Jonathan to declare 2015 ambition soon – Anyim

President Goodluck Jonathan will soon declare his intention to run in the 2015 presidential election, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator Pius Anyim, has said.

Anyim made this known on Saturday at the Liberation Stadium, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, during the South-South rally for the President.

The rally was organised by the Transformation Ambassadors of Nigeria.

As early as 7am on Saturday, Port Harcourt and neighbouring local governments in the state experienced unusual traffic jam. Policemen and other security forces were seen on major roads in Port Harcourt, the state capital.

The East West Road, the major gateway to other parts of the country was so busy as supporters of the President were seen in buses and security vehicles.

At the Liberation Stadium venue in Elekahia, Port Harcourt, the leader of TAN, Kenneth Kobani, presented 4.15 million signatures to President Jonathan.

He urged the President to contest the 2015 presidential election, saying he deserved a second term because of his unprecedented achievements in the country.

Continuing, Anyim said, “The South South has broken the record of the other five regions that have so far asked President Jonathan to run for a second term of four years.

“Your region has collected 4,150,000 signatures. The signatures can be verified. You can see the names of those who signed; their telephone numbers and local governments. This process is real.

“Before I make any further comment I want to dance to the President Goodluck Jonathan music: Goodluck for me; Goodluck for everybody. These figures are fantastic: Rivers State, 1,100,000; Akwa Ibom, 800,000; Bayelsa State, 500,000; Cross Rivers State, 520,000; Edo State, 420,000 and Delta State, 750,000.

“We are truly grateful. For me, something significant has happened in the South South. You have shown that you are solidly, solidly and solidly behind President Jonathan. The South South has beaten our record in the South East, but I can assure you that if I go back to collect more signatures, the number will increase.”

The SSG assured the zone that Jonathan would soon declare his ambition.

Anyim said the President appreciated all they had done by collecting those signatures, adding that the President is a listening one.

“He truly understands your feelings and very soon you will hear from him,” he said.

Also, the Minister of Finance and the Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iwaela, stated that President Jonathan had shepherded Nigeria into becoming the largest economy in Africa.

She said Jonathan had created three million jobs, managed Nigeria into becoming the fastest growing economy in Africa and as such deserved commendation and the support of Nigerians to inspire him to do more.

Meanwhile, the Presidency has begun a nationwide recruitment and screening of campaign groups, including non-governmental organisations and civil societies, rooting for President Goodluck Jonathan to contest for the 2015 presidential election.

At least 600 campaign teams in the North-East have signified their interest to work for President Jonathan after being screened and evaluated.

About two weeks ago, President Jonathan, through his Special Adviser on Political Affairs, Prof. Rufai Alkali, announced that there would be a five-day “screening and evaluation of support groups and NGOs”.

In the announcement placed in some newspapers, Alkali said, “This is to inform all leaders and members of all non-governmental organisations and all the support groups rooting for President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, for 2015, that there shall be a screening and evaluation exercise for the groups in the six geo-political zones.

According to the North-East Chairman of the Screening and Evaluation Committee, Saidu Tafida, who spoke 600 groups were registered in the region, with many associations and civil societies left out.

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We have no candidate, US envoy tells APC

The United States has said it was not supporting any candidate in the forthcoming polls, including the presidential election slated for February 2015.

It has also asked the various Nigerian security agencies to be neutral during the forthcoming 2015 general elections.

The US Ambassador to Nigeria, James Entwistle, said these while he led a delegation of some members of the embassy staff, to the national secretariat of the All Progressives Congress in Abuja, over the weekend.

The advice by the US ambassador came on the heel of recent alarm by especially the APC of worsening partisan roles played by the various security agencies in the recently held governorship elections in Ekiti State on June 26 in Ekiti State and in Osun State on August 9.

The APC had repeatedly alleged that the various security agencies openly took side with the ruling Peoples Democratic Party by intimidating leaders and supporters of APC in during the elections in the two states.

The ambassador, who said he was on a mission of advising political parties, politicians and Nigerians in general on the need to eschew violence in the February 2015 polls, said elections were key to democratic governance.

He said Nigerians must be conscious of their right to vote, while security agencies must ensure they were neutral during the forthcoming elections.

He said, “I have always told Nigerians to be careful about their right to vote because it is the most precious thing in the world.

