Remarks By Chief Olusegun Obasanjo On The Visit of PDP Presidential Candidate, Atiku Abubakar, to Abeokuta on Thursday October 11, 2018

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Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Presidential Candidate, Atiku Abubakar with former President Olusegun Obasanjo exchanging pleasantries in Abeokuta on Thursday after the meeting

October 11, 2018

I am happy to welcome the distinguished leaders of goodwill who have led the PDP Presidential Candidate and my former Vice-President, Atiku Abubakar, to my humble abode and I welcome the Presidential Candidate himself.

Let me start by congratulating President-to-be, Atiku Abubakar, for his success at the recent PDP Primary and I took note of his gracious remarks in his acceptance speech that it all started here.
Yes, when it started, it was meant for Atiku to succeed Obasanjo. In the presence of these distinguished leaders of goodwill today, let me say it openly that we have reviewed what went wrong on the side of Atiku. And in all honesty, my former Vice-President has re-discovered and re-positioned himself. As I have repeatedly said, it is not so much what you did against me that was the issue but what you did against the Party, the Government and the country.
I took the stand I had taken based on the character and attributes you exhibited in the position you found yourself. I strongly believe that I was right. It was in the overall interest of everyone and everything to take such a position.

From what transpired in the last couple of hours or so, you have shown remorse; you have asked for forgiveness and you have indicated that you have learnt some good lessons and you will mend fences and make amends as necessary and as desirable.
Whenever or wherever you might have offended me, as a Christian who asks for God’s forgiveness of my sins and inadequacies on daily basis, I forgive and I sincerely advise you to learn from the past and do what is right and it will be well with you. Obviously, you have mended fences with the Party and fully reconciled with the Party. That’s why today, you are the Presidential Candidate of the Party. In addition to appreciating all that the Party has done for you, may I advise you to work together with all those who contested for the Party’s flag with you as a team for your campaign.
There are still areas, nationally and internationally, where you have to mend fences and make amends. You will know how to handle what is already out and what may yet be put out by the opposition. But, I am convinced that if you continue with the attitude that brought you here with these distinguished leaders of goodwill, with remorse and contrite heart, the rest of the coast within and outside the country can be cleared. And if there is anything I can do and you want me to do in that respect, I will do.

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Pastor David Oyedepo of the Living Faith Church (Winners Chapel) after the meeting of PDP’s presidential flagbearer Atiku Abubakar with former President Obasanjo on Thursday

I am sure with the right attitude for change where necessary, and by putting lessons learned by you to work, you will get the understanding, cooperation, support and mandate – all at the national level. With Nigerians voting for you, it will mean that you secure their forgiveness and regain their confidence. It will be with the hope or assurance of a Paul on the road to Damascus Conversion. After all, change and conversion are of man. I believe that with a contrite heart, change is possible in everybody’s life and situation.
For me, relatively and of all the aspirants in the PDP, you have the widest and greatest exposure, experience, outreach and possibly the best machinery and preparation for seeing the tough and likely dirty campaign ahead through. From what I personally know of you, you have capacity to perform better than the incumbent. You surely understand the economy better; you have business experience, which can make your administration business-friendly and boost the economy and provide jobs.

You have better outreach nationally and internationally and that can translate to better management of foreign affairs. You are more accessible and less inflexible and more open to all parts of the country in many ways. As Pastor Bakare, one-time running mate of the incumbent President said, “You are a wazobia man.” And that should help you in confronting the confrontable and shunning nepotism.
As you know, along the road to where you are today, many leaders and ordinary people cooperated and overtly and covertly worked hard.

On your behalf, I thank them all. May their coast continue to be expanded. And when you become Nigerian President which, insha-Allah, you will be, remember what we did together in government – we ran an administration by Nigerians for all Nigerians where merit and performance count more than blood relationship, friendship or kith and kin. Although some time and ground have been lost, you should endeavour to start from where we stopped and recover some lost ground, if not time.
Please uphold truth, integrity, principles, morality and fight corruption, crimes and insurgency.

