Stella Obasanjo’s Death; Nigeria is a Big lie (A
Prince Charles Dickson (email@example.com)
Jos, Plateau Nigeria
"As we mourn the tragic loss of our first lady, we should put it in
perspective and not get too emotional. This way we will hopefully avoid the
frenzy that accompanied the equally tragic death of Ibrahim, General Abacha’s
son, back in January 1996. At that time, the reader will remember, we lived to
outdo each other in exaggerating his virtues and attributing to him achievements
he never made, simply because he was the First Son".
I picked this as my opening paragraph from Mohammed Haruna’s piece ‘official
media and Nigeria’s black Sunday’. However my sympathies to Mr. President on his
loss. Loosing one’s wife irrespective of the circumstances is no fun but I will
attempt to put the whole episode in the perspective of a nation that has been
bedeviled with all sorts and manner of crisis as a result of a crippled
Mrs. Stella Obasanjo to ‘them’ was a paragon, amazon, she was a pride to the
African woman, an epitome of strength to her husband, and she was an angel, a
conscientious supporter of her husband, kind hearted, irreplaceable. The words
kept following, infact a newspaper reported that the Ogun State Governor’s wife
had not eaten since Sunday, I called a government source that confirmed…while
some of these encomiums, she sure deserved. But the hypocrisy is also self-
glaring especially judging by the character of some persons who have condoled
the President on his sad loss, I say safely most are grieving more than the
Nigerian leaders are the ‘fakest’ of kinds… in a show of ‘notice me’ some are
calling for her name to be immortalized, her name should be this and that, well
as much as I do not have any problem with that. I will also recommend that the
victims of the ill-fated Bellview plane crash should be immortalized.
At the first Federal Executive Council meeting chaired by Atiku, some
Ministers we are told was in tears as Stella’s only son representing the family
at the meeting spoke…he asked that, "The nation rather than mourn his mother
that she should be celebrated". Emphasis mine.
I join Mallam Mohammed Buhari former Military Head of State, in facilitating
with the President on this loss without grudge, but like it is said sometimes
death when it comes is a gift and has no enemy. To Nigerians, we have been
oppressed by a leadership that lies, so I can expect that no government official
will have the guts to tell us what killed our honourable First Lady, but too bad
we know, and the truth is bitter in this case even disgusting. But, the truth is
the only thing that can set us free as a nation not all these wild goose merry
go round Paris and London inspired reforms.
How do we immortalize, celebrate and mourn all at once a death, which has
come through a self-inflicted means. The Federal Government has not immortalized
Chima Ubani, Dele Giwa, Alfred Rewani, Bola Ige…this nation is strikingly
amazing in a world of her own. What killed the First Lady, what killed Abacha,
How did Abiola die? Was there a coup (whether fathom or vision), did IBB bring
Obasanjo to power? Are Governors rogues or leaders, did Orji Uzo Kalu at any
point donate paper notes as money in Bornu State, does Obasanjo have a Platinum
or Gold card, what did Obasanjo do to the World Bank list of stolen money by his
predecessors given to him in 1999? Is our President a wicked man or simply
tough, does he want a third term, maybe a Mugabe styled leadership? Was Ben
Bruce the First Lady’s Boy, man friend or brother and cousin, is Olumuyiwa…?
Nigeria is a rumour, a big masquerade, the citizenry have no right to see the
face behind the mask. We are fed lies by leaders, while image denting stories
fly around and no one gives a hoot, not even one person can step up
categorically say proclaim the truth. That is why El-Rufai the President’s Abuja
henchman will swear that he was asked for bribe and Mantu and co. will swear
they did not request for such, the President will also plays swear games with
his Vice. What lessons are giving the younger ones, what picture are we
painting, looking at the mirror do our leaders like what they see. My nine old
friend looked me in the eye and said "Uncle I heard auntie Mairo tell Hassana
not to bleach that it kills, that it killed the President’s wife".
