Thursday, October 31, 2013

APC leaders, rebel govs’ meeting rattles PDP

The leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party was rattled by the meeting of the leadership of the All Progressive Congress and some of the aggrieved governors of the Peoples Democratic Party in Sokoto, Sokoto State on Tuesday.

The APC leaders, who were in Sokoto for the inauguration of the Sokoto State University , where the meeting was held, were a former Head of State, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) and a former Governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.

Members of the New PDP who were in attendance were the governor of the state, Alhaji Aliyu Wamakko; Governors Rabiu Kwankwanso (Kano); Rotimi Amaechi (Rivers), Murtala Nyako (Adamawa); and Sule Lamido (Jigawa).

Two of the aggrieved governors, Aliyu Babangida(Niger) and Abdulfatah Ahmed (Kwara), were absent at the event.

However, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mallam Aminu Tambuwal, was at the event, where no Federal Government official was present.

Investigations by our correspondent showed that the meeting of the APC leaders with the rebel governors was a topic for discussion among members of the National Working Committee of the PDP on Wednesday.

A member of the committee, who spoke with our correspondent on condition of anonymity, said it was almost certain that the rebel governors were out of the ruling party.

He said the NWC of the party was surprised that the rebel governors were no longer hiding their disdain for the party.

He said though the issue was not on the agenda of the Wednesday’s meeting, the matter was discussed informally among the NWC members.

The source said, “Though the gathering was about opening of a university, why was the event dominated by those who are against us?

“We have been hearing that these governors are planning to defect to the APC. Maybe that was why they invited the leaders of the party and used the opportunity to concretise their discussions. We are watching.”

Reacting to the issue, the Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the party, Mr. Ibrahim Jalo, told our correspondent that the party believed that the gathering had no political undertone.

Jalo said the party believed what Wamakko said, which was that the event was for the inauguration of the state university.

He said, “The event was a mere gathering. We also believe that it was, according to the governor, meant to open the state university as stated by the governor.

“Apart from that, we believe that these people are free to meet and discuss as guaranteed by the Constitution. The Constitution guarantees freedom of association.”

However, the party said it had directed party leaders in zones, states, local government areas and wards to establish disciplinary committees in accordance with its constitution.

A statement by the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Chief Olisa Metuh, said the action was in tandem with the “focused determination of the national leadership of the PDP to ensure discipline and loyalty at all levels.”

Culled from Punch


Come Friday, November 1, 2013, the Vice President and Chairman, National Council on Privatisation (NCP), Mohammed Namadi Sambo, will formally hand over the physical assets of all 14 PHCN successor-companies to their new owners, the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) said in a statement yesterday.

Signed by the Head of Public Communications, Mr. Joe Anichebe, the statement said the event would take place simultaneously at the headquarters of the successor-companies across the country, where Sambo would be represented by ministers and other top government functionaries.

However, it said the Sapele Generation Company (SGC) would not be involved in the exercise since the NCP has directed its legal committee to undertake a comprehensive legal review of its status following the preferred bidder’s failure to complete payment.

The affected companies are: Abuja Distribution Company (KANN Consortium Utility), Benin Distribution Company (Vigeo Power Consortium), Eko Distribution Company (West Power & Gas), Enugu Distribution Company (Interstate Electrics Ltd) and Ibadan Distribution Company (Integrated Energy Distribution & Marketing Ltd).

Others are Ikeja Distribution Company (NEDC/KEPCO Consortium), Jos Distribution Company (Aura Energy Limited), Kano Distribution Company (Sahelian Power SPV Ltd), Port Harcourt Distribution Company (4Power Consortium) and Yola Distribution Company (Integrated Energy Distribution & Marketing Ltd).

The generation companies are: Shiroro (North-South Power Company), Kainji (Mainstream Energy Solutions Ltd), Geregu (Amperion Power Distribution) and Ughelli (Transcorp Ughelli Power Plc).

Top government functionaries to represent the Vice President at the various handover venues are: the Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo (Abuja), Co-ordinating Minister of the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala (Ibadan), Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke (Enugu), Minister of Trade & Investment, Mr. Olusegun Aganga (Eko), Minister of Transport, Senator Idris A. Umar (Kainji/Jebba) and Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Mohammed Bello Adoke (Yola).

The others are the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Mohammed Musa Sada (Kano), Minister of Information, Labaran Maku (Jos), Minister of Labour, Chief Emeka Wogu (Ughelli) and Minister of State (Works), Bashir Yuguda (Shiroro). 

