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Premium Times

Former Head of State, Muhammadu Buhari, on Tuesday said President Goodluck Jonathan and the Federal Government were hatching a plot to arrest him.

Speaking to PREMIUM TIMES via his closest political associate and national secretary of his party, Buba Galadima, Mr. Buhari said the presidency and the ruling party were already preparing the ground to harass, arrest and incarcerate him.

“They are just trying to give us a bad name in order to hang us,” Mr. Galadima told this newspaper in a telephone interview. “We know that they are already planning to arrest the General and I, they are just preparing grounds for their actions.”

Mr Buhari was reacting to statements issued by the the presidency and the national headquarters of the Peoples Democratic Party describing him as a serial election loser and blood thirsty politician, who is in the habit of inciting his supporters to violence.

The PDP and the presidency issued the statements in reaction to comments attributed to Mr. Buhari on Monday where he said the Nigerian government, led by President Goodluck Jonathan of the ruling PDP, is more deadly than the extremist Boko Haram sect and that any attempt to rig the 2015 election would be firmly resisted.

In its statement, released at a hurriedly convened press conference, the PDP said the leader of the opposition Congress for Progressive Change had become unstable and is being haunted by what it described as “combat withdrawal syndrome.”

The party also described the retired army general as excessively blood thirsty.

Shortly afterwards, the presidency came out smoking describing Mr. Buhari as a serial election looser renowned for inciting Nigerians to violence.

But speaking to PREMIUM TIMES after the statements were released, Mr. Buhari said rather than him, it was the PDP and the Jonathan-led Federal Government that were the real threat to peace in the country.

“It is those who organise the rigging of elections that are trying to disrupt the peace, not Buhari,” the former head of state said, through Mr. Galadima.

Mr. Galadima also said the PDP and the presidency only came up with the allegations because the government “is planning to arrest Buhari and I, and so they are using Monday’s remarks as an excuse.”

“It is not General that is threatening peace, rather it is the action of the PDP that is leading to bloodbath, they have infected us with bloodbath,” he added.

In its statement, the PDP said such remarks by Mr. Buhari was capable of “inciting people to take the law into their hands” adding that it was the same sort of remark that the retired general made prior to the last presidential election that led to “a spate of bloody post-election violence across six states of the federation”.

The party also claimed that a 22-man panel raised by the government to investigate the causes of the post-election violence under the leadership of Ahmed Lemu “confirmed that Buhari’s provocative remarks played a significant role in the bloody violence that led to the death of at least 200 people, gruesomely injuring thousands and the displacement of more than 40,000 people.”

The PDP said although it believed in freedom of speech, assembly and association, it is also of the view that such freedom comes with responsibilities.

The party said it “condemn in no uncertain terms this shameful call for the spill of blood of innocent Nigerians to acquire political power”.

“What Nigeria needs right now is ‘evolution’ in the true spirit of democracy. The utterances of General Buhari, a former military Head of State is truly, undemocratic, unpatriotic and un-statesmanly,” it added.

The ruling party continued, “Buhari’s pre-election utterances were misconstrued by his supporters to engage in the condemnable mayhem that greeted the aftermath of the presidential elections. Buhari never apologized to the nation or to the families of the victims. Today, Buhari is again engaged in another build up of massive bloodletting and destruction”.

However, shortly after the press conference by the PDP, the presidency also issued a statement describing the former head of state as “a serial election loser who has never taken his past election defeats graciously even when such elections were generally acknowledged to be free and fair.”

The statement also described the comments by the retired general referring to the Jonathan government as Boko Haram as unfortunate.

“The Federal Government led by President Jonathan is not Boko Haram. Boko Haram means Western Education is sin. That being the case, one wonders how a government that devoted the largest sectoral allocation in the 2012 budget to education could be said to be Boko Haram,” presidential spokesperson, Reuben Abati said.

The Federal government, Mr. Abati said, can “ now challenge Major General Buhari to tell Nigerians what he has done, whether in his capacity as the head of a military junta or in his private capacity, to bring education to vulnerable children. If he cannot live up to this challenge, perhaps he has to reassess who really is Boko Haram”.

Mr. Abati also said the government was particularly disturbed by Mr. Buhari’s remarks in which he said that “Since the leaders now don’t listen to anybody but do whatever they wish, there is nothing the north can do.”

