CHANGE IS HERE

CHANGE IS HERE

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Thirteen killed In Benin - Ore Auto accident



The remains a bus that crashed recently in Sagamu section of the Lagos-Benin highway 


By SaharaReporters, New York

A headlong crash between an IVECO Truck and a commuter on Sunday morning along the busy Lagos -Benin highway has killed thirteen people. One person was critically injured and is currently receiving treatment in a hospital close to the scene of the accident.

The auto accident involving two vehicles occurred on the Benin–Ore part of the Lagos –Benin highway.
Road safety officials reports that a Toyota Hiace commuter bus with 15 passengers on board  crashed headlong into an IVECO Truck while it was descending a steep slope.

The two vehicles collided head on at 7.45 AM on kilometer 53 before Ohosun near the boundary of Ondo and Edo state.
The bus which was driving against the traffic when the crash occurred is registered to Anambra state mass transit company.
The accident led to the instant death of 13 males, another male was critically injured and rushed to Shiloh Hospital Ugbogui for medical attention. The death victims of the accident were also deposited in the mortuary at the clinic.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Shape up or ship out, Niger Delta group tells Jonathan

Dr. Jonathan

A group, Niger Delta Peace Foundation, on Friday in Abuja called on President Goodluck Jonathan to “sit up and be alive to his responsibilities” in the protection of lives and property, saying “he has deviated.” 
The organisation suggested that if the Presidency could no longer tackle the security challenges in the country, the National Assembly should commence the processes for the enactment of legislation for the creation of state police in Nigeria. 
It said: “We are much matured to have state police. We support state governments agitating for state police. If the government is not making serious efforts to tackle the security challenge in the country, the lawmakers should do something in that respect.” 
The National President of NDPF, Chief Daniel Ebahor, stated this at a press briefing where he also called on the President to overhaul the Federal Executive Council for them to face their work and reduce “their present non-challant attitude to the welfare of Nigerians.” 
Today, the system of government in the country, Ebahor said, has created enormous problems “too difficult for the administration to solve as a result of bad governance emanating from lack of provision of infrastructure and unemployment, which has given rise to the insurgence of Boko Haram, insecurity and militancy.” 
He added: “The Executive should sit up. This is a wake-up call on Jonathan to perform because he has deviated. The security challenges in the country have nothing to do with budget implementation. There is no work, no job and no money, and you are saying you have security challenges. 
“That is why kidnapping, militancy and terrorism are rife. The recent happenings in our country must give serious concern and mental torture to any right-thinking Nigerian who takes into account and in retrospect the aims and objectives of our forefathers in enthroning democracy as the best system of government in Nigeria. The administration of the present Federal Government needs a very critical analysis and review.” 
Ebahor commended the House of Representatives for its impeachment threat on the President, saying it would ensure probity and accountability in Nigeria. 
He, however, urged the Senate “to borrow a leaf from the House of Representatives in order to make the Executive to be alive to the plight of Nigerians.” 
While calling on the Federal Government to “overhaul the Federal Executive Council with a view to making them work and be alive to their responsibilities,” NDPF suggested that the government should immediately increase the oil derivation allocation to oil producing states from 13 per cent to 50 per cent. 
This, it said, would “help alleviate the economic backwardness and untold hardship the people of the Niger Delta have suffered from different administrations at the federal level.” 

Friday, July 27, 2012

Mark calls for check on menace of social media


By ANAYO OKOLI
UMUAHIA—SENATE President, Senator David Mark, Thursday, called for a check on the menace of the social media on the Nigerian society, saying that people now use them to demean their leaders.
Mark said the need to check the social media became necessary, as they do not have the avenue for retraction of whatever they had done.
Senator Mark, who spoke in Umuahia, Abia State, while declaring open a two-day retreat for Senate Press corps, explained that the media has come to stay, as part of the process of governance in the country, since the return of democratic government in 1999 and performing its social responsibility of checking the excesses of the leaders.
Senator Mark, however, urged reporters to always cross check their facts before writing so as not to mislead the people, who depend on them to know what goes on around them.
The Senate President cited as examples varied figures usually quoted by various media in times of tragedies, saying that the figures were always inconsistent.
Describing the media as one of the stabilizing factors in the scheme of things, Mark cautioned that “we need to change our attitude on how we report things about our country, and we should emulate the foreign reporters, who never report negative things about their countries.”

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Oil Subsidy Fraud Suspects Funneled Nearly $1billion To Jonathan Election Campaign


Ada Ugo-Ngadi-MD of Ontario Oil and Gas Limited yesterday





By SaharaReporters, New York
Some of the high profile suspects arraigned on Wednesday for stealing $6.8 billion oil subsidy funds have sent a strong warning to President Goodluck Jonathan to desist from prosecuting them or face a full disclosure of how they funneled close to $1 billion towards his 2011 presidential campaign through the oil resources minister Diezani Allison-Madueke and the Minister for the Niger Delta, Godsday Orubebe.

