*Nigeria: President Jonathan & Niger Delta Challenge
By Ifeatu Agbu
With the general elections over, attention should now shift to the critical issues of governance and development which in any event are the essence of the political contest. Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, who has now been elected President in his own rights, has a firm mandate to pilot the affairs of this nation to greater heights in the next four years. In many ways, it is a new dawn for Nigeria. It is a new beginning not only for the President but for all Nigerians who participated in the elections adjudged nationally and internationally as the freest and most credible since the 1993 poll won by Chief MKO Abiola.
For the people of the Niger Delta, where Mr. President comes from and indeed for all minorities, it is a dream come true that one of them has for the first time been democratically elected as the president of this country. Will this mark the end of marginalization and underdevelopment of the oil-producing communities? The answer will surely come as the Jonathan Presidency unfolds. The people of the Niger Delta region are looking up to President Jonathan to vigorously tackle the problem of inadequate infrastructure in the region. They expect him to attract accelerated development to the region which had over the years suffered environmental degradation because of the operations of the oil and gas companies.
The situation is further worsened by the neglect of various tiers of government. The new government would need to build on the gains of the amnesty programme for the former militants and resolve the problem of youth restiveness in the region once and for all. In doing this, it must also ensure accelerated development of the region and create employment opportunities for the youths as a way of effectively tackling militancy. Surely, President Jonathan knows where the shoe pinches in the region. He made it clear during the presidential campaigns that his administration would refocus the energies of federal ministries and agencies towards sustainable development, employment generation and youth empowerment. He declared his “irrevocable commitment to restore hope and confidence” in the hitherto volatile Niger Delta region, while reassuring that the Development Master Plan of the region would be implemented with renewed vigour. ( Continues below….. )
Photo Above: President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria
The Regional Development Master Plan, facilitated by the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, provides the platform for the harmonious development and massive injection of funds to quickly transform the long-neglected region that produces the oil wealth that sustains the entire nation. The blueprint, which all stakeholders agree is a worthy compass for the development of the region, needs to be adequately funded in order to translate the lofty plans into tangible projects and programmes. The projects articulated in the plan require enormous resources to execute.
Take the 700km coastal road for instance, the project which traverses many states in the region, is expected to gulp over N1.3 trillion. Those who are familiar with the difficult deltaic region would not be surprised at the enormous price tags for the big ticket projects. Nevertheless, it is a price worth paying given the contributions of oil to our economy. There is no doubt that the Niger Delta deserves massive structures like the Third Mainland Bridge in Lagos to link up the communities and towns in the creeks.
The new Jonathan administration must go beyond platitudes and begin to put massive projects on the ground to make a clean break from the previous style of adopting plans that were never implemented. It should be noted that non-implementation of lofty plans dating back to the Willinks Commission’s recommendations of 1958 has sowed the seeds of mistrust, which is now a hindrance in getting all stakeholders in the region to act in one accord. The people have seen the failure of one promise after the other. Hence, there is a loss of confidence. The concrete achievements of Jonathan, since he became the substantive president, have revved up the confidence of Nigerians generally. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Map of Nigeria's Niger Delta Region showing Port Harcourt
The challenge for the new administration, therefore, should be to sustain and further enhance the confidence of the people. This can be done through actions and visible projects that touch the lives of the people substantially. The era of neglect and reneging on promises must be consigned to history. For strong and respected voices like Ledum Mittee, the President of the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP), the Jonathan administration needs to work extra hard to win back the people’s confidence, “ because there has been a long history of mistrust of government actions”.
The MOSOP leader is confident that President Jonathan will succeed where others failed since the road to success is already charted for him. The Mittee Technical Committee stressed the need to approach the problem holistically and bring all stakeholders on board for maximum impact. Although the Federal government did not issue a white paper on the report, it is obvious that it had initiated actions on several fronts in response to the recommendations of the committee. For instance, the post-amnesty programme has been pursued with vigour and the main federal interventionist agency in the region; the NDDC has increased the tempo of executing its projects.