“We find it very sad that an elder statesman who once presided over the entirety of Nigeria can reduce himself to a regional leader who speaks for only a part of Nigeria,” Mr. Abati added.

“When Buhari says that “if what happens in 2011 should again happen in 2015, by the grace of God, ‘the dog and the baboon would all be soaked in blood”, we hereby state that it is Buhari himself who does not listen.

“He has obviously refused to listen to the Nigerian People, the European Union, the Commonwealth Monitoring Group, the African Union and a multitude of independent electoral monitors who testified that the 2011 elections were free and fair and “the best elections since Nigeria returned to civil rule.

“Finally, we wish to make it known to Buhari that given his reference to “dogs and baboons”, perhaps his best course of action would be to travel to the zoo of his imagination because President Goodluck Jonathan was elected by human beings to preside over human beings and it is human beings who will determine what happens in Nigeria at any material time not “dogs and baboons”.

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Not for the first time,Former Head of State and Presidential flag bearer of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) in the last elections, General Muhammadu Buhari, has drawn the ire of the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP), while warning that unless the 2015 polls are free and fair, there could be violence.

Buhari made this assertion in his Kaduna office on Monday, while receiving his party supporters from Niger State. Buhari had also thrown a missile the Federal Government’s way, accusing the first tier of Government for being behind the spate of bombings in the country overtly or covertly.

But not to be outdone, the PDP has hit back in a Press Release just made available to us and signed by it’s National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh. In the Release, the PDP called Buhari “The architect of his previous misfortunes” at the polls, alongside other denigrating adjectives.

Below is a full text of the Press Release:

“The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) finds it very disturbing that General Muhammadu Buhari, former Head of State and presidential candidate of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) is once again inciting people to take the law into their hands; inciting Nigerians to slaughter fellow Nigerians as he did sequel to the 2011 general elections.

Gentlemen, we need to remind ourselves that on April 21, 2012, Buhari was reported in the media as predicting a bloody revolution in 2015. The reports in the national dailies today quoting the same retired General as repeating that blood will flow in 2015 is another build-up to Buhari’s relish of funeral train.

While PDP cherishes freedom of speech, assembly and association as the custodian of Nigeria’s democracy, we at that same time know that such freedom goes with immense responsibilities. We condemn in no uncertain terms this shameful call for the spill of blood of innocent Nigerians to acquire political power.

We appreciate Buhari’s frustration and antagonism towards the PDP. He has lost three times at the polls. But is Buhari really a democrat? Why is the blood of innocent Nigerians the only thing sufficient to quench his thirst for power?

What Nigeria needs right now is ‘evolution’ in the true spirit of democracy. The utterances of General Buhari, a former military Head of State is truly, undemocratic, unpatriotic and un-statesmanly.

It is on record that Nigeria is yet to recover from the huge losses it suffered due to such reckless and provocative remarks by Buhari before the 2011 general elections which led to a spate of bloody post-election violence across six states of the federation.

The 22-man panel of enquiry led by Sheikh Ahmed Lemu confirmed that Buhari’s provocative remarks played a significant role in the bloody violence that led to the death of at least 200 people, gruesomely injuring thousands and the displacement of more than 40,000 people.

The panel categorically stated that Buhari’s pre-election utterances were misconstrued by his supporters to engage in the condemnable mayhem that greeted the aftermath of the presidential elections. Buhari never apologized to the nation or to the families of the victims. Today, Buhari is again engaged in another the build up of massive bloodletting and destruction.

Nigerians should be worried over Buhari’s quest for power by all means as he begins chanting his old war song once again. We have no doubt that Buhari is suffering from combat withdrawal syndrome. We therefore urge the federal government to allow him to lead the ECOWAS military contingent to Mali or Guinea Bissau to enable him an opportunity to exorcise the bloodletting demons apparently haunting him.

As a basis for his inciting the public to take the law into their hands, Buhari has consistently said PDP government is not interested in transparency and social justice. To him, justice is only done when his party wins. Where it doesn’t, the PDP’s machinations will be blamed. He has repeatedly cited the Igabi local government, in Kaduna state, as an example of where free and fair election was conducted, simply because CPC won.

On the issue of corruption, we challenge Buhari to prove to Nigerians that only PDP members are corrupt. Before he does that, we want to remind him that the various sector probes going on at the National Assembly, most of which were initiated by PDP legislators, is enough testimony that PDP government will not tolerate inefficiencies and waste in government operations. Maybe it is high time Buhari confessed to Nigeria the truth about the missing 28 suitcases.

