Monthly Archives: October 2010
LAGOS, Oct 29 (Reuters) – At least four of the nine Nigerian banks rescued in a $4 billion bailout last year are set to announce exclusive talks with potential suitors in coming days, banking sources said on Friday.
The central bank bailed out the lenders in an unprecedented rescue last year, warning they had become so weakly capitalised they posed a risk to sub-Saharan Africa’s number two economy. It has since been trying to find new investors.
Banking sources said Nigeria’s First City Monument Bank (FCMB) (FCMB.LG: Quote), one of the country’s healthy lenders, had bid for Finbank (FIRSTIN.LG: Quote), which was rescued in the first round of the bailout in August 2009.
The stock exchange said Finbank had announced it was in negotiations with a potential strategic investor but gave no further details. Finbank shares closed up 4.7 percent at 0.66 naira, shortly before the announcement.
“We have made a bid. I think ours is the preferred bid but we have not been announced as the winner yet,” a source at FCMB said, asking not to be named.
A source at Finbank also said FCMB was the preferred bidder.
Finbank is valued at 11 billion naira ($73 million) at current market prices, less than a tenth the size of FCMB.
Banking sources said Bank PHB (PLATINU.LG: Quote), Intercontinental (INTERCO.LG: Quote) and Union Bank (UBN.LG: Quote) were also in talks with potential suitors and would soon make announcements.
Central Bank Governor Lamido Sanusi said two weeks ago five or six of the rescued lenders would be announcing negotiations in coming weeks. [ID:nLDE69D1GQ]
He has said foreign institutions are involved in the bidding process, as well as local banks and private equity firms.
Finbank was created out of a merger between First Atlantic Bank, Inland Bank and IMB Bank during consolidation four years ago.
Analysts consider it a ripe acquisition target because it offers a niche business, and a potential acquirer will not exceed market share rules set by the central bank.
FCMB, established in 1982, has 150 branches across Nigeria, an investment banking subsidiary in London and a representative office in South Africa.
Central bank advisers have recommended a preferred bidder to acquire Bank PHB, whose board will meet to consider the proposal next week, another banking source told Reuters.
Intercontinental Bank will also announce talks with a possible core investor next week, a senior banker said.
Union Bank said on Thursday it too was in exclusive talks with a potential suitor. Banking sources said the negotiations were with a local private equity firm, potentially in conjunction with a consortium. [ID:nLDE69R292]
Nigeria has set up a state asset management company, AMCON, which will purchase non-performing loans from the rescued banks and chase their recovery in order to give the lenders liquidity and make them more attractive to new investors.
Delays to setting up AMCON have hindered progress on reaching deals for the rescued lenders.
Sanusi told CNBC Africa TV this week that the Senate was due to approve the board of AMCON next Tuesday and that it would start purchasing bad assets immediately thereafter. (For more Reuters Africa coverage and to have your say on the top issues, visit: af.reuters.com/ ) (Additional reporting by Oludare Mayowa; Writing by Nick Tattersall; Editing by David Hulmes) read more
LAGOS Oct 29 (Reuters) – Nigeria’s central bank advisers have recommended a preferred bidder to acquire rescued lender Bank PHB (PLATINU.LG: Quote) and the bank’s board will meet to consider the proposal next week, a banking source said on Friday.
“There is a preferred bidder but the board needs to consider it,” the source said, adding that an announcement would be made next week. (For more Reuters Africa coverage and to have your say on the top issues, visit: af.reuters.com/ ) (Reporting by Chijioke Ohuocha; Writing by Nick Tattersall) read more
To a person of value it may cost him or her character, what about Amos Adamu? Theman who allegedly offered to sell his World Cup bid vote and was provisionally suspended a fortnight ago by Federation of International Football Association (FIFA). A vote may cost the executive board member $800,000.00 to be paid twice. That is the way life goes, as a man who has gotten so high in his field, could bring himself down by allowing a singular act of selfishness anddishonour bring his nation shame over his act. But come to think of it, is it the first time? I don’t think so; A lot has been said of this influential Sport administrator though, who despite been readily known in the football circles as a FIFA executive member, Confederation of African Football (CAF) executive member, as well as head of the West African football house, West African Football Union (WAFU) allowed himself to be cheapened by his love for money.
