Saturday, November 27, 2010

Consensus not enough to beat Jonathan -IBB, others

Former military head of state, Ibrahim Babangida, former National Security Adviser (NSA), Aliyu Gusau and Kwara State governor, Bukola Saraki yesterday pointed at ways the north can clinch the 2011 presidential primaries of the party.

In a joint statement by their campaign organisations yesterday, the trio which former vice president, Atiku Abubakar defeated to clinch the north�s consensus ticket in in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), said defeating President Goodluck Jonathan in the primaries goes beyond the selection of a consensus candidate, but requires hard work and togetherness to achieve the purpose.

In a joint statement made available to Daily Champion, they thanked Mallam Adamu Ciroma�s panel "for the able, mature and statesmanly way it handled the process that led to the selection of Atiku," saying, "this sentiment reinforces the individual statements already issued by the aspirants themselves in this regard.

Part of the statement read: "We also wish to congratulate Atiku on his selection as the consensus candidate from among the four aspirants.

"No doubt, the completion of this phase of the selection process, signals the beginning of real hard work to unite our nation, and reconcile the differences that separate our people. It is our hope and expectation that this healing process will lead to the renewal of hope across the land and the commencement of the journey of national rebirth and collective self-discovery.

"Together we pledge to work tirelessly for the emergence of Atiku as not only the winner of the PDP presidential primaries, but most importantly his election as the President, Commander-in-Chief of the Federal Republic of Nigeria during the 2011 Presidential election.

"We are amply reassured that Atiku Abubakar has the requisite democratic credentials and strategic capacity of turning around our national fortune for the better and will provide the kind of visionary and reform-minded leadership that will impact positively on all national sectors including but not limited to security of life and property, stable power supply, food sufficiency and agricultural transformation, the Niger-Delta peace process, job creation, educational and health sector reforms and the revamping of our public infrastructure.

Meanwhile, national chairman of the PDP, Dr. Okwesilieze Nwodo has said if Atiku gets the nod of delegates, everybody, including Jonathan will support and campaign for him.

Nwodo however called on Nigerians to vote without regard to where any of the candidates come from adding that the era of politics of affinity was over.

He said: "We are tired of politics of affinity. We want those who want to lead us to tell what they plan to do. I want Nigerians to vote for those people who can change our lives no matter where they come from," he said.

Speaking at an interaction with media executives in Abuja yesterday, Nwodo said the PDP is just one, strong and united family that will stand firmly behind any of the aspirants that picks the party�s ticket at the upcoming primaries.

Though he said the date for the presidential primaries of the party is yet to be fixed as the general elections timetable has just been published by the Independent National electoral commission (INEC), Nwodo added that if however President Jonathan becomes the flag-bearer, Atiku will also support and campaign for him.

"If Atiku wins, Jonathan will campaign for him. Whoever wins will be a consensus candidate of the party. He will be a consensus leader, a unifying leader," he said.

"I don�t want Nigerians to see our leaders from the angle of where they come from or from the point of view of their religion. Each one of them is eminently qualified to lead the country and we are trusting that our delegates will do justice when they vote," he stressed.

Nwodo, who re-emphasized his new gospel of reforms and internal democracy in the party, also said the times are long past when those seeking elective office would depend on the incumbent president or national executives for victory.

He said no one, not even the president, will guarantee the election of any office seeker as such power lies with the people.

Stating that the party will remain supreme, Nwodo said the PDP is lucky to have had Presidents who believe in reform and supremacy of the party and are ready to play along as loyal party members.

"We are reforming. We are also lucky that the late Umaru Yar�Adua and President Jonathan all believed in reforms and supremacy of the party. They believed that the party should be supreme. They will tell you that they are leaders of a PDP-led government and not PDP leaders. It is the chairman and his executive who are PDP leaders.

"Internal democracy must come back. If we do that, we will produce our first eleven to challenge others in the election. That is the legacy we want to leave. We want to grow a new crop of leaders that care. Therefore, for people to elect you, they must trust you, they must believe in you. So, forget the tradition of coming to the national secretariat. Go to the people. Talk to them. If they vote for you, we will be proud to present you as our candidate," he stated.

Stressing the need for reforms in the party, Nwodo who assured that the national secretariat of the party will be of no help to any aspirant seeking imposition, noted that though the reforms may take time to be achieve, the end will still be in the interest of Nigeria.

"Our reforms will take some time. We must be realistic about it. We met an executive where one person wrote the list and he held the structure. We met the structure in its second year and it is difficult to change it. Even when the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said we should repeat congresses in some states, we still met resistance.

"It is holders of the structure who determine who gets in and who does not get in and that accounts for reasons we are having defections because those who the holders of the structure have told they will not return will move to other parties where they believe they will contest and win. So, until we are able to have congresses where all stakeholders in a ward, for instance, depending on the number of votes they bring, become ward executives, you will still find the kind of thing we are fighting," he stated.

On the decision of aspirants from the north to settle for a consensus candidate, Nwodo said the party has nothing against the decision adding however, that it is part of political strategies employed by players on the field to better their chances.

"Every candidate employs strategies they think will help them win. We wish them luck. But mind you, it is a game of wits. It is a game of strategy. It is a game of appealing to the people,� he said.

On proposed changes to the constitution which will make chairmen of standing committees of the National assembly automatic members of the national executive committee of their respective political parties, Nwodo, who expressed fears over such transforming into a dictatorship of the national assembly, noted however that it was a welcome development so far it is properly balanced.

He said: "I believe that if the National Assembly checks the excesses of the governors and make them the excesses of the national assembly then we are not safe.