SaharaReporters sources say that operators of Ontario Oil and Gas Limited, whose Managing Director, Adaoha Ugo-Ngadi, was docked along with 20 others, have compiled information that was sent to President Jonathan that includes:

• How they specifically handed over $300 million through the Minister for Petroleum Resources, Allison-Madueke, towards the election of President Jonathan in 2011; and 
• That they bought a mansion for Mr. Orubebe in Abuja worth N600 million.

Saharareporters learned that the accused Ontario Oil chieftains were shocked by the public humiliation brought upon them by the EFCC. The most powerful member of the Ontario clan, Walter Wagbatsoma, reportedly left Nigeria for Paris shortly before the commencement of prosecution by the EFCC. 

Meanwhile, EFCC officials have confirmed to SaharaReporters that Mr. Wagbatsoma has not written any statement or appeared before the agency even though he was listed as one of those to be arraigned by the EFCC. He is believed to have the key to unlocking the involvement of Mrs. Diezani Allison-Madueke in the oil subsidy fraud. 

Specifically, Wagbatsoma is reportedly in possession of a private jet bought last year that he is holding in trust for Mrs Allison-Madueke. A source in Abuja also said that Mr. Orubebe is on the board of Ontario Oil, although he may not be publicly listed. Wagbatsoma is listed as the owner of several companies used to siphon off funds from the oil industry, they include: Ontario oil & gas Ltd., Ontario trading Ltd, Ontario storage terminals Ltd., ontario vessels Ltd., Ontario Drilling and Engineering services.

In Lagos today, the prosecution suffered another setback as the court adjourned following the failure of Wagbatsoma to appear  at the trial. The proceedings were equally stalled yesterday by the absence of the Attorney General of the Federation, Mohammed Bello Adoke.

Sources knowledgeable about the intrigues surrounding the trial have already predicted that due to the current threat to expose President Jonathan and some of his most powerful ministers, the case will fizzle out over time.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Greek athlete expelled from Olympics for racist tweet




Greece's triple-jump champion was expelled from the Olympics after posting a tasteless tweet about Africans and the West Nile virus.
Hellenic Olympic Committee officials announced Voula Papachristou wouldn't travel to London after she tweeted a joke about African immigrants.
On Monday, the track athlete posted a tweet reading, "with so many Africans in Greece, at least the West Nile mosquitos will be eating food from their own home." The comments created an uproar on Greek social media. Papachristou didn't address the criticism on Twitter for two days.
Greece later announced it would place Papchristou "outside the Olympic team for statements contrary to the values and ideas of the Olympic movement."
Values outside the Olympic movement? So if she had sold her Twitter account to the highest bidder, went on a McDonald's diet or decided to sit out the Games rather than face a member of a different religion, she'd be cool? Ban her if you want, Greece, but don't pin it on the questionable values of the Olympic movement.
Papachristou's tweet was tasteless, inane, tasteless (again) and not at all funny. But does it deserve Olympic banishment? Look, if you have to parse how racist a statement is, then it's already too racist. But there's still a threshold that needs to be crossed to get into the "we're going to ban you from the Olympics" territory and I'm not sure Papachristou's tweet got there. Unless you think she's suggesting that she wants African Greeks to contract West Nile (I don't think you can make that assumption based on this tweet), then this is stupid racial humor rather than racism.
The nation's Democratic Left disagreed and called for Papachristou's banning. "Watching the Olympics on TV screen," the party wrote, "she could do as many vile 'jokes' she wants through the social media."
So they want her to make racist jokes on Twitter? That's just as offensive!
Papachristou issued a strong apology for her tweet on Wednesday afternoon:
I would like to express my heartfelt apologies for the unfortunate and tasteless joke I published on my personal Twitter account. I am very sorry and ashamed for the negative responses I triggered, since I never wanted to offend anyone, or to encroach human rights.
My dream is connected to the Olympic Games and I could not possibly participate if I did not respect their values. Therefore, I could never believe in discrimination between human beings and races.
I would like to apologize to all my friends and fellow athletes, who I may have insulted or shamed, the National Team, as well as the people and companies who support my athletic career. Finally, I would like to apologize to my coach and my family.
I ask again: Does she deserve to be banned from the Olympics? This is no defense of Papachristou. The tweet was stupid and misguided, at best. But if this is about teaching and tolerance, then doesn't letting her compete make more sense? She's contrite about the incident. In theory, she could do more good by being on the world's biggest stage rather than being left behind in Athens.
Meanwhile, good for Greek politicians for keeping an eye on the important stuff, like the Twitter accounts of triple jumpers. I can think of literally nothing else in the country that deserves attention.

Federal Government Purchases 200 Cars for African First Ladies’ Summit

The FG must have looked at these models belonging to South Africa’s 3 “First Ladies” in their decision. Notice the BMW jeep?


