NSE tells Jonthan to Give them Funds to Fix Ailing Refineries,

Nigerian  Society of Engineers, NSE, at the weekend, threw a gauntlet at President Goodluck Jonathan, challenging him to provide the required finances and watch Nigerian engineers carry out Turn- Around -Maintenance, TAM, and give the kiss of life to three ailing refineries in the country.

They also tasked security agencies to put a final halt to oil bunkering and illegal crude refineries in the Niger-Delta region and also stop its members from colluding with oil thieves to rip off the country.

Speaking in Warri during his two-day working visit to Delta state, national president of National Society of Chemical Engineers, Engr. Nche Erinne, said, “”Substantially, the problem of refineries is the ownership by government and its attendant bureaucracy”.

According to him, “The failure is not due to the engineers operating them, but an extension of what is happening in the country. We give kudos to our engineers for running them despite the low funding”. “We want a total deregulation of the downstream sector and with that, private investors will become involved and it will be more effective.

“Refining is business and government is not a good business manager. Government inability to run refineries effectively is not the fault of chemical engineers”, he added, Chairman of NSE, Warri branch, Engr. Ugochukwu Nzurimike, who corroborated the NSCE boss asserted, “The Nigeria engineers can solve the problem, we challenge President Goodluck Jonathan to provide the required funds and we will restore the refineries and Delta Steel Company, DSC, Ovwian-Aladja, Delta state”.

“The government has not considered the local engineers, we can handle the Turn- Around -Maintenance, build cars and solve many problems”, he added, Erinne ,  however, noted in his addresses,  “The chemical engineers are trying to influence policies through the presentation of a position paper”. He said it was probably because of the paper submitted to government that chemical engineers were selected in the Refineries Task Force committee, which was currently at work and would soon come out with its report.

The NSCE boss stated that his vision was to see a more functional refining sector that will strengthen the internal workings of the society. He condemned the increase in oil bunkering and unlawful refineries in the Niger-Delta region, stressing that it was illegal and should be stopped by security operatives. Erinne, however, urged security agencies to stop colluding with oil thieves to rip off the country.

He suggested that illegal refinery operators should come to the open and get operating licence so that they would operate in a legal and standardised method.

He warned of the great dangers that  illegal bunkering and refining pose to health, environment and the economy, adding,  “The pollution is massive and 60 per cent of the end product , which is the residue is poured into the river, the government  should do all it can to put an end to it. Other engineers who spoke also blamed the government for the collapse of the three refineries, saying the problem was that Nigerian engineers had not been given the funds to fix them.

Outrage as NYSC posts graduates to Borno, others


Corps members posted to Yobe, Kaduna, Kano, Sokoto, Bornu and Bauchi states have asked the National Youth Service Corps to redeploy them from these trouble states.

The corps members, who expressed sadness as they received their call-up letters for the Batch B NYSC service year, said they were confused as they did not know what to do due to the spate of bombings and other forms of insecurity in these states.

Some of the corps members and their families, who expressed their worries on various social network sites including Facebook and Twitter, said they were extremely sad and disappointed when they received their call-up letters, deploying them to trouble states where there is currently curfew, threats of reprisals and censeless bombings.

Some of the comments on the social network sites read, “We need to arise and stop the government from sentencing us and our loved ones to death. Is our government/NYSC this heartless or simply inhumane? We seek our immediate redeployment, we want to live in places where we can work with peace of mind.’’

Our correspondents learnt that authorities of the NYSC had also been under pressure from parents and prospective corps members posted to northern states, who had been seeking alternative posting.

Our Correspondent learnt in Abuja on Sunday that the NYSC was already collaborating with the affected states on how to ensure security for the corps members posted to their states.

But speaking through the Borno State Commissioner for Information, Mr. Inuwa Bwala, in a telephone interview with our correspondent in Abuja on Sunday, the Governor, Alhaji Kashim Shettima, made a case for corps members to be posted to the state.

He argued that the security situation in the state was being exaggerated by detractors to further isolate the state from the rest of the country.

He said, “While it is true that we have security challenges, it is a fact that these challenges are not exclusive to Borno State.

“We don’t have on record any attack on visitors neither do we have any record of attacks on the NYSC camp or corps members posted to and currently serving in Borno State.”

