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.


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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Incoming district governors excited to ‘be a gift’

Originally posted on Rotary Voices:

150119_themeBy Ryan Hyland, Rotary editorial staff

Incoming district governors enthusiastically greeted the presidential theme for 2015-16, Be a Gift to the World, during a dinner 18 January at the International Assembly, Rotary’s annual training event for future district leaders. RI President-elect K.R. “Ravi” Ravindran is asking Rotary members to use their talents, expertise, and leadership in the coming year to transform the lives of others.

We caught up with incoming district governors after the theme was announced to get their thoughts.

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Rotary Peace Fellow: storytelling can build peace

Originally posted on Rotary Voices:

Kiran Sirah speaks at the International Assembly 21 January. Photo by Alyce Henson/Rotary International Kiran Sirah speaks at the International Assembly 22 January. Photo by Alyce Henson/Rotary International

Kiran Sirah is the executive director of the International Storytelling Center in Jonesborough, Tennessee. He graduated from the Rotary Peace Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2013 with a Master of Arts in Folklore. The following is a excerpt from his speech 22 January at the International Assembly, a training event for incoming leaders in San Diego, California, USA.

There is a saying: The world is like a book, and those who do not travel will only ever have read the first page. For me storytelling is a way of traveling the world. Why? Because it enables us to be inspired, to follow our dreams, and to realize that our stories belong to a world full of stories just waiting to unfold.

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The amazing role of Australians in eradicating polio

Originally posted on Rotary Voices:

Susanne Rea and a friend during her visit to India. Susanne Rea and a friend during her visit to India.

By Susanne Rea, past president of the Rotary Club of Cairns Sunrise, Queensland, Australia

I was four-years-old when I contracted polio. I was fortunate to have made a complete recovery, but defeating polio has remained personal for me. I am also proud to be an Aussie. You can bet I was cheering loudly during the 2014 Rotary International Convention in Sydney when our Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, announced a pledge of $100 million over five years to help eradicate polio.

On Australia Day (26 January), I reflected on the significant contribution Australians have had on polio eradication. Past RI President Clem Renouf (1978-79) had the vision to involve Rotary in ridding the world of this crippling disease. Rotary member Jenny Horton has spent her life on the front lines, immunizing children against polio in endemic countries.

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The ‘Rotaractors’

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Youth, Fight.

