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The 2015 Diary: JANUARY- MARCH compiled by Victor Oshisada

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Buhari and Jonathan

Buhari and Jonathan

JANUARY

January 1. Group honours The Guardian, others for promoting social justice. It was another feather added to The Guardian’s cap when, at a gathering of human rights activists, political leaders, representatives of traditional institutions and students’ leaders in Auchi, headquarters of Etsako West Local Government in Edo State, the newspaper and other prominent institutions, as well as respected individuals were honoured by the Kukuruku Renaissance Network. The Guardian and others were honoured for their masses-based activities and reportage meant to promote social justice and equity.

January 3. BUHARI: Army ridiculing me with certificate scandal. Former Head of State and All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential candidate in the February, 2015 elections, retired General Muhammad Buhari, said that the certificate saga against him was meant to ridicule him and his quest to wrest power from President Goodluck Jonathan. The INEC said it would not be drawn into the controversy.

January 4. UN moves to halt execution of 54 Nigerian soldiers on death row.
There was an indication that the office of the United Nations’ Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Arbitrary or Summary Executions, Mr. Christof Heyns would take “appropriate action including communications to the government of President Goodluck Jonathan over the imminent execution of 54 soldiers in Nigeria”

January 7. 12 killed in terror attacks at French magazine. At least 12 people were killed when gunmen armed with Kalashnikovs and a racket-launcher opened fire in the offices of French satirical weekly, Charlie Hebdo. French President Francois Hollande, arrived at the scene of the shooting after rushing there and calling an emergency cabinet meeting.

January 14. 2015 polls: Jonathan, Buhari, others sign non-violence pact. Ahead of February, 2015 general elections, President Goodluck Jonathan of PDP and his major challenger of APC, Major-Gen Muhammadu (rtd) signed an accord with a committee to keep the peace during and after the polls starting on February 14, 2015. At the occasion chaired by the former Commonwealth Secretary-General, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, nine other presidential candidates of other registered parties also appended their signatures to the five-point accord.

January 16. 227 soldiers protest their dismissal by 3 Armoured Division. No fewer than 227 soldiers who were allegedly dismissed by the military authorities who were from the 3 Armoured Division in Jos, protested against their General Officer Commanding (GOC), Armoured Division asking for the intervention of President Goodluck Jonathan.

January 18. Why Government cut petrol price to N87 per litre. With effect from the previous mid-night, the Federal Government reduced the price of petrol from N97 to N87 per litre. The decision was informed by the falling oil prices in the international market. The Petroleum Product Pricing Regulatory Agency and Petroleum Product Marketing Company were directed to effect the change immediately.

January 21. I obtained Cambridge WASC, says Buhari. Barely 24 hours after the Nigerian Army said that the presidential candidate of All Progressives Congress (APC), retire Major-General Muhammed Buhari’s certificate was not with it, the former military leader insisted that he completed his secondary education and obtained the Cambridge West African School Certificate (WASC) in 1961.

January, 22. No plans to shift elections, says INEC. Against the backdrop of alleged call by the National Security Adviser (NISA), Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd), for the postponement of February 14, elections, the INEC said it would not shift the polls. But in a swift reaction, the NSA denied seeking postponement in his London speech.
*Lab scientists query medical report on Buhari’s health. Laboratory scientists under the aegis of the Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria dismissed a purported medical report which claimed that the APC Presidential candidate, Gen Muhammed Buhari had prostate cancer.
*NFF preaches education, as Oshoala lands Liverpool deal. Reigning African Woman Footballer of the year, Asisat Oshoala recorded another historic feat by signing a deal with Liverpool Ladies in England, thus becoming the first player to move from African club to the English Women’s Super League.

*January, 25. Lungu became Zambia’s President. Edgar Lungu was inaugurated as Zambia’s new President. The candidate from ruling Patriotic Front, Lungu, was declared the winner of Zambia’s presidential election on January 24. The poll was called after President Michael Sata died in October, 2014.