Over the years many accusations had been levied against this very wealthy civil servant but to no avail. With the evidence, it will be a surprise if the ‘Mr. Fix it’ of Nigerian football can eventually fix this mess he is in at the moment, something that cannot but come to mind is where is all of Adamu’s money from? He is said to haveprivate companies, properties across Nigeria, as well as running chains of Hotels. While other sport bodies like the Athletics Federation accused him of financial misconduct, there was also a time when the head of the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) also accused him of trying to divert the sponsorship money of the federation into personal pocket. All this Adamu had successfully fixed. Can he fix this mess once again? That is left to be answered.
An analysis of our nation’s electoral process calls for the measure of the value we place on every single vote we cast; maybe in our subconscious, we really do not believe that our vote counts. Like in the case of a rural woman who is largely influenced by the bag of salt, rice and what have you, that is shared doing and after electioneering campaign, that woman believes that is her own gain of the process rather than pushing for her stake with her casted vote. The young man who is supposed to defend his future with his vote or at least free his conscience by placing his vote for the person that he believes will deliver, protect his interest and safe guard his tomorrow, he will rather sell his vote for as cheap as a N1, 000.00 that will only pass for the coming meal. Poverty in the land has dealt so badly with the populace that even the fairness of judgment is affected by it.
While we continue to count how many have demeaned their personality with the sale of their vote, many still say that their vote does not eventually decide who takes the day, as most of the elections are always marred by rigging and other forms of mal practices. To birth the new Nigeria we envisage. It is expedient we begin to look at our vote as the deciding factor to any elective position even when it seems not to be for now – with results reversal after 41 months in office in some cases – we still believe that in the nearest future things will take a better shape. As we expect the electoral process to improve. We are also expected to do our own bit which is voting rightly and wisely, for the person who we believe will stand for our betterment. A vote sold is a conscience sealed! Our Nigeria will only become better when we begin to look at the little difference we all can make to better her lot.
Whether it is Adamu, you or me, the amount we place on our vote is a testimony of our self value. Looking back at the Amos Adamu saga, his action has further brought to our consciousness the need for us to continually strive to uphold our civic responsibility of voting right. As we await the general election let us all say no to vote sales and preach against it as much as we can, as it has become a flaw on our political process. Lastly to me, the cost of a vote is the sum total of all personal value backed with the expectation of the eventual possible outcome of it. And that tells the quality of the person who sells his or her vote. read more
The Legislature on Tuesday described as “Uncalled for and frivolous” the utterance by the Independent National Electoral Commission that the delay in amending the 2011 Electoral Act constitutes a fresh hindrance to the conduct of the 2011 general elections. The National Assembly had reacted to the comments made by the Chairman, Prof Attahiru Jega, while receiving a delegation from the European Union Mission to Nigeria in Abuja on Monday that “We are getting conflicting signals and if there are any delays in the National Assembly, it will affect us. He continued “The faster they are able to complete the amendment process, the better for us. If we have to get an extension around November or December, then we will be back to square one. We do not want any extension that would affect the May 29 handover date.”
On hearing this, the National Assembly freed itself of any fault in the challenges facing the INEC, and was very quick to remind Jega of the Direct Data Capturing Machines needed for the voter’s registration – that is not yet available – more than a month after the budget for the poll was approved. All these are blame passing from either side; at the moment INEC should own up to her responsibility of delivering a credible election come next year, though we all know that it is a tough challenge and Jega himself also knew that before accepting the job, but from then till now, much has not been done by INEC, as the voters registration which is a valid argument from the National Assembly is still not sorted out. We expect both the INEC and the National Assembly to live up to their responsibilities as it concerns the coming general elections next year; so as to avoid any slip in meeting up with the swearing in dead line.
The last ten days had been used to castigate, pass blame, deny and redirect comments. Jega had decided to join the National Assembly in their game, and the National Assembly did not waste time in lashing back at him on his comment which came from the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Media and Publicity, Mr. Ayogu Eze, and his counterpart from the House of Representatives, Mr. Eseme Eyiboh who spoke for the National Assembly. Eze, asked for an investigation into the comment by Jega and said the upper chamber of the National Assembly had to call off it recess to pass the commission’s budget “to give it a chance to do a nice job”. That to me is ball passing. If the National Assembly does not want to be held responsible for any eventual failure, then they should be nice enough to complete the amendment process fast and allow INEC do their job in ensuring success in the coming general elections.