Culled from THE PUNCH

AUDIO:The $3 million conversation between Farouk Lawan and Femi Otedola

$3million bribery scandalAminu TambuwalChannelschannels televisionChannels TVFaroukFarouk LawanFemiFemi OtedolaFuel Subsidyfuel subsidy probefuel subsidy reportFuel subsidy” “Fuel Subsidy report” “Fuel Subsidy Protest” “Fuel Subsidy Probe”House of RepresentativesNigeriaOtedolaZenon OilZenon oil and Gas

Channels Television has obtained an audio recording purported to be part of the conversation between Honorable Farouk Lawan and Mr Femi Otedola over the $3million bribery allegation scandal.

Honorable Lawan has been invited by the House Committee on Ethics, investigating this scandal and he was grilled behind closed door.

Meanwhile, Femi Otedola has been invited by the same committee and expected to appear tomorrow morning Tuesday 3rd of July.

Here is the audio recording:

Otedola: How are you sir? I don’t want to bring it to my house

Lawan: Oh, you would take it to your house

Otedola: No I don’t want to bring it to my house; it is a lot of money

Lawan: err… so where? Because I’m rushing to the… they are at the airport now?

Otedola: Yes they are in the airport in the aircraft

Lawan: Well I can’t come over now and before they can come over now unless I send somebody to but I can’t because…by the time they come I should be…I have a lot of things to do myself

Otedola: Is there anybody you think I can give it to or maybe I should just postpone my trip to China till tomorrow?

Lawan: No, no it’s ok…I’ll arrange it with someone…let me give you his number 080

Otedola: hold on hold on

Lawan: 08036513355

Otedola: (Repeats number after him)What’s the name?

Lawan: TJ

Otedola: Sorry?

Lawan: aaarrh… TJ

Otedola: Ateezay?

Lawan: TJ!

Otedola: Teezay?

Lawan: No, Tj

Otedola: OK. So I will give him the balance; that is erm… 2.5 million dollars, yea?

Lawan: that’s right. Hold on. I’m calling him to be sure his phone is on…


Breaking News: Senator Usman Albishir from Yobe State killed in road accident along Kano-Zaria Expressway

A former senator representing Yobe North, Usman Albishir, has been reported dead in an autocrash, which occurred on Monday morning on Kano-Zaria expressway.

He was said to have died as a result of injuries sustained in many parts of his body while his driver and police orderly are said to be in a critical condition.

He is expected to be buried in his residence in Kano later on Monday.

After his election in 1999, Albishir was appointed to committees on Selection, Banking & Currency, Defence, Transport and Privatisation. After his re-election in 2003, he was appointed Senate Minority Leader but resigned this position under pressure in December 2004.

Albishir ran for the All Nigeria Peoples Party ticket for Yobe State in 2007 but failed to clinch it due to legal challenges to his bid.

He then moved to the Peoples Democratic Party, where he ran for the governorship ticket in 2011 and won.
He could not, however, defeat incumbent Governor Ibrahim Geidam, who was re-elected at the polls.

Centralised Police: An Idea Whose Time Has Come.

Extreme centralisation – that is the bane of Nigeria, our country.  And that dated back to the very beginning in1914, when Lord Frederick Lugard came up with his idea of amalgamation without fusion of different peoples in one vast  boundary.  The cynicism was complete: a colonial power would heartlessly plunder this foreign people; and while that lasted, it would keep the different peoples apart for as long and possible.

To ensure this formula succeeded, security was key.  And security back then, aside from the army of ruffians to “pacify the interior” (the euphemism for mindless murder and massacres of the resisting natives), the most visible government organ was the colonial police.  That police was less the protector of the people than the tool in the hands of the colonial government to subdue the people to colonial whims and caprices.

But little did the colonial government know the very idea of a hostile, centrally controlled police would come back to haunt independent Nigeria the way it has, 52 years after independence.  Never would anyone, in their wildest imaginations, think a centralised police would be so feckless in the face of the current wave of insecurity in this country.  In the face of the Boko Haram menace, the police have proved spectacularly inept in reining in the murderous gang of zealots, who commit high crime against humanity in the name of God.

But lack of result by the police is not because the officers’ corps and the rank-and-file are totally useless, though there is always room for improvement.  It is not also because the lavishly funded fanatics, thoroughly brain-washed to do evil and call it good, have superior firearms,, leaving he ill-equipped police at their mercy.  It is true the police can be better equipped.  But they are not that hopelessly equipped that they would flee with mortal fear from armed militants.

If the police do not appear to cope with the security menace now savaging the country, it is simply because most of them operate in environments they hardly understand.  That is the greatest drawback for centralised police in a vast country like Nigeria.  And that is why the decentralization of the police is an idea whose time has come.

