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11/05/11

*Nigeria: Governor Obi's Eid-el-Kabir Message

[ News Roundup ]

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HAPPY EID-EL-KABIR

This celebration yet again offers our Muslim brothers and sisters the special opportunity to reflect on their spiritual lives, pray for themselves, others and the nation at large.

As the celebration goes on, it reminds us to always reflect on the ideals of good living, which all religions preach; this abhors violence, but rather promotes peace and fraternity among men.

Most importantly, more importantly, this period remind us all to be faithful to the Almighty and live according to His dictates, especially in our world that has been gravely wounded by vices of all types.

Peter Obi
Governor, Anambra State

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Anambra State Governor Peter Obi

Photo Above: Governor Peter Obi

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11/04/11

Permalink 11:58:00 pm, by admin Email , 2481 words   English (US) latin1
Categories: News, Nigerian News, South East News, Niger Delta( SS ) News, World News, African News

*Nigeria: Ojukwu - The Last Patriot at 78

By Valentine Obienyem

Today, the 4th of November, 2011, Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu, the number one Igbo citizen and a Nigerian patriot is 78, for on the 4th of November, 1933, that extra-ordinary man was puffed into the world. I was privileged to accompany Gov. Obi (his 8th visit) to see him in London a few days ago, where his beautiful wife, Bianca is taking excellent care of him.

By the standard of today, his father, Sir Louis Odumegwu was a Billionaire. With his wealth, he reared the little but charming Emeka with all the affection that parents lavish upon their children in every age. He was determined to give him the best education. Consistent with Sir Louis’ vow, the child, Emeka, was almost crushed with education. The first school he attended was St. Patrick’s Primary School, Idumagbo, Lagos. There, during break hours, he relished sham battles in which, time and again, he and his friends were nearly killed. Because of this, only few pupils could dare play with him. Later, he attended Church Missionary Grammar School (CMS) and King’s College, both in Lagos.

While in King’s College, his father had already discovered that his child, Emeka, was intellectually precocious and keen, well endowed with good judgment and restless with ambition. How best could a man develop his potentialities? In those days, as it is today, it helped to attend good schools. King’s College was in fact, one of the best secondary schools in Nigeria. Since education was still developing in the country, Sir Odumegwu wanted for his son a country where education has reached advanced stages, for effective intellectual insemination. It is a fact of history that when one grows among advanced people, he is more likely to imbibe their civilization with great ease. After discussing the idea of a British education with some of his enlightened Nigerian friends, they settled for Epsom on the understanding that at thirteen he would transfer to Eton, Britain’s most exclusive public school. ( Continues below….. )

Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu

Photo Above: Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu

As planned, Emeka, 12, was admitted into Epsom College, in the county of Surrey. His English education began in earnest. Epsom thenceforth became a formative ordeal for him in a strange environment. The college inspired the talented Emeka with a great love for history. He came to know and admire English civilization. Like any child with his disposition, he equally learnt a great deal of the virtues and vices that go with growing up..

Emeka later gained admission to Lincoln College, University of Oxford in 1952. Oxford, as expected, was full of the frolic of students, the odour of learning and the excitement of independent thought. There, his father was anxious that Emeka should study Law saying, “I think there is the material of a good lawyer and legal director of my business in him.”11 This was in line with the prevalent disposition among Nigerians, where, till today, fond parents always want their children to read Law which they regard as an open sesame to wealth and high social status.

The insistence of the father that Emeka studied Law was the first serious conflict between father and son. In filial compromise Emeka took up the studying of Law; but as a student of Law, the prospect of studying modern History and observing the lives of heroes held a secret fascination for him. At a stage, having studied Law for a year, he burnt his law books, forgot Jurisprudence and followed History as if under a spell.

In 1955 he obtained his Bachelor of Arts degree. Back to Nigeria, he soon returned to Oxford to receive his Master of Arts degree. With all these, and while in the flower of his maturity, he inwardly felt satisfied that he was now well armed with the weapon of education. His desire to contribute to the development of his country could now begin. Silently, he resolved to begin in earnest.

On his return and excited and happy with his son, Sir Odumegwu took Emeka to a lavishly furnished office complex, and handed him the keys. On getting home that day, Emeka had a vision or something close to that; he was offered a choice of life of ease, pleasure, plenty and vice, or one of hardship, danger, glory and virtue. He followed wise counsel and chose the more difficult but virtuous life. Thereafter, he rejected the cosy path cut for him by his father, gave him back the keys and decided to cut his own path. ( Continues below..... )

Valentine Obienyem

Photo Above: Valentine Obienyem ( Author of Article )

This crave for individualism made him join the Eastern Nigerian Public Service as an Administrative Officer. Sir Louis was not pleased at all that his son took what he considered the ridiculous job of an administrator. Exhausting all persuasion, the father upbraided the son for trying to make his family a public jest. Rather than budge, the son showed ever less interest in the father’s business, ever more in administration.

The dust generated by Emeka’s administrative work had hardly settled down when, in search of an organization that would escape his father’s influence, he generated another controversy that threatened to separate him from his father for good. He joined the Army! This was in 1957, when the Nigerian Army was merely a part of an all-embracing British West African army called the Royal West African Frontier Forces (RWAFF). These forces included the armies of Nigeria, Gold Coast (now Ghana), Sierra-Leone and Gambia.

