Monday, June 29, 2015

North In Conspiracy Against The Yoruba –Bisi Akande

Statement Issued On Sunday, June 28, 2015, By The Former Interim Chairman Of The All Progressive Congress (APC), Bisi Akande 

Some times in 2013, the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) and Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) resolved to merge and set up a merger committee to work out the modality for gluing together as one political party under one name, one constitution and one manifesto. A splinter of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) sought to be included in the merger. An application made to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to this end by All Progressives Congress (APC) National Interim Committee, composed of ACN, ANPP, CPC, and factions of APGA and Democratic People’s Party (DPP) was approved in July, 2013.

Between Bola Ahmed Tinubu (an ACN leader) and Kashim Imam (a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leader), the idea came up and was adopted that the new party should embark on a membership recruitment drive to certain PDP governors, whose main agenda was to see President Goodluck Jonathan out of power. The recruitment efforts took APC leaders to Rivers, Kwara, Niger, Sokoto, Kano, Jigawa and Adamawa states. Eventually, five PDP governors of Sokoto, Kano, Adamawa, Kwara and Rivers, together with the majority of their PDP National and State Assemblies members and other PDP National Assembly members from Gombe, Bauchi and Nasarawa, under the banner of the new-PDP, joined the APC.

The APC thereafter organised membership registrations in all the over 120,000 polling units and followed up by using these registered members to conduct congresses in all the almost 8000 wards, in over 770 local governments, in all the 36 states (including Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and a convention at the National level, thereby creating one united APC party structure all over Nigeria. With this air of oneness, APC went ahead to conduct primaries to select candidates for state governors and Houses of Assembly and for the presidency and the National Assemblies.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Burkina Faso: Meeting The October Target

Africa Briefing N°112

With less than four months to go, the transition in Burkina Faso must focus all its efforts on the October elections. In a context marked by political tensions and intense social agitation, the new electoral code, which bans representatives of the former regime from contesting the forthcoming elections, will open the door to interminable legal arguments and threaten compliance with the electoral calendar. It will sideline a whole segment of the political establishment. 
If members of the former regime cannot express themselves through the ballot box, they could be tempted to do so through other means or try to sabotage the electoral process. It is not too late to reduce the risks of this happening. The government can still clarify the electoral code by decree. Political and social actors on all sides must maintain dialogue, ideally by creating a framework for discussion. The Constitutional Council, which has the last word on the eligibility of candidates, must remain faithful to the text and inclusive spirit of the transition charter and the constitution.

*Michael Kafando
After the October 2014 popular uprising, which ended the 27-year rule of President Blaise Compaoré, it was illusory to believe that things would easily return to normal. The transitional government has for the moment succeeded in keeping Burkina afloat. It survived the “mini-crisis” of February 2015, caused by controversy over the future of the Presidential Security Regiment (RSP), Compaoré’s former presidential guard. But the adoption of a new electoral code in early April put the transition in a difficult situation. This electoral code sanctions the ineligibility of those who supported the bill amending the constitution to allow Blaise Compaoré to run for another term.
The electoral code is a threat not only to the forthcoming elections but also to the future, by injecting the poison of political exclusion into a country that is attached to multiparty politics and dialogue. Potential appeals against the eligibility of candidates will be submitted from early September. The Constitutional Council could find itself submerged in petitions only one month before the election, which could delay voting. If the electoral calendar is not respected, Burkina will enter unchartered territory. Members of the transitional government, notably those drawn from the army, could argue that they should stay in power for the sake of stability. To avoid this scenario, it is crucial to hold the elections on time and to guarantee that the results will be accepted by all.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Genocide-For-Oil, Not Boko Haram Is Buhari’s Priority. Why?

By Chinweizu
(22 June 2015)

Buhari’s priority is
Genocide-for-oil, not Boko Haram,
or corruption or the fuel and power shortages etc. that he claimed.
In his Inaugural speech on May 29, 2015, Buhari told the world:
At home we face enormous challenges. Insecurity, pervasive corruption, the hitherto unending and seemingly impossible fuel and power shortages are the immediate concerns. . . . We can fix our problems.
The most immediate is Boko Haram’s insurgency. . . . But we can not claim to have defeated Boko Haram without rescuing the Chibok girls and all other innocent persons held hostage by insurgents. This government will do all it can to rescue them alive. . . .
For now the Armed Forces will be fully charged with prosecuting the fight against Boko haram. . . . We shall improve operational and legal mechanisms so that disciplinary steps are taken against proven human right violations by the Armed Forces.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Mugabe Explodes: South Africa, Nigeria ‘Betrayed Africa’

