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.

….and so Goodluck Jonathan is Nigeria’s 4th President, as Yar’Adua Passes on

Eliashib Ime-James, Loveworld News Wire

For close to 15 years he battled with ill health, but his passion for civil governance kept him going. The illness worsened in the last six months, throwing Nigeria’s political horizon into a state of uncertainty. And so at about 9pm Wednesday, President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, Nigeria’s 3rd civilian president gave up the ghost at the Aso Rock Presidential Villa, Abuja.

His remains will be be buried in his hometown, Katsina, Katsina State by 2pm today.

Since, November, The 58-year-old President of Africa’s most populous nation, has been receiving treatment at the King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Centre in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, for what medical experts called acute pericaditis, an inflammation of the membrane around the heart..

Meanwhile, with tears filled eyes, acting President Goodluck Jonathan was sworn in this morning in accordance with the Nigerian constitution by The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Alloysius Katsina-Alu,  as the substantive president following the death of President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua.

He pledged his tenures determination to purse the fight against corruption and ensure a credible election in 2011.

And as a mark of respect for the late president, Jonathan has cancelled all official engagements and declared a national mourning for seven days, during which, the Nigerian flag will fly at half mast.

Goodluck Ebele Jonathan was born on the 20th of November 1957. He was Governor of Bayelsa State from 9 December 2005 to 28 May 2007, and was sworn in as Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on 29 May 2007. Jonathan is a member of the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP). On 13 January 2010, a federal court handed him the power to carry out state affairs while President Umaru Yar’Adua received medical treatment in a Saudi Arabian hospital. A motion from the Nigerian Senate on 9 February 2010 confirmed these powers to act as President. On 24 February 2010 Yar’Adua returned to Nigeria, but Jonathan continued as acting president.Following Yar’Adua’s death on 5 May, Jonathan will assume the presidency in his own right.

Jonathan was born in Otueke in Ogbia Local Government Area of the then Eastern Region, later Rivers State, now Bayelsa State.He holds a Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) degree in Zoology in which he attained Second Class Honours, Upper Division. He also holds an M.Sc. in Hydrobiology/Fisheries biology, and a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Zoology from the University of Port Harcourt.

Jonathan Swears in New Ministers

Nigeria’s Acting President, Goodluck Jonathan has sworn-in the 38 ministers that were cleared last week by the senate and assigned their portfolios.Ministers’ oath taking speech (DOWNLOAD)

Diezani Allison-Madueke became the first female to occupy the petroleum ministry. Allison-Madueke from Bayelsa state was formerly in charge of mines and steel ministry in the old cabinet.

A top banker from Goldman Sachs in London, Olusegun Aganga, is the new minister of finance.

The foreign affairs portfolio went to Odein Ajumogobia, the erstwhile junior oil minister.

The lady of the moment, Professor Dora Akunyili retained her position as Minister of Information and communication

Senator Sanusi Daggash is now in charge of works while Elder Godsday Orubebe and Prince Adetokunbo Kayode were given charge of Niger Delta and Defence ministries.Download ministers list here


Doubts have been raised about the reliability of a trial suggesting success for a vaccine against HIV.

In the large-scale trial in Thailand, a combination of vaccines seemed to give volunteers a protective effect of 31%.

The US military and Thai government, who co-sponsored the trial, said the effect was not caused by random chance but was statistically significant.

But new data, being published at a conference in Paris on Tuesday, is believed to question that assertion.

It was the world’s largest clinical trial of a HIV vaccine – involving 16,000 people in Thailand aged between 18 and 30.

Among the 8,000 volunteers who had been given the combination of vaccines, 51 had gone on to become infected with the virus.

Of the group given a placebo, there were 74 positive cases.

The numbers were small, but according to Seth Berkley of the International Aids Vaccine Initiative, the results were “exciting news and a significant scientific achievement”.

She said: “Now we have got a vaccine candidate that appears to show a protective effect in humans, albeit partially.”



At least one person has died after a multi-story building collapsed on the outskirts of Kenya’s capital, Nairobi.

Dozens of people are feared trapped in the ruins of the building in Kiambu town, which was under construction.

Red Cross officials said 15 severely ill people had been pulled from the rubble and taken to hospital.

It is not clear what caused the collapse, but correspondents say Kenyan building companies are often criticised for flouting safety regulations.

There have been suggestions that heavy rain in the area recently could have weakened the five-storey structure.

The rescue operation continued late into the night, as officials said an unknown number of people could still be inside the building.

Up to 50 workers were believed to have been on site at the time of the collapse.

Some of those trapped have made mobile phone calls to alert relatives.

One eyewitness reported hearing a loud bang when the building cracked before it collapsed.

A reporter for the Associated Press news agency said he saw a woman’s body in the wreckage, while one rescued man told AP several people had been in the room with him when the building fell.

The BBC’s Will Ross in Nairobi says the incident was not the first of its kind in recent years.

Following the collapse of other buildings in recent years, there were calls for stricter building regulations to be enforced, says our correspondent.

But Nairobi is currently experiencing a construction boom, and companies are often criticised for cutting corners and failing to enforce strict safety measures as profitable high rises spring up over the city, he adds.