Thinking the task of bringing his son to his “senses” had gone beyond him, Sir Odumegwu enlisted the help of his friends; Zik and others were contacted. Zik called Emeka and advised that if he were Emeka, he would accept his father’s offer and avoid the hazard of joining a brutal force. Emeka remarked that he would do so if he were Zik. Being Emeka, he maintained that his father’s offer would make him perpetually delineated as Ojukwu.

After the drama of being forced to enter the force as a recruit, the new Cadet went to Teshie in Ghana, thenceforth to Officer Cadet School at Eaton Hall in England,. He later attended Infantry School at Warminster and Small Arms School at Hythe and Joint Services Staff College (JSSC) at Latimer.

In Nigeria, Ojukwu served with the First Battalion, Kano, before his appointment as an instructor, Royal West African Frontier Forces Training School, Teshie, Ghana, 1958-60. Ojukwu returned to fatherland in 1961 and served as staff officer in the ‘A’ Branch of the new Nigerian Army Headquarters in the Defence Ministry building in Lagos. He had no problems carrying out his assigned duties. Six months as a Captain, Ojukwu was promoted to a Major. Because of the respect Emeka’s father had for the rank of a Major, he broke the silence with his son and celebrated his promotion with him. Father and son drank a bottle of champagne between them as a gesture of re-union. Very soon he was transferred to Kaduna as a Staff Officer with the First Brigade. While there, like his contemporaries, he served with the United Nations Peace Keeping Forces in Congo in 1962. Between 1964 – 66, Ojukwu was the commander of Fifth Battalion, Kano. The period of his command can be described without tongue-in-cheek, as the most gruesome time in the history of Nigeria. While he was in the Fifth Battalion, the first attempted coup took place. He did not, like most commanders, abdicate his command. He opposed the coup and was later appointed the governor of the Eastern Region.

His tenure as governor portrayed him as a master in the art of governance, and an eloquent public speaker. None who heard him speak could forget the cadence of his speeches, his mellifluous tones, the eloquence of his words, the geniality of his spirit, the charm of his courtesy, the vivacity of his wit, the poetic sensitivity of his mind. Both in his prepared and impromptu speeches, he made use of all the faculties he had, natural or acquired, such that he far surpassed in force and strength all the orations of his contemporaries. He has the rare capacity for dramatic poses. Clenched fist, jutting jaw and theatrical action, were part of his fiery speeches.

The regime of General Ironsi, which Ojukwu was part of, tried to save Nigeria within the limits of their vision and creed. With the death of Ironsi, an organized pogrom was carried out. An eyewitness told how orders were given to some Northern soldiers to kill all Easterners. The terrified soldiers at first refused to obey the command. They were however induced to kill a few. The heat of the murder inflamed them and it passed into massacre. This spread to the barracks and Igbo quarters with fluid readiness. Ojukwu and other concerned Igbos raised horrified protests, even as soldiers of Northern region congratulated one another. ( Continues below….. )

Late General Aguiyi-Ironsi addressing the nation in his 1st press conference as Head of State.

Photo Above: Late General Aguiyi-Ironsi addressing the nation in his 1st press conference as Head of State. *In photo - sitting from left to right are Hassan Katsina, Chukwuemeka Ojukwu, David Ejoor, J.E.A. Wey and Yakubu Gowon. Click For Enlarged Photo

Igbos then came to the belief that the security of the Easterners was in their own hands. The courage of their leader, Ojukwu, gave dignity and splendour to their survival cause. Thousands of onlookers must have been disturbed as millions of Igbos left the North in a prolonged and melancholy exodus.

This was the genesis of the civil war crisis. As the crisis deepened, Ojukwu’s resistance grew, but Lt. Colonel Yakubu Gowon wanted to retain him in the army. In an attempt to placate him, the prospect of being the Chief of Staff Supreme Headquarters was dangled before him with enticing conditions. However, Ojukwu, who would not support indiscipline, spurned the dangled carrot. Were he different, he says: “I would not have chosen to resist Gowon instead of the easy way of acquiescence chosen by my colleagues.”

As one of the means of seeking peace, the actors in that conflict needed a meeting. Ojukwu knew that his security and that of the Easterners was not guaranteed. Likewise neither Gowon nor Lt. Colonel Hassan Katsina was prepared to go to the East. A compromise would have been Benin City, the capital of the Mid-Western region, but for the presence of Northern soldiers, it was unacceptable to Ojukwu. In sum then, a meeting could only be held in a neutral territory that would be willing to host such. Finally, the meeting was held at Aburi, Ghana, under the auspices of General Ankrah. The two warriors and their lieutenants, as expected, flew off to Ghana well armed with the problems of the country as if to a decisive battle.

The Aburi meeting was held on the 4th and 5th of January 1967, at Peduase Lodge, a luxurious hilltop retreat built by late President Kwameh Nkrumah. The serenity of the place could bring wandering souls back to their senses. It was an ideal place for sober reflection.

At Aburi, for the first time in Nigerian history the problems of the country were faced honestly and honest solutions sought. From that bitter moment, Ojukwu the Administrator receded into history, and Ojukwu the General, aged 33, turned his soul to war. He went to war not because he liked war, but because he had no option. The problems he faced seemed to have defied a peaceful solution. After the war, he went to exile where he stayed for 12 years.

