Monday, March 31, 2008

Obasanjo Again?

Hi folks,

This is incredible o! Will we ever get over the damage of Obasanjo govt on our pysche?


Obasanjo’s Coy In Billion- dollar Contract Deals (Leadership Newspapers)

• Reps to subpoena Nenadi Usman

Iyobosa Uwugiaren


More stinking revelations oozing out from the ongoing probe of the power sector by the House of Representatives suggest that Unistar Hi-Tech System Limited, a company jointly owned by a China-based company and former President Olusegun Obasanjo, got a billion dollar contract from the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) for the manufacture and supply of prepaid energy metres in the country.

Unistar Hi-Tech Systems Limited with its registration address at No. 389 Ikorodu Road, Ojota, Lagos State, is owned by Henan Star Hi-Tech Co. Ltd, a China- based company and Unipumps Investment Company Limited, also located at 389 Ikorodu Road, Ojota, Lagos. Unipumps Investment Company Limited, a co-owner of Unistar, was floated on November 4, 2003, by Obasanjo Holdings Limited, located at 56 Quarry Road, Abeokuta, Ogun State, and Biacpl FZE, a Dubai, United Arab Emirates based company. Obasanjo, according to LEADERSHIP investigation, has 7,300,000 shares while Biacpl has 2,700,000 shares in the company. Investigations reveal that Unipumps Investments Company Limited, in which Obasanjo has huge business interest, was used as a front to secure the multi-billion dollar contract for Unistar Hi-Tech Systems Limited.

According to a certified true copy of Memorandum and Article of Association of Unistar Hi-Tech, obtained from the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), the company was established to, among other things, "take over and manage the agreement and understanding entered into between National Electric Power Authority (NEPA) – now PHCN in Nigeria - and Henan Star Hi-Tech Co. Ltd for the manufacture and supply of prepaid energy metre"; to "establish" own and manage an industry or industries for the manufacture of prepaid energy metres".

The company also has the mandate to "apply Henan Star metre technique and manufacturing equipment in the production, servicing and recharge of prepaid energy metre" in Nigeria, and to "purchase the meters, components and materials" from China. "At present, Unistar Hi-Tech Systems Limited owned by former President Olusegun Obasanjo is installing prepaid metres, selling, re-charge cards for the prepaid meters across the nation and PHCN staff are not doing anything," source in PHCN said.

Our source added that the huge part of over $16.9 billion collected from the nation’s treasury by the Obasanjo-led regime was diverted to the Unistar Hi-Tech System Limited’s business interest. "If the National Assembly is interested in getting to the root of the enormous problems facing the power sector, it must also look at the activities of Unistar Hi-Tech Systems Limited and the questionable contract it entered into with PHCN," our source added.

Obasanjo’s business fronts, Unistar Hi-Tech System Limited and Unipumps Investment Company Limited, according to LEADERSHIP investigations, were registered at the CAC the same day – November 4, 2003, by same lawyer, Mr. Lucky Onyema Egede of No. 389 Ikorodu Road, Ojota, Lagos Sate.

As indicated in the Memorandum and Articles of Association, Unipumps Investment Company Limited was registered to "carry out business as investment holding company and in that capacity to acquire, buy, hold, trade in shares, stocks, bonds, debentures and treasury bills."

Meanwhile, the House of Representatives Committee on Power and Steel probing the $16 billion allegedly expended on power between 1999 and 2007 may issue a warrant for the arrest of a former minister of finance, Mrs. Esther Nenadi Usman, anytime this week, for failing to honour the summons of the investigative body.

This is just as the committee commences visits to project sites for an on-the-spot assessment of contract works on power stations across the country.

Chairman of the committee Ndudi Godwin Elumelu had, last Thursday, expressed dismay at the actions of the former minister, who has repeatedly refused to appear before the public hearing to answer questions relating to the National Integrated Power Projects (NIPP) contracts during her tenure.

Elumelu, at the venue of the public hearing, confirmed that the committee was concerned about the attitude of Mrs. Usman but would still take a decision on her, after the testimony of former solid minerals minister, Dr. Oby Ezekwesili, and former finance minister, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.

When the duo appeared before the committee last week, Okonjo-Iweala absolved herself of any wrongdoing in the financing of the NIPP and disclosed that Obasanjo approved due process waivers for the projects.

Dr. Ezekwesili, for her part, faulted the due process waiver granted by her former boss, noting that due process has no provision for waivers and she never supported it.

LEADERSHIP learnt yesterday that the committee has resolved to subpoena Mrs. Usman since she has consistently refused to honour its invitation. Although the chairman could not be reached on phone, a member of the committee confirmed to our correspondent that a warrant will be issued this week for her arrest.

The member said: "You know, we have to finish this assignment so that we can submit the report to the House for deliberation. So, no individual will be allowed to weigh us down. If she does not respond this week, we will invoke the relevant portions of the constitution.

"I am sure you know what sections 88 and 89 of the constitution says. This committee has the power to invite anybody to come and give evidence and if one fails to submit himself or herself, we also have the powers to get the person arrested."

Section 89(1)(d) of the 1999 empowers the National Assembly to "issue a warrant to compel the attendance of any person who, after having been summoned to attend, fails, refuses or neglects to do so and does not excuse such failure, refusal or neglect to the satisfaction of the House or the committee in question, and order him to pay all costs, which may have been occasioned in compelling his attendance or by reason of his failure, refusal or neglect to obey the summons, and also to impose such fine as may be prescribed for any such failure, refusal or neglect; and any fine.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Graft: Health Minister, Deputy Forced to Resign

Graft: Health Minister, Deputy Forced to Resign
• Grange, Aduku, Iyabo Obasanjo, Ojomo face arrest
From Juliana Taiwo in Abuja, 03.26.2008

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The Minister of Health, Prof. Adenike Grange, and the Minister of State for Health, Mr. Gabriel Aduku, have been forced to resign from their positions by President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua following allegations of graft.
They are both expected to be arrested today by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) preparatory to their prosecution.
The chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Dr. Iyabo Obasanjo-Bello – daughter of former president Olus-egun Obasanjo – and her House of Representatives counterpart, Dr. Alaba Ojomo Oladoyinbo, are also expected to be arrested today by the anti-graft body in preparation for prosecution.
Both legislators were reportedly indicted in the EFCC investigations into the allegations of graft in the Ministry of Health.
A disgruntled staff in the Federal Ministry of Health, who was said to have felt cheated in the sharing of a N300 million Christmas bonus last month, had petitioned the EFCC on financial impropriety in the ministry.
It was later discovered that a lot of money had gone out of the system through rushed contracts and a rash of conferences, thought to be a clever way of spending the unspent budget and avoiding returning it to the treasury as directed by the President.
Special Adviser to the President on Communications, Mr. Olusegun Adeniyi, told State House correspondents yesterday that the President had accepted the resignations of the ministers.
THISDAY had gathered from a source last weekend that Grange, a former director of the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI) who was among those named ministers in July 2007, was given the option of voluntary resignation or sack by President Yar’Adua.
Grange, who wore a navy blue skirt suit with a lemon green flowered scarf round her neck, walked briskly alongside Aduku, who wore a peach colour babanriga with a red cap to match, out of the Villa after dropping their resignation letters.
While Aduku smiled and waved to the pressmen, Grange tried to keep a straight face, clutching her black handbag tightly.
Adeniyi said both ministers were leaving the Federal Executive Council (FEC) following charges of corruption brought against them by the EFCC.
“It is expected that without the burden of their ministerial duties, they will be better placed to respond to the charges against them.
“President Yar’Adua has also ordered the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Mr. Ebele Okeke, to direct that the Permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Health, Prof. Simon Ogamdi, the Director of Administration, Dr. H.B. Oyedepo and the Director of Finance, Hanafi Muh-ammed, who participated in the subversion of his directive on the return of unspent Budget 2007 funds to the Treasury should proceed on immediate suspension in accordance with extant civil service rules pending further disciplinary action by government.
“Another Director, Mr. M.S. Hamid, a Chief Accountant, Abdulrahaman Ambali, a Principal Administrative Officer, Mr. Donald Ekanem, a Principal Transport Officer, Mr. Donatus Iyang and seven other civil servants in the Ministry were also affected by the suspension order.
“The Minister of Labour, Dr. Hassan Muhammad Lawal, is to oversee the affairs of the Federal Ministry of Health until further notice,” Adeniyi said.
An aide to Grange had disclosed that the President felt betrayed by her actions of not obeying the directive to return all unspent budget to the treasury.
The source said Yar’Adua had refused to buy her excuse that she was misled by the civil servants she worked with.
The N300 million that was to be returned to the treasury from the 2007 budget was said to have been converted to Christmas bonuses.
Some members of the National Assembly are said to have recieved N10 million each.
The source said: "The money was meant for staff as end of year bonuses. The lowest staff on grade level 04 was expected to be given N175,000. Deputy directors and directors were to receive N2.5 million and N3.5 million respectively.
"But an assistant director decided to slash the money to N40,000 for the lowest staff, that is grade level 04. Those on grade level 13 who were supposed to receive N500,000 were however given something far less. But that of the directors were not touched.
"About N195 million remained unutilised and was passed on to those on the top, who reportedly pinched a little and directed that the money be distributed among the staff of the ministry.
"The aggrieved staff from the department of finance who saw the approval and sharing formula petitioned the EFCC and attached the payment voucher."

How Clean is Grange Hands?

Hi folks,

Former Minister of Health, Prof. Adenike Grange, yesterday said her sudden exit was “due to recent events” in the ministry, but maintained that while she accepted responsibility for what happened during her brief tenure, she was not accepting guilt since she was not the chief accounting officer of the ministry.
If her hands are cleans how come she returned N14 million to the coffers?

“I am leaving this cabinet because I consider my dignity, reputation and legacy - values that I have worked hard for and hold dearly. I am returning to my unblemished career which I have assiduously laboured for over the years with resounding success nationally and internationally and to the business of which I am familiar with – saving the lives of mothers and children across Nigeria and the world in general".

