Tuesday, April 28, 2009
The Resident Electoral Commissioner of Ekiti State, Ayoka Olusola Adebayo, who quit her job Tuesday at 11.00am in Abuja, said shady deals in the rerun election process of the state gave her no choice but to resign from her post.
Latest news reaching us indicate that the Ekiti state REC who was reported to have resigned and flown out of the country is about now meeting with the INEC Chairman, Professor Maurice Iwu.
We also saw a copy of her resignation letter.
Earlier, we heard some women went naked in Ekiti state to protest the stalemate and delay in releasing the election results.
Monday, April 27, 2009
Meanwhile both the AC and PDP are claiming victories.
The REC of Ekiti is also nowhere to be found yet, though reports indicate he is undergoing treatment.
A lot of people have been molested and intimidated using even state machinery such as the police.
It will be interesting to find out who wins after all the drama.
For up-to-date news on Ekiti elections, follow http://www.twitter.com/ekitrr on twitter.
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Monday, April 20, 2009
The duel of the Oligarchs reached a denouement Thursday, April 16, 2009 when the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), absolved Alhaji Aliko Dangote of any wrong-doing over the recent shares scam that pitted him against his erstwhile friend and business mogul, Mr. Femi Otedola; with the latter accusing the former of colluding with Lagos stock broking firm, Nova Finance and Securities Ltd and its Managing Director, Mr. Eugene Anenih, to perpetrate the fraud.
Following a meeting with the stakeholders - AP Plc, Nova, Dangote, Nigerian Stock Exchange, Central Securities Clearing System Ltd (CSCS) and Afribank Registrars Ltd, the SEC said in a statement Thursday that: “Nova Finance and its managing director employed manipulative and deceptive devices and contrivances in its transactions on AP Plc shares between February 11 and March 20, 2009 contrary to rule 110(1) (d) of the Rules and Regulations of the Commission,” adding that: “Nova Finance and its managing director manipulated the market by engaging in transactions, which had the effects of lowering the price of AP shares on the Nigerian Stock Exchange, contrary to Section 106 of the ISA 2007.”
|Aliko Dangote and Femi Otedola: when the going was good…|
Although the SEC report acknowledged that “the managing director of Nova Finance had, within the period of eight weeks, consistently consummated cross-deals involving 50,000 units of AP shares per transaction between its company and Dangote’s accounts,” it concluded that it "did not find any evidence" to show that Dangote, a client of Nova, instructed the stock broking firm and its Managing Director, Anenih "to carry out any of the transactions in AP Plc, purportedly done on his behalf."
However, anomalies fortify the doubt that greeted the SEC final report. Close sources to Otedola told Huhuonline.com that Dangote played hardball and muzzled Anenih to retract earlier statements he had made to the SEC. Anenih, according to the SEC report claimed that he got oral mandate through telephone calls from Dangote to effect the transactions. But Dangote's representative, told the SEC neither Dangote nor any one acting on his behalf have any recollection of such conversations, arguing that Dangote, did not, at anytime, give any mandate to Nova to carry out the transactions.
Following this rebuttal, Anenih retracted his earlier statement that he received Alhaji Dangote's mandate to carry out the transactions. “The managing director of Nova Finance agreed that he did not have any mandate from Alhaji Aliko Dangote to carry out those transactions, contrary to Sections 98 and 99 of the Investments and Securities Act (ISA) 2007 and Rules 100(4) and 177 of the Commission’s Rules and Regulations, which required all capital market operators to maintain proper and adequate records of transactions,” the SEC report said. The unexplained volte face by Eugene Anenih has prompted speculation of foul play by Dangote. Sources close to Anenih who elected anonymity told Huhuonline.com that Anenih has just been made to pay the price as a scapegoat.