Let me look at the whole episode with emotions but, without unnecessary
sentiments. One, it is a big shame and palpable contradiction for a government
that has spent billions on its health sector with all sorts of programmes
initiated to still have the misfortune of losing her First Woman on an operating
table in far away Spain. If indeed the President’s wife was ‘sick, ill or
indisposed’; the Presidential Villa has a Presidential Clinic with a
Presidential Doctor. So why Spain, for a woman everybody has since her death
confirmed to be hale and healthy? Does it not confirm that our leaders are
unsure of the gospel they preach? They build spectacular hospitals that cannot
dispense ordinary choloroquine, our leaders cart tax payers’ monies away to some
foreign student doctors for back ache, neck pain, frequent stooling, mild head
ache and stomach upset and they refuse to pay medical doctors and health
personnel in our hospitals.
Governor Ngige was away on medical vacation in Houston, Texas U.S, when the
First Lady died, the Biafran Warlord Dim Ojukwu also came back from such medical
check up. Which way forward. If the rich do not have hope in the same
institution they pump billions of Naira and Dollars why shouldn’t the poor take
solace in his cheap native medicine.
Next in my perspective look is this thing we call cosmetic surgery. One look
at the First Lady’s face would tell the whole story better, at 60 years, no
matter the kind of enjoyment. It should be a thing of joy to age gracefully,
however not for our leaders of nowadays, everyone is struggling to beat nature.
The list is not exhaustive from cosmetic surgery, plastic surgery, face left,
face enlargement, erasure of winkles, anti-aging, laser surgery, corporal
surgery, liposuction, tummy tuck, nose improvement, inverted nipple, to breast
this and breast that, chin tuck, neck lift, lap band. I won’t bore you because
I’m even bored now and this is only a percent of the list of possible ways to
alter how Almighty Allah created us.
It was for a ‘vain’ reason that our beloved Stella left the country to Spain
the land of the Iberians. Whether Mrs. Remi Oyo did not know, was not told or
not sure, better still was not authorized. The bitter truth is that our
President’s wife died trying to look a mile more beautiful, she died trying to
cheat age. Nobody was there to advise her on the increasing dangers associated
with cosmetic surgeries. Nobody could tell our dear Stella that spending between
9,000- 30,000 Pounds in a nation of abject poverty was going to cost her the
very life she sought to elongate and beautify.
It is the painful truth that the President’s wife had before now been
indulging herself in this expensive and dangerous pastime called facial make
over and body enhancement. She had gone to Molding Clinic in Marbella before,
but there’s always a day when everything that can go wrong, sure goes wrong.
When a nation’s First lady died of shock resulting from a massive asthma attack
due to the cosmetic nonsense she was doing to herself.
I can almost hazard that this itself must have hurt Mr. President very
deeply. How can Mr. President explain that he endorsed his wife to visit a
clinic that had a record of being medically negligible on occasions, that the
President was aware that the clinic in Marcella is strictly for high net worth
clients, for the super rich, models, actress and African/ Nigeria leaders who
steal public funds and not forgetting vain woman, that the clinic with rooms
comparable to any suit in a five star hotel that the President would have lodged
in, with satellite TV,DVD, internet connection, attached with hydro-massage,
hydro- sauna and Jacuzzi. Did our President know all these facts and if he did
he or she should have the rate of professional malpractice.
If only Stella Obasanjo knew that Nigerian loved for despite her face or
tummy, breast or buttocks, she should have been told a fine face needs no paint.
Someone should tell me how much the President’s wife expended on the beauty
venture called Vanity Fair.
I am happy the President has since resumed duties today (two days after
mourning). He is a brave man; we pray God grants him more strength to bear his
loss. At this junction the reader should share with me some undisputable truth.
That the President’s wife would have been 60 on the 14th of November
2005, plans for her birthday was reaching a frenzy point with millions already
expended in here and there arrangement. Political jobbers and thieves in
government had already bought jewelries and cloths on credit for the mother of
It was for this occasion that mummy went to do tummy tuck, facial lift and
all the lifts. She had earlier done a laser eye surgery (a process that requires
rays from a laser beam, no knife or scalpels). Oh death, vanity upon vanity.
