Daily Archives: November 9, 2007

MEND Claims Role In Nigeria’s Commonwealth Bid Failure!

Nigeria’s feared rebel group, Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), today said it played a decisive role in Nigeria’s failure to win the bid to host the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

In a three paragraph email sent to The Times of Nigeria and other news organizations, MEND said “Contrary to the believe of the Nigerian delegation to the Commonwealth draw for the hosting of the 2014 games that Nigeria’s failure was due to racism, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) can confirm that security concerns was the main reason.”

“The Commonwealth Games Federation had contacted us through a third party to enquire about our views. Knowing that by 2014, the Nigerian state can not be trusted to concede resource control to the different regions, we stated that the safety of delegates; especially citizens from the United Kingdom can not be guaranteed.”

“The hosting of the games should not be a priority in a country that has not yet put its house in order. The Republic of South Africa could not have dreamt of hosting the world cup during the period it was hosting apartheid. When there is justice, peace and prosperity will thrive.” The statement concluded.


Charge Of Racism Trail Nigeria’s Commonwealth Games Bid Loss!

Patricia Nwaolai with Agency reports

A visibly disappointed Jonathan and Yakubu Gowon clap after the announcement 

Disappointed by the outright rejection of Abuja’s bid to host the 2014 Commonwealth Games, Nigerian bid officials are throwing up charges of racism and “predetermined outcome” by members of the Commonwealth Games Family.

Leading the pack is Nigeria’s Vice President, Goodluck Jonathan, head of delegation to Colombo, Sri Lanka where the winner was announced. Jonathan slammed the Games Family saying the overwhelming defeat suffered by Abuja was unfair to Africa.

However, Kenya African and World half marathon champion, Moses Tanui was more pointed in his criticism of the Games Family accusing it racism.

Tanui, who was one of Abuja Bid Ambassadors, said “it is obvious the white members of the commonwealth d o not like Africans.’

Other Nigerians on the country’s Games Bidding Committee and indeed some Africans here spoke in the same vein after the 71-member Commonwealth Games Federation awarded the 2014 games to Glasgow, Scotland, with a 47-24 vote here.

Reacting to the defeat, Vice President Jonathan, who lead the powerful Nigeria n delegation which included former Nigerian leader, Gen. Yakubu Gowon, to the CGF general assembly, said he believed the games family was unkind in failing to award Abuja the hosting right of the Games.

“They were unfair to the Nigerian and African bid,” Jonathan told newsmen sho rtly after Abuja was beaten.

He said given all that the Nigerian bid committee had put on show to deserve the hosting right, they (the games family) denied Abuja, and indeed the whole of Africa, the opportunity to showcase their hospitality should the games be held in Nigeria.

Abdulrahman Gimba, Chairman of the National Sports Commission (NSC) and Minister of Sports and Social Development, said the defeat showed a predetermined outcome.

“I am satisfied that we put up a good fight,” Gimba added.

Habu Gumel, the President of the Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC), said “we gave the bid our best shot.”

Nigerian Senator, Bukar Abba Ibrahim, said the outcome of the ballot was an indication that Africans did not have a future in the Commonwealth, while another N igerian Dr. Tijani Yusuf of the Ministry of Sports, said the result was enough i n dication that it would take Africa a long while to have the opportunity of hosting the Games.

Even Gen. Gowon was shocked when the CGF President Mike Fennell called out the result. A roundly-disappointed Gowon, the head of the Nigerian Bid Committee, threw his arms up in despair and managed a wry smile.

Fennel later told Gowon “I hope it doesn’t end there”, a statement seen by man y as very distasteful.

Other disappointed Africans also commented on the defeat. Zambian NOC President, Mirian Moyo, said she could not believe the wide margin with which Glasgow won .

“I expected a close race,” she lamented.

Abuja Loses Commonwealth Games Bid!

By Patricia Nwaolai

Abuja’s bid to host the 2014 Commonwealth Games crashed in the Sri Lanka city of Colombo when Glasgow won with a vote of 47 to 24 throwing the Scottish city into wild celebrations and residents and bid officials of Nigeria’s capital city in forlorn.

Glasgow had been competing against Nigerian capital Abuja for the right to host the games.

The announcement was greeted with delight by hundreds of people who had gathered in Glasgow’s George Square to hear the result.

Motorists also joined in the celebrations by blaring their horns.

It has been estimated that it will cost the city £288m to stage the sporting event, with most of the funding coming from the Scottish Government.

Julia Bracewell OBE, chairwoman of Sportscotland, said it was “fantastic news”.

“Hosting such a high profile event will undoubtedly help to drive sport forward at all levels, increasing participation and improving performance.

“It will provide Scottish athletes with the advantage of competing and being supported on home soil.

“And as importantly, it will give coaches, officials and volunteers the experience of a lifetime.”