Not too long ago it got approval from the Federal Government to execute 18 new projects worth over N48.5 billion across the region. This is in addition to the 44 mega projects worth over N156 billion that is already being executed. The Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the NDDC, Mr. Chibuzor Ugwoha, said the newly approved projects would provide a fresh impetus in the task to quicken the pace of the ongoing restoration efforts in the Niger Delta. He said: “The NDDC has received anticipatory approval of the Presidency to award contracts for 18 critical infrastructural development to expedite the massive and sustainable development of the region in a way that will create a conducive environment for investment.” ( Continues below….. )
Photo Above: Workers at work in a Nigerian oil rig
According to the NDDC boss, the projects were for erosion control, According to the NDDC Managing Director, the 18 projects which are expected to cost a total sum of N48,536,650,191.99 include erosion control, construction of roads, shoreline protection, drainages, health centres and tourism. So far, the efforts to sustain the gains of the post-amnesty programme are commendable. However, there are fears that the government might lose the momentum if the budget process continues to delay the release of funds for the execution of projects in the Niger Delta.
This much came to the fore when the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Elder Godsday Orubebe, defended the budget proposals of his ministry in the National assembly. He said that key projects that have helped to sustain months of improved security in the volatile area, are now left uncompleted. "To sustain and consolidate on the progress achieved in the Niger Delta that has brought the relative peace, especially in the area of amnesty programme, the Niger Delta region should be adequately funded," he said. It is obvious that no meaningful economic progress can be made unless the developmental challenges of the Niger-Delta are comprehensively addressed.
The current federal administration is well placed to make history by fast-tracking the development of the region. This is even more so because of the in-depth understanding of the developmental needs of the area by Mr. President. No matter how well meaning the Federal Government may he, it cannot achieve the much needed socio-economic transformation of the Niger Delta alone. The states and local governments of Nigeria which receive huge sums of money from the Federation Account should also be more active in executing people-oriented projects.
For instance, between May 1999 and December 2006, the nine states making up the Niger Delta region received a total of N2.16 trillion, while local governments got a total of N671 billion. Over the same period, the NDDC received only N241.5 billion, representing eight percent of the total amount of N3.07 trillion from the federation Account. With its 8 per cent, the NDDC seems to have more viable projects in all parts of the region than the other agencies of development.
That speaks volume for its commitment to delivery on its core mandate. Everything considered, funding remains the most critical factor in the urgent task to develop the Niger Delta. As Orubebe told the federal lawmakers, the region can only be developed by long-term fund provisions and "not from annual budget processes."
Mr. Ifeatu Agbu ( firstname.lastname@example.org ) writes from Port Harcourt, Nigeria.
*Tags: Nigerians, Goodluck, Jonathan, Niger, Delta, Challenge, Abuja, Lagos, Africa, Masterweb
*AfDB, Others To Celebrate Africa Day 2011
By African Development Bank (AfDB)
Africans in Africa and all over the world will celebrate Africa Day on Wednesday 25 May, and the African Development Bank – “Africa’s Bank” ever since the days of independence in the 1960s – will be joining in the celebrations. Africa Day was originally known as “Africa Freedom Day” or “African Liberation Day”: The Day commemorates the founding of the Organization of African Unity on 25 May 1963 by the then 30 newly-independent African countries.
The OAU itself became the African Union in 2003, moving away from its original purely political orientation to a stance concentrating more on development and now working towards an African Economic Community.
This year, the day will be marked in Addis Ababa, where the AU is headquartered, with talks and meetings on the theme of Accelerating Youth Empowerment for Sustainable Development.
Appropriately, the African Development Bank itself was established by the same founding fathers in the Sudanese capital of Khartoum on 4 August 1963, as the economic wing of the OAU.
For 19 years, up to December 1982 when non-regional countries were eventually admitted as members, the Bank depended solely on subscriptions from African member countries.
“Africa Freedom Day” was initially founded during the first pan-African conference of independent African states, which attracted African leaders and political activists from various countries to Ghana on 15 April 1958.