The First Lady could not content herself with the goodwill and charity she
had garnered from her pet project ‘Child Care Trust’ she could not be rest
assured of the place kept for her by activists, democrats and civil society for
the role she played in making noise about her husband’s incarceration by the
She was not content, she wanted a sweeter skin, flattened tummy, dignified
gait and posture. If only the First Lady knew that rather than recuperate in the
Marbella home of Senator Daisy Dajuma, she would die, she would have thought
Of course despite all these shortcomings her Child Care Trust did touch lives
even, if it is the lives of the children of the rich, she still touched lies.
The woman, who stood by Obj throughout his period of incarceration, was a woman
of steel, her resolve to keep looking sixteen even at sixty is a testimony to
her resolve. A word is enough for the wise. Vanity upon vanity so says Solomon
the wise one. May Almighty Allah help us.
This regime worse than military, says Eduok,
ex-Chief of Air Staff
Culled from Daily Sun : Monday, November 22, 2004
The current democratic government is not flying, says former Chief of Air
Staff, Air Vice Marshal Nsikak Eduok.
In fact, the ex-Air Chief adds
that Nigerians were better off during the military era and submits: "Nigeria has
never been as rich as this moment, but Nigerians have never suffered like this
time. Go out to the farms, the villages and talk to people. Ask them how they
are feeling now and how they felt when the military was in power. It is very
wrong and stupid for any politican to say that the worst civilian regime is
better than the best militay regime.
“That is a callous and irresponsible statement because if you put them side
by side and compare them, some military regimes are far better than civilian
Eduok, who spoke with Daily Sun at the recently held
South-South Peoples Conference in Calabar, Cross River State. He had been asked
to compare the civilian regime of President Olusegun Obasanjo with the immediate
past military regimes, of which he was a key player to which he
“Ask Nigerians how they feel now and how they felt when the
military was in power. Now, you make some laws that cannot be implemented. How
do you say the NLC cannot demonstrate when they feel bad? How can you do that?
Did you have that in any military regime? You should educate me on this. Nigeria
is so rich now, but people suffer so much and they are dying before their
How is life in
Fine. No problem.
looking quite trim and younger than when you were in service. What is the
God loves me. And I try my best to love God too. It is
God’s blessings. Two, I train and run a fitness farm in Nigeria today and I am a
fitness consultant. Have you heard of my fitness farm?
Why are you here? (South-South Peoples
I am here to show solidarity to the South-South. It is
my home. God created me and placed me in the South-South, so anywhere I go, I
still remember that I come from a place – South-South. So I have to identify
with the cause of the people of my zone.
We are really hurt because we have
not been given our rightful place in the scheme of things. So we are hurt. We
could have been far away from where we are now if we were properly treated. So
we are coming to put our heads together, to see how we can use our
constitutional rights to change our position in the scheme of things.
What are you doing to bring the problem to the
attention of the government?
Don’t forget that even before the
final point of Saro-Wiwa, the derivation money was 1 per cent. It was during our
own time in government that things began to change. We are the people who
established OMPADEC. I took part in the discussion to form OMPADEC. And we
dedicated 5 per cent of the federation account to it, every month it was
transferred from the Central Bank in Lagos to the Central Bank branch in Port
Harcourt. It was automatic. We took that decision the very day we formed
OMPADEC. Are you with me? It was working.
That showed that we were even
conscious of the fact that the oil producing areas should be properly
After OMPADEC, that is during the late General Sani Abacha’s
regime, we realised that there was need to bring more development to the areas,
and came up with PTF. Do you understand? So it does not mean that government has
not really recognised the need to address the oil producing areas’ problems.
But we are in a situation where the Constitution says let us run a true
federation which gives you better control of your resources. And then you
distribute to the centre. But the centre now comes to take everything you have
and gives you just an insignificant portion. So, if you want to respect our own
constitution, let us do it the way we agreed – A true federation.
Are you calling for a Sovereign National
Of course yes. If you don’t sit down and discuss how
the country should be governed, how can you then forge ahead?
Your former boss, IBB is interested in running for president in
2007. With the clamour for a South-South president which you support, where does
that leave him?
That’s your own opinion. You said my former boss
is interested in running for presidency, that’s your opinion.