The rest are the BPE Director General, Mr. Benjamin Ezra Dikki (Ikeja and Egbin), Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Power, Dr. Godswill Igali (Port-Harcourt), Chairman, Presidential Taskforce on Power, Beks Dagogo-Jack (Benin) and Group Managing Director of NNPC, Mr. Andrew Yakubu (Geregu).

Dikki noted: “This handover is a culmination of 14 years of painstaking effort by the NCP, BPE and other key stakeholders to reform and liberalize Nigeria’s electricity industry, which began in 1999.”

The Electric Power Sector Reform Implementation Committee (EPIC) was set up in year 2000 with the key mandate to proffer an appropriate legal and regulatory framework for the sector. This gave birth to the National Electric Power Policy, which was approved by the Federal Executive Council in September 2001.

It was followed by the passage of the Electric Power Sector Reform Act of 2005. The passage of the Act gave the NCP/BPE the legal impetus to set up the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), also in 2005.

The NCP/BPE went further to vertically unbundle the integrated monopoly into three segments of Generation, Transmission and Distribution. As part of the reform initiative, the utility was transformed into Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) in compliance with Section 1 of EPSR Act of 2005, as prelude to the full unbundling of the utility into different successor companies

So far, from the 14 successor-companies scheduled for take over, a total of $2,525,824,534 was realized as proceeds. Of this amount, $1,256,000,000.00 came from the Distribution Companies (DISCOs) while the Generation Companies (GENCOs) raked in $1, 269,824,534.

The Federal Government has equally set aside the entire proceed of N384 billion from the transaction to settle labour liabilities. 

Meanwhile, in its determination to resolve all labour issues before the handover, the BPE has dispatched a team of consultants and its staff for the biometric data capture of 1, 478 employees of the Enugu DISCO, who could not be audited because of virus attack on the system where their names were stored.
Culled from The Guardian 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

N225m Car Scam: Jonathan Orders Probe Of Aviation Minister

President Goodluck Jonathan today set up a three-member administrative panel to commence a full blown investigation into transactions involving the purchase of two BMW bullet proof cars at the cost of N225 million by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).

Special Adviser too the president on media and publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati who disclosed this to State House Correspondents immediately after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting in Aso Rock presidential villa said the three member committee which is chaired by former head of service, Alhaji Isa Sale has two weeks to submit its report to him.

Other members of the committee include the National Security Adviser (NSA), Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd) and Air Vice Marshal Dick Iruenaberi (rtd). The NSA's office is to act as secretariat for the panel.

Abati noted that President Jonathan directed that no stone should be left unturned in the probe of the controversial purchase of the armoured vehicles.
culled from leadership newspaper 

Monday, October 14, 2013

Suleiman's Blog: How to travel in Nigeria

Suleiman's Blog: How to travel in Nigeria:   Salisu Suleiman. N igeria is one of the few – and certainly the only country of its size in the whole world – without a functional...

Monday, October 7, 2013

10 Reasons North Should Support Jonathan in 2015

The most important political issue that has been, and would continue to revolve around the Jonathan presidency and his 2015 ambition is political power shift to the north. With the 2015 general elections fast approaching, should the north support Jonathan for a second term? Here are 10 politically touchy reasons the north should support Jonathan for a second term.

Firstly, Jonathan’s second term would be an important milestone in that long process of completing the ‘equation of power’. This is because every part of Nigeria would also see, and experience the pain of having one of ‘their own’ in power. Many ordinary Nigerians outside the northern part of the country generally assume that, the grip northern elites have had on political power for over forty years have bettered the lives of common man in the north. And this is not so. 

With this stereotyped belief about the common people of the north by most people outside the north, the north should support Jonathan for a second term to show other ordinary Nigerians that having someone from your region in power does not guarantee betterment for your life. Nigerian political elites share same thought and belong to same ‘club’. The ordinary people in the southwest have learnt the lesson from the Obasanjo presidency.

Secondly, it is a fact; the Jonathan’s presidency has brought some sort of relief to the Nigerian polity. This relief comes in terms of giving the minority a sense of hope of ascending the highest position of the land. It is also a fact that never in the history of the north had the touchy issue of minorities’ place in the polity been in the forefront of political discourse as it is now. It is obvious that northern minorities– especially within the Christian community feels some sense of ‘political relief’ with the Jonathan presidency. Thus the north can support Jonathan for a second term as gesture to their minority brothers in the spirit of Sardauna’s ‘one-north’, regardless of tribe, religion or geography.