Ghana happened to be the first African country south of the Sahara to secure independence from colonial rule on March 6, 1957. It became instrumental in the creation of various liberation movements that matured into the then “Casablanca” and “Monrovia” Groups of African countries under the OAU.
Despite internal and external conflicts, the OAU survived through various efforts to ensure sustainable political and economic development of the continent. Today, all the member countries of the African Development Bank, apart from Morocco which withdrew for the time being in 1984 due to the Western Sahara issue, are also members of the AU.
Africa Day is therefore celebrated not only in Addis Ababa, headquarters of the AUC, but also by many African countries and beyond including Ghana, Kenya, Spain, Tanzania, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
In some countries the day will be observed with activities such as formal gatherings with panel discussions; street marches; speeches by political and social leaders; special university lectures; rallies featuring cultural entertainment, poetry, and speakers.
In the United States the day is commemorated in form of symposiums, where people are invited to attend and participate in political and social issues relevant to US African communities. The anthem entitled “God Bless Africa” composed by Chief Charles O. Okereke is a keynote of the celebrations.
The theme of this year’s Africa Day coincides with one of AfDB side events to be organized by the Fragile State Unit (OSFU) during this year’s Annual Board of Governors Meetings in Lisbon, Portugal in June 2011.
Source(s) of Article
2. African Development Bank Group:-
Photo Above: Charles O. Okereke, Composer God Bless Africa (African Union Award Winning Anthem)
*Tags: Nigerians, Development, Bank, Group, Afdb, God, Bless, Abuja, Lagos, Africans, Masterweb
*Nigeria: A New Nation Has Been Born!
By Ikechukwu Enyiagu
A new nation has been born. Let all men of peace in Nigeria rejoice at the beauty of God’s mercies and at the strength of His faithfulness. In love has He patiently waited, in love has He forgiven, and in love has He answered. The Lord has sent his word to the uttermost, even to the ends of His creation, beckoning on men, calling on everyone to “come, and buy without money.”
A new nation has been born in Africa, in west Africa, and in the region called Nigeria. A nation of light and the message has come. No more shall darkness rule, never again shall evil represent my people, for the Lord has done it, even in His perfect time. The yoke of sin has lost its grip, and hell no more prides itself over my people.
A new nation has been born. A nation to display God’s beauty and righteousness has come. In this nation, the sun shall continue to rise and never set for God's people. The Lord has chosen the foolish things, even the most rejected, to confound the wise and manifest His coming. The kings of the earth are all confused at the workings of God’s Spirit. The nations that oppress are frightened because the king of all Has come in His glory.
A new nation has been born. It is a nation birthed, not by power nor by might, but by the Spirit of God. In this nation, evil and those who worship it will disappear at the appearing of His glory. In this nation, the arms of God are spread wide to receive as many as would accept Him as Lord of all. Everyone in this nation shall answer to our father’s name and there shall be no spiritual bastards. ( Continues below..... )
A new nation has been born. In this nation, prosperity will be the song of God’s people. They shall be blessed in all they do. Their fields shall be blessed and the works of their hands shall prosper. The lands will reveal more gold and the seas, more oil. In this nation, God’s children will be happy in His presence. Health shall reign in the midst of God’s people and sicknesses, diseases, and infirmities shall become history. In this nation, the joy of the Lord shall be our strength and no yoke shall stand the anointing.
A new nation has been born. The glory of God shall be a shelter and a light for His people. Every tree in this nation will be planted by my father. Every tree not of the father shall be uprooted. The foundation of this nation is in God and none can lay any other. The seeds of the devil shall not find root in this nation. In this nation, the children will know their fathers and the fathers will accept their children.
A new nation has been born. In this nation, our women will answer God’s call and will never hear the voice of the enemy nor follow him. Every family in this nation will have God as its head and the man as the caretaker. Every woman will be blessed with Godly virtues. Men and women will be fruitfull in all sides in this land. In this nation, our daughters will be our pride and our sons, our strength. The wives, in our nation, will submit to their husbands, and the husbands will love their wives faithfully. There shall be abundance in the house of the Lord.