But he said it, that he has tremendous goodwill across the nation.
That he has people who can stand up for him, especially his former boys when the
Listen, let me tell you something. We should not waste
our time thinking of what other people are doing in other zones. Because it will
create the impression that you are defeatist – a coward. Don’t concern yourself
with what somebody is doing outside your zone. Let us find our people, encourage
them to vie for the presidency and we will campaign and support them to win.
All Nigerians have the constitutional rights to vie for the presidency.
It issue is not about who is interested. The issue is we are interested. That is
the point. So we must do everything within our constitutional rights to win the
Has IBB gotten in touch with
(Laughs) Is it has he gotten in touch with me or have I
gotten in touch with him?
Have you gotten in touch
with your former boss?
What did he tell
It is just like you now. You’re my friend now, so I can pick
up my telephone and call you and ask how are you doing. We are all Nigerians. He
is my boss. He is my boss. Yes.
But there is no
presidential aspirant from the zone yet?
Who says that? What makes
you see somebody outside but you cannot see anybody good inside your house, when
you have a thousand and one inside your house, very, very qualified. What are
the criteria? Draw the criteria for qualification for the presidency, our men
and women meet these criteria. We are going to have a handful.
Is it possible to have one presidential candidate from the
So, if there are a thousand and one aspirants in the
zone, what to do is to set up criteria, and articulate some issues and prune
down the number, and finally a God anointed candidate from the South-South will
emerge. When you deceive yourself before you start, you’re a goner.
How do you look at Nigeria?
We are surviving. I
wouldn’t want to speculate anything now. That is why I support the calling of a
Sovereign National Conference (SNC), to discuss the structure you are talking
about. It is not fair for us to start speculating now.
Your new position on SNC is confusing, because you top brass in
the military frustrated it before now?
That’s your own private
opinion. You don’t know what we discussed when we met in the PRC or Armed Forces
Ruling Council, (AFRC). Nigeria’s former Chief of General Staff, Admiral Mike
Akhigbe was there. Go and talk to him. There is nothing you say now that we in
uniform did not say in Council. But in the military, if you talk too much they
call you to order – my friend, enough. Yes sir. But now we have reached a
situation where nobody can shout you down. You make your own point, I make my
PDP, a fraudulent imposition
Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, last
Friday spoke to newsmen in Lagos on the state of the nation. OLAOLU OLADIPO was
How justified is the call in some quarters for
the extension of the tenure of the incumbent regime?
can only be answered this way. Is it legitimate? Legitimacy is the key word
here. We ask, what is legitimate? Is the legitimacy, that of the first comer? If
its legitimacy is that of the first comer, then let us go and invite back the
British colonial powers, to say, you got here first in terms of an entity known
as Nigeria, therefore continue. Or is it the legitimacy of the gun, or a
legitimacy of the gun by other means? Is there an entity, for instance, who had
robbed this nation blind, now using that wealth to continue to perpetuate itself
in power? I want us to enlarge our minds about the real politics that is going
on in this nation. I want us to enlarge our minds about politics of goings-on
and go beyond simply the manipulation of one individual or the other. Of course,
individuals are at the heart of it all. We have to consider, has this nation
been enslaved by a cultic group? When we talk of secret cults, are they to be
found only in campuses? Or are there certain corners where they meet, like a
certain former police officer was quoted to have said that there are places
where they drink beer and pepper soup and plot? It is not only by the gun that
one plots to keep a people under subjugation permanently? You can do it by
ill-gotten wealth, the money which you took from the people, that is just a
double jeopardy which we all seem to undergo. The resources that have been taken
from the people have become the very instruments of their oppression.
How do you see the crisis between the President and his deputy?
I don’t want to comment on the crisis between the two. Like I have said
before, the PDP is an illegitimate government, so what happens within the PDP is
a situation which we have predicted ages ago. The party is a gathering of
incompatibles motivated by one thing, which is not the interest of the people.
So if the two people at the top are bashing each other, I am not interested
because I dismiss that party as possessing any claim to legitimacy. I have said
it over and over again that the two elections that have brought it into power
were fraudulent. There have been killings at such a level which this nation has
never experienced before. We are almost like in the Abacha period.
