HOW AMAECHI BEAT JANG TO RETAIN NGF SEAT; AKPABIO, MIMIKO OTHERS CRY FOUL.

The election of Governor Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi as the chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum has attracted controversy with opposing governors alleging that the election was rigged in his favour.

In the keenly contested election which took place of Friday at the Rivers State Government lodge, Abuja, Amaechi defeated Governor Jonah Jang of Plateau state by 19 to 16 votes to retain his position as NGF chairman.

The governors of Katsina, Ibrahim Shema and that of Borno, Isa Yuguda had earlier stepped down for Jang, a late entrant, to go toe-to-toe with Amaechi who had also been earlier advised to step aside.

Read the Premium Times report below:

Mr. Jang was allegedly propped up a few hours to the election by Mr. Jonathan, backed by some top brass of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, who wanted Mr. Amaechi out at all cost.

Both Messrs Amaechi and Jang belong to the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, which has 23 out of the 36 members of the Forum.

The position of the vice chairman of the Forum was picked up by the Zamfara State Governor, Abdulaziz Yari, of the All Nigeria Peoples Party, ANPP, who emerged unopposed following last minute withdrawal of the Ondo State Governor, Olusegun Mimiko, a member of Labour Party, LP, from the contest.

Akpabio, others reject results

However, in a curious twist of events, some governors led by the Chairman of PDP Governors Forum, Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom State, rejected the result of the poll which was conducted by secret ballot, saying it was rigged in favour of Mr. Amaechi.

Mr. Akpabio told journalists after a meeting of the opposed governors at the Akwa Ibom State Governors Lodge, Asokoro District, to which they retreated, that the ballot papers used for the election did not have serial numbers; adding that they would recognize Messrs Jang and Mimiko as the Chairman and Deputy Chairman of the Forum, respectively.

The Akpabio-led governors claimed Mr. Amaechi and his supporters rigged the election. Mr. Akpabio told journalists that the Rivers State Governor failed to step down prior to the election. He, however, did not state why he and his supporters, who said they voted for Mr. Jang, agreed to proceed with the election despite their claims.

Some of those that aligned with Mr. Akpabio include Mr. Mimiko, Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta, Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa, and Mr. Jang.

Jubilation

The Rivers State Governors Lodge in Asokoro, Abuja, the venue of the election, was thrown into was wild jubilation after Mr. Amaechi’s victory. Leading the victory celebration was Ibim Semenitari, the Rivers Commissioner for Information who danced to no music few minutes before the results were officially announced.

The meeting where the election held was attended by 35 governors, which cut across six parties, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP; Action Congress of Nigeria, CAN; All Nigeria Peoples Party, ANPP; Congress for Progressive Party, CPC; Labour Party; and the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA.

Only the Kebbi State Governor, Saidu Dakingari, did not attend the meeting. 35 governors voted in the election and 35 votes were counted.

Intrigues and intense horse-trading preceded the election, which had heated up the polity; with Mr. Jonathan and other leaders of the PDP, including its National Chairman, Bamanga Tukur; and Board of Trustees Chairman, Tony Anenih, showing interest in who emerges the chairman and vice chairman of the Forum. Mr. Anenih had earlier in the week alleged that the NGF had been hijacked by opposition governors.

The president’s discreet intervention is also said to have been responsible for the withdrawal of the Katsina State Governor, Ibrahim Shema; and his Bauchi State counterpart, Isa Yuguda; both of whom were allegedly thrown up by Mr. Jonathan to challenge Mr. Amaechi.

Messrs Shema and Yuguda had on Wednesday and Thursday, respectively, picked the nomination forms indicating their readiness to contest the chairmanship seat.
Sources, however, said that the two men were prevailed upon by the Northern State Governors Forum, NSGF, at its meeting held at the Niger State Governors Lodge, Abuja, earlier in the day, to step down for Mr. Jang in what appeared to be a move to soften the hearts of the governors opposed to the president.

The governors of the PDP also held a separate meeting chaired by Mr. Akpabio at the Akwa Ibom State Governors Lodge where it was agreed that like the NSGF, Mr. Jang would be presented as the consensus candidate of the party and Mr. Mimiko of the Labour Party, his deputy.