Information has it that the ongoing African First Ladies Summit may be costing Nigeria government the host nation billions of naira as the  began delivery of 200 exotics cars. The cars are for use during the 7th African First Ladies for Peace Mission (AFLPM) summit scheduled for 24 to 27 July in Abuja. Already, African first ladies have begun arriving in the country since weekend for the four-day event.
  is the convener of the event, with the theme “The African Woman: A Voice for Peace,” which is expected to be attended by spouses of African leaders.
According to sources, the cars comprise 80 units of BMW X3 and X5 series with a market value of N13.5 million each, while the remaining 120 are exotic models of Honda, Jaguar and others.
It has been gathered that the vehicles were supplied by  Motors, and 180 units had already been delivered to the Presidential Villa in Abuja as at Saturday. The transaction for the 200 cars was alleged to have been processed by the office of the Minister of  for Finance. However, attempts to seek explanation from the office were not successful as a spokesman declined comment while the minister of , Dr. Yerima 

Sunday, July 22, 2012

How To Change Government Peacefully And Make Society Better- Pastor Tunde Bakare


Pastor Tunde Bakare


Posted: July 22, 2012 - 14:36


Fellow citizens of our great country, household faithful at The Latter Rain Assembly, Gentlemen of the Press, and every other person present, welcome to this special occasion. At the beginning of this month, during the Father’s Day celebration, an invitation was extended to every concerned citizen of our nation to attend this special lecture - our humble contribution towards nation building. 

We would like to place on the register our gratitude to God and our profound appreciation for the leadership and members of The Latter Rain Assembly for the provision of this auditorium. After all, in matters of public enlightenment, the church should be in the forefront of such efforts, going by the definitive proclamation of Jesus concerning the church.
Jesus said in Matthew 5:14-16 (NKJV):
    
14 “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be     hidden. 15 Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a     lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Let your light so     shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your     Father in heaven.
    
In addition, for those befuddled in their minds about our role in this process, let me again rely on the words of Prophet Malachi written exclusively to those in priestly garments who have forgotten their God-ordained role in matters of nation building:
    
Malachi 2:1-9 (NKJV):
    1“And now, O priests, this commandment is for you. 2 If you will not hear,     and if you will not take it to heart, to give glory to My name,” says the     LORD of hosts, “I will send a curse upon you, and I will curse your     blessings. Yes, I have cursed them already, because you do not take it to     heart. 3 “Behold, I will rebuke your descendants and spread refuse on your     faces, the refuse of your solemn feasts; and one will take you away with it.     4 Then you shall know that I have sent this commandment to you, that My     covenant with Levi may continue,” says the LORD of hosts. 5 “My covenant     was with him, one of life and peace, and I gave them to him that he might     fear Me; so he feared Me and was reverent before My name. 6 The law of     truth was in his mouth, and injustice was not found on his lips. He walked     with Me in peace and equity, and turned many away from iniquity. 7 “For     the lips of a priest should keep knowledge, and people should seek the law     from his mouth; for he is the messenger of the LORD of hosts. 8 But you     have departed from the way; you have caused many to stumble at the law.     You have corrupted the covenant of Levi,” says the LORD of hosts.     9 “Therefore I also have made you contemptible and base before all the     people, because you have not kept My ways but have shown partiality in     the law.”

    
For those questioning our intentions and the use of this platform to disseminate truths that will unblock the minds of our citizens and set them free from limiting thoughts that produce self-defeat, there you have it in black and white in the Holy Writ:
     
Malachi 2:7 (NKJV):
        “For the lips of a priest should keep knowledge, and people should seek     the law from his mouth; for he is the messenger of the LORD of hosts.”
   
 Ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, saints and strangers, do I then have your permission this morning to perform this noble role of a messenger to a nation on the road to perdition and self-annihilation?
   
 Having given me an overwhelming yes, please permit me to quickly add that, beyond the church being a lighthouse to a dark world, and beyond the role of the priest as a messenger whose lips should keep knowledge and from whose mouth the people should seek the law, there is an additional burden of the watchman and his message that is totally lost on the prosperity merchants and their crowd. Please turn your Bibles with me to the Book of Ezekiel the Prophet, chapter 33:1-20:

1 Again the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 2 “Son of man, speak to the children of your people, and say to them: ‘When I bring the sword upon a land, and the people of the land take a man from their territory and make him their watchman, 3 when he sees the sword coming upon the land, if he blows the trumpet and warns the people, 4 then whoever hears the sound of the trumpet and does not take warning, if the sword comes and takes him away, his blood shall be on his own head. 5 He heard the sound of the trumpet, but did not take warning; his blood shall be upon himself. But he who takes warning will save his life. 6 But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, and the people are not warned, and the sword comes and takes any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at the watchman’s hand.’ 7 “So you, son of man: I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore you shall hear a word from My mouth and warn them for Me. 8 When I say to the wicked, ‘O wicked man, you shall surely die!’ and you do not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand. 9 Nevertheless if you warn the wicked to turn from his way, and he does not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered your soul. 10 “Therefore you, O son of man, say to the house of Israel: ‘Thus you say, “If our transgressions and our sins lie upon us, and we pine away in them, how can we then live?”’ 11 Say to them: ‘As I live,’ says the Lord GOD, ‘I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die, O house of Israel?’ 12 “Therefore you, O son of man, say to the children of your people: ‘The righteousness of the righteous man shall not deliver him in the day of his transgression; as for the wickedness of the wicked, he shall not fall because of it in the day that he turns from his wickedness; nor shall the righteous be able to live because of his righteousness in the day that he sins.’ 13 When I say to the righteous that he shall surely live, but he trusts in his own righteousness and commits iniquity, none of his righteous works shall be remembered; but because of the iniquity that he has committed, he shall die. 14 Again, when I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ if he turns from his sin and does what is lawful and right, 15 if the wicked restores the pledge, gives back what he has stolen, and walks in the statutes of life without committing iniquity, he shall surely live; he shall not die. 16 None of his sins which he has committed shall be remembered against him; he has done what is lawful and right; he shall surely live. 17 “Yet the children of your people say, ‘The way of the Lord is not fair.’ But it is their way which is not fair! 18 When the righteous turns from his righteousness and commits iniquity, he shall die because of it. 19 But when the wicked turns from his wickedness and does what is lawful and right, he shall live because of it. 20 Yet you say, ‘The way of the Lord is not fair.’ O house of Israel, I will judge every one of you according to his own ways.”
  