How do you see the call by some people to have you at the vanguard of
I am honoured and I am flattered. This is something we
have to discuss, you just cannot throw an open challenge to me and expect a kind
of response. This movement is collective. Let me put it this way. You people
(newsmen) can assist us in making PRONACO conference a success. There may have
to be a change of date because we did not reckon with the fact that the period
would fall within the time Muslims would be having their Ramadan. We have
received series of protestations and appeals for a shift in date. So, there may
be a change. When the change is announced, don’t be bothered. What we are trying
to do is to get everybody on board. If the Muslim population says, ‘Please,
could you shift the date a little bit forward’? we have to listen. But the thing
which pains me is the census exercise, which has been tagged along with the
Ramadan period. To me, the timing of the census is an attempt to sabotage
From what you have said, the PDP seems to be a predatory
government. How do we get it off our back?
First of all, it is
imploding, haven’t you noticed? It is not only because Atiku and Obsanjo are at
each other’s throat. No, PDP is a manifestation of political self-destruction.
There is no way PDP could hold. There are far too many contending forces in the
party. Like I said, the motivation is not in the people’s interests. The
honourable people within the party will find that they cannot continue to stay
there. PDP, take my word for it, is on the path of self-destruct. It is
deservedly so because it is a fraudulent imposition on this nation. Whether you
are talking about Anambra or you are talking about the original judgment, which
was even found to be in favour of (General Muhammadu) Buhari or the revelations
that have been coming from INEC.
You said the two previous elections
have been flawed…
(Cuts in) The word is not ‘flaw’. ‘Flaw’ is a mild
word to describe the elections, they were fraudulent. They were fraudulent and
that have been attested to by one of the principals of the political party.
Others have been saying it, and more would have said it, it is just that they
are afraid of getting killed.
INEC is trying to reform the electoral
process. Part of the reform is the electronic voting system. How do you see
I am not against it, I am not against innovations, technology
and so on. The question is who is operating it? You can programme equipment in
advance. And if the kind of INEC that we had in the last election is the one in
charge of the electronic system, I do not trust the results they would bring
out. So, it is not the methodology or the technology itself. The question is: do
we have faith in the person that will operate the system?
Thursday, September 15, 2005
|Culled form Daily
Independent: Tuesday, November 23rd, 2004
shot as Delta community, soldiers clash
persons were shot and wounded at the weekend by soldiers attached to the
Military Joint Taskforce when 200 youths from Ojobo, Burutu Council in Delta
State, invaded Beniseide flow station to protest alleged marginalisation. The
station is operated by Shell.
statement, the community claimed that 21 were injured and that 17 of them were
flown to the Shell clinic in Warri for treatment; however, taskforce spokesman
Major Said Ahmed, who confirmed the clash, said 12 persons were shot.
operates about 45 oil wells and produces about 75,000 barrels of crude oil in
the area, claims the community.
that a lieutenant attached to the taskforce (names withheld) “shot sporadically
at the unprotected, frustrated, marginalised people of Ojobo town numbering over
200 out of which 21 were injured”
countered, saying: “They will always allege. The elders of the community wanted
to have a meeting with Shell officials and the youths disrupted the meeting.
attempted to disarm one of the soldiers who now shot into the air to scare them
away; in the process, 12 were wounded but 10 of them have been discharged
was issued by Ojobo Community Chairman James O. Torukro. It explained that the
crisis, which degenerated at the flow station at the weekend, had its roots in
the alleged failure of a contracting firm, Parker Drilling Company, to comply
with the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) it had with the community on
insisted that the firm, which has a contract with Shell, has employed “only six
unskilled workers …. With a meagre salary structure” contrary to the community’s
quota stipulated by law.
are also protesting alleged failure by Parker Drilling to give them the contract
to supply materials and are raising eyebrows over the presence of more than 10
firms working for the company which do not employ indigenes of the area.
