Friday, April 29, 2011

Video - Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala shares a story about military intimidation

Managing Director of the World Bank, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala talks about standing up to military officials and cutting the Nigerian defense budget in order to invest in education and the future of Nigeria.


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U.S. Says Nigeria's Elections Were Its Best Since 1999

As Nigeria concludes its series of elections, a senior Obama administration official says the voting in legislative, presidential and local government contests was the country's most successful since it returned to multiparty democracy in 1999.

"This reverses a downward democratic trajectory and provides the country a solid foundation for strengthening its electoral procedures and democratic institutions in the years to come," Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson told reporters April 28.

Carson acknowledged that there had been some problems, including allegations of fraud and ballot box snatching, but said he did not believe that "any of the irregularities or technical imperfections undermines the overall outcome of this election and that the elections do reflect the will of a majority of the Nigerian people."

He praised Nigerians for showing the world "their resilience and will to have their voices heard," and said their desire to participate in democratically run elections is shared by many across the African continent.

"It also is an indication, too, that if Nigeria, with its large size and population, can in effect run and manage successful democratic elections, that it is possible for many of the other, smaller states to do as well," he said.

He commended Nigeria's Independent National Electoral Commission and its chairman, Attahiru Jega, as well as Nigerian security services for addressing the challenges posed by the elections. Carson said they had improved their efforts "with each progressive election."

Carson said the Obama administration deplores the violence that accompanied the elections, particularly following the April 16 presidential vote that was won by incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan, but said the level of violence has been less than in previous contests.

"I think that there has been a history of violence associated with Nigerian elections in the past. But in this election, we have clearly seen a much more responsible security force, security presence, in and around the electoral sites," Carson said. He added that the United States hopes the 2011 elections will serve as "a baseline for greater improvement in both their technical procedures as well as in their security."

U.S. Department of State

Related stories: Foreign observers score presidential election high

Barack to Obama - You can't afford to fail

Goodluck Jonathan Declared Winner of Presidential Poll

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Music Video - Ikechukwu 'Still Standing'

The new single off Ikechuwu's third album "THE ALLIANCE RECONSTRUCTED"  produced by BENNY B TWISTED MINDZ. Directed by Udoka Oyeka.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Voting underway in Nigeria despite violence

Officials are counting the votes cast in Tuesday's election for state governors across Nigeria.

The poll was marred by bomb blasts, shootings and accusations of ballot box snatching - after rioting in the country's north left hundreds dead in the week since Goodluck Jonathan was declared winner of the presidential election.


Related stories: Video - President Goodluck Jonathan says riots reminds him of civil war

Goodluck Jonathan Declared Winner of Presidential Poll

Foreign observers score presidential election high

UNICEF - Malaria Kills 300,000 Every Year

Malaria kills about 300,000 people in Nigeria annually with about 97 per cent of the population at risk of infection while an estimated 800,000 people die every year from malaria, with approximately 90 per cent of these deaths occurring in Africa where malaria accounts for about one in six of all childhood deaths.This was disclosed yesterday in a press statement by the United Nations Children Education Fund (UNICEF) to mark this year's World Malaria Day.

The Executive Director of the world body, Anthony Lake, said that though malaria was both preventable and curable, hundreds of thousands of children, primarily in Africa, will perish because of lack of access to ITNs and to life-saving treatment within 24 hours of onset of symptoms and that waiting even six hours for treatment can mean life or death for a sick child.

"This World Malaria Day, and every day, around 2,000 children will die from a mosquito bite," "We have effective measures to combat this deadly disease - and we must use them to save lives. Studies have shown that when a community's children sleep every night under insecticide-treated nets (ITNs), overall child mortality can be reduced by up to 20 per cent."

According to the statement, between 2004 and 2010, more than 400 million nets were delivered to malaria-endemic countries, with 290 million delivered since 2008 alone.

He added that these 290 million nets were enough to cover approximately 80 per cent of 'country-stated net need' across Africa which has led to real progress in the reduction of global malaria deaths by 20 per cent between 2000 and 2009,statistics that represent many thousands of individual children's lives.

Lake said, "Fighting malaria not only saves children's lives, but also yields many other health and economic benefits. For example, eliminating malaria eases the burden on over-stretched health centres. Reducing malaria improves the health of pregnant mothers and therefore the health of their babies. Controlling malaria can also reduce deaths due to malnutrition, as those already weakened are more likely to die if they contract the disease."

"We cannot leave some children exposed to malaria and other children safe," Lake said.

"Whether it is insecticide-treated nets, proper diagnosis, or effective treatment, the challenge is to provide protection and care to every single child who is at risk."


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Babangida to quit politics in 2015

Former Military President General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida has said that he will no longer play active politics as from 2015.

General Babangida who was answering questions from newsmen after casting his vote Tuesday said by 2015, age will no longer be on his side as he would be clocking 74 years at that period and will no longer be energetic enough to play active politics.

According to him, "By the next election God willing I will be 74 and you don't expect me to be running around going to our villages seeking for votes, I will be a statesman".

It would be recalled that General Babangida who stepped aside as military president in 1993 attempted to contest the presidency along with the president elect, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan but failed in his bid as former Vice President Alhaji Atiku Abubakar was nominated as a concensus candidate by the Northern Elders Political Forum.

He traced the low turnout in Tuesday's election to the crisis that engulfed part of the country last week but commended the electorates for the outcome of the election which he described as very peaceful.

When asked whom he was supporting as the next governor of the state, the former Military President simply said, "I am praying hard for my brother and I am confident that he will win" but did not name the brother he was referring to.