 I invited all and sundry here this morning because I can see the sword already upon this land – shall I then blow the trumpet? Not to do so would be a disservice to my nation and outright disobedience to God - a luxury I cannot afford. Therefore, lend me your ears.
For the sake of clarity and to keep within the boundary of the subject of our contemplation this morning – ‘How to Change Government Peacefully and Make Society Better’ - I have arranged this lecture under four major headings:

1.    WHO TRULY RULES IN THE AFFAIRS OF MEN?
2.    THE PURPOSE OF GOVERNMENT IN A NATION
3.    HOW TO CHANGE GOVERNMENT IN A PEACEFUL MANNER
4.    THE WAY FORWARD
I will take the headings one by one.
      
 HEADING 1: WHO TRULY RULES IN THE AFFAIRS OF MEN?
    
Today, it is common practice among pseudo-intellectuals worldwide to mock biblical teachings on God, Satan and demons. But to those who are wise and discerning, it is clear that behind the socio-political and economic evils of our time lie supernatural powers.
    
It is true that God Almighty is “the blessed and only Potentate [Sovereign], the King of kings and Lord of lords” (I Timothy 6:13-16). It is also true that honour and everlasting power belong to God. Nonetheless, in the wisdom of God who rules in the affairs of men, He allows or permits the lowest of men to occupy apex power positions in order that the living may know and hopefully learn.

The New Testament’s perspective on the grip of evil over our socio-political and economic systems comes from the Old Testament prophet, Daniel. Daniel was a young man when Babylonians invaded his city Jerusalem, destroyed it, brutally massacred his people and carried their royalty into slavery in Babylon. Later, they returned to destroy God’s temple and placed God’s sacred vessels in the temple of their god.

This humiliating horror raised disturbing theological questions: Who really rules in the affairs of this world? Who is in control of history - at least at this moment? Why are the kingdoms of this world at times so cruel, brutal, exploitative and oppressive? From the Book of Daniel come three clear answers that can help us navigate our own murky political waters and deliver our nation from imminent bankruptcy and balkanization:

1.    GOD IS THE SUPREME POTENTATE:
Daniel 2:20-22 (NKJV) -
    20 Daniel answered and said “Blessed be the name of God forever and ever,     For wisdom and might are His. 21 And He changes the times and the     seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings; He gives wisdom to the     wise and knowledge to those who have understanding. 22 He reveals deep     and secret things; He knows what is in the darkness, and light dwells with     Him.

2.    GOD, THE SUPREME POTENTATE RULES IN THE KINGDOM OF MEN AND GIVES IT TO WHOMEVER HE WILL AND SETS OVER IT THE LOWEST OF MEN:
Daniel 4:13-18 (NKJV) -
13 “I saw in the visions of my head while on my bed, and there was a watcher, a holy one, coming down from heaven. 14 He cried aloud and said thus: ‘Chop down the tree and cut off its branches, strip off its leaves and scatter its fruit. Let the beasts get out from under it, and the birds from its branches. 15 Nevertheless leave the stump and roots in the earth, bound with a band of iron and bronze, in the tender grass of the field. Let it be wet with the dew of heaven, and let him graze with the beasts on the grass of the earth. 16 Let his heart be changed from that of a man, let him be given the heart of a beast, and let seven times pass over him. 17 ‘This decision is by the decree of the watchers, and the sentence by the word of the holy ones, in order that the living may know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, gives it to whomever He will, and sets over it the lowest of men.’ 18 “This dream I, King Nebuchadnezzar, have seen. Now you, Belteshazzar, declare its interpretation, since all the wise men of my kingdom are not able to make known to me the interpretation; but you are able, for the Spirit of the Holy God is in you.”

3.    WHENEVER THE LOWEST OF MEN OCCUPY APEX POWER POSITIONS, IN THEIR NAIVETY, THEY YIELD TO DEMONIC POWERS WHO THEN RULE THROUGH THEM:
    
As Daniel humbled himself, fasted and prayed for understanding, he was given a glimpse of the supernatural realm. He saw clearly that behind the socio-political and economic evils of his time lay supernatural powers.
    