“The other thing is the role that the security agencies have to play. They have a very huge responsibility in any country to maintain security and peaceful atmosphere during elections. That is their job and we support them in that. But they have to maintain absolute neutrality so that they are not seen as favoring either sides.”

He said of late he had been inundated with questions of who his country would be supporting in the forthcoming election.

Entwistle, who said he was previously US Ambassador to Democratic Republic of Congo in Kinshasha, said his response to the inquiries had always been that the support of the US was for the Nigerian people.

He said, “I have been frequently asked who the United States is supporting for the February 2015 elections and my answer has always been that the United States supports the Nigerian people in their quest for a credible, transparent election that they want and deserve.

“So, we are not here to support anybody or any candidate, but to support a credible process in which the Nigerian people can freely express their wishes. That is why we provide support to INEC and civil societies as we get ready for this election.

“Let me be clear and say that what I am saying t you now, I say to the PDP and all others who are involved in the democratic process in Nigeria.”
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Earlier, APC national chairman, John Odigie-Oyegun, who welcomed the US delegation to the party’s secretariat and thanked the US government for its support for the development of democracy in the country, said opposition parties were disadvantaged by the new trend of heavy militarisation of elections in the country.

During an interview with journalists after the meeting, Odigie-Oyegun said the fact that there was no violence on the election day did not necessarily mean a transparent election had been conducted.

He pointed out that “about 70,000 troupes were put in Osun with the obvious intent of intimidating voters.”

He said, “The truth is that we are often blamed for being bad losers, not just the APC, but Nigerians. But losers find it difficult to accept because there is no demonstrable level playing field.

“The kind of thing we are having is that weeks to elections, the might, militarisation and the rest of it and monetary inducement are deployed in such a way that it places the opposition clearly at a disadvantage.

“In a situation like that, quite frankly, it become very difficult to say that there was a free and fair election just because there was no violence on the day of the election itself.

“The so-called famous observers will tell you that nobody snatched a box or nobody got killed. The run off to elections are as important as the days of the election itself. We want you as a good friend of this nation to talk to those that you normally talk to nature that this nation.”

The US ambassador also lamented the fate of many Nigerians in the North East region of the country, who had fled their homes because of the devastating insurgent activities of the Islamic fundamentalist sect, Boko Haram.

In an interview with journalists after meeting the ambassador said it was not enough to conduct elections in the troubled region, but there must be a way of ensuring the people were not disenfranchised.

He said, “So far, the plan I see is to conduct the election throughout the country. That is something we have to work for with the full understanding that in certain parts of the country right now, the security situation is very delicate.

“But I think we have to work towards that. It is not just whether you can conduct election in the North East, but what happens to all the voters who have been displaced b the violence?

“On Election Day,if they are not at the polling units or at home, will they be able to vote? It seems to me that there must be a way for them to be able to vote. Otherwise, you have a significant number of people who have fled from violence and are effectively disenfranchised. I think we all have to work together to find a solution to that.”

He also gave assurance of the continued support of the US government towards ensuring that the girls abducted from their schools in Chibok, Borno State, more than 100 days ago were rescued from their captors, Boko Haram.

He said, “We stand with your government in their effort to rescue these girls; we stand with your government in their effort against Boko Haram.

“We provide different kind of assistance and my country stand with your country in its counter-terrorism efforts. That has always been the case and that will always be the case.”

Three patients now in Ebola treatment centre -Rivers

Rivers State Government has said three Ebola patients have been moved to the state’s quarantine centre at Oduoha in Emohua Local Government Area of the state.

The state’s Commissioner for Health, Dr. Samson Parker, made this known at a news conference in Port Harcourt on Sunday.

Parker said those taken to the treatment centre were a pharmacist at Sam Steel Hospital, a doctor who worked with the late Dr. Iyke Sam Enemuo and a nurse at Good Heart Hospital, where Enemuo allegedly died.

Sam Steel Hospital is owned by late Enemuo while he died at Good Heart Hospital.

However, he said the patients had not been confirmed, stressing that the government was awaiting the result of their tests by Sunday.

As for the wife of deceased doctor, the commissioner said she tested positive for the virus and is currently in a stable condition in Lagos.

The commissioner said, “I have been telling you before now that almost 200 persons have been line-traced. Out of this number, we are still to be in touch with about 60 of them.

“But 50 high risk contacts have been identified. Because of stigma and the rest of them, these persons are not coming up, we are still on them.