Also, if Jonathan is supported for a second term, it would be an opportunity for the country to restart the disrupted power rotation between the north and south. And, it would be in north’s favour- as power should, with no trouble, shift to the north after Jonathan’s second term.

After Jonathan’s second term, no other part of the country can accuse the north of being part of the obstacles that denied it the opportunity to taste power to its fullest. 

Furthermore, the political elites in north have been busy fighting for a power shift, while completely ignoring the most important task of nurturing a candidate sellable to the entire country. Apart from Atiku Abubakar, nobody from the north currently has the political structures, influence and contacts to win national acceptance. Hence, Jonathan’s second term would be an opportunity for the north to have enough time to present to the country its best candidates.

Jonathan’s second term ambition would also be an opportunity for the north to present him its development demands, which should include speedy and feasible policies that will break the poverty cycle in the north through economically empowering the poor, massive development initiatives targeted at assets like the Lake Chad, Sokoto Basin and Benue Valley Oil Exploration projects, and the Mambilla plateau hydro-electricity project. 

Jonathan’s supporters always use a strong point against northern politicians. They claim the northern politicians have distracted Jonathan’s first term with politics. So, giving Jonathan support for a second term would be an opportunity to give him some breathing space to see his performance, and if he fails, it can be perfectly used against him and his supporters.

There is a historical alliance between the north and the south-south; a genuine support to Jonathan by the northern political elites would rekindle that historic political alliance and completely shut up those who rely on the present misunderstanding for selfish gains. 

The current crisis in the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) is a golden opportunity for both northern political elites and Jonathan to strike a win-win deal. Then, Jonathan should make a honest direct talk to the Talakwas of the north and diffuse their current state of minds- ‘yes, ideally, it should have been a northerner as the president; but destiny chose me. Please I need your support’. After all, most people of the north are not enthusiastic about where the president comes from, but someone that can free them from the prison of poverty.

The tenth reason is, Jonathan came to power just by destiny. The north should use today in the spirit of tomorrow, because nobody can tell what tomorrow would bring– a northerner may one day find himself in Jonathan’s situation.

Zayyad I. Muhammad writes from Jimeta, Adamawa State,, 08036070980. He blogs at

Sunday, October 6, 2013

How to Know an Aircraft's Age

By George Hobica of Airfarewatchdog

The World's airlines are buying lots of new shiny planes of all sizes and types, and that's good news for travellers, giving them some sense of justice now that airfares are going up and airlines are raking in profits. Even so, the skies are full of old clunkers DC-9s, 717s, early versions of the 757 and 767 and 737, to name a few.

The venerable 757, no longer produced, debuted in 1981, which means that there are some examples plying the airways that could be 26 years old. So how do you tell an aircraft's age?

One method is to note the plane's registration number (also known as the "Nnumber" for U.S.-registered planes or the "tail number," so called because it is usually displayed on the tail end of the fuselage) and look it up at (click on the airline's link and scroll down). 

Granted, it might be difficult to see the registration number from the gate unless the plane is parked at such an angle that the number is visible, or unless you're boarding or de-planing using stairs (as you do at some smaller airports). You can also ask a gate agent or the pilots for the registration number, although there have been reports of ill-defined security concerns when passengers request this information.


I've also read that the registration number is sometimes displayed on placards inside the plane, either in the cockpit or near the doors or jump seats.

If you're flying on United Airlines, you can figure out the N-number by checking the flight status and noting the four-digit "aircraft number" and then finding the corresponding "fleet number" on Planespotters. A few other airlines have similar workarounds.

If you prefer something less airline-geeky and quantitative, here are some visual ways to tell if the plane your'e flying on is no spring chicken.

The flight attendant call button icon is wearing a skirt or it's labelled "stewardess."


There's an ashtray in the lav on or the seat's armrest.

There's a razor blade disposal slot in the lav.

There are video monitors hanging down from the ceiling.

There's a no smoking sign above the seats rather than a turn off electronics symbol.

The in-seat power outlets are DC instead of 110-Volt (granted, some newer aircraft have no in-seat power ports at all).

There's a stairway to the outside in the tail.


There are three engines instead of two or four.

The company that made it no longer makes the plane.

The company that made it no longer exists.

The economy class seat padding is more like a La-Z-Boy than a church pew.

There's a landing gear over the tail instead of at the front (a DC-3).