For example, in Daniel chapter 2, King Nebuchadnezzar dreamt about a statue made of gold, silver, bronze and iron, each representing four successive empires: Babylonian (gold), Medo-Persian (silver), Greek (bronze) and Roman (iron). After their rule, a mere stone – the kingdom of God – brought all the evil kingdoms of this world to an end.
Curiously, in chapter 7, we read that Daniel, a captive turned learned governor and president, humbled himself in fasting and prayer, seeking to understand where history was going and God’s role in its unravelling. He was given the vision of the same four kingdoms Nebuchadnezzar had seen earlier, except that Daniel saw them not as a dazzling statue of precious metals but as beasts that devoured: the lion (Babylonian), the bear (Medo-Persian), and the leopard (Greek), and the “fourth beast [was] dreadful and terrible, exceedingly strong”. It had large iron teeth; it crushed and devoured its victims and trampled underfoot whatever was left (Daniel 7:7). This fourth beast was Daniel’s vision of the Roman Empire.

Ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, the kingdoms of this world were and are beastly, because behind them were and are evil supernatural forces. This understanding of evil as something more than natural, human or socio-political did not begin with Daniel. Israel’s first king became evil, despotic and murderous, and the Bible explains that God’s Spirit had left him and an evil spirit began to torment him (I Samuel 16:14-23).
Likewise, in the Book of Judges, socio-political evils are seen as a direct result of spiritual evil, specifically the operation of the spirit of ill will sent by God when Abimelech hired worthless and reckless men to kill all the seventy (70) sons of Gideon so that he could become king.
Judges 9:22-23
        
22 After Abimelech had reigned over Israel three years, 23 God sent a spirit of ill will between Abimelech and the men of Shechem; and the men of Shechem dealt treacherously with Abimelech...
    
Each of the above mentioned biblical texts and a plethora of others affirm that God remains Sovereign over His creation even when He allows evil spirits or devils to hold sway. Apostle Paul explains in Romans 1:18-32 that God gives whole cultures over to evil when humans choose to suppress truth with wickedness. This is where we are in Nigeria today. To the discerning, the nation has been thrown to the dogs of pervasive corruption and disruptive, perennial insecurity. The question begging for an answer is: Who will deliver us from this self-induced chaotic disorder?
HEADING 2: THE PURPOSE OF GOVERNMENT
    
The purpose of any meaningful government is the welfare and security of the people. In our clime, neither welfare nor security of the lives and property of our people seems to matter anymore. Our malady is not new. History holds records of nations who were bled to death by their rulers and tells how such leaders were ultimately dealt with when the oppressed could no longer bear the heavy weight of their oppressive and insensitive leadership. Biblical history also alludes to this. While the people kept suffering in the midst of plenty in the days of King Solomon, who used his wisdom to satisfy his unquenchable thirst and hunger for material acquisition and outlandish women of all shapes and shades, a day came in the life of the nation when the people kicked and shouted, “We have no inheritance in the son of Jesse. To your tents, O Israel!” (I Kings 12:16). The rebellion did not only stand, God also rubberstamped it and said “this thing is from me”(I Kings 12:24) -- it was orchestrated by the GREAT ORGANIZED DESIGNER (GOD).

It is unfortunate that our people are crying today for change, but they are expecting the change to either fall from the sky or come from sources that cannot produce it. It is simple logic that when a corrupt leader is in office, he corrupts those he leads. This is true of a family, true of a church, and true of a nation. A corrupt father will ultimately corrupt his family as he cannot distinguish between his wife and his son’s wife. A corrupt pastor will corrupt, influence, affect and infect his church as he prioritizes outreaches, programmes and projects executed with filthy lucre flowing from the perverse and the corrupt above the spiritual welfare of the congregants. And a corrupt elected official will infect his nation with corruption. I cannot but borrow a leaf from the profound lecture delivered by Prof. Niyi Osundare recently on the state of the nation titled: ‘Why We No Longer Blush: Corruption as Grand Commander of the Federal Republic of Nigeria’. He said, and I quote:

“Watch out, Nigeria: a new Jonathan seems to be emerging, one who confuses cockiness with confidence, tactlessness with toughness, strong-manship with statesmanship.”
    President Jonathan’s combination of naivety and amorality is as profound as it is injurious to the health of this country. Can a corruption-compliant ruler really lead a corruption-free country? If change – positive change – will ever come to our clime, it will not be engineered by those who are benefitting without conscience from the present cesspool of corrosive corruption. It will and can only come from a new breed without greed and a radical opposition to corruption. True, genuine change can only come from those not infected by the present corruption malaise; it can only come from positive agents of social change who are totally sold out to public good.