Related stories: I'll run for 2011 Presidential Polls, says Babangida

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IBB Endorses Ribadu for President

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Video - Amobi Okoye brings American Football to Nigeria


NFL star Amobi Okoye introduces American football to kids in his native Nigeria.

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Monday, April 25, 2011

Nigerian government to re-open embassy in Ivory Coast

Nigeria is set to re-open its embassy in Cote d'Ivoire as peace is gradually restored in that country. Nigeria closed its embassy when it came under attack by supporters of former President Laurent Gbagbo.

Foreign Affairs Minister, Odein Ajumogobia told NAN that the embassy in Abidjan would soon be re-opened, adding that all staff and families of diplomats who were relocated to Ghana, during the peak of the crisis, would return to their post.

"As a general protocol, when there is crisis in a country, we ask staff to evacuate their families so that they can concentrate on the work at hand.

"In this case, the embassy in Cote d'Ivoire came under attack, so we evacuated everyone, but peace and stability is being restored. So we will reopen the embassy soon," he said.

Cote d'Ivoire was thrown into a four-month civil war, following the refusal of erstwhile President Laurent Gbagbo to cede power to Allasane Ouattara, winner of the Nov. 2010 election.

The development led to the death of thousands of people and exodus of people from that country to neighbouring Ghana, Burkina Faso and Liberia while Gbagbo, after spending days in his bunker, was arrested on April 11, and handed over to UN forces.

Speaking on what next for Gbagbo, Ajumogobia said that he should be treated with respect as a former president regardless of whatever charges against him.


Related stories: Nigerian Embassy in Ivory Coast attacked

Nigeria closes Embassy in Libya

Nigerian Seyi Obakin Makes Prince William's Wedding List

Seyi Obakin, the only Nigerian on the Prince William's Royal Wedding official guest list released at the weekend by St James's Palace, will receive the Royal Wedding Cake on behalf of Centrepoint.

Obakin, a chartered accountant and Chief Executive, Centrepoint, a charity organisation in London was listed alongside David Bekham, Sir Elton John, among others on the merit section of the guest list. He is one of the three Africans invited for the wedding and the only non African monarch after the Crown Prince of Morocco and King of Swazi in the list.

Prince William is a patron of Obakin's Centrepoint and has met many of the young people supported by Centrepoint over the years

Obakin joined Centrepoint as Finance Director in 2003 and was promoted to Chief Operating Officer in 2006. He became Acting Chief Executive in May 2008 and was appointed to that role permanently in January 2009. The royal wedding cake will be donated to Obakin's Centrepoint.


Time Magazine Lists Lamido Sanusi on World's 100 Most Influential People

Yet another reward for hard work has come the way of Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), with the inclusion by the New York based Time Magazine in its 2011 TIME 100, the magazine's annual list of the most influential people in the world.

The Time 100 list, now in its eighth year, recognizing innovation, activism and achievement of the world's most influential individuals, listed Sanusi who was appointed CBN Governor in 2009, as number 11.

Also on the list were world renowned Nobel Laurel in Economics, Prof. Joseph Stiglitz; the German Chancellor Angela Merkel; U.S. President, Barack Obama; British Prime Minister, David Cameron; U.S. Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton; and Lionel Messi, FIFA Footballer of the year, among others.

According to Richard Stengel, TIME Managing Editor, "the TIME 100 is not a list of the most powerful people in the world, it's not a list of the smartest people in the world, it is a list of the most influential people in the world. They're scientists, thinkers, philosophers, leaders, icons, artists and visionaries; people who are using their ideas, their visions and their actions to transform the world and have an effect on a multitude of people."

A statement by Mohammed Abdullahi, Head, Corporate Communications and spokesman of the CBN, recalled that this is the second time in the history of the TIME 100 that a Nigerian is being listed by TIME, just as Sanusi is one of the only two Africans who made the current list.

The award, just like in the past, it is believed, rewards the CBN Governor's courageous leadership, at a time when the sector required tough and decisive intervention.

Soon after assuming office as CBN Governor, Sanusi, former executive director, Risk Management and chief executive of First Bank, dissatisfied with the perceived rot in the nation's banking industry embarked on a stress test of Nigeria's 24 banks in June 2009 to ascertain their health status.

Addressing a media parley last year, he expressed shock that the outcome of the test jointly conducted by the CBN and Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) need confirmed much more than in thought. While nine of the banks- Afribank, Bank PHB, Finbank, Intercontinental, Oceanic International, Spring, Union and Wema, failed the test on all-three counts of capital adequacy, liquidity and corporate governance. Unity Bank was found wanting in capital adequacy, and was subsequently directed to recapitalize within one year along with Wema Bank.

In an unprecedented move that jolted the entire industry and economy, Sanusi, invoking his powers under the enabling laws, removed on August 14 and October 2, 2009 respectively, the executive management teams of eight banks, sparing Wema, whose new owners and management took over also in June 2009.

A managing director and four executives were appointed for each of the eight rescued banks to run the institutions under CBN supervision for two years, with an immediate task of ascertaining the true position of the banks.

Sanusi soon followed with a publication of the list of recalcitrant big bank debtors particularly to the rescued banks, as a result of which many scampered to pay off to avoid crime watchdog- the Economic & Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

His vision and actions earned him the reputation as one of the most respected and authoritative voices on financial and economic matters on the continent, including a special invitation in November 2010 by the US Congressional Sub-Committee on International Monetary Policy and Trade, to give testimony at a congressional hearing titled "The Global Financial Crisis and Financial Reforms in Nigeria."

