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

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JUDICIARY IN THE HANDS OF JUSTICE SALAMI & OTHERS


All lovers of rule of law in Nigeria must be worried by the raging controversies in the Nation’s Judiciary in the last few days and we are compelled to alert the public on the well-thought-out plans to destroy the institution just to save the job of Justice Isa Ayo Salami, President of Appeal Court. This has been occasioned by an alleged move to elevate the Justice Salami to the Supreme Court. From the spirited defence already put up, especially in the media by groups and individuals who are known allies of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and its sole-proprietor, Mr. Bola Ahmed Tinubu, it is obvious that those defending Justice Salami are doing so firstly because of the “judicial favours” they had obtained from him (Salami), and secondly, because of the fear of the impending collapse of the house of fraud built for them by the Justice Salami-led Court of Appeal.

It is for these twin reasons that the entire judiciary is now being messed up by Justice Salami and his ilk with the intent that; “If Salami must go down, the judiciary, or at least, the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Aloysius Iyorger Katsina-Alu must go down with him.” It was therefore not a surprise that Justice Salami went to the most ridiculous level on Tuesday, dragging the CJN, National Judicial Council (NJC) and others to court and also accusing the CJN of compelling him (Salami) to compromise Sokoto State Governorship petition. But can anyone blame Justice Salami and his defenders for this onslaught on the judiciary? Obviously no! This is because in a saner clime, no one would be talking about elevating Salami to the Supreme Court.The man ought to have been sacked! Or how can Justice Salami continue to lead the Appeal Court whose justices he does not trust? Against all ethics, norms and rules of the Bench, Justice Salami had granted an interview that was published in Thisday newspaper of January 25, 2011 where he tried to defend why only few justices sat on the Appeal election tribunals out of over 60 Appeal Court Justices. Justice Salami had said in his answer’’…… Then he raised the issue of using a few Justices to determine appeals. Well, when it comes to that you must use people you trust, you can’t just empanel anybody.’’

Justice Salami’s trusted men that sat on Ekiti, Osun and Ogun States election petitions are; Ekiti State: Justices Isa Ayo Salami (Chairman), Clara. B. Ogunbiyi; O. Ariwoola; C.C. Nweze and Adamu Jauro. Osun State: Justices Clara B. Ogunbiyi (Chairman), M.L Garuba, Paul Galinje (was queried in the Sokoto case), C .C Nweze and Adamu Jauro. Ogun State: Justices M.L Garuba (Chairman), H.M Ogunwumiju, Adzira Gana Mshelia, and Adamu Jauro. It is important to note that Clara Ogunbiyi was in Ekiti and Osun, C.C Nweze was in Ekiti and Osun, Adamu Jauro was in Ekiti, Osun and Ogun, M.L Garuba was in Osun and Ogun while Paul Galinge was in Osun and Sokoto panels and was in fact, queried over that Sokoto case.

Out of over 60 justices of the Appeal Court, Justice Salami only trusted the above listed justices to handle election cases on Osun, Ekiti and Ogun States. In fact, Salami had to wait for Ekiti case to be concluded before constituting Osun State panel so that his trusted justices could handle the case! Curiously too, Justice Salami admitted in the interview that there were conflicting judgments from the Appeal Court under his leadership! Also, in his letter to the CJN, which was leaked to the press for obvious reasons, Justice Salami insinuated that some justices of the Appeal Court are minions or stooges when he wrote; “…and presumably replace me with his minion or stooge.” A minion is a slave, sycophant, bootlicker, hanger-on, lackey, lickspittle, parasite, yes man, servile or an unimportant person.

Those are the kind of people Justice Salami told us adjudicates over cases at the Court of Appeal – a Court that has the power of life and death over Nigerians! Again, on Tuesday, Justice Salami went to the most extreme by accusing the CJN of compelling him (Salami) to compromise Sokoto State Governorship petition! Justice Salami must therefore tell Nigerians who are those Appeal Court Justices that he cannot trust, and why? Was it that he cannot trust the justices to act according to the whim and caprices of his paymasters or that he cannot trust them to discharge their duties in accordance with their oath of office. And if the trust has to do with the discharge of their duties in accordance with the laws of the land, has Justice Salami called the attention of the NJC to this lack of trust?

Also, if the president of the Court of Appeal does not trust most of his colleagues as to empanel them in the Election petition cases, what is the fate of the common man who regards the judiciary as the last hope? Is Justice Salami’s statement not a confirmation that he has a ‘cabal’ or a ‘hatchet’ team that have been used to deliver ludicrous judgements that has made mess of precedence and established judicial decisions? Again, who among the Appeal Court Justices are minions or stooges? And if indeed, the CJN persuaded him to obstruct the cause of justice in the Sokoto matter, why did he (Salami) waited for this long to voice it out? Does it not amount to an afterthought and an attempt to drag the judiciary into the mud that Justice Salami is just raising accusation on the Sokoto matter that happened early last year? And when has it become the norm for Judges to discuss matters relating to the bench on the pages of newspapers?