On their part, 11 opposition governors, who belong to the All Progressives Congress, APC, the product of the merger of ACN, CPC, ANPP and a faction of APGA, met at the Lagos House in the Central Business District of the territory to plot their strategies. The opposition votes are believed to have all gone for Mr. Amaechi.

The intrigues

Following his endorsement by the NSGF and the Presidency, Mr. Jang entered the race and immediately picked the nomination form at about 3 p.m. on Friday, about one hour before the commencement of the election; contrary to the constitution of NGF, which states that the letter of intent should be submitted a day before an election.

Interestingly, Mr. Amaechi attended the PDP governor’s meeting where Mr. Jang was picked as the consensus candidate of the party, but did not oppose the choice.

Just before the election commenced, Mr. Akpabio submitted consensus signatures which they had earlier harvested at the PDP governors’ meeting, saying Mr. Jang was their consensus candidate and therefore there should be no election.

However, the Rivers State Governor resisted Mr. Akpabio, who tried to cause a stir. In the midst of the confusion, the Akwa Ibom governor was seen moving in and out of the hall making frantic telephone believed to be in the presidency.

The resistance of the group led by the Akwa Ibom State Governor did not hold for too long as they were overwhelmed by the pro-Amaechi group, who insisted that the election should hold.

The election held and Mr. Amaechi defeated Mr. Jang by 19 to 16 votes; a result now being contested by Mr. Akpabio and his supporters.

The new claim by Mr. Akpabio and his group that they would not recognize Mr. Amaechi’s victory is expected to throw the governors’ forum into a fresh round of crisis.

By Isi Esene

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#breaking news# ASUU calls of strike in honour of Iyayi

Reports reaching us from ASUU hadquatres released by ASUU chairman that the ongoing four s srike hs ben suspended in honour of the late former Chairman who died in a gastly motor accident while going for the Union’s official assignment. Part of the press statements reads ‘I hereby direct all our members resume work on Monday, we use this suspension as a means of honouring our late hero…’

Students are therefore advised to start getting set for resumption. Full press release shall be sent online shortly.

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Friday is the g…

Friday is the golden child of the workdays and the superhero of the work week. B gd.

Friday is the golden child of the workdays and the superhero of the work week. B gd.

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Femi Falana speaks on Ekiti killings

Prominent Lagos-based lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN), has said that contrary to allegations levelled against him, he has never been silent about political killings in his home state, Ekiti.

Falana, in a statement made available to The Eagle Online on Sunday morning, said that he had always spoken out whenever there was a killing in Ekiti State.

He said he has done so both now and in the past.

He said it was therefore wrong to accuse him of “criminal silence” in the cases of killings during the regime of the incumbent Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi.

Falana said the recent murder of Folorunso Ogundare in Emure Ekiti would serve as a test case in the history of politically motivated murders in the state, urging the people of the state to fight it to a logical conclusion.

He said he has petitioned the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar, on the killing of Ogundare, who was attacked on November 4, 2013.

The statement by Falana reads in full: “On 4/11/13 one Foluso Ogundare was brutally attacked by suspected political thugs at Emure Ekiti. He was rushed to the hospital. Regrettably he gave up the ghost on 5/11/13. As I was in Abuja for a case at the material time I petitioned the Inspector-General of Police on 6/11/13 wherein I called for the arrest and prosecution of the criminals who carried out the dastardly act.

“I was assured that the office of the Inspector-General of Police would take over the case from the Ekiti State Police Command. Thereafter, at a meeting with the Director General of the State Security Service later that day over the illegal detention of Mrs Clara at the Government House, Enugu I called for en end to impunity in Ekiti State, So far, all the suspects arrested in connection with the gruesome murder at Emure have been transferred to abuja for interrogation. Without any prompting or blackmail from any quarters whatsoever I am keenly following up the matter until the suspects are charged to court.

