NEW YEAR MESSAGE TO THE NATION FROM PRESIDENT GOODLUCK EBELE JONATHAN, GCFRDECEMBER 31, 2013Dear Compatriots,I greet and felicitate with you all as we enter the year 2014 which promises to be a momentous one for our country for several reasons, including the fact that it is also the year of our great nation’s centenary celebrations. I join you all in giving thanks to God Almighty for guiding us and our beloved nation safely through all the challenges of the outgoing year to the beginning of 2014.Exactly 100 years ago today, on January 1, 1914, the British Colonial authorities amalgamated what was then the separate Protectorates of Southern Nigeria and Northern Nigeria, giving birth to the single geopolitical entity known as Nigeria. For us therefore, today is not just the beginning of a new year, but the end of a century of national existence and the beginning of another. It is a moment for sober reflection and for pride in all that is great about Nigeria.Whatever challenges we may have faced, whatever storms we may have confronted and survived, Nigeria remains a truly blessed country, a country of gifted men and women who continue to distinguish themselves in all spheres of life, a country whose diversity remains a source of strength. We pay tribute today, as always to our founding fathers and mothers, and all the heroes and heroines whose toil and sweat over the century made this country what it is today.As I noted, a few days ago, the amalgamation of 1914 was certainly not a mistake but a blessing. As we celebrate 100 years of nationhood, we must resolve to continue to work together as one, united people, to make our country even greater.I assure you that our administration remains fully committed to the progressive development of our country and the consolidation of peace, unity and democratic governance in our fatherland. Despite several continuing domestic and global challenges, for us in Nigeria, the year 2013 witnessed many positive developments which we will strive to build upon in 2014.We have diligently carried forward the purposeful and focused implementation of our agenda for national transformation in priority areas such as power, the rehabilitation and expansion of national infrastructure, agricultural development, education and employment generation.You may recall that our 2013 Budget was on the theme, “Fiscal Consolidation with Inclusive Growth”, and I emphasized the need for us to “remain prudent with our fiscal resources and also ensure that the Nigerian economy keeps growing and creating jobs”. I am pleased to report that we have stayed focused on this goal.Our national budget for 2014 which is now before the National Assembly is specifically targeted at job creation and inclusive growth. We are keenly aware that in spite of the estimated 1.6 million new jobs created across the country in the past 12 months as a result of our actions and policies, more jobs are still needed to support our growing population. Our economic priorities will be stability and equitable growth, building on the diverse sectors of our economy.In 2013, we commenced implementation of the National Industrial Revolution Plan (NIRP) aimed at industrializing Nigeria and diversifying our economy into sectors such as agro-processing, light manufacturing, and petrochemicals. We have also negotiated a strong Common External Tariff (CET) agreement with our ECOWAS partners which would enable us to protect our strategic industries where necessary.
Former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, has raised the alarm over poverty rate in the country, calling on the Federal Government to rise up to the task of governance.According to him, elected and appointed officials must be proactive in tackling issues affecting the people, as they have exercised enough patience with successive administrations.In a New Year message by his Media Office in Abuja on Monday, Atiku, while congratulating Nigerians, thanked God for keeping the nation together despite its myriad of security, political and socio-economic challenges.“Despite our challenges in the area of security, infrastructure, politics and economy, I am grateful to God for keeping us together as one,” he said.“It is my hope that we all will face the future of our country with confidence and fervent hope that God will grant us the better tomorrow we are working for.”The Turaki Admawa, urged leaders at different levels to brace up to the challenges of nation-building and economic prosperity for the nation and its people.Continuing, Atiku noted that “With hard work and dedication, elected leaders and public servants can rise to the expected challenges of national development and economic prosperity to redress the deepening poverty of ordinary Nigerians in 2014.“Public office holders should not take the magnanimity of the Nigerian people for granted,” he added.