"If it is balanced, then we are okay. What we want is a balanced National Electoral Commission (NEC) of the different political parties. I will go to the National Assembly with the National Working Committee (NWC) of PDP to plead that the law we want is a law that will bring about a more robust NEC for the political parties," he said.

Nwodo said the quest for reforms in the party is aimed at returning power to the people in the vision of founders of the party adding that despite controlling power for 12 years now, the level of disapproval of the party had soared because the elected representatives of the people refused to deliver democracy dividends to them.

"If you are happy with where we are coming from, I am not. We formed the PDP on core values and promised ourselves that we will manage our resources well for the people. After 12 years, what is the result? We were winning elections massively but the people did not like us even when we win because we were not delivering democracy dividends to them," he said.

Ahead of PDP primaries: Pro-Jonathan group kicks against zoning

Jonathan’s ambition to contest in the 2011 Presidential election, the Door-to-Door Project, on Friday challenged other contenders in the forthcoming poll to come up with better ideas on how to move Nigeria forward and stop hiding beneath the controversy arising from the Peoples Democratic Party zoning formula.

In an interview with SATURDAY PUNCH in Lagos, the group’s coordinator, Mr. Anthony Prest, said those insisting on the zoning formula as the criterion for electing a PDP presidential candidate for the April 9, 2011 election, should be concerned with how to leave a legacy of unity and development for future generations of Nigerians, instead of wasting time and resources on divisive regional politics.

He said, “Rather than conspire against President Jonathan, those who do not approve of his ambition should come up with new ideas that can convince us to vote for them. They should concentrate on how to make Nigeria more united and not dividing the country.”

Prest said that many of those advocating zoning in the PDP were silent when Gen. Ibrahim Babangida annulled the June 12, 1993 presidential election, believed to be the freest and fairest election conducted in the history of Nigeria, because it served their selfish interests.

Nigerians react to Appeal Court judgement declaring Aregbesola winner

Osogbo, Osun State capital was thrown into a frenzy yesterday following the declaration of Engr. Rauf Aregbesola of the Action Congress of Nigeria as the duly elected governor of Osun State by the Appeal Court sitting in Ibadan.

It would be recalled that the protracted legal battle between the ACN and PDP over the April 14, 2007 gubernatorial election in Osun State started immediately the ACN candidate, Aregbesola was denied his victory before it was laid to rest with the pronouncement of the appellate court in election matters yesterday.

Also PDP members were seen discussing the disaster for the party as they lamented that their hopes for the 2011 elections has been dashed.

Consequently, ACN supporters were seen on the streets jubilating. They noted that the PDP in the state is dead completely as they used their brooms to sweep the major streets in the state capital as a symbol of sweeping Oyinlola and PDP away from the state.

The ACN supporters including stalwarts of the party, stoutly demanded for the immediate probe of Oyinlola’s government as they described the government as an unfriendly and illegal government imposed on the people of the state.

However, heavy presence of armed policemen all over the state was recorded in order to avert political clashes among the out-gone political party and the incoming Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN).

The jubilant people of Osun State also expressed joy as ACN supporters were seen jubilating with their various coloured brooms, the symbol of their party at different locations.

The ACN supporters, including school children, came out in their thousands to express their feeling over the outcome of the judgment which they described as heaven- sent which will turn the political scene of the state to the peak of its glory.

In his reaction, the former State governor, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola said that the “decision has come to us as a rude shock and we see it as a further test for this democracy. We note that the judgement went as predicted by the ACN which had in the last couple of days inundated the media with what was going to be”.

Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola as a law abiding citizen and a stakeholder in the Nigerian Project, wishes the ACN and the judiciary the best of luck.

In the last seven and a half years, the administration of Prince Oyinlola did its best to lift Osun State from the morass of despondency he met it to a level which today is the envy of all.

Prince Oyinlola gives God the glory for all he achieved in office as governor while thanking members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for their steadfastness and belief in what he stood for while in the saddle of governance of Osun State.

He equally expresses his appreciation to traditional rulers, workers, market men and women, other Nigerians home and abroad, his legal team, the media and all well-wishers who rallied round him and his administration.

The future of Osun State is in the hands of God and He in His own way will continue to guide and guard our collective and individual destinies.

That decision has come to us as a rude shock and we see it as a further test for this democracy. We note that the judgement went as predicted by the ACN which had in the last couple of days inundated the media with what was going to be.”

•••and in Ibadan too

Ademola Babalola, Ibadan

AMID wide celebration, jubilant crowd of the supporters of the Action Congress of Nigeria in Osun and Oyo States yesterday trooped to the streets of Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, singing and dancing, following the Appelate Court’s declaration of Engr Rauf Aregbesola as the winner of the April 14, 2007 Governorship election in the State of the Living Spring.

With songs like “winner o o o, winner, winner o o o winner, Aregbeseola u don win o, winner, patapata u go win forever, winner”, the jubilant crowd of hundreds of ACN supporters and some residents of Ibadan and environs took to the streets yesterday expressing their happiness over the pronouncement of the Appeal Court that Aregbeseola and not Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, actually won the disputed 2007 poll.

Apparently overwhelmed by the sweet victory of their candidate, some of the ACN faithful were seen rolling on the ground while thanking God for making the victory possible after about four years of struggle to reclaim the mandate of the people alleged to have been stolen by the Peoples Democratic Party.

The jubilant crowd comprising market women, students, party men and women, defied the huge presence of security personnel and burst into the streets singing “ ose ose o , ose o , ose baba”.

Some major markets in Ibadan metropolis also burst into jubilation as the news of the victory spread to the town , sparking off excitement in different parts of the city .