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Bishop of Catholic Diocese of Sokoto, Rev. Fr. Matthew Kuka, the host, ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo, PDP presidential flagbearer, Alh. Atiku Abubakar and Islamic Cleric, Ahmed Gumi (L-R)

The fundamental law of the land, our constitution must be scrupulously defended. I make one demand and one demand on you today, I need you to say before God and man that you will always remain irrevocably committed to upholding ALL the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the whole country will remain your single indivisible constituency.
Constitutionalism, popular participation and inclusiveness are pre-conditions for reversing the deficits of the past three and half years. They will ensure abiding faith in our indivisibility, oneness and faith in the survival of all against none.

The fundamentals for our development, economic growth and progress are hard and soft infrastructure. Remember to always give adequate places in your administration to our youth and women.
All the authorities involved with the preparation, all processes and conduct of the election must ensure that the election is free, fair and credible.
Once again, congratulations and I wish you well.

My distinguished brothers and leaders of goodwill, thank you for making this happen. I will now count on you to encourage all hands to be on the deck to take Nigeria to the level God has created it to be – autopilot level.

God bless you all and God bless Nigeria.

News Bytes – @newsbytesnow

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Flash! 2015 Primaries: Atiku Congratulates Buhari Over “Well-Deserved Victory” As Jonathan Maintains Sambo As Running Mate

APC PrimariesGen. Muhammadu Buhari has won at the ongoing APC primaries held in Lagos emerging as the party’s flagbearer and will contest against the incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan in the 2015 Presidential election.

PDP primaries

Jonathan’s candidacy was ratified by the PDP at the just-concluded primaries which held at the Eagles Square, Abuja. The president has also picked his vice as running mate in his bid for asecond term in office.

Meanwhile, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has congratulated Gen. Muhammadu Buhari for a “well fought for and deserved victory”. Atiku who was also an aspirant in the APC primaries polled 954 out of a total of 7,214 votes.

Final Poll Count
Atiku Abubakar = 954
Muhammed Buhari = 3430
Rabiu Kwankwaso = 974
Sam Nda-Isaiah = 10
Rochas = 624

Ogun Politics: Yewa-Awori Generates 70% Of IGR, Yet Largely Marginalised, Says @BiyiOtegbeye

Biyi Otegebeye Twitter

Barr. Biyi Otegbeye, the Group MD and CEO of Regency Alliance Insurance Plc as well as the Board Chairman, University of Uyo Teaching Hospital bares his mind on the development and empowerment needs of his people Yewa-Awori.

He is a proud son of Ilaro, Yewa South Local Governmenta Area of Ogun state and aspires for the Ogun West Senatorial seat under the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.

Enjoy…http://youtu.be/PnHrKpS5ALE

A Must-Read: Now That Patience Jonathan Is ‘Jesus Christ’ By Wale Odunsi

The lingering political crisis in oil-rich Rivers State, South-Southern Nigeria, is indeed a source of apprehension to every lover of democracy. Aside the fact that the electorates are the ones suffering the consequence of the standoff, parties involved in the tussle have by their actions, further adulterated whatever is left of decorum and decency. At the moment, Rivers is a place where only the fittest can survive; chicken-hearted fellows have relocated either to Abuja or neighboring states, even as some others have taken two or three steps backward to avoid getting hit in the crossfire.

Globally, disagreement between those saddled with the responsibility of leading the people is a norm, nonetheless, there’s always a convincing motive for such.  In this clime, the case is mostly the reverse. Taking a critical look at it, why is ours different? Why do officials become worst enemies from best of friends, albeit on issues that wouldn’t positively add to us as an entity? Is there an end in sight to the much-talked about conflict in the land? Time, like they say will tell, but the same time has before now opened our eyes to a few things. I mean, certain events hitherto, gave us inklings to what we are witnessing these days in Rivers. Likening the entanglement to the proverbial instance, three prominent individuals constitute the hands of Esau, they point the way, during which their foot soldiers do the job of speaking in Jacob’s voice.