In January this year, Sanusi was named African and Global Central Bank Governor of the Year 2011 by the Banker Magazine, a publication of the Financial Times.

Daily Independent

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Fela On Broadway Premieres in Lagos

The hit Broadway musical about the life and music of Nigerian legendary performer and political activist, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, which has witnessed sold out shows and won awards and international accolades, premieres tonight in Lagos, making it the first Broadway show to be performed in sub-Saharan Africa

The screening was held exclusively for journalists last night to a resounding ovation at Eko Hotels, Victoria Island, Lagos.

Fela, the Landmark Broadway musical, which won three Awards (Broadway' highest honour), including Best Choreography (Bill T. Jones), arrived with its crew and cast a fortnight ago in readiness for the debut performance which began yesterday through April 21 at the prestigious Eko Hotel's New Expo Centre Victoria Island, Lagos, Nigeria.

MTV Base is to put its musical muscle and dedicated fan base behind Fela, the award-winning tale of courage, passion and love that pays tribute to inspirational Nigerian music legend, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti.

The triumphant story, featuring Fela Kuti's captivating music and the visionary direction and choreography of Tony Award winner Bill T. Jones, comes to Lagos' New Expo Centre from April 20-25, 2011.

Fela had been a huge Broadway and West End hit. Produced by Jay Z, Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith, Fela tells the true story of the star whose soulful Afrobeat rhythms ignited a generation. Inspired by his mother, a civil rights champion, Fela devoted his life and music to the struggle for freedom and human dignity.

Commented Alex Okosi, Senior Vice President & Managing Director, MTV Networks Africa: "Fela was a true legend of African music who was also recognised in the Legend category at the 2008 MTV Africa Music Awards. MTV Base is very proud to be associated with the home-coming of Fela "

MTV Base will be promoting Fela extensively on its broadcast and social media platforms, encouraging fans to go and witness the musical spectacle, which features the original Broadway cast, including Sahr Ngaujah as Fela and Lillias White as his mother, Funmilayo.


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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Video - President Goodluck Jonathan says riots reminds him of civil war

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan on Thursday warned perpetrators of postelection violence that "enough is enough," saying the unrest brings back memories of events leading up to a 1960s civil war in the nation.


Related stories: Goodluck Jonathan Declared Winner of Presidential Poll

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UK Govt Deports 52 Nigerians

Fifty-two Nigerians will be deported, today, by the UK government, a Nigerian official at the High Commission in London has said.

Mr Mohammed Isa, the Head of the Immigration Section in the Nigerian High Commission in the UK, speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, said that the would-be deportees would arrive at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport in a chartered flight.

He said that they included those who had either completed their prison terms, failed-asylum seekers or those who overstayed their authorised permit.

Mohammed further also said that those to be deported would be accompanied by British law enforcement agents and two Nigerian officials.

"This is the first time a chartered flight conveying Nigerian deportees would be accompanied by Nigerian officials," Isa said.

He added: "Though, it is also in line with the global best practices, it is our responsibility to ensure that the deportees are treated in the most humane and dignified manner."

He pointed out that the mission had never recorded any 'ugly incidents' on the UK route since the exercise began following the conclusion in 2005, of a Memorandum of Understanding(MOU) on migration returns between the two countries.


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U.S. Congratulates Nigerians on Conduct of Presidential Election

The Obama administration says the conduct of Nigeria’s April 16 presidential election was historic and shows a significant improvement over the country’s flawed 2007 presidential contest.

State Department spokesman Mark Toner congratulated the declared winner, President Goodluck Jonathan, and said the United States sees the vote as “a positive new beginning for Nigeria.”

Speaking in Washington April 19, Toner said Nigerians had been given a real opportunity to select their senior leadership, and the election “sets Nigeria on a course toward solidifying and improving its democracy through strong governance and transparent institutions.”

Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission, headed by Attahiru Jega, announced April 18 that Jonathan received 22.5 million votes, or approximately 57 percent of the total, which was high enough to avoid a runoff election with his nearest rival, General Muhammadu Buhari, who received 12.2 million votes.

According to press reports, news of Jonathan’s victory prompted riots in the north of the country, with charges of ballot rigging. The riots have reportedly displaced around 16,000 people and destroyed several churches.

Toner condemned the violence and called upon “all candidates, political parties and supporters to respect the results of the election” and to “channel any grievances or challenges peacefully” for redress by legal and administrative personnel in the country.

Observer teams from the African Union (AU) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) reported that the presidential vote had met their criteria to be considered fair and transparent.

ECOWAS observer mission head and former Liberian President Amos Sawyer told reporters April 17 that his 300-member team “found no major incidents or irregularities” and described the vote as “a historic step for the strengthening of democracy and good governance in Nigeria.”

Former Ghanaian President John Kufuor headed the AU observer team. He said the election had been fair and credible, and that any questions of fraud would be misplaced, according to press reports.

Speaking on April 17, Kufuor said Nigerians all over the country had “shown determination to exercise [their] franchise and give themselves the leader they want, and it’s refreshing.”

“Nigeria hasn’t been served too well for decades electorally, but to our pleasant surprise we found the people of Nigeria generally are the security against this,” Kufuor said.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson praised the conduct of Nigeria’s National Assembly elections, which were held April 9, and wrote in an April 15 commentary that he and other U.S. officials “were heartened by what we saw” when observing the vote for the legislature.