The Oyo State Police Command lived up to its billings as it drafted about 100 policemen led by the Area Commander , Iyaganku Police Division , Mrs. Abiodun Ige to the Iyaganku Appeal Court premises to keep the peace, just as all the roads leading to the venue were closed to motorists .

The policemen who had gathered in the courts premises were seen frisking politicians, journalists and other people before they were allowed entry into the court room.

Many vehicles were barred from gaining entry into the court’s premises while policemen assisted by the men of the State Security Services (SSS) cordoned off the area to ward off any untoward insurgence of violence.

While the almost five hour judgment lasted, people of opposing political camps conducted themselves in a peaceful and orderly manner as there was no case of violence in and around the court.

Loyalists of the ousted Governor Oyinlola of the PDP who came to witness the judgment in government cars and hired commercial buses in hundreds quickly disappeared into the thin air immediately the five –man justices led by Justice Clara Binta -Ogunbiyi, gave their unanimous declaration of Aregbesola as the validly elected governor of Osun state .

Present on the side of Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola -PDP group are the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Niyi Owolade, the PDP Director of Publicity , Mr. Adeolu Adeyemo , and the Osun state PDP Deputy Chairman, Mr. Ojo Williams amongst others.

Gbonigi, others reactBabatope Okeowo, Akure

Several reactions yesterday trailed the declaration of Mr Rauf Aregbesola as the governor of Osun State by the Court of Appeal sitting in Ibadan , Oyo State capital.

In his reaction, a retired Bishop of Anglican Communion of Akure Diocese, Rt. Rev. Bolanle Gbonigi, said just as it happened in Ekiti, Ondo and Edo states, God, the creator of the whole world has again proved that he is a God of justice.

His words, “God has many attributes; He is a God of justice. He has shown one of his attributes just as He did in Ondo, Ekiti and Edo State where he proved to Nigerians that justice can only be delayed.

“The election of 2007 was fraught with lots of manipulations and the judges through their judgments have allowed the truth to over come falsehood”.

While reacting to the judgment, the leader of the Pan Yoruba socio cultural group, “Afenifere”, Pa Reuben Fasoranti, said the judgment was a clear indication that the judiciary was the last hope of the common man.

According to him, the judgment given by the judges showed that the Action Congress candidate was able to prove his case beyond reasonable doubt with avalanche of evidence he presented before the judges.

His words “I want to congratulate Engineer Rauf Aregbesola on his victory, which shows that justice will always triumph if followed to a logical conclusion”.

In his reaction, a human rights activist and Ondo State ACN Chieftain, Dr. Tunji Abayomi, described the judgment of the court of Appeal as another victory for democracy.

Oshiomhole congratulates Aregbesola

Cajetan Mmuta, Benin

Governor Adams Oshiomhole, yesterday congratulated the new Governor of Osun State, Alhaji Rauf Aregbosola, on his victory at the Appeal Court sitting in Ibadan, Oyo State.

In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Peter Okhiria, Oshiomhole described Aregbosola’s victory as another testament that the judiciary was the last hope of the defenseless and the oppressed.

“I heartily rejoice with my brother, my friend and my comrade, Alhaji Rauf Aregbesola on his sweet victory at the Appeal Court more than three years after he was robbed of the mandate freely given to him by the good people of Osun State on April 14, 2007.”

According to the governor “His victory is even sweeter considering that just a few weeks ago, another Appeal Court had sacked the illegal government in Ekiti State and declared our Comrade, Dr Kayode Fayemi, the authentic Governor of that State.

He said “The latest verdict of the Appeal Court is another testament that the Judiciary is the last hope of the defenceless and the oppressed.

“However, while we continue to rely on the Judiciary to salvage the country from oppressors and election riggers, those who presided over the polls which have been faulted by the judiciary should not remain as electoral officers at INEC and should, as a matter of fact, be prosecuted to serve as a deterrent to other would-be poll manipulators.

Ebonyi State conducts a bye-election today

Today the 27th day of November 2010, a bye-election will be conducted in the Ishielu North Federal Constituency to select the person who is to replace the former representative of the constituency in the State House of Assembly. The former house member, Hon. Obinna Nwachukwu Vacated his office when he contested for the chairmanship position in his local government area. Hon. Obinna Nwachukwu currently the Ishielu Local Government Area Chairman is an indigene of Nkalaha/Obegu Area. The state government through the independent national electoral commission has assured her readiness to conduct a free and fair election which will epitomise what the 2011 gerneral election will look like. The parties contesting the bye-election include; the leading Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the front line opposition party All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) and All progressive Grand Alliance (APGA), all presented their candidates as Mrs. Obi, Mr. Jude Ogbunkwu and Christian Omeri respectively. The election is scheduled by 8.00 am today.

Friday, November 26, 2010

A Federal University to be sited in Otuoke, Bayelsa State

The Bayelsa State government has willingly allowed the donation 200 hectare of land at Otuoke, President Goodluck Jonathan’s country home, for the commencement of the new federal university to be sited in the state, Timipre Sylva, the state governor has said.

The site allocation was unveiled on Wednesday, when the minister of state for education, Kenneth Gbagi, paid a visit to the governor in Yenagoa, requesting for allocation of space for the university, which is one of the six which was recently approved by the Federal Executive Council.

Mr. Sylva also promised to relocate every structure around the site at Otuoke to pave way for the immediate take-off of the university. The governor expressed appreciation to the Federal Government for siting one of the six new federal universities in Bayelsa, describing it as a quick response to the educational needs of the people.

The minister had earlier told the governor that the new federal university, which was allocated to Bayelsa State, would be located at Otuoke, in Ogbia local government area of the state.

