Olayinka Diagnostic and Wellness Centre, built in memory of the late Deputy Governor of the state, Mrs Funmi Adunni Olayinka, who died on April 6, 2013.

According to a release signed by Mr Yinka Oyebode, the chief press secretary to the state governor,the centre, which is equipped with state of the art facilities, will focus on early detention and treatment of cancer. 

The centre is built within the premises of the Ekiti State University Teaching Hospital, Ado-Ekiti.

Governor Fayemi had  announced the establishment of the diagnostic centre, shortly after Mrs Olayinka’s death, as part of government’s plans to immortalise the late Deputy Governor and also contribute to the treatment of the dreaded disease.
The event which will hold at the premises of the State University Teaching Hospitals, will commence by 10am.

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Ajimobi lashes Out Predecessors over Development in Oyo.

  Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State (centre) in a warm handshake with the President of Central Council of Ibadan Indigenes (CCII), Chief Adebayo Oyero (left) at the 2013 World Teachers' Day celebrations in Ibadan on Saturday. With them i the Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Mrs. Monsurat Sunmonu (right).

Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State has lashed out at the past administration in the state for playing unnecessary politics at the expense of development, saying this had left the state at the brink of precipice.
The governor, while speaking at this year’s World Teachers’ Day celebrations held at Teachers’ House, Ibadan on Saturday, said that the level of development he met when he took over the mantle of leadership of the state in May 2011 was zero.
He added that the lack of development permeated all sectors of the economy, including education, thus drawing back the state in the comity of other states.
``Oyo State was at the precipice as at the time we came in. Development was zero. People paid too much attention to politics at the expense of development of the state. Everything they were doing was more of propaganda and mere noise making; it lacked substance,’’ the governor said.
Governor Ajimobi, who said that he was overwhelmed by the potentials which he discovered that the state possessed, added that it they had been properly channeled by the past administration, the state would have been much better.
``It is not enough for anybody to have vision or to dream dreams. What is important is for the person to actualize his vision or dream. If they had used the opportunity they had very well, Oyo State would have been much better than we met it,’’ he said.
The governor, while congratulating the teachers on this year’s World Teachers’ Day, praised their efforts at making the society better through impartation of knowledge.
``Teachers determine the world; they empower people to think; to shape the world; to impart knowledge, values and to help people to unleash their potentials and set the pace,’’ he said.
Governor Ajimobi said that his administration would continue to accord teachers in the state their priority attention and ensure that their welfare was attended to even as he directed the representatives of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) to meet with government to address their demands.
In his address, the Chairman of the state wing of NUT, Mr. Joseph Babatunde said the importance of the World Teachers’ Day was to re-emphasise the importance of teachers and to further attest to the fact that no nation supersedes the quality of its teachers and that teachers deserved to be recognized and have their rewards here on earth.
He commended the governor for his efforts at rescuing the education sector from total collapse, adding that his physical presence at the occasion had not only added colour to the celebrations, but had also indicated the beginning of a fresh and robust relationship between the state government, the teachers and the union.   

Friday, 4 October 2013

PDP commiserates with families of plane crash victims




The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has said the crash of the Associated Airline carrying the remains of former Gov. Olusegun Agagu of Ondo State to Akure for burial was unfortunate.
Mr Olisa Metuh, National Publicity Secretary of the party, told the News Agency Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Thursday that the party received the news with shock.
“We are deeply saddened by the death of other promising Nigerians who were on board the ill-fated aircraft.’’
He condoled with the families of the dead and prayed God to give them the fortitude to bear the loss.
NAN reports that the chartered plane crashed at about 9.00am shortly after take-off from the domestic terminal of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja, Lagos.
The plane was en route Akure, the Ondo State capital where the remains of the former governor was to lie in state.
Agagu died on Sept.13, and was scheduled to be buried this weekend.
Also, the splitter group of the PDP, led by Alhaji Abubakar Baraje, has urged Nigerians to remember the victims of the crash and their families in prayer.
The group also called on Nigerians to intensify prayers for the nation in these difficult times.
This is contained in a statement issued by Mr Chukwuemeka Eze, National Publicity Secretary of the splitter group.
“We are shattered by the news of this unspeakable tragedy, especially as the flight also had some prominent personalities on board.
“Our hearts go out to the Agagu family, the families of victims of the crash, as well as the people and Government of Ondo State’’, the statement said.
It also condoled with President Goodluck Jonathan, Nigerians and the management of the Associated Airlines on the tragedy. 

