December 11, 2008

I felt humiliated the day OBJ stripped me of security


Anyim Pius
It was meant to be a book presentation, but former Senate President, Anyim Pius Anyim held the audience spell bound when he began preaching about service and integrity, with a call on Nigerians to stop praying for good roads, electricity and other basic social amenities, but rather pray for righteous men to take over the governance of this country.

Quoting from the Bible, where it says “when righteous men are in position of authority, the people rejoice,” the former Senate President said those being referred to in the Bible should be the kind of leaders Nigerians should be praying for, adding that “it is after finding such people that we can talk about genuine service that will meet the need and aspirations of the people.”

He spoke recently as a Guest Speaker at the ECWA Good News Church, Kaduna at a book presentation ceremony, organized by the church. The book, titled “Service and Integrity- the Christian Perspective,” was written by the church, with Anyim as one of the contributors. Incidentally, Anyim spoke on the title of the book.

According to him, integrity was the only thing that makes one leader different from the other. With integrity, he continued “you will rule with compassion because you are after the name you are building for yourself and not the acquisition of material things.”

He further said that “you can acquire all the material things on earth, without integrity, once you are dead, the material things will all fizzle out and nobody will remember you ever existed or lived.
“What most leaders lack in Africa, particularly in Nigeria is integrity. Our leaders do not bother about integrity, which is why they indulge in primitive accumulation of wealth.
“They accumulate this wealth for their children, but when they die, the children will squander the whole thing in just a day. So let’s stop praying for light, good roads and what have you, let’s pray that righteous men will become leaders in this country some day.”

Anyim, like most Nigerians believe that God’s hands is in Nigeria, insisting that it was the reason issues that ordinarily would sparked off violent reactions else where would come and go in Nigeria as if nothing happened.
And he used the death of late Sani Abacha and the aborted third term agenda to buttress his argument. Hear him “what we have today in Nigeria, are leaders who mystify themselves. Leaders who act like God and think that they will never die. Death is not in their agenda.
“The two things that happened in Nigeria that further strengthened my belief that there is the hand of God in Nigeria is the death of Abacha and the death of third term. I was involved and I know that nothing would have stopped Abacha from succeeding himself. But God came to the rescue.
“The second issue is that of third term. Till date, the way the thing ended is still a mystery to those who conceived it, “Anyim added.

He was however quick to add that the issue of service and integrity, should go beyond political leaders. He argued that the followers and the church leaders especially too have a role to play in ensuring that Nigerians live in a corrupt-free society, even as he spared some knocks for church leaders on the issue of corruption.

“What most of you seated here today (referring to the audience) do in secret is worse than what we see the leaders do in the open. The leaders we see are the ones we think are corrupt, but as Nigerians, what we do individually accumulate to bring about corruption in the country.

“Even in the church, pastors and men of God sometimes quarrel over transfer on the premise that certain place is juicier than the other. So those who do that are not ready to serve. So you can see that there is rot in the church system too. You should not murmur over transfer. Therefore, if corruption is to be curbed, the church and other religious leaders must come together to pray for the evolvement of a sincere leader.”

Going down memory lane, the former Senate President who attributed the fear of the unknown as the reason most Nigerians fear to confront certain situations frontally said that he entertained similar fear when he was leaving the office in 2003.

He however said he relied on God to overcome the fears and since then there has been no looking back in his resolve to partner with other like minds to speak against the ills in the country.
“The fear of the unknown is also inhibiting us from doing some of those things we believe in. I had a similar experience when I was to leave office as the Senate President. I am sure many of us here are familiar with the situation that characterized my relationship with the then President Obasanjo.

“He ordered that all my security be withdrawn, this certainly calls for fear, and that was the day I felt humiliated. But I summoned the courage to say ‘if human beings who are my security are removed, God is the ultimate security.’ After the withdrawal of my security, I drove myself to the village without security and nothing happened to me. Like I said earlier, I felt humiliated on the day the security was withdrawn, but I looked up to God. Men can try to humiliate you, but with God, you are confident,” Anyim declared.