With the end of the war, Ojukwu was granted political asylum by the Late President of Ivory Coast, Houphuet Boigny. Thus, from 11 January, 1970, Ojukwu's exile started. He needed a secluded place that would be conducive to sober reflections and contemplation. He needed to be away from the prying and prancing eyes of many that sought to see that powerful man of Biafra. He needed a place that would be inaccessible to assassins. The search for a good place finally ended at Yamoussoukoro, which also houses the Ivorian Summer Palace. Its imposing Catholic basilica now enhances the pride of the city. Later, when tension reduced, he moved to the capital, Abidjan.

After his pardon by the then President, Alhaji Shehu Shagari, Ojukwu came home on board a chartered Boeing 727 Nigeria Airways Flight WT 700. Soon after the plane touched down on Nigerian soil, the welcome song rent the air. Work at the airport was almost paralysed, as all airport officials who got wind of his arrival abandoned their posts for hours to catch a glimpse of Ojukwu, the returning hero. There was hardly anybody in the country that had not the curiosity to come and see the formidable and indefatigable freedom fighter. There was what seemed like mass movement of Easterners, Westerners and Northerners to the airport. The airport was partly destroyed. At a point, the mobile policemen had to carry him shoulder high above the crowd whose cheers and applause he acknowledged. What we witnessed was more like the scene of a Roman Emperor triumphantly returning home from a victorious war. ( Continues below….. )

Charles O. Okereke interviewing Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu

Photo Above: Charles O. Okereke( left ) interviewing Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu( right )

In Nigeria today, his love still shows glaringly in all aspects of nation building. His name provides justice with a synonym though the cry for justice never rose to the level it reached in the tense periods of the 1960s. We are daily witnessing the burgeoning of those particular injustices that the Ikemba fought against. Some people, who could not support him or rather agree with him, have silently (and sometimes boldly) started to acknowledge the truth of Ojukwu's contention.

Since he came back, he has participated in politics fully. He is presently the father figure of All Progressives Grand Alliance(APGA).

We have to agree, however, that were the philosophic Plutarach alive to write lives by parallel among Igbo leaders, it would trouble him to find a parallel for Ojukwu. Ojukwu stands out as a man different from the rest, absorbed conscientiously in the enterprise of the Igbos. He is the symbol of Igbos to Nigerians and a symbol of Nigeria to the Igbos and to people in other parts of the world. He has a deep love for the Igbos and great confidence in himself.

Certainly, very few Nigerians have been famous in quite as many ways as him: controversial, athletic, gentlemanly but firm. Calm in crisis with tremendous reserves of physical and nervous energy, he is the apotheosis of leadership. He is one of the greatest commanders, the greatest leaders in the history of Nigeria. If we judge greatness by influence, which is the least subjective test that we can use, we may rank Ojukwu with Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe, Alhaji Ahmadu Bello and Chief Obafemi Awolowo as the most powerful personalities in Nigeria.

Obienyem is the Author of Ojukwu: the Last Patriot

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RELATED ARTICLE

1. Masterweb Wishes Dim Ojukwu Happy Birthday
2. Dim Ojukwu: A Visionary Statesman

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Permalink 11:52:00 pm, by admin Email , 384 words   English (US) latin1
Categories: News, Nigerian News, South East News, Niger Delta( SS ) News, World News, African News
*Nigeria: Masterweb Wishes Dim Ojukwu Happy Birthday

By Masterweb News Desk

Chief Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, Ikemba (strength of a nation) and General, is an icon that will never be forgotten in the history of Nigeria. Ikemba turns 78 years today and is wished happy birthday and quick recovery. He has weathered through turbulent times that took the lives of revolutionaries. Dim Ojukwu, as he is also popularly referred to, lived over forty years before his time. What he saw in the 60s, spoke against and fought against, has taken most Nigerians over forty years to see. The center cannot hold in Nigeria, unless most elements of the Aburi Peace Accord are implemented. That was how Ikemba and others saw it as a way out of the Nigerian impasse after the second military coup.

Ojukwu came back to the East and rallied support for the peace accord, but as easterners clamoured "On Aburi We Stand", the federal government remained silent. Some western imperialists worked against the implementation of the Aburi Peace Accord for their own selfish interest in Nigeria. The interest of the peoples of Nigeria was not regarded. Gowon declared a state of emergency in the East and announced the creation of 12 states on May 26, 1967. On May 30, 1967, after consultations with the Council of Chiefs and Elders, Ojukwu proclaimed the independent state of Biafra. The bombs rained and the bullets flew, beating down and crushing a popular people's uprising and demand.

All the factors that led to the civil war still exit in Nigeria today. Would Nigeria have been saved if the Aburi Peace Accord was implemented instead of going to war? Every reader has the right to read details of the accord and arrive an answer himself or herself. ( Continues below….. )

Charles O. Okereke and Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu

Photo Above: Masterweb CEO, Chief (aka People's Servant) Charles O. Okereke( left ), Chief (General - rtd.) Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu( right ) Click For Enlarged Photo

Masterweb wishes great Ikemba quick recovery and happy birthday. All news media that knowingly or unknowingly published news of his demise, abandonment or vegetative state, owe him an apology and should keep the records straight by wishing him happy birthday. He is not on live support as speculated by an online Nigerian news media.