With a little more than 20,000 people, Otuoke and Oloibiri, the communities where crude oil was first discovered in commercial quantity in Nigeria, belong to Ogbia local government area of Bayelsa State.


What a callous attitude of the men of the underworld? It was a sad end for a young businessman recently. Maxwell Obiajulu Dim was allegedly murdered by a gang of kidnappers who still went ahead and obtained a ransom of N12m from his family. But the suspected sinners would not go unpunished. The police in Asaba, Delta State capital said they have arrested two suspects in connection with the sad incident.

Daily Sun learnt that on October 6, a gang of fully armed kidnappers operating in a white bus stormed the Obi Link Petrol Station located along Asaba-Onitsha

Expressway. There, they shot the 41-year-old businessman on his left leg and forced him into their bus after which they drove off.
They allegedly fired shots into the air as they left the scene with their captive. They later went to a bush in Achalla Ibusa where they called the victim’s wife, telling her to bring N70m for them if she wanted her husband released. After much negotiation, they settled for N12m.

At about 8.00pm on October 7, the wife went and dropped the money with a promise from the kidnappers that they were going to release her husband. But having collected the money, the kidnappers switched off their phones and stopped further communications with the businessman’s family. Now frustrated, Dim’s family then reported the matter at the B Division of the Nigeria police in Asaba.

Weeks later, Dim’s family members discovered the decomposed corpse of the businessman in the bush.
The younger brother of the deceased, Mr. Emmanuel Ifenachi Dim told our reporter that all members of the family are still grieving over the incident. He affirmed that the kidnappers initially requested for N70m, which was later pruned to N12m. He regretted that his brother was still murdered even after the kidnappers had collected the ransom.

“After my brother’s wife dropped the N12m at Achalla Ibusa, Delta State around 8.00pm, we had thought that they would release him. We never knew they would kill him,” he said. He asserted that his late brother was with the kidnappers for14 days and was bleeding seriously from the injury he sustained from the gunshots.
According to him, the kidnappers did not take Dim to any hospital for treatment, noting that they just kept him inside the bush.

“He died after serious bleeding,” he said. “Even though we gave them N12m, the kidnappers switched off their phones for almost three weeks. We didn’t hear anything from them and we started searching for my late brother. We later reported to the Police at “B” Division Police Station in Asaba,” he said. He added that it was after the police arrested two of the suspected kidnappers that Dim’s relations were told where the corpse of the businessman was dumped.

“We later found the decomposed corpse of my brother at the same spot where we dropped the money at Achalla Ibusa in Delta State,” he said. He said the corpse was later taken to the General Hospital in Asaba.
Late Dim Maxwell hailed from Osumenyi Dimala Amuhe Village in Nnewi South Local Government area of Anambra State.

Speaking on the incident, Assistant Commissioner of Police at the State CID, Asaba, Mr. Galadanchi Dasuki told Daily Sun that it was quite unfortunate that the family of the deceased didn’t report the case to the police at the appropriate time. Dasuki explained that the police initially arrested a staff of a mobile telecommunications company in Asaba before they succeeded in apprehending the two suspected kidnappers.
“The suspects were arrested through the link we got in the Nokia phone that they used. After we arrested the two suspected kidnappers, we released the staff of the communications company when the investigation was concluded,” he explained.

The police officer said it was the two suspects that now took the police to the bush where the already decomposing corpse of the late Dim Maxwell was found on October 21. He further explained that the two suspects would soon be charged for kidnapping and murder.

Emmanuel Dim said members of the family believe that the police would do their best to ensure that justice is done. “We want them to ensure justice in the brutal murder of our bread winner,” he stated. The Delta State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Yakubu Alkali said the command had a breakthrough with the successful arrest of the two suspected kidnappers. He said the case has been transferred to the Federal Anti-Robbery Squad, Abuja for further investigation.

Alkali stated that the suspects would eventually return to Delta State to face murder charges, adding, “the doctor’s autopsy report confirmed that the cause of death was excessive bleeding as a result of the gunshot on the left leg of Dim Maxwell.” When Daily Sun visited Achalla Ibusa, a member of the community, Mr. Emuka Oboda expressed surprise that such an incident happened in the community. He asserted that nobody would have thought that the kidnappers were inside the bush not to talk of keeping somebody there for 14 days.

“We were shocked when the police, with the assistance of the kidnappers, came to the bush here and fished out a dead body which was already decomposing,” he said. One of the suspects said his Nokia 1600 handset was used in the negotiation of the ransom.

How they killed Dim

The ugly spectre of kidnapping in the country recently claimed the life of Bro. Obiajulu Maxwell Dim, Chairman/C.E.0 Obi-Links Group Ltd, Onitsha, Anambra State on Wednesday, October 6, 2010 when he was shot and kidnapped at his Obi-Links Petroleum Station, Asaba, Delta State. The heartless kidnappers dumped his body in a bush near Asaba, after collecting N12million ransom from the wife.

The wicked have done their worst. They have killed the flesh of Obiajulu Dim, unable to touch his amiable soul. Such a gentleman. You really had to strain your ears to hear him talk. Why anyone would choose to take the life of a harmless man is beyond common sense. Obi-Links boss’ died in the hands of kidnappers, ups the ante in the alarming rate of wastage of human resources in the country.

As I cry for Obiajulu, an irreplaceable loss in my mind, I strongly condemn the culture of kidnapping, thuggery and political violence in Nigeria. It is the product of desperation and an unconscionable resort to get rich quick.
This predilection of youngmen to take to kidnapping as a profession, is a sad commentary on the state of Nigeria’s democracy. It underscores the immaturity and the base instints that propel our political class which style of wealth flaunting and resort to jungle justice to resolve political differences has affected our youths negatively.