January, 28. APC sues NCC over N25 billion fund-raising advert plan. The All Progressives Congress (APC) made good its threat to sue the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) over the alleged ban on their fund-raising campaign scheme. The parties asked a Federal High Court in Lagos to compel the NCC to pay it N25 billion as damages for the alleged ban on their SMS campaign fund-raising scheme. Joined with the NCC as respondents in the suit were Etisalat, MTN Nigeria Limited, Globacom Ltd, Airtel Nigeria and Visafone Communications Limited.

FEBRUARY

February 2. Renowned industrialist, Okoya-Thomas, dies at 79. A leading industrialist and business mogul, who was the chairman of CFAO Nigerian Limited, Chief Molade Okoya-Thomas, died aged 79. He was born in Lagos on June 8, 1935.

February 5, Petroleum minister orders NNPC to defray $1.48 billion debt. The Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke directed the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to defray $1.48 billion remittances due to the Federation Account by the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company, being signature bonus, taxes and royalties on the assets transferred to the firm.

February 7. INEC explains polls shift. Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Attahiru Jega noted that unfavourable security reports in the country informed the commission’s decision to shift the date for the 2015 general elections. INEC announced March 28 as a new date for the Presidential and National Assembly elections, while the governorship and State Assembly polls would hold on April 11, 2015.

February 8. Jonathan, Buhari okay election shift. Almost 48 hours after the polls shift announcement, President Goodluck Jonathan approved the decision, but pledged that the May 29 handover date was sacrosanct. In the same vein, the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate Major General Muhammadu Buhari endorsed the shift, but urged the authorities to ensure the March 28 re-schedule date for the general elections remained sacrosanct.

February 9. Nigeria won’t split, says US envoy. A prediction came from the United States (US) Ambassador to Nigeria, James F. Entwistle that Nigeria would not split in spite of her on-going social-political problems
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February 10. Controversy over alleged military surveillance on Tinubu’s residence. Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola decried the “Intimidation” by a government that laid claims to democratic credentials. In a swift reaction, the Army refuted the allegation.

February 11. Electricity firms get additional N 39.5 billion fund to boost supply. More money – N39.527 billion- was released to four distribution companies (Discos) and six generation companies (Gencos) that met the condition precedent for the CBN’s intervention fund of N213 billion to boost efficiency in the power sector.
*Immigration arrests foreigners with Nigeria’s voters’ cards, others. Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) intercepted and seized various security identification items from non-Nigerians.

February 12. Anxiety as govt implements Oronsonye panel’s report. There was growing anxiety among Federal Government workers as the Presidency commenced the implementation of the White Paper on the Stephen Oronsaye-led Presidential Committee on the Restructuring and Rationalisation of parastatals, commissions and agencies. Workers of agencies listed to be abolished or privatized seemed to have resigned themselves to fate based on the White Paper printed by the Federal Government Printer, Lagos, in May 2014.
*Constitutional crisis, violence mar NLC election. A major constitutional crisis marred the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) election, as members’ political leanings truncated, the 11th delegates’ conference, which was expected to have produced new officers.

February 1.3. Benin Palace denies Oba’s death rumour. The Secretary of Benin Traditional Council (BTC), Mr. Franck Irabor, dismissed the rumour that the Oba of Benin passed on. Irabor explained that it was the responsibility of the Council to issue a formal statement, if such a development did occur.

February 14. You’ll be disgraced out of power, OBJ tells Jonathan. Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, at his Hilltop Mansion in Abeokuta, Ogun State capital, renewing his attack on Jonathan, stated that the incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan would be disgraced out of office. Chief Obasanjo likened President Jonathan to former Ivoriean leader, Laurent Gbagbo who was disgraced in the country’s elections.

February 15. Jonathan- Obasanjo feud gets messier. The face-off between former President Olusegun Obasanjo and incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan might be far from abating as PDP said that the latter would later disclose all alleged personal demands of the former that he turned down since 2011 that might have fuelled the lingering animosity.
*NBC cautions broadcast stations against Jingles. The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) cautioned electronic media in the country against airing inciting jingles in the then pending general elections.

