Friday, December 27, 2013

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Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Stakeholders Worry over CAC's Computerisation of age long Documents

 CAC logo
Crusoe Osagie

Stakeholders in the private sector have expressed grave concern and fear over the possibility of misplacement and mismanagement of sensitive documents as the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) embarks on the transmutation of age long documents from paper files to electronic.
Legal Practitioner and Vice President of Nigerian Association of Chamber of Commerce and Industry Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA) Mr. Dele Oye who spoke about the ongoing transfer of corporate entities documents, which date as far back as 1912, to electronic mode, said though commendable, the exercise provides cause for worry, considering the fact that the individuals saddled with the responsibility to do the transfer may not understand the value of the documents and may not treat them with the needed care and attention.
“While the decision to transform these century long documents of the corporate records of Nigeria is quite a commendable initiative, it is difficult to ignore the fact that such a sensitive process and equally sensitive materials may not be handled with the kind of professional care required to forestall the possibility of misplacing and mixing up sensitive materials, which could create embarrassing situations for corporates,” Oye stressed.
He explained that such an activity cannot be carried out on an ad hoc and care free basis, pointing out the need for individuals who have actually carried out similar tasks in the past to be the ones saddled with this sort of responsibility.
“As a legal practitioner, I know the importance and the sensitivity of information and documents. I am not aware of the level of professionalism involved in the execution of this crucial task but I certainly think it should worry stakeholders at the very least that such an exercise is ongoing and we are not briefed as to the level of stringency being adopted in the execution of the assignment,” Oye added.
Also expressing concerns about the exercise, the Director General of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mr. Muda Yusuf said the initiative though laudable must be carried out with the highest level of care to ensure accuracy to prevent the possibility of losing vital documents in the process.
He urged the CAC to set up intermittent review mechanisms along with the process to ensure that a review is done at various stages before the project is completed, noting that this would help to ensure early detection and rectification of anomalies.
The CAC recently announced that as part of its computerization exercise which began in 2004 it is now carrying out the transfer of all hard copy documents at the commission into electronic systems as soft copies.
According to CAC, the implication is that companies and organisations with records at the commission dating as far back as 1912, which are currently manually kept with the attendant risks of mutilation, pilferage and loss of valuable materials, will be manually transferred into electronic systems.
Speaking earlier about this exercise, the Registrar General of CAC Alhaji Bello Mahmud noted: “the commission has commenced the scanning of the back log of records of all companies, business names and incorporated trustees in order to permanently solve the problems of mutilation, pilferage and document loss while also making it possible for customers to access company information electronically on the world wide web.”
2509F03.CAC-Logo.jpg - 2509F03.CAC-Logo.jpg

From Jonathan to Obasanjo with ‘warm regards’