Every year thousands of graduates are turn out for
whom there are no jobs. Nigerian streets are
littered with youth hawker and roamabout who
ordinarily would have found gainful employment in
some enterprises; or would have demonstrated
their skills and resourcefulness if there are enabling
environments and reliable management structures
on ground. Nigerian Unemployment can be graded
into two categories: first, the older unemployed
who lost their jobs through retrenchment,
redundancy, or bankruptcy; and second, the
younger unemployed, most of whom have never
been employed! But for the purpose of this paper,
the latter shall solely be our swivel of deliberation.
Awake (1983) stated that meaningful employment
could bring happiness, makes one wanted and
needed. It further argued that people acquire
certain skills so that they could be employed and
be able to provide for their needs and that of the
family, but unemployment seems to step in and
dash this hope. For the purpose of this paper, I
shall majorly dwell more on Youth unemployment
in our Nation.
UNEMPLOYMENT – Refers to a socio-economic
situation in which persons who have no work are
able and willing to work and also actively seeking
for work have no work.
The International Labor Organization (ILO) defines
the unemployed as numbers of the economically
active population who are without work but
available for and seeking work, including people
who have lost their jobs and those who have
voluntarily left work (World Bank, 1998:63).
YOUTH UNEMPLOYMENT: Could be described as
the conglomerate of youths with diverse
background, willing and able to work, but cannot
find any; or cannot find the type of job that they
are trained to do, and which they will be proud to
do as their area of expertise.
CRIME – Refers to any wrong which affects the
interest of the society as a whole and for which the
offender is liable to punishment.
POVERTY – This is the deprivation of the basic
necessities of life. A state where individuals lack
food, shelter ad clothing is termed poverty.
Unemployment now creates a serious problem in
the society. It affects the economic and socio-
political life of the society. In other countries in
North African like Tunisia, Egypt and Libya where
dictators have held sway for over three decades,
people have revolted against the system. Though
these countries can be said to be less democratic
than Nigeria, yet the living condition of the people
in real economic terms is better (Abati Reuben).
Unemployment Rate in Nigeria as reported by the
National Bureau of Statistics 31.1% in 2000; 13.6%
in 2001; 12.6% in 2002; 14.8% in 2003; 13.4% in
2004; 11.9% in 2005; 13.7% in 2006; 14.6% in
2007; 14.9% in 2008 and 19.7% in 2009. Nigeria
Unemployment Rate averaged 14.60 Percent from
2006 until 2011, reaching an all time high of 23.90
Percent in December of 2011 and a record low of
5.30 Percent in December of 2006. It was recently
On the 9th of May, The Statistician-General,
National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), Dr. Yemi Kale,
put the current rate of unemployment in Nigeria at
23.9 per cent. This is just only to hope if it is not
another achieved progress on paper. In
Nigeria, the unemployment rate measures the
number of people actively looking for a job as a
percentage of the labour force. It is a known truth
that Poverty/youth unemployment rates remain
high in Nigeria, particularly in the rural areas….
World Bank in its ‘Nigeria Economic Report’ May,
2013. Nigeria has been experiencing is growth
without development in infrastructure, human
capital and social needs. There is just no way a
country experiencing high inflation, unemployment
and poverty can be said to be developing even if
its economic growth is in double digits. A rich
Nation full of poor people, over 70percent of the
Nigerian populace live below the poverty line as a
direct implication of massive unemployment, over
40million are unemployed!
Just recently over 150 thousand Nigerians jostled
for a job where only about less than 5000 opening
are available. Sadly, some even lost their lives in
the process! No gain saying that youths who are
idly the strength of the Nation had/have found
themselves using such energies exhibiting heinous
crimes… Boko Haram insurgency, kidnapping,
yahoo yahoo (Internet free fraud), political
thuggery, armed robbery, motor park touts among
many other. The Government has only the mission
of building empires for their sons, wives and
mistress, even the ones yet on born. All these at
the detriment of job creation. Most female youths
looking for jobs must have strong PR’s (have
sexual relations with the boss) before getting
employed, some won’t even get it after such
submissions. We all know that most of the best
brains produced on the green land has found their
ways to ‘greener pasture’ where their potentials
are fully exploited with good jobs and brighter
future. Those who would have aided the growth of
our dear Nation, Nigeria are doing so with other
Nations. Hmmmm!
The bitter truth is that our educational system has
encouraged over reliance on the Government for
Job seeking applicant. We must move away from
that paradigm if we must attain successful
heights. Youths must begin to fight, not physically!
Intellectually to better their lives via job creations…
Think! Think! Think! Though, might not be easy but
with prayers, determination, doggedness, fighting
spirit, it can be achievable. Fight for your future, be
innovative, be employers of labour… No matter
how little, start something! Who says in few years
you can’t loan money to the Government? Last
year I interviewed with NTA Ado-Ekiti and the
interviewer asked that as leaders of tomorrow… I
told him we YOUTHS ain’t leaders of tomorrow
keep fighting until we make better things out of
Be good.
Oyewole Michael Rolex
Writes from Ado-Ekiti

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South-West Deciders Must Not Make Boko- Haram.