Apparently, there is more to Justice Salami’s refusal to move up to the highest court in the land than meet the eyes, and it is obvious that Justice Salami knows that he is going down and he is desirous of pulling the judiciary down with himself. Therefore, it is important that the NJC conducts a thorough investigation into Justice Salami’s claim concerning the integrity of the Appeal Court justices that he refused to empanelled on election cases. The NJC must also investigate Justice Salami’s claim that some Justices of the Appeal court are minions or stooges with a view to assisting Nigerians on whom to trust with the handling of their cases among the Appeal Court Justices. Also, all the cases, especially election petitions handled by the Court of Appeal since Justice Salami became president must be reviewed and all petitions arising from the cases investigated without further delay. Furthermore, Justice Salami must be made to step-aside while these investigations are being conducted. Finally, if found to have deliberately denigrated the judiciary with a view to perpetuating himself in office, and also influence judgments to favour anyone, all sanctions available must be applied to Justice Salami so as to serve as deterrent to others and bring sanity to the bench. 

Dr. Adeyemo is the President, Society for Rule of Law in Nigeria (SRLN).

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.

Attahiru Jega Appointed New INEC Helmsman


After days of speculation of who will be the next INEC Chairman, President Goodluck Jonathan has appointed Professor Attahiru Jega as the new INEC chairman. The president presented the name Prof Jega  to the council of state who unanimously approved the recommendation by President  Jonathan.

The council of state which was uncharacteristically well attended commended the courage of the President in appointing the none-conforming Professor. They applauded the choice of Attahiru Jega as a man with no known partisan political affiliation.

The Edo state governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole who briefed state house correspondents said that Professor Jega has distinguished himself in his calling and that the council is satisfied with the nomination.

The council also commended President Jonathan on the quality of the ten people he nominated as national electoral commissioners as well as eighteen other resident electoral commissioners, describing the people nominated as men and women of integrity.

the council meeting was attended by  General Ibrahim Babangida, who Prof Attahiru fought to a standstill in his days as ASUU President. General Abdulsalami Abubakar, Chief Ernest Shonekan, Alhaji Shehu Shagari, and Chief Olusegun Obasanjo. Senate president, three retired justices of the federation, the speaker of the House of Representatives and many of the governors of the thirty six states of the federation .

Prof. Attahiru Jega is the current Vice Chancellor of Bayero University Kano (BUK). An unrepentant activist and a commited Human Rights defender, Prof. Jega served as the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) president, incidentally, Prof. Maurice Iwu was his Vice.

Jega was  a member of the Justice Uwais’ Electoral Reform Committee that produced a widely hailed report, which the government is yet to fully implement. His appointment has fuel speculation that President Goodluck Jonathan might be scheming to implement the report through the backdoor.