Goodluck Ebele Jonathan:

Fondly called GEJ, he has been the topmost Oga at the Top for more than three years, two of which are a fraction of his elected tenure. His grouse with Rivers helmsman, Rotimi Amaechi, came to the fore about a year ago. The governor as chair of the Nigeria Governors Forum, NGF, fervently disagreed with the Federal Government on issues including delay in disbursement of statutory monthly allocation, management of Sovereign Wealth Fund, creation of State Police among others.

Also, the President feels that the purported ambition of Amaechi is a threat to his, bearing in mind that the entry of another Southerner into a presidential (or vice presidential) contest may affect his chances. Come 2015, the doctorate degree holder in Zoology would not want split votes, either at the primaries or election proper.

Ezenbunwo Nyesom Wike:

He is the Minister of State for Education, a post he attained by the man he now perceives as an enemy.  Wike hails from Ikwerre ethnic group, same as the incumbent Governor, who appointed him Chief of Staff. Wike desires to be called ‘His Excellency’, and though he has a right to run, his erstwhile boss had stated that after eight years on throne (two years from now), having another Ikwerre man replace him was unfair to other groups. The statement, which dealt a severe blow to Wike’s aspiration, is today deemed one of the reasons behind the ongoing skirmish. Not only did the Minister ensure that a duly constituted state People’s Democratic Party executive committee was ejected, he supervised the installation of his loyalists, apparently to position himself in the driver’s seat of PDP activities in the state.

Patience Faka Jonathan:

The fact that she was born in Port-Harcourt, the Rivers capital naturally suggests that she is interested in what goes on there. A permanent secretary in her native Bayelsa state, analysts view her grip in the political affairs of her state of origin, as a factor that makes it difficult to reach a truce that, in truth, is improbable.

However, the power she wields has grown skyscraping that she is now regarded as the liberator of Homo sapiens. Initially, many, including myself regarded her as an emperor; in fact, as far back as last year May, I referred to Mrs. Jonathan as “Her Imperial Majesty” in an article. That obviously was an understatement when compared to the recent re-baptismal by a legislator.

Honorable Evans Bipi, representing Ogu/Bolo constituency is the coordinator of the anti-Amaechi lawmakers in Rivers State House of Assembly. On the day he tried to lead a small band to overthrow a Speaker supported by over two dozen majority, he admitted that he is spearheading the removal of the governor for his audacity to “insult” the President’s wife. While being held by the state’s Deputy Governor, Engr. Tele Ikuru, Bipi said:

“I want to sacrifice myself for Rivers people; I am fighting for justice. Why must governor came (come) and supervise (the) beating on my colleagues? Why must he be insulting the President, why must he be insulting my mother, my Jesus Christ on earth? I can’t take this!” he declared.

In the light of the above, the gait of the Madam First Lady is now fully understood. Who wouldn’t lock down federating states for days, when some people regard him/her as Jesus Christ?
Who wouldn’t breach protocol and alight from an airplane ahead of a President of 170 million people, when some people openly equate him/her with Jesus Christ?

Who wouldn’t request an amount that could solve the demands by the Academic Staff Union of Universities to construct a building, when Jesus Christ is his/her mate? Who wouldn’t be accorded the reverence conferred on Jesus Christ, when the spouse watches helplessly while unwarranted prerogative is brandished? Or does Mrs. hit Mr. behind closed doors? Even if my wife made 1000 sacrifices for me to attain a great position whatsoever, that doesn’t permit her to bully those I swore to serve.

To my media friends and others, the next time you people typeset Mrs. Jonathan’s name without prefixing ‘Jesus Christ’, I will sue…for billions of Naira!

– Wale Odunsi (Twitter – @WaleOdunsi) writes from Abuja, Nigeria.

