Sunday, December 30, 2007

EFCC Must Probe Perm Secs, Directors

The acid test awaiting the man taking over from Ribadu is to reassure Nigerians that with the exist of Nuhu Ribadu from EFCC that the critical assignment handed him to probe federal permanent secretaries and directors who are alleged to have falsified their age declarations to remain in service will not die a natural death.

Specifically, the police chief was handed the assignment by the Federal Government on Friday, November 23, 2007 at the Inaugural Meeting of the Steering Committee on Reforms (SCR) headed by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF).

At the meeting, Ribadu was given the mandate to work with the Federal Civil Service Commission (FCSC) and the office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation (OHCSF) to probe the allegation that some permanent secretaries and directors had falsified their age declarations to remain in office.

There has been growing concern in the federal bureaucracy that some permanent secretaries and officers in the directorate cadre have been implicated in age declaration scandal.

The development has led to petitions by some senior officers, who were either class or school mates of some suspected officers, revealing that the serving officers are older than they claim.
Claims are said to have portrayed some officers as having graduated at the age of 10 or 12.

Besides, some officers from certain states that have also petitioned the Presidency wonder how assistant directors from the same states are older than their permanent secretaries and directors even as they entered the same service in the same dispensation.

The President had noted the issue and adopted it to be probed by the Steering Committee on Reforms headed by the SGF whose office now supervises the Bureau of Public Service Reforms (BPSR).

It was revealed that it was Ribadu, who, at the meeting, insisted that falsification of age declaration is a criminal offence. He had pledged to provide forensic experts to unravel the succession crisis and aging workforce in the bureaucracy.

The Steering Committee Meeting had then "noted the gravity of the records falsification not only as criminal act but also as an integrity issue requiring serious action in line with the subsisting presidential directive on the matter and so directed the EFCC to assist in setting up a process of service-wide screening of public servants' records beginning with permanent secretaries and directors."

The fears is that the assignment might suffer some reverses, as Ribadu heads for Kuru in January where he will spend the next one year.

Ribadu Removed Because 419er Petition?

The Guardian report today that Nuhu Ribadu was sent on compulsory study leave based on some "damaging" tool in the hand of one of the ex-convicts, Chief Emmanuel O. Nwude, that the anti-graft body had prosecuted and jailed is laughable if indeed is true.

Nwude, recently published an open letter to the President on how the EFCC defrauded him through the sale of his numerous assets to offset his victims. Did i hear defraud? A 419er saying he was defrauded on the properties he ruined lives to build?

Chief Nwude, who completed his jail terms last year, reportedly found his way into the Presidency (how bad can it get) and complained to the President's men about the way the EFCC allegedly sold his assets to cronies at ridiculous prices. Haba! If indeed the President is acting on this man's petition to send Ribadu on this study leave then we are in trouble.

According to the Guardian, "The officials (Nwude reported to) were said to have taken notes of the graphic details of the ex-convict's complaints against the EFCC boss and his men.
According to sources, Nwude was asked to write details of the allegations against the EFCC boss to the President. He promptly did. He was later encouraged to publish the serious allegations in some key dailies.
In the full page advertorial, Chief Nwude narrated how in 2003, he was arrested and charged for fraud by the ACP Nuhu Ribadu-led EFCC.
Nwude, generally believed to be the first major catch by the EFCC at inception, chronicled 18 items of the alleged EFCC corrupt practices in the sale of his assets to named EFCC cronies and how their consultants and lawyers benefited from it.
Besides, the complainant told the President how certain judicial officers in the Lagos judiciary allegedly compromised their positions by colluding with the EFCC in the alleged deals. He asked the President to order serious inquiry into the allegations.

Admitting that what he did was not good, Nwude appealed to the President to "use your good office and look into my case and also temper justice with mercy. I have been stripped bare. I am homeless and I have nothing to live on..."

I have had arguements with colleagues and friends to the point of almost exchanging blows that Ribadu's exist from EFCC will not reduce their fights because it is all about an institution and not an individual. I had insisted that his movement to NIPSS had no political undertone but if he was removed because of a confirmed thief's petition, then I am disappointed.

My final thought is that since Nwude did not have conscience to deal mercifully with his victims when he was cleaning them out of their hard earn money he must not be given the satisfaction of listening to his petition talkless of acting on it to the point of sending Ribadu on compulsory study leave.

What you sow you must surely reap so those behind this must watch their backs. Obasanjo never believed in his wildest dream to get the kind of bad press when it comes to his achievements while in office but it is happening in his life time. At least we now know according reports in the papers that the President's daughter also has itching fingers.

Let's see where this ends

Friday, December 21, 2007

Niger Delta Kidnap in whose interest?