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RELATED ARTICLE => Dim Ojukwu: A Visionary Statesman

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11/03/11

Permalink 07:27:00 am, by aviationreport, 883 words   English (US) latin1
Categories: News, Nigerian News

*Nigeria: Hand Over Airports To Private Sector
.............concession is the way forward

By Nosa Osula-Aituamen

An aviation expert has again called for the concessioning of airports across the country for better management and profitability for the success of the transformation agenda of the present administration. At a news conference in Lagos, the aviation expert, Mr. Chris Aligbe said the mammoth funds needed to transform the nation’s airports which are in a deplorable condition cannot come from government but the private sector. According to him, the agency responsible for the management of the airports, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria was not financially stable to cater for all the 22 airports in the country.

He noted that the funds required to fixing these airports infrastructure rests with the private sector, adding that the government would make more money if the private sector operators are allowed to run them. Mr. Aligbe however advised that for a transparent concessioning, there must a legal and legislative framework to avoid a repeat of what currently operates in the industry today. ( Continues below..... )

Sam Mbakwe Airport, Owerri, Imo State.

Photo Above: Sam Mbakwe Airport, Owerri, Imo State.

Mr. Aligbe urged the National Assembly committees on aviation to focus their oversight function on policy as this would help to address other issues as infrastructure, stressing that there was need for mental and perception re-order to achieve this. ‘’What is the sector policy in aviation? Up till today there is no sector specific reform for the aviation industry, there is none, while the reforms were going on, while everything were going over time, there is no sector specific reform and because there is no sector specific reform anybody whether he is appointed will try to do his or her best, try to put one thing or the other in place and that is why we don’t have a cohesive aviation industry where every place is properly linked, the airline, the airports, they are not properly linked in terms from the policy perspective so when you ask what do we do, do we need to sit down and look at it.’’

He explained further, ’’you know the time has come for us to put in place a sector specific policy for the aviation industry and it is not just the ministry because when we say this we think it is only the ministry no, where is the legislature, the major problem that we have today is that there is no document, there is no document on which all actions, all policies in the aviation industry will be based on, the only area specific to NCAA was a policy that is all encompassing, if there was such a policy that was all encompassing these states government will be looking at these policies and knowing that people will build an airport today as say international airport like in my state, they say Asaba international airport’’. ( Continues below..... )

Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos

Photo Above: Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, Nigeria.

Asaba can never be an international airport but Asaba will be one of the most viable domestic airport if it is properly managed so as an investment as a domestic airport, it is an excellent investment, it is well thought out as a domestic airport by the time you start international airport, it will not be one and it is not going to successfully be one.

The policy that affects both airports airlines, handling companies all operators within the aviation industry, we need this policy, we don’t have one for now says Mr. Aligbe.

On concession, he said, ‘’We have over 22 to 25 airports in the country but take the ones been managed by FAAN at least 22 of them, it is not possible for FAAN as an organization to become financially stable in as much as it is left to mange 22 airports, it will never even if you fly an angle into that place to manage it there is no way it will work. You cannot do a central management of 22 airports from one point and having said that what we should do where do we go to’’ ( Continues below….. )

Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport,  Abuja, Nigeria.

Photo Above: Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja, Nigeria.

Mr. Aligbe therefore advised that all Nigerian airport starting with the seemingly most profitable of them, Murtala Muhammed Airport Lagos should be concession, all of them should be concession ‘’ all Nigerian airports, I say this because that is the way the mammoth fund required to bring our airports to what they should be cannot come from government, will never come from government and therefore we need to go get this money from where it is, luckily the minister is a business woman so she understands what we are talking about this business’’.

According to him, ‘’You use other peoples’ money to make money, government cannot afford this, government should call in the private sector, the question of national asset, who owns Gatwick airport, you are aware that a Nigerian is involved in those who bought up Gatwick airport in the UK, who owns Heathrow it is a Spanish company that owes BA, check worldwide airports are not really owed but what the government does efficient operation and the money that comes from the airports because government will make real money if the airports are functioning well’’.

Nosa Osula-Aituamen (Aviationreport)

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Permalink 02:10:00 am, by callmeike Email , 1452 words   English (US) latin1
Categories: News, Nigerian News

*Nigeria: Subsidies In A Federation of Dark Leaders? Impossible!

By Ikechukwu Enyiagu

Arguments have raged on in support for and in opposition to the government’s plan to remove fuel subsidy; many have honestly outlined both the dangers of such move by the government-especially now-and the ways which they honestly think this adoption could be viable in the present Nigeria. Well, I’m not here today to stand in favor of or against whatever the government comes up with; they can always come up with anything, they always have. I’m here, however, to reintegrate one point: A Sovereign National Conference or a revolution remains the only solid ground for Nigerians, the only alternative to a continued drifting into oblivion and nonexistence.

Analysts have carefully spread out the deep-rooted crimes of the government-both past and present-in the much talked about government subsidies, the wickedness of independent dealers, and the prejudice which is common amongst all of Nigeria’s security outfits-including, if not mostly, the EFCC, which claims to be at the centre of the much campaigned anti-corruption moves. Before it slides, I’d like to remind the American government that flashing awards to these so called anti-corruption operatives would not, in the least, persuade them to carry out the purpose of this unit faithfully; if anything, it’s just a boost to help them in further alienating struggling Nigerians while those who have and are continually propagating these struggles remain in unholy intercourse with them. While America doles out whatever praises they deem fit to the EFCC operatives, it will do well to remind them that, so far, the only people they have ever prided themselves over would be struggling Nigerians who were forced into many illegal dealings abroad; the root of these characters which necessitated their compelled-choices of livelihood, however, remains to be even looked at. All the so-called former leaders in their different capacities who, obviously and largely evident, have stolen everything from their constituents remain to be brought to account; the EFCC, with its much-displayed name, is yet to succeed in a single prosecution. ( Continues below...... )

