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Sunday, 23 June 2013

Obasanjo, Jonathan ‘boys’ set war in S/West


By Olawale Rasheed
objA major political battle is about to take place in Yorubaland between two powerful forces as a mini-convention to elect the leadership of the South-West chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has been fixed for July 11. The congress will pitch loyalists of President Goodluck Jonathan against those of former President Olusegun Obasanjo in a war for the control of the party in the zone.
Both sides have been at each other’s throats for some time now with chieftains on both ends firing salvo at each other. Since the dissolution of the South-West executive and the removal of the National Secretary of the party, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, peace has eluded the PDP in the zone. The leadership change in the zone was widely seen as a ploy to remove pro-Obasanjo elements from the control of the party.
Prior to the dissolution of the zonal leadership, the state executive committee witnessed a silent struggle for control. Both camps of Obasanjo and Jonathan were invisibly seen across the zones. While gubernatorial ambition accounted for the initial struggle, the issue of presidential race in 2015 silently crept into the equation. By the time Obasanjo openly fired at the president, the battle line was drawn across South-West. What appears like gubernatorial dreams instantly translated into camping behind one camp or the other. The battle was drawn boldly when the former president made moves to promote Jigawa State governor as an alternative presidential aspirant for 2015.
Chieftains of the party in the zone took sides openly and secretly. Alleged marginalisation of the South-West irked some party chiefs. While some see Obasanjo as the problem, others see Jonathan as the issue. Former Deputy National Chairman (South) of the party, Alhaji Shuaib Oyedokun, at a point, asked the former president to stop further public criticism of President Jonathan’s policies and programmes and denied any connection between PDP South-West and Obasanjo’s posture concerning Jonathan, saying the former president was on his own.
Speaking on the recent developments in the party, the PDP Board of Trustees member stated that no matter the inadequacies of the present administration, the president deserved more time. “I am very careful while trying to comment about Obasanjo. This is because he is first and foremost a global figure. He is a mentor to many people.
“He is also a former president and, above all, he is a respected Yoruba man. But his recent posture on national affairs has become an embarrassment to the nation. His statement back home is also causing a lot of disintegration.
“First of all, his attitude to the Boko Haram issue is not expected of a statesman, although he made a bold attempt, sometime ago, by going to Borno State to discuss with leaders of the sect. However, while going there, one would have expected that he consulted with other leaders in the North such as former military president, Ibrahim Babangida, and former head of state, Muhammadu Buhari, to get a better result.
“He made statements there that disrespected President Jonathan, telling him to use brute force to quench the insurgency. Also, his recent utterances outside the country about Nigeria are not expected of a good leader. Obasanjo should stop playing God. God has done more than enough for him socially, politically and economically,” Oyedokun, a veteran politician, said.
Former governor of Osun State, Olagunsoye Oyinlola, took exception to the open criticism of Obasanjo, taking a swipe at Alhaji Oyedokun for fanning embers of discord in the party. Oyinlola, in a statement, said it was unbecoming of an elder like Oyedokun to seek to create a rift between President Jonathan and former President Obasanjo through what he called statements based on falsehood.
Oyinlola said no fifth columnist could succeed through political subterfuge in creating a rift between the two foremost leaders of the PDP. He added that he suspected Oyedokun of being uneasy over current efforts by stakeholders to resolve the differences in the party, hence the statement.
Oyinlola said Oyedokun, as an elder, should have found out what Obasanjo actually said in Jigawa State before concluding that the former president attacked Jonathan.“I have painstakingly found out that what Obasanjo said in Jigawa State was that he was happy Governor Sule Lamido did not disappoint him, given the role he (Obasanjo) played in his emergence as governor,” Prince Oyinlola noted in the statement.
The former governor quoted Chief Obasanjo as concluding with a Yoruba proverb: ‘You can help someone get a job, but you cannot help the person do the job. We got Lamido the job and he has done it well.’ “That was it. There was no innuendo or allusion to President Jonathan in the statement, which Oyedokun has now clung to, to further cause divisions in the polity,” the former governor stated.
“I am particularly worried that Oyedokun did not agree with our BoT chairman, Chief Tony Anenih, who, just last week at the PDP family dinner, called for peace and the resolution of all differences in the party. Could Oyedokun be carrying out the usual assignment of throwing spanners in the works of genuine members of the PDP who are working hard to reconcile all the party leaders and members and reposition it for the tasks ahead?
What could actually be his motive?
“I also read that he claimed Chief Obasanjo is planning to go to another political party. I think by now, Oyedokun ought to know that Obasanjo does not have the character of a betrayer. He is also not what, in the military, we call a deserter. He is a leader of the PDP and I am sufficiently close enough to him to know that he is ever committed to the growth and survival of the party and of the nation,” Oyinlola said.
The war of words in the zone has, however, taken a new turn as the forthcoming zonal congress may entail a test of strength among those who believe the president, as the commander in chief, should have his men in charge of the party and those who want the former president to be respected as a former leader of the nation. In the hard world of politics, it remains to be seen how the confrontation will play out. For now, there are clear signals that hawks within the president’s camp believe his ‘boys’ in the South-West should hold the zone.
Events of Thursday at Wadata Plaza may have further opened old wounds as the failed uprising against Tukur may embolden the president’s loyalists to test who truly is in control of PDP in the South West. Will Yorubaland be a battle ground ahead of July mini national convention? Only time will tell.
OsunDefender

