occasion.

Oyinlola’s Chief Driver Shown Stoning Aregbesola’s Convoy On Oroki Day

 

There was a mild drama at the public sitting of the Osun State Truth and Reconciliation Commission on Wednesday, as the Chief Driver to former governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola, Mr Rasaq Oyetunji, was confronted with a video clip of the attack on the incumbent governor, Mr Rauf Aregbesola during the 2006 Oroki Day celebration.

Mr Oyetunji, Yaya Muthairu and others were before the commission to defend a petition filed by Honourable Khadri  Owonikoko  on the torching  of his house and destruction of some valuable property at Oba-Ile.

According to petition No OSTRC/ 119/2011, the petitioner alleged Oyetunji of leading thugs to his 18-room bungalow at Oba-Ile on September 11, 2007.

He said after his house was burnt and one Jude, who happened to be the Officer-in-Charge of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) threatened him to leave the town or lose his life, he was forced to abscond from the town since 2007 till November 26, 2010 when Aregbesola was declared winner of the 2007 governorship election.

Owonikoko further stated that he was later arrested on the order of Oyetunji and remanded in prison custody for two months along with Alhaji Moshood Adeoti , the current Secretary to the State Government and Alhaji Sule Aderemi among others.

Counsel to the petitioner, Mr Yinka Okedara, tendered the photographs and the video clip of the burnt house which was shown publicly.

The wife of the petitioner, Serifat Owonikoko, who also testified said she saw Oyetunji, Muthairu and others when they were burning the house and told the commission that she reported them to the police, who arrested some  of them before they were later released.

The venue however became rowdy when Oyetunji was giving evidence to support his defence as he could not express himself in English Language before the commission.

When Oyetunji’s testimony was confusing, the commission’s chairman, Justice Samson Odewienge Uwaifo, said “the members of the commission could not understand what you are saying, can you speak Yoruba now?”

Another controversy began when one of the counsel to the petitioner asked Oyetunji that “as a chief driver to the former governor, you have a questionable character and I am putting it to you that you stoned the convoy of Mr Rauf Aregbesola during the Oroki Day attack?”.

“ I was never a thug and if there is any video clip that showed where I stoned Aregbesola during Oroki Day, bring it out” Oyetunji replied.

The petitioner’s counsel therefore sought the permission of the commission to show the Oroki Day attack video clip publicly.

Temitope Elusogbon, counsel to Oyetunji objected to showing the video clip, saying it was not relevant to the petition before the commission, but the chairman permitted the petitioner to show the clip, saying Oyetunji had posed a challenge on them.

While the 30-minute Oroki Day attack on Aregbesola video clip was being shown, the hall went into laughter, when Oyetunji  was sighted instigating attack on Aregbesola’s supporters on the

Oyinlola Shuns Osun Truth Commission

Hundreds of people who trooped to the Osun State High Court Complex, Osogbo, on Tuesday, to witness the testimony of former state governor, Prince Olagunsoye  Oyinlola, before the Osun State Truth and Reconciliation Commission, were disappointed as Oyinlola failed to appear.

As early at 8am, the combined team of mobile police officers and anti-bomb squad had besieged the court premises screening the vehicular and human movements in and out of the complex.

Only few selected people were also allowed to gain access to the venue of the commission’s sitting before the intervention of the the intervention of the commission’s Secretary, Mr Nuruden Ogbara, who prevailed on the security agents not to restrict access to the hall.

The commission in a letter signed by the secretary, Ogbara, had earlier invited the former governor to appear before the commission on Tuesday for interaction on some of the petitions against his administration pending before the commission.

Oyinlola cited “tight schedule ranging from the personal appointments and some other national assignment” as the reason for his absence.

In a letter dated May 16, 2011, addressed to the commission’s chairman, Justice Samson Uwaifo, personally signed by Oyinlola, the former governor said he had responded to the entire petitions against him through his counsel, Mr Temitope Elusogbon.

According to him: “I would have loved  to honour your invitation to attend the public hearing  scheduled for May 24, 2011, but I have  a very tight schedule ranging from personal appointments, which cannot be shifted and other national assignments, which cover the period between May and July . Therefore, I would unavoidably be absent from the public sittings of the commission.