Nigeria National Assembly Complex

Photo Above: Nigeria National Assembly Complex

The leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) recently made its opinion known as it regards the said subsidy removal; the Nigeria Labor Congress (NLC) also voiced their stand, albeit, in vehemence. I have also heard the Central Bank governor, Mallam Sanusi, offer his honest opinion to the challenges of the present Nigeria to include the dissolution of states, local governments, and ministries -however much I beg to differ. There are, still, individuals who believe they have greater stakes in Nigeria and have also spoken up for or against this proposal; but none seems to be pointing to the root of this evil, and therefore, none is close to any solution that may have any effect since fuel prices have remained on the mountaintop even with the said subsidy in place. Nevertheless, I honestly believe that these opinions were not born out of total ignorance; if anything, they are simply the culture-Nigerianism which has become mostly assimilated by all and sundry. It is the culture of picking crumbs in front of a big bowl of food, the ingrained attitude of pointing fingers to the house of a wicked giant’s little neighbor while referring to the giant when, in reality, the giant stands within view. ( Continues below..... )

Nigerians queue up to buy fuel at a filling station

Photo Above: Nigerians queue up to buy fuel at a filling station.

The problem with Nigeria has nothing to do with subsidized or unsubsidized whatever; the problem is the current Nigeria. The CAN’s body should, if anything, be conversant with the scriptures about foundations and how they were laid. If the foundations be destroyed, what should you who stand in the right do? The NLC often fidgets like a muzzled and helpless horse, even though the greater part of the rudder of this nation lies with it. The man who advocates a true federalism is the same man who advocates Islamic bank in what some claim to be a secular or federal state-a state which has remained tribally and religiously fragile and on tiptoe for decades. The problem with Nigeria far outweighs all these clamors, it has its root in Nigeria as a country and the structures upon which it was built/founded/named. When the foundation is accursed, every other thing gets infected.

For those who draw on their hairs because of the government’s ill-fitted position on subsidy: do not squabble anymore; go for what matters most, go for the foundation because therein lie the problems and their cure. To the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), I say: if you represent Christ and His church, look then carefully at the foundation of Nigeria and see why your support for or stand against subsidy removal or an Islamized Nigeria will hold no sand. Get closer to the word and understand that the only way to get anything about Nigeria right is to consult the pillars of this structure-go to the foundation. The word says: “Return!” In the case of Nigeria, “Return to the pillars!” Are you not tired of seeing the government arbitrary carry out decisions which you and the masses openly stood against because they are evil; do you now think that, by backing the government on this wicked game of subsidy where Nigerians serve as helpless dices, you would be anything relevant? By all means, no! Of course, the church has every role to play in the direction a people go, that’s why, when God comes to judge, His angels will start from your pulpits; the kingdom cannot be separated from those who are being prepared for it. Every created thing should work for our good while we keep ready for our homecoming. However, to remain relevant, you must openly speak forth the truth. Nigeria cannot be mended while everyone moves as if things are proper; Nigeria has to be stopped and dismantled for total overhauling. ( Continues below..... )

Map of Nigeria

Photo Above: Map of Nigeria showing its 36 states and Federal capital (Abuja or FCT)

A Sovereign National Conference remains the only way to stop Nigeria without stopping the economy nor the people, and properly deal with the million-plus issues we have as a nation; pointing fingers, standing in support for or against proposals only make fun before those leaders who no longer have any hearts to feel. To even think that, “Even though a Sovereign National Conference is needed, it is not yet time,” to think in this line would be a greater demon than that which rubbished everything Gaddafi built and hoped for; it would destroy everything in the long run-such thoughts would. To the NLC, I say: where do you really intend to start in your agitations? Asking the president to resign would be most foolish if you cannot back up your words with some labor muscles. You have been there severally, have you not? The only option which remains now is a Sovereign National Conference. I humbly advice, both the religious bodies there are, and the Labor union to stand up with one voice and call for a Sovereign National Conference. Where that is unheeded within the short space of time given, the Labor force should go for a civil disobedience by abandoning their works-from the least to the highest.

Next, schools should follow, and after that, police and military personnel who have come to abhor the status quo, and who are also being mocked with a delay of their salary pay should stand for what is right and engage in mutiny. That is called revolution. Muammar Gaddafi of Libya was far better for Libyans and Libya than all Nigeria’s past and present leaders put together. He cared for them to a length that no Nigeria’s leader has ever dreamt of, let alone voicing out; yet he was removed because he refused to heed the peoples’ call for a change. Libya is not even up to eight million in population, yet they ousted and reduced to nothing the most powerful political leader in Africa; Nigeria’s leaders would be deceiving themselves should they go on thinking that they have mastered the art of instilling and retaining fear in the citizenry. Nigeria’s, dreadfully, would be like the locusts and a field of corn. Now, neither I nor the people would want that, except for the last and only chance. But then, do we still have time to waste? Look, everything is wasting around us and fuel subsidy is not even one of the least. Any government that oppresses its people has lost legitimacy before God, and even the king of such a government shall be grateful with going into exile.