Oyo collaborates with Japan on teachers’ training, teaching of Science


Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State (left)welcoming the Austria Ambassador in Nigeria, Dr. Joachim Oeppniger (centre) and his Finland counterpart, Mrs. Ritta Koipivaara who were on a courtesy call to him in his office in Ibadan on Thursday
The Oyo State Government has expressed its readiness to collaborate with Japan to improve the  teaching of some subjects in its schools across the state.
The state Governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, who disclosed this on Thursday while receiving the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) who paid him a courtesy call in his office, identified the subject as English Language, Mathematics as well as Science and Technology.
He said that the collaboration would also include the training of teachers, provision of physical infrastructure and education equipment.
The governor said this had become necessary in view of the fact that Japan ranked high in the areas of science and technology as well as development of intellectual capital.
While reaffirming his administration’s commitment to the provision of qualitative education in the state, Governor Ajimobi said emphasis had been on human capital development as one of the means of unleashing the potentials of the people, particularly the youth.
In his remarks, the leader of JICA, Mr. Seki Jetsuo described education as the bedrock of development in any society, stressing that efforts must be made by government at all levels to improve the system from the beginning.
He said that the intervention programme of the agency in the state would include strengthening Mathematics and Science education, improving the quality of teachers through in-service training, especially in Mathematics and other science subjects.

He also pledged the readiness of his agency in constructing classrooms in some schools in the state.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

' 111, 000 Nigerian youths may lose jobs if ' - Kolade


Chairman of the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P), Dr Christopher Kolade, said about 111, 000 youths engaged under the scheme may lose their jobs due to paucity of funds.
Kolade said this when he briefed members of the Senate Ad-Hoc Committee on SURE-P.
He said all the 111,000 youths under the scheme would lose their jobs if more funds were not made available to the committee.
According to him, the committee employed 3,000 youths from each of the 36 states of the federation including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
The SURE-P chairman said that out of a budget proposal of N27 billion for the payment of the youth under its employment generation scheme, only N9 billion was approved in the 2013 budget.
Kolade said that the reduction in the appropriation had prevented the committee from achieving its target of employing 5,000 youths per state and Abuja with a monthly allowance of N10, 000.
“The committee estimated N28.5 billion to cover the 5,000 target,” he said. “But our budget estimate was N27 billion which was reduced to N9 billion.
“We alerted the executive after the budget was passed and they promised to do something about it, but up till now the amount approved is still N9 billion.
“This means that we cannot employ the 5,000

Emir Of Kano Returns Amidst Jubilation




Kano’s most revered emir, Alhaji Dr Ado Bayero, yesterday returned to Kano from abroad where he had gone for medical attention. Emir Bayero, 83, arrived in the Malam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano, at exactly 4pm aboard a presidential jet.
He was received at the airport by the state government delegation, his friends, businessmen, royals and thousands of his subjects who joined his convoy from the airport to his palace.
The senior special assistant to the Kano State governor on chieftaincy affairs, Alhaji Tijjani Mailafiya Sanka, told journalists at the Emir’s health condition had improved. The state government, he said, takes care of its emirs’ health at home and abroad. “Emir Bayero returned to Kano hale and hearty,” he said.
Several people interviewed expressed joy over the return of the Emir. Malam Idris Musa said he was happy to see Emir Bayero return to Kano alive and in good health condition. Malama Maryam, a civil servant, informed that the spiritual leader of Kano should not die now because the country needs him now more than ever.
Among those at the airport to welcome the Emir were Kano-based billionaires Alhaji Aminu Alhassan Dantata and Alhaji Isyaku Rabiu, Emir of Ringim Alhaji Sayyadi Mahmoud Ringim, and Emir of Daura Alhaji Dr Farouk Umar Farouk.

