The President-elect, Muhammadu Buhari, said yesterday May 21 that despite his best of intentions, the President Goodluck Jonathan-led administration misunderstood the activities of the Ahmed Joda-led transition committee. Buhari said this while receiving an interim report of the committee at the Defence House, Abuja, on Thursday. He expressed disappointment that the outgoing administration refused to provide the committee the information it needed to carry out its duty. The President-elect said, “It is not that we are preparing for indictment. What we are trying to get is a starting point, where exactly are we going to start from? “We have seen the debt profile now and the performance of the economy. The question is what can we do about it? Especially the urgent ones like social security, lack of fuel in the country and fraud. The list is endless.” Buhari may have started politicking because, hand over note or not, the world will not allow any excuses on non-performance. Buhari’s administration must hit the ground running.
SALARY STRIKES LOOM IN 18 STATES
There are strong indications that workers in 18 states may start an indefinite strike on Monday over unpaid salaries. The General Secretary of the NLC, Dr. Peter Ozo-Eson, in a telephone interview with our correspondent on Thursday in Abuja, said that the congress had sent its task force team to various geo-political zones of the country. According to him, the strike has started in Plateau State, adding that a similar exercise will begin in Cross River State and others on Monday. The National Administrative Council of the Nigeria Labour Congress had, on March 19, 2015, set up a task force to pursue payment of salary arrears owed workers by some state governments. The report of the task force showed that 19 states presently owe salaries and pensions. Really? With all the monies state governments collect from FG allocations, and from citizens and companies in taxes, some governors ought to be jailed with their legal immunities removed.
BANKING SYSTEM PREVENTS TRACKING TERRORIST FUNDS
Chief of Defence Intelligence, Rear Admiral Gabriel Okoi has said the Nigerian banking system impedes tracking funds to terrorists in the country, noting, though, that something was already being done to correct it. Fielding questions from newsmen in Abuja at the close of the three-day 2015 Deputy Defence Advisers/Attaches’ Conference, Okoi said that tracking the funds that go to terrorists within and outside Nigeria would have been easy had the system been better. “We should expect that we would have positive results from that end, we are doing something about it. It is just because of the system we have in Nigeria, the banking system does not allow you to go into much of these things. But we are doing something about it,” he said. According to Okoi, the defence envoys are empowered enough in the course of the conference to acquire and gather enhanced actionable intelligence that would engender the fight against insurgents and their elements. Hopefully the BVN campaign would erase this difficulty as well as keep all our monies and society safe.
NIGERIANS ASK YALE TO WITHDRAW OKONJO-IWEALA’S AWARD
Some Nigerians have called on Yale University in the United States to withdraw the honorary degree it bestowed on the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. She had been awarded Doctor of Humane Letters by the prestigious institution on May 15, 2015. The institution, while presenting the award to Okonjo-Iweala, had said, “As a minister in your country, you made social and economic reforms your mission. As Nigeria’s coordinating minister of economic development and minister of finance, you have tackled corruption, created a vision and path to long-term economic stability, and worked to build a culture of transparency.” However, a Nigerian, Sunday Iwalaiye, on Wednesday started an online petition on Change.Org, urging Nigerians to also sign the petition; and 22 hours after the petition was created, 2,500 people had signed it. Yale would have to respond one way or another. If for any reason it withdraws it, Okonjo-Iweala’s integrity is ruined along with all the murk in Jonathan’s government. Or could this be a campaign of calumny against the woman’s famed headgear?
PATIENCE JONATHAN: I WILL SUPPORT MRS. AISHA BUHARI
Wife of the President, Patience Jonathan, has pledged to support the wife of the President-elect, Mrs. Aisha Buhari, in any of her projects that will promote peace and women empowerment in the society. She said, “I will make sure that I support my sister, the incoming First Lady to make sure Nigerian women are safe.” Mrs. Jonathan spoke at the inauguration of the Defence and Police Officers Wives Association Skills Acquisition Centre, in Abuja on Thursday. Can you beat that? It just proves as they say: In politics there are no permanent friends or enemies; only permanent interests. The survival instincts of the Jonathans are pretty strong right now as May 29 draws near.
KALEJAIYE LOSES LICENCE OVER OYINLOLA’S ELECTION CASE
The Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee has expelled a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Chief Kunle Kalejaye, from further practising as a lawyer. The LPDC disbarred Kalejaye after finding him guilty of professional misconduct. A five-man panel of the LPDC, led by the President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa, conducted the investigation. The LPDC found Kalejaye guilty of misconduct while representing the Peoples Democratic Party and its then candidate, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, at the Osun State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, where Oyinlola’s victory in the 2007 poll was being challenged by the then candidate of the Action Congress of Nigeria, Mr. Rauf Aregbesola. Kalejaye was said to have engaged in a “confidential, private and confidential telephone conversation” with the Chairman of the Osun State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, Justice Thomas Naron, without the knowledge of the other party. He allegedly engaged in the unprofessional act between March and June 2008 and the Justice Naron with whom he committed the misconduct had since February 20, 2013 been compulsorily retired by the National Judicial Council. This looks like welcome baby steps towards real change and reform in the judiciary. Let’s wait and see if corrupt judges would also be un-benched as Kalejaiye has been disbarred.
NKWOCHA IN, AS SUPER FALCONS LAND IN TORONTO
One of the longest serving players of the Super Falcons, Perpetua Nkwocha, will make her fourth attempt at winning the FIFA Women World Cup when the competition kicks off in Canada, next month. Nkwocha scored Nigeria’s only goal against Canada at the last World Cup in Germany, their only victory since USA ’99. The four-time African Footballer of the Year, 39, was earlier reported to have been dropped from the team, which would have perhaps, signalled the end of her international career. But the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) yesterday confirmed that she is in the team to a training camp in Canada ahead of the Women World Cup. The Falcons landed in Toronto, venue of their training tour, yesterday to begin their final preparations for the competition. In the team are some of the players, who took Nigeria to the final of the 2014 U-20 World Cup, which incidentally was held in Canada. At 39, Nkwocha is about to join football’s “old men on the field.” Let’s hope younger Nkwochas will take over soon. She could become a Super Falcon’s coach.
NIGERIA PROTESTS ASSAULT ON DIPLOMAT IN EQUATORIAL GUINEA
AS African nations come to terms with and try to find a lasting solution to xenophobic attacks against their citizens in sister-states, the recent brutal physical assault by an Equatorial Guinea policeman on a Nigerian diplomat has raised fears that a solution may not have been found for the problem.
The Nigerian diplomat, Noah Ichaba, Agredo Admin del Consulado de Nigeria of the Consulate General was allegedly beaten up by a policeman, although he possessed his official documents and permits issued by the Equatorial Guinean authorities. In protest against the beating, the Consulate-General of Nigeria in Bata, has written the authorities of Equatorial Guinea’s Ministry of External Affairs, to demand that attacks on Nigerians and Nigerian diplomats in the country should stop. An apology was also demanded for the attack on the diplomat. Ichaba holds the Diplomatic Identity Card Number 399/2014 which is valid through December 16, 2015, but the document was allegedly not recognised by the policeman who demanded for his resident permit. Nigeria must not leave its African neighbours in doubt as to the kind of esteem we deserve in circumstances like this. Not even in the US or UK would a Nigerian diplomat be publicly humiliated like this.
Have a pleasant Friday, May 22, 2015 and enjoy our other news and views of today – HAMILTONSTYLE.