Flash! Nelson Mandela Day: President Zuma To Hand Over Houses Built For “Poor White Families” – SA Presidency

President Jacob Zuma will on Thursday, 18 July 2013, mark the Nelson Mandela Day by officially handing over houses to the community of Danville, Pretoria West.

Cabinet designated the theme of Mandela Day 2013 as “Take action; inspire change; make every day a Mandela Day” with a focus on food security, shelter and literacy.

The Danville/Elandspoort project was identified as a “Flagship Project” for the eradication of the Bethlehem (Hermanstad) Informal Settlement in Pretoria West, which was occupied by poor White Families; families residing in Road Reserves in the Atteridgeville area and other identified areas in the Pretoria Central and Pretoria West areas.

President Zuma first visited the informal settlement in the Hermanstad area, also referred to as Bethlehem, on the 24th of July 2008 and again on the 30th of March 2010 to witness at first hand the difficulties experienced by the poor white households and to assist in finding solutions to their plight within the framework of existing government assets to policies and programmes.

The land that they occupied in Hermanstad where the informal settlement is located is privately-owned. Some of the concerns the group of white families raised with the President included the availability of social grants to children, the aged and the disabled, the need for land to build houses for the homeless, access to basic health care, public transport and the provision of electricity.

The above concerns, following the two visits by the President, were forwarded to relevant government departments (Gauteng Dept of Human Settlements) as well as the City of Tshwane Municipality for further attention and resolution. Action taken by the Municipality includes the rectification of Council properties in the vicinity of the informal settlement which has been completed and transfer to legitimate beneficiaries, which has been finalised.

The City of Tshwane has also dedicated a mobile clinic to the households of the Hermanstad/ Bethlehem Informal Settlement. The mobile clinic visits the households once a month. In terms of social grants the South African Social Security Agent (SASSA) is a regular visitor in the Hermanstad area for various social development related services. In addition, one high mast light and 50 street lights have been installed in the vicinity of the settlement.

Government undertook to promote non-racial settlements and the marking of Mandela Day in this manner will pay a befitting tribute to Madiba, the founding President who laid the foundation for nation building and reconciliation.

SA Presidency

Flash! Facts Of Two Judgments: Al-Mustapha, Sofolahan Discharged And Acquitted

The Lagos Division of the Court of Appeal yesterday overruled the death sentence handed to Major Hamza Al-Mustapha and Alhaji Lateef Shofolahan on January 30, 2012, by Justice Mojisola Dada of the Lagos High Court in Igbosere.

According to the presiding judge, Justice Rita Pemu “the lower court stroked to secure a conviction by all means.” The appellate court therefore discharged and acquitted the duo of conspiracy and murder of Alhaja Kudirat Abiola, 45, who was shot in Lagos on June 4, 1996.

The three female appellate court justices that discharged and acquitted Al-Mustapha and Shofolahan are Justice Rita Pemu (presiding), Justice Amina Adamu Augie and Justice F. O. Akinbami. Justice Augie was drafted into the panel following the decision of Justice Ibrahim Saulawa who disqualified himself from hearing the appeal.

Al-Mustapha, a former Chief Security Officer (CSO) to the late Head of State, General Sani Abacha, and Shofolahan, a former Personal Assistant to late Kudirat, were both convicted by the lower court for the conspiracy and murder preferred against them by Lagos State.

The duo separately filed their appeals 24-hours after they were convicted, contending that the death sentence handed them was unwarranted, unreasonable and a manifest miscarriage of justice.

Al-Mustapha and Shofolahan also contended that the trial judge erred in law by arriving at the conclusion that they conspired to kill Alhaja Kudirat on June 4, 1996, and faulted the court’s reliance on the testimony of Dr. Ore Falomo on the bullet extracted from the late Kudirat.