Crackdown on corrupt leaders to continue, says Jonathan


PRESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan has declared a result-oriented anti-corruption crusade, acceptable electoral reform and stable power supply as the irreducible minimum factors for gauging the performance of his administration
He said the ongoing anti-corruption crusade would be vigorously pursued to ensure that all leaders linked with financial misconduct and other forms of abuse of office are brought to book.
Jonathan, who stated this yesterday assured that his administration would deliver on electoral reform, explaining that all winners in the 2011 general elections at all levels of government would emerge from a honest and transparent electoral process.
He said only free and fair elections would enable such leaders to exercise legitimate authority over the people, adding that “every valid vote of the electorate will count in the 2011 elections.”
Jonathan stated this during the opening session of the ongoing regional conference of Commonwealth Association for Public Administration and Management (CAPAM) in Abuja.
And if the achievement of credible elections would reshape the polity, elected representatives and other political office holders must not after election be allowed to change their political parties without first resigning and getting fresh mandate on the basis of their new platforms, former Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, has said.
Anyaoku, a founding member of CAPAM, who also spoke at the event, appealed to the National Assembly now reviewing the Electoral Act and the nation’s constitution not to allow political party holders move around aimlessly.
Jonathan said because the entire world expects credible elections from Nigeria, his administration was determined to ensure that the votes of the people count in the 2011 polls.
“Let me assure you that we shall neither fail our nation nor our admirers all over the world who are counting on us to make a significant difference. Another area of challenge that we are currently addressing is inadequacy of critical infrastructure, the most compelling being epileptic power supply. This is important to stimulate economic growth, ensure poverty reduction and employment generation as well as enhance competitiveness. The third priority concern is anti-corruption, based on the existing policy of zero tolerance for corruption to ensure that all offenders are appropriately sanctioned within the ambit of the rule of law and observance of due process.
“The Commonwealth has contributed immensely to the attainment of global peace and harmony through the untiring efforts of several key players, including Commonwealth Heads of Government. It has always been guided by certain fundamental values, principles and norms, which have evolved over the years. These enduring values and principles have reaffirmed subsequently through a number of declarations by Commonwealth Heads of Government. There was a renewed commitment to participatory democracy, characterised by free and fair elections, representative legislative, an independent judiciary, a well-trained public service, a transparent and an accountable public accounts system,” he said.
The President said the appropriateness of the theme of this conference, “Good governance, accountability and trust” is apt because it seeks to create a veritable platform for engaging with leaders at the political, bureaucratic and technocratic spheres in order to reawaken them to their responsibility in taking their nations forward to higher realm of socio-economic transformation. It is universally acknowledged that without good governance there can be neither accountability nor trust. Indeed, government has been described as a trust committed by all. There can be no good government without good public sector institutions with a critical mass of public servants who are irrevocably committed to the promotion of the common good.”
The Head of the Service of the Federation (HOSF), Mr. Stephen Oronsaye said efforts had been intensified to regain the trust the citizenry had in their leaders, particularly the political class.
He said the public service must therefore mobilise the required policy intelligence to ensure that it earns the trust of the people and help the state to record quick wins in the war against poverty and disease, despite the worrying prognosis by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank that Africa’s chances of achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are bleak.
To Anyaoku, those who represent Nigerians in the National Assembly, state assemblies and local councils as well as political office holders at the three tiers of government must be freely, fairly and credibly elected by the electorate.
“We are now looking at the President to see that the leading personnel of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), especially the chairman and commissioners are people of acknowledged integrity and non-political partnership, who can ensure that the entire electoral process including, in particular the compilation and timely display of the electoral register, and the logistic arrangement for voting, are transparent and correctly effected.
“There is the challenge of tackling corruption and its pervasive effect on all the institutions and instruments of governance, and reducing the role of money in our electoral process, elections should not be for only the super rich.
“There should be reasonable limits to the financial contributions to and deposits by candidates as well as how much they can spend on electoral campaigns,” he said.
Anyaoku, who stressed the role of political leaders in public policy formulation, said it is the responsibility of the civil service “to execute such policies with efficiency, and to do so with high moral fibre.”
He asserted that the civil service remains an inextricable and indispensable part of the government, adding that because it plays a very critical role in the state, its disposition should go beyond technical competence, effectiveness, and efficiency.
The disposition of the civil service, according to Anyaoku, must include moral competence and humility. “In the early years of Nigeria’ independence, the country could boast of a federal civil service that compared well with the civil service in any part of the world.
“Today, the Nigerian civil service has lost not only its earlier attributes of competence and efficiency, but also the tradition of your obedient servant which used to be how letters from members of the civil service were concluded. Our civil service while attending to the citizens seems now to manifest the attitude of doing them a favour.”

Download Youtube Video: Amanpour talks to Goodluck Jonathan


Download Youtube Video: Amanpour talks to Goodluck Jonathan.

Will you reconsider Prof. Iwu…Amanpour (Excerpt of Dr. Jonathan’s interview in America)


AMANPOUR:

Thank you very much, indeed, for joining us on this program.

JONATHAN:

Thank you for finding time to discuss with me.

AMANPOUR:

Can I ask you first what an extraordinary name. How did “Goodluck” come to be your name?

JONATHAN:

I don’t know. I have to ask my father.

AMANPOUR:

Have you had good luck? And do you think you’ll need more than good luck to face down the incredible array of challenges that’s on your plate?

JONATHAN:

Well, the issue of good luck, I don’t really believe that the good luck an issue. But at the present, I’ve been facing a lot of challenges. What some people will attribute to good luck could have been disastrous under some circumstances.

AMANPOUR:

Well, let me ask you this. You are now acting president, because the president, Mr. Yar’Adua, is unwell.

JONATHAN:

Yes.

AMANPOUR:

Have you seen him since he has come back from his medical absence in Saudi Arabia?

JONATHAN:

No, I have not seen him.

AMANPOUR:

Why not?

JONATHAN:

The thinking of the family is that they should isolate him from most of the key actors in government. I have not seen him. The Senate president has not seen him …and at every single government function, I have not seen him.

AMANPOUR:

Doesn’t that cause anxiety amongst the people?

JONATHAN:

Yes, it does. It does. Obviously, it does, but we cannot influence his family’s thinking.