New Automative Policy: FG Ends Import Of Tokunbo Cars


The federal government has begun the phasing out of used cars (otherwise known as “tokunbo”) which may lead to the eventual stoppage of importation of used cars into the country.
The move, which received the nod of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) yesterday, was contained in a new National Automotive Policy which was endorsed in a meeting chaired by President Goodluck Jonathan at the State House.
Announcing the decision after the FEC meeting, minister of industry, trade and investment Olusegun Aganga said the policy,  which was  drawn over the last nine months with  the input of the National Automotive Council (NAC) and foreign car manufacturers such as Toyota, Nissan and Honda,  would encourage local manufacturing of vehicles and enforce a gradual phasing out of used cars.
Briefing journalists alongside his information and FCT counterparts Labaran Maku and Senator Bala Mohammed, Aganga said the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) would kick off a new vehicle car registration/tracking system in the next two weeks to check the smuggling of used cars into the country.
He said that the federal government  was worried  that with the country spending a whopping  $4.2 billion (about N550billion) on the importation of cars in 2010, and $3.4 billion on the item in 2012, car importation was almost head-to–head  with machinery as  the biggest consumer of the country’s foreign reserves.
Aganga said government would encourage banks to operate vehicle purchase schemes to enable Nigerians to buy cars on easy terms with payment in instalments.
He informed  that government would put  in place appropriate tariff regimes to discourage car importation and encourage local manufacturing.
The minister disclosed that the new policy would run as a 10–year plan and would be reviewed every five years,  adding that Nigeria and Bangladesh were among the few countries without national automotive policies.
According to him, highpoints of the new policy include the establishment of three automotive clusters in three parts of the country, namely, Ogun and Lagos states, Kano and Kaduna states and Enugu and Anambra states, pointing out that the establishment of the automotive clusters would reduce the cost of investments and production. In addition, the policy would encourage the revival of the petrochemical and metal/steel sectors and tyre manufacturing industries, he said.
Aganga revealed that the Industrial Training Fund (ITF) was collaborating with Cena, a vehicle manufacturer in Brazil, to open automotive training centres in Nigeria.
This is just as two Nigerian universities had been designated to commence degree programmes in auto-mechanical engineering to provide adequate local manpower
The minister said that government’s projection was that, with strict implementation of the policy, a brand new car locally produced would sell for less than N1.5 million.
He said the policy when fully implemented would also create a minimum of 700,000 job opportunities.
According to him,  a similar policy in the country in the 1970s during which new Peugeot and Volkswagen cars were produced locally and were affordable for average citizens failed as a result of the lack of infrastructure, non-implementation, inappropriate tariff regime, among others, assuring  that government had identified the pitfalls and would  put forward measures that would guard against the inadequacies and encourage the success of the new policy.
Aganga said countries such as South Africa, India and Brazil had successfully operated the policy.

Lawyer Urges FG To Establish Tourism Practitioners Registration Council

Mr Gbenga Ajayi, a Lagos-based legal practitioner, has urged the Federal Government to set up a tourism practitioners registration council to regulate the activities of practitioners.
Ajayi told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Lagos that the sector had been infiltrated by quacks due to the absence of a regulatory body.
He expressed a strong belief that setting up a regulatory body would help to curb activities of illegal operators in the sector.
``Government needs to set up a tourism practitioners registration council of Nigeria as it is done in other professions.
``This is to instil discipline and maintain high ethical code of conduct for the industry.''
He urged tour operators and travel agents in the country to exhibit professionalism in their practice because unwholesome practice was capable of eroding the efforts of genuine stakeholders.
``Illegal operators had defrauded many travellers, therefore, it is necessary to checkmate them and cleanse the industry, ‘’ Ajayi said.
He also advised tourism practitioners to maintain good moral conduct in the industry. (NAN

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Nguru Dev. Union Honours NCPC Boss


Exe. Sec. NCPC, Mr. John Kennedy Opara (right) being presented with a plaque of Distinguished Honourary Patron of Nguru Dev. Union Central (NDUC) FCT, Abuja by the President of the Union, Chief Charles Ike during their courtesy visit to NCPC HQRTS, Abuja






The Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Christian Pilgrim Commission, Mr. John Kennedy Opara has been honoured by the Nguru Development Union Central (NDUC) FCT, Abuja with a Distinguished Honourary Patron of NDUC Abuja for his contributions to the development of the Nguru Community in Imo State and his selfless service to the nation.

Presenting the plaque of the honour, the President of the Union, Chief Charles Ike thanked the Executive Secretary who is an illustrious son of the community for making them proud. He thanked him for granting them audience despite the short notice. He equally commended Mr. President for re-appointing him for another second tenure in office.
The President solicited the assistance of the NCPC boss in the growth and development of the Association.
Responding, the NCPC boss, thanked members of the Union for their visit. He explained that his rise to limelight was only made possible by the Grace of the Almighty God.
He averred that the main reason of sending people on Holy Pilgrimage was for them to experience Christ so that they could be transformed and in turn impact on their immediate communities.
He stressed that he would never compromise standards but would continue to do what is right. He added that due process must be religiously followed to the latter in the selection of medical team for Christian pilgrimage exercise to the Holy Land.
Mr. Opara promised members of the (NDUC) that he would continue to support and encourage them. His words: “I will do whatever it takes to assist you”. He added: “We will try to partner with you”.
He urged them to always pray for the success of the transformation Agenda of the present administration and the well being of Mr. President.