Warm regards” indeed! These last two words in President Goodluck Jonathan’s reply to former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s 18-page open letter of December 2, 2013, disguise the low esteem in which Jonathan now seems to hold his former political godfather and benefactor. Just consider a few words used in Jonathan’s 15-page reply in describing Obasanjo’s allegations: “ominous”, “misplaced”, “misdirected”, “spurious”, “unconscionable”, “untrue”, “baseless”, “hypocritical”, and “lies”. They confirm Jonathan’s spokesperson’s earlier characterisation of Obasanjo’s letter as “self-serving, hypocritical, malicious, indecent, and very disrespectful”.
On the whole, the letter is a stylistic disaster. First, if it took 20 days or so to construct the letter, then the obvious grammatical errors, such as “…render an apology to Nigerians and I” should have been avoided. Second, the 10 reasons given for Jonathan’s reply appear as a rather childish attempt to match Obasanjo’s 10 reasons for making his an open letter. The attempt to get 10 separate reasons from three or four substantive ones led to unnecessary hairsplitting.
Third, and most important, Jonathan’s attempt to use every response to an issue as an occasion to trace the problem back to Obasanjo or his predecessors distracts from the substance of his own self-defence, particularly since Obasanjo’s culpability has been hashed out in the press. The result of this strategy is that Jonathan failed to own any of the numerous problems confronting the nation under his watch. Worse still, he failed to acknowledge that some of the problems, such as corruption, insecurity, and infrastructural decay, escalated under his watch. This is important because Obasanjo’s allegations are about what Jonathan has done or not do during his ongoing tenure.
The above comments notwithstanding, Jonathan did a good job of expressing the pain that Obasanjo’s letter inflicted on him: “Let me state that you have done me grave injustice with your public letter in which you wrongfully accused me of deceit, deception, dishonesty, incompetence, clannishness, divisiveness and insincerity, amongst other ills”. He is also right about underlying mischief in Obasanjo’s letter and its effects on the body politic. Unfortunately, however, Jonathan’s defence against the allegations is facile at best. For example, Jonathan never indicated whether or not he directly confronted or checked those Niger Deltans who have been insisting that hell will be let loose if he did not run in 2015.
He even is not categorical on the allegations he considered to be most grievous, namely, the construction of a watch list and the training of snipers. A categorical “No” is preferred here to dancing around the issue by asking Obasanjo to either name his sources or name people on the watch list. It is also not enough to have directed security agencies and the National Human Rights Commission to investigate the matter. There are far too many sceptics out there who will not take such investigations seriously, partly because Jonathan himself is the accused and partly because previous investigations under his watch have led to nowhere.
Perhaps, Jonathan’s worse response is to allegations of corruption. The focus on the Central Bank of Nigeria Governor’s accusation of inadequate remittance by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation to the CBN and the prosecution of the sons of some bigwigs in the PDP begs the question. What has Jonathan done with the recommendations of the other probes and investigative committees on reported frauds? What about the recent proven allegation of the purchase of armoured cars by the aviation minister at exorbitant prices?
What about the recent revelations that Service Wide Votes increased astronomically beyond budgeted sums, with the Jonathan administration recording the highest spending of N1.7tn between 2010 and 2012 alone? Why are states not getting their statutory allocations from the Federation Account promptly and as scheduled? Again, I ask, what happened to the excess of $30-40 per barrel of crude oil sales beyond the budgeted benchmark?
Moreover, how does one reconcile the recent outcry by the EFCC against underfunding and functional incapacitation with Jonathan’s claim in his letter that “I have been strengthening the institutions established to fight corruption”?
It must be admitted that, on the one hand, Jonathan’s responses to Obasanjo’s allegations will be considered adequate by his supporters and those looking for more Obasanjo bashing. However, I would suggest that they check out former Senate President Ameh Ebute’s letter to Obasanjo (Vanguard, December 21, 2013) for a more thoroughgoing bashing.
On the other hand, however, many discerning citizens wanted something else. They wanted something like a state of the nation address, in which Jonathan tells us where we are, where we are going, and how we will get there. If he had chosen this tactic, he would have been able to embed responses to Obasanjo’s allegations at appropriate stages in such an address. He also would have been able to highlight certain areas, such as power generation and agriculture, where he is said to be making reasonable progress.
As things stand, three conclusions are evident. First, whether Jonathan likes it or not, Obasanjo’s allegations will linger in people’s memory, having confirmed the general perception of the President’s inefficiency. He may have been working hard, as his supporters and spokespersons claim, but citizens have yet to see positive results in their own lives. And he failed woefully in his letter to allay their fears and misgivings.
Second, Obasanjo’s villainous role in the PDP politics in particular, and in Nigerian politics in general, is further amplified. True, no one has ruled Nigeria for as long as Obasanjo has and no one else today bestrides the political terrain like a colossus. Yet, no one in Nigerian politics is as vilified for his ignoble role at national and domestic levels like Obasanjo. No doubt, he did certain things right. But his negatives far outweigh the positives in people’s mind.
This is partly why the recent outreach by the All Progressives Congress to Obasanjo, inviting him to be the party’s “navigator”, smells foul in the political, and even moral, nostrils of many observers. The move immediately questioned the APC’s ideology, leading to the suspicion that the party would do anything to win elections.
Third, given the bad blood already generated between Obasanjo and Jonathan over the celebrated exchange of letters, it is not likely that a smooth relationship will be restored soon between them. If it is, then they are political juggernauts who would say anything about each other in public during the day and drink together in the evening. Having “abused” his benefactor, which was an unfortunate step to take, it is now left to Jonathan to be his own man.