There's no landing gear. But you'd be flying in a Pan Am Flying Boat. And you'd be time travelling.


culled from

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Re – Sambo and the PDP impasse

By Sulaiman Lawal
As discussions on the likely outcome of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) impasse envelope the Nigerian media space, various postulations have been canvassed by commentators and opinion molders as to their expectations.The one that readily comes to mind is that espoused by one Zayyad I. Muhammed on some pages of some Nigerian newspapers and his blog. On Vice President Namadi Sambo, the writer, who was obviously straying into unfamiliar territory of informed commentary on national issues, made some postulations, deductions and drew conclusions on sensitive political issues that should not be allowed to go unchallenged. However, his expression of the political trends of the post-Makarfi era as they affect the Vice President makes his motive suspect. His display of facts as it relates to the ascension of Sambo to the pinnacle of his profession and the twists of facts he pleaded all in an attempt to justify his arguments are the motivations for this rejoinder so as to put the records in proper perspective and set them straight.

The Vice President of Nigeria, it must be understood, has no defined constitutional duties and responsibilities assigned to him. His joint mandate which is tied to that of the President notwithstanding, he acts on the instructions and directives of the President. The Vice President, no matter how good intentioned he is in aiming to resolve an impasse, must seek the consent and blessings of his principal and in doing so must be careful not to draw the President’s ire. Where he chooses to do so without the consent of his boss it might be misconstrued to mean declaring his boss as weak and incapable of resolving issues. His position in the pursuit of the resolution of the impasse stirred by G7 is not only appropriate but adopting its rightful position on the matter.

More so, the reference to the Atiku-Jonathan efforts at addressing challenges emanating from their respective areas is way out of order. The G7 is made up of governors who are not only loyal but are already paying their allegiances to their masters, except for Kwara whom, we all know, is working for Saraki by proxy. For anyone to claim that the Vice President could not rally them round smacks of an attempt to diminish his status using the impasse as a tool of destruction.

If the G7 governors were on their own, it would be easy to meet with them to cajole them back to the fold. However, the reason for the impasse should not be completely jettisoned, which aims to target the jobs of both the President and his Vice by mobilizing support through persuasions.This explains their visitations to well respected elder statesmen without first laying their cards on the table to the President or his Vice for amicable resolutions. An aggrieved person should first state his grievance and if nothing is done he could then explore other acceptable mechanisms of peaceful resolution. In the present circumstance, no one needs to be lectured that the Vice President is handicapped since no such action took place.

It should be stressed that the first major political appointment of Vice President was a commissioner in Kaduna state in 1986, while that of Makarfi was in 1996, ten clear years after that of Sambo. Similarly, while the Vice President graduated from the Ahmadu Bello University in 1978 with a Master’s degree in Architecture, Makarfi graduated from the same university between 1985 to 1987 with M.Sc Accountancy and Finance. This was the period within which the Vice President was serving the state as a commissioner. In terms of age, experience and exposure, there could be no basis for comparison. The choice of Namadi Sambo ahead of other contestants for the governorship seat was well deserved to all discerning minds. He had financial independence, less controversial and reasonably humble as not to embark on witch-hunts or vendetta against the previous administration. The reasons adduced by critics are merely a smokescreen to cover these glaring qualities.

To demonstrate equity and fairness, the Vice President carefully chose his close aides in the following order of percentage distribution:-Kaduna 21%, Yobe 13%, Kano 13%, Kebbi 13%, Zamfara 5%, Taraba 5%, Delta 5%, Rivers 5%, Borno 5%, Lagos 5%, 0 Kaduna state Special Adviser on Special Duties Senator Isaiah Balat is a Christian from southern part of the state.

Playing safe politically is a good approach as it makes one learn from the mistakes of the past. For those who have previously occupied such seats and challenged their bosses, what benefit had accrued to them or their region from such unjustified actions? Some of the actions of the previous occupants in fact have added to the multiplicity of the problems that subsequent successors are now facing. The art of politicking is not an avenue to promote deception or insubordination but a way to collectively put heads together to work for the benefit of your country and in this regard, Namadi towers above all like a colossus. The Vice President will reach out to those who have mutual respect for him and his boss and not to those who see themselves as the means to an end.
Sulaiman Lawal, Jarman Kauru, wrote in from Kaduna

Plane crashes at Lagos Airport

A plane has crashed at the Lagos airport, witnesses and an official have said.
A witness said the crash occurred at the local wing of the airport close to the section were JET-A1, plane fuel, is stored.

Fire service officials were seen evacuating the occupants of the plane.

It is not yet clear if there was any casualty.