A new nation has been born. In this nation, the people of God shall have power in the word. The deceiver will be deceived in this new nation and the darkness will no longer have its way. Children shall be obedient to their parents in this nation and the parents will fear the Lord. In this nation, the heart of every leader will be in the hands of our maker and none will walk by the dictates of the devil. ( Continues below….. )
Photo Above: President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria (2010 - present)
A new nation has been born. It is a nation of peace, a nation blessed with righteousness. In this nation, the light shall go forth to all parts of the earth. In this nation, men shall live by the word of God and evil shall become evil. Love will be the foundation of this nation and the light shall go unquenched. In this nation, everyone is forgiven his sins who approaches the throne of mercy.
A new nation has been born. In this nation, the enemies will find peace in our freedom. Those that molest, attack, dehumanize, and enslave us will be visited with unimaginable plagues. Those who opposed our freedom will beg us to go and be free; they will offer us gifts whilst begging us to go. There will be no peace for those who love our enslavement. Anyone, from anywhere, who thinks any evil against this nation or the inhabitants thereof will be enslaved, enchained and pinned down by his evil thoughts against us.
A new nation has been born. It is a nation carved in fire, shaped in the oven-tested and tried. In this nation, the angels shall move without hindrances and the Spirit will have His way. Never will the enemy give us reasons to cry. The word shall be the lamp in our feet and a light in our path. In this land, His will shall be done. In this nation, all glory, honor, power, and majesty shall belong to our one and only true God, Jesus Christ.
Let the people He has saved praise Him. Let the earth rejoice at His coming. And may this newness spread to the world over and prepare every soul for His coming. Come, Lord Jesus. Amen.
Ikechukwu Enyiagu can be reached at
*Tags: Nigerians, New, Nation, Born, Abuja, Lagos, Africa, Masterweb
*The Problem With The Niger Delta
( An Xclusivenigeria Commentary )
By Babatunde Rafiu
It is easy, convenient and fashionable to blame the Federal government for the underdevelopment in the Niger Delta region. This is the position of the editors of www.xclusivenigeria.com, Nigeria's internet newspaper. Indeed, this tendency is the recourse of Niger Delta politicians and so-called activists when they are held liable by their own people for the under-development in the region. Many an educated indigene of this troubled, oil-rich region, which lays the nation’s golden eggs, is quick to point fingers at the federal authorities, and so far for that matter, are the ordinary folk.
Local politicians and traditional rulers from the region have built and honed their careers on this profitable enterprise. Blaming the federal government is an effective tactic too. And for good reason. By Nigeria's peculiar federal system, the government controls the purse strings of the region’s vast oil resources, and indeed of all the mineral resources in the land. Using such parameters as population, geography, needs and other debatable indices, the authorities fund the states annually by allocating monies from the Federation Account. But critics have suggested that some states get more when they should get less.
Needless to say, almost 96 percent of the Federal Budget is based on oil revenue, which of course is produced by the Niger Delta region. Since the discovery of oil deposits in Oloibiri village in the Niger Delta in the 50s, Nigeria has made trillions of dollars from oil export, and as we have stressed earlier, the country now depends wholly on this enterprise, an untoward situation which has made the authorities at both federal and state levels to jettison agriculture on which the nation once depended in the 60s.
Indeed Nigeria was once a world-famous agricultural nation, acknowledged as the producer of such export commodities as cocoa, groundnuts, timber, cotton and palm oil. Today the nation is a world-famous importer of everything from toothpicks to toilet paper. We, the editors of www.xclusivenigeria.com, Nigeria’s internet newspaper, want to join other Nigerians in asking: What went wrong? That is a subject for another day. Since the Federal government controls the purse strings, allegations and claims of discrimination, unfairness, favoritism and lopsidedness in the allocation of federally generated revenue is a past time of communities who feel unfairly treated and of so-called opinion leaders in various beer parlors across the land.