I won’t comment on Jonathan’s reply – Obasanjo

Former  President Olusegun Obasanjo

Former  President Olusegun Obasanjo   on Monday said he would not  reply President Goodluck Jonathan’s December  20 letter  accusing him of threatening national security.
Obasanjo, who addressed a news conference  through his media aide, Tunde Oladunjoye,at his Hilltop Mansion in Abeokuta, Ogun State, said  in spite of requests by Nigerian and international media  for him to  reply the President, he would  still maintain his “serenity.”
But he made it clear that  he had through his December 2,2013 letter to Jonathan, done his duty to the President, the Peoples Democratic Party and the nation, as a former President and an elder statesman.
Obasanjo, had in  his 18-page letter titled “Before it is too late,” accused the President, among other things, of placing 1,000 Nigerians on a watch list and training snipers to assassinate his political opponents.
He had added that Jonathan’s actions were capable of derailing the country’s democracy.
But the President replied Obasanjo on Sunday, claiming that  his   letter was  full of lies against him and his administration.
In a tone indicating that he was highly  pained by the former President’s letter, Jonathan wrote, “The allegation of training snipers to assassinate political opponents is particularly incomprehensible to me. Since I started my political career as a Deputy Governor, I have never been associated with any form of political violence.
“Regarding the over  1,000 people  you said  are on a political watch list, I urge you to kindly tell Nigerians who they are and what agencies of government are ‘watching’ them.
“Your allegation that I am using security operatives to harass people is also baseless. Nigerians are waiting for your proof. That was an accusation made against previous administrations, including yours, but it is certainly not my style and will never be. Again, if you insist on the spurious claim that some of your relatives and friends are being harassed, I urge you to name them and tell Nigerians what agencies of my administration are harassing them.”
He went on to add that  the  letter by Obasanjo also  suggested to him that landmines had been laid for him.
But Obasanjo  told journalists in a two-page statement read by Oladunjoye , a former deputy governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in Ogun State,   that he  had resolved  not to make  further comments on either his  letter or Jonathan’s.
Immediately after reading the statement titled, ‘Re: Before It Is Too Late,’  he  rose from his seat, declining to entertain questions from the journalists.
The  statement reads,” Since the publication of the letter written by the President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, GCFR, which was in response to the letter earlier written by  former President, Commander-in-Chief, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, GCFR; we have received several enquiries from local and international media asking to know Chief Obasanjo’s reaction to Mr. President’s response.
 “One, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, GCFR, acknowleges  Mr. President’s letter/response. However, Baba, as he already indicated in his December 2, 2013 letter does not wish to make further comments beyond the contents of his last letter to Mr. President or react to the said letter/response from Dr. Jonathan. Let me quote from page  14, paragraph two of Chief Obasanjo’s letter to Mr. President dated December 2, 2013 and titled Before It is Too Late:  “I will maintain my serenity, because by this letter,  I have done my duty to you as I have always done, to your government, to the  PDP, and to our country, Nigeria.
  “Two, let me reiterate here, that Chief  Obasanjo  has tremendous respect for the office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
Oladunjoye added that Obasanjo “sincerely appreciates all of you, my cherished colleagues; gentlemen and women of the media profession, who have been very upright, ethical and robust on the subject matter.”
Obasanjo’s claim  that Jonathan was playing politics with the Africa Development Bank   and World Bank Rivers State water project in Rivers State  was  however  supported by Governor Rotimi Amaechi  during a rally by the All Progressives Congress at the Liberation Stadium in Port Harcourt.
“If they tell us that it is  the ADB, tell them I said it is both ADB  and the World Bank. We  have completed everything we need to complete. They don’t want to sign, they want you and I to die of hunger,” Amaechi told  APC supporters.
He added, “I will not lie, I drink table  water. So the best I can do for you and the best your President can do for you is to ask  the World Bank about the water project.
“All those that say they want South-South President, I agree, you want South-South President. If a South-South President refuses to give you water, you can still sweep him out. Let him tell us what project  he has   done for us.”
Meanwhile, two  Northern groups – the Arewa Consultative Forum and the Coalition of Northern Politicians, Academics, Professionals and Businessmen – have  differed on Jonathan’s reply to Obasanjo’s letter.
While the ACF said   Jonathan’s reply  had  given Nigerians an opportunity to judge, the CNPAPB said it was a poor attempt to respond to ‘very serious’ issues raised by  a former President of the country.
 The ACF  spokesman, Mr. Anthony Sani, in an interview with one of our correspondents,   however expressed reservations about the open nature of the altercations between the two  Nigerian leaders.
Sani said,  “I have read both letters and wish to state that such open altercations be avoided in favour of confidential correspondence, especially when regard is paid to their personal and political relationships which have profound effect on the pace of development of the Nigerian project.
“But since the genie has been let out of the bottle, it is good that Mr. President has replied the letter. It is now left for Nigerians to pass their judgment in the larger interest of Nigeria.”
However,   the Convener of the CNPAPB,  Dr. Junaid Mohammed, cautioned Nigerians against taking their eyes off the   issues made public by Obasanjo.
Mohammed said, “If Nigerians decide to take their eyes off the ball until this issue becomes serious, then we have ourselves to blame.
“In addition, one of the inadequacies of the latter by the President  is that it was unlike Obasanjo’s.
“Jonathan’s letter is  more of a civil service draft- a combination of all sorts of contributions by  half-baked politicians, mediocre civil servants and journalistic thugs in the service of the President.
“Whether Obasanjo is liked or not; is beside the point, let Nigerians insist that issues raised by Obasanjo  in his  letter be properly addressed.”
The medical doctor turned politician  said the allegation that the Jonathan administration was training snipers must not be glossed over.
But   the Ijaw National Congress said that Obasanjo should open up on the training  of snipers.
Lauding  the President’s reply, it said that Nigerians could not be deceived by Obasanjo.
The INC spokesman, Mr. Victor Borubo, also said that   Obasanjo was not in a position to advise Jonathan on whether or not to run for the Presidency in 2015.
He said,  “President Jonathan is trying his best to develop the country. Obasanjo should not forget that the PDP crisis did not start with Jonathan. Nigerians cannot be deceived by his  letter.
“Obasanjo is claiming that Jonathan promised to go for only one term as President, but he (Jonathan) has told his critics to produce evidence that he made such a promise.”
Also on Monday, a  former Governor of Bayelsa State, Chief Diepreye Alamieyeseigha,  appealed to   Jonathan and  Obasanjo to close ranks and proffer solutions to the country’s challenges.
Alamieyeseigha told  journalists in Yenagoa that even though Obasanjo’s  motive for making the letter public was unclear, the issues  he raised in it  were weighty and should not be ignored.
“The advice, through a letter to President Jonathan, no doubt is coming from a respected person who has ruled the country both as a military head of state and a two-time president of a democratic government,” the News Agency of Nigeria  quoted the former governor as saying.
“We  can concede to him (Obasanjo). He has the in-depth knowledge of governance; he has seen it all; and so a letter coming from him should not be taken on the face value,’’ he advised.
Alamieyeseigha  noted that leadership and nation-building were  responsibilities that required the input of various stakeholders.
“President Jonathan is not a super human, so if the country is drifting in the eyes of objective and patriotic persons in the country, they can come out and proffer solutions after identifying the problems.’’ he said.
Former  President Olusegun Obasanjo