HEADING 3: HOW TO CHANGE GOVERNMENT IN A PEACEFUL MANNER
    Every time I have considered this subject, only one thing flows from me towards President Goodluck Jonathan – genuine pity. Anyone who has had the privilege of sitting with Mr. President, as I sometimes have, will feel the same for this simple soul who has become a victim of circumstances generated and orchestrated by his bramble predecessor, who, in his bid to be king of all trees, used his position to force on the nation the sick, the weak, and the ill-equipped in an attempt to dominate the polity and maintain his larger than life status out of office (Judges 9:8-15). So, it did not come as a surprise to me at all when, two days ago, the minority leader of the House of Representatives, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila cited Section 143 of the 1999 Constitution, saying that any action of the President defined as “gross misconduct” by the National Assembly was “sufficient grounds to initiate impeachment proceedings against him.” Let me quote verbatim from Friday July 20, 2012’s Punch [‘Budget: Lawmakers threaten to impeach President’] to buttress my point:
Gbajabiamila had proposed the amendment to a motion before the House     on the poor implementation of the 2012 budget.
  
 “If by September 18, the budget performance has not improved to 100%, we     shall begin to invoke and draw up articles of impeachment against Mr.         President”, he said.
    Members shouted aloud “yes”, “yes”, “yes” and clapped for the minority     leader as Gbajabiamila made the proposal.
    He accused the executive of allegedly breaching the Appropriation Act,     2012    by engaging in “selective implementation” of the budget.
    
Gbajabiamila added, “What we have in our hands today is a budget of     abracadabra; a budget of voodoo economy.
    “I like Mr. President, he is a fine gentleman, but I like my people, the     Nigerian people more.”
    Indeed, Mr. President may be a fine gentleman thrust into a position of leadership by circumstances beyond his control who is now facing a barrage of problems he is incapable of solving. He deserves our sympathy, our prayers, and whatever else we can honourably and legally do to make sure he gets back to his home-base safely.
Perhaps a few suggestions may change the course of our rapid descent into the abyss, since free, fair and credible election is presently alien to our polity. In all honesty, I perceive very strongly that our next general election will be better, though it may come earlier than expected.
Now, a few suggestions:

1.    First and foremost, THE UNQUESTIONABLE GOD FACTOR: From both biblical and human history, sometimes – if not at all times – God moves behind the scenes in unimaginable ways and fosters changes that are beyond human comprehension - especially when all hope is lost. Indeed, God changes the times and the seasons, He removes kings and raises up kings (Daniel 2:21 & 22).

The same God who raised David the shepherd boy from the sheepfold and made him king over Israel, and deposed the insane King Saul, still does what pleases Him in the nations of the earth. Oftentimes, when citizens are pushed to the wall and rulers boastfully think they are irremovable due to their political sagacity and ‘matter of cash’ policy, a Jehu type of prophetic revolution is in the making. Other times, God replaces the mighty and the powerful with their own appointed palace administrators. One biblical example is sufficient for our time and our clime.

Hear the declarations of God as recorded in Isaiah 22:15-25 (NKJV):
15 Thus says the Lord God of hosts: “Go, proceed to this steward, to Shebna, who is over the house, and say: 16 ‘What have you here, and whom have you here, that you have hewn a sepulcher here, as he who hews himself a sepulcher on high, who carves a tomb for himself in a rock? 17 Indeed, the Lord will throw you away violently, O mighty man, and will surely seize you. 18 He will surely turn violently and toss you like a ball into a large country; there you shall die, and there your glorious chariots shall be the shame of your master’s house. 19 So I will drive you out of your office, and from your position will pull you down. 20 ‘Then it shall be in that day, that I will call My servant Eliakim the son of Hilkiah; 21 I will clothe him with your robe and strengthen him with your belt; I will commit your responsibility into his hand. He shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and to the house of Judah. 22 The key of the house of David I will lay on his shoulder; so he shall open, and no one shall shut; and he shall shut, and no one shall open. 23 I will fasten him as a peg in a secure place, and he will become a glorious throne to his father’s house. 24 ‘They will hang on him all the glory of his father’s house, the offspring and the posterity, all vessels of small quantity, from the cups to all the pitchers. 25 In that day,’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘the peg that is fastened in the secure place will be removed and be cut down and fall, and the burden that was on it will be cut off; for the Lord has spoken.’”

By the way, Eliakim the son of Hilkiah was a palace administrator lifted by God to the status of a king. God placed upon his shoulders the very keys of David to open and shut as he willed (Isaiah 36:3; NKJV). With God all things are possible -- so he who has ears to hear, let him hear.

2.    RESIGNATION: Even for a seasoned, well-cooked and well-equipped UK prime minister like Margaret Thatcher, the Iron Lady, the moment the people rose against her policy, she did the honourable and noble thing – she resigned and returned to the parliament before retiring from politics. Resignation is not a sign of weakness - it is a sign of patriotic truthfulness. It is giving opportunity to those who can do a better job in the interest of the nation to carry on with nation-building where the exiting leader stops.

3.    IMPEACHMENT: This can only be carried out by the National Assembly and the process has begun. It may be aborted, or it may be carried to its logical conclusion. Either way, it is a worse option and carries a load of shame with it compared to resignation. Come to think of it, Mr. President should not wait for the conclusions in the court of law and the court of public opinion for the rape and atrocities committed against the Appropriation Act 2011 in respect of the subsidy scandal (a ghost that still haunts his administration and will not rest in peace until the truth is made known and justice is served). The admission of extra-budgetary spending of over N2 trillion without appropriation is another impeachable time bomb that can explode anytime. It would be a total disgrace if resignation comes after that explosion as was the case for Richard Nixon following the Watergate scandal.

