NIGERI:Jonathan Leads with 60%, PDP May Lose Five States

By Imam Imam
President Goodluck Jonathan
The latest poll conducted by THISDAY/Ipsos ahead of the 2011 general election indicates that President Goodluck Jonathan may secure 60.3 per cent of popular votes in the presidential election. However, his party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), may lose the governorship polls in five states.
In the poll conducted in the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) between February 25 and March 16, 2011, 60.3 per cent of respondents said they would vote for Jonathan in the presidential election, while his closest rival, Major General Muhammadu Buhari of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) scored 22.4 per cent.
Malam Ibrahim Shekarau, the flag bearer of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), scored 5.9 per cent, while the candidate of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Malam Nuhu Ribadu, scored 4.7 per cent. Shekarau was generally acclaimed to have won the presidential debate last week but this poll had been conducted before then.
Buhari has a clear lead among polled samples in Kebbi, Sokoto, Zamfara, Jigawa and Bauchi and further holds narrow leads in Katsina, Kano, Kaduna, Yobe, Borno and Gombe.
Jonathan leads in all Southern states with the exception of Ekiti, where Ribadu has a 54-per-cent score, and Osun, which is considered too close to call, even though Jonathan leads. Ribadu and Shekarau had a strong showing in the state, thereby making it difficult to call for Jonathan.
A noticeable trend is the likelihood that PDP may win governorship in a state and lose presidential in the same state – or vice versa.
In Lagos, for instance, over 80 per cent of the polled voters said they would vote for Jonathan (PDP presidential), while 92 per cent said they would vote for Babatunde Fashola (ACN) in the governorship election.
It is even more common in some Northern states where PDP could win governorship and lose presidential in Borno, Gombe, Jigawa, Katsina, Sokoto and Zamfara.
Also, PDP is in danger of losing the governorship elections in four of the states it currently controls – Bauchi, Bayelsa, Benue and Imo.
In Bauchi, the CPC candidate, Yusuf Maitama Tugar, was rated the highest by respondents. He scored 55 per cent, leaving the incumbent Malam Isa Yuguda of the PDP with 34 per cent; the ANPP flag bearer Nazeef Gamawa with 6 per cent; and ACN candidate Baba Tela with 4 per cent.
In the president’s home state of Bayelsa, former Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and former presidential adviser on amnesty, Mr. Timi Alaibe, led with 56 per cent among the polled potential voters, while the incumbent Chief Timipre Sylva scored 44 per cent. Alaibe is of the Labour Party (LP), while Sylva is flying the flag of PDP.
A similar scenario is playing out in Benue State where the PDP governor, Hon. Gabriel Suswam, is trailing the ACN candidate, Professor Steve Ugbah. Suswam has 19 per cent, while his rival has 72 per cent.
Imo is also endangered for the ruling party as Governor Ikedi Ohakim trails Chief Rochas Okorocha of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA). The state is considered too close to call because even though Okorocha polled 34 per cent in the survey, 41 per cent of the voters are still undecided. Ohakim has 14 per cent, while ACN’s Ifeanyi Araraume has 12 per cent.
In Kebbi, the PDP ranks third, meaning Governor Saidu Dakingari could lose his position to either ACN’s Kabir Turaki, who scored 44 per cent, or CPC’s Abubakar Shettima who scored 41 per cent. The state is still too close to call.
The battle ground states for governorship, according to the survey, are Kebbi, Zamfara, Kaduna, Borno, Oyo and Delta.
But the PDP remains competitive in Zamfara, where Governor Aliyu Shinkafi leads the pack by 43 per cent, closely pursued by ANPP’s Abdulazeez Yari with 37 per cent.
The PDP is also competitive in Oyo and Kaduna, where it holds narrow margins. In Borno, the poll favours the ruling party. It is too close to call in Delta but the ruling party is very competitive there.
The 62 per cent figure for the PDP in Ogun State is recorded in favour of Tunji Olurin, although it remains to be seen if this would change because both Olurin and Gboyega Isiaka were laying claim to the party’s ticket for a prolonged period.
Ipsos is one of the leading pollster companies in the world with more than 30 years of experience researching political attitudes.
It has the most long-term and comprehensive set of polling data of all polling agencies in the world.
Speaking to THISDAY yesterday on the latest polling results, the CEO for Sub-Saharan Africa, David Somers, said: “We initially designed a very large sample to cover the entire country. It’s a sample of 11,000 approximately of what we did in every state that will allow us to have estimate per state and in general. We conducted face to face interviews and as we talk to people in local dialects and personally on the ground, we asked people a series of questions about how they feel about life and about things in general and about things they want from their politicians. And ultimately for whom they will vote for whether at the presidential level or at the gubernatorial level. It’s honestly a traditional poll which we do all over the world.
“So the way we arrived at figures was to go to all the states, interview the people within those states and then aggregate all the data from the states up to a national level. We rate data accordingly so that each state will be represented correctly within the total national figure by the census and also by the voter registration. So we used as a waiting measure plus some other factors which we discovered while we went into this and that is how we got the national figures