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Iyabo Obasanjo Evades Contacts with Press over Controversial Letter to Her Father

Iyabo Obasanjo Evades Contacts with Press over Controversial Letter to Her Father
The first daughter of the ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo, Iyabo Obasanjo-Bello, has not given any direct comments over a letter she allegedly wrote her father.

In the 11-page letter, which was exclusively published by Vanguard newspapers in the early hours of December 18, 2013, Wednesday, Ms. Obasanjo-Bello, a former senator, reportedly made scathing remarks about her father’s official and private life. She described her father as a liar, abuser and hypocrite.

Several newspapers, PREMIUM TIMES in particular, were in search for a way to speak with her during Wednesday to confirm if she actually wrote the controversial letter.

This newspaper repeatedly called Ms. Obasanjo-Bello’s mobile telephone, sent her multiple e-mails, text messages and left voicemails on her telephone, but she did not respond to any of them.

Her continued silence creates grounds for doubts, despite claims by her family and some of the former president’s spokespersons that she did not write the letter.

This newspaper first sent her emails at 10.32 a.m., Nigerian time. Attempts to reach her via a U.S. telephone contact made at 2.55 p.m., Nigerian time, were also unsuccessful.

The family member, who claimed to have discussed the matter with Mr. Obasanjo, said the letter must have been forged because the former president spoke with his daughter two days ago.

Two other associates of the former president, Tunde Oladunjoye and Femi Fani-Kayode also denied that the former senator wrote the letter.

“I can tell you that such letter never existed. I can tell you authoritatively it only existed in the imagination of those who forged and published it. It is the height of desperation of those who masterminded it,” Mr. Oladunjoye said.

He also insisted Mr. Obasanjo did not receive such a letter from his daughter.

On his part, Mr. Fani-Kayode, a former Aviation Minister in the administration of Mr. Obasanjo, said based on his knowledge of the family, the former senator could not have authored the letter.

“I can tell you the so-called letter was forged by those in government.
“Let Iyabo Obasanjo talk because there are conflicting reports. I am more interested in the letter that Obasanjo wrote to Goodluck Jonathan and issues raised there than Obasanjo’s private matters,” the ex- Minister added. 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