Those who clamour for state police speak from the strong point that intelligence is the cornerstone of security.  But sound intelligence starts from a good, if not thorough, understanding of the environment of operation.  And thorough understanding of the operational environment stems from some nativity – indigenes tend to understand their environment than foreigners.  That is when policing can be communal; and the people can claim ownership of their own police.

It is from this perspective of the police as the people’s own that the clamour for state police should be viewed.  To start with, the idea is totally federal.  It is a federal misnomer that that a federal state would just have one central police.  Then of course, one central police in a vast federal state means the force is overstretched. That could make a great difference between security and insecurity.  If security is crucial to development and prosperity, then it is important that Nigeria gets its policing right.

For some 46 out of Nigeria’s 52 years of independence, Nigeria has toyed with a centralized police.  Yet, the security situation does appear to deteriorate as the years go by.  From the First Republic when the crusading military that overthrew that order abolished regional police, the security situation has not really improved.  Though there were issues of regional abuses of the police back then, there is certainly some need to put stringent constitutional checks in place to accommodate decentralized police.

If Nigeria must overcome the current security challenges, the police must be decentralized.

THE BIG KEROSENE FRAUD: Depot owners buy at N41, sell @ N125

Nigerians have been forced to pay as much as N150/litre of kerosene instead of the government subsidised rate of N50 because the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, chose to sell kerosene to depot owners rather than retail outlet owners as required of it.

A Report by the Technical Committee on Payment of Fuel Subsidies, submitted to Mr President and exclusively obtained by Vanguard, revealed that the NNPC flouted the policy on its monopoly to import kerosene, which comes in as Dual Purpose Kerosene, DPK, at subsidized rate to serve the masses.

Rather than deliver the product to retail outlet owners so that it could benefit the masses for which it was being subsidized, the NNPC, instead, chose to sell it for patronage, or what the committee described as “rent” to depot owners.

The depot owners who got the product at N40.90/L ex-depot price, in turn sold it to marketers and retail owners at between N115 and N125/L depending on the operator, a development that led to the masses buying the product at 300 per cent increase at N150/L instead of the recommended price of N50/L.

“The distribution of DPK which was being imported solely by NNPC was skewed in favour of depot owners who have no retail outlets. Two-thirds of the kerosene sold by NNPC between 2009 and 2011 was sold to depot owners and “middle men” who in turn sold the product to owners of retail outlets at inflated prices of between N115.00 and N125.00 per litre (compared to the ex depot price of N40.90), leaving consumers to pay higher prices than the N50.00 per litre directed by Government,” the report said.

It added: “For several years now, the country has been incurring huge subsidy bills for kerosene and its citizens are not receiving the benefit – instead the country has been financing “rent” for the middlemen.”
NNPC has many mega stations and retail outlets
MOMAN – is the Major Marketers Association of Nigeria, which members include Mobil Oil Nigeria Plc; Total Plc; MRS Oil Plc (formerly Chenron Oil Nigeria); Forte Oil Plc (Formerly AP); Oando Oil Plc; and Conoil Plc. The association controls nine per cent of retail outlets with 2,453 owned by members
IPMAN – Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, own in joint venture with Purebond of UK, the Nigerian Independent Petroleum Company, NIPCP Plc, and has about 23,026 member retail outlets to control 85 per cent of the retail market.

DAPPMA – Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association are the owners of the tank farms and petroleum storage facilities and only 403 member outlets and controls only four per cent of the market. Yet, they got between 60 and 70 per cent of the kerosene.

Further investigations revealed that because kerosene comes in as DPK, the depot owners preferred to divert the product for aviation turbine kerosene, ATK, or Jet A1, to reap higher profits from the product as opposed to selling it as House Hold Kerosene, HHK, which the masses rely on for domestic energy to cook their foods and light their lanterns.

Yet, the NNPC collected the sum of N331.55billion as kerosene subsidy for 2011 alone, when hardly any Nigerian could buy the product at N50/L.

This has remained since 2009, a situation that led to the acute scarcity of kerosene for the greater part of the last three years.

The report, which revealed how oil marketers and petroleum dealers allegedly perfected series of fraud through products imports that led to the payment of over N2 trillion as subsidy claims in 2011 alone, also showed that in all the established cases of malfeasance, the regulatory agencies colluded with the concerned parties to boycott due process for the importation of the particular product.

NNPC flouted presidential directive

In the case of kerosene, the situation was so bad that late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, on June 15, 2009, ordered the NNPC to stop making further deductions as claims for subsidy on kerosene.

“In spite of a directive issued by President Yar’Adua on June 15, 2009 that NNPC should cease subsidy claims on kerosene, PPPRA resumed the processing of kerosene subsidy claims in June 2011 and NNPC resumed the deduction of kerosene subsidy claims to the tune of N331 ,547,318,068.06 in 2011,” the report revealed.