Obi, lives on
The man dies in him who keeps silent in the face of tyranny – those mortal words by Prof. Wole Soyinka, defined the philosophy behind that classic prison note and detention. The Man Died.
And so it was with Obiajulu Maxwell Dim, (Obi – Links to most people, and Obi to his close associates and admirers). Though Obi was cowardly killed, he lives on in our hearts and will continue to live in the hearts of generations to come, simply because of his effort at empowering the youths. He would continue to live even long after those who killed him have been totaling forgetten.
Why was Obi brutally cut down in the prime of life? He was a devout Christian, a man of peace that eschewed any form of violence. He wanted breakthrough in life, yes. But he went about it lawfully and in the fear of God. He started grabbing the attention of business associates and his community, through sincerity, simple and honest philanthropy.

In business, he went on to explore new areas in iron and steel trade, where he brought to bear his God-given talent and innovative skill in marketing. That made his colleagues edgier still. But his reformation is today, the best thing do have happened to the Onitsha Bridge Head iron rod market. Though the wicked succeeded in sniffing life out of him, they definitely cannot kill the good works he stood for.
Like the previous unsolved murders, the kidnappers (killers) of Obiajulu were caught. I appreciate the efforts of family members and others who contributed to their arrest, especially the policemen who worked frantically to unravel the persons behind these dastardly acts.

I equally charge the police to finish the good work they started by bringing the arrested perpetrators to book. It is when they are brought to book that similar incidents can be minimized. This will go a long way in ensuring the security of Nigerians. We will continue to remind the police until justice is done.
Since the news of Dim’s tragic death spread and reverberated like wild fire throughout the nooks and crannies of Nigeria, a lot has been said about the incident and other tragedies as they affect Osumenyi in recent time.
The tragic events that befall Osumenyi Community in Nnewi South L.G.A., Anambra State since September 3, 2009 have made mourners of all of us its citizens. For sometime, the picture of those incidents would be with us.

We should not forget so early the community’s great loss in the gruesome murder of Sir John Okonkwo, Chief Luke Akunedoziobi and the recent killing of Obiajulu Dim. We must also not forget the death of Chief Meshack Umeike (Gwanwannegieziokwu), one of our best and hands who was laid to rest on Friday, 5th November, 2010.
While we deeply commiserate with the affected families, it is high time we as a town grappled with certain truths and realities of our time and go back to basics as one united and indivisible Osumenyi town.
The widow Christiana and mother Esther are hardly consoled. Their mood had been as foul as it steadily nosedived each time grief stricken sympathizers come calling. And it is understandable for a family so close to the bread winner that had been so cruelly plucked away.

Lazarus Dim is the deceased’s father and a businessman. “My son was a man of one side. He didn’t have two sides. What he said here or how he behaves here was how he was everywhere. He stood for the truth at all times. And he often didn’t bother if he made enemies. I never deluded myself to think he didn’t make any enemies because the world is a very dangerous place where people are very jealous of your character or achievements”.
Oh, see how they wasted my brother, said Chukwuemeka Williams Dim, his younger brother. “To use the word good to describe my beloved brother, is an understatement. He never used fist, but words that were stronger than his fist to make you realize your mistake or his stand on any particular issue. All of us were expected to be the best of what we wanted to be.

He was always there for us. There was this example he use to give to us at home, that if anything got missing in the house while he was growing up, our parents never called him because they knew him and his character. The message was that we should be known and trusted for saying the truth no matter the circumstances. “All of us, the siblings imbibed that character to a certain extent. You are expected to do what you had proposed to do at a particular time, and must do it the way you so pledged. We leave the away he died to god to judge.”

Birth and early life
Born in 1970 to the family of Chief Lazarus Okeke Dim and Lolo Esther Ogochukwu Dim (nee Mmadubuobi) in Umu, Dimala of Amihie village, Osumenyi, Nnewi South LGA, Anambra State.
After his early education, he joined his father’s business and later established his own with the support of his father in 1989. With luck on his side and the blessing of God, his business was in not quite a distant time blossomed to converging sister companies with concerns in Civil and Structural Engineering, Merchandizing, Transportation, Petroleum marketing and Real Estate.
With staff strength of over 300 Nigerians, Bro. Obiagulu Maxwell Dim, was saddled with the following companies as Chairman/CEO:

•Diamond Steel Company Limited
•Obi-Links Petroleum Resources Limited, and
•Maxwell Properties Limited
Brother Obiajulu Dim was a strong member of the Evangelical Fellowship of the Anglican Communion (EFAC). A loving husband, caring father and a loyal servant of God. His remains will be interred at the Osumenyi family compound today’s November 26.
Fare thee well Obi. The cowardly hands of kidnappers would never extinguish the candles you lighted in different ways in your life and career. Your sun would always outshine the darkness of the wicked.
We thank our Lord Jesus Christ for your life and service in Him and humanity. We are confident that you are in His bosom.

Sir, Israel the Akajiugo Osumenyi, is boss/mentor to the late Bro. Dim

The National Council of State succumbs to the implementation of the N18,000 minimum wage

The National Council of State on Thursday endorsed the implementation of the N18,000 national minimum wage.
The NCS consequently asked President Goodluck Jonathan to immediately send a bill to the National Assembly to give a legal backing to the new wage.
The council, which is the highest advisory body in the country, took the decision at a meeting in Abuja chaired by Jonathan.
Former Nigerian leaders at the meeting were Alhaji Shehu Shagari, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, Maj.-Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) and Chief Ernest Shonekan.

State governors, who are also members of the council, were in attendance at the meeting, which lasted about five hours.