South Africa unveils Mandela ‘unity’ statue

A statue of Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s first black president, has been unveiled in the capital, Pretoria, a day after he was buried. The nine-metre (30ft) bronze statue has been erected at the Union Buildings, the government headquarters, BBC reports. The statue, with Mandela’s hands reaching outward, was intended to show that he had embraced the whole nation, President Jacob Zuma said. Mandela was given a state funeral at his ancestral home on Sunday. African National Congress members, veterans of the fight against apartheid and foreign dignitaries – including several African presidents and the Prince of Wales – attended the funeral ceremony in the village of Qunu in South Africa’s Eastern Cape province. It followed a 10-day period of mourning and celebrating Mandela’s life after his death at the age of 95. The national flag was raised on Monday from its half-mast position, and was flying as normal. The statue was unveiled on South Africa’s Day of Reconciliation, a public holiday which marks the end of racial conflict in South Africa. “Former President Mandela is associated with the promotion of reconciliation which is why the day was chosen for the unveiling,” said the government. During white minority rule, 16 December was called the Day of Covenant to honour the victory of Afrikaners over a Zulu army in an 1838 clash known as the Battle of Blood River. More than a century later, on 16 December 1961, Mandela launched an armed group, Umkhonto we Sizwe (Spear of the Nation), to fight South Africa’s white minority rule. It led to his arrest and imprisonment for 27 years. After he became president in 1994 at the end of minority rule, he used the day to urge South Africans to set aside their differences and to unite. During his address at the funeral on Sunday, Zuma pledged to build on Mandela’s legacy. “As your journey ends today, ours must continue in earnest… South Africa will continue to rise because we dare not fail you,” he said. Mandela’s body lay in state at the Union Buildings for three days last week, at least 100,000 people filed past his open casket to pay their last respects.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Obasanjo bombs Jonathan