The report noted that: “The current lack of regulation (of subsidy claims) has led to NNPC’s introduction of practices that are not permitted or recognised by the current PSF guidelines that if unchecked by NNPC’s internal control mechanisms may allow for significant leakages.”

Checking fraud through forensic audit

To discontinue the criminalities, the committee called for a forensic audit of the NNPC’s subsidy payment process. This it said, is because “while the committee conducted detailed reviews of several aspects of the subsidy payment process, it noted that the process for NNPC is significantly more complicated than the process for the private sector and would require a thorough forensic audit.”

It therefore urged the Federal Government to “appoint consultants to carry out the forensic audit of the NNPC subsidy claim process. This is without prejudice to the committee’s recommendations on the process from its high level review.”

It further recommended that such audit should cover, among others:
*Funding for subsidy paid to NNPC
*Process for determination of products imported by NNPC
*Documentation for NNPC’s transactions for imported petroleum products
*Verification of documentation with NNPC’s suppliers and other agencies involved in the discharge of petroleum products – e.g. DPR, PPPRA, Government auditors, independent inspectors, e.t.c.
*Review of documentation submitted to PPPRA by NNPC
*Review of PPPRA’s certification process for NNPC subsidy claims
*Reconciliation of the deducted subsidy claims from the proceeds of crude oil sales by NNPC to the subsidy claims certified by PPPRA.

Committee’s recommendations.
Since the poor Nigerians were obviously not getting the benefit of the huge cost to the nation in kerosene subsidy, the committee further urged the federal government to also: Allow both private importers who meet the eligibility requirements of the PSF guidelines and NNPC to import kerosene and pay kerosene subsidy under the PSF. The role of private importers in the distribution of the product should be monitored properly by PPPRA and DPR. Eliminate the current financing of rent for a few by restricting NNPC’s local distribution to only groups that own significant retail outlets – i.e. MOMAN, IPMAN and NNPC Retail at the approved ex-depot price.

The Committee recommends that NNPC’s roles in the downstream petroleum industry be regulated appropriately by the existing regulatory agencies in the industry i.e. PPPRA and DPR.

The Committee recommends that:

*PPPRA must always regulate and determine the quantity of products to be imported by NNPC in line with its mandate and the current allocation process for NNPC. All importation of products by NNPC (within or outside PPPRA approved quotas) must be approved by PPPRA. A rigorous process of volume control that will facilitate identification of red flags will reduce malpractices in subsidy claims.

*That accounting best practices should be adopted by NNPC to enable separate audit trails of sales proceeds of imported and locally refined petroleum products and to determine the cost of domestic refining of petroleum products.

*That Government should always give documented and clear directives to avoid ambiguity, indiscretion and to encourage compliance. Given the significant financial impact of the NNPC subsidy process on the finances of the nation, appropriate steps should be taken by Government to document and legalise the process for NNPC’s subsidy claims in a transparent and unambiguous manner.

*That the relevant Government agencies such as PPPRA and DPR in line with their mandates as regulators and others such as the Ministry of National Planning, Federal Bureau of Statistics e.t.c. using the information at their disposal on locally refined, imported and stored volumes of petroleum products should be mandated by Government to continually determine the nations’ daily consumption levels of petroleum products independent of the industry operators.

*The allocation of kerosene directly to marketers with retail outlets, specifically IPMAN, MOMAN and NNPC Retail based on the strength of their retail outlets. This will ensure that the impact of the subsidy will be felt by the masses. In addition, the permit to import DPK should be liberalized to include the marketers who meet the eligibility criteria under the PSF guidelines and the subsidy regulated under the PSF scheme as currently obtains for PMS.

In the long run, the option of using cooking gas should be explored. It is expected that the cost of subsidising kerosene would be saved if more Nigerians embrace the use of LPG. In addition, the Committee is unable to recommend payment of subsidy claims on DPK in view of the extant presidential directive of June 15, 2009.

The Committee

It would be recalled that the idea of the Technical Committee on Subsidy was hatched on February 28, 2012, and was meant to “review outstanding claims for fuel subsidies,” as fallout of the stakeholders’ meeting of the downstream petroleum sector.

The meeting was chired by the Coordinating Minister of the Economy/Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okojo-Iweala, who constituted the 10-man committee on April 17, 2012, headed by the Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Access Bank Plc, Mr. Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede.

The terms of reference included to authenticate the backlog of outstandingpayments of subsidy payments to marketers in 2011; verify the legitimacy of backlog of claims already submitted by marketers for 2011; and review any other pertinent issues that may rise from the exercise.