“In sharp contrast to its elections of 2007, Nigeria was demonstrating that it can hold credible elections that allow the Nigerian people a meaningful opportunity to elect their leaders,” he wrote.

Carson said all Africans “deserve smooth, peaceful, transparent and credible elections” and that Nigeria’s presidential and National Assembly contests, as well as the April 26 vote for the country’s state governorships and state assemblies, “provide an historic opportunity for Nigeria to become a model for the rest of Africa and the world, especially for those citizens demanding democracy in their countries.”

U.S. Department of State

Related stories: Foreign observers score presidential election high

Barack to Obama - You can't afford to fail

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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Super Eagles Player Olubayo Adefemi Dies in Car Accident

Super Eagles defender Olubayo Adefemi  has died from a car accident in Greece.

According to a BBC report, quoting Greek police on Monday, said the Nigeria international defender died in a car accident.

The 25-year-old, who played for Skoda Xanthi, lost control of his car on the Egnatia motorway before the crash.

Adefemi was driving from Xanthi to Salonika in the Kavala region of northern Greece.

The player was  said to be on his way to finalise details of his wedding when the accident happened.

The former Bendel Insurance and Hapoel Tel Aviv of Isreal player was a member of the Samson Siasia led Under 20-squad that played at the final  with the Lionel Messi-led Argentina team at the 2005 FIFA World Youth Championship in the Netherlands.

He was also part of Nigeria's football team to the 2008 Olympic Games and he made his senior national team debut against Ireland on May 29, 2009.


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Foreign observers score presidential election high

The three major international observers, in separate preliminary press conferences, yesterday scored the conduct of the last Saturday presidential election across the country high. They, however, noted that some challenges remain to be addressed.

The leader of the European Union observers, Alojz Peterle, noted that there had been substantial improvement over the National Assembly elections.

Mariya Nedelcheva, head of the four-member strong delegation of the European Parliament, which joined the EU EOM before the presidential elections said: "Saturday's elections are a convincing proof that the Nigerian authorities, institution and electorate are determined to remain owners of their destiny and to run even better elections in the future."

According to the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs led by the former Prime Minister of Canada, Joe Clark, the election "represent a step forward with seriously flawed elections of the past and hold the promise of setting a new standard for integrity in Nigeria's electoral process."

The International Republican Institute (IRI) said the ability of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to address some deficiencies in the electoral process between the April 9 National Assembly elections and the presidential election was praise-worthy.

The leader of IRI, former Prime Minister of Slovenian, Hon Janez Jansa, noted the role of women during the election but said the extent to which women are fully participating in the political process needs to be addressed.

Both organisations also commended the professionalism and independence of INEC, the leadership ability of the INEC chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega, and the overall integrity of the electoral process.

They, however, cited a number of problems that need to be addressed before the upcoming state elections and in the longer term. It recommended that actions be taken by INEC, political parties and security services before the next election, which are to split all polling places with over 500 voters into sub-units to improve efficiency and access to the process.

"Standardise implementation of procedures in all states and local government areas while ensuring security, sufficient staff and adequate facilities for collation centres, protect the rights of INEC accredited citizen observers, including their right to move freely on election day and rigorously follow and abide by provisions of the Code of Conduct prohibiting acts of violence, intimidation of voters and other violations of the Electoral Act.

Mr. Peterle encouraged voters to remain confident in the electoral process while calling on all stakeholders in the elections to maintain a peaceful and positive atmosphere and not to allow any intimidation. Some of the shortcomings, however, were the inconsistent implementation of procedures and attempts to influence voters. This, it said, could have negative impact on the trust of voters in the integrity of the electoral process.

Both observers promised to present it final findings after the whole elections in a final report reflecting a comprehensive analysis and suggestions.

The National Democratic Institute's (NDI) International observer mission has called on candidates and their supporters to utilise peaceful and legal means to resolve election-related complaints.

The delegation made this call yesterday at a press conference in Abuja even as it noted that pockets of violence trailed the just concluded presidential election in various cities.

Speaking through the co-leader of the delegation, the former President of Niger and former Speaker of ECOWAS, Mahamane Ousmane said the delegation notes with grave concern multiple incidents of violence in the post-election period that has resulted in the loss of lives and properties.

"On election day, two separate explosions struck Borno State. Two bombings occurred in Kaduna and a shooting in Jos left one person dead. Tensions between party supporters led to serious incidents of violence after the close of polls," Mahamane remarked.

He further noted that mob violence broke out in a number of states where party supporters damaged property and physically harmed and killed members of opposing parties or INEC officials.

Giving short-term recommendations, the co-leader and former prime minister of Canada, Joe Clark, submitted that political parties should rigorously follow and abide by provisions of the code of conduct prohibiting acts of violence, intimidation of voters and other violations of the Electoral Act.

He further recommended that political parties should adopt transparent candidate choosen, campaign and party finance processes in compliance with 2010 electoral act and to refrain on extra-judicial and violent rejection of election results but to use peaceful and legal means to resolve electoral disputes.

Some of the long-term recommendations include that the government should finalise the legal framework at least six months before the election as stipulated by article 2.1 of the ECOWAS protocol for democracy and good governance.

It advised INEC to organise regular capacity training for its permanent and ad hoc staff.

He further recommended that civil society organizations should build on the accomplishments of the 2011 elections to strengthen involvement in the political process.


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Video - Goodluck Jonathan - One year to change Nigeria

Goodluck Jonathan Declared Winner of Presidential Poll

President Goodluck Jonathan acceptance speech

My dear country men and women. This is a new dawn! Our nation has spoken. At the end of intense and hard fought campaigns by all the political parties, our people spoke through the ballot. In every city, town, village, ward and voting unit, Nigerians stood in the sun, some in the rain, some walked long distances and all waited patiently, to vote.