A national leader of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu has urged Nigerians to embrace his party, as it promises to be a harbinger of a much needed change in Nigeria.In a goodwill message to Nigerians as they mark the transition from 2013 to 2014, Tinubu attempted to differentiate the APC from the ruling PDP, saying that the APC “is a vehicle to generate and accelerate the process of change towards the most beneficial end for the greatest number of our people.”His party, he said, will not mimic the PDP.Calling the PDP a ‘robber’ government, with ‘deaf leaders’, Tinubu urged Nigerians to hearken to the message of change that the APC has brought and to embrace the party as it seeks a change of leadership in Nigeria.” We may not be perfect but we are dedicated to the well-being of something far greater and more important than ourselves. We seek a better Nigeria for all Nigerians. Thus, we are no more like the PDP than a broom is like the dirt it sweeps away.“We do not copy the deafness of the ruling party. We shall orchestrate a new music of enlightenment, progress and hope for this country. As it moves nearer, the sound of imminent change will become music to the many. Those in power will dread it because the tune they want to hear comes not of the people’s happiness but from their misery.”Bola TinubuBola TinubuTinubu cited two developments this year that ought to compel Nigerians to dump the PDP: the disappearance of $11billion from the Federal earnings, being unremitted income by the NNPC and President Jonathan’s seeming casual, cavalier way of dealing with the Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria’s north eastern states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa.“Recently the media published reports of a letter from the CBN governor alleging a $50 billion dollar shortfall in revenues NNPC deposited into the federation account. After a frenzied dash to reconcile the irreconcilable accounting books kept by this government, it was reported that only approximately $11 billion was unaccounted!“We have dropped so far that somehow losing $11 billion is now a sign of fiscal rectitude! This is tragic.“In an atmosphere of good governance, this amount would never grow legs and walk away unnoticed. If it did, senior officials would have been duly escorted to the police station for criminal investigation. Under this administration, the matter is swept aside as if a minor thing, like a broken tea cup on the floor. If this government can treat a missing $11 billion dollars like a minor accounting infraction, much more than a teacup needs to be swept away.“This robber government needs to feel the broom and the sweep of change as well.“Regarding Boko Haram and our challenges of domestic security, President Jonathan gave a recent statement that showed no urgency or initiative. Instead, he told Nigerians to be happy because things could be worse. At least, we are not like Syria or other war-ravaged lands, he said.“In the face of the nation’s greatest security challenge since the Civil War, this is the presidential policy: to lay low and measure your failure relative to the failure of other nations.
FOLLOWING the promotions and postings of 27 major generals by the Nigerian Army Council, indications have emerged that the Army authorities have issued terminal letters to 30 generals, preparatory to their leaving the force between today, 31st December and 31st January 2014. Among the generals that have so far received the letters are some principal staff officers at army and defence headquarters, commandants of tri-service institutions, corps-commanders, as well as those of Army-owned training institutions.
The Defence Headquarters said yesterday that 63 Boko Haram members were killed last weekend during ground and air operations on their bases in Bama, Borno State and Lake Chad. Two soldiers were wounded in encounters with the insurgents. Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau boasted in a new video that the sect will wreak more havoc on Nigerians. He also derided the $7million bounty on his head by the United States. The military claimed that the first clash occurred at Alafa Forest, where 56 insurgents were killed. The Nation could not verify the facts independently.
Chairman, Senate Committee on Education, Senator Uche Chukwumerije,
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s allegation that President Goodluck Jonathan is training snipers keeps generating the heat. Although, Obasanjo did not name anybody, the founder of the militant Niger Delta People’s Volunteer Force (NDPV), Alhaji Mujahid Asari-Dokubo, thinks he is the one the former president was referring to. Asari-Dokubo was recently detained in the Republic of Benin. He said yesterday that he was not training snipers either in Nigeria or abroad for the presidency.
The presiding overseer of the Latter Rain Church and the convener of Save Nigeria Group, Pastor Tunde Bakare has lambasted the Presidency for giving him a cow as gift this Christmas.He told his congregation in Lagos, southwest Nigeria, on Sunday that he did not solicit for the cow which he said was dumped at the office of the Save Nigeria Group, SNG, in Lagos by people from the Presidency.According to Bakare, “I had a cow from the Presidency. I didn’t ask for it. They dropped it at the Save Nigeria Group office… But is it cow that we need? If you check their books, one cow could have been bought for $5,000. The rest of the money is pocketed! We don’t need cow, we need a country that will move forward!”He added that “they prevailed on me not to return it. Thanks for the cow, but no thanks! That means no cow for me next year (laughs). But we will have good roads, schools etc! We are the cause of our problems. We feel big when Mr President sends us hampers etc… We go to them for contracts etc… Until we change ourselves, we cannot expect change from those who lead us!”He said the way things are going, very soon people in power will be giving out elephants as gift during festive periods, saying it was wasteful to give such gifts when the money used in purchasing them could be used to provide hospitals, good roads, schools, etc.He announced that he was giving out the cow, adding that the problem with Nigeria was that the nation has low men in high places.