The Rig 75
operated by Parker Drilling Company is said to have been shut temporary owing to
Corporate External Relations Manager Don Boham confirmed on Monday that “the
traditional rulers and community representatives are dialoguing with officials
of Parker Drilling and Shell’s community liaison officer to resolve the
Contrary to the figures quoted by
Ahmed and the Ojobo community, Boham said “some 17 youths were injured in the
commotion and treated on site and at the Industrial A rea clinic in
Warri: Soldiers, Youths in
Nzeshi in Warri, 11.22.2004
Culled from ThisDay
About 21 persons were shot and wounded at the weekend when
irate youths clashed with armed soldiers in an attempt by the militant agitators
to seize and occupy an oil flowstation at Ojobo, Burutu local government area of
THISDAY checks revealed that the youths numbering over 200
swooped on the Benisede flowstation, but they were swiftly resisted by armed
security personnel who set out to dislodge them.
Before the incident,
THISDAY learnt that youths of Ojobo had been at loggerheads with the Shell
Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) over the oil multi-national's community
relations policies and practices. The youths and a cross section of the
community claimed the Ango Dutch oil firm (Shell) and her agents were not fair
to the community considering the quantum of oil drilled from their land and
Beneseide flow station, produces about 75,000 barrels of oil per
day from 45 oil wells.
Elders of the community were said to have been
meeting with representatives of Shell and a contracting firm, Parker Drilling
with a view to resolving the differences. One account said that it was during
one of such meetings that the youths attacked soldiers who were monitoring the
According to the account, the meeting was to enable the oil
company and the community leaders draft a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to
pave way for a cordial relationship between both parties and advert whatever
crisis there was to be.
Trouble was said to have started when youths of
the community vehemently opposed the position of the oil company on certain
vital aspects of the MOU, especially areas dealing with youths empowerment and
Elders at the meeting were said to have tried in vain to calm
down the situation but it soon degenerated into fisticuffs as armed security
personnel monitoring the deliberations moved in to restore order.
sources claimed that some of the youths engaged the soldiers in physical combat
and tried to seize their rifles. The exchange resulted in the release of a
volley of bullets by the equally enraged soldiers.
At least 21 persons
reportedly sustained gun shot wounds and were subsequently conveyed to Shell
clinic, Oguru for emergency medical attention.
However, hours after, a
group of youth leaders from the troubled town issued a statement alleging that
over 20 of their kinsmen have been gunned down by soldiers on the orders of
But Public Relations Officer of the Joint Task Force, Major Saheed
Hammed, in a chat with THISDAY yesterday evening denied the allegation levelled
against the soldiers.
Also reacting to the incident yesterday, Shell's
corporate external relations manager, Mr. Don Doham, confirmed the incident but
explained that the shooting incident occurred on the rig which the youths
Boham said the youths invaded and occupied Rig 75 and
that they vacated the facility as at press time.
"They occupied the rig
belonging to Parker Drilling and demanded immediate commencement of community
development projects, a review of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) as well
as direct dealing with service contractors to review work contract for six of
their members," said Boham.
The rig, he said, was working for SPDC at her
Benisede Well 22 when the youths invaded it. Boham further explained that only
17 of the invading youths sustained injuries in their scuffle with armed
He also told newsmen that those injured have been
treated while dialogue is continuing between the traditional ruler and community
representatives on one hand and officials of Shell on the other.
have been frequent clashes between youths agitating for more welfare packages
for their communities from oil companies and members of the Joint Task Force
comprising of men of the armed forces set up by government to gurantee security
of operations by the firm.
The youths have also accused government of
neglecting their communities which suffer degradation as a result of oil
drilling while the people also lack basic amenities and employment
To drive their points home, the youths have resorted to taking
expatriates working at drilling sites as hostages or seizing oil rigs. The
resort to criminal activities in the agitation for their rights have often led
to frequent clashes with military men.
No more deal with militants —
Soni Daniel, Port Harcourt
Olusegun Obasanjo on Tuesday said that government would no longer negotiate with
any militia group that causes a breach of the peace in any part of the country.