“ I have received  a number of petitions from your commission, many of them,  if not all, are meant to assassinate my character for reasons best known to the petitioners.

“ I believe my absence will not in anyway affect the proper determination of those petitions referred to, because if I am opportuned to be present, it would not change my positions as contained in my response, since I have nothing to add and subtract from the content.

“My responses were already filed before your commission. I wish to adopt them as my reply and nothing more,” the letter read.

There are more than 50 petitions on political victimization and abuse of public office against Oyinlola’s administration before the commission.

Wicked! INEC yet to pay Corpers

National Daily

Outrage at sordid treatment

AS if the controversies surrounding the unfortunate treatment meted out to the current crop of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) members serving their fatherland in the Northern part of the country are not enough, National Daily has uncovered a predicament as terrible as the unwarranted killings of these cream of Nigerian youths in cold blood by protesters carrying out the bidding of their political bosses.

Unpaid services

National Daily can reliably inform that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is owing the corps members their emoluments running into billions of naira.

The Prof. Attahiru Jega-led commission was said to have promised to pay each corper assisting INEC during the electoral period a sum of N7,000 per election day. It would be recalled that electoral discrepancies and failure of the commission to put in place water tight logistics supply robbed the election period of a couple of days forcing INEC to exceed the initial stipulated and well circulated time table. INEC had to introduce new dates for shifted elections and re-runs in specific areas of the country.

The emerging situation, presently, which is also unfortunate going by the stature of the INEC Chairman, both as a former university lecturer and a one time leader of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), is that INEC has only paid for two days out of the more than five days the corpers spent assisting INEC during the election period, while many corpers in some cases are yet to even smell a naira note of the the agreed emolument.

Bloody assignment

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Nigeria’s electoral umpire in conjunction with the Management of the Youth Service Scheme, decided to engage and train serving Corps as adhoc electoral officers for the country’s last general elections.

The novel development in the nation’s political landscape, which many countrymen and women and members of the international world had hailed as the right step in the right direction, at least comparatively, was purportedly meant to ensure fairness, justice, honesty of purpose, patriotism and forthrightness in the conduct of the general elections.

Moreover, it is believed by many, that such young Nigerians majority of who are serving outside their states of origin and proximity of their institutions of higher learning and bubbling with vigour might not be as corrupt as the old folks, many of whom supposedly have one vested political interest, agenda motive and party affiliation or another.

Nevertheless, the story suddenly changed for the worse days into the elections. Notwithstanding the previous bomb blasts that devastated the INEC office in Suleja, Niger State, and parts of Maiduguri, Borno State, on the eve of the first in the series elections, killing and maiming a number of electoral officers, including Cops members, hell was once more, let loose immediately Prof. Jega announced Jonathan as the winner of the election.

Sadly, scores of these vibrant, educated and promising young population posted to and serving their fatherland in certain Northern states as Niger, Kaduna, Sokoto, Kano, Bauchi, Plateau, Nassarawa and Borno states, readily became the target of mobs of irate yet illiterate, jobless and impoverished youths who unleashed terror on the populace, including the serving Corps members, resulting in killings, burning of houses, vehicles, business premises and churches.

In the ensuing confusion and volatile atmosphere up North, nine NYSC members were cut down in their prime in Bauchi, and once lively young Nigerians’ corpses were conveyed back to their respective states for burial; over 3,000 Corps members ran to and got stranded at an army barracks in Bauchi for days as refugees.

Also, about 50 members were reported to have been rescued alive from the secretariat of the Nigerian Christian Corpers’ Fellowship (NCCF), fondly called the “Family House” by Corps members, where a new 18-seater bus belonging to the Fellowship was burnt. They had earlier been locked up to be burnt in the Secretariat before help swiftly came their way!

Wrong signal

Frustrated, a male Corps member in Lagos State recently declared in the wake of the post-election uprising in some parts of the country thus: “I am really fed up. Let the Government scrap the NYSC programme. It has brought sadness to many homes. This is why many seek redeployment….”

The NYSC director-general, Maharazu Tsiga, agreed that the attacks on youth corps members have put the organisation under the spotlight. He also said that the NYSC had begun a head-count of all corps members in the affected areas in order to ascertain the number of victims in the crisis.