Report according to Sahara Reporters has discovered that the shady plan to sell off Nigeria’s four refineries to cronies of the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, has reached an advanced stage, with cronies of President Goodluck Jonathan and Petroleum Minister Diezani Alison-Madueke in line to snatch some of the best assets.Our highly reliable sources revealed that Jide Omokore, a prominent member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has been penciled down to “buy” one of two refineries in Port Harcourt in what a highly reliable source described as “a rushed privatization process.” Our sources, who are in the Presidency and oil sector respectively, also disclosed that the second refinery in Port Harcourt will be sold to Benny Peters, the owner of Aiteo Energy. Mr. Peters is one of the major beneficiaries from Nigeria’s notoriously fraudulent fuel subsidy payments. A well known crony of Ms. Alison-Madueke, he is also quite close to President Jonathan.The sources told SaharaReporters that the Warri refinery will be handed over to Igho Salome’s Televaras while the Kaduna refinery will go to Sahara Energy, an oil firm whose owners are also cronies of the Petroleum Minister.Industry experts have questioned the Federal Government’s rush to sell the refineries when the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) has not been passed by the National Assembly. The omnibus bill covers virtually every aspect of the oil industry and is currently being considered by the federal lawmakers. Various interest groups have protested and questioned several aspects of the proposed law.“By rushing to make a pronouncement on the sale of the refineries, it does not need a genius to know that Alison-Madueke is up to something,” a source at the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) told SaharaReporters. He added: “If you go to the Bureau for Public Enterprises (BPE) today, honest officials will tell you that they are under pressure to proceed with the sale. The agenda is very clear.”An official at the Ministry of Petroleum Resources said the major worry in the ministry was that most of those positioned toemerge as “preferred bidders” do not have any history in themanagement of refineries.“Even though Madam (Diezani) may not listen to anybody, we believe that she should allow other players to come into the sector. All these favored guys are getting the juiciest assets in the country. The feeling we have here is that they are just fronting for her. She is basically going to sell these assets to herself. It makes sense to throw the process very open and allow new players to come in,” said the official, who added, “I am already a marked man because of the critical questions I have raised on these things.”Last month, SaharaReporters had first exposed the scheme to hand over the national assets to friends and associates of the president and minister by any means necessary. Our sources revealed that Ms. Alison-Madueke had rigged the process to enable her cronies to emerge as the preferred bidders.
President Goodluck Jonathan has described the amalgamation of the Northern and Southern Protectorates in 1914 as an act of God.Jonathan, who joined the faithful at the Apostolic Faith Church, Jabi in Abuja, for the last Sunday service of the year, however, identified lack of unity and love as the greatest problem facing Nigeria.He likened the nation’s challenges to those of the Israelites when they were about to move out of Egypt to the Promised Land.The President said, “As a nation, we have our challenges. Anytime I look at the history of Nigeria and the challenges we face, I remember a part of the old testament in the Bible that talks about the Israelites when they decided to move out of Egypt to the Promised Land. We have something quite similar.“As you are getting closer to the promised land, you meet more obstacles and thank God for the sermon we have heard here today(Sunday). Even the songs showed that the greatest problem we have are lack of unity and love.“Nigeria was amalgamated by our colonial masters in 1914. By January 1 next year, Nigeria will be 100 years . I totally agree with the minister that it was not by chance that we are one as a nation, it was ordained by God.“If God didn’t will it that way and at that point, the North and South would not have come together. The details of the North and South coming together make Nigeria a very great country.“I used to say that Nigeria is great not because of its oil. We have countries that produce more oil than Nigeria but nobody talks about them.“We have countries that have multi-billion dollars in their reserves and nobody talks about them but here we are, just talking about $40bn in our reserves , yet the biggest and smallest countries talk about Nigeria. Why? It is Because of the diversity from the North to the South, the human and natural resources, the potential and the population that we have.“ So, Nigeria is a country that has a special blessing from God. It is therefore left to us to appreciate God and continue to pray for his intervention for this country to continue to be great.”Jonathan again promised to bequeath a different Nigeria to the next generation.He said his administration was