Nelson Mandela ‘leaving hospital’ in South Africa

 South African former President Nelson Mandela is being discharged from a hospital where he spent two nights, a senior police source said. Mr Mandela, 92, is said to be in good health. He had flown from Cape Town to Johannesburg on Wednesday for what the government described as “specialised” tests. The move prompted renewed speculation about the former leader’s frail health. Friends and family visited him amid tight security on Thursday. The senior police officer said a convoy of vehicles was at the rear entrance of Milpark Hospital in Johannesburg, preparing to take Mr Mandela to his home in the suburb of Houghton.

UK, Ethiopia to head climate funding effort

Britain and Ethiopia will head a new United Nations panel that aims to secure $100 billion every year by 2020 to help developing nations cut emissions and adapt to climate change, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Friday.

He told a news conference the group would work with governments, central bankers and finance experts to find ways to cooperate with public and private companies in raising money pledged at climate talks in Copenhagen in December.

Although the summit ended without a legal treaty to curb carbon dioxide emissions, leaders of developed countries agreed to support a goal of jointly finding $100 billion a year to help poorer nations.

The money is intended to help them cut emissions, switch to renewable energy and adapt to the impact of global warming, by building new flood defences and other projects.

The panel will be jointly led by British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and his Ethiopian counterpart Meles Zenawi and will include Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg and Guyana’s President Bharrat Jagdeo.

The U.N. chief said the panel must urgently find innovative sources of finance to fill the gap between the money currently available and the amount pledged by 2020.

“Developing countries need to move as quickly as possible toward a future of low-emissions growth and prosperity,” he told a joint news conference with Brown and Meles. “Millions of people in Africa and around the globe are suffering from the effects of climate change.”

The U.N. body must implement one of the most important tasks set out in the Copenhagen accord and, if successful, could help ensure emissions peak by 2020, Brown said.

“This cannot all be done from existing taxpayer revenues,” he said in a statement. “So we must examine new sources of finance, both public and private.”

Charity Oxfam said the group must be about action not just words.

“Poor communities on the front lines desperately need funds to begin to cope with a changing climate and reduce their emissions,” said David Waskow, Climate Change Program Director at Oxfam America.

The panel will have members from developed and developing countries who will be appointed for 10 months. The full list of representatives will be announced soon.

They are expected to produce a mid-term report in May and a final report containing recommendations before the next U.N. climate summit in Mexico in December.


Africa tourism ‘lifted by Obama and World Cup’

Africa was the only continent to see an increase in tourists in 2009

The “Obama effect” of a US president with African heritage and the 2010 World Cup are boosting tourism in Africa, industry experts say.

“There has been a shift in the way people look at Africa,” says the head of the UN World Tourism Organisation.

“Africa is now considered a very serious destination for travellers from the major generating markets,” Taleb Rifai told a conference in Madrid.

Last week UNWTO said Africa had “bucked the global trend” in tourism in 2009.

It was the only continent to see a rise in the number of international tourist arrivals last year – with travellers increasing by 5%.

That compared to fall of 4% worldwide, attributed to the economic crisis and the swine flu pandemic.

However Mr Rifai said Africa’s share of the tourist market was still only 5% – or around 50 million tourists from a total of nearly 900 million.

Kenya’s tourist board says that the fact that President Obama’s father was from Kenya has led to an increase in Americans visiting the country.

Meanwhile the African Travel and Tourism Association (ATTA) says this year’s World Cup, which takes place in South Africa, will have an “enormous effect”.