Obasanjo, Jonathan ‘boys’ set war in S/West


By Olawale Rasheed
objA major political battle is about to take place in Yorubaland between two powerful forces as a mini-convention to elect the leadership of the South-West chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has been fixed for July 11. The congress will pitch loyalists of President Goodluck Jonathan against those of former President Olusegun Obasanjo in a war for the control of the party in the zone.
Both sides have been at each other’s throats for some time now with chieftains on both ends firing salvo at each other. Since the dissolution of the South-West executive and the removal of the National Secretary of the party, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, peace has eluded the PDP in the zone. The leadership change in the zone was widely seen as a ploy to remove pro-Obasanjo elements from the control of the party.
Prior to the dissolution of the zonal leadership, the state executive committee witnessed a silent struggle for control. Both camps of Obasanjo and Jonathan were invisibly seen across the zones. While gubernatorial ambition accounted for the initial struggle, the issue of presidential race in 2015 silently crept into the equation. By the time Obasanjo openly fired at the president, the battle line was drawn across South-West. What appears like gubernatorial dreams instantly translated into camping behind one camp or the other. The battle was drawn boldly when the former president made moves to promote Jigawa State governor as an alternative presidential aspirant for 2015.
Chieftains of the party in the zone took sides openly and secretly. Alleged marginalisation of the South-West irked some party chiefs. While some see Obasanjo as the problem, others see Jonathan as the issue. Former Deputy National Chairman (South) of the party, Alhaji Shuaib Oyedokun, at a point, asked the former president to stop further public criticism of President Jonathan’s policies and programmes and denied any connection between PDP South-West and Obasanjo’s posture concerning Jonathan, saying the former president was on his own.
Speaking on the recent developments in the party, the PDP Board of Trustees member stated that no matter the inadequacies of the present administration, the president deserved more time. “I am very careful while trying to comment about Obasanjo. This is because he is first and foremost a global figure. He is a mentor to many people.
“He is also a former president and, above all, he is a respected Yoruba man. But his recent posture on national affairs has become an embarrassment to the nation. His statement back home is also causing a lot of disintegration.
“First of all, his attitude to the Boko Haram issue is not expected of a statesman, although he made a bold attempt, sometime ago, by going to Borno State to discuss with leaders of the sect. However, while going there, one would have expected that he consulted with other leaders in the North such as former military president, Ibrahim Babangida, and former head of state, Muhammadu Buhari, to get a better result.
“He made statements there that disrespected President Jonathan, telling him to use brute force to quench the insurgency. Also, his recent utterances outside the country about Nigeria are not expected of a good leader. Obasanjo should stop playing God. God has done more than enough for him socially, politically and economically,” Oyedokun, a veteran politician, said.
Former governor of Osun State, Olagunsoye Oyinlola, took exception to the open criticism of Obasanjo, taking a swipe at Alhaji Oyedokun for fanning embers of discord in the party. Oyinlola, in a statement, said it was unbecoming of an elder like Oyedokun to seek to create a rift between President Jonathan and former President Obasanjo through what he called statements based on falsehood.
Oyinlola said no fifth columnist could succeed through political subterfuge in creating a rift between the two foremost leaders of the PDP. He added that he suspected Oyedokun of being uneasy over current efforts by stakeholders to resolve the differences in the party, hence the statement.
Oyinlola said Oyedokun, as an elder, should have found out what Obasanjo actually said in Jigawa State before concluding that the former president attacked Jonathan.“I have painstakingly found out that what Obasanjo said in Jigawa State was that he was happy Governor Sule Lamido did not disappoint him, given the role he (Obasanjo) played in his emergence as governor,” Prince Oyinlola noted in the statement.
The former governor quoted Chief Obasanjo as concluding with a Yoruba proverb: ‘You can help someone get a job, but you cannot help the person do the job. We got Lamido the job and he has done it well.’ “That was it. There was no innuendo or allusion to President Jonathan in the statement, which Oyedokun has now clung to, to further cause divisions in the polity,” the former governor stated.
“I am particularly worried that Oyedokun did not agree with our BoT chairman, Chief Tony Anenih, who, just last week at the PDP family dinner, called for peace and the resolution of all differences in the party. Could Oyedokun be carrying out the usual assignment of throwing spanners in the works of genuine members of the PDP who are working hard to reconcile all the party leaders and members and reposition it for the tasks ahead?
What could actually be his motive?
“I also read that he claimed Chief Obasanjo is planning to go to another political party. I think by now, Oyedokun ought to know that Obasanjo does not have the character of a betrayer. He is also not what, in the military, we call a deserter. He is a leader of the PDP and I am sufficiently close enough to him to know that he is ever committed to the growth and survival of the party and of the nation,” Oyinlola said.
The war of words in the zone has, however, taken a new turn as the forthcoming zonal congress may entail a test of strength among those who believe the president, as the commander in chief, should have his men in charge of the party and those who want the former president to be respected as a former leader of the nation. In the hard world of politics, it remains to be seen how the confrontation will play out. For now, there are clear signals that hawks within the president’s camp believe his ‘boys’ in the South-West should hold the zone.
Events of Thursday at Wadata Plaza may have further opened old wounds as the failed uprising against Tukur may embolden the president’s loyalists to test who truly is in control of PDP in the South West. Will Yorubaland be a battle ground ahead of July mini national convention? Only time will tell.
OsunDefender

Jonathan’s agents carried out two bombings – Okah insists “Diezani called me 20 times to be made minister” • Allegations are false in their entirety – Presidency

 EMEKA MADUNAGU AND OLALEKAN ADETAYO


 