Other members included the Director General, Budget Office of the Federation, Dr. Bright Okogu; Director General, Debt Management Office, Dr. Abraham Nwankwo; Accountant General of the Federation, Mr. Jonah Otunla; Executive Secretary, Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency, PPRA, Mr. Reginald Stanley.
Others were the Group Executive Director, Finance and Accounts, NNPC; and representatives of the CBN, Bankers Committee as well as major and independent marketers.

Northern Govs’ Wives Appeal to Boko Haram

  Makudi disturbed by the increasing activities of the Boko Haram sect and the loss of innocent lives in parts of northern states, wives of the 19 northern state governors, under the aegis of Northern Governors’ Wives Forum, have pleaded with the Islamist sect to lay down its arms and present its grievances to the Federal Government for dialogue.

The governors’ wives, who lamented the spate of killings and level of insecurity in parts of the northern states, pleaded with the sect to give peace a chance, noting that dialogue remained the best option in the resolution of disputes.

Mr. Samuel Orbunde, Chief Press Secretary to the wife of Benue State Governor and Chairperson of the Forum, Mrs. Yemisi Sus-wam, in a statement at the end of an emergency meeting of the group, lamented the serious security challenges facing the country.

They urged Nigerians to support the peace initiative of the First Lady of Nigeria, Dame Patience Jonathan, which they said was aimed at fostering greater unity.

ACN Warns Against Rigging : EDO GUBER POLL

    The Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, has warned that any attempt to rig the July 14 gubernatorial election in Edo State will trigger a chain of cataclysmic reactions, the end of which no one can predict. In a statement in Lagos, yesterday, by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said  the warning became necessary in view of the desperation of the People Democratic Party, PDP, to capture Edo State at all cost, first as a trophy  for its new chairman who is bent on ensuring his party wins the first election under his chairmanship, and also as a  foothold for the President’s presumed ambition for 2015.

He said events leading to the election had shown that the PDP was bent on creating an atmosphere that would be hostile to the holding of a free, fair and transparent poll. ACN, therefore, called on its members and supporters in Edo State to resist any attempt by the PDP to rig the forthcoming  poll, saying they must not only turn out en masse to vote for Governor Adams Oshiomhole, on the basis of his performance in office, but must also stay behind until the votes had been counted and the result announced, contrary to the ‘vote and go’ rigging  strategy of the PDP.

It said: “In the years since Nigeria’s return to democratic rule in 1999, the PDP has evolved from bare-faced rigging on election day to a new system in which the ruling party, in collusion with malleable and unpatriotic security agencies, makes free and  fair elections impossible by intimidating the opposition and instigating violence ahead of voting, thus paving the way for the imposition of a ‘curfew’ on election day that will ensure voters only come out to vote and return home, handing the PDP and  its cohorts in INEC and security agencies a carte blanche to determine the outcome of the voting.

“Already, the trend is glaring: At least two attempts have been made on the life of Gov. Oshiomhole, first when a truck rammed into his convoy and killed many after narrowly missing him, and then last week when suspected political thugs attacked the governor, top government officials and ACN stalwarts in Usen town. Add that to the cold-blooded killing of the Governor’s Principal Private Secretary, Olaitan Oyerinde, and the evil machinations against the governor and his party begin to manifest.

‘’The strategy is simple: Go after the governor and scare off his teeming supporters, and then hope they will fight back, thus  precipitating chaos that will then be capitalized upon by the PDP federal government to declare a curfew, at best, and a state  of emergency, at worst.”

But while we urge our members and supporters to be peaceful and to resist playing into the hands of the  PDP, they must be vigilant, they must know that it is against the Electoral Act for anyone to ask them to leave the polling station after voting. They must not leave until the votes have been counted and the results announced,’’ the party said.

ACN said what happened in 2011 must not be allowed to repeat itself, when gullible international observers, after witnessing a  seemingly orderly process in which patriotic voters queued and cast their votes, then returned to their hotels to declare the elections free and fair, without witnessing the events at the collation centres where most of the rigging took place.

The party said the PDP is even more emboldened to manipulate elections now, knowing full well that it has almost emasculated  the judiciary, which gave respite to some of the candidates who were robbed in the previous elections, and also because it has  muscled through a constitutional amendment that prevents robbed candidates from getting justice after 180 days. It advised President Goodluck Jonathan to pull the brakes on the runaway rigging train of his party before it derails the nation’s democracy under his watch.