At this juncture, I cannot but wonder what is going on in the minds of those who falsely accused us of crying for regime change in January during the fuel hike crisis. It is the House of Assembly that is now championing same with overwhelming shouts of “yes”, “yes”, and “yes” from the floor members. History truly is lived forward but is written in retrospect. Today’s headlines and history’s judgement are rarely the same. Those who are too attentive to today’s headlines will most certainly not do the hard work of securing a positive verdict from history. Whether or not the President resigns or allows himself to be impeached is his call. In the words of Lord Chesterfield:

“A weak mind is like a microscope which magnifies trifling things but cannot receive great ones.”
If I were Mr. President – unfortunately, I am not, and I do not envy his tottering position, but if I were he – I would give no thought to what the world might say of me, or the drum the hangers-on and political jobbers benefitting from the present chaotic disorder might be beating. I would not “give a damn” if I could only transmit to posterity the reputation of an honest man thrust into the boxing ring to fight enemies I am ill-equipped to fight, and I would therefore resign before I receive a death blow.

4.    THE PEOPLE’S REVOLT: I seriously wish and fervently pray that it will not get to the stage of a people’s revolt before positive changes begin to happen in the north and south of Nigeria. Without a doubt, if corruption remains king, violence its deputy, and insecurity the treasurer of the ill-fated status quo Federal Republic of Nigeria, we might as well write the gravestone epitaph today:
“Here lie the remains of a potentially great country whose ruin came because leadership did not give a damn; her filthiness was in her garments, her collapse was awesome, because she did not consider her destiny.”

HEADING 4: THE WAY FORWARD
Without a doubt, the catalogue of scandalous mismanagement of national resources, the unbridled stealing of public funds, and the bewildering exposure of the level of corruption in almost every arm of government as well as governmental agencies and parastatals, call for a change of guards – more so when the president has openly admitted that the security situation in the country has changed his pre-election agenda. And in spite of the president’s promises to deal with insecurity head-on, this government appears helpless because it cannot see the linkage between corruption and violence.

During the fuel hike protests in January this year, neither the threats to our lives nor the tanks that were rolled out brazenly to suppress genuine agitation against oppression, were scary to me. Rather, it was the bold placard held up in Abuja and Ojota Freedom Park by people unknown to me. The placard contained this startling message: “ONE DAY THE POOR WILL HAVE NOTHING LEFT TO EAT BUT THE RICH”; that was very scary to me, “because no nation, no matter how enlightened, can endure criminal violence. If we cannot control it, we are admitting to the world and to ourselves that our laws are no more than a facade that crumbles when the winds of crisis rise.” (Alan Bible)

For that not to happen is the reason for this message. This is no time for false accusations and counter accusations. Mr. President may be doing his best but the impact is not felt anywhere except in the bank accounts of oil vultures, his corrupt political allies and corporate cowboys. We have a patriotic duty to educate our people and we will continue to do that until light replaces the darkness in foggy minds, since education is considered a better safeguard of liberty than a standing army. In the words of Henry Peter Brougham:

“Education makes people easy to lead, but difficult to drive, easy to govern, but impossible to enslave.”
If this message does that, our expectations would have been fully satisfied.

    
The starting point of any great enterprise is reality. If we are all ruthlessly and brutally honest about our inventory as a nation, Nigeria requires better handling than we are presently experiencing.
  
 May the good Lord in His infinite mercies look down upon our affliction as a people, burst the gloomy cloud of despair over our nation, and raise for us visionary leaders imbued with wisdom, integrity, justice, courage, temperance and fortitude; leaders who we can trust and who can inspire confidence in our people for the rebuilding of our nation. Let me end this message by quoting Joseph Addison:
    
“There is no greater sign of a general decay of virtue in a nation than a want  of zeal in its inhabitants for the good of their country.”
May the zeal of God consume us as a people for the good of our country.
  
 Thank you so much for your attentive ears. And may the good Lord heal, save, and make Nigeria great in our lifetime.
    
Once again, thank you all.
Dr. ‘Tunde Bakare
Serving Overseer,
The Latter Rain Assembly
Being text of speech delivered at the Latter Rain Assembly on Sunday, July 22 2012, as a contribution to public enlightenment on the state of the nation



How To Change Government Peacefully And Make Society Better- Pastor Tunde Bakare | Sahara Reporters

The Nigerian Connection: An investigation into the plight of African women caught in a web of organised crime, prostitution and trafficking.


An investigation into the plight of African women caught in a web of organised crime, prostitution and trafficking.
 Last Modified: 11 Jun 2012 14:19
Click here to watch The Nigerian Connection II


Every year tens of thousands of West Africans migrate to Europe in search of a better life. But for some of them that search will end in tragedy, as they fall victim to competing mafia gangs that prey on the hopes of the desperate. In southern Italy, it is Nigerian women who are among the most exploited, with many ending up trapped in the nightmare world of the sex trade.