“We have three patients at the treatment centre now. The pharmacist at Sam Steel Hospital, the doctor that was working with him and also a lady at Good Heart Hospital while Dr. Enemuo was there.”

It is not clear when the three patients were taken to the quarantine centre.

When our correspondent visited the centre on Saturday, he noticed that the centre was not ready.

He observed that reconstruction was going on at former Emohua Primary Health Centre which had been renamed as Ebola quarantine centre.

As of 11am on Saturday when our correspondent was leaving the quarantine centre, no single patient had been brought to the centre.

But the commissioner insisted the patients were taken to the centre after our correspondent had left.

Parker said, “I am briefing you now. Operations are by the minute. They are three now. They won’t let you in now. That place is restricted. Probably when you went there, there were none, but I am telling you now that I was there when they were brought in.”

Eleven policemen dismissed over death of UNICAL student

Eleven policemen attached to the Special Anti-Robbery Squad of the Cross River State Police Command have been dismissed from service after an orderly room trial found them guilty of extra judicial killing.

The 11 dismissed policemen and three senior officers (names withheld) were indicted for the extra judicial killing of a 300-level student in the Department of Accounting, University of Calabar, Derek Maurice-Enang, and five others.

It was gathered on Sunday that the three senior officers will wait for their own disciplinary actions to be handed down by the Police Headquarters in Abuja.

The slain student and five others were killed on April 17, 2014 in an alleged gun duel with the police at Akpabuyo Local Government Area of the state. Their cadaver was sold to the Anatomy Department of the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital for N11, 000 each.

But a top police source at the Zone Six Police Command, who disclosed the news of their dismissal, said after the trial there was no evidence linking those killed to allegations of robbery.

He said, “The judgment has been handed down on them. Throughout the trial, there was no evidence linking the people that were killed to allegations of robbery by the detained policemen against the deceased. It was clear that the accused policemen are not innocent of the accusations. They are all still in detention awaiting their arraignment in Court.”

A committee set up by the outgoing Assistant Inspector General of Police in charge of Zone Six, Calabar, Mr. Musa Daura, had indicted the policemen over their involvement in the death of Derek and others.

It was gathered that Daura had on Saturday finally signed their dismissal from the force.

When contacted, the Zone Six Public Relation Officer, Mr. Ibrahim Tasiu, said he had yet to get the details of the dismissal because he had not been in the office in the last two weeks due to ill health.

Also, the Police Public Relations Officer in charge of the Cross River State command, Mr. Hogan Bassey, declined comment on the matter, saying the matter had gone beyond the command.

However, speaking on the development, Derek’s mother, Mrs. Enoh Maurice-Enang, expressed appreciation to the Zone Six Police Command and the Cross River Ministry of Justice for following up the matter.

She was particularly thankful to the outgoing AIG Zone Six, Daura, and the state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Kola Sodipo for their cooperation and efforts so far, urging them to ensure that the dismissed corps were prosecuted in court.

2015: North-West PDP endorses Jonathan

The leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party in the North-West geo-political zone in Kaduna State on Sunday endorsed President Goodluck Jonathan to contest the 2015 presidential election.

The meeting held at the Hassan Katsina Hall, Kawo, Kaduna.

Governors Sule Lamido (Jigawa) and his Katsina counterpart, Shehu Shema, were not at the meeting.

Lamido’s absence, a source at the meeting said could not be unconnected with his presidential ambition to unseat Jonathan in 2015. Absence of Shema was linked to his alleged moves to unseat Vice President Namadi Sambo.

Also absent were Speaker Aminu Tambuwal and the Education Minister, Ibrahim Shekarau.

Present at the meeting were the National Chairman of the Party, Adamu Mu’azu, National Organising Secretary of the party, Abubabkar Mustapha, the party Zonal Chairman, Ambassador Adamu Kazaure, Maj-Gen. Mohammed Magaro (retd), Deputy Governor of Sokoto State, Mukhtar Shagari among others.

Speaking at the occasion on behalf of the governors from the zone, the Kebbi State Governor, Usman Dankingari, while addressing members, emphatically said the governors would ensure that they delivered the zone to the president.

“The zone which is the most sophisticated and populous and other parts of the North will be delivered to the party in 2015,” he said.

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Aminu Wali, who read the communique on behalf of the stakeholders, said Jonathan had done a lot to deserve a second term from the people of the zone.