Henry Okah and President Goodluck Jonathan
Detained leader of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, Mr. Henry Okah, has insisted that President Goodluck Jonathan’s agents sponsored the March 15, 2010 and October 1, 2010 bombings in Warri and Abuja respectively for political considerations.
Okah made the allegation in a 194-paragraph affidavit deposed to in the South Gauteng High court in Johannesburg, South Africa in Case No: A570/10.
The allegations first came to light in an interview Okah granted Arabic satellite television, Aljazeera, in October 2010, weeks after the blast. In the interview, he blamed the attacks on Jonathan’s aides and claimed he was arrested for refusing to influence MEND, to retract its claim of responsibility.
Since then, Okah has been denied bail at least twice, with one at the South Gauteng High Court, Johannesburg, where he is filing a new application for bail based on “new facts.”
The sworn affidavit was expected to be filed at the court between Tuesday and Wednesday as part of his renewed bid to secure bail, after spending more than one year in a South African jail.
His trial is set to start on October 1, 2012, exactly two years after a devastating blast that occurred less than a kilometre from the Eagle Square in Abuja, where Jonathan was attending Nigeria’s 50th anniversary.
He said the March 2010 car bomb blast (which he said occurred on March 14, 2010) at the Government House Annex, Warri, where South-South governors were attending an amnesty meeting, was intended to pave the way for the removal of Delta State Governor, Emmanuel Uduaghan, and his replacement by the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godsday Orubebe.
“It is my belief that President Goodluck Jonathan’s government working with a faction of MEND planned and executed the bombings of 14 March 2010 and 1 October 2010.
“The purpose of the 14 March 2010 bombing in my opinion was to create an atmosphere of insecurity in Niger Delta where President Goodluck Jonathan at that time, was fighting to oust the governor Mr. Emmanuel Uduaghan whom President Goodluck Jonathan intended to replace with his Minister for Niger Delta, Mr Godsday Orubebe,” Okah said in the affidavit.
On the Independence Day bombing, which claimed 10 lives, Okah said it was meant to sway public opinion against the North and some of its leaders who were planning to run against Jonathan in the April 2011 presidential election.
Okah has been held at the Johannesburg Prison since October 2, 2010, and is currently standing trial for alleged involvement in the October 1 bomb attack.
He alleged that Jonathan was upset when MEND claimed responsibility for the October 1 attack, against a plan to blame it on Northern elements.
He stated, “The bombings of 1 October 2010 were also intended by President Goodluck Jonathan government to create anti-North sentiments nationwide in order to galvanize support from other sections of Nigeria against other Northern candidates in the Presidential election.
“Under the arrangement, MEND, I believe, was not to claim responsibility for the bombings which the Nigerian government hoped to pin on General Babangida and other Northern elements. The claim of responsibility by the central group for a bombing, possibly carried out by a faction of MEND, punctured the plans of President Goodluck Jonathan to round up his opposition and hold them in custody until after the elections.”
He claimed to have come under pressure from some of Jonathan’s aides to get MEND to retract its claim of responsibility for the bombing, recalling that his “refusal to cooperate in this scheme resulted in President Goodluck Jonathan placing a call to President Jacob Zuma during the evening of 1 October 2010, requesting President Zuma’s personal assistance in securing my arrest. My noncooperation was interpreted by President Goodluck Jonathan as support for the Northern politicians.
“The South African Government’s direct interference was responsible for securing search and arrest warrants against me.”
Okah also claimed to have influenced Jonathan’s appointment of Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke as minister of petroleum resources, at the prompting of a Jonathan aide. He alleged that between April 4 and 5, 2010, he received approximately 20 calls from Alison-Madueke, asking him to “put in a good word for her” with Jonathan to consider her for the position.
He also countered evidence and public statements by the SSS detailing his alleged involvement in the October 1 blast. Okah provided telephone numbers used by Jonathan’s aides and Alison-Madueke in reaching him.
The Presidency has, however, described Okah’s allegations as “false.”
In a statement by presidential spokesman, Dr. Reuben Abati, the Presidency said the allegations were without any factual foundation and promised that government would full representation in court once the trial commenced fully.
The statement reads, “The attention of the Presidency has been drawn to reports in the media of allegations made against President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan in an affidavit said to have been sworn to by Mr. Henry Okah, who is facing trial in South Africa for his involvement in terrorist acts against the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“The Presidency categorically affirms that these allegations are false in their entirety and without any factual foundation.
“As the case of Mr. Okah’s involvement in the plotting and execution of terrorist attacks in Nigeria is already before a court of competent jurisdiction in South Africa, the Presidency does not intend to say anymore on the matter for now and will, in accordance with due process and international law, make a full representation on the matter to the court when the trial opens.
“The Presidency also advises the Nigerian media to respect the sanctity of the legal and judicial processes in this matter and avoid becoming willing tools in the hands of Mr. Okah and his agents in an entirely diversionary trial by the media aimed only at falsely impugning the character and integrity of the President and officials of his administration.”
Punch