Little wonder, Otedola’s supporters dismissed Eugene Anenih’s roundabout turn and mea culpas as tele-guided by Dangote, saying the SEC should have subpoena Anenih’s phone records as part of the investigation of Dangote’s involvement in the share scam. They dismissed the SEC verdict absolving Dangote of wrong doing as a slap on the wrist, and wondered why the SEC found nothing wrong with the apparent conflict of interest involving Nova and Dangote (who also doubles as the NSE vice-president), besides, advising the NSE to “review its rules and procedures for appointing or electing its council members in order to ensure good corporate governance and avoid conflict of interest situations”.
If anyone had thought the bitter rivalry between the two tycoons will be over, then think again. The AP Plc shares scam cost Otedola an estimated $700 million. Otedola; hitherto Nigeria's only other billionaire in the Forbes list, has seen his net worth dropped from $1.2 billion to $500. Aliko Dangote is now the only Nigerian in this prestigious billionaires club. Huhuonline.com has learnt that Otedola has vowed to exact his revenge, blaming Dangote for the breaking a gentleman's agreement that claimed AP shareholders as victims, including Otedola himself. This potential clash of egos; what Forbes magazine qualified as a "settlement of personal scores" between the former friends has set the stage for the next chapter in the unfolding saga.
"When any of my customers wants to have sex with me without using condoms, I usually protest. Then we will strike a bargain and we will do it. He won't know that he is buying his death with his own money. However, there are many who will never have sex without using condoms. But I have a way of dealing with them. When I am having sex with such men, I usually shake my buttocks vigorously so as to burst the condom, and if the condom bursts and the man is carried away, he won't bother about fixing another condom".
These lines are taken from a pathetic story in The Sun newspaper of Saturday, April 18. They belong to a young Nigerian lady called Sandra, who has been served the wrong end of the stick by a crazy society where the future is uncertain even for young girls, and who has chosen to become an assassin in protest. There are probably many others like her whose stories move us to tears and frustration and for whom we feel neither disgust nor pity but sympathy. Sandra's story holds in one explosive capsule, many of the disturbing issues in the Nigerian society: the insecurity of lives and property, the lack of trauma care for victims of circumstances, the abortion of hopes, rape, prostitution, abortion, poverty, the failure of governance, and the likely effect of psychological and social violence on the society at large. Increasingly, everyday, Nigerians are disappointed by society, and in all ways, they turn upon and against each other; such spectacle of man's inhumanity to man, such display of social violence. And yet it is common to hear them proclaim "the grace of God" in their lives.
Sandra's story is shocking says Henry Umahi, the reporter of her story. Indeed it is. Four years ago, the future lay at her feet. She was 17, a virgin, and she had just been offered admission into the Delta State University, Abraka, to study Banking and Finance. Many young Nigerians love to study Banking and Finance. It is certainly not one of those courses of study that former President Olusegun Obasanjo considered useless. She must have dreamt of getting a job in a bank, with a good salary to go with it, nicely cut skirts and the self-confidence that comes with having made something out of one's life. But Nigerian roads are full of dangers.
She had travelled to Asaba to visit her elder brother, her only sibling, who obviously was willing to pay her school fees. Two days after, her brother died in a motor accident. Motor accident is an easy cause of death in Nigeria. The roads are bad. The drivers are reckless. The vehicles are mostly second hand, used vehicles from Europe and North America running on used and worn tyres that are not made for the tropics. Earlier this year, the FRSC reported that over 1.2 million persons died from motor accident-related injuries in 2008 alone! The hospitals are ill-equipped, there is no emergency rescue facility, and concerned passers-by who usually stop to help, have no clues about how to deal with emergencies and save lives. Nigerians survive on the roads, by "the grace of God". "In fact for me", says Sandra, "life had come to an abrupt end." But the worst was yet to come. "Another tragedy befell me on my way home to tell my poor mother. Our bus was hijacked by five armed men. They took the vehicle into the bush, robbed us and raped the women. I was one of those the bastards raped. At that time I was still a virgin. I had not known a man. It was a very ugly experience and it made me wonder what a cruel world we live in. It was so horrible, I passed out during the gruesome rape. I had pleaded with them, but they wouldn't let go. Before the attacks, I was already in sorrow and tears. It was the worst thing that could happen to anyone and it made me form an opinion about men."