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe blasted South Africa and Nigeria at the African Union summit this weekend, saying Africa would never agree to them getting permanent seats on the UN Security Council.
This was because they had both voted for UN Security Council Resolution 1973 in 2011, which authorised military action against the regime of Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi.
They had betrayed the continent which could never trust them, sources reported him as saying.
Mugabe intervened in a meeting of the so-called “Committee of 10” at the summit on Saturday which was discussing possible amendments to the “Ezulwini Consensus” which stated Africa’s position on reform of the UN Security Council.
The 2005 Ezulwini Consensus was that Africa should demand at least two permanent and five non-permanent seats on the council as part of the protracted, wider reform to make it more representative of the world.
The consensus also demanded that the two permanent seats should come with the same veto powers as were enjoyed by the five current permanent members, the US, UK, China, Russia and France.
This demand for vetoes had effectively stymied Africa’s chances of reforming the council. And so the South African government was calling for Africa to adopt a more flexible approach by dropping the veto demand.
This was what the so-called G4 group of nations - Germany, Japan, India and Brazil - who were also seeking permanent seats on the council had done, as a tactical manoeuvre to try to diminish resistance to their bid.
Last year South African President Jacob Zuma said: “Africa needs to compromise - not reiterate fixed positions as it has done for the past nine years.”

US Congressman's Statement On Zimbabwe

The Statement below was released by Rep. Christopher H. Smith, R-N.J. It was published in the Congressional Record on the future of US-Zimbabwe Relations on June 12, 2015, and addressed to the U.S. Congress Speaker

*President Mugabe 
Mr. Speaker, Zimbabwe is a country the size of the state of Montana, with a population of nearly 14 million people. However, its mineral wealth gives it an outsized importance. The southern African nation is the world’s third largest source of platinum group metals and has significant reserves of nickel, gold, chromium and dozens of other metals and minerals. Significant diamond reserves were discovered in 2006. Currently, about 40 percent of the country’s foreign exchange is earned from the export of these metals and minerals.
It was the abundance of such mineral resources, and their exploitation, which has driven the relationship between the West and Zimbabwe. Since its colonization by Cecil Rhodes’ British South Africa Company in 1889 on behalf of Great Britain, the area once known as Southern Rhodesia has experienced a tumultuous history.
The white minority gained self-governance in 1922, and a 1930 Land Apportionment Act restricted black access to land, making many Africans laborers and not land owners. In 1964, the white minority government unsuccessfully sought independence from Great Britain, and then unilaterally declared independence a year later under white rule. This move sparked international outrage and economic sanctions, and that regime was never widely recognized by the international community, though the support of white-ruled South Africa enabled the government to limp along.

1999-2015: Akpabio As Best Governor

By Dan Amor
One major sign of the growing sophistication of Athenian society in the Golden Age was the rise of history as a critical record of the nation's past. As myth gave way to more accurate chronicling and prose replaced verse as the medium for preserving fact, the fifth century Greeks came closer to the scientific spirit of free inquiry in modern times. In fact, it was then that Plato declared that a life not examined was a life not worth living!

Memories are made of these. Yet, nothing seems more characteristic of the present age than the homogeneity of  its world view. We may frown at its developmental smugness but we must admire its optimism, its cosmopolitanism, its intellectual refinements, its spirit of true enlightenment and the critical engagement with which it examines the world and its leaders. For, it is always instructive for the serious student of history to start by trying to determine what an age thought of itself.

Such an investigation is made the easier by studying the lives and times of the important men and women that shaped the age with their actions. In documenting the life and times of a towering personality, exciting experiences are selected, which present emotional and spiritual values, to interpret the tale as it is rehearsed in imagination or told to an admiring listener or hearer. As a faithful servant, a dedicated realist and reformer, who bridged all gulfs, leveled all mountains and put a lamp in every tunnel, as exemplified by his selfless stewardship to the people of Akwa Ibom State since the past eight years, Obong (Senator) Godswill Akpabio CON, the immediate past governor of Akwa Ibom State, has undoubtedly come to be seen as a modern day phenomenon whose corpus requires a large canvas.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Ex-Gov Chime, That Was Mean!