“I have my youth corps members in all parts of this country who were involved in the post-election crisis and some of them may have lost their lives, though we are yet to confirm the numbers, which shall be made public immediately we finish the head-count of our members,” he said.

He said it was disheartening that despite all the commendations given to the corps members’ participation in the exercise nationally and internationally, the rioters decided to attack the innocent youth.

Efforts to get INEC’s reaction proved abortive.

Tenure Extension: Jonathan Subtly Sows Seed For Constitutional Amendment


AUSTYN OGANNAH,  THE WILL

SAN FRANCISCO, May 27, (THEWILL) – With barely three days to the swearing in of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan as President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria at the Eagle Square, Abuja, it looks like Nigerians in no distant future will witness another round of heated debates and fierce disagreements following the sound bite from Mr. President at the ‘2011 Presidential Inaugural Lecture where he spoke under the theme: ‘A transformational Agenda for Accelerated National Development.

President Jonathan in his address Thursday at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Abuja said the current four-year tenure for elected executives as stipulated by the 1999 Constitution ‘is too short’ for the President and Governors to implement any meaningful and sustainable agenda, as it takes about one year and a half for the executive to settle into office with the right caliber of Ministers and Commissioners respectively.

While responding to a remark by Professor Ladipo Adamolekun, Jonathan said, “…The constitution has said four years, though some believe that four years is too short to make any change, which I also believe….

“I believe because, if you are a new person and you are elected as a governor today, it will take one to one and half years for you to really stabilize, and you also know that some members of your cabinet are not good and that is why in most cases, after one year or two Mr. president reshuffles the cabinet and by the time you want to go for another two and half years, it is another election and you are all busy about winning election.

“It is a constitutional problem,” the President stated.

Continuing, Jonathan stated, “In terms of people we appoint as Ministers, if you look across why we have not transformed significantly, if you count from Tafawa Balewa to Ajumogobia as Foreign Ministers, we have 24 Foreign Ministers, in the space of 50 years that means an average of two years per Minister, then how would a country drive its foreign policy? It will take more than two years for you to understand the policy, vis-à-vis the national interest, some politicians will come to you with soft tongue. If care is not taken, you commit the future of your country to them and that is the problem that we are having.

“I am not saying that a minister should serve for like 30-40 years, but if we must transform, if the Minister is performing beyond 60 per cent average, you will expect that such a minister should be retained. In some developed countries, you have people staying in ministerial position for five-six years and when they go and represent their President, they are home on any issues raised.”

THEWILL has always known about this hush-hush plan for a possible constitutional amendment that will see executives get a single one-term tenure of seven (7) years. The plan is being orchestrated by a few close advisers to the President, even though serious moves for its actualization has not started.

Recall that moves by former President Olusegun Obasanjo in his second term in office, to get the National Assembly to amend the constitution to allow for tenure extension failed after a very heated, divisive and passion-charged nationwide political debate.

It was the move that crested the ‘open war’ between the former Vice President and his deputy Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, who openly opposed the tenure extension move of Obasanjo at the National Assembly, where legislators were offered as much as N50 million cash to pass the amendment as recently revealed by Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa.

From the evidence on ground, it is obvious that the predominantly Muslim north is eager to return to power having lost out following the demise of one of its own, President Umaru Yar’Adua, with just about two and a half years in office.

President Goodluck Jonathan, who was his deputy, was sworn in afterwards as President. He is a minority Christian from the oil rich Niger Delta South.

The ruling party PDP, which has won every presidential election since this political dispensation began in 1999, has a written power sharing principle that allows power rotate between the north and south presumably every 8 years (two terms of four years).

It is however not clear whether President Jonathan would stand for reelection in 2015 as the current constitution allows. Though he has hinted that he would not, his aides and advisers are however nudging him to do otherwise, THEWILL can report.

But considering the glaring divide especially amongst northerners following his emergence as Presidential candidate of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and subsequent landslide victory in an election praised both locally and internationally as the freest and fairest ever since independence, it is however too early to predict where the tide may swing

Presidential tribunal clears Jonathan, Sambo for swearing-in


By Kamarudeen Ogundele, Abuja

All appears set for the inauguration of President Goodluck Jonathan and his vice, Namadi Sambo.