Unblemishe career? who is she deceiving? Herself i suppose. Her name will always be synonimous with fraud henceforth until she goes down to the grave. She will be hunted by this single act of greed because she had all the time in the world to say no but choose to follow the beautiful road that leads to destruction. She must now realise that good name is better than gold nor silver.

Hear her:
“As a professional and a technocrat, I must admit that the level of decay and corruption within the Ministry and the whole Nigerian system as we all know glaringly need to be decisively tackled and purged".

But the very first chance she had to implement that she choose to join the bandwagon.

"I saw my invitation to serve on this cabinet as an opportunity for professionals to join in the extirpation and re-engineering of the whole system to move this great country forward expediently.
“I wish to clearly state that while I am not the chief accounting officer to the ministry; the fact is that the recent episode involving contracts and welfare packages happened under my leadership for which I accept responsibility but not the blame".

B4 nko na me she go blame?

"However my acceptance of responsibility should not be misconstrued as an admission of guilt but rather a path of honour for lapses and intrigues under my watch for which I unfortunately was not well versed in,” Grange said.

Good raddiance to bad rubbish.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Power Sector: Reuben Abati Knocks Olusegun Obasanjo

The trial of Olusegun Obasanjo
By Reuben Abati

THE on-going House of Representatives probe of expenditures in the power sector during the Obasanjo years has so far resulted in mind-boggling revelations about the abuse of due process, award of contracts to non-existing companies; the use of illegal Special Purpose Vehicles, misappropriation of public funds, and a gross failure of leadership. Reading the reports of the testimonies before the House of Reps Committee on Power, or watching the proceedings on television, many Nigerians cringe in utter frustration.

The power sector probe is the latest in a series of efforts apparently aimed at a systematic dismantling of the Obasanjo era, and the explosion of the myths upon which that government hoisted its claim to importance. The Obasanjo government advertised itself as a government that was committed to due process, transparency and integrity. President Obasanjo, with the EFCC as vehicle, was a corruption cop in power.

Gradually, however, Nigerians are being shown with facts, figures and words, that at work for eight years, under the former President is a tyranny of hypocrisy. The power sector, where $16 billion was allegedly spent and no result was recorded, with the nation in perpetual darkness is only a tip of a shaky iceberg. If the probe were to be extended to other sectors of the economy, it is easy to imagine that more myths would collapse. Former stakeholders in that government are being summoned by the House of Representatives to give evidence. I used the word "systematic" earlier. I do so advisedly. It is as if there is an organised attack on the Obasanjo government by the same government that he helped to bring to power.

This began very early in the life of the Yar'Adua administration with the reversal of some of the policies of the Obasanjo government. President Yar'Adua had campaigned on a platform of continuity. He is not continuing with anything. He has not started anything of his own, but he is subjecting the past to a searing dissection. Obasanjo - his persona, his legacy, his leadership - that is what is on trial. Students of leadership and management should find in the Obasanjo story, an interesting case study on power and leadership.

Why is the Yar'Adua government taking the Obasanjo government apart and exposing it to ridicule? I can hazard two guesses. One, Yar'Adua who began his career as President as Obasanjo's anointed candidate needs to prove that he is his own man, not Obasanjo's puppet. What better way to assert himself than to distance himself from the past? Two, it is possible that President Yar'Adua has been confronted with so much that is rotten in the Obasanjo government that he feels a sense of duty, if not patriotism, to remove the mask and put an end to Obasanjo's grandstanding.

Hence, many of the things done under President Obasanjo are being upturned: the sale of government houses, the monetisation of benefits for public servants; the revocation of plots of land in Abuja, the sale of refineries... And every step that has been taken in these regards by the Yar'Adua government has been met with broad-based public approval. In addition, the de-mystification of Obasanjo on all fronts, has emboldened those who feel aggrieved towards him to take potshots at him.

How does Obasanjo feel? What is going on in his mind? He has been quoted as boasting that he "dey kampe". But is he? Does he not feel hurt? Does he not feel betrayed by a man he had made President because he considers him family and believes he would help to preserve his legacy? Does he not feel helpless, seeing how he has lost his troop of old loyalists? Every leader looks forward to being honoured and accepted after leaving office. Obasanjo, all of a sudden, is a lonely man. His persona is under assault. His legacy is unravelling. His enemies are rolling on the floor holding their ribs as they try to stifle an unending flow of laughter from their throats. I have met only very few people who express any form of pity.

Besides the probe of his government and the exposure of its limitations, there is trouble on the home front too. Obasanjo's beloved daughter who is now a Senator has been associated with a number of controversial deals. Her father of course, is the main target. His son, the most visible of his sons while he was in office, has also accused Obasanjo of incest - of having an affair with his wife, and giving her contracts as compensation. There is problem in the community too. When President Obasanjo was quoted as having said he was trapped in the traffic between Sango-Ota where he lives and Lagos, a concerned public felt he should blame himself. In the course of a trip to Ekiti state, he was booed by his audience.

Across Yorubaland, his ethnic constituency, there are very few places where Obasanjo can give a speech in public and expect an ovation. He is most likely to be heckled. Within his political party, the People's Democratic Party (PDP), the situation is the same, here the storm is heavy. In the run-up to the PDP National Convention held in Abuja on March 8, it will be recalled that General Obasanjo in his position as Chairman of the party's Board of Trustees had openly campaigned for some candidates and particularly for Dr. Sam Egwu, former Governor of Ebonyi state, whom he wanted as Chairman of the Party. This incensed many members of the party.

Obasanjo's main supporter was Alhaji Lamidi Adedibu who boasted that Obasanjo would have his way. On March 8, both men were made to eat their words. A section of the party is even agitating for a review of the party's Constitution and Obasanjo's removal as Chairman of the BOT. In the past, no one would dare oppose Obasanjo. He held both the party and the country under his grip. His word was law. But now, on a daily basis, Obasanjo is being reminded that he no longer wields power. He had used power so viciously that Nigerians whenever they are privileged to do so, feel obliged to remind him of the change in his status. March 5 was his 71st birthday; there were very few congratulatory adverts in the papers.

When he turned 70 in 2007, the Baba-kee-pe adverts in the papers were so many. At a recent event in remembrance of his late friend and colleague, General Shehu Musa Yar'Adua, Chief Tony Anenih who was asked to give the opening prayer, had turned the prayer into a verbal assault on Obasanjo who was present at the occasion. Anenih had prayed that God should grant President Yar'Adua the courage to investigate the rot left behind by the previous administration. Anenih's prayer may reflect public sentiments, but he, Anenih is part of the rot that he was praying about. He used to be Obasanjo's friend.

For the better part of the Obasanjo era, Anenih was known as "Mr. Fix-It." He helped to fix most of the rot. If Anenih's prayer must be answered, the probe that he called for must include putting him in the box and asking him to account for the over N350 billion that was allegedly spent on Nigerian roads under his watch as Minister of Works and Housing. He'd need to explain what happened to all that money with Nigerian roads still in a state of disrepair. Anenih's attack on Obasanjo clearly shows the depth of Obasanjo's loss of goodwill.

Everyone is taking potshots at him - the most vicious in recent times coming from Col. Abubakar Umar and General T.Y. Danjuma. And the most damaging coming from security men at Aso Villa who at a post-PDP Convention Dinner on March 9, forced him to queue up for dinner according to the order of protocol. Twice, he was reportedly returned to his seat and asked to wait! He tries to bluff his way through either by ignoring the attacks or by fighting back. But Obasanjo is in a position of weakness. His humiliation, I repeat, is self-inflicted. In his days as President, the Nigerian mass media had tried so hard to tell Obasanjo the truth. But he and his aides were intolerant of criticism.

President Obasanjo not only called journalists names in official speeches, he even once declared that he does not read Nigerian newspapers! Obasanjo as President had a problem of style. He was a dictator in a democratic system of government. He ended up burning his bridges. But his greatest shortcoming: he was surrounded by a group of sycophants who told him what he wanted to hear, so they could pursue their own selfish agenda. They called him Baba. They told him he was the father of modern Nigeria. They advised him to seek a Third Term in office. They told him he was the best political leader since Winston Churchill. Anytime journalists criticised his government or any of his policies, they told him they had information that the journalists were looking for money or positions. And he believed them. These were the Obasanjo boys and girls, the inner caucus, the special team. They were voluble, abusive, unduly aggressive and terribly rude. They behaved as if they knew it all.

They are the architects of the rot that is now being associated with the Obasanjo era. And not surprisingly, they are not speaking up to defend the man. They are conveniently silent. They cannot be bothered. But this is easy to explain: Obasanjo is no longer in a position to help them; and they do not want to offend the new man in power. If Yar'Adua offers them a job tomorrow, they will jump at it with the enthusiasm of a goat.

But the bigger problem for Obasanjo is his loss of face in the international arena. When he left office in 1979, he immediately became the beautiful bride of the international community. Everyone wanted to meet the man who ended years of military rule in Nigeria. He was rewarded for his faith in democracy. Nigerians also loved him: they called him "Uncle Sege. They laughed at his jokes. The media promoted him as an African statesman. Today, the same international community is ignoring him. Nobody has invited him to mediate in Darfur, or Kenya or Zimbabwe. With his government's mismanagement of the 2007 elections, nobody is inviting Obasanjo to give a lecture on democracy, good governance and national development. With the rot in the power sector (Where was the EFCC, by the way?. Where was the National Assembly then?) and the scandal of his alleged involvement with his daughter-in-law, nobody is asking OBJ to pontificate on transparency and integrity as he would have wished. If anyone is still laughing at his jokes, these would be his workers at the Ota farm. To have been given so much and yet to have lost so much: this is the tragedy of Obasanjo's adventures in power.