President Goodluck Jonathan is under  a fresh attack . This time, it  is a stinker  from a former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo.
 The Balogun of Owu, Abeokuta, did not make an impromptu speech at a public forum, he took his time to pen what he felt to be Jonathan’s  failings.
In  an 18-page  letter to  the President, Obasanjo  accused  him, among other things, of  not honouring his words  and  taking actions calculated at destroying Nigeria.
The  letter dated December 2, 2013 and titled, “Before it is too late”  became public  knowledge on Wednesday. Only on Monday, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, said Jonathan was paying lip service to  the anti-corruption campaign  in the country.
In the letter, Obasanjo accused the President of  pursuing “ selfish personal and political interests based on advise from his “self-centred aides.”
He also alleged that the President had  failed  to deliver on his promises to Nigerians and to  curb insurgency and corruption in the country.
 “Nigeria is bleeding and the hemorrhage must be stopped,” an obviously angry Obasanjo lamented. He went ahead to declare that  “Jonathan had betrayed God and   Nigerians,” who voted him into power.
Obasanjo further alleged that Jonathan  had not only   placed more than  1, 000 Nigerians on a political watchlist,   he had  succeeded in destroying  the ruling  Peoples Democratic Party and  polarised Nigeria  along regional and religious lines.
He also said the President was involved in anti-party activities.
• PDP crises and Jonathan’s personal agenda
He said the President was using the PDP  National Chairman, Bamanga Tukur, to cause the lingering crises in the party.
Obasanjo said, “Let me start with the leadership of the ruling party. Many of us were puzzled over what was going on in the party. Most party members blamed the national chairman. I understand that some in the Presidency tried to create the impression that some of us were to blame.
“The situation became clear only when the national chairman spoke out that he never did anything or acted in any way without the approval or concurrence of the party leader (Jonathan) and that where the party leader disapproved, he made correction or amendment, that we realised most actions were those of the chairman but the motivation and direction were those of the leader.
“It would be unfair to continue to level full blames on the chairman for all that goes wrong with the party. The chairman is playing the tune dictated by the paymaster (Jonathan). But the paymaster is acting for a definitive purpose for which deceit and deception seem to be the major ingredients.”
Obasanjo stated that Jonathan’s  failure to keep his promise not to seek a second term   had also worsened the crises in the PDP.
“Up till two months ago, Mr. President, you told me that you have not told anybody that you would contest in 2015. I quickly pointed out to you that the signs and the measures on the ground do not tally with your statement. You said the same to one other person who shared his observation with me. And only a fool would believe that statement you made to me judging by what is going on. I must say it is not ingenious. You may wish to pursue a more credible and more honourable path.”
He added that  before the 2011 general  elections,   the President told  some governors and  the PDP     stakeholders, including himself,   that he would not seek reelection.
He   specifically mentioned  Benue State Governor Gabriel Suswam,  as having  told him that Jonathan accepted not to run for Presidency in 2015.
The former head of  state said,  “ He (Suswam)  told  me  that  you  had  accepted  a one-term Presidency to allow for  ease of getting support across  the board in the  North.    I decided  to cross-check with  you.    You  did  not  hesitate to confirm to me that you are a strong believer in a one-term of six  years for the  President  and  that  by  the  time  you  have  used  the  unexpired  time  of your  predecessor  and  the  four  years  of  your  first  term,  you  would  have almost used up to six years and you would not need any more term or time.”
According to the former Nigerian leader, Jonathan’s failure    to keep the  promise had made him appear like a  man without honour.
Obasanjo told the President that it would be  “fatally morally flawed” for  him  to contest in 2015.
He wrote,  “As a leader, two things you must cherish and hold dear among others are trust and honour both of which are important ingredients of character. I will want to see anyone in the office of the Presidency as a man or woman who can be trusted, a person of honour in his words and character.”
The former President accused Jonathan of  supporting the candidates of opposition parties in governorship elections in Lagos, Ondo, Edo and Anambra states  and causing disagreements between  party members.
He said, “Maybe you also need to know that many party members feel disappointed in the double game you were alleged to play in support of party governorship candidates in some states where you surreptitiously supported non-PDP candidates against PDP candidates in exchange for promise or act of those non-PDP governors supporting you for your election in the past or for the one that you are yet to formally declare.”
He claimed that a former Lagos State Governor, Asiwaju Bola  Tinubu “was nocturnally brought to Abuja to strike a deal for support “ for Jonathan’s  personal election at the expense of the  PDP  and its governorship candidate.
 “If you as leader of the party cannot be seen to be loyal to the PDP in support of the candidates of the party and the interests of such party candidates have to be sacrificed on the altar of your personal and political interest, then good luck to the party and I will also say as I have had occasions to say in the past, good luck to Goodluck,” he said in the letter.
• Insecurity/Boko Haram
Noting   that the President had not been able  to tackle the remote  causes of insurgency in the country, Obasanjo again advised him  to adopt “a carrot and stick approach”  to stem  the problem.
He stated  that “conventional military actions based on standard phases of military operations alone will not permanently and effectively deal with the issue of Boko Haram.”
• Factionalism/clannishness
 Obasanjo also  took on Jonathan for being clannish and wondered why he had not quietened some Ijaw leaders who  publicly  attack those opposed to  his leadership style.
The former President said,  “For you to allow yourself to be ‘possessed’, so to say, to the exclusion of most of the rest of Nigerians as an ‘Ijaw man’ is a mistake that should never have been allowed to happen.
“Yes, you have to be born in one part of Nigeria to be Nigerian if not naturalised but the Nigerian President must be above ethnic factionalism. And those who prop you up as of, and for ‘Ijaw nation’ are not your friends genuinely, not friends of Nigeria nor friends of  the ‘Ijaw nation’ they tout about.
“To allow or tacitly encourage people of ‘Ijaw nation’ to throw insults on other Nigerians from other parts of the country and threaten fire and brimstone to protect your interest as an Ijaw man is myopic and your not openly quieting them is even more unfortunate.”
• Political watchlist
Obasanjo also  alleged that the President had  not only  placed more than  1, 000 Nigerians on a political watch list, he had encouraged the  “training of  snipers and other armed personnel secretly and clandestinely.”
He added that  weapons  were being purchased   them   for political purposes and training given to them  where Abacha trained his killers.
The former President  wondered why the Presidency was providing assistance for “a murderer” to evade justice.