In the first of two special reports, Juliana Ruhfus investigates the plight of African women caught up in a web of organised crime, prostitution and people trafficking. In the following account Chiara Caprio, an Italian journalist who was involved in the making of the film, describes what they found out in southern Italy.


The ghetto of Destra Volturno, an assembly of houses once used by Neapolitan tourists, is surrounded by flowers as it hosts the funeral of Mary Morad, a seven-year-old from Ghana. She was killed by a man with psychiatric problems. But in Castel Volturno, more than one-third of the 25,000 official citizens are African and, in particular, Ghanaian and Nigerian.


Al Jazeera came to investigate the phenomenon of Nigerian organised crime in this small town, quickly forgotten after serious riots in 2008, when hundreds of Africans took to the streets to protest against the massacre of six young Ghanaians committed by Giuseppe Setola, the army of the Casalesi clan.


Mary's family is waiting for the coffin and tension grows as delays and friction increase. Bose Atta, Mary's Nigerian mother, who was trafficked to Italy to be forced into prostitution, is nervous. She cries as her friends express anger against Mary's father, a man from Ghana who is now married to another Nigerian woman.


Finally, the coffin arrives and a group of men start celebrating with a Muslim rite. An improvised march towards the cemetery starts under a warm sun overheating a tormented African community.


Stronger than ever
"The Domitiana crosses Castel Volturno for 28 kilometres," says Stefano Ricciardiello, a detective at the local police station, a small and shabby office overwhelmed by new and old papers covering stories of murders, repatriations and organised crime. "The new African mafia's activities have invaded the whole territory."

According to the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI), Italy is now the main destination for more than 10,000 Nigerian prostitutes, trafficked from Benin City to European cities and criminal hubs, just like the Domitiana and its coast.He is showing us along the roads where, one after another, Nigerian women and young girls are waiting for clients.



"Nigerian criminals are able to find agreements with all the mafias, from Colombians to Chinese. But it's an easy game for them in Italy also for another reason: the high number of Italian clients who look for prostitutes night and day," says Giovanni Conzo, a prosecutor at the anti-mafia section in Naples.  


"This organisation is stronger than ever. We should stop them before they take full control of our region," he adds. But Conzo's words offer just a glimmer of hope.


Using voodoo to enslave


Isoke Aikpitanyi, a former victim of trafficking and now the main reference point for Nigerian women in Italy, knows how this business is managed in Caserta's area. As she walks in Castel Volturno's historic centre, she explains: "Today in Italy there are almost 10,000 madams, each one in control of an average of two or three girls."


Madams are the key, she explains. They are the main actors in this exploitation. They force girls into prostitution and ask for money to repay the debt. They work with "brothers", men who are in charge of physically trafficking the "babies", as girls forced into prostitution are called.
But Nigerian human trafficking is often associated with drug smuggling and a distorted use of religious tradition.

The women and girls are often forced to undergo a Juju oath-swearing ritual that commits them to repaying the money they owe to their smugglers on pain of death or insanity.



"The Juju, the voodoo rite, it's not a bad practice. It was used to bring justice, but they ruined everything," says Isoke with anger. "They don't care how they make their money as far as they make it. They use Juju to enslave."
Even in this hell, there are people who try not to lose hope. Sister Antonia, a Nigerian nun of the Sacred Heart of Jesus order, manages a shelter, the Casa Santa Maria dell'Accoglienza, launched in 2000 in the Fernandes centre by the Capua-based Caritas. Here, more than 70 women have found a place to stay and 10 children have been born.


"We were called by the bishop of Capua, Mons. Bruno Schettino, to promote these girls' integration. They are all former prostitutes. If they want to change their lives, they know they'll always find a place here," Sister Antonia says.


The women can stay for between six months and a year, a period when they dedicate their time to education and "to gain[ing] their dignity back," explains Sister Antonia. The nuns give the girls the opportunity to write down their stories and explain what happened and who forced them into prostitution. 


"We try to make them understand that Juju won't have any effect on them," she says.
But we met girls who still work on the streets and believe in the agreements they made. Some of them have to repay debts of up to $58,000 and are still terrified of the powerful consequences of Juju on their families and themselves.
The Nigerian Connection II:


In the second part of the special investigation, The Nigerian Connection II, Juliana Ruhfus follows the trail from Italy back to Benin City in Nigeria, from where women, desperately seeking an escape from grinding poverty, are trafficked to Europe.


To pay for their travel, many of them incur massive debts to organised crime gangs in the false belief that a lucrative regular job awaits them at the other end. Often they are forced to undergo a Juju oath-swearing ritual that commits them to repaying the money on pain of death or insanity.


When they arrive in Europe, they discover the only way they can do this is by agreeing to work in the sex trade. A Juju priest who is involved in the trade justifies the use of ritual practices on the grounds that he is offering a service to the community.


But as Juliana discovers, it is not just traditional African religions in West Africa that contribute to this trade on bonded labour. Evangelical Christian pastors have been involved too.


Reporter/ Producer: Juliana Ruhfus
Director: Orlando von Einsiedel
Associate Producer: Chiara Caprio
A Grain Media/ Pear Productions co-production


The Nigerian Connection - People & Power - Al Jazeera English