The news coming out from the Niger Delta especially Bayelsa continues to leave sour taste in the mouth. I really must ask these questions and please somebody especially one of the militants must answer me.
How is this action contributing to the development of the area? Whose interest are they really serving? If it is about the struggle for the liberation of the people of the area, how much of the ransome money collected so far have been used for the development of the area (Robin Hood style if you get my drift)?
The papers today were awash with the latest kidnap of the 91-year old father of the Accountant General of Bayelsa state, Chief Andason Zidafamo. That this occured barely 24 hours after the Joint Military Task Force operating in Bayelsa State stormed the base of the militants rescuing in the process the Octogenerian father of the State Deputy Governor, Pa Simeon Ebebi, who lamented his maltreatment in the hands of his kidnappers is even more annoying.
As far as I am concern it is clear this is all about enriching their pockets. The struggle might have been focussed at first but right now it is all about self enrichment. I hear these guys live large even in the creeks so how can this stop?
Severally, the military has said time without number that these militants can be smoked out in seconds once they get the order from above. Whatever is delaying this order from being given I think the continous rubbishing of our image in the international community with the activities of these guys is enough reason to give it now.
I really don't see why we should continue to give these guys the leverage when they are making us look as if we are in civil war. If the new govt says let's talk shouldn't u at least listen or give them a time frame? can the region be changed over night with such volatile environment?
I am personally sick about the whole thing and I hope the militants either stop or they are stopped.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Returning Unspent Budget back to Treasury!

Today's Federal Executive Council (FEC) decision that all Ministries, Departments and Agencies returned unspent money back to the coffers of the government is a welcome development. More welcoming is the fact that the meeting all refused to approved over 27 contracts by ministers for the 2007 budget with few days to the end of the year.Shouldn't common sense have hinted them that those contracts shouldn't have been presented in the first place?It is incredible when those in government that claim to have acquired incredible and intimidating CVs do things that call their integrity to question. I'm sure this was a way to corner some percentages to themselves before they were stopped by 'Mr. Rule of Law' himself.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

A friend's experience worth sharing

After 21 years of marriage, my wife wanted me to takeanother woman out to dinner and a movie. She said, "Ilove you, but I know this other woman loves you andwould love to spend some time with you."The other woman that my wife wanted me to visit wasmy MOTHER, who has been a widow for 19 years, but thedemands of my work and my three children had made itpossible to visit her only occasionally.That night I called to invite her to go out for dinnerand a movie."What's wrong, are you well," she asked?My mother is the type of woman who suspects that alate night call or a surprise invitation is a sign ofbad news."I thought that it would be pleasant to spend sometime with you" I responded. "Just the two of us."She thought about it for a moment, and then said, "Iwould like that very much."That Friday after work, as I drove over to pick herup I was a bit nervous.When I arrived at her house, I noticed that she, too,seemed to be nervous about our date.She waited in the door with her coat on.She had curled her hair and was wearing the dress thatshe had worn to celebrate her last wedding anniversary.She smiled from a face that was as radiant as an angel's."I told my friends that I was going to go out with myson, and they were impressed," she said, as she gotinto the car." They can't wait to hear about ourmeeting."We went to a restaurant that, although not elegant,was very nice and cozy.My mother took my arm as if she were the First Lady.After we sat down, I had to read the menu.Her eyes could only read large print.Half way through the entries, I lifted my eyes andsaw Mom sitting there staring at me.A nostalgic smile was on her lips."It was I who used to have to read the menu when youwere small," she said."Then it's time that you relax and let me return thefavor," I responded.During the dinner, we had an agreeable conversationnothing extraordinary but catching up on recentevents of each other's life.We talked so much that we missed the movie.As we arrived at her house later, she said, "I'll goout with you again, but only if you let me inviteyou."I agreed."How was your dinner date?" asked my wife when I got home."Very nice. Much more so than I could have imagined,"I answered.A few days later, my mother died of a massive heartattack.It happened so suddenly that I didn't have a chanceto do anythingfor her.Some time later, I received an envelope with a copyof a restaurant receipt from the same place motherand I had dined.An attached note said:"I paid this bill in advance.I wasn't sure that I could be there; but nevertheless,I paid for two plates - one for you and the other foryour wife. You will never know what that night meantfor me. I love you, son."At that moment, I understood the importance of sayingin time: "I LOVE YOU" and to give our loved ones thetime that they deserve.Nothing in life is more important than your family.Give them the time they deserve, because these thingscannot be put off till "some other time."Somebody said it takes about six weeks to get back tonormal after you've had a baby .... somebody doesn'tknow that once you're a mother,"normal" is history.Somebody said you learn how to be a mother byinstinct .. somebody never took a three-year-oldshopping.Somebody said being a mother is boring .. somebodynever rode in a car driven by a teenager with adriver's permit.Somebody said if you're a "good" mother, your childwill "turn out good"...somebody thinks a child comeswith directions and a guarantee.Somebody said "good" mothers never raise their voices....somebody never came out the back door just intime to see her child hit a golf ball through theneighbor's kitchen window.Somebody said you don't need an education to be amother ..somebody never helped a fourth grader withhis math.Somebody said you can't love the second child as muchas you love the first ... somebody doesn't have twochildren.Somebody said a mother can find all the answers toher child-rearing questions in the books.... somebodynever had a child stuff beans up his nose or in hisears.Somebody said the hardest part of being a mother islabor and delivery somebody never watched her "baby"get on the bus for the first day of kindergarten .. or on a plane headed for military "boot camp."Somebody said a mother can do her job with her eyesclosed and one hand tied behind her back ...somebodynever organized seven giggling Brownies to sellcookies.Somebody said a mother can stop worrying after herchild gets married....somebody doesn't know thatmarriage adds a new son or daughter-in-law to amother's heartstrings.Somebody said a mother's job is done when her lastchild leaves home....somebody never had grandchildren.Somebody said your mother knows you love her, so youdon't need to tell her ... somebody isn't a mother.Pass this along to all the "mothers" in your life, and to everyone who ever had a mother.This isn't just about being a mother, it's aboutappreciating the people in your life while you havethem.... no matter who that person is