With a heart full of gratitude to Almighty God, I want to thank Nigerians for the great sacrifice and overwhelming national mandate you have just given to me, to preside over the affairs of this nation for the next four years.

We have, by this election, reaffirmed our unity as one nation under God; reiterated our faith in democracy; and underscored our determination to fully join the free world where only the will of the people is the foundation of governance. We will not let you down. We will not let Nigeria down.

My brothers and sisters, fellow citizens, we are all winners. In this context, there is no victor and no vanquished. Nigerians have proved to the world that we are capable of holding free, fair and credible elections. With the evident national spread of our victory, we have demonstrated that even in our diversity, the progress of Nigeria remains paramount to all.

This is a victory for the sustenance of our democracy; a victory which all Nigerians irrespective of creed, ethnicity, or state of origin should celebrate. It is a triumph for our common destiny as a people with shared ideals, shared dreams and shared hopes.

I congratulate the candidates of the other political parties. I regard them not as opponents, but as partners. Indeed, some of them have held high public office in the past.

Let me pay particular tribute to General Muhammadu Buhari, Governor Ibrahim Shekarau, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu and the other patriots and their running mates. They all did well and the nation expects their continued demonstration of leadership and commitment to our efforts at nation building.

The elections are not yet over. We still have to elect our Governors and members of our State Houses of Assembly. We must approach the remaining elections with the same level of enthusiasm and seriousness.

We have to remain vigilant. On our part, we continue to assure you that the mechanisms that were put in place to assure free and fair elections are maintained.

When I declared my intention to run for the office of President under the ticket of the Peoples Democratic Party, I reflected on my humble background and the long journey that brought me to that moment.

Eight months later, I stand before you as the winner of the 2011 Presidential election. I am humbled by your overwhelming mandate.

During that declaration, I said that I had no enemies. Let me say it again, I have no enemies to fight.

Indeed, I reassure all Nigerians that we would continue to run a government that is committed to fairness, equity and justice for all.

The progress we seek for our country is in our collective hands. I am confident that with this new spirit of national reawakening and our sense of collective ownership of the Nigerian project, a firm foundation has been laid for participatory governance and progress.

Together we will build a new economy that is strong and dynamic and underpinned by a patriotic work ethic. Together we will remake our society to emphasize the most noble of our national values, and together we shall recreate a great nation welded in unity and harmony; a nation marching towards collective progress in which no one is left behind.

This election is the renewal of hope. As we march towards our centenary as a nation in the year 2014, this election will be remembered as that which reaffirmed our faith and strengthened the bond of our union. We found within ourselves the basis for our national confidence. We demonstrated that we are making great strides in consolidating democratic governance. This election is further evidence that Nigeria is secure, that we are stable; and most of all, that the future of Nigeria is bright.

Now, we must all unite. We must quickly move away from partisan battlegrounds and find the national common ground. We must show the world that this nation of many people will always find the love, the courage and the path to move forward as one. Let us join hands to build a prosperous nation. This is the challenge of our generation. This is our unfinished task. On my part, I promise to run an all-inclusive government.

It is on this note that I am greatly pained at reports of incidences of unnecessary violence and loss of lives and property in some parts of the country over the past twenty four hours.

I enjoin our political and religious leaders, in their usual sense of patriotism to call on their followers to eschew all acts of bitterness and violence. As I have always stated, nobody's political ambition is worth the blood of any Nigerian.

I thank all the nations of the world, their leaders and our friends for their goodwill. I thank our friends from the national and international media, religious leaders, civil society, voluntary organizations, development partners and our talented diaspora Nigerians that are reporting, monitoring or participating in our elections. We have benefitted from their fair observations.

My special thanks go to all our public services, security agencies, academia, members of the National Youth Service Corps and emergency services. These men, women and youth are making huge sacrifices towards the success of the 2011 elections.

I wish to express my profound thanks to Vice President Mohammed Namadi Sambo. He brought strength and commitment to our ticket. I am equally grateful to the leadership and members of the PDP; the governors of the 36 states of the Federation; members of the Presidential Campaign Council and all our supporters across the nation for their great sense of dedication, faith and exemplary conduct.

Now is the time for all Nigerians to reach out to their neighbours. I want all of us to join hands in brotherhood, party affiliation or preferred candidate not withstanding. We are all Nigerians and I will President to all. This is the new dawn we crave. What is now required is a new commitment, national solidarity and rededication to service.

Come, join me, let's continue on the road of national transformation.

Let us all thank our merciful God for this day. Let us all continue to pray for God's guidance in the years ahead.

I thank you and May God bless Nigeria.

This Day

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Goodluck Jonathan Declared Winner of Presidential Poll

Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Monday evening declared President Goodluck Jonathan of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, as the winner of the presidential election held across the country last Saturday.

Jega, who declared Jonathan as winner of the poll at about 8.34 pm at a news briefing in Abuja, said the PDP candidate stands elected as President having satisfied the constitutional reguirements for the position.

The INEC Chairman said Jonathan apart from scoring the highest number of votes in the poll also scored more than the mandatory 25 percent of the total number of votes cast in two thirds of the 36 states of the federation and FCT.

According to him, Jonathan apart from scoring the highest number of votes cast - 22,495,187 - also scored more than 25 percent of the total votes cast in 31 states and FCT.