However, the Yar'Adua government may be busy helping to expose the misadventures of the Obasanjo years, but that is not enough. This government must go beyond histrionics and staging a little grandstanding of its own. It should set up a judicial panel of inquiry. Besides, when will the Yar'Adua government begin to initiate its own programmes and show the capacity to deliver on its promises? It is now accepted knowledge that so much was wrong with Obasanjo's style and with his government and the hypocrisy of his loud-mouthed assistants. But Yar'Adua, please do something.

Oshiomhole Won Edo Guber Poll, says tribunal

It was celebration galore yesterday in Abuja and I can only imagine what Happened in Edo State. The Edo State Election Petition Tribunal declared former Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) president, Comrade Adams Aliyu Oshiomhole of the Action Congress (AC) as winner of the April 14 governorship election in the state.

The tribunal, in a unanimous six-hour judgment read by its Chairman, Justice Peter Umeadi, held that Oshiomhole scored one quarter of the lawful votes in 12 of the 18 local governments in the state.

Consequently, the tribunal ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to issue a certificate of return to Oshiomhole and withdraw the certificate earlier issued to Prof. Oserheimen Osunbor of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

The tribunal’s judgment was outcome of the former labour leader’s challenge of INEC’s declaration of Prof. Osunbor as the governor of Edo State.
Oshiomhole had challenged INEC’s declaration of Osunbor as governor-elect, contending that he ought to be returned, having scored the majority lawful votes cast at the April 14, 2008 governorship election.
He therefore, asked the tribunal to declare him winner or, in the alternative, void the election, as it was marred with corrupt practices, violence and rigging.

The tribunal, after reviewing the election, held that the petitioner had proved beyond reasonable doubt incidences of multiple registration and voting, corrupt practices, violence and rigging during the election, particularly in 10 out of the 12 local government areas where he challenged the conduct of the election in the state. The local governments are Esan West, Esan Central, Esan South-East, Igueben, Esan North-East and Etsako West.

Others are Owan West, Owan East, Orhionmwon and Ovia North East.
The tribunal, after deducting the unlawful votes cast at the election, held that Oshiomhole scored 166,577 votes as against 129,017 scored by Osunbor of the PDP.

“We order that the certificate of return issued to Professor Osunbor as the elected governor of Edo State is hereby withdrawn. The 2nd respondent (INEC) is hereby ordered to issue a certificate of return to Adams Oshiomhole as governor of Edo State,” the tribunal said.

The tribunal’s chairman, while commending the industry of counsel of the parties, lashed out at the INEC’s Head of Operations in Edo State, Mr. Olawale Kayode, who was subpoenaed to give evidence at the tribunal, saying that the INEC official did not live up to his billing as he claimed to have traveled to Edo Central from 11:00am to 3:00pm on April 14, 2008, when his presence was most needed in his office.

Reacting to the judgment, AC and Oshiomhole’s lead counsel, Chief Adeniyi Akintola, said by the judgment, the justices of the tribunal had written their names in gold, adding: “You may not appreciate the level of how you have helped this country to move forward.”

In his comments, lead counsel for the PDP and Prof. Osunbor, Dr. Alex Izinyon, said: “My Lords, you have done your best. In 1992, it happened here. Undoubtedly, we must go upstairs.”
Soon after the tribunal gave its verdict, which was broadcast live on NTA on Thursday, wild jubilation erupted in Benin, even as security was tight.

Congratulations Presido!

Happy Easter!

Hi Folks,
Its' Good Friday. Yep the very day over 2000 years ago our Lord Jesus Christ voluntarily laid down His life for you and I. The least we can do is give Him thanks always so far we have breath trapped in our nostrils. Many will wish to be here but are six feet beneath. Others are in war zone, farmine zone, disease ravage zone and yet some of us by His grace select what to eat, wear and where to sleep. It is not your power nor that you are too special, it is simply God's Grace.
So, let us all use this opportunity to go back and have a look at things we should have done differently, the people we should forgive and set your target before the next easter. let us be reminded that He has been sacrificed, He will rise again and our sins would have been forgiven, He has washed us clean!!! You are free from ur sins. Make sure u sow into somebody's life this easter period, God will continue to bless u abundantly.
Secondly, Easter is a time of love, of family, and of peace. It is a time when we say a quiet thanks for all that we have and for all that the future holds. Easter is a feeling in our hearts of hope and faith and trust. It is a day of miracles; a day when our dreams seem a little closer; a time of retrospection for what has been and anticipation of all that will be. And it is a time for remembering with love and appreciation the people in our lives who make a difference... people like you.
Happy Easter Wishes to You and Your Family

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Enough of Racial Discrimination - Obama

In a speech that was frank but also hopeful and patriotic, Senator Barack Obama confronted race head-on, then reached beyond it. Some historians have said the speech may be the most significant public discussion of race in the U.S. in decades.

"We the people, in order to form a more perfect union."

Two hundred and twenty one years ago, in a hall that still stands across the street, a group of men gathered and, with these simple words, launched America's improbable experiment in democracy. Farmers and scholars; statesmen and patriots who had traveled across an ocean to escape tyranny and persecution finally made real their declaration of independence at a Philadelphia convention that lasted through the spring of 1787.

The document they produced was eventually signed but ultimately unfinished. It was stained by this nation's original sin of slavery, a question that divided the colonies and brought the convention to a stalemate until the founders chose to allow the slave trade to continue for at least twenty more years, and to leave any final resolution to future generations.

Of course, the answer to the slavery question was already embedded within our Constitution – a Constitution that had at is very core the ideal of equal citizenship under the law; a Constitution that promised its people liberty, and justice, and a union that could be and should be perfected over time.

And yet words on a parchment would not be enough to deliver slaves from bondage, or provide men and women of every color and creed their full rights and obligations as citizens of the United States. What would be needed were Americans in successive generations who were willing to do their part – through protests and struggle, on the streets and in the courts, through a civil war and civil disobedience and always at great risk - to narrow that gap between the promise of our ideals and the reality of their time.

This was one of the tasks we set forth at the beginning of this campaign – to continue the long march of those who came before us, a march for a more just, more equal, more free, more caring and more prosperous America. I chose to run for the presidency at this moment in history because I believe deeply that we cannot solve the challenges of our time unless we solve them together – unless we perfect our union by understanding that we may have different stories, but we hold common hopes; that we may not look the same and we may not have come from the same place, but we all want to move in the same direction – towards a better future for of children and our grandchildren.

This belief comes from my unyielding faith in the decency and generosity of the American people. But it also comes from my own American story.

I am the son of a black man from Kenya and a white woman from Kansas. I was raised with the help of a white grandfather who survived a Depression to serve in Patton's Army during World War II and a white grandmother who worked on a bomber assembly line at Fort Leavenworth while he was overseas. I've gone to some of the best schools in America and lived in one of the world's poorest nations. I am married to a black American who carries within her the blood of slaves and slaveowners – an inheritance we pass on to our two precious daughters. I have brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, uncles and cousins, of every race and every hue, scattered across three continents, and for as long as I live, I will never forget that in no other country on Earth is my story even possible.

It's a story that hasn't made me the most conventional candidate. But it is a story that has seared into my genetic makeup the idea that this nation is more than the sum of its parts – that out of many, we are truly one.

Throughout the first year of this campaign, against all predictions to the contrary, we saw how hungry the American people were for this message of unity. Despite the temptation to view my candidacy through a purely racial lens, we won commanding victories in states with some of the whitest populations in the country. In South Carolina, where the Confederate Flag still flies, we built a powerful coalition of African Americans and white Americans.

This is not to say that race has not been an issue in the campaign. At various stages in the campaign, some commentators have deemed me either "too black" or "not black enough." We saw racial tensions bubble to the surface during the week before the South Carolina primary. The press has scoured every exit poll for the latest evidence of racial polarization, not just in terms of white and black, but black and brown as well.

And yet, it has only been in the last couple of weeks that the discussion of race in this campaign has taken a particularly divisive turn.

On one end of the spectrum, we've heard the implication that my candidacy is somehow an exercise in affirmative action; that it's based solely on the desire of wide-eyed liberals to purchase racial reconciliation on the cheap. On the other end, we've heard my former pastor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, use incendiary language to express views that have the potential not only to widen the racial divide, but views that denigrate both the greatness and the goodness of our nation; that rightly offend white and black alike. I have already condemned, in unequivocal terms, the statements of Reverend Wright that have caused such controversy. For some, nagging questions remain. Did I know him to be an occasionally fierce critic of American domestic and foreign policy? Of course. Did I ever hear him make remarks that could be considered controversial while I sat in church? Yes. Did I strongly disagree with many of his political views? Absolutely – just as I'm sure many of you have heard remarks from your pastors, priests, or rabbis with which you strongly disagreed. But the remarks that have caused this recent firestorm weren't simply controversial. They weren't simply a religious leader's effort to speak out against perceived injustice. Instead, they expressed a profoundly distorted view of this country – a view that sees white racism as endemic, and that elevates what is wrong with America above all that we know is right with America; a view that sees the conflicts in the Middle East as rooted primarily in the actions of stalwart allies like Israel, instead of emanating from the perverse and hateful ideologies of radical Islam.

As such, Reverend Wright's comments were not only wrong but divisive, divisive at a time when we need unity; racially charged at a time when we need to come together to solve a set of monumental problems – two wars, a terrorist threat, a falling economy, a chronic health care crisis and potentially devastating climate change; problems that are neither black or white or Latino or Asian, but rather problems that confront us all.

Given my background, my politics, and my professed values and ideals, there will no doubt be those for whom my statements of condemnation are not enough. Why associate myself with Reverend Wright in the first place, they may ask? Why not join another church? And I confess that if all that I knew of Reverend Wright were the snippets of those sermons that have run in an endless loop on the television and You Tube, or if Trinity United Church of Christ conformed to the caricatures being peddled by some commentators, there is no doubt that I would react in much the same way

But the truth is, that isn't all that I know of the man. The man I met more than twenty years ago is a man who helped introduce me to my Christian faith, a man who spoke to me about our obligations to love one another; to care for the sick and lift up the poor. He is a man who served his country as a U.S. Marine; who has studied and lectured at some of the finest universities and seminaries in the country, and who for over thirty years led a church that serves the community by doing God's work here on Earth – by housing the homeless, ministering to the needy, providing day care services and scholarships and prison ministries, and reaching out to those suffering from HIV/AIDS.