As a country ruled by military governments for more than half of its 50 years as a nation, political reforms need to be evolutionary not revolutionary. Part of this evolution is the PDP government’s renewed fight for accountability and transparency in governance as the foundation of comprehensive political reforms. This commitment is not in response to pressure from international development partners, western nations or opposition parties. It is a new mindset of the PDP leadership who seek to provide maximum value to Nigerian taxpayers on all matters of state. It is a mindset that recognizes the paramount importance of the affairs of the state to be more important than political party affiliations, ethnic jingoism and religious differences.

Political reform is a journey, not a destination. Even the richest and most technologically advanced countries in the world continue to evolve and make progress in political reforms. Nigeria, the second-largest economy in the African continent is, indeed, making a decisive stride towards political, economic and legal reforms if only the likes of Buhari will allow us be.

Unfortunately, bad losers like Buhari are determined to truncate the journey in this right direction by advocating violence and civil unrest. The April 16, 2011 presidential election, which Buhari is still agonizing over, was, according to official results from the INEC, won by the PDP’s candidate, President Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, with 57 percent of the vote. All International and domestic observers hailed the presidential election as credible. The Africa Union, the ECOWAS, the European Union, the European Parliament, the U.S. National Democratic Institute, the U.S. International Republican Institute and the Commonwealth Secretariat observer teams acknowledged the election as transparent and credible. For once the world agreed that Nigeria had taken a credible step towards political stability.

Buhari should stop seeing PDP as the evil genius behind his failure. He was the architect of his own misfortune, as he and his party, CPC, headed to the 2011 election unprepared, with very weak party structures in more than three-quarter of Nigerian states at a time his campaign organization was in disarray over who controls the party.

PDP is always mystified whenever Buhari talks about political transparency, because it is an open secret that when it comes to politicking, negotiations and compromises, Buhari lacks any capacity to engage. He always behaves like a dictator and is accustomed to dishing out orders. That was why many members saw his joining the ANPP, in the first place, as the genesis of its in-house crises. It was indeed a curse rather than a blessing to the party; because before he joined the party it was able to win nine gubernatorial seats. But while he was there, it lost six states.

It is unfortunate that at this time of grave security challenge while Nigerians are burying their dead and counting their losses, Gen. Buhari, who wants to rule them, is further inflaming the orgy of violence. What a blood thirsty leader in Buhari!

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) calls on well-meaning Nigerians, especially the Northern elders to call Buhari to order and ask him to spare the nation his thirst for blood”.

Signed

Chief Olisa Metuh

National Publicity Secretary,

Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)

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Sahara Reporters

Sources in several state governments as well as the Federal Ministry of Finance have disclosed to SaharaReporters that Nigeria’s cash flow woes appear to be worsening. For the second month in a row, the Nigerian government was unable to meet the schedule for disbursing monthly allocations from the federation account to states.

Our sources accused President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration of depleting the country’s foreign reserves and recklessly overspending budgeted funds.

One source revealed that the Federal Ministry of Finance has paid March monthly allocations only to some states. The allocations for April and May 2012 remain unpaid. As a result of what some of the sources described as a major cash flow crisis, many civil servants and National Youth Corps members have yet to receive their April salaries or allowances.

In addition, the meeting of the Federal Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC) has been postponed indefinitely after the secretariat said the earlier meeting scheduled for today and tomorrow was no longer feasible. SaharaReporters obtained a text message announcing the cancellation of the meeting. Sent by Philip K. Angulu, the terse message apologized to recipients for any inconveniences caused by the postponement.

SaharaReporters learnt that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has not been able to make regular payments to the federation accounts as oil marketers and corporation are now deducting their share of profit in offshore accounts to avoid dealing with local bureaucratic bottlenecks.

A source within the Presidency described Mr. Jonathan as a confused pawn in the hands of members of his security team who manipulate him to approve huge “security votes” for the so-called fight against terrorism. “Many of the president’s security advisers just keep deceiving him into releasing more and more cash to them – and they have nothing to show for it,” said the source.

