Jonathan Falls Sick in London

ANYONE looking for a superman should probably not look the way of President Goodluck Jonathan. The president who had left country on Wednesday, November 20, to attend an investors’ forum in London, Britain, suddenly took ill and this forced him to miss the opening ceremony of Nigeria’s Honorary International Investors’ Council, HIIC, on Thursday, November 21.

But on Friday, November 22, President Jonathan was well enough to make a surprise appearance at the Hilton Hotel on Park Lane London, venue of the conference. Jonathan was said to have arrived at the second floor venue of the event at exactly 9:30, London time in company of Dalhatu Tafida, Nigerian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom and other government officials. He apologised to members of the council for his inability to attend the conference on Thursday, blaming it on his ill health, but added that he was now strong enough to attend the meeting.

Announcing the president’s ill-health, Reuben Abati, his spokesman, had in a statement, simply said his boss was indisposed and had been advised by his doctors to take a rest. The statement said: “In the course of his on-going visit to London for a meeting of Nigeria’s Honorary International Investors’ Council, President Goodluck Jonathan became indisposed and could not be present at the opening of the meeting today. President Jonathan has since been examined by competent medical practitioners. He has been advised to rest for a few days. The Presidency wishes to assure all Nigerians that President Jonathan’s condition is nothing serious and that the medical attention he has sought is only precautionary.”

Jonathan, travelled to London early on Wednesday, November 20, his 56th birthday. Hence, he was absent at Wednesday’s Federal Executive Council, FEC, meeting which Vice-President Namadi Sambo presided and led the party of tributes to mark the president’s birthday. A huge card was sent to him by members of the FEC through the vice president.

Later in the night, a photograph of the president with Sambo and other top government officials cutting the birthday cake – apparently before his departure for London – was released to the media.

An Intellectual Terrorist in Police Net

THE Nigerian war on terrorism received a boost recently as one of the brains behind the Boko Haram, an Islamic group, was caught. Mohammed Nazeef Yunus, a lecturer at the Kogi State University was paraded with other activists on Wednesday, November 20, by the State Security Service, SSS, for his alleged connection with Boko Haram activities.

Yunus with microphone with four others
Yunus with microphone with four others

Four other suspects, allegedly under the tutelage of the lecturer, were also paraded. They were: Umar Musa, Mustapha Yusuf, Ismaila Abdulazeez and Ibrahim Isah. Marilyn Ogah, SSS spokesperson, who paraded the suspects, described Yunus as a spiritual leader of the sect in Kogi State where he had been indoctrinating students and others with jihadist messages.

Ogar said Yunus commanded no fewer than 200 adherents within and outside the university campus where he preached his messages on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. He was also alleged to have sent some of his followers to the Sambisa Forest in Borno State for training with Boko Haram militants before federal troops raided the forest.

Yunus denied all the allegations, even when the other suspects admitted having link with him. “I am not a member of Boko Haram. I don’t believe in shedding blood because shedding blood is unislamic. Islam is against bloodshed,” he said.

But the other four suspects confessed to have been recruited by the lecturer and sponsored for training in the handling of weapons, such as AK 47 rifles, and explosive materials. One of them confessed that he and others were arrested by security agents at Zuba in the Federal Capital Territory while on a mission to Maiduguri on Yunus’s directive. Another suspect said he was placed on a monthly salary of N50, 000 as an instructor at the education unit in the Boko Haram camp.

Another Legal Victory for Akpabio


IT WAS another failed attempt to remove him from office. On Thursday, November 21, the Court of Appeal in Abuja dismissed the application filed by Frank Okon challenging the validity of the election of Godswill Akpabio as governor of Akwa Ibom State. In a unanimous decision, the Court of Appeal affirmed the decision of Justice Abdul Kafarati of the federal high court, Abuja which held that Okon had no locus to challenge Akpabio’s election.

Delivering the judgment, Justice Joseph Tine Tor while affirming the decision of the lower court, dismissed the appeal, saying it lacked merit.  Tor said: “The Federal High Court would have had jurisdiction but the appellant did not come as an aspirant and so lacked the locus to challenge Akpabio’s election. Okon had not derived any right in the election because he has no vested right as his so-called vested right has collapsed.” The court said further that Okon’s provisional clearance meant that the purchase of the relevant documents was only provisional and so could be changed without notification for the primary election.

The federal high court, Abuja, had earlier dismissed Okon’s case on the basis that he did not participate in the primary of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Akwa Ibom State and therefore lacked the locus to challenge the outcome of the said primary. But Okon had argued that he was an aspirant having been cleared to contest in the primary of January 15, 2011.

Aniefiok Dennis, senior special assistant to Akpabio on legal matters, commended the judiciary for its patience in handling the case, adding that Akpabio has now become a serial winner.

Ending Woes of Academic Disruption

Nyeson Wike, minister of education
Nyeson Wike, minister of education

THE Association of Committee of Vice-Chancellors of Nigerian Universities, ACVCNU, is advocating for an innovative and workable solutions to disruptions in the academic calendars of universities. Rising from the 28th Annual Conference of the association, the vice-chancellors in a communiqué issued in Abuja on Thursday, November 21, noted that the disruptions emanated from student and staff union issues and the need to make trade unionism responsive and responsible to nation building.

The communiqué said it was time to have broad and well-thought out reforms that would make the higher education system in Nigeria more stable in terms of quality, effectiveness and relevance to national values. It said the proliferation of universities without a corresponding increase in funding would pose challenges to the new public universities. The association acknowledged that universities did not operate under the same circumstances having been established by various entities. It said that inadequate funding by university proprietors was a major cause of decline in quality of education and low global ranking of Nigerian universities.

The association noted that teaching/learning and research took place in resource-poor contexts and as such made it near impossible for Nigerian universities to measure up in an increasingly competitive global knowledge economy. It said that the availability of infrastructure, such as energy and telecommunication (bandwidth), was a critical need in Nigerian universities.

— Dec. 2, 2013 @ 01:00 GMT

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