Prof Jega in his own denial move had to state that he was quoted out of context. One begins to wonder when had the nation begun to be govern by comments, instead of positive actions directed to change our state for good. A lot is expected from the Jega lead INEC as we have not even gotten to the true test of the resolution of his administration. Knowing that politicians will always be politicians, and delivering a free and fair election is all we demand from him. INEC needs to put her act together and think of what she can do with the short time available to ensuring success in the coming elections.
With just over seven month to the handover date. The Independent National Electoral Commission has an uphill task ahead of her to surmount, so every form of energy should be geared towards that direction while all distractions from every other source should be avoided. INEC alone will be held responsibility for a failed election. Neither the National Assembly nor any other stake holder would. Nigerians awaits INEC to deliver as the world watches us. The word on many Nigerians’ lips is can the deadline be meant, Will we make it this time around with this infighting among stakeholders? Only time will tell…
Dr. Kayode Fayemi of Action Congress of Nigeria declared winner of Ekiti State re-run governorship election. Court unanimously orders Kayode re instated.
Suzhou first started building its industrial park by learning and collaborating with Singapore 26 years ago. The Singapore side initially owned the majority part of the Suzhou Industrial Park (SIP), but gradually Suzhou took over and pushed SIP’s further development,” said Marilou Uy, Finance and Private Sector Development Director in the World Bank’s Africa Region during a field visit to Suzhou. “When African countries try to collaborate with China, it will be extremely relevant for them to look at the way Suzhou has collaborated with Singapore.”
The field visit was part of the High-Level China-Africa Experience-Sharing Program on Special Economic Zones and Infrastructure Development held in China from September 14 – 21, 2010. This program was organized by the World Bank Institute, the World Bank’s Africa Region and East Asia and Pacific Region,in partnership with the Government of China. Through the program, 17 senior officials from 9 African countries had an opportunity to share ideas and experiences with their Chinese counterparts.
After intensive discussions in Beijing, the African officials traveled to Jiangsu province where they visited industrial parks, factories, a food processing company, and irrigation and rural biogas projects. “The experiences we’ve see in the irrigation development and agro-business vegetable processing particularly showcased how China has integrated agriculture with industrialization, and agriculture with poverty reduction”, said Tadesse Haile Tessema, State Minister, Ministry of Trade and Industry, Ethiopia, “We’ve seen with our own eyes how this has significantly improved the livelihood of farmers, and erased poverty.”
South-South Cooperation—New Opportunities in the Economic Downturn
“China’s cooperation with Africa is by no means new. What is new, however, is the level and significance of China’s partnership with Africa,” said Robert Zoellick, President of the World Bank in his opening address. “South-Southtrade, investment, and exchange of know-how can become an important source of growth in the post-crisis era.”
“Africa is turning a corner….Can the continent become an economic lion, ready to take its place beside the Chinese dragon and the Indian tiger?” This was a challenge posed by the World Bank’s Africa Vice President Obiageli Ezekwesili during a keynote address at the event.
The experience-sharing program, in its third year, focused on special economic zones (SEZs) and infrastructure development—two big challenges for many African countries. In China, SEZs were a testing ground for China’s transition from a planned to a market economy, and they are a prime example of China’s pragmatic and experimental approach to reform. Chinese experts were asked to address some of the key issues and challenges identified in the Africa Infrastructure Diagnostic.
What did the African officials identify as important lessons from China? Some key takeaways include:
- Development with significant impact on poverty reduction can be achieved in one’s lifetime
- Political commitment is an important ingredient to translate ideas into reality; strong leadership and commitment at all levels of government are key to implementation
- Each country must lead its own development process
- Infrastructure development is critical for growth and poverty alleviation; of particular importance is infrastructure that links producers to markets
- To fully benefit from foreign investment and from the new skills and know-how associated with it, it is important to create links between foreign firms and local companies and supply chains.
An Important Dialogue
The China-Africa experience-sharing program was part of celebration of the 30-year anniversary of the China-World Bank partnership. In his meeting with President Zoellick, Chinese President Hu Jintao identified South-South cooperation as an important piece of the World Bank’s continued partnership with China.
The Country Must be in the Driver’s Seat
“Knowledge exchange is key for development,” said Klaus Rohland, the Bank’s Country Director for China and Mongolia. “The Bank’s role is not teaching people and government what works, but informing them about the policy options, and how they have worked or not worked in other countries, and then working with government to make their own choices.”