Another source in the Central Bank told SaharaReporters that fuel marketers continue to defraud Nigerians with undocumented and fraudulent claims. “As we speak, I can tell you that the government has virtually spent this year’s budget for fuel subsidies – and we are only in the middle of May,” said the source. He added, “Nigerians are calling on President Jonathan to prosecute those who committed fraud in collecting fuel subsidies in the past. They don’t know that the fraud has actually increased this year.”

One of our sources accused Christopher Kolade, the chairman of the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment (SURE) Committee, of deliberately misleading Nigerians when he claimed that N60 billion has been saved for the implementation of the phantom palliative program put in place by Mr. Jonathan’s government to pacify Nigerians who thronged the streets of Nigerian and foreign cities in January to protest the removal of fuel subsidy. “Dr. Kolade knows that no such fund exists,” said the source, a ranking official in the federal government.

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For years, Gac Filipaj mopped floors, cleaned toilets and took out trash at Columbia University.

A refugee from war-torn Yugoslavia, he eked out a living working for the Ivy League school. But Sunday was payback time: The 52-year-old janitor donned a cap and gown to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in classics.

As a Columbia employee, he didn’t have to pay for the classes he took. His favorite subject was the Roman philosopher and statesman Seneca, the janitor said during a break from his work at Lerner Hall, the student union building he cleans.

“I love Seneca’s letters because they’re written in the spirit in which I was educated in my family — not to look for fame and fortune, but to have a simple, honest, honorable life,” he said.

His graduation with honors capped a dozen years of studies, including readings in ancient Latin and Greek.

“This is a man with great pride, whether he’s doing custodial work or academics,” said Peter Awn, dean of Columbia’s School of General Studies and professor of Islamic studies. “He is immensely humble and grateful, but he’s one individual who makes his own future.”

Bollinger presided over a ceremony in which General Studies students received their graduation certificates. They also can attend Wednesday’s commencement of all Columbia graduates, most of whom are in their 20s.

Filipaj wasn’t much older in 1992 when he left Montenegro, then a Yugoslav republic facing a brutal civil war.

An ethnic Albanian and Roman Catholic, he left his family farm in the tiny village of Donja Klezna outside the city of Ulcinj because he was about to be drafted into the Yugoslav army led by Serbs, who considered many Albanians their enemy.

He fled after almost finishing law school in Belgrade, Yugoslavia’s capital, where he commuted for years by train from Montenegro.

At first in New York, his uncle in the Bronx offered him shelter while he worked as a restaurant busboy.

“I asked people, which are the best schools in New York?” he says. Since Columbia topped his list, “I went there to see if I could get a job.”

Part of his $22-an-hour janitor’s pay still goes back to his brother, sister-in-law and two kids in Montenegro. Filipaj has no computer, but he bought one for the family, whose income comes mostly from selling milk.

Filipaj also saves by not paying for a cellphone; he can only be reached via landline.

He wishes his father were alive to enjoy his achievement. The elder Filipaj died in April, and the son flew over for the funeral, returning three days later for work and classes.

To relax at home, he enjoys an occasional cigarette and some “grappa” brandy.

“And if I have too much, I just go to sleep,” he says, laughing.

During an interview with The Associated Press in a Lerner Hall conference room, Filipaj didn’t show the slightest regret or bitterness about his tough life. Instead, he cheerfully described encounters with surprised younger students who wonder why their classmate is cleaning up after them.

“They say, ‘Aren’t you…?'” he said with a grin.

His ambition is to get a master’s degree, maybe even a Ph.D., in Roman and Greek classics. Someday, he hopes to become a teacher, while translating his favorite classics into Albanian.

For now, he’s trying to get “a better job,” maybe as supervisor of custodians or something similar, at Columbia if possible.

He’s not interested in furthering his studies to make more money.

“The richness is in me, in my heart and in my head, not in my pockets,” said Filipaj, who is now an American citizen.

Soon after, the feisty, 5-foot-4 janitor picked up a broom and dustpan and went back to
Filipaj was accepted at Columbia after first learning English; his mother tongue is Albanian.

For Filipaj, the degree comes after years of studying late into the night in his Bronx apartment, where he’d open his books after a 2:30-11 p.m. shift as a “heavy cleaner” — his job title. Before exam time or to finish a paper, he’d pull all-nighters, then go to class in the morning and then to work.

On Sunday morning in the sun-drenched grassy quad of Columbia’s Manhattan campus, Filipaj flashed a huge smile and a thumbs-up as he walked off the podium after a handshake from Columbia President Lee Bollinger.