Full Text of Speech Delivered by Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, at Nigeria's Independence Ceremony, October 1st, 1960



On Saturday, October 1, 1960, Nigeria became an independent nation.  What follows is Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa's speech delivered at Tafawa Balewa Square in Lagos at the Independence Ceremony.

Today is Independence Day. The first of October 1960 is a date to which for two years every Nigerian has been eagerly looking forward. At last, our great day has arrived, and Nigeria is now indeed an independent sovereign nation.
Words cannot adequately express my joy and pride at being the Nigerian citizen privileged to accept from Her Royal Highness these Constitutional Instruments which are the symbols of Nigeria’s Independence. It is a unique privilege which I shall remember forever, and it gives me strength and courage as I dedicate my life to the service of our country.

This is a wonderful day, and it is all the more wonderful because we have awaited it with increasing impatience, compelled to watch one country after another overtaking us on the road when we had so nearly reached our goal. But now we have acquired our rightful status, and I feel sure that history will show that the building of our nation proceeded at the wisest pace: it has been thorough, and Nigeria now stands well- built upon firm foundations.
Today’s ceremony marks the culmination of a process which began fifteen years ago and has now reached a happy and successful conclusion. It is with justifiable pride that we claim the achievement of our Independence to be unparalleled in the annals of history. Each step of our constitutional advance has been purposefully and peacefully planned with full and open consultation, not only between representatives of all the various interests in Nigeria but in harmonious cooperation with the administering power which has today relinquished its authority.

At the time when our constitutional development entered upon its final phase, the emphasis was largely upon self-government. We, the elected representatives of the people of Nigeria, concentrated on proving that we were fully capable of managing our own affairs both internally and as a nation. However, we were not to be allowed the selfish luxury of focusing our interest on our own homes. In these days of rapid communications we cannot live in isolation, apart from the rest of the world, even if we wished to do so. All too soon it has become evident that for us Independence implies a great deal more than self-government. This great country, which has now emerged without bitterness or bloodshed, finds that she must at once be ready to deal with grave international issues.

This fact has of recent months been unhappily emphasized by the startling events which have occurred in this continent. I shall not labour the point but it would be unrealistic not to draw attention first to the awe-inspiring task confronting us at the very start of our nationhood. When this day in October 1960 was chosen for our Independence it seemed that we were destined to move with quiet dignity to place on the world stage. Recent events have changed the scene beyond recognition, so that we find ourselves today being tested to the utmost We are called upon immediately to show that our claims to responsible government are well-founded, and having been accepted as an indepedent state we must at once play an active part in maintaining the peace of the world and in preserving civilisation. I promise you, we shall not fail for want of determination.

And we come to this task better-equipped than many. For this, I pay tribute to the manner in which successive British Governments have gradually transferred the burden of responsibility to our shoulders. The assistance and unfailing encouragement which we have received from each Secretary of State for the Colonies and their intense personal interest in our development has immeasurably lightened that burden.

All our friends in the Colonial Office must today be proud of their handiwork and in the knowledge that they have helped to lay the foundations of a lasting friendship between our two nations. I have indeed every confidence that, based on the happy experience of a successful partnership, our future relations with the United Kingdom will be more cordial than ever, bound together, as we shall be in the Commonwealth, by a common allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, whom today we proudly acclaim as Queen of Nigeria and Head of the Commonwealth.

Time will not permit the individual mention of all those friends, many of them Nigerians, whose selfless labours have contributed to our Independence. Some have not lived to see the fulfilment of their hopes—on them be peace—but nevertheless they are remembered here, and the names of buildings and streets and roads and bridges throughout the country recall to our minds their achievements, some of them on a national scale. Others confined, perhaps, to a small area in one Division, are more humble but of equal value in the sum-total.

Today, we have with us representatives of those who have made Nigeria: Representatives of the Regional Governments, of former Central Governments, of the Missionary Societies, and of the Banking and Commercial enterprises, and members, both past and present, of the Public Service. We welcome you, and we rejoice that you have been able to come and share in our celebrations. We wish that it could have been possible for all of those whom you represent to be here today: Many, I know, will be disappointed to be absent, but if they are listening to me now, I say to them: ‘Thank you on behalf of my Thank you for your devoted service which helped build up Nigeria into a nation. Today we are reaping the harvest which you sowed, and the quality of the harvest is equalled only by our gratitude to you. May God bless you all.