As the Secretary of the Nigerian Youth Movement
(NYM), Chief Obafemi Awolowo in a memorandum
Co – signed by Mr. Ernest Ikoli, the Chairman
Nigerian Youth Movement demanded three things
from the Secretary of State for the colonies,
Colonel Oliver Stanley when he visited Nigeria in
September 1943, which were;
In 1955, Awolowo started overseas
scholarshipolarship and within a period of four
years expanded to 2000.
Awo’s Action Group (AG) in its mission statement
published on the 24th, April 1951 outlined the
party’s objectives. The second of which was ” The
Education of all school going age and the general
enlightenment of all illiterate adults and illiterate
children of shool going age”.
Are they truly following the footsteps of Chief
Obafemi Awolowo?
It is worthy of note that there was fierce
opposition of this policy on education by political
opponents in 1954, coupled with the slim resources
available in the confers of Government. Funny,
political opponents could only present positions
that nothing good emanates from free schemes,
and even tagged the education policy as ‘Utopian
policy’. As at 1954, the total western Government
revenue was estimated in the fiscal at only
5,000,00 pounds for both capital and recurrent
expenditures. As little as this resources were then,
he endured via the help of his competent, scholarly
and haughty (Awo’s usual way of describing him)
minister of Education, Prof. S. O. Awokoya that the
policy not only became a reality but also grew
stronger and better as years got by. A time when
there was no oil boom. South west deciders has
no excuse whatsoever in not making Education at
all level free.
Today, most our known leaders enjoyed from
Awo’s free Education policy. Chief M K O Abiola
was a beneficiary too. A lot whom would not have
ordinarily seen the four walls of a classroom are
today erudite scholars and policy deciders.
Question we must ask them is that; have they
(Deciders, leaders in the helm of affairs, kingmaker,
policitians) made efforts to transcend free
education they largely benefitted from unto this
generation and that to come? I grin when most of
our contemporary leaders lay claim, mostly publicly
to be of Awo’s tutelage and legacies. Obviously,
they are in large contract to this claim (s).
Evaluation of the cost of Education in all
Universities in the southwest proves other wise to
their claim of emulating Awo’s style of leadership.
This is an important swivel to this discuss. Many
of them often hide under the guise of low
allocation from the Federal Purse and that
Government can no longer fund Education, yet they
grow flowers worth milions of naira, engage in trips
in tune of millions of naira, build recreation centres
that costs millions of naira among many other
frivolously en backed projects. But, they find it
difficult to spend less in subsidising education,
giving of mass scholarship to study abroad and yet
will lay claims to be of Awo’s legacy. How many of
our deciders even have kids in public schools?
Awo’s children all attended public schools, Segun
and Tola attended Ageni Methodist School, Ibadan
while Ayodele and Tokunbo went to Demonstration
school also in Ibadan.
I am most intrigued by the recent development in
the Northen part of Nigeria, I think they are up to
something or they have woken up to realize the
importance of Education or Awo’s true spirit has
reincarnated in Northern leaders! Thousands of
students, mostly youths are sent abroad on yearly
basis to acquire Education and exposure to modern
ways, on scholarship basis. I doff my heart! I dare
to say that in few years, if the trend continues,
then the South Western who has deprived her
indigenes of cheap and accessible education might
intellectually be on the back seat. The Easterners
are by nature business oriented and peripatetic
people who can be visibly noticed doing trade in all
parts of the nation. This is more or less a trade
mark, an average easterner would love to lean the
trade of business more than to acquire education.
A little child is already put in a shop all alone to
administer and attend to customer, which mostly is
excellently done. A feat some university graduates
cannot achieve. South Western deciders must as a
mater of urgency wake up to this clarion call
because drop outs ( due to exorbitant fee hike) are
fast flooding the streets. As put by Henry
Brougham that “To educate a Nation makes its
people easy to lead but difficult to drive, easy to
govern but impossible to enslave”.
In advanced Countries, private companies,
individuals and the entire public fund and support
education and academic research work. Our
deciders would only gather friends and cronies to
dinner just to raise money to seek elective
positions, for political campaign. Why can’t they
also do same to raise funds to properly make our
institutions function properly and competitively with
Schools abroad? More so, to subsidise the cost of
tuition fees. It is disheartening that deciders in
Southwest only harness connections and
intelligence when they are the first beneficiary.
Statistics has shown that in the last recent years,
that the no of admission seekers into higher
institutions of learning in the South Western states
has reduced drastically with the exception of
Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba – Akoko in
Ondo State. Professor Akin Mabogunje opines that
‘free education did not imply that no one would
ever have to pay for it but free access to education
whether their parents could afford it or not’. South
Western deciders must as a matter of urgency
wake up to this clarion call because drop outs
( due to exorbitant fee hike) are fast flooding the
streets. As put by Henry Brougham that “To
educate and Nation makes its people easy to lead
but difficult to drive, easy to govern but impossible
to enslave”.
During Awo’s admisstrative era of seeing to the
affairs if the western region, his passion, desire,
sincerity of purpose, zeal and unwavering
enthusiasm in making Education free was
conspicuously noticed by various communities in
the west. Inevitably, this gave rise communities
exploring means of aiding Awo’s vision via building
schools, etc. We as a people from the generation of
intellectuals should vociferously stand against all
policies that makes education difficult to access by
the common man. And, endeavour to throw our
unflinching support for/on policies and deciders in
the southwest who has sincerest interest on free
education and scholarship schemes. The deciders
of today and potential southwest deciders must
consciously imbibe the word of Bryant McGill that
“Life has a way of shinning on people who stand in
the sunshine of kind actions”. We quote and
eulogise Chief Obafemi Awolowo almost every day
many years after his demise. Indeed, all his kind
actions are still shinning.
”Youth in this region are not lazy, or are they
recalcitrant. They posses thirst and has strong zeal
to acquire education because they are from an
ancestors of learned mind and erudite scholars. No
wonder we are often referred to as the ‘book’ of
the Nation. Our deciders should exploit all
reasonable means to make education cheaper and
more scholarship schemes accessible and available
in the interest of our future as a Yoruba sect and
for posterity sake.
South West leaders (leaders) should not engage in
means that will make Boko (School) an Haram
Thomas Jefferson says, Knowledge will forever
govern ignorance.
Oyewole Michael Rolex
writes from Ado-Ekiti.

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Re-Elect GEJ or we break up!