The Presidential Election Petition Tribunal yesterday struck out a motion by the Hope Democratic Party (HDP), asking it to stop the May 29th inauguration, pending when the petition against them would be determined.

This was after the petitioner withdrew its petition challenging the April 16th presidential election victory of Jonathan.

The tribunal consequently struck out the petition, following request by counsel to Jonathan, Dr. Alex Iziyon (SAN)who led Mr. Damian Dodo (SAN).

The HDP came to the court yesterday with its house divided. Mr. Tochukwu Alozor, a lawyer who purportedly signed the petition filed on May 6 on behalf of the party, shocked the court when he claimed ignorance of the document, saying he did not author it.

Although the five-man panel of Justices chaired by the Court of Appeal President, Justice Isa Ayo Salami, stood down for 10 minutes, Alozor and a new lawyer for HDP, Mr. Eyare Ogah, could not settle the dispute.

In one breath, Ogah asked for adjournment. In another, he asked to withdraw his appearance for the party.

Surprised by the approach adopted by the lawyer, Justice Salami advised Ogah to make his choice clear so that he would not blame the panel for whatever fate befalls the petition.

Sensing the determination of the tribunal to take a decisive action, Ogah applied to withdraw the petition.

Reacting, Iziyon urged the tribunal to strike it out, while counsel to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mr. A. B. Mahmud, asked for its outright dismissal.

Ruling, Justice Salami observed that the panel was liberal in allowing Ogah to move the application for withdrawal even though he did not seek the leave of the court.

“We granted the applicant the leave to withdraw the application in concurrence with respondents’ counsel. The petition dated 6th of May is hereby struck out,” he said.

Also yesterday, the tribunal granted Jonathan’s request demanding for further and better particulars from the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC).

Two die at valedictory party for Saraki

By Our Reporter

A stampede has occurred in Ilorin, Kwara State, with no fewer than two people feared dead.

Although the details of the incident were sketchy yesterday, the stampede was said to have occurred at a valedictory ceremony held in honour of the outgoing governor of the state, Dr. Bukola Saraki.

Members of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) who had attended the ceremony in solidarity with the outgoing governor were said to have been mostly affected.

A statement issued by the Chief Press Secretar to the Governor, Mas’ud Adebimpe, indicated that the stampede occurred when some hoodlums pulled down a part of the wall at the venue of the ceremony.

The statement also said Saraki was shocked and saddened by the ugly incident and had consequently directed security operatives in the state to investigate the incident.

The statement reads: “Governor Bukola Saraki of Kwara State has commiserated with the entire Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) family in the state over the death of two of its members who lost their lives during a stampede which occurred at a valedictory party on Friday.

“The governor, who expressed shock and sadness over the development, has directed security operatives in the state to commence full investigation into the sad occurrence.

“Preliminary investigation by the police revealed that some hoodlums, while attempting to rob party women at the valedictory ceremony, had pulled down the fence of the venue, which resulted in a stamped that led to the loss of lives.’’

The statement quoted Saraki as vowing that anyone found culpable would not go unpunished.

Court stops Akala from paying himself severance allowance

By Oseheye Okwuofu, Ibadan

An attempt by Governor Adebayo Alao-kala to pay severance allowance to himself and all those who served in his government was thwarted yesterday by an Oyo State High Court.

The court also dismissed an application brought by the governor for stay of execution of a court order directing his government to pay the severance gratuities of 11 retired judges in the state.

The presiding judge, Akintunde Boade, dismissed the government’s application for lacking merit. A brother judge, Muktar Ladi Abimbola, had on April 14, 2011 given judgment in favour of the retired judicial officers, who sued the state government for refusing to pay their entitlements several months after they disengaged from service.

The claimants, Messrs. Nurudeen Adekola, Olayiwola Adio, Ruth Oyetunde, Afolabi Adeniran, Olagoke Ige, Karimu Jimoh, Lambe Arasi, Akin Sanda, Atilade Ojo, Simon Akintola and Theophilus Adeniran (deceased), comprised three former Chief Judges, two acting Chief Judges and six other judges, who worked with the state’s judiciary throughout their careers as judicial officers.

Although the state government agreed that they (the ex-judges) were entitled to the said money, it shifted the onus of payment to the Federal Government.

But Mr. Abimbola, in his judgment, agreed with all the points raised by the applicants and ordered the government to pay the controversial sums with interests.