This is an occasion when our hearts are filled with conflicting emotions: we are, indeed, proud to have achieved our independence, and proud that our efforts should have contributed to this happy event. But do not mistake our pride for arrogance. It is tempered by feelings of sincere gratitude to all who have shared in the task of developing Nigeria politically, socially and economically. We are grateful to the British officers whom we have known, first as masters, and then as leaders, and finally as partners, but always as friends.  And there have been countless missionaries who have laboured unceasingly in the cause of education and to whom we owe many of our medical services. We are grateful also to those who have brought modern methods of banking and of commerce, and new industries. I wish to pay tribute to all of these people and to declare our everlasting admiration of their devotion to duty.

And, finally, I must express our gratitude to Her Royal Highness the Princess Alexandra of Kent for personally bringing to us these symbols of our freedom, and especially for delivering the gracious message from Her Majesty The Queen. And so, with the words ‘God Save Our Queen’, I open a new chapter in the history of Nigeria, and of the Commonwealth, and indeed of the world.

Sources:

Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, Mr. Prime Minister: A Selection of Speeches Made by Alhaji the Right Honourable Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, K.B.E., M.P., Prime Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (Apapa: Nigerian National Press, Ltd., 1964).

Afenifere calls for Sovereign National Conference

Akure — YORUBA socio-political group, Afenifere has reviewed various problems threatening the corporate existence of the country and reiterated its call for the convocation of a Sovereign National Conference, SNC.

Rising from a meeting at the residence of its National Leader, Chief Reuben Fasoranti in Akure, the group called on President Goodluck Jonathan to as a matter of urgency put machinery in place to convoke the SNC.

Reading the communiqué after the meeting, its Publicity Secretary, Yinka Odumakin, said so many unfortunate incidents were over-heating the polity.

Afenifere said the rampaging activities of Boko Haram and the drum-beat of war by ethnic groups demanded urgent attention via the convocation of the SNC.

The group dismissed fears that all political structures would be dismantled by the convocation of the SNC, contending rather that the voices of Nigerians would matter in the running of the affairs of the country.

Afenifere, which lauded both President Jonathan and the Senate President David Mark for not objecting to the idea of convoking the SNC, however appealed to others expressing fears that they would lose out to consider the interest of the country and not their selfish interest.

The group said: “To preven the ship of this country from capsizing, we have no other option than to convoke SNC. The tension in this country is heightened; the polity is over-heated and the warning signal is too glaring.”

On the plan by President Jonathan to re-contest in 2015,  Afenifere said the nation’s constitution allowed him to re-contest if he so wished.

According to the group, “Our group is not against anyone contesting or not contesting.

“Let the electorate decide the fate of any politician seeking political office. Nigerians should stop over-heating the polity, causing divisions.

“If care is not taken a politician would not be allowed to campaign in one area of the country while another will be allowed.

“Let Nigerians decide who they want through their votes. Afenifere is not against anybody contesting or not contesting. The Nigerian constitution guarantees any Nigerian to seek for any political office.”

--Culled from Vanguard 
YORUBA socio-political group, Afenifere has reviewed various problems threatening the corporate existence of the country and reiterated its call for the convocation of a Sovereign National Conference, SNC.
Rising from a meeting at the residence of its National Leader, Chief Reuben Fasoranti in Akure, the group called on President Goodluck Jonathan to as a matter of urgency put machinery in place to convoke the SNC.
Reading the communiqué after the meeting, its Publicity Secretary, Yinka Odumakin, said so many unfortunate incidents were over-heating the polity.
Afenifere said the rampaging activities of Boko Haram and the drum-beat of war by ethnic groups demanded urgent attention via the convocation of the SNC.
The group dismissed fears that all political structures would be dismantled by the convocation of the SNC, contending rather that the voices of Nigerians would matter in the running of the affairs of the country.
Afenifere, which lauded both President Jonathan and the Senate President David Mark for not objecting to the idea of convoking the SNC, however appealed to others expressing fears that they would lose out to consider the interest of the country and not their selfish interest.
The group said: “To preven the ship of this country from capsizing, we have no other option than to convoke SNC. The tension in this country is heightened; the polity is over-heated and the warning signal is too glaring.”
On the plan by President Jonathan to re-contest in 2015, Afenifere said the nation’s constitution allowed him to re-contest if he so wished.
According to the group, “Our group is not against anyone contesting or not contesting.
“Let the electorate decide the fate of any politician seeking political office. Nigerians should stop over-heating the polity, causing divisions.
“If care is not taken a politician would not be allowed to campaign in one area of the country while another will be allowed.
“Let Nigerians decide who they want through their votes. Afenifere is not against anybody contesting or not contesting. The Nigerian constitution guarantees any Nigerian to seek for any political office.”