Obasanjo, Jonathan ‘boys’ set war in S/West


By Olawale Rasheed
objA major political battle is about to take place in Yorubaland between two powerful forces as a mini-convention to elect the leadership of the South-West chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has been fixed for July 11. The congress will pitch loyalists of President Goodluck Jonathan against those of former President Olusegun Obasanjo in a war for the control of the party in the zone.
Both sides have been at each other’s throats for some time now with chieftains on both ends firing salvo at each other. Since the dissolution of the South-West executive and the removal of the National Secretary of the party, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, peace has eluded the PDP in the zone. The leadership change in the zone was widely seen as a ploy to remove pro-Obasanjo elements from the control of the party.
Prior to the dissolution of the zonal leadership, the state executive committee witnessed a silent struggle for control. Both camps of Obasanjo and Jonathan were invisibly seen across the zones. While gubernatorial ambition accounted for the initial struggle, the issue of presidential race in 2015 silently crept into the equation. By the time Obasanjo openly fired at the president, the battle line was drawn across South-West. What appears like gubernatorial dreams instantly translated into camping behind one camp or the other. The battle was drawn boldly when the former president made moves to promote Jigawa State governor as an alternative presidential aspirant for 2015.
Chieftains of the party in the zone took sides openly and secretly. Alleged marginalisation of the South-West irked some party chiefs. While some see Obasanjo as the problem, others see Jonathan as the issue. Former Deputy National Chairman (South) of the party, Alhaji Shuaib Oyedokun, at a point, asked the former president to stop further public criticism of President Jonathan’s policies and programmes and denied any connection between PDP South-West and Obasanjo’s posture concerning Jonathan, saying the former president was on his own.
Speaking on the recent developments in the party, the PDP Board of Trustees member stated that no matter the inadequacies of the present administration, the president deserved more time. “I am very careful while trying to comment about Obasanjo. This is because he is first and foremost a global figure. He is a mentor to many people.
“He is also a former president and, above all, he is a respected Yoruba man. But his recent posture on national affairs has become an embarrassment to the nation. His statement back home is also causing a lot of disintegration.
“First of all, his attitude to the Boko Haram issue is not expected of a statesman, although he made a bold attempt, sometime ago, by going to Borno State to discuss with leaders of the sect. However, while going there, one would have expected that he consulted with other leaders in the North such as former military president, Ibrahim Babangida, and former head of state, Muhammadu Buhari, to get a better result.
“He made statements there that disrespected President Jonathan, telling him to use brute force to quench the insurgency. Also, his recent utterances outside the country about Nigeria are not expected of a good leader. Obasanjo should stop playing God. God has done more than enough for him socially, politically and economically,” Oyedokun, a veteran politician, said.
Former governor of Osun State, Olagunsoye Oyinlola, took exception to the open criticism of Obasanjo, taking a swipe at Alhaji Oyedokun for fanning embers of discord in the party. Oyinlola, in a statement, said it was unbecoming of an elder like Oyedokun to seek to create a rift between President Jonathan and former President Obasanjo through what he called statements based on falsehood.
Oyinlola said no fifth columnist could succeed through political subterfuge in creating a rift between the two foremost leaders of the PDP. He added that he suspected Oyedokun of being uneasy over current efforts by stakeholders to resolve the differences in the party, hence the statement.
Oyinlola said Oyedokun, as an elder, should have found out what Obasanjo actually said in Jigawa State before concluding that the former president attacked Jonathan.“I have painstakingly found out that what Obasanjo said in Jigawa State was that he was happy Governor Sule Lamido did not disappoint him, given the role he (Obasanjo) played in his emergence as governor,” Prince Oyinlola noted in the statement.
The former governor quoted Chief Obasanjo as concluding with a Yoruba proverb: ‘You can help someone get a job, but you cannot help the person do the job. We got Lamido the job and he has done it well.’ “That was it. There was no innuendo or allusion to President Jonathan in the statement, which Oyedokun has now clung to, to further cause divisions in the polity,” the former governor stated.
“I am particularly worried that Oyedokun did not agree with our BoT chairman, Chief Tony Anenih, who, just last week at the PDP family dinner, called for peace and the resolution of all differences in the party. Could Oyedokun be carrying out the usual assignment of throwing spanners in the works of genuine members of the PDP who are working hard to reconcile all the party leaders and members and reposition it for the tasks ahead?
What could actually be his motive?
“I also read that he claimed Chief Obasanjo is planning to go to another political party. I think by now, Oyedokun ought to know that Obasanjo does not have the character of a betrayer. He is also not what, in the military, we call a deserter. He is a leader of the PDP and I am sufficiently close enough to him to know that he is ever committed to the growth and survival of the party and of the nation,” Oyinlola said.
The war of words in the zone has, however, taken a new turn as the forthcoming zonal congress may entail a test of strength among those who believe the president, as the commander in chief, should have his men in charge of the party and those who want the former president to be respected as a former leader of the nation. In the hard world of politics, it remains to be seen how the confrontation will play out. For now, there are clear signals that hawks within the president’s camp believe his ‘boys’ in the South-West should hold the zone.
Events of Thursday at Wadata Plaza may have further opened old wounds as the failed uprising against Tukur may embolden the president’s loyalists to test who truly is in control of PDP in the South West. Will Yorubaland be a battle ground ahead of July mini national convention? Only time will tell.
OsunDefender

PRESS RELEASE: Premium Times Report on Jerry Rawlings’ Condemnation of the Nigerian Government is Malicious Falsehood

PRESS RELEASE: Premium Times Report on Jerry Rawlings’ Condemnation of the Nigerian Government is Malicious Falsehood