Later, Filipaj got a big hug from his boss, Donald Schlosser, Columbia’s assistant vice president for campus operations.

Bollinger presided over a ceremony in which General Studies students received their graduation certificates. They also can attend Wednesday’s commencement of all Columbia graduates, most of whom are in their 20s.

Filipaj wasn’t much older in 1992 when he left Montenegro, then a Yugoslav republic facing a brutal civil war.

An ethnic Albanian and Roman Catholic, he left his family farm in the tiny village of Donja Klezna outside the city of Ulcinj because he was about to be drafted into the Yugoslav army led by Serbs, who considered many Albanians their enemy.

He fled after almost finishing law school in Belgrade, Yugoslavia’s capital, where he commuted for years by train from Montenegro.

At first in New York, his uncle in the Bronx offered him shelter while he worked as a restaurant busboy.

“I asked people, which are the best schools in New York?” he says. Since Columbia topped his list, “I went there to see if I could get a job.”

Part of his $22-an-hour janitor’s pay still goes back to his brother, sister-in-law and two kids in Montenegro. Filipaj has no computer, but he bought one for the family, whose income comes mostly from selling milk.

Filipaj also saves by not paying for a cellphone; he can only be reached via landline.

He wishes his father were alive to enjoy his achievement. The elder Filipaj died in April, and the son flew over for the funeral, returning three days later for work and classes.

To relax at home, he enjoys an occasional cigarette and some “grappa” brandy.

“And if I have too much, I just go to sleep,” he says, laughing.

During an interview with The Associated Press in a Lerner Hall conference room, Filipaj didn’t show the slightest regret or bitterness about his tough life. Instead, he cheerfully described encounters with surprised younger students who wonder why their classmate is cleaning up after them.

“They say, ‘Aren’t you…?'” he said with a grin.

His ambition is to get a master’s degree, maybe even a Ph.D., in Roman and Greek classics. Someday, he hopes to become a teacher, while translating his favorite classics into Albanian.

For now, he’s trying to get “a better job,” maybe as supervisor of custodians or something similar, at Columbia if possible.

He’s not interested in furthering his studies to make more money.

“The richness is in me, in my heart and in my head, not in my pockets,” said Filipaj, who is now an American citizen.

Soon after, the feisty, 5-foot-4 janitor picked up a broom and dustpan and went back to work.

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The above picture says it all.

You may have heard such stories about villages and communities that where it happens. But until you see a cast iron proof, it remains what it is: mere stories. Well it happended in Kenya and the video was posted on Youtube three days ago. A Kenyan man (in blue jeans and white

T.Shirt in the video) suspecting his wife was cheating on him went to a witch doctor who applied black magic on the wife. The unsuspecting wife went to a guest house to meet her lover and while having sex, the two got stuck….for hours.

Their ordeal attracted a large crowd, plus the police who couldn’t do anything for them. Eventually the lover agreed to pay the husband a huge some of money in compensation, then a pastor was called to pray for them and they were finally separated. Sounds unbelievable right? Look at the picture again.

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National Security Adviser Andrew Owoye Azazi yesterday said Nigeria would be better off if it stays united because each region has a role to play for the prosperity of the nation.

“Nigeria is better off together than in isolation from each other region. The achievement of prosperity is easier when we pursue it collectively,” Azazi said in a keynote address at the Northern Transformation and Empowerment Impact Summit in Kaduna yesterday.

Azazi was represented by his Special Adviser on Economic Intelligence, Professor Soji Adelaja.

He said the progress of Northern Nigeria was important for Nigeria to advance and compete favourably in the global community.

“While many may not fully appreciate the magnitude of the challenges of dealing with security issues that plague us, General Azazi certainly does. Many people wish that there is quick fix of the security challenges but all most understand that no magic wand can make up for long-term failure of our nation to be proactive and anticipatory about terrorism,” he said.

“We cannot as a nation to leave any region behind. Some of the root causes of unrest and the feeling of dissatisfaction among citizens are economic hardship and the lack of economic opportunity. This is the case not only in the North, but all over Nigeria,” he added.

Also speaking, Kaduna State Governor Patrick Yakowa said it was regrettable that the North with all its landmass and natural resources has been unable to turn such advantages into economic development.