“I was on my way to Lagos in the evening of 6/11/13 when my attention was drawn to the reckless statement of one Bola Agboola to the effect that I was maintaining “criminal silence” over the killings in Ekiti State. Although I know the fellow who instigated the objectionable statement I decided to ignore it. But since some people have genuinely expressed concern over the imminent descent to anarchy in Ekiti State I wish to asserverate that it is too late in the day for me to keep silent over killings and other human rights infringements in any part of Nigeria.

“Under the Kayode Fayemi regime I have never maintained “criminal silence” over killings. In the previous cases of killings and other politically motivated attacks in Ekiti State I have consistently demanded that the suspects be brought to book. It is public knowledge that the chairman of the ruling party in Ekiti State is currently standing trial for murder. I have advised the Ekiti State Attorney-General to allow the Police to prosecute the case and conclude it. In my comment on the recent attack at a burial ceremony in Iyin Ekiti I indicted the state government due to the fact that a public official was fingered at the scene. The fellow was immediately relieved of his post by Governor Fayemi. In the past, probe panels were set up by the government to cover up criminal activities of public officers.

“In the course of my human rights work spanning over three decades I have had the privilege of defending the fundamental rights of both Governor Kayode Fayemi and Honourable Opeyemi Bamidele when they were violated by certain principalities.To that extent, neither of them has the moral right to prevent me from defending other victims of human rights abuse. In particular, Dr Fayemi has never suggested to me to maintain silence over criminality or impunity in Ekiti State or anywhere for that matter.

“But since the allegation of “criminal silence” exists in the warped imagination of some misguided political elements they have deliberately suppressed my regular condemnation of violent attacks in Ekiti State under the Kayode Fayemi government. Notwithstanding that the allegation is spurious and uncalled for I wish to advise such characters to Google the following publications:

“(1) “Killings: Falana threatens FG, firms with law suit”

“(2) “Falana seeks arrest, prosecution of culprits”

“(3) “Falana condemns Iyin Ekiti violence”.

“Readers may also check my positions over the unlawful killings at Ifaki, Ijan, Ikere, Ilawe, Aramoko, Omuo, Ado, Erijiyan which occured from 2003-2013. Apart from ensuring that indicted suspects were charged to court I made the state government to pay compensation in deserving cases. In other matters I filed suits in courts pro bono publico to compel the police to prosecute powerful murder suspects. In taking up such cases I risked my life and personal liberty.

“Unfortunately, some of the murder cases pending at the State High court holden at Ado Ekiti were compromised on the alter of political expediency by unprincipled politicians. In the only case where conviction was secured a politician who was jailed for the cold murder of two students at the college of education, Ikere was pardoned in 2009. The suspects who were standing trial for the cold murder of Tunde Omojola and Dr. Ayo Daramola were granted bail in questionable circumstances.

“Without prejudice to the ongoing police investigation into the killing at Emure I shall cause my letter to the Inspector-General of Police to be published within the next 48 hours. But those who sincerely believe in the sanctity of the life of every citizen must rise above partisan politics to demand for the prosecution of all criminal suspects in Ekiti State. It is my fervent conviction that we can take advantage of the barbaric murder of Foluso Ogundare to say NEVER AGAIN in Ekiti State!

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Lessons I learned in teamwork

Originally posted on Rotary Voices:

130912_enricoBy Enrico Giuseppe Ferro, past president of the Yale University Rotaract Club, New Haven, USA, winner of the 2013 “Rotaract Outstanding Project Award for the USA, Canada and Caribbean Districts” 

In 2009, I took part in a Rotary Youth Exchange to Canandaigua, New York, USA, which taught me many things about teamwork.

I worked side by side with Rotarians and other exchange students to develop strategies to enhance our service efforts. We held themed-cuisine nights where we cooked and sold food native to our home countries to raise money for projects and shared ideas on how to promote each other’s good works. I realized how through Rotary I could work with people from many different perspectives to tackle urgent problems in our communities.

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Scientists Come Very Close To Anti-HIV Vaccine

Scientists form Oregon Health and Science University developed a vaccine that may be able to fight HIV.