Phil Karp, WBI Regional Coordinator and co-Team Leader for the program added, “If there is one key lesson for other developing countries from China’s experience it is to be pragmatic; to experiment with new ideas, assess what works and replicate it, but not to be afraid to abandon what doesn’t work.” read more
An address by Chief Kpajie Nnamdi Onochie,
Chairman – All Progressives Grand Alliance USA (APGA-USA),
to the South East Political Summit
held 16th August 2010,
at Enugu, Enugu State, Nigeria.
THE IGBO AGENDA IS:
THE SUSTENANCE OF IGBO WELFARE, COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY IN NIGERIA.
To achieve the above, Igbos will have to
1) Resolve and increase internal cohesion
2) Continue progress on developing the Igbo hinterland
3) Devise methods to thwart external devices and aggression.
An internal cohesion agenda must seek to influence
1) Unity of Purpose within the Igbo – where all Igbo irrespective of geographical, political, economic, social or religious persuasion must be educated on the core Igbo issues – whatever we (Igbos) agree they are, and to use their wherewithal to further such agenda within whatever domain they find themselves. Igbos should be willing to educate other Igbos of their understanding and engagements when they feel misunderstood. Further to the above,
We (Igbos) must carry along our Igbo Brothers and kindred from Rivers state, Delta, and Cross River States. These people are not South-South, they are Igbos.
What is this nonsense about not recognizing that Mr. Mike Okiro is an Igbo from Egbema?. Why do we not recognize that we have had two (2) Igbos as Inspector Generals of Police (IGP) in quick succession?. And, what agenda was aligned with such strategic placement, when we finally got it? Rather, we are blinded by a Nigerian press which seeks to marginalize the Igbo in Nigeria more than we are prepared to marginalize ourselves.
An Igbo agenda cannot be limited for the South-East alone. What do we then say to the Aniomas, The Ikwerres or The Cross River Igbo? That they are not Igbo? Are we also ceding Igbo cities like Port Harcourt, Asaba or Agbor? Tufiakwa. God Forbid. Let us always remember that whenever we’ve had strife, others have been able to tap into a perceived discord between us and our riverine brethren to further widen the divide. Please, There is no problem with our riverine brothers that cannot be settled, and amicably, too.
Should we not recognize that The Chief of Defence staff, Gen Paul Dike is Igbo, or that Dr. Pat Utomi is Igbo, or that The Asagba of Asaba, Professor Edozien is Igbo?. Where are Chibudom Nwuche, Dr. Peter Odili, Rotimi Amaechi and Chief Austin Opara?. Are we throwing away Phillip Asiodu, Nduka Obaigbena, and The Osadebays. We cannot afford such waste. These people must know what we are talking about, whether they want to hear it or not. They cannot plead ignorance to the Igbo cause, whatever that is. Please, tell Nduka Obaigbena that if rain falls on my leaky roof tomorrow, I am coming straight to his house for refuge. We must be willing to tap into our Igbo sentiments and intelligence for the general Igbo good. The Riverine Igbos must have a seat at the table during our meeting. Whatever we decide as our agenda can also be carried on to their South-South meeting for the greater good of the Igbo brotherhood. We do not have any Igbos-at-will.
2) Continued progress on developing Igboland.
All our elected representatives/appointed officials in the Local Government, State Assembly, State Houses, Federal House of Representatives, the Nigerian Senate and at the Federal Government levels must be made to give an account of their stewardship to Igboland. We must know how they spent the respective Federal allocation given them to develop Ala-Igbo. We cannot keep crying Federal marginalization when our own representatives and appointed officials are locally marginalizing the Igbo electorate that either by vote or design put them in power. Our Igbo Leaders must be exhorted and tasked do something good for the people’s benefit by:
-Creating, Revitalizing and Stabilizing Local private and Government sponsored industries in their respective states, Local governments and communities.
-Creating employment and local service industries through above revitalizations.
-Building good roads and bridges linking Igbo communities, States and neighbors to increase local access, trade and communication.
-Tackling erosion and poor soil issues which affect our agricultural base.
-Building Health-Care centers/Hospitals and providing staff/Infrastructure to cater for such.
-Building, Repairing, Equipping and Maintaining our school buildings.
-Making Elementary and Secondary School Teachers/staff pay and welfare a topmost priority. Pay them promptly.Recognize that they are our link to the future.
-Revising the educational curriculum from Kindergarten to Secondary schools, with an aim to enabling all Secondary School graduates attain a standard and functional education which may be used in any Nigerian workplace.