AMANPOUR:

Would you prefer that the family allowed you to visit him?

JONATHAN:

Yes, of course. But I will not want to force.

AMANPOUR:

What is his actual state of health? This also is a mystery.

JONATHAN:

I can’t say exactly. Only the medical doctors can.

AMANPOUR:

Have they told you?

JONATHAN:

No, they haven’t.

AMANPOUR:

Have they made any public statements?

JONATHAN:

Not quite. Not now. At the beginning, yes, but (Someone’s name – unclear) left for Saudi Arabia, I think in the second week or so, within the first week, we are told that acute pericarditis. After that, no other statement has been issued.

AMANPOUR:

So if he can receive religious leaders, why can he not receive at least the acting president who’s acting in his name?

JONATHAN:

Well, religious leaders are there for (inaudible) blessings. Probably that is why they asked the religious leaders to go and pray for him. We are a very, very religious society.

AMANPOUR:

Do you believe that those around him are trying to undermine you or your new cabinet?

JONATHAN:

I wouldn’t say they are trying to undermine me, because the laws of the land are very clear. And, of course, that is why in the first place constitution is designed for two people to be in charge of government at every time, one superior and one inferior.

AMANPOUR:

Do you think he will ever come back to government?

JONATHAN:

I can’t say that. It’s difficult for any of us as mortals to say so.

AMANPOUR:

So you are now acting president, and you have essentially a year, because elections will be held this time 2011.

JONATHAN:

Yes.

AMANPOUR:

What is your most pressing issue?

JONATHAN:

The most pressing issue for Nigerian now, in terms of basic infrastructure, is power.

AMANPOUR:

You mean electricity?

JONATHAN:

Electricity. Outside that, what is central to the minds of Nigerians now is an election that their votes will count, free and fair elections because we’ve been accused of as a country that our elections somehow are questioned. And I promise Nigerians that they will surely get that and I’ve done some experiments.

The next thing that Nigerians worry about is issues of corruption. You know we’ve been accused of as people who are in a privileged position in government amassing wealth at the expense of society. So they expect us to take these two issues seriously.

AMANPOUR:

So what can you do to take those issues seriously?

Obviously, the issue of good governance, of free elections, free of corruption is central, and you heard the United States has also said just now that you must remove the head of the election commission, Maurice Iwu. Will you do that?

JONATHAN:

You see, the issue of the – the electoral body – in fact, I even told the audience I addressed this morning, the issue is whether the present electoral body can conduct free and fair election or not. And I told them that, yes, they can, because I have done it with the same people.

On issue of the people at INEC, I told them that, look, between now and ending of June, most of the officials at the national level – they’re called commissioners – their tenure will end, and we’re going to review them on individual merit.

Within this period that I have been acting president, I have conducted three elections. They are conducted by INEC and it was free and fair. Only on Saturday, we conducted local council elections in the federal capital territory and all the information is that, apart from one or two that had some few discrepancies, they have been very peaceful, very credible… So that is the issue. So the issue is beyond one person.

AMANPOUR:

But let me just ask you…

JONATHAN:

I’m not defending the chairman.

AMANPOUR:

Do you think he will stay or will he be removed?

JONATHAN:

All of them we’ll review. And any one of them that we feel is not competent definitely…

AMANPOUR:

Do you feel that Mr. Iwu is competent?

JONATHAN:

(Laughs) No, no, no, no. I know that this question continues to come up.

What I’ve said is… the issue is beyond Mr. Iwu.

AMANPOUR:

I know. But I’m specifically talking about him, because it’s come up in your meetings with U.S. officials.

JONATHAN:

Yes, I agree that within the period that is (inaudible) there are quite a number of controversies. I agree. There are quite a number of concerns. There are quite a number of controversies. So I know what I’m telling you; that this very Iwu, I’m not trying to argue for him. The Iwu we are talking about has conducted free elections these past three elections that I’ve made reference to that are credible.

So the issue is beyond Iwu because we must set up an electoral system and our regulations and laws that will make sure that anybody who is appointed to that office should be able to conduct acceptable elections. And that is my focus.

AMANPOUR:

OK. Will you run in 2011? Will you present yourself as a presidential candidate?

JONATHAN:

For now, I don’t want to think about it, because the circumstances that – the circumstances of the day are quite worrisome.

I came in as the vice president to run with President Yar’Adua, of course, getting close to period of election, he took ill. And I have to take over under somewhat controversial circumstances. Only last week, I reconsidered the cabinet. So let us see how Nigeria will move forward first. I had a similar experience when I was governor of my state.

I said, nobody should ask me whether I will contest election or not. I must first of all see whether the state is moving. If the country is not moving, what what will I tell Nigerians I want to contest?