Ikechukwu Enyiagu can be reached at ike.enyiagu@gmail.com

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11/02/11

Permalink 01:25:00 am, by amiru adamu Email , 805 words   English (US) latin1
Categories: News, Nigerian News, World News

*The Soaring Popularity of Foreign Football Leagues in Nigeria

By Amiru Adamu

Though the first football association was founded in England, the origin of football/soccer could be found in every corner of geography and history. The Chinese Japanese, Italian, Ancient Greek, Persian, Viking and many more played a ball game long before our era. The Chinese played “football” as far back as 3000 years ago. The Ancient Greeks and the Romans used football games to sharpen warriors for battle .In the south and Central America a game called “Tlatchi” once flourished.

International matches were being staged in Great Britain before football had hardly been heard of in Europe. The first was played in 1872 and was contested by England and Scotland. This sudden boom of organized football accompanied by staggering crowds of spectators brought with it certain problems with which other countries were not confronted until much later on. Professionalism was one of them. The first moves in this direction came in 1879, when Darwin, a small club, twice, managed to draw against supposedly invincible old Estonians in the FA cup, before the famous team of London amateurs finally scrapped through to win at the third attempt. Two Darwin players, the Scots john love and Fergus Suter, are reported as being the first ever players to receive remuneration for their football talent. This practice grew rapidly and the football association found itself obliged to legalize professionalism as early as 1885. ( Continues below..... )

Foreign soccer players

The spread of professional football outside of England mainly due to British influence abroad started slow, but it soon gathered momentum and spread rapidly to all parts of the world, Nigeria inclusive. In Nigeria today foreign leagues such as the English premiership, Laliga, Serie A, Champions league and others are witnessing a soaring popularity. Nigerians most especially the youth are following these leagues with religious devotion. One needs only to visit a football viewing center, particularly when big and rival teams such as Barcelona F.C and Real Madrid F.C, are playing to confirm this assertion. This new romance between Nigerians and the foreign leagues is not unconnected to the fact that Nigerians are natural football lovers, and since the local football leagues and even the national team are nothing to write home about, Nigerian football lovers have found a new love in the foreign football clubs who thrill them with their skills of soccer.

Another interesting aspect of this romance is that the football enthusiasts did not limit themselves to viewing and clapping only, they follow up on other issues such as transfer, purchase of players and other related issues concerning their clubs of choice. Enterprising Nigerian youths are also cashing in on the football fever to earn a legitimate living by setting up television viewing centers where football lovers come to watch matches for a fee. For instance, in Lapai road, a suburb of Sokoto, football viewing centers are popular sight to behold with bill boards and notifications of match fixtures with dates and time of each match proudly on display for football enthusiasts. Gate fee actually vary from one viewing center to another, depending on the match being shown. ( Continues below..... )

soccer ball Foreign soccer players

According to Habib Mohammed, a viewing center operator, the venture is fast becoming a booming business. “In most cases particularly when big and rival teams are playing, we always find it difficult to cope with the population of viewers that come to our center”. “Sometimes, we show between four and five matches during weekends, and by the time we deduct the cost of fuel because the business depends largely on power from generators, we still make a sustainable amount of money at the end of the day, ” he said.

Football fanaticism and hooliganism, that lead to the ban of viewing centers in some states is also a challenge to the viewing center operators. Some fans after watching their clubs loose to a rival club find it difficult to control their selves, a situation that sometimes results to loss of lives and properties due to clashes between rival fans. ( Continues below..... )

Foreign soccer players

This problem according to Habib prompted the establishment of football viewing centers association in most states. These associations have guidelines of operation that are tailored to checkmate hooliganism at the viewing centers.

The romance between Nigerians and the foreign football leagues is at its peak. This should be a challenge to local football clubs and the National team. Football is a thing of national pride in our great country; in addition, there is a huge potential for investment in local leagues considering the number of players and clubs we have perhaps if we reform our local clubs to an acceptable standard, Nigerians might channel some of the love for foreign leagues to the local leagues.

Amiru Adamu is the publisher of Northern Wind Magazine.

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10/28/11

Permalink 09:44:00 pm, by admin Email , 663 words   English (US) latin1
Categories: News, Nigerian News, World News, African News

*Comment Rejoinder To Nosa Osula-Aituamen’s Article of October 28, 2011.

By Jeff Gazzard

A rather lurid and inaccurate headline to the article above, I'm afraid! Let’s be frank – ALL the world’s airlines HAVE already registered (a handful “under protest” admittedly) for free allowances within the scope of the EU ETS aviation regulations; they have also invested in all the necessary monitoring and verification software to participate; and most are already operating in the carbon market through both in-house and external systems, advisors and traders.

One or two airlines have already been fined by EU member state’s regulators for missing deadlines in the run-up to the ETS January 2012 start date, so perhaps now is a good time to remind airlines of the heavyweight, some might say draconian, financial penalties for any future non-compliance which could potentially bankrupt even the world’s largest airlines.

We know that airlines are very aware of these penalties and many of them have said publicly that they do not intend to break any ETS-related laws at several meetings and events I have attended, although they oppose the scheme.

There is a substantial degree of desperate last-minute posturing and grandstanding to try and avoid practical and fair market-based environment protection solutions from countries who should know better – the recent presentation to ICAO in Montreal from the EC’s Artur Runge-Metzger, International and Climate Strategy Director, easily found on the web, is a welcome and very clear explanation of where we are right now and why the EU ETS is a fair and equitable policy.

Using this scheme as the global model is the way forward. Countries trying to avoid the fairly “light touch” ETS regulation in this latest bit of institutionalised moaning, are misguided and out-of-touch with the reality of the urgent need for action to control and reduce the climate change impacts of civil aviation.