Jega, who announced the results in his capacity as Chief Returning Officer of the presidential election as provided for by both the nation's constitution and the Electoral Act, said other candidates and their total number of votes include:

  • Nuhu Ribadu of Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, [2,079,151],

  • Ibrahim Shekarau of All Nigeria Peoples Party, ANPP, [917,012], and

  • Muhammadu Buhari of the Congress for Progressive Change, CPC, who came a distant second with 12,214,853 votes.

This Day

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Monday, April 18, 2011

Video - Goodluck for Jonathan

Incumbent Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan looks set to be re-elected, in the country's most credible poll for decades.

Sky News

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Video - Goodluck Jonathan set to win Presidential elections

President Goodluck Jonathan has a strong lead in Nigeria's presidential election, taking almost twice the number of votes as his main rival as counting continues. Results showed the incumbent in a clear win over ex-military leader Muhammadu Buhari. John Allan Namu has details on the eve of result declaration.

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 Video - Nigeria prepares for delayed second vote

Video - Riz Khan interviews Wole Soyinka and Chimamanda Adichie. Nigeria: Democracy on the line 

Video - Peaceful presidential elections in Nigeria

Christian Purefoy reports on the first peaceful presidential election in Nigeria.

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PDP Wins Majority of Declared Seats

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Video - Allegiances tested ahead of Nigerian election

While Nigerians often vote along regional, ethnic and cultural lines, Al Jazeera's Yvonne Ndege reports that change is underfoot.

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Video - Oil and democracy in Niger Delta


With environmental damage wreaked by leaking oil pipelines, citizens of the Niger Delta have often lost out to the interests of powerful corporate bodies.

In this month's general elections in Nigeria, they are seeking political representation strong enough to deal with their problems and clean up their region.

Related stories:  Video - 50 years of oil spill in Nigeria

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The Oil Must Flow - Video report on the Amnesty deal in Nigeria

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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Video - Nike Davies Okundaye on African Voices

Artist Nike Davies Okundaye started selling artwork from her bedroom and now runs one of the largest galleries in West Africa.

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Monday, April 11, 2011

Video - Voters hopeful in Nigeria

Despite problems, Nigerians hope for a better outcome this time. CNN's Christian Purefoy reports.

Related stories: PDP Wins Majority of Declared Seats

Video - Nigeria prepares for delayed second vote

Nigeria's parliamentary elections postponed over ballot paper chaos

PDP Wins Majority of Declared Seats

The results of last Saturday's National Assembly polls released so far indicate several upsets. The total results have not been tabulated, but the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) may just barely control the National Assembly to be inaugurated on May 29.

Results so far released show that the Action Congress (ACN), Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), and Labour Party (LP) made impressive showings at the polls.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Video - Nigeria prepares for delayed second vote

Nigerians are gearing up to vote again on Saturday, after elections were cancelled last weekend despite polling already being underway.

Millions had queued for hours only to be denied their vote when it was discovered that ballot papers were missing in many polling stations.

The chaos has provoked fears of political interference and vote rigging.


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Nigeria's parliamentary elections postponed over ballot paper chaos

Video - Riz Khan interviews Wole Soyinka and Chimamanda Adichie. Nigeria: Democracy on the line 

Video - Election reform via Twitter

CNN's Christian Purefoy reports on a Twitter activist who's waging a get out the vote campaign in Nigeria.

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Video - INEC postpones all Elections

Nigeria's parliamentary elections postponed over ballot paper chaos

Video - Light up Nigeria

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Video - Riz Khan interviews Wole Soyinka and Chimamanda Adichie. Nigeria: Democracy on the line

What does the postponement of parliamentary elections mean for the country's democratic credentials? 

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Chimamanda Adichie at 2009 TED Conference

Portsmouth Honours Nwankwo Kanu With Lifetime Award

Newly appointed Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) Ambassador, Nwankwo Kanu on Monday night added another award to his already bulging collection, when he was given a Lifetime Achievement award by Portsmouth Football Club.

The lavish ceremony, which held at the Championship side's home ground of Fratton Park, also saw striker David Nugent being crowned Player of the Year.

The ceremony, which was also organised in conjunction with the city's main newspaper, The News, was to honour outstanding individuals who had contributed to the success of the club this season.

A very delighted Kanu, who was the last to be given his award, said he could not thank the club and her fans enough for all the support he had received since joining six years ago.

"I'm very very happy to receive such an award it shows how much the club and fans appreciate me," said the former Super Eagles skipper Tuesday.

He said it was such gestures that played a big part in his decision to stay with the club even when they were relegated last season.

Although the former Arsenal star only joined the club on the final day of the of the start of the 2006/07 season at the behest of former manager, Harry Redknapp, Kanu has engraved his name in the annals of Portsmouth FC folk law when he helped ensure that Portsmouth ended a 50-year wait for a trophy with the 2008 FA Cup.

It was in his second season at Portsmouth, that Kanu scored in both the FA Cup 1-0 semi-final win against West Bromwich Albion and the 1-0 win in the final against Cardiff City, earning him a third FA Cup winner's medal, after two previous honours with Arsenal.

Kanu, who has so far played 126 games for the South coast seaside team, still has two more years to run on the contract extension he signed last season.

This Day

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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Nollywood humbled as Congo, South Africa rule at the African Movie Academy Awards

Nollywood producers and stars  will not forget in a hurry the shock and trauma they incurred last Sunday when they watched  their counterparts  from Congo and South Africa  sweep    all the prizes  at  the 2011  African Movie Academy Awards(AMAA).