‘’If the PDP is as popular and acceptable to Nigerians as it claims,why is it afraid of a free and fair election? If President Jonathan believes his party is the only truly national party that can meet the yearnings and aspirations of Nigerians, why is he unwilling to call his party to order now that it is bent on pushing the nation into the abyss of violence through election rigging?’’ ACN queried.

Will Edo Nail The Coffin of a deadly ‘godfather’ on July 14 Vote?

BENIN CITY, Nigeria — A suspicious car accident involving a governor’s convoy and the murder of one of his top aides leads to accusations against an elderly political “godfather”.

It sounds like the plot of a thriller from Nigeria’s prolific Nollywood movie industry — but it is in fact the bare-knuckled reality of politics in the country’s Edo state, which holds governorship elections on July 14.

Africa’s most populous nation has been struggling to entrench credible democracy after years of military rule and sham votes, and 2011 presidential polls were seen as its fairest in nearly two decades despite major problems.

But as the Edo campaign has shown, elections can still be all-or-nothing affairs in the continent’s largest oil producer, where the spoils of office often include control over vast patronage networks.

The violence “is not particular to Edo state…It is symptomatic of politics in Nigeria,” said Asomwan Sonnie Adagbonyin, a political analyst and professor at the Ambrose Ali University outside the state capital Benin City.

“There is this feeling in Nigeria that if you really want to battle, it is a fight to the finish.”

The fertile southern state that produces relatively small amounts of oil, its eastern border aligned with the Niger River, is now girding for the vote as accusations and counter-accusations thunder on.

While it has been occasionally hit by gang violence, Edo has not been affected by Islamist group Boko Haram’s insurgency concentrated in Nigeria’s north.

Neither the car accident nor the murder have been proven to be politically connected but Governor Adams Oshiomhole, who sometimes wears a Fidel Castro-esque patrol cap and whom many call “Comrade”, accuses his political opponents of being behind both.

The state is run by an opposition party aligned with organised labour, and Oshiomhole alleges that Nigeria’s ruling Peoples Democratic Party will do anything to take the state back.

The PDP rejects the charges and has warned the governor, who represents the Action Congress of Nigeria party, against making such inflammatory allegations weeks before a closely fought vote.

Amid the intrigue is a man the governor calls “Mr. Fix,” a senior PDP official who Oshiomhole claims wants to “remove me from office by whatever means”.

Others call the man, Tony Anenih, a “godfather” — a common term for behind-the-scenes political kingmakers in Nigeria.

PDP spokesman Mathew Urhoghide says such accusations are ridiculous.

He characterised the governor, who ousted the PDP from power in 2008 when a court overturned vote results after alleged irregularities, as “dictatorial,” “the embodiment of hypocrisy” and a “rascal”. He also accuses Oshiomhole of corruption.

But the governor’s most egregious offence, according to the spokesman, was accusing the PDP of assassinating Olaitan Oyerinde, the 43-year-old aide and father of four children.

“We have nothing to do with Olaitan … but, Comrade already overran his mouth by saying the party did it, so now he must substantiate it,” Urhoghide said.

Six days before the murder in May of the governor’s private secretary, the car in which the governor’s staff says Oshiomhole normally rides was struck by an oncoming vehicle. Three journalists were killed in the accident.

He was in another car in the convoy and “narrowly escaped death,” said the governor’s spokesman Louis Odion, who also claimed that hours after the crash, his own home was invaded by unknown gunmen.

According to Odion, he could have been the first of the governor’s aides to be executed, but was sleeping elsewhere that night.

Regarding the murder of Oyerinde, the state police commissioner, Olayinka Balogun, told AFP that a special unit of investigators has taken over the probe because of “the sensitivity of the case,” and declined to comment further.

Anenih sits on the PDP’s national board of trustees, and the governor and his allies argue that to retain his standing with Nigeria’s top leaders, including President Goodluck Jonathan, he must deliver a win.

“His life depends on this election,” Odion said.

Anenih has stayed quiet to avoid responding to Oshiomohole’s “trivialities,” Urhoghide said. Calls and messages to a number said to be Anenih’s went unanswered.

Urhoghide said the PDP, including governorship candidate Charles Airhiavbere, are concerned by the unsolved murder and have warned the governor to proceed “gently” given the combustible political climate.

By Ben Simon (AFP)

Is the Opposition Really Serious?