Which is all the more difficult to understand when many are in the frontline of the fight against climate change right now.

The EU is not going to capitulate and has the support of environment NGO’s everywhere – covering around a third of aviation’s global CO2 emissions is a stunning achievement and needs support and expansion, not arrogant whingeing from the industry’s flat earthers. If you can afford the price of a ticket, you can afford the cost of carbon.

Jeff Gazzard
Aviation Environment Federation
LONDON
Email: jeffgazzard@greenskies.org

__________________________

Nosa Osula-Aituamen’s article prompting Jeff Gazzard’s rejoinder above is republished below.

EU Air Tax On The Verge of Collapse

By Nosa Osula-Aituamen (Aviationreport)

The House of Representatives has voted against U.S. participation in the European Union’s (EU) costly emissions trading scheme (ETS), which would impost new emissions taxes on U.S. and other nations’ carriers flying to and from the EU.

The bipartisan legislation, the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme Prohibition Act of 2011 (H.R. 2594), was introduced by John L. Mica (R-Fla.), transportation and infrastructure committee chairman along with democratic committee members.

“This appropriately named EU scheme is an arbitrary and unjust violation of international law that disadvantages U.S. air carriers, threatens U.S. aviation jobs, and could close down direct travel from many central and western U.S. airport to Europe,” said Mica, who says neither Congress nor the government will support the EU tax scheme.

If imposed on January 1, 2012, the EU aviation tax scheme would apply to U.S. and other nations’ flights into or out of an EU airport, regardless of how long that flight is in EU airspace, according to the committee.

Airlines would be required to pay an emissions tax to the EU Member State to which they most frequently fly, without any requirements that EU countries even use these fees in aviation emissions reduction efforts.

H.R. 2594 prohibits U.S. aircraft operators from participating in the ETS. The bill also instructs U.S. officials to negotiate or take any action necessary to ensure U.S. aviation operators are not penalized by any unilaterally imposed EU scheme.

Click Here To Read Osula-Aituamen’s Article With Photos

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Permalink 09:43:00 pm, by aviationreport, 728 words   English (US) latin1
Categories: News, Nigerian News, World News

*Nigeria: I Was Never Arrested By FIRS Says Arik Boss

By Nosa Osula-Aituamen

Chairman of Arik Air Sir Arumemi Ikhide has denied being arrested by the Nigeria Police Force on the orders of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), over failure to remit taxes from the operations of the airline alleging running into over N3 billion affirming that officials of the FIRS only visited the premises of Air Air to reconcile accounts over figures that in dispute. Sir Arumemi-Ikhide who briefed reporters at the corporate headquarters of Arik Air also denied that the managing director of the airline Mr. Chris Ndulue as well as the vice president in charge of finance of the carrier was also arrested.

The Arik Air boss explained that officials of the FIRS only visited the airline for clarifications on issues bordering on figures to be taxed from the proceeds of its ticket sales, which he said needed the full imput of the airline, the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority ( NCAA), and other stakeholders. ( Continues below..... )

Arik Chairman receiving award.

Photo Above: Arik Chairman, Sir Joseph Arumemi-Ikhide (right) receiving the Company of The Year Award from Nigeria’s former High Commissioner to South Africa, Alhaji Shehu Malami at the Leadership Awards for Excellence 2009 held in Abuja on Friday, April 30, 2010.

He said : "At no no time was I arrested, in fact at the said time, I was far away in London, how could I be in London and at the same time be arrested in Nigeria. Sometimes, I wonder where such misrepresentations are coming from, which only intent is to portray the airline in bad light.

We do not need to join issues with anybody, but to just put the record straight by insisting that nobody from Arik Air was arrested by officials of the Federal Inland Revenue Service.

The FIRS officials were only here on courtesy visit, they did not invade Arik Air offices, just the way journalists come in here, they were here carried out their routine assignment and left. At no time did they arrest me or anybody."

He further said of the issues that led to the visit of FIRS officials to Arik Air: "The FIRS write a letter to us in Arik Air that they will like to clear some issues over ticket sales with our officials and we gave them appointment for October 25, 2011. But, before that date we had some issues with the technology that controls our ticket sales and the accruing revenue it should capture. To get such issues sorted out takes quite some time, because the officials handling the technology had traveled to Dubai to fix the equipment that drives the technology. ( Continues below..... )

A landing Arik Plane

Photo Above: A landing Arik Plane

When the FIRS officials visited the affected officials were not on ground to carry out the accounts reconciliation. So, to put it in persective, Arik Air does not owe FIRS, we have already paid about N1.2 billion out of the N2.1 billion.

It was a case of disagreement in sales figures that the FIRS officials sourced from the NCAA, which we as an airline need to reconcile. But, due to the failure in technology, we were unable to achieve that."

The Arik Air further explained such misrepresentation of facts could send negative signals to the international community that is poised to drive the growth of the aviation industry through the injection of the much needed funds.

He explained that information making the round that Arik Air has acquired a brand aircraft worth several millions of dollars, could not be true because the airline has been utilizing multi lateral funding to acquire state - of - the - art equipment, which may have prompted the visit of the team to its office.

He explained that Arik Air will continue to demonstrate its obedience to the laws of the land as a responsible organisation, and not a debt ridden outfit out to short change government. Sir Arumemi- Ikhide lauded the efforts of the Federal Government to assist the airline by creating a conducive atmosphere for it to carry out its business with restrictions in terms of policy and a friendly operating environment.