Congo and South Africa won multiple awards in various categories to humble Nigeria. The country failed to consolidate on her leading  position as  far as  film making is concerned in Africa.

Against the previous record set by Kunle Afolayan’s “Figurine”, which won five awards during last year’s edition to put the nation on top, Nollywood  lagged behind this year, winning only on two competitive categories in Best Sound and Best Costume awards with “Inale” directed by Jeta Amata and Niji Akanji’s film “Aramotu.”

The  third prize won also by  “Aramotu” in Best Nigerian film category was an endowed prize by the Ministry of Information and Communications.

The Congolese film “Viva Riva”emerged the best film, winning six out of the seven categories in which it was nominated to set a new record in Africa.

The prizes won includes; Best Film, Best Actress In Supporting Role (Marlene Longage), Best Actor In Supporting Role (Hoji Fortuna), Best Cinematography, Best Production Design and Best Director (Congo’s Djo Tunda Wa Munga).

“Viva Riva”, according to the producer, is the first film made in Congo’s native Ngala Language in twenty years and it took the crew five years of hard work to complete.

Another film from Congo, “After the Mine” also won the Best Short Documentary, making it seven awards in all for Congo.

In addition,  South Africa also trail Congo by winning in six categories. The South African film, “Shirley Adams” won the highly coveted Special Jury Awards. Other films from South Africa which won in different categories are: “A Small Town Called Descent, “Best Visual Effects”, “Shirley Adams”, AMAA Achievement in Sound, “Izulu Lami”, Best Film in African Language and Best Child Actor, “Hopeville”, Best Actor in Leading Role.

Ghanaian film, “Sinking Sounds”, which starred the Haitian born Hollywood actor, Jimmy Jean Louis also won many awards such as: Best Make up, Best Screenplay, and Best Actress in Leading Role.

Kenya only won in one category,  Best Editing with the film “Soul Boy” by Ng’ethe Gitungo.

Speaking before the awards night, Steve Ayorinde, representing the jurists, noted that this year’s AMAA was truly representative of the very best in the continent in terms of the artistic and technical achievements.

According to him,  total of 400 entries were received by the panel out of which 30 films were short-listed for the different categories of the awards. “The films, to be rewarded this night are those we consider in our judgement to be very well done and truly representative of African cinema as of 2010.” Ayorinde stressed.

AMAA founder, Ms Peace Anyiam-Osigwe, while speaking at the well attended event re-emphasized the primary aim of setting up the AMAA, noting that the Academy was set up to  encourage and reward creativity in the business of film making in Africa.

“ The AMAA have been an enduring platform to eulogize our heroes past in Africa cinema and shower encomiums on the present crop of film makers who are still proudly flying the flag.”

Anyiam-Osigwe challenged film makers in Africa and in the Diaspora to explore more stories that truly and positively project the continent. “Our films must not validate some of the negative stereotypes of the Europeans and Americans have about us. We have our challenges but good things are happening in Africa too.”

She urged governments in Africa to support the creative industry- film, music, visual and audio-visual etc as the entire art and culture sector have become the best cultural exports for the continent.

“Our writers, filmmakers and other professionals within the creative sector continue to bring glory and honour to Africa and providing jobs for millions of people. Our governments must take this sector seriously and provide the necessary structures and funding that will help the sector grow.”

She described this year’s AMAA as being unique, adding that the guest were made to experience  the host state in a new way for one week, with series of activities that positively impacted on the local economy and people of Bayelsa state.

Our writers, filmmakers and other professionals within the creative sector continue to bring glory and honour to Africa and providing jobs for millions of people. Our governments must take this sector seriously and provide the necessary structures and funding that will help the sector grow.”

Governor of the host state, Chief Timiprye Sylva in his speech pledged to make Bayelsa the best film location in Africa.

Nollywood bad boy, Jim Iyke and his Ghanaian counterpart, Majid Michel were the cynosure of attention at the just concluded AMAA awards night.

The duo, clad in black trouser on white blazer, and light green suite respectively stormed the awards night, looking hot and daring. Their adorning the red-carpet was greeted with thunderous ovation and hailing from the  crowd who went after them.

While Majid was  rounded up by his admirers especially the women who hugged, kissed and posed for shots  with him at random, Jim Iyke struggled his way into the Glory Land cultural centre, venue of the event.

But for the intervention of the security personnel who cleared the way for the two playboy actors, Jim and Majid would have been held hostage by their fans. Interestingly, Jim anchored the awards night alongside actress Nse Ikpe Etim- some people said, he fumbled on stage.

Founder and Chief Executive Officer of the Africa’s version of the Oscars, AMAA, Ms. Peace Anyiam-Osigwe was close  to tears in  the  early hours of last Sunday, as she recounted how  much she’d sacrificed her life and pleasures  to  embark on a journey of building a viable cinema culture in Africa.

Peace was reacting to negative comments, which she claimed were posted on facebook and which, according to her, accused her of using the AMAA project to enrich herself.

Angered by these blackmailing comments, AMAA boss said she has given up her life for the past seven years, to unite Africa through the medium of the  tube.

In her words, “AMAA is not a personal journey for any of us. Rather,  it is about everybody that is a film maker in Africa.  It is a personal sacrifice by everybody that committed their lives to AMAA. And for seven years, I have given up my life for AMAA’s success. It’s getting to me at this stage when I hear comments that hurts because it’s a personal sacrifice from me.”

“There is no African country I have not visited to sell the AMAA project. I think, we Africans should learn to support our own, rather than post negative comments on facebook about ourselves. That’s the real problem I have with Africans.