Counsel to Al-Mustapha, Mr. Joseph Daudu (SAN), adopting his address, urged the court to allow the appeal and set aside the judgment of the lower court. He argued that the trial court erred in law to have based its judgment on the testimonies of PW1 (Sgt Rogers) and PW2 (Katako), which were contradictory.

”The testimonies of PW1 and 2 were inconclusive and contradictory. The court drew inferences from these contradictory statements, to establish the guilty of the appellants. It is my submission that those inferences, upon which the court based its judgment, were merely political evidence formulated by the respondent, and which the trial court ought not to have considered. I therefore urge the court to allow this appeal, and quash the judgment of the lower court,” Daudu argued.

Counsel to Shofolahan, Mr. Olalekan Ojo, also aligned himself with the submission of Daudu, saying that the prosecution called four witnesses and two of the witnesses were presumed to be star witnesses.

The appellants counsel submitted that the lower court relied on conjectures and inferences to support the conviction of the Al-Mustapha and Shofolahan, which did not form part of the evidence presented before the court, saying “the constitution did not support the conviction. The testimonies of PW1 (Sgt Rogers) and PW2 (Katako) are not strong enough to warrant the conviction of the appellant.”

In his response, counsel to the respondent, Mr. Lawal Pedro (SAN), urged the court to dismiss the appeal for lack of merit and uphold the judgment of the lower court. He argued that apart from the evidence of PW1 and 2, there were other evidence from the defendants, which supports the counts of conspiracy and murder.

Recall that after many years of waiting to know who the court deemed to have masterminded the assassination of late Kudirat, wife of the acclaimed winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential election, late Chief MKO Abiola, Justice Mojisala Dada of Lagos High Court sitting in Igbosere delivered the judgment on a Monday afternoon of January 30, 2012.

Clad in a white robe and a prayer cap, Al-Mustapha watched as Justice Dada reads her judgment which lasted several hours. Not left in wonder, Shofolahan, however broke down in tears when it became clear that they have been convicted and sentenced to death by hanging.

Justice Dada ruled: “Evidence proves  Al-Mustapha, Shofolahan   killed Kudiratu Abiola. Evidence was manifestedly heavy that they killed Kudiratu Abiola. In view of this, they are guilty of conspiracy and murder.”

Dada said in her ruling:.”The prosecution has proved its case beyond all reasonable doubt. In view of this, they should be hanged.”

The judge described Shofolahan as a viper, saying “he acted like Judas Iscariot. He was friend to the Abiola family in the open and enemy in secret. He sacrificed his master (Abiola) because of his personal greed. He was a viper.”

The Appeal Court’s judgement yesterday read:

“In a criminal trial, the burden is to prove beyond reasonable doubt and this is a chain that cannot be broken. The prosecution listed four witnesses- PW 9, 10, 11 and 12 with which it intended to call in the trial, but never called any of them. PW 1 (Dr Ore Falomo) testified before the lower court that the bullet extracted from the forehead of the deceased, was white and of a special kind, but the prosecution failed to tender the bullet as exhibit and this is fatal to their case. The prosecution also called PW 4 (Investigating Police Officer) who investigated the death of the deceased, but this witness was never produced for cross examination by the defence, as he never showed up in court.

“This renders the evidence of the police officer inconclusive as it denied the defendants their right to fair hearing, and no reasonable court can safely make a conviction on such an inconclusive testimony. PW 2 (Sgt.Barnabas Jabila Mshelia, a.k.a. Sgt. Rogers) and PW 3( Mohammedd Abdul) in their confessional statements to the Police, said they were enjoined by the first appellant, (Al-Mustapha) to murder Kudirat, but this statement was later retracted by them in court. PW 2 and 3 in retracting their earlier statements to the Police told the court that they were cajoled by the prosecution to indict the appellant, with a promise to give them monetary compensation.

This is a contradiction in the testimonies of the witnesses; it raises doubt in the case of the prosecution, and it is unimaginable that the lower court did not expunge this evidence.