Biko, Charity begins at Home.
Finally, We must
3) Devise methods to thwart external aggression.
Presently, external aggression is not physical, but stem from policies and non-executed policies which undermine Igbo interest. We must be on the alert, then publicize, contact, meet, action, publicize, contact, meet, action, publicize, meet, publicize, re-schedule meetings, then action on issues which are not to our interests, and find ways to thwart same. Further to this, all Igbo focus and end must be aimed towards the
Sustenance of Commercial security locally, and everywhere in Nigeria:
Recently, the Governor of Lagos state, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, while receiving the Governor of Imo state – Dr. Ikedi Ohakim in Lagos, commented on how Lagos has now provided a secure environment for individual businessmen and businesses that were earlier sited in Aba, Owerri and Onitsha. I repeat, – Aba, Owerri, Onitsha! I cannot say too much about the above, but if Governments within these locations do not understand the implications of the above, We may be done as a people as we know it.
Any threat to the establishment, or the improvement of an established commercial interest anywhere in Igboland and in Nigeria is an attack on the Igbo welfare. For example, did the Late President Umaru Yar’ adua ever say that the Akanu Ibiam Airport had been upgraded and granted an International status? If the answer is Yes, why are we arguing with naysayers? Our job should be to put all hands on deck with all ministries concerned to dot the I’s and cross the t’s on same document, and lobby for actualization through responsible arms for adequate funding and construction. Rather than sit down, talk and rejoice on such unfulfilled promise, which could be taken away by bad-belle people because we lost the civil war and are not entitled to anything good.
Further to these, Governments of the South-East and the South-South should look to provide and advocate on policies which favor the security of businesses within their domain. If our local businesses are secure, they will readily tap into the educated manpower abundant in the South East to increase production, distribution and other service which encourage business growth, increasing much needed employment, decreasing participation in nefarious activities which militate against business.
To achieve focus on increasing commercial security, efforts should be placed on:
-Opening the Port Harcourt Seaport to its full capacity to receive and discharge shipments, just like the Lagos seaport.
-Reconstruction of all highways from the Igbo hinterland which lead and link the Port-Harcourt International Airport at Omagwa.
-Sustained Work on the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu to attain International status as granted and required.
-Continued upgrading and sustenance of the Sam Mbakwe Airport –Owerri.
-Devising a Proposal for an Abakiliki Airport in Ebonyi State.
-Building of access roads and bridges that lead to and from Igboland with the surrounding neighbors.
-Completion of the Niger Bridge Dualization Project at Onitsha.
-Dualization of the Calabar-Uyo-Ikot Ekpene-Aba-Owerri-Onitsha-Benin-Lagos Road.
-Maintainance of the Aba – PortHarcourt Expressway
-Zero tolerance for Kidnapping and Kidnap related activities.
-Provision of Sustained Electricity and Power to our Industrial cities of Aba, Onitsha, And Owerri.
Finally, Igbo political support should be provided to any and all men of goodwill who may aid the Igbo in the above pursuit and sustenance of their general welfare and interest.
Let us begin with the above and see how far we can go. Ndewo nu.
Chukwu Gozie Ndi Igbo. Igbo kwenu.
What seemed to be celebration turned out to be sorrow and pain as unsuspecting Nigerians and on looker’s were stunned by a dastardly act against the nation and her people, perpetuated by some unscrupulous elements to announce their havoc. Bomb blast in Abuja, some meters from Eagle’s Square venue of the Nigeria @ 50 celebrations. Whether it is politically motivated as it’s wildly believed; coupled with revelations of the investigations being carried out; we only will wonder why anybody would wreck such act against his own people, in order to prove some unpalatable point. At least 12 people died and about 36 injured; is Nigeria a Terrorist nation? This is a question on everybody’s lips.
Now, the aftermath problem everywhere, accusations and counter accusations trailing, as we glide through our nationhood as it has always been characteristically known of us – to move from one pandemonium to another – while miraculously, we survive and keep going; The intrigues, investigations, allegations and trials have not been short of what we have been known for and we continue to cringe by the happenings in our dear nation; a nation that has been held to ransom by a powerful few – who in all sincerity are not relevant in the new Nigeria – always wanting to have their ways to the detriment of the generality of the populace. Day by day our existence as a sovereignty is being threatened by those who are trying to hold us hostage. How long will this drama continue as we wrap our hands and watch those who in their usual manner wreak havoc on us all?
Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta (MEND) claimed responsibility for the attack, and subsequent comments by President Jonathan that MEND is not to blame, and that he knows the perpetrator of the act brought about another twist, many think that the defense of MEND by Jonathan was uncalled for; Stating that investigations should be allowed to take its full course, and that the President should always be the last to speak. The brawl also had the campaign manager of IBB presidential ticket Raymond Dokpesi held for interrogation for alleged involvement in the attack, also allegedly involved in the mayhem was MEND leader Mr. Henry Okah who was arrested in South Africa and is being trialed there for involvement, coupled with investigations from suspects involved in the blast linking him. With all of this the word on our lips is; will Nigeria ever be free of all these sectarian violence here and there? Will she survive this continuous pressure pressed against her?
While a group of Northern leaders lead by Adamu Ciroma are asking for the resignation of Jonathan or him facing impeachment based on incapability in leading the nation, and Jonathan trying to defend himself; a lot is still to be heard of the security lapse which occurred during the event, with reports that they were alert before hand of such happening and it eventually happening. What is our faith in our security capability? Mr. President should look at this critically as changing his National Security Adviser may not be enough to curb our security ineptitude. Let us believe that with Gen Azazi coming in we can expect a difference, especially during the election period.
After fifty years of nation building many expect us to jubilate but the families of those concerned in this infamous blast are definitely in tribulation over their lost one’s as well as those of us who bleed for the future of this nation. After all is said and done, the common man in the street waits for the culprits to be brought to book for their evil deed; watching the drama that is unfolding as we relate it to the coming elections, ever conscious of the political brutality, the interplay among the good, the bad and the evil.
There is always light at the end of the tunnel.
ABUJA, Oct 4 (Reuters) – Nigeria’s secret service detained an aide to one of President Goodluck Jonathan’s election rivals on Monday over bomb attacks in the capital Abuja, raising the political temperature in the run-up to next year’s polls.
The head of former military ruler Ibrahim Babangida’s campaign team, Raymond Dokpesi, was called in for questioning in the wake of Friday’s car bombs near a parade to mark Nigeria’s 50th anniversary of independence.
Responsibility for the bombs, which killed at least 10 people, was claimed by the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), the main militant group in the southern oil region, which has rarely staged attacks outside its home area.
State television said Dokpesi, who is managing Babangida’s campaign for 2011 presidential elections, had been held for questioning over text messages found on the phone of a main suspect in the bombings which referred to a monetary payment.
Babangida’s campaign team said Dokpesi had complied with an invitation for questioning from the State Security Service (SSS) early on Monday but had since been denied access to his lawyers and family. It said no reason had been given for his detention.
“The campaign organisation hereby condemns in the strongest terms the detention of its director general and calls for his immediate release,” it said in a statement.
Prosecutors in Johannesburg earlier charged Henry Okah, a senior figure in MEND who now lives in South Africa, with conspiracy to commit a terrorist act and the detonation of explosive devices in Abuja. His lawyer denied his involvement.
President Jonathan has said a “small terrorist group that resides outside Nigeria” — an apparent reference to Okah — carried out the attacks but that it was sponsored by “unpatriotic elements within the country”.
Nigeria’s secret service said it had detained nine suspects with direct links to Okah.
The security services have admitted there were intelligence lapses in the run-up to Friday’s car bombings but Jonathan has vowed to hunt down the perpetrators.
He named a new national security adviser on Monday, former chief of defence staff Andrew Azazi, a fellow member of the Ijaw ethnic group, the largest in the southern Niger Delta.
Azazi’s appointment follows the resignation last month of Aliyu Gusau, a northerner who stepped aside to challenge Jonathan at the ruling party primaries. [ID:nLDE68I03B]
MEND’s claim of responsibility was an embarrassment for Jonathan, one of the main architects of an amnesty agreed last year with rebels in the Niger Delta and who is the first Nigerian leader to come from the vast wetlands region.
He has said the perpetrators “used the name of MEND to camouflage criminality and terrorism” and that the attacks had nothing to do with the Niger Delta.
The secret service said it had foiled a larger plot to detonate at least six car bombs in the “three-arm zone” in Abuja made up of the presidential villa, parliament and the Supreme Court just days before last Friday’s attacks.