Sandra couldn't tell anyone what had happened to her. Rape is one of the biggest problems in Nigeria, and the unfortunate thing is that the extant law and the fear of social stigma make it extremely difficult for women who have been so abused to get justice. Robbery on the highways is also rampant. Vehicles are waylaid by armed robbers and after looting cash and property, the hoodlums always end up raping the women. Rarely do the victims go to the police. Women are raped in police stations too by police officers and other uniformed men.
When soldiers raided Odi a few years ago, after sacking the community, they asked the women to line up and they raped them one after the other. The Punch newspaper published the photographs but there is no record of any soldier being punished for rape. These days, the newspapers are full of reports of rape: old men abuse young girls, campus cultists rape female students and female lecturers, fathers rape their daughters. The ones who get caught blame the Devil. The country is full of the devil's agents. Unless rape is properly criminalized by protecting the interest of the victim, the problem is bound to persist. The highways also need to become more secure.
Sandra couldn't "bring herself to tell anyone what happened, not even her mother", because she didn't want to be stigmatised. She couldn't seek help, because there are no counseling centres provided by the state. Then all of a sudden, she discovered that she was pregnant. She finally had to confide in her mother. She also chose to abort the pregnancy: those who insist that abortion is anti-God should read her story. She had no choice. Then, after the abortion, she discovered that she had been infected with the dreaded HIV. With her brother dead, there was no way she could take up the offer of admission into university. With the HIV-infection, she felt her world had come to an end. From being a virgin and a prospective university student, circumstances had conspired to turn her into a failure, all within six months.
When one of her friends later suggested that she could go to Lagos and become a commercial sex worker, she readily agreed. Her goal: "to make money and to infect men with HIV". And so she says: "for three years now, I have been distributing the stuff and it makes me really happy. Men are evil; they deserve no mercy. To hell with the men of this world". By the reporter's calculations, Sandra would have infected about 4, 640 men with HIV in the last three years, at the rate of four men per day. These are men who do not want to use condom, or those who fall victim of Sandra's buttocks-wriggling tactics.
Is Sandra the devil-incarnate? Is she suffering as they say around here, "from home trouble?". What is known is that she thinks all the men of this world are evil. If she was sure that the armed robbers who raped her were later arrested and made to pay for their crime, perhaps she would have been satisfied that justice had been done. She believes that the world is cruel and she is willing to promote that cruelty further. Should we blame her? A few years ago, the story was told of a self-respecting lady who was raped by armed robbers. She couldn't stand the shame. She reportedly committed suicide. Sandra is not willing to die, rather she has become an assassin: punishing menfolk for the crime that five of their kind committed. Imagine the number of other women and men that would have fallen victim through Sandra.
Even in her unhappy state, she had cause to smile recently when two soldiers decided to rape her at Tarkwa Bay. She said she not only enjoyed the moment, she "was shedding tears of joy". "The only thing that I regret is that they stole my money and handsets". What a story. Human lives no longer mean anything to her. For her, money and a handset are more important. And "any man that comes her way is an enemy".
And she tells her story with utmost glee. Her story speaks to the failure of government. It is the responsibility of government to inspire confidence in the justice system, so that aggrieved persons may seek justice formally rather than resort to jungle justice and self-help. Sandra's protest is not only directed at men, but also at the Nigerian state which has been unable to protect men, women and human rights and provide equal opportunities for all.
This is also a story that should be circulated among all men who keep multiple partners, including those who do not patronise prostitutes, but who like to play around all the same, buying death with their money. Those who argue that abstinence and fidelity to a single partner is the best way to minimize the risk of HIV infection through sex should be excited by this story. "AIDS no dey show for face," says one advert on television. Sandra's picture is published in The Sun newspaper, with her face blocked out to protect her identity, but the visible outline of her body, gait and gap-tooth suggests that she must be quite attractive. Who would ever suspect that she is an assassin on the prowl? And how many ladies are like her and even men too, looking for ways of spreading HIV?