In my first book, Dreams From My Father, I described the experience of my first service at Trinity:

"People began to shout, to rise from their seats and clap and cry out, a forceful wind carrying the reverend's voice up into the rafters....And in that single note – hope! – I heard something else; at the foot of that cross, inside the thousands of churches across the city, I imagined the stories of ordinary black people merging with the stories of David and Goliath, Moses and Pharaoh, the Christians in the lion's den, Ezekiel's field of dry bones. Those stories – of survival, and freedom, and hope – became our story, my story; the blood that had spilled was our blood, the tears our tears; until this black church, on this bright day, seemed once more a vessel carrying the story of a people into future generations and into a larger world. Our trials and triumphs became at once unique and universal, black and more than black; in chronicling our journey, the stories and songs gave us a means to reclaim memories that we didn't need to feel shame about...memories that all people might study and cherish – and with which we could start to rebuild."

That has been my experience at Trinity. Like other predominantly black churches across the country, Trinity embodies the black community in its entirety – the doctor and the welfare mom, the model student and the former gang-banger. Like other black churches, Trinity's services are full of raucous laughter and sometimes bawdy humor. They are full of dancing, clapping, screaming and shouting that may seem jarring to the untrained ear. The church contains in full the kindness and cruelty, the fierce intelligence and the shocking ignorance, the struggles and successes, the love and yes, the bitterness and bias that make up the black experience in America.

And this helps explain, perhaps, my relationship with Reverend Wright. As imperfect as he may be, he has been like family to me. He strengthened my faith, officiated my wedding, and baptized my children. Not once in my conversations with him have I heard him talk about any ethnic group in derogatory terms, or treat whites with whom he interacted with anything but courtesy and respect. He contains within him the contradictions – the good and the bad – of the community that he has served diligently for so many years.

I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community. I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother – a woman who helped raise me, a woman who sacrificed again and again for me, a woman who loves me as much as she loves anything in this world, but a woman who once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street, and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe.

These people are a part of me. And they are a part of America, this country that I love.

Some will see this as an attempt to justify or excuse comments that are simply inexcusable. I can assure you it is not. I suppose the politically safe thing would be to move on from this episode and just hope that it fades into the woodwork. We can dismiss Reverend Wright as a crank or a demagogue, just as some have dismissed Geraldine Ferraro, in the aftermath of her recent statements, as harboring some deep-seated racial bias.

But race is an issue that I believe this nation cannot afford to ignore right now. We would be making the same mistake that Reverend Wright made in his offending sermons about America – to simplify and stereotype and amplify the negative to the point that it distorts reality.

The fact is that the comments that have been made and the issues that have surfaced over the last few weeks reflect the complexities of race in this country that we've never really worked through – a part of our union that we have yet to perfect. And if we walk away now, if we simply retreat into our respective corners, we will never be able to come together and solve challenges like health care, or education, or the need to find good jobs for every American.

Understanding this reality requires a reminder of how we arrived at this point. As William Faulkner once wrote, "The past isn't dead and buried. In fact, it isn't even past." We do not need to recite here the history of racial injustice in this country. But we do need to remind ourselves that so many of the disparities that exist in the African-American community today can be directly traced to inequalities passed on from an earlier generation that suffered under the brutal legacy of slavery and Jim Crow.

Segregated schools were, and are, inferior schools; we still haven't fixed them, fifty years after Brown v. Board of Education, and the inferior education they provided, then and now, helps explain the pervasive achievement gap between today's black and white students.

Legalized discrimination - where blacks were prevented, often through violence, from owning property, or loans were not granted to African-American business owners, or black homeowners could not access FHA mortgages, or blacks were excluded from unions, or the police force, or fire departments – meant that black families could not amass any meaningful wealth to bequeath to future generations. That history helps explain the wealth and income gap between black and white, and the concentrated pockets of poverty that persists in so many of today's urban and rural communities.

A lack of economic opportunity among black men, and the shame and frustration that came from not being able to provide for one's family, contributed to the erosion of black families – a problem that welfare policies for many years may have worsened. And the lack of basic services in so many urban black neighborhoods – parks for kids to play in, police walking the beat, regular garbage pick-up and building code enforcement – all helped create a cycle of violence, blight and neglect that continue to haunt us.

This is the reality in which Reverend Wright and other African-Americans of his generation grew up. They came of age in the late fifties and early sixties, a time when segregation was still the law of the land and opportunity was systematically constricted. What's remarkable is not how many failed in the face of discrimination, but rather how many men and women overcame the odds; how many were able to make a way out of no way for those like me who would come after them.

But for all those who scratched and clawed their way to get a piece of the American Dream, there were many who didn't make it – those who were ultimately defeated, in one way or another, by discrimination. That legacy of defeat was passed on to future generations – those young men and increasingly young women who we see standing on street corners or languishing in our prisons, without hope or prospects for the future. Even for those blacks who did make it, questions of race, and racism, continue to define their worldview in fundamental ways. For the men and women of Reverend Wright's generation, the memories of humiliation and doubt and fear have not gone away; nor has the anger and the bitterness of those years. That anger may not get expressed in public, in front of white co-workers or white friends. But it does find voice in the barbershop or around the kitchen table. At times, that anger is exploited by politicians, to gin up votes along racial lines, or to make up for a politician's own failings.

And occasionally it finds voice in the church on Sunday morning, in the pulpit and in the pews. The fact that so many people are surprised to hear that anger in some of Reverend Wright's sermons simply reminds us of the old truism that the most segregated hour in American life occurs on Sunday morning. That anger is not always productive; indeed, all too often it distracts attention from solving real problems; it keeps us from squarely facing our own complicity in our condition, and prevents the African-American community from forging the alliances it needs to bring about real change. But the anger is real; it is powerful; and to simply wish it away, to condemn it without understanding its roots, only serves to widen the chasm of misunderstanding that exists between the races.

In fact, a similar anger exists within segments of the white community. Most working- and middle-class white Americans don't feel that they have been particularly privileged by their race. Their experience is the immigrant experience – as far as they're concerned, no one's handed them anything, they've built it from scratch. They've worked hard all their lives, many times only to see their jobs shipped overseas or their pension dumped after a lifetime of labor. They are anxious about their futures, and feel their dreams slipping away; in an era of stagnant wages and global competition, opportunity comes to be seen as a zero sum game, in which your dreams come at my expense. So when they are told to bus their children to a school across town; when they hear that an African American is getting an advantage in landing a good job or a spot in a good college because of an injustice that they themselves never committed; when they're told that their fears about crime in urban neighborhoods are somehow prejudiced, resentment builds over time.

Like the anger within the black community, these resentments aren't always expressed in polite company. But they have helped shape the political landscape for at least a generation. Anger over welfare and affirmative action helped forge the Reagan Coalition. Politicians routinely exploited fears of crime for their own electoral ends. Talk show hosts and conservative commentators built entire careers unmasking bogus claims of racism while dismissing legitimate discussions of racial injustice and inequality as mere political correctness or reverse racism.

Just as black anger often proved counterproductive, so have these white resentments distracted attention from the real culprits of the middle class squeeze – a corporate culture rife with inside dealing, questionable accounting practices, and short-term greed; a Washington dominated by lobbyists and special interests; economic policies that favor the few over the many. And yet, to wish away the resentments of white Americans, to label them as misguided or even racist, without recognizing they are grounded in legitimate concerns – this too widens the racial divide, and blocks the path to understanding.

This is where we are right now. It's a racial stalemate we've been stuck in for years. Contrary to the claims of some of my critics, black and white, I have never been so na├»ve as to believe that we can get beyond our racial divisions in a single election cycle, or with a single candidacy – particularly a candidacy as imperfect as my own.

But I have asserted a firm conviction – a conviction rooted in my faith in God and my faith in the American people – that working together we can move beyond some of our old racial wounds, and that in fact we have no choice is we are to continue on the path of a more perfect union.

For the African-American community, that path means embracing the burdens of our past without becoming victims of our past. It means continuing to insist on a full measure of justice in every aspect of American life. But it also means binding our particular grievances – for better health care, and better schools, and better jobs - to the larger aspirations of all Americans -- the white woman struggling to break the glass ceiling, the white man whose been laid off, the immigrant trying to feed his family. And it means taking full responsibility for own lives – by demanding more from our fathers, and spending more time with our children, and reading to them, and teaching them that while they may face challenges and discrimination in their own lives, they must never succumb to despair or cynicism; they must always believe that they can write their own destiny.

Ironically, this quintessentially American – and yes, conservative – notion of self-help found frequent expression in Reverend Wright's sermons. But what my former pastor too often failed to understand is that embarking on a program of self-help also requires a belief that society can change.

The profound mistake of Reverend Wright's sermons is not that he spoke about racism in our society. It's that he spoke as if our society was static; as if no progress has been made; as if this country – a country that has made it possible for one of his own members to run for the highest office in the land and build a coalition of white and black; Latino and Asian, rich and poor, young and old -- is still irrevocably bound to a tragic past. But what we know -- what we have seen – is that America can change. That is true genius of this nation. What we have already achieved gives us hope – the audacity to hope – for what we can and must achieve tomorrow.

In the white community, the path to a more perfect union means acknowledging that what ails the African-American community does not just exist in the minds of black people; that the legacy of discrimination - and current incidents of discrimination, while less overt than in the past - are real and must be addressed. Not just with words, but with deeds – by investing in our schools and our communities; by enforcing our civil rights laws and ensuring fairness in our criminal justice system; by providing this generation with ladders of opportunity that were unavailable for previous generations. It requires all Americans to realize that your dreams do not have to come at the expense of my dreams; that investing in the health, welfare, and education of black and brown and white children will ultimately help all of America prosper.