Obasanjo gave the warning at the foundation laying of a $20 million
syringe factory, in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
He said government was
determined to visit all forms of rascalism with severe punishment.
advised anyone or group that believed that the negotiation with the militia in
the Niger Delta last October, indicated weakness on the part of the Federal
Government, to have a rethink.
The President had almost concluded his
speech when a group of youths under the aegis of “Rivers Youths for Peace”,
surged forward to applaud him for the peace effort in Rivers State in
particular, and the Niger Delta in general.
Pointing directly at the
youths, he said, “Let me say that we did not meet and negotiate with some of you
out of weakness but we saw the need to give the militants, the opportunity to
change for the better.
“Henceforth, there will be no amnesty for any
individual or group that promotes violence and destruction of property in any
part of the country.
“I am therefore, asking all of you to be of good
behaviour because the government will certainly punish all acts of rascalism
from now onwards.”
Although the October peace deal generated a lot of
controversy, Rivers State Governor Peter Odili granted amnesty to Alhaji Asari
Dokubo, leader of the Niger Delta Volunteer Force and Mr. Tom Ateke of the Niger
Earlier, the President lamented the effects of malaria
and HIV/AIDS in Africa and stressed the need for a concerted effort to stem
Obasanjo regretted that the economy of most African countries had
been negatively affected by diseases that could have been prevented many decades
He said, “Sustainable development is possible in Africa if diseases
that impact directly and indirectly on the people are tamed. The continent’s
Gross Domestic Product would have increased by millions of dollars if malaria
had been eliminated years ago.”
He lauded the African Health Foundation
for putting up the syringe factory in collaboration with the government and some
Obasanjo said the initiative signified a new
relationship between the government and some countries which believed in
strengthening the health facilities in Nigeria.
The President appealed
to the youths in Port Harcourt not to disrupt work at the factory because it was
set up to generate employment for them and other Nigerians.
arrival in Port Harcourt, Obasanjo had earlier visited Owerri, Imo State, where
he said that he had not appointed a Minister of Petroleum Resources because of
intense jostling by Nigerians.
The Rivers State Governor, Dr. Peter
Odili, had given assurance to the Preseident that everything would be done to
make the syringe factory work.
Odili stated that his government believed
in the reforms being carried out by the Obasanjo government and would,
therefore, follow the President in whichever direction he went.
Chairman of the Pan African Health Foundation, Mr. Yuichi Ishimaru, disclosed
that the company had raised $6million out of the $20million needed for the
completion of the project.
The PUNCH, Wednesday, December 1
zoning of presidency to North a fraud — S-South leaders
By Osaro Okhomina
Vanguard Thursday, December
BENIN CITY — PROMINENT leaders of the
South-South geo-political zone yesterday declared that agitation for the
presidency in 2007 was not a negotiation instrument but a demand being made by
the people of the region across party lines, describing the purported agreement
reached by the caucus members of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on
the zoning of the presidency to the North as a fraud and unacceptable to the
position of the zone.
The meeting presided over by former
Minister of Information, Chief Edwin Clark resulted in the adoption of a
constitution for the operations of the South-South Peoples Assembly and the
reaffirmation of their stand that the agitation is not an appeal but a demand by
the region for its rightful position in 2007.
Leaders present at the two-day meeting
held in Benin City, Edo State were the former Chief of Defence Staff, Admiral
Mike Akhigbe (rtd), First Executive Governor of Edo State, Chief John
Odigie-Oyegun, Chief Hope Harriman, General David Ejoor, Admiral Festus Porbeni,
Chief A.K Horsefal, Chief Ewa Ita-Henshaw, Senator Dagogo Princewill, High Chief
Abel Ubeku and Senator Franca Afegbua.
Addressing newsmen at the end of the
meeting, the Publicity Secretary of South-South Peoples Assembly, Senator
Anietie Okon and the Chairman of the Steering Committee, Chief Raymond Dokpesi
declared that the decision of the South-South leaders to insist on presidency in
2007 was based on the need to right the wrongs of the years of political neglect
of the region.
According to Senator Aniette Okon, "the
driving force in these campaigns and the provocation has been our disappointment
at the years of deliberate and properly thought-out policies to disjoin the
wealth of these nation so as to address the condition of the Nigerian people.