During the final presentation Louise Martin, chair of the Commonwealth Games Council for Scotland, said Glasgow would provide “a games that will inspire everyone for generations.”

“A games that will have grown and developed when we pass the baton to the next host city.”

First Minister Alex Salmond said: “The Commonwealth Games really do matter to Scotland.

“They matter because they are the only multi-sport games in which our nation competes, as ourselves, ‘as Scotland’.”

Additional report from BBC News

Willbros/NNPC Bribery Scam: AC Calls For Probe

Action Congress (AC), has called for full disclosure of the alleged bribery of officials of the Nigerian government, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the NNPC, by a former senior staff of the U.S.-based Willbros Group.

In a statement issued in Abuja yesterday, by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said it was necessary to know which government official, the PDP and the NNPC benefitted from the U.S. $6 million in bribes from the company, so they could be made to face the full wrath of the law for dragging Nigeria into international disrepute.

“The decision of the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Michael Andoakaa, to travel to the U.S. in an effort to investigate the matter is a welcome first step”, it said.

“We expect that the Minister will leave no stone unturned in getting all the full details, including whether or not the funds were given to the PDP to use for the 2003 elections, since the alleged bribe was paid by the Willbros official that year,” the party said.

AC said the case presented another good opportunity for President Umaru Yar’Adua to demonstrate his commitment to the rule of law.

It expressed shock that the alleged bribery occurred under the

administration of former president Olusegun Obasanjo, who made the fight against corruption a major plank of his government’s policies, and hunted several innocent Nigerians over alleged corruption.

According to the revelation coming from the guilty plea by Jason Steph, former senior executive of Willbros, the U.S.$6 million was given to a senior member of the executive branch of the Obasanjo government, the ruling PDP and officials of the NNPC.

“Yet the eagle-eyed anti-corruption agencies, especially the ever-present EFCC, did not discover this, or if it did, pretended as if it did not happen.

“The case has again exposed the double standard of that administration, as well as its attack dogs in their so-called fight against corruption. We expect the Yar’Adua administration to get to the root of the matter in the interest of our nation and its people. We will not allow the issue to be swept under the carpet,” AC said.


Iwu Shutdowns PDP’s Convention! Says “It’s Illegal”

In a dramatic manner, chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Maurice Iwu, yesterday declared as illegal the on-going Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) ward and state congresses as well as the national convention scheduled for December 8, 2007 in Abuja. Iwu’s latest “due process action”is a great departure from his previous stance on electoral matters,in which he deliberately breached the rule of law to favour the ruling party in the April polls.

Iwu, who made this pronouncement at a meeting with Resident Electoral Commissioners (REC) from the 36 states of the federation and Abuja, said the party flouted section 85(i) of the Electoral Act, which requires that INEC be given 21 days notice before commencement of congresses by parties.

“Section 85(i) of the Electoral Act empowers us to get 21 days notice before commencement of their congresses. INEC will monitor at all levels. Nobody is allowed to conduct the congresses without notifying us. Any such exercise should be cancelled if they did it without notifying us,” he said.

The INEC chairman explained, “there is no need to waste funds and time on such venture, which is illegal. We don’t want to join issues with anybody. We just want to follow due process.”

Briefing the press at the end of the meeting, the commission’s national commissioner in charge of information and publicity, Barrister Philip Umeadi (Jnr), said INEC had drawn the attention of PDP to the “illegality” of the congresses and the planned national convention in view of its non-compliance with section 85 (i) of the Electoral Act.

According to him, it was too late for the PDP to correct the anomaly except that party “completely put off the convention until they comply with the provisions of the law.”

“We have adequately notified them about the implication of such action, to the effect that whatever it is that they have done, whether they call it harmonisation or whatever it is, that is null and void and of no effect as far as the commission is concerned.”

He said, “The reason we are taking this matter very seriously is that one of the greatest challenges we had in the conduct of the last elections, is party democracy and nomination of candidates have consistently posed a problem and if we don’t start now to correct these issues, I am certain that we will be unable to do that in an election year.”

He added: “The provision of the law is very clear. As long as it has to do with question of candidates and officers emerging from a particular political party, be it at ward, state or federal level, the political parties are enjoined by law to give statutory notices of such activities to the commission and they have not done that.”

It will be recalled that the PDP has finished its ward congresses and is set for the local government congresses this weekend, while the state congresses are scheduled for November 17, with the national convention fixed for December 8 in Abuja.

But in a swift reaction,chairman of the PDP,Dr.Ahmadu Ali said the party complied with the provisions of the Electoral Act by notifying INEC even before the commencement of the congresses.

In an exclusive response to our correspondent last night,Ali said,’All I know is that,we wrote to INEC intimating the commission of our preparations to commence our congresses before we started,but if they(INEC)said they did not get our letter,then let it be so’.