In the end, then, what is called for is nothing more, and nothing less, than what all the world's great religions demand – that we do unto others as we would have them do unto us. Let us be our brother's keeper, Scripture tells us. Let us be our sister's keeper. Let us find that common stake we all have in one another, and let our politics reflect that spirit as well.

For we have a choice in this country. We can accept a politics that breeds division, and conflict, and cynicism. We can tackle race only as spectacle – as we did in the OJ trial – or in the wake of tragedy, as we did in the aftermath of Katrina - or as fodder for the nightly news. We can play Reverend Wright's sermons on every channel, every day and talk about them from now until the election, and make the only question in this campaign whether or not the American people think that I somehow believe or sympathize with his most offensive words. We can pounce on some gaffe by a Hillary supporter as evidence that she's playing the race card, or we can speculate on whether white men will all flock to John McCain in the general election regardless of his policies.

We can do that.

But if we do, I can tell you that in the next election, we'll be talking about some other distraction. And then another one. And then another one. And nothing will change.

That is one option. Or, at this moment, in this election, we can come together and say, "Not this time." This time we want to talk about the crumbling schools that are stealing the future of black children and white children and Asian children and Hispanic children and Native American children. This time we want to reject the cynicism that tells us that these kids can't learn; that those kids who don't look like us are somebody else's problem. The children of America are not those kids, they are our kids, and we will not let them fall behind in a 21st century economy. Not this time.

This time we want to talk about how the lines in the Emergency Room are filled with whites and blacks and Hispanics who do not have health care; who don't have the power on their own to overcome the special interests in Washington, but who can take them on if we do it together.

This time we want to talk about the shuttered mills that once provided a decent life for men and women of every race, and the homes for sale that once belonged to Americans from every religion, every region, every walk of life. This time we want to talk about the fact that the real problem is not that someone who doesn't look like you might take your job; it's that the corporation you work for will ship it overseas for nothing more than a profit.

This time we want to talk about the men and women of every color and creed who serve together, and fight together, and bleed together under the same proud flag. We want to talk about how to bring them home from a war that never should've been authorized and never should've been waged, and we want to talk about how we'll show our patriotism by caring for them, and their families, and giving them the benefits they have earned.

I would not be running for President if I didn't believe with all my heart that this is what the vast majority of Americans want for this country. This union may never be perfect, but generation after generation has shown that it can always be perfected. And today, whenever I find myself feeling doubtful or cynical about this possibility, what gives me the most hope is the next generation – the young people whose attitudes and beliefs and openness to change have already made history in this election.

There is one story in particularly that I'd like to leave you with today – a story I told when I had the great honor of speaking on Dr. King's birthday at his home church, Ebenezer Baptist, in Atlanta.

There is a young, twenty-three year old white woman named Ashley Baia who organized for our campaign in Florence, South Carolina. She had been working to organize a mostly African-American community since the beginning of this campaign, and one day she was at a roundtable discussion where everyone went around telling their story and why they were there.

And Ashley said that when she was nine years old, her mother got cancer. And because she had to miss days of work, she was let go and lost her health care. They had to file for bankruptcy, and that's when Ashley decided that she had to do something to help her mom.

She knew that food was one of their most expensive costs, and so Ashley convinced her mother that what she really liked and really wanted to eat more than anything else was mustard and relish sandwiches. Because that was the cheapest way to eat.

She did this for a year until her mom got better, and she told everyone at the roundtable that the reason she joined our campaign was so that she could help the millions of other children in the country who want and need to help their parents too.

Now Ashley might have made a different choice. Perhaps somebody told her along the way that the source of her mother's problems were blacks who were on welfare and too lazy to work, or Hispanics who were coming into the country illegally. But she didn't. She sought out allies in her fight against injustice.

Anyway, Ashley finishes her story and then goes around the room and asks everyone else why they're supporting the campaign. They all have different stories and reasons. Many bring up a specific issue. And finally they come to this elderly black man who's been sitting there quietly the entire time. And Ashley asks him why he's there. And he does not bring up a specific issue. He does not say health care or the economy. He does not say education or the war. He does not say that he was there because of Barack Obama. He simply says to everyone in the room, "I am here because of Ashley."

"I'm here because of Ashley." By itself, that single moment of recognition between that young white girl and that old black man is not enough. It is not enough to give health care to the sick, or jobs to the jobless, or education to our children.

But it is where we start. It is where our union grows stronger. And as so many generations have come to realize over the course of the two-hundred and twenty one years since a band of patriots signed that document in Philadelphia, that is where the perfection begins.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Missing Aircraft Not Found?

Pls what is this I am hearing? That the Minister of State for Air Transportation, Mr. Felix Hyat not only embarrassed us as a nation over the earlier claim by one of the agencies that the missing Wings Aviation aircraft had been found was totally false.

When President Yar'Adua disclosed that he was prepared to off load some ministers because many of them do not understand their brief, I am sure he had Hyat in mind. Apart from the fact that he doesn't speak well and his thought are usually distorted when briefing pressmen, it is unbelievable that this man will allow such a thing to happen to us and the families of those involved in this missing aircraft
I read he met behind closed doors with heads of agencies in the aviation sector yesterday evening in his office to try to find a way round the elusive aircraft.
This is incredible! Pls read full gist below and me know how you feel right now.


Confusion over Missing Aircraft
From Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja and Ernest Chinwo in Ogoja, 03.18.2008

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Uncertainty and confusion yesterday took the better of the country’s aviation sector following an embarrassing discovery that an earlier claim by one of the agencies that the missing Wings Aviation aircraft had been found was totally false.
The Minister of State for Air Transportation, Mr. Felix Hyat, who was also caught in the web of the false claim, met behind closed doors with heads of agencies in the aviation sector yesterday evening in his office to try to find a way round the elusive aircraft.
THISDAY gathered that the minister was highly embarrassed at the false information on the finding of the plane more than 48 hours after it was declared missing.
A visibly worried Hyat was said to have barred all the officials from making any public statements on the incident without clearance from his office.
The minister, who had scheduled a press conference for noon yesterday on the finding of the missing aircraft, called off the briefing on the grounds that there were still no clear accounts from the search crew regarding the whereabouts of the plane.
The minister, who spoke through his Chief Press Secretary, Mrs. Rhoda Idiya, said the report credited to the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) that the aircraft had been found at Igabu village in Yala Local Government Area of Cross Rivers State is false.
She said following the development, the minister had ordered a team of officials from the ministry to move into the field and join in the search for the missing plane and to forward regular situation reports to his office.
Later, words came to newsmen who gathered for the briefing that the minister had been summoned to appear before Senate Committee on Aviation at the National Assembly.
It was not until 2.30 pm that Hyat came back to the office and proceeded immediately to hold a meeting with the Directors and DGs of the agencies.
None of the officials could utter a word to newsmen at the end of the meeting, preferring instead to shift the matter to the minister.
Idiya, while explaining the reason for the call-off of an earlier scheduled press conference by the minister, said Hyat had not yet got any positive report from the search team concerning the missing plane and as such would not want to comment on the matter.
At the meeting were the Director-Generals of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET) and National Airspace Management Authority (NAMA).
The DG of NCAA, Dr. Harold Demuren, who apparently was at the centre of the whole saga, had a running battle with some media men who followed him to get his reaction on the turn of events.
Demuren, in a bid to evade media attention, left the minister’s office and moved fast past the journalists and cameramen before making his way into another office without responding to any question posed to him.
In a statement issued by NCAA yesterday, the agency had claimed that the wreckage of the Wings airline plane had been found together with the three dead crew members.
“The wreckage of the missing Beechcraft 1900D with registration marks 5N-JAH operated by Wings Aviation has been found this Sunday evening, March 16, 2008,” it had said.
Yesterday in Dabu, Cross River State, the search party continued with the recovery efforts until about 6pm without any success.
The land search party led by the Special Adviser to Governor Liyel Imoke on Special Duties, Mr. Casmir Obock, conducted extensive searches in the bushes of Dabu without finding the wreckage of the missing aircraft.
Other members of the team included the Commander of 341 Artillery Regiment, Ogoja, Lt. Col. P B Fakrogah, Chairman of Yala Local Government Council, Mr. Fidel Egoro, Chairman Of Ogoja Local Government Council, Mr. Joe Eweh, the D.P.O. of Ogoja, Mr. S T Okuguru, Chairman of the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), Mr. Vincent Aqua, and officials of the National Emergency Management (NEMA) from Abuja.
According to Obock, “We engaged the services of local farmers and hunters who came with their dogs to help us locate the plane. We have been at it since midnight on Sunday till late Monday evening and have not been able to locate the crash site. Fisher men who claimed to have seen the plane did not come up to tell us where it is. We have decided to suspend the search today till tomorrow because of the bad weather.”
Chairman of Yala Council, Egoro, also said the search efforts were hampered by lack of equipment and the thick canopy of trees and expansive uninhabited land in the area.
He said: “The vegetation here is too expansive and a thick canopy overhangs the entire landscape, without sophisticated equipment, it would be difficult to locate the place. Our team has been on it since last night and we will not give up until we locate the plane if it is here.”
Also, some frustrated pilots involved in the operation who pleaded anonymity said “since we had combed the entire area in Cross River yet we could not find anything and the search continues tomorrow.”
The state government had earlier ordered a land party in the Northern and Central Senatorial districts to join in the search for the missing plane.
Since the aircraft and its crew were not found by Sunday morning, experts say that NEMA had embarked on “search and recover” mission, no longer “search and rescue” – presupposing that the crew must have died, as they have not been found 36 hours since the aircraft started missing on Saturday.
Aviation experts who spoke to THISDAY said that the major problem with search and rescue in Nigeria is that NEMA is not effectively equipped to undertake a search operation in topographies like the Obudu area and its environs in Cross River State, where valleys and hills combine with ever changing weather and constant rainfall to make flying a challenge.
THISDAY learnt that as early as Sunday afternoon (by 2.00 pm) the helicopters in rescue operation had called off the exercise owing to bad weather, so the search has been half-hearted since Saturday afternoon.
When THISDAY called at the office of Wings Aviation near the General Aviation Terminal (GAT), the security workers said that all the officers of the company had moved to Cross River State to intensify efforts for the search of the airplane.