The endorsement of the minimum wage was not without reservations as some governors raised concerns over their ability to pay.
As a result, the council suggested a “deregulated minimum wage” system that would allow the states pay different wages to their workers.

The NCS, however, noted that relevant sections of the constitution had to be amended to give a legal teeth to a deregulated minimum wage system in the country, in line with the principle of federalism.

Addressing journalists after the meeting, Gombe State Governor, Danjuma Goje, said the council approved the payment of the new wage in the interest of Nigerian workers and the economy.

He added that the NCS was optimistic that the development would end the differences between the government and the organised labour over the issue.

Goje said, “Council deliberated extensively on the issue of the national minimum wage for Nigerian workers and resolved to advise Mr. President to send a bill to the National Assembly requesting it to enact a law on the N18,000 as a minimum wage for workers.

“This is the position of the council and it is done in the interest of the Nigerian workers and in the interest of the economy, so that, at least, our workers will live a very decent life.

“On the issue of legislation that put the minimum wage issue under the exclusive legislative list, the fact is that the resources available to the states in the country are different. While some are rich, others are very poor.

“Secondly, we are operating a federal system; states should be given the leverage to pay their workers in line with the peculiar situation.

“Others can decide to pay N40,000 per month; others can decide to negotiate downward according to their resources

“But that can only be done if the constitution is amended; for now, the minimum wage is binding on all governments and corporate bodies.

“I believe the problem between the government and the labour will be resolved finally. This is the position of the council.”

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, who also spoke with journalsists, admitted that there were concerns over the ability of states to pay the new wage.

“There were concerns, very fair concerns, from all the states about its widespread application of the minimum wage and within the context of the federation,” Fashola said.

However, the governor said that the concerns “are considerations the National Assembly (should) take care of when it discusses the Executive bill on the matter.”

His Akwa-Ibom State counterpart, Chief Godswill Akpabio, said that the council noted that a deregulated minimum wage would be the best approach to ending controversies on minimum wage.

He said, “Council noted the submissions from various states on their ability or otherwise to meet the newly approved minimum wage.

“Council advised that the best approach for any deregulated minimum wage would be to tinker with the present constitutional provision and of course, if the National Assembly wants to effect any amendments, then the states in future could negotiate what their minimum wages will be so that it will reflect the true position of the federation.

“ But in the mean time, what could be applied will be what has been advised, which is N18,000, unless otherwise advised by the National Assembly.”
Reacting, the Nigerian Labour Congress, applauded the NCS action, saying it is up to the National Assembly to ensure that the bill on the minimum wage is passed quickly once it is sent to it by Jonathan.

The Secretary General of the Congress, Mr. John Odah, told one of our correspondents on the telephone that the implementation of the new wage must not fail to commence on December 31.

Odah said, ”We are very excited with the news and commend President Jonathan and all those involved in taking this landmark decision. This decision is obviously a recognition by our leaders of the deplorable purchasing power of Nigerian workers.

“We now expect the National Assembly whose leadership is part of the NCS to expedite action on the passage of the bill so that the new national minimum wage Act becomes operative in December.”

Similarly, the President-General, Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, Mr. Peter Esele, who commended the NCS, said the organised labour received the news with ‘cautious optimism.’

But he assured that there might be no more strikes by the workers because of the new wage.

Esele said, ”It is a welcome development and a joy to Nigerian workers. It also shows that the council listens. We can now guarantee that there will be no further industrial actions because of the new minimum wage provided the Federal Government acts on what we agreed on which is N18,000.

“‘The new wage must become operational by December or the workers will have to ask for arrears.”

Organised Labour had on November 8, commenced a three-day warning strike to protest the delay in the implementation of the new minimum wage.

The strike was, however, suspended the following day following Jonathan’s intervention and promise to send a bill to the National Assembly to give it a legal backing.
The implementation of the new wage, a product of a tripartite Minimum Wage Committee set up by government in 2009, was expected to have started months back.

Meanwhile, investigations by THE PUNCH have revealed that some states — Rivers, Ekiti and Kano— are willing to pay their workers the new wage.

The Senior Special Adviser on Media and Public Relations to the Kano State Governor, Mallam Sule Sule, said that the state government appreciated the contributions of its workers to the development of the state.

But the Ekiti State government said that it would not retrench any of its workers or take a loan to pay the wage.

“No worker will be sacked because of this and no loan will be taken. We will look inward and pay to make our people happy. We have approved new salary for doctors, so, there will not be problem paying the new minimum wage,” the Governor‘s Senior Special Assistant on Media, Mr. Mojeed Jamiu, said.

In Port Harcourt, the Rivers State Commissioner for Information and Communications, Mrs. Ibim Semenitari, said, ”We will pay whatever the Federal Government approves for our suffering workers. We have no intention to sack any worker.”

Obasanjo laughs at Atiku’s emergence as consensus aspirant for the NPLF.

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo on Thursday laughed at the declaration of his erstwhile deputy, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, as the consensus aspirant of the North Political Leaders Forum for the Peoples Democratic Party’s presidential primaries.

Obasanjo’s disagreements with Abubakar led to the latter’s defection from the PDP to the Action Congress (now Action Congress of Nigeria). Abubakar later contested the 2007 presidential election on the AC’s platform but returned to the PDP a few months ago.

When journalists accosted him after a meeting of the National Council of State at the State House, Abuja and asked for comments on the NPLF’s decision, the former president initially refused to speak.

After some prodding, Obasanjo laughed, and said in Pidgin, “I dey laugh o!” He proceeded to laugh comically, to the surprise of the assembled journalists, who waited for more comments on the development.

But Obasanjo did not offer further comments on Abubakar’s suitability for the 2011 presidential election.