Prominent among those who attended the book presentation were: Reverend Father Mathew Hassan Kukah, officials of the Northern States, Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, and Kaduna State Peoples Redemption Party, PRP, Gubernatorial candidate in the last elections, Tom Mai-Taimaki Mai-Yashi.
The 275 page book centers on the need for Christians to be righteous when they are in positions of authority and to strive to correct leaders who they think are corrupt.

Police intercept arms, ammunition

•Suspect
Police in Delta State have intercepted arms and ammunition from suspected armed robbers. The weapons were intercepted at various locations in the state.

The State Commissioner of police, Mr. Jacob Oshiomogho, who briefed newsmen recently on the breakthrough said the feat was achieved by Warri Area Command patrol team and a joint patrol team on duty at Effurun.

He said the arms and ammunition were recovered along the Warri/Sapele road, near Warri, the commercial nerve center. “The team flagged down the vehicle with two occupants for a routine search. Surprisingly, the driver stopped abruptly, while the two occupants jumped out and fled. When the vehicle was searched, two AK 47 rifles marked 359072, loaded with 18 rounds of live ammunitions and another marked 34-2410, loaded with 10 rounds of live ammunition were found.

The CP disclosed that after proper scrutiny, the V/W Jetta car had another registration number, JX 817 AAA, inscribed on its windscreen.
Similarly, the joint patrol team at Effurun intercepted two Pump Action guns, 24 live cartridges, one iron cutter and a knife.

According to the state Command Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Mr Charles Muka, an Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP), the patrol team at Effurun, got a tip-off that some armed robbers were operating at 15, New Layout. The crime fighters were said to have stormed the scene and killed three members of the gang, while others fled, abandoning their arms.

The team also recovered one AK 47 rifle, two AK 47 rifle magazines, loaded with 37 rounds of live ammunition, one FNC rifle, one Pump Action rifle, 10 arrows, one Mercedes Benz 190, with registration number, AE 962 BMA and a Honda car.

According to the Police, the team had sighted the nuzzle of a rifle in a red Honda car with registration number EG 534 PHC, with three occupants and went after the vehicle, while the occupants opened fire on the patrol team.

Ghana poll: Presidential candidates to face run-off


Ghana's opposition party candidate John Atta Mills, left, and Ruling party presidential candidate Nana Akufo-Addo in Accra, Ghana, 09 Dec 2008
Ghana's electoral commission on Wednesday said the presidential election must be decided in a second-round vote. Governing party candidate Nana Akufo-Addo won 49.13% of the vote, against 47.92% for his rival, John Atta Mills, the commission said. But neither reached the 50% threshold needed for an outright win and a run-off will be held on 28 December.
Local and international observers have praised Ghana for setting a good example on how to conduct an election.

Electoral commission chairman Kwadwo Afari Gyan told a news conference in the capital, Accra: "There is going to be a re-run and it will be between the two leading candidates." The commission chairman did not immediately announce the results of the parallel parliamentary elections also held on Sunday, saying the commission needed to clarify some issues.

Turnout was 69.52% for Ghana's fifth set of elections since it embraced multi-party democracy in 1992. The BBC's Will Ross in Accra says after winning praise for its peaceful poll Ghana will now have to do it again, but the stakes are high, he adds, as the country has just discovered oil.

There were a number of candidates to succeed President John Kufuor - who steps down in January having served the maximum two terms - but the election has been a two-horse race. New Patriotic Party (NPP) candidate Mr Akufo-Addo won 4,159,439 votes, while National Democratic Congress (NDC) contender John Atta Mills had 4,056,634 ballots, it was announced.

Trailing a very distant third was businessman Papa Kwesi Nduom, of the Convention People's Party (CPP), with 1.3% of the ballot. The former British colony was the first African state to gain its independence in 1957. A nation of 22 million people, it is the world's second biggest cocoa grower and Africa's number two gold miner.

Presidential polls: Yar’Adua, Buhari, Atiku know fate Friday


President Umaru Yar’Adua
The hue and cry over the April 21, 2007 presidential election will come to an end on Friday when the Supreme Court is expected to deliver judgment on the twin appeals instituted by Muhammadu Buhari and Atiku Abubakar, contesting the declaration of President Umaru Yar’Adua by the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal as the winner of the election.