The governor, represented by his commissioner of Economic Planning Timothy Gandu, said, “The incongruity in the whole situation is that the North seems to be rather leading in poverty, unemployment, illiteracy and only recently insecurity.”

He added: “The security challenge is threatening the stability, growth, unity and economic boost that we all crave for in the North are precariously dangling before our eyes and I am urging you to firmly take them and ensure that the drift in certain sectors of the region is halted.”

Fist republic minister, Alhaji Yusuf Maitama Sule, said justice and fair play were the solution to the insecurity in the North.

“We started very well in the North with good leaders that work for all. The North of everybody, the North of Muslims and Christians. For peace to reign, there must be justice. Justice is what brings peace, justice is what bring about development. Behind every crisis, there is injustice,” he said.

Former military administrator of Kaduna State, Colonel Hameed Ali, said for the North to address the present challenges, disunity among the people must be addressed.

“We are facing these challenges because we are not united and until will address this we will continue to have this problem,” he said.

Declaring open the workshop, Vice President Namadi Sambo called on Nigerians to live in peace with one another. Sambo was represented by the Deputy Governor of Kaduna state, Alhaji Mukhtar Ramalan Yero.

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Daily Trust

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Leaders of the Republican party have responded mildly to the historic endorsement of gay marriage by President Barack Obama, countering that the White House was attempting to shift attention away from a sluggish economy.

“You’re going to find, throughout this campaign season, that the president’s team will be doing everything in their power to try and hold up very shiny objects,” likely presidential nominee Mitt Romney said in a Fox News interview.

Obama spent much of Thursday fundraising on the West Coast and attended a benefit at the home of actor George Clooney, which was expected to raise $15 million for his campaign.

Meanwhile, on Capitol Hill, House Speaker John Boehner charged that the White House was trying to turn attention from more important issues. He scoffed when asked about House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s assertion that the GOP was in jeopardy of falling on the wrong side of history on the gay-marriage issue.

Boehner wasn’t biting when asked how big a role the issue would play in the November election. The “president can talk about it all he wants,” he said. “I’m going to stay focused on what the American people want us to stay focused on, and that’s jobs.”

In the Fox interview earlier in the day, Romney lamented that the mainstream media were losing sight of essential issues.

“I think at some point in this campaign we’ll talk about things like the economy and energy, labor policy, Syria, Iran. I’m hoping at some point the mainstream media is able to get around to those kinds of topics,” said Romney, who reiterated his support for a federal amendment that would define marriage as between a man and a woman.

Obama campaign spokeswoman Lis Smith said Romney’s previous assertion that states should be able to decide what rights to give gay and lesbian couples conflicts with his call for such an amendment, which would “roll back marriage equality laws that states already have in place,” she said.

Larry Sabato, director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia, said the Republicans have been relatively muted on the gay marriage endorsement for good reason.

“They have to keep the focus on the economy,” he said. “Talking about anything else is a distraction from the one issue they believe will help them win.”

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After eight months on a controversial suspension that brought the nation’s judiciary to disrepute, Ayo Salami, who headed the federal Court of Appeal, was on Thursday recalled by the National Judicial Council, ending months of bickering and intrigues.

The National Judicial Council, the highest decision making body of the judiciary, voted 10 to 8, to reinstate Mr. Salami, confirming Premium Times’ earlier reports which quoted senior officials informed about the decision, hinting on his recall.

The decision, a source said, has been communicated to President Goodluck Jonathan, and a formal presidential order for his reinstatement is expected to be issued over the next few days.

Mr. Salami was sacked by the NJC under the former Chief Justice of the Federation, Aloysius Katsina-Alu, over what appeared more of a personality clash between the two heads of the appeal court, and the Supreme Court.

The episode, which sparked court battles and allegations of disregard for court orders by the very custodians of such orders, turned out amongst the most scathing in the annals of Nigeria’s judiciary history.

President Jonathan was condemned for approving Mr. Salami’s removal and appointing a replacement even when the case was in court and had not been properly investigated.

The suspension on August 18, 2011, was partly based on Mr. Salami’s refusal to be elevated to the Supreme Court, and also, on his decision to address the media, accusing the former CJN, Mr. Katsina-Alu, of attempting to interfere in the Sokoto governorship election case that was before the Appeal Court.