And it is not the issue of sentiments that we control the wealth. It is that we
have these propelling conviction that we have the human assets, tested over time
and that can provide a breath of fresh air and initiatives in tackling Nigeria’s
"I do not agree with you that it has been
all a mess because somebody has come from South-west. What we are going through
is the transition period in the management of the economy. It is unfortunate
that the reforms have put pressure on Nigeria. We believe there is the need to
substitute the present arrangement with people that are comfortable with their
macro-economy. Even if the South-South wants to ride on sentiments, ours will be
that we believe we have remained the anchor for the stability of this country in
its most trying periods. We all believe that these are the issues of legacy. We
are saying that the problem in this country is that when the federation was
being created and handed back, they subsumed the treaties signed. So, let nobody
be mistaken on where we stand as we march into history."
On the purported gentlemen agreement of
the PDP, he said " let me tell you without fear of contradiction that there was
no such agreement. In the first instance, what they said was that it was in a
minute of the meeting. If anybody produces any minute of such meeting, it would
be a forgery because I served as a National Publicity Secretary from formation
and at no meeting of the caucuses was any such agreement reached. If they say a
gentlemen agreement exist, the first act of gentleness should have come from
Gemade and Rimi. Don’t let us talk about agreement that does not
North not afraid of break up—
By Habib Yakoob, Kaduna
Vanguard Posted to the Web: Sunday, March 06, 2005
raging controversy triggered by the fear that the National Political Reform
Conference (NPRC) discussion of Nigeria’s oneness could lead to the nation’s
disintegration, northern leader, Alhaji Umaru Dikko, says the north is not
afraid of staying on its own and can survive in the event of a break up. Though
Dikko vowed that the North would do anything to make Nigeria stay together, he
said it was wrong to believe that without oil, the north is “useless”.
“You see, let me tell you this now, that the North is not afraid of breaking
away, but it will do anything within its power to stay together with other
Nigerians. But if it is forced upon us to stay away from the south, we shall not
perish, we can survive”, Dikko, arguably one of the most powerful politicians of
the second republic who served under former President Shehu Shagari as Transport
Minister, told Sunday Vanguard, in an exclusive interview.
According to him, the North has a lot of resources, including enough arable
land to produce cash crops, which, he noted, could generate much money than
petroleum is generating for the whole country. The veteran politician, who is
leading Kaduna State delegation to the on-going National Dialogue, argued that
these resources had been largely untapped because past leaders allowed
themselves to be consumed by “cheap monies” from federal allocations.
“The big mistake we all made was that with the discovery of oil everyone
turned away and expected revenues only from this source. We want cheap monies,
cheap dough from oil”, he observed, adding that it was this tendency that led
to the collapse of the famous “groundnut pyramid”.
Now, Dikko said, the north through his newly formed Arewa Union (AU) was
attempting to task the northern governors to concentrate on the development of
the north, by concentrating on four points of action to develop and prepare
itself for any eventuality. But he stressed, “ Breaking this country into two or
three will not be in the interest of any of us”.
Dikko also said that giving the on-going National Dialogue three months to
finish its assignment was not ideal, because, according to him, the issues to
be discussed are weighty and serious. “To me I would suggest that we are given
nine months in which to finish this assignment”, he stated.
The second republic transport minister also debunked insinuations that the
confab is a gathering of some old men who were largely the source of the same
problem the conference is meant to address, arguing that none of delegates
“deliberately caused” the problem of this country. “ If we made mistakes, we
should be forgiven because nobody is infallible, the NPRC delegate said.
Dikko said the youths clamouring for the exit of the “oldies” had not
demonstrated that they could handle well the affairs of this nation. “We see
them in all the tiers of government, and we are not encouraged that they can
even do better than our efforts”, he added.
PDP, a fraudulent imposition –
regime worse than military, says Eduok, ex-Chief of Air
deal with militants — Obasanjo
12 shot as Delta community, soldiers clash
Warri: Soldiers, Youths in Bloody
2007: PDP's zoning of presidency to North a fraud —
afraid of break up— Dikko
North not afraid of break up—