Our attention has been drawn to the Premium Times story entitled ‘Jerry Rawlings slams Nigerian government, others for allowing corrupt politicians escape justice’ and we state that not only is this story untrue, but it is one in a series of deliberately malicious and untrue stories emanating from Premium Times, an online news portal whose management is linked to a former Presidential candidate that was defeated by President Goodluck Jonathan in the 2011 elections and has now turned itself into a propaganda machine to serve certain interests while passing off itself as a balanced news site.
It would be recalled that this same Premium Times recently ran another patently false story alleging that the World Bank had condemned the Jonathan administration when in fact the bank had commended the incumbent administration. As if to put a lie to their story, the United Nations, after the Premium Times story was published, named Nigeria as one of the nations that had reduced poverty and attained the Millennium  Development Goal of reducing hunger.
In this current instance, the former Ghanaian President, Jerry Rawlings, who Premium Times claimed had condemned the Jonathan administration not only denounced their story as a “scurrilous falsehood” but released the following statement;
The attention of His Excellency Jerry John Rawlings has been drawn to a scurrilous news report originally published by the Premium Times of Nigeria, which has received wide coverage on the Internet and other social media.
We wish to state strongly that the report is laced with irresponsible falsehoods, fabricated quotations and wrong allusions that bring the image of His Excellency Jerry John Rawlings into disrepute.
President Rawlings did deliver the keynote address on Emerging Democracies in Africa: Challenges and Opportunities, at conference organised by the National Institute for Legislative Studies in Abuja on Monday, June 17, 2013.
His address did not make reference to the government of Nigeria and he made no scathing attack on the Nigeria government as the Premium Times reported.
President Rawlings also did not make reference to the Nigeria leadership’s failure to punish politicians who steal public funds.
The first three paragraphs of the report are complete fabrications.
Paragraph ten and twelve are distortions of what President Rawlings said. Because of the gross distortions and falsehoods the entire report does portray a totally different representation of the fact as took place at the Transcorp Hilton, Abuja on June 17.
We have taken a very serious view of the publication because it is malicious, libellous and a very negative piece of journalism, which is calculated to bring the image of President Rawlings into disrepute and written to demand a retraction of the publication.
We caution other media who have inadvertently republished the said article to note that they will be held equally liable should we decide to take legal action on the matter
Below is the full text of President Rawlings’ address at the conference on Monday June 17.
Thank you.
H. Afeku-Amenyo (Rtd)
Captain (Ghana Navy)
Director, Office of Former President
ADDRESS BY H.E. FLT. LT. JERRY JOHN RAWLINGS, FORMER PRESIDENT OF GHANA AT A CONFERENCE ON EMERGING DEMOCRACIES IN AFRICA: CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES
– TRANSCORP HILTON, ABUJA-NIGERIA – JUNE 17, 2013
Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen:
It is an honour to be part of today’s conference on Emerging Democracies in Africa. I commend the Nigeria National Institute for Legislative Studies and the Association of European Parliamentarians with Africa, for creating such a forum for dispassionate discussion on challenges and opportunities facing Emerging Democracies.
The definition of democracy is complex even though we seem to be comfortable with Abraham Lincoln’s description of democracy as a government of the people, by the people and for the people.
That definition goes a long way to justify the election of political leaders where every citizen is expected to have an equal right in the selection of political leaders and the legislature, who then become the voice of the people for a defined period.
Simply put the right of the people to have a voice in the management of their countries and societies is vested in a few selected individuals who are expected to protect the interests of the people.
We can juggle various definitions of democracy, but true democracy is the process where every individual is involved and convinced that his opinion has been factored into the decision-making as far as the management of his society is concerned. A government, irrespective of its mode of appointment, which gives ear to the people and approaches decision-making and policy implementation from a human-centred and continued consultative process is closer to democracy than a duly elected government that fails to consult and also treats the opinion of the legislature – the elected representatives of the people – as of little value.
Soon after Ghana underwent political transition in the 1990s many were those who were quick to state that Ghana had embraced democracy. I strongly disagreed and explained that Ghana had throughout the period of the revolution been practising democracy, because the grassroots participation in local and national affairs was heightened throughout the period. The transition in 1992 was rather a transition to constitutional rule. And let me add that constitutional rule is not necessarily synonymous with democracy. That is why we have a number of leaders across the world who are practising constitutional dictatorships. I must emphasise that this is not unique to Africa.
Emerging democracies are defined as countries with governments that have emanated out of a perceived legitimate democratic electoral process but are still saddled with complexities of dominant political parties and poorly applied rule of law.
Many scholars on the subject have listed a few countries in our region as emerging democracies, but I find it difficult not to refer to most of our continent as emerging democracies. Even more complicated is the fact that many of our countries progress from that nascent stage into well-managed democracies only for them to slip back into a democratically embryonic state partly because some of the managers of our political systems are adept at ensuring that the institutions of state do not perform efficiently leading to their disempowerment and a weakening of the rule of law.
Ladies and Gentlemen, no true democratic arrangement can be successful if the institutions that are meant to serve as checks and balances are not properly structured and equipped to operate at optimum.
These institutions include independent judiciary, security services, the electoral machinery, a well-oiled and independent media as well as a vibrant and non-partisan civil society.
The major factor required to get these institutions operational is to have a well-framed constitution that is not lacking in definition and that protects adequately the independence of these institutions. It is important also that the same constitution protects these institutions from abuse as they are managed by humans – fallible as we are.
Emerging democracies are grappling with problems of incoherent constitutions and weak institutions, allowing some political leaders the leeway to abuse the system through clever and sometimes blatant actions such as the appointment of unprincipled and very partisan personalities to head such institutions. The judiciary and security services are also not free of excessive control. Abuse of the media either through intimidation or inducement is also part of the challenges such countries face.
We are also saddled with civil society who instead of exposing ills in government and society and offering concrete options on the way forward rather metamorphose into partisan political entities attacking or overprotecting government as if their survival depended on it.
Mr Chairman, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen; the average African is in dire need of a working democracy that truly protects not only himself but also guarantees a progressive and development-oriented political system that defends freedom, guarantees justice and ensures that society also remains disciplined and focused on what is good and right.
The primary challenge for emerging democracies in Africa, is the failure of Western democracy to acknowledge its inherent flaws and encourage a system of democracy on our continent that is dynamic, home grown and imbued with the socio-cultural backgrounds of individual African states.
Our societies are borne out of a strong traditional political framework of monarchies that wielded both spiritual and political power as well as judicial authority. Many of these societies still look up to traditional authority for moral fortitude while our ‘imported’ democratic and secular leadership is seen unfortunately as synonymous to immorality and corruption. With such perceptions how do we expect our emerging democracies to evolve?