The Sun newspaper should not stop at telling her story, efforts should be made to bring help her way. Civil society groups working on HIV/AIDS issues should seek her out, and help to wean her from her chosen "mission to kill". She also obviously needs psychiatric help. But more importantly, a lot still needs to be done to enlighten Nigerians about the reality of HIV/AIDS. Until Fela, the Afro-beat maestro died of HIV-related complications and his family chose to disclose the cause of death, many Nigerians regarded HIV/AIDS as Western propaganda. After a few years of so-called general awareness, Nigerians have now gone back to their old state of denial. There are Nigerian men who continue to insist that they will never use condom or that it is unnatural to stay with one partner.
"How can a man be eating the same thing everyday?", they query. "Do you know anybody who is living with HIV/AIDS.? Everywhere you turn: AIDS AIDS, AIDS but I don't know anybody who has died of AIDS. Look more people are dying from malaria and heart attack", one fellow once argued. I have heard people declare cynically that "man must die of something." When you point to national statistics and the HIV sero-prevalence, they readily tell you that those figures have been manufactured by NGOs and government agencies in order to attract foreign funding. And these are supposed to be educated Nigerians.
And so they fall into the hands of the likes of Sandra, with a fine face, murderous condom-negotiating skills and the heart to kill. And the tragedy spreads. What does the law say? Is she insane? Or she should be recommended for arrest, but she would probably end up sleeping with an entire police station, spread more HIV, and walk free.
Culled from 234Next.com
The governor of Osun State, Olagunsoye Oyinlola, has been caught on tape telling local ruling party politicians that he will supply them with army uniforms, arms and ammunition so they can rig this week's hotly contested runoff elections in Ekiti State.
This is to ensure victory for the governorship candidate of the People's Democratic Party, Segun Oni.
Mr. Oyinlola, a retired army general, apparently made the brazen promise to help rig the election by intimidation, during a meeting in Ado Ekiti, the state capital on April 2, with the 16 PDP chairmen of local governments.
The tape is now in the possession of President Umaru Yar'Adua, though it was not clear as we went to press whether the president or the law enforcement authorities planned to do anything about it.
"We called up this meeting purposely to speak with you local chiefs and all this meeting is centred upon me to tell you people that I, the governor of Osun State, Olagunsoye Oyinlola, is ready (sic) to supply all the 16 local government chairmen, where the rerun election will be conducted with army uniforms, alongside arms and ammunition," Mr. Oyinlola is heard saying on the tape, which was made available to us.
The Osun governor was not at all shy, according to the tape, in instructing his audience on how best to use the deadly implements he was promising to make available to them.
"You people will give these to your supporters who will camouflage like an army...at the respective voting centres so that it will aid them in the rigging of the elections by intimidating the voters, and it will allow the voters not to come out to vote," he says.
"The only people that will come out will be PDP, so that the victory of Segun Oni will be able to be ascertained. I hope you people are with me," he concludes.
Mr. Oyinlola has denied, through a spokesman, that his was the voice on the tape, though he refused to personally make a categorical denial. "It cannot be Oyinlola's voice," says Lasisi Olagunju, the governor's spokesman, interviewed last week in Osogbo, the Osun State capital.
Mr. Olagunju said his boss was not interested in listening to the copy of the tape brought along by our reporter, so that he could clear his good name. "We are not responding to that again," he said.
The opposition Action Congress, whose candidate for governor, Kayode Fayemi, is locked in a tight race with the PDP candidate, also has sent a copy of the tape to the president's office, and is calling for a criminal investigation.
"It is part of their plan to capture Ekiti, but they will never capture Ekiti," says Funminiyi Afuye, the Action Congress leader in the Ekiti State House of Assembly on Oyinlola's charge to PDP members in the state.
The gathering uproar over Mr. Oyinlola's apparent determination to resort to violence and intimidation to secure victory for his party is an indication of rising anxiety within the PDP that the ruling party is being steadily rolled back from the southwestern states.