With a multiplicity of ethnic groups, many of which were independent nation states in their own right hundreds of years ago, forging a true Nigerian nation about 105 years after the amalgamation of Nigeria by British colonialists, have been a will-o-the-wisp. The agitation by the oil-producing Niger Delta region for a fair deal in the Federation symbolizes this contentious atmosphere. The agitation has spawned a militant movement with often controversial and debatable legitimacy. The writer and playwright Ken Saro Wiwa, executed along with several other activists by the late dictator General Sani Abacha, gave the Niger Delta agitation international recognition.
Saro Wiwa's execution ignited a militant movement in the Niger Delta region sworn to propagating the yearnings of the people not by dialogue but by force of arms. The daredevil militants have gone from asking for a better deal in the federation to asking for control of their oil resource. Resorting to kidnapping oil workers for ransom and bombing oil facilities appear to have besmirched their objectives, and pitted themselves against the federal authorities who have offered a carrot and stick approach to quell the uprising and to rein in the militants.
The government’s spirited attempts to meet the militants half way and to boost the Niger Delta's recognition in the scheme of things appear not to have appeased the agitation. Niger Delta politicians and local rulers who have thrived on the status quo, have practically hinged their careers and livelihood on providing political leadership to the agitation for a better deal for the region. As we have argued, it is fashionable for them to blame the Federal government for the region's woes. However, despite many concessions in the past, as we have posited, and with vast resources at their disposal, these politicians have sadly failed to put these resources to good use.
As attractive a punching bag as the government is, and indeed as blameworthy as it appears, and perhaps rightly so, the people of the region have apparently failed to come to terms with perhaps the key source of their problems: the corruption, ineptitude and greed of the region's politicians and local rulers. The Niger Delta states have received billions of dollars from the Federation Account over the years -or perhaps more revenue than other non-oil producing states-but there is nothing on ground in the states to show how these vast resources have been spent. Niger Delta politicians and local rulers have failed their people.
Working in cahoots with oil companies, they have enthroned a feudal system of the haves-and-the-have-nots, and have elected to lord it over those whom they are supposed to be serving.
We, the editors of www.xclusivenigeria.com, Nigeria's internet newspaper, propose that by their actions and inactions, these politicians and local rulers have helped to create the quagmire that is the Niger Delta crisis. They are as liable as the oil companies which have been exploiting the region's resources for decades with extreme prejudice, and without regards to the welfare and destinies of the people. Some may argue that Niger Delta's political elite may indeed be more liable. Perhaps so. Indeed those who hold this view would appear to appeal to a larger audience.
In our view, the solution to the problems of the Niger Delta is not far-fetched. It is simply and squarely that of delivering good government. To continue to perpetuate bad government, unaccountability, corruption and ineptitude in government will serve the Niger Delta no good. Not today. Not tomorrow. Not only will the region’s political leaders be held accountable someday in the future for their stewardship or lack thereof, they will sow the seeds for poverty, hunger and squalor in their communities. Only political strife and social instability can result from such short-sightedness. Or perhaps mean-mindedness?
Nobody will deny that elected leaders and other politicians are entitled to the perks of office. That is the way of public office. Or isn’t it? But what the citizenry are saying, and we say too, is that these democracy dividends should be extended to the citizenry as well. What is the purpose of democracy if the people do not share in its booty? Need we say more?