MEND leader John Togo for burial 2 years after death

MEND leader John Togo for burial 2 years after death


The Defence Headquarters has given the go-ahead for the burial of a notorious sea piracy kingpin and leader of the Niger Delta Liberation Force (NDLF), John Togo, over two years after he was killed in a clash with troops of the Joint Task Force (JTF) in Bomadi Local Government Area of Delta State.
The Nation reliably gathered that the JTF has received the approval to release the body of the crime lord to relevant authority for burial.
Sources said the delay in burying the scar-face militant, who was a factional leader of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), was due to the Federal Government’s directives that a DNA test be carried out on his decomposing remains.
Togo was killed in an aerial assault by the Airforce arm of the JTF in May 2011 after a five-month stand-off between his ragtag army and troops of the JTF.
He died after he renounced the Amnesty Programme of the Federal Government in November 2010, took up arms and went back to the trenches with a handful of his fellow NDLF members.
He triggered a furious manhunt when he ambushed and killed about six soldiers of a JTF team near Ayakoromo in November 2010; the incident led to the invasion of the community and burning down of about 50 houses in the Ijaw community.
Thereafter, the JTF intensified manhunt for him and his boys, who were encamped at the ‘Israel Camp’ of the group in an isolated boundary area between Bayelsa and Delta states.
He was killed after months of bloody clashes and his gang members buried his remains in a shallow grave before fleeing the scene.
His body was later exhumed when the JTF sent in ground troops, who arrested one of the fleeing militants who led them to his burial site.
The remains could not be buried due to the military’s insistence that a DNA must be conducted to properly identify his body before the manhunt launched for him would be officially called off.
The DNA test, which confirmed the remains as that of Togo, was carried out leading to the recent approval given for his burial.
A top official of the JTF in Effurun Barracks, Capt. Mohammed Abdulahi, was contacted by our reporter, confirmed the report.
He said: “It is true that approval has been given for the burial of Togo, but it is not the task of the JTF to bury him, the body will be released to the Police.”
A source at the JTF’s headquarters, Yenagoa said the approval came last Wednesday.

Address by His Excellency, President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, GCFR On the Occasion of Nigeria's 53rd Independence Anniversary.


Tuesday 1st October, 2013


FELLOW NIGERIANS,

1. Today marks 53 years of our Independence as a nation. First and foremost, I would like to say congratulations to us all. Through thick and thin, we have built this country together. Through triumphs and trials, we have developed a Nigerian identity in our own way.

2. In truth, Nigeria is still a work in progress and we are challenged everyday to keep building in spite of the various obstacles that we face. Our strength has been in our diversity. If we look back over the years, we can say confidently that there is every reason to celebrate.

3. Today's Independence anniversary is unique because it is the last before we mark our centenary. On January 1, 2014, Nigeria will be 100 years old as a country, following the amalgamation of the Protectorates of Southern and Northern Nigeria in 1914.

4. Beloved country men and women, traditionally, the Presidential address on this symbolic day has served two purposes. It has, quite rightly, been used to remind all Nigerians about our heritage. It has also allowed my predecessors and I to comment on our stewardship to the nation and make political capital out of a state occasion.


5. But this year, I will not. Because, today of all days, we should not be scoring political points. On the contrary, in this last year of the first century of our Union, we should be addressing our future as a Nation and a people!


6. I admit that these may not be the best of times for our nation. Our people are divided in many ways – ethnically, religiously, politically, and materially. I cannot hide from this reality. I cannot hide from my own responsibilities.


7. As we prepare to mark the centenary, therefore, today offers us an opportunity to reflect on our long journey to nationhood and the progress we have made so far. Whatever the challenges that we may face, we have every reason to be proud of our national accomplishments; we have every reason to remain proud and optimistic. Our collective national journey has witnessed great watersheds, thanks to our spirit of endurance, perseverance and sacrifice. Getting the rest of the job done with determination and courage is just a matter of time. We are Nigerians, a nation of talented people, endowed with resources, potentials, and Divine Grace.