Their new study suggests that a vaccine for the monkey equivalent of HIV appears to eradicate the virus.
Research published in the journal Nature has shown that vaccinated monkeys can eradicate equivalent of HIV infection, which is called Simian Immunodeficiency Virus (SIV) and is 100 times more deadly then HIV, from their bodies.
Infected monkeys usually die within two years but in nine of the 16 inoculated monkey the virus did not take hold thanks to the vaccine.
Rhesus macaque monkeys were firstly vaccinated and then exposed them to SIV. The researchers found that at first the infection began to establish and spread, but then the monkeys’ bodies started to respond, searching out and destroying all signs of the virus. The nine monkey that successfully responded to the vaccine were still clear of infection between one-and-a-half and three years later.
The researchers now want to use a similar approach to test a vaccine for HIV in humans.
Prof Louis Picker, from the Vaccine and Gene Therapy Institute at Oregon Health and Science University, said:
“It’s always tough to claim eradication – there could always be a cell which we didn’t analyse that has the virus in it. But for the most part, with very stringent criteria… there was no virus left in the body of these monkeys.”

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Scientists Come Very Close To Anti-HIV Vaccine

Scientists form Oregon Health and Science University developed a vaccine that may be able to fight HIV.

Their new study suggests that a vaccine for the monkey equivalent of HIV appears to eradicate the virus.
Research published in the journal Nature has shown that vaccinated monkeys can eradicate equivalent of HIV infection, which is called Simian Immunodeficiency Virus (SIV) and is 100 times more deadly then HIV, from their bodies.
Infected monkeys usually die within two years but in nine of the 16 inoculated monkey the virus did not take hold thanks to the vaccine.
Rhesus macaque monkeys were firstly vaccinated and then exposed them to SIV. The researchers found that at first the infection began to establish and spread, but then the monkeys’ bodies started to respond, searching out and destroying all signs of the virus. The nine monkey that successfully responded to the vaccine were still clear of infection between one-and-a-half and three years later.
The researchers now want to use a similar approach to test a vaccine for HIV in humans.
Prof Louis Picker, from the Vaccine and Gene Therapy Institute at Oregon Health and Science University, said:
“It’s always tough to claim eradication – there could always be a cell which we didn’t analyse that has the virus in it. But for the most part, with very stringent criteria… there was no virus left in the body of these monkeys.”

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Group flays Ekiti’s N35.98bn debt.

The Ayo Fayose Campaign Organisation on Tuesday accused the Kayode Fayemi-led administration of financial recklessness.

The group in a statement by its Director-General, Mr. Owoseni Ajayi, stated, “The huge debt owed by the state resulted from borrowings and profligate behaviour of the Fayemi administration.

“The report of the Fiscal Responsibility Commission, which claimed that the state was owing N35.98bn as at December 31, 2011, has vindicated Fayose.”

“Few months back, Fayose raised the alarm over unnecessary borrowings and profligate lifestyle of the government warning that it could lead the state to the deep valley of debt.

“Fayemi had deployed billions of naira to repair failed portions of the roads constructed by Fayose eight years ago to the neglect of teachers, local government workers, judiciary workers and health workers who have protested through strike actions over the non-payment of salary increments and other entitlements.”

It noted that the Fayemi administration did not construct new roads in the state, saying, “Fayose, who governed the state between May 2003 and October 16, 2006, did not borrow a dime.”

The group urged Ekiti people to ask the governor how the bond was spent.

But the Ekiti State Government on Tuesday said that N3.4bn was spent on projects under the Millennium Development Goals, while N600m was spent on the provision of infrastructure in Ijero, Ikole and Ekiti East Local Government Areas in 2011.

The Special Adviser to    the governor on MDGs, Mrs. Bunmi Dipo-Salami, said this during an inter-ministerial press briefing in Ado Ekiti.

She appealed to the Federal Government to release its counterpart fund for quick commencement of the  projects.

She said, “The sum of N444m is expected as counterpart fund from the Federal Government to initiate projects under  the 2012 MDGs programme.”

On rural development, the Special Adviser, said six local councils – Gbonyin, Ise/Orun, Emure, Irepodun/Ifelodun, Ido/Osi and Moba – would benefit from the 2013 MDGs infrastructural development scheme.

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