Nigeria has lifted a law which forced hospitals to withhold emergency treatment from victims of gun attacks until a police report had been filed.

Officials revoked the law, in place since the 1980s, over concerns about a rising death rate from bullet wounds.

It comes weeks after newspaper editor Bayo Ohu died from bullet wounds after a hospital reportedly waited for a police report rather than treat him.

Nigeria is notorious for gun-related crime including kidnapping and robbery.

Earlier this year its commercial capital, Lagos, topped a poll of the world’s most dangerous places to work.

The BBC’s Raliya Zubairu, in Abuja, says the government is threatening to withdraw the licences of any clinics failing to abide by the new ruling.

The killing of Mr Ohu, who worked on Nigeria’s Guardian newspaper, increased the clamour to change the law on emergency treatment for gunshot victims.

He was attacked by gunmen in his home on 20 September.

After his death senior politicians including Senator Osita Izunaso launched a campaign to have the law changed.

He told the senate: “A situation where our medical practitioners, on the basis of police report, refuse to treat victims of gunshots who are left to die is inhuman and callous.”

Police chief Uba Ringim confirmed that all police stations had been ordered to inform clinics in their vicinity that the rules had changed.

“We have sent out circulars and have warned our men not to query any hospital that treats accident or gunshot victims,” Nigeria’s This Day newspaper quoted him as saying.

“It is unfortunate that hospitals refuse to give care. What is important is to protect lives, treat them, give them all the attention and later contact the police with all the information.”


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.”



    An oil trading firm has agreed to pay more than $46m compensation to people in Ivory Coast who say they were made ill by dumped waste in 2006.

    Trafigura, with offices in London, Amsterdam and Geneva, said 30,000 people will each receive $1,546 .

    The money is in addition to the nearly $200m that the company paid the Ivorian government in 2007.

    Trafigura and the plaintiffs’ lawyers agreed that a link between the dumped waste and deaths had not been proved.

    A joint statement by the company and the British lawyers representing the Ivorians, Leigh Day and Co, said at worst the waste had caused flu-like symptoms.

    A victims’ spokesman has criticised the agreement, saying the compensation was insufficient.

    “The cost of medication spent over three years goes much beyond that amount,” Toxic Waste Victims’ Association head Ouattara Aboubabacar told the BBC’s Focus on Africa programme.

    He believes the suffering may be continuing today.

    Trafigura said it had been completely vindicated by the agreement.

    However, the company still faces legal action in the Netherlands over the case.

    The chemical waste was generated by Trafigura and transported to Ivory Coast on a ship called Probo Koala.

    In August 2006 truckload after truckload of it was dumped at 15 locations around Abidjan, the biggest city in Ivory Coast.

    In the weeks that followed the dumping, tens of thousands of people reported a range of similar symptoms, including breathing problems, sickness and diarrhoea.

    On Wednesday a United Nations report suggested a strong link between at least 15 deaths and toxic waste dumps.

    The report said there is “strong prima facie evidence that the reported deaths and adverse health consequences are related to the dumping of the waste from the cargo ship”.

    Trafigura criticised the UN report as premature and inaccurate, saying: “We are appalled at the basic lack of balance and analytical rigour reflected in the report.”

    Trafigura has always insisted it was not responsible for the dumping of the waste, as this was carried out by a subcontractor.

    It also denies that the waste – gasoline residues mixed with caustic washings – could have led to the serious illnesses the residents claim, which include skin burns, bleeding and breathing problems.

    In 2007 it paid nearly $200m to the Ivorian government to “compensate the victims” among other things.

    The government-administered fund paid compensation to the families of 16 people whose deaths they believed were caused by the waste.



    The news editor of Zambia’s largest independent newspaper has gone on trial accused of distributing obscene images.

    Chansa Kabwela sent two photographs of a woman giving birth without medical help to the country’s vice-president, health minister and rights groups._46065623_chansak

    She says she was highlighting issues in the healthcare system and calling for an end to a nurses’ strike.

    But President Rupiah Banda called the pictures pornographic and demanded a police investigation.

    The pictures are graphic – they show a woman in the process of giving birth to a breach baby.

    Its shoulders, legs and arms are visible, but the head has not yet been delivered.

    The photos were apparently taken in the grounds of Lusaka’s main hospital.

    The nurses were on strike and the woman had been turned away from two clinics.

    By the time doctors operated, the baby had suffocated.

    Chansa Kabwela, the news editor of the Post – Zambia’s most popular newspaper – says she was given the photographs by the woman’s relatives.

    She did not publish them, but sent copies to a number of prominent people and women’s rights groups, along with a letter calling for the strike to be brought to an end.

    President Banda expressed his outrage at a news conference, calling the photographs pornographic.

    Pornography is illegal in Zambia and Ms Kabwela was arrested soon afterwards and charged with distributing obscene material with intent to corrupt public morals.

    She faces five years in jail.

    In her view, and in the view of campaigners for press freedom, the case is political.

    The Post has relentlessly pursued the government with allegations of corruption and the president has made no secret of his dislike of the paper.