“The World Cup is certainly the most exciting thing to happen to Africa, not just southern Africa, all Africans are very proud that it’s going to be there,” the ATTA’s head, Nigel Vere Nicoll, told the AFP news agency.



A hardline faction in Nigeria’s main armed group says it is ending a three-month ceasefire and will resume attacks on the oil industry.

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (Mend) had called the truce in the wake of an amnesty offer from the president.ATEKE

Most Mend commanders and thousands of militants have disarmed under the deal.

Correspondents say the splinter group is tiny and is believed to be led by Henry Okah, freed from prison in July.

It says the Nigerian government has done nothing to address the underlying problems in the oil-producing Niger Delta.

“The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta resumes its hostilities against the Nigerian oil industry, the Nigerian armed forces and its collaborators with effect from 0000 hours Friday, Oct. 16,” the group said in an e-mailed statement.

Mend declared the 60-day ceasefire on 15 July to allow for peace talks shortly after Mr Okah was freed from prison.

It extended the ceasefire by a month in mid-September despite not having held any formal discussions with the government.

Last week, the authorities in Nigeria said as many as 15,000 oil militants active in the delta had surrendered under the two-month amnesty, which expired on 4 October.



Norway is the best place in the world to live while Niger is the least desirable, according to an annual report by the United Nations.

The 182 countries were ranked according to the quality of life their citizens experienced.

Criteria examined included life expectancy, literacy rates, school enrolment and country economies.

However the UN human development index used data collected in 2007 – before the global economic crisis.

The UN Development Programme said the index highlighted the grave disparities between rich and poor countries.

Norway’s consistently high rating for desirable living standards, are, in large part, due to the discovery of offshore oil and gas deposits in the late 1960s.

Niger, however, is a drought-prone country which has sometimes struggled to feed its people.

Other countries to reach the top spots were Australia and Iceland.

However, living standards in Iceland have changed since the data was collected, as it was one of the countries worst hit by the credit crunch.

The 2008 crisis exposed the Icelandic economy’s dependence on the banking sector, leaving it particularly vulnerable to collapse. The country’s three major banks were nationalised and Iceland had to seek international support in order to stay afloat.

Best places to live

  • Norway
  • Australia
  • Iceland
  • Afghanistan was regarded the second least desirable place to live, just below Sierra Leone in third from bottom place.

    The index shows that life expectancy in Niger was 50 years – approximately 30 years shorter than for those living in Norway.

    For every dollar earned per person in Niger, $85 was earned in Norway.

    However, the Democratic Republic of Congo has the poorest people, where the average income per person was $298 per year.

    Worst places to live

  • Niger
  • Afghanistan
  • Sierra Leone
  • China has become one of the most improved because of rising income levels and life expectancy rates.

    The United States is rated as the 13th most desirable place to live, while the UK takes the 21st spot.

    The index also showed that half the people in the poorest 24 nations were believed to be illiterate.

    The tiny principality of Liechtenstein has the highest GDP per capita at $85,383. Its population is about 35,000.

    The report’s author, Jeni Klugman, said: “Many countries have experienced setbacks over recent decades, in the face of economic downturns, conflict-related crises and the HIV and Aids epidemic.

    “And this was even before the impact of the current global financial crisis was felt.”



    The last prominent militant in Nigeria’s oil-rich Delta region has given up his weapons after agreeing to a government amnesty deal.

    Government Tompolo, who heads the main rebel faction in the western Delta, disarmed in return for promises of cash and education for his fighters.tompolo

    On Saturday, two other commanders from the eastern Delta laid down weapons.

    The amnesty is part of government efforts to end years of rebel attacks on the Nigerian oil industry.

    Mr Tompolo is considered one of the most important rebels figures in the oil-rich Delta.

    Militants there have claimed responsibility for numerous attacks on Nigeria’s oil infrastructure, as well as kidnappings for ransom.

    The rebel leader accepted President Umaru Yar’Adua’s amnesty deal on Saturday, 24 hours before the offer expired.

    “Today is the greatest day for Nigeria,” he said on Sunday as he arrived in the southern city of Warri, from where he travelled by boat to his Oporoza camp for the disarmament ceremony.

    Hundreds of supporters and local people also made the journey to witness the weapons’ handover.