Having failed at the high court, the government filed a notice of appeal and applied for a stay of execution of the orders pronounced in the earlier judgment. The court, however, ruled on the application yesterday, dismissing it in its entirety.

Mr. Boade also rebuffed efforts by the counsel from the state Ministry of Justice to stop the court from giving the ruling.

Despite the fact that the judge had, on Monday, fixed his verdict for yesterday, the counsel still made oral application for withdrawal of the application. He hinted that the government side was already trying to reach out to Mr. Lasun Sanusi (SAN), counsel to the retired judges on ways to settle the matter out of court.

But the judge insisted that he had prepared his ruling and was ready to read it, adding that the government was at liberty to challenge it if it was not satisfied with it.

Mr. Boade noted yesterday that the applicant failed in its responsibility to provide enough evidence to the court to enable it move in its favour.

In the affidavit filed in support of its application, the state government had posited that it was seeking to deny the claimants the fruit of their favourable judgment because the question of who is liable to pay was yet to be settled by its notice of appeal.

It also informed that the state was solvent and would be willing to pay the money as soon as the appellate court decided on the matter.

In their own defence, the retired judges, represented by Lasun Sanusi (SAN), argued that the law does not permit the government to delay compliance with a court order.

They further submitted that even if the government wanted to hide under the excuse that the question of who should pay had not been determined, it could still get back its money from the appropriate authority if the Appeal Court rules in its favour.

The judge said the application lacked merit and that the applicant had failed to show enough grounds to prove its case.

He ordered that the state government must pay the retired judges while the appeal goes on.

Justice Eni Esan, also of the state High Court, on Monday, granted an exparte motion to stop the governor from paying himself and his political appointees their terminal entitlements unless the retired judges were paid as earlier ordered by a court judgment.

Tribunal approves analysis of Oyo North senatorial voting materials

By Bisi Oladele
The Oyo State Election Petitions Tribunal yesterday granted the request of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) senatorial candidate in Oyo North, Dr. Wale Okediran, to invite forensic and handwriting experts to analyse ballot papers and other materials used for the election.
Okediran is challenging the victory of Mr. Hosea Agboola of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The three-man tribunal, headed by Justice Chukwuemeka Nwizu, granted the application filed by the petitioner’s counsel, Mr. Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (SAN), for the inspection and analysis of the materials to determine the claim that the election was rigged in Agboola’s favour.
Other members of the tribunal are Justices Alasa Omolaye-Ajileye and Muhammad Alkali.
Okediran is challenging the results in 10 of the 13 local governments that make up the district.
They are Ogbomoso North, Ogbomoso South, Saki East, Saki West, Iwajowa, Olorunsogo, Itesiwaju, Oriire, Olorunsogo and Irepodun local governments.
Besides ballot papers, the experts will be allowed to make photocopies and analyse forms EC8A, EC8B, EC25B, EC40A, EC40B and EC40C.
The tribunal also granted Agboola permission to bring his handwriting and forensic experts to witness the analysis as requested by his counsel, Mr. Yusuf Ali (SAN).
The second respondent, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), was absent at the hearing.
Speaking with reporters after the proceedings, Okediran said he was in court to seek justice, alleging that the election was not free and fair in the affected local governments.
He said he had enough facts to prove that the election was fraught with irregularities.
But Agboola said Okediran challenged the election in the councils where he lost, adding that his victory would be re-affirmed by the tribunal.
Agboola was, until his election, the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs.
He defeated Okediran with 133,143 to 94,896 votes.

Witches deploy 500 members to Abuja for Jonathan’s inauguration

By TAIWO OLUWADARE

The Witches and Wizards Association of Nigeria (WITZAN), has deployed 500 witches to Abuja and other parts of Ahead of Nigeria to prevent any tragic occurrence and ensure peaceful inauguration on May 29.

According to its national co-ordinator, Dr Okhue Iboi, the decision was taken after an emergency meeting at Zuma rock, Niger State. WITZAN also warned President Goodluck Jonathan to take adequate security as bad  people and disgruntled politicians are planning to cause problems.