What will quickly crop into the minds of most
readers, maybe because of the heading of this
article, might be, this is another campaign for GEJ.
For the purpose of records, this is not and NEVER
consciously intended to be. It is more so, not a
statement of threat or a word from trepidation.
“If the 2011 rigging repeats itself in 2015, there will
be violence in the Nation, ala, “the dog and baboon
will be soaked in the same blood”. This is the
direct translation of “kare Jini Biri Jini”, a
statement credited to Gen. Buhari and was backed
by Northern Governors on May 18, 2012.” The
above statement can be easily associated with the
same fellow who before the 2011 generally
elections assured Nigerians that the country would
be ungovernable if he’s not elected the president
of the Nation. Truth be told; weather he meant it
or not, violence erupted in some parts of the north
after the announcement of the election results,
which was clearly not in his favour. Lots of lives
taken and properties were lost and destroyed!
I’m strongly of the opinion that the remnants of
the then election violence gave birth, or rather
triggered and aided the formulation of Boko Haram,
which was led by Mohammed Yusuf. Violence
started in the North on April 2011. Today, it is on
record that this insurgents has wasted thousands
of lives, displaced many, destroyed lots of
valuables and most definitely made the
Government led by GEJ indeed ungovernable.
Because of the hunger of a few politicians from the
North to cling to power, Boko Haram at inception
of insurgency was delicately encouraged, for none
the leaders spoke openly to condemn the series of
attacks on christian religious houses, social and
police formations. One would naturally conclude
that BH is politically motivated. The resultant
effects of this menace is visibly clear. And, we are
still suffering from this madness. This sect has
now gone to the level where it can’t be curbed,
they now align with international islamic terror
groups like Ansaru, Al-Shabaab, Al-Qaeda, ISIS
etc. Boko Haram sect was recently named the 7th
most richest terrorist group in the world.
Having established a little of the genesis of Boko
Haram. Whose pivot can easily be traced to the
power clamour! Clearly, now, no one can decipher
their interest and what they truly kill for.
In Late June, 2009. Late President Umaru Yar’Adua
in other to stop militancy in the Niger Delta
announced an amnesty plan that includes, cash
payments, scholarships, skill acquisition training,
immunity from prosecution to any militant who
willingly submits his arms and cease fire within a
60 day period. A region that claimed to have been
marginalised, cheated upon and left under-
developed despite being the power (Financial) bank
of the Nation. During this period, oil production
reduced by 25-35 percent as a result of the
incessant activities of these militants, which were;
kidnapping of oil workers/expatriate, sabotage, oil
siphoning rackets, establishment of illegal refineries
and destruction via bombing of oil pipeline
installations. But for the amnesty given, the Nation
would have bled financially and all her components
parts will drastically suffer in almost all
Candidly, come 2015, it’s either GEJ is returned to
Aso rock elected or the country would inevitably
suffer. How? You may ask. Hear this (Quoted
directly from Asari Dokubo’s words); “My support
for Jonathan will be biased, because Charity begins
at home. Monkey no fine, but im mama like am.
Goodluck Jonathan would be president in 2015″.
“Weather they contest or they don’t. If they say
the blood of the dogs and the baboons will be
soaked in the streets, or salt water in the streets,
we will help them in blood in the streets”. On the
9th of September 2013, a group under the aegis of
Niger Delta Progressive Alliance (NDPA) in a
statement signed by the group’s President General,
Mr. Anognemi Fedude and General Secretary,
Akpata Okorodudu, said: “But in the event of any
attempt by any individual or group to deprive him
(Jonathan) of his rights, we have resolved to
match force with force, even if it lead to Nigeria’s
disintegration”. As a good student of history, one
would not naturally concluded that this threats are
empty, null and void.
It is no longer new to the entire Nation the
resultant effects of the activities of the Niger Delta
militants few years ago. I’m quite sure that the
Nation has suffered in the hands of Boko Haram
insurgency, but I’m of the believe that we shall
suffer more if GEJ is not re-elected. Weather it
would be called retaliatory or not, I know for sure if
GEJ losses at the polls come 2015, the Niger Delta
militants will also go back to the creeks to make
the Nation ungorvenable too. Which will be a more
deadly blow on us, because it will encapsulate loss
of lives and revenue. Or do you think Nigeria will
be peaceful if GEJ loses in 2015? A pay back to
will North will be imminent. Reading the various
threats and counter threats flying around, it seems
it is a battle for power between the North and the
South-South come 2015. We do know that Nigeria
as a Nation solely depends on oil, which is gotten
from this region.
I am not a prophet of doom but I’ve often posited
that we must always face reality when it comes to
issues like this. Also, We must learn to get out
political calculations right and then pitch our tent
with reasoning that has little or no danger ahead.
For me, the Nigeria Sate is bigger than us all.
Hence, irrespective of our cultural affiliations,
political beliefs, religious umbrella and opinions, we
must all come together to ensure the interest of
the future is paramount.
Be good.
Oyewole Michael Rolex
Writes from Ado-Ekiti

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