February 16. Why I quit PDP, by Obasanjo. Former President, Olusegun Obasanjo said that he left the PDP so as to remain an elder statesman.

February 18. Election shift a blessing, says Jega. The Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Attahiru Jega told the Senate that the shift in elections dates was a blessing in disguise. Jega stated that the six-week extension offered the Commission an opportunity to perfect the electoral process.
*Lagos retains death penalty against violent crimes. Contrary to the expectations of several campaigns for the abolition of death penalty in the Lagos Justice system, the state government re-endorsed capital punishment to serve as deterrence against violent crimes, such as murder and armed robbery.

February 19. There won’t be interim govt, says Abdulsalam. Former head of state, Gen Abdulsalam Abubakar urged Nigerians to ignore all the rumours about plans by the present administration to institute an interim government, saying there was no such provision in the 1999 Constitution. He also told Nigerians not to be worried about purported plans to postpone again the general elections re-scheduled for March 28 and April 11, 2015.

February 20. CAN denies N7 billion allegation, seeks probe of group. The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) debunked media reports (not The Guardian) alleging that its leadership was given N7 billion mystery intended by President Goodluck Jonathan to campaign for his re-election. The association called on security agencies to commence investigation into the activities of the Voice of Northern Christian Movement and Musa Dikwa who made the allegation to unravel the N7 billion mystery intended by their sponsors to throw the country into serious crisis.

February 21, APC accuses PDP, Fayose of trailing Buhari in London. The All Progressives Congress (APC) urged President Goodluck Jonathan to caution one of the PDP governors, Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti, over what the opposition party considered his continued pestering of its candidate, Gen Muhammadu Buhari, with falsehood and death wishes.

February 22, Rotary International marks 110th anniversary, pledges service to humanity. Rotary International turned 110 years in Nigeria, members rolled out the drums to celebrate the feats achieved by the global service organisation since inception in 1905. Rotary International, the major fighter of polio in the world, in addition to other commitments to make the world a better place for humanity spread to every nook and cranny of the world.

February 23. NB Plc partners Psaltry to optimize cassava productivity. Nigerian Breweries (NB) Plc entered into partnership with Psaltry International Company Ltd, a Nigerian cassava processing company and the International Fertiliser Development Centre (IFDC) to optimise the cassava value chain in Nigeria, and improve agribusiness for Nigerian small holder farmers through its Towards Sustainable Clusters in Agribusiness through Learning in Entrepreneurship Project (2SCALE).

February 24. Govt commissions two power plants. The Federal Government commissioned new Turbine Unit of Egbin Power Station and Olorunsogo Power Plant to boost electricity supply. Besides, the contribution of Nigerian National Integrated Power Project (NIPP) to the national grid reached 2,500 MW on regular basis.
*NERC issues two new licences. The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) issued two on-grid electricity generation licences to KVK power Nigeria PVT Limited and Aluminium Swelter Company of Nigeria Plc to generate electricity from solar and gas-flared respectively.

February 25. Ex-prison Chief, others jailed over oil theft. Justice C.O. Ogisi of Delta State High Court, Sapele, convicted and sentenced a former Deputy Comptroller in charge of Ogwashi-Uku Prison, Delta State, D.C.P. Diete Wure Wisdom and a Senior Inspector of Prison, Ayamede Peter to three years imprisonment for stealing 27,000 litres of automative gas oil stored in the custody of the Prison.

February 26. At Chatham House, Buhari unveils strategies against Nigeria’s woes. For the umpteenth time, the Presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Major-Gen Muhammadu Buhari (rtd) assured that any party found indulging in corrupt practices would not be tolerated in his administration. At Chatham House, London, he assured that if elected, he would lead the way, with the force of personal example

MARCH

March 6. Buhari returns from London trip, insists he is fit to lead Nigeria. The Presidential Candidate of All Progressives Congress (APC), Major-General Muhammadu Buhari, returned to the country after spending some days in the United Kingdom (UK). Buhari acknowledged that during his stay in the UK, he took time off from his busy schedule to rest. “I just went off for a couple of days to rest. That’s all I did”, adding, “what is wrong for me to go to hospital? Am I not here now? Aren’t you seeing me? Are you seeing a sick man? Buhari who appeared fit spoke when asked whether he was hospitalised during his stay in the UK.