The biggest misconception in embracing democracy is the argument that it comes with economic progress. The Western sponsors of democracy and their allied institutions such as the IMF and the World Bank who offer democratic prescriptions with the promise of financial support for socio-economic development usually present such arguments.
Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to quote Merillee Grindle, a Professor of International Development at the Harvard University, who states that: “Democracy is perceived as not having delivered what was promised. Scholars, NGOs, democracy movements, politicians, and others really have oversold what can be expected from democracy and have raised expectations about what a form of government actually can achieve. Certainly, a democratic regime can deliver, in time, on promises for personal freedom and liberty, for participation in the decisions of government, and on equality of rights. But democracy has also been sold as a way to engender economic growth, as a way to achieve economic and social equality…democracy is not a panacea for economic development.”
Democracy should however be made to provide the political stability for development. A practicing democracy that cannot create the climate to correct economic ills and corruption cannot and will not be a democracy. A democracy that cannot protect the sanctity of its electoral process is engaging in a fraudulent electoral coup d’état. Equally destructive is the unfortunate practice of using money to buy the conscience of the electorate.
There is no doubt that when democratic structures are instituted in a manner that recognizes the socio-cultural and socio-political context of individual countries, it will have a better chance of survival and success. Management of countries and societies is still dependent on a system of governance, which requires that every citizen has a role to play in the decision-making process and how leaders are elected. The citizens of every society must have an input in the format their political structures take and it is never too late to modify our constitutions to embrace what we overlooked.
Developments in Kenya and Côte d’Ivoire over the past two decades and recent developments in Libya, Tunisia and Egypt call for a thorough revision of political processes and structures in these countries. Some of these countries were also seen as relatively advanced democracies and economies but today a few of them cannot even boast of being emergent democracies having retrogressed within weeks of uprisings or violent electoral dispute.
Kenya has learnt many lessons from the electoral violence of 2007, which had huge ethnic connotations. The constitution has been reviewed and political tolerance was tested through a unity government. The judiciary is more empowered and today the country’s leadership boasts of two former adversaries working together.
Appointment of Supreme Court justices is not the entire prerogative of the President of the land and has to go through a selection and consultative process that ensures that the President — even though he has the final assent — cannot manipulate the appointment.
Nigeria has made strides over the past decade politically but still faces complicated challenges, which many of you will bear with me has socio-cultural implications that have been ignored for a significant period.
That is why institutions such as the National Institute for Legislative Studies should be welcomed as one of the structures that will enhance and strengthen your emerging democracy.
Democratic institutions across the continent are poorly equipped to offer the best support to governments. As a capacity building institution dedicated to provide professional research, advice, training and advocacy for members of the legislature, your organization is in a unique position to be a pacesetter in empowering our senators and parliamentarians to better serve the interests of their constituents.
It is embarrassing sometimes to observe our various legislative assemblies struggle to competently debate issues of serious national concern because members are handicapped information-wise.
Emerging democracies present attractive opportunities for investment and development and we cannot allow the progress that has been achieved over the past few decades to retrogress because of the challenges we have encountered and continue to encounter.
Relative political stability means we have an opportunity to turn our economies around and not only through the exploitation of traditional export commodities but also through investment and improvement in the service related sectors.
Africa’s share of investment within Africa rose from 3.2 per cent in 2007 to 5.6 in 2012 according an Ernst and Young report.
The trend of investment and growth is not related to just a few countries but spread across the continent and this means the potential is huge if we adopt more aggressive efforts at strengthening our monitoring institutions especially those entrusted with the power to stem corruption – a major factor that restricts foreign direct investment.
An African think-tank recently reported that illicit financial outflows cost the continent between $38.4 billion and $25 billion between 2008 and 2010 respectively. Our countries do not fare any better in the annual corruption index of Transparency International. While there may be a lot of factors that enhance corruption including the connivance of major global international players —whose jurisdictions ironically exact huge penalties for white-collar fraud — Africa is primarily saddled with corruption because some members of a minority elite connive to rape the continent and ensure that the positive economic indices are only on paper and do not reach the pockets of the ordinary people at the grassroots.
We cannot continue to pay lip service to the strengthening, empowerment and independent management of our multiple anti-corruption institutions. We live in countries where poor, petty thieves get imprisoned for several years while businessmen who evade taxes in millions of dollars or a politician who misappropriates millions of state funds escape punishment.
These inequalities are recipes for the retrogression of our democracies and we cannot allow the negative tide to continue. As I said earlier a democracy that cannot provide socio-economic justice cannot be a healthy democracy and will remain vulnerable and fragile.
Our institutions are weak because we do not strengthen and protect them adequately in our constitutions. While the legislature can enact laws that empower institutions, constitutional entrenchment of such provisions would ensure that political parties with majority control within legislative assemblies do not manipulate the powers of these institutions.
Institutions in the advanced countries have evolved over time having encountered huge challenges, but we have the capacity to ensure true independence for these institutions in a manner that does not infringe on the rights of the senior politician in government, the critical opposition leader or the cobbler at the street corner.
Africa has bright prospects, but these prospects can only see fruition if we embrace a patriotic desire to witness even development within our societies and not a selfish, myopic desire to enrich oneself at the expense of national development and cohesion.
One of our proudest assets must be our sense of nationalism. Emerging democracies in putting in place structures such as the National Institute for Legislative Studies must endeavour to inculcate in their citizenry the pride in defending one’s country against corrupt practices that sow seeds of disaffection especially amongst the less-advantaged in society who feel disregarded, abused and disrespected by a minority elite.
Can we change the cycle of profiting from wrong to profiting from right? If not, once again our democracy will continue to remain vulnerable and fragile.
Only last Friday, a former Attorney General in Ghana, who has waged a relentless campaign against the payment of questionable judgement debts to individuals and institutions obtained a Supreme Court ruling ordering the retrieval of over 40 million Euros from an international company which had earlier convinced government to pay her the said amount over an alleged abrogated contract.
The former Attorney General who at times faced serious ridicule from his compatriots stood his ground against all odds and won the case for Ghana. Today he is ironically being touted as a hero. But did he have to fight a lonely fight in defence of his country’s meager resources?
Does Nigeria have its lonely heroes too? Yes indeed, you do!
Once again my gratitude goes to the National Institute for Legislative Studies, the Association of European Parliamentarians with Africa and the entire Senate led by President David Mark and his Deputy Ike Ekweremadu and the ECOWAS Parliament for inviting me to be part of this important event.
Excellences, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you.
Source for JJ Rawlings Statement: Office Of Former President Rawlings
Reno Omokri, Special Assistant to the President (New Media)
PointblankNews