Mu’azu in his address said the party, which is as “constant as the northern stars”, remains the party to beat. He urged members of the party in the zone to remain united so as to deliver the zone in 2015.

The communiqué read, “Having carefully considered the steady and stable progress of our nation under the able leadership of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, the stakeholders of the PDP in the North-West zone having in mind the monumental strides attained by this administration, have resolved to endorse Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan to declare for president in the forthcoming 2015 elections so as to continue the good works he started. We ask for nothing less.

“Consequently, we respectfully call on the National Chairman of our party to convey this resolution and unanimous declaration of the entire leadership and membership of the PDP in the North-West zone to His Excellency Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan to surrender himself for the continued service to the nation.”

Judicial workers’ strike may resume October 2

Judicial workers under aegis of the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria has threatened to resume their suspended strike on October 2.

It was learnt that JUSUN gave the threat after the meeting of the National Executive Council of the union met during the weekend.

The union was said to have resolved to embark on fresh round of strike if stakeholders refused to comply with the Memorandum of Understanding reached separately with them on January 1 and August 1, 2014.

Rising from the emergency NEC meeting of the union held at Labour House, Abuja, the union condemned the failure of the stakeholders, including Accountant-General of the Federation and others to respect the MoU they entered into with JUSUN.

A communique released after the meeting was jointly signed by the President, Marwan Adamu and the union’s General Secretary, Isaiah Adetola.

The communiqué read in part, “NEC in session condemns the delay in allocation/release of funds to Federal judiciaries through National Judicial Council (NJC) and resolved that an end be put to it forthwith.”

The union commended the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Aloma Muhktar, for her intervention in asking the stakeholders to address issues relating to demand of the union in order to the disruption of judicial activities at the end of the 45 days given in the aforesaid MoU.

It said, “Consequently, NEC oblige the CJN intervention by further extending the period of compliance agreed in the MoU by two weeks, and that they would resume the suspended strike on 2nd october, 2014.

“NEC condemns attempts by management of some state judiciaries to put magistrate/president/sharia court judges into administrative positions reserved for registrars, and resolved to resist any further attempt to fill such positions with staff that are not of registrar cadre.”

The union had on July 11 embarked on a nationwide strike following the failure of the various state governments to comply with the judgment of a Federal High Court Abuja, granting financial autonomy to the judiciary.

The Accountant-General of the Federation, is by the judgment expected to deduct the money accruable to the various state judiciaries directly from the federal allocations of various state governments.

However, through the intervention of the Minister of Labour, Emeka Wogu, the union had called off the strike after the various stakeholders, including the Accountant-General of the Federation, the Nigerian Bar Association, the Ministry of Justice among others, signed an MoU assuring that the judgment would be enforced in due course.

JUSUN had earlier written to the Minister of Staff Finance and chairman Federal Account Allocation Committee, Bashir Yuguda, over what they described as “obvious impunity, in-action and silence on the implementation of the decision of the Federal High Court, Abuja, on financial independent and autonomy of the judiciary.

A letter which was dated August 25, 2014, signed by the general secretary of the union, Comrade Isaiah Adetola, said the minister was absent at the re-conciliatory meeting in the instance of Minister of Labour and productivity, Emeka Wogu, with a view to resolve the impasse that led to the industrial action.

The letter was also copied to Chief Justice of Nigeria, the Minister of Labour and Productivity, the NLC president, Abdulwaheed Omar, NBA president, Chairman of the state Accountants-General Forum, Udo Hilary Igobara, Accountant General of the Federation and other stakeholders.

Ebola: FG convenes another emergency meeting Sept 1

The Federal Government has convened another emergency meeting of the National Council of Health over the Ebola Virus Disease, barely two weeks after the last one was held.

The Special Assistant, Media and Communications, to the Minister of Health, Dan Nwomeh, confirmed to one of our correspondents that the NCH meeting would hold on Monday  in Abuja.

Nwomeh said, “The meeting will hold Monday at Barcelona Hotel, Wuse.”

The minister’s aide, however did not give agenda of the meeting.

But the Kogi State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Omede Idris, told one of our correspondents that the emergency National Council of Health meeting would “review the situation, preparedness by states and ascertain their compliance with the recommendation of the last meeting.”

The NCH comprises the minister of health, all state commissioners of health, including the FCT. Except in an emergency, the council meets once in a year.