We don’t love ourselves enough. AMAA is for you and me. It’s important that African countries should feel part of AMAA. The project is not a personal journey. AMAA is seven years old. It a struggle raising the fund to host the event yearly.”

Peace also explained that diaspora awards were instituted to give Africans in diaspora a sense of belonging.


Related stories: Highlights from 2010 African Movie Academy Awards

Video - What's next for Nollywood

Video - Genevieve Nnaji talks about Nigeria

Interview with the father of Nollywood

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Video - Nigeria's fight against counterfeit drugs

CNN's Christian Purefoy reports on a new innovation designed to combat counterfeit medicine.

Video - Nigeria's petrol politics

A tanker driver talks about the importance of petrol in the upcoming elections in Nigeria.

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Video - INEC postpones all Elections

Monday, April 4, 2011

Video - INEC postpones all Elections

A statement from INEC reads: "Yesterday, the Independent National Electoral Commission announced the rescheduling of the 2011 National Assembly (Senate and House of Representatives) elections from April 2nd to April 4th 2011 due to late arrival of result sheets. Since that announcement, several representations have been made to the Commission urging it to consult more widely and to ensure that the two-day postponement is enough to address all the logistical issues that may militate against a successful conduct of the rescheduled elections.

"Following these representations and subsequent consultations with stakeholders, the Commission has found that the overwhelming sentiment is to further reschedule the elections. Requests to reschedule the National Assembly elections have come from a cross-section of stakeholders, including political parties and civil society organizations. However, rescheduling the National Assembly elections would have implications for the schedule of all the other elections. Consequently, the Commission weighed all the options and considered the wide ranging counsel of Nigerians and decided to reschedule all the elections as follows:

· Saturday, April 9th 2011 - Senate and House of Representatives (National Assembly) elections.

· Saturday, April 16th 2011 - Presidential election

· Tuesday, April 26th 2011 - State House of Assembly and Governorship elections

"We thank all Nigerians for their enthusiasm for these elections and support for the Commission and the electoral process. Your sacrifices are not lost on the Commission and we are even more determined now to ensure that the 2011 elections are free, fair and credible."



This Day

Related stories: Nigeria's parliamentary elections postponed over ballot paper chaos

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Saturday, April 2, 2011

Nigeria's parliamentary elections postponed over ballot paper chaos

Nigeria postponed parliamentary elections until Monday after voting materials failed to arrive in many areas, a major blow to hopes of a break with a history of chaotic polls in Africa's most populous nation.

Voters had trooped early to polling stations across the country of 150 million, eager for a ballot less tainted by fraud and violence than 2007 elections that lacked credibility in the eyes of Nigerians and international observers.

The postponement brought bitter disappointment.

"Nigeria has not changed and today we have seen that," said Kingsley Eze, 23, an amateur jazz musician in Port Harcourt, hub of the oil industry which provides most of Nigeria's exports.

Confusion added to the frustration in Nigeria's biggest cities -- the commercial hub Lagos in the south and Kano in the north -- where voting went ahead in some places because election materials had arrived on time.

"It only tells how grossly incompetent we are about nearly everything," complained computer engineer Bayo Ayodele in Lagos.

"I bet you most people who were disappointed will not come back on Monday... After all, our votes don't usually count."

The parliamentary polls are seen as a test of whether Nigeria can break with a history of flawed ballots. Presidential elections are due in a week's time and governorship votes in the 36 states a week after that.

Successful elections would be another fillip for foreign investment in Nigeria and across fast-growing Africa as well as strengthening Nigeria's international clout.

But failure could raise questions about how well-entrenched democracy is, more than a decade after the end of military rule.

President Goodluck Jonathan, favorite to win re-election on April 9, was among those to discover on Saturday that voting materials had not reached his home region, in the oil-producing Niger Delta. It was the same across much of Nigeria.


The head of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) blamed the delay on the failure of a supplier to get materials shipped on time.

"The decision we have taken is weighty indeed but it is an important step in further ensuring the credibility of the 2011 elections," Attahiru Jega said in a televised address, adding that he was confident all would be in place on Monday.

Jega made no suggestion of any delay to the elections for the presidency or for state governors.

The electoral commission has put in place tougher measures to prevent cheating and intimidation, which raised such doubts over the last elections in 2007 that foreign observers said they may not have reflected the will of the people.

Observers from the Commonwealth, a group of mostly former British colonies, said they hoped the electoral commission would ensure there were no more problems after the postponement.

"We also call for calm and restraint on the part of all stakeholders, so that the elections can still take place in an atmosphere of peace and order," said Festus Mogae, the former president of Botswana leading the observer team.

Little violence had been reported on Saturday beyond some shooting in the volatile oil-producing Niger Delta.

The build-up to the polls had risked exposing ethnic and religious fault lines in the country roughly split between a Muslim north and Christian south but with sizeable minorities living in both regions.

There had been isolated bomb attacks on campaign rallies, riots on the edge of the Niger delta and sectarian violence in the north and center, but elsewhere observers had noted less thuggery and intimidation than in the run-up to 2007 polls.

The parliamentary elections are not as significant as those later this month, but they are fiercely contested by candidates who stand to win a pay package whose allowances alone top $1 million a year. Many Nigerians subsist on less than $2 a day.

Jonathan's ruling People's Democratic Party (PDP) is expected to see its parliamentary majority reduced. The PDP holds more than three-quarters of the 360 seats in the House of Representatives and of the 109 in the Senate.


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Video - Goodluck Jonathan wins primary

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