Photo Above: Map of Nigeria's Niger Delta Region showing Port Harcourt
*Tags: Nigerians, Niger, Delta, Xclusivenigeria, Commentary, Abuja, Lagos, Africa, Masterweb
*Ghana Women Defeat Nigeria To Qualify For AAG Games
By Sammy Wejinya
Ghana’s Black Queens put paid to Nigeria’s hopes of competing in the Women’s football event at this year’s All Africa Games with 2-1 victory over Nigeria’s Super Falcons at the Ohene Djan Stadium, Accra on Sunday. The first leg, a fortnight ago in Abuja, ended 1-1 meaning the the Nigerian ladies had to score in Accra in the decider to stand any chance off booking a flight to Maputo, Mozambique for Africa’s own version of the Olympic games. They went about their business in the perfect manner when star forward, Perpetua Nkwocha opened the scoring on 11 minutes. The Ghanainans however battled back and scored twice, the back breaking coming in second half added time to strike a dagger in ......Read More
*Tags: Nigerians, Black, Queens, Defeat, Ghana, All, Games, Falcons, Africa, Masterweb
*Iraq May Ban Smoking
By Jack Healey
In a country where the power supply blinks off several times a day, where filling up on petrol can take hours and motorists stew in endless traffic jams, smoking is one pursuit that seems blissfully easy. A pack of cigarettes costs as little as 15p. They are everywhere, sold from mud-brick sheds along main roads, from card tables set up on city pavements and at countless shops throughout Baghdad. And you can light up almost anywhere, in buses, lifts and hospitals, even inside Iraq's parliament. But following the lead of Scotland, the rest of Britain, France, America and other western nations, Iraqi MPs are now seeking to marginalise smoking in public life, much to the annoyance of many of their constituents. Today they are set to consider a law banning smoking in ......Read More
*Tags: Nigerians, Iraq, Smoking, Mps, Ban, Africa, Masterweb
*Nigerian Islamist In U.S. Married 107 Wives, Has 185 Children
Meet a Nigerian Islamic faith healer and polygamist man who has made marriage a full-time job, taking 107 brides and fathering 185 children. According to the Los Angeles Times, Bello Maasaba, now 87, is currently married to 86 wives between the ages of 19 and 64. He has buried nine spouses and divorced 12 and his youngest child is one month old. “I get a revelation from God telling me any woman I’m going to marry,” the New York Daily quoted Maasaba as telling the Times. “If it wasn’t from God, I wouldn’t have gone beyond two,” he added. The polygamist lives with his family in ......Read More
Photo Above: Bello Maasaba
*Tags: Nigerians, Islamist, Wives, Children, Bello, Maasaba, Africa, Masterweb
*Nigeria: Goodluck Jonathan's Car Attacked in Uganda
By Nicholas Bariyo
Ugandan opposition supporters hurled stones at a car carrying Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan as he visited the country to attend President Yoweri Museveni's swearing-in ceremony in the capital Kampala, a government spokesman said Thursday. The Ugandan security forces fired at the protesters, killing one person, Fred Opolot, the head of ......Read More
*Tags: Nigerians, Goodluck, Jonathan, Car, Attacked, President, Uganda, Africa, Masterweb
*NATO Bombs Gaddafi's Compound, 3 Killed, 25 Wounded
Nato air strikes hit Muammar Gaddafi's compound on Thursday, hours after the Libyan leader was shown on television for the first time since another aerial attack killed his son nearly two weeks ago. Libyan officials who showed reporters around the scene of the air strike, at Gaddafi's Bab Al Aziziyah compound, said three people had been killed and 25 wounded. The corner of a two-storey building was blown away, leaving fragments of concrete on the street below. Deep craters were left in two other locations around the compound, which has been targeted several times since Nato began its campaign. Government spokesman Mussa Ibrahim said the strikes hit near ......Read More
*Tags: Nigerians, Nato, Gaddafi, Bomb, Compound, Tripoli, Africa, Masterweb
*Bin Laden Sons Say Father's Killing Illegal
By Ariel Zirulnick
Assertions from Osama bin Laden's family that the killing of the Al Qaeda leader was illegal have been dismissed by the White House. “Are you kidding?” said Vice President Joe Biden when asked Tuesday about the family's calls for international bodies to investigate the legality of the assassination. In fact, the family is serious. International law has been "blatantly violated" and the US has set a very different example than "innocent until proven guilty" – a right upon which "western society is built," wrote Omar bin Laden, one of the 9/11 mastermind's 19 children, in a statement provided to the New York Times. He cited the trials for former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and former Serbian President Slobodan Miloševiæ and asked why his father was not given the same opportunity to defend himself. In the statement, the bin Laden family members called on ......Read More
*Tags: Nigerians, Bin, Laden, Sons, Death, Illegal, Africa, Masterweb
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