    Among them was Defence Minister Godwin Abbe, who described Mr Tompolo’s surrender of arms as “an act of patriotism” and “a dream come true”.

    “It’s an indication that peace has finally come to the Niger Delta. The time has come for us to settle down as a country and find a solution to the problem that led to the crisis in the region,” he said.

    The ceremony comes a day after two prominent militant commanders in the eastern Delta, Ateke Tom and Farah Dagogo, led their supporters in surrendering their weapons.

    Mr Dagogo said he was accepting the amnesty “with the hope that it will usher in a true spirit of reconciliation”.

    Fellow militant leader Mr Tom and hundreds of his followers also disarmed at the beach ceremony in Port Harcourt.

    Mr Tom said the government needed to ensure that promises made to fighters were kept.

    “We must get what we want. The government are very trickish, we’re watching them,” he told Reuters.



    Kenyan authorities have seized 300kg (660 lbs) of illegal ivory hidden in coffins on a plane bound for Laos. The haul included 16 elephant tusks and black rhinoceros horns. Officials said the blood on the ivory suggested the animals had been killed very recently.horns

    The flight – which stopped in Nairobi – originated in Mozambique and was bound for Thailand and then Laos. The haul of ivory may have had a value of about $1m (£614,000). Officials from Kenya’s Wildlife Service said the ivory might have come from Tanzania or South Africa. The black rhino is found only in eastern and southern Africa. The international ivory trade has been banned since 1989. The sale of ivory is illegal if the ivory is not from pre-1989 stockpiles. However, some countries have done little to enforce the ban.



    militantsThe main rebel group in Nigeria’s Niger Delta is to observe a 60-day ceasefire in its attacks on the oil industry. Mend – the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta – said the move was in response to the freeing of rebel leader, Henry Okah, on Monday.

    Mr Okah was released from jail as part of a government amnesty; he’d been held for more than a year on charges including treason. The Mend ceasefire is set to come into effect from Wednesday, a statement said.

    On Sunday, just hours before Henry Okah was freed, militants in speedboats attacked the main oil depot serving Lagos – well away from the usual area of operations in the Niger Delta. Mr Okah said he regarded that attack as a gesture, welcoming him to freedom. But he said the Niger Delta needed a kind of peace process. People there, he said, were fighting so that the government would recognise the poverty and injustice that exists.

    Asked if he would favour a partial decommissioning of weapons, he said: “Yes, yes, I would. But the government must start attending to our problems.”

    Numerous attacks by Mend on installations in the Niger Delta in recent years have seriously disrupted the Nigerian oil and gas industry. Mend says it is fighting for a fairer distribution of the wealth from Nigeria’s natural resources, but in the past the government has dismissed the militants as criminals.

    In a bid to end the attacks, the government offered militants an amnesty three weeks ago. Officials said any rebel willing to give up weapons by October would benefit from a rehabilitation programme, including education and training opportunities. The government’s critics say the amnesty is unlikely to work because the unrest is not a straightforward political struggle.


    Somali armed men stormed into a hotel in the capital Mogadishu on Tuesday and kidnapped two French security consultants working for the government, a hotel worker said. The two French men, whose names were not immediately available, were initially thought to be journalists. But a government official told Reuters that they had pretended to be reporters for their own protection.

    “They were security consultants who arrived in Somalia to train state house security guards, not journalists,” said the official.

    Several gunmen, some in uniform, entered the Sahafi Hotel threatened the hotel guards and took away the Frenchmen from their hotel rooms, the hotel manager, who declined to be named told Reuters.

    “The two males told me they were journalists,” he added.

    The hotel is popular with ministers in the government of President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed, and several live there and were in their rooms during the early morning raid.

    A police officer who did not want to be named told Reuters that they had captured one of the three cars used by the gunmen.

    “We have captured one of the cars,” he said, adding that he did not know where the French men had been taken.

    Another witness said the gunmen, some of whom were dressed in uniform similar to that worn by Somali government troops, drove towards Mogadishu’s Bakara market, an Islamist stronghold, he added.

    Hardline Islamist insurgents who are fighting the government control all but a few blocks of the capital. Fighting in Somalia since Ethiopian troops ousted the Islamic Courts Union in late 2006 has killed at least 18,000 and sent hundreds of thousands more fleeing from their homes.