Journalists thereafter asked Obasanjo how he had been faring outside the State House, where he held sway for eight years as the country’s president.

He said, “God has always given me happiness; my prayer is that you will always have happiness in life, may God give you all happiness in life.” The journalists responded to the unexpected prayer with a loud “Amen!”

Also speaking, Katsina State Governor, Alhaji Ibrahim Shema, said the North would decide whom to support in the presidential election. Shema, who spoke after the National Council of State meeting, also reacted to Abubakar’s emergence as the NPLF’s consensus aspirant.

A brief exchange between the governor and journalists went as follows:

What is your view on Atiku?

He is a presidential aspirant.

But he is standing in for the North.

You have to ask the North.

But you are a key member of the North.

Yes, I am but you have to ask the North because I am not the only person in the North.

What is your personal view (on the development).

My view - the North will talk.

Also on Thursday, a former head of state, Maj.-Gen. Mohammadu Buhari (retd.), said the call for the zoning of the office of president to the North was a ‘PDP affair.’

Buhari, who is a presidential aspirant on the platform of the Congress for Progressive Change, told newsmen after the council’s meeting that it had nothing to do with his party. Answering journalists’ questions, Buhari said all Nigerians were free to run for any office in the country.

Asked if the CPC would adopt zoning in choosing its presidential candidate, Buhari said, “Zoning is a purely PDP affair, but the CPC’s constituency is the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Anybody, anywhere, can contest for any office he thinks he can achieve.”

Buhari also called on Nigerians to support the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof. Attahiru Jega, in his efforts to conduct free and fair elections in 2011.

When contacted, Abubakar’s spokesman, Mallam Garba Shehu, said the former vice-president’s campaign group did not see Obasanjo’s action as a sign of rejection or mockery.

He said, “If Obasanjo laughed, that means he is happy with Atiku’s emergence. Laughter is a sign of happiness.”

To me the laughter is a mockery one, Because if it was a sign of happiness, he would have expressed it to the full and on the same note declared his support for him. What about other Northern Governors that have refused to speak? I think from the erstwhile President's gesture, one can rightly say that he is not in suport of Atiku's candidacy.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

It is indeed provocative that the FGN cannot approve and implement the N18,000 minimum wage for the Nigerian workers. No wonder The Nigeria Labour Congress has described the delay in implementing the N18,000 national minimum wage by the federal and state governments as been provocative.

Addressing journalists at a news conference in Abuja on Wednesday, the President of NLC, Mr. Abdulwaheed Omar, said that the delay had left the congress with no choice but to demand for salary arrears by the end of this month.

Omar said, “The continued delay in implementing this new wage over a year after the agreement was reached is to say the least, provocative.

“If after the warning strike and the proposed National Council of State meeting, the implementation of the new minimum wage is delayed beyond this month, then labour will have no option but to demand for payment of salary arrears.”

The NCS was expected to meet on Thursday (today) on the minimum wage.

The organised labour had, on November 8, commenced a three-day warning strike to protest the non-implementation of the N18,000 minimum wage but suspended it a day after President Goodluck Jonathan intervened.

Jonathan had lamented that some forces were determined to sabotage the implementation of the new minimum wage. He promised that all stakeholders would approve its implementation.

Omar stated, ”The successful warning strike was avoidable but we had to embark on it because it was clear that there were forces in the country out to sabotage the process.

“The NLC therefore calls on the Council of States to do that which is in the best interest of the country and its people by supporting the N18, 000 national minimum wage agreement,” he added.

Meanwhile, the NLC has said that any attempt by any of the state governors to retrench as a result of the new wage will been seen as blackmail.

The NLC General Secretary, Mr. John Odah, in a text message to one our correspondents, said, “This will be an unacceptable blackmail. We insist that if the state governments manage their resources prudently, they will be able to pay the new minimum wage without having to retrench. The Nigerian ruling establishment needs to realise that for workers to be able to buy what is produced, their take home pay needs to be enhanced. With minimum wage currently at N4,500, this will continue to be a mirage.”

The Opinions of the opposition Political Parties on the new Election Time Table

The Conference of Nigerian Political Parties, the All Nigeria Peoples Party and the Conference for Progressive Change have faulted the new timetable for the 2011 elections released by the Independent National Electoral Commission on Tuesday .
The CNPP and the parties, said in separate interviews with our correspondents on Wednesday, that staggered elections as contained in the timetable, would give undue advantage to some candidates.

Their argument was supported by a former Lagos State Governor, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, who said he might challenge the timetable in court.

The Peoples Democratic Party National Working Committee, however, met for several hours in Abuja on Wednesday over the timetable.

According to the new INEC timetable/guidelines, the National Assembly elections will hold first on April, 2, 2011. They will be followed by the presidential election on April 9, 2011.

The process is expected to end on April 16 with the governorship and state Houses of Assembly elections. Other details of the election schedule show that campaigns by political parties will begin on December 1, 2010.

The party primaries will start on January 1, 2011 while the last day for the submission of forms CF001 and CF 002 (affidavit and personal particulars of candidates for all elections) is January 31, 2011.

INEC, however, defended the timetable, saying it was based on the provisions of the 2010 Electoral Act.

Reacting, the CPC, through its National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Dennis Aghanya, said “the fresh timetable for the 2011 elections would yield a better result if the elections are to be held in one day.”

He added that “with the new timetable, there may be an undue advantage to some people because the outcome of the first election will naturally have influence over subsequent elections.”

His ANPP counterpart, Mr. Emmanuel Enugwu, said “Our party has said that the 2011 elections should be held on the same day.”

He argued that holding the elections on the same day would “reduce the bandwagon effect of those whose elections are done from influencing other elections.”