By Ugochukwu Ejinkeonye
Recently, I was jolted by a report I stumbled upon about the brutal abduction, terrorisation and illegal detention of a hapless young man in Enugu by the bodyguards of the then Gov Sullivan Chime. The crime of 30-year-old Mr. Anthony Okeke which earned him such dehumanising treatment, according to TheGuardian of April 1, 2015, was that while on his way home after dropping off a friend about midnight on February 22, he overtook an “unmarked” convoy of Chime.


Obviously, this was a very grievous crime in the territory of “His Excellency” and the security agents attached to him wasted no time in meting out “appropriate” punishment. They ran after the “offender” with every zeal they could muster, fired some shots at his car to demobilize his tyres and captured him.

And after giving him “the beating of his life,” they dumped him in prison for six days, after which he was taken to a magistrate court and charged with attempting to kidnap the governor. The charge sheet (number MES/03c/2015) reportedly read that Mr. Okeke, “suspected to be armed with dangerous weapon/weapons, did attempt to kidnap” Gov Chime “along Ogui Road by Fire Service office, GRA, Enugu…”

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Opportunities Slipping Through Africa’s Digital Gender Gap

Findings from the eLearning Africa Report 2015, which is now available free to download, reveal that, despite rapid growth in internet and mobile usage across the region, women are much less likely to get online than men. And they are still largely unrepresented in the technology sector. 

“These two facts could have serious implications for the ability of African economies to use technology to catapult themselves ahead of their competitors,” said Harold Elletson, Co-Editor of the eLearning Africa Report, an annual review of the impact of technology on education and development. “Africa needs to address these issues now or it will miss out.”

Women play a crucial role in many African economies and providing them with modern skills is an essential part of the African Union’s 2063 Vision of a ‘transformed continent.’

“In sectors, such as agriculture, women form the bulk of the workforce,” says Elletson. “It’s already clear that ICTs are having a huge and very beneficial impact on farming- driving up yields and productivity and boosting farm incomes. In order to make the most of its agriculture, Africa has got to bring women into the digital age.”

Friday, June 5, 2015

2015: Jonathan's Place In History


By Dan Amor 

All over the world, people choose their heroes for different reasons. Some  designate legendary creatures from every historical epoch and every field, such as Christopher Columbus, Florence Nightingale, Joan of Arc, Louis Pasteur, Alfred Nobel or even Napoleon Bonaparte. Yet, there are also those who believe that some heroes are unknown to the general public, their heroic deeds unrecognized but far from insignificant. These heroes include school aides, foster parents, security and medical personnel-all kinds of people who struggle, often against daunting odds, to make life better for others. As Victor Hugo said: "Life, misfortunes, isolation, abandonment, poverty, are battlefields which have their heroes; obscure heroes, sometimes greater than illustrious heroes".

In choosing former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan as the reigning King of African Democracy, a successor to the famous Nelson Mandela of South Africa, this writer believes that, like every other hero, he is a human being, with everything that it implies. I also believe that recognizing a hero-warts and all-makes it possible to become a hero and to encourage others to do the same.

Burundi: Peace Sacrificed?

Africa Briefing N°111

Despite the failed coup attempt on 13 May, popular mobilisation against outgoing President Pierre Nkurunziza’s third term has not abated, and confrontation between the government and the “Halte au troisième mandat” (Stop the Third Mandate) street movement is intensifying. Over 90,000 Burundians have fled and a cholera outbreak has been declared in the most populous place of refuge in western Tanzania. 

President of Burundi, Pierre Nkuruziza and his  wife Denise Bucumi arrive the White House, Washington on August 5, 2014 (pix:epa/Michael Renolds)
As international pressure on the president continues to fall on deaf ears and the government reiterates its intent to hold municipal and legislative polls on 5 June, and the presidential election on 26 June, all elements of an open conflict have fallen into place. Delayed elections are not sufficient to avoid a rapid escalation of violence, a political and security climate conducive to free and peaceful elections must be restored. The East African Community (EAC) summit on 31 May in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania is the perfect opportunity to reflect on, and react to, this reality.
The week following the attempted coup saw the government’s radicalisation and attempted arrests of journalists and politicians. Protesters responded to the “Halte au troisième mandat” movement’s call for a resumption of protests in Bujumbura on 18 May with fervour. Diplomatic initiatives meanwhile have not yielded any progress. The dialogue between the government and the opposition established by the UN special representative, which was suspended a few days after the assassination of opposition figure Zedi Feruzi in the Ngagara neighbourhood of Bujumbura on 23 May, remains fragile. The opposition has just announced that it will not participate in the elections.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Mali: An Imposed Peace?