“For an offence like murder, I wonder why the Nigerian Police did not do a proper investigation. Jabila who was initially arrested as co-defendant, was later called prosecution witness; witnesses who ought to be called were never called, the bullet extracted was never tendered before the court. Once there is doubt in the case of the prosecution, as in the instant case, it must be resolved in favour of the accused, and this doubt is accordingly resolved in favour of the appellants.

“One thing is clear, Kudirat was shot, but the big question is: who pulled the trigger? I find nothing in this case which sufficiently links the appellants with the commission of the offence. It is preposterous that in a 326-page judgment, the lower court was only concerned with securing a conviction at all costs. Just as God is no respecter of persons, so also is this court. I hereby order that the appellants be discharged and acquitted while the conviction and sentence of the lower court, is hereby discharged.”

Vanguard

Flash! Bribery And Corruption: China Former Railway Minister Handed Suspended Death Sentence

China’s former railways minister Liu Zhijun was given a suspended death sentence for “especially huge” bribery, becoming the highest-ranking official to be punished for corruption since new leaders vowed to clean up the ruling Communist Party.

Once hailed as the “father” of China’s flagship high-speed rail network, Liu, 60, was convicted of bribery and abuse of power by a court in Beijing, the official Xinhua news agency said.

State television showed the diminutive, bespectacled defendant standing impassively in the dock in a dark jacket, flanked by two police.

Liu was sacked as railways minister in 2011 after eight years in the post, and the scandal surrounding him is reported to have involved as much as 800 million yuan ($130 million).
He was convicted of accepting 64.6 million yuan in bribes to help 11 people secure contracts and promotions.

The No 2 Intermediate People’s Court held that Liu’s crimes involved an “especially huge amount of money” and “caused colossal losses in the public assets, violating rights and interests of the state and the people”, Xinhua said.

“Liu Zhijun was sentenced to the death penalty with two years’ suspension,” a court official told AFP by phone.

Suspended death sentences in China are normally commuted to life imprisonment.

Under Chinese law capital punishment can be imposed for taking bribes exceeding 100,000 yuan.

The court found that Liu’s offences deserved execution, but he was granted leniency because he had confessed, shown repentance and helped investigators recover his assets, Xinhua said.

The court ordered all of Liu’s personal property to be confiscated and issued a separate sentence of 10 years in prison for abuse of power, Xinhua said.

China’s rail system — which has cost hundreds of billions of dollars — has been one of the ruling party’s flagship development projects in recent years, and the country now boasts the world’s longest high-speed network.

But a high-speed crash in the eastern city of Wenzhou killed some 40 people in 2011, sparking public criticism that authorities compromised safety in their rush to expand the network.

The railways ministry was disbanded in March, with its administrative functions handed to the transport ministry and its commercial role to a new China Railway Corporation.

The country’s new leaders under President Xi Jinping have vowed to fight corruption, identifying it as a threat to Communist Party rule.

In January Xi was quoted by state media as telling the party’s corruption watchdog there would be “no leniency” for wrongdoing.

In May Xinhua reported that China was investigating a former top state planner Liu Tienan for alleged “serious disciplinary violations” — phrasing which typically refers to corruption.

Bo Xilai, former party chief of the southwestern metropolis of Chongqing, is also expected to face trial for allegedly taking bribes and helping cover up his wife’s murder of a British businessman.

Numerous low-level officials have come under investigation after social media users exposed alleged corruption, with some cases involving expensive watches or multiple mistresses.

Liu, a longtime railways official, studied transport management and held senior posts in several provinces before joining the national railways ministry in 1994 and rising to minister in 2003.

Users of China’s popular microblog service Sina Weibo were sceptical about his punishment, with some condemning it as too lenient.

“Such good news for corrupted officials. This is encouraging them, because the worst result will just be a suspended death penalty,” said one.

Another lamented: “Oh dear, now he’s going to keep wasting taxpayers’ money.”

Courtesy AFP