GOVERNOR Theodore Orji of Abia State has been commended for his administration’s development efforts to better the lot of the people of his state. Making the commendation, the forum of Abia State political office holders- 1999 to 2007, which met in Umuahia, capital of the state on Monday, September 8, noted with satisfaction the level of security, unity and peace currently being enjoyed in the state under the leadership of the governor Orji, saying it was unprecedented Nigeria returned to democratic governance. In a 15-point communiqué issued at the end of the forum, the governor was equally commended for his health programme; various infrastructural programmes that have transformed Umuahia, state capital, and various government’s commitment to agricultural revolution in the state, especially with the establishment of Abia Liberation Farms and the disbursement of N1 billion to farmers in the state.
In the area of youth empowerment, the forum acknowledged the Orji administration’s “unparallel determination to address youth empowerment, restiveness and crime via various youth empowerment packages which, among other things, have seen thousands of Abia youths, for the first time in the state, smile home with cars, buses and even cash.” In same vein, the administration received commendation for its responsiveness in establishing the Abia State Oil Producing Area Development Commission in response to the plight of the people of oil producing communities of the state who the previous administration refused to grant their request for such establishment.
The forum said it was highly excited with the administration of Orji for relocating Abia State to Nigeria’s mainstream politics quite unlike what it was between 1999 and 2007 when the state was declared a pariah state due to unwarranted antagonism and confrontationist approach of the state government.
It also commended the cordial bilateral relationship that has existed between the executive and legislative arm of government since 2007 until date, saying it had ensured peace and development of the state unlike the previous administration.
Besides, the forum expressed happiness that, “unlike what was the practice between 1999 and 2007, no political appointee or any person in the state has been taken to any juju shrine for a fetish oath-taking by the present administration in the state.”
FG Is Probing Sheriff – Jonathan
PRESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan has denied hobnobbing with Ali Modu Sheriff, former governor of Borno State, who was recently alleged to be one of sponsors of Boko Haram insurgents. The president also denied the allegation that he travelled to Chad Sheriff for a meeting with President Idriss Déby of Chad on terrorism issues.
Jonathan said he was fully aware of allegations of Boko Haram sponsorship levelled against the former governor and that he was only waiting for the outcome of the probe by security operatives before acting.
Reuben Abati, special adviser to the president on media and publicity, who disclosed this in a statement on Thursday, September 11, insisted that the extent of participation of Sheriff in President Jonathan’s mission to N’Djamena, Chadian capital, was limited to his being part of Nigerians who welcomed the president to the foreign land. He said the former governor was already in Chad before the president’s trip.
Abati’s statement said in part: “The APC and others who rushed to condemn President Jonathan for a non-existent indiscretion would have found, if they took the least trouble to double-check, that there was absolutely no factual basis for their accusation. Those who associate with Senator Sheriff know that he has longstanding interests in Chad and often spends a lot of his time there. He happened to be in Ndjamena at the time of President Jonathan’s visit and joined other Nigerian residents of the Chadian capital in coming to the airport to welcome their President.
“That was the full extent of his participation in the visit and it was also at Ndjamena Airport that the pictures which formed the basis of the bogus allegation of President Jonathan hobnobbing with an ‘accused sponsor of terrorism’ were taken.”
Sheriff has been accused of sponsoring Boko Haram, a terrorist group that has been killing thousands of hapless people especially in the North-East of the country. The Department of State Services, DSS, recently confirmed that it was investigating Sheriff for the alleged sponsorship following the allegation by Stephen Davis, an Australian clergy and negotiator, who accused him and Azubike Ihejirika, a retired lieutenant general and former chief of Army Staff, as part of sponsors of the fundamentalist Islamic sect.
Jega Should Explain Increase in Polling Boots — Fayemi
GOVERNOR Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State wants Nigerians to query Attahiru Jega, chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, on why he created additional polling units before the June 21 governorship election in the state. Fayemi recalled that the INEC increased the polling units in his state from 2,195 to more than 2,800 based on the request of the state government to allow the citizens to perform their civic responsibility.
The governor who spoke on Thursday, September 11, while collecting his 64-page e-passport alongside Bisi, his wife, at the Nigeria Immigration Service headquarters in Ado Ekiti, state capital, said the outcry of Nigerians over the creation of additional 30,000 polling units across the country, was justified considering the electoral fraud that had characterised elections since the advent of democracy in 1999.
He argued that the Jega-led INEC might not have committed any offence if the policy was targeted at making voting points closer and easier for Nigerians, rather than to give any party or region undue advantage. Fayemi said: “INEC is in the eyes of the storm. INEC must not just be fair, it must be seen to be fair because it has a duty to communicate what it has been doing to ordinary Nigerians in a very clear, concise and a way that cannot be controverted. At a first glance, if you hear that about 30,000 units have been created and that over 20,000 will go up North while 8,000 will go down South, you will feel what is going on. Let us try to get a sense of what is going on here.
“INEC have a duty to demonstrate to Nigerians that this is not meant to give advantage to any region or any political party or to any individual. But, if it is to give advantage to any region, to any political party or to any individual in the 2015 race, we must query INEC and Nigerians have raised the alarm about that to know precisely what it is all about,” Fayemi said.
— Sep. 22, 2014 @ 01:00 GMT