New Point of View

This is so true and just had to share it. Have a blessed day

New Point of View

Imagine you are at an Airport. While you're waiting for your flight, you
notice a kiosk selling cookies. You buy a box, put them in your
travelling bag and then you patiently search for an available seat so you
can sit down and enjoy your cookies. Finally, you find a seat next to a
gentleman. You reach down into your travelling bag and pull out your box
of cookies.

As you do so, you notice that the gentleman starts watching you
intensely. He stares as you open the box and his eyes follow your hand
as you pick up the cookie and bring it to your mouth. Just then he
reaches over and takes one of your cookies from the box, and eats it!
You're more than a little surprised at this. Actually, you're at a loss
for words. Not only does he take one cookie, but also he alternates
with you. For every one cookie you take, he takes one.

Now, what's your immediate impression of this guy? Crazy? Greedy? He's
got some nerve? Can you imagine the words you might use to describe this
man to your associates back at the office? Meanwhile, you both continue
eating the cookies until there's just one left. To your surprise, the
man reaches over and takes it. But then he does something unexpected. He
breaks it in half, and gives half to you. After he's finished with his
half he gets up, and without a word, he leaves.

You think to yourself, "Did this really happen?"

You're left sitting there dumbfounded and still hungry. So you go back
to the kiosk and buy another box of cookies. You then return to your
seat and begin opening your new box of cookies when you glance down into
your traveling bag. Sitting there in your bag is your original box of
cookies-still unopened. Only then do you realize that when you reached
down earlier, you had reached into the other man's bag, and grabbed his
box of cookies by mistake.

Now what do you think of the man? Generous? Tolerant? You've just
experienced a profound paradigm shift. You're seeing things from a new
point of view. Is it time to change your point of view?

Now, think of this story as it relates to your life. Seeing things from
a new point of view can be very enlightening. Think outside the box.
Don't settle for the status quo. Be open to suggestions. Things may not
be what they seem. May you have a great day.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Missing Plane Found 48 Hours Later

48 hours after it was declared missing, Beechcraft 1900D light aircraft has been found. The wreckage of the plane was located in Dabu Village in Yalla Local Council of Cross River State where it crashed. All the three crew members were confirmed dead in the mishap.

The sad thing is that even if these crew members survived, 48 hours is a long time 4 dem to have survived. In every sector of our economy we keep experiencing disappointing performance from those appointed to lead an organisation.

The aircraft, which departed Lagos at 07.35 a.m. for Obudu Cattle Ranch in Cross River State, made contact with the Enugu Control Tower at about 7. 54 a.m. and lost touch with it at 08.04 a.m.

Prior to the discovery of the scene of the crash, Nigeria had reached out to neighbouring Cameroun to help it trace the chartered aircraft. The Minister of State for Air Transport, Hassan Felix Hyat, told journalists yesterday that the aircraft was found in the hilly village very close to Obudu Cattle Ranch Resort. Earlier yesterday, Hyat disclosed that the government had contacted the Camerounian authorities to assist it trace the plane in its shore

God will save us from ineptitude leaders. Nigeria is certainly going to another level because years before now it would have been impossible to probe a sector with high profile individuals mentioned in scams.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

The Damning Revelation on Power at National Assembly

Hi Folks,

There is hope for this country afterall. I mean did you guys watch the damning revelation on AIT on the N16 billion scandal on power sector? Can you imagine a Japanese firm being in this country for over 30 years with little or no Nigerian presence?

For me the Chairman of Committee on Power and Steel, Hon. Ndudi Elumelu, is my hero because is as a result of his committee's effort that Nigerians are privillage to know the magnitude of corruption under this sector. Imagine the total disregard for rule of law in Nigeria and yet those who came into this country with potmanto keep exporting dollars, euros and pounds to their various countries.

The committee was told that the federal government processed 300 contracts and made well over 340 payments in respect of the National Integrated Power Projects (NIPP) – but none of the contracts in the last five years passed through the Ministry of Power.

The contracts were executed between the minister and the Presidency through the Presidential Steering Committee made up of Mr. Joseph Makoju, Shomolu Sheke, Senator Liyel Imoke and Mr. Funso Kupolokun.

The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Energy (Power Section), Dr Aliyu Abdulahi, said the civil service bureaucracy was never involved in the award of the NIPP contracts.

Abdullahi, in his submission before the Committee, said: “The Information I got as the Permanent Secretary was that over 340 contracts by the Nigerian Integrated Power Projects were approved, while over 300 payments were made.”

He however denied that the NIPP projects were brought to the attention of the Permanent Secretary or any Director at the Ministry.

“The Permanent Secretary is usually the accounting officer, but the accounting officer then was the Minister of Power, Senator Liyel Imoke. He approved the contracts and they were forwarded to the due process Office. The minister approved everything without the knowledge of any Director or Permanent Secretary. I have visited some of those projects, but no report has been submitted to me on any of the power projects by the task force that we set up,” Abdullahi said.

The contracts were paid for by the Presidential committee (then headed by the fomer Vice-President Atiku Abubakar) and not the ministry, he said.
The Managing Director, NIPP, and a seasoned auditor, Mr. James Olotu, told the Committee that the Atiku-led Presidential Committee passed the mandate to a steering committee headed by Imoke, with other members who were Okonjo-Iweala, and Kupolokun, Makoju.

In his testimony, Abubakar said: “All NIPP projects were handled by the Minister and then the Presidency. The Permanent Secretaries were never involved. The Minister defended everything; we had no knowledge of any Dire-ctor of Permanent Secretary that was involved from my records.

“When I resumed, the Managing Director said he was not going to report to me but the Minister of Finance. I said no and that was the only time a Director was appointed for the NIPP under the Ministry.”

Energo, a company chaired by former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abu-bakar, with the former NEPA MD, Alhaji Hamza Abdulahi, as co-owner, was said to have been awarded contracts worth over N19 billion in local currency and £72, 686,136 in foreign content for the construction of KVA stations and transmission lines.

Thomas Lambeth, an Austrian and chief executive of Energo, told the committee that the company had so far received N13 billion, but said that work done so far was just about 10 per cent.

The Energo boss said since the company was awarded the contracts for the Ugwuorju/New Haven/Ikot Ekpene, Lot 3 EPC 200, 330 KV sub-station and the transmission lines, he had never visited the site neither did he know the place.

Lambeth said work had also stopped at the various sites on the contract that was scheduled to have been completed by March 7 2009, due to non-reconciliation of payments between the Ministry and his company.

Olotu revealed that Pivot Engineering Nigeria Limited signed a contract of $29 million while the Managing Director of the company, Mr David Braide, a South African, disputed the figure, insisting that only $26 million was signed for the offshore component of the job.

Braide, who heads the firm, also said that he had never been to site.
The South African admitted the payment of N151,955,742 for the onshore component of the job after receiving an advance payment of $847,623,200 for the offshore component with a completion period of 22 months.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Eliot Spitzer New York Governor Resigns!

Hi Folks,

Can you imagine this? A few minutes ago, Eliot Spitzer, the Govenror of New York announced that he has resigned, "completing a spectacular fall from power for a politician whose once-promising career imploded amid allegations that he paid thousands of dollars for high-end prostitutes" according to the Associated Press.
In a country where it is a pride to flaunt that you actually did it with a governor can this scenerio ever take place here? Even in our universities where lecturers openly demand for sex in exchange for marks can this happen here?
Hear Spitzer "There is much more to be done, and I cannot allow my private failings to disrupt the people's work." Haba! Can any human be that unselfish in Nigeria? How many governors in Nigeria openly had mistresses who gave them male children (two of them from the Niger Delta) and to add salt to injury send them to the UK and other European countries with tax payers money?
Compare this with several governors in Nigeria that stole their states blind and openly displayed the wealth for the people to see (private jets, latest automobiles, choice houses all over the world, their kids in choice schools all over the world) while their states cannot boost of any good road, education, health care, electricity etc. Those that the EFCC have managed to arraign are claiming innocence.
I duff my hat for the American Constitution that brings the president, governor and the common man on the street before the law and treat them equally.
As a die-hard optimist, Nigeria will get there.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

What Is Christianity?

In the home it is kindness.
In business it is honesty.
In society it is courtesy.
In work it is fairness.
Toward the unfortunate it is pity.
Toward the weak it is help.
Toward the wicked it is resistance.
Toward the strong it is trust.
Toward the fortunate it is congratulations.
Toward the penitent it is forgiveness.
Toward God it is reverence and love.

JTF uncovers Ateke's arms dump in P-Harcourt

Hi folks,

Just like Asari's write up this is quite revealing. I hope these guys can be brought to book. I keep asking in whose interest are these militants fighting for? Imagine private Arms dump and illegal underground pipeline in his house. Robin Hood stole and gave to the poor and so did Lawrence Anini so which of the poor community have benefited from this thieves called militants?
Read on


JTF uncovers Ateke's arms dump in P-Harcourt

Written by George Onah & Jimitota Onoyume

Vanguard Monday, 10 March 2008

*Illegal underground pipeline from refinery to Ateke's house also discovered
*Rivers Truth Commission gets 116 memoranda

THE Joint Task Force (JTF) in the Niger Delta has seized a huge cache of arms and ammunition from warlord Ateke Tom, and uncovered an underground illegal pipeline laid from the Okrika refinery jetty to one of his homes at Okochim.

Senate President, Chief David Mark, who was conducted round the illegal pipeline yesterday in company of Governor Rotimi Amaechi expressed shock at the findings. He was also shown the seized arms and ammunition.