Would there be a better time for the Nigeria opposition to take power than in 2015? I don’t think so. I have my reasons. I’ll start with the issue of “change for change sake”. It just so happens that in many political climates across the world, voters always want something new at a particular point in time, especially when they believe they are not getting the best from the ruling party. The election becomes a case of “anyone but the ruling party”. It happens so frequently in the US and the UK—even in nearby Ghana and Benin. I think this could be a factor in 2015, except President Goodluck Jonathan pulls a spectacular miracle of solving the key issues around power supply, refineries, subsidies, roads and hospitals. Now, that’s a tall order! Even if Jonathan turns water to wine, he would find it difficult persuading Nigerians to drink it.

My second reason is that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is perpetually in crisis and a well-organised opposition should be able to take them to the cleaners. The zoning/rotation crisis is still there. If Jonathan decides not to run because of the pressure from the pro-rotation group in the party, he will have the power of incumbency to work against his own party at the election. But if he decides to run, he should expect a terrible backlash from the pro-rotation group who may wish to make the country “ungovernable” for him. The key PDP stalwarts could break away to work for the opposition—or may even choose to stay back in the party and work against Jonathan’s aspiration. No matter the decision Jonathan takes, there is bound to be some ripple effects that should favour the opposition.

But is the opposition serious? That, to me, is the real question. The most confounding breed of politicians since the advent of this era in 1999 is the opposition. One thing I have noticed about them, consistently, is that they love to shout and scream, but when it comes to the nitty-gritty of strategising to take power, they crumble like biscuits trapped in the mouth. They are their own worst enemies. I have concluded many times that some opposition politicians are only interested in relevance. The best way to be noticed and appeased, it seems, is to be in the opposition. I also know that the PDP has infiltrated their ranks, such that some so-called opposition figures are actually working for the party in power. Also, some politicians are in politics for bread and butter and it is very easy to lure them into the party where there is a steady gush of milk and honey.

In 1999, the PDP won 21 states; the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) won nine; and the Alliance for Democracy (AD, technically now Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN), won six. That gave the opposition 15 states. That was something to build on, ahead of the 2003 elections. But what happened? The ANPP chairman, Alhaji Mahmud Waziri (now of blessed memory), was appointed special adviser by President Olusegun Obasanjo and he gladly accepted! How can you, being the chairman of a party controlling nine states, agree to be a presidential aide? What was that about? The case of AD chairman, Alhaji Ahmed Abdulkadir, was even more pathetic: he became Obasanjo’s special assistant without cabinet status. By the 2003 elections, the opposition was in disarray. The AD, playing a purely ethnic game, chose to support Obasanjo in the presidential election. It backfired; the old fox, Obasanjo, captured five of the six AD states for the PDP in governorship election. AD became a one-state party, while the ANPP was reduced to seven states.

By now, the opposition would have been stronger. They would have been in a very good stead to flush out the PDP in 2015 if they had played the game with cohesion and strategic thinking. The Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) won 12 states in the presidential election last year. But for the violence and infighting that gave an easy ride to manipulation in the governorship election that followed, CPC would probably boast of 12 governors, instead of one, today. ACN has six states. All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) has two. The Labour Party (LP) has one. ANPP has three. That would have given the opposition parties 24 states to PDP’s 12. But the CPC bottled it with the post-election violence and infighting. Party supporters, obsessed with the idea that it was Gen. Muhammadu Buhari for president or nothing else, tore up their voter cards or simply refused to vote again. CPC could not take advantage of the Buhari build-up. It simply fizzled out. So PDP gained control of 23 states while the opposition controls a mere 13. I’m aware, of course, that LP and APGA are pro-PDP, but a stronger CPC, combined with ACN, would pose a credible challenge to the PDP any day.

The laziest excuse of the opposition is that the PDP always rigs the elections. Of course, PDP rigs. But other parties rig too. Let’s be honest with ourselves. Finance and logistics play a key role in winning elections in Nigeria. PDP had a head start over other parties in 1999 because the military establishment backed them with the needed “logistics”. However, if the opposition had been thinking strategically, they too would have built their own “logistics” by now, 13 years after! The more states you control, the deeper your pocket and the wider your logistical coverage. All it takes is consistency and commitment to the cause. I would love to sing the populist song that PDP is a party of riggers, but I cannot do that in good conscience. It takes more than rigging to win elections in Nigeria. In fact, you must be in a good position to rig. (For goodness sake, I’m not endorsing rigging; just making a point.)

If the opposition continues to scream “rigging, rigging, rigging” rather than develop a strategy to win power, I’m afraid the lamentation will continue till eternity.