He said, “Presidential assistance for a murderer to evade justice and presidential delegation to welcome him home can only be in bad taste generally but particularly to the family of his victim.
“Assisting criminals to evade justice cannot be part of the job of the presidency. Or, as it is viewed in some quarters, is he being recruited to do for you what he had done for Abacha in the past? Hopefully, he should have learned his lesson. Let us continue to watch.”
Obasanjo did not  give the  name of the   but he  was apparently  referring to  the  former  Chief  Security Officer to   Abacha,  Hamza Al-Mustapha.
• Corruption
Obasanjo  called on Jonathan to take at least, “one effective corrective action against high corruption which seems to stink all around you in your government.”
He mentioned the  recent allegation that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation failed to remit billions of dollars in proceeds of crude oil sales to the federation account.
“This allegation will not fly away by non-action, cover-up, denial or bribing possible investigators,” he  told the President.
He added,  “Please deal with this allegation transparently and let the truth be known.
“The dramatis personae in this allegation and who they are working for will one day be public knowledge.
“Those who know are watching if the National Assembly will not be accomplice in the heinous crime and naked grand corruption.
 “As  head  of  government,  the  buck  of  the  performance  and non-performance  stops  on  your  table  and  let  nobody  tell  you  anything  to the  contrary.    Corruption  has  reached  the  level  of impunity.    It  is  also  necessary  to  be  mindful  that  corruption  and  injustice are fertile breeding grounds for terrorism and political instability.”
He also told Jonathan to do the right things because God and Nigerians would hold him responsible for “whatever happens and fails to happen in the country.”
“I have had opportunity, in recent times to interact closely with you and I have come to the conclusion painfully or happily that if you can shun yourself to a great extent of personal and political interests and dwell more on the national interest and also draw the line between advice from selfish and self-centered aides and advice from those who in the interest of the nation may not tell you what you will want to hear,” Obasanjo said.
The former President told  Jonathan that  nothing, at this stage of his life, would prevent him from standing up for whatever he considered  to be in the best interest of Nigeria, Africa and the world.
He added that  he was ready for whatever reaction  the  letter would provoke from the Presidency.
He  said, “Knowing what happens around you,  most of which you know of and condone or deny, this letter will provoke a cacophony from hired and unhired attackers but I will maintain my serenity because by this letter, I have done my duty to you as I have always done, to your government, to the  PDP, and to our country, Nigeria.
“I have passed the stage of being flattered, intimidated, threatened, frightened, induced or bought… Death is the end of all human beings and may it come when God wills it to come.
“The harassment of my relations and friends and innuendos that are coming from the government security apparatus on whether they belong to New PDP or supporters of defected governors and which are possibly authorised or are  the  work  of  overzealous  aides  and  those  reading  your  lips  to  act  in  your interest will be counter-productive.
“It is abuse of security apparatus. Such abuse took place  last  in  the time of  Abacha.    Lies and untruths  about me emanating from the Presidency is too absurd to contemplate.    Saying that I recommended a wanted criminal by United Kingdom  and United States  authorities to you or your aides to supplant legitimately elected PDP leader in the South-West is not only unwise  and  crude  but  also  disingenuous.    It is a clear indication of how unscrupulous and unethical the Presidency can go to pursue your personal and political interest.
The former Nigerian leader  urged the President to share the contents of his letter with former Heads of State, Generals Abdulsalami Abubakar and Gen. Ibrahim Babangida as well as a former Vice-President Alex Ekwueme and ex-Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Theophilus Danjuma.
He told Jonathan that  he should do so because  Abubakar and Babangida     had shared the concerns he raised in the letter with him (Obasanjo).
Obasanjo said, “I crave your indulgence to share the contents of this letter, in the first instance, with Generals Babangida and Abubakar, who, on a number of occasions in recent times, have shared with me their agonising thoughts, concerns and expressions on most of the issues I have raised in this letter concerning the situation and future of our country. I also crave your indulgence to share the contents with Gen. Danjuma and Ekwueme, whose concerns for and commitments to the good of Nigeria have been known to be strong.”
Initial fear that the letter did not emanate from Obasanjo was  doused by  his Chief of Staff, Deacon Victor Durodola, who confirmed its authenticity to one of our correspondents.
Durodola said the elder statesman decided to write Jonathan despite their perceived close rapport.
“The reasons are already stated in the letter, including where Baba (Obasanjo) said the last letter he wrote was not even acknowledged; so, the reasons are there, about 10 of them. So, he wrote the letter.”
He also confirmed that Obasanjo left South- Africa on Tuesday after the memorial service for the former South African President, Nelson Mandela.
But the   Presidency   described the allegations  by  Obasanjo as “most reckless, baseless, unjustifiable and indecorous.”
The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, who confirmed  receipt of the letter by the Presidency,   added that it was “highly unbecoming, mischievous and provocative” that it    (letter)  was  deliberately leaked to the mass media in an effort to impugn the integrity of the President.
The presidential spokesman   said  in a statement that  Jonathan, at the appropriate time, would offer a full personal response to the allegations.
The statement reads, “We have noted the publication on several websites today (Wesnesday) of a letter recently written by Chief Obasanjo to President  Jonathan.
“The Presidency acknowledges that it has indeed received the said letter from Chief Obasanjo.
“We however find it highly unbecoming, mischievous and provocative that a letter written by a former Head of State and respected elder statesman to President Jonathan  has been deliberately leaked to the mass media in a deplorable effort to impugn the integrity of the President and denigrate his commitment to giving Nigeria the best possible leadership.
“While many patriotic, objective and well-meaning Nigerians have already condemned the leaked letter as self-serving, hypocritical, malicious, indecent, and very disrespectful of the highest office in the land, President Jonathan has directed that none of his aides or any government official should join issues with Chief Obasanjo over it.
“The President himself will, at the appropriate time, offer a full personal response to the most reckless, baseless, unjustifiable and indecorous charges levied against him and his administration by the former Head of State.”
The PDP, in a statement by Tukur  also  called on  Obasanjo to tread with caution. It said the letter was  a direct assault on the person of Jonathan.
It added, “ For such a statement against the person of the national chairman of the PDP, to come from Chief Obasanjo, a former head of state  and President is most unfortunate.
“For him to insinuate that the President is using the national chairman to cause multiple problems for the party doesn’t in any way portray him as a true democrat.