The spokesman of the Nigeria aviation agencies, Yakubu Datti, asked for more time to get details of the incident.

But another official, who asked not to be named because he was not authorised to speak on the matter, said the crashed plane belonged to Associated Airlines, and was just about to take off when the accident occurred.

The plane, our FAAN source said, was on its way to Akure.

culled from premium times

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Who Wants Governor Suntai’s Job?

Garba, Suntai, Bwacha
The political crisis in Taraba state revolves around only one thing- who becomes the governor of the state in 2015.

The thinking among politicians and some pundits in Taraba state is, if Governor Suntai had continued to stay abroad for medical treatment, it would have altered some political arrangements and blocked some people’s political ambitions. So, those that feel they would be affected most, made sure Suntai was brought back home, regardless of its implications on his health and that of the state’s polity.

Politics in Taraba is similar to that of some states in northeast and central Nigeria- faith, geography, ethnicity and powerful politicians determine who gets what. Since its creation on 27 August 1991, those who had become governors in Taraba have shared the same trend with those who had become presidents in Nigeria- finding themselves as governors without having planned to be. Rev Jolly Nyame was an aide in the then Atiku Abubakar campaign organization, when Atiku wanted to be governor of the former Gongola State. When Taraba state was created out of the former Gongola state and Atiku was among the politicians disqualified by IBB. Atiku supported Nyame to contest for the governorship of Taraba state, and he won. In 2007, Governor Danbaba Suntai was not in the political equation of who becomes governor. Danladi Baido won the governorship ticket of People’s Democratic Party (PDP), but he was denied the ticket. Suntai was eventually given the ticket and he won the governorship election. Same goes for Acting Governor Garba Umar, he was not in the calculation at all, then suddenly the then deputy governor Sani Abubakar was impeached by the State House of Assembly, Suntai picked Garba as Sani’s replacement. Then tragedy struck, Suntai was involved in an air mishap in Yola, on October 25, 2012. Garba assumed the Acting Governor position, following a resolution by the State House of Assembly.

Those who were alleged to have spearheaded Suntai’s return, are also believed to be claiming that the governor has promised to champion the course for power shift to southern Taraba. Senator Emmanuel Bwacha is representing Taraba South in the Senate, and is generally believed to be one of the major players in the return of Suntai. It is believed, Bwacha has a strong ambition to be governor. One should sympathize with Senator Emmanuel Bwacha, he has relied so much on the belief that Gov. Suntai would hand over power to him, but it seems he has to redefine his strategy and work harder. On the other hand, one should admit that Bwacha has the right to be governor of Taraba state, as his constituency- Taraba South, has never produced a governor. Taraba North has produced a governor- Rev Jolly Nyame who was governor for nearly 10 years. While Tabara Central has produced Suntai, who is in his second term. Though, Taraba South has its fair share of power, it has produced three deputy governors (Uba Maigari, Saleh Usman Danboyi and Armaya’u) during Rev Nyame’s reign.

With the current happenings, it appears providence would again keep away the governorship position from Taraba South. Furthermore, Taraba South Senatorial District comprises five local government areas- Wukari, Takum, Ussah, Ibi and Donga. Taraba north comprises six local government areas of Jalingo, Zing, Karim Lamido, Lau, Ardo Kola and Yorro, while Taraba central has five -Sardauna, Kurmi, Bali, Gashaka and Gassol. There is a historical political and cultural affiliation between Taraba Central and North.This is because most parts of the two zones are areas that formed the historic Muri zone. Furthermore, majority of areas in Taraba south are parts of the Wukari division which is mainly dominated by the majority Jukun and Kutep tribes, these are factors that may not be in favour of Senator Bwacha, who is from the minority Nshi tribe. Nevertheless, in politics, building strong consensus and vast contacts are the most powerful weapons in winning elections.

Another potential contender for the governorship of the state is Senator Aisha Jummai Alhassan; she represents Taraba North in the Senate. She has strong grassroots and women support, but she is from Taraba North, same zone with Acting Governor Garba Umar.

The centre point of the entire crisis is acting governor Garba Umar- just like President Jonathan- Garba was catapulted to his present position just by destiny, nothing else. He was not in the limelight even before becoming the deputy governor. Garba is from Karim Lamido local government area– Taraba north. Fate has placed Garba in a complex political situation; he has shown maturity and quality of leadership in handling the situation, which has won him the hearts of majority of Tarabans.

Zayyad I. Muhammad writes from Jimeta, Adamawa State, zaymohd, 08036070980.