“The despicable act of terrorism which eventually took place on Oct. 1 was planned for Wednesday Sept. 29 but was foiled as soon as information was received during the early hours of Sept. 28,” SSS spokeswoman Marilyn Ogar told a news conference.
“The over-riding objective of the group was to scare foreign visitors from attending the 50th anniversary celebrations.”
A MEND statement signed Jomo Gbomo — the pseudonym used by the group to claim responsibility for previous attacks on Nigeria’s oil industry — was emailed to media warning the area should be evacuated, an hour before the Abuja bombs went off.
Although MEND has used car bombs in the past, its targets have been almost exclusively oil facilities and it has struck outside the Niger Delta only twice, once on an offshore oil platform, and once at an oil dock in the commercial hub Lagos.
Jonathan’s assertion that the attacks had nothing to do with the Niger Delta has drawn criticism from his opponents.
“For whatever purpose it serves to fulfil, it is unpresidential for Mr President to quickly exonerate MEND, which had earlier claimed responsibility,” Babangida’s spokesman said in a statement issued before Dokpesi’s detention.
“Issues of security of individuals and of the nation require more than just a passing glance,” the statement said.
Jonathan’s detractors have started to use MEND’s claim of responsibility to undermine his credentials for the elections.
“If his own people can disown him and disgrace him how can you trust him? Reject GEJ, he can’t be trusted,” said one text message circulated to mobile phones. (For more Reuters Africa coverage and to have your say on the top issues, visit: af.reuters.com/ ) (Additional reporting by Peroshni Govender in Johannesburg, Austin Ekeinde in Port Harcourt and Nick Tattersall in Lagos; editing by Andrew Roche) read more
1st October 1960, Nigeria gained independence as a sovereign state. It’s her 50th Anniversary Hurray!!! It’s golden jubilee, and time to roll out drums and jubilate – with all forms of glamour and exuberance – let us come out to dance, sing, shout and cause a quake in Africa, for her giant is 50. But come to think of it, what are we celebrating? Is it the epileptic power supply, or the roads that cause horrendous traffic, or is it the enormous natural resource that we have, while there is nothing to show for, or the unemployment suffered by the youth, or is it the restiveness spread across all her borders with the looming fear of armed robbery, kidnapping, political murdering and sectarian violence here and there, or is it the poverty that is prevalent in the land, where will the energy come from? Is it from the elderly who have been totally neglected by the same nation they served all their lives, or the young who do not seem to know what lies ahead? Somebody please tell me what we are celebrating; because I am lost here.
What I thought would be befitting here would be a sober reflection for a week to look inward, be candid with ourselves and ask fundamental questions like have I been a worthy asset to this nation? Would this nation have been better if I had been better than I am now? What are the roots causes of our problem? Did our past leaders fair well in leading us? Will I be responsible enough to take my portion of blame and turn a new leaf? Will I act differently if on the same stage? How important am I to this great nation? What can I do to help? How do I go about helping? Am I the change that Nigeria needs? Candid answers to these and many more questions are what we need now. Heaping blames on others will not help much neither would expecting the change in others that you are not ready to make help; A lot is expected of us all to effect this change we so desire.
Even our children are not guaranteed a better legacy than we received if we continue like this; it is our responsibility to turn the tide, crying over spilt milk won’t change anything; why must we expect a national change without first changing ourselves, the change process for the nation is from self to family, from family to society, there we can change our nation. Our collective individual values shapes our societal values; as we celebrate, let’s look at ourselves, our families, how this unit impact our society, I cry internally for the children unborn and for myself knowing our children would hold us accountable for not correcting the mistakes of our fathers. The last 50 years have been full of mistakes; the next 50 years will be lived to correct those mistakes and step into our glory as a nation.
Let us all place the reality of this nation as a personal responsibility and come out to seek a change in all sphere. Darkness is never overturned by a spark of light; it is the intensity of light that makes darkness disappear, we will continue to shout and appreciate those who do but more than this, is the ability to act our talk, and this is what will guarantee the coming RENAISSANCE we seek, as we all gather to celebrate our existence as a nation let us think about how our individual actions affect the nation, the farmer, the civil servant, the law enforcers, the corporate individuals, the press men, not forgetting the public office holders and those in authority whose daily decisions outline our lives as well as those in Diaspora whose ambassadorial relevance cannot be overemphasized. Let us live consciously to make the next 50 years greater.
Nigeria shall live long to be truly celebrated. read more