At the last hearing of the appeals by a full-panel of the apex court, led by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Idris Legbo Kutigi, had told counsel in the suit after the arguments that a judgment date would be communicated to them.

Checks conducted by Daily Sun at the Supreme Court shows that counsel in the matter have all been notified that the court will deliver its judgment on the matter.
The appellants, Buhari and Atiku, presidential candidates of the All Nigeria Peoples Party [ANPP] and Action Congress [AC] respectively in the April polls are asking the apex court to set aside the decision of the Court of Appeal which sat as the Presidential Elections Petition Tribunal that upheld the victory of Yar’Adua of the Peoples Democratic Party in the election and order fresh polls.
All parties in the two appeals had adopted their brief of arguments at the hearing, which contained all the issues they wanted to address on the disputed election.

Atiku had in his brief of argument which was prepared by Emeka Ngige (SAN) said heavens would not fall if Yar’Adua’s election is nullified, just as he asked the apex court to restrain the Independent National Electoral Commission [INEC] under the leadership of Maurice Iwu from conducting the re-run election expected to be ordered by the apex court.

It was also Atiku’s position that “the court was in serious error in invoking the issue of security and welfare of the country as an excuse for saving a seriously flawed election.”
In his brief of argument as prepared by his lead counsel, Mike Ahamba (SAN), Buhari claimed that results in the election were arbitrarily assigned, adding that some of them were prepared before the elections.

The Senior Advocate of Nigeria further told the court that the non-serialization of the ballot papers used for the election among other issues of non-compliance with the provisions of the laws guiding the conduct of the election are enough grounds for the election to be nullified and another conducted by a new leadership of INEC.
Responding, counsel to President Yar’Adua, Olaipekun, (SAN) claimed that the two appellants had failed to prove their allegation of the election not being in substantial compliance with the extant electoral laws, particularly the Electoral Act 2006.
He added that the documentary evidence produced by Buhari to prove that the election did not meet the required acceptable standard amounted to nothing because they needed the testimony of witnesses to have a life.

Olanipekun had while adopting Yar’Adua’s brief submitted that the apex court lacked the power to grant the reliefs being sought by Buhari, as according to him “the reliefs to be granted by the court must be in accordance with the Electoral Act. The reliefs asked for by the appellants are not grantable.”
In his submission, counsel to INEC, Kanu Agabi, SAN, stated that the non-compliance as identified by the appellants was not enough to vitiate the outcome of the election, adding that the appellants did not prove beyond reasonable doubt that the lapses in the conduct of the election affected the outcome.
Buhari had filed a 264-page appellant brief with contribution from expert auditors, while Atiku had also concluded 39 grounds of appeal in his brief.

Reacting on Wednesday, Atiku said he was ready for the ruling. “Naturally, as stakeholders it is our desire that the apex court would redress the injustice done to us by the ruling party Peoples Democratic Party in the April 2007 presidential election which was brazenly rigged by those who were bent on capturing power by hook or by crook. We would be most delighted if the verdict turns out in our favour because it is the right thing to do. We have devoted so much time and resources to prove our contention that the election was a sham,” Atiku said.

In a statement signed by Garba Shehu, Atiku said he would have no hesitation but to abide by the verdict.
“As a responsible and law-abiding politician, my commitment to the rule of law, peaceful quest for justice through our nation’s judicial institutions remain unshaken. Also, my commitment to the oneness of Nigeria is non-negotiable. But while reiterating my belief in the rule of law and peaceful avenues for legal redress, I am not losing sight of the repercussions of deodorizing the unprecedented fraud in the 2007 presidential election. Such a decision will deepen our sense of injustice over the electoral heist perpetuated by anti-democratic forces last year.

“He said all eyes are on the Supreme Court Justices and whichever way they deliver their verdict on the appeal, will have far-reaching impact on the future of democracy in Nigeria.
“The hope of most Nigerians is that the judiciary has the ultimate responsibility to rescue our democracy from the throes of death. Nigerians look forward to the Judiciary, particularly the Supreme Court, to save this wobbling country from the abyss.”

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