After Mr. Katsina- Alu’s exit in October, the new Chief Justice of the Federation, Dahiru Musdapher ordered a review of the decision by a three-member committee headed by retired Justice Mamman Nasir(former PCA), under a broader judicial reform committee led by former CJN, Mohammed Uwais.

Other committees constituted by Mr. Katsina-Alu, had earlier found Mr. Salami not guilty of the accusations, but their recommendations were not acted on.

But more than the previous panels, the Nasir committee criticized Mr. Salami’s removal and upheld his allegation that the feud all started with his refusal to influence the outcome of the Sokoto case which the CJN, Mr. Katsina-Alu had asked to be “put on hold.”

“It became evident that Katsina-Alu CJN’s administrative decision that the case should be put on hold, should not.. be made by him. In any case, the CJN should not in the first place have written direct to the Justices in Sokoto judicial division as the power to do so lies in the PCA,” the Nasir committee wrote.

The reinstatement was long expected early 2012. But despite the series of reports clearing him, the effort continued to draw stiff opposition within the judicial ranks.

Since the reports were released late 2011, three meetings to discuss the case were put off after some members of the judicial council failed to reach a position on the terms of his recall.

Officials said even if Mr. Salami were recalled, he would not spend beyond three months in office.

“The fact is the Justice Salami’s ordeal has terribly polarized the judiciary, and generated a lot of bad blood,” our source continued. “So it was decided that he should retire three months after returning to office so normalcy can return to the judiciary once and for all,” a source close to the committee told Premium Times then.

It is not yet clear whether his eventual recall on Thursday came on the same terms.

Premium Times

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The Nation Newspaper

Unkwown to the investing public, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) – supervisors of the Nigeria Stock Exchange (NSE) – has been held down by self-inflicted ailments, which obviously slowed down its battle to revive the troubled stock market.

SEC Director-General Ms Arunma Oteh seems to have been acting alone, going by yesterday’s proceedings at the House of Representatives hearing on the near-collapse of the Capital Market – once touted as the world’s fastest growing by its major players.

The gulf between the DG and her executive team was exposed as Oteh was left to defend her actions all alone. Besides, the Executive Commissioners reeled out reasons for the division in the Commission.

The entire Executive team denied knowledge of the Road map to making the capital market world class. Only Executive Commissioner (Operations) Daisy Ekina said part of her presentation for the DG shortly on her assumption of office was in the Road Map.

Ekina and Executive Commissioner (Legal and Enforcement) Charles Udora said that the staff were unhappy with Oteh’s management style and that trust and team work were no longer part of the work ethics of the organisation.

Udora also faulted the status accorded contract staff by the Commission as regular workers felt short-changed in remuneration and other welfare matters.

Ekina noted that the morale of the staff had been at its lowest since Oteh’s assumption of office, adding: “What I can confirm is that the morale is low, there is mistrust among the staff.”

The Commissioner in charge of Finance and Administration, Sani Stores, decried lack of respect from the leadership, saying since respect is reciprocal, the management should imbibe the culture of respect for one another to develop the organisation.

Ekineh, Udora and Executive Commissioner (Stores) Alhaji Lawan Sani, denied knowledge of the engagement of two officials of Access Bank PLC on secondment.

Udora alleged that there was a total breakdown of official communication, mutual disrespect and mistrust and the tendency to run a one-man show by Oteh.

He said the engagement of contract staff at the commission was affecting the morale of staff.

“There was a young man who graduated in 1998 and was made a director. The contract system that we have has created friction among the staff.

“We seem to be in a situation of regulatory comatose. Our staff are no longer giving us what we need to regulate the market.”

Ekineh said there was need for the leaders to respect their subordinates.

“I will agree that there is a dysfunction because we have not been working as a team. I would suggest that we should communicate more, face-to-face instead of text messages.’’

Oteh made no comment on the allegations and way forward proffered by her team.

Oteh said she was not aware that two Access Bank officials were owing the defunct Intercontinental Bank N16b when the latter was acquired.

The SEC boss maintained that conflict of interest was not a factor in the acquisition of the two banks, but the Committee was shocked at the classification of the N8b realised by Union Bank on its IPO as a loss.

Oteh disclosed the strategies being put in place to reposition and foster unity within SEC as well as turn the capital market into a world class market.