Monday, December 17, 2007

Addressing Electoral Fraud

It is very sad that despite the rulings in our courts confirming last April elections as sham, the local government elections have not been any better. Rather its been massive fraud trailed by electoral violence leading to innocent people's death.
The so called 'largest political party' PDP in Africa has indeed proved that they must rule Nigerians by force either by hook or crook. To them the elections is 'do or die' affair.
How is it possible that in a whole state all the local government areas would be won by PDP despite the damage they have done to our democracy? But my happiness is that our judiciary has risen to the occeasion and would continue to void this sham called elections.
Another goodnews is that even President Yar'Adua is embarrassed and sad by the whole thing and has called for a meeting in early January with all governors and other stakeholders. Let's see how far this will go.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Threat By Militants Over Ibori Arrest!

Some Niger-Delta militant groups have threatened to launch fresh violent attacks on strategic federal and other interests in the region in protest against the arrest and detention of ex-Governor James Ibori by the EFCC, saying the former Delta State Chief Executive was more a victim of political manipulation by enemies of the Niger-Delta people.
Isn't it very interesting how foolish some people can be? Ibori stole the commonwealth of the people rather than march to some of the stolen assets in Nigeria and taking possession, some clawns are threatening to protest?
I think is about time these peoples' bluff are called. When you destroy federal government concerns who suffers in your area? Definately you! Because the big men will always live better and get whatever they want with you tax of course.When will youths realise that the likes of Ibori and family should not be allowed to go home with the wealth of the people? For his actions many have died because of lack of medical care, others are homeless bcos of lack of housing, others died as a result of bad roads, and the list goes on and on and on. And some youths want to protest? They should all be picked up and given the same treatment as Ibori. Is about time the military are given a free hand to do what they should do to stop this nonsense once and 4 all.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Recommendations of APRM Self Assessment Report

The National Dialogue on the country Self Assessment Report of the African Peer review Mechanism has called for the scrapping of the office of the Auditor-General at all levels of government and in its place independent bodies be appointed to audit government accounts.
They also recommended that the least qualification for political office holders should be raised to tertiary institution qualifcation and that the constitution should provide for all elected and appointed public officers, at all levels, to resign three months before contesting any election.
Other recommendations include that sanctions should be visited on companies which failed to discharge their corporate social responsibilities, telecommunication industry be monitored to ensure tariff stability, effective and efficient delivery of service and regulatory institutions be strengthened for quality assurance etc.
Good recommendations but will this government or any other listen?

The Return of Vaswani Brothers

I am totally against injustice but I hope the return of the Vaswani Brothers will benefit Nigerians.

"In May 2003, the brothers were sent out of the country under controversial circumstances by the immediate past government.Since their deportation, the Vaswani brothers have set up a multi billion dollar company in Dubai such that the deportation was said to have been a blessing in disguise. It is not clear yet whether the Vaswani brothers will return fully or only establish some presence in Nigeria.Meanwhile, a source close to the brothers has attributed the revocation order by the Federal Government to an elaborate exercise of establishing their innocence from a host of false and unsubstantiated allegations lodged against them by their business rivals" - THISDAY December 13, 2007.

I am sure why they are succeeding in Dubai is because they follow laid down rules and regulations.
Only recently, the Nigerian Police uncover expired rice rebaged by Indians with the aim of sending back to the market with the intension of killing the poor Nigerian masses.
Personally, I think the days where foreigners are favoured to the detriment of Nigerians are over. If indeed these Indian brothers have been cleared, they must do business according to the laws of the land. It is time we begin to practicalised the international best practices in all sphers of our lives.

Comments are wellcome.