Friday, February 27, 2015

This Week in Nigeria: Edo Governor Oshiomhole Re-elected

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Adams Oshiomhole, Governor of Edo State.

This Week: News

Oshiomhole elected for a second term

Adams Oshiomhole has been re-elected governor of Edo State. Incumbent Oshiomhole of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) defeated his closest rival Charles Airhiavbere of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) by 477,478 votes to 144,235 in elections that have been deemed free and fair. Oshiomhole won all 18 local government areas in the state and his victory represents a resounding validation of his mandate and first term in office.

Trade between Nigeria and France reaches $7.3 billion

Trade between Nigeria and France has reached $7.3 billion according to the French Ambassador to Nigeria, Jacques Champagne de Labriolle. Speaking in Abuja on Saturday, De Labriolle extolled Nigerians' endeavour, saying “we French certainly believe that Nigeria is a country of extraordinary potential; it is already, and by far, our first partner in Africa, south of the Sahara”.

Suicide bomber attacks Shehu of Borno

Numerous dignitaries including Abubakar Umar Garbai El-Kanemi, the Shehu of Borno, and Zanna Umar Mustapha, the deputy governor of Borno State, narrowly escaped death last Friday when a 15-year old suicide bomber attacked the Shehu of Borno’s Palace Mosque. The Shehu, a symbolic leader in Nigerian Islamic tradition, appeared to be the principal target of the attack. Five other people attending the mosque were killed and six others injured. The attack is suspected to have been orchestrated by the Islamist sect Boko Haram.

First Lady appointed permanent secretary

Nigeria's First Lady, Patience Jonathan, has been appointed Permanent Secretary of the Bayelsa State civil service. Her appointment is said to be in recognition of her services to state and nation. Daniel Iworiso-Markson, Senior Special Assistant of Media and Public Affairs to Bayelsa State Governor, said: “We believe that in this particular instance, her services to the development of Bayelsa State and Nigeria as wife of a deputy governor, governor, vice president and now President qualify as essential service which should be recognised and rewarded”. 18 other public servants were appointed permanent secretaries on July 11.

100 killed as petrol tanker ignites

More than 100 people were killed when a petrol tanker caught fire in Rivers State on Thursday. The majority of those who died were attempting to collect petrol that had spilled from the vehicle after the tanker crashed after reportedly swerving to avoid collision with a bus. Rivers State information commissioner Ibim Semenitari told AFP news agency “more than 100 people were killed in the inferno from the petrol tanker, while around 50 with severe burns have been hospitalised”.

This Week: Politics

Last weekend’s Edo State elections provide an encouraging platform for analysis of Nigeria’s democratic evolution. Former scenarios marred by violence and impropriety were not repeated as the ACN's Oshiomhole won by a large majority. The ruling PDP, despite their mass rallies and their attempts at mobilisation, were sent packing once again. Those with an eye towards 2015 must surely see the defeat as a negative omen.

The most vibrant liberal democracies have healthy opposition parties. The political spectrum in Nigeria is changing for the better and a viable opposition seems to be growing and stabilising. The ACN has now become a realistic alternative for voters who are disillusioned with the PDP. President Jonathan should be praised for his non-interference; he allowed the police and the electoral commission to operate without pressure from above. The elections seem to have been conducted in a spirit of fairness and impartiality. These positives must be maintained and consolidated for the country’s youthful democracy to succeed.

The attack on the Maiduguri Central Mosque is indicative of the gravity of threat posed by Boko Haram. And even more menacingly, this latest attack was directed at a mosque rather than a church – not far from the Shehu of Borno’s palace. Who is safe from attacks? The new national security adviser, Sambo Dasuki, recently visited the Borno State chief and other Northern traditional rulers to enlist their help in stopping Boko Haram. However, even those in esteemed positions are not above attack.

Had it not been for the high levels of security that accompany the Shehu, we might have been mourning the death of many more, including the Borno State deputy governor. Reactions to the attacks have been all too familiar: “we will get to the bottom of it”, “God has spared our lives” and so on. Yet the ruthless and callous nature of this latest attack signals a deeper and more worrisome dimension to the Boko Haram phenomenon. Is foreign assistance needed? At the moment a ceasefire seems far from likely and options are limited.

Writers of the Week:

Soyinka: Salute to a titan at 78’ by Dan Amor extols the virtues of the Nigerian literary giant Akinwande Oluwole "Wole" Soyinka. The anecdotally describes his achievements whilst making reference to literature from around the globe. Amor asks whether Soyinka has achieved a sense of fulfilment from his career thus far. Referring to Soyinka as Kongi (from Kongi’s Harvest), Amor asserts that the 78-year-old is typical of so many other Nigerian authors, “crying in the wilderness of a soulless age that has refused to heed their message”. The article begins with the civil war and concludes with Soyika’s Nobel Prize. It makes for a fitting tribute to a hero of our time.

Three years of amnesty programme’ by Olisa Metuh, National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, smacks of party propaganda yet nevertheless makes some strong points. Metuh touches on the rise in oil production, normally credited to the successful implementation of Nigeria’s amnesty programme. The graduation of 18 ex-militants from a Flight Training School in South Africa is also detailed, alongside many other amnesty related achievements.

Organisation of the Week:

The Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) is a NGO dedicated to nature conservation and sustainable development in Nigeria. Established in 1980, the foundation’s mission is to preserve Nigeria’s biodiversity and promote the sustainable use of natural resources for the benefit of present and future generations. The NCF also advocates action that will minimise pollution and wasteful use of renewable resources.

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When will these thieves learn?.  Hundreds of people have been burnt to death in the past while trying to scoop petrol from broken pipes and all that.  Doesnt common sense dictate that this kind of dangerous act shouldnt ever be done.  How can people risk ending their lives because of what does not last? Its surprising.  God save us