PRESS RELEASE: Premium Times Report on Jerry Rawlings’ Condemnation of the Nigerian Government is Malicious Falsehood

PRESS RELEASE: Premium Times Report on Jerry Rawlings’ Condemnation of the Nigerian Government is Malicious Falsehood


Our attention has been drawn to the Premium Times story entitled ‘Jerry Rawlings slams Nigerian government, others for allowing corrupt politicians escape justice’ and we state that not only is this story untrue, but it is one in a series of deliberately malicious and untrue stories emanating from Premium Times, an online news portal whose management is linked to a former Presidential candidate that was defeated by President Goodluck Jonathan in the 2011 elections and has now turned itself into a propaganda machine to serve certain interests while passing off itself as a balanced news site.
It would be recalled that this same Premium Times recently ran another patently false story alleging that the World Bank had condemned the Jonathan administration when in fact the bank had commended the incumbent administration. As if to put a lie to their story, the United Nations, after the Premium Times story was published, named Nigeria as one of the nations that had reduced poverty and attained the Millennium  Development Goal of reducing hunger.
In this current instance, the former Ghanaian President, Jerry Rawlings, who Premium Times claimed had condemned the Jonathan administration not only denounced their story as a “scurrilous falsehood” but released the following statement;
The attention of His Excellency Jerry John Rawlings has been drawn to a scurrilous news report originally published by the Premium Times of Nigeria, which has received wide coverage on the Internet and other social media.
We wish to state strongly that the report is laced with irresponsible falsehoods, fabricated quotations and wrong allusions that bring the image of His Excellency Jerry John Rawlings into disrepute.
President Rawlings did deliver the keynote address on Emerging Democracies in Africa: Challenges and Opportunities, at conference organised by the National Institute for Legislative Studies in Abuja on Monday, June 17, 2013.
His address did not make reference to the government of Nigeria and he made no scathing attack on the Nigeria government as the Premium Times reported.
President Rawlings also did not make reference to the Nigeria leadership’s failure to punish politicians who steal public funds.
The first three paragraphs of the report are complete fabrications.
Paragraph ten and twelve are distortions of what President Rawlings said. Because of the gross distortions and falsehoods the entire report does portray a totally different representation of the fact as took place at the Transcorp Hilton, Abuja on June 17.
We have taken a very serious view of the publication because it is malicious, libellous and a very negative piece of journalism, which is calculated to bring the image of President Rawlings into disrepute and written to demand a retraction of the publication.
We caution other media who have inadvertently republished the said article to note that they will be held equally liable should we decide to take legal action on the matter
Below is the full text of President Rawlings’ address at the conference on Monday June 17.
Thank you.
H. Afeku-Amenyo (Rtd)
Captain (Ghana Navy)
Director, Office of Former President
ADDRESS BY H.E. FLT. LT. JERRY JOHN RAWLINGS, FORMER PRESIDENT OF GHANA AT A CONFERENCE ON EMERGING DEMOCRACIES IN AFRICA: CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES
– TRANSCORP HILTON, ABUJA-NIGERIA – JUNE 17, 2013
Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen:
It is an honour to be part of today’s conference on Emerging Democracies in Africa. I commend the Nigeria National Institute for Legislative Studies and the Association of European Parliamentarians with Africa, for creating such a forum for dispassionate discussion on challenges and opportunities facing Emerging Democracies.
The definition of democracy is complex even though we seem to be comfortable with Abraham Lincoln’s description of democracy as a government of the people, by the people and for the people.
That definition goes a long way to justify the election of political leaders where every citizen is expected to have an equal right in the selection of political leaders and the legislature, who then become the voice of the people for a defined period.
Simply put the right of the people to have a voice in the management of their countries and societies is vested in a few selected individuals who are expected to protect the interests of the people.
We can juggle various definitions of democracy, but true democracy is the process where every individual is involved and convinced that his opinion has been factored into the decision-making as far as the management of his society is concerned. A government, irrespective of its mode of appointment, which gives ear to the people and approaches decision-making and policy implementation from a human-centred and continued consultative process is closer to democracy than a duly elected government that fails to consult and also treats the opinion of the legislature – the elected representatives of the people – as of little value.
Soon after Ghana underwent political transition in the 1990s many were those who were quick to state that Ghana had embraced democracy. I strongly disagreed and explained that Ghana had throughout the period of the revolution been practising democracy, because the grassroots participation in local and national affairs was heightened throughout the period. The transition in 1992 was rather a transition to constitutional rule. And let me add that constitutional rule is not necessarily synonymous with democracy. That is why we have a number of leaders across the world who are practising constitutional dictatorships. I must emphasise that this is not unique to Africa.
Emerging democracies are defined as countries with governments that have emanated out of a perceived legitimate democratic electoral process but are still saddled with complexities of dominant political parties and poorly applied rule of law.
Many scholars on the subject have listed a few countries in our region as emerging democracies, but I find it difficult not to refer to most of our continent as emerging democracies. Even more complicated is the fact that many of our countries progress from that nascent stage into well-managed democracies only for them to slip back into a democratically embryonic state partly because some of the managers of our political systems are adept at ensuring that the institutions of state do not perform efficiently leading to their disempowerment and a weakening of the rule of law.
Ladies and Gentlemen, no true democratic arrangement can be successful if the institutions that are meant to serve as checks and balances are not properly structured and equipped to operate at optimum.
These institutions include independent judiciary, security services, the electoral machinery, a well-oiled and independent media as well as a vibrant and non-partisan civil society.
The major factor required to get these institutions operational is to have a well-framed constitution that is not lacking in definition and that protects adequately the independence of these institutions. It is important also that the same constitution protects these institutions from abuse as they are managed by humans – fallible as we are.
Emerging democracies are grappling with problems of incoherent constitutions and weak institutions, allowing some political leaders the leeway to abuse the system through clever and sometimes blatant actions such as the appointment of unprincipled and very partisan personalities to head such institutions. The judiciary and security services are also not free of excessive control. Abuse of the media either through intimidation or inducement is also part of the challenges such countries face.
We are also saddled with civil society who instead of exposing ills in government and society and offering concrete options on the way forward rather metamorphose into partisan political entities attacking or overprotecting government as if their survival depended on it.
Mr Chairman, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen; the average African is in dire need of a working democracy that truly protects not only himself but also guarantees a progressive and development-oriented political system that defends freedom, guarantees justice and ensures that society also remains disciplined and focused on what is good and right.
The primary challenge for emerging democracies in Africa, is the failure of Western democracy to acknowledge its inherent flaws and encourage a system of democracy on our continent that is dynamic, home grown and imbued with the socio-cultural backgrounds of individual African states.
Our societies are borne out of a strong traditional political framework of monarchies that wielded both spiritual and political power as well as judicial authority. Many of these societies still look up to traditional authority for moral fortitude while our ‘imported’ democratic and secular leadership is seen unfortunately as synonymous to immorality and corruption. With such perceptions how do we expect our emerging democracies to evolve?