He also lauded the efforts of the Assets Management Company of Nigeria ( AMCON), which has assisted Arik Air through Union Bank to acquire working capital to keep the operations of the carrier afloat.

Nosa Osula-Aituamen (Aviationreport)

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Permalink 12:30:00 pm, by aviationreport, 269 words   English (US) latin1
Categories: News, Nigerian News, World News, African News

*EU Air Tax On The Verge of Collapse

By Nosa Osula-Aituamen

The House of Representatives has voted against U.S. participation in the European Union’s (EU) costly emissions trading scheme (ETS), which would impost new emissions taxes on U.S. and other nations’ carriers flying to and from the EU.

The bipartisan legislation, the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme Prohibition Act of 2011 (H.R. 2594), was introduced by John L. Mica (R-Fla.), transportation and infrastructure committee chairman along with democratic committee members.

“This appropriately named EU scheme is an arbitrary and unjust violation of international law that disadvantages U.S. air carriers, threatens U.S. aviation jobs, and could close down direct travel from many central and western U.S. airport to Europe,” said Mica, who says neither Congress nor the government will support the EU tax scheme. ( Continues below….. )

United Airlines Airborne Plane

If imposed on January 1, 2012, the EU aviation tax scheme would apply to U.S. and other nations’ flights into or out of an EU airport, regardless of how long that flight is in EU airspace, according to the committee.

Airlines would be required to pay an emissions tax to the EU Member State to which they most frequently fly, without any requirements that EU countries even use these fees in aviation emissions reduction efforts.

H.R. 2594 prohibits U.S. aircraft operators from participating in the ETS. The bill also instructs U.S. officials to negotiate or take any action necessary to ensure U.S. aviation operators are not penalized by any unilaterally imposed EU scheme.

Airborne Plane

Photo Above: An Airborne Plane

Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport,  Abuja, Nigeria.

Photo Above: Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja, Nigeria.

Nosa Osula-Aituamen (Aviationreport)

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10/27/11

Permalink 05:24:00 am, by aviationreport, 715 words   English (US) latin1
Categories: News, Nigerian News

*Nigeria: Commercialize NAMA Now
........For Efficiency & Transparency Says Air Controllers

By Nosa Osula-Aituamen

The National Association of Air Traffic Controllers, NATCA, has called for the full commercialization of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) for efficient service delivery.

At a news conference in Lagos to commemorate the International Air Traffic Controllers Day, President of the Association, Alhaji Jubril Haske said this would help to bring about transparency and accountability which is necessary for efficiency in the running of the agency.

According to him, wastages would be eliminated and other inefficiencies inherent in a typical government agency. ( Continues below..... )

Airborne Plane

Photo Above: An Airborne Plane

Alhaji Haske emphasized that the provision of air traffic control services was capital intensive and therefore, required a cost-recovery business model for efficiency in harnessing and allocation of resources.

"We need to commercialize NAMA through a government statutory provision right now is established as a government parastatal like most other government agencies that are not necessarily aviation based or aviation bias or aviation centered but if you look at the trend globally in the last 15, 20 years the trend has been to either privatize like we have in Canada, partial privatization like we have in UK with the Department of National Air Traffic Services (DNAT) or the model that we have in South Africa where you have ATNS that is 100 percent government owned but it is a company that is run just like every other private company, every year they are required by law to publicly publish their statement of account which are also audited by private accounting auditing films. ( Continues below..... )

Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos

Photo Above: Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, Nigeria.

According to him, "Now the advantage in that is that it brings a lot of transparency in how the organization is run, it brings accountability which is necessary for efficiency, it equally eliminate wastages and other inefficiencies inherent in a typical government bureaucracy so what we are asking, what we are advocating for is for NAMA to be fully commercialize based in line with these other examples that I have given and I am sure that this can be done through a statutory provision in which case the agency will simply operate like a commercial entity operate, the main concern of course is safety but then you are also going to put certain mechanisms to ensure that you recover cost, if for example an agency buys 20 VOR and install it in the airport, you must also have a plan as to how you are going to recover the cost of procuring and installing those 20 VORs or 20 ILSs you know we feel if you do that it will serve the interest of safety and efficiency better" ( Continues below….. )

United Airlines Airborne Plane

Highlighting inadequacies in functional communication, navigation and surveillance equipment including insufficient Training and retraining programmes, poor remuneration and unsatisfactory job career structure as some of the problems they are grappling with, Alhaji Haske wants the Federal Government to expedite action to address these problems.

Speaking on ‘Pay As You Go’ Alhaji Haske noted that the Association was in total agreement with its introduction, as a lot of money had been collected with its introduction.

"Well I am not in the position to say,,,, but all I can say is that yea, it is necessary, we fully identify and support with that policy thrust by NAMA to recover cost I mean it is absolutely necessary and I am quite sure that you are aware that there are so many airspace users who have not paid for services rendered dating back to years, three years, seven years and what have you so in order to prevent that I think that is why the agency now said ok we will do pay as you go, you pay as we provide the service so those ideas of saying ok the money we are owing is seven years old it should be waste over percentage will not arise and like I said ion the statement that I read aviation generally is capital intensive if you are expecting modern navigational aids, modern Radar systems and what have you, there must be cost this era of seeing air traffic services as part of social services I mean is gone."

Nosa Osula-Aituamen (Aviationreport)

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