Among the seized weapons are one General Purpose Machine Gun (GPMG), magazines and assorted rifles.

Commander of the JTF in the state, Brigadier-General Sariki Bello, who conducted the Senate President and Governor Amaechi round said it appeared Ateke was using the underground pipeline for illegal bunkering.

Ateke and his men have been driven further into the creeks by the JTF.
In a recent interview, Ateke threatened to resume hostilities if government did not rehabilitate his houses destroyed by the task force last year.

Senator Mark who was accompanied by Senator Saminu Turaki expressed surprise at the large cache of arms and ammunition discovered and described the development as unfortunate.

The National Assembly, he said, would not defend anyone having in his possession such amount of arms and ammunition.

“We are really shocked and taken aback by the amount of arms and ammunition we have seen. I think it is certainly uncalled for,” he said.

He expressed confidence in the ability of the Rivers State governor to handle the situation, and lauded the military for the discovery.

Speaking later to newsmen, the army PRO in the state, Lt.-Col Sagir Musa, said a standing team had been deplored in the area to ensure that cultists did not return to the community.

“Mandate given to the troops is to ensure that militants do not return to the area. There must be aggressive cordon and search in suspected houses and uncompleted buildings. It is this approach that led to the discovery,” he said.

According to him, the army is to intensify its operations in the area as part of strategy to sustain the peace in the town. Governor Amaechi imposed a dusk to dawn curfew in the area which community sources said had been reviewed to begin from 8 p.m.

Rivers Truth Commission gets 116 memo

However, the Rivers State Truth and Reconciliation Commission says it has so far received 116 memoranda from the public.

Governor Amaechi had set up the commission on November 29 last year to look into problems of disturbances, cultism and violence in the state.

Vanguard gathered that some of the petitions came from militants and cultists. A top member of the commission who spoke on condition of anonymity for security reasons said the militants and cultists were pleading for amnesty to be able to appear before the commission.

This might not be possible, according to the source, because of the processes involved in granting amnesty.

Sources, however, said the commission was thinking along the line of ensuring they were granted free passage to testify before the commission. This means they would not be arrested or harassed when they appear.

“We have received 116 memoranda so far. The militants and others are responding. Their request has been that they be granted amnesty; that if they are not granted they can’t come out.

Although they have a point there but the issue of amnesty is a process. So the commission is thinking of securing for them free passage instead. By this, they will not be arrested or harassed. They must appear before the commission so that the truth can be known,” sources said.

Noting that the commission would soon commence public sitting, sources said it had served up to 60 per cent of those petitioned in various memoranda to defend themselves.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Modibbo Returns 2000 Revoked Plots

Hi Folks,

I thought the charade at the weekend at Eagle's square called election was enough to make me upset for a week but reading this that Modibbo has returned 2000 revoked plots makes me angry. check out the list of those whose land have been returned to them and then you begin to ask questions.
I hope this guy knows his brief afterall both men (Modibbo and El-Rufai) are from the same party (People Deceive People), is this not suppose to be continous government? El-Rufai is not my favourite person for the single reason that he did not provide safety nets for the displaced people during his demolision exercise but I think some of his policies has restored sanity to Abuja masterplan.
I hope this is not just to score cheap points and i hope another minister will not revoked Modibbo's policies when he is gone? Why is it so difficult to have continuity in government? Any wonder why we are the way we are? God help us!


Modibbo Returns 2000 Revoked Plots
•Obasanjo’s son, Mantu, Aminu affected
From Damilola Oyedele in Abuja, 03.10.2008

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The Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Dr. Aliyu Modibbo, yesterday reversed the revocation of 2,034 plots of land, by his predecessor, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, in the FCT.
Former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo's son, Olumuyiwa; Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, Senator Jibril Aminu and former deputy Senate President, Senator Ibrahim Mantu, were among the individuals affected by the reversal.
El-Rufai had cited non-development and non-recertification as reasons for the revocation.
Modibbo also assured those sacked during the last down sizing undertaken by his predecessor that the exercise would be reviewed.
According to a statement signed by the Special Assistant to the Minister on Commun-ications, Diran Onifade, the minister said the conditions for the reinstatement of the land, which revocation were done in three phases between 2004 and 2007, are subject to compliance with the development control guidelines and notices.
According to the minister, where new allottees had not made meaningful improvement on the plots, titles would be withdrawn and reinstated to the old allottees, while the new allottees might be considered for alternative plots when available.
The land to be restored, the minister said, included those that were seized for non-development in districts without infrastructure; those in districts without infrastructure that were revoked on the grounds of non-recertification; and those reallocated without records of revocation of existing titles.
However, the minister said revocation stood where new allottees had appreciable development on the plots and the previous allottees might be considered for alternative plots when available.
He said all allottees whose land were reinstated would be requested to recertify their titles and pay a revised fee of N150,000.
Those whose lands have been ordered returned include former FCT ministers, Maj. Gens. J. T. Useni and M. T. Kontagora; Director-General of Bureau of Public Enterprise (BPE), Mrs. Irene Chigbue; Wakili Adamawa, Hassan Adamu; Maj. Gen Lawrence Onoja; former Group Managing Director (GMD), Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Funso Kupolokun; Lt. Gen. Joshua Dogonyaro and Prof. Mary Lar, wife of elder stateman, Chief Solomon Lar.
Also on the list are former minister of aviation, Dr. Kema Chikwe; Prof Ango Abdullahi; Hon. Justice Umar Kalgo; Hon. Justice Mohammed Dahiru Sale; Hon. Justice Uwaifo; late comptroller general of Immigration, Lady Uzo Nwizu; late governor of Benue State, Rev. Father Moses Adasu; Peter Eloka Okocha; late Maj. Gen. Joe Garba (rtd) and Prof. Giwa Osagie Osato.
Organisations and institutions that had their land returned by Modibbo include the Federal High Court, Nigeria Postal Services (NIPOST), Shell Petroleum Ltd., Nigeria Ports Authority, National Judicial Institute, Nigeria Red Cross Society, Kebbi and Kogi States, Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria, First City Monument Bank (FCMB) and FCT Chief Judge residence.
Others are the Surveyors Registration Council of Nigeria (SURCON), Estate Surveyors and Valuers Registration Board of Nigeria (ESVARBON), Quantity Surveyors Registration Board of Nigeria (QSRBN), Council for Registration Builders of Nigeria (CORBON), Office of the Defence Adviser, Ghana High Commission, Architect Registration Council of Nigeria (ARCON), Town Planners Registration Council of Nigeria (TOPREC) and the Council for the Registration of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN).
Also, holders of 131 plots of land in the FCT were asked to submit their land documents to the Abuja Geographical Information Systems (AGIS) within two weeks effective from today for revalidation and authentication.
THISDAY gathered that the FCT minister took the decision to return the revoked plots of land to their previous owners after being convinced that the laws concerning the revocation of land is clear and non recertification of land does not provide any grounds for land revocation.
Moreover, the FCT minister, it was gathered, decided to restore the titles as the administration does not want to encourage development on areas where infrastructure has not been provided.
Onifade told THISDAY in telephone interview that the restoration of the revoked plots of land was also an indication of the FCT administration's adherence to the rule of law.
"Why do you punish someone for not developing where you have not provided infrastructure?" he quoted the minister as having said.
In a recent interview with THISDAY, Modibbo disclosed that his administration inherited 750 court cases over land issues and that he had taken steps to have some of them settled out of court.
He also approached the FCT judiciary to set up special courts to handle such cases with dispatch.
Also, the FCT minister has set up a committee to review the last retrenchment exercise carried out in the FCT.
While inaugurating the committee, Modibbo enjoined members to assess the appeals and complaints so as to ensure that justice was done, especially in line with President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua's policy of due process and rule of law.
"As a government, we are concerned and will endeavour to ensure justice is done to all cadres of civil servants affected by the exercise. Government is all about the people and therefore ours will look into the merits of such complaints and take informed rightful decisions in the interest of the nation by weighting their justifications and implications.
"The review exercise is aimed at allowing true reconciliation that will naturally increase full participation of all manners of people in the government of President Yar'Adua as well as restoring confidence in governance in general," he said.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Things that make you go hmmmm

Things that make you go hmmmm

Read down to the very bottom highlighted IT'LL GIVE YOU GOOSEBUMPS!!!You don't want to miss this! ((*_*) ) VERY INTERESTING-

1. The Garden of Eden was in Iraq2. Mesopotamia, which is now Iraq, was the cradle of civilization!3.Noah built the ark in Iraq4. The Tower of Babel was in Iraq5. Abraham was from Ur, which is in Southern Iraq!6. Isaac's wife Rebekah is from Nahor, which is in Iraq!7. Jacob met Rachel in Iraq8. Jonah preached in Nineveh - which is in Iraq9. Assyria, which is in Iraq, conquered the ten tribes of Israel10. Amos cried out in Iraq !11 Babylon , which is in Iraq , destroyed Jerusalem12. Daniel was in the lion's den in Iraq !13. The three Hebrew children were in the fire in Iraq (Jesus had been in Iraq also as the fourth person in the Fiery Furnace!)14. Belshazzar, the King of Babylon saw the "writing on the wall" in Iraq15. Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, carried the Jews captive into Iraq16. Ezekiel preached in Iraq ..17. The wise men were from Iraq .18. Peter preached in Iraq .19. The "Empire of Man" described in Revelation is called Babylon , which was a city in Iraq !
And you have probably seen this one: Israel is the nation most often mentioned in the Bible. But do you know which nation is second? It is Iraq !However, that is not the name that is used in the Bible. The names used in the Bible are Babylon , Land of Shinar , and Mesopotamia ...The word Mesopotamia means between the two rivers, more exactly between the (i) Tigris And Euphrates Rivers ..The name Iraq , means country with deep roots.Indeed Iraq is a country with deep roots and is a very significant country in the Bible.No other nation, except Israel , has more history and prophecy associatedWith it than Iraq And also, This is something to think about: Since America is typically represented by an eagle. Saddam should have read up on his Muslim passages ...The following verse is from the Koran, (the Islamic Bible) Koran ( 9:11 ) - For it is written that a son of Arabia would awaken a fearsome Eagle.The wrath of the Eagle would be felt throughout the lands of Allah and lo, while some of the people trembled in despair still more rejoiced; for the wrath of the Eagle cleansed the lands of Allah; And there was peace. (Note the verse number!) Hmmmmmmm?!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