Pointing out that “all general elections held in Nigeria on the same day did not fail us,” Enugwu said that “staggered elections are always fraught with problems.”

Also, the National Publicity Secretary of the CNPP, Mr. Osaita Okechukwu, believes that with modern equipment, all the elections should have been scheduled for the same day.

According to him, doing so “will save cost, and prevent distortions and manipulations of the electoral process through a bandwagon effect.”

Okechukwu added that even if the elections were staggered, the House of Assembly poll should be the first to be held.

He said, “We had expected the lowest legislative unit poll to come first in accordance with the known sequence of elections in the country.

“It is unfortunate that Prof. Attahiru Jega (INEC chairman) played into the hands of the National Assembly members. We don’t know a sequence that comes from top to bottom instead of bottom to top. There is no pass mark for INEC for the sequence of the 2010 elections.”

In Lagos, Tinubu, who is also a chieftain of the Action Congress of Nigeria, said the staggering of the elections did not embrace what he called the spirit of federalism.

Tinubu spoke with journalists after a thanksgiving service to mark the presentation of Most Revd. Adebola Ademowo as the Dean of the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion.

He said that INEC merely adopted a guideline contained in the Electoral Act passed by the National Assembly.

He said, “I disagree with the order of the election, as stated in the Electoral Act. By federalism principle, power is derived from bottom up. It should begin with the election of the state Houses of Assembly and governorship , then followed by the National Assembly.

“That of the President should be the last election. That is how power is derived; from bottom up. To now make the gubernatorial election last and the presidential in the middle according to the Electoral Act is not the way it should be.

“If I have my way, I will challenge it. I will have to challenge any Electoral Act that interferes or is perceived to have interfered with the independence of INEC. It is a constitutional issue for this country.”

But the Chief Press Secretary to the INEC chairman, Mr. Kayode Idowu, told one of our correspondents in Abuja, that INEC had no choice than to rely on the provisions of the Electoral Act in picking the dates for the elections.

He said, “We know of complaints and argument from some quarters but it is not our fault, everything we do is as provided for in the Act and the 1999 Constitution.

“You will see that each activity in the timetable as scheduled is backed by law and the chairman was quoting the relevant sections that guided our action.

“We can’t go out of our way to do anything that is illegal. Everything we do is as contained in the extant electoral law.”

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


The Former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar has assured Nigerians of his determination to give purposeful leadership that would galvanise all Nigerians to turn around the fortunes of the nation.
Addressing journalists yesterday at the Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Centre in Abuja, Atiku who on Monday emerged as the anointed candidate of the Northern Political Leaders Forum (NPLF) for the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP) presidential ticket declared that the battle for the 2011 presidential election has just begun, as he scored the incumbent, Dr Goodluck Jonathan low on economic performance. Former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar on Tuesday said President Goodluck Jonathan’s declaration to pick the Peoples Democratic Party’s ticket for the 2011 presidential election came to Northern elders as a ‘rude shock. But is it really so?

“The struggle to pick the PDP ticket has just commenced; we must redouble our efforts. We shall prevail because we are on the path of honour, honesty and sincerity.
“Why is our budget not being implemented? Why is it that this present administration has been depleting our foreign reserves? Why is it taking us back to the era of foreign debt accumulation? We need a new leadership and that’s why I am offering myself for service. I am ready to provide the leadership needed to realize that vision. By the grace of God, we shall make good things happen. The real battle has just started,’’ he declared.

He assured the other presidential aspirants who were screened by the Mallam Adamu Ciroma Committee of his readiness to seek their support at all times in the battle ahead, as he disclosed his readiness to integrate their campaign teams into his own.
“I feel humbled to have been chosen and I commend the NPLF for their patriotism and commend the other aspirants. They are all qualified and their willingness to abide by the NPLF’s decision shows their sincerity, selflessness and commitment to the sustenance of democracy. I will continue to count on their support in the struggle ahead.”

In his veiled reaction to insinuations that he was a sectional candidate, having emerged through a platform instituted by the North, the former Action Congress (AC) presidential candidate submitted that the desperate efforts by a group within the PDP to jettison a collective agreement informed the initiative of the NPLF. ‘Zoning, rotation have never been perfect , but a mechanism to ensure that every section of the country, especially the minority have a say in the administration of the country. In 2002, it was reaffirmed and our current president was at the meeting. It was a rude shock to Northern leaders when indications emerged that Jonathan would seek the presidential ticket on the platform of our party, the PDP.

“We were alarmed. It was that concern that led to the formation of NPLF to alert Nigerians to the danger of President Jonathan’s ambition to the corporate existence of Nigeria. Those behind him are prepared to use the power of incumbency to achieve their aim, even if it means tearing the nation apart.
“The 2011 election isn’t about North/South divide; it is about honour, about fairness. That our words should be our bond.’’ Those who attended the press briefing were Dr Udenta Udenta, Senator Ben Obi, Dr Raymond Dokpesi and Mr Chris Mammah, the Directors-Generals of Dr. Olusola Saraki, General Aliyu Gusau, General Ibrahim Babangida and Alhaji Atiku Abubakar campaign organisations, respectively.
Others were former Senate President, Senator Ken Nnamani, Alhaji Lawal Kaita, Professor Sam Oyovbaire, among others.
But on the long run has Goodluck performed badly? that is a question that is worthy of an answer. The zoning of the presidency is a mistake made as at that time by the PDP which no reasonable mind should adhere to. T struggle continues as we wait and pray for the most credible prudent leader to emerge. We therefore encourage the
every Nigerian, Men nd Women to join Professor Atahiru Jega's opinion of mass registration and vote exercise when the time comes.