Daily Archives: December 10, 2007

We Didn’t Kidnap Deputy Governor’s Father – MEND

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) has denied any role in the early morning abduction of the father of the deputy governor of Bayelsa State Peremebowei Ebebi.

“The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) did not play a role in the abduction of the father of Bayelsa state deputy governor, Mr Simeon Ebebi” according to an email to The Times Of Nigeria by Jomo Gbomo.

“We suspect that the kidnapping was carried out by aggrieved political thugs used and dumped after rigging the last election for the PDP” The statement concluded.

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AC Slams Iwu Over ‘June 12’ Comment

By Patricia Nwaolai 

The Action Congress (AC) has expressed concern over the state of mind of INEC Chairman Maurice Iwu, saying his recent comments on the last general elections showa man deeply troubled by his weakness of character and monumental failure in organising a landmark election.

In a statement issued in Abuja Monday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said Iwu’s assertion at a News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)
on Sunday that the April 2007 elections were better organised than the June 12, 1993 polls particularly showed a man who is troubled.

“Iwu’s conduct and comments since messing up what was dubbed a historic election show that he is in dire need of some sort of help,” it said.

“After awarding himself grade A in the conduct of the messed-up polls, he followed up with all sorts of comments. First he blamed everyone but himself for ruining the election. Then he said the environment was not conducive for the conduct of the polls, and went
on to blame the media for failing to highlight this to the public.

“Now to the mother of all faux pas: Comparing an election widely condemned as not credible by local and international observers with one considered the freest and fairest election in the country’s history!

“This is a denigration of the June 12 election and what it stands for; a slap on the face of all Nigerians who acknowledged the success of the 1993 polls and a disservice to hundreds of our compatriots who died or were maimed defending their votes in the
1993 polls,” AC said.

“We are worried at the seeming determination by Iwu to trivialise an issue that has made Nigeria a laughing stock in the comity of nations; at his lack of remorse even in the face of a pathological failing and a growing propensity for clowning,” the party said.

“AC warned Iwu to keep his mouth shut if he has nothing decent to say to a people who have been traumatised by his own failure, saying at a time like this, for Iwu, silence is golden!” The statement concluded.

Militants Kidnap Bayelsa Deputy Gov’s Father!

Barely three days after the Governor of Bayelsa State, Timipre Sylva, signed a peace accord with some militant groups in the Niger Delta at Yenagoa, the father of the Deputy Governor, Mr. Peremebowei Ebebi, has been kidnapped.

The victim, His Royal Highness Simon Ebebi, a king of Elemebiri, was kidnapped at his home in Ekerema Local Government Area of Bayelsa State at about 3.00 a.m. this morning.

The Chief Press Secretary to the Deputy Governor, Mr. Charles Tembou, confirmed the incident today.

He said he could not confirm which group was behind the kidnap, adding, however, that the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) had earlier on distanced itself from the so-called deal entered into between the Governor and some militant groups on Thursday last week.

In an e-mail signed by the group leader with the nick name, Jomo Gbomo, the group insisted that the group will continue to kidnap and attack oil installations until their demands for economic control of their resources are met, and their leader Henry Okah, is released.

– PM News

Babayaro Accepts Magpies Exit

Celestine Babayaro has agreed a deal to have the remainder of his Newcastle United contract paid up.

The defender has not played for manager Sam Allardyce this season due to hamstring and back-related problems.

Allardyce has now opted to cut the Nigerian loose after settling on a deal for Babayaro to leave St James’ Park before his contract was due to expire at the end of the season.

The left-back has not played for the Magpies since the end of March and he has made just 47 Premier League appearances during almost three years on Tyneside.

The 29-year-old arrived at St James’ Park in January 2005 in a £1million switch from Chelsea as then-manager Graeme Souness looked to strengthen his back four.

However, he was rarely able to produce his best form on a consistent basis and never truly won over the club’s supporters.

But he did earn their applause in February when he turned out for the club in their 2-1 league win over Liverpool, after which Glenn Roeder revealed that his younger brother David had died just hours earlier.

– Wire Report

Iwu: April Polls Better than June 12

Chairman of the Indepen-dent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Maurice Iwu, yesterday replied the critics of 2007 general elections, saying the conduct of the elections was far better than the June 12, 1993 election which is generally regarded as the freest and fairest in the history of Nigeria.

Chief MKO Abiola was widely believed to have won the Presidential election of June 12, 1993 on the platform of the defunct Social Democratic  Party (SDP).

But Iwu has stated in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that this year’s election was better than June 12.

He said Nigeria was able to transit from one civilian regime to another for the first time in the history of the country.
He added: “It was a sad commentary on our country that the only election we accepted as free and fair was an unsuccessful election, because nobody won and nobody was elected as president.”

The INEC chief said in spite of the odds against the smooth conduct of the 2007 general elections, INEC was able to organise free and fair elections that produced winners from state assemblies to the office of the president.

Iwu said: “It was a sad moment to say that 2007 elections was the worst elections when we knew what was happening in other parts of the world.”

Although he said that the 2007 elections were not perfect, Iwu insisted that not only were the elections free and fair but were also conclusive and successful.

He said: “The 2007 elections we agreed were not perfect, it was a human undertaking. It won’t have been perfect. But I still maintain to the annoyance of some people that the 2007 elections were free and fair.”

The INEC chairman cited a situation where out of eight presidential election cases at the Tribunal, six have been dismissed, while two were pending, without establishing any fraudulent cases against the commission.