Iboi, however, disclosed that the nation would soon have a respite from the people currently throwing bombs all over the places as they would be exposed: “We are going to expose those sponsoring bomb blasts in the country after May 29.  They have been caged already. We are going to use our power to cause them to come out and confess their misdeeds. Nigerians would be surprised at how the saboteurs would be exposed.”

He said it was revealed to the witches as far back as last year that no other candidate except Jonathan would rule the nation. The association which also predicted the failure of both former military president Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida and vice president Atiku Abubakar in their presidential quests also disclosed that Jonathan would serve his four-year tenure at the end of which Nigerians would be begging him to go for another term because he has been chosen by God to lead the nation.

Iboi, however, warned Jonathan to beware of sycophants, while warning the incoming ministers and advisers to co-operate with the president and discharge their duties with dedication. The witches warned former Head of State, Major-General Muhammadu Buhari (retd) to stop wasting his time pursuing the presidency:

“Buhari should stop wasting his time because his time is past. He can never rule the nation again.  His time is gone.” The incoming National Assembly will deliver.  This is the time Nigerians will know that they have real legislators.
“Some people look at us as if we are evil minded people.  Not all witches are bad.  Our own type of witchcraft is progressive. We are willing to intervene in the affairs of the country anytime the government decides to seek our counsel.  We have the solutions to bring lasting peace to the country.  Witches and wizards in the country are ready to help restore Nigeria’s lost glory.

“We saw June 12 crisis long before it happened and we warned the late Chief M.K.O. Abiola but he ignored us.  Abiola would have been Nigeria’s president but some of us decided to punish him over the role he played in scuttling the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo presidential ambition.  We warned him not to waste his time and life.  This was reported in some national dailies.  We also dealt with the late General Sani Abacha for the execution of the late Ken Saro-Wiwa.”

Akala deproscribes NURTW

By  Osheye Okwuofu


Out-going Oyo State Governor Adebayo Alao-Akala yesterday deprosribed the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW).
In a four paragraph statement by his Chief Press Secretary,Abraham Ojo, the governor said he took the decision to ensure “ the return of peace and tranquility to every part of the state”.
The statement reads:” The de-proscription order was given by Governor Alao-Akala following recent peace and tranquility being enjoyed in every part of the state.”
The statement said members of the union were  law abiding.
The NURTW was proscribed by the government in August last year following a leadership crisis .
Reacting, NURTW Chairman, Alhaji Lateef Akinsola a.k.a. Tokyo said: “ Modupe lowo Akala.(I thank governor Akala).”