The biggest misconception in embracing democracy is the argument that it comes with economic progress. The Western sponsors of democracy and their allied institutions such as the IMF and the World Bank who offer democratic prescriptions with the promise of financial support for socio-economic development usually present such arguments.
Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to quote Merillee Grindle, a Professor of International Development at the Harvard University, who states that: “Democracy is perceived as not having delivered what was promised. Scholars, NGOs, democracy movements, politicians, and others really have oversold what can be expected from democracy and have raised expectations about what a form of government actually can achieve. Certainly, a democratic regime can deliver, in time, on promises for personal freedom and liberty, for participation in the decisions of government, and on equality of rights. But democracy has also been sold as a way to engender economic growth, as a way to achieve economic and social equality…democracy is not a panacea for economic development.”
Democracy should however be made to provide the political stability for development. A practicing democracy that cannot create the climate to correct economic ills and corruption cannot and will not be a democracy. A democracy that cannot protect the sanctity of its electoral process is engaging in a fraudulent electoral coup d’état. Equally destructive is the unfortunate practice of using money to buy the conscience of the electorate.
There is no doubt that when democratic structures are instituted in a manner that recognizes the socio-cultural and socio-political context of individual countries, it will have a better chance of survival and success. Management of countries and societies is still dependent on a system of governance, which requires that every citizen has a role to play in the decision-making process and how leaders are elected. The citizens of every society must have an input in the format their political structures take and it is never too late to modify our constitutions to embrace what we overlooked.
Developments in Kenya and Côte d’Ivoire over the past two decades and recent developments in Libya, Tunisia and Egypt call for a thorough revision of political processes and structures in these countries. Some of these countries were also seen as relatively advanced democracies and economies but today a few of them cannot even boast of being emergent democracies having retrogressed within weeks of uprisings or violent electoral dispute.
Kenya has learnt many lessons from the electoral violence of 2007, which had huge ethnic connotations. The constitution has been reviewed and political tolerance was tested through a unity government. The judiciary is more empowered and today the country’s leadership boasts of two former adversaries working together.
Appointment of Supreme Court justices is not the entire prerogative of the President of the land and has to go through a selection and consultative process that ensures that the President — even though he has the final assent — cannot manipulate the appointment.
Nigeria has made strides over the past decade politically but still faces complicated challenges, which many of you will bear with me has socio-cultural implications that have been ignored for a significant period.
That is why institutions such as the National Institute for Legislative Studies should be welcomed as one of the structures that will enhance and strengthen your emerging democracy.
Democratic institutions across the continent are poorly equipped to offer the best support to governments. As a capacity building institution dedicated to provide professional research, advice, training and advocacy for members of the legislature, your organization is in a unique position to be a pacesetter in empowering our senators and parliamentarians to better serve the interests of their constituents.
It is embarrassing sometimes to observe our various legislative assemblies struggle to competently debate issues of serious national concern because members are handicapped information-wise.
Emerging democracies present attractive opportunities for investment and development and we cannot allow the progress that has been achieved over the past few decades to retrogress because of the challenges we have encountered and continue to encounter.
Relative political stability means we have an opportunity to turn our economies around and not only through the exploitation of traditional export commodities but also through investment and improvement in the service related sectors.
Africa’s share of investment within Africa rose from 3.2 per cent in 2007 to 5.6 in 2012 according an Ernst and Young report.
The trend of investment and growth is not related to just a few countries but spread across the continent and this means the potential is huge if we adopt more aggressive efforts at strengthening our monitoring institutions especially those entrusted with the power to stem corruption – a major factor that restricts foreign direct investment.
An African think-tank recently reported that illicit financial outflows cost the continent between $38.4 billion and $25 billion between 2008 and 2010 respectively. Our countries do not fare any better in the annual corruption index of Transparency International. While there may be a lot of factors that enhance corruption including the connivance of major global international players —whose jurisdictions ironically exact huge penalties for white-collar fraud — Africa is primarily saddled with corruption because some members of a minority elite connive to rape the continent and ensure that the positive economic indices are only on paper and do not reach the pockets of the ordinary people at the grassroots.
We cannot continue to pay lip service to the strengthening, empowerment and independent management of our multiple anti-corruption institutions. We live in countries where poor, petty thieves get imprisoned for several years while businessmen who evade taxes in millions of dollars or a politician who misappropriates millions of state funds escape punishment.
These inequalities are recipes for the retrogression of our democracies and we cannot allow the negative tide to continue. As I said earlier a democracy that cannot provide socio-economic justice cannot be a healthy democracy and will remain vulnerable and fragile.
Our institutions are weak because we do not strengthen and protect them adequately in our constitutions. While the legislature can enact laws that empower institutions, constitutional entrenchment of such provisions would ensure that political parties with majority control within legislative assemblies do not manipulate the powers of these institutions.
Institutions in the advanced countries have evolved over time having encountered huge challenges, but we have the capacity to ensure true independence for these institutions in a manner that does not infringe on the rights of the senior politician in government, the critical opposition leader or the cobbler at the street corner.
Africa has bright prospects, but these prospects can only see fruition if we embrace a patriotic desire to witness even development within our societies and not a selfish, myopic desire to enrich oneself at the expense of national development and cohesion.
One of our proudest assets must be our sense of nationalism. Emerging democracies in putting in place structures such as the National Institute for Legislative Studies must endeavour to inculcate in their citizenry the pride in defending one’s country against corrupt practices that sow seeds of disaffection especially amongst the less-advantaged in society who feel disregarded, abused and disrespected by a minority elite.
Can we change the cycle of profiting from wrong to profiting from right? If not, once again our democracy will continue to remain vulnerable and fragile.
Only last Friday, a former Attorney General in Ghana, who has waged a relentless campaign against the payment of questionable judgement debts to individuals and institutions obtained a Supreme Court ruling ordering the retrieval of over 40 million Euros from an international company which had earlier convinced government to pay her the said amount over an alleged abrogated contract.
The former Attorney General who at times faced serious ridicule from his compatriots stood his ground against all odds and won the case for Ghana. Today he is ironically being touted as a hero. But did he have to fight a lonely fight in defence of his country’s meager resources?
Does Nigeria have its lonely heroes too? Yes indeed, you do!
Once again my gratitude goes to the National Institute for Legislative Studies, the Association of European Parliamentarians with Africa and the entire Senate led by President David Mark and his Deputy Ike Ekweremadu and the ECOWAS Parliament for inviting me to be part of this important event.
Excellences, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you.
Source for JJ Rawlings Statement: Office Of Former President Rawlings
Reno Omokri, Special Assistant to the President (New Media)
PointblankNews