He stressed that the negative media campaign against his person and the commission was not new as his predecessors suffered same.

He added that in spite of attacks on his person, he would remain resolute in actualising his mission of reforming the country’s electoral reforms, in line with what was obtainable in other developed nations.

He said: “Let them know that all the personal attacks further strengthen me as I am not a quitter. I would have resigned long time ago if they have been praising me as it is good to quit when the ovation is loudest.”

He urged Nigerians to have the interest of the country at heart, assuring the electorate that the commission had started planning for 2011 elections “to avoid the mistakes of  the   past”.

– Thisday

Darfur Crisis to Dominate Bush, Yar’Adua Talks

The lingering Darfur Crisis will dominate talks between President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua and the United States President, Mr. George W. Bush, as they meet this week in Washington, D.C.
President Yar’Adua disclosed this at a meeting with the Sudanese President, Omar El-Bashir, at the ongoing EU-Africa Summit in Lisbon, Portugal.
He said his meeting with the US President would be primarily on finding a lasting solution to the crisis.
President Yar’Adua however tasked the Sudanese President on creating an enabling environment for the peaceful resolution of the crisis.
The President also promised to seek audience with the United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon, on how to tackle the immediate problems, while charting the way forward for the Darfur region.
He, however, told El-Bashir that he would want the Commander of the United Nations/African Mission in Dafur (UNAMID), Nigeria’s General Martin-Luther Agwai, to accompany him to the meeting, so that all the technical issues on Darfur could be fully addressed.
Speaking earlier, the Sudanese leader commended President Yar’Adua for Nigeria’s leading role in the resolution of crisis in the continent.
He said with more funding for the UNAMID troops in the Dafur region, there would be hope of a speedy resolution of the crisis.
President El-Bashir said beside funding of the troops, other challenges were the preparedness of other African countries to assist in bringing the war to an end and the logistic problems associated with the deployment of the troops.
President Yar’Adua also held bilateral meetings with the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, the Spanish Prime Minister, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, the Algerian President, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, and the South African President, Thabo Mbeki.
The Spanish President called for greater economic ties between Nigeria and Spain.
President Yar’Adua said there was no better moment to do business with Nigeria than the present.
According to him, “Nigeria is at the take-off point and as we conclude the process of putting all the necessary legislations in place, we encourage investors, especially from Europe, to take advantage of the existing opportunities for what would be a mutually beneficial relationship.”
In his meeting with President Bouteflika, President Yar’Adua proposed a joint committee between the two countries to examine the possibility of harnessing the gas potentials of the Gulf of Guinea through a trans-Atlantic gas pipeline.
His Algerian counterpart accepted the proposal.
He also held bilateral talks with the Prime Minister of Netherlands, Jan Peter Balkenende, who solicited that efforts should be renewed by the Nigerian authorities for Shell to be allowed to resume operations in Ogoniland.

– Thisday

Fayemi insists Oni govt runs killer-squad

The Action Congress (AC) governorship candidate in Ekiti State, Dr Kayode Fayemi at the weekend reaffirmed his party’s position that the Segun Oni-led administration runs a killer squad.

But the Commissioner for Information and Civic Orientation, Mr Odunayo Ategbero, challenged Fayemi and other opposition figures to come forward with any concrete proof of the existence of such a squad.

Fayemi, who spoke with reporters at the weekend in Ijero-Ekiti, predicated his allegation on several anonymous calls that he had been receiving on his mobile phones. The callers, he said, threatened to kill him if he failed to drop his bid to challenge the result of the last governorship election at the tribunal.

The AC standard bearer added that many of his aides and supporters were being harassed every day over their unflinching support for his governorship ambition. He said the arrest of Governor Segun Oni’s younger brother alongside others with sub-machine guns was a convincing evidence of the existence of a government-sponsored killer-squad.

Fayemi also lambasted the governor for accusing him of making the governance of the state difficult over his (Fayemi) loss of the governorship election.

Fayemi, who berated Oni for linking him to all his travails, wondered whether he was the one that sent police to intercept the government car in which his (Oni’s) younger brother and some aides were travelling with which had guns in it.

“You can see that this government is in confusion , it blames everybody for its woes. It is better they realise that the bad seed they had sown has begun to haunt them; that is why they always run into trouble and when this happens , they blame Fayemi or the opposition.

“They have seen the handwriting on the wall that their days in office are numbered. That is why they are venting their anger those fighting to infuse sanity in the state.

“If the Governor has no skeleton in his cupboard, he is supposed to have come out and deny the person that claimed he was his brother and state why some of his close associates were travelling with guns , when the Governor himself was not present,” Fayemi said.

Ategbero accused Fayemi and his campaign organisation of allegedly “hiding under political activism to concoct so much lies”, warning the peddlers of the story of the killer-squad to “produce the evidence or shut up forever”.

Ategbero also described the allegation that those involved in the alleged Osun State robbery saga were sighted at Afao-Ekiti before they left for Ibadan to locate their target as “irresponsible, spurious and unfounded allegation that cannot be substantiated”.

He said it was the continuation of the propaganda being mounted by former Governor Ayo Fayose and the AC, which, he alleged, was meant to destabilise the state.

Accusing the opposition of politicising the killing of the government driver and a student of the College of Technology, Esa-Oke, Ategbero noted that they ought to have joined the state government in condemning the killings and sympathising with the beareaved families.