Minister: Selfish lobbyists besiege me, says Jonathan

By Vincent Ikuomola, Abuja

THE President confirmed yesterday what has been widely known – there is a huge lobby for ministerial jobs.
But, 10 per cent of the lobbyists are doing it for national interest, he said at the Presidential Inauguration Lecture at the Foreign Affairs Headquarters, Abuja.
The 10 per cent are people whose primary concern is to push for competent people and not just for themselves or their relatives, he said.
He also spoke on post-election litigations, saying they declined by 80%.
He hopes that by 2015, they would have gone down by 95%.
The improvement, according to the President, was due to some drastic changes made before the election.
Prof. Ladipo Adamolekun, a development consultant to the World Bank for two decades, delivered the lecture.
The President said he had identified leadership as the only snag to the country getting to the top and that was why he changed the electoral process.
He explained that there are two categories of leaders: those who are elected and those who force themselves on the people through all means, including violence.
Jonathan, who was responding to questions from reporters, said his discussions with the leadership of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on the need to ensure that votes counted worked the magic.
He said some of the factors that contributed to the success of the 2011 general elections was the stand that votes are counted at the polling units and results given to party agents.
Said the President: “For us to get to where we want to go, to transform our country in all aspects, the challenge we have is the leaders, because no matter the interests of Nigerians, if we don’t have the leaders that can do that we cannot go anywhere.
“And I believe that the first step to transformation is to make sure that people select and elect their leaders. If you make mistake by electing a leader, you can tell that leader that ‘you are not doing well; so, we will see in the next four years’.
“When I travelled outside, even when I was acting President, I noticed there was just one thing we needed to do in our electoral process: get a credible umpire and make sure that at the end of the polls the results are declared at every unit and let all the agents have copies of that result.
“I think I’m one of the most fortunate Nigerians. For the past 12 years, I have been at the top, either as deputy governor, governor, vice president and later presidential candidate, so I know what the problem is at this point.
“If those results are not shared to agents and people move and at the end of the poll they just pack everything to either the ward or local government headquarters to count, a lot of things could happen. Where somebody gets 100 votes, it could turn to 10,000 votes. So, I said to the INEC chairman, ‘no matter what you do, make sure that the votes are counted and the results are shared to all the agents of the candidates and the two or three accredited security agencies too should get the results’. We insisted on that and, luckily, our elections have been accepted as free and fair.
“The legal adviser of PDP told me a week ago when we discussed about the cases in court, that the number of litigations has dropped compared to 2007; it has dropped by over 80%.
“That shows that even in terms of electoral processes, we are transforming; we are going somewhere,” the President said.
He went on: “In fact, I remember when I was acting president; the President of South Africa came to visit and I asked him the length of time they allowed after election in court because I was a bit worried that after election two years into tenure of four years matters are still in court.
“He was surprised that somebody should go to court after elections, but in South Africa you will be surprised that nobody is going to court after elections.
“My feeling is that if within this year alone because of the little changes we have made, we are able to reduce litigations by over 80%, I believe that in 2015, we will reduce it by 95%.”
Dr Jonathan said on the lobby for ministerial positions:
“If you open the newspapers today, you will read that there are people who are lobbying to be ministers and I’m at the centre of it and I know that more than 60% of the stories are not true.
“But, I know that there are two categories of lobbyists, I will just put it this way; there are people lobbying for ministerial positions for what I term as personal reasons, either for themselves, their wives etc. Then, those who love the country.
“Those who love the country, when they come to you for a particular person, if you analyse it, you will see that they have no relationship with that person; they are only lobbying because they feel that that person has the background to do the job; those are people who love this country. Unfortunately, they are less than 10%.
“Another thing is the time these people will spend to do their work. If a government comes up with a good policy and another government comes, there is a tendency for it to change. One thing I believe helped us not to transform the way we want to is the duration for ministers.
“I will not talk about the president or the governors because the constitution has set four years. If you count from the time of Tafawa Balewa to Ajumogobia, we have had 24 ministers in the space of 51 years, that means an average of two years for one minister. How will a country drive its foreign policy?
“It takes more than two years to really understand the policy of your country.
I am not saying any minister should serve like the defunct Soviet Union that had the longest serving minister of over 40 years, but at least you will expect that a minister, if they must transform and if that person is performing above 60% average, if you must change and develop, we expect that minister to stay for a number of years,” Dr Jonathan said.
Delivering his lecture entitled “A Transformation Agenda for Accelerating National Development”, Adamolekun identified five fundamentals that are necessary to transform the country.
The fundamentals, according to him, are: electoral legitimacy, peace and security, government policy stability, rule of law and anti-corruption.
He noted that the significance of electoral legitimacy connotes that the leaders that emerge through credible elections will be accountable to their citizens while the citizens will also be free to demand accountability from the leaders, adding that such development “is generally considered conducive for achieving well-performing governments”.
The lecturer described peace and security as “an incontrovertible precondition for development”. He stressed the need to revisit the implementation of the amnesty programme for sustainable peace in the Niger Delta.
He said the Ministry of Niger Delta should be phased out while the NDDC should be strengthened and run by experts and professionals.
Adamolekun lamented instability in government policies, especially in critical sectors, stressing that “there have been varying degrees of inconsistencies and contradictions, including notable policy reversals”. He cited policy reversals in privatisation and education.
He noted that countries, such as Botswana, Brazil, China, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, South Korea, Thailand and a host of others, recorded sustained high growth (7 per cent and above) for 25 years because of policy stability during the second half of the 20th century.
Adamolekun raised a poser by 2015, would Jonathan’s score card have earned him the title of a transformational leader? Even though he declined to answer the question, the lecturer said the President would be assessed by the progress made in ensuring peace and stability, reducing corruption, rehabilitating education and infrastructure with emphasis on electricity supply.
“I would add that the extent to which the President is able to rapidly enhance implementation capacity through progress regarding the four implementation issues discussed in the lecture will impact on his achievements regarding the three Transformation Results Areas (TRAs) – education rehabilitation, fixing poor
infrastructure and achieving the MDGs”.