Oteh, who appeared before the Committee in compliance with its directive on Tuesday, replying to a question by a member of the Committee, Bimbo Daramola, said she was not aware that the Group Managing Director (GMD) and the Deputy Managing Director (DMD) of Access Bank were owing Intercontinental Bank N16b.

“As individuals or as in their official capacities in the bank, I am not aware,” she said.

The committee asked that should it be discovered that those two actually owed Intercontinental Bank, whether the DG would still believe that her approval of that acquisition was correct?

Oteh said: “The basis of approval of the scheme document is not just on that, but has a lot of issues and in each case you work on case-by-case basis. So, I would not be able to say to you what will be my decision today because we will have to go through the process on specific circumstances and take a decision on that basis.”

The Committee also tasked the DG on the morality behind the engagement of two Access Bank officials by SEC, but she insisted that conflict of interest was no issue.

“On whether we compromise on the engagement of the two officials, laid down rules and procedures have been strictly complied with by the SEC since January 2010, including the processing of any transaction related to Access Bank.

“The seconded officials were the Project Advisers, in charge of managing our facilities because we have had challenges in the management of our offices, and the other a Communications Assistant,” the DG said.

She said the two officials were taken, based on their competence in assets management and expansion as well as branding, adding that it was felt that their skills would be useful in the planned capital market resources centres, where any Nigerian can walk into and be educated about the capital market.

“The choice of these two people were in the areas not in our regulatory functions. These Access Bank employees have no connection with the core regulatory functions of the Commission in any manner as to create a conflict of interest.

“In fact, Access Bank has been very open about this and disclosed details of this specific secondment in its 2010 annual report,” she added.

Oteh noted that several private sector companies were contacted on the kind of expertise required by SEC and that direct recruitment of staff by the SEC would have taken too long a time. Besides, the DG added, due process was followed in the recruitment.

She affirmed that it was a management decision to engage the two bankers and that SEC’s Human Resources Unit handled the recruitment. She was not directly involved in the selection of the two bankers, Oteh said.

While she held on to her affirmation that the decision to take on the two bankers was jointly taken by the SEC Executive Commissioners, the Executive commissioners said they were not aware of it.

Oteh insisted that two Access Bank officers on secondment to SEC could not have influenced the process of the acquisition. “There were mechanisms in place to check conflict of interest issues in the SEC,” she added.

On the N8b realised by Union Bank from Initial Public Offer IPO) that was later acquired as loss to the bank by the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), Udora said SEC followed due diligence.

According to him, Union Bank later stated that the money was used to set up Union Bank UK, which was against the rules. At that point of SEC’s insistence, the AMCON consultant inferred that SEC was interfering in the process but the Commission insisted that the use of the proceed must be proved, Udora said, adding:

“AMCON now wrote that the fund should be classified as loss to Union Bank and on that basis we approved the clearance but, in my opinion, which was officially communicated, the usage of that proceed should be investigated.”

On the proposed Finbank and FCMB merger, the DG said the acquisition was delayed by six of 30 issues that were to be settled by Fin bank.

On Project 50 designed to mark 50 years of capital market regulation, Oteh was accused of double speak – that donations were received from sponsors and that records would be presented while she now claimed that there were no donations.

“There were no donations at all. The arrangement we had was for our sponsors to fund specific events and we only funded our own part of the event,” she said.

The DG insisted that the entire executive team was involved in the project, but only Ekina said she attended two meetings at the initial stage. Others claimed ignorance of the project.

The Committee promised to investigate the Project.

Oteh also noted that the 3 per cent of all transactions charged by the Exchange was to cover cost of regulation and that 80 per cent of the surplus of revenue is remitted into the consolidated account; 20 percent is retained by the commission – in line with the provisions of the Act.

The committee adjourned the hearing till next Tuesday.

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The presidency has denied any plans to effect cabinet reshuffle as has been widely speculated in the media. Special Assistant to the president on New Media, Reno Omokri, minutes ago announced on Twitter that the president has “implicit confidence in the ability of the current crop of ministers”.

Social media was rife last week with rumors of a likely replacement, in a soon-to-be-announced cabinet reshuffle, of the hugely tainted Petroleum Minister, Diezani Allison-Madueke, with Timi Alaibe, former chairman of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) who equally hails from Bayelsa.
There were equally reports that the president had forwarded a list of ten names to the State Security Service (SSS) for screening, a routine that has always been observed by the presidency before the appointment of new ministers.