FG/ASUU sign agreement, varsities to reopen soon

After five months and 10 days that the public universities have been on strike, the Federal Government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities on Wednesday finally signed a fresh agreement. The fresh pact is the review of the Federal Government/ASUU 2012 Memorandum of Understanding reached on the 2009 agreement. Both parties, however, refused to reveal the details of the agreement to journalists who witnessed the signing of the agreement. The meeting was almost boycotted by the union until the intervention of stakeholders. ASUU had on Tuesday vowed not to attend the meeting because there was no commitment and proper invitation from the government. The union had demanded for proof of the payment of the N200bn into a Central Bank of Nigeria account for public universities, non-victimisation clause, review of the agreement in 2014 and that a representative of government, preferably the Attorney-General of the Federation to sign the agreement as conditions to call off the strike which began on July 1. Our correspondent, however, gathered that the union got three of its demands while it relinquished one to the government. The Federal Government agreed to present evidence of payment, implement the non-victimisation clause and that the agreement was open to re-negotiation in 2014. But it was the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education, MacJohn Nwaobiala, who signed the agreement on behalf of the government contrary to the demand of the union. ASUU President, Dr. Nasir Faggae, signed on behalf of the union while the President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Abdulwaheed Omar, signed as a witness to the agreement. The Supervising Minister of Education, Nyesom Wike, who presided over the meeting, said there was “no victor no vanquished” in the dispute. He said the Federal Government was alive to its responsibility to restore normalcy to the university system. Wike argued that government only directed the vice-chancellors of federal universities to immediately reopen the universities for academic activities pending when other minor discrepancies would be sorted out. “Today, I am very pleased to announce that all contending issues between ASUU and the Federal Government have been resolved to the satisfaction of the parties. “Let me emphasise that we recognise and appreciate ASUU’s patriotic role and commitment towards ensuring that our universities are well-funded, resourced and run like their counterparts in other parts of the world. “Thus, we are all partners in progress and there is no victor; no vanquished in the struggle of this nature for as long as our goals remain noble, not actuated by parochial interests, but targeted at moving our nation forward.” The minister on behalf of President Goodluck Jonathan thanked Nigerians, the National Assembly, the labour unions, traditional rulers, parents and students for showing understanding. In his response, Faggae commended the President for his intervention in the dispute. He, however, stressed that the strike could not have lingered if government had agreed to document the agreement reached with the union. “If what we have agreed with Mr. President at that 13-hour meeting had been judiciously documented and our members were convinced that it was going to be implemented, we wouldn’t have waited this while because we also have a lot of respect for the office of Mr. President and that of the Vice-President. “But you see our members are intellectuals, I keep saying this. It is simply because over the years particularly since the signing of the 2009 agreement we have been pursuing government to get that agreement implemented. “We rarely succeeded in getting a portion of that agreement implemented by the government. Here we are, we have gone for about four years but it is never too late to turn a new page and make sure we do what is right with our universities.” Faggae said the country must place high premium on education if it hoped to catch up with developed world. Faggae who said the decision to call-off the strike lied with the National Executive Council of the union, promised that the message would be delivered within one week for a final decision on the strike. “We would now take this document to our members and we are confident that our members will do the appropriate thing. “It was a sacrifice that was worth taking to ensure that we do what is right for our country,” he added. In an interview, Faggae said ASUU would make its position known to government “within one week.”

Apple wins legal battle over Samsung in South Korea

Samsung Electronics Co Ltd on Thursday lost its bid to ban sales of Apple Inc’s older iPhone and iPad in South Korea after a court dismissed a lawsuit claiming the U.S. firm had infringed on three of Samsung’s mobile patents. The lawsuit was part of the tech giants’ global courtroom battle dating to 2011, when Apple first sued Samsung for copying the look and feel of its iconic iPhone and iPad. A judge at the Seoul Central District Court said Apple products such as the iPhone 4S, iPhone 5 and iPad2 did not violate Samsung patents on short message display methods and messaging grouping features. The court ruled against a sale ban on the products and threw out Samsung’s claim for 100 million won ($95,100) in damages. “We are glad the Korean court joined others around the world in standing up for real innovation and rejecting Samsung’s ridiculous claims,” Apple Korea spokesman Steve Park said. Samsung said it would thoroughly review the ruling before deciding to whether to appeal. “As Apple has continued to infringe our patented mobile technologies, we will continue to take the measures necessary to protect our intellectual property rights,” Samsung said in a statement. In a separate ruling in August last year, the same court ordered Apple to pay Samsung 40 million won in damages for infringing two of the South Korean firm’s wireless technology patents. In the same ruling, Samsung was fined 25 million won for violating a patent relating to the so-called bouncing-back function used when scrolling electronic documents. Thursday’s ruling comes after a Mannheim court in Germany dismissed Apple’s claim that Samsung infringed on a utility patent that pertains to a multi-language function used in smartphones. Apple and Samsung have gone to trial twice in the past two years in a San Jose, California federal court, where juries have awarded Apple roughly $930 million in damages. Shares in Samsung, worth around $221 billion, closed down 0.7 percent on Thursday, versus a 0.5 percent drop in the wider market.

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