March 9. Army bars journalists from trial of General, 22 others. The Nigerian Army commenced the trial of 22 officers, including a Brigadier-General after several postponements. Journalists were, however, barred from covering the trial, which took place at the 9 Brigade Officers Mess, Ikeja Military Cantonment, Lagos. They were charged with negligence and cowardice in the war with Boko Haram insurgents.

March 10. Soyinka, others laud Lagos elite’ role in Nigeria’s evolution. Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, lauded the Lagos elite for their pioneering roles in the emergence of Nigeria as a nation. He spoke in Lagos at the public presentation of Dr. Patrick Dele Cole’s book, Modern and Traditional Elites in the Politics of Lagos, while reviewing the book.

March 14. Again, controversy trails NLC election. In Abuja, the President of Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria (MHWUN), Waba Ayuba, was proclaimed winner of the hotly contested election of officers for Nigeria Labour Congress. In a swift re-action, Ayuba’s challenger, Joe Ajaero, announced March 20, 2015, as date for a fresh ‘Special delegates’ conference in Lagos, where perceived ‘wrongs’ in the Abuja election would be addressed. NLC’s General Secretary, Dr. Peter Ozo-Eson, advised all officials, unions of the NLC to steer clear of the Lagos Conference.

March 15. Scientists perform world’s first successful male organ transplant. South African surgeons performed a groundbreaking operation in which they got the penis of a 21-year old man restored after it was amputated due to a botched circumcision.

March 17. World’s first successful penis transplant-patient resume sex with girlfriend. The 21-year-old man who underwent the world’s first successful penis transplant was able to resume sexual relationship with his girlfriend. Prof. Frank Graewe said: “He gets good quality erections, ejaculates and has frequent sex with his partner”.
March 18. FEC okays National Conference report. The Federal Executive Council (FEC) gave its nod to the report and recommendations of the 2014 National Conference asking President Goodluck Jonathan to go ahead and implement the proposals.
*Govt. reinstates Tambuwal’s security details. President Jonathan reinstated the security details of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal.

March 22. Singapore’s founding father, Lee Kuan Yew passes on at 91. Lee Kuan Yew, the statesman who transformed Singapore from a small port city into a wealthy global hub, died at the age of 91. He was taken to hospital with pneumonia in early February. His son, Lee Hsien Loong, was Singapore’s prime minister and the city state is in 2015 marking 50 years as an Independent nation.

March 23. Obama, ECOWAS urge credible polls in Nigeria. United States President Mr. Barack Obama, issued a special message to Nigerians regarding the general elections of March 28, 2015. He called for concerted efforts from all concerned to make for a peaceful and credible election. In a related development, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) stressed the need for peaceful polls, devoid of violence.

March 28. WHO WINS TODAY? The long awaited moment was here at last. That day, millions of Nigerians went to polls to elect a new President. There were many candidates, the contest boilt down to two of them: Incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan of the PDP and former Head of State, General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd) of the APC.

March 29. INEC disowns ‘election results’ in social media. The Presidency and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) urged Nigerians to disregard election results published in the social media. Describing the results as fake, INEC Chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega, said the media would be part of the result collation scheduled to begin at 12.00 noon. The venue of the collation, according to Jega, was the International Conference Centre, Abuja.

March 30. US, UK seek sanctity of results. The governments of the United States and the United Kingdom advised Nigerians to uphold the sanctity of the INEC, even as the Nigeria Police High Command insisted that it would do all within the ambit of the law to sustain the peace. A joint statement issued by US Secretary of State, John Kerry and UK Foreign Secretary, Philip Hammond, welcomed “the largely peaceful vote on March 28”, saying they have seen no evidence of systematic manipulation of the process”.


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