The courts have nullified the elections of PDP governors in Edo and Ondo states and ordered a re-run in some wards of Ekiti state.
Though, two aides of the president have confirmed that military personnel will not be drafted to maintain security in Ekiti during the elections "except there is a breakdown of law and order which the police cannot handle, the president doesn't order deployment of troops and I'm not aware of any breakdown of law and order in Ekiti," says Olusegun Adeniyi, Mr. Yar'Adua's spokesman.
The same sentiment was echoed by Polycarp Nwite, senior special assistant to the president on Political Matters. Both, however, declined to comment on Mr. Oyinlola's statement." I don't respond to idle speculations, is Oyinlola a staff of the president?" queries Mr. Adeniyi.
"The whole thing is frightening," says Itse Sagay, a professor of Law and Senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN). He says the scenario is that the PDP prefers to plunge Nigeria into a crisis of which the outcome cannot be predicted "rather than accept the will of the people."
Mr. Sagay condemns the silence of President Umaru Yar'Adua. A civil society activist, however, wonders whether Mr. Oyinlola could have uttered the statement. "If he did say that, although his handlers have come out to deny it, I think it is very unfortunate and it portends danger for the forthcoming election," says Innocent Chukwuma, executive director, Centre for Law Enforcement Education (CLEEN).
The denial has corroboration in Ayo Arise, the PDP senator representing Ekiti North senatorial district who has been accused by the AC of aiding the militarization of the elections scheduled for Saturday, 25 April. "I don't know of any meeting," says Mr. Arise in Abuja last week. "I don't run Oyinlola's private life. But why would Oyinlola hold meetings with people? Why would he sew military uniforms when the president is there? What does he have to do with the military when the president of the country is there?''
One of the local government chairmen that was at the meeting declined to speak on the issue. "I am not in the position to talk to you about this, maybe you should talk to the party," declared Tosin Aluko, Ado Ekiti local government chairman. Others could not be reached during the week as they were busy campaigning for the fast approaching elections.
The problem of rigging aside, there are other issues in the election. For instance, questions are being raised on the deployment of government paraphernalia in prosecuting a private visit to campaign for the ruling party. "It is illegal," declares Itse Sagay, a senior advocate.
"You cannot use public property for illegal purposes. It is purely illegal. Really, all it shows is the very low standard which Nigeria is practising in political morality," Mr Sagay added.
Senator Arise, however, thinks otherwise. "Can you tell me of any country where the incumbent president does not do that?" he asks rhetorically.
"Oh, so you want him to board molue? I think these people criticising the president are just displaying the holier-than-thou attitude. I don't see anything wrong there. So because you are the president, you will not campaign for your party?"
This argument does not hold water with Bamidele Aturu, another lawyer. "Did the president fly with the presidential jet or helicopter?" he asks. "Did he use tax payers' money to go to Ekiti to campaign for a partisan candidate? All those people that followed him, who funded their trip?''he queries.
Mr. Aturu questions the fact that most government officials have abandoned their jobs to work for the impending election. "It shows the lack of seriousness we are talking about," he adds. "You must not use our money to campaign for a particular party. In other countries, if he does, he will be impeached. If he uses tax payers' money to do that, it is unconstitutional because he has no business campaigning for partisan politics with our money."
Mr. Chukwuma shares this view too. "It is indeed a huge issue," he adds. "If you look at other jurisdictions, when top government functionaries go on these kinds of missions, which are clearly intended to serve personal interest, they tend to refrain from using state facilities as much as possible."
The problem has national implications in the opinion of Mr. Sagay. He says such illegality has been practised in Nigeria relentlessly for a very long time. "You go to the governors themselves, it is the same thing. They are not supposed to be using state property to advance their private political interest, but it is illegal.Former president Obasanjo did it using Nigerian aircraft and helicopter to campaign and no doubt all the resources, all the money spent in campaign, his expenses were borne by the state."