Africa Report N°226

After eight months of negotiations between Malian parties, the government and some armed groups signed an agreement on 15 May 2015 in Bamako. Fighting has resumed, however, in the north and centre of Mali. Crucially, the Azawad Movements Coalition (CMA) has still not signed the agreement. It initialled the text on the eve of the ceremony but demands further discussion before fully accepting it. An agreement without the signature of the main coalition opposing the government is of little value and will likely make disarmament impossible. The mediation team should establish a framework that would allow for further talks and Malian parties should return to the negotiating table at the earliest opportunity. The UN Security Council and its UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), backed by France, must take a stronger stance against violations of the ceasefire.

All actors bear responsibility for the recent resumption of fighting. A significant part of the Malian political and military leadership still pursues the idea of seeking revenge for their earlier defeat at the hands of rebels through military means. There is a real danger that elements within the government try to portray non-signatories to the Bamako deal as spoilers to be dealt with militarily – an option that would have disastrous consequences. The government has problematic ties with groups within the Platform coalition, northern opponents of the CMA that regained control of the town of Menaka on 27 April. Meanwhile, some of the CMA’s demands are unrealistic and it continues to ignore the profound diversity of the northern populations, not all of which support all aspects of the CMA’s agenda. International mediators have imposed their own security agenda and have been too quick to close the door to further talks. Despite weeks of pressure the CMA has refused to sign the peace agreement but the mediators were nonetheless adamant about holding the ceremony on 15 May. During the ceremony, tensions between the Malian president and the UN under-secretary-general for peacekeeping operations revealed substantial divergences on the process that should follow the signing.

*Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta
Although no agreement is perfect, the proposed document has clear shortcomings. It repeats mistakes of the past, encouraging, for example, models of decentralisation and clientelism that have failed to bring peace. Rather than trying to change a deeply flawed political system, it seeks only to strengthen the institutions within it. The Malian parties, who refused to engage in direct dialogue, inherit a document that is written mostly by international mediators and in part reflects the mediators’ own interests. It prioritises the restoration of order and stability rather than aiming to meet a desire for genuine change that runs deep among northern populations. The agreement makes scant mention of issues like the access to basic social services, jobs or justice – concerns at the heart of popular demands. Prioritising security overshadows the need to restore the state’s social function across the Malian territory.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

What The Government Owes The People

By Ugochukwu Ejinkeonye

Now that the campaigns and elections are over and the winners have been sworn in at both the federal and state levels, I think that the best next step for us now is to hurriedly put aside the convenient, barefaced lie that any political party is “better” than the other so we can frankly and meaningfully engage our new set of rulers. Yes, one party may have succeeded in packaging itself better than the other or rather out-lied the other, but it would be terribly naïve, and, indeed, tragic, to ever embrace the grand illusion that some band of “redeemers” is in town and that they are any bit different from the people that just lost out in the power contest. 

Although, our politicians try very hard to hide it, “stomach infrastructure” has remained the most enduring theme, if not the sole motivating factor, in Nigerian politics. Long before it received popular expression during the recent governorship elections in Ekiti State, late Sunday Afolabi, a minister in the unmissed Olusegun Obasanjo regime made it clear to Nigerians that those who were given political appointments have been invited to “come and eat.”

And so, in keeping with the tenets of this “democracy of the stomach” (apologies, K.O. Mbadiwe), since General Muhammadu Buhari was declared the winner of the presidential elections, the traffic to his Daura, Kaduna and Abuja quarters has reportedly tremendously increased. The crowd seeking his ears will even multiply now that he has been sworn in as Nigeria’s executive president and thus acquired full powers to invite people to “come and eat.”

Indeed, he is the new man on the throne who has taken possession of both the yam and the knife, and so people are falling over themselves to pay him “courtesy calls” – another name for negotiating the welfare of the stomach! Some are plain about their mission – to seek how a piece of the yam (or even crumbs) could reach them, while some others hide behind the popular phrase of negotiating “for my people.” But we can only know the people driven by altruistic motives by the kind of requests they table.

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