8. In our journey to greatness as a nation, we have built an economy that is robust and erected enduring infrastructure and institutions of democracy. Our social system is now more inclusive, open and compassionate. We are waging a steady battle against poverty, unemployment, and corruption. Our sense of community, solidarity and shared expectation is strong and capable of withstanding the present social, economic and political challenges that still confront us.


9. In saying this, I am reminded of the comments I made a week ago to a cross-section of Nigerians in New York during the 68th United Nations General Assembly. I declare now as I declared then: we have a duty as Nigerians, whatever may be our differences or prejudices, to always put Nigeria first.


10. Our politics should be an art of patriotic labour and selfless service to the community, particularly by the political elite who are placed in positions of great trust and responsibility. Politics has its own high moral principles which abhor distracting and divisive rhetoric. As men and women in leadership, we must continually focus on service, duty, responsibility, and the next generation. Those who are elected to govern at all levels must focus on improving the lives of our people, not selfish ambition. 


11. In the words of the American theologian and author, James Freeman Clarke, ‘a politician thinks of the next election; a statesman of the next generation’. Whether we are Muslims or Christians; rich or poor; from the North or the South; East or West; regardless of our political affiliations, this is the time for every one of us to be a statesman!


12. My clarion call therefore, on this special day, is that we should begin to align our political utterances and conduct solely to the nobler passions that unite our people. Politicians do not make a nation; ordinary folks do.


13. Our nation is made great by the big and small efforts of regular citizens. These are the teachers and men and women in academics who inculcate the knowledge and wisdom that transform into tomorrow’s wealth; the traders and market women who tend to our everyday needs; the farmers whose labour feeds the nation; the artisans whose work ensures that our homesteads are well maintained; the doctors, pharmacists, nurses, accountants, bankers, engineers, and other professionals who add value to our lives; the sportsmen and women and those in the creative industry who bring honour and fame to our nation;


14. And the men and women of our armed forces and security services who toil day and night so that you and I may live in a safe and secure nation.


15. It is the individual and collective heroism of these regular folks that has placed our nation on the path of greatness. Politics and politicians sometimes distract the people and create unnecessary tension.


16. But our independence celebration is about the same people, the people of Nigeria: their industry, sense of mission and purpose, and their patience and perseverance as we navigate historical turns in our march towards prosperity and self-sufficiency. Today, I salute the people of Nigeria.


17. My Compatriots, history has proven that nations take time to evolve. We should rejoice in our democracy because it enables us to be united by our differences, not destroyed by them. And, there is no more crucial time for us to be united than now.


18. The threats we face may be real and immediate. But we are not alone in this regard. It is a difficult season for much of the world: industrialized or developing; rich or poor. What matters are the lessons we learn, the wisdom we demonstrate, and the victory we snatch from the jaws of likely defeat. 


19. And I tell you, more than anything else, there are lessons to learn, and every cause to be thankful. If I must cite one example, take Syria. As we all pray and work for a return to normalcy in Syria, it would be helpful for us to reflect on the fact that Syria was once a peaceful, thriving, multi-cultural nation which played host to a mosaic of religions and ethnicities.


20. But that once idyllic nation has today become a theatre of human misery of unimaginable proportions as a result of the activities of extremist forces.


21. Fellow Nigerians, the spectre of extremism haunts every democracy in every corner of the globe. While we celebrate our independence and good fortune, our hearts must grieve for those who have lost loved ones in numerous terrorist activities around the world.

22. Back home, I admit being overtaken by deep feelings of grief, whenever news reached me of the appalling atrocities in some of our States, especially the North Eastern part of our country. Just two days ago, terrorist elements attacked the College of Agriculture in Gujba, Yobe State killing a number of innocent students of the institution and other residents in cold blood, most of them in their sleep. This act of barbarism is a demonstration of the extent to which evil forces will go to destabilize our nation. But I assure you, they will not succeed.




23. My heart goes out to the families of all those who have fallen victim of these dastardly acts. Our Administration will not rest until every Nigerian is free from the oppression of terrorism. I reassure you that no cost will be spared, no idea will be ignored, and no resource will be left untapped in the quest to enable our people live without fear.




24. On this day, I implore every Nigerian – wherever you are, whatever language you speak, whatever your religious persuasion, whichever Political Party you support -: let us join together to fight this evil of extremism.