By Simon Kolawole Live!: Email: [email protected]

Corruption in High Places: How Former IGP Ehindero Soiled His Hands

Ehindero former IGP

By SaharaReporters, New York

More facts emerged on Sunday on how a former Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mr. Sunday Ehindero, and a former Commissioner of Police, Mr. John Obaniyi, fraudulently embezzled police funds.
Investigations show that while serving as the IGP, Ehindero had collected the sum of N500m as donations from then Governor of Beyelsa State, who is now the President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, to buy equipment for the Nigeria Police Force.

Ehindero, with the connivance of Obaniyi, split the money into two, paying the sum of N300m into Wema Account and N200m into the defunct Intercontinental Bank. Both deposits were fixed.
On July 4, 2006, Obaniyi, who was then the CP (Budget) at the Force Headquarters, Abuja, wrote a letter to the Managing Director of Wema Bank at Cental Business Area, with the reference number CV.1929/PB/FHQ/ABJ/Vol.6/408.

Obaniyi, under the headline, “Investment” wrote, “The Inspector-General of Police has approved the placement of the sum of three hundred million naira (N300,000,000.00) only in your bank for 90 days.
“I attach herewith First Bank of Nigeria Plc cheque No 01111782 dated 4th July, 2006 for the sum of three hundred million naira (N3000,000,000,00) only for investment at 10% interest rate.
“Acknowledge receipt, please.”

On July 10, 2006, the bank, in a letter signed by Modupe Bakre (Unit Head) and Femi Feyide (Regional Manager, North) acknowledged receipt of the placement and thanked the IGP for the deposit.

The bank, in another letter signed by the duo of Bakre and Feyide to Obaniyi on October 16, 2006, informed him about the maturity of the deposit but also said the deposit had been rolled-over.

However, Obaniyi wrote back on November 8, 2006 that the investment should be terminated, adding that

“It will be appreciated if a draft of the three hundred million naira is raised in favour of ‘Inspector General of Police’ and made available to this office, please.”

The request was honoured on November 9.

Before then, on October 13, 2006, Obaniyi wrote another letter to the bank asking for the 10% interest on the investment to be made available in cash for operational expenses.

The bank agreed and sent the cash of N7, 377,260.27(Seven million, three hundred and seventy seven thousand and sixty naira, twenty seven kobo) “being the accrued interest” on the placement for 90 days.
Apart from this, he also got another N2, 465, 753.42 for extra 30 days that the money was with the bank as shown in the letter sent to Obaniyi by the bank’s Business Manager, Jide Bello.

At Intercontinental Bank where the sum of N200m was fixed, Obaniyi paid in the sum via a First Bank of Nig. Plc cheque number 01111788 “dated 10th July, 2006.”

The bank also acknowledged the receipt in a letter signed by Anuli Nwangeneh (Relationship Officer, Public Sector) and Kemi Adedoyin (Relationship Manager, Public Sector).

On the same October 13 that Obaniyi wrote to Wema Bank asking for 10% interest in cash on the investment there as operational expenses, he also wrote to demand of Intercontinental that since the money there had matured a day earlier, “It will be appreciated if the 10% interest on the investment can be made available in cash for operational expenses urgently, please.” It was the same language used in the letter to Wema.

Perhaps, knowing that something was fishy in the demand for the payment of cash by Obaniyi, the duo of Nwageneh and Adedoyin wrote to the Executive Management of the bank, asking for permission to pay cash, which they said was against the normal practice “since the normal practice is that the interest accrued on the deposit should be issued to the Nigeria Police using our Manager’s cheque since the account with us is a fixed deposit account and not operations account.

“We hereby seek your approval to pay cash of N4,986,301.37 being the interest on N200m at 10 % for 91 days.”

The approval was granted with an instruction that “the CP budget acknowledges the payment.”
At the end of the day, Obaniyi, who was the sole signatory to the said account into which the N200m was deposited, was issued a cash (open) cheque on 19th October, 2006 for the interest.

On 8th November, 2006, Obaniyi wrote to the bank informing its management about the termination of the investment. He, therefore, demanded that “it will be appreciated if a draft for the two hundred million naira is raised in favour of ‘Inspector General of Police’ and made available to this office, please.”

The following day, the bank replied him via a letter written by Tunde Bajela (Group Executive, Public Sector) and Jimi Shotunde (Group Executive, FCT &North Central) by raising the cheque for the amount.
Now, Ehindero is being asked to explain the whereabouts of the funds and the interests that accrued to it. An Abuja High Court had already ordered the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission to arraign both Ehindero and Obaniyifor money laundering to the tune of N557 million.

Obaniyi had been dismissed from the Force over corruption by the Police Service Commission when he tried in vain to smuggle large sum money running into hundreds of millions from Force Headquarters immediately Ehindero was retired.