The FOUR blessed looks:

Hi Folks,
I have gotten copyright for this from my HOD b4 posting on my blog. I felt lifted and thought I should share

The FOUR blessed looks:
1. Look back and thank God.
2. Look forward and trust God.
3. Look around and serve God.
4. Look within and find God!
I asked God, 'How do I get the best out of life?' God said, 'Face your past without regrets, handle your present with confidence, and prepare for the future without fear!
'Without God, our week is:
Mournday,
Tearsday,
Wasteday,
Thirstday,
Fightday,
Shatterday and
Sinday.
So, allow Him to be with you every day!'
Life is short, so forgive quickly.
Believe slowly.
Love truly.
Laugh uncontrollably.
Never regret anything that makes you happy Time is like a river.
You cannot touch the same water twice, because the flow that has passed will never pass again. Enjoy every moment of life.
Have a blessed day today

Odili Secures ‘Perpetual Injunction’ Against EFCCFrom Ahamefula Ogbu in Port Harcourt,

Is only in Nigeria a thief will dictate to the judiciary. He can only run but can't hide. I am happy for the examples set so far, so Odili come what may will pay one day for his sins.
Eight years after Port Harcourt remains the most insecure, the most dirty, the state with the worst of roads, health care is zero etc. God is not asleep and he will pay even to the third generation of his family.

Odili Secures ‘Perpetual Injunction’ Against EFCCFrom Ahamefula Ogbu in Port Harcourt, 03.06.2008

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Former Rivers State governor, Dr. Peter Odili, has secured a perpetual injunction restraining the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) from arresting, detaining or prosecuting him.The injunction was granted by a Federal High Court in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.The court presided over by Justice Ibrahim Buba also restrained EFCC jointly and severally from publishing or disseminating its investigation report on the alleged looting of Rivers State by Odili.The order is akin to bringing back the immunity from criminal prosecution which the former governor enjoyed in office from 1999 to 2007.Counsel to Odili, Chief Ifedayo Adedipe (SAN), commended the judgment, saying that it was well researched and in line with the principles of rule of law. But EFCC lawyer, Mr. James Binang, described it as the “Quarter final of the match” hinting that he was heading to appeal the judgment.The judgment was sequel to an application filed by Odili seeking orders to the effect that he should not be arrested, detained or prosecuted by the Commission, based on an investigation of his eight-year tenure. EFCC had alleged that Odili looted the state treasury. Following the application, EFCC had filed a preliminary objection challenging the jurisdiction of the court to oust the powers of the commission to try or press charges against any person discovered to have committed criminal offences or abused their offices.The commission also claimed it had concluded investigations on Odili and found him culpable but was on the verge of deciding what to do with him when he ran to the court to stop his arrest and detention.EFCC had demanded N1 billion as claims and insisted that Odili, having not been a party in the case, which was filed by the state House of Assembly, he could not benefit from the orders of the court which the commission said was already a subject of appeal.However, counsel to Odili, had urged the court to hold that the earlier judgment of the court, which restrained EFCC from investigating the accounts of the state, was a judgment in rem, meaning a subsisting order affecting not only the stated parties in the case.He had also urged the court to dismiss the argument of EFCC that Odili was not a party in the case and therefore could not benefit from the orders therein made.Reviewing the submission, Justice Buba agreed with Adedipe and dismissed the objection of the EFCC moved by its counsel.He held that the EFCC counsel did not mean business in the N1 billion counter claim as he did not pursue it in his written submission.Justice Buba noted that the time of impunity by law enforcement agencies were gone and that since the decision of the court in suit number FHC/PH/CS/78/2007 where the same reliefs sought before him were granted are still subsisted, it would stand until it is vacated by a superior court.He likened the prayers of EFCC to being asked to sit on appeal over its own judgment since he was the judge that handled the other matter where a similar relief barring EFCC from investigating the account of the state was granted.He discountenanced the submission of EFCC. Justice Buba said his position should not be misconstrued as shielding someone from criminal prosecution when there is a case against the person.He pointed out that all he wanted was for due process and rule of law to be followed as it was at the time of the request to stop EFCC from arresting Odili that the commission went to file an appeal on their earlier order and case.“In the final analysis, the case of the plaintiff has merit and it succeeds and I grant the reliefs sought,” he said.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

PHCN Embarrasses Yar'Adua

Hi folks,

There is this piece of news that President Umaru Yar’Adua and five governors of the North-West zone were yesterday thrown into darkness at the zonal congress of the Peopless Democratic Party (PDP) in Kaduna, following a series of power outage.
I hear the outage occurred three times, lasting for nine minutes.
Yar'Adua was said to be very embarassed by the outages and has vowed that the time to confront the darkness in the country is now.
Perhaps the embrassment will make him finally declare the much touted state of emergency on the sector. For us, it is a daily occurence that we are gradually getting used to it.
I hv vowed never to part of those contributing to the noise pollution even though I suffer lack of sleep every nite due to the noise.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Yar’Adua Moves Against Health Minister

It amazes me when people in government do not read their bosses body language. Can you imagine this old woman throwing her name to the dogs all in the name that she was misled?
What part of return unspent money did she not understand? Every government has its style whether it suits you or not, yours is to obey that is why you are appointed.
She probably thought this is Obasanjo regime where they could say one thing and mean the other. Civil Servants are very dangerous people, if she was told not to return the money what efforts did she make to insist otherwise? Now she is going to face the music all by herself while those who 'misled' her will probably be transfered from that ministry end of story.
Her name will be dented for life. So much for greed!


Yar’Adua Moves Against Health Minister
•N’Assembly meets on returned budget

From Stanley Nkwazema in Abuja & Kingsley Nwezeh in Lagos, 03.03.2008 (THISDAY)


The Health Minister, Prof. Adenike Grange, who was arrested last Thursday on the orders of President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua over the handling of unspent funds in the 2007 budget and award of contracts, has been released.Grange was released at the weekend by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) after she was interrogated over the allegation.THISDAY learnt that the health minister claimed she was misadvised by her directors.Operatives of EFCC are now moving against the directors following the minister’s claim but Grange may be invited again for further interrogation as more details are unveiled.President Yar’Adua is said to have ordered that no stone should be left unturned over the matter and anyone found culpable should be dealt with in accordance with the law.Grange is alleged to have awarded contracts without following due process, in addition to flouting the presidential order that unspent votes for 2007 should be returned to the treasury.“It was discovered that many ministries flouted the order,” a government official told THISDAY last night. “The main problem is that without the cooperation of key officials in the affected ministries, investigation will be stalled. I can confirm, for instance, that the minister who was quizzed has already been implicated by top officials of the ministry. In fact, over N40 million has been recovered already from the last-minute contract bazaar and sharing of money.”Investigators are banking on the possibility that if the indicted minister is made a scapegoat, more ministers may be exposed soon.And following allegations that some ministers colluded with some members of the National Assembly to inflate allocations for their ministries’ in this year’s budget, THISDAY has learnt that EFCC has beamed its searchlight on more ministers.At a Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting last year, President Yar’Adua had directed that all unspent funds in the last days of that year be returned to the public treasury.The President, who may soon embark on a major cabinet shake-up before his first anniversary in office in May, had withheld his assent to the harmonised 2008 Appropriation Bill partly because of the inflation of budgetary figures which not only threatens macro-economic stability but is believed to be capable of hampering the long-term economic targets of the present administration.A National Assembly source said the President was very worried about the spending spree that was built into the budget.“He was obviously angry over the inflation of figures which he strongly believed was the handiwork of some ministers in collaboration with some lawmakers,” the source said. “He did not hide the fact that if any case could be established that something untoward happened, the ministers would face the music.”In 2004, the then minster of education, Prof. Fabian Osuji, lost his position following allegations that National Assembly members were bribed to inflate Education Ministry’s budget in what was christened bribe-for-budget scandal.The case is still in court but the Senate President then, Chief Adolphus Wabara, resigned over the allegation. Meanwhile, worried over the delay caused by the inability of President Yar’Adua to assent to the N2.8 trillion 2008 Appropr-iation Bill, the committee set up by both chambers of the National Assembly is scheduled to meet today to take a final look at the document.The committee set up last week by the Senate and House of Representatives to go through the areas the President considered inappropriate started meeting since last week and is expected to submit a joint report to the leadership of the two chambers soon.The report will then be presented for ratification in plenary.The Senate committee is led by the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, while the House committee is led by the Deputy Speaker, Hon. Bayero Usman Nafada.THISDAY learnt that the National Assembly members are worried that the President returned the bill whereas they expected him to have assented to it while other disagreements are resolved later. The Chief Whip of the House, Hon. Emeka Ihedioha, when contacted yesterday in Abuja told THISDAY that there was no cause for alarm over the 2008 Appropriation Bill returned by President Yar’Adua. He said though the committee had started work on the areas of disagreements, the leadership of the House was yet to be briefed on the outcome.“It is too early now to take decisions. We have to allow the joint committee to work and report back before the House will take a position. It is a healthy development. I think that is the beauty of democracy. We have to disagree to agree. But I must tell you that we represent the people and know how they feel and the pressing areas that require urgent intervention. We will sort it out soonest,” he said.President Yar’Adua had returned the bill saying he was not comfortable with some aspects introduced by the lawmakers. After almost three months of working on the bill, the Senate and House had initially passed different figures. But they later harmonised their differences on the budget and jointly settled for N2.898, 801,095,668 as the harmonised figure of the 2008 Appropriation Bill.