25. On behalf of us all, I commend our Armed Forces and security agencies for their dedication and bravery in the face of grave danger, and in the name of our collective liberty.

26. Fellow Nigerians, this is a time to pull together behind the national cause: the cause of our freedom, and our future. We must rekindle the spirit of Nigeria, to ensure that every democrat and every lover of peace in this great nation continues to live in a free, peaceful, and secure Nigeria.


27. On my part, I re-dedicate myself completely to the service of this great country. I was elected President to continue the process of building a prosperous nation where hopes, dreams and aspirations would be fulfilled. Nigerians, home and abroad, want a country they can be proud to call their own. I am pleased to affirm that, no matter the challenges we face, we are on the right path to greatness. Our Transformation Agenda, which is part of the overall vision of making Nigeria a land of greatness, has been delivering positive and encouraging results.


28. On May 29th this year, I presented to the nation a mid-term report of my Administration’s Transformation Agenda. This was conceived as an integrated policy aimed at reconstructing not only institutional governance for effective and efficient service delivery, but also a re-orientation of national norms and values. The document captured the essence of our agenda in relation to core objectives and achievements.


29. I have been consistently mindful of the weight of public expectation to find solutions to the challenges that confront us because the mandate we have is a free and sacred one. In all that I have done, I have been guided by this sacred obligation, to work hard for the good of Nigeria and to make life better for Nigerians. I want to assure everyone that Nigeria, under my leadership, will not fail.


30. Exactly 53 years ago today, Prime Minister Tafawa Balewa urged us to ‘move with quiet dignity to our place on the world stage’. I am sure that there have been times when every one of us must have questioned how closely we have followed that injunction.


31. But again, I can reassure you that Nigeria’s place on the world stage today is strong and safe, and it is certainly a place of dignity and respect. We must continue to build on this by remaining a nation and a people committed to ideals, the noblest humanitarian values, and the rule of law.


32. Our Constitution is anchored ultimately on the idea of freedom and fundamental rights: freedom of expression; freedom from discrimination; freedom to vote and be voted for, and the right to human dignity. These are the core values of a true democracy. These are the values of which we must never lose sight.






33. In my address to the UN General Assembly last week, I emphasized the crucial role of democratization in improving the fortunes not just of this country, but of our entire continent. Democratic values encourage diversity. They encourage discourse. They encourage disagreement. This is the joy of democracy.

34. It enables us to have an opinion. And ultimately, the ballot box gives us all the opportunity to instigate change. When democracy works, it does not destroy a nation. It unites and defines it.


35. Fellow Nigerians, our Administration has taken cognizance of suggestions over the years by well-meaning Nigerians on the need for a National Dialogue on the future of our beloved country. I am an advocate of dialogue. When there are issues that stoke tension and bring about friction, it makes perfect sense for the interested parties to come together to discuss.

36. In demonstration of my avowed belief in the positive power of dialogue in charting the way forward, I have decided to set up an Advisory Committee whose mandate is to establish the modalities for a National Dialogue or Conference. The Committee will also design a framework and come up with recommendations as to the form, structure and mechanism of the process.


37. The Committee will be chaired by Dr. Femi Okurounmu while Dr. Akilu Indabawa will serve as the Secretary. The full membership of the Committee will be announced shortly. 


38. I expect the Report to be ready in one month, following which the nation will be briefed on the nomenclature, structure and modalities of the Dialogue.




39. Fellow Nigerians, the past 53 years have seen Nigeria evolve on an epic scale. Our progress since independence has not always been smooth. This is, after all, our Fourth Republic; but despite all its flaws, it has lasted longer than all the previous three put together. That is progress and it proves that, our differences – real and imagined - notwithstanding, we are, in every sense, a united nation.

40. This is no time for the harmful clutches of parochial sentiments and the politics of bitterness, impunity, arrogance and unhelpful indiscipline. We must stand as one, with absolute commitment and resolve to resist any force that threatens us and the sanctity of our union. 

41. I want to thank all our country men and women who have stood by this Administration in the midst of mounting challenges and enormous expectations.

42. I recognize that it is not easy to keep believing in the possibilities of our greatness when our faith is constantly challenged. But let me assure you that, if we do not despair, we shall reap the reward of our labour in due season.

43. It is my prayer that, another 53 years from now, our children and grand-children will look back on our effort and be thankful that we kept the faith. 

44. May God continue to bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.


45